Four questions were once put to me by an Amarrian pilot I flew with back in my early days. I don’t know precisely what he meant by them; but as I prepare for this transition in my life, I’ve found they help to focus my meditations while I await final flight clearance. The first two I’ve already stored and made accessible on the cluster datanet; perhaps they’re of some interest to someone. The last two, though, are too interconnected to separate. ‘Who do you serve? Who do you trust?’
Loyalty and trust are two things that come hard to capsuleers. Immortal demigods of the spaceways, our egos and paranoia are the stuff of legend. Arrogance has razed continents, boredom has engulfed whole quadrants in the flames of war. So what can inspire loyalty? When you’re embodied in a starship that costs the ransom of nations, why should you trust?
To draw my loyalty, an organization must, first and foremost, be realistic. Two-pilot corporations that intend to take sovereignty in lawless space aren’t being optimistic, they’re being delusional. Fleet commanders who’d rather fight to the last when outnumbered 20:1 than retreat and conserve resources when there’s no hope of a strategic victory let alone a tactical one, are being psychotic. Inspiring loyalty means being worthy of it. A person who’d order an army to their deaths simply because they can should never gain that army to begin with.
Flying tight on the wing of Loyalty is camaraderie. Do I like the people I’m flying with? Do they like me? Do we have similar senses of humor, similar interests? As they say in the State; a happy employee is a productive employee. Tasked to guard a mining operation of people one doesn’t care for, ones’ mind is likely to wander to more pleasant pursuits and perhaps be a little inattentive; where an engaged pilot would be alert. If I’m to be asked to risk ship and pod to defend others, they’d best not be people I’d be happier to see dead.
From this springs trust. Trust that the Fleet Commander ordering a last stand is buying time for an evacuation or reinforcements. Trust that the CEO isn’t going to raid the corporate accounts for laughs. Trust that the person lighting a cyno for me isn’t dropping me into a trap. Trust that the pilot on my wing is going to fight beside me, rather than against me.
Who do I serve? I serve those who serve the greater good rather than their own. Who do I trust? I trust those who show trust in me.