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I know that Data refers to Geordi as "Lt. La Forge" in the episode "Hero Worship" (when talking to Timothy). This is in the third person, though. When speaking to each other, do Data and Geordi ever speak formally (addressing by rank, or Geordi calling Data "sir")?

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No such dialogue, it seems

Restricting to canon, I cannot locate such formal dialogue between Data and Geordi. (I'll be happy for someone with a better recollection of any minute pieces of dialogue, or better Google-Fu, to find an example.)

As early as "The Naked Now" (Season 1, Episode 2), we hear Data refer to La Forge simply as "Geordi":

RIKER: All I have is a vague memory of reading somewhere about someone taking a shower in his or her clothing.

DATA: Ah. The body Geordi discovered.

Then in "Code of Honour" (Season 1, Episode 3), we already hear Data and Geordi conversing with one another in a relaxed, purely informal manner:

DATA: Why that razor, my friend? Why not the one I adjusted to perfect efficiency?

LA FORGE: Shaving is a human art form, Data. Technological perfection can shave too close.

Also, from the same scene:

DATA: How do you know when something is funny?

LA FORGE: It's not explainable. You just do.

DATA: Perhaps it is you, Geordi. Includling the kiddillies, I've learned six hundred sixty two jokes, and you have not —

LA FORGE: Includling the kiddillies! Now, see, that's funny.

It seems, now that I think about it, that something is missing from the early TNG episodes: just how did Data and La Forge become such best buds? Apparently such a scene was written but never actually filmed, according to Levar Burton:

...and this is little-known Trek lore — in the audition sides for the character, during the casting process, there was a scene that Gene Roddenberry wrote between Geordi and Data, that established their relationship. And in that scene, Geordi and Data discussed how Geordi's eyes and Data's brain saw the world in a very similar way. They saw the truth of the world around them. And so, in the scene that Gene wrote, they formed a team, and they called themselves the Perceivers, because their perceptions were alike.

And even though the Perceivers thing never made it to the pilot episode, the relationship between Geordi and Data certainly did.

(Source)

Without this scene, we simply find Data and La Forge communicating on informal terms, left to wonder when they dropped the formalities.

  • 1
    Although this is a really nice answer, I can't help but notice that it's wrong :-) – Valorum Dec 16 '16 at 20:41
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    @Valorum : I said, I was happy for someone to prove me wrong. Your medal is in the post. :-) – Praxis Dec 17 '16 at 0:14
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    I feel that the line from the question, "When speaking to each other", does make this the correct answer. When they're giving status updates and field reports they're not really "speaking to each other", rather doing professional things in a professional way. The examples @Praxis gives demonstrate how they really communicate outside of official obligations, and shows that they do not address each other formally when they're really talking to each other. – DCOPTimDowd Jun 9 '17 at 19:29
  • "they formed a team, and they called themselves the Perceivers" - that sounds really cheesy. I'm rather glad this didn't make it into the final script. In real life, I never needed to recognize a specific aspect that a work colleague has in common with me (and proclaim it in a dialogue!) to become friends with them. I wouldn't even say anything is "missing from the early TNG episodes" - as a matter of fact, we didn't witness how most of the characters met for the first time (only Riker and the Crushers are picked up at Farpoint Station), and the Enterprise has already been underway for a ... – O. R. Mapper Jun 11 '17 at 9:18
  • ... little while before the pilot episode (at least to travel to Farpoint Station). – O. R. Mapper Jun 11 '17 at 9:19
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Data directly addresses Geordi as 'Commander La Forge' on at least two occasions (although the first one is a fudge since he's contacting him on behalf of the Enterprise).

DATA: Enterprise to Commander La Forge. I am reading significant power fluctuations from the station core. Please report.

TNG: The Quality of Life

and

DATA: Commander La Forge, please report.

LAFORGE: We're fine, Data. The power grid is fully restored.

TNG: The Quality of Life


As far as Lt. Commander La Forge referring to Lt. Commander Data (the ship's Second Officer) as "Sir", it should be noted that neither holds a senior rank after La Forge's promotion to Lt. Commander less than a year into the show's run

  • Yeah, I suppose then that Data wouldn't outrank Geordi, but he'd still have seniority. So in that sense Data is still technically "above" Geordi, correct? – Ham Sandwich Dec 16 '16 at 20:31
  • @T-1000'sSon - Yes, in precisely the same way that Ensign Harry Kim has superiority to the various Lieutenants and Lieutenant Commanders in the Operations department. His position is the gift of the Captain and can be offered without a promotion and removed without a demotion. – Valorum Dec 16 '16 at 20:35
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    Good find, still I think that Data is senior to La Forge, not because of his rank, but because of his post (2nd Officer). Just as Commander Riker is superior to other commanders, like Crusher or Troi, because he is Enterprise's XO. – Edmund Dantes Dec 17 '16 at 8:55
  • @EdmundDantes - Riker holds a superior position but he doesn't have seniority in terms of rank. It's a fine distinction but the general principle is that you only cause those who outrank you "sir". – Valorum Dec 17 '16 at 9:59
  • While checking at Memory Alpha: Protocol also allowed for its use between officers of identical rank, particularly where one held a higher overall position in a command structure. Upon his promotion to captain in 2285, Montgomery Scott addressed Captain Styles as "sir" while serving as chief engineer under the latter's command aboard the starship USS Excelsior. Scott later addressed his fellow Captains Kirk and Spock as "sir" when serving with them aboard the Enterprise-A. – Edmund Dantes Dec 17 '16 at 10:02

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