Fanfest 2011 – Day 5

It’s not often I come across anyone that genuinely makes me take a step back to evaluate my chances at surviving a personal and direct encounter them. Then I met Petur.

Standing at nearly seven feet tall, and roughly four feet broad at the shoulders, he was a behemoth of a man, leaving me feeling like a small child by comparison.

As I reached out my hand to shake his, I was ready to fight dirty should things go wrong quickly. I don’t know if the close-cropped mohawk he sported, or the nicely braided and jewelled beard, or the intensity of his piercing blue eyes, but he was an intimidating figure.

As he clasped my hand, nearly crushing it in his, I was ready; then he smiled a warm, gentle smile and told me he was a huge fan of mine, and was truly happy to meet me.

Petur was a gentle giant, and was the true highlight of my day.

I didn’t place in the CSM elections, not even as an alternate, and that was ok; given the composition of that year’s council, I think fate had spared me a horrific experience. It made me snicker and laugh at Seleene.

Being the final night of the convention, there was a massive party with over 4200 people crammed into a space that could accommodate 2500 if they were lucky. To say it was overcrowded was an understatement, but it wasn’t really a bad thing. As was customary, most capsuleers preferred the isolation and warmth of their pods, tending to shy away from real interaction with the fairer gender. This left a ratio of about 5 hot Gallente women for each 1 Capsuleer who did attend.

My neck wasn’t the only sore by the end of that night.

The next day, I would be heading out via commercial flight back to Dal.

Fanfest 2011 – Day 4

It was becoming increasingly difficult to recall the details of that particular trip; I suspected the amount of alcohol I was consuming was the primary contributing factor.

Day 4?

I remember several young, scantily clad Gallente women serenading me while I sat in a hot tub. It’s a good memory.

I remember that I somehow made it back to the quarters I was staying at.

I honestly don’t remember much else.

Fanfest 2011 – Day 3

I could’ve been completely blind and still known I had arrived at the capsuleer center by the smell alone. Had capsuleers spent so much time in their pods that they had forgotten the basics of personal hygiene and how that affects the olefactory when gathered en masse? No wonder regular mortals had such mixed opinions of us. At the moment, I certainly did as well.

I was surprised how many other capsuleers had heard of me, and as I made my way around the conference, I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting a great many people, and a plethora of beautiful female fans. Ladies, I appreciate your enthusiam but there’s only so much Roc to go around at once. 

Maybe I need to make a trading card of myself or something, I thought to myself, as another incredibly well endowed beauty threw her arms around me. I love women. All of them. Period.

It was really an ordinary day for me, except for one small incident that occured in the evening:

I was famished by the end of the conference, and as I walked along a cold, winter street within the station, I noticed a rental vehicle with the CVA Alliance logo plastered to it. I wondered if they had simply used an adhesive for the print, or if it was magnetized to the door. Turned out it was magnetized directly to the door, so I removed it and took it with me, later leaving it in an obscure place at the convention center with an Ushra’Khan logo over it.

Then I attached a small note: Dear CVA, I stole your shit. If you want it back, look up.

They never did find it.

Anyway, after that it was off to the thermal pools for some relaxation time, then some beer with my  Brutors at a local pub.

Fly safe.

Fanfest 2011 – Day 2

5 AM local time

Another round of pushups. I could feel my muscles cramping. What the hell was wrong with me?

7 AM local time

Enjoyed eight plates of breakfast. There’s just something to be said about a buffet, whether it’s good or bad, it’s limitless food.

9 AM local time

The snowball hit me in the back of the head. The Gallente station had gone with a winter climate for this gathering of capsuleers; an odd choice I thought.

I could feel the snow running down the collar of my jacket, melting against the heat of my back. My face contorted as I spun to face my assailants; a group of playing children. I was barraged with another volley of snowballs, but managed to dodge most of them, gathering up the snow around me. It was perfect for packing. I ran my bare hands around and around, hardening the snow into ice; if they wanted to gank me, they were going to pay.

Fifteen minutes later it was me in full retreat. Children just don’t know when to give up, let it go and go home. Within that context, Goonswarm suddenly made a little more sense.

I walked along the station promenade, casually shopping for anything that caught my attention. There was a festive shop with two attractive employees; my attention was caught. I walked inside. By the time I had left, not only had I learned about the local winter festival tradition involving a mountain witch that would come and snatch you as a child if you were bad all year (and cook you in her stew), but I learned about the thirteen yulelads, a group of mischieveous yet good hearted elves – candle beggar, door sniffer, shoe stealer and other equally fun filled names. I even purchased a candle beggar tree ornament by the time I was done.

My NeoCom buzzed. “You’re go with Roc.” I said. It was something I heard recently on a local talkshow, and I found it hysterical, so had started answering my NeoCom that way. So far, I don’t think anyone had any idea what the hell I was talking about, which made it even more entertaining to me.

“What? Why would I know that? Fine. Yeah, there’s one nearby, hold onto your ass a sec.” My crew chief had called. He wanted to know if the rumours of high fuel prices in this region was true, and I hadn’t been bothered to look. I did so then, and man, those were the highest fuel prices I had ever seen. I conveyed my sentiment to my crew chief. He whistled through the NeoCom. “Yeah, it would cost a pretty isk to refuel here. Makes me happy I’m not a civilian. Ok, well technically I am, but you’re missing my point. No, I get that, I’m just saying. Ok, you know what? I’m hanging up now. You take care and I’ll …” He had hung up on me. Jackass.

I spent most of the day taking in the history and culture of the region through various station tours, as well as doing a lot of research gathering of things that would probably remain best left unsaid.

My evening was meant to be a relaxing visit to a thermal pool, accompanied by the most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes on, even though it’s important that every woman you’re with believes that. I did manage to spend some time with her, and it was well worth it, but ultimately duty called.

There were several pilots getting together at a local pub, and they had invited me along. Who was I to say no to a night of free beer and cigars?

My pool date agreed to go back to my hotel room and wait for me there, and I headed for the pub. It was the best decision I had made all day. It was as if I had been transported to the land of free flowing blondes and thigh high boots.

Seriously ask any pod pilot there about Rachel. Garters, thigh high boots, tall … I saw more than one pilot crash and burn attempting to engage her in conversation. I chuckled from where I stood at their failed attempts, and continued to engage in several conversations I was enjoying on the back porch, all the while enjoying a good cigar or two.

3 AM local time

Eventually, the night came to an end and I staggered back to my room. I had forgotten I had a lovely there waiting for me. She was passed out in the bed. I stank of booze and smoke, so like any well-mannered Brutor, I splashed some water on my face, rinsed my mouth, then climbed in naked beside her. Being the romantic I am, I gently caressed her arm, and as she responded, gently waking up and reciprocating, I had to forcefully restrain myself from puking.

I quickly made my to the bathroom, focused on some deep breathing, drank a few glasses of water. Once I had calmed down and was sure that what was down was staying down, I headed back to the bed.

She had fallen asleep.

I gently caressed her arm, hoping to pick up where things had left off. She woke up a little, and spoke to me lovingly,

“Don’t even think about it.”

I rolled over on my back. You’re getting old, Roc, I thought to myself. Can’t even your beer. My thoughts were interrupted by the rush of chunks to the back of my throat, and I ran for the bathroom again.

It was going to be a fantastic night.

Fanfest 2011 – Day 1

I’d been in small ships before, hell, a Rifter was my favourite to fly. But damned if this shuttle wasn’t the smallest ship I’d ever been in. I’m broad shouldered but not particularly tall; even still I couldn’t stand up straight on board the shuttle. It was very claustrophobic. I was accustomed to being attached to the ship, being a part of the ship, feeling every nuance the ship felt. Being so disconnected left me feeling nauseous and disoriented. I was a horrible passenger.

Seriously? I thought to myself as the pilot announced yet again that we would remain docked as the first stop in our journey, Amamake, was experiencing unusual levels of hostilities and was not deemed currently safe for civilians to fly into. Amamake was such a shit hole.

I took a small pill to ease my stomach; I’m sure the publicity of a capsuleer puking aboard a civilian shuttle due to motion sickness wasn’t something my career needed.

Two and a half hours later we were cleared to undock. I was worried I would miss my connecting flight. I had said before, and I was thinking it again, I should just fly myself there next time. It wasn’t often that so many capsuleers gathered in one place, and Concord was always leery of potential hostilities, hence why we all arrived on commercial flights. It was humbling, embarassing, and as I reached my hand to my mouth, unsettling.

I had at least hoped for an in flight movie to distract myself. No such luck. I moved around uncomfortably, my ass completely numb from the seat; I was really yearning for the warm embrace of my pod. Ah well.

I waved my arms above my head as we rocketed out of the station, screaming at the top of my lungs like on a roller coaster at a theme park. The other passengers didn’t appreciate that at all, but I thought it was funny as hell.

My ears popped as the cabin adjusted pressure. I had to ask for gum from the woman beside me. I really didn’t know how regular people endured this. It was so barbaic.

Paid 4 ISK for a small bag of dried fruit I thought was complimentary. The contents looked to be worth signficantly less, but I didn’t want to be embarassed in front of complete strangers. That’s how they got you methinks.

Met a pretty lady to travel with. Got annoyed once we had arrived at the 20 minute bathroom break she took. She was quick to explain it to me:

“We don’t get to just walk in, whip it out, do our business, and walk out you know!” she began with passionate irritation. I quickly realized my tactical error and tuned her out, all the while nodding and smiling.

“We have to go in, find the appropriate stall, you know, if there’s someone in one, you have to leave a gap of one stall if possible, depending on cleanliness; then you need to clean the seat, put down a seat liner, squat over it, do your business. From there we actually wash our hands, or change our panty liner if needed. It’s not easy being a woman!”

It’s not easy being a man listening to a woman. I smiled.

“I’m sorry it took me twenty minutes. I hurried so that I wouldn’t upset you, but you’re upset anyway, and somehow that’s my fault because it takes me longer to pee. Well, forgive me for being a woman!” she spewed sarcastically.

“You’re forgiven.” I said dryly, not playing into the self-pity. “Let’s go.”

As we stood at the customs security line, I had to laugh. The aging security personnel that gathered the containers for belongings was in full on rant mode: “3 – 4 at a time please. No need for one at a time or we’ll be here all day. C’mon folks, hurry it up!” I watched the woman I was with quickly succumb to the pressure, taking off her belt, shoes, jewellery, backpack, etc, and put them on the conveyor for security examination. I casually removed my belt and boots, leaving my ring, glasses and dogtags on. The metal detector didn’t make a sound. I sometimes wondered if the equipment actually worked or if it was all just to instill a sense of safety and process for the herd.

After I had made it through, the alarm on the system went off, not once, but twice. I guess it worked after all. I turned around to see what had triggered the alarm, and shook my head to myself upon realizing it was travelling companion.

She explained later that by feeling so hurried she had forgetten to remove her NeoCom and her water bottle, both prohibited items on flights, which she knew, and that if they were simply more efficient at their jobs instead of bullying innocent people, then things wouldn’t end up taking so long in the first place.

I nodded and smiled, though I did have words with one of the security personnel during the incident. They were all the same. “She’s with me.” I said, assuming that my rank would be evident to anyone with authority. He cast me a sharp glance and spoke, “I’m talking with her. When I’m done addressing her, I’ll address you. Understood?”

“Jack ass.” I replied, not quite under my breath, but not quite at normal volume.

“What did you say?” he replied. A part of me wanted to retort with sarcasm, to repeat my initial statement mour clearly, simply for the lesson in principle that would be taught. Unfortunately, I knew it would come at my own expense, and I was already delayed for my connecting flight.

“Just checking.” I replied sheepishly, much to the delight of the security officer.

Once things were sorted we quickly hurried to our connecting flight.

Just as passengers began boarding, my name was called on the loud speaker, so I went to the service desk to see what the trouble was. “We accidentally booked you into another passenger’s seat. Would you be ok with us switching your seat sir?”

“Yeah, whatever. So long as I get there, right?”

“Very good, sir. Thank you.”

Let me give you a life lesson on commercial flying, boys and girls. When an attendant asks you if you’d like to change your seat, and your seat is moderately decent to begin with, just say no. Seriously, it’s their problem, not yours; don’t worry about being the nice person in the situation.

I slowly made my way to the very last row of seats at the back of the plane, you know, the row directly in front of the shitter. From there, I squeezed my way to the window seat, trapped beside a fatter, taller man, who for some reason thought his elbows owned both arm rests and about six inches passed each.

I spent the next 5 hours hunched over, trying to fit in the seat, my shoulder too wide to comply, my rib cage protesting being constantly elbowed by the sleeping blob, all the while trying not to vomit every time a passenger needed to use the lavatory.

In short … worst flight ever.

I had no trouble checking into my accommodations and welcomed a quick nap.

OOC: Iceland, I am in you.