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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old August 24 2008, 05:11 AM   #1
RaymondJames
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Queston about Away Teams + Data

I am not new to trek, I was raised on TNG, DS9 and VOY but have seen every movie, every episode of every season over and over.

Iunderstand that Data is the Enterprise-D & E's Second Officer and Operations Manager. I do understand it would be hard to "kill" data.

My question is about him being on pretty much every away team. Riker of course leads most away mission but often has Data and Wof on his team. I understand Worf, He is security chief from Season 2-7. Data however i do not. For some missions yes, but isn't it a risk to have both the first officer and second officer togather on away missions, suppose both were to be killed or captured. This would leave the Captain kind of short handed and if for some reason the Captain was then killed in battle on the bridge, the ship would go into the hands of a Lieutenant Commander like Laforge who could handle the job but that takes away from engineering.

I guess my point is why send both your Executive officer and 2nd out.
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Old August 24 2008, 07:51 AM   #2
Evil_Kirkneivel
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Re: Queston about Away Teams + Data

On Next Generation (and Star Trek in general), when choosing away team personnel, you choose not by expertise for the mission, or with some regard for possible loss of key personnel; you choose crewmembers that are part of the main cast. That way, they always come back alive. And that should be one of your main objectives.

Now, if you want to talk about the actual strategic choices that should be made to ensure that two or more important personnel are not killed or captured, we should look to US Navy protocol, for example. Unfortunately, I have no knowledge in this area, but hopefully someone else who does will reply.
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Old August 24 2008, 01:55 PM   #3
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Re: Queston about Away Teams + Data

I'd argue that the command chain is robust enough to afford losing any two of the top officers. If an away mission is important enough to warrant the presence of the 1st Officer, it probably is important enough to send the 2nd Officer as his or her aide, too; leaving either of these behind might actually jeopardize the mission.

After all, Star Trek away teams and landing parties are supposed to be highly independent units that can solve the crisis of the week all by themselves. They are not just some sort of an expendable spearhead that checks whether the coast is clear for the important people - they are the important people. If there's any risk assessment involved, it happens before the first (and typically only) away team is sent down, using the amazing sensors and so forth.

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Old August 24 2008, 02:45 PM   #4
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Re: Queston about Away Teams + Data

helps a little but not much, I really don't see why both Riker and Data go its just too damn risky. understanding its a tv show and they need to send their main cast.
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Old August 24 2008, 02:57 PM   #5
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Re: Queston about Away Teams + Data

In terms of plausability, it was an improvement on the TOS formula, in which the captain and first officer went on virtually every landing party...and occasionally even brought the second officer with them!

Whatever the risks, the benefits of having Data on away teams is obvious. Not only is he their all-purpose science officer-type a la Spock--a key role in away teams/landing parties--but as an android, he has unique capabilites that make him extremely useful, sometimes indespensible. He's practically a one-man away team himself, but it never hurts to have a couple other guys at your back.

By Season 2, they'd hit upon such a perfect core away team in Riker, Worf, and Data that it was hard to justify bringing anybody else along unless their specific skills were needed, e.g. Crusher if somebody needed medical attention.
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Old August 24 2008, 03:54 PM   #6
Finn
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Re: Queston about Away Teams + Data

^who was Kirk's second officer?
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Old August 24 2008, 04:03 PM   #7
Vic Sixx
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Re: Queston about Away Teams + Data

They took him because without Data, they would have been hopelessly crippled with no clue on what was going on. I never understood how Picard managed to get so far in his career without Data before he came on the Enterprise.

I agree he does serve the Spock function, he knew everything or had access to all Starfleet knowledge instantly, he came in handy. Imagine having a landing party made up of Andriods, or maybe Holograms, they've never have to put the humans in danger.
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Old August 24 2008, 04:04 PM   #8
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Re: Queston about Away Teams + Data

Kirk's 2nd officer was Scotty.
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Old August 24 2008, 05:02 PM   #9
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Re: Queston about Away Teams + Data

It's the old "Kirk knows this is the most dangerous planet in the universe but he beams down the entire bridge crew anyway" theory.

With TNG the landing parties often consisted of Riker, Worf and Data and then someone else (Cursher, Troi or Geordi depending on the nature of the mission) occasionaly we'd get an Ensign "blue (or gold) shirt" -the equivilant of TOS' "Red Shirts." -Naturally it was this guy's job to serve the function of proving to the audiance the danger was real by getting killed by the threat. Granted, TNG was better about this than TOS was.

Personally, I don't think it makes sense of them to beam down bridge officers anyway. Worf's duty is to protect the ship, Geordi's duty is to keep the ship running, Riker's duty is to keep the crew in line and carry out Picard's orders, Troi's duty is to the mental-health of the crew, Crusher's duty is to the physical health of the crew and Data's duty is to keep all the departments in-line (as OPS officer he's the liaison between the ship's departments and Riker (who further reports to the captain.)

The Enterprise was staffed with 1014 people, granting that some of those are civilians it still leaves us with several hundred other officers. You don't send your best or top man out to do a job he rely on him to send HIS best men to do the job. At work, if I want something done I don't do it myself, that's why I have employees.

Riker, etc. shouldn't of gone away missions unless it was a very important, top priority mission that required the bridge staff. But most other missions they should be sending down second officers.

(Granted, though. All of that could've happened off-screen and we the audience only saw the Enterprise's most important missions that required the bridge staff and didn't get to see the more routine and mundane missions that required the use of the lower decks officers.)
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Old August 24 2008, 05:31 PM   #10
Finn
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Re: Queston about Away Teams + Data

I always figured since they were in it for exploration, why would one want to be on the senior staff if it would mean not going on away missions and make first contact, exploring, all that?
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Old August 24 2008, 05:43 PM   #11
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Re: Queston about Away Teams + Data

Helps out, much better thank you.
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Old August 24 2008, 07:27 PM   #12
Red Ranger
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Re: Queston about Away Teams + Data

RaymondJames, et al.,

Of course, out of universe, the main reason is as you surmised: it's a TV show, so we're supposed to see main cast members on the away team.

In-universe, I'd guess the most important members of the crew -- senior officers who are part of the main bridge staff -- are most likely to beam down for the most important missions. That esp. means Data, as a portable computer who is a virtual encyclopedia, would be the Enterprise's away team MVP.

One thing TOS did more in its first season is show other non-main cast members a bit more frequently on away teams/landing parties. TNG did, in its first season, show other crew members, primarily different engineers (as they didn't have a main character who was chief engineer), which I always liked.

But getting back to ole NCC-1701-D. It makes more sense that in a crew of 1,000, other crew members would be called upon to serve on Away Team duty as part of their ongoing training. I would argue that "ships of the line" like Picard's Enterprise serve as traiining grounds for younger officers so they can spread their expertise to the rest of Starfleet. Of course, these officers probably get the same kind of training no matter what kind of ship they serve on, but those ships that are on the "front lines" of exploration probably serve this function even more.

Red Ranger

P.S.: A minor nit-pick, but Data served on Enterprise-D and -E, not -F!
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Old August 24 2008, 07:54 PM   #13
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Re: Queston about Away Teams + Data

Red Ranger wrote: View Post

P.S.: A minor nit-pick, but Data served on Enterprise-D and -E, not -F!
Ignore that, (i changed it) I had been working on my fan fic and looking at the ones i did back in 06-07 and I had an Enteprise-F (Not with the same crew) must of just been on my mind.
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Old August 26 2008, 01:26 AM   #14
Red Ranger
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Re: Queston about Away Teams + Data

RaymondJames wrote: View Post
Red Ranger wrote: View Post

P.S.: A minor nit-pick, but Data served on Enterprise-D and -E, not -F!
Ignore that, (i changed it) I had been working on my fan fic and looking at the ones i did back in 06-07 and I had an Enteprise-F (Not with the same crew) must of just been on my mind.
So in your fan fic, who goes on the away teams? -- RR
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Old August 26 2008, 02:18 AM   #15
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Re: Queston about Away Teams + Data

Well for one, Data is one of the main stars of the show.

But from an RPG perspective - who better? Unless you need a specialist, you want Data as your science officer on away missions. On ship his title was Operations Manager, but on away missions he fills the science officer spot.
Riker, Data, and Worf can handle almost anything. You could probably get by with just Riker and Data due to Data's super strength and speed, but tactically, it's still better to have Worf along as well.
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