Geordi's Authority

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

  1. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed, however in Trek we see the Captains of everything down to piddly crews of 12 on the Lantree with four pips, indicating what the 19th Century RN would call a "post Captain". You could argue a prestige job, like for example Esteban in ST3 exploring political hot-potato Genesis, would require four pips even on a piddling science ship, but he still seems over-ranked for such a menial command.

    Quite, I assume you are referring to today's military here today as well. When HMS Conqueror sank the Belgrano, her Ex-O was a Lt. Cmdr and her engineering officer had a full three stripes, but the Ex-O through position was higher up the chain of command.
     
  2. But Geordi had the position of Chief Engineer. Does that not trump Data's position of Second Officer?
     
  3. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    Nope. A Second Officer is third in command of the entire ship.
     
  4. Then why is Geordi in charge of Engineering when Data is also present ("Deja Q," for example)?
     
  5. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    Because that's his job. He's in charge when Picard is present, too. Just as Crusher is in charge of Sickbay, even if Picard, Riker or Data are present.
     
  6. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's very possible that Data serves extra shifts in Engineering when he's not on duty as Second Officer/Operations. In this second job, he's under the command of the Chief Engineer. In his first job, the opposite is true.

    It's not that dissimilar to Spock doing double duty as both XO and Science Officer, and would occur for the same reasons: a more-than-human character who takes on a second job because he can handle it and because they can really use him.

    Normally this would lead to some conflict, but the characters can get around that because they're friends. If it was Data and Logan, for example, it probably wouldn't work.
     
  7. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I actually think that in addition to his duties as second officer and chief operations officer, Data was the de facto chief sciences officer (more often not, he was reporting and analyzing things the sensors were detecting).

    Given the nature of Starfleet vessels to encounter "strange stuff," it's not too surprising that Data and Geordi often worked together on various projects of either a scientific or engineering nature, IMO.
     
  8. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

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    There's a grey area there IMHO. In TOS Scotty was often in charge of the ship when Kirk and Spock were on landing parties. I know it's heavily implied that Scotty was simply both Chief Engineer and Second Officer of the original Enterprise, but surely that's not terribly efficient? Second Officer should be somebody who is regularly stationed on the bridge (which Scotty nominally shouldn't have been). Sulu or Uhura, maybe. So, there's definitely reason to assume that the Chief Engineer is very high up the ol' pecking order.

    Admittedly, the structure of rank seen aboard the NCC 1701-D differed considerably from that seen on the original NCC 1701.
     
  9. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In TNG we often see a weird pecking order. For example, when Data is in command of the Enterprise in Gambit, Worf rather than Geordi serves as his First Officer, presumably because Worf was more easily replaceable in his normal position than Geordi.

    Normally I'd rate it: -

    Picard
    Riker
    Data
    Geordi
    Worf

    in the direct command line - but we also have the bridge qualified Crusher and from season seven, Troi to consider.
     
  10. The Librarian

    The Librarian Commodore Commodore

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    Second officer probably isn't a formal position and simply refers to whoever is next in line for command after the XO. There's no reason they need to be regularly on the bridge, especially since they have other duties they need to take care of as a department head. Data being a sleepless android just means he can spend an extra shift on the bridge (with the unfortunate side-effect of reducing the experience gained by whatever lieutenants would normally be officer of the deck while the senior staff are off-duty).
     
  11. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

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    A doctor cannot take lead in a crisis, rank notwithstanding. Worf over Geordi made sense due to the fact that somebody had to man the engines.
     
  12. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Apparently she can, see "Descent". She might not be first choice, and ranks below all the regular senior officers in the line of command, but Bev seems to be considered more suitable for the command than dozens of Lt. and even Lt. Cmdr. officers who are wandering around the Enterprise!

    Of course the real reason is she is a regular character, and it is a TV show, but we are just messing!

    Someone needed to man tactical as well, but it is fair to assume Worf was more disposable than Geordi. Geordi must be a very nice guy though because in his place, I'd be pissed at being passed over for a mere Lt.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    In real military hierarchies, the one reaching that rank earlier would have very clear-cut authority over the one reaching it later. That is, if the explicit need arose for one to have authority over the other. But the LaForge/Data relationship (professional or personal) never ran into issues where Data's hierarchical superiority would have been of relevance.

    In that particular incident, the competition supposedly wasn't aboard the ship; the highest-ranking person was a mustard-shirted Lieutenant.

    Of course, Crusher wasn't assigned to stay aboard the ship because she would have been particularly valuable there; she was ordered to stay there because Picard didn't want her down on the planet, where the away teams faced the hopeless task of locating a needle in a haystack and then protecting themselves from its sharp stings while deprived of the usual technological support of an orbiting starship. Picard was rather clever to assign Crusher a duty that would make it impossible for her to depart the ship (without facing court martial); merely leaving her as the CMO would have left open the possibility that she would send herself down on a medical errand.

    It was incredibly forced and tactically unsound, but it sort of made character-continuity sense.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. DanCPA

    DanCPA Admiral Admiral

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    LaForge, like all other department heads, commands in all aspects relating to his department. He reports to Riker. Data and Worf also report to Riker.
     
  15. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

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    I kind of thought that as long as Picard and Riker were aboard Geordi had near total control of Engineering, and Data while in Engineering would be under Geordi's command. But if either Picard or Riker were off ship, Data position is Acting First Officer and makes his position higher than Geordi's.
     
  16. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I usually tend to think that Geordi is supposed to get command when Riker or Data isn't there.

    But now, I'm beginning to think that Worf is the one they went to when they needed someone to take command if Data wasn't there.

    In Genesis, when the crew is afflicted with the virus, it looks like Geordi, because he's asking Riker if he should order the ship to go to a higher security level.

    The other is in Descent where you see Geordi sitting in the spot Crusher usually sits in.

    But in those two cases Worf isn't available for some reason.

    In Gambit, when Worf is there, he is automatically made the acting first officer by Data.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  17. Retu

    Retu Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Also, in The Most Toys, Worf is the replacement OPS officer after Data is presumed to be dead.
     
  18. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    True-- Troi called it a 'promotion' too, which would have put him right in the command track. In a way it makes sense since Worf was a bridge officer full time.

    In some ways it doesn't, because early in the show it was stated Geordi had more experience.

    Strangely, Geordi was the go-to guy if the top three were off the bridge during the first season.

    Then after he got his two promotions, he wasn't left in command once AFIK-- it was either Worf or some other junior officer.
     
  19. rahullak

    rahullak Commodore Commodore

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    I think that Data follows Geordi's orders in Engineering only when Data is carrying out Engineering related tasks, of which Geordi is the expert and commander.

    Also, other commanding officers such as Picard, Riker and visiting ranking officers would have complete authority over Geordi over the larger decisions that need to be taken, while leaving the minutiae to him.
     
  20. LobsterAfternoon

    LobsterAfternoon Commander Red Shirt

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    Not sure if anyone has addressed this, but does Data have command responsibilities when Picard/Riker are on the ship and on-duty or does his "second officer hat" so to speak, only get used when those two are not on-board/on-duty?