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    Simon Mitchell

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    elanya
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    Simon Mitchell

    Post by elanya on 07/03/10, 11:12 am

    Simon Mitchell

    Simon mostly comes across as a quiet, introverted nerd. You all know the type – tech head, spends too much time on the internet, knows more about software and hardware than is probably sane, like to custom build his machines (always plural), constantly messing about in linux, on top of all the latest techy gizmos. Reads ‘classic’ sci-fi written by old white guys who loved to explain things in extensive technical detail, and as far as anyone knows has never had a date outside of a chatroom (and that’s being generous). While all of these things are certainly true, there is more to him that meets the eye.

    Simon is the only child of Jane and Arthur Mitchell, of Sweetwater County, Wyoming. His family has been in the area, the southern Green River basin, for generations, and has more or less stayed in the same place, on the same land, since the 1860’s. The Mitchell ranch is primarily devoted to cattle, but with a profitable sideline in sport fishing and hunting currently run by Simon’s uncle Jackson. Within the past ten years, a number of natural gas companies have expressed interest in developing the property, causing some discord within the older generation. Arthur, who owns the ranch, remains ambivalent to the idea of change, Jackson is most strongly committed to preserving the natural resources of the area (and his livelihood), while the youngest of the three brothers, Gordon, has moved away to the larger (Capital) city of Cheyenne sees the most long term benefit for the family (and his branch specifically) as residing with the proposed developments. Basically, there are big Family Dramas, with Jackson and Gordon barely speaking to each other, and Simon’s family caught in the middle.

    Although he is a devoted computer geek now, growing up on a Wyoming ranch, with a parcel of more outdoorsy cousins (mostly Jackson’s assorted brood, and especially his two oldest girls, Sam and Jordan) meant that despite his perhaps natural inclinations, Simon can actually handle himself fairly well in the wild. Though he hasn’t put his skills to the test in some time, his current crop of friends would probably shocked to think that he can, say, ride a horse, build a campfire, has been close to real wild animals (possibly even shot at them!), and has spent days at time out in the wilderness with minimal equipment and no cell phone coverage. The truth of the matter is that, growing up in rural Wyoming, there really wasn’t much else to do. Part of the reason for his retreat to the internet later is life was an acceptance on his part that as much as he might want to fit in to the wilder world, it is not his place. Rather than suffer through an almost cosmic awareness of not-belonging, he chose to just withdraw and leave the wild for others better suited, and instead found a place where he could create his own more comfortable space.

    His first serious encounter with computer technology came when he started going into the city of Green River for high school. He convinced his parents that a computer really would be useful for their accounting, and while he was never able to convince them to get more than dial-up internet, he never looked back. He got a job in the city that summer working on website design for the local radio station, and used the time and opportunity to explore the internet more broadly. Throughout the rest of high school, he became that kid who knows how to put together cheap web pages, and managed to squirrel away some extra college funds. Since he was also on the track team, he used that excuse to spend more time in the city. His mother has family in the city, which gave him a place to stay, as the ranch was at that point becoming the center of the growing Mitchell dramas.

    His parents still considered his interest in computers more of a hobby than anything else, which may have been a fair assessment at that time. He was the first one of his generation to seriously consider university, and for a variety of reasons, accepted a position in the agricultural economics department at A&M, rather than a similar program at U of Wyoming. While his family generally supported his decision, this was with the view that he was going to be learning something that would be of use to running the business. There was some debate of whether he might (or should) transfer to a geosciences, engineering, or more straightforward agricultural program. In the middle of his third year, finding both his grades and interest flagging significantly, he broke away from the paths various people were pressuring him to follow, switched colleges and started working towards a degree in computer science. By the end of his first degree, his interest had shifted to the social dynamics of internet, rather than straight programming. He graduated with a minor in communication, and is now working on a PhD-track Master’s in that department. Because of his CS background, he managed to get a job as the IT tech for the department, which he mostly enjoys but also finds extremely frustrating at times.

    Despite the ongoing family tensions, Simon is on pretty good terms with his parents, as long as they avoid talking about certain topics. This is probably related to the fact that he is an only child of two people who both come from large families (he’s got a handful of aunts and uncles on his mother’s side, and another half dozen or more cousins as well). His mother, especially, is wary of pushing away her only son, and also feels less personally invested in the Mitchell issues. He isn’t especially close with any of the cousins in his generation, and some of those on his father’s side are wrapped up enough in the family issues that he tries to avoid them as much as possible. The one exception is his cousin Alan, from his mother’s side, who shares his interest in online gaming.

    He first met Connie, and eventually the others, in the period when he was first moving in to computer science - therefore negotiating extra home-based drama - and the offer of a social group and a different form of escapism was well timed. He likes his friends, but is hyper conscious that he is something of a fringe member of the group, partly through his own choice not to be more social and open, and finds it somewhat frustrating when people make unwarranted assumptions on his behalf. He prefers to avoid confrontation, however, and usually just shrugs such things off.

    In addition to his ‘real life’ friends, Simon also has a very active online social life – including friends of various significance made through mmorpgs (ranging from people he plays with regularly to acquaintances who may be co-members of larger organizational groups), message boards and forums (such as Something Awful), internet chat (IRC), and other chat programs. In addition to these, Simon also maintains a public blog, mostly dedicated to discussing issues of internet privacy and the impact of social networking on how people think about the internet and their social relationships, and other related matters (mostly topics growing out of his dissertation research and related interests). Despite his heavy online involvement, he is very careful about what information he makes publically available online, and in what contexts. He generally avoids commercialized social networking sites like livejournal, facebook and myspace like the plague. His blog represents his most public face, and he sees it as sort of a professional networking tool as much as a forum for personal expression. Generally, only some of his closer online friends know, or have figure out, that it is his work.

    While he mostly stays away from discussing personal issues on his blog, he has, to a certain extent, made an exception in regards to Chrys’s death. Without revealing any of the illegal actions taken on the part of himself or his friends, and making only the most obtuse references to other issues, he has, to a certain extent, used it as a medium for gathering and expressing his thoughts and feelings. He is considering creating another space for discussing some of the more esoteric and strange things, as he finds the exercise in composition often helps him clarify his thoughts, but hasn’t yet taken that step.

    Simon never really quite ‘got’ Krys – she was nice, but kind of weird in a way that he didn’t really relate to. Her death is bringing home to him how little he actually knows about these people (accumulated net-stalkery files aside), and in turn how little they know about him. He feels sort of a vague guilt for not knowing Krys better despite having known her for so long, and is deeply unsettled by her violent gory murder(?) and the associated strangeness. It is in part this guilt that is driving his interest in the investigation, and also a general sense of disbelief that anything like this could happen, and to someone he knew. He honestly doesn’t know what to think about the various strange and disturbing revelations, and is mostly hoping that if they can maintain forward momentum in any of their inquiries, that things are bound to start making sense again.

    Of course…. He is wrong.

    The currents of fate responsible for bringing together this small group of gamers are gathering their forces, pulling Simon along with the rest towards an inevitable destiny, granted by an unexpected birthright. Simon is not Arthur Mitchell’s son at all, but the son of Odin, the wisest of the Aesir. He impregnated Jane Mitchell surreptitiously when, after several miscarriages, she came to the fertility clinic operated under the direction of his wife, Frigg. All his mother recalls is that the inscrutable, one-eyed, “Dr. Wednesday” took personal interest in her case, overseeing her treatments directly, and that shortly after Simon’s birth, the clinic closed and other facilities were unable to assist her with further pregnancies. It is as yet unclear what purpose the All Father saw in this action – whether he has some specific plan for Simon, or perhaps some interest in the vast tracks of wild range in Wyoming this son stand to inherit in time, or simply saw an opportunity to add another potential pawn to his standby-list….

      Current date/time is 17/10/17, 05:23 pm