Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Brave New World

“no no No No No NO NO!”

A calculator flew threw the air in our common room, impacting on the wall in front of me, shattering into dozens of pieces. It came so close to my head, I spilled half of my drink.

I sighed - only one person could get angry enough to violence a harmless piece of corporate machinery...

“Ok, Sis - spit it out.”

“The material market!”, she bellowed, waving a bundle of spreadsheets at me. I couldn’t read any of the writing from this distance, but the diagrams were visible enough: colorful curves of averages and channels, and all pointing downwards. “Might as well not bother reacting anything,” continued Eta, “by the time it’s done, I can be lucky to just break even.”

She threw the sheets back onto her desk, and leaned back. “I knew PI would mess things up, but this...”

“Shush, there must be something still worthwhile...”, I walked the few steps over to here, ignoring the wisps of smoke emanating from my tunic. “Let me see - how about this? PPD Fullerene Fibers - they make a decent profit still.”

“Yes, but - ”, she pulled up the current market prices, “there’s hardly enough of the gases out there to make it worth the effort of switching the reactor around. It’d be easier to just raid a w-space system or three.”

“Hmm...”, leaning back I pondered the situation. “Well, guess you’re screwed then.”

She harrumphed. “Gee, thanks! I’ll just have to try these to materials and hope for the best. But I wonder what POS fuel is doing now...”

“You may not want to...” I started in alarm, but too late: she pulled up the market information before I could stop her. Quickly I ducked behind a chair in anticipation of the next domestic projectile - but to my surprise nothing happened.

As I carefully peeked over the top of the chair, Eta was absentmindedly doodling on a piece of paper.

“You know,” she said to noone in particular, “Sometimes I wonder if shouldn’t just forget about this stuff, and do something less stressful. Like joining Hellfleet, or so.”

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Taking a Breather


If somebody had told me at the beginning of my career that I’d look forward to a quiet day of mining, I’d have laughed him off (and probably put into structure). But yet here I was, sitting in our corp Orca, enjoying the live feed from the Alliance tournament while cracking the ganglink whip over my minions. Sun shining on the ‘roids, drones merrily playing hide and seek with the Sansha locals, and in the bowels of the barges the Arcturian mega-space hamsters running in their wheels to power the strip miners. After all, even a CEO needs to take a break once in a while (as long as it generates a profit).

It felt like we had just left our previous wormhole (I distinctly remembered the subsequent days of freightering across New Eden to collect our belongings), but in fact it had been several weeks - long enough for our Alliance to get the itch again and look for a new WH to occupy.

A suitable system was soon found - a nice, cosy Cl.4 with not too many neighbors. But being a Cl.4, it’s most convenient access was through the daily neighboring Cl.3 into a lo-sec system, which made the initial move into the WH quite interesting.

Our Alliance boss had had packed up his Orca for days then, and when a suitable connection opened up, the call went out to the Alliance for scouts. Our corp was just about to embark on some missions, but much as we tried, our sense of duty prevailed and we exchanged our combat ships for flimsy CovOps and headed off to the Citadel. Once in the system, we did a quick evaluation of the situation: only one unknown in the system, safely docked in a station, and three gates - no problem for us five to keep eyes on.

But of course life wasn’t meant to be so kind to us. The Orca was just a jump or two out when we a got a newcomer in the system, an Omen piloted by a person of rather ill repute, and the way he dashed off from the gate to a safe spot told us that he meant business. Our CovOps were safe in their cloaks, but we had nothing to fight this guy with - what do do? While we were thinking, our handyman Marconi put out a flight of combat probes, to probe down the safe spot. Almost immediately he got a hit on the Omen (plus a number of abandoned sentries elsewhere in the system). While proceeding to narrow down the location, the Omen moved, only to be quickly located in the vicinity of an asteroid belt.

Hmm - this guy didn’t know what we were flying, and he’s obviously not keen on having us demonstrate it to him. Maybe, if we continue sending our probes after him, we can keep him busy enough to not pay attention to our Orca arriving. Not that Marconi needed any encouragement, as he was having a grand old time keeping the pirate on his toes.

This game continued for a good ten minutes, then suddenly our adversary showed up at the hi-sec gate, and jumped out. At first we couldn’t believe it - A Pirate! Running from us! - until somebody stated the obvious: “Six people in local, five from the same corp, none of them on scan, and somebody is chasing you with combat probes. What would you do?”

Getting the Orca through this system into the wormhole then was mere routine in comparison.

Since then, more people from the Alliance had moved into the wormhole (some of them in a way that threatened to give me grey hair despite them not even being in my corp), including a few Frequent Fliers, bringing their own little towers along. And while this was probably very character building for them, it meant that it was time for the full Frequent Flier Wormhole Setup to be brought into play again - besides, I had caught up with all the other things I needed to do.

...right after we finish that big rock over there!