“You’re free to go, Wieler, but don’t leave Metropolis Region before your tribunal hearing date, got it?” The Concord officers had been anything but friendly, but then again, why would they be? They knew who I was. They knew my status and my rank. Maybe by my actions I had reinforced already existing stereotypes they had about Brutors, about the military, about capsuleers. Who knows. I didn’t care.
“Understood.” I replied solemnly. I gathered up my gunbelt, reholstering my two pistols, letting them lay in their familiar grooves against my outer thighs.
I headed back to my ship, the Tribal Glory, and headed for my personal quarters. I needed some time to think; a lot had occured today, and it was only just reaching noon. I lay on my bed, allowing myself to sink into its luxurious comfort, my hands behind my head, staring at the ceiling of my room.
There had been many people throughout my life that had given me advice. Stop being so emotional, learn to control your anger, have emotional stability, etc, etc. They didn’t understand me. They thought they did; they thought they had the answers, but they didn’t.
I wasn’t them. I never would be them. How could they understand that which they have never experienced firsthand? I’m referring to passion.
Passion had always been my greatest strength. I applied passion to all I did, and it had made me successful in a great many things. I poured my heart into my pursuits, never accepting no as an answer, and as such, my talents had shone.
Passion had always been my greatest undoing. With the capacity to succeed at much comes the chance to fail large as well. Looking back over my life it was true; when I fell, I fell hard.
But I wouldn’t change a single thing.
Passion is what changes society. Passion it was moves the universe forward. Passion is what improves the quality of life, allowing us to vibrantly feel and experience all that is around us. Without passion, not a one of us would be where we are today.
My own people, though many are still enslaved, were once all subject to that outrage. It was acceptable to be owned if you were one of our ethnicity. Society said that is how it was. Through passion, this was changed. It’s not just about an ideal or belief, but the acting upon, the never giving up on, that same ideal or belief that brings it into reality. Passion is the catalyst of change. Passion is the key component of triumph. One voice, filled with passion, gives way to thousands.
Look at Sam. Sam is brilliant. He has thoughts in his head I can’t possibly understand, and that’s ok. Yet they are more than thoughts. Sam’s passion brings his ideas to life. Brilliance is not enough. You need the passion to bring your dreams into reality, like Sam does, like I do.
I am a creature of passion. I don’t care what society says is acceptable. If society were correct 100% of the time, we wouldn’t be involved in yet another war would we. We wouldn’t watch our economy crashing as the cost of moon minerals skyrockets, and supply can barely keep up with demand. If the laws that existed were flawless, we wouldn’t have a generation of selfish sycophants, who have never gone wanting.
Passion. A life lived without passion is a life not lived at all; or something along those lines.
So for all my flaws, for all my shortcomings (don’t misread that ladies), I am who I am, and I take immense satisfaction in that.
I am Colonel Roc Wieler, proud fleet commander for the Tribal Liberation Force, scourge of the dreaded Amarr, and part-time supermodel. I chuckled to myself. I had been taking things too seriously again, letting them get to me. It was time to rise above it all, to allow my passions to achieve some good, as only I could do in my own unique way. It was time to go to Evati. It was time to fulfill my duties.
20 MINUTES LATER
“The pleasure is all mine, Shae.” I said across space. I had come to Evati looking for the Bastards originally, to enlist their aid in a corporate level 5 job I had undertaken. Turned out that Evati actually fell under my military jurisdiction, as it was part of the war zone my fleet and I were responsible for. I should’ve realized it sooner, but to be fair, it remained uncontested a fair amount of the time. I suppose that meant I’d been doing my job well, yay for me.
Now my objective had changed. It was well known throughout the militia that Evati was a hostile zone. Military vessels were at just as much risk as anyone else, if not more. The Pirates of Evati didn’t discriminate. Had I known that the Hellcats, and by association, the Bastards were the pirates of this system, I would’ve come here sooner to hopefully rectify the situation.
“Aw sweetie, aren’t you just a charmer?” she replied. “Mynx should be in subspace range soon, I know she’ll want to get in on this little chat of ours for sure.” Shae was cute. She sounded a little young, but extremely perceptive and intelligent. I would wager many a man had underestimated her only to end up floating outside an airlock, or out of wallet. I wouldn’t make that same mistake. Everyone deserved respect until they demonstrated otherwise.
“Thank you kindly, Shae.” I stated cordially. Coming to an accord with the Bastards would be a major strategic advantage for the war effort, allowing our forces to pass through Evati unmolested. This could open up new routes for us to flank the Amarr, and I was all for anything that would give us an advantage. Slowly, we had been losing ground to them. Systems had fallen and not been recovered. The Amarr were moving forward, unchallenged and seemingly unstoppable.
Shae and I engaged in some enjoyable smalltalk, until we heard a familiar voice enter our secured comm channel. There are some women in this universe whose voice can simply melt you to the core of your being. As I listened to her greet us, and start up some friendly banter with Shae, it became self evident that Mynxee, CEO of the Hellcats, was one of those women you could never let your guard down with, or she would devour you heart and soul.
“Roc, are you there sugah?” I had drifted off, the cadence of her voice already getting the better of me. “I’m here, Mynx.” I replied, trying to sound a lot more gruff than I usually did.
We small talked about life in general, catching up on some interesting tidbits I would have to save for later should the need arise, until we finally circumvented to the reason for my visit, as it had become clear no help would be forthcoming from the Bastards for that cursed level five job I had taken.
I told them both of my intentions regarding Evati, and its involvement in the war effort. There was some back and forth questioning until Mynxee finally told me to hold tight.
Shae had to take her leave of us, and we wished her well; something about a pub and some young men needing to be relieved of a great many things. I shook my head; the follies of youth.
A new channel opened on my HUD; encrypted beyond military means. I heard Mynxee’s voice, and another I did not know.
“Colonel Wieler,” the voice began, synthesized to avoid voice filter detection. “Mynxee has told me much about you.” If we read between the lines there, what was really implied was “Or I wouldn’t be meeting with you at all.” I had to respect a man who went to this much trouble to protect his identity. It demonstrated intelligence and cunning, traits I often sought after for my own pilots. I had much hope for our negotiations.
“Thank you for flagging me as non hostile in Evati space.” I began. We cut right to the heart of the matter.
“I’ve been informed that you wish safe passage in our space. How will it profit us, and what risk does it entail?” I wanted to correct him, as this space was most definitely not theirs, but to be fair, the militia was too thinly spread to contest the bold claim. Besides, no point in angering the man I needed something from, right?
“The Amarr grow bolder each and every day. Evati gives us a flank route from Hek, allowing us a clear tactical advantage over the systems in Metropolis. Your cooperation in this matter will be greatly appreciated, and bode well for the Bastards standing with the Minmatar Fleet.”
I could’ve sworn I heard a chuckle when he began to speak again. ” I appreciate your position, but this war has become very profitable for us. What can you offer us that we don’t already have? Why risk our necks for a war we’re not involved in?”
Once again, that familiar feeling of outrage began to rise within me. This war affected all of us. If the Amarr were to be victorious, all of our systems, Evati included, would feel the iron rule of the Empire. How could he not see this? Or did he simply not care, believing the Amarr would leave them to carry on as they had? That was brazen, and foolish. And should the unspeakable happen, and the Empire lay claim to this system’s sovereignty, he would quickly find that out for himself.
“We can compensate you for your troubles.” I replied, keeping my anger in check, appealing to his pirate’s sense of profit.
“We already have a business setup for that, Colonel. We offer weekly and monthly passes to any whom wish safe passage through our domain. Depending on how many ships you are thinking, and which side you support in the war, I am sure we can come to an arrangement.”
Which… side? That was it. I was done here. I was just about to give him a verbal tongue lashing, when Mynxee, whom had remained silent thus far, burst into the conversation, screaming the battle cry of “MINMATAR!!!”
We both chuckled at that, and I found my anger subsiding.
“I was thinking no more than a single squad, ten ships, and in addition, we would allow you to lay claim to any salvage, as well as the prize of any Amarr ships we engage here.”
He didn’t reply right away, and I knew I had found my angle. We obviously were all Minmatar, as revealed by our mirth at Mynxee’s comment, and the temptation of salvage and Amarr wreckage at the cost of ten ships had to be an attractive offer. Sure, I had comprimised at the number of ships, but even a single squad should be able to do what was required in this system.
“Alright Colonel, ten ships. Send me the pilot list through Mynxee, and we’ll work something out on compensation. I’ll take this to our board of directors, though I can’t see any problems arising. I look forward to hearing from you.” With that, the deal was on the table.
Pirates. It always came down to profit with them.
“I’m impressed, handsome.” Mynxee chimed. “I like a man that can get his way.”
Passion. She understood its power. I definitely needed to be more cautious around this vixen.
I gave some thought as to which pilots would be appropriate for this role. The militia consisted of countless corporations and freelance pilots; keeping track of things in that manner would inevitably bring “accidents”, which would only lead to unnecessary complications. A single corporation, a single skilled squad, was what I needed.
I grinned as the answer came to mind. I would use the Renegades.
I transmitted my report back to HQ, awaiting recommendations and decisions made by my superiors. Hopefully, there would be no problems with what I had done here. Diplomats weren’t received well by pirates. And where diplomacy failed, sometimes there was a chance for other avenues.
It was only early afternoon. I still had time to pick up my datacores.
I chatted with Mynxee a little more, taking mental notes with each sentence shared, finally taking my leave.
Bring passion to all you do, and succeed or fail, your life will be one to remember.