ORIGINS: Character Position Descriptions
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- 1 Credits
- 2 Introduction
- 3 The Command Positions
- 4 The Department Heads
- 5 Special Positions
Written by: Scott Lusby (CAPT Jack Veld, CO USS CONSTELLATION)
This document is designed to help those new to ASR or Star Trek- or to help those more used to "Next Generation"-style billets- to understand the jobs and tasks of each position on a ship. If you are a fan of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, or Voyager, these positions may seem a little different; if you were a fan of The Original Series, they should be very much familiar to you.
The Command Positions
Everyone knows the Captain's job: he is "The Boss." Everything runs through him: mission deployment, away team makeup, delegation of duties, etc. He is typically very much a hands-on boss (though not always), and in the depths of space, a Captain of a CONSTITUTION-class starship's word is Gospel. All Captains of CONSTITUTION-class starships carry the rank of Captain (O-6) as well; Captains of smaller ships typically carry the rank of Commander (O-5).
All Commanding Officers wear Command Gold uniforms.
The Captain enjoys a wide breadth of discretion in his authority, mostly because the Captain is so far removed from timely contact with Starfleet Command most of the time. He can promote crewmembers on the spot if need be and relieve them just as quickly; he can settle disputes between warring planets in any manner he sees as just and fit, etc. This leads to some often "creative" solutions to problems, both in-ship and out. However, given the nature of things, Starfleet usually has little choice but to accept such things.
In the end, the Captain is tasked with a massive job: "to explore srtange new worlds...to seek out new life and new civilizations." He takes this task to heart- his job is one of peace and cooperation...unless he must fight.
The First Officer
The First Officer, or FO, is the direct subordinate of the Captain; he becomes the Acting Captain whever the Captain leaves the ship or is incapacitated in some manner. This officer is an experienced officer, at least a Lieutenant Commander (O-4).
Delegation of duties is often passed from the Captain through the First Officer; as such, it becomes the First Officer's task to see that any jobs so delegated are completed, regardless of who performs them. As such, much of the day-to-day operations of the starship would be under the First Officer's watchful eyes.
It is not unheard of for the First Officer to also be a department head in his own right, such as the situation on the ENTERPRISE: Commander Spock functions as both the First Officer and the Chief Science Officer- thus the reason Spock wears a Sciences and Medical Blue uniform instead of a Command Gold uniform. Otherwise, all First Officers wear Command Gold uniforms.
Other Command Positions
There are no other regularly recognized command positions; any other officers identified as "command" officers in the chain of command are so identified by the Captain. For instance, LCDR Scott is identified as the Second Officer on the ENTERPRISE despite being an Engineer, typically a support position.
The Department Heads
The Helmsman is a very important officer, and one who usually figures in to the chain of command somewhere. His main job is to program the computer to steer the ship, make changes to velocity, program any evasive maneuvers and attack patterns for use in combat, etc. He is also capable of manually handling the starship in emergencies, in times when instinct and skill are faster and more effective than computer response.
Another part of his job is to handle the offensive capabilities of the starship; he is in charge of locking and firing the ship's phasers and photon torpedoes.
This officer wear Command Gold, and is typically anywhere from an Ensign (O-1) to a Lieutenant (O-3).
The Navigator is in charge of making the complex computations necessary to navigate the ship through space. He manages the ship's star charts, and is often a mathmatical wizard fo some sort.
The navigator's job changes somewhat in combat. During that time, when the helmsman is typically in full control over the ship's maneuvering, the navigator is in charge of allocating power to the offensive and defensive systems; he/she take the power diverted by Engineering for offense and defense and allocates it appropriately. Furthermore, he is repsonsible for making sure the appropriate shields are powered and reinforced (usually rotating relative strength as the ship moves in combat) and programming the point defense computers to deflect incoming missile fire. Again, everything about the job involves an agile mathematical mind.
The navigator wears Command Gold, and is usually considered a good billet for Academy grads to begin with. However, the navigator can hold a rank of anything between Ensign (O-1) and Lieutenant (O-3).
The Chief Engineer
The Chief Engineer handles anything dealing with Repair, Maintenance and Damage Control. Usually, his primary concerns are the ship's propulsion (warp and impulse drive) systems and its weapons/defense systems. He handles both hardware and software upgrades and repairs. In a word, his job is a massive one: his department is the largest on the starship.
The chief engineer wears Engineering and Security Red.
Because this department is so large and his duties so widespread, the chief engineer is typically a Lieutenant Commander (O-4), but this is not always possible.
The Chief Science Officer
Unlike the science officers of "classic" ASR, THESE Chief Science Officers really are scientists, nearly always the lead scientist in the division. This officer may have come to Starfleet late in his life and received his commission only after a few months of military training. Therefore, these officers do not always share the military concerns of much of the rest of the crew.
Still, science officers have an important role on a starship: they are the ones tasked with studying and interpreting any "anomaly" they may come across. These could be gasses, strange bodies, emissions- whatever. And, since the primary job of a CONSTITUTION-class starship is one of exploration and discovery, they typically find themselves somewhere in the overall chain of command.
Science officers wear Science and Medical Blue, and are usually Lieutenants (O-3) or even Lieutenant Commanders (O-4) because of the advanced degrees they typically carry.
The Chief Security Officer
The Chief Security Officer is, essentially, a professional military policeman. His job is to keep order, guard sensitive areas, and take Starfleet personnel into custody when necessary. In addition, Security functions as the main combat force of a starship, performing boarding and repelling actions as needed. The Chief Security Officer would also investigate any crime taking place on board a starship, collect evidence, and, with the help of Medical and Science, handle any forensics regarding his case. Truly a potentially massive job.
Security officers wear Engineering and Security Red uniforms, and are typically at least a Lieutenant (O-3) since some pull of rank is needed in this function, though sometimes a reasonably experienced Lieutenant JG (O-2) can handle the position.
The Communications Officer
The Communications Officer is a very specialized department head. First and foremost, this is a job of linguistics: the communications officer acts as the primary translator of foreign languages. Not only must this officer know other languages of importance ("xenolinguistics"), but he must have a basic knowledge of phonology and etymology in order to help translate new languages as they are encoutnered.
On top of this, the communications officer must have a strong knowledge of cryptography and code-breaking, as they often act as the ship's de facto intelligence officer for obvious reasons.
This officer, due to the advanced education necessary, is often a Lieutenant (O-3), but this position can be held by any officer of any rank that shows the proper proficiencies.
The Chief Medical Officer
The Chief Medical Officer is, as the position indicates, the top doctor on board the starship. He must be a gifted diagnostician, and be well-versed in triage and combat surgery techniques. He typically has a staff to help him, of at least one other surgeon, a couple of attending doctors, and a slew of nurses.
The doctor often doubles as the ship's psychiatrist, and as such often (but not always) has some education in psychology.
This officer is always at least a full Lieutenant (O-3) in deference to the education needed to take on this job. He typically wears a uniform of Sciences and Medical Blue, but can often be found simply wearing "scrubs" as well.
"Special positions" are exactly what they sound like: they are positions that are not typically found on a starship, but may be included for specific missions if the mission parameters call for it. Such positions might be, but not restricted to, the following:
- Marines (really, in this era, the "Special Operations" forces of Starfleet, like Navy SEALS)
- Intelligence Officers (spies, analysts, and agents of all sorts)
- Ambassadors, Attaches and Diplomats
- Foreign Service Liaisons or Officer Exchanges (officers from other organizations, such as the Andorian Defense Force)
These positions are not regularly staffed in ORIGINS by players. They can be added, on a temporary basis, if the need arises. This must be cleared with the ship's Captain before being introduced in play.