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Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old June 12 2014, 06:58 PM   #1
diankra
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TMP: Decker's first officer?

I'm sure this must have been discussed before, but a repeat screening brought it to mind just now...

Who was Decker's first officer? Until now I'd vaguely assumed that perhaps it was Sonak, but Kirk tells Decker he's taking over as captain and Decker will become first officer before the transporter accident takes Sonak 'off the chessboard'.
Any ideas... Sulu and Uhura don't give any indication that they might have been doubling in the role
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Old June 12 2014, 07:43 PM   #2
Timo
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Re: TMP: Decker's first officer?

It's quite possible we never saw Decker's XO - the ship wasn't going to launch any time soon, so most of Decker's chosen officers might have elsewhere, perhaps on other planets or distant ships altogether. The TOS heroes crewing the bridge might not have been part of Decker's dream team at all, either, but merely temping there.

When Kirk commanded the ship to be launched, he would already know he would be bumping Decker down to the XO position, so he would not summon Decker's chosen officer to the ship at all.

We could also speculate that Decker did not yet have any plans on who his XO might be. The departure of the ship was hurried from 20 hours to 12 by Kirk, but even the 20 hours must have been a major change in schedule considering Scotty's ranting. Perhaps the intended launch date was still months if not years away, and Decker had no crew. Remember that Decker had been with the ship "for every minute of the refit", so his presence would not be related to any upcoming mission as such, merely to the refitting process itself.

Heck, for all we know, Decker was never supposed to command the ship on any mission, and was solely the CO of the refitting process, fully intent on stepping down when finished and letting Captain G. Dunsel take the ship out of the dock. When the balloon went up on the V'Ger threat, he mistakenly thought he would be pressed to action, but then it turned out that Kirk would do that instead.

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Old June 12 2014, 08:12 PM   #3
Oso Blanco
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Re: TMP: Decker's first officer?

I believe that Sonak was supposed to be the XO.
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Old June 12 2014, 08:23 PM   #4
Timo
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Re: TMP: Decker's first officer?

But it's Kirk who has an obsession with Vulcan science officers. Very probably, Sonak wasn't going to be involved with the Enterprise in any fashion originally, because his presence there is Kirk's doing, and Kirk wouldn't be motivated to do that until he learned he was getting the center seat himself.

Kirk: "Commander Sonak, you received your appointment as Enterprise science officer?"
Sonak: "Based, I am told, on your recommendation, Admiral. Thank you."
It sounds as if Sonak's assignment was a very recent thing, something Kirk did only hours before - because in the next phrase, he worries why Sonak isn't already aboard the ship.

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Old June 13 2014, 02:14 AM   #5
Lance
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Re: TMP: Decker's first officer?

I agree with what Timo said above, in that the V'Ger crisis seems to have come up very quickly and Enterprise is overtly said to being launched early to combat it. So chances are pretty good that not all of Decker's crew are actually aboard anyway, including possibly the new first officer. The idea that the other TOS crew themselves might even simply only be filling in those positions for the refit period, until their replacements get there, but end up coming along when the crisis unfolds is also plausible.
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Old June 13 2014, 03:20 AM   #6
Sran
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Re: TMP: Decker's first officer?

Lance wrote: View Post
I agree with what Timo said above, in that the V'Ger crisis seems to have come up very quickly and Enterprise is overtly said to being launched early to combat it. So chances are pretty good that not all of Decker's crew are actually aboard anyway, including possibly the new first officer. The idea that the other TOS crew themselves might even simply only be filling in those positions for the refit period, until their replacements get there, but end up coming along when the crisis unfolds is also plausible.
Non-canon material suggest that's exactly what happened. Enterprise was launched weeks ahead of schedule because of the V'Ger threat, so Decker didn't have most of his senior staff aboard. Sulu, Chekov and others were available on the off-chance they would be assigned back to the Enterprise once the ship was ready, and Kirk pulled strings to get them posted once he'd decided to use the crisis to get the Enterprise back.

Sonak was appointed by Decker but recommended for the science officer position by Kirk. What Decker didn't realize at the time was that Kirk was placing his own people on the ship to make the transition back to the captain's chair easier.

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Old June 13 2014, 03:41 AM   #7
Joel_Kirk
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Re: TMP: Decker's first officer?

It's interesting because there usually is talk about the bureaucratic/politics coming from some Starfleet admirals. Yet, Admiral Kirk takes the Enterprise outright from Decker, rather than - like the Commodore Stocker in 'The Deadly Years' - just going on board and monitoring the situation.

Granted, he - Kirk - has the command experience, but - as aforementioned - he could have been present to monitor and give suggestions. It was plainly clear that Kirk removed Decker from command because he wanted the ship for himself.

However, I also can see the thought of Decker just being present for the refit, but he was a bit too excited. It was his ship. Like a person getting a new home or new boat or new car....Decker was excitedly making sure his baby was well taken care of.
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Old June 13 2014, 04:39 AM   #8
Sran
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Re: TMP: Decker's first officer?

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
It's interesting because there usually is talk about the bureaucratic/politics coming from some Starfleet admirals. Yet, Admiral Kirk takes the Enterprise outright from Decker, rather than - like the Commodore Stocker in 'The Deadly Years' - just going on board and monitoring the situation.

Granted, he - Kirk - has the command experience, but - as aforementioned - he could have been present to monitor and give suggestions. It was plainly clear that Kirk removed Decker from command because he wanted the ship for himself.

However, I also can see the thought of Decker just being present for the refit, but he was a bit too excited. It was his ship. Like a person getting a new home or new boat or new car....Decker was excitedly making sure his baby was well taken care of.
And this is why I'm not inclined to believe that he was just a placeholder while the ship was in dock. Had Kirk not shown up, the Enterprise would have been Decker's ship. He'd put too much of himself into the project for me to believe he was going to hand the ship off to someone else.

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Old June 13 2014, 06:49 AM   #9
Lance
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Re: TMP: Decker's first officer?

The early drafts (the Phase II tv pilot version) had Decker as a commander expecting assignment as Captain of another ship, and being mildly miffed that Kirk had pulled him over to Enterprise to be XO. He was annoyed at being held back from the post he was actually expecting to get.

I can see why they made that script change. Making him the Enterprise-Captain-In-Waiting is just a more streamlined way of fulfilling basically the same script functions. It also circumvents the question of why Kirk would need to pull Decker from some other ship to be his XO, when we might assume there are others already aboard Enterprise who could suit that task in a pinch (Sulu for example).

But... if Decker already sees Enterprise as 'his baby', he's got good motivation for being annoyed, that her former CO is pulling rank to take her away from him.
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Old June 13 2014, 03:21 PM   #10
diankra
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Re: TMP: Decker's first officer?

Thanks all,
Seems reasonable that if the expedited launch was originally going to be a 'sea trial' testing the impulse drive around the solar system before giving the new warp drive its first power up, then the first officer and a lot of specialist personnel might still be weeks or months away from coming abroad. The Enterprise might even be expected to begin its first operational mission without them, heading out to a friendly starbase (or even an unfriendly one that's actually a captive starjelly) to pick them up from a transfer from active service on other ships, as per Encounter at Farpoint.

Who knows... maybe somewhere out there's a Commander Disgruntled, who'd thought he was going to get the plum assignment as Enterprise XO until Spock returned to Starfleet, and now spends his off-duty hours maliciously hacking Starfleet's records on the Ceti Alpha system in the hope that it'll cause trouble for Kirk and his mob at some later date...
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Old June 13 2014, 04:15 PM   #11
J.T.B.
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Re: TMP: Decker's first officer?

Lance wrote: View Post
The early drafts (the Phase II tv pilot version) had Decker as a commander expecting assignment as Captain of another ship, and being mildly miffed that Kirk had pulled him over to Enterprise to be XO. He was annoyed at being held back from the post he was actually expecting to get.
Interesting, I did not know about that early version. It may be just a coincidence, but Robert Wise's earlier Run Silent, Run Deep also dealt with a new captain who was "bumped down" to exec by a more senior officer, and the friction that caused.
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