Big City Nights
Perimeter jumpgate, Jita system, Kimotoro constellation, The Forge, Caldari State:
Erbo always hated coming out to Jita…it was so crowded with capsuleers of all stripes, and hence slow to get through even on a calm day. And Caldari space tended to give him the willies anyhow. But some things–like the Sisters probe gear he needed for his new covert ops ship–could be found nowhere else, at least not for prices approaching any rational definition of “reasonable.”
He aimed Bye Bye Beautiful at the Caldari Navy assembly plant circling the fourth moon of Jita IV, and engaged the warp drive. The new ship surged with energy; she was freshly assembled and fitted in the Amarr stations, save for the critical probe launcher and probes. In mere moments, the massive station bulk came into view.
“Docking control, this is Rho Alpha Delta flight Sierra-41, Bye Bye Beautiful, requesting permission to dock,” said Erbo into the communicator.
“Rho Alpha Delta Sierra four one, this is Jita four-four Caldari Navy Docking Control,” came the response. “Your docking request has been received. You are number twenty-four in line for docking. Hold on approach vector Charlie-eight and stand by for ‘clear’ signal.”
“Rho Alpha Delta Sierra-41, on Charlie-eight vector, standing by,” acknowledged Erbo, the coordinates feeding into his maneuvering computer. He sensed, rather than felt, the ship precessing onto its new path,the fluidic suspension of his pod protecting him from the inertial changes.
The local communications band seethed with fragments of conversations as he tuned in. People were advertising all kinds of exotic hardware for sale…though Erbo strongly suspected that nine out of ten of those sales offers would turn out to be scams. Maybe ninety-nine out of a hundred. Then, too, there was the usual amount of blather, smack-talking, and general static you heard in any trade hub system, albeit in greater volume.
“Sierra four one, Docking Control, clear for docking,” came the sudden order over the traffic control channel. Erbo quickly angled Bye Bye Beautiful in towards the maw of the docking bay, letting the tractor beams grab the ship and maneuver it to a docking slot inside. While they were doing that, he punched up a terminal display, checking for open sales contracts on Sisters probe gear. He ended up accepting one contract for the launcher, and a pair of contracts for Sisters scanner probes, at just over fifty million ISK for all three. The station technicians who arrived to fit the probe launcher to Bye Bye Beautiful scowled at the Gallente-designed Helios hull, but worked with reasonable dispatch in mounting the launcher. Erbo had it filled with probes, and the remaining probes loaded to the small cargo bay of the ship.
After completing the necessary formalities with Docking Control, Bye Bye Beautiful launched into the void, in the midst of a flotilla of traffic. Erbo had to do some careful piloting to dodge everything from Iterons to freighters to battleships and cruisers, in order to get to space clear enough to initiate the warp drive. Once or twice, he was tempted to slap on the cloak, but the ships around him would probably have destabilized it before he could fade out.
Finally, he gave the order to go into warp, back to the Perimeter gate. From there, it was about a dozen jumps back to Jarzalad, where he would offload some of those probes before proceeding to the Ralpha Dogs’ new mining base with the new ship.
“Goodbye, Jita,” he muttered to himself, “lovely paradise for the manic-depressive.”