Shipmaster is an informal term used among some Ultranaut crews and other spacecraft crews, usually to denote the person who is in charge of the technical oversight of the ship.
For example, on a lighthugger or similar ship equipped with Conjoiner drives, the shipmaster might perform duties similar to that of a chief engineer, overseeing the current status of the drives and making careful adjustments to their settings.
It is hinted at that the application of the term (or lack thereof) for a crew member can vary depending on the specific crew (whether the crew of a lighthugger or any other ship).
Variations of the term's useEdit
Due to their political ideology preferring non-militaristic sounding terms for various military ranks, the Demarchists of Yellowstone often used the term in a somewhat different way, to denote the captain of a military spacecraft.
Notable shipmasters Edit
- Historically, the term "shipmaster" (at least in English) was often used as a synonym for a "civilian captain", that is, the master or the commander of any ship other than a warship. The term "captain" originated as a land-based military rank (lit. "headman", "hetman") and only became associated with naval terminology with the diversification and expansion of naval warfare.
- Related to the above, the Demarchist use of "shipmaster" seems either intentionally synonymic, or harkening back to the older meaning (i.e. a generic, non-military term for a ship captain), precisely to avoid the connotation with the military etymology of "captain". In the Demarchist military's use, "shipmaster" thus works as a sort of euphemism for a warship's captain.