``Realm Of Fear''
Stardate: 46041.1
Rating: **

Edited Length: 45:30
U.S. Airdate: October 11, 1992
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [13.2/1]

Guest Stars
Colm Meaney: [O'Brien]
Patti Yasutake: [Nurse Ogawa]

Dwight Schultz: "Barclay"

Co-Producer: Ronald D. Moore
Line Producer: Merri D. Howard
Producer: Peter Lauritson
Supervising Producer: David Livingston
Supervising Producer: Frank Abatemarco
Co-Executive Producer: Jeri Taylor
Executive Producer: Michael Piller
Written By: Brannon Braga
Directed By: Cliff Bole

[end credit]
Executive Producer: Rick Berman

[closing credits]
Co-Producer: Wendy Neuss
Story Editor: Brannon Braga
Story Editor: René Echevarria

Renata Scott: Admiral
Thomas Belgrey: Crewmember
Majel Barrett: Computer Voice


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Extended Synopsis (by Tim Lynch) ------------------------------------

The Enterprise locates the derelict science vessel U.S.S. Yosemite, which had been observing a set of "plasma streamers." The only safe way to travel between ships is to link up the two ships' transporter systems, which is done. However, Lt. Reg Barclay abandons the mission temporarily out of a sense of extreme terror over using the transporters. After some quick counseling from Troi (who recommends a relaxation technique), however, he manages to transport over and begins to work.

The team finds four crewmembers unaccounted for, and the rest all dead. All signs point to an explosion in the transporter console, yet the transporter works perfectly. One of the bodies and a shattered sample container are beamed back to the Enterprise for study, and the away team returns. However, while Barclay is in transport, he sees what appears to be a wormlike creature in the matter stream with him, which then approaches and touches his left arm. When he arrives on board the Enterprise, he is decidedly shaken.

While Barclay and Geordi try (and fail) to reconstitute the Yosemite's scrambled logs, Barclay hints at what he saw in the transporter, leaving the story vague on specifics. Geordi and O'Brien check out the transporter in question, but find no problems whatsoever. Further, Geordi and O'Brien both reemphasize to Reg how safe transporting really is as a mode of travel. Meanwhile, Beverly's examination of the corpse results in a sudden, short-lived heartbeat, and similar occurrences in the brain and lungs.

Later, Barclay is relaxing in Ten-Forward when his arm suddenly flares with pain and begins to glow. Panicking, he covers it as it fades and hurries out of the lounge to his quarters. There, he listens to a description of the old disease "transporter psychosis" and becomes convinced that he's a victim of it.

After Beverly gives her report on the Yosemite crewmember (residual ionization in the body caused those sporadic occurrences), the suggestion is made that the ship might have tried to beam aboard a piece of a plasma streamer for study, and that an explosion of that nature might have caused all the damage they've seen. Geordi, Data, and a very jittery Barclay check the container and find the same ionization traces. They decide to repeat the same experiment under better-controlled circumstances. However, Geordi, tipped off by Data as to Barclay's odd behavior, calls in Troi to help calm him down. Troi then, based on her observations, relieves Barclay of duty.

Barclay tries to relax in his quarters and fails. Then, trying to sleep, he once again sees his arm begin to glow. This time, he goes to the transporter room and orders O'Brien to beam him to the Yosemite and back again, this time manually re-creating an ionic fluctuation that occurred during his original beam- back. When O'Brien does so, Barclay again sees the wormlike creature in the matter stream, and this time has the senior staff awakened for a briefing. Picard orders that one transporter disassembled for analysis initially, and Beverly finds with a microcellular scan of Barclay's arm that the same ionization patterns as in the dead Yosemite crewman are now in his body. This time, all transporters are taken offline, as Barclay returns to Engineering to carry out the experiment previously arranged.

The streamer is beamed aboard inside a container, and the container is further enclosed in a containment field. However, during a resonance scan the container explodes; the field, however, remains intact, and Geordi spots patterns indicative of life in the streamer. That excitement fades, however, when he finds that Reg is now unconscious, with much of his body glowing the way his arm was earlier...

When Barclay revives, he's told the news; there are small, "quasi-energy" microbes inhabiting the streamer, and he must have seen one of them caught in the pattern buffer, grossly distorted in size. Sadly, the microbes are also infesting his body, and slowly killing him. The only possible way to remove them would be to hold his body in transporter stasis and try to pick out a pattern that the biofilter could recognize. It might work, but it also runs the risk of pattern degradation; Barclay might never emerge from transport.

Barclay, with little option, accepts the risk, and as the suspension begins, he once again encounters the lifeform in the matter stream. As Geordi, O'Brien and Beverly work frantically to screen out the microbes, the lifeform approaches Barclay. They discover the right patterns just in the nick of time, but as the beam-in commences, Barclay spies a second lifeform and grabs onto the first, playing a hunch. He rematerializes intact on board the Enterprise, holding on to one of the missing four Yosemite crewmembers. Apparently, they had also been infected with the microbes, but the limits were pushed too far in the same attempt to cure them, thus losing them to the pattern buffer. Worf and a security team, using the same technique, manage to recover the other three missing crewmembers; and having returned the microbes to their proper homes, the Enterprise moves on.

Highlight Listing:
"Realm Of Fear" - A young Enterprise engineer is forced to confront his paralyzing fear of being transported.
Advertising Headline:
TRANSPORT-PHOBIA! Will a crew member's fear of transporting threaten a mission?
TV log listing:
Crew member terrified of transport/STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION
Operation SNAFU
After 4 seasons, lt O'Brien has suddenly lost his normal two pips, replaced by a single hollow pip. Other pip-problems include lt Barclay's single/hollow pips swapping position, as well as having two solid pips when in Troi's office. They probably felt that Barclay needed to outrank O'Brien to be able to influence him.

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Andrew Tong

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