I feel like back when I left home, despite the fact that I am actually returning in a way – for a short time.
It has only been a year and a half since I turned my back on New Eden and set out to live in the uncharted territories which people now call the Anoikis Cluster, but even after such a relatively short time I find that I am no longer used to the constant stream of ships coming and going from stations.
Every once in a while during the past eighteen months I have come here to buy materials or ships or to take care of some bureaucratic issue like visiting a Federation Navy medical facility and signing for a clone upgrade. But for the rest I have become familiar with the serenity of the wormhole systems. Even more than that I have become conditioned by their subtle lethality.
Each new system could potentially be the home or the hunting ground of capsuleers, and out there that always means hostiles. There are no local authorities that enforce the law, no CONCORD to punish transgressors. Not even the vast capsuleer alliances that have conquered and settled space beyond the four great empires and created their own internal security.
Even if space looks empty, except for the ever present Sleeper Drones which can be found everywhere in the Anoikis Cluster, you never know how many stealthy assassins hide behind cloaking fields somewhere close to you. The usual transmission beacons that broadcast a capsuleers ID as soon as he or she enters through a gate are not present there, so the roster of local capsuleers on the ship's communication channels remains empty.
My old home in the core systems of the Gallente Federation seems overcrowded now, and I have a hard time with not getting all twitchy whenever I see a capsuleer piloted ship that doesn't transmit the calling code of my alliance.
Federation space makes me nervous.
I tried to reconnect with it. After all, I had some time before embarking on the next part of my personal journey.
I decided that I should go an meet my family.
It turned out to be a mistake.
My father was in the middle of a senate election campaign. I didn't even get to talk to him. A secretary with an annoyingly-sweet voice told me that he could not be seen associating with capsuleers since the platform he ran on was a lot about restricting capsuleer privileges within Federation space.
Great. His political career is more important to him than seeing his daughter.
I was not surprised about that, but it still hurt.
So I went from Villore to Doussivitte where my mother still works as an immigration lawyer helping escaped Matari slaves to gain asylum.
For all her outwardly projected idealism she obviously wasn't sacrificing any personal comforts. Her two floor apartment with it's wide, open terrace on the 27th floor of an impressive condominium spire was a nicer place than anything I have seen since my childhood, when my father would sometimes take the whole family along to meet with 'friends from politics'.
Of course she made a big scene.
She already went half mad with concern back when 'her girl' enrolled with the capsuleer program of the Federation Navy Academy. She could still take it when I would work as a freelance contractor for them later. When I announced that I would be leaving to go and seek new regions of space to settle, she was in tears again.
This time she just ranted and raved at me for the lack of morals my current career choice showed. How I had become just like all the other capsuleer scum who only think about ISK and would do anything for it. We had a screaming argument and I left in the middle of it.
Not before smashing her favorite wine carafe though.
Finally I flew my ship to Luminaire to visit my brother.
He had become a professor for law at the University of Caille in the meantime. He made a big show of his newly acquired social status by inviting me for dinner in an expensive penthouse restaurant high above the Crystal Boulevard.
It was ridiculous actually.
The ship I am flying was more expensive than the whole 20 story building, but to him I am still the little sister playing spaceship with her stuffed animals.
I guess I should be happy that he didn't pat me on my head.
I realized that those people are not my family anymore. They don't even understand what life beyond the borders of their precious Federation means. How I spent month after month negotiating, lobbying and bribing to be allowed entry into the Amarr Empire and the Caldari State. That there are nations of capsuleers out there on the fringes of New Eden which almost rival the established powers in size. They certainly have no idea about the wonders and dangers of Anoikis.
Least of all they understand why I am joining a mercenary outfit now.
So here I am, surveying my ships in the vast hangar bay of Dodixie Moon 20 station. Making sure those of my crew who are leaving get paid their share and arranging for new ones to sign on for this dangerous trip.
Strangely enough, you find quite a lot of people who would sign on for a capsuleer crew going on combat missions in null-security space. It's pretty hard to find crewmembers if you tell them you are going to take them into a wormhole.
They are all the same: Afraid of things they do not know. Afraid of severing their ties.
Well, to be fair, I once was like that too, but my family have severed all those ties for me.
Nothing really holds me here.
When I say goodbye to my best friend Miralee who had helped me moving my ships, that's when I really feel like I am leaving home and family. Those people out there in Anoikis, in a system that is on no starchart, which has no jump gate leading to it and no name. They are my real family and that is my real home.
Then, hugging that strong and calm Matari woman, I cry.
She calls me a sentimental Gallente chick and tells me to come home with great war-stories.
I can't help but to smile.
I promise her that I will.