Starbase 118 is made up of many promising writers and rising stars. Recently, one of those has been given his first command. You may have seen Leo-Handley Page in various places at SB118, and now you’ll see him in command of Starbase 118 itself. I fortunately had the honour of getting to know him a little better.
DeVeau: First off, would you mind telling us a little bit about your character.
Handley-Page: Leo Handley-Page started out as PNPC on my first ship, the USS Independence-A. He was initially intended to be a bit of comic relief to my more serious primary character of Eyas Wulfantine. However, over the following months and then years, he changed and became my favourite character to write for. His name and avatar underwent several re-modellings over the next three years until I finally settled on his current likeness. As for his in character backstory, he is the product of a brief extramarital affair between a Terran lady and a Byzallian politician at a conference. Leo grew up with his mother and adoptive father on Earth before being kidnapped by his biological father and taken to be indoctrinated on Byzatium. Leo escaped aged 18 and return to Earth. He joined Starfleet to give himself a career and escape the revenge of his father on Byzatium. Ever since then, Leo has had a roller-coaster career including two “In Character” court martials and several departmental roles on numerous ships. His is jovial and avuncular and tries to calm his crewmates with a joke and a tale of adventures past.
DeVeau: Where did you get the idea for him?
Handley-Page: I think Leo was a real mixture of different characters and personalities. He has a touch of James Bond, Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes about him, but without the super abilities and any of genius. The pithy one-liners he kept though. He is an idiosyncratic English gentleman in the 24th century, slightly irreverent but fundamentally decent.
DeVeau: When did you first feel the desire to work toward a captaincy?
Handley-Page: Even from day one when I first joined the Fleet, I have always had an interest in progressing up through the ranks and moving up to captaincy is the natural end point for this. I have always enjoyed devising worlds and missions, and once you become the CO of a ship the opportunities for creating these are expanded exponentially. You also get the satisfaction of helping and guiding newer members of the Fleet on their own career paths, and this is very satisfying.
DeVeau: Would you please tell us a little about the path you’ve taken to achieve this end?
Handley-Page: It has been and remain a long path full of hard work. If one wants to aspire to command your own ship, you need to ensure you put in the OOC work necessary whilst you are on a ship as a member of the crew. Look for ways you can help your CO and FO facilitate a well-run ship by keeping wiki pages updated, be active on the forums and other OOC ship activities. Be involved in task forces across the Fleet and be ready to accept constructive criticism. Also keep an active line of communication with your CO about your goals in the Fleet. Make sure they know you’re interested in Command. However, don’t pester them. Patience above all is important. However, underlying all of this is keep simming well. It doesn’t matter how much OOC work you do, you won’t get promoted if your simming is poorly written or formatted. Don’t skim read sims or skip responses. Be creative, inclusive and push the mission forwards. Have confidence in your abilities. Yes, you might hit a road bump or two, but that’s all part of the learning process.
DeVeau: Now that you have your position as a commanding officer, where do you hope to take your crew?
Handley-Page: I want to make Starbase 118 Ops the best quality and most enjoyable ship in the fleet. It’s not that I have an overly competitiveness against any other ship. We’re all on the same side, but I would take it as a personal achievement if simmers feel happy and settled under my command; and the quality of simming reaches the highest expectations of the Fleet. I enjoy devising missions, and have some hopefully exciting adventures for everyone to be involved in. It is slightly more of a challenge commanding a static space station rather than a ship, as one is committed to more missions in the same location – but I am never one to shy away from a challenge.
DeVeau: Do you have any further ambitions for Leo?
Handley-Page: Personally in the fleet? No, nothing much now. I have achieved what I set out to do… being given the opportunity to have my own crew and help them have fun and advance in the fleet. Really my only ambition now is to have a series of fun missions and help my crew achieve their goals in the fleet.
DeVeau: Could you give us a hint as to what sort of ideas you have for your unsuspecting crew?
Handley-Page: My intentions is to mix fast paced but character developing missions that dip into an underlying story arc, with hints and clues building all the time. It is a challenge keeping missions varied and entertaining on a static starbase, with limited exploration, but I am never one to shy away from a challenge. I want to foster an environment where everyone feels they can make a valid contribution to developing the plot, but yes… there will be explosions and monsters at some point.
DeVeau: Do you think Leo will change at all now that he’s been given a lot more responsibility?
Handley-Page: I think the character of Leo HP will be more confident in his role as CO, as he has always been one of the fleet’s under-achievers up until this point, never quite fulfilling his potential and being acutely aware of it. Now he finally has been recognised as a commander he can shrug off the criticisms of previous nay-sayers and grow into the role. Leo has always tried to be a friendly ear to junior crew members, and now in his secure position he can act and not just pontificate on their behalf.
DeVeau: Do you have any advice for those who want to travel down the same road you did with Leo?
Handley-Page: As a wise old Rear Admiral once said to me, I think the two most important things are communication and consistency. Communicate clearly and frequently with your fellow simmers, both those of higher rank and more junior colleagues. Tell your CO that you’re interested in command, and take their advice as constructive criticism at worst. Don’t get frustrated if your progress seems to drag a little, as we all move at different paces in the fleet. People I trained in the Academy became COs whilst I was still just a Department Chief, but your time will come. Remember to sim well and sim often, but also remember that quality should always trump quantity so long as you’re making full time numbers. Also, gauge how much OOC work you can realistically take on. It is better to volunteer for one team or project and do it well, than volunteer for many and end up disappointing your facilitators. Above all though, have fun and be happy. If you’re enjoying simming, it shows in the quality and enthusiasm you bring to the game.
DeVeau: Thank you for your time, and good luck!
Handley-Page: Thank you, it has been a pleasure!