Vanishing Point (Star Trek: Enterprise)

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"Vanishing Point"
Star Trek: Enterprise episode
ENTvanishing point.jpg
Hoshi questions the nature of her existence after using the transporter.
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 10
Directed by David Straiton
Written by Rick Berman
Brannon Braga
Featured music Jay Chattaway
Production code 210
Original air date November 27, 2002 (2002-11-27)[1]
Guest appearance(s)
  • Keone Young - Hoshi's Father
  • Gary Riotto - Alien #1
  • Ric Sarabia - Alien #2
  • Moran Margolis - Crewman Baird
  • Carly Thomas - Alison
Episode chronology
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"Singularity"
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"Precious Cargo"
List of Star Trek: Enterprise episodes

"Vanishing Point" is the 36th episode (production #210) of the television series Star Trek: Enterprise, the tenth of the second season, and it aired in November 2002.[1] Hoshi is on an away mission which requires teleportation for evacuation.

The episode explores one the classic staples of the Star Trek universe, a transporter gone-wrong theme.[2] Vanishing Point raises the question of if the transporters are simply killing people each time someone transports, creating a facsimile with that person's memories. In other words, does the person simply think they are themselves, but in fact a duplicate as explored by the duplicated Rikers of one transporter accident in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Alternatively, being transported may be like falling asleep and what happened to Hoshi akin to dream-like state during the several seconds her body was stored in the transporter buffer. Another transporter explanation, is more along the lines of moving a person through a quantum doorway, their unique matter and energy moving from one "place" to another.

Ensign Hoshi Sato passes through the transporter and finds that she is slowly disappearing. At the same time, she is the only person who can see aliens planting explosives in key ship systems, with no way to warn the crew.[1]

Background[edit]

Transporter accidents have been a staple of the Star Trek universe since the 1960s TV shows (see Mirror, Mirror (1967)) and some famous examples are the transporter accident in Star Trek:The Motion Picture (1979) or for example the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode which makes a clone of Riker.[3] This episode explores what happens to consciousness during a period in which the person does not have a body. Some have compared transporters to general anesthesia in modern society.[4]

This also may have been an earlier visit by the somewhat mischievous Aliens that visit Deep Space Nine in If Wishes Were Horses; in both cases a character played by actor Keone Young interacts with the crew posing as something they are not to better understand humanity, which itself may been a Q appearance. Q explores humanities afterlife concepts in Tapestry (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and there are a number Star Trek episodes that bear similarity to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, with a - possibly supernatural - exploration of a life the character does not typically experience, but after which they are returned to their normal experience with an altered perspective. In terms of the Star Trek Universe, it may be a sort of "Q-ophany" pre-Encounter at Farpoint. Other interpretations include the concept of the dream and Dream interpretation.[1]

One implication of Barge of the Dead is that the Klingon religion is the accurate view of the afterlife in the Star Trek universe, in which case Hoshi may have actually died in the transporter accident and she is experiencing a Naj, which is a dream-like state for the recently deceased prior to moving on to Klingon heaven/hell (Sto'Vo'Kor/Gre'thor).[5]

Plot[edit]

Ensign Sato and Commander Tucker are on an away mission, taking pictures and gathering data and samples from an ancient set of ruins. Their mission is cut short, however, when a diamagnetic storm approaches, but before they can make it back to the shuttlepod they are forced to use the transporter instead. Sato is reluctant to use it, so Tucker goes back first. After the incident, aboard Enterprise, Sato feels that things are not right, particularly being the first time she used a transporter. After a visit to Doctor Phlox, she goes to sleep, hoping to feel better in the morning.

She is wakened by an emergency call from the bridge having apparently overslept by three hours. On the bridge, Captain Archer informs her that Tucker and Ensign Mayweather have been taken hostage on the planet while retrieving the shuttlepod. Sato is unable to help, failing to understand the "simple bi-modal syntax" of the aliens. She is ordered to return to her quarters, where she sees her reflection in the mirror fade away and water passing through her hands when she takes a shower. Phlox still cannot find anything wrong, attributing Sato's experience to transporter anxiety. But only a little while later, she completely dematerializes.

The crew begin to search for her, and she observes Phlox and Tucker scanning the ship for her cellular residue. She watches Archer speak with her father to inform him of her "death". In her wanderings, she hears and later encounters two strange aliens who are planting and arming suspicious devices throughout the ship. Unable to warn anyone, she endeavours to interrupt the devices. This eventually leads her onto an alien transporting device - which mysteriously takes her back to her initial away team return in the transporting room. She is disoriented, and concerned about the aliens, but Lieutenant Reed explains to her that she has been trapped for 8.3 seconds in the pattern buffer because of the storm, and that her recent experiences were only hallucinations.

Science connection[edit]

In real-life many technologists have raised the question if transporter technology would kill people and make a copy, if it were done, rather than actually move them from one place to another.[6]

Distribution[edit]

"Vanishing Point" has been published as a single episode on the pay-to-play streaming service CBS All Access in the 2010s.[7] The episode was also released on DVD with the second season of the show in July 2005.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]