The Adventures of Huygens Sideways-Part Two: The Beginning

By Aaron Russell


Welcome back to my Second Life adventures! If you missed last week’s Part I post, go ahead and click here. Read it all, get caught up, and come back here. I’ll be waiting for you.


You good? Neat, let’s hit it.

OK, I’m in. But where is in? And what do I do now?


I probably should have paid more attention on Orientation Island or done a little more research on Help Island. Other than walking, talking and flying, I don’t know much about Second Life. I’m sure there’s etiquette and rules governing the place, but I kind of just jumped in and didn’t feel like reading. Does it go on forever? Is there open mic night? Can I stalk someone with no repercussions? I guess I’ll just have to learn as I go and hope I don’t get booted.

There’s someone with a tail in front of me. Maybe I’ll skip getting into conversation and just look around for a while. That leads me back to here, wherever here is. It looks like a Buddhist temple located on a coast. It’s nestled in a large boatyard, with ships of all sizes and forms, ranging from pirate to hovercraft. So far, I like.


I decide to fly over to the nearest pirate ship for a little cargo inspection. The ship seemed deserted. No cargo was to be found in the hull, but I did meet an interesting woman in the captain’s quarters. She ignored me for a little while and seemed more intent on altering the room. I asked if this was her ship and she ignored me. She finally turned to me, waved her hand, and turned my pelvis into a large bar of soap and made me say “I feel so dirty, I need washing!” several times, while rocking back and forth, without any control over myself. What the hell? Did we just mate?

After my fit subsided she confided in me that she may or may not own the ship, but she was definitely involved in rearranging the room. She told me to drop the torch. I said no. She asked again, more intently. I said no, the torch was my sidekick and it went with my clothes. I was prepared for more soap, but she relented and told me it was my choice. I wished her well and left her to her room rearranging.

My first interaction with someone left my head spinning. I had hoped this place was going to be bizarre, but damn. I want to learn soap spells, too. And what did she have against torches?


We should probably talk about sounds. If you choose the ‘stream music’ option, whatever music a land owner has cued up will play as you walk or fly by their property. I was passing so many plots while flying that it ended up sounding like a bad FM shuffle, so I hit mute.

Also, some people have semi-invisible barriers on their property. The only way you can tell is by bouncing off the force field or noticing the fine red print on the wall that says “piss off”. In this particular force fielded house, Madonna’s music was blaring while a rainbow cloud danced to it. This place is fucked up.


What the shit? It looks like someone built a stargate. This is a rather specific decoration. Let’s see if I can activate it.

No. I can interact with things on a minimal level. I right click on something and my hand rises in a salute and emits a dotted beam at the object. Then, a menu pops up besides the object. I can inspect the coding, see who owns it, or I can sit on it, but I can’t modify or use it in any way. That option is greyed out. So far, I haven’t been able to do anything but walk around and creep on other people’s stuff. I hope it’s cool with them, because it’s cool with me.


I was loitering around a dock when I noticed a helicopter. I saluted it, and it told me I could get in. But alas, I could not fly it. It tells me I’m not the owner and I can go bust a nut, in so many words.

I started a hunger strike. I wasn’t going anywhere until this stupid helicopter took me on a ride. But after a few minutes, I got bored. Then I realized everyone can fly. Why do I need a helicopter? I ended the hunger strike.

I eased down the coast for a while. I wasn’t sure if the beach went on forever, but I was going to try and find out. If I flew, I’d cover a lot more area, but I felt like being grounded. This world was still new to me and I was keen on learning the local customs and lingo. How was I ever going to make any friends while flying miles over digitally rendered landscapes?


I continued my trek through a residential neighborhood. One house had a helicopter parked in the driveway. What’s the deal with the helicopters? It also had a political sign in the yard. Everything so far came off as a world just like our own, except for more helicopters. The green dots on my mini map in the upper right indicate other players, but with all these structures, homes, and vehicles vacant, the place kind feels like a nuclear testing site.


Then I see something odd. There’s a monster truck submerged in the bay. It’s probably rusting a fat death. I have to save that poor vehicle.

Not only can you fly here but walking under water is no big deal either. I strolled out to the truck. Walking in the ocean is no different than walking on land except for the blue tint. I reached the car and discovered its name was Army Truck. I only knew this because it talked to me. I saluted the truck and chose the option to get in it. Then, Army Truck lets me know that I am not the owner. Duh.

Army Truck has warned me for a final time. I right click and choose the drive option. I had to show Army Truck who was boss.


Well, Army Truck ejected me two miles into the air. At this point, I could choose to start flying or fall all the way to Second Earth. I picked the fall to see what it would do to me. I feel like I’ve been set up. Why park your car a mile off shore if you don’t want people to mess with it?

After a couple minutes, I finally crash back to the ground. I splat and bounce a little but then get up. Guess I can’t die. I feel low and unloved. I know Army Truck and I just met, but rejection is hard. I’m done trying to rationalize with inanimate objects.


I decide to fly down the coast instead. I’m done with walking. If every object is going to be a hater, then I’ll stick to the air. I guess it serves me right for trying to steal so much.

I’m only just beginning, so I should just roll with the punches. Maybe I’ll even check out what Lump is. It has all sorts of things, all lumped together.


Tune in next time for…

Part Three: In Search of Live Music!



Aaron is living the life on Twitter. He also has a website devoted to his Photoshop hilarity.

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