The ship's Captain is a senior line officer rank in most space services and usually given to starship commanders. On starships, the term captain is also often used as a synonym for commanding officer. Proper naval parlance says that, even if a vessel is commanded by an officer whose rank is lower than that of Captain (for instance Lieutenant Commander), that officer is still able to be referred to as a captain while aboard their own vessel, no matter their literal commissioned rank.
Captains of starships, often located hundreds of light-years away from and out of communications with higher authority, must be able to function autonomously and make independent command decisions affecting Federation policy and countless lives. Accordingly, few Starfleet officers ever gain the captaincy of a starship, the result of decades of sustained excellence as a Starfleet leader. A senior captain given a large degree of responsibility or administrative assignment is sometimes given the title of fleet captain. Some powers granted to a ship's Captain are:
- The right to use deadly force to suppress piracy and mutiny. Mutiny is not simply the crime of disobeying the lawful orders of a nautical captain at sea, but rather doing so with the intent of taking over the ship.
- Presiding over marriage ceremonies.
- Field promotions/demotions. The former allows the captain to handle gaps in the command structure while the latter refers to a severe punishment sometimes given to (surviving) mutineers and can be common with negligent officers.
- Temporary diplomatic negotiations (these can include cease fires, trade agreements, or boarder disputes). However, it is necessary for a diplomatic envoy to conduct permanent changes. A captain can be authorized to lawfully conduct a diplomatic agreement when no ambassador is available.
Executive Officer: Edit
Executive or First officer is the term often used to refer to a vessel's second in command. In Starfleet, it is frequently abbreviated to XO and some Captains refer to their officers as Number One. The executive officer is nominally responsible for the smooth running and organization of the ship or starbase, as such they:
- Manage many of the day-to-day administrative tasks aboard ship, freeing up the Captain to concentrate on 'the big picture' of a mission.
- Standard protocol dictates that all crew-requests go through the First Officer who will then bring them to the attention of the Captain.
- First officers take command of the ship in the Captain's absence of if the Captain were to become incapacitated in some way.
- Typically the First Officers organizes and usually leads away team missions, be they tactical, exploratory or diplomatic in nature, while the Captain remains on the ship.
- In the event any of the other Senior Officers becomes incapacitated, the XO has the authority to take their station until which time the injured officer can return to duty.
Flight Control Officer: Edit
Responsible for the navigation and maneuvering of a ship. Oftentimes future command officers begin their training here, where they are guaranteed to observe the workings of a ship. They work from the Flight Control Station or Helm. Flight Control Officers also often serve dual roles as pilots for shuttlecraft; however, other qualified officers may pilot shuttles.
Tactical/Security Officer: Edit
The Chief Tactical / Security officer is a senior position for Starfleet officers onboard starships and starbases. They work with the Command Staff to ensure compliance with orders, prevent mutinies aboard ship, and serve as the instrument of discipline. These officers are also responsible for defending the ship against any number of threats.
The physical: They protect the ship and its crew from physical attacks from other ships or individuals.
- They can be authorized to use lethal force especially in situations where they are in life-threatening situations.
- They are also responsible for the physical deployment of security officers throughout the ship.
Computing: They must defend against electronic attacks which could cripple or destroy the ship.
- They are made aware of attempts to undermine electronic barriers. Hacking attempts are relayed to the Tactical station where additional layers of protection can be added to prevent further intrusions.
- They work closely with Operations to succeed in this endeavor.
Maintenance: They are responsible for maintaining the electronic and mechanical apparatuses which are employed by the Security/Tactical department.
- Security works closely with Engineering and Operations to complete this task.
Operations Officer: Edit
The operations manager is responsible for the electronic welfare of the ship.
- In essence, they maintain the software, while Engineering maintains the hardware.
- They analyze local phenomena and handle routine shipboard operations (such as monitoring the status of various ship systems, communications, and coordinates the use of sensor systems).
- They usually work under the Chief Engineer; however, some can become Senior Officers / Department Heads in their own right, especially on a large ship.
- Often times responsible for the location of supplies and auxiliary craft.
Engineering Officer: Edit
On starships or starbases, the chief engineer is in charge of all engineers and engineering duties. The chief engineer's duties range from making the duty shift roster for engineering personnel to advising the captain on possible solutions for certain technical problems. In general, the chief engineer is an officer with enough experience in his or her own field of expertise and with seniority over the rest of the engineers. A chief engineer is also a member of the senior staff and accountable for the overall performance of the vessel.
- Aside from the CO / XO, the Chief Engineer is the only person who can authorize the ejection of the Warp Core.
- The Chief Engineer is also responsible for improving a ship’s systems through standard refits or through innovative improvements (with the CO’s approval, of course).
- During a crisis, the Chief Engineer is in charge of maneuvering repair crews to critical systems. CO’s will usually "request" certain systems get priority, yet the Chief Engineer’s authority is final.
Medical Officer: Edit
The chief medical officer is a senior staff-level position, typically held by a lieutenant commander or commander who is a Doctor of Medicine with surgical skills. CMOs aboard a starship or starbase are directly in charge of the sickbay or infirmary, commanding medical department personnel and activities. The CMO's primary duties are the oversight and maintenance of the overall health and physical fitness of crew and passengers. In addition to the normal duties of an officer, the CMO also has the power to relieve an officer or crewman, including a superior one, of their duties if, in the officer's professional judgment, he or she is medically unfit. Typically, the CMO is expected to have the support of a senior command officer and/or detailed medical documentation to justify this course of action. Officers likely to be assigned as the CMO over long-duration missions of exploration, have scientific training in disciplines outside of medicine, allowing them to take on major, extended research projects; or to better participate in a wider variety of encounters.
Ships Counselor: Edit
A counselor is a position aboard Starfleet vessels and installations, usually held by a senior Starfleet officer with training in psychology. Counselors are responsible for the mental well-being of the crew and civilian staff. The position is considered vital enough that it warranted inclusion in the senior staff of the Federation flagship; in that instance at least, the ship's counselor also had a diplomatic role, advising the Captain in first contact and other situations. As with the chief medical officer, the ship's counselor has the power to relieve other officers and crew members of duty if he or she feels that their patient is suffering from a condition that may hinder their ability to perform their duties effectively. At the Captain's discretion, the ship's counselor may be allowed to wear something other than their normal Starfleet uniform while on duty.
Science Officer: Edit
Science officers serve in the Science Department on starships or starbases in Starfleet. The head of the department is sometimes known as the Chief Science Officer and may operate the science station on the bridge or operations center. As the name implies, science officers are responsible for observations, research, and experiments in any of the sciences, including mathematics, statistics, physics (physical and temporal), chemistry, botany, zoology, geology, cosmology, and others. Some science officers specialize in a particular discipline, but the Chief Science Officer is expected to be familiar with most of the sciences and rely on his or her staff for particular expertise. The department has some overlap with the medical department in terms of microbiology, xenobiology, and life sciences.
Intelligence Officer: Edit
Intelligence Officer is a title given to an officer aboard a starship or space station who is responsible for intelligence matters. The officer typically keeps in contact with Starfleet Intelligence for the latest information. The personnel rank is applicable within the Starfleet Intelligence agency meaning a ships' Intelligence Officer is considered an advisor aboard starships and space stations. The officer has no authority over field operations of any vessel or station and only provides assistance to the senior officers. The intelligence officers other duties is to collect any information that Starfleet Intelligence deems necessary or valuable.