Region A-R00001 – Constellation A-C00312
17 May YC 123
There was a lot of mirth and banter when I announced in the Discord channel that I got stuck in a wormhole. There were memes, there were jokes and much merriment. There were also serious questions from 911 Operators who ran me through the checklist, asking if there was a freeport (no), if I had a probe launcher (no!), or if I had a mobile depot (NO!). Then through the general hubbub came a voice of Xalyar.
“Why don’t you use the Noise filament?”
My jaw dropped. I was known to make stupid mistakes, but two in one day was too rich even by my standards. How? How could I forget about the filaments? Each time I tended a cache, I checked that a Noise filament was inside. I knew they were there, I made sure they were there, but when I needed one myself, I totally forgot that they were there!
“Thanks, Xalyar,” I said weakly and logged off.
A filament offered a way out but it was a way to null-sec. And I wasn’t equipped for travelling through null-sec. I didn’t have a cloak, I didn’t have nullification, and without those modules I would be dead as soon as I flew into the first gate camp.
“Well,” said Aura. “What do we do?”
“I am not doing anything,” I replied grumpily and opened the capsule. “I am going to have a drink. Just keep us warping between safes, will you?”
“Need a bit of Dutch courage, eh?” snickered Aura.
I didn’t reply and went to my cabin. There I had a drink. Then another one. Then I watched a holoreel. Then I slept.
25 May YC 123
After a week of such mind-numbing procrastination, I looked in the mirror, shuddered and got angry at myself. Other capsuleers willingly self-destructed just to take a pod express to their home station and save time on jumping between systems. And here was Mr Vladimir Korff whose clone was so precious that he was ready to spend a lifetime in a hole to avoid losing it. It was time to move on, in this clone or a new one. But first there was an important task to finish. I rummaged in the drawer and found a razor. If I had to leave my corpse floating near some star gate, at least it would be a well-presented one.
Despite my newly found resolve, I waited for the time when null-sec was at its quietest, and only then activated the filament. The die was cast.
Feythabolis Region – Constellation YZKE-Q
I found myself in an absolutely empty system in Feythabolis region, which was 35 jumps away from the nearest hi-sec place. Other options included getting to low-sec (36 jumps), getting to a station in null-sec and buying a probe launcher there (25 jumps), and finding a direct wormhole to Thera (36 jumps).
Aura looked critically at the list of our destinations and said, “The longer the route, the more likely we will get in trouble.”
“Why guess?” smiled I and connected to the Eve Gate Check service.
The results were… interesting. Apparently, the safest route with zero kills at all waypoints in the last three hours was the one which led to another null-sec system U69-YC in Detorid – the nearest entrance to Thera.
“What a backwater!” exclaimed Aura. “I would never have thought that one could jump through that many null-sec systems without being killed.”
I winked, “We’ll see if this is true pretty soon.”
“So you wanna try going from null-sec straight to Thera?”
“Going to Thera from low-sec takes as many jumps through null-sec. The route to hi-sec is marginally shorter but the exit gate is heavily camped, judging by the kill statistics. I’d say, it would be pretty stupid of us to get this kind of intel and not act on it,” shrugged I and warped to GPUS-A gate.
It was a weird trip, like going through a ghost town. I saw only one other ship, a Venture, which was probably just as scared to see a non-blue ship on the overview. But despite all this calm and emptiness I was not destined to reach U69-YC.
Tenerifis Region – Constellation ZQ7-QS
Stats tend to change over time, so I was flying at a breakneck speed to make sure that I would not become the one who spoiled the perfect record of zero kills along my route. When I jumped into a system I didn’t look around, I just tried to get out of it as soon as possible. Jump, warp to the next gate, drop safe spot bookmark – was my routine in every system. After 14 jumps, as I was flying through QI9-42, I noticed some green flash on the HUD. I turned my attention to the local channel and couldn’t believe my eyes – there was a Signaleer in the system.
“Alex!” yelled I. “Alex Rapso! Help!”
“In case you didn’t know,” said Aura sarcastically, “vacuum provides very good acoustic insulation, to say nothing about the fact that he is several astronomical units away from you.”
“Damn!” swore I and opened a direct chat channel.
It took me a while to explain how I managed to end up in deep null-sec without a cloak, a probe launcher and, for that matter, an exploration frigate. Alex was looking for relic sites but he graciously agreed to find a wormhole shortcut to hi- or low-sec. As always happens in such cases, suddenly all signatures turned out to be relic and data sites without a single wormhole in sight. We actually travelled half-way to Thera entrance before we found a wormhole which led to a C3 system. Null-sec was getting on my nerves so I gladly agreed to dive into the familiar J-Space jungle. It turned out to be a wise decision as the the system had a low-sec static, and three minutes later I was safely docked in FedMart Warehouse in Aldranette. Alex offered to escort me to hi-sec but I had enough adventures for one day and decided to make a stopover.
As I left my ship, I was swept away by a crowd of carousing State Protectorate pilots who were celebrating the capture of the system by Caldari State. Being a Caldari citizen, I readily joined the party, but as I was raising toasts to the victory I couldn’t help noticing that I was doing it half-heartedly. It wasn’t long since I became a capsuleer, but already the bond with my compatriots started to weaken. Five years ago I visited a resort in Amarr Empire and a recent acquaintance asked me who I was, to which I proudly replied “I am a Caldari”. But last week I was asked the same question in Thera station bar and, without much thinking, I said “a capsuleer”. If you asked me today, my reply would be “a Signaleer”. Although I was in Signal Cartel for more than a year, it was only after receiving selfless help from a fellow corp member that I finally realised how proud I was to be part of this group.
Smiling to myself, I raised a silent toast to Alex Rapso and left the crowd.