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First Officer in Focus: Theo Whittaker of StarBase 118 Ops

Each month we interview a First Officer or Commanding Officer of the fleet as part of our “First Officer in Focus” and “Captain’s Corner” columns to get to know them better, and learn more about what their positions entail. Last month, we heard from FltCapt. Quinn Reynolds of the Gorkon, and before that Cmdr. T’Mar of the Constitution.

This month, we’re sitting down with LtCmdr. Theo Whittaker of StarBase 118 Ops. Let’s get started!

WOLF: Tell us a little about the writer behind Whittaker. Where do you hail from, and what are you up to when you’re not simming?

WHITTAKER: My name is Mikey, 28, and I am British, born and bred! When I’m not busy playing Theo I’m a part time bar man and waiter at a local pub/restaurant as well as being a fashion student. I’ve just finished one degree and I’m about to do it all again for an extra year doing International Fashion Business! Aside from that, you can usually find me trawling 2nd record shops for obscure 80s and 90s dance records or indulging a cosmopolitan or two!

What ships have you served on and what duty posts have you played so far in your Starfleet career?

I’ve served on the USS Columbia and Starbase 118 Operations. I started out as an engineer before becoming Chief Engineering of the Columbia. When that was decommissioned, I was asked to become the Executive Officer of SB118 Ops- where I have been for the past eight months!

What was it like going through the decommissioning of Columbia?

Columbia’s decommissioning was a bolt out of the blue and I hadn’t really considered that it might get decommissioning so when it actually happened, it took by me by surprise. There was a family feel with the players and the breaking up of the family was difficult to go through- in many respects it was quite painful. I was very uncertain of where I would fit in with a new ship or even if I even wanted to try another ship. Fortunately, when I was asked to be XO of Starbase 118 Ops, I realised that I had simmed with (the now) Captain Taybrim in my academy class and another Columbia alumni- Tatash- was serving there so I think it lessened the pain as it were. And I can’t deny that the idea of being XO was not appealing, because from a creative point it was: how was Theo- who is still pretty young- going to handle becoming the XO of the Beta Quadrant’s largest and most strategically important installation? How could I not answer a challenge like that?

What’s been your favorite plot you’ve been involved in?

There are so many to choose from; escorting divas across space, fending off killer tribbles, going undercover to smash a drugs ring… but I think the one that really stands out for me is a mission aboard the Columbia where I got to create a self-styled “pirate queen” who terrorised an away team on a scientific expedition. It was a brilliantly written mission from all concerned- literally everybody brought their A-game and we built up this wonderful planet and there was a real sense of peril. But for me, it was a chance to play a character who was the exact opposite of Theo- she was brash, outrageous and utterly sadistic- and at the same time, I think it was that mission where I felt 150% comfortable inhabiting Theo’s skin, as it were.

Are you thinking about command at all?

It’s something I am definitely working towards and I look forward to the day where I could possibly command a starship of my own. I already have ideas for campaign areas and mission profiles, that sort of thing. That being said, I’m not in any great hurry to leave Ops and set up shop on my ship. If it happens, it happens and if it doesn’t- well then, it doesn’t 🙂

What’s your favorite, and least favorite!, parts about playing a First Officer?

All that power! No, I’m joking lol! I love that being first officer on Ops has given the chance to world build- from the Commercial Sector on the station itself to the seedy underbelly of a neutral world that I helped to craft for a mission earlier this year. At the same time I also love being given the opportunity to help newer players; welcome them into the game and to help them integrate themselves into the crazy little family we have! It may sound cliché but I don’t actually have a least favourite aspect of being a first officer- it’s all been so rewarding and everyone has been super wonderful.

Tell us more about your writing style. What’s your process for putting together a sim?

I like to be as descriptive as possible so that other writers can really get to know Theo’s view of the world and in turn, who he is a person. Having played him for the past sixteen months- I know he is as a person, but other players may not so it’s important for me that they can get to know him. I also like to incorporate a little humour and sass where I can, simply because that’s what I like to do in my day-to-day life. I was raised not to take myself seriously and I guess that it has translated in my simming as well. Obviously, Theo isn’t about to start a stand up comedy routine in the middle of a diplomatic situation- but the humour and sass reminds me that simming is a whole lot of fun!

I also tend to keep it in my mind that simming is fluid and that things can change at the drop of a hat. For example, I had been looking forward to spending Ops’ most recent mission bickering the VIP we were transporting- but Theo ended up being tortured by an Orion security chief because the writer of that MSNPC had IC requested somebody to volunteer themselves and it felt natural for Theo to sacrifice himself for his crewmates in that regard.

Thanks so much for your time. Looking forward to interviewing you again once you reach the rank of captain!

You can read more about LtCmdr. Whittaker on the wiki, and read the SB118 Ops sims in our archive.

About Tristan Wolf

FltAdml. Tristan Wolf, real name Jordan, founded UFOP: StarBase 118 – a Star Trek Play By Email RPG – in June of 1994. He previously served as the Commanding Officer for a number of simming installations, notably the first of StarBase 118 Operations. He currently lives in San Francisco with his partner and their Humane Society rescue dog named Baxter. Jordan works in politics, loves scifi (natch), fantasy, and new technologies.
View all posts by Tristan Wolf

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