During the episode "Time's Arrow", six senior officers are trapped in the 19th century for several days: La Forge, Troi, Crusher, Picard, Riker, and Data. The latter three are the captain, second-, and third-in-command. Who was in command of the Enterprise while they were on this mission? Was it Worf?

If so, who was in command during the short period of time between when Picard beamed down to the surface of Devidia II and when he ordered Worf to return to the ship? Ro Laren?

  • the better question is, how long were they on the mission. The thing with time travel - they could have returned 2 seconds after they left
    – NKCampbell
    Oct 20, 2018 at 1:07

4 Answers 4


The Enterprise-D was a big ship, with hundreds of officers on board, probably including many in the command division with lieutenant or lieutenant commander grade ranks. I'd guess that it was probably someone in that category that was simply never part of a story and never shown onscreen.


Yes, this answer is speculation, but the episode simply does not say. But let me try to add some meat to the answer:

In the pilot episode of DS9, O'Brien wanders onto the bridge to say goodbye before transferring over to the station. He speaks to the current officer on duty, a woman who we have never seen before and is given no name. Someone like her was probably briefly given command of the ship in the "Time's Arrow" situation described in the question.

  • ...why post a guess as an answer? Feb 15, 2013 at 20:28
  • 11
    Because the episode simply doesn't contain the answer, we are left to speculate. Do you have a better, more authoritative/definitive answer? Should the question be closed as subjective? Not trying to be a jerk; I just don't see how else you can answer this question. Feb 15, 2013 at 21:49
  • 2
    The person in command would be the command duty officer just like any other military ship. This person would come from a cadre of vetted officers with sufficient experience to lead the Enterprise in case of an incident. Their standing orders would be likely to include operational orders such as "flee enemy incursions" or "rescue landing party in 48 hours" or "leave and report before returning with reinforcements." Jun 14, 2013 at 18:06

Memory-Alpha lists Worf as the third officer for the Enterprise-D. This means that in the absence of Picard, Riker, and Data, he was in command until their return.

Even if an officer has the same (or even higher) rank than a bridge officer, the bridge officer holds seniority. This can be seen in "The Arsenal of Freedom" when La Forge is given command of the bridge, and the chief engineer (of higher rank) attempts to take command from him.

In the absence of any bridge officers the highest ranking individual has the right to take command, in an emergency. If it seemed likely that the entire compliment of bridge officers were never coming back they would contact Starfleet for instructions.


The ship normally operated with 3 (and sometimes 4) duty shifts (designated Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc.). The officers stuck in the past were all Alpha shift officers meaning there were at least two other groups of officers fully capable of operating the ship in their absence.

It seems likely the officer on duty in "Emissary", mentioned by @MattPeterson, was from one of these other shifts.


Even though the episode does not say who was in command it was most likely lieutenant Worf since he was the senior officer

  • 3
    That point has already been made above. Can you offer any specific evidence to back up this theory?
    – Valorum
    Oct 19, 2018 at 23:15

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