Readings — From the February 2013 issue

Our Man in Jabberlon

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From a September 12, 2012, post by The Mittani, a member of the Goonswarm alliance in the role-playing game Eve Online, on a website that provides news about the fictional world of the game. Vile Rat was the alias used in the game by Sean Smith, a State Department official killed in the September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

We knew that Vile Rat was in Benghazi; he told us. He was in situ to provide IT services for the consulate, which meant he was on the Net all the time, hanging out with us on Jabber and talking about Internet spaceship games. The last time he did something like this, he was in Baghdad in 2007 or 2008. He would be on Jabber, then say something like “incoming” and vanish for a while as the Katyushas came down from Sadr City (State had been in the former Saddam Hussein palace on the Tigris before they built that $2 billion fortress-embassy). He got out of Baghdad physically unscathed and had some more relaxing postings after that. Montreal, then The Hague.

If you play this stupid game, you may not realize it, but you play in a galaxy created in large part by Vile Rat’s talent as a diplomat. No one focused as relentlessly on using diplomacy as a strategic tool. Mercenary Coalition flipped sides in the Great War largely because of Vile Rat’s influence, and if that hadn’t happened, GSF probably would never have taken out BoB. Jabberlon5? VR made it. You may not even know what Jabberlon5 is, but it’s the smoke-filled Jabber room where every nullsec personage of note hangs out and makes deals. Goonswarm has succeeded over the years in large part because of VR’s emphasis on diplomacy. He created an entire section with a staff of 10+ called Corps Diplomatique, something no other alliance has. He had the vision and the understanding to see three steps ahead of everyone else — in the game and when giving real-world advice.

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  • Anderton Faln

    RIP Sean Smith

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