Helm/Com/Ops (Duty Post)
|Divisions and Personnel Assignments
Helm, Communications, and Operations (or HCO) are positions found aboard StarFleet vessels and installations in various capacities.
Over the course of StarFleet history, the Helm, Communications, and Operations positions have had various roles aboard a starship.
In, and before the Constitution-era of starships, a "helmsman" controlled the ship's speed, attitude, weapons, and shields while working in concert with a ship's navigator, who plotted the ship's course. Meanwhile, a communications officer with a vast understanding for language was a staple on the bridge in the era before the universal translator became available. After its implementation, a dedicated communications officer was still required, to both calibrate the vastly complicated software and also fill in any gaps when they occurred.
By the 24th century, the helm and navigation stations became combined as the flight controller ("conn" or "helm") position. A new role was created, called Tactical, to oversee the ship's weapons systems. With the advent of fully integrated and automated universal translators, communications was also relegated to the Tactical officer. A new Operations role was also created, in which an officer would monitor the ship's systems to ensure that power was being allocated efficiently.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that various configurations of bridge consoles require officers in any of these roles to be flexible, as it may be necessary for an Operations officer to operate communications equipment on smaller vessels, and so-forth.
The HCO position, as we know it now, is a creation of our specific roleplaying organization which often found its way into other groups across the internet. As we often felt that a specific Helm, Communications, or Operations officer wouldn't have much to sim about in their own capacity, we simply combined the three positions together for roleplaying purposes. The USS Defiant on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine then introduced a combined helm and operations station on its bridge, cementing the position as alpha canon.
In recent history, the HCO position has again been broken up on many vessels to allow for a Helm officer in addition to a combined Communications and Operations officer. While we cannot address every combination of these roles across our fleet, officers who fall into any one of these three positions (or, into the HCO position itself), will find the information found here useful to their specific duty post.
For the purposes of understanding how the Helm, Com, and Operations positions are portrayed on Star Trek, players should read more about these positions on Memory Alpha:
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