It’s all in the details.
ENROUTE TO KU5R-W
The Onslaught swam effortlessly through warp. General Mako stood stiffly on the deck of his bridge, surveying his command crew with keen interest. His crew had always followed orders without question, earning them the name they wore proudly, Mako’s Faithful, and as the dreadnoughts continued forward in flawless synchronization, he realized once again he had planned out every single detail to perfection. There would be no escape for his prey; there never was.
FADE REGION – I-UU15
Tessa was not happy, but she was always one to have a plan. PyjamaSam had explained the situation to her, Lady Grey attesting to the truth of it all, reinforcing PyjamaSam’s strong convictions, leaving no doubt in Tessa’s mind as to the severity of their situation. The evacuation she had ordered was already underway, but their were still far too many personnel here in I-UU15, along with billions of isk in ships and goods.
She nudged her battleship forward into warp, heading to VAF’s new home far away, most of the evacuation fleet slaved to her navigation computer, entering warp alongside her.
Lady Grey had stayed with PyjamaSam despite the executive order to evacuate the station immediately. PyjamaSam had rushed them back to his workshop, cursing intermittently as he knocked equipment to the side, searching for things beyond her grasp. “Nothing’s in place, how the hell am I supposed to find anything? Who moved my stuff?!?!” She felt her heart sink at his outbursts. He had no idea how hard she had worked at this, and he didn’t even appreciate her efforts. She shook her head at that, forcing back the tears threatening to overwhelm her.
“What’s wrong with you?” PyjamaSam asked neutrally, and she hated him suddenly for his insensitivity. The reality of the man was nothing like what she had worked up her in head as she had nursed him during his coma. Then again, men usually weren’t what she dreamed they would be. She shook her head again. She should’ve known by now that her dream man didn’t exist, and that trying to force one into that perfect mold of her mind’s eye was childish and foolish.
“Nothing. What are you looking for? I’ll help.” she replied. Together, they rummaged through various components spread out across various tables, taking what PyjamaSam said they needed, quickly ignoring the rest. He kept mumbling about no time, and otherwise seemed to have nothing to say at all; at least not to Lady Grey.
Within fifteen minutes, they had assembled, well, she didn’t know what it was. It was a mishmash of what they had collected, and to her untrained eye, looked like nothing that should physically exist nor actually function. PyjamaSam was busy installing the final component, that ominous black box that sent shivers of dread up and down her spine. She hadn’t asked him about it; he hadn’t offered. That was good enough for her.
“Ok, get the cart. We have to get to the clone vats.” PyjamaSam said, startling her from her quiet reflections, and she nodded, quickly moving to fulfill his request. She didn’t know why they were going to the clone vats, or what he hoped to accomplish there, but she had pledged herself to his cause, and even though he had proven himself not worthy of her, she wasn’t one to go back on her word. That wasn’t the way of nobility.
They quickly loaded the equipment onto the dolly cart, and exited PyjamaSam’s workshop, heading for the clone vats.
SOMEWHERE IN PURE BLIND REGION
Roc Wieler pushed the limits of his Firetail, narrowly avoiding this latest surprise assault against him from the Caldari. He was traversing through their space, a known Minmatar Colonel, and that marked him instantly as an enemy to the State. Every jump he made towards Fade Region, towards VAF HQ, towards Sam, was an increasingly difficult risk. He would not be deterred. He would not turn aside. Sam had gotten into this mess because of him, and he would be damned if he let anything happen to his friend because of it; even if he had to cross all of New Eden to make things right.
“Hold on, Sam,” he mumbled to himself, “I’m coming.”
MEDICAL CLONE VATS, VAF HQ
I-UU15 FADE REGION
“No, not there, THERE.” PyjamaSam said, perhaps with more hostility than needed. There was no time, no time. He had to rescue Elly, and he had to do it now. His mental chronometer had already calculated the time it would take for a Minmatar fleet to arrive from its nearest possible location; they had less than two hours remaining to accomplish this task. He had already disabled the tracking device that had escaped his earlier notice, but having been unconscious for two days, it was a most assured fact that whomever was receiving the device’s signal already had their plans well under way.
“Ok, got it!” Lady Grey’s voice said with a small sense of victory. “Try it again.”
Sam checked all the connections, all the output readings. They had jury rigged a clone tube for this experiment with the DNAC, and Sam’s mind was still processing all the information he had discovered regarding the device from his Null Aura construct.
The DNAC, or DNA computer, was a terran relic, and not a being in all of New Eden today knew exactly when they were created, but there did exist obscure records to their origins and how to operate similar devices, though almost nobody had ever acquired one in the universe’s history, or at least never recorded it.
There was one record, however, a series of journal entries belonging to a noble family, whom could trace their ancestry back to the original exodus into New Eden. This journal was their most guarded legacy, their most prized possession, but Nora had stripped away that secrecy quickly. The journals chronicled the life of one of their ancestors, Ellen, or Elly as she was lovingly known, whom was an accomplished geneticist of the age, a clone technology research specialist without peer. Sam had found all of her research fascinating, and had quickly scanned these journals virtually, completing finding himself immersed into not just the scholarly notes, but also into the personal intimacy she conveyed about herself.
She had invented the DNAC, the original prototype, and the fact it was still intact and functional was a further testament to the brilliance of this woman from a time forgotten. The DNAC was attached to a host via electrodes to certain positions on the cranium, and literally recorded the entire medulla oblongata onto a single strand of living DNA contained within the device. The machine could then be hooked up to a new living host, and the contents of the DNA imprinted over the existing memories of the host, supressing their consciousness. Elly had documented that after only a few months, the existing consciousness of the host would resurface, essentially killing the current personality. It was an endless cycle of death for whomever’s essence was contained within the machine, though of course, unless they updated its content with each successive life, they would never be the wiser. There were even recorded instances where the resurfacing of the original host was so physically traumatic to the body, that it perished, killing both.
Sam wouldn’t make that mistake. He would bring Elly back; he would give her eternal life as only a capsuleer could experience, and her brilliant mind could continue its work in this day and age, to the benefit of all New Eden both scientifically, and historically.
“You ready?” Lady Grey asked.
“Yeah, I’m ready.” PyjamaSam replied.
I-UU15 FADE REGION
150 KM OUTSIDE VAF HQ
A lone Rapier decloaked, having exited warp to its specified coordinates twenty kilometers outside an insystem cyno jammer. The pilot spun up his black ops jump drive, and within moments the first strike assault fleet of Mako’s Faithful was bridging the jump from their end in a system far from here.
He allowed himself to smile at the thought; five hundred Minmatar Hounds were now enroute to his location.
In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.
He wanted to pretend it was just another morning. He wanted to pretend that the last 48 hours hadn’t happened. He wanted to pretend that he could erase all of this, and just go back to his regular military life.
Pretending was for children. There was no room for make believe in the adult world.
Roc Wieler inserted himself into the pod of his favoured ship, the Renegade, and slowly undocked from the Evati station. He had awakened earlier, hungover, and had made his way back to his quarters for a quick protein shake, a shit, and a shower. He still couldn’t believe what had happened with Mynxee last night, all night; he shook his head, trying to force the memory away. Instead, he only succeeded in making his hangover worse, and was instantly fighting a wave of nausea.
He quickly put some distance between himself and the station, then directed Aura to bring up the scanning overlay. Evati was in a contested state again, according to militia intel reports, and while he had been busy with Mynxee … while he had been busy with his mission, the Amarr were trying to secure a foothold in this sector.
Roc gave a scan to the Bastards channel; more than a dozen pilots reporting online and active for duty. He opened a broadcast, “This is Roc Wieler asking for a wingman to take out some Amarr trash. Anyone interested?” The channel remained dead. He made his request again. Silence was his only response.
Fine. It was obvious how things were going to be since their last outing. Apparently the Bastards had decided to blame him for the botched mission; so be it. If they wanted to ostracize him from their little gang, he would do it without them.
Roc quickly scanned down a Minmatar minor installation, and set out about his priorities. He was a Colonel. He was a soldier. It was his duty to secure this installation for the glory of the Republic. He was already in warp.
At best, it was uneventful; at worst, it was boring. His mind and heart just weren’t into it, his thoughts continually returning to his night with Mynxee. He was having more trouble focusing today than he was accustomed to. He was thankful his remaining engineer and marines were finished their work, and on their way back to the Renegade.
The Bastards channel came alive. “I’ve got a Firetail on scan.” Mr. Frog said, declaring his intention of combat. Roc responded quickly. “That Firetail is me, Frog.”
“Too late, Roc, I’m already through the gate.” Mr. Frog replied, a light hint of glee in his voice.
Roc looked up on his screen. Sure enough, a Punisher decelerated to normal space 120 km in front of him. It sent angry shivers down his spine seeing the Amarr ship; guess it was just gut instinct now to hate the sight of anything Amarr. The Punisher aligned itself towards Roc’s ship, and began accelerating.
Roc opened a comm to his marines. “All aboard, sir; we’re good to go.” the marine sergeant replied. Roc sighed to himself. He really wasn’t in the mood for this, but if the Bastards wanted to test their mettle against a Colonel of the Tribal Liberation Force, who was he to deny them the educational lesson?
“You sure you want to do this, Frog?” Roc asked over the Bastards channel, making sure there were witnesses to their breach of the alliance agreement. Roc was flagged as a friendly, meaning you did NOT fire on your ally.
“I’m pretty sure.” Mr. Frog’s response was aggressive. Had the Bastards revoked their agreement without having the decency to inform him? Was this just some pissing match with Mr. Frog? Roc quickly scanned Mr. Frog’s ship. He was close range fitted, clearly not a match for the Renegade’s faction fit artillery.
“You’re going to lose if you do this, Frog.” Roc said passively into the Bastards channel.
“They all say that until I kill them.” Mr. Frog replied viciously.
Roc checked the distance between them. Mr. Frog’s Punisher was at 80 km and closing quickly. Roc sighed once again, and urged the Renegade to life, reaching maximum velocity on an intercept course in under four seconds. He heard the warning blare of target lock as Mr. Frog locked onto the Renegade, and Roc responded in kind, his weapons locked and tracking the Punisher.
At 35 km, Roc veered away from the Punisher, setting an orbit around it. At the same time, he reached out with his Domination Warp Scrambler, shutting down the warp drive of the Punisher well outside of its weapons range. He then unleashed a full volley of missiles and artillery shells at the Punisher, and watched with satisfaction as its shields quickly dropped.
Mr. Frog was committed to close range, and had no choice but to minimize the distance between them. The Renegade, with its Gisti B Afterburner, was easily quicker than the Punisher, especially with its micro warp drive disabled, and Mr. Frog found himself at a severe disadvantage. He couldn’t warp away form the encounter, he couldn’t get close enough to fire; he was essentially dead, and they both knew it.
Roc continued firing from maximum range, bombarding the Punisher continually. The ship’s armour was littered with holes as their damage control specialist teams worked quickly to repair the ship. Roc allowed himself a smile at the way this fight was going. Did Mr. Frog really think it was going to go down any other way than this?
In his arrogance, Roc didn’t see Mr.Frog’s course adjustment, which used Roc’s own velocity against him, and quickly put the two ships within distance of the Punisher’s weapons. The Renegade shook against the onslaught, it’s shields dropping to half strength, before Roc could get out of range once again. He quickly redirected power from the capacitor to the shield recharger, and watched as his shield strength hit 100% within seconds.
“A little cocky I see.” Mr. Frog said over the Bastards channel.
“Looking in the mirror again then, I wager.” Roc replied.
From his advantageous distance, Roc continued to attack the helpless Punisher. Plates of armour were torn away from the ship, followed by explosions from the internal structure as the ship began its death throes.
It was then that Roc Wieler had an epiphany. It was then that Roc Wieler stopped firing, allowing the Punisher to limp home and fight another day.
The Bastards only had power over Roc that he gave them. They could only get to him because he let them.
It suddenly all made so much sense. The unification of the Republic could not be stopped by the unwilling. It could not be made to happen by the efforts of one man.
The unification of the Republic would only happen when … an emergency call on his private comm. Roc immediately brought up the message.
“Figured it out. Need you here, NOW.” It was signed from Sam. Roc had hoped to hear from him much earlier than this, but was hopeful time was still on their side.
He flicked a private comm link to Frog, addressing him directly. “Better luck next time, Frog.”
“I would’ve had you if you’d been fitted for close range.” Mr. Frog said in a defeated voice.
“Yeah, but I’m not, and you didn’t.” Roc said happily as he aligned for warp, destination, Vanguard Frontiers.
Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
She hadn’t left his side since the incident. She didn’t know why, but she felt it was her responsibility; her obligation and duty to be there for him. She had even cleaned and organized his workshop, no small feat, but it helped her occupy the hours of the day, distracted her from the medical equipment and its incessant beeping. She realized she shouldn’t complain about the beeping, it was a constant reminder that PyjamaSam wasn’t dead.
Lady Grey could feel the tears welling up inside her again. She had only received basic field medicine training, as did all capsuleers, and she had messed up, sending herself into a hysteria when she thought PyjamaSam was dead. She still didn’t know why it upset her as much as it had; she had seen many allies die; she was no stranger to death.
But it had, and she had countless hours since the incident to dwell on those feelings, and other feelings that accompanied it. She shaved PyjamaSam’s face, she sponge bathed his body; she changed his clothes and exercised his muscles to prevent bed sores and atrophy.
The medical team had arrived swiftly when she had sounded the emergency alarm. With ruthless efficiency, they had placed PyjamaSam on a gurney and diagnosed him. She remembered the wave of relief she felt when their doctor had pronounced PyjamaSam was alive; she remembered how her heart sank when he followed that up with a declaration of not knowing what was wrong with him, or how to help him. All they could do was make him comfortable, so she had.
She had received written exemption from her duties to tend to PyjamaSam; he was important to all of them. As the hours stretched by, many of her corpmates had dropped in to check on PyjamaSam, and to check on her. It was a somber mood that permeated VAF HQ. Who would’ve known the eccentric, reclusive man could have such an effect on them all?
She reached her hand gently across PyjamaSam’s face, moving a rebellious lock of hair to the side. He was actually handsome in his own way. She recoiled, admonishing herself quickly. What would people think if someone of her stature, assumed or real, was found to be romantically linked to someone like PyjamaSam. A part of her felt guilty at the thought, but she quickly drowned it out. No, she was here because someone had to be, not because she found herself fantasizing about the catatonic man before her, and the life they could have together.
She just wanted things to go back to normal, well, to go back to what passed as normal for them. She just wanted PyjamaSam to wake up, to do what he did, so she could get stop worrying and get back to her job. A part of her secretly hoped that he would be pleased when he saw how clean his workshop was, how much effort she had made to impress him. She scolded herself once again for allowing such girlish sentiments to rise to conscious thought.
Besides, the doctor said PyjamaSam may never wakeup. They hadn’t even unplugged him from the machine he was attached to. “It’s an unacceptable risk.” the doctor had said. “We have no idea what that machine is, nor how to operate it, and more importantly, how to turn it off without risk to Samual.”
She had watched the screen for the Null Aura more times than she could recall. She wasn’t sure what it was either, but she had an idea about it. It looked like a standard Aura interface, with similar controls, and she had voiced as much many times over, but the decision had been made not to interfere with whatever experiment PyjamaSam had found himself lost in.
Then there was the mysterious black box. It just sat there on a workbench, enticingly. She hadn’t touched it, hadn’t moved it during her numerous hours of cleaning. It scared her. She had no idea what it was, but it just gave off a “vibe”, if one believed in such things, an ominous feeling of dread, and she wanted nothing to do with it.
She assisted PyjamaSam’s body to drink some liquid. It was a protein drink filled with all the nutrients needed to nourish his body. He probably had never taken such good care of himself in his life. That made her giggle a little, but she quickly stifled it, looking around quickly to see if anyone had noticed, but of course, the workshop was empty except for PyjamaSam and herself.
Screw it. If nobody was willing to do anything, he might remain like this forever. She walked over to the Null Aura console. She knew what it was called because of the piece of tape on it, with the words handwritten in permanent marker. She had made many hypotheses on what it could be. Maybe it was some device that bent Aura to the will of the user. Maybe it was a device that was meant to destroy the Aura Network altogether, though she doubted PyjamaSam would ever create something so sinister. Maybe Null was an index of 0, his first version of an improved Aura interface. Nobody knew but him, and he wasn’t in a state to be very helpful.
She tapped some standard informational commands into the keyboard, like it was a standard Aura device. The responses were exactly what she would’ve expected from a public Aura terminal. She typed in some more commands, slowly feeling her confidence build. She could be the one to save him. Her conscience reminded her none too gently that she could also be the one to kill him.
That made her step back for a minute. She really was playing God here, and what gave her that right? She argued with herself internally for a good five minutes before finally setting her resolve and approaching the Null Aura terminal once more.
She inhaled deeply, holding the breath, then typed in the series of command to disengage the program, shutting it down.
There were some confirmation lines which appeared in rapid succession on the screen, then the cursor simply sat there, blinking, taunting her. She didn’t know what else was required. She counted in her mind, chancing a glance towards PyjamaSam. Nothing had changed in his condition. She looked back at the monitor. Ten seconds, twenty seconds…
“Hey.” she heard a voice say nearby, and nearly jumped out of her skin, a small shriek emitting from her mouth. Her breath wooshed out quickly, giving her a mild head rush. She realized she had been holding her breath the entire time.
She felt a small smile creeping onto her face, and some wetness on her cheek. She reached her hand to it quickly. She was crying. She turned back to the source of the voice; it was PyjamaSam, and he was awake.
She ran to his side as quickly as she could, urging him not to move, explaining to him that he had been unconscious for the better part of two days. His eyes rounded in surprise and shock, jittering back and forth rapidly, and she worried something was wrong. His brow furrowed, as his mind processed too many things too quickly. He then looked down at his hand, which until that moment, she didn’t realize she had been holding. She quickly released it, darting her hands behind her back, her face flushing crimson.
PyjamaSam looked her up and down for a moment, then tilted his head slightly. “Lady Grey, yes?” he said in a dry voice. She nodded shyly, then reached to give him a glass of protein drink. He waved it away, shaking his head, and slowly tried to sit upright. She put the drink down nearby, and assisted him to a seated position.
“There’s no time, no time.” He spoke softly, distantly, to her, to nobody. His eyes refocused on her, startling her, and he said firmly, with confidence, “We need to warn the others; the Republic fleet will be coming for us.”
He sounded crazy. He sounded delusional. He sounded like someone who had suffered some type of brain damage from whatever experiment he had been running on his fool self. He sounded unbelievable; yet she believed him. Dammit, she believed him. There was a rightness in her gut about it; a sense of truth. He wasn’t lying. The Minmatar Republic Fleet was coming to VAF, and nobody knew.
“By the way,” PyjamaSam said, “How would you like to meet Elly?”
Only boring people get bored.
“Reality is a question of perspective.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is a collaborative effort by Roc Wieler and Mynxee. While the general post is the same on both blogs, there are very distinct differences, as the story is told from each of their perspectives.
THE HUB BAR & GRILL
It was the typical wind-down after an op. The fleet had been debriefed, the ships berthed for repairs. The mission hadn’t gone well, but it hadn’t been a total disaster, either. Jedziah had laid out clearly for the pilots where they could’ve improved, where they did well, and where they would go from here. After such a trying day, there was only one thing left for the Bastards to do: blow off some steam and relax in their favorite station pub.
Several hours later, the time-tested therapy of boozing, gambling, and general cavorting had lifted their spirits considerably. This had made for lively action at the poker table where a few of them still sat playing Hold’em.
“You are seriously such a call bitch.” Mynxee said to Roc Wieler, as he pushed 20 million in chips to the center of the table in response to her check raise. They had been at it for hours. “She has staying power, I’ll give her that.” Roc thought to himself. By now, most of the Bastards had either given up or busted out. By now, most of Roc’s chips were sitting in Mynxee’s considerable stack.
“Roc, man, seriously, walk away. You’re just pissing away your stack.” Mr. Frog said. Wisely, he was watching, not playing.
“He just wants to give all of it to me,” Mynxee declared, slurring only slightly despite how much she’d been drinking.
How can a woman who drinks like a man and swears like a man be so damn sexy? Roc pondered to himself, watching the dreadlocked redhead for tells. In a taunting voice, Roc asked, “Sure you could handle all of it, babe?”
“Oh, darlin’, you bet your sweet ass I can take everything you can give. Question is, can YOU?” With that, Mynxee pushed all in and smirked at Roc. Venom Orchid folded and chuckled as she took another sip of her drink. Hallan Turrek folded and shook his head.
Roc sighed. Since they had started playing, he’d lost nearly 150 million ISK at this table. In fact, most of his chips now sat in a tidy stack on Mynxee’s side of the table. Quite a few more sat in front of Venom Orchid—a Hellcat Roc had never met her before, but a clear fit for the band of female pirates: beautiful, talented, and bitchy as they came. Yet, he still felt compelled to continue to call, to raise, to go all in. “Spread ‘em, babe. It’s time to feel all this man has to give.” With that, Roc shoved his remaining 50 million chips in and showed his hand: Snowmen. With the 8JJ on the board, he had a full house–eights full of Jacks.
“Too rich for my blood. I’ll be back when you two come to your senses.” Hallan Turrek announced. He rose to his feet and ambled toward the washroom. At almost the same moment from across the room, Flashfresh rose from the intimate conversation he was having with Shae Tiann, and also headed toward the men’s room.
Venom folded with a roll of her eyes. Mynxee smiled sweetly. Slowly, teasingly, she laid down her hand. Hooks it was, giving her four Jacks. A loud cry went up from everyone at the table.
“Little rough with that hand.” Roc belched, the waves of alcohol rolling off his breath like a beer tsunami. He shoved himself forcefully away from the table, his chair sliding noisily along the floor, then stood and marched unsteadily to the men’s room.
Mynxee called out, “What’s the matter, handsome? I thought you’d have more stamina.” This elicited laughter from Bastards and Hellcats alike.
Roc arrived at the men’s room door just ahead of Flashfresh. Being the gentleman he was, Roc held the door open for him. Flashfresh slowed to look down his nose at the shorter man before him, the man who had been disrupting their lives to such a degree of late. Roc stood perfectly still, a feral smile on his face, almost daring Flashfresh to do something. You could almost feel the testosterone saturate the close space between these two quintessential Brutor males. Then Flashfresh rolled his eyes, gave a derisive snort and preceded Roc into the restroom.
As the three men stood against the wall urinals attending to their personal needs, there was no conversation. Each silently kept their eyes on the wall immediately in front of them. There were certain unspoken rules between men–rules learned at a very young age if you wanted to live to see an old age.
Hallan was a funny guy–always quick with a joke, always quick to be there when needed. He was notorious for already being in warp by the time the FC said “Warp”…something his corpmates teased him about daily. Hallan embraced this personal credo of speed with relish and had turned the qualities for which he was often teased into a perverse badge of honour. True to form, he was the first to finish, zip up, and amble over to the wash basin. He turned the water on full blast, briefly rinsed his hands, then quickly yanked several paper towels from the dispenser to dry them. He declared triumphantly, “Hallan Turrek is fast.”
Flashfresh was a successful solo pirate. Everyone worth their salt knew that. He dispatched targets with ruthless efficiency. That efficiency, it seemed, extended to other more mundane acts. He zipped up, then washed up using almost no water, drying his hands with a single paper towel.
“Flashfresh is quick AND efficient!” he leered towards Hallan, who stood there grinning like a drunken idiot. Hallan had been one-upped and they both knew it.
Roc Wieler shook his head, chuckling to himself. He took his sweet time finishing his business, zipping up slowly, and walked out the door without a single glance at the wash basin. Hallan and Flashfresh looked at each other quizzically as Roc stopped, leaned through the door, and craned his neck to look directly at the other two men.
“Roc Wieler doesn’t piss on his hands.”
With that, he walked back into the bar, leaving the other two men embarassed and angered.
Roc just wanted to sit. He was feeling lousy. He was very drunk, out 200 million isk, and still in a foul mood from his earlier introspections. The Hub was packed; standing room only. He saw a low ranking Minmatar militia member sitting at a table, and decided he would commandeer the table.
— 30 seconds later —
Smoothly, Mynxee slid up next to Roc and took his arm, turning him toward her.
“Hey darlin’” she said in her most silken voice. He put an arm around her, trying to focus on her face.
“This jerk…” he mumbled angrily.
“I know, I know…let’s get out of here to talk about it, okay?” Mynxee purred, gently directing him away from the table. Fortunately, he offered no resistance, content to ramble incoherently at her. Meanwhile, Venom was sitting on the stranger’s lap, having gotten his full attention with a luscious and totally unexpected kiss.
Roc continued to rail as she edged him toward the door, his arm draped around her shoulder, his weight leaning heavily against her. With a sigh, she began steering him in the direction of her own quarters.
Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.
“THE HUB” BAR & GRILL
Roc Wieler downed another beer at the Hub, the Bastards and Hellcats favourite bar in Evati. They were in a closed door debriefing, leaving him to his own devices hours ago.
He didn’t really care what they were saying about him. He didn’t care if all the blame fell to him. He was used to that; it was part and parcel of being who he was.
Most capsuleers took their immortality for granted. They didn’t realize they bled the same as anyone else. It was becoming a more and more common attitude amongst this generation of podders. He tilted the new beer glass up, draining its content in one long swig. Another beer was already waiting for him on the bar.
It wasn’t unlike Roc Wieler to become depressed at his life of immortality. In fact, he had started drowning his sorrows in alcohol years ago when he finally realized the only escape from eternal life was bitterness and loneliness.
If you didn’t allow yourself to love, you couldn’t be hurt by the loss of that loved one. If you didn’t care about those around you, you wouldn’t feel deep pangs when they eventually all died.
The problem was that he cared too much. He had loved and lost, he had family growing old, he had a nation of people that his heart cleaved to.
So he drank; another empty glass hitting the bar. Roc motioned for a refill.
If you were cursed to live forever, unable to love, then who really cared what kind of monster you became to protect yourself.
He still had one small hope, one small glimmer of life left to him. Roc believed that each capsuleer had a purpose; that each immortal, each being gifted to be a god among men, had a responsibility to do something great with his life, to make a significant difference in this universe that only he or she could.
He had read stories of great capsuleers whom had influenced great wars in the past, defining an age, shaping a generation by their selfless acts, but they were mostly myths. Men who had taken on different identities, different lifetimes, to do what needed to be done from the shadows while others took the glory and fame.
Where were those heroes now? They certainly didn’t walk among us. Today’s capsuleer was selfish and ignorant, indulging in sins and debaucheries that would leave them souless throughout eternity.
His hope was shattered. His dream of a united Republic seemingly forever out of grasp. He believed that his destiny was to come to Evati, to demonstrate through action and morality that living the militia life, living for a cause greater than yourself, was what all capsuleers were meant for. He had foolishly thought he could save a bunch of no good pirates from the darkness and depravity of their existance, and marshal their skills and experiences into something of value to society.
He was a fool.
So let them say what they will, he didn’t care. And let them come to this pub, and speak with disdain to his face, he wouldn’t raise a fist. They weren’t worth it. Not a one of them, including himself.
Another beer down, another on the bar. The fact he could still indulge in such a philosophical debate with himself let Roc know he wasn’t nearly drunk enough.
That would have to change.