Geordi's Authority

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

  1. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Location:
    California
    I saw where he had the authority to confine a crewman to quarters or to order security take someone into custody--and this was when Picard and Riker on duty.

    As with the visiting officers, I noticed that Cmder Shelby had the same rank as Data, but she was giving Data orders even though he's the ship second officer.

    Shelby wore the red uniform that kind of suggested she had automatic authority or something.
     
  2. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    Shelby's authority was backed by Admiral Hanson, IIRC. She was more or less there to lead the initial investigation of what happened at Jouret IV for Starfleet Tactical.

    As far as Data filling when Picard and Riker aren't present, we saw a little of that in "Data's Day" when Data was in charge of the ship's graveyard shift.
     
  3. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    England's green and pleasant land.
    Again it is her position, not rank. She was essentially inserted into the command crew by Hansen, and seems to report directly to Riker.

    That said, it never comes to a crunch during the episode, it is quite likely Data would have listened to an Ensign Shelby at that point, nothing to lose!
     
  4. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Location:
    Melakon's grave
    Data rarely pulled rank, too.

    I seem to recall Picard in engineering once, with Geordi giving him instructions on how to do something. Maybe I'm mistaken. And it wasn't "Tapestry".
     
  5. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Location:
    California
    So far it seems that rank, division, position, and posting all have to do with who gets command and when.

    You'd think they would clash, but they don't, at least most of the time.

    When Riker got promoted to captain, he actually considered Worf for the position of first officer, before he even considered Data.

    As second officer, it would be assumed that Data would automatically get the first officer position since it's like he's a first officer in training.

    Riker totally skips this idea and considers promoting others.
     
  6. Wally

    Wally Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    I believe the reason was since Data was already slated to become First Officer of the Enterprise under Picard, this was pretty much stated in Nemesis

     
  7. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Location:
    California
    Was this from Nemesis or the show?

    I got this scene from Best of Both Worlds-- when Picard was kidnapped by the Borg and Riker was made captain by Admiral Hanson.

    So it's funny because Data had been 2nd Officer for about 3 years at that point, it seemed it would have been natural to automatically promote Data to First Officer.

    Instead Riker said he actually thought about Worf for the position- and then he said he seriously considered Data for the job :shrug: .
     
  8. Wally

    Wally Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    Ah. My mistake, I was talking about Nemesis

    I think the real life answer is that it was early enough in the life of the show that positions weren't quite as cemented as later. In universe, I guess you could say that Riker simply thought Worf would have been a better fit for First Officer and promote him over Data. (Data wouldn't have objected, and Riker always seemed to get along with Worf much better, so it would have been a good working relationship)

    Chain of commandwise, I suppose Worf would have been the Third Officer by this point anyways, so it really wasn't a huge jump.
     
  9. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    England's green and pleasant land.
    Worf's rank was always weird, throughout all the shows. He was a Lt. for far too long in TNG, as a department head he should have been a 2-and-a-half. Even one-episode department heads usually held this rank. Of course this is again throughout Trek, step forward Harry Kim...

    Worf in his later career, where Kira had essentially reached the rank of Captain in the Bajoran militia, should probably have gotten three full pips, but he did piss off Starfleet by getting their spy killed.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    ...And in other ways as well. Worf was murderous scum by general UFP moral standards, so it might have been a bit awkward for Starfleet to reward him for his good work too openly. OTOH, Worf was exactly the sort of murderous scum that the UFP needed in its dealings with the Klingons, but admitting that out loud would have made those very dealings more complicated.

    It would seem Picard had a "dream team" of bridge officers for the Federation Flagship, chosen partially by himself but partially by outside forces. He had the Security Officer of his choosing, and a handpicked Chief Engineer "in waiting", at the helm - but he might have been forced to accept the Only Klingon In Starfleet against his will, for the symbolic value. He does dismiss advice from the OKIS for most of the first three seasons, and treat him with open disdain until he gets thrust into Klingon politics himself. Perhaps he held back the early promotions for that reason?

    Whether Data was another celebrity forced upon Picard, the infamous OAIS, or whether Picard was the only commander to see the true value of Data and invite him to a responsible position, we don't know exactly. Who got Troi aboard? She was there before Riker was, but is there a causal relationship there, or merely a romantic one?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    Then again, there is the issue of Starfleet having a different billet system than today's navies, with a greater emphasis on position rather than rank. On a Galaxy-class ship, the chief of security may only have warranted a lieutenant from the get-go and the operations officer of an Intrepid-class ship may only have warranted an ensign. Another possibility is that individual ships may have a specific chain-of-command, with promotions a precursor to increased responsibilities or reassignment to another vessel with a different chain-of-command.
     
  12. Maestro

    Maestro Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    Maestro
    Data's position as Second Officer seems to me to be more of a "next in line IF Picard and Riker are gone" position, and really a non-trumping position the rest of the time. If Data is not in command of the ship, but is in Engineering, then LaForge's position as Chief Engineer trumps.

    It's almost more of knowing who the go-to person is in case of a crisis, rather than an all the time superiority.
     
  13. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    England's green and pleasant land.
    Well quite, the only time the two are really ever related in Trek seem to be: -

    1. In "Thine Own Self" where passing a command test means an automatic third full pip.
    2. The idea that the Captain of any ship gets the rank of Captain (not just the honorary title, the full four-pips).

    There might be others, I can't really think of any.

    Trek also seems to have the "default" rank of Lt. Cmdr for long serving average officers, though again in "Tapestry", the long-serving Picard is only a Lt. jg (which really makes no sense).

    Yeah maybe, I'd be interested to hear the real world rationale used for everyone's ranks - Michael Okuda used to post here on-and-off once and if anyone knew he would!
     
  14. Captain McBain

    Captain McBain Captain Captain

    Data may have objected, but he would have done it sans emotion. Data initially objected when Picard passed him by to command a ship in "Redemption."
     
  15. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    England's green and pleasant land.
    Great scene that - and unflappable Picard, realising Data is quite right, gives Data command of the Sutherland.
     
  16. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Location:
    California
    That scene only makes Riker's thoughts about promoting Worf over Data to first officer somewhat strange. He considers Data, but Worf was definitely a consideration.

    Besides rank, position, posting, and division, there are also seems to be some differences between commanding, having authority, being given command, and next in line duty officer.

    As strange as it sounds, rank doesn't always give you authority, a lower ranking officer from another division may get command over another, and being given command doesn't always mean command over everyone.

    At least from what I observed on the show.

    So Worf, lower ranking officer from security, is given command of the bridge or made acting first officer and yet must acknowledge Geordi as a senior officer.

    However from the 1st season, Geordi, in command division is outranked by Logan the engineer, but refuses his suggestions and counter orders him.

    It seems like command is more of a duty, than simply giving orders and enjoying the authority-like being a security or engineering officer.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Well, command of the starship is a very special position that encompasses total superiority over everybody else aboard, at least on "ship matters" - on those matters, LaForge could have given direct orders to a Grand Admiral or the President of the UFP when holding that position.

    Being placed in command of a survey team does not give that sort of authority. Within his appointed team in"Pen Pals", Wesley can boss around people senior to him in rank, but that doesn't make him capable of giving orders to LaForge.

    In both cases, however, rank is but a minor consideration in placing these people in their respective (temporary) positions of command. This would be true in the real world to some degree as well, in situations calling for flexibility. Only at higher ranks and in positions of some permanence would it become prudent to permanently promote the assigned team leaders to bolster their formal authority - at least to make them senior to their current underlings, but possibly also to make them equal in rank to the comparable leaders of comparable teams elsewhere. Yet the higher the ranks, the more complex the promoting - so people from Major to LtCol to Col to Brigadier may well end up doing the same job in parallel units, without "equalizing" promotions.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    I think the bridge officer's test is for blue shirts wishing to advance beyond the rank of lieutenant commander.
    In a way, that makes sense because a starship--even a small one like the Nova-class USS Equinox--may be called upon to determine the fate of entire worlds, if not entire star systems at times, during the course of its mission. Starfleet policy may require a full captain for command of all frontline starships, except for those assigned to a starbase or a special taskforce.
    That version of Picard only did the bare minimum to get by and nothing more. He played it safe and never stood out from the crowd. Starfleet may have no problem with a blue-shirt spending his entire career as a junior officer if his primary duty is that as a lab assistant or something like that. I think that's one of the ways that Starfleet differs from today's navy.
     
  19. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    The bridge officer's test is probably exactly what it sounds like - a test to determine an officer's readiness to serve on the bridge (where they could at any time be called upon to take command) or to stand a watch (where they would definitely be left in command). It's just that Troi, as a staff officer, hadn't taken the test, while even the greenest ensign wearing gold or red had taken the test before leaving the Academy.

    The facts that Troi took the test, passed it (eventually) and then was promoted may not be as directly related as they look. At best we can say they're correlated. Was Troi perhaps up for promotion anyway? Would she have been promoted to commander if she had done something else to earn points? We don't know. We do know that Pulaski had the rank of commander and was definitely not a bridge officer.

    Surely capping blueshirts at lieutenant commander is unfair and unnecessary; there are plenty of reasons to promote a person even to flag ranks without them having starship command experience. Commodore Stocker made it to flag rank without having commanded a starship, for instance.
     
  20. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    In "Thine Own Self," a point was made that Crusher didn't need to have commander rank to be chief medical officer, but did so solely to be eligible for occasional bridge command. Troi took the test after thinking about her old colleagues (presumably other blue shirts) who had already taken the test and likely had advanced in rank ahead of her. As far as Pulaski, it could merely be a case of her having been promoted in order to have greater seniority at a previous assignment. I imagine that Janeway, who started off as a blue shirt, took the test at some point and it was her first step to switching over to the command division, IMO.