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Old 01-16-2010, 08:45 AM
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Dominus of Megadeus Dominus of Megadeus is offline
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Default Promotion of a Genius

There's been some very intelligent (and some silly) discussion on our good Kirk's promotion from Cadet to Captain in the movie "Star Trek". Of course, the promotion structure may be different in the "world of Starfleet", but all I got to go by is what the US Navy goes by. So I looked up the promotional structure in the Navy (http://usmilitary.about.com/od/navyp...fficerprom.htm) and the practice of battlefield promotions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battlefield_promotion).

I can't find where there was a time that someone was promoted from Cadet to Captain in real life as Captain Kirk did in this movie. So one could roll their eyes at this.

"Not so fast, Jamie-boy!"

From the time Kirk and Bones met to the time of the Kobayashi Maru scene was 3 years and some odd months. The Kobayashi Maru is a test for Junior Officers only. At best, Kirk had to be a lieutenant. Between those three years, Kirk could still have been pestered by upper classman Finnegan, made friends with instructor Lieutenant Ben Finney and serve briefly aboard the USS Republic. (http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/James_T._Kirk)

I know they were trying to tell a story and keep it fast pace, but calling him "Cadet" by the time they boarded the Enterprise was a writer's mistake (if one is adamant in following canon). Gasp! Dominus of Megadeus is making a negative comment against the writers?!? I do have journalistic background--I'm wired to be impartial! However, the mistake wasn't a deal-breaker FOR ME, because I'm not a stickler on canon. It is not the end all to be all of things. The overall story and it's characters is what will sell a story for me. The film was still great, but I digress.

The time frame between Kirk saying "He'd do it in three" (because he IS a genius--not a run-of the mill intellect--AND he's very driven), should have been 5 years. Then again, because Uhura and "Cupcake" were already in the academy, they could have been ahead of Kirk by a year.

Junior Officers take the Kobayashi Maru, and by their behaviors, all characters seemed more seasoned than raw cadets. Kirk, following canon, should have at least have been written as a Lieutenant by the time he was smuggled aboard the Enterprise, and field-promoted to the rank of Commander just before the Space Dive.

Great film, and again, the writers going back to one of the things Mr. Roddenberry envisioned Kirk to be (a bonified genius with passion and drive) works, making him rise faster than any other cadet in Starfleet history. However, by the time he took the Kobayashi Maru, they should have been calling him by the rank of Lieutenant, not cadet.
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Old 01-16-2010, 08:54 AM
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I think it could be a case of perhaps wrong terminology.

It appears that Kirk did have the rank of lieutenant by the time he was on board the Enterprise. The visual display of the transporter console confirms his rank as being that - and yet he is also a cadet at the Academy because he has not graduated yet.

I don't what effect his field promotion would make to rank at that point.

I don't know, I think it depends on what stance one takes over the whole thing. It's definitely in many ways convenient but then over the last few months there's also been a lot of good insights into the whole thing as well.
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Old 01-16-2010, 08:59 AM
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In the novelization of Star Trek, Kirk is indeed referred to as a lieutenant after the time of the Kobayashi Maru.

The novel does a great job of offering explanations or smoothing over what some might see as plotholes in the movie.
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:34 AM
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Whoa!? I didn't mean to hit a "start a new thread" nerve.

Oh my gosh...

Sorry.
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin View Post
I think it could be a case of perhaps wrong terminology.

It appears that Kirk did have the rank of lieutenant by the time he was on board the Enterprise. The visual display of the transporter console confirms his rank as being that - and yet he is also a cadet at the Academy because he has not graduated yet...

You know, I did not notice that! I'll have to freeze-frame that image. Good eye!
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:52 AM
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Man, do I love this place! Martok and Horatio, you two also make great points that I didn't pick up on. The writers did say they got a lot of their material from the novels and, within the story, it's good for Kirk to have known people in high places.

Excellent points that I failed to pick up on.
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dominus of Megadeus View Post
You know, I did not notice that! I'll have to freeze-frame that image. Good eye!
Don't thank me Commodore first posted that info - Memory Alpha does confirm it however.

Under the entry for the alternate James T. Kirk
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celticarchie View Post
Whoa!? I didn't mean to hit a "start a new thread" nerve.

Oh my gosh...

Sorry.
Nah, it crops up often enough anyway on it's own. I wouldn't worry.
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:43 PM
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It is possible that in Starfleet, with a usual 4 year training cycle, assigns starting rank (to a point) based on the merits of the Cadet during the training.

This being the case, Cadet Kirk could plausibly be a Lieutenant at graduation, and perhaps Uhura was a Lt. JG or Ensign.

Upon assignment to a vessel, the Captain probably looks to new cadet's perfomance at the Academy to decide where to best use said cadet.

Looking at Captain Pike, it is clear that although he's a seasoned captain, he share's a little of Kirk's disdain for the strict rulebook, and likes to bend the rules to get people where he wants them or needs them.

When Kirk spotted the trap and warned the Bridge, he was seeing Kirk's potential for decision making, and his instincts coming into play.

As a result, knowing that he might not come back, he made Spock Captain, and assigned Kirk First Officer, figuring they would balance each other out, bringing the instinct with the logical intellect. He may have also considered it a parting gift to Kirk, since before even the Academy, he was looking at Kirk having his own ship down the line.

Although it is implausible for this meteoric rise, I think we have enough justification in character and events to counter this implausibility somewhat.

The writers even acknowledged how unusual it was for Kirk to be promoted First Officer, in the exchange as he was departing:

Pike: Kirk, you're first officer.
Spock: Forgive me Captain, but I am unfamiliar with human pranks.
Pike: It's not a prank, Spock. And I'm not the Captain, YOU are.
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