by Nanomage

  I have been keeping an eye on the message traffic running through the TSA list for a week or so now. I thought it was a neat way of pulling lurkers into writing, and getting the old hands to play a new game, like happened about a year and a half ago with the "dumbblonde7 Virus" storylines. I remember that because it really made me think about online personas. The only persona I had then was an aborted MUCK character, a female Minotaur that I had given up on after a few days, so I wrote about becoming one.
  But after seeing the news stories and a little conversation today with FBI guys finally convinced me something was going on out there. The stories say that the event, whatever it was, occurred on Monday Jan. 23rd at about 11 AM my time. I was on my way to first class of the semester then. I got my classes settled, listened to the same old, "welcome to class, here is your syllabus" speech. Went home, took a nap. That evening I started the computer, loaded Mindspring, and opened e-mail.
  And the messages kept coming and coming. I dug through for original posts, ignoring any RE's, and my best determination is that another RPG storyline was being played out. Nifty premise, TF of unknown origin into the form most desired, whether it made good sense or not -- and judging by e-mails, a lot of not-so-good choices had been made. I like that. Consequences are rarely looked at in what is mainly a wish-fulfillment genre.
  I considered joining in, but my arm and shoulder were still too weak from the month or so of being wrapped to my torso from an injury I got flipping my bicycle on the last day of class the previous semester. I have other stories I desperately need to work on. Pandora is late again, Cameo Club is still hanging at the climax after a whole year of not working on it, The Perfect Game is still moving ahead slowly, as I am using all of my strength to type that one out, last chapter nearly done. I have too many punted promises to join a new writing game.
  Anyway. I watched the next couple days as the volume of stories tapered off. As usual, most just stopped in midstream. I am not the only one who writes one half of an epic. But a few figured out a great dodge to explain the lack of interest in continuing, the "I fear the government, and must hide" ending. Brilliant, I must say.
  Then the news (which I caught by accident, I can't stand the blatant spewing of misinformation) showed me what was claimed to be a centaur in Montreal. Later a whole list of familiar names and forms hit the papers.
  OK, so call me a dim bulb. Seems that people from the TSA list really were turning into ideal forms. However, I would not consider my condition ideal. I was still overweight, bald, scarred, still had a dacron artery in my hip keeping my left leg alive, still had the crushed vertebrae and the spinal curvature, my feet still buzzed with the hot numbness of diabetic neurapathy. In short, I had not changed.
  I thought about this. Since the rather lackluster story I generated out of the dumbblonde incident, I had pretty much packed up my fantasy life. I think that decision also explained why my story output stopped. I had become a dreamer with no dreams. I worked on stories now just to try to close them, complete them, not because my heart was in it.
  I think this is why I was immune.
  And that is how I explained it to the FBI guys.
  Good luck, all of you out there. I hope that having your dreams was as good as dreaming them.