Avoid illusions. The headmaster of my creche insisted they hamper our ability to see the Way. We harbored no illusions in Yashunen. That system’s wealth formed a scar above our and other creches. Resources failed to pass beneath the scar. Although basic needs occasionally went unmet, physical abuse remained uncommon.
Because we harbored no illusions, emotional abuse was even more uncommon.
Our creche received assistance from operatives acting outside legal frameworks. They were admired. The headmaster confided to me one day, however, that there were no clean hands. Our hardships were in part the product of subverted legal frameworks.
“The left hand rubs the right. The right hand rubs the left.”
Other creches were more unfortunate than ours.
I have no complaints. The river takes the shape of the bed where it is flowing, not where it has flowed. I have moved on from old difficulties to new challenges. Every ant in the mound performs a function.
Those not sponsored for a task must find one.
I was not sponsored for a task.
No one in my creche was sponsored.
None of us harbored illusions.
When ready, I transferred to Jouvulen. There, I performed each task assigned by each instructor. I allowed no preconceptions. However, looking at hulls accumulating in my hangar bay invited speculation about the best way forward.
I tried to keep my mind unobstructed.
The obstructed river does not flow.
Upon completion of my tasks, I acquired a Cormorant. Its geometry appealed to me. I took this vessel to a Lai Dai facility in Kakaketa. There, I requested an assignment. My supervisor identified a threat in that system. After investigation, it was determined the Gallente were constructing an unauthorized stargate.
My supervisor tasked me with destroying this gate.
For reasons I do not fully understand, I was required to do this with a frigate instead of my destroyer. I encountered wave after wave of hostile forces. This did not trouble me at first. Whatever their most natural task, it is the duty of every ant to defend the mound.
It took a long time to destroy a stargate with a frigate. I became increasingly disillusioned with the competence of my commanders for assigning such a task. Instead of an exercise in duty, the destruction became oppressively monotonous. Any action repeated a sufficient number of times becomes oppressively monotonous.
After completing the objective, I returned to Jouvulen.
I was unsettled.
That path was not the Way.
To clear my thoughts, I meditated on the Cold Wind.
The Wind showed me a new path.
I reduced all of my hulls to base materials except a Badger. Like the Cormorant, I found the geometry of the Badger appealing. I placed the remnants of my previous vessels in the Badger and requested a crew of condemned prisoners. Not every cleansing ends in the death of all. Consequently, despite my intentions, the condemned were presented with the possibility of an alternate fate.
I identified the Wirykomi Peace Corps Assembly Plant in Nennamaila as my destination.
Unexpectedly, I was nearly destroyed by Triglavian forces while leaving a stargate in Hirri. It was not my intention to purge my thoughts with the fire of an enemy who had taken so many stars from our people. With the warning that a similar attack awaited in Hikkoken, I retreated to the State Protectorate Logistic Support station in Rakapas.
Once again, I meditated on the Cold Wind.
The Wind asked what right I had to choose the mechanism of settling.
Chastened, I set a return course for Jouvelen.
This time I knew I would arrive at my destination by a different means. I waited at the gate in Hirri for the alien weapons to complete Cold Wind’s task. It is my hope at least some condemned prisoners were picked up by the gate - their debt to the State paid.
The river takes the shape of where it is flowing, however, not where it has flowed.
I regained consciousness in Jouvelen.
Still pleased with the geometry of the Badger, I purchased another. I found the idea of transporting steel ingots appealing, and relocated to Veisto to deliver for Caldari Steel. It was a corporation humble ants could admire. The first task assigned to me, by an agent who should only have steel to deliver, was the destruction of a listening post where Gallente and Matari agents were experimenting with rogue drones.
Unseen spirits had confounded my connection to the Way.
I purged myself of all possessions once more.
I installed a clone in Jouvelen.
I boarded a corvette and set Khannid space as my destination.
The longer the river, the more time to perceive its course. Amarrians have their own spiritual traditions. In their Book of Missions, it is written that “only through many hardships is a man stripped to his very foundations. In such a state, Devoid of distractions, his soul is free to soar.”
It reflected the Way espoused by my headmaster beneath the scar.
Near Derelik, I became interested in the Ammatar. Caught between diametrically opposed forces, they were a people forged from hardship. I deviated from my intended course.
The river meanders.
The Way turns unexpectedly.
In Yuzier, I was attracted to the Nefantar Miner Association. I acquired a Venture frigate, thinking back on several I had reduced to base components. The river meanders. The Way turns unexpectedly. I found ore extraction lasers soothing. After completing many tasks for the Nefantar Miner Association, I returned to the cloned body I had left in Jouvelen.
I acquired another Venture, and once again relocated to Veisto. There, I performed many small ore extraction operations for Caldari Steel. An interrupt request came in. I was to transport a group of dancers. It struck me as an unusual request for a miner.
The Venture accommodated them - if not in luxury.
One of the dancers observed I had “proletarian appeal.”
She identified an agent of Nugoeihuvi in Dodixie who might put that look to use.
Dodixie fell behind the lines of the enemies who drove me to precipitous acts. My mind’s turbulence had calmed, however, and I was intrigued by what someone with “proletarian appeal” might do for an entertainment conglomerate. I traveled to Dodixie and met with the dancer’s agent. I was informed that many people enjoyed the way the proletariat form moved.
I was also informed of a need for rat poison in Marosier.
It was a rush job.
The Way turns unexpectedly.
I purchased a Tarya. Its capacity was much greater than required for poison crates, but that hull type’s “proletarian aesthetic” remains most appealing to me. It would be intimidating as a warship.
While delivering rat poison, I noticed a demand for antibiotics at the Impetus facility in Atanins. The Sisters of EVE had sufficient supply in Athinard. The prices on both ends of the contemplated transaction were favorable. I filled my remaining cargo space with antibiotics.
I delivered rat poison on time to Marosier, and antibiotics to Impetus. At the Impetus facility, I noticed a supply of advantageously priced holo reels. I purchased as many as I could transport and sold them to Egonics in Lirsautton.
The taxes were unpleasant.
I needed an accountant.
Still, the exercise remained profitable.
I returned to Dodixie. There, I encountered a Nugoeihuvi “handler.” He was a different individual than my dispatch agent, and a middle aged gentleman who liked using his hands. I had lived in cramped quarters for many years in Yashunen and was accustomed to being handled. While enjoying a small, heated pool with jet bubbles (which we did not have in Yashunen), I expressed curiosity about why a holoreel production studio would require so many antibiotics.
My handler found that funny.
He asked if I had ever been in a holoreel production.
I had not. We set up a date to change that.
There are many thousands of holoreels available for distribution at the Nugoeihuvi station where I employ only a fraction of my cargo capacity. Whenever I go out now, I fill the remainder of my space with reels. I sell them for small profits at stations near the delivery destination.
I have been increasingly complimented on my “proletarian appeal.”
An undisclosed source recently transferred me a sum of ISK through intermediaries.
Shortly after, another handler, one not directly employed by Nugoeihuvi, began to show up in my hangar before deliveries. He is also very hands on. This second handler usually has an additional crate of reels to throw into the delivery. That crate is small enough to store inside crew quarters. Another handler waiting at the destination takes possession of the small crate shortly after arrival.
My dancing skills have improved.
The river meanders.
The Way turns unexpectedly.