Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Journal: 112.12.30

Yesterday's schedule: woke up, ate breakfast, checked the news, exercised.

Spent the rest of the day working on a single crystal sculpture. Made a  model of the Dissonance Vector out of Gneiss. Forgot to eat lunch or dinner.

Went to bed when I realised what the time was. AFTER finishing the model.

Wonder what my therapist would make of it all?

Save. End.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Journal: 112.12.29

I think I've discovered the downside to being  an EVE University instructor.

That downside is that we get wardecced on an apparently very frequent basis. Somebody ventures an opinion on a GalNet board, wardec. Somebody posts a mining op to the alliance calendar, wardec. Somebody farts, wardec.

Which ordinarily wouldn't be a problem. Seriously, I'm so used to dodging hostile ships in nullsec that some half-assed joke started by pilots whose idea of "war" is to park themselves outside of Jita Four-Four and shoot anything that's red just doesn't register.

But, I'm an E-Uni instructor now. And E-Uni has rules about war. Standard Operating Procedures designed to minimise the number and value of the losses it suffers. Rules like never going anywhere without a buddy or two to hold your hand. Rules like not even undocking unless and until a friendly fleet comes to collect you. Rules like not being allowed to fly certain classes of ship, including stealth bombers.

I mean, really? Stealth bombers? Possibly one of the most slippery and difficult to intercept ships in all of New Eden? A ship that any competent pilot should be able to use to thumb their nose at a gate camp of any stripe, even nullsec bubble clusters. On the prohibited ship list.

One of the reasons I was given is that they're fragile. "paper-thin tank" one member said. If we hadn't been in the middle of a briefing, I'd have explained to that pilot that if the enemy get a chance to shoot back, you're using the ship wrong.

That's the primary reason, of course. EVE Uni is a training service for rookies and greenhorns. It exists to cater to a population of graduate pilots who lack any training, knowledge and experience. Such people can't be trusted to pilot a stealth bomber correctly, so they're on the prohibited list. Never mind that recon cruisers, heavy assault cruisers and interceptors are allowed, despite arguably requiring even more skill to use properly.

All of which kind of misses the point if you ask me. Why in the hell should Ivy League give a damn about their killboard efficiency and whether or not the other guys are claiming to have "won" just because they shot up a pack of rookies? These SOPs exist only to preserve the university's apparently fragile ego against the unbearable shame of some other people arbitrarily claiming victory in a pointless war that didn't achieve anything other than the destruction of a few ships and the death of some crew members.

In other words, it suggests to me that in this regard at least the University is more concerned about keeping up appearances than about actually doing its damn job. Throw the little buggers in at the deep end I say. Let them lose ships to station camps in market hubs. Let them try and take on five cruisers in a stealth bomber and watch it get shredded by autocannon fire. The function of the university is supposedly to educate, which makes it a little frustrating to see that the best teacher of all - experience - is off the payroll and locked in the janitor's closet, bound and gagged.

Maybe I'm just a classic bitter veteran, but where I'm from a wardec involves actually fighting, not going into some kind of panicked lockdown mode and forbid everyone from going about their day-to-day without their fucking nanny present.

Well, mine not to reason why. I'm here to do a job and I'll do it damned well. But I'm entitled to think that the alliance's whole policy is ass-backwards.

Save. End.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Journal: 112.12.26

Slow couple of days, but at least my application finally finished being processed. I am now a card carrying instructor at EVE University.

I've got to hold my first class sometime within the next week and a half. Subject: Comms Discipline. the Dos and Don'ts of voice and text communication channels during a fleet operation. Basic stuff, but that's exactly what the University teaches. And it's amazing how A) vital it is to a solid, professional fleet and B) how often it's neglected.

I'm looking forward to the lesson. I need to sit in on one before I do my own, though, just to see how it's done and make sure I'm not doing anything wrong.

The real pain in the ass is going to be moving all my stuff to Aldrat and getting my income stream going again. With so many rookie pilots in the area, I'm not sure that my usual line in tech 2 shield modules is going to sell quite as vigorously as it does in the State.

We shall see.

Save. end.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Journal: 112.12.22

One of my old colleagues had a saying: "Shitting bricks". It's very descriptive, at least. And it just happened to me.

Good grief, Vikarion wanting to write directly to Cia to apologise for the whole True Slave experiment... thing. Alarm bells went off in every corner of my mind at once. The words "Bad Idea" spring to mind.

So, I sent Dr. Akell a priority message. Hopefully, even if Vik ignores my advice about talking to Amieta first, there'll be a filter on Cia's mail by now to block that message. I certainly hope so, or else all this adrenaline will have gone to waste.

...I need a drink. Save. End.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Journal: 112.12:21

Up until very recently every time I looked in the mirror, a different man would stare back out at me. The same face, more or less, but a different man every time.

Sometimes he'd be a villain. Sometimes a big damn hero. Sometimes he was a competent leader of men, sure in his convictions and faithful in his own judgements. Other times he was a scared boy with an older man's face, carrying a terrifying burden of power he barely understood.

The last week has been a revelation. Suddenly, it's the same man looking back at me in the morning, every time. He's not perfect, he makes mistakes, but his soul is battle-tested and work-hardened and still a thing of conviction and principles despite it all.

All things considered, I could come to respect and like a man like that.

Save. End.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Journal: 112.12.19

Sparred with Camille tonight, to see how she's progressing.

The answer? Well, she kicks like a shotgun, fights like a cornered bear and has learned the basics of Tastoitsu with almost alarming swiftness. Not to mention a number of dirty tricks. I'm covered in bruises, especially two quite nasty ones on my belly.

She also has a problem with getting mad. Apparently Amieta - Commander Invelen - has been telling her that she should "use" rage.

Dumb advice. VERY dumb advice. All getting mad does is fix your attention on one thing. You become so hyper-focused that you miss what would be obvious to somebody in a calmer frame of mind. which means you walk into traps, or get smacked upside the head by a tutor who saw your mad, angry rush coming.

I didn't hurt her at all. I don't beat up little kids, but I let her know in no uncertain terms that she couldn't beat me.

She didn't take that well. Wants to be strong enough to... I guess be her sister's protector, and won't settle for "getting better with time". She's driven, determined, and frankly very talented. She'll be a mean, down-and-dirty fighter some day. Not somebody I'd want to tangle with. She'd be even better if she kept a level head and remembered her technique.

I'd like to train her, and offered to do so but Cia... didn't seem entirely happy with that idea, so I dropped it. I'd rather she was happy and comfortable, and that she went with her instincts without prompting, rather than politely telling me she'd "think about it". If your gut's saying "no", then you should be too.

Save. End.

Journal: 112.12.18

I went back to the homeworld again yesterday. Back to the temple at Ikaatinen. I try and visit once a month to help with the maintenance and repair jobs that the priest, Mr. Jatai, can't do himself. He pays me in advice, which is frankly the best thing he could possibly give me. It's good advice.

Our conversation was... rambling. And interrupted when some kids came up to the temple. Three of them, two boys and a girl.

It occurred to me that I don't know many kids. There's my niece Atra of course, but she's basically a baby. And there's Camille, but she's not exactly a typical child. Not like these three.

Children who've not known the life of a capsuleer, who grew up under a sky and don't really know or care about the wars in heaven, or which faction's flag flies from the government buildings. If Camille attended church, it'd be out of some intellectual, serious decision that she ought to. These kids just love to visit the temple because the priest is a nice old man with an endless supply of sweets and cool stories.

One of the boys was Gallentean, by ethnicity. Learning Caldari traditions on the Caldari homeworld where he was born. Rattling away in Napaani because that's his native language. Caldari in everything other than his genes, basically.

and Mr. Jatai is an excellent storyteller. I've heard the story of the man who fooled the wood spirit a dozen times, of course, but... not like that. Not with a cup of tea, on a cool spring evening, in a temple, with snow on the distant mountains, pine needles blowing in the door and a very, VERY good storyteller who did the voice of the Tengu in a way that even had me giggling.

It... made me nostalgic. For a childhood that wasn't even mine.

Save. End.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Journal: 112.12.16

It would seem that Amieta Invelen was right about me. I was an idiot.

I've been trained in this crap for crying out loud. I sat through and paid attention at a whole load of briefings on identifying post-traumatic stress in rescued hostages. Nothing that happened during that conversation the other day was something I was unprepared for, except for the conversation itself.

And I forgot my training. I panicked, said the wrong things.

I can claim ignorance of Cia's triggers, but I can't claim ignorance of how to handle the situation.

She was also right about confrontation. You do need to confront eventually, but you don't set a man's broken leg and then chuck him straight into the aquatherapy pool the moment the cast sets. In my hull breach example, that would be like sending in the mechanics before they've got their vacuum hardsuits on and checked their equipment.

So. Bear in mind the possibility that you might be wrong.

And I was wrong. But the nice thing about being willing to acknowledge that fact is that very soon thereafter, you stop being wrong.

I think, on the basis of my conversation with Dr. Akell, that I may need to hire a therapist of my own too. Fortunately, she was kind enough to furnish me with a list of recommendations. Given how much I've come to respect her opinion on the evidence of just one conversation, I'd rate being on that list as high praise.

Save. End.

Journal: 112.12.15

I spoke with Commander Invelen last night.

Judging by her expression when she opened the channel, she would have liked to rip me in half. I've seen those arms of hers too, she could do it.

By the end of it, she just thought I was an idiot. Not sure that's an improvement, but at least she's begrudgingly agreed to keep me in the loop. Part of our discussion is sticking in my head, though.


Sent > She did ask me. How could I have dodged the question without that avoidance being worse? I hate what's happened to her because of what I said, but some things just have to be confronted
Amieta Invelen > Given that you are *ignorant* of the situation, I would ask you to not assume you know what needs to be confronted.

Which would be fair enough except....

Well, you don't fix a hull breach by closing the pressure door and hanging a "do not open this door" sign on it. Sure, the air might not be escaping, but the ship's still got a hole in it. Setting a broken bone is painful, but leaving it is worse.

This isn't about how much or how little I know about Cia's situation. This is about universal truths, and the universal truth is that you can't solve a problem by avoiding it. You can observe it and come to understand it that way, but resolution can only come through confrontation.

But... I'll wait and hear this Doctor Akell's opinion. I'm a surgeon, not a psychiatrist, and I have to bear in mind the possibility that I might be wrong.

Always.

There's one other thing, though...

Amieta Invelen > I've seen the transcript. You could have found a better way to describe it.

I wonder... could I? Did I make things worse by phrasing things how I did?

No. I don't think I did. I think the damage was done long ago, and that somebody was going to trigger her breakdown eventually. I think that reading the letter from Andreus to Haeldone Dorgiers was the trigger. Her conversation with me was just a part of the collapse, not the cause.

And I think it's hard to be angry at the ghosts of the past when you've got a more immediate target right in front of you, which is why I don't blame Amieta for disliking me right now.

Save. End.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Journal: 112.12.14

That was easily one of the worst night's sleeps I've ever had that still actually qualified as "sleep".

I'm in a different body while yesterday's undergoes a thorough toxic flush and repair. No permanent damage done, but the liver needs a bit of loving care and attention before it's back in condition.

The body itself was well-rested, the mind not so much. The only thing you can do in those situations is sleep, and let the brain do some filing. Allow it to settle in and go through that maintenance routine, like defragmenting memory storage and running systems diagnostics.

Which means dreams. Vivid ones.

Seems like I was waking up two or three times an hour with some new oddball scenario fading from my short-term, none of them relevant to the day's events. Scenarios like the strange notion that my pillow had a load of NEOCOM handhelds lying on it, all with a little feline decoration hanging from it. Or that my arms were made of paper.

End result is that I only got about four hours of sleep. I'm still sleepy, but I've given up on going back to bed. Guess I'll push through my day for a few hours and catch up on my sleep with a siesta.

First order of business: check on Cia.

Save. End.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Journal: 112.12.13

I... feel much better now.


Actually, I feel like shit. But, well, I'm alive. That's a start. And a miracle.


The Tea Maker. I went and put myself through the fucking Tea Maker ceremony. I can't believe I did that. I really wasn't thinking straight.


It's only been a couple of hours since I came to. I wasn't even in a medical bay or anything. Nobody had found me. I didn't receive medical intervention. I hadn't moved an inch from the spot where I lost consciousness.


I survived. I sat the Tea Maker and I survived.


Thank you, my ancestors. Everything's clearer now.


I guess I'd better answer some of these messages. People are worried sick about me.


Save. End.

Security Incident Report: YC112.12.13

<Security record: 16:59 112.12.13 (EST)>
<Venue: Hakatain Residence, Korama III - Moon 8 - Ishukone Corporation Factory>
<Suite: Pilot V. Hakatain personal quarters>

Speakers in order of appearance in record
<Speaker: Pilot Verin Hakatain>
<Speaker: Sinikka Hakatain>

<Recording begins 16:45 hours - Pilot Hakatain signs in to personal comms via private terminal>
<16:57 hours - Pilot Hakatain shuts off terminal>

VH: Oh, Verin, you asshole...

<Pilot Hakatain grabs whisky bottle from desk, throws it across the room. Bottle smashes>

VH: You piece of shit! 

<Pilot Hakatain picks up desk chair and uses it to damage the following objects: personal terminal, 5x art items, holoreel projector. Throws the chair at window (no damage to window).>
<Pilot proceeds to lean on desk>

VH: You piece of shit irredeemable asshole FUCKING MONSTER!! AAARGH!!!

<Scream caused by Pilot Hakatain punching surface of desk, embedding shards of broken glass in his hand.>
<Sinikka Hakatain enters room.>

SH: Verin, what...? oh space...

<S. Hakatain rushes across the room, grabs V. Hakatain's hand and examines it. V. Hakatain sinks to his knees>

VH: I did a... I'm...

<VH throws arms around his sister, sobbing uncontrollably.>
<Discretion protocols engaged. Security recording terminated>

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Journal: 112.12.10

Official announcements from CONCORD and the factional navies on the IGS. Amazing.

And, frankly, heartening. I'm tired to my bones of all the hot air, pomposity and ego-centric jockeying to be the most visible Good Child in the playground that's typified what I'm laughingly going to call the "organized capsuleer resistance".

It's refreshing to get a glimpse past all of the arrogant showboating at people who are doing their jobs with concern for doing it well out of a sense of obligation, rather than out of concern for their public image.

Fuck the Matari and their whole "CONCORD allow slavery to endure" thing. Whatever the organisation as a whole may do, the people in it, I can see now, include some very fine persons still driven by those same qualities that I wish I'd better retained from my life pre-capsule.

but... I've lived in space all my life. I've wandered anchorless among the stars for five years now. I've become a Henkaavelij, a spirit-walker. I'm among them every day but these aren't the friendly spirits of home and hearth. They aren't spirits that are close or familiar with humans, like Cold Wind or Mesikaammen. These are star-spirits, void wraiths... the timeless Kami of blackness and infinity. 

And I've spoken with them. At least, as much as any man can. I pray, and I listen, and they tell me things, precisely because I DO listen. A black and terrible knife has been carving at the empires for months now. But the spirits say... They say that soon, that knife will strike deep into the guts of our society. That cold shard of unfeeling ordered oblivion will seek to impale everything that is messy and living and thriving in New Eden. There will be blood and pain, but we will not die. Instead we will thrive, overcome. 

And we need to. Aria Jenneth has always been right, to be a pod pilot is to be feared. That which is feared will be attacked, driven off, defeated. For years, our kind has been a parasite on the cultures of New Eden, taking their money, lives and resources and giving them only fickle protection and cruel whimsy. It was only a matter of time before New Eden did to the capsuleers what any wilderness trainer will tell you to do with a blood-sucking tick: Burn it out.

CONCORD will try to stop the knife from sinking in, of course. Bless them, how they'll try, but they can't stop Sansha's Nation. 

Nor should they, because Sansha.... heh. The poor stupid bastard is just feeding us the purpose we need to finally become symbiotes with the culture that birthed us. With his help, the time of the Capsuleer is going to enter a golden age. 

The citizens of New Eden will adapt. They will build shelters to hide in when the True Slaves come for them. They'll strengthen their anti-orbital defences, put systems in place to minimize the damage that the Nation can do... and then they'll throw pod pilots at the problem. Spurred on by bounties and the promise of Nation technology filling our cargo holds, we'll tear into the Nation's invading forces and drink them of every resource they can provide us with.

We capsuleers... we're the paragons of humanity, the distilled essence of what our species is all about. When faced with a threat, we turn it into an opportunity. Adversity becomes incentive, defeat becomes the catalyst for adaptation. Worlds explode and die, dead civilisations return to haunt us, and what do we do? We chew them up and turn the debris into warships. We FARM them.

Just as we will farm Sansha's Nation.

Save. End.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Journal: 112.12.08

I could have her back.

It would be easy. She's been gone long enough now to declare that she's legally dead. My Rakkai could come back to me in the time it takes to fill in a few forms and activate her clone.

...So why don't I want to do that?

Save. End.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Journal: 112.12.06

I cut myself shaving today. Inconsequential. I've done that... oh, dozens of times before. But it made me realise something.

I don't have any scars.

Not one. There isn't any visible scar tissue anywhere on my body. Which isn't so weird for a capsuleer wearing a clone that's less than eighty days old. But of course, that's not what I think of myself as being.

I wonder what happened to my first body? Was it destroyed during my first podding? Is it still out there somewhere, tumbling forever between the stars? Or did some creepy pilot scoop it up, bottle it in a refrigeration unit and keep it as a trophy?

If so, I wonder what they think of it? It was a bit of a wreck by the time I vacated it. Regrown knee, dermal plating in the face, resurfaced hip, bones laced with ceramic reinforcement, artificial left eyeball.... Two or three healed bullet holes, LOTS of knife scars from CQB training.

Women like scars. I can't remember how much action I got from persuading girls to check out my old injuries. Too much, probably. It went to my head.

Now, all my scars are internal, healed and healing wounds on to the bit of me that hops bodies and leaves the purely physical injuries behind.

It's much harder to show those to women. And they're nowhere near as attractive when you do.

Save. End.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Journal: 112.12.04

Not so very long ago, some of the people I've since come to know and like were involved with Sansha's Nation. Vikarion, Cia... I don't exactly know the man very personally, but Silver Night fits the bill as well.

The thing is that they are good, honest people who genuinely saw the Nation - or rather their interpretation of it - as being the genuine best hope for mankind. Techno-utopianism, the use of technology to create a transhuman paragon of civilisation.

Honestly, it is a beautiful dream. At odds with my own view of how the galaxy works of course, but I can't fault them for wanting better than we have. Constructive chaos is a hard thing to embrace. Even I'm sometimes appalled at how unfair the universe can be, and I long ago accepted that said cruelty is what has made our species so strong, and what ensures that we will always be so. We thrive on adversity and diversity. Take those away, and you remove the very things that define the human spirit.

Which is why the Nation is such a toxic idea, of course. The whole idea is that Kuvakei intends to shackle all human life to his will, a process which is anathema to the positive, competitive anarchy that even allowed him to exist at all.

Frankly, Vik and Silver were hard to argue with at times. Because a lot of the time, they weren't actually wrong in any way that could be logically proven, and neither could I argue against their position without adopting an ugly, unpopular stance. After all, much of an argument is carried on charisma, on being able to win the audience over to your point of view. If one man is arguing that people have a right to choose an escape from the unfairness and suffering of the world into chip-induced happiness, and the other's position is that unfairness and suffering are burdens that humanity is enriched by enduring and overcoming, and that it is morally wrong to facilitate escape from them... well, who's going to win the popularity contest?

All of which is a moot point by now, of course. Because the real Nation, the one I saw lurking beneath the "Ultra™ Happy Chips!" fa├žade and the enticing promise of utopia, is back and exactly as terrible as I always knew it was.

I miss those arguments. the Nation has gone from being an awkward philosophical construct with an enticing but toxic meme to spread, to being an almost disappointingly straightforward and immediate threat to people's lives. The good people have deserted it and while I'm sure their dreams about making the world a better place are still intact, I do feel sorry for them that what they put their faith in has turned out to be so inferior to their ideal.

Kuvakei, in short, is like all tyrants. Ultimately, he doesn't actually know what's in his best interests.

Save. End.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Journal: 112.12.01

I think Verone just adequately demonstrated Why I never quite meshed with Veto.

I owe him, and them, a lot of course. They were the safety net that caught me from falling to... spirits know where. They gave me time to realise what was going on in my head and what I needed to do to correct the fall. But it's obvious now that as black as my mood was back then, it never quite got as... Stygian as that.

If Kuvakei took MY sister... and I refuse to think of the possibility that he might have taken Nicole without my knowledge... I would be out to destroy him so hard that the whole of New Eden would come to think of him as a bad dream they'd had. I'd make Soter and Inhonores look like kids playing at toy soldiers. and I don't think I can get even a quarter as angry as Verone can.

My temper, ultimately, is quick, cool and focused. I get mad fast, I cool down fast and if whoever pissed me off is still unharmed afterwards then they didn't actually piss me off that badly. There has only been one person who ever made me permanently angry at him, and that was a cold, slow rage that ground over him like a glacier. Big. Relentless. Chilly. And utterly, utterly impossible to stop.

I think Ethan is angry at the whole universe. I once saw him beat new graduate capsuleer to death just for delivering a message on somebody else's behalf. I think when he seems to be happy and enjoying itself, it's because he's metaphorically aiming an obscene gesture at all of creation; "I can be have a good time no matter how shit you are. FUCK YOU!"

I kinda like the man. But he scares the hell out of me.

Save. End.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Journal: 112.11.26

Mine's a slightly paradoxical situation right now.

I am not a BLAST fleet commander, and have no intention of being one. But I still wind up training people. Even after all this time, it still seems like I'm one of the only pilots out there who knows about the NEOCOM Compass, about system-map tactical navigation, about just how much of a hardass you have to be to make a fleet work in a disciplined way.

So, I'm not even a junior FC with these guys... but I've been giving training and advice to the senior FCs.

Maybe if the whole Black Star thing falls through I should consider becoming an instructor at EVE University. I've sure as hell got the experience and knowledge.

...Actually, that sounds damn tempting.

Save. End.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Journal: 112.11.22

What I didn't realise when I commissioned the Dissonance Vector was just how much training was involved in making a Chimera work as intended. It's an old lesson, of course. There are a lot of skills related to flying a ship of any class, and it's irresponsible and wrong to neglect them. The prerequisites to just undock and fly it are just a tiny portion of the total training.

But I forgot, because for... oh, a couple of years now I've HAD all that extra training. Any new ship I cared to move into, all the peripherals were there. I could just get the basic skills and have the ship work at near peak efficiency pretty much the moment I unwrapped it and inserted the batteries.

Not so, capital ships. That jump drive is a heck of a thing. I can spin one up and shunt my way across the stars, but right now my range is exactly as per the basic capabilities of the ship. I could more than double the jump range, with training, but to do that I need to maximise my familiarity with basic operations first.

then there's the fighters. The pilots are good, but they need solid telemetry to do their jobs properly. Right now, all they're getting is the basics. And don't get me started on Triage modules. They're more complicated to operate than command battlecruisers are!

Each time I look at the Vector I find some other facet of its operation will require me to conclude a training course, or start a whole new expensive one. All of which is good - not so long ago, I was griping about not knowing what skill to train next. Now, I don't have that problem.

Save. end.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Journal: 112.11.17

It's been a long time since I was last ill.

well.... that's not quite true. Obviously my various bodies have picked up illnesses here and there, but before now I've always had the luxury of a clone jump.

Can't do that today. Too many important things to do. So, I'm stuck in a body that's even vomiting up clean water.

I feel terrible.

Save. End.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Journal: YC112.11.13

Spent some time on the shooting range today.  My arms are killing me. The target looked like a whole platoon had aimed suppressing fire at it. I only stopped because suddenly my trigger finger was too weak to keep firing.

I was thinking, the whole time. About... purpose.

And I realised, I don't have one. Not a real one. Not one that has any substance beyond making money. I'm drifting, letting things happen to me rather than causing them to happen.

...I kind of enjoy it.

Save. End.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Intelligence summary, YC112.11.11

[Hakatain Dynasty Private Intelligence Services]
[Daily report: Pilot Hakatain's Eyes Only]
[Compiled by: Arno Nagaren, Chief of operations]

*
[Subject: Yotchil, S]
Monitoring grade: C
Monitoring type: Identify/nullify
Sightings today: none
Most recent sighting: ref# 7133/94F-F
Estimated activity today: none.
Most recent activity: ref# 7133/94F-F
Estimated threat level: U
Recommended monitoring level: no change.

*
[Subject: Marshaki, Y]
Monitoring Grade: C
Monitoring type: Observation
Sightings today: 3
Activity today: no abnormal behaviour
Estimated threat level: F
Recommended monitoring level: no change


*
[Subjects: Verone, E X and Sakoda, K]
Monitoring Grade: C
Monitoring type: protective
Sightings today: 2
Activity today: no abnormal activity
All intel regarding threats to subject to be passed to Veto. Corporation security services
No information passed on today; all relevant data judged currently known to Veto. Corp.

*
[Subject: Jenneth, A]
Monitoring Grade: C
Monitoring type: protective/Observation
Sighting today: 1
Activity today: no abnormality during observation period
All relevant intel regarding subject to be passed to Pilot Hakatain, V
No information passed on today; no relevant data

*
[Subjects: Roth, Ci and Roth, Ca]
Monitoring Grade: B
Monitoring type: protective
Sightings today: 7
Activity today: no abnormal behaviour
Subjects on protective monitoring list
All intel regarding threats to subjects to be passed to Electus Matari security.
no information passed on today; no relevant data
Possible security vulnerability detected; request permission to advise EM security.

*
[Subjects: Hakatain, I ; Hakatain, M and Hakatain, S plus dependants and intimates]
Monitoring grade: A
Monitoring type: protective
Sightings today: 18
Subjects on active protection list.
Activity today: no abnormal behaviour
All intel regarding threats to subjects to be passed to Hakatain Dynasty security services.
No information passed on today; no relevant data

*
[Subject: Hakatain, N nee. Graves, N]
Monitoring Grade: A+
Monitoring Type: Locate
Sightings today: 0
Leads today: 0
Activity today: 0
Active comms today: 0
GalNet footprint today: 0
Financial activity today: 0

Total available information today: 0

Last sighting: Ref# 1462/72B-N
All intel regarding subject to be passed to Pilot Hakatain, V
No information passed on today; no information available
Recommended monitoring level: downgrade to B
Reason for suggestion: I am of the opinion that the additional resources being expended on A+ monitoring will not yield additional likelihood of success.

*
[Subject: "the peanut gallery"]
Monitoring Grade: B
Monitoring type: Observation
All relevant information to be flagged for attention of Pilot Hakatain, V
No information flagged today; nothing relevant

*
[End summary]
[Operations Chief's observations: Slow day, nothing of significance to report. The team would like to express our thanks for your gift to mark Mr. Amakire's retirement.]
[End file]

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Journal: 112.11.7

Tenets and philosophies come in two forms, I find - the transient, and the innate.

Transients are principles that are held according to mood. When I'm in a positive mood, I'm inclined to like the human race and give people the benefit of the doubt. When I've had a bad day, I'm a misanthrope. Innates on the other hand are the things that differentiate one person from another. They the reasons people, groups, whole cultures butt heads and war against each other. they are constant, and if an innate principle alters, so too does the person.

I think one of the tenets that define me is a belief in adaptation. Can't solve a puzzle one way? come at it from another angle. Your product is being out-sold? modify it. You're losing the war? adjust your strategy. Adapt, overcome, thrive. Turn adversity into the motive force to improve yourself.

It's... hard to apply that ideal to something like the love of my life just being... gone. It feels like nothing less than giving up, in fact. But giving up is the only sane response. Or rather, the only response that will keep me sane.

Depression is a hideous thing. It ruins lives not just for the depressed, but also for the people they influence... and the scope of my influence is tens or maybe hundreds of thousands of people.

I can remember what it was like last time. I can still feel it coiled in the back of my mind like an adder. I simply will not allow myself to fall back down that slope. The medication helps, but drugs are just a shield wall - they fend off the danger, but don't remove it entirely.

To be free of that risk, I need to let go. I need to adapt, overcome... Will I thrive? Maybe not, but "maybe not" is infinitely better than "certainly not", which is the only other option.

It's a horrible betrayal. By doing this, I'm turning every loving word I ever spoke promising to always be there for her into a lie. But... I have to let go. 

Which is what I've been doing. There's no way to just... switch off like that. I can't just stand up, say "farewell Rakkai, it was fun while it lasted." and be done. Every day has to be part of the progress. Every thing I do, the totality of my being has to be devoted to moving on. To adapting.

I have no option but to be a changed man through this experience. All I can hope to do is steer the change in constructive, positive ways.

Save. End.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Journal: YC112.11.03

One of the strange anomalies of New Eden is how very different the reputation and reality of nullsec are.

To the uninitiated, 0.0 is a byword for vicious, expensive warfare. For rampant piracy and a haven for all things dangerous. In short, the general perception of nullsec is that it's dangerous.

I find it peaceful. There's no traders, no DED, customs or polic patrols... if there's somebody around who might be inclined to destroy my ship and ransack the wreck then they pop up in the local comms network, and in a web of intel channels. Threats are visible from a long way away and can be dealt with appropriately. 

There are still thousands of people living out here, of course. Ship crews, station staff and all those people over in Serpentis Prime. But it still feels much more isolated and lonely.

More spiritual, in a way. like I'm closer to those strange, alien spirits of space and time.

Save. End.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Journal: 112.10.31

Happy birthday to me.

Normally, I guess I'd wish the birthday man many more like it. Not sure I want that. The day was good, but the context of it all?

Fuck it, I'm not clone jumping tonight. I got nice and drunk in the Gate, infomorphing back over to 9DQ would just undo all that hard work.

Figure I'm owed a good night's sleep, tonight of all nights. hangover be damned. Time to check into a VIP suite.

Save. End.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Notice to all crew: YC112.10.30

<Dissonance Vector Internal ComNet Message>
<NOTICE TO ALL CREW RE: Orientation>
<Author: Pilot V_Hakatain>
<12:30 hours, YC112.10.30>
<Priority: B - Strongly recommended access>

First of all, welcome.

For most of you, this will probably be the only communication you ever receive from me. With this message, I would like to dispel the notion that my lack of communication is out of aloof callousness or disregard for you as people.

I forbid myself from becoming too closely acquainted with my crews for the same reasons that crew are forbidden from fraternization under the ship's standing orders. If I were to come to care particularly about one of you above and beyond the others, it might affect my judgement. 

This is important. This ship is ultimately intended for front line combat duty. For every last person aboard this ship to have the best and fairest chance of surviving the carnage of pod pilot warfare, I have to be unbiased and even-handed in how I handle the deployment of damage control, how I open and close emergency forcefields, in the timing of when I launch the escape pods and in all the other myriad ways that will ensure that as many crew as possible survive on the day this ship dies.

If I were to pause at the wrong second because somebody I had become too attached to had not yet reached safety, it might jeopardize the lives of ALL crew. It is best for everyone's sakes, therefore, that you and I remain detached.

I would like to thank you, however. Without you, this ship could not fly. You may never hear from me again after this message, but I want you to know that I feel honoured that you are here, and that I value you. You have my word that I will do everything in my power to bring you back to port safely after every sortie.

Best of luck to all of you, and may whatever you believe in give you guidance and strength.

-Hakatain, YVG. 
Pilot, Dissonance Vector.

<Message Ends>

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Journal: 112.10.28

I've not seen Nicole in four months.

I don't know where she is, what she's doing or what's being done to her. I don't know if she's dead, alive somewhere wishing for me to come and pull her out of the fire, or alive somewhere wishing never to lay eyes on me again.

I miss her. I miss the fact that she's so much more intelligent than I am, but so much less practical. I miss her blush. I miss the way she calls me "rakkai". She's the only person ever to see me cry, on the day we put Dad in medical cryosuspension.

I'm coping, holding myself together, getting on with things, but I still miss her. And some mornings... it's almost impossible to summon the will to even get out of bed.

But I don't quit for mere "almost impossible". Never have, never will.

Save. End.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Notice to all crew: YC112.10.28

<Dissonance Vector Internal ComNet Message>
<NOTICE TO ALL CREW RE: Evacuation.>
<Author: XO_Yutsaysen>
<01:30 hours, YC112.10.28>
<Priority: A - mandatory access>


All crew to be aware: The Dissonance Vector is a military vessel that is intended for use in warfare operations involving capsuleer combatants on all sides. This means that the destruction of this ship under fire is not merely likely - it is inevitable. 


THERE IS NO CLONING SERVICE AVAILABLE TO CREW ON THIS VESSEL.*


Unannounced emergency evacuation drills will be conducted at random intervals throughout the service life of this vessel. There will also be twice weekly prescheduled drills.  


THESE DRILLS ARE OF VITAL IMPORTANCE TO YOUR OWN SURVIVAL AND THOSE AROUND YOU.


You will find the instructions for emergency evacuation procedure plus an audio file of the evacuation alarm sound included in your orientation package. Memorise and rehearse them until they become second nature.


YOU MAY HAVE AS LITTLE AS FIVE SECONDS TO REACH SAFETY.


Any crew member who cannot immediately recognize and respond to the evacuation alarm faces expulsion from the crew without outstanding pay. Your performance will be monitored.


THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN PROCEDURE BETWEEN A DRILL AND A REAL EVACUATION


This may mean that the only notice you get that the ship is really being evacuated will be when the escape capsule you have boarded launches. For this reason you MUST treat all evacuation alarms as the real thing. There will be no "this is not a drill" announcements.


If you believe that a member of your work team has failed to properly learn evacuation procedure, it is your duty FOR THEIR OWN SAFETY to report them to your team leader, section chief or to the XO.


-Niva Yutsaysen
Executive Officer, Dissonance Vector.


*with the exception of some senior staff. If you have not already been offered a cloning service, then you are not eligible.


<message ends>

Journal: 112.10.27 (2)

It's astonishing how a conversation can turn a simple birthday present into an object of dread.

Just what the hell does Vieve think is going on?

...what does Celeste think is going on?

Save. End.

Journal: 112.10.27

The Provists did the State a huge disservice when they forced Niva to retire. She's the finest damn officer I've ever hired.

It's been 24 hours and already all the major section chief positions are filled, at a high quality. She's been taking into account personality compatibility, and drawing from non-Caldari sources if it means getting a quality chief who's good for the job. She's picked a Thukker for the flight deck officer, my security chief is Jin-Mei, and Engineering is now the doman of a Ni-Kunni.

The biggest score, however? Fighter pilots. Ex-Navy fighter pilots, not the usual fare of terminally ill civilians who get hired, given a crash-course and a barrage of medication to make sure they survive long enough to be useful. Because it turns out that the Provists have been busy shooting holes in the Navy pretty much since day one, and there are a lot of quality officers and personnel - up to and including a whole fifteen-man fighter squadron - who were waiting for an opportunity like this.

She says they trust her, and that she has faith that I won't waste their lives. I hope I prove worthy of that faith.

Save. end.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Security monitoring, Hakatain residence, YC112.10.26

<Security record: 11:48 112.10.26 (EST)>
<Venue: Hakatain Residence, Korama III - Moon 8 - Ishukone Corporation Factory>
<Suite: Pilot V. Hakatain office complex, security antechamber>


Speakers in order of appearance in record
<Speaker: Trooper Garl Nathaka, Hakatain Estate private security forces>
<Speaker: Commander (ret.) Niva Yutsaysen, visitor>
<Speaker: Pilot Verin Hakatain.>


GN: Good morning ma'am. Commander Yutsaysen I presume?
NY: That's right.
GN: Do you have any weapons or other contraband to declare, ma'am?
NY: My sidearm.
GN: Thank you ma'am, just put it in this box please... and press your thumb here for biometric lock.... Thank you ma'am, you'll get it back when you leave. Would you please step into the blue square?


<SECURITY SCAN FILE ATTACHED: NO SECURITY THREATS DETECTED>


GN: Very good. Pilot? Commander Yutsaysen to see you sir.
VH: Let her in.
GN: Sir. Ma'am.
NY: Thank you.


<Record break>

<Venue: Hakatain Residence, Korama III - Moon 8 - Ishukone Corporation Factory>
<Suite: Pilot V. Hakatain office complex, Pilot Hakatain's office>
<record continues>

VH: Niva! 
NY: Hello again... sir.
VH: Come off it Suuli, I may require "sirs" and salutes from everyone else I employ, but never from you.
NY: *relieved sigh* Thanks, Verin.
VH: Come here, it's been six years. <they hug>
NY: I missed you too. Look at you! You look younger!
VH: Cloning does that to a man. And you look.... well okay, you look your age, but it's a distinguished look.
NY: Thanks. Distinguished. You're too kind, Suuli. 
VH: <laughs> drink? 
NY: Vodka?
VH: Coming up. 

<silence for 0:45m, sound of drinks being poured>

VH: Kanpani!
NY: Moitte!
VH: So what the hell happened? I figured if someone cut you in half they'd find the star-and-bars printed down the middle. Why'd you retire?
NY: I, uhm... I was court martialled.
VH: yes, I know

<Silence for 0:05m>

NY: ...Spast! Verin, that's classified! how did you...? 
VH: I'm enormously wealthy, that's how.
NY: You bribed a House of Records librarian?
VH: No, of course I didn't.
NY: But in that case how...?
VH: Not relevant right now. Look, I know you Niva. You're a Navy officer on the cellular level. Your trial was obviously corrupt, I can see that just from the record. But the Niva Yutsaysen I know would NOT choose resignation over demotion, corrupt court martial be damned. So why'd you retire?

<Silence for 0:10m>

NY: They... forced me.
VH: forced?
NY: I... well, I expressed an opinion about the Provists in confidence to my superior officer. I had some misgivings about the militia war, and mentioned them off the record.
VH: I see.
NY: Next thing I know, they're court-martialling me over the Tama incident, and a Provist agent walked into my office. He said that he'd arrange for the sentence to be lenient if I agreed to resign. If I broke the deal... well, he said something about how capsuleers will happily shoot at anything for money, and how it's amazing how easily a ship's escape pods can be...
VH: I get the picture. A ship full of good people would have died.
NY: So... yes, they forced me.
VH: *sighs* The dumb fucks would shoot the whole State in the heart to save its little toe.
NY: Anyway, I saw you had a position available for XO on a Chimera-class and... you know, it's you, and I've always wanted to serve on one of those things...
VH: You signing on with me is really going to piss them off, you know.
NY: Yes.
VH: <laughs> you have been warned. Alright Niva, you're hired. Report for duty ASAP, the Dissonance Vector needs a crew. That'll be your first assignment.
NY: *relieved sigh* Thanks, Verin.
VH: <good-natured humour> dismissed, commander.
NY: <laughs and salutes> Sir!

VH: Oh, one last thing Niva. 
NY: Yes?
VH: I know that the Provist agent gave you other orders besides resigning. I don't care what they are, you should forget them.
NY: ...huh?
VH: I have a social adaptation chip and capsuleer social training. I can read every nuance of your body language, expression and vocal stress patterns. You cannot lie to me, Niva, and you cannot conceal the truth.
NY: Verin...
VH: You are an old friend, and whatever they threatened, I can and WILL protect you.
NY: ...thank you.

<NY leaves the office>

VH: That... is going to be a problem. 

<Recording terminated>
<Recording marked for personal archives>
<File ends>

Monday, 25 October 2010

Journal: 112.10.25 (2)

There's only one position I ever bother with personally filling on my crew - Executive Officer.

From there on in, the rest of the crew is their problem. So, I have to choose well.

This morning has been the day for that. Seventeen applicants, all with perfectly good credentials... and then a name jumped out at me.

Niva Yutsaysen.

There are a lot of people in the State... it couldn't be the same person ...could it?


Turned out it was. Lieutenant Niva Matrenka Yutsaysen herself, except she made Commander at some point since I last saw her. A woman I would have sworn was going to wear the star-and-bars her whole life, applying for a Capsuleer's XO position?


My XO position? On the biggest combat ship I've ever purchased? 


So, I have to get her into my office. There are millions of people working for the Caldari Navy, and hundreds of thousands of capsuleers in the sky. There's just no way that one of my old classmates is applying for the job at random.


She'd be perfect for the role. And that makes me suspicious.

Save. End.


Journal: 112.10.25

A Chimera has a volume just shy of twelve thousand cubic kilometres when fully assembled.

You'd think that somewhere in that lot, the designers would have found room to squeeze in ONE more bank of quantum supercomputers.

Save. End.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Journal: 112.10.24

Yesterday was a day off. Just family time.

Dad's recovery has been remarkable, I would have given him a prognosis for lifelong dependency on some kind of mobility rig when we began the nanite therapy but here we are and he's gardening and keeping busy looking after the family investments and going for his usual nightly walk - and spirits help me if those aren't a pain to keep secure. The only sign there was ever anything wrong is how quickly he gets tired, and even that's fading with time.

I didn't get to see Meera unfortunately - she's just too busy looking after Naia, and volunteering at the creche. I wonder what the director of that creche would think if she knew one of the volunteers had a team of elite shadow operatives watching over her 23/7.  That at any second, men could just appear, bust through a steel bulkhead and sweep her to safety. They're under orders to be on a hair trigger when she's at the creche - extracting her instantly would be safest both for her and for the kids.

Then there's Sinikka, who took me shopping, under the sisterly pretence that I need to expand my wardrobe. And to be fair, mine DID expand more than hers did.

Cheap and unhealthy takeaway food delivered to the estate, and the Kuonela Trophy semi-finals between the Jita Four-Fours and the Sobaseki Sentinels on the Echelon Splinterz feed.

And in the back of my mind, every so often throughout the day, that uncomfortable "mental sneeze" feeling of another skill level tying up the loose ends and finalizing the changes to my neural structure. I don't know why AURA bothers to alert me every time a skill training program completes. I always know.

I had a good day, in other words. One of precious few.

Save. End.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Journal: 112.10.22

Clone jumping...

from one very technical perspective, it actually consists of deliberately killing myself so I can flit half-way across New Eden in a single Planck time.

Of course, I'm a capsuleer. Dying and waking up again an instant later is sort of what I do.

Anyway, in this case I'm doing it because I need skillbooks. A LOT of skillbooks, and expensive ones to boot.

Because in thirteen hours, my neural structure will finish profiling itself to maximise my ability to interface with drones, and the last obstacles between me and capital ship piloting will be... the actual capital ship skills. Except that all of those skillbooks are absent from the regional market, so I need to jump down to empire and collect them myself. 

Fifty hours from now, I could make the return journey via my own private jump engine if I wanted.

but it doesn't stop there, because BLAST has a peculiar love/hate relationship with shield-tanked ships like, say, a Chimera. So immediately after I've got settled into the carrier I want, I'll need to finish my Amarr battleships training so I can squeeze into an Archon, though I'm damned if I'll stoop to buying one of those god-bothering piles of spangly junk. The corporation can damn well requisition one for me if necessary. And the same goes for the Revelation they'll inevitably ask me to get too. I'd much rather have a Phoenix.

So, I'll go from having zero capital ship piloting skills (unless you count the freighter) to being able to pilot a quarter of all the military capital hardware in New Eden in the space of a month.

Hopefully, maximising those skills should mean I won't have to worry about my next training agenda for a long, long time.

Save. End.

***

Begin postscript.


Of course, what I wasn't aware of was that the skill books cost more than the carrier. I can afford it, but this is still going to hit my wallet harder than I was expecting.


Save postscript and end.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Journal: 112.10.21

The River.

I can only assume Cia told me about it before, and my brain did all the thinking without involving me in the process. Spirits know, I set out to produce something appropriate for her, but I didn't think I knew her that well to be able to nail it on the first try.

Kigurosaka, in other words. literally, "flowing smoothly with the stream". Intuition. Hyperconsciousness.

It always amazes me how light years of separation can produce cultural takes on the same basic idea that are superficially nothing alike but, seen from the right angle, in the right light, in the right frame of mind, are wholly identical. The same idea, malleable, folded and hammered and bent until it'll fit minds of different shapes. Changed in form by the variety of heads that carry it, but still the same idea.

History moves in cycles. What has been before will be again. "In a past life, I was...". closed time-like curves, curved space-time... No beginning and no end, and never still, and always and never the same.

We live in just one loop of the infinite cycles of death and rebirth. It doesn't matter what you believe, because all beliefs are the same. Those who die in the glorious service of God are reborn in His kingdom. We pass on to join our Ancestors and live on through our descendants. We go, and come back. We are in the River, and the River is in us...

I don't know why I didn't see it before. Even being a capsuleer, knowing the quantum and physical processes that let me hop bodies all over New Eden, or die in a firefight and get back in a ship mere minutes later... it's all part of that same cosmic loop of reincarnation.

I wish I knew what the Minmatar believed in. I should find out, some day. Even if the idea at the heart of it all is identical to all the others... look at things from different angles, and your perspectives shift. The more you know, the more you understand.

If we confine ourselves to one point of view, we become blind. Only in embracing the other can we begin to know ourselves. There is one truth, but ALL interpretations of that truth must be valid, or else none are.

That truth is very simple:

This is not all that there is. We are more than we seem to be.

Save. End.

passive monitoring summary yc.112.10.21

*Passive monitoring record for apartment 773/a, Subject - Pilot Hakatain.*

0000 - 0523 Apartment vacant

0523: Occupant enters.

0524: <video feed in privacy mode: occupant disrobed>. Recorded activity: shower (duration 3 minutes), ablutions, went to bed.

0530 - 1130: Occupant asleep.

1130: Wakes. Performs ablutions, showers (duration: 7.2 minutes), orders lunch.

<Lunch: vegetable soup with corn bread, cup of tea. Dessert: fruit.>

1150: Exercise (duration: 30 minutes)

1220: Subject in prayer (duration: 10 minutes)

1230: Subject changes clothes and leaves apartment

1230 - 1537: Apartment vacant. Subject's location not on record. *ADVISE INVESTIGATION*

1537: Subject returns to apartment.

1537 - 1800: Subject works at desk (Activity - laser sculpting of crystals)

1800: Subject orders dinner

<Dinner - grilled fish, steamed vegetables and light beer. Dessert - ice cream>

1820 - 2100: Subject watches Splinterz match on Echelon feed #52. Drinks two more beers during duration of match. *POSS. ALCOHOL OVER-USE DETECTED. ADVISE REQUEST MEDICAL OPINION*

 2100: Subject leaves apartment

2100 - 2359: Apartment vacant. Subject installed in capsule.

*END OF SUMMARY*

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Journal: 112.10.20 (2)

Funny. I came to Black Star looking to just be a soldier. I didn't want to get back to being an FC, or a training instructor, or anything where people might wind up relying on me to be anything other than a solid part of the line.

How quickly we fall back into the same roles again and again. Here I am, giving the fleet commanders navigation advice, training them in how to lead bomber wings and rapid strike forces. Here I am, doing what I'm best at - taking capsuleers and turning them into soldiers.

If I'm not careful, I'll wind up being alliance Special Forces task force commander again. If so, I hope I can find a way to do that job but stay out of the endless politics at that level of alliance command.

Save. End.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Journal: 112.10.20

Somehow, giving somebody a considerate gift that's just perfect for them isn't quite as satisfying when you didn't do it consciously or intentionally...

Journal: 112.10.19

Ewoks, Ev0ke and NC are attacking the Talos Coalition outpost in 9R4, which is basically in our backyard, and blue. So tonight, I was part of the relief fleet.

The result was something along these lines.

I lost an Apocalypse in the fighting. I hadn't even named it, it was just a piece of standard-issue equipment that the corporation handed me and used.

I'm still reviewing the crew roster. about 72% of the crew evacuated and were recovered by friendly cleanup to crew a BLAST vessel. 16% were recovered by hostile cleanup and are now POWs... presumably they'll just wind up working for the other side. Can't say I begrudge them that, it's not like they have any ideological reason to work for one side or the other. The remainder, including the ship's executive officer and the quartermaster, are missing presumed KIA.

Dying aboard a piece of standard-issue equipment without even a formal name. None of the missing personnel left forwarding addresses for next of kin or beneficiaries.

If there'd been anything, even a record in the ship's manifest to send bereavement pay to an account number, they'd seem more human to me. As it is, it's almost like another statistic of ship loss, like how long the shields, armour and structure held out. How many modules survived the destruction, who the people who shot me down were.

I survived. With so many armed and active targets on the field, they really weren't bothered with shooting at an unarmed capsule, so I punched out of the warp bubble and disengaged. Made it back to v6 safe and sound.

I'm... not pleased, but at least relieved to find that I still care about their deaths. I feel sorry for them, and for the others like them. Sometimes, I think our crews must be more inherently tragic than we pilots are. Putting their lives on line - and they only have one to gamble - on the promise of wealth. I think a lot of them are here precisely because they want to die but can't quite will themselves to suicide. We build our crews on the desperate, the weak and the forlorn.

I checked. ALL of the crew on that ship were forwarding their pay to somewhere else. The payroll is full of charity codes, bank accounts registered  in somebody else's names, or entries that are just marked "refused".

Do we waste lives? Or do our crews waste them for us just by signing up? Is it parasitic behaviour to take what is freely and willingly given?

I don't think I'll ever be the kind of pilot who fails to think about the people I'm destroying, but I've come to terms with it I think. Ghosts don't haunt my bedside... but they do haunt my ships and keep them running for me.

poor bastards.

Save. End.

Monday, 18 October 2010

journal: 112.10.18

Several years ago, I was shot in the knee.

the mission, as I recall, was to arrest a suspected Guristas operative who was meeting a cartel of counter-corporate terrorists with a shipment of spoofed corporate scrip equivalent to about three thousand ISK, and a possible weapons shipment.

"possible" turned out to be "definite" when we stormed the place. And it figured that the squad medic would be the guy who found out the hard way that they'd acquired an anti-vehicle pulse laser. A half-second pulse took my right knee down to scorched bone pretty much instantly, and the explosion of steam knocked me staggering. that was probably what saved my life, that I went sprawling into cover from the detonation.

I remember that it didn't actually hurt. the nerve trauma was too great, and the automated medical systems in my armour clamped down on all the pain, gave me a whole cocktail of stuff. Mephodrazine, Frentix, Codethaline, Adrenaline, steroids... From upright and running with an SMG in my hands to a drugged haze in about four seconds.

I don't remember much after that. Medical evac, doctors, worried faces... it all blurred together except for Suma. Suma Kidachi. Breaching regulations by holding my hand. I think we'd have been court marshalled when I woke up if...

That was the last time I saw her alive. Her or anyone else in the squad. They shoved me in a tissue regeneration vat and kept me under for four months. When I came out of it I was briefed that my whole squad had died in the valiant defence of a civilian personnel transport that got hit by blood raiders. The fought off the boarding action, so the fucking Blooders went and vaporised the ship. What was supposed to be downtime duty while one of the team was in rehab turned out to be #35 "Tanto" squad's last mission... and I wasn't there to die with them.

The Counsellor told me that the best thing was to remember and reflect on the good and not dwell on the bad.  To find new work, something, anything at all to keep me from missing them horribly. To give me purpose so I'd just get out of bed in the morning, so I wouldn't be tempted to find some way of... joining them.

I went on an intensive re-training scheme. took my experience as a medic and went on a fast-track course in trauma surgery which landed me in Field Operations Support Hospital 883, promoted to Captain.

Some days, it really was hard to get out of bed though. I missed them all, but Suma... Ancestors help me, I loved her so much. So much that I made mistakes like marrying Iadne because I thought maybe if I tried hard enough, I could...

I don't even know what I thought I could do. Ten years on and I still haven't figured out what was going on in my head when I proposed to her, or what was going on in hers when she said "yes". All I know is that the marriage lasted all of two days before it started to fall apart.

And now Nicole's gone. I don't know if she's dead or alive. I don't know if I need to go to the cloning techs and authorise her reanimation, or if I need to go rescue her and hold her and be the big damn hero. I don't know.

At least I could grieve for Suma properly. Her death scarred me in ways I'm only just acknowledging, but there was no uncertainty. She died, I grieved, that's how it went. Clean and natural, even if it nearly broke me in two.

But now? I don't know how I'm holding up. I don't know if I'm holding up. I'm out of my mind with worry and grief and rejection and anger and fear and self-doubt. Seems like every minute a new type of misery is slamming into my brain, forcing the others aside until they fight back one by one.

So all I can do is distract myself. I meditate, I practise Tastoitsu, I sculpt, I fly, I fight, I run simulations, I get drunk, I socialise, I focus on other people's problems to distract me from my own. I commit to my distractions until they make me forget her, for a while. But I can't stay distracted 23/7... she always returns, and then the worst misery of all comes with her.

Guilt.

Save. End.