Sightseeing in the Cluster

Machine Head

Machine Head 1

The abandoned research station originally focused on antimatter research.

One of the things that has always impressed (and depressed) me about New Eden is the sheer amount of ways we’ve invented to kill someone or make their ship blow up. We have self-propelled missiles to fling damage across space. Autocannons and artillery shoot old-fashioned projectiles that can smash a ship’s armor to shreds. Lasers zap destructive power across the entirety of the electromagnetic spectrum. Railguns use magnets to accelerate projectiles to nearly the speed of light that can pierce armor and bodies alike. And, of course, each empire has taken its weapons system of choice to the logical extreme in creating the 4 types of doomsday weapons. Given the sheer variety of weapons systems, ammos, and strategies in the Cluster, just about everyone can have their own personal way to make something explode.

Machine Head 2

One of the ships that has set up station in the nearby field of asteroids.

There is one form of death that I’m surprised isn’t used more. Its destructive power is unequaled, seeing as how it can convert matter into pure energy through the wonders of physics. I’m talking, of course, about antimatter, which is a curious concept if you think about it. A universe made of antimatter would be indistinguishable from our own, and yet the moment that it encounters regular matter, they completely annihilate each other, transforming into pure energy thanks to our dear friend, E = mc2. Of course, that’s not to say antimatter isn’t used at all. Railguns can use some ammo with antimatter in it, as does the Gallente doomsday device. And strangely, although most ships use aneutronic fusion for their power plants, certain Amarr capital ships apparently utilize the much rarer (and presumably more dangerous) antimatter reactors to help power their vessels. Given the apparent predilection for the Gallente and the Amarr to use antimatter technology, it seems a bit odd then that the foremost antimatter researcher in the Cluster was found in Minmatar space. Today, his research labs are a mere shadow of their former glory, having fallen into disrepair during the Minmatar Rebellion. Still, they’ve survived the past 100 some odd years since the Rebellion, and are worthy of mentioning. As Aura explains:

Machine Head 3When scientists first started serious research on anti-matter there was a public outcry over the supposed dangers this entailed. Thus, the first anti-matter laboratories were forced out into space. One such laboratory was constructed here in the Hjoramold system during the Amarr occupation, headed by the renown scientist Dr. Hydar Perdikan.

The laboratory was at the forefront of anti-matter research for decades, but was closed shortly before the Minmatar Rebellion. Dr. Perdikan refused to leave his lab though and lived there for the rest of his days. He started to dabble in cybernetics and implants and used many of his inventions on himself. He survived the rebellion and was left alone by the Minmatars, as he was considered harmless. Some called him Dr. Hermit, but he was better known as Machine Head. He has not been heard from in almost 50 years, his remains probably still lie in the ruins of his old lab.

Machine Head 4

The scavenger colony can be seen poking out of the station's docking port.

Apparently the labs suffered a classic case of NIMBY: Not In My Back Yard. These are items that have a universal use, but no one wants to live particularly close by them. The most traditional example is a garbage dump. Everyone makes garbage, everyone uses trash services, but they’d prefer not to see that junk out of their backyards. Of course, antimatter research is slightly more dangerous than merely bad odors, even if it could be just as useful. Even fusion can’t match the sheer efficiency of a true antimatter reactor, and a safe and stable reactor could provide significant power increases, which is always useful to a pilot looking for that last megawatt of powergrid. In any case, until the technology WAS stable, it was understandable to keep research into it offworld, where any mistakes would only lead to destruction of nearby structures as opposed to significant ecological damage.

Machine Head 5

A closer up view of the scavenger colony.

Surprisingly, the lab itself was Amarr in design. Well, perhaps that wasn’t surprising. Though historical records are a bit sparse, it seems likely that Dr. Perdikan was in fact Amarr and his research funded by the Amarr. It makes sense that the Amarr would want to isolate such research from the Empire as much as possible, so putting it into Minmatar space makes perfect sense from their point of view (while still assuring the local Nefantar administration that the station was an honor, I’m sure). It would certainly fit Amarrian behavior. Of course, it’s entirely possible that the good Doctor was actually Minmatar, meaning his research was just subsidized by the Empire. The fact that he chose to stay in Republic space after the Rebellion at least suggests he probably had Minmatar sympathies (or that he was one of those scientists so completely absorbed by his research that he didn’t recognize what was going on in the broader world, I suppose).

Machine Head 6

The other main ship that can often be found near the colony.

With the lab apparently abandoned for over 50 years, however, the station has certainly seen better days. As is usual in New Eden, the structure itself has been picked bare, leaving only the main superstructure of the station. Given the fact that the entire area wasn’t a gamma-irradiated wasteland, it seems safe to assume that all antimatter in the lab was either safely disposed of or stolen by pirates who managed to not blow themselves up. If there are any remaining antimatter caches, my sensors didn’t pick it up.

While the lab itself may be dead, however, the surrounding areas showed signs of life. Indeed, the station’s salvage was apparently so lucrative that local scavengers saw it profitable to establish a full-fledged colony here. Sitting partially within the station near it’s massive dock/undock port, the colony itself is a hodge-podge of asteroids hollowed out and tied together by a series of tubes. A number of other asteroids had also been towed near the vicinity of the station, probably for raw materials in use on the station. I’m not sure how much lucrative salvage was still left on the station (my sensors didn’t detect anything), but they certainly have yet to move on. Indeed, there were even a few ships nearby that seemed to make this station their home port.

Machine Head 7

Remains of radiation? Random nebula? We may never know.

I took a few minutes wandering around the station. Though Dr. Perdikan’s name has been well-recorded in the history books, his research results seemed less so. Antimatter-based technology as a whole still seems to be in its infancy. “Infancy” here meaning still devoted purely to killing things as opposed to more constructive uses… a surprisingly large number of technologies got their start in a similar matter. Necessity, they say, is the mother of all invention, and in a war-torn cluster like New Eden, there is often little more necessary than killing the enemy. Indeed, I would not be surprised if within the foreseeable, antimatter on its own became a fifth major weapons system in New Eden. After all, we can always use more ways to kill one another.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Machine Head
  • System: Hjoramold
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.

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