I've had this drilled into my head since I started playing EVE three years ago. This weekend, I came face to face with the possibility of losing skill points, skill points that I've been carefully accumulating and patiently waiting on.
I went on a bombing run organized by someone from the incursion community. (Sorry, I forget the name at the moment). About an hour in after our first attack, my HUD went red. Twice. (Damn bubbles). I found myself back in hi-sec conveniently near one of the trade hubs where I quickly rebuilt my bomber and headed back to the fight. In my haste, I forgot to update my clone.
My deficient clone didn't hinder me from my solo trek across 15 or so null/low sec jumps. In fact, it wasn't until our second bombing raid, when my HUD went red again, that I realized that I'd forgotten something. I made it out in my pod, but our FC didn't. We were left to make our own way back across hostile territory.
I charted a course back. The course I chose was not the most direct, but avoided some gate camps that we'd seen earlier. I warped from gate-to-planet-to-planet-to-gate and avoided a couple of gangs until I reached the low/null boundary system. The sovereignty here was being disputed and the current occupiers were camping the gate and had it clumsily bubbled.
I warped around and created a few safe spots. Unfortunately, none of my safe spots were in d-scan range of gate (for that matter, nothing was in d-scan range of the gate). At this point, I started to wonder how many skill points I was going to lose.
Then it occured to me that I have a utility alt that I trained specifically for this type of situation! I logged him in, put him into an empty but updated clone, and headed out to resuce Crash in a cloaky probing ship. I easily crossed the mostly empty low sec regions. When I came to the last jump, I took a deep breath and activated the gate.
It was camped, of course, by half a dozen various ships. Interestingly, my ship ended up outside the bubbles. I broke cloak, aligned to the nearest planet, cycled MWD, and engaged the covert ops cloak. But instead of warping to the planet, I changed course and headed straight down. A couple of the intercepters took the bait and headed to the planet I was aligned to. (I'm not sure what they were hoping to accomplish; I could have been at any of the belts, or moons for that matter, around the planet and cloaked on top of that.)
As I said, these guys were not particularly proficient at putting up warp disruption bubbles. I made my way around the bubbles until I found a spot where the bubble provided minimal coverage over the gate, dropped a book mark, then warped to one of Crash's safe spots. I logged Crash back in, warped to my alt, traded ships with him, and cloaked. I warped my alt to the gate bookmark I created earlier. Of course, the intercepters immediately headed toward me, but I was far enough away that it didn't matter. I warped from the bookmark directly to the gate and found myself within activation distance! My alt jumped through and proceeded back home. Crash followed closely behind, his skill points protected only by a thin cov ops hull.
Lesson learned: Update your Clone! AND Use the resources that are available to you.
PS. A corpmate would have been handy in this situation; anyone recruiting (50m intact sp toon looking for new opportunities here!)? Also, use situations like this as a learning opportunity. Finally, this was the most fun I've had in Null sec in a very long time (and thats just sad.)