Come Home

I’m not the type to waste time with regrets, especially when my only regret is that I didn’t do more to regret. Robert Heinlein says in many of his later novels that “when the ship lifts, all bills are paid.” My particular ship lifted off from EA Mythic over a year ago, and I have but one regret. And it hits me hard this time of year.

In the chaos of departure, I left behind my Armed Forces file.

There are a lot of people in the military who play MMOs. Life in the service for most people consists of being on a base very far from home, but not far from industrialization. I know many people for whom a new post is just a new place to plug in a computer. All that changes is the time zone. I could always tell when that happened for someone, because out of nowhere I’d start getting complaints about the patch schedule from people with two or three years of play history. But for the most part, service is not incompatible with a massively multiplayer hobby.

There are exceptions. The letters didn’t come in high numbers, but they were regular. Someone was deploying to a place with a lot of sand, and wanted to know if their account would still be there when they came home.

The older ones with a tour or two under their belts wanted to know if their account would still be there if they came home.

If.

I watched their accounts, to see when the raids began again, when the loot came in again, to see the emotes and saucy /tells and /ooc violations start again. I kept a list of these account names in my Armed Forces file, and I crossed off names with a yellow highlighter when Johnny and Jane came marching home or at least back to a place with air conditioning and internet access hurrah, hurrah.

Sometimes I used a black marker. Not often. But enough.

The rest of the names I left alone, and I thought of them with my fingers crossed.

I hope they all made it home.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day.

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9 Comments

  1. Skeetarian said,

    May 25, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Our eldest is there now.

    He has had to use his ‘black marker’ twice now for what we would refer to as guildmates. More from his alliance and realm. Some he knew just as a fellow soldier, a realmmate if you will…others, his guildies as I will call them here, he referred to as John or Alex (Gonzo).

    Reading a letter (email mostly) from your son, describing some of the most horrific ways he’s seen his guildy, his alliancemate or his fellow realmmate die is a chilling experience. Hearing him tell of the bullet that glanced off his helmet. /shudder

    Seeing a narrative of what would be to us in an MMO a ‘great fight’ that lasted nearly 5 minutes, where he tells of his vehicle being ambushed, disabled and hearing over ‘vent’ that it was on fire…bailing out to seek shelter behind it, like you might do to hide behind a ram in DAoC, hearing an uber 8man guild (BFV) unloading every RA they had and still the enemy was firing back from above on the walls before the trebs (M1A1) got in range and levelled the place. As the 8mans and the zerg that had showed up to answer the CTA chased the remnants of the enemy that had ambushed them, they rose from the dirt to recover their vehicle and limp home to fight another day.

    Excuse the lame MMO references, but I meant to lend some ingame references. Most of us are relatively speaking just a bunch of PvE’rs and have NO idea what it’s really like to RvR every minute of every day. There is no porting to safety, no /qtd when things aren’t going your way and certainly, no rezzing.

    So, this weekend, I am asking that everyone think of just one of my son’s friends that died, this month. I am grateful that he was there for my son so that they could share some good with all the bad.

    Spc. Alex Gonzalez, 21 – Mission, TX
    http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=11909

    He will be missed.

    He will be remembered.

    /salute

  2. Joseph said,

    May 25, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks dad.

  3. Amethyst said,

    May 25, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    My family’s heart and prayer’s go out to everyone serving our country. To often the word comes and it hits hard when it does. I to play DAoC and just recently Gaheris lost a long time player. We are unsure of what happened, either way it makes you think hard about the person sitting on the other end of the computer or vent. Joseph I wish you a speedy return home safe to your family, as well as to all the other’s out there serving our country day in and day out.

    Amy @}~;~~

  4. Arrakiv said,

    May 26, 2008 at 7:45 am

    I have met a lot of people in the military over my life. Heck, I am dating one of them, in fact. I have a number of friends currently serving overseas as well and I certainly always keep a little corner of my mind busy hoping that I will be able to see them again soon.

  5. Memorial Day said,

    May 26, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    […] Weathers (AKA “Tweety”) has a really touching post up for memorial day on her Eating Bees blog […]

  6. May 27, 2008 at 12:11 am

    […] Memorial Day, I think our own Director of Community, Sanya made a great post on her personal blog. Go check it out: There are a lot of people in the military who play MMOs. Life in the service for most people […]

  7. Tauvix said,

    May 27, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Very touching post Sonya. I forwarded it to some gamers I know in the armed forces.

  8. May 27, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    […] wanted to write something for the men and women in the armed forces, but these two posts say it better and with more eloquence than I ever […]

  9. Lore said,

    May 27, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    One of our guild members is currently stationed in one of those “places with a lot of sand.” He can’t play, but he kicks around the forums at odd hours of the day, and it’s always kind of concerning when he hasn’t put in a post for a day or two. We’ve got a thread going where people can send him (and by proxy, his unit) stuff, and we’ve had people send him all sorts of stuff, from PSP games to coffee. It makes me pretty proud of my guild.

    Still though, I have to wonder when I get an IM saying “Tell Diva thanks for the coffee, I can’t get to the forums at the moment.”


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