Region E-R00027 – Constellation E-C00271
3 May YC 122
The wormhole from Thera expelled us into a Class 5 J-Space system which started a rather disappointing chain of C4’s and C5’s. In one system I found an abandoned flight of Hornet EC-300 drones, checked if my Buzzard grew a drone bay, sighed and flew away. Another one had a mobile depot with 37 million ISK in loot which I could neither take, nor return to its owner. The only satisfaction I got from that journey was tending caches – they gave me a feeling of purpose in this otherwise unremarkable journey through higher-class Anoikis systems. Finally, after five or six jumps I discovered a wormhole which led to a C3.
Region C-R00011 – Constellation C-C00096
“There is a cache that needs to be tended,” informed me Allison on arrival.
“Aha,” rubbed her hands Aura, “this means that your corp mates haven’t visited this system for a while so we can hope for some undisturbed relic sites. What are you waiting for? Let’s scan down all those juicy signatures!”
“I need to tend the cache first,” objected I.
“Allison, when was the cache tended last time?” asked Aura.
“The cache was last tended on 26 April YC 122,” was the reply.
“You see, it’s not gonna expire any time soon.”
I smiled, “The cache isn’t but I might.”
“What do you mean? What’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing. It’s just that there is always a chance that one of those sites will be the last one for this clone. You call these signatures juicy, others say the same about Buzzards. No, I’ll tend the cache first.”
Having carried out my corp duties, I settled in a safe spot and launched the probes. The first two scans revealed Sparking Transmitters installed by Guristas and Serpentis. I wondered if that system was too small for both factions and they perished in internecine strife. On the other hand, both of them could have been destroyed by Sleepers who seemed to hate all humans regardless of their affiliation.
Speculating thusly, I pulled in the probes, ran the D-scan for the last time and was about to warp to the site… and then I froze. The scanner window showed someone else’s probes and an Ares!
“Damn!” I cried out, wishing that the capsule had a physical dashboard which I could hit with my fist in frustration.
“What’s that?” frowned Aura. “Are you going to hack those transmitters or what?”
“Are you crazy? There is an Ares on D-scan!”
I rolled my eyes, “Are you kidding me? There is an interceptor on the radar and you expect me to uncloak and go hacking? Well, I guess I may be lucky and it’s Aze in her exploceptor who has dived into this system from null-sec to tend the cache but 99% of pilots use ‘ceptors for their direct purpose!”
Aura waved her hand dismissively, “I don’t see a problem. It just sits somewhere in space. Even if it appears at the data site you can just warp away.”
“If it appears at the data site we will be dead before you can say ‘Warp drive active’!”
“Oh come on! It’s just an inty, not a battle ship. It can’t alpha you off the grid. Surely I’ll have enough time to say those words.”
I sighed, “Aura, I don’t think you got the point. We will be dead before you can say ‘Warp drive active’ because you will never have a chance to say those words – the first thing an inty would do is point our warp drive. And once it’s done its pilot can bash us to death with the blunt end of Civilian Gatling Gun.”
Aura folded her arms, “So you mean that every time someone flashes on our D-scan, we will drop everything and flee the system?”
“Yep, this is exactly what I mean.”
“But we’ll lose a helluvalot of profit!”
“At least we will keep the ship,” I pointed out. “But if we fly recklessly, then we will soon run out of ships and we’ll have nothing to earn kredits with.”
Aura’s eyes suddenly looked into the distance and she froze for several seconds. That usually happened when she was busy with computationally intensive tasks and diverted all CPU power to background processes. I waited patiently for her to finish whatever she was doing.
When Aura finally surfaced from the depths of her daydreaming, she looked pensive, “Hmm… I ran a few simulations and under certain assumptions it is quite likely that we will earn more with a bolder approach. Yes, we will lose more ships but that will be balanced off by greater profits.”
“And those assumptions… are they realistic?”
Aura sighed, “That’s the problem – I don’t have enough information to validate them. We can conduct a few experiments but guess who will be the guinea pigs.”
I frowned. Losing ships was expensive, painful and annoying; I didn’t like losing ships. On the other hand, if the expense was justified then other considerations were just a matter of attitude. The corp I was in didn’t give a damn about ship losses so I wasn’t going to be ostracised by my corp mates. There was also a question of self-esteem – knowing you were outwitted by a hunter would add insult to injury. But that was the only way to learn and improve, I guess, so I had to suck it up.
“You know what,” I said slowly, as the decision started to crystallise in my head, “I think we should be able to afford that experiment. My currently preferred way of earning kredits slowly but surely, will guarantee that we can always save money for another ship. When we have enough spare funds we can try your approach without risking going broke. In fact we can test as many strategies as we want as long as we cap the losses. In the meantime, we will continue doing it my way if only to gather stats for comparison.”
“Mmm… okay, sounds reasonable,” agreed Aura. “I am going to create a separate file for each experiment where I will store the stats. How do you want to call your doctrine? ‘Experiment #1’? ‘Slowly but surely’? Or maybe ‘My way’?”
I smiled, “Let’s call it ‘Cowardly Buzzard’.”