The responsibility for actual piloting and navigation of a starship lies with the Flight Control Officer, or “Conn”. Receiving instructions directly from the commanding officer, the Conn’s duties include: navigational references and course plotting, supervision of automatic flight operations, manual flight operations, positive verification, and acting as Bridge liaison to the engineering department. While these functions are heavily automated, their importance to the safety of the ship and the missions at hand demands that an officer be assigned to oversee the Conn at all times.
The Operations Management Officer, normally referred to as “Ops”, is responsible for the coordination and scheduling of resources and hardware to the various missions being performed aboard a starship. The Ops panel on the bridge displays a continually updated list of all current major shipboard activities. This information is used to evaluate the current state of the ship’s activities, so priority decisions can be made. For example, if a science department is using a sensor array and an alert situation arises, the Ops will have to divert the science scan from the main sensor array to another available system.
Defensive Systems Control and starship internal security are the duties of the Tactical Station (“Tactical” for short) located near the rear of the bridge. This position gives the Senior Tactical Officer an unobstructed view of the main viewer and the command stations below. Tactical security coverage ranges from low-level crew safety to full counter-intelligence measures against sabotage or terrorism. External security systems (defensive shields, phasers, photon torpedoes) are generally controlled from the Tactical station, as well as sensor arrays, probes, buoys, and tractor beam systems.
Auxiliary Bridge Stations:
Many starships, but not all, contain auxiliary ship and mission control stations. These stations do not require constant attention and are only manned when necessary. Two science stations provide realtime data to the command personel and are used by mission specialists who have to coordinate activities with the bridge. The Mission Ops station provides support to the Ops officer and coordinates secondary objectives. The Environmental Systems station allows monitoring and control of the support systems aboard a starship and can serve as a deputy operations management station in a crisis. The Engineering systems’ monitor duplicates the Chief Engineer’s primary status displays from the Main Engineering section.