Red is the new black…

I spent the greater part of yesterday wandering about Essence and Sinq Liason collecting corporate deliveries and ferrying them to their appropirae locations for sale, production, or whatever other purpose they were intended for. The journey was long, but mostly uneventful, which got me thinking about how things have changed since my last jaunt as a pod pilot.

When I began my career as a capusleer the universe was a dangerous place. The high-sec/low-sec distinction was pretty blurry and null-sec, though as dangerous as it is now, was largely unpopulated. If I had been cruising about in a frigate, 40mil in deliveries in my hold in those days I would have probably been screwed. I’d learned my lesson early, having a Bestower laden with trade goods instantly melted under the guns of a m0o cruiser (with a few too many heatsinks) in a .8 system. Sure, CONCORD came along, but they just shot the police and went about their business.

Things are safer now, high-sec is relatively peaceful so long as you’re not under a wardec. Low-sec, however, particularly those areas bordering high-sec have become a writhing den of villainy and opportunists. I considered this as I set my executioner, pushing 4km per second on a course to Old Man Star to pick up some corporate deliveries.

I’d been cruising around low-sec for nearly an hour without any problems. There had been a Griffin at the gate to Yvangier that made a feeble attempt to target my ship before it blazed out of range and into warp. They’d trailed me for a few systems before either loosing the scent or giving up. Arriving in Old Man Star, things changed for the worse. Apparently every pirate in the region had decided that today was the day to hang out here. I jumped to a safespot and did a quick scan of the station I was going to and my exit gate to Villore. The station was clean but the gate was camped. I mean really camped. Three battleships and a swarm of interceptors.

I considered my options, I could probably make the jump safely, assuming the battleships weren’t sitting on it with bombs, which they probably were. In the end I decided against testing fate and went back to high-sec via Heydelies, deposited my collected deliveries into my Bestower and made the rest of my rounds, recanting my tale to other haulers cruising around the region. People are terrified of low-sec, and I wanted to reassure them that it really wasn’t that bad if you keep your wits about you and don’t do anything stupid.

“How do you use the directional scanner?” came over my com after I’d finished my story. It was a valid question, just not one I’d expect a seasoned capsuleer to ask. I explained it as best I could and finished up the day’s chores. High-sec space is generally safe, much safer than I remembered, and as always there is great money to be made there. With safety comes complacency, however, and I could suddenly see why low-sec was considered such a dangerous place.

I say to every high-sec pilot. Get a cheap ship, update your clone, fly out into low-sec and practice not getting shot. Better yet, practice shooting back. With some notable exceptions many of the pirates out there blowing your Iteron to dust are banking on your inexperience and hesitation. Make them earn their keep.

Who knows, they might even respect you for it.