Bridge

The Bridge is the command center of a starship. Traditionally located on Deck 1 of most Starfleet vessels, the Bridge allows for direct supervision of all operations aboard the starship.

Design

Please note that these descriptions match the standard model of the Bridge Layout depicted and may not match the preferences of individual Commanding Officers.

Class 1 Bridge Layout

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Due to the compact nature of most Class 1 vessels, the Bridge of such a vessel is similarly limited but still retains the same general layout as other Starfleet vessels with an increased emphasis on speed and efficiency. The center of the bridge featured space for only a single Command Station - typically the Captain's Chair - and complete supervision of all personnel on the Bridge. Directly between the Command Station and the Viewscreen was a single workstation that is traditionally assigned to serve as the vessel's Helm.

The port side of a Class 1 Bridge houses workspaces for two consoles that can be configured depending upon operational need. Traditionally the workstation closest to the viewscreen is assigned to the functions of Operations Management. The workstation next to this will commonly be assigned as a mission configurable workstation depending upon vessel need. On combat oriented craft this workstation may serve as a backup to Tactical. The starboard side serves as a mirror of the port. Typically the workstation nearest to the viewer on the starboard side would be assigned Tactical functions. Depending on the preference of a vessel's Captain the workstation next to this may be assigned as a supplemental Command Station for the Executive Officer (or, as on most Class 1 vessels, the workstation for the department the XO directly oversees) or as a mission configurable workstation.

Separated from the rest of the Bridge by the doors to Deck 1, the aft module of a Class 1 Bridge is highly configurable based upon the needs of the vessel. On some starships this area can serve as a small briefing area, a holocommunications system can be installed, or the area can be fitted with additional workstations to supplement the existing distribution. More recently some Captain's have requested that this small area be closed off and made into a small office for his/her usage so that he or she never strays far from the Bridge during a crisis.

Class 2 Bridge Layout

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The current design of the Class 2 Bridge is slightly larger than its counterpart on a Class 1 vessel, yet still maintains the traditional layout familiar to all Starfleet vessels. The central area of the Bridge serves as the command module for this design and, by default, features a Command Station for the Captain only; however, some Captain's have chosen to incorporate an additional seat for the Executive Officer in this area to highlight the collaborative nature of command. Directly between this area and the Viewscreen is a freestanding, horseshoe shaped console that is assigned Helm functions. On some vessels the Commanding Officer's have recently decided to have twin workstations - similar to those in the forward section of a Class 4 Bridge - installed to increase efficiency in the Bridge design by allowing for additional supportive stations.

Separated from the command module by a railing, the aft module features three large workstations mounted to the aft bulkhead that are configurable based upon mission need. Commonly the station in the center of this area is assigned to the Operations Manager with the Tactical Officer being assigned to the console on the starboard side of this area. The remaining console on the port side is configured based upon the criteria of the vessel's mission. Large monitors are built into the bulkhead above these workstations and provide frequent updates on vessel status. Some Captain's are opting to have these workstations further divided so that six total consoles are in the aft module.

The port and starboard bulkheads provide entry to the Bridge. Separating these doors from the aft module are wall mounted, standing workstations that can be configured to a wide variety of functions as needed.

Class 3 Bridge Layout

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The Main Bridge of a Class 3 starship is ovoid in shape and is built on a tiered structure with multiple workstations established throughout the structure. Access to the Bridge was provided through four entries located along the outer wall of the room. Two of these entryways were located along the aft bulkhead of the bridge and served to isolate the mission configurable stations there from the large kiosk stations that outlined the aft module. Consisting of multiple panels, these workstations traditionally housed the functions of Tactical (starboard) and Operations (port). Two additional entries were located next to these kiosks, further isolating them from the rest of the Bridge.

The Command Station of a Class 3 Starship was located in the center of the room and housed seating for the vessel's command crew. Based upon the preference of a vessel's Captain this spacious area could be used to house a single chair or multiples as needed. Seating for the Captain and First Officer is provided in the default design with a single workstation separating the two. A single configurable console was built in the railing behind the command module and separated it from the aft module.

Directly forward of the command module was a large, freestanding workstation that was typically assigned to serve as the Helm for a Class 3 vessel. Due to the sheer size of this workstation the Captain can elect to have the station divided into two distinct workstations, allowing for greater diversity in the allocation of Bridge functions. Flanking the viewscreen are two mission configurable workstations that can be assigned due to operational need.

Class 4 Bridge Layout

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The Bridge of a Class 4 starship is among the largest in Starfleet. Featuring multiple workstations, varied configurations, and no less than four separate entryways - depending upon configuration - many Officers and Crew have found this design to be luxury in its finest. In the event of an emergency crew could survive up to 72 hours on a Class 4 Bridge while they awaited rescue.

The forward section of the Bridge features a large Viewscreen that is flanked by two, mission configurable workstations that are traditionally assigned the functions of Flight Control and Operations. More recently, many Captains have been choosing to forgo this separation and are having a single workstation placed in this area which allowed for two operators to work from it or a single pilot. Behind this area is the command module which is one of the first Bridge designs to have multiple Command Stations.

Separating this area from the rest of the Bridge is a large, horseshoe shaped railing that houses two mission configurable workstations by default. Typically, the Captain will elect for this workstation to monitor Tactical functions but, in the instances that a single Flight Control station is installed in the forward section, Operations may also be housed in this railing. The aft module features five workstations that can be customized based upon mission profile. Operators could choose to stand at these workstations or built in seating is available and can be removed from behind the wall panel

The port and starboard walls were unique in that they were designed with customization in mind. The default bridge layout incorporates storage lockers and status indicators in this area; however, some Captains have opted to have additional workstation modules installed in these areas to allow for increased customization and efficiency for their crews.

Class 5 Bridge Layout

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The largest Bridge design currently in use by Starfleet, the Class 5 Bridge provides primary operational control over Starfleet's largest Capital Ships. Featuring advanced interfaces, luxury furnishings, and multiple redundancies this design is considered by Starfleet's Corps of Engineers to be the ideal melding of form and function.

Like its counterparts, the central area of the Bridge serves as the command module for the vessel and provides Command Stations for the Captain and two others typically. Unlike other command modules, the workstation for the Captain is raised from the others in the module and is adjacent to freestanding mission configurable workstations. Commonly the workstation to the Captain's right is assigned to oversee the Tactical Department. Directly ahead of the command module were two, identical workstations that were commonly assigned as Helm and Operations stations.

The aft module of the Bridge was highly configurable and, traditionally, housed a single workstation with most Captain's choosing to install a Master Situation workstation in this area. More recently some Captains have chosen to have this workstation broken into as many as three customizable consoles. On either side of this area were exits to the surrounding deck. Additional exits, commonly to turbolifts, further separated this area from the port and starboard modules of the Bridge. Highly configurable based upon operational priorities for a given mission, some Captain's have chosen to assign the modules to external and internal functions and assigned workstation configurations accordingly.

Two additional exits to the surrounding deck were available at the front of the Bridge adjacent to the large, fully holographic viewscreen.

Workstations

Required Workstations

Command

Typically located in the center of a starship's Bridge, the Command Station allows direct supervision of vessel operations, while also providing access to key personnel and an unobstructed view of the viewscreen. At minimum the Command Station houses informational displays for the Commanding Officer of the vessel while, on larger vessels, additional seating may be provided for other command personnel as needed. Personnel working from the Command Station can override all shipboard operations if needed and have direct access to all shipboard systems as needed.

Helm

The Helm workstation allows its user to oversee the piloting and navigation of a starship, including warp, impulse and thruster control. While a highly automated process, the Helm is responsible for reviewing sensor data, maintaining subspace field geometry, and making course corrections as needed. Part of these responsibilities involves close monitoring the relativistic effects of spaceflight upon the ship and the status of the inertial damping system.

Operations

The Operations console (also known as Ops) coordinates shipboard operations and resources so that mission goals are not jeopardized. The main computer provides Ops with a detailed list of current shipboard activities which allows Ops to set priorities and allocate resources. The Operations workstation also allows the user internal systems control, control over the communications system, and serves as a backup to the Science Station for analysis of sensor data.

Tactical

Tactical is the Bridge workstation that oversees shipboard security and defense. The Tactical Station additionally provides its operator with the ability to control the shields, phaser, and torpedo systems. It also allows the ship's Security Chief can oversee internal security needs and to manage the internal protection of the starship and its crew. Depending on operational need, the Tactical Station works closely with Flight Control and Operations to ensure optimal function.

Viewscreen

Traditionally located on the forward bulkhead of the Bridge, the Viewscreen allows the Bridge crew real time external views of the starship's surroundings or can be utilized to display communications between the ship and other parties. At the discretion of its Captain the viewscreen can also be set to display a Heads Up Display (also known as a HUD) that provides real-time data on the vessel's status, sensor data, or alert status.

Supportive Workstations

Depending on operational need workstations on the Bridge of a starship can be reconfigured to assume responsibility of other shipboard functions to alleviate strain on other departments or to increase shipboard efficiency.

Communications

Communications is the workstation that monitors all communications aboard ship - both external and internal - and manages the Universal Translator protocols to allow communications with other species involving languages other than Federation Standard.

Damage Control

A specialized workstation, the Damage Control station oversees the general health of the vessel itself. Should damage be detected or routine maintenance be required an operator of this panel may deploy a repair team as appropriate to investigate and fix the issue.

Engineering

The Engineering workstation allows the Chief Engineer to oversee shipboard maintenance and systems when he or she is needed on the Bridge. It provides detailed updates on damage control, energy consumption, and shipboard status to its user at all times and is commonly updated when used.

Environmental Control

The Environmental Control workstation is designed to monitor the status of the crew of the starship and the status of the life support systems. In the event that the Chief Medical Officer of the vessel is needed on the Bridge he or she will typically work from this station.

Master Situation

More commonly found in Main Engineering, the Master Situation panel is a large schematic diagram of a vessel that provides a general shipboard status overview at a glance to any user.

Mission Operations

Mission Operations is a supplemental workstation that can be configured to monitor activity relating to secondary missions. In the event of a landing party assignment this station is responsible for monitoring away teams activities and the general wellbeing of the crew on the assignment. Should the vessel be leading a fleet of other vessels this workstation coordinates information received on those vessel's operations.

Navigation

Uncommon on modern vessels, the Navigation console is utilized by an officer to monitor a starship's course and to plot course corrections if need be. It also can be assigned to oversee cartography needs during exploration missions.

Propulsion

More commonly found in Engineering, the Propulsion console can be used by a vessel's crew to directly monitor the status of the vessels sublight and faster than light drives.

Science

The Science Station provides constant updates and data analysis from the vessel's sensor systems to its user as well as a full linkage to the starship's computer library for exploration purposes. Through the operations of this console a user can also oversee the tasks being undertaken by each program in the Science Department.

Security

Frequently utilized on larger vessels or warships, the Security Console is a dedicated workstation that may be utilized in an emergency to transfer the responsibilities of internal security to another officer to allow the Tactical Officer the ability to focus only upon external threats to the starship only. It allows its operator to oversee internal security needs and to manage the internal protection of the starship and its crew.

Weapons

Another workstation more commonly found on larger vessels, the Weapons Console is assigned to oversee the function of a starship's defensive and offensive systems only.

See Also

Real World

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