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    What I've learned from Captain Picard and TNG

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    rossmcclure4

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    What I've learned from Captain Picard and TNG

    Post  rossmcclure4 on June 1st 2014, 8:36 am

    I know there is at least one Airmen and a Marine on here, and we all have seen enough science fiction to know when phasers are more suitable for a target than photon torpedoes. What have you all seen that accurately depicts aspects of military operations in Star Trek or other Sci fi shows, or missed the mark? Here are some military things I've noticed watching TNG:

    "Options" - Sometimes in difficult situations or just during Staff meetings Picard will just yell "Options" and the staff explodes into a flurry of activity. I have been impressed with Picard's use of his staff. "Options" are exactly what the staff provides a military Commander, apart from technical command and control. The Enterprise staff follows the military decision making process pretty well, defining the mission, then environment, and conducting all necessary movement, then playing different options against each other (often Data just does that himself in a matter of seconds). Then a certain number of "courses of action" are given to the Captain, who makes the command decision to follow one, or adjust the whole process.

    "Engage!" - Some decisions are reserved entirely for the discretion of the Commander alone. Command authority means that some decisions can't be delegated. The Commander has total control of whatever it is...and total responsibility if it doesn't work out. I'm not a Sailor, but I understand this is especially a big deal with the Captain's chair, and we can see throughout the Star Trek universe that the "chair" is given great reverence. I can't relate as a ground person, but as a pilot I know we borrow our concept of "Pilot-in-command" from this. In an aircraft you have a crew and a series of officers, always a first officer and sometimes a second and third. But the "captain" has absolute authority of the bird. In that culture, even if a General steps on the bird, the PIC has absolute authority over it while its airborne...he just may have to deal with the chewing after landing.

    Where are the enlisted? - One thing that I thought was peculiar about Star Trek is that almost everyone is an officer, at least everyone that gets screen time. You can kind of see some rank schizophrenia play out throughout the career of Chief O'Brien. First he shows up as a Lt. JG then Lt, then he is officially made a Chief later in the series, and I've read he becomes the Operations officer during DS9! I'm not a Sailor, but I've been told that Master Chief is a rather revered man on the boat (he "runs" the boat), like Sergeants' Major in the USMC and US Army and Chief Master Sergeants in USAF. Is this a naval thing I'm not getting?

    Dunadwarf

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    Re: What I've learned from Captain Picard and TNG

    Post  Dunadwarf on June 1st 2014, 1:02 pm

    Basically, Trek is run haphazardly in this regard, starting from being conceived by a hack who wanted to be a hippie. DS9 is probably the most consistent with the military iconography and internal consistency, but then it seemed to be the only Trek series that wasn't trying to claim that Starfleet isn't military (they even heaped that crap into the latest movie).
    If you like the military side of Trek, I'd recommend DS9. Heck, if you like good drama, I'd recommend DS9. It is to me what Farscape is to Paeter!

    mindspike
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    Re: What I've learned from Captain Picard and TNG

    Post  mindspike on June 1st 2014, 9:31 pm

    "There! Are! Four! Lights!"

    Compromise never begins with the big things. Compromise begins with the little things, harmless admissions of things that build rapport and trust with the enemy. Your enemy will never be your friend. You cannot trust him. You cannot afford to act in a way that admits his authority, implied or actual, over your situation. Your enemy will not ask you to betray your country until he has asked you to admit your weakness. He will not ask you to admit your weakness until you recognize his power. He will not ask you to recognize his power until he demonstrates that power. He will demonstrate that power in harmless ways. He will show you four lights and demand you say there are five. If you lie for him, you recognize his power, admit your weakness, and betray your country. Compromise begins with five lights.


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    Nathan James Norman
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    Re: What I've learned from Captain Picard and TNG

    Post  Nathan James Norman on June 1st 2014, 9:55 pm

    mindspike wrote:"There! Are! Four! Lights!"

    Compromise never begins with the big things. Compromise begins with the little things, harmless admissions of things that build rapport and trust with the enemy. Your enemy will never be your friend. You cannot trust him. You cannot afford to act in a way that admits his authority, implied or actual, over your situation. Your enemy will not ask you to betray your country until he has asked you to admit your weakness. He will not ask you to admit your weakness until you recognize his power. He will not ask you to recognize his power until he demonstrates that power. He will demonstrate that power in harmless ways. He will show you four lights and demand you say there are five. If you lie for him, you recognize his power, admit your weakness, and betray your country. Compromise begins with five lights.

    I am not a preacher who uses video clips all that often (maybe 3-4 a year). I prefer to engage the imagination. But I used this episode and scene as an illustrtation last year because it is incredibly powerful.

    Paeter
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    Re: What I've learned from Captain Picard and TNG

    Post  Paeter on June 2nd 2014, 10:41 am

    mindspike wrote:"There! Are! Four! Lights!"

    .

    I'm probably being predictable here, but I LOOOOOVED this episode! Intense and emotional.

    I was just thinking the other day that possibly the ingedient to better inject into future military-based space sci-fi is the threat or reality of casualties. A rotating cast that must be replenished as characters are killed in action or require time to recover from events like this one. True, it's probably closer to a wartime representation of military operations, but an unspoken emotional element associated with the military is the possibility of death or other terrible circumstances.

    Battlestar built drama from their lack of professionalism (PAUSE. In park with boys. Just spent five minutes talking to Jehovah's Witness. Always interesting.) as did Farscape. Trek had great moments of peril that left scars which typically healed or were forgotten quickly. (I seem to remember the same of SG1.) What would totally bring me back to military space sci-fi, without making the crew a bunch of undisciplined jerks, would be real danger and suffering that has real lasting impact, shown through emotionally shattered private moments when officers can let their guard down for the audience, even if they need to keep it up with a steel mask on duty. Whew. Now THAT would be some great television!


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    orvette1

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    What I learned

    Post  orvette1 on June 2nd 2014, 2:47 pm

    What I learned from Star Trek NG was that you had to have a "councilor" at your right hand. Since this was the time when everyone was supposed to be in therapy it only made sense. In a military point of view it was not practical. If the people in charge couldn't tell what was on the mind of the people they faced, then they needed to really work on that skill. In a situation you have to pretty much know what your opponent is thinking, and you need to know it now.
    Another thing I learned from SNG was that if you are the Captain you didn't have to follow the rules. One episode was where the Crusher kid violated a rule on a planet while playing football or something. The Prime Directive said Star Fleet couldn't interfere, but the Capt. did.
    Another thing I learned is that might makes right. They were supposed to evacuate a planet. It had been given over to the opposing side. The humans on the planet didn't want to go. They sent Data there to get them to go. He uses a phaser to damage some of their equipment and tells them they didn't stand a chance against the people who were taking over.

    Dunadwarf

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    Re: What I've learned from Captain Picard and TNG

    Post  Dunadwarf on June 5th 2014, 6:15 pm

    Paeter wrote:What would totally bring me back to military space sci-fi, without making the crew a bunch of undisciplined jerks, would be real danger and suffering that has real lasting impact, shown through emotionally shattered private moments when officers can let their guard down for the audience, even if they need to keep it up with a steel mask on duty. Whew. Now THAT would be some great television!
    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, DS9 does this. Check out "Nor the Battle to the Strong", "The Ship", The Siege of AR-558" and, of course, "In the Pale Moonlight" for some dark, gritty drama.
    I hear "Earth and Beyond" was a good show, too. Sort of like "Starship Troopers" without a brainless mysoginist at the helm!

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