The Forge Region – Ruomo Constellation
Itamo System – Planet VI, Moon 6
Science and Trade Institute School Station
Okay, I didn’t go straight away to Blood Raiders’ station. In fact, as soon as I asked Aura to plot the way to their system I freaked out and told her to get me back to Science and Trade Institute School. There I went to a bar and ordered a stein of beer to calm my nerves.
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking…
I hadn’t felt so conflicted since Gerhardt offered me a referral to capsuleer training. I just couldn’t make up my mind as to what I wanted to do. On the one hand, I was getting tired of Aura’s robotic responses and I didn’t look forward to spending an eternity in her company. On the other hand, plenty of capsuleers, probably all but one, put up with their Auras for years without whingeing. Then again, on the one hand, if I had an opportunity to make Aura a better companion, why wouldn’t I do it? On the other hand, what was the rush? Surely, I could wait for a while, train some skills, buy a better ship and venture into the null-sec better prepared than now. I would miss Gerhardt’s one million ISK offer but that was just a loan anyway. Hmm… I ordered another stein.
My thoughts were going in circles repeating and repealing the same arguments, but two steins later I finally zeroed in on the root of my inner contradictions. First of all, all my excuses that I didn’t need to hack Aura, or at least not immediately, simply masked my fear to ‘die’. Yes, even after the initial cloning I was afraid of ‘dying’, especially if that procedure would be administered not by trained doctors in a well-equipped hospital, but in the cruel vacuum by uncouth individuals with criminal intent. At the same time, the main reason why I wanted to do it now in a flimsy corvette was not my desire to make Aura more human-like; it was the challenge that I couldn’t resist. I needed to prove myself in this new world of capsuleers, prove that I could go to any place in New Eden, and accept the fact that I could not really die now.
I congratulated myself on this outstanding piece of psychoanalysis, but my elation was cut short when I realised that it didn’t get me anywhere – I was still facing the dilemma and didn’t know how to resolve it. “Enough thinking for one day,” decided I. Then I ordered stiff whiskey for a nightcap, returned to my apartment and slept soundly without dreams.
Next day I woke up angry. Angry at myself for being a coward. Since the beginning of the Empyrean Age thousands of pod pilots had been killed and then reborn. If they could do it, I could do it. They may have more skills and experience, but in that one respect I was on par with them – I couldn’t die. At last, I made up my mind and was determined to go to the null-sec but I still needed time to get used to that idea. And I decided to spend that time preparing myself and Yatagarasu for the trip, so that we had the best chance of survival.
Once I started scouring The Net I was overwhelmed by the amount of available information. Sources ranged from individual capsuleer accounts published on forums to massive peer-reviewed encyclopaedias. Wormholes, pirates, null-sec politics – everything fascinated me so much that I found it hard to focus on the subject of my research. I spent days and weeks reading after-action reports, studying wiki articles and watching videos of the battles, sometimes even in real-time. I learned about a lot of exciting things that I had no skills, money or connections to do, but was keen to try and was confident that eventually I would because all I needed was time. And time was one commodity that every capsuleer had an unlimited supply of.
Still, every journey starts with the first step and mine was a trip to the dreaded Blood Raiders’ Station in lawless null-sec space. So what could I do to survive it? Precious little, as it turned out. For one thing, the chances of being blown up were not really high, so I didn’t even need to invest in any preparation. Still, there was a non-zero possibility of jumping into a gate camp which deserved some consideration. The best way of travel through null-sec that I discovered was in an inty (an interceptor). They were immune to warp suppression bubbles and were able to warp away within 2 seconds after dropping the gate cloak, but I couldn’t afford one. I had to accept the fact that jumping into a bubble would most likely result in my enforced cloning.
Barring that unfortunate occasion, my chances of survival depended on how fast I could warp away after dropping the gate cloak, so-called align time. There were a few modules that could reduce that time, but none could turn a corvette into an interceptor. Nevertheless, they helped to reduce my align time from six to four seconds. Two main candidates that I considered were Nanofiber Internal Structures and Inertial Stabilizers. Both of them reduced the align time by two seconds, but to achieve that with Nanofiber Internal Structures I had to purchase Tech II variant which was twenty times more expensive than Tech I Inertial Stabilizers.
The choice of a module was clear so I checked Inertial Stabilizer offers on The Forge Regional Market. Interestingly, the cheapest price, 12,350 ISK, was offered two jumps away in a capsuleer-owned station – Tranquility Trading Tower. That made my shopping trip even more exciting as thus far I had seen only Caldari State’s and Seekers’ stations. It became a journey of many firsts: the first purchase of modules, the first time I saw a Keepstar Citadel, and the first trip on personal business.
After installing and testing the modules I was ready for my dangerous voyage. All that remained to do was to plot the course.