Friday, 24 July 2009

Where Everyone Knows Your Name

Golden sunlight spilled across the station's hull, tiny pinpricks of shadow that were spaceships nearly invisible in the glare. I sat curled up in the deep window-bay in my quarters in our Kaalakiota base in Evati, looking out across the slope of the station's side. If I squinted just right, I could almost fool myself into seeing sunset on water.

It's been a long time since I've been planetside.

Absently scratching my cat's head, I wondered why I'd been out of sorts. Well, no. I knew why. But the reasoning behind it and the timing baffled me.

I missed people. More to the point, I was missing friends. Jedziah, Kulmid, Sard, Rax, Hallan... Jorge. They'd all dropped off the map, hardly saying anything if they entered mutual comms channels and disappearing again.

I knew, as well as anyone, that friendships form and drift apart quickly. In a world where you can climb into a capsule and get lost for months among the starlanes, keeping in touch with anyone can become difficult. I felt lucky I'd been able to remain in contact with the old Atrocitas crew. Losing track of the old Bastards and Gunpoint Diplomacy felt like losing brothers and sisters.

We'd been lying together, my head resting on his shoulder, when Jorge said quietly, 'I'm leaving.' I could do no more than tighten my arm around him and ask when, and where to. Tomorrow, he said; I don't know, nullsec or w-space, maybe. He regretted it, but it was something he needed to do, for himself. And he was gone the next day, leaving me wondering if I'd grown too comfortable and settled into my place in things.

One month, two months... it's a long time, in New Eden. Planetside, where people live in the same place for years, even lifetimes, where you can walk into a bar and the bartenders really do know your name even though you've never told them... life moves at a completely different pace. If you've been somewhere long enough for people to know what your usual order is and what jacket you typically wear... planetside, that's no big deal, but in space....

Maybe I've been here too long.