I just decided to check my statistics my Neocom has kept track of me, and they were quite interesting. I've died 10,610 times, and killed over 20,863 hostiles, and the tracker has calculated that I have a kill-to-death ratio of 1.96. Funny, I barely remember any of those 10,610 deaths. I've had a hard time remembering any of the battles I've fought recently, it's all been just one blur of gunfire, explosions and burning metal. This has been a problem with many older clone soldiers, who have fought for months, even years like me. Just, burning out.

When you're a clone soldier, you are often encouraged to be, careless in battle. You don't really think about the implications of charging into a heavily fortified position to your health and safety, you just do it. This is what every soldier is trained to do though, immortal or not, but with us, it's different.

With us, we are literally suicidal, mindlessly trying to achieve the impossible, only for the slight possibility of maybe getting that critical push, kill or uplink point. If you fail and get killed, it's just a brief flash of pain before waking up in a new clone to do it all again. This is what we do every day, how we sustain ourselves for battle after battle. This also bleeds into our lives when not in the battle. Slowly, you just become numb and uncaring of everything.

First there's the initial shock of actually being the closest thing one can get to immortality. You are confused, scared and very much aware of the pain you're experiencing when you die for the hundredth time. After that, you start getting used to it. You are serious about what you do, and you might find a side to fight for within the Empyrean War. Death is still very painful, but you started to be less and less aware of it as time goes on.

Then as the first few months have passed, a change happens. You start finding things, funny. The way that enemy you just filled with bullets did a cartwheel before collapsing dead on the ground may have made you chuckle, the sight of bodyparts and blood raining down like snowfall after you detonated your remote explosive may seem quite a comical side to you. You start losing your touch with the reality of the battle, it's all just good fun.

More time passes. Months, maybe years, until you start to get even more numb and disconnected of battle. Deaths have started to be just something that feels funny when they happen. Even the pain you feel from death has started to fade away, and you may start to question your own existence. You ask questions like: "Is this me? Am I in control of my body? Is all of this even real?".

And in the end comes apathy.

At one point you just, stop caring, about anything. Death isn't even discomforting anymore, it's merely a financial and tactical inconvenience, a number on a screen. Enemies could may as well be AI, or cardboard cutouts. You just point at the enemy you are paid to shoot at, no questions asked, without a thought on the implications it might have. The way you would see the world in this state would be pure gray. There's no white nor black, not even shades of it. Just dull and consistent gray, nothing more, nothing less.

Some say that at this point you reach the peak of your career. You become the ultimate soldier and mercenary, completely unaffected by pain and death. I agree. But is it a good thing? Not necessarily. Abandoning the very thing that defines a human being, death, can lead to bad consequences.

In the end, when your moral compass is guided by ISK, there is truly no limit to what you can do. And that is the scariest part of it all, and why capsuleers and clone soldiers are dangerous beyond their immorality.


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