The Departments

The origin of the Departments are lost in time. Their leaders claim that they are the original organisation of the crew, put in place before the Launch. Others dismiss these stories as self-serving justifications for self-serving guilds, claims of prestige by those who would hoard knowledge to themselves. Regardless, Computer accords them at least some respect, and for all intents and purposes the senior crew members are the Department Heads.

OOC Note: Most inhabitants of the ship are a member of exactly one department.

The Department of Engineering

Engineering is by far the largest department, and many would argue, the most critical. It subsumes all duties related to fixing, maintaining and using the ship's mechanisms. Many of those who work in the department are jack-of-all-trades fixers who take care of most maintenance problems. For those rare situations where applications of brute force, ignorance and swap in replacement are insufficient the department also has a number of experts who specialize in particular systems such as plumbing, fabbers, doors, agricultural systems or drive maintenance.

There are two main streams of work:

  • Emergency works, involving the replacement and correction of components that have failed prematurely. Engineers on these calls need to be somewhat skilled in “customer management”, the fine art of tactfully redirecting those who have had to wait 6 weeks for someone to come and look at their toilet/fabber/heated wardrobe. To reduce problems in this area, Engineering are well known to implement a strategy that can largely be summed up as “awkward customers will be seen last, and then made to wait for parts to be fabbed, then made to wait some more”. Of course, if you've got the right contacts you can arrange to jump the queue. Of course, when Computer issues an emergency works notice for something specific it gets top priority.
  • Preventative maintenance, involving replacement of parts on a Computer determined timeframe to minimize the number of emergency replacements based on mean time to failure statistics. Often involving trips deep into the bowels of the ship, this is the job for those who don't wish to engage with the great unwashed crew at large. Though equally it is a thankless job as no-one ever knows the lengths gone to for their safety and comfort.

There are also a handful of less common roles:

  • Fabber operations, running the giant fabbers in the low-G parts of each toroid used for especially complex and delicate creations. These are masters of their craft at bodging together specialist one off items to do particular tasks from hundreds of different components none of which were intended to be used like that.
  • Customer solutions, specializing in creative solutions to customer problems and problem customers.
  • BOB herding, the technical term for tracking down and fixing those Basic Operations Bots (BOBs) who deviate from their programming for whatever reason. The ability to dodge past maliciously aimed laser welders to deploy an autowrench is considered an essential survival skill in this occupation.

The Department of Recycling

Recycling are responsible for ensuring that nothing on board ship is wasted; organic substances, including human waste and wasted humans, become nutrients for the hydroponics bays and oxygen forests, while broken or unused technology is often reclaimed and broken down to its component parts for the large specialized fabricators in the ship's core. The ship has a very finite supply of materials, and thus it is not unheard of for Engineering to demand that Recycling reclaim large quantities of goods (some of which are still in use) when a project requires it. If you need something rare, Recycling will have it or know where to get it. Fabbers scattered around the ship are also stocked by Recycling, but hoarding is an ongoing problem.

There are a number of well known roles in the Department of Recycling:

  • Gardeners are responsible for the care and maintenance of the life giving algae beds, in addition to the care and maintenance of the more traditional plants located in the various oxygen forests and other green zones. A small number of gardeners dedicate their lives to breeding new forms of algae with the aim of improving the taste and range of food that is easily available.
  • Requisition Officers are responsible for sourcing materials of which there is a shortage. They are tasked with the identification and reclamation of resources that are not being gainfully employed. From time to time assistance from the department of Harmony is required for particularly difficult customers. Their favourite targets are those found to be hoarding resources, and the artists' quarter.
  • Exploratory reclamation are the group who lead forays into the less inhabited depths of the ship on the scrounge for failed components long past their working life and ripe for recycling. Those engaged in this activity often spend up to a week at a time away from home on their expeditions.
  • Biological reprocessing is the euphemism for those responsible for ensuring that human remains are collected and processed in a timely fashion. Of course, some of those who have reached their expiry date do not go willingly and a specialized corps operates to bring in these resource criminals dead or alive (preferably dead).

The Department of Harmony

Harmony (or sometimes just “Harm”, depending on what they're doing) specialise in ensuring that the crew remain happy and not too dysfunctional. They cover everything from law enforcement, to crew entertainment (of various types). Computer is known to highly value their advice on well-justified crew reassignments.

Well known roles include:

  • Enforcement Officers, who keep the peace and enforce the rules. With non-lethal force if necessary.
  • Marshals, brought in to track down culprits who have somehow evaded the security nets. Often venturing into Blackout and other less savoury parts of the ship, these officers are authorised to perform lethal takedowns of their suspects if necessary. Of course they have to be wearing their personal recording devices so they can show sufficient cause when challenged.
  • Harmony Managers, responsible for tracking crew morale and correcting it should it go awry.
  • Recorders, responsible for recording important events on the ship for the prosperity of future generations after planetfall.

There are also rumours of deep cover agents infiltrating more disreputable groups and ensuring they are monitored for any seriously disruptive activity. The Department will neither confirm nor deny the existence of such operatives.

The Department of Health

Health, also known as Medical, have the obvious job of looking after crew members' health. Everything from vaccinations through to surgery — all with the help of Computer of course. This also includes their mental health, shared to some extent with the Department of Harmony. The Department of Health also has the important responsibility of raising and educating young children in the ship's many creches.

Medical roles surprisingly don't include the historical position of general practitioner, the role having been made obsolete by Computer, and its automated medical stations that are capable of performing both internal and external measurements using a full spectrum of medical techniques in addition to the administration of needle delivered medication. Food fabbing equipment is able to administer a full spectrum of oral treatments as part of a citizen's food. This leaves a small number of specialist roles that are filled by crew members.

  • Emergency Medical Technicians for when the engineers inevitably impale themselves on something in a part of the ship that's hard to reach. In addition to knowing how to put someone's insides back in with a staple gun and duct tape, EMTs also have to be part firefighter, part engineer and part explorer in order to locate and reach their casualties. EMTs are renowned for their hatred of BOBs, blaming them for over 50% of the accidents they attend.
  • Cybernetics specialists look after those who have been implanted; part hacker, part surgeon, part counselor, these enigmatic individuals are alternatively reviled or admired by different sections of the crew.
  • Surgeons are still required to perform the majority of operations, though usually with tight supervision from Computer.

The department also contains those involved in childcare, or as they prefer to call themselves Educators. This covers the full range of teaching from babes in arms right up to apprenticeships.

The Department of Navigation

Mission protocol dictates that at all times a corps of trained navigators will be maintained such that in the event of a critical Computer failure the mission can continue using whatever machinery and instrumentation still functions.
— IGS Asimov Mission Protocols, surviving fragment.

Navigation is the smallest department and is viewed as a bit of a joke by most. Computer does the steering, what use is a department that is there “just in case”? This view is not helped by those in the department who claim to be able to predict the future by reading the stars and other such mystical mumbo-jumbo.

  • Navigators are trained in the use of many instruments of varying tech levels to calculate the Asimov's position, acceleration and velocity relative to nearby stars. Their long and complex training programme involves heavy hand calculation content, presumably so they can replicate crucial computer functions if it ever goes offline. They are also trained and drilled in plotting deceleration courses for entry in various possible circumstances.
  • Astrologers (officially Monitors) are officially speaking in charge of monitoring the outside of the ship for anything unusual. Since space tends to be mostly empty, however, they have a lucrative unofficial sideline in adapting ancient traditions and putting them to use predicting the future, with varying degrees of success. It's said by some that the astrologers know the mysteries of the universe - they know who we are, why we're here, where we're going, what the future has to hold, and whether that guy in the next compartment fancies you. Most other people point out that they're a bunch of creepy people who dress in robes with funny traditions, making it up as they go along. They seem to be remarkably good at predicting the outcomes of the NGF finals, though.
departments.txt · Last modified: 2012/10/15 21:38 by gm_gemma
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