Jimmy's dream began back in the relative youth of
electronic communication, when dial-up BBSs took messages grouped by conference name from
geeks and techno-freaks of all ages and waited until night-time to bounce the mail back
and forth across the country's telephone lines. These BBSs assembled themselves into
"networks" run by obsessive control-freaks driven insane by the illusion of
accountability and fear of laws that hadn't yet been written. And then came Jimmy Pearson.
particular BBS network called Interlink (later known as ILink) after two years found Jimmy's
Bytebrothers Technical Support conference to be outside their anal definition of
acceptable and Jimmy responded around 1991 with the creation of his own network, "LUCIFERnet". The new network quickly grew with
BBS participants disgusted
with ILink's tight-ass behavior. LUCIFERnet prohibited absolutely nothing in its
conferences with two exceptions: You could not copy other's messages to outside public
conferences without their permission, and you should not use a false identity. Since
accountability was still seen as a concern, with but a few careful exceptions the
participants were limited to those 18 years of age and older.
was not always well-understood. Even Jimmy's parents had no clue what this was all about,
thinking it was some kind of satanic cult thing. Jimmy created a place where people could
express themselves as they please without fear of retribution, and where the definitions
of acceptable and unacceptable were turned upside-down. Profanity became polite and
politeness was profane. In Jimmy's own words:
"This network and conference is designed as an experiment in
erasing all the lines that appear in the other networks as to what you can and can't say.
It's purpose is to allow flights of fantasy and violent profane and
pornographic humour to be developed by the users. It's purpose is to find out what happens
in a group electronic environment when rules of conduct are eliminated. It seeks to
attract expressive users with vivid imaginations who are tired of what they think is
mundane in networking. Which to a real extent is BANAL BULLSHITTING....
It's secondary purpose is to provide an electronic meeting place for
some of the sickest motherfuckers who have ever used a keyboard."
charisma and wit of Jimmy and the loose guidelines of LNet attracted all kinds of folks.
By 1992 the traffic on LNet was so intense that it exceeded many BBS's capacities and we
actually had to tell folks to shut up until they had something really good to
say. The creative flights of fantasy in LNet's Bytebrothers conference included the
religion of Rintellism, the Cave
Pigs, all kinds of computer-savvy animals with human
traits and foibles, a reincarnation of the infamous Ed Gein
(including recipes!), praise of Fred (Dr. Fred Kantor), and
veiled admiration of Mike Meyer.
year in the end of May, the Wichita River Festival (a
yearly state fair held at the banks of the Arkansas River in Wichita, Kansas) was used as
an excuse for everyone to get together from all over the country. Such was the draw of
Jimmy's charisma. Even people from other countries would show up to party. The
both on-line as well as at the Riverfest created friendships and bonds that have lasted
through the years and across the miles, and even many years after Jimmy's passing, some
of the Bytebrothers still get together at the Riverfest to party together.
Pearson, born 1949, was an engineer for fifteen years at Wichita Kansas Boeing, and also
authored a number of popular adventure software titles including Lucifer's Realm (an early 1980's TRS-80/Atari cult
classic), The Institute, Earthquake San Francisco 1906, The Curse of Crowley
Manor, and Escape from Traam, as well as Parascan (a
hysterically funny phony freeware MS-DOS virus scanner). Jimmy was railroaded by Boeing in
1993 and deprived of medical benefits, and discovered cancer tumours in his neck not long
after. Jimmy lost his battle with metasticized lymphoma in 1994, leaving his elderly
parents overwhelmed with grief, but greeted with an outpouring of sympathy and assistance
from the Bytebrothers he left behind. It was only then that they truly understood what
Jimmy had become.