Off-Topic Thread vol. 2


I’ve been a lot of stuff, over time, not much of it very honorable in Caldari terms. I’ve been a criminal, dissident, exile, merc (that’s considered honorable, btw), murderer, even kinslayer.

But one quality my predecessor and I hold in common is this: we are, I am, no traitor. To do that, to cross that line, would be like death, like a suicide that kills body and soul together because it would sever me from my identity. It would kill me as a person in Caldari eyes; what remained would be a sort of wretched echo, like a smell that reminds you of a horrible thing someone did to you.

The voice of such a remnant is without weight or meaning.

It’s subjective. Of course it’s subjective. We know that and we don’t care. He is worse than dead to us. The Caldari honor their dead.

If he’d just gone to join the Raata and live a life in peace, I could have respected that at least. But he didn’t. He’s a fighter, a proud killer of his own once-kin. He is not only dishonored or honorless but someone to whom the concept no longer even applies: un-personed, soul-and-memory-dead, not-of-us.

He’s been baited in by the enemy, tamed and turned to kill his kin. It’s the worst, the lowest and most contemptible fate.

His opinion in this matter carries the same weight as yours:

Dust. Or the memory of dust.


The problem with claims like this, Aria, are that they’re inherently contradictory. Just making it proves it false. Responding to me to tell me my words hold no meaning or weight… just shows they do, or you wouldn’t bother.

Consider this: when’s the last time you’ve seen me respond to statements you know I disagree with, from say… DK? She can say whatever she likes. It means nothing.

The moment you can all utterly ignore Adams, treat him like just another nameless, faceless FDU pilot… that will be the moment his voice has no weight or meaning with you.

The problem with claims like this, Arrendis, is that they originate in an idealized ether that has little connection to the real world. I respond to you not because I value your opinion on who the Caldari are and how they should live (and who counts as Caldari) but because I want you to stop trying to tell us who we are.

The alternative to me acknowledging it by telling you to kindly bugger off is to resort to the same tactics you claim to favor vis-a-vis the Amarr.

The Gallente have for actual, literal centuries, been trying to do that. Their first major in-person mission to Caldari Prime was by the CDS, the “Cultural Deliverance Society,” which really says it all, over seven hundred years ago. They probably did some good work; the Caldari were fractured into about a bajillion little competing post-Raata kingdoms at the time, but having been beneficiaries of an uplift doesn’t make the resulting bubbling stew of resentments even a little less poisonous.

To put it another way, consider what your people are prepared to do to tell the Amarr to let go of what you see as yours, go away, and leave you alone. This is our own equivalent, and you might have noticed that just ignoring the Gallente doesn’t make them shut up. It just makes them talk louder, and in more ways.

What works, historically, is a closed, militarized society, a prickly sensibility, lots and lots of guns, and a lack of concern for non-Caldari human life.

Even then, the Federation has persisted in trying to enlighten all us savages by literally selling us their culture (holoflicks and the like). What they managed to do was corrupt our leadership. Do you have any idea how damaging it is to get a Gallentean-style libertarian heading a Caldari megacorp? There’s no philosophy short of the Sabik that’s so utterly self-serving, or so utterly incompatible with Caldari culture.

In short, Arrendis, this is our equivalent to your problems with the Empire. If you persist in this line of argument, yes, I might ignore you, and also thank you for your contributions to ensuring that any realignment of the Caldari State to the Minmatar Republic fails.

Maybe in the end not even anti-imperialists can resist the temptation to tell each other how to live, what to think, what to value.


Maybe… but I’m not doing any of those three. All I’ve done is point out that there’s more than one culture with a valid claim to being ‘Caldari’, and that Adams is going to identify as Caldari until and unless you somehow stop him.

That is not all you’ve done.

That statement frames his identity as objective fact, establishing our perspective as in conflict not only with his perspective, but with reality itself.

The Raata presence in the Federation is awkward in a way for everyone concerned. As you know I love problems that illustrate the artificiality of categories and borders so this, naturally, delights me. It’s also actually great that they have someone speaking for them. Certainly someone should.

But it’s just a cataclysmic shame that it’s Adams. He does not represent a gray area. He represents a black one, like an event horizon.

Nope, because his experience is 100% subjective. The State can’t invalidate that, because he’s defining ‘Caldari’ according to what it means to him. So, to him, it’ll be valid. That’s all. I will, though, admit that I wasn’t explaining myself correctly in my initial off-the-cuff comments, though, and for that I apologize.

Ah. Well, it’s why I jumped in to begin with, so yeah.

(Isn’t the point a little over-obvious, though? I mean it’s more or less a tautology that Adams thinks what he thinks.)

(Or part of a grim witticism. “You can’t change what’s in somebody else’s mind,” someone says. “Just give me a minute on that,” replies the warclone, powering up the rail sniper and chambering a flechette.)

Anyway, accepted, speaking for myself.

On it’s own, sure, totally over-obvious. But it was coupled with the reminder that there there isn’t just one culture that has legitimate claim to being ‘Caldari’, which makes it much, much harder to issue blanket assertions that someone ‘isn’t Caldari’ just because he no longer adheres to one of those cultures.

It’d be like claiming the State ‘isn’t Caldari’ because they abandoned the old ways, and I think you’d agree that’s patently ridiculous.

Well … only, I’m sure at least some among the Raata believe exactly that. There is … sadness, to me, in the way the Caldari have reacted to their experiences with the Gallente. They learned a lot, and my own people and other client peoples have benefitted, perhaps greatly, from how badly the Caldari wanted not to do to us what the Gallente had done to them.

But the State Caldari are a people forever preparing for winter. Only in space, there is no winter, so we identified a substitute to forever prepare and guard against: the Gallente, the Federation, those not-of-us who would steal our traditions, steal our identity, and leave us as soft and weak as they are. Maybe that’s why we adopted winter as our sign and seal: cold-gleaming metal, brutal edges, harsh realities.

In our determination to remain as we were, we changed ourselves. There is sadness in that. I couldn’t blame the Raata for seeing it also. I hope they don’t judge us harshly for it, but I’m sure some do.

That would also be sad, if it’s so.

(The attentive might notice that I occasionally switch from including myself among the Caldari to not. I’d like to claim some kind of consistency but it reflects an ambiguity in my own background-- I’m culturally of the Achura, a sort of poor cousin and client people to the Caldari, but also half-Caldari, Civire, by blood-- so basically whether I do or not depends mostly on how it feels in the moment.)

(Either way it’s unambiguous that I’m from the Caldari State generally. Just, it tends to depend on whether I’m thinking more from Mother’s people’s perspective, which is related but a little distinct, or from that broader whole.)

I’m sure some do. But, you know, they’re not the sole arbiters of Caldariness any more than the State is.

I’d say just the opposite: In space, you’re always looking for hard-to-get resources, and one mistake from freezing to death in an unforgiving environment.

And as a reminder of where the State Caldari had come from, and what shaped them before they left, yeah.

Yeah, see, this is where you start sounding like you’re speaking for reality, Arrendis. One thing I can say with some certainty for any of the contenders for the title of “Caldari”: they’re not going to care much what anyone outside that circle as they define it has to say on the matter.

Let’s say the two circles are mutually exclusive (I don’t think this is the case, mind). In that case you’d come closer to the overarching reality if you said that they are each the sole arbiters of Caldariness-- each, immutably, implacably, in its own mind.

Nah. Maybe that’s how it is on Matari ships or stations (and I don’t think even there) but food and fuel’s not generally much of a problem (gravimetric fusion’s kind of our thing, you know? And, you know, hydroponics, etc.) and while space is very unfriendly if you’re underequipped even Caldari Prime’s winters didn’t historically suffer from a lack of air.

Space is its own thing.

Well said.

Not so much ‘speaking for’ as ‘commenting on’. If the Raata can feel like the State aren’t Caldari, and the State can feel like they are, and vice versa, then neither one is the sole arbiter of Caldariness, only the sole arbiter of what they, themselves, consider Caldari.

Sure, but you know, their own mind doesn’t impact anyone not them, which includes me, so…

Ships and stations are analogous to settlements: they are small, isolated things that provide shelter against conditions outside, but they can never truly negate conditions outside. Just as weather can kill crops, environmental effects can overwhelm even a station’s protections. And the vast distances between them are unforgiving for those who travel without precautions.

Each is the sole arbiter of its own vision of Caldariness. At that point even sharing a name is going to be a point of contention, not a unifying quality. They probably won’t have all that much in common but the name and a dim view of others who might claim it.

Which side of such a line one stands on can be extremely important, especially for people considering a closer relationship. The Caldari often don’t treat people outside the “Caldari” circle as quite real, or maybe even quite people. (The “Nonentity” non-caste is a good internal example of how this can get mean.)

Or to caravans and large cities. Major stations often have a population well into the multiple millions.

All analogies break down at some point, Arrendis. The Caldari do not now face the same cycles and kinds of hardship they faced as a culture coming of age on a glorified comet. Not that that’s stopped us from occasionally kicking someone out into the snow when their productivity drops off.

… for themselves. If they want to be the arbiters of that identity for others, they have to be able to enforce it, or their determinations are irrelevant. Not saying that’s good or bad, just that it is.

Yup, that’s very true.

Major stations, proportionate to the vastness of space, might, if they’re lucky, equate to a single house on a frozen world. :person_shrugging:

Nope, but I still think it’s more accurate to say that space is more akin to an endless winter than to no winter at all: the only ease and shelter there is are the ones you make.

Do you see the connection here? Determination: very relevant if you’re anywhere nearby (physically, socially, financially … ).

I think the ones who have best claim to that kind of hardship in space (or “space”) are the Triglavians. Imagine going into an environment where the kind of tech and resources we have now are the absolute bare minimum to even survive, and the kind of culture that grows out of that. Yikes.

Sure. But he doesn’t want to be anywhere nearby. So for the purposes of the whole discussion kicked off by someone telling Adams he’s not Caldari… irrelevant.

I think that until a normal human being can stand outside in winter in the KK mountains or on the outside of a station, and survive, the analogy holds. Different flavors of ‘99.999999999999999999999% of all of space will kill you’ doesn’t make bopping around outside Random Astrahus #4572 in your underwear any less deadly.

He’s pretty close by pretty often actually, on the opposite side of a war. This makes him a particularly pointy case, and an easy one. We affirm our kinship by denying his.

Also I know Adams well enough to be pretty confident he’s not immune to this line of attack, though his defenses might have improved with time, and frankly him claiming kinship after what he did is an insult to those he betrayed, including his own ancestors who gave their lives to the State. This is, in part, retaliation.

(He’s trying to do something constructive; good for him. He did something breathtakingly offensive in the process, though, so I hope he dies with an icicle through his heart. Or his throat. … Maybe his kidneys.)

Also relevant: that you’ve identified yourself as the sort of person who’d argue this, and continue to argue it, thereby pissing off basically the whole State-- even a dissident like me.

So, you know, well done?

Not the same thing, and you know it.

Sure, wouldn’t think of disagreeing.

Cool. Pun intended.

In all the time you’ve known me, was that ever in doubt?

What is the true opposite of love, Arrendis? Not hate, but indifference. Strong feelings, though inverted, are still a bond.

He is in contact. How we think and speak of him matters-- to him, to us.

And I think that’s all I have to say about this.