Wednesday, June 30, 2004


I wasn't planning to check in so soon with our man in Balad, Iraq, but then reality went and intervened, when Iraqi sovereignty kicked in a few days ahead of schedule. Last night, I noticed Dach Stryker was in-world, so I brought him into the Jessie combat sim, to tell us a bit more about the handover, from his in-country perspective. We meet inside an underground bunker run by Jessie residents, who seem to be using it as a safehouse for the manufacture of various virtual contraband. I thought Jessie would be the best place to talk, seeing as how Dach himself is in a war zone, while Jessie became Second Life's own battleground, during the war in Iraq.

It's morning in Iraq, when we talk, and Dach has just got off the night shift. I ask him what he did, on his shift.

"Umm," Dach answers. "Well, watched a little Dark Angel, played some UT 2004, and surfed the Net, your normal war stuff." He laughs. "My job is mostly kind of a babysitting job until something goes down."

In the bunker, the highly armed Jessie denizens eye Dach warily.

"So," Lance LeFay demands, "what's special about this noob?"

"Dach's logging in from Balad, 60 miles outside of Baghdad," I say.

Veteran Jessie resident Syank Nomad looms above Dach. He's wearing a Confederate officer's uniform with a rocket launcher on his shoulder.

"You from the military?"

"Contractor," says Dach. "Ex-Air Force."

"Very cool," LeFay allows.

"God bless you guys over there," Nomad says. "Be safe, don’t get captured. I support our troops one hundred percent, but I sometimes wonder if those [Iraqi] people appreciate what the [hell] we are doing for them."

"Yeah they do, for the most part," Dach replies. "There are just a lot of idiots that don't-- they are a minority. Fortunately, I am pretty safe on the base... except for the mortars and rockets."

"…keep getting so pissed at what those [bastards] are doing to our people who get captured," Nomad continues, seething.

I turn to Dach. "I was gonna ask you about that-- what happened the day sovereignty got passed over?"

"Well, the mortar attacks have stepped up a little, but not a whole lot different. They pulled a fast one with early turn over of power," he finishes, laughing.

"So how'd you hear the news of the handover?"

"When I went into work yesterday, and pulled up CNN.com."


"Yeah, not even the military knew about this one... was pretty secret."

"I heard it about thirty minutes after it happened," says LeFay, stunned. "Go figure."

While we talk, someone gives Dach an M-60 machine gun, to play with. In Jessie, the M-60 is a good way of getting a good night of entertainment. Where Dach works, the M-60 is office equipment.

"So Dach," I ask, as he points the M-60 this way and that, "nothing much changed, since handover?"


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Posted by: Lance at Jul 11, 2004 11:00:29 PM