Governments. You expect them to, well, govern you. Provide necessary services, protect you from threats. It’s all part of the social compact: you agree to submit to the government’s authority in exchange for that government keeping you safe and healthy. According to some political theorists, in fact, this social compact is the source of the government’s authority. In fact, keeping its citizenry safe (from threats both external and internal) is perhaps the most important service that a modern day government provides. And in maintaining a nation’s safety, I, and most people, understand that some… questionable choices must sometimes be made in order to maintain the balance between safety and liberty. I may not always agree with the choices made, but I do understand that there are broader issues at work.
Of course, it normally does not need to be said that in providing governmental services, we expect of modicum of competence. We’re all just human, of course, but in providing for Gallente national security, I would expect the Federation to not make idiotic moves or mistakes. Ethically questionable? Sure, especially with the rise of the Black Eagles and other national security institutions. But I’d like to think that, if nothing else, the professionals we hire to safeguard our nation’s closest-held secrets have a bare minimum of common sense. After all, President Roden created one of the premiere ship-building companies in the Cluster from basically his bare hands. How hard could it be?
So, of course, my faith in governmental institutions was severely tested by my discovery in Noghere, a system in Essence not far from the Caldari border. There, a cursory glance at the system’s beacons will display an “Unmarked Operation,” run by the Gallente government in full view of anyone who passes through the system. Now, don’t get me wrong, when you’re establishing a site crucial to national security, it’s not necessarily possible to keep a site secret. After all, spy agencies need headquarters and its not necessarily possible to keep such a headquarters secret. But you would think that you’d at least not broadcast its existence not only throughout the star system, but on CONCORD controlled maps as well. Not only that, but the site does not appear to be protected or secured at all. The only thing warning you away is a brief message you receive upon warping to the site:
Please be advised:
We are here to protect the citizens of the Gallente Federation. Do not be alarmed by our presence, and please carry on with your daily activities.
Being, in fact, quite alarmed at the state of Gallente security, I dropped out of warp at the site. If I hadn’t known what the site was ostensibly for, I would actually find it quite beautiful. It’s dominated by what appears to be two listening posts, which slowly comb the space surrounding Noghere, no doubt searching for stray Caldari signals. Strange devices were attached to the end of each listening post, glowing an odd shade of blue. Neither I nor sensors could make heads or tails of the devices, and it struck me as something that the Federation would PROBABLY want to keep secret, if it had any kind of common sense. But alas, here was a civilian photographer taking pictures of a government operation and unknown technologies.
Beyond the two listening posts, the entire area is pretty quiet. A few smaller Gallente vessels can be seen ferrying equipment and personnel back and forth. I would normally say they also secured the site, but given what I’ve seen so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had orders to shoot each other instead of other ships should hostiles invade the area. Between the two listening posts, a rather sizeable bunker floated, no doubt housing the operations’ staff and administration complex. In a vain attempt to cover their tracks, the government appears to have towed a sizeable asteroid to the complex, probably thinking it was a foolproof way to hide the site from prying eyes.
As I looked over the site, I realized that perhaps I was being too hard on Federation authorities. Still, it was difficult to figure out precisely what the Federation hoped to accomplish by making the site so blatant. If it was perhaps a tad more difficult to find, I would think that it was meant as a diversion or counter-intelligence operation to distract the Federation’s enemies. But even the Amarr would realize that the Federation is simply trying too hard here to make the site obvious. Or perhaps this is just a public relations site: meant to show the citizenry that the government is Doing Something to protect it from the Caldari menace. Whatever the reason, the fact that this site was even conceived disabused me strongly of the notion that governments should ever, ever be run by bureaucrats. They just don’t exactly ooze competency, it seems. Perhaps they should just be left to running symoposia and be done with it.
- Attraction: Unmarked Operation
- System: Noghere
- Security Rating: 0.7
- Region: Essence
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.