Requiem for a Crane

30th December 2009 – 5.34 pm

Farewell, Tigress II. Shortly after piloting my blockade running transport ship back home to w-space with my new Manticore stealth bomber, the Crane gets targeted by hostile capsuleers when picking up a load of mined ore. I imagine it doesn't take long for the ambushing Proteus to rip the helpless Crane to shreds, although I don't know for sure. I am not piloting Tigress II when she meets her demise, so the guilt of ship loss not only doesn't fall on me but is probably magnified from losing another capsuleer's vessel. At least Tigress II is destroyed in the line of duty, out in w-space, hauling, and not casually thrown away in a green cloud of doom like the original Tigress, poor girl.

Being caught by dedicated pirates is nothing to feel guilty about. The engineers are inexperienced in PvP and I consider it positive simply to survive out in w-space. Having been involved in a few engagements and seen what a flurry of confusion and panic the appearance of deadly ships can cause, I bear no ill-will towards my colleague. Tigress II served the corporation well, and me in particular. The Crane has been my ship of choice to pilot in and out of w-space, with a speedy warp engine, agile hull, and ability to cloak. Not only that, but the transport ship's moderately sized hold gives it remarkable utility in resupplying w-space with ammunition and modules, as well as helping to move items within w-space.

Tigress II kept me safe. On one trip back to New Eden from w-space, a warp bubble was noted to be on the other side of our static wormhole. Having to navigate through the bubble before being able to enter warp poses a credible threat, and a significant one if hostile ship is in the area at the time. I poke my Crane's nose through the wormhole and, seeing no ships on the overview, take the risk. I point myself in the right direction, flick on the micro-warp drive, and set full speed ahead. Flying at well over 1,500 m/s pushes me through the bubble in a matter of seconds, and I warp to the exit wormhole safely. It was a thrill!

Safely navigating through w-space makes high-sec seem somewhat boring. It is useful to be able to activate the auto-pilot and take care of other business as the ship's systems automatically get you to your destination, but sometimes you want to feel the figurative wind in your hair. With wormholes occasionally sending me through low-sec, I get much less wary about low-sec travel, and in my Crane I end up changing my ship's navigational computer settings to choose the shortest route to my destination, regardless of security status. Whilst I can't fly on auto-pilot, I get a more interesting flight.

High-sec space is rather well-connected mostly, and many times the shortest route is entirely through high-sec, causing me to revert my nav-comp settings and boringly using auto-pilot. But one day the shortest route passing through low-sec actually halves the number of high-sec jumps that would be required. Seeing a number of orange and red dots appear along the edge of my HUD, indicating a fully low-sec journey, is invigorating. In my exuberance, I don't even check the star map for dangerous activity in the systems I'll pass through, I trust my Crane to get me through quickly and safely. I jump through low-sec gate after low-sec gate, seeing the occasional ship but no gate camps and little real danger. It may not actually be dangerous, but I revel in making a trip that others perhaps would shy away from.

Even when my hold is full I chance my way through low-sec space. For a corporation ice mining operation in high-sec, some ships are needed to be brought back to corporate headquarters. The journey is a little shorter through low-sec, perhaps not reduced enough to warrant the risk, but I have my Crane. Loading a packaged Mackinaw exhumer and some modules in to my hold, I pilot through several low-sec systems back to base. In my Crane, I'm unstoppable. And all of this is before I train in covert operations cloaking devices, so I am warping and jumping between systems in plain sight.

Tigress II was fabulous. It is sad to learn that someone dared to shoot her, but it was always a risk. At least the risks she was subjected to were dutiful, and that she spent most of her time in low-sec and w-space means she saw good service. Tigress II's destruction is not kept from me, and although it is upsetting to learn of her demise I know she was in the hands of an accomplished pilot at the time. I am presented with a replacement Crane, such is the beneficence of my colleagues, named Tigress III. I already know that the new Crane will be as fulfilling to pilot as the old. It's funny, though, I don't remember rigging it with low friction nozzle joints.

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