Primary operational control of the U.S.S. Excelsior is provided by the Main Bridge, located at the top of the primary hull. It is located on Deck 1. The Main Bridge directly supervises all primary mission operations (with the exception of the Flight bay and assorted craft) and coordinates all departmental activities.
The Main Bridge is a highly restricted area; only Beta-Two security clearance personnel (Officers with the Rank of Ensign or Higher) and authorized bridge personnel are allowed on the bridge. All bridge officers have access to a small armory on the bridge that carries both type II and type II phasers.
The new primary Bridge configuration is a simplified version of the Galaxy Class configuration, though due to the age of the Excelsior class, bridge configurations can vary from vessel to vessel. The central area of the Main Bridge provides seating and information displays for Captain Sulu and two other officers. The Captain’s Chair is raised from the rest of the Bridge Officers, to that of the surrounding level which includes Tactical and Operations. The two Officer seats are equipped with fully programmable consoles for a variety of uses.
Directly fore and to the right of the command area is the Flight Control Officer, who faces the main viewer. The FCO is equipped with a console that proceeds around at a 45 degree angle.
captain sulu in command of a busy bridge
Directly fore and to the Captain's left is the Operations manager's console. Identical in size and design to the Helm station, the Operations console is one of the most sensitive consoles to access on the bridge,due to the wide variety of information available there.
At the very front of the bridge chamber is a large viewscreen. This main viewer performs all the standard duties expected of it. However, the viewscreen is not always activated like most other Starships. It is a full Holographic display, that can be activated upon request. When the screen is not active, the screen remains dark.
Aft and to starboard of the command area is an elevated platform on which is located the tactical/security control station (comprised of two consoles, one for tactical, and one for security, located directly behind tactical and along the back of the bridge area). These consoles are to the starboard side of the Captain’s Chair, no longer in the direct middle.
Against the port side walls of the main bridge are the consoles for Science and others that are programmable for a multitude of functions. There are two Science consoles with Science 2 being a fully programmable multi-mission Console. Science I, which is the primary science console. Science I has priority links to Conn, Ops, Computers, and Tactical.
Science II is the ASO's (Assistant Science Officer's) console, which can be used by any personnel. Science II has access to all science, navigational, sensor, and communications systems. Science II can be configured to operate in tandem with Science I, although security links and all other non-science data is withheld from Science II. Science II usually works independently of Science I.
Against the aft wall of the main bridge is the large engineering console. This has a smaller cutaway diagram of the starship, which displays all engineering-relevant data and shows warp fields and engine output. This console also has priority links to the computers, the WPS (Warp Propulsion System), the IPS (Impulse Propulsion System), navigation, SIF, and IDF. Although usually unattended, the Chief Engineer can bring this console to full Enable mode by entering voice codes and undergoing a retinal scan. Also located on the platform, against the aft wall of the bridge, is a large master systems display monitor, similar to the one in main engineering. All relative ship information (such as damage, power distribution, etc.) is displayed on the cutaway image of the starship. This monitor can be used to direct ship operations and can be configured for limited flight control if necessary. Also located in the Bridge Engineering is the Engineering II console, which is fully programmable to run any Secondary Console function, including Sciences, Medical, Operations, Limited Helm control, or Security.
This console, as does every console on the bridge, also has the hand-input sub-console for use in setting the auto-Destruct of starship. The auto-destruct sequence follows Standard Starfleet security procedures which can be accessed via any secured Memory Alpha ODN connection.
There are two turbolifts on the bridge that can handle normal transit around the starship. There is also an emergency ladder that connects the bridge to Deck three. There is also one door, on the aft platform of the bridge, that leads to the Conference Room, which is directly aft of the Main Bridge. Other connected rooms to the Main Bridge include the Captain's Ready Room.
There are no escape pods connected to the bridge. Pods are located on all decks below Deck three. Each pod can support two people for 4 hours in space, and has a maximum speed of half impulse. Two pods are reserved for the top four officers in the chain of command on the starship, because they are the last four to leave the ship. These are located on Deck two. As the number of experienced Captains dwindles in Starfleet, the notion of a Captain going down with his ship has been abolished. If the ship is abandoned, the top four officers in the chain of command will wait until everyone else is off the ship, opt to arm the auto-Destruct (not always necessary, but there if needed), and then leave in the two escape pods.