Delivery mission to low-sec

10th July 2009 – 5.38 pm

Even though courier missions are a little tedious, their quick nature means that storyline missions crop up more often, which offer significant faction gains. I think this is why I have been content to tolerate so many courier missions so far. But the standings gains I am now getting from the encounter missions are certainly enough to give me a decent sense of progress, and I will still get storyline missions eventually. Indeed, one crops up shortly after I move to the Core Complexion, Inc. personnel agent, so I open my journal to see what simple task I am asked to complete for some easy standing gain.

Hmm, the mission may not be quite so easy. Even though it is an otherwise simple courier mission the destination is a low-sec system. The sytem is only one jump in to low-sec but the cargo is bulky enough to require my Badger to move it, and the fragile and slow industrial vessel is hardly a ship to pilot in to low-sec. I know that a while back I was thinking about buying a Crane blockade runner, the perfect ship for this kind of task, but the high cost of the skill training and Tech II ship put me off, and it's probably not worth buying a Crane just for this job. But this is a storyline mission and I could really use the standing gain.

Although low-sec space can be dangerous, where anyone is fair game, particularly someone in an undefended industrial ship, it is only really as dangerous as you make it. If you know the risks and account for them I believe you can stay fairly safe. I only have one hop to make in and out to complete the mission, and plenty of time to do it, so I start by scouting the area in a ship a little more manoeuvrable. A simple shuttle will do the trick, entirely vulnerable but highly agile and fast. I only want to make sure there is a clear path in and out of the low-sec system after all.

I am lucky in that there are two high-sec systems connecting to the low-sec destination, offering an alternative stargate should one route appear to be camped, and maybe even deterring capsuleers from camping a gate because of the second route. I make a safe-spot, in both high-sec systems, sitting within scanning distance of the stargate in to low-sec, which is perhaps being a bit too cautious but I would rather not show my intention of heading in to the system until I am definitely going to do so.

My initial scouting trip shows small craft sitting on both gates, neither particularly menacing in themselves but either could be relaying intelligence to capsuleers on the other side of the gate, waiting in ambush, about approaching and jumping ships. I head back to base to wait for a better opportunity, which comes the next day. Again, I take my shuttle out to scout and this time find the gates to be clear on the high-sec side. Rather than make a run for it with my Badger I know that I really need to make safe-spots on the low-sec side of the gates, as getting out of the system is just as important to do safely as getting in.

I jump through to low-sec and immediately warp away from the gate, setting about getting safe-spots set up for both the exits to high-sec. After another quick check that the gates are clear I head back to my mission base, pick up my Badger and visit the storyline agent, accepting his mission. With the initial work completed earlier it is now a simple matter of using my bookmarked safe-spots in conjunction with my scanner to ensure my path is clear and I make it in and out of low-sec safely, completing the storyline mission for great profit and standing gain.

It may seem like I spent a lot of time worrying over an inconsequential event, but I would suggest that it was only inconsequential precisely because I showed the initial concern. Staying safe is all about preparation and maintaining proper vigilance. Now I must be close to working with another level four R&D agent.

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