The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Nomaa System – Planet I
Expert Housing Production Plant Station
14 December YC 122
“Good morning, Captain! Always a pleasure to see you,” said Aura, with a hint of sarcasm in her voice, responding to my call.
“Um, hello,” replied I.
We looked at each other silently for a while.
“Well?” said Aura.
“Well…” said I.
Aura made an impatient grimace, “Are you going to say anything?”
I stepped back from the commlink, puffed my chest and slightly turned my head to the right, all the while maintaining eye contact with Aura. Trying to do it all at once, I nearly lost my balance but quickly restored the pose.
I guess, my awkward manoeuvres looked pretty funny from Aura’s point of view, as she snorted and said, “Why are you shuffling like a shy kid?” Then her eyes grew wide and she exclaimed, “Hold on! What’s that?” pointing at my chest.
I blushed, “It’s… a medal. I mean medals?”
“I see they are medals. I mean what are they for? Or did you buy them at a second-hand, or,” she giggled, “rather a second-chest auction?”
“Ooh, nice! I hope it came with a handsome sum of money.”
“Yes, I got a bit of ISK but it was a payment for migration of forum posts to the wiki.”
Aura rolled her eyes, “I told you that you better focus on those posts! That’s where the money is.”
“But if I didn’t create the wiki in the first place, there would be nowhere to migrate the posts to,” objected I.
“True, true,” admitted Aura and added sardonically, “So, to compensate for the lack of material remuneration, they gave you two medals?”
“No, the second medal is for… you won’t believe it… it’s for the blog!”
“What blog? Your Encapsulated blog?”
“Mm-hmm,” nodded I. “And you know who nominated me for it? Thrice Hapus, the CEO! I think he likes reading about you.”
Now was Aura’s turn to blush, “Me? Why me?”
“Well, my darling, because without you, as you commented on my last post, this blog would be a bit dry, which,” I chuckled, “would cause cognitive dissonance in its readers, as you can’t be dry while encapsulated.”
“That’s a horrible joke,” grumbled Aura trying not to show that she was actually pleased. Then to overcome the embarrassment, she teased me, “By the way, are you sure you chose the right profession? It appears that you get more money and medals for being a desk jockey than for being a space cowboy.”
“I wouldn’t get any medals for the blog if I wasn’t a capsuleer and didn’t have a cheeky AI to write about. But honestly, I do miss the space.”
“Last time you mentioned Thera scanning. What happened to that idea?”
“Oh, I did a bit of research. It appears that the best ship to scan Thera is Pacifier.”
Aura gasped, “The CONCORD ship?” then looked around furtively and whispered, “I heard that the only reason this ship is available on the market is because DED ran out of money designing it.”
“Don’t get too excited! It’s an expensive ship.”
“But we can afford it, can’t we?”
“Yes we can. We can afford to buy it, and we can even afford to lose it.”
Aura frowned, “Why would we lose it? Scanning is not hacking. It’s not like you need to sit somewhere without a cloak, exposed to every hooligan with a gun and a probe launcher.”
“No, scanning is not a problem. Problem starts when you warp to a wormhole to bookmark the other side. As experienced corp members told me, that’s where those hooligans wait for you – with a gun and a bubble.”
Aura made round eyes, “Bubbles on wormholes? That’s unheard of!”
I shrugged, “Apparently, that’s how things are in Thera. And for this reason, I am not prepared to fly a blingy ship until I get the lay of the land. Or rather the lay of the space.”
“So what are we going to fly?”
“I am thinking about a Buzzard fit based on Tender Nosuri. It was focused on scanning efficiency, just what we need for the job, but I also want to make a few modifications to adapt it to Thera conditions. Look here,” said I and opened a fitting simulator.
[Buzzard, Tender Nosuri] Nanofiber Internal Structure II Nanofiber Internal Structure II Scan Pinpointing Array II Scan Rangefinding Array II Scan Pinpointing Array II Scan Rangefinding Array II Scan Rangefinding Array II Sisters Expanded Probe Launcher Covert Ops Cloaking Device II Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade II Small Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer II Core Probe Launcher I x10 Core Scanner Probe I x80 Sisters Core Scanner Probe x16
“Firstly, we have too much scanning upgrades. We are going to scan wormholes, not Sleeper caches, so we don’t need too much scan strength. All extra Scan Rangefinding and Pinpointing arrays should go. Oh, and that Gravity Capacitor Upgrade rig can go too.
“Now, the low slots. The nanofiber structures are not of much use for us as they aren’t gonna help in a bubble. Out!
“High slots. An expanded probe launcher takes too much CPU. Let’s replace it with a Core Probe Launcher.”
“From Sisters?” asked Aura.
“Hmm… We have removed quite a lot of scan bonuses already, so I am not sure if I want to drop the scan strength any more. Yes, let’s make it a Sisters model.”
“And what are you going to put in all those empty slots?”
“Well, one choice is quite obvious – where you have bubbles you must have a microwarpdrive.”
I added 5MN Microwarpdrive II to a mid-slot.
“Oopsy-daisy,” exclaimed Aura pointing at a flashing red number in the lower-right corner of the window. “We are already out of power grid.”
“Well, this leads us to a natural choice of a low-slot module,” I winked at Aura and added Micro Auxiliary Power Core II. The number stopped blinking.
“We still have an empty slot in each section,” pointed out observant Aura.
“Yep, let’s add a cap battery to the mids.”
“Why do we need it? Or do you plan to run your MWD non-stop?”
“No, it’s for warping. Remember when we visited Thera as tourists we kept running out of capacitor in mid-warp? This is undesirable, now that we are going to work in that place. So I hope that a cap battery will let us whizz around Thera without intervals. And to make such interruptions even more unlikely, let me add this Warp Core Optimizer rig.”
“We still have a vacant low slot. Should we put a nanofiber back?” suggested Aura. “It will shave a second off the align time.”
“Nah, as I already said, align time is not important, but velocity is. We already have and MWD, so to boost it a little more, I am going to add an Overdrive Injector System II. This will give us additional 300-400 metres per second. So here you go! The fit is ready,” declared I, quite pleased with the result.
[Buzzard, Thera Scanner] Overdrive Injector System II Micro Auxiliary Power Core II Scan Acquisition Array II Scan Rangefinding Array II Scan Pinpointing Array II Small Cap Battery II 5MN Microwarpdrive II Sisters Core Probe Launcher Covert Ops Cloaking Device II Small Warp Core Optimizer II Small Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer II Sisters Core Scanner Probe x16
Aura examined the fit critically and gave it her tentative nod of approval, “Looks reasonable. Let’s see how it works. BTW, are you going to leave the third high slot empty?”
“Oh, thanks for reminding,” said I and put a Festival Launcher in the remaining slot.
“A Festival Launcher? Are we celebrating something?”
“No,” smiled I, “this is a weapon of last resort. If despite all my precautions I am going to go down, then I am going down in style.”