Order of the Black Cross
Posted - 2003.08.25 21:10:00 - [1
It’s important that you know . . . always critical to have your . . . acquisition is as simple . . . the afterburner is often under- . . . forward cluster recoil system is ena-. . . . What does it mean to you?
What does it mean to you?
What does loyalism mean to you?
“Hello, Reisha?” She slid back in consciousness.
Sitting back up, she glanced back up across the room. The instructor was fondling a model of a punisher. It took Reisha a few moments to refocus on the scene. She was surrounded by her fellow classmates also in replicas of the punisher control system, Callus Resolution.
A stream of eyes were cutting back into her by now. She must have been conscious for five seconds . . . still silent. She felt her hand sliding across her face, it was wet from the sweat of lying on it.
“Loyalism?” At first, stalling for time, she replied. “Well, I’m sick of a system that begs to ask me the question. To be a loyalist is to be true, not just to the Amarr, but also myself.”
The instructor’s lips began to purse in a smirk, “True to yourself? How meaningless.”
“Meaningless, is it?” She was flustered, but determined to say what she thought, even though she wasn’t quite sure what that was. “Is it so meaningless that I stay true to myself if I, myself, am that which is Amarr? Staying true to myself, then, would be staying true to what I believe is true of our culture.”
“Every time I start this exercise, every time, I have to deal with spoiled children fully ignorant of the world around them!” The instructor was obviously restraining his desire to deal with Reisha in a more direct way. Reisha was utterly befuddled at this strange turn of events.
Another few moments passed and, in that time, it fully occurred to her what she was dealing with. He had fought for his beliefs before. The brutal scar that began to show through the edges of his cuff was ample proof of that. He was a dinosaur. He was a thing that had fought, but didn’t die. She would never be one of those.
“I understand it now,” she began again. “Loyalism is discarding all desire to live so that we may fight for that which we believe. Martyrdom is meaningless, since the goal was never to survive, just to fight and die for that which is right.”
The instructor seemed more contended with this answer.
Before speaking, Reisha bit her lip, “I find it odd, however, that you’re here to tell us the meaning of loyalism.”
The instructor immediately regained his guard and poise, “Oh?”
“Let me tell you why,” She continued, undaunted. “You didn’t die. How dare you come to us to tell us what loyalism is when you, yourself, are a coward. What war cost you the beauty of your arm? What great struggle did you fight in? Were the guns on the punisher that you’re teaching us to fly blazing? Did your heart nearly burst from the exhilaration of such epic conflict? Or do you even understand?”
“That’s going to be all from you, Reisha Nafina!” the instructor belted, already enraged. “I don’t care if you’re of the Sarums or not, you will not . . .”
“No, I think I will!” Reisha, now equally enraged, belted out of her lungs as hard as the wind would pass through them. “I’m sick of being trained by those who would never know loyalism! What does it mean to me? What does it mean to you? And don’t give me your dictionary bull****. I want to know what it meant to you when you were sitting in your pod, hammering that button to warp away from the conflict. Were you afraid of the Minmatar warp scramblers? Is loyalism that fear? The fear of running away?”
The instructor gave no sign of backing down in turn, “I fought hard for my race. I very nearly died so that others may live. You asked if I know what loyalism is?” He pulled open his uniform to expose the scar that must have started in his arm but spread across his entire body. “It’s a burn wound! I was burned in my cockpit for what I believe.”
“Oh?” In mock sympathy, “I seem to have offended your great fight. You know, you never did answer my question . . . was it out of fear for the warp scramblers that made you flee so quickly?”
The instructor face was flushed with incredible rage. It took him very little time to find himself across the room with his hands gripped around Reisha’s throat. “I’ll show you what it means to die for the Amarr.”
“No.” Reisha replied.
“Yeah, to beg is to live, you spoiled *****,” He uttered back, no restraint in his tone.
“No, I wouldn’t be dying for the Amarr, I’d be dying for a dinosaur.”
“Listen to me, you dirty, useless girl!” The instructor gave no sign of capitulation. “Your rank has overstepped its bounds. I don’t care that you are in line for the throne, I will not . . .”
Interrupting once again, “I’m several generations and more than a few surnames too late for the throne, or did you notice?”
Reisha, blind from the pain, had no recollection of the instructor’s finger gliding across his desk to press a button on a console embedded in it.