Act 1, Scene 1. Stage set, action. Jim Herbst, leader of the Alliance Navy, bet me $L10 that I couldn't keep Shadow Keegan in check. For those that knew Shadow, they certainly would not have taken the bet. Even for such a token, minor amount. The guy simply didn't know what "moderation" meant, so when faced with insult by the Alliance leadership, he was expected to explode into firey brimstone. Being the new guy, I did not know better. I was just the group's diplomat, pretending I had some notion of what Second Life was and who all these people wearing gaudy prim uniforms were. As the picture demonstrates, I apparently knew enough about human emotion to convince him to one up the AN by keeping it cool. At the time, I would never have guessed but a couple months later I would be standing dead center in what amounted to a coup. Shadow's wo(man) decided to try to toss him out, vying for the virtual throne. Long story made short, things did not go as planned. Some fella named Ethan Schuman planted the bug in Shadow's ear that rather than bowing to her demands, it would be a glorious "fuck you" to appoint a successor. Except, not many people came to mind. The senior leadership was a motley crew. But there was this one dude who was quiet, had a good rapport with the troops, and avoided the petty dramatics. I about shat bricks when I was standing next to Ethan (his 80's Rambo bandana waving majestically in the air), preparing to wave good bye to the crazy Second Life military community, only to find out the collective had appointed me the new head honcho. So began eight years of kicking in doors, creating ripples, and doing great things with (literally) hundreds and hundreds of amazing people. Someone snuck something in to their history lesson on Rome. I laughed so hard. Over the course of my reign, we did a lot of great things. I am proud to say the Ordo Imperialis set the tone for the SLMC. From dawn to sunset, we were at the center of the political whirlwind. There is no doubt that I had my share of failures, but in every occasion, someone from this group had my back. We saluted the flag, and drove on. People made the strangest stuff for me. I love it. I could not possibly begin to even count the number of disasters, attempts to destroy us, and accidental sim returns that we waded through. I would like to believe my leadership had something to do with that, but at the end of the day (and I will say this again), it was and will always be the composition of the team that gave us strength, not the name at the head of the crowd. Every accomplishment is and was yours, while every failure remains mine alone. Take that, embrace is, and drive forward. No one should harbor anything less than respect for the individual beside them. Tournament team, 2006. We had (and have) a lot to be proud of. We were the largest, most trained, and most dynamic institution. Our territory exceeded every other group's, bar none. At one point, we stood as the sole superpower, exercising overwhelming air superiority and combined arms capability. In fact, the vast majority of our problems came from simply being too critical about ourselves. 2012! But that is part of what set us ahead. As an institution, we put a lot of focus upon ensuring our actions are calculated. I remember when officer meetings would push two, three hours in length simply because we would debate nuances about actions that lasted all of five minutes. Hell, to this day, the officer cadre burns a huge amount of its time simply discussing a situation out of concern of ensuring the Ordo's membership is properly represented. I would not have it any other way. While I might believe we sometimes fret over the silliest things, I would rather burn the midnight oil knowing we'd made the right call for you all, than to live with the knowledge we'd taken the convenient choice over the correct one. 2011! It is this commitment to the organization that has brought so many of us together. Flying some eight hours to spend a weekend with a few folks over beer and bad antics? That says something. I mean, it might very well have simply been the opportunity to torment the living crap out of Huttser in person. But, I will at least pretend I had alternative reasons. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Hanging out with the Ordo outside of the "working environment" has always been one of the most enjoyable adventures in my memory. Several of your current officers are in his picture. I am the one with two beers. Because . . . #yolo? Life has been one hell of a ride. I literally grew up with the Ordo. I started with the group about the time I entered college at the age of 17. I am 25 now, in the midst of my career. You all have made an incredible impact on me. Not only have I had the honor of making so many irreplaceable friends, but I have had the real and lasting opportunity to gain experience that has empowered me to achieve a life goal. 2007 group picture. I think. Look at Firefox to the far right. And Tsume in the center. Old. For anyone who has run around with the group for a minute or two, I am just preaching to the choir with this next bit. I have known from a very early age that public service has always been in my heart. My father is a veteran, as are many of my relatives. After graduating from university, I fought and clawed for the chance to put on a uniform. Unfortunately for me, I earned my degree at the height of the financial crisis. I clawed through something like six interview processes, going so far as to fly to Dallas to compete for their department. I recall one oral board vividly. After completing the final review with the Border Patrol, the senior agent looked across to me and asked: "Are you sure you've never been military? Your answers were incredibly sophisticated." I assured him I hadn't, thanked him, and went on to find out a few weeks later the BP cut hiring due to budget constraints. Even so, I knew then, and I know now I only did so well because of a many long nights running the gauntlet with you all. Invaluable. Truly, invaluable. I have no doubt that same skill practice came to be helpful when I sat in front of three Army officers and received a recommendation for OCS. Me, after being tear gassed. Fuck that stuff. I reported for training at sunny (and fucking humid) Fort Benning, GA on August 5th, 2013. So began what proved to be the longest six months of my life. Physically, I have never been so challenged. There were a many hard days that involved crawling through mud, getting pushed off high objects, and walking twelve miles with 80 pounds of gear. On graduation day from BCT, my Senior Drill Sergeant (SFC Alvarado) pointed to me and said aloud: "One day, that soldier is going to be the commanding general." Now, while I certainly doubt that, I realized pretty quickly that he was referencing the last ten weeks of hell--during which I gained a reputation for being the platoon's moral compass. I was a friend to all, kept the group going during some of the shittiest times, and was a total badass as a squad leader (I killed our company commander, totally worth it). I learned how to do all of that from my time here. OCS was a whole different ball game. I was selected to be the company XO. That essentially meant I was responsible for the logistics of four platoons, while attempting to keep afloat during the intense academics. Every minute sucked. When I turned over the XO mantle as part of the natural rotation, the cadre commander told me "[you] set the standard as the XO." Later, during squad leadership combat lanes, my grader informed me that "[you] have outstanding command and control." Care to guess where I learned how to do that? The Ordo Imperialis. While XO, I seriously thought to myself "how did we execute gear allotments to the legions?" While preparing my squad brief, I literally made a sand table and briefed it like I walked every single raid I governed with you all. Complete with the stupid jokes and bad antics. Selfie before graduation. Because why not? Now, I am a proud lieutenant in the United States Army. I guarantee you, getting here would have been a far more challenging climb--if not impossible--without having first developed my leadership style amongst this phenomenal place. For that, I am infinitely grateful. Every long day, hard fight, and administrative complexity allowed me to build a reliable skill set in a safe environment. Your trust in me to be the individual to make the decisions has done more for me than I could have ever of imagined. This is a M109A6. This is my pimp ride. That brings me to the point of my rambling picture show. After a lot of soul searching, sixteen hour days of gunnery training, and missed ESO raids . . . I realize it is time for me to take off the laurels and hand them over to someone with the time and drive to provide the Ordo Imperialis the active leadership it so greatly deserves. It is an especially difficult decision for me to make. This is like my child. A really big, often crazy, player killing child. You all have a very special place in my heart. But you should be headed up by someone who has the time to give, not a relic of wars long passed. That is not to say I am leaving. I will still play games with you all when I have the time available. I am taking on a more advisory role. Going forward, I am going to essentially be your spiritual guidance. Rather than being the Imperator, I will be your Augustus. I expect statues, sacrifices, and the occasional gigantic feast in my honor. Joking aside, all of the financial obligations I have to the group will continue without issue. I will still make appearances when possible. I will still drink too much and do stupid shit on PS2. The officer cadre is currently working on the question of succession. I am sure you all will hear something soon. I have left it largely in their hands, but it appears the big question is currently whether or not we should be led by a council, or led by another benevolent tyrant. All in all, I am confident we all have nothing short of great things in our future. This group is beyond measure. You are all wonderful people, whom I value and thank so very much for your contributions to my life. If I had the time, I would attempt to list each of you down the line and put my thoughts. Unfortunately, that would take like a year to accomplish. So you will have to settle for a collective measure of appreciation: I love you all. Well, now that I am retired, I no longer have to be concerned about offending anyone's sensitivities by my choice of television shows. As such, I leave you with this. My Little Pony is fucking awesome.