A Navigator is any person dedicated to the command and control of a Carrier Fleet. The Navigator's primary responsibility is to be aware of ship's position and the fleet's total integration of forces at all times. Responsibilities include planning the journey, advising the ship's captain of estimated timing to destinations while en route, and ensuring hazards are avoided. The Navigator is trained in astrogation, navigation, naval tactics, ship mechanics and engineering, and command. A Navigator can easily and effectively take the position of any of the carrier's crew members. The Navigator is also responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the Class Q J-drive, and the cold fusion reactor.
The Navigator position dates back to the beginning of warp travel, where the person responsible for astrogation aboard the ship was designated the Navigator. Because of the extreme risk and potential for disaster early warp travel had, Navigators were extremely well trained and highly ranked officers which were proficient in both the engineering and capabilities of the j-drive as well as the specifics of astrogation. Rather than being actual Naval officers, most early Navigators were actually the physicists who developed the early warp travel. This tradition of commissioning scientists to aide in ship navigation would continue until Prospectors revamped and rebuilt the J-drive to be both safer and more effective, where the role of the Navigator changed.
Because of the strife in the revolutionary era, the Navy at the behest of the new Prospectors began building a warfleet capable of outgunning any planet's local forces. The creation of the first Carrier Fleet shortly followed, with Prospectors (particularly Ayil and Maalik) leading the construction. The Carrier fleet was massive, and no previous naval doctrine besides the laissez-faire battlefield control could manage such a large and expansive crew count. Several Prospectors came up with a solution, with Sizouse and Rafael developing a large array of computerized systems and wafers which could allow one person, with the aid of advanced AI programs, to independently command all ships in the fleet at a speed impossible for any one person speaking into a comms system. Thus, the first Navigator, Erisa, was dubbed, and commissioned into the Navy.
Erisa was actually a performer, an actress with no prior military experience. Part of the development was to see if they could take any normal person, use these program arrays and wafers, and turn them into essentially a living AI headquarters for the fleet. The program was a success, and within ten years Erisa was both proficient in advanced physics but also the very strange theoretical science behind warp travel and astrogation. Since then, the tradition has been to, when a Navigator passes away, take a primary school graduate at near-random and train them to become a Navigator in ten years. Navigators are typically picked from Prospera or nearby core worlds. Women are preferred, because of ease of rapport with other ship commanders, and a tendency for better communicative skills, but gender in the end has been found to be irrelevant to the actual effectiveness of a Navigator.
At any one time, there are only three Navigators. Navigators are not pre-trained, and a Carrier will go out of action for up to ten or fifteen years while a new Navigator is trained. Navigators tend to live longer than other people, the oldest passing away at age 184.