Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by RB_Kandy, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Nope - according to McCoy and Spock both, Spock's first command was in "The Galileo Seven"... However absurd that may sound in terms of Spock's career.

    That's perfectly normal real world usage, too. Most commands in the military, or even in the Navy, are not going to involve ships of any sort.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Taking lines from WNMHGB as irrefutable fact seems a little pointless to me. It was a pilot episode where Spock wore yellow and had "a human ancestor", where Sulu wore blue, and where Kirk had a BFF that never came up again in canon Trek. It's a great episode, but as with most pilots it's not entirely continuous with the series proper.

    Before I read about prior Kirk commands in novels and comics, I assumed the Enterprise was Kirk's first command. I guess because of his relative youth compared to the other starship captains we met.
     
  3. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There's nothing conclusive that I can remember one or another on screen about the issue, but I just don't see anyway that such an elite command is going to be given to a complete rookie. I can picture a situation where somebody at Starfleet Command takes a shine to a young hotshot and puts his/her neck on the line to get him a command after a sterling performance as captain of a smaller vessel. It's pretty clear that Kirk is very young (compared to his colleagues) and feels a great deal of pressure, but there's nothing that suggests to me that he just went from being a subordinate to a Constellation-class command without punching a command ticket or two somewhere along the way.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    We don't really know whether the prestige of a Constitution class starship lives up to our speculations and expectations.

    Back in Pike's days, the ship seemed to have fewer people aboard and limped back home after suffering, what, seven casualties? The CO also wore much less braid, and didn't think much of himself. With Kirk in command, the ship mainly ran errands, a type of behavior not associated with capital ships in the real world. Perhaps Constitution class ships are famed for being so darn expendable, being always sent to places of high risk, and being commanded by daredevils and mavericks who are a class apart from the more sedate Commodores who command the capital ships. Although if one survives commanding a heavy cruiser, one may advance to command a capital ship eventually...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    And yet we accept the episode as part of TOS' continuity. If something isn't contradicted later on then there's no reason to ignore it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  6. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed not - because in that case, we have to explain away the contradiction! What could be more interesting and relevant than that? ;)

    (Or did you drop a negative from the phrase?)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Yep, mistype. Now fixed.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Very little about "Where No Man" is outright contradicted later on, interestingly enough. To the contrary, changes in uniform color are later established to be par for the course; Spock having a human ancestor and speaking of her in very restrained terms is confirmed; and there's every excuse for Kirk never to speak of his best friend again (just like he never mentions his lost loves or killed relatives).

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Unlike today when it seems like so many are ready to spill their guts to practically anybody about everything after knowing them for about five minutes...particularly on television. :lol:
     
  10. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Why would we hear Kirk mention Mitchell again? Sure, he was important to Kirk. But generally our perspective is only seeing the big adventures that take place aboard the Enterprise and not a lot of personal moments. Kirk could mention Mitchell all the time in conversation and we just don't see it because we're watching when there's a crisis and he's focused on the mission.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Of course, he could talk about his old losses when struggling with new ones. Say, when Sam dies, Jim might think back to the time he lost Gary. Or, if that's too badly in the middle of a crisis, perhaps our hero could again think of Gary, or of Edith Keeler, when wallowing in self-pity after "Requiem for Methuselah"?

    It's probably mostly in his personality or upbringing that he doesn't discuss bygone things. In in-universe terms, that is.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. EliyahuQeoni

    EliyahuQeoni Commodore Commodore

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    Do we know for sure that this is the youngest age allowed in Kirk's time? I don't recall exactly, but I'm sure TNG said something of the Academy entrence age, though that took place more than a century after Kirk's time at the academy. The--non-canon, of course--TWOK novelization mentions 14 year old midshipmen, which could put a few more years in there for Kirk's career.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Again -- for the third or fourth time -- while all of that may technically be possible, I'm far from convinced that Dehner would have chosen her words that way in that particular context if that had been what she meant. Something can be technically true but still not be something a character would have any reason to call attention to in a particular context.



    Well, yes, but there's no reason why he couldn't have had an earlier command. There's no evidence we have that's inconsistent with that view, and it's reasonable to believe he would have.


    Again, remember that a ship's commanding officer does not need to hold the rank of captain. TMoST said that his first command was a smaller ship, a destroyer equivalent, while he had commander's rank.


    Again, where is all this counterfactual rubbish about "conclusive proof" and "irrefutable fact" coming from? Nobody is claiming anything of the sort. We're just discussing possibilities. Any reasonable observer would conclude that it's impossible to prove anything about this. It's a topic within a work of fiction that was never addressed except in one ambiguous line of dialogue. Even attempting to cast the discussion in terms of proof is nonsense. Of course there's nothing to prove because the characters and institutions we're talking about don't actually exist. The best anyone can say about any interpretation is that it sounds more or less plausible than another. It's a completely abstract discussion about what might have been the case in an imaginary story some people made up decades ago, pure speculation about something there's virtually no evidence about and never will be. So can we please just relax and stop taking it so damn seriously?



    I don't see how any of those represent serious continuity problems. Sulu simply changed jobs, and the uniform designs were changed. (Really, as first officer, Spock should have worn command gold; the producers probably just figured he looked better in blue.) And no character important in Kirk's life was brought up outside the episode in which he or she appeared, because that's how '60s television always worked. And Spock may have simply been reticent to admit how much human blood he had. These are no worse than the continuity glitches that showed up within the series itself.
     
  14. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Exactly. During the original run of the first season fans may have speculated what Dehner's comment was supposed to mean. The Making of Star Trek and/or the original Writer's Guide is in essence the late, but official explanation from the creators (Gene Roddenberry and Bob Justman) that Dehner refers to a "destroyer class" vessel (and not one of the "starship class"), Kirk's first command.
    As this has never been contradicted later, we should respect the creators' original visions, IMHO.

    Bob
     
  15. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I can't believe that there is actually a discussion of "evidence" and "proof" going on here about what was Kirk's first command. I love to debate Trek minutiae as much as the next guy but, c'mon, this is a freakin' work of fiction. There is no truth about Kirk's first command because Kirk doesn't exist. Therefore, what we're really dealing with here is everyone's opinion and interpretation, even if that opinion or interpretation comes from Gene Roddenberry or Bob Justman.

    The problem here is that if we're going to discuss a work of fiction in terms of what did or did not happen to the characters, we have to all be working off the same frame of reference. This isn't real life where you have scientific laws to adhere to in doing research. This is fiction where we can pick and choose what we go by. Are we going strictly by what has appeared on-screen and nothing else? Are we using supporting documents such as the writer's guide or "The Making of Star Trek"? Are we including novels? How about the animated series? Etc. etc. etc.

    And folks here do not seem to be able to agree upon the standard that is going to be used. And until such time as an agreement can be reached on that, these discussions are going to go nowhere. And they are especially going to go nowhere, and cease to be entertaining and fun, if what we end up with a thread of "my evidence is better than your evidence" type posts.

    All IMHO, of course.
     
  16. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    OT: That wasn't really an assigned CO in those few weeks; Cdr. Hamilton was Enterprise's air officer who was in temporary command after newly promoted RAdm Matt Gardner was detached and before Cato Glover reported. The newly-assigned captain was most likely on leave (customary) before taking his new command, and as she was in the repair dock there was no hurry.

    Especially if there was some kind of "boom" in Starfleet size in Kirk's early career, capable officers would be much in demand to command new vessels. As WW2 ended USN officers from the class of 1939 were starting to get fleet submarine commands, with just over six years experience.

    It's likely he did distinguish himself, but commendations and medals don't contribute to command experience.

    A bridge "shift" -- or "watch" to use TOS terminology -- wouldn't count for much since if anything important happened the XO or CO would take over. A very unique landing party circumstance, maybe, though COs and XOs seem to take charge of anything important there, too. But it's still not the same as bearing the final responsibility as commanding officer. The best test for the ability to command a large vessel is command of a smaller vessel, that has been naval practice for 300 years.

    Yes, but coming up with plausible reasons for it stretches credulity. At any rate, that was a response to a comment comparing military advancement to "other occupations," which are not really comparable.

    But if Kirk was indeed a high-flyer in his early years, as suggested above, that would make it more likely that he would have been selected for command of a small vessel, not less. That is assuming there are smaller ships, which no one here seems to dispute.

    Agreed, technically possible but not the way people would normally use the language. Dehner was talking about Kirk's and Mitchell's history, not about current events. If she was referring to his current assignment the language would be something more along the lines of "You're the reason he's assigned here" or "You asked for him when you took this command."

    Justin
     
  17. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    QFT (although I will add a proviso that while some people use the writer's guide/bible as some sort of evidence, how many times have those bibles been contradicted by the road that the show ends up taking? Kinda makes them useless as "evidence" IMHO)
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But the thing is -- and I think maybe some posters here are overlooking this -- that "evidence" and "proof" are two very different things. Evidence is simply data that you gather and use to try to arrive at a conclusion. It literally just means "that which is seen" -- it's an observation or result, a data point to be taken into consideration. Proof -- which is more of a vernacular or legal term that you won't really find in scientific usage -- is decisive evidence (or indisputable reasoning, in the mathematical or logical sense), something that leaves no doubt about a certain conclusion.

    So calling something "evidence" does not mean it's conclusive or even indisputable. It just means it's data that can be used to evaluate the question. Evidence can support a certain conclusion without being enough to prove it, because of course it usually takes more than a single piece of evidence to arrive at proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If you find the butler's fingerprints on the murder weapon, that's evidence in the case, and it can be taken as evidence in support of the hypothesis that the butler did it; but if you gather more evidence demonstrating conclusively that the jilted lover has gunshot residue on her hand and left her DNA at the scene and drugged the butler and put the murder weapon in his hand, then you've proved that the jilted lover did it. The fingerprint evidence is still evidence, but when placed in the context of the rest of the evidence, it contributes to a different conclusion than it suggested by itself. So evidence and proof are not the same thing. Evidence is data that's open to interpretation; proof is a pattern of evidence that is only consistent with a single conclusion.

    So you're absolutely right that we can't talk about proof in a case like this, but we certainly can talk about evidence. Dehner's line is certainly weak evidence, and in the absence of any further evidence its probative value is too limited to allow any firm conclusion to be drawn. But it is perfectly valid to call it evidence. This is just one of those cases where the available evidence is insufficient to allow a definite conclusion -- something which actually happens pretty often in this world.

    But the scant evidence we do have does seem to make one conclusion more probable than the other, and in this case, where there will never be any more evidence to allow a firm conclusion, probability is the best we can ever do. And since it is just imaginary, probability and common sense are good enough for me.
     
  19. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    But that's definitely what it is. In the lack of any real onscreen proof either for or against something, all that's left is conjecture and opinion. We fill in the blanks with what we think happened or what fits our own preference of what happened.
    But they can be viewed as indications of command ability, and that's obviously what made Kirk a captain more than how many years he had under his belt. If he had to wait a certain number of years to get "the right amount" of experience, he probably would have become a captain later in life.
    Tell that to Sulu.
    Not necessarily, because it isn't a given that every ship in the fleet is run like the Enterprise. Other ships may have officers other than the CO and XO in charge of landing parties.

    Additionally, there could be circumstances--usually crisis situations--in which a young officer may distinguish himself or herself in the absence of a senior officer due to being separated, detained, injured, etc.
    But it may not be the only way in Starfleet. An officer may prove himself ready for his own command through other means, including service as first officer on a large ship.
    We're talking about Star Trek. Most of it stretches credulity. We either roll with it or we complain about how it isn't like how things are done today.
    Still doesn't dismiss the possibility. And in the end, Trek is just made up stuff that bows more to creative liberty/dramatic license more to than how things work in the real world today.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  20. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    except for the fact that Kirk was born in 2233 and would be 16 in 2249. And thats fixable just by subtraction a year from his age in the timeline.