Saturday, August 12, 2017

running my hands along your edges

It's taken me some time to figure out how to say this. I won't lie that I felt extremely angry over this, and was lashing blame in several directions, though never to any of the folks I truly feel are, at least partially, responsible. I've calmed down since, but the embers are still there. What I'm going to say hurts...and deeply. And it didn't have to hurt at all. That's the thing that galls most, I think.

(An aerial overview of a section of Armada.)

This was part of the build in progress. Yes, the air was thick with the smells of drying fish and diesel, but it was still pleasant to walk the various docks and rope bridges, stopping in at myriad tea shops along the way. Saying hello to passing citizenry. All gone into the mists.

(Another view from a slightly different angle, of Armada.)

The floating circus tent off to the left was a meeting hall for residents. Inside could be found a center rotunda from which to air grievances, and surrounding the main floor were risers, for those who wished to sit, with the outer ring comprised of booths that sold fruit-sweetened drinks, popped grains of various kinds, strips of fish jerky and rough ales. This, too, disappeared when Armada did.

(A shot taken in murky waters underneath the bay, of the old Armadan rotunda.)

Underneath the waters could be found the lost ships that didn't make the whole of the journey, and the ruins of the first rotunda, sinking slowly into the shifting sea bottom. They are all gone, now, too.

(Archduke Hiro Shatner, in happier times..)

And what of the Duke himself? Well, for a variety of reasons (chiefly to do with the motiver behind the glass), he is kept far from the grid, but not some small part must be laid at the feet of the complainants against Armada. The reason he allowed it to dissolve back into the mists in the first place was because he could not stand the dunning missives, the angry IMs, the cavalcade of stampading dissent against him, the sim of Armada in the first place, against what he chose to build.

After months of verbal abuse, he finally could not take another negative word, and it was easier for him to cease its growing life than to fight for it. I do not blame him; I do blame those who spoke against it so vociferously that the only way to end stress from that quadrant, he thought, was to let the dream go.

And what about the denizens of Armada-now-dissolved? I didn't think to ask at the last moment of contact with the Archduke, but many of them were specifically programmed to do their duties on Armada itself. What happens to them?

Like this skyship piloteer. Where have they gone? Have they been packaged up and moved to Gearhaven? But Gearhaven as a whole uses much less complex robotic servitors, so...where do the elite units like this go?

(Being ferried around one of the original four sims; now down to two, or possibly even one.)

I may have more pictures, I'll keep looking. But I hadn't made it a priority to take a great many, because I was waiting for the grand opening. I wanted to announce Armada, had every plan to...and now, like every other precious thing on the grid that's gone away, it's disappeared into the digital mist. All because certain people could not stand the reclaiming of a dream not theirs.

We dream, we build, we pull our fancies into virtual reality. Isn't that the point? We won't agree with everything people build--just on my own small count, I received literally dozens, if not hundreds, of complaints on my various structures, in nearly every sim I've lived in. Part of it is that I'm not the best builder, and I admit that. But part of it is, what wants to crawl out of my head into reality doesn't agree with more than a few people.

I accept that, for the most part. But even I am not immune to criticism. I'm eleven years on the grid now, and I have had exactly one Rez Day party, because of how terrifyingly badly the first one went. Eleven years gone, some of the participants at that party having long left the grid, and it's still a scar on my soul. I may never be able to have another Rez Day party again.

I don't say that to elicit sympathy, or fish for compliments. I'm trying to make the point that that is one instance of a thing that changed me, changed my behavior on the grid. It took some of the luster out of a particular tradition, because of what one single person chose to say.

So how much more so when the complaints mount up? When they're paired with accusations of theft, misconduct, plagiarism--none of which are true? When they result in people complaining to other sim owners, sim owners that have nothing to do with a separate sim entirely? How much more does the stress increase when it's not just one person disapproving, but dozens? And over and over and over again, every single time he logs in?

Here's how bad it got--again, I am naming no specific names, but four individuals (that I've been able to verify) spoke to my direct superior at Sakura House, warning her against my involvement with the Duke. As courtesans, all we really have are our words and our reputations, as t'were, to stand on. And here were four voices dripping poison into her ears, out of 'concern', out of 'worry', that I was somehow traipsing off with a huckster and would abandon my House.

Why plant those sorts of doubts in someone who has control over whether I stay at Sakura or are forced out? Perhaps, to put even more pressure on the Archduke, an extremely underhanded and dishonorable style of attack indeed. But now we are here. Regardless of who and why, we have lost Armada, again, and I, at least, will mourn for its passing.

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