Sightseeing in the Cluster

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Karishal Muritor Memorial

Happy new year!
The Karishal Muritol Memorial in Auga.

We tend to think of history as a study in black and white. Things, events, historical figures… they are either Good or they are Bad. This tendency of ours to classify history in this manner is a bit surprising given that we all generally recognize that the present cluster is a sea of grey. Bad events can have positive side effects. Generally good people can have an off day and do something mean or evil-spirited. Bad ideas might have seemed necessary at the time. Insights change as social norms evolve as to what is considered acceptable. But the moment current events pass from our short-term memories and into the history books, we tend to forget the nuances of that moment in favor of a broad categorization one way or another. It’s up to the historians to maintain that nuance, to make sure that we don’t lose the full context to the people and the events of an era.

I'm back after the holidays, as you can see. Still have a bit of backlog to work through from last summer's new monuments.
A closer view of the expression captured to represent Karishal Muritor.

Take, for example, Karishal Muritor, the leader of the Defiants. The Defiants, though largely idolized now as harbingers of the resurrected Tribal Republic and a standard for freedom fighters everywhere, at the time were seen as traitors to the Minmatar Parliament for their refusal to back down against the Amarr when the Republic, led by Karin Midular, sought détente with the Empire. The refusal of the Defiants and others to accept peace with the Ammatar Mandate and the Amarr Empire at large was, in part, what led to the downfall of the Midular government and, ultimately, the parliamentary republic under which the Minmatar were originally organized. And at the head of the Defiants was Karishal Muritor.

I, uhh, didn't have a lot to add. These ones where CCP already gives a ton of context make my job easy!
Muritor’s memorial can be found just off of the Brutor Tribe Bureau in Auga X, Moon 3

Muritor was, unsurprisingly given his threat to stability in the Republic, demonized by Parliament and the Midular government and declared an outlaw. Indeed, an entire Republic Fleet task force was eventually organized to hunt him down, and it was this task force that ultimately killed Muritor in early YC109 in the system of Auga.

Today, Muritor’s image has been rehabilitated, largely due to the efforts of Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor (who, it must be said, benefitted greatly from Muritor’s intransigence). In this spirit, a memorial has been constructed in Auga in Muritor’s honor. In a pleasant surprise, however, the memorial gives a fairly even-handed accounting of Muritor’s actions over the years:

I can still get cool perspectives tho

Although officially considered a hero by today’s Tribal Republic, Captain Karishal Muritor was condemned as a mutineer and rebel by the Parliamentary Republic that constituted the old government of the Minmatar. Muritor’s rebellion and formation of the Defiants was to set him on a path to his death at the hands of a Minmatar Republic fleet, followed by his elevation as a symbol for Minmatar freedom fighters everywhere. Since the establishment of a Tribal Republic by Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor, the memory of Muritor has been completely rehabilitated. His acts of mutiny and rebellion are considered totally justified in light of the infiltration of the Parliamentary Republic by Amarr agents, and the events of the Starkmanir rediscovery and Minmatar Invasion of the Amarr Empire.

I actually really like this silhouette shot tbh

In mid YC108, the Defiants were founded by Captain Karishal Muritor following a mutiny he led against the Republic Fleet, stealing several capital ships and their support fleet from their moorings. Having grown tired and disillusioned with the leadership of the Republic Fleet, its admiralty subordinate to a government he considered passive and too ready to appease the Amarr, Muritor had decided to take matters into his own hands. He gathered a cadre of like-minded officers and enlisted personnel around him and carried out a stunning coup, stealing a Hel-class supercarrier and a pair of Nidhoggur-class carriers.

I loooooove these inside shots but honestly the resolution is never that great. I do them anyway tho vOv

Muritor had been finally spurred to action by the threat he saw from a resurgent Amarr military in the Bleak Lands region, following their comprehensive victory over the Blood Raiders and stationing of large naval forces in a border region now fully under Amarr control. His Defiants group used their stolen ships and considerable skills to launch a campaign against the Amarr in the Bleaks that would be condemned by both Empire and Republic as “terrorism”. By the end of YC108, the Defiants had sown chaos across Amarr holdings throughout the region, destroying infrastructure and liberating slaves. The climax came with an all out attack on an Amarr battlestation in which the Defiants were joined by capsuleer freedom fighters.

Also, listen, there's really only variations of like, 3 shots that work here.

The Amarr Empire chose to blame the Minmatar Republic for the activities of the Defiants, suggesting dire consequences if the rebels were not stopped. While the Republic dismissed the Amarr accusations, the wish to maintain the peace won out over all other considerations. A Republic Fleet taskforce was assembled on the orders of Prime Minister Karin Midular, while Admiral Kanth Filmir extended an offer of truce to Muritor in early YC109. Accepting the offer, Captain Muritor met with Admiral Filmir in Auga system, in orbit of the tenth planet on the first day of February. Despite the urgings of Filmir, Muritor refused to give himself up, prompting the Republic Fleet Admiral to order in his taskforce.

but WHATEVER I WILL TAKE IT

As the Defiants and capsuleer allies fought against Republic Fleet ships, Muritor declared he would not have Minmatar fight one another. Moments later his ship and capsule were destroyed amidst a hail of fire. The Republic Fleet withdrew while the Defiants scattered and Muritor’s body was retrieved by capsuleers of the Ushra’Khan freedom fighter alliance. It was later confirmed that the order to stop Muritor by any means had been issued by Prime Minister Midular, causing a storm of protest that culminated in the resignation of Admiral Filmir and a considerable loss of authority for the Midular government.

Ultimately, Captain Karishal Muritor has come to be seen within the Minmatar Republic as farsighted in his recognition of the reality that compromise with the Amarr Empire’s expansionist ambitions is a trap the Minmatar cannot afford to fall into. His actions may be seen as precipitate and rash by some but his cause is one the majority of Minmatar recognise as just.

This memorial to the life of Captain Karishal Muritor is established by order of the Chief and Elders of the Brutor Tribe, YC123

Total Eclipse (by) the (head).
Muritor’s head eclipses the local sun.

Muritor’s life and death is a textbook example of needing to see history in shades of gray. While I hesitate to opine on whether the transition from the old parliamentary republic to the new tribal republic under Shakor is ultimately a “good” thing or not (there are plenty of other places to seek such opinions that are not the GalNet site of someone who likes to take some pretty pictures), it can’t be denied that Muritor clearly thought he was acting in the best interests of all Minmatar. As was Midular in her opposition to him. Both thought they were bringing about Good events. Both can be right and wrong at the same time. After all, much as we like to forget, the human experience can’t be easily categorized.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Karishal Muritor Memorial
  • System: Auga
  • Security Rating: 0.4
  • Region: Heimatar
  • Potential Hazards: Auga is located in low security space.  Particularly given that it is one jump out from Amamake, a notorious low-sec haven for pirates, pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.

Minmatar Mining Corporation Testing Facility

Well at least I'm making fun of the Gallente for once.
The Testing Facility complex, with a defunct asteroid field in the distance.

I had a few hundred words typed up today about the weirdness of most corporate museums. How such institutions were such a transparent way to conflate a corporation with Incidents of Historical Note, to idolize a corporation for making A Difference over the course of history, and to try to make the public think that, finally, THIS corporation is different and cares about something other than just the next quarterly profit report.

And, well, then I remembered that the Gallente basically invented the idea. And, just to show how proud we were for coming up with that particular achievement, we went ahead and elected the self-aggrandizer not once but twice. So, well, I have no room to talk.

There is SOMETHING about this shot I really like, but I'm not sure I could tell you what.
Hagilur’s light glints off of the main corporate HQ facility.

Besides, my poor, somewhat hypocritical but now-deleted rant aside, sometimes corporations DO accomplish things during Incidents of Historical Note. Unlike Roden Shipyards, the main claims to fame of which are, well, making megathrons and getting its corporate CEO elected President of the Federation twice, the Minmatar Mining Corporation has in fact made some significant contributions over its many, many years of history. One of the only entities that can trace its history back to the storied Minmatar Empire, the entity that existed before the Amarr enslaved Pator, the MMC not only managed to survive Amarr enslavement but also became a crucial supplier of raw materials to the fledgling Minmatar rebellion.

I at least got a little bit  (though admittedly not too much) away from my usual style with these entries.
A series of observation towers to watch ship testing in the nearby asteroid field.

Since the contributions of the MMC are, well, actually worthy of being remembered, the MMC and the Republic have gone ahead and set up a site to memorialize the MMC and its influence on Minmatar history. To that end, in Hagilur you can now find the Minmatar Mining Corporation Testing Center. Although still a working facility, it also serves now to showcase both the MMC’s impact on history and how the MMC intends to stay relevant in the modern era (I feel compelled at this point to note that I am, in fact, not receiving any compensation from the MMC for these statements). The site was initially one of the first asteroid fields mined by the MMC. Though now long-mined out of any useful ores, the site was converted over the years to a ship testing facility, where the MMC worked to perfect its ship designs both for mining vessels and, later, combat spacecraft.

Querying Aura about the main testing facility, set up just a few kilometers from the now defunct asteroid belt, brings up this analysis:

Inside the dome.

The Minmatar Mining Corporation is the only Minmatar corporation still in existence that can trace its foundation to before the conquest of the old Minmatar Empire’s territory by the Amarr Empire. The corporation managed to stay in business during the Amarr occupation only because it was useful. Now it is useful to the Minmatar, providing the raw materials to build fleets and equipment to defend the Republic against the Amarr Empire, and all other threats to the Minmatar people.

Another stark shot that I really like (probably because its so similar to that other shot lol).

This is the headquarters of the Minmatar Mining Corporation’s Testing Division and the primary facility of the testing center located at this old asteroid belt. The Minmatar Mining Corporation is a key player in the economy of the Minmatar Republic, providing vast quantities of material to the military and heavy industries. The need to continually enhance mining, processing and transport technology keeps the testing center very busy.

Ramming speed!
One of the commemorative Scythes pointing at the main HQ facility.

The station is one of classic Minmatar design, replete with translucent biodomes, rusty plating, and a strongly industrial motif that is, I suppose, not very surprising for an R&D center focused on ship development. Although not open to the public, the station is abuzz with corporate activity, with small, personal station transport vehicles seen crawling over inch of the station at one point or another.

Surrounding the station is a variety of other facilities. Although the asteroid field had long ago been stripped of anything useful, the field itself still offers a fairly decent course to field test new starship concepts in a secured environment, so many of the nearby facilities include observation platforms and mechanical bays for the new spacecraft.

Some of the other facilities, however, are more dedicated to the museum side of the site. For example, the MMC Storage and Preservation Facility serves mostly an academic role in the preservation of key Matari artifacts:

This is, of course, the storage facility.

This facility is used to store and preserve samples of all the technology developed or used by the Minmatar Mining Corporation over the long centuries of its existence. A number of very old pieces of Minmatar technology are kept here, making the facility a magnet for Minmatar scholars keen to reconstruct the material culture of the old Minmatar Empire.

The background nebula here was so bright it actually made shots difficult to set up at some angles.
Two Scythe-class cruisers that commemorate the role the ships have played in Minmatar history.

Finally, one whole section of the facility is dedicated to what is, today, the most recognizable contribution of the MMC: the Scythe-class cruiser. Although today the Scythe is recognizable first and foremost as a logistics cruiser, it was initially designed (again, unsurprisingly for a mining corporation) as a mining ship. The Scythe’s original role is profiled heavily at the Testing Center. Two Scythes, in their original mining configuration, can be found on display at the site as a testament to the deep history surrounding the oldest ship design still in use in the Republic. The ships keep a watchful eye on the testing field from their pedestals nearby.

Aura has this to say about the two ships:

I will admit that I had to look up the Scythe when writing this, lol

The Scythe-class cruiser remains the oldest Minmatar ship still in use. It has seen many battles and is an integrated element of many Minmatar tales and the material heritage of the tribes. The Minmatar Mining Corporation retains a number of mining variants of the Scythe, despite the ship being little known as a mining vessel since the Republic Fleet, Minmatar Territorial Guards, and Tribal Militias adopted the upgraded combat support and logistics variant. Even so, the mining variant Scythe, upgunned and armored by rebel crews, has a storied history as a mainstay of the Minmatar resistance and a key ship of the Great Rebellion.

I think they've stopped doing the snowflakes on wordpress sites during the holidays and honestly that makes me sad :-/

Notably, despite the Minmatar Mining Corporation being riddled with collaborators during its operations under the Amarr occupation, a significant number of MMC Scythes found their way into the hands of the rebels, typically crews and all. The quiet and careful support for the resistance by a large number of MMC managers did much to rehabilitate the reputation of the corporation in the post-Rebellion period, and the heroism of those martyred when their luck ran out is marked by a memorial plaque in every station and facility owned by the corporation.

Remember when I played as a space lawyer, hahahahhaha
Flames flare from a foundry active in the Testing Facility.

I made the mistake once of asking my brother, an attorney who has in the past provided legal services to some fellow capsuleers, what the point of corporations was. About 20 mind-numbing minutes later, all I could really glean in terms of answers was something about liability protections, but said in such fluffy (and unending) legalese that I wasn’t even sure what those words meant anymore. But, while corporations have deserved reputation of being more concerned with quarterly profits than anything else, its important to remember that corporations are, well, just groups of people. Sure, sometimes those people only care about accruing wealth, but sometimes they care about the broader picture. Sometimes they help their people gain freedom after centuries of slavery. And sometimes, heavens help me for saying this (and I, once again, reiterate that I am not gaining any compensation for saying so), they deserve to have a museum to commemorate their accomplishments.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Minmatar Mining Corporation Testing Facility
  • System: Hagilur
  • Security Rating: 0.4
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: Hagilur is located in low security space.  Particularly given that it borders high security space on two sides, pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.

Battle of Fort Kavad Monument

ATXVII woooooooo
The wrecked station, wrecked ships, and memorial plinth of the Battle of Fort Kavad Monument.

Alliance Tournament XVII is got started in earnest this weekend.  Although I’ve found myself enjoying almost all of the matches I watch, my favorite matches are probably those where an established or well-known alliance tournament team gets thrashed by an unexpected underdog (I suspect I’m not alone in that particular preference). There’s just something particularly satisfying in watching a match that every commentator (professional or amateur) had assumed would be a walloping by the preferred team, only to see those expectations overturned either in one magnificent mistake (such as the ever-beloved boundary violation) or by a slow battle of attrition going absolutely the wrong way. If its satisfying for me as a viewer, I can only imagine the ecstasy the underdog team feels to see the strategy that everyone questioned pay off (or, even better, when an unexpected mistake gives the underdog a win even they weren’t expecting).

Also boundary violations woooooooo
A better view of the wrecked Fort Kavad.

Of course, there’s an entire nation in New Eden that have the experience of being the successful underdogs: the Minmatar. When the Minmatar began to rebel after the brief (but disastrous) Amarr-Jove war, no one really expected them to be successful. Over the course of the thousands of years of Amarrian history, they had never failed to subdue a targeted race: from the Udorians on Amarr Prime to the star-spanning Minmatar Empire, the Amarr had Reclaimed every civilization it had encountered so far. The sole exception? The Gallente Federation, and the Empire never formally targeted the Federation for a Reclaiming (though many an armchair military historian has salivated at the thought of watching such a fight play out).

The Minmatar really do love their surprise strikes.
The wreckage of an Apocalypse-class battleship still glints in the starlight.

But, spoiler alert, the Minmatar managed to pull it off, against all expectations. Through a combination of tenacity, duct tape, and (covert) support from the Federation, the Minmatar managed to not only free their home system, but establish themselves as one of the 4 major powers in New Eden. Minmatar independence was guaranteed when they managed to strike a surprise blow (a standard play by the Minmatar, who are exceptionally good at pulling off such moves) against amassed Amarr fleets at Fort Kavad in Odatrik, a half dozen jumps out from Pator. Today, a monument stands at the ruins of Fort Kavad to commemorate the victory that assured Minmatar independence.

Aura has the following to say about the Battle of Fort Kavad:

Seriously though, am I the only one who thinks this looks like the mothership from Homeworld?

The preserved ruins of Fort Kavad loom over the battlefield where the Minmatar struck the final blow that would secure their territories and allow their fledgling Republic to rise to its full height in relative peace.

Named after an ancient lord of the Ardishapur Family, Fort Kavad sat at the center of the Ortner Redoubt, the last major toehold of the Amarr Empire in Minmatar space at the end of the Great Rebellion. The position guarded the core of the Ammatar Mandate the Amarr had set up as a defensive buffer but more critically was within striking distance of the Minmatar heartlands.

I do like the composition in this shot tbh

Despite the chaos that the Great Rebellion had sowed across the Empire for several years, many Amarr lords were unwilling to settle for defeat at the hands of their erstwhile slaves. In BYC17, a militant faction at the Imperial Court promoted a plan to use Fort Kavad as a springboard for a counter-offensive that would regain the lost territories. A demoralized and confused Emperor Heideran VII, possibly afflicted by an attack of the Turit Disease he suffered with, allowed the militants to proceed with their plan.

As Amarr forces built up at Fort Kavad, the Minmatar became aware of the plan and knew that an opportunity to strike a decisive blow was at hand. The Battle of the Golgothan Fields had robbed the Amarr of much of their capital ship strength, forcing them to concentrate battleship squadrons at Fort Kavad. Minmatar rebel forces from across their hard-won territories assembled and launched a pre-emptive strike in numbers that would overwhelm the defenses of Fort Kavad and catch the assembling Amarr fleets by surprise.

The only reason I ever remember the name of the Tempest is because of Clear Skies, lol

With Fort Kavad’s defenses crippled and entire battleship squadrons destroyed or disabled, the Amarr were in disarray but refused to retreat knowing well the penalty they would face at the hands of their fanatical lords. Many commanders launched suicidal counter-attacks and some broke past the Minmatar assault in an apparent attempt to mount the counter-offensive they had planned. At high cost in ships, including precious battleships, the Minmatar prevailed and wiped out the scattered Amarr taskforce.

The news of the defeat at Fort Kavad roused Emperor Heideran’s erratic anger and the militant faction at court suffered accordingly for their fatal underestimation of the Minmatar. Once the Emperor had seen to the security of the Ammatar Mandate, he once again lapsed into seclusion, having ordered no further military adventures on pain of death and the enslavement of all relatives of any lord foolish enough to defy the orders.

A dream of mine is to have some sort of explanation for these "spaceshuttle wrecks" but I know they're used everywhere so it will probably never be

For the Minmatar, the Battle of Fort Kavad was a famous victory that eliminated the danger of a counter-offensive by the Amarr Empire. In the relative peace the Minmatar fighters had bought with their blood, the Minmatar Republic was established and its defenses secured. Amarr warlords knew better than to openly defy the Emperor’s peace but inevitably the means for militant Amarr and Minmatar to strike at one another was found in the bitter Vindication Wars that would be fought through and against the puppet state of the Ammatar Mandate.

The memorial plinth with a Minmatar standard.

Anyone who has flown through the Amarr system will immediately recognize Fort Kavad’s profile. A tall and narrow station structure, this particular type of Amarr station has always reminded me of a mothership from a hologame I used to play as a kid, though gilded in traditional Amarr gold rather than the soft blues and reds that I was used to. I’ve always wondered if the resemblance was intentional. In any case, today, the gold trimming of Fort Kavad is burnished from centuries of lying in ruin. Unsurprisingly, the only thing to survive is the superstructure of the station itself; it’s long been stripped for parts otherwise, though I imagine that the Republic carried out some minimal restoration for purposes of the monument.

I accidentally posted this early WHOOPS.
A closer view of some particularly unidentifiable wreckage.

Nearby, the remnants of a few Amarr ships can still be seen. I didn’t recognize some of the classes of ship that can be seen, but those hulls of the ships had been warped and tattered almost beyond recognition, so perhaps that would those particular designs. The remnant ships appear to be draped over nearby asteroids. Perhaps the impetus imparted on the ships as their power cores exploded pushed them into the nearby rocks to drape as they do. In addition to the mysterious ships, the twisted wrecks of more standard Amarr designs (such as the Apocalypse), along with Minmatar ships (such as the Tempest) can be seen. Also nearby is the standard memorial plinth that has gained fashion recently around the cluster. The Minmatar Republic seal glows above the holographic base, a final flag of victory flying over the defeated Amarr station.

Oh, look, a backlit shot of the monument as an ending photo, how original, mark
The wreckage of Fort Kavad

Just like the Minmatar over a century again, a number of underdogs managed to upset the presumed status quo over this past tournament weekend, and undoubtedly more such upsets are to come as the tournament continues. There’s a reason why ‘the underdogs are victorious’ are such a well-worn trope in most kinds of fiction: there’s something far more compelling about watching a juggernaut snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Sure, a larger, better funded, better armed team can win. But that’s expected. That’s boring. But when a juggernaut is felled, that’s something. When a supposedly unstoppable force is brought to a screeching halt, that’s a story. That’s something that will be talked about, analyzed, pored over for future generations. So it is with Alliance Tournament underdogs, and so it is with those scrappy rebels that managed to stop the juggernaut of the Amarr Empire.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Battle of Fort Kavad Monument
  • System: Odatrik
  • Security Rating: 0.8
  • Region: Heimatar
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

Karin Midular: Ray of Matar

I, uhh, actually don't have a ton of photos!
Karin Midular stands in repose above the Minmatar homeworld of Matar.

As a kid, one of my creche teachers liked to tell me that I was destined for great things. I think he just appreciated the fact that I always turned my assignments in on time and that I did relatively well on them, but the fact remains that his words stuck with me, even to this day. But what is “destiny”, really? Am I living that destiny now, as a relatively well-off capsuleer best known for taking pictures and writing about said pictures? Is this really what my creche teacher had in mind? Consider me skeptical. As far as I’m concerned, the universe doesn’t give a whit about me or what I end up doing with my life. I could have been President of the Federation. I could have ended up as a mindflood addict living in the back alleyways of Jita 4-4. My life is my own, and the universe’s plan for me is, frankly, nonexistent.

And there is so. much. text. in the. description.
The Orbital Caravanserai orbits nearby.

I know others disagree with me on this take. Depending on exactly who you talk to, either everyone has a destiny of some kind, or certain, special people are destined to have a vast effect on their surroundings. Minmatar society as a whole leans towards the latter interpretation, and this is helped by the process of the Voluval. The exact process is a well-kept secret even to this day, but the general idea is that certain chemicals are injected into both a person’s heart and the base of the spinal nerve. With proper mental preparation, this results in a permanent tattoo appearing somewhere on that person’s body. The various tattoo shapes have different meanings to the Minmatar people, but one in particular is particularly portentous: the Ray of Matar. It’s believed that a person who receives the Ray of Matar after the Voluval ceremony is destined for great things.

So, uhh, let's just see how everything goes, I guess?
The Ray of Matar marking is clearly visible in this closeup view of Midular’s face.

One of the people who ended up receiving the Ray of Matar was Karin Midular. A familiar name to interstellar politics, she began her career in politics as a member of the Republic Parliament. Without getting too much into detail here (skip down a few paragraphs if interested!), Midular managed to use her political acumen to become the Chief of the Sebiestor Tribe, one of the largest Tribes in the Republic, and from there springboard her way to Prime Minister. Unfortunately, “destiny”, such as it is, is not always a good thing, and she has the somewhat dubious distinction of being the last Prime Minister of the Minmatar Republic before it was reformed into its current shape under Maleatu Shakor. She died a somewhat ignoble death after a terrorist attack in YC115. She was the only living person with the Ray of Matar tattoo, and she has yet to be replaced.

Today, she serves as the everlasting guardian of the Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai over Pator, given a spot of honor near the space-based hub of the rulers of Minmatar space, in full view of each of the Tribal embassies that surround the main station. Querying the statue gives you the highlights of a long career dedicated to the service of the Seven Tribes:

Born into slavery yet marked for greatness, Karin Midular, the Ray of Matar, lived and died as a symbol for all Minmatar of their culture, history and place in the universe as a people.

Karin Midular was born to parents living in slavery under the Amarr but was smuggled as a baby out of the Amarr Empire, to be raised by the Sebiestor Tribe she was identified as belonging to. Unable to escape themselves, Karin’s parents had not known their clans and no records provided a clue on Matar. Nevertheless, Karin was raised on the steppes of the Mikramurka, heartland of the Sebiestor, in the city of Mithuris. It was when Karin came of age that her destiny became clear as more than merely a liberated orphan.

But, at least this writeup came to me a LOT more easily than the Caravanserai's!

As with most youth of the Mikramurka clans, Karin took part in a Voluval Ritual close by the Crystal Steppe. It was at this rite that she received the rare, venerated “Ray of Matar” mark, made doubly auspicious by its location under her left eye. Following this event, Karin joined the Midular Clan out of respect for Vormar Midular, her essence instructor.

Eventually, a career in politics beckoned, with Karin Midular convinced that lasting interstellar peace was essential to the future of the Minmatar. She began by campaigning for an end to the Vindication Wars with the Ammatar Mandate but found herself stymied by entrenched political positions in the Republic Parliament. Midular then set out to assemble a political bloc around her and by YC97 had become Chief of the Sebiestor Tribe, having gained the near unanimous support of the federated clans of the huge tribe.

Her status as a Tribal Chief provided a large platform from which to run for office as Prime Minister of the Republic. Though she did not win office immediately, the growing appetite for peace after the long years of the Vindication Wars peaked during the brutal Battle of Tears in YC102. In the election that year Karin Midular was elected Prime Minister by a landslide, with even many of the militant Brutor and Krusual sickened by the bloodshed.

I managed to get a nice swoop to the Professor's engine trail here.

Her first act as Prime Minister was to announce an end to hostilities with the Ammatar Mandate, and her first years saw her as a wildly popular and successful leader of a Republic focused on trade, diplomacy and rebuilding after long years of conflict. For all her political acumen and technical insight, however, even Karin Midular did not foresee the extent to which the licensing of independent capsuleers in YC105 would shake New Eden.

By YC106, Midular felt secure enough to confront the still powerful militarist elements in Minmatar society and moved to ban the wearing or display of the Khumaak ceremonial weapon, or symbols depicting it, by government officials or members of the armed forces. The proposals elicited a harsh counter-reaction from the Krusual Tribe’s leadership and considerable protest among the people. The Republic Security Services were moved to intervene in the security of tribal gathering halls, an ambiguous move by a powerful force often at odds with Midular.

An even more powerful political player moved into the spotlight at this time as Maleatu Shakor took the opportunity to establish his trademark belligerance in the popular mind. While a compromise was eventually brokered, the Khumaak episode was a political disaster that began a slow decline in the fortunes of Prime Minister Midular. The economy of the Republic began to falter in YC107, with many Minmatar increasingly emigrating to the Gallente Federation. Worse yet was the mutiny and rebellion of the Defiants, led by Captain Karishal Muritor in YC108.

I really like that I got the angling of Professor Science the same as her face here.

Backed by increasingly powerful Minmatar capsuleers, Muritor was a hero to many when he was killed in YC109 during an abortive truce meeting with Republic Fleet forces. The revelation that Midular had given the order to stop him by any means was another political catastrophe and militant Minmatar capsuleers were in the forefront of campaigning for her downfall from that time on. The news that Midular was in secret negotiations with the Ammatar Mandate was leaked at the worst possible time, and a wave of terrorist attacks threatened to destabilize the Republic.

The final days of the Midular government in YC110 were marked by the shocking secession of Skarkon system under the apparently popular rule of the Angel Cartel. In the midst of attempts to resolve this crisis, the news that survivors of the Starkmanir Tribe had been found in the Ammatar Mandate broke. Worse yet was a motion of no confidence proposed by Maleatu Shakor. The final blow was news of a Minmatar-Thukker fleet headed by Keitan Yun threatening CONCORD.

Parliament descended into chaos as Midular attempted to call for new elections. In an apparent coup attempt, Midular herself was almost assassinated by Amarr agents, saved only by the actions of a clandestine force that had begun eliminating Amarr infiltrators and Minmatar collaborators. The government of Karin Midular collapsed as a counter-coup launched by Keitan Yun and Maleatu Shakor ushered in emergency rule by a temporary military junta.

Did I mention that this description goes on and ON.

Despite events, Karin Midular was still Sebiestor Chief and the Ray of Matar, and in her post-government years regained a significant degree of political influence as a counter-balance to the militarist factions and security forces. The new Tribal Republic created by Prime Minister and then Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor was not to her taste but the Ray worked tirelessly to bring out the constructive and creative virtues of Minmatar culture. Ever a believer in diplomacy, Chief Midular often visited other nations of New Eden in her neverending search for lasting peace.

It was on one such trip in YC115 that Karin Midular was to meet her fate. A lone gunman detonated explosives and opened fire at a Federal Tribes cultural event attended by Midular in Caille on Gallente Prime. Among the 58 dead and 304 wounded was Karin Midular. Gravely wounded, Midular was transferred to the Republic for treatment but could not be saved. Apparently eschewing a clone backup for personal reasons, Karin Midular, the last living Ray of Matar, died on YC115.03.07. In accordance with Sebiestor tradition, Chief Karin Midular’s body was returned to the Mikramurka in a sky burial at the Place of Silence outside Mithuris.

The life of Karin Midular leaves a lasting legacy of principle and courage on behalf of the Minmatar people. She faced fate and the future as a Ray of Matar should and we all may learn from her example. This memorial is established by order of the Tribal Council of Matar, YC123.

That being said, CCPlz keep up this kind of detail in these sites it is SO NICE and makes things a lot more accessible.
Midular stands in a dignified pose.

As I noted, Midular stands just a few kilometers from the Orbital Caravanserai that serves as the primary space-based location for the Minmatar government. Midular, sculpted out of a black metal with bronze highlights. She keeps a watchful eye on the Caravanserai complex, one hand holding the other as she stands forever in a dignified but cautious pose that captures her mark on Minmatar history well. Her Ray of Matar marking is clearly visible under her left eye, the bronze coloring drawing attention to it without making it the center of attention, if that makes any sense. She stands forever watching the sun that she tried so hard to ensure remained in Matari hands.

Even, uhh, if it does mean my blog isn't QUITE as necessary for a lot of the newer sites OH WELL.
Midular keeping watch on Pator.

I’m tempted to wax philosophic on the concept of destiny. But regardless of whether the impact that Midular had on the Republic resulted from her destiny in the universe, the self-confidence that resulted from receiving the Ray of Matar from the Voluval, or just the fact that she was a talented person in the right place at the right time, no one can deny that Karin Midular had a vision that she did her utmost best to see fulfilled. It was a shame that she was taken from the Cluster too soon, but perhaps that, too, was part of her destiny. Remind me to follow up with my creche teacher that that was not what he had in mind for me.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Karin Midular: Ray of Matar
  • System: Pator
  • Security Rating: 1.0
  • Region: Heimatar
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai

I'm alive!
The Orbital Caravanserai complex.

A younger sibling inevitably ends up having a complicated relationship with the older one. I don’t mean that in a bad way, of course (or, at least, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a bad way), but the relationship is almost never a simple one. The older sibling is the trailblazer (like it or not): he or she figures out what works and, perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t. The younger sibling, in turn, is left to figure out how to follow in the older sibling’s footsteps (or not). As a result, the younger sibling almost inevitably goes through phases of idolizing, hating, copying, and pushing away the older sibling over the course of years (or, perhaps, over the course of seconds). Eventually, however, the younger sibling realizes that they are their own person. What worked for the older sibling may not work for the younger, and vice versa. Realizing that separation and becoming one’s own person can be a difficult, but vital, realization for any sibling (and for the parents of those siblings, for that matter).

And moved!
A closer view of the main station.

As usual, this is a rather tortured metaphor for New Eden on a broader scale: in this particular instance, the Minmatar and the Gallente. The metaphor is obviously not perfect, but in many ways, the Federation did act as an older sibling to the Republic as the Minmatar re-learned how to be a self-governing nation after winning its independence from Amarr slavery. In classic self-important Gallente fashion, when it was time to set up how the Minmatar would govern themselves, the Gallente “strongly recommended” that the Republic follow the model that had proved (mostly) so successful for the Gallente. And the Republic followed suit, setting a tripartite republic that would look familiar to any Gallente schoolchild, but ignored the unique cultural and political history of the Minmatar.

I had a LOT of problems writing this entry for some reason.
The arc of Tribal embassies can be seen here.

I speak, of course, of the Seven Tribes. The Gallente, in our usual way, ignored the importance of the Tribes in the every day life of the Minmatar, unwilling to believe that something that meant little the Gallente (familial relations on such a large scale) could have deep and significant meanings to another. And for two centuries, the Republic tried to follow the Gallente example. But the cultural inertia eventually became too much to ignore. As the disastrous premiership of Karin Midular came to its ignoble end (a story I will turn to in the next entry), Maleatu Shakor, another leader in Minmatar society, decided that the time was ripe for the Republic to put its own stamp on the concept of self-governance.

There was just SO MUCH to talk about this with this, sigh.
A closer view of some of the Tribal embassies.

Shakor had a new vision for the Minmatar Republic that restored the supremacy of the Tribes, flinging off the ideals of its older sibling, the Gallente. Rather than being led by an elected Parliament, the Tribal Council, with representatives from each of the Seven Tribes, would meet weekly to decide matters of state in the Great Caravanserai on Matar. Shakor also revived the concept of the Sanmatar to lead the Tribal Council, and soon found himself installed in that position. In the way that all younger siblings eventually must, the Minmatar had finally decided how they themselves wanted to live. They kept the self-governing ways that the Gallente tried to instill, but in a unique way that more fully represented the rich cultural history of the Minmatar.

Kind of overwhelming in some ways, but hopefully I managed
The entire complex orbits the Matari homeworld.

Although the Great Caravanserai on Matar served as the formal meeting place of the Tribal Council, it eventually became apparent that a Council that governed an interstellar republic needed better access to interstellar space, leading the Council to eventually establish the Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai in orbit of Matar. Here, the Council could more quickly gather in times of emergency, while also providing both additional space for the offices and embassies necessary for the burgeoning Republic and the more modern settings necessary for interstellar governance that might seem out of place in the storied and ancient halls of the Great Caravanserai itself.

Needless to say, I was eager to check out the Orbital Caravanserai once construction was complete. As I arrived in the vicinity, I queried Aura to get her take on the station complex:

Also I... think the introductory metaphor works? I couldn't figure out a good hook for today.

The Tribal Council is the collective head of state of the Minmatar Republic. The council is made up of the chiefs of the Seven Tribes of Minmatar and is chaired by the Sanmatar. While each tribe is substantially sovereign unto itself, the Tribal Council in practice wields enormous executive power by the common consent of the tribes. The traditional leadership role of Sanmatar functions as a mediator with no formal vote in the Council, but the holder of this office can be given emergency powers and is typically delegated command of the Republic’s armed forces by the tribes.

PROBLEMS ALL AROUND IS WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY.

The formal meeting place of the Tribal Council is the Great Caravanserai in the Eyniletti Plains of Matar. However, the Tribal Council often meets remotely or at other convenient locations. The “Orbital Caravanserai” was established to provide a meeting place and transit station for chiefs, appointed deputies, and others attending Tribal Council meetings. The Tribal Council’s secure FTL communications are now routed through this fortified location and it readily facilitates remote participation by holopresence. The facility is also used by delegations from Minmatar clans and circles, ambassadors from other empires and states, and corporate executives seeking the ear of the Council.

But either way, with the move completed I am hoping to move back to more regular updating. The backlog is getting a bit long again!
A Thukker Hurricane-class battleship stands guard near the Thukker embassy.

The most striking aspect of the Orbital Caravanserai complex is the main station itself. A classic example of Minmatar architecture, the station that hosts the legislature of the Minmatar Republic still feels as if it is held together by rust, duct tape, and dreams. Of course, like all Minmatar engineering these days, the structures are bound together quite more soundly than that, but despite the relative richness of the Republic these days, they seem to pride themselves on that aesthetic. Between the various docking pathways into the station, the arcology domes connected to the main structure host a dense urban landscape within them, presumably home to the many support staff and bureaucracy necessary for the functioning of the Tribal Council. Somewhat surprisingly, the station also appears to host some heavy industry, with flares and vents very visible on the station superstructure. Unsurprisingly, when I requested docking clearance at the station, I was turned down rather unceremoniously.

v e r t i c a l  s u p r e m a c y
Another view of an embassy.

In an arc around the station, each Tribe has also been granted an embassy. Although structurally the same (and demonstrating the classic Minmatar love of vertical supremacy), each embassy is burnished in the colors of that Tribe, and is guarded by a small task force of that Tribe’s ships. Near the embassy proper also stands a small structure flying the standard of that Tribe. The embassies allow each Tribe to have its own administrative center, where it can be sure of secured channels for deliberations and consultations. In querying each embassy, Aura provides a brief summary of each Tribe (reproduced in the appendix at the end of the entry), but has this to say about each of the embassies itself:

I am pretty sure those stars are going to get subbed in with actual Tribal icons at some point (if they haven't yet! I verified that nothing had been filled in somewhat recently).

This [Tribal] Embassy serves as a facility that is unarguably the territory of the [Tribe] within the Orbital Caravanserai complex. Here the Chief [of that Tribe] takes counsel with elders, advisors, industrialists, and delegations from member clans of the tribe, secure in the knowledge that opportunities for eavesdropping and subtle interference by other parties are severely curtailed.

I feel like I've been mocking the Gallente a LOT lately but honestly we just make it so easy.
A Tribal standard.

I remain vaguely uncomfortable with the cultural imperialism so endemic to the Federation. We have a bad habit of assuming that, despite the vast diversity in human history and experience, ultimately everything is one size fits all, and that the Gallente way of doing things is the best for everyone. But that viewpoint has caused the Federation any number of problems in the past, most notably in the Caldari secession, but also with respect to the Minmatar. We assumed our system would work, without giving any consideration to the history and values of the people we helped to free. Sure, the Republic declared independence from the Amarr and those that enslaved its people in the past (and continue to do so). But it took another 2 centuries for it to declare independence from those that helped the Republic achieve that independence. In its own way, that takes just as much courage.

But it’s a courage that little siblings across the cluster are more than familiar with.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai
  • System: Pator
  • Security Rating: 1.0
  • Region: Heimatar
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

Appendix (Tribal descriptions):

Sebiestor

With a culture emphasizing the virtues of patience, contemplation, and practical skill, the Sebiestor are known far and wide as engineers and inventors. The Sebiestor reputation for tinkering with any kind of technology is well deserved, and this excellence in engineering naturally propelled the Sebiestor to the fore during the period when the old Minmatar Empire pushed into space. During the Amarr occupation, the Sebiestor did much to hold what remained of Minmatar society together with their skill at maintaining or adapting technology. The Sebiestor Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.

Krusual

Pride is a common Minmatar trait, but the Krusual are wont to take it to extraordinary lengths. They rarely lose an opportunity to remind the other tribes that they alone managed to maintain strongholds in the mountainous Tronhadar region of Matar during the Amarr occupation. It is certainly remarkable that in all the long years of the occupation, the Amarr were unable to once and for all crush Krusual resistance. Their ability to hold onto a certain amount of independence during the occupation resulted in the Krusual retaining more of their pre-conquest culture than any other tribe, and their underground bases played an important role in sheltering some Vherokior mystics. The Krusual Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.

Brutor

The Brutor are marked by a disciplined stoicism and deeply spiritual cast of mind that combine to project a sense of nobility around the people of this tribe. While the Brutor have a traditional mindset, they suffered great loss of cultural heritage and knowledge of their history during the Amarr occupation. To the occasional annoyance of the other tribes, the Brutor consider themselves responsible for the freedom of the entire Minmatar people and make no bones about standing on this claim for political purposes when it suits them. In particular, the Brutor are great supporters and protectors of the Starkmanir Tribe, on account of the former originating as an offshoot of the latter. The Brutor Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.

Vherokior

Vherokior are disinclined to engage in great collective efforts, and their various clans are rather loosely grouped under the tribal chief’s authority. Indeed, the clans themselves hold nominal authority in many cases, with the family being by far the most important social unit to the individual Vherokior. These families are traditionally matriarchal in structure, though the aftermath of the Amarrian occupation has disrupted this pattern somewhat, as with so many other aspects of Minmatar tribal culture. Most Vherokior have long-abandoned the ancient nomadism of their tribe but the Vherokior mystics are the guardians of the Voluval Ritual and travel immense distances in this role. The Vherokior Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.

Nefantar

The Nefantar Tribe played a notorious role during the Amarr Empire’s occupation of the Minmatar home worlds as collaborators who actively assisted in the enslavement of other tribes by the Amarr. When the Great Rebellion succeeded in driving the Amarr from the Minmatar Regions, the Amarr subsequently set up the Nefantar in a puppet state called the Ammatar Mandate. Unbeknownst to anyone else, certain Ammatar elites had hidden a large number of Starkmanir survivors from the Amarr within the Mandate. After the discovery of the Starkmanir led to a Minmatar invasion in YC110, the Nefantar conspirators and their families led a mass defection back to the Minmatar Republic, assisting in the recovery of the Starkmanir. Today, the Nefantar tribe has been restored as one of the Seven Tribes of Matar.

Thukker

According to what remains of the historical records of the Minmatar, the Thukker tribe had always been a nomadic people, journeying back and forth across Matar in large caravans. The development of the old Minmatar Empire appears to have done little to inhibit the wandering of the Thukker. Indeed, the Great Caravanserai itself was constructed by the Thukker long ago to serve as a major junction in their network of routes and caravanserais. The Amarr found the Thukker intractable and many escaped to remote areas of space, forming the nucleus of the later culture of Great Caravans. The Thukker were notable fighters in the Great Rebellion but declined to join in the founding of the Republic. The wanderering Thukker Tribe officially joined the Republic in YC111, maintaining full autonomy of their Great Wildlands region but once more uniting the Minmatar as seven tribes.

Starkmanir

Subjected to an Amarr campaign of annihilation, the Starkmanir Tribe was considered lost for centuries until the discovery in YC110 of a viable surviving population hidden by Nefantar elites on Halturzhan, the sixth planet of Jarizza in the Ammatar Mandate. The discovery spurred a Minmatar fleet into an invasion of Amarr territories with a view to recovering the Starkmanir and as many other enslaved Minmatar as possible. The vast majority of surviving Starkmanir were successfully recovered, evacuated to the Minmatar Republic, and settled on lands set aside for them by the larger tribes. The Starkmanir tribe is also notable for being the mother tribe of two splinter clans that went on to become major tribes in their own right: the Brutor and the Vherokior. This Starkmanir Tribal Embassy serves as a facility that is unarguably the territory of the Starkmanir within the Orbital Caravanserai complex. Here the Chief takes counsel with elders, advisors, scholars, and delegations from clans of the tribe, secure in the knowledge that opportunities for eavesdropping and subtle interference by other parties are severely curtailed