Glamour for Sale

The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station

15 February YC 121

As much as I wanted to help Kalle Ryota to find his son, there was nothing I could do there and then. The Guristas ship which kidnapped the guy disappeared in the endless void and could be anywhere in New Eden. I promised Ryota to report this case to the officials but both of us knew there wasn’t much hope. Every day pirates killed and kidnapped hundreds of people, and if you weren’t part of a mega-corporation which had police, you were on your own. Ryota’s colony was proudly independent and they were paying the blood price for that.

I returned to the War Academy with a heavy heart. Surprisingly, Tarumo signed off my mission.

“Your task was to clear the area and you’ve done it,” he said firmly. “As far as I am concerned, the mission is accomplished. As to the poor boy, don’t blame yourself; you can’t save the whole world. Such things happen and you better get used to them if you want to pursue a military career.”

I understood the logic of this approach but still it didn’t help.

“Is there anything that can be done to find and free that guy?” asked I.

Tarumo gave me a long, hard look. I didn’t avert my eyes.

“I’ll see what I can do,” finally said he. “As for now, dismissed. Get some R&R.”

To distract myself from sad thoughts I decided to take stock of my assets. They were a mixed lot of remaining Yoiul festival gifts and various mission rewards. I remembered that I had sold most useless and expensive items as soon as I got them. The dearest one had been ‘Absolute’ Injection Augmentor which I had sold for 67.5 million kredits. I glanced at the estimate of all my remaining assets and froze – the total was almost 200 million ISK! I was sure that State War Academy’s mission rewards were not that generous, so it had to be the gifts. A quick inspection revealed that the price of Impetus Boosters I was keeping from the last year had increased dramatically and a pair of them now cost about 150 million kredits in Jita. The market history showed that the boosters’ price jumped three times since the Festival. It was time to liquidate them.

Then, for a moment I toyed with the idea of using the boosters myself; they would provide 50-75% bonus to faction standing increases I got for each mission. I, however, didn’t have any idea which standings I needed to increase so desperately that I was ready to spend a hundred million kredits on it. And I doubted I would need those boosters before their use-by date. So I loaded them into Ampuhaukka’s cargo hold and zoomed off to Jita.

The Forge Region – Kimotoro Constellation
Jita System – Planet IV, Moon 4
Caldari Navy Assembly Plant Station

On arrival I engaged in the good old game of market leapfrog, every five minutes adjusting my price to make it 0.01 kredits lower than the current minimum. Watching the market dynamics, I was trying to second-guess other traders’ motivation. Some of them were like me, tweaking their price tags just enough to stay ahead of the competition. Then, out of the blue came a spoilsport who dropped the price from 112 to 110 million in one go. I didn’t understand the logic of it. If there were buyers who needed a booster urgently they wouldn’t waste their time waiting for a 2% discount, especially given that it was an end product, not a material for further manufacturing. Predictably, all the active market players, including me, reacted by slashing two million off their sell orders pushing the discounter to the back of the queue.

I sold the cheaper Impetus Potency-50 Glamourex Booster relatively quickly and was monitoring the prices of Potency-75 when suddenly someone cried out in local “JITA BURN!!!” Another pilot asked if it was scheduled for today and the reply was “Yes, after 11:00 EST.” The clock showed 10:50. I panicked and ran to the hangar.

There was a huge queue of other ships, mostly freighters, moving to the station gate in a desperate attempt to undock and leave Jita before Goonswarm’s yearly Sabbath. When the station’s tractor beam finally released Ampuhaukka I warped to Perimeter gate, jumped through and only then made a pause to collect my thoughts and discuss the further course of actions with Aura.

Having listened to my account of the events, Aura frowned and asked, “Assuming Burn Jita event starts today, what made you think that you would be the target?”

“Don’t they destroy every ship they can lay their scram on?”

“For goodness sake,” Aura rolled her eyes. “They may call themselves Goons but they are not stupid. Each destroyer they fly is probably three times more expensive than your Merlin. Do you really expect them to swarm your puny frigate and lose ten million kredits in exchange for 500 thousand ISK and your tears? If that was the case, their enemies would come in force flying corvettes, readily lose them and laugh at Goons all the way to the bank.”

“Bank? What bank?”

“Pend Insurance, of course.”

“Sounds familiar,” said I.

“Of course, it does. From your induction you should remember that if you come to a station in a capsule and you don’t have ships there, then you will be given an Ibis. The company which provides those corvettes to capsuleers down on their luck is Pend Insurance.”

A thought occurred to me, “And what if that capsuleer is filthy rich but simply travels in a capsule?”

“They’ll give a corvette anyway.”

“Cool. Whatever you say about Goons, I am not ready to risk going to Jita in Ampuhaukka. But a free corvette,” I smiled, “that’s a different story.”

And thus it happened that I left my Merlin at the State War Academy station and jumped in my capsule to the Prompt Delivery Storage station in Unpas where I was promptly given a new Ibis with exactly the same fitting as Yatagarasu, complete with one unit of tritanium. I don’t know what they meant to say by that gesture as one unit of tritanium, on its own, is probably the most useless thing in the universe – there is absolutely nothing you can manufacture out of it. After a moment of amusement I did the only thing I could do with that crate of mineral, and became 4 kredits richer.

Having returned to Jita, I noticed with some disappointment that I was duped. I expected to see carnage of mythical proportions, vast fields of debris surrounding the star gate and hordes of destroyers with a smoking bee logo. Instead, it was business as usual – the freighters lumbered along the space lanes unmolested while CONCORD officers were busy eating their doughnuts.

“So, where is that famous ganking show?” asked Aura sarcastically.

“Shut up,” said I and warped to the Caldari Navy Assembly Plant station at Jita 4-4.

I guess I was not the only one who believed the fake news about Burn Jita event as the booster trading activity was rather subdued. There were only one or two other traders who tried to outmanoeuvre me but Lady Luck was on my side. You see, it’s all about timing. A trader cannot change his order more often than once in five minutes. If another guy jumped to the front of the queue a second after you had done it, then you’d have to wait 4 minutes 59 seconds before you can restore your advantage. This time I was that guy! I noticed that my last order change happened just four seconds after another trader’s change. If there was no third seller then I would enjoy almost five minutes at the front of the queue. But it didn’t take that long – just after two minutes I heard a mellifluous ding from my datapad which indicated that my balance increased by 110 million inter-stellar kredits.

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