“2 Machs and a Hack”
Pilgrim opened his eyes and attempted to orient himself. “Computer – where am I?” The current system flashed across his display and recognition slowly settled in. Ah yes, back in frontier – many, many jumps from the famous Jita market where he remembered being yesterday. Clone jumping was an amazing technology, but it left him disoriented every time. Thank goodness he didn’t do it every day.
Pilgrim consulted his navigation charts and plugged in the desired path for today’s travels. He planned to explore some of the conflict area currently being patrolled by the Minmatar militia. He undocked from the station that housed his ship and body while he was attending to other matters. It felt good to be in space again. His Tengu Strategic Cruiser smoothly entered warp drive and off he went. It was a couple of systems before he saw another capsuleer and bothered to activate his cloaking device.
As he was performing a blanket scan of the system, something unusual came up. The readings indicated it was a Covert Operations Facility. Although it is not all that covert now that CONCORD had freely given out improved scanning capabilities to every capsuleer that wanted it. Sooner or later the pirates that ran these facilities would have to catch on. Perhaps they felt secure knowing they had a fast response team in the area. Ship scan didn’t pick up any hostile ships in the area, so Pilgrim warped in to the site. He knew he only had a few minutes before his presence was detected. One by one, he performed a deep scan of the four facilities. And one by one, he was disappointed. Apparently, these pirates weren’t very far along in their research. There were only a few tools and some shattered wheels – hardly worth the effort. Pilgrim re-cloaked his ship and left the site.
The next few jumps were fairly routine. Ship scan picked up a Venture in close proximity to some gas clouds, but Pilgrim really wasn’t in the hunting mood. Finally, his scanner probes found something interesting – an Angel Mineral Acquisition Outpost! Pilgrim knew from previous experiences that the ships guarding this Outpost could be “persuaded” to give out information on the whereabouts of their Commander. And Pilgrim was sure that the Commander was just aching to part with some of his ship’s superior (and valuable) equipment.
Ship scan showed lots of activity, but none in the immediate vicinity. Pilgrim launched the mobile depot that enabled him to remove his cloaking device and replace it with more missile launchers. He took the time to upgrade his ballistics controls and shields as well. Such marvelous technology that allowed refitting huge chunks of his ship while still in space. Once everything was correctly running, Pilgrim scooped up his re-fitting depot and anchored a secure container full of extra equipment. He wanted to save space for any new equipment he might pick up while conducting “negotiations”.
Pilgrim was just beginning his introductions when his ship sensors sounded an alarm. Apparently, there was a Machariel battleship very close by. It wasn’t on visual yet, but it was closer than it should be – especially considering how hard this outpost was to find. Pilgrim re-calibrated his sensors just in case it was just passing through. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. In fact, it was joined by a second Machariel and some sort of logistics ship. Checking their affiliation, Pilgrim noted they belonged to a fairly well-known pirate corp. Could he take out the logistics ship and possibly both of the fearsome battleships? That would be a fine notch in the belt. Slowly, Pilgrim looked at the row of empty drinks by his console. Perhaps the bourbon was clouding his judgement. Pilgrim aligned his ship and warped out.
After refitting his covert operations cloak and picking up his stashed gear, Pilgrim left the system. It was getting late and he had little to show for his efforts. After scanning three more systems, he again found something interesting. The signal was very faint, but with a few tweaks he was able to lock in on the signal of a very discreet drug manufacturing operation. Again, Pilgrim performed a deep scan of each of the operating sites. This time he was pleased with what he saw. After slipping back out to a nice quiet spot in the middle of nowhere, he again refitted his ship. This time, he boosted his shields to near maximum and onlined his hacking modules. There was no time to kill all the pesky guards at this site – he would be in and out before they could scratch the paint on his Tengu. One by one the facilities fell to his hacking abilities and yielded valuable blueprints and skillbooks. Pilgrim wasn’t much of a drug user himself, but could definitely understand those that felt the need to use some performance enhancing drugs from time to time. Mostly, he was just glad that the while the drugs were illegal, the blueprints were not and they sold quite easily at the Jita market.
Waving good-bye to the helpless guards still wasting their missiles on his shields, Pilgrim warped off to the next system. He checked his display and saw that it was quite late. He still needed to refit his ship to something more travel worthy. Since there was no one around, he slipped into a handy station for a quick refit (and a shower) before returning to the glorious void of space and phasing out for the night.