Getting the Science Department Organized
General Sim Postings
Location: Chief Science Officers office
Timeline: Set after the ship had docked at SB51
Matt looked around his new office. Maia Sterling as one of her last acts decided to promote him to CSO. The truth was she had been grooming him for some time now. Where to start? What did one do as a science officer? Back to basics, he thought.
Scientific knowledge is essential to virtually all of Starfleet’s missions. Every ship in the fleet can count a number of specialists among its crew, and some are dedicated science vessels with a very specific compliment.
Space travel in general, and in particular the exploration of space, relies on the personnel involved having knowledge of a number of different areas of science and technology. This ranges from advanced mathematical algorithms used in the deployment of warp drives, to the configuration and maintenance of a vessel’s highly computerized systems. All Starfleet personnel, regardless of eventual rank or duty, undergo training in many aspects of science before they are allowed to operate as part of the crew on a starship or space station.
This general basis of knowledge can then be built upon by officers with a specific interest in particular science, enabling them to train as a mission specialist from early in their career. The role-oriented structure that characterises Starfleet provides plenty of opportunities for such dedicated officers to follow the promotion chain all the way up, eventually becoming a departmental head aboard a vessel or facility, or even to take the captain’s chair.
The senior science officer has been an integral part of Starfleet crews for more than a century, providing an invaluable service to senior officers and answering directly to the commander or captain of a starship or station. The science officer is the individual responsible for overseeing scientific investigations, and for providing the captain with scientific information that may be required to make a correct and relevant command decision. The relative importance of this role differs according to the nature of the vessel or station on which the science officer is assigned; a Starfleet vessel primarily designated as a research vessel will by its nature, have a very high concentration of scientists aboard compared to vessels with a secondary scientific function. The role carried out by the senior science officer outside of the coordination of experiments and research programs will depend entirely on their rank.
In the 24th century, there were teams of science officers on Federation starships. The bridge was manned by a number of different personnel, none of whom had particular seniority compared to other bridge officers. There was the occasion in 2370 for example when Ensign Taitt happened to be on duty when the vessel came under serious threat from an alien craft. Taitt’s knowledge of solar dynamics helped to remove the danger: she applied the theories from her senior honour thesis to the production of a solar fusion disruptor that destroyed the enemy ship.
The huge amount of experience a science officer can gain while on active duty is further reflected in promotion prospects after such a position. Many classes of starship have permanent science stations on the bridge that are tied into the main sensors and the ship’s LCARS. This prime position allows the science officer to not only coordinate the efforts of the various scientific teams and departments aboard the vessel, in particular, those of the chief engineer but also to witness and participate in a wide range of events that take place within the central command area.
Science officers often graduate from Starfleet Academy with their own speciality. Science officer Jadzia Dax of Deep Space Nine had distinctions in exobiology, zoology, astrophysics, and geoarchaeology – but senior science officers must also have a working knowledge of many other disciplines in order for them to carry out their duties effectively.
Liaison with scientists from within and outside the UFP is also a major part of the role and includes furnishing specialists with the facilities and equipment they may require while working on the vessel or facility in which their research or experiments are being conducted. This puts a huge burden on the science officer, as they have to be aware of new developments. Much of their time will be spent maintaining their own knowledge and constantly building upon it so that the information they give their commanding officers is as accurate as possible.
Science officers play a vital role in landing parties and away teams, advising on possible environmental and manufactured hazards. The teams are chosen at the captain’s discretion, and a science officer will usually accompany senior officers, engineers, and security personnel on exploratory or information-gathering expeditions. Depending on rank, the science officer may also act in a diplomatic role alongside the commanding officer. They often take part in ship or station held conferences or transport down to non-Federation planets.
Science officers are often called upon to improvise answers to unknown situations and technology, calling on their expertise and knowledge. Under high-pressure situations, some science officers, such as Maia Sterling, even had to work with alien technologies and facilities as their primary equipment.
The science officer is often at the heart of potentially dangerous situations, and their fast thinking has helped save numerous Starfleet vessels and facilities.
He had an assistant Chief in Ted Silver. So Matt called him in to discuss how they would field the science department.
Silver had been surprised and glad to receive a call. It meant the Tomcat was on her way back. He straightened his uniform and took the call.
“ Yes sir how may I help you? “ Silver asked.
"I am in my office on deck 5 I would like you to come down, I would like to get better acquainted with you, Ted. After all, we are going, to be running the science department and we should be of one accord." Matt said.
It was then that Silver realised the Tomcat had arrived. He blinked and spoke a bit clearer.
“ On my way.” He replied
Ted strode towards the nearest viewport. For the first time, he looked on his new posting. Then he made his way on board.
Matt continued working in his office. He was reading Ensign Silvers record of excellence so far. He was really excited about meeting the man.
Silver walked onto the Tomcat. Looking around he asked for directions to the CSO. Following them, he arrived at Thompson’s office. He pressed the door chime and waited to be allowed in.
"Ah.. you must be Ted Silver, Welcome aboard.
I am Matt Thompson. Come in do you have your training records?" Matt asked pleasantly.
Ted handed over a PADD to Lt. Thompson and stood to attention. He glanced around the office. It seemed quite impressive. He hoped his department head found everything in order. Silver returned his eyes to the front. Looking at the space just above Thompson’s head.
"At ease Mr Silver, everything seems to be in order. Is this your first starship posting?" Matt asked.
Matt scanned the PADD. Very impressive.
"I see from your records that you have a strong background in biology, does that extend to bio-chemistry by any chance?" Matt asked.
“ Yes sir. This my first posting. I have a photographic memory. So I can virtually remember anything. But Botany is my field of expertise. Just imagine investigating a plant. Seeing how it absorbs sunlight than by photosynthesis convert that to oxygen.
"Do you know how to run a lab Mr Silver?" Matt asked.
Ted considered Matt’s statement. Why did people consider anyone fresh out of the Academy? To not have any idea what to do once they had a pip on the collar! But it did not do to start throwing. All your toys out of the pram in front, of your department head.
“ Yes sir. At the Academy, I was head science cadet. In charge of laboratory one. As you know it is the largest lab on the Earth campus.” Ted said as politely as possible.
"I ask that because I would prefer to give you a job you are good at rather than throwing you to the wolves, Ensign. Very well you will be my subject matter expert on life sciences and botany, also I will put you in charge of the life sciences labs." Matt said.
“ Thank you, sir, I won’t let you down.” He replied.
"Unless there is anything you wanted to discuss you're dismissed," Matt said.
Silver nodded turned and left the office.-
Lt JG Matt Thompson
Chief Science Officer
Ens. Ted Silver