He tossed his kit on the couch as he walked into his small quarters and sighed. Exhaustion made his shoulder slump and he glanced at the screens showing the latest incursions with a listless eye, not actually processing the information. He wished he could remember where the remote was so he could turn the damn thing off.
“So now what?” Free asked from the doorway behind him.
“If you are here to kill me, make it quick and stop trying to do it by giving me a heart attack.” Mike said with a grin as he turned.
“Kill you? No. We have kept our distance while you were in the spotlight. That IS over now isn’t it?” She moved his bag off of the couch and sat down at one end of it.
‘The campaign is, yes. Now we wait a week for the announcement of the results.”
“A week? Most election I know of have returns started the moment the polls close.” She frowned. “Why do you have to wait a week?”
“They like to make a big to do about it and announce it at a special convention. So we wait. Some will attend the convention, I, myself, will not. I have other things to do.”
“Rest, remember what it is to be a pilot. Not worry about what is being said about me or what I am saying.”
She tilted her head to one side. “I listened to some of what you had to say on the media. You never seemed like you were ‘reading from a script’. You worried about what you said?”
“I worried about what was heard. I didn’t have a script or ‘talking points’, I said what I thought and asked questions in the debates of the other candidates to find out what they thought.”
“I don’t know a lot about politics.” She said, shaking her head. “But I am fairly sure you are ‘doing it wrong’.”
Mike shrugged. “To quote the ancient philosopher.
I don’t play a part, I say what I think and act on it. So, yeah. I do politics ‘wrong’.” He slumped down on the other end of the couch and put his feet up on the table. “I was asked, more than once, why I keep running iffen I won’t work at doing a proper campaign.”
“I heard. You never really answered them, you know.”
He squinted at her for a moment. “You are the only one to notice that. Yeah. I didn’t answer them because the people asking wouldn’t understand me, given the context. I keep running and keep losing because I don’t want to be a politician . . . I’m just trying to help. By refusing to play their game properly I pretty well eliminate myself each and every time. But if I say that during a campaign debate . . . it doesn’t really work.”
“So why do you run? Why wear yourself out if you know you probably don’t have a chance?”
Mike smiled softly and closed his eyes. “Free, you won’t manage to end slavery, does that stop you from doing what you do? We don’t always get to pick only the fights we will win. In fighting, even in losing, we make a difference. If I was in a debate with three null sec candidates my very presence forced them to discuss a portion of the universe that they otherwise would ignore. If I made people rethink voting a straight party line and actually start thinking about who they wanted in office . . . I won. I may not get a seat at the table but I HAVE to believe that I had an effect.” He opened his eyes and looked at Free with a simple pained honesty. “I have to believe that or it was just a waste of time and effort that could have been spent in a dozen better ways. Every year I ask myself if this is the last time. If I should run again, having lost before. And every damn year I step up to the plate and try again.”
A quiet silence filled the room and neither tried to end it prematurely. The screen flickered from most-wanteds to new hopeful pilots and then covered a bit of the news, silently as each of them sat there, considering. Free broke the silence first, saying softly. “You haven’t asked why I am here.”
“I gave you a key. That doesn’t mean I have a a say in when/why you come or go.” His shrug was quintessentially Gallente.
She glared at him and then thought for a moment. Another man might mean that he didn’t care and she could take it as an insult. But for this one . . . he meant what he said. He had offered her his home and he had meant that, too. No strings, no conditions. “I think I have figured out why you have problems. Nobody expects other people to tell the truth. They aren’t ready for an honest man.”
“I can lie.” He drawled. “I juss choose not to.”
“Exactly. But we ‘normal’ people kind of assume that the people we are talking to are lying or shading truths for their own benefit. Politicians . . .even more so.”
“Well,” Mike drawled, there is a philosopher who had an answer for that, too.”
She laughed. “Been catching up on your classics, I see.”
“Juss cause someone said it long ago don’t make it more so or less. People been the same for a long time. We still manage to make the same mistakes and go through the same old problems each generation. If anyting our pod status allows us to juss make the mistakes bigger, like te old gods o’ mythology. Our flaws and our strengths are magnified as we write our stories across New Eden.”
“Well a mutual friend of ours whose name you never remember has made contact with my organization. We need the help of a pilot who can fly one of these.” She touched a button on the table and the screens changed from news to ship specs.
“Oho. Would this friends name begin with K?” Mike perked up and then tried to remember what the hell she had done to change the screen.
Been writing this, on and off for the whole week. which means we will know the results later today (my time)
Ever try to list how many ships you can fly? Ever train for one you have no internion of flying just so you can tick it off of the list?
Damn, I am jealous of the folks at Fanfest.
fly it like you won it and maybe you will