On my newly-minted avatar I placed a mirrored set of aviators, a faux-hawk trailing down into a mullet, and a handlebar mustache that'd make any Hell's Angel weep with joy. I'd given him the unfortunate namesake of "Brand Sender" which sounds more like a warehouse verb than a military pronoun, but it's the future, folks, and both "Brad" and "Brandon" sounded like sweater-tied-around-the-shoulders weenies. So "Brand" it is.
This weekend I reenlisted into the Tabula Rasa
beta army, cinching my boot buckles tight and keeping my trigger finger itchy after two months of inactivity from my call of duty (my motherboard did a Triple Lindy off the warranty springboard, and didn't land anything except a visit from a Dell tech) . Richard Garriott's team has worked solid rounds of improvements into performance -- I can tell already, and I've only marched through a few hundred yards of boot camp. Their definition of "boot camp" is a bit more like on-the-job-training, though: Clearing an alien -- the "Bane," they're called -- dropship from a choke point, leading my first squad of troopers through trenches writhing with Bane warriors, working my Explosives Ordnance Disposal skills on key defensive turrets, and reclaiming a vital outpost in the Allied Free Sentients (AFS) infrastructure.
Not a bad start to my tour of duty on planet Foreas. And that was only the first twenty minutes.