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.

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