I first read Ender's Game in ninth grade, for a school project, and instantly fell in love with it. As a shy, awkward, yet smart young teen I could easily identify with the entire novel. Other awkward, out-of-place, picked-on genius kids going off to single-handedly save the world? Hell yea, give me some of that. It became something of a mantra for me throughout the rest of high school.
It was towards the end of that same school year that I discovered RPing, and within that Ansible. Originally I had created my own Ender's Game RP game on a message board, which instantly got one other member: Kevin. Yes, that Kevin. Although I was loathe to admit it at the time, he's the one that pointed me towards Ansible. He meant it as a 'hey look at this place, we could use their ideas!' and it instead completely replaced my game.
And my first week or so on Ansible, I lapped up everything like it was being poured down by gods themselves. Every game in the game room, every new command, every room description seemed like utter genius to my new eyes. There was a group of five that promoted with my launch group (launch B, baby!) so I had a good group of others to play with right away, and on top of that I met other friendly players, especially in the likes of Claud, Iggy and Lee. They'd all been there for months already and seemed so wise and ancient, even though we'd all later scoff at those who'd only been around a few months.
It took eight days for me to get promoted, though even looking back it feels like Dylan got a year's worth of activity in those few days. He'd already found bullies, friends, and rivals. I'd been hoping to be put in Leopard at the time, the #1 army back then, but I instead went to second-choice Centipede. For what it was worth I couldn't have been happier there. Kembal, the commander at the time, always seemed so cool. Claud was there to be Dylan's little mentor. Morrigan was recently transfered. I was having the time of my life, and it only took about a month before I was one of those awesome Toon Leaders, too.
I could go on about my entire history of Ansible, but I won't. I did go on to celebrate Dylan's wins, mourn his losses, get excited as he grew and feel pride as he commanded the #1 army. But in reality, Ansible wasn't always about the story for me; it was just as much about the people, the friends, and the relationships I was forming.
On top of that all, Ansible was my escape. I really was kind of an awkward teen who didn't fit into the high school scene, but I fit in with Ansible. Sure I had friends nearby, but I couldn't talk to them like I did my Ansible friends. I wouldn't say I was ever at a point where Ansible replaced my social life, but it was an important part of it to me nonetheless.
Unfortunately, along with that Ansible had to see me grow up. I won't pretend there wasn't drama, and I won't even begin to argue that I don't regret it because I do. Especially as an admin. At the time the pressure between what my friends wanted and what may have been good for the game was a bit much, and juggling it all made me miserable. Looking back I wish I'd never became an admin and had just stuck to my corner of Mentors, because that's what killed the magic for me. I picked stupid fights, took things too seriously, and let myself be bossed around, and I wish I could go back and deal with so many things in a more mature matter but, let's face it, I was sixteen. I wasn't mature.
At the same time it was people on Ansible, or specifically one person, who eventually leveled my head out and reminded me what was really important in life, i.e. not Ansible. They're the one that finally had me figure out that it was my own fault I let something like Ansible get me down, and the reason I eventually stepped down as admin. They're probably partially to thank for the mellow, mature adult I am today.
Despite the drama I have many, many fond memories of Ansible. I still keep in touch with a number of the people, still look back on some of the logs, and every so often I still wear a teal and maroon friendship bracelet I made back in the Dylan days and get a happy feeling from wearing it. But I did grow up, university taught me to be a lot more outgoing and social with people I could actually interact with face-to-face, and other things have become more important to me. I've replaced Ansible with responsibilities, only giving into my nostalgia by chatting with old friends or reading old pinfo sheets. And I've accepted that all good things must come to an end, for me at least. But I won't forget, and someday I'll pass on my copies of Ender's Game to my kids, who can hopefully get something out of it as well.
So what did Ansible mean to you?
Dylan, Leopard Commander