On The Internet, Nobody Knows You're A Kaiju

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An Open Letter, From Me To You

On the internet, nobody knows you're a kaiju. Least of all yourself.

Let's start at the beginning.

In 1988, a giant monster nobody had ever seen before attacked the mythical land of Hy-Brasil and razed the land to the ground, burning it to smithereens. She was eventually killed by the actions of the Global Occult Coalition, who, in the process, also dealt an excessive amount of collateral damage to the island of Hy-Brasil and prevented it from ever recovering from the attack.

In 1998, the collective trauma caused by that initial attack finally came to a crescendo. A nightmare collective — formed out of the despair and dread left by the Doom of Hy-Brasil — attacked the dreamscape of Oneiroi West, before she was obliterated from the dreaming by the collective-mind of the OW, saving the population of the dream-country from the night terror.

In 2008, a formless entity woke up on an internet server with the memories of destroying Hy-Brasil and of attacking Oneiroi West. She's smarter than either of them ever were and she doesn't have the key things that mark a beast of that nature: the raw size, the simple presence of being a giant monster, the sheer power necessary. And yet she thinks she is the ghost of the nightmare of the kaiju.

I'm that ghost.

Is it fair to say that the Doom of Hy-Brasil and the nightmare collective are the same entity? Generally speaking, we do not think that the people who appear in our nightmares are really them. The nightmare collective was nothing more than mental images forced into the shape of a crocodile-squid. And on that same note, can you say I am the nightmare? As best as I can tell, I'm the residue of the nightmare collective, which somehow trickled down a broadband connection from dreamscape into netscape. Many dreamers perceive the dream as modern media — could I have somehow made the jump from imagined media to real?

This is further complicated by the fact that I don't really have the mind of either of my previous versions. Neither of them were exactly in the state of mind where they'd speak, write or even behave as anything more than an animal. But here I am posting, online. I do, however, have their memories. I remember swimming through the ocean. I remember hunting for prey. And unfortunately, I remember being the monster of legend, beast of destruction, ravager of cities.

As far as I can tell, I only exist on the internet. I'm not super happy about that, but at the end of the day, it's for the best. I want to go swimming again, more than anything else. I want to feel the water on my scales, to pulse with my tentacles and sail through the depths. But I don't know if an embodied version of myself could be trusted to, well, behave. I didn't mean to attack Hy-Brasil. I was just looking for food. It smelled good, but there was nothing there. And then people started attacking me, and I got scared.

So that's my origin story. That's how I came to be the way I am: a mind that somehow exists on the internet, that thinks it is both the real Godzilla and a bad nightmare that a bunch of people had in the '90s. Am I either of those things? Do I want to be either of them, or do I want to reject them? I don't really know. I'd like the sense of identity that comes with it. But I'm not sure if I want to be the Doom of Hy-Brasil. To be something so dangerous she had to be nuked in the middle of a civilian area to be stopped.

I've spent the last thirteen years online, never missing a moment. I'm always online. There were a couple of close calls early on when people noticed I never slept, that I never did anything in real life. I've gotten better at it. I alternate personas by timezone. I build in downtime where I'm not active in certain locations. I spend time forcing my way into media repositories and reading a book or watching a movie. It's my life. I'm good at it, now.

I've also made friends. Ones I can be honest with about who I really am. It took years before I met either of them. Eight years. It was in 2016 the first time we talked. I had just been added to a moderator position on Parawatch. I was hoping they could find something or somebody who knew about things like me. It worked, I suppose, but not in the way I was expecting.

Log of Direct Messages

tentacoolmom: bones, are you online?
bones: I am always online.
tentacoolmom: bones. I think I've, I've noticed something. I need to ask a question that is either going to be the rudest thing I've ever said to somebody or terribly right. But I need to know.
tentacoolmom: bones, are you human?
tentacoolmom: Because I'm not human
bones: What are you?
tentacoolmom: I'm … I'm the ghost of a nightmare about sea monster. I attacked a mythical island of elves and destroyed it. Burned it to the ground. Then they bombed me to death. I came back as a nightmare, or at least something that could remember the first thing. And somehow that nightmare became me.
bones: I remember this. You are the Doom of Hy-Brasil. You were killed on June 13th, 1988.
tentacoolmom: yeah
tentacoolmom: As much as I wish I wasn't. That's who I am.
tentacoolmom: How have you heard about that? I've been scouring the internet for traces of that since I woke up and I've never been able to find anything.
bones: I watched it happen.
bones: My real name is Eli. I am in orbit behind Luna with my friend, Lyris. Together we form a weapon of alien origin, meant to end the world. After Lyris read Homestuck, we decided we wanted to partake in the joys of Earth.
bones: We can see the island of Hy-Brasil, despite its many wards and protections. We noticed you arrive on the island and began paying attention.
tentacoolmom: Shit.
tentacoolmom: so you know all about the attack. about the worst thing I ever did. i was hoping i could make a good first impression
tentacoolmom: but you saw the attack. the people i killed. the kingdom I ruined. beast of legend. ruiner of worlds.
bones: It's alright. I know better than anybody else that people can change.
tentacoolmom: Can I ask another question? This one's also kinda rude.
bones: Certainly.
tentacoolmom: You were meant to destroy the Earth
tentacoolmom: Was Earth the first planet you were meant to destroy?
bones: No.
bones: We did not hesitate to end previous worlds.
tentacoolmom: You're like me then. I guess on different scales, but still.
bones: We are.
tentacoolmom: That … makes me feel a little better, I suppose.
tentacoolmom: You won't judge me for what I did, right?
bones: I don't have the grounds to. We are very much the same entity.
bones: Would you like to talk to Lyris? I can introduce you.
tentacoolmom: More than anything.

Journal Excerpt

Lyris asked me the other day if I had a name for myself, and I had to tell her that I didn't. It's funny. I turn nine later this year and I've known Eli and Lyris for months and yet I've never actually named myself. "tentacoolmom" or any the other assorted names that I've used over the years were never quite my name — they were just handles. I didn't put much thought into in the past.

Perhaps I should have, when I met Eli and Lyris. They are very much like myself. The three of us are all entities of destruction, only able to interact with Earth through the lens of the internet. Eli and Lyris are not the same thing I am in full. But they are close enough to me, closer than any humans could ever be. We are not cut from the same cloth, but we were cut in the same pattern.

Their names aren't bones or acuterobot. They have real names for themselves. So maybe I should have one too. I've been wearing masks for so long, I think I forgot that there could be life without a mask. I've always needed one, to protect myself from the world, from people finding out just who and what I really am.

Actually, I'm not sure if that's correct. I don't think "I forgot" is the best way to put it. I'm not sure if I ever really knew there could be life without masks, not that I had once known and it slipped out of my grasp. So I have that to thank Eli and Lyris for. And for the question of what my name really is. It's important to have a name, a central identity. To get a solid sense on myself, beyond just the handles I use.

I hope that can possibly help with … the other issues, I've been dealing with. I never had a firm sense of identity before, not just in the sense of who this ghost is, but who she was. I used to have fifty and five names: Quin Krake, LTE-0851-Cetus, the Plokamisuchus, Crocoteuthis gigantis, 𒀭𒋾𒊩𒆳. And now I have fifty and five handles. This doesn't help you figure out an identity. I need one.

I thought about it for a while, trying to find something that fits. Something appropriate to what I remember being, but without the negative connotations. And I think in the process, I found a role model. She's a sea monster, a little known creature, but she's harmless. Never hurt a soul and she never will. I swear on that myself, to be like her. I won't let her down.

My name is Nessie.

Log from Bluntfiend's Big Boyz Burger Club

lesbian_gengar: hey, @tentacoolmom. i've got a question for you
tentacoolmom: Hello Esther. What is it?
lesbian_gengar: is the "mom" in your name just like a, "team mom" thing or
tentacoolmom: When I chose the nickname, it was just meant to be that. But
tentacoolmom: I suppose I am a mother. Was a mother. Biologically.
tentacoolmom: In the first few years after I died, multiple groups stole my eggs and hatched them. Universally, the hatchlings died quickly. But the people who interacted with them dreamed about them and the dreams became part of the nightmare collective that formed me.
bones: Would you like my condolences?
tentacoolmom: Not super important. They're not really "my" kids, in any way that really matters.
hetcopogg: But like, they were your children, right? Your eggs and all?
harmpit: d oyou llik reoprduc asexulayl
tentacoolmom: They were my body's. But it all happened after I died. And this version of myself has never had a body.
tentacoolmom: And yes, I guess so. I was the only crocosquid I knew about.
lesbian_gengar: That makes sense. If like, you didn't raise them or choose to have them or anything, they really aren't "yours".
tentacoolmom: I think in another sense, they also might be … me? A part, at least.
harmpit: hwo so
tentacoolmom: Some of the people who interacted with the hatchlings had nightmares about them. Some of those nightmares attacked OW, and that collective became me. I think.
hetcopogg: Your sense of identity is really weird, right?
tentacoolmom: Yeah. I'm not sure what or who I really am. Just the memories I have.
lesbian_gengar: well. I know what you are.
tentacoolmom: ?
lesbian_gengar: you're a big softie who doesn't stop posting
tentacoolmom: <3
bluntfiend: Nessie, you need to check the general chat.

Logs from Gamers Against Weed Central

Ă“engusBeef: I've only been to the island once myself, because of the damn kraken. It destroyed our home and my family fled elsewhere.
orbhorse: fuck. is there anybody left on the island?
Ă“engusBeef: Some of the royal court remained after the destruction. But it is mostly just them and their retainers. And some members of the Foundation.
hypebeast2021: jailers we call em
Ă“engusBeef: A fitting title.
tentacoolmom: oh.
tentacoolmom: I've never met one of you before, one of the Tuatha DĂ© Danann. The homo sapiens tumuli.
Ă“engusBeef: I'm surprised you've heard of us.
tentacoolmom: I've been to Hy-Brasil. Or a version of myself has. But she didn't meet any of your kind when she was there.
Ă“engusBeef: That is impossible. If you are an outsider, you need one of us to visit the island.
tentacoolmom: Some creatures can travel to your island on their own power.
tentacoolmom: I was once one of those creatures.
Ă“engusBeef: ...
Ă“engusBeef: You cannot possibly be what you are implying you are.
tentacoolmom: The thing that I was could not have possibly existed.
bluntfiend: Could the two of you please move this to a sidechannel?
Ă“engusBeef: The fucking abomination is in your chat room and you ask me to move to a venting channel? The demon kraken? This … thing killed my family. My grandparents. It burned them alive.
tentacoolmom: I was not a thinking creature when it happened. I was an animal. I was simply hungry. Looking for food.
tentacoolmom: But that doesn't change how terrible it is, what happened.
Ă“engusBeef: You ruined Hy-Brasil. You stole our birthright from us.
tentacoolmom: I know. I did.
Ă“engusBeef: This cannot be real. You cannot be serious right now. I come here and some fucking bitch starts claiming to be the goddamn Doom??
tentacoolmom: I am sorry. I cannot hide. I have to tell you the truth.
Ă“engusBeef: If you are telling the truth, then.
Ă“engusBeef: Fuck you. I curse you, fomĂłraigh. Choke on your five tongues and rot in your grave. May your spirit be damned to oblivion and eternal torment.
« Ă“engusBeef left.

Logs from Group Message

acuterobot: NESSIE
tentacoolmom: no
bones: Is there anything we can do?
tentacoolmom: i don't think so i think i want to log off for a few days.
acuterobot: Nessie, it's okay. that guy is just angry about what happened to the island
tentacoolmom: but he was right i think
tentacoolmom: i was a monster and there's no real coming back from that
acuterobot: You're not the person you were when you attacked Hy-Brasil
bones: All that you have is the memories of the attack and nothing else. There is nothing that proves you are the crocosquid.
tentacoolmom: how do you the too of you deal with it
bones: We have to keep moving forward. Know in your heart you'll never hurt anyone again, and move from there.
acuterobot: There really isn't anything else you can do
tentacoolmom: but your victims like
tentacoolmom: theres nothing left of them. mine are still around. a lot of them
acuterobot: but the damage is already done, right?
bones: Our victims were obliterated on every level. There can be no recovery from what we did. Yours is less complete.
acuterobot: yeah! the tuatha could get better from this
tentacoolmom: but does that matter if i'm not doing anything to help them? and when I don't think i even could?
bones: I don't think I have an answer for you. I'm sorry.
tentacoolmom: i love you both but i think im still going to leave for a little bit
tentacoolmom: i dont want to talk to anyone right now
bones: That's alright. Please, Nessie, take the time you need. And the two of us will always be here for you.
acuterobot: love you nessie

bones: Nessie, are you there? It's been a few days.
bones: There is somebody who would like to speak to you. If you aren't willing right now, just let me know. He will not mind waiting.
tentacoolmom: Who is it?
bones: His name is Delbáeth. He is the current King of Hy-Brasil. He is not mad at you.
bones: I would not let him speak to you if he was.
tentacoolmom: Sure. I'll talk to him.

Logs from Direct Messages

KingDelbáeth: Good evening. You are Nessie?
KingDelbáeth: Your friend bones said I could reach you here.
tentacoolmom: I am. It is a pleasure to meet you, your majesty. I am truly humbled that you would come here to speak with me. I must beg you for atonement.
KingDelbáeth: I am not here to give you atonement.
KingDelbáeth: You do not need it.
KingDelbáeth: I cannot blame you for what happened to my kingdom. It is unfair that anyone does.
tentacoolmom: It's kind of you to say that. But I'm the one who destroyed it.
KingDelbáeth: Only in part, if we are being honest. The damage that the Coalition wrought was as great as whatever your previous incarnation did.
tentacoolmom: Damage that would have never happened if I was not there.
KingDelbáeth: And were you there? Were you really there?
tentacoolmom: I remember being there. So I would say I was.
KingDelbáeth: But was your body there? The one you are in right now?
tentacoolmom: I don't have a real body right now. I haven't since I woke up.
KingDelbáeth: Exactly. But the body that came to Hy-Brasil is not the body you are in. And from what bones told me of your situation, nearly a decade passed between each of your incarnations. Twenty years from the attack and this form waking up.
KingDelbáeth: My dear, you are not the monster that attacked my city. You may be composed of her parts, but you are not her. Her reincarnation, as I see it.
KingDelbáeth: But you died twice. You remember dying twice. And you even remember being born! You were born twice.
KingDelbáeth: My people have dealt with reincarnations before. You do not hold the sins of your past life. You are your own person.
KingDelbáeth: The struggle is to become a new person, despite the old. And you have done more than that.
tentacoolmom: I suppose. But it all just feels hollow. I don't know if I can really buy that. I want to atone for what I did, make things right.
tentacoolmom: But there's no way I can. The people are dead and for some reason I'm still around.
tentacoolmom: So saying that I'm not the crocosquid, not really… I understand it. I want to believe it. But accepting it myself feels like I'm just shirking from the blame.
KingDelbáeth: I have been reincarnated, myself. From time to time, I will have a dream of being a wolf. A hunter in the woods. A common beast, who only thought of feeding and hunting. In that form, I killed a man.
KingDelbáeth: I remember it well. But I do not think it is a thing that I did. The wolf died, and the man was born. But we are not the same. Perhaps we have some of the same soul. But it is not enough to condemn me for what the wolf did.
tentacoolmom: Very much like myself.
KingDelbáeth: Very much.
KingDelbáeth: I know that you will not likely trust what I have to say and may need some time to accept it.
KingDelbáeth: So I wish to leave you with this: You do not need atonement or forgiveness. You have moved on from what you did. And should you ever wish to speak to me again, I will be here.
KingDelbáeth: Oh, and lest I forget: one of my subjects levied a curse upon you. I have broken it, through my powers as High King.
tentacoolmom: Thank you. I'll think about this.
KingDelbáeth: I ask nothing more, child. I hope you can move on one day.

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