Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

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Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

Postby Graham Kennedy » Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:07 pm

During TNG, the accepted formula is that 1,000 stardate units equates to 1 calendar year. There's a nifty calculator on DITL that lets you use that formula to work out the exact date of any given Stardate.

In Encounter at Farpoint we see that the Stardate is 41153.7, with equates to Wednesday 26th February, 2364.

In All Good Things we see Picard arrive at the ship for the first time. We're told the Stardate is 41148, which is Monday 24th February 2364 - just two days before he made his first log entry in Encounter at Farpoint.

In the episode Data's Day, the Stardate is 44390.1, which means it is set on Tuesday 23rd May, 2367. Interestingly, Data comments that this is the 1,550th day of the Enterprise-D's service life. If you subtract 1,550 days from 23rd May 2367, you find that the Enterprise-D entered service on Saturday 23rd February, 2363.

So the ship was actually in service for one year and one day before Picard took command!

Now "in service" can mean different things. One can presume that the E-D spent that time working up, training the crew, working the kinks out of the systems, etc. But even for that, surely there would be a commanding officer on board the ship, yes? And it's even conceivable that the ship undertook actual missions during this time.

So was there a commanding officer for the Enterprise-D before Picard? It seems that there must have been! One wonders who it was...
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Re: Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

Postby Captain Seafort » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:38 pm

Graham Kennedy wrote:During TNG, the accepted formula is that 1,000 stardate units equates to 1 calendar year. There's a nifty calculator on DITL that lets you use that formula to work out the exact date of any given Stardate.

In Encounter at Farpoint we see that the Stardate is 41153.7, with equates to Wednesday 26th February, 2364.

In All Good Things we see Picard arrive at the ship for the first time. We're told the Stardate is 41148, which is Monday 24th February 2364 - just two days before he made his first log entry in Encounter at Farpoint.

In the episode Data's Day, the Stardate is 44390.1, which means it is set on Tuesday 23rd May, 2367. Interestingly, Data comments that this is the 1,550th day of the Enterprise-D's service life. If you subtract 1,550 days from 23rd May 2367, you find that the Enterprise-D entered service on Saturday 23rd February, 2363.


This all assumes that the stardate year aligns precisely with the Gregorian solar year. Do we have any examples of stardates being directly equated to Gregorian dates?

Now "in service" can mean different things. One can presume that the E-D spent that time working up, training the crew, working the kinks out of the systems, etc. But even for that, surely there would be a commanding officer on board the ship, yes? And it's even conceivable that the ship undertook actual missions during this time.


To add another couple of data points, the TNG TM states that the E-D was commissioned on 4 October 2363, and that sea trials or equivalent occurred between 2360 and 2363, including warp flight and live fire exercises. From an OOU perspective, the TM's publication occurred very shortly after the broadcast of Data's Day, which makes it likely that the two were drawing from the same source, and that the commissioning date mentioned in the TM might very well be intended to be day 1 of the service life Data referenced.
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Re: Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

Postby Graham Kennedy » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:57 pm

Captain Seafort wrote:
Graham Kennedy wrote:During TNG, the accepted formula is that 1,000 stardate units equates to 1 calendar year. There's a nifty calculator on DITL that lets you use that formula to work out the exact date of any given Stardate.

In Encounter at Farpoint we see that the Stardate is 41153.7, with equates to Wednesday 26th February, 2364.

In All Good Things we see Picard arrive at the ship for the first time. We're told the Stardate is 41148, which is Monday 24th February 2364 - just two days before he made his first log entry in Encounter at Farpoint.

In the episode Data's Day, the Stardate is 44390.1, which means it is set on Tuesday 23rd May, 2367. Interestingly, Data comments that this is the 1,550th day of the Enterprise-D's service life. If you subtract 1,550 days from 23rd May 2367, you find that the Enterprise-D entered service on Saturday 23rd February, 2363.


This all assumes that the stardate year aligns precisely with the Gregorian solar year. Do we have any examples of stardates being directly equated to Gregorian dates?

Only in that TNG as a whole follows the 1000 Stardate units = 1 year. And that this continues on through DS9 and Voyager, always aligning with the stated dates. Canonically, we know that it averages that ratio. I suppose it's possible it is variable, with Stardates getting randomly longer and shorter through the year, but that would be a horrible system. It may be shifted, so that Stardate 40001 is not the beginning of the year and 49999 is not the end of it. That would affect the dates but not the conclusion.

But even in the most general terms, 1,550 days is 4 years and 3 months, give or take. It's a full year before the show started with Encounter at Farpoint, and that's a pretty big discrepancy. Too big for wiggle room with Stardates, IMO.

To add another couple of data points, the TNG TM states that the E-D was commissioned on 4 October 2363, and that sea trials or equivalent occurred between 2360 and 2363, including warp flight and live fire exercises. From an OOU perspective, the TM's publication occurred very shortly after the broadcast of Data's Day, which makes it likely that the two were drawing from the same source, and that the commissioning date mentioned in the TM might very well be intended to be day 1 of the service life Data referenced.

Could be. And logically, there must have been somebody in command for those trials and exercises.

It seems pretty clear that there must have been a CO before Picard.
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Re: Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

Postby Sonic Glitch » Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:37 am

I've noticed in some of the books/"beta Canon" refer to the Captain from Tapestry being in command during construction and trials, but nothing official as far as I know.
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Re: Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

Postby Mikey » Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:54 am

Does it matter?
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Re: Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

Postby Graham Kennedy » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:41 am

Mikey wrote:Does it matter?

It matters to me. I can't speak to whether it matters to others, though.
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Re: Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

Postby Graham Kennedy » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:43 am

Sonic Glitch wrote:I've noticed in some of the books/"beta Canon" refer to the Captain from Tapestry being in command during construction and trials, but nothing official as far as I know.

Captain Thomas Halloway. What an interesting idea. I like it.
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Re: Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

Postby McAvoy » Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:54 am

Most likely. Probably was a Captain too since a Galaxy class ship is a ship of the line.

Most likely he or she was there before the launching and the commissioning of the ship. Could have easily been a soon-to-be-retired officer, who has basically a comfortable assignment prior to his retirement. To me that would explain why he or she was the CO up until Picard took over.

Though I can't remember offhand, but the scene in All Good Things, was that the first time Picard came on board? I am saying this because in change of commands there is a ceremony where the ongoing CO takes command from the outgoing CO and takes command there and then in front of most of the crew.
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Re: Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

Postby Captain Seafort » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:50 am

McAvoy wrote:Most likely. Probably was a Captain too since a Galaxy class ship is a ship of the line.


Not necessarily. The period in which this presumed predecessor was in command would have been final fitting-out and sea trials. In the old Ark, for example, the senior naval officer for her sea trials was her Commander, and during periods between commissions she was usually commanded by a Commander or Lt Commander. It doesn't change the near-certainty of a pre-Picard CO, but there is the fairly strong possibility that they weren't a four-pip Captain, and might even have been a civvie from UP.
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Re: Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

Postby McAvoy » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:34 am

Captain Seafort wrote:
McAvoy wrote:Most likely. Probably was a Captain too since a Galaxy class ship is a ship of the line.


Not necessarily. The period in which this presumed predecessor was in command would have been final fitting-out and sea trials. In the old Ark, for example, the senior naval officer for her sea trials was her Commander, and during periods between commissions she was usually commanded by a Commander or Lt Commander. It doesn't change the near-certainty of a pre-Picard CO, but there is the fairly strong possibility that they weren't a four-pip Captain, and might even have been a civvie from UP.


Without seriously looking it up, I do think the US Navy when it comes to nuclear carriers do use captains for its workups. Whether the that will be the CO of the ship for the immediate future or he will be relieved at a later time I am not sure.

I do know when I did the workups with the USS George Bush 9 years ago, she had a Captain as the CO. I left the Navy shortly after though.
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Re: Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

Postby 00111010 01000100 » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:22 pm

If they use a similar method of constructing ships as the navy still does today, then there would’ve been a different captain and crew prior to commissioning. In the navy, they are referred to as the pre-commissioning crew. Basically as skeleton crew and command assigned to a ship for its design, construction, and testing. There may well have been a prior captain to Picard assuming command of the Enterprise D, but their exploits weren’t enough to garner a show so they decided to leave them out of the storyline. ;)
P.S. Navy C.O.’s are only required to do a 2-year command tour prior to being promoted or transferring to a shore based command. If the same logic was applied by the show’s writers, how long did it take from when they started construction on Enterprise D until it was commissioned? If it was 3-4 years, then yeah, there would’ve been another crew entirely.
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Re: Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

Postby Bryan Moore » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:44 pm

00111010 01000100 wrote:If they use a similar method of constructing ships as the navy still does today, then there would’ve been a different captain and crew prior to commissioning. In the navy, they are referred to as the pre-commissioning crew. Basically as skeleton crew and command assigned to a ship for its design, construction, and testing. There may well have been a prior captain to Picard assuming command of the Enterprise D, but their exploits weren’t enough to garner a show so they decided to leave them out of the storyline. ;)
P.S. Navy C.O.’s are only required to do a 2-year command tour prior to being promoted or transferring to a shore based command. If the same logic was applied by the show’s writers, how long did it take from when they started construction on Enterprise D until it was commissioned? If it was 3-4 years, then yeah, there would’ve been another crew entirely.


Forgive me if I am mistaken, but this pre-commissioning crew does not technically get recorded in the command history of the ship, correct?

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Re: Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

Postby Graham Kennedy » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:30 pm

Bryan Moore wrote:Also, welcome to the board! Don't get new life very often these days, so here's to you staying!

So say we all!
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Re: Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

Postby Bryan Moore » Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:32 am

[quote="00111010 01000100"]If they use a similar method of constructing ships as the navy still does today, then there would’ve been a different captain and crew prior to commissioning. In the navy, they are referred to as the pre-commissioning crew. Basically as skeleton crew and command assigned to a ship for its design, construction, and testing. There may well have been a prior captain to Picard assuming command of the Enterprise D, but their exploits weren’t enough to garner a show so they decided to leave them out of the storyline. ;)
P.S. Navy C.O.’s are only required to do a 2-year command tour prior to being promoted or transferring to a shore based command. If the same logic was applied by the show’s writers, how long did it take from when they started construction on Enterprise D until it was commissioned? If it was 3-4 years, then yeah, there would’ve been


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Re: Was Picard the first Captain of the Enterprise-D?

Postby 00111010 01000100 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:52 am

Thank you (all) for the welcome!
As for the question about pre-commission names being logged? Yes, they are however it’s more of a “feather in your cap” honor than recorded in permanent history. I hate applying current military/navy logic to the answer your question but it is unfortunately all I have to fall back on since we’re discussing future fictional command structures and guidelines. I suppose I just should point out that of the vessels I’ve been privileged to serve on, one was just starting it naval career (so to speak - it had never been on an extended mission or anything taxing). There were a few crew members whom were part of the ending of her pre-commissioning days but those individuals weren’t recognized for being unique or special. The command staff were all newly appointed from previous ships and this was their first time on THIS ship, not that they (as Picard) hadn’t performed previous duties as lesser ranked officers, only that this was a new ship and previous accomplishments are ignored in favor of current ones. The Enterprise’s commissioning personnel may have gone on to other ships and other duties but as a pre-commissioning crew, their (if any) exploits would’ve been undocumented and essentially ignored.
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