Sightseeing in the Cluster

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Jita 4-4 trading hub

It is gorgeous!
The entirety of the Jita 4-4 trading hub complex.

I grew up a few hours away from the nearest major city, on the other side of a major nature preserve on Gallente Prime. My father (the Luddite that he is; the irony is not lost on me) always preferred ground transportation over the orbital shuttles whenever possible, so whenever we needed to make a trip into the city, we generally drove on the established roadways through the preserve. We only took the trip a few times a year, but I have vivid memories of watching through the forward window as the city rose over the rolling plains of the preserve, the glitter and glam of modern Gallente arcologies, modern Gallente life, slowly rising over the gentle green hills of the preserve. That image stuck with me all through my childhood, probably far more than my father would have liked, all things considered, and it always promised to me a day full of luxury, fun, and adventure.

A rear view of the station, with the Jita Memorial in the foreground.

That image, which I hadn’t thought of in quite some time, came rushing back in full force as I dropped out of warp near the newly renovated Caldari Navy Assembly Plant at Jita 4-4. Of course, the infamy of Jita 4-4 (as it is colloquially referred to, despite the presence of a second station orbiting the same moon) makes the description of the largest trade hub in New Eden nearly superfluous for all. By almost any measure, be it ISK volume, trade flows, net imports, presence of rare items, or any other measure, Jita 4-4 dominates the field, to the point where the economists of the cluster will at times exclude The Forge from economic analyses just to allow them to see details from other regions. To say that Jita 4-4 is the economic heart of New Eden would be an understatement.

No seriously, the station feels like a cross between vegas and a shopping mall and I love it.
A view of the central cityscape of the station.

It’s actually surprisingly easy to forget that this is not just the way things always have been, but Jita’s emergence as the dominant economic hub of New Eden was never a given. In the early days, CONCORD had established a network of highway gates across the cluster, which all converged (perhaps unsurprisingly) at Yulai, making that system the initial major trade hub in the capsuleer era. However, Yulai’s market dominance withered almost as soon as those highway gates were brought down starting in YC 106 and continuing through the next year. Jita, with its proximity to multiple other regions (for traders to easily check prices across major parts of the cluster) and, at the time, the presence of well-known agents offering missions, quickly asserted its dominance by virtue of the cluster’s astrography and the rest, as they say, is history. Jita 4-4 became the de facto trade hub, with all of the hawkers, scammers, and (though we often forget about them in reference to Jita) legitimate traders that entailed.

It really is nice to see Jita get some love tbh. As usual, the art people did a great job
One of the warehouse districts of the station, with the cityscape in the background.

With its primacy as the economic heart of New Eden now well-established, it was probably long overdue for a substantial expansion of the Jita 4-4 station to account for the increased trade activity. Strolling through the main market floor of the station recently, I was struck at just how overcrowded the station seemed to be getting. Every square meter of the floor was filled with a market stall. Trade goods were stashed in any corner traders could find or, barring that, air ducts or even just left out in plain sight. Warehouses overflowed with trade goods; at one point, a trader told me that a waitlist for proper warehouse storage in the station tallied nearly a decade at that point.

But now I have to grapple with the fact that there's a pretty reason to go to Jita.
Another view of the central plain of the station. Note the fireworks and the atrium-like awning.

Something had to give. That something ended up being, eventually, the plodding Caldari Navy bureaucracy, which finally authorized an expansion of the station after years of pleading by the various megacorporations and other business interests of the State, along with the construction of satellite facilities and additional orbital annexes to help fulfill the needs of a modern trading hub. The modern trading hub in New Eden. And the results were magnificent.

I really love this shot. Something about the combo of the lighting and the diagonal girders, idk
Another warehouse district near the rear of the station, starkly lit by Jita.

As previously noted, dropping out of warp, I was immediately called back to my childhood and the image of the city rising from the plains. A glittering, glitzy metropolis rising from a sea of black. And it’s an apt comparison, as the Caldari Navy designers managed to evoke the feelings of a modern, planet-based metropolis. The newly expanded station rests on a bedrock frame of a flat plain. From that plain rises not only the warehouses and storage facilities necessary for any trading space, but also extravagant towers filled with living quarters, all dominated by a truly colossal central tower, right at the fore of the station, which seems to act as the prow of a mighty vessel. That central tower oversees the main ingress and egress lanes of the mighty station, though additional docking ports can be found at literally any angle, and often in surprising locations. Also covering seemingly every square inch of the station is a variety of holographic billboards, throwing out news and ads for almost anything a capsuleer’s heart could desire.

Ugh, remember when we could go to shopping malls? I remember when we could go to shopping malls.
A view of the ancillary Deep Core Mining platform, showing both the colony present on the moon’s surface and the space tether connecting the two.

Once I took in the sheer majesty of the overall design, the overwhelming sense of… well, capitalism, I began to notice some of the other details in the design. Behind that looming central tower, and rising above the cityscape on that massive central plain, rises an atrium that, ignoring the sheer size of it, manages to evoke nothing so much as a pedestrian shopping mall. It’s an astounding effect given the scale. Under that atrium, bridges crisscross each other from that giant central tower to the upper reaches of the rest of the station. The tiny motes of light, in truth representing the movement of thousands of people, following those bridges across the chasm only reinforced the feeling that I was looking at some sort of massive shopping mall.

But, maybe someday, 2020 will pass.
The other major ancillary structure near Jita 4-4.

And this was all to say nothing of the satellite and ancillary structures nearby. Although now hidden towards the back of the station, the remains of the Jita Memorial can still be found, now surrounded not just by perimeter warnings, but also spotlights, demonstrating that CONCORD had not yet forgotten the lessons learned from those days of capsuleer protests. More notably, reaching towards the surface of the moon was a constellation of smaller structures, some that would be quite impressive in their own right if not dominated by the colossus of the main station. The stations arced in an archipelago away from the main station, ending in a platform sponsored by Deep Core Mining. The DCM platform served as a hub for a space tether connecting to the surface of the eponymous Jita 4-4 moon, where a thriving surface colony has sprung up. Two cars can be seen racing up from the moon’s surface to the DCM platform, and then back down again, with the two cars always moving in opposite directions.

Anyway, I hope everyone is staying safe and sane during 2020!
Fireworks occur sporadically along the massive front-facing facade of the station.

After spending far too long examining the outside of the station and its environs, I finally filed my docking request with tower control. Soon, Professor Science found itself nestled deep in the interior of the station. Even here, however, could be found of that same feeling of hugeness, of being overwhelming seemingly just for the sake of being overwhelming, as evidenced by the hints of docking platforms stretching far into the distance. Now, instead of being reminded of my approach to that (to me) vast city (though, in retrospect, it was a fairly middling one, all things considered), I recalled the days spent exploring it seemingly unending reaches. And just like that city of my youth, I had no doubt that while exploring the depths of the redesigned Jita 4-4, I would find luxury, fun, and adventure.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Jita 4-4 trading hub
  • System: Jita
  • Security Rating: 0.9
  • Region: The Forge
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Caldari, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen. Because of the high volume of traffic, suicide gankers and station camps (not to mention isk scammers) can be common.

Fallen Capsuleers Memorial

Editor’s note: If you are looking for the original cemetery post, please see here.

This took FAR longer to post than I wanted, but RL bows for no one, sadly!

The Memorial, with moon 1 of Molea II in the background

The common trope amongst the civilians of the cluster is to assume that all of us capsuleers are immortal. To a certain extent, of course, they’re not wrong. The body my consciousness resided in has ceased functioning a number of times, and in a few cases, explosively so. And yet, the circumstances in which those happened have always been fairly well-controlled, and occurred in such a way that the technology we rely on to be capsuleers could move my consciousness into a new body mere moments later. Yet, despite all the marvels of modern technology, life is not always well-controlled. Accidents happen. Technology malfunctions. Sometimes, even capsuleers are lost for good, and when that happens, our community does mourn, as with any other. Indeed, it was only a few weeks ago that the community came together for a similar reason.

That's a lot of cans tbh

The amount of cans (each dedicated to someone lost) anchored around the cemetery demonstrates its continuing popularity.

A decade ago, I came across an attempt by a capsuleer corporation to provide a place for those pilots left behind after a capsuleer leaves the community forever to mourn. Since its founding in 2007, the capsuleer cemetery had seen its up and downs. It’s been raided by a number of capsuleer corporations and alliances over the years. And yet, regardless of how many times the cemetery fell, it always reappeared, ready again to act as a place for mourning and comforting, and ready again to serve as a place to light a cyno for those lost capsuleers to find their way home. It’s a remarkable testament against the stereotype of pod pilots as selfish, conniving people only out for themselves.

 

Just a nice shot :-)

The pinnacle of the monument

Still, given the vulnerable nature of the original POS tower that served as the cemetery, there has long been a strong contingent within the community that pushed for CONCORD to provide a more durable and permanent place at which to hold these vigils and cemeteries. CONCORD has always been receptive to the idea, but ideas had changed over the years on the best way in which to establish such a memorial.

After years of deliberations, pleading, and planning, CONCORD last month unveiled the final memorial. Appropriately, the new monument is found just a few dozen kilometers from the still-standing capsuleer cemetery POS tower, near Molea II, moon 1. CONCORD has not placed a warpable beacon to the site, but it will show as a landmark on a ship’s sensor overlay. CONCORD has this to say about the memorial:

From the bottom upThis memorial to Fallen Capsuleers is the centerpiece of the cemetery originally established in orbit of the moon of Molea II by capsuleers of the EVE Cemetery corporation.

Having been in place for over a decade, and in view of ongoing developments in structure technology, it increasingly became clear that a dedicated memorial structure would enhance the cemetery and help preserve it for decades more. The Upwell Consortium, at the urging of a large number of private citizens and corporations, constructed the new Fallen Capsuleers Memorial in YC122.

A close up of the sculptureThe Fallen Capsuleers Memorial continues to support the establishment of individual memorial containers by capsuleers in the cemetery at Molea II, moon 1 .

Any Secure Cargo Containers that are anchored within 200km of this structure will not automatically decay over time. This structure does not provide any special protection against intentional destruction or scooping of containers.

This is just a nice and peaceful shot tbh

Molea II in the distance

The memorial itself is a towering one, very much dwarfing the POS tower around which the cemetery had rotated for so long. Three immense dark gray slabs rise up to meet each other. The slabs are segmented into basaltic columns so as to appear as if three enormous, irregular stairways to the heavens were converging in one place, an appropriate reminder both of our common humanity’s ultimate roots planetside, as well as our eventual ascent into the heavens. Between the three slabs, a cyno remains permanently lit. For a long time, now, cynos have been used by capsuleers to send off their fallen comrades, so that they might always still find their way home. Although nonoperable, the cyno at the memorial continuously oscillates and wraps in upon itself.

I mostly like the warp flash in this one

A visitor warps away

At the very pinnacle of the monument, above the three converging slabs, floats the symbolic capsule itself. Carved from the same dark basalt, the stylized capsule has both a male and a female figure emerging from the capsule. The male figure remains attached to the capsule, while the female figure is reaching towards an ineffable something, as if getting ready to move on. The cyno directly below the capsule reaches out in a column of light that bathes the entire sculpture, and small particles of light can be seen rising from the very base on the monument all the way up to the cyno, and again past the capsuleer sculpture. Every now and then, a great ball of light seems to emerge, as it follows the column of light into the night.

This is seriously such a wonderful shot. Thanks to Manic for permission to use it

Reaching for the stars (Photo credit: Manic Velocity)

I haven’t meant to be so morbid during the past couple of entries. I have always been one to try to see the silver lining on any particular situation. And yet, these are important things to consider. The capsuleer age in New Eden has been going strong for nearly 2 decades now and, with it, has come a close-knit community. Inevitable with the formation of that community, unfortunately, is the loss of some members, and the need to remember those who have left is powerful indeed. And yet, with the mourning of those very real losses comes also a celebration of sort for what, out of all of the possibilities in which we could have found ourselves in the universe, we have managed to find.

Godspeed to those we have lost, and o7

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Fallen Capsuleers Memorial
  • System: Molea
  • Security Rating: 0.7
  • Region: Khanid
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: A few of them this time. As I noted in the entry, this particular site is not marked with a beacon viewable in the overview, as most sites are. You can warp directly to Molea II, Moon 1, however, and it does show up on the sensor overlay. Additionally, as noted, anchored cans within 200 km of the monument will NOT decay.

Birthday Bash

See, look, I'm still around when there's something to do!

The site of the eponymous birthday bash.

The backstabbing, conniving, and generally ne’er-do-well nature of capsuleers is famously well known across the cluster. Pod pilots are known to blow each other up without warning or provocation, and pilots will not hesitate to set the plans of enemies, acquaintances, friends, or people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time back months if not years if given half of a chance. We are constantly pilloried across the cluster for not only enjoying, but thriving, in that kind of cutthroat environment, and yet the stereotypical capsuleer response is to shrug and immediately go and try to find the nearest thing to blow up yet again. The cycle of violence in the spacelanes of New Eden is long and well-established.

You (hopefully) notice that these are higher res than before!

The wreck of Chappy’s Phoenix-class dreadnought.

All of that being said, one of the worst-kept secrets in New Eden is that capsuleers are an incredibly tight-knit community when push comes to shove. Sure, we’ll conspire to our hearts’ content when the threat is just another pilot, but we are also incredibly willing to leave all of our conspiracies behind at the spacedock door and let loose. The parties capsuleers throw when they get together are often legendary, and the best of the parties are those that cross corporate, faction, and alliance lines to get as many capsuleers together as possible. Having attended a few of them myself in my time, let me assure you that they are not to be missed.

Probably my favorite image from this set

Tunudan provides a dramatic backdrop for the scene.

While we don’t necessarily need a reason to let loose and have ourselves a good time, it definitely doesn’t hurt, even when that reason is a sad one. A few weeks ago, a pilot registered as Chappy78 Chapman (“Chappy”, for short) posted on GalNet that he was looking to celebrate what was to be his very last birthday. Even with all of the advances of modern medicine, he has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, with a life expectancy of less than a year remaining. And he was hoping, given that prognosis, to teach New Eden how to say goodbye. With that in mind, he asked people to show up for a “huge fight” in the low-security system of Tunudan on June 24, saying he was hoping to lose his last two capital ships while he still had time to enjoy it.

The better graphics are because of an upgraded computer!

Views of some of the other wrecks that can be seen nearby.

In classic capsuleer fashion, the community delivered in spades. Even before Chappy made it to the system, he found himself escorted through Uedama, a notoriously dangerous (though still high security) system, by CODE, a group of capsuleers whom normally revel in attacking the defenseless. And once he arrived, a crowd that soon swelled to more than 2,000 pilots greeted him at the star in Tunudan. Fights galore broke out around him, as he got to watch the festivities. From all accounts, a wonderful (and, thanks to my friend Razorien, well-photographed) time was had by all, including, most importantly, Chappy himself. And towards the end of the fight, he even managed to get most pilots present to send off his Phoenix-class dreadnought, with 762 pilots listed on the kill report. Given that Tunudan is a low-security system, his Phoenix was not the only capital ship to appear (or be destroyed).

Also, I hope all of my readers are doing well during these, uhh, weird times

The wreck of a Zirnitra-class dreadnought can be seen nearby.

And now, just weeks after the event, a beacon can be found near the star in Tunudan marking the event. It’s a simple site, just a collection of the wrecks of capital ships that found themselves blown up during the festivities. In place of pride in the center of the site, the wreck of Chappy’s Phoenix can be found. Surrounding it is a veritable matching game of capital ships from across the cluster. The wrecks of a Ninazu, a few Naglfars, and even a Leviathan can be found near the remains of the Phoenix. A bit further out, the ruins of a Zirnitra (one of those newfangled Triglavian-derived designs that have entered into service recently) can be see, separated from the rest of the group.

The entire site is dramatically backdropped by Tunudan itself. Its roiling surface, along with some breathtaking flares and prominences, provide a vivid background to the wrecks, the contrast with the stellar surface providing deep contrasts with the shadows from the wrecks. The entire effect, particularly from the point of view of a small frigate, is striking indeed.

o7 chappy

Another shot of the wrecks.

I can only hope that Chappy enjoyed himself. Thankfully, every indication is that he did. I am thrilled that once again, the capsuleer community was able to come together to support one of its own. When people ask me how I can keep flying after all of these years, its situations like this birthday bash keep me connected with my fellow pilots. Our willingness to support those in our community who are in the most dire of circumstances, to bring a bit of joy to each other’s lives in dark times, is truly heartwarming. I can’t that I know how I’ll go (and, obviously, I hope that will not be an issue for quite a while yet), but when I do, I can only hope that I have as large of a community to fall back on then as Chappy78 Chapman does today in New Eden.

o7 Chappy

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Birthday Bash
  • System: Tunudan
  • Security Rating: 0.4
  • Region: The Citadel
  • Potential Hazards: Tunudan is located in low security space.  Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.

World Ark Proving Ground

What is this?! TWO posts in like 3 months?

The Xordazh-class world ark in a Triglavian-invaded system.

Editor’s note: While the World Ark can still be seen at times (particularly, as I understand, in systems that have reached Final Liminality), the Proving Ground appears to no longer be accessible.

I’ve always loved big ships. I realize that’s somewhat ironic for someone who is best known for flying a Buzzard-class frigate and could probably count the number of times I’ve flown a battleship on one hand, but just because I couldn’t stand to fly such a slow and unwieldy ship doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate it every time something comes along that just dwarfs my poor Professor Science. Indeed, I’ve always enjoyed the architecture and, dare I say it, artistry that goes into the largest ships that ply the spaceways of New Eden, and I always try to track down such ships whenever I can find them. It’s why I so frequently visit Titanomachy or Empress Catiz’s Honor Guard whenever I’m out those ways. Heck, if I knew where the empires had squirreled away their Iapetan titans or the Emperor Ship, I’d be there in a heartbeat, undoubtedly waxing poetic about the sheer majesty of it all.

I must not be feeling well.

A closer view of the massive power core of the world ark.

I guess the best thing about liking titanic ships is that, sooner or later, something bigger is likely to come along and take your breath away all over again. Heck, if you’re willing to ignore fuel requirements, matériel requirements, and sheer cost, there’s not really an upper bound on how big you could make something, slap some engines on it, and call it a ship. I’m sure at some point there’s a point of diminishing returns in increasing the size of ships, but given the proliferation of titans in null sec, I’m not sure we’ve hit it yet. I suspect the only reason we haven’t seen even larger vessels on the scene is that CONCORD and the Empires have kept us capsuleers outside of the ship design business. Frankly, that was probably a smart idea.

At least I still blog about stuff when I stumble on it, heh.

A view of the larger proving ground.

Of course, this is all a rather circuitous way of bringing up that apparently there is a new record holder for ‘largest ship in New Eden’, and it’s probably not a good sign that its from a race of people we didn’t know about 18 months ago. By now, most everyone has heard about those thrice-obsessed Triglavians. They barreled onto the scene over the course of the last year, seemingly intent on declaring war against the Sansha and the Drifters and very undecided about us non-cybernetic zombies. But the Triglavians, despite their ambivalence, seem willing to give us a chance. Ever since we started blundering our way into abyssal deadspace, the Triglavians have been throwing us into ‘proving grounds’ of various sorts, to see if we’ve ‘aligned the flow of Vyraj’, whatever that may be specifically referring to.

And in case you're wondering if I participated in a proving: Ahahahahahahahah do you even KNOW me?!

The prow of the world ark. Note the numerous docking ports above the power core.

But their willingness to give us chances to prove ourselves have grown, shall we say, rather aggressive in recent weeks. Starting in the middle of last month, the Triglavians have started full on, if localized, invasions of New Eden. Paradoxically, the Triglavians are thus following in the footsteps of the Sansha, whom are one of the enemies that the Triglavians seek to ‘extirpate’. These invasions radiate out 2 jumps from the beachhead system in high security space, and involve hundreds, if not thousands, of Triglavian vessels flooding in through minor and major conduits to Abyssal deadspace. They trawl the invaded systems, scurrying over stations, gates, and other landmarks, attacking any ships they see. Eventually, some threshold is reached with the Triglavians, and then they bring out the big guns in the beachhead system, at the center of the invasion.

As you can see.... (see what I did there?)

Even from 150 kilometers, the world ark only appears slightly smaller than a cloaked Buzzard.

The Xordazh-class world ark, as the name and this essay may have implied, is a truly vast, yet gorgeous ship. CONCORD in fact has officially designated it as the largest known vessel in New Eden, stretching some 55 kilometers across from wingtip to wingtip. As a comparison, the length of an Avatar-class titan is just under 14 kilometers. Indeed, it’s even larger than an Astrahus-class citadel, which tops out at 45 kilometers across. The general shape is one of a flat, angled plane. Below the plane, the familiar, if similarly titanically proportioned, Triglavian triple-singularity power core can be seen. The power core evokes the sight of the gates used to travel between pockets in abyssal deadspace, which may well be purposeful on their part. The surface of the ship is studded with the familiar cascading forcefields that signify docking bays for the mammoth vessel. Although they weren’t activated, the back, of course, was covered with large engine exhausts that could probably swallow 2 dozen Buzzards without being noticed.

CONCORD’s managed to put some (as usual) unhelpful analysis together for capsuleers that face these vessels:

A proving in the distance.The immense World Ark is the center of operations for the local Triglavian forces in this invasion zone. The vessel appears to function as a mobile base of operations and is speculated to incorporate a Triglavian conduit gate through which additional forces can flow from Abyssal Deadspace to New Eden.

The Xordazh-class World Ark would seem to be easily the match of any vessel known to New Eden and is presumably at least as powerful and hard to destroy as the heaviest military structures. The ship has been observed deploying “field effect subpylons” of a variety of types as part of its defensive network. Approach with extreme caution.

Looks like a klingon teleporter tbqh

The world ark brings in additional reinforcements from abyssal deadspace.

The world ark is easy to find. Once it’s entered a system, the ship quickly becomes viewable across the system, with Aura marking it as a “World Ark Proving Ground”. Anyone in system can warp to it, though if an observer doesn’t intend on engaging the Triglavians, I would recommend warping in some distance from the center. I found that warping in 100 kilometers from the center put me well outside of the defensive perimeter established around the world ark. Thankfully (for me, at least), Triglavians don’t appear capable of seeing through cloaks. I was able to warp in some distance from the proving ground, and remain completely unmolested as I carried out my observations. I shudder to think of what would have happened, however, if I had accidentally decloaked myself somehow.

Thanks, mysterious fleet who didn't know I was spying on them.

The green of the synthetic conduit stands out from the rest of the surrounding area.

CONCORD was not joking when it mentioned the defensive network of the world ark. Whether it’s there as part of the “proving” or just there to protect what even for the Triglavians has to be a substantial asset, the world ark has quite a number of defensive fortifications. The ship itself seems to be protected by a hefty, visible shield. The area around the world ark is seeded with Triglavian devices and installations. Somewhat surprisingly, before a capsuleer fleet engages the begins its proving, the defensive fleet of the world ark consists of only a ½ dozen ships or so, with no ship bigger than a cruiser. Surrounding the complex, pylons of some kind have been constructed to form a rather visible perimeter to the proving ground.

A LOT of my photos from this shoot ended up being from almost this precise angle for some reason. You're seeing the rare outliers that weren't, heh.

A Triglavian has a bad day.

I had the opportunity to watch the initial parts of the proving with an unsuspecting fleet. They warped into the proving grounds in unison, and quickly dispatched the small defensive fleet. The proving itself seemed to progress in waves. As the fleet tackled one wave, the power core (which, as I mentioned, evokes the gates used between abyssal deadspace pockets), opened a synthetic conduit to abyssal deadspace to bring in additional reinforcements. While the conduit was open, the power cores glowed an eerie green, standing in stark contrast to the overwhelming red of an overrun New Eden system. Reinforcements could include more ships or the subpylons that the CONCORD analysis mentioned. Looming over all of the fighting, the world ark keeps a watchful eye.

I seeeeee you

A capsuleer has a bad day.

And yet, despite the world ark’s presence, the Triglavians apparently aren’t (yet?) willing to let it engage us directly. Rather than actively participating in the battle, the ship instead disengages at the end of the proving, jumping itself back to abyssal deadspace. I was, unfortunately, not able to witness this myself, but the Triglavian disengagement is well documented at this point, with the ship seemingly jumping from the inside out back to its home facilities, wherever they may be. I suppose I can’t blame them for not wanting to put those ships at risk.

When will I be back next? WHO KNOWS.

A view from the perimeter of the proving grounds.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel concern about these world arks and what they represent. Vastly technologically superior races of all kinds have taken a sudden, rather unwelcome interest in the denizens of New Eden. And I have no for what purpose. What happens if we prove ourselves worthy to the Triglavian Conclave. For that matter, what happens if we don’t? I find myself back in the familiar place of having far too many questions with far too few answers (and for that matter, I’d even take the poorly translated Triglavian-speak at this point). At least I’m used to it at this point.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: World Ark Proving Ground
  • Potential Hazards: There are a lot. The proving ground can bring in substantial Triglavian reinforcements, and the proving should not be attempted without significant fleet assets. Caution (and a good covert ops cloak-fit ship) is strongly advised.
  • Additional Notes: As of the posting of this entry, Triglavian invasion beachheads are only found in high security space (though the invasion may bleed into low sec space if the beachhead is near low sec space). Once in the beachhead system, the Triglavian information panel will show if the world ark has been detected for that invasion yet. As noted in the entry, you may warp to 100km from the proving ground while cloaked and avoid detection.

Journey of Katia Sae Memorial

Katia Sae 1

A full view of the monument. The star she holds looks like it could be a background star.

On February 20, YC 112, shortly after posting my survey of the Traumark Installation, I received a comment from another pilot. My explorations and reviews have never generated much in the way of comments, and while other writers may be disappointed by the lack of engagement, I was always content that what few comments I did seemed to be genuinely kind and positive comments. This particular one was no different, even if it was from a pilot I hadn’t encountered before. After finishing her remarks, she ended by noting, “We’re on similar missions. My goal is to explore all of the new planets. Good luck in your journey, fly safe.”. I’ve encountered pilots with that goal before, and those pilots generally tend to get daunted once they realize the sheer immensity of the task of visiting over 7,800 systems within and connecting to New Eden, so at the time I didn’t give it much thought.

Katia Sae 2

A closer look a the star system in Katia’s hand.

Though that was the first time I met Katia Sae, it wouldn’t be the last. She would pop up every now and then, always with generous praise of my various musings here, before moving on, while I quickly began watching her own progress once I found her site. Since then, we’ve interacted not just on our respective journals, but on the GalNet and elsewhere, and I’ve become much more comfortable with calling her not only a fellow pilot, not only a fellow explorer with a deep sense of wanderlust, but a friend. And now, some 7,806 systems later, with that friendship comes a deep sense of pride as well as Katia has now visited every system accessible in and to New Eden, including a much-coveted (by me, at least) visit to Polaris, a system within the generally inaccessible depths of what used to be Jove space. And she did it all without losing a single ship (a claim I certainly would not be able to get away with).

Katia Sae 3

A closer view of the ghostly Astero that can be found hiding in the system.

I get the sense that Katia remains a little overawed by the response to her achievements. The end of her journey gained her attention not just within the fairly tight-knit exploration crowd, but well beyond. While it is perhaps not surprising that her own corporation, the ever-friendly Signal Cartel, took not a small amount of pride in her accomplishment, it is perhaps more surprising that Katia has captured the imagination of not just the capsuleer press and other writers, but broader news sites as well. All to celebrate what truly is a remarkable achievement. And that wasn’t the end of the celebrations for Katia, as the Achura Stargazers Society quickly announced that they would be erecting a permanent monument to her achievement next to the very first stargate she used in starting her journey, the gate to Abagawa in the system of Saisio.

Not one month later, the Society unveiled the likeness of Katia about 35 kilometers from that gate, saying the following:

Katia Sae 4In the unending dark of space, there are a few bright lights to which we can reliably turn for guidance and inspiration. Katia Sae is one such beacon, a shining example of what we can all aspire towards. She exemplifies the attitude of a true explorer: friendly to all in her travels, neutral and never initiating aggression, and very, very hard to catch.

She began her quest to explore all of New Eden from Saisio III on December 1, YC111 and came full circle back to Saisio on March 9 of YC121 after having explored every known-space and wormhole system that can be reached – all without a single ship loss.

Katia Sae 5May Katia Sae’s epic journey be remembered forevermore by all who travel into the furthest reaches of New Eden and the fathomless depths of Anoikis. Every star is one of her footprints, and every heavenly body tells the tale: “Katia Sae was here.”

The Journey of Katia Sae Memorial,

raised by the Achura Stargazers Society,

in association with Signal Cartel.

Katia Sae 6

Going in for a look.

As expected, the statue is magnificent. A gargantuan Katia, who dwarfs my lowly Professor Science, is seen standing on a shimmering plinth reaching up to the stars, quite literally holding a star system in the palm of her hand. The details included on the statue are impressive. Individual strands of hair can be seen gathered behind her head in a utilitarian ponytail, along with creases in her pant legs and jacket. Her expression is one of a certain calm confidence, seemingly quite comfortable in knowing the limits of herself. The metal plating riveted together to form the statue might in other circumstances detract from the monument, but here adds a striking juxtaposition to the otherwise quite-real appearance.

Katia Sae 7

Gazing in wonder.

But, of course, what truly catches my eye is the system she holds in the palm of her hand. I can’t help but zoom in for a closer look at that orrery, and as my camera drones approach, my view becomes awash in holographic static. The central star is but a pinprick of sapphire light; even close up, I can’t see any features, though it throws Professor Science in sharp relief when I approach. Surrounding it are 3 planets in inclined orbits around the central orb. Although  supposedly metal in nature (metal that reflects the light of both their own sun and Saisio), their true nature is belied both by their ghostly orbital paths and the holographic grids that can be seen superimposed on the edges of the spheres, regardless of your viewpoint.

Katia Sae 8

Passing through.

If that were all there was to the monument, I’d be satisfied but perhaps ready to move on. But in examining that star system, after just a few moments I caught a hint of movement. I at first thought it was just the movement of another ship at the site (I was by no means the only person there to inspect the monument, and CONCORD had made its presence known as well), but after casting around for a few moments for whatever movement caught my eye, I came across the spectral apparition of a half-cloaked Astero – Katia’s signature ship – also in orbit around the central star. The ship, ironically slightly large than an actual Astero, is a clever addition to the monument.

Katia Sae 9

Off to the next adventure.

I’m, of course, incredibly happy for Katia and proud to have played some small role in her journeys. She’s certainly earned the adulations that she’s so far received. Exploration takes a certain type of personality, a certain amount of patience, and a whole lot of perseverance, all of which Katia has in spades. I can’t imagine having the dedication to see a project 10 years in the making all the way through to completion, so I must content myself to celebrate those who can. And now this monument stands as a testament not just to Katia’s achievement, but to that ineffable spirit of wanderlust that drove her.

Congrats, Katia!

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Journey of Katia Sae Memorial
  • System: Saisio
  • Security Rating: 0.7
  • Region: The Forge
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Caldari, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Note: Unlike most of the sites I profile, this one is not marked with a beacon and thus cannot be seen on the overview if offgrid. It’s classified as a Large Collidable Object for overview purposes. It can be seen in the sensor overlay, however, and, as mentioned above, is located about 35-40 km off the Abagawa gate.