When did Chief O'Brien become and engineer?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by LoneDragon, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. Infern0

    Infern0 Captain Captain

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    Well O'Brien is a "chief" i'm assuming "chief petty officer"

    There would probably be sergeants etc among the NCO's, but I think officers generally refer to them all as "crewman" because of the divide in rank.

    I think anyways
     
  2. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Trek's treatment of enlisted people is inconsistent as a whole really. DS9 sorta kinda tried to fix that but even they have O'brien routinely bossing officers around.
     
  3. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Didn't Riker specifically call him "lieutenant in one episode?

    The fact that no planning went into character until DS9 seems to have caused endless confusion among the staff writers. Until the sixth season of DS9, O'Brien wore the rank pips of a full lieutenant, and I have a fuzzy memory of Riker refering to him as such. He was the "transporter chief" -- a position, not a rank -- and so the characters usually referred to him as "chief." My own guess, fwiw, is that the writers soon confused O'Brien's position -- transporter chief -- with his rank -- chief petty officer-- and so O'Brien retroactively became an enlisted man.
    There's nothing inconsistent about that even in a modern military. Again, rank and position are two different things. In TNG, Data's position is second officer (third in command of the ship) even though Beverly outranks him. O'Brien is in an authority position, and those under his command -- whether enlisted men or junior officers -- have to listen to him.
     
  4. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    Chief O'Brien was always good with engines. Remember how Picard asked for his help in the Past scenes on the engines in "All Good Things"?
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Not all that specifically, which is a blessing from the continuity point of view...

    In "Where Silence Has Lease", Riker and Lieutenant Worf are about to beam over to the fake starship Yamato. Riker and the Lieutenant have a discussion about where exactly to beam to, for best tactical advantage, and this culminates in Riker saying "Aft station, Lieutenant". Whether he is addressing Worf or the person behind the transporter console (that is, O'Brien), we can choose to interpret to our advantage.

    ...The odd thing about that is why Starfleet would choose to place any commissioned officers under his command. There are two or three occasions where O'Brien gives orders to a yellowshirted Ensign. What is the role of this Ensign? If he or she has engineering training plus the sort of rudimentary command training commonly associated with officer commission, shouldn't that put him or her ahead of O'Brien in the bossing game? Shouldn't this Ensign take care of the commanding, freeing the more experienced O'Brien to do more of the engineering?

    We could say that some of the yellowshirts are actually from Lieutenant Primmin's (later Eddington's) security force, and all of O'Brien's underlings have been logically organized out of people of lower rating than O'Brien's own. But that just raises extra questions. Why are there so many commissioned officers in the security force when it's the engineering team that would have more demand for "higher education"?

    We could also write off the Bajoran commissioned officers in the engineering force as something the local government has burdened on the Starfleet organization, something O'Brien and Sisko don't really have to worry about in the chain-of-command sense (because these people are outside their direct control to some degree anyway).

    In the end, we're left wondering why O'Brien wasn't "mustanged" into a commission when the station's importance and the number of Starfleet officers aboard started ballooning - or replaced outright by somebody with greater command credentials (say, let's import Lieutenant Sonya Gomez to the show!). This is more difficult to justify than the decision not to replace Sisko with a flag officer, as O'Brien isn't a local religious figure (he's just a Storyteller, and something of a charlatan at that).

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Infern0

    Infern0 Captain Captain

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    Agree with this, the command crew on DS9 was pretty thin, once the war broke out you would have thought there would at least be a starfleet commander assigned there to suppliment Sisko, as it was there was only Captain Sisko, Lt Cmdr Dax and Worf and Lt Bashir.

    And of those, only Worf was command. It's "nice" that starfleet still let the bajorans hang about but in reality they should have wanted to seriously bolster the staffing on that station, as strategic as it was.

    Instead they just pretty much stayed with the same people who ran it when it was some backwater dump.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed. We have seen "thinly" staffed starbases before, but that basically meant that they didn't have an extra Captain to spare for JAG duty. OTOH, we have seen outposts with two Lieutenants and nobody else, and DS9 originally could have been more akin to one of those.

    I wonder, did O'Brien perhaps get extra points for being a Cardassian War veteran and thus knowing some of the technologies of Terok Nor from the start? That old war seems to have been a fringe phenomenon for Starfleet, with very few people even knowing who the Cardassians are; there might not have been too many commissioned officers with the required alien engineering skills but with sufficiently low rank to be sent to such an unimportant posting (rather than, say, to SF Intelligence assignments).

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I always got the impression that the Cardassian/Federation border wars were nothing more than a series of incidents that often involved shooting, but not an all out war like happened in DS9. The Federation, still in pre-Wolf 359 exploration not military role, was focused more on containing the Cardassians than actually stopping them.
     
  9. Worf'sParmach

    Worf'sParmach Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't think the writers put as much thought into as we are.
     
  10. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well this is hardly the only example in Trek of contradicting itself. This isn't even one of the worst ones. It would be like me going to join the writing staff of Game of Thrones. I've never watched the episodes or read the books. But what can go wrong there? :p