Each month, we interview a captain or first officer of the fleet to gain more insight on what it takes to command a ship and learn more about how each of these staff members found their way into these roles.
This month, we’re interviewing Commander Theo Whittaker, the new CO of the Andaris Task Force.
TRAENOR: If I’m not mistaken, the last time you were interviewed was in August of 2016 – you were FO of SB118 Ops back then. It’s not a stretch to say that there’s been some changes in the intervening year and a half! Can you refresh our audience’s memory and tell us a little bit about yourself including where you hail from and what you like to do when you’re not contributing to our group?
WHITTAKER: My name is Mikey and I’m a (im)mature student from the U.K, studying International Fashion Business and I’m also a part time waiter/restaurant host. I’d like to work in Fashion Forecasting (hence my degree) and when I’m not simming or studying, I enjoy baking, the odd Pokemon battle (or twenty), crafts and watching trashy reality TV shows (Judge Judy is my current favourite). I also collect vinyl records (250 and counting!) mostly consisting of 1980s and 1990s pop music! I’m also a huge fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race (Michelle Visage is my everything). As several members of the ATF can attest, I am a rabid reader of Star Trek novels and I have been a fan of the franchise for over twenty years. Deep Space Nine is my favourite TV series, Kira is my favourite character and The Undiscovered Country is my favourite movie (with Insurrection as close second…. Yes, really! Ha Ha)
There were some pretty significant changes in regards to personnel in the Andaris Task Force around the time of your transfer and assignment as CO. Can you tell us a little bit about how that has been progressing and with everyone settling into their roles?
I think there is a period of adjustment during any transition, especially more so when you are stepping into the shoes of an officer like Admiral Renos. Saying that, however, I think that the transition has gone very well and certainly we’ve had feedback from players that supports that. All of the staff have been communicative and extraordinarily helpful and I am grateful. Noelle, who serves as my XO, and I came onboard at just the right time – we pretty much dove straight into a wonderful team building mission that was put together by Richard, who plays Lieutenant Jarred Thoran, and it’s been a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know the players and for the players to get to know us!
Much like with the decommissioning of the Columbia, a former ship you served on, this move to Andaris Task Force came fairly quickly and with little warning. And one can’t help but notice the parallels – the move to SB118 Ops came with a promotion to FO, and this move came with a promotion to CO. Did you find the experiences to be the same?
Somewhat, yes. In both instances, the switch and the promotions were unexpected (especially the promotions!). With Columbia’s decommissioning and the promotion to XO – I didn’t really expect it because I had only been with the fleet for eight months. I would say I was definitely more nervous this time around, but only because I was following in the footsteps of Admiral Renos, who has always been a tremendous inspiration to me, and I really wanted (and still do) to make him proud. I’ve had a huge amount of support and encouragement from my friends in the fleet which was very touching. Jamie, who plays Captain Sal Taybrim, has been a fantastic mentor and I cannot thank her enough for all of her wisdom during the two years I was with Ops!
What has been the biggest challenge, in character and out of character, with the command experience to this point?
Out of character, I think the biggest challenge was absorbing a lot of information about the Andaris Task Force in such a short space of time. At the time, I was juggling university, a job where I was working 15 hour days (because, Christmas) 4 days a week AND getting my head around the Task Force, it’s players and crew and a whole new campaign region that was incredibly detailed. In character, Theo hasn’t had the chance to make any life or decisions as CO (yet…) so I would say that his biggest challenge so far was adjusting to a role he wasn’t expected. He was definitely prepared for it, but he had thought he would end up taking command of Ops somewhere down the line!
In regards to your writing, are there elements of real life that you especially enjoy incorporating into your simming?
Oh, absolutely! In my early days I imbued Theo with some of my attributes to make him more relatable and therefore I could get into his head. Over time, I had him grow a little and he put his insecurities to bed once and for all and he ended up evolving to a point where he isn’t all that similar, but because I’ve wrote him for nearly three years – I don’t have any issues getting into his headspace. One trait that has survived, thought is his love of cocktails and cocktail making comes from myself. I fancy myself as something of an amateur mixologist! He’s also rather adept at organizing social gatherings which also comes from my work as a restaurant host and my love of dinner parties!
If you could break the Temporal Prime Directive and speak to yourself as an Ensign, what advice would you tell yourself? Is there anything you would have changed about your progression?
“Don’t be so scared of everything. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t be afraid to push the plot forward, don’t be so concerned about how other people view you. You do you so well and you’ve got this. Oh and stay away from immaculately dressed Bolian pirates!”
Thanks so much for your time!
You can read more about Cmdr Whittaker on the wiki.