With a last shudder, the FF Duolith nestled into its berth in our home station, and the engines of the Obelisk-class freighter fell silent. I issued some final commands to have the collected ore transferred towards the station’s refining facilities, then began the not-too-pleasant process of unpodding. Automated systems disentangled my pod from the ship - this hadn’t changed - and then moved it towards my quarters.
Correction: towards my Captains Quarters, Minmatar issue. Guaranteed to give every slightly claustrophobic capsuleer an anxiety attack, especially when returning from the Big Void. Heck, I had seen slave quarters more luxurious! And there was this door, closed “due to ongoing construction”. Supposedly it would open one day soon, revealing new station establishments worthy the rank and riches of a capsuleer. Until then, we were asked to wait in patience.
Well, at least we were given a couch to wait on.
Luckily the station commanders everywhere shared such sentiments, or at least missed the ISK we capsuleers used to leave in their stations. As a result, private gliders had shown up at hangar balconies, “compliments of the station”, to whisk us away to whichever part of the station piqued our interest.
In my case, I was simply heading towards the nearest station access port, to take the transports towards our corporate headquarters. A ‘State of the Corp’ meeting was on the agenda for today, which sounded grander that it was: in general, these meetings were just an excuse to get together and shoot the breeze, as well as breezing through some shots.
Walking from the glider to the nearest transport belt, my attention was invariably drawn to the monitors showing the latest news and advertisements. Apparently the militias had picked up the gauntlet which Pandemic Legion had thrown down in in the factional warzone, with the militias actually getting some kills against PL. Still - Supercaps in Lo-Sec just rubbed me wrong.
Heck, it was wrong, front and back.
It meant that the 0-sec regulations introduced just a year ago had truly sucked the life out of the sovereignty warfare, with its participants now seeking their kicks in lo-sec. And the instance in charge, the Concordiat, was more interested in pouring its funds into their ‘New Capsuleer Recruitment’ programs.
Not that I disagreed with the New Capsuleer drive in principle - the pool of pilots who could handle a Capsuleer’s life in its current form was pretty much exhausted, and in order to draw in new blood, increasing degrees of handholding were unavoidable. But at the same time, the slashing of funding across the board was making it ever more difficult to retain veteran pilots: to name just one example, the explorers amongst us were yearning for new regions of space to explore - something only a properly funded DED could unlock. And if veteran pilots like that handed in their licenses and stopped paying the associated fees, there was a good chance that the Concordiat would go bankrupt before their New Capsuleer plans came to fruition.
Talk about a waste of potential awesomeness.
However, that possibility was still very far down the road. For the moment, the Capsuleer’s Council - though 0-sec heavy in composition- was making progress in lobbying the Concordiat to restore at least some of the original funding. And as long as the Council would continue pushing, our way of life might still be saved, in one form or other.
And in the meantime, I would keep flying. Not just to show that the Council was indeed representing active capsuleers, or because there were still goals I intended to achieve in New Eden, for myself and for the Corp, but mostly...
An announcement interrupted my musings - it was time to debark.
Hopping off the transport, it was only a few steps towards our headquarters. When I entered, I could hear the voices coming from the common room, telling about their latest adventures, big and small.
In the end, my reason to continue as capsuleer came down to this simple thing: People. Not just my corp mates and family, but also all the hostiles past and future. Every encounter, good or bad, added to our lives, let us grow - and in the process, we wrote New Eden’s history, the only history it would ever have.
And as far as I was concerned, that was reason enough to keep undocking for.