Somewhere in a New Eden chat channel, circa YC 114.
Living in the wake of the Great Frigate Revolution, all that he craved were the answers to the many questions he had buzzing around in his mind. Scraps of paper littered the desk in front of him, some seemingly no longer making any sense, mixed in with the graphs and charts and various other forms of data. To the untrained eye it probably looked like some kind of messy shorthand.
He said that killmail gratification is the only reasonable pursuit for the modern day space fighter, the wannabe hero of the spacelanes. Further, that virtue and vice do not exist, and that any means are permissible in the search of greater pleasure in the art of the frigate dogfight.
We learn by doing, he continued. But as we take up this great adventure, as we 'do', so to speak, we continue to form our own sordid branch of learning. What I think he meant to say is that we shape our own path by not following a set of rules and, sometimes without knowing it, we cherry pick what works for each individual.
He looked down at the mess of papers in front of him and tried to take in what he was just told. His head was blank with thought, and a strange fear crept up his back.
The chat channel blinked again.
According to legend, Queen Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba would immolate her lovers, plucking them in pairs from a select group of men that she had at her disposal. The two chosen ones would, with great bravado, ceremony and pomp, fight to the death in order to spend the night with her and, after a single night of lovemaking, the champion would then be put to death himself.
Such a bittersweet ending.
This is the fundamentals of good quality frigate PvP, especially in the 1-on-1 form. Sometimes when the stars align and everything clicks into place you become that victorious pheromone-fuelled beast, a passionate libertine who for one night rides out that eternal urge of the killmail gratification. Nobody in this moment remembers the guy who was sent to his fiery death after the initial defeat. But, after the lovemaking what is left? An agonising wait for our victor until the execution at the hand of the Queen, or one of her henchmen at least.
He stared at the screen and scrolled back up to the top. He read it all again trying to decipher the hidden code.
He rolled back in his chair and logged off for the evening.
This unfinished piece had been sitting in my draft box for months. I tried to somehow explain the passing on of vital information from Veteran to Rookie. The whole point was sort of to make it a difficult phase of gathering the info, but also highlight the difficulty of getting that info passed on.
The culture of frigate fighting and the lore that goes with it stretches far and wide and there really is no one collective source. With this bizarre portrayal of lovemaking, execution, flames, passion and death I wanted to represent that initial excitement at the beginning of a rookie's path into PvP and then the subsequent decline and the ups and downs along the way.
I don't know if I succeeded or not. I couldn't decide how to take this further. Hence why it sat dormant for so long.
Who are the two lovers? Two players duking it out for the night of passion? Plucked out for the shot at glory, plucked from what? The pool of players, of course. Perhaps, I dunno. What is the passion? The lovemaking? Is it a chance to have your name on the killboard? Is the passion the fight itself? Is the execution for our champion his next defeat? This is the beginning of an ugly cycle of fame and despair.
I hoped that the awkwardness of gathering that information from somebody 'in the know' would be reflected by this (read; all of the above). I'd like to think that we've all been in that position where we are tasked with passing on what we know, similarly we've all been in a position where we are the squirrel and wish to gather up the nuts of information.
I mulled over whether or not to try and finish this piece and/or to flesh it out a bit but in the end decided to add the final line about logging off and then hit publish.