Early this morning, the BBC reported that a US State Department Official had been killed during riots in Benghazi in Libya. The US State Department Official that was killed was also known as Vile Rat within EVE circles, one of the most influential and powerful diplomats that the Goonswarm has ever had.
Speaking of the tragedy, Alex ‘Mittani’ Gianturco stated: “Vile Rat, Sean Smith, my friend for over six years, both in real life and in internet spaceships, was the“State Department Official” killed in Benghazi by a mob of religious lunatics, who had been incited to violence on this September 11th by a movie that was apparently made sometime in July.”
“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 as usual and talking about internet spaceship games.”
A member of the Goonfleet since 2006, Sean Smith was orchestral in the takedown of Band of Brothers, along with serving as a member of the CSM for multiple years, mostly because “his wife decided she really enjoyed Iceland”. He “wanted to run in 8”, this year’s CSM.
There was clearly more to him than just the fact he played EVE, but when he was such a powerful figure in the world of CCP’s MMO, it’s fitting to remember him as such. If you’ve ever played the game, “he touched every aspect of EVE in ways that 99% of the population will never understand.”
Which means that he’s got a legacy, and it’s a good one. He was the founder of the Corps Diplomatique, the Goon’s diplomatic branch, which is one of the strongest in the game, as well as popularising the idea of diplomacy above violence, or at least having it as an option on the table. Then there’s Jabberlon5, the chatroom where the big names of Nullsec hang out in and make their deals. That’s Smith’s creation, and one that’ll stick around.
It’s not often that the breaking news spills into gaming in quite such a personal way, and it’s awful that it has to be through a tragedy like this.
On hearing the news, this is the message the Mittani sent out to the Goonswarm:
“My people, I have grievous news. Vile Rat has been confirmed to be KIA in Benghazi; his family has been informed and the news is likely to break out on the wire services soon. Needless to say, we are in shock, have no words, and have nothing but sympathy for his family and children. I have known Vile Rat since 2006, he was one of the oldest of old-guard goons and one of the best and most effective diplomats this game has ever seen.
His family are in our thoughts and prayers.”