The Blue Room, Faunce House. Later the same night.

The entire extended crew of pirates, numbering over a hundred, crowds into this dark room, a site of constant drinking and brawling. Over the course of their history, the pirates inhabited many locations, but they took over Faunce House forty years ago and hadn’t left it since. Today busty wenches make the rounds, pouring grog and allowing themselves to be the object of jeers and harassment of various sorts. The general din consists mostly of pirates exchanging stories of their assorted adventures back in the Communal States of McDonalds, most grossly embellished, if not entirely fabricated. Storytelling is one of the best parts of being a pirate, so everyone allows himself to be amused by everything while believing nothing. The bullet-proof windows in the back of the room look over a motionless main green; most of the newly arrived freshmen are too scared to venture outside, and most of the upperclassmen have not yet returned from summer br eak. An occasional breeze stirs the giant “Drink Coke!” banner that covers the front of Sayles, a movement which does not go unnoticed by the pirates’ security system. A security system that is one of the most advanced and expensive in the world, but the pirates have the better part of six thousand rich childrens’ tuitions in their pocket, so it is a large but entirely necessary expense for them.

The Captain, The Dread Pirate Bold Rigard, enters the room, which grows noticeably quieter out of a mixture of respect and fear, but a low murmur of conversation subsists. Bold Rigard knocks back a round of grog, jumps up onto the nearest table, and addresses his crew.

“An excellent raid tonight, if I do say so myself, me lads. We only lost one of our crew, the good pirate Blunderbuss the third, and we all know that the chap had it coming, did he not? Well, anyhow, a toast to Blunderbuss, may he burn in hell!

“Lads, this year marks a turning point for our fine establishment, a greater one than when we finally monopolized the campus’ drug market, and yes, even greater than the opening of our first Brothel in Grad Center Tower C, as momentous an occasion as that was.” (The pirates answer with cheers and cat calls).

“Me hearties, this year, nay, this very day, we shall defeat our mortal enemies once and for all. For over the summer it came to me attention that Microsofter has developed a cyborg of sorts which they intend to use to overthrow our beloved Congealed States of McDonalds. Which I’m sure they’d do if we were not about to plunder this cyborg for ourselves!” (A roaring YARRR echoes across the room).

“So, here’s the plan. First mate Anne Bony and I will conduct the extraction while the greater part of you scurvy dogs directly attack their Windows Infinity Development Division so they divert their resources while we get in and out before they know what hit them. At this moment the cyborg is being loaded into a jet bound for Microsofter headquarters, so we have only about a fifteen minute window to work in to overtake the jet’s security system and bring it down into Narragansett Bay where a number of you will use our sloop to pick up the cyborg and bring it back here.

“The social web we have crafted at this fine University runs on Simulacra. Of course the most obvious example of this is WebCT, which consists of two simulated representations of the world we live in. However, even what we consider to be the real world consists of simulacrum piled on top of simulacrum. We pirates project forth an image of ourselves to the other members of our community; we know that we’re not really pirates, but by adopting this pirate demeanor in a world where pirates are considered with a mixture of fear, respect, and worship we confer these characteristics upon ourselves. Our true natures are almost irrelevant next to how people view us. The various student groups on campus pay us a protection fee because they are intimidated by our projected image of bloodthirsty murderers who would slit your throat without thinking twice. Now, really, we only kill when we have to, want to make a point, or have to protect our simulacra—th is is far more profitable than going around committing random murders. What matters is that the garb we wear around campus every day projects a simulation as effective as those within WebCT. Now, the ninja create a simulacrum of their own which conflicts with ours and often degrades it. While it’s often a lot of fun fighting them and thinking of ways to screw them over, so long as they exist we will not have complete control of this campus. The acquisition of this cyborg will give us exactly what we need to win that control. Were we to simply kill all of the ninja (which we can’t do, of course, without knowing their identities), more ninja could always pop up in the future. But if we create a simulation in which the existence of a ninja directly conflicts with the givens of the simulation, we have won. Tonight will decide that.”

Bold Rigard had lost most of the pirates with the first use of the word simulacra, though a few of the more intelligent, deeper thinking pirates followed him through to the end. All, however, maintained a respectful silence and pretended to know what he was talking about with the occasionally polite nods and cheers. So by the end no one was quite sure that he was finished, but after an awkward silence they all caught on and shouted various cheers and expletives against the ninja enemy.

“Right then,” the captain continues, “to your stations, ye bloodthirsty scoundrels!”

Each pirate quickly pops an ISP (Instant Sober Pill) and reports to Bold Rigard and Anne Bony for their instructions in the coming raid.

To Cyberspace Web! To Ninja!