Geordi's Authority

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Captain McBain, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. How far does Geordi's authority go when it comes to Engineering? Data outranks him, but Geordi, on account of being Chief Engineer, is able to tell Data what to do. So, if Picard or Riker were in Engineering, or a visiting commander, could Geordi tell them what to do?
     
  2. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    An interesting litmus test might be season one's Where None Have Gone Before. Chief engineer Argyle seems duty bound to give Kosinski and the Traveller (and Wesley) complete run of the department. Even though he obviously doesn't want to. Of course, the warp field experiments were a very unique situation...
     
  3. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    As Chief Engineer, Geordi is in charge of everyone in the ship's Engineering Department. Data is Second Officer so he is Geordi's superior officer in position and rank, as are Picard and Riker. Geordi would have to follow their orders. A visiting commander would have no authority when on the Enterprise.
     
  4. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Unless it's an emergency situation in which that visiting commander is the ranking officer present (temporarily filling in for someone absent).
     
  5. Geordi doesn't follow Data's orders in Engineering, though. Also, I'm thinking visiting commanders or admirals do have some authority. If a full commander told Worf to be at his quarters at 1700, and Worf refuses (not on duty), wouldn't he get in trouble?
     
  6. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    A similar situation arises in The Arsenal of Freedom. Geordi is put in command while Picard and Riker are on the planet. Chief Engineer Logan tries to pull rank and assume command, but Geordi basically tells him to eff off.
     
  7. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed, Starfleet seems to put a lot of store by position, and rank seems to actually have very little relevance at all.

    This is especially true in Voyager, where Ensign Harry Kim is treated as far more senior than dozens of Lt. Cmdr. ranks walking around the ship. I always found that a bit daft.

    Also equally silly seems the fact every commander of a ship, no matter what size or capability, holds the rank of full Captain. In the real military the idea that the commander of a Minesweeper would hold a higher rank than the XO of an aircraft carrier would be mental. One commands 20 guys, one essentially commands 5,000.

    It does make some in-universe sense though. Starfleet seems to have a relaxed approach to rank compared to a modern military as suits its sometimes quasi-military portrayal. Terefore Data deferring to Geordi in Engineering is as much about Geordi knowing his stuff and Data's respect for that as it is about Geordi's actual position.

    In a crunch, where they disagree, Data's rank would give him the call, but when there is no crunch - it is likely they would all sit and have a meeting, as they regularly did in TNG.
     
  8. These answers are sort of contradictory. If Data's rank allows him to 'make the call' in crunch situations, then why didn't Logan's rank allow him to make the call when Picard and Riker were on the planet?
     
  9. Garrovick

    Garrovick Commander Red Shirt

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    I believe that the practice of addressing the CO of any naval vessel, regardless of rank, as "Captain" is more of a naval tradition than an actual commissioned rank. For example, In WW2 CO's of US Navy submarines were Lieutenant Commanders by rank, but they were called "Captain" by their crews. John F. Kennedy was a Lieutenant when in command of PT-109 but he was referred to as the "captain" of the ship.

    In regards to Geordi, I seem to remember the following exchange from "Deja Q"...

    Q (about Geordi): "Who does he believe he is?"

    Data: "He believes he is in charge here, and he is correct."

    I'm pretty sure that Riker and Picard were the only ones who normally could give Geordi an order once he became Chief Engineer. The only exception would be when they were both off the ship and placed Data, or someone else, in temporary command. Whoever's in command, is in command - which is why Geordi was able to tell off Logan in "Arsenal of Freedom".

    Rank isn't the only thing that determines who is in charge of any given situation, it's also the position one is in. A Second Officer can't give the Chief Engineer an order, unless said Second Officer is acting as temporary Captain.
     
  10. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    It's best to ignore rank. Position matters a lot more than rank.

    In that episode Geordi was in the POSITION of commanding the ship. He was in charge no matter what Logan thought or the ranked-captains on the ship thought. Geordi may not have been a captain but for all intents and purposes he was Captain. (Note capitalization.)

    Geordi is in command of the Engineering section, he's in charge of everyone there even those who out-rank him. But he has to act, and answer to, Picard, Riker and Data who are commanding officers. Data's the Operations Officer so I take that to mean he's the superior of all of the "operations" departments, essentially anyone in a gold uniform who're tasked with operating the ship. The "working relationship" Data and Geordi built, however, was more of a mutual one rather than a commander/subordinate one.

    In "theory" Data should have some authority over Geordi since Data is the Operations Manager and third in command. (Geordi not being in the command chain.)

    [​IMG]

    This is an in-ideal way of looking at it, but it's how I think how it more-or-less works when everyone is on the ship and doing their job. Their things change, obviously, when Picard and Riker or are not in the ship and, say, leave Data in charge. Or when Data has the watch, what have-you.

    But "ideally" this is how it works.

    I'm not entirely sure if Troi would be considered part of the "medical staff" or just simply the head of the counseling "department" answering to no one but Picard/Riker/Data and not necessarily to the CMO/Crusher.

    But, "realistically" how it'd work is like this. Say someone in Engineering wants something. A raise, more vacation time, whatever. He goes to Geordi and asks for it. Geordi then tells Data this, since Data is the head of Operations and Engineering is an operations department, and then Data tells Riker who tells Picard. Now, sure, we know the crew is a bit less formal in many regards and Geordi likely would have gone straight to Riker or even Picard but under a strict, we'll say, "Jelico-ian" rule this is how it should work. We see this happen, in fact, when Jelico is in command. People start complaining about the new duty schedule, the department heads tell Riker who tells Jelico.

    There are, in deed, some muddy areas. Data is third in command of the ship and, thus, likely has command over everyone Riker is in charge of as well as his own departments but in normal operations he likely doesn't exert this unless someone is working directly for him.
     
  11. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

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    Worf and Geordi reported to Data? I thought Operations was largely about energy/resource distribution?
     
  12. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    I take "Operatons" to mean anything to do with the ship's operation, which would include security and engineering.
     
  13. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Commodore Commodore

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    I love the chart. It reminds me of the geek hierarchy thing I've seen floating around. ;)

    I've never thought about Geordi or Worf being below Data, unless it was a situation where Picard and/or Riker had left him in command. Operations does sound like a vague enough title to cover just about everything on the ship, but I don't think it does.

    Troi really is an oddity! I imagine she would be a part of Crusher's medical team, so her presence on both the bridge and even senior staff meetings is totally extraneous. Sure, if she's reporting about whichever loon is on the Enterprise on any given week, but a permanent position? Is this something that happened on all starships at that time, or is Picard just using his Betazoid tactically?
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  14. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe Picard just liked having a hot looking chick sitting next to him. And Troi was sometimes completely useless, offering "I sense nothing," yet stays on the bridge during whatever crisis anyway.
     
  15. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It seems their rank was basically the same, except for Data's position. So it seems like Geordi didn't have to be formal with Data as far as rank.

    Geordi never called Data "sir" but usually just Data, or in some cases "commander".

    In some cases Geordi gave Data orders in engineering and on the bridge.

    And then, whenever the bridge is taken over or can't function, control and command of the entire ship is temporarily transferred to engineering.
     
  16. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    I doubt having a counselor on the bridge is very routine, but Picard liked having Troi around for her empathic abilities.
     
  17. Squiggy

    Squiggy FrozenToad Admiral

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    TNG was a little loose with military protocol. Also, Geordi and Data were friends and of the same rank, if not equal position from S3 on.

    Everyone called Picard "Captain".
    Picard and Troi called Riker "Will".
    Picard called Crusher "Beverly" while everyone else refered to her as Doctor.
    Everyone else seemed to be on a first name basis with each other, with Picard calling everyone Mr. Data, LaForge, or Worf, or "Counsellor".
    Worf called everyone "sir", being just a lowly Lieutenant.

    I don't remember orders as in "Data, I order you to....", but I do remember suggestions as in "Hey, Data. Why don't you reroute this to that". There's a difference.

    In that case the senior officer would be commanding the ship in Enginnering (Picard in Brothers) while LaForge would still be in command of the room's staff.

    Geordi and Data's professional relationship seemed to governed by their friendship rather than their position or rank.
     
  18. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    The idea WAS that the military ranks were not much more than a traditional formality, the ranks being more ceremonial in most cases. That they WERE supposed to a group of people mostly on equally footing working together. When things got to the wall, sure, those ranks and positions came into play but for the most part and everyday stuff I suspect the ranks and positions were ignored in favor of just working together.
     
  19. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In Final Mission, while on the bridge, Geordi gets an order from Riker to increase the speed of something, and he relays one to Data;

    And when he's with Data in engineering the demeanor is part friendly, part protocol sounding;

    In Deja Q, when Geordi was with Data in engineering:
    True, it's more like a request/order between friends, but also by same ranking officers.

    From those interactions, it gives the impression that same ranking officers can give minor orders to one another.

    Up until Picard arrived, Geordi had control of helm, and if something happened to the senior staff, before they reached engineering he would have had total command of the entire ship at the point.

    This happened in Powerplay, when there was a firefight on the bridge, and Riker transferred entire command to Engineering;

     
  20. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I should have said Data's position, as second officer. Data and Geordi are of course equal in rank from season three onwards.

    Geordi's position was Picard left him in command, so essentially he was temporary Captain, at least this is how the show sold it.

    When the show is as contradictory as it is, I'm just trying to join some dots!