Saturday, January 31, 2015

Nuke 'Em

Luke & Dad's Eigth Year and a Half

We are wrapping up what has been a challenging 2014 for us Wellers. We didn't leap the hurdles with grace, but I’m proud we finished alive and kicking. Your mother was a hero of course.

We spent Christmas in the Dominican Republic with your favorite family, the Kramers. Dealing with the energy broiling out of you and your gang of Motts, Lars and Luke was as tolerable as staring into the sun. I wouldn’t have a it any other way I guess.

I made things worse by introducing a science fiction role-playing game from the eighties called Traveller. The game was a huge hit with your clan and in-between gaming sessions I was relentlessly pestered to return to the game. I reluctantly traded hours of peaceful lounging in the sun for the role of sole babysitter and “Gamemaster" to four hyperactive kids in a laser infused imaginary world. The other parents were delighted.

Gamemaster is a combination of referee and storyteller with god-like powers to facilitate the game and, like any god, stuck with his creation whether he likes it or not. I considered abusing my god-like powers to nuke your party of elves, aliens and cyborgs to set myself free.

My sense of fair play stopped me. I figured my created universe should be governed by laws and a good god would maintain those laws. In deism, god creates the universe and its laws like a programer scripting his code and pressing “enter” to set the universe in motion never to interfere again. If Traveler were a computer game, that’d be the right approach.

But immanentism seemed a better model for a live role playing game. Here, god creates the physical universe and laws but doesn't just stand outside them but is the driving force behind them. That sounded more like my role as Gamemaster ... if I was behaving.

But my ego demanded I was a god and should act like one. I shouldn’t be limited by constraints (even if I created them). I would be an interventionist god occasionally interfering with its predictable function. Miracles and royal disasters -- that’s more my style!

So, I'll nuke’em!

Or I'll take a more subtle approach. Taking a page from the Old Testament story of God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, I orchestrated a dilemma where you, Cash, the elfish and creatively named Elven, had to kill Luke, Android ST-10, or die yourself. ST-10 had been infected by an virus driving him to eliminate you.

This scenario smelled of Gamester interdiction and you eyed me as you lifted your blaster at your brother. I was appalled by your cold-bloodedness.

I had a revelation. Perhaps as Abraham lifted his knife, faith wasn’t what compelled him to sacrifice his son. When you aimed your blaster, I realized I wasn't testing you, but rather you testing me. Was Abraham testing his god?

Are you a god with empathy? Otherwise, you are no god at all.

Long dormant McAfee software saved the day.



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