The entire crew of the USS Orville lined up in the Shuttle Bay during Roll Call

The ranks and positions of the Planetary Union refer to the divisions of authority and jobs within the Union. They are recognized by all Union-member vessels and planets.

Ranks and positions describe distinct hierarchies. Only commissioned Union officers may hold rank as a title. Rank determines authority without regard to any job or section of study, such as Engineering. A position may hold authority over inferior positions without regard to one's rank.

Ranks[edit | edit source]

I guess it's true what they say: Rank has its privileges.πŸ”ˆβ„ΉοΈŽβ€” Ed Mercer as "Chris" to Captain Haros[1]

Ranks are designated titles within the Union signifying an officer's authority. Each rank comes with its own set of general responsibilities they are expected to adhere to under all costs.

Orville Ranks-0.jpg

The rank insignia, shown above, are located on the top of the shoulders of the Planetary Union uniform. The bars of each rank protrude slightly from the insignia's base.

Promotion in rank is seen as a significant achievement, often celebrated by a promotion ceremony.[2]

Officers are evaluated by superiors every six months.[3]

Admiral[edit | edit source]

Admiral Halsey, a desk admiral at Planetary Union Central.

Admirals are the highest position within the Planetary Union, collectively organized into a body known as the Admiralty. The Captains of Union vessels are bound to respect and obey the desires of their commanding Admirals.

While Admirals are not often found bordering or operating vessels, their experience is rooted in political and bureaucratic knowledge of the Union. As per their rank in the hierarchy, Admirals have the authority to give non-negotiable instructions to any Planetary Union officer, including Captains, in regards to how they manage their own ships.

Admirals wear purple uniforms. Unlike most other officers however, their insignia is a circle of golden stars as opposed to the usual silver.

The most senior of the Admiralty are Fleet Admirals, who have unrestricted access to classified Union deployment strategies.[4]

Captain[edit | edit source]

Ed Mercer, captain of the USS Orville.

Captains serve as leading crew members of a vessel. Captain ranks below Admirals and above Commanders.

Captain is the highest-ranking stationed position on board a Union vessel, and boasts final command authority of the ship outside of orders from Union command or if deemed mentally or physically unfit. Captains have the power to command any crewmember or civilian aboard the vessel. In the early 25th century, there are roughly 3,000 active-duty Union captains.

A Captain is the final arbiter of justice within the ship, with powers to physically detain persons in the Brig.[n 1] Captains also hold the power to initiate criminal justice proceedings against their own crewmembers through court martialling. A Captain's power is not unlimited as they are subordinate to Union admirals, who oversee multiple vessels, regions, issues, or fleets; and because a captain is responsible for order on their ship, they file regular reports to admiralty. Failure to report or to misreport is a serious offense, and may be punished by a letter of reprimand or stripping outright the rank and title of the Captain.

Commander[edit | edit source]

Commander Kelly Grayson of the Orville.

Commanders serve alongside the Captains of their assigned vessels, often acting as First Officers. Commander ranks below Captain and above Lieutenant Commander.

Commanders are the second highest rank available onboard Planetary Union vessels. They spend their time on the Bridge seated in equal standing to the ship's Captain advising and informing them on the vessel's necessary objectives. For this reason their authority within the ship is held in high regard by all the crew. Commanders assume the powers and authority of Captain in times they are either incapacitated or otherwise missing in action.

Lieutenant Commander[edit | edit source]

Bortus, a lieutenant commander onboard the Orville.

Lieutenant Commanders serve in the positions of chiefs of departments or as Second Officer of a vessel. Lieutenant Commander ranks below Commander and above Lieutenant.

Lieutenant Commander may serve in positions such as section chiefs, responsible for the functioning of a department such as Engineering, Security, or Medical. A Lieutenant Commander may also serve as a commander of the bridge in the position of Second Officer to the Captain and First Officer.

Lieutenant[edit | edit source]

Lieutenant Dann works in Engineering on the Orville.

Lieutenants serve on space-faring vessels, space stations, or in departments on planets. Lieutenant ranks below Lieutenant Commander and above Ensign.

Lieutenants serve as small-section leaders within departments or even as chiefs of departments, developing their skills for future command. They are responsible for the performance of Ensigns, the junior most officers.

Ensign[edit | edit source]

Ensign Brooks works at the Shuttle Bay on the Orville.

Ensigns form the bulk of most officer personnel on board a space-faring vessel, space station, or office. It ranks directly below Lieutenant.

Ensign is the first rank assigned to new officers upon graduation from Union Point, the cadet academy of the Planetary Union, with the goal of development toward future leadership. They serve under Lieutenants within departments such as Engineering or Sick Bay.

Acting[edit | edit source]

Alara Kitan, taking the chair as acting captain.

An acting rank is a designation in the Union allowing an officer to temporarily assume a higher rank with its attendant authorities and responsibilities. Throughout tenure as acting officer, the person is addressed by others as if the full rank were actually held.

Most commonly, an officer of a lower rank assumes command of a ship as acting captain, but officers can assume other positions as well, such as when Doctor Parley assumes command of the Orville's Sick Bay when Doctor Claire Finn leaves for vacation on Arboreus Prime.[5]

Positions[edit | edit source]


Positions are jobs assigned to officers onboard their designated vessel. Each position entails the involvement or leading of a specific department necessary to keep the ship and its services in check.

Commanding Officer[edit | edit source]

The Commanding Officer is the first-in-command of a starship or facility. Though typically synonymous with the rank of Captain, Admirals may retain command of starships as well.

First Officer[edit | edit source]

First Officer, also known as Executive Officer (XO), is a position synonymous with the rank of Commander and second-in-command of a starship.

Second Officer[edit | edit source]

Second Officer is the highest Lieutenant Commander position and third-in-command of a starship.

Chief Engineer[edit | edit source]

Steve Newton was Chief Engineer on the Orville until early 2420.

Chief Engineer, (or Chief of Engineering), is the senior most position within the Engineering section of the Planetary Union.

The Chief Engineer is the head of all engineering related matters on the Union vessel they are assigned to serve. It is a Lieutenant Commander position above Ensign, and Lieutenant only below the Captains and Admirals. They are frequently stationed within the Engineering section of the ship, but can also perform their duties with the rest of the high ranking officers on the Bridge as well.

Chief of Security[edit | edit source]

Talla Keyali, Chief of Security onboard the Orville

The Chief of Security (common: Security Chief) is in charge of the safety for everyone on board their assigned vessel. It is a Lieutenant position below Lieutenant Commander and above Ensign.

The Chief must clear all new incoming personnel to a ship, and reviews each newcomer's personnel files.[6]

The Chief of Security has the right to initiate Directive 38 which overrides all other positions on board the Vessel, even the Captain. This is only supposed to be done in situations of dire importance when the superiors are unable to lead, doing so without the necessary prompt can lead to discharge from service.

The Chief of Security is usually seen working on the Bridge along with the Commanders and Captain. However, they also have their own office adorned with cameras viewing high traffic spots around the entire ship.[7]

The Chief stays apprised of occurrences on the ship through a Security Manifest.[6]

Chief Medical Officer[edit | edit source]

Claire Finn is a doctor and Chief Medical Officer on the Orville.

Most ships' doctors aren't as patient as I am. Excuse the pun.β€” Claire Finn[8]

The Chief Medical Officer is in charge of overseeing all medical related affairs onboard their assigned vessel. It is a Lieutenant Commander position, below Commander and above Lieutenant. They are personally responsible for overseeing all Nurses and Doctors serving in the ship.

Chief Medical Officer, despite being a Lieutenant Commander position, is exclusively found working within the Sick Bay, helping patients or doing research in their designated office.

Chief Science Officer[edit | edit source]

The Chief Science Officer works in stations of the Science department on a Union vessel. Responsibilities include research and analysis of all strange or unexplained phenomena,[n 2] data retrieved from sensor readings,[n 3] and oftentimes assisting away teams.[9] It is a Lieutenant position below Lieutenant Commander and above Ensign. Science Officers often work in conjunction with engineers to research important, unexplained happenings.

Despite having authority over important sections of the ship, the Science Officer can usually be found serving alongside fellow Lieutenants and the Captain onboard the Bridge.

Navigator[edit | edit source]

John LaMarr, former Navigator onboard the USS Orville

The Navigator is responsible for mapping out the quickest and most efficient route their assigned vessel should take in order to reach the proper destination. They often rely on their ship's Spatial Manifold to help figure it out, but are still trained to use star charts in the event it's out of commission. Navigator is a Lieutenant position below Lieutenant Commander and above Ensigns.

Navigators are part of the ship's engineering department, but due to their pivotal role in space travel are usually found working on the front of the Bridge, eye distance from the Vessel's Captain.

Helmsman[edit | edit source]

Gordon Malloy is Helmsman aboard the Orville.

The Helmsman is in charge of operating the helm of their assigned vessel onboard the Bridge. Their main responsibility is leading the ship through Space in the most efficient way possible. Helmsman is a Lieutenant position below Lieutenant Commander and above Ensign.

Helmsman is a position in the Engineering department. However, due to the necessity of them being within close vicinity to the ship's helm, they are almost always found serving onboard the Bridge.

Adjutant[edit | edit source]

A Union Central Adjutant.

Adjutants operate at Union Central where they report to the Admirals. They wear a grey uniform typical of a civilian uniform with purple shoulder and neck patches consistent with admiralty. Adjutants have no epaulet signifying their rank, if they have one, though they do wear a Command badge.[10]

Cadet[edit | edit source]

A cadet[11] (Admiral Halsey's letter: space cadet) is the training grade of students in training to become officers at Union Point. Cadets must take an officer exam to join the Union.[12] Upon graduation, cadets are promoted to the rank of ensign and assigned to a post within the Union Fleet.[13]

Production[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • It is not known if Directive 38 has any effect on the authority of Admirals, the highest rank one can gain within the Planetary Union hierarchy.
  • It's possible that positions may be held by any person, commissioned officer or civilian, regardless of membership in the Union. For example, Isaac holds the position of Chief Science Officer despite being an observer on behalf of the Kaylon, who are not a member of the Planetary Union.[n 4] In addition, the official crew manifest lists many individuals holding positions with no visible rank. [14]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. ↑ In late 2419, Captain Ed Mercer orders Chief of Security Alara Kitan to forcibly detain Pria Lavesque in the Brig after her failed attempt to commandeer the USS Orville. In March, 2420, Mercer interrogates Doctor Claire Finn for the attempted murder of Kitan. He decides to continue to hold Finn in custody on the Brig.
  2. ↑ In conjunction with John LaMarr, Isaac was in charge of researching the impact of a mysterious spatial anomaly on the Orville. Episode 1x11: New Dimensions.
  3. ↑ Examples are ubiquitous. E.g., Isaac retrieves scanning data of a multiphasic planet, Episode 1x12: Mad Idolatry.
  4. ↑ Isaac is established to be an observer in Old Wounds

References[edit | edit source]

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