I’ll never forget my first time. I was still fresh from the medbay, not even a week old immortal, full of arrogance and dreams, completely indestructible. I was such a naive idiot.
I had given up a lot to volunteer for the capsuleer procedure, but believed there was no cost too high for the payout of immortality. My personal rage at what the Amarr had done to not only my people, but to me personally, was enough to block out any required sacrifice.
I had been one of the fortunate ones who survived the process and became a pod pilot. It left me changed, scarred, sterile. I would never be the same. I never wanted to.
My prior life as a “norm” was over. I was still docked in the Minmatar low security system of Hrober over in Molden Heath region, but now instead of being nervous and afraid to undock and mine the local asteroid belt to make my paltry contribution to the small corporation that had taken me on, it was time to make the universe my own.
I floated in the viscous fluid of my pod, a new and unnerving sensation, feeling disconnected from my own body yet at the same time experiencing myself as the Rifter class frigate I inhabited. Through the Aura network interface I was able to experience more, do more, react to more. The machine was me and I was the machine.
I pulled up the starmap, my first time understanding how vast New Eden truly was. I craved action and excitement. I wanted to make my mark on the universe. I filtered quickly to view pod kills within the last hour. A large swell of yellow appeared in a nullsec system not too far from my lowsec home. With only a thought a direct course was plotted.
As I entered the B-VIP9 system from the Egbinger jump gate, a psychological chill ran up my spine. The sun was blocked out, a massive ship between it and me. The hundreds of vessels engaged in the most massive battle I had ever seen were dwarfed in its shadow. Intermittent explosions became a constant against the backdrop of chaos – missiles, lasers, projectiles a muffled soundtrack to war.
I pushed forward at full speed, scanning as I went, locking onto the nearest ship wreckage in the system. The Rifter cargo hold wasn’t large enough by any means to hold the metric tonnes of salvage to be had here, but between the tractor beams and loader drones I managed to squeeze as much as possible into my ship before heading back to Hrober unscathed.
“Look, I need to unload this quickly. Just give me a price.” I said, cutting through the excuses the merchant on the other end was going through. Capsuleer or not, it seemed the art of the haggle was still universal and meant to screw the seller.
“I’m understaffed. I’ll need to get some loaders up here. That will be expensive on such short notice. And where to keep it? I’m maxxed out on inventory right now. There’s simply no demand. No, no. This simply will not do.” He went on like this to himself for what seemed an eternity though I’m sure in reality it was only a few seconds.
“3 million isk.” He said abruptly.
I knew I had heard him wrong. I could buy another frigate for that much. Hauling ore back from the mining belts didn’t even pay 1/10th of that.
“Take it or leave it. I have other matters to attend to.”
“Sold.” I said, not entirely sure what I had just done, but not willing to let this fortune slip through my fingers.
I dumped a cannister into the hold and watched my account increase by 3 million isk. My heart pumped furiously at my good fortune, a small smirk creeping across my face.
“Organize your holds. I can bring ten times this much to you!” I said over comms, already undocking. I had calculated that if I could make only a few trips back and forth from the war zone, I would never have to work again.
In retrospect, I was still thinking like a norm. A single isk would’ve been a lifetime’s fortune in that old life. Even if I had brought back 50 million isk that day, it was nothing compared against the wealth in the galaxy.
I raced through the Egbinger gate again, looted some more wrecks, and warped back to Hrober post haste.
Back through Egbinger. Back to Hrober.
This went on three more times, my greed overcoming my caution more and more. As I jumped through the Egbinger gate, I had to push deeper each time, closer to the massive battle in the system in order to find wrecks worth salvaging. The sheer scale of the incursion overwhelmed me as I sat and waited for my loader drones to finish up in the cargo hold.
Aura notified me of an impending target lock. I scanned quickly and saw a single interceptor speeding my way. Adrenaline coursed through my system. My first fight as a capsuleer. Now my legend would grow. This was the beginning. Others would tremble at my name. I willed the ship to turn and thrust straight towards my enemy, bringing my own weapons systems to bear.
The enemy target lock finished before my thoughts did. I felt a searing pain, screamed out in anguish and awoke, gasping for breath, choking on fluid, in a medical bay aboard a station in Hrober.
I was shaking, petrified, my senses clouded and confused.
“Be calm, immortal. You live again. Breathe deeply. Focus. Fly safe.”
I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths, just as I had during the capsuleer process; the focal point that had helped me endure. I was alive again. And humbled.
It’s been seven years since that day but it is one I will never forget. Since then I have gone on to fight for the Minmatar Republic against the tyranny of the Amarr. My name has become known both to my enemies and to my people. To some I am an inspiration. To others, I am an object of hatred and ridicule.
I am Matar Colonel Roc Wieler, and this is my story.