The Pod Captain Debate (Redux)

{ Seismic Stan has posted an interesting post about crews and pods, so I thought I'd re-post this article I wrote back in March on the subject for those that may have missed it. }

Who are we inside our ships?  There seem to be two distinct schools of thought regarding the Capsuleer inside his star ship.  The first states that the pilot is suspended inside his pod within the ship, floating in a sea of liquid, hooked up to the machines that run his craft.  The second, probably best popularized in the video series Clear Skies, is the standard Star Trek view of people wandering around like they do in an Aircraft Carrier today. 

I'd like to propose a third view.  One that encompasses both of those views, allowing for a more romantic ideal than the first, but fitting more within game mechanics than the second.  I call my proposed view, "The Vader View" of Eve Captains.

We all remember the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Vader is pulled from within his dark isolation chamber to deal with his flunky crew.  It has become a very iconic moment in cinema history.  My proposal is very similar to this moment, with some variations of course, but I think it is important to have this in mind.

But let's step back a moment and consider one ship in the Eve universe.  The Dominix.  I picked it because it's a pretty typical ship and I had to pick something.  The area of the ship indicated as the Bridge is FIVE STORIES tall, if we go by the rows of lights on the model, which I do.  The ship is listed as having 1,812 crew members!  That is a lot of people running a Battleship.  ( The USS Nimitz has a crew of over 5,000 if you include the air wing, for comparison. )  The Dominix is typical of ships in Eve, as it is very, very big.  I would imagine that it is also extremely complex.

Now, according to most established Eve cannon, upon destruction of this massive ship - everyone dies.  Except the Captain.  Who somehow manages to escape in his trusty pod.  This is the major reason, I believe, for the first view of the Captain swimming in his pod juices.  I don't like it.  It stinks of lazy writing in my opinion.  The whole crew dies?!  C'mon.  How can I be expected to raise a good crew for my Null Space missions if everyone dies when my ship goes ka-blooie?  A crew dumb enough to fall for that one would be too stupid to fly the ship.  The universe may be very big, but no matter how big it is, there is a finite number of people qualified to be my crew.

The second view doesn't work either.  If we were all running around the Bridge then sometimes the Captain would die.  And since we ALWAYS escape in our pod, that can't be true.  Why would the Captain sometimes die?  Think of the scene in Starship Troopers were the Heinlien is exploding above the Bug Planet and the crew is desperately trying to get to their escape pods.  Some of them don't make it, including the Captain.  Things don't always go as planned and sometimes those darn blast doors fall on the wrong person.  

What I am proposing is simply an imagination game anyway, since none of this really matters.  But it is kinda important, since many of us like to write and read Eve fiction.  So let me explain and you can decide for yourself what you think.

I imagine the Captain (us) sitting on the Bridge of that Dominix surrounded by his trusty Command staff, people he has probably flown with many, many times.  Each of them, including the Captain, is mind-linked into the ship.  Awesome special-effect virtual charts and data float everyone around them.  The Bridge is massive, sprawling and a cyber-tech punk's wet dream.  Now imagine the "Vader View" from above, except much cooler and more hi-tech and massive.  The bottom half forms the Captain's Command Console, the top half forms the ceiling above him.  Probably where all the mind-link apparatus resides, the computer and other tech stuff as well.  The rest of the Command Staff has similar set-ups.  The remainder of the crew, who need the freedom to walk around, have to rely on Common Pods that seat more than one.

Now, something bad has happened.  Klaxons are sounding through-out the ship.  Those nasty Nostromo lights are screaming everywhere, the ship has hit critical structure.  It can't be saved.  As fast as a Blast Door in the Death Star the top and bottom halves slam together and the pods begin to fill with life-saving juices.  The crew rush to their designated Common Pods, sadly not all of them will make it, but enough to ensure word gets back to Empire that serving on a crew isn't a death sentence.  The ship explodes and every single pod micro-jumps in place milli-seconds before the explosion, ensuring that they are not harmed by the explosion.  (That's my theory anyway.)

All we see, all we care about since this story is about us, is our pod escape.  But in reality, hundreds of pods are in space around us, warping off to safe haven.  To meet up and do it all over again.  If their pods aren't warp scrambled and kilt.  Hate when that happens.

Like I said, this is just a mental game.  How this all happens isn't important to game play and it really isn't all that important to anything else either.  But I find it fascinating and worthy of some thought.  If only to give the fiction writers something to think about.

So what are your thoughts?  I'd be anxious to hear what my fellow Capsuleers think.