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Old February 24 2012, 06:44 PM   #1
BritishSeaPower
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Before They Were Captains

I was talking with a friend the other day about what all of the Star Trek captains did before they took command of their ships. I know some of this is elaborated on in the literature, but I'm curious what's been stated in the shows, as I don't quite remember specific things being stated. I'll start the discussion by stating what I think their career paths were as far as I remember and we can elaborate from there.

Jonathan Archer - Test Pilot

James T. Kirk - Unsure? Possibly Tactical/Security

Jean-Luc Picard - Science (Anthropology & Archaeology) but I've often heard he was the Helmsman on the Stargazer.

Benjamin Sisko - Not that clear. We know he spent time with Curzon Dax so maybe he was in Security or the Diplomatic corps? But he also says he was the head of the Defiant Project and one of the designers which would indicate a track in Engineering or perhaps Tactical.

Kathryn Janeway - Science. I think she's the only whose path was specifically stated in the show outside of Archer.
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Old February 24 2012, 06:59 PM   #2
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Re: Before They Were Captains

I'm pretty sure Janeway came up through engineering.
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Old February 24 2012, 07:03 PM   #3
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Re: Before They Were Captains

Nah, Janeway was science.
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Old February 24 2012, 07:04 PM   #4
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Re: Before They Were Captains

Yeah, I'm more than certain Janeway was established to be in Science.
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Old February 24 2012, 07:06 PM   #5
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Re: Before They Were Captains

I think it was mentioned in "Homefront" that Sisko started out in engineering, but Leyton saw potential in Sisko and made him his XO on the Okinawa.

Janeway's first assignment out of the Academy was as a science officer on the USS Al-Batani.
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Old February 24 2012, 07:07 PM   #6
Sandoval
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Re: Before They Were Captains

Yep. Science officer all the way.
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Old February 24 2012, 07:08 PM   #7
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Re: Before They Were Captains

As a Lt., Kirk was an instructor at the academy, he served aboard a starship named Republic.

And in Court Martial, he had a "chest full of metals." So he must have does something to deserve them.

")
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Old February 24 2012, 07:26 PM   #8
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Re: Before They Were Captains

Archer was a test pilot, as we saw in First Flight

Kirk was said to have been the tactical officer of the Farragut in Obsession.

I don't remember the exact referance, but I seem to remember it established that Picard was a skilled pilot.

Sisko had indeed started in engineering and showed little interest in anything else until Leyton made him the XO of the Okinawa. Mentioned in Homefront/Paradise Lost.

Janeway was a science officer, mentioned many times on Voyager, starting with her first scene in Caretaker.
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Old February 24 2012, 07:34 PM   #9
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Re: Before They Were Captains

I like the idea of Archer originally being a pilot.

I think Kirk started off as a weapons officer.

I do believe Picard was a conn officer.

Sisko an engineer.

Janeway as already mentioned a science officer on the Al-Batani, but maybe she switched to command at the encouragement of then Captain Paris.
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Old February 24 2012, 07:38 PM   #10
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Re: Before They Were Captains

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
I don't remember the exact referance, but I seem to remember it established that Picard was a skilled pilot.
I'd like to see that reference if you find it. I know that Riker was supposed to be a hotshot pilot (Chain of Command II).

Picard was a command division officer from the start. He was Helmsman on the Stargazer. Even though he has a love of archaeology, he had always wanted to command, so he focused on that path instead.
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Old February 24 2012, 07:41 PM   #11
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Re: Before They Were Captains

tighr wrote: View Post
The Wormhole wrote: View Post
I don't remember the exact referance, but I seem to remember it established that Picard was a skilled pilot.
I'd like to see that reference if you find it. I know that Riker was supposed to be a hotshot pilot (Chain of Command II).

Picard was a command division officer from the start.
Well, don't most command officers have backgrounds as pilots? Isn't that why the two jobs wear the same colour?
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Old February 24 2012, 07:54 PM   #12
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Re: Before They Were Captains

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
Well, don't most command officers have backgrounds as pilots? Isn't that why the two jobs wear the same colour?
Well yea. Picard was clearly a helmsman on the Stargazer. My point was that he was never really shown to be a "skilled" pilot, like Riker or Tom Paris. Maybe a competent one. Obviously, he got the job done. He did invent the Picard Maneuver, but he freely admits it was more out of necessity and luck than out of skill. Picard was always shown having more passion for archaeology and exploration than he had for piloting.

There are several episodes where Picard takes the helm of the Enterprise, and he says he's feeling a bit rusty.
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Old February 24 2012, 07:54 PM   #13
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Re: Before They Were Captains

Well, don't most command officers have backgrounds as pilots? Isn't that why the two jobs wear the same colour?
Might be, might not be. We never actually heard that Janeway or Kirk would have had Helm background.

Probably a command officer has a diverse background, rather than any single specialty. Riker seemed to be in Security once, as per "Second Chances" and perhaps "The Pegasus" as well - he wore yellow and fought mutineers. Yet he probably did other things as well, given his reputation for good piloting. And we saw Worf and LaForge tackle several careers during their early years, too. In all likelihood, Janeway and Picard were diverse as well.

Kirk was said to have been the tactical officer of the Farragut in Obsession.
Not exactly. He was said to have been a "young officer at the phaser station". Since his failure to fire phasers in time was compared to the failure of the young Garrovick, it might be that this "phaser station" was planetside - that it referred to Kirk's hilltop position in guarding the landing party. Indeed, later in the episode the ability of the dikironium cloud to threaten a starship (infiltrate it, dodge its phasers) comes as a rude surprise to our heroes - suggesting that the original threat to the Farragut crew had been strictly planetside.

Kirk thus might have been a redshirt security goon in his early years!

I don't remember the exact referance, but I seem to remember it established that Picard was a skilled pilot.
This might be in reference to "Booby Trap" where Picard takes the helm in a tight spot. But that's probably more due to the desire to take responsibility than to any superior skill. I don't recall direct references to extraordinary piloting skill - just to piloting desire, in ST:NEM, and some demonstrated competence, in ST:INS...

Picard was clearly a helmsman on the Stargazer.
How so?

In "Tapestry", he wore command white. He was also said to have led a landing party to rescue a dignitary - something a pilot might do as a side job, but a security chief would do as a day job.

In "The Battle", Picard remembers being at the helm of his ship - but in the position of the dying ship's captain. He doesn't tell anything about his position on the ship earlier in his career. In "Relics", he seems to be speaking exclusively about ye olden days commanding that ship, too. Memory Alpha suggests "Bloodlines" as the third possible reference for him having been a helmsman, but that episode seems to tell nothing of the sort, either.

Most of what we "know" about Picard on the Stargazer comes from the novels and from backstage material that never was included in the episodes...

Timo Saloniemi

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Old February 24 2012, 08:53 PM   #14
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Re: Before They Were Captains

Timo wrote: View Post
Kirk was said to have been the tactical officer of the Farragut in Obsession.
Not exactly. He was said to have been a "young officer at the phaser station". Since his failure to fire phasers in time was compared to the failure of the young Garrovick, it might be that this "phaser station" was planetside - that it referred to Kirk's hilltop position in guarding the landing party. Indeed, later in the episode the ability of the dikironium cloud to threaten a starship (infiltrate it, dodge its phasers) comes as a rude surprise to our heroes - suggesting that the original threat to the Farragut crew had been strictly planetside.

Kirk thus might have been a redshirt security goon in his early years!
Phasers/tactical seemed to be a goldshirt job in TOS.

I'd also wonder why 200 members of the Farragut's crew were planetside when the cloud creature attacked.
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Old February 24 2012, 09:11 PM   #15
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Re: Before They Were Captains

Apparently, the ship herself was not lost, so those 200 don't need to represent the ship's total crew, minus the miraculously surviving Kirk (even if we might argue that in Kirk's youth, 200 would be the standard complement for a starship). If we can find a reason for having 200 people down there, we can probably also assume that they'd warrant "phaser stations" for protection!

If 200 were half the complement of that starship, we might be talking about a shore leave arrangement similar to what took place in the episode by that name; idle the ship and send as many people as possible down at once, and you minimize the time wasted. OTOH, we don't know what sort of a ship the Farragut was. Might be 200 was a small fraction of the total crew, perhaps a colonization team. Might be the ship was fairly small and had landed on the planet, belching out virtually the entire crew as the opportunity arose. For all we know, the circumstances were completely different, seeing how the events 11 years prior took place in "another part of the galaxy".

Really, the reason I favor the "landing party phasers, not shipboard phasers" interpretation is that it's difficult to see Kirk using the ship's phasers to protect a planetside Captain Garrovick - and even more difficult to see Kirk using the ship's phasers to defend the ship, and fail, after which the beast devours Garrovick on board but does nothing to Kirk.

Yes, Kirk might have been at a phaser station far away from the bridge, as per "Balance of Terror" - but if the death toll was 200, then the whole primary hull would probably have been lost... And why would the ship have been unshielded? The ability of the beast to go through shields came as a surprise to our heroes.

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