The TSN operates in space, and therefore almost all of its assets are deployed in the transition zone of a star system, or at strategic locations such as waypoint systems. TSN personnel expect to spend most, if not all of their career in space, only journeying to the inner star system and planetside during R&R.
There are two options when joining the TSN; join as enlisted personnel, or as an officer. Most new recruits join as enlisted personnel, taking on a particular trade within the TSN. Enlisted personnel are put through a basic training programme, after which they join other TSN enlisted in an apprenticeship-style scheme, training on the job.
Those who join as officers complete a basic training programme, alongside those who joined as enlisted personnel. After this basic training programme, they are then sent to the TSN Academy for between 2 and 4 years to continue their officer training. Officers then leave the academy with the rank of Cadet, and complete their final stage of their training on active duty. When an officer is promoted to Ensign, it signifies they have officially completed the training for officer and are regarded as full officers serving in the TSN.
Personnel in the TSN can find themselves deployed in various different roles and in multiple different locations around USFP space. The 1st and 2nd Fleet make up the front line forces, supported by elements of the 3rd Reserve Fleet. The TSN also has a number of other operations away from the front lines, including administration and research and development.
The TSN runs several capital ships, the smallest being the Intrepid class Scout cruisers, and the largest being the Diana class Leviathan carriers. There are also numerous support ships, such as the destroyers, interceptors, corvettes and escort vessels as well as supply and logistics ships such as the marine transports and auxiliary supply ships.
Support ships usually operate close to bases such as the deep space base, TSN fortress bases and the command bases. They are rarely fitted with warp drive technology, and crew accommodation is limited as they do not spend time far from starbases. Crews of such vessels usually spend no more than a week living aboard such ships. It may rarely extend to a month or so depending on the mission, however it is more common that the ship docks at a base every few days, or even on a daily basis. These ships commonly stay in the same transition zone around a star system, supporting several bases within the area. The can also be found in the inner zone of a star system.
The main capital ships are designed for longer missions and operate away from bases for extended periods of time. Such missions could see the crew living and working on the ship for up to six months at a time. They are equipped with warp drives and therefore commonly move between several star systems, taking on a number of roles such as humanitarian aid, defensive operations, front line actions, security patrols, intelligence gathering, research support, diplomatic support, exploration, and counter terrorist/ pirate operations.
Life as an officer aboard a TSN Capital ship
Aboard a TSN ship, living conditions are fairly close. Junior Officers, including cadets, often share quarters aboard a ship, with between 2 and 4 officers sharing their accommodation. Quarters usually consist of 2 – 4 bunks, with a small washroom, consisting of a shower, toilet and basin. Storage of clothing and personal items is provided as small wardrobes built in to the walls and drawers under the bunks. Around the bunks, officers usually decorate the walls with personal items such as pictures of family, small ornaments (which may some religious symbols) or books and posters.
Senior officers up to the rank of Commander often share quarters too, though this is limited to two officers per room. The ship’s captain has a private accommodation suite as well as a personal office, and on some ships the executive officer may also have their own private accommodation suite and very rarely have a personal office.
All officers are issued a personal data tablet. This is a device, with a screen size of 15″, which is for both personal and professional use. When on duty, the officer places their device on their assigned console. It is held in place by a small magnetic force and will interface directly with the ship’s computer systems.
The console itself is surrounded by several touch screen interface monitors, smaller than the officer’s own device, as well as several physical interface systems (buttons, switches, dials etc). Without the officer’s device, the individual monitors display standard screens communicating information about the ship and providing an interface for other crew members to use. As soon as the officer places their personal data tablet on the console in a central position, the device is locked into place and the screens display the officers preference of information. This may include instrument readouts from other consoles, smaller external display views or other data from around the ship. The officer can tailor the various monitors and displays to show information they require, and can quickly switch between different presets, or change the display entirely. Their own data tablet shows the main console for which they are assigned. This is the primary interface for the officer and they can use either direct touch screen interface or physical interface system to interact with their console.
The main area of operations for a TSN ship is the bridge. Most bridges follow a common design specification. All bridges are fairly compact in their design, accommodating a small number of officers at any one time. All bridges have the five main consoles and a captain’s chair. Each console is manned by an officer. When an officer is resting, the console may be left empty, or may be covered by a specialist if required.
To the front of the bridge is a large viewscreen. The central part of the display is dedicated to the main viewscreen, which can be set to display different information about the ship, including external views, LRS data, internal ship data and tactical displays. In the margins, above and below the central viewscreen are several smaller areas that display additional data such as external sensor readings, coordinates data, ship date and times etc.
From the viewscreen is a lower deck area, where a console is located that stretches almost the full width of the bridge. This is the tactical and helm console. A central column extends from the console, dividing the console itself into two distinct work areas, with the tactical console being situated on the left side and the helm situated to the right as viewed from the captain’s chair (located behind the positions). The helm officer and tactical officer’s seats are slightly reclined to afford a comfortable view of the main viewscreen, as well as to provide an unobstructed view for the officers located behind them. Directly behind the lower deck, is the main deck of the bridge. It is reached by two steps, located to the left and right of the helm and tactical seats.
On the main deck, the captain’s chair is located slightly to the left of the centre line of the bridge, behind the tactical console. Next to the captain’s chair, to the right, is a second chair with a console that extends from the deck. This traditionally is the the science officer’s console, however is often occupied by the captain’s Executive officer.
On the left and right walls of the bridge are consoles for the communications and engineering officers. The left is traditional communications console, whereas the right is traditionally the engineering console. The console includes monitors angled toward the bulkhead, but extending out on to a small console work area so that the officers occupying those positions are able to see the main viewscreen if required and communicate more easily with others on the bridge.