Bugs in the System
Given the increasing realisation amongst scientists of the sheer scale and importance of the human microbiome, it always makes me chuckle when science fiction programmes hand-wave away the possibility of contamination with the notion of “biological filters” built into the transporter system. No wonder Doctor McCoy was suspicious of the things: it’s one thing to know that you’re about to be broken down into a stream of atoms, and then (hopefully) reassembled correctly at the other end, but it’s another thing entirely to require a faecal transplant once you arrive!
Senator: Aren’t you concerned about any Earth bugs or bacteria infecting your people?
G1: The transporter system is fitted with an anti-pathogen mechanism to ensure that nothing nasty gets through.
Senator: Really? That sounds mighty impressive.
G1: Oh, it’s nothing special really. You use a similar process here on Earth. You even have a special name for it. What was it called?
Sorry, I'm still learning your language. It will come to me in a second…
Oh yes! That's it…
[On board the ship. The senator has been beamed up as a pile of ash]