Editor’s Note: Another in character interview in our Signaleer Series!
Void Raven enters the small, and evidently popular, pub on the Perkone station in Saisio. She has intentionally arrived a little early for the interview, so as to find suitable seating and create a good first impression by not being late. She waits a few moments for her eyes to adjust to the low lighting and then looks around. There is no free seating at the bar counter, and there are only a few tables, most of which are occupied. Void finds an empty table in the far corner, sits down and confirms on her neuro-occular display that she is indeed early. Relieved that so far things are going as planned, she orders a drink and glances around the pub’s interior.
Tapestries, similar in style to the artwork in the Achur cultural center she visited enroute to the pub, line the walls. Dark wood paneling softly reflects the muted light from frosted-glass wall sconces. Planet VIII looms large in the window on the opposite side of the pub. By chance, today is also the peak of the Potan meteor shower in Saisio, and Planet VIII is putting on quite a show as hundreds of meteors plunge into its atmosphere, spawning the trails of light that betray the end of their long journey through space. Pleasantly fragrant, but unfamiliar, aromas drift around Void and her stomach rumbles in response.
When her drink arrives, she orders some Achur-style food, but immediately regrets doing so when the server walks off, as she realizes that eating during an interview at which she will be doing most of the talking is probably not a good idea. Void’s thoughts turn to the upcoming interview. She reaches out to her drink and endlessly rotates the glass with her fingers, her gaze fixed on her hand. The chatter and murmur of conversation among the other patrons dissolves into the background as doubts creep into her mind. What had she been thinking when she signed up for this? A young capsuleer with no experience to speak of and a troubled past – what could she possibly say that would be of interest to anyone? Her leg bounces up and down on the ball of her foot.
Void gives a jolt as she hears her name spoken and her stomach tightens when she looks up to see Katia Sae standing in front of her. She takes a deep breath and stands up quickly to greet her, bumping the table and spilling half her drink.
“Katia! How… how long have you been standing there? Sorry, I was just…”
Void takes a few more breaths and continues, “What a pleasure and honor it is to finally meet you in person, Katia. And I also just want to say congratulations on your inspirational achievement. Thanks for suggesting this pub as the place to meet. It’s perfect. As I mentioned to you, I feel so much more at ease in casual settings. But, even so, I’m… uh… I’m so darn nervous right now. I mean, I’ve never been interviewed before. See, I decided on this white blouse in case I start sweating. It won’t show sweat as a darker top would. Did I just say that? Please tell me this isn’t already part of the interview. Okay, okay, I need to calm down. Umm… can I get you something from the bar?”
As they sit down, Void gestures at the food she ordered earlier and says, “I wasn’t thinking. Like I said – first interview. Help yourself if you would like any, Katia.”
Smiling in understanding, Katia waves off the offered selection, “I completely understand. Would you believe my nerves still get the best of me during interviews? You’d think it would get easier with experience, but I’d rather face down a Loki on gate than talk to a reporter.”
After some pleasant conversation that relaxed them both, Katia steered the conversation to the interview.
“Tell me why you became a capsuleer?”
Void’s face hardens upon hearing the question. She mops up the spill on the table from earlier with her napkin, as if hoping that a delay in answering would make the question go away. But it hangs in the air, waiting patiently.
“Now, this is going to unearth some difficult memories for me. So, let’s see how it goes. I became a capsuleer to escape from a troubled upbringing and avoid an adverse future. I grew up in Gallente lowsec. In an environment that was not really…uh…supportive of a great childhood. I was exposed to…to a way of life that, had I fallen into it, would have left me disillusioned and, sort of, drained of any goodness. Instead, I would have been filled with an unquenchable rage as I selfishly blamed the whole of New Eden and everyone in it for my situation. An outcome which would have, you know, been to the detriment of others as…as their paths crossed my own in that sinister future. You see, my mother Black Raven took some bad turns early in her life that she wasn’t able to recover from. I didn’t want a repeat of that, so I left home for capsuleer school and for what I hoped would be a fresh start.”
Void loses her composure a little. Shaking her head she looks down at the floor and continues, softer than before, “I’m sorry, Katia. I do want to share my past with Signal Cartel. I owe that to everyone; you…you have all been so welcoming. But I’m unable to go into more detail about it today. Maybe some other time. Umm… suffice it to say that a little over five years ago, I guess fate interceded on my behalf, and then in 03 this year I graduated from capsuleer school with a deep fondness for exploration, but no idea of where to go next.”
Void’s translucent grey-white eyes come alive as she continues, “But then, serendipitously, news broke of a new statue in Saisio, which, sort of, spoke to me with unusual clarity when I read the inscription on it. I mean, that star in your hand, Katia, it lit the way for me to find Signal Cartel. And today I’m…uh…so grateful to be here and to be able to contribute to New Eden in a positive way to counterbalance the…the darkness that surrounds us all.”
Void hesitates for a moment; reflective. One hand is wrapped around the fist of the other in front of her. She seems undecided about her next utterance, but then says, “Okay, the Credo demands that I be honest and forthcoming. Fine. I question whether I didn’t perhaps become a capsuleer for the sole purpose of gaining ‘immortality’ and so not grow old as just another invisible and miserable baseliner. So I could rise above the wretched masses. The reason I gave earlier is then no more than a rationalization to avoid confronting the unpleasant implications of that. I mean, do I harbor a veiled desire for superiority or supremacy over others? By the Sisters, I truly hope not. I’m left wondering what it says about me that I might unconsciously hunger for immortality.”
Void takes a sip of her drink.
Blushing slightly on hearing the Saisio monument reference, Katia still found herself embrassed by the attention, which she knew didn’t make sense. Prior to the interview, Katia had a feeling Void’s story would be an interesting one to hear. Not wanting to pressure her further she went on to the next question. “What is your background as a pilot? Did you jump right into exploration, start in the military, hired by a corporation, or something else?”
“So, I have no real piloting background to speak of, having only recently graduated. I mentioned my innate love of exploration earlier; I’m drawn to see what lies beyond the figurative horizon. And then the next one. I don’t know… maybe my desire to explore comes from an unconscious need to keep ahead of the shadows of my childhood.”
”What attracted you to explore New Eden? Do you have a goal, have you achieved it? If not, are you still working towards it?”
“I don’t have a particular goal. Well okay. I’m Gallente. So, maybe the pursuit of individual freedom? Umm…I love to get lost in the beauty of New Eden and simply let it wash over me. To admire the… the background tapestry of whatever system I’m in. There are many locations of historical significance to investigate and learn about and I’m only just starting to… uh… scratch the surface with this. The adrenaline rush of hacking ancient and long forgotten relic and data sites in Anoikis is, kind of, borderline addictive. I am the hunted in the natural order of things and, counterintuitively, I find that exhilarating and liberating, you know.“
Void suddenly laughs and says, “Oh, speaking of hacking reminds me of a story. Do we have time? Yes? Great! Once, when I was super focused on hacking a site and all was deathly quiet, Allison, probably because she was bored, simulated herself dropping some… umm… plates or glasses or something and they shattered in a sudden explosion of noise. I almost died of fright. I mean, I came close to having a heart attack, which is no joke. As you know, Katia, the clone retrainsplantation process is initialized upon detection of a pod breach. An in-pod coronary does not exactly meet that requirement. She apologized, sweet AI that she is, so we’re still friends.”
Void takes another sip of her drink and continues, “Tending and sowing rescue caches and Thera wormhole scanning are intrinsically rewarding activities. I also recently finished assisting ARC on an unidentified wormhole research project in Drifter Hive Systems. So, for me, there is no end goal or destination. It’s all about the journey into what the future may bring.”
Void takes a pause, then says, “Katia, am I rambling too much? I mean, it’s all sort of stream-of-consciousness at this point, isn’t it? I’m too serious, right? Maybe my goal should be: ‘Be less serious’. Or I could aim for off-beat.”
”You’re doing great, no worries at all. I really want these interviews to be as much as you are comfortable sharing. So, let’s continue with your favorite ship. Do you have a favorite and if so, why?
“Oh, that’s easy. My favorite ship is simply the one I’m in at the time. Out in the void, we’re… umm… at one with our ships and they protect us from the ravages of hostile space. It’s not a… a symbiotic relationship, since that would imply two separate entities interacting. No, we are truly one. In this way every ship earns favorite status from me.”
Void smiles and continues, “But I see you want more than that. Okay, just between you and me, my Astero and Helios occupy a special place in my heart. They both carry the name Raven’s Pride. You know, the elegant lines of the Astero and the… umm… graceful sweep of the curved semicircular structures toward the aft of the ship, holding within them that ethereal veil of light cast by the inset lights, captured and held my gaze from the first moment I saw one. The Helios has its own, different form of beauty. I recall another Signaleer say of the Helios, ‘If you can free your mind of symmetry, beauty will rush in to fill the gap.’”
”During your travels, what has been the most interesting fact, amazing sight, or other aspect of New Eden that has surprised you?”
• “The overwhelming extent of New Eden and Anoikis. 7,805 known systems. How many unknown to us?”
• “The catastrophically damaged Jove Observatories. Enigmatic and haunting.”
• “The 24/7 hustle and bustle of the ships of powerful commercial interests centered on Jita 4-4.”
• “The Sisters of Eve Flotillas in the Drifter Hive Systems. Although a beautiful sight and a reassuring presence, they leave a faint scent of mystery in their wake.”
• “The Shattered Wormhole systems. I shudder at the power that caused such devastation.”
• “The labored, deep breathing of end-of-life wormholes. Such a creepy sound can signal only impending death.”
• “The Katia Sae Monument in Saisio. Where would I be today without it?”
Katia continued despite her involuntary blush, ”What have you learned or what advice would you give to someone interested in exploring New Eden?
“Jump right in and go for it. Yet, patience is a virtue. In New Eden, you can see and do quite a lot with quite a little, really.”
”Do you have a favorite image that you wouldn’t mind me posting and sharing from your explorations?
“These photos of the SOE Flotilla in Vidette are currently among my favorites.”
“That’s it, you did great Void, thanks so much for taking time out from your explorations and I certainly wish you well on your journey.”
“Katia, thank-you for this opportunity to tell you and Signal Cartel a little bit more about myself. You know, as nervous as I was at the start of the interview, I enjoyed it. At times it was even cathartic. I hope you and your readers enjoy it too. But now I really do need to leave so I can put on a fresh blouse.”
Void finishes the last of her drink and she and Katia rise to leave the pub.