Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?
For what it's worth, the novels also feature officers lower than captain commanding starships. Not very many, and I think it's only been in recent years that they began doing so. Hell, I'm trying to think of examples but all that comes to mind is the recent Voyager novels.
"Internet message boards aren't as funny today as they were ten years ago. I've stopped reading new posts." -The Simpsons 20th anniversary special.