The Sagittarius - Officer Overload?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Bry_Sinclair, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ok, I'll start by saying I've never read the Vanguard series, but I have looked into it. When I learned of the Archer-Class I thought it was a genius idea, after all it makes sense to have small scouts going about the place in place of larger ships that would be easier to spot.

    One thing I have found odd though for a ship with 14 people onboard, is the high proportion of officers: 9 officers to just 5 non-coms/enlisted.

    Also for such a small ship, does it not seem weird to have a Captain and a Commander and a Lieutenant Commander onboard? I would think that such a small ship would be given to a Lieutenant Commander to command, but that's just me.
     
  2. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    Not to sure if the amount if officers to noncoms is to big, I have no idea what the ratio of officers/noncoms is in real life navy.

    As for a captain actually commanding... regarding the sensitivity of Operation Vanguard, and the nature of the missions that Sagittarius was being sent on, I think you need someone with a lot more experience then a lt.commander.
     
  3. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    Honestly, I think all of the ships in Starfleet horribly disproportionate (by U.S. Navy standards), although I never realized how badly until I joined the Navy. That being said, Starfleet isn't the U.S. Navy or another navy. It's structured differently and therefore has different officer-to-enlisted ratio.
     
  4. Nathan

    Nathan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I posted elsewhere I thought it odd only having 14 crew members and to run 24 hour operations a month to 3 months at a time. Especially, when its along the Romulan border, unknown borders etc.

    I'll even buy into the fact that the ship can be very automated. That's fine if I'm going from Earth to Vulcan, but would I want to depend on automation running the ship along the border of possible adversaries.

    Guess being in the military, and running 24 hours ops working 12 hours shifts (and then gettin rocket attacked on the 12 hours that you were off makes for a long day, let along a long month. I can tell you at times I wasn't at my best.

    Thought it would be better to have a few more folks in the complement for the Sagittarius.

    That being said, I love the Archer class concept, read the Vanguard series twice, Vanguard is one of the best series out there, so my beef with the crew complement size is just my nitpik.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The officer-heavy contingent is probably well in line with the tiny ship's top secret mission. A "normal" Archer class scout might have a more balanced crew, but this one deals with issues requiring experts sworn to a high level of secrecy. Frankly, I think something similar was going on with the smallish USS Grissom in ST3: the extremely sensitive Genesis affair was best handled by a small and unoffensive vessel, but a veteran officer of unusually high rank was stationed aboard that wussy little ship.

    It's standard fare in this sort of drama, really: the humble mechanic is in secret a high-ranking intelligence officer, his Greaser's Mate 3rd Class a highly trained assassin, the ship's cook a scientific genius in disguise. Only, what happens inside the hull of a starship stays inside the hull of a starship, so the masquerade would not have to involve fake ranks and uniforms and false moustaches and other such nonsense...

    For all we know, the Sagittarius was an exceptional Archer also in terms of the mission lengths and operations ranges she was supposed to cope with. A "normal" ship would do well with the dozen people aboard because the missions would be shorter and less demanding. Or alternately, there would be two dozen people aboard, again because the short missions would not yet make the accommodation unbearably cramped.

    In terms of pseudo-realistic pseudo-military drama, I would have appreciated if the stories made it clearer the Sagittarius was a much less capable vessel than a full starship. It would have been fascinating to see her rely heavily on outside sources of supplies, ammo and perhaps even fuel, there being a constant worry about making the next rendezvous with the Starfleet tender, purchasing the needed goods from the local merchants, or just plain reaching safety before the resources of the small ship were exhausted.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    Officer ratio (and high ranks) IS really off there. For something that small, you really wouldn't have anything higher than Lt Cmdr at most running that, I'd expect. Unless it was a dead-end job for a bad Captain.

    On a Navy sub, for example, you've got around 10% officers, maybe? Something like a dozen or so out of around 150.

    As for shifts, you'd be unlikely to run 12 on/12 off, as well. People have to eat, bathroom breaks, move around to not get sluggish, etc. More likely you'd have 2 teams of 7, and they'd run on 6 hour rotations. At least, suspect that's how the Navy would handle that.

    And then for emergencies or heavy lifting, it's all hands on deck...
     
  7. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    I am inclined to agree with Timo on this one. Unusual mission profile requires unusual crew assignments. Most Archer-class ships were likely more "balanced" in officer/rating ratios.
     
  8. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    ^That's my take on it as well. All of the stuff in the Taurus Reach was supposed to be one of Starfleet's biggest top secret operations at that time, so IMO it makes sense that they might crew the ships with some higher ranked personnel than normal.
     
  9. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    That, and Starfleet doesn't do enlisted ranks very well. Most of the stuff we see officers doing would be handled by enlisted personnel.
     
  10. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ok, that makes sense. Ranking officers with appropriate clearance would make sense.

    True.

    I could be imagining this, but in Mr Roddenberry's creation of Star Trek, did he not have that everyone would go through the Academy and therefore be an officer?

    In one of the tech specs books (for Constitution, Saladin, Hermes and Ptolemy classes) it gives department breakdowns and has no enlisted ranks, only Ensign and above.
     
  11. Mike Winters

    Mike Winters Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    But that obviously did not survive to TOS itself as there were numerous references to crewmen and crewwomen.

    Mike
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think that was his view by the TNG era, which may be why Wesley was made an "acting ensign" instead of just a "crewman." But we did see occasional enlisted personnel in TNG, although it took them a while to settle on whether Chief O'Brien was actually a chief petty officer or a lieutenant who just happened to be the transporter chief. He was still wearing lieutenant's pips long after he was established as an enlisted man.


    That would've been Franz Joseph's Star Fleet Technical Manual, which was not created by any of the actual show's creative staff, and which Roddenberry came to think poorly of later in life.
     
  13. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Small ships (especially) with very specific mission profiles would necessitate a lot of cross training and specialisation. It wouldn't be unlikely to find that all crew were certified to some level for piloting, navigation, tactical, communications and probably have some engineering skills too. Add in science specialists in various disciplines, medics and so on, and you are automatically looking at older more experienced personnel, and this will likely mean that they have advanced in rank also...
     
  14. EmperorKalan

    EmperorKalan Commander Red Shirt

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    It's been a long time since I've read it, but I recall something in The Making of Star Trek to the effect that Rodenberry (at least originally) envisioned everyone as equivalent to astronauts and therefore as officers. They slid around that with "crewman" and "crewwoman" for various roles that (in a real-life navy) would have been done by enlisted personnel, without ever being explicit about ranks outside of ensigns and the sleeve decoration brigade. Certainly there was never any explicit rank insignia for crewmen/women.

    Yes, but very likely he was taking his cue from the early "everybody the equivalent of an officer" concept, if taking it too literally. I remember noting that as odd way back when it first came out.
     
  15. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    Okay, exercise time. From Memory Beta: http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/USS_Sagittarius_(NCC-1894)

    Assume that the Archer-class scout NEEDS to have the list of crew below aboard under normal circumstances:

    Commanding Officer
    First Officer
    Navigator / Helmsman
    Security Chief
    Tactical officer
    Science officer
    Chief Medical Officer
    Medical technician
    Chief Engineer
    Senior Engineer's Mate
    Engineer
    Field Scout x 3

    There was the position of second officer, but in the history of Starfleet I'm almost certain that this was never an independent position aboard ship under regular circumstances, but rather a title that was combined with another position (i.e. Scotty, Data, Tuvok, etc.). So I've removed it and kept the overall crew count at 14 per other references. As it stands, for the most part in the TOS era even a first officer generally doubles as something else. Similarly, the Sagittarius obstensibly had three "field scouts" aboard, though later on a "recon scout" was assigned, perhaps replacing one of the others, so we'll just keep the over scout count at three for the purposes of this exercise.

    Assign a fitting rank to each of the above positions. Feel free to assign a crewman to an officer's position or vice versa, but the overall positions or number thereof should remain the same. Discuss. :)

    Mark
     
  16. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    Not sure the list really makes sense, though. It's 'big-ship' centric. Great as department heads, but when that's the entire department, doesn't really fit.

    Generally makes sense as far as jobs to get done, but you gotta get that into SHIFTS, so you can actually run the ship 24/7. On a ship like that, they all have to be at least cross-trained in a couple things, so muddies the waters. With 14 people, probably don't need a Security Chief AND a Tactical Officer, for example. Wouldn't have a CMO AND a med tech, you'd just have the CMO and several people would have had med tech training (like Paris on Voyager, could pitch in when needed, but doesn't stand around there).

    Need a couple people able to pilot, at a minimum. Even with 4 6-hour shifts, gotta have 2 so someone can always fly. You wouldn't have that many hanging around engineering, either. 1 to monitor and baby things, others would just come in to help in hairy situations. With such a small crew, you can't 'waste' spots like that. CO and XO trade off commanding the ship, 2 to fly, 2 to run engineering, 2 for tac/security, 2 of science, 1 doctor, and 3 trained specifically on whatever the mission profile is. Pretty much how i see it playing out.

    Likely not more than just the CO and XO required to be an officer. Probably the doctor as well, as the additional training usually results in that. And the 3 mission specialists could have at least 1-2 officers in that crowd, depending.

    In Trek reality, though, pretty much everyone was an officer, so really a moot point. But they could never really be consistent there, so easier to assume they've all been to the academy...

    Tough to really pick who 'needs' to be an officer there. CO and XO, but on a ship that small, that could be it.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Especially since those are usually combined into a single post in Trek series anyway. Titan is the one exception I can think of, with Keru as security and Tuvok as tactical, and it was specifically mentioned when Tuvok joined the crew that that was an unusual practice for Starfleet.
     
  18. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In some fanfics, I like to split the role of Security Chief and Tactical Officer as it makes sense--both are going to be the most experienced and skilled officer in his/her/its field, so on a mission where you need that experience both on a planet and onboard the ship you would need two officers to fill the posts to keep the ship fighting fit and safe. On a ship with just 14 people it seems pretty ridiculous to have Tactical as a stand alone role.

    I actually thought up a crew breakdown and rotation for an Archer-Class ship, though slipped in an extra shipmate to bring it up to 15, thus having five per shift:
    Command - The three senior most officers onboard, designated the Watch Officer for each shift. The First and Second Officers would specialise in a certain field (eg Communications, Tactical, etc), so they would man a console during their normal shift or when on alert status.
    Deck - An additional gold-clad crewmember on each shift, usually assigned to Bridge duty as Helmsman/Navigator, but also a rated Ordnance Specialist. During alert status, one would be on the Bridge, whilst the others would see to shipboard weaponry, assist with security and/or emergency protocols.
    Medical/Science - Each shift would have a single crewmember in blue, cross-trained in a scientific field whilst also a certified corpsman/medtech/nurse. The senior most of these would be ships Doctor. During emergencies, one would man the Bridge, whilst the others prepped Sickbay.
    Engineering - An Engineer would be present on each shift, monitoring ships systems and conducting general repairs. All three would be at work in the Engine Room when needed.
    Security - A Security Guard/Field Scout would be attached to all three shifts. During normal operations they would pretty much be a dogsbody, doing all the little jobs here and there that were needed, as well as all normal security training, etc. They would really come into their own when on mission or at red alert.

    That was just some thoughts that came to me. There would only be a need for four officers in this arrangement (Captain, Watch Officers and Doctor), though more could be assigned if necessary. On such a small ship as well, perhaps they work a shorter day, for example 18 hours; 6 hours on shift, around 8 hours sleep, giving them 4 hours personal time.

    It's one way I like to work things in my mind anyways.
     
  19. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    Really think on a ship that small, you're gonna do 6-hour shifts. 6 on, 6 off, repeat. That lets you only have to have 2 people that can handle a job instead of the 3 you're trying to shoehorn in. Frees more people up for other jobs, and there was quite a list. In an emergency, all 14 are up and working anyway. Also gets you a couple free billets to actually carry the mission specialists for whatever you're out there for in the first place.
     
  20. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    So a maximum of six hours sleep at a go for every twenty four, every day for a month? Tough gig...

    Mark