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16 April 2004

Strange But Virtually True
I like to hang out in a virtual world, and lately I've been interested in doing "quests," which are a chain of clues that can be hard or easy, and vary in number and form. A quest can use balloon clues, journals, chests, or invisible clues. I've seen quests with ten clues, and quests with twenty clues. Some are riddles, some are trivia, others are photos of locations where the next clue can be found. It used to be that if you found a clue in the landscape you couldn't easily find the starting point -- the only place from which you can join the quest. Now, however, you can teleport to the start from clues that belong to quests you haven't started -- much easier.

The other day I stumbled across a journal clue, and teleported to the start of the quest. It was on a tiny island, and the second clue was in a cave nearby. I also found an out-of-sequence clue that I couldn't open (you can only open clues sequentially). The second clue pointed towards the 'hood -- I had no idea what that meant. I didn't give up -- I went to a cave in a different location just in case the clue was there. To my surprise another out-of-sequence clue was there. A couple was reading the clue, and I asked them about clue 2. They said, "Oh, the TMP Community Centre," but didn't elaborate. Just then my friend Bob IMd me, and asked what I was doing. I told him and he said he'd help. I summoned him, then said maybe he'd like to go to the starting point so he could do the whole quest. We went back to the island. After B read the clues, we were joined by LegallyPink, who made me laugh a lot -- I told her her skin color didn't match the exposed skin on the shirt she was wearing. She said she knew, but wanted it that way -- "I have to be who I am." I asked her wryly, "Who ARE you, Pink?" Bob showed Pink the clues, then we just stood there doing online research. Bob's computer crashed and he disappeared. Pink wandered off.

At this point I didn't know if the community centre clue was in There, or perhaps was a written clue on a webpage outside.

I discovered through reading people's profiles and putting 2+2 together that the inhabitants of another virtual world -- a world that had somehow been destroyed -- had migrated to There. They kept together as a group, and although not in the least unfriendly to outsiders, didn't advertise their presence at all. If you weren't of the group, though, perhaps you'd never learn of their existence.

By reading an out-of-There forum, I found out that the community centre might be "on the hills near a volcano." I teleported to a spot and investigated for about a minute -- it just felt wrong. I teleported to another place, ran to where I could drive, then took off in my buggy headed in one direction (not zig-zagging or otherwise searching). I had driven for only a short time when I literally drove up to the door of the place I was looking for.

I followed clues until I reached one I couldn't understand. There were two people there, and after we spoke for a few minutes they took me under their wings for a while. I am indebted to them, as I would've had a difficult time with a couple of the clues. One clue required us to go up to a sky paz called the "13th Floor" and jump off facing the east. I helped them find one clue -- the one I'd found in the cave. I'm sure they'd've found it without me -- but at least I felt I had a contribution to make.

I figured out the last clue on my own, which was nice. The end of the quest was down in the moat of the Tyr temple -- actually a favorite place of mine as I like the water depiction.

I joined the group and was invited to the quest winners' awards ceremony, where I met many people and had a good time keyboarding. I was happy that they are all grown-ups (one can become tired of immaturity), and one man listened to my story then told me that I was "the real winner."

The community centre was moved even before the awards ceremony, and the clues were all removed.

More There BlatherI met someone named Psi in There, when a quest went on the blink and we goofed around in a boat until it was fixed. He asked me if I'd ever played game X, and when I said "No," told me it was a game in which one kills demons. I said, "Personally, some of my good friends are demons." He said some of his good friends like to kill demons, and that the top three demons are xxx, yyy, and Baal. I said, ""But of course. Why don't you kill some of the demons in the government? Three top demons are Ashcroft, Cheney, and Bush." I asked him if he is a rep. or a dem. He said his parents are republicans who actually wanted Gore in the last election, but that he, himself, is 13 and can't vote." I said, "Jeez, Psi, you're 13? You're quite mature." He seems like a very intelligent and polite person -- some of the people in There are rude and in other ways uninteresting. At the library yesterday I happened to overhear a fellow making lewd comments to a woman -- who was handling him quite well. I went over to show solidarity, and when he left we laughed about him -- she said he couldn't even spell the words he was attempting to use, and I said, yeah, well, he was probably 14. She thought he was older but merely stupid, and she's probably right.

Yesterday I went driving with a super-nice man -- we had a lot of fun and hit it off. He's part of the large gay contingent in There -- and a very experienced builder. He told me he is having a house-warming party soon, and would I like to come? I said, "Yes." There's a lot of scope for building and decorating -- both in portazones and houses. I never do much since I don't really see why I would want to -- the most I do is go to the fire atop Katana Lighthouse and put a skull up there. I'm accumulating some oddball items now from quests -- a gold and jeweled egg, a chest of diamonds. These are a surprise to me -- I never thought I'd get anything for questing.

posted by - 2:58 PM


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