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The Lag
by Gared Lirian Poh

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I mudded long and weary,
Killing many a large and armored monster near the DS core;
While I pounded, nearly killing, my monitor with text was filling,
Then the screen became unwilling, unwilling to scroll some more.
'Tis some static,' I muttered, 'to keep my screen from scrolling more -
Only this, and nothing more!

Ah, distinctly I remember, as I was trying to dismember
And each separated member dropped from corpse to hit the floor,
Eagerly I wished to level - struck the last blow to this devil,
But I had no time to revel, revel in my higher score,
Because the text was not scrolling up along my monitor;
There it sat and moved no more.

As I waited there uncertain, knowing my character was hurtin',
Thrilled me - filled me with terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I sat repeating,
'Tis some static, merely fleeting, affecting my monitor.
Some late static, very fleeting, affecting my monitor.
This it is, and nothing more.'

Presently, my signal stronger, text upon my screen scrolled longer
And my play resumed, up to the speed at which I played before.
The traceroute of my connection listed PING response perfection;
Packets needed no correction, correction so I could mud more;
Satisfied that all was clear now, here I tried to type some more -
Stillness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that stillness peering, long I sat there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, cursing curses no mortal ever dared to curse before.
But, the stillness was unbroken, though the keys I kept on pokin',
And I sat there nearly chokin', staring at the monitor.
'Lag!' I whispered, and the stillness mocked me on my monitor.
Merely this, and nothing more.

With a new traceroute returning, all my soul within me burning,
There again I saw the same routers which I had seen before.
'Surely,' said I, 'surely that is something in the network lattice,
Let me find out where the threat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore.
'Tis the server, nothing more.'

Open here I flung the port, expecting PING time to be short,
When in did step a vicious lag of a type from tales of lore;
Not the least obeisance made it; not an instant eased or strayed it;
As my master came and stayed it, barring me from using 'score' -
Barring me from seeing the results of the command called 'score' -
Barring me, and nothing more.

Then this lingering lag, taunting me by giving me my wanting
By clearly showing me content of a packet that it bore;
'Though thy crest be overflowing, surely there's no harm in knowing
Whether I'm coming or going from selling EQ at the store?
Tell me what's the harm in knowing whether I am at the store?'
Quoth the lag, 'This is your score.'

Much I marvelled at receiving this token, and thus believing
That my problems were behind me, that now I could play some more.
Thus I entered some more commands, wishing it to show my demands,
Even yet it there stock still stands, scrolling not my monitor.
Not so much as flickered did the text upon my monitor;
Not even: 'This is your score.'

But the lag did sit here smugly as my countenance turned ugly,
Those four words did cause me grief as no four words had done before.
Nothing further then he uttered - not an eyelash then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered, 'Other lags did I ignore -
On the morrow he will leave me because he did I ignore.'
Then it said, 'This is your score.'

Startled at the text so scrolling when it had not thence been rolling
Brought me from my reverie to the problems I had in store.
'Caught from some bottlenecked router, it will find a path that's stouter
Following along the outer eastern seaboard near the shore;
Yes, a clearer path will find it following the eastern shore,
And then I can play some more.'

But this lingering lag, taunting me by giving me my wanting,
Straight I traced the router's path from mud server to bedroom's door;
Then, upon the route I tarried, pondering the packets carried,
Where the many and the varied convos of opinions soar;
Conversations and opinions on the shoutline they do soar,
And I get: 'This is your score.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the lag whose long delay now burned me to the very core;
This and more I sat desiring: blasters that I could be firing,
Coming, going, never tiring - killing troopers by the core;
I desired to kill stormies surrounding the DS core,
Not just this, 'This is your score.'

Then methought the lag grew thicker, traceroute showing I'm no quicker;
Swing I fist through air that I might connect with the monitor.
'Wretch,' I cried with mounting fervor, 'I must reach this telnet server!
Do not tease me with your perverted view of the room before.
It should not take me so long to see the room I saw before!'
Quoth the lag, 'This is your score.'

'Lag,' said I, 'evil incarnate! I can't play my mud, gosh darn it!
Care I not from whence thou came, but get thee back into Hell's door!
Delay me not from killing guards, stealing ships with forged ship cards;
I must collect bounty rewards for Tarkin's death by DS core!
Let me go to Eichbaum to collect on Tarkin from the core!'
Quoth the lag, 'This is your score.'

'Lag,' said I, 'evil incarnate! I can't play my mud, gosh darn it!
By internet that connects me to server via router -
Tell this soul without delaying - willst thou let me keep on playing,
Or am I bound now to staying in this spot forevermore?
Will I ever move again, or am I here forevermore?'
Quoth the lag, 'This is your score.'

'Be those words our sign of parting; get thee gone!' I shrieked, upstarting -
'Get thee back into the 'Net and my IP do thus ignore!
Leave no stuttering connection, for thy absence is perfection -
Leave me go my own direction, wand'ring 'round the DS core;
Delay me not as I wander through the battle station's core.'
Quoth the lag, 'This is your score.'

And the lag beast, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On my IP as I make my way to mud server's router;
And its tentacles, outstretching, more mudders each day it's catching;
And it soon will have me fetching new EQ from corpse on floor.
Will I reconnect in time? This lag which pins me to the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore.

Editor's Note:
It is a little known fact that the famed literary author, Edgar Allen Poe, used the pen name of 'Gared Lirian Poh' for his earliest works. This particularly rare piece is rumored to have been written after Poe woke up from an unusually futuristic dream in which he foresaw people of all nations conversing through a strange device, called a 'monitor' in this piece. These people would write letters upon this 'monitor' with 'keys', and other people would answer back through the 'routers', 'servers', and 'internet' mentioned.

Though Poe did not comprehend the meaning of these words, the feelings he derived through the dream gave him the compelling descriptions which you read in the above poem. Poe put these feelings to paper and published it under the pseudonym 'Gared Lirian Poh' to see how this absurd piece would be received. It flopped miserably - Society of the time had no basis for understanding the unique concepts presented, and thus ridiculed it.

Wishing to distance himself from the piece, future publications were published under his real name, and thus was nearly forgotten this fanciful story. Many years later, when all trace of this poem was forgotten, Poe chanced reusing the rhyme and meter of this piece to create something more acceptable to Society. It was called 'The Raven', and for this piece Poe was highly praised. But, there are indications that Poe was secretly mocking the Society which ridiculed him by reusing the style of this piece, so highly criticized, to finally dumb it down to something Society understood.

The veracity of this theory shall be known - nevermore.

This parody is the copyright of Liria (SWmud webmistress).
Please ask for permission before using it in any way. Thank you.

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