“You bought a shirt?” CB’s voice on comms is muddled, as if he can’t decide between a mocking tone and something that conveys more disgust.
“Two shirts,” I correct him as I check the map of the local constellation. “Let’s head for Floseswin via Gallente space — there’s usually some Amarr hitting complexes back there.”
“On it.” His ship, a mirror to my own Thrasher-class destroyer, comes about and aligns to the next gate. “So what are you going to do with two hundred-million isk shirts?”
“They didn’t cost that much, with the discount the TLF had at the time,” I reply. “More like 25 million.”
CB fills our channel with a string of profanity that last most of the way through the 63 AU warp across the system. “Who the fuck pays 25 million isk for a shirt?”
“Well…” I drawl. “Someone who intends to sell them for… more than that.”
He pauses. “How much more?”
“The thing is, these things are really rare outside the Militia. Hell, they’re rare inside the militia.”
“That’s not exactly hard to understand.”
“Right. Anyway, hardly anyone picks them out and then puts them back out on the public market, so I figure they won’t move very fast, but if someone’s looking for some fancy outfit that no one else will have –”
“– for those incredibly common times when we’re out of our ships and socializing?”
“I don’t know — people with too much money spend it on stupid shit just to say they have it. Jump gate on contact and swing over to Isbrabata.”
“Copy that.” His ship warps off, and I continue through the Aset system. “So how much did you put them on the market for?”
“That was tricky,” I say. “No one had ever sold them on the market before, so I kind of had to guess how much some rich idiot would be willing to pay.”
“Fascinating,” CB deadpans. “How much did you list them for?”
“I tried to check the Jita market, but with the Caldari shooting me on site whenever I swing into their system, it was kind of hard to do –”
“How much,” he growls, “did you list them for?”
“Two hundred fifty million,” I answer. “A piece.”
He makes sputtering sounds into his comms. “You think anyone –”
“Break break,” I cut in. “Got an Ishtar on scan.” I hit the directional scan again, but the ship is gone. “Crap, he’s going the other way. Jump back to Avenod.”
“I’m two jumps out.”
“That’s fine, it’s just to get in front of him. I have to get turned around first.” I land on my destination gate, cancel the gate jump, spin the ship around and warp back the other direction.
“Which one’s the Ishtar?”
“Ishkur,” I correct him.
“You said Ishtar.”
“Did I?” I frowned. “Well, I meant Ishkur. It’s that Incursus variant with all the drones. Tough little assault frigate. He might be willing to take us on, or I can get him engaged and tackled before you get there. Something.”
“Can we take him?”
“Probably, though he’ll likely blow up whichever of us snags him first.” Our destroyers were fit for short, brutal engagements ending in explosions — either ours or someone else’s — the Ishkur was tough enough to drag the fight out and get through one of our ships. Probably not both, though.
Probably. I grin. As always, it was the uncertainty of a fight that made the whole thing worth it.
“Jumping into Avenod.” There’s a flash on my overview, gone almost as soon as I see it. “He was right here. I think he just opened a major complex in here. Ballsy. Warping up there.”
“Landing on my gate. Want me to jump in?”
My ship enters warp. “Yeah. I’ll land and –” I frown as I drop out of warp at short range, eyeing our target ship’s silhouette. “That’s weird, it looks like Vexoooooh… oh. Shit.” I laugh into the mic as the Ishtar heavy assault cruiser — the Ishkur’s bigger, badder brother — disgorges a flight of drones in my direction; one of the probably half-dozen or so flights he can field before the ship runs low. “Cancel that. Don’t warp. Target’s not an Ishkur. It’s an Ishtar.”
“I told you that’s what you said.”
I laugh again, shaking my head and readying my warp commands to get my escape pod out as my fragile destroyer melts in the face of the far heavier ship’s firepower. As the explosion rocks me free of the wreckage, I switch to the star system’s public comms for a moment.
Ty > Good fight! Thought you were a little ol’ Ishkur… Whoops!
Maren > Ahh… yeah, I just thought you were just being really aggressive.
“I’m laughing my ass off at you right now,” CB says as I warp out and set course to pick up a new ship. “I thought you should know.”
“I am too,” I grin. “Ahh well. Good start to the night’s roam. What shall I blow up now?”
“Whatever you like, I guess,” CB replied. “You can pay for it with those shirts, if they ever sell.”
“Oh,” I replied. “See, that’s the punchline.”
Silence. Then: “They already sold?”
“Yup. Not right away, but pretty fast.” I shrug. “I priced them too low, I guess. Still, half a billion off a couple shirts isn’t bad.”
“Who –” CB cuts himself off. “Okay, hurry up and get back here. I really need to shoot somebody.”
- I was so used to seeing frigates and other small ships that my brain convinced me an Ishtar was an Ishkur. Whoops. Still, it was pretty funny.
- People will pay stupid amounts of money for rare things.
- You can actually put those special clothing items on, wear them awhile and then, if you get bored with the look, remove them and they drop right back into your items hangar in whatever station you’re in. Which means you can then sell them. So… if you recently spent 250 million on a black and red uniform shirt that smelled a little… used? Sorry about that.