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The booth worked by stimulating the pain center of virtually any humanoid; a synaptic scan calibrated it for each species. Traditional forms of punishment could overwhelm the nervous system; after a time the brain ceased to feel anything. However, the agony booth possessed sensors that continually shifted the stimulation from one nerve cluster to another, keeping the subject in a constant state of agony – hence its name.
Within a few days of its operation, Terev, Commander Tucker, and Commander Archer were subjected to its effects. The prototype, however, was destroyed along with the ISS Enterprise NX-01, when it was crushed in the Tholian web. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly")
Nevertheless, this design found its way into use aboard the 23rd century ISS Enterprise NCC-1701. This device was generally used for major offenses, whereas the agonizer was typically used for minor offenses. Pavel Chekov was placed in an agony booth following the assassination attempt he made on Captain Kirk. (TOS: "Mirror, Mirror")
- Trekkie Albert Walker named his website, a site that chronicles the worst films (and Star Trek episodes) of all time, after the Agony Booth.