The ceremony was finally finished. Not that it had been bad, mind you, the speeches and the talk by the instructor, the old Admiral that probably saw more than one big battle in space, and probably was on his tenth clone or something and all that. And of course, the repeated mention of “the good of the Caldari State”, that nobody really knew what it meant. Mostly, the good of the state was “what is good for the corporation”. And that was… almost true… but not always.
Anyhow, now it was done. He was finally, and officially, a Capsuleer.
Dravik Zinmar, the youngest of the two brothers, slung his jacket on his shoulders and walked out of the temporary accommodation that had been assigned to him by the Academy, and started walking towards the docks.
Walking felt a bit odd, after so long in his capsule for the final tests.
The major problem wasn’t to get out of the capsule, it was to get back in. All the various probes and pipes that had to be put back into their… plugs.
“Why can’t we have implants in the stomach?” was the usual thought. The reason was: if you did, you couldn’t do social things like drinking or eating. And sure, there was that idiotic idea of just having one dedicated clone for flying the ship and nothing else but then, wouldn’t have been better to just have a “brain in a jar”?
The age-old philosophical discussion about “what makes a man human”.
— Yoh! Wake Up!
Zendo, his older brother, was right in front of him looking at him in bemusement.
— Woah! Almost didn’t see you…
— Yeah, I noticed when you just passed me without even slowing down!
Zendo tended his hand and they shake – if the usual attempt of his brother to break his hand was considered ‘shaking’.
After that, Zendo pulled out 2 bottle of Amarran beer from his coat.
— Where did you get that?
— Oh, one of my customers wanted an extra-discount on some stuff I built for him so… we had a deal. – He waved his hand in that manner that meant “do not ask too many questions, just drink”.
Zendo was the more “enterprisey” of the family, started early building and selling equipment, locating himself near a contested area was a receipt for having lots of returning customers and selling lots of ships, ammunition and equipment.
The two walked towards the observation deck, where Dravik’s Corvette was gently floating in the docking bay, sat down on one of the benches, and toasted. Looking across the bay, beyond the force barrier that enclosed the docks, you could see other ships towed in or out of the station. An humongous battleship was being towed towards the launch bay by a smaller, but powerful Mule drone.
— So, you’re a capsuleer now!
Zendo interrupted his meditation with an obvious remark.
— That’s what it says on the graduation chip.
— And now what? What’s your plan?
— Do I really need to have a plan?
— Well, it would be good!
Zendo, apparently, always had a plan, and a backup plan, and a backup for when the backup failed of course. And… Dravik relied a lot more on split-second decision and sheer luck. Mostly luck. So far, it had worked.
— Well, my plan is to fly!
— With that thing? (pointing towards the Corvette)
— Oh, come on! Ain’t that bad. You flew a Corvette too when you graduated right?
— Of course I did! Didn’t have the money to buy another one so I used what I had until I had enough.
— Well, I plan to do the same, for a while.
— Good. And where are you going to fly that thing to? If I may ask.
Dravik got up, turned around and looked outside the observation window that showed the curvature of the nearby planet and, beyond that, the faint glow of the distant nebula.
He pointed his finger.
Zendo was looking at him a bit confused, turned around and looked.
— Where? Can’t see anything…
— Right there!
— …and what’s “there” ?
Dravik spun around, sat on the bench and placed his arm over his brother’s shoulder with a unique, flowing movement.
–I don’t know. – he said raising his eyebrows – But I’m gonna find it.
Zendo raised the bottle towards his brother – Well, good luck to you then.
Dravik touched the bottle with his own – Thanks.