Monday, March 14, 2011

Extraordinary Derendition

Written 27 February - 14 March, 2011

Extraordinary Derendition

When I got home from a hard day of rocket building the last thing I expected to see was Sweetie in the throes of imagination overload.

It seems she had read my blogpost about the Phoenix Viewer's new permanent derendering feature and it had quite gone to her head.

"I've decided upon a business venture," she said with a sparkle in her eye.

"You're wearing that prim eye sparkle again, aren't you?" I asked.

"Only because it messes up the Lindens' avatar facial recognition algorthyms," she said.

"Or course it does," I said.

"At long last, I've hit upon a business strategy that will take full advantage of my espionage training."

"And what would that be?" I asked. "A double-naught dating service?"

"A service, yes! But double-naught, no!"

"Double-naught is soooo Sean Connery," I said. "So what kind of business will it be?"

"Ever since I read your post I've been thinking about deacquisiton theory," she said.

"Deacquisition..." I said.

Sweetie likes to theorize. Her work in donut string theory is legend. But what in the world was deacquisition theory?

"What are you reading?" I asked, thinking that might give me a club.

You might think I meant to type the word clue in the line above, and maybe I do, but sometimes I think stunning Sweetie's ideas might slow them down enough for me to follow her.

"Hamlet Au on the deacquisition of credibility," she said. "It's called The Unmaking of a Reputation: Notes From an Increasingly Irrelevant Blog."

"Ouch," I said. "And that second text?"

"M. Linden on the deaquisition of market share."

"Okay, I'll bite," I said. "What is deaquisition theory?"

"So much of Second Life is about acquisition," Sweetie said. "Getting freebies. Buying shoes. Skins. Hair. Gadgets. Friends. Vehicles. Lindens. Sex toys. But what about de-acquiring things?"

"Exactly what sorts of things would people want to de-acquire?" I asked.

"Oh, cheating lovers," Sweetie said. "Blingy shoes you bought your first week in world. Broken vehicles. All those one-prim flat plants.

"Your blog truly inspired me," she said, "and I've come to the realization that we need to start a deaquisiton service."

"To help people get rid of things?"

"Yes!" she said enthusiastically. "We'll derender it for them. Neighbors' prims that intrude into their parcels. Griefer objects.Ugly hair. All those textures they no longer use."

"That seems pretty tame to me," I said. "How will a derendering service take advantage of your super spy powers?"

"It's not just a derendering service, it's an Asset Blacklist Service."

"Okay, now it's starting to make sense," I said, "although maybe not in a good way."

"Here's our slogan: Let us perform extraordinary derendition on your prims and enemies!"

"Is that within the Terms of Service?" I asked.

"Perhaps," she said. "Perhaps not. We will, of course maintain plausible deniability," she said.

"Right," I said.

"Because if some Linden should ever come after us..." Her hand moved instinctively toward her katana. I've asked her for that gesture a thousand times, but she refuses to give it to me.

"Off with their heads?" I asked hopefully.

"Let's just say they'll have to be collateralized," she said.

"If we don't get busted we'll make a fortune," I said.

She ignored me. "We'll be engaging in Asset Blacklist operations," she said. "Above and beyond simple and obsolete black ops."

"You're scaring me," I said.

"Black ops are old-fashioned," she said. "But Blacklist Operations... that's a whole new game.

"You realize this is a game changer," she said. "No more 1000-yard sniper shots. No more acid baths. No more bags of lime. No more cutting avatars into tiny pieces and mixing them in with the sausage. We'll simply derender them."

"Think of what we'll save in ammunition costs alone," I said.

"Before long we'll have an immense list of UUIDs of derendered objects," she said. "Then we'll start an Asset Blacklist Reacquisiton Service."

"Get them to pay us to be able to see their friends and objects again?"

"Exactly," she said. "Think. Some guy pays us to derender his girlfriend's new hairdo because he hates it. Then a month later she asks him what he thinks about the new tint she gave it. Think what he'd pay us to re-render her hair."

"We could have a side business as an asset blacklist risk management consultancy," I said.

"Exactly," she said. "We'll recruit newbies as agents. Teach them to derender. Before long we'll have a derendition army."

"Maybe even a derendition sim!" I said. "Derendition Island. We can do derendition experiments."

"Exactly," she said. "Maybe it's better sometimes to bury an unwanted object in 72 levels of subfolders in your inventory than to derender it.

"And what if," she mused, "you overload the asset blacklist. Is there a UUID critical mass? If you overstuff the list, might it explode and create a black hole in the middle of Second Life? Might the derendered people in the list work together and make an escape?"

"Like Superman's criminals escaping from the Phantom Zone?" I asked.

"Just like that," she said. "We're messing with the very fabric of the Metaverse here!"

"Okay, I'm in," I said. "When do we start?"

"We, Kemo-Sabe? This was my idea."

"Well, it was my blog that gave you the idea."

"I've sent in my double-oh license for renewal," she said. "When it comes back I'll be licensed to derender."

"Use your superpower wisely," I cautioned.

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