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The Virtual Crew

As this is a one way mission the Federation have granted the unusual authority for crew members to be replaced by backup copies if they die. These backup copies are replicated using transporter technology (similar to the two Commander Rikers in Star Trek: TNG).

One thousand crew members have been assigned to this mission, the bulk of whom are held on Oberon Station until needed. Each time they sleep, the computer on board scans their vitals/memories and transmits the data back to Oberon Station via subspace (assuming the communications on the ship are working). When crew members die their backup copies are replicated at Oberon Station with the abilities they had when they were last backed-up.

All crew-members start out with basic ability scores in areas such as close quarter combat, medical training, science etc. Each crew member will be able to carry out any duty on the ship adequately. As they work in a particular role (security, science, engineering or medical) they will gain small increases to their skill levels. Crew members can be removed from the normal crew rosters and sent for additional training which will increase their abilities. In this way the captain can decide what sort of balance his ship will exhibit – is it a science heavy research ship or a combat ready warship. 

If one of the players on the ship decide to take over command of another vessel (purchased or captured), then crew members can be transferred over to assist with the running of that ship.

Due to the violent nature of the Rift there are no civilians on the starships there.

Security personnel are very useful for away missions on shuttles that might involve capturing outposts or other ships. They are also used to defend the ship if it is boarded by hostile forces.

Engineering personnel are assigned into engineering teams and are used to repair and upgrade equipment on the ship. Control of these teams during a combat situation is usually critical to the ships survival. Engineering teams can also be sent on away missions (via transporter or shuttle) to aid with repairs or to sabotage ships and outposts.

Medical personnel handle the day to day health of the crew, but really come into their own during combat by healing injured crew members. They too can be assigned to away missions to provide medical assistance.

Science personnel contribute directly to the research levels on each ship. They can be assigned to work on different systems (e.g. Drive systems, Weapons etc.) which when completed will allow engineering to apply the upgrades to the ships own components. 

Virtual crew members have needs such as sleep, food and oxygen. Deprivation of these may result in low morale, loss of efficiency and eventually death. Keeping your crew happy is essential to a well-run ship.

With a three shift system (8 hours per shift) and four departments, there will be approximately 40 crew members available to each department per shift. A typical engineering team is made up of 10 people, so with an even split between departments a ship would only have 4 engineering teams per shift. It might be that a ship decides to assign more people to Engineering and less to Science in an effort to increase their repair efficiency during combat. 

Small structures such as defense platforms, shuttles, fighters and mines can be manufactured within the ship and flown or tractor beamed out into space. Larger structures such as research stations, starships, listening posts and mining stations can be built by engineering teams equipped with construction pods. However these structures take a long time to build and require many resources.

Once constructed a station can be manned with crew from the ship and can act as a resource boosters for the parent ship. Such structures will typically require defense platforms as well, so they provide safe havens for all of the ships in the fleet.