Commander and Sub-Commander?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by SFRabid, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. SFRabid

    SFRabid Commodore Commodore

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    I've never understood something about Enterprise. Trip is called Commander. T'Pol is called Sub-Commander. T'Pol has a higher rank than Trip. Yet, the prefix "sub" seems to indicate "below" commander. Am I missing something?
     
  2. Captain X

    Captain X Rear Admiral

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    Presumably TPTB or at least someone originally intended the Vulcans to have Commanders rather than Captains.
     
  3. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Admiral Premium Member

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    Sub-Commander is her Vulcan rank/designation. As far as later on, when she was Starfleet, she was a Commander.
     
  4. SFRabid

    SFRabid Commodore Commodore

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    Ahhh. I never picked up on that. Right now I'm watching season 1 again and that always throws me.
     
  5. Finn

    Finn Bad Batch of TrekBBS Premium Member

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    They did the same thing with Romulans on the earlier series :)
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...It does make sense for the Romulan and Vulcan ranks to get the same translation, now doesn't it? Those cultures share a lot of martial history, after all.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Yeah, obviously it's only fitting that they have the same rank structure. In fact, I'm surprised that someone on the show actually thought about it! :lol:
     
  8. SFRabid

    SFRabid Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, but on the show it is confusing for Trip to call her Sub-Commander and for T'Pol to call him Commander when they are serving on the same ship and she has the higher rank.
     
  9. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I was thinking that it's interesting that 'Lieutenant Commander' is shortened to 'Commander' in common usage but 'Sub-Commander' is not. Even though they are not equal ranks, it strikes me as strange that this would be done for one and not the other, unless there were specific Vulcan regulations prohibiting such imprecise shortenings. :vulcan:
     
  10. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Admiral Premium Member

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    ^ Vulcans (and androids) do not use contractions ;)
     
  11. Penguin

    Penguin Commander Red Shirt

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    I agree with SFrabid.

    Sub means below. Subpar (below Par) ETC.

    I have often felt that is the reason that no one on Enterprise had the Lt.Commander rank. Because someone would wonder why T-Pol was not a Lt.commander given her Sub-commander Vulcan designation.

    In my mind the explantaion was that the vulcans cnfused Commander and Lt commander and substituted Sub-Commander for Lt Commandeer. Later on BS'ing Starfleet that it actually meant a higher grade than commander so that T-Pol could insist that the outranked Trip.

    All of the other Trek series hd the Lt commander rank for their personnel: Scotty was a Lt Commander; Data was aLt. commander; Kira was a major which is equal to a Lt. commander; Tuvok was a Lt. commander. so why did TPTB not have at least one of the officers at the Lt. commander Rank?

    I have stated in a nother thread that T-Pol should have never been designatyed First Officer and XO in any season. But was told that this was a TV show so I have to live with it.

    It still jerks my chain. She was a Sub-commander and to my mind that meant Lt. commander and below Trip in rank.
     
  12. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The thing is, the Vulcan command structure is apparently based around the previously established Romulan command structure, both of which featuring Commander as their O-6 and Sub-Commander is their O-5.

    In Earth and UFP Starfleet Captain is the O-6 rank and Commander is the O-5 as in the US Navy. (I've been working for a while to flesh out the Romulan command structure fully based on what little we've seen but have yet to complete this project.)

    Similarly in the US Air Force, Colonel is the O-6 rank and Lieutenant Colonel is the O-5, which, if Kira Nerys is any indication, is how the Bajoran military works too. She started as an O-4 Major to Sisko's O-5 Commander, and by the last season was an O-5 Lieutenant Colonel to his O-6 Captain.

    If they had called T'Pol's rank Lieutenant Commander, she'd have been called the same thing but still have been a Vulcan High Command O-5 to Trip's O-4 Starfleet Lieutenant Commander, but then have had the same name and been even more confusing. Using the previously established Sub-Commander makes more sense to me.

    All of that said, I personally wish T'Pol hadn't have been First Officer, just Science Officer. It evokes Spock a little too much for me.
     
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  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Let's also remember that T'Pol wasn't part of Starfleet for the first three seasons, and thus didn't hold any Starfleet rank, nor did need to refer to any non-Starfleet rank, either. In seasons 1 and 2, she was an observer instituted by Vulcan High Command, and second-in-command or third-in-command of the starship only by Archer's personal permission; her Vulcan rank had very little or nothing to do with her position. In season 3, she was a civilian advisor, and second-in-command only by Archer's personal request; she had lost her Subcommander rank by then, having been booted out of the Vulcan military.

    It was only in season 4 that she became a Starfleet officer, and her Commander rank there need not be the same/parallel rank she had held in the Vulcan military during the first two seasons. It could easily be one step higher, or lower, for all we know.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well said, Timo. :)

    On a side note, in doing my research, I learned from TMoST that a Romulan Commander was originally supposed to be more akin to a Commander of a group of ships, not just a single ship, and 'Centurion' was a general term for 'Officer.' Later series seemed to retcon both of these, but you might argue that Commander might be more like O6.5 and Subcommander O5.5 when compared to Starfleet rank. ;)
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...Or that Commander is more like O-5 or even O-4, and a cloakship is a minor command comparable to a submarine (after all, that was the original dramatic role of that vessel) and generally not worthy an O-6 CO.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    Meh. I don't think it's so difficult. It's a different rank scale. Earth Starfleet follow one convention, the Vulcans another one (apparently, the same as Romulans). It happens the same with Army captain and Navy captain, they are very different ranks but they use the same name. It can generate some confusion, but it's the way it is, no real reason for one or the other to change it.
     
  17. SFRabid

    SFRabid Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, it is a different rank scale. The problem is they are using two different scales on one bridge and one small group of officers while depicting them in a single chain of command. The non-hardcore Trek viewer, which they were trying to attract, is going to be confused when the captain calls his second in charge "sub-commander" and the person under her "commander". They should have never used those titles in that setting with those ranks.
     
  18. Plecostomus

    Plecostomus Commodore

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    Were there any Vulcans of Captain rank shown on Enterprise?

    I figured it went something like this Commander (equal to a captain) and sub-Commander would be the next in line (below the commander) and then what ever other ranks.
     
  19. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Possible, but according to TMoST they meant 'Commander' to be a more impressive rank than Captain and in the later series Commanders routinely commanded D'deridex class warbirds. I'd hardly call them minor, even if there are hundreds of them.

    I think they purposefully avoided showing Vulcans of Captain rank to stay consistent with the Romulan scheme. The script for TNG's 'The Chase' referred to a 'Romulan Captain' but this didn't make it to screen.

    I've been trying to figure out the Romulan system for a while now. Presumptive ranks are italicized. I've mostly ignored references from novels for the time being.

    Admiral (O-?)
    General (O-?)
    Commander (O-6)
    Subcommander (O-5)
    Centurion (O-4, stated by Bochra in TNG's 'The Enemy' to be equivalent to Starfleet's Lieutenant Commander.)
    Subcenturion
    (O-3)
    Lieutenant (O-2)
    Sublieutenant (O-1, part of Jarok's assumed identity in 'The Defector')
    Uhlan (Crewman? - Neral said he rose from a Uhlan in 'Unification' but it could be a generic term for 'enlisted')

    Granted, this scheme is based primarily around Bochra's statement in 'The Enemy' coupled with the assumption that Commander roughly equals Captain, even if they may sometimes have broader responsibilities. Little is know for sure about the Tal Shiar. We know they have Colonels and Majors, so that might also be where the Generals come from, and they might follow a US Marines style rank structure.

    To me, the rank of General seems to fit more with the Tal Shiar. The two generals we saw were Velal and Movar. Velal was at first a Subcommander in 'Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges' but a General by 'The Dogs of War.' Velal wore a standard Romulan navy uniform with no additional harness. Movar had a full double-harness. Troi wore a 'three-strap' harness when she impersonated Major Rakal of the Tal Shiar in 'Face of the Enemy.' It's unclear whether the black uniforms worn by later Tal Shiar agents were variants akin to the DS9 jumpsuits, or actual replacements for the 'standard' Guard uniform. It has also been suggested that General is a position rather than rank. I don't see why it couldn't be both, a position for the Guard and a rank for the Tal Shiar.

    I could see the Vulcan rank structure being largely the same, although I somehow doubt they had Generals at all.
     
  20. HopefulRomantic

    HopefulRomantic hyperpolypyroferricist redux Moderator

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    I was never bothered by the "Sub-commander" vs "Commander" situation; Vulcan system vs human system was enough for me. That being said, this explains things quite well, Praetor. Thanks for the research :techman:

    Offhand, I recall Captain Vanik of the Ti'Mur in "Breaking the Ice" and Captain Sopek of the Ni'Var in "Shadows of P'Jem." There might be others.