The role of Engineer is one of the most important on a Starship. Not only is the position responsible for the maintenance and repair of the vessel's systems but they are also responsible for engaging the jump-drive when translating from one location in Charted Space to another.
Any ship with tonnage 200 Tons or more must have at least one Engineer. If there is more than one Engineer, then the most skilled (or the oldest) becomes Chief Engineer with 10% more pay. Ships under 200 Tons and small craft do not require an Engineer, although engineering skills may prove useful.
Engineering Specialists may be of one (or more) of the following sub-specialisations:
Specialises in the interstellar drive systems aboard ship - the fine tuning of the crystals, the high-yield generator, capacitors and grid connections.
Specialises in the life support systems. Heating/Cooling: Cryogenics for the Fuel, Temperature controlled food stores and cargo bays, Passenger and Crew spaces. Air Supply: Oxygen generators, CO2 scrubbers, Air Ducting. Fresh and Foul Water systems.
Specialises in the high-voltage systems aboard ship - the AC and DC power distribution systems, converters and fusion powerplant. Also generally responsible for Fuel Processing systems.
Specialises in the mechanical systems aboard ship (including hydraulics, pneumatics, etc. not falling in any other Engineering speciality), but almost always end sup doubling up as painter and decorator, carpet fitter and general dogsbody to the engineers.
Engineers first appeared when motive power replaced wind and limb as the main power source for vessels on land, sea and air. They have changed and adapted ever since.
An individual's skill as a Sensor Operator is rated by their Certificate:
- Level 1 (Qualified)
- Level 2 (Competent)
- Level 3 (Experienced / Expert)
- Level 4 or more (Master)
Many societies looking after the interests of Engineers exist within the Imperium, often administering the systems of professional certification. Those of these societies with an Imperial Charter allow their members to advertise their membership by the use of appropriate letters after their name (e.g. MISCE - Member of the Imperial Society of Chartered Engineers, MISME - Member of the Imperial Society of Master Mechanics). Full membership is usually only open to certified Masters of the craft, others may be granted associate membership.