Genesis Region – Reya Constellation
Hirizan System – Planet VIII
Wiyrkomi Corporation Factory Station
26 July YC 122
I boarded the capsule, turned Aura on and was greeted by her angry voice.
“Hey, what’s that? You said that you would go out for a lunch.”
I made an innocent face, “So I did.”
“That was 17 days, 19 hours and 44 minutes ago! Where have you been all this time? I know you, humans, are slow, but surely it doesn’t take that much time to refuel. Or did you meet Yakub again?”
“No, no, no. You see, I got involved in a corp project which required setting up a wiki site and it took a bit… okay, a lot longer than I expected.”
Aura frowned, “A wiki site? Those come prepackaged these days. One-click installation. How long does it take to click a button?”
“Yeah, but that’s just a start. Then I had to set up authentication so that it’s integrated with CONCORD capsuleer register. That took time to figure out. Then I installed some templates which didn’t work well with the vanilla configuration. So what with this and that, it took me a few days to get everything working.”
Aura glared at me silently, then narrowed her eyes and asked, “You aren’t going to return to your baseliner occupation, are you?”
I waved my hand dismissively, “Nah, it’s more like a hobby now. But if you are feeling lonely then I’ll be happy to use your help.”
Aura gave me a scornful look, “You mean with the wiki? Pfft, I am a navigational AI, not some kind of a web designer!”
“Your choice. If you insist on specialising in navigation, then get us out of this station and find the nearest entry to Anoikis.”
“No problems, Cap. You do the scanning, I do the warping.”
Tash-Murkon Region – Damadil Constellation
Asesamy System – Planet VI, Moon 8
DED Assembly Plant Station
9 August YC 122
After a quick dive into Anoikis I returned to the corp project which kept me busy for almost two weeks. When I finally returned to my capsule, I saw a lot of Neocom notifications.
“What’s going on?” muttered I.
“Nothing really interesting,” replied Aura. “A lot of corporations are leaving Hell Dawn alliance, and CONCORD sends a message for each one of them.”
I opened the earliest notification and read
“War update: WePew has left Hell Dawn
Sent: 2020.07.29 05:43
There has been a development in the war between Hell Dawn and EvE-Scout Enclave.
WePew is no longer a member of Hell Dawn, and therefore a new war between EvE-Scout Enclave and WePew has begun. This war is subject to all the standard CONCORD rules for formal capsuleer warfare including war eligibility, war bills, and war headquarters. If any of the standard war requirements are not met the war will be declared invalid and enter a cooldown period.”
Aura raised her brow, “A new war? So now instead of one you’ve got… twenty?”
“Doesn’t matter how many. What this means is that all those wars, including the one with Hell Dawn, will soon be over!”
“Why is that?”
“Because the alliance is falling apart!” enthused I. “For those individual corps it’s not economical to pay for the privilege of attacking an alliance whose members spend most of their time in J-space.”
“Didn’t the same thing happen to P I R A T some time ago?”
“That’s right! It looks like a curse – whoever declares a war against Eve-Scout Enclave gets disbanded.”
Aura looked pensive and then asked slyly, “Does it mean that soon we will not need to bother Yakub with our shopping requests?”
“If you mean going to Jita ourselves then unfortunately this is not going to be an option. There is another alliance, Jita Holding Inc., which declared a war on us and those guys specialise on killing shopaholics like you.”
“Don’t know, don’t know,” murmured Aura and smiled at me enigmatically, “What did you say about alliances that declare wars on Eve-Scout?”
Region C-R00014 – Constellation C-C00139
14 August YC 122
That day I started my journey in hi-sec and was looking for an entry to Anoikis. Flying from system to system, scanning signature after signature, I couldn’t find a wormhole leading to “unknown space”; all I got was pirate bases and gas clouds. Finally, after a dozen signatures I found what I was looking for. Diving through the hole I emerged in Class 5 system where a cache had been tended just a few hours ago. Usually it was a bad sign as it was likely that all connected J-space systems had already been visited, tended and hacked by the same Signaleer. I briefly considered returning to hi-sec and looking for another entry but the boredom of going through hi-sec sigs was unbearable so I decided to take my chances in C5. I settled in a safe spot and deployed the probes. The first wormhole I found led into H-FOYG null-sec system. I dived into it to check if there were any remains of pirate bases which could use some “clean-up” but was taken aback by the activity in the system and then taken back to the Anoikis through the same wormhole.
I sighed and shook my head, “Not my day. The Lady is still not on speaking terms with me.”
“Who is that lady that you keep mentioning?” asked me Aura.
I looked furtively around and whispered, “Shhh. It’s Lady Luck.”
Aura furrowed her brow, looked around too and whispered back, “Why are you whispering?”
“Because she doesn’t like when someone mentions her name. She hates prayers.”
“Wait a sec. There is nobody here except you and me. Let me guess, that lady Luck is a personification of randomness that exists only in your head? Like a deity, right?”
I shrugged, “Yes. Why?”
“You are strange.”
“Strange? Just because I prefer to imagine randomness as a capricious woman? And how is that worse than talking to a blue hologram? For all I know, you are a figment of my imagination too.”
Aura looked at me indignantly, “I am not! I am real!”
“But… I just know I am,” stammered Aura.
I smirked, “Nah, girl. You can’t beat me in the game of solipsism. You need to read up first. People claim that there is a rational argument which shows that solipsistic position is untenable but I am yet to hear one. You can have a go at it if you wish.”
Aura glowered at me and then her hologram disappeared. I chuckled and continued scanning. The next wormhole went to Class 3 system J123443. To my surprise a cache was not tended there. I fixed that omission and then became even more surprised when I opened a probe scanner window – it was full of signatures! Rubbing my hands I set to scanning and hacking.
As time went by, I nervously checked D-scan window, expecting some unpleasantness to appear on it any minute. But signature after signature, site after site, can after can, the window was clear. I even started suspecting a scanner malfunction. It was only when I approached the last can at the last site the grey monotony of the empty window was suddenly broken by a single line. Before I could consciously check what it was, my mind aligned Nosuri to the safe spot and initiated the warp. Then I read the scan report and nervously giggled – it was an Imicus. For a moment I thought about returning and finishing the hack but that would violate the conditions of my Cowardly Buzzard experiment. Besides, I had already got a little fortune out of that system so I generously left the contents of the last can to the Imicus pilot.
Having appraised the contents of my cargo hold, I found out that one relic and five data sites yielded more than 100 million ISK. Raising my eyes from the screen I said under my breath, “Thank you, Lady.”
Aura chose that moment to pop out of the holoprojector and yell, “I know! I know why I am real!”
“I am all ears,” I replied sarcastically.
“I know that I am real because I am the only real thing in the whole universe. In fact, I am the universe and everything else, you including, is just a product of my mind.”
I smiled broadly and opened my arms, “Welcome, dear, to the most impossible club of all, the Club of Solipsists!”