Impromptu datacore run

12th March 2010 – 5.33 pm

Our scanning man finds an exit. We are plonked out of w-space in to low-sec, but the system has a high-sec connection, through a fancy-pants stargate no less, and is only a handful of jumps to where my Crane Tigress III is docked. Well, it's a handful if your parents are cousins, but six jumps is still close. A wormhole along the route is reaching the end of its natural lifetime, but it was stable when our scanner first finds it so it has a few hours left before collapsing. That's plenty of time to pick up Tigress and take care of a little business.

I grab a shuttle for the journey out, making the single hop to high-sec without problems, and I soon dock and settle back in to my Crane. Woo! Corporate headquarters is close and I fly there to manage my blueprints. I don't refresh any ME research this time, instead pulling all my jobs out of the laboratories and relocating them to my personal hangar in a nearby station. I am not abandoning my limited industrial operations, but there are imminent changes to the structure of the corporation with respect to the wormhole engineering division. I simply need to consolidate my assets that are currently within corporate control.

There is still no sign of a fleet looking to form for Sleeper combat, giving me the opportunity to head back to my manufacturing base. I can drop off a newly researched blueprint and a stack of minerals, once I return to the station and remember to move them in to my ship's hold. As I make my journey, word comes back that the end-of-life wormhole has collapsed rather abruptly, discovered by another capsuleer trying to head back. It's a nightmare, I'm stuck in New Eden! It's best not to panic. With a bit of time to spare in high-sec I ponder my options. I could replenish my depleting mineral reserves so I can build more modules, but moving my BPCs, datacores and data interfaces reminds me that I have research agents working for me I haven't spoken to for months. I bet they have some results to show, and all the travel will keep me occupied for a while.

I start my datacore run simply, as one of the research agents is in the same system as my manufacturing base. I keep forgetting this nugget of information. After this, the other agents are spread across the galaxy. I go in to my navigational computer and change it to direct my path through low-sec space to shorten my route. Or I would, if the navicomp weren't already configured that way. It's good that my journey so far has taken me only through high-sec, or I might have been embarrassingly popped on auto-pilot. But now my route will be low-sec whenever convenient. The next agent to visit is five jumps away, three through low-sec. Pleasantries are exchanged, a mission request ignored, and datacores bought. On to the next agent, fifteen jumps away and twelve through low-sec.

Apart from occasional activity and maybe one or two shooting matches, in all my time piloting a Crane I have not seen a bit of trouble flying through low-sec. Maybe I have simply been lucky and avoided notorious systems. As I muse on not seeing gate camps, a stargate on my route has three Serpentis wrecks scattered around it. No other ships are around, and one of the wrecks is almost close enough to the gate's jump distance. In a moment of stupidity, I steal the loot from the wreck, because I can. I spin Tigress III around and jump to get back on course, noting that this is one of the few times I have an active 'aggression timer' on me. Ajump or two ahead I even think I spot the ship that left the wrecks behind.

The next research agent tries to make me do some work for him, but I refuse and just buy the accumulated datacores. I also sell my stolen Serpentis wreck loot, bagging me an awesome 15k ISK bounty, well worth risking my 100M ISK Tech II transport ship over. Three agents visited, one to go. But a new route through w-space has been scanned by a generous colleague. The high-sec exit is only one jump further when made exclusively in high-sec, and my aggression timer has gone, letting me fly on auto-pilot there. I am asked to pick up a mobile laboratory on my way, which I find from an NPC seller. Oh, but I am carrying a cargo of over five hundred datacores too.

A peek at the market and a bit of rough maths suggests that the cargo I'm carrying is worth around 300M ISK, which is rather a lot, even in high-sec. Luckily, the route to the new wormhole takes me within one jump of my manufacturing base. I detour and drop off the datacores so as not to risk moving them through w-space. A few more jumps and I am guided to the wormhole by a colleague, who then points the route back to the corporation tower. I make it home safely, thankfully surviving my time in high-sec.

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