I’ve never been much for leadership. Since the effective dissolution of Red Cabal, some 6 years ago, I’ve found a certain solace in not being in charge of things. Part of it is certainly a justified lack of faith in my experience, but a significant component is that I derive a great deal of satisfaction from carrying out orders well. While I’m relatively comfortable taking the dubious honor of squad commander to a handful of loyal, close friends, the prospect of being responsible for a small army of unknowns is terrifying. That being said, I do have an acute appreciation for those who are willing to don the gilded chains of Fleet Commander, particularly those that pull from the general militia.

For those unfamiliar with Factional Warfare, here’s how things are organized. As a Gallente pilot I am effectively blue to both the Gallente and Minmatar militia and red to the Caldari and Amarr militias. I say effectively blue because the overview situation is somewhat sub-optimal. While it is easy to get fellow militia members off of your hostiles overview, doing so for your allied militia is an exercise in setting personal standings. Within your militia, some proportion of pilots are members of various corporations and alliances with their own corp/alliance channels, recruitment polices and associated controls. Additionally all militia pilots have access to the general militia channel.

The bulk of your fellow pilots, however, are in the general NPC militia corp. For the Gallente this is the Federal Defense Union, and the barrier for entry into the FDU is effectively non-existent (you need a non-negative standing to the faction). Needless to say this results in spies, lots of them. This is neither good nor bad, it’s just EVE. Unfortunately, it does make FCs justifiably hesitant to draw pilots from the FDU, and people more hesitant to fly their shinies in fleets with FDU members present.

It was in this atmosphere that I found myself piloting an Arbitrator among 20 or so other capsuleers under the excellent command of Yun Kuai. We had spent a significant portion of the roam just looking for targets. Finally the Caldari had responded with a Drake heavy nano fleet which were now perched 100km off gate. As an armor fleet, with very little in the way of fast tackle, rushing them was not an option. We were waiting for a warp-in from one of our recons.

“I can put you right on top of them,” came over the comms. The battle was imminent. My muscles tensed.

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