I really like the Crane. I borrow Kename Fin's when she's not looking, and when she's around pretend I couldn't possibly borrow it in a reverse-psychology manoeuvre that naturally ends up with me zooming across the galaxy at hugely impressive warp speeds. It warps faster than a shuttle, cruises sub-warp a little bit slower, and has a cargo hold, which makes it ideal to zoom from region to region on errands, whether personal, corporate or agent-initiated. I have been writing for months that I will get my own Crane, the goal reinvigorated after having piloted one.
The problem with getting a Crane is the cost. Or, rather, that I have a problem spending ISK, for some reason. The current trans-regional cost for a Crane transport ship is around eighty million ISK, which would make buying one my most expensive purchase in New Eden to date, and that seems extravagant for a ship that will not see combat and has less cargo capacity than my Badger Mark II. The other reason for not rushing out to buy a Crane, with my lucrative share of the profits from w-space operations, is that the capability to build my own Crane seems to be almost within my grasp, feeding in to the same drive to be self-sufficient that finally gets shield rigs fitted to my Drake.
My move in to Tech II invention was tentative but assured, picking small and cheap modules to invent that I was confident would sell on the market and didn't need widely different skill requirements to achieve. A bit of luck means that I only need to learn the Caldari Starship Engineering skill in order to have a chance of turning a Badger BPO in to a Tech II blockade runner BPC. As the material efficiency of a blueprint doesn't effect the resultant Tech II BPC's manufacturing requirements I don't even need to make copies of a researched BPO. I can simply copy the unresearched BPO to make a stack of unresearched Tech I BPCs to feed in to the invention process. After making the copies I can run the long process of ME research on the Badger BPO.
All that I need now are some datacores. Quite a lot of datacores, or a handful and a lot of luck. As my time recently has been spent in w-space and not trying to keep Lai Dai happy I have not been able to increase my standings with the corporation and find a higher level or quality R&D agent to research the datacores. By the same token, all the time spent in w-space has meant that the lone, low-quality Lai Dai agent research Caldari Starship Engineering for me has accumulated quite a few datacores already. And now that my skill training in warfare links has reached its current conclusion I can train to advance the engineering skill, which will increase my chances of success at invention as well as the number of research points gained per day.
As it stands, I think I have enough datacores available to be able to attempt a single invention job on a Badger BPC. I'm going to go for it. Invention jobs need to be installed individually anyway, so there is no functional difference between running a single invention or several, the risk per job is the same. Picking up the datacores from my current Lai Dai R&D agent is on my route to my BPC stash, so the time investment is minimal. Just a couple more days of skill training and then all I really would like before getting the boffins working is a decryptor to try to increase the yield of the BPC, which I think would be worth the cost for the potential gain in profit. I will have a Crane soon.