I don’t remember how I got there, but in addition to #tf I spent a lot of time in a channel called #dragonrealm. At the time, #dragonrealm was DALnet’s official help channel, and a hangout for the IRC Operators. Just as an Op was to a channel, an IRCop had control over the entire network. So naturally, I had a new goal.
My Internet Service Provider at the time was a company based out of East Syracuse, NY called Dreamscape. When I saw that there was a server called dreamscape.ny.us.dal.net, I got curious and started talking to the admin of that server, a girl named Alaranth. As it turned out, Alaranth was indeed an employee of my ISP, and hosted the server there.
In November or December, I met Alaranth in person. She was working at a Dreamscape kiosk at a nearby mall, and I visited her there. She was, of course, connected to IRC via a console-based client (which I still can barely operate myself) and pointed out to the rest of #dragonrealm that “Ayuk is here.” Fortunately, that name didn’t stick.
After a few months of my relentlessly annoying her, Alaranth sent me a msg saying “o:*ayukawa@*.dreamscape.com:<pass>:ayukawa:0:100” and to fill in the <pass> part of it. She was offering me an o:line, making me an IRCop. I was a “local” IRCop of course, meaning I had no power over anything on other servers, and I had to go through quite a bit of rather boring training sessions while I was still considered to be a trial.
A few long weeks later I was upgraded to a global operator. Some idiot was harassing Charmz pretty well, and kept jumping to other servers where I couldn’t remove him. Alaranth updated my o:line on the spot, and I took care of him a little more permanently.
I happily spent my time as an IRCop on dreamscape for quite some time, but as with any community, there is drama. Alaranth’s boyfriend HoopyCat ran another server on the network, nether.dal.net. For reasons I do not know, his server was delinked from the network. Shortly afterward, he got into some fight with dalvenjah (DALnet’s founder) and jumped onto dreamscape. dalvenjah responded by delinking dreamscape on the spot.
I ended up connecting to opus.dal.net, a server ran by white_dragon, that I had a backup o:line on. Hoopy did the same, but I remember white_dragon spoke up and said “dal, if you delink us, we are NOT coming back”. I myself got vocal in the discussion, and was responded to with a quote that I still have people asking me about 16 years later, “Ayukawa, fuck you and the penis you rode in on.”
dreamscape.dal.net never came back. Alaranth and HoopyCat moved on to Undernet, and white_dragon made me a full oper on opus.dal.net. When opus delinked due to lack of support from its hosting ISP, I moved to barovia.dal.net. I would remain on barovia.dal.net for quite some time, until my abrupt banishment from the network.