Thanks to Devan Corvel for participating.

Luminaire VII (Caldari Prime) – Moon 6 – Federation Navy Assembly Plant

The comm link was open; her fleet commander was talking.

“Good job today. The Serpentis are down fourteen to our none. You all know the drill: report for debriefing after docking and disconnection.”

Sakaane stretched in her pod while she waited for her ship, a Vexor-class cruiser affectionately named Happy Face of Death in honor of the arrangement of its forward-facing viewports, to be towed into her hangar behind those of her squadmates. Their missions had ended the same way, day in and day out, since she’d graduated that past March and she suspected more than a few of her squadmates were able to do ‘the drill’ in their sleep.

Graduation. The word passed through her mind like a sigh. Four years of study, of sweat and late nights, little sleep, of being hooked up to machines and suffering endless medical tests. Four years of struggling to maintain some sort of life outside the academy, of holding onto memories and motivations. Four years of being terrified she would fail, end up mindlocked or worse, while watching it happen to other classmates. Four years worrying that everything would turn out to be for nothing and she would have to go back to Intaki to an empty house and a ruined life. Sakaane took a shuddering breath. No, she’d made it. She’d pushed through, all so she could call herself a capsuleer.