Babe, Where Have You Been?

Delve Region – XPJ1-6 Constellation
KFIE-Z System – Planet III, Moon 7
Blood Raiders Assembly Plant

14 December YC 120

When I entered the station I was surprised by how normal everything looked. To think about it, I was deep in the null-sec space, in a station owned by a pirate faction which was famous for harvesting human blood from their victims. At the same time, I was surrounded by ordinary-looking people, mostly Amarrians dressed in their traditional gold-coloured garments but with a vermilion tint, who went about their business without paying me any attention. After some time I noticed that they were very carefully not paying attention to me. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was an outsider or a capsuleer, but that made me uncomfortable. I decided to finish my business as quickly as possible and get back home. In the station directory I found the place where the hacker lived and took a lift to his level.

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A Trip To The Null-Sec

14 December YC 120

Every capsule is equipped with NEOCOM which can plan the route between any two star systems in k-space. It is good enough only if your journey takes you through the hi-sec. For routes which venture away from the CONCORD-enforced “safety” I found a better service in The Net – DOTLAN. When it came to route planning it did pretty much the same job as NEOCOM, but its major advantage was an ability to show ship kills in every star system along the route. Any low-sec or null-sec system with non-zero kills in the last three hours potentially harboured a gate camp and had to be avoided.

When I first used DOTLAN to plan the fastest route between Itamo and KFIE-Z I was stunned by the sheer scale of my endeavour – I had to make 40 jumps through seven regions! Me who had spent all my capsuleer career in The Forge. This is what my journey would look like.

Itamo - KFIE-Z straight route

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To Be, Or Not To Be And Then To Be Again

The Forge Region – Ruomo Constellation
Itamo System – Planet VI, Moon 6
Science and Trade Institute School Station

Okay, I didn’t go straight away to Blood Raiders’ station. In fact, as soon as I asked Aura to plot the way to their system I freaked out and told her to get me back to Science and Trade Institute School. There I went to a bar and ordered a stein of beer to calm my nerves.

Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking…

I hadn’t felt so conflicted since Gerhardt offered me a referral to capsuleer training. I just couldn’t make up my mind as to what I wanted to do. On the one hand, I was getting tired of Aura’s robotic responses and I didn’t look forward to spending an eternity in her company. On the other hand, plenty of capsuleers, probably all but one, put up with their Auras for years without whingeing. Then again, on the one hand, if I had an opportunity to make Aura a better companion, why wouldn’t I do it? On the other hand, what was the rush? Surely, I could wait for a while, train some skills, buy a better ship and venture into the null-sec better prepared than now. I would miss Gerhardt’s one million ISK offer but that was just a loan anyway. Hmm… I ordered another stein. Continue reading “To Be, Or Not To Be And Then To Be Again”

Trouble at the Mine

The Forge Region – Ruomo Constellation
Itamo System – Asteroid Belt I
An Abandoned Mining Colony

It seems there is always work for capsuleers – every time I ask Annukka about a mission she always has one for me. That day the mission had a mysterious name “The Abandoned Colony”. I had to visit the site of a former asteroid mining colony and destroy all Seekers which for some reason were constantly present in that area.

The mission was pretty routine – three waves of Seekers, Circadians and Retainers, expectedly perished under the fire from my Gatling Railgun.

Seeker at an Abandoned Mining Colony

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Eating Pie with a Fork

The Forge Region – Ruomo Constellation
Itamo System – The mission location

You’ve gotta love CONCORD analysts – this time they called the mission Fortress in the Rocks. I would have much preferred if they offered me something on the rocks but we were not on drinking terms with them yet. Anyway, they took their time to decode the data that was provided to them after my very first mission. It led them to a patch in an asteroid belt where the scouts found another Seeker enclave attached to a piece of mined-out rock. Further investigation was hampered by the presence of perimeter defences – a couple of anchored missile batteries. My task was to take them out.

Fortress in the Rocks

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Junk in the Clouds

The Forge Region – Ruomo Constellation
Itamo System – The mission location

Next day after The Sleeping Menace mission I received another task from Annukka, with another silly name – Hidden in the Clouds. The data that was recovered from the previous site indicated that there was another enclave obscured from scanning by a cloud formation. My objective, as before, was to clear the site of seekers.

When I arrived to the site three Seekers, two Circadians and one Escort, were already waiting for me there. Destruction of the pesky bots felt pretty routine now, so I devoted only part of my brain to the task at hand. Another part was taking in the view which would have been spectacular if not for the thick gauze of gas which covered the area. No wonder that CONCORD could not scan it down before.

Hidden in the Clouds

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The Sleeping Menace

The Forge Region – Ruomo Constellation
Itamo System – The mission location

Having boarded my faithful Yatagarasu I undocked and warped to the mission location to see what kind of menace was sleeping there. Again there was an alien structure but this time I didn’t waste time on sightseeing. My overview showed three hostile ships and only one was my old acquaintance, Circadian Seeker. Two others were named Seeker Escort and Seeker Retainer. Just like the Circadian they weren’t predisposed to diplomacy. All three targeted me and started buffeting my shields with rockets. “Okay”, thought I, “if you only understand the language of war, you will find that I speak it better than you,” and targeted the first Seeker.

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Seeker Investigation Programme

THE FORGE REGION – RUOMO CONSTELLATION
ITAMO SYSTEM – PLANET VI, MOON 6
Science and Trade Institute School Station

It was a morning after. After I had drinks with Gerhardt. Even my newly cloned body complained about the amount of ale I consumed. I was sitting in a cafe, drinking my second cup of coffee and trying to remember how to live. First thing I remembered was that I was supposed to feed myself regularly. I’d ordered proper breakfast, wolfed down bacon and eggs, and asked for another coffee. Having restored my faculty of memory, recollections of my conversation with Ger started popping up in my head. Eventually, my mind latched onto the recommendation to get a frigate. I took out a datapad and searched for Caldari frigates. Here is what I’d found. Continue reading “Seeker Investigation Programme”

G.I. Aura

The Forge Region – Ruomo Constellation
Itamo System – Planet VI, Moon 6
Science and Trade Institute School Station

Having “earned the right” for another question I immediately asked it, “Ger, how long does it take an Aura to develop a rapport with the capsuleer?”

“What do you mean by rapport?”

“You know, adjust emotions, humour, and behaviour in general to suit the particular capsuleer’s personality.”

Gerhardt shrugged, “They don’t do that. Auras are virtual assistants; their programs are pretty standard and do not evolve. Although they are highly intelligent, Auras do not have emotions, to say nothing about humour.”

“That’s strange,” mused I. “I thought they all started the same but then adapted to the owner’s personality.”

“What made you think so?”

“The contrast between my Aura and yours.” Continue reading “G.I. Aura”

The Training Plans

The Forge Region – Ruomo Constellation
Itamo System – Planet VI, Moon 6
Science and Trade Institute School Station

While I was getting back to the Navy office I got a message from Gerhardt who congratulated me on becoming a capsuleer. He had some business in The Forge next day and suggested to have a catch-up in the evening. I gladly agreed as again I had a lot of questions for him.

This time the agent, her name was Annukka, didn’t have objections; apparently my vandalism was either unnoticed or, more likely, totally inconsequential. Yatagarasu was now owned exclusively by me, without any restrictions. I felt like celebrating but decided to wait until Gerhardt’s arrival tomorrow.

Before I left the office, Annukka asked, “Have you already found a place to stay?” Continue reading “The Training Plans”