Ashley Leyton (freelance journalist) sits down with CMDR Bhikku, a Count in the Imperial ranks.
AL: Good day, Count Bhikku. Thank you for the agreeing to sit down with us.
BH: Praise the Emperor. I'm happy to.
AL: Right from the start it is obvious you are an Imperial patriot. All your ships bear the Imperial herald, and you even start an interview with a phrase like that.
BH: Yes, well. That's the way people talk where I grew up on Capitol. But indeed, I do love the Empire and what it stands for. I did my soul-searching when I was younger, but realized the Imperial values are what sing true to my heart.
AL: I presume your parents were patriots as well?
BH: Indeed. They were both officers in the Imperial Navy. I was the renegade in the family, for wanting to go outside the Bubble. The vastness of the Void, the empty worlds and space always fascinated me more than a military life. More than anything else really. I of course enrolled in the Navy, too, but left as soon as I was discharged. I have travelled around a lot, both in the core systems and the outer frontier.
Later I rejoined the Navy ranks as an indepent CMDR. I have learned to balance the need for experiencing the Void and dealing with more immediate matters and politics. I am always fascinated and driven by the need to fulfill my human spirit.
AL: That is the Imperial ideal you are talking about, isn't it? The perfect human being, in a perfect human body, with a mind developed to perfection?
BH: Indeed! Couldn't have said it better myself. [laughter]
AL: How are you taking this ideal into account in your everyday life? How are you "fulfilling your human spirit"?
BH: Obviously it's a lot about the need to improve. Not just the getting better, more influential and smarter. It's about the nature of that need itself. That need to give the extra effort, to raise ignorance from our eyes. Yearning for a Utopia doesn't mean we have to believe we will actually ever see it realized. It's about moving with purpose and the will to better ourselves.
AL: Does "pushing the limit" excuse the many fines you've gathered bumping and crashing your ships into stations?
BH: Naturally. And all those fines have been paid.
AL: While on the subject of the Empire, we need to touch upon slavery.
BH: Absolutely. I am 100% against slavery, as it is defined in the dictonary. However, I fully support the Imperial Slavery establishment, as they are not slaves in the traditional sense. Imperial Slaves are getting paid and are cared for. And to make sure, I am against Imperial citizens who treat their Slaves like a traditional slave owner would. They are people like you and me, playing with the cards they're dealt. Unless they are criminals, they should be treated with dignity. I think Federate and corporate workers are definitely worse off than most Imperial "Slaves".
As you know, just last week that bunch of idiots "set free" four thousand Imperial Slaves. I was in an outrage. They had been robbed of their homes, their income, their future citizenry and left stranded on a random planet. With no food or supplies provided for that many people! Makes me sick. All that suffering for a corporate stunt.
AL: Verily. Without getting further into the semantics of slavery, let's talk pirates.
AL: I understand you have notoriously low tolerance of piracy.
BH: Indeed. Space travel is one of the biggest wonders of the human race. To actually reach the stars across the Void. It's a miracle that destroyed many religions. And these piles of trash think they can just go and threathen peoples lives for some profit? I hate those people. If they wanted to strive for anything, they could use their skills for the benefit of the whole human race. But no, they prey on peoples fear. They are weak, pathetic scum of the Void.
AL: But what if someone is desperate? Someone they love will die if they can't provide?
BH: An unlikely scenario, but again. They should use their skills and spaceship for other things. There are a million ways of making money out there, and they don't have to involve terrorizing and killing people. Even if they kill no one, they are still bullying people. The victims can't know if the pirate is "honourable" or not; they just fear for the lives and may start to avoid space travel. Which, again, is the greatest thing we as the human race have ever achieved.
AL: I think we can all agree on that. But surely your work with the political factions puts you in similar situations. Most factions at one time or another are basically employing privateers, to use an archaic term. These privateers attack and harrass regular people who just happen to work for a different faction. Is that not akin to piracy?
BH: Not really. Such is the nature of life. There will be struggle, it's part of trying to perfect ourselves. I don't want any unnecessary loss of life, but if a war breaks out between two factions, you can decide if you agree with the cause enough to risk your life for it. If it is not your fight, just walk away. But if you stay, be prepared to embrace the Void for that cause.
Combat between two opposing factions is fair game for all involved, murdering people who are not vested in the matters at hand is another thing altogether. For the record, I do not do wetwork.
AL: We're glad to hear that. You also lead a squadron, which upholds these ideals, is that right?
BH: Indeed. We are called the Knightbacks. I named it after my first Diamondback Scout I used for pirate patrolling. Kitted with extra armor and shields, the name was basically just a pun originally. But I got to liking that name, so when I and two other CMDR's decided to form a squadron, we went with Knightbacks. And the name is an inspiration, because "the Knights got your back". We keep space safe and we come to the rescue. So far only the three of us, but we are open to the idea of expanding and recruiting.
AL: And I wish you the best in your efforts. Unfortunately, that is all the time we have today. Thank you very much for the interview, Count Bhikku.
BH: My pleasure. Stay safe out there. Praise the Emperor. Bask in Her Glory.