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Before the State Department confirmed to the mainstream news media that Sean Smith, the Foreign Service Information Management Officer assigned to the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was among those killed in an attack, gamers had already spread the shocking news through the network of EVE Online players.
After serving 10 years in the Air Force around the world in Baghdad, Pretoria, Montreal and The Hague, Smith took his fight virtual in CCP Games’ popular online space combat game, EVE Online. The gaming world knew Smith as “Vile Rat,” a leader in the guild Goonswarm.
The 34-year-old husband and father of two was also a dedicated gamer, logging many hours online in the complex space game consisting of huge warring corporations set within a reality-based virtual economy. For over 10 years, a thriving community of over 400,000 PC gamers from around the world have gathered in the futuristic massively multiplayer online (MMO) game. Sony Computer Entertainment is launching a new space combat offshoot of this world, DUST 514, this fall for PlayStation 3 gamers, which will connect console gamers with PC gamers.
Smith also volunteered as a moderator for the Intern community site, Something Awful.
With the consulate under siege, Smith typed a message to Goonswarm director Alex “The Mittani” Gianturco, “Assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures.”
Before the news media heard about the four deaths, Gianturco alerted Smith’s fellow guild members with this post this morning: “My people, I have greivous [sic] news. Vile Rat has been confirmed to be KIA in Benghazi; his family has been informed and the news is likely to break out on the wire services soon. Needless to say, we are in shock, have no words, and have nothing but sympathy for his family and children. I have known Vile Rat since 2006, he was one of the oldest of old-guard goons and one of the best and most effective diplomats this game has ever seen.”
U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was also killed in the attack, along with two other men. The gunmen who stormed the building blamed America for a film they claim insulted the Prophet Mohammad.
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