I'm planning on a short, simple evening tonight. I'll scan my way to empire space and run some errands, nothing more. Let's see how this works out. Oh, hi two wormholes in the home system, throwing a spanner in the works already, but w-space is just teasing me. Warping to one of the wormholes lands me in empty space, the connection dying before I even reach it. That leaves me with just our static wormhole to jump through, where, in our neighbouring class 3 system, seeing a tower and lack of ships on my directional scanner is a good result today.
Not only am I back on track, but my notes even have this C3 holding a static exit to high-sec empire space. Could it be that one of my plans is going to, uh, plan? There has been tower churn since my last visit, which is also good, because the local corporation was red and actively hostile towards us before. Now the owners aren't quite so red, and so whatever pilots may wake up will shoot me only because they can and not for idealistic reasons. But I suppose there is little functional difference between the two situations.
Scanning reveals a tidy system, with a single anomaly to bookmark and five signatures to resolve. I get a magnetometric site, two gravimetric sites, and the exit to high-sec last. I jump out of w-space to appear in the Essence region, scummy Gallente space and far from anywhere civilised. I'll scan for more wormholes, as maybe I can get lucky and find a better connection. No, on second thoughts, let's not. I remember the last time I scanned for a shorter route through empire space, and took half-an-hour effectively progressing through two stargates. I'll make do with what I have.
I head home, swap my scanning boat for the Crane transport, and stuff it full of loot and salvage to sell. Returning to empire space has me realise that the high-sec exit is a little misleading, as it is a dead end with two low-sec systems between it and contiguous high-sec. But that poses no bother for my Crane, I just find it interesting, and probably accounts for the lack of traffic. I get myself to a trade hub, sell all our loot, and—yes, why not—buy myself the new ship I've been thinking about for ages.
My new Loki strategic cruiser is bought but not assembled, as I manage to squeeze the hull, subsystems, and most of the fittings in to the Crane. I don't buy everything I need as I'm sure we have spare modules back at our tower, and there's no point spending ISK wastefully. I have all I think I need, but I'm not heading back home just yet. Instead, I drop off the Loki at a nearby industrial base I once used and collect some datacores. Now to get the rest, which is meant to be the other simple errand I'm running, but the optimal path between my research agents is a draining fifty hops. Still, I'd better do it.
One hop in to my epic journey and already I'm confused and bitter about using stargates. I have all three remaining research systems entered in to my autopilot, with waypoints set and optimised, but instead of one route to A, B, and then C, apparently I have a quantum path mapped out where my autopilot suggests any three of the five stargates here as being the right one to take. That's really unhelpful, and not just because my supposed nav-comp isn't telling me where I'm going but because I have to remember my optimal waypoint sequence, as the only way to proceed without wasting time is to delete my entire route and take it one leg at a time.
I could ponder what the 'auto' in autopilot stands for on my journey, but I just catch up on some reading. I simply need to be aware of when I transition from high-sec to low-sec, as it presents a shorter route, and when I reach my waypoints. Jump, cloak, repeat. Dock, buy datacores, undock—with datacores in my hold, mind you. Jump, cloak, repeat. I pass a Nemesis stealth bomber ratting on a stargate in low-sec, who then catches up to me on the next gate. Is he chasing me? Whatever, Nemesis dude. I don't see him again. I collect all my datacores and get them back to the industrial base, but can't be bothered to think about selling them now. I want to get home, with my new ship.
I throw the Loki and its fittings back in the Crane and make my way back to the dead-end high-sec system in Essence, where I dock and dump the Loki again. There is method in my madness. Bringing the Loki with the Crane is effectively making one journey here with both ships, and I only need to double my efforts across one high-sec system and one w-space system. Had I assembled my Loki back where I bought it I'd have had to gone back with my pod and made the same long journey a second time. And I assume we can't assemble strategic cruisers in w-space yet, with CCP hating w-spacers still. I'd rather make a short extra trip now than waste time finding out the hard way.
I get the extra modules required from the tower, which we have, and get the Loki built. It's time for PewPewlitzer's maiden voyage. And rather than just take the Loki home, which is generally what I do with new ships, I'll get it working for me straight away, by scanning the high-sec system. A few extra signatures give me something to get my teeth in to, as I resolve a magnetometric site, some drones, a Serpentis site, some rocks, and a wormhole. The outbound connection to class 3 w-space is a pretty neat find too.
Th X702 would be a better find if the system weren't empty and inactive, although the tower from six weeks ago is still there. I could scan for the ECM drones littered somewhere, or for more wormholes, but my short and simple evening has become a long and simple evening, thanks to the seventy jumps or so I've made so far. Or, rather, the seventy systems I've had to warp across, which takes a bit longer than activating a stargate. Still, I travelled through high-sec, low-sec, and w-space freely and without trepidation, barely registering the differences. I've come a long way, baby.