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MissionTrek08 11-30-2008 02:25 PM

Kirk on the fast track
I don't believe this particular point has been brought up in the general discussion of Pine-Kirk's age and advancement here, so I'm adding this to the discussion:

In THE CORBOMITE MANEUVER, McCoy and Kirk have the following exchange about the young navigator Bailey:

M: "I'm especially worried about Bailey. Navigator's position's rough enough for a seasoned man."

K: "I think he'll cut it."

M: "How so sure? Because you saw something you liked in him? Something familiar? Say about yourself oh... eleven years ago."

K: "Why doctor, you've been reading your textbooks again."

M: "I don't need textbooks to know you could have promoted him too fast."

Does this dialogue, specifically the ending lines, give implied if not actual support that indeed Jim Kirk rode a fast track through his early career and promotions in TOS, and thus would do so again 'per canon' in the new film?

I ask because I noted some other fans were worried that Abrams' film proceeds too quickly from Kirk being in the Academy to his first space missions to the captain's chair, all in one film.

Yet might such a scene as the above indicate that's exactly what was implied if not fully intended about Kirk's career all along? Not only did such a rapid rise seem to take place, but it's actually part of 'textbook' history in the fleet... a fact McCoy knows all too well.

Also, it would seem to make sense that Kirk's drive and devotion would make him a fast-rising officer, and thus his age/inexperience would naturally be both challenged and questioned during his ascent.

In short, there's little "special" about a cadet or junior officer who takes exactly the average amount of time to rise in ranks through his/her career... and Kirk is by all evidence a very special case officer, so of course he would push the limits and exceed the standards.

Thoughts and opinions?

NCC-73515 11-30-2008 02:35 PM

Tryla Scott was the youngest officer to become a Starfleet captain by the time of TNG.

lordisaiah 11-30-2008 03:01 PM

It's always been presumed Kirk was on the fast track. After all, in "Court Martial" he's talking to his fellow "classmates" and they're all lieutenants or lieutenant commanders. (I think one is even still an ensign...). Of course, in reality, this is probably just because those were the extra uniforms the costume department had on hand.

It was pretty well implied, but not explicitly stated, that at the time of TOS, Kirk was one of the youngest captains to ever command a starship, at the age of 31.

kevin 11-30-2008 03:11 PM

Kirk was always very young to be a Starship captain, taking a ship out on such a mission, so it seems that if he left the Academy in his early twenties but was a captain by his thirties he must have progressed faster than most of his contemporaries.

Whether it was circumstance, ability or a mix of both is perhaps something that this film will be able to answer.

Although it can be passed over in the film, though, I have to confess to wondering if there will be a dialogue reference to his serving aboard the USS Farragut before coming to the Enterprise. I don't expect any scenes there - they wouldn't fit into the film - but I wonder if it will be covered.

horatio 11-30-2008 03:13 PM

Nice reference, Mission. I am by far no TOs expert, but I always had the impression that Kirk was a fairly young captain who made a quick career, so I don't see any problem in doing that in the upcoming movie.
He seemed to be of about the same age as Uhura and Sulu, only Chekov seemed younger and Spock, McCoy and Scotty are obviously older.

It was also implied that people don't wanna make a career for its own sake but become what they can do best, engineer, communications officer, helmsman and Kirk just wants to do what he is best at, commanding a starship.

lordisaiah 11-30-2008 03:27 PM

That was one thing I found quite interesting and (and at some level, possibly disconcerting as well) was that there appeared to be no "push" for rank.

In the modern military, if you don't achieve a certain rank within a certain time frame, you are kicked out, essentially for being "unmotivated", whereas in Starfleet, a man of Picard's age can reach the rank of Lieutenant and more advancement, but apparently, no recriminations either. (Refering to the TNG episode "Tapestry")

kevin 11-30-2008 03:32 PM

It would seem fairer to keep someone where they were doing a job they wanted or something they were good at. I wouldn't see the point in forcing a person to go for promotion and take responsibilities they didn't want. I don't work in the military but I do work for a government department and often the people going for promotion where I am aren't the ones who are actually right for it, they just want the higher salary.

jerhanner 11-30-2008 03:35 PM

I thought it was canon (eeep) that Kirk was the youngest Captain ever in Star Fleet?

But yeah, if he was the protege of a powerful enough admiral, he could have made Captain in 10 years.

Look at old WW2 movies - there were very young army colonels out there, which is the same rank as a Captain in the navy.

horatio 11-30-2008 03:37 PM

That is part of the better future of Trek, that people wanna do what they are best at, not what yields the highest salary. Often this utopian element is attributed to TNG, but what was Kirk's motivation? Did he have larger quarters than other crewmembers?

kevin 11-30-2008 03:37 PM


Originally Posted by jerhanner (Post 124874)
I thought it was canon (eeep) that Kirk was the youngest Captain ever in Star Fleet?

But yeah, if he was the protege of a powerful enough admiral, he could have made Captain in 10 years.

Look at old WW2 movies - there were very young army colonels out there, which is the same rank as a Captain in the navy.

Not sure, there is that line dialogue about Tryla Scott in 'Conspiracy', as was mentioned earlier, but he may well have been the record holder at that point in time!

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