If you could design your own bridge....
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Join Date: Dec 2007
03-26-2012, 01:12 PM
First off, take the bridge OFF THE TOP OF THE SAUCER. In fact, for any ship that can do combat saucer-sep, the saucer bridge should be relegated to a secondary command center/operations management center, and the true bridge should be in the stardrive section, so that a separation maneuver can be executed in 20 seconds instead of 5 minutes as officers transfer.
Second, the captain's chair. First off it would not have a huge MSD splattered behind him for any hailing enemy to see as he talked. Second, more sophisticated consoles - not necessarily deployed, but deployable, so that the captain can take control of any basic function of the ship he deems necessary at an instant's notice. The armrest controls do this, but I think the consoles of the Defiant's captain's chair show much more flexibility. Any "support" chairs should also have better consoles than they had on the Ent-D (although those on the Ent-E seemed OK).
Third, a distinct cut between the two sections of the bridge. Let's take the Galaxy class ship, it's functions are spread all over the place - tactical is in the back mixed in with operations, ops is at the front with ship operations. The front of the bridge should be dedicated to "external" ship operations, which the captain most urgently needs to be monitoring in most cases. The back would be devoted to "internal" ship operations. If you swapped the positions of the tac and ops console on the Galaxy class bridge, it suddenly makes more sense - and frankly I imagine that on a ship of that size, a console big enough for two or three officers would benefit ops much more than tactical. However, if you go for the "cut" idea, the captain should be able to rotate to face any point on the bridge in the chair.
On the other hand, no repeat of the Galaxy. No massive swaths of wasted space. Lots of consoles here both make the ship look more high-tech and allow for more functionality. Even if it's not used 99% of the time, the 1% may be the difference between life and death. Further, if you don't follow the "cut" idea then the captain's chair should be at the back of the bridge and probably at least slightly elevated to give a superior vantage point. I remember long ago someone mentioning on a forum that they wanted to keep an eye on where the tactical officer's finger was on the phaser controls - while I wouldn't be quite so distrusting, I can definitely see why the captain would want to oversee all operations on the ship.
Another thing I'd like to see is a trio of main viewscreens. One viewscreen does NOT show the ship's status at a glance. Three would help tremendously, e.g. giving the ship's general position and position of relative important objects (benign and threatening), systems status, etc.
Speaking of size, I'd like to see large consoles. The original Ody default bridge had a neat setup - three large consoles for room for two officers each. This would provide a LOT of flexibility for immediate operations and for the captain to work with the crew.
I'd also like to see a bit more of the reconfigurability aspect of LCARS in action. In the TNG tech manual it was once cited that the Enterprise could be flown, at least in theory, by a guy walking down a corridor using a PADD. I see ops as a sort of do-everything-if-you-need-to position, I'd like to see a little more flexibility in this sort of thing.
As a final note, though, it may be worth mentioning that, while it would be foolish to depend entirely on it, one might use the now-ubiquitous holoemitters to make a more task-reconfigurable bridge, so long as the most central stations remained hardwired and non-holographic.