This month topic comes to us from @ZoneGhost who a few month ago asked “Is Low Sec the forgotten part of EVE Online?” Is it? I’d like us to explore this even further. Is Low Sec being treated differently by CCP Games than Null Sec (Zero-Zero) or Empire space is? Can one successfully make a living in these unsecured systems where neither Alliance nor Concord roam to enforce their laws? What’s needed? Or is everything fine as it is?
Daryl Julius Cash Jnr shifted uncomfortable on the fine leather chair. He had begged, cajoled and bribed to get this interview but as he waited, he got increasingly nervous. This first interview would hopefully lead to more interviews and more stories and it could be the beginning of his big break. He would leave the regional news corporation and then hit the big times.
It could also be his last job assignment too. He was already in low security space where the safest place was docked up and inside a station. Transiting outside is usually considered dangerous.
The office Daryl was in appeared to be quite spartan and devoid of much useful furniture. Even his parents' place had more decoration and items. This place was very business-like for sure but also slightly rough around the edges. This was low security space after all: recently colonised areas of space around the core human systems of the Empire that were without the benevolent security of CONCORD protecting it's citizens. Daryl corrected himself, there was only one Empire, the Amarr one but everyone in low sec called known core-space as 'Empire' space. Wonder what the Caldari and Gallente peoples think of that?
It was the small things that intrigued Daryl about low sec space: from the non-standard uniforms of the local law enforcement officers to the more eclectic mix of ships seen swarming around some of the more popular market hubs. Actually, the 'term' market was more like a bazaar.
He glanced at his data-pad that contained his current job assignment. It was a background piece on low security space and the people that were desperate enough to live there. Some background fluff that would no doubt be edited out of existence once it made it back to head quarters. If he could bag a few words with a pirate or catch some live footage; so much the better but he had start from somewhere. Being the most junior, the Daryl got the worst job: an interview with a small time 'crook' who knew a man who knew another man who knew an active pirate. The trail had to start from somewhere.
The simple crook probably was a garbage disposal engineer who answered the advert that was put out, thought Daryl bitterly.
There was a hiss of escaping air and Daryl turned around as someone came in. Daryl spine stiffened as he saw the figure enter the room half expecting a press gang of pirates swarming in. It was just a man with a plain and unmemorable face. He smiled humourlessly at Daryl and extended his hand. They shook hands and Daryl was alarmed at the iron like grip the man possessed. His eyes held Daryl's with a fierce intelligence and without even saying a word, Daryl knew this was no garbage disposal engineer. He also then realised a slight sting from his palm and he tried to extract his hand but the 'garbage disposal engineer' held onto his hand tightly. He leaned forward and said quietly, 'Don't fight it. We're just taking precautions." Just as Daryl's vision began to blur alarmingly he realised that he had lost feeling in his legs and had the sensation of falling.
Daryl jerked back into full alertness with a start. He was sitting in a comfortable chair and he wasn't tied down though his muscles ached. He was in a small office, book cases with what appeared to be real paper books lined two walls on either side of him. Facing Daryl was a desk covered in yet more piles of real paper. Risking his neck muscles, Daryl turned around and he could see someone, with his back turned fussing over what sounded like crockery. The figure turned around and smiled and Daryl froze. He recognised this individual, the tall bald and rather disconcertingly, smiling Brutor was Flashfresh.
"Do you want some tea Mr Cash?"
"I er, yes."
"Milk and sugar?"
"No, black. Please."
"Good man." Flashfresh turned around, pour hot water into a tea pot and passed a tray to the bemused journalist. With his own steaming mug of tea, the pirate sat down, and took a deep draught on the hot liquid. Savouring the taste, Flashfresh faced Daryl and said. "So, shall we start your interview?"
Daryl had forgotten about his assignment. In fact, all he could think about was the terror of being in the same room as the infamous blood thirsty pirate. All manner of horrible deaths flitted through his head until Flashfresh smiled and said, "Daryl, I know of your assignment and I am interested in getting my story out. We have been following your career with some interest and I know you are curious about low security space. You've heard the stories and the rumours and want to see it for yourself. Well, here's you chance. Now, what is the first question you have flashing on that data pad of yours?"
Fumbling, Daryl almost dropped his data pad but managed to keep both the cup of tea and his data pad intact. Clearly is throat Daryl read out the first question on his list, a list of doodles to be honest.
"So is low security space a viable place to live? How can one be successful here?" Daryl read out aloud and realising that it came out almost like a squeak. Flashfresh sat back and considered his response before answering.
"Low security space is viable only if you work hard. There isn't the level of industry or market that you would expect in the core space areas. Market hubs are smaller in number and large scale mining operations are not, shall I say, 'recommended'. All pilots need to be active and paying attention to everything if they want to make it. It is vital to their survival. For those who are smart, have the right 'can-do' attitude and understand the risks of doing business here in low sec, then it is a viable space. I mean look at all the space you have here. It isn't crowded like Jita."
"And how can one be successful in low sec?" Repeated Daryl, glad that his voice had now dropped it's nervous tremor.
"You have to define success but I suppose for many people it is making isk. You can make isk here that's for sure. Trade routes are profitable if you know where they are. Buying cheap in Jita and selling high in a low-sec hub is another way. The rocks in lows sec are much bigger than anything you can see in high sec. Many of the core world corporations have offices and agents here and their assignments nearly always pay more due to danger money.
Low sec space has some demographical issues, for sure. The population density will always remain low in most areas when compared to core areas. There's so much more to be done and had in the core systems. However, I do believe that populations will only increase if there's an incentive for increased migration. More migration means more opportunities."
"More victims you mean?" Interrupted Daryl. As soon as he finished his question he broke out in a cold sweat as he felt the atmosphere of the room change. Flashfresh paused and regarded Daryl coolly and continued.
"Low security space has the infrastructure in place for a while now. The space gates are now all in place, though a fair few need more maintenance. So travel through low sec isn't such an issue as it was in the past. Of course, with the proliferation of capital class ships, many richer corporations can jump portal billions of light years without the need to use the star gates."
"Ah so the place to go is the outer regions, so called 'null-sec' space if you want to make money?"
Flashfresh shook his head.
"Not really, it isn't just money that drives people and I disagree that low sec is the poor cousin of null sec. I also disagree that those corporations who choose to live in low sec are somehow, not as 'developed' as the null sec corporations. Null sec is richer in many resources. CONCORD has no presence in the outer regions. Capsuleer corporations and alliances in the main are the only game in town. In fact, your corporation mates are usually the only faces you see for months, maybe years.
Contrast this with low sec. Our closer proximity to the core gives low sec many benefits: easier trade routes into the core that rely on the older, cheaper, more reliable and comprehensive star gate network. Fully functioning stations in almost every system with services to match. Most of the main corporations from the core have a presence here in low sec space through their corporations' agents. There's work here and therefore there's a life to live, that's for sure."
Daryl hesitated before he asked the next question, one that he had been dreading since the interview had started.
"What about the pirates? It is all fine and well for a hard working corporation to establish an industrial base but only for it to fall to pirates. The risk is too high for the reward."
Flashfresh regarded Daryl with an even look.
"For a corporation to be taken down by rag-tag pirates like ourselves, to me it doesn't sound that they've worked hard enough to earn their spot, now does it?"
"What about the lone miner?"
"Pirates do not cover every single system in low sec. It isn't possible. There are hundreds of systems that have not even seen a single warp drive capable starship in the last three months. I wouldn't advocate that solo mining is an interesting career but with some simple precautions, even this is possible in low-sec. Look, the way I see it - low sec is not for everyone. For those who haven't prepared or taken the necessary precautions , then they are without a doubt, at risk from opportunistic pirates as well as the assorted vandals and thieves." Flash took a sip of his tea. "Long may this continue. I consider our work to be cleaning up the capsuleer gene pool. There are too many eggers out there now who don't know that they've achieved near immortality and that they don't really die. They get podded and then wake up with a mild headache and chap from an insurance company passing you the keys to a new Ibis. It can be humbling but it isn't debilitating. Those that get sloppy and lazy, pay the price. " He added.
Darly couldn't argue with this.
"What about the non-capsuleers, the passengers on interstellar liners, the freighters?"
Flashfresh shook his head. "I can speak for The Bastards, we don't go after non-capsuleer ships. Never. Some eggers lower themselves to chasing after the locals, whether they're Serpentis or Angels or whatever. They may even take missions from agents to kill a whole fleet of non-capsuleer ships. It isn't worth the effort for us pirates. More importantly, it doesn't provide any challenge for us. The Bastards always hunt other capsuleer piloted space craft."
Daryl didn't feel to reassured after hearing this.
"So you're saying that one can successfully make a living in these unsecured systems where neither Alliance nor Concord roam to enforce their laws? Even if you're not a pirate?"
"Absolutely! Contrary to the popular press, piracy is not the only game in town. Some systems appear to be very pirate heavy but they're in the minority, I can assure you. While the numbers are low when compared to Empire space and the core systems in low-sec, it isn't that low that one can't make isk. Industry and markets in some of the low-sec hubs can and do make money; especially if you can bring a jump freighter from Jita straight to low-sec in one jump."
Flashfresh got up and beckoned Daryly to the port hole.
"Low security space also has such a variety of ships you know? Look here." Flashfresh pointed to a cluster of ships zipping off towards the system's main star. "Those are capsuleers aligned with Amarr militia, they're engaged in some factional warfare nonsense. Over there, you see a bunch of traders about to jump their freighter back to high security space." Flashfresh scrutinised another set of ships and tapped away on his data pad. "Ah, those chaps there - they're a large null sec alliance passing through low security space. Probably slumming it for a while for kicks. Over behind that old derelict is another pirate corporation - they're dropping off some booty but they've been sitting outside too long and I would be expecting..." There was a flash of light outside as ships dropped warp. Flashfresh smiled, "ah, right on time, the pirates are being set upon by a combination of anti-pirates and opportunist backed up by at least one mercenary corporation."
Daryl looked on ships, just on the undock point of the station were zipping around. He pressed his face closer. Flashfresh glanced at his data pad. "Daryl, watch this."
Suddenly, someone dropped a cynosural field and ten dreadnaught class suddenly appeared and proceeded to lay into both sides. It was a mess but exhilarating at the same time. The station guns, silent and unmoving despite the massive battle in front of them suddenly spun up.
Flashfresh grinned. "Someone cocked up. Despite the messy fight, you can't just open up on someone unless they're a war target or a criminal. Someone got a bit too eager and shot the wrong ship. Now the station guns have started up. What fun."
Now, the fight included pirates and criminals being shot at by anti-pirates and vigilantes who were both being blasted by a force of ten dreadnaughts. Some merc were piling in and now the station guns had opened up.
Flashfresh had a smile playing about his face. "Daryl, I think you should get closer and get an exclusive. Have you ever flown in a hurricane class battle cruiser?"
"Follow me, trust me - it will be fun."
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