Sightseeing in the Cluster

Null Sec Sights

Titanomachy

B-R5RB 1

Titanomachy

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

B-R5RB 2

The ruined remains of an Avatar-class Titan

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

B-R5RB 3

The sheer amount of tonnage destroyed here is staggering

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

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

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

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

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

B-R5RB 6

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

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

B-R5RB 7

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

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

B-R5RB 8

Shadows of B-R5RB

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

Basic Information:

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

Blood Reach

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

Blood Reach is a bustling Blood Raider hub.

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

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

A view from near the Cathedral

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

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

And, of course, Eve Valkyrie was AMAZING.

A mined out asteroid sits nearby.

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

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

A close up of one of the bloodsport arenas

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

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

A Blood Raider battleship keeps an eye on the surroundings

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

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

The station remains very much a work in progress

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

Basic Information:

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

Minecore

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

K-X5AX shines between the ridges of the colony.

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

I still say the Machariel looks like the Galactica

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

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

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

One of the foundries at the site.

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

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

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

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

Habitation modules

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

I do like this shot though

Looking out on the main colony.

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

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

Basic Information:

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

The Tain

Tain 1

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

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

Tain 2

The shattered remains of an old-style Amarr battleship.

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

Tain 3

The Nidhoggur stands silhouetted by DUO-51.

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

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

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

Tain 6

Gaping holes can be seen in the station.

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

Tain 7

The shattered remains of the Amarr battleship.

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

Tain 8

The mummified remains of some poor soul

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

Tain 9

Leftover drilling equipment can be seen here as well.

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

Basic Information:

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

Fatimar Outpost

Fatimar 1

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

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

Fatimar 2

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

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

Fatimar 3

One of the support complexes set up by the colonists.

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

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

Fatimar 5

The defense station stands guard over the colony

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

Fatimar 6

Part of the support fleet for the outpost.

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

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

Basic Information:

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

Blog Banter 39: Home

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:


Yakura Harvesting Depot

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An overview of the Yakura Harvesting Depot

It seems odd to have to worry about urban planning in today’s day and age. In this age of buildings that, for all intents and purposes, can be built to limitless heights, what does it really matter how things are laid out? Why does it matter if we put the park here or there? Who cares if the recycling center is in the center of town or out on the periphery? Although modern strategies of urban planning originated to deal with how to maximize land use when land itself was limited, the planning of land use is all the more important when the usable space you have to work with is practically infinite. Odd little things, such as examining pedestrian flow or infrastructural considerations can have a vast impact on how successful a community ultimately will be, since it amounts to making things as easy for the inhabitants as possible.

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One of the battleships stationed nearby to provide some protection from raiders

Of course, such considerations become even more important for space-based communities, when that pesky gravity no longer adds such a two-dimensional emphasis on planning. Now, we can sprawl however far we want in all three dimensions, which makes the use of space almost MORE important. It’s a counterintuitive thought, to be sure, but it becomes a matter of practicality and ease of living for inhabitants. The problems that can pop up in unplanned communities can be seen in old fashioned ‘boom towns.’ These often crop up when some incredibly valuable resource is discovered, and people suddenly rush to the scene. As is always the case, when people congregate together, some kind of town is born, but if it’s unplanned from the beginning, it can grow haphazardly and unevenly, leading to major problems down the road as the community continues to grow. Of course, boom towns can happen just as easily in space as they can on planets… perhaps even more so given the comparative riches that can be found in space. An example can be found out in A8-XBW, in Fountain. As Aura explains:

Yakura 3Extremely valuable gas clouds have been discovered in the Pegasus constellation which have created a gold rush. ORE was quick to claim ‘ownership’ as the constellation borders its sovereign space, but the Serpentis and the Syndicate, as well as multiple entrepeneurs from the Gallente Federation, have all claimed their own piece of the pie. Inevitably collisions have occurred and the constellation has become a sort of ‘warzone’ between various groups of greedy claimants.

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The sprawling nature of the Depot can be seen here. The valuable gas clouds are to the left.

The Yakura Harvesting Depot very much has that feeling of a town that grew too much too fast. Structures sprawl haphazardly on the edge of the gas cloud that fuels the incredible growth of the Depot. Rather than there being any particular order to the area, things grow from wherever they happened to be plopped down. Some structures have grown so large as to be unwieldy (not to mention poorly positioned), while abandoned structures are left where they stood, with the community not even attempting to clean them up. It leads to an odd dissonance throughout the site: structures that are so new they sparkle are built on top of older buildings that show their wear, while those are built just a little ways away from abandoned buildings that are left to gather dust in the endless void of space.

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The two asteroid colonies that provide living areas for the Depot's residents

The Depot can roughly be split into 3 areas: the primary industrial area, which appears to be asteroid based. Then there’s the shipping area, where cargo pads seem to tumble on to each other in an attempt to maximize berthing space for incoming and outgoing freighters. And then, for some reason closer to the valuable gas clouds than either the industrial or commercial shipping areas, lays the somewhat ramshackle living areas. Despite the great wealth in the area, the living conditions have yet to catch up for the workers who simply wanted to plant their stake as quickly as possible. The quick-construction asteroid habitats should be familiar to my regular readers, made up of smaller asteroids that are linked together via a series of metal tubes. There is also a second, larger living facility nearby, made up of three larger asteroids that are still hollowed out and linked together. The larger facility seems newer to me, and closer still to the gas cloud. And, for some odd reason, a THIRD asteroid colony can be seen clear on the other side of the Depot, out past the industrial base.

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The industrial area of the Depot, seen through the wreckage of the Quafe sign

The primary industrial base of the area is located on a massive asteroid. Rather than being entirely hollowed out like the living areas, the industrial area has a number of facilities that peak out of the surface, including docking ports and the like to bring materials to and from the factories. Nearby, the ruins of a Quafe sign can be seen. The sign actually intrigues me. Did Quafe really manage to jump onto the bandwagon so quickly? Was this an attempt at corporate sponsorship that went awry? If so, why did relations break down? The sign appears pretty battered, with twisted steel beams being the only remains of the sign’s original framework. The power source is apparently still active, as evidenced by the flicker of the sign every now and then, while a ghostly image of a Quafe bottle flashes across the screen for a few seconds. Remains of the word “ENJOY” float nearby, though I’m not entirely sure what happened to the ‘O’. Perhaps not the most effective advertising campaign, but at least they weren’t trying to hide what they were selling.

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The haphazard construction of the shipping platforms can be seen here.

The most interesting part of the Depot, I think, is the commercial shipping area. It’s a hodgepodge of various stores that have cropped up, allowing pilots and crews to spend their time (and, more importantly, their money) while waiting for their ships to be unloaded and loaded. Here, one can easily see that there is no overarching design philosophy. New cargo pads were built as they were needed, wherever the builders wanted. Some pads appear to built literally on top of others. That doesn’t stop the constant stream of freight traffic, though. Three separate freighters can be seen while I’m there. Surrounding the pads are various shops that showcase the free-for-all feeling out here. A casino floats near a brothel, while drugs can easily be purchased as well. A few battleships float throughout the site, providing a measure of external security from raiders, but they didn’t seem to be conducting any police actions within the Depot. With no CONCORD presence and little order, the very western edge of the Cluster is indeed pretty wild.

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An Iteron sits near the loading docks, while some cargo can be seen on the pad.

The Yakura Depot is a thriving town on the edge of lawless space, but whether that can be sustained remains to be seen. These kind of boom towns often don’t survive much past the exhaustion of their resources, and even massive dust clouds in space don’t last forever. Still, as I vectored my Tengu onwards in my journey, I wished them the best of luck, and hoped that they’d get around to planning out their space just a little better.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Yakura Harvesting Depot
  • System: A8-XBW
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Fountain
  • Potential Hazards: A8-XBW is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol.  Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates.  Caution is advised.
  • Additional Notes: This site is a COSMOS site, and agents are available if you have the proper standing with Serpentis.

Celestial Navigation

Nebula 1

A vision of the Vapor Sea.

Before the days of faster than light travel, before the days of space travel, before the days of even radio, humanity used to sail the seas of their respective homeworlds using only the stars as their guides. They say that history often goes full circle: in the modern day, with countless conveniences and methods of navigation, some are yearning for a return to that seemingly simpler time. With recent advances in camera drone optics, it has recently become possible to view these nebula anew, and indeed, even roughly navigate by them. In my continuing endeavors to provide travel resources, I have put together a listing of all visible nebula in New Eden for those who want to try their hand at navigating solely by these celestial beacons, available here, as well as at the top of this site.


Pioneer’s Sanctuary

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest travel blog by Calando. All pictures and text are thanks to him. I’d like to thank him for putting the effort into this!

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An overview of the site

To truly understand what many condemn to be the “shadier” side of society requires simply that you tread the path, and it really only takes one venture. Capsuleers can hardly claim to be virtuous, and I often find myself drawn to noble and questionable causes alike. This, coupled with my tendency to stray from the beaten path, might well be what lead me to this far-out-of-the-way landmark deep in lawless space, arguably against my better judgement. Though anything close to unbiased law enforcement was a dozen jumps away or more, the interim toward my destination was thankfully uneventful, and I soon found myself emerging through the final gate into ZH3-BS. Without waiting for any sort of welcoming party, I aligned my ship and thundered forward toward the Pioneer’s Sanctuary.

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A view of the immense Phoenix-class dreadnaught

As soon as the warp bubble collapsed and the outpost came into view, I was immediately greeted with an impressive sight: the outpost itself had been rigged between two colossal rock formations, each rivaling, if not outright dwarfing, the size of a Titan. I was immediately pinged by the nearby control tower, whose staff demanded my intentions and warned me under no uncertain terms that if I tried anything less-than-noble, I would be forcibly ejected (undoubtedly, in more ways than one). Once I had convinced them of my amiability, they allowed me to proceed into the compound proper, though I would be kept under the watchful eyes of the patrols there. Aura offered the DED’s assessment of the site:

zh3 3This bustling space port has seen better days. It was built some years ago by ambitious gas harvesters intent on capitalizing on the booster craze that has gripped space navigators all over the known universe. But conflict with the Guristas Pirates looms on the horizon, unless their ludicrous demands are met. And with the difficulty of summoning mercenary reinforcements out here, the conflict looks to become pretty one-sided.

Today the settlement is composed of various racial and cultural groups, being a popular stopping point for freelance harvesters and mercenaries from many corners of inhabited space, intent on cashing in on the ‘gas rush’.

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One of the gas harvesters used to collect materials for nearby refineries.

True to intel, the space in which this compound drifted was thick with all manner of noxious gases and mysterious particles, the byproducts of the narcotics manufacturing operations which took place in the research facilities interwoven within several smaller asteroids, which in turn were anchored between the two major rock formations. Scans pinpointed the source of the pollution as the plasma vents jutting out from these structures, each periodically flaring up and venting plumes of questionable incinerated material into space.

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Some of the locally available entertainment

Aside from the mountainous rocks flanking the outpost on either side, the most eye-catching feature is the Phoenix-class dreadnought sitting directly amidst the residential structures; the entire duration of my stay would be made considerably less comfortable due to my sensors indicating active weapon and targeting systems all trained on my lone cruiser, courtesy thereof. I would later surmise that this behemoth, not unlike a chained slaver hound just itching to tear a person’s throat out, was the only thing standing between these pioneers and the callous wrath of a Guristas assault force. At the helm of this regal vessel was an agent for Kaalakiota, whom I hailed and attempted to make friendly conversation with, but this agent was all-business and closed the channel as soon as it became clear that I wasn’t in the mood to talk kredits. I would get similar responses from the many other entrepreneurs in the local vicinity.

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An exploration Tengu flies near the Phoenix-class vessel.

Interestingly, an entertainment module was also present. Having had an arduous trip to Pioneer’s Sanctuary from empire space, a little out-of-pod R&R appealed to my interests; the control tower graciously anchored my ship while my crew and I made our way inside for a few hour’s downtime. The service and patrons here proved to be much more hospitable, and I even indulged in some of their select processed wares. A few helpings of X-Instinct and several hours in like-minded company left me feeling content and rested. Despite the initial cold reception, and the trip back home ahead of me, I left the outpost in high spirits.

And for good measure, I tore apart a few Guristas squadrons along the way.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Pioneer’s Sanctuary
  • System: ZH3-BS
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Tenal
  • Potential Hazards: ZH3-BS is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.

T-IPZB Graveyard

t-ipzb1

Graveyards of ships and men

It’s easy to get bogged down in the little things in life. Those minor deadlines, those little irritations that you run in to throughout the day. Keeping perspective on what the truly important issues are can be difficult, but it is always necessary. In the grander scheme of things, are most of life’s issues really worth worrying about? How many of the issues that cause people so much stress are really worth fighting over? Dying over? Of course, that last question has changed considerably for us capsuleers, but for many people, death is still very much a permanent solution to many problems. It’s too easy to weigh yourself down with all of life’s little problems until you force yourself to take a step back and look at what really matters in your life. Some things just aren’t worth worrying yourself to death over.

t-ipzb2

T-IPZB can be seen dimly through the haze permeating the graveyard

I bring this up because of a rather surprise site that I stumbled upon during the course of my travels. It isn’t very well-marked, and obviously not very well-known (though I’m not the first person to discover the site), but from what I can tell, it wasn’t even planned. Or maybe it was. But whatever caused this site to form happened with such suddenness, and with such violence, that it apparently caught the poor souls trapped here completely by surprise. As with so many of the sites marked out by CONCORD in New Eden, this particular site was a graveyard. CONCORD apparently had a miscommunication somewhere along the line, marking the site as the T-MOFA graveyard when T-MOFA was the system next to T-IPZB. Still, the standard beacon broadcast sent a sobering tale:

t-i[zb3Some believe that the Blood Raiders who died here still haunt these tombs of twisted metal, and that if you listen closely, you can hear their hateful cries across the depths of space. What happened at this place is indistinguishable from fact or legend, miracle or nightmare. All that is known for sure is that the origins of Jamyl Sarum’s resurgence can be traced to this spot, and that the Blood Raiders suffered horribly to her wrath.

t-ipzb4

A jumpgate activates as the graveyard hangs in the background

I had little sympathy for Blood Raiders, personally. A quintessential example of religion gone too far. But I also have little sympathy for ambushes with little to no warning (though I suspected that a number of military strategists would disagree with me on that). It seems too much like shooting someone when their back was turned. It seems too dishonest. Yet that appears to be exactly what happened in this backwater system in the middle of nowhere. Whatever it was that allowed now-Empress Sarum to win her stunning victory over the Minmatar Elders was apparently first tested out here, to rather devastating effect. And given some the positioning of the various ships and corpses throughout area suggested that the Blood Raiders were caught by almost complete surprise (though how much you can really expect to/prepare for an attack from someone supposedly dead for 3 years by a weapon of unimagineable power is certainly a subject for debate).

t-ipzb5

An overview of the attack site.

The devastation was quite apparent. Wrecks littered the area, ranging from barely-recognizable battleship wrecks to the Blood Raider tailored Archon and Revelation wrecks. Though the Blood Raiders’ unique paint scheme was still recognizable, little else survived the wrecks. Among the wrecks, a number of corpses could be seen, those of the unfortunate souls who weren’t immediately vaporized by the attack. I nudged Legacy close to a few of them, and all of them had a look of intense pain frozen on their faces. Unfortunately, the details of what caused their deaths, or the destruction of all of these ships, were few and far between. Over a year after the attack, evidence of what kind of weapon caused it was scant, with no abnormal energy readings or other unusual objects. Just a whole lot of death.

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A collection of dead Archons and Revelations

So was this worth dying for? Is their religion worth their life? I don’t know. I suspect that at least some of them would answer yes. But chances are, the people in this graveyard didn’t even have the time to ask the question or think about the answer. Chances are that they didn’t have time to even know what happened before they were hit with a wave of destruction. Not exactly how I would want it to end. Though I didn’t often contemplate how I would finally (and permanently) die, I could only hope that I was dying for something that I felt was worth it, and certainly not while caught by surprise.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: T-IPZB Graveyard
  • System: T-IPZB
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Delve
  • Potential Hazards: T-IPZB is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol.  Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates.  Caution is advised.
  • Additional Notes: If anyone ever travels out this way and the Powers That Be finally get around to correcting the name, please let me know.

EMERGENCY TRAVEL ADVISORY

Incursions1

A Sansha cruiser blocks out the sun.

The following is a Scope Special Report.

YULAI, Sanctum- Yulai stood aghast this week as, just days following an invasion into the heart of CONCORD-controlled space, five constellations went dark as the Sansha Nation initiated simultaneous incursions in what is believed to be the single largest offensive in the history of New Eden. Despite the shutdown of official means of communications, stories quickly spread as capsuleers, crews, and civilian vessels fled the scenes, causing mass chaos. Even CONCORD-patrolled space was not immune from the Nation’s reach, as Algintal, a constellation in the Gallente Federation, fell completely dark for several minutes before officials were able to re-establish contact through emergency channels.

Incursions2

The Sansha Nation has shown remarkable proficiency in establishing bases of operation soon after deployment.

CONCORD officials reacted swiftly to the news. After a hastily convened Inner Circle closed session, CONCORD quickly announced measures the peacekeeping force has taken, as well as new legislation authorizing capsuleer response to these so-called incursions. The quick turnaround time on the legislation, as well as immediate upgrades to capsuleer software in their ships, have lead some to believe that there were those in CONCORD who have been expecting this to come. Indeed, some Inner Circle observers have referred to the so-called “Operation Ishaeka” as evidence that CONCORD has had information regarding the Sansha movements for some time, and yet has taken little to no action before now. These observers have referenced CONCORD’s inability (or, at least to some observers, CONCORD’s unwillingness) to respond to prior Sansha invasions, even when concentrated to only one system, as proof of some kind of détente between Yulai and the Nation, while others argue that this simply shows how capsuleer forces are better able to handle the situation.

Incursions3

Fleets of capsuleer-piloted vessels have been quick to respond to Sansha incursions... so far.

Meanwhile, reports on the situation within Sansha-controlled space have been few and far between. Federation officials, speaking on condition of anonymity as they are unauthorized to speak for the Federation, expressed surprise as the first reports from Sansha-affected space came in to Luminaire. Said one: “They’ve managed to infiltrate everything. All the various financial and administrative control systems we thought were secure have proven not to be. I don’t know where they managed to develop their hacking software, but its years ahead of anything either the Federation or the other empires have been able to produce.”

Incursions4

CONCORD-released imagery of what CONCORD has dubbed a Nation Propoganda Cluster

Initial reports indicate that after Nation forces move into a constellation, they quickly overwhelm many software safeguards in place around financial systems and protective measures. Gallente intelligence reports show that these Sansha forces are stronger than many other non-capsuleer forces that capsuleer forces have encountered before. Initial threat assessments show that even the weakest sites should not be handled by less than five to ten capsuleers. Reports also refer to money being diverted from CONCORD accounts traditionally paid for bounties on known criminals to Sansha bank accounts instead of capsuleer accounts, demonstrating an ability to hack into Secure Commerce Commission accounts. Similarly, the Sansha have been able to quickly establish cyno-jammers in null and low security systems, preventing capital ships from jumping in to join the fight. Early reports even indicate an ability to hamper, though not destroy, capsuleer-piloted vessels by reducing armor and shield resistances, as well as damage output. Strangely, these setbacks appear to affect at least some Sansha ships themselves, which some have suggested are indicative that the exploits that the Sansha are using are endemic to all capsuleer technology, and cannot be turned on and off at will by any particular ship.

Incursions5

CONCORD-released imagery of a Sansha logistics base

Despite early CONCORD reaction to the recent incursions, many have criticized what they see as non-action by the Directive Enforcement Division, the enforcement arm of CONCORD responsible for keeping the peace beyond planetary atmospheres. CONCORD spokesmen were quick to respond to the accusations. Said DED spokeswoman Ruera Penthe, “CONCORD is working closely with capsuleer forces. The DED has made the determination that capsuleer forces are better able to respond to fluid situations, while DED ships maintain their customary peacekeeping roles. However, recent legislation by the Inner Circle has authorized CONCORD to hand out ISK to capsuleers and open private CONCORD materiel stores to capsuleers who have worked with us to resist the Sansha threat. We thank all pilots for what they’ve done so far to ensure the safety and security of all citizens of New Eden, and we look forward to cooperating and planning offensive and defensive operations in the future.”

Incursions6

Capsuleers have responded to the Incursions with predictably mixed results.

There are at least some indications, however, that CONCORD’s trust in the capsuleer community is misplaced. Since the legislation authorizing capsuleer response to the Sansha incursions, reports have come to light that while many capsuleers have taken up arms against the Sansha, a number of capsuleer corporations and individuals are either sympathetic to Nation causes, or at least excited for the prospect of wreaking havoc. Some, mostly in the null security space beyond CONCORD jurisdiction, appear to not care about the incursions at all and are, so far, ignoring them, letting Nation forces fulfill their plans without resistance. Reports of outright defense of Sansha ships by capsuleer supporters are few and far between. However, there have been a number of reports of capsuleers joining fleets with so-called “logistics ships” (a capsuleer term to refer to ships that are able to support either shields or armor repairers to help other vessels) only to find that another logistics ship that they were trying to help will violate CONCORD rules, triggering CONCORD’s automatic threat elimination response. These responses will destroy not just the offender’s ship, but also those who were repairing the defender, meaning that even well-intentioned and dedicated capsuleers to lose their vessels. Questioned on this apparent defect, Penthe responded: “Since these incursions have begun, DED has begun re-evaluating it’s threat detection and response procedures in response to capsuleer concerns. However, due to the essential nature of these software changes, DED is unwilling to give any kind of time frame on when improved software may be deployed to prevent this situation in the future. In the meantime, DED strongly advises all capsuleers to only join fleets with others you know and trust.” Furthermore, in order to prompt capsuleer participation, DED has released the standard message sent to all capsuleers when entering an incursion constellation, giving some insights into CONCORD’s defensive strategy:

Attention all capsuleers: Sansha’s Nation forces have staged an incursion of the [] constellation. Local empire navies are standing by to protect against planetary abductions. Reinforcements are required to actively remove the threat.

CONCORD has created this channel to aid in the organization of capsuleer fleets willing to fight the Sansha. All pilots who offer assistance will be rewarded.

Authorized by Operation Ishaeka Commander Vieve Creston, DED Special Operations. CONCORD cannot guarantee the operational security of this channel. Attendants are advised to use caution when sharing intelligence.

Incursions7

A battleship-class Sansha vessel.

While this is by far the largest coordinated Sansha incursion, this is not the first time Sansha Kuvakei or his forces have invaded the cluster. The CONCORD Directive Intelligence Agency has released background information regarding Sansha Kuvakei and his history. Kuvakei’s motives are as of yet unclear, but ever since his return last year, his ire appears principally directed at the capsuleer community. However, in order to achieve his goals, he has been known to abduct planetary citizens. To date, such abductions number into the millions, despite heavy capsuleer resistance to any and all Sansha incursions even prior to the current breakout of hostilities. In recent weeks, however, Nation tactics appeared to change. In last weekend’s attack on Yulai, most Sansha forces appeared to ignore the inhabited planets in favor extracting plasma from Yulai itself. The Nation’s intentions with the solar plasma is as of yet unknown.

In the meantime, CONCORD advises all spacefaring and planet-bound citizens to be aware of their surroundings. CONCORD has already deployed new software to all capsuleer vessels to alert them when entering Sansha-controlled space, while planet-bound citizens are advised to keep watching newsfeeds to determine if a Sansha incursion is occurring nearby. Penthe, the DED spokeswoman appeared to acknowledge CONCORD’s limited ability to respond to the Nation threat, “All we can do is give out the information and alert as many people as possible. Watch your neocoms. Know where you’re going, and where the Sansha are currently active. The rest, unfortunately, is up to the citizens of the cluster.”

This has been a Scope Special Report.

Potential hazards:

  • Sansha infested systems can be found anywhere, and at any time. It’s strongly encouraged to check whether your routes take you through Sansha space.
  • As noted in the story, effects in Sansha controlled space can be severe. These include a halving of all damage outputs, as well as lower shield and armor resistances. NPC bounties of non-Incursion sites are cut in half while an incursion is active in the constellation. Null and low sec space will be cynojammed.
  • There’ve been too many stories of people fleeting up with strangers only to have CONCORD’s aggression mechanics used against them. Beware of who you’re fleeting with. (UPDATE: With the release of the latest Incursion patch, CONCORD will no longer respond to remote repping issues, as you can no longer remote rep anyone with a GCC. Once a person triggers GCC, any reppers on him will shut off, and the GCC’d person will get CONCORDed, but the reppers will not).
  • These are not for the solo players. These sites were specifically designed to be done in groups. Your journal can show recommended force sizes, as well as isk payouts from completed sites.

Assilot

PPG-XC1

The main gladitorial station materializes from this mists surrounding it

I have never really been a fan of holo-programs, be they dramas, comedies, or the dreaded “reality” shows that seemed to be anything but. Still, as an academic exercise at least, I was intrigued by any show that felt it necessary to move itself from the confines of empire space out to the very fringes of New Eden, to ensure an unencumbered programming schedule. And so the Legendary Trials were born. Situated in the heart of the semi-inappropriately named (or, depending on your view of the Gallente, appropriately named) Assilot constellation out in Cloud Ring, the show broadcasts across the cluster. A basic GalNet search revealed this snippet from the show’s creators:

PPG-XC2The famous dueling tournament, ‘The Legends Trial’, has moved to PPG-XC, to escape various expenses associated with having its tournament inside Federation space. Also by staging the tournament here, it can choose from a larger variety of competitors, such as criminals and members of outlaw organizations which would be immediately arrested in Federation space.

The Legends Trial is a popular show on Federation TV, it is broadcasted to billions of screens across many regions. Huge money is at stake, and gambling on the events is extremely popular. It is therefore not surprising that various criminal networks are working hard to ‘influence’ the outcome of the show and rig fights. The organizers of the Legends Trials have hired a sizable mercenary fleet to protect its assets, but even so it has become extremely vulnerable to pirate meddling, especially due to its new location outside of the protective embrace of Federation space. Certainly a freelance merc pilots dream come true.

PPG-XC3

The asteroids create an impressive backdrop for the program

The Legendary Trials setup itself appears, appropriately, made for television. Despite having never actually seen the show, as I approached the scene I could almost see the opening title sequence in my head. The scene starts off from a distance, showing a an arc of perfectly placed asteroids. The camera zooms in to a misty blue nebula, where a station comes looming from the darkness. Epic music uprises dramatically as the camera continues to zoom in on not one, but two stations holding the day’s events. The camera zooms in to a dramatic looking window, where we see one of today’s challengers, soon to be followed by the other. It’s all very dramatic, even in my head.

PPG-XC4

A close up of one of the stations holding the arena for the contestants.

A few vessels can be seen patrolling the area, undoubtedly the mercenary vessels mentioned earlier that are hired to provide protection. None of them seemed particularly eager to talk to me, and I quickly got the hint that, despite the fact that the station makes no efforts to hide itself from the public eye, I should be on my way. After snapping a few more photos for my collection, I quickly took Scientia on its way. Almost unconsciously, I found myself also checking my local listings for the next episode of Legendary Trials…

Basic Information:

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

Serpentis Distribution Outpost

8v-sjj1

Scientia slowly approaches a drug lab under cloak to avoid detection by Serpentis forces

Scientia crept under cloak towards a sizeable base of operations. I can’t help holding my breath, worried as I am about somehow accidentally decloaking or the watchful guards seeing through my cloak. I’ve approached pirate bases before, but never in null sec, and never with this kind of force guarding it. Nearby, pirate forces slowly circle the base, following their assigned patrol routes. I sit in Scientia, simply watching. I was quickly learning, given the amount of resources that the Serpentis have dedicated to this base, that drugs, like spaceships, was serious business.

8v-sjj2

Various manufacturing plants surround the central base of the drug base.

I have never had much reason to dabble in drugs. I understand that some of the more advanced ones can be used to heighten perception and reaction times in combat, but frankly I had never seen a need for it, and some of the horror stories I had heard about dependency and addiction had basically scared me off of them entirely. Still, I knew that there was a substantial black market for such drugs, even if I had never seen it. I knew at least some capsuleers were involved in drug production as well; my research into exploration topics has often led me to discussions on ladar sites and what kinds of drugs the various gases gathered there can produce. But I knew very little about the actual logistics or markets from these drugs.

8v-sjj3

The labs also served as advertisements for their wares.

Given what I saw from this site, however, I could only assume that the profits were substantial. This appeared to be an outlying manufacturing base, yet it was still surprisingly well developed. About three different drug labs sat near the central tower. Surrounding this complex was a ring of manufacturing plants, each of them belching the hazardous by-products of drug production into the depths of space. Around all of this sat a small force of Serpentis ships, including two battleships and two battlecruisers. If I were in empire space, I would have risked decloaking to take a closer look at the base. Given the Serpentis’s opinion of me in recent days, however, I figured I was safer if I just sat in my cloak. I did a bit of research as I sat watching the plant, however, and was able to turn up a little bit of data:

8v-sjj4Distribution of their product is a constant concern for Serpentis Corporation, which draws a great deal of its annual revenue from the sale of illegal boosters and narcotics. Various outposts are dotted across the cluster, connecting the narco-factories deep inside Fountain to consumers of all kinds. Many of these outposts fall directly under Serpentis control and enforcement, being too minor or secretive to earn the protection of the superior Guardian Angels fleets.

I waited a few minutes to see if I could see anyone making a stop for drugs, but the base stayed vacant save for myself and the guard force. The neon lights of the “Narcotics” shone softly in the light of 8V-SJJ. Part of me was aghast that they so openly hawked their products, but I had to remind myself that out here, beyond the Empires and CONCORD, it truly was a different world.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Serpentis Distribution Outpost
  • System: 8V-SJJ
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Syndicate
  • Potential Hazards: 8V-SJJ lies in 0.0 pirate controlled space.  Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates.  Caution is advised.
  • Additional Note: Despite what I say in the text, there is, of course, no actual market at this landmark. For your full supply of drugs and narcotics, please visit your local market hub.

First Sergeant Hakiro’s Lookout

g5ed1

The newly christened Scientia approaches the Sergeant's lookout

It had been quite a less than stellar maiden voyage. Finally fed up with losing the Professor again and again, I bit the bullet and invested into the new-fangled Tech 3 ship, the Tengu. Properly specced, the Tengu had the ability both to fit a covert operations cloaking device, and the ability to fly through warp interdiction bubbles. These bubbles have long been the bane of my existence while flying through non-empire controlled space, and the ability to side-step them entirely interested me immensely. Since their introduction a year ago, their prices have dropped steadily, and I was able to reasonably fit one for a little over 400 million isk. Certainly still the most expensive ship I have owned to date by far, but much less than what I would have had to pay even 6 months ago. The strength of this setup was immediately apparent, and the newly christened Scientia (a more regal, and appropriate name) breezed through numerous gate camps.

g5ed2

G5ED-Y glows in the background as Scientia approaches

Unfortunately, my fellow fleetmates were less than lucky. As a way to help get to know some other Coalition members, I had offered to serve as a tour guide to anyone interested. Three others ultimately ended up joining me: Casiella Truza, Rettic, and Dallen Ward. The other three were in covert operations frigates of various classes. Normally, that would be fine for what I had planned. Unfortunately, our small fleet quickly took a turn for the worst. Our first jump into alliance-controlled space took us straight into a gate camp from Morsus Mihi. Three covops ships and a Tengu quickly attracted their attention. Scientia thankfully got through without a scratch, but my other fleetmates were less than lucky. One by one, each of my fellow pilots were caught in the jaws of the various gate camps and warp interdiction bubbles, even as I used Scientia‘s advanced technology to scout ahead. Just 6 jumps in to Morsus Mihi controlled space, I found myself entirely alone. Unfortunately, Rettic and Dallen both were podded (though both quickly contacted me after being rather forcibly revived in clone stations to pass along that they were ok), and Casiella lost her ship. She managed to avoid getting podded herself by apparently deft manuevering on her part, and eventually managed to even extricate herself back into the safety of empire space.

g5ed3

Small tactical stations stand sentry near the observation post

That adventure ultimately left me alone to finish my trek to our destination. Thankfully, soon after Casiella fell, they left me alone, apparently aware that they weren’t going to catch a tech 3 Tengu. Fifteen minutes later, I found myself completely alone in the system of G5ED-Y. I had heard rumors that the Caldari had set up an extensive base in the system. Rumor had it that they had discovered something quite significant, even if my sources couldn’t tell me what that “something” was. Obviously, I was intrigued to investigate. As I entered the system, Aura presented the results of the search query I had entered when the fleet first set out. The results weren’t much, but:

g5ed4The Caldari State have found something significant in G5ED-Y. The State military has set up a huge base of operations in that system, and its presence there is thick as sour milk. The Guristas on the other hand are extremely curious as to what their arch nemesis has discovered, and have set up many bases in the surrounding systems to oversee reconnaissance missions into G5ED-Y. A division from the Serpentis has also been sent to the constellation on behalf of the Smuggler Cartel, led by the infamous Black Jack.

g5ed5

A temperate planet floats near the Sergeant's hideout.

The site itself was rather impressive. I took Scientia in from a few kilometers distance to investigate. Nearby, Sergeant Hakiro kept a watchful eye from his Caracal. I suspected that it was only my decent reputation with the State that kept me from being blown out of the stars. I sent a hail towards him, and he sent a very curt welcome back to me that implied that I was anything but. I took that as a sign to keep my explorations brief. Still, what I saw was quite impressive. Rows upon rows of what I presumed to be antennae floated among the support structures for the base. Nearby, a cracked asteroid floated, its useful minerals mined out to help produce the structures for the base. A few navy vessels patrolled the outpost, ever-vigilant to the many threats found beyond empire-controlled space.

g5ed6

A close up of one of the numerous support structures at the base

Attempts to learn exactly what the State had found out here, exactly what warranted this substantial projection of force so far from the State’s boundaries, were unsuccessful. the Navy ships did not respond to my hails, and all scans were inconclusive to anything found either at the base or the nearby temperate planet. Whatever the State had managed to dig up this far out, they were hiding it extremely well. Even Scientia‘s advanced sensor package did little to reveal any new secrets. Something told me that if I had a better reputation with the State that Hakiro would be more open with me, but as it stood now, it would simply have to remain a mystery.

While the start of the journey was not as safe as I might have hoped, I had to admit that (for as long as they lasted, at least) it was nice having companions on these journeys. I certainly felt guilty that I had led them to their temporary demises, but I also knew that my friends didn’t blame me for it. At the very least, though, our trip ensured that the next time that I took a fleet with me on a trip, I wouldn’t be the only one in a tech 3 ship.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: First Sergeant Hakiro’s Lookout
  • System: G5ED-Y
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Vale of the Silent
  • Potential Hazards: G5ED-Y is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol.  Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates.  Caution is advised.
  • Additional Notes: This site is a COSMOS site, and agents are available if you have the proper standing with the Caldari State.

Shattered Planets

Seyllin1

The remains of Seyllin I float in the distance

Five hundred million. A decent amount of isk for any capsuleer. A stockpile of ammo that would make any industrialist, pirate, or combat pilot leap for joy. A well fit battleship, with good fittings. Five hundred million of almost any item can be exchanged for great value and used to buy a capsuleer’s next ship, implant, or module. But five hundred million lives is a different calculus altogether. But that’s how many lives were lost March 10, YC 111 in the heretofore relatively unknown system of Seyllin. It was an inconceivable number of lives. It’s amazing how reasonable or even small five hundred million can seem when talking about the proper units, but talking about five hundred million people puts it well beyond any sense of comprehension.

Seyllin2

Chunks of the planet remain in orbit around Seyllin I

If only we had had more warning, such a human disaster could have been averted. Alas, it was only hours between the first indication that something was amiss and the impact of the “large, superheated mass” (to put it in cold, scientific terms; perhaps the only way to even begin to think about such events) in Seyllin. All told, from a mining colony of five hundred million people, only 843,000, or 0.1%, were evacuated. I tried to remind myself that we should be grateful that these events didn’t take place in the heart of any of the empires, but it was cold comfort to think that in the midst of such tragedy.

SL-YBS3

A Thukker tribe was lost in SL-YBS. The remains of SL-YBS can be seen here through an ice field

No one is quite sure what caused the disaster at Seyllin, or the three other systems affected by strange solar occurrences that day. It is surely not coincidental that wormholes appeared the same day. Presumably whatever ripped spacetime apart enough to cause these temporary holes in space caused the outpouring of solar energy that led not only to Seyllin, but to the death of an entire Thukker tribe caravan. Such catastrophic energies were not to be taken lightly, but of course that hasn’t stopped some capsuleers from venturing through into the unknown. Despite the roiling energies that caused the wormholes in the first place, I found it almost heartening that the wormholes never lasted very long, as if space itself was trying to mend the harm done to it by these catastrophic events.

35-RK94

A cloaked Professor banks into the remains at 35-RK9 I.

With his background in mind, I made a point of visiting as many of these shattered planets as my schedule would allow. They were hauntingly breathtaking in their beauty. Rings of debris, or rather, chunks of the planet, formed an arc around the each planet, tumbling slowly in space. I couldn’t help but wonder if this debris would form smoother ring systems in the distant future. The planets themselves were red-hot, due to the massive amount of stress the planet interior had undergone. Even Seyllin’s nightside glowed with heat. Presumably, those that weren’t killed in the initial impact of the mass in Seyllin were baked to death as the planet’s surface melted. Nothing, even with our advanced technology, could survive that.

Seyllin5

The Professor goes in to examine the debris in Seyllin

The idea that anything, natural or manmade, could create so much havoc was utterly terrifying. Planets were often one of the comforting constants of a changing universe. Always there, never changing. To see such destruction wrought on not one planet, but four, was startling. I wasn’t comfortable looking at these shattered planets, mere echoes of their former selves, but I forced myself to look at every one of them, not only to pay my respects to those lost, but to remind myself that even planets can die.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Shattered Planets
  • System: Seyllin
  • Security Rating: 0.4
  • Region: Essence
  • Potential Hazards: Some planets are deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol.  Gate camps can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates.  Caution is advised. Seyllin is located in low security space, and you may run into gate camps here as well.
  • Locations: Shattered planets can be found in T-IPZB (Delve); SL-YBS (Great Wildlands); Z8-81T (Immensea); 3HQC-6 (Outer Ring); EAWE-2 (Stain); 35-RK9 (Syndicate). Other shattered planets can be found in locus signatures J115422 (Class 5) and J164104 (Class 3) in wormhole space. Thanks to Arvash over at Interstellar Privateer for his putting this list together.
  • Additional Note: Despite repeated search attempts, there are apparently no actual ruins of the Thukker Tribe caravan in SL-YBS, despite the EVE Online canon that states that a caravan disappeared here. Please contact me if you discover any debris.

Steve Memorial

C9N-CC1

Death of a giant

Titans are massive beasts.  Dwarfing any other ship or small mountain that may be near them, these monstrosities strike fear into the hearts of almost any sub-capital ship. Recent design changes have changed that somewhat, but the fact remains that a Titan remains a potent force on any field of battle. Being a creature of high sec space, I rarely had the opportunity to observe these daunting, yet graceful ships up close.  Today, though, I was determined to not see just any titan, but the first one ever destroyed.  Unfortunately, this meant that I needed to venture deeper into 0.0 than I ever had before.  Warily, I told Aura my destination and set off.

C9N-CC2

The Professor can't even be seen amidst this hulking wreck.

I surprisingly arrive in C9N-CC without incident.  I quickly warped the Professor to the site of the memorial.  As my senses readjusted from coming out of warp, Aura queried the GalNet for me and told me that the Titan’s original name was Steve.  An admittedly odd name for a ship of such size and power, but the effort that goes in to producing one of these pretty much allows the owners to name titans whatever they wanted, I supposed.

C9N-CC3

The Avatar-class Titan dwarfed the poor Professor

I came out of warp a few kilometers away from the wreck.  It didn’t quite strike me just how massive the thing was from so far out.  It was only as the Professor approached the wreck, and it kept growing and growing, did the sense of size really hit home.  Buzzards were small ships to begin with, but the Professor was no more than a speck next to the hulking Avatar wreck. It’s often said that the emptiness and vastness of space can make a person feel small and absolutely insignificant.  Well, to me, the emptiness of space has nothing next to this gargantuan construct. Planets and moons are one thing, but man-made objects that have their own gravitational fields were another matter entirely.

C9N-CC4

The inside has been completely stripped

Whatever killed Steve had clearly not been a pleasant experience.  Gashes on the sides of the hull were large enough to fit most cruisers inside, and I easily maneuvered the Professor into the hull.  Not surprisingly for New Eden, the insides had been completely stripped: not even the deck plates remained.  All that was left was superstructure itself, and frankly, I was surprised that people hadn’t salvaged even that.  After looking around for a few moments, I gently guided the Professor back out.

C9N-CC5

More than a little happy that I didn't have to fight the force of these active engines

I took the Professor for a lap around the ship.  The docking entrance for the ship was massive enough for most battlecruisers, while the engines on the rear side seemed powerful enough to move mountains… which, in retrospect, is exactly what they did.  It took me almost three minutes to make my way fully around the ship, yet another testament to this ship’s size.  To see it active must truly be a sight to behold.  Having never been involved in 0.0 warfare, I’ve only heard stories of these ships in flight.  After seeing this particular one, I was more determined than ever to see an active titan.

Eventually, of course, it was time to get going.  I guided the Professor away from the ship and back to high sec space.  Most of the trip was relatively uneventful.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of letting my guard down in a little system called HED-GP, the last jump before high security space.  I hit a gate camp just as I was about to jump, and in my haste I lost both the Professor and my current clone.  Transitioning to a new clone was always a bit… jarring, but such is the price we pay.  As I looked back on what I had seen, I decided that the trip was still more than worth it.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Steve Memorial
  • System: C9N-CC
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Esoteria
  • Potential Hazards: C9N-CC is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol.  Gate camps can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates.  Caution is advised.

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