Editor’s note: CCP heavily revamped the Traumark Installation in YC123 (that’s 2021 for you non-lore-speakers). This entry chronicles how the site looks after the revamp, but if you’d like to see the original entry as it dates from YC112 (2010!), please click here.
I don’t believe in ghosts, much less space ghosts.
It’s critical that I am clear on this particular point given today’s entry. I don’t. Believe. In space ghosts.
But if I did believe in space ghosts, and if I was forced to pick one location in space where they absolutely, positively, 100 percent lived, I would definitely pick the creepy abandoned fortress surrounded by dark, spooky clouds filled with flashes of blood red lightning and also plenty of Sansha cybernetic zombies. Yeah, that sounds about right.
I don’t believe in space ghosts. And, just to prove it, I repeated it to myself. Over and over and over again as I explored the ruins of Old Traumark, who fit the description above to a T. But it’s fine, it’s not like I was scared or anything, because I don’t believe in space ghosts, you see. Just like I told myself. Repeatedly.
As is appropriate for most sites that definitely are not haunted (they can’t be! Because ghosts aren’t real!), the old Traumark Installation used to be a crown jewel for expansion of the Tash-Murkon royal family. Meant to serve as a bulwark of civilization against the untamed systems of Stain one jump out, Traumark was long thought to be impregnable against anything that Sansha or anyone else from Stain could throw at it. That conceit ended up being… erroneous on the Tash-Murkon Family’s part.
Aura explains a bit further:
The Old Traumark Installation was formerly a massive fortress guarding the southern space territories of the vastly rich Tash-Murkon royal family. At its height it represented the proudest moment in the history of the Tash-Murkon and a symbol of their commitment to progress and development. Yet that proud moment came and went, for the fortress, once thought to be impregnable, fell into the hands of Sansha’s Nation
Over the subsequent years several attempts were made to recapture and renovate the installation, however each attempt was stymied by the entrenched Sansha forces. The close proximity to Stain allowed Nation reinforcements to arrive with little warning, and the stations themselves were riddled with booby traps and infested by numerous cybernetically-augmented True Slave soldiers.
After these failed attempts to recapture the ruins, the pragmatic Tash-Murkons eventually changed their approach and chose to build a new Traumark Installation at a nearby location. Now two versions of the great southern fortress exist just a short warp away from each other: a bright shining facility that represents the best of Amarr progress and might, and the ruined fortification that serves as an ever-present reminder of that might’s limits.
Old Traumark consisted of 3 stations of familiar Amarr design. The Sansha have maintained the superstructures of those stations (surprisingly, the stations don’t have so much a single added spike to their design), but beyond the familiar shapes you might never guess that the Amarr ever controlled the station. Sansha ships constantly patrol the space between and around the stations. Pervading the entire area are dark clouds that nearly blot out distant Saminer. I can’t quite tell where the clouds came from. Perhaps its just debris that the Sansha have simply kicked into space as they maintained the stations over the years. Perhaps a particularly thick dust cloud moved into the area. Perhaps it’s simply the malevolent intent of the Sansha and their dark goals made manifest.
One thing I can definitely guarantee that the dark clouds are not: a ghostly miasma. Because, as I feel the need to remind myself consistently, ghosts aren’t real.
Either way, as I watch the scene, I find myself needing to reiterate that refrain even more. For between the stations, and between particularly dense patches of the dark and spooky clouds, lightning can be seen flickering within the depths. Lightning in space is a relatively rare occurrence, but not uncommon. What is uncommon, however, about this particular brand of space lightning is the color: a dark, blood red. If I hadn’t known that the Sansha were the ones that controlled the area, I would have expected Blood Raiders in the area given the overall motif.
I admittedly did not spend a lot of time looking over the scene. Not because I was afraid of ghosts or anything of the sort (I’m a sensible, rational individual and the concept is patently ridiculous, you see), but because afraid of one of the roaming Sansha patrols accidentally decloaking me in my unarmed Professor Science. And also because I wasn’t sure of the effect of getting hit by the blood red lightning. And also because I was really, truly interested in examining the modern fortress installation that could be found nearby. And so I after I got a sense of the site and snapped a few images from my camera drones, I set course away from the Ruins of Old Traumark.
And away from the ghosts that definitely don’t exist.
- Attraction: The Ruins of Old Traumark
- System: Saminer
- Security Rating: 0.3
- Region: Tash-Murkon
- Potential Hazards: Saminer is located in low security space. Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended. There definitely aren’t any ghosts around, at least, because there’s no such thing as ghosts.
Towering cathedrals. Gleaming golden spires spread over dozens, if not hundreds, of square kilometers. Bustling, luminous starships everywhere you turn. You might be forgiven for thinking you were at the very heart of the empire in Amarr, just a few kilometers off the Emperor Family station in orbit of Amarr VIII. Instead, I found myself 3 jumps out from the Amarr homeworld, in the distant outskirts of the Thebeka system. Surrounded by over 220 AU of complete nothingness and the nearly 250 AU-distant local star merely a glint of starlight on the many towering cathedrals, the Order of St. Tetrimon Fortress Monastery is an imposing sight and a striking reminder of the power of the fanatical orthodox sect of the Amarr religion.
Founded nearly two millennia ago, the titular St. Tetrimon (born Inire Ardishapur) earned his sainthood in the most Amarrian of fashions: by killing an emperor who also happened to be his grandfather. To be quite fair, the emperor, Zaragram II, probably deserved it, given that even today he is known as the Mad Emperor. Zaragram II is probably best well-known today for attempting to construct the City of God in Shastal, a disastrous engineering project meant solely to stoke Zaragram’s own ego and proclaim how great he was. It didn’t work. But beyond his poorly-thought-out engineering projects, Zaragram II also attempted to rewrite the Amarrian religion, rewriting the sacred Scriptures as he went to give even greater power to the Emperor. Plenty of clerics disagreed with the rewrites and other changes being proclaimed by Zaragram II, but it was Inire who sought to solve the problem permanently. As he plunged the dagger into his grandfather, he allegedly yelled “a manu dei e tet rimon”, which roughly translates to “I am the devoted hand of the divine God” in ancient Amarr. A new saint was born.
Since its founding, the Order (some call it a cult) has dedicated itself to restoring the Scriptures to its original, pre-Zaragram II state. Unsurprisingly given its initial mission, the Order since its founding has served to maintain the orthodoxy of the Amarr religion; it frequently objects to any attempts to modernize or update the religion. Its power over the years has waxed and waned, but its impressive fortress monastery in Thebeka demonstrates that even at the lowest ebb of its power, the Order is a force to be reckoned with in Amarr society. Indeed, even Aura seemed to be stepping lightly as she collated relevant information for me as I dropped out of warp at the monastery:
This heavily fortified monastery serves as a regional chapterhouse for the Order of St. Tetrimon in Domain. As a major base for this powerful religious and military order, it is defended by fanatical followers of the Tetrimon’s radical scriptural, theocratic, and militarist doctrines.
The construction of this fortress monastery within the Thebeka system was made possible by Royal Heir Arim Ardishapur who sees the Tetrimon as valuable allies on the politically conservative and religiously militant side of the struggle for the future of the Amarr Empire. Order of St. Tetrimon military forces were involved in putting down a number of slave rebellions in Ardishapur domains, including a major uprising in the Thebeka system. The construction of this fortress monastery in the system marks that service and underlines the political alliance between House Ardishapur and the Order.
Although the monastery is officially sanctioned by the local Ardishapur authorities, many observers have noted the Order’s choice to construct their facility at the very outer reaches of the Thebeka system, far from the populated inner planets and public space stations. This choice of location is viewed as a clear signal that the Order of St. Tetrimon continues to see itself standing apart from the temporal politics of the Empire, with its mission distinct, deeply spiritual, and remaining fully inspired by the example of St. Tetrimon.
The Order was founded in 21460 AD in the name of St. Tetrimon, an Ardishapur noble who assassinated his grandfather the Emperor Zaragram II, in response to the increasingly megalomaniac and heretical actions of the “Mad Emperor”. The Order of St. Tetrimon was tasked by the Council of Apostles with the role of preserving the original Amarr Scriptures and purging all apocryphal and non-canon texts, which included the majority of Zaragram II’s decrees. This mission later brought the Order into tension with the dominant powers of the Amarr Empire during the era of the “Moral Reforms” that began in 21875 AD. This tension grew until 22762 AD, when the Order of St. Tetrimon was officially suppressed by the Imperial authorities. Surviving members of the Order fled to the Khanid Kingdom where they received political protection.
During this time in exile, the Order of St. Tetrimon worked to increase their martial strength and increased their militarism to ensure that they would be able to defend their beliefs if another conflict erupted. This served them well when the Minmatar Rebellion began in 23216 AD. The Order reached an agreement with Emperor Heideran VII as Amarr forces were overstretched by the spreading rebellion. The Order would be allowed to once again travel through the Empire freely in return for assistance against Minmatar forces. In subsequent decades, ships flying Tetrimon colours became much feared by the young Republic Fleet for their fearless attacks and the suicidal fury shown by their pilots.
During the remaining reign of Heideran VII the Tetrimon were left untouched, on the understanding that they would not attempt to undermine Emperor’s authority. The agreement did not survive under Heideran’s successor Doriam II, a ruler with liberal views and a history of releasing slaves. Increasing conflict with the Theology Council during Doriam II’s YC105-107 reign led to the Order of St. Tetrimon being suppressed once more following a political struggle that involved several Royal Houses and even capsuleers. Returning to their secluded fastnesses in the Khanid Kingdom and beyond, the Order remained relatively quiescent during the Karsoth Interregnum, building its strength and continuing its mission.
Following the Elder Fleet Invasion of the Amarr Empire in YC110, and the return and coronation of Empress Jamyl I, the Order of St. Tetrimon welcomed the new Amarr ruler and pledged its continuing fealty to the Holy Amarr Empire. Upon the death of Empress Jamyl I in YC117, the Order returned to the Empire as a neutral arbiter and guardian of the Imperial Succession process, in an Empire that had become deeply factionalized and corrupted by “Red Chamberlain” Dochuta Karsoth’s rule.
During the rule of Empress Catiz I, the fortunes of the Order of St. Tetrimon have continued to improve. Under the leadership of Grand Master Khemon Dulsur an-Tetrimon, the Order has established a role as a force useful for seeking out and suppressing rebellion and heresy. Increasing conflict across New Eden has revitalized the “Religious Reclaimer” tendency among the Amarr Empire’s powerful nobility and brought support for the Order. Militant and conservative houses such as the Ardishapur and Sarum have forged cordial relations with the Tetrimon, in an Amarr Empire with royal houses, powerful ministries, and religious factions carefully balanced against one another by a relatively new Empress.
I was surprised to discover that the monastery in Thebeka was only a regional chapterhouse for the order. Its grandiosity and the bustle of nearby ships could be mistaken for the main headquarters of the Order. The main structure is a grand building of classic Amarr design: a soaring structure with two main towers clad in gold that very much evokes the feelings of an Amarr cathedral that wouldn’t be out of place in the heart of Dam-Torsad, the capital city on Amarr. The gently curving twin towers are surrounded by a golden ring that emphasizes the “fortress” side of the fortress monastery, making it feel as if the central cathedral is surrounded by a protective moat.
Serving as a sort of “honor guard” leading up to the main structure are 11 pairs of smaller, though no less resplendent, structures. The smaller structures, all of identical design, reminded me of nothing so much as giant golden apostrophes. The space apostrophes appear to serve as the main spacedock facilities for the base here, as well as the barracks. My assumptions are apparently confirmed by the numerous Paladin- and Zealot-class ships that can be seen swarming around these smaller structures. No larger ships can be seen around the main monastery, almost as if the ships were also too afraid of the leaders of the Order being too aware of their existence. I strongly sympathize with that feeling.
Indeed, I was quite glad that I chose to fly Professor Science in today’s visit. Not only would the 220+ AU trip out to the monastery have felt interminable with a slower warp drive, I found myself nervous being near so many combat vessels, so I stayed cloaked my entire time. To be quite clear, I was deep in high security space Aura didn’t mark any of the vessels swarming around the base as a direct threat to me, but you can never quite tell what will set off a fanatical follower of the Amarr religion. I wasn’t about to take any chances, as I had heard some horror stories of the forced conditioning that some of the more… enthusiastic adherents to the religion were willing to carry out. After taking one last look at the gleaming spires of gold, I initiated the long warp back towards the stargate.
- Attraction: Order of St. Tetrimon Fortress Monastery
- System: Thebeka
- Security Rating: 0.9
- Region: Domain
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
The Mannar have always stood out a bit in the Federation. One of the founding members of the Federation and one of the largest member races, the Mannar were a bit unusual in that, at the time of first contact with Luminarian explorers, Kabar (Mannar VIII) was not unified under a central world government (although the ethnic Gallente maintained de jure nation-states, city-states, and various other governmental entities, they had long settled into a peaceful status quo under the World Democracy League and other multinational institutions; that system on Gallente Prime lasts to this day. Needless to say, the Caldari differed in, uhh, several respects). Rather, a number of nation-states still existed on Mannar, with many of them hostile to one another in the way that nation-states in geopolitical conflict are.
In fact, several of the major nation-states on Mannar still practiced slaveholding at the time of first contact, something anathema to the human rights ethos in slow development across the proto-Federation. In response, the Luminarians attempted to dissuade the major nations from their slaveholding ways by offering advanced technology. The slaveholding nations, well, continued to hold slaves. So the Luminarians instead brought the non-slaveholding nations up to technological equality with the Luminarians, who were there shocked (shocked, I say!) to see those nations use that newly-acquired technology to gang up on the slaveholding nations and declare war. Within a few years, the preferred nations of Mannar were in control, and the Luminarians welcomed them with open arms into the nascent Federation.
Mannar’s newly slavefree world continued happily through the next few hundred years. The Federation slowly expanded, the Mannar gobbled up newly discovered worlds, things were grand. But then, 24 years before the Youil Convention and still in the midst of the Gallente-Caldari war, an ecological disaster struck: whether through environmental degradation or an act of biological warfare (many Mannar blamed the Caldari at the time, but no links were ever proven), an insect species fundamental to the Kabar ecosystem went extinct over the course of a few months from a biological contagion of some kind. The collapse came to be known as the Doa dea Kabar, or “Destruction of Home”. The effects of Doa dea Kabar were widespread and calamitous; the entire ecosystem collapsed soon after, despite the best efforts of Federation scientists. Today, Kabar is a barren wasteland, barely capable of supporting life. The Mannar, en masse, moved to Leremblompes II (“Mannar Seginde”, though frankly I think Leremblompes is a cooler name), where the main Mannar nation resides to this day.
The Federation never gave up on Kabar, however, and CONCORD has joined the effort in more recent years, helping with logistics, research, and financial subsidies. To this day, the Federation maintains a significant terraforming effort on and around the world in an attempt to restore the world’s ecosystem. In orbit of the world, a sightseer can find a number of complexes dedicated to the terraforming effort.
First, Aura has this to say about the Kabar Terraforming HQ:
This station is the dedicated headquarters of the Kabar (Mannar VIII) Terraforming Initiative’s operations established to oversee the next phase of the “remedial terraforming” efforts aimed at repairing the devastated biosphere of the planet. President Celes Aguard made Federation backing of this effort a key priority for her administration.
Kabar is the original home world of the Mannar people, a founder member of the Gallente Federation that has continued to be a vital part of the democratic interstellar polity. In BYC24, Kabar was struck by an ecological catastrophe that led to total collapse of the biosphere, eventually rendering the planet barren and barely capable of supporting life. The Mannar call this event the “Doa dea Kabar”. While the event is loosely known as the “Destruction of Mannar” in the Federation and beyond, the name the Mannar give it renders more accurately as “Death of the Heart” or “Destruction of Home”. As a result of this disaster, the bulk of the Mannar population was settled on Leremblompes II, a world that they call “Mannar Seginde”.
The nature of the ecological catastrophe has been the subject of much speculation and controversy. The essence of the matter was the sudden mass extinction of a keystone genus of insects vital to the ecology of the planet. The insects were apparently struck by a plague that rapidly destroyed their populations, leaving vast numbers of plant and animal species dependent on the insects bereft. Despite the efforts of scientists, the plague was not cured and the insects could not be successfully cloned or otherwise replaced. The entire global ecosystem unraveled and the biosphere began to collapse.
The cause of the plague and dramatic global ecosystem collapse is unknown. Fingers were pointed at rival planetary states for a time, but outside sabotage became the main theory, with many Mannar and others in the Federation going so far as to openly blame their Caldari State enemies. This theory drove many Mannar to enlist with the Federation Navy in order to strike back through fighting in the ongoing Gallente-Caldari War. Ultimately, nothing was ever proven and the trigger for the extinction and ecological collapse remains a mystery.
Along with the headquarters, a Kabar Terraforming Logistics Station can be found:
This station is the primary logistics and transfer operations facility for the Kabar (Mannar VIII) Terraforming Initiative. Massive amounts of equipment, materials, and large teams of scientists and planetary engineers are constantly moving back and forth. The station has also increased the level of support that the Federation is able to give to the subterranean settlements of Mannar that remained on Kabar after the mass evacuations. While necessarily limited in number, the underground cities and arcologies of Kabar have endured and contribute significantly to the terraforming project.
CONCORD has continued to support the Federation’s efforts to progress the terraforming of Kabar, following the Joint Federation-CONCORD Ecological Surveying and Joint Exploratory Terraforming Missions. The SCC supports transport and communications efforts with generous material aid and costs subsidies, while the various science and engineering divisions of CONCORD’s vast apparatus are also involved in the logistics of terraforming Kabar.
The last major complex in the area is the Kabar Terraforming Science Facility:
This facility contains the core science programs directed at analyzing the current status of Kabar (Mannar VIII), designing and planning remedial terraforming elements, and running extensive simulations and live testing operations. The terraforming of a barren planet is a massive, lengthy undertaking but the Kabar project is complicated by the history of a pre-existing biosphere and the remnants of life that are capable of surviving on the devastated world.
Some Federation scientists have theorized that Kabar was itself the product of an ancient terraforming project that may have resulted in a too finely balanced ecosystem, fragile and prone to sudden collapse if critical elements should be removed. Some have noted the curious happenstance of an outer planet circling a very hot star developing any kind of complex ecosystem. While this idea remains controversial, the concept has informed the efforts to use terraforming to repair Kabar, with much focus on establishing a robust and flexible ecosystem in the planning.
Despite the impressive and wide-ranging efforts and impressive specifications, the terraforming orbital complex is, well, a little underwhelming. All three stations are of classic Gallente station design, sitting in close proximity to each other in orbit around Kabar. In addition to the 3 primary stations, 3 planetary transfer stations, using a design similar to those used as customs offices for planetary resource extraction, can be seen continually launching new resources down to the world and receiving shipments of used equipment back. There’s also a landing pad to facilitate the transfer of terraforming equipment and other materials from the rest of the Federation. At the time I visited, a few different cargo transports could be seen docked nearby.
In many ways, the Mannar were lucky. In an age where interstellar travel is easy and plentiful, it was thankfully easy to transport the population en masse to Leremblompes. If the environmental collapse had happened only a few hundred years earlier (the blink of an eye, in astronomical terms), all the Luminarians would have found during their survey of the Mannar system was yet another set of ruins on yet another dead planet. Another mystery in a stellar cluster full of them. But the Doa dea Kabar serves as a stark reminder that each temperate planet is a gift that must be treasured, for they hang in a delicate balance. Although the population was able to safely escape, we must strive to maintain that balance on each world we settle, lest all temperate worlds go the way or Kabar.
- Attraction: Kabar Terraforming Installation
- System: Mannar
- Security Rating: 0.3
- Region: Everyshore
- Potential Hazards: Mannar is located in low security space. Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.
I don’t think I’ve hidden that I’m proud to be a citizen of the Gallente Federation and all that the Federation stands for. Through representative government and a true respect for the dignity of the individual, great things can be accomplished. The potential of the Federation, when it truly respects the ideals it proclaims to respect, is nearly limitless. But, unfortunately, the Federation has strayed from that potential more than I care to think about. Again and again and again, the Federation has proven that it is no more immune to the dark sides of humanity than any of the other Empires scattered across New Eden. And that is truly a shame for a civilization that has so much to aspire to.
One of the most notable regular failings of the Federation is its habit of ignoring the hinterlands of its expanses. Although the Federation is quick to jump to the defense of Luminaire or Algogille, it often forgets that the Federation is far more than those critical systems. The fact that it took until last year to build a direct connection to Solitude from the rest of the Federation is a horrible stain on a government that claims to work for the benefit of all citizens. And don’t even get me started on how the Federation let the Intaki home system, one of the largest constituencies of the Federation and considered a major Federation member, fall to Caldari forces. I don’t agree with the Intaki Liberation Front… but I can’t say I blame them either.
A prime example of this is the failure of the Federation in responding to the Reschard V disaster. In YC108, Reschard V, a fairly small colony on the outskirts of Placid, was devastated by a supermassive explosion. Reports from the Sisters of Eve at the time suggested that nearly 90 percent of surface life was destroyed, a staggering amount of devastation that is nearly impossible to comprehend. Indeed, once relief convoys finally reached the system, only 2,000 survivors were found. It wasn’t until much later, after a detailed analysis, that it was determined that the Equilibrium of Mankind (an otherwise unnotable sect of the Amarrian religion) was responsible, using a captured Avatar-class titan’s doomsday device.
And in response to this staggering attack on Federation soil, the Federation did… nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. 15 years after the attack, they put up a basic monument. I suppose that’s something. But given that even primary relief efforts were led by the Sisters of Eve and the mercenary Mordu’s Legion, you’ll forgive me for not being particularly impressed by the efforts. Still, it sounds like the Federation may have finally recognized it’s grave and, frankly, embarrassing failures, as demonstrated by the text put out to any who come to visit the memorial:
This monument serves to remember all those who died in the Reschard V Disaster.
Let not the death of this world be forgotten as we build the Gallente Federation.
In YC108, the planet of Reschard V was suddenly hit with an electromagnetic doomsday weapon attack. The massive explosion enveloped a huge volume of atmosphere and saturated an entire hemisphere in deadly radiation. The explosive injection of enormous quantities of energy into the atmosphere resulted in global megastorms that raged around the planet. Together with the explosive effects and radiation, the devastating storms killed nearly 90% of surface life, with human survival estimated at one in fifty-thousand.
While it was clear from telemetry that some kind of doomsday weapon had been deployed in the upper atmosphere by a capital ship, it took an investigation headed by CONCORD many months to uncover clear evidence that the Equilibrium of Mankind (EOM) had been behind the attack. The apocalyptic, genocidal cult had used an Avatar-class Titan fitted with an old-style, unrestrained radiative doomsday device. CONCORD did not widely release this information, hoping to prevent a mass panic, but the conclusions slowly leaked and formed the basis of rumors that were quietly acknowledged as true.
The fate of the EOM’s Avatar remained a mystery subject to much speculation until May YC123, when it was used by Equilibrium agent and Khanid warlord Alar Chakaid to bombard the planet Kahah III with a modified directed-energy weapon of the newer type. Although it was destroyed over Kahah III, CONCORD analysts have suggested that scans of the EOM Avatar indicate significant repairs to the frontal sections of the massive vessel. Some have speculated that feedback effects from firing a heavily-modified old-style doomsday close to a planetary atmosphere could have destroyed the weapon and severely damaged the Titan.
The Reschard V Disaster was considered a huge failure both of territorial security and disaster response on the Federation’s part. The Sisters of EVE played a major role in the early rescue efforts but by the time substantial Federation resources arrived at the remote low-security system it was far too late for most inhabitants of the planet. Independent capsuleers proved themselves to be both angels of mercy and demons of destruction, as some supported relief efforts, while others actually hunted and destroyed relief convoys. Later search and rescue operations were to recover some 2,000 survivors from deep subterranean caves. Those lucky few beat odds that tens of millions of other Reschard colonists were unable to overcome.
The Gallente Federation’s lackluster response to a monumental humanitarian crisis on the edge of its domains was noted by many planets around its periphery, and the Reschard V incident surely contributed to a growing political movement demanding more equable treatment for the outer regions of the Gallente polity. This powerful current in the politics of the Federation was ultimately a major factor in the election of President Celes Aguard in YC122.
The monument itself is a plinth that has become standard in recent years. The hologram above the plinth is a classic Federation eagle; a somewhat odd design choice given that the text makes it clear that the Federation responded poorly to the disaster. The plinth orbits the still devastated Reschard V, a barren planet on which no life can be seen from orbit, even 15 years later. I will be the first to admit that it’s a pretty dreary place, all told. That is probably the point, if I’m being honest.
I didn’t spend much time looking at this monument. The failures that it represents still touch a little too close to home. But I’m glad that the Federation has begun to acknowledge the errors here, and the atrocities that resulted from those errors, and it seems that the behemoth that is the federal government has finally started to recognize that citizens on the frontier are worth just as much as those who live in the heart of Caille. It’s an understanding that has been far too long in the making, but let’s hope that this is a lesson that sticks.
- Attraction: Reschard V Disaster Memorial
- System: Reschard
- Security Rating: 0.1
- Region: Placid
- Potential Hazards: Reschard is located in low security space. Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.
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.
We tend to think of history as a study in black and white. Things, events, historical figures… they are either Good or they are Bad. This tendency of ours to classify history in this manner is a bit surprising given that we all generally recognize that the present cluster is a sea of grey. Bad events can have positive side effects. Generally good people can have an off day and do something mean or evil-spirited. Bad ideas might have seemed necessary at the time. Insights change as social norms evolve as to what is considered acceptable. But the moment current events pass from our short-term memories and into the history books, we tend to forget the nuances of that moment in favor of a broad categorization one way or another. It’s up to the historians to maintain that nuance, to make sure that we don’t lose the full context to the people and the events of an era.
Take, for example, Karishal Muritor, the leader of the Defiants. The Defiants, though largely idolized now as harbingers of the resurrected Tribal Republic and a standard for freedom fighters everywhere, at the time were seen as traitors to the Minmatar Parliament for their refusal to back down against the Amarr when the Republic, led by Karin Midular, sought détente with the Empire. The refusal of the Defiants and others to accept peace with the Ammatar Mandate and the Amarr Empire at large was, in part, what led to the downfall of the Midular government and, ultimately, the parliamentary republic under which the Minmatar were originally organized. And at the head of the Defiants was Karishal Muritor.
Muritor was, unsurprisingly given his threat to stability in the Republic, demonized by Parliament and the Midular government and declared an outlaw. Indeed, an entire Republic Fleet task force was eventually organized to hunt him down, and it was this task force that ultimately killed Muritor in early YC109 in the system of Auga.
Today, Muritor’s image has been rehabilitated, largely due to the efforts of Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor (who, it must be said, benefitted greatly from Muritor’s intransigence). In this spirit, a memorial has been constructed in Auga in Muritor’s honor. In a pleasant surprise, however, the memorial gives a fairly even-handed accounting of Muritor’s actions over the years:
Although officially considered a hero by today’s Tribal Republic, Captain Karishal Muritor was condemned as a mutineer and rebel by the Parliamentary Republic that constituted the old government of the Minmatar. Muritor’s rebellion and formation of the Defiants was to set him on a path to his death at the hands of a Minmatar Republic fleet, followed by his elevation as a symbol for Minmatar freedom fighters everywhere. Since the establishment of a Tribal Republic by Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor, the memory of Muritor has been completely rehabilitated. His acts of mutiny and rebellion are considered totally justified in light of the infiltration of the Parliamentary Republic by Amarr agents, and the events of the Starkmanir rediscovery and Minmatar Invasion of the Amarr Empire.
In mid YC108, the Defiants were founded by Captain Karishal Muritor following a mutiny he led against the Republic Fleet, stealing several capital ships and their support fleet from their moorings. Having grown tired and disillusioned with the leadership of the Republic Fleet, its admiralty subordinate to a government he considered passive and too ready to appease the Amarr, Muritor had decided to take matters into his own hands. He gathered a cadre of like-minded officers and enlisted personnel around him and carried out a stunning coup, stealing a Hel-class supercarrier and a pair of Nidhoggur-class carriers.
Muritor had been finally spurred to action by the threat he saw from a resurgent Amarr military in the Bleak Lands region, following their comprehensive victory over the Blood Raiders and stationing of large naval forces in a border region now fully under Amarr control. His Defiants group used their stolen ships and considerable skills to launch a campaign against the Amarr in the Bleaks that would be condemned by both Empire and Republic as “terrorism”. By the end of YC108, the Defiants had sown chaos across Amarr holdings throughout the region, destroying infrastructure and liberating slaves. The climax came with an all out attack on an Amarr battlestation in which the Defiants were joined by capsuleer freedom fighters.
The Amarr Empire chose to blame the Minmatar Republic for the activities of the Defiants, suggesting dire consequences if the rebels were not stopped. While the Republic dismissed the Amarr accusations, the wish to maintain the peace won out over all other considerations. A Republic Fleet taskforce was assembled on the orders of Prime Minister Karin Midular, while Admiral Kanth Filmir extended an offer of truce to Muritor in early YC109. Accepting the offer, Captain Muritor met with Admiral Filmir in Auga system, in orbit of the tenth planet on the first day of February. Despite the urgings of Filmir, Muritor refused to give himself up, prompting the Republic Fleet Admiral to order in his taskforce.
As the Defiants and capsuleer allies fought against Republic Fleet ships, Muritor declared he would not have Minmatar fight one another. Moments later his ship and capsule were destroyed amidst a hail of fire. The Republic Fleet withdrew while the Defiants scattered and Muritor’s body was retrieved by capsuleers of the Ushra’Khan freedom fighter alliance. It was later confirmed that the order to stop Muritor by any means had been issued by Prime Minister Midular, causing a storm of protest that culminated in the resignation of Admiral Filmir and a considerable loss of authority for the Midular government.
Ultimately, Captain Karishal Muritor has come to be seen within the Minmatar Republic as farsighted in his recognition of the reality that compromise with the Amarr Empire’s expansionist ambitions is a trap the Minmatar cannot afford to fall into. His actions may be seen as precipitate and rash by some but his cause is one the majority of Minmatar recognise as just.
This memorial to the life of Captain Karishal Muritor is established by order of the Chief and Elders of the Brutor Tribe, YC123
Muritor’s life and death is a textbook example of needing to see history in shades of gray. While I hesitate to opine on whether the transition from the old parliamentary republic to the new tribal republic under Shakor is ultimately a “good” thing or not (there are plenty of other places to seek such opinions that are not the GalNet site of someone who likes to take some pretty pictures), it can’t be denied that Muritor clearly thought he was acting in the best interests of all Minmatar. As was Midular in her opposition to him. Both thought they were bringing about Good events. Both can be right and wrong at the same time. After all, much as we like to forget, the human experience can’t be easily categorized.
- Attraction: Karishal Muritor Memorial
- System: Auga
- Security Rating: 0.4
- Region: Heimatar
- Potential Hazards: Auga is located in low security space. Particularly given that it is one jump out from Amamake, a notorious low-sec haven for pirates, pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.
I had a few hundred words typed up today about the weirdness of most corporate museums. How such institutions were such a transparent way to conflate a corporation with Incidents of Historical Note, to idolize a corporation for making A Difference over the course of history, and to try to make the public think that, finally, THIS corporation is different and cares about something other than just the next quarterly profit report.
And, well, then I remembered that the Gallente basically invented the idea. And, just to show how proud we were for coming up with that particular achievement, we went ahead and elected the self-aggrandizer not once but twice. So, well, I have no room to talk.
Besides, my poor, somewhat hypocritical but now-deleted rant aside, sometimes corporations DO accomplish things during Incidents of Historical Note. Unlike Roden Shipyards, the main claims to fame of which are, well, making megathrons and getting its corporate CEO elected President of the Federation twice, the Minmatar Mining Corporation has in fact made some significant contributions over its many, many years of history. One of the only entities that can trace its history back to the storied Minmatar Empire, the entity that existed before the Amarr enslaved Pator, the MMC not only managed to survive Amarr enslavement but also became a crucial supplier of raw materials to the fledgling Minmatar rebellion.
Since the contributions of the MMC are, well, actually worthy of being remembered, the MMC and the Republic have gone ahead and set up a site to memorialize the MMC and its influence on Minmatar history. To that end, in Hagilur you can now find the Minmatar Mining Corporation Testing Center. Although still a working facility, it also serves now to showcase both the MMC’s impact on history and how the MMC intends to stay relevant in the modern era (I feel compelled at this point to note that I am, in fact, not receiving any compensation from the MMC for these statements). The site was initially one of the first asteroid fields mined by the MMC. Though now long-mined out of any useful ores, the site was converted over the years to a ship testing facility, where the MMC worked to perfect its ship designs both for mining vessels and, later, combat spacecraft.
Querying Aura about the main testing facility, set up just a few kilometers from the now defunct asteroid belt, brings up this analysis:
The Minmatar Mining Corporation is the only Minmatar corporation still in existence that can trace its foundation to before the conquest of the old Minmatar Empire’s territory by the Amarr Empire. The corporation managed to stay in business during the Amarr occupation only because it was useful. Now it is useful to the Minmatar, providing the raw materials to build fleets and equipment to defend the Republic against the Amarr Empire, and all other threats to the Minmatar people.
This is the headquarters of the Minmatar Mining Corporation’s Testing Division and the primary facility of the testing center located at this old asteroid belt. The Minmatar Mining Corporation is a key player in the economy of the Minmatar Republic, providing vast quantities of material to the military and heavy industries. The need to continually enhance mining, processing and transport technology keeps the testing center very busy.
The station is one of classic Minmatar design, replete with translucent biodomes, rusty plating, and a strongly industrial motif that is, I suppose, not very surprising for an R&D center focused on ship development. Although not open to the public, the station is abuzz with corporate activity, with small, personal station transport vehicles seen crawling over inch of the station at one point or another.
Surrounding the station is a variety of other facilities. Although the asteroid field had long ago been stripped of anything useful, the field itself still offers a fairly decent course to field test new starship concepts in a secured environment, so many of the nearby facilities include observation platforms and mechanical bays for the new spacecraft.
Some of the other facilities, however, are more dedicated to the museum side of the site. For example, the MMC Storage and Preservation Facility serves mostly an academic role in the preservation of key Matari artifacts:
This facility is used to store and preserve samples of all the technology developed or used by the Minmatar Mining Corporation over the long centuries of its existence. A number of very old pieces of Minmatar technology are kept here, making the facility a magnet for Minmatar scholars keen to reconstruct the material culture of the old Minmatar Empire.
Finally, one whole section of the facility is dedicated to what is, today, the most recognizable contribution of the MMC: the Scythe-class cruiser. Although today the Scythe is recognizable first and foremost as a logistics cruiser, it was initially designed (again, unsurprisingly for a mining corporation) as a mining ship. The Scythe’s original role is profiled heavily at the Testing Center. Two Scythes, in their original mining configuration, can be found on display at the site as a testament to the deep history surrounding the oldest ship design still in use in the Republic. The ships keep a watchful eye on the testing field from their pedestals nearby.
Aura has this to say about the two ships:
The Scythe-class cruiser remains the oldest Minmatar ship still in use. It has seen many battles and is an integrated element of many Minmatar tales and the material heritage of the tribes. The Minmatar Mining Corporation retains a number of mining variants of the Scythe, despite the ship being little known as a mining vessel since the Republic Fleet, Minmatar Territorial Guards, and Tribal Militias adopted the upgraded combat support and logistics variant. Even so, the mining variant Scythe, upgunned and armored by rebel crews, has a storied history as a mainstay of the Minmatar resistance and a key ship of the Great Rebellion.
Notably, despite the Minmatar Mining Corporation being riddled with collaborators during its operations under the Amarr occupation, a significant number of MMC Scythes found their way into the hands of the rebels, typically crews and all. The quiet and careful support for the resistance by a large number of MMC managers did much to rehabilitate the reputation of the corporation in the post-Rebellion period, and the heroism of those martyred when their luck ran out is marked by a memorial plaque in every station and facility owned by the corporation.
I made the mistake once of asking my brother, an attorney who has in the past provided legal services to some fellow capsuleers, what the point of corporations was. About 20 mind-numbing minutes later, all I could really glean in terms of answers was something about liability protections, but said in such fluffy (and unending) legalese that I wasn’t even sure what those words meant anymore. But, while corporations have deserved reputation of being more concerned with quarterly profits than anything else, its important to remember that corporations are, well, just groups of people. Sure, sometimes those people only care about accruing wealth, but sometimes they care about the broader picture. Sometimes they help their people gain freedom after centuries of slavery. And sometimes, heavens help me for saying this (and I, once again, reiterate that I am not gaining any compensation for saying so), they deserve to have a museum to commemorate their accomplishments.
- Attraction: Minmatar Mining Corporation Testing Facility
- System: Hagilur
- Security Rating: 0.4
- Region: Metropolis
- Potential Hazards: Hagilur is located in low security space. Particularly given that it borders high security space on two sides, pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.
Alliance Tournament XVII is got started in earnest this weekend. Although I’ve found myself enjoying almost all of the matches I watch, my favorite matches are probably those where an established or well-known alliance tournament team gets thrashed by an unexpected underdog (I suspect I’m not alone in that particular preference). There’s just something particularly satisfying in watching a match that every commentator (professional or amateur) had assumed would be a walloping by the preferred team, only to see those expectations overturned either in one magnificent mistake (such as the ever-beloved boundary violation) or by a slow battle of attrition going absolutely the wrong way. If its satisfying for me as a viewer, I can only imagine the ecstasy the underdog team feels to see the strategy that everyone questioned pay off (or, even better, when an unexpected mistake gives the underdog a win even they weren’t expecting).
Of course, there’s an entire nation in New Eden that have the experience of being the successful underdogs: the Minmatar. When the Minmatar began to rebel after the brief (but disastrous) Amarr-Jove war, no one really expected them to be successful. Over the course of the thousands of years of Amarrian history, they had never failed to subdue a targeted race: from the Udorians on Amarr Prime to the star-spanning Minmatar Empire, the Amarr had Reclaimed every civilization it had encountered so far. The sole exception? The Gallente Federation, and the Empire never formally targeted the Federation for a Reclaiming (though many an armchair military historian has salivated at the thought of watching such a fight play out).
But, spoiler alert, the Minmatar managed to pull it off, against all expectations. Through a combination of tenacity, duct tape, and (covert) support from the Federation, the Minmatar managed to not only free their home system, but establish themselves as one of the 4 major powers in New Eden. Minmatar independence was guaranteed when they managed to strike a surprise blow (a standard play by the Minmatar, who are exceptionally good at pulling off such moves) against amassed Amarr fleets at Fort Kavad in Odatrik, a half dozen jumps out from Pator. Today, a monument stands at the ruins of Fort Kavad to commemorate the victory that assured Minmatar independence.
Aura has the following to say about the Battle of Fort Kavad:
The preserved ruins of Fort Kavad loom over the battlefield where the Minmatar struck the final blow that would secure their territories and allow their fledgling Republic to rise to its full height in relative peace.
Named after an ancient lord of the Ardishapur Family, Fort Kavad sat at the center of the Ortner Redoubt, the last major toehold of the Amarr Empire in Minmatar space at the end of the Great Rebellion. The position guarded the core of the Ammatar Mandate the Amarr had set up as a defensive buffer but more critically was within striking distance of the Minmatar heartlands.
Despite the chaos that the Great Rebellion had sowed across the Empire for several years, many Amarr lords were unwilling to settle for defeat at the hands of their erstwhile slaves. In BYC17, a militant faction at the Imperial Court promoted a plan to use Fort Kavad as a springboard for a counter-offensive that would regain the lost territories. A demoralized and confused Emperor Heideran VII, possibly afflicted by an attack of the Turit Disease he suffered with, allowed the militants to proceed with their plan.
As Amarr forces built up at Fort Kavad, the Minmatar became aware of the plan and knew that an opportunity to strike a decisive blow was at hand. The Battle of the Golgothan Fields had robbed the Amarr of much of their capital ship strength, forcing them to concentrate battleship squadrons at Fort Kavad. Minmatar rebel forces from across their hard-won territories assembled and launched a pre-emptive strike in numbers that would overwhelm the defenses of Fort Kavad and catch the assembling Amarr fleets by surprise.
With Fort Kavad’s defenses crippled and entire battleship squadrons destroyed or disabled, the Amarr were in disarray but refused to retreat knowing well the penalty they would face at the hands of their fanatical lords. Many commanders launched suicidal counter-attacks and some broke past the Minmatar assault in an apparent attempt to mount the counter-offensive they had planned. At high cost in ships, including precious battleships, the Minmatar prevailed and wiped out the scattered Amarr taskforce.
The news of the defeat at Fort Kavad roused Emperor Heideran’s erratic anger and the militant faction at court suffered accordingly for their fatal underestimation of the Minmatar. Once the Emperor had seen to the security of the Ammatar Mandate, he once again lapsed into seclusion, having ordered no further military adventures on pain of death and the enslavement of all relatives of any lord foolish enough to defy the orders.
For the Minmatar, the Battle of Fort Kavad was a famous victory that eliminated the danger of a counter-offensive by the Amarr Empire. In the relative peace the Minmatar fighters had bought with their blood, the Minmatar Republic was established and its defenses secured. Amarr warlords knew better than to openly defy the Emperor’s peace but inevitably the means for militant Amarr and Minmatar to strike at one another was found in the bitter Vindication Wars that would be fought through and against the puppet state of the Ammatar Mandate.
Anyone who has flown through the Amarr system will immediately recognize Fort Kavad’s profile. A tall and narrow station structure, this particular type of Amarr station has always reminded me of a mothership from a hologame I used to play as a kid, though gilded in traditional Amarr gold rather than the soft blues and reds that I was used to. I’ve always wondered if the resemblance was intentional. In any case, today, the gold trimming of Fort Kavad is burnished from centuries of lying in ruin. Unsurprisingly, the only thing to survive is the superstructure of the station itself; it’s long been stripped for parts otherwise, though I imagine that the Republic carried out some minimal restoration for purposes of the monument.
Nearby, the remnants of a few Amarr ships can still be seen. I didn’t recognize some of the classes of ship that can be seen, but those hulls of the ships had been warped and tattered almost beyond recognition, so perhaps that would those particular designs. The remnant ships appear to be draped over nearby asteroids. Perhaps the impetus imparted on the ships as their power cores exploded pushed them into the nearby rocks to drape as they do. In addition to the mysterious ships, the twisted wrecks of more standard Amarr designs (such as the Apocalypse), along with Minmatar ships (such as the Tempest) can be seen. Also nearby is the standard memorial plinth that has gained fashion recently around the cluster. The Minmatar Republic seal glows above the holographic base, a final flag of victory flying over the defeated Amarr station.
Just like the Minmatar over a century again, a number of underdogs managed to upset the presumed status quo over this past tournament weekend, and undoubtedly more such upsets are to come as the tournament continues. There’s a reason why ‘the underdogs are victorious’ are such a well-worn trope in most kinds of fiction: there’s something far more compelling about watching a juggernaut snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Sure, a larger, better funded, better armed team can win. But that’s expected. That’s boring. But when a juggernaut is felled, that’s something. When a supposedly unstoppable force is brought to a screeching halt, that’s a story. That’s something that will be talked about, analyzed, pored over for future generations. So it is with Alliance Tournament underdogs, and so it is with those scrappy rebels that managed to stop the juggernaut of the Amarr Empire.
- Attraction: Battle of Fort Kavad Monument
- System: Odatrik
- Security Rating: 0.8
- Region: Heimatar
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
As a kid, one of my creche teachers liked to tell me that I was destined for great things. I think he just appreciated the fact that I always turned my assignments in on time and that I did relatively well on them, but the fact remains that his words stuck with me, even to this day. But what is “destiny”, really? Am I living that destiny now, as a relatively well-off capsuleer best known for taking pictures and writing about said pictures? Is this really what my creche teacher had in mind? Consider me skeptical. As far as I’m concerned, the universe doesn’t give a whit about me or what I end up doing with my life. I could have been President of the Federation. I could have ended up as a mindflood addict living in the back alleyways of Jita 4-4. My life is my own, and the universe’s plan for me is, frankly, nonexistent.
I know others disagree with me on this take. Depending on exactly who you talk to, either everyone has a destiny of some kind, or certain, special people are destined to have a vast effect on their surroundings. Minmatar society as a whole leans towards the latter interpretation, and this is helped by the process of the Voluval. The exact process is a well-kept secret even to this day, but the general idea is that certain chemicals are injected into both a person’s heart and the base of the spinal nerve. With proper mental preparation, this results in a permanent tattoo appearing somewhere on that person’s body. The various tattoo shapes have different meanings to the Minmatar people, but one in particular is particularly portentous: the Ray of Matar. It’s believed that a person who receives the Ray of Matar after the Voluval ceremony is destined for great things.
One of the people who ended up receiving the Ray of Matar was Karin Midular. A familiar name to interstellar politics, she began her career in politics as a member of the Republic Parliament. Without getting too much into detail here (skip down a few paragraphs if interested!), Midular managed to use her political acumen to become the Chief of the Sebiestor Tribe, one of the largest Tribes in the Republic, and from there springboard her way to Prime Minister. Unfortunately, “destiny”, such as it is, is not always a good thing, and she has the somewhat dubious distinction of being the last Prime Minister of the Minmatar Republic before it was reformed into its current shape under Maleatu Shakor. She died a somewhat ignoble death after a terrorist attack in YC115. She was the only living person with the Ray of Matar tattoo, and she has yet to be replaced.
Today, she serves as the everlasting guardian of the Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai over Pator, given a spot of honor near the space-based hub of the rulers of Minmatar space, in full view of each of the Tribal embassies that surround the main station. Querying the statue gives you the highlights of a long career dedicated to the service of the Seven Tribes:
Born into slavery yet marked for greatness, Karin Midular, the Ray of Matar, lived and died as a symbol for all Minmatar of their culture, history and place in the universe as a people.
Karin Midular was born to parents living in slavery under the Amarr but was smuggled as a baby out of the Amarr Empire, to be raised by the Sebiestor Tribe she was identified as belonging to. Unable to escape themselves, Karin’s parents had not known their clans and no records provided a clue on Matar. Nevertheless, Karin was raised on the steppes of the Mikramurka, heartland of the Sebiestor, in the city of Mithuris. It was when Karin came of age that her destiny became clear as more than merely a liberated orphan.
As with most youth of the Mikramurka clans, Karin took part in a Voluval Ritual close by the Crystal Steppe. It was at this rite that she received the rare, venerated “Ray of Matar” mark, made doubly auspicious by its location under her left eye. Following this event, Karin joined the Midular Clan out of respect for Vormar Midular, her essence instructor.
Eventually, a career in politics beckoned, with Karin Midular convinced that lasting interstellar peace was essential to the future of the Minmatar. She began by campaigning for an end to the Vindication Wars with the Ammatar Mandate but found herself stymied by entrenched political positions in the Republic Parliament. Midular then set out to assemble a political bloc around her and by YC97 had become Chief of the Sebiestor Tribe, having gained the near unanimous support of the federated clans of the huge tribe.
Her status as a Tribal Chief provided a large platform from which to run for office as Prime Minister of the Republic. Though she did not win office immediately, the growing appetite for peace after the long years of the Vindication Wars peaked during the brutal Battle of Tears in YC102. In the election that year Karin Midular was elected Prime Minister by a landslide, with even many of the militant Brutor and Krusual sickened by the bloodshed.
Her first act as Prime Minister was to announce an end to hostilities with the Ammatar Mandate, and her first years saw her as a wildly popular and successful leader of a Republic focused on trade, diplomacy and rebuilding after long years of conflict. For all her political acumen and technical insight, however, even Karin Midular did not foresee the extent to which the licensing of independent capsuleers in YC105 would shake New Eden.
By YC106, Midular felt secure enough to confront the still powerful militarist elements in Minmatar society and moved to ban the wearing or display of the Khumaak ceremonial weapon, or symbols depicting it, by government officials or members of the armed forces. The proposals elicited a harsh counter-reaction from the Krusual Tribe’s leadership and considerable protest among the people. The Republic Security Services were moved to intervene in the security of tribal gathering halls, an ambiguous move by a powerful force often at odds with Midular.
An even more powerful political player moved into the spotlight at this time as Maleatu Shakor took the opportunity to establish his trademark belligerance in the popular mind. While a compromise was eventually brokered, the Khumaak episode was a political disaster that began a slow decline in the fortunes of Prime Minister Midular. The economy of the Republic began to falter in YC107, with many Minmatar increasingly emigrating to the Gallente Federation. Worse yet was the mutiny and rebellion of the Defiants, led by Captain Karishal Muritor in YC108.
Backed by increasingly powerful Minmatar capsuleers, Muritor was a hero to many when he was killed in YC109 during an abortive truce meeting with Republic Fleet forces. The revelation that Midular had given the order to stop him by any means was another political catastrophe and militant Minmatar capsuleers were in the forefront of campaigning for her downfall from that time on. The news that Midular was in secret negotiations with the Ammatar Mandate was leaked at the worst possible time, and a wave of terrorist attacks threatened to destabilize the Republic.
The final days of the Midular government in YC110 were marked by the shocking secession of Skarkon system under the apparently popular rule of the Angel Cartel. In the midst of attempts to resolve this crisis, the news that survivors of the Starkmanir Tribe had been found in the Ammatar Mandate broke. Worse yet was a motion of no confidence proposed by Maleatu Shakor. The final blow was news of a Minmatar-Thukker fleet headed by Keitan Yun threatening CONCORD.
Parliament descended into chaos as Midular attempted to call for new elections. In an apparent coup attempt, Midular herself was almost assassinated by Amarr agents, saved only by the actions of a clandestine force that had begun eliminating Amarr infiltrators and Minmatar collaborators. The government of Karin Midular collapsed as a counter-coup launched by Keitan Yun and Maleatu Shakor ushered in emergency rule by a temporary military junta.
Despite events, Karin Midular was still Sebiestor Chief and the Ray of Matar, and in her post-government years regained a significant degree of political influence as a counter-balance to the militarist factions and security forces. The new Tribal Republic created by Prime Minister and then Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor was not to her taste but the Ray worked tirelessly to bring out the constructive and creative virtues of Minmatar culture. Ever a believer in diplomacy, Chief Midular often visited other nations of New Eden in her neverending search for lasting peace.
It was on one such trip in YC115 that Karin Midular was to meet her fate. A lone gunman detonated explosives and opened fire at a Federal Tribes cultural event attended by Midular in Caille on Gallente Prime. Among the 58 dead and 304 wounded was Karin Midular. Gravely wounded, Midular was transferred to the Republic for treatment but could not be saved. Apparently eschewing a clone backup for personal reasons, Karin Midular, the last living Ray of Matar, died on YC115.03.07. In accordance with Sebiestor tradition, Chief Karin Midular’s body was returned to the Mikramurka in a sky burial at the Place of Silence outside Mithuris.
The life of Karin Midular leaves a lasting legacy of principle and courage on behalf of the Minmatar people. She faced fate and the future as a Ray of Matar should and we all may learn from her example. This memorial is established by order of the Tribal Council of Matar, YC123.
As I noted, Midular stands just a few kilometers from the Orbital Caravanserai that serves as the primary space-based location for the Minmatar government. Midular, sculpted out of a black metal with bronze highlights. She keeps a watchful eye on the Caravanserai complex, one hand holding the other as she stands forever in a dignified but cautious pose that captures her mark on Minmatar history well. Her Ray of Matar marking is clearly visible under her left eye, the bronze coloring drawing attention to it without making it the center of attention, if that makes any sense. She stands forever watching the sun that she tried so hard to ensure remained in Matari hands.
I’m tempted to wax philosophic on the concept of destiny. But regardless of whether the impact that Midular had on the Republic resulted from her destiny in the universe, the self-confidence that resulted from receiving the Ray of Matar from the Voluval, or just the fact that she was a talented person in the right place at the right time, no one can deny that Karin Midular had a vision that she did her utmost best to see fulfilled. It was a shame that she was taken from the Cluster too soon, but perhaps that, too, was part of her destiny. Remind me to follow up with my creche teacher that that was not what he had in mind for me.
- Attraction: Karin Midular: Ray of Matar
- System: Pator
- Security Rating: 1.0
- Region: Heimatar
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
A younger sibling inevitably ends up having a complicated relationship with the older one. I don’t mean that in a bad way, of course (or, at least, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a bad way), but the relationship is almost never a simple one. The older sibling is the trailblazer (like it or not): he or she figures out what works and, perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t. The younger sibling, in turn, is left to figure out how to follow in the older sibling’s footsteps (or not). As a result, the younger sibling almost inevitably goes through phases of idolizing, hating, copying, and pushing away the older sibling over the course of years (or, perhaps, over the course of seconds). Eventually, however, the younger sibling realizes that they are their own person. What worked for the older sibling may not work for the younger, and vice versa. Realizing that separation and becoming one’s own person can be a difficult, but vital, realization for any sibling (and for the parents of those siblings, for that matter).
As usual, this is a rather tortured metaphor for New Eden on a broader scale: in this particular instance, the Minmatar and the Gallente. The metaphor is obviously not perfect, but in many ways, the Federation did act as an older sibling to the Republic as the Minmatar re-learned how to be a self-governing nation after winning its independence from Amarr slavery. In classic self-important Gallente fashion, when it was time to set up how the Minmatar would govern themselves, the Gallente “strongly recommended” that the Republic follow the model that had proved (mostly) so successful for the Gallente. And the Republic followed suit, setting a tripartite republic that would look familiar to any Gallente schoolchild, but ignored the unique cultural and political history of the Minmatar.
I speak, of course, of the Seven Tribes. The Gallente, in our usual way, ignored the importance of the Tribes in the every day life of the Minmatar, unwilling to believe that something that meant little the Gallente (familial relations on such a large scale) could have deep and significant meanings to another. And for two centuries, the Republic tried to follow the Gallente example. But the cultural inertia eventually became too much to ignore. As the disastrous premiership of Karin Midular came to its ignoble end (a story I will turn to in the next entry), Maleatu Shakor, another leader in Minmatar society, decided that the time was ripe for the Republic to put its own stamp on the concept of self-governance.
Shakor had a new vision for the Minmatar Republic that restored the supremacy of the Tribes, flinging off the ideals of its older sibling, the Gallente. Rather than being led by an elected Parliament, the Tribal Council, with representatives from each of the Seven Tribes, would meet weekly to decide matters of state in the Great Caravanserai on Matar. Shakor also revived the concept of the Sanmatar to lead the Tribal Council, and soon found himself installed in that position. In the way that all younger siblings eventually must, the Minmatar had finally decided how they themselves wanted to live. They kept the self-governing ways that the Gallente tried to instill, but in a unique way that more fully represented the rich cultural history of the Minmatar.
Although the Great Caravanserai on Matar served as the formal meeting place of the Tribal Council, it eventually became apparent that a Council that governed an interstellar republic needed better access to interstellar space, leading the Council to eventually establish the Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai in orbit of Matar. Here, the Council could more quickly gather in times of emergency, while also providing both additional space for the offices and embassies necessary for the burgeoning Republic and the more modern settings necessary for interstellar governance that might seem out of place in the storied and ancient halls of the Great Caravanserai itself.
Needless to say, I was eager to check out the Orbital Caravanserai once construction was complete. As I arrived in the vicinity, I queried Aura to get her take on the station complex:
The Tribal Council is the collective head of state of the Minmatar Republic. The council is made up of the chiefs of the Seven Tribes of Minmatar and is chaired by the Sanmatar. While each tribe is substantially sovereign unto itself, the Tribal Council in practice wields enormous executive power by the common consent of the tribes. The traditional leadership role of Sanmatar functions as a mediator with no formal vote in the Council, but the holder of this office can be given emergency powers and is typically delegated command of the Republic’s armed forces by the tribes.
The formal meeting place of the Tribal Council is the Great Caravanserai in the Eyniletti Plains of Matar. However, the Tribal Council often meets remotely or at other convenient locations. The “Orbital Caravanserai” was established to provide a meeting place and transit station for chiefs, appointed deputies, and others attending Tribal Council meetings. The Tribal Council’s secure FTL communications are now routed through this fortified location and it readily facilitates remote participation by holopresence. The facility is also used by delegations from Minmatar clans and circles, ambassadors from other empires and states, and corporate executives seeking the ear of the Council.
The most striking aspect of the Orbital Caravanserai complex is the main station itself. A classic example of Minmatar architecture, the station that hosts the legislature of the Minmatar Republic still feels as if it is held together by rust, duct tape, and dreams. Of course, like all Minmatar engineering these days, the structures are bound together quite more soundly than that, but despite the relative richness of the Republic these days, they seem to pride themselves on that aesthetic. Between the various docking pathways into the station, the arcology domes connected to the main structure host a dense urban landscape within them, presumably home to the many support staff and bureaucracy necessary for the functioning of the Tribal Council. Somewhat surprisingly, the station also appears to host some heavy industry, with flares and vents very visible on the station superstructure. Unsurprisingly, when I requested docking clearance at the station, I was turned down rather unceremoniously.
In an arc around the station, each Tribe has also been granted an embassy. Although structurally the same (and demonstrating the classic Minmatar love of vertical supremacy), each embassy is burnished in the colors of that Tribe, and is guarded by a small task force of that Tribe’s ships. Near the embassy proper also stands a small structure flying the standard of that Tribe. The embassies allow each Tribe to have its own administrative center, where it can be sure of secured channels for deliberations and consultations. In querying each embassy, Aura provides a brief summary of each Tribe (reproduced in the appendix at the end of the entry), but has this to say about each of the embassies itself:
This [Tribal] Embassy serves as a facility that is unarguably the territory of the [Tribe] within the Orbital Caravanserai complex. Here the Chief [of that Tribe] takes counsel with elders, advisors, industrialists, and delegations from member clans of the tribe, secure in the knowledge that opportunities for eavesdropping and subtle interference by other parties are severely curtailed.
I remain vaguely uncomfortable with the cultural imperialism so endemic to the Federation. We have a bad habit of assuming that, despite the vast diversity in human history and experience, ultimately everything is one size fits all, and that the Gallente way of doing things is the best for everyone. But that viewpoint has caused the Federation any number of problems in the past, most notably in the Caldari secession, but also with respect to the Minmatar. We assumed our system would work, without giving any consideration to the history and values of the people we helped to free. Sure, the Republic declared independence from the Amarr and those that enslaved its people in the past (and continue to do so). But it took another 2 centuries for it to declare independence from those that helped the Republic achieve that independence. In its own way, that takes just as much courage.
But it’s a courage that little siblings across the cluster are more than familiar with.
- Attraction: Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai
- System: Pator
- Security Rating: 1.0
- Region: Heimatar
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
Appendix (Tribal descriptions):
With a culture emphasizing the virtues of patience, contemplation, and practical skill, the Sebiestor are known far and wide as engineers and inventors. The Sebiestor reputation for tinkering with any kind of technology is well deserved, and this excellence in engineering naturally propelled the Sebiestor to the fore during the period when the old Minmatar Empire pushed into space. During the Amarr occupation, the Sebiestor did much to hold what remained of Minmatar society together with their skill at maintaining or adapting technology. The Sebiestor Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
Pride is a common Minmatar trait, but the Krusual are wont to take it to extraordinary lengths. They rarely lose an opportunity to remind the other tribes that they alone managed to maintain strongholds in the mountainous Tronhadar region of Matar during the Amarr occupation. It is certainly remarkable that in all the long years of the occupation, the Amarr were unable to once and for all crush Krusual resistance. Their ability to hold onto a certain amount of independence during the occupation resulted in the Krusual retaining more of their pre-conquest culture than any other tribe, and their underground bases played an important role in sheltering some Vherokior mystics. The Krusual Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
The Brutor are marked by a disciplined stoicism and deeply spiritual cast of mind that combine to project a sense of nobility around the people of this tribe. While the Brutor have a traditional mindset, they suffered great loss of cultural heritage and knowledge of their history during the Amarr occupation. To the occasional annoyance of the other tribes, the Brutor consider themselves responsible for the freedom of the entire Minmatar people and make no bones about standing on this claim for political purposes when it suits them. In particular, the Brutor are great supporters and protectors of the Starkmanir Tribe, on account of the former originating as an offshoot of the latter. The Brutor Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
Vherokior are disinclined to engage in great collective efforts, and their various clans are rather loosely grouped under the tribal chief’s authority. Indeed, the clans themselves hold nominal authority in many cases, with the family being by far the most important social unit to the individual Vherokior. These families are traditionally matriarchal in structure, though the aftermath of the Amarrian occupation has disrupted this pattern somewhat, as with so many other aspects of Minmatar tribal culture. Most Vherokior have long-abandoned the ancient nomadism of their tribe but the Vherokior mystics are the guardians of the Voluval Ritual and travel immense distances in this role. The Vherokior Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
The Nefantar Tribe played a notorious role during the Amarr Empire’s occupation of the Minmatar home worlds as collaborators who actively assisted in the enslavement of other tribes by the Amarr. When the Great Rebellion succeeded in driving the Amarr from the Minmatar Regions, the Amarr subsequently set up the Nefantar in a puppet state called the Ammatar Mandate. Unbeknownst to anyone else, certain Ammatar elites had hidden a large number of Starkmanir survivors from the Amarr within the Mandate. After the discovery of the Starkmanir led to a Minmatar invasion in YC110, the Nefantar conspirators and their families led a mass defection back to the Minmatar Republic, assisting in the recovery of the Starkmanir. Today, the Nefantar tribe has been restored as one of the Seven Tribes of Matar.
According to what remains of the historical records of the Minmatar, the Thukker tribe had always been a nomadic people, journeying back and forth across Matar in large caravans. The development of the old Minmatar Empire appears to have done little to inhibit the wandering of the Thukker. Indeed, the Great Caravanserai itself was constructed by the Thukker long ago to serve as a major junction in their network of routes and caravanserais. The Amarr found the Thukker intractable and many escaped to remote areas of space, forming the nucleus of the later culture of Great Caravans. The Thukker were notable fighters in the Great Rebellion but declined to join in the founding of the Republic. The wanderering Thukker Tribe officially joined the Republic in YC111, maintaining full autonomy of their Great Wildlands region but once more uniting the Minmatar as seven tribes.
Subjected to an Amarr campaign of annihilation, the Starkmanir Tribe was considered lost for centuries until the discovery in YC110 of a viable surviving population hidden by Nefantar elites on Halturzhan, the sixth planet of Jarizza in the Ammatar Mandate. The discovery spurred a Minmatar fleet into an invasion of Amarr territories with a view to recovering the Starkmanir and as many other enslaved Minmatar as possible. The vast majority of surviving Starkmanir were successfully recovered, evacuated to the Minmatar Republic, and settled on lands set aside for them by the larger tribes. The Starkmanir tribe is also notable for being the mother tribe of two splinter clans that went on to become major tribes in their own right: the Brutor and the Vherokior. This Starkmanir Tribal Embassy serves as a facility that is unarguably the territory of the Starkmanir within the Orbital Caravanserai complex. Here the Chief takes counsel with elders, advisors, scholars, and delegations from clans of the tribe, secure in the knowledge that opportunities for eavesdropping and subtle interference by other parties are severely curtailed
I have never hidden the fact that I am not exactly an expert on the history of null-security space. Oh, sure, I could string a coherent overall storyline together with a few commonly known corporations, alliances, and CEOs and, and it might even be close to being historically accurate, but for whatever reason, null sec space has never grabbed my interest as much as other areas of New Eden’s history. And I’m okay with that. There are others out there far more adept than I at threading that particular tapestry of stories together. Mostly, this is fine. My interests tend to run in a particular direction, if you, as my readers, haven’t noticed, and there is enough history in New Eden for everyone to enjoy their own particular specializations.
But every now and then, my somewhat determined-avoidance of the intricacies of null sec history leave me puzzled. For example, as I was making my way to M2-XFE to examine the monument recently constructed there, I came across something that was unexpected. It was only a bit of luck that I saw it at all, frankly. I’m not entirely a stranger to null security space and the dangers it can bring, meaning that when I fly through null security space for whatever reason, I tend to be paying far closer attention to other capsuleers that may be nearby than I am to other constructs that I might normally be on the lookout for. But, thankfully, something prompted me to be paying more attention to non-capsuleer related matters than I normally would in null-sec when I jumped into the system of C-J6MT. C-J6MT is a system a few jumps into Insmother, not too far from the region’s borders with Etherium Reach and Scalding Pass. My rather barebones knowledge of New Eden history gave me no reason to be familiar with that system, but that changed in a moment.
Just as Scientia entered warp from the 78-0R6 gate, I noticed something unexpected on Scientia’s sensors. In fact, thanks to the warp jump, it was off of my sensors almost as soon as I realized there was something there at all. Unfortunately, once the warp tunnel forms there’s really no stopping it, so I was forced to warp all of the way to the next gate on my route before I could quickly turn around, recloak, and jump back to the 78-0R6 gate just to see what I had even missed. As I warped back to the site, I found myself wondering just what had happened in this system to warrant any kind of memorial at all. Unfortunately, my questions would not be answered as quickly as I would normally hope.
I dropped out of warp to find myself face to face with an odd, red-hued stone monument a few hundred kilometers off of the 78-0R6 gate. Standing tens of kilometers from top to bottom, the monument seemed hewn from volcanic rock (similar in effect, in fact, to the rock that makes up the Fallen Capsuleer Memorial in Molea, though a bit lighter in tone), an effect bolstered by the seemingly magmatic red pulsing from the interior of the monument. In letters about as tall as Professor Science, the monument simply read “C-J6MT”. Various fins and other protuberances could be found protruding from the monument. Aura’s analysis of the monument immediately identified it as a monument entitled “A History of War”. Unfortunately, it seems that the builders of the monument had a bit of a sense of irony, as pinging the monument for information provided no such history at all:
Monument honoring the notorious sieges and violent battles in C-J6MT and all those involved or impacted by these events.
That… was not exactly helpful. I’ve become spoiled by many of the more recent monuments that have been constructed in the cluster and their attempts at giving a fuller context for those monuments. With this sentence, I was still very much in the dark as to what significance C-J6MT has in the tapestry of New Eden’s history.
Thankfully, a brief search of GalNet and other sources of information sated my curiosity. It seems that the importance of C-J6MT dates all the way back to YC108, where the Red Alliance made a successful last stand. Red Alliance had been one of the early powerhouses in null-security space, quickly gaining prominence after CONCORD authorized independent capsuleers in YC105 and gaining control over large swaths of null-sec. But with its prominence came quite a few enemies, and a so-called Coalition of the South quickly rose in opposition. Overextended, Red Alliance found that it could not defend the space it had claimed. Although able to survive through guerilla tactics, Red Alliance decided it needed a real victory. After looking at its options, it decided to turn the tide in the system of (as you may have guessed) C-J6MT. The Alliance quickly established that system as its last beachhead. And when the Coalition of the South finally caught up to Red Alliance, outnumbering Red Alliance by over 4 to 1… Red Alliance held. It pushed off the invasion, and lived to see another day.
Since then, C-J6MT has held a special place in the heart of Red Alliance and the various splinters sects of that group. Other battles have been fought there, but it’s that original siege, where Red Alliance held its own for 3 days against a better-armed enemy, that makes the system special to begin with. Defending a system against all odds forges a special, nearly spiritual connection with the system, and makes you far more willing to defend it in the future, no matter the cost.
As I was leaving, I chastised myself for being so unfamiliar with the system. I had read the story of this siege before, but did not connect the system involved in that mighty last stand with the peaceful, quiet system I found myself in that day. Perhaps it was time to give my histories of the null sec empires another read…
- Attraction: A History of War
- System: C-J6MT
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Insmother
- Potential Hazards: C-J6MT is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to empire space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.
I think I’ve mentioned before that for as much as I love the politics—and political theater—surrounding the major empires and CONCORD, I often pay surprisingly little attention to empires of the capsuleer world. Those giants of null sec, with their ever-swirling array of alliances, coalitions, wars, and backstabs is often the source of much fascination across the cluster. Pilots may be allies one day but fighting savagely the next after some sudden but inevitable betrayal. The constant internecine warfare, needed as much to keep pilots engaged in their respective alliances as it is for more pragmatic astropolitical reasons, can be exhausting to keep track of.
And yet even I have become aware of the latest in a long-running series of wars that has engulfed null security space. This is partially due to the excellent reporting from a fellow capsuleer I have long followed, but also partially because whenever the null security alliances break some record for the largest battle in New Eden, they seem determined to break the new record again as soon as possible. And so it was with the current war, which, to cut a very long story short, involves the ever-embroiled Imperium (née Goonswarm Coalition) and a coalition of other alliances variously called PAPI or PandaFam. The war, now entering its second year, seems to have stalemated somewhat in the current climate. But when the war was a little more active, a number of high-stakes battles took place in M2-XFE. By the time of the final battle in the system early in YC123, more than 20,000 capsuleer-piloted vessels had been destroyed, including more than 450 titans.
The Powers That Be felt that the astrostrategic battles that took place in M2-XFE, including the largest battle in New Eden to date (a record I can’t imagine will last too long, if recent recordbreakers are any indiciation), warranted a memorial to the lives and ships lost in the system, and goodness did the sculptors hired by the PTB come through (as they usually do). But first, Aura’s analysis of the battle, which does a far better job of describing the battles themselves than I ever could:
This monument honors the thousands of capsuleers that participated in the series of cataclysmic battles over a Keepstar-class Citadel in late YC122 and early YC123. At the time these battles represented the largest and bloodiest clashes in the history of New Eden.
In YC122, the southern and western nullsec regions of New Eden were shaken by the massive conflict between the capsuleer coalitions popularly known as “The Imperium” and “PAPI”. By the end of YC122 the primary front of the war was the Delve region, with PAPI coalition forces invading the capital region of the Imperium. In October of that year clashes over an attempted PAPI beachhead in FWST-8 broke the record for the largest battle in New Eden history, a record that was destined to be broken again less than 3 months later.
By the end of December the fighting in Delve was focused on the system of M2-XFE, where an Imperium Keepstar came under sustained attack from PAPI forces. The first massive clash occurred over the Keepstar’s armor timer on December 30th and 31st YC122 with a combined 5,158 pilots fighting in the system at its peak. Supercapital fleets from both sides traded blows relatively evenly as ships exploded all around the Citadel. When the dust settled from this first battle, 3,404 capsuleers ships including 257 titans and a combined value of over 29 trillion ISK had been destroyed.
The second battle of M2-XFE a few days later saw even more capsuleers attempt to join the fray, leading to an infamous result. On January 3rd YC123 a record 6,739 pilots entered the system, and several thousand more attempted to join the fighting. This unprecedented number of warp-capable starships in close proximity led to unpredictable spacetime anomalies as the universe itself seemed to strain under the stress of the battle. The anomalies played havoc on all ship systems within M2[-XFE], but the defending forces of the Imperium coalition were in a better position to weather the storm as they had arrived on location earlier than the PAPI fleets and therefore they did not need to make use of jump drives and stargates during the period of greatest disruption. The result of this second battle was a significant victory for the defending forces, as the attackers faced significant disruption to the operation of their jump drives into the crowded system. Many attacking ships were destroyed as they entered the system, and many more were trapped in the system by the forces of the Imperium. The Keepstar had been saved for a time.
In the weeks following the second battle of M2-XFE, Imperium fleets anchored mobile warp disruptors and patrolled relentlessly to keep as many PAPI supercapitals as possible trapped in the system as fighting raged on across the Delve region, taking advantage of the strategic advantage provided by the trapping of so many hostile vessels. Several smaller clashes occurred over operations to rescue some of the trapped supercapital vessels, and the coalitions also continued to fight over other structures in the system. On January 27th YC123, PAPI were able to free a portion of their trapped pilots after a battle that saw nearly 450 Capitals and 6 Titans[sic]-class hulls destroyed. On February 1st YC123, PAPI forces were victorious in a battle that stretched across the NJU-QV constellation and involved thousands of capsuleers, giving them control of M2-XFE’s Infrastructure Hub. PAPI then began to slowly lay the groundwork to activate their own Tenebrex Cyno Jammer structure which would give them the ability to disrupt Imperium reinforcements to the system. On March 7th YC123 the PAPI Cyno Jammer structure came online and the Imperium retreated the bulk of their forces from the system, freeing the remaining trapped PAPI capital ships. Finally on March 12th YC123 the M2-XFE Keepstar that had been the original focal point of all this bloodshed was destroyed by PAPI forces.
All in all, the fighting within M2-XFE in late YC122 and early YC123 led to the destruction of more than 20,000 capsuleer vessels including over 450 titan-class starships. The first battle of M2-XFE broke the New Eden record for the most value destroyed in a single battle, and the second battle broke FWST-8’s record for the battle with the most capsuleer ships within a system at one time. The Keepstar was eventually destroyed after over two months of brutal fighting, and the forces of the Imperium regrouped at their nearby capital system of 1DQ1-A. At the time that this monument was erected, the greater war between PAPI and the Imperium was raging on and only time would tell how the conflict would eventually be resolved.
The monument itself is absolutely stunning. The entire structure is built using an obsidian-esque shiny black stone. The central complex consists of a series of sweeping, interlocking towers that span from the central axis along a graceful curve. The center of the structure reminds me of an organ from some grand, obsidian cathedral. A blue glow pulses its way from the center of the structure out to its extremities. As those towers gradually grow shorter, new, flatter structures jut out from the extremities, eventually coming to sharp points at each end. If the center of the structure is some grand organ playing a baleful tune, then the outer edges of the structure is a majestic bird of prey, with powerful wings outstretched and ready to strike.
At the center of the entire complex sits what at first glance seems to be a crackling sphere of blue energy. It’s only when viewed from the sides that it becomes evident that the energy field is actually teardrop shaped, with the point connecting to the rest of the structure. Within the teardrop is a constantly churning globe of lights. I suspect this is meant to symbolize the spacetime-shattering energies unleashed during these battles, or perhaps the sphere contains just a sliver of the rifts that opened up in M2-XFE during the battle that caused the pilots so many problems. Or perhaps the artists just thought it looked cool. I’ve never been fantastic at figuring out the intent of an artist.
I spent quite some time admiring the monument from all angles. The graceful curves and the spectacular majesty of the site is truly breathtaking. Even if, like me, you didn’t know until fairly recently that there was a fairly significant difference between the abbreviations “NC” and “NCdot” (or, even worse, just “NC.”), I still recommend you come and check the site out for yourself. The capsuleer history of New Eden is worth taking in, even if only for the absolutely magnificent memorials that result from their never-ending feuds. Internecine warfare has rarely looked so good.
- Attraction: Massacres at M2-XFE Monument
- System: M2-XFE
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Delve
- Potential Hazards: M2-XFE is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to empire space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.
I sighed as I glared at the rest of the agenda for today’s meeting of shareholders of Project Compass Holdings. Secure Commerce Commission regulations require that each corporation hold a quarterly meeting of shareholders to make sure all owners of the corporation remain up-to-date on the goings on of the corporation. Never mind that: 1) I was the only shareholder and thus the only required participant and attendee of today’s meeting, 2) Project Compass Holdings main purpose these days is that of a legal shield, and the corporation itself held nothing other than the legally required minimal assets since CONCORD shut down my research projects back in YC114, 3) the corporation was not a moneymaking venture, 4) all of the information being presented was available to me at any time anyway through the magic of computers, and 5) did I mention that I was the only shareholder? But the forms must be obeyed, and obeyed they were as Aura obediently took the minutes of this very important shareholders meeting, serving as both the corporate Secretary and Treasurer.
What I need, I thought ruefully to myself, is a corporate retreat. The meeting seemed to stretch interminably as required report after required report was dutifully read into the meeting minutes, and I allowed my mind to wander. My thought on corporate retreats brought to mind a newsblurb I had read recently that the Intaki Syndicate, a side of the Intaki race I was less than proud of if I was being honest, had recently opened an executive conference center deep in Syndicate space and in full view of another of the natural wonders of New Eden, the Cord of the Elements. As Aura explained, in surprising depth, that Project Compass Holdings took in no revenue nor had any notable expenses for the 37th quarter in a row, I dug up the story again on my console, and loaded the system of D-B7YK into Scientia’s computers for route plotting.
Although the meeting only lasted 12 minutes and 43 seconds (per Aura’s fastidious notetaking), I could not wait to get out of the conference room I had rented (using my own ISK, not the corporation’s) and get back into my ship. Within a few minutes, I was en route to Syndicate space to see what I could see. As I did so, I brought up what little Aura could find on the Cord of the Elements:
Winding through the Syndicate region is a natural phenomenon that has baffled scientists for centuries. The phenomenon, a super-dense dark cloud, bends time in such a way that all space-travel in or close to the phenomenon is impossible, or at least extremely hazardous. Most scientists believe that the Cord is the remnant of collision between two black holes millions of years ago that permanently ‘scarred’ space. Others believe the Cord to be the result of a science experiment, possibly conducted by alien life forms, that went seriously awry eons ago.
I soon arrived in D-B7YK and easily found the retreat center on my scanners. The center itself consists of a standard Gallente station design, with an organic-looking design with a gleaming sun-shield and some well-placed biodomes offering dramatic views. In classic Gallente fashion, area surrounding the station was littered with pleasure hubs and pleasure cruisers. I chuckled to myself as I thought of holding my bone-dry legally required shareholders meeting in such a location. It certainly may make it seem shorter, at least. The pleasure hubs, 8 in all, formed a line pointing towards nearby D-B7YK VII, an icy planet that hung in the near distance. Finally, I bothered to look up what Aura, continuing in her role as corporate Secretary, had to say on the center:
This luxurious retreat center has been constructed in one of the rare locations where a gap in the natural clouds of stellar dust allow a clear view of the gorgeous Cord of the Elements phenomena that separates the Syndicate region from the territory of the Gallente Federation.
Operated by the Intaki Syndicate, these facilities are exclusively made available to the Syndicate station governors, their executive leadership staff, and their guests.
Of course, the real star of the show, so to speak, was the Cord itself. From D-B7YK, the Cord stretched across a quarter of the sky, immediately drawing one’s eye even above the local star. The Cord presents itself as a vast, flattened spheroid cloud of dark gas and dust. As promised by Aura above, the cloud breaks apart slightly to allow a view towards the center of the Cord, from which a bright yellow glow emanates along with a streamer of material.
It’s hard to do justice to the Cord using just words. It’s a magnificent sight. Despite the distance, watching the Cord for just a few minutes is enough to show the fascinating interplay of light and shadow between the dark clouds surrounding the Cord and the glowing center itself. Crepuscular rays stretch across the sky, a thought that boggles the mind once you realize that these shadows stretch over light-years. It’s truly spectacular.
I will admit that I hailed the station about the prospect of holding my next shareholders meeting at the center. Even ignoring the pleasure hubs, the thought of holding the same boring meeting in one of the biodomes in full sight of the Cord was an image I found hard to resist. But, alas, even appealing to my Intaki ancestry was insufficient to get me access to the corporate retreat center without some direct relationship to the Syndicate or an invitation from one of the Syndicate’s executives. Still, I captured enough imagery of the Cord that perhaps I could spruce up future shareholder meetings with some holograms. At least then I’d have something to look at other than yet another report of a quarter with no earnings whatsoever.
Long live SCC regulations, I suppose, but more importantly: long live the Cord of the Elements.
- Attraction: Intaki Syndicate Executive Retreat Center (and Cord of the Elements)
- System: D-B7YK
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Syndicate
- Potential Hazards: D-B7YK is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to empire space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.
Remember the Sansha? Creepy group of mind-controlled cyborg zombies led by a deluded cult leader who has the distinction of being the only person that the 4 empires have ever unified around destroying? Caused a lot of problems a decade or so ago by figuring out how to invade into the heart of high security space and make off with millions of people who were later forcibly converted into the aforementioned cyborg zombies?
Despite the high-profile nature of their attacks over a decade ago, the Sansha have mostly fallen out of the public conscience. Not that I can blame the public for that, of course. Between the Sleepers, the Drifters, the Triglavians, and the recent resurgence of the Equilibrium of Mankind back onto the galactic scene, the denizens of New Eden could be excused for feeling like they need a spreadsheet to keep track of everyone and everything they’re supposed to be afraid of these days, particularly those that have not really made a peep in more recent years.
To be quite clear, that is not to mean that the Sansha have not been keeping themselves busy. Indeed, their assaults on New Eden continue to this day, even if I am caught by a sense “oh yeah, those guys are still around” every time I jump into a system to find that now-familiar warning from CONCORD about yet another constellation currently undergoing a Sansha incursion, along with the creepy green hue that Aura has seen fit to add to systems under threat. But I was surprised to learn recently that Sansha have interests that go beyond converting the citizens of New Eden into zombies to bring their dream of a cyborg utopia, or whatever dream it was that Sansha Kuvakei professed (or at least that their interests extend to things that may only tangentially lead to such an outcome).
For you see, if you have ever needed proof that the universe is deeply unfair, you only need look to the fact that one of the natural wonders of New Eden is located smack dab in the middle of Sansha-controlled space. Although Stain is best well known for the Vapor Sea nebula (and the fact that it’s the home of Sansha’s Nation… a true stain on any map of New Eden), it’s also home to the Pool of Radiance. Stain curls around the Pool, with only the very northern part of it encompassed by a handful of systems in Catch. But, of course, the best views come from deep within Stain itself, the heart of Sansha territory, specifically the system 6QBH-S. If you ask me, the risk is worth it. Of the Pools of Radiance, Aura has this to say:
Space holds many spectacular sights and few are as spectacular as the crystal-clouds in the Pool of Radiance. The Pool is illuminated by surrounding stars, which makes it shimmer and shine in every color imaginable, radiating an almost hypnotic glow that delights anyone that sees it. The only problem is that the Pool is located in space controlled by Sansha’s Nation, so any prospective visitors are advised to carry an armed escort.
The Pool is indeed hypnotic, a shimmering whirlpool far grander than any you could see elsewhere in the Cluster. The heart of the whirlpool shines a bright purple-pink much of the time, but the Pool swirls around so much that the center is frequently obscured by one of the many-hued gas clouds that surround it, letting some of the other colors of the Pool dominate a bit better, for a time. The view is indeed hypnotic, as the ever-shifting clouds of the Pool seem to always reveal some new hidden feature.
Perhaps it’s that hypnotic ability of the Pool that the Sansha seek to study with the establishment of the True Creations Pool of Radiance Research Lab. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Aura doesn’t have many details to share:
This Sansha’s Nation facility appears to have been constructed within the 6QBH-S system in order to study the spectacular crystal-clouds of the nearby Pool of Radiance phenomena.
The Nation jealously guards its secrets, and intruders to this location have been known to come under fire from True Creations forces immediately.
Not wanting to risk that fire, I visited 6QBH-S in my cloakable Tengu-class cruiser, Scientia. Hidden under my cloaking device, I was able to get a good look at both the Pool itself and the research lab studying it. True to Sansha form, the most that can really be said about the Lab is that it is… pointy. A standard Sansha station, the lab appears to present a shield to the Pool (a shield that, in actuality, I imagine is chock full of scientific instruments and, of course, many cyborg zombies) and is topped with what almost appears to be a crown. The central lab is surrounded by 4 smaller stations, presumably there either for defense or full of additional instrumentation. I didn’t decloak to find out.
All told, it was fitting to once again see Sansha’s Nation overshadowed by the Exciting New Thing. If not for the fact that they were capturing and enslaving millions through cybernetic-induced bondage, one might be willing to compliment them for not letting the loss of the spotlight get in the way of their mission. That kind of plodding reliability, like a shuttle that is not the fastest one out there but never seems to need a stop at the mechanic, has a certain admiration to it. I have no doubt that, someday, there will be a resurgence for the Sansha too. And I hope that when the Cluster’s attention is once again drawn down to Sansha’s Nation in Stain, we wipe them out, if only so more people can get to safely enjoy the Pool of Radiance.
- Attraction: True Creations Pool of Radiance Reseach Lab
- System: 6QBH-S
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Stain
- Potential Hazards: 6QBH-Sis deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to empire space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised. Additionally, the site’s description ingame warns of near-immediate fire if you come to investigate, but I will admit that I did not test that personally.
Solitude is solitary no more. Solitude had always lived up to its name by being an exclave of the Federation. Rather than connecting directly to the rest of Gallente space, the region was only accessible through the low security Amarr regions of Aridia and Genesis or through a trek through Intake Syndicate-controlled null security space (unless, of course, you were lucky enough to find a wormhole connection, though that raises its own host of problems). It was an odd situation for a sizeable chunk of Gallente citizens, and one that newly-elected President Celes Aguard had promised to rectify during her successful election campaign. She followed through with that campaign promise with this week’s opening of a stargate between Solitude’s Eggheron and the system of Kenninck in Placid. Although the region is still only accessible by traveling through low security space, it no longer stands completely isolated from the rest of the Federation.
And that means it’s easier than ever to go take a look at one of the lesser-known wonders of New Eden, the Trace Cosmos. The Trace Cosmos is a vast interstellar wasteland that fills the gap between Solitude’s settled stars, Aridia, and the capsuleer-controlled region of Fountain. Despite its location between 3 well-travelled regions of space, there’s only one system close enough to the wastelands to allow visual observation of the field without specialized equipment: the Solitude system of Gererique. At the tail end of a short pipeline from the bulk of the high security systems in Solitude (which includes the system of Postouvin, which readers may recall as the site of the Kyonoke Outbreak in YC 119), Gererique sits on the very edge of the Trace Cosmos. And it’s just as well that it’s not any closer to the Trace Cosmos, as Aura explains:
The fields of Trace Cosmos hold miniscule black holes and weird spatial rifts, making it much too dangerous to traverse. It is widely believed that the fields are the remnants of a massive collision between two galaxies millions of years ago. The colossal occurrence permanently altered the areas most affected, turning them into barren death traps.
Barren and full of death they may be, the Trace Cosmos are also absolutely gorgeous. From the safety of Gererique, the fields dominate the sky, glowing a vibrant purple hue. Along with the countless smaller black holes that make up the field, there are perhaps a dozen or so that are large enough or close enough to have an accretion disk and relativistic jets visible from the system. At first glance, it may seem paradoxical that something that is most well known for having so much gravity that even light can’t escape could be so bright against the blackness of space. But having that much mass in such a small area has the effect of drawing in the interstellar gas and other matter near the black hole and, in doing so, accelerating them to incredible speeds. Before the matter is swallowed up by the black hole, the gas begins to collide with other matter being pulled into the maw of the black hole, and because everything is travelling at such high speeds, the friction alone is enough to make the accretion disk shine like a sun, glowing not just in visible light but ultraviolet and even x-ray, and because the disk is beyond the event horizon (the so-called point of no return), the energy can escape the black hole’s clutches to ionize the more distant gas in the field, giving the Trace Cosmos its iconic violet glow.
With so many black holes in such a compact area of space, it’s unsurprising that the Trace Cosmos is an area ripe for scientific research. The research giant Duvolle Laboratories has taken advantage of Gererique’s unique location to construct the Duvolle Gravitational Wave Observatory near the first planet in the system. Gravitational waves, ripples in the very fabric of space-time itself, are most easily detected when bodies with incredibly high gravities interact with each other, so it’s unsurprising that the Trace Cosmos, with its multitude of black holes, is a fertile hunting ground for the elusive waves. Although the Labs are best known for their biotech and propulsion systems, they have a sprawling research portfolio, and its clear that they have invested significant funds into developing the Observatory here. Aura has this to say when asked about the Observatory:
This Duvolle Laboratories corporate research facility was established in the Gererique system to take advantage of close proximity to the field of miniscule black holes and weird spatial rifts known as “Trace Cosmos”. Gererique has the notable distinction of being the only inhabited system that comes close enough to sections of Trace Cosmos to make the phenomena visible to the naked eye.
The results of research conducted at this observatory are considered closely guarded trade secrets of Duvolle Laboratories.
Closely guarded as the results of the research may be, Duvolle does not appear to mind you coming to take a look at the equipment used. The main research center is a station of Gallente design, with a distinctive sun-shield on one side and various jutting arms that I presume are filled with all manner of scientific equipment. But the observatory itself, I presume, is found a few kilometers from the station. There, surrounded by constantly moving antennae pointing every which way, sits a large stack of rings that are strongly reminiscent of some other research facilities that I once studied in Drifter Hive systems. A soft blue glow emanates from within the rings that stands out all the more because of the vibrant violet hues of the Trace Cosmos. I could not possibly begin to describe the functions of the rings, but they certainly look impressive enough from my layperson’s perspective.
As much as I tried to pay attention to the Observatory itself, however, I found my eyes drawn repeatedly back to the stunning views of the Trace Cosmos. The ever-shifting dance of black holes is easily apparent even from this distance, and the streaking jets and swirling accretion disks were almost hypnotic to watch. I found myself glad that Gererique is now at least somewhat easier to access from the rest of the Federation. More citizens deserved to behold this breathtaking view and to watch the hypnotic remains of a titanic collision that occurred before humans had even evolved. Solitude is indeed solitary no more and, though the introverts among us may disagree, at least in terms of having access to the views of the Trace Cosmos, that is very much a good thing.
- Attraction: Duvolle Gravitational Wave Observatory and Trace Cosmos
- System: Gererique
- Security Rating: 0.7
- Region: Solitude
- 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. Additionally, although the system is high security space, please note that this is a high sec pocket and is ONLY accessible through either null security space, a few low security routes, or a fortuitous wormhole connection.
As the cliché goes, space is vast. Frankly, its easy to forget that these days. It takes light more than a century to cross the expanse of New Eden, something that I can do in a little over an hour with Professor Science, assuming no gate camps or other ne’er-do-wells. What makes this possible, of course, isn’t our Sotiyo-Urbaata drives (more colloquially known as the warp drive). Professor Science’s warp drive tops out at a hair under 4,000 times the speed of light. Even at that jaw-dropping speed, it would take me more than 9 days to travel the roughly 100 light-year diameter of New Eden, and that’s before we even begin to take into account needing to drop out of warp every few hundred AU’s to recharge the capacitor. That kind of travel time across the Cluster would give a very different feel to the geopolitics of New Eden.
No, what makes New Eden’s 100 light-years feel so small is the presence of stargates, a revolutionary device that can fling you a dozen light-years in the span of a few seconds using a stabilized wormhole. Even having to travel “slowly” (I say, flying my spaceship capable of flying thousands of times the speed of light) between gates, the ability of the gates to bring travel time between systems down to mere seconds is what makes New Eden feel, at times, so claustrophobic. Throw in jumpdrives and you get ability for force projection almost anywhere in the cluster at almost any scale within only a few minutes of getting the ships launched. And thus we have the posturing frequently seen between both null sec alliances and the modern empires.
What’s key to remember about stargates, however, is that, aside for a few ancient stargates that allowed the modern empires of New Eden to reverse engineer the technology, the gates had to come from somewhere. If an empire is looking to expand to a system not already connected to the gate network, a construction ship needs to get to that new system in order to build the companion stargate. Because of quirks of how the warp drive navigates at FTL speeds, using the warp drive between systems generally isn’t (to my continual surprise) as reliable as some may assume, sometimes leaving as the only real option something that almost any capsuleer dreads to hear: slowboating, or traveling at sublight speeds to get to a destination. If reduced to that, it can sometimes take years to get a construction ship to the new system and then to get the gate built.
If space travel has taught us anything, if something can go wrong, it eventually will, regardless of the precautions you take. And so it was with the ill-fated expedition to build a stargate from the Gallente capital system of Villore to the system of Ouperia, leading to an event now indelibly linked to the gestalt of New Eden. But if space travel has taught us, say, two things, it’s that even in the midst of disaster, humanity has a weird way of… persevering. Because rather than let disaster stand in his way, the sole survivor of a massive disaster not only survived, but completed his mission, if only a few decades too late. And it’s his perseverance that today allows nearly instantaneous travel between Villore and the system known today as Old Man Star. But let’s let Aura tell the tale:
Old Man Star to Villore
A unique stargate constructed by Ceul ‘Old Man’ Darieux using a fleet of drones of his own design, following a disastrous navigation accident that left him as the sole survivor of a Federation gate-building expedition.
In YC11, a Gallente gate-builder vessel was sent to construct a link between the then Ouperia system and Villore. A critical error in the gate-builder ship’s jump drive navigation systems placed the ship several light years off course, in the middle of an asteroid cluster. In the confused aftermath, an asteroid struck the vessel and killed four of the five crew. Ceul Darieux was left with the daunting task of regaining control of the ship and somehow completing his mission or returning home.
Given the relative distances, Darieux decided to press on to Ouperia, though without the benefit of a functional jump drive the journey would take decades. In YC55, the gate-builder ship arrived in system and the work of building a new gate back to Villore could begin. The effort to correct the ship’s flight path had been difficult but hardly took four decades. With the time on his hands, Darieux, knowing he would need help, had worked to design tools and drones to replace the materiel and crew lost in the accident.
Setting up a drone assembly station on a conveniently located asteroid in Ourperia, Ceul Darieux managed to use a combination of intact gate components, drone-built replacements and cannibalized elements of the ship’s systems to construct a functional stargate back to Villore. The labor he and his drones carried out took five years but was a remarkable success given the disaster and long decades of Darieux’s solitude.
In YC60, the Federation was astounded when the dormant Villore-Ouperia gate activated and established a stabilized gate wormhole to the abandoned Ouperia system. The stripped-down and patched-up core of the gate-builder ship carried the now elderly Darieux and some of his drone crew back to Villore to a hero’s welcome. Old Man Darieux went on to found the CreoDron corporation on the strength of his designs and fame, while the Ouperia system was renamed “Old Man Star” in his honor.
Although much upgraded, the original Old Man Star to Villore gate is still located within the cleared and stabilized cluster of asteroids Darieux used to as a base and source of materials. CreoDron drones continue to watch over the stargate, maintaining its systems and ensuring the stability of the link to Villore.
For a split second after coming out of warp in Old Man Star, you might be forgiven for thinking this is a normal Gallente gate as the soothing Gallente-green glow of the gate is the first thing that becomes apparent. But any level of examination after that initial reaction will show that this is a very different gate indeed. Instead of the graceful, almost organic lines traditionally associated with Gallente architecture, the gate looks much more akin to something of Minmatar make. In lieu of the long and elegant traditional design of a Gallente intraconstellation gate, the gate aperture is instead anchored to one large asteroid and a half dozen smaller ones, all kept in alignment with a series of heavy-duty cables strung across the gate complex. Other small asteroids sit nearby, their positions long-ago stabilized within the gravitational resonance point associated with the gate.
In addition to the gate itself, the remains of Darieux’s gate-builder ship remains quite obvious. Although the ship was heavily cannibalized to construct the hodgepodge stargate, the ship is quite recognizable, permanently set down on the largest of the asteroids used to stabilize the gate. Although many of the essential parts of the ship were used to construct the gate, it’s obvious that power still runs throughout the ship, with glowing control panels and sparking wires still quite evident even 60 years later. On close inspection of the ship, you can even find the remains of the bridge from which Darieux supervised his drones in the construction of the gate. It’s also said that you can see the fleets of modern drones that still maintain the gate, although I wasn’t able to observe them myself when I visited.
I think it’s important to have gates like the one in Old Man Star, and stories like Darieux’s. They serve as an important reminder that we should never take the dangers of space travel for granted. The deep dark is always out there, sitting only a few meters away from you at almost any given time, and all that keeps you safe are the alloys and plastics between you and the vacuum. But the gate also serves as a source of inspiration, a true success story in the face of utter catastrophe. Even when things are at their most grim and a person is stranded light-years away from anything they’ve ever known, as long as they’re alive, there’s a chance to succeed. Space may indeed be vast, but not nearly as vast as the source of human perseverance.
- Attraction: Old Man Darieux’s Stargate
- System: Old Man Star (née Ouperia)
- Security Rating: 0.3
- Region: Essence
- Potential Hazards: Old Man Star is only one jump from high sec space (from Villore, of course), but the low security system itself has long been a popular system for player pirates who will often hang out on or near the gate. If you’re looking to take a close or extended look at the gate, I strongly recommend a cloaked ship, and caution is advised.
One of the earliest space stories I remember hearing as a child was the great space battle in Vak’Atioth. I remember distinctly hearing about this tory and my mom soon picking up an (age-appropriate) book on the subject for me. Within a few weeks, I could have recited every fact in that book. It would probably be a stretch to say that I’m a capsuleer today because of my fascination with that battle, but it would not be a stretch to say that learning about the battle was the first time I became truly fascinated with something that happened outside of my immediate surroundings on Gallente Prime. It was not just the excitement of how the battle quickly sparked the Minmatar Rebellion. It was the mystery surrounding the Jove ships. How were they able to so completely overwhelm the mighty Amarr Empire? What secrets did their ships hide?
After becoming a fully licensed capsuleer and gained my space legs, one of my first dips into the world of null-security space was a trip out to the system, now simply called Atioth. I had hoped and dreamed that I would be able to find the battlefield, and take a look for myself at the Jove ships that had so captured my imagination as a child. But I was disappointed to discover that the battlefield could not be found using ship systems. Whether it be the Empire itself trying to hide the site of its most famous defeat, the Jove trying once again to hide the secrets of their vessels, or CONCORD in one of its convoluted schemes meant to protect the Cluster from us capsuleers, the battlefield from the Battle of Vak’Atioth has long been hidden from view. But that has not stopped me from returning every few years in hopes that I had somehow missed something, or that someone had finally made the battlefield more public.
You can probably imagine my excitement then when CONCORD announced that the site of that storied battle was finally being made public. As seems to be always the case these days, it seems that the CONCORD announcement was purposefully made at the worst possible time for me to be free to travel to null sec for an extended tour. But as soon as I could free myself from the obligations of my planetside life, I set course back down the now-familiar path to Atioth. In a display of how eager I was to finally see the battlefield I had dreamed about since I was a child, I found myself seriously considering taking the faster Professor Science over Scientia, a slower Tengu-class ship but one far more suited to travel in null security space. Eventually, common sense won out as I undocked in the safer Tengu-class ship, but I silently urged her to pick up the pace as I warped from jumpgate to jumpgate along my route.
And then, quite suddenly, I was there. As Scientia’s scanners resolved the system after the last jump from K-IYNW, the beacon resolved on my scanners, clear as day: “Battle of Vak’Atioth”. I nudged Scientia into the proper alignment and cautiously triggered the ship’s warp engines. The warp bubble soon collapsed around me and I found myself at my destination.
The first thing I noticed when dropping out of warp was the silent visage of a Jove Observatory, a station we are now quite familiar with but, at the time, would have been a complete mystery. Surrounding the station were groups of Amarr wrecks, clearly the remains of the losses suffered by the once-thought-unbeatable Golden Fleet. But I wasn’t here for Amarr wrecks (there seemed to be a plethora of those these days anyway), and I quickly searched for the wreckage of Jove ships. But I was disappointed to discover that the only remnants of those storied vessels were a few twists of scrap metal. Anything else from the quick Jovian ships had either decayed in the harsh environments of space or been plundered by the Amarr, CONCORD, the Jove, the Angel Cartel, or some other mysterious entity long ago. The dreams I had long harbored of seeing the sleek Jovian vessels had been dashed.
While I contemplated my next move, I pinged the local beacon for the information about the site, and found a surprisingly comprehensive summary:
The Battle of Vak’Atioth was the major engagement of the Amarr-Jove War. It was fought in 23216 AD (BYC 20) in the system of Vak’Atioth, now known as Atioth, between two hundred ships of the Amarr Navy and a detachment of Jove ships headed up by a Jovian Mothership. The battle was a massive defeat for the Empire and had far-reaching consequences. It was, for a time, the largest battle in New Eden’s history.
The Empire decided to strike Vak’Atioth, a border system which contained only a small Jove research station, as a show of might. For weeks beforehand they broadcasted messages of Imperial dominance and the Amarr position as God’s chosen.
Forewarned, the Jove were able to meet the Amarr fleet with a perfect counter. The Amarr fleet was composed mostly of battleships and heavier cruisers. Its support was light, leaving the fleet sluggish and unguarded.
The Jove countered with small wings of frigates. While the Amarr scored the first kill, destroying a stationary Jove ship, the Jove frigates quickly reached full speed and were able to pin down the Amarr vessels. It was then that a Jovian Mothership was brought onto the field. An ancient vessel of a size nearly unmatched throughout New Eden, it had been equipped with the latest and most devastating of Jove weaponry. Each shot was capable of destroying an Amarr battleship entirely.
The Amarr, finding their ships pinned by the Jove frigates and being picked apart by long-range cruiser fire and the Mothership’s doomsday weapon, fell into chaos. Their lines of communication were broken and Amarr battle doctrine refused surrender or retreat.
The entire battle lasted just under six hours and ended with the majority of the Amarr ships lost, while the Jove had lost only a third of their vessels.
The Empire was shocked by the complete loss to the Jove. It quickly regrouped and planned a second assault, using different tactics that would be capable of countering the Jove frigates. The Jove, meanwhile, withdrew from their border systems and regrouped for a more concentrated defense.
The second battle never came, however. Shortly after, the Minmatar took the opportunity to rebel, aided by sympathetic elements within the Gallente Federation. The Empire quickly turned its eyes on the Minmatar and entered into a hasty peace treaty with the Jove.
The Battle of Vak’Atioth provided the Jove Empire a reputation of invincibility that spared them any further assaults from the Empire or the other races.
I pinged the abandoned research station as well. I had expected the generic analysis found at every other abandoned Jove observatory, but was surprised that Aura managed to dig up some additional information for me:
This decaying wreckage wis the remains of the Jove Research outpost that was the only known Jove presence in the Atioth system before the Amarr attack that lead to the famous Battle of Vak’Atioth.
Although the outpost survived the battle unscathed, it was abandoned by the Jove soon after the battle as they withdrew from systems bordering the Jove regions. Ultimately, the Jove severed all gate connections between the Jove Empire and the rest of New Eden. Outposts such as this one were left to gradually disintegrate as their integrity maintenance systems broke down, leading to so-called “nanorot”, while pirates and other occasional opportunists braved erratic defense mechanisms to plunder the abandoned facilities.
Although disappointed that I couldn’t see the Jove ships I had long dreamed about (at least beyond the remains of a few pieces of scrap metal; it is perhaps needless to say that the Jove mothership did not remain on the field after the battle), at least I had still managed to fulfill one of my childhood dreams. I was literally flying where history had been made. Though the Jove ships still remain a mystery to me, they were flying right where I was currently positioned, high above Atioth I. That fact was not lost on me. Maybe some day I’ll finally see a true Jove vessel. But until then, there’s nothing wrong with having a new dream to reach for.
- Attraction: Battle of Vak’Atioth
- System: Atioth
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Geminate
- Potential Hazards: Atioth is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to empire space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.
Sometimes, you need to start back at the beginning.
I couldn’t help thinking of this as I found myself once again in the system of New Eden, the stellar system that is closest to the fabled EVE Gate. Although 3 light-years out from the ruins of the collapsed jumpgate, the system and the ruins are indelibly linked in the minds of the Cluster. While the collapsed wormhole is visible to the naked eye even from Amarr Prime (and visible through telescopes from anywhere in the Cluster), it is in New Eden itself (and, to a lesser extent, Promised Land one system over) that visitors get treated to the spectacular light show that emanates from the remains of the ancient stargate. Coruscating loops of energy twist endlessly from the wormhole, and whatever is on the other side of the wormhole now glares brighter than the white dwarf at the center of the system.
It is perhaps not surprising then that the EVE Gate has long fascinated scientists. Indeed, the scientific consensus these days is that our ancestors built the Gate long ago, and it is from the New Eden system that humanity spread out, as evidenced by the trail of just-as-ancient but far less catastrophically failed stargates that spiderweb out from the New Eden system (not to mention, of course, the impossible odds that humans would spring up independently on at least 7 different worlds). In particular, the Sisters of EVE have long been fascinated by the Gate, both from a scientific and religious perspective. Convinced that the Gate is some sort of relic of their god, the Sisters have long had the only known research facility near the seething maelstrom of the collapsed wormhole in an attempt to unlock its secrets.
Recently, however, the Sisters have established a second, more accessible research location in New Eden in conjunction with House Kor-Azor, the Amarrian house that controls this portion of Genesis. Like the Sisters, the Amarr have a complicated relationship with the Gate. Given its visibility from Amarr Prime, it features somewhat prominently in Amarr scripture, but of course the Amarr also have a scientific interest in the Gate. It is perhaps that tension that has kept the Amarr from a serious research effort into the Gate, but the new Kor-Azor Heir, Ersilia, appears to have finally decided to be more visible with the House’s research efforts into the Gate, and the prospect of working with the Sisters was too much of an effort to pass up.
With the joint research center now fully operational, the location has become public knowledge. Aura has this to say about the new Sisters of EVE station:
This station acts as the central hub for the Sisters of EVE’s research efforts in the New Eden system.
The Sisters of EVE consider the EVE Gate wormhole remnant an important subject of both scientific study and religious faith. They believe the EVE Gate to be a gift from God and that it is the divine will they study it thoroughly and unlock its secrets. The Sisters maintain that God resigns at the other end of the EVE Gate, guiding and protecting those who follow him from the domain it guards.
The SOE are careful to emphasize the scientific nature of their research and avoid discussing their religious beliefs openly within the shared facilities, lest they embarrass their Kor-Azor hosts or be accused of illegal proselytizing by their enemies within the Amarr Empire.
And of the Kor-Azor portion of the joint research facility, Aura has this to say:
This station acts as the central hub for House Kor-Azor’s research efforts in the New Eden system.
House Kor-Azor has long been keen to bulwark and expand its power and influence within the Amarr Empire through its policies of diplomacy, trade and scientific exchange beyond the borders of its realms and the Empire itself. Royal Heir Ersilia Kor-Azor has re-emphasized this approach since her accession to Kor-Azor title, and the house has successfully enhanced its contacts and co-operation with external entities.
House Kor-Azor control over the division of the Genesis Region containing the New Eden system and obvious scientific value of studying the EVE Gate wormhole remnant has led it [to] co-operate with the SOE. Even so, House Kor-Azor maintains a careful watch over SOE activities, mindful that Ministry of Internal Order paladins attached to the site are keeping everything that goes on here under their own scrutiny.
And of the EVE Gate itself, Aura has this to say:
In the system of New Eden sits the impenetrable EVE Gate. Thousands of years ago the forefathers of all the human races used the gate to travel to the world of EVE. But the gate has been closed for a long time, a catastrophe that destroyed all planets in the New Eden system and plunged the fragile human settlements to the brink of extinction. Anyone foolish enough to get too close to the gate today will be ripped apart by the magnetic storms that still surround the massive gate.
The joint research base itself comprises primarily two large stations in orbit around the sole planet in New Eden. The Kor-Azor station is of standard Imperial design. The design has always evoked in me a shard or a sail gliding through space, though that is partially offset by the bulbous and somewhat awkwardly placed primary docking port. The Sisters station should be familiar to anyone who has visited Sisters stations in Thera: a modified Gallente tri-ring station design in the iconic white and red of the Sisters. Surrounding both stations are a host of scientific instruments I could not pretend to understand, constantly collecting terabytes of data from the maelstrom of the wormhole remnant.
Of course, it’s difficult to focus on the research center with the gorgeous splendor of the EVE Gate itself so obvious. The constantly changing appearance of the wormhole remnant mesmerizes me today just as much as it did when I first examined the Gate. The fact that the wormhole remnant is this bright and this obvious from 3 light-years out shows just how much power spills from that ruined rip in space-time. But it’s also our connection to our (presumed) ancestral home that also draws our attention. Indeed, even today you can still find markers from ships that have attempted to make their way back to the Gate without the benefit of warp drive. It’s a rite of passage for explorers that has existed since I became a pilot.
Back to the beginning indeed. In more ways than one.
- Attraction: EVE Gate
- System: New Eden
- Security Rating: 0.3
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: Getting to New Eden from high sec space requires extensive low sec travel through a pipeline with only one way in or out. Pirates (both pod and rat varieties) can be quite common on the route. A covops would be recommended.
With tensions just a tad high across the Cluster at the moment, maybe now is the time to look back at what was, in retrospect, a more peaceful time for almost all concerned. YC 105, probably best known as the beginning of the age of the capsuleer, was also notable for the death of Heideran VII. Heideran had been the ruler that empires across history dream of: beloved, peaceful, and, in a particular rarity given later events in the Empire, long-ruling. During the reign of Heideran, the Empire made peace with the nascent Minmatar Republic and joined CONCORD, two events that would have been unthinkable for almost any other emperor in history. Indeed, Heideran was the only ruler that many in the Empire had ever known. His death, though not entirely unexpected given his long battle with Turit disease, still acted as a wake-up call to many in the empire.
Although it couldn’t have been known at the time, Heideran’s death also marked the end of an era of peace in the Cluster, though you probably would not have guessed that based on his successor. Doriam II was, in many ways, cut from the same cloth as Heideran, and in retrospect it seems a minor miracle that he managed to win in the first succession trial to be fought with the use of capsuleer champions. Although he ended up having a famously poor taste in chamberlains, Doriam strove to maintain the legacy of Heideran, both within the Empire and in terms of its relations to the other major nations of New Eden. By no means particularly seeking to rock the boat, Doriam sought to maintain peace with all except for that splinter sect of the Amarr religion known as the Blood Raiders. Indeed, it was his particular antipathy for the sect that ultimately led to his assassination just 2 years into his reign. No Amarr ruler since Heideran has lasted more than a handful of years.
The recently constructed Emperor Doriam II Memorial in Kor-Azor Prime sums up Doriam’s legacy thusly:
During his short rule, Emperor Doriam II was known as a benevolent leader to his people, a peacemaker with the neighboring empires, and a stalwart enemy of the heretical Blood Raiders. Born Doriam Kor-Azor, he was elevated to the Golden Throne thanks to the support of the capsuleers Ecliptical, BlackViper, Grikl and Kileak in the Amarr Championships of YC105.
Doriam II strived to be a just leader for all citizens of the Amarr Empire, demonstrating this commitment early in his reign by embarking on an extended tour to visit every inhabited planet within Amarr space to hear the concerns of local Holders and appear before their populace.
Viewed as a sympathetic successor to Heideran VII, Emperor Doriam II continued his predecessor’s irenic stance towards the Amarr Empire’s neighbors, including efforts to maintain the tenuous peace with the Minmatar Republic. His primary military interventions were directed towards the Blood Raider Covenant, including a major assault on the Blood Raider strongholds within the Bleak Lands by combined forces of the Amarr Navy and capsuleer loyalists.
The success of Doriam II’s campaign against the Blood Raiders saw them driven from the Bleak Lands and the reassertion of imperial rule over the systems the cultists had occupied. However, this success was not to be without a price, as Doriam II was assassinated in the Imperial Palace on July 4th, YC107. While the killing was a great mystery for many years, the assassins are now believed to have been members of the “Red Chamberlain” Dochuta Karsoth’s Blood Raider cultist cell.
This monument was erected in YC123 by the Order of Royal Heir Ersilia Kor-Azor in memory of her uncle’s leadership of House Kor-Azor and the Amarr Empire.
The site itself is pretty straightforward. A colossal Doriam II stands guard above the clouds of Eclipticum (itself renamed after the captain of the Emperor’s Championship team in the Succession Trials), his back upright and his arms outstretched as if ready to bear the weight of the empire in his hands. As usual, I find myself impressed by the craftsmanship inherent in the statue. The marble used to construct the giant monument captures the gathering of his robes of state so well it seems as if the statue was the man himself covered by only a thin veneer of stone. Standing in two lines stand an honor guard of 8 Armageddon-class battleships, resplendent in Kor-Azor colors. It’s a grand site to honor someone who was, by all accounts, a kind man devoted to his empire.
That being said, Doriam’s legacy can’t be viewed solely in terms of the good decisions he made or the good intentions that he had. Although I sincerely believe he was a peaceful man who sought to maintain the Empire’s good standing, his errors in judgment cannot be ignored, nor can the chaos that those errors ended up causing. He was, to be sure, not the only one fooled by Dochuta Karsoth (he was initially Heideran’s chamberlain, though Doriam kept him on in the same role), but the fact that a Blood Raider was able to maintain such a high position within the Imperial Palace of an emperor so avowedly anti-Blood Raider is an embarrassment to Doriam’s legacy. And Karsoth’s betrayal directly led to a multi-year interregnum that was only ended by the arrival of Jamyl Sarum, whose legacy is also… questionable at best.
But perhaps I am being unfair. After all, while Doriam may have been a god-emperor revered across the Empire as infallible, he was still ultimately human and therefore imperfect, even if Amarr theology strenuously disagrees with me on that point. He tried, was successful in some ways, and failed in others. Who among us hasn’t experienced that on some level or another? But despite his failings, there can be little doubt that he was devoted to peace across New Eden. As I look back at the events of recent days, I can’t help but be reminded that rulers devoted to maintaining peace for trillions of souls should never be looked down on.
- Attraction: Kor-Azor Battle Site
- System: Kor-Azor Prime
- Security Rating: 0.9
- Region: Kor-Azor
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
Despite being one myself, I have to admit that I don’t really pay much attention to what happens to the capsuleer alliances out in null sec. The alliances come and go. The alliances take space and then lose it (to be fair, I rarely pay attention to gains and losses in the various wars between the empires either). They make broader coalitions only to have those coalitions fall apart as they begin to backstab each other for hopes of further advantage. Sure, after the fact I find the histories written up on the great soap operas of null sec space to be fascinating, and (unsurprisingly) I always appreciate when a battle or some epic struggle culminates in a battle that the Powers That Be seek to commemorate in a landmark or site. But, truth be told, for someone who prides himself on seeking out knowledge on the history of New Eden, I often find myself woefully out of date on current events in New Eden’s perimeter.
One thing that even I paid attention to, however, was the Alliance Tournament. How could you not? Even for those of us who can’t appreciate the finer tactics and strategies that go into the countless choices made during a tournament match, it’s still fun to see some of the best known alliances in the cluster duke it out for the title of champion, and I say this as someone who’s inclination to engage other capsuleers is, shall we say, tenuous, at best. But the fact remains, it was exciting to watch the matches as teams fought against each other, inevitably lost track and left the boundaries of the tournament area, and, yes, even the inevitable Tournaments scandals can be entertaining in their own way. Not to mention the color commentary both during the match and after that revs people up for getting on the applicable so-called Hype Train.
Given the vaunted history of the Alliance Tournament, it’s a little surprising that CONCORD has waited until now to recognize the history of the Tournament and to erect a monument in honor of past winners, particularly given the fact that the Tournament has been on hiatus for a few years now. But the fact remains, a monument has gone up at long last, and recognizes each of the winners of the tournament over its 16-tournament history, along with the Alliance Open held in YC122. It’s a simple, if elegant, site: 17 plinths, one for each tournament as well as the Alliance Open, sit in a half circle. At the center of that half circle stands a large, golden, winged woman reaching for the stars.
Querying the statue through Aura yields the following:
“Throughout history humanity has struggled for survival, fortune and glory. The fight to exceed nature’s limits continues but as often the combat is within and between ourselves.
While the need to hunt for food is long behind us, and life itself is seldom a daily struggle for survival, we still crave the fearful rush that comes with the imminence of death.
There is both terror and majesty in combat: from the steel swords and wooden shields of ancient conflicts; to the masses of kilometers long spacecraft unleashing firepower to equal that of entire planetary wars.
No matter the tools, no matter the arena, all clashes of arms meet and fulfill the same purpose: the need to fight, and the determination to win.”-Khumat Mebroh, Chief Executive Officer, Independent Gaming Commission
And then, of course, there are the memorialized winners, one for each plinth at the site:
- 1st Alliance Tournament (YC 107): Band of Brothers
- 2nd Alliance Tournament (YC 107): Band of Brothers
- 3rd Alliance Tournament (YC 108): Band of Brothers
- 4th Alliance Tournament (YC 109): HUN Reloaded
- 5th Alliance Tournament (YC 110): Ev0ke
- 6th Alliance Tournament (YC 111): Pandemic Legion
- 7th Alliance Tournament (YC 111): Pandemic Legion
- 8th Alliance Tournament (YC 112): Pandemic Legion
- 9th Alliance Tournament (YC 113): HYDRA RELOADED
- 10th Alliance Tournament (YC 114): Verge of Collapse
- 11th Alliance Tournament (YC 115): Pandemic Legion
- 12th Alliance Tournament (YC 116): The Camel Empire
- 13th Alliance Tournament (YC 117) Pandemic Legion
- 14th Alliance Tournament (YC 118): The Tuskers Co.
- 15th Alliance Tournament (YC 119): VYDRA RELOADED
- 16th Alliance Tournament (YC 120): VYDRA RELOADED
- Alliance Open (YC 122): Templis CALSF
As you may notice, it’s been 3 years since the last official Alliance Tournament, and there’s no particular indication that they are going to be picked up again any time in the near future. I have no doubt that there is quite a lot of logistical work that goes into holding the Tournament each year, and I can’t fault the Independent Gaming Commission for being wary of committing more resources to an intense endeavor. Though there is no official news on this particular subject, it was quickly pointed out after unveiling the monument that there were plenty of spots left to be filled in for that circle around the golden statue. Hope, as always, springs eternal.
- Attraction: Alliance Tournament Monument
- System: Manarq
- Security Rating: 0.8
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: Because this is CONCORD space, if you’re below a -3.0 security status, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
[Editor’s note: Wow. That’s about all I can say: wow (you will probably not be surprised to learn that speechlessness is a rare concept for me!). I started this blog in December of 2009, and if you had told me then that I’d be going 11 and a 1/2 years later and that CCP would eventually memorialize this blog with its own site in-game, I would have laughed you out of the room. But, as often as I write about the many varied, strange things that go on in this shared virtual universe of ours, it feels particularly weird to me to be writing about myself. It would be my tendency to make self-deprecating jokes on my own behalf, and that is not how I want to treat something that really is quite an honor by CCP. So I’ve asked my friend and fellow adventurer, Katia Sae of that particular fame, to write this particular site up for me, and she very kindly agreed. To CCP: Thank you for the amazing game you’ve put together, and thank you for this unique distinction. I cannot say enough how much I love the site and how honored I am by it. To my readers: Thank you for reading. As I’ve mentioned previously, I still don’t quite understand the fame I’ve developed over the years, but I am humbled by it nonetheless, and I can sincerely say that this blog would not be going so many years later without the sheer outpouring of kindness and support that I’ve received from the Eve community over the years. To each and every one of you: My sincere thanks for allowing me to be your guide to the sightseeing in the Cluster for all of these years.
Anyway, enough with the mush and on to the good stuff.]
It wasn’t unusual to hear from Mark726 these days as we’ve been working on a project together, but this time speaking with him over comms was a bit different than usual because of the excitement I could hear in his voice. That’s not to say he isn’t excitable, far from it, just mention a far away ancient forgotten site somewhere and his love for lore and adventure comes shining through. It’s just one of the many things I admire about him, his excitement is infectious. This however, wasn’t that. I could tell from his voice this was… different.
He wouldn’t tell me what was up, instead he invited me out to his home system, Mozzidit, in the Genesis region. It’s no mistake his home system is close to the New Eden system where the EVE Gate can be found. The Gate and region were perhaps his favorites among all the sites and places of New Eden and for that matter, probably mine as well. I know he’s talked about spending his early days as a capsuleer exploring this area and basing his operations in Mozzidit because of its close proximity to Amarr for trading and Iyen-Oursta for the elusive Children of Light sighting.
According to him, it was something that I was just going to have to come out and see for myself. I suppose I have been sitting behind a desk for a bit too long tending to Signal Cartel, so the timing felt right to undock and see some sights. I alerted my Chief to prepare ‘Traveller’, a Sisters of EVE Astero-class frigate based on my beloved ‘Voyager’, which was now retired. Setting out from my home system, Saisio, I plotted a course for Mark726’s home system, Mozzidit. The journey wasn’t bad at all at twenty-five jumps for the most secure route and by coming in via Imya, only the last two systems, Antem and Mozzidit, were Low Sec where I had to be a bit more cautious. I had no difficulty at all and didn’t see any threats to be concerned about.
Upon entering the system with its bright and relatively cool but stable K5 orange sun, I was directed by way of a beacon to the last/eighth planet of the eight planet system. First of all, I was a bit surprised by the presence of the beacon, having traveled through this system before, I was unable to recall anything of particular note. Of course, it could be that something recent had been added. Did Mark726 discover something new here after all of these years? I was eager to find out and wanting to be surprised, I declined Aura’s recital of the beacon’s information and instead locked on for warp.
Landing on grid, I wasn’t sure what to expect so I was surprised to find what appeared to be a couple of asteroids. To be surprised for a capsuleer can be deadly, but what I was seeing before me didn’t seem as unusual as I was hoping for. I took in the sight before me for a few moments, before finally taking action, having ‘Traveller’ orbit the area while I processed just what I was seeing. The first thing that caught my eye was what I thought the beacon was established for, The “Giant Snake-Shaped” and “Broken Orange Crystal” asteroids. I had Aura do a search, as I had not heard of these celestial objects in this area, other than a few references to similarly shaped asteroids at other locations. However, she was unable to find any specific information on the ones before me. Mentally scratching my head, I turned to Mark726’s own blog, EVE Travel. No mention there either. I grinned ear to ear, this must be it! He’s discovered some new ancient mystery or tidbit of New Eden lore.
Giant Snake-Shaped Asteroid
Fragments from an asteroid collision or a supernova, this rock formation decorates the starscape as a planetary mountain range.
Broken Orange Crystal Asteroid
This towering asteroid seems to have suffered a tremendous impact, splitting it into multiple pieces.
Excited for him, I couldn’t wait to open comms to learn more about these two objects and was wondering just where he was when Aura said, “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you Katia, the beacon is for the new ‘EVE Travel Agency’ headquarters”… and that’s when my jaw literally dropped.
EVE Travel Agency
This habitation module serves as the home base for the “EVE Travel Agency”, a small independent corporation that provides tours and travel information services to explorers across New Eden. Their proximity to the New Eden system makes them a convenient stopping point for travelers making a pilgrimage to the EVE Gate.
EVE Travel’s GalNet blog is a must-read for all capsuleers seeking to explore New Eden’s various sights.
No longer interested in the asteroids, I set my orbit around the new facilities. There were three structures. The first appeared to be a logistics platform, likely to support shipping and receiving with its landing platforms and container yard. It seemed both modern and practical in design and like other platforms of its kind, I was sure it got the job done.
The next structure could only be the new EVE Travel Agency HQ, with its beautiful design and lighting. I couldn’t picture Mark726 in a luxurious office behind a desk, but if he had one, it was certainly there. I could, however, picture visitors at the center inquiring about travel information and booking excursions. There was probably a waiting area for tourists as they prepared to head out to see the sights of New Eden. I wondered if there was a gift shop as well and if they sold snowglobes. I’ll have to book an excursion and do some shopping while I’m here.
Lastly, I turned ‘Traveller’ towards the final structure, a docking facility, and there was ‘Professor Science’ his Buzzard, a Caldari covert ops frigate. Not only that, there were three brand new shiny tourist shuttles ready for departure. The shuttles were Gallentian style and the red of the red and white trim reminded me of the ‘Steel Cardinal’ ship skin that he is so fond of flying on ‘Professor Science’. My smile only broadened upon seeing Mark726’s ship, after all it was like seeing him in person. As capsuleers, we literally become the ship and it’s as much a part of us as any other part of our own body. To baseliners, it’s hard to describe just what that feels like, but in that moment, I was seeing Mark726, my friend, and I couldn’t be more proud of him than I am today.
After more than ten years of exploring and documenting nearly two-hundred sights around the cluster with EVE Travel, Mark726 laid down and built the foundation in Mozzidit where it all began, establishing himself in the lore of New Eden. I dare say it’s the most exhaustive travel resource you’ll ever find on the cluster. His hard work and dedication over the years is admired by all that take in his blog and the ‘EVE Travel Agency’ is a fitting tribute. His blog was a main source of inspiration to me and I know countless others to go out, explore, and see the stars. I started off as a fan, but have been blessed and honored to call him friend over the years and was absolutely thrilled and honored when he asked me to work up this blog post for EVE Travel.
- Attraction: EVE Travel Agency
- System: Mozzidit
- Security Rating: 0.3
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: Getting to Mozzidit from high sec space requires just a couple of jumps of low sec travel if you approach via the Imya system in Genesis. Pirates (both pod and rat varieties) can be quite common on the route. A covops would be recommended
New Eden is a small fraction of a vast galaxy. It’s hard to remembering that sometimes, heavens know. Some 5,000 systems filled with thousands of capsuleers, millions of ships, and trillions of individuals. Even just trawling across the cluster feels like you are spanning the galaxy itself. But as vast as New Eden in, space is so much more so. We’ve learned our tiny corner of the galaxy well, but what exists beyond the reach of the stargates remains something of a mystery to us all (Anoikis, which may not even be within our own galaxy, notwithstanding of course). But just one view from null sec of the vast cloud of stars making up the great disk of our galaxy is enough to remind me, for all of our technology and advancements, just how insubstantial we remain in the grand scheme of things.
But that doesn’t stop us from seeking to find out more about our galactic environs. And since capsuleers have proven before that we can serve as useful data crunchers, it should not be surprising that we were called on once again to analyze data for possible planets surrounding stars near the New Eden cluster. Once again under the Project Discovery umbrella, Phase Two involved studying the light curves of stars outside of the stargate network for regular telltale dips that would indicate the likely presence of a planet blocking the light from a central star. As with Phase One, capsuleers took to the project with gusto, and we quickly moved our way through the data sets provided, giving New Eden astronomers crucial starting points on the search for new worlds to send our ships to.
With the outbreak of a new disease requiring significant processing resources, Project Discovery has since moved on to a new project and a new phase, but the Project recently constructed a site to commemorate the discoveries made during Phase Two, and to honor those capsuleers who made the most significant contributions to the stellar transit analyses. The site, unveiled a few weeks ago, can be found in Pakhshi, in CONCORD space. The site is a fairly simple one: a few commemorative observatories surround a central memorial plinth. The plinth’s hologram shows a simple, 4-planet stellar system, of course symbolizing the central thrust of the research carried out under the project. The planets slowly orbit around a central yellow sun.
Of course, queuing the plinth also prompts Aura to display some information:
Project Discovery Phase Two began in July of YC119, following the extremely successful protein classification work of Phase One with a new exoplanets hunting program under the guidance of CONCORD’s Chief of Deep Space Research, Professor Michel Mayor.
This phase of the project marked the official transfer of the Project Discovery mantle from the Sisters of EVE to a dedicated research division within the CONCORD Assembly.
Project Discovery Phase Two advanced the search for new exoplanets significantly in its nearly three year operational lifetime, as capsuleers contributed their expertise to the analysis of stellar light curves in search of planet in search of planetary transits.
Project Discovery Phase Two came to an end on YC122.06.15 and was replaced by a new Phase Three Flow Cytometry project.
Please query the Phase Two Monument’s database for records of those capsuleers who were elite research contributors to Project Discovery’s light curve analysis work.
Following that, there was a note that there appears to be an open Entosis Link port on the central plinth. Running through a full cycle of the module downloads into Aura’s databanks a short record of research achievement, which notes every capsuleer who reached ranks 2,000 through 5,000 in Phase Two.
When Phase Two first began, I did try my hand at the analyses necessary for the project. I have to admit, however, that I didn’t have the patience necessary to stick with the project over a longer period of time. But I am still pleased to have played some small part in unlocking the mysteries of the universe. The sky is sprinkled with the twinkling lights of a thousand stars, and each of those lights has its own story to tell. With Project Discovery Phase Two, I am proud to say that we helped tell those tales.
- Attraction: Project Discovery Phase Two Monument
- System: Pakhshi
- Security Rating: 0.8
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
I suspect none of my readers will be particularly surprised to learn that the Federation Grand Prix holds a special place in my heart. An event whose apparent purpose is to force capsuleers to visit and at least briefly consider major landmarks across high sec, low sec, and null? It’s like the Federation was specifically thinking of me when it decided to start holding the yearly event. The event, held for 2 weeks each year, has morphed from humble beginnings. Back in YC120, the event only involved flying to 1 of 13 different sites within 2 dozen jumps of Luminaire. This year, the event had capsuleers flying (at least) one of 3 long-distance routes across the North, South, and East of New Eden. Each route had numerous points of interest (most, if not all, of which have been covered elsewhere on Eve Travel!) along the way, and while there was no fixed route a pilot had to take (only key systems you had to fly through), even the shortest routes took over 100 jumps to complete, at least assuming that you didn’t luck out with some conveniently placed wormhole shortcuts.
Each of those routes, however, start from the same place: The Federation Grand Prix Starting Line in orbit of Gallente Prime in Luminaire. The starting line has grown over the years, and is now a permanent feature in Luminaire. Dominating the landscape by far when you first warp in is my favorite design of Gallente station. Aura tells me it is a Gallente logistics hub, but I always think of it as the tri-ring. If I’m not careful, I can spend quite a while watching the graceful rotation of those toroids. The tri-ring station serves as the administrative hub for the Grand Prix and its associated bureaucrats (because what kind of Gallente event doesn’t have an army of bureaucrats behind it?), but also serves as the backstop behind the true starting line.
In front of the tri-ring station, a few repair docks sit ready for ships that may need a last-minute tune-up before undertaking one of the routes. Immediately in front of those repair docks is the starting line itself. In true Gallente fashion, the starting line flag is a set of billboards constantly displaying ads from the many sponsors of the Grand Prix, as well as other organizations. The Caldari may be the ones known for megacorporations controlling every aspect of life, but trust me when I say that Gallente capitalism isn’t all that far behind. I have to admit that I miss the traditional checkered flags that should mark the start of the Grand Prix, but who am I to stand in the way of that advertising revenue.
Speaking of that special brand of Gallente capitalism, a number of sponsored viewing stands can be found to the sides of the starting line. Although the stands provide an expansive view of the area, with wide observation domes offering a 360-degree view, I can’t imagine there is actually all that much to see other than ships occasionally warping in, getting their routes, and then starting off again (indeed, viewers from these stands don’t even get to see the ships that finish: a more temporary Grand Prix finish line is generally set up elsewhere in the system to process the pilots that finish the race). I have little doubt that drinks and other substances flow freely within those observation domes, which perhaps adds to the excitement of the event. For those for whom the Grand Prix is even less interesting, a traditional Gallente pleasure hub also awaits to serve those needs.
The final sight at the starting line is the monument intended to commemorate the participants in the Grand Prix who completed the route the most quickly. The Champions of the Federation Grand Prix YC123 monuments is a traditional memorial plinth that stands opposite of the aforementioned pleasure hub. Although, as of the time of this entry, it has yet to be updated for the champions of the most recent Grand Prix, it still has a few things to say:
This monument has been erected to honor the Capsuleers who achieve the fastest completion times in the Federation Grand Prix courses.
Once the YC 123 Federation Grand Prix has finished this monument will be inscribed with the list of top ten racers for each circuit in this year’s event.
I’m particularly glad the Federation has taken to promoting tourism not just within the Federation, but across the cluster. There is a legacy in New Eden that reaches across both the capsuleer and non-capsuleer populations that deserves to be acknowledged, and taking a few weeks a year to let people discover that legacy for themselves, particularly when they may not otherwise, is a fine way to encourage us all to learn about our history. Again, it’s probably not surprising that I support initiatives such as these, but I always love opportunities for a new portion of the population to discover the past of New Eden. So for those of you who are new to exploring New Eden’s history or until now have not given it much thought: welcome! Let’s see what’s out there, shall we?
- Attraction: Federation Grand Prix Starting Line
- System: Luminaire
- Security Rating: 1.0
- Region: Essence
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
Fame is…. well, fame is weird. Particularly when you aren’t trying for it. In writing about the things you can find across New Eden here, I find myself with a modicum of fame to deal with. I admit that there is something captivating about the way someone’s eyes light up when they recognize you, but I also admit that I seem to remain as tongue-tied today as I was the first time that someone recognized me for my writings. Of course, I’m not sure why I even remain surprised by this. Over the years, I have made somewhat of a name for myself across the GalNet and beyond, so I suppose I have no one to blame my tongue-tying on other than myself. Still, that doesn’t stop me from being flustered each time it happens anew (though that is not to say you should not say hello!). As I said, fame is weird!
It’s hard, but certainly not impossible, to be famous in New Eden. It is significantly easier, however, to be famous in New Eden for being a jerk than it is for being famous for not being one. Such individuals are rare across the cluster indeed, but if anyone has that reputation, it is certainly Chribba. I’ve written about Chribba before, of course, in the context of his still-trusty Veldnaught that can still be seen plying the asteroid belts in Amarr to this day. And it’s more than just a reputation! I’ve had the honor of meeting Chribba a few times over the years, as we’ve run into each other at a few capsuleer gatherings, and I can say with full honesty that he is genuinely a nice person. His reputation is well-earned.
In a cluster known for its backstabbing and devious ways, it’s genuinely refreshing to see someone getting honored for the good they have done across New Eden. Indeed, HZO Refinery and Upwell seem to be looking for some good-guy coat tails in having a statue erected in Chribba’s honor in his home system of Amarr. Here’s what they’ve written up with respect to the Renowned Good Guy:
Some know him as a GalNet tools developer, others as broker of high-value transactions, others still as a passionate Veldspare enthusiast. Most know him simply as the most trusted capsuleer in New Eden. [links added by the author]
Quite possibly the most famous capsuleer alive, Chribba has been a pillar of the community for many years. He can often be found in the vicinity of Amarr flying one of his non-traditional mining ships.
This statue was constructed in YC123 as a joint project between the HZO Refinery corporation and the Upwell Consortium in honor of his many contributions to the capsuleer community and the economy of New Eden.
Among a crowd of immortal warlords, Chribba stands out for building his legacy through trust and peaceful industry. His success stands as a testament that there are many paths to greatness in New Eden and Capsuleers should be bold in charting their own course.
“Never let anyone else dictate your goals”. – Chribba
Matching the golden nebula that surrounds the Amarr system quite well, the Chribba monument stands several kilometers tall near Amarr VIII, about 180,000 kilometers from the main trading hub in the system. The statuesque pose has Chribba with one arm on his hip, and the other reaching out in a friendly way, seemingly ready to welcome anyone who comes near like an old friend. In front of him floats a holographic Veldnaught, probably the object he is most infamously associated with, that orbits a small cluster of asteroids, mining beams active. Appropriately, Chribba’s head is turned to look directly at the holographic Veldnaught, and you can almost feel the true affection he has for his ship, which goes to show the attention given to detail in the monument’s construction.
I’m truly pleased to see Chribba given recognition for his work. This isn’t the first time this has happened over the years, and I suspect it will not be the last either. And yet, despite all of his well-earned acclaim, he always seems determined not to let it go to his head. It’s a simple, unassuming but well-earned monument for a capsuleer who does so much for the community. And while fame may indeed be weird, it is good to see that not all capsuleers get caught up in it as the end-all be-all, and instead seem content to simply sit back and enjoy the ride that it brings.
- Attraction: Chribba Monument
- System: Amarr
- Security Rating: 1.0
- Region: Domain
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.