Chief O'Brien at Work
December 23, 2013 3:38 PM   Subscribe

"If you've ever felt lost and worthless, step aside, because someone else feels even more so, and his name is Chief O'Brien of the Starship Enterprise. Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, crappy jobs, and ennui will enjoy our short-lived Chief O'Brien at Work comics." From cartoonist Jon Adams.
posted by Narrative Priorities (86 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

 
Particularly timely: The Chief O'Brien at Work Holiday Special!
posted by Narrative Priorities at 3:41 PM on December 23, 2013


somewhere cortex is shouting into a phone "UNLESS YOUR'RE WIL WHEATON YOU'RE STEALING MY BIT"
posted by The Whelk at 3:45 PM on December 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Colm Meaney is one of the hardest working Irishmen in show business, but he will forever be known as a Tech on Star Trek. (And secondarily as the impatient father of the bandleader in The Commitments, or is that just me?)
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:49 PM on December 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


"By the way Chief, you're wife is now a twelve year old. We're not particularly concerned about it."
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:54 PM on December 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


OMG WHY AREN'T THERE MORE
posted by Twain Device at 3:56 PM on December 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


The potential for mischief is huge. I want a transporter now.
posted by arcticseal at 3:56 PM on December 23, 2013


the star trek universe has a notable dearth of enlisted personnel
posted by camdan at 4:01 PM on December 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


THE ANGRIEST TRANSPORTER CHIEF IN THE WORLD

rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...
posted by Strange Interlude at 4:10 PM on December 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh well, I'm sure things will get better once he gets to DS9...
posted by Artw at 4:26 PM on December 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


Join Starfleet! See the inside of a transporter room! Meet interesting people! And (maybe) transport them!
posted by Going To Maine at 4:26 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


These comics don't work very well because they misread the ideology of TNG-era Star Trek. O'Brien may not have been a fleshed-out character but there was nothing textually supporting that he had a such a unsatisfactorily boring job aboard the Enterprise.

Only a Star Wars fan could have interpreted it this way.
posted by polymodus at 4:31 PM on December 23, 2013 [16 favorites]


These are better and funnier than they have any right to be.
posted by ColdChef at 4:33 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Judging by what he could do in DS9 he spent all his time in the transporter bay reading physics and engineering textbooks. Possibly while plotting revenge.

"Soon! Soon my masterwork will be ready! Then they'll see! Then they'll all..."

*communicator chirp* "Chief, we're promoting you, or demoting you, we're not sure and it's not really something we're going bother trying to explain, either way you're going to DS9" *communicator chirp*

"Fools! They will all..."

*communicator chirp* "Oh and you get to be a main character" *communicator chirp*

"Well, back to being stoic and amiable I guess."
posted by Grimgrin at 4:39 PM on December 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


the star trek universe has a notable dearth of enlisted personnel

One of these days I'ma write a bit about how Star Trek is pretty much a Human/Vulcan-supremacist imperialist dystopia which provides a comfy life & spaceships for the ruling officer class. Enterprise-D was where they stuck all the rubes like Picard who had a good class pedigree but actually believed in the Federation's whitewashing propaganda. Sisko was there to expand the empire into Bajoran space, ends up finding a wormhole so the Federation can invade a whole 'nother quadrant. Janeway was out there to deal with unruly peasants, then her mission/show went off the rails.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:48 PM on December 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


Yessss, saw this the other day and sort of loved it, though it's not really the specific sort of treatment I usually have in mind for ol' Miles. I think he kind of loves his shitty boring job, personally.
posted by cortex at 5:01 PM on December 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Only a Star Wars fan could have interpreted it this way.

Your mind powers will not work on me, boy.

*basso chuckling*
posted by cortex at 5:04 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


cortex: "Yessss, saw this the other day and sort of loved it, though it's not really the specific sort of treatment I usually have in mind for ol' Miles. I think he kind of loves his shitty boring job, personally."

For real. From what I know of the Miles O'Brien character*, he was ne'er happier than when he had the entirety of a 12 hour shift in an empty transporter room. Just like, running diagnostics non-stop, gleefully transporting those tall skinny metal columns from one pad position to another, trying to break a fleet-wide speed record.

Someone actually needing to go somewhere? You know how hard it is to get back into a good diagnostic rhythm after that??

* Damn near everything
posted by danny the boy at 5:18 PM on December 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


There was a tender-by-Trek-standards scene in the DS9 pilot where Picard says goodbye to O'Brien, that the Enterprise would not be the same without him, and personally transported the chief to the station. As I understand, it was cut from the initial broadcast, so I'm not sure if Miles being appreciated gets to be canon.

And easily the worst thing to happen to Miles was when Nog was promoted above him--twice.
posted by riruro at 5:36 PM on December 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I definitely don't subscribe to this particular read of the character. I'm a hard core DS9 fan and I have some Opinions about Mr. O'brien.

I just thought these comics were too funny not to share with my favorite nerds.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 5:41 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Miles is actually a little bit dismissive in that scene about Picard romanticizing the transporter room. Like, not a dickbag, but his actual words are "it's just a transporter room, sir." Which made for good joke fodder, I thought.
posted by cortex at 5:47 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just thought these comics were too funny not to share with my favorite nerds.

Well then, it's kind of you to share them with us too.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:01 PM on December 23, 2013


And easily the worst thing to happen to Miles was when Nog was promoted above him--twice.

O'Brien never was the sort to buck for a promotion. On DS9 he appeared quite happy to be ops chief, even if that position required crawling through conduits getting rid of Cardassian voles. Just give him a big mug of Jamaican blend, double strong, double sweet; let him lose at darts to Bashir at the end of the day, and he'll be fine. Even if his wife turns into a twelve-year-old or his daughter goes feral or he gets trapped in a mind prison for 20 years. He'll be back taking panels off consoles soon enough.
posted by Spatch at 6:19 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


On DS9 he appeared quite happy to be ops chief, even if that position required crawling through conduits getting rid of Cardassian voles.

Which honestly seems like kind of low-rent tasks for the guy in charge of all operations to be doing. I figure Starfleet just gave him a fancy title, and said "Look, we'll give you more Holodeck time, alright?"
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:21 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


And easily the worst thing to happen to Miles was when Nog was promoted above him--twice.

You're not familiar with DS9's "annual O'Brien torture episode"? Like the one where he gets to experience the Cardassian "justice" system first-hand? Or the one in which he spends twenty years in prison, in a virtual reality simulation? Or when an alien possesses Keiko, his wife, and uses the threat of killing her to get Miles to kill the wormhole aliens, aka the Prophets? Or the one where he starts involuntarily traveling forward in time in short hops, and... nah, don't wanna spoil that. (Keep in mind that "annual O'Brien torture episode" is the writers' actual term for making a point of messing with him.) Even on TNG, he was revealed to be a traumatized war veteran in "The Wounded."
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:22 PM on December 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


Nog outranking him was still worse.
posted by riruro at 6:35 PM on December 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh well, I'm sure things will get better once he gets to DS9...

Pretty much the ongoing subtextual theme of the series is when, exactly, O'Brien is going to flip out and either murder Keiko or take out the whole damn station.

I'm on Season 4 right now, and I spend an unexpected amount of time worrying about Molly O'Brien's future therapy bills.
posted by Sara C. at 6:48 PM on December 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, I know I'm a Trekkie because the artist's lack of knowledge of basic TNG canon is actually hampering my enjoyment of this.

And when I say "canon", I'm talking about uniform collar styles.

I'm so, so sorry, universe. So sorry.
posted by Sara C. at 6:52 PM on December 23, 2013 [16 favorites]


I always imagined they could get away with never giving O'Brien bathroom breaks because he could just pee into the beam and then not re-materialize it anywhere.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:56 PM on December 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


the star trek universe has a notable dearth of enlisted personnel

There's a reason for this. Or, really, there's a reason the enlisted folks, until DS9, are mostly in the background. Star Trek was very specifically NOT created to be a show about the enlisted men "in the trenches" type guys. The original writer's guide to the series specified that Roddenberry didn't want to see episodes that felt too militaristic or alluded to the idea of a strong division between the officers and "lower decks".

That said, it seems logical that there wouldn't be that many low-level techs and support personnel. The technology seems powerful enough for the ship to do a lot of that stuff itself, and in fact the extent that there are always a bunch of low-level people physically digging into the bowels of the ship with wrenches actually seems a little ridiculous from the standpoint of 2013. In reality, the enlisted people are probably more like the Apple Genius Bar staff, and less like grease monkeys at an auto shop. Which I think fits O'Brien's character nicely.
posted by Sara C. at 7:05 PM on December 23, 2013


I'm not sure if Miles being appreciated gets to be canon.

Anytime TNG folks show up at DS9, they seem to recognize and get on well with him.
posted by Sara C. at 7:07 PM on December 23, 2013


Except Riker...

"You know what you did!"
posted by Artw at 7:11 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


"God dammit, Jim, it's not enough to be thrust willy-nilly through time, now I need to have my atoms scattered around half the quadrant by that... that... contraption!"
"Relax, Bones..."
"I will not relax! It's been a hundred years, and that thing is as unreliable as ever! There is no way in..."
"Bones, it's O'Brien up there."
"Chief O'Brien? Irish feller? He's running the board?"
"The one and the same."
"Enterprise D, this is McCoy. Two to beam up."
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:14 PM on December 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


But that was Tom Riker. Who didn't ever meet O'Brien.

That was Tom realizing, "Oh, shit, I'm pretending to be Will, and here's someone who knows Will. Fuuuuuuck fuck what do I doooooooooooo?" Answer? Just be an asshole.

Though, of course, O'Brien buys it. So clearly it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Riker hates O'Brien in real life.
posted by Sara C. at 7:14 PM on December 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


IIRC DS9 also establishes that previous to TNG he fought in a war against the Cardassians and was left shellshocked by it, so possibly stepping back from tactical and chilling in the transporter room was a nice rest for him.
posted by Artw at 7:19 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


But that was Tom Riker. Who didn't ever meet O'Brien.

The it where Riker peels off his sideburns to reveal his beard is actually a goatee is classic.

Though, of course, O'Brien buys it. So clearly it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Riker hates O'Brien in real life.

Or O'Brien is just briwbeaten and guilty about everything thing to the point where he assumes he must have done SOMETHING.
posted by Artw at 7:21 PM on December 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was just about to derail onto the subject of the SIDEBURN YANK TO REVEAL.

I'm sill confused about why Tom couldn't just grow sideburns.
posted by Sara C. at 7:22 PM on December 23, 2013


BECAUSE.
posted by Artw at 7:22 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Something something transporter accident, something something tachyons. That's why Tom couldn't grow a full beard.
posted by Grimgrin at 7:24 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have to say, though, as much as I'm like "OMG O'BRIEN WAS PROBABLY NOT EVEN DATING KEIKO DURING TASHA'S LIFETIME", the illustrations are beautifully done. He really nails the Colm Meaney look.
posted by Sara C. at 7:26 PM on December 23, 2013


Also, I know I'm a Trekkie because the artist's lack of knowledge of basic TNG canon is actually hampering my enjoyment of this.

And when I say "canon", I'm talking about uniform collar styles.


Huh? It looks to be a perfectly accurate representation of the latter-day TNG uniform.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:33 PM on December 23, 2013


And what, have the dramatic reveal be Tom shaving the sideburns off?

It doesn't come off at all, people would just think it was regular Riker but for some reason he'd decided to shave his sideburns. Maybe right after he shaved him you could have O'Brien or somebody see him and be all, "My God, it's really Tom Riker and not Will!", but that seems a little bit belabored even for the exposition in a DS9 episode.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 7:34 PM on December 23, 2013


Maybe... He transports his sideburns off!
posted by Artw at 7:35 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


He can only grow sideburns during the 8 year window on the planet's distortion field.
posted by dry white toast at 7:37 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


IIRC DS9 also establishes that previous to TNG he fought in a war against the Cardassians and was left shellshocked by it

That was established in S4E12 of TNG.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:40 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh? It looks to be a perfectly accurate representation of the latter-day TNG uniform.

But... Tasha.
posted by Sara C. at 7:43 PM on December 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Though, of course, O'Brien buys it. So clearly it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Riker hates O'Brien in real life.

Riker always did have his hardass moments. I remember in "Lower Decks" when he grouched at that ensign for saying, "Aye, aye" instead of "Aye" on the bridge.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:43 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


And, yes, I know you have to have some kind of visual reveal to explain the Tom-posing-as-Will plot point.

The sideburns yank is just soooooooo silly.

Then again, we've established that William Riker has an evil twin created by a transporter malfunction. So.
posted by Sara C. at 7:47 PM on December 23, 2013


Who was at the controls?
posted by Artw at 7:56 PM on December 23, 2013


It happened way back in Riker's past, pre-Enterprise.

Though, I dunno, could O'Brien have been on that ship?
posted by Sara C. at 8:05 PM on December 23, 2013


HE KNOWS WHAT HE DID!
posted by Artw at 8:09 PM on December 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


IIRC DS9 also establishes that previous to TNG he fought in a war against the Cardassians and was left shellshocked by it....

They also touched on this in Next Generation, in an episode where his old commanding officer is kind of on the verge of going all Heart-of-Darkness on everyone and picking a fight with some Cardassian science officers because he (rightfully) suspects that the Cardassians are up to something. They end up sending O'Brien onto his ship to talk him down so his old CO doesn't inadvertently re-start a war.

....and that episode also establishes that Irish rebel songs are still popular in the 23rd Century, which made me all happy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:17 PM on December 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also known as one of the only good choices of public domain music on TNG. All their other "Old Earth Song" choices were invariably dull, either adding nothing to the show or actively detracting from the quality of a given episode.

Then again, their "Latest Bajoran Hit" attempts weren't very good, either.
posted by Sara C. at 9:05 PM on December 23, 2013


But... Tasha.

This is so humiliating, but that was *exactly* my first response to that strip, too.

Anyway, it's good to know I've found a home here.
posted by bicyclefish at 9:51 PM on December 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's OK, bicyclefish. You're among friends.

It's OK.
posted by Sara C. at 9:56 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


And easily the worst thing to happen to Miles was when Nog was promoted above him--twice

i'll admit an ignorance of the series, but this makes no sense. O'Brien was enlisted, he would be on a completely separate promotion track from Nog, a cadet-then-officer. Nog would never be promoted from Ensign to Senior Chief, nor would O'Brien be promoted from Chief to Ensign. O'Brien never even went to the academy, he went to a tech school. The only way O'Brien could become an officer is if he submitted a packet for commission, but that's not really considered a promotion, it's a commissioning. Even if his packet is turned down and he stays enlisted, no one would consider somebody who is already on the officer track as being promoted "over him".
posted by camdan at 12:16 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's clumsy phrasing. I think what's meant is that Nog goes from obnoxious pipsqueak kid on the station to Starfleet officer over the course of the series, inherently outranking O'Brien by the very nature of his being an officer. Which is sort of humiliating. And it'd be humiliating to have to go around calling Nog "sir" and all, for sure, even if you were typically a completely down to earth practical person who really actually liked the completely separate track of being a noncomm and had never wanted to be an officer.

That said, I don't know what the "twice" refers to. Does O'Brien get a commission at some point, only to have Nog literally promoted above him at a later point in the series?
posted by Sara C. at 1:15 AM on December 24, 2013


sara c., i think i know what you're saying, though all enlisted people know the experience of saluting and calling "sir" younger people who may have less experience, but still outrank you due to the fact that they are officers. that is especially true for the senior enlisted ranks (in the navy, Chief and above), as they are typically in their mid 30's to 40's and junior officers are in their early 20's. O'Brien would have known this even when Nog was a cadet; i'm guessing the series made some humor out of it for the home audience. still, junior officers are generally respectful of the senior enlisted, and senior enlisted often give junior officers a difficult time until they are seasoned.

i have no idea how O'Brien became a professor at the academy for engineering, considering how typically he wouldn't have a four year degree, much less an advanced degree. i suppose it's possible that he completed a BS and a PhD while enlisted, but achieving an engineering degree while having a full time military job seems like a herculean task, much less a PhD on top of it. typically if the military would allow you to study full-time it is part of a commissioning program, so again that doesn't make much sense, unless he really biffed it at OCS.
posted by camdan at 1:29 AM on December 24, 2013


Yeah, I don't think the show ever implied that older enlisted folks are routinely resentful of younger officers, or anything of the sort.

It was always played as a punchline, and entirely rested on the fact of it being Nog, of all people.

Imagine the peskiest kid on your block becoming your boss at work. The problem isn't having a boss, or even of having a boss who's younger than you, and who you have no hope of being equal with through future promotion. The problem is that said young boss is the most obnoxious little upstart you know.

Also, FWIW, there's no supposition that Starfleet = the modern Navy. It's a somewhat similar organization, but the show never makes it clear whether being a noncomm is exactly the same as it is in the present day. O'Brien might very well have a four year degree, and it's never said that the academic structure is the same, with instructors needing PhDs, and the like. Furthermore, Starfleet isn't "the military", so we don't really know what professional development and further education is like, what kinds of hours people work, or even what most people like to do in their spare time. We don't know what kind of education children get, how quickly students are expected to advance, or how higher education works at all. So it's hard to get too specific about what O'Brien's specific trajectory would be like, anymore than an infantryman in the Thirty Years War could guess what the life of his counterpart in 2013 would be like.
posted by Sara C. at 1:43 AM on December 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


But... Tasha.

You think Barclay was the only one to use the holodeck to act out his fantasies?
posted by radwolf76 at 4:33 AM on December 24, 2013


OBVIOUSLY what's going on with Tasha is that O'Brien surreptitiously kept a copy of her transporter pattern. When he's feeling a bit randy, he materializes an instance of her, bare-ass nekkid, for to stare at. Then he just dematerializes the evidence, murdering her for the umpteenth time.

Miles O'Brien: stone cold sociopath.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:33 AM on December 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


OBVIOUSLY what's going on with Tasha is that O'Brien surreptitiously kept a copy of her transporter pattern. When he's feeling a bit randy, he materializes an instance of her, bare-ass nekkid, for to stare at. Then he just dematerializes the evidence, murdering her for the umpteenth time.

Miles O'Brien: stone cold sociopath.


And then to have Data be best man at his wedding! Stone cold sociopath with balls of molybdenum!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:40 AM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you want to see where Ronald D. Moore (DS9 Writer) takes Chief O'Brien next, you should check out Battlestar Galactica. The Chief engineer/knuckle dragger on BSG, gets married, has a kid, has a few torture episodes, has an episode where a stupid officer outranks him and makes terrible decisions while under fire, and starts a labor union.

Oh, and Underpants Monster, I believe Data was actually Kako's friend/dude of honor.
posted by fontophilic at 5:43 AM on December 24, 2013


"The Wounded" is the TNG episode that people have mentioned; it's not only my favorite TNG episode, but also the one that introduces the Cardassians (and has future Gul Dukat actor Marc Alaimo as another Cardassian, the only one we ever see with whiskers), and IMO the one that really establishes O'Brien as a solid character.

A couple of great lines from it: O'Brien talking with one of the Cardassians in Ten Forward, ending with, "It's not you I hate, Cardassian. I hate what I became because of you." And this exchange, near the end, with his former CO:

"I'm not gonna win this one, am I Chief?"
"No, sir."
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:05 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Though, of course, O'Brien buys it. So clearly it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Riker hates O'Brien in real life.

Or O'Brien is just briwbeaten and guilty about everything thing to the point where he assumes he must have done SOMETHING.


---

I always figured it was a good reading of the type of person O'brien is. He is such a "man's-man" figure that even if he didn't know why 'Riker' was mad he wasn't the type to immediately confront him on it.
posted by rosswald at 6:30 AM on December 24, 2013


Most of the folks in Star Trek spend their time staring at screens and sometimes pushing buttons. It's not all that different from what we're doing right now. Though, to be honest, it certainly was when Gene Roddenberry came up with it. At least O'Brien had something other than that to do, some of the time.
posted by tommasz at 6:44 AM on December 24, 2013


But... Tasha.

S03E15
posted by Sys Rq at 7:13 AM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


he fought in a war against the Cardassians and was left shellshocked by it

However, "I'm not a soldier. I'm an engineer." Cue MacGuyvered explosion.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:04 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


And then to have Data be best man at his wedding! Stone cold sociopath with balls of molybdenum!

Okay, look, real talk: Keiko was never any more real than holographic Tasha. Data "introduced" Miles and her at some point before they got married in late season four in the sense that he, in point blank style, observed to Miles one day that Miles kept the Tasha pattern buffer around for what Data deduced was sexual titillation and helpfully proposed that Miles use a different holographic avatar so as to reduce the likelihood of an unlucky discovery creating ill will among those crew-members capable of having emotional reactions.

Enter Keiko. Why do you think we never see her before the day they get married? Isn't that a bit weird? Yes. But so is having a long-term committed relationship with your holofuckbuddy; just getting your rocks off, fine, everybody does it and nobody asks too many questions, and as long as you aren't too weird about it (Geordi...) it just gets swept under the rug. But when it comes out of the projected boudoir and into e.g. dinner dates and marriage ceremonies and public spats, everyone is a little put off. They're not sure what to think. You don't take her out in public so much, unless you're real committed to the lifestyle. At some point, Miles gets committed, figuratively and literally, and then it's allllll out in the open.

And Data. Data programmed her for Miles, as a gift. Data made her. She's his second daughter, after Lal, and like his father before him, he created his second child differently from the first. Remember, he's not just her person-of-honor or whatever at the wedding; she gives him a carnation for the father of the bride. She knows he's her dad. She knows he made her.

He made her and he gave her away.
posted by cortex at 8:34 AM on December 24, 2013 [11 favorites]


Most of the folks in Star Trek spend their time staring at screens and sometimes pushing buttons. It's not all that different from what we're doing right now.

I always figured that there must be something like Facebook/Farmville/Metafilter aboard the Enterprise and that the on duty folks in out of the way places like the transporter room are busy on that when they don't have anything else to do.

At least, I like to think some of our late 20th/early 21st century habits and cultural things survive into the future and that not everyone in Starfleet is obsessed with Shakespeare, classical music, and so forth.

(I have a recurring idea for a set of episodes in which Data, in a effort to better understand humanity, accesses entertainment and popular culture from the late 20th/early 21st century and we get to see him after his exposure to things like Die Hard/Aliens/The A-Team/Friends/Mad Men/Breaking Bad/The Wire/Batman/Superman and so on. I also envision a retro-craze taking the ship by storm and Pac-Man tables being all the rage in Ten-Forward. But then, I'm weird).
posted by nubs at 9:17 AM on December 24, 2013


I always figured that there must be something like Facebook/Farmville/Metafilter aboard the Enterprise

Angry Hortas
Tribbles vs Klingons
Cardassian Crush Saga

But they're still waiting for Half Life 3
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:29 AM on December 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Forever alone.
posted by seawallrunner at 10:15 AM on December 24, 2013


I always figured that there must be something like Facebook/Farmville/Metafilter aboard the Enterprise

The episode of TNG where Ashley Judd gets to share lip interface with The Wheaton? They're totally playing Angry Birds.
posted by radwolf76 at 10:16 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is pretty good, but it's still no Warbot in Accounting.
posted by ckape at 10:42 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


They never showed this, but I always thought that O'Brien (and the other personnel in far off parts of the Enterprise) had some way to monitor what was happening on the bridge when important stuff was going on. Like maybe he had an active window on the transporter console that showed a live feed of the bridge, so when the Captain said "Beam us to the other ship!" he didn't have to waste time asking questions like "What ship?" And elaborating along those lines, maybe he could access the ship's sensors to examine new places and figure out in advance little details like elevation above sea level, so he didn't accidentally transport people hundreds of feet into the ground.

But I still have no idea why he never got a chair.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:53 PM on December 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


But I still have no idea why he never got a chair.

Standing desks are mandated by Starfleet.

Well no. Not for the Captain obviously.
posted by device55 at 1:38 PM on December 24, 2013


For real. From what I know of the Miles O'Brien character*, he was ne'er happier than when he had the entirety of a 12 hour shift in an empty transporter room. Just like, running diagnostics non-stop, gleefully transporting those tall skinny metal columns from one pad position to another, trying to break a fleet-wide speed record.

Upon a recent reviewing of the series, I'm pretty sure that everyone on the Enterprise falls somewhere on the Asperger's spectrum. That's why Troi's *amazing* ability to understand basic emotions and read simple face and body language is considered to be some kind of superpower.
posted by Skwirl at 6:33 PM on December 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Great, I literally just watched "The Wounded" on my bluray set tonight, and I just come to the tail end of this thread.

For posterity sake: I was surprised they established him as having previously been a tactical officer. It's like going from assistant VP for a local business, to reception at Apple.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:38 AM on December 25, 2013


They never showed this, but I always thought that O'Brien (and the other personnel in far off parts of the Enterprise) had some way to monitor what was happening on the bridge when important stuff was going on.

I'm no major continuity geek, but I've been watching TOS and TNG (S4 thus far), and I distinctly recall an episode where, I think, they beamed everyone back from some disaster and to save a scene change or whatever the Captain had a display activated on the wall of the transporter room so they could watch the sun explode or whatnot. It may have only been used the one time, but damnit, that makes it canon!

the on duty folks in out of the way places like the transporter room are busy on that when they don't have anything else to do

My brother served on the Enterprise (the floating one). The Navy has this wonderful scheme where you are kept busy every hour of your duty doing something to keep the ship from rusting to pieces or the equivalent. I'd assume it's no different with the 1701-D -- as someone said above, endless diagnostics.

O'Brien was enlisted, he would be on a completely separate promotion track from Nog, a cadet-then-officer.

The thing is, they never established that to 100% certainty. It's hard to reconcile his actual career path with his rank and/or job title being "Chief" throughout, and at best they had to fudge a lot of things like this rather than the more realistic change in rank/title, which I suppose some suit at Paramount feared would confuse a fan in Rifle, CO and generate a letter to the network. I mean, I don't know why, but it's one of the things about the steady-state aspect of most Trek storytelling that always bugged me and made simple things like Wesley growing up and moving on into epic tearfests.
posted by dhartung at 1:40 AM on December 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


But... Tasha.

S03E15


I'm not sure, but is this commenting on a character overlap issue, somewhat like Chekov and Khan never meeting on screen until TWOK? Because remember that O'Brien was in the pilot as a conn operator and can be presumed to have been hanging around on different shifts or in a less-used transporter room until he suddenly shows up again in S2 as transporter guy.
posted by dhartung at 1:48 AM on December 25, 2013


The thing is, they never established that to 100% certainty. It's hard to reconcile his actual career path with his rank and/or job title.

startrek.com lists him as a chief petty officer, and wikipedia lists him as a senior chief, which is one rank above. so o'brien is definitively enlisted. though as mentioned above, it's really odd that he would have been a tactical officer at one point, that's not an enlisted position. and apparently in some early appearances o'brien wore officer rank. so perhaps there is some confusion about what to do with a senior enlisted person in starfleet, or some confusion about whether he was meant to be an officer or not, until someone decided he wasn't.
posted by camdan at 2:26 AM on December 25, 2013


Because remember that O'Brien was in the pilot as a conn operator and can be presumed to have been hanging around on different shifts or in a less-used transporter room until he suddenly shows up again in S2 as transporter guy.

This is where it comes back to the "uniform collar styles". At the time the characters would have overlap, there was that extra colored stripe in the shoulder area of the uniform, the one that wardrobe abandoned after Season One when they moved to the two piece version.
posted by radwolf76 at 4:00 AM on December 25, 2013


I'm not sure, but is this commenting on a character overlap issue, somewhat like Chekov and Khan never meeting on screen until TWOK?

Sort of. It's saying that O'Brien and Yar didn't overlap in those collars...except for that one time when they did.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:06 AM on December 25, 2013


"Data, are you... fully functional?"

"Yes, let us overlap in our collars."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:13 AM on December 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


The only story I remember about O'Brien is that Colm Meaney was reading a script and he was suddenly really pissed because he'd been playing the transporter operator but now the script has some O'Brien guy on the transporter. It took a while for someone to calm him down and explain that no, he's not getting cut, they just gave his character a name.
posted by ckape at 11:12 AM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


There have only been a few onscreen mentions of the differences between enlisted and commissioned Starfleet personnel. The one that springs immediately to mind is Simon Tarses in the TNG episode "The Drumhead" testifying that he enrolled in a training program for enlisted personnel rather than applying to the Academy because he didn't want to wait four years to serve. (As I recall, fear of the pressure of the Academy and that his Romulan heritage would come to light were also factors.)

But since the 24th century UFP Starfleet isn't, and isn't meant to be, a perfect analog of the 20th and 21st century American military, I don't think we can assume that it's a "mistake" if we see noncommissioned personnel doing some of the same things commissioned personnel do, especially on deep space missions where ship's captains must naturally be given a great deal of latitude over how things are run.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:46 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been tempted to do something like this but where Miles gets assimilated by Borg. It would be called "Miles of Borg." The assimilation doesn't squash his personality (or maybe he's punched into a Unimatrix Zero) but the Borg just keep assigning him the cruddiest, boring-est jobs on the ship. While scrubbing out the regeneration areas and flushing the pattern buffers, he tells homespun tales to his "friend" 16 of 46 and kvetches about his lot in life.
posted by drezdn at 6:44 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


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