I have been a bit preoccupied of late to concern myself with running too many missions in EVE Online, what with preparing to relocate a few regions distant after joining a corporation as well as being in a different country for a while. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a series of linked missions that my agent had, codenamed New Frontiers. As each individual's mission is completed new information surfaces for the agent that prompts a subsequent mission.
You normally get a week to agree to the terms before the mission proposal is automatically rejected, and this standard period only begins once an agent has been contacted for a mission. With linked missions the agent is assumed to have been contacted as soon as you notify him of the current mission's success, because the impending nature of the circumstances requires a swifter response. Having a week to agree to undertake a mission often seems like long enough, too long indeed, but when you cannot choose when that week starts it can become quite the deadline.
After I brought home the mad scientist I was alerted by my agent about his personality perhaps being a rogue intelligence in a drone in the system, or something like that. I had been meaning to get more details from my agent and seek out the deadly drone, but other events ended up taking priority. Now my agent sends me a message letting me know that the symbiont has escaped from the system. Not just that, but it is because of my lethargic response or improper priorities that allowed the symbiont to escape. It is on my head and who knows what havoc it is wreaking?
I knew I had the mission to accept, the symbiont to track down and destroy, just as I knew that I would perhaps not be available. I could have contacted my agent and told him so, but I was still hoping that I could find the time to complete the New Frontiers mission. The interesting aspect is how personal it feels to fail to accomplish a mission. It feels like I have let down my agent. It also feels like I have missed an opportunity, to explore more of the galaxy and to help make a difference.
I know that circumstances will probably arise in the future that mean I could get a similar experience on a different mission, but for some reason that doesn't seem to be the point. The availability and urgency of EVE Online missions makes New Eden seem a more dynamic world, one where my actions matter and have repercussions.