Hope and tragedy.
My Dreamcast and I have been best buddies since July 2000, right after a terrible relationship I was in broke up. He got me through some pretty dark nights and on out the other side I can tell you. He's been a patient friend too - happy to play second fiddle whenever I foolishly decided to share our life with new partners: Xbox, PSP, PStwo, Gamecube and Sarah.
And then, early in October, I had another devastating break-up. Once again the heart was in two. So of course again I turned to DC to help me move on. But this time I thought it only right and proper that I share with him something special, so I booked us a holiday. Me an him and some good friends - there would be sun, sand, and the turquoise blue of the Caribbean sea. Among the laughs and frolics however, what I hadn't expected was tragedy.
This is our story.
Ahead of us lay an eight hour flight, transfer and finally later that evening, the deck of a boat in the British Virgin Islands.
I couldn't blame DC for wanting to beat the boredom with a quick go on his favorite PSP game Everybody's Golf. Luckily we'd bought a spare extra-capacity battery with us so there would be enough PSP for the both of us.
We've both always been very conscious of the importance of good sun safety. It's such a shame that we would forget good habits only a few days in the future.
Ahh, a lovely, lovely bit of beach in the distance. DC and I could already smell adventure. Also fish.
First base! Here we are having swum the last few feet and having dragged a net of beers with us. The first of our lost days.
Time to splash in. DC is an experienced diver and always kept his head about him, but even on this first day of snorkeling I could feel, oh I don't know, 'something' in the air. It was as if DC knew that the world was changing and maybe he wasn't liking the prospect of that change very much?
DC, swimming with my father, is shown the first incredible sight of that astonishing first day...
Making good use of his fin-mounted camera, DC investigates a passing Tarpon...
And then come hundreds more!
I remember thinking at the time that it was unusual for DC to have let his snorkel reverse like that. In retrospect I should have seen that it was just the first of a series of dire warnings.
But for now the extraordinary encounters would continue...
I so wish this was a video shot, I can still today hear DC warbling the theme from Stingray through his snorkel: 'Stingray! Stingray! lalalal all al ala ala ' he went. Such a daft boy.
DC said the underwater action had tired him out somewhat and asked if perhaps we might spend a day ashore.
And we did just that, a fantastic day of chat and relaxation right on the beach but still very close to a bar. Heaven.
DC might have been tired but still found spare energy to indulge in his usual pranks...
Ahhh, the beer and the warmth made for a heady evening soother and proved better than Horlicks as an aide to rest.
Night night old friend. Night night.
The sea was unusually calm that fateful day - it was as if the gods were preparing themselves for the passing of an age. And in many ways that was exactly what it proved to be. Once again we were on board the good ship Virgin Venture II and this time headed out for the wonderful clear water of Little Harbour.
DC was, of course, straight back into that azure blue and before very long he came upon this gentle little knight of the sea - yes, our old friend the jelly fish. Again, at the time I missed the warning signs, perhaps it had been the six Carib's we'd shared on deck before splashing in, maybe it was the euphoria of the moment - but I should have realised then and there that DC was going in far too close...
And then it happened.. WHAM! DC had a face-full of angry, disturbed and stinging jelly fish.
I could hear his screams but struggled to react in time before he plunged, lifeless, to the bottom of the reef.
Where the current tossed him about like a lollystick in a tumble dryer.
On deck the crew were alerted to the problem after I had broken the surface and shouted for them to get a crash kit readied. Simultaneously the most able diver among us took a brave gamble and made it down to my stricken friend.
As the injured Sega was brought near, the crew's concern was clear for all to see.
Moments later a tragic scene was to be played-out under the brutal sun of a Caribbean midday.
Frantic attempts at CPR, and I still struggle to type this weeks later, failed. DC passed away at 12:39PM on Sunday the 30th of October 2005.
The post mortem, carried out by a top English pathologist, later showed the cause of death to have mostly been sand and that getting into things.
Well, the doctors can have their fiendish games of dissection and dissemination but nothing can change the cold fact that under that terrible tool is my old friend, my special friend DC. And I shall not think of him in that cruel state but prefer instead to remember him in his true paradise - the environment in which he could be truly free. Dreamcast - may you rest in Peace...
DC: July 2000 to October 2005. Much missed.
Not a single animal, especially not that cunting jelly fish, was harmed in the making of this article. Also not a single pixel of any image has been photoshopped or manipulated in any way - I did however stand on a chair to get the DC jammed into that bunch of bananas. There may have been deadly spiders.