Holidaze

OOC

Ok, two things and In will let you go, I know you are busy this time of year.

  1.  Operation Northern troll, send CCP a christmas card https://mikeazariah.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/ooc-operation-northern-troll/  Send ccp a real honest to goodness Christmas card.

2. Operation Magic School Bus will be doing a special double run through the career systems with a small twist.  For the Holiday runs I will announce each day where the Bus is and stay there, for the day (on and off as rl allows.  Special gifts shall be handed out as the spirits demand.  Sop watch here or me on twitter @mikeazariah  to see where I am.

Merry Christmas

fly it like you won it

m

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Before departure

It was a larger than normal crowd in the graveyard.  What was normally a quiet time for Mike and Tanta had blossomed into a full family event (living and dead) and the spread of food and drink covered more than a few graves.  People were laughing but respectful as they talked of old times and poured a bit out for those who could not raise their own glasses.

“So they convinced you to come teach a few steps?”  Mike asked with a grin.

Tanta nodded, loading Frees plate a bit higher over her futile protests.  “They had another teacher, one of my former students.”

“Let me guess . . . she met with an accident.”

“Wrong twice, boy.  He was out and out killed.  Somebody is trying ta slant the results of the contest but they hit the wrong target cause now they gots me to contend wif.”

“Tanta I kin takes you where you wants to go but I cannot stop assassins once we get there, I just can’t.  It ain’t my speciality.”

“Boy, you juss drive yer Bus.  I gots others to watch my back when we is on the ground.”  She looked over to Free and nodded.

“Tanta never travels alone, but I and a friend will be tagging along as well.  You are right in that a determined hit will be hard to stop but the previous target was taken out up close and personal, not a bomb or large scale event.  I will watch over her, I will.”

“La, see?  You has nuthin to worry about except starvin, Eat more, I make this all up special.”  Tanta shoved a bowl of gumbo towards him and he dutifully took some.

“Feed me too much and I won’t fit in my own pod.  Once the contest be over then there is no reason for you to be targetted, no?  So how long we lookin at?”

“Once we gets there?  10 days.  But you has to get us there first.  My sources say that they might try something subtle like a pirate . . . ”

Mike laughed.  “I know too many pirates.  If someone new tries something out there he damn well better be ready and trained.  I don’t doubts that many of my friends would shoot me iffen I crossed their sites on the wrong side of the tracks but take out a contract on me?  In the Bus?  Oh some hotshot may pretend to be a pirate and make a try but I is fairly known and this is home turf.”

“I will get you there, Tanta.  I will.”  Mike set down his drink on a headstone and plate to one side.  “I will stay for a bit and be back for the contest but I cannot be away for 10 days.”  He stood.  “But understand one ting and one very important ting at that.”

Mike raised his voice to fill the graveyard so all could hear.  “If someone tries to take a shot at Tanta, who will put themselves in harms way to protect her?”

Free rose silently, as did everyone else present.

“Tanta, you do not risk one life . . . ”  Mike hesitated.  “I don’t count as one no more, being a podder but look around you.  I gets you all there, all safe as far as I can carry you but know you are carrying a lot of life yourself.”

Tanta, seated on the grave like a queen on her throne looked about at all the serious and worried faces and snuffled back a tear. “Why you leave politicking, Eme?  You so damn good at it.  I knows what you is saying and I will listen to those worth listenin to.”  She smiled up at Free.

Mike turned and took both of Frees hands in his own.  “Call in what favours you have.  Eyes everywhere, Ears everywhere else.”

She was about to make a joke until she looked into his eves and saw the pain.  Silently she nodded.

There was a quiet moment then Mike grinned and scooped up the gumbo and set to serving other small parties.  The celebration of life and death continued as it always had and probably always would.  Old ways, they die hard.

***************************************************************

No real lesson here.  I am trying out some new things like running abyssal sites to make a bit of isk.  I thank https://www.alpha-orbital.com/news/abyssal-solo-worm-fit   for that.  Good advice and a good ship fit goes a very long way.

I also am streaming on caffeine the runs, now and again, I usually tweet when I am doing that and include a link.  Feel free to follow me on twitter @mikeazariah *could probably grab the link for above as well.

I am gearing up for Christmas and of course the Bus will be doing some fun stuff though it will probably be in game and less so in the blog.  I WILL make a special stop each day and tweet it then hand out a largish gift or two in local to those who pay attention.  That will be the 12 days of Christmas Dec 25-Jan 6 you heathens

But I have been lax and so comments to this post will be entered in a draw for a Worm.  Damn nice little ship.  1 week or so before I make the draw.

fly it like you won it

m

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Money Talks (summery winter minutes part 2)

“So”, he said as he gathered things for the trip.  “The minutes I was reading are actually relevant to right now.”

“How?”  Free asked, she was already packed.

“There be different types of combat.  There is kills someone directly then there is just grow so strong they will not even think of fighting you.  They talked about the economics report for a specific month and war was all over it even if there were not as many explosions.  Now this was high comedy for folks who tend to read between the lines.  One councillor asked if bounty payouts were currently sustainable and was flat out told no.  Another asked which subcap ship was drawing all the isk only to be told it was Carriers and SuperCarriers that were doing the most damage to the economy.”  Mike laughed.

‘Why is this funny?”  Free asked.

“Because a LOT of the the council is representing Nullsec where this is happening.  They were hoping that their constituency would not be noticed so directly.  Turns out Abyssal Tier 5 runs are making nice isk as well.  Then they talked about other lesser isk policies and how we poor capsuleers are supposed to make a living.”  Mike grinned.  “Those of us who work for a living, that is.”

Free frowned but scooped up her bag as Mike paused then tossed another pair of shoes on top of his case and they headed out.  “Extra shoes?”

“Juss in case Tanta wants me to help.”  He replied.  “I prefer ones that are broke in.”

OOC- next convo was on ESI sign ins and such, not really IC material but of interest to some of you

“Then they talked about sponsored events.  Like when we went after the rogue drones and the slavers.”

“That should not be an event, just something that is all the time.”  She was heading toward the ship he had arrived in but hew steered her off to the side and a much larger ship.  MUCH larger.  “That?”

“Ayup.  She can be comfortable and don’t expect many folks think of this as a people mover.”

“That is because it isn’t.  For all that you call it a Bus . . . ” She stopped as Mike swung to face her square on, the smile gone.

“I move Tanta so she be safe.  Not so I can win a fight or even shoot back.  Her.  Safe.  The Bus is 3km long and very tough to take out before Concord takes an interest.  You will be ready to man a shuttle and recover an escape pod iffen it comes to that.  But movin thru hisec?  This be safest. I know you thinks in terms o safe is when they other is dead and that be so but when the other is most likely hirelings?  I had to choose between fast and sneaky or big and tough to kill.”  He gestured at the Bus.  “It may last long enough for help ta arrive.”

“What help?”  Free asked.

“Again, we is movin through hisec.  This is where I lives.  I won’t put out a call for a fleet but I may ask a few trusted friends to keep an ear open just in case I calls.”  Mike laughed.  “If I made an illegal call for help in Rookie Help Chat the results might be . . . interesting.”

Free frowned.  “How so?”

“Well that was another ting that was discussed.”  Mike lead the way up to an elevator puled up along side the Bus.  “Most new pilots are not taught how to fit ships.  They make the oh so common mistakes like dual tanking or mixing guns.  There was a lot of talk about better trainin for new pilots or at least some basic lessons on how to fit a ship.”  Mike sighed.  “We see a lot of that along side the trolls.  The players that that think themselves edgy to push the limits of civility.”

“That is a big accusation coming from a Gallente”

“Some words don’t need being said.  Some stands about people based upon the colour of their skin?  Where they be born?  Not welcome.  Not now, not here, not there.   You want to rile up a Gallente?  Push his or her limits on those boundaries.  Rookie help chat is very specific about such talk but the people in charge ain’t always about.  Damn I wish they would give me a hammer, even a small one because some nails just beg to get knocked into the wood.

They also chatted about giving the new pilots a bit more of a hint as to what they should be training and why.  Us helpers usually just point towards the Magic 14.  But that is us and Eve Uni, not the powers that be, doin the teachin.”  Mike sighed and gestured her into the body of the ship.  “Make yerself comfortable while I go get naked and plugged in.”

She rolled her eyes and boarded the Bus as Mike waved over a crane and rode it down the hanger to the pod bay.

**********************************************************************

Lessons

What should be taught and how is a common refrain for the Eve NPE, they have changed it again and I am not sure that it is for the better.  IF I ever get on the CSM again I am going to do a pedagogical analysis of the NPE and hand the damn thing in.

There is still a bit more to write on the minutes and the wardec thread is still going hot and heavy in the forums.  I may have to write a side piece on that.

Y’all getting ready for eve vegas?  I am jealous.  But you kids have a great time.

m

 

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Interlude between Minutes

If you are looking for more minutes, see the next post, this one needed to be done, it was yelling at me to be written

“Where the hell are we going, anyways”  Mike asked, walking beside Free.

“Wondered how long it would take you to ask.”  Free said.  “Back to pack and then you are flying us to fetch Tanta.  She has someplace she needs to be and thinks that You are the one to take her.”

“Tanta takes standard ships all the time . . . why would she . . . ”  Mike stopped.  “Someone wants her dead.”

Free nodded and continued walking for a moment before realising Mike was not beside her.  She looked back to see Mike standing very still, hands slightly out from the sides of his body, eyes focused in the distance.  Then he relaxed and caught up with her.  “Lead on.”

“That’s it?  No demands, no ranting?  Just lead on?”  Free asked incredulously. “Damn I just lost 200 isk.”

Mike laughed.  “You made a bet with Tanta?  I thought you smarter than that.”

“With Ruis.  I thought it was easy money.”  She looked down.  “I should know better, eh?”

“It was easy money, for Ruis.”  Mike grinned.  “Oh I am plenty mad but there ain’t nothin here to take my mad out on.  So I thought about what you had told me.”

“I haven’t told you anything, yet.”

“Tanta needs protection but it ain’t from one person.  Otherwise you would have handled it without me getting involved.  It ain’t from ground assault or locals because Tanta seldom runs and she has a friends around her, at home.  So this is big and vague . . . and new.  Now what is new that would make Tanta a target?”  Mike looked off into the distance for a moment and then snapped his fingers.  “Dance lessons.  Ensî Beatrice Batteuse?”

Now Free stopped to stare at him.  “How?”

Mike grinned “You know my method. It is founded on the observation of trifles.  I read the news and look for patterns all the time.  Trifles have layers, like an ogre.  When something makes Tanta break pattern you can usually make good guesses as to what, based on how she moves.  You told me everything I needed to know, assuming that I was paying attention.  Now lets go get packed.”

****************************************************************

No lessons but the last piece to this puzzle was this odd post from CCP

https://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/world-news/gallente-royal-destroys-local-divine-in-freestyle-verse-exchange-gets-married/

that made me start thinking and you know that is always dangerous.

I will get back to minutes next post

fly it like you won it,

m

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13 Minutes (part 1)

OOC Yes this is my take on some of the Minutes of the CSM summit.  Yes it is done in character.  

“You don’t get it.”  Mike explained.  “Even when I am not in it I follows it so I know what has happened and what I might do about it.”

Free snorted.  “You do not do things about politics.  You do things TO the politicians.”

“Spoken like a true assassin.  No, there are always things to be done, sometimes in the cracks between the politics and the pandering but there is always things to be done.  If you do not watch, are not part of it, then some of those things are done TO you.  So I follows the Minutes and I takes my notes and I talk to folks.  It is what I does.  So, like I was saying, they met up a while back and the slightly redacted summary of the meetings came out.  Some of it is the same old same old but other parts show that there be paople awake out there.”

“Sheeple never wake up”  Free growled.

“Ah but we is not all sheep, some of us just like wearin the wool.  The powers dat be asked what the Council thought was the most important to consider, this time out.

● Server Stability ● War Decs ● Devs playing EVE ● Bounty system

was the answer they got. But aside from their main ideas there was also talk o’ more languages, warning to the newbros about putting all yer eggs in one basket.  It is nice early on in those sessions to lay out some goals or destinations.  But then the thing is to see if you gets anywhere.”

“Did they?”

“Ah, patience, mon petit, patience.  First thing up after the intro and ground work was abyssal space.  They is still trying to get a hand on the metrics for it but there was talk about better recycling of bad plasmid results.  Nice to see them thinking ecological like.  But then came one o the big one, Wardecs.

In the EVE Leadership meeting the CSM was presented with numbers resulting from research into the state of war declarations in EVE and those numbers quite starkly showed how asymmetric the situation is, and how war declarations allow a small number of players to negatively affect a huge number of people, with low risk. These numbers may be discussed further by CCP at a later date.

“I know that kind of talk”  Free muttered.  “Top men are working on it.  Go away, we will call you when we decide what is goo for you, best for us.”

“I know, I have been da recipient of that sort o ting, myself.  But if the numbers push the wallet then maybe, juss maybe sometin will be done.  See that is always where the rubber meets the road.  Lose pilots who give it all up just to keep a few happy?  Sooner or later sometin gotta give.”

“You.”  Free pointed at Mike’  “Are an incurable optimist.”

“Ayup.

CCP Fozzie says that at this point they are
waiting for a more detailed request from the senior management to see what the business goal is in this case

That is someone waiting for the brass to realise that gold is slipping away.  So the thing is, finer . . . what would fixing it be?  There was talk of cost but I don’t think that will work, too many have too much as it is.  Then they talked about structures and having ‘skin in the game’ for attackers.  They also talked about the  friends aka logi alts where people allied but not in the war always seem to pop up at the most convenient time.”

CCP Masterplan brings up that currently players who assist in a war fight without being party to the war, currently get suspect flagged, and whether changing that to a criminal timer would be something to consider

Free looked over at Mike and asked.  “What do you think?”

Mike sighed.  “It needs fixin.  If it is broken you try fixes and if they don’t work you try something else but the one thing you do not do is agree it is broken then stand there doin nothing.  I may have to make this part and parcel of my platform if I ever run again but not right now.  What I will tell you is this topic got a LOT of folks talking and arguing in channels  and that is never a bad thing.”

**************************************************************

Lessons

yes I still pay attention

yes I still care

I am, as usual, breaking my commentary up into chunks so I can get stuff out while I chew on the next bit.

Comments so far?

fly it like you won it

m

 

 

 

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Where have you been?

Mike looked about the hanger and saw that nobody was willing to meet his eyes.  She stood in front of him waiting for an answer,  “Um well there is the Bus . . . ”

“The Bus does not keep you from docking, now and again,  never for this long.”  Free looked very angry.  “People worry about you.”

“People?”

“When”  She asked through gritted teeth, “was the last time you spoke to Tanta?  If she does not hear from you she starts putting out feelers.  I swear that woman has contacts that make governments nervous.”

Mike chuckled, in spite of himself.  “I’d brush it off a ‘la she is juss a dancin teacher’ but you would not believe me would you?”

“I would throw you, very hard and very painfully if you did not know how to land properly.”  She paused.  “You do, don’t you?”  Her eyes narrowed. “She raised you, taught you . . . ”

Mike diverted the conversation with a joke.  “I am a podder, we never worry about landings, just call to the station and let them pull us in.  I been doin some side flying.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“There be times when I do the Bus or official rounds,  then there are the times I fly juss for me.  I took some time to do some side flyin as I felt a rut beginning to develop in my paths.”

“And where did the side flying take you?”

“Oh, here and there.  I raided some Amarr slave pens for a while.”

“Yes, we caught word of those flights.”  She looked down and to the side and said softly “thank you”

“Den there was the Concord testing day . . . Lordy dat one was so fun.”

“Is that when Concord somehow caught and dragged to Yulai AI infected ships?”

“It was glorious.  Not much more needs to be said about it.  I happened to be close enough to be at the right place, right time.  We made some BIG ships blow up and  . . . well I had some fun.  Even Earned a couple of kill marks on the ship I was in . . . ”

She looked over his shoulder at the Stratios behind him and frowned.

“Oh, not that one, I was in a Gila.”  He chuckled.   “I have been flying the Strat chasing a few rogue drones.”

“And failing to talk to the people who matter.  YOU are coming with me.”

“I am?” Mike squeaked (just a little)

“Tanta sent me.  I am sure you know the hazards of refusing a deadly woman.  And ticking me off also is considered a show of bad judgement.”  She spun and headed out of the hanger deck.

Mike looked around and saw Ev and Scotty laughing in the distance and shrugged at them, following Free.

*****************************************************************************

Lessons

Is it just me or are events getting better?  The GM week was a howl and yes I was there

https://zkillboard.com/kill/71984870/

https://zkillboard.com/kill/71984809/

As for the current Rogue Event?  I still enjoy the simple beauty of the game and remember to ctrl f9 now and again, watching the eaten out wreck of a Domi, infested with drones . . . kind of cool.

If you are playing in the next little while?  Pause, take a break, fly a bit for yourself and remember why you still play.

fly it like you won it

m

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Whats in the box?

Scotty squinted at the asymmetrical ship and chuckled.  “Ev!  Break out a bottle, He’s back.”

“There always be a bottle handy, mon.”  Ev called back and they waited for Mike to exit his Pod and come down for a visit.

“Let me guess,”  Scotty drawled.  “You went and did some Federation Grand Prix.”

Mike grinned and tapped his comms.  “I HAD to, No self respecting Gallente would passup at least making a showing.”

“Fun?”  Ev asked.

Mike frowned.  “No, not really.  I have had more fun stepping into abyssal space.  I mean the runs were fine, Go Go Dancer there,”  He waved at the Atron in the hanger.  Is quick enough that I can make the runs fairly quickly and smoothly but I am not prone to the ‘death express’ so I fly all the ways back, each time.”

“Death express?”  Ev asked.

“Podders purposely die so the revive in a med clone next to the starting line.”  Mike explained.    “Not my way o doin tings so I flies instead.  Either way, I won me a box.”  He tapped the comm again and read it.  “A few skins, some trading cards, a booster, and some fireworks.  Well those will be handy.”

“For what?”  Scotty asked only to find both Mike and Ev laughing.

“I am Gallente, there is never a day I cannot find something to celebrate.”  Mike raised his glass.  “Today I celebrate being with friends.”

Ev and Scotty toasted him back and they spoke of other things.

****************************************************************

Lessons.

You can fly fast and run a few of these but I am told you get more isk/hr hauling.

I do appreciate the variety of things to do, of late andf I am absolutely loving the action when I want it of abyssal space.  May do a post on that one, soonish along with a small comment on the election results.

fly it like you won it.

m

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Lucky 13

“So, the election.  As I said I been busy but never to busy to pontificate and say who gets my votes.”  Mike carefully sipped a glass of rum and laid his hands on the table.  “First things first, those who have a shoe-in election, leaders and chosen of the null alliances?  Yeah they don’t need or want my vote.  So they are not getting it.  Those who appear to have put their name down and done bugger all after that?  Also eliminated.”

He eyed the bottle shook his head.  “Let’s start with the people I know and have dealt with often enough that they get my vote . . . anytime they need it.  Steve Ronuken, Otto Bismarck, Jin’taan, Commander Aze.  Then we have folks that come highly recommended by people whom I trust.  This includes Bei ArtJay, Sullen Decimus (and his campaign vid cracked me up), and Suitonia.”  Mike counted on his fingers.  “Damn that is seven already, isn’t it?”

Mike frowned and glanced at his notes.  “My short list is a hell of a lot longer than 3 more names.  After this it comes down to me wanting to see certain representation or people I have seen actively campaigning and communicating.  After all THAT is what this is all about, in the ned.  The ability to communicate.  Chainsaw PlanktonI know from a lot of time on the forums.”

Ev and Scotty muttered ‘eight’.

“Yeah yeah.”  Mike grimaced and nodded,  “Winter duFallen has a decent cv and I am interested to see how that one will play out.”

“Nine.”

“I CAN count without the use of a spreadsheet ya yobbos.  Last one to mention is Lorelei Ierendi if only to support hisec.  But the runners up are all worth looking at as well,
Cwittofur Cesaille, Saint Michaels Soul, Silver Suspiria, and Eurzadahn are among them.  If somoene thought they were better suited to represent THEIR part of this universe then they would be a good choice.”

“Using that logic then Goons would vote for Goons.”  Eve said.

“And you would be right on that.  but I am not a goon, some I have met were very nice folks and easy to work with, like Mynnna.  But they get their votes with or without the average unaligned voter so I want to say who I would like to see get in as well.  Thus my list.  But this bottle is empty and lonely, what say we empty another to keep the first company?”

**************************************************************

Lessons

Look, vote, whether for people I recommend or others.  The STV means that almost all of you will be sure that your vote actually counted, the order of the list matters (Steve is at the top of mine)

I am looking forward to seeing the results and maybe even running, once more, next year.

fly it like you won it

m

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Rummy nose

Mike slid down from the Firefist and staggered towards the hanger exit.  The Gila shimmered behind him as the bots started a scrub-down, standard with the possibility of contamination from abyssal space still a concern it was standard procedure for ships coming back.

He almost missed Scotty and Ev waving him over from the side bay.  A bottle between them and a few glasses showed he might not have to walk all the way up to one of the bars on the concourse.  “We’ve been waiting for ya.”  Scotty passed across a glass of amber rum.  “After all, we cannot vote without consulting the Oracle himself.”

Mike sprayed rum out his nose.  “Hels, is that  . . . I lost track of . . . dammit.  I have been out in Abyssal space and was trying to be a combination of prepared AND willing to be surprised.  I forgot all about what day it is.”  He wiped at his face and grimaced.  “Waste of good rum.”  Squinting at Scotty he growled.  “You knew, didn’t you?”

“Yuppers.  Worth every drop.  Secret of good comedy and all that.”  Scotty grinned widely.  So, how is the Abyss?”

Mike looked over their heads for a moment before answering.  “New.  I mean I have been around the block a few times but having rules change, the performance of the ship alter, that is normally wormhole stuff.  Not something I can activate and have to myself.  The views are . . . well space is empty and I am used to a whole lot o nuthin.  Then I find myself looking out at . . . ”  He keyed up his comm and an image floated above them.

 

“Views like that are new . . . as are the denizens of that new space who seen to want a piece of anyone who drops in for a visit.  I arrived in time to see a mass of little buggers eating a Drifter battleship for breakfast in one stop.”

He looked at the images and shook his head.  “I was cautious, in my own way, and took a decently fitted Gila.  I’ll need to reload a bit and sell some of the filaments I scooped up before I head back out again.”

Ev whistled through his teeth.  “All dem cruisers be goin up up up in price, mon.  Gilas may be da worst o dem.”

Mike grinned.  “I know. I am not one to bling fit but the damn thing ran me a cool half bill.  I suppose my preference to Dessies has made me slower to buy/fly the bigger toys.”

“So you ran a couple of sites?”  Scotty asked.

“A shade over a half dozen.  Mainly ‘Calms’ and a pair of Agitateds.  I cannot remember their flavours.  The ship I was in did well and I learned a few things as I went along.”

“Like?”

“Like containers tend to throw shrapnel when they blow.  Like you don’t have to kill everything, just the right things.  Like you have SOME time to stop and admire the view but not a lot.  It is good old fashioned flying and paying attention is a bit important what with the time limit and all.”

“You had a good time?”

“I had a great time.  Some folks have asked if I might make an instructional about it and I think I might.  But you started this conversation to see what I thought of the election.  Pour me another and I shall do a short pontification.”

Scotty reached for the bottle as Mike leaned back and settled his thoughts.

*******************************************************************

Lessons

Flying for fun again.  I LIKE these things.

I did a small adaptation of the Gila in the article here  damn good article.

I will be writing an election post in  a few hours but rl calls, right now.

It will be an abbreviated one . . . not my usual 3 parter.

fly it like you won it

m

 

 

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Homecoming

The Day-shift aerospace interface comptroller was checking his personal mail.  The daily shuttles on and off planet were done for the next hour so he was only in the position in case something unusual came up, and it almost never did.  The system was not a busy one and the planet was not connected to any sort of trade hub.  It was a place to live, to grow, to survive.  Gallente politics did not reach down to the grass roots and so they seldom bothered with news of the rest of the Universe, just what was going on at home and that was good enough.

“Sir?”  One of the scanner techs was trying to get his attention.  “We have a capsuleer on approach.  He seems to have disabled his warp and is actually coming in.”

“Into the atmosphere?  Is he going to make it?”  He tapped a control shunting the mail to the side and brought up a replica of the data the tech was looking at.  “Yup, he has circumvented the planetary  bypass systems and should be slow enough not to burn up on entry.”

“Do we scramble a response?”

The comptroller tapped a few keys and shook his head.  “No, it is not an attack.  Get me a full set of camera drones out there to shadow him down.” He looked at some info and then brought up a map.  “There, there is where he is headed and by the time he is done he will wish he had not made this trip.”

The tech was new and did not understand.  “Sir?”

“It’s a Homecoming, poor bastard.”  He brought up the images of the drones as they closed on the Navy Comet.  “Pretty ship.”  He spun away from the screen to face the tech and explain.

“Capsuleers don’t die, you know that right?”

“Yeah, lucky bastids.”

“Two sides to that coin.  They head off into space and make a life for themselves out there, Become famous, maybe, or die . . . a lot.  Whatever, they leave and live and live and live.  Thing is, the folks back home?  Family?  Friends?  Not immortal.  They age, they change, they die.”  The last was almost a whisper, it was said so low.  “In space there are no seasons, no change, no falling of the leaves or migration of the gnorks.  Time loses its meaning and the years pass.  For some of them a lot of years pass and they forget the mortal life they once had.  But every now and then one of them remembers and tries to come home.”

The ship was sweeping across the continent on a straight line for where the comptroller had predicted.  He glanced at the ETA timer and continued.  “They have forgotten the limits of time, of mortals and they expect to come home.  But there will be no homecoming for them, not one they want.”

He paused and brought up a history of the land plot and its inhabitants.  He knew that he would need the information soon.  Another drone was launched on an intercept course, it would get there just in time, he thought.  “So the prodigal son or daughter returns, but you cannot step in the same river twice.”

The drones slowed as did the ship, a wide field, a farm, once and a very small and tattered remains of a house in the center of it.  Even at its best it had been a humble abode and the years had not been kind.  The Comet stopped, hovering 3 meters off of the ground and just stayed, silent, still.

The comptroller stood, straightened his uniform and stepped off to one side before activating the last drone, a projector unit. His image appeared between the ship and the house.

Coming Home

“Sir, I know you have changed your name since you went into space.”  He looked up at the ship and paused.  “I also know that this was once your home . . . a long time ago.  But time has passed.  Your family ran the farm for almost a decade after you left before age and disease took your parents.  Your siblings have moved off planet, I do not know where and the land here has been uninhabited since then.  Neighboring farms have been granted permission to till the fields but the house here, as you see, is empty.”

He looked at the ship, nothing moved.  “There is nothing for you here, anymore.  I am sorry to bear this news but it true.”

Was it his imagination? Did the ship settle down just a bit, as though suddenly heavy hands held the controls within?  “If you wish I can forward all relevant information that I have told you to your files . . . ”

Like a skittish gnark the ship backed up a few meters.

“Sir?”

The ship rotated up and swept away from the farm, from the projection, from the past.   The comptroller sighed and stepped out of the projection, the camera drones were recalled and he sat back in his chair.

“Now what, sir?”  the tech asked quietly.

“Now nothing.  He knows there is nothing here for him.  No ties to come home to.  He won’t be back . . . he might not even live the night.”

“But he is . . . ”

“Immortal, yes.  But they can CHOOSE to end.  CHOOSE to lose.  Some do.  It gets to be too much for them and so they cancel all their clone contracts and”  he paused “I believe the term they use is ‘biomass’.  They recycle themselves and end.  They are immortal only as long as they choose to be, no longer than that.  He tried to come home but home had left him after he left it.  Some of them cannot handle that and this is heir goodbye.  Others?  Well others move on, find a new place and continue but I have never seen one come back more than once.”  He touched and control to confirm that the  ship had left the atmosphere and returned to space.  “Just log the visit.”

*****************************************************

Lessons

In rookie chat ‘can I ram a planet’ is a common question followed by ‘what happens if I fly too close to the sun’

Rixx did the art  https://www.flickr.com/photos/12832008@N04/40729561351/ and I could not help but write something for it.  Since he is off travelling he cannot complain for at least a week.  HA timing is

. . . wait for it . . .

everything

fly it like you won it.

m

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