She was not sure she had ever met someone who wore his heart on his sleeve more. The man laughed often and with little reason, he seemed to find the entire universe something that had been set before him for his pleasure. Maybe that was what she found attractive, his blatant lack of ulterior motives or agenda. He said what he wanted, what he planned and then he would bullishly try to accomplish it. The comm showed that he was out there somewhere, his eyes stricken. Over the shared channel she could hear snapshots of what he was listening to.
Reports from the lowsec incursion. She had tried to protect the poor fool and not told him where it was happening. She should have known better. The man seemed to know everybody . . . But the reports from Oruse were bad, very bad. When the final relay of the ‘Citizen Astur’ came through . . .
Dropship squadrons initiating thermal scans. Population centers exhausted. Expanding search.
Your cause is lost, capsuleers.
Witness for yourself, what happens when more is asked of your kind.
Dropship squadrons concluding thermal scans. Population centers exhausted. Search identified no further populations in need of assistance.
His contacts described how Rote Kappelle and Huzzah Federation fought any capsuleers who arrived to defend the planet. How they hamstrung every attempt to stop the Sansha. They ended the report with the report of a cyno announcing the arrival of Pandemic Legion. PL had not arrived to defend the system, they were just there for the mop up and to kill the super-carrier in system.
“Gods” Mike breathed over the comms. “They have cleaned out Oruse . The Sansha took this one completely .”
She frowned. “That’s a shame, I suppose.”
Mike nodded and took a breath. “Gimme a moment, I need to collect myself, before docking.”
She looked at the large tub, already prepared and then back to the comm and nodded. “So this is bad news?”
He nodded. “They got everybody except for scattered loners. They finally managed to empty a planet. They swept it clean and I . . .I was supposed to be there. I have been trying to organize forces and I should have been there to do what I asked of others. . . i . i failed. Nothing happened and now all those people . . . .”
“Mike . . . Come here.”
‘You understand I am not great company right now?” He looked sadder than she had ever seen him. Even worse than when he lost all those passengers in the Death Race.
It wasn’t long before he told her he was at the door. She opened it to find him slouched there, looking like he was carrying some huge weight on his shoulders. “Hey you. Come in.”
He stepped into a hug and held onto her the way a drowning man might grasp a life-ring.
‘I shouldn’t drink right now. What do you have?” He craned his neck to look into the suite.
“You are right, I don’t make good decisions when . . . .well, like now. Water will be fine.” He looked at the full tub and sighed.
She shook her head and lead him over to the couch, sitting down and patting the spot next to her. He flopped down and let his head loll back so he was staring at the ceiling. “have you ever heard the old quote . . . something like . . .one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is just a statistic’?”
She reached over and tugged him till he slumped sideways and had his head in her lap. “Yeah . . . “
“My Tanta . . . my aunt, brought me up. She said that one was wrong. One death was a tragedy and a million deaths was a million times worse. But she say tha mos folks . . . they cannot be handling that sort o ting.” He was staring off at nothing and his accent was growing stronger. “So dey use the statistic as a shield, to be protectin themselves from the pain. They be hiding from the truth o what be happenin.”
He took a ragged breath, eyes glistening. “Only problem was, when she taught me that she removed the shield. Once I understood what she meant, it no longer protected me.” He closed his eyes. “I am sorry cher . . . I take things emotionally, very like. I shouldn’t have come ‘ere. I coulda stayed in my ship till I got calmed down.”
She leaned down and kissed him on the cheek. “No… you’re right where you should be.”
Later she cheered him up with stories of how the capsuleers had totally defeated the Sansha hours earlier in Deltole. But in the back of his eyes she could see the pain was still there. She knew that he might allow himself to be distracted for the moment but he, being who he was, was going to do something stupid. It was easy to see for anybody who knew him, it was right there, on his sleeve, along with his heart.
Part of me expected this. I think we all did. From what I understand, Oruse was a shooting gallery.
But think this through. Incursions starts and lowsec gets over run. Defenders stop trying to save it because the losses are too great. Nullsec hunting packs use the incursion fighters as target practice. So the Sansha get lowsec . . . all our shields, weapons etc go to half value. You think it is empty there now? wait till mining, ratting and the other reasons to be there are over shadowed by the Sansha effects.
Gallente Hero channel has begun and a few folks are showing up and starting to ask damn good questions. I haven’t got all the answers but we are working on them together. Hawk, Bazz, Bleys and others . . . .thank you. I just hope we can make a difference.
In case you are wondering, yeah I do like the rp aspect of games but I still am not going to ask others to pour isk down a hole with no hope of recompense. If I understand how the ‘bestest fleet’ gets the prize rules. I want GH to be that bestest fleet. If we manage it a few times one of two things will happen. Either it will snowball and GH will become the Sansha opponents or others will also step up and it will become competitive.
Interesting times ahead, folks, I just don’t know if they are going to be the Chinese curse type of interesting.