I Am a Thera Scanner

Editor’s Note: This week we’re featuring a blog post by our very own Vladimir Korff, an in character story about learning the ropes of becoming a Thera Scout. You can visit his blog at Encapsulated Space.

REGION G-R00031 – CONSTELLATION G-C00324
THERA SYSTEM

Vladimir Korff

3 January YC 123

“Okay, we are finally in Thera,” said Aura. “What’s next?”

I knit my brow, “I am trying to remember Maxwell Kurvora’s lecture where he explained how to record Thera signatures.”

Aura giggled, “Is it the one where he also called your blog boring?”

She referred to an episode where Maxwell was demonstrating various software tools in his browser and said something like “Here you can see my boring bookmarks.” One of the bookmarks was named “Vlad’s Blog”.

“Oh, come on,” protested I, “he didn’t mean it. If anything, it was a kind of a self-deprecating joke.”

“I dunno, it sounded very much like a blog-deprecating criticism.”

I noticed a glint in Aura’s eye and cried, “Hey, stop teasing me! We have a job to do.”

“So what are you waiting for, Captain?” asked Aura, innocence incarnate.

I shook my fist at Aura, she stuck her tongue out at me. Having completed the exchange of pleasantries, I racked my brain.

“It’s a bit confusing. I remember that the main goal was to add a wormhole to the Tripwire and bookmark both ends in the shared corp folder, but most work had to be done in Mzsbi Haev’s Thera Scan tool. The problem is, I don’t remember how to use it.”

“Shall we watch Maxwell’s lecture again?” suggested Aura, with a suspicious sparkle in her eyes.

“No, it will take another hour. Let’s just open the tool and figure out how to work with it.”

And so we did. In fact, as soon as I saw the screen, it all came back to me, and the built-in step-by-step instruction plugged the gaps in my memory. The tool was super convenient – it was developed by a capsuleer, for capsuleers. I guess, Mzsbi spent many a boring hour typing signature IDs into Tripwire and the bookmark folder before he finally decided to introduce some automation. And now it all worked like a charm. Thera Scan tool was compatible with my neurointerface which it used to extract data from the probe scanner and Tripwire. After comparing the data from those two sources the tool produced a programme of work which consisted of collapsed wormhole removal and new signature scanning. After that, all I had to do was scan and bookmark the wormhole and manually enter three pieces of information: a type of the wormhole, a signature of its other end and the destination system. Everything else was just copy-pasting. It was a great tool!

Still, it took me a while to get a hang of it. While I was working on my first signature, I saw Azamex announce scanning the same one. That was not surprising as I published my own announcement 12 minutes earlier, before she joined the comms channel. I told Azamex that I was already working on that signature, she just shrugged and switched to scanning another one. While I was learning the ropes with my first wormhole, Azamex managed to scan and add three other signatures to the map! Moreover, when I was about to create a Tripwire record for my wormhole I found that she already added it but it didn’t have all the details. I filled in the missing data, invoked Submit command and held my breath… After a few seconds I reloaded the list, and voila – my first ever Thera wormhole appeared on our alliance server!

I was proud and excited and wanted to tell the whole world about it when I heard Aura’s angry voice.

“Hey! What’s that? Why does it show Azamex as the scanner?”

I looked at the screen and, indeed, the server indicated that the wormhole was scanned by Azamex.

“Hmm… I guess it’s because she created the record in Tripwire,” I said tentatively. “That’s where our server gets information from.”

“This must be fixed immediately! Contact the server administrators and ask them to correct the name.”

I laughed, “The server admin is no other than our Alliance Leader Johnny Splunk. I guess, he has more important work to do than manually correcting values in the database.”

“Then… then just delete and recreate that Tripwire record under your name!”

“Why would I spend my time on it?”

“Because it’s unfair! It was you who scanned that wormhole but now all the credit for it went to Azamex!” fumed Aura.

“Doesn’t matter,” shrugged I. “I know that it was I who did it.”

“But Tekufah doesn’t!” she blurted out.

I was wondering why Aura suddenly got so excited but finally the penny dropped. Tekufah was running an award program and gave a CovOps frigate to any Signaleer who scanned five Thera wormholes.

I looked Aura in the eye and asked, “Aura, honestly? All this outrage only because of a frigate?”

She blushed but stood her ground, “And why not? T2 frigates aren’t lying around.”

“Even if I don’t get credit for this one wormhole, I would have already scanned another one if I didn’t have to waste time on this pointless discussion.”

“No, you wouldn’t. It took you 18 minutes 22 seconds to finish this one and we’ve been talking for just 1 minute 18 seconds.”

“That’s because it was my first wormhole,” I pointed out. “I am sure I can scan another one much quicker.”

“Not as quick as recreating the Tripwire record,” grumbled Aura.

I ignored her remark and focused on the next signature. Indeed, my time improved to 12 minutes 25 seconds but it was still far from Azamex’s blazing performance – she was ticking off a new signature every 2-3 minutes. So by the time I finished my second wormhole, Azamex completed the rest of the unmapped signatures.

“Now what?” asked Aura testily.

“Now we just wait for new signatures to pop up on the radar.”

Aura ostentatiously switched herself off and I spent the next half an hour in peace, reading the corp forums. While I was thusly occupied, two more signatures appeared on the probe scanner and I eagerly set to mapping. This time round it took me only 8 minutes per wormhole. I didn’t have time to wait for new signatures so I called it a day and warped to a hi-sec connection bookmarked by a fellow Thera scanner.

“You see, with 8 minutes per signature, it will take us just 40 minutes to earn a new frigate,” said I trying to placate Aura who was still sulking.

“Sixty two minutes forty seven seconds,” were her last words before the wormhole sucked us in.

Consequence Management

Editor’s Note: This week we’re featuring an in character story by Vladimir Korff. – Katia Sae


Reposted from Vladimir Korff’s blog, ENCAPSULATED, Consequence Management.


GENESIS REGION – MIH CONSTELLATION
ZOOHEN SYSTEM – PLANET III
THEOLOGY COUNCIL TRIBUNAL

8 June YC 122

SuperCacher Vladimir Korff

After my lucky escape I spent two days attending to my tending and avoiding more exciting activity like hacking relics in an uncloaked Buzzard in the middle of J-Space. While I was calming my nerves by methodically opening small secure containers, I suddenly received an urgent invitation to a corporate meeting in Zoohen. Wondering what it was all about I found a hi-sec exit and made my way to the corp base at Theology Council Tribunal Station.

I wasn’t sure what the dress code was but decided it would be a good opportunity to wear my Polar Aurora Exploration Suit. Having washed off the pod goo in a shower I headed straight to my item hangar where I still kept all prizes from Tender Games. Passing a young female mechanic I noticed that she gave me a strange look. She then turned to her teammate and surreptitiously, or so she thought, pointed at me. Her companion shrugged, muttered “Capsuleers” and impassively turned away. At first I thought that the girl somehow noticed the neural interface slots on my body but then I realised that it was the body itself that attracted her attention. It was naked!

Can’t say I was embarrassed – I was never shy about my skin – but I was shocked to discover how twisted my mind became. While I carefully planned what I was going to wear at the corporate meeting, I didn’t give any thought to putting anything on in order to walk a hundred metres to my item hangar through public space. Was it a result of spending too much time floating nude in a capsule? Was I developing that infamous capsuleer’s disregard for baseliners? I don’t know. I just pretended that everything was perfectly normal, made a snooty face and walked past the dock crew. If I had to choose between looking like a snob and looking like an idiot… well, the choice was obvious. The rest of the way I walked with a straight back, eyes looking above other people’s heads. Having reached the hangar I closed the door and hastily put my new suit on. Feeling myself much more comfortable, I headed to the Signal Cartel office.

The conference hall was full and buzzing; people were talking to each other and didn’t pay any attention to the newcomer. I looked around and realised that I hardly knew anyone in the audience. Well, I could put names to faces since I saw photos in forums but I never met those people in person. It was an awkward situation – I knew that I knew them but I didn’t know if they knew me. Suddenly, I heard someone calling my name. Having turned in the direction of the voice I saw Maxwell Kurvora wave his hand at me.

“Hey, Vlad. Come here, we have a free seat.”

Maxwell was one of the corp members who would definitely know me as he was a reader of this very blog. Grateful for the invitation I squeezed myself past other Signaleers and dropped into the chair.

Max shook my hand and then, nodding at his neighbour on the other side, asked, “By the way, have you, guys, met before?”

I looked at the blonde lady with a cybernetic arm who sat next to Maxwell and said, rather formally, “I don’t think I had the pleasure, but I know who you are, Ms Tamayo.”

“I can say the same about you Vladimir,” replied Tamayo and shook my hand. I noticed that the artificial arm had a strong but measured grip and wondered whether it was power-capped or Tamayo had such fine control of her prosthetic appendage – those things were strong enough to crack coconuts.

“And please no honorifics,” added Tamayo, “in Signal Cartel we call each other just by name regardless of a person’s position.”

“Works for me,” smiled I, “in fact I thought about addressing you by your full title but couldn’t decide whether it should be Recruiter Tamayo or Anoikis Division Manager Tamayo.”

Tamayo frowned, “That would be quite a mouthful, huh? By the way, would you be interested in joining Anoikis Division? We always look for new members. You seem to spend a lot of time in J-space so this may be a good choice for you.”

“I thought about joining AD but it requires a C2 title, and I don’t even have C1. And to be honest, I am not sure if I am eligible for it. One needs to show participation in corp programs and I don’t know what kind of proof is required.”

“Maybe this man can help you with that,” said Tamayo with a faint smile, nodding at a person who was talking to Thrice Hapus, our CEO.

That person was Igaze, Eve-Scout Rescue Director, who oversaw Eve-Scout Rescue Cache and Search and Rescue operations.

“What do you mean…” I started asking but was interrupted by a loud clap.

That was Thrice Hapus clapping his hands to attract attention of the audience. The room went quiet and everyone looked at him.

“Dear Signaleers, thank you for finding time to attend our corporate meeting. As you know, we have a full agenda, but first we need to deal with some very serious matters. I’ll let Igaze explain.”

Igaze took the stage and looked sternly at the assembly.

“It has happened again,” said he in a grave voice. “In fact, with the recent influx of new corp members, we’ve noticed an uptick in such activity. Signal Cartel management quickly responded to this development and dealt with it accordingly. We are not making a secret of it and we would like all Signaleers to know about the consequences that their actions may have.”

Igaze made a pause to let his words sink in, looked around and suddenly stopped his eyes on me.

“Signaleer Vladimir Korff, would you please make your way to the front?”

My heart sank. Was it about that ill-fated starbase theft? But I returned the bloody thing to the owners! Maybe that was not enough. Maybe management didn’t want me to get off that easy. With all those thoughts racing through my mind, I stood up and walked on wooden legs past the fellow corp members who stared at me coldly.

When I approached Igaze, he gave me a quick look and turned to the audience, “Everyone, look at this man. This is Vladimir Korff and I want every Signaleer to know what he has done. And, as our surveillance showed, done not once, not twice, but a hundred times!”

I was totally bewildered. That couldn’t be about the starbase, I stole only one!

Igaze continued, “This could not go on unnoticed anymore, and today on behalf of Signal Cartel management I announce that Vladimir Korff…”

I cringed.

“…has become our newest SuperCacher! He has sown and tended one hundred caches! Please congratulate him on this significant achievement.”

Suddenly everyone was smiling and clapping and cheering. With an idiotic smile I watched Igaze attach a medal to my suit, shook his hand and returned to my seat.

“Congratulations, Vladimir,” said Max. “I must say you handled it really well. Some people actually fainted when they got their first medal in such manner.”

I had a lot to say about that ‘manner’ but that required some coherence which I was badly lacking at the moment. All I could manage to croak through my constricted throat was “Thanks, Max. I think I need a drink.”

“Oh, there will be plenty of drinks after the meeting. And don’t worry, it won’t take long. Despite what Thrice said, we actually aren’t big on management reporting. As you should’ve guessed by now, we are big on fun!”

Damocles Trigonometry

Editor’s Note: This week we’re featuring Signaleer Yankee Sullivan and his first blog entry. To summarize in his own words: “An in-character take on returning to flying in EVE, discovering new dangers and perhaps finding a new home…”

Yankee Sullivan

Damocles Trigonometry, no one told me about them.

Wait, that’s not what they’re called is it? Drama Thespians, no one told me about them.

I mean, I knew that some group had come along from dead space or the abyss, that they had come on the heels of the Drifters or were Drifters of some kind or another. But what nobody had told me was that these jerks would come and blow you up in High-Sec.

I can hear you ask now: “Well Yankee where have you been? They have been attacking for a couple of years now. You’ve been a capsuleer since YC-113. What were you doing?”

Well I was drunk, for about five years. After some adventures and fights I ended up involved with a fire haired pirate who roamed Low-Sec. I began running hulls and guns for her. Then that stopped, the work and the involvement. So, I began drinking. That was around YC-116. If you have four jump clones, and the right training you can drink almost non-stop and never really have that much of a hangover. So that’s what I did, I drank for five years. Drank in the ways that I had only dreamed of when I was still a mortal, fighting bare knuckle in the back rooms that had cost me both my natural eyes and earned me the favor of the man who repaid me with capsule compatibility tests. The kind of drinking that a man like me can be prone too when the heart is shattered, and purpose is lost.

If I am being honest, the purpose had been lost long before Reese podded my heart. Though I am not sure I really had a purpose before then.

Never mind, this isn’t about why I wasn’t paying attention for five years. The point is, I wasn’t. Then one day, when one of my clones had to be replaced because it had suffered catastrophic liver failure, I hit bottom. As close to bottom an undying Capsuleer can get. That and a brief communication from Reese: she had gone to fight the Amarr and help free her fellow Minmatar from the shackles of slavery or some such thing. She said that she realized that was her purpose and she knew I could find mine somewhere out deep in the black.

Paying out for a new clone and looking at that communication right next to my shrinking bank account made me realize I needed to do something. I won’t give her credit; it was a fiscally based decision I swear. I looked over the assets I still had and outfitted myself an Imicus with a probe launcher and a full suite of scanners.

We all know there’s no fortune to be made in High-Sec. But if you’re in a cheap ship and you’re looking for lost sites to exploit, no other capsuleer is going to risk the swift and complete wrath of CONCORD to blow you up. So maybe I admit I was being a little lazy. I’m no stranger to the art of safes, deep safes, perches and jump clears. But as I said before, no one told me about the Donation Tricycles.

So, I went, and I warped myself over to a star and began to leisurely fly away from it while I launched my probes. I’d never been great at probing down signals or ships. Plus, I think maybe the map and probe interface have been changed, it all seemed different than I remembered. Soon I forgot about all my other sensors and scanners. I was focused on guiding little probes around the system while I searched for Angel or Serpentis treasure. Getting that signal percentage up to one hundred percent in those moments became my sole obsession.

That was when the little buggers popped up, and I didn’t catch it, because in all my time in High-Sec the only things that had ever posed a threat in open space was another Capsuleer, and there weren’t any around. By the time I realized what was happening my power capacitor was being neutralized and an alarm told me my shields were down. I watched for a second…a stupid peer had decided shooting an Imicus was worth losing their ship to CONCORD. I waited another second and I was still being attacked. Too late I switched my readouts filters, it was no Capsuleer. That awful shrill sound filled my ears as the last of my ship’s armor was blasted away. Then a moment later the old familiar sensation of my pod being hurled out of my dying ship. I warped immediately away and put into the nearest station.

A short time later I was getting my insurance pay out sorted. Over and over I thought to myself never had I ever been attacked by something like a Domestic Troubadour in High Security space. My lips curled up as I realized I needed to catch up. That years of drinking and lonely heartache hadn’t just cost me ISK and a clone, it had cost me my edge, my awareness. A new determination filled me to become not just competent with probes, but a master. I would also learn who the Dental Triumphs were and where they came from, and how to fight them. I began to cycle through the GalNet when I saw an advert for Signal Cartel and saw that they were a group of explorers who eschewed aggressive action and sought the riches of both relics and knowledge throughout space. Not really the type of people I figured to want a former bare-knuckle fighter turned capsuleer gun runner. But I figured they could at least tell me who the Dancing Triglycerides were, so I hit the apply button.

Now, some small corner of myself feels a glimmer of hope that maybe this is where I belong.

For anyone else like me, maybe crawling out of the bottom of a bottle, or some sort of prolonged sleep, perhaps a decadent vacation, let me tell you this: Damavik Triglavians exist and they will kill you if you’re not paying attention in even the safest corners of space.

Stuck in a Clone Jump

Editor’s Note: This week we’re featuring Signaleer Vladimir Korff and an entry from his blog titled “Stuck in a Clone Jump”. If you enjoy this story then please be sure to check out his blog, Encapsulated which has been going strong since 2018!

The Forge Region – Onirvura Constellation
Poinen System – Planet IV, Moon 13
Nugoeihuvi Corporation Development Studio

10 September YC 121

Vladimir Korff

After leaving my body with expensive implants in the safe hands of clone bay workers at Expert Distribution Retail Centre I came to at NOH station and went to the dock to board the capsule. On my way there I woke up Aura to let her know that the clone jump was successful. Before I could utter a single word she overwhelmed me with a stream of blabber.

“Vlad! Where have you been!? Are you okay? What happened!? What took you so long!?”

“Long?” I asked, surprised. “It’s been just half an hour or so.”

“What half an hour? Look at your watch! No, look at the calendar!”

I checked my datapad – it showed 20 February YC 122.

“What the f—?” muttered I.

At first, I thought there was something wrong with my datapad but then I checked a few GalNet news sites and they all had the same date. That could mean just one thing – my clone jump, instead of minutes, took almost half a year!

20 February YC 122

Five minutes (and 163 days) later I was standing in the clone bay and screaming at the tattooed guy behind the counter. I don’t remember all the swear words and their combinations that I used but the essence of my expletive-laden tirade boiled down to a simple question – why did my clone jump take so long?

The guy was not offended (I guess, he expected a reaction like that from me sooner or later) and said good-naturedly, “Oh, it’s all bloody auditors. If they didn’t delay the audit we would have brought you back much earlier. They planned to come to us in December but what with the festive season, most of their employees took leaves and they only managed to come back in the new year.”

I stared at him blankly. What he had said made zero sense to me. It was like he was talking to someone else on a completely different topic.

“What in seven Hells does the audit have to do with it?”

“But it was them who discovered that your clone jump was not completed. You see, the brain snapshot went through fine but then as the brain imprinting job was queued there was a power outage and the whole system went down. When we brought it back the job was gone. It was only when the auditors compared the list of brain transfers and imprints, that the discrepancy was found. As soon as they produced the report, we ran that job on your clone and woke you up. So, you see, if they came to us in December we would have finished your imprint much earlier,” he concluded triumphantly.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, “But aren’t you supposed to deliver your service in time without audits?”

It was a stupid question to ask but I wanted to plumb the depths of this cheerful idiocy.

“Oh, of course, of course. Since then we have implemented the end-to-end, what’s the name,” he knitted his brow, “recollection… relocation… Hey, Yoshiro, what is that thingy that the audit asked us to do?”

A dishevelled young fellow who was playing a video game in the corner of the office replied without turning to us, “End-to-end reconciliation.”

“Yes, reconciliation,” brightened the tattooed receptionist. “That’s our computer whizz-kid,” whispered he. “Now, if something like that happens again we will know straight away.”

“But… what about me? I’ve lost half a year of my life!”

“Yeah, right… that wasn’t pretty, was it? You know what, as a token of our apology, next time you jump from us I will offer you not one hundred year warranty but, say, one hundred and fifty! How about that?” said the guy and beamed at me.

It felt surreal. It was like I didn’t really finish my clone jump and was stuck in a dream. A bad dream.

“What are you talking about? What 150 years? The average clone storage time is just one month! No, you are not going to get off that easy. Do you know how much a capsuleer earns a month? You will have to compensate me for the loss of my income caused by the breach of the service level agreement!”

The receptionist looked nonplussed, “Breach of agreement? What agreement? All we promised was to store your clone for a hundred years but there is no defined timeframe to revive it after we receive the brain snapshot.”

“Doesn’t matter. Surely, you have to execute a reasonable duty of care and any court would consider a five-month delay excessive!”

The receptionist shrugged, “These are standard SCC terms; we didn’t invent them.” Then he leaned over the counter, put his heavy hand on my shoulder and said confidentially, “My advice – don’t waste time on court proceedings. You’ll spend more time on hard court benches than you’ve spent in our comfortable clone bay, and to no avail.”

I threw his hand off my shoulder and stormed out of the office.


An hour later I was sitting in a bar, looking mindlessly through the rows of bottles behind the counter, again and again replaying the conversation I had at the clone bay.

“Ha, a capsuleer, a pod pilot, an empyrean, a god of the skies!” scoffed I, “And all that glorious existence can be paused or even terminated by a press of a button by some snotty baseliner.”

I shot a glass of whisky, put it on the bar with a thud and gestured the bartender to refill it. I heard a similar thud to my right and turned to see what caused it. The next bar stool was occupied by a male Achura capsuleer who also finished his drink and was demanding a top-up. I recognised the look on his face – it was a mirror reflection of myself. That guy was not enjoying himself.

Feeling my gaze the capsuleer turned to me and acknowledged my attention with a faint polite smile.

I raised my glass by way of greeting and asked a straight question, “Lost something?”

The guy sighed and replied, “A Loki.”

I whistled – that was an expensive loss.

“To Loki,” said I and downed my whisky.

“To Loki. She was beautiful,” repeated the Achura capsuleer and shot his glass. Then he extended his hand and said, “I am Null.”

I blinked. Well, I knew that capsuleers took some crazy names on graduation but Null was rather special. Outside programming languages its usage was normally confined to legalese such as ‘If you peel off this sticker then the warranty will be null and…’

All those thoughts, it seemed, plainly reflected on my face (and I was not in the mood to control my body language anyway) because Null raised a corner of his mouth in half-smile and said, “I know what you are thinking, but Void is another capsuleer in our corp.”

I blushed and protested lamely, “I didn’t think anything like that,” and then shook his hand, “Nice to meet you, Null. I am Vlad.”

“Nice to meet you, Vlad.”

After the introductions my thoughts returned to what Null said earlier.

“I’ve never had a Loki. In fact, never had enough money to buy one. How much time do you need to recoup its cost?”

Null shrugged, “Dunno. Maybe a month or two. And what’s your loss?”

“Five months,” I replied glumly.

Now it was Null’s turn to whistle, “And you’ve said you have never had money for a Loki! What were you flying? Naglfar Justice Edition?”

“No, this is not a money equivalent; it’s pure, irreversible loss of five months of my life,” said I and told him my sad story.

“Yeah, nasty business,” nodded Null and patted my shoulder sympathetically. “And I agree with that receptionist – don’t try to sue them. You’ll probably waste more time and, even if you win, money won’t be able to return your life. By the way, how come your corp mates didn’t try to find out what happened to you all that time?”

“Corp mates? I hardly know anyone in that Science and Trade Institute.”

“Oh, so you are in one of those default government-run corporations? No wonder they didn’t care about you. But then you probably didn’t miss much – fleets, corp functions…”

“True,” agreed I, “but I missed the New Year fireworks in Jita.”

“Oh, so you like fireworks…” Null made a pause thinking about something, then smiled and asked, “What if I told you I knew a corporation which specialized in fireworks? And did it much better and more frequently than the Jita crowd.”

I looked at him with disbelief, “Is there such corporation? What’s its name?”

Null turned towards me and pointed at a round badge on his chest, “We call ourselves Signal Cartel.”

Courage

I had spent the day of celebration at the Katia Sae Museum in Saisio where my journey was memorialized. I found the layout of the museum pleasing. A patron would enter the globe shaped museum from the bottom and walk up a spiral ramp where they could view my log entries and pictures in chronological sequence. Projected onto the inside of the globe were the New Eden stars and an animated holographic ship that would start at Saisio and progress through all the systems I had visited in order changing ships as needed along the way. In the center of the globe was a scaled down replica of the Journey of Katia Sae Memorial statue and the Abagawa gate. Suspended within the museum along the spiral ramp in the order in which I flew them, were the actual ships displayed for all to see.

The Achura Stargazers Society held the celebration on my one year anniversary of completing my journey as the final stop on my New Eden cluster tour. The past year had flown by with the shaking of a great many hands, speaking at various engagements, and answering questions from interview to interview. For the most part, I enjoyed each and every engagement, but I was exhausted. Being an introvert and having been alone for the most part with little interaction with others for nearly ten years, to all of a sudden be thrust in front of large crowds of folks that I didn’t know, seemed to take far more energy, courage, and determination than my actual journey had. Not that I had any regrets doing the tour, I’ve always found that no matter how difficult it was initially to find the courage and engage in social activities, I was thankful that I had afterwards.

Todays celebration was different however and it was a wonderful end cap to the tour as the event was limited to my family, friends, corpmates, and my fellow Achurian’s. I may not have known each and every one that attended, but the Achurian culture is one that’s all about family. Still exhausting, but it was a good kind of exhaustion. The day had been long and had ended with a fireworks display around the statue that could be seen through the now see through globe of the museum. There was no bad view to be had from anywhere within as the famous Signal Cartel hugs fleet demonstrated their expertise with fireworks as they often have done before.

With the fireworks exhausted and the end of the evening coming to a close, visitors had started to make their way to the docking bays for departure. Many had stopped by for one final hand shake, pat on the back, or saying congratulations and farewell. I kept the smile on as long as I could, before slowly disappearing deeper into the museum to find a quiet place to wind down and reflect. Absentmindedly wandering, I found myself before Voyager, my Astero class frigate I flew for a time in Empire space before starting around Null Sec. This particular ship held a special place in my heart being my favorite, but I also had a surreal event that to this day, I’m still not sure if it was real or a dream.

Faint footfalls approached from behind me which brought my thoughts back to the present. They stopped so I didn’t turn around, but waited instead as I could hear them whispering. Closing my eyes, I tried to focus on what they were saying. It was young girl, perhaps ten, twelve, and an older gentleman, presumably her father.

“Go ahead.” The father said.

“But, but, she doesn’t know me,” She replied. “and… I’m scared.”

Normally I would turn around to make things easier for the child, but I felt it was important for her to find her courage, so I waited, acting as if I didn’t know they were there. The father was a good man, reassuring his daughter, and offering encouragement as needed until she found her inner strength. After a few moments, I felt a hand touch my arm.

“Ah, Ms. Sae?” She asked.

I turned to face her and offered a smile to ease her fears, “We’re family here, call me Katia.”

Her brow furrowed and she frowned ever so slightly, “You look so tired.” She said, I guess she could see the weariness in my eyes after all, but then her face lit up with a thought and a smile, “Could you use a hug?”

I must confess, I did, and I found it hard to keep the tears from welling in my eyes. The end of the journey then the tour had finally caught up with me and here was a child, someone I didn’t know, seeing my weariness and offering comfort. Before the drops could pool and fall, I quickly knelt, opened my arms, and received the best hug I think I’ve ever had. In the end, I was glad and thankful that I too, had found the courage to engage in these social events. After all, I would never have received such a wonderful hug if I had not.

OOC:
I was fortunate to be able to attend a couple of the stops on the EvE World Tour last year at Toronto and Las Vegas. I have a love/hate relationship with large gatherings of people that I don’t know. I knew in particular these events would add another level of complexity in that there would be people who would know me or know of me because of EvE Online and my achievement. There’ll be others who understand this, but it takes a great deal of energy and ultimately courage to put myself out there. But usually, when all is said and done and even though by the end of the event I’m exhausted, I’m glad that I did find the courage to go.

So, I would encourage you to find a local EvE meetup or if you’re able, attend one of the bigger Fanfest. Trust me, you’re among friends and family and others who feel just as you do, you won’t regret it. And, should we find ourselves together at an event in the future and you want to say hello, please find the courage to do so. I’ll be just as nervous as you, but believe me, we’ll both be glad that you did.