Choosing My Poison

Region Region G-R00031 – Constellation G-C00324
Thera System

17 May YC 123

It started like another day on the tools.  I woke up in the comfortable bed in my Buzzard, took a shower, had a breakfast, and then went to the capsule and submerged myself in the pod goo. The corp mates, as always, did a great job keeping Thera map up to date and there were only a couple of unexplored signatures. I quickly added them to TripWire – one was a high-sec connection and another was a relic site; not very interesting for exploration as I don’t hack sites in Thera. I then checked the existing connections and found one leading to a C1 system. It still had 3 hours of life in it, so why not, thought I and dived through.

Region A-R00001 – Constellation A-C00312
System J105711

J105711 was a class 1 system and contained remnants of Blood Raiders’ and Angels’ Central  Sparking Transmitters. Not the most profitable sites but better than nothing. I scanned them down, bookmarked and returned to Institute of Paleocybernetics in Thera. There I loaded my capsule into Stubborn Dwarf and performed a pre-flight check. In my cargo hold I found a relic analyzer and a mobile depot which I usually took to systems with both data and relic sites, so that I could replace analyzers in space. But since J105711 had only data sites and I wouldn’t need to swap analyzers, I left the mobile depot in the station. Then I undocked, started the warp to the wormhole and activated Aura.

“Good morning, my dear,” I greeted her. “Wanna have some fun?”

Aura looked at me suspiciously, “Is it the kind of fun when we fly naked into the ‘wide black yonder’, as Allison likes to say, and hack a site hoping that everyone will just leave us alone?”

“I heard that,” interjected Allison.

“Yep,” admitted I, cheerfully.

“One day it will all end in tears, but I won’t be the one who will remember it,” warned Aura, darkly.

“I’ll take that risk,” replied I and entered the wormhole.

The hacking went smoothly. There wasn’t a single sign of life on D-scan although, for all I know, there could be a fleet of cloaked hungry Buzzards circling the site. So I finished the hacking in peace and, with 10 million ISK worth of loot in my cargo hold, I warped back to the Thera entrance. When Stubborn Dwarf emerged on the other side of the warp tunnel, I stared blankly at the overview… the overview stared blankly at me. There was no wormhole!

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I checked the bookmark and confirmed that it was a few kilometres away from me, so the location was right. I then looked around through the external cameras – nothing. I then decanted myself from the capsule, walked, leaving wet footprints on the deck, to the nearest viewport and peered outside – nothing. Where there had been a pulsating breach in the space-time continuum, now was… just the continuum. I swore.

“You seem to have misplaced a wormhole,” said Aura who was so far watching my perturbations in silence.

“Never mind,” replied I getting back in the capsule. “That’s what we carry a mobile depot with us for…”

At this point I froze with my mouth agape and choked on the rising pod goo. When I finished coughing I swore again. In my misguided attempt to limit potential losses, I unloaded the mobile depot which I didn’t need for swapping the analysers, but which I did need in case I got stranded outside Thera. I always kept that second purpose in mind… always, except today.

“Hey,” exclaimed Aura having checked the cargo manifest, “why didn’t you take the depot?”

I put my face in my hands and mumbled, “Because I am an idiot.”

Aura took a long pause, obviously astonished at such candid and uncharacteristic self-assessment. Finally, she said in a bright voice, “Good! At least, when you talked about fun you didn’t mean getting stuck in Anoikis. I am glad that our notions of fun are not that different.”

I didn’t reply. Aura realised that I was going through a little personal hell and changed the tone.

“Vlad, come on! It’s not the end of the world. We all make mistakes. In the worst case you’ll just have to self-destruct and lose, say, 20-30 million ISK.”

I glared at her angrily, “Self-destruct? Can you imagine the front page in Gallente Telegraph – A Signaleer Self-Destructs After Getting Stuck In A Wormhole? I will be a laughing stock of all New Eden! And what about the Signal Cartel’s reputation? A corporation famous for its Search and Rescue Service could not rescue its own member!”

“But what’s the problem then? You just wait until one of your corp mates comes across this system and gets you out. May take a while but, hey, what’s time for a capsuleer?”

“Don’t you understand? I’ll have to tell those corp mates that their colleague, who sowed and tended more than a hundred caches, went out so woefully unprepared that he couldn’t even use one of those caches to rescue himself! I’ll hear no end of it!”

Aura shrugged, “What can I say? You just have to choose your poison.”

“I know my choices,” snapped I. “I don’t have to like them though.”

Aura said nothing in reply and pretended that she was busy checking the instruments. I sat in silence for quite a long time, but finally I opened the members channel on corp Discord and pinged 911 Operators.

“Help,” I squeaked timidly.

The guys had a field day.

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