Who's in charge here? (Sulu vs. Scott in the 1st season)

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Neopeius, Apr 18, 2022.

  1. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    In the 1st season (which we just finished -- reruns start this week), we see Scott take the center seat once in "A Taste of Armageddon". Sulu has it at least twice that I recall: in "Arena" and "Errand of Mercy". Those are also both higher stakes situations--the ship is in combat, at war in the latter episode.

    Now, Sulu is a Lieutenant and Scott is (presumably) a Lieutenant Commander. I say presumably because I don't know that it's ever explicitly stated, and braid on sleeve does not always match stated rank (viz. "Lieutenant Commander" Spock with two stripes and "Lieutenant" Masters with no stripe).

    In later seasons, especially with Takei gone to make a movie, it's firmly and explicitly stated that Scott is the 2nd Officer. But in the 1st season, it seems that Sulu might be higher up in the pecking order, which would make sense with the "Line", "Staff", "Engineering" uniform division--a Lieutenant in Line would be in, well, line to take over the conn before someone in Engineering (and certainly Staff -- no one ever thinks of giving command to McCoy, though he is senior officer when Spock is arrested in "Menagerie").

    This all gets a little confused since Spock was explicitly "Second Officer" in "The Enemy Within". Who was First Officer then?

    In any event, by the time Spock was explicitly the First Officer on the Enterprise, who was Second Officer? Sulu or Scott? Or did they share the title, on different shifts? (There's precedent for that -- I'm reading about a WW2 merchant marine vessel that had two third mates, one of them junior).
     
  2. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It is explicitly stated in the second season. He mentions it in the log entries of "Metamorphosis" and "Friday's Child." But if you're looking at in as someone who's sitting there in early 1967 and has only seen the first season, then you wouldn't know that. :)
     
  3. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    Correct -- I'm looking at a 1st season perspective. :) Any ideas?
     
  4. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Scotty is second officer, but usually is busy in Engineering so that's why we more often see Sulu taking command. Sulu is already a bridge officer and is more readily available.

    I mean, Scotty is obviously a qualified commander and would probably make as good a starship captain as he was an engineer. It's just that he enjoys it more in engineering. So even though he is second officer by rank, he usually doesn't PULL rank.
     
  5. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

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    Maybe Scott was on leave or off the ship for some other reason in instances where Sulu was left in command?
     
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  6. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    Is he really more readily available? Scotty's on the bridge half the time, and we've seen that folks can zip up in the turbolift in a matter of seconds ("Bones, get up here -- I need my Bennies, on the double")

    That does make sense, and gibes with Spock, too (i.e. if Scotty wanted to be Line, he'd be wearing gold).

    But that actually argues against him being 2nd Officer in the first season. "Och, Captain. Let Sulu hae it. He's a good lad. I'd rather be with m' bairns."

    Scotty's around for "Arena". "Errand" is an open question.
     
  7. jackoverfull

    jackoverfull Commodore Commodore

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    In journey to Babel they explicitly say that scotty is third in command. Also, in arena we see sulu in command until the battle begins, when scotty comes up to replace him.
     
  8. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    The former doesn't matter -- that's second season :)

    Does Scotty actually relieve Sulu in Arena? I thought Sulu was in charge until Kirk got back, even if Scott was on the bridge.
     
  9. jackoverfull

    jackoverfull Commodore Commodore

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    it’s been some time since I watched it, but I’m almost sure he does. I might be wrong though.
     
  10. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    I can confirm that he does not. Sulu never takes the center chair, but he is clearly (and explicitly) in charge of the ship, the one contact with Kirk until they come back to beam the party back aboard. Scotty does not appear until the next Act.
     
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  11. jackoverfull

    jackoverfull Commodore Commodore

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    Never mind then, thanks for checking.
     
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  12. Shaw

    Shaw Commodore Commodore

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    The command structure shouldn't be a power trip for anyone who is qualified to function in that role. Scotty may be the second officer, but that doesn't mean he must arrest control from who ever is in operational command at that time. Sulu is a seasoned and qualified officer, and Scotty would know and trust him in command. If Sulu truly felt he was over his head, he could hand command over to Scotty... or if Sulu was acting recklessly, Scotty could assume command, but Scotty shouldn't exercise his braid for no reason. Scotty didn't rush to the bridge in The Menagerie to take command from Hansen. There was no need because Hansen was qualified to serve in that role.

    You train people to lead/command by giving them opportunities. I was the head lifeguard at a pool, and we would assign a lead guard for every shift. As the head guard, I was the first person called when someone called out... but I always made it clear to the other guards (and swimmers) that the lead guard was still the lead even when I'm standing on the deck with them. If they wanted my in put on something, I was there, but I wasn't going to pull rank for no reason.

    Going back to The Menagerie, Hansen didn't hand command over to Mendez (the senior officer in the room), and Mendez didn't arrest command from Kirk until the situation required it (even if only symbolically).

    In my opinion, Scotty is a fine second officer who excels at bringing out the best in those he serves with.
     
  13. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    You make an interesting point re: Hansen, thank you. I feel like Hansen was in an OOD position rather than a "taking over command" position, which Sulu seemed to be (the difference between watching the conn during non-alert and being responsible for the ship during red alert). Kirk didn't say "Scotty's in charge, but you take the conn." He gave orders straight to Sulu, who presumably gave orders to Scotty during the combat situation.

    I recognize we've got some preconceived notions because we've all seen 2nd and 3rd seasons, but coming from a strictly April 1967 standpoint, I'm not sure I'd conclude Scotty was 2nd Officer (and even now, I don't know that I'd conclude that Scotty was 2nd Officer until explicitly stated in the 2nd season).
     
  14. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Would it be as simple as the person who is left in charge is whoever Kirk designates prior to leaving the ship? So in "Arena", Sulu was left in charge of the Enterprise. This is somewhat corroborated when Spock says Sulu is an experienced combat officer. I would imagine even if someone of higher rank tried to take over Sulu could deny the request unless he was medically relieved or Kirk gave the order over comms to change who was in charge of the Enterprise.
     
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  15. jackoverfull

    jackoverfull Commodore Commodore

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    we’ve seen exactly this situation in TNG Arsenal of Freedom.
     
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  16. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    In the Navy today would the Chief Engineer take over command of the ship? Is the Chief Engineer normally in the chain-of-command.?
     
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  17. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, as a department head. Currently, it's CO, XO, Ops head, Weapons head, Chief Engineer.

    The OOD gets relieved by the XO in the event of combat. Since there was no XO on board during "Arena", the head goldshirt would take charge. That seems to be Sulu. (and Hansen was probably an OOD...but he might also be a department head, perhaps Weapons?)

    This is based on the modernish US Navy, but I think this applied in the past. Of course, we also explicitly have "second officers" even in the 1st season, and that's more a Merchant Marine thing. But we also explicitly have department heads, since Kirk meets with them sometimes.

    Edit: Looking at my 1944 Bluejackets Manual, looks like it was:

    Captain
    XO
    Gunnery Officer
    Construction & Repair 1st Lieutenant and Damage Control Officer (same person, I think)
    Navigator
    Engineering Officer

    There are the department heads that lead lots of people. There's also

    Supply Officer
    Medical Officer

    but I suspect they aren't in Line.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2022
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  18. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    So Navy-wise Sulu would be ahead of Scott command-wise. So it wouldn't go on rank. Or would say a navy Chief Engineer always have a rank say below navigator. ?
    Obviously in the Navy they don't have a Head of Sciences so I imagine that if Spock wasn't XO he'd be just ahead of McCoy in regards to taking over as captainin TOS or would it go on rank?
    I suppose TOS was top heavy on officers compared to today's Navies.
     
  19. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Presumably, the weapons head would be whoever is in charge of the phaser control room that we only saw in Balance of Terror. So, a non-bridge position?

    Kor
     
  20. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    That's because TOS only had officers. (*hears the troop of people roaring in to talk about the Yeoman Third Class who proves the rule...*) :)

    Chief Engineers usually outrank everyone but the Captain and maybe the XO, especially in the 21st Century Navy.

    Right, if Spock were just Science Officer, he likely would be low in the chain of command. On the other hand, maybe not -- maybe in Starfleet, Science Officers routinely get to be XO. But probably not given the Line, Staff, Engineering split...at least that makes sense for 1st season TOS.

    That makes sense in the context of the 1st season. By the 2nd season, the phaser room seems to be automated, and we know the bridge has a station devoted to weapons control. If that station served that purpose in the 1st season, the person occupying it may well be the Weapons Officer.

    On the other hand, it may be that the bridge Helmsman is the Weapons Officer and the bridge Navigator is the head of the Navigation department.

    On the third hand, Bailey runs people through the drill in "Corbomite" which would be an Ops Officer job (but he's also a junior Lieutenant).

    It's complicated and clearly not one to one, and they straighten it all out by 2nd season. :)
     
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