How Capable Was O'Brien

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by Go-Captain, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    I just rewatched the first two episodes of DS9 since the first time they were on the air and it occurred to me, Miles O'Brien is extremely capable. He was transporter chief for years on the Enterprise-D, a seemingly specialized role, and once he is promoted off to DS9 he is basically chief engineer in everything but name.

    Was O'Brien just that amazing, as Lower Decks would have us believe (obviously he is amazing regardless)? Or are the people in the position of transporter operator severely over qualified? Or, perhaps, is transporter operation just that hard?
     
  2. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Miles had acquired engineering skills prior to getting his transporter room gig on the D. He says it was during the Setlik III incident that he discovered skills he never knew he had. And he used engineering skills there too, he wasn't just a guy who pushes some buttons.
     
  3. Turd Ferguson

    Turd Ferguson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I just watched an episode the other night where O'Brien tells Worf he loved being stationed at DS9 because everything broke down. He found the Enterprise boring because everything ran perfectly, so really all there was to do was stand at the transporter controls and hope somebody needed to beam somewhere :lol:

    I've been doing my DS9 rewatch with my girlfriend, who's never watched it (I started her off on Enterprise), and she even commented how overworked O'Brien is :lol:
     
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  4. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

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    Eventually we find out that O'Brien has about 10-15 other engineers working for him, in different shifts on the station.
     
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  5. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, O'Brien had just worked on the transporter for four years on the Enterprise, and suddenly has taking care of everything on the entire station, and their technology isn't even Federation!
     
  6. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The beginnings of #OBrienMustSuffer :evil:
     
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  7. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Commodore Commodore

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    My headcanon is that part of the reason that O'Brien had an atypical talent for Cardassian technology and related systems (possibly the field transporter that first got him into the tech was a Cardassian unit?) and that was part of the reason why he in particular was tapped for the DS9 assignment.
     
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  8. Herbert

    Herbert Commodore Commodore

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    Not to mention that O'Brien was also Captain Maxwell's tactical officer so he wasn't simply an engineering whiz.

    He still wasn't the miracle worker Scotty was though. ;)
     
  9. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

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    O'Brien was in charge of that many people Starfleet really should have offered him a commission.
     
  10. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Commodore Commodore

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    They did, he turned it down.
    Also, was he really "in charge" of that many people in the first couple of seasons? Some BTS sources suggest that Sisko's entire command in the s2 opening three-parter was only c 50 people and all but a handful of non-Bajoran citizens were evacuated on the three runabouts (so less than 150 at best), so O'Brien's bit probably wasn't more than a couple of dozen Starfleet personnel in total, and senior NCOs acting as even the 2-i-C of a platoon-sized detachment is fairly standard and O'Brien would have been no better than third (and probably more like fourth or fifth) in command of the station at any point.

    That said, it's ironic that it's ambiguous whether O'Brien was an officer or NCO on the Enterprise (the writers and wardrobe couldn't agree), whereas on DS9 he was unambiguously depicted as an NCO (albeit one with perhaps some positional authority over ensigns, which is... odd) when if anything it would make more sense for it to be the other way around.
     
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  11. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, he said they did make him that offer. My thought was chief engineer on a "huge" station is a commissioned officer's job. Some admiral or whoever was making the staff decisions should have made him an offer he couldn't refuse: accept lieutenant's pips so you can legitimately tell ensigns and jg's what to do, or else keep mending the boringly perfect transporters on the Enterprise for another three years. (Or they could have put that offer to him at about the same time Sisko made captain, consistent with the added duties of keeping the Defiant battleworthy as well as the station.)

    Yes, it would have made a lot more sense for him to be a CPO on the Enterprise and then made officer when he came to DS9. It would also make more sense of why he accepted the job that was making Keiko so unhappy. I bet he hated having to call Nog "sir". Good thing Nog knew better than to give him direct orders very often.
     
  12. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    They could have also went with the explanation that an enlisted officer is just an officer trained for one task at a time. In contrast a commissioned officer is trained for loads of different roles before they reach the rank of ensign, despite ultimately having a specialty. In fact, going by Lower Decks we see something a lot like the latter with how Rutherford switches divisions with ease.
     
  13. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    Isn't the Enterprise a ship that's supposed to hold the best of the best? So perhaps a lot of people there are actually severely overqualified for their jobs .... for example a lowly transporter officer that easily could be a chief engineer at another post ...
     
  14. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Commodore Commodore

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    Fundamentally, that is the difference between (chief) petty officers (and even more so US (chief) warrant officers), particularly since the advent of "Seaman to Admiral" program in the early 2000s.
     
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  15. Mister Spock

    Mister Spock Commander Red Shirt

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    I think you just sort of have to ignore O'Brien's rank (or lack thereof), seeing as that Major Kira and Odo aren't Starfleet officers but are part of the same command structure. In fact, the only rank that Odo has is an informal one made up on the spot by Kira.
     
  16. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Fleet Captain

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    Chief of Operations is a strange animal...
    Enterprise: Chief of operations was a LCDR, a senior officer, and third in command of the ship.
    DS9: Chief of operations was a highly senior enlisted man with an engineering background.
    Voyager: Chief of operations was an ensign right out of the Academy.
     
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  17. RichT

    RichT Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    He was transporter chief though, not just a transporter operator. I imagine he was actually in charge of the transporter maintenance and management, probably reporting directly to Geordi as chief engineer. As such, being promoted to what was effectively a chief engineer of an entire installation, rather than just being an engineering department head, is a valid promotion and believable step up.
     
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  18. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Plus when you think about it, DS9 was a backwater installation when it first got filled with Starfleet people. If not for the wormhole, it would still likely be a backwater post. So it's quite possible that the promotion for O'Brien wasn't intended to be as glamorous as it sounded.
     
  19. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Was it in “The minds eye” that LaForge admitted that only he,Data and O’Brien were the only ones onboard capable of carrying out some complicated reprogramming of whatever,whatever.(don’t know,don’t care).
    Seems pretty capable to me.
     
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  20. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think it was "The Mind's Eye". And O'Brien always was capable, like how he thought of using the transporter trace in "Unnatural Selection".
     
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