= Character Creation 4 All player characters are senior Starfleet officers commanding and operating a Starfleet vessel in 2364, during the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. All characters are Starship Officers by profession with one or more tours of duty under their belts. The following positions are available: captain (command officer), first officer (command officer), flight control officer, engineer, operations officer, security officer, counselor, medical officer, and science officer. All nine positions are not required to be fulfilled but captain and first officer positions are mandatory.
These bold explorers travel through space seeking knowledge and finding adventure. One week, the crew faces an outbreak of Tarellian plague on a remote colony. The next, they stand off against a hostile threat intent on dominating the Federation. The next week, it's off to make first contact with strange alien beings. Starship officers are typically well trained to confront a variety of situations. They excel at specific duties based on their shipboard functions. Commanding officers oversee the ship's operations. Science officers handle the details of exploration and research. Security officers man weapons systems in space battles and safeguard the crew from direct personal threats.
MISSIONS: Because their jobs frequently take them abroad, starship officers tackle missions ranging from exploration and research to domestic missions, from first contact and diplomacy to defense, from convoy missions to law enforcement. Starship crews frequently chance upon phenomena such as quantum filament strings and subspace inversions. They encounter strange life forms and alien civilizations, from the linguistically challenged Tamarians to the space-born Comtuu. They rescue planets from destruction by supernova or plague, and evacuate refugees from impending disaster. They patrol space in search of potential threats—Romulan incursions, giant planet-killing machines, or rival starship officers. While a diplomat negotiates trade agreements, a scientist researches a wormhole, and a merchant transports medical supplies, a starship officer may engage in all of these missions—and more.
BACKGROUND: Starship officers come from all walks of life. In general, members of each species have reasons for venturing into space. No matter their origins, most starship officers participate in Starfleet Academy. Most officers typically specialize in a particular area of operations—navigators, gunners, security guards, engineers, and so on. Upon completion of his training, the officer embarks on his first tour of duty and can expect to find challenges and wonders awaiting him.
SPECIES: Generally, any species can pursue a career in space. Starfleet accepts anyone of any species, as long as they meet its standards for excellence. Humans, Vulcans, Trill, Betazoids—all make valuable contributions to Starfleet (as do many other Federation members) and can be found throughout its operations. Even representatives of alien species beyond the Federation have found acceptance among Starfleet's ranks, though these are often special cases—officers of Klingon, Ferengi, and Romulan descent have taken their place among Starfleet's finest.
Starship Officer Elite Professions
The following entries describe elite professions available to starship officer player characters. Upon gaining the Starship Duty professional ability, starship officers immediately choose one elite profession within either the Command, Operation, or Sciences branch of their parent organization.
Perhaps the most vital position on board a starship or starbase, officers who perform command duties—captains, first officers, section heads—ensure the smooth operation of their command and are responsible not only for a mission's ultimate success or failure, but also for the safety of their crews. They enact the policies of their parent organizations—opening diplomatic relations with the Jaradans, ferrying medical supplies to a colony.
While the positions of captain and first officer bear the most burden, and consequently handle the most important functions of command, officers in this branch can be found throughout a starship's organization, applying their skills and abilities in science labs, engineering departments, and various other departments.
The command officer is an excellent leader. Because he often finds himself at the forefront of conflict, he must have the skills of a diplomat. When danger rears its head in the form of a marauding enemy vessel, he must have the skills of a soldier. Responsible for the well-being and safety of those under his command, the command officer must have solid management skills. He has been entrusted with responsibility for administering the policies of his organization.
Starfleet command officers must frequently operate without direct supervision and often must make decisions on their own. Command officers find themselves in the forefront of adventure because their job calls for it. When an away team beams down to unknown territory, a command officer often leads the group to explore the planet surface or search for the missing colonists. In sensitive discussions with an alien species, the command officer may conduct the negotiations for mining rights with the Halkans or establishing relations with the Jaradans. In crisis situations, he applies his administrative skills to get the medical supplies from Beta Taguan IV to Rutia III, or efficiently evacuate colonists in the face of a supernova. Under fire from a Cardassian cruiser, the command officer guides the crew to victory.
Flight Control Officer
The flight control officer is responsible for the piloting and navigation of spacecraft. He monitors critical ship systems—navigational deflectors, inertial dampening systems, and subspace field geometry during warp flight. Sent to explore a strange new world, the conn might adjust the ship's orbit to obtain better sensor readings or keep the ship overhead of an away team to provide starship support. Sent to collect data on a celestial phenomena—a supernova, a nebula, a wormhole, a collapsing planet—the flight control officer monitors the situation with an eye to getting the ship out of danger should conditions suddenly change. In battle, the conn works closely with tactical officers—plotting an intercept course to head off smugglers, systematically patrolling an area, performing evasive maneuvers against an enemy ship. Wherever they go, no matter the mission, flight control officers monitor their ships' progress, watching for potentially dangerous situations ranging from navigational threats to approaching hostile vessels.
Operations officers see to the day-to-day activities of starships and starbases. If something needs doing—operating the transporter, repairing a shipboard system, responding to an intruder alert, recalibrating a sensor—chances are that an operations officer is on the job. They are the security officers who beam into hostile situations, the engineers maintaining equipment, and ops officers manning a variety of system consoles (such as transporters, life support systems, communications, and so on).
Engineers are highly specialized operations officers trained to keep systems and equipment running at maximum efficiency. They are responsible for shipwide systems, such as the electroplasma system, the warp drive, and the impulse engines, as well as repairing individual systems like the transporter or holodeck. They repair equipment damaged by ion storms or battle damage, calibrate lateral sensors and matter/antimatter injectors, cobble equipment together from scratch, and generally make sure everything runs without a hitch.
As experts in the practical application of science and mathematics, engineers play a vital role in most missions. When confronted with strange alien technology—ancient androids, mind transference devices, time machines—the engineer has the best chance of understanding how it works and devising ways to defeat it. During exploration missions, their skills may be required to find pragmatic solutions to unusual hazards—discovering the cause of a subspace funnel, relieving tectonic pressure on an unstable world, escaping a Menthar booby trap, or defeating an insane, intelligent computer. Good at problem-solving, the engineer finds a way to track a cloaked Romulan ship, escape the grasp of a godlike being, or reinitialize the warp drive in minutes. On defensive missions, they are indispensable for repairing battle damage, getting critical systems back on line, and squeezing out the last bit of efficiency from ship's systems. No matter the adventure, when unique solutions are called for, the engineer stands at the ready.
Starship Operations Officer
Possessing consummate technical skills, operations officers deal with practical solutions to immediate problems. Each officer specializes in a particular area, typically defined by the system he operates or his function as part of the crew. There can be as many possible ops specialists as there are systems on board. Communications officers handle incoming and outgoing radio traffic. Operations managers efficiently organize ship's resources, such as power consumption, lateral sensor array use, or equipment disbursement. Environmental systems officers maintain critical life support functions. Transporter operators beam passengers to and fro. Without operations officers, commanders, scientists, and security officers couldn't do their jobs.
Whenever a job needs doing, an operations officer is there to do it. Ops officers find adventure a matter of course for a career in space, from adjusting the sensors to obtain better readings to beaming an away team out of danger. As experts in their chosen fields, operations officers are frequently called upon to apply their skills wherever they are needed. On a planet's surface, operations officers might accompany an exploration team to set up needed equipment. Surveying a celestial event, an ops officer might calibrate the sensors and obtain the data. In a hostile encounter, an ops officer may have to send out an emergency distress signal and launch the log buoy.
Starship Security Officer
Security officers serve as a combination of soldier and police officer. They patrol sensitive areas, beam into potentially hostile situations, protect dignitaries, arrest law-breakers, and handle tactical engagements. They share some of the functions of soldiers in that they often serve Starfleet and employ the threat of force to do their jobs. Yet as starship officers, they have access to the skills of that profession as well. In addition to their basic role as fighters and defenders, some security officers receive special training to operate the large-scale defensive systems—the ship's phasers, disruptor cannons, photon torpedo launchers, and deflector shields. In Starfleet all starship defensive operations are centralized through the tactical station on the bridge.
Security officers often see plenty of action. They excel at missions involving combat. On diplomatic missions, security officers may join the delegation to ensure their protection or sweep the area in advance to guarantee its security. Exploration missions may include security to safeguard against unknown threats, ranging from wild animals to hostile aliens. Security officers frequently interdict smugglers, search for contraband, and pursue criminals operating in the sector. In conflicts, security officers might separate warring factions or settle matters more directly. Starfleet security officers are trained to use the least amount of force to resolve a hostile situation (or better yet, to use force as a last resort).
Starfleet views exploration as the primary reason for being in space. Whether investigating astronomical phenomena, exploring a newly discovered planet, conducting research in the laboratory, or studying an alien civilization, the search for knowledge unites all science officers. This includes the medical sciences, as well as the starship counselor unique to Starfleet.
The starship counselor is responsible for the emotional well-being of the ship's crew. Because of the nature of deep-space exploration—long separations from home, isolation from relatives, encounters with extraordinary phenomena, stress—they provide individual guidance and advice to crewmembers. In addition, a counselor is expected to provide commanding officers with advice on command decisions, particularly those involving alien life forms. This can be critical in first contact and diplomatic missions, where a clear understanding of motives and cultural mores can be vital, as well as in potential conflicts where a misstep could lead to war. Some counselors focus on particular areas—family counseling, combat trauma, or specific alien psychologies. In the 24th century, Starfleet added the position of counselor to its crew complement, and this profession is mostly associated with this organization.
Starship Medical Officer
Medical officers are scientists who specialize in preserving health and treating disease. Most apply their knowledge practically by treating injuries and healing the sick. Others engage in research, much as any other scientist, searching for cures to disease, developing new treatments, and studying alien life forms. Starship medical officers often confront exotic maladies—such as the Psi 2000 virus or the hyperaccelerated aging disease—and find themselves on the forefront of disease outbreaks. While most medical officers tend, by the nature of their job, to be general practitioners, others concentrate on particular areas of medicine—surgery, pathology, forensics—or specific species. Just as science officers investigate the galaxy's mysteries, starship medical officers explore the mystery of life in all its diverse forms—silicon-based life forms, sodium-chloride-eating beings, solanagen-based entities, and many more. Medical officers see to the health and well-being of the crew; they treat injuries sustained in battle along with combating strange alien diseases the crew may encounter in their travels. On exploratory missions, they beam down to search for lifeforms. On relief missions, they may be placed in charge of medical supplies bound for an ailing population or supervise planetwide inoculation efforts.
Starship Science Officer
Science officers oversee scientific investigations and provide the commanding officer with scientific information needed for command decisions. Whether a geology specialist beaming down to a newly discovered planet to survey topography or an astrophysicist collecting data on an impending supernova, science officers are the best at gathering information and extrapolating from data. Some science officers concentrate on particular areas of expertise—botany, cultural anthropology, astrophysics, stellar cartography—while others have a broader focus and can handle a variety of scientific conundrums. Moreover, the science officer, like other starship officers, learns the skills to help him survive in space. Beyond the laboratory, the science officer's training in weapons, survival, and unarmed combat make him prepared for almost anything. Starfleet pursues knowledge for its own sake, and its starships include a wide range of science labs—botany, chemistry, stellar cartography, and so on.