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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies XI+

Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old November 22 2008, 12:55 PM   #91
AlanC9
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Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

Timo wrote: View Post
Then we hop forward in time, and Kirk enlists along with McCoy, and these two graduate more or less apace, both having enlisted as old geezers (Kirk because he was late to realize this was his destiny, McCoy perhaps because he studied medicine first). Possibly Chekov is a classmate.

Further time jumps then take place. McCoy, a medical academician, graduates at a higher rank than Sulu, Uhura or Chekov, and thus quickly reaches the demonstrated LtCmdr rank.
Come to think of it, this is how McCoy's career was always supposed to have gone, if you buy the D.C. Fontana backstory.

Here's another possible way it could play out. Kirk is in temporary command of the ship during the film, with our various other main characters also taking their usual spots temporarily. At the end of the crisis everyone goes off to their normal career paths, but when Kirk is promoted to be the permanent captain in some years' time, he brings everyone back as his personal choices for senior officers. This implies that Starfleet personnel policies are more like the 18th century Royal Navy than our current system, but that's hardly unprecedented in Trek.

And maybe the slots didn't open up for people all at once, which is why McCoy hasn't joined yet in WNMHGB, and why Sulu is working astrophysics rather then the helm.
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Old November 22 2008, 01:43 PM   #92
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Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

Timo wrote: View Post

So in the end, how Kirk catches up is the sole big mystery. Whether that's a showstopper will depend on the exact details of the story. Getting past Sulu or Uhura by three ranks' worth is quite a feat...
Again, only by our standards for promotion. In Napoleonic navies this sort of thing was more the rule than the exception; until you made post captain seniority didn't matter.

We already know that Starfleet doesn't worry about time-in-grade the way we do today. Riker doesn't really damage his career by remaining as Picard's XO long after he could have been promoted, and nobody thinks there's anything all that weird about the alternate Picard staying a lieutenant forever. Maybe they've got nothing against meteoric rises either.

Instantly going from cadet to captain is still excessive, of course. But here's how Thomas Cochrane (the model for Jack Aubrey in O'Brian's novels) did it.

1793: Joins RN as midshipman, aged 17
1795: made acting lieutenant
1796: passes lieutenant exam
1800: appointed to command a sloop
1801: promoted to post-captain.

So that's eight years from midshipman to full captain.
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Old November 22 2008, 02:59 PM   #93
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Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

AlanC9 wrote: View Post
But here's how Thomas Cochrane (the model for Jack Aubrey in O'Brian's novels) did it.

1793: Joins RN as midshipman, aged 17
1795: made acting lieutenant
1796: passes lieutenant exam
1800: appointed to command a sloop
1801: promoted to post-captain.

So that's eight years from midshipman to full captain.
Yes, but the US Navy (and by extension Starfleet) has a lot more ranks. Kirk would, upon graduation from the Academy, have to progress from Ensign, through the two Lieutenant grades, to Lieutenant Commander, Commander, and *then* to full Captain. So logically speaking it should take longer for Kirk to make Captain than it would in your example, wouldn't it?
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Old November 22 2008, 03:34 PM   #94
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Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

AlanC9 wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post

So in the end, how Kirk catches up is the sole big mystery. Whether that's a showstopper will depend on the exact details of the story. Getting past Sulu or Uhura by three ranks' worth is quite a feat...
Again, only by our standards for promotion. In Napoleonic navies this sort of thing was more the rule than the exception; until you made post captain seniority didn't matter.

We already know that Starfleet doesn't worry about time-in-grade the way we do today. Riker doesn't really damage his career by remaining as Picard's XO long after he could have been promoted, and nobody thinks there's anything all that weird about the alternate Picard staying a lieutenant forever. Maybe they've got nothing against meteoric rises either.

Instantly going from cadet to captain is still excessive, of course. But here's how Thomas Cochrane (the model for Jack Aubrey in O'Brian's novels) did it.

1793: Joins RN as midshipman, aged 17
1795: made acting lieutenant
1796: passes lieutenant exam
1800: appointed to command a sloop
1801: promoted to post-captain.

So that's eight years from midshipman to full captain.
And in the seafort saga, the main character goes from ensign to Captain in three weeks.
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Old November 22 2008, 06:44 PM   #95
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Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

JoeZhang wrote: View Post

And in the seafort saga, the main character goes from ensign to Captain in three weeks.
Nicholas Seafort actually goes from Senior Midshipman to Captain in three weeks without even a "stint" as Lieutenant. The United Nations Naval Service of the Seafort universe was set up more like the old Royal Navy. There were Midshipmans; four on a ship with only one senior, or First Middy. Then, there were various grades of Lieutenant (First, Second, Third). Finally, Captain and Admiral (Rear, Vice and Admiral of the Fleet).

It did have a Commander rank, but that was a special case in the second book as a compromise between the brass to not "demote" Seafort back to Midshipman after the events of the first book.

Also, quick promotion to Captain or command of a ship is a staple of the seagoing genre from which Trek partially takes its inspiration. So Kirk getting his hands on the Enterprise while still a middy/cadet/whatever I'm willing to go with as long as it works logically and organically in the story that's told.

In Midshipman's Hope, Seafort's promotion is logical and organic to the plot. A lot of thought went into the regulations that made Seafort take command after the incident with the Captain and senior officers. Even then it took awhile before Seafort became captain of the Hibernia. Also, it's one of the few military SF books that I've read that goes into depth about the differences between line and staff officers, and why one can command while the other cannot. Seafort as senior line officer thus is the only one who can take the big chair despite there being other officers like the engineer, CMO and pilot.

Perhaps a similar logic will be at work in Star Trek ('09) or not, but I'm willing to go with it as long as it makes sense in context of the story. Then again, the events where Kirk takes "command" may happen years before the brief shot of him in gold tunic in the trailer.
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Old November 22 2008, 07:30 PM   #96
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Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

AlanC9 wrote: View Post
Again, only by our standards for promotion. In Napoleonic navies this sort of thing was more the rule than the exception; until you made post captain seniority didn't matter.
Not really comparable, though, as it would take only three promotions to reach captain in the Napoleonic period, instead of seven. And though the percentage of captains inservice then might not be much different from a modern service, many of these were on half pay without assignment, whereas today they would have left the service or retired.

We already know that Starfleet doesn't worry about time-in-grade the way we do today. Riker doesn't really damage his career by remaining as Picard's XO long after he could have been promoted, and nobody thinks there's anything all that weird about the alternate Picard staying a lieutenant forever.
Rather preposterous arrangements which give no thought to the larger personnel management implications. The more that model is avoided the better.

Instantly going from cadet to captain is still excessive, of course. But here's how Thomas Cochrane (the model for Jack Aubrey in O'Brian's novels) did it.

1793: Joins RN as midshipman, aged 17
1795: made acting lieutenant
1796: passes lieutenant exam
1800: appointed to command a sloop
1801: promoted to post-captain.

So that's eight years from midshipman to full captain.
The personnel practices of the Royal Navy c. 1800 are probably not a very good comparison for Starfleet. The navy's policies reflected the class system of the time, when social background and political connections mattered more than ability. Cochrane had an enormous benefit in that he was born Lord Cochrane, heir to the Earl of Dundonald, and entered the navy at age five -- on paper -- when his navy captain uncle entered his name on his ship's roster. It is true that he had great ability, but officers like him or Nelson (whose uncle was Controller of the Navy) were more likely to have their abilities recognized than officers from a middle class background.

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Old November 22 2008, 07:33 PM   #97
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Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

We do not know yet. For all we know the film could fast-forward, like it does already. or he could be acting-captain, when pike gets mutilated and then serve under garrovick and whats-his-face.
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Old November 22 2008, 10:28 PM   #98
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Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

Babaganoosh wrote: View Post
AlanC9 wrote: View Post
But here's how Thomas Cochrane (the model for Jack Aubrey in O'Brian's novels) did it.

1793: Joins RN as midshipman, aged 17
1795: made acting lieutenant
1796: passes lieutenant exam
1800: appointed to command a sloop
1801: promoted to post-captain.

So that's eight years from midshipman to full captain.
Yes, but the US Navy (and by extension Starfleet) has a lot more ranks.
So? Starfleet doesn't have to work like the US Navy, why can't it work more like the Royal Navy? The RN's much more interesting anyways.
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Old November 22 2008, 10:36 PM   #99
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Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

I think Starfleet works like Starfleet. And I also think that Kirk rose through the ranks fast, but more like 9 years or so instead of 9 weeks. Ranks in Star Trek have sometimes been a little weird. Kirk supposedly rose quickly. I think Data was the same rank all the way through TNG. So, who's to say that the criteria actually make real-world sense?

Kirk is a hotshot. Thus he rose like a hotshot. Data is very capable, but he's not a hotshot like Kirk. Thus he didn't rise like Kirk and become a Captain before his factory warranty expired. Promotions appear to be more character driven than achievement driven.
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Old November 22 2008, 11:28 PM   #100
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Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

Which is a stupid way of doing things, because you want someone competent to command, not just someone who's popular.
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Old November 22 2008, 11:30 PM   #101
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Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

Captain Intrepid wrote: View Post
Babaganoosh wrote: View Post
AlanC9 wrote: View Post
But here's how Thomas Cochrane (the model for Jack Aubrey in O'Brian's novels) did it.

1793: Joins RN as midshipman, aged 17
1795: made acting lieutenant
1796: passes lieutenant exam
1800: appointed to command a sloop
1801: promoted to post-captain.

So that's eight years from midshipman to full captain.
Yes, but the US Navy (and by extension Starfleet) has a lot more ranks.
So? Starfleet doesn't have to work like the US Navy
But that's the way it *does* work. We've seen it.
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Old November 22 2008, 11:51 PM   #102
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Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

Babaganoosh wrote: View Post
Captain Intrepid wrote: View Post
Babaganoosh wrote: View Post

Yes, but the US Navy (and by extension Starfleet) has a lot more ranks.
So? Starfleet doesn't have to work like the US Navy
But that's the way it *does* work. We've seen it.
Uh huh? So it's got mostly the same ranks. That means it's the same?
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Old November 23 2008, 12:55 AM   #103
AlanC9
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Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

Babaganoosh wrote: View Post
Yes, but the US Navy (and by extension Starfleet) has a lot more ranks. Kirk would, upon graduation from the Academy, have to progress from Ensign, through the two Lieutenant grades, to Lieutenant Commander, Commander, and *then* to full Captain. So logically speaking it should take longer for Kirk to make Captain than it would in your example, wouldn't it?
That's only true if Starfleet both requires people to progress through all the ranks and requires that they spend several years in each of those ranks. If either of these is not true, then it does not follow.

Should Starfleet have such requirements? Clearly, raising people to command rank after only a few years of service worked in other places and times.

Our current arrangements are not necessarily those of the future. See, for instance, Gene Wolfe's short story "Alien Stones," where starship commanders never serve as subordinate officers in any capacity; his future society has determined that serving for years as a subordinate does not prepare one for independent command.
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Old November 23 2008, 01:01 AM   #104
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Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

J.T.B. wrote: View Post

The personnel practices of the Royal Navy c. 1800 are probably not a very good comparison for Starfleet. The navy's policies reflected the class system of the time, when social background and political connections mattered more than ability. Cochrane had an enormous benefit in that he was born Lord Cochrane, heir to the Earl of Dundonald, and entered the navy at age five -- on paper -- when his navy captain uncle entered his name on his ship's roster. It is true that he had great ability, but officers like him or Nelson (whose uncle was Controller of the Navy) were more likely to have their abilities recognized than officers from a middle class background.
Yeah, Cochrane isn't a great example. I just happened to have his autobiography handy.

But if you take the class elements out, doesn't the system still work? Actually, wouldn't it work even better?
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Old November 23 2008, 01:07 AM   #105
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Re: So Cadet to Captain in what... a week?!

AlanC9 wrote: View Post
Babaganoosh wrote: View Post
Yes, but the US Navy (and by extension Starfleet) has a lot more ranks. Kirk would, upon graduation from the Academy, have to progress from Ensign, through the two Lieutenant grades, to Lieutenant Commander, Commander, and *then* to full Captain. So logically speaking it should take longer for Kirk to make Captain than it would in your example, wouldn't it?
That's only true if Starfleet both requires people to progress through all the ranks and requires that they spend several years in each of those ranks. If either of these is not true, then it does not follow.

Should Starfleet have such requirements?
Yes, I think they should. Why do you suppose those ranks are there, if not to be used?

This is not to say that every officer should spend the same amount of *time* in grade. Everyone is different. Some people get promoted faster, it's a fact of life. If Kirk goes up through the chain of command quickly, and makes Captain in only 8 or so years, that's not so bad. We all knew he'd do that anyway.

But to *skip over* ranks? That does not, IMHO, make any kind of sense. Those ranks are there to be used. If Starfleet must do, they can let Kirk spend a relatively short time as an Ensign, Lieutenant JG, etc. But he should still have those ranks, even if only for a few months to a year each. I mean, don't we all agree that it would be completely ludicrous for Kirk to go straight to Captain from Cadet?

I also realize that Kirk could have the position of Captain but have a lower rank, such as Lt. Commander or Commander. When he got his first command, he may well have done. But there's no indication that this would have to be the Enterprise.
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