Data's previous assignments

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by JirinPanthosa, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Why is it in the show we never really learned about anything that happened to Data between his decision to enter Starfleet Academy and Encounter At Farpoint? We learn vaguely how long he spent at each rank, and that's pretty much it. How come he never ran into previous crewmates, or discussed his previous attempts trying to blend in?

    And how did he grow so much more in seven years than he did in his first few decades? In Encounter At Farpoint, Data seems like he was just activated and never tried to blend in socially before.

    What were his first assignments like, as an Ensign and Lieutenant? Did he take that long just to get to the point he reached in Encounter at Farpoint? Might it have been better and made more sense for the development we saw if Data had begun as an Ensign?
     
  2. tharpdevenport

    tharpdevenport Admiral Admiral

    Actually, we did learn something else. In "the Most Toys", thinking Data is dead, Geordi is clearing out Data's quarters and we see a box of medals awarded to Data. Obviously he was quite the officer.

    Though it just doesn't add up for me. He got all those awards, yet I can't recall him ever getting another in seven years on the Enterprise.

    And he was ridiculously inept in humanity and social interaction, considering it had been something like about twenty years since he was found, joined Starfleet, and served for a while before joining the Enterprise.
     
  3. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Captain Captain

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    Perhaps in all his previous assignments, he was just used as a computer and not really a hands-on kind of officer.

    'Here, Mr. Data, run an analysis of this fuck-ton of data and prepare a report for it by tomorrow'.....and that was all he did, but he did it so well, that he was awarded medals for it.

    The Enterprise, being special, under special Captain Special Picard, saw a chance that this walking computer could be more than just a walking computer, and let him do more managerial stuff as the head of the Ops department. Stimulated for the first time as a person, he then moved towards personal development as a being because he never thought of himself as a being before, simply joining Starfleet because he was activated by Starfleet. Unfortunately, spending all this time on his new hobby of making himself human, he has less opportunity to win medals for fastest computations. In the books, Picard is known for his out-of-the-ordinary cross-department training methods (to explain Worf and Geordi's ranks and departments) and that is what makes the Enterprise special and sought after, because you get to learn everything there. Maybe he wanted Data to learn to be a person too. I'd headcanon that.

    Except for all those instances where he treats Data like a computer.
     
  4. at Quark's

    at Quark's Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hard to believe he would have gotten the Starfleet Command Decoration for Valour and Gallantry for only those kind of tasks, as Measure of a Man states.
     
  5. tharpdevenport

    tharpdevenport Admiral Admiral

    And I doubt all these enlightened Starfleet officers would have treated a fellow officer that way.
     
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  6. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Captain Captain

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    Valour and Gallantry (in the fields of Data Entry and Computational Analysis)..maybe? lol.

    As opposed to Pulaski who had to be convinced that his name should be pronounced the way that he pronounces it? Or an entire engineering team (including the Chief) wanting Barclay off the ship because he's kind of a weirdo? Or like, Maddox who viewed Data just being a machine and the admirals that signed off on dismantling him (for science!)? Starfleet officers are only enlightened when they need to point out that they are enlightened.

    And besides, having him run computations isn't any different from having any other crewmember run computations...he's just extra good at it. That's not really being un-enlightened...unless they made him like sit in a box in the corner of a room and was asked to operate physically like a computer...haha.
     
  7. tharpdevenport

    tharpdevenport Admiral Admiral

    You mean isolated incidents, one of which had nothing to do with Data but rather another crew member?
     
  8. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    We don't know that the officers weren't getting medals all that time, we just didn't see it happen on screen. I don't think his fellow officers treated him like a piece of machinery. But maybe they treated him like a really, really introverted person who didn't socially blend in. Just kind of let him do his thing and didn't invite him to parties.

    I suppose it's possible that in Data's previous assignments when he was off duty he just went to his quarters and sat there till his next duty shift, and he did not become socially active until Geordi reached out to include him in social activities.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  9. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Captain Captain

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    Yes, that is exactly what I meant. Examples of enlightened officers being not-so-much enlightened as it is convenient for the story that is being told.
     
  10. Discofan

    Discofan Fleet Captain Captain

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    What I find bizarre is Star fleet's inconsistency. They award Data all these medals and yet they still consider him a piece of property that should be willing to be dismantled if it was deemed necessary by the high command. You don't give medals to a piece of property and you don't deny basic sentient rights to someone that you think deserves praise for his actions.
     
  11. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Captain Captain

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    Agreed. I chalk it up to early season writing syndrome where nothing was really planned out and histories weren't thought out...I suspect most of us would. But for an in-universe explanation, it might be something as simple as a regime change and previous admirals he worked under were big on praise and more flexible on their definition of sentient, and then someone else was promoted to their position that was like, 'Yeah that dude's just a walking computer.' Policies and how they're carried out might have more to do with the people that enforce them rather than not.
     
  12. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    We know plenty about Data's career, even if it does leave a lot of holes. Starfleet Academy 2341-2345, where he struggled socially, being pranked on or outcast etc... I can see this happening to him in his early career too. They almost didn't let him in.

    Major areas of study, were probability mechanics & exobiology. He was likely an excellent science officer for a long time, wherein the command track was not even an option. He served in some capacity aboard the USS Trieste. Spent 3 years as an ensign, & 12 as a lieutenant, before being promoted to Lt. Cmdr in 2360. By 2368 he'd encountered 1,754 non-human races, & been awarded 5 different citations, or medals, some of the UFP's highest.

    Nothing is known about how he got them, & it's entirely possible they were all awarded for the same act. So in order to reconcile Data's apparent awkwardness in relating to crewmates, after 19 years in Starfleet, even as the 2nd officer of the UFP flagship, I see it like this...

    You don't often spend 12 years as a lieutenant, & then they just decide you should be promoted, least of all if you're some weirdo science geek, no one can relate to. Something had to happen in 2360 to get him promoted, after years of seclusion, stored away in some starship or star base's labs. I like to think it was something so magnificent it also got him awarded 5 different medals for valor, gallantry, heroism, above & beyond the call of duty, at risk to his own life etc... He probably single-handedly saved an entire outpost brilliantly or something, thousands or maybe even millions of lives saved. He's certainly capable of that, all on his own, while his entire crew was incapacitated or something.

    It was probably a media event that made him somewhat famous in the fleet, enough that it caught Picard's attention, & knowing what we know about how Picard operates, giving people chances that others might not, Worf, Sito Jax, Ro Laren, etc... Picard takes a lot of risks with who he selects, his best friend's widow as his CMO, & even making her son an acting ensign. Why should Data have been different?

    After showing up on everyone's radar, Picard probably looked at the guy & thought "No one's ever going to give this guy the chance I think he deserves.", & then he took a leap & made the guy his 2nd officer, just like he took Riker as his XO, even though that guy should've been commanding his own ship by then, because he certainly wasn't a captain's "yes man". He took an XO who ought to be a captain, & a 2nd officer, who'd probably never really commanded people, so he could tutor him... & that's exactly what he did

    It's a stretch to think Data might not have had much socialization before Enterprise, but it can be sussed out, & if you think of it as being a later career flash phenomenon that advanced him finally, like I'm thinking, it also leaves room for some people to still look at him like's he not really deserving of personhood
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  13. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Captain Captain

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    Well, that's a much nicer story than mine. :bolian:
     
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  14. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Phoenix Rising Moderator

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  15. Discofan

    Discofan Fleet Captain Captain

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  16. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think it would've been more interesting had Data been more like his inspiration Xon, in that he was a ensign/lieutenant jg, without much experience but a vast intelligence and naive about emotions and the 'human condition'. It would also make his ignorance about such things more understandable.
     
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  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't see fault in Data's "ignorance". Ever since "Datalore", we have known that Data is a fake - that he has been told to dumb it down and act comical so as not to frighten the villagers. It would only be consistent for him to keep that up with every group of human(oid)s he ever encounters, until a certain point specific to each group.

    By the time Data meets Picard, decades into this education on the human condition, he probably has this playacting down pat. So every time he "inadvertently" cracks a joke at his own expense, he's moving a pawn in the game of manipulating and slowly winning over the humans around him. He's quite the expert manipulator whenever his mission entails unleashing this side of himself, as in "In Theory" or "Time's Arrow".

    It's just that we don't witness the most recent transfer in Data's career. Did he leave behind a CO he had already groomed to satisfaction, with a good nudge-nudge-wink-wink understanding of what the android really is like, and then started anew with Picard while the former CO kept the secret? Or was his last assignment a brief one where he never proceeded from "seeming novice" to "suave social kingpin" yet?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I imagine Data's medals were for stuff done during Next Gen, or for between-episodes novel/comic adventures. The writers seemed to treat him as if the Enterprise was his first real interaction with humans.
    "We were warned about the Ferengi in the academy!" said Harry Kim to Quark.

    The worst thing humans in Trek ever did was convince themselves they were superior to others.
     
  19. Discofan

    Discofan Fleet Captain Captain

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    It's details like that that show that Harry Kim wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.
     
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  20. Herbert

    Herbert Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You really have to disallow the first season when it comes to character development which is not unusual during the first year of a new TV show. Many of the characters would change quite a bit.