It really used to be such a good little ship and it is a shame before all good gods that time has ran past it and made it not the same as it was.
Ages ago, when it still took some time to get a new capsuleer’s brain to the point it can handle even a cruiser, we used to put rookies in tackler Rifters until they could fly mainline ships. It was a good way to learn fleet movement and mechanics and occasionally they did something useful by accident. This one time we were in a war with PIE Inc and they kindly came to Pator to hang out with us - this was before the Militias so both of us moved freely. We formed to meet them, but the fight wasn’t going too well for us, and we had to bail the field pretty early into it.
While we did our gtfo it seems the hostiles had come to the conclusion it was going bad for them too and also bailed, leaving on the field one rookie in a Rifter and one hostile cruiser he had tackled. The rookie had completely missed the bail out command and was like, where did everyone go, I have him tackled! The FC was telling him to just drop the point and leave the field, because we were not planning to go back, not with the Mary still next door.
He refused. The FC got annoyed, and the rookie said, damn it, I will kill him myself then.
And then he did; I believe this was his first solo kill.
People who knew them might guess who the cautious FC was, and who the little hero tackler that could, but I will not name names.
First of all, the question has an assumption that this has not yet happened. I don’t think that is strictly speaking true: I believe we are much less dependent on foreign aid now than we were, say, 100 years ago.
That said, it would be good if we could move further away from relying on allies, of course. Self-sufficiency is security. I find it hard to believe we could do this completely, though: facts of the matter are that we have had merely over a century to rebuild from a complete destruction, and we are waging a war of attrition against an enemy many times our size. We cannot afford to be too proud to turn away any help we can get.
I would like to remind people who criticize this that it is not a shame to have good allies. it speaks well of you when you are able to maintain such relations.
It is not typical in the Minmatar culture to think that a person has just one loyalty or belongs only or even primarily only to one set of associations. It is more typical in my experience for our associations to consist of a complicated mesh of clan, kin, circles, allies, contacts, friends, etc. All these together form a person’s [translator: associations, sphere of influence, contacts network, personal bonds], the people you owe loyalty or favor to and who owe some to you.
When you live your life, you accumulate these. Each meeting, each association adds a little bit to your network, first maybe a tiny acknowledgement of the other person’s existence, but over time as contact and favors exchanged strengthen the bond, more of it. This does not mean any previous bonds are broken. One does have to take care not to place oneself in a situation of conflictling obligations, but more bonds can be maintained simultaneously than foreigners seem to think.
There are Minmatar everywhere, not just in the Republic. Those Minmatar who reside elsewhere or work with foreign people naturally also build bonds with them. I’m not sure it’s a trend, but it’s definitely what we are?
We say “you are who you associate with”. One should not place oneself carelessly in company that will incur bonds that will cause conflict or harm to existing higher loyalties. Most of us do not consider the Federation, and many do not consider individuals in the State, to be a risk in this way.
The prior me was very young and had lead in her own way a sheltered (if not devoid of sorrow) life. While trained in politics and intrigue, I was able to apply that training only to what was in my visible sphere of influence, and failed to see the same nuance in the wider world. My worldview was simplistic, clear cut, and I felt it easy to see the right paths. I knew my Fate, even when I fought it.
The Universe obviously is not like that, and as they say, ‘Fate walks on twisted paths’. Many truths I thought I knew about who I was and how the world is have turned out to be myths or even outright fabrications. The world has changed in ways I could not anticipate. It has turned out to be impossible to know your Fate, instead of just follow it.
The former me would have been insulted by the very idea of Arsia of Stjörnauga, from House Elkin, FC of EM. Not out of personal hatred, but because of a deep-seated belief that such things should not, cannot, even exist.
Luckily this seems extremely unlikely, given that I am not oriented to such high-level politics by clan, background or inclination.
If I were to wake up one morning and find myself Sanmatar, though, I think one thing I would like to do is engage in a major project to re-establish some intertribal level law and courts. Tribal autonomy is an important thing and should be the goal we aim for, but the attempt to handle absolutely every single multitribal thing case-by-case has in many regions ground commerce and industry close to a hault and made it unnecessarily complicated for foreign allies to participate in such endeavours.
I would like to maybe identify some kind of a threshold for when an endeavour is so mixed between tribes that it leaves tribal autonomy and enters intertribal authority, and give the Parliament back some power to pass laws to regulate things that transcend to that level, and also to re-establish intertribal appeal courts for criminal cases that get stuck in an eternal “no u” between tribal ones.
So no, Pol, my brother; I would not start The War. You have to be Sanmatar yourself for that.
If you’ll indulge me in an almost embarrasingly general question, or really two related ones – over these two decades, what’s one thing that you were not expecting to enjoy or feel proud of at the start of the ride, but did at the end, and conversely, what were you looking forward to but turned to a real chore or disappointment at the end?
Oh Lesican, good to hear from you; I hope all is well with you and all of yours. I miss the Weavers.
The short answer to this is I really don’t know. I just did.
The Chief gone and the Oath with its line “all usurpers, foreign and domestic” still burning alive within me, the events in Colelie almost became the death of me. According to tradition, the honourable way out of conflictling loyalties is suicide, and yes, capsuleers can die.
Conflicted, I roamed the anoikis myself for a while.
Now if you look me up, you’ll see I am not with Gradient anymore. I am sure you understand that I could not. I did not have the heart, and I could not put Gradient into that risk. Leaving was possibly the hardest choice in my capsuleer life, and one I am likely to never be completely forgiven for by some I left.
I was involved in a counter-coup attempt. It failed (obviously). In time, I came to the conclusion my Oath was to an entity that does not exist anymore.
I am Sebiestor by clan, but my loyalty as a capsuleer is not really to the Republic-that-is. I live by a shaky personal loyalty to where I believe a Shield and a Sword - for the free tribes, if not the Republic-that-was - still exist.
It is what it is. I turned away from the way of the knife, which was maybe cowardly, but since I did, somehow I have to live with myself.
One just keeps on going. It becomes easier with time.
A small capsuleer circle called that does exist. I am a member. Our assumed political influence is much exaggerated. The main purpose of the circle is to terrorize tribesmen with the very idea of such a thing existing. We also exchange information occasionally.
Your listing here seems to be a good set of arguments against neutral piracy, in general
While Capsuleers are effectively immortal, causing economic harm to random others (and imposing the inconvenience of extra travel to replace a ship & cargo) in order to enrich yourself, or purely for the entertainment value, works against other goals you have so capably described
But maybe I can come up with something not mentioned, that is more general: attacking the neutral Capsuleer’s ship could start a war. Which might not be desirable.
You brought a special anniversary to our attention, thanks for that.
Amongst your sisterhood in humanity we Amarr may be the outermost circle in the many concentric circles of allies. But nevertheless we were allies in the fight against Triglavians - just as our ancenstors were allies in the fight against Sansha. There are many who look back with pride to us joining forces against a common enemy, despite the taunts of those that chose to stay isolated out of pride.
I am curious… How do you see the relations between Amarr and the Republic evolving in the near future? And between their capsuleers?
What do you think will be needed for peace in the Empire controlled parts of the cluster, or at the very least, between the Republic and the Empire?
Also, do you have good relations with “hostile” groups, such as outlaw organizations or organizations allied with an empire with hostile relations to the Republic (like, say, an Amarr-affiliated group)?
One should be careful using the word ‘ally’. Before I get to your actual question, so as to avoid any misunderstanding: we are not. I do not say this to antagonize, but to get facts straight and to ensure there is no expectation of loyalty where none exists. As far as concentric circles of relation go, you’re still the outermost: Enemy. (Concentric thinking of family, clan, aliies, tribe, outsiders, foreigners, enemy works less well these modern days where many urban people’s allies include at least some outsiders or foreigners but it works as a simplification here.)
We did join forces against the Sansha and Triglavians, as nations, and yes, I too still have overlapping allies with Amarr loyalists from those times. I see no reason to not be proud of it. We fought for our worlds and we did it well. 5/5, would recommend, as the cool kids say.
With the transmuter project, the Amarr Empire has made it very clear that they do not intend these ties to be permanent. This is fine and entirely their prerogative. No permanent ties were promised and neither side gave assurances of cessation of other hostilities as compensation for aid. The fight against emergent threats is more several distinct organizations shooting in roughly the same direction, than a true merger of forces. We were betrayded in the sense that they stole the results of a joint effort - but not in a way that guarantees for future safety would have been broken, because no such guarantees were ever given, either way.
International relations have tensed up again. The warzone is very hot, but the conflict still contained. I think the closest to peace anyone could hope for at this point is that it stays contained and we remain in the state of a war of attrition in those regions, rather than see a breakout of a full-out war. There are the makings of The War here still, though, and the events on the Gallente-Caldari side of things show that CONCORD borders are much more fluid than we are used to thinking, so those wishing for end for the uneasy peace might also get what they want. In either case, there’s war in our future; the unsure question is how much of it.
Among capsuleers, the relevant leaders of loyalist forces in Edencom very well understand the temporary nature of those ties. I say above that one must be careful when placing oneself into a position where associations form, in order not to create conflicting loyalties, and to navigate the resulting mesh of ties without creating false expectations of permanence or favours owed. I believe we have managed this well, at least on the level of organizations and their leaders.
Amarrian people are frequently insulted when I say this to them, but I will still say it again: I am not your friend. There are situations where I am friendly, but I am not your friend.
The Amarr disposition to conquering all in the name of God means that there cannot be a lasting peace before the Amarr Empire changes beyond recognition and to the point that it no longer, in practice, exists.
It is possible for the Empire to take the position that conquest in the name of God is entirely based on voluntary conversion, which might ensure an uncomfortable peace for a short time, as happened with Heideran and Midular governments. It is not, however, possible for the Empire to take a permanent position like that, as we also have recently seen. No matter how long the uncomfortable peace lasts, as long as Amarr core beliefs are what they are, the military conquest outlook might always resurface.
That means we in the free tribes cannot let our guard down. Ever. And a nation that prepares for war will fight wars.
So, here we are.
It depends on your definition of “good relations”.
On a personal level, I have many contacts that are red and we will shoot if we happen on them in the wrong place, but where there are no strong personal feelings of animosity. It is possible to respect an honorable enemy. I do not enjoy the above facts of the universe, and while like I say above I am no friend of any Amarr loyalist and cannot be, this does not have to mean I personally hate each and everyone of them.
On the level of diplomacy, there are various reds, mostly pirates, I have a good working relationship with. We are mutually red, we shoot each other, but we’re not engaged in verbally hostile relations publicly and talk to each other civil manner in private. Most importantly, we know of each other that if we make arrangements they will hold (for example we can agree that coming to a particular battlefield for reasons other than each other we will not shoot each other, at least not before some other entity is gone). There too, on an organizational level, there is a level of mutual respect even when there are explosions.
I expect there might be behind this question the wish to ask about LUMEN specifically, so I will answer that, too. We are not allies with them and I am not privy to their command-level discussions, so I have no idea about their true thoughts on the matter, but for myself I can say this. I cannot foresee a future where we will not be red, barring a major defection from either side, but I think we attempt to remain respectful and frank about this. I trust them to not betray an arrangement on a battlefield (say, if we fly together in Pochven) for petty gains, though I also appreciate the understanding between us that if the long-term security of our nations will require it, that kind of trust is out of the window. I feel like there is no unnecessary personal animosity between our organizations; only what follows from the necessities of the reality we live in. We have some mutual allies (the universe is weird that way and not just in Edencom) and so far when those have invited us to their battles we have managed to shoot the ally’s primary target and not bring our fight to those fields. To use an old Gradient phrase for proper conduct, I feel our relations most of the time are ‘civil and respectful’, even when they can never be peaceful and friendly.
Individual pilots have individual feelings and many opt out from contact with the Enemy. We always respect that and no one sensible takes it as an insult.