Art by Redline XIII
Disclaimer: These are the views, observations, and experiences of an F1 Monkey and they in no way wholly represent the Imperium. If you have a problem with my words of “truthiness” then by all means feel free to send me an in game mail. You can even state your favorite ice cream flavor if you like.
The “Once and Future Goon” Hears the Horn
Without further ado . . .
I was pacing around the upper room of the eastern tower. As you know, every Englishman has at least one castle. My thoughts of the day were directed toward a project I had spent many years working on, as was so often the case. My attention was drawn abruptly to the window as a sudden dark shadow passed across the ledge. This was not unexpected, but it was certainly indicative of the unusual times in which we live. However, with the events so far in 2020, it all felt quite fitting. I opened the glass-pane door that opened out onto the balcony and stepped into the still brisk morning air.
A striking figure of a winged harbinger was standing tall on the parapets. In most un-birdlike fashion it was staring at me intently. I welcomed Cinereous and asked what I could do for it. The bird directed its gaze to an envelope lying on the floor. As soon as it had it done so, its wings were unfurled and it lifted off, dropping heavily at first until the up-currents of air held them more stable as they glided from the tower into the valley below.
As soon as the vulture had departed, I hastily retrieved the missive, breaking the wax seal which had the mark of The Imperium impressed into it. I was already aware of the treachery of TEST. Or more to the point, I was already aware of the most recent act of treachery by TEST. So, this letter was not a complete surprise. But, it should be stressed that to receive such a thing is a very unusual event, one not to be taken lightly.
Having read many books over the years, I had developed my own technique of absorbing information. At a mere glance of a page I am able to pick out the most important and relevant information. As I scanned the heavy vellum parchment, two words jumped out at me immediately: “Goon” and “Horn.” Nothing more needed to be parsed. Everything needed to be known was known. Such is the way of every “true Goon.”
I cast the letter to one side, its purpose served. There was little point in putting off the inevitable. I retired to the gaming room, giving instruction that I was not to be disturbed. In a little time the downloading icon appeared as I grabbed a new Eve Online client. After a fair amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth I finally had all my accounts in good order. Buttons were pressed; I was in.
Soon I was presented with a kind of familiar interface. There were changes and my muscle memory had faded, but it was the same essence. As was often the case with me, I was not in our home system of 1DQ in Delve, although I was a lot closer than I thought I would be. I noted that I was now in an NPC corp. This was an opportunity not to be missed. Soon I had my clone set to an NPC station in Delve. That way I would not have to travel quite so far if I was shot on the way. With all these null players closing in on a single region, I was sure things were going to be busy, but either through luck or skill I made it to 1DQ on my first attempt. But now, in 1DQ with no cloak and in a newbie ship, disguised as an alpha clone, I had to do a bit of thinking. Get safe and then I could talk in local. Often in staging systems people get lazy, so they stop looking for you. With Goons being Goons I was confident that, as long as I stayed far enough away from the main hub, I would not be scanned.
Once safe, I began to talk in local. My plan had been to use the enemies’ lines I had quickly harvested from Reddit. This is an easy task, in all honesty, as the same old tired phrases from previous years were being thrown out yet again. But this was not by the PAPI leadership. They know better than that. They know that as long as they keep quiet, their line members will just keep repeating the same lies without thinking. PAPI leadership has at least learned something about statecraft from their time in The Imperium. Soon, a familiar face popped up and I dropped any pretense of “HAT GON.” I mean, who was I trying to kid? More and more faces turned up. Before I knew it I was back in -REP.
As soon as I was re-indoctrinated into -REP, which brought with it a confusing mix of emotions, I lurked a little longer in 1DQ. I was just sifting through stuff and refitting ships and chasing this little red dot around my screen like some sort of demented cat. There was also the dreaded task of setting up all the services again. The capability and bureaucracy that exist within any large player group is truly something to behold. Often it will shame large companies that profess competence. While it is a chore for many and a challenge for some, it must be done to ensure the smooth running of the efficient machine that is The Imperium. There are some advantages, however; I had to set up all my in-game chat channels as well as all the external services. Each time I did there was someone there to greet me. Another familiar face and then another. Weird how just seeing a name flash before my eyes on Jabber will provoke a pulse of memories. Even seeing names of those that I considered nemeses was heartening. They were still here; they were still alive and perhaps the passage of time had matured them.
It was not long before the urge to go and see what our many many many foes were up to compelled me into action. A quick check in local gave me the staging of PH in Kaira, in the low-sec region of Aridia.
My arrival in Kaira was a normal affair: some insults mixed in with more cordial chat. I have always tried to be well mannered, even in hostile staging systems. Eventually someone will reign in the local dribbling idiot and things become more sensible. After a while an old name piped up and demanded “real talk.” At the time I responded as best and honestly as I could. But this encounter did lead me to think more about all this. Why the hell was I back? No really, why?
Love and Laughter, Hate and Despair
Duty. There it was, my reason. As strange as it may seem to some folk, and others will mock me for it, I am comfortable with the concept of duty. For me to not have a sense of duty to those that were kind is unthinkable. As many an Eve player can tell you, Eve is more than just the pixels in space; it is impossible to spend the time that we do and not forge bonds. Equally, it is just as impossible for our collective experiences in Eve not to change us, if only in some small way. Others will have different reasons from my own. Some will be driven by hate, fear, or any of the other labels we cling to in order to better describe our humanity.
An argument among PAPI followers that seems to be the current popular call to action is that goons must be destroyed to save the game and that only the forces of PAPI can do it. Upon hearing this I had the strangest sense of déjà vu. I am certain I had heard this before. But how was this possible? Goons lost all of their caps in 93PI-4 and everyone knows that goons are selfish, so all of that MER ISK had to be long gone. I wondered, briefly, if PAPI had tried to aggravate the internal workings and relations of The Imperium as they had before. Well, The Imperium is a different beast now, compared to The Casino War days. Dare I say lighter and tighter. But everyone who is part of The Imperium knows that our word is good. They also know that the charming words of our enemies will only result in a monumental “I told you so” moment.
The most wonderful thing about this argument is that PAPI state they are the solution to what they call the “goon problem.” That is very likely true. PAPI is the largest force ever assembled. The largest blue donut ever. The Imperium is outnumbered like never before. All time zones. The smell of blood in the water should be driving those with bloodlust crazy. But by all accounts PAPI forces are going to take their time. Take their time? You have said that the game needs saving because the goons are killing it! Why the hell are you waiting? Being a goon, I have to say I love this bit so much. The parallels it draws to real life are simply uncanny.
“Saving Eve from goons” is not the only argument offered by PAPI, but it is the one seemingly being pushed more by their leadership. Again, everyone has their reasons on the PAPI side of things: Punching down, betting with the odds, old scores to settle. All are perfectly valid reasons, especially when they lead to action.
One of the other things I was asked while in one of the many PAPI stagers is what outcome I desired from this war. This was an easy question to answer, for it is obvious: I want us to have the largest battle ever conducted in New Eden, with something like 70% of all caps, supers and titans lost. Even more, I want all the new and the old people to have bigger and better stories to talk of in the years to come. I do not care if it is soul crushing TiDi. I do not care if we have to spend days in system slogging it out. We might have to go to work and come back to see if we are alive or dead. If this is the price we have to pay for fewer caps and more stories, then I am all for it. As you may have gathered, I do like my story times and this time I get to play the underdog again. I like nothing better than punching up.
The great thing about this situation for me is that I cannot lose. If we are defeated in Delve, we will simply adapt as we have before. If we should, by a miracle, win then I know I would have played a small part in one of the greatest gaming moments in history. I fail to see a downside.
In order to try and focus your collective resolve I have this message for you in PAPI. I want you to think very hard on the nastiest and most cruel thing that you can think of to say to someone. I then want you to imagine me saying those words to you in local with all the vitriol and passion I can muster. There! Does that satisfy your need for a reason to want to kill all goons? Good, I am glad we have got that out of the way.
So here I am. Ready and waiting. Standing beside those I would gladly fight for and for whom I would willingly risk and lose everything without a hint of recrimination. We have been here before and we will be here again. But for now, I wait. I wait for the vast numbers that are aligned against us to come into our lair. Wining or losing means nothing to me. Doing things, cooperating, building and burning empires. Being that cheeky voice that keeps your arrogance and hubris in check. This is what being a goon really is, at least to me.
Now all of this may sound like a bunch of tired, worn-out tropes. And in that you are likely right. But there are other tired old tropes as well: like love and laughter, hate and despair. The thing is that I have had all of those and more, all linked to goons. The countless hours on comms with people at all times in their life. They let you in. You let them in. Duty.
But for the love of all that is holy will Vily and Piggles just nut up and do some bloody work? Just set a date and let’s get this done. All of those against Goons are talking a good game, but no one is stepping up. You say you want to kill all goons. You say you want to destroy all titans and supers. You say you are fighting for the good of the game. So, if the game depends on the removal of the evil goonies, why are you taking your sweet time about it? Is there something that is stopping you from wanting to? Is it a case that as long as the evil goonies are pinned into Delve the PAPI Coalition can live off the fruits of labor from fine and productive New Eden citizens? Is there some motivation that could be stopping this coup de grâce of Goons? Who is pulling the strings here? What is the real agenda?
Just in case you are a stinking pubbie who simply cannot parse simple concepts and ideas:
Goons live in Delve. Come get us. :CONDI: