Can Data only receive order from Riker (& up) ?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by DynV, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Technically, yes. The ship's counselor needed to be available for the captain to consult, and to observe things like first contact situations. Guess it makes sense that she'd be on the bridge.

    And "Disaster" establishes that Troi had authority in the chain of command.
     
  2. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Yes, rank and position are two seperate things. Data is the second officer, third in command of the Enterprise, even though Crusher outranks him and he and Geordi share the same rank.

    Troi having to assume command of the bridge in "Disaster" simply because of her rank was ridiculous.
     
  3. DynV

    DynV Ensign Newbie

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    so... position overrule rank?
     
  4. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Yep. A Second officer has more authority over the ship than a doctor, engineer or counselor no matter what rank they may hold.
     
  5. Squiggy

    Squiggy FrozenToad Admiral

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    Meh...depends. If it's related to medical then the CMO pretty much has total authority, rank be damned.

    Commanders and order Captains. Holograms can order Second Officers. Mass hysteria!
     
  6. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Dogs and cat living together...!
     
  7. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    In a traditional navy structure there are "line officers" (US term also used in TOS) who are trained for commanding vessel. They are called that because there is a "line" of succession from the most senior to the most junior. On a ship, the captain and executive officer are at the top, and so on down through the ranks by seniority to the lowliest line ensign.

    There are others whose training is in more specialized areas and can never command a ship regardless of their rank. These would be supply officers, physicians, nurses, dentists, chaplains, JAG officers, intelligence officers, bandleaders and so on. They generally take command of personnel only in their immediate staffs, but senior officers may take command of activities and installations ashore.

    The US Navy counts engineers (in the shipboard propulsion sense) as line officers, the British Royal Navy and many others do not. Starfleet seems to follow more of the US practice, with engineers eligible to attain command of vessels.

    A clearly unqualified Troi taking charge in "Disaster" was silly. But when Troi took command on the bridge in "Thine Own Self," it seems she was acting as what the USN would call "Officer of the Deck," who is in charge for that particular watch but is a position that can be filled by even a junior officer if qualified. It doesn't seem to have changed her position in the chain of command, that is, Data was still third in line and a lot of other officers probably ahead of her. Not something that would happen with a psychologist/counselor in the present day, but apparently Starfleet allows more leeway for cross-training in that kind of situation. Really being in charge for a few hours of cruising in a straight line through empty space shouldn't be too demanding; if anything happens the captain and XO are just a minute or two away.



    Justin
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, IMHO, the interaction there is rather different from "Troi takes charge"...

    Essentially, Ro takes the initiative and performs a risky engineering procedure that makes O'Brien go apeshit. O'Brien tries to take command because engineering is his field of expertise, at which point Troi cleverly begins to interfere, in all innocence asking Ro what's going on - thus making herself the alpha female, because she's asking Ro to give her a status report (however informally).

    Cut to the next scene were Ro (technically in command) and O'Brien continue to bicker about engineering decisions. Troi asks "What do you suggest?", at which point O'Brien starts to brownnose her, calling her "Sir" over Ro's not-quite-dead-yet body. That gives Troi the opening to do the humane thing and stop Ro from killing everybody in the secondary hull; she tells O'Brien to proceed, a not-quite-command which O'Brien eagerly takes for command with an enthusiastic "Yes, Sir!". Yet Ro continues to offer alternate ideas and act regardless of Troi's recommendations; to her, Troi is just "Counselor" throughout the exchange, not a superior officer.

    Cut to the third scene. This is where Troi first indicates she "is" in charge; she dresses down Ro for her latest infarction, and even gets a rare "Sir" out of her. But not when giving her a direct order; it's back to "Counselor" there. It remains completely open whether Ro would really hold back ship separation just because Troi tells her to, and unlikely that Ro would consider her a superior officer.

    I don't see Troi being in command there, either by protocol or by winner-of-pissing-contest authority. Instead, she is in control -thanks to the insidious ways of an experienced empath, one who knows how to best play the two hotheads against each other and make the superior officer (Ro) do the right thing as defined by the superior engineer (O'Brien).

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

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    Rank and position are separate concepts.

    As Data was second officer, he was higher in the chain of command than either Crusher or Troi. Besides, placing both of them higher is silly, given neither had much engineering/tactical experience. In a crunch situation, such qualities are needed. If I were an E-D/E-E bridge officer, I'd feel more comfortable heading off Romulans with Picard at the helm (or Riker or Data, even Worf) than Troi or Crusher.
     
  10. DynV

    DynV Ensign Newbie

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    what :confused:

    Not sure about Worf, the death toll would be pretty high, perhaps sufficiently on the enemy but the own ship could do better with another officer.
     
  11. Marten

    Marten Captain Captain

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    It's been discussed before, and it's a little bit messed up. No sane person would but a doctor, scientist or councellor in command of a starship, when there are actual military personel left. Still, that is the effect when there is no such thing as line officers, or another way to exclude people from the chain of command.
     
  12. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Troi was in command because she held the rank of Lieutenant Commander after the helmsman who "had the bridge" was killed.

    O'Brien was enlisted and Ro was an ensign, somewhat of a disgraced one at that. The helmsman was in command until being killed, in lieu of there being no "second in command" (the other bridge officer was killed too) command went to Troi due simply to rank.

    But one's position on the ship mattered more than one's rank. At the end of "Thine Own Self" Troi snarks at Data that he can call her "Sir" now that she had her Commander pip. This is a bit inaccurate as Data was still the second officer so Troi in matters of ship operations was still Data's subordinate. (Data was Second Officer and Troi, technically, wasn't in the chain of command, she wasn't even really a bridge officer and was just often around for her empathic skills when they were needed.)

    At the most basic level Picard, Riker and Data were the only ones "in command" of the ship. (In reality Data should have been wearing red, but he was considered the "Operations Officer" so he was in command of pretty much all yellow-shirted personnel.)

    This is sort of how I saw the Chain of Command on the ship:

    [​IMG]

    This is under normal conditions, so not during a medical crisis where one's knowledge was critical to the situation.

    I saw Picard and Riker as more or less on equal footing. Picard was in charge, of course, but it was Riker's duty to agree with Picard's decision and carry them out.

    Data was the Operations Officer and, thus, in charge of the operation of the ship which at the very least consisted of Engineering and Security. So, in theory, Worf and Geordi would report to data about issues in their department and Data would take that to Riker. Data was also sometimes called the "Science Officer" which may also mean he over-saw the duties of the various science departments as they needed to work on projects. Data would co-ordinate with security and engineering to see that the science officers got their needs met. All would report to him.

    Crusher was in charge of the medical staff (which may have included mental health) so she was technically "over" Troi but they were probably more or less on equal footing as well. Both were in charge of their respective departments, assuming there was any more counseling staff beyond Troi.

    The helmsmen on the ship, strictly speaking, were only subordinate to Picard and Riker as they're the only ones who can tell the ship where to go and being a helmsman seems to be in the Command department of the ship and Riker was in charge of the command-chain officers.

    Then we have Chief O'Brien. Though never explicitly stated on screen I sort of think he was a bit more than the Transporter Chief and was also the "Chief of the Boat", in charge of all the Non-Commissioned officers. But considering Non-Coms were rare in Trek it's possible there weren't many to manage and any other Non-Coms were just beholden to those in whatever department they were in.

    There's some cross-over here at times, obviously. If Data's on the bridge acting as the OPS officer and he needs the Helmsman to do something he can make that request and being Second Officer the helmsman would have to do it, and of course whomever "has the conn" is effectively in Picard's position at top and in charge of everyone.

    The "Helmsmen" at the bottom pretty much is the word I used to describe all of the one-pipped red-shirts roaming around the ship who obviously had duties to do somewhere, even if it wasn't driving, but not apparently in either the Operations or Medical/Science departments due to the red shirts.
     
  13. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Yeah, that didn't make much sense. Realistically command would go to a Ro, a line ensign, before a medical officer. On the same principal that a senior line officer would not give the medical officer orders on patient treatment: Their expertise is in completely different areas.

    Yes but rank still matters in an etiquette sense. Even though she would not be Data's "boss" in the chain of command, she still held a higher rank and would be entitled to the courtesy of being addressed as "sir."


    No way, they are not on an equal footing and it doesn't matter if the F/O agrees with the captain or not. Things were usually smooth between Picard and Riker, but the F/O's relationship to the captain was put into clear perspective when Jellicoe came aboard. See also Data's experience on Sutherland.




    Justin
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And that reasoning gives some credence to the fact that the engineering noncom O'Brien can address the somewhat engineering-illiterate officer Ro with "Up yours, suh!" so many times without consequences... It's his field of expertise. Troi's mediation of the situation keeps Ro from simply gagging O'Brien and proceeding with ship separation - mediation and authority in "human relations", not command authority.

    It's not a complete train wreck of a storyline, IMHO. It just happens to be based on a train wreck situation.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And Colonel Tigh from nuBSG: "If the crew doesn't hate the XO, he's not doing his job". :lol:
     
  16. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Or Allegiance, when Picard is replaced with a duplicate. Of course, Riker didn't know this when he stood up to Picard.
     
  17. Finn

    Finn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sam Carter wasn't called Dr. Carter on stargaze despite having a Ph.D.