Why does Harry Kim never get promoted?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by B. L., Apr 18, 2019.

  1. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Also promotions are good for morale even if they end up being more decorative than functional. They show that you feel the person in question has been performing at a level beyond the level of their current rank.
     
  2. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

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    And everyone else on the senior staff got either field promotion or commission.
    CHAKOTAY: Field commission. Rank of LCDR restored.
    PARIS: Field commission. Rank of LTJG restored. Reduced to Ensign for bad behavior. Promoted back for outstanding service.
    TORRES: Field commission, presumably to Ensign. Promoted to LTJG and chief engineer almost immediately.
    TUVOK: Promoted from Lieutenant to LCDR.
    EMH: Effectively promoted to chief medical officer.
    NEELIX/KES/7: Civilians.
    HARRY: Not a damn thing.
     
  3. Hades Temperature Checker

    Hades Temperature Checker Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That was Riker's choice and he clearly wanted that role. Being on the Enterprise was hos choice assignment, to the point of turning down his own command. Harry had no choice, yet continually served competently in difficult circumstances. A promotion would have acknowledged that effort rather than keeping him at the most junior of ranks.

    From my experience even the acknowledgement would have done more than any sort of career mobility.
     
  4. XCV666

    XCV666 Premium Member

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    I have to assume the ways Kim fucked up every week and got written up, which we never actually saw.
     
  5. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

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    Also torpedoed in canon.

    From "Twisted"...

    JANEWAY (to Harry): "I just want you to know you've been one of the bright spots of this whole mission. You've exceeded any expectations I might have had of you."

    From "The Disease"...

    JANEWAY: "...I can't help wondering if my response would have been the same if it had been, say, Tom Paris instead of you. Oh don't get me wrong, I still would have been angry and disappointed, but I wouldn't have been surprised."
    KIM: "Because Ensign Kim doesn't break the rules."

    4-1/2 years of impeccable service before Harry finally did mess up. It took Tom a third of that time to earn his lieutenancy.
     
  6. A Chimpanzee & 2 Trainees

    A Chimpanzee & 2 Trainees Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Expecting logical sense here is a bit too much to ask, I think. Realistically, River would have been forced to take a Captaincy or leave the service after BOBW. The Federation just lost a sizable portion of its fleet and officer corps after Wolf 359. Perhaps because of the devastation, there wasn’t a ship available right away, but within a year… since Shelby says they’ll have the fleet up and running in less than a year, he’ll be one of the first people given command of one of the newly built or repaired ships. Because people are much harder to replace, top brass wouldn’t just let him sit there under Picard to give a ship to less qualified people. In fact, since there’s probably a lack of talent available at all positions generally, the whole crew probably should have been broken up and reassigned to various ships.

    If we can swallow Riker’s career arc, Harry staying an Ensign isn’t so much to ask, is it? TNG required Riker to stay 1sr officer after Stewart re-signed, and in the same way Voyager required Harry to be young Mr. Greenhorn, no matter how well he performs or for how long.
     
  7. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Commodore Commodore

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    Not really, my headcanon is that the reason why Riker is "allowed" to turn down promotions is because he's well into the "below the line" average even for the rank he holds, never mind a full Captain's billet.

    In the RW USN, officers don't promote to O-5 until at least fifteen years in service (as of BOBW Riker has about 10), and Data's averages from Datalore suggest that even being an O-4 at his age is atypical, though not unprecedented (Geordi and Worf both took about that long).

    Harry absolutely should have been a JG by the end of the series, maybe even a LT, but his assertion that it was likely that he would be a LCDR without also being at least Second Officer is dreamland.
     
  8. A Chimpanzee & 2 Trainees

    A Chimpanzee & 2 Trainees Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    I accept that, but then if he’s undeserving, why was he even offered the Melbourne? Would the personnel losses from fighting the Borg accelerate his promotion? No matter which way I think about it, whether he deserved promotion or not, it seems weird… so I just throw up my hands on Treks treatment of this stuff
     
  9. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    He was offered the Melbourne before the Borg were confirmed to be in Federation space.

    The Drake and Aries were lower level ships, for lack of a better term. The Melbourne was clearly a step up given Picard's statement of, "She's a fine ship!"

    I've wondered, given how Riker's career turned out, if Starfleet 'assigns' officers up to XO, with XOs likely getting picked by captains. Leyton has said he gave Sisko the job on the Okinawa and we know Picard picked Riker as his Number One, so this seems to be a common practice. But ship captain positions are offered, and likely very few turn down the spot. In cases of captains who still hold the rank but are waiting for a ship, like what probably happened to Picard after the Stargazer and before he took command of the Enterprise, they probably get first pick of the next available ship with the option of turning down for a better ship.
     
  10. suarezguy

    suarezguy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Isn't Data's claim the only in-universe source for the idea that promotions are to be expected regularly and serving as ensign in particular should be pretty brief?
     
  11. A Chimpanzee & 2 Trainees

    A Chimpanzee & 2 Trainees Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    I really badly bungled what I was trying to say I think. What I mean was yes, Melbourne was offered to him beforehand, but if he didn't deserver one then, why was it offered, and subsequent to the start of that episode, the only things that have happened are -
    1) every Federation ship (multiple dozens of ships likely) within a few days travel of Wolf 359 was destroyed,
    2) Presumably most of the crews of those ships, measuring in the thousands, are dead. A few lucky ones like Ben Sisko survive.
    3) Riker and the Enterprise crew single handedly saved the entire Federation.
    4) The Federation needed to undertake a massive building operation to get the fleet up and running in a year.

    Number (4) is conjecture on my part at least as far as massive is concerned. I'm assuming many of those ships were unsalvageable, but we really don't know what is meant by up and running in a year. I'm assuming at a minimum that means fleet size and strength will be back to pre-attack levels by then. The exact totals of (1) and (2) aren't really known, but those ships need crews, and combining all this together, how could Riker who was going to be given a command before all that happened, not be given a ship by the time the rebuild was done? Wouldn't these extraordinary circumstances have accelerated promotions?
     
  12. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

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    I accept Riker's long term as first officer not because it's realistic (it's not) or because it makes sense given the character (it doesn't). I accept it because it was the only way to keep two very popular actors in the main cast. In other words, a real world reason existed.

    With Harry, there was no rational reason, not in-universe, not in the real world. Harry never did anything as an ensign that he could not have done as a lieutenant JG. It was, quite simply, a spectacular display of incompetence on the writers' or showrunners' part.


    QUOTE: Isn't Data's claim the only in-universe source for the idea that promotions are to be expected regularly and serving as ensign in particular should be pretty brief?

    No. There are eight main cast characters who changed rank over the course of the series, without changing jobs. This suggests that competent officers can expect to be promoted.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2021
  13. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

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    Missed this one...

    Consider that in "Non Sequitur", Harry is 8 months out of academy. It is said that he could "walk out of that meeting a lieutenant (JG)".

    Figure that he would require at least 2-3x that time to make full lieutenant. We will actually err on the side of caution and allow three times longer, or two more years, so that's 2y 8m into his career.

    And let's allow five times as long for LCDR, or 3y 4m. Total time: 6 years even. Given that Harry was at the 6y 3m mark in "Nightingale", that's actually doable.

    I expect that the reprimand in "The Disease" would likely have slowed down Harry's ascent to LCDR by a year or two. But Harry might have been presuming that said reprimand wouldn't have happened if he had remained in the Alpha Quadrant.
     
  14. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Commodore Commodore

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    No, I'm not. The key word is could. Which we know is true, as Riker was made a JG after the "Pegasus Incident" as a reward for his loyalty and silence in the affair.

    Given the examples of Will Riker (4 years) and Jadzia Dax (3 years) it is possible to make LCDR very quickly in certain circumstances. But the difference between those two and Kim is that Riker was second in command when he was made LCDR after 4 years, and Jadzia was third in command when she was promoted, if only briefly. Kim was fifth in command on Voyager at best, and there's no particular reason why this would have been different in the Alpha Quadrant (in fact given that the LCDR ChENG killed during the transit was probably the Second Officer, he'd be even lower in pecking order, and that it's if one of the deaths wasn't the Operations Manager).

    Given how much of a gullible trouble magnet that Harry is, he might believe that... I'm not so sure.
     
  15. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

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    Let's take a closer look at the dialogue, shall we?

    HARRY: "I've been on Voyager for almost seven years and I'm still an Ensign."

    JANEWAY: If this is your way of bucking for a promotion..."

    Clever ploy by Janeway. Harry has approached her with a legitimate grievance, and she responds with an accusation. If Harry has any sense, he will tell his CO what she wants to hear.

    KIM: No, no, I understand there's a command structure and that our circumstances are unique.

    Harry proves that he does have sense. But, he continues:

    But the fact is, if we were back home, I'd be a Lieutenant by now. Maybe even a Lieutenant Commander.

    He says he would be a lieutenant by now, and it's true. He should have been a lieutenant three, maybe four years ago. Janeway knew this as well as he did, hence her decision to resort to the blunt instrument of accusation: thanks to Tom and Tuvok, she had no legitimate argument available.

    Harry says "MAYBE EVEN" lieutenant commander. As in, he knows that it's within the realm of possibility that an officer six years and change out of academy can have that rank. He never declared it with absolute certainty; indeed, he gave lieutenant as his probable outcome.
     
  16. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I wonder what Janeway would have done if Harry had "quit".

    For that matter, what provision was there for someone to resign their commission on Voyager? Is everyone essentially conscripted? Why did we never see anyone who'd legitimately just given up and was willing to stay along for the ride (because where else would they go?) but was not psychologically capable of or simply no longer desired to perform their duties?

    Leola Root is made of people!!!
     
  17. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

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    Well, we see with Neelix in "Fair Trade" that Janeway's ability to impose ship's discipline appears to extend to civilian crew. So if he stayed aboard Voyager, some things might not change.
     
  18. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    I don't think you can resign during a state of emergency or war.

    Lon Suder got a life time of House Arrest.

    In the next 30 years, the older crew were going to need to retire or request lighter duties.
     
  19. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's actually a question my wife raised, and I had to tell her I honestly had no answer. She found it very unlikely that no one in all that time wanted to just leave. I can't say I blame her thinking that, given how dangerous space travel in the Delra Quadrant is.
     
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  20. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The only time I'm aware of that we see the crew really given a choice is in "The '37s". I think there really should have been a later season episode that touched on the subject again.
     
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