Sightseeing in the Cluster

R55 Colonial Ruins


The Professor explores the ruins of an old colony

Space is a harsh place to live. Even beyond the obvious issues of possible explosive decompression, space is a dangerous place to live. There is a constant threat of possible stellar activity (though, as we’ve learned in recent years, that is not necessarily a danger to only those living in space), pirate raids, or just generally having the bulkhead next to you disappear. For humans to have colonized space as much as we have, though, there has to be something that keeps calling us out here. Something that makes all of the potential dangers worth it. For some, it’s the thrill of exploration. For others, it’s the idea of nearly unfettered freedom.


An overview of the R55 Colony Complex

For many, though, what draws them to space is not nearly as high-minded. Not that there’s anything wrong with being driven to earn money beyond most people’s wildest dreams, of course. While not everyone has what it takes to be a capsuleer, many people make their way out among the stars either through working on a naval or capsuleer ship, or through corporate sponsorship of a new station or colony. These massive stations are familiar to every capsuleer. They’re corporate havens, where the laws of planetary jurisdictions simply don’t apply. Many corporations and alliances rush to create these stations as soon as possible to more fully direct their own corporate endeavours.


The Professor flies past a still active plasma vent

Lai Dai, of course, has a number of these stations set up throughout Caldari space and beyond. One of their lesser-known stations today lies out in the dead end system of Isie, in a somewhat isolated area of Lonetrek. Lai Dai had decided to expand its operations into biotechnology, which even today is a hot field of research. They set up a massive colony complex, with not just a standard Caldari station, but a number of supporting research complexes bored into asteroids nearby. For a few years, it appeared that the R55 complex was going to be enough to catapult Lai Dai to the forefront of Caldari research in the field.


The station and nearby research platforms are surrounded by a toxic cloud, the remnants of biochemical research

A few years into operation, however, an accident crippled the station, resulting in a leak of a toxic combination of chemicals that forced Lai Dai to abandon the station. From what I could tell from GalNet and sensor readings, the chemicals corroded a number of critical environmental systems that would have been too costly to replace, forcing evacuation of the entire complex. I tried to find out exactly how many people died before and during the evacuation. Professor Science’s sensors were picking a potent combination of chemicals that would kill most people incredibly quickly. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most attempts to delve into the deep background of the abandoned colony proved fruitless, as the information was hidden behind Lai Dai’s corporate firewalls.


Two of the nearby Asteroid Constructs that housed additional research platforms

Today, the R55 Complex stands in surprisingly good condition. The toxic stew of chemicals still hangs around everything, giving the entire area a rather ghastly green glow. Some of the equipment is still working, as evidenced by the fact that the plasma vent still shoots out puffs of the ionized gas every few seconds on one of the research labs, adding to the toxic soup surrounding the site. Indeed, except for the lack of any particular local traffic, I would have guessed that the site is still active.

I spent a few minutes looking around the site, taking it in. The toxic soup gives a hauntingly beautiful backdrop to the entire site, shrouding the massive station in its mists. As with so many things out here, the most captivating things are often the most dangerous.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: R55 Colonial Ruins
  • System: Isie
  • Security Rating: 0.4
  • Region: Lonetrek
  • Potential Hazards: Getting to Isie involves low sec travel.  Pirates and gate camps should be expected.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.

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