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

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

  1. Trimm

    Trimm Captain Captain

    Dec 26, 2002
    Riker was Picard's first officer for fifteen years, as per NEM. Unless you are specifically referring to BOBW.
  2. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 7, 2001
    In The Lost Years, Kirk recommends Spock for command of the newly launched Grissom at the end of the five-year mission, though of course Spock resigns from Starfleet instead.
  3. Scotchy

    Scotchy Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 3, 2015
    State of Intoxication
    I'd F*ck Riker, Kill LaForge and marry Data.
    Elias Vaughn likes this.
  4. Bibliomike

    Bibliomike Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Aug 13, 2014
    Near Philadelphia, PA
    I think the concern about Riker's career advancement (or lack thereof, depending upon one's p.o.v.) in BOBW may be skewed because Starfleet is feeling the heat from impending engagements with the Borg. As Picard tells Riker, "Starfleet needs good captains, particularly now; reconsider your decision." So maybe it is not the normative attitude in Starfleet; as Christopher said above, Shelby could be a throwback.

    On the other hand (and I could be wrong, it's been a while since I've watched this one), Riker and Troi in the alternate timeline of "Tapestry" are pretty dismissive of the idea that Lt. Picard could better himself at his age by moving into the command track. His time for that has passed. I realize that episode is about Picard judging himself by his own standards, but the social judgment is there, too, however fleetingly.

    If nothing else, a lack of focus on "getting ahead" in the Trek future would explain why Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov were content to serve aboard the NCC-1701 (and -A) for as long as they did -- although Sulu was ostensibly on the cusp of his own command from TWOK on if you accept McIntyre's novelization of ST II (derived from early draft script); and Diane Duane (I think, in Spock's World?) makes a reference to what Uhura has been doing in her chosen field of communications in her "extracurricular" time, and Kirk realizes he is lucky to still have her opening hailing frequencies.
  5. Elias Vaughn

    Elias Vaughn Captain Captain

    Why not? Obviously some people are getting promoted, and they're obviously building new ships and stations that are also going to need crews.
  6. Idran

    Idran Commodore Commodore

    Apr 17, 2011
    Because it means that the most skilled commanders that could best train officers in the field into being amazing officers themselves are unable to because a significant number of the positions under their command would be squatted because they're the most skilled commanders. I'm not even talking senior crew, I'm talking all levels.

    You don't want old hands under the best commanders in an organization like Starfleet, you want new people that could use the direct experience. It's wasted potential. The 24th century is supposed to be a place where humanity is meant to better themselves, to pursue the best they can be. Squatting positions is literally the exact opposite of that, both for the person squatting with nothing really left to learn in that role and for the people that could take that role and learn tons.

    I mean, on the whole, where is a relatively new lieutenant going down the command track going to learn more and do more to better themselves: under Captain Jean-Luc Picard, or under no-name Captain Joe Smith, some random captain who's mediocre enough that there's transfers out all the time and always an opening to be found because no one cares to squat them? You want to get them in long enough to learn what they can, and get them back out once they've gone as far as they can and put them somewhere where they can use that knowledge to go even further and make even more people better.
  7. Elias Vaughn

    Elias Vaughn Captain Captain

    Just because the seven or so senior officers under Picard didn't transfer when other positions opened up doesn't mean the thousand plus other officers on the Enterprise thought the same way though. TNG mentioned taking on new officers all the time.

    I mean, commands alone must have kept becoming available because they kept asking Riker.
  8. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Feb 6, 2005
    Parsippany, New Jersey, USA
    Are you sure that figure's right? Wouldn't it be closer to 30 years? I don't think that Picard was in his 60s at the time of "Tapestry", was he?

  9. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 16, 2000
    South Pennsyltucky
    Did they? Until he took command of the Titan, when was the last time he was offered a command? The Melbourne back in season three. It appears that, for over a decade, Riker wasn't offered a command of his own.
  10. Idran

    Idran Commodore Commodore

    Apr 17, 2011
    Yep, he was 64; born 2305.

    That is fair; it might be less of an issue for people below the command staff. Maybe that's the balance that they've found in the 24th century? Once you reach command rank, there's no longer a push from above to clear the way for others, since there's plenty of room at that level and that's when you've likely gained your expertise and now it's time to put it into practice?

    Though Allyn's right, Riker stopped getting command offers entirely between BOBW and Nemesis.
  11. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

    Oct 6, 2006
    Orange County, CA
    Perhaps Starfleet is attempting to circumvent the Peter Principle.
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    Right. Picard was always about a decade older than Patrick Stewart, presumably due to greater longevity/medical care in the future.

    A lot of people don't realize -- because it wasn't really played up that often in the show -- that part of Picard's backstory was that he was already a legendary, veteran Starfleet captain by the time he was given the Enterprise, and indeed that's why he got command of the "flagship." He'd made his name as the captain of the Stargazer for an epic 22 years of exploration. After all, Roddenberry recycled a lot of Phase II elements for TNG -- Riker and Troi were Decker and Ilia, Data was half-Xon and half-Questor from The Questor Tapes, and Picard was basically Phase II's older, mentor-figure Kirk crossed with Jacques Cousteau. He was a distinguished veteran with a great career already behind him, training the young, Kirk-like first officer as his successor.

    (I often hear people complain about the "plot hole" in Nemesis of why the Romulans would've cloned Picard before he became important, but in fact he already would've been a very successful captain by the time Shinzon was conceived, famous for his accomplishments on the Stargazer.)
  13. Idran

    Idran Commodore Commodore

    Apr 17, 2011
    That was how I always felt about it, yeah, but through this conversation I'm realizing more that the issue isn't entirely the people holding onto a given job, but the people that could be holding the position.

    But again like Allyn said, there's plenty of turnaround at the lower levels. So it feels more like it can be resolved by saying there's a push to avoid position squatting at the lower ranks, but once you reach a certain level there's not so much need to rotate in new people for the sake of on-the-job experience and training, and so there's less issue logistically with them just staying where they are.
  14. TheUsualSuspect

    TheUsualSuspect Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 28, 2011
    Durango, CO
    That we know of. He could have been offered command without it being mentioned in any stories. This would be especially true of the movie time period - there's still a lot of time between movies when we know little about what was happening on the Enterprise.
  15. Elias Vaughn

    Elias Vaughn Captain Captain

    Just because they didn't mention every single offer Riker got doesn't mean he wasn't getting them offscreen. They just weren't relevant to the stories we saw in 45 minute segments, especially after they repeatedly showed us that Riker cared more about his position on the Enterprise than commanding another ship. Did they really need to redo that subplot every season?

    The next time we hear about Riker getting a command, it's different because this time he accepted.
  16. Idran

    Idran Commodore Commodore

    Apr 17, 2011
    But why would they keep offering him if they were by then aware that he cared more about his position on the Enterprise than commanding another ship? What would be the point of giving him an offer they would know he wouldn't take?
  17. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 1, 2008
    I honestly would have expected that there'd have been a few flag officers trying to push Riker into the captain's chair during the Dominion War - there'd be a demand for an experienced officer to take command of a vessel, given the losses we saw in various battles, and considering his success as the Enterprise's captain during BoBW, I have to think some Starfleet bigwig had to think 'okay, can't we get him out of that chair and into the big one somewhere else?'
  18. Elias Vaughn

    Elias Vaughn Captain Captain

    I'm sure they did, but what are they going to do if he still said no, kick him out? If he's that good, then better Riker as first officer than no Riker at all.

    Well, they offered him the Titan, so we do have canonical proof of at least one further offer...
  19. Idran

    Idran Commodore Commodore

    Apr 17, 2011
    15 years later and in proximity to a major life change, which is a reasonable time and situation to consider that his priorities might've changed. In fact, we don't actually have canonical proof of an offer, as it could have been him requesting a command.
  20. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

    Dec 19, 2011
    I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Elias Vaughn, and how long he was a Commander. As I recall he was promoted to the rank in his 40's and then he wasn't a starship commander until his 100's, and he didn't get the 4th pip till he was almost 110 years old. Of course I recall the books gave the explanation that due to his work in Intelligence, he figured that a Commander rank would get him less noticed by foreign intelligence agencies than if he were a Captain, although he still had privileges that were usually reserved for Captain's only.

    Plus look at Commander O'Donnell in the recent Voyager books. He is the Captain of the Demeter, but he only holds the rank of Commander, while his first officer is a Lieutenant Commander.

    Plus look at Benjamin Sisko. He was given command of a starbase, and was commander of that base for 3 years while he still held the rank of Commander. And I seem to recall that a few ships (like the one that had that scientist on it who eventually committed suicide by flying his invention into a dead star) had the Captain's chair filled by a Commander and not a full Captain.