Sightseeing in the Cluster


Ruins of Old Traumark

Editor’s note: CCP heavily revamped the Traumark Installation in YC123 (that’s 2021 for you non-lore-speakers). This entry chronicles how the site looks after the revamp, but if you’d like to see the original entry as it dates from YC112 (2010!), please click here.

I probably should have just waited for Halloween with this one, but here we are.
The 3 ruined stations of Old Traumark sit within a dark cloud flickering with red lightning.

I don’t believe in ghosts, much less space ghosts.

It’s critical that I am clear on this particular point given today’s entry. I don’t. Believe. In space ghosts.

But if I did believe in space ghosts, and if I was forced to pick one location in space where they absolutely, positively, 100 percent lived, I would definitely pick the creepy abandoned fortress surrounded by dark, spooky clouds filled with flashes of blood red lightning and also plenty of Sansha cybernetic zombies. Yeah, that sounds about right.

I'm gonna try something a bit different for the non-captioned images during the in-game text restatement below (and actually use alt text for its intended purpose; I should have done this ages ago).
The gloom surrounding the stations quickly reduces the massive structures to mere silhouettes.

I don’t believe in space ghosts. And, just to prove it, I repeated it to myself. Over and over and over again as I explored the ruins of Old Traumark, who fit the description above to a T. But it’s fine, it’s not like I was scared or anything, because I don’t believe in space ghosts, you see. Just like I told myself. Repeatedly.

As is appropriate for most sites that definitely are not haunted (they can’t be! Because ghosts aren’t real!), the old Traumark Installation used to be a crown jewel for expansion of the Tash-Murkon royal family. Meant to serve as a bulwark of civilization against the untamed systems of Stain one jump out, Traumark was long thought to be impregnable against anything that Sansha or anyone else from Stain could throw at it. That conceit ended up being… erroneous on the Tash-Murkon Family’s part.

Aura explains a bit further:

A spiky Sansha ship flies near one of the Traumark stations. in the distance, behind a second station, red lightning flickers among dark dust clouds.

The Old Traumark Installation was formerly a massive fortress guarding the southern space territories of the vastly rich Tash-Murkon royal family. At its height it represented the proudest moment in the history of the Tash-Murkon and a symbol of their commitment to progress and development. Yet that proud moment came and went, for the fortress, once thought to be impregnable, fell into the hands of Sansha’s Nation

The local sun is aligned such that it sits at the top of the dome of one of the ruined stations. The entire area is covered in deep gloom.

Over the subsequent years several attempts were made to recapture and renovate the installation, however each attempt was stymied by the entrenched Sansha forces. The close proximity to Stain allowed Nation reinforcements to arrive with little warning, and the stations themselves were riddled with booby traps and infested by numerous cybernetically-augmented True Slave soldiers.

2 sets of station ruins can be seen dimly sunlit in the foreground. In the distance, the silhouette of a third station ruin is visible only because of an even further flicker of lightning.

After these failed attempts to recapture the ruins, the pragmatic Tash-Murkons eventually changed their approach and chose to build a new Traumark Installation at a nearby location. Now two versions of the great southern fortress exist just a short warp away from each other: a bright shining facility that represents the best of Amarr progress and might, and the ruined fortification that serves as an ever-present reminder of that might’s limits.

I THINK the captions in the captioned pics are enough, but if anyone actually reads these and thinks they aren't descriptive enough, please let me know.
A small Sansha frigate races up the length of one of the ruins.

Old Traumark consisted of 3 stations of familiar Amarr design. The Sansha have maintained the superstructures of those stations (surprisingly, the stations don’t have so much a single added spike to their design), but beyond the familiar shapes you might never guess that the Amarr ever controlled the station. Sansha ships constantly patrol the space between and around the stations. Pervading the entire area are dark clouds that nearly blot out distant Saminer. I can’t quite tell where the clouds came from. Perhaps its just debris that the Sansha have simply kicked into space as they maintained the stations over the years. Perhaps a particularly thick dust cloud moved into the area. Perhaps it’s simply the malevolent intent of the Sansha and their dark goals made manifest.

But for now, jokes here? Maybe?
Another view of the golden station ruins immersed in a dark fog.

One thing I can definitely guarantee that the dark clouds are not: a ghostly miasma. Because, as I feel the need to remind myself consistently, ghosts aren’t real.

Either way, as I watch the scene, I find myself needing to reiterate that refrain even more. For between the stations, and between particularly dense patches of the dark and spooky clouds, lightning can be seen flickering within the depths. Lightning in space is a relatively rare occurrence, but not uncommon. What is uncommon, however, about this particular brand of space lightning is the color: a dark, blood red. If I hadn’t known that the Sansha were the ones that controlled the area, I would have expected Blood Raiders in the area given the overall motif.

I'm not sure that the jokes really land well over text here, but hey, it's my blog so I can do what I want.
Dim sunlight glints off of one of the ruins through the dense clouds.

I admittedly did not spend a lot of time looking over the scene. Not because I was afraid of ghosts or anything of the sort (I’m a sensible, rational individual and the concept is patently ridiculous, you see), but because afraid of one of the roaming Sansha patrols accidentally decloaking me in my unarmed Professor Science. And also because I wasn’t sure of the effect of getting hit by the blood red lightning. And also because I was really, truly interested in examining the modern fortress installation that could be found nearby. And so I after I got a sense of the site and snapped a few images from my camera drones, I set course away from the Ruins of Old Traumark.

And away from the ghosts that definitely don’t exist.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: The Ruins of Old Traumark
  • System: Saminer
  • Security Rating: 0.3
  • Region: Tash-Murkon
  • Potential Hazards: Saminer is located in low security space.  Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended. There definitely aren’t any ghosts around, at least, because there’s no such thing as ghosts.

Order of St. Tetrimon Fortress Monastery

Stay gold, Amarr.
The Fortress Monastery and associated support structures.

Towering cathedrals. Gleaming golden spires spread over dozens, if not hundreds, of square kilometers. Bustling, luminous starships everywhere you turn. You might be forgiven for thinking you were at the very heart of the empire in Amarr, just a few kilometers off the Emperor Family station in orbit of Amarr VIII. Instead, I found myself 3 jumps out from the Amarr homeworld, in the distant outskirts of the Thebeka system. Surrounded by over 220 AU of complete nothingness and the nearly 250 AU-distant local star merely a glint of starlight on the many towering cathedrals, the Order of St. Tetrimon Fortress Monastery is an imposing sight and a striking reminder of the power of the fanatical orthodox sect of the Amarr religion.

The smaller structures seem to act as an honor guard for the main base.

Founded nearly two millennia ago, the titular St. Tetrimon (born Inire Ardishapur) earned his sainthood in the most Amarrian of fashions: by killing an emperor who also happened to be his grandfather. To be quite fair, the emperor, Zaragram II, probably deserved it, given that even today he is known as the Mad Emperor. Zaragram II is probably best well-known today for attempting to construct the City of God in Shastal, a disastrous engineering project meant solely to stoke Zaragram’s own ego and proclaim how great he was. It didn’t work. But beyond his poorly-thought-out engineering projects, Zaragram II also attempted to rewrite the Amarrian religion, rewriting the sacred Scriptures as he went to give even greater power to the Emperor. Plenty of clerics disagreed with the rewrites and other changes being proclaimed by Zaragram II, but it was Inire who sought to solve the problem permanently. As he plunged the dagger into his grandfather, he allegedly yelled “a manu dei e tet rimon”, which roughly translates to “I am the devoted hand of the divine God” in ancient Amarr. A new saint was born.

The entire complex is oriented directly starward.

Since its founding, the Order (some call it a cult) has dedicated itself to restoring the Scriptures to its original, pre-Zaragram II state. Unsurprisingly given its initial mission, the Order since its founding has served to maintain the orthodoxy of the Amarr religion; it frequently objects to any attempts to modernize or update the religion. Its power over the years has waxed and waned, but its impressive fortress monastery in Thebeka demonstrates that even at the lowest ebb of its power, the Order is a force to be reckoned with in Amarr society. Indeed, even Aura seemed to be stepping lightly as she collated relevant information for me as I dropped out of warp at the monastery:

This heavily fortified monastery serves as a regional chapterhouse for the Order of St. Tetrimon in Domain. As a major base for this powerful religious and military order, it is defended by fanatical followers of the Tetrimon’s radical scriptural, theocratic, and militarist doctrines.

The construction of this fortress monastery within the Thebeka system was made possible by Royal Heir Arim Ardishapur who sees the Tetrimon as valuable allies on the politically conservative and religiously militant side of the struggle for the future of the Amarr Empire. Order of St. Tetrimon military forces were involved in putting down a number of slave rebellions in Ardishapur domains, including a major uprising in the Thebeka system. The construction of this fortress monastery in the system marks that service and underlines the political alliance between House Ardishapur and the Order.

Although the monastery is officially sanctioned by the local Ardishapur authorities, many observers have noted the Order’s choice to construct their facility at the very outer reaches of the Thebeka system, far from the populated inner planets and public space stations. This choice of location is viewed as a clear signal that the Order of St. Tetrimon continues to see itself standing apart from the temporal politics of the Empire, with its mission distinct, deeply spiritual, and remaining fully inspired by the example of St. Tetrimon.

The Order was founded in 21460 AD in the name of St. Tetrimon, an Ardishapur noble who assassinated his grandfather the Emperor Zaragram II, in response to the increasingly megalomaniac and heretical actions of the “Mad Emperor”. The Order of St. Tetrimon was tasked by the Council of Apostles with the role of preserving the original Amarr Scriptures and purging all apocryphal and non-canon texts, which included the majority of Zaragram II’s decrees. This mission later brought the Order into tension with the dominant powers of the Amarr Empire during the era of the “Moral Reforms” that began in 21875 AD. This tension grew until 22762 AD, when the Order of St. Tetrimon was officially suppressed by the Imperial authorities. Surviving members of the Order fled to the Khanid Kingdom where they received political protection.

During this time in exile, the Order of St. Tetrimon worked to increase their martial strength and increased their militarism to ensure that they would be able to defend their beliefs if another conflict erupted. This served them well when the Minmatar Rebellion began in 23216 AD. The Order reached an agreement with Emperor Heideran VII as Amarr forces were overstretched by the spreading rebellion. The Order would be allowed to once again travel through the Empire freely in return for assistance against Minmatar forces. In subsequent decades, ships flying Tetrimon colours became much feared by the young Republic Fleet for their fearless attacks and the suicidal fury shown by their pilots.

I tried so hard to center things in this pic and it was nearly impossible.

During the remaining reign of Heideran VII the Tetrimon were left untouched, on the understanding that they would not attempt to undermine Emperor’s authority. The agreement did not survive under Heideran’s successor Doriam II, a ruler with liberal views and a history of releasing slaves. Increasing conflict with the Theology Council during Doriam II’s YC105-107 reign led to the Order of St. Tetrimon being suppressed once more following a political struggle that involved several Royal Houses and even capsuleers. Returning to their secluded fastnesses in the Khanid Kingdom and beyond, the Order remained relatively quiescent during the Karsoth Interregnum, building its strength and continuing its mission.

I really like this pic. The ships getting dwarfed by the larger structures give a wonderful sense of scale IMO

Following the Elder Fleet Invasion of the Amarr Empire in YC110, and the return and coronation of Empress Jamyl I, the Order of St. Tetrimon welcomed the new Amarr ruler and pledged its continuing fealty to the Holy Amarr Empire. Upon the death of Empress Jamyl I in YC117, the Order returned to the Empire as a neutral arbiter and guardian of the Imperial Succession process, in an Empire that had become deeply factionalized and corrupted by “Red Chamberlain” Dochuta Karsoth’s rule.

I will never not love the little cathedral windows on this model.

During the rule of Empress Catiz I, the fortunes of the Order of St. Tetrimon have continued to improve. Under the leadership of Grand Master Khemon Dulsur an-Tetrimon, the Order has established a role as a force useful for seeking out and suppressing rebellion and heresy. Increasing conflict across New Eden has revitalized the “Religious Reclaimer” tendency among the Amarr Empire’s powerful nobility and brought support for the Order. Militant and conservative houses such as the Ardishapur and Sarum have forged cordial relations with the Tetrimon, in an Amarr Empire with royal houses, powerful ministries, and religious factions carefully balanced against one another by a relatively new Empress.

The main fortress monastery. Note the moat-like ring structure around it.

I was surprised to discover that the monastery in Thebeka was only a regional chapterhouse for the order. Its grandiosity and the bustle of nearby ships could be mistaken for the main headquarters of the Order. The main structure is a grand building of classic Amarr design: a soaring structure with two main towers clad in gold that very much evokes the feelings of an Amarr cathedral that wouldn’t be out of place in the heart of Dam-Torsad, the capital city on Amarr. The gently curving twin towers are surrounded by a golden ring that emphasizes the “fortress” side of the fortress monastery, making it feel as if the central cathedral is surrounded by a protective moat.

It was surprisingly difficult to get a good view of the side structures. I suspect it has to do with their very skinny dimensions.
A closer view of some of the surrounding support structures and ships.

Serving as a sort of “honor guard” leading up to the main structure are 11 pairs of smaller, though no less resplendent, structures. The smaller structures, all of identical design, reminded me of nothing so much as giant golden apostrophes. The space apostrophes appear to serve as the main spacedock facilities for the base here, as well as the barracks. My assumptions are apparently confirmed by the numerous Paladin- and Zealot-class ships that can be seen swarming around these smaller structures. No larger ships can be seen around the main monastery, almost as if the ships were also too afraid of the leaders of the Order being too aware of their existence. I strongly sympathize with that feeling.

Reaching for the sun
The insignia of the Order superimposed on the local star.

Indeed, I was quite glad that I chose to fly Professor Science in today’s visit. Not only would the 220+ AU trip out to the monastery have felt interminable with a slower warp drive, I found myself nervous being near so many combat vessels, so I stayed cloaked my entire time. To be quite clear, I was deep in high security space Aura didn’t mark any of the vessels swarming around the base as a direct threat to me, but you can never quite tell what will set off a fanatical follower of the Amarr religion.  I wasn’t about to take any chances, as I had heard some horror stories of the forced conditioning that some of the more… enthusiastic adherents to the religion were willing to carry out. After taking one last look at the gleaming spires of gold, I initiated the long warp back towards the stargate.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Order of St. Tetrimon Fortress Monastery
  • System: Thebeka
  • Security Rating: 0.9
  • Region: Domain
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

Kabar Terraforming Installation

I really hate "Luminarians" but ALAS.
The Kabar terraforming complex.

The Mannar have always stood out a bit in the Federation. One of the founding members of the Federation and one of the largest member races, the Mannar were a bit unusual in that, at the time of first contact with Luminarian explorers, Kabar (Mannar VIII) was not unified under a central world government (although the ethnic Gallente maintained de jure nation-states, city-states, and various other governmental entities, they had long settled into a peaceful status quo under the World Democracy League and other multinational institutions; that system on Gallente Prime lasts to this day. Needless to say, the Caldari differed in, uhh, several respects). Rather, a number of nation-states still existed on Mannar, with many of them hostile to one another in the way that nation-states in geopolitical conflict are.

I'm pretty sure there's a bit of a retcon here. The main Gallente post on the current fiction wiki suggests the slaveholders were wiped out, but the "nascent era" article I link to (which is older), suggests that the nonslaveholders won. I assume the main entry trumps, but it was surprising to see that.
The three-ring station serves as the logistics station for the terraforming effort.

In fact, several of the major nation-states on Mannar still practiced slaveholding at the time of first contact, something anathema to the human rights ethos in slow development across the proto-Federation. In response, the Luminarians attempted to dissuade the major nations from their slaveholding ways by offering advanced technology. The slaveholding nations, well, continued to hold slaves. So the Luminarians instead brought the non-slaveholding nations up to technological equality with the Luminarians, who were there shocked (shocked, I say!) to see those nations use that newly-acquired technology to gang up on the slaveholding nations and declare war. Within a few years, the preferred nations of Mannar were in control, and the Luminarians welcomed them with open arms into the nascent Federation.

Leremblompes is still my favorite system name tbh
The main headquarters station of the terraforming effort.

Mannar’s newly slavefree world continued happily through the next few hundred years. The Federation slowly expanded, the Mannar gobbled up newly discovered worlds, things were grand. But then, 24 years before the Youil Convention and still in the midst of the Gallente-Caldari war, an ecological disaster struck: whether through environmental degradation or an act of biological warfare (many Mannar blamed the Caldari at the time, but no links were ever proven), an insect species fundamental to the Kabar ecosystem went extinct over the course of a few months from a biological contagion of some kind. The collapse came to be known as the Doa dea Kabar, or “Destruction of Home”. The effects of Doa dea Kabar were widespread and calamitous; the entire ecosystem collapsed soon after, despite the best efforts of Federation scientists. Today, Kabar is a barren wasteland, barely capable of supporting life. The Mannar, en masse, moved to Leremblompes II (“Mannar Seginde”, though frankly I think Leremblompes is a cooler name), where the main Mannar nation resides to this day.

The Federation never gave up on Kabar, however, and CONCORD has joined the effort in more recent years, helping with logistics, research, and financial subsidies. To this day, the Federation maintains a significant terraforming effort on and around the world in an attempt to restore the world’s ecosystem. In orbit of the world, a sightseer can find a number of complexes dedicated to the terraforming effort.

First, Aura has this to say about the Kabar Terraforming HQ:

Gallente stations are pretty!

This station is the dedicated headquarters of the Kabar (Mannar VIII) Terraforming Initiative’s operations established to oversee the next phase of the “remedial terraforming” efforts aimed at repairing the devastated biosphere of the planet. President Celes Aguard made Federation backing of this effort a key priority for her administration.

Kabar is the original home world of the Mannar people, a founder member of the Gallente Federation that has continued to be a vital part of the democratic interstellar polity. In BYC24, Kabar was struck by an ecological catastrophe that led to total collapse of the biosphere, eventually rendering the planet barren and barely capable of supporting life. The Mannar call this event the “Doa dea Kabar”. While the event is loosely known as the “Destruction of Mannar” in the Federation and beyond, the name the Mannar give it renders more accurately as “Death of the Heart” or “Destruction of Home”. As a result of this disaster, the bulk of the Mannar population was settled on Leremblompes II, a world that they call “Mannar Seginde”.

Probs my favorite photo in this set? Idk, the angling works well here

The nature of the ecological catastrophe has been the subject of much speculation and controversy. The essence of the matter was the sudden mass extinction of a keystone genus of insects vital to the ecology of the planet. The insects were apparently struck by a plague that rapidly destroyed their populations, leaving vast numbers of plant and animal species dependent on the insects bereft. Despite the efforts of scientists, the plague was not cured and the insects could not be successfully cloned or otherwise replaced. The entire global ecosystem unraveled and the biosphere began to collapse.

The cause of the plague and dramatic global ecosystem collapse is unknown. Fingers were pointed at rival planetary states for a time, but outside sabotage became the main theory, with many Mannar and others in the Federation going so far as to openly blame their Caldari State enemies. This theory drove many Mannar to enlist with the Federation Navy in order to strike back through fighting in the ongoing Gallente-Caldari War. Ultimately, nothing was ever proven and the trigger for the extinction and ecological collapse remains a mystery.

Along with the headquarters, a Kabar Terraforming Logistics Station can be found:

Love me the ring station

This station is the primary logistics and transfer operations facility for the Kabar (Mannar VIII) Terraforming Initiative. Massive amounts of equipment, materials, and large teams of scientists and planetary engineers are constantly moving back and forth. The station has also increased the level of support that the Federation is able to give to the subterranean settlements of Mannar that remained on Kabar after the mass evacuations. While necessarily limited in number, the underground cities and arcologies of Kabar have endured and contribute significantly to the terraforming project.

Also the stark blue of the local star works really well in these shots tbh

CONCORD has continued to support the Federation’s efforts to progress the terraforming of Kabar, following the Joint Federation-CONCORD Ecological Surveying and Joint Exploratory Terraforming Missions. The SCC supports transport and communications efforts with generous material aid and costs subsidies, while the various science and engineering divisions of CONCORD’s vast apparatus are also involved in the logistics of terraforming Kabar.

The last major complex in the area is the Kabar Terraforming Science Facility:

This facility contains the core science programs directed at analyzing the current status of Kabar (Mannar VIII), designing and planning remedial terraforming elements, and running extensive simulations and live testing operations. The terraforming of a barren planet is a massive, lengthy undertaking but the Kabar project is complicated by the history of a pre-existing biosphere and the remnants of life that are capable of surviving on the devastated world.

Some Federation scientists have theorized that Kabar was itself the product of an ancient terraforming project that may have resulted in a too finely balanced ecosystem, fragile and prone to sudden collapse if critical elements should be removed. Some have noted the curious happenstance of an outer planet circling a very hot star developing any kind of complex ecosystem. While this idea remains controversial, the concept has informed the efforts to use terraforming to repair Kabar, with much focus on establishing a robust and flexible ecosystem in the planning.

The main logistical platform, with a number of cargo ships anchored nearby.

Despite the impressive and wide-ranging efforts and impressive specifications, the terraforming orbital complex is, well, a little underwhelming. All three stations are of classic Gallente station design, sitting in close proximity to each other in orbit around Kabar. In addition to the 3 primary stations, 3 planetary transfer stations, using a design similar to those used as customs offices for planetary resource extraction, can be seen continually launching new resources down to the world and receiving shipments of used equipment back. There’s also a landing pad to facilitate the transfer of terraforming equipment and other materials from the rest of the Federation. At the time I visited, a few different cargo transports could be seen docked nearby.

The terraforming complex seeks to reinvigorate a dead world.

In many ways, the Mannar were lucky. In an age where interstellar travel is easy and plentiful, it was thankfully easy to transport the population en masse to Leremblompes. If the environmental collapse had happened only a few hundred years earlier (the blink of an eye, in astronomical terms), all the Luminarians would have found during their survey of the Mannar system was yet another set of ruins on yet another dead planet. Another mystery in a stellar cluster full of them. But the Doa dea Kabar serves as a stark reminder that each temperate planet is a gift that must be treasured, for they hang in a delicate balance. Although the population was able to safely escape, we must strive to maintain that balance on each world we settle, lest all temperate worlds go the way or Kabar.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Kabar Terraforming Installation
  • System: Mannar
  • Security Rating: 0.3
  • Region: Everyshore
  • Potential Hazards: Mannar is located in low security space.  Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.

Reschard V Disaster Memorial

I tried my best with these photos.
The Disaster Memorial in orbit of a devastated planet.

I don’t think I’ve hidden that I’m proud to be a citizen of the Gallente Federation and all that the Federation stands for. Through representative government and a true respect for the dignity of the individual, great things can be accomplished. The potential of the Federation, when it truly respects the ideals it proclaims to respect, is nearly limitless. But, unfortunately, the Federation has strayed from that potential more than I care to think about. Again and again and again, the Federation has proven that it is no more immune to the dark sides of humanity than any of the other Empires scattered across New Eden. And that is truly a shame for a civilization that has so much to aspire to.

A looooot of these photos are going to look similar, lol
A view toward the Reschard sun

One of the most notable regular failings of the Federation is its habit of ignoring the hinterlands of its expanses. Although the Federation is quick to jump to the defense of Luminaire or Algogille, it often forgets that the Federation is far more than those critical systems. The fact that it took until last year to build a direct connection to Solitude from the rest of the Federation is a horrible stain on a government that claims to work for the benefit of all citizens. And don’t even get me started on how the Federation let the Intaki home system, one of the largest constituencies of the Federation and considered a major Federation member, fall to Caldari forces. I don’t agree with the Intaki Liberation Front… but I can’t say I blame them either.

It was not the Federation's finest hour, that's for sure.
A close-up of the hologram above the plinth.

A prime example of this is the failure of the Federation in responding to the Reschard V disaster. In YC108, Reschard V, a fairly small colony on the outskirts of Placid, was devastated by a supermassive explosion. Reports from the Sisters of Eve at the time suggested that nearly 90 percent of surface life was destroyed, a staggering amount of devastation that is nearly impossible to comprehend. Indeed, once relief convoys finally reached the system, only 2,000 survivors were found. It wasn’t until much later, after a detailed analysis, that it was determined that the Equilibrium of Mankind (an otherwise unnotable sect of the Amarrian religion) was responsible, using a captured Avatar-class titan’s doomsday device.

Up the ramp!
A view towards the summit.

And in response to this staggering attack on Federation soil, the Federation did… nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. 15 years after the attack, they put up a basic monument. I suppose that’s something. But given that even primary relief efforts were led by the Sisters of Eve and the mercenary Mordu’s Legion, you’ll forgive me for not being particularly impressed by the efforts. Still, it sounds like the Federation may have finally recognized it’s grave and, frankly, embarrassing failures, as demonstrated by the text put out to any who come to visit the memorial:

This monument serves to remember all those who died in the Reschard V Disaster.

Let not the death of this world be forgotten as we build the Gallente Federation.

Kind of a weird view, at least.

In YC108, the planet of Reschard V was suddenly hit with an electromagnetic doomsday weapon attack. The massive explosion enveloped a huge volume of atmosphere and saturated an entire hemisphere in deadly radiation. The explosive injection of enormous quantities of energy into the atmosphere resulted in global megastorms that raged around the planet. Together with the explosive effects and radiation, the devastating storms killed nearly 90% of surface life, with human survival estimated at one in fifty-thousand.

While it was clear from telemetry that some kind of doomsday weapon had been deployed in the upper atmosphere by a capital ship, it took an investigation headed by CONCORD many months to uncover clear evidence that the Equilibrium of Mankind (EOM) had been behind the attack. The apocalyptic, genocidal cult had used an Avatar-class Titan fitted with an old-style, unrestrained radiative doomsday device. CONCORD did not widely release this information, hoping to prevent a mass panic, but the conclusions slowly leaked and formed the basis of rumors that were quietly acknowledged as true.

The fate of the EOM’s Avatar remained a mystery subject to much speculation until May YC123, when it was used by Equilibrium agent and Khanid warlord Alar Chakaid to bombard the planet Kahah III with a modified directed-energy weapon of the newer type. Although it was destroyed over Kahah III, CONCORD analysts have suggested that scans of the EOM Avatar indicate significant repairs to the frontal sections of the massive vessel. Some have speculated that feedback effects from firing a heavily-modified old-style doomsday close to a planetary atmosphere could have destroyed the weapon and severely damaged the Titan.

Another kind of weird view

The Reschard V Disaster was considered a huge failure both of territorial security and disaster response on the Federation’s part. The Sisters of EVE played a major role in the early rescue efforts but by the time substantial Federation resources arrived at the remote low-security system it was far too late for most inhabitants of the planet. Independent capsuleers proved themselves to be both angels of mercy and demons of destruction, as some supported relief efforts, while others actually hunted and destroyed relief convoys. Later search and rescue operations were to recover some 2,000 survivors from deep subterranean caves. Those lucky few beat odds that tens of millions of other Reschard colonists were unable to overcome.

The Gallente Federation’s lackluster response to a monumental humanitarian crisis on the edge of its domains was noted by many planets around its periphery, and the Reschard V incident surely contributed to a growing political movement demanding more equable treatment for the outer regions of the Gallente polity. This powerful current in the politics of the Federation was ultimately a major factor in the election of President Celes Aguard in YC122.

I probably should know which way the eagle "should" point, but I will admit that I don't.
Another view of the plinth.

The monument itself is a plinth that has become standard in recent years. The hologram above the plinth is a classic Federation eagle; a somewhat odd design choice given that the text makes it clear that the Federation responded poorly to the disaster. The plinth orbits the still devastated Reschard V, a barren planet on which no life can be seen from orbit, even 15 years later. I will be the first to admit that it’s a pretty dreary place, all told. That is probably the point, if I’m being honest.

A classic Eve Travel ending shot, I know.
A monument to failure.

I didn’t spend much time looking at this monument. The failures that it represents still touch a little too close to home. But I’m glad that the Federation has begun to acknowledge the errors here, and the atrocities that resulted from those errors, and it seems that the behemoth that is the federal government has finally started to recognize that citizens on the frontier are worth just as much as those who live in the heart of Caille. It’s an understanding that has been far too long in the making, but let’s hope that this is a lesson that sticks.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Reschard V Disaster Memorial
  • System: Reschard
  • Security Rating: 0.1
  • Region: Placid
  • Potential Hazards: Reschard is located in low security space.  Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.

Battle of Iyen-Oursta Monument

Yes, I have finally embraced the unfortunate fame I've accrued around the Children, lol
The Battle of Iyen-Oursta monument.

Let’s be honest here, I am indelibly linked to Iyen-Oursta in the public’s mind. My (unfortunately) continuing quest to view the Children of Light has spawned no small amount of continued mocking, even nearly a decade later, and after some initial misgivings I have learned to embrace the ridiculousness of the situation. I didn’t exactly mean for my quest to see the fabled Lights to become as well-known (or as long) as it had, but the irony of being the Pilot Who Takes Pictures of Notable Things being unable, after nearly a decade of searching, to see the Children of Light is not lost on me, particularly when it seems to appear to others on a fairly regular basis. Such is the cross I must bear in life, apparently.

Like, I couldn't talk about Iyen-Oursta WITHOUT starting off with the Children... right?
The Monument sits in low orbit around Iyen-Oursta VIII.

And yet the Children of Light, and its subsequent association with me, is not the system’s initial claim to fame. Well before Lumin effect was well-known, and far before I was born (much less, became a capsuleer), the system was the site of the climactic battle in the Gallente-Caldari war. The battle featured one of the first head-on collisions between the new tech that each side had developed over the course of the war: on the Gallente side, the drones that the Gallente developed to counter Caldari fighters and that the Gallente are known for to this day, and on the Caldari side, the new-fangled capsule technology gifted to the Caldari by the Jove. Not that I would know anything about that. After the 15-hour slugfest in which the Gallente held the system but the Caldari inflicted heavy losses, the war settled into a strategic stalemate and mostly lost its urgency, though it took another 20 years for a CONCORD-brokered peace to officially end it.

Last summer, the Gallente constructed a small monument to mark the battle in Iyen-Oursta. Aura provides considerably more details on the importance of the battle:

This monument marks the sacrifice of all those who died or were injured in the Battle of Iyen-Oursta.

Let peace prevail and nevermore war darken these stars.

The climactic battle of the Gallente-Caldari War was fought over the system of Iyen-Oursta in late BYC10. An outlying colony system that had attempted to remain neutral in what was effectively an interstellar civil war, Iyen-Oursta was viewed as strategically important by both the Gallente and Caldari. Inevitably, both sides moved to secure the system for their own and a major battle was the result. The battle is historically notable as the first battle in which capsule-controlled vessels were used in large numbers by a non-Jovian empire.

Both sides were confident of victory and thus were willing to throw everything they had into the battle. The Gallente committed a huge armada of drones and their carrier vessels. The Caldari deployed their latest advanced frigates, newly-equipped with the capsule technology provided them by the Jove. The ensuing battle was the second-largest seen in New Eden to date, eclipsed in scale and destruction only by the Battle of Vak-Atioth fought between the Amarr and Jove.

The Battle of Iyen-Oursta raged for a whole day, with running engagements across the system as each side attempted to strike a decisive blow. During a lapse in the action following 15 hours of constant fighting, the Caldari withdrew their remaining forces in good order, leaving the battlefield to the Gallente drone fleets. The Federation naturally claimed victory as the side retaining control of the system. The Caldari also claimed victory on the basis of inflicting considerably greater losses on the Gallente heavy vessels than their own frigate fleets had received.

Strategically, while the Gallente achieved their objective, it had come at a much higher price than they had anticipated. For their part, the Caldari had counted on capsule-controlled frigates to give them a clear edge but were unable to press the advantage. Ultimately, the Caldari frigates were able to block subsequent attempts by the Gallente to mount decisive offensives, but they could not overwhelm the sheer industrial capacity of the Federation and its ability to rebuild drone fleets.

With a swift victory elusive and no way to break the strategic stalemate, the Gallente-Caldari War turned into a long, distant series of skirmishes along the borders and in disputed systems. Life in core systems became focused on rebuilding the State and Federation, while maintaining enough of a war effort to satisfy patriotic sentiment on both sides. There was little thought of suing for peace and the war faded into the background, sometimes reduced to a cold stalemate, sometimes erupting in some limited border struggle.

In the end, the state of war was reduced to a formality, with even the occasional raiding winding down as the core empires became focused on the foundation of CONCORD and the establishment of interstellar agreements. By YC12, it was clear to CONCORD diplomats that a peace agreement could be brokered. Six months of talks bore fruit as it became clear that neither side wished to continue the war, and certainly nobody wished to have another Battle of Iyen-Oursta. With the Treaty of Tierijev peace was signed in that other oft-disputed system, but in reality Iyen-Oursta was the system where the Gallente-Caldari War truly ended.

A view from the surface of the holo-projector.

The monument plinth itself is of standard modern design, with the monument base working its way up to a large holographic projector at the top. The hologram shows one hand grasping another in a sign of friendship: an admittedly odd choice for a few reasons. First, the symbolism is a bit defeated by the iconic Gallente eagle declaring victory above the clasped hands. Second, although the Gallente and Caldari tolerate each other these days, I would hardly call them friends. Indeed, war (of a sort) still rages, even if it’s heavily regulated under the CONCORD Emergency Militia War Powers Act.  The entire structure sits in a low orbit over Iyen-Oursta VIII, giving a spectacular view both of the habitable planet in system and the Gallente nebula complex.

Caroline’s Star looms prominently in the background.

Although its initial role in history has now been subsumed under more recent events (and glowy stargate effects, even if I may never see them), the importance of the battle of Iyen-Oursta in establishing the modern interstellar order should not be forgotten. The battle ultimately led to peace being declared by both sides, even if it was an uncomfortable one. And it introduced into battle something that each pilot today takes for granted: the capsule. Finally, brokering that peace was the first time that CONCORD truly flexed its diplomatic muscles, leading to the rise of the defining institution of the modern era… other than us capsuleers, of course. Although the Children of Light (and my obsession with it over the years) may have mostly stolen the spotlight in the system, at least this vital system remains firmly within the public eye.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Battle of Iyen-Oursta Monument
  • System: Iyen-Oursta
  • Security Rating: 0.8
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.