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Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old February 19 2013, 10:06 PM   #1
CoveTom
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"I'd like that order in writing..."

In "In the Pale Moonlight," when Sisko orders Bashir to prepare biomemetic gel, Bashir responds that he'd like that order in writing, and Sisko complies. Two questions about that:

1. In the real life militaries of today, can a subordinate demand of a superior officer that they put an order in writing if they feel that the order is to do something questionable?

2. What good does it do to have an order "in writing" when "in writing" means "electronically on a PADD"? Is there anything to keep that electronic copy from mysteriously being deleted next time Starfleet starts asking questions?
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Old February 19 2013, 10:09 PM   #2
SJSharksfan39
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Re: "I'd like that order in writing..."

Doesn't Doctors outrank even captains when it comes to anything medical or using medical weapons? That's always been the case in Star Trek, at least when it comes to Doctors outranking captains if the captain is unable to perform his/her duty.
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Old February 19 2013, 10:34 PM   #3
CoveTom
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Re: "I'd like that order in writing..."

^ I don't believe they outrank captains in "anything medical." The only time we've ever seen doctors be able to exercise authority over captains is if the captain, or another officer, is mentally or physically incapacitated and needs to be relieved of duty. But, otherwise, doctors have to obey their superior officers just like anyone else.
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Old February 19 2013, 10:42 PM   #4
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: "I'd like that order in writing..."

CoveTom wrote: View Post
1. In the real life militaries of today, can a subordinate demand of a superior officer that they put an order in writing if they feel that the order is to do something questionable
Well, in this case, it's not just questionable - it's flat out illegal. IIRC, biomimetic gel is banned in the Federation. Since Sisko was ordering Bashir to prepare an illegal substance, I would think Bashir would be within his rights to ask something like this. At the very least, the likelihood that Bashir could ask Sisko for 'in writing' would be less important than the fact that Bashir was being ordered to violate the law.
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Old February 19 2013, 10:51 PM   #5
Pavonis
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Re: "I'd like that order in writing..."

Biomemtic gel isn't banned, it is a controlled substance. Bashir, as a research physician, is clearly allowed to possess and use the gel. It's illegal for him to sell it or give it away, and without knowledge of where the gel was going to end up, Bashir wanted the order in writing so that his ass wasn't on the line if it ended up in an explosive or something. He wanted Sisko to be at fault if the gel ended up in the wrong hands (which it was going to anyway).
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Old February 19 2013, 10:58 PM   #6
Tiberius
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Re: "I'd like that order in writing..."

CoveTom wrote: View Post
In "In the Pale Moonlight," when Sisko orders Bashir to prepare biomemetic gel, Bashir responds that he'd like that order in writing, and Sisko complies. Two questions about that:

1. In the real life militaries of today, can a subordinate demand of a superior officer that they put an order in writing if they feel that the order is to do something questionable?

2. What good does it do to have an order "in writing" when "in writing" means "electronically on a PADD"? Is there anything to keep that electronic copy from mysteriously being deleted next time Starfleet starts asking questions?
I can't speak for Bashir or Starfleet, but I work as a train guard in Sydney and as such safety is very important. If I'm ever told to do something that I think is unsafe - "Sure, you can go into the rail corridor without the correct PPE!" - then I'll ask for the order in writing. And then I still won't do it. And when I'm asked by the big bosses why I didn't, I can say, "Look what they want me to do! It's signed and dated!"

Personally, I think Bashir was just calling Sisko's bluff. Most people wouldn't want such a paper trail left after asking someone else to do something illegal like that. he didn't realise that Sisko wasn't bluffing. I know if I was ever in that situation, the person giving me the order would back down if I asked for it in writing, because they knew that a formal complaint was going to come of it.
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Old February 20 2013, 01:45 AM   #7
indolover
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Re: "I'd like that order in writing..."

It's basic communication theory. Written communication is superior to verbal communication (one reason being it's a more lasting record). Bashir simply wanted a detailed record of what Sisko was ordering him to do.
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Old February 21 2013, 06:14 AM   #8
JirinPanthosa
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Re: "I'd like that order in writing..."

CoveTom wrote: View Post
2. What good does it do to have an order "in writing" when "in writing" means "electronically on a PADD"? Is there anything to keep that electronic copy from mysteriously being deleted next time Starfleet starts asking questions?
We still say we 'Dial a number' even though telephones have not had dials for decades. I would suppose official records are kept in an audited file. Whenever it's accessed, it's specifically recorded who accessed it and what they did. Sure it's possible to get around security protocols and delete, particularly if Mister Garak is your friend, but Bashir would not expect Sisko to throw him legally under the bus. He just wants an official record that he is not legally responsible. Sisko probably could have said 'No, just give me this' and Bashir would have backed down, but Bashir was leaning on their friendship when he made that request.
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Old February 21 2013, 07:00 AM   #9
DeepSpaceWine
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Re: "I'd like that order in writing..."

From what we've seen across Star Trek, Doctors only outrank captains when it comes to matters of the Captain's health, or presumably if the health of the crew is at stake and the Captain's orders foolishly jeopardize the crew (not dividing the ship in "Final Mission" and jeopardizing over 1000 people with fatal radiation exposure when it wasn't necessary or there were other options should've gotten Riker & Dr. Crusher court-martialed. That was one of the stupidest decisions made by a command officer in all of Star Trek, above even letting the Doctor leave Voyager for a full month in "Life Line". Gee, lucky nothing bad happened like a Borg attack, Borg who were known to be in the area a few months behind them and shortly ahead of them). We often see a captain ordering a doctor to revive an alien patient who is seriously injured and needs rest & recovery because they want answers now. It might be interesting for everyone to map out where the borders are between a doctor's authority over a captain and a captain's authority over a doctor in medical matters which might contradict their hippocratic oath.
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Old February 21 2013, 09:14 PM   #10
Ensign_Redshirt
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Re: "I'd like that order in writing..."

Bashir wanted the order in writing because he was about to do something that could definitely get him court-martialed if not properly authorized.

Didn't seem too unusual to me either.
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