A password will be e-mailed to you.

The true measure of a captain is the bridge over which he holds dominion.

Science fiction. It’s good for me. It’s good for you. No facet of the genre signifies the level of quality better than that of the mighty space faring vessel, and if L!FPZ was a starship, I would unquestionable be the captain.

Chip

“I question it!”

Insolence! Any more lip out of you, Chip, and I’ll promote Dave to my Number One and dump you out an airlock like a number two! As I was saying… If L!FPZ was a starship, I would UNQUESTIONABLY be the captain.  But what does warrant questioning is what manner of station of command.

Just as many ships we admire come in all manner of shapes and configurations, so do their bridges. Which is the best bridge for me? It’s in times like these I really envy Kirk. He had Spock and Bones to help his conscience in times of crucial decisions, whereas I’m stuck with Chip and Dave.

Dave

“I applaud Braniff for bringing such thought-provoking materials to us today! This question is an important one and deserves some analysis.”

Why thank you, Dave. See folk, that’s the kind of positive attitude that helps one raise through the ranks! Let’s examine the merits and detractors of the most common starship bridge configurations…

Bridge Configuration: Open Air

Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer

As seen on: Imperial Star Destroyers and Colonial Battlestars

Dave

“This style is ideal if you lead by force of personality without the need for special accommodations.”

True, but walking among the men runs the risk of giving the men the false sense that I’m one of them, and I ain’t having that! Not to mention the biggest failing of this open-air approach… THE WALKING! What’s the benefit of being a VIP if I don’t get any VIP privileges? My crew can be on their feet all day, but as captain, I like to think that I’ve earned some bit of comfort. Any bridge under my command demands at least a one spot of furnished accommodations just for me.

Bridge Configuration: Center Seat

Star Trek The Next Generation

As seen on: Every Federation starship from Enterprise-A to Enterprise-E

Compared to the bridge on an Imperial Star Destroyer or the Battlestar Galactica, this approach is much more intimate, with the captain seated in the middle of the action, surrounded by his minions… errr crew.

Dave

“There’s nothing like being at the center of everyone’s world, especially if you’re a young toupee-wearing dynamic captain-about-town who wants the ladies to know who’s in charge.

Chip

“I concur, this style is the way to go. It makes it easy to swivel and give out orders.”

How did Chip get back in here? Security!

I guess I can see some appeal, with its fine-stitched leather, middle of the living room with big screen TV,  and coffee-serving yeomen dynamic… But I’m far from sold. Why should THE CAPTAIN have to TURN to yell at my crewman, when THEY work for ME?

And say due to an act of gross negligence, the ship’s laundry manages to shrink my captain’s trouser, and on occasion I need to pick a -errhmm- wedgie. From that central position, my backside would be exposed! A science or communications officer would bound to catch me in the act, and a man in my position can’t afford to be made a fool.

No… no this type of bridge won’t do at all.

Bridge Configuration: Overlooking from the Rear

Space Battleship Yamato

As seen on: the Yamato, White Base, Macross, and other hand drawn starships of anime legend!

This is the bridge for me!

Dave

“Braniff, we need to hear from you with justification for your position.”

First of all, COMMANDER Dave, that’s CAPTAIN Braniff to you. And second, as captain, I don’t have to justify anything to the lower ranks! But since I did start all this starship bridge hoopla, I’ll play along… I’ll grant you that the bridge of the Yamato or the Macross might not be the most roomy or spacious, but that is all so very insignificant in exchange for the majesty of the captain in a chair overseeing the action, above ’n apart from the crew…

In comparison, take a look at the bridge of the Starfleet’s USS Yamato…

Star Trek Voyager

A disrespectful ensign with her back to me…. Another who should be running a scan but could just as well be posting gossip about my ruffled collar… A lieutenant standing on my level he should be looking UP at me, his captain, in reverence and awe!!!! THAT is how it should be.

Furthermore, that’s not even from the layout the Yamato, which was a Galaxy Class vessel similar to the Enterprise. But on my bridge, no one would turn around to correct me in such a regal seat of position. They wouldn’t dare!

Mobile Suit Gundam

And there’s more where that come from!

But I promise you that this isn’t about one man’s ego. It’s about the safety of you and your fellows… my beloved crew! In the heat of battle, I don’t have time to swivel my chair about like a school girl as Chip so suggested, or shout commands over my shoulder. Commands, I remind you, that are being given in the course of ensuring your well-being. Commands that demand my undivided focus.

Dave

“When I’m captain, my crew needs to listen carefully and understand what I said the first time. I don’t swivel for their convenience! You’re just paranoid that anyone stationed behind would see your bald spot!”

WHEN you’re captain? LIEUTENANT Dave, that day will never come! Wait — Are… are you insinuation that I’m paranoid?!

Mobile Suit Gundam

Have another taste of my cutlet!

I’m not paranoid, ENSIGN Dave! I’m practical. You… you think I want to keep my back to the wall because I think you’re all plotting against me, but I ensure you that it’s simply to remain ever vigilant to the threat of… errr… midshipmen and their dirty fingers from staining my tiger-skins and velour.

Very few captains pimp their ride with the flair of a 1970s Cadillac, and that’s a shame.

And might I remind you, CADET Dave, that being follicularly-challenged is a fine tradition amongst some of Starfleet’s finest. That’s not to say that my scalp isn’t healthy and productive as ever, but even if it weren’t no one will be able to see it because on my vessel I’m reinstituting the tradition of a wearing a captain’s cap!

Super Dimension Fortress Macross/Robotech Captain Gloval

And the high-collar will deflect the sting of their treacherous bards…

Dave

“Pah! Your choice belies your weakness both in command and in consideration of comfort. I hope you enjoy captaining your garbage scow as I cruise the cosmos in comfort and admiration in my Picardesque barcalounger.”

Grrrrrrrr… Security, get this lout off my ship, lash him to the nearest asteroid, and OPEN FIRE!

Dave

“What are you going to fire at me? Recycled soda cans and empty TP rolls? I’m laughing at the superior intellect. Don’t forget to replace the lid on that trashcan, gramps!”

Chip

“Oooooooooooo!”

SILENCE YOU!!! Recycled soda cans?! You think your veiled references to Silent Running go unnoticed? The Valley Forge didn’t even have a bridge! From hell’s heart, I stab at thee! For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee…

Dave

“Quoting some Melville, eh? What a smart and learned man (for a garbage scow captain)…”

Are you trying to goad me into a drunken bar brawl? Typical behavior from a DOCK HAND like you. Besides It’s better to be hauling the garbage than hauled away as garbage, no matter what Scooty says.

Maybe Buck Rogers had it right all along. A spaceship built for one is the way to go.