I stare out of the station we had wrested from the Amarr, trying to gaze through my gaunt reflection and find in the glistening stars beyond the reason I stood here in the first place.
It was eerily quiet after the cacophony of screams and trampling boots as our soldiers poured into the station and established control over the civilian population. They had had peace for only a meagre seven months, barely enough to repair the lives that had been overturn by the Amarr who took Huola from our hands in the neverending cycle of a war between immortals.
A slave girl, Matari and bone skinny, sobbed for us to save her Master. I wonder, sometimes, whether we are giving freedom, or forcing freedom, upon the people we fight for. I wonder, sometimes, whether we live on freedom, or we too, force-feed it into ourselves, as blindly and religiously as our sworn enemies consume their Scriptures.
What am I fighting for? My mere voice commands dozens of pilots, my hands guide weapons of mass destruction. My life is infinite (how long have I been alive already…?). Was power granted to me to simply be a monster that enjoys cruising through the wrecks that litter the aftermath of fleet battles? Surely not. Surely there’s something more, something beyond myself that I am contributing to.
And yet here I am, searching for answers amongst the stars and questioning the answers I’ve given myself previously.
The war between the Amarr and Minmatar rages on. Our killboards are dripping with the blood of our foes.
I find after weeks of this conflict I am still willing to bring everything I have to the Amarrian’s doorsteps, knock with both feet planted firm, and serve them.
I recently hopped corps within Ushra’Khan, one of the oldest Matari alliances who have opposed the Amarrians since before FW even existed. I wanted to ask myself why I did that, since I myself feel like I made the choice quite quickly.
The reason comes down to the pursuit of one thing and one thing only: warzone victory. This has become an all-consuming obsession, almost – I’ll get to that later.
The Ushra’Khan alliance represents the reclaimation of freedom from all parts of Amarrian tyranny. From the stifling, walled Dam-Torsad to the countless enslaved doing the bidding of CVA in Providence, Ushra’Khan is the stand against all of it.
I love that side of U’K, I love a bit of roleplay even if it gets cheesy sometimes, but I can only think about so much at once, and all I want to think about is how we can win this damn warzone. So I joined a bunch of guys who are as obsessed with attaining victory, for the first time ever, for the Minmatar faction warfare militia.
And now, here we are, dealing with an unhealthy amount of burning passion to take the final 10 systems of the warzone from the Amarrians’ hands.
And as I venture further down this path of bloodbath and fire and brimstone and rust and burning and lasers and nightmares of exploding spaceships… I wonder how I will be seen in all of this at the end of it.
A hero of the Minmatar? I giggle at the thought, but I also wonder if it could ever be true. Of course, if we reach the end successfully the past will look like nothing but roses and good fights. Which is why I am here now, in the middle of it all, in the thick of the fighting and the worst of the combat, asking myself whether I should be a hero if it ever came down to it.
And frankly, I don’t think so. I don’t think superheroes are heroes. What is a hero? Damn it all, it’s a strange thing to wonder, but I suppose my thoughts are… solidified in that little piece of writing above.
Can you do the right thing in the eyes of some people without it being seen as the wrong thing by others? Is there ever anything ‘objectively good’ when good and evil are defined by subjective humans?
If a hero does only good, and good is subjective, does that mean a hero for one person could be another’s villain?
And if we accept that, doesn’t that mean heroes don’t exist, because we are accepting that there is no such thing as a person that is purely ‘good’?
Huh. I really don’t know.
Anyway. I’ve read many books about wars, and there is almost always that resounding theme of it not being the stuff of fairy tales. War is gritty and gross. Clashing in battle whether it be in the medieval times as the cavalry vanguard or in the trenches of the twentieth-century wars, or in the great spaceship fleets of New Eden, can be glorified in stories. Of course they can. But plop yourself right into it, and suddenly, your perspective switches from the rose-tinted birds-eye view of great conflict and glory to the eyes of a grunt struggling to breathe in the smog-filled wasteland of blood and ammunition, cries of fallen comrades surrounding him.
And well, the illusion shatters, and all that’s left is a sick feeling of betrayal and disenchantment.
War ain’t pretty, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And I’m sure of this, and heck, I’m sitting comfortably at home playing a spaceship game , for reality’s sake.
I am far from the end though. The Amarr are definitely not interested in letting us take that final medal, and as well they shouldn’t be. I am definitely not interested in earning a medal that has no real meaning behind it.
And so we fight on, not for glory or the halls of heroes, but because we have our grim sights set firmly on an outcome in the future that we will achieve. I have no more false illusions of glorious fights and amazing battles. I am ready to embrace the struggle.
Someone on the Amarrian side told me all I would get for fighting so hard is a medal.
Well, firstly I feel sorry for the guy for thinking like that, because that means he sees his own medal currently as of little worth.
How I see it?
That medal, above all, will let me feel like I can look at the Amarr and stand not as superiors, but as equals. If we can achieve that, it overturns their whole “you’re meant to be our slaves” ideal. The rigid, class-based religious hierarchy of their empire could be shattered because we can look them in the eye and say “You’re just like us.”
The medal encompasses an idea, and that idea can topple an empire. Incredible. And again, I manage to drag my thoughts back into the fantastical world where everything is possible and heroes really do exist.