Today I happened upon a rerun of Star Trek: The Next Generation during which Picard and the senior staff were brainstorming a remedy for the threat of the week, a discussion which ended with Commander William Thomas Riker looking his top-kick in the eye and declaring, “I’ll do it.”  Even though the plot of the episode was that Riker had been deprived of sleep and operated on by alien vivisectionists, Will knew he was the only man for the job and stepped up accordingly.  From his very earliest days on the ship (where he notably told his new captain that, as first officer, Riker couldn’t allow Picard to endanger himself on away teams) to the point where he alone killed a deadly bacterial infection with only the power of the bottle episode his own memories, Riker showed himself to be every bit the perfect right-hand man, except for his distressing tendency to siphon off all the hot alien girls from the rest of the senior staff.  In short, the Commander may be the perfect executive officer and “Number One,” which in turn begs a query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) would also enjoy having a second like Danny Ocean’s right-hand man, Rusty, even though I’d get tired of him always eating when we’re in the midst of a planning session, asking: If you were allowed any one fictional character as your second-in-command, who would you choose and why?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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8 Comments

  1. July 17, 2013 at 11:57 am — Reply

    Ohh, good question…hmm…Well, you’ve already mentioned Riker, and he is a pretty fantastic choice. I think I may go with Duke from the G.I. JOE comics. It’s hard to find a more competent, get-stuff-done first shirt than the good Sgt.

  2. July 17, 2013 at 12:52 pm — Reply

    I think Zoe from the crew of the Serenity would be a solid choice for a second.

  3. July 17, 2013 at 2:37 pm — Reply

    I thought about this a bit, and came to the realization that most superheroes would make terrible second-in-commands – everyone seems to just be taking charge of their own story. Which is cool and all, but they’re not teamy, so much.
    As my second in command, I’d like Marco, from the Animorphs. Strong willed, cunning, ruthless, a great strategist, honest and cynical to a fault, and hardly one for foolish bravery – a good counter-point to any leading I might be doing. Plus, he’s funny. Funny good.

  4. July 17, 2013 at 3:50 pm — Reply

    The heroic Decepticon Starscream from the “Shattered Glass” setting (think Star Trek’s Mirror Universe where everything is a a twisted opposite). Other than still transforming into a type of jet, he’s the exact opposite of the cowardly, manipulative Starscream of most other incarnations. He’s loyal, intelligent and thinks of the needs of others.

    http://transformers.wikia.com/wiki/Starscream_%28Shattered_Glass%29

  5. Rob
    July 17, 2013 at 3:53 pm — Reply

    Kerr Avon? Hmm maybe not.
    Any Bill Paxton charecter, he can usaly be relied upon for a noble sacrifice leaving me free to swoop in and save the day.

  6. Martin
    July 17, 2013 at 6:49 pm — Reply

    Leo McGarry. He’ll know what to do.

  7. July 18, 2013 at 7:31 am — Reply

    I’m late for the QTOD – but I’m piping in anyway, b/c that’s how I roll ;)

    OK – I know this is going to sound stupid, but I would go with Spock (the original, not the sensitive/sexy emo Spock from the current movies). He was not void of emotions, but was strong enough to control them and would keep me from flying off the handle. He also made good rational thought and use of logic, which would keep me from just doing something terribly stupid. He was constantly thinking and deriving the best outcome for all things, which would balance against my impulsiveness.

    In short, my answer is (the original) Mr. Spock.

    • July 18, 2013 at 6:05 pm — Reply

      I don’t know. He didn’t seem to stop Kirk from doing some of the stupid things he did.

      But otherwise I agree Spock would be a great second in command.

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