It was an odd situation in Chamemi too, because it became apparent that every ship and capsuleer in the system was actually docked there in the station at the hour in question. Everybody must have finished wreaking lowsec havoc for the night.
I digress again.
The next day I undocked with the intention of heading back to Conoban via a route through the centre of Khanid, up to the Moniyyuku junction and back into Kor-Azor through K-A Prime. It involved some quality lowsec. Thing is, I broke my own rules again and lingered in Teghion (0.4) while taking on another Blood Raider hideout. I got jumped on by a couple of capsuleers who warped in and started on me. My crew went mad, which made me wonder what they‘d signed up for in the first place. I tried to tell them that this time it should be fine ‘cos hey, we’re in a Maller, but I knew what was coming…
You see what troubles me, and once again highlights my combat inexperience, is that I didn’t even realise that my ship had actually come to a dead stop for reasons that I can’t even remember. I know I managed to target one of them, and I may even have got my Targeting Disruptor fired up, and if I did, I managed to make this battle last at least a few seconds longer than the last one. But sure enough, the Maller and its crew evaporated around me in a ball of plasma. I tried to get away in the capsule but one of them had warp-scrambled me so I resigned myself to the inevitability that I was about to wake up in Conoban again. At least now I know it doesn’t hurt in the slightest (and cloning gives me the rejuvenated skin of a teenager for a couple of weeks, which is nice).
I woke up in the familiar glass tube, with the usual mental fuzziness, the feeling of newness, and Taltha’s face looking back at me from outside.
“What have you done this time?”, she said, with a smirk.
A few hours later I was back in my Quarters in Hedion U with Taltha, indulging in her particular brand of “Personal Revivification Therapy”. I reviewed my messages, most of which I was expecting: CONCORD, the insurance company, the clone thing from Hedion U, blah blah - I‘m used to this now. Then there was a message from a Niir Deninard. This was one of the pirates that had just killed me.
The message read: “I hope that kill didn’t set you back too badly?”
This interested me. This was something different. It reminded me of the Old Earth 20th Century cultural figure John Le Carre, who said: “After all, if you’re going to kill a man, you might as well be polite about it.”
Manners cost nothing.
I replied with something like no, nearly got out of there anyway, the ship was insured etc. Then, thanks to New Eden’s miraculous and instantaneous FTL comms tech, Deninard replied instantly and we got into a conversation via text-only about my Maller, tactics (I had none), lowsec (dangerous and full of pirates, yes, but I don’t want to be one of those permanent rookies who never leaves 0.9), and finally, an invitation to join Deninard’s corporation, the Outdated Host Productions and their associates in the TALOS Coalition.
Taltha saw all this. She said: “Do it. Don’t hesitate. You can’t stay in Hedion U forever you know. It’s only meant to be a training corporation, as idealistic as it may be.”
I thought about this for 10 seconds, and decided she was absolutely right.
I clicked on “accept invitation”. As of now I’m in a real-live capsuleer-run corporation, and no longer part of Hedion U. You can see our logo up there at the top left of this page. Hedion U has been great for a number of reasons, not least the free basing in Conoban and access to all the agents and their training programmes, but Hedion U has over 177,000 members, very (very) few of whom I’ve ever met. Outdated Host has 33 members, so this is a corporation I’ll be making a direct contribution to, where I hope my membership makes a difference. It’s unlikely I’d ever make a direct contribution to Hedion U the same way.
Joining this corporation is the start of the real capsuleer adventure. It’s why, when I was a kid, I wanted to become a capsuleer after seeing the stargate above Eclipticum light up at night with the ceaseless traffic of New Eden commerce.
Everything I’ve done up to now was just more training…