The comms officer is in charge of monitoring incoming and intercepted communications and relaying the captain's orders to parties outside the bridge. Among your duties will be gathering status information on friendly ships and space stations including their stocks of ordnance, requesting that space stations begin manufacture of required ordnance, ordering enemy ships to surrender, passing orders to friendly ships and relaying incoming messages to the captain.

You'll play a pivotal role in the overall mission, managing information and relaying updates to the captain. Knowing which information is important and which can wait is key, don't overload your captain with trivia preventing them from making decisions or issuing orders, but don't leave them in the dark about critical situations. Maintain your knowledge of the status of friends and enemies so you can answer the captain's queries in a timely fashion. Also, you're in charge of bringing the ship to Red Alert!

The comms station looks like this:

At the top of the screen are 4 buttons for selecting who you wish outgoing communications to go to. Tapping one of these will bring up a menu of all the possible entities of that type you can communicate with, and tapping one of those will bring up a menu of the communications you can send to them. A typical sequence might be to tap 'Station', then 'DS1', then 'Report status' - requesting that station DS1 tell you their status. The main lower section of the screen has a scrollable list of incoming communications, the latest at the top. You can see on this screen that station DS1 has responded to a 'Report status' request with information on their shields and which ordnance they currently have in stock and can hence replenish your ship with. Finally, in the top right is the toggle button for setting Red Alert! Use with caution...

The comms officer can send the following messages to enemy vessels: Request surrender and a selection of taunts. Enemy ships that have been damaged can often be made to surrender, rendering them neutral. This can help shorten large battles and save a significant amount of energy and ordnance, often turning the tide in your favour. Be on the lookout for weakened ships that may surrender. Taunting enemy ships can sometimes divert them away from their targets and focus on attacking your ship instead. If an enemy ship is attacking a defenceless friendly vessel or space station, it can be advantageous to get them to break off their attack sparing their current target and giving you an opportunity to engage them. Choosing the wrong taunt will cause them to simply ignore you (and any further communications you send them), so choose wisely. The Science officer will often have useful intel on the captain of the enemy ship which can be used to select an appropriate insult.

Friendly vessels can be directed to a course (turn to 0, 90, 180, 270 degrees, turn left/right by fixed amounts) or in the case of vessels with offensive capabilities, to attack their nearest enemy or defend a space station. Often, an enemy fleet on course for a space station or defenceless friendly ship can have their attack delayed by sending a friendly destroyer to engage them. Whilst it's unlikely the friendly will destroy the enemy entirely, they can give you the time to get across the sector to them and destroy them yourselves before they even get near their target.

Space stations can be told to report their status, prepare for docking or produce specific types of ordnance. Requesting a station prepare for docking will speed up docking manoeuvres when your ship gets within range and the helm officer requests dock, saving time and getting the ship repaired and rearmed more efficiently. Requesting a station build a specific type of ordnance ensures you'll have a continually updated stock of that ordnance at that station. It's important to get stations building ordnance, especially ECM's and nukes, to ensure you always have somewhere to resupply.

It's important to watch incoming messages and relay important information to the captain. There will be messages from:

  • the crew of your vessel, some of which will be routine chatter and some which may be of vital importance,
  • enemy vessels which may be bluster and bravado or may contain useful information,
  • friendly ships and stations which may indicate that they're under attack and need your help or may include details of missions they have for you.

Friendly ships and stations will sometimes need you to do something for which they can offer you a number of upgrades for your ship. Completing one of these missions may gain you:

  • a temporary energy overboost,
  • a permanent increase in energy capacity,
  • a permanent shield upgrade,
  • additional coolant for engineering,
  • additional carrying capacity for nukes or
  • doubled production speed at a space station

all of which can be incredibly useful.