Wednesday, June 30, 2004


The last time I rode on a space ship with the chimp named Derek Jones, it was on a UFO featuring an abduction tractor beam and a midget co-pilot with a giant, aquamarine probe. Derek hasn't been in-world for quite awhile, he tells me, because he's been busy teaching fencing to some kids at a local high school. (And here's yet one more case where I'm unable to shake an avatar's image out of my head, against all logic. I know Derek's a young dude living in Chicago, but when he tells me about the fencing, all I can picture is a monkey with a rapier, hopping around a gym.)

This particular space cruiser (a dreadnought, more like) belongs to Kyrah Abbatoir, and though she's still completing its impulse drive (the ship is so large, it's actually comprised of three segments that need to move in tandem), it's an impressive sight, hovering over Cordova. The "sandbox sim" of Cordova is where you're likely to see all manner of dreadnoughts, some of the old school seafaring variety, but mostly the kind designed to take to the air, or deep space. Turning Cordova into an unofficial drydock for dreadnoughts seems to be part of a larger subculture of spacepirate roleplayers, in Second Life-- part builders, part anime fans, and when the necessity arises, part rival wargamers.

I got a glimmer of this bit from Zate Kojima, founder of the Zaku Falcon Air Pirates, and no slouch as a shipwright, himself. (He gave me a quick tour of the hundred meter-long battle cruiser he's completing now.) Commander Kojima had his own perspective on the rivalry-- and hints at a coming showdown.

"When I first started the Air Pirate group," Kojima begins, "this guy [name expunged!], joined in. For some reason he didn't like it, and so he jumped ships to be a Space Pirate. He joined back after awhile, and then he left again. So I told him I had no choice but to release him from being an Air Pirate. He became furious at that, so he created a band of people known as Pirate Hunters. My close friend, when he found out, went undercover to find out what they were going to do. And he discovered that they are going to launch a full scale attack on all pirates, at an unknown date and time. Specifically, against the Air Pirates.

"So now all of today," Commander Kojima concludes, "I've been rallying other pirates around the world, trying to tell them about it. The only option we have... is to fight. War."

"When's the war gonna break out?" I ask.

"How should we know!" Kojima roars. "It's not scheduled on an exact time, you know. It could rage at any second. But what I'm assuming is that the battle will take place above the skies of Cordova."

And so it might.

Posted at 11:40 PM | Permalink


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