I lay awake on my bed in the FA station in YI just staring at the bulkhead above me thinking about my last operation in space and how to spend the rewards from the loot that I picked up. Wasn't much but every little bit can help get a new type of shield module or armor repairer or something useful. As I drift off to sleep my mind flashes back several months to the Republic Military School station and the testing to determine if I was really capable of becoming a capsuleer.......
Ten of us are sitting in a little conference room waiting after having gone through a week of testing using devices that I couldn't even describe much less understand their function. I have been poked and prodded like never before....stupid medical people......
No one really says anything to anyone else. We are all just sitting staring at the walls or the floor or something.....waiting. Then the door opens and the medical evaluation team leader steps into the room. He is wearing his usual white smocks and those crazy blue cloth shoe things they have, never understood the purpose for those things, maybe just part of their uniform. This is the moment we all find out if we are to become capsuleers or if this has been a huge waste of time.
He walks into the room and two additional doors open on another wall. He moves to stand between those doors and proceeds to call out our names and point either to the left door or the right door. When he calls my name he sends me to the right door, with only two other people in the room. The three of us enter into a small conference room and see a man sitting in civilian cloths at the table, well I guess that is it. We failed the test and are about to get to go home.......
The man asks us all to have a seat around the table and that he will be handling our return details to our homeworlds.......man I wasn't sure if I wanted to be a capsuleer or not but to know that you failed a test where you don't even know what the criteria was, that is just annoying.
We all sit, my fellows have the same looks on their faces, the look of having failed.
The man places his hands on the conference room table and just looks at us for a second...come on what is he waiting for....just tell us when we get to go home and be done with it......but no he just keeps sitting there looking at us....my fellows both just look back at him just like I am wondering what his deal is......that is when it hits me....he was the man that came to see me first at the university with that woman over a week ago.....but he had been in military uniform at the time.....now he is dressed in civilian clothing....as the realization starts to dawn on me he smiles and says yes......he did meet with us all originally and that he is a capsuleer himself.....and that we have passed the screening and will be able to become capsuleers if we want to.
I am sure other things were said after that, probably very important things about the future and what being a capsuleer means.....but I have no idea what he said to us for at least an hour....my mind is a total blank.
He shuts down the projection unit in the table and we begin to ask him questions about capsuleers and what they are capable of. My first question was about the cybernetic implants they have and that they were supposed to keep one permanently inside their pods, that is what all the dramas always show. That they can't leave once they have the implants actually in their heads.
He just smiles and says that is what makes for good drama and that the implants have never been like that, although the first generations were much more unpleasant to look at and did hang outside of the skull which most people found unsettling or annoying. Over the years they have been miniaturized so they are fully contained in the skull now. I have over 100 million credits worth of implants in my own skull right now, he tells us. My mouth and the others drop open. 100 MILLION CREDITS, of implants.....just in his head......that kind of money would set up my family for life. And he goes about telling us this like it is nothing.
He tells us that if we wish to become capsuleers that all we have to do is ask and they will take us through the initial training period and get us ready to join the elite ranks of the capsuleer community. But he also tells us that this isn't just fun and games, this is real. Once you make the transition to be a capsuleer there is for all intents and purposes no turning back. We will have to leave our families behind and pick new names and new identities. For if we were to ever associate ourselves with them, they would become vulnerable to attack by the enemies of our nation and the enemies of the capsuleer class. Those who believe the capsuleers are an abomination on the face of new eden.
I sit back in shock, as does one of my fellows, the other simply smiles and says I'm in. Just like that he is walking away from his family and friends. No backward glance, not a second of hesitation on his part. The capsuleer nods and sends him out to meet with someone about getting his material possessions transferred to the training station.
To leave my family, my mother, my father, my brother and his kids, and my girlfriend behind and never see them again......how can I do that......what kind of person does that make me.......I jump when the capsuleer replies that makes you a capsuleer. I hadn't even realized that I was speaking out loud. The woman with us says that she can't do it, she can't leave her family behind and never see them again. The capsuleer just nods and tells her to see the person outside the conference room and she will arrange for travel back to her homeworld. Then it is down to me, an academic that took a stupid survey to help out another academic and here I am trying to decide my fate after finding out that I am capable of becoming a capsuleer.
I sit staring at nothing for a long time, I don't know what to do. So finally I simply ask him about his family and why he chose to leave them all behind when he became a capsuleer? He looks directly at me and says that he didn't, he sees his family all the time. My anger builds and I demand an explanation of what the hell he is talking about, he just told us that we couldn't see them ever again. As it turns out that statement and our reactions were the final test......man I hate psychology and all that crap. Neither of my fellows will be offered training to become capsuleers, they don't have the mental strength to handle that kind of stress without simply retreating or cutting themselves off from the world. And neither of those traits are needed, or wanted in someone as powerful as a capsuleer. I tell him that I need some time to think about this, he agrees and walks out of the room, telling me as he leaves to just push the call button on the wall if I need anything.
I don't know how long I sat there waiting and thinking about my fate and what to do with my life......I push the call button and one of the medical technicians comes in and I ask her for some water and to see that capsuleer that was here. He returns after perhaps 30 minutes.....he walks in still in the same civilian cloths and sits down at the table. Have you decided he asks me........yes I reply......I want to become a capsuleer.
Again he simply nods. He stands and offers me his hand and says that we should get started on my training whenever I wish and that initial training will take approximately 6 months to get the implants and teach me how to use the neural interfaces properly. He also tells me that they will be arranging for me to return to my homeworld and that I can tell only those closest to me what I have now become. Once I begin the training I will be cut off from all the people in my life to help my mind focus on the tasks at hand. Once the training is completed I will have joined the elite capsuleer ranks for the republic and be able to contact my family again. Only this time it will be on my dime and I will be flying my own capsuleer starship back to see them......
GENERAL QUARTERS, GENERAL QUARTERS, ALL HANDS TO BATTLE STATIONS
I jump out of my bed as the GQ alarm goes off.....
Damn it I have only been asleep for a couple hours, this had better not be an alliance level drill or I am going to be really pissed off. I run out of my quarters and jump into my pod and connect to the neural interface, which I insert into the station net..........oh this is not good........