He sipped his coffee and looked out onto the ship hanger complex. Small vessels scooted through the larger docked ships, carrying cargo and resupply. Bright flashes showed where work crews were busy doing repairs of battle scarred ships and dark shadows hinted at motion where less than savory trades and exchanges took place. Light and dark, action and stillness. It was liking some nest of small mechanical insects, each bustling to do their own little task.
“Quiet day.” The Scotty nodded as the waitress brought him a cup and a pastry and sat down next to Mike, also looking out.
“This is quiet?”
“Yeah, action slows down this time of day. Even some of you poddies sleep . . . or so I been told.”
“Pfft, don’t believe everything you hear.”
“So why did you call me up here?”
Mike grimaced. “Don’t make it sound like some sort of summons. I haven’t the clout to back a simple request.”
The Scotty shrugged. “The local agents like you well enough. You treat folks right and thank the bay crews when they make deliveries. Compared to a lot of folks . . . you have clout in a more personal way.”
“Manners. Ma always said they’d pay off in the long run.”
“But others think they make you look weak in the short run.”
A wolfish smile flitted across Mikes face. “I always like to be thought of as weak. But I had a few questions for you, simple ones but I cannot seem to find answers for them on the net.”
“I have a button to summon my drones back to the bay, a button to send them at things that need some attention. Why don’t I have a button to send them out of the bay?”
“Tradition, mainly. Arming weapons and taking offensive action used to have a lot of interlocks so someone did not accidentaly start a shooting war. That and the fact that one button would not let the bay know which of your dozen drones you wanted launched.” Scotty held up a hand. “I know, a preset line of buttons customized to be launched in or out of sequence is not that huge of a technological shift. I am just telling you the answers I get in the trade journals.”
Mike sipped his coffee and nodded slowly. “If I were king, that is one of the things I would make a decree about.”
“And what else, yer highness?” The hanger supervisor grinned and bowed slightly.
Mike stared off into space. “I have a cousin who is a groundling. Works in the local police force . . . kind of a ground based Concord. He tells me that a persons vehicular insurance is voided if the loss is shown to occur while the person is committing a crime. If we moved that idea up into space it might make a few hulk miners sleep a little better in the belts.”
“You out to stop the suicide gankers?”
“Now that is the thing. Yes and no. There have been times when I could tell that there was not a podpilot on board, just some mechanical program running the vessel on automatic. Big corps keep trying to replace the pilots. THEM I would love to see hunted into extinction. But if an average joe is out mining in a hulk, half asleep, to a ganker looks just about the same. He IS working and he does have a right to be there. If there was a way to tell the difference, a test that could be performed, then a ‘hunter’ could apply for a license and their kill would be considered law enforcement, not a crime.”
“The term you are looking for is ‘privateer’.”
“If I use that term I would expand a lot more on their scope of operations. They could hunt anybody who was in a system and considered ‘shoot on sight’ by the locals. I have to make fast and quiet transitions through Amarr space right now. Bad enough the local constabulary try to lock me up. I shudder to think what would happen if the militia of the area or just people who don’t mind working for slavers also were allowed to shoot.”
“Might mean you’d have to avoid that area a lot more.”
Mike glanced sideways at the Scotty but his eyes were calmly surveying the hangers. “It does make sense, even if it would make life tougher for me.”
“What it would do is make life more interesting for a lot of folks. When Concord starts getting help with . . . well see that ship down there? The one being loaded up. All the damage we repaired on it were from sentry guns. He tanked his way in here even though he ain’t welcome and once his is docked we are supposed to treat him just the same as you.”
“That is insane.”
“Speaking of insane, I scouted a few wormholes and sites in a local system for some corpmates. Drove me crazy that I had to dock or drop a can for them to see what is pure information. If I can talk to them and even send ship fittings on the comm channels why can’t I send a simple location?”
“Now ya got me stumped on that one, boss.”
Mike grinned. “Problem is, who do you ask that can actually do something about it?”
“Why not you?”
“Step up. I know you don’t think you represent anybody and in a way that is what makes you right for the job. The axes that some of the big corps and alliances have to grind make their viewpoints skewed. They want changes that make life better for them. You want changes that make some things better for you and some that make things worse for you. Why?”
“Just because it makes something worse for me does not mean it is not the right thing to do.”
The Scotty smiled widely. “That right there. That is why you should step up.”
“Step up to what?”
“The CSM. The Council of Stellar Management. They are the movers and the shakers that change tech manuals. They determine how research funding will be directed in major centers across the galaxy.”
“I thought they were just the galactic equivalent of a High School Student Council, with all the petty bickering and popularity contests that go with it.”
The Engineer laughed. “That, too. But they are the only way for a pilot to even try to make a change. So you can wait for someone else to be the agent of the change or you can try to be that agent. Step Up, Mike. Step the hell up.”
Lessons: It is easy to complain about something, to be willing to work towards addressing the complaint is something else.
It is scary not knowing if the application for CSM candidacy actually made it in.
IF it did, and IF you have something you would like to see ‘made right’ send me a note.
Even if I don’t manage to qualify as a candidate, post a comment here.
I am trying to represent the average players (whoever they are) and the new ones. Not the mega corps and alliances.
Make little changes in simple mechanics of the game, not radically changes as to who owns what space.
I love this game and want to make it better, not different.
If you agree with that and you think of it, toss me a vote when the time comes, please?