I finally got around to shopping for a carrier this weekend in New Eden.
I had the basic skills for the Amarr carrier, the Archon, along with decent jump drive skills, having gotten Jump Drive Operation and Jump Drive Calibration up to level V, along with Jump Fuel Conservation at level IV. That meant I could jump the carrier to its maximum range. I am still shy of skills for being part of Capswarm, the capital ship subgroup, but I was good as far as just flying one goes. So I felt it was time to take the plunge.
El Supremo and CEO for Life Gaff had been pinging the ship-building types in our alliance to see if I could get one fully fit and delivered, but everybody seemed to be down in Curse and entranced by that German FC who sounded just like Jeremy Irons/Simon Gruber in Die Hard with a Vengeance. Seriously, Gaff made me get on coms just to listen to him on Sunday, even though I wasn’t in the fleet. I could have listened to him all day myself, except that wasn’t getting me a carrier.
So I took the headphones off and started sorting through contracts, which you can at least search game-wide, as opposed to the market, which is limited to your current region. Though at the time, that wasn’t my reasoning. I was more interested to see if I could find one that was fit and fueled, something you can only sell via contracts. On the market you can only buy a packaged hull.
Unfortunately, the contract market wasn’t looking out for me. Archons that were fit, and badly fit at that, were all deep inside of hostile territory, and somewhat expensive to boot. Eventually I set myself on an unfit Archon for sale in Serprentis Prime out in Fountain. The price was 1.1 billion ISK. Using the navigation tool over at DOTLAN, I saw that I could jump from there to our Fountain staging system at 4-EP12, then to our old home at B-DBYQ, then another mid-point with a station, then finally to home in 0P-F3K, a route that looked like this.
Then as I was trying to work out how I would get out there, get the ship fueled up, and manage cynos with my alt to fly the whole route, somebody in alliance chat asked about buying an Archon and somebody said there were some on the market in QPO-WI, which is just five systems over from home. I checked the market and saw that there were six available at 1.2 billion ISK each. So before pulling the trigger, I started looking for fuel and a cyno ship for my alt. Once I got that lined up, I went back to the market and all six had been purchased.
There were a couple for a little bit more up in 85-B52, a few more jumps out. I clicked the “buy” button and got one of those before they too disappeared from the market. Archons were in demand.
So now I had a 1.2 billion ISK unfit carrier sitting in a system I had never visited before. And while the route to that system was just 10 jumps, space has its own shape. Stars are not uniformly spaced. Some hops between stars are no big deal, others span quite a few light years. And with the Archon I am limited to a little over 14 light years in jump range and am unable to use jump gates. So it was back to the navigation tool to check the route.
The distance was was only seven and a half light years, so I was good. I just had to bring some supplies out to it and jump it back. I got out my Crane blockade runner and began shuffling some supplies, including a full load of fuel for the Archon, which hold 20,000 units of helium isotopes for the jump drive. I also picked up some of the Capswarm fittings in VFK, the shield hardeners and the cap rechargers, just to beef up the defenses a little bit. Then it was off to pick up the new ship.
I flew out, docked up, and jumped in the Archon for my first look at my new baby.
I dumped everything out of the Crane and began fitting the Archon.
That complete, I began figuring out how I was going to get back to pick up the Crane and fly it back. It took a minute for me to realize that I have a carrier, I can just stick other ships in the hangar bay and bring them along for the ride. That was pretty much the point of choosing a carrier as my first jump drive capable capital ship.
So I was fit and fueled, now to get it home.
El Supremo told me that our home system has a cyno beacon in the system, which will jump me to a POS, from which I could then warp to the station. But he mentioned the inherent dangers of jumping blindly to such beacons, and there was the thought of my shiny new ship sitting half fit and exposed that made me decide to just pop a regular cyno. So I undocked my alt with a Kestrel fit with a cyno and just enough liquid ozone for one five minute cycle. While the cyno module is running, your ship is stuck, unable to move, until the cycle finishes, so I wanted to make sure I spent a little time swinging in the breeze as I could. The Kestrel actually won’t hold two cycles worth of fuel, but I checked all that before undocking.
El Supremo said the cyno ship should undock, turn on the tactical overlay, and move so that the station was outside of the 5 ring.
I moved too far out, then back again, until I got my alt lined up at about what looked right. I made sure that both main and alt were in a fleet together, then I lit the cyno at one end and undocked on the other.
And then… I didn’t know what the hell to do.
I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe some new controls or options no the overview or something? Eventually, hanging there on the undock, I right-clicked on my alt in the fleet window and found the option to jump to fleet member. I selected that and things started to happen. I swapped to the alt’s game client and watched myself land in 0P-F3K.
I was in and ready to dock up. I was a little bit off of the station, not too far, but enough to experience how slow a carrier moves. With my skill, it caps out at 87 meters per second, about stock mining barge speed, though it takes a while to get there. But I was soon docked up and safe.
Now I just have to go shopping for the remaining Capswarm fittings and finish up another 50 days of training and I will be set… for something.
But for right now I have a ship hauling carrier with 1,000,000 m3 of space in the ship bay, so I can move my ships around New Eden without having to bring them one at a time through gates and jump bridges.