Was Dax Sisko's XO circa 2374 ?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by Lighthammer, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You got through a whole post on rank inconsistencies without mentioning Lieutenant O'Brien's demotion! ;)
     
  2. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    I believe chief petty officer get higher pay, which in Star Trek, means more Starfleet Fun Dollars.
     
  3. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well in some level of fairness, O'Brian was always intended to be a crewman, Roddenberry just hadn't formalized what a non-com insignia was.

    Though, its really wonky to consider he went from weapons officer on a New Orleans class (which is a lot smaller then a Galaxy, but was in many ways the prototype for the Galaxy) to a Transporter Chief.

    This is another character who's story made a lot more sense until a key episode where they dropped new information. We almost need a retcon to explain that away too.

    Heck, its a little hard to believe a non-com would be in charge of engineering for an entire station --- what is? 8x the physical size of the Enterprise? (I need to look up mass measurements to see if my guess is in the right ball part, but we know the Galaxy has 42 decks and DS9 has at least 68 decks in some places).
     
  4. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Making sure the lights stay on a Quark's doesn't require an officer.
     
  5. Jerikka Dawn

    Jerikka Dawn Commander Red Shirt

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    He's also chief engineer of the Defiant.

    Maybe the reason O'Brian stays enlisted is because non-officers actually get paid! The officers, on the other hand, simply get to "improve and enrich themselves."
     
  6. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    In other words, O'Brien gets a hot wife and two kids, while Picard gets to read Shakespeare and hope that his brief marriage to Crusher wasn't limited to an alternative timeline.
     
  7. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Lets put this in perspective, its a lot easier to justify a high ranking non-com being a chief engineer of an escort vessel, especially at the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer.

    Its a lot harder to buy he went from Tactical Officer on a a light cruiser to a transporter chief on a heavy cruiser to the lead officer from the Starfleet Core of Engineers on a massive space station.

    In a real scenario, it's not unreasonable to believe that O'Brien was either the lead operations officer of DS9 as a non-com (aka NOT the guy in charge of repairing the station but perhaps the guy managing the crew rotations, which, lets not kid ourselves, thats a full time job in of itself) or the top guy on a crew. Either would have made sense for him to THEN be the chief engineer of an Escort Class that barely has 50 crew members (and probably more accurately closer to 40, though 25 always seemed more reasonable to me) on most missions.

    At the end of the day, DS9 hurts my head because its hard to ignore how many plot discrepancies there are throughout the series =(.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We should remember that DS9 is mostly "hollow" - it had either a crew or a total number of residents as low as 300 back in "Captive Pursuit", and the events of "The Siege" might in fact support the latter interpretation. It's not exactly a prestige assignment.

    The Rutledge might have been an equally humble vessel, as backstage sources equate her with ships dubbed "frigate" in "Conspiracy" - and any navy having both frigates and cruisers today or yesterday has the former be fairly small types.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And later on, he's basically performing administrative tasks, coordinating repairs to ships rather than actually doing the repairs himself.
     
  10. TheRoyalFamily

    TheRoyalFamily Commodore Commodore

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    Also also, DS9 only has fusion reactors, not m/am. Maybe those are not sufficiently advanced to require engineering officer training at some fancy school.

    Of course Defiant has a warp core, but I figure by then O'Brian had shown enough aptitude that Sisko kept him for that job.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's not a matter of O'Brien not having the experience or the training; he's probably more highly trained than either LaForge or Scotty, considering his assignment history. It's a matter of explaining why O'Brien hasn't been mustanged and promoted to at least Lieutenant already, to match his training and expertise.

    Which, while making O'Brien appear mightier than either his training or his rank might warrant, is IMHO much better than him tuning the engines of the Prometheus in "Second Sight", as if the giant starship with her supposed hundreds of crew did not have sufficiently clever engineers aboard!

    Or perhaps Dax was saying she needed to meet with O'Brien for the key to the spares locker, so that the starship's crew could do the modifications and Dax could watch over their shoulders, and O'Brien could stay on the station to scrub conduits or whatever...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, at the end of the series he's officially a Master Chief Petty Officer which is generally the equivalent of a Commander without some other specialized training that would give him security clearances among other things.

    Someone out there might have a little better idea what the difference in training is exactly, but basic to advanced understanding of engineering principles doesn't seem to be one of them.

    I think one of the most overt differences is Officers tend to pursue theoretical elements and tend to write a lot of fancy papers compared to Non-comms who are more focused on the work and not the next scientific/medical/engineering break through.
     
  13. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    I'm sure certain episodes inferred that O'Brien had a failry High Security clearence level.

    The problem with O'Brien is they ret-conned him to be a NCO. I'm sure that if they realised that they were going to use O'Brien as much as they did during TNG's run they would have given his character some more fore-thought. Remember prior to moving to DSN he had appeared in something like 40% off all TNG episodes.
     
  14. Lighthammer

    Lighthammer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As far as his security clearance goes, he no doubt has some, but in S05E21: "Soldiers of the Empire" Kira stated she needed Bashir OR Dax as the intelligence officer because only either of them could fill that role with Worf off station. That directly implies O'Brian lacks their clearances, which, honestly follows military logic of Non-Coms.

    That being said, they actually considered O'Brian a non-com for a long time. In S04E02: "Family", Worf's adoptive father identified (magically) as a Non-Com. Roddenberry with his military background probably considered O'Brian a non-com for a long time but simply didn't put much thought into his insignia. I'd suggest from the time we saw him as "Chief", he was considered a non-com from that point on.

    Really, it was on S04E12: "The Wounded" that messed us up with O'Brian. Everything in the future and before made sense until we found out he was a tactical officer on a Light Cruiser. Tactical Officer on something like an Escort, still makes sense, but a Light Cruiser? No.
     
  15. TheRoyalFamily

    TheRoyalFamily Commodore Commodore

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    Master Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy (which is where the Trek ranks come from) is E-9, which is as high a pay-grade as it gets for non-coms. While technically an Ensign outranks him, practically that's not how it works. Probably quite similar with Starfleet. As far as rank goes, O'Brien doesn't really have anywhere to go. His promotions will come from changes in posting, like to the Academy. If he were to get a commission, he would actually lose prestige and position if he weren't immediately bumped up to Captain.

    EDIT: Although, it looks like O'Brien was a Senior Chief Petty Officer, not Master Chief. So he still has a promotion ahead of him in about ten years or so.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Definitely so. But that probably would not have entailed making him a commissioned officer, as the whole point of the character was that he was the lowly everyman.

    We never learned what sort of a ship the Rutledge was, on screen. Off screen, she's a frigate of New Orleans class, about the size of Kirk's old ship, but none of that leaks to the onscreen universe.

    While "The Wounded" says O'Brien became the Tactical Officer of that ship, the episode also inherently establishes that he didn't stay in that position for long. "Paradise" shows the exact circumstances by which the Setlik III event changed his life (he saved a landing party by learning to repair a field transporter); "Realm of Fear" establishes the exact time (2347); and "Tribunal" and "Empok Nor" show that decades after this event (2362), O'Brien was still a humble foot soldier, not yet an engineer or even a transporter operator (but still associated with the Rutledge). The TO thing was probably but a stint in his career.

    Interestingly, "Paradise" has O'Brien start wearing gold as the result of the Setlik III thing. Is that an appropriate color for a Tactical Officer? We have seen it worn by a combined Tactical and Security Officer in TNG and VOY, but such a combination may have been a very rare thing in Starfleet. Kirk's Tactical Officers in "Arena" did not wear the "old gold" or red - they wore the "old red" and blue.

    We see O'Brien wear a range of confusing rank symbols, but verbally we know a couple of definite things.

    1) He's a Chief Petty Officer of some sort in "Family" - Sergey Rodzhenko should know.
    2) He got a promotion when transferring to DS9, as per "A Man Alone" - but that may have been a promotion in position, rather than rank, as he stands to lose it if he refuses to continue serving as DS9 Chief of Ops.
    3) He's a Senior Chief, Specialist in "Shadowplay".
    4) He's a Chief Petty Officer in "Hippocratic Oath".

    Essentially, all of the above would be consistent with the rank of Senior CPO (Specialist), some being more general expressions of that exact rank than others. And the collar rank marking he eventually gets to wear supports this rank as well: it features three chevrons (meaning he has gathered all the PO ranks and is now going through the CPO ones) and two dots or stars (meaning he's into his second CPO rank, which is Senior).

    We could alternately speculate that his single dark pip before "Hippocratic Oath" was an "abbreviation" of a collar marking that has three chevrons and one dot or star, meaning he was a Senior CPO until that point and became a Master CPO at acquiring the two-dot collar plate. This, too, would be wholly consistent with the dialogue.

    And in current USN practice, two stars actually denotes Master CPO, because there's a so-called "rocker" added to the chevrons to indicate "mere" or "plain" CPO, thus making the first star actually the second CPO rank, that of Senior CPO... It's just that the Starfleet plate has no rocker! And having the plate can't be what replaces having a rocker, because O'Brien would need a rocker or its plate equivalent to go with Senior CPO rank already.

    In the end, dialogue presents no problems with having O'Brien finish DS9 as either SCPO or MCPO. Visuals on the costuming of Colm Meaney are inconsistent with any theory, but a little bit of squinting can accommodate a wide range of theories.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    I feel that the promotion to Starfleet Academy would imply some sort of promotion. Master Chief Petty Officer seems like a rank appropriate for a non-commissioned officer who regularly and directly deals with officers.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It might also be that Starfleet maintains the special rank of "Master CPO of Starfleet", the way USN has the "Master CPO of the Navy", and that this rank and position one step above MCPO is the only way a CPO can get a teaching job at the Academy...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. wingsabre

    wingsabre Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    The thing is, Spock wore blue during TOS, and Sisko himself was not promoted to Captain when he was initially given command of DS9. Ensign Kim could command some Lieutenants since he was part of the senior staff.

    So, there seems to be a lot of wiggle room when it comes to rank and chain of command.
     
  20. TheRoyalFamily

    TheRoyalFamily Commodore Commodore

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    There are lots of non-coms at military academies these days. I don't know how many of them actually teach, since (at least in America) the academies are universities, and you pretty much need to have a graduate degree to even think of teaching at such a place, and having a degree pretty much guarantees an officer's commission...But sometimes universities get very experienced folks to teach actual practical knowledge in their field; Starfleet Academy would probably be the same way, and there probably aren't a lot out there with actual practical knowledge like O'Brien has.