Yesterday I logged on during a lull in public contracts, ones I could fulfill anyway. After completing only 2 I just couldn’t work up the enthusiasm to travel 40+ jumps for pocket change. Well what should I do instead? I didn’t really feel like scanning down data and relic sites, nor like shooting some red plus signs in my shiny new Vexor, and I most certainly didn’t feel like going mining.
Well if I’m going to be bored no matter what I do I might as well put my boredom to good use. I’ve been meaning to up my standing with various faction so that I could finally install some jump clones. I decided to start with my noobcorp standing since I already had some rep with them. They only have courier missions available though. Oh well, at least I’m used to procedure for those. I decided to take my shiny new Vexor out for the missions on the basis that it was shiny and new and I wanted to fly it.
I’d done a couple of the level 1 mission (which involved tiny cargo’s and short hops through hi-sec) by the time I realised that there were level 2 missions available for me. So I went and did a few of those (which involved slightly larger cargo’s and slightly longer hi-sec jumps) until the level 3 missions became available to me.
Now at this stage I was in a total state of brain-dead boredom caused by travelling hi-sec in a Vexor. It would have been the hight of insanity to suicide gank me, and with the marginal risk usually associated with my travels in hi-sec removed I was basically asleep at the wheel. Imagine my shock when I looked to the mission and saw that they wanted me to travel 3 jumps into null-sec.
My initial responce was “Are you crazy?!?” I’d planned to go nowhere near null-sec until I could fly my blockade runner. Then I thought about it and took a look at the route that the autopilot had planned. My second responce was “Are you crazy?!?”. It wanted to send me through a null-sec pipe sytem that had racked up 7 ship kills in the last hour. That spoke to me. It told me stories. Stories about pirates and gate camp, stories about mobile warp disruptors and possible dirty gates.
I thought about it a bit more and asked myself a few questions.
What did I have to lose? Well a ship, but not my shiny new Vexor. That wouldn’t fit the cargo they wanted me to take.
What else? My set of crappy implants, no big loss there.
Most importantly do I really want to go back to running level 2 missions? HELL NO!
Now that we’ve settled that lets take another look at the star map. I moved my mouse to the big scary blip of destroyed ships and clicked “aviod”. It’s times like this that I hate the autopilot route planner. Not only had it wanted to send me through that scary system, the entire trip was ~15 jumps. Suddenly I only needed 5 jumps with only one extra null-sec hop. The systems were not exactly quiet, but none had more than a single ship destroyed in the past hour.
My route now decided I took a trip over to Dodixie (thanks to my dyslexia I still read this as Dioxide, not relevant but thought I would share it anyway) to buy and fit a ship for this little adventure. I settled on a Nereus as this hull has become my favourite for running lowsec in. It comes with a decent tank, good align speed and, more impotrantly, has the power grid to support an MWD and a cloak without tweaking it. Over all it actually holds more cargo than an iteron if you want the MWD/Cloak. Best of all its increadibly cheap. It’s only real problem is that it runs out of cap fast. You can get about 2 consecutive MWD/Cloak tricks out of it before you need to wait and recharge. At least with my SP thats all I get.
Allow me to introduce you to the “Are you crazy?!?” fitted to low capacity danger runs.
Those are cargo expander 1’s in there because I didnt need the space. I could switch out one of the lows for a damage control 1 for extra tank, but I figured that if I got caught no amount of tank was going to save me. I’d fitted enough tank to survive a quick hit or two, but in the main I would simply endeavor not to get caught. 🙂
Thus armed I set off to my agent so I could start my adventure. I accepted the mission and took a couple of deep breath’ then set off. Rather than allowing me to calm down, the time it took to reach my first null-sec gate only allowed my anxiety to increase. So by the time I finally entered null for my very first time I was far from anything resembling the proper state of mind for such a venture.
You can imagine my reaction when the first thing I see on the overview is a mobile warp disruptor. I completely freak out. So much so that it takes me a good 15-20 seconds to realise that, 1 I’m not inside its bubble, and 2 those other things on the overview are rats, big rats I’ll grant you, but not, and this is the important bit, other players.
I managed to calm down enough to align and warp off to a random planet (that wouldn’t take me through that bubble) at a non-standard distance. I dscanned to make sure I was alone and waited the last few seconds I needed to recloak. I’d had to use it earlier so that the gate rats didn’t poke great big holes in me.
Recloaked and in a somewhat safe spot, I took a little time to collect myself. It turned out that by pure chance I had warped to a planet in scanning range of the gate I wanted to use. I made double, then triple sure that there was nothing on it then clicked the Jump button, and I was out. I’d made it through my first null-sec system without seeing hide nor hair of the 2 other people who had been in local at the time.
The next system was completely empty so I just warped on through with not a care in the world. Ok, ok, I tell a lie. I was still nervous as all hell but at least I wasn’t in imminent danger of destruction if something went wrong. Not so on the other side of the gate.
Upon entering my 3rd null-sec hop I’m greeted by the sight of 2 battle cruisers. As I had been in a constant state of panic since leaving hi-sec, panic was now my ground state. This allowed me to let the reactions I had rehearsed for such an event take over rather than flipping out and falling off my chair. The first thing I do is check the overview to see how far everything is from me, nothings close enough to me to threaten an uncloak. This means I’ve got time to assess the situation properly. Lets run over the info I have, two players on gate, nothing else on scan, no warp disruptor bubbles, and what appears to be NPC wreckage. Ok looks like they were just killing some gate rats, that doesn’t mean they wont kill me, it just means they wont have set out to do it. Just think of it as a poorly executed gate camp and you’ll be fine.
I MWD/Cloaked to a planet closely aligned with the gate I wanted to go through, hoping that if they followed me they would think I was rushing the gate. fortunately they seemed entirely uninterested in a random Nereus and I saw no more of them.
My last jump see’s me with nobody and nothing on scan but a ton of people in local so I decide just to run for the station and hope my luck would hold out. It did, and I successfully completed my mission. Only then did I stop to think that I had just risked ~20 million ISK in ship and implants on a mission that payed me a grand total of 149,000 ISK and some loyalty points that I didn’t really want.
The way back went a lot easier on my nerves since I knew what to expect, with only one scary moment right at the end. After bouncing off a celestial to avoid the mobile warp disruptor I’d seen on my way in, I landed on gate with a player already there. He’d been killing the rats I saw earlier, and fortunately for me either didn’t care about me or wasn’t quick enough to target me. Either way I made it out alive.
I went back to my agent to see what else the crazy bastard wanted me to do. It turned out to be a succession of low-sec missions which I decided to take him up on since I’d already gone and spent a load of ISK on the “Are you crazy?!?”. One of them even took me through a system that was camped. So stressful had my first trip to null been for me that running into this gatecamp failed to cause even a blip in my heart rate.
In fact I was feeling so blasé was I feeling about the camp, that I decided to run back through them just to see what kind of damage they would do to my current tank if they had been on the other gate.
As you can see they barely scratched me.
After a few more lowsec missions I decided to call it a day as the surrounding systems were becoming more active. having finally recovered from my adventures I realised that it might be best not to push my luck any further.
So until next time, this is the Incompetent Capsuleer signing off.