Thursday, January 28, 2010

Setting Up Shop

The wormhole I had found in the Maut system was a K162, in other words a generic exit, meaning the only way I could find out what was on the other side was by going through it.

Immediately after coasting through the gossamer veil separating known space from unknown, a generic warning popped up on my ship's interface, saying that local environmental phenomena in this solar system was mucking about with my ship's systems. The combat simulation modelers reported the following performance variants:
  • Armor EM Resistance +22%
  • Armor EXP Resistance +22%
  • Armor KIN Resistance +22%
  • Armor THRM Resistance +22%
  • Shield EM Resistance -22%
  • Shield EXP Resistance -22%
  • Shield KIN Resistance -22%
  • Shield THRM Resistance -22%
  • Signature Penalty 0.73
  • Small Weapon Dmg Multiplier 1.55
Most likely the strange companion to this system's normal sun—a Wolf-Rayet star—was causing these effects. Nothing to be too concerned about. The improved effectiveness to armor plating was even a bit of a boon.

The ship's nav computers automatically recorded a bookmark of the exit back to Empire space and then ran a check for the signature of the wormhole I had just traveled through. It registered as U210. This meant absolutely nothing to me, so I pulled up a search engine and plugged that in with a few keywords like "wormhole" and "New Eden."

This site was the first hit that came back in the search results. What a wealth of information it had! Plugging in the solar systems locus signature, J214654, yielded some good news. Not only did this system possess a static exit-point to low-security space*, but its generic, CONCORD-assessed danger rating was "Class 3", meaning that a small three-capsuleer operation like my own could take advantage of it without running too much risk or attracting too much attention.

After thoroughly probing and scanning the system for hostiles and finding none, I gave the go-code over the open comm channel for my two colleagues to warp to the wormhole and follow me through—one in an Orca fitted with a cloak and the other in a Viator-class blockade runner, also stealth capable.

For the next hour after arrival, the Applied Physics Institute (APHID) engineering crews worked double-time to get the control tower shields online, followed by guns, scrams, webs, hangars and the refining array. As they labored under the gaze of this system's twin suns, the men couldn't help but feel cut off from civilization and unnerved by the silence. Out here, the unceasing electromagnetic chatter one grows used to picking up on comm devices throughout known space was nowhere to be found. They missed Local Channel.

I wasn't so sure I missed it. Local Channel, the capsuleer's premier go-to intelligence tool, had turned us all soft and squishy. Had we forgotten how to use our ship's scanners? How to assess a threat profile? Another thought occurred to me: The fragile anonymity that this silent system granted could work in our favor; it would hide the predators from us, true, but it would also hide us from the predators.

The APHID crews evidently had a different perspective on the lack of civilization. Once they finished onlining the Gallente Control Tower and its mods, they christened it "Ass End of Space." Oh well, let them have their fun for now. They'll learn to like it out here eventually—especially when they see the size of their first paycheck.

The Wolf-Rayet Companion Star in J124654 system. Wolf-Rayet stars, presumably named after a pre-Eve Gate human astronomer or astronomers, are massive, hot stars which shed mass at a faster than usual pace by means of a strong stellar wind.

*How curious that a natural spatial phenomena should be so seemingly responsive to an artificial political construct like the security rating of a given solar system. The more conspiratorial-minded might see this as evidence that these wormholes are not so "natural" after all.

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