Sightseeing in the Cluster

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Myxhaut K8 – Waste Yard

Myxhaut 1

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

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

Myxhaut 2

One of the Cartel ships stationed at the site

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

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

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

Myxhaut 4

An abandoned missile battery

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

Myxhaut 5

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

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

A pirate’s life for me…

Basic Information:

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

The Labyrinth

Labyrinth 1

The first thing you see upon entering the Labyrinth.

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

Labyrinth 2

Blood Raiders can be found throughout the site.

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

Labyrinth 3

The central temple in the Labyrinth.

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

Labyrinth 4

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

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

Labyrinth 5

A closer look at the data cache.

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

Labyrinth 6

The Labyrinth is very close to Aphi.

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

Basic Information:

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

Museum Arcana

Museum 1

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

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

Museum 2

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

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

Aura has this to say regarding the Museum:

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

Museum 4

The still-functioning biodomes can clearly be seen here.

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

Museum 5

One of the still active secondary data repositories.

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

Museum 6

The Curator stands watch over the Museum.

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

Museum 7

Zimse glints off of the Museum’s domes.

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

Basic Information:

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

Operation Highlander Battleground

Caldari Prime 1

The impact site of the Caldari titan Shiigeru.

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

Caldari Prime 2

Professor Science observes the devastation from orbit.

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

The devastation from the impact covers 1.2 million square kilometers.

The devastation from the impact covers 1.2 million square kilometers.

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

Caldari Prime 4

The devastation can even be seen from high orbit.

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

Caldari Prime 5

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

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

Basic Information:

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

Caldari Monument

Guys I am SUPER EXCITED for Odyssey

A monument to Caldari architecture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Professor Science heads in for a closer look

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

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

Luminaire shines through the towers of the Caldari station

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

Basic Information:

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

Counter-Intelligence Center

CIC 1

The Counter-Intelligence Center in Orvolle

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

CIC 2

A large billboard dominates much of the Center.

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

CIC 3

A lone Lachesis sits docked at the Center

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

CIC 4

Orvolle’s shine glares off of the loading docks

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

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

Basic Information:

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

Minecore

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

K-X5AX shines between the ridges of the colony.

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

I still say the Machariel looks like the Galactica

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

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

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

One of the foundries at the site.

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

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

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

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

Habitation modules

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

I do like this shot though

Looking out on the main colony.

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

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

Basic Information:

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