(IC) The Once and Future Kings

((This post was originally two posts and originally posted on my old blog HERE and HERE. Feel free to read the comments located there, starring Mynxee!))

I live three lives.

The first is that of a Minmatar Spaceship Construction Services capsuleer. MSCS is a small industrial and odd-jobs outfit that pays me reasonably well for my services. I’m not getting financially rich by any means, but I’m not a greedy man.

The second is a freedom fighter of the Ushra’Khan, of which MSCS is a member. This brings me into direct conflict with slavers among the less secure systems of New Eden. We find and kill them with extreme prejudice. We force them to stop inflicting suffering upon others, either through lethal or financial tactics. We free the slaves they seek to buy and sell.

The third life often starts where the second one ends. You see, when the slaves are freed, they often are left with nowhere to go and ruined personas. The U’K often takes them in as part of our forces, but I try to help them rebuild themselves as true Minmatar. I help them find peace and purpose at a spiritual level through meditation and learning. I help them find enlightenment when things seem all but lost.

In ancient times, the Prano clan was the centre of the Minmatar’s spiritual world. We led our people to a place of inner peace and deeper understanding, beyond the confines of their physical selves. The Amarr took all that away from us. I am the last.

Lately I’ve been trying to expand my efforts in my third life by traveling throughout the galaxy and seeking out disenfranchised souls. The poor, the ill, the broken. I help them as best I can, and some have begun to seek me out. I make no attempt to hide myself.

I had heard of a legendary warrior that was constantly at the forefront of battles and controversy. It seemed that some force always led him to the right place at the right time to be significant. Such foresight would be impossible for even the most well-informed person or organization. Could it be something more? Could this man be special? If the universe continually made him an icon for our people, why fight it? This man would need guidance… and protection.

Last night, during a meditative session with a destitute Vherokior family I received a communique. Colonel Roc Wieler would hear me out.

the conversation was short and terse, as he made no attempt to hide the fact that he held me in a small amount of suspicion. After we set a time and location, I asked him why he was giving me this chance. he ended the conversation quickly without giving me an answer.

I have a week to prepare myself.

———

My meeting with Colonel Roc Wieler presented several challenges.

First, I had to get into Evati alive. It being a den of pirates was a problem, as I wished to enter and leave the system without incident. I accomplish my ingress via a Republic civilian transport. Pirates didn’t normally harass civies as there was little profit to be made, and the wrath of CONCORD would not be far behind.

Keeping my status as a capsuleer hidden was a skill I had become proficient in. There was plenty of distrust between normal humans and the transhuman pod-pilot community, and avoiding that during initial contact with the down-trodden people I sought to help was important. After docking at the station and going through the same public decontamination procedures that all normal people had to endure, I stepped on to a magtrain and headed to the meeting place the Colonel had chosen.

One could easily tell it was an officer’s club that had as some point been commandeered by the local pirates. A spray-painted symbol featuring a cat with over-sized fangs gave me some idea of who called this place home.

I make a living hunting pirates, so walking into a literal den of thieves was not my idea of a wise tactical decision, especially when I was unarmed. I had to assume however, I was the only one without a ranged weapon. My kandjal was ever at my side and would allow me to fell a few attackers swiftly, but not this many. This evening could turn from cordial to deadly in the time it took to pull a trigger.

It was not difficult to pick Roc out of the crowd. He sat at a table in the centre of the room, facing the only door. He had a half-consumed beer and a pocket terminal with him, but his attention never wavered from the door. The moment I entered, he deactivated the terminal. I could sense the tension in the room rise slightly, telling me he had friends here ready to shoot me the moment he gave the signal. I tried not to look around too much as to not let on I knew I was being watched. I approached the table and bowed.

“Roc Wieler. It’s an honour to meet a warrior of such skill and renown. I’m grateful for this opportunity to speak.” I said, still bowing, but keeping my eyes locked with his. Coming off as too submissive would surely backfire between Brutor. I omitted his rank from my greeting, as I was unsure how some ease-dropping pirate at the next table may respond. The Colonel stared for ten seconds, sizing me up, then nodded at the chair opposite from him. I sat. A waitress came by and I ordered, same as Roc.

Roc took a chug of his beer before starting. “Just so you know, I’ve done a little checking up on you. I’m curious what someone who grew up adopted by a Gallente mogul can teach me about being Minmatar.”

I told the Colonel my story, as I’ve told many before him. I told him about the Prano clan before the Amarr came. I told him about my mother and the hundreds of other slaves who died liberating me from that Amarr Battleship, leaving me with only a message on a datacore as evidence of my family heritage. I told him about my adopted father, who set me on the path to becoming a capsuleer so that I may find my own path in life. I told him about the Elders, who lured me out into the Great Wildlands and trained me in the ancient ways of our people. Finally, I told him about he people I’ve been helping and my efforts with the Ushra’Khan.

“We are a civilization with a lost history. We’re bound together by a vague understanding and the simple notion of that history. We’re tied together by our anger for the Amarr, but there will come a point when even that won’t be enough. Shakor knows this and so do the Elders, but change on a scale such at this is a difficult thing, especially when many among us are still disenfranchised. Unfortunately, by the time this all becomes apparent, you’ll be in the centre of the storm of hearts and minds and souls. I’m here to prepare you for that.”

The Colonel shook his head as an almost inaudible chuckle escaped him. “I’m not the man you think I am. I’m a soldier and a commander, but I’m no leader. Let Shakor do that. Once the fighting is done I just want to be left alone.”

I took another sip of my drink. I was starting to understand the man behind the stories. “You may not have a choice in it. You’re a victim of your own success, and even though it was not your intention, others have started to rally to the tales of your exploits. By the end of this war you’ll be a hero in the eyes of our people. Your frame will be covered in medals and you’ll be forced to go to parties and events that you don’t want to go to. People will look to become important through proximity and association, but then our collective adrenaline will fade and we will begin to crave meaning in the peace and prosperity we’ll have created for ourselves though bloodshed. You’re already the warrior, but I can show you how to be the leader we will all need you to be.”

Roc’s mood was beginning to sour, and I couldn’t tell if it was due to impatience with me or an understanding that he was indeed trapped. I extended my senses past our table, trying to discern who in the room posed a threat to me should the Colonel decide I was not to leave breathing. There, behind me, the tall Minmatar red-head. A gun was laying on her lap. I wouldn’t be able to avoid her shot at this range. Careful not to turn to view her.

“So, what exactly are you offering?” asked Roc. I still couldn’t tell what had him on his last nerve, but I’d have to choose my next words carefully.

“A past. Our past, so that you can help create a future for our people, a future you fight for now. I studied the ancient literature the Elders took with them to escape the Amarr, but without that wisdom, we can’t grow as a people. We can not see the path before us without understanding where our feet have already fallen. The Prano legacy is that of peacemakers between tribes and advisers to the Elders. I offer myself as a spiritual guide, to be called upon whenever you need answers. I ask that if you find those who seek a deeper understanding of what it means to be Minmatar, send them to me. When the time comes, it will be my duty to arm you with the wisdom all of Matar will seek from you.”

I downed the last of my drink and rose slowly to my feet. “The choice is yours. You have my personal comm information. You’ll be able to reach me anywhere and at any time.” I bowed again and turned to leave. Harping on the point would do me no good. Better to let the conversation stir in his mind and let him come to me when he’s ready, rather then push him now.

“I may just do that.” Roc said before I reached the door. I turned, surprised at his comment. Roc had already risen from his seat and was now at the bar, being joined by the red-head.

I rented a room for the night, as the next civilian transport didn’t leave until the next day. I meditated on my encounter with Colonel Roc Wieler. I could only hope that he would call upon me before it was too late for us all.

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~ by psychediver on 02/13/2011.

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