unfettered ready room access

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Nathan, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    one thing that always annoyed me was the unfettered access to Picard. With a ship with a complement of hundreds, it always bothered me how everyone came to his room unscheduled.
    yes, yes, its a show so you never saw Picard's aide (I suppose the computer did the work), to maximize his time.

    In a previous life, I was in the army --and did a stint as a General's aide-- I had to book/manage his time all the time. There was ALWAYS people who needed to see him and I had to decide if there reason was "worthy enough" if it wasn't during the scheduled time.

    There were 2 or 3 people that ALWAYS had unfettered access -- usually it was XO, the Chief of Staff, and the Operations Officer (he always asked first, but he knew what was urgent or what could wait).

    I suppose in TNG, Picard always said, "Senior Staff get unfettered access", but when it was guest star du jour, he/she always seemed to have access too. And I don't get how Wesley had access too. Yeah, I know the relationship Picard had with Bev, but I'd say, "Hey Wes, the boss ain't got time for your BS today, if you got that special rapport with him, go see him on his off hours, and he'll determine if he wants to see you.

    Was there ever a lock on the ready room door? Even if Picard was chatting with Riker (regarding business or pleasure, it seemed anyone could just come in.

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. tharpdevenport

    tharpdevenport Admiral Admiral

    The system onboard a Federation ship may not be the same and Picard may have had more free time than we know. After all, he had time for books, studies, using the holodeck, and stringing Beverly along for seven years.

    Often, at least as I recall, Picard is seen reading some report or researching some thing, with PADDs or the computer console, so he obviously is doing stuff but can have free time. We've seen that there appears to be a good deal of autonomy for certain departments, where apparently Picard entrusts decisions to be made without his every approval.

    And perhaps visists to his ready room didn't occur off screen with any regularity. We have enlisted crew who know better than to waste Picard's time, especially if they want to climb the promotion rank or get recommended for assignments on other ships, senior staff who know what they are doing and don't need to see him all the time, and civilians who for the most part (I would guess) don't even have an interest in seeing the Captain, let alone have anything they think they may need to say to him. And some of these might be occuring after hours at Picard's quarters.

    What bothers me more is unfettered access, apparently, to the main Bridge, even under red alert. I recall Picard and/or Riker saying guards would be posted at key areas of the ship when visitors were aboard, but apparently the Bridge isn't a key area. Hell, Engineering has corridoors to the left and right of the big display that gives out the sheild frequency modulation and who knows what else, for anybody walking by to see.

    And it seems entirely too easy for instruders and crew to access a transporter room for nefarious purposes. Don't they even lock the doors when nobody is in there?
     
  3. Nathan

    Nathan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I just think Picard should be busier than one would think...and yeah, he is shown having tea, reading books, holodecks and stuff. --yep everyone entitled to off duty time, but during duty hours, he gotta be swamped with work. Even if he has officers writing reports that he has to sign/promotions orders for signature/awards for signature/authorization for transfer etc.
    Hell, even prepping for boring-not-even-worthy-of-an-episode like the ship visiting a planet to take part in some ceremony, Picard is the "face of the Federation" and he has to bone up on info...yeah, he'll be getting briefed on topics, written reports etc., and that don't include all additional work from episodes we seen on screen.
    Say a crewman was killed on an away mission, I'm sure there is staff to take care of the Memorial Service, but even Picard has to be briefed on that.
    That being said, Picard ain't got time that some LT from astrophysics wants to chit chat about work or pleasure.
    Even on an aircraft carrier or US Navy ship with a complement a lot less than the Enterprise, usually the C.O. has an aide to filter out the BS. I just don't like the standard, "well the computer does that now."
    Even tho' I think Tyrrssa Chen (from Trek Lit) needs to be thrown out of the nearest airlock, I like the fact that she at times is Picard's aide (even tho' she is probably the worst choice for an aide,)
     
  4. Kahless the Unforgettable

    Kahless the Unforgettable Captain Captain

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    Actually, we only ever saw him trying to read a book. Guy was always being interrupted before he was even half way through.
     
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  5. tharpdevenport

    tharpdevenport Admiral Admiral

    The point of pointing that out was that Picard even has that time. He's the Captain of a ship with over one thousand people, how ever many passengers at a given time, visitors which can include dignitaries, and then there are the people he has to meet with or be the face of the Federation for on missions, it's remarkable he even has the time. So obviously there must be things in play here -- workload getting split between him and Riker, senior officers taking care of business on their ends instead of constantly needing the approval of the Captain, etc. While the Federation has shown some similarities to the military, we have to assume there are far more changes to how a starship command operates versus what we know here in real life. Perhaps he's not as busy as you think. We have to infer sicne it is not spelled out for us, based upon what we see on screen.


    Yes, but really -- how often does that occur? Just because the Enterprise D is refered to as the flagship of the Federation, doesn't mean it is the sole ship doing all these things, plus further more many things simply not require such pomp and circumstances. I think it's far mroe likely the Enterprise spends more time on travel and studying nebulas, and charting unexplored space. If there was really so much happening all the time, certainly there would have been references or throw away lines about about them, to give us an indication she's a busy ship.

    Correct me if wrong, but doesn't the Captain approve all away missions and reads the reports and thus would already know? It's not like people are getting killed that often on the Enterprie.

    Plus, I'm not sure we really know how the memorial services are handled. He attended Yar's, but one or two other times we only heard him comment over the ship's comm (maybe he attended those, maybe he didn't).

    Plus, you are assuming this happens with such frequency. There's a lot of in-verse time we don't see at all. Perhaps this is rare. Perhaps there is a command structure and you're not supposed to go to the Captain right away, but some uppity or emotionally distressed person just feels the need to speak to the Captain.

    Well, aside from one book, I don't read Trek literature, so I'll have to take your word for it, but that's Wesley territory there, so is she really that bad? :-)
     
  6. Paradise City

    Paradise City Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    How many senior people are there? The CEO, CMO, Troi, Engineering, security and Ops. Maybe someone off screen that handles the science stuff if Data/Riker doesn't handle that.

    Just 6 or 7 people who probably know what the boss wants to do anyway..

    That's not alot and it's an 8 hour day. So I'm unsurprised they have unfettered access or semi-fettered access, haha.
     
  7. Nathan

    Nathan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Tharp, you bring up some good points, I guess just basing it on my military experience at that level commanding hundreds of folks, you'd have an aide, and people not just coming into your office.
    Now that I'm in the business world, I rate a admin assistant, she handles a lot of appointments, filters who can see me & when, knows who can walk right into my office (my boss for one!! LOL) and those who have to wait till I'm free and those who have to make an appointment. My division has about 100 folks.
    Yep, I don't go to every cake farewell or meet the employees day, nor go to every cocktail hour for the dreaded meet & greet, and unfortunately I sign stuff that I have no idea I'm signing (its trust with the guy immediately below me in my department).
    I'd think Picard would be busy beyond belief hence and aide to help him delegate and sort his time.
    Even Riker who probably helps out, should have an aide or Chief of Staff or a few folks to answer directly to him to "carry out his bidding!:" LOL
     
  8. tharpdevenport

    tharpdevenport Admiral Admiral

    I just remembered: we've seen at least once that I recall, Riker taking over for a duty shift, with Picard off, so even though we often see them pulling a shift together, obviously sometimes Riker (or even Data if need be -- doesn't he fall next in line of command?) is covering it, so he also takes on people coming to see him and having been in command during that time, the situations are probably his alone and only things that he deems necessary for Picard to even know about, are told to Picard.

    Life on a cozy large starship with little to no real person-to-person conflict, is pretty sweet -- there really might not be that much to even get people to stop by so often Picard is hindered in his duty. You know, aside from the rare attacks and holodeck characters that try to kill you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  9. Nathan

    Nathan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I guess I'm cool with a ship having a complement of 50 or 100 max. But when you are pushing a 1000 people, there is gonna be a lot of sh*t that has to get done. Again, when watching the show, who wants to watch some aide, or lower enlisted be befuddled about how to do the change of command ceremony and does everyone have their places, but I suppose this is more for Trek Lit then, I wish the books would sorta give that feel of the hustle & bustle instead of Picard taking leisurely strolls throughout the ship and no one bugging him.
     
  10. Paradise City

    Paradise City Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't see how Picard would be that busy at all. He's not a General in a contemporary military. He's a ship captain with a small handful of senior officers who know their briefs. .
     
  11. Nathan

    Nathan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I guess the thing his Picard has overall authority/command in the ballpark of 1000 people. Military generals/admirals, presidents of corporations, the head honchos at NASA for instance all have aides & personal staffs and WITH a small handful of people who work under them.
    Not really want to argue the merits of "how busy is so & so", but the question of having unfettered access to the boss when you command so many.
     
  12. tharpdevenport

    tharpdevenport Admiral Admiral

    Well, you know, I see my boss walking passed me and I got nothing to say, I say nothing. Why bother him? Just say "Hi" and move on. Hell, most the people on the ship robably met him once, if even that. If it wasn't for that bald head and discernable look and he instead blended into the crowd, some poor lieutenant might haphazardly glace up and away and say, "Ensign"


    Say you're some lowly ensign in Astrophysics. Your typical day is just doing studies, experiements and researching data. Same thing day in and day out. At worst the ship might lose power or energy from the department you work in needs to be re-routed for something (like done before in TNG). What is there to see the Captain about Okay, maybe you don't get along with another officer.

    The head of Astrophysics is your first stop. He or she changes schedules or re-assigns you internally so you don't have to come into contact with that person. Still nothing for the Captain.

    Maybe you don't get along or have some serious problem with the head of Astrophysics. Still nothing for the Captain as a department head (Assuming there is somebody above the Astrophysics head) would be a next stop.

    Say that doesn't work out, then you talk to Commander Riker, who appears to handle such things on the show. If there is a real issue, he'll talk to the levels of command and if that doesn't resolve it, he might then approach Captain Picard, but still the ensign wouldn't be doing it.

    Now, sure the ensign might take it upon him or herself to see the Captain during or off the Captain's duty, but even then it's just one guy -- it's not like there are such serious problems all over that people are coming to see him left and right. And even then, while Picard will be polite and tactful, no doubt this ensign will get a stern reminder from Commander Riker on the chain of command.


    But that is exactly the point. We have to judge how busy he is based upon what we know from the show and that will tess us whether he has the time to be bothered with unfettered access. Further more, if he really was that busy, there wouldn't be unfettered access. And you're still basing it upon how you assume the command struction and operations would work based upon the reality of the military.
     
  13. Greysun

    Greysun Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    As I recall, people usually had to ring the bell and have Picard say "come" to enter the ready room. If he's in a meeting, obviously they're out of luck. As you pointed out, a crew member or guest should have to make an official request for time with the Captain. The different departments on board each had their department heads that would probably help filter visitors to the Captain out. Riker also handled a lot of personnel issues without bothering Picard (it seemed like that in Lessons, for example.)
    The thing I've always noticed is they have pre and post Picard etiquette. On TOS people never seemed to use a doorbell. They just burst into someone's quarters unannounced. There are many examples of this. I saw one recently where Kirk is actually lying in bed in his quarters and Rand just walks on in. McCoy followed a couple of minutes later, again, just barging in (which could have been a little awkward.)
    Once TNG came along, people had to ring the bell to get permission to enter quarters. That's how I would think it should be and should always have been.
     
  14. Nathan

    Nathan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I almost think Riker and the position Data fills (even tho' Data a special exception as he could work 24/7 if need be, need an aide or support staff. Otherwise Riker gets boned with all the orders that Picard dishes out.
     
  15. tharpdevenport

    tharpdevenport Admiral Admiral

    The point is a non sequitur though, since doors to any room on the ship that wasn't a common area room always had their doorbells pressed. The ready room is a private Captain's room that you certainly have to press the doorbell on. IT doesn't necessarily reflect him being busy or not being busy.

    Oh, you know Kirk, probably hoping to find a lady in a scantly-clad moment. ;-)

    Seriously though, Picard is just that kind of person and thigns seem to be more formal ship wide by the 24th century.

    Oh, absolutely. You know it's not a believably written universe when somebody can just barge into another person's quarters. I mean, come on -- maybe they're changing, maybe they're coming out of the sonic shower, maybe they're doin' it with somebody, maybe he or she likes to walk around naked, hell -- maybe the person is masturbating. And quite frankly -- some people would prefer to not even be bothered.

    I don't care of social norms advance in the future, my door will always have a lock on it. And you better damn well knock and ask to come in first.
     
  16. Paradise City

    Paradise City Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    1000 is a small number. A solid slate of them are civilians (families..etc). Of those in Starfleet, people pretty much know what they are up to, the small handful of department heads know what they are up to. The computer can handle the appointments that there are -- so no need for an aide.

    An Admiral, with a large jurisdiction would certainly need aides and the like. A captain of a starship wouldn't really.
     
  17. Nathan

    Nathan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I still think handling a crew of 1000 and leaving it up to 10 department heads and a kick-@$$ computer, ya still need an aide.
    What may be an emergency or crisis du jour to a crewman or even a Lt Cmdr, may not be a crisis to the Captain, hence you have the aide.
    I know, I'm repeating myself...having just a 100 under "my command" so-to-speak, damn thankful I got an admin assistant and "First Officer" type person working for me-- wouldn't get anything done -- let alone screwing off during work hours surfing the TrekBBS!!! LOL!
     
  18. tharpdevenport

    tharpdevenport Admiral Admiral

    Busted!


    The reality is Picard obviously didn't need one, or he'd have had one. You can argue the series' budget couldn't allow for it, or that the writer's woudl have yet another character they have to figure out how to deal with, but that's on the real life side and what ever decisions are made there, have to be explained in-verse in some logical manner, so the absense of one implies no need for one. Maybe more lazy captain's get an aide, or a captain (if there is such a thing) of a large starbase.


    By the way, for any knowledgable members, was that person standing next to Kelsey Grammer an aide?
     
  19. Nathan

    Nathan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Really think there wasn't one "on-screen" is who wants yet another character eating up lines/taking screen time. We see how Kirk had Rand, but even those 'throw away lines" of Kirk signing a fuel/dilithium consumption reports takes away from what ever the actual storyline is.
    Plus, who want to watch (or read about) Picard in a staff meeting with his underlings that are the senior staff!
     
  20. Shikarnov

    Shikarnov Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Maybe it's as simple as Roddenberry's idea that people are [almost] perfect in the 24th Century, and Captain Picard is able to trust his crew to self-censor themselves, report to the appropriate people at the appropriate times, and otherwise stay out of his way if they aren't a member of the privileged few (like Wesley or Guinan).

    It could also be that Picard is a workaholic and pulls a lot of doubles. Alpha shift may very well go the way you suggest, while Beta might be more like unofficial office hours when he makes himself more accessible.

    And I know you're not keen on the idea, but it's valid regardless -- perhaps 24th century time-management and collaboration software is considerably more capable than today's standard Exchange/Outlook setup, and negates the need for personal aides except in cases of larger commands (Admiral Quinn needing Commander Remmick for example).
     
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