Capt. Data story idea; help wanted flushing it out

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Little_kingsfan, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. Little_kingsfan

    Little_kingsfan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Hi, everybody,

    I'm looking for some feedback with a potential story idea, along with who (specifically which, if any, TV, film, or book characters) could serve on this ship.

    "In the aftermath of the Klingon Civil War ("Redemption, Part 2", TNG Season 5, Episode 1), Lieutenant Commander Data's performance as commanding officer of the Nebula-class U.S.S. Sutherland impresses the brass enough that they offer him command of the Sutherland permanently, along with a promotion to Captain."

    I'm interested in exploring what kinds of changes this would have on canon events - would Data having his own ship undertake certain kinds of missions? Would they have some of the adventures depicted in The Next Generation? And, of course, how would the Enterprise-D fare without its android second officer/another officer in his place?

    Also, which characters could serve aboard Captain Data's Sutherland? Could some of the Enterprise's personnel transfer? Please keep in mind that I'm not looking to take away Captain Picard's entire senior/named staff, so having Geordi, Worf, Deanna, Chief O'Brien, Lt. Barclay, and Nurse Ogawa all transfer to the Sutherland would be a no-go...one or two of them, maybe, but no more than that. How about some characters from the novels, or characters from DS9 or Voyager either before or instead of their tours aboard those series?

    Anyways, any and feedback would be appreciated! Thank you.
     
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  2. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    TNG woud've lost all Data-centred plots, so the likes of "Silicon Avatar", "Hero Worship" and "Time's Arrow" from Season 5 alone would either be drastically rewritten or not included at all. Data and the Sutherland would no doubt pop up from time to time in the remaining seasons and then the movies. Of all the crew, I suspect that Geordi would be the most likely to go with him, most likely to serve as his very own Number One, but the rest of the crew would probably be quite happy where they were (this would also mean all Geordi-centred episodes would either be rewritten or not included in TNG).

    Data's departure from the E-D would shake things up there. In "The Most Toys", when Data is assumed destroyed, Picard and Riker both agree that Worf would be the best candidate to replace him at Ops, so this would probably happen again after Data's promotion, which would then leave them needing to fill the empty Security and Engineering positions. Given that "Ensign Ro" came two episodes after "Redemption, Part II" then a reworked Ro Laren character might be a good idea to take over at tactical and, if the actress was amenable, a promoted Sonya Gomez could be brought back to serve as Geordi's replacement, Troi could even undergo her bridge officer's certification a couple seasons earlier and take on the responsibilities of Second Officer, all of which would help to with the gender balance on the show.

    As for the adventures of Captain Data, with Geordi along for the ride then you have two pre-established and prominent characters, so there wouldn't be any need for anyone else, as such you could create a whole new crew. Geordi would replace Christopher Hobson, whilst the only other identified crewmembers were Ensign Keith Craig at the conn and Crewman Terry either of whom could be replaced as they were really just names. Six years later Lieutenant Manuele Atoa would serve onboard, so he might already be onboard. Though in all reality this would be entirely up to you who the crew would be, it comes down to if you'd approach this from a TNG televised spin-off or fan-fiction stance; the former you'd have to conform to what was seen on TV in the early 90s, as well as think about budgets, so no outlandish aliens or planets they visit, whilst the latter gives you much more freedom to be creative.

    As for what stories would be told, as I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, all Data and Geordi plots wouldn't be a part of TNG anymore, so they could all be included on the Sutherland as well as whatever character driven plots the rest of the new crew would face as well.
     
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  3. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Data as captain...you gotta get Pulaski in there as his CMO. :)
     
  4. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The first two would need to be reworked, could be included. "Times Arrow" would be tricky without the Picard-Guinan link.

    Honestly, while I can see the appeal of including Geordi, having him replace Hobson seems like it robs the heart out of the actual premise, as IMO a big part of "impressing the brass" would be conversion of the android-phobic Hobson.

    Makes sense. Best of Both Worlds and Gambit also imply he's next in line.

    I'd say that Barnaby (from Descent) or McDowell (bridge duty officer during The Next Phase, gamma shift TACTO during Chain of Command) -- replacing earlier candidates Ensign Burke (played by Glen Morshower, Peak Performance) or the unnamed ensign -- apparently originally intended as recurring -- played by Josh Clark (and so could be Joe Carey, from Justice) seem to be the most likely of the existing crew, I don't think Ro had the trust or maturity for the role on arrival.

    As noted above, I'm not convinced that Geordi would leave, but if he did or was made OPS/2O then IMO Robin Lefler pretty much replaced Sonya Gomez (who was a s1 & s2 character), but really neither of them are senior enough to justify the promotion. A more likely candidates would be LTs Keiran Duffy or with some initial rough patches Reg Barclay.

    I'm not sure about Troi as Second Officer, but some character development could certainly be milked out of her taking over Data's defacto Science Officer role.

    As noted above, I'm not in favour of replacing Hobson, I'm indifferent on the other two.

    Certainly could be. Seemed like he had the potential to be a fun character.

    Pretty much.

    Could be interesting, I'd almost say essential if you are swapping out Hobson. Otherwise Selar might be a neat option.
     
  5. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Commodore Commodore

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    It would make more sense to not take any E-D main characters and instead pull Gomez to be Data's chief engineer.
     
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  6. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm amazed they created Hobson and didn't make him an alien, given that humans are meant to have evolved past bigotry by the 24th century. Though he seems competent enough, I'm not sure Data would keep someone who would be quite so adversarial towards him all the time, which is why I thought he'd bring along his closest friend with him, someone he knows and trusts who would also help him understand the human equation of becoming Captain.

    I did clarify by saying a "reworked" Ro, so she wouldn't be locked up for past actions, but was a fiercely proud Bajoran who Picard takes a liking too but Riker has issues with, just to add a little conflict to the crew until she finds her feet. Her inclusion would also allow them to do more with the Cardassians and build up to DS9. Barnaby maybe, he had some character, had to check Memory Alpha for McDowell and Burke, just generic filler extras with a line or two. Jenna D'Sora would be a more likely candidate, given she had a significant part to play in her only on screen appearance.

    We saw Gomez twice in season 2 and showed herself to be very smart and capable, she could've climbed the promotions ladder very quickly (Geordi went from Lieutenant JG to Lieutenant Commander in two season, so she could easily jump a couple of grades). Lefler was an ensign and seemed to be not long out the Academy in early season 5, so doubt she'd be in the running. Duffy could be a contender, but they could always bring back one of the season 1 chief engineers permanently. I would very much doubt Barclay would ever get command of his own engine room--especially not a Galaxy-Class one.

    She's not a science officer though, she's a psychologist, diplomat and first contact specialist. Troi completes the necessary training in "Thine Own Self", granted it takes her a few attempts, but she shows she has what it takes. Taking on a commanding role would definitely strengthen her character and place on the bridge, and would also see her get out of those awful jumpsuits a hell of a lot sooner.
     
  7. Angry Fanboy

    Angry Fanboy Commander Red Shirt

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    If you're of a mind to use ancillary TNG characters to transfer over there are a good selection to choose from - Doctor Selar & Ro Laren stand out for me (probably Ro in particular).
     
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  8. Little_kingsfan

    Little_kingsfan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Some thoughts from both before and after reading through your ideas/suggestions:
    • Something that occurred to me while I was coming up with this potential story: how much of Data's development came from being on the Enterprise and serving with those particular officers? How would his character grow without Captain Picard, Commander Riker, et. al.? How would being the Captain affect him, especially as the only non-organic life form on the ship?
    • While Geordi and Dr. Pulaski are both names I thought of immediately to serve on the Sutherland, I'm not sure I want Lt. Cmdr. La Forge to transfer over as either First Officer or Chief Engineer (mostly for character reasons, but also so Capt. Picard doesn't have to find a new Chief Engineer). While Dr. Pulaski does make sense, I'm not sure if she would want to transfer to Data's ship (if I recall correctly, in 2368, she's either on the U.S.S. Repulse or the U.S.S. Progress under Capt. David Gold); the idea of having the Vulcan Dr. Selar does intrigue me a little.
    • And while Geordi and Dr. Pulaski are obvious choices, I'm considering instead Lt. Worf for Tactical/Security - while he's friendly enough with Data, they have a much stronger (in my opinion) professional relationship rather than a close friendship like Data has with other members of the Enterprise-D senior staff; or Counselor Troi - perhaps to compensate for Data's emotional handicaps. To be honest, I'm leading toward having Troi join Data on his next adventure.
    • As for Chief Engineer, I'm considering transferring then/now-Lt. Sonya Gomez who, according to the SCE novels, transferred off the Enterprise-D in the aftermath of "Disaster" to become the (Assistant?) Chief Engineer of the U.S.S. Oberth and then the following year she became the Chief Engineer of the U.S.S. Sentinel; if she was offered the position of Sutherland Chief Engineer, she may or may not take it.
    • Another officer I'm considering is a fresh-out-of-the-Academy Ensign Tom Paris for helmsman/flight controller, having him assigned to the Sutherland instead of the Exeter; what kind of difference might this assignment make not only on Tom's life, but on the events of Voyager?
    • Other positions I'm looking to fill include at least one, but probably a handful (no more than a dozen) Starfleet cyberneticists (likely most/all original characters), all of whom would love to work with the legendary now-Captain Data, although probably only the ranking cyberneticist would be a major character; a deaf character (although I've yet to determine where he/she would be placed); and, of course, a variety of officers and crewmembers from different Federation worlds - ideally, there'd dozens of species represented (and to be honest, if it wasn't for the fact that this story takes place before the start of DS9, I'd consider having Nog apply for a position aboard the Sutherland!)
    • Meanwhile, over on the Enterprise-D, I can see Worf taking over as Second Officer behind Riker and Picard (should he remain on the ship, of course!), although whether or not he takes over as Operations Manager is a more of a coin-flip (because I could definitely see Lt. Miranda Kadohata - in the novels, a crewmember who served under Data from the first mission in 2364 and his handpicked replacement in 2379 - being promoted to the position). There's also the matter of how Data's absence would affect some of their adventures: what could've happened after the Enterprise struck that quantum fillament in "Disaster"? How would they deal with the Crystaline Entity? Would the Sutherland rather than the Enterprise be recalled to Earth to investigate how Data's head ended up in the 1890s?
    Thanks for all the suggestions and advice, everyone, feel free to keep them coming.
     
  9. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Some interesting choices there. I would say you're perhaps getting a little too hung up on novel characters and developments there. Given that you're changing the canon massively with having Data leave the E-D for a command of his own, then all non-canon events would be null-and-void which gives you far more freedom and liberty as, realistically, the E-D would probably be destroyed a lot sooner than Generations, likely with the loss of all aboard, seeing as how many times Data saves the ship ("Disaster" and "Cause and Effect" are prime examples from Season 5 alone).
     
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  10. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's just occurred to me the the E-D would probably need to have a dedicated Science Officer if Data left, seeing as fulfilled the function of Ops and Science Officer in one (thanks to his android nature).
     
  11. Little_kingsfan

    Little_kingsfan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't know if I'd say I'm "hung up" on the novel-verse, but especially when writing fanfiction, I prefer to think of them as "canon" as much as possible before writing stuff that renders it all null-and-void.

    As for whether or not Data's leaving the Enterprise results in its destruction earlier than Generations, well, hopefully that gives other characters the time to shine!
     
  12. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Each to their own. The only novel-verse thing I’ve accepted into my canon is that Andorians have four sexes, the rest is just someone else’s interpretation that I’ll happily disregard.
     
  13. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Data as "Science Officer" covered two elements -- information on celestial hazards and general scientific stuff which a more developed CONN/Navigator (like Ro) could cover -- and briefings on alien races, politics and the like which is within Troi's wheelhouse as contact specialist (in fact, she does fill this role at other points including Insurrection).
     
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  14. Little_kingsfan

    Little_kingsfan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks to everyone for their input on the characters (and please keep it coming!); now, let's move on to the adventures of Captain Data and the crew of the U.S.S. Sutherland (NCC-72015)!

    According to Memories Alpha and Beta, the Sutherland is a 750-crew (although, considering the state of Starfleet personnel just one year after the heavy losses incurred at the Battle of Wolf 359, it may not be fully staffed - especially considering that it needed a Lieutenant Commander to take command during a joint action with a Starfleet task force!) of a relatively new starship out of space dock (I'd say it has a maximum of two to three years of service, since the Nebula-class was said to launch in the mid-2360s and it's currently January 2368). What type of stories do they have and missions do they undertake - would they be a jack-of-all-trades like the Enterprise or would it be assigned specific duties as a science ship, border patrol, exploration, diplomatic and brass transport, etc.? I'm personally leaning toward exploration with an eye for science; they'd be the ship exploring Space Sector XYZ who come across "an unusual stellar phenomena" and spend the next week studying it rather than reporting it to Starfleet Command, waiting for a dedicated science ship, and then head back into warp, although it might be easier for me to write a less science-minded story. Does the Sutherland's holodeck and/or transporters cause as many problems as the Enterprise's or do they run as smoothly as some starship we've never heard of that has no accidents?

    Once again, any feedback would be appreciated.
     
  15. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Given that the Oberth is implicitly the ageing Oberth-class, I'd suggest that Lieutenant is the most that it would warrant so I'd assume that she's the ChEng there.

    Therefore, I'd put in a another bid for Keiran Duffy. We don't know what he was doing between Gomez's departing the E-D for the Oberth and his own transfer to the SCE and posting as 2ndO on the DaVinci (FWIW, a posting as ChEng on another ship would seem to be the obvious stepping stone between his two known points.
     
  16. Discofan

    Discofan Admiral Admiral

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    All I can say is that the main staff of the Enterprise D are all career-minded so it's unlikely that they'll transfer to the Sutherland (a smaller ship) unless they get a promotion. To Worf for example that would mean becoming the second in command aka Number One.
     
  17. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Given that he's Third Officer at best on the E-D (and that's very much CO's discretion as LaForge outranks him in grade) I'd argue that Second Officer/Tactical Officer (as Tuvok was on Voyager) would still be a step up.
     
  18. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Nebula-Class pod makes her highly adaptable for just about any mission profile, though given the size and facilities the ship will have then she'd fill the role of explorer well, blazing a trail into the unknown for others to follow up at a later date, whilst also being able to handle numerous other mission requirements at one time (the region could be newly colonised so a big art of the Sutherland's mission is to support the colony/colonies and protect them). The Nebula is definitely more like the Galaxy's younger sibling and not the red-headed step-child, so whatever the E-D could do then the Sutherland would probably be able to handle as well.
     
  19. Angry Fanboy

    Angry Fanboy Commander Red Shirt

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    I agree. I'd say the Nebula has about 80% of the Galaxy's capabilities.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
  20. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    *Agreed*

    The only significant cut that I can see is that the Nebula lacks the Galaxy's secondary shuttlebays (although at least one schematic suggests that an aft bay fits into the base of the module pillar) and the approach angles to the main bay is... suboptimal... to say the least.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020