The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station
30 January YC 121
I woke up with a feeling that something wonderful was going to happen today. Still sleepy, I took full five seconds to remember what it was – I was ready to finish the Industry course and today was the day! I had been fed up with mining, refining and Kokseri’s peremptory manners, and I had just enough patience for one more mission.
Kokseri was in unusually mellow mood which was probably explained by the successful capture of his treacherous production assistant. You should have seen the look on his face when I manhandled the shaking Viljo into his office. The unlucky pirate obviously didn’t like that look. I’ll tell you more – I didn’t like that look. To be honest, I didn’t care much about Viljo but I wanted to make sure that whatever happened to him after I handed him over to the Academy would not be blamed on me. So to mild Kokseri’s surprise, I demanded a signed receipt for a live, unharmed human specimen called Viljo The Pirate, complete with a recorded confession of his sins. The latter seemed to somewhat dampen Kokseri’s spirits; I think he was looking forward to extracting that mea culpa himself. Nevertheless, today he was beaming and greeted me with open arms.
“Ah, Vladimir, please come in, take a seat. Thanks again for your help with capturing the spy; you’ve done a sterling job. The confession that you got from him was an unexpected bonus which we appreciated. It missed one important element though – his contact in Guristas – but with a bit of tough love,” he winked, “we obtained that last piece of puzzle.”
“What will happen to him now?” asked I.
“He will appear before the Academy Court. Regardless of the judgement, I do not expect him to be ‘live and unharmed’ for too long. Even if he avoids death penalty, Guristas will make sure that his betrayal is punished accordingly; and those guys have a surprisingly strong moral code when it comes to loyalty.”
I felt it was the right moment to change the subject, “Okay, I hope that the Academy and its students are secure now and can safely continue their studies. Talking of which, what is my final assignment?”
“Oh, I have a special mission and a special reward for you. The Academy is running low on veldspar. If you mine two Venture-fuls of that ore, then you will get an incredibly efficient Tech II Miner.”
Despite all Social skill training, my face betrayed mytrue emotions, and Kokseri shook with laughter.
“Sorry, just kidding. You should have seen the look on your face – that was pure gold. In fact, I have something else for you. Caldari Navy needs more logistics pilots, so we are opening a new course, and to train them we need a few Bantam-class frigates. Your task will be to manufacture at least one. I will provide you with a 5-run blueprint copy but it’s up to you where and how you get the materials and, for that matter, the frigate. As always, I suggest to start from mining to get as much exposure to industrial activities as possible.”
Having left Kokseri’s office I called Aura. I didn’t really need her for this task, but during the last mission, just before I left the capsule, she asked me to wake her up for any assignments, no matter how boring. I thought she felt neglected.
“Hello, darling,” I greeted her, “I have a mathematical problem for you. Given the material requirements in this blueprint, how much time will it take us to mine and reprocess the requisite amount of ore?”
Aura made a pause and then said, “The actual mining should be pretty quick, but finding all the necessary asteroids may take forever.”
“I thought so, and this is exactly why I am not going to leave the station for this mission. Can you calculate how much it costs to buy all the missing minerals?”
“Local prices or Jita?”
“Is there a big difference?” asked I.
“Well, if you buy minerals here you’ll pay to the tune of 373,000 kredits which is about 40% higher than in Jita.”
I didn’t hesitate for a single moment, “To hell with Jita! I want to finish this mission ASAP. Buy all the materials here and now.”
“Done,” said Aura a second later.
“Awesome! See, shopping beats mining any day.”
“Erm… Talking about shopping, why didn’t you simply buy a new Bantam? It’s only 260,000 ISK at this station.”
My jaw dropped, “But… but why didn’t you tell me straight away?”
Aura made round eyes, “Because I was busy answering your questions and placing buy orders.”
I sighed, “Whatever. Doesn’t matter now. Just hire the production line and start the job.”
“The line is hired. But I can’t start the job; there is no blueprint in the control board. I need a big strong man who would walk all the way to the control room and insert the blueprint into the board,” said Aura, and added after a pause, “The slot is in the back panel.”
“I know,” snapped I and trudged to the factory.
There I found that construction of a Bantam was a much more complex activity that building a civilian shuttle – the job would take an hour and a half.
“What are we going to do all that time?” asked Aura.
“Don’t know about you but I am going to a bar. Will spend the last money remaining after the purchase of materials for that bloody Bantam.”
Aura showed me my 8-digit account balance, snorted and signed off.
Two hours later I was handing a new, shiny frigate to Kokseri.
“Great job, Vladimir. Because of your efforts, the War Academy is well-equipped to train new logi pilots. You have now finished the Industry course and earned a huge standings boost from the Academy and the State. The missions that you have completed should give you enough experience to start a career in Industry either on your own, or in a corporation. But if you asked for my advice, I would recommend to contact other career agents and try your hand at various activities before choosing your profession,” said Kokseri with just a tiny hint of smile in his eyes.
I shook his hand and said earnestly, “Thank you very much for you guidance, Mr Velen. It’s the best advice I ever got.”