Money or Life

Mike muttered “Money or Life’ as he sat in a dingy little cafe on the station above Dantan. It was a question faced by many a capsuleer at one point or another, most trying to find a balance between the two. Money . . . a life of staring at asteroids or following charts and trends trading. Life . . . taking the Jaguar out and risking long odds for small returns, fun but not profitable.

He had always had a philosophy of a JOAT (Jack Of All Trades). This meant he could do a bit of anything he wanted but he was finding that he was never very good at anything. There were dozens of ships he could fly, poorly. He took almost twice as long to get Veldspar from a ‘roid than the miners around him. When he browsed the latest designs being worked on in the shipyards he would take notes of ‘loadouts’ then sigh realizing he did not yet have the skills to operate the more complex weapons or shield augmentations.

The waitress refilled his cup and moved through the room checking other customers before putting the heated pot away and clearing a table of dirty dishes and a small tip. He watched her, his mind far far away, but something slowly sunk in. Everyone has to make the choice, not just capsuleers. The thing is that most people decide NOT to decide and live their quiet lives watching the prizes sweep past them, never reaching out.

He came to the off the main concourse dineries because he wanted some peace, not having to listen to the trash talk of faction types, or watch the shady deals in the light of day. He came where the dockyard crews ate and relaxed. Where the people who made the stations run ate, not the bosses but the people who did the actual work. The menu glowing on the table before him proved he was not on the usual stomping grounds for pilots. Food and drink was an order of magnitude less in price and far far more filling and . . . well . . good. The human staff were not dressed (or undressed) to interest the customers, their clothing was utilitarian and basic.

Had the workers and clients here made their choices? Did they ever realize that they had choices? Were they just living life one shift at a time and working for small bursts of fun? He pulled out his pad and typed in a question. “Why are only some people capsuleers?” The Galnet connection seemed slower here and the answer, at first, didn’t make sense. It was neuro-research and educational studies written in very academic and formal language. Almost more than formal, it felt like authors were being deliberately obscure. {The ability of the participants within the non-control group were seen to have low achievement of the intended objectives vis a vis the absorption of the neuro-depositions of the advanced curriculum in direct relation to their normalized scores on the Weisman and Kurriachi achievement levels in standard cognitive processes.} Or {The few participants who managed the mninimum achievement levels within the intial testing were often found to be subservient to a stronger member of the cohort and were almost alternative personalities, reflecting an ‘out-of-the-box’ cognitive process in relation to the primary participant onto whom they had attached themselves. These alternative thinkers (or alts) were often cats paws for the stronger personality, seemingly willing to sacrifice themselves or run the most menial or repetitive tasks for their dominant ‘friend’.”

Mike ran his finger over the text a few times and made some side notes on his pad, translating the text into something resembling a laymans version when the full meaning hit him. He looked over at the waitress who was now staring off into space . . . no, at an imbedded Galnet contact. She wasn’t bored, she was distracted by something only she could see, or hear. He looked at her a bit closer and noted the iridescent tattoo on her left breast. [For The Horde!]

Ah.

She had made the choice, based on her ‘cognitive ability’.

Mike shrugged and went back to his coffee. When he left, though, the tip on the table was enough to pay the womans salary for a week. He had not made a decision to go for ‘Money or Life’. Like everything else, he would be a JOAT and do a bit of either, whenever the mood or the shiny ship called. It was a big universe and room enough for him to be what he wanted to be, when he wanted to be it.

****

Lesson: Eve is not WOW, we are all in the same universe, the same shard, the same unreality. But here you have to think. Hard to believe but it is true. Even Goons are a cognitive group, for all their anarchy and chaos and general goofiness . . . there are minds back there. Search a podcast lesson by the goons and see for yourself. Find leaked internal documents of tactics and builds and you will know they are not all nutters, it is just how they work and play.

The ‘low cognitives’ seldom get past the 14 day trial. They get discouraged when they haven’t leveled up. Or when they get concorded for doing something they were warned not to do.

Then they return to elves and dwarfs, quests and raids and they are happy

Oh, and Goons? If you are looking for me to join you on a run or two I will willingly do so in exchange for a collateral deposit to my account. Said deposit will be a promissory note against any predictable actions and the resulting clone and ship replacements.

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