Anything that is not managed will deteriorate.
We all held our glasses high, encouraging our guest of honour to speak. Finally, he rose, beer in hand, and spoke. “I don’t even know where to begin.” Ombey said. “Roc, you’re a sunuvabitch for doing this, but thanks, really.” His comments elicited a few giggles. I simply nodded my head.
I had booked the Black Hole Pub only hours earlier for a part of twenty, but as word had spread amongst the invitees, hundreds of fellow capsuleers had swarmed to Dal to be part of what was, for all intents and purposes, the last hurrah of Ombey. The pub had overfilled its capacity, having to shut the doors and call in additional staff. It had cost me some extra isk, but honestly, it was worth it.
I had marines stationed at the doors to prevent any unwelcome guests (That means you, Amarr), and we had enjoyed a nice dinner and many rounds of drinks.
Ombey continued. “I’d like to thank you all for coming. I really didn’t know I had so many friends.” He spoke from his heart, with true humility. That was one of the most attractive things about this man. He was an accomplished pod pilot, an astro-cartographer, a Brutor and all around good guy. It was a shame to see him leaving this life.
“Some of you I know, some of you I don’t.” Ombey said. Looking around the room at the gathered crowd, I could understand his sentiment. I recognized some of the Hellcats and Bastards, some of Freeform Industries, and a few other military pilots I had flown with regularly like Yarly, but for the most part, the pilots here were unfamiliar. It was a further testament to how far reaching Ombey’s legacy was.
“How does one end the tale of immortality?” Ombey was an elegant speaker. He made it seem effortless. I found myself holding the man in even higher admiration. I wasn’t the only one hanging on his every word. All of us were silent, which for some more than others, was quite the accomplishment.
“I’m simply tired of living, really.” He said. A few gasps went up at his bold statement, spoken with lack of emotion. Every being in the galaxy craved life; it was hard wired into us, even capsuleers. That pure instinct of suvival that drove us to do things otherwise not possible, all in the vain attempt to preserve ourselves.
“No, no.” Ombey continued. “I love life to its fullest. It’s just that I’m tired of this life, of this eternal cycle we’re tethered to. I’ve fought the fights, I’ve been victorious, I’ve ended up in the cloner. I’m starting to see my friends and family grow old, and honestly, I just want to grow old with them, enjoy the simpler things New Eden has to offer. Maybe I’ll have a family of my own one day.”
His last comment struck a chord within all of us. While cloning technology was a magnificent accomplishment, we were told up front that one of its limitations was reproduction. The process had been known to render some sterile, even though each clone was a perfect genetic match of the original host. It was one of the many costs of immortality; you could live forever, but you would more than likely do so alone. It made you wonder if there really was a god; and if there was, had he abandoned us long ago due to our blasphemies?
We had all dreamed of living one single life. We had all envisioned what we do if we weren’t who we were. There had been some in the past whom had retired from this lifestyle in pursuit of simple peace. Many couldn’t cope with the mundane life of normality, killing themselves rather than suffer their cruel fate any longer. Being disconnected could be unbearable. Some had simply returned to the life they knew, inserting themselves into pods once again. Others were never heard from. At the time, I remember being curious as to which Ombey would be, but rest assured that evening wasn’t the end of his adventures in New Eden.
Ombey continued. “I want to go fishing. I want to have a small cabin in the hills, somewhere quiet where I can relax and live out my days in harmony. I’ve given this life everything I have, every last ounce of my focus. I’ve simply come to the point where my heart wants to focus on something else, and it’s something I cannot ignore.”
I could respect the man that. I was a firm believer in following your heart. After all, if your heart wasn’t in your pursuits, how successful could you really be in the end? Sure, you could amass power and wealth, but if you couldn’t sleep contentedly each night what good was it?
“I’d like to toast each of you, to the work you do, whether it’s pirating, fighting in the war, running a corporation, or simply hanging out at the local pub with friends…” A hearty ‘yarrr!’ went up from Venom. We all chuckled at her. “You are what makes New Eden the advanced civilization it is. You are what brings hope to the Empires. You are what will see us all living in the future we collectively dream of; an era of peace and prosperity. I salute you!”
With that, he rose his glass, as did we all. After finishing a long guzzle of my beer, I stood. Many stood with me as I saluted Ombey. Pirates, rogues, and others all offered their salute at the table that night until finally, Ombey, overwhelmed by the appreciation of all of us, returned our salute smiling, small tears visibly streaming from under his shades.
“Fly safe, Ombey.” I said.
“Fly safe.” Everyone repeated in unison.
The rest of the evening was one of celebration; tales were told, laughter shared, and by the time people started heading back to their home systems, I knew it had all been worthwhile.
I wished Ombey the very best. I encouraged him in his dreams of a simple life. “No, you can’t have my stuff”, he had said to me, and we both laughed. I gave him a full embrace, and thanked him for the honour of having known him.
Mynxee sidled up beside me as I ordered another beer from the bar. “You’re a good man, Roc.” She said with that look in her eye. You know the one I’m talking about. Part seduction, part aggression. It confuses any man really. You want her, but you’re terrified of her.
“Thanks Mynx.” I replied, taking the first sip of my new drink. “But I didn’t do it for me.”
“I know.” She smiled that heart melting smile, and walked away back to the other Hellcats. I couldn’t help but stare as she moved, enjoying the view of her ass in those tight shiny red pants. There was a certain look about the way she walked, a certain enticement.
Mynxee was definitely forbidden fruit if ever there was such a thing. She looked back over her shoulder, and caught me staring. I turned away quickly, but not fast enough to avoid the crimson flush of embarassment to my face. Damn that woman.
I caught Ombey’s eye, and we exchanged glances. He raised his eyebrows and tilted his head towards Mynxee, encouraging me to make my move.
I raised my glass to him, and he returned the gesture, a wide smile across his face.
Fly safe, Ombey. Fly safe. I thought to myself.
And as I headed towards Mynxee and the other Hellcats, I somehow knew Ombey was wishing me the very same.