It is slow for us miners right now. It is unsafe to fly Hulks, even in high security regions of space. Normally Concord protects pilots against random attacks by pirates, but there is a general bounty placed on Hulks by high ranking pirates. They dub this ten day period “Hulkagedon”. The idea was originally created by the Hulk manufactures to increase value and demand of the ship, as if it wasn’t valuable enough. They seem to make quite bit of profit because this is the third consecutive Hulkageddon. They are on a six month schedule; apparently once a year is not enough for those that like to make life hard on the little guy. Although the manufacturers are the terrorist leaders, the pirates are the suicide pilots that volunteer to sacrifice their ships to this genocide mission.
To me, Hulkagedon just means that I had to keep my Hulk in the station and finally get around to fitting some guns on my Rifter. I have wanted to start some combat flying but I just haven’t put in the time. Malael was nice enough to help me get everything set up and show me a few pointers. It is very different flying a small ship instead of the clunky mining barge. When mining in my Hulk everything just feels like it is speeding by. There is never any movement within the ship unless getting bumped by another ship. The joke is to gently nudge a fellow miner and spill his coffee in his lap when it is least expected. I know Mal and I have done this to each other several times.
Flying the combat frigate is the opposite to the Hulk. I have to buckle myself down in my seat as the ship boomerangs back and forth while I try to orbit around targets. I am hoping that as I become a better pilot I will be better able to more finely attune my combat reflexes to this particular aspect of high speed maneuvering.
After getting my guns, I started my targeting practice on some low rank pirates that hang around in the asteroid belts. My Rifter is set up with enhanced shields and combat modifications, rendering the small pirates to be little more than gnats under my spitting machine guns. This makes them the perfect beginner’s training targets.
I also started accepting some missions from an Amarr representative with the Civil Services station. I can gain trust with Amarr by doing these small favors for them but right now I am mostly doing missions for the money. Most pilots run missions in between jobs but some exclusively make isk this way. Luckily I was able to get easy courier missions for my first few tasks. I was instructed to assist a scientist in collecting data because her assistant was having issues completing his tasks. After retrieving data from several locations she discovered her assistant was stealing her experiments. I was then sent to shoot down the ships protecting the station containing the assistant and then ending the assistant’s disloyalty by targeting the large container of explosives attached to the small laboratory. The explosion was satisfying. Although at the time I almost felt bad for the hapless laboratory assistant.
The next task I received included tracking down a scientific research lab where a scientific convention was taking place. Apparently the scientist I work for was snuffed by this convention and she was seeking revenge. I was fully willing to help her out for the isk she would give me for this small favor. The mission was simply to fly my Rifter out to the location, destroy the ships around the facility and shoot down the facility itself. With all these antiscience missions it seemed this “scientist” is drinking a little too much of the Amarrian cool aid if you know what I mean. I personally do not have a problem with science, in fact I normally support endeavors of the mind, but this does not override the need for isk and a little excitement. At the end of the day the score was -2 Science, + 2 Jela’s wallet.