- This article is based on the setup of a Colonial-class Battlestar's CIC. The CIC of other classes of vessels is similar, though in most cases, smaller.
Colonial battlestars are centrally operated from the Combat Information Center, or CIC, the battlestar's nerve center. It performs both the functions of a bridge and the CIC in naval parlance, as the vessels are also steered from the CIC.
The Colonial-class' CIC is a faintly-circular room located deep in the interior "alligator head" of the battlestar, where the main hull meets the midship section. From CIC, the battlestar's tactical and navigational operations are monitored and directed. CIC is a large, two-level complex with three bulkhead exits, which are closed during action stations alerts.
The CIC is divided into several stations.
- Command and Control
- Damage Control
- Weapons Control
- Engineering and Environment
Command and Control
The Command and Control station is the primary station within CIC used by the Commanding and Executive Officers aboard a Colonial battlestar. The center comprises a large communications and a roughly hexagonal "information management" table, with a retractable information display tower bearing a number of LCD screens suspended above it. There are no chairs; the command staff are always standing.
Here, the battlestar's commander and Executive Officer are on station, observing and plotting battle tactics, viewing transparent charts, and giving commands to others in CIC. Above the Command and Control Station are a cluster of monitors known as the DRADIS console. The DRADIS console descends from a cylindrical ceiling recess when required. From the Command and Control Station, the commander has a 360-degree view of the CIC. The DRADIS console contains DRADIS displays but also includes other navigation and tactical information available to the commander at a glance. The displays are capable of showing a wide range on information including:
- DRADIS sensor readings relayed from the DRADIS console
- Battlestar management information, such as the vessel's spatial orientation (pitch, yaw & roll)
- Battle management information
Adjacent to the Command and Control Center on the port side of CIC is the Communications Center. Here, all communications to and from fighters and other ships are monitored, directed or relayed. In coordination with the Tactical Station, the Communications officer can also verify transponders that register as friendly, and alerts the Tactical Officer or commander if they pick up signals without transponders or recognised enemy transponders. The Communications Officer has a link to the mainframe computer, where a library of Colonial recognition information resides.
Damage Control Station
Situated in the far port side of CIC is Damage Control. This station, usually unmanned, contains the Damage Control computers, which connect to many sensors throughout the exterior and interior of the ship. A large display against the wall of the station shows damage through a series of lights that represent the frames, or compartments of the battlestar that form the many segments of the ship.
A commander can order a Damage Control officer to perform many actions to repair or mitigate the effects of an enemy attack through the controls here, including the venting of compartments, coordination of damage control teams, and the like. It is also likely that alternative damage control stations outside of CIC, such as the Aft Damage Control room contain similar controls to aid in repairs, control of fires and the like in the event that CIC's damage control is knocked offline or CIC staff are incapacitated.
Battlestars move through space much as a submarine navigates in an ocean. There are no windows, no viewscreens to see into space for helm control. While external cameras may be available, they are seldom used in navigation of a battlestar. Navigation is managed by spatial coordinates based on DRADIS and other sensor information. The helm crewmembers drive the battlestar through a series of controls and based on commands from the Executive officer or commanding officer.
The Tactical Officer is arguably the busiest officer in the CIC. Tasked with the monitoring of DRADIS and coordinating various command and control functionality, including computer control, the Tactical Officer must relay changes in status and keep the commander updated continuously during the fluid events of battle. The Tactical officer is typically the first to know that an attack is imminent and will address the battlestar by the public address system to go to battle stations through Condition One or Two alerts.
As some battlestars' computers aren't networked, the Tactical officer may need to manually print or offload data from the various central computers he monitors (Fire control, Navigation, FTL, and mainframe computers) and relay this information to the other officers and staff in the room. Fortunately, many stations see the same information on displays similar to those at the Tactical Station, but it is the Tactical Officer who is charged with notifying the commander of the changes and interpreting the results.
Nearby the Tactical Station is a tactical board and table where the commander can meet with several officers and crew at once for advanced battle or strategy conferences. The Tactical Station is frequently manned by other specialists and officers that assist the Tactical Officer.
Weapons Control Room
Hidden away, next to the Tactical Station is the Weapons Control Room. Obscured from direct view most of the time, the Weapons Control Room ostensibly is manned during Action Stations. The battlestar's gun batteries and other defensive controls are managed here.
In the event that the Weapons Control Room or CIC is knocked offline or its crew incapacitated, control of the ship's batteries can be managed at Auxiliary Fire Control.
The second deck of the CIC, known only as the "Core", offers a bird's eye view of the busy command deck below. This narrow passageway, lined with a limited set of computers and consoles, extends in a semi-circle from just above the port hatch around the rear of the CIC, over Damage Control, the Communications Center and Helm Control, to just above the starboard hatch. There is also a small room with computers behind the consoles. Two sets of stairs lead up to the Core; one is next to the starboard hatch, and the other is just behind the Communications Center. They can be easily spotted by the blue lights behind them.
The FTL station is in the area behind the Tactical Station. It is not routinely manned, but can be manned by up to two crewmembers. All functions of the FTL drive and computer can be controlled from this station. While the engineering portions of the FTL drive are usually controlled and monitored by engineering staff, this station is sometimes staffed when more complex jumps must be made. This station is where the Tactical Officer plots and executes the jump. Sometimes the Tactical Officer inputs the jump coordinates himself, while other times the station is manned by two seated crewmen. The FTL drive is engaged by inserting a blue "key" into a receptacle at the center of the console and turning it. This console folds down into a table when it is not being used.
A Mercury-class battlestar's CIC is far smaller than the colonial class, reflecting the advanced battlestar's increased automation and reliance on computer networks. The ship is far larger, but requires only half the crew.
The CIC has overall far less stations than the colonial class' and occupies only one level, but the general layout is similar. A plotting table - with computer screens above - is located in the center, around which the main stations like Tactical, Helm and Communications are grouped, allowing the commanding officer to quickly address all officers.
While the older CIC doors are solid bulkheads, a Mercury's CIC lies adjacent to a large hallway and can be accessed through a series of glass doors that pivot ninety degrees.
- The destruction of other battlestars during the Cylon attack hinged on the Colonial's dependence on complex networking within most CICs. It is likely that the battlestars that were destroyed required fewer crewmembers to operate it since they used networked computer systems that moved data around faster than the crew that literally ran between stations in older CICs with pen and paper or data cartridges to transfer messages and data.