Sales of Wormhole in EVE Online is weird. After all, a Wormhole holds no sovereignty can not really be claimed and can be taken with force by anyone with enough will and firepower. But a market does exists that connects sellers with buyers with the usual risk and a few additional ones.
So, I found myself stranded in a C4 one day, occupied by a very carebear-ish corporation. Lots of refining arrays, gas silos and so on indicating they are heavy into WH industry and therefore present suitable targets. I was bored a little and decided to hang out in the system for a while to see if I could take some potshots at miners or gas suckers – I never actually killed any ship in my cloaky Tengu so, I thought this system would make an interesting hunting ground. Unfortunately, it was quite small and every time I logged in, the locals perked up, hid in their bubble and closed their static swiftly and without fuss – suggesting that, yes they are carebears, no, they are not dummies. Targets never presented themselves and hence I decided to drop into the C3 and get out.
The C3a that day was empty and enormous, 85 AU across and with not all that many planets but the one it had were actually quite nice from the PI perspective. Almost a full set of POS fuel could be built there and whatever was needed could be imported from the static low security hole. So, its not a bad place to place a corp and I advertised on the EVE forums – a place I detest almost as much as canned mushrooms. Going price seemed to be ~ 200mil for a empty hole so I go for 250, so I have some floor under me. I am not really keen on making a lot of ISK but beer money is always good and it seems low effort. Boy, was I wrong on that one 😉
RL took me away for a few days and when I got back into the game, a mail awaits me with a request for more information about the hole. Someone in a different time zone wants to move his corp to a C3 – all power to him – and asks for details. I supply info and we make a deal – half of the ISK upfront, half later. He has no reason to trust me, I dont have any reason to trust him but the deal is made and I try to scan him in. Turns out, that ain’t so easy – C3s have one single static wormhole and if that leads to a far away system, its just too bad. My Tengu is obviously not suited to roll the hole so, the waiting time for a new route is part of the game. First day = Aridia. Sigh. No go, not at all. Second day, not so bad, somewhere in Amarr, 2 low sec jumps.
I tell the buyer to get a few covops ready, my goal is to guide them in, then log off inside the hole – backup if they managed to get themselves podded. It was part of the deal and I don’t mind – for a corp that has never been to a WH, its just fair to hold their hands for a bit. So, with 1 jump to go, their scout gets blown up and the hauler with the POS stops short somewhere in High Sec and docks up (smart move). I jump out of the C3 and see if I can scout them in. Remember that the total deal is 250mil ISK and I am in a 700mil Tengu. So my risk/reward calculation is skewed towards avoiding risk. And the gate is indeed camped by an experienced low sec pirate, complete with covert ops eyes on the other side. The pirate on my side isn’t alone – 5 of his corp mates are in my system. He also flies a Prophecy which tanks really well – and I don’t think I have the firepower or tank in my covert Tengu to do much about this guy. A couple of my corp mates consider coming to help me in bombers but its 16 active jumps from their lowsec to where I am. Oh well. Lets wait one more day.
The next day, we have 2 low sec jumps but they are relatively quiet and the buyer gets his mini convoy going. He has a Drake and a Hauler coming in – why the Drake I dont quite know but so be it. Turns out that his first low sec system is pretty active and that they are looking for different routes. I am bored in my lowsec waiting and scan the place down.
Lo and behold, I find a C2 entering my lowsec system and that C2 has a K162 to high sec. Sometimes life just gives you chocolates. Even better, that C2 is totally empty. Now I have 2 holes for sale! The buyer even contemplates the C2 over the C1 (which would make my life much easier) but opts for the C3. Alright (I would have taken the C2…)
Now guiding these gents in who have limited WH experience and are flying non-cloaky ships, done all with convo (no voice) is a tad challenging. I am not in fleet with them – means, they cant warp to me and blow me up (I dont know them that well after all) and yes, I gave them the bookmarks but quite a bit of conversation is required – and we have to be fast. The low sec system we have to cross is pretty busy now and the locals will notice 3 new guys with a hauler transversing their system without using the gates…. This is not where you want to daddle and these guys get it and get on with it.
So, we land in the C3, the hauler cloaks up – Real Life demands my full attention for a couple of hours – I have safe spots and log myself out for a while.
When I get back and check D-scan I welcome a force field and a tower but I see a Battle Cruiser wreck and a floating corpse – the Drake pilot ate it. How? Simple. My customers set up their POS, the hauler went to highsec to pick up more gear and the Drake just hung out right next to the POS, waiting for the bubble to come online. A gang from Transmission Lost rolled their hole, found these guys in their new C3 and dropped the ship equivalent of an Anvil on him. He had no chance, didn’t see it coming and was likely in his warm station goo before he realized what happened.
Well, the Transmission Lost crew knew exactly what was going on and convo-ed my buyer for a ransom – or they destroy the newly aligned tower – they want 750mil for it. That’s a fair price for a properly set up POS but man, thats a lot of ISK for an empty stick with a blue bubble. The fleet they brought is not a POS bashing fleet and I would estimate that it would take them 1 1/2 hours to bring the tower down. For what? Not everyone is as nuts as we are. I suggest to my buyer to just hang tight outside in High Sec – where my buyer was picking up hardeners and POS mods. Even if we have to wait a day, its ok – I can scan him back in. If the POS runs out of fuel, who cares – its just a stick. But hey, it was his decision and he paid. The full amount – 750mil for the stick. My entire scouting, scanning, advertising, coaching business netted me a measly 250mil? I am clearly in the wrong line of business.
Or not. I chatted with the guy for a long time and wish him well, he seems very nice and he honored his end of the deal (in fact, overpaid me for my troubles). I realized that could have seen his Drake mishap / extortion as an elaborate way for me to screw him over, that the PvP fleet was actually tipped off by me. I would have never had thought about it – and thankfully, my customer also did not believe that this was the case. His corp is now Blue to us and I am pretty sure that they be great for our alliance once they finds their footings.
And that would certainly be worth the few days of scouting….