Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 310
# 1 Star Trek-related questions
03-28-2014, 05:02 PM
Because not asking questions is ignorance and I wish to know a bit more about Star Trek's lore and fluff, I hope you folks don't mind if I ask a few things.

1-Can someone explain to me what is a non-commissioned officer and the rank hierarchy of Star Trek?

2-Are Photon torpedoes made of actual light? I know the torpedo has an actual hard casing, but why is it a PHOTON torpedo?

3-Can a rank below captain be in command of a ship, say, a Lt. Commander? Not temporary, but actually assigned to such a ship.

4-Could someone explain it to me like I'm 5 what the Operations dept. and the Command dept.'s role within a starship is?
Career Officer
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,632
# 2
03-28-2014, 05:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by undyingzero View Post
1-Can someone explain to me what is a non-commissioned officer and the rank hierarchy of Star Trek?
Try this link; http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Starfleet_ranks

A non-commissioned officer is a military officer who has not been given a Commission, a document which appoints him as a commissioned officer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by undyingzero View Post
2-Are Photon torpedoes made of actual light? I know the torpedo has an actual hard casing, but why is it a PHOTON torpedo?
No, Photon Torpedoes are not made of light. They have antimatter warheads. In other words;

Quote:
The components of a Federation photon torpedo were contained within an elongated elliptical casing, also known as a photon tube. The weapon was armed with a photon warhead. The warhead had a detonation chamber filled with antimatter. Upon detonation the torpedo created a matter-antimatter explosion and a flood of ion radiation.
So Photon Torpedoes are named thus due to the components being encased in something called a photon tube, and having a photon warhead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by undyingzero View Post
3-Can a rank below captain be in command of a ship, say, a Lt. Commander? Not temporary, but actually assigned to such a ship.
Commanders and Lt. Commanders have, in Star Trek Lore, held the position of Commanding Officer of a Starship or Starbase on several occassions. Jadzia Dax, a Lt. Commander, was commanding officer of the Defiant for a short time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by undyingzero View Post
4-Could someone explain it to me like I'm 5 what the Operations dept. and the Command dept.'s role within a starship is?
Operations, by and large, handles some of the day-to-day running of starships and starbases. Administration, maintainance, security etc. Both Worf and O'Brien were members of the Ops Division, whilst they actually have different duties with regards to the Enterprise D.

Command Division, on the other hand, is home to personnell in command and conrtol positions, those who are charged with making decisions that then affect what other divisions do and what their priorities are.
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In the end, what they chose to call us is irrelevant.
We simply... are.


Last edited by johngazman; 03-28-2014 at 05:23 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,849
# 3
03-28-2014, 05:21 PM
No one can explain to you the rank structure in Star Trek, because it isn't coherent. Roddenberry kind of modeled Starfleet after a military organization when he came up with the idea, but he wanted a military with no real hierarchy, and no enlisted. Later mentions were made of Albe Spacemen (in one TOS episode) and of course Chief Warrant Officers (in TNG), but Cheif O'Brien was later promoted to Lieutenant without having to attend Officer's Candidate School, so all bets are off, really.

A photon torpedo is called that basically because it sounds cool. What exactly it is depends on who you listen to; most seem to agree that it's a packet of antimatter (or sometimes of matter and antimatter, so it can explode itself) held in a magnetic containment field.
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Captain
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,894
# 4
03-28-2014, 05:22 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by undyingzero View Post
2-Are Photon torpedoes made of actual light? I know the torpedo has an actual hard casing, but why is it a PHOTON torpedo?
Antimatter.

Quote:
3-Can a rank below captain be in command of a ship, say, a Lt. Commander? Not temporary, but actually assigned to such a ship.
Difficult question.
I'd say no. That was discussed A LOT in threads about the dump rank/level system STO has.

So the arguments:
pro: Starfleet military mirrors in large parts naval military in reality. And there this kind of thing is possible.

contra: Even the smallest and crapiest ships in Star Trek were commanded by Captains. Every time it was differently that was only temorpary (Worf at the Defiant)

It is, after all, NOT the US Navy, its Starfleet. So not everything that worlks there has to work here. Thats why I'm going with a "No".
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Captain
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,025
# 5
03-28-2014, 11:53 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by undyingzero View Post
3-Can a rank below captain be in command of a ship, say, a Lt. Commander? Not temporary, but actually assigned to such a ship.
Quote:
Originally Posted by revandarklighter View Post
Difficult question.
I'd say no. That was discussed A LOT in threads about the dump rank/level system STO has.

So the arguments:
pro: Starfleet military mirrors in large parts naval military in reality. And there this kind of thing is possible.

contra: Even the smallest and crapiest ships in Star Trek were commanded by Captains. Every time it was differently that was only temorpary (Worf at the Defiant)

It is, after all, NOT the US Navy, its Starfleet. So not everything that worlks there has to work here. Thats why I'm going with a "No".
*cough*Sisko*cough*


Commander Benjamin Sisko captained the Defiant and simultaneously commanded Deep Space 9 for roughly a year (2370: acquired Defiant) before finally being promoted to the rank of captain (2371).

Additionally, I did a quick look-up and The Animated Series (TAS) in episode "The Eye of the Beholder" had a Lt. Commander Tom Markel in charge of the Ariel, a survey ship. I know there are those who do not hold TAS as canon, but it is there, so I thought I'd mention it.
Survivor of Romulus
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,382
# 6
03-29-2014, 12:23 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by undyingzero View Post
1-Can someone explain to me what is a non-commissioned officer and the rank hierarchy of Star Trek?
Miles O'Brien was a Chief. Although in early TNG he was supposedly a Lt. or Ensign or something before they changed his rank pips and 'properly' placed him as an NCO. If you ever see crewmen on Star Trek without rank pips, or the same rank pip as Miles O'Brien has... they're likely an NCO.

Dr. Zimmerman (who invented the holographic doctor) similarly had a special Starfleet uniform without rank pips on it. And the holographic doctor himself did not have rank pips, signifying that he held the position of NCO. It was only after Voyager relied on him as their primary physician that his authority 'increased', such as his modification to deactivate his own program (only an officer could deactivate him originally).

Quote:
2-Are Photon torpedoes made of actual light? I know the torpedo has an actual hard casing, but why is it a PHOTON torpedo?
The energy field that envelopes photon torpedos might have given way to its nickname of photon torpedos. 'Fire the antimatter torpedos' doesn't roll off the tongue as nicely as 'Photon torpedos'. In the same way 'Fire phasers' is easier to say than 'Fire the phaser beam directed energy projection arrays.'

Quote:
3-Can a rank below captain be in command of a ship, say, a Lt. Commander? Not temporary, but actually assigned to such a ship.
Yes. Sisko was a Commander before being promoted to Captain, and when on 'the boat', they are always referred to as Captain regardless of their actual rank.

Quote:
4-Could someone explain it to me like I'm 5 what the Operations dept. and the Command dept.'s role within a starship is?
Operations is the new Science dept. in Star Trek. In Star Trek Online, however, there was apparently a TOS renaissance (like with those special uniforms) and they reinstated the position of Chief Science Officer.

However, Operations was typically in charge of the Science Dept. on the shows. DS9 was an exception since Jadzia Dax was on a space station. But both Data and Harry Kim fulfilled the same job that Mr. Spock did on TOS.

It's easier to just think of Operations as 'Science'. But in STO, they're two distinct departments once more, with Operations consisting of internal ship functions (like sensor officers, quartermasters, etc.), and Engineering handling the more technical aspect of keeping the ship alive.

Command is a tricky subject, since it's different in STO. However, for the shows, Command was seen as a separate career track, where their jobs were managerial in nature, and they likely took classes at the Academy where their main focus was leadership.

In STO, however... there is no command track. As a result of attrition with the war with the Klingons, and many veteran officers being killed in the past 30 years, Starfleet Command revised their codes in regards to commanding officers. They relaxed many regulations we saw in the shows for the sake of getting more people in Starfleet.

This is supported by canon when Senator Vreenak mentions Starfleet has been suffering from a 'manpower shortage' during the Dominion War. So it's easy to make the assumption Starfleet is not used to being in wartime, and given these circumstances, amendments to Starfleet must be made.

As if you're 5, though:

Operations was science, but with gold-shirts mixed in with blue-shirts. Now it is gold-shirts and helps out Engineering like Data and LaForge often did.

'Command' are the big important people who go to school to learn how to be big important people. In real world terms, they are the ones who wear suit and ties and boss the blue-collar workers around.
http://sto-forum.perfectworld.com/image.php?u=91851766000&type=sigpic&dateline=13403  39147

Last edited by iconians; 03-29-2014 at 12:35 AM.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 5,792
# 7
03-29-2014, 12:31 AM
It appears that Photon Torpedoes were originally defined as some type of energy weapon. Photon Torpedoes were first named in the Arena episode in January 1967 while the Making of Star Trek book in 1968 described it as "energy pods of matter and anti-matter contained and held temporarily separated in a magno-photon force field." So while it used antimatter, the torpedo seemed to be some type of energy torpedo. The capsule version came into existence with Wrath of Khan. As far as an on-screen reference that Photon Torpedoes contained antimatter, it was Samaritan Snare in May 1989 that made the connection.

So when Photon Torpedoes were first revealed, they were called Photon Torpedoes so obviously it meant that the Federation was advanced enough to create a weapon that could fire explosive balls of photons due to them looking like blobs of energy while it was changed over the years to remove the photon connection.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 764
# 8
03-29-2014, 09:37 PM
Also, when antimatter reacts with matter, its mass-energy is converted completely into photons . . . LOTS of photons--about a kilogram and a half of antimatter is equal in energy output to the Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear bomb detonated by humankind in the 20th century.
How many Starfleet Engineers does it take to exchange an Anti-positronic Photon Emitter?
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,618
# 9
03-29-2014, 10:05 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by undyingzero View Post
Because not asking questions is ignorance and I wish to know a bit more about Star Trek's lore and fluff, I hope you folks don't mind if I ask a few things.

1-Can someone explain to me what is a non-commissioned officer and the rank hierarchy of Star Trek?

2-Are Photon torpedoes made of actual light? I know the torpedo has an actual hard casing, but why is it a PHOTON torpedo?

3-Can a rank below captain be in command of a ship, say, a Lt. Commander? Not temporary, but actually assigned to such a ship.

4-Could someone explain it to me like I'm 5 what the Operations dept. and the Command dept.'s role within a starship is?
1) The rank hierarchy of startrek follows that of the modern U.S. Navy-ish there are differences but not many and sto has them in the proper order.

An NCO is an enlisted person in a position similar to that of an officer, usually this is reserved for people of sergeant or higher ranking in the enlisted structure. The navy has more NCO postings than anyone else since they still use warrant officers.

The difference between enlisted and commissioned personnel is usually how they came into service Startrek tells us very little outside the officer core. But I can assume an enlisted crewman spends less time at the academy or attends another school all together.

2) technobabble.

3) Yes. historically the officer in charge of a ship is called the captain regardless of actual rank.
Picard was captain of the stargazer as a Lt.Cmdr.

4) Operations contains the officer assigned to the operation (hint) of ship systems. Such as a transporter operator or conn officer.

It is technically part of the larger engineering department but slightly less involved in actually fixing anything.

There isn't actually a command department, there are command crew and command officers.

Command crew tend to be the people in charge of where to go and how to get there. like security personnel or a helmsman.

The command officers are just the department heads.

There are also science and medical departments

The science department is in charge of all the research related laboratory's on a ship, their job would be to identify strange alien metals and what not.

Medical would be in charge of any hospital/first aide facility's as well as general heath systems like a gym, their job would be to remove that weird alien metal from your torso without killing you.
Actualy reading things pefore posting will make you look smarter than yelling loudly. Reading comprehension is aparently a lost art.

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