As highsec continues to fall more and more under the influence of the Code, our Agents sometimes have difficulty finding any Code violators in the areas they regularly patrol. This could inspire us to recline into a posture of self-congratulation, but that's not the New Order way. Instead, our Agents are only inspired to make the Code penetrate more deeply into highsec.
As Agent Alt 00 studied some compliance maps prepared by Agent Jack Van Impe, her attention was drawn to the Aridia region. Alt 00 recorded her thoughts in her journal:
Were the Aridian systems populated with Code compliant miners, as one would naturally assume? Or had they lapsed into bot-aspirancy, hosting broken and wayward populations in desperate need of our help? I could not have this weighing on my conscience. The die was cast; a fleet of Catalysts was commissioned. But little could I have anticipated the wickedness, the depravity, and the violence that lay in wait at the heart of this desolate, cruel wasteland, that was poised to push my skills as an Agent to their absolute limits.
The fleet arrived via freighter at the designated staging outpost, Zinkon, on the edge of the Kor-Azor region. My backup pilot Alt Proxy and covert ops scout Alt 100 unloaded the Catalysts into the only available station. Zinkon is a typically lifeless highsec system of little note. Aridia lays ahead; comprised almost entirely of lowsec systems and narrow bottlenecks. Three distinct "islands" of highsec are to be investigated.
Most highsec miners will happily spend their entire EVE life without ever setting foot outside of highsec. But some occasionally traverse a lowsec system or two in order to find highsec islands and mine under the protection of CONCORD there. They consider themselves adventurers, but they don't fool anyone but themselves.
I cover the eight jumps through lowsec without incident and arrive at the Mayonhen constellation. No sooner do I land than my worst fears become immediately confirmed: An illegal Hulk was detected on d-scan, mining in the Bazadod system! I intercepted the wrongdoer and removed his Hulk, preventing him from committing any further crimes.
Our heroine left Aridia, having made her point. Still, something called to her back to the region.
I found myself back in Mayonhen. Perhaps the Hulk was the black sheep of the area, a known outlaw in an otherwise obedient constellation? Sadly, it was not to be: I quickly discovered a new threat. A worrying pattern had already started to emerge.
Alt 00's triumph in PvP against a Code-violating Retriever was met with jeers instead of cheers. What was going on here?
I've often warned of the unearned arrogance and bravado of the highsec island dwellers. They think a life of highsec carebearing is an accomplishment so long as it's occasionally punctuated by trips across lowsec.
They also tend to be xenophobic.
Alt 00's heart was overflowing with compassion. Look at that rainbow of Code links!
Kazor Seventh was confused. The Retriever pilot belonged to his corporation. But rather than correcting his corpmate's behavior or buying him a permit, he acted like Alt 00 was the one who'd done something wrong.
Though the Aridian locals were familiar with the Code, they had a lot to learn.
Alt 00 soaked it all in and planned her next move.
Perhaps this remote corner of highsec was simply ignorant of the benefits of the Code?
The locals tried to change the subject, deflect blame, and throw their fellow carebears under the bus. Typical miner behavior.
Alt 00 had accomplished a lot during her short visits there, but she knew the Battle for Aridia had only just begun.
To be continued...