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2/13/2007 5:46:42 PM (731 days old)


ChairmanHal
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Mod Alert: A good chunk of this is OOC.

It was two years ago today that the Haleenstar Republic was founded. Conceived after becoming completely bored witless by my gaming experiences elsewhere (let's just say the initials of the game are "NS") and after seeing a Fark post regarding Planet Bob early one Wednesday evening after a long day at the office, I signed up. I chose 'Haleenstar' because it was the name of a sci-fi role-playing game character I created some years ago and it was also the name of my NS nation. 'ChairmanHal' was a play on 'Chairman Mao', though I am not nor have I ever advocated Communism. Indeed, IRL, I was pledged as an Army Reserve officer to fight for my nation against its enemies and Communism and Communists were certainly that.

For the first month I was a 'none'. I came into this world not knowing a soul and with only the vaguest notion of what to do based on what I had read in game. The logical thing to do would have been to join up with the other Fark members and perhaps make friends. Instead, I struck out on my own. I figured at some point I might join an alliance, but with no way of knowing which were good and which were bad, caution seemed logical.

I joined Black Team. No reason really, I just liked the color black. One of my first trading partners was a member of GOONS, and as time went on, I added more GOONS trading partners, figuring that no one would touch me if I were allied to a powerful alliance. I did however manage my first war during this era--I hit a rogue that was raiding another nation (that nation went on to join ODN, I sort of lost track of him after that). The outcome was a victory and I was pleased. No, my avatar wasn't Dirty Harry back then, it was Yoda. Dirty Harry came later.

When the war drums for GW III began to beat I got nervous. It seemed that being unaligned wasn't safe and I join the LIH. There I met the likes of Soiz, Vash, PrincessElizabeth, Eldritch, Empress Theodora and a host of other characters. LIH was a neutral alliance, intent on sitting out the war and worried that it might come to its doorstep. While a few members went off to join the war in the form of the Lafayette Squadron, LIH managed to maintain its neutrality. Meanwhile, I learned the ropes.

I don't recall the first nation I tech raided. If you are still around, I'm still not sorry. :awesome: It was while I was at the LIH. I also experienced my first real war there (the Stormfront Wars) and helped to organize a series of task forces (5-6 nation teams) as Deputy Minister of Defense. Task Force Valkyrie, the bunch I personally lead gained something of a reputation for aggressive tactics. It was all great fun for a while and the LIH grew to well over a 100 nations.

The LIH didn't last however. Internal difficulties led to a number of members breaking off to form a new alliance called SOUL. Things did not improve after the LIH-SOUL split (indeed the internal strife got worse) and by the end of May I was looking for a new home. I found that new home at \m/.

Why \m/? Truth be told, I had accomplished all I could in LIH and wanted a new challenge. \m/ had a reputation as a premiere military organization and I felt like I could learn a lot from them. Beyond that though, life at LIH had become a series of melodramas. I sought an alliance that was *FUN*. I wanted to play pirate for a while and not have to worry about government or anything of the sort. \m/ gave me that freedom and more. I tech raided, I rescued people in distress, I did everything but wear boots and an eye patch. Dirty Harry became my avatar and suited my mood and my persona. Through June and much of July I was at war more than I was at peace. Big wars against Legion and FAN gave me a taste of alliance wide full scale combat. I became audacious in my tactics and unafraid to attack anyone at any time because I knew my alliance mates always had my back and I damn sure had theirs. We rolled...in every sense of the word. Lulz was to be had at all levels though leadership knew when to tell us to shut up and get serious when we needed to (and we could be as serious as a 20 mm Gatling gun when we needed to be) and they kept the srs bns going in the backrooms.

Over time, I joined in on some of that srs bns and became a member of government. I was handpicked by s1phrx to be part of a secret organization within \m/ that would conduct covert operations. So sensitive and controversial was the organization it technically never had a name and wasn't known to everyone in the \m/ government. Indeed, only s1phrx knew everyone involved in it and he acted as the "handler" for its "agents". s1phrx and I spent many hours talking about his organization and I offered a great deal of advice on how I thought it should be organized and run. As time went on, I noticed he logged in less frequently and was very apologetic about it when he'd disappear for a couple days or so. It wasn't until later that I found out why--he was IRL, very ill. So much so that one day he simply stopped logging in. By then he had made me his second in command. Our planning session stopped. Then word came that he had passed away. I was very sad. I also vowed to continue s1phrx's work. My official title was "Deputy Minister for Special Triumvirate Projects". To this day I don't think most people at \m/ knew what the hell that meant. What I did however was run a few people who did counterintelligence work within the alliance. I also had a few people outside the alliance I talked to periodically who would let me know if they saw anything coming their way that might be of interest. Some might call that "spying". I call it responsible and sensible. In any event, probably our biggest coup was the tracking down of a \m/ member who alerted a number of FAN members of our pending attack. That individual "still plays the game" so I'll not spill it. My role at \m/ led me to get to know the Triumvirs better, especially Jason8. An additional promotion to Minister of Foreign Affairs followed and eventually a seat on the Triumvirate. That last promotion was a bit controversial, if only because I had risen through the ranks so quickly. Under normal circumstances I would not have a Triumvir at \m/. L_E and R were firmly entrenched in those positions, as was Jason8, and nothing short of nation deletion was ever going to get them out of those chairs.

Yeah that happened. A lot of other things happened in August too and I will not dwell on those things here. Karma is a !@#$%*. I will say though that whatever meltdown happened within \m/ during August (including the departure of a few key leadership people to NATO), by the beginning of September things internally were recovering slowly. We had some young nations that had some serious leadership potential in place or just about ready to take over. Other events overtook us however.

The pirate ship that was \m/ went down with GW IV. Yes, Great War IV, not 'Unjust' anything, which btw I hated as a name from the first time the Unjust Path was introduced. It had fail written all over it before the ink was dry on the treaty. Very lulzy. Very predictable the bandwagoning that took place to resist it. I could go on for about another page or so about GW IV but I'll save it. It was a truly a war interrupted. OOC stuff should never factor in as a weapon of war on Planet Bob. Yes, GOONS and Electron Sponge, I'm talking to you. That it factored in to a war where it was already clear that \m/ and the other alliances on that side of the conflict were already severely outnumbered and the war was already starting to take a radical toll is pathetic. People spend *months* sometimes longer preparing for the biggest wars here. They do not need their gaming experience on the biggest stage spoiled over whether someone IRL is ill. Ever. It is simply inexcusable and unforgivable.

September 20, 2007 was, though many of you from \m/ reading this may be shocked to read, was a relief to me. Let me be specific. On the night of September 18th, it became crystal clear that Electron Sponge was not going to settle for anything less than \m/ disbandment. There were three options that WC, J8 and myself considered. The first was to "go FAN" and retreat into PM and hope we could get terms later. That was dismissed pretty early on in the conversation as being impractical. Too many people locked up in war. The second option was to fight to ZI...like everyone in the alliance. This was ruled out too for a variety of reasons, especially since it would serve no purpose--the war was lost, our allies were surrendering all around us. I also saw an opportunity. We might not survive as an alliance, but we would always be friends. Our collective sentiment as Tris was that no one could ever take that away from us, no matter what they did in game. I also saw an opportunity to get our people to safety. Legion had previously offered individual surrender terms to all members of \m/. They were very lenient and Legion protection as POWs would mean that NpO couldn't attack our people after they surrendered. Legion I concluded was many things, but in that era they were bound by their word and their honor. So the order was given...surrender your nations individually to Legion as POWs. J8, WC and I would hang back and wave the \m/ banner for a while until as many people as possible got out. The plan worked...mostly. Many dozens followed orders. Some ultimately surrendered to NpO or other alliances we were fighting at the time. There was a bit of abuse, but I was all over the OWF complaining about it if I found out about it. Some kept fighting. Some even changed their AA to GOONS and fought on for months. When the time was right, we announced the disbandment of \m/ to the membership. A heartbreaking night and to this day I think my wife still wonders what had gotten me to the point of tears while staring at my laptop.

Back to September 20th. If Sponge was going to order Lord Swampy to hand over the POWs it was going to be then. By then too I was in a Legion POW camp. But...we got away.

One last aside regarding Sponge. Not enough credit goes to Electron Sponge for making Ragnarok what it is, indeed for creating the conditions that allowed so many \m/ members to scatter in a diaspora across Planet Bob and into positions of leadership and influence that cause his downfall. I told you in September 2007, you are making a huge mistake and that allowing us to pay you reps was the way to go. But then you had all the answers. Ladies and gentlemen, he didn't even know the questions. You wonder why Slayer and I bust on the guy to this day? You get the idea.

Life in the Legion POW camp was, well boring. They didn't seem to care so long as we disarmed. We asked if we could be given our release but no one answered. A week or so into this I was contacted by an old LIH friend, Holloweyes. He offered rebuilding aid if I would come join his alliance Browncoats.

Browncoats was a combination of old LIH members and people from another game that came in and wanted to establish a foothold here. The pace of life "on the frontier" as I called it was slower, and through October, November and December I spent my time rebuilding lost infrastructure and pretending to be the Minister of Defense for an alliance that had no real enemies and a protectorate that made it so. While I appreciated the friendship and I did make friends there and renewed old acquaintances, the game had lost its thrill again. In December I very seriously considered deleting for about a day, then had a change of heart. Perhaps I could make myself useful. In January 2008 I became Prime Minister. I also learned something new not only about myself as ChairmanHal, but also myself IRL. Some day I'll share that with all of you. Maybe on my third anniversary as a nation. Suffice to say for now that being PM of Browncoats was one of those experiences that served round me better as a leader in game. I left Browncoats in March 2008 to "retire" from leadership and live the quiet life in game. Being PM had become more about wearing a black and white stripped shirt and blowing the whistle a lot and not about getting things done. I couldn't accomplish what I needed to get done IRL (going to school and working) and hope to stay on top of the various personalities there (some would say characters...).

I sought out membership in Ragnarok because I considered Van Hoo III a friend, and in many ways considered Ragnarok to be what I wanted \m/ to eventually evolve into if it were to survive long term as an alliance. I know what you are thinking. \m/ is nothing like Ragnarok. You are right. I think I mentioned that karma is a !@#$%*. Once I took the reigns as a Triumvir at \m/ I saw more of the seedy side of things and I hoped that, with time, I could eliminate some of the excesses that occurred there and keep the brother and sisterhood we all shared. Van Hoo III did that...and more. He created a masterpiece of a foreign policy and an active membership body that wasn't too distracted by drama or lulz to take care of business. Ragnarok was and isn't \m/, but it did go to school there though and learned from its mistakes.

There is of course more to this story. My rise to power at Ragnarok. GW V. I'll save it for the third anniversary. If you are still reading this, bless your heart. These are my recollections. Others will no doubt come and try to "correct" errors I have made in my telling of the tale. Have fun with it.

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I went from being a Pacifican loyalist who couldn't really stand the UJP to being a Voxian, so we haven't seen eye to eye on a lot of things. However, I have always had a lot of respect for you, and shall continue to do so.

One of my favourite alliance leaders, and probably one of the most decent people I have enjoyed seeing on these forums.

Keep up the good work, Hal.

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What? People already do this...

OOC: Also, I parked in a spot numbered 731 today :awesome:

Seriously? People often tell their own personal story like this? Doesnt seem like a usual thing to me.

Edited by HeinousOne
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Seriously? People often tell their own personal story like this? Doesnt seem like a usual thing to me.

Yes actually. Then they usually top it off with shout-outs to people they could probably just talk to on IRC. It's not too usual, but it already happens.

Anyway, Hal deserves it. Rok is a fine alliance, and Hal is one of the best players in CN, no doubts about it.

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