The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station
5 February YC 121
“How is the cracking going?” I asked Hakkaras next day after delivering the encrypted data chip to his friend in Saisio.
“Well, you know how it is with decryption,” winced the agent, “you may be lucky and decode the chip in the first 5 minutes, then there is a period with 90% confidence level, and finally there is the worst-case scenario.”
“And what’s the worst case?”
“I am trying not to think about it. Anyway, it’s not your problem anymore. Are you ready for another mission, by the way?”
“Yeah, I hoped you’d have something for me.”
“Excellent,” Hakkaras rubbed his hands. “This one will really test your business acumen. You see, we have found an issue with the fitting of our escort ships – their turrets are not fast enough to track agile pirate frigates. To compensate for that weakness we need to equip them with tracking computers… which we don’t have. I need you to deliver one Tech I Tracking Computer today, so that we could use it to fit our next convoy tomorrow.”
“Do you have a blueprint?” asked I.
“Do you expect me to build it from scratch?”
“Up to you.”
“So… no restrictions?”
Hakkaras shook his head, “In this case urgency trumps all other considerations. Your task is to procure that computer in the given time by whatever means and, hopefully, at the minimal cost.”
“Hmm… I guess, that’s where spreadsheets come into play.”
“Bingo,” smiled Hakkaras.
I called Aura on the commlink, “Hello, honey. I need your cold, calculating mind for the next mission.”
“Ooh, are we going to ruin someone?” lit up Aura.
“Hopefully, not me. We need to procure a tracking computer in the shortest time for the lowest price.”
“Ah, just before you said that last bit about the lowest price I was going to suggest to simply buy it.”
“Well, given that we can mine ore for free, I’d think that we could cut costs by producing it ourselves. The only hitch is that I am still not good at reprocessing but we can sell ore and buy minerals. What do you think?” asked I.
“Hmm… Have you got a blueprint?”
“No, Hakkaras provided only moral support for this mission.”
“In such case, buying the computer will be the cheapest option,” said Aura confidently.
“How is that?”
“You see, the computer costs 25,900 kredits while an unlimited blueprint is 99,000 ISK. Regardless of what you’ll pay for the minerals, you will have to fork out almost four times the price of the computer for the blueprint. This investment may still pay off if you plan to become a mass producer of tracking computers. The question is: do you?”
“Erm… no, I don’t think so,” mumbled I, and then exclaimed, “Wow! Thank you, dear. You’ve saved me quite a lot of time and money. You are the smartest calculator I’ve ever worked with.”
Aura narrowed her eyes, “Is it a compliment?”
“Take it as you wish,” chuckled I and placed a buy order on the market.