The Forge Region – Kimotoro Constellation
6 August YC 121
Kisogo was surprisingly populated for a cul-de-sac – there were 47 capsuleers in the local channel. Having checked the overview, I discovered the reason for such popularity – just like Uitra this system was home for another State War Academy Station. I thought that most of them were students and D-scan confirmed my guess revealing an inordinate number of Ibises in space.
Having established a safe spot, I opened a probe scanner window and whistled, “Look, Aura, there are three signatures here!”
With a mien of a woman of the world, Aura snorted, “Wormholes. The locals would have cleaned out all other sites as soon as they appeared.”
“Well, as you said in Urlen, you never know your luck. I am ready to try mine.”
Aura made a grimace which was a mimical equivalent of “Whatever”.
I set to scanning the first signature and quickly discovered that it was a tough nut.
“No wonder that it has not been explored yet by the students,” grumbled I, “if I, with all my skills and modules, can’t pin it down.”
“Probably another Sleeper Cache,” sniggered Aura.
“Oh no, I hope not,” groaned I, “I am not ready for it yet.”
Another scan revealed that the site’s difficulty level was III.
“Aha!” I cried triumphantly, “It’s not a Cache. The Cache was Level IV.”
Aura pretended that she didn’t care either way but her face tensed in anticipation as she watched me jiggle my constellation of probes. One more scan identified the site as Lesser Guristas Covert Research Facility.
“Bingo!” exclaimed I.
Aura’s eyes lit up and she said impatiently, “Keep scanning before someone else has found it.”
I didn’t think that rookies in Ibises could scan it down but you could never rule out that another explorer like me, in Heron or even a Buzzard, would not turn up here, so I resumed my scanning activity with renewed vigour. A few more tries and the scanner produced a pleasant sound which indicated that the site’s location was identified. For the next few minutes I was very busy as there was a lot to do: recall the probes, jump to the station, unload the cargo, strip all fitting except a Data Analyser, undock and warp to the Facility site.
Landing on the grid I checked if the containers were intact and if other capsuleers were already there. Having confirmed that the site was unbreached, I sped to the object identified as Lab and started hacking. It was a simple green-core defence grid which I defeated without much trouble. As soon as the protection was removed I scooped everything from the container and warped the hell out of there. Just as during my first visit to a Covert Research Facility, I didn’t have time to take a good look at the site, my focus being solely on the overview and the hacking screen.
“You know what,” said I as we were approaching some nondescript moon, “next time I’ll equip a microwarpdrive and a cloaking device, and will watch what happens after the hack from a safe distance.”
I expected Aura to object to such dangerous course of actions but she didn’t seem to be paying attention to what I said. Her eyes were wide open and she breathed, “Holy moly. Look at what we’ve got away with, Vlad.”
It occurred to me that I didn’t actually check the loot. Opening the cargo hold screen I found that it contained 6 Covert Research Tools and 15 Shattered Villard Wheels.
“Wow! Those components will fetch around 20 million kredits in Jita,” I said excitedly.
“Forget the components. Look at this blueprint!” said Aura urgently.
“What blueprint?” I took another look at the cargo list. Indeed, there was a line item named Mid-grade Ascendancy Epsilon Blueprint. I guess I didn’t pay attention to it because it didn’t have an estimated price. “Ah, this one. What about it?”
“Do you know how much it costs?” asked Aura with a smile.
“No idea,” admitted I. “Apparently, these blueprints are not traded, so they don’t have a price estimate.”
“Oh, they are traded all right, but not in the market. This is a blueprint copy so you can only sell it through a contract. There are no stats on the final contract prices, but I can tell you that at the moment the cheapest price for which you can buy such blueprint is 45 million kredits.”
“What?” as impossible as it may sound, I nearly choked on pod goo. “That’s… that’s a price of a fully fitted Buzzard!” Then a thought occurred to me, “Wait a second, that blueprint – if it costs 45 million kredits, what is the price of a Mid-grade Ascendancy Epsilon Implant?”
“Two hundred twenty five million interstellar kredits,” said Aura, savouring each word.
I stopped breathing. For a few seconds I lived on residual oxygen in my blood, but eventually I gulped more goo and said, “I can’t believe it, what is the catch?”
“Smart boy,” purred Aura. “The catch is the cost of materials. If you pay the sell price in Jita you’ll have to spend another 148 million kredits.”
I made a quick calculation in my mind, “So, if I buy the materials and produce the implant, I will get 30 million just for the job? That still sounds to be too good to be true. There must be something else. What’s that? Is it skills that I’ll have to train for another two months?”
“Nah, all you need is Industry Level IV, one day to train.”
“What is it then?”
Aura chuckled, “It’s just time. You’ll need to go to Jita, buy materials, then transport hi-sec-gankable 200 million to a place where you can run the job, because you don’t want to pay an exorbitant industry fee in Jita. After that you’ll bring your precious, even more gankable implant back to Jita and start competing with other vendors to be one of three or four lucky ones who sell that implant for the sell price each day. Now ask yourself, do you really want to go to all that trouble for 30 million while you could be cruising through New Eden, seeing sites and hacking treasure cans like the one you just opened?”
I opened my mouth… and then closed it. Aura was right – I tried that path in the Academy and I didn’t like it. It may be lucrative but it’s a chore. Still, it seemed to be easy, guaranteed money which I’d hate to lose. Then I remembered something and smiled.
“Aura,” said I, “can you please connect me with Mr Yakub Albaf?”