29 October 2009

First Kill

Sometimes you find yourself in a situation you never intended to. You may have done something terrible, hurt someone, disappointed people... What do you do in this situation? What do you do when you disappoint yourself?

You deny, of course.


My father's forehead has these deep wrinkles, telling wrinkles.

We talk once in a while, by holo. Last time, I was having breakfast at my place in Clermont and he was having his after-dinner brandy somewhere in Mies. There is something funny about having a guest sitting in an armchair, in your kitchen, eyes level.

Back to the wrinkles. I can read those, you know. No one can read his mind but I will settle for the closest thing, his forehead. You would imagine that after years, no, decades in the service he would have perfected his poker face.

Well, he did and it does work with most people... but not with me. I am dad's girl.

Right there, three horizontal. Question.

"You know I look at the killboards once in a while, Catherine," said his holo across the table, "and I must say I was surprised to find your nom de guerre on the killing side last week."

Oh, merde.

I just looked back at him while I munched on my granola. I did not want to lie and besides, he almost always caught me.

He can read me right back.


It was a 0.0 roam with NOX, the first for me in so many ways. First outing in months. First time flying a Taranis. First time in fleet with Redkiwi as FC and the first time I ever heard many of them on vent, although Loras was a voice I knew. First time I had gone looking for trouble.

In my defense, I thought I was only looking. I had wanted to bring a Covops.

I have so many more excuses like those, if you ever want to hear.

Oh well, my Hell Hath was scout for the fleet and had just landed on the gate at the same time as a neutral Rifter. I was alone, two systems away from the nearest friendly and unsure about what to do. I was sure he was looking at me and I just looked back at him for a moment... Not wanting to shoot, I burned towards him and started orbiting.

What was I supposed to do?

He decided to lock me and that is when I freaked out. I am not sure who fired first, I simply flipped every single module I had and then waited for a quick death. Did I mention he targeted me first? He did.

And then it was over... as quickly as it had begun.

His ship had exploded, I found myself in half armour, my MWD turned off and warping away on instinct.

A minute later, I was warping back to the scene of the crime, to the sight of the NOX fleet inspecting the wreck and the sound of their voices cheering my kill. Again, a first in so many ways.

My first kill.

My first solo kill.

I felt great.


I felt awful.

You get some perspective when the rush is over. A week had passed and I was not done having a guilt trip. Lots. Of. Perspective.

Dad's holo was looking at me. What was I supposed to say? Sorry, Papa, it was an accident? I freaked out and shot the guy? He was threatening me?


Sometimes, maybe it is best not to answer. "I think it speaks for itself, Papa."

Wrinkles again, two vertical. A frown of concern... annoyance? Yes, you will have to take it from me.

"I am not saying you did anything wrong, I just want to understand what you were doing in 0.0 and flying with Atlas. I know you realise that by taking sides -any side- you are closing doors to yourself in the future, so I will not try to..."

Uh, say what? Something did not fit there...

He went on "... red to CVA, the Empire and possibly also..."

"Wait, did you say Atlas? I do not think the guy I shot was from Atlas..."

Wait... busted. It took him ten seconds and a freaking mindtrick. Yes, so I did shoot someone.

But he did not expect me to be genuinely confused. To be honest, neither did I.

"No, no... that is not what I am saying. Ah, take a look at this, Catherine. Help me understand it."

He made an off-holo movement and a two-month old killmail popped up and hovered over my table. Sure enough, Atlas had killed a Thrasher in N-RAEL.

Somehow I was listed as the top damage dealer. Was it a joke? WTF?

"Oh, what? I had no idea," I replied, which was completely true. "N-RAEL? I remember two months ago, this guy podded me at a bubble camp there. I was on my way back from an expedition with Amarrian acquaintances, if that makes you happy. Of course I shot back! I wish I had got him, at least... are you telling me I did?"

"It was self-defence, of course," he asked-without-asking, "Do you need any help? We stand behind you, all the way."

"You bet it was. I woke up on a clone half a cluster away. Maybe this bozo managed to get himself killed by Atlas later. So yah, I am glad I shot him up, at least a little."

I was still surprised about having that kill and about not knowing for months. And I was angry.

How did that idiot dare to get killed? I had perfectly clean hands, no kills in almost three years of flying. I had just wanted to get away but, no, he had to go and get me on a killmail. Come to think about it, it was his fault and not mine that my record was ruined now. Once CONCORD has you on a killmail, eveyone knows. His fault.

And then there was Dad, subtly running damage control. Wondering if I had ruined my career. Or his contacts. Or his expectations? I did not even want to know.

Oh, I was angry and upset allright.

So upset in fact, that Dad had the tact to not ask about the Rifter kill. Nor about the Broadsword kill after that. And he would not know of that Dominix, because the stupid killmail never arrived.

Three, maybe four kills. A freaking spree.

What am I supposed to do?


In the end, it turns out that you can get away with a terrible deed. You just deny it and may even be able to fool some people, some of the time. But there is someone that already knows, the one person that really counts. Yourself. Can you pretend not to know?

And for just how long do you think you can try to fool yourself?


  1. Everyone dies. It's best to accept that. It would be very naive to think that you've never done anything that ever lead to a death. Sometimes your participation gets to be a bit more... direct.

  2. Hmmm... true. Everyone dies.

    But does everyone *kill?* Had I ever done anything before to *sentence* someone to death? Are non-capsuleers in missions any different -were they marked to die anyway? Does it matter?

    And a capsuleer will not die. He will remember.

    Will he come after me?

    Cheers, from the Great State of Denial ;)