Shuttling ships to market

31st January 2010 – 3.24 pm

An exit is found to New Eden. Although it leads out to my manufacturing region, the wormhole is reaching the end of its natural lifetime, giving only a few hours before it collapses. 'Only a few hours' sounds like a long time—and it is—but the timing all depends on when the wormhole enters its end-of-life state, which isn't known. I may have three hours to take care of business, or I may have thirty minutes. Although it should only be a handful of jumps to reach my production plant, delivering goods to market will take time. It's possible that by taking this exit I will be stuck in New Eden, waiting for a new link to our w-space home to be found. But I take that risk, as I have some exciting products to ship.

The last time I returned to my manufacturing base, I took my first Badger Mark II off the production line and to market. Soon after, it sold, and for a good profit. All the time spent researching the material efficiency of the blueprint looks to be paying off. Before I went back to w-space I installed a larger run of Badger IIs for production. It is still a small run, limited by my small mineral stocks, but delivering ships for others to buy, instead of modules for ships, feels like an important step. Requesting the production run to be delivered whilst I am en route, I reach my manufacturing base to find a number of pristine industrial ships sitting packaged in my hangar. Now to get them to a suitable market.

Even packaged, a Badger Mark II is rather more voluminous than many ships can carry. And even if a ship could carry one, there is little to be gained from taking only one ship to market in another. Not much time is saved unless two or more ships can be hauled at once. It looks like I'll be piloting the Badger IIs to get them to market. Luckily, a good opportunity to undercut a decent price is available only one system jump away, which will cut down the tedium of transporting the ships one at a time. I also have a plan to make it a little quicker.

The Badger Mark II is an industrial ship, with a fair-sized cargo hold that can quite easily carry a shuttle. Taking a shuttle doesn't seem to add efficiency, as travelling in a naked pod is viable in high-sec. But whereas a pod has no cargo hold, the shuttle can fit a couple of small modules. A couple of inertia stabilisers can be fitted to the Badger II I am piloting, making it enter warp more quickly and thus reducing travel time, and carried back in the shuttle to my manufacturing base to repeat the process with the next Badger II. This saves me a little time, without having to pick up stranded modules after stripping the ships for sale on the market. Of course, the time saved may be only a few seconds, lost again by having to fit the modules and move them between cargo holds, but the psychological effect is positive.

I get all my Badger Mark II industrial ships to market in good time. The rest of the modules coming off the production line are taken to various reliable markets using my Crane transport ship. Being back in the Crane lets me appreciate its agility and speed all the more after piloting standard Badger IIs for a while, so I take Tigress III for a spin down to corporation headquarters to refresh ME research on my next batch of BPOs. The trip may not take long, but I am perhaps pushing my luck if I want to get back through the dying wormhole. I suppose I have resigned myself to fate for the day, and today I am lucky. When I return, both the wormhole back in to w-space and the connecting wormhole, which was also nearing the end of its lifetime, are still available to use. I make it back home safely.

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