Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2, Episode 8 – “Under The Cloak Of War”
- Dr. M’Benga in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has been using the transporter’s pattern buffer to save lives, a trick he has been using for years.
- At the height of the Klingon War, Dr. M’Benga stored critically wounded soldiers in the pattern buffer when medical help was unavailable.
- The transporter’s pattern buffer has been used to save iconic Star Trek characters like Scotty and Commander Riker, and Dr. M’Benga is the first in the 23rd century to use it in this way.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds reveals how long Dr. Joseph M’Benga has been using a trick with the transporters to save lives. Strange New Worlds season 2, episode 8, “Under the Cloak of War,” is a harrowing tale about the traumatic scars left behind by the Klingon War that began in Star Trek: Discovery. Dr. M’Benga is a veteran of the Klingon War, along with Nurse Christine Chapel (Jess Bush), and their friendship was forged in the bloody and violent crucible of the moon of J’Gal.
Strange New Worlds season 1 revealed that Dr. M’Benga had been using his medical transporter in the USS Enterprise’s Sickbay for a secret purpose. Number One (Rebecca Romijn) discovered that M’Benga was storing his terminally ill daughter, Rukiya (Sage Arrindell), in the transporter’s pattern buffer. Rukiya was afflicted with cygnokemia, which had United Federation of Planets medicine had no known cure for. Rukiya was eventually given a new life and purpose by an entity in the Jonesian Nebula, but Strange New Worlds season 2, episode 8 now shows Dr. M’Benga has been prolonging lives with transporters long before he used it on his daughter.
Strange New Worlds Explains Dr. M’Benga’s Life-Saving Transporter Trick
At the height of the Klingon War a few years before Star Trek: Strange New Worlds begins, the first crisis Nurse Christine Chapel faced when she arrived on J’Gal was the arrival of Starfleet soldiers critically wounded by the Klingons. One trooper named Alvarado was dying, but Starfleet’s forward operating base on J’Gal didn’t have the surgical capabilities he needed. Dr. M’Benga’s solution was to store Alvarado in the transporter’s pattern buffer memory core. Christine didn’t know transporters could do this, but Joseph assured her that he’d “done it before.” The implication is that Dr. M’Benga has been storing multiple people in the pattern buffer as necessary when sufficient medical help wasn’t available.
Tragically, as the Klingons escalated their attacks on J’Gal and multiple injured or dying Starfleet Officers were incoming, Dr. M’Benga deleted the pattern of Alvarado to make room for new patients in the transporter’s pattern buffer. Joseph didn’t hesitate to adhere to the classic Star Trek adage of “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one” that would one day be espoused by Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), but this doesn’t change what a terrible decision M’Benga had to make on the spot in order to save more lives. By Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Dr. M’Benga has been using the pattern buffer in this way for several years.
Other Star Trek Characters Saved By The Transporter’s Pattern Buffer
In Star Trek: The Original Series, Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) infamously feared and hated transporters and having his “atoms scattered across the galaxy,” but the life-saving use of the pattern buffer memory core has preserved a few of Star Trek’s most iconic characters. On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Montgomery Scott (James Doohan) stored himself in the pattern buffer for 80 years until he was brought back in the 24th century by the crew of the USS Enterprise-D. A doppelganger of Commander Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) who took on the name Thomas Riker was also created by the transporter’s pattern buffer.
In Star Trek: Discovery season 4, the 32nd century’s transporter’s pattern buffer was powerful enough to store the entire crew of the USS Discovery while Captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) led the ship out of a subspace rift. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds‘ Dr. M’Benga may well be the first major Star Trek character in the 23rd century to creatively use the transporter’s pattern buffer memory core as a means to store individuals and save lives. This trick would continue to be used throughout the Star Trek franchise for generations.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 streams Thursdays on Paramount+.