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CHAPTER THREE – Where Are All The Casualties?
The battles the lads played that night had gone fairly predictably, it seemed. Some were good whilst some were bad with the teams the lads were playing on often being more bad than good. Or, to put it in the lad’s common vernacular, more ‘absolutely shite’, than of any use.
Liam, as per the trend that the universe seemed content on following these days, was again frequently targeted by artillery. Something which often frustrated him to the point of one of his clicker induced rantings. These being particularly interesting to witness as albeit only ever witnessed audibly, they conjured up pictures of a him jumping up and down screaming like a Tasmanian Devil with a toothache!
Now. of course, it is entirely possible that I exaggerate slightly in my description of this. However, it is a thing of wonder that is for sure.
Throughout the couple of hours the lads played and chatted for – their chats being through a party chat instead of game chat so that they could communicate more efficiently and privately – a number of clan mates came and went. Gamer Tags such as; Redneckery23, MightyLeader580 and Kingofdaanthill, to name but a few, popped up in notification messages as they entered of left the party chat. Some joining the games and platooning up with the lads and some just popping in for a chat. Even Kevin had joined them for a chat and a few games.
But then online gaming really isn’t just about the game that is being played. It is also about the banter. About the chatter, the conversations. Conversations which are so very much the very heart of the relationships formed around the game.
Relationships which in fact exist between two realities – the virtual and the actual.
‘Between two realities’.
I guess for some such a statement would seem inaccurate or erroneous. “There is only one reality!” they would indignantly claim. And yet is there? Google the definition of the word and you are likely to find the following definition, ‘the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them‘. And in earlier more simpler times – the times before the advent of the internet and smartphones and smart devices ad the like – such a definition would perhaps have been more acceptable. Yes, in those days reality was reality and fiction was fiction. But can the same be said today?
How many have started and developed internet based relationships – some over many years – only to later discover that the person they have been chatting with, even fallen deeply in love with, wasn’t – despite numerous photos etc being shared – who they claimed to be?
Likewise, how many news stories and historical accounts have later proven to be false? Don’t we now live in an age where ‘fake news’ is becoming just as palatable as ‘real news’? Even our governments and national leaders feed us a diet of garbage all cooked up with ingredients such as half-truths, lies and trickery, and all served up with a side of sinister self-gain.
Humanity itself has now plunged so far – via the uploading downloading roller-coaster stream of misconception and misdirection – into the news media’s and social media’s pools of fakery that it was no longer possible to easily discern which reality is actually true.
‘The state of things as they actually exist,’ is the definition of reality, we are told. But exists ‘where?’, the question has to be asked. For if something exists in your understanding or in your perception isn’t it ‘existing’ in your reality?
Yes, virtual and actual reality are two different things. And yes sometimes – such as where relationships were formed in person and maintained in person and on the internet, or vice versa of course – they merge and thus the boundaries become clouded.
And it is this merging this clouding, coupled with the confidence-less environment of mistrust in what we are being told, that very often leads to conspiracy theories and more simply to basic questions being asked.
Questions such as the one Sully put forward after everyone, except Kevin and Liam, had left and as even they had announced that they were going offline for the night.
‘Here’s something for you to think on as you both lay in your pits tonight.” Sully told them.
“Go on.” Both Kevin and Liam responded independently.
“Where are all the casualties?” Sully asked.
“Casualties, all the wounded or the dead bodies.” Sully explained. “In all of these tank battles on the news.”
Both Liam and Kevin remained silent and waited for Sully to elaborate further.
“We are seeing more and more reports about these crazy tank battles happening all over the place.” Sully continued. “But have you ever heard them report how many people are wounded or dead?” He asked.
“Now you come to mention it,” Liam was the first to respond, “you’re right. I don’t think I have ever heard them talk about casualties.”
“Ah man, now you have gone and done it.” Kevin complained. “Now, instead of sleeping, I am going to spend the night asking myself, “Where are all the casualties?”