Riker, Data, and La Forge: Why and How?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by DavidGutierrez, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. DavidGutierrez

    DavidGutierrez Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Could anyone point me towards any literature which talks about these three things:

    Why did Riker go back to being a commander after TBOBW?

    How did Data gain the ability first to deactivate and then to remove the emotion chip?

    Why did La Forge switch from the VISOR to his occular implants?

    Direction would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. Klingolaus

    Klingolaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Concerning Data and his emotion chip and how it was handled later, you'd better look into the first novels of the A time to.... series, if I'm not mistaken.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Except for the Riker question, all of those were explained in either the Slings and Arrows e-book miniseries or the A Time to... novel miniseries.

    As for Riker, his whole arc in "The Best of Both Worlds" is specifically about his struggle to decide whether or not to accept promotion, so the answer is right there in the story. He's happy where he is, and he decides that's more important than career advancement for the sake of advancement. (Which reflected writer Michael Piller's own internal debate at the time about whether to say on TNG or leave to create his own series. Like Riker, he decided to stay where he was happy for a while longer.)
     
  4. DavidGutierrez

    DavidGutierrez Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Excellent! Thanks for the pointers. I'll check those out forthwith.
     
  5. vegaslover62

    vegaslover62 Commander Red Shirt

    In my own personal headcanon, I always thought that Riker had an ambition to command the flagship. I always thought he was waiting for Picard to retire or get promoted. He would never undermine him in order to make that happen, he enjoyed serving under Picard, to be sure, but he secretly wanted that big chair all to himself, and I thought that after fifteen years, he got sick of waiting and took the Titan. That's just my theory.
     
  6. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I always found it unrealistic that Riker was ever offered command of the Titan. After turning down several commands -- and stepping down on the Enterprise after the Borg incident -- Riker should have found himself out of the promotion track due to the continual disinterest he displayed in moving forward with his career.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I like to think that the Federation isn't as obsessed with "career" advancement as we are. For one thing, it's a moneyless society. They don't work to get richer, they work because it brings them fulfillment. So if you're fulfilled in a certain role, it'd be pointless to abandon it for another one just because it has a higher "rank" attached to it. For another thing, people live longer in the 24th century, so presumably they'd be in less of a hurry. If you have a desire to advance but want to spend a long time training at a lower position, in order to be sure you really have the experience and training you need to do it well, then there's no reason you can't take the time. Riker can't be the only person who feels that way; if anything, I believe his attitude would be the more common one in the 24th century, and ambition like Shelby's would be a throwback to an earlier era. So it makes sense that Starfleet would be accommodating to attitudes like Riker's. We have to be careful not to assume we can judge the Federation's values by our own metrics.
     
  8. RogueVasad

    RogueVasad Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I'm pretty sure that the Laforge question was answered in Generations. After his visor was used to gain the data needed to wreck Enterprise he probably decided it was time for a change.
     
  9. Nathan

    Nathan Commander Red Shirt

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    I think eventually Riker should have been forced to retire if he didn't accept the promotion. You can't be the Commander rank indefinitely. It is like saying, "I love being the helmsman on the E-E so I never want to get promoted, so I will just be a LtCmdr for the rest of my career."

    I was in the Army and you could only hold a position for so many years and then get promoted. If you didn't do the required schooling or got passed over (cuz you were a fat @$$ or bad evals), the army just says, "Thanks for your service and good luck elsewhere."

    I have buddy who was a First Lieutenant for almost 7 years. At the 6 1/2 year mark, he got a letter saying, "You need to find a Captain position or you will be booted from the US Army." So.....he gave up being an Executive Officer of a field Artillery company to be a staff officer at Battalion. He hated it, but then eventually became the battalion commander -- a spot he loved doing.

    I know Chris, you can't assume we can judge Federation values by our own metrics, but it is common sense that you can only be acertain ranks for certain period of time.

    Enlisted soldiers work a bit differently, but officers it is pretty clear cut -- in all US Services.

    Yes, yes, I know it is 24th Century in the Federation, but you can't use that all the time to say, "Yeah, it don't work that way in the 24th Century."

    Plus, I think for the show you have to stretch it a bit. I mean, we want Jon Frakes on the show, so you have to come up with something.
     
  10. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Well, I mean, why not when it comes to specifics of organization? How much of the way militaries functioned in 1665 at the logistical and organizational level is the same as the way they do today?

    Beyond that, though, there is a point in that advancement is in part not just for the sake of the person being advanced, but for the sake of those that would want the opportunity currently being taken by the person to be advanced - Riker himself realized in "A Time To..." how his position was basically a stonewall on Data's career which was why he took the Titan in the first place; there's only so many coveted positions, and holding one for yourself for an extended period is depriving someone else. It's like sitting at a cafe for 4 hours and only ordering coffee every so often; sure you're giving them something, but eventually they just want you to clear out if only to make room for someone else.

    But on the other hand, if someone is really good at being a helmsman and doesn't necessarily have the skill to make it at a higher position, why not let them continue in the position of helmsman in some degree? Isn't it better for someone to excel at a lower position rather than having to choose between being mediocre at a higher one and not having a position at all if that happens to be their skill set?

    There must be a way to balance both concerns in a society as far along as the 24th century.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015
  11. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I never really had that much of a problem with Riker taking to so long to accept a promotion. With an organization as big as Starfleet there are probably plenty of other qulified officers who can take the commands he turned down. As for Riker holding up a position, I'm pretty sure there were probably plenty of other ships just as prestigious they could be assigned to instead.
     
  12. King Bob!

    King Bob! The King of Kings! Premium Member

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    Problem with that is that you still have younger people still entering the service everyday. Realistically, even in the 24th century, you can't really afford to have people squatting on positions.

    As far as Riker's reasoning goes, there is a TokyoPop manga that goes into his remaining on the Enterprise after "The Best of Both Worlds". It comes down to Starfleet being unsure about Picard and needing someone to keep an eye on him.
     
  13. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Admiral Moderator

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    Agreed. Starfleet is not 20th century US military in space, it's an agglomeration of the military experience of almost 150 different planets. Don't tell Earth gets to say how it's supposed to work and everyone follows through. Human standards might be totally non-standard among the galactic community.
     
  14. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Oh no I wasn't trying to handwave a "there is a solution" comment just to get past the argument; what I meant by that was that I'm actually at a loss for what the solution might be, but I'm sure one must exist and would like to figure out specifically what it is.

    And honestly, I disagree that it can be solved by just saying "there are other ships that are just as prestigious", JD; there's no guarantee of availability in them either because the exact same problem would happen with them. If they're that prestigious, then the people in positions there would feel as much attachment and motivation to stay as the command crew of the Ent-D did for that ship. Why would anyone ever leave any prestigious position they're good at until they literally have to retire if that was all there was to it, if it was purely up to the person involved? Openings would come down to nothing more than "if you get lucky someone'll die or quit, otherwise have fun on the C-rate Miranda-class patrolling trade routes".

    It'd actually be similar to the tenure track position situation in academia right now, come to think of it: too many people competing for too few slots and 95% of people coming out of education ending up left in the dust and unable to pursue their careers because the people that got there first refuse to leave.
     
  15. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    As to Riker turning down promotions and commands, we may as well ask why Spock (and even Mirror-Spock) remained where he was for even longer. (Remember, Spock was Pike's science officer before he was Kirk's, and when Kirk's choice of exec, his friend Gary Mitchell, accepted a "promotion" that eventually got him crushed under a boulder, Spock became both science officer and first officer [and it's anybody's guess whether or not some hapless, anonymous lieutenant commander ended up as "exec in name only" just to fill out the crew roster and maybe preside over the night shift]).
     
  16. King Bob!

    King Bob! The King of Kings! Premium Member

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    I'm wondering if Spock ever got an offer for command?
     
  17. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In the "Tapestry" timeline, Picard is still a lieutenant j.g., which means he had one promotion in 43 years, and yet he's still in the Service.
     
  18. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Now that I think of it, "career-minded" has been used as a pejorative on at least one occasion in Star Trek, and I don't think the argument between General Chang and Colonel Worf was the first time.
     
  19. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think in the books he did command the Enterprise on some training missions, and he had his own ship in at least the first Vulcan's (Noun) book.
     
  20. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Yes. But Spock was Pike's science officer for over a decade, then Kirk's science officer for five years, then went to Vulcan to study Kolinahr, then returned to Starfleet to serve as Kirk's science officer for another five years, before finally accepting promotion to captain, as an Academy professor.

    Riker was Picard's first officer for less than a decade.