Loyal No More

So, baby
No more crying
Only chaos
No relying
On someone to save us.

The fires burned for hours; the flames that flickered through the twisted metal to a brief existence were bright beacons across the dark sky. Beacons, but not of hope.

The superstructure remained in tact, as it always did. Built to withstand the harsh environment of space, as well as to support the heavy industry going on in the asteroid below, it would remain far longer than any of us. Battle-scarred, dented, a mere shadow of its former glory days – but steadfast and present, nonetheless.

The shuttles were slowly being escorted away, ours among them. The majestic cruisers that shepherded our tiny craft away from the destruction would serve as our somewhat reluctant guards for the next hour or so. There was no station in this system, so our journey would include a terrifying leap through a stargate. I hated it. But right at that moment, I hated everything.

Reluctant though they may have been, orders were orders. It wasn’t the first time a remote State facility had been hit, and it wasn’t likely to be the last. Playing escort to a bunch of lowly miners and geologists wasn’t what many signed up for, but we were still ‘valued employees of the corporation’. We were grateful of the rescue, but the corporate bullshit was something all of us could have done without. If we were such ‘valued employees’, they’d have realised that our outpost continued to be a target for the many enterprising (read: ‘greedy’) and efficient (read: ‘heavy-handed’) capsuleers that received a tip-off as to any unwanted pirate activity in the area.

It just so happened that our strategically-placed mining outpost also seemed to end up as a conveniently-placed piece of target practice for the damn eggers in their death machines. Time. And time. Again.

You’d have thought that shelling out for repairs every couple of months would convince even the most easy-going of corporate overlords that maybe they didn’t need that particular rock quite as much as they thought. But no. True Caldari stubbornness shone through, though with the promises of increased patrols and security measures always miraculously ‘forgotten’. How we were still considered ‘an essential asset’ by the high-ups remained a damn mystery.

This time, at least, I wasn’t the only one scowling and muttering darkly as the tortured outpost slid further into the darkness. More than a few of us on this shuttle had done this dance before, and it seemed none of us cared much for the tune any more. Those that weren’t cursing or balling hands into tight fights of anger were hugging their knees; either in shock, or at the thought that not everyone had been so fortunate. We always lost some. It was impossible not to. A strike from anything those maniacs threw at us was often enough to weaken plating or rupture a pipe somewhere. But we were tough; supposedly. And the overlords at least paid us enough that those of us made of even tougher stuff kept coming back for more tours of duty.

But, even with the ‘danger money’. every man has his limit.

I didn’t see who was the first to mention the word ‘pirate’. I couldn’t point at the first man who quietly vocalised the idea of defecting to the very groups that brought the trigger-happy capsuleers down on us in the first place. Someone else sparked the thoughts of ‘getting a bit of payback, for once’. Of ‘letting them see how it feels’. Of ‘giving them a cold, hard taste of reality’.

And I certainly didn’t go to join their hushed conversation. No, sir. Not me.

I am a loyal citizen of the Caldari State. I am.

I would never go rogue and sign on with the Guristas. Nope.

But then…

Every man has his breaking point.

If you only knew
All the things that I’ve been through


Author’s Note

The lyrics at the start and end of this piece are taken from ‘Blood and Tears’, a ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location’ song by Random Encounters.

After receiving some news today, this was also the first song my Spotify playlist gave me when I hit play.

I could not have picked a more fitting song at that moment.

-Eli

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