I awoke the next morning, slightly damp from the less than luxurious bunk, but excited about what lay ahead. The resting place of Steve the Titan was on the agenda for today, and I would pass through a lot of systems on the way.
I set out from the Guardian Angels station, fully expecting to be back there before too long. My clone was there, and surely the rest of the people I would encounter would not be so accomodating as Bruce and his followers had been. My first few jumps were uneventful, so I was glad of the company of my friend SaberX in my chat channel. I would fear for my sanity in the vast unoccupied stretches of 0.0 if I had no one to talk to.
I briefly left Bruce's territory, and entered a system occupied by Thorn. Saber was able to tell me that they were friendly with Bruce, but that was all he knew. I remembered that the Interceptor that seemed to be stalking my yesterday was flown by one of these fellows, so I was slightly uneasy. Nevertheless, I was soon out of Thorn space, and back in Bruce's territory.
I entered a system called Y-2ANO, which was quite populated, and had another station owned by Bruce in it. The locals did not wish to chat though, and Saber was able to tell me that this system was often quite hostile territory, and enemies of Bruce were almost constantly present there. I knew this meant I was not safe there, so I decided to quickly move on. As I warped to the next gate on my route, however, my heart was filled with dread. I could see that the next system was in the region of Delve. This was Bob's homeland, and the current biggest warzone in the universe. I was certain there would be great danger there, and even if there was not, I had made friends with Bruce's followers, would that automatically make me Bob's enemy? I hoped not, but the sense of foreboding would not go away.
I jumped through, to ZXB-VC, and was delighted to find that my fears were exaggerated. The system was empty, so I continued on my way. A couple of jumps later, I encountered the first follower of Bob I had met. As I jumped into the system, I was met with a message in local alleging that I was farming for ISK. The, rather rude, pilot was called Roxanna Kell, and was a follower of Bob. This first impression was not very good, and I felt I should get out of there fast before it turned nasty. A few jumps later, however, this same Bob follower joined my chat channel. I was at first slightly scared, fearing I was being hunted and harassed for daring to set foot in Bob's territory uninvited, but after talking to Roxanna for a while, she turned out not to be so bad after all.
I had heard Bruce's side of the conflict yesterday, and now Roxanna was able to give me Bob's side of the story. There are two sides to every tale, and I wanted to hear them both before I made any judgment about who I felt was in the right. Bruce's friends had told me of an unholy pact between Bob and the Jovian deities, who aided Bob's forces in battle using supernatural means unavailable to their foes. This was said to be the cause of all the hatred between Bob's followers and the rest of the universe. Bob's foes were also bitter at the deities, and a lot of anger had spread throughout the universe.
I had expected Roxanna to deny this outright, but surprisingly she was happy to admit it had happened, though she hastened to add that it was the work of a single person, or possibly a handful of people, working against the wishes of Bob himself. Nevertheless, it was still the cause of the vast majority of the inhabitants of 0.0 wanting Bob dead. At the time this pact was discovered, Bob had steamrollered over a vast swathe of 0.0, destroying alliances, and smashing all who stood in his path. Bob quickly became the most powerful despot in the history of the universe, and the others saw this as a gross misjustice by the gods that they had assisted Bob in such an underhanded way.
Far from being crushed by this mass hatred, however, Bob and the majority of his followers, who had been betrayed themselves by the rogue elements amongst them turning the rest of the universe against them, revelled in it. Adversity drew them together, and they would be stronger in the face of it, because they had to rely on each other when everyone else wanted them dead.
Saber and Roxanna were able to tell me of the relationships between the followers of Bob and Bruce, and some of the other alliances in 0.0. It seemed there was a grudging respect between Bruce and Bob (and their respective followers). Although they fought each other, they fought with honour, and there was no bitter taste left in the mouth of the defeated party in their battles.
The relationships with the other alliances were different. Goonswarm hated Bob vehemently, and would stop at nothing to see Bob dead. Although they shared a common enemy with Bruce, there was no love lost between them, and they regularly fought each other as well. The other alliances for the most part just wanted a share of the vast power that Bob had accumulated.
In recent times, Bob had withdrawn to the region of Delve, which he was currently defending with all his might. Bob's followers put this down to the earlier rapid expansion leaving Bob with so much territory to control, it made sense to withdraw to a smaller region that would be easier to defend against the vast hordes baying for his blood. Of course, Bob's opponents would argue that he had been forced back by their weight of arms. Whatever the truth of the matter was, there was no simple black and white answer as to who was "in the right". On my voyage so far, I had learned that I could not judge an individual based on who they swore their allegiance to. Paranoia from the alliances was not the only thing infecting 0.0, stereotyping was another. A pilot would gain a reputation because he was a Goon, or because he followed Bob, or Bruce. But tarring all these pilots with the same brush was a mistake. There were real people on every side, and they were not so different from each other. I was sure each side had committed atrocities, and that each side was just as much a victim as the others. I made a vow to myself that I would not make a judgment on anyone based on any factor other than their direct treatment of me. To me, all pilot would be equal, potential friends until they gave me reason to believe otherwise. No one was my enemy unless they made themselves my enemy.
From then on, my journey was quite lonely. I passed through many systems, but hardly saw a soul. Eventually though, I reached my goal. I jumped into C9N-CC, and saw the beacon flashing in front of me. I warped to it and finally beheld the glory of the first mighty Titan to rise, and also to fall. Bob was his undoer. Rest In Peace, Steve.
I decided to stay here for the night. I would maintain a silent vigil, in memorial of this once great behemoth. May he never be forgotten.