Sightseeing in the Cluster

Hi Sec Sights

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:


Frontier Stockade

Frontier Stockade 1

The Frontier Stockade floats above Moon I of Sakkikainen VI.

One of the fundamental principles of the New Eden economy is that a free market economy, in allowing (or, to some, forcing) corporations to compete against each other, will lead to the most efficient means of getting a job done. This principle can be seen time again, in the .01 isk wars in the Jita market, in the ways that CONCORD pays out to repel incursions by the Sansha, and even in the competitions between miners to vacuum up asteroids in the most efficient manner possible. Allowing macroeconomic behaviors to determine efficient resource allocation is one of the hallmarks of our interstellar society. There are inefficiencies, of course, there always are when dealing with mere humans (even the immortal kind), but the thought is that, except in fairly rare circumstances, a free market will divvy up limited resources as it sees best. The so-called “invisible hand.” And given the booming economy that New Eden enjoys nowadays, proponents of that theory certainly have the data to back up their assertions.

Frontier Stockade 2

One of the C&C facilities for the Caldari efforts in Okkelen

As might be expected, the Caldari in particular, with the megacorporation providing for almost all governmental services, adhere closely to the free market theory. Working under a theory of both horizontal AND vertical integration, megacorporations in Caldari society function in many of the same ways that governments do in the other empires. But in many other ways, the megacorporations function as just as their names suggest: they act as businesses. And often, these businesses are set against each other in order to find out who can provide certain services most efficiently. The winning megacorp gets to keep the prize for having the more efficient operation, while the losing ones are left to figure out what went wrong and to devise a new strategy for future competition. This technique has been used once again as the Caldari State seeks to colonize the Okkelen constellation. Two corporations, Nugoeihuvi and Lai Dai, have been set against each other to see who can most efficiently settle the wild lands that make up Okkelen. Both megacorps have set up their central base of operations fairly close to each other in Sakkikainen, at the Frontier Stockade. As Aura explains:

Frontier Stockade 3The two mega-corporations charged by the State with the task of settling Okkelen, NOH and Lai Dai, have each recently constructed a station here in the Sakkikainen system. These stations are intended to act as the base from which the Caldari State intends to push the frontier back and claim the constellation for itself. As with all frontier settlements there’s plenty of work to be found for enterprising pilots.

Frontier Stockade 4

While NOH and Lai Dai maintain separate control facilities, they also have cooperatively built research and storage facilities.

As might be implied from the description, the Stockade is a bustling frontier community, with ships flying to and fro as both megacorps struggle to make their claim to the resources of the constellation. Both corporations have set up respective command and control centers to oversee their operations in the constellation. These control centers sit behind a protective cocoon of Lai Dai and Nugoeihuvi corporate police vessels; ships from Lai Dai Protection Services and Internal Security, respectively. Both sides keep a fleet of Raven-class battleships close at hand in order to defend their control centers if necessary. Whether these pseudo-military vessels are there to protect the control centers from pirates or other megacorporations seems to be a matter of perspective.

Frontier Stockade 5

A close up of the central storage facility. Asteroids with mineable minerals can be seen in the background.

Surprisingly, however, there are some hints of cooperation between NOH and Lai Dai. Beyond the fact that both megacorps put their control centers near each other, both seemed to have also cooperated in constructing centralized administrative and storage facilities for operations throughout the constellation. Sakkikainen’s centralized location in the cluster makes logistics fairly easy, while allowing Friggi to act as a buffer from the low security space connected through Ihakana. Seeing that both megacorps clearly had the same thoughts in this regard, it made sense for them to cooperate in at least some respects to save on expenses. Beyond the centralized storage and administrative facility, the megacorporations appear to have also built a small joint research facility. A veneer of newness surrounds the facility, perhaps from the leftover construction materials that still have viable materials in them, or perhaps from the shine on both the stations and the ships.

Frontier Stockade 6

The Stockade stands ready to settle Okkelen once and for all.

All in all, the megacorporations seem to have the settlement of Okkelen well in hand. The jury is still out as to which one will win in Okkelen. But rest assured that whichever megacorp does end up winning (or if neither one wins), that invisible hand of the marketplace will be the one placing the crown on the victor.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Frontier Stockade
  • System: Sakkikainen
  • 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. Furthermore, some asteroids here are capable of being mined.

Cactus Mill Lookout

Cactus Mill 1

The Lookout keeps its lonely guard over Vahunomi X.

Each of the Empires seems to have areas of space that are just representative for them. Areas that help to sum up who that nation is as a people, and what values or ongoing issues they have that help to define them. The Gallente’s Algintal constellation is enmeshed with a debate over whether environmental or business concerns should win out, representing a deeper debate over the liberty and beauty the Gallente prize and the economic prosperity that allows them the freedom to have that debate.  The Minmatar’s Ani constellation shows the continuing struggle of the Republic to come to terms with its past while still embracing the future. The Amarr’s Araz constellation demonstrates a bloated bureaucracy and aristocracy struggling to control the largest nation in New Eden.

Cactus Mill 2

The old ore refinery is being repurposed as a sensor station to guard Bank assets.

So what about the State? The State has Okkelen… and the only real thing I can say about it is that it is very utilitarian and homogenous. Which, to be fair, fits the State quite well. But it’s notable how little there is of note to say about the State’s various sites in Okkelen. Sure, there are undertones of inter-corporate rivalries that I have discussed previously, as well as attempts to reclaim Okkelen from pirate groups, but I can’t get away from the fact that, moreso than the other constellations that I’ve mentioned, many of the sites that are marked here are just boring. As a semi-professional traveler around New Eden, I hesitate to use such a strong term (a death knell for anyone relying on tourism to boost income), but as I have repeatedly noted throughout my exploration of Okkelen that many of the sites seem to be very homogenous. Which, as I’ve mentioned, fits the cultural tropes of the Caldari well, but just does not make for very exciting exploration.

For example, let’s take a look at this week’s site: the Cactus Mill Lookout. Aura, as usual, comes to the rescue with some basic information:

Cactus Mill 3An old ore refinery, the Cactus Mill is being refurbished with the latest surveillance gadgets courtesy of the State and Region Bank. Great wealth can be found in the nearby station vault and the bank is anxious to protect it. It’s a race against time as bandits will inevitably fall on the vault sooner rather than later. The help of independent pilots is greatly appreciated.

Cactus Mill 4

One of the ships that has set up station here as the station itself trails off into the distance.

Having seen this in my research, I was at least hoping to see a security perimeter and some sensor posts. Perhaps some corporate navies out in force to protect their investments in the Bank. Or even some State naval vessels to help protect what is clearly an important national asset. I came in to Cactus Mill with high hopes and instead I got… an old, abandoned station. The same as any number of others that I’ve seen in my time here. Though I do take solace in the fact that there’s no asteroid colony evident. If there’s any retrofitting going on, it’s clearly an entirely internal affair. Meshing well with the State’s utilitarian nature, the station’s exterior is clearly dinged and dirty, but still intact. As such, it’s not being touched as far as I can tell by any repair crews. Any ore processing facilities have clearly been removed by the Bank by now, but any upgrades to the interior of the station are completely invisible to me.

Cactus Mill 5

One of the asteroids present near the Lookout.

Beyond the station itself, there is very little of note around the Lookout. Vahunomi X floats quietly in the background. It has a wispy ring system surrounding it that adds a hint of background beauty to the site. A few ships have also made the site their home port, ready to offer missions out to enterprising capsuleers who are looking to help protect the Bank and its aforementioned vault. A few asteroids also sit near the station, presumably leftover from the station’s life as an ore refinery. A brief glance at sensor readouts shows that there’s still some usable minerals to be found in the depths, but of course Professor Science isn’t outfitted to go mining, so I just leave the rocks be.

Cactus Mill 6

The old docking bay of the station.

I spend very little time at the Lookout. There’s simply very little to see. Another old and abandoned station in a constellation that is replete in fairly uninteresting sites. Indeed, old and abandoned stations can be found throughout the State, a reminder of times past when the State felt it necessary to defend its perimeters from Gallente onslaught more closely. That is not to say that the sites here serve no purpose to the people of Okkelen, or even that the stories that they tell are not worth telling. But compared to the beauty of Algintal, the majesty found in Araz, or the haunting reminders of the past found in Ani, Okkelen just leaves something to be desired for travelers like me.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Cactus Mill Lookout
  • System: Vahunomi
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: The Forge
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 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. Furthermore, some asteroids here are capable of being mined.

Diamond Ace Den

Diamond 1

An overview of the Den, with Otitoh VII looming in the background.

The Caldari have always struck me as very straitlaced. Very prim, very proper, and not likely to do much in the way of entertainment when there is work to be done. To an extent, I’m sure, that is just some leftover government propaganda that was ingrained in me when I was younger. But when we come to the heart of it, I still can’t get over my internal image of the Caldari as the ultimate utilitarians. After a moment, of course, I realize that they’re as human as any of us, but for the first instant that I think of a Caldari, “fun” just doesn’t seem to enter into the equation at all. It’s not useful. It won’t help corporate profits. Of course, then my conscious brain engages and I remember that, you know, stereotypes don’t completely describe any one person or culture.

Diamond 2

The storage silo can be seen in the background here.

I bring this up because I have to admit that I was vaguely surprised to find a casino pop up on my scanner as I was passing through Otitoh. I shouldn’t have been. For as long as there’s been currency there have been people willing to gamble it away. But it just doesn’t fit with my cultural expectations of the Caldari. They’re MUCH too restrained and reserved to do something like gamble away precious money. Now, us Gallente on the other hand, we love our gambling. Just like we love our drugs, sex, and basically any other vice that the Amarr proclaim as a sin. We like to live life to the fullest. But I guess I just never expected to see that kind of thought from the Caldari. Even beyond that, a bit of research proves that the Caldari are actually prolific gamblers, at times giving even the (fully legal) Gallente casinos a run for their money. Most of the time, Caldari casinos are forced underground, but Caldari officials seem to have given the one in Otitoh a pass. Perhaps that is because the workers in Okkelen already have enough on their plates. But for whatever reason, the Diamond Ace Den is one of the most happening places in the constellation. As Aura notes:

Diamond 3The Caldari love nothing better than to gamble. Whether the bet is on the upcoming Splinterz tournament or the survival rate of the latest green newbie miner that passed through; there is always someone willing to take you on here at the Diamond Ace Den.

Diamond 4

One of the ships that are stationed at the Den.

I shook the thought of just how bored you had to be to bet on miners and focused on looking around. The site was dominated by a familiar site: another storage silo. Possibly to hold the Den’s immense winnings, or just to hold the items they must confiscate to pay off customer debts. I didn’t know, nor was I particularly tempted to ask. The other thing that you first notice upon warping in are the massive hunks of rock floating near the periphery. I noticed after a brief glance that some of those rocks had veldspar glimmering on the surface… maybe the rocks were dragged here for some of the gamblers to have something to watch. Or maybe it was here to make it easier for the casino to call rats in when necessary.

Diamond 5

Otitoh shines weakly onto the Den.

Other than that, there is little of note at the Den. If the Den were planetside, it would almost certainly be found in some dimly lit backstreet alley, with a blinking neon sign found above it. Somehow, the space-based casino manages to recreate that feeling. Set off from the rest of the compound, with Otitoh barely peaking over the limb of the third moon of Otitoh VII, the casino looks small, dark, and dirty. A dim yellow sign balefully blinks the casino’s existence to the universe, even though it stands far removed from the rest of the buildings at the site. Still, it presumably provided the main income for the owners of the Den.

Diamond 6

The casino is oddly set off from the rest of the site.

Beyond the casino, however, the Den’s owner has clearly expanded its business a bit. Playing up the vice angle, a brothel has been built nearby, providing a second way for patrons to waste their money in an hour or two. The brothel, in many ways, seems more prominent than the casino that the Den is named for. Beyond being placed much closer to the warp-in point for the Den, it is bathed in spotlights from two wings sprouting from the top. Whereas the casino almost seems trying to remain hidden in the gloom, the brothel is happy to shout its existence. Nearby, the owners apparently try to maintain a veneer of respectability by also providing a repair bay for patrons.

Despite my Gallente heritage, I had little desire to try my luck at the gambling tables. I had better things to spend my money on, that left far less to chance (my particular skills at flying spaceships is another matter entirely). Still, for those who are looking for a new way to spend their money, there are plenty of opportunities to be found at the Diamond Ace Den.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Diamond Ace Den
  • System: Otitoh
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: The Forge
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 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. Furthermore, some asteroids here are capable of being mined.

NOH Recruitment Center

NOH 1

Ishisomo IV floats behind the NOH recruitment site.

Caldari society has always seemed a little baffling to me. I honestly have issues comprehending just how integral one’s megacorporation is to one’s life from cradle to grave. Of course, I’m used to corporations wriggling themselves into my daily life, at times even when I’m unaware of it. I’m Gallente after all, and heavens know Gallente society (and government) isn’t exactly free from corporate influence. But to have one megacorporation control almost all aspects of a person’s life, from the education he or she receives to the job he or she spends for the rest of their life, to the kind of money they can get and food they can buy, is just completely outside of my realm of experience. Then again, I’m sure someone growing up on New Caldari would say the same of our relatively laissez-faire attitudes towards capitalism and business in general. So to each his own, I suppose.

NOH 2

Ishisomo peeks out behind the massive storage silo.

One thing that has always puzzled me somewhat, however, was how to switch corporations, or if you could at all. I would imagine switching between corporations within a megacorp would be a fairly easy affair, but is it possible to switch megacorporations? Could you move from practical-bloc Sukuuvestaa to a more liberal Ishukone? How would benefits transfer when even the underlying currencies of the two are separate? The fact that a corporate citizen might bring with it some dark corporate secrets would lead me to believe that a person would normally not be allowed to switch megacorporations, but sometimes I’m forced to wonder. For example, this week’s site is a Nugoeihuvi (often shortened to NOH) recruitment center. This far into Caldari territory, you’d imagine that if Caldari citizens couldn’t switch megacorporations, this kind of site would be useless, yet here it was. Although it seemed primarily aimed towards pilots, the fact that they only had docking facilities for non-capsuleers suggested outreach to non-pilots as well. But as Aura explains:

NOH 3The Nugoeihuvi mega-corporation, better known simply as NOH, is actively seeking pilots to participate in the planed settlement of the Okkelen constellation. It’s using this old storage silo as a center for its recruitment efforts. Representatives of NOH are waiting here to entice pilots into lending a helping hand in this ongoing struggle against evil-doers and the elements alike.

NOH 4

Another picture of the small fleet gathered near the silo.

For their site, NOH chose a particularly dusty area sitting near Ishisomo IV. A particularly pleasant looking temperate world, the planet sat unfortunately obscured by the thick, gray dust permeating the area. The bleak and gray dust, found everywhere and coating everything nearby, is just begging for a Caldari joke, but I’ll hold myself to the better part of valor and keep it to myself. The source of the dust seems to be a few large asteroids that can be found in the area. Apparently, NOH chose the site to add a little scenery. Other than that, the thing that really dominates the area is a large storage silo. I forget how massive those things can be; they would dwarf even my Drake, and I feel positively tiny next to it in my Buzzard. Still, the large asteroid nearby puts even the silo to shame.

NOH 5

Another view of the site.

Beyond the silo, the only real thing of note is the small fleet that has set up shop nearby. A Harpy, a Moa, and even a Badger can all be seen floating near the silo, ready to offer missions to any capsuleer willing to fight for NOH. Like the other megacorps, as well as a number of pirate factions, NOH is hoping to turn Okkelen into their own constellation. Whilst the battle amongst the various factions carries on, work for the enterprising pilot is in no way in short supply. I stayed away, however. Being a recruitment site, I wasn’t entirely unconvinced that me signing up to help NOH in some way made me enslaved by beholden to NOH, and I felt it best for me to just continue on my way. As I warped off, I wondered if Okkelen would ever be settled. But as is natural for me, from there I tried to look on the bright side: at least there wasn’t an asteroid colony to look at this time.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: NOH Recruitment Center
  • System: Ishisomo
  • 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.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Caldari COSMOS site.

Sentinel Rise

Sentinel Rise 1

Sentinel Rise sensor platforms

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a ‘carebear’. I try to avoid combat whenever possible, fitting my ships to ensure escape rather than obtaining combat advantage. I mainly stay in systems under CONCORD jurisdiction, only venturing beyond that when necessary. I mainly earn my income through solo activities, shying away from more social activities. In the ever more connected world of New Eden, I’m somewhat of a self-imposed outcast, but I find myself quite comfortable in that role regardless. That being said, I’m also wary of extending CONCORD jurisdiction beyond its current boundaries. Who really cares what us capsuleers do to each other as long as we aren’t collaterally damaging civilians and those near the core worlds along the way?

Sentinel Rise 2

Some of the living/work areas on the Rise

I only bring this up because while many a high sec capsuleer residents rely on CONCORD’s ensured vengeance, it seems that CONCORD has left other populations nearly unprotected. In its narrow-sighted attempts to curb capsuleer violence, it has lost sight of the bigger picture. Every day, Sansha forces continue to invade ‘high security’ systems, but CONCORD doesn’t raise a finger to stop it. Oh, it’ll pay out money to us capsuleers, but given CONCORD’s proven threat-response systems, it’s always struck me as odd that they refuse to commit any manpower to the fray. And that doesn’t even begin to tackle the other problems within high security space. People are dying Okkelen and throughout the Cluster under CONCORD eyes, but they’re more concerned in making sure two consenting pilots don’t fight if they don’t ‘steal’ a piece of ammo from each other.

But some in Okkelen, at least, realize that CONCORD isn’t going to be around to save them. As such, they’ve started building things like the Sentinel Rise. As Aura explains:

Sentinel Rise 3One minute warning of impending doom is often all it takes to survive out here. And only those paranoid enough survive in a hostile territory like the Friggi system is. With scores of bandits roaming around searching for easy prey it pays to be careful. The good folk of the nearby Lai Dai station had the good sense to install sensor equipment here to warn against any incoming threat.

Sentinel Rise 4

The Rise provides extensive sensor hardware to alert system residents of incoming threats.

A quick glance at my system overview told me that there were actually two Lai Dai stations here in Friggi, so which one the Rise was supposed to be protecting was a mystery to me. The positioning of the sensor platforms also struck me as odd: the sensor farm was almost 3 AU from the closest gate, over 15 AU from the closest low sec gate (presumably where any pirate raiders would base from), and over 22 AU from the rather inappropriately named Bandit Hideout. In short, not exactly the place from which to get the best sensor resolution. Still, maybe the suits over in corporate were just looking for after the fact sensor records or valued remoteness over effectiveness. Who knows.

Sentinel Rise 5

One of the ships stationed near the Rise.

The sensor platform itself was pretty standard fare. As you’ve probably become used to me telling you, dear reader, (and trust me, I’ve gotten used to writing it), the sensor platforms have been built onto a number of smaller asteroids held together by metallic girders. The entire complex is connected to each other by these metal gangways, allowing employees to reach any part of the sensor grid easily. Beyond the central grid, there were only a few ships anchored nearby, offering missions for those who want them. There was also a rather large container nearby as well; it looked like it was used to deposit items of some kind, but for what, I couldn’t tell.

In all, a somewhat hum-ho site. The Caldari’s repeated use of the asteroid bases made economic, if not aesthetic, sense, but I could tell that the similar sites were starting to wear on me. Maybe the next site would have something new and interesting to offer, or at least better CONCORD protection.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Sentinel Rise
  • System: Friggi
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: The Forge
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 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.

Settler’s Waystation

Editor’s Note: The following letters were found on a computer floating near the Settler’s Waystation. They have been edited for clarity and length.

Waystation 1

The ruins of an abandoned Caldari station float near the Waystation

[Message begins]

Hey Mal,

I might kill Cade. I can’t believe he talked me into this. Settling Sakkikainen? Really? What was I thinking going along with this. “Lai Dai will love it if we can claim the planet” he told me. “Lai Dai will shower us with riches if we volunteer for this” he said. As of now, those “riches” he spoke of is a tiny room in a rundown station that might as well have been Minmatar built. The room is barely large enough to fit a squeaky bed, much less all our stuff. On both sides of us, couples much less happy than us seem to fight constantly, and judging from the noises I hear upstairs, the couple above us is making the best of a bad situation and putting their squeaky bed to good (and constant) use. Sakkikainen better have some fantastic land available, because right now, my sanity isn’t worth this. But I’m exhausted. I’m gonna try shoving some pillows in my ears and getting some sleep if I can. Write me when you can, I don’t trust the video screens in here.

Much love,

Miri

[Message ends]

Waystation 2

The Waystation itself sits hidden in a nearby asteroid

[Message begins]

Mal,

Well, we’ve gotten the ‘grand tour’ of our dear Settler’s Waystation, as its apparently called. It was a really corny presentation that served to alternately bore me to tears and terrify me. Get a load of their official “welcoming” message introducing us to the station:

Chaos reigns in Okkelen, with Caldari settlers at odds with entrenched bandits and each other alike. Chaotic environment creates opportunities and some will strike gold while others are ruined through bad luck. Midoki Urigamu hopes to be one of the former as he aspires to construct a rest stop in space for weary pilots.

Waystation 3

Sakkikainen peaks through the asteroid

Yeah, let’s make our guests feel right at home by reminding us that pirates are the leading cause of death in Sakikkainen. I swear, I love your brother dearly, but I just don’t think he always thinks things through. And I can’t even think because the couple next door are arguing again. I need out of here. Mal’s claiming at least that we’ll be out of here in the next few days. Lai Dai has a colony set up on Sakkikainen III, so hopefully we’ll be away from these “entrenched bandits” soon enough.

Missing you,

Miri

[Message ends]

Waystation 4

A transport makes a run towards the Waystation

[Message begins]

Mal,

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually starting to feel a little hopeful about all of this. Maybe it’s the time I’ve gotten to think about it, I don’t know. I took a bit of a tour of the area near the station, and it helped me clear my head a bit (or maybe just getting out of that closet they call a room). It was nice to just lean back and see what there is to see. Very relaxing. The Waystation is built in a small hollowed out asteroid. The station looks even more dinky than I thought it did originally, shoved away inside the asteroid like that. There’s a larger station ruin near by. Not entirely sure what the deal is with it, but I guess Urigamu snapped it up when he bought the area? I don’t know. A few ships of some kind were also hanging around, and one of them even had a laser or something going into one of the other rocks nearby. I don’t know about any of this fancy schmancy space stuff, but at least it was fun to watch. And when I got back, I just felt, I don’t know, refreshed or something. What’s done is done, and we’re here now so we might as well make the best of it, you know? And Cade managed to book us on a shuttle flight tomorrow down to the surface. I’m hoping Lai Dai has everything at least reasonably set up, but a bit of work never killed anyone. We’ll just have to see what the future holds, right? At the very least, we’ll have video screens on the surface so we can at least have proper conversations again. But in any case, I need to get to bed. Big day tomorrow!

Waystation 5

The nearby solar harvester gathers energy needed for the Waystation

Talk to you soon,

Miri

[Message ends]

[Message begins]

We’re finally on our way! I can’t tell if I’m eager to actually get down to the surface or just happy to be away from that godforsaken room, but we’re on our way now and I’m actually excited! Before you know it I’ll be talking like one of those capsuleers with all those space terms… ha! The shuttle ride should be short and then it’s off to the homestead. We’ve gotten some pictures of it, and the area looks gorgeous. Maybe I won’t have to hurt your brother for talking me into this. Maybe this will work out after al

Waystation 6

Caldari megacorps have set up some infrastructure to help protect new colonists. It wasn’t enough to save Miri and Cade.

[Error: Code 506. No input detected]

[Draft saved at 0602]

Epilogue: I found the computer with these messages about an hour after the fight. There were no survivors. At the time of writing, Miri and Cade’s plot of land has already been reallocated by Lai Dai. I asked the Waystation for any comments, but they simply closed the comm connection. Another day in Okkelen, I suppose.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Settler’s Waystation
  • System: Sakkikainen
  • 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. Furthermore, some asteroids here are capable of being mined.

Station Foundation

Station 1

NOH Corporation attempts to show the flag in Airmia.

There’s a term from the old wet-navy days that I’ve always liked: showing the flag. It refers to the idea that it’s not always necessary or possible to have full warships at every port or colony. Instead, a nation could send in a smaller warship to remind not just the colonists, but those who might wish to exploit the colonists, who has authority over the area. These kinds of missions would often have ships at full display, ‘showing the flag’ of the nation to remind people just who has jurisdiction. Sometimes, it was used just for reassurance to the local populace that their nation cares for them and wants to protect them. At other times, it could be used to exert influence over political processes. Rarely would these kinds of missions be a significant show of strength in and of themselves, but rather it would remind people that significant strength and death-bringingness could occur if the situation doesn’t go in the way that the Powers That Be would like.

Station 2

The acts as a forward base to consolidate NOH efforts in the system.

With colonized planets spread out over dozens of light-years these days, the need to show the flag has once again re-emerged as a tactical doctrine. You can see this development at basically any gate in high security space. A token security force, be it from CONCORD, the local navy, or local customs officials, can be seen at many gates, showing that they are willing to respond to attacks with force, if necessary. The need to show the flag takes on a strange twist in the Caldari State, however, since most often the State itself is not the one showing the flag. Instead, the various megacorporations are the ones that claim territory for their employees, as well as maintain order. When the State expands into new areas, each megacorp needs to claim their own piece of the pie, and maintain their dominance by, among other things, showing the flag when needed.

Station 3

A small repair station helps to repair local vessels.

An example of this can be found in the fairly recent annexation of Airmia, in the Okkelen constellation. Airmia has been claimed by Nugoeihuvi (NOH for short), but they have yet to be able to move full corporate infrastructure into the system. Until that time, they have planted the flag through by establishing a station foundation in orbit of Airmia V. As Aura explains:

The officials supervising NOH’s colonizing efforts have ear-marked this location as an ideal place for a space station. With no station yet in the Airmia system, the construction of a station here will ensure NOH’s dominance of the system.

Station 4

One of the denizens that have set up station at this site.

For now, the Foundation appears to act as a forward operating base for NOH, forming a central repository for NOH to funnel supplies and personnel through before moving on to colonies throughout the system. This also forms the central depot for NOH defense personnel, since, like Ani for the Minmatar, Okkelen has a distinct pirate problem. Given the odd governance structure of the State, it actually falls under the duties of the various megacorporations to bring order to the area, with the State Navy reserved for the response to larger threats, such as the other empires. But to deal with the smaller pirate entity, the State’s policy is clear: if you want it, you’re going to have to earn it. And NOH is in the process of earning it, while trying to keep the other megacorps at bay.

Station 5

Parts of the station-to-be can be seen through the repair facilities here.

The site itself is fairly simplistic, at least for now. A Caldari control tower has been erected, which will presumably act as the central core of an upcoming NOH station. Basic construction of the station has already started with a ring surrounding the tower, but other than that construction seems to have halted for now. The roiling conditions in the Okkelen constellation is matched by the storms roiling on the surface of Airmia V below. Flashes of lightning punctuate the darkness, even thousands of kilometers above the planet, easily visible from the Foundation site. A few kilometers distant, NOH has also established a small repair depot for ships injured in the course of establishing a claim over the system. However, beyond the tower, the depot, and the planet, the rest of the site is rather isolated. A few smaller ships have taken up residence, offering missions either on behalf of NOH or for their own purposes. One of them appears to be a rather unfortunate capsuleer who has recently lost his ship, if the pod sitting nearby is any indication. But beyond that, NOH does not appear to have devoted many resources to the site as of yet.

I only spent a few minutes here. As you might imagine from the description, there really wasn’t much to see. But that may not always be the case. If other corporations start making a move for Airmia, NOH might have to devote considerably more resources than a mere flag to establish control here.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Station Foundation
  • 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.
  • Scheduling Note: As I will be out of town next weekend, EVE Travel will resume the weekend of June 16.

Abandoned Astro Farm

astro farm 1

The abandoned solar farm orbits above Vahunomi VII.

Space is big. Really, really big. And it’s really easy to lose things in it, unless you remember to mark a location (anyone who’s ever lost a set of drones can testify to this). But because it’s so big and so empty, it’s often much easier to simply abandon things when they fail rather than cleaning them up in any way. Unlike on habitable planets, there are no environmental authorities to demand you clean up hazardous waste or litter or, well, anything (though the Friends of Nature probably would not mind that job if they had their way). Evidence of this inherent littering tendency can be seen just about anywhere these days in the form of abandoned colonies, stations, or research outposts. The major empires may even be the primary instigators here, as abandoned outposts of the major empires can be found far and wide in various systems.

astro farm 2

The solar harvester is not going to be having much luck this far out from the local star.

Today, though, I’m only focusing on a small abandoned outpost: the abandoned Astro Farm in Vahunomi. Frankly, the name leaves something to be desired. It reminds of those old scifi novels where the authors had to prove how futuristic something was by putting “space” or “neo” in front of it (my favorite that I’ve found was a “neosquirrel”). Once humanity actually took to space, we found out that we didn’t have to actually preface things with corny prefixes at all… except, apparently, in the case of solar harvesting farms. In any case, the term “astro farm” is fairly misleading because whoever the farmers were here certainly never grew stars. Perhaps this is just me being overly technical, but if you’re going to name something as an astro farm, I want to see some stars growing. But I suppose I digress.

astro farm 3

A Ferox-class battlecruiser has set up shop near one of the asteroids still bearing mineable materials.

As might be expected from an abandoned site, it was fairly run down. The most notable remaining piece of equipment is a radial solar harvester, which was used to capture and transmit energy from Vahunomi, the local class M star. Of course, the reason for why the farm was abandoned in the first place is fairly evident: given a class M star’s normal brightness and temperature, putting the harvester almost 2 AU’s away from the star was probably a poor business decision. Considering the fact that a class M5 star like Vahunomi only emits about 0.22% as much energy as a standard class G star (such as New Caldari), even putting a solar harvester at 1 AU probably would not have provided much in the way of usable energy levels. But at least Vahunomi VII has remarkably efficient greenhouse gases that keep the planet from freezing over.

astro farm 4

The entire site is surrounded by a golden glow

Beyond the solar harvester, there honestly was not very much to look at. Whomever had created the astro farm had apparently dragged a few asteroids to the site in order to provide the materials for construction. A number of those rocks remain near the site to this day, some with usable amounts material still there. Three people, all from the Angel Cartel, have set up shop here, looking for eager capsuleers to fulfill missions for them. As much as I have a distaste for the Cartel, their ships at least provided a little bit of scenery to break the monotony. Why they chose a Heron, a Ferox, and a Crow over standard-issue Angel ships is a bit of a mystery, but perhaps they were just trying to blend in. They appear to have rehabbed the local outpost near the solar harvester, taking over the minimal compartments and restoring many components, so the thing looked almost as good as new.

astro farm 5

The harvester isn’t even pointing the right way, which might have had something to do with it.

As you might have guessed, there really isn’t much to see here. Why CONCORD found this site notable or worthy of a beacon is honestly beyond me. Still, the golden hues of the local dust clouds do give an almost pleasant air to the entire site, and actually manages to hide the signs of decay and destitution that are oh so common at many of the abandoned sites. The few people who have decided to call this area home have at least managed to spruce the place up a bit, but frankly I’m a little surprised they even bothered, considering that they had all of space to settle in. After all, there’s plenty of other space in which to hide if you’re the Cartel. Space is really, really big, after all.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Abandoned Astro Farm
  • System: Vahunomi
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: The Forge
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 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. Furthermore, some asteroids here are capable of being mined.

Rusty Ridge Mine

Rusty Ridge 1

The dense dust clouds surrounding Rusty Ridge are easily visible here.

The miners are ascendant in New Eden. With mineral prices through the roof thanks to ongoing economic turmoil, it is suddenly once again profitable to mine. Mining may not be the most interesting profession for us demigods, but in a cluster where destruction of ships seems to be the only thing experiencing economic growth, mining the raw materials needed to replace those ships has only grown in importance. Many people often look down upon miners as people who waste their time doing a boring activity, but miners are the lifeblood of New Eden. Without miners, there would be no way for us to get the materials needed to build the new ships that us capsuleers like destroying oh so much. Mining may not be the most glorious profession out there, but it’s a noble one that is essential for the basic functioning of the New Eden economy.

Rusty Ridge 2

Professor Science banks as it heads for the heart of the dust cloud. The ghostly remains of the mining station can barely be made out.

That’s not to say that it’s necessarily a safe profession though, as proven by the ongoing Hulkageddon. With over three weeks still left in this year’s event, the total damages have already reached 634 billion isk. Organized by Helicity Boson and financed by the ever befuddling Goons, Hulkageddon has already overseen the destruction of over three thousand capsuleer-piloted mining or industrial vessels. The ironic (and perhaps intended) thing is that Hulkageddon serves to drive up mineral prices even higher, making mining yet more profitable, as long as you’re willing to take the risk of mining during these dangerous times. In many ways, Hulkageddon encapsulates that overriding New Eden principle: if you want the reward, you’d better be prepared to take the risk. It’s not a principle that miners are necessarily familiar with, but the sooner that they learn it, the sooner they’ll be able to take advantage of the profits that await them.

Rusty Ridge 3

Ishisomo cannot even be seen here, blocked out by the dense clouds.

Of course, not all mining resources last forever. Not every mine has unlimited wealth to it (something that ORE has very much taken to heart). And if you look around New Eden, there are plenty of abandoned mining colonies that show what happens when those mines run out, or even worse, if they were never able to begin in the first place. As might be expected, these kinds of abandoned mines are particularly common in high security space, since those areas of space have been developed the longest. As such, the empires have had plenty of time to pick the bones of mined asteroids dry in search of mineral wealth. The Caldari in particular are known for this, with their relentless pursuit of corporate efficiencies. Indeed, today’s site is the remains of one of those Caldari mining colonies: The Rusty Ridge Mine.

Rusty Ridge 4

A Cormorant has set up shop near the large cache of veldspar.

Somewhat surprisingly, Aura had very little information for me regarding the background of Rusty Ridge. I suppose there’s little to really distinguish Rusty Ridge from the countless other abandoned mining projects out there though. Indeed, the most notable thing about Rusty Ridge was the incredibly thick dust fields surrounding the old mining project. While most sites have some form of nebulosity that end up surrounding them, I have never seen dust fields quite this thick. In fact, in the center of the clouds, they entirely blocked out Ishisomo, the local star. Instead, the particles of dust reflected and refracted Ishisomo’s light, given the cloud a rather disturbing glow, as if it was about to collapse into itself and form its own star. My sensors informed me that that was not the case, but it was still unnerving to have to put down my view filters in order to properly view the rest of the site.

Rusty Ridge 5

The serpentine remains of asteroids already sucked of all useful materials.

Not that there was much of it to see. Near the center of the site sits the remains of a large Caldari industrial complex, clearly the original focal point of the mining complex. Unlike some of the other sites I’ve seen, scavengers here seem to have picked clean any of the mining equipment that the megacorporations may or may not have left lying around. As such, the station superstructure, long abandoned, was the only man-made structure left at Rusty Ridge, leaving it as a ghostly shell, barely visible in the depths of the nebula. I wasn’t entirely alone at the site, however. Two agents have set up shop near Rusty Ridge, each asking me to help in their plots to maneuver one megacorporation into dominance over the others. Being a proud Gallente citizen, I politely declined to help in their corporate machinations.

Rusty Ridge 6

The station remains are almost entirely invisible. In the distance, Ishisomo VIII is visible

One thing that surprised me about my surroundings was the fact that there were still some mineable materials left. There was a significant chunk of veldspar left to be harvested by some fortunate soul who, unlike me, actually had mining lasers attached to take advantage of it. But most of the remaining rocks were sucked dry of any usable resources, leaving only a serpentine shell, or left to gently disperse in the solar winds, adding to the eerily bright gas clouds surrounding the heart of the station.

I admittedly didn’t spend much time at the site. Mining had never quite been my calling, and I know that my insights into miners could only be those of an outsider. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate what they do both for me personally and for all of New Eden. And I know that, especially these days, despite the lack of excitement in their tasks, they were being very well rewarded for their efforts.  After all, the miners are ascendant.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Rusty Ridge Mine
  • System: Ishisomo
  • Security Rating: 0.7
  • Region: The Forge
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3.5 in security status, or -5 standing with theCaldari, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Caldari COSMOS site. Furthermore, some asteroids here are capable of being mined.

Ammatar Battle Site

Jarizza 1

Wreckage from the massive battle disappear into the distance against the backdrop of the Metropolis nebula. The light from the Asghatil gate cuts across the scene like lightning.

I’m actually somewhat embarrassed about this week’s entry. I pride myself on my ability to ferret out new sites to discuss as CONCORD catalogs them, especially when they’re part of one of the major turning points in modern New Eden history. To not only have not discussed this site before now, but to be completely unaware of its existence until just a few days ago has admittedly given me a bit of a pause. Not that it is an overwhelmingly huge deal or anything of the sort, but more as a matter of professional pride in knowing that I’ve thoroughly canvassed the various sources I have at my disposal in my ongoing efforts here on EVE Travel.

Jarizza 2

The bow and stern of an Armageddon-class battleship float a few hundred meters apart from each other.

It’s just as well that I haven’t discovered this site before now, however, since it mirrors the economic and violent turmoil currently wracking the Cluster. Death and destruction appear to be one of the few true constants in New Eden, and the past week has done more to demonstrate that truth than all of the words I or my fellow writers could ever hope to pass on through mere words. It’s one thing to pass on the terror of battle through either pictures or words; it’s quite another matter to find yourself in the heat of battle, where one wrong move could result in the death of your crewmates and the loss of millions, if not billions of isk. For better or for worse, the terror currently gripping both traders and miners (neither of whom are generally a particularly violent bunch) has acted as a wake-up call that no where can be considered safe, and that you must always be on your guard. It’s a lesson that people need pounded into their heads from time to time. This time around it’s the (normally) hapless industrialists of New Eden that are learning this lesson the hard way, but four years ago, it was the Ammatar Mandate who learned that you can never let your guard down in New Eden.

Jarizza 3

My ship flies through the graveyard as I pay my respects.

Long time readers will know that I’ve thoroughly discussed both the resurgence of war between the empires and the fascinating history of the Ammatar Mandate. And longtime readers will also know that those two subjects collided rather spectacularly on June 6, YC 110 when the Elder Fleet tore its way through Ammatar space to save the remaining Starkmanir tribesmen. And using “tore” as the verb here is perhaps putting it mildly. No one expected the Elders to return, much less that they would be able to singlehandedly bring down CONCORD’s entire threat response capability while leading a massive fleet of secretly built warships. I cannot even the imagine the horror that the Mandate defense forces must have felt as they saw these behemoths rampaging their way towards the heart of the Mandate. It’s to their credit that anyone managed to react quickly enough to offer any resistance, but that still didn’t keep the Battle of Jarizza from being a very lopsided massacre. As Aura explains:

Jarizza 4The few Minmatar wrecks in this graveyard represent all of the casualties that could be inflicted by the hapless Ammatar Fleet against the Elder armada that swept through the Mandate worlds. Offering sanctuary to those who embraced their Nefantar heritage, the invaders were swift to execute those interfered with their mission to liberate the last remaining survivors of the Starkmanir Tribe. Rumor has it that many Ammatar Fleet captains simply turned their ships away—not from fear of the marauders, but out of respect, admiration, and above all else, a guilty conscience.

Jarizza 5

Beams and girders from this Apocalypse-class ship are easily visible, showing the massive stress this hull was subject to.

The battlefield sits about 200 kilometers off the stargate into Asghatil, in a gentle arc facing the sun. The vast majority of the arc glints in the sunlight: the golden hulls of the broken Ammatar ships still glint like new if you only glance at them. Indeed, my very first impression upon looking at a number of the ships was that the battle had only recently ended. Even after four years, some ships still had active reactors or capacitors, spitting off intermittent energy into the vastness of space. The majority of the wrecks were Armageddon and Apocalypse-class battleships, but that was only because any smaller ships had been pounded beyond any hope of recognition. The ships that did survive more or less intact still showed signs of immense damage. A number of the Armageddon class ships were cracked in half along the spine, like some child would do playing with a twig. The fact that these “twigs” were multi-million ton battleships shows something of the awesome firepower the Elders had brought to bear on this mission.

Jarizza 6

The lower sail of a Tempest-class ship is visible to the right, as Jarizza XII hangs in the distance.

That is not to say, of course, that the Elders didn’t take their own casualties. Closer to the gate, a small collection of Minmatar wrecks sat, still gently tumbling through space. Of the recognizable wrecks, most of them seemed to be from Tempest-class ships. It’s astonishing to think that these battleships must have acted as the outer perimeter of the fleet, since all accounts show that the  bulk of the Elder forces were capital ships (seemingly setting the stage for current null sec capsuleer doctrine). None of the behemoths were brought down (those losses wouldn’t happen until the Elders pushed through to Sarum Prime), only the outer perimeter forces suffered any damage. Perhaps most surprisingly, a few Tempest sails actually managed to survive, despite their apparent fragility. They added a somewhat ghostly backdrop to an already ghostly visage on the main battlefield.

Jarizza 7

The mangled remains of this Armageddon-class vessel suggest that at least the crew probably died quickly.

I spent quite a while in Jarizza, paying my respects to the dead. This, after all, was the vanguard site of the Elder Invasion. The Elders managed to obtain almost complete surprise on the Jarizza forces, and they had almost no hope whatsoever. And, in a way, it also gave me a certain peace with the current situation. Reflecting on this past massacre also gave me a bit of closure for the current spasms that are wracking through New Eden. After all, if events like the current Jita incursion and the so-called Hulkageddon prove that death and destruction are one of the few things that we can count on in New Eden, it also reinforces the most optimistic message that I ca think of: Life goes on.

…And hopefully next time it won’t take me 2 years to discover it.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Ammatar Battle Site
  • System: Jarizza
  • Security Rating: 0.8
  • Region: Derelik
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Ammatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

Terminus Stream

Terminus Stream 1

A close up view of this end of the Terminus Stream

Editor’s Note: If it isn’t clear from the text, this site has disappeared with the release of Crucible. Still, I wanted to put it up on this site as I think it’s worthy of preservation.

It’s hard to remember that the universe isn’t static. When normal lifetimes can be measured in decades (and capsuleers being only a decade old as well), it’s hard to imagine that things like stars and planets don’t live forever. Granted, it might as well seem like forever when the lifetimes of those things can be measured in billions of years, but nothing in the universe lasts forever. Stars grow old and die, planets get pulverized to dust, galaxies turn and merge, and even black holes can evaporate away into nothingness. As much as we rely on the permanence of such objects, it’s important to remember that everything we thought permanent about the universe can change in the blink of an eye, as we learned all too well back in YC 111 with the Seyllin Incident.

Terminus Stream 2

Legacy slowly approaches the debris clouds surrounding the Stream.

I bring this up because this week’s entry is a bit of an odd one. I’m actually covering something that has since disappeared. A natural phenomenon that had stayed stable for a number of years (at least since before I started researching for EVE Travel), but appears to have dissipated somewhere in December of last year, if my reports are correct. The phenomenon I’m referring to is – was – known as the Terminus Stream. It was perhaps most notable for being the most stable wormhole yet known. Unlike normal wormholes which most capsuleers are familiar with, the Terminus Stream didn’t just disappear in a matter of days. The Stream lasted at least for a number of years, which is simply unheard of from what little we understand of wormhole dynamics. And further unlike the wormholes we have come to know and love, this one appears to have been unrelated to Anoikis. Or rather, if there is a connection to Anoikis, we never saw it, partially because the area surrounding the Stream became very hazardous to many ships. Indeed, some reports suggest that getting within just a few kilometers of the Stream’s source was enough to destroy most ships.

Terminus Stream 3

Aura's automatic damage notifications are overlaid as Legacy attempts diving into the Stream

That was not the only odd thing about the Terminus stream. Obviously, once I came within range of it, I set sensors to maximum sensitivity. What Aura presented back to me was… unexpected, to say the least. As Aura explained, “the material being ejected from this wormhole consists of hydrogen, oxygen, silicon, iron, and other materials usually only found in those states and frequencies on terrestrial planets.” That at least suggested that, unlike the unstable wormholes to Anoikis, the other end of the wormhole was located on or even in the surface of a planet. Such an event would, to my knowledge at least, be unprecedented. Indeed, the streams from material from the planet would probably explain the damage sustained by ships, especially if they were getting thrown from the wormhole at high velocities. That would NOT, however, explain the wormhole’s odd appearance compared to the more common wormholes we know about. Unlike the more normal unstable wormholes, the Terminus Stream appeared as an almost blinding point source of light. Indeed, Aura needed to engage filters on the sensors to keep me from being blinded. The source of that light, especially if the other end of the wormhole was in a planet, is entirely unknown.

Terminus Stream 4

Vuorrassi serves as a blue counterpoint to the reddish glow of the Stream

I spent some time near the Stream when I visited, both taking in the site and even daring to fly my Drake near the debris field surrounding it, though I took care to never get too close to the terminus. I even tried getting through the wormhole’s mouth, but was forced to retreat due to heavy damage. Now I wish that I had spent even more. It was a shame that I wasn’t there to see the collapse of the wormhole. Indeed, when I went back to the site to confirm its disappearance earlier this month, nothing remained. Even the surrounding dust clouds had broken up by the time I made my way over to the site, leaving nothing left outside of a few pictures and memories.

It’s a shame that the mysteries surrounding the Stream were never solved. Where did it lead? Was it a fundamentally different kind of wormhole than the kinds we’re familiar with? Was the other end actually located within a planet as the debris surrounding it suggested? But nature rarely proves itself willing to wait until we get around to answering its innumerable questions. For better or for worse, the Terminus Stream seems to be gone forever, as just another reminder that the only constant in this universe is change.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Terminus Stream
  • System: Vuorrassi
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Lonetrek
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Caldari, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: As noted above, this site no longer appears within this system to my knowledge. Anyone who sees it is urged to contact me immediately!

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