On the morning of August 2, I was writing an Op-Ed about EVE Online. Specifically, I was addressing how I believed that the PAPI super-coalition was making a strategic move that we should recognize as wise, under the circumstances. I suggested that moving caps and supers out of T5ZI while telling their line members to brace for a charge on 1DQ was a wise call. An unethical call. A call that would cost them (and CCP) players in the long run. But a wise call, nonetheless, if the goal was to get the hardware out while keeping the bees in the hive.
Obviously, those observations became moot almost as soon as I had finished writing my thousand-word missive. Now, I am forced to rethink my position and how to frame my thoughts. My first metaphor was utterly cliché, that of Icarus flying too close to the sun and so on. I am sure dozens of others are breaking out the same metaphor to explain the rapid retreat and impending crash of the blue donut.
Instead of the arrogant son, I am instead choosing to focus on the grand smith and how his example is a better one for we, the Goons, to examine closely. We should be very wary of becoming what we have been accused of. To quote the boss, “No hubris”.
The Story of Daedalus
We all know the story. Wax wings, too close to the sun, teenage punk falling to his death. But where did those wings come from, and why? And more importantly, why should we care? For short versions of all Greek myths, I always return to where I first read them in my youth, Britannica. Here we find that Daedalus was the Da Vinci of the era. But of course, in the Greek fashion, his story takes a series of turns for the weird.
What makes him important?
First there is this bit about a nephew – Talos – who looked like he might surpass him. So naturally Daed throws the kid from the Acropolis. Obviously, Daed then has to flee from Athens, and winds up in Crete. There he gets to be friends with King Minos. Now get this, the King owns a bull given to him by the god Poseidon. This god is a real freak, and makes the queen madly in love/lust with this bull. Daed, being a master inventor, offers to build her a, ahem, prosthetic so she can consummate things with said bull.
Aside: No, you can’t make this up. It reads like a Vily/PGL fanfic you might find on 4-chan.
Anyways, so the bull and queen get it on, and naturally she gets pregnant. It’s a god’s bull, after all – why wouldn’t she get pregnant? Never mind those pesky details about interspecies dating and so on. Normally, this would be the part where the king gets super angry and kills all parties involved. Not old Minos, however. Instead, King Minos gets Daed to make an impossible maze to hold this mutant kid (the Minotaur) so that the kingdom can have a really cool execution-come-human sacrifice amusement park. So Daed builds the impossible maze, but like a cheap NPC in a poorly written RPG, he then tells the hero how to beat his maze and kill said mutant. Sigh. As punishment, Daedalus and Icarus are themselves put into the maze, and use the wax wings to escape.
Skip to the Lessons
Okay Froggy, but you still haven’t said why we should care. But believe me, there are lessons here. The Icarus part of the lesson is very obvious. Do as you are told, take the middle ground, don’t be complacent but don’t fly too high. In short, no hubris. Super important lesson for sure, but goon leadership is already addressing them.
The Daedalus part is a lot more subtle. What did he do wrong? Well, killing one’s allies (Talos) when they are looking to surpass you is a big mistake. Goonswarm’s allies have performed spectacularly, and Goons have a long history of loyalty and recognizing the excellence of our friends. But the lesson stands, regardless. Try not to take more credit than is due, and for sure, don’t throw your best bomber FCs from the Acropolis (looking at you here, NC).
Don’t Bite the Hand Offering Second Chances!
The next lesson is for those who are entering the refugee stage of the war. Don’t bite the hands that lift you up and give you a second chance. If good ol’ Daed had taken a look at the queen-buggering-the-bull situation and #passed, he would have avoided much pain and suffering (to say nothing of unnatural bovine mating).
I imagine there won’t be many refugees allowed into the ranks, but there will be some. Don’t go and think that means that all is forgiven. Don’t think that the scheming with the wives and bulls will be tolerated. This also ties in with the Icarus part too. For those who are taken in, be mindful of complacency and your own hubris.
Deliver Justice with Mercy
And what about the King’s role? There is a lesson there too. Don’t let the greatness of those you take to your bosom blind you to their history. At his core, Daed was a brilliant asshole looking out for number one first and foremost. Think Dr. Gregory House – solves tons of problems and creates new things out of thin air. But, he betrayed his family and students for perceived threats to his own legacy.
We, the members of the Imperium, straddle both sides of this most important lesson. We don’t need to, nor should we, trust these refugees too far, no matter how great the contributions are from traitors who previously wanted our blood. But, neither should we be cruel masters, just because things are going in our favor.
The ‘Keep It Simple’ Summary
We, the Imperium, have just crossed a major threshold in the war. It is far from over, but the dynamic pressure is shifting in the other way. Our enemies are fleeing as fast as they can, and every rat is scurrying for a hole. These are good things for us and bad things for them. But like PAPI, we could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory if we do not recognize the dangerous nature of success.
Stay humble. We were down hard, and despite having an opportunity to be boldly resurgent, we are better served by cold methodical vengeance than by blind blood lust.
Beware of flattery, too. Right now, Reddit is awash with PAPI line members congratulating us. Everyone has motives for good sportsmanship. We should welcome the recognition we deserve, and call out that which is meant to lull us into complacency.
Beware thieves and traitors, but be merciful where we can. This will be a hard one. I would love to see the inner workings of the recruitment and vetting team, to understand how the sausage is made, but I am sure there is a lot of opsec in there. But they will truly have their work cut out for them.
Finally, be content with victory. While not strictly part of the Daedalus myth, if we take some liberty with it, any number of times Daed could have said, “This is enough.” We have to be very cautious of crossing the line between “TEST is Next” or “TEST is Now” into the “War of Extermination” space. TEST needs to be punished, and the leadership caste hunted to ground. But if we go too far, we will become what we despise, and what ultimately led to the Imperium “staying alive”. It’s a bad look for them. It is a worse look on us.