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.


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.