writing about war in EVE - the extremely serious business of
pixelated spaceships blowing each other up in hopes of controlling an
imaginary galaxy - I often find myself adopting a tone of glib
nonchalance. After all, the whole enterprise is tremendously silly,
regardless of how many hours we collectively invest in it.
Unfortunately, a tragedy in the real world has managed to breach the
boundaries of New Eden, and my usual flippancy can't address what
happened without bordering on gross disrespect.
On May 22nd, 2009, PFC Roy Mason of Fairfield, California took his own life
A decorated Iraq war veteran of two tours, Roy's unit was set to deploy
to Afghanistan when Roy left his base at Fort Carson, drove to a senic
overlook in Santa Cruz, and shot himself during the Memorial Day
holiday weekend. He left behind several notes, and called the police
before his suicide and requested that they 'clean up the area' so that
no children had to witness the scene. A memorial
quickly grew in his honor.
Roy was an extremely well-known member of Goonfleet, known as
'RoyofCA'. He was a fixture in our teamspeak lobby for years -
sometimes from Iraq over a shaky satellite connection, sometimes from
his home. He had a habit of buying forum avatars of his cat, Dr.
FatWhiskers, for people on goonfleet.com; at one point it seemed as if
half of the posters had Dr. FatWhiskers under their name. There was no
doubt that his experiences in war had left him with serious emotional
problems; to many of us, this was no surprise at all, as he had openly
taking his own life
Since his untimely death, I have been repeatedly asked by EVE players
to tell the story of RoyofCA: how one man - alone - undertook a
campaign to bring down an entire alliance of the Swarm's enemies, and
succeeded. To speak of RoyofCA is to chart the demise of RISE, an
alliance which once held the best space in Feythabolis.
It was August of 2007 and the First Great War (in which Band of
Brothers [BoB] lost half their space, as distinguished from the Second
Great War, where BoB was disbanded and lost the rest of it) was at the
height of its carnage. By March, Lotka Volterra had been annihilated
over mere 47 days
and - after a desperate defense of the newly captured LV territory
against BoB, which culminated in the first destruction of Sir Molle's
Avatar Titan - the coalition (Goonswarm, Red Alliance, Tau Ceti
Federation and Pandemic Legion, on this front) was steamrolling through
Omist and into the BoB-controlled region of Feythabolis