Foul Creek Ranch
Stargates are remarkable pieces of equipment. One moment, you’re sitting in Jita, minding your own business. Then, the gate activates, and for a single moment in time, your ship literally disappears from existence. Where it goes, scientists have never quite been able to determine, but “the universe” is not part of that answer, at least for that split fraction of a moment in time when you’re traveling through the gate. And then, faster than you can blink, you suddenly appear 2.1 light-years away in Perimeter. That is an astounding distance. Light, that ever familiar benchmark, takes over two years to make its way to Perimeter. Even traveling at the standard 3 AU/second (roughly 1500 times the speed of light), a ship would take approximately 12 hours to travel that distance. But instead, thanks to the magic of stargates, we traverse that distance in less than a second.
The mechanics of the gate are actually fairly straightforward, even though they may seem like magic to those who aren’t familiar with the underlying gate functions. Essentially, however, we learned (thanks to those civilizations that have come before us who left remarkably intact gates in the various homeworld systems) how to create artificial wormholes well before the “natural” variety began appearing after the Seyllin incident. It turns out some areas of space are more susceptible to wormhole formation than others. Space where gravitational waves come together – so-called gravitational nodes – from two massive bodies (generally two stars are the only masses sufficient to form a long term stable connection) suffer from enough gravitational shear that it is fairly easy to “pierce” through the local spacetime fabric. If that hole happens to form while another one happens to form in a nearby system, the two rips are drawn to each other, and eventually the stargate can be formed and stabilized.
Most of the suitable locations for stargates have been taken up by the stargate network we have grown to know and love. But there are still suitable, if not ideal, locations all throughout most of known space, even in the more densely populated core worlds. These lesser known stargate sites are often settled by private concerns once the government is happy with the stargate network in the area, in hopes that they will develop into a bustling waypoint. As you might expect, these types of settlements are rarely successful. One of these failed colonies can be found in Otomainen, at the somewhat oddly named Foul Creek Ranch. One can’t help but wonder what would have become of the place if they hadn’t picked such an odiferous name (not to mention referring to a non-existent creek in space). It’s a shame that the experiment failed, though, since Otomainen is a cul-de-sac system, with only one way in or out. Who knows what would have happened if the system turned into a vital trade route or thoroughfare. Unfortunately, the name appears to be the only thing that stuck to the area, as neither settlers nor travelers nor isk certainly did. As Aura (whom seems to be letting sentimentalism get the better of her) explains:
This debris-cluttered field is yet another example of dashed dreams and dead hopes that litter the Okkelen constellation. While few would take succour from so desolate surroundings one can only hope that the souls huddled here at least take past failures to heart and strive to do better. Like survive.
The area is indeed very cluttered. Space can rarely be defined as “claustrophobic,” but the Ranch is certainly trying its best to earn that particular title. The entire area is suffused with a rather dreary and brown dust cloud, perhaps the pulverized remains of some of the rocks brought in for construction of the site. Other asteroids can be seen nearby, some still with usable minerals for the odd capsuleer looking for a change in scenery from the ordinary asteroid belt. Although the dust clouds themselves are fairly dreary, they combine nicely with the backdrops near the Ranch. The dark blue of the Lonetrek nebula contrasts nicely with the reddish tones in Otomainen, giving the dust clouds an almost rainbow like appearance when viewed from the correct angles. Unfortunately, the “correct angles” are very narrow indeed, and in almost all other views, the grayish-brown dust clouds detract rather than add to the scene. A few denizens have also taken up residence near the Ranch, ready to offer missions to any that come their way.
The Ranch is dominated by the abandoned ruins of a Caldari station. The age of the station isn’t entirely clear from scans, but given how quickly New Eden scavengers act, the station could be only a few days old to even decades. In any case, as usual, the station was picked clean of anything remotely approaching the realm of the “useful,” leaving nothing but the decaying hulk of the superstructure. More interesting to me, however, was the nearby remains of the stargate that formed the original basis of the site. Intriguingly, the gate is of Gallente design: the rotating rings contrasting sharply with the harsh utilitarian lines of the former Caldari station. The gate clearly has some power generators still active as well, as evidenced by the orange sparks parts of the gate gives off every few seconds. However, its companion gate, wherever it was, is probably just as dilapidated, meaning that the gate certainly won’t be returning to functionality soon, if ever.
I didn’t spend much time here. The site gave off a very sad, desolate feeling, despite the proximity of the area to the heart of Caldari space. The contradictions continued as the densely packed area felt empty. Not to mention that I didn’t want to particularly research which grisly end the original inhabitants of the Ranch came to. I contented myself with enjoying the many sites that the area had to offer before heading on. As I approached the gate to Ihakana, I wondered where the gate at the Ranch originally headed, and what became of the system on the other side, but figured it was probably best not to ask. Despite seeming near magical, it seems that stargates aren’t a panacea to all of our problems.
- Attraction: Foul Creek Ranch
- System: Otomainen
- Security Rating: 0.5
- Region: The Forge
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Caldari, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
- Additional Notes: This also serves as a Caldari COSMOS site. Furthermore, some asteroids here are capable of being mined.