Explorers: Ten Experts

Human Unity has build dozens of these craft; their primary purpose to map the wormholes and document everything they encounter. Because they may be out of touch with Earth for long periods, they are built to be totally self-sustaining.

The vessels are equipped with up to 200 souls and up to 10 Experts to manage the vessel and perform the duties and missions assigned.

Five Experts are indispensable:

Command Expert (or Captain)
Support Expert
Medical Expert
Navigational Expert
Engineering Expert

These first five are considered the absolute authority for their position.

The Command Expert is not an AI aboard ship, it’s built into the core of the vessel itself. It is primarily concerned with the main mission and the liaison with the senior human team within the Explorer crew. The Command Expert also maintains Human Unity policy with any contact or ethical concerns. The Command Expert is usually referred to as Captain but individual ships may have other names for the AI. As far as Experts go, the Command Expert is probably most human-like in interactions and can meaningfully interact with humans, even to the point of seeming emotional. There is no part of the vessel which is not linked to the Command Expert.

With 200 crew and being out of touch for maybe more than 600 sols, the Explorer needs to be able to carry and manufacture more than 360,000 meals. Each packed meal weighs around 500 grams (providing 500-900 calories) but the Explorer would store only perhaps a years worth of those (108 tons for 360 days). The remainder would be powdered or freeze dried rations weighing 150 grams each (a years supply being (32.5 tons for 360 days). Obviously if a Captain Expert wishes to keep crew happy, they will allocate additional storage to less efficient nutritional sources (fruit, vegetables, mycoproteins). The responsibility for maintaining this is usually handed to a Support Expert, one of the potential ten Experts aboard the Explorer.

The Medical Expert has access to a subset of the Encyclopaedia pertaining to medical conditions and their effects on various encountered species as well as whatever human knowledge has been collected. The Expert can direct human medics and surgeons as well as medical drones. Medical drones themselves are little more than Specialist drones guided by the higher processes of the Expert. They can work wonders – but their bedside manner is absent.

The Navigational Expert is the busiest (and probably most pre-occupied machine intelligence aboard). The core of this Expert is a distributed sensornet on the hull of the craft, augmented by remote drones which provide additional lensing capabilities (for better resolution). Together they are a highly mobile “Redundant Array of Distributed Sensors”. This Expert is involved in constantly processing every piece of stellar data they can sense, as well as mapping the bulkspace of wormhole transits. This data will later help with navigation as well as finding new routes through the wormholes.

The power systems and life support of the Explorer are primarily maintained by an engineering crew headed up by an Engineering Expert. The Engineering Expert is not tasked with getting the last 10% of performance out of the engines and will not sacrifice power or life support to achieve a mission; quite the opposite. Experts are, by design, dedicated to the continued survival of the crew above other concerns.

Five more are optional:

XO Expert
Tactical Expert
Science Expert
Contact Expert
ISD Expert

The XO Expert is an auxiliary artificial intelligence placed to second-guess the Command Expert in decisions where the human crew is in disagreement. In theory, any Expert can be promoted to the XO Expert position. It’s purely the failsafe (and if it can’t convince the Command Expert, who can?). The XO is also the primary countermeasures against outside interference with the Command Expert.

The closest analog to a Master Expert on board is the Tactical Expert. The TE is not as aggressive as a Master Expert, but rather about winning through defence and diplomacy (as well as the infrequent Kinetic Kill Vehicle).

Science Experts are as varied as they are specialised. It’s common for at least one to be aboard but depending on missions and route, not uncommon for there to be two or more.

The Contact Expert is tasked with dealing with all diplomatic or xenosociety interactions when they’re going well. when they’re going sour, they tend to be handed to the Tactical Expert.

The ISD Expert is seldom deployed but like all Experts, can be a position an Expert is promoted into. As a coordinator for the Internal Security Department, they are mainly responsible for the physical integrity of the vessel (and the actions of humans therein).

These secondary Expert systems are employed in the support of teams of humans who use them for guidance.

About matt

Gamer. Writer. Dad. Serial Ex-husband. Creator of The 23rd Letter, SpaceNinjaCyberCrisis XDO, ZOMBI, Testament, Creed. Slightly megalomaniac
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