Monday, September 23, 2019

Interview with Tealcie Annibles (Tealcie Resident) of SL Regional Search and Rescue.

By Bixyl Shuftan

Recently, Gemma Cleanslate wrote about an exercise of the Second Life Regional Search And Rescue group. They are led by Tealcie Annibles (Tealcie Resident). I recently met up with her at their headquarters in Euryalus. Of the radio stream, besides music there were occasional "weather reports" describing sim lag and other glitches.

I asked Tealcie about how she first found out about Second Life. She told me, "Back in about 2006ish, I heard the buzz and came to have a look.   I had a terrible connection and ancient computer and of the nine or so days I was involved I spent maybe 45 minutes in world and the rest trying to get in.  It was horrid. I forgot all about it until December of 2017. I was in a store doing some Christmas shopping and two young ladies were in the checkout ahead of me and one said 'I don't know how you do it I still can't even find my left shoe.'  And the other laughed and replied, 'Well That's Second Life.'" That got me interested and I came for round two, fell in love and stayed." She had come back because of a casual conversation about it in real life.

"I spent the first week figuring things out," Tealcie continued, "rented a quarter region and learned terraforming and such and then bought a private region. That became too limiting. So I dumped the adult region and came mainland. Here, the story gets good.   I was naive to the ways of this world and immediately albeit inadvertently, ticked off a bunch of people. I ran afoul of my own ambition.  I quickly bought land and built thirteen bases all around the world. My meteoric rise from unknown to omnipresent, combined with some really ugly builds , (laughter) , seemed to get under peoples skin. My error finally dawned on me. So I dumped back down to one base for awhile. I survived a griefing that even Linden Governance called 'epic' , and I stayed low for awhile after that. Then apparently not having learned my lesson I began to build again."

I asked about what could a griefer do that would get attention of the Lindens. She answered, "Oh it was a really cool grief. Imagine your most used item, In this case my logo with white background.  It was everywhere: signs, flags, etc. This grief intercepted the UUID and changed the image to one of the griefers choosing and it only affected me.   Everyone else saw the logo. I saw a woman flipping me off. Linden Lab said it was impossible until I proved it to them by forcing them to enter my account and do some photographic work real time. After that, I have no idea what they did. But within three weeks it was over. I named my mystery griefer The Gaslight Griefer    and I'm somewhat honored to have drawn out such an epic attack."

Tealcie went back to the Search and Rescue group, "All this time since coming mainland the SLR-SAR group has floated along.  It's just a few people having fun." She had founded the group herself, "I just wanted a way to enjoy the things I love with other people   flying, boating, climbing, exploring. I figured create a group and hopefully attract like-minded folks." Since the group's start, "We have hovered around thirty members with varied participation. I try to create fun events and time them so everyone around the real-life globe can attend at a decent hour. I usually bite the bullet with the 2 AM SLT slot  on Sunday morning which works out to about 8 PM down under.  So everyone around the clock can attend and still get to bed for work Monday. It really depends on the scale of the diasater being staged."

I brought up Gemma's article of the train wreck, and asked about other examples. Tealcie listed a few more, "We crashed a 757 into an oil platform out on Gaeta V, punched a DC-9 into a hillside in central Sansara, another harbor fire on Corsica, various ship sinkings around the Blake (Sea). This next weekend should be a hoot.  I'm using the rental region Iridium again but no spoilers on the actual disaster. I have found first responders like the real time call for mutual aid with no heads up. All our events are set to public rez so first responders from any agency have no trouble getting their equipment out."

I asked which exercise was the most challenging to set up. She answered, "Most challenging?  The 757 had (an) airliner, oil platform, and underwater elements.  It was fairly intense in detail. This last build, I had great help from Lale who rocked the train tracks and tunnels and did a great job dangling the cars. This upcoming disaster will be pretty intense as well."

I asked how long does it take to plan an exercise and set one up? Tealcie answered, "Planning is usually just a five minute brainstorming.  Dasha came up with the train wreck we saw last month and it was penciled out in minutes. The build has to be done in two days as the regions are a three day rental. I generally terraform and rough it out Friday evening then do the build Saturday night after work.  We encourage the public to attend and I think one of the best ways to watch the event is to jump into a victim position and cam around while hamming it up awaiting rescue.  Watch, Participate and have fun."

And where does Tealcie and the group get their ideas for their drills? She responded, "Well, the ideas come from lots of people and places.  I take the ideas, mix in some pure evil like booby traps, landslides, explosions and just have a blast, pun intended. I try to give the first responder community a challenging, but winnable fight. These events are really about the community not SLR-SAR.  We put them on for everyone to come together and represent their home groups and work together doing what they love. The more different tags I see the happier I am." I asked if any of the ideas came from movies and television. She answered, "More from the real lives of people who have witnessed tragedies.  The commuter train wreck was something close to home for Dasha.  And yes some media stories of disasters ignite ideas as well. I try to tailor the events to our community strengths too.  The SLIAFF member agencies are all well equipped for fires fought from air, land and sea so there is always a fire element. My people enjoy technical rescues and heavy extraction situations. SAREMSUK group are extreme flying and airborne specialists and frankly Sophie and her SAR EMS UK group are the bar we wish to reach someday. There is a vibrant first responder community here in SL and I'm the new kid on the block just trying to do my part for that community."

Recalling some people can be stickers for realism, I asked how difficult were the helicopters to fly. Tealcie answered,  "Well, there are three basic levels of helicopters in Second Life. The first level are extremely simple to fly. The middle level are a little more difficult and offer a bit of realism. Then there are the SA helicopters. Kelly Shergood and her team construct very realistic expert level helicopters. I lack the skill required to fly the SA helis into rescues yet, but there are many who would not fly anything else.  SAREMSUK for instance use the SA built Sikorsky 92  to great effect." How much practice do those need? Tealcle told me quite a bit, "Practice, patience, and possibly even expert instruction.  They are the pinnacle of Second Life Helicopters. Several of my members have the requisite skills.  Lia and Alma both totally rock the SA helis. As for learning SL Helicopters I start people on the middle tier and can generally have a student flying in 10-15 minutes. I do it that way so people don't give up by being defeated by the expert level helis. Get the basics down, then move up a step.

"And there is so much to learn along the way that doesn't involve flying. The EMS gear in Second Life is phenomenal. Also you need to swim, climb, be injured, scuba, drive, and operate equipment. First responding is one of the more intense pursuits in SL. Fortunately we are blessed with creators who 'get it' and build amazing gear and vehicles. ... I have several builders I contract with and I am slowly bringing responder gear to the community filling niches where gear is needed.   That's not at all easy since there is already so much here.  But as I find things missing, I get my builders working on the items. Like our operational Jaws of life-esque cutter and pry tools. They are designed to aid in roleplay at extraction scenes."

As the interview drew to a close, I asked Tealcie what else she had to say. She answered, "I'd like to see the community grow.  And I hope my no tag required events promoting pride in whatever group you represent, helps along those lines.   There are still some groups who demand you belong to no other groups to belong to theirs.  It seems exclusionary.   I say I don't care what group or groups you belong to you don't have to join mine to play.  Jump right in.  Represent whoever and have fun. I got that philosophy from SLIAFF and the way they run their mutual aid responses.   Numerous agencies respond and work with a common purpose.  I am trying to spread that wisdom across the entire first responder community. I wish I could take credit for the idealism but I'm just repeating what I have learned here from people with double-digit SL ages who learned themselves through trial and error.

"I'd like to add that SLR-SAR is an open group and free to join.  You do not have to leave your current group to join us and you are free to leave and return to your hearts content.  But the main thing is you don't have to join the group at all to participate so be sure to watch your frequencies Sunday the 22nd for that mutual aid call and come have some fun."

And with that, the interview came to a close. A few days later on Sunday September 22, the SL Regional Search And Rescue was one of the two groups that took part in a large exercise in Iridium. And this was a disaster of epic scale, an ocean liner that collided with an oil rig resulting in fires and the potential of a massive explosion. Tealcie tool part as one of the injured. But the rescuers were well equipped. Despite a mishap or two due to lag, the exercise went well. Cleanup was soon after, so what was left were screenshots and memories to talk about with one another and friends. And of course they would soon be planning for the next disaster.

Bixyl Shuftan

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Bixyl. I'm sure everyone involved loved seeing major media at the event. You help growing the first responder community is much appreciated.