“At pivotal times in history a new frontier has suddenly opened and the race to get the new, the best, the exploitable . . . especially the exploitable . . . has been run.” The professor adjusted his notes and looked across the desk at Mike. “One of those times is approaching us right now.”
Mike nodded. “I see that coming as well, but that is not exactly why you called me all the way here, is it?”
“Yes and no. I have drawn up a simulation I would like you to watch.” The holoscreen lit and projected the map of New Eden above them. “The timeline begins when the ‘bell rings’ and the rush begins.” There was a pause and then all of the hisec portions of the map began to light up. Nullsec also lit as well, leaving lowsec the darkest. “As you see from the color indicators the hisec operations will be overrun by many, what is it you call them, ah, carebears.” The professor tapped the nullsec indicators. “Down here, beyond the reach of Concord the rule of might will lessen the impact as individual alliances will take entire worlds for their own . . . if there is a profit to be made.”
“I see you don’t expect a lot impact in lowsec.” Mike waved a had at the darker regions.
“This is just a projection based on past data. There will be some pirate alliances that may set out to farm some planets but for the most part, lowsec will still be a place to go through, not stop.”
“I don’t know, sir. If there is money to be made there will be people to take the risk. But you didn’t bring me here just to show me a projection. What can I do for you?”
The professor sighed and touched a control that showed the process of a single planetary extraction operation. “This. Up until now mining has been done with the operation . . . and site decisions done by ‘feet on the ground’. But now that is about to change. I know that you specialize in asteroid digs and remnants found in space but do you have any idea how much we will lose of ancient ruins if a mine can be placed from orbit, launch pads wherever the land plateaus enough? The same resources that modern pilots will be exploiting were, no doubt, valuable to others in the past. We are going to lose that past.”
Mike looked at the map and nodded. “I see your point but I doubt there is much we can do about it. The odds of you getting a podder to enter a gravity and slow down their isk flow is somewhere between zero and none.”
“No, that die is cast, as it were. I . . . we are asking something else of you. We want you to join the rush, but we have noted a few planets for your mines to be set up on. These planets may have ruins on them and we have teams out already trying to find ‘clean areas’ for you to drop the operations down on. We are not trying to stop the rush but control who and how it affects key sites. You and some other pilots will be part of the ‘Footprint Initiative’. We scout out the endangered sites and forward specific target coordintaes to the member pilots.”
“I am already in a corporation that I have no interest in leaving.”
“And we are not asking you to. This is not something for profit, this is something that will probably mean that you will make less than your competitors. The FI will span corporations and alliances but its long-term goal is a better connection between the ground and space. You have been called to the stars but we are asking that you remember your roots.”
Mike frowned back at the holoprojector. “So how do the long-range projections go?”
The professor smiled. “The further into the future we go the less accurate the predicitons become but I think this will be like many other trands in the past. The land rush will be large but the usage and actual production will be limited to those best suited to it. In the weeks and months and years to come the distribution of active pilots engaging in the planetary mining will dwindle to some who will be best suited or the most cut-throat. There will be no ‘free isk’ to be found though many think there will be. Their disapointment will be palpable and their tears will flow like rain onto a water world.”
‘You seem to almost relish the thought of their tears.”
“You seem to forget that this land rush is like watching young adults going back to their early classrooms to steal pencils and paper and not caring about those who still work and learn there. The Land Rush may look exciting from your side but think of the men who will be working the factories on hellish worlds. The pristine planets that will be scarred by orbital launches to feed the voracious appetites of space wars. We are the natives and you are dividing up our land without a thought for us.”
“There are no natives on plasma planets.” Mike mused but he nodded to show he understood what the professor was saying. “OK, I am in. Have you people start scouting and giving me coordinates and I will plant your flags and protect the site.”
Now I know all the news is not out but I wish CCP would allow for ‘erasure’ of unused things. Towers with long abandoned. People who will stake claims and then not work them. Old corp names with no members left. Will the last one out lock the door and turn out the lights?
Oh, as the professor said, there will be the rush for the new shiny . . . which will peak and then slowly tailor off. But will the bases be left on the planets? Floating cload harvesters in decaying orbits, unloved, and forgotten?
Better, will there be a way to remove/reclaim/recycle them if they are left alone too bloody long?