Ranks...

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by Farscape One, Jul 27, 2018.

  1. Farscape One

    Farscape One Commodore Commodore

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    The Data thread in the TNG forum inspired this.

    I understand there are only so many positions on a starship the size of Voyager, but this one bit is puzzling.

    If we go by the actual insignia on Chakotay, then he was a Lt. Commander, which makes sense since the original XO, Cavit, was also a Lt. Commander.

    So why does Tuvok get to be one, also, 3 years into the journey home? In fact, aside from the start when the other positions were getting filled... Chief Engineer, Conn... and Paris' reinstatement at the end of season 6, no one else got promoted. I understand that the rest likely wouldn't due to the aforementioned available positions, but why did Tuvok get to be promoted?

    And if Tuvok, as a department head, gets to move up a rank, why not Harry? At least maybe a few years in, or in the final season. I always found it funny how there were a bunch of Lts. all around the ship but he was senior over them due to being a bridge officer. And I understand that actually does happen. But Janeway couldn't throw him a bone?

    I mean, his contributions were good.

    He was on the design team when the Warp 10 barrier was broken. He upgraded Astrometrics with Seven, which Astrometrics was a massive contribution throughout the rest of the series. He was key in saving the ship from the Hirogen. He was on the design team for the Delta Flyer. He helped the ship get a lot closer to home in "TIMELESS". He commands the ship during some watches, including many night shifts. He's even been killed more than once. Not to mention his regular duties, he seemed quite capable and proficient.

    So why no Lt., junior grade?
     
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  2. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I always assumed Chakotay was only a Lt. Commander before he resigned his commission to join the Maquis, which was why he was reinstated as one onboard Voyager. Tuvok, given his wealth of experience, really should've made Lt. Commander far earlier. Kim, yeah he probably should've gotten promoted at least once, but with the very episodic format of Voyager maybe the PTB though the casual viewer might get confused, lol.
     
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  3. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Because he's the captain's friend.

    But yeah, Harry should have been promoted at some point in the show. Though there were issues between Garrett Wang and Berman and Braga, so maybe they intentionally kept Harry the Eternal Ensign because of that?
     
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  4. Tracy Trek

    Tracy Trek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Why would the PTB think it would be confusing? That he was an ensign in one episode and a Lt. the next. I find it more confusing that he was the head of his department with only the rank of Ensign. Was he the head of Ops right from the start? Was it the particular position he was originally assigned before the ship was abducted by the Caretaker? Or did he replace someone that was killed? Sorry if I sound snarky.
     
  5. Farscape One

    Farscape One Commodore Commodore

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    He was Ops Officer from the start.

    Regarding Chakotay, I figured he was a Lt. Commander before he resigned to join the Maquis.
     
  6. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No need to apologise, I was making more of a comment on the Voyager producers who were more focused on syndication and trying to lure in more casual viewers than aiming to tell a cohesive over-arching story (something that Voyager would've benefited from, given the premise), as such the status quo is always reset for the next episode--hence the crew complement is always given as 150-ish, there are an abundance of shuttles, torpedoes and other essential resources (except when suddenly there isn't).

    Kim was fresh from the Academy and made the Chief Ops Officer, which I can only assume he got for being top of his class--seeing as how the ship would carry more experienced (though maybe not as qualified) officers and non-coms that could fill the role. It might've been better had he come aboard as a junior officer then promoted up (after being rescued from Ocampa) when the original Ops Manager was killed in transit.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
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  7. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Kim probably should have been promoted, but Tuvok can be a commander, while the XO is a Lt. Commander. Janeway was just being considerate of Tuvok's upcoming retirement, if they ever get home.
     
  8. SpyOne

    SpyOne Captain Captain

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    Was Chakotay ever addressed as "lieutenant commander"?
    While "commander" is appropriate for both Commanders and Lieutenant Commanders, all the Lieutenant Commanders on TNG, DS9, and Voyager were at least sometimes addressed by their full rank, so if my memory is correct and Chakotay was always called "commander" then the most likely explanation, IMO, is his insigia is wrong (or we are reading it wrong).

    I suspect the real reason for Tuvok getting promoted and Harry not is this:
    The network wanted a show basically like Gilligan's Island: nobody ever develops or changes so you can miss a few episodes (or seasons) and pick it up again with no problem. I agree that's stupid, but that's what the network wanted. So Harry couldn't get promoted.
    Tuvok could because he wore the wrong rank insignia for all of the first season. The network could be convinced that no harm would result since his new rank matched his previous appearance.
     
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  9. Levi

    Levi Commander Red Shirt

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    IMO. Ranks and promotions on Voyager were severely messed up by the writers. Making it hard to understand the continuity within regular Trek. Much of the background Starfleet things were just thrown out the window in order to make some plot writing work.
     
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  10. Refuge

    Refuge Vice Admiral Admiral

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    'Military' rank and job assignation can sometimes seem at odds within the chain of command. It's worth noting that not every crewman or officer is going to automatically move upwards in rank otherwise everyone would make Admiral. Normally specific exams have to taken. Regards service, that can also be taken into account (usually a number of years or outstanding leadership, which would apply to Tuvok), but recognition of service doesn't always translates as movement within the ranks either. Field commissions where rank is assigned is of the authority of the Captain, hence the Marquis on Voyager - complete with a slightly different insignia. (Tom's insignia was regular and of course Tuvok's).

    I don't think Harry actually needed to move upward in rank to do his job. To be fair he did night shift command but it just seemed more appropriate to give First and Second officer rank for leadership recognition and authority.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
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  11. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    No, he never was referred to as "Lieutenant Commander" in dialogue. But in addition to his rank insignia, Cavit was a Lt. Commander (addressed as such in dialogue) so it makes sense Chakotay would hold the same rank he did.
    Doesn't the fact that Tom Paris got demoted for a year and a half before being re-promoted shoot that theory down?
     
  12. dauntless

    dauntless Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Agreed. Lets not forget the costuming cock up that made Tuvok a LCDR for the first 10-12 episodes of season 1, until - I think - Cathexis, when the rank pips were corrected. Despite this, he was referred to constantly as Lt. Tuvok...

    Additionally, wasn't there a theory that Tuvok was demoted as a result of his actions in Prime Factors from LCDR to LT?
     
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  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The one interesting aspect of this theory is that if it holds, Janeway never promoted anybody at all.

    That is, she had clearance from Starfleet to make Paris a full Lieutenant as reward for his betrayal of the Maquis, and she used that. But all the other people she first had to demote, and then later restored their rank after they had "done the time". With all other characters, this is pretty much explicitly true (Paris' demotion to junior Lieutenant is not explicated as a punitive measure, but this being Paris, you don't need to assume much!). Tuvok is so messed up that there is no "explicit" there, which is the reason why this theory can be put forth in the first place.

    Janeway might well have felt she did not have the authority to promote anybody if she couldn't contact Starfleet Accounting. She had already done the Maquis ranks thing, and this was trouble enough for her: if she declared "no can do" for any further juggling, she would be on firmer ground when it came to managing her forcibly drafted pirates and all.

    Apart from this, promotions in Starfleet could be just like promotions in the real world: you have to collect all the right tick marks in all the right boxes before getting one. It's not just time served, or heroic deeds performed, or courses completed, but the sum total of all those. And the audience cannot tell whether Tuvok or Kim has ticked all the boxes or not.

    (Errata: no, Kim was never claimed to have been the Chief of Ops. He came aboard as an Operations Officer, no indication of Chief status, and was put in hot water on his first day aboard, probably as a classic test of ability. He just had to take over the department when pretty much everybody senior died by the end of the day.)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, that theory exists, but I'd disregard it. When Tuvok's insignia was corrected, Tom and B'Elanna also had their insignia changed from being full Lieutenants to being Lieutenant JG, as the producers still wanted Tuvok to have clear seniority over the two of them. Tom at least wasn't involved in Tuvok and B'Elanna's thing in Prime Factors and thus there would be no reason to punish him.

    Incidentally, I'm reminded of an amusing nitpick website in regards to Fury from season 6 which includes flashback scenes set during the first season. In these scenes, Tuvok has Lt. Commander's pips on, and as the website put it "I'm not sure how to flag this one. It is wrong, but it's also consistent."
     
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  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    "No reason to punish Tom Paris" doesn't convince me at all, is what I'm saying. ;)

    In any case, none of the ranks change at a specific moment directly tying to "Prime Factors". Tuvok's pips fluctuate back and forth across the length and breadth of "Cathexis" before settling, while Paris and Torres get their adjustments when convenient. Some of this we may treat as in-universe, some we may decide to turn a blind eye on.

    Yup, good old Phil Farrand. I've got all the books.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Ghislaine H. B. BRAEME

    Ghislaine H. B. BRAEME Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In the same time, according to the exceptional but dangerous situation in which Voyager was (being stuck in an unknown Quadrant, fighting episodes after episodes to survive), the promotion of officers under her command, rightly seemed to be a secondary - and even a negligible - task for Janeway, don't you think?! <grin>



    .
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Then again, a reward/punishment mechanism would seem like a priority for people stuck in a desperate situation... They did set up the "replicator rations" sanctions system that persists for years after the replicators get repaired.

    And Janeway is using rank as a stick readily enough; why not use it as a carrot? But if you indeed are stranded tens of thousands of lightyears from your garden, you might use the carrots sparingly, and perhaps indeed only for soothing the people who first got the stick and have now abandoned their naughty ways. In which case promoting Tuvok just for extra carrot cake would destabilize rather than stabilize the community - but interpreting this as re-promoting after Tuvok got the stick for "Prime Factors" (but only after Janeway prevaricated a bit) would make it a stabilizing move on Janeway's part.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. TommyR01D

    TommyR01D Captain Captain

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    I view Chakotay as always being a (provisional) full Commander - he is never called "Lieutenant" in any context. His faulty neck badge should just be ignored.

    Voyager was isolated from the rest of Starfleet - a closed system. They assimilated the odd stray - Neelix, Kes, the Borg, the Equinox crew - and a few unlucky extras got killed but otherwise there wasn't much movement for the crew. Handing out promotions wouldn't really do anything for their relative status unless the higher-ups also got demoted.
     
  19. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    I remember someone on these boards basically claimed that any Starfleet officer who didn't rise up to the command ranks was an abject failure, and that there was no point to them ever having joined Starfleet in the first place. But that's not realistic. After a certain point, promotions no longer become automatic; selection becomes more rigorous. The command grades also carry an extra level of responsibility that not everybody is suited for. And that's just fine. In the real-life navy, many officers are quite content to spend their careers in the Lieutenant grades, and then retire.

    Kor
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
  20. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It never ceases to amaze me that the number of pips on a character could be wrong. Like, the way the pips work to us is so clearcut and obvious, you would think that actors and crews would notice things like this. Even if actors don't care and its just a costume/uniform to them, wouldn't you think someone would notice the number or style of pips changing randomly throughout the season? I wouldn't expect everyone on production to be a Star Trek nerd like us, I'm sure for 99% of the people there it's just a job, but come on!
     
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