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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
I’m right there with ya… never seen the lights either
February 20, 2022 at 5:51 pm