Sightseeing in the Cluster

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World Ark Proving Ground

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

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

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.

Triglavian Cruiser

Editor’s note (4/9/YC120): I can confirm that the ship is currently not undocked in Yulai. Hopefully it will be back soon for people to see!

triglavian1

Triglavian cruiser in silhouette, with Professor Science nearby.

Drifters have always… unnerved me. While the Jove are similarly advanced in terms of technology, at least they deigned to talk to us every now and then. The Drifters, on the other, basically just showed up one day and started shooting. Hard. They even went so far as to one-shot Empress Jamyl, throwing the Empire into turmoil. Combine this aggression with their unusual and haunting method of propagation and their relentless scanning of New Eden for… whatever it is they’re looking for along with their apparent Sleeper allies, and I feel like my wariness is justified. Although the people of New Eden have eventually managed to settle into a kind of détente with them, and we can even punch back against them under the right circumstances, we still know precious little about them, such as even their main bases or what their motives are. And it’s clear that if they ever truly wanted to, they could wipe the floor with us. They’re just that advanced.

Triglavian2

A view down the prow. The singularity core is the glowing red sphere.

The superiority of the Drifters, however, was challenged a few weeks ago. Out of nowhere, fleets of heavily damaged Drifter ships began appearing across the Cluster.  These fleets appeared in systems not normally subject to Drifter surveillance. While not hostile, capsuleers in their usual fashion blew them up anyway. Normally I would have been hesitant to condone this kind of unprovoked attack, given our history with the Drifters, I couldn’t blame the caution of the ARC fleets. As usual, communications with the damaged fleets were unsuccessful. However, when destroyed, they dropped trinary data vaults containing cryptic messages. At the same time, rumors started swirling about some race called the Triglavians. These messages were eventually cracked and found to contain heavily damaged video archives suggesting the source of the attacks on the Drifter fleets to not only originate from an unknown, but to take place in unknown space. It seems Anoikis may have more growing to do.

Triglavian3

The ship is heavily damaged. A pod sit above the ship for comparison.

And then, yesterday, seemingly out of nowhere, a new ship appears in Yulai near the DED Assembly Plant. Its configuration appears to match the glimpses we get in the trinary data archives, but is otherwise completely dissimilar to any other known ships in the Cluster or beyond. Apparently piloted by CONCORD DED Agent Oveg Drust, the ship is, according to sensor scans (and evident from the multiple hull breaches) heavily damaged. According to Scope reports, the ship was found drifting in Raneilles before being captured by DED forces. In classic CONCORD fashion, however, the only comment from the pilot is hardly one at all, with Agent Drust merely saying that the ship is under quarantine before docking it within the nearby station.

Triglavian4

A view from the rear of the mysterious vessel.

The ship itself is a sight to see, to be honest. Approximately the same size as a New Eden cruiser, the ship is dwarfed by some of the curious capsuleer vessels that have come to see it. Composed of a main hull with two appendages sweeping downward, even in its damaged state it was clearly a dangerous ship. From the convergence of the two nacelles, a glowing red sphere can be seen; this, theoretically, is the naked singularity mentioned in the Discourse broadcasts. If that is truly what is powering the vessel, it suggests that the ship is orders of magnitude more advanced than even potentially the Drifters. Poor Aura clearly cannot make heads or tails of the craft, and her sensor analysis only reveals that it is a “Trig Medium”, an apparent confirmation (at least according to whatever sources Aura uses in her analysis) that this may well be a Triglavian ship.

Triglavian5

CONCORD’s plan for the ship remains unknown at this time.

The ship didn’t respond to my attempts to activate an entosis link, data analyzer, or relic analyzer on it (not that I was particularly expecting it to). As noted, the ship is surrounded by a small fleet of capsuleer vessels looking to see the new ship with their own sensors. The ship was unresponsive to any kind of communications, although I did manage to cause a reaction when I approached it slowly.

Now we have a new player on the scene. Hopefully, given that we both appear to dislike the Drifters, we could hope for an enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend situation. But, especially given that we apparently managed to steal an enemy ship under duress, I did not have a ton of hope that they would react kindly to our presence. Still, I hoped that CONCORD aimed to try diplomacy with the Triglavians, because if they are truly capable of harnessing the power of black holes to power their ships, diplomacy may be our best hope.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Triglavian Cruiser
  • System: Yulai
  • Security Rating: 1.0
  • Region: Genesis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with CONCORD, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Note: The monument is NOT marked with a off-grid visible beacon, but is located a few kilometers from the DED Assembly Plant near Yulai X.

Elder War Monuments

Elder War 1

The Elder War Memorial in Ami.

I startled myself a week or two ago by realizing that I had let my 10 year anniversary of becoming certified as a capsuleer pass without commemoration, celebration, or, indeed, note. Something that had, at the time, seemed so momentous, so important, that I could never forget it had become something so commonplace that I barely remember my life before becoming a pilot. I was generally good at making note of the event over the years, but it had slipped my mind this year. I guess it was just a sign that even the most significant changes in life eventually can become mundane, even when your life can end over and over and over again. Still, it was hard to believe that almost 1/3 of my life had been spent as an immortal capsuleer.

Elder War 2

The Monument in Kor-Azor Prime

I was also surprised to discover that it has been nearly 10 years since the brief Elder War. Looking back, I didn’t realize that the War had occurred so soon after gaining my pilot’s license. It consisted of a very brief, but intense, invasion of the Amarr Empire by renegade factions of the Minmatar Tribes. After the discovery of the survival of the Seventh Tribe of Matar, the Starkmanir, the Minmatar Elders (who had long faded into legend for most of the Cluster) returned with a vengeance, leading a massive rescue operation using materiel and ships built up secretly for centuries. The Elders crippled CONCORD before invading the Empire, and was only stopped by the return of Jamyl Sarum (who should have been dead but apparently got better) and the use of a superweapon whose origin and eventual disposition remain a mystery even to this day. Of course, this is a very, painfully brief synopsis of the War, but it suffices for our purposes here.

Elder War 3

The Memorial in Nishah, with the now-repaired station in the distance.

Although the entire war lasted for under 24 hours, the War had vast implications for the Cluster. It signaled the return of the Minmatar Elders, the discovery of the survival of the Starkmanir Tribe, the fallibility of CONCORD (a lesson I much took to heart as time went on), and the return of Jamyl Sarum. The Empire’s response to the return of Jamyl always fascinated me; it was clear that she had returned using some variation of capsuleer cloning technology, yet the Doctrine of the Empire meant they could never acknowledge it. And the fact that she had essentially single-handedly stopped the Minmatar invasion and preserve much of the Empire’s status quo meant that when she was proclaimed Empress, the Empire’s theologians could do little more than shrug. After the disastrous reign of Chamberlain Karsoth, Jamyl brought a much-needed sense of stability to the Empire, even if Jamyl eventually brought her own problems.

Elder War 4

And the memorial in Andrub.

In an apparent bid to tie her reign to Jamyl’s, Empress Catiz recently commissioned the creation of 4 memorials to some of the battles from the Elder War. These 4 memorials were erected in addition to the two battlegrounds in Jarizza and Kor-Azor that I have chronicled over the years. They were constructed off of stations in Ami, Andrub, Kor-Azor Prime, and Nishah that suffered damage during the War. It took them nearly a decade, but they finally repaired the damage to those stations (I would make a snide comment about wanting to keep the damage for the sake of arousing public sympathy, but CONCORD still hasn’t repaired its own heavily-damaged headquarters and it was damaged on the same day).

The same prompt appears any time Aura is asked for information regarding the memorials:

Elder War 5This monument marks the honor conferred by the Empress of Holy Amarr on the countless heroes of the Empire who sacrificed their lives to repel the Minmatar Elder Invasion of YC110.

As imperial construction crews completed repaires of the nearby stations damaged in the attack, the monument was placed by order of Her Most Sublime and Imperial Majesty Catiz I, First Apostle of the True Faith and Sovereign Defender of the Imperial Rite.

Elder War 6

A close-up view of the Memorial in Kor-Azor Prime.

The monument appears to be similar in design to the Project Discovery monument erected in Lanngisi, which was itself based on an apparent Upwell design. However, rather than featuring a large hologram of the Project Discovery symbol, these monuments feature an ornate Imperial Seal. Despite being placed on the same day as the Project Discovery monument, the Elder War memorials do not appear to be susceptible to entosis effects like the Project Discovery memorial. However, like the Project Discovery memorial, the Elder War memorials are bustling hubs, with traffic coming and going around the memorials as visitors flock to see the museums and the views.

Elder War 7

Professor Science flying near the monument in Nishah.

I spent time at each of the memorials, but given that they were all pretty similar in design, I didn’t linger at any. Still, I appreciated the reminder of what the Cluster was like back when I first gained my license. It’s remarkable how many things have changed since then: Jamyl is long gone, capsuleer alliances have risen and fallen, the Drifters have appeared. But still, so many things have tayed the same. My sense of wonder and wanderlust, the graceful ship designs, and the friends who make this lifestyle well worth it. It may have been 10 years since I first started flying in New Eden, but somehow, it feels like it was only yesterday.

A happy and safe YC120 to you all.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Elder War Monuments
  • System: Ami, Andrub, Kor-Azor Prime, and Nishah
  • Security Rating: 0.4, 0.7, 0.9, and 0.6, respectively.
  • Region: Kor-Azor
  • Potential Hazards: Ami and Andrub are 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. As for Kor-Azor Prime and Nishah, if you’re below a -2.5 or -4, respectively, in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

Project Discovery Phase One Monument

Discovery 1

The Monument, with various beams of Entosis Links visible

Growing up and until the past 6 or 7 years, I (along with the vast majority of the Cluster) deeply respected the work of the Sisters of Eve. Well, that’s not entirely true. I still truly admire the work that they do to across the Cluster alleviating suffering and setting up refugee camps for those displaced by war or the malice of capsuleers. Through their Food Relief corporation, they alleviated famine for millions. With advanced technology, they’re trusted by all 4 empires to be first responders in any kind of emergency situation, be it war or natural disaster. I could even stand their weird (to me) religious obsession with the Eve Gate, particularly in light of my own more academic interest in the deep past of New Eden.

discovery 2

The light of Lanngisi glints off the new monument

But over the past few years, I’ve noticed something always seems a bit… off about them. They consistently seem to know far more than they ever let on about some of the more mysterious events that have occurred over the past decade. I’m still wondering how they managed to sneak their way in to Thera and start to colonize it before it was connected to the broader wormhole network. And they’ve been hanging out in the Drifter Hive systems for almost 2 years now performing some sort of in-depth survey. Anything they do discover is either hidden until some other group forces their hand or they spring it on the Cluster with apparent disregard for any protocol. It’s a puzzling choice on their part.

discovery 3

The stylized symbol is a symbol of Project Disvoery.

With all of this in mind, you may understand my reticence regarding the Sisters of Eve launching the initial phase of Project Discovery, a collaborative science initiative that brought the capsuleer community into the forefront of genetic research by studying genetic samples taken of the Drifters. Although it had the possibility to significantly advance our understanding of human genetics and provide sorely needed insight into the Drifter threat, the project, with no public oversight of its use, could lead to monstrous results as well. In classic Sisters fashion, the research arm of the Sisters remained mum on any insights they may have gained as a result of their research. Oddly, though, after Project Discovery started, new drugs and boosters began appearing throughout New Eden that had pronounced effects on capsuleers. I’m sure it was purely coincidental.

Discovery 4

The monument is fairly sizeable

Still, given that I had participated in at least the initial phases of the Sisters’ stage of Project Discovery, it was with significant interest that I learned recently that the Sisters of Eve were looking to memorialize their time as the lead research group of Project Discovery (the project having since shifted to CONCORD oversight; another organization I could gripe about for some time). After the memorial was opened to the public in Lanngisi this week, I made my way over to see how, precisely, they were choosing to commemorate their time and research, especially given my wariness when it came to anything involving the Sisters and their interaction with the capsuleer community.

discovery 5

The Professor banks in towards the monument

The monument, near the Sisters station in Lanngisi, is a graceful one, and apparently the prototype of a new type of monument to be used by the various factions to memorialize various events. Although never explicitly stated, it’s clear that the monument base is an Upwell-designed structure; few could mistake the harsh, angular lines of the monument for any other architect. As a just released memorial only two jumps from the key Minmatar trade hub of Hek, the memorial is a hive of activity, with both capsuleers and the public alike coming to investigate, with craft ranging in size from battlecruisers all the way down to the personal skimmers often favored by the broader public. Above it floated a hologram of the symbol of Project Discovery: a stylized double helix. The Sisters were even kind enough to provide a readily accessible prompt for Aura to relay to me:

discovery 6In YC118, the Sisters of EVE launched the Project Discovery citizen science platform to the capsuleer community through the GalNet.

Beginning on YC118.03.09, Project Discovery’s Phase One work was aimed at achieving a comprehensive categorization and analysis of tissue samples acquired from the Drifters since their emergence in early YC117.

Led by Professor Emma Lundgren, Chief Scientist for the SOE advance research division, Project Discovery Phase One was particularly successful in mapping out a comprehensive protein atlas from the Drifter tissue samples collected and analyzed during the term of the project.

Project Discovery Phase One came to an end on YC119.07.11, after 16 months of highly successful work. Project Discovery Phase Two is a new Exoplanets Hunting Program and is being operated under the guidance of CONCORD’s Chief of Deep Space Research, Professor Michel Mayor. Please query the Phase One Monument’s database for records of those capsuleers who were elite research contributors to Project Discovery’s tissue analysis work.

If it had ended there, I probably would not have given it much thought. However, at the end, Aura made an additional comment:

Technical Note: there appears to be an open Entosis Link port on this structure.

discovery 7

A view of the underside of the monument

My eyebrow quirked. It seemed almost personally designed to pique my interest in a way to make me willing to directly connect to a Sisters of Eve computer with my own mind. Thankfully, I still had an Entosis Link fit on Professor Science after running some additional tests on the Jove Observatories earlier this year (and having discovered that sometimes the most unexpected objects are susceptible to Entosis Link effects), and so I tentatively activated the Link on the monument. As Aura promised, I was soon rewarded with a summary of the top capsuleer researchers who helped with Phase One. However, on a whim, I decided to run the Link again to see what would happen.

Discovery 8

The monument is a hive of activity.

Surprisingly, I didn’t gain a second version of the report. Rather, I gained an item called a “Project Discovery DNA Reference (Gallente)”, which was apparently a reference set of genetic data pertaining to the Gallente bloodlines. My already quirked eyebrow… quirked even more. I spent the next few minutes running yet another Link cycle on the monument, to be rewarded with a DNA Reference of Jove bloodlines. It quickly became clear that the Sisters were providing this data on all 5 major races of New Eden (though, of course, the Drifters, the ostensible focus of Phase One, were nowhere to be seen). But to what end? That was the million isk question.

discovery 9

The monument in profile

At this point, we are left only to guess. I’ll note, however, that my fellow researchers over at the Arataka Research Consortium have done some very interesting work on a new implant that has surfaced this week that appears to be related in some way to the data being released by the Sisters at the monument. Unfortunately, as is usual with the secretive organization, the Sisters have so far refused to comment on ARC’s findings, and CONCORD’s only response appears to be to warn against using untested technology. And so we are left with far more questions than answers, but at this point, as much as I hate the feeling, I can’t say I’m not used to that.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Project Discovery Phase One Monument
  • System: Lanngisi
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Note: The monument is NOT marked with a off-grid visible beacon, but is located about 50 kilometers off the Sisters of Eve station in Lanngisi (the only station in the system).

Blood Raider Sotiyo

[Editor’s note: Special thanks to Wilhelm Arcturus of The Ancient Gaming Noob fame for helping me find this site.]

Spoopy

The Blood Raider Sotiyo-class engineering complex in E-DOF2

Regardless of how much effort the Empires and the capsuleers (or at least the capsuleers who can be brought to care about these kinds of things) put into eradicating the various menaces of New Eden, at least one of the pirate factions or another always seems to be on the rise, each bringing their own particular kind of nightmare into the cluster. These days, the nightmares have been taking the form of those sanguinophilic cultists, the Blood Raiders. After exploding back on to the scene, so to speak, with their Crimson Harvest a few years back, they have managed to maintain momentum from their recent exploits, despite getting handily beaten back each time they manage to make the news.

This site was so annoying to take pictures of, lol

The Blood Raiders left little doubt as to just who owned the shipyard

Indeed, they seem to have only grown bolder over time. While a number of pirate factions have begun to expand their industrial base, the Blood Raiders have now gone public with exactly what they intend to do with their increased resource collection. Taking advantage of their recent successes, Bloody Omir and his lieutenants have developed their own capital ships, and have rushed headlong into the deployment process to get these ships operational as soon as possible using the new engineering complexes that have been recently released. As someone who has never flown anything larger than a battleship, I am hesitant say just how dangerous these new ships are, but regardless, the sheer tonnage of them raises the threat level and force projection that the Blood Raiders would be able to deploy with ease.

I couldn't even get my camera to train on the much more exciting bhaalgorns :-(

One of the many defending ships the Blood Raiders kept active at all times

Needless to say, the Blood Raiders have made it difficult to find their new shipyard. However, regardless of any advances in technology, you can’t build a ship without raw materials. And to get those raw materials, you need to send out mining ships to collect them. Some relatively resourceful pilots realized that people just need to follow the ore (so to speak) to find out the location of the new Blood Raiders shipyards. With that tactic in mind, it wasn’t long before the pilots tracked down the location of the first shipyard to the system E-DOF2 in Period Basis. With the location found out, I made my way out there at the first opportunity.

Who knows where it's moved now? Someone, probably, but it ain't me

E-DOF2 glares in the background while the Sotiyo remains on alert

The system itself was deep in null security space, but thankfully I managed to get myself out there with relative ease. With help from a fellow chronicler of the happenings of New Eden, I managed to warp to the Sotiyo-class engineering complex undetected. What I saw there was… odd. While the shipyard was defended by a small fleet of ships of various classes, their coordination seemed… almost lacking. Indeed, I witnessed quite a few ships, presumably defending other Blood Raider interests in the system, warp in to the shipyard, only to miss the shipyard and overshoot by several hundred kilometers. The ships would then have to turn around and warp once again to get in range to properly defend the system. Perhaps whatever ailed the Blood Raider navigation systems also affected my camera drones, as I was unable to keep them focused on most objects near the Sotiyo for more than a few seconds at a time.

ACTION MINING

A Blood Raider mining ship in a nearby asteroid belt. Sources say a mining operation can always be found in the Sotiyo’s system.

The Sotiyo itself was skinned to make it obvious who owned it and what it was used for. Fires belched from the various processing systems as the Blood Raiders scrambled to build their capital ships before the capsuleer pilots, inevitably, arrived in force to boot them out and seek their prizes.

And arrive the capsuleers eventually did, bringing the Sotiyo down only a day after I was able to find it in E-DOF2. Despite the Sotiyo’s destruction, Omir Sarikusa sounded inordinately pleased with himself, suggesting that they would go on to rebuild the shipyard somewhere else in their native lands, allowing the legions of Omir’s army continue their bloody ascendancy.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Blood Raider Sotiyo
  • System: Anywhere in the regions of Delve, Period Basis, or Querious.
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Delve, Period Basis, or Querious.
  • Potential Hazards: All three regions lie 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. Additionally, although the Blood Raiders seemed a bit cautious in attacking non-hostile ships, they were certainly present in force at the site itself Caution is advised.
  • Additional Notes: As noted in the entry itself, AI seems to be a bit weird still, and the camera was acting oddly, not letting me track most of the NPC ships on the scene for more than a few seconds, if at all, before reverting back to my ship.

Kyonoke Outbreak Containment Site

kyonoke 1

The Kyonoke Outbreak Containment Site.

A few strands of amino acids. That, surprisingly, is all it takes to bind 4 systems together across the light-years of interstellar space. You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but that short string of organic molecules has managed to entangle the systems of Efu, Muttokon, Oijanen, and Postouvin, tying their fates together across the harshness of interstellar space. But rather than uniting to tackle the threat posed by this tiny piece of matter, it seems destined to pull the four empires even further apart as they race to save millions, if not billions, of lives from a terrible fate. So far, only the Society of Conscious Thought, the newly-designated heir to the Jovian Directorate, has attempted to tackle the problem posed by the short string of carbon known as Kyonoke.

kyonoke 2

Professor Science approaches the containment complex.

The story of Kyonoke starts, for our purposes, a few years before capsuleers arrived on the scene. The Caldari had found a particularly mineral-rich asteroid near the planet Kyonoke in Taisy, and had established a mining colony to plumb its depths nicknamed the Kyonoke Pit. Rather suddenly, Caldari authorities lost contact with the colony. The team sent to investigate the colony found a gruesome scene, with the entire mining colony dying rather agonizing deaths. Despite the full set of protective equipment, the investigation team succumbed to the disease within hours. The Caldari eventually managed to isolate the cause: a short and seemingly run-of-the-mill protein strand that managed to disrupt almost all biological systems within a few hours of exposure. Needless to say, since that discovery, Kyonoke Pit has been under round-the-clock Caldari surveillance to make sure that no one gained access to this potent pathological protein.

kyonoke 3

A closer view of the stricken RP4 mining complex.

Even knowing about the heavy security cordon the Caldari used to keep Kyonoke secure, it was with a bit of trepidation that I recently began reading reports of a sudden quarantine appearing on an orbital platform in orbit of Muttokon II. Almost immediately thereafter, the city of Myrskaa in Oijanen experienced a rapidly spreading plague, which quickly led to the entire city being placed in quarantine. Three became a crowd after certain decks on a Society of Conscious Thought station in Efu were cut off after the appearance of another deadly plague. And any doubts that this was a coordinated effort were put to rest when the very next day, Federal authorities lost contact with a mining colony in Postouvin after sending out a distress call concerning a disease outbreak. Although rumors swirled, it took a full day for Caldari authorities to confirm that the disease at issue was in fact Kyonoke, albeit an apparently modified strain.

kyonoke 4

There appeared to be few signs of life in the colony.

With Kyonoke identified, the cluster soon began to wonder how the pathogen escaped. Answers soon fell into place when an expedition into the now-abandoned Kyonoke Pit revealed the body of one Ohmon Kasaras, a former member of the Kaalakiota Home Guard, who had apparently ventured into Kyonoke just weeks before. Although reports identified him as a loyal Caldari, the fact that his family has gone missing suggests we do not know the entire story behind the Kasaras breach of Kyonoke, if that was not evident from the fact that it’s still unknown who Kasaras was supposed to deliver Kyonoke too. To say that fear has gripped the cluster is a bit of an understatement, with Caldari/Gallente tensions flaring to a height not seen since the days of Tibus Heth… which is all the more worrisome because there does indeed appear to be a Heth connection to all of this. Despite the hostility on both sides, the isolation protocols seem to have done their jobs, as no more outbreaks have since been reported, although that does little to help the millions already under quarantine.

kyonoke 5

Other stricken systems include Efu, Muttokon, and Oijanen.

Although the empires appear to be paralyzed either by infighting or paralysis, the Society of Conscious Thought has stepped to the forefront in researching ways to combat or eradicate Kyonoke. Recently, they announced the formation of the Kyonoke Inquest, a coordination center for research into the origins of the prion and ways to combat the disease. The Inquest is based out of the H4-RP4 Kyonoke Inquest Center, a massive Keepstar-class citadel built near the asteroid colony in Postouvin that suffered the outbreak. Given the sheer amount of news recently concerning the Kyonoke crisis, it should surprise few to learn that as soon as I heard that the Inquest would be based out of Postouvin, I made my way into Solitude to await its public opening.

kyonoke 6

Professor Science maneuvers towards one of the largest docking ports.

The Keepstar itself is a massive station constructed near the sunward side of Postouvin IV. I have had few opportunities to really examine a Keepstar since their release, but everything about the station feels titanic. I’ve flown Professor Science near battleships and titans, and considering that Keepstars dwarf even the largest ships New Eden has to offer, it’s no wonder that I felt almost as small as the Kyonoke protein strand next to it. Despite only having gone public within the past few hours, the Inquest is clearly already in full swing, with hundreds, if not thousands of intra-station craft crawling their way along the edges of the giant citadel, hopefully working around the clock to solve the Kyonoke problem. And the Society has now called in capsuleers to join the research efforts, making Postouvin the center of the cluster for all intents and purposes. Aura performed a preliminary analysis of the station for me, although she didn’t have anything to say that I didn’t already know:

kyonoke 7This Keepstar was constructed by the Society of Conscious Thought to act as a research and development center for the study of the Kyonoke Plague.

Widely considered by academics to be the single largest research installation in New Eden, its laboratories have hosted research projects from some of the most intelligent minds in human history.

kyonoke 8

The Professor is but a speck next to the giant research complex.

The stricken RP4 hemorphite processing facility lays cradled in the arms of the Keepstar, with the citadel seemingly built around the mining colony. The colony, built into the crescent-shaped asteroid itself, pokes up from the surface of the colony, pieces of gray metal gleaming against the brown regolith of the asteroid’s surface. A lonely Obelisk-class freighter sits near the dock, apparently caught up in the station’s quarantine when the order came down. The entire colony is wrapped in a rather ominous cloud of debris, which is fitting because there appears to be few signs of life on the colony. Given the apparent speed with which Kyonoke acts, it seems unlikely that many are left alive at this point, and the colony acts as a somber reminder of the staggering human costs at play in this plague and the goal of their efforts for anyone who merely looks outside the Keepstar.

kyonoke 9

The Inquest may be the best hope of solving the crisis.

There are millions of lives at stake out there, and billions more hang in the balance if any of the containment protocols breach or whoever first released the plague decides that it is necessary to strike again. Right now, we can only that the answer to this crisis lies somewhere in the colossal depths of the H4-RP4 Kyonoke Inquest Center. And while not quite as important as solving the Kyonoke plague, I’ll sleep a lot easier at night if we can find out who released the disease and why. I may only be but one man, but I am ready to help out the effort however I can, for if this ordeal has taught us anything, it’s that the smallest changes can stretch across the galaxy.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Kyonoke Outbreak Containment Site
  • System: Postouvin
  • Security Rating: 0.7
  • Region: Solitude
  • 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. Additionally, although the system is high security space, please note that this is a high sec pocket and is ONLY accessible through either null security space or a rather long low security route.
  • Additional Notes: You cannot dock at the Keepstar, nor will it tether you.