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"Hailing frequencies open, Sir."

When The Captain needs to contact Mission Control to talk to the Voice with an Internet Connection, he has a number of options. He could call him up on his Comm Link, or maybe even find a pay phone. But maybe this is a job for someone more specialized, or maybe The Captain needs someone to delegate this to while he deals with other things. He needs the Communications Officer.

The Communications Officer need not be an officer, and in fact, will often be a lower ranking member tasked with maintaining and operating the complex radio equipment. On a sci-fi show, they will often have a workstation on the bridge of the ship, while in a war movie, you can expect to see this guy running around two steps behind The Captain with a cumbersome backpack radio with a huge whip antenna. Whenever we see Mission Control, expect to see an entire squad of these guys at work. More mundane examples include a secretary in an office, who has the job of screening calls to their boss and sending out messages for them.

Against Dangerously Genre Savvy enemies, he can expect to draw fire, especially if he has one of the bigger backpack radios. You can't call for help if nobody alive can use the communications equipment. If The Radio Dies First, they can be expected to be hard at work trying to fix it, or helplessly declaring that it can't be done.

Overlaps with Mission Control. Will often be working as one of the Bridge Bunnies. A key member of the Command Roster.

Examples of Communications Officer include:


Anime And Manga

Film -- Animated

Film -- Live Action

 I have one job on this lousy ship, it's stupid, but I'm gonna do it! Okay?

Literature

  • Robert Heinlein's The Number of the Beast. When Hildy Burroughs is captain of the Gay Deceiver, Zebadiah ("Zeb") Burroughs acts as her comm officer, especially when talking with the British colonists on Mars.
  • Adele Mundy in the Republic of Cinnabar series.

Live Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • In Warhammer 40000, the Imperial Guard has "vox operators" with radio backpacks.
  • One of the crew specialties in GURPS Traveller Starships.
  • One of the standard Mandatory Bonus Duties in Paranoia. In practice, it mostly plays into the Commie Hunt dynamic.

Toys

  • G.I. Joe communications officer "Breaker" was one of the first 3 3/4" GI Joe figures produced, and came with a helmet-mounted radio.
  • In virtually every incarnation of Transformers, Soundwave is the Decepticons' Communications Officer. And in many continuities, Blaster serves the same role for the Autobots but given that he's not as recognizable, other characters sometimes fill the role for the Autobots, such as Hubcap in Transformers Generation 1, Kup in Transformers Wings of Honor and Jazz in the Transformers Aligned Universe.

Video Games

  • In the Mass Effect series, this role is typically filled by Joker, Yeoman Chambers, or Specialist Traynor.
  • In Wing Commander III, "Radio" Rollins is both this in the literal sense, being the TCS Victory's communication's officer, as well as in the informal sense, considering himself as the one person on the ship who will tell you exactly what's really going on. You have the option upon first meeting him to lay down the law and get him to stop hurting ship's morale with his rumors.
    • His rumors, that the Terran Confederation is on the ropes in its war with the Kilrathi, are largely true, but it is disastrous for morale to just come out and state that openly when there is still a fighting chance for them to recover.

Western Animation

Real Life

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