Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, a married father of two whom Hillary Clinton called “one of our best,” was identified today as one of the victims of the rocket attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya. To friends around the world, Smith was better known as “Vile Rat,” his moniker in the online gaming community to which he was an avid participant.
In the gaming world, Smith was best known for his presence on Eve Online—a massive multiplayer video game set in a scifi universe. Infamous Eve Online player Alex “The Mittani” Gianturco broke the news to the community this morning. He describes Smith’s influence in the Eve community:
If you play this stupid game, you may not realize it, but you play in a galaxy created in large part by Vile Rat’s talent as a diplomat. No one focused as relentlessly on using diplomacy as a strategic tool as VR. Mercenary Coalition flipped sides in the Great War in large part because of Vile Rat’s influence, and if that hadn’t happened GSF probably would have never taken out BoB. Jabberlon5? VR made it. You may not even know what Jabberlon5 is, but it’s the smoke-filled jabber room where every nullsec personage of note hangs out and makes deals.
On an Eve Forum, hundreds of players posted their remembrances of Smith and shared in their dismay over the tragedy under a thread titled “RIP Vile Rat,” and a blog post on the topic quickly made its way to the top of Hacker News as more players joined in to share their sympathies.
Gianturco points out that Smith often found himself in potentially dangerous predicaments. During his ten years with the State Department, Smith also spent time in Baghdad. “He would be on jabber, then say something like ‘incoming’ and vanish for a while as the Kayatushas came down from Sadr City,” Gianturco writes.
Smith messaged Gianturco about the growing tensions in Libya yesterday afternoon, and when the attack came, the two were still chatting. Smith signed off by writing “GUNFIRE,” and then disconnected.
Gianturco concluded his post:
It seems kind of trivial to praise a husband, father, and overall badass for his skills in an internet spaceship game but that’s how most of us know him, so there you go.
Shoot blues -> Tell Vile Rat.
RIP, my friend.
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