Had Sisko Always Been Command Track

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by Dingo, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    US Navy hospital ships are Military Sealift Command fleet auxiliaries (USNS prefix), not commissioned naval vessels (USS prefix) and have a civilian crew headed by a civilian master mariner. The senior medical corps officer is in charge of the hospital located on the ship with a title something like "Commander, Naval Medical Facility, USNS Comfort." Not "Commanding Officer USNS Comfort." The medical CO does not get involved with running the ship and the master does not get involved with running the hospital.

    There was a period in the early 1900s when medical corps officers were put in actual command of USN hospital vessels. This caused difficulties because officers who had been trained to command ships at sea did not like to be given orders by officers without such experience. After WW1 there was a court-martial of a line officer who refused to sign a log in a disagreement with his medical corps superior. The line officer's actions were upheld and the rules were changed. Thereafter, as long as hospital ships were USS vessels, a line officer was in command. A very interesting account of the court-martial can be read here:
    http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/USNavalHospitalships.htm

    As for Sisko and the "command track," Trek has shown pretty consistently that "command division" does not necessarily indicate qualification to take command, and officers from the science and engineering/services/operations divisions can still be "command track." Sisko was probably on that track from early in his career, if not the very beginning.

    Justin
     
  2. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

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    Supposedly Sisko was initially an engineer, but on an away mission showed good leadership potential, hence Captain (later Admiral in Paradise Lost) promoting him to XO.

    Though as the Prophets made him, they created him to be a leader. lol..
     
  3. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

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    From what I understand, the red uniform covers all personnel who control ship functions or command. Tom Paris in Voyager had no subordinate staff, but as the helmsman wore a red uniform. Similar is the case of Worf in TNG season 1 (I guess as Tactical Officer his role was a control one).

    I think also as in the real life armed forces, those officers who stand out become heads of departments, XOs and COs.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...that we know of. But the helm console was occasionally crewed by others, with two Ensigns named at Memory Alpha. One of them wearing a yellow shirt, and only subbed at Conn when Tom Paris was doing his rebel antics in "Thirty Days", though.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. Ro_Laren

    Ro_Laren Commodore Commodore

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    Wow, I forgot about that.
     
  6. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'd agree that Red tends to lend itself to Command, but more importantly ship functionality.

    That being said I should point out that Tom Paris was the senior Conn officer and as such had "staff" in so far that he was directly in charge of implementing ship course data and maintaining the logs and uniformity of all junior conn officers. We've also seen that he coordinated with Astrometrics and Engineering regularly where propulsion and navigation were concerned.

    They seemed to show Paris as what one might expect as the lead / chief Conn officer to be. One then does begin to question why we saw Wesley Crusher at the Conn so often. Even a field promotion to that position very likely wouldn't make him a the lead / chief Conn officer. The only in universe explanation I can think of is its possible that a galaxy class ship has so much support staff for that position that a lead isn't a required position on that class of starship. (Not sure I buy that one!)


    According to Memory beta, Riker was only the XO on one ship before the Enterprise, but I DO very distinctly remember one other being mentioned in series.

    Either way, we do know Riker, like Sisko, was the Chief Engineer of the Hood (at least that was very heavily implied) before he moved onto XO.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Implied in what way?

    Aboard the Pegasus, Riker supposedly was at the helm. Aboard the Potemkin, he wore yellow, but whether that was Security or Engineering or something else, we weren't told. He was but a Lieutenant there, and was never credited with a high position as such, but was credited with having the ship perform a clever tactical maneuver, and with leading an away team. Perhaps a Tactical Officer of some sort, then? Or then Security or Engineering, merely with the wits and guts to suggest tactical maneuvers to his superiors? Aboard the Hood, he was probably the XO, because he was in a position to tell the skipper not to beam down, just as later with Picard, but that's not really explicit. Perhaps he was actually the Security Chief?

    Riker knows his way around machinery, but so does Picard, and we never get the impression Picard would have been an engineer.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Riker was definitely DeSoto's XO on the Hood but you must have forgotten that he was also the XO of the Enterprise-E. When I said ships, I meant ships, not crews.

    As for Sisko, we don't know that he was ever a Chief Engineer, nor do we know what Riker did as a lieutenant to justify wearing gold.
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    But was he? All the talk in "Encounter at Farpoint" about Riker stopping DeSoto from beaming down is sort of circumstantial, because Picard only brings the "XO contradicts his CO" thing into the discussion later on, and might technically be solely talking about the upcoming arrangement between himself and Riker. The original contradicting of the CO might have involved Riker in the Security Chief role, or even, say, in the role of an Operations Chief acting out of his place. That is, at no point is it outright stated that Riker was DeSoto's XO.

    It is the likeliest explanation for the dialogue, though (not to mention being its obvious intent).

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Honestly people, I think we're beating around the bush and really looking for an absolute fact where strongly implied facts are all we REALLY have to go on.

    From my perspective, I've always been under the impression that Riker and Sisko both had served as Chief Engineers at one point and as XOs both on 1-2 ships before their current commands (or in Riker's case, before serving under Jean-Luc).

    If you don't agree, then feel free to agree to disagree!

    There is one point I feel its worth while tackling: Picard's technical knowledge. Its very obvious Riker's technical know hows very much are heads and tails above Picards. If you need an example of this, just look at the episode Phantasms. Picard is offering thoughts on things to check that are clearly below LaForges "Pay grade". Riker on the other hand, we've seen him really get his hands dirty working in engineering. If anything I would suggest his technical knowledge seems limited on the Enterprise because its so much more advanced then any ship he would have served on in an engineering capacity. Its kind of like having an understand of computers from the Pentium Era and then being asked to work on a computer from the Pentium i7 era. Sure, you can VERY LIKELY figure out what you need to do, but odds are you might need to ask some questions or do some reading.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    It is actually very seldom in Trek that a more experienced officer replaces the one currently crewing a console, even in a crisis situation. Supposedly, Chekov never was the senior navigator, but if he happened to be sitting in the chair when things began happening, he would not desert his station.

    Thus, perhaps we meet Wesley so often simply because Picard wants to give him flying hours, and the camera typically joins the heroes when it's Picard's own watch and he's pandering to the boy. Or when it's Riker's watch and he's doing his duty as the assigned father figure.

    Interestingly, Wesley did desert his station in "Where Silence Has Lease" when things got more exciting - a sage decision because soon thereafter, the commissioned officer who replaced him was killed...

    Naah. We're debating our definitions of "strongly implied".

    All the heroes show at least passing competence on all fields. Doesn't mean any of them would have been a Chief Engineer or Chief Medic or Chief Astrobiologist earlier in his or her career. To the contrary, Star Trek paints these professions as "freakish", establishing that a good Chief Engineer is pathologically interested in his or her profession and for this reason really amounts to comical relief.

    Riker and Picard both display competence with engineering minutiae, but of course it's Picard's job to steer clear of micromanaging, and Riker's job to do the micromanaging for Picard. Both also engage in esoteric projects that paint them as quite the renaissance men: Picard specifically immerses himself in various engineering challenges ranging from cargo management streamlining to deciphering celestial mechanics to the raising of new continents.

    Which would mean that Picard and Riker would have equal odds of having been CEO in the past. It would simply naturally follow that Picard's knowledge would be more outdated than Riker's.

    But really, there is only so much that one can include in a character's past before it all becomes ridiculous. Riker seemed like a driven individual before he found his niche on the E-D (and got Picard to replace the father-he-never-really-had); it doesn't appear at all likely that he would have digressed into engineering when he wanted to command, and OTOH it doesn't appear that Starfleet wants its skippers to have an engineering background. Could you imagine Kirk as a Chief Engineer?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, well, short of a character reminiscing about his or her career and explicitly saying "Back when I was Chief Engineer/Chief Tactical Officer/Grand Admiral of the Fleet...", we don't have much else to go on.

    I can definitely see Sisko as a Chief Engineer, as his engineering background was implied. Certainly Leyton all but called him his chief engineer. Why would Leyton have picked a junior engineer to be his XO? It'd be like Picard selecting Barclay over LaForge to replace Riker.

    Riker, though, I just don't see any particular engineering expertise there. His rise from ensign to commander was so meteoric that I just don't see how he'd have had time to be Chief Engineer anywhere. He was in the same Academy class as LaForge, and one was a junior lieutenant in 2364, and the other a commander. How'd that happen? Rapid promotion through engineering proficiency?

    Tactical experience might be a better explanation for Riker's rapid rise. As a tactical officer he'd be on the bridge more often than if he were an engineer, and he'd be the type to take command if the other senior officers were down. Maybe something similar to Picard's incident on Stargazer - taking command when the CO and XO were out of commission - allowed Riker to rise so rapidly. His talents for command were probably recognized early. Having a knack for regulating plasma flow wouldn't lead to such a fast rise.
     
  13. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I'm thinking Riker might have been an operations officer like Data was. At ops, it seems you have to know a little bit of everything (science, engineering, and tactical), IMO.
     
  14. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Where did we see LaForge and Riker were in the same graduating class?

    I was under the impression that they were around the Academy at the same time with Riker having had just gotten out and was committed to an assignment still around Earth (such as the Shuttle Run described in Chain of Command) while LaForge was in his first or second year.

    I *DID* get the impression they knew each other from the Academy scene, but not necessarily as class mates.

    If LaForge and Riker both WERE in the Academy together, I would have accepted LaForge to be introduced AS the Chief Engineer, not fighting for the promotion to that posting. After all, LaForge was a military brat growing up --- I'm sure he would have gotten some form of push if by nothing else then his parents talking him up to his CO.

    But after all that's said, its also fair to point out that there's no way any of these facts would have bearing on the first season since these facts didn't evolve till much later :-|. It's not exactly like the character bios were THIS descrip before starting season 1.
     
  15. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    It's on Memory Alpha, and I can only imagine that the dates were taken from a screencap of personnel service records shown briefly in "Conundrum".

    No, according to MA, they were in the Academy together from 2353 to 2357, after which Ensign Riker when to the Pegasus and Ensign LaForge went to the Victory. They eventually ended up on the Hood together, but by then Riker was XO (supposedly) and LaForge...wasn't. I don't know what he did wearing red. General junior officer stuff?

    I like backstories in characters, and sometimes the writers develop one for their own use, and sometimes characters just collect random factoids which become a backstory. That's how most of Kirk's backstory came together. Sisko's apparently came together in much the same way.
     
  16. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Also sometimes writers (script and book) absolutely disregard previously established facts in lieu of their own 'story' :-\.

    Hmm, I hadn't realized that they were at the academy at seemingly the same time. That just doesn't seem right, although, I suppose it is note worthy that Riker went out of his way to make a name for himself while LaForge apparently didn't. No doubt his actions on the Pegasus (for better or for worse) led towards Riker getting recognition. In light of Riker and LaForge graduating in the same year, that actually DOES suggest Riker probably benefited from that event a lot more then he'd like to admit.

    I should also suggest where Sisko is involved (since this thread IS about him), he entered the Academy in 2250. He apparently ALSO made some effort to stand out too (compared to LaForge) considering he was a commander by the time DS9 was established and also apparently even a chief engineer long before LaForge was even in a gold uniform.

    Bah, LaForge's history really needs some reconciliation. It sounds like he got screwed some where in his career where he essentially hit a full stop for reasons unknown.
     
  17. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    So for shits and giggles, I decided to make a cross chart to see "who got gypped" in ranks versus experience and who seems to be a target.

    See what you think:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AjdmNIhF8D4IdElaSTZZVjZLQkhMQUFsMkZOZXktbFE&output=html

    Just for the record, I picked 2378 as the last reference date because thats the year Voyager arrives home. I didn't want to use Insurrection as the last reference date because that leaves a lot of people hanging with us not being able to provide a canon rank that everyone can agree with.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    That indeed comes from "Conundrum" Okudagrams, which the blu-raying process ought to make fully legible to the discerning audience (and never mind that it may still require freeze-framing, which is "cheating" of sorts, just like reading the Okudagrams through backstage sources would be).

    FWIW, the "Conundrum" files seem to establish that everybody spent exactly four years at the Academy, which is different from what our TOS heroes experienced. Supposedly, even brilliant students could not shave a year from their studies, and nobody did a fifth year. (Well, Wesley might have, had he ever graduated.)

    Or then it's simply that Captain Pressman made sure that Ensign Riker would become Lieutenant Riker ASAP, and in all that hurry would conveniently forget what he and Pressman had recently been through. :devil:

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Pressman helping Riker is exactly what I was touching on. To me, Pressman came off as a guy who would reward loyalty. I'm very much under the impression that Riker didn't really fully understand why he was technically in the wrong till years down the road.

    As far as the four year thing goes --- that's generally backed up except where Beverly is concerned. According to Memory Alpha, she was there for 8 years, which doesn't exactly jive with Julian only being there for four. However, the discrepancy might be explained away by there being an additional 4 years between Julian graduating and being posted to DS9.

    Additionally, according to Memory Alpha, Barclay was offered the commission for Lt. without going to the academy, instead, he got his masters in Computer Systems from the Daystrom Institute. He was there for 8 years.
     
  20. Spike730

    Spike730 Captain Captain

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    Except neither La Forge's nor Riker's file were shown in "Conundrum". And the ones shown (Crusher, Data, Troi, Picard, MacDuff, and Ro Laren) are perfectly legible even on DVD. Crusher was 8 years at the Academy and Ro Laren 6 years (this was later changed to 4 years in "The Next Phase").

    Crusher was shown in command in "Thine Own Self". This episode also stated that non-line officers had to take the bridge officer's test to achieve commander-rank and be able to take command.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012