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Old September 21 2008, 08:16 PM   #16
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Re: Picard's 'middle' years

Glad you enjoyed it; a masterpiece indeed.
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Old September 22 2008, 09:46 AM   #17
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Re: Picard's 'middle' years

Although I didn't find the book too bad, either, I'd like to point out that we can think of alternate stories for that time period as well.

Outside the novels, we don't really know that Picard had a stellar career aboard the Stargazer. By onscreen references alone, it could be that Picard only commanded that vessel for something like three years, and never achieved anything of importance before the Battle of Maxia deprived him of the ship - perhaps his third command, even though the first at Captain rank.

It might be that at the time of the loss of the Stargazer, Picard was a virtual nobody, and now carried the stigma of having lost his ship as well. However, he would then go on to command two other vessels in glorious adventures and triumphant military campaigns, scoring diplomatic victories and scientific breakthroughs left and right, and this is what would earn him the command of the Federation Flagship in 2363. Anybody who dared bring up the fact that this was Jean-Luc "Stargazer" Picard, the infamous loser, would be quickly beaten up by the crowd that cheered the Captain's heroic record of 2354-63.

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Old September 22 2008, 02:40 PM   #18
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Re: Picard's 'middle' years

Timo wrote: View Post
It might be that at the time of the loss of the Stargazer, Picard was a virtual nobody, and now carried the stigma of having lost his ship as well. However, he would then go on to command two other vessels in glorious adventures and triumphant military campaigns, scoring diplomatic victories and scientific breakthroughs left and right, and this is what would earn him the command of the Federation Flagship in 2363.
Won't work. There's never been any hint that Picard commanded any ships between the Stargazer and the Enterprise. That's why I had to structure The Buried Age in such a way that the only ship command he had in those 9 years was classified. And in "All Good Things," in the past segments when Picard was acting in a way that seemed erratic to the crew, Worf asked, "Are you certain this is the same man who commanded the Stargazer?" That makes it pretty explicit that Picard's command of the Stargazer was the basis of his reputation as a worthy captain.
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Old September 22 2008, 02:54 PM   #19
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Re: Picard's 'middle' years

There's never been any hint that Picard commanded any ships between the Stargazer and the Enterprise.
But there wasn't any hint that Spock could mind meld until he did, or that the Klingon Empire lacked an Emperor until it suddenly and retroactively did. Omitting references to a few starships that Picard commanded would be much less of a failure, as commanding of starships is Picard's day job and something we should take as granted.

How many references were there to the Stargazer, really? The big story in "The Battle", then two side mentions of missions in "Allegiance" and "The Wounded", and then the "Relics" bit about how Picard looked fondly back at his youth. "Measure of a Man" merely recouped the stuff from "The Battle", with a negative tint to it.

It would by no means be difficult to drop in two or three additional ships, the way the Okinawa was suddenly dropped into Sisko's backstory.

"Are you certain this is the same man who commanded the Stargazer?" That makes it pretty explicit that Picard's command of the Stargazer was the basis of his reputation as a worthy captain.
Hmm... Good point. OTOH, if Picard really is principally remembered as the commander of the Stargazer, that's all the more reason to think that his possible other commands would go unmentioned. He need not be a one-trick pony for Worf and some others to see him as one: the inventor of the Picard Maneuver could suffer from obscurity of the rest of his career the same way Gus Grissom's Marine piloting would come as a surprise to most.

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Old September 22 2008, 03:14 PM   #20
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Re: Picard's 'middle' years

Christopher wrote: View Post
And in "All Good Things," in the past segments when Picard was acting in a way that seemed erratic to the crew, Worf asked, "Are you certain this is the same man who commanded the Stargazer?"
Is that line from the final aired episode? That doesn't sound at all familiar to me. (Which does not, of course, negate the larger point being made.)
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Old September 22 2008, 03:32 PM   #21
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Re: Picard's 'middle' years

Timo wrote: View Post
How many references were there to the Stargazer, really? The big story in "The Battle", then two side mentions of missions in "Allegiance" and "The Wounded", and then the "Relics" bit about how Picard looked fondly back at his youth. "Measure of a Man" merely recouped the stuff from "The Battle", with a negative tint to it.

.... OTOH, if Picard really is principally remembered as the commander of the Stargazer, that's all the more reason to think that his possible other commands would go unmentioned. He need not be a one-trick pony for Worf and some others to see him as one: the inventor of the Picard Maneuver could suffer from obscurity of the rest of his career the same way Gus Grissom's Marine piloting would come as a surprise to most.
Possibly. I'll confess, I was sure there was an onscreen reference or two to the Sgz being Picard's previous command, but in composing my prior post, I searched for "Stargazer" in the twiz.com TNG script website and found no such explicit references, only one to it being his "old ship" in "Coming of Age."

However, the fact that we learned nothing about Picard's missing 9 years in the show was itself one of the main reasons I chose to avoid giving him more ship commands. Since those 9 years never came up even once in the ensuing 7 years of TNG, it seemed to me that whatever Picard was doing for those 9 years had to be as far removed as possible from the sort of things he was doing in TNG. Whatever he'd been involved with during that time, it couldn't be something that directly involved interactions with the Klingons, Cardassians, Talarians, or any of the other UFP neighbors encountered in TNG, nor could it have directly involved any of the Federation member planets, Starfleet vessels, and the like that we saw in TNG. If it had, then logically the events of those 9 years would've occasionally come up in the show. So I figured it made the most sense for Picard to be as far removed as possible from starship command and Federation politics.
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Old September 22 2008, 04:45 PM   #22
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Re: Picard's 'middle' years

i thought it was established in Tapestry he commanded the ship for like 22 years or something...
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Old September 22 2008, 05:25 PM   #23
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Re: Picard's 'middle' years

I was always under the impression that Picard's command of the Stargazer was a big deal. I thought I remembered several times where people seemed to really be in awe of Picard because he was the captain of the Stargazer.
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Old September 22 2008, 05:37 PM   #24
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Re: Picard's 'middle' years

captcalhoun wrote: View Post
i thought it was established in Tapestry he commanded the ship for like 22 years or something...
That was from the writers' bible, but it was never made explicit onscreen. All "Tapestry" said was that Picard "[took] charge of the Stargazer's bridge when its captain was killed."

In fact, what the writers' bible said was that he "served on an incredible 22 year voyage as mission commander and ship captain on the legendary deep space charting vessel U.S.S. Stargazer." Which, to me, doesn't explicitly say he was the captain for the entire 22 years, because "mission commander" sounds like a different job title. Although of course the Stargazer novels interpreted it to mean that he was the captain for the full time.

JD wrote: View Post
I was always under the impression that Picard's command of the Stargazer was a big deal. I swear there were several times were we heard people talking about Picard and the ship like it was a big deal.
That seems to be another case where something from offscreen backstory is misremembered as onscreen material. It was only referred to as his "old ship" a couple of times, and occasional reference was made to specific missions aboard her (for instance in "Chain of Command") and to Jack Crusher's tenure aboard her (for instance in "Family" and "Menage a Troi").

At least, that's what I can find in my Google search of the script site. But I think that search is incomplete, because when I told it to search that domain for the word "Stargazer," it didn't turn up any hits from "The Battle"! So it may be overlooking a few references.
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Old September 22 2008, 06:08 PM   #25
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Re: Picard's 'middle' years

Christopher wrote: View Post
captcalhoun wrote: View Post
i thought it was established in Tapestry he commanded the ship for like 22 years or something...
That was from the writers' bible, but it was never made explicit onscreen. All "Tapestry" said was that Picard "[took] charge of the Stargazer's bridge when its captain was killed."

In fact, what the writers' bible said was that he "served on an incredible 22 year voyage as mission commander and ship captain on the legendary deep space charting vessel U.S.S. Stargazer." Which, to me, doesn't explicitly say he was the captain for the entire 22 years, because "mission commander" sounds like a different job title. Although of course the Stargazer novels interpreted it to mean that he was the captain for the full time.

JD wrote: View Post
I was always under the impression that Picard's command of the Stargazer was a big deal. I swear there were several times were we heard people talking about Picard and the ship like it was a big deal.
That seems to be another case where something from offscreen backstory is misremembered as onscreen material. It was only referred to as his "old ship" a couple of times, and occasional reference was made to specific missions aboard her (for instance in "Chain of Command") and to Jack Crusher's tenure aboard her (for instance in "Family" and "Menage a Troi").

At least, that's what I can find in my Google search of the script site. But I think that search is incomplete, because when I told it to search that domain for the word "Stargazer," it didn't turn up any hits from "The Battle"! So it may be overlooking a few references.
You can also factor in historical revisionism to cover any inconsistencies in how the Stargazer mission is viewed over time, in the same way that a President or PM can be little regarded on leaving office, but become much better appreciated as the long-term consequences of their decisions become apparent.
So, in the case of something like Picard's time on the Stargazer, there might be first contacts that seemd routine at the time, but 20 years on led to the entry into the Federation of one of its most appreciated members; little border incidents that Picard defused that, it turns out once the classified papers are released, Starfleet intelligence had feared would turn into all-out war, etc etc etc.
"A captain's reputation may go up as well as down."
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Old September 22 2008, 08:30 PM   #26
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Re: Picard's 'middle' years

However, the fact that we learned nothing about Picard's missing 9 years in the show was itself one of the main reasons I chose to avoid giving him more ship commands.
Indeed, and I completely respect your choices for the book. It's just that I like to argue that in general, we shouldn't shy away from giving a starship captain starships to command, and Picard need not absolutely be an exception to that.

Apparently, losing ships and being court-martialed for it is "standard procedure" for Starfleet, so Picard's career as starship skipper shouldn't have come to a grinding halt with the Battle of Maxia. And it still strikes me as somewhat unbelievable that the Federation Flagship would be given to a guy who for the past nine years has not been part of the core world political intrigue or, alternately or in addition, shown consistent or improving skill in commanding starships.

Not having to deal with Cardassians would probably not be that unusual, considering how much O'Brien's "border wars" sounded like a distant and largely forgotten conflict in "The Wounded". What may have looked like a major war to the Cardassian side probably didn't involve all that many starships on the Federation side... Talarians would probably be similar bit players. And everybody everywhere seemed ignorant of the Ferengi, fearful of the Klingons or confused and wary about the Romulans during the early TNG years; experience, quite clearly, was a rare commodity in Starfleet.

I admit, though, that it was a bit jarring when this old, balding and greying guy did not launch into a reverie of "I remember back when I commanded the Pathfinder, or was it the Stargazer, well, never mind, but my first, wait, my second officer said..." whenever they ran into an opponent, event or location that was new to the audience.

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Old September 22 2008, 09:46 PM   #27
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Re: Picard's 'middle' years

Timo wrote: View Post
Indeed, and I completely respect your choices for the book. It's just that I like to argue that in general, we shouldn't shy away from giving a starship captain starships to command, and Picard need not absolutely be an exception to that.
I did give him one starship to command, and then I gave him command of a whole fleet. But the thing about Picard commanding a starship is -- we've seen that. We've seen plenty of that. I thought it would be more interesting to see him doing something else for a while. And I thought it was worth establishing just why the heck it was that the archaeological community thought highly enough of a starship captain that they'd invite him to speak at their symposia or to accompany them on digs.

That's the thing about Picard -- unlike Kirk, he's not just a starship captain. He has a life beyond starships. And if I was going to fill in a missing portion of his life, it made sense to explore that other half of who he is.

Apparently, losing ships and being court-martialed for it is "standard procedure" for Starfleet, so Picard's career as starship skipper shouldn't have come to a grinding halt with the Battle of Maxia.
Well, a hearing is standard procedure; unfortunately Melinda Snodgrass got that confused with a court-martial, so I was left with something rather difficult to explain away. But all that aside, Picard's interaction with Philippa in "Measure of a Man" gave the strong impression that it was a particularly ugly and damaging court-martial, and a cut passage from the script (on which I based my depiction of the trial) made that more explicit, stating that Louvois's vicious interrogation almost cost Picard his career.

True, he was exonerated, but there was plenty of doubt in Picard's own mind, as we saw in Mike Friedman's story "Darkness" in Tales from the Captain's Table. Now, Mike had Picard get over that doubt in the story, but I had a whole novel about Picard's personal journey to write, and Marco specifically asked me for a tale about Picard losing faith and needing to go on a quest to get his groove back. So I interpreted "Darkness" as just the first step on Picard's journey out of self-doubt, and I decided that Picard would've chosen to get away from Starfleet for a while. His Starfleet career came to a halt because he chose to pursue something else for a while, not because he was blacklisted or anything. As we saw in The Buried Age, people within Starfleet (exemplified by Janeway) remembered Picard for his successes, even counting Maxia Zeta among his successes because he saved his crew against all odds.

And it still strikes me as somewhat unbelievable that the Federation Flagship would be given to a guy who for the past nine years has not been part of the core world political intrigue or, alternately or in addition, shown consistent or improving skill in commanding starships.
Which is exactly why Part IV of the novel establishes that Picard spent 2360-63 on the vanguard of Starfleet's advance threat-assessment division and built a solid reputation as a diplomat, tactician, and troubleshooter, culminating in (as I said) the command of an entire fleet. (True, I skipped over most of those three years, but I did so with the conscious awareness that some future author might want to explore them in more depth.) Indeed, it was TrekBBS conversations on this very point that made me realize it would be necessary to establish his qualifications for the post. It's quite possible, Timo, that you were one of the people whose comments informed my approach to the issue.

Not having to deal with Cardassians would probably not be that unusual, considering how much O'Brien's "border wars" sounded like a distant and largely forgotten conflict in "The Wounded". What may have looked like a major war to the Cardassian side probably didn't involve all that many starships on the Federation side... Talarians would probably be similar bit players.
Actually Mosaic and Pathways establish a major burst of conflict with the Cardassians around 2357, and Terok Nor also has things pretty hot between Cardassia and the UFP in the late 2350s. As for the Talarians, we know that the Galen border conflicts were fought in the late '50s as well. That's why I mentioned them here in the first place.

And everybody everywhere seemed ignorant of the Ferengi, fearful of the Klingons or confused and wary about the Romulans during the early TNG years; experience, quite clearly, was a rare commodity in Starfleet.
"Fearful of the Klingons?" How so? They were shown throughout early TNG to be stalwart allies.

I admit, though, that it was a bit jarring when this old, balding and greying guy did not launch into a reverie of "I remember back when I commanded the Pathfinder, or was it the Stargazer, well, never mind, but my first, wait, my second officer said..." whenever they ran into an opponent, event or location that was new to the audience.
Well, I dispute "old." Picard was only 59 at the start of TNG, and that isn't even midlife by 24th-century standards. And Patrick Stewart was only 47 when TNG began, and that's not even close to "old."
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Old September 23 2008, 01:13 AM   #28
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Re: Picard's 'middle' years

i agree Chris. With Admiral McCoy being as old as he was in Encounter at Farpoint, it is a reasonable assumption to say that Picard was still fairly young when he was in command of the Stargazer. Hell, Elias Vaughn is Kiras first officer on DS9 and hes over 100!
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Old September 23 2008, 06:30 AM   #29
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Re: Picard's 'middle' years

"Fearful of the Klingons?" How so? They were shown throughout early TNG to be stalwart allies.
Just watch "Heart of Glory" or "A Matter of Honor". Essentially, Klingons are more alien to our heroes than the potential joint offspring of Crystalline Entity and Nagilum, and their friendliest form of cooperation is "We're not going to fire at you today... If all goes well". "Aquiel" establishes that these "allies" kept raiding Federation installations right until the beginning of TNG. And apparently no Starfleet officer has served on a Klingon vessel or installation before "A Matter of Honor", even though TNG shows many Klingons working for the Federation in various roles. Essentially, everybody but Riker is trembling in their pants or skants during the early seasons, and Riker probably only gets through "A Matter of Honor" by grinding his teeth - against a Diapam pill.

It would have been near-impossible for Picard to form a close rapport with these "allies" before TNG, IMHO.

Well, I dispute "old."
Me, too. Retroactively insert a smiley if needed...

Still, perhaps Picard was consciously trying to avoid the stereotype of a babbling old man when he failed to bring up his past experiences at every turn? And it's not as if Kirk ever explicitly mentioned his previous dealings with the Klingons in "Errand of Mercy", or returned to those in any later episode, either. Being familiar with a recurring villain species would be a bit different from being familiar with the alien planet of the week, and wouldn't necessarily warrant a mention.

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Old September 23 2008, 01:45 PM   #30
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Re: Picard's 'middle' years

Timo wrote: View Post
Still, perhaps Picard was consciously trying to avoid the stereotype of a babbling old man when he failed to bring up his past experiences at every turn?
Just out of curiosity... how many "old" men or women do you actually personally know? Because this stereotype you describe I think is more a creation of television and film than an actual characteristic of real life people.
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