... The Beta Hero

This page is an accumulation of our various studies and essential screencaps of this not-yet-found communicator.

Here's our guess as to what this prop might look like today:


Beta's Jewels

Even though it was a hero, most of the shots we get of Beta's control well are from a distance, though just from these we can know the center rhinestone is red, both outers are AB coated, and in particular the left (from its green flash in "Dagger") is likely an Emerald AB:

Then there's the magnificent close-up in Day of the Dove, which locks down everything pretty tight.  The left is almost assuredly a 20ss Emerald AB and the right has the same white/pinkish glow as Alpha's 16ss Crystal AB:

Most of these caps show a center jewel of very-red Light Siam, but the highlights of orange and yellow in Frames 3 and 4 above mean it's more likely a 16ss Hyacinth:




Top Choice

Other Possibilities

20ss Emerald AB

20ss Blue Zircon

16ss Hyacinth

16ss Light Siam

16ss Crystal AB

16ss Light Amethyst AB
16ss Violet AB

Beta's Moiré Pattern

Thanks to the aforementioned close-up in "Day of the Dove," we have very good data on Beta's moiré workings, albeit for a very short length of time (about 2˝ seconds).  Of course, just like in the Alpha hero, it uses two overlapping Edmund Scientific #4 radial line patterns; the top transparent layer glued in place while the 1-inch diameter white cardstock layer - attached to a 30-second stopwatch - rotates below, creating the famous "spider" effect that's actually an ever-moving swirl of growing and shrinking arcs:

To see if Beta's spider pattern behaves like Alpha's - rotating along with the stopwatch, 360 degrees every 30 seconds - we started with two sharp caps, one early and one late in the shot.  The goal in each was to "re-circle" the moiré bezel ring, accurately restoring it to its original circular shape and orientation; this to then compare them.  Fortunately in these images we have two consistent reference lines at a near-exact right angle to each other and on planes parallel to the bezel ring:  1) the top edge of the control panel, and 2) the right bottom fold of the control well.  These lines, when copied and moved to form a box (in red below) around the bezel ring, eventually allowed us to correct for the changing viewing angle and camera-zoom while Kirk lowers the comm in his hands...

The resulting red parallelograms were righted, skewed back into rectangles, and the bezel rings contained within - at this point ovals - were reduced in the long axis to return them to circles.

Note that while in 2.4 seconds the stopwatch would have rotated the bottom layer nearly 29 degrees, the spider pattern turned only about 9 degrees:

So what's going on here?  To figure it out, we sought to reproduce in Photoshop this strange motion by shifting around the position of two Pattern #4 layers while rotating one of them.  And indeed one positioning closely replicates what's in the screenshots; with the bottom rotating layer a tiny 0.008" off-center and the top transparent layer 0.023" off-center to the right (the cyan crosshairs mark the stopwatch axle beneath):

According to our study, over the course of the full 30 second stopwatch rotation, the "spider" roughly maintains a vertical orientation but with some wobble, leaning first to the right and then to the left, then back again.  The first two images below, at 0.0 and at 2.5 seconds, is the portion captured in "Day of the Dove":

Remember this whole time the spidery arcs are also quickly expanding towards the top and shrinking towards the bottom.

* * * * * * * *

Next, was the top transparency installed with the ink-side up, like in Alpha (so the lines are exposed to the outside), or down?  You may think this is a trivial aspect, but it's actually huge when the centers of both top and bottom patterns are very close to each other, as they are in Beta.  The variable at play here is the amount of vertical gap between the two surfaces with printed ink.  When the two sets are tight together (i.e. the transparency's ink is down, almost touching the spinning layer), the spider arcs appear uniform, dark, and with well-defined edges.  However, when the ink is up, the vertical separation caused by the mere thickness of the transparency plastic is enough to make room for a shadow to be cast of the top layer onto the bottom (especially when the prop is lit by a point source).  This "third" set of lines generates unexpected and even bizarre patterns like those below:

Since no evidence of these effects is present in the "Day of the Dove" close-up, it can be reasoned that Beta's transparency is ink-side down.

* * * * * * * *

Lastly, the top transparency has the same sizeable hole in its center as in Alpha, as per this cap from "Dagger of the Mind":

The subject of moiré patterns is discussed in greater detail on our A Moiré Story page.  And means to print out clear, accurate Pattern #4 images can be found here.

Beta's Bezel Ring Grooves

Given that all but one communicator (Delta) is known to have grooves carved into its bezel's side, you must figure Beta - a hero, after all - would surely have them as well.  Yet unlike with Alpha, it's been dificult to isolate in screencaps any solid evidence for them.  There may, however, be strong hints:

Interpretation remains open as to exactly what's there in those red ovals, but it seems highly possible something is there to interpret.  In both Day of the Dove and Dagger of the Mind, some caps show traces of linear features suggestive of grooves.  Whether, though, any given light or dark line fragment is a groove, the outer surface right next to one, or simpy an errant digital artifact is at this point impossible to determine.  However, given the size of the surface area in relation to how some of the dummies' rings were carved, we would guess there may be two medium grooves, fairly equally centered on the side (>>).

Beta's Screws

We see one of its four screws very clearly, and it's clearly a brass oval head:

It is not certain if it's a slotted or Philips, but since slotted brass oval head screws have been definitively seen in other comms, whereas a Philips has not, we lean entirely towards the slotted (like this one from Alpha):

The other front screw is also caught (barely) in Dagger of the Mind, just above (in this image) the protruding watch winder tube, and the lack of any yellow color suggests it's steel, and since the other hero's three steel screws are round slotted heads, probably this one is too:


Essential Screencaps

This first cap above from "Catspaw" is when the comm initially appears, at the end of a bright "magical" flash.  Note how you can still see the watch winder tube poking out just under the midplate, whereas in the later, cleaner shot below, it's almost completely invisible in the shadow:

To demonstrate that Blu-Ray HD screen caps can't help when an item is simply out of focus, here is Alpha in Friday's Child along with Beta in the background, in the only shot both hero communicators are seen together.  In standard DVDs, Beta showed essentially no useful details.  Now with nearly five times the pixilation, it still doesn't:

Star Trek is a Registered and Copyrighted Trademark of Paramount Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.  All subject matters referring to Star Trek are trademarks of Paramount Pictures.

This website has not been produced or endorsed by Paramount Pictures.  Any material belonging to Paramount’s Copyrighted Material that may appear on this site complies with fair and/or acceptable use for the purposes of review, study, criticism, or news reporting.