B-R5RB: The Sky Is FallingSindel Pellion
It’s a story that’s been told over and over again this week. ISK lost, damage done. This FC’s perspective, that pilot’s perspective. So much talk about victors, heroes, agony, and triumph. Every time a new story, a new angle, a new interview has come out, the narrative has become more and more impressive. And it was impressive, wasn’t it?
There’s a side that was missed, though. It’s a side that I know many people were on, but not many people will talk about.
… good thing I’m not many people.
This is the story of the coward’s perspective. This is the story of a player who watched the ENTIRE thing happen and was paralyzed with fear, scared to help. This is the story that is burned into my brain and every time I think of this game, I will remember it. This is my story.
I woke up early Monday morning to take the kids to school, then returned home to wake up my husband, Bagehi. We had just returned home the night before, having been out of town for a funeral, and we were both exhausted– physically and emotionally wrung-out. After a brief discussion, it was decided that he would stay home and try to regroup. We would just, I don’t know, unplug and spend the day getting over our grief.
We sat at our computers, drinking coffee and browsing Reddit, which is our morning routine. While he was engrossed in r/politics or whatever-the-hell other boring subreddits he reads, I noticed my pidgin icon blinking. I clicked on it, and that’s when I learned what was going on. I did a quick read-through of the last couple of hours on Twitter, my heart sinking with every scroll of my mouse key. I turned to my husband.
“Razor has B-R,” I said quietly.
“WHAT?!?!?” he yelled.
“Something happened. The sov bill wasn’t paid. Razor took the station. Check IRC. They’re forming up now.”
He read through everything and started to log in.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I need to do something.”
“Well, if we undock and get into fleet, we can’t dock back up, right? What if we die? What happens to our stuff?”
“It gets stuck in the station until we can get the station back.”
The thing with Bag is, he’s so matter-of-fact when dealing with a crisis. Especially in Eve. He’s been playing long enough, after all. Then there’s me. I am a panicker of comedic proportions. I start running through scenarios of everything that can go wrong in my head and then I start freaking out and, the next thing you know, I’m hyperventilating into a mug of coffee.
I’m not proud of what I did next. I guilted the poor man into not playing. I didn’t have to say anything because we’ve been together long enough for him to read me. I got up, walked away from the computer, and sat on the couch, staring blankly at the TV that wasn’t even turned on. You could see the internal struggle on his face. His alliance was screaming for help, he had the day off, and he felt obligated to go to the aid of our space family. On the other hand, he had said we would spend the day together.
I watched as he sighed, got up, pushed his chair in, and shuffled over to the couch.
(In my defense, the reports that were coming in were saying that this was a supercap fight. There was a lot of talk that it would not last that long. We just needed to drop TCUs again and try to regain control of the station. No one – not me, not anybody – could have known what the next 20-odd hours held.)
We were on Twitter constantly. The updates we were getting were obviously making us very nervous. At one point, I texted Hedliner, who told me he was getting very sketchy information about what was going on (unlike some people, he actually went to work on Monday) and to sit tight until he knew more.
“Don’t undock. We will get the station back.” He’s very reassuring, that one.
“There you go. Hedliner said don’t undock just yet.”
In retrospect, he probably didn’t mean both of us. Hedliner, being a very attentive FC, knows I am complete shit in large battles. I can’t focus, I have no idea what’s going on around me, and I’m usually more of a liability than an asset. He also knows that Bag is one of the best pilots flying for him and, if given the choice, would have wanted him undocked and shooting bitches. At the time, though, I wasn’t thinking clearly. Hindsight and all that.
We watched Nick Fuzzeh’s stream all afternoon and evening. I would announce the titan losses every time I noticed a change. Every hour that went by, it was getting more and more dire. There were constant pings for reinforcements of all kinds. “Don’t be a coward,” they said, “just get your ass into fleet and await instructions.” I could see the determination on Bag’s face every time he read one and, every time, I talked him out of it.
Would I fight and die for my family? Absolutely. Was I prepared to undock, fight, die, and leave everything else behind? No.
I realize that a lot of the more expensive assets I have were given to me by people in PL, but they were mine. I had bought a lot myself, as well. I had several billion ISK in that station. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot to some people, but I’m not space-wealthy like they are. I have 1.1 billion ISK to my name and I wouldn’t be able to replace a fraction of the ships I had in station, so I’d be damned if it was going to be trapped where I couldn’t get to it.
As the hours crept by and the damage totals grew larger and larger, I felt more and more like the biggest chicken-shit asshole in the history of Eve Online. 20 titans dead. Now 30. Now 40. From about 8pm EST on, hot tears would stream down my face in intervals. I was embarrassed and ashamed of what I’d done and, worse still, what I’d made Bag do. Now, I realize it’s just a game and these are just pixels, but I am a firm believer that how we behave online is a direct reflection of who we are. If you’re a jerk on the internet, you’re most likely a puppy-kicker IRL, you know? Don’t deny it. You know I’m right. That’s why this hit me so hard.
I had abandoned my family to their fate, choosing instead to watch them die one by one from the safety of my pod, tucked snugly into station. When they absolutely needed me to be brave, I was too scared to think of anything but myself. I was too busy thinking about losing my stuff, as if it couldn’t be replaced, as if it cost anywhere close to the SIXTY GODDAMN TITANS that were sacrificed so that people like me had the liberty of hiding in station.
When I woke up the next morning to, well, everything we woke up to Tuesday, a switch turned on inside me. The sick feeling was still there but it was being overtaken by anger (Nick Fuzzeh? Really?!?!?! You HAD to kill Nick Fuzzeh?!!?!?) and a strange mixture of defeat and pride. I mean, it had been a complete slaughter that left my alliance bruised and scrambling.
But we were still standing.
I know that Pandemic Legion has been around forever and will be around long after I quit playing, but I am not a veteran player and I have watched every single alliance I’d been in prior to this one fold and collapse. This was an entirely new experience. It was an amazing feeling. The sheer relief that we were still (relatively) intact helped counter the overwhelming waves of smug coming from the CFC. Well, for awhile. After seeing it all over Reddit, Twitter, Facebook – hell, CNN and Fox News even – it started to grate on my nerves. All of the frustration and emotion of the previous day came boiling out of me in song form, which resulted in this:
There aren’t a lot of ways I can contribute to PL. This is something, though. We had lost decisively, but I wanted to rally people, to remind them there was still hope.
To remind myself.
As we removed all of our assets from station Wednesday night, I started to gain resolve. I knew what Grath had done to get all of us out safely (he mentioned something about kneepads and a complete loss of dignity) and I was determined to repay him for, once again, saving my ass. This confession is my first payment. A willingness to fight and die, regardless of the odds, will be my next. A pledge to never again be a dumb girl and force my husband to do what I want by using wife-aggro is my last.
I only hope that’s enough.