An Excerpt from " The Death Rites of the Capsuleer"

In a backwater station, deep in a system that sees only the traffic of a lost pilot recently freed from a wormhole, gather a group of Capsuleers in the stations rec room. Over many lives, they had flown together, fought against each other, and died numerous times. The specter of Death no longer held sway. But, always in the edge of their mind stood the knowledge that the final death loomed. The Death no capsuleer could be reborn from. A death that a rare few sought out.

Tonight, they gathered to send one of their own off into the final night. One of their own could no longer stand the pain of rebirth. Could no longer face the harsh reality of the life of a capsuleer. The brutality, the dishonesty, the utter fear of what the next cycle could bring. He canceled his clone contracts and entered his pod for one final time. As it sealed him in, a final though triggered the explosives. A pilot joined the long night.

As I watched these pilots gather and regale each other with tales of astounding feats. I was struck by the lack of bravo. These were not the capsuleers I grew up hearing about. The pilots with no regard for the crews. Who wanted nothing more than to reach unfathomable riches at any expense. No, these pilots had experienced pain and lost. Another round of drinks was passed around. They raised them all and called out their fallen comrades name. With a gulp, they downed their drinks, nodded to each other, and headed back to their ships without a word.

Another capsuleer had fallen in to the long night




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