In order to let that topic stay inline with it's topic (and to prevent hi-jacking of course), I have decided to post my idea here instead....
The topic above do point out that we need some form of Executive Officer, which is always an important part of Star Trek. Before you scream "Because of balance" and yaddah, my idea is only an idea, which should be taken into consideration.
The XO should be an internal 'secondary' character that can also be the only BO to carry a kit, so that his skills can be used, ontop of kit skills if the player wanted to switch into the XO to play as him. That would be cool. Because of this, either the Commanding Officer (aka the player Captain) or the Executive Officer could go on the ground mission and while the CO or XO is on the ground, the other would have to contend with problems in space.
This would still make the XO very much bound to a bridge console slot, however it would make adventures a bit more interesting.
And how would you get an XO, may you ask? The XO is usually a Commander in rank and when given the position of First Officer (aka Executive Officer aka XO), he becomes virtually a secondary 'player character' that can be chosen for ground mission or the interlined space mission if the CO were to head to ground. In normal space battles, the CO is in command of the ship naturally. But if enemies were to surpise attack the ship, the XO (if CO went to the ground) would have to fight the ships. The activities on the ground are concluded almost at the same time as the space event, unless there is a pause that allows the CO and his away team to return to the ship, which in that case the CO takes command of the ship once more.
As for the universal station... how about making the first officer station bound to the XO's profession that incase you want another type of XO, you may have to pay a high fee of merits to change the station? Also promoting a normal BO into First Officer should cost alot of Merits of course and free up a normal Bridge Officer slot since the First Officer has a slot of his own. And of course, you can only have ONE First Officer.
Now you may ask... How will the bridge officer work if the CO take some of the best bridge officers down to the ground? IF you have other space bridge officers, you can use them instead for the XO or CO to use. In this case, the assignment window will have a tab that can set a secondary set of 'preferred' bridge officers onto station slots. This way that, for exmaple, if you take one of your commander tactical officers down because he is also an excellent officer, you can have a secondary set that automatically puts a diffrent tactical officer into the slot that Tactical officer #1 would normally occupy during space battles. These sets can also be switched between at will outside of combat. You can also setup a secondary away team default list for either the CO or XO to choose (you could also set so that either the CO or XO of yours are primarily chosen for the away team).
Example situation: You have come to a planet where one station is 'appearently' deserted. My captain have decided that he personally will go down to look around and takes his away team with him. This way, the XO is left with the remaining bridge officers. While the CO looks around at the computer and discover things, the tactical officer on the ship informs first the XO about a ship warping in, the XO then contacts the CO and tells him that a ship had warped in and will attempt to speak to them.
Now there are two sets of missions here: The ground mission where the CO and his crew are on and the space mission outside the station in where the XO has control of your ship. The missions will run parralel with each other (although it can be acted out in order, such as space first, then ground or vice versa). And if the diplomatic parts of the game are installed... the XO can either try with diplomacy to avoid a fight that could endganger his captain or try to force the other away, depending on how hostile you or the XO deem the sitaution. And if diplomacy fails somehow and a fight begins, the ship will beam down hostile enemies onto the station and the XO warns the CO about this before communications are jammed (or worse, jammed before the XO can warn the captain!).
Now the XO's innate bridge officer powers for both space and ground are his 'captain skills' (or he loses his bridge officer skills and gain the career specific catpain skills instead for both space and ground) and he can fight like the captain, although since he is an XO, he may not be as equally skilled as the captain (naturally, unless he is WELL trained for some reason). While the XO combats the ship, the CO must contend with hostile crew members of the hostile vessel in the station and complete his objectives. Or he can do a one-time attempt to make a compromise before the fight really starts off. Depending on choice of words (and perhaps some charismatic abilities, who knows) it can favor either the captain or the hostile forces or make a mutual agreement... or it can also fail and end up in a fight. From there, the captain can either choose to set weapons on stun (to go the Honor path) or weapons on kill (to go the Duty path, I took this idea from this thread: http://forums.startrekonline.com/sho...d.php?t=110953 ). Then the mission is resolved as normally, except you suddenly have enemies to contend with or the mission ends if you reach some sort of compromise of sorts.
And when the ground part is resolved (again, this is not done at the same time), the space battle could be still in motion, depending on how fast you completed the ground part and the CO beams onboard and once more take control of the ship and his normally assigned bridge officers get into their positions in order to deal with the enemy. Then from there, it goes as normal....
What do you think? Having a first officer can have alot of gameplay potentional and I hope that Cryptic realizes this and thinks about it atleast. And having not a First Officer, especially as a Captain and Rear Admiral would be rather strange honestly.
First Officers are officers handpicked by the Commanding Officer because of skill, loyalty and their abilities and such. As said in the topic I was referring to at the top of this post, the First Officer always reflected a diffrent side of the captain so to speak. Look through TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY and even ENT, each captain always have a first officer.