Baselining (or b-lining) is a catch-all term that refers to capsuleers engaging with the non-capsuleer world in some form or another. This may include a relatively simple matter of visiting a bar on a space station, or a pilot owning property on an empire world. The term, derived from the capsuleer term for non-capsuleers ("baseliners"), mostly refers to capsuleers who aren't directly employed by the empires, independently inhabiting their own class of interstellar society. CONCORD has not addressed baselining at all, instead leaving the matter to local authorities. There can be a great deal of leniency depending on the location, especially for capsuleers who have a positive record with a specific group, but the lack of any universal law on the matter means there is a great deal of variation from place to place. There have never been any numbers as to how many capsuleers baseline, but given the ratio of recorded incidents to the amount of independent capsuleers, it is estimated to be low. As a result, the fact that capsuleers are rarely seen amongst "baseliners" has spurred the term into the contemporary lexicon.
For the most part, independent capsuleers are confined to their own isolated areas of publicly-listed stations, which fall under the administration and authority of CONCORD. These are often one of the most, if not the most, secure areas of station, with only a select group of outsiders having access, mostly security, maintenance and services orientated towards capsuleers. Everything a capsuleer requires is provided for here, but there are many pilots who decide to baseline for countless different reasons, from seeking to increase their influence amongst station inhabitants or simply because they prefer the 'real world' over the capsuleer one.
Outside of these controlled areas, whether in stations or on planets, CONCORD has no real authority, and a capsuleer will find themselves subject to whatever laws and regulations the locals have established. This may result in a pilot being harassed or persecuted, particularly in areas which do not rely on capsuleers, such as remote deadspace colonies and generally disconnected pockets of civilization. However, many authorities, especially at the higher levels of interstellar society, realize that there is little wisdom in antagonizing capsuleers, who often act as key actors in trade and employment.
In areas where there is little distinction between empire and independent capsuleers, pilots can enjoy many of the same freedoms as regular citizens. An example is on stations operated by empire navies, who employ many of their own capsuleers in their military forces, or wealthy areas on corporate stations, where many of the highest executives are capsuleers themselves. Major cities are also a relatively easy place for a capsuleer to baseline, as they are often just another face in the sea of bodies. Discretionary capsuleers can use skin patches to cover their implant sockets, should they wish to remain completely anonymous.
Capsuleers themselves do not have any real legal restrictions in the baseliner world more so than any other citizen, with the four empires following the lead of CONCORD by not having any central law on the matter, besides ones that defer the matter to lower authorities. The empires are fully aware of the economic value of capsuleers and, in their opinion, restricting them would do more harm than good. Generally, an individual retains their citizenship upon becoming a pod pilot, though in several cases, capsuleers begin to care little about their factional origins upon realizing the wealth and power they can possess beyond the borders and restrictions of the empires.
Across most places, a capsuleer that is known for both good standing and behavior can make use of many privileges and freedoms granted to them, even as far as being counted as any other citizen. Capsuleers employed by the empire militias can leverage the same sort of rights as a navy pilot, assuming a positive flight record. On the other hand, a capsuleer who violates local law can be barred from entering that jurisdiction by the authorities, and even imprisoned or stripped of their citizenship. Execution, often the highest punishment for most New Eden inhabitants, is rare, as capsuleer clone contracts are typically not controlled by the legal authorities. A law enforcer would have to think very carefully about any decisions that would prosecute a capsuleer, however, especially if they do not wish to invoke the wrath a capsuleer's connections can wield. In this regard, the status of a capsuleer sometimes acts as an immunity in and of itself, even though there are no laws that have ever granted such a right.
Nonetheless, attitudes and reactions to baselining differ from location to location, deeply rooted in pre-existing cultural norms. The differences weaken the lower down on the New Eden societal ladder one goes, regardless of empire, with a shared hatred towards capsuleers from those who have been on the receiving end of their indiscriminate combat or industrial activity.
Amarr capsuleers can be regarded to the same level as Holders and nobles, allowing them to baseline relatively freely in these social spheres. However, it is often the case that capsuleers from a Commoner background exceeds the wealth and influence of minor planetary Holders, and thus the social ladder becomes convoluted. Given the low prevalence of baselining to begin with, though, means that these issues will likely remain unaddressed for a while yet.
Non-Amarr capsuleers in the Empire who baseline are kept under close watch by the Ministry of Internal Order, as is done with most foreigners in Imperial territory. This assumes Amarr authorities are even aware of the baselining capsuleer to begin with, and it is entirely possible for a pilot to slip under the net across the vast expanse of the Empire.
The highly-controlled and meticulously bureaucratic nature of the Caldari State means that capsuleers are heavily restricted by the corporate authorities outside of their designated zones, with a large amount of protocols and regulations that govern a pilot's freedom of movement. The capsuleers, who are often considered as a faction unto themselves, are commonly regarded as a threat to the established economic order of the State, the megacorporations treating pilots who they consider liabilities over assets with great suspicion.
On most Caldari stations, capsuleers who attempt to baseline (or are at least known to be doing so) with no pre-existing megacorporate record are attached a temporary station ID. They are expected to remain incognito and attract absolutely no attention to themselves. Three counts of vagrant behaviour will see them removed and returned to capsuleer areas, while larger violations, such as having their cover blown, will see capsuleers shot-on-sight by station security. This regulation is not much different on planets, where the megacorporations have the same level of monolithic control as on stations. Capsuleers solve these issues by either creating a name for themselves and/or utilizing their connections, or simply remain under the radar from the corporate authorities altogether.
Compared to other empires, capsuleers of all backgrounds have a relatively high level of freedom to baseline in the Gallente Federation, and the glorification of these individuals is stronger nowhere else. The glamour culture of the Gallente means that capsuleers can be regarded in the same light as celebrities, industrial tycoons and other rich members of society's upper strata, and consequently can have the same influence as them. Several high-profile venues in the Federation, such as restaurants, often seek to cater to capsuleers, and there are entire subcultures dedicated to these individuals.
Like with many other popular figures, however, public opinion is two-sided. While most capsuleers can expect to baseline with nothing more than gossip and whispers from passer-bys, some memegroups have emerged that seek the death of all things related to capsuleers. The authorities, who can by near-sycophantic towards capsuleers, are quick to locate these illegal groups. The antagonistic reception to capsuleers exists in more remote areas of the Federation otherwise.
The style of social cohesion within the Republic means that there has never been an elite class amongst the Minmatar, with the exception of high-ranking tribal members. Capsuleers thus have no clear position on the social ladder, with seniority and age counting for a lot more in Minmatar culture than wealth or power. As a result, treatment of capsuleers to baselining sits anywhere between anarchic or apathetic, with Minmatar capsuleers being treated as any other Republic citizen. Pilots who are well-known and respected by the locals will receive the same cordial welcome as any other individual would.
However, it is said that non-Minmatar capsuleers who baseline in the Republic must take extra precautions, as a blind eye is often turned to violence and other crimes against capsuleers, especially when the authorities consider such acts justified. That said, capsuleer status amongst the Minmatar is generally not regarded as anything special if one is in good standing with the Republic.