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Just watching The Arsenal of Freedom, and I thought La Forge was a bit arrogant. I usually like the character, but he was acting like Logan's superior rank meant nothing!

Can a junior grade lieutenant assume command when there's one person of superior rank (the chief engineer, no less) on board?

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  • Are you asking for opinions on Geordi's behavior or about Starfleet procedure?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Sep 8, 2018 at 20:58
  • Do you want the Star Trek answer, or the real world answer?
    – RonJohn
    Sep 9, 2018 at 9:56
  • 1
    In the US Navy, Ensigns and Lieutenants jg are Officers Of The Deck on even the largest ships.
    – RonJohn
    Sep 9, 2018 at 10:08
  • 1
    @RonJohn - You might want to note that Trek is largely based on the British naval tradition.
    – Valorum
    Sep 9, 2018 at 12:43
  • 1
    LaForge didn't assume command, Picard left him in command
    – NKCampbell
    Sep 9, 2018 at 22:11

1 Answer 1

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Geordi didn't assume command, he was given command by his superior officer.

PICARD: Yes. Doctor Crusher, this is the Captain. Meet me in Transporter room three. Mister La Forge, you have command of the Bridge.

LAFORGE: Aye, sir.

PICARD: And whatever happens down there, your prime responsibility is to the ship.

And although Logan has the superior rank, that doesn't mean that he can override the wishes of the Captain (by assuming command or attempting to give orders to La Forge) just because Picard is temporarily off the ship, any more than Lt. Commander Beverly Crusher can tell him how to run Engineering.

You might also wish to note that command rank is entirely in the gift of the Captain rather than being decided by simple rank, hence why Ensign Kim can run the Ops Dept. on the USS Voyager.

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  • 2
    Exactly. The moment the captain tells you you're responsible for the ship, you're put in the captain's position. Rank is quite irrelevant compared to the captain's position.
    – Mast
    Sep 9, 2018 at 9:42
  • He also isn't in his chain of command so if something like that were followed he couldn't give him orders anyway. He could tell him what to do if he were in the engineering section of the ship and was helping out down there, but the rank itself didn't put him above him. In terms of rank they were "cousins" and that's just how it works with that system.
    – user64742
    Sep 9, 2018 at 15:33

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