Sightseeing in the Cluster

Author Archive

Brief Interlude

Yes, I’ve been a terrible blogger lately. TO BE FAIR, though, the past week or two has been dedicated to FINALLY pushing out version 2.0 of the Lore Survival Guide, and I’m delighted to announce that it is finally up in PDF format! Please feel free to send me any questions, comments, or concerns you may have.

You can find a plain text version, a version with pretty pictures, or a version that shows the changes from version 1.5.1.

Enjoy!

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Caldari Navy Relay Nexus

Astoh 1

The main shipyard facilities

Industry is a mystery to me. There, I said it. Oh, sure, I get the broad concept: gather the components, get a guide to put those components together, push button, receive bacon ship (or module, or ammo, or…). But, as always, the devil is in the details. Even just a glimpse of some of the data that serious manufacturers must wade through in order to make a profit gives me a headache. I’m not one of those people who thinks that mining an asteroid will give me the ore for “free”, but asking me to value those items will often result in a blank stare and, if we’re lucky, a number of some kind. But this is not to say that I have a deep appreciation for manufacturers. It might all be gobbledygook to me, but that gobbledygook results in almost anything that I may ever need while flying around New Eden. I simply don’t understand it, and I accept that I don’t understand it. More power to those that do.

Astoh 2

A few of the ships docked at the shipyard

Although industry is a mystery, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate its beauty. Nowhere is that more apparent to me than a bustling shipyard. There is a special energy here; one that you can only find in the throes of creation and skill. From skeletal hulls to nearly complete space vessels, it’s fascinating to watch a ship grow from the bottom up. Everyone you talk to takes a special pride in their work. And how could they not? Spending so much time and passion on a hull imbues it with part of their own energy. I’ve heard of some people calling their ships their children, and I have no doubt that they actually view it as such. Even if the vast majority of the vessels produced are doomed to be destroyed, that doesn’t mean that workers won’t put in as much care as they can to ensure the vessels go down fighting.

Astoh 3

A Scorpion class ship under construction

A small Caldari Navy shipyard can be found in Astoh. It’s not a particularly strategic system, but with the ongoing fighting in Black Rise, it’s undoubtedly seen its share of fights. Aura has little to say on the subject, noting only this:

This small compound acts as a fleet staging point, relaying squads off to their deployment locations inside Black Rise or housing them on their way back to State heartlands. Various Caldari Navy officials make this place their temporary home, and Astoh itself is rumored to house some of the higher-ranked officers involved in daily operations across the war-torn region.

Astoh 4

A small patrol ship

The shipyard itself is fairly small in size, but bustling nonetheless. Seven drydocks comprised the bulk of the site, with ships in varying stages of completion. Unlike some of the other shipyards I’ve seen recently, the Astoh yard seemed to specialize in subcapital vessels. A few Caracal-class cruisers and as well as a Scorpion­-class battleship or two were under construction at the time I visited. Some were barely recognizable, either undergoing heavy repairs or just starting out as little more than a keel. Others were clearly nearing completion, with drones and various workers scurrying around its exterior. Each of the drydocks had attendant facilities attached, acting as worker housing and support, protection, entertainment, and all the other facilities necessary for this small city in space.

Astoh 5

The remains of an old station sits nearby

Beyond the drydocks themselves, the Caldari Navy had send some serious protection to protect the workers and the facilities here. A number of cruisers and frigates scurried about, patrolling the outer edges of the shipyards against all intruders (though, oddly, not giving me a second glance). A few battleships also lumbered about. But the best indication that the Caldari considered this site one of significant strategic value was the Chimera-class carrier that acted as the flag vessel of the fleet. Sitting in the middle of the shipyard, like a mother hen guarding her chicks, the carrier kept a watchful eye over all other activity in the shipyards and beyond. Always a bold one, I flew Professor Science right up to its hull, as always goggling at just how much capital ships dwarfed my little ship.

Astoh 6

Chimera in silhouette

A small distance off from the main facilities sat an old, drifting wreck. Perhaps the old station, with attendant-and-still-sparking Quafe sign, indicated a different past for this particular deadspace pocket. But given the severe deterioration of the station, the past has very much been left behind. Oddly, the few remains of station superstructure look almost Gallente in origin. The graceful curves and organic feel was distinctly non-Caldari in design. But a Gallente station in Black Rise, particularly an old and decrepit one, made little sense given that Black Rises was only disclosed to the rest of the Cluster (including the Gallente) only a few short years ago. The station remains certainly raised a number of questions, but as is often the case, this seemed to be a mystery that I would not solve any time soon.

Astoh 7

Creation and decay in one picture

I stayed at the site for quite a while, watching the ebb and flow of the workers, machines, and security vessels as they all worked together to create and build these gorgeous ships that we fly every day. Although these ships were to be used by the Caldari Navy, an entity that does not exactly have my best interests at heart, I still admired the sense of professionalism and efficiency I saw in the shipyards. The carrier at the heart of the shipyards was a truly stunning vessel; I was reminded again of the odd beauty that Caldari ships had, even if it was not a design that I would have thought of. In fact, I seemed to have an odd fondness for Caldari aesthetics: despite being a proud Gallente citizen, almost of my ships (and certainly the ships that I flew most often) were Caldari in origin, suggesting that the odd asymmetries and harsh edges appealed to me in an almost visceral manner.

Finally, I banked the Professor on an exit vector. As the warp tunnel formed around me, I was once again amazed at the thought and design that had to go into building even one of these vessels. I have absolutely no idea how people are able to juggle this on a day-to-day basis, but I guess that’s why no one pays me to.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Caldari Navy Relay Nexus
  • System: Astoh
  • Security Rating: 0.6
  • Region: Black Rise
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4 in security status, or -5 standing with the Caldari you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

Children of Light

Children of light 1

The Perimeter gate in Iyen-Oursta

The universe just isn’t fair sometimes. If the universe knows anything about me, it’s that I live for the visuals. I am willing, happy even, to travel for hours on end, risking ship and limb, to see something and write about it so others don’t have to. I pride myself on careful research on sites, so I can offer informed explanations, giving both context and meaning to the sights that I see. I work hard for what I do, and it’s all for the sake of that one shining moment, that first time the view clarifies in front of me coming out of warp. That sense of wonder as I see something for the first time. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I know what to expect. But other times, I’m going into the true unknown, which makes that first sight all the more thrilling. With all of this in mind, you would think some sense of cosmic karma ought to be working in my favor.

But no, of course not. I forgot for a split second that I was in New Eden and that the laws of the universe were tipped very much against me.

The story here begins in Iyen-Oursta. It’s a rather unassuming system on the Gallente-Caldari border, a front often forgotten given that Algogille and Luminaire are already so close to the border, and thus bear the brunt of any defensive and offensive posturing. I’ve flown through it many times, and have even flown over just to enjoy watching the Roden Shipyards in system build up its fleet of Megathrons.

Early on in my career as a capsuleer, I came across reports of something called the “Children of Light.” Reports were few, but fairly straightforward. There had been reports in the past of clouds of light converging on the gate at activation. The scientific consensus seemed to be that the discharge was most likely due to some kind of plasma leak that, in certain conditions, formed a resonance with the jumping ship, briefly charging the surrounding plasma. There were a few more, shall we say, unscientific hypotheses, but I brushed those aside. Eagerly, however, I put Iyen-Oursta near the top of my list of places to visit. Being based in Gallente space at the time, it was practically a hop, skip, and a jump away.

Children of light 2

Blink blink blink

When I got there, I had to admit a certain amount of disappointment.  The gate, while a gorgeous example of Gallente architecture, showed no signs of these so-called children. There’s a small beacon a few kilometers off the gate, blinking in rather dull fashion, that dutifully broadcasts “Children of Light” to anyone in system, but Aura is oddly silent on the subject, offering absolutely none of her usual commentary.  But I brushed off my disappointment: this was far from the first time that a hoped-for view had fallen through (Atioth, I’m looking in your direction), and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.  And besides, I had managed to find the aforementioned Roden Shipyards on the visit, so it wasn’t a complete loss.  I made a mental note that this particular clue was a bust, and carried on my merry way.

I’ve passed through the system countless times since then. As I jump in, my heart momentarily jumps as I see an unexpected beacon on my overview, and then as I read what it is, a twinge of disappointment again sets in. But I’ve learned to brush that aside as one of many things that are simply legends. Ghosts of stories from long ago.

Or so I thought.

I was contacted out of the blue a few days ago by a pilot named Jon Tarant.  I was over in Pure Blind on an unrelated research project, and was in the process of making my way through the never-ending piles of paperwork that always seem to appear whenever coordinating more than one or two people comes in to play.  The unfamiliar name immediately piqued my interest.  Jon initially asks me if I had ever heard of the Children of Light. I chuckled mirthlessly to myself, that twinge of disappointment once again tickling my brain.  I replied that I was.  Then he told me that he thought he had seen it.  And not only that, but that he had a picture. Immediately, my eyebrows raised.  My other projects were immediately forgotten.  Before he had my curiosity, but now he had my attention.

Children of Light 3

Jon Tarant’s raw sensor footage of the Children

I immediately asked if I could see his photo.  He dutifully obliged.  It was not in the best resolution, and was clearly taken on the fly (pun intended).  Having only just recently upgraded my own camera drones, I was able to sympathize.  But the view itself.  The view itself was astounding.  The gate was immersed in a haunting blue glow.  Tendrils of light went every which way, creating a complex lattice of light.  I could see where the name “Iyen Pixies” had come from.  Even from that image, I thought it was absolutely gorgeous.

I hounded any and all details out of Jon, who happily obliged with what he was able to recall.  I grilled him on his ship (Taranis) the date (March 10 YC 115), whether he was with anyone (a few in local).  He said he had asked around the locals to see if anyone else had run into this effect.  They all said no.  He had a friend a few jumps behind him, also on his way through Iyen-Oursta.  Jon asked his friend if he had seen the lights, the friend responded there was nothing on the gate.  He had apparently filed away the information, and only when he happened across EVE Travel did he think to reach out to me regarding this discovery.

I immediately ran over to Iyen-Oursta myself.  Once again, I was presented with empty space beyond the gate itself, a few Gallente customs officials, and that accursed beacon with its steady blink blink blink, almost mocking me.  No lights.  No lattice.  No children of light.

Children of Light 4

Sunset on the gate.

Even now, I write this safely from the station in Iyen-Oursta.  I have no doubt I will spend a bit of time here, trying to see if I can pull off what Jon saw.  I have the means and willpower to test different approach angles, different ships, and other variables to see if I can trigger the Children, now that I know that they can be triggered.  And that’s the key.  Knowing that there was something out there to see.  I had been lulled into a false sense of security, confident in my ability to root out anything that was hidden.  I had grown overconfident.  But this, this changes everything.  Suddenly, the universe was new again.  What else had I missed?  What else had I brushed aside as unseeable?  Sometimes it takes an extra set of eyes to remind you that one person alone can’t see everything out there.

After all, sometimes the universe simply isn’t fair.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Roden Center
  • System: Iyen-Oursta
  • Security Rating: 0.8
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: Obviously, I haven’t confirmed this myself yet. I suspect that triggering the Children is simply a matter of chance (very very very very low chance). I’ve tried warp-ins from every celestial to no avail. If anyone else has a sighting of the Children, or any other info, please leave a comment here or message me. This is by far one of the more mysterious sights I’ve encountered in the game, and I find it fascinating!

Titanomachy

B-R5RB 1

Titanomachy

It’s easy to think that contemporary events are gamechangers. How many times have we heard some crisis as the “defining moment” of Roden’s presidency, or any battle as a “tipping point” in a broader war? And when you look back a few months or years later, you see that these events were nothing of the sort. It’s natural to think that the most recent events are the most important. But in most cases, events – even ones that at the time seem monumentally important (pun is very much intended) – are mere drops in the ocean of human history. It is rare indeed that an event actually bends the course of human events. It’s almost impossible for most people to objectively determine the effects that any one incident will have until we’ve had a chance to move on. In fact, it’s precisely that reason that most historians try not to look at modern events that closely, until time has passed, passions have cooled, and the repercussions have made themselves more verifiably known, leaving it to the more pedestrian punditry to give the who, what, where, and why of modern events.

B-R5RB 2

The ruined remains of an Avatar-class Titan

Even with all of this in mind, I find it hard to look back at the now infamous battle in B-R5BR and see it as anything short of historic. This was not the first time that a capsuleer alliance had neglected to pay its bills to CONCORD, nor was it the first time that a tiny mistake led to a massive battle. The battle of B-R5RB doesn’t even come close to the record of largest naval engagement. Both Pandemic Legion and the CFC have fielded more ships in a battle and more pilots have lost ships before. But what makes this battle different, beyond the sheer amount of isk lost, is the effect it has had on the general public. Never before has the general public’s imagination been captured so much as the day that the titans began to fall. While there have always been niche news sites dedicated to covering capsuleer goings on, for the first time, mainstream media have started to look to the skies. New pilots are flocking to capsuleer training centers in record numbers, flooding the spacelanes with new opportunities and new fodder alike.

B-R5RB 3

The sheer amount of tonnage destroyed here is staggering

CONCORD, to its credit, has moved quickly to memorialize the battle site. Within days, the often slow-acting agency declared the system a place of historic significance, and acted to preserve the wrecks so they don’t decay away in the harshness of space. What’s left is a stunning, haunting (or, should I say spooky?) tribute to this very literal clash of the titans. To some, it’s a tribute to the victory of the CFC; to others, it’s the gravesite to thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of crew aboard the various ships. Whatever its meaning to you, this heretofore unknown cul-de-sac system has attained a new place of prominence in the interstellar consciousness, and its newfound memorial will ensure that it remains so long after the pundits have stopped their prognosticating on its meaning.  Of course, the quieting of the punditry won’t keep Aura from becoming rather existentialist on us:

B-R5RB 4You are entering the graveyard of Titans, a silent memorial to one of the grandest, most violent, most cataclysmic battles New Eden has ever borne witness to. Halt your ship, capsuleer, and take a moment out of the mad swirl of your life to ponder your own impending deaths.

The beacon that CONCORD has placed on the site is a bit more on-point and a bit less poetic than Aura:

Here lie the wrecks of monstrous ships, commemorating a battle that blotted out the sky on Jan 27-28 in YC 116.

B-R5RB 5Two coalitions of capsuleers clashed in vessels numbering in the thousands, causing destruction on a scale of war never before seen by human eyes. CONCORD elected – after advising with the various empires – to leave a few wrecks left on the field for all spacefarers to see. Ostensibly this was a warning of capsuleers to where their folly would lead them, but those who’ve encountered the immortals will know it was more likely taken as an ideal of death and destruction to which they can aspire from now until the end of time.

B-R5RB 6

Some ships are still very recognizable. Others are less so.

As your view adjusts after warping through B-R5RB VIII, one of the first things you’ll notice is the bright gray of the temple that CONCORD’s erected on the site (why the temple is already battered-looking and worn is another discussion entirely). Examining the temple closely will reveal a list of all the pilots that lost a Titan in the battle. As your eyes adjust, however, you’ll notice a number of hulking, looming shadows surrounding on all sides. These shadows eventually clarify into the hulking shapes of shattered ships. Surrounding you are ships from all four empires, torn apart by the massive forces brought down upon them in the battle. Fires still glow from the interior, and possibly will continue to do so for years (especially if the ships were Caldari built). Each wreck is surrounded by a cloud of debris, which is especially dense near the site of the hull fractures where these gigantic ships finally cracked. Each of them dwarfed Scientia and its small crew.

B-R5RB 7

Twisted girders can be found at the site of the superstructure’s failure

To the left, ships blot out an appropriately blood-red star. To the right, now-nameless titan wrecks, worth billions of isk and with thousands of lives lost on each of them, gently tumble through space against the green backdrop of the Immensea nebula. And all around, there is an eerie quiet. The stark stillness of the scene stands in sharp contrast to the ferocity of the battle that took place here just days before.

B-R5RB 8

Shadows of B-R5RB

Am I wrong to think that this battle was different from the countless others that have happened over the years in New Eden? Have even my amateur historian’s eyes been clouded by the media coverage and the endless echo chamber that has come out of this battle? After all, this will hardly be the last time that B-R5RB will change hands. PL has already finished reimbursing its pilots for the ships lost in the battle. Other battles will rage, breaking this record or that. Only time will tell of the grander effect, if any, of this battle.  But for now, for once, more eyes are focused on the stars. For now, the happenings of New Eden are drawing the attention of the broader masses. And for now, at least, B-R5RB certainly seems like a gamechanger. And even if it isn’t, at least this monument will help us remember the day that the titans fell.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Titanomachy
  • System: B-R5RB
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Immensea
  • Potential Hazards: B-R5RB is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.

Brutor Tribe Community Area

I’ll be the first to admit it: the concept of the Minmatar tribes confuses me.

Frarn 1

The Community Area stands in the shadow of an old Amarr station

Coming from the pluralistic Federation, the idea of such extensive family units is baffling to me, especially since the tribes seem to play such a large role in determining who you are. And with the new changes to the Republic, it seems like the Tribes will be taking even more of a center stage for the average Matari. In some ways mimicking the Caldari (of all people), the Tribal Assembly has radically decentralized the Republic, in favor of allowing the Tribes to handle most, if not all, internal matters. The Tribal Council, composed of the seven tribal chiefs and the Sanmatar, will be the true powerbase of the Republic, with the Parliament being reduced to a subservient, almost advisory council. From what I’ve read in GalNet, the Tribes will be acting in a very similar capacity to Caldari megacorporations, with tribes handling almost all internal matters. Considering the fact that some have declared Sanmatar Shakor’s centralization of power in recent years almost dictatorial, the fact that he agreed to this radical restructuring of the Republic is surprising indeed.

Frarn 2

The station is surrounded by 8 “Rememberance” stones.

Thus, it seems almost fitting that I find myself sitting today in Frarn, closely examining the Brutor Tribe Community Area. Before running across this site, I hadn’t even realized that the Brutor (or any of the tribes, really) had such large space-based colonies, but here we are. I have, of course, run across a few Brutors in my day, but I rarely run across the average Brutor citizen. Then again, that’s hardly surprising given the fact that these days, I only rarely see non-capsuleers of any sort. But given the newly-forged primacy that the Tribes were taking in Republic life, I happily dove into my examination of the Brutor tribe. It seems that the Brutor ought to be pretty happy these days. They have long advocated for a tribal-based Republic, and with the recent reforms advocated by the new Sebiestor Chief, Acassa Midular, they are getting their wish. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they tend to congregate together, as it seems it is their tribal bonds that helped them survive the Amarr enslavement.

Given the trauma of Amarr enslavement, it is perhaps unsurprising that the tribes have remained relatively close-knit. In many circumstances, it was the tribal bonds that helped the culture survive through the Dark Days. Those bonds remain as strong as ever today, as can be seen with these Community Areas found throughout the Republic. As Aura explains:

Frarn 3Hundreds of these small community areas have been erected in recent years to accommodate those returning from travels abroad and seeking temporary accommodation. Ironically, they were originally designed to facilitate a great exodus to Federation space, but with the rise of fresh new ideas inside Minmatar borders causing many to return to their homelands, these spacebound communities have come to play an entirely different role. Typically, a single community will be dedicated to one tribe or another, but it is not unheard of for two or more tribes to share the one area.

A close view of the cargo pads at the community area, with a cargo ship in the background.

A close view of the cargo pads at the community area, with a cargo ship in the background.

Like many Matari sites, this one is based around Amarr ruins left over from the occupation. Many of these old Amarr structures don’t appear to be utilized in anyway; rather, the ruins are left intact solely as a reminder of how far the Republic has come from the Occupation (and, possibly, as a giant middle finger to the Empire, though I suspect most Matari architects would deny that… or maybe not. In fact, it’s a bit odd that the primary feature of the site is completely abandoned and unused. An old Amarr station, broken, decayed, and stripped of any useful materials, is the first thing that draws the eye upon coming out of warp. The next thing a person notices is that the abandoned station is curiously surrounded by eight large rocks, all named Rememberance. The stones were clearly placed by the Minmatar around the station, perhaps as a reminder that metaphorical sticks and (in this case, at least) rather literal stones were able to bring down the might of the Amarr Empire. The entire memorial helps reinforce the Matari self-image as a plucky, technologically backward species that nonetheless manage to throw off their oppressors, never mind the fact that these days the Minmatar are just as technologically advanced as any in the Cluster.

Frarn 5

The Community Area is a hive of local activity

It’s only after the eye thoroughly examines the Amarr station and its immediate environs that you really notice the actual location of the community area. It’s tucked off to one side, well outside the influence of the Amarr station, preferring to remain the shadows of the Amarr leviathan, perhaps hoping it won’t be seen. The community area is, in typical Matari fashion, a rather hodgepodge assortment of cargo bays, living quarters, bars, and ships. Perhaps surprisingly given the pains the locals took to arrange the Amarr station just so, little thought is given to the appearance of the community area. A number of large, bulbous storage vats anchor the bottom of the site, while the top is dominated by the cargo platforms that help transfer needed goods to and from the community center. The area also appears to act as a banker for many of the local residents, since I can’t understand why else the area would need a Bursar. The Republic has stationed two Tempest-class battleships to watch over the area: one remains docked at the facility while one stays stationed nearby.

Frarn 6

The abandoned station looms behind a nebular mist.

As I’ve implied above, I was rather taken aback by the powerful symbolism found throughout this site. When it comes to architectural symbolism, I tend to think of the Amarr much more than the other empires, yet here is a stunning demonstration of Minmatar tenacity found within a decrepit Amarr station and a few well-placed asteroids. Perhaps it is yet another way that the Minmatar are casting off their Amarr history, by using the Amarr’s own heavy-handed symbolism against them. I was also surprised by the relative insularity of the community: only Brutors were really to be found here. Perhaps given that insularity, I should be less surprised than I am at the radical shift currently taking place within the Republic. The tribe has been likened to an extended family, and families tend to stay together whenever possible. So its natural that if there’s seven extended families in the Republic, power is concentrated into those seven.

…Nah, it’s still weird to me.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Brutor Tribe Community Area
  • System: Frarn
  • Security Rating: 0.8
  • Region: Heimatar
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

Minmatar Shipyards

Egbinger 1

The entirety of the shipyard complex.

“Well aren’t you just a little space pirate kitten, aren’t you?”  I gently pet the small kitten curled up in one of my old uniform shirts, trying not to wake her up too much.  I could get away with saying things like that in the privacy of my own quarters. I wouldn’t dare say anything like that in the presence of anyone else; I didn’t want to bring any undue attention to myself. Being a plant in the Republic Fleet for the Angels necessitated such self-censorship. Not that it was particularly hard to avoid suspicion: the security surrounding this isolated capital shipyard near the edge of Minmatar space was shockingly low, all things considered. It was surprisingly easy to get myself and my supervisor, Aton Hordner, inserted into the Fleet’s personnel rotations out here. It was win-win for us: not only did we get a plant inside the Fleet, but we also gained a place to contact prospective capsuleer pilots looking to work for the Cartel.

Egbinger 2

A close up of the upper half of one of the Naglfars under construction

My thoughts were interrupted by a chime. After doublechecking on the kitten, I thumbed the release, and the door to my quarters slid open. An enlisted crewwoman stood outside the door, holding a report of some kind.

“Our latest requisition reports, sir.”

Egbinger 3

The auxiliary power array seemingly glows with the light of Egbinger

I groaned internally before thanking and shooing away the crewwoman. I didn’t understand how people who WEREN’T leading a double life as an agent for the Cartel managed to stay sane in this backwater. All we did was sit here, staring at the three capital ship construction platforms and pretending like we mattered by shuffling supplies between the shipyards themselves and the resource cache nearby. It was clear that the Republic didn’t even particularly care about us: despite the three Naglfar-class dreadnaughts under construction here, the entire security detail consisted of one Tempest-class battleship, the one Aton and I are stationed on. We didn’t do much; frankly, the captain was a bit of a drunk (possibly lamenting the life choices that led to her being stationed here) and merely had us maintain position constantly, with her popping her head up onto the bridge now and then to check to make sure we hadn’t blown up yet, as far as I could tell.

Egbinger 4

The central administration complex of the docks

Me, I worked in the communications section, which easily let me hide Aton’s conversations with Angel contacts. He got the fun job; all I ever did was monitor and delete communication logs to make sure no one got too suspicious. Still, he needed backup, and that, unfortunately, was me. Not quite sure who I managed to piss off at the Cartel to draw this assignment, but whoever it was who got me this assignment was going to get a good kick in the rear when I got back to Cartel space.

Egbinger 5

The apparent entirety of the shipyard’s defenses

Speaking of which, it was almost time for my shift. I checked the kitten’s food and water before I left. I would have to decide on a name for him before too long: I had gotten him smuggled in during the last food shipment with the help of a few contacts in the legitimate Fleet to keep me company out here. Even helping the Cartel, the only family I had really ever known, wasn’t enough to keep me sane during the endless nights in this godforsaken system. I made my way up to the bridge, and tapped my preceding shift officer on the shoulder, pretending not to notice the, uhh, explicit movements two guys on screen were doing before he hastily closed his screens and logged off. Whatever it took to keep you sane.

Egbinger 6

A closer view of one of the construction yards

I logged myself on to the communications console, but before I got down to work for the day, my attention was drawn, as it often was, to the shipyard activity outside. It was surprisingly relaxing to just sit and watch the various workers inside and outside the three as-yet unnamed Naglfar’s build the vessels up. All three were nearing completion: the hull seemed pretty much sealed up and now and then I saw glows as various engine components were tested. They’d be ready for their trials soon enough. The three vessels, of course, dwarfed my own ship, but it was fun (or, at least, distracting) to watch these three ships seemingly grow from scratch, day after day. The power generation arrays surrounding the docks gave a much more solid feeling of protection than our measly ship did (though you would think that SOMEONE would catch on to the fact that the Cartel never attacked the shipyard with us here: Fleet “Intelligence” didn’t exactly live up to its name).

Egbinger 7

The Naglfars are approaching spaceworthiness tests

Nearby sat the bane of my existence, even here in this crap system, the paltry bureaucracy surrounding the shipyard seemed to exist solely to make my existence miserable. The command center and resource cache for the shipyards sat in an extensive station complex a few kilometers beyond the three shipyard docks. Not a day went by that I didn’t contemplate “accidentally” firing a few missiles at the heart of that complex. The thought of those many bunkers and towers flying apart into the coldness of space often warmed my heart more than anything else out here. The amount of grief they caused for the sake of causing grief was astounding. Being ignored by Fleet HQ gave them a giant superiority complex. I’d like to shove their requisition reports right up their-

The console beeped at me, drawing me out of my reverie. A capsuleer ship was contacting us, using a special Cartel encryption set up for those seeking us out. I engaged the decryption protocols while letting Aton know that we had a customer. At least it was something to do today…

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Minmatar Shipyards
  • System: Egbinger
  • Security Rating: 0.1
  • Region: Molden Heath
  • Potential Hazards: Eurgrana is located in low security space.  Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended. As implied by the post, this is one of three starting points for the Angel Cartel epic arc.

In honor of intrepid explorer Marcus Yeon

Jakanerva 1

The Explorer Relief Post

As an explorer by profession, it’s surprisingly easy to forget just how dangerous the profession can be for the uninitiated.  Things that I often don’t give a second thought to can be the difference between life or death for those new to the profession: fit your ships for speed (especially in low security space); a cloak never hurt anyone; and d-scan, d-scan, d-scan (again, especially in low security space).  With the withdrawal of pirates from most sites about six months ago, most explorers may have even gone so far as to give up giving their ship many defenses; the recent appearance of so-called Ghost Sites (which don’t seem to be very ghostly at all considering anyone can see them, but I suppose that is neither here nor there) and its new potential loot has undoubtedly changed that particular paradigm.  And I suspect we haven’t seen the last of what the pirate research programs have to offer.

Jakanerva 2

I take Professor Science in for an examination of the rift.

Regardless, it’s important to remind explorers that despite all of valuable resources that exploration provides, it is, like so many professions in the cluster, a dangerous one.  And Echelon Entertainment  is here to serve (and undoubtedly get a holo deal or three out of it).  After the Sisters of Eve announced a drive to collect pictures of well known landmarks in New Eden, Echelon randomly selected one of those capsuleers to complete all 29 images to be honored at a so-called Explorer’s Relief Post.  The Post can be found in Jakanerva, near the heart of Caldari space a few jumps from Jita.  Aura’s background on the site, normally only a few sentences long, was a bit more verbose this time as Echelon provided more background on the site:

Jakanerva 3This site stands as a quiet and somewhat unnerving mark of honor for the efforts of Marcus Yeon and all others who took Echelon Entertainment up on its exploration challenge. These capsuleers risked their ships, their clones and their crews on a perilous venture to capture some of the amazing sights of New Eden.

While those pilots who succeeded in the various stages of the challenge were rewarded with various material goods, Echelon Entertainment also commissioned a landmark to be created so that their fearless efforts would be remembered throughout history.
Jakanerva 4

Echelon Entertainment also requested that the landmark be placed next to the scorched ruins of a quite astonishingly ill-fated secret experiment, in order to warn intrepid explorers that on a very few select occasions, discretion is very much the better part of valor. In an interesting quirk of fate, rumor has it that this experiment was being run by Yeon’s own people – possibly a subtle warning from Echelon Entertainment not to get too boastful in the dangerous world of New Eden – and that the ghostly form of one of his past clones still haunts the place.

Jakanerva 5

One of Marcus Yeon’s corpses remains near the rift as a warning to the dangers of moving too fast

Tantalizing hints here, but what did they mean (rumors of ghosts aside: I’ll believe THAT when I see it)?  That Yeon had been conducting his own experiments was news to me, and I couldn’t help but wonder if the experiments tied into the newly discovered Ghost Sites (which I have yet to discover).  Rumor has it that the Ghost Sites are actually pirate-based research initiatives; if so, then Yeon’s experiments here may have tied in to the pirate factions’ R&D.  That the experiment apparently backfired is just another demonstration that cutting-edge research can be hazardous to one’s health.  Still, it was heartening to see what would otherwise be a deserted research base turned into a testament to expanding the frontiers of knowledge.

Jakanerva 6

One of six “explorer relief posts” found at the site.

The site itself was fairly extensive, if straightforward.  A formation of Explorer Relief Posts were organized around an empty, but now-iconic data site.  Though the site has long been emptied of useful data, it serves as a graceful centerpiece to the site.  It also gave me the opportunity to closely examine the data hub itself, something I had never paid much attention to during my explorations.  Surrounded as it was by three rings, it brought to mind a gyroscope, with the central hub always maintained upright within.  Surrounding the data site in a diamond formation, Echelon has placed a number of so-called “explorer relief posts”, but what relief they are meant to provide is a bit beyond me.  Apparently consisting primarily of some kind of resource cache stored in a small forcefield, the posts were completely inaccessible to my ship, making me question just what kind of “relief” was to be provided.  Still, it was soothing to watch the various field emitters spin to maintain the field’s integrity.

Jakanerva 7

The remains of one of the site’s initial defenders lies in a tattered wreck nearby.

Nearby, the ruinous remains of the research station loomed.  Above the tattered superstructure of the research station, presumably at the site where the experiments were performed, a spatial rift of some kind had formed.  Aura herself was apparently spooked by it, as she had labeled the rift as “ominous,” despite the other spatial rifts we’ve seen in our days.  I originally didn’t examine the rift particularly closely, but after watching it a while, I noticed a small speck nearby that I had initially dismissed as a sensor blip.  Upon closer examination however, I discovered that that blip was actually a corpse of Marcus himself: presumably the corpse was the origin of those “ghostly forms” that Aura spoke of.  The explosion which formed the rift was clearly a powerful one: besides completely destroying the top half of the research station, a number of ship wrecks could be seen nearby, undoubtedly the station’s former guard battalion, caught up in the blast.  Indeed, given the devastation evidently rained down upon the station from the blast, it’s a miracle that Yeon’s corpse survived at all.  How it survived, and how it remains stable so close to the rift, is a mystery to both Aura and myself.

Jakanerva 8

The spatial rift’s light battles with Jakanerva’s glare.

I actually spent quite a bit of time simply admiring the site.  I didn’t expect to be gratified to see acknowledgment of the work that myself and thousands of other explorers pursue in order to help improve the quality of life in the cluster.  And being the explorer that I am, the site certainly whetted my appetite to see what else was out there.  The pirates are on to something here, and the Empires want them to stop (even if they aren’t always the best at executing their goals).  I look forward to helping the research in any way I can.  There are plenty of clues to be found and discoveries to be made, but ultimately, one of the best skills that an explorer can have is patience.  After all, even after finding everything there is to find, it may not make sense at first.  But if I have anything to say about it, you better believe it will.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: In honor of intrepid explorer Marcus Yeon
  • System: Jakanerva
  • Security Rating: 0.7
  • Region: The Forge
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Caldari, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

Blood Reach

What, you thought I would NOT link to my Eve Vegas talk?  GUESS AGAIN.

Blood Reach is a bustling Blood Raider hub.

Pilgrimages are a sacred rite of passage in many cultures, and important in almost all others.  There are certain places, certain sites that are hallowed grounds for many cultures, for varied reasons.  It’s not that you go there to witness what is happening at the site now.  But there is something ineffable to visiting a place that has had such a marked impact on who you and your people are.  Even though all that may remain are ghosts and stories, people still flock to these sites to remember what had been.  Religions, of course, are particularly susceptible to deeming a site holy, but any culture seems to have their sacred areas.  Even capsuleers have been known to make a journey out to the Eve Gate or Steve, to see where we came from.  And while there, we reminisce about what it means to be us, what it is that ties us together.  In traveling to these sites, we journey not just to a physical destination, but also to a psychological one.

GUYS.  EVE VEGAS WAS AMAZING.  10/10 WOULD PLAY AGAIN.

A view from near the Cathedral

And, of course, it’s not only rational people that have holy sites to make pilgrimages to.  The Blood Raiders are perhaps the most devout in New Eden, in their own twisted ways.  The more militant parts of the sect truly believe that drinking the blood of others (particularly us apparently tasty capsuleers) will bring them closer to salvation, and will endure almost anything to reach their version of immortality.  But like just about any religion, the Blood Raiders have made their own holy sites as well.  One in particular can be found in the constellation of OK-FEM, deep in Delve.  The holy site itself is the former Amarr exploration ship Pagera Manton, which was discovered adrift by Blood Raider devouts and transformed into a place of worship.  Why they decided to use this particular ship, I’ve never asked.  But because Pagera Manton itself is heavily guarded, the Blood Raiders have constructed their own waypoint for weary pilgrims, named Blood Reach.  As Aura explains:

It was great meeting so many other players.  I can sincerely say that everyone I met there was amazing.Blood Reach is a fortified outpost run by the Blood Raider organization. Its purpose is to house pilgrims coming to visit the holy site in OK-FEM. In recent times it has also served as a base of operations for Blood Raider forces sent here to find and eliminate Amarrians who come to the constellation to sabotage the Pagera Manton.

And, of course, Eve Valkyrie was AMAZING.

A mined out asteroid sits nearby.

Blood Reach is a bustling spaceport in the heart of fortified null sec.  Despite being owned by capsuleers, the Raiders have carved out a substantial niche to call their own.  The site is dominated by two massive structures.  The first is your traditional Blood Raiders cathedral.  Based off of the classic Amarr design, the colors have been changed to a bloodred to reflect the, well, you know, love of blood.  But opposite that, an even larger structure is under construction.  Although for now only part of the superstructure is complete, the design hints at a station that will dwarf even the current cathedral.  Presumably meant to house the faithful and those passing through, for now the structure’s skeletal appearance gives a rather unnerving feeling to an already-unnerving area.

TIL: I continue to be TERRIBLE at PvP.  Lol, someone gave me a gank thorax and I ended up 50km away from the battle before I figured out what was going on :-(

A close up of one of the bloodsport arenas

Beyond the two large stations, a variety of smaller structures can also be seen.  Off to one side, a set of six bunkers can be found.  Presumably meant to act as temporary housing for wayfarers until the larger structure is complete, their sleek Gallente stylings actually stand out quite a bit compared to the rest of the site.  But around the cathedral is where the bulk of activity can be found.  Although the cathedral sports a number of docking slips, the most notable thing here is what is rather untactfully called the “bloodsport arenas.”  These are massive stadiums, whose tops are covered in clear materials.  Inside, I could see hundreds, if not thousands of spectators surrounding a playing field that was already coated thick in blood.  Despite blood being sacred to the Raiders, they seemed to be spilling an awful lot of it here in the thrill of competition.  Right next to the arenas, a number of slave pens could also be seen.  It was times like this that made me wish I didn’t fly an essentially unarmed Tengu.

And given that, I didn't even TRY my hand at DUST, lol.  I'd be spinning around in a circle shooting the ground.

A Blood Raider battleship keeps an eye on the surroundings

A variety of Raider vessels could also be seen flitting between areas of the site.  Thankfully, they seemed to ignore me, despite my obviously capsuleer-based ship.  Whether they mistook me for a member of the faithful or just wanted me to make sure I could tell people of what I saw, I have no idea.  But they left me alone, and for that I was grateful.  The site also supported a significant industrial infrastructure.  A number of mined-out asteroids could be seen surrounding the site, while foundries worked seemingly day and night.  I decided not to examine too closely precisely why the foundries had been named “Clone factories.”

So thanks to everyone I met.  You were amazing.  And thanks for not throwing things at me in my speech and asking some fantastic questions.

The station remains very much a work in progress

I didn’t spend long here.  The Blood Raiders worry me more than any of the other factions in New Eden, with the possible exception of the Sansha.  Religious fervor combined with cannibalism never seems to end well, and I couldn’t even begin to understand where they were coming from in their philosophy and theology.  Still, even they are humans (though of a very deviant sort, I’ll concede), and like any humans, they need a place to call their own.  Blood Reach and the nearby Pegara Manton appear to be precisely that.  And so the faithful Raiders will continue making their pilgrimages, just like the devout have for thousands of years.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Blood Reach
  • System: CX8-6K
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Delve
  • Potential Hazards: CX8-6K is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.
  • Additional Notes: This site is a COSMOS site, and agents are available if you have the proper standing with the Blood Raiders.

Unmarked Operation

Operations 1

A vessel near the operation ferries supplies.

Governments.  You expect them to, well, govern you.  Provide necessary services, protect you from threats.  It’s all part of the social compact: you agree to submit to the government’s authority in exchange for that government keeping you safe and healthy.  According to some political theorists, in fact, this social compact is the source of the government’s authority.  In fact, keeping its citizenry safe (from threats both external and internal) is perhaps the most important service that a modern day government provides.  And in maintaining a nation’s safety, I, and most people, understand that some… questionable choices must sometimes be made in order to maintain the balance between safety and liberty.  I may not always agree with the choices made, but I do understand that there are broader issues at work.

Operations 2

A closer view of the listening posts.

Of course, it normally does not need to be said that in providing governmental services, we expect of modicum of competence.  We’re all just human, of course, but in providing for Gallente national security, I would expect the Federation to not make idiotic moves or mistakes.  Ethically questionable?  Sure, especially with the rise of the Black Eagles and other national security institutions.  But I’d like to think that, if nothing else, the professionals we hire to safeguard our nation’s closest-held secrets have a bare minimum of common sense.  After all, President Roden created one of the premiere ship-building companies in the Cluster from basically his bare hands.  How hard could it be?

Operations 3

A close up of the odd device attached to the listening posts that probably should not be broadcast to the Cluster.

So, of course, my faith in governmental institutions was severely tested by my discovery in Noghere, a system in Essence not far from the Caldari border.  There, a cursory glance at the system’s beacons will display an “Unmarked Operation,” run by the Gallente government in full view of anyone who passes through the system.  Now, don’t get me wrong, when you’re establishing a site crucial to national security, it’s not necessarily possible to keep a site secret.  After all, spy agencies need headquarters and its not necessarily possible to keep such a headquarters secret.  But you would think that you’d at least not broadcast its existence not only throughout the star system, but on CONCORD controlled maps as well.  Not only that, but the site does not appear to be protected or secured at all.  The only thing warning you away is a brief message you receive upon warping to the site:

Please be advised:

We are here to protect the citizens of the Gallente Federation. Do not be alarmed by our presence, and please carry on with your daily activities.

Operations 4

You would think that being approached by a Caldari Tech 3 cruiser would raise an alarm. You would be wrong.

Being, in fact, quite alarmed at the state of Gallente security, I dropped out of warp at the site.  If I hadn’t known what the site was ostensibly for, I would actually find it quite beautiful.  It’s dominated by what appears to be two listening posts, which slowly comb the space surrounding Noghere, no doubt searching for stray Caldari signals.  Strange devices were attached to the end of each listening post, glowing an odd shade of blue.  Neither I nor sensors could make heads or tails of the devices, and it struck me as something that the Federation would PROBABLY want to keep secret, if it had any kind of common sense.  But alas, here was a civilian photographer taking pictures of a government operation and unknown technologies.

Operations 5

A side view of the bunker at the site.

Beyond the two listening posts, the entire area is pretty quiet.  A few smaller Gallente vessels can be seen ferrying equipment and personnel back and forth.  I would normally say they also secured the site, but given what I’ve seen so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had orders to shoot each other instead of other ships should hostiles invade the area.  Between the two listening posts, a rather sizeable bunker floated, no doubt housing the operations’ staff and administration complex.  In a vain attempt to cover their tracks, the government appears to have towed a sizeable asteroid to the complex, probably thinking it was a foolproof way to hide the site from prying eyes.

Operations 6

The purpose of this site is still unknown.

As I looked over the site, I realized that perhaps I was being too hard on Federation authorities.  Still, it was difficult to figure out precisely what the Federation hoped to accomplish by making the site so blatant.  If it was perhaps a tad more difficult to find, I would think that it was meant as a diversion or counter-intelligence operation to distract the Federation’s enemies.  But even the Amarr would realize that the Federation is simply trying too hard here to make the site obvious.  Or perhaps this is just a public relations site: meant to show the citizenry that the government is Doing Something to protect it from the Caldari menace.  Whatever the reason, the fact that this site was even conceived disabused me strongly of the notion that governments should ever, ever be run by bureaucrats.  They just don’t exactly ooze competency, it seems.  Perhaps they should just be left to running symoposia and be done with it.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Unmarked Operation
  • System: Noghere
  • Security Rating: 0.7
  • Region: Essence
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

Myxhaut K8 – Waste Yard

Myxhaut 1

A former toxic waste dump serves as a base of operations for the Cartel

I’ve often wondered what drives non-capsuleers to the pirate life.  For us pod pilots, the reasoning is pretty simple: mayhem is fun and screw the consequences.  But there’s a somewhat more nuanced decision chain for people who won’t wake up in a vat of goo with a new body should they take their craft a bit too far.  Some, undoubtedly, are just like capsuleers: they just want to cause some mayhem even if it cuts their lives short.  But many, if not most, have a different dynamic at work.  Some may truly believe in the ideology behind their causes (such as they are).  Others may simply have nowhere else to go.  For whatever reason, they can’t return to civilization so they turn to the only people who will give them some food and not ask questions.  For others still, some other reason may have brought them into the pirate life.

Myxhaut 2

One of the Cartel ships stationed at the site

And the pirate life is not an easy one.  Most pirate organizations tend to be rather… tough when it comes to troop discipline.  Not to mention the variety of inter-pirate turf wars that can frequently pop up with little warning.  And CONCORD, who would undoubtedly love to bring some civility to low and null security space if they had the resources.  And 90% of capsuleers, who will go after pirate ships either as a way to ingratiate themselves with CONCORD or just to earn a few extra bucks between CTAs.  Given what is undoubtedly the short life span of most pirates at any given time, any rational person would have to be pretty desperate indeed to willingly choose to be a pirate (the fact that most of these dangers exist at equal, or perhaps even higher risk levels for members of a capsuleer crew are another matter entirely).

Still, for whatever reason, pirates do exist, and in force.  And given the size of most pirate organizations, they often need local gathering points to marshal forces.  One of these sites can be found in Eurgrana for the Angel Cartel.  As Aura notes:

Myxhaut 3Pirate hideouts are often found tucked away inside the deadspace pocket of a high security system or floating more openly in the lawless sectors of space, where they attract questionable clientele. For the Cartel, these places serve as a home and base of operations. At any given time, the occupants must be able to answer the call to arms or provide sanctuary to ranking members of the Cartel’s shadowy leadership.

Myxhaut 4

An abandoned missile battery

The re-purposed toxic waste dump here was crawling with activity.  Cruisers lumbered about, ready to respond warp out to some trouble spot at a moment’s notice, if necessary.  Or flee should there be a hardened assault on the site.  Smaller frigates flitted about, but that was about the extent of the fortifications to the site.  A solitary missile batter ostensibly stood guard, but it didn’t look like it had been fueled, much less stocked with ammo, in quite some time.  Presumably, sites like this were a dime a dozen in lower-security space.  Should the Cartel lose one site for any reason, 10 more within a 2 jump area stood ready to take its place.

Myxhaut 5

Two of the silos still hold their toxic waste, the distant one has lost integrity, however.

The area itself is suffused with a dull red glow that looked rather sickening.  It seems one of the silos holding the toxic waste in the area has been melted by the goop it held (although for a melted silo it looked to be… exactly like a non-melted silo but I guess my sensors wouldn’t lie), spreading said goop around the area.  Although shields easily held off the shower of radioactive particles being flung at me, it was still nothing I wanted to particularly concentrate on for any extended period.  Thankfully, the other two silos appeared to be holding together a little bit better than the first one.  So it looks like the Cartel found themselves a nice little hiding place: one that I was in no shape to assault in my Buzzard-class Professor Science.  It didn’t look like it would take much to push them out, however.  Still, it wasn’t going to happen in my frigate, and so I soon pushed on.  As I left, though, a lyric from an old song from my childhood came unbidden in my mind.  Awkwardly, thanks to the connection I shared with the ship, it blasted through the (thankfully empty) ship:

A pirate’s life for me…

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Myxhaut K8 – Waste Yard
  • System: Eurgrana
  • Security Rating: 0.4
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: Eurgrana is located in low security space.  Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised.  Rats can obviously be found at the site, but it’s nothing too major.   A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.

The Labyrinth

Labyrinth 1

The first thing you see upon entering the Labyrinth.

I’ve been having a recurring dream lately.  In it, I’m trapped inside an endless maze.  Every few meters, I’m presented with an option of going left or right, with no indication of which option will let me out of the maze, which direction will get me to the center of the maze, and what I will find at the maze’s end.  I spend the entire dream running through, knowing that I have to find an exit to the maze, without knowing at all why.  Half of the time, I’m being chased by an unknowable Something Evil, but the other half I’m merely wandering aimlessly, feeling more and more desperate.  Inevitably, I wake up safely ensconced in my ship or captain’s quarters, with no mazes in sight (station interiors notwithstanding), but inevitably, I wake up drenched in sweat.  Capsuleers aren’t supposed to be afraid of anything, but clearly something has me uneasy.  I guess demigods still fear their own dreams.

Labyrinth 2

Blood Raiders can be found throughout the site.

And so it was with some trepidation that I approached the site found in Aphi known as the Labyrinth.  Obviously, the name alone brought my dreams to mind.  But with everyone’s sudden interest in exploration and sightseeing, I knew I had to confront my fears sooner rather than later.  But that didn’t mean I had to go in unprepared.  I started trawling GalNet with gusto, trying to find any information on the Labyrinth that I could.  While my research wasn’t quite as productive as I might have hoped, I did at least manage to find a map that would safely guide me through the site, making sure I not be stuck wandering aimlessly.  A warp drive also helped with that, admittedly.  I also discovered that to access the site, I would need the Key to the Labyrinth, which is obtainable either through the Museum Arcana or other capsuleers.

Labyrinth 3

The central temple in the Labyrinth.

Upon entering the site, the courageous pilot is presented with a ring of spatial rifts.  Although the rifts bear some similarity to their more well-known cousin, the wormhole (most notably, the ability to move ships a certain distance through non-linear space), a number of differences remain.  Most notably, the rifts only work over relatively short distances, astronomically speaking.  The rifts will only move you tens of thousands of kilometers, instead of the thousands of lightyears that wormholes can throw you.  Additionally, while spatial rifts can be found throughout the Cluster, the Labyrinth’s rifts are one of the few known stable examples of the phenomenon.  However, they are not completely stable; each segment of the Labyrinth has 8 rifts associated with it; despite this, only certain rifts still connect with something on the other side, suggesting that portions of the Labyrinth may be lost to the ages.

Labyrinth 4

One of the many data caches found here. Takmahl debris can be seen in the background.

Whether the Labyrinth is a natural or manmade phenomenon is subject to quite a bit of debate.  On the one hand, as discussed below, the center of the maze was clearly settled by the Takmahl, with the rest of the site perhaps acting as a proving ground or security system.  On the other hand, the Takmahl, clear descendants of an off-branch of Amarr theology (and thus, the fact that Blood Raiders can often be found here should not surprise anyone), were not known for their prowess in spatial manipulation.  Such an honor usually falls to the Talocan.  So how the Takmahl could have put such a site together is unknown, given that the Takmahl tend to date significantly later than the other lost races of New Eden.  Of course, it is just as possible that the Labyrinth was a natural phenomenon merely co-opted by the Takmahl, but that still raises the question of the nature of the Labyrinth.  Such a densely packed area of spatial rifts is unknown anywhere else in the Cluster, and nowhere else do we such rifts surviving for as long as the ones here do; at least 2000 years.

Labyrinth 5

A closer look at the data cache.

As mentioned, when one navigates the, dare I say, labyrinthine connection of spatial rifts to the center of the site, a large Takmahl site can be seen.  The site is dominated by an absolutely massive rock, portions of which had been hollowed out by the Takmahl to serve as a base of some kind.  Aura marks it as a “temple” (perhaps an understandable assumption given the Takmahl’s religious origins) but I’m not entirely sure where she got her information from.  However, it was difficult to see many details from the surface, or even with sensors.  More apparent, however, was the cloud of objects surrounding the central structure.  Takmahl data terminals and caches could be found strewn around the base, many of them still functioning millennia after they were constructed.  Like the Museum Arcana, the Labyrinth is a testament to the Takmahl’s engineering prowess.  A number of Blood Raiders based from here, and a number of other collectors can be seen zealously digging through (and defending) the various artifacts to see what hasn’t been snatched up yet.

Labyrinth 6

The Labyrinth is very close to Aphi.

Given the activity at the site, I didn’t have quite as much time as I would have liked at the central site.  I was unfortunately quickly decloaked and forced to defend myself, giving me only minimal time to take sensor readings and collect data before retreating.  My ships are built for speed and stealth, not combat.  As I warped out of the site, however, I had an eerie moment of déjà vu.  Although I was safely ensconced in my ship and warping out, I couldn’t help but feel like I had been here before.  On the run, tail tucked between my legs as I sought to exit from a massive maze.  Hmmm….

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: The Labyrinth
  • System: Aphi
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Kador
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.  Additionally, a number of rats, ranging from frigates to battleships, are present throughout the site.  They will fire on you if you remain uncloaked.  Please note that the frigates, at least, may warp scramble you.
  • Additional Notes: You MUST obtain the Key to the Labyrinth, which I purchased on contracts, in order to get past the first acceleration gate.  The key is not consumed upon use.

Museum Arcana

Museum 1

A piece of ancient debris floats in the foreground to the Museum proper.

Most people often think of museums as musty old buildings filled with fading exhibits and the bones of animals long dead, or perhaps artifacts from cultures of days past.  They’re quiet buildings, filled with knowledge for those who are willing to seek it out.  Unless, of course, you happen to be a capsuleer, in which case anything that doesn’t involve explosions isn’t worth doing, be it for knowledge or some other cause.  Which is why it shouldn’t surprise anyone that, tucked away in the Araz constellation, the Museum Arcana combines the thrill of combat with the soporific effect that museums tend to have on people.  More an archeological site than a true museum, the area is still overseen by a Curator who seems curiously oblivious to the ships fighting over the choicest archeological artifacts.

Museum 2

One of the aspiring archeologists can be seen in the background.

The Museum is dedicated to the Takmahl.  Although often playing second fiddle to the more well-known Sleeper and Talocan ancient civilizations, the Takmahl have a fascinating history in their own right, and are probably the most recent of the lost civilizations of New Eden.  The Takmahl started off as an offshoot of an offshoot of the Amarr faith.  Those familiar with Amarr sects might recall that the Sani Sabik believe that purity can only be found through human blood.  While the official Faith disclaims these teachings, these theological ideas have long had some popularity amongst the Amarr.  Every so often, the Faith would set out and purge these blood believers.  One of these purges, early on after the discovery of interstellar flight, led to the expulsion of what would eventually become the Takmahl.  The followers left in cryo-ships, and apparently ended up in the Araz constellation. They became experts in cybernetics and bio-engineering before mysteriously dying out.  One of their more complete data repositories was eventually rediscovered and labeled the Museum Arcana.

Aura has this to say regarding the Museum:

Museum 3The Museum Arcana is an exclusive abode for purveyors of ancient, even arcane knowledge. The museum prides itself in serving only those truly learned in the secrets of the ancient world. To make this a certainty all visitors must not only have a rudimentary knowledge in prehistoric matters, but may be called upon to demonstrate their capabilities.

Museum 4

The still-functioning biodomes can clearly be seen here.

Aura has apparently been developing a bit of a sense of humor, since “a bit of rudimentary knowledge” roughly translates to “able to spend a few million isk.”  By running an analyzer and obtaining a Key of the Arcane, the doorkeeper is happy to let you pass into the primary area of the museum.  There, the Museum becomes a bit of a free for all.  Despite being open for business for a few years now, the Museum still has quite a few juicy morsels at play, and collectors of archaic memorabilia can often be seen tussling with those hoping to find some of that cybernetic and bio-engineering technology that I mentioned.  And, of course, any newcomers can expect to have both of those groups gang up on them for daring to intrude into their territory.  However, it can be useful seeing as how finding a few tokens for the Curator allows you access to another fascinating Takmahl site, the Labyrinth in Aphi.  But that’s for another entry.

Museum 5

One of the still active secondary data repositories.

Assuming you can take your mind off of the people trying to blow you up, the Museum itself is quite a sight to see.  The Museum is anchored by a massive central structure, surrounded by a field of secondary data repositories.  While the main structure has long been mined out of artifacts, many of the secondary repositories are still active, assuming you have the proper equipment with you.  However, the main structure of the Museum dominates from an aesthetics viewpoint.  Amarrian influences are clear in its construction, almost making the entire thing feel like a temple dedicated to preserving Takmahlan knowledge.  In particular, the top of the structure is dominated by the all-too-familiar sweeping hand of Amarrian destiny, demonstrating that the Amarr (and the Takmahl) had delusions of galactic domination for millennia.

Museum 6

The Curator stands watch over the Museum.

Although the Amarr influences are to be expected, perhaps more surprising are the deviations from Amarr architecture.  While the Amarr are well-known for their love of all things golden, the Takmahl structure’s blue-ish hues, organic curves, and biodomes gives much of the structure an almost Gallente feel to it.  I would have thought the styles would clash, but they go together remarkably well, giving the structure a very graceful feel.  The biodomes, of course, fit the Takmahlan historic interest in bio-engineering.  Perhaps the most impressive aspect of it was the fact that even now, hundreds if not thousands of years later, the biodomes were still as verdant and green as anything you would find on Gallente Prime.  Indeed, everything seemed remarkably well-preserved, which is yet another testament to Takmahl technology, regardless of any ethical concerns I might have about their religious beliefs.

Museum 7

Zimse glints off of the Museum’s domes.

I spent some time at the Museum, mostly just looking around and admiring the views.  Professor Science’s cloak meant that just about everyone ignored me, something with which I was perfectly content.  Eventually, however, it was time to move on from the Museum.  As I warped out, I couldn’t help but wonder if museums would be more popular if they all involved guns, explosions, and blood-drinking religious fanatics, but I guess we will never know.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Museum Arcana
  • System: Zimse
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Kador
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.  Additionally, a number of rats, ranging from frigates to a battleship, are present at the site.  They will fire on you if you remain uncloaked.
  • Additional Notes: You MUST obtain the Key of the Arcane, which I purchased on contracts for about 10 million isk, in order to get past the first acceleration gate.  The key is not consumed upon use.

Operation Highlander Battleground

Caldari Prime 1

The impact site of the Caldari titan Shiigeru.

The odd thing about history is that all so often it quantifies things while losing the quality.  Think back to your history classes.  We learn names, and important dates.  But we so rarely learn the human qualities of history.  What people knew, what people felt.  History has that odd quality.  Even looking back at the Seyllin Incident, it’s much easier to remember that 500 million people died than it is to remember the sheer horror I felt that day as the news continued to roll in.  Human memory has the tendency of sanitizing horrors like that, undoubtedly a safety mechanism of some kind. And us capsuleers are no different. We rarely think about the horrors inflicted onto the crews of the ships we destroy; and when we do, we try to forget as quickly as possible. It’s just the human condition, be us mortal or capsuleer.

Caldari Prime 2

Professor Science observes the devastation from orbit.

Still, that doesn’t mean I want to forget the horrors of Caldari Prime. I’m sure you’ve all heard the story by now. The Caldari titan Shiigeru, was, depending on the point of view, either a symbol of hope or terror. Tensions had long been building on the surface. This was one of those situations where, objectively speaking, both sides had a legitimate grievance (much as it pays me to say it as a loyal Gallente). On the one hand, the Caldari had reconquered its undisputed homeworld through much blood, sweat, and tears, and they had every right to want to protect it. On the other, it was simply intolerable to the Federation that an armed, 7 kilometer machine of death was sitting mere seconds away from the very heart of the Gallente. The loss of Gallente Prime to the Federation would be simply incalculable. And so, the two sides sat in an uneasy balance. The Caldari unwilling to give up its homeland, the Federation unwilling to risk a fight so close to Gallente Prime.

The devastation from the impact covers 1.2 million square kilometers.

The devastation from the impact covers 1.2 million square kilometers.

But once the Caldari made the decision, after days of unrest, to move Shiigeru to low orbit, the Federation was forced to deploy. And thus began Operation Highlander. With CONCORD essentially declaring a state of emergency, havoc let loose both in orbit and on Caldari Prime itself. While Gallente forces seemed to dominate in the pitched space battle, it seems that Caldari forces held the upper hand on their homeworld. Things seemed to be reaching yet another stalemate when something never before seen in high security space occurred: Shiigeru died. While titans dying in null security space is relatively boring news these days, never have the denizens of high security space seen such a spectacle. The massive vessel simply broke in half, and the second half of the ship was destroyed. In many capsuleer battles, this would be the end of the story. But because Shiigeru was so close to the planet, the remaining half came crashing down onto Caldari Prime.

Caldari Prime 4

The devastation can even be seen from high orbit.

The result, as you might expect from millions of tons of metal, was complete devastation.  The ship came down 700 kilometers west of Caldari Prime’s second largest city, Arcurio, whilst teams from both nations were still fighting on the surface. The impact was so strong that buildings came down in Arcurio, and the entire planet needed to undergo intense environmental decontamination. The impact crater, with titanium diborite fires still raging even weeks later, can be seen from orbit, a chilling reminder of the effects us capsuleers can have. In total, some 1.2 million square kilometers near the southern end of the Kaalakiota Peaks were completely wiped off the map. It remains a minor miracle that the ship didn’t land closer to Arcurio itself.

Caldari Prime 5

But even from this kind of cataclysm, hope springs eternal.

However, despite all of the death and destruction, some hope comes from this. After years of tensions over Caldari Prime, the State and Federation have agreed to demilitarize the planet. Oddly enough, the eccentric mercenaries Mordu’s Legion will now provide planetary security on Caldari Prime. Furthermore, this also demonstrates the first mass-revolt against Tibus Heth’s reign in Caldari politics. Despite Heth’s continued railings against the demilitarization agreement, the megacorporations agreed to abide by the terms proposed by Ishukone. Perhaps now, for the first time in years, peace can come to Caldari Prime. Perhaps history will mark this as a turning point in State-Federal relations, even as it works, as it always does, to sanitize it for the history books.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction:  Operation Highlander Battleground, Caldari Prime
  • System: Luminaire
  • Security Rating: 1.0
  • Region: Essence
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

Caldari Monument

Guys I am SUPER EXCITED for Odyssey

A monument to Caldari architecture

It’s been an eventful few weeks in New Eden for both myself and the empires, not to mention capsuleers.  Which of course means that the accursed planetside business that we all loath but must take care of on a regular basis decided that now is an appropriate time to rear its ugly head.  So sadly, my space-based activities have been severely curtailed in recent days, for better or for worse.  But I was not about to let a little thing like “serious business” get in the way of my explorations.  And so, I was set to go out on another excursion.  Before I left, however, I had decided to stop by my home system of Luminaire, having heard the rumblings of unrest on Caldari Prime.  When I got there originally, the situation was tense but stable.  After poking my news sources for a few minutes, I was about to get underway when something else caught my eye  Something unexpected.  I quickly banked the Professor and set course for about an AU out from Caldari Prime.

And thanks for CCP for the Community Spotlight.  I feel like an idiot for not being able to post sooner after it was posted, but RL will be the death of me :-(

The asymmetrical lines of the Caldari Station are recognizable to all.

And yet my eyes hadn’t deceived me.  There, well outside of Caldari orbital space, in the cultural of the Federation, sat a monument to the Caldari.  I was half surprised that the Federation allowed it to be kept up, given the unfortunate history between the two states and the more recent tensions that have arisen, and yet another part of me would have been upset if the government had taken it down.  The Federation may be many things, but we respect where we came from.  If we didn’t have the Rouvenors to get started with the Enlightenment, we could just have easily turned out to be some no-name tribe still stuck on Gallente Prime, instead of the cluster-wide power we turned out to be.  And in order to continue being that kind of power, we have to remember what, exactly, it was that brought us to where we are today.  So I, for one, am happy that the Federation has decided to keep the Caldari Monument up.  The Caldari secession was a painful time for the Federation, but it strengthened our resolve and brought about many reforms that are still in place to this day.

But hopefully Odyssey will get me playing more regularly!be just what the doctor ordered

The home systems of the Caldari are visible near the blueish nebula

But philosophical musings aside, the monument itself is fairly straight forward.  An old Caldari station dominates the scene.  As with most ruins, it’s been picked clean in the years since the Caldari evacuated from Luminaire, but the harsh and often chaotic lines of Caldari architecture are still very recognizable.  I never quite understood the Caldari love of asymmetrical structures with odd protuberances from every surface, but I guess I wasn’t exactly brought up in the Caldari tradition either.  In any case, the relic of the pre-secession days still sits out here, in the middle of nowhere, slowly deteriorating in space.  A cloud of debris suffuses the entire area, nearly the same color as the Caldari-home nebula that can be seen even from Gallente Prime.  Fitting, I suppose.

Mostly put here because we haven't seen the good Professor in a while

Professor Science heads in for a closer look

The other notable object at the monument strikes me as a bit odd.  It should look familiar to anyone familiar with Amarrian history, but the fact that there is a ruined temple monument here is odd nonetheless.  Although obviously the Amarr and Caldari are close allies nowadays, this certainly was not only the case.  Indeed, the alliance originally started as little more than a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” type strategic decision, as the Caldari were being hardpressed by the Gallente when the Amarr and Gallente stumbled into each other.  Still, the Caldari do have a bit of a spiritual side, if substantially less developed then, say, the Amarrian tradition, but it’s odd to see such a prominent display of it at a Caldari memorial.

A little short this week, but I still like the entry.

Luminaire shines through the towers of the Caldari station

I didn’t spend a long time at the monument.  I had seen Caldari stations before and I will undoubtedly see them again.  Caldari station ruins can be found throughout both Caldari and Gallente space, evidencing the oddly mutually-dependent if antagonistic relationship the two nations have had with each other nearly from the moment of first contact.  The histories of the Gallente and Caldari are irrevocably intertwined, no matter how much factions on each side wish it weren’t so.  And so I, for one, am happy that the Federation government has chosen to maintain this monument as a recognition that even though we’ve come so far, we still have a long way to go before the Federation truly lives up to its ideals.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction:  Caldari Monument
  • System: Luminaire
  • Security Rating: 1.0
  • Region: Essence
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

Counter-Intelligence Center

CIC 1

The Counter-Intelligence Center in Orvolle

New Eden isn’t exactly known for its stable political dynamics.  Corporations and alliances rise and fall seemingly at the drop of a hat.  Although the empires are always there, their fortunes wax and wane as threats both internal and external assault them.  That being said, as of late, New Eden seems even more agitated lately than normal.  The State is attacking its own citizens; one of the Heirs is wracked with scandal.  And though the Gallente recently conquered the entirety of the CONCORD-mandated warzone (which perhaps explains Mentas Blaque’s recent aggressiveness in foreign policy speeches), the Federation too has been beset by internal struggles; namely, the astoundingly overt raiding of a publicly broadcast concert by the Black Eagles.  But it isn’t all bad news either: the Republic’s Tribal Council brought a fully functional government back to the Minmatar for the first time in years.  I’m no political commentator – far from it, in fact – but it seems to me that the days of lethargy in New Eden are coming to an end.

CIC 2

A large billboard dominates much of the Center.

And, of course, as events start picking up steam, it becomes all the more important for people to have all the information needed to make the important decisions.  Intelligence gathering has a long and storied history in New Eden for both capsuleers and governments alike.  Political intrigue, espionage, and the ever-present “metagame” means that information, and the battles over that information, are ever changing and evolving.  Indeed, New Eden’s denizens undoubtedly have some of the most sophisticated propaganda machines ever to grace the halls of humanity.  Indeed, the propaganda and information machines have gotten so sophisticated that not only do organizations need their own intelligence-gathering sources, they need their own counter-intelligence sources as well to throw others off.

CIC 3

A lone Lachesis sits docked at the Center

Enter the Counter-Intelligence Center in Orvolle.  Established by the Federation government, it’s a center of both propaganda meant to throw enemies off of the Federation’s scent, as it were, but also a center of analysis and research.  Of course, as a counter-intelligence center, you’d think that they would want to lay low so enemies couldn’t figure out if information was coming from a legitimate news source or just the Center, but what do I know?  I’m certainly not an intelligence operative (though of course if I were that would be exactly what I’d say).  Either way, putting the center out there for anyone to see strikes me a bit odd, but I guess that is why I’m not paid the big bucks.

CIC 4

Orvolle’s shine glares off of the loading docks

The center itself is a fairly simple affair from the outside.  The primary analysis center and work area is dominated by the docking platforms sitting atop of a number of storage vats.  Precisely what was being stored in the vats was beyond me, and for some odd reason they didn’t exactly respond to my queries.  A lone Lachesis sits amongst the docking structures, apparently piloted by someone willing to give people work.  Other than that, however, there was little to see.  A billboard was set up, and in true Gallente fashion it alternated between news and Quafe advertisements.  And a lone antenna continuously scanned the skies, broadcasting its omnidirectional message out into the night.

I didn’t spend a lot of time here; there simply wasn’t much to see.  From an academic perspective, however, I found the blatant attempts at counter-intelligence fascinating.  Could the blatant existence of the Center be its own form of propaganda?  Showing the enemies of the Federation precisely how confident it was, that it didn’t even bother to hide its intelligence centers?  With these questions clouding my head, I veered off, on to my next destination.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction:  Counter-Intelligence Center
  • System: Orvolle
  • Security Rating: 0.7
  • Region: Placid
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This site serves as one starting point for the Guristas Epic Arc missions.

Minecore

If I were a scholar I'd tote devote my time to eve online, lol.

K-X5AX shines between the ridges of the colony.

One of the interesting things about human nature is how we gravitate towards certain ideas, even when ostensibly eschewing them.  Humans (even immortal ones) are ultimately creatures of habit, and once we get certain ideas in our heads, it’s almost impossible to excise those ideas, regardless of how hard we try.  Take null security space, for example.  This area is ultimately dominated by people who have decided that big government isn’t right for them: they want to live their own lives their own ways.  So what do they do once they get out to null sec?  Why, they start collecting taxes.  They start conducting diplomacy with their neighbors and, if necessary (and sometimes even if not necessary), conduct war against their neighbors.  The alliances start providing infrastructure for their members, and cultivating loyalty.  They set up structures to air disputes, while providing for the general common defense of their lands.  If I didn’t know better, I’d say that this is precisely what a government does.

I still say the Machariel looks like the Galactica

A Machariel-class battleship climbs from the bottom of the screen, keeping an eye on potential dangers from without and within.

Even the pirate organizations, the ones who fled “civilized” life to strike out on their own, ultimately end up creating their own forms of governments.  To be sure, pirate based governments tend to be more heavy handed than most.  They’re not afraid to use extreme measures to maintain control, and they likely don’t exactly care much about popular opinion, but they are governments nonetheless.  Indeed, it’s rare that you find true “anarchists” who want to bring the entire system and keep it down, rather than just being unhappy with the current form of the system or the policies of the current system.

I may or may not have been in the mood for big words when I wrote this.

One of the foundries at the site.

A classic example of this can be found out in Feythabolis.  It’s a distant region, found near the southern tip of the current gate network in New Eden.  It’s essentially the furthest you can possibly get from CONCORD and the empires.  And yet even here, you see the basic qualities of a system of governance for the region.  Capsuleer governors keep an eye on their holdings, farm them when they can, quell rebellions when they must.  The local pirates, the Angel Cartel, likely fled from Minmatar space to get away from the classic tribal structure, and yet here they’ve merely set up a government of their own.  We can see this in this week’s site, Minecore HQ.  Minecore headed out to null security space for the reason that many do: to make isk.  And they ended up getting taken over by the Cartel in the process.  As Aura explains:

Apologies for the weird posting schedule, btw, I'm also in the midst of updating the Lore Guide and that's taking up a ton of timeMinecore Inc. is a corporation founded by groups of freelance miners and mercenaries who had ventured into Feythabolis in search of valuable asteroids and gas clouds rumored to be located in this perilous territory. By banding together they also hoped to withstand attacks from marauding pirates and other outlaws. Inside this area of space they have set up an outpost which operates mainly as a gathering point for their mining expeditions before they venture out into uncharted space in search of harvestable gas clouds.

Shortly after Minecore’s conception, the Angel Cartel came in force to I-3ODK to claim their share of the profit. Minecore was forced to concede a large portion of their earnings to the Cartel, and have paid tribute ever since to keep them off their backs. Today Minecore is partially controlled by the Cartel, and their outposts are guarded by Angel ships.

Yep, I'm sick of asteroid colonies...

Habitation modules

The Minecore site is now a classic example of an organization ostensibly dedicated to taking down governments and creating general mayhem doing the exact opposite: imposing order (albeit their own kind of order).  They weren’t going to let something like a few miners get in the way of profit, so they took by might what they couldn’t take by right.  And in doing so, the Cartel even goes so far as to protect their investments.  Arguably, defense is the most important of all governmental functions, and the Cartel provides it with gusto.  Indeed, the Minecore site is now replete with Cartel forces, probably as much to protect the Cartel’s investment as it is to keep an eye on the local inhabitants.

I do like this shot though

Looking out on the main colony.

Beyond the heavy Cartel presence, however, there’s little really to see at the site (beyond my ability to let my political science geekery out to play, of course).  It’s your standard mining site: a main base dug into a fairly large, arc-shaped asteroid, with a variety of supporting industries and habitation modules.  The site is certainly on the larger end of mining operations that I’ve seen, but there’s really little to recommend it unless you have a pronounced fascination with mining efficiency and industrial processes (granted, I know some people love this kind of thing, though it’s not quite my cup of tea).  You have your standard asteroid habitats, foundries, and the myriad of other things you can find in just about any system in New Eden.  If it wasn’t for the slightly distinctive background, it wouldn’t be worthy of note at all.

I didn’t spend long at Minecore.  Though I obviously sympathizes with the workers, I had no desire to face the wrath of the Cartel (who already are not exactly my biggest fans).  After I finished taking my photos, I set off for my next destination, wondering if that one to would let my inner political science geek out.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Minecore
  • System: K-X5AX
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Feythabolis
  • Potential Hazards: K-X5AXis deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.
  • Additional Notes: This site is a COSMOS site, and agents are available if you have the proper standing with the Angel Cartel.

The Tain

Tain 1

The Tain itself can barely be seen through the surrounding dust cloud. Debris floats in the foreground.

We all have our skills in life. Some of us are fantastic at fighting. Others of us are great at dying. Some of us have found our calling in creation. While still others like to theorycraft destruction. The thing about capsuleers is that we’re a varied lot. We go beyond mere death and destruction. Political intrigue is well cataloged in capsuleer circles. We have such a robust community that incisive political commentary is not just a nicety, but a necessity. News sites cover not just what happened, but offer commentary as well. Some people have fantastic stories to tell. And that doesn’t even begin to cover the pirates, wormhole dwellers, and people who are trying out a little bit of everything. Oh, and then there’s me, who keeps taking pictures of the things I see in New Eden, and for some reason, people keep reading it. In short, New Eden offers such a broad array of insightful, colorful, and just all around fantastic characters in every imaginable combination.

Tain 2

The shattered remains of an old-style Amarr battleship.

I bring this up because for all of the stories there are to tell, for all of the things that there are to say (and have been said), there are 100 more that never see the light of day. In a galaxy of billions, with intrigue, murder, and shady deals a constant part of life, I can’t help but thinking of the untold stories of the cluster, even when inundated with plenty of stories that are. While many of these stories are undoubtedly less exciting than the ones we end up hearing about, I have no doubt that there are certain stories that, if ever exposed to the light of day, would turn the cluster upside down. But, for whatever reason, these stories are often lost to the ages, never to be told.

Tain 3

The Nidhoggur stands silhouetted by DUO-51.

This entire train of thought was prompted by my investigations in the 760-9C constellation. It’s a backwater constellation, out in Wicked Creek, and certainly not some place that I would really consider taking a vacation in. But it’s notable because it’s the suspected hiding place of wanted criminal from Matari space. Martokar Alash sounds no worse than many capsuleers, being wanted by Matari authorities for booster smuggling, killing CONCORD officers, and capturing Matari citizens and selling them into slavery. Yet the Republic Justice Department has decided that Alash needs to be stopped, and is willing to step on the toes of the Thukker Tribe to do it. Alash was last seen in 760-9C, and the Republic has made the constellation a focus of its search. Indeed, when you first enter the constellation, Aura receives an automated pop-up message from Matari authorities:

Tain 4Rumor has it that the infamous Thukker warlord, Martokar Alash, was last seen in the constellation 760-9C. He apparently fled his homeland after Republic authorities threatened an invasion should he not be extradited into their hands. It is believed that he has become involved in the booster smuggling business, working alongside the Angel Cartel.

Tain 5Martokar’s previous crimes include the murder of CONCORD officers, kidnapping and sale of Republic citizens into slavery. Investigators also blamed him for managing a large criminal network inside the Republic territories, which had direct links to the Angel Cartel. And although it is common knowledge that the Thukker Tribe leadership has strong ties to the Cartel, Dulinar Nerhoger, chief of intelligence in the Republic Justice Department, believes that Martokar’s crimes are grave enough to warrant special attention. He advises all travelers venturing into 760-9C to keep an eye out for Martokar, he is considered extremely dangerous.

Tain 6

Gaping holes can be seen in the station.

For the purposes of finding Alash, the Republic has set up base in an old, abandoned station in DUO-51 of Minmatar origin, now only known as The Tain. What an abandoned Minmatar station is doing out this way isn’t entirely clear. Records don’t indicate that the Republic has ever made a concerted effort at settling the region; indeed, Wicked Creek’s been in the hands of the Angel Cartel and its associated criminal elements for as long as anyone can seem to remember. It’s possible that the Thukker built the station long ago, only to abandon it when their seemingly insatiable wanderlust kicked in again, but if so, those records have long been lost. Indeed, whatever purpose the station served is now known only to the solar winds spitting off the meager local star.

Tain 7

The shattered remains of the Amarr battleship.

That’s not to say that the Tain isn’t a lively place, though. As mentioned, the Republic Fleet has decided to use the abandoned station as their command center for the hunt for Alash. To demonstrate how seriously the Republic feels Alash’s capture is, it has moved a fully-manned Nighoggur-class carrier to the Tain. This showing of the flag is especially significant because it’s rare to see any of the empires in New Eden deploy capital assets (capsuleer-controlled capitals are, of course, another matter entirely), and downright unheard of to see such capital assets deployed this deep into capsuleer-controlled space. To help protect the vested interest the Republic clearly has here, they’ve also deployed a small support fleet, consisting mostly of the iconic Tempest-class battleships. To send such a provocative and high-value deployment to Wicked Creek is undoubtedly an attempt by the Republic’s military command to demonstrate the seriousness with which it would take any attempts to interfere with the search for Alash. The empires very much know that us capsuleers can turn on them at merely a moment’s notice, and it’s only the threat of CONCORD that really holds us off. Given the public record of his crimes, that, of course, makes almost no sense. This suggests to me that something far more serious is at stake. Either Alash is wanted for far more serious crimes than the Republic is willing to announce publicly currently, or they’re using Alash as a cover.

Tain 8

The mummified remains of some poor soul

The Tain itself clearly has some stories to tell, if only anyone could understand it. The local space is littered with debris, apparently from some epic space battle. Intriguingly, it appears that the Amarr also deployed some assets to Wicked Creek at some point; the remains of one of their old-style battleships can be seen beached within a local asteroid field. The station itself has been pulverized. Minmatar architecture can often be mistaken as damaged even when in full repair, but it takes little skill to notice the gaping holes throughout the station’s superstructure, not to mention the station batteries and other equipment that has been ejected from the station. There’s even a few mummified bodies floating amongst the debris, though it’s impossible to tell whether these date from the time of the Tain’s abandonment or the Matari were having some disciplinary problems in more recent times. Regardless, it’s clear that neither the Amarr nor the Matari had a pleasant time of things here at the Tain.

Tain 9

Leftover drilling equipment can be seen here as well.

Whatever the Republic is doing out here, I wish them luck. When someone wants to get lost in New Eden, it’s easy to do so, and it seems that Alash is giving the Republic a run for its money. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something more at stake here for the Republic, given the profile of the deployment. But whatever it was, it was unlikely that they would announce it any time soon. And so what happens here at the Tain, along with happened here in the past, is likely to stay as another of New Eden’s countless untold stories.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: The Tain
  • System: DUO-51
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Wicked Creek
  • Potential Hazards: DUO-51 is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.
  • Additional Notes: This site is a COSMOS site, and agents are available if you have the proper standing with Minmatar.

Fatimar Outpost

Fatimar 1

The Fatimar Outpost is a surprisingly sprawling one despite being found deep in null security space.

It’s a well-known but at times little understood fact that the interstellar economy requires constant destruction in order to not only thrive, but even survive.  Without the vast amount of ships taken out of commission daily by my fellow capsuleers, New Eden’s economy would grind to a halt.  Suddenly, people would no longer be buying ships or ammo.  Prices for ships and the modules that go on them would plummet as supplies flood the market.  This leads to a crash in mineral and salvage component prices, meaning that even the most isolated amongst us get hit hard as the economy grinds to a halt.  It’s a sobering thought, because on the one hand the economy, such as it is, brings prosperity for billions.  On the other hand, one only needs to look at the past day’s casualty lists to understand the cost of that prosperity.

Fatimar 2

One of the many small support craft found at the outpost.

Either way, it doesn’t appear that the economy will be grinding to a halt for lack of violence any time soon.  Us capsuleers show no sign of abating our violent tendencies, either against each other or the multitude of pirates and other unseemly people who have made their homes in the stars.  As such, there is a constant pressure to find new sources of raw materials to feed the ever roiling violent frenzy that is New Eden.  It’s easy to imagine that in the vastness of any star system, resources are nearly limitless.  But the key word of that phrase is “nearly.”  While any one star system starts with a vast amount of resources, many of the core worlds in high security space have been in development for thousands of years.  And the resources are therefore starting to dry up there.  Such a trend is even evident in low security space, even though many systems have only been inhabited for a hundred years at best.  Only null security and especially wormhole space still has nearly-untapped resources these days, and it is out there that you can still find the massive mining operations that keep our economy clipping along.

Fatimar 3

One of the support complexes set up by the colonists.

One such mining enterprise can currently be found in MY-W1V, in Catch.  It’s a small colony, and nothing on the order of what you would see from a well-organized capsuleer mining operation, but it’s interesting to see nonetheless.  Perhaps that’s because of late I’ve found myself more and more fascinated with how the non-capsuleer class lives.  Though I of course used to be a non-capsuleer myself, I’ve recently passed my fifth anniversary of being a capsuleer, and perhaps my recent interest in the general public is a bit of nostalgia on my part.  Regardless of where my current interest in what is otherwise a fairly normal mining operation comes from, it’s apparently also interesting enough to CONCORD to warrant a navigational beacon.  As Aura explains:

Fatimar 4Frolo Fatimar was a famous Amarrian explorer that passed away only a few years ago. During his later years he founded this outpost, hidden within a deadspace pocket which originally contained large quantities of Arkonor asteroids. Those are now long gone, having been mined to oblivion, but what remains is a sizable colony of harvesters and miners that have been scouring the 9HXQ-G constellation for the valuable gas clouds Frolo claimed to have found in massive quantities.

Fatimar 5

The defense station stands guard over the colony

The colony has all the trappings of a modern day deep-space outpost.  A number of asteroids have been hollowed out in the traditional format to serve as living and working quarters for the variety of crew that have settled here.  A number of completely artificial habitats also populate the area.  Beyond that, there’s also a shipyard and a number of huge storage containers, undoubtedly holding supplies as well as ore while waiting for the freighters to make supply runs out to Jita and back.  There’s also a few solar energy harvesters to provide energy to the outpost.  But by far, the scene is dominated by the massive sensor array and the central work outpost.  The outpost itself is a standard Amarrian “let’s make everything look like a church” design, contrasting sharply with the utilitarian design of the dish.

Fatimar 6

Part of the support fleet for the outpost.

It shouldn’t be surprising that even a minor outpost settled in the depths of null security space, away from the protection of CONCORD, should boast a substantial defense force.  The colonists have not only built their own defense post (notably a rather non-Amarrian design), but have built a minor fleet to protect itself.  The three battleships and assorted support craft won’t stave off a coordinated assault, of course, but it should be enough to scare off most minor pirate assaults.  Considering the fact that they’re presumably supporting the defense fleet solely through earnings from the ore and gas they’ve mined, the colonists apparently know what they’re doing.  But I guess high risk like this brings high rewards as well.

Anyway, I spent only a few minutes poking around on the colony.  I was en route to other, perhaps more interesting sites, and I didn’t want to overstay my welcome.  With another look around the system to make sure I wasn’t being followed, I was on my way.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Fatimar Outpost
  • System: MY-W1V
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Catch
  • Potential Hazards: MY-W1V is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol.  Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates.  Caution is advised.
  • Additional Notes: This site is a COSMOS site, and agents are available if you have the proper standing with Amarr.

Nugoeihuvi Information Center

Nugoeihuvi 1

The information/administration center for Nugoeihuvi’s space-based operations.

I know myself pretty well, I think.  I know that, much as I might like to pretend at times that I don’t have biases against anyone, I am not the biggest fan of either the Amarr or the Caldari, and I often let those biases through in my writings here.  I often portray the Amarr as brainless theocrats who care for nothing save either their God or their own power.  Of course, the thing about stereotypes is that while they may be true sometimes, ascribing stereotypical features to any person of a given background is asking for trouble.  The Gallente too have a well-earned stereotype for their decadent and drug fueled ways, but heavens know I lead a humble (for a capsuleer) life, and I don’t even take performance-enhancing boosters, much less the more addictive narcotics that are out there.  And just as the Minmatar are the stereotypical brutes who know nothing other than what their own fists (or autocannons) can do, I know plenty who are quiet, reserved, and thoughtful.  Stereotypes may be appropriate for some… but they cannot or should not be used as a blanket rule.

Nugoeihuvi 2

Some of the many ships in a holding pattern awaiting docking clearance.

I bring this up because I know particularly that I give the Caldari a hard time.  I often portray them as soulless corporate zombies, who care for nothing but their corporation’s own bottom line and have little conception of the word “fun.”  This is, of course, entirely incorrect.  Indeed, the Caldari are some of the Federation’s biggest importers when it comes to the various entertainment products that are the Federation’s flagship exports.  But that’s not to say that the Caldari can have no fun on their own.  Indeed, one of the Caldari megacorps is geared almost exclusively towards providing the State with various entertainment products, such as holos, songs, games, and a host of other devices meant to cheer up State citizens as they look at the bland gray walls that they love so much (sorry, couldn’t help myself there).  Nugoeihuvi (thankfully shortened to NOH much of the time) is the State’s leader in a whole phalanx of products; indeed, it’s the only megacorp that focuses on such products.  It’s somewhat ironic, then, that NOH is a member of the so-called “practicals” bloc.  Then again, considering that NOH has rather overt connections to the criminal underground, it fits in well with the practicals’ “ethics have no place in society” view of life.

Nugoeihuvi 3

Some of the military support available at the station.

I’ll admit that I don’t have a lot of personal experience with NOH products, though admittedly I don’t have a lot of experience with non-capsuleer entertainment these days.  However, what little from them I’ve seen is remarkably similar to what comes out of the studios on Luminaire, Algogille, and Dodixie.  Indeed, the most remarkable thing about Caldari entertainment is how unremarkable it is compared to its Gallente brethren.  I’m not sure if this is a belated victory for the Cultural Deliverance Society or just the inevitable cultural exchange that comes with (relatively) free trade, but it seems to work for NOH regardless.  It works enough so, actually, that NOH has seen fit to create an information center and administration center in NOH’s corporate headquarters system of Josameto.  Acting as the interface between NOH’s corporate boardroom and the broader cluster at large, the center helps not only coordinate NOH’s interstellar interests but also acts as a minor tourist attraction to drag sightseers into NOH’s embrace.  As Aura explains:

Nugoeihuvi 4This small complex acts as the first point of contact between many spacebound travelers and representatives of Nugoeihuvi Corporation. Since traffic around major corporate stations is often at or near maximum capacity, Nugoeihuvi and other State organizations frequently set up their own temporary administrative facilities away from the hurried masses.

Nugoeihuvi 5

A look inside the upper pressure dome

“Hurried masses” indeed.  I’m used to thinking of Jita and Amarr as the economic hearts of the cluster, but even if Josameto doesn’t give these systems a run for their money, it certainly puts on an impressive display for a non-capsuleer-based presence.  The spacelanes here are filled with shuttles, freighters, and other ships as they come and go from the massive structure; their scarcely seems room for even my tiny Professor Science amongst the traffic control queues.  I did not envy the traffic controllers for the port.  Still, even while waiting in a queue somewhat off of the main spacelanes, it was fascinating to watch the parade of military and freighter vessels come and go as they get shuffled around by the station.  Local chatter was filled with the somewhat eclectic dialect that traders inevitably develop, be it space-based or land-based.  I’m not sure what “going 2 centi’s on the inbound” or “clear shot for a sling” but everyone seemed to be happy with it so I didn’t question it.  I mostly just hung back and watched the action.

Nugoeihuvi 6

Some of the transshipping facilities available in Josameto.

The station itself was surprisingly artistic for general Caldari architectural design, even if it was clothed in the standard gunmetal gray so favored by the corporate boards.  The station gently expanded from the bottom up, spreading what almost looked like flower petals from the central stem.  These panels angled away from the central structure, giving the entire station a rather vase-like appearance.  The top of the station was strikingly Gallente in design, actually: a clear dome that allowed me to see into the central core of the building.  Although a Gallente station would have parkland or other open areas under a clear dome like this, the harsher, angled surfaces of the buildings visible within the pressure dome suited the station well.

Nugoeihuvi 7

The bottom of the information center.

Unfortunately, after being told that I was somewhere in the sixties in terms of the docking queue, I decided it wasn’t quite worth the wait and got on my way.  Still, I enjoyed a glimpse into a side of Caldari culture that I rarely see, as well as the introspection it provided.  Being reminded of your prejudices, even if you don’t quite manage to do anything about them, never hurts, and I left the area as a slightly better person than I was when I first arrived.

 

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Nugoeihuvi Information Center
  • System: Josameto
  • Security Rating: 0.6
  • Region: The Forge
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4 in security status, or -5 standing with the Caldari, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Caldari COSMOS site.
  • SCHEDULING NOTE: As you may have noticed, posting on here has been infrequent at best, recently.  This is due to a combination of factors, most notably the fact that I’m moving in RL and things are hectic as it is, and also that I’m in that bane of players everywhere: A classic EVE Slump ™.  In an attempt to nip this as much in the bud as I can, as well as give myself all the time I need to settle into the new place and take care of the holidays, EVE Travel will be going on Hiatus until the new year.  Of course, I have no intention of leaving twitter and I should be logging in, even if not as regularly as I normally do.  That said, I’ll be keeping an eye on comments and evemail, so if anyone comes across anything they’d like to see profile, feel free to drop me a line.  Fly safe, New Eden, and I’ll see you on the other side o7

Impetus Site

Impetus 1

A major distribution center for entertainment company Impetus.

Sometimes, I think about the logistics necessary to keep an economy like New Eden up and running.  Inevitably, when I do, I immediately get a headache.  I’ve only dabbled on the industrial side of New Eden, back in my early days as a pod pilot, and that was enough to give me an appreciation that lasts to this day for the countless citizens who work around the clock to give us the goods we often take for granted.  Everything, from the smallest piece of ammunition in your autocannon to the largest Titans, is built by teams of capsuleers.  These capsuleers need to gather the materials necessary (either through mining or reprocessing other equipment), utilize blueprints to put those materials together.  For higher quality equipment, multiple levels of this become necessary, and that doesn’t even begin to look at the complexities of reverse engineering, invention, and other processes necessary for tech 2 and Sleeper-based technologies.  I am shocked time and again that the entire economy hasn’t collapsed in on itself when I realize that this is all due solely to capsuleer efforts. But such is the world that we live in.

Impetus 2

A portion of Impetus’s shipping fleet.

Of course, there is an entire side of the economy that we have little to know interaction with as capsuleers.  Entire planetary economies are often offlimits to us, as us capsuleers have little use for most consumer goods.  With our whims completely catered for, what use would we have for a microwave or oven?  While some inroads are starting to be made in certain areas, for the most part, capsuleer-produced equipment is often reserved solely for capsuleer use, and vice versa.  Whether it is the natural economic result or a CONCORD-mandated division, the fact of the matter is that, economically speaking (and in many other ways for that matter), the billions of people on the planets below us are invisible.  We simply don’t have any interaction with them.

Impetus 3

A top down view.

That’s not to say that they don’t have their own economies though.  And sometimes, we capsuleers have the opportunity to run into this other side of New Eden.  Interstellar-shipping and interstellar logistics are not only a concern of capsuleer-based corporations; it is a major concern for the civilian-oriented trans-stellar corporations as well.  Indeed, you can sometimes see hints of this other side of the economy when you see those convoys coming and going from stations.  There seems to be little rhyme or reason for the stations these convoys visit, but perhaps the civilian population is similarly confused as to why Jita is given so much attention by us capsuleers.  It’s just another example of the ever-widening gap between the capsuleer and non-capsuleer portions of humanity.

Impetus 4

Cargo crates can be seen next to these small industrials

But for those of you who may want more than a glimpse, I highly suggest Dodixie.  Like Jita, Dodixie is a familiar market hub for many capsuleers throughout Gallente space.  Unlike Jita, however, Dodixie also appears to have a thriving non-capsuleer economy as well, as evidenced by the major distribution center established here by the well-known film maker Impetus.  I’ve profiled Impetus before, so I won’t belabor the point other than saying that its extremely broad range of entertainment materials, it in many ways mirrors broader Gallente society and tastes.  Aura puts it much more concisely:

Impetus 5An Impetus agent awaits you in this deadspace complex.

Impetus are the leading creators and distributors of all sorts of entertainment: holoreels, cheap pornography, even seedier (or perhaps, more ethically questionable) means of kinetically visual fare. Regardless of their product, the entertainment lifestyle is decadent and glamorous, so talking to this agent might provide you a glimpse into that exotic world.

Impetus 6

The Professor approaching the distribution center.

The first thing that came to my mind as I dropped out of warp at the distribution center was that it was a giant flower floating in space.  Four “petals,” in reality, the docking platforms, sprout from the top of the central stem.  These platforms gleam in the sunlight of Dodixie, not to mention the variety of ships that can be found here as well.  Travelling down the central stem about half way, a set of four “leaves” can be found sprouting off the stem, rotated 45 degrees from the central platform.  As best as I could tell, these seemed to function mainly as storage areas.  Given the bustling activity at the center, there would have to be substantial storage in order to make all of these ships have a reason to be here.  The stem itself probably served as the primary administrative areas for offices.

Impetus 7

A Thorax sits docked at the station.

Beyond the center itself, a veritable fleet of cargo ships could be found docked at the station.  Industrial ships ranging in size from the massive Obelisk to the tiny yet (relatively) speedy Occator can be found docked, with ships both sitting on the sprawling docking ports as well as off to the side.  The top (as much as such a word has meaning in space) of the docking platforms are also covered in stacked crates of cargo, undoubtedly filled with a variety of filming equipment and sets, not to mention hardcopies of the hundreds of films pumped out by the studios every year.  With Impetus as a major producer of entertainment products, I have no doubt that the activity continues around the clock here.

I very much enjoyed my brief time at the Impetus site.  Given that I was in the area anyway to pick up some supplies, it was nice to have a new site to discover so close to where I needed to go anyway.  As I watched the bustle of activity, the coming and going of ships as they dropped off or picked up supplies, it made me once again appreciate the complexities of New Eden.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Impetus Site
  • System: Dodixie
  • Security Rating: 0.9
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Gallente COSMOS site.

Mamo’s Backyard

Mamo 1

Mamo’s Backyard at first glance looks like a collection of random scrap

Capsuleers represent the absolute epitome of society in New Eden.  The money that even the most modest of capsuleers make in a day could completely support a small city for a year.  And yet, even within the cream of the crop, there is stratification.  While your humble travelogue writer makes more than enough money to support his own lifestyle, my bank account is a mere fraction of the true power players in capsuleer circles.  While I can comfortably buy and fit new ships when I need them, truly rich capsuleers can buy much, much more. Ships are no problem for people who can buy and sell moons, planets, systems, even entire regions on a whim.  To an extent, I envy those people, with more money than they know what to do with. But, unlike many of those types, making money for the sake of making money has never been a particular interest of mine; as long as I have enough money to comfortably support myself, I’m happy.

Mamo 2

A custom modified Megathron glints in the sunlight of Lirsautton

One of the interesting things to watch in the truly rich, however, is how they choose to spend their money.  Do they prefer gaudy displays of their own wealth, proclaiming their monetary assets to anyone who is willing (or just able) to listen?  Do they use it to start philanthropic endeavors (“philanthropy” and “New Eden” don’t seem to necessarily go hand in hand, but, as usual, capsuleers continue to surprise me) Or do they choose to use it to buy the latest hot new crazy sweeping the cluster? Or is there some particular interest of theirs that their wealth finally lets them truly invest in?  This final option is always interesting, because precisely what someone chooses to spend their money on, what collections they want to start, give an interesting insight into people, even the super-rich.  It probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that many people choose to pursue rare ships in that situation, but sometimes there are somewhat more esoteric pursuits, depending on the person.

Of course, the echelons of the truly rich are not necessarily limited solely to capsuleers.  Hooking yourself up to a pod and combining your very essence with a starship is not the only way to create fantastic wealth in New Eden; there are plenty of ways to use your wiles on more planet-bound endeavors.  One such person is Mamo Guerre, heir to the Fedmart fortune.  As Aura explains, he’s created his own little wonderland:

Mamo 3Mamo Guerre is an extremely wealthy Gallente citizen who’s father earned the family’s wealth in the retail industry.  He owns a sizeable part of FedMart and has been listed in the Opren’s 100 Wealthies Men list of Everyshore.

One of Mamo’s most prized possessions is the moon of Lirsautton VI.  Every inch of it is his, and the area around it he fondly nicknamed – Mamo’s Backyard.

You can find all kinds of gadgets, ships and structures in Mamo’s Backyard.  It has become sort of a junkyard, as Mamo has a tendancy of not cleaning up his mess.  Most of the ships floating here are not functional, having been left here to rust after they have served their purpose, or taken apart in one of Mamo’s experiments.

Moma 4

The sleek lines of the Opus yacht.

The Backyard isn’t marked by CONCORD surveys, so you’ll have to know what you’re looking for. Indeed, that’s a good bit of advice in general when discussing the Backyard: you have to know what you’re looking for.  When the warp bubble first collapses around you, it’s easy to think that you’ve just managed to warp into the nearest scrap yard.  But that is apparently just Mamo’s penchant for collecting anything and everything, valuable or not.  While most of Mamo’s purchases have, over the years, been reduced to little more than unrecognizable piles of scrap, there are a number of gems hidden within this scrap yard.  For example, near the shipyard where Mamo conducts most of his research sits a fully functional Megathron.  While rumors are floating around that the ship will be undergoing a Federation-mandated refit in the near future, the ship remains one of the most emblematic ships out there. Perhaps not quite the level of the Rifter in terms of sheer recognizability, but its twin-prong design is well known.

Mamo 5

The yacht is located near the shipyard

The true jewel of the Backyard, however, is off to the side, almost hidden.  An Opux-class luxury yacht, Hagathia, sits almost forgotten on one side.  Only a handful are known to exist, and only two are owned by capsuleers.  Although it won’t hold its own in any kind of fight (not to mention that with five high slots, but only two launcher and two turret hardpoints, it won’t be winning any prizes for superb fitting theory), if you’re looking for the end-all be-all of superior luxury, Opux is the place to look.  With more gold plated interiors than an Amarr cathedral (not to mention the standard Federation “pleasure nooks,” for lack of a more family-appropriate term), the Opux is the first and last word when it comes to cruising the starlanes in style.  Their rarity in their capsuleer community (rumor has it Opux refuses to sell to capsuleers) only heightens the mystery and allure surrounding the vessels.  Seeing it tossed to one side of a scrap yard, not even being used while being exposed to the harshness of space, is shocking, to say the least.

Mamo 6

There’s a lot of scrap floating around in the area as well

Beyond the aforementioned Megathron and yacht, a few other odds and ends sit amongst the scraps, nothing else of particular note.  Intriguingly, Mamo seems to have taken advantage of a local deadspace field and locked up some of his treasures behind an acceleration gate.  I was unable to get past the gate; I didn’t have the proper access key with me.  But I couldn’t help but wonder what Mamo had hidden if he felt comfortable leaving an Opux yacht in plain sight for anyone to find and visit.  But I guess it all comes down to a matter of perspective; while capsuleers might covet an Opux due to their rarity amongst us, to Mamo it might mean little.  That’s one of the funny things about money.  People often think of money as giving you access to anything your heart desires.  But when you have that much money, in a weird way it lets you prioritize your life and show off what’s really important to you.  Not just what you buy, but how you use what you buy.

Mamo 7

A few other ships can also be discerned amongst the scraps

I know I sound somewhat covetous about Mamo and the other true isk barons of New Eden, but in many ways I’m not.  What I covet the most won’t be found in spreadsheets and .01 isk wars.  What I want the most can be found Out There, and thankfully, you don’t need too much money to be able to see what New Eden has to offer.

 

 

 

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Mamo’s Backyard
  • System: Lirsautton VI, Moon 1 (no beacon, warp to the moon)
  • Security Rating: 0.8
  • Region: Everyshore
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Gallente COSMOS site. Why it’s outside of the COSMOS constellations I’m not entirely sure, but it shows up in the wiki as a COSMOS agent.

The Solitaire

 

Solitaire 1

The giant vessel looms like a giant shadow out of its surrounding dust cloud.

Crews are vital to the running of just about any ship. Although us capsuleers tend to think of ourselves as the only people on a ship at any particular time, only the smallest of ships can operate with only a capsuleer onboard.  Although a capsuleer can drastically reduce crew requirements for a ship, giving proportionally more room to strengthen and reinforce ship systems (the reason why capsuleer ships can generally destroy non-capsuleer ships of the same size and even bigger with relative ease), we cannot completely remove the human element.  We still need crew to carry out our commands, keep an eye on ship systems, and repair and contain damage when possible.  Given the turnover rates for most capsuleer ships, it’s surprising that people still sign up for capsuleer ship duty, yet when 1 isk could make most planetside families live comfortably for a year, crews are always willing to sign up as long as escape pods remain up to code.

Solitaire 2

Professor Science banks as it orbits the Solitaire, which was left adrift in space.

As could be expected, crew requirements increase substantially as the size of the ship increases. Although frigates may require only 1-2 crew members, capsuleer titans can require anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 crew to maintain basic systems.  For non-capsuleer titans often found in Empire militaries, up to 10,000 may be required, enough crew to populate a small planetary colony, all told. The crew requirements for a titan are simply staggering. Then again, when titans are 14 kilometers long, just about anything that have to do with titans are simply staggering. They are hard things to destroy, be they capsuleer or not, and even harder to misplace.  These valuable military assets are simply not something that can disappear or get misplaced, so to speak.  And yet, oddly enough, that seems to be precisely what happened.

Solitaire 3

The engines alone for the vessel dwarf the Professor.

I was warping through Ienakkamon when I saw a strange reading on my sensors.  If I was reading the Professor’s sensors correctly, the signature was massive.  Instead of moving through Ienakkamon onto the next system in my route, I dropped out of warp and immediately headed for the source of the strange readings.  As the warp tunnel collapsed around me, a massive structure seemed to zoom in from infinity.  At first, I thought it was yet another abandoned structure, Caldari no doubt given my position near the outer fringes of Caldari space (though now Gallente space, I suspect that this wreck dates back well before the Federation conquered the system).  And yet, as the first details of the massive structure became evident, the first thing that came into view were the cone shaped constructs of truly gargantuan engines, which alone dwarfed my poor Buzzard-class frigate.  More details came into view, and a massive Ragnarok seemed to materialize in front of me. My stomach immediately dropped before realizing that the titanic ship was adrift in the void, tumbling slowly end over end.  I checked to see if Aura had any information to shed some light on what this ship was doing here:

Solitaire 4A ghost ship of enormous proportions, this Ragnarok-class Titan should be at the core of a Minmatar strike force or planetary defense, yet here it floats in silence. Its hull is airtight, yet all useful technology has been meticulously stripped from it, including weapons systems, propulsion, and electronics. There is no trace of its crew, despite all of its escape pods being present.

Solitaire 5

Parts of the hull have dissolved over time. Here, part of a massive cargo bay has been exposed to space.

The mysteries surrounding this ship, which some remaining paint on the ship identified (fittingly) as the Solitaire, were manifold.  For one thing, Ienakkamon was almost as far as you could get from Republic space before entering capsuleer-controlled null sec space. Why the Republic would deploy a Titan class vessel so far from home, especially when the Republic has no particular grudge against the State except for their general dislike for any friends of the Amarr, is in no way clear. Nor is it clear what caused the ship’s obvious destruction. Although there were certainly holes in the ship’s superstructure now, sensor analysis made it clear that the breaches happened AFTER the ship’s destruction and were the normal wear and tear of any non-maintained structure left to the harsh vacuum of space. And, of course, there’s the mystery of the missing crew. Titans are massive vessels, almost impossible to vaporize in one blow. Though the ship may become broken beyond repair, it’s surprisingly difficult to destroy outright; indeed, with most titans much of the crew is able to make it to escape pods when it is clear that the ship is going down. Clearly, whatever caught the crew by surprise prevented the ship from launching any escape pods before whatever caused the ship’s destruction.

Solitaire 6

The barest outline of the cloaked Professor Science can be seen here, with Cloud Ring and the Solitaire looming in the background

Nor was it clear whether the ship was part of some horrific mistake during a Republic military maneuver or some capsuleer alliance being caught unprepared.  Although normally such information would be readily available by analyzing the command and control systems, that part of the ship was heavily degraded to the point where I couldn’t tell if the ship was capsuleer based or not. If it was a Republic maneuver gone wrong, it was incredibly bizarre that the Republic wouldn’t try to hide evidence of this incursion into Caldari space.  Military logic and common sense both dictate that they would want to cover their tracks or risk the Caldari opening a second front in the ongoing war… so why just leave this sitting here?  Granted, the fact that this ship, now marked with a beacon, has clearly been discovered without particular backlash from the Caldari. And the Republic has remained notably silent on whether the Solitaire is even a military vessel, much less what it could be doing that far from home.

Solitaire 7

Cloud Ring seen through, well, the cloud

The ship itself, as with the other titans I’ve encountered, takes my breath away from the sheer size alone.  Everything about the vessel is monstrously huge.  Things that, from a distance, look like tiny specks end up dwarfing Professor Science, and I have to fly the ship practically next to the ship to get a true sense of scale, lest my human brain shrink the manmade object to a much more manageable size in my head.  The turret ports, though of course stripped of technology, hinted at the massive damage that this should could deal.  I found myself flying into some of the hull breaches just to get a look at the inside of this magnificent vessel. The inside was desolate, of course, at least the parts I was able to get into. Shockingly, there did seem to be some airtight compartments remaining in the ship, although sensors couldn’t say much of what was in them beyond the lack of crew members.

Solitaire 8

The front end of the massive vessel, with Ienakkamon shining in the background

I spent quite a bit of time just taking the ship in.  There were so many mysteries surrounding this ship, and I wanted to get my mind around them, even if I couldn’t solve them.  However, as I was preparing to leave, a disturbing thought struck me.  While perhaps 10,000 missing people was certainly a tragedy, especially for their families, that was not the only thing taken.  Beyond the standard technology found aboard any starship, titans have a singularly unique weapon: a doomsday weapon.  These weapons of incomprehensible strength are normally found only within the bowels of a titan. But, like every other piece of technology on this ship, the vessel’s Gjallarhorn-class doomsday weapon was now in unknown hands. What they meant to do with it was yet another mystery, and I feared for what someone could do with that kind of power.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: The Solitaire
  • System: Ienakkamon
  • Security Rating: 0.1
  • Region: Black Rise
  • Potential Hazards: Iennakamon is located in low security space.  Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised.  Further, Black Rise is part of the faction warfare battleground, and battles there may be ongoing.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.

Grand Crag Watch

Author’s Note: I would also like to extend my sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Sean Smith, aka Vile Rat.  His death was a loss for the entire EVE community. I didn’t know Vile Rat, so I will leave it to others who have summed up their feelings much better than I ever could.  I will say this though: seeing the EVE community unite as they have has only served to remind me how proud I am to be a part of it.  May Sean’s favorite ships be always on hand, and may good fights be never hard to find.  Fly safe o7

Grand Crag 1

Airmia V hangs shrouded in nearby dust.

I’ve always found the interplay between corporate governance and actual governance within the Caldari State fascinating.  Perhaps that’s the political science nerd in me struggling to get out.  To an extent, the fundamentals of corporations and your more normal democratically elected governments are similar.  Voters (shareholders) elect those who they trust to keep the corporation on the right path.  Safeguards are put in place to require that the corporate officers put their corporation’s interests ahead of their own.  They are required to spend their money for the good of the shareholders (aka dividends), and consensus building within the Board of Directors is required for policy to be implemented.  Such requirements are not that far amiss from parliamentary democracies.  But there are differences, too.  Unlike governments, businesses are always expected to bring in profits.  Rather than relying on policy considerations, shareholders are often more concerned with the profit forecasts in making their selections for CEO.  And, of course, there’s the fact that some things just aren’t profitable: fire fighting services, roads, infrastructure.  Things that are necessary for modern life, but just aren’t easy to make a dollar off of.

Grand Crag 2

A lonely Lai Dai ship keeps a watching on the surrounding area.

That’s why it always vaguely surprises me when I see a Caldari corporation provide services that typically a government would provide.  Each of the Caldari megacorps have their own police and quasi-military arms, which continues to surprise me.  I’ve never quite been able to figure out where they fall (if anywhere) in the military chain of command under the Caldari Navy.  Given just how much the corporate identity permeates Caldari culture, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to see that, beyond the general services provided to employees, they have also delved into the world of intelligence.  I suppose once corporations enter into the world of military operations in general, military intelligence won’t be far behind.  Still, it’s an odd thing for me to see.  But if I didn’t believe that before, Grand Crag Watch has shut me up.  As Aura tells me:

Grand Crag 3Lai Dai constructed a surveillance outpost here after they lost control of their nearby mining facility. The remotely-controlled surveillance equipment keeps the tabs on the struggle taking place for control of the contested mining facility. Recently the Grand Crag Watch has become a favored meeting place of pilots with Lai Dai sympathies.

Grand Crag 4

Airmia shines in the background over the repair and lookout facilities.

The nearby facility that the observation outpost was keeping an eye on has long been the site of battles between the various factions vying for control of Okkelen.  And now Lai Dai is trying to get a piece of the action.  I’m forced to wonder what exactly is so valuable in Okkelen that everyone is fighting over.  There have been hints of something major being discovered over in Friggi, but despite years of research at the Devil’s Dig site, as far as I know nothing of note has ever been discovered outside of things that are of interest only to archeologists and scholars of the Talocan.  Despite this, however, both pirates and megacorporations alike seem to be dedicating significant resources, while the rogue drones that have become ensconced on the site have also been fighting tooth and nail to protect what, if anything, is in there.  But exactly what Airmia had to do with the Devil’s Dig site wasn’t clear; if establishing control of the dig site were more important, you’d think that they would be fighting over Friggi itself, not the next system over.

Grand Crag 5

Professor Science approaches

Regardless of the reasons for its existence, Grand Crag Watch isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  The Watch itself is a fairly drag, expectedly utilitarian affair, consisting entirely of a lookout post and a repair yard for local Lai Dai ships.  If, as Aura suggests, this is truly a “favored meeting place of pilots with Lai Dai sympathies”, then Lai Dai could use some more pilot outreach programs.  The only ship beside my own that I saw near the Watch was a small Hawk flown by Lai Dai agent Oniya Arkimo, who looked rather bored when I briefly started talking with her.  She was all business, however, and once she realized I wasn’t there for work, she sent me on my way.

I didn’t spend long at the Watch. Beyond the fact that there was simply nothing to see, I was eager to get my explorations of Okkelen to an end.  Although it was enlightening to view the culture that I had been raised to distrust, I was ready to move on and see what else was out there.  There were still a few things that I needed to explore, but they would require more resource gathering before I was ready to tackle them.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Grand Crag Watch
  • System: Airmia
  • Security Rating: 0.6
  • Region: The Forge
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4 in security status, or -5 standing with the Caldari, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Caldari COSMOS site.

Blog Banter 39: Home

BB39 1

In this vast universe, where is home?

Author’s note: This week’s EVE Travel will be a little different than normal, as I join into the discussion from Freebooted’s current Blog Banter. I don’t normally join the Banters as I keep EVE Travel focused on living up to its name as a travel blog, but this Banter’s prompt allows me to join in the discussions for once. The prompt is:

Some say a man’s home is his castle. For others it is wherever they lay their hat. The concept is just as nebulous in the New Eden sandbox. 

In EVE Online, what does the concept of “home” mean to you?

Enjoy!

BB39 2

My homeworld nearly silhouetted against Luminaire.

Home. It’s an effusive concept that seems to vary depending on my mood. Home is where I grew up, in that small house on Luminaire with my parents and siblings. It’s the smell of fresh cookies coming straight out of the oven, ready and waiting for me at the end of a long day. It’s curling up in my bed with a good book as I wait to see what tomorrow brings me. It’s the one place in this hectic universe where I know I can return to, even when everyone and everything else seems out to get me. I may not have seen my parents in months, and may not have set foot on Luminaire since becoming a capsuleer, but that does not and will never stop me from considering that little house in Luminaire my home.

BB39 3

Professor Science warps through a planet on the way to its next adventure.

Home can also be where the heart is, as the old adage goes. Professor Science, my first true travel ship, is my home. I have more memories with her than I do any of my other ships. Be it running gate camps and hoping my cloak activates in time or seeing some of the wonders that space has to offer, I can recall nothing but fond memories from her. I remember the punch in the gut I felt the first time I lost her, and I remember the joy I felt when I managed to slip her through a heavy gate camp with no losses. In terms of sheer emotional attachment, and in terms of the ship that let me start doing the things I love, Professor Science and its successors have no equal in where I can call home.

BB39 4

My trusty Drake is another vessel I’m close to.

But home is also where I feel the safest. Where I feel the most secure. Having been a pod pilot for four and a half years now, home is my ship. Legacy, my Drake, has been my trusty ship for years now. I know her and her crew like I know the back of my hand. I know her strengths, and I know her weaknesses. I know her capabilities, and I know her limits. Legacy is my old, reliable workhorse. To put it colloquially, “she takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.” If I’m looking for the one place in the universe where I feel safe, where I feel like I can tackle anything, it’s my Drake. They say that capsuleers are hooked up to a ship to make it feel like a part of a pilot’s own body. Legacy takes that feeling to the extreme, so much so that I almost feel awkward in just about any other ship. Say what you will about the Drake, but Legacy has always been there for me.

BB39 5

My current base of operation.

In a more ‘traditional’ sense of where I primarily base out of, Pelkia is my home. For the better part of two years, now, the majority of my ships and belongings can be found in that lonely base in a fairly small system. It’s located conveniently near both Amarr for when I need to shop for new ships, as well as low security. It’s fairly equidistant from the other empires, making it easy should a new site pop up that requires investigation. But Pelkia is more than that. When I moved into Genesis for my research in Project Compass, it was Pelkia that I ended up yearning to return to. The familiar sights and sounds there are soothing, and I know I have no enemies nearby. Coming back after an extended excursion is like slipping into my favorite sweater. Something about it just feels right.

BB39 6

New Eden is my home.

But maybe I’ve gotten to the point where I can call no singular place home. Maybe “home” is not so much as a place, but a feeling. In that respect, New Eden is my home. I am not just a native of the Federation. I am not just from Luminaire. I am a citizen of the broader stellar community. Us pod pilots are 300,000 strong and growing by the day. We live together, we fight together, we die together. And then we wake up in our cloning vats and do it all again. From the depths of null security space to the heart of Yulai, each and every one of us are bound to each other, be it through ties of alliances, ties of friendship, or ties of the marketplace. Each pod pilot is my neighbor, and each system is just a part of my home that I have yet to thoroughly explore. For four and a half years now, the stars have been my home. It thrills me that there are still more wonders out there waiting for me, and I can’t wait to see what else my home has to offer.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Home
  • System: All
  • Security Rating: -1.0 to 1.0
  • Region: All
  • Potential Hazards: Some of the neighbors can be less than friendly ;-)

Other banterers:


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