Line Officers Edit
Few military services can claim to have officers trained as well and as diversely as the officers of the Royal Naval Service. RNS line officers are trained in navigation, engineering, military tactics, history, the sciences and armed and unarmed combat. Any line officer on a ship is qualified to pilot that ship, to run its engines, to fire its guns, to take command if necessary.
As the ship 'clears for action', that is, gets ready for an engagement, each officer will report to his assigned 'action station,' such as navigation, or weapons, or engineering. These assignments are set by an officer's position (i.e. 1st Lieutenant, 2nd Lieutenant, etc.) and will remain the same as long as he holds that position. When the ship is other than at action stations, the duty rotation is set by the 1st Lieutenant, and each officer is generally assigned to an area of the duty roster best suited to his skills and abilities.
Line officers start their careers in the Royal Naval Service through one of two gateways: through the Royal Naval Academy in Enaj, or by enlisting directly as a midshipman.
Cadets at the Royal Naval Academy take a four-year programme and graduate not only with a degree in one of various fields, but also with the rank of Lieutenant. They are trained in all the arts necessary to an officer in His Majesty's Service, and between terms they are sent on training missions aboard designated RNS ships.
Midshipmen begin their career on the deck of an RNS ship. They learn many of the same things as their Academy brethren, but they learn it through practical experience, training in navigation, engineering, gunnery, tactics and all the other necessary skills of an officer.
After six years aboard ship, midshipmen take the Examination for Lieutenant. If they pass, they receive their commissions as Lieutenants. If they fail, they must wait one year until they can take the examination again. If they fail a second time, they are discharged from the Royal Naval Service.
Regardless of how RNS officers start their career, every line officer is theoretically in line for command. On every ship, there is a Captain (or on smaller ships, a Commander), and under that Captain a 1st Lieutenant, a 2nd Lieutenant, a 3rd Lieutenant and so on - though there are only rarely more than ten lieutenants aboard a ship. The position of the lieutenant in the chain of command is generally, though not always, based on seniority.
Civilian Officers Edit
These civilian officers do not hold military rank and are not in the chain of command. They are, however, entitled to the same military courtesy as a lieutenant and are said to rank "with but after" the lieutenants (Surgeons-Commander rate as a commander, but without any command authority). After six years of service they are eligible to take the Examination for Lieutenant and join the corps of line officers. Few do, however, as civilian officers are paid better than junior lieutenants.
Naval Surgeons hold a warrant from the admiralty for their position, and are responsible for purchasing all of the ships instruments and drugs, though more high-tech instrumentation is provided in sick bay according to Admiralty regulations. They treat all routine illnesses aboard ship, and also deal with trauma as the result of shipboard accidents or battles. Surgeons-Commander serve the same functions as Surgeons, but hold a commission, though they only have command authority over the surgeons, assistant surgeons, and specialists in the medical department.
The Ship's Master, the senior warrant officer, is in charge of a number of duties which serve to make the ship spaceworthy. He assists in the fitting out of the vessel for space, and makes sure that the provisions and stores are stored properly, along with any other cargo sent with the ship. He navigates the ship, under the direction of the commissioned officers, and ensures that the official log book is properly kept. He also maintains the ships charts, noting on them any new hazards to navigation.
The ship's purser may be a Sivadian Warrant Officer on ships of the line, though is generally a specialist rating on smaller ships. The purser was traditionally paid at a somewhat lower pay than the other warrants, and was expected to make up this difference through the sale of everyday items to his 'customers' aboard ship. However, in the modern RNS the purser receives full pay and is simply in charge of the supplying of the ship, and its accounts, also serving as captain's clerk.
The ship's engineer also holds a position as warrant officer, and is generally required to have learned his trade ashore, though some are former officers of various ranks. He is required to have a wide knowledge of the ships engine and systems, and also is responsible for repairs of all battle damage in the field. He conducts regular inspections of the ship to make sure that it is 'in all respects ready for space'.
The ship's gunner is also one of the standing officers on a vessel. The gunner was responsible for the ship's guns and ammunition, for which he was accountable to the Navy's Ordnance Board. He is also responsible for the maintenance of all the ship's small arms, with the assistance of specialist armourers. In the RNS he also serves as master-at-arms for a ship that does not have one, and maintains order in the gunroom on ships where the midshipmen and warrant officers dine separately from the officers.
The boatswain is responsible for all the ships boats and launches, the boarding links, and landing equipment on a ship that is capable of making planetary landings. He also retains general responsibility for the specialist crew's discipline (generally a very easy task). He assists the engineer in many maintenance duties, and is responsible for all external repairs and spacewalks.
Marine Officers Edit
Marine officers are trained at the Military School of the Royal Naval Academy in a two-year programme before being assigned to a ship. Marines are responsible both for land-based operations and for maintaining discipline aboard ship. Generally, every ship will have at least one marine officer and usually two - a Captain of the Marines and a Lieutenant of the Marines. Flagships and other large vessels may have a Colonel of the Marines as well as several Lieutenants of the Marines. These marine officers command squads of Specialist marines.
Aerospace Service Officers Edit
The newest branch of the Royal Navy, pilots of the Aerospace Service fly the fleet's Spitfire-class fighters and other small craft. The attend the Royal Naval Academy along with line officers for three years, and then spend their last year in basic, intermediate, and advanced small craft training (in lieu of the line officer's capital ship training). Some members of the RNAS are also trained in a variety of other specialities, for example, navigation or small craft gunnery.
In general, the RNAS is supported by regular Royal Navy specialist engineers and their own flight engineering officers. All carrier craft will have RNAS officers for their fighter squadrons, but they are rarely seen outside of these vessels. A RNAS wing consists of two 12-fighter squadrons, each commanded by a squadron leader, so that an average vessel will have a Wing Commander or Group Captain, two or more squadron leaders, and a number of flight lieutenants, flying officers, and pilot officers.
Midshipmen are not yet commissioned officers - they are technically warrant officers. In general, midshipmen are awaiting commission and are simply preparing themselves for careers as line officers following the examination for Lieutenant.
In rare circumstances, Specialists can be promoted to the rank of midshipman. These Specialist-Midshipmen enjoy most of the rights and privileges of other midshipmen, with the additional benefit of receiving life-extension treatments to keep them alive beyond their usual five-year expiry date.
The vast bulk of the RNS's ranks are filled with Specialists. Clones with a five-year lifespan, Specialists are built and trained with a specific purpose in mind. They perform the more menial and dangerous tasks aboard under the supervision of the officers, such as engine maintenance, manning guns and serving as low-level marines.
Specialists do not even enjoy the frequently cramped but comfortable quarters of the officers above them. They sleep on mattresses that can be rolled up in either the engine room, the cargo bay or the gunnery deck aboard ship. They are fed only the barest of rations, with an occasional reward of "rum" - which for Specialists is not much more than sugary water.
Still, the officers of the Royal Naval Service are aware of how much they depend upon the Specialists for their lives, and although living conditions for Specialists are not spectacular, Specialists are rarely treated with overt cruelty - except when an example must be made.