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Old October 7 2013, 09:26 PM   #12
Captain Clark Terrell
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Location: The Captain's Table
Re: Star Trek: TMP questions and observations

J.T.B. wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
That's all true, in principle. But the idea of the story was that Kirk wasn't thinking solely about the mission, but was using the mission as an excuse to get his command back. Everyone else kept telling him that it was a mistake for him to kick Decker out of the center seat, and they were proved right when Decker needed to countermand Kirk's misguided phaser order during the wormhole incident. The arc of the story, at least its first half, is largely about Kirk coming to recognize how his obsession blinded him.
That's right but it still doesn't explain why Decker's grade had to be reduced. Even if Kirk has to go back to the rank of captain (for some reason which apparently doesn't apply in TWOK), he would still be the commanding officer and senior to Captain Decker.
Christopher wrote: View Post
^The only rationale I know of is that Roddenberry saw Starfleet ranks as being not quite literal military ranks but more like job titles, because Starfleet was supposed to be more of a pseudomilitary organization. I'm not saying that's a good explanation, though -- I've made the same complaint myself, that it would've made more sense for Kirk to command the mission while Decker commanded the ship. I even addressed it in my first novel, Ex Machina, which was a direct followup to TMP.
Given that TMP was the first Star Trek film, I wonder if the production team was taking the brand name approach. Movie-goers new to the franchise would be expecting Captain Kirk rather than Admiral Kirk to be commanding Enterprise. Kirk ends back in the admiralty on a full-time basis at some point before TWOK, but as he was only supposed to command Enterprise temporarily, there was no reason to defrock either him or Spock.

"He clapped his captain—his friend—on the shoulder. Yes, this man was very much like James Kirk, in all the ways that mattered." --Christopher L. Bennett-- Star Trek: Mere Anarachy, The Darkness Drops Again
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