Being a long time manufacturer, Summer 2014’s Crius expansion required adaptation.  Pre expansion, congestion slowed production as jobs waited their turn in the queue.  Post expansion the queue was replaced with a congestion driven ‘system cost index’ premium.  The change proved earth shattering.  Pre expansion, convenient manufacturing locations could compete with other locations but work proceeded slowly.  Post expansion, convenient locations had a price premium attached to them meaning work proceeded at speed but ballooning expenses could drive that location into infeasibility.

To remain competitive, I moved operations three times.  The first to a still convenient location not far from my hub but not yet exploited.  Others, facing the same dilemma, eventually moved in as well ruining the party.  The second to a rather inconvenient location many jumps from my hub.  No others followed and I soon discovered why, the painful commute impaired the fun.  What I needed was ‘convenient but unpopular’.  What I needed was low-sec.

Appropriate low-sec location was soon scouted out.  A delicious little spot stunningly close to a hub but behind a riffraff deterring gruesomely camped gate.  Knowing there would be gate camp crashing in my future, manufactured product had to adapt.  No more bulky boats, or modules for me.  I’d concentrate on rig manufacture only.  I’d pack briefcases full of diamonds and giggle with delight every time I scampered through the wreckage and corpses littering my ‘no riffraff’ camped gate.

And it’s gone well.  I appreciate the resident brigands keeping my business viable and occasionally we exchange friendly waves in local as I keep them at arm’s reach.  But all parties must end and this morning I faced last call.  Local signified a camped gate – Russians.  With business to conduct I packed 445 million worth of product in the Prowler suitcase, exited station warping to an insta undock and engaging the cloak.  I then warped to my camped gate 0 bookmark and, upon dropping out of warp, spammed the jump button to find . . . nothing happening.  Tranquility and I, we weren’t commuting.  Hmmm.  This could be grim.

I’ve had disconnects before, occasionally at inconvenient moments and even at this very gate.  My last disconnect at this gate was ever so slightly post-jump leaving an unending gate jump animation followed by eventual successful re-sign on in high-sec safety.  This time however was pre-jump, leaving me sitting on the low-sec side of the gate wondering if the jovial Russian jackals were mauling me.  As I stared at the screen I knew the die was already cast, the narrative already written, the contract already signed, so I shut the computer down, finished my morning coffee and began my work day.  At lunch I calculated out possible losses: 445 million in the hold, 153 million worth of outfitted Prowler and 1.083 billion worth of implants packed away in my character’s gorgeous head.  1 Billion, 681 Million.  Grim indeed.

Later, when I successfully logged back on, I saw good news.  The character choice screen told me I remained undocked and still in the Prowler.  The jackals hadn’t dined on me . . . yet.  But where would logging back in land me and what hungry predators might I find there?  Reconnaissance was required, so I logged an alt in the system first to spy local – hmmm the afternoon Western European campers appear to be on shift, we’ll wait for evening.  And evening proved clear of the usual Americans.  Let’s pull this trigger.  Logging the industrialist in landed us not at the gate but rather at our insta undock book mark meaning, lengthy hiccup aside, business as usual.  The party continues.