Sew patches on right shoulder.
“I just finished reading an interesting article about you.” She said as I finished sitting down in a comfortable leather chair. Amazing how intimidating this office was the first time I came to it, I thought to myself, and now I found myself completely comfortable here.
“Oh?” I asked with genuine curiousity, “And which article might that be?” There had been various interviews, articles, rumours, and stories about me over time, and that’s not a statement of vanity. It seemed the war effort liked showcasing its better known soldiers as a form of morale for the general population; a way of showing them that the Republic was indeed strong and prevailing in the conflict against the Amarr.
“The Evati Chronicles.” She said, the tone of her voice difficult to read.
“Oh, that.” I said dismissively. My time in Evati felt so long ago, like an early memory of childhood. At the time, it may have been the most intense emotional experience you had ever felt, but in retrospect, you can hardly even remember the details.
“Yes, that.” She said with appropriate sarcasm. “It shed some light on the events of that time. In all honesty, it was very informative. It filled a lot of the gaps from the time period for me. You might say I am student of history. I have always found it fascinating.”
“Well, I’m not a relic yet, doc.” I replied with mirth. Our sessions together had been quite beneficial to me, allowing me to understand not only myself, but the universe around me more completely. It aided me in achieving new perspectives on things, gave me new tools with which to further my life. I was sincerely thankful for having first stepped through this office door when I had. Who knows what direction my life would’ve gone had I not? Perhaps I would’ve continued to spiral downwards, out of control, eventually to self-destruct, hurting only myself and those around me.
“I never meant to imply you were, Roc.” She said with a smile.
“Have you kept your medals? I imagine it would be quite the collection to admire.” She said quickly, moving the conversation along.
I had kept my numerous medals, awarded to me throughout my career. They were preserved in a small glass display case in my apartment, a reminder of all that I had gone through, that all of us had sacrificed during the war.
“Yeah, I keep ’em. I should probably dust them off more often though.”
She nodded and continued on.
“Whatever happened with your musical pursuit? What was the first one called, ‘Bio’ I believe?”
“Yeah.” I replied with a bit of sorrow in my voice. “It didn’t really do so well, though it did end up being played on Eve Radio at one point.” I chuckled at that. The thought of my music being played on New Eden’s #1 radio station always amused me. I supposed that if I was honest with myself, I knew I had admirers, fans even, and drew strength from knowing that I wasn’t alone, that were those who believed in me. At the same time I would cast aside such notions, as there was no place for celebrity on the fields of war. I was a soldier, and duty alone should be enough to suffice.
“I must confess to you, I still listen to ‘Christmas Roc’ during the holidays. You’ve quite the talent.”
I had never thought much about personal hobbies or interests; never saw any value in them. Life was too short, too unpredictable to waste time on pursuits that didn’t further your ability to survive. Yet all of the hobbies I enjoyed filled my life in ways I never knew were possible. They enriched me, balanced me as a person.
“And did you ever finish your calendar? I seem to recall there was quite a demand for that, at least from the female populace of the Republic anyway.”
I blushed. At the time, it had seemed like a fantastic idea. Once Sam and I sobered up and gave it more thought, I simply could not bring myself to do it; it just wasn’t me. Of course, that shy inhibition faded with time as well. Thanks for that, Mynxee, I thought bemusedly.
“Well, I never did publish the first year one, though I had every intention of. I just couldn’t get over myself really. I did put out others in subsequent years though.”
“I’m glad to hear it honestly, and not for the obvious reasons.” She smiled coyly at me, but I knew better than to think she was flirting. She was an extremely intelligent woman, armed with a deeper understanding of me than I perhaps had of myself. Everything she did was with a calculated purpose, though she had no ill intentions whatsoever.
“I bet.” I replied, throwing my most charming grin her way, just for the hell of it. “So what did you want to talk about today?” I asked, surprisingly anxious to begin the session.
“Alright, enough small talk then. Public appreciation is the topic of the day. Seems that while your ‘fanbase’ has always been expressive in their appreciation of you and your pursuits, you don’t really seem to acknowledge it. Why?”
I should’ve stuck with the small talk. The woman had a way of cutting right to my heart. I was all for being blunt and to the point, but when she chose to be direct, it stripped me raw, leaving me emotionally exposed without defense. You would think I’d have been used it.
“Hey, I did that ‘Heroes of the Republic’ public motivation speech for Shakur when he was in power. And I was out there every day killing Amarr. What more do they need in the way of thanks?” I was shocked at my own defensiveness. She picked up on it immediately.
“It wasn’t an attack at you, Roc, merely an observation. I’ve been through the interweb; I’ve seen the sites about you, the comments people post in response to information written about you. I am merely suggesting that perhaps a personal ‘thank you’ might go a long way, not for them, but for you.”
I didn’t understand. I was ready to jump down her throat and tell her I wasn’t going to form some ‘Roc Wieler Fanboi Club’, or the ‘Cult o Roc’. I never asked for fame. If anything, it was her fault that I came to the public eye at all. She had motivated me to start writing my memoirs, my ‘Roc’s Ramblings’ as I came to call them.
But it wasn’t her fault; that much I had learned from her. People were who they were, and regardless of what they thought they controlled, life had a way of putting us where it wanted us. For me, that had been in the limelight, and it wasn’t the first time it had happened in my life. It seemed that no matter how much I strived for a private life, an existence of obscurity, it was never what the universe had intended for me. I accepted that long ago.
It wasn’t her fault that my apartment had been broken into long ago. It wasn’t her fault that my journal had been stolen, only to show up on the interweb under a site called ‘Eve Ramblings’. They could’ve at least done a better job of it. What a crappy site it had been before I had it taken down by order of Concord.
I sighed to myself, allowing myself to calm down. You couldn’t change the past.
“I apologize.” I said through gritted teeth. I was sincere, but it was still an effort to this day for me to apologize. “How would you propose I thank the people who have enjoyed reading about Roc Wieler over the years? Do I send them a card?”
“No.” She said sternly. “This isn’t about you. This isn’t about appealing to your own vanity. It needs to be a sincere gesture on your part, and you can do it right here, in this room. Just express your words with your heart. What would you say to them if each and every one of them was here?”
I took a moment to gather my thoughts. I did enjoy the spotlight. If I hadn’t, why did I stay in it for so long? I could’ve easily walked away from it all, leaving people to wonder whatever happened to that Roc Wieler guy? My fifteen minutes of fame would subside, and people would get on with their lives. I guess I was arrogant afterall.
I took a deep breath and just spoke.
“Thank you, really. The feedback I’ve received, the comments I’ve read, the emails, the fan mail (though I find it creepy that people found my mailing address), the instant messages, the private comm requests (please, I don’t mind having 80 requests at once by the time I finish syncing my pod to my ship), the personal meetings in public stations, I appreciate it. It weirds me out sometimes, but I appreciate the gestures for what they are.
It’s been a challenge for me to grow, to allow myself to be more personable; it’s not the Brutor way. But I do appreciate each and every one of you, sincerely. Sometimes my only motivation to continue is because of you. Originally, I started this journey for myself, but that has changed. I live for more than just me; I live for the Republic.
You are part of that Republic, and therefore, a part of me. We may not always get along, but we’re in this ride together. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you.”
I exhaled after my rant, and felt good about it. Every word of it was truth.