I did not mean that you would have to break up your crew. What I meant was that you would have to use a bridge officer to do it. This could be a randomly generated officer if you did not want to give up your officer, but I have at my max level a crap load of BOffs with not a lot to do with them. The structure would look like this:
2 choices: BOff can die or not, ship can be salvaged or not
Bridge officers could be random as you assing someone else in star fleet the position or your own people
Player Rank of Captain:
1 star Ship of level Lt from your inventory could carry out various missions for you that would be supersized versions of the DOFF missions already in play. More on this at the bottom
Rear Admiral Lower Half:
2 Star Ships level to Lt Comander, mission complexity increases (2 Boffs required)
Rear Admiral Upper Half:
3 Star Ships level to Commander, 3 BOffs required
4 Star Ships to Captain, 4 BOffs required
Exploratory: Send the ships out into the universe and get rewards when they report in.
Combat: Send them to the front lines and get rewards if they win in encounters
Diplomatic: Send them to negotiate trade with other species and increase your rank in the DOFF system.
I am sure there are more types, but the point is that it would utilize those ships that we do not use and Bridge officers. I would also add that the rewards should be scaled accordingly and the cool down times as well. You can send a ship on a mission that is a day or 2 weeks and the rewards for the longer missions are far greater than the shorter ones.
I want to give a little more detail on the missions as well.
These could start out as souped up DOFF missions like negotiate trade route, get prototype... those things. However I could see this becoming so much more.
Missions could have durations to them that would expand rewards. Like DOFF missions these ship missions could have time limits that range from a minimum of 24 hours to weeks in length. The ones that were weeks in length could generate serious dilithium or give gear that is extremely rare. I would choose the duration unlike the DOFF system. If I am a Vice Admiral I would choose one of my ships to go on 2 week missions so that I can get a crap load of dilithium when it returns, while I have other ships that stay on shorter term missions. When you get to the vice admiral rank you can send multiple ships on a mission to help out or to reenforce the front lines. This will allow for greater rewards, but also help to up the stakes as you level up.
I think that like the Doff systems this could be managed with the gateway system that they currently have the ability to look at equip items. That would make it worth it to log into the system if you were not in a place to log into a computer to get your ships back out on missions.
One more thing: I think that a rank of commodore would be a good addition here. You could give the commodore rank to Lifetime subscribers and players with a veterans status of 700+ days. This would allow them to command tier 5 ships and be able to unlock special missions.
Overall I want to see a way for us as players to utilize those ships that we do not use. How many people actually go play their lower tier ships. Since they do not level with you it creates a system of throw away ships. This does not seem like something that starfleet would be ok with. I have a complete outline for0 some of the mechanics, but felt that a new thread (when I can post one) would be a better place for it.