OOC (Out of Character): So huge wall of text incoming, you’ve been warned. If you’re a follower of mine, then you know I’m a Roleplayer and from time to time write some very short and sometimes short stories about Katia and her journey. If you’re not into that, don’t care to read, not interested in character insights, feel free to skip this post. 😉
I wanted to share a page from our internal Signal Cartel storyline that’s been running for over a year now, titled “Vacant Spectrum” by our very own OPSEC division (Operation and Planning of Special Events for the Corporation). We’ve started Chapter 6 now. This particular page is a collaborative piece with the OPSEC team that gives some insight into why Katia set forth on her journey and I know many of you that have been following me for a while would be interested. A lot of this won’t make sense to you as it’s part of a much larger story, but I felt like I really needed to share this here.
The root of Katia’s story has been in my head for over nine years now. After sharing this with some of my corp mates, they asked if I’ve ever seen the Disney movie Moana, which I haven’t. My son and niece are older now, so we don’t go to the kiddy movies anymore, but I think I’ll have to make an exception for this one. It seems Moana’s journey is the same as Katia’s. The movie only came out a couple of years ago, yet mine has been in my head for much longer. I have no answer for that, maybe it’s written into my DNA and someone else’s too. We both ended up sharing the same story in different mediums.
I’ve always viewed the Caldari Achura bloodline to be similar to the Polynesian culture of today, particularly the Maori of New Zealand. There’s a couple of amazing synchronicities I thought I’d share. I wear a hand carved Maori jade necklace that symbolizes new beginnings I had gotten many years ago. We ended up calling the celebration fleet for getting my last system, the Great Fleet, which is a reference I had completely forgotten about that a corp mate reminded me of that’s about how the Maori came to be in New Zealand. These only reinforced my belief that I was doing the right thing for Katia, that this was becoming something bigger than myself.
If you’ve been following my story and my journey, you know I like to drop links to songs that give a peek into Katia’s soul. If you’re into insights like that, then I urge you to go listen to this video first before reading on. It’s at the core of her soul.
Now for the story…
I’ve been undocked for a long time.
Stepping into the Grand Ballroom last week made me realize just how long. I saw the huge swarm of people assembled and immediately felt like I might suffocate. But I forced myself to chat amiably beforehand, sit through it all, and even stick around afterwards to process with everyone what we had just seen and heard. This might be my life now: talking in public and bright lights and stations and crowds. I guess the sooner I get adjusted to it, the better.
SSAC Segu tell their tale took me right back to the Great Hunt. Especially that stuff right at the end about Talon Commander Fedi. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that he contacted me for the first time.
*** Flashback ***
**20.10.yc120 – Drifter wormhole Barbican**
‘Katia?’, Aura’s voice entered my thoughts as she asked rather than stated my name. Which was a bit unusual for her. ‘I have an incoming communication request.’
‘Aura, you know I don’t wish to be disturbed while actively engaged in scanning operations deep in a Drifter system,’ my unspoken thoughts replied.
‘Yes, but this is a bit odd, and I am not sure what to make of it.’
Taking a deep breath while immersed in pod goo isn’t as easy as it would seem, but since sighing never seemed to come off as a sigh, it was the next best thing to express my aggravation.
‘What’s odd about it?’ I relayed my thoughts to her.
‘The subject header reads as follows: “Hands to the sky, we are the dreamers.” It’s using the priority code from Kata Sae, your paternal grandfather, despite him being deceased.’
My heart froze as the words struck deep within my soul, uncontrolled tears welled up behind my closed eyelids, and a lump formed in my throat.
‘What?’ I thought and mouthed.
‘Do you wish to accept the connection?’ Aura’s programmed response asked, completely ignoring my question.
My frozen heart beat another tick and I quickly regained my composure. I wouldn’t have made it this far without losing a ship if my recovery and reaction times weren’t sharp. ‘Assume operations, make for the safe, cloak, and silent mode,’ I commanded. This was a communication I wanted to take live.
‘Of course, Katia.’
I was six when my Grandfather presented me with my first telescope for my birthday. I often stayed with him while my parents were consumed with their work. They were the perfect converted Caldari, having completely shed their Achura culture — all for the company and the bottom line. It was over 300 years ago that the Caldari had subjugated Saisio III, otherwise known as Achura, my homeworld. The reentry fires of the Caldari ships pierced holes in the sky as they made first contact with my ancestors. Today, most of our culture was relegated to Achura cultural centers in some of our major metropolitan cities, so the tourists could ‘experience’ us. In my youth, I had volunteered and worked at one for a few years. For me, the experience only fanned the flames that my Grandfather had ignited within me, to become a Stargazer and follow the call of my ancestors to the stars.
It was a good thing my Grandfather kept the telescope at his home, because that’s where I spent most of my free time. My parents often referred to him as a dreamer, a title which he wore with pride, a title which I loved and aspired toward myself. We spent many a night stargazing, counting the stars, laughing, raising our hands to the sky. He taught me all about our home system, its planets and moons and constellations. But most importantly, he taught me what it meant to be an Achura, a Stargazer, like our ancestors before us. He inspired me to chase my dreams and travel the stars.
I never resented my parents, nor the Caldari for that matter. I simply didn’t understand that way of life. As a child, I was difficult. Often I felt the disappointment of my parents’ eyes upon me, but like my Grandfather before me, I was a dreamer, and it was his approval that I sought. I guess, looking back on it now, it was then — when I got that telescope for my birthday — that I knew I would return our family line to the ways of old. However, unlike some of my fellow Achura who shunned the modern Caldari ways, I wanted to combine the old with the new. Rather than plant my feet firmly on the ground like my Stargazer ancestors before me, I aspired to become a Stargazer and a starship pilot. I wanted to carry the voice of my ancestors with me, traveling among the stars themselves, visiting every star system that New Eden had to offer.
As soon as the ship was secured, my thoughts turned to the pod evacuation code that my Chief had rigged for me so I could exit and stretch my legs onboard ship during my long journey exploring Anoikis. My Malediction, Sojourner, was small enough to not need a crew and large enough to have some space for a cabin, living area, and Chester, my slaver hound companion. He was Mynxee’s gift to me when I began my last phase of exploring the stars. “Chester” was my Grandfather’s nickname when he served in the Caldari Navy. It seemed fitting that the bearer of his name would be with me as I finished my trek through wormhole space
I didn’t waste any time after exiting the pod. Showered clean of the goo and towel wrapped around me, I sat at the vidconf portal, took a deep breath of real air, and opened communications. My voice cracked despite myself, “Gr-Grandfather?” Which was impossible, I knew. He had passed away long ago, but he was the only one who had ever spoken those words to me. “Hands to the sky, we are the dreamers.”
“Afraid not. Name’s Talon Commander Fedi,” the unfamiliar voice replied. “Those are some pretty big shoes to fill, and I couldn’t do it, even if I wanted to. I knew him well, though. That’s a subject for another time. For now, I’ll cut to the chase. What if I told you I could help you finish your journey, not in the next few years, but in the next few months?”
*** Present day ***
Those few months have now passed. My journey is complete and Fedi is gone. I didn’t get to know him well, but his sacrifice for a cause I don’t fully understand has hit me hard. Which has been a surprise. I’m just now realizing that he was my last connection to Papaw Chester. Everything seems like it’s coming to an end, and I’m not sure really what comes next for me.
So, I was interested to see what “Segu” was talking about when they (he?) said that Fedi’s final words would be communicated to me soon. Turns out I didn’t have long to wonder.
09 February, YC 121
Now that we’re at the end of it, I have less to say than I thought I would. There’s a few things, though, I want to make sure you know.
Your grandfather had his priorities straight, and you were at the top of that list. He’d be proud as Hek to see all you’ve accomplished. Kata knew you were going to be something special. He was right.
It was Esi and him who bankrolled your capsuleer promotion They were both into ancient spirituality. Not really my sack of Khuumaks, but they each had some kind of vision that confirmed you were the one who would visit every system in the cluster. We guessed it would be easier for you to do as a capsuleer.
I worked with your chief from the beginning. You can tell him that “Carlo” says hi. We’ve been supplying him with slightly modified SureShot cam drones all along. That’s how you’ve been deploying Esi’s SOFA network. It only takes a small cube of the stuff to detect the presence of more of itself anywhere in the system. Chief ever complain to you about mass readings on your ships never adding up? Now he’ll know why. You were slowly bleeding mass every time you deployed your cam drones for pictures.
Did you know we had others helping at the beginning? You’ve always been Primary, but we did use a few different secondary ships over the years, especially during your two-year hiatus. We quit that before too long, though. None of them had the drive you did. Esi said an extra year or two wouldn’t make any difference, anyway. And, unlike you, they kept losing ships. Not that the price tag was a big concern, but it was just more economical to have you be the one deploying the network.
I guess Esi will make sure you get this when you’re finished, and after I’m…not available. I’m not sure what your plans are after your grand tour is complete. Maybe you can make sure Esi is OK? He’s carrying the weight of the cluster on his shoulders, and he isn’t doing too good. I’ve read a bit about Signal Cartel’s work with SOFA tissue….
I don’t know what I’m asking, but maybe there’s something you can do? *He really can bring peace to New Eden, Katia.* You’ve got to believe that. I’ve seen him do things with his clones that just aren’t possible. If there’s anyone who can end the bloodshed between the empires, can free the rest of my people once and for all, it’s him. But he needs to stay alive long enough to make it happen.
You don’t owe me anything, Katia. You barely know me. Esi always thought it was best to let you complete your quest in peace and not weigh you down with the news about what else you were doing. So I didn’t have much chance to work with you directly. I’ve been watching you for so long, though, I feel almost as if you were my own flesh and blood. I never had a family of my own. Esi and you are about as close as I ever got. So I’m going to ask. I don’t have anyone else.
If there’s anything you can do to give Esi a shot at pulling off his plan, I’m begging you to do it. Talk to him yourself. You’ll see what I mean.
I’m grateful we met in these last few months, Stargazer. Know that I’m watching over you, now and forever.
The few times that I spoke with Fedi, he never really struck me as a dreamer, but I guess he really was one, too. He had something he believed in that was bigger than himself, and it gave him purpose and courage. That is something I understand, even if I don’t know all the details of what he and “Esi” have been up to.
My epic journey is over. There will be a brief period of well wishers and excitement, especially with the installation of the statue next month. (I can’t believe the favors Mynxee must have called in with CONCORD to get that approved. I’m still amazed that it’s really going to happen, to be honest.) But I’ve already started to look ahead to the end of the honeymoon. What then?
Do I simply settle down as Quartermaster at our new Saisio office? Start conducting tourist fleets? Train new explorers? Sign autographs? Even as I start to list the options, I know there has to be something more. I’m a Stargazer! As much as part of me wants to rest and retire and stick close to home, I can’t deny that I’m already itching to get back into space. I’ve been everywhere and seen everything, but there are still so many mysteries to be discovered. Whatever is going on here is big — bigger than I ever realized. Maybe meeting with “Esi” is just what I need to launch myself into the next stage of my life.
I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?