Military and similarly organized groups are structured in a way to manage the functions of their unit. Even in shows where the team may not be technically military, there is a deliberate command infrastructure that designates seniority. As such these characters are either a small group of soldiers
working together or they may just be the senior officers commanding an entire division of a platoon or vessel. The crew of a Cool Ship
(or any other cool vehicle of sufficient size) often takes this form, and may be supplemented by a Redshirt Army
of lesser crewmen on larger vessels. Frequently they are a Badass Crew
Compare the Five-Man Band
, which has a different structure and purpose but still follows a similar pattern. The primary difference relative to The Squad
is that almost everyone in the Command Roster has a position of leadership or authority.
The Command Roster usually follows as such:
- The Captain (The one in charge. More often than not the main character.)
- Number Two (The go-to guy for important missions, usually the confidant of the captain. Likely to overlap with another role.)
- Mr. Fixit or Wrench Wench (Takes care of equipment and maintenance. Usually the technical savvy.)
- The Scientist (Examines and informs the rest on technical things. May or may not be an Omnidisciplinary Scientist.)
- Cunning Linguist (A translator who speaks with the natives.)
- Communications Officer (Often holding some sort of radio, yelling into it.)
- Security Officer (Is the primary source for combat detail: providing protection, scouting the area, and or surveillance. In short the security officer specializes in defense and spying)
- The Marine (The Marine is likely self-assumed or just the best fighter and differs from security officer in that they specialize in fighting, be they armed or unarmed.)
- The Medic (Either a full-fledged doctor with a staff and hospital conditions or a field medic.)
Sometimes there are a few additions to the crew. These additional characters may be separate from the others, but often there is overlap.
- Ace Pilot / Driver (Self-explanatory, the hotshot pilot. Not always on the team, especially if there isn't a Cool Car or Cool Ship)
- The Navigator (Figures out how to get where they're going. Usually works closely with the Ace Pilot).
- The Heart (Takes care of the team's social well-being and is the moral center. Often not in combat. Usually overlaps with another role. If its own character, might be the cook or bartender. Sometimes the Team Mom)
- Medical Staff (If there is an entire hospital, The Medic heads it, but one person can't run a hospital alone.)
- Dr. Feelgood or Dr. Jerk (Qualified to practice medicine, but doesn't really care about patients.)
- The Nurse (Either one of the Hospital Hotties the team employs, or a Battleaxe Nurse to stir things up.)
- The Shrink (Takes care of the team's mental health, which may be necessary considering what they have to go through in their adventures.)
- The Red Shirt (So someone can get killed without impacting the plot.)
Some additional roles are not officially part of the crew, but interact with them frequently enough to earn a mention in the team list:
The members can be divided into three types: the leadership roles
, the intelligent members
and the action-oriented members
. This may be why, in comparison to the Five-Man Band
, the roles don't always line up perfectly:
- The Leader will often be The Captain, but is just as likely to be Number Two and on rare occasions, The Scientist.
- The Lancer is usually Number Two, but can also be The Scientist or The Security Officer, especially if Number Two overlaps with another role.
- The Big Guy is likely The Security Officer and/or The Marine, but can be Number Two as well.
- The Smart Guy is most often The Scientist, but can just as easily be The Medic, Mr. Fixit or the Cunning Linguist.
- The Chick is sometimes The Medic, but will likely be The Heart too.
- The Sixth Ranger is just as likely with the Command Roster, usually stepping on the toes of one of the other roles.
- Mentors are typically The Superior, but will be The Captain if Number Two is The Leader.
- The Tagalong Kid may also be present, although the role can vary as much as anyone's.
Compared to The Squad
, however, the roles are a little more consistent:
For further reference, see also Common Ranks
and Common Military Units
There are times when various characters are missing or replaced with a different character type, all depending on the needs of the story. It is only a Command Roster when there are at least four characters from the primary list, otherwise it is just The Squad
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- Several works by David Weber uses this trope, eg in On Basilisk Station, the first in the Honor Harrington books:
- The Captain: Honor Harrington (also Ace Pilot)
- Number Two: Alistair McKeon
- Mr. Fixit: Dominica Santos
- Communications Officer: Samuel Webster
- The Security Officer: Andreas Venizelos and Rafe Cardones
- The Marine: Nikos Papadapolous
- Ace Pilot: Chief Killian
- The Navigator: Max Stromboli and Mercedes Brigham
- The Medic: Fritz Montoya
- Ensign Newbie: Scotty Tremaine, and to some degree Rafe Cardones
- Sergeant Rock: Sally MacBride and Horace Harkness
- 1632 by Eric Flint has the following in the opening novel of the series, though not in a military organisation:
- Rogue Squadron
- Wraith Squadron
- Ace Pilot: Again, everyone. What, you thought Wedge would form a sub-par fighter squadron?
- The Captain: Wedge Antilles (early), Garik "Face" Loran (late)
- Number Two: Wes Janson
- The Medic: Ton Phanan(early), Lara Notsil(midway), Elassar Targon, MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE!(late)
- Communications Officer: Jesmin Ackbar(early), Hohass "Runt" Ekwesh(late)
- The Scientist: Voort "Piggy" saBinring
- The Marine: Kell Tainer, Voort "Piggy" saBinring, Shalla Nelprin
- The Security Officer: Shalla Nelprin
- Mr. Fixit: Cubber Daine, Kell Tainer
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Admiral Ackbar, Wedge Antilles (late)
- The Heart: Runt, Wes Janson, Wedge Antilles
- Cold Sniper: Myn Donos, Wes Janson (when angry)
- Sergey Lukyanenko's Genome:
- The Flight Engineer: A rare case where The Captain of CSS Invincible is not the main character; that honor falls to Mr. Fixit, Commander Peter Raeder. The Rising lists the entire command roster.
- The Captain: Captain Roger Knott. Later Commander Raeder, after Knott and his Number Two are injured in a Mollie/Fibian raid at the beginning of The Indepedent Command.
- Number Two: Mai Ling Ju.
- Mr. Fixit:
- Chief Engineer Augie Skinner in theory. Commander Raeder in practice, though officially he's just in charge of maintaining Invincible's fighters.
- Also Chief Petty Officer Paddy Casey.
- Wrench Wench: Second Lieutenant Cynthia Robbins, Raeder's Number Two in fighter maintenance.
- Navigator: Ashly Luhrman
- Tactical Officer: Truon Le
- Security Officer: William Booth, though his main job on the ship seems to be being wrong about people.
- Quartermaster: John Larkin before being revealed as The Mole.
- Ace Pilot: Squadron Leader Ronnie Sutton is in charge of Invincible's fighter squadron, while Lieutenant Commander Sarah James commands the recon craft.
Live Action TV
- Babylon 5
- Battlestar Galactica (2004)
- The Closer
- The Captain: Leroy Jethro Gibbs.
- Number Two: Tony DiNozzo.
- Mr. Fixit / Communications Officer: Timothy McGee.
- The Marine: Ziva David.
- The Scientist: Abby Sciuto, occasionally doubling as a Wrench Wench.
- The Medic: Donald "Ducky" Mallard.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Directors Tom Morrow, Jen Shepard and, currently, Leon Vance... though just how reasonable they are tends to vary based on the situation.
- Sea Patrol
- The Captain: Mike 'CO' Flynn
- Number Two: Kate 'XO/X' Mc Gregor
- The Navigator: Nikki 'Nav' Caetano
- The Security Officer: Bosuns Pete 'Buffer' Tomaszewski and Dylan 'Dutchy' Mulholland best qualily
- The Enginner: Andy 'Charge' Thorpe
- Mr. Fixit: Electronics Technicians Josh 'ET' Hoilday and Leo '2Dads' Kosov-Meyer
- Communications Officer: Robert 'RO' Dixon
- The Medic: Chris 'Swaine' Blake assisted by
- Team Chef: Toby 'Chefo' Jones, Rebecca 'Bomber' Brown and Jesscia 'Bird' Bird.
- Red Shirt: Averted by Billy 'Spider' Webb
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Commanders Steve Marshall and Maxine 'Knocker' White.
- Space Cases
- Star Trek
- Stargate SG-1
- Stargate Atlantis
- Stargate Universe
- Red Dwarf
- 'SeaQuest DSV
- The Captain - Nathan Bridger, Oliver Hudson
- Number Two - Jonathan Ford
- Wrench Wench - Katherine Hitchcock, Lonnie Henderson
- The Medic - Kristin Westphalen, Wendy Smith, Perry
- Science Officer - Kristin Westphalen, Lucas Wolenczak
- Security Officer - Manilow Crocker, James Brody
- Communication Officer - Tim O'Neill
- Weapons Officer - Dalton Phillips, Obatu, James Brody, J.J. Fredericks
- Sensor Chief - Miguel Ortiz
- The Heart - Benjamin Krieg
- The Ace - Carleton, William Shan, Lonnie Henderson, Anthony Piccolo, Tyler, J.J. Fredericks, James Brody (sub-fighter), Heiko Kimura (sub-fighter)
- Head Janitor - Dagwood
- Team Pet - Darwin
- Rogue Trader
- The Captain - the Rogue Trader himself.
- The Security Officer/ Marine - Arch-Militant, the precise designation depending on character.
- Communications Officer - Astropaths Transcendent, who dispense with the radio and just shout into the Warp.
- Mr. Fixit/The Scientist - Explorator
- The Heart- Missionary. Bear in mind this is a Warhammer 40,000 game; that moral center tends to be based on setting fire to heretics.
- The Navigator - surprisingly enough, Navigators.
- The Scientist (again)/Cunning Linguist - Seneschal. Scientist's a bit of a stretch, but this is the guy who knows everything about trade and the ins and outs of local life — his "technical things" are more likely to be an Ork blockade on a space-lane rather than the inner workings of a plasma drive.
- Ace Pilot - Void-Masters, although they may instead be expert gunners or scanner operators, rather than specialising in piloting.
- In Paranoia, the Mandatory Bonus Duties typically assigned to Troubleshooter teams are Team Leader, Communication and Recording Officer, Equipment Guy, Happiness Officer, Hygiene Officer, and Loyalty Officer. (1st edition played around with variations like Robotics Officer; 2nd edition more or less standardized it.)
- Extreme Paranoia included an alternate set with things like Alertness Officer and Public Relations Officer.
- One mission introduces Executive Officer, who (in addition to the usual roles) gets a brevet promotion for the purpose of wearing a higher-clearance uniform, to draw the fire of Commies mistaking him for the Team Leader. As usual for Paranoia, The Computer didn't think this through properly:
Green-clearance Team Leader: All right, men, let's go!
Random bystander: Hey, why are you letting him boss you around?
"Blue"-clearance Executive Officer: Hey, yeah! *blam blam blam blam blam blam* All right, men, let's go!
- The Crew of Skyship Weatherlight probably counts:
- Gears of War
- Mass Effect 1
- The Captain: Commander Shepard.
- Number Two: Technically Pressly is second in command under Shepard, but he serves almost no importance to the plot; ranks aside, the role of Number Two is filled by Lt. Kaidan Alenko, to greater or lesser degrees depending on how you play the game.
- The Scientist: Liara T'Soni.
- Wrench Wench: Tali'Zorah nar Rayya. Engineer Adams is also the Normandy's assigned Mr. Fixit but, like Pressly above, has no importance to the plot.
- The Marine: Ashley Williams, Urdnot Wrex
- The Medic: Dr. Chakwas, another minor character.
- The Security Officer: Garrus Vakarian
- Ace Pilot: Joker.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Captain Anderson and Admiral Hackett. (Ambassador Udina, not so much.)
- Red Shirt: Richard L. Jenkins
- Mass Effect 2
- The Captain: Commander Shepard.
- Number Two: Officially Miranda Lawson, but Garrus Vakarian can also fill the role based on how you play.
- The Scientist: Mordin Solus.
- Wrench Wench: Tali'Zorah vas Normandy.
- The Marine: Grunt and Zaeed Massani can both play this role.
- The Security Officer: Jacob Taylor
- The Medic: Dr. Chakwas, with some overlap from Mordin.
- Ace Pilot: Joker.
- Mission Control: EDI, the NPC Artificial Intelligence that inhabits the Normandy (also plays the Navigator role).
- Communications Officer: Legion, sort of.
- The Shrink: Yeoman Kelly Chambers
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The Illusive Man certainly does his level best to convince you he's this.
- Red Shirt: Depending on how you play the game...several members of your crew potentially end up meeting a traditional Red Shirt's fate.
- Mass Effect 3
- The Captain: Shepard
- Number Two: Kaidan / Ashley or Garrus depending on how you play.
- The Security Officer: Garrus
- Wrench Wench: Tali'Zorah (Adams, Daniels and Donnely can return, depending on your choices).
- The Scientist: Liara T'Soni
- The Marine: Lt James Vega
- The Medic: Dr Chakwas or Dr Michel
- Communications Officer: Samantha Traynor
- Ace Pilot: Joker, now joined by shuttle pilot Steve Cortez.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Admirals Hackett (coordinating fleets in space) and Anderson (leading the resistance on Earth).
- Star Fox
- Warship Gunner 2
- Starcraft II:
- In Wings of Liberty:
- In "Heart of The Swarm":
- Space Quest V: Roger Wilco – The Next Mutation :
- Legostar Galactica
- Schlock Mercenary
- The Captain: Breya (early), Kaff Tagon (mid-late), Kevyn (alternate timeline)
- Number Two: Kaff Tagon (early), Kevyn (mid-late), Ellen Foxworthy (late)
- Mr. Fixit: Kevyn Andreyasn, Tailor (powered armour only)
- Wrench Wench: Para Ventura
- Communications Officer: Sh'vuu
- The Scientist: Ebbirnoth (during the "Broken Wind" story arc)
- Security Officer: Ennesby, Schlock, Thurl
- The Marine: Schlock, E. Foxworthy, most of the rest of the company
- The Medic: Dr. Lazcowicz (early), Dr. Bunnigus (mid-late)
- The Nurse: Tailor (late)
- The Shrink: Ennesby, Rev. Theo
- Ace pilot: Brad, Legs
- The Heart: Rev Theo., Massey, Ch'vorthq, Thurl
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Petey