Part of a series about the Stellar Alliance.
The Alliance Exploration Fleet
All crewmen aboard an Exploration Fleet starship belong to one of six services. Each wears a color-coded uniform during their time in that service, and each service has a slightly different rank structure.
Command (violet) officers not only command a ship. They conduct diplomatic missions, first contacts, and negotiations between hostile parties. Command staff usually did tours through other services before they underwent grueling instruction in motivational psychology, ethnology, diplomacy, tactics, strategy, and political science.
Medical (green) includes all the doctors, nurses, and medical technicians that treat not only the crew but residents of any world in need of medical care. Doctors especially learn not only humanoid biologies but those of any known sapient being. The Chief Medical Officer not only directs all their staff but consults on all medical issues.
Operations (gold), the largest service, includes all those who maintain, monitor, and pilot the ship. It even includes those who man the weapons, although Security also shares that duty. Generally if something needs doing on the ship, Operations usually does it. The Chief Operations Officer has the unenviable task of making sure the ship and the crew are working at peak efficiency.
Science (blue) includes all those with degrees in the sciences who conduct and interpret surveys of starts, planets, and civilizations. The Chief Science Officer has the primary responsibility to synthesize data from the experts into a form the Captain and command staff can understand.
Security (red) includes not just those who guard secure areas of the ship and break up fights but all the information security experts who keep the ship’s computers safe from tampering. The Chief Security Officer is effectively the “top cop” of the ship.
Technical (orange/tan), the second largest service on most ships, includes all those who fix the ship, install upgrades, and jerry-rig whatever the captain or senior staff decides the ship needs. The Chief Engineer oversees all this activity to ensure the ship functions at maximum capacity.
Crewmen, particularly commissioned officers, can and do switch services. Some already have expertise in that area and fill a gap in personnel; others learn as apprentices with a senior officer.
|E2||Specialist||Ops (Pilot, E.V.A.), Tech, Med, Sci, Sec|
|E3||Petty Officer 3rd Class||any|
|E4||Petty Officer 2nd Class||any|
|E5||Petty Officer 1st Class||any|
|E6||Chief Petty Officer||any|
|E7||Master Chief Petty Officer||any|
|W1||Warrant Officer 3rd Class||Tech, Med, Sci|
|W2||Warrant Officer 2nd Class||Tech, Med, Sci|
|W3||Warrant Officer 1st Class||Tech, Med, Sci|
|W4||Chief Warrant Officer||Tech, Med, Sci|
Warrant Officers act in an advisory or supplementary role on a ship to provide expertise that is otherwise lacking. While they can command enlisted ranks in a capacity related to their specialty, they otherwise report only to commissioned officers.
|Pay Grade||Command Service||Tech Service||Other Services|
|O-02||Lieutenant j.g.||Lieutenant j.g.||Lieutenant j.g.|
|O-04||Lt. Commander||Senior Engineer||Senior Service Officer|
|O-05||Commander (unassigned)||Chief Engineer||Chief Service Officer|
In order to attain ranks beyond O-05, members of the other services must transfer to the Command Service.
|Pay Grade||Command Service||Command|
|O-06||Commander||executive officer, gunship, fighter wing, base|
|O-08||Commodore||flagship, several starships, fleet office|
|O-09||Vice Admiral||advance or rear guard, fleet department|
|O-10||Admiral||armada, fleet directorate|
|O-11||Fleet Admiral||deputy of C-in-C|
|O-12||Commander in Chief||entire fleet|
Alliance Ground Defense Forces
Occasionally members of other forces do a tour of duty aboard a starship. The Ground Defense Force sometimes deploys to planets in conflict, similar to marines or special ops in then21st century. While aboard ship they supplement the Security Services … not always without incident.
|E7||Master Chief Sergeant|
|E8||Master Gunnery Sergeant|
|O-08||Brigadier General (1 star)|
|O-09||General, 2 star|
|O-10||General, 3 star|
|O-11||General, 4 star|
|O-12||General, 5 star|
Alliance Merchant Fleet
The Merchant Fleet lacks a distinction between “commissioned” and “enlisted” ranks. All personnel are hired by a private company and assigned ranks based roughly on their pay and responsibilities.
This is the most common rank structure. A company is free to add to, delete, or completely overhaul its rank structure, including replace pseudo-military ranks with business ranks.
- Crewman 3rd Class
- Crewman 2nd Class
- Crewman 1st Class
- Second Lieutenant
- First Lieutenant
- Lieutenant Commander or one of
- Chief Communications Officer
- Chief Engineer
- Chief Financial Officer
- Chief Medical Officer
- Chief Pilot
- Chief Science Officer
- Chief Weapons Officer
- Commander or Executive Officer
- Corporate Liason
Alliance Peacekeeping Fleet
The Peacekeeping Fleet has the same structure as the Alliance Fleet, but with far fewer Science personnel and a greater number of Security personnel.
Peacekeeping Fleet uniforms are navy blue with color-coded piping indicating service.
Solar Defense Fleet
The Solar Defense Fleet operates mainly fighters and gunboats, so its structure is fairly flat.
|Pay Grade||Base Crew||Space Crew|
|E4||Sergeant Major||Sergeant Major|
In recent years the Solar Defense Fleet has acquired some craft from the Peacekeeper Fleet. Ranks aboard those ships resemble those aboard the Peacekeeper and Alliance Space Exploration Fleets.
|Pay Grade||Sub-Capital Ship||Capital Ship||Other Services|
|O-02||Second Lieutenant||Second Lieutenant||Second Lieutenant|
|O-03||First Lieutenant||First Lieutenant||First Lieutenant|
|O-04||Flight Captain||(Flight Captain)||Captain, Service|
|O-05||Squadron Leader||Lt. Commander||Major, Service|
|O-06||Wing Commander||Commander||Lt. Colonel, Service|
|O-07||Group Captain||Captain||Colonel, Service|
Other Services in the Defense Force include Medical, Intelligence, and Space Marine. Most stay at base, although with the addition of Capital Ships some have taken postings aboard ship.
Higher ranks correspond to flag officers at a base or HQ.
|O-12||Marshal of the Fleet|
The standard Alliance starship layout resembles an ellipsoid with an Alcubierre ring around its midsection. Longer ships often need two or more rings to generate the warp bubble that makes the ship move.
As a holdover from the days when ships used Newtonian physics, the decks are perpendicular to the direction of motion. Thus the layout of the ship resembles a tower or rocket more than an ocean-going ship. Ships without warp power also lack artificial gravity, due to energy and power constraints.
These ships lack true FTL capabilities. The smallest ships use antigravity and ion thrusters to travel at non-relativistic speeds, while system ships use Warp 0 or Warp 1 generators to move at relativistic but still STL speeds.
Escape Pod: Little more than a pressurized tin can with antigravity and thrusters, a pod’s sole purpose is to convey escaping crew from an exploding ship to the nearest planet. Every pod contains seats for four, an emergency kit of rations and tools under each seat, and a minimal steering panel.
Shuttle: A flying brick with antigravity and thrusters, the standard shuttle serves mainly to get crew from the starship to the planet’s surface and back. It can carry up to sixteen passengers, 24 cubic meters of cargo, or any combination thereof if the passengers don’t mind.
System Defender: A heavily armed corvette capable of only Warp 1. Most of its power goes to its supplemental shields, magnetic armor, warp torpedo bays, and multiple Vulcan guns to repel boarding pods and fighters. Two Exo-Ray emitters allow it to hold its own against a larger warship until help arrives.
System Light Freighter: Light freighters provide an affordable entry-level ship for small-time shippers within a single star system. Many find their way to less than scrupulous owners.
System Heavy Freighter: Heavy freighters provide pressurized cargo space for cargo not in standard containers. Frequently a Heavy Freighter will make multiple stops throughout a solar system and provide customized deliveries via shuttles or system tugs.
System Bulk Freighter: Bulk freighters haul standard cargo containers at Warp 0 within a protective but unpressurized segmented shell. The “head” of the ship contains the bridge and main habitat, each segment contains a reactor that powers the Alcubierre ring for that segment, and the “tail” of the ship includes bays for two System Tugs, aft defensive weapons, and a workshop for engineers. A long “lift” that runs the length of the ship connects the front and back sections, with stops at airlocks that provide access to the cargo section and reactors.
The advantage of this design is that one can add more cargo space simply by inserting more segments. The disadvantage is that beyond Warp 0 keeping the warp fields in sync becomes difficult, and the ship will likely tear itself (and its cargo, and possibly its crew) to pieces.
System Tug: A small ship with a Warp 0 generator to deliver standard cargo containers – or broken ships – where they need to go.
Alliance Exploration Fleet
These ships were built for the Alliance Fleet, but may appear in the Merchant Fleet as surplus.
Ship’s Boat: Larger starships carry one or two ship’s boats, sometimes called the “captain’s yacht”, for short missions outside the star system. A Ship’s Boat is small yet sturdy enough to land on planets, althoug its Alcubierre rings mean that it must land on its tail, a nerve-wracking experience for novice pilots.
Support Ship: Support ships carry cargo and personnel to starships posted far from the Alliance center. Some support ships act like medical ships to provide emergency relief to planets suffering from a major disaster.
Science Ship: Only slightly larger than a Support Ship, a Science Ship has minimal armaments and defenses but large sensor arrays to survey entire star systems.
Explorer: The emblem of the Alliance Fleet, an Explorer balances the need for keen sensor arrays, powerful defenses, a good offense, and highly competent personnel ready for any contingency. Its main armaments are exo-beam emitters, but Explorers also carry warp torpedoes for inevitable confrontations at warp speeds.
While these ships are most common in the Merchant Fleet, other services can and do make use of them for special missions.
Free Trader: A ship leased mostly to smaller companies, this ship has relatively small cargo capacity. For small companies opening up new markets cargo capacity matters less than its ability to land on planets. Like a Ship’s Boat, however, it must land on its tail.
Small Freighter: A repurposed Support Ship or Science Ship, all weapons bays, medical bays, science labs, and similar facilities have been removed to make room for cargo and whatever weapons or other features the company wishes to install.
Standard Freighter: The most common ship in the Merchant Fleet, this warp-capable freighter has cargo capacity comparable to a System Heavy Freighter.
Interstellar Tug: These small but powerful ships not only haul cargo or broken ships, they can generate a warp bubble large enough to transport their cargo at up to Warp 8. Larger than standard-sized cargo, such as an Explorer or Cruiser, will reduce the maximum warp, and a Battle Cruiser would be beyond its capabilities as the Alcubierre rings would not fit.
Without ballast the Tug becomes harder to handle, as the bulk of the ship is at the front with only the Alcubierre rings and the supporting struts trailing behind. Absent cargo a Tug will haul a small asteroid to its destination.
The other fleets keep a few of these Tugs handy just in case, but most have been leased to the Merchant Fleet as they make excellent analogues to a System Bulk Hauler.
These ships are exclusive to the Peacekeeping Fleet.
Fighter: While often passed off as a “lander”, this ship’s powerful thrusters and Alcubierre ring, and the obvious weapon mounts, mark this model as a starfighter with possible civilian uses. It consists mainly of a spherical cockpit in a reinforced transparent aluminum bubble with holographic heads-up displays, four multidirectional ion thrusters, a main fusion thruster toward the rear, and a warp drive capable of Warp 6. While the cockpit is pressurized with a day’s worth of breathable atmosphere, the pilot and gunner usually wear spacesuits just in case.
Gunship: Unapologetically a ship of war, a gunship carries a crew of up to eight: a captain, two pilots, four gunners, and an engineer. The gunship not only carries exo-cannons but launchers for warp torpedos, warp drones, warp mines, and anti-torpedo countermeasures. Capable of up to Warp 6, a gunship can enter an attacking warship’s warp bubble and commence its own counter-attack.
Corvette: Somewhere between a Gunship and a Light Cruiser lies the Corvette, a sleek patrol and scout ship with both sensor arrays and formidable armaments.
Cruiser, Light: While superficially resembling the Explorer class, a Light Cruiser maximizes exo-beams, deflectors, and high capacity warp bubble generators in addition to its normal warp engines. It’s clearly a ship that will not start a fight but aims to finish it.
Cruiser, Heavy: Larger than a light cruiser, the heavy cruiser will start a fight and win it. Its offensive and defensive capabilities rival those of the Draconian Empire’s best ships.
Carrier: While Cruisers carry some Fighters and even some Gunships, the bulk of a Carrier’s space is dedicated to fighter bays, gunship bays, and the maintenance facilities both require. Unlike sea-based carriers, space carriers can open all bay doors at once and launch an entire wave simultaneously. (Getting them all back in, alas, takes a little longer.)
Cruiser, Battle: The newest addition to the Peacekeeping Fleet, this behemoth is surprisingly agile thanks to multiple Alcubierre rings and redundant warp engines. Its offensive and defensive capabilites rival the next three largest ships combined.