Sunday, March 13, 2011

Two Incredible Hulks

Back in my the days, when I started my path of crime, I had a favourite high security system for my criminal activities: Allamotte. Plenty of miners were attracted to the vast selection of asteroid belts sporting quite big rocks for a CONCORD-protected system. And where there are a lot of miners, you will also find certain careless miners loading their valuable ore into disposable jettisoned containers - much to the delight of my rather cheap Iteron III. And those miners usually got pretty angry when I stole their last few hours of work, so I often had to swap the Iteron for a Rifter in order to deal with their aggression. So much for non-violent crime.

Well, I miss the miners in Allamotte. They provided for me - both in terms of ISK and aggression - but out here in the harsh wastelands that makes up low security space - I have no one that gives me cash for little effort.

In low security space you find a different breed of miners: Usually the inexperienced capsuleer in his mining cruiser wondering why I attacked him: “I was just mining?!”. Then you have the more experienced out prospecting with cheap frigates and scanners. Then there are the daredevils who bring out a Retriever or a Covetor knowing the risk, but keeping the cost of a loss low. Most of them have met my guns and a demand of some ISK transferred in exchange for their ship. You would think that these economical oriented capsuleers would do the math and pay up, but no, the miners in these vessels are usually very, very bitter and angry that you attacked and they will explode and pay for a new ship instead of saving a few millions on paying ransom.

I guess it’s sort of doing the maths anyway: The amount saved by paying ransom for a Retriever or cruiser class ship is only a few millions. And this is probably a fair price for not letting me get the satisfaction of getting their ISK. Now, a Hulk would be a whole different game.

So, the first time I ever saw a Hulk in low sec on my 360 degrees directional scanner, my wallet got high expectations. This is a ship that can provide a ransom of 100 mill ISK, or more, and at the same time offer the miner a substantial saving when compared to loosing his ship. This time I was in a low sec pocket and I feared that the Hulk was just passing through, already in warp to the gate. Oh boy, was I wrong: He was happily mining all alone at the top belt! My Rifter made i quickly through shield and armour and a ransom of 100 million ISK was offered. But the answer was no. Apparently he had spent his last ISK on this ship. So it all ended in a big explosion and a frozen corpse was added to my collection. A sad ending for a huge pile of ISK.

Now the second time I saw a Hulk in low security space, was just a few days ago. This time in another pocket and I had the same fear that it was just moving through. Thankfully I was wrong again! I had 15 belts on 360 degree scan and I had to start scanning each and every one of them. Luck was on my side: On the second belt i scanned I found the Hulk. I could already see my wallet blinking. However, there were two other pilots in the system, and I smelled a trap.

After just a few volleys (I had just had the time to make sure I had him scrambled, that I had not started overheating any modules by a mistake and just generally trying to calm down) the Hulk pilot opened up a private communication channel and uttered the this beautiful sentence: “I’ll pay!” Now here we had a willing customer, finally! The adrenaline, and maybe the fear of interfering capsuleers, pushed aside the fact that I knew the prices of Hulks have risen lately and I offered the standard rate: 100 million ISK. My wallet blinked! I instantly regretted not saying 130 or maybe even 150. But then again, I recalled some early theory lessons on piracy and ransom: Never increase or regret the offered ransom.

And I had to remember: I had just made a lot more ISK than I lost the last month!

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