Oh Captain! My Captain!
Our fearful trip is done...
Becoming a captain is no small feat. Becoming a successful one is even more so. Even aboard military vessels, a ship can often organize itself into what could easily be considered a community. This community has its own sense of government, regardless of outside sources. A captain is the head of this government, the chief of the tribe. Their officers are trusted advisors, better skilled and equipped with the knowledge needed to advise their leader properly. Every member of the crew is a cog in a machine, and how well oiled that machine is will be a critical factor in the success of any voyage. Out in the void, there are not many rules for what can and can't happen on a vessel. The captain can execute anyone without consequence. Those paranoid enough, or who have reason to suspect mutiny, often do exactly that. A crew must be unified to succeed. This is a fine line to walk, as unjust actions can easily unify the crew in mutiny, instead of solidifying faith in their captain. The captain can often appear older than they truly are. The older they look compared to their age is often a testament to the challenges they faced. Miranda Thrace, the hero of The First War, the cool-headed admiral who only recently turned 47, developed graying hair in her early thirties. The lines on her face are like scars, a map of her world. Every landmark signifies a decision that weighs down on her very soul. Such is the consequence of greatness.
Respect and mutiny
A captain must always watch for problems among their crew. The void does things to us, makes us question everything we are. It shows us our insignificance. And offers a choice: rise above it, or succumb to the vista of an endless black sea. Madness isn't particularly common, but spacers have their quirks, eccentric would be an appropriate term. Mutiny is exceedingly rare. It's an ever present fear to realize you are always one hull breach away from death. Any lack of harmony, or god forbid, a violent uprising, would prove catastrophic. Mutiny has never happened on a human vessel, thus far. Many stories exist among other species of captains violating the trust of their crew, performing acts of cruelty, or making a decision so obviously wrong that the crew felt there was little choice than to remove them from power. A captain is forced to earn, maintain, and enforce the respect of their crew. This task is easier said than done, but some have found their methods. Invicta, of The Origin Exiles may be our enemy, but everyone aboard her vessel has a voice, even prisoners. She allows them to speak their mind freely so their problems can be addressed, as opposed to allowing hushed whispers in dark corners to make matters worse.
Becoming The Captain
The title of captain is not easy to obtain. It's the sole rank of Safeharbor's navy that can't be bestowed by higher military authorities. Historically, higher ranks for humanity were gained through dedication, merit, and time in service. Commanding a ship requires experience, merit, and dedication, but it also requires a special something only another captain would know to look for. When you're promoted to captain, the one granting the title believes you to be someone who exemplifies the culture on the ship. Every ship has a different ship culture, and sufficient rapport must be built with the crew, your superiors, and the ship itself to justify the promotion. In other words, your captain has faith in your ability to clean up the mess of their retirement, whether by death, or by choice. While it usually leads to a large turn over in the crew, the captain has to love their ship. They must be invested in the ship. Without this, they wouldn't care as much as they should. A captain's word is final, and is rarely questioned. The only thing one should worry about is if the captain dies before being able to relinquish command. There can be disagreements regarding their successor and it doesn't always end well.