Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

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

  1. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Everything you say is valid. My point, perhaps stated inarticulately, was that many people in this thread are arguing -- and very emotionally so -- as though there is a "right" answer supported by evidence, and that anything else is wrong.

    Well, of course, there is no correct answer as to whether or not Kirk commanded a ship prior to the Enterprise, because neither Kirk nor the Enterprise are real.

    It's that attitude that I don't understand.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Nor do I. All along I've been treating this merely as a matter of probability, what's the more reasonable interpretation. I have no idea why anyone would treat it as an argument about "proving" something that's literally impossible to prove.

    So let me ask the question this way: Why would it be desirable to believe that Kirk had no prior command? Is it just because of his youth? Riker was offered his first command at 29, and Picard took command of the Stargazer at 28, though he jumped a couple of steps in rank due to the circumstances. Those are both younger than Kirk was when he took over the Enterprise. So I don't think the youth argument cuts it, at least not in a Trek-universe context.

    So what does that leave as a reason for preferring the idea that he had no prior command? TOS never portrayed him as a novice or inexperienced commander; rather the opposite, I'd say.

    So it's a mystery to me. Of course we're not talking about something provable, just a matter of individual preference -- but what's the appeal of the idea?
     
  3. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^
    Speaking just for myself, I can't say there's any appeal one way or the other. It's just that far stranger things have happened in Trek.
     
  4. Duncan MacLeod

    Duncan MacLeod Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Oops. For some reason I had it in my head that he said he was 35 in The Deadly Years. But he actually states that he's 34. Sorry about that.
     
  5. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    For the record, I actually think that the oft-mentioned factoid about Kirk commanding a destroyer before the Enterprise is a pretty cool idea. However, my original point was that this is not a canonical fact based on just the show itself (and of course, Dehner's vague line in a pilot episode that was quite different from the actual series), and was an idea from a writer's bible that arguably did not make it into the show.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Nobody's claimed that it's a fact, so there's no point in even bringing that up. This discussion has nothing to do with fact. It's just a discussion of which interpretation we find more preferable or reasonable.
     
  7. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Certain posters were claiming that what was written in the writer's bible and the Making of Star Trek should be taken as fact. But you know what? I'm really tired of talking about this now, so I'll bow out of this discussion.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Sorry, but I just reviewed the thread, and I couldn't find a single post where anyone actually said that. Warped9 and Robert Comsol did mention TMoST as an authoritative reference about the creators' intentions, but the word "fact" did not appear in their posts. (Also they did not reference the writers' bible, which has nothing to say on the issue.) Mostly the only people who've used the word "fact" in this thread have been people insisting that it's not a fact. The closest anyone came to calling Kirk's destroyer command a fact was when you referred to it as a "factoid" in your previous post.

    Sometimes posters are too quick to respond to what they think they remember other posters saying, rather than taking the time to go back and review what was actually said. We may not be able to arrive at any findings of fact about Kirk's early career, but the facts of what our fellow posters did and didn't say are quite easy to track down with a little care and patience.
     
  9. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Just to clarify, are we talking about being in command of a ship, or are we talking about being in command of a ship while holding the rank of Captain?
     
  10. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    Not mentioning Gary Mitchell again seems completely reasonable.

    Can you imagine Kirk saying out loud

    "Remember that time my best friend murdered two crewman and I collapsed a mountain side on him and crushed him to death?
     
  11. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    The OP's question is open to interpretation. Is he's asking if Kirk had ever held the rank of Captain aboard a prior position or is he asking if Kirk ever held a prior command (mostly likely a ship) before the Enterprise?

    I think it unlikely that Kirk was a Captain before being assigned the Enterprise, but the evidence suggests he has had a prior command before the Enterprise. He couholdover held the rank of Commander and still have captained a previous ship.
     
  12. Utopianvista

    Utopianvista Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I've always taken that line to mean that Kirk's first command was the Enterprise and thus why Gary was with him.

    It's open to interpretation and I don't think there is any on screen evidence to really debate it.

    Besides, I just can't see Kirk commanding a ship not called the Enterprise (BOP excluded).
     
  13. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    The Writer's Guide and WNMHGB suggest the Enterprise is not Kirk's first time at bat and nothing later on contradicts it. It actually makes more sense that way.
     
  14. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's it in a nutshell. Kirk's first command could either have been the Enterprise, a previous vessel, or even something else. Take your pick.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps a very concrete kaboom? In "Whom Gods Destroy", Garth of Izar praises Kirk's soldier qualities, and rather than contradict him outright, Kirk just says he's more of an explorer "now". Perhaps Starfleet was at heated war in Kirk's early days (the Four Years War of early RPG fame), and attrition brought the young officer to prominence?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I wasn't, Mr. Bolding For Emphasis.
    Agreed on the continuity glitches (providing of course you use production order instead of aired order), but Shatner's Kirk lived on until 1994, way beyond the 60's episodic format. Although all I can say about that is how annoyed I was when Kirk's "I lost a brother once" in STV wasn't about Sam. Which doesn't help my case.
     
  17. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    HMS or USS? Just to get this straight: the author was unable to come up with a better name for a Star Trek ship other than merging the names of the HMS Lydia and the HMS Sutherland from the film "Captain Horatio Hornblower" and the novel series?
    Sorry, sounds like felgercarb to me.

    Unfortunately I don't have all the comics (wasn't it Marvel?) but think those to nicely fill in gaps unless contradicted by screen evidence.

    According to Kirk in "Court-Martial" and the subsequent wishes of the producers USS Republic (NCC-1371) was a member of the "starship class". According to the comics USS Republic was a Baton Rouge Class vessel (of the starship class).

    Since USS Saladin was a starship, too, it looks like we have to conclude that Kirk's first command was another ship ("destroyer class") prior to USS Saladin.

    Bob
     
  18. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^
    Actually, we don't have to conclude that at all. But individually, everyone can go with whatever idea they like the best.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Only if destroyers aren't starships. Hard to tell, when we never really got a good look at a non-starship in Starfleet service.

    That's a cute expression, but the book was actually sort of fun. Didn't take Star Trek too seriously...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Okay, now you are taking creator intentions too literally. Again, there's no such thing as absolute fact in something like this. Creator intentions can be useful information in forming opinions, and when there's no other information to counter them, there's no harm in taking them into consideration. Since there's not a shred of evidence that Kirk didn't command an earlier ship, there's no reason to doubt TMoST's assertion that he did. But where later evidence does clash with creator intentions, it's unreasonable to treat them as binding -- since, after all, creators change their minds all the time, and it actually goes against the creators' intentions to ignore their later, more refined ideas in favor of the early, rough ideas that they deliberately abandoned.

    In this case, the early, awkward use of "Starship Class" has long since been superseded by a more plausible usage wherein "starship" is a generic term for any interstellar spacecraft and ships are given class names that are generally taken from the first vessel in the class. There are decades' worth of evidence to support that usage and it makes no sense to ignore all that.
     

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