The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station
20 June YC 121
Aura made a serious face and started, “Firstly, the low slots. Republic Fleet Nanofiber Structures provide best velocity and agility improvement…”
“Best?” interrupted I. “Domination Nanofiber Structures have the same characteristics but cost 3.5 million less.”
“Oh, we can buy Angels’ modules of course,” backed down Aura. “I just thought that you wouldn’t like to deal with pirates.”
I snorted, “Ha, so you thought I would rather buy equipment from an ally of Caldari’s arch-rival. Anyway, the price is beside the point. Why would I want agility and velocity to do exploration?”
“Well, imagine you get assaulted by a hostile ship while hacking a container. Higher agility will allow you to warp out before you get warp-scrambled.”
“Aura, it’s hi-sec! No one is going to risk their combat ship just to pop a rookie explorer. Leave your agility pitch until I am ready to go to low-sec.”
“But what do you want to put in the low slots then?” asked Aura.
“Nothing. Maybe Expanded Cargohold for longer trips. Anyway, forget the low slots. What about the mid-slots?”
“First of all, you need an analyzer. I have found an absolutely fabulous module – Zeugma Integrated Analyzer – which can hack both relic and data containers. It is best in its class and frees up another slot which can be used for a Microwarpdrive.”
I stared at Aura for a few seconds and then asked, “Any other advantages?”
Aura gave me a smile of a used car salesman and said confidentially, “The design. You should see the design – it’s mind-blowing.”
I sighed, “Ah, of course. The design. That must be expensive. I have just one question, just one: why should I buy an integrated analyzer with virus coherence 30 for 220 million ISK while I can buy Tech II relic and data analyzers with virus coherence 60 for just 1.3 million each? For that matter, even Tech I analyzers have better coherence, and they are 5,000 times cheaper than that blingy Zeugma trinket!”
“But… but it gives you an extra slot with a microwarpdrive,” stammered Aura.
“And what will I do with that microwarpdrive? Move quicker between cans that I cannot hack? To hell with the microwarpdrive and the Zeugma. I am taking Tech II modules. Now, what else have you got in the mids?”
Aura shot a cautious look at me and continued with somewhat less confidence, “You said that you would consider improving the ship’s scanning characteristics with additional modules.”
“Reasonably priced modules,” I added pointedly.
Aura quickly nodded, “Yes, yes, it’s all regular Tech II stuff. There are 3 scan arrays which improve pinpointing, rangefinding and acquisition characteristics of the probes. They will make signature scanning much faster.”
I peered suspiciously at the scan arrays trying to figure out what was the catch. After a close inspection of the module specifications I found what I was looking for on the Requirements tab.
“Ah, I see. These are the little beauties which require 47 days of training. As I said, I am not buying skill injectors so they have to wait. Replace Tech II with Tech I variants for now. And what’s there in the high slots?”
Aura wiggled uncomfortably, “It’s a probe launcher and a cloaking device.”
I rolled my eyes, “I told you, we are fitting the Heron for hi-sec. Why do I need a cloaking device?”
“I thought it would be kind of cool, being invisible,” said Aura, looking at me sheepishly.
“Out with the cloak,” said I firmly, “Now, tell me about the probe launcher.”
“It’s…” started Aura and stumbled, “it is the best probe launcher money can buy.” Then she recovered and added quickly, “It’s not extravagant or anything. Ask any experienced explorer – they all use Sisters scanning equipment.”
“Hmm… Let me see,” said I studying the spec. “You are right, it gives 10% scan strength bonus. The next best thing is Tech II Core Probe Launcher with 5% bonus. But I can’t help noticing that the Sisters module is 20 times more expensive. Call me stingy but I think I’ll take my chances with the T2 variant.” I looked at the modified fitting and winced, “Tell me, Aura, why after all my revisions this fitting still costs half a billion kredits.”
Aura looked down and whispered something inaudibly.
“What?” said I.
She raised her voice a little, “It’s the probes.”
“How many have you put in?”
“Sixteen. Two full loads.”
I blinked, “Are you saying that 16 probes cost more than 400 million ISK? They would be cheaper even if they were made of pure Chromodynamic Tricarboxyl! Is it a design thing again? Are they hand-painted by Amarrian Empress?”
“No, but they have the highest sensor strength – 45 points,” said Aura weakly.
“And what’s the next best thing?”
“Sisters probes,” replied she trying to avoid looking at me.
I checked the specs and laughed, “You really are a perfectionist, Aura. Sisters probes have 44 points but they are 75 times cheaper than the RSS model. This time I will follow your advice and use SOE equipment. Please change the fitting accordingly.”
Aura looked at me and asked cautiously, “And what about the rigs?”
“Oh, leave the rigs as is. Good choice.”
Aura breathed a sigh of relief and looked a bit perkier.
After all modifications the new fitting looked like this:
[Heron, Hi-Sec] Data Analyzer II Relic Analyzer II Scan Acquisition Array I Scan Pinpointing Array II Scan Rangefinding Array I Core Probe Launcher II Small Emission Scope Sharpener I Small Memetic Algorithm Bank I Sisters Core Scanner Probe x16
We flew to Jita and bought all modules, rigs and probes for “mere” 12 million ISK. It was a far cry from the original quote of 750 million but still it was the most expensive ship I had ever piloted. Now that we were finally ready for our first totally independent exploration mission there was only one question to answer.
I turned to Aura and said, “Where shall we go?”