Main Responsibilities of each Bridge Section
Flight Control - Conn
The Flight Control Console (often referred to simply as the Conn) is responsible for the actual piloting and navigation of the spacecraft. These functions are heavily automated but are so crucial that a human officer is required to oversee the functions at all times, the Flight Control Officer
(FCO). There are five major areas of responsibility for the FCO on the Main Bridge:
- Supervision of automatic flight operations;
- Navigational references and course plotting;
- Manual flight operations (should the need arise);
- Position verification; and
- Liaison between Bridge and Engineering.
During spaceflight at impulse, Conn is responsible for monitoring inertial damping system status. When travelling at warp speed, Conn is required to monitor the subspace field geometry in parallel with the engineering department. During warp flight, the Conn console continually updates long-range sensor data and makes automatic course corrections to adjust for minor variations in the density of the interstellar medium.
Operations Management - Ops
It is the duty of the Ops Officer to ensure that there are sufficient resources available for all operations and for each department to be able to carry out their orders. Ops will transfer resources from section to section, it can be a fine juggling act. The Ops panel gives the Officer in control an immediate overview of all resources that are available as well as those currently in use.
The Chief Operations Officer has the primary responsibility of ensuring that ship functions, such as the use of the lateral sensor array, do not interfere with one another. S/he must prioritize resource allocations, so that the most critical activities can have every chance of success. If so required, s/he can curtail shipboard functions if s/he thinks they will interfere with the ship's current mission or routine operations. The Chief Operations Officer is a Department head, and a member of the Senior Staff. The Chief Operations Officer cannot man the bridge at all times. Extra personnel are needed to relieve and maintain ship operations. The Operations Officers are thus assistants to the Chief, fulfilling his/her duties when required, and assuming the Operations consoles if required at any time. The Operations Officer reports to the Chief Operations Officer.
The main bridge station dedicated to defensive systems control and internal security is Tactical. The position of the tactical station gives an unobstructed view of the bridge and the view screen. The Tactical Officer will also liaise with the Conn in all situations involving external hazards.
The Chief Tactical Officer is the vessels gunman. S/he is responsible for the ships weapon system, and is also the Commanding Officers tactical advisor in Starship Combat matters. Very often Tactical Officers are also trained in ground combat and small unit tactics. The Chief Tactical Officer should be aware of current Diplomatic situations and up to date on the latest technological capabilities of all threat alien races, and even the capabilities of allied alien species. There is much more to tactical than simply overseeing the weapons console on the bridge. Tactical maintains the weapons systems aboard the ship, maintaining and reloading photon magazines. Tactical planning and current Intelligence analysis (if no Intelligence operatives are aboard) is also overseen by the tactical department. On some vessels the Chief of Security is also the Department head of Tactical. If s/he is, all Tactical personnel fall into the Security Department.
The Command Stations are the seating and information displays for the Commanding Officer and the First Officer. These are centrally located and are designed to maximize the interaction with the bridge officers and again give a clear view of the viewscreen. The Captains chair has armrests that incorporate simplified Conn and Ops controls.
The Science Stations are positioned to the rear of the bridge, directly behind the tactical station. They are not assigned full time technicians, indeed the Science Officer may rarely by seen at this station. Their purpose is to provide the Command Officers with realtime science information. The Science Stations (there are two of them) work independently of each other and yet can be linked. They also have priority links to Conn, Ops and Tactical.
These systems are similar to the Science Stations in that the main operation of Engineering does not take place on the Bridge but 36 decks below. However, it can be useful to be able to provide on hand engineering information to the Bridge Officers. Notwithstanding the fact that the main section is not on the bridge, Engineering can in fact be run full time from this station.