Have you ever felt so worn down, so beat down, that you simply don’t know what keeps you going sometimes? Have you ever felt that no matter what you might accomplish it simply doesn’t make a difference in the grand scheme of themes? Have you ever experienced such a disconnect from your own life, your own emotions, that when friends and families share there triumphs and heartaches you simply don’t have the energy to empathize or truly care? Regardless of the sunshine or the heavy rains, does every day feel like just another grey and lifeless day?
Some would say it’s a sign of depression, or an indication of mental instability. Others would warn that these behaviours and attitudes could lead to passive/aggressive or sociopathic behaviour.
I say it’s overpriced brain manure and people should stop getting involved in other people’s business so much. Sorry doc, that wasn’t an intentional slight at you, though I suppose it still reveals some issues we’re going to have to work through together. Lovely.
Sometimes life just hands you lemons. There is an old adage that says make lemonade, but what they fail to mention is that it still tastes sour and bitter. Or plant a lemon tree, which to me just creates more sour and bitter.
I say “It is what it is”, and regardless of our own attitudes towards these situations and times in our lives, we just have to keep moving forward and eventually we’ll find ourselves somewhere else on our journey, or we won’t. Not really a lot we can do about it.
The Amarr had been pushing aggressively throughout all of our systems, their fleets growing in size, working together, making sure none were caught alone and offguard.
General Mintor had been doing well to direct many of the Tribal Liberation Force’s fleets towards coordinated defensive attacks, as well as small guerilla style strikes into enemy space.
I liked his approach in this regard. He didn’t assign duties based on personal preference, nor rank. Instead, it was through drawing straws. You showed up for assignments, and you randomly selected one.
If Mintor thought you were completely incapable, he would overrule this method of course. The man wasn’t a fool.
I drew my straw and hoped it would give me the chance to kill as many Amarr pigs as possible.
“Colonel Wieler, you’ll be intercepting and destroying a large supply convoy in Ardar. Good hunting.”
I saluted, already relishing the opportunity to eradicate as many Amarr as possible.
“Will the defendant please rise.” The Tribal Magistrate commanded. I stood to my feet, the binders tight on my wrists. I had been in this position before; it was never comfortable. I felt trapped, caged, feral, wanting my freedom by any means necessary. I was a spectacle, paraded for a show I couldn’t watch.
My military lawyer stood beside me, looking into my deep brown eyes, trying to reassure me that everything was going to be fine. It wasn’t going to be fine, not as long as a single Amarr still breathed life into their lungs.
“The prosecution may begin.” The Magistrate ordered.
There were too many large fleets out and about on my way to Ardar. I was disappointed. No matter how much I baited, or lingered in a system safe spot, I couldn’t lure any single frigates or cruisers out to play. They were following strict fleet activity patterns; they either came in together as one, or not at all.
The Amarr had never been this consistently organized before; something had changed.
Eventually I made it to Ardar.
“Colonel Roc Wieler, beginning my assault.” I transmitted across the fleet comms.
The fleet was to disperse to its individual tasks, then rendezvous at the place of Mintor’s choosing after our individual assignments were finished. It was a sound strategy, keeping the Amarr confused, and should they wish to engage us, they would have to dissipate into smaller wings, giving us a fighting chance. Mintor was definitely nobody’s fool.
“Copy that, Wieler. Advise caution. Ardar is hot. Fleet’s regrouping here. Multiple complexes under fire. More hostiles inbound by the second. Finish up quickly if you can; we’re going to need every pilot we have to secure this system.”
That was convenient. The fleet was meeting in Ardar and the Amarr were coming to us, to me. My Rifter class frigate surged forward as my mind lost control momentarily, revelling with glee at the thought of the upcoming feeding frenzy.
I quickly regained control of my ship, and headed towards the enemy convoy.
“This isn’t the first time you’ve appeared before this Tribunal, is it Matar Colonel?” The prosecutor asked me once I was sworn in and had taken the stand. I didn’t like being up here. It was too easy for any of my numerous enemies to get a clear line of fire; too easy for the media to catch an innocent gesture or comment and turn it into another exaggerated performance for the galaxy to see. My career was still recovering from the last misunderstanding I had with the board of ethical conduct; I didn’t need this. I needed to be out fighting the Amarr. While we wasted our time here dealing with trivial bullshit, our people were suffering under their oppressive hands.
Was I the only one that understood what was at stake? Was I the only one who…
“Colonel Wieler, the question, if you please.” the prosecutor repeated.
I had drifted.
“No, this is not my first time defending my actions to the Tribunal; wasted time and effort that could be better spent letting me do my job, letting me free our people from”
“From the oppressive tyranny of the Amarr?” the prosecutor cut me off with dramatic sarcasm.
I nodded, seething inside.
“Yes, Colonel, we’re all aware of the Amarr and your one man crusade against them.” the prosecutor continued on, leaving me confused. One man? The entire Tribal Liberation Force fought against the Amarr. How did he figure it was a one man crusade?
Why didn’t my representative interject? Why didn’t I interject?
The prosecutor had been paid off, that was the only reasonable explanation. The Amarr had bought him. This entire farce was a setup. I wouldn’t let them succeed.
The last freighter exploded, defenseless, the Imperial Crusade pilots having warped off as I thinned their numbers with zeal. Aura was going haywire, my overview flickering, sometimes showing numerous open complexes, other times showing none. The system of Ardar read contested, then uncontested, then contested, with dozens of enemy ships on my HUD, then none, then an entire fleet.
The Ripsack had sustained heavy damage at one point during the engagement, leaving me at 4% hull integrity. I had never been that close before, and it wasn’t a feeling I enjoyed.
The nanites were busy repairing the armour plating, but the internal structure would remain weak until I could dock up for repairs, which wouldn’t be anytime soon.
“Objective completed.” I transmitted to General Mintor, already aligning towards the fleet.
Fleet chatter had been busy the entire time I was running my mission. The Amarr weren’t giving up, and kept sending new pilots into the largest of the complexes, slowly thinning our numbers through attrition.
I needed to be there. Mintor confirmed.
“Roger that, Wieler. Get here as soon as you can. Hostiles on the acceleration gate, be ready.”
“Enroute to you now, sir. Wieler out.”
Warp had never felt so slow.
“The incident we would like to talk about today occured 4 days ago, at exactly 19:24, according to your ship’s logs. Does that sound accurate to you, Colonel?” the prosecutor spat out from between the space in his front teeth.
I grinded my teeth. I didn’t want to talk to this traitor one more second. I envisioned myself lunging from the witness stand, grabbing his skinny neck between my hands, crushing the life out of him for betraying us all.
Don’t drift, I reminded myself. People get nervous when you drift.
“Yes, that sounds accurate. I would like to note that my Aura unit was malfunctioning at that time, so may not be 100% reliable in this event.”
“Really Colonel? The transmitted data seemed accurate to the technicians. Shame that we can’t run diagnostics against your Aura unit now, seeing as how your frigate was destroyed, but I’m getting ahead of myself.” the prosecutor smiled with pure malice and evil.
I would kill him soon.
The acceleration gate was clear. I used it to warp into the complex. Adrenaline surged through my veins; soon I would feast on Amarr blood.
Reverting to normalspace, I could see multiple hostiles engaging our fleet. A Crusader was within 7500m of my position. If I could lock it now, it would be one less for us to have to deal with.
My target acquisition was swift. I urged Aura to overheat the guns and fire. She spat back at me, warning me that this action would be considered a global criminal offence, was I sure I wanted to continue?
Of course I wanted to kill this Amarr pilot. This faulty unit was going to get me killed. I gave the override command and was immediately engaged with the Crusader.
My entire person was consumed with hatred and joy at the same time: hatred for these pigs that were a blight to all civilizations; joy that at least a few more would die by my hand today.
“According to those very same ship logs, Colonel, you opened fire on a Crusader. Is that correct?” the prosecutor asked.
Without hesitation, I replied. No more drifting.
“Yes, that is correct. I did my job, as I always do.” My job killing Amarr of course.
“And did anything … unusual … occur next, Colonel?” the prosecutor asked.
He was baiting me. What was he digging for? Where was he hoping for me to slip up?
I thought about the events in question again, detail by detail, making sure I missed nothing.
My armor tank was holding, the Crusader’s shields slowly melting beneath the Republic Fleet Fusion ammo. My HUD flickered. There were several Crusaders, then none, alongside several Matari designed ships, then none. Multiple warning klaxons warbled to life, then there was darkness and pain, followed by light and rebirth.
I screamed in frustration and cognitive processing as my mind accepted the new clone body.
My ship had been destroyed. Goddamned Amarr fucking pigs.
While the loss of the ship was regrettable, there was nothing peculiar about the encounter that stood out in my mind.
“To the best of my recollection, everything was by the book.” I stated with certainty at my word choices. There would be no manipulating me, traitor.
The prosecutor smiled. “No further questions.”
The magistrate allowed for my defense to cross examine me.
“Matar Colonel Wieler, do you know why you are here today?” the defence lawyer asked.
“No sir, I do not. As far as I can ascertain, it’s to question my integrity in fighting the Amarr, my ability to follow standard protocols, and some administrative lackie somewhere getting bent out of shape at me losing a frigate, which I’m happy to replace from my own personal funds.”
The defense lawyer scowled at me, willing me to shut up, so I reigned in my growing outrage at the entire situation.
“Were you read your rights, or informed of any details whatsoever regarding this case upon your detainment?” he continued.
“No sir. I went peaceably, with nothing to hide, as would any proud Brutor.”
Where was this going?
“And you also declined an attorney, correct?”
“As I said, I’ve got nothing to hide, so no need for someone to defend me. I have a proud service record, several commendations and medals awarded since the war began, and have served dutifully for almost three years.”
“And we thank you for your service, Colonel Wieler. And yet I was assigned to be your defense today, regardless of your personal preference. Do you know why, Colonel?”
I already had said no. Why was he asking me again? Was he in on it too? Had the Amarr gotten to both of them? Was there some higher level conspiracy I wasn’t aware of? I needed to get out of here and get to the bottom of this, needed to prove the Amarr were more dangerous than anyone knew but me.
“Again sir, with respect, I am unaware.”
The magistrate interrupted. “Do you have anything relevant to ask the Colonel about the incident itself, council, or are you simply stalling to waste all of our time?”
At least the magistrate seemed to not be on the take. That was a good sign. I might get through this intact after all.
“No, your honour, I have nothing more.” The defence lawyer sat down, and I was still left in the dark as to what the hell was going on.
There was no media present. That meant blackout. That meant it was serious. How the Amarr had managed to arrange something like this was staggering to think about. The money involved, the planning, the right people in the right positions. We were infected with their disease.
“Matar Colonel Roc Wieler.” the Tribunal Magistrate began.
“This Tribunal finds you guilty of High Treason, for firing on your fellow pilot, Boris, also known as ‘The Butcher’, in direct violation of …”
What? What was he talking about? I never fired on Boris, did I?
Fleet comms was broadcasting frantically.
“Stand down! I repeat, Colonel Wieler, stand down! You’re firing on friendlies!”
His shields were melting beneath my Republic Fleet Fusion ammo.
“All nearby pilots, take his ship out from under him, but do not pod the Colonel. I repeat, if anyone kills him, you’ll have to answer to me.”
I could do this. I could kill the Crusader and move onto… darkness, and pain, then light.
“The evidence is irrefutable, both from the testimony of other pilots in your fleet, as well as multiple ship records detailing the incident.
Why was Boris flying a Crusader? Why would any Matari fly an Amarr ship? What was happening here?
“This Tribunal finds you guilty as charged, and you are immediately relieved of rank and command.”
I would never fire on a fellow pilot. Was it my faulty Aura unit? Say something, Roc!
“Furthermore, you are to be held in protective custody at a secured military institution until such a time as you can be diagnosed as mentally cognizant. Failure to do so within one year’s time will result in your dishonourable discharge from the Tribal Liberation Force without compensation as you are returned to civilian life. Dismissed.”
The Magistrate hammered his gavel. The case was over.
“I would never fire on a fellow pilot.” I said weakly.
“Off the record, Colonel, I’m glad this happened.” the Magistrate said. “Pilots like you are a danger to themselves and everyone around them. And this isn’t your first questionable act in the line of serving the Republic. You’re a disgrace to all of us. You’re lucky you didn’t kill anyone; I would’ve had you executed without hesitation. Now get out of my sight.”
Two armed guards came and escorted me to a holding cell, presumably until transportation could be arranged.
Boris, I’m sorry. I’ll figure out how the Amarr set this up, and I’ll make them pay. I’ll make them pay a thousandfold.
[OOC Request] This is a pretty huge moment for the development of Roc as a character. I would ask that if you’ve read this, please post your own blog entry relating to the aftermath of this event, and how it affects your character, or doesn’t affect your character.
I’m sure the news will be made public as quickly as possible, but how does it play out? How do people react? I look forward to reading your posts. Thanks.
NEW EDEN RESPONDS:
- Prano’s Journey – Grapevine