10 hours previously.
The door had long ago pushed into it’s recess and I had taken a seat in Crows office.
Antique writing desk mahogany with a leather lined top, cost more than I could make in a thousand jobs.
The room was dark, I couldn’t see the walls, deep thick carpet under the soles of my boots.
I never did see his face, only an empty leather chair opposite the desk.
It was empty, all I heard was the same disembodied glitchy computer voice from the lobby, layer upon layer of samples, hundreds of voices from a thousand vids.
Disorientated and my head swimming with images it spoke.
“Do you know your history? What brought you here?”
’look okay my mate Aleph sent me here because she said you could help me shift some goods I have lying around, they are burning a whole in my pocket.’
’no..no not that at all. i’ve..been here..seen a thousand of your kind come and go through this office, soo many..all wanting the same answers.’
My back felt encased in concrete, my fingers had turned to ice.
’look..you creepy fuck okay I just want to shift these goods.’
’no you dont you want answers, I don’t have them. but ill take your goods anyway. Aleph..she is ..has..her uses, knows the ways and areas I can’t access passes..me people like you..I yes…’
Well this was getting repetitive.
‘are you a Construct? like an AI? I don’t see nobody to talk to around here.’
’those are small terms. They may do for now. I have your interlink code and sent you all payment in advance. server details will be forwarded to your IGE account forthwith.’
’..how..I didn’t even…’
’does not matter.’
’the hell it doesn’t’
‘you will leave here now, my advice to you is this. follow the man you admire so much if you must, he’ll lead you up up the gravitic incline, you need to find out what happened there all those years ago, do your research, dub will help. oh and two letters you must say ‘”T-A” ’
The room went bright, colourless white space except for the leather chair and writing desk. the behind me was open, the lobby beckon behind me. I ran.
A long time ago I was a poor kid who was lonely, so I decided hey! Look! The Internet! it will be fun!
The internet community has been my playground for over a decade, I’ve got accounts on Digg, Reddit, Deviantart, twitter, facebook etc etc etc I’ve been on irc netowrks such as freenode, austnet, dalnet, quakenet, hell if there was an irc network I’ve been on it.
On top of this, I play video games REGULARLY WoW, Star Trek:Online, battlefield (et al), tf2, on and on.
And everywhere I go I’m either forced to use a male nick to avoide notice, or if I do identify myself as female risk ‘Tits or GTFO’ ‘Omg a girl on the inernet’ ‘omg pics!’.
Can you imagine how this might make me feel? Hurt, isoltated and TOTALLY objectified.
This is not funny, it’s not a meme, it’s not ‘hilarious’ and i’m certainly not a ‘bitch who cant take a joke’ or who has a ‘’omfg pms much’ (got that one more than I can count).
I’m sick of memes about racism, I’m sick of guys in vent saying ‘OMG RAPED!’ when they kill somebody easily in a game. I’m sick of gay slurs and guys calling each other faggots.
I’m sick of all kinds of this shit.
Now I could post logs of examples, or I could just tell you the story of what happened today.
I was in a regular Bad Company 2 match on one of the 3fl Western Australian servers (best ping, usually they are pretty okay in terms of people). I use the nick ‘Samanth0r’ when I’m online in games or on irc. Sometimes this gets picked up as female sometimes it doesn’t. My name is Samantha so it seemed appropriate.
now today, i get a private message in game with this guy sending me his phone number, asking about my body, and requesting sexual favours. I get angry and chastise him in open channel, he says ‘omg I trolled you so hard lol!’.
this isn’t cool. Trolling isn’t funny, It’s not respectable, And i’m over it.
It’s no better than grade school teasing and it’s being acted out by so called ‘responsible’ adults online everyday in most every community.
Every day, being a woman online in male dominated communities I get chastised for being a woman, or at least I feel like it because whenever I assert myself I either get called a bitch or told to shut up.
When I call out guys on behaviour I think is really offensive, I get shouted at.
Online I am under constant threat of being turned into an object.
I’m tired of it.
I can’t do it anymore.
I’ll keep up my blogging, I’ll be on msn, I’ll be on the places you would expect to find me, but irc and gamming communities I’m out.
Now you can tell me that this is behaviour that should be ‘put up with’ and that ‘its the internet’ but let’s be honest here, i don’t have to put up with that in my daily life in REAL LIFE why should I or WANT TO put up with it online? Why should I even need to?
You’re asking me to accept that I’m an object and that I have no voice.
That’s a breach of everything I hold dear to myself and the human race.
Maybe it’s time a lot of internet communities re-examine their behaviour, many of them wonder why they can’t get female members? Is it do hard to realise why when the first thing you ask for is a picture of our breasts? or for ‘proof’?
Why can’t we just be members of a community known for our knowledge, our abilities and our own voices?
Why internet communities, where so many of you value equality, justice, liberty and the right to choose, suddenly shout down women’s voices? Make sexist jokes at the slightest urging? Berate women’s opinions when we stand up for ourselves and then claim biological determinism as an argument for your hatred (I’m looking at you reddit and digg).
I’m tired, I’m sick of fighting just to have a voice and I’m sick of being treated like a second class citizen. But not just me, I’m sick of womens treatment online, the treatment of minorities, GLBT people, women and men of colour, hell I’m just tired of the unaccepting attitudes that are so dominant among even the smallest irc channels top the largest networks.
Why do you hate us? Why is it fun to make fun of us?
I’d love an answer if you’ve got one.
In peace, Samantha Davies
And one last thing, to those of you who do think as I do (I know there are even some men out there who do in these communities) why are you often unwilling to stand up against the crowd? It just hurts yourself and others if you stay silent.
street outside home
The house smells of fresh flowers, light fills a room with a view of the sea.
From the next room a woman asks me if I want a cup of coffee. I say yes without thinking and keep staring at my screen. Her hand on my shoulder, I turn and look up.
But she’s gone and none of this is real anymore.
I built this place deep in the net, hidden on a VM on a tiny server hosted nowhere special. A recreation of the house we lived in. I wander onto the balcony while holding her hand. “june..what’s up are you okay?” “…no I’m tired Manya..’” Why the fuck did I even build this stupid thing.
I hit my failsafe and the jack slides out.
My head falls backwards and I’m still staring at the stucco on the ceiling of a shitbox in chiba city.
I sleep. fevered dreams , shapes and a highway of endless blue, an old friend who would know what to do, a beach in South Africa.
Chiba Hilton, Herring Arcade.
Malcolm smiles, his hand shakes mine.
I want answers, the beer is cold and welcome.
“how are you June, did you sleep well since the other night?”
”…look lets skip the formal bulshit shall we, just tell me what software you want and tell me where she is.”
"”well..okay..fine..if this is how it has to be then okay, I understand in your position I’d be impatient to, but try not to be so rude and remember who your friends are in this.”
‘”you come out of nowhere, we hadn’t spoken in 5 years and we’re FREINDS?”
”Alright June, calm down. I’ll tell you what I want. Administration access as well as keycards and building access to the Mitsubishi-Sendai database”
”…thats a BIG ask, and one that raises even larger questions.”
”can you do it.”
”possible, difficult but possible, it would require a serious hack and some serious digging in the right places…and money…”
”funds aren’t an issue, neither is time”
”okay, fine what the hell if you tell me how to find her, I’ll do it and when this is all over, I want you gone all of you and I’m too tired for this game anymore”
”done and done, I’ll tell you where she is. Wether you like it of course is an entirely different prospect.”
I swallowed the last of my beer and surveyed Malcolm’s craggy face and deep blue eyes.
”so, on last question. What’s T-A?”
His eyes went wide, anger crossed his face.
I didn’t feel the stun gun till it was too late to matter.
Ten minutes ago I thought I knew what was up, I thought had it all figured out.
So I listened to her, after all she set me up in this town surely she would help me find a way out.
All it takes is ten minutes in a room with a stranger who knows the truth.
By the time the lift opened onto the bottom floor my pistol was safely tucked away where it lived and everything I knew had been challenged. She’s not worth this I thought. Nothing is.
It was too good to be true, Malcolm turning up out of blue, Aleph just having a place for me to shift the last of the goods. Fucking oracles I hate them.
I heard a rumour, back when I first got here about how there were people or something who had been around since the old days of the net, before the domes, before megacorps bought up the governments, hell even before there was a sprawl, back when The Inferno was still called London. We’re talking hundreds of years. These people living down through the ages just recording everything, Of course one of them would be up in a corp tower all nice and safe.
Nearly an hour later with my mouth still tasting the salty remnants of last night’s sushi , the door of the ‘Pussy Wagon’ jingling behind me I found my feet on the concrete floor of my apartment. The box, home. Whatever. Morag downstairs said Malcolm had visited while I was out,I didn’t give a shit though.
There was only one thing I needed right now.
The jack slid home and my world turned to quicksilver.
It’s only here I can breathe anymore, I needed to stretch my wings and fly.His name was crow after all, hell he even took some pseduodrugs I uploaded to him for a markup and gave me extra on top of that. Said I was being used, He said he knew Aleph has sent me and that she had wanted somebody close to him for years. Crow knew where she was,said Mitsubishi-sendai was deep involved. Said I’d have to go up the well, something about reclaiming some old tech left up there long ago before they stopped the launches. Told me I needed to learn about dub. Cryptic fuck, I don’t know half of what that shit meant.
Crow told me I needed to say something to Malcolm, wouldn’t say what it meant.
Only two letters.
Not much been up of late, doing a little design for my house-mate, I’ve put a few photos and files for your enjoyment up on my server, http://22.214.171.124/ they can be found here. A mix of photos, a few of my fav mp3s and a piano recording, and some other stuff too if you care to look.
Here’s to talking more and having stuff to chat about, I’m also playing Star Trek: Online a lot at the momment my handle is @samanth0r if you’re interested.
I’ve also got a twitter going now over at : http://twitter.com/samanth0r
If you’re bored you can follow expect rubbish that I post regularly.
Okay assholes, till next time –