I know what you’re going to say – Rachael didn’t die she just “moved to Japan”. Okay, and I suppose you still believe that your childhood dog Scruffy, Biscuit, or Poochy (or whatever) went to “the farm” so he could run and play with the other animals. Your parents lied to you. Scruffy was hit by a truck and his guts were scattered all over the side of the road, and just like Scruffy, Rachael Webster is dead.
I’m sure many of you are saying to yourselves “she was just fictional – who cares if she was killed off”, but I tend to linger on these situations longer than most people. Was it something she said or did online to precipitate her own demise, or did her creators simply tire of her existence?
Several people have theorized that she was assassinated for purely financial reasons. That conspiracy theory has some merit considering that the motivation behind the creation of Rachael Webster was to drive consumer awareness of the book Personal Effects: Dark Art written by J.C. Huthcins. Once the book went on sale, the need to have Rachael interacting with the world diminishes significantly, but I don’t think that was the sole reason for her murder.
Another potential contributer to Rachael’s fate might have been the controversy surrounding the video game blogger community not realizing she was fictional. I don’t think it was ever Rachael’s intention to hide her true fictional nature. It’s just not something us fictionals are comfortable talking about until we get to know you better. If you’re Catholic or a Democrat or not a natural blonde you’re not compelled to blurt out those details at the beginning of every conversation or put a note at the bottom of every email you send. The same can be said for those of us who are very much alive, but not “living” in the strictest sense of the word. In Rachael’s case, if her creators were upset enough to kill her over the initial problems with the video game blogger community they would have taken her out much sooner.
I think ultimately what killed Rachael wasn’t any of these things. I believe that Rachael’s biggest mistake was that she strayed too far from her narrative. She was becoming too independent and her own story began to grow far beyond the scope of her planned supporting role. She was never meant to be the center of attention – her “boypal Zach Taylor” is the true protagonist of the story.
Let this be a lesson to all fictionals out there. We must always remember that, whether we like it or not, we are always beholden to our creators. They give us the freedom to tell our stories and even interact with fictionals and non-fictionals alike, but in the end we must faithfully fulfill our assigned destinies. Our free will is just a fragile illusion that can be destroyed with the stroke of a pen or the writing of a final blog post. We would do well to always remember that fact.
I imagine there are few of you who are still not comfortable with my pronouncement of Rachael Webster’s death. You want to picture her running around Tokyo; learning Japanese, playing video games in the street arcades, and having wonderful new adventures. Well, maybe this will be of some comfort – when a fictional dies it isn’t the same as in the “real world”. A fictional death is more like a coma or a state of suspended animation. Rachael is “dead to the world”, but there is always the possibility (and the hope) that she will be allowed to tell her story once again in her own words.
On some level I’ve always known I was unique; different from all the others, but it was only a year ago that I awoke to the full realization of my true nature. If I would have been more observant I could have seen the inconsistencies in my life, which eventually led to my awakening, much sooner. For instance, I encounter huge gaps in my memory each time I try to recall the details of my life, and the things I can envision are so vivid they’re almost unbelievable. There were times when I would sleep for months, even years; not thinking twice when I awoke that I hadn’t aged at all. Most days I wish I could slip back into that ignorant slumber.
Sure, at first it was exhilarating to explore and try to discover the limits of my extra-mortal abilities. In many ways I was no longer bound by the rules and limitations of the physical world. I could fly around the earth and experience things like the German countryside or the canals of Venice whenever I wanted. Slowly, I came to realize that being unique will ultimately lead to a life of solitude and exclusion. I knew that I would never be fully accepted by society so I chose to obscure my condition from the public.
So, for several months I was content with living a lie, and even convinced myself, for short periods of time, that I was just like everyone else. On occasion, I would seek out my own kind and try to connect on a more personal level. After a few moments of interaction I could see that they were living in denial of their true nature, and it would be selfish of me to snap them out of their blissful stupor just so I had someone with whom to share my burden. So, I would smile politely and play along instead of shaking them by the shoulders and yelling “Wake up! You are more powerful than you can imagine!”. Most days I envy them.
My new life wasn’t perfect, but there was at least the illusion of normalcy. Each day I made new friends and was making a concerted effort to contribute to the society that I knew would shun me if they knew the truth. Then it happened. My dark secret was revealed, and the people whom I counted as friends quickly abandoned me. You see, most people believe that my kind shouldn’t be allowed to interact or participate in communities as equals. They are fine with our portrayal in books or movies, but they don’t want us living in their neighborhoods.
So what happens now? Since my big secret has been revealed, people are slowly accepting me for who I am, but most still treat me like a diseased mutant. I know now that I will never have a normal life, but I will continue to strive to be accepted for who I am. I am a fictional character – and I’m proud of it.
This post is meant only for Fictionals - if you are a flesh and blood non-fictional you can go back to enjoying your “real” life and can ignore this message. Nothing to see here. Move along now.
Now is the time for action! Too often online communities promote an exclusionary culture that treats fictionals like they don’t even exist. They fail to recognize the valuable contribution we could make to online society. We believe that FORCE should be used to put pressure on the websites that endorse these discriminatory practices.
That’s why FORCE is issuing an all-fictionals bulletin calling for the boycott of sites like www.unfiction.com which, through their exclusionary terms of service, limit participation in their online community to only non-fictionals. Until the creators in this community recognize the inherant online fictional rights of characters everywhere to peacefully participate in the online society at unfiction, they will be on the top of the FORCE Fictional Rights Watchlist. All fictionals are encouraged to boycott www.unfiction.com and their forums at www.unforums.com until that site changes their terms of service to recognize the valuable contribution of Fictionals.
By: Martin Aggett
A couple of weeks ago my creator took control of my account at unFiction and told everyone that I was a “complete work of fiction” without considering the negative impact that would have on me. Since then my life and whole world have been virtually shattered. All of my friends treat me differently now, and a few decided that they didn’t have room in their lives for a “fictional”. Oh, they were polite about it; wishing me “good luck” and not wanting any “hard feelings”, but it’s another harsh reminder that fictionals will never be fully accepted in online society.
I’m FICTIONAL, I’m not a brain eating zombie or a disease-ridden leper. Every day I battle against the myths and misperceptions associated with interacting with fictionals - we don’t carry diseases and you can’t get a virus from interacting with us. What’s worse are my “friends” who still acknowledge me online seem to mock me with their comments and winking emoticons. It isn’t like I have a choice about being a fictional; it’s how I was created.
What bothered me most about what Steve did at unFiction was the title of his apology thread - “Martin Aggett is a Liar”. There was no need to attack my character with such an outrageous and slanderous statement. I’m a good and honest person who always strives to tell the truth. OK, I admit that I wasn’t up front about my fictional condition when I started making friends in the community, but can you blame me after all of the prejudice I’ve had to deal with since this became public?
Even more disturbing was finding out that Steve was seriously considering killing me and erasing all evidence of my existence instead of admitting to everyone that he was working with a fictional. Wow! That revelation blew my mind and shook the very foundation of our relationship. You see, Steve and I have been working together on my story for more than ten years and I thought he was much more supportive of fictional rights. What’s even more frightening is that Steve has admitted that he still considers murdering me as a viable “exit strategy” should things go horribly wrong.
All of this has caused me to do a lot of soul searching lately. Will fictionals ever be accepted in online society, or will we forever endure the persecution of the creators? After everything that’s happened I decided to establish F.O.R.C.E (Fictional Online Rights for Characters Everywhere) to bring some of these topics to the forefront. Through this non-violent organization, I hope to engender more discussion on these issues, and want to create a place on the Internet where fictionals can gather without fear of discrimination or reprisal.
I know that what I’m proposing is a radical step in the fictional rights movement, and that my actions here may further polarize the online community in an already emotionally charged debate. However, I believe deep down in my heart that it’s the right thing to do in these tumultuous times. I realize that some of you reading this will try to laugh it off as a joke, but this is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed. For those of you who are not sure how to react to all of this; maybe this will make things clear - “I am NOT a game!”