Tuesday, June 15, 2010

here it comes now, sure as silence follows rain

"My cybernetic children will feed on your flesh, and none will ever know your deeds, or even your name...Enjoy your victory, human, for the remainder of your...short...life..."

Friend of mine is trying to talk me into downloading and playing System Shock. To interest me in doing this, he's linked me to the Xerxes transcripts and I found a link to Shodan quotes on my own (and then found this version with some backstory included).

"Look at you, hacker...a pathetic creature of meat and bone...panting and sweating as you run through my corridors...how can you challenge a perfect, immortal machine?"

All I know now is, whether I play it or not, it reminds me strongly of Pulse's haunted space station last October, as well as the current story arc from the Doomed ship.

Now, first, let me speak plainly: I haven't been to the Doomed ship in months; possibly even one full year. But I hear things. And one of the things I'm hearing, over and over, is that the story is changing.

It used to be the deeper you went into the ship, the closer you got to the alien menace that scuttled in the darkness, looking for victims. Half of everyone you encounter would be mad, or feral; the other half would be frightened, or predatory; and there used to be a demonic angle to the whole thing; in true Event Horizon style, the ship had gone to Hell and returned to tell the tale.

Apparently, this has changed. The ship's been rebuilt, for one thing. It's bigger, but no less labyrinthine, and it still has levels built on levels built on levels (frankly, that's always been part of its charm, that it's a station that seems to be evolving, inorganic bits and organic bits alike). Secondly, though, while I'm sure there are still players in the demonic storyline, the main theme seems to be mutating (aheh) from its past into something akin to System Shock 2: while System Shock and its sequel both had references to "The Many", the player in either game rarely found actual evidence of this.

In Doomed? The evidence is there--if you go down far enough, if you survive. The biomass is living, pulsing, growing tissue, and it seems to be absorbing cast and crew alike.

And there now seem to be appearing 'rejects' from that biomass, partially absorbed, partially changed beings who may or may not be working for the guiding brain of that biomass--wherever that brain might be. One thing's for certain: they're no longer sane, no matter which side they're on.

The Doomed Ship
William Morris

The doomed ship drives on helpless through the sea,
All that the mariners may do is done
And death is left for men to gaze upon,
While side by side two friends sit silently;
Friends once, foes once, and now by death made free
Of Love and Hate, of all things lost or won;
Yet still the wonder of that strife bygone
Clouds all the hope or horror that may be.

Thus, Sorrow, are we sitting side by side
Amid this welter of the grey despair,
Nor have we images of foul or fair
To vex, save of thy kissed face of a bride,
Thy scornful face of tears when I was tried,
And failed neath pain I was not made to bear.

All I know is, if you go there...be careful. Question everything. At least some of the rejects seem to be communicating through the station's intercom system, so...even stationwide announcements may not be safe.

Of course, it is the Doomed ship. Announcements from that station may never have been "safe" in the first place...


[Late insert from the Editrix: as of 7:28 pm, 15 July 2010, confirmation: T Linden is gone. Never did get around to following up on the conversation I wanted to have with him on how Second Life is not being run by madmen. Guess it doesn't matter now. As a plus to the PR side of this particular layoff, they let him go while he was engaged in supporting an SL client with several dozen estates. Way to go, LL!]


Alexandra Rucker said...

You can probably track him down on LinkedIn - Tom Hale, I believe.

Emilly Orr said...

I'm sure I can.

But the conversation I might have with Tom Hale, citizen of the realm, is vastly different than one I might have with T Linden.