Thank you very much everyone for placing me on CSM 6 and now on CSM 7 where I am currently serving as the Chairman! If you would like to contact me directly, do not hesitate to just send me an eve mail in game. Keep your eyes here and watch for new posts.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Goodbye, Friend

RIP Sean
By now, most of you will have heard that Sean Smith was killed last night in a senseless assault on a consulate in Benghazi, Libya. He was known in game as Vile Rat.

Vile Rat was a friend of mine, not as close as I would have liked but someone I am proud to have been given the opportunity to know better than others. This will also be one of the last times I refer to him by his EVE name. Like so many others whose paths I've crossed in EVE over the past nine and a half years, especially once you meet them in person, he will always be just 'Sean' to me. As many others are doing, I feel compelled to spend a few minutes reflecting on just how this man's life affected my own and how I knew him over the past several years.

My first contact with Sean in game was in late 2007. As was mentioned here in a moving article by The Mittani, Sean was one of the many factors that led to my old alliance, Mercenary Coalition, making the fateful decision to turn on Band of Brothers. He did not offer any deals, threaten or present some grand scheme. While the anti-BoB train was already in motion within MC, like any good diplomat, Sean did a fine job of making it clear that the people he represented were not necessarily the 'bad guys'.

My communications with Sean would continue on and off for the next few years, both in game as 'Seleene' and then later on as CCP Abathur. What I liked about Sean was that he was a fellow government employee and I enjoyed talking to him about his own 'adventures' in the world. I recall our talks evolving from him having a shitty connection he could barely play EVE on in Iraq to something finally resembling normal.

Others have made mention of how sometimes Sean would up and vanish due to incoming fire where he was stationed. This was very much true and my first thought upon seeing the report from Jabber last night:
(2:40:22 PM) vile_rat: FUCK
(2:40:24 PM) vile_rat: gunfire
was, "Oh, hell, he's in another one of those places." and that I'd soon get word back that he was okay and we were all stupid for worrying. What worried me though was that Alex (The Mittani) was worried, and the more I started F5'ing different news feeds the less certain I was that I'd get to speak to him again. It is even more ironic due to the fact that I had been talking about Sean not even a few hours earlier to another EVE player about my thoughts on the future:

Mark / Seleene 9/11/12 1:55 PM
by the time CSM 8 takes office, Chairman Vile Rat will be happy to keep the tradition going
Bagehi 9/11/12 1:55 PM
haha!
Mark / Seleene 9/11/12 1:55 PM
it WILL happen. I'd bet money on it and he'll be a good one too
Bagehi 9/11/12 1:56 PM
Yeah.  You are probably right

Real Life

I finally got to meet Sean in person when he was elected to the 6th Council of Stellar Management and we all travelled to our first Summit in Iceland. He was a genuinely warm and funny guy. In CSM meetings or discussions Sean was passionate about his positions and, even if you disagreed with him, articulate enough to present his arguments in a way that invited further discussion. I got to enjoy spending several quiet moments with him talking about non-EVE stuff and getting to know him better. It's times like that which I preach about to many who have never been to an EVE player meet or FanFest - once you meet the man or woman behind the pixels, you will never be able to think of them in the same way again. The experience is almost always a positive one.

Sean's CSM duties also carried him to EVE Fanfest this year. His State Department job had finally taken him to a more relaxed posting in The Hague as well. As fate would have it, I was flying to Iceland from Germany and ran into him and his wife in Copenhagen before the connecting flight we were both on took off. His wife was travelling with him. She was a very cheerful and funny woman and, much as all 'EVE wives' with e-famous husbands, seemed both proud and bemused by her spouse's ~stature~ in the community.

The last time I saw Sean was in the Plaza hotel in the morning after the last night of Fanfest. He and his wife had come out of the elevator to check out and I was talking to a large group of EVE players in the lobby. He had chosen not to run for CSM 7 and I knew it would be a while before I saw him again so I broke away from the crowd to shake his hand one last time. I told him I would miss his daily presence in Skype not only talking to the devs but just in general. I told him that I appreciated the work he'd done on the CSM and was glad that this little spaceship democracy experiment had allowed us to hang out and get to know each other.

Sean made the game we all play greater while trying to make the world we live in safer. I'm already shuddering to think about the real world ramifications that may come as a result of Sean's death.

People that play EVE all too often confuse the actions and even ~personalities~ of the characters played with their real life counterparts. On the other hand, if this senseless tragedy accomplishes anything in the tiny corner of the world that is the EVE community, I hope it helps people remember that even the most Vile Rat is, in reality, a warm and funny guy with a family and friends that care about him.

I will miss you, Sean. Goodbye, friend.

10 comments:

  1. So sorry for this senseless and tragic loss, Mark. *hugs*

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  2. I have only encountered him briefly while flying in space because the name 'Vile Rat' stood out.

    I had read about the raid on the embassy in Benghazi early this morning, it never occurred to me that it might actually affect one of our number.

    To his family it's a drama to have to lose him to something as hopelessly senseless as a raid on his place of work for reasons that beggar belief.

    To the EVE community it's an irreplaceable loss of someone who is the spice of New Eden. We will feel his loss every day.

    Since this is Seleene's blog, would it be possible to ask CCP whether some kind of memorial could be created, in the game, to pay tribute to the people in the community of whom we know that they died? A place for us to go and offer a salute.

    Also, I don't know how this is handled, but we probably want to ask CCP to not send mail notifications, to resub, to email addresses of people who's accounts terminate through non-payment. I'm pretty sure Sean's family, and anyone else so affected, don't need a crass reminder from a mail bot that their loved one is no longer here.

    RIP Vile Rat - O7

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  3. :( We share his families sorrow in the deepest manner! Rest in peace.

    Gang Bang Team Ally

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  4. I am a new player to EvE, I have not known him but i am thankful for his presence and contribution to EvE what it is today. Thanks Sean.
    I wonder what will be written on his tombstone ..

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  5. Rest in Peace

    Neily

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  6. The VP spoke at my university today and took time out of his campaign speech to specifically mention Sean as a hero for his sacrifice. My most sincere condolences to his family and friends. I never knew him, but I have the utmost respect for the man. May he rest in peace.

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  7. A good tribute. Well said.

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  8. Fuck. That. Shit.

    Sent Vile rat an evemail sending condolences, hopefully his wife or someone opens the account and reads it. I feel terrible for his faimly and friends, which includes you Seleene. My condolences.

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  9. very sad post by you. i also tribute to him.
    Equity Tips

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