Morale

Jiorj browsed through the active messages and then sighed, leaning back in his chair. Ouch had been at war for a few days now and the pressure was beginning to wear people down. He looked out at his own crew and realized he had not spoken to them since this war began. They had lost friends out there, not to the war but to where the war had taken them. He sighed and gathered his wits about him before heading out.

“Brothers, sisters, gather round if you will.” He waited while they moved closer. Many were faces from his village but there were faces missing and new ones in their places. He sighed. “As you know, we are at war. This has made space even more dangerous than it has been in the past. I do my best to keep us safe but ships . . . and lives have been lost.”

“Why are we fighting, sir?”

“I have made inquiries into that and the best I can tell is that the enemy seem to be what is commonly called griefers. This is not about money, territory, or honour. They hunt us because they think they can.”

“People are dying . . . sir the losses on our side in pure isk . . . ”

“Yes, I know. I am managing to keep us in the positive right now and am trying to get better at flying the frigates we take out. Our leaders are looking into ways to help us and they think they have come upon a solution. We will be moving our base of operations, soon. The griefers only go where they feel sure of having the advantage. They camp outside of stations waiting for someone to exit but it they are thenselves threatened they hide within the station until the danger goes away. So we are going to make the danger more omnipresent. We are moving into lowsec.”

Gasps and mutters filled the hanger as this news was absorbed.

“If this was a true war then the enemy would follow us. But if this is all about easy kills then these people will become hunted by the stronger inhabitants of our new base area. By going where it is dangerous we will, in effect, even out the playing field.”

“But not into nullsec, right? I have heard that is getting worse lately. The Providence region . . . ”

“THAT is ENOUGH of that.” Jiorj paused and let the echoes in the hanger dissipate. “Ahem. Do you know what the deadliest weapon in a war is? I will give you a clue, it cannot be mounted on a ship. Information. What we know and do not know is the difference between living and dying. What we say and think influences our knowledge. If we think all is lost then it is. If we worry about tomorrow and dread suiting up for the next flight we might as well retire now.”

Jiorj pointed up to the higher reaches of the hanger. “There are podpilots on the channels bemoaning how foolish this war is and how they plan on ‘sitting this one out in Jita’.” Jiorj spat on the deck. “THIS for anyone who would think to leave his comrades behind and ‘sit out’ a war. THIS for someone who would pollute the comms with defeatist talk. We are here to do a job and we will not ‘sit it out’ nor will we leave OUCH while the war still runs. Cowards are as common as cockroaches and when light from the fires of war shine you see them scuttling away in the same fashion. Our people did not raise us to run home when the going got tough.”

He stopped and looked about at the assembled crew. “As for Providence. I am sure you have been following the news as much as I have. It seems this is the season for leaders to be suicidal and to take many people with them. Goonswarm is no more. CVA struck a cowardly blow in their ‘holy cause’ and failed. They were then rapped over the nose sharply by their neighbors. I do not know if you have read the most recent offer of peace and its refusal but for me, it beggars my imagination. How they could refuse the return of thier station and an offer of peace after it has been clearly proven that the alternative will be their destruction . . . ” Jiorj shook his head. “Madness.”

“I could never have predicted what those people would do, but I know what I am going to do . . . what WE are going to do if you are still with me. I have ships being made as we speak, some we will fly, others will support our losses. Many of them will be lost in this war, and some lives will go with them. I never fly to die but I hav eyet to shirk my duties. Black Claw has suggested that I might lead a Roam.”

“You sir? But . . . ”

“Yeah, my reaction was about the same. But I have been watching and learning from the other fleet commanders and I hope I have learned from both the successes and the losses. To fail to have done so would be spitting on the sacrifices and the losses we bore for those lessons. We will be going into nullsec, looking for targets. The trick will always be to tell the targets from the bait. We have lost ships to mistakes in that identification procedure. I will be taking us out to the edge of Providence if we can get that far and I expect the best we can get from all of you. I am not going to ‘fly till we die’ because I owe you better than that.”

Jiorj looked out at the worried faces and continued. “Now I expect that the enemy will be haunting the hisec passages looking for us to be making supply runs. One of our jobs will be to supply our fellow pilots.”

“At a profit?”

“Have I done otherwise? We will not be wartime profiteers but Black does not mind if I make a percentage. I have done my research, my homework and I know what is being used and will be moving those job lots to the top of the factory queue.” His comm chimed and he frowned, looking down at it. “There’s the, pack up people we are on the MOVE.”

“Where sir?”

Another voice from the crowd scornfully answered. “Ya ain’t heard of operational security? We will find out when we gets there.”

Jiorj smiled. “Actually we have a choice of destinations and Black is not too worried about spies anymore. OUCH is not hiding and is accepting new students again. We can go to losec or nullsec.” His smiles turned wolfish. “Guess where we are headed.”

A quiet voice from the back said, “We are so dead.”

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

Lessons:

One nay sayer in a corp can kill more pilots than a battleship station-camping your home base
Realistic is nice, but most pessimists claim they are ‘just being realistic’
“And thereore those skilled in war avoid the enemy when his spirit is keen and attack him when it is sluggish and his soldiers homesick. This is control of the moral factor” Sun Tsu

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