Updated August 25, 1996
This is the story of how one concerned AlphaWorld citizen became a spy (secret agent "Rookie"), collecting information and taking secret snapshots of the inner workings of King Punisher's "order".
Over the last weeks of November, I became increasingly appalled at the reported incidents of vandalism to property in AlphaWorld and rumors of a gang of some sort forming. In early December I had the opportunity to see the leader of this gang, "King Punisher" as he calls himself, in action trying to promote his "order" and recruiting members from a crowd. If anyone questioned him he would respond with profanities and threaten to put them on "the list" to become a victim of the order's vandalism and destruction of property.
One of the many "powers" he claimed to have was the ability to change his AlphaWorld identity at any time. I watched as he changed back and forth between "CYBERMIND", "King Punisher", and several other names, including duplicating the names of some of the gathered citizens. I had heard of this vulnerability in the AlphaWorld code before but had never seen it being used (that I knew of at least). This caught my interest and later that night I successfully discovered how to change my own name.
I was repulsed by the leader of this gang and his tactics and decided that I would work to undermine his efforts and his attempts to bully my fellow AlphaWorld citizens. At first I just advised others to avoid him and his order and I actively tried to disrupt him by questioning his powers when he was working to recruit new members.
Then one day I was presented with an opportunity which I could not resist. I noticed someone at Ground Zero apparently trying to pass himself off as "Dataman" (the editor and publisher of the New World Times and a well known AlphaWorld citizen). I had met Dataman in AlphaWorld on several previous occasions and his behavior on this particular day seemed suspicious. I decided to hang around to see what was up.
'Dataman' was asking if anyone had started building and wanted to show off their house to him. When there was little response to that he then asked if anyone wanted to work with him on a new building project. There were a couple of people interested in that and he suggested that they meet to the north to discuss it further. I followed along anonymously to watch the action.
'Dataman' noticed me hovering above and asked me to identify myself. I decided to use the order's own tricks on themselves and quickly changed my identity to "Rookie". I came down to ground level, explained that I was new to AlphaWorld and expressed an interest in helping to build. 'Dataman' then asked the rest of those who had followed him whether they also wanted to build something together and said that they would get it published in his newspaper. There was some interest in this so 'Dataman' instructed them that in order to build together he would first need their passwords. [spy photo] This spooked a couple of them and one even brought up the possibility that this was a trick of King Punisher, but 'Dataman' continued to ask for passwords and said he would give each participant a new password so that they could build together. [spy photo]
Most of the others became suspicious and wandered off but I stayed around as did one other person and when 'Dataman' asked for my password I gave him a fake one. He then asked for my email address and I gave someone's from which I could pick up mail. The other person also gave their information when asked.
Once 'Dataman' had our confidential information he laughed and revealed his true identity by changing his name to King Punisher. He said he had tricked us and asked if we wanted to become members of his order and learn how to change our own names and receive other powers that the order possessed. We both expressed interest. Another person approached and identified himself as "Atomic Jello". King Punisher (KP) explained that Atomic Jello (AJ) was the "lord" of the south and that he himself was "king" of the north and that we were now part of the order. [spy photo] Then he said that we two new members were being tested even as we spoke. Apparently KP and AJ were in communication via PowWow and were attempting to log in to AlphaWorld with our identities and passwords.
They asked me to clarify my information a couple of times while I made small talk trying to learn more about the order. [spy photo] [spy photo] [spy photo] [spy photo] [spy photo] [spy photo] They said they would send us both email revealing secrets of the order including how to change our names and a secret word we should use to identify ourselves and other members of the order. While they showed off by changing their names, I asked for their email addresses since they had mine. I was a bit surprised when they didn't hesitate to give them to me. [spy photo] I asked what I was supposed to do in the order, and they gave me the name of someone they considered their enemy that I was supposed to attack. [spy photo] [spy photo] They also said that the order destroys the property of some of their victims, and when I asked how they did that they revealed that they trick their victims into handing over their password just as they did with me. [spy photo]
Then they got very suspicious about my identity since it was not working for them when they tried to log in as me. I tried to stall by playing dumb. [spy photo] They asked me to check my "aworld.ini" file and confirm the name and password there. [spy photo] They also asked for my original AlphaWorld immigration number. I told him I didn't think I still had my immigration number. [spy photo]
Apparently the other new member had also misled them since they accused him of giving the wrong password too. [spy photo] KP was quite suspicious of us and asked if we were spies. [spy photo] KP asked me to send him my ".ini file" but again I played dumb and claimed I didn't know how to. [spy photo] Finally I promised that I would email him my "name=" and "password=" lines from my "aworld.ini" file. [spy photo] When we parted company, KP was still feeling somewhat suspicious of my intentions.
Shortly afterward I returned to Ground Zero and noticed yet another prominent citizen of AlphaWorld wandering about. This time it was "Protagonist" who I knew to be one of the creators of AlphaWorld. He was telling someone that he had become a member of the order, which immediately tipped me off that this was certainly not likely to be the real Protagonist. I asked him when he had joined and he said it was last week. [spy photo]
I realized that this was most likely King Punisher pretending to be Protagonist and I decided to try to use the opportunity to further convince KP that I was genuine in my attempts to join the order. 'Protagonist' told me how he admired the order and I said that I had just joined and wanted to help the order but, for some reason that I didn't understand, they were having trouble using my information. [spy photo]
A little while later KP switched identities again, this time to "CYBERMIND" and immediately got into a "war" at Ground Zero with some of his enemies. His supporters surrounded him with chants of "LONG LIVE KING PUNISHER!" and "LONG LIVE THE ORDER!" and I enthusiastically joined in on the chants to again prove how loyal I intended to be to the order.
Apparently my efforts to convince them of my loyalty achieved their purpose because shortly afterward I received email from both KP and AJ congratulating me on my performance at the war, welcoming me into the order, and revealing to me the secret of how to change my identity. I was given a new mission: to vandalize Ground Zero by trying to place mail boxes there with propaganda from the order. And I was told not to worry if someone threatened to lock me out of AlphaWorld since they would give me new immigration numbers to get me back in again. [document from KP] [document from AJ]
Although the order does not have any actual powers, some of their favorite tricks seem to be:
They have property in several locations, most notably their northern base located at 666N 0W where they plan to redevelop their "castle", and some underground rooms with mailboxes for several "knights of the order" (closer to 672N), with a new development planned for 666S 0W. They also have a secret mailbox for King Punisher high in the sky at about 4S 22E. [spy photo]
At the time of writing this report I am still a trusted member of the order. I suppose my spying days will be over as soon as this is published, but until then I will continue to infiltrate the order with the intention of undermining their efforts and bringing their deceptive and destructive practices to the attention of my fellow citizens of AlphaWorld.
Agent "Rookie" (of course my true AlphaWorld identity must remain a secret!)
As I expected, I was discovered immediately after publishing my initial
report. Within 24 hours I received email from King Punisher saying:
"Do you think I am stupid, I knew something was up when I joined you up! You don't know diddly shit about the order! If you wanted information then you didn't get much at all really but hey I give you credit you had me fooled."
Then about 2 days later KP had this to say:
"The order is at war with alphaworld so beware those who try to betray my trust. cya dataman"
Judging from his sign-off, KP was guessing (incorrectly) that I was Dataman in disguise.
Then, over the next week, there was a surprising turn of events. King Punisher told several people that he was quitting the order. He said that the order was not turning out to be a building group (a cooperative effort to jointly build in AlphaWorld) as he had planned and he expressed concern that Atomic Jello in particular was going too far in his actions. According to KP, Atomic Jello was a young teenager who had gotten out of control and had made death threats to some people who are involved in AlphaWorld. KP said that AJ was going away on holiday for Christmas and would be off-line for a couple of weeks.
While AJ was away, KP posted publicly on the AlphaWorld Discussion Centre that he was starting a new building group and looking for recruits. He also started to use the name "Pharaoh" instead of "King Punisher".
Just before Christmas, Worlds Inc released version 0.52 of the AlphaWorld software and fixed the vulnerability in the code which had allowed people to change their identity and masquerade as someone else. Since then KP has been spotted several times using his new identity of Pharaoh, but there have been no sightings of the old "King Punisher" identity.
It appears that Pharaoh may be genuine in his efforts to turn over a new leaf and abandon his old tricks. In a recent conversation, Pharaoh asked that people forgive his previous transgressions. Of course some people, particularly those who have been victims of the order, may not be ready to forgive and forget just yet. I would suggest that Pharaoh be treated with extreme caution as we have already witnessed the degree of deceit and megalomania that he is capable of.
The future of the order is uncertain at this time since it remains to be seen what the rest of the members will do. A key turning-point could be the return of AJ from his holiday at which time we may learn whether the members will rally under his leadership or if any new leaders will emerge.
Let us hope that the order simply dissolves into being an interesting footnote in the history of the early development of AlphaWorld.
Atomic Jello has returned from holiday and, according to his public
posting on Jan 2 in the AlphaWorld Discussion Centre, he is not planning
to continue with the order. In his open letter he says:
"I apologize for my previous actions to the innocent citizens of AlphaWorld and I just would wish if we can make peace again."
He goes on to say that the order is finished and he apologizes for "being such a immature person" and for making King Punisher look bad. He asks that everyone forgive his actions.
So it appears that the order may indeed be disbanding once and for all. This is welcome news following their brief but disruptive influence on AlphaWorld.
Whether these two main players in the order can change their behaviour so quickly and easily remains to be seen. There are already indications that Pharaoh (ex-KP) could be headed for trouble again. While many of his recent postings are helpful (there is no doubt that he is an accomplished builder), many also exhibit impatience and an inflated sense of self-importance. I continue to recommend extreme caution in dealing with either of these two characters.
Further updates will be added as the situation dictates. Thank you for your interest.
Over the last month I have become convinced that Pharaoh (ex-KP) has turned over a new leaf. In fact, I have spent a lot of time chatting with him and have gotten to know him quite well. I doubt that he will ever return to his old ways, he seems quite changed. He continues to spend many hours in AlphaWorld working on various buildings and animations and, ironically, has become a founding partner in establishing the new AlphaWorld Police Department. In fact, he recently built the AlphaWorld Police Station at 911N 0E.
I have not run across Atomic Jello in the last month. He seems to either have left AlphaWorld or has changed his name and dropped out of sight.
One interesting footnote; there was a brief appearance by a King Punisher impersonator recently. This person vandalized some building sites and left messages incriminating KP. The culprit was found and there does not appear to be any relation between this incident and the original "order".
This will likely be the last update to my report. I also am one of the founding partners in the AlphaWorld Police Department and will continue my crime-fighting activities in my new role as an AlphaWorld police officer. For further information, please check my AlphaWorld Police Pages.
As a final gesture, I have decided to end the mystery as to my true AlphaWorld identity. Thanks to all of you who have had nothing but kind words of support for "Rookie" as this has progressed over the last two months. It has been a very rewarding experience to see how AlphaWorld can pull together in the face of adversity. Take care.
This update is long overdue and was finally prompted in order to stop some misconceptions created by my last update, because the situation has changed considerably since then.
It turns out I was wrong about Kevin Morrison (ex-King Punisher, Pharaoh, and a long list of other names). His good behaviour didn't last more than a couple of months before he was back to his old tricks of seeking attention and vandalizing property in AlphaWorld. Ironically the very same AlphaWorld Police Department (AWPD) that he had been a partner in creating now took on the task of tracking him down and warning the citizens about him.
After a mercifully short period of continued vandalism, Kevin was forced to cut back heavily on his online time due to outside factors. In his typical megalomaniacal fashion, rather than just leave AlphaWorld with a few goodbyes as most people would, Kevin (as Pharaoh) staged a "virtual suicide" in which his avatar walked into flames and disappeared, promising never to return.
For a couple of months things were relatively peaceful. Jason Lin (ex-Atomic Jello) started to show up in AlphaWorld again but spent most of his time concentrating on his pet projects. The AWPD quietly continued offering assistance to citizens at Ground Zero and monitoring for trouble.
Eventually Kevin Morrison started to make appearances again, this time as "Death", "The Arab", and a few other names. He joined up with some others (including Jason Lin) to form a new group called the "AlphaWorld Republican Army" or ARA, who advocated that the police department should be abolished. The ARA adopted terrorist tactics to accomplish their goal, threatening to vandalize the property of innocent citizens unless the AWPD changed its name and stopped policing. However, the ARA's anonymous ringleaders were soon exposed and the lack of support for their policies and tactics left them discouraged. It wasn't long before they disbanded.
Both Kevin and Jason now seem to have found other things on the net to amuse themselves with and they rarely visit AlphaWorld anymore, although they sometimes make occasional appearances in the Discussion Center. The AlphaWorld Police Department continues in its duties and has many cases it can point to where it has been successful in discouraging troublemakers and in settling disputes. It has also spawned an offshoot called the AWPD Help Patrol whose members are dedicated to assisting their fellow citizens by providing answers to both technical and non-technical questions.
This most recent update now sets the record straight on the latest shenanigans of Kevin and Jason. Some say that by providing them with this exposure I have done them a favour by making them famous. I would prefer to think that they are in fact, if anything, infamous. By raising their profile, I hope that they will find it more difficult to get away with similar behaviour in the future in AlphaWorld or in other net-community environments.
Your comments are welcomed. Please write to NetGuy@mailhost.net to express your opinion.
My thanks to Dataman for his support and for including a pointer to this page in his opinion piece in the "Underground Zero" issue of the New World Times.
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