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.
Editor’s note: This is an entry for the revised version of the Mekhios Graveyard, which was released in March of YC 123 (2021). If you are looking for the original (very brief) entry, please see here.
After weeks of escalating tensions, including a showdown in Yulai, things had finally come to a head in the cluster. The Elder Fleet, a Minmatar armada built over decades in secret in the far reaches of the cluster, had just taken down CONCORD’s central command facility in a mere 15 minutes, paralyzing the agency’s threat response capabilities. It remains one of the most galling acts of defiance against CONCORD’s authority since the agency established credibility ending the first Gallente/Caldari war. With CONCORD out of the picture, a plan decades in the making came to fruition as the Elder Fleet swept through Amarr space, not only freeing Amarrian slaves of their chemical dependency and, thus, from their enslavement, but also heralding the return of the estranged Nefantar tribe to the Minmatar flock. Long thought to be traitors to the rest of the Minmatar nation by collaborating with the slavemasters, over the weeks and months that followed the Elder invasion, it became clear that the Nefantar alliance with the Amarr had at least some measure of support from the Minmatar Elders all the way from the start as a way to gain intelligence on the Amarr as well as to shelter certain problematic tribes from the Amarr.
The Amarr, caught off guard, struggled mightily to respond to the sudden invasion. Led by the, shall we say, less than competent Dochuta Karsoth during an unfortunately lengthy interregnum, it seemed that nothing could stop the Minmatar fleets as they drew ever closer to the Throneworld. The Imperial Navy haplessly tried to respond further out, but the admirals decided to launch one last stand in Sarum Prime. Just one jump from Amarr herself, this would be the last opportunity for the Amarr to put any kind of stop to the rampaging Minmatar fleet. Still, morale was low given the utter inability for the Amarr to stop the Minmatar up until that point, and there was little hope that even the gathered fleets in Sarum Prime would be able to do much more than delay the inevitable.
But then, reports started trickling in that Jamyl Sarum had arrived in Sarum Prime leading a new fleet of fresh ships. To those not paying attention, that may have been an unremarkable event except for the fact that Jamyl was supposed to be, well, dead. And not in the capsuleer kind of way. As the Sarum Heir, Jamyl was forbidden by the Doctrine of Sacred Flesh from using cloning technology to resurrect herself after death. So you could probably imagine everyone’s surprise when Jamyl showed up in Sarum Prime during the middle of a Minmatar invasion nearly 5 years after losing to Doriam Kor-Azor in the YC 105 succession trials and being forced to commit ritualistic suicide. And not only had she arrived on the scene, but she arrived on the scene with gusto.
Shortly after Jamyl’s arrival, a massive explosion occurred over Sarum Prime. In a single blast, Jamyl drew the Elder Invasion to a close. The Elder Fleet over Sarum Prime was destroyed in a single hit, and that victory was enough to rout the other Minmatar fleets out of Amarr space and send them running back home. The Amarr (or, more specifically, Jamyl) had won.
But even after the Minmatar were routed from Amarr space, the method of Jamyl’s victory remains a mystery to this day. Rumors abound, of course, ranging from divine intervention of the sort that routinely happens in scripture to some kind of ancient superweapon. No particular explanation was ever provided, and it’s likely that Jamyl took the secret to her grave (well, her second grave, I suppose).
Although CONCORD quickly marked the site of the infamous battle, the site was otherwise left to languish for the next decade. A number of wrecks, both Amarrian and Matari, littered the site, but with little in the way of historical preservation being carried out at the site, the wrecks soon collapsed in on themselves, turning into indistinguishable lumps of metal slowly spinning in the shadow of Sarum Prime. I would check in on the site every now and then (it was only a jump away from Amarr Prime, after all), and noted that as the years went on the battlefield seemed to grow ever more dilapidated. So it was with great interest that I heard that the Amarr had finally gotten around to carrying out some historical preservation at the site, restoring a number of the old wrecks to something more cognizable.
Needless to say, I quickly made my way over.
When I arrived, the first thing I did was query the central monument to see just what
propaganda information the Amarr were giving on the subject:
In the moment of our greatest need, with savage enemies at the gates, Jamyl Sarum returned from the embrace of God to rescue her people from destruction in YC110.
Though Royal Heir Jamyl Sarum had undertaken the Rite of Shathol’Syn following the victory of Doriam Kor-Azor’s champions in the Amarr Championships of YC105, the Elder Fleet invasion of YC110 so threatened Holy Amarr that divine intervention restore her to the temporal world. Jamyl Sarum’s Holy Flotilla was able to destroy the Elder Fleet with a weapon of divine power and liberate Amarr from a terrible doom.
Acclaimed a divine savior by the Empire, Jamyl I was crowned Empress of Holy Amarr following the repulsion of the Minmatar Elder Fleet from the territories of the Amarr Empire. Since her untimely death and return to the embrace of God, Empress Jamyl I has also been known as “St. Jamyl the Liberator”.
This monument has been erected within the graveyard of broken warships above Mekhios in memory of our great liberator Empress Jamyl I, that her heroic deeds never be forgotten or allowed to diminish in the passing of the ages.
“I am the Harbinger of Hope! I am the Sword of the Righteous! Unto all who hear my voice I say this: what you give to this Empire, I shall give back unto you!” – Empress Jamyl I, Coronation Speech, YC110.
Say whatever you will about the Empire’s propaganda machine, they know how to restore a site well. The first thing your eye is drawn to is the giant, stereotypically golden statue commemorating Jamyl herself. She stands fully upright, facing down the tightest mass of Matari wrecks at the site. Her arms, outstretched, seem to be guarding the holographic Amarr relief fleet that she used to rescue the Imperial forces from their rout. Most of the ships in the holographic fleet are small and indistinguishable, but the central Abaddon-class battleship, ostensibly the one that fired the still-mysterious superweapon. At the bow of the Abaddon, a glowing white ball represents the weapon that brought the invasion to such a screeching halt. It’s a moment frozen in time, ready to fire.
After focusing in on that moment frozen in time, the rest of the battlefield slowly come into view, showing the immediate aftermath of that moment. Unsurprisingly, directly in front of Jamyl sits the wreck of a Matari Ragnarok-class titan. Nearby sit the remains of other Matari capital ships. The vertical Naglfar-class dreadnoughts stand out the most, but other ships like Nidhoggur-class carriers can also be seen. Somewhat surprisingly, surges of energy can still be seen flowing among these wrecks. The white arcs of energy appear to be relics of the superweapon, still actively cascading energy even nearly 13 years later. Despite approaching them, the arcs didn’t cause any apparent damage.
But the Matari were not the only ones who took losses over Sarum Prime. The sprawling battlefield site, spanning hundreds of kilometers from one end to the other, include quite a few Imperial wrecks as well. Indeed, I was initially started when an Avatar-class titan seemed to loom over me from a distance, apparently sparking with energy and prepared to fire. After a few moments of travel, it was clear that the dusty site had obscured that the Avatar, like the Matari ships, was simply a wreck. I had been scared by only a ghost, though admittedly one that was at least still sparking with energy. The wrecks of other Imperial capital ships can be found nearby, though none were quite as imposing.
On a whim, after leaving the battlefield, I decided to look up my initial writings on the Mekhios Graveyard. It’s only the fourth site I ever wrote about, dating back to a time when I was still trying to find my own voice and style. I hadn’t even bought the first Professor Science yet! The writing is, to put it kindly, concise, though lacking in any kind of context or description, if I had to be honest. It amazes me to see how far my writing has come since those few scant paragraphs (though perhaps the readers who have made it this far may beg differ). In any case, I’ve long struggled with how to best handle these kinds of areas that the Powers That Be have revamped over the years. The Mekhios Graveyard was not the first, nor will it be the last if current information is any indication. Like the Amarr, however, I’ve ultimately decided that maintaining the old information is important, so long as the information also indicates that it’s out of date and where to find more current information. After all, historical preservation is important for the written word as much as the battlefields of New Eden, as I’m sure the Amarr could attest.
Though maybe I could stand to learn once again that there is something to be said for being a bit more concise.
- Attraction: Mekhios Graveyard
- System: Sarum Prime
- 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.
I grew up a few hours away from the nearest major city, on the other side of a major nature preserve on Gallente Prime. My father (the Luddite that he is; the irony is not lost on me) always preferred ground transportation over the orbital shuttles whenever possible, so whenever we needed to make a trip into the city, we generally drove on the established roadways through the preserve. We only took the trip a few times a year, but I have vivid memories of watching through the forward window as the city rose over the rolling plains of the preserve, the glitter and glam of modern Gallente arcologies, modern Gallente life, slowly rising over the gentle green hills of the preserve. That image stuck with me all through my childhood, probably far more than my father would have liked, all things considered, and it always promised to me a day full of luxury, fun, and adventure.
That image, which I hadn’t thought of in quite some time, came rushing back in full force as I dropped out of warp near the newly renovated Caldari Navy Assembly Plant at Jita 4-4. Of course, the infamy of Jita 4-4 (as it is colloquially referred to, despite the presence of a second station orbiting the same moon) makes the description of the largest trade hub in New Eden nearly superfluous for all. By almost any measure, be it ISK volume, trade flows, net imports, presence of rare items, or any other measure, Jita 4-4 dominates the field, to the point where the economists of the cluster will at times exclude The Forge from economic analyses just to allow them to see details from other regions. To say that Jita 4-4 is the economic heart of New Eden would be an understatement.
It’s actually surprisingly easy to forget that this is not just the way things always have been, but Jita’s emergence as the dominant economic hub of New Eden was never a given. In the early days, CONCORD had established a network of highway gates across the cluster, which all converged (perhaps unsurprisingly) at Yulai, making that system the initial major trade hub in the capsuleer era. However, Yulai’s market dominance withered almost as soon as those highway gates were brought down starting in YC 106 and continuing through the next year. Jita, with its proximity to multiple other regions (for traders to easily check prices across major parts of the cluster) and, at the time, the presence of well-known agents offering missions, quickly asserted its dominance by virtue of the cluster’s astrography and the rest, as they say, is history. Jita 4-4 became the de facto trade hub, with all of the hawkers, scammers, and (though we often forget about them in reference to Jita) legitimate traders that entailed.
With its primacy as the economic heart of New Eden now well-established, it was probably long overdue for a substantial expansion of the Jita 4-4 station to account for the increased trade activity. Strolling through the main market floor of the station recently, I was struck at just how overcrowded the station seemed to be getting. Every square meter of the floor was filled with a market stall. Trade goods were stashed in any corner traders could find or, barring that, air ducts or even just left out in plain sight. Warehouses overflowed with trade goods; at one point, a trader told me that a waitlist for proper warehouse storage in the station tallied nearly a decade at that point.
Something had to give. That something ended up being, eventually, the plodding Caldari Navy bureaucracy, which finally authorized an expansion of the station after years of pleading by the various megacorporations and other business interests of the State, along with the construction of satellite facilities and additional orbital annexes to help fulfill the needs of a modern trading hub. The modern trading hub in New Eden. And the results were magnificent.
As previously noted, dropping out of warp, I was immediately called back to my childhood and the image of the city rising from the plains. A glittering, glitzy metropolis rising from a sea of black. And it’s an apt comparison, as the Caldari Navy designers managed to evoke the feelings of a modern, planet-based metropolis. The newly expanded station rests on a bedrock frame of a flat plain. From that plain rises not only the warehouses and storage facilities necessary for any trading space, but also extravagant towers filled with living quarters, all dominated by a truly colossal central tower, right at the fore of the station, which seems to act as the prow of a mighty vessel. That central tower oversees the main ingress and egress lanes of the mighty station, though additional docking ports can be found at literally any angle, and often in surprising locations. Also covering seemingly every square inch of the station is a variety of holographic billboards, throwing out news and ads for almost anything a capsuleer’s heart could desire.
Once I took in the sheer majesty of the overall design, the overwhelming sense of… well, capitalism, I began to notice some of the other details in the design. Behind that looming central tower, and rising above the cityscape on that massive central plain, rises an atrium that, ignoring the sheer size of it, manages to evoke nothing so much as a pedestrian shopping mall. It’s an astounding effect given the scale. Under that atrium, bridges crisscross each other from that giant central tower to the upper reaches of the rest of the station. The tiny motes of light, in truth representing the movement of thousands of people, following those bridges across the chasm only reinforced the feeling that I was looking at some sort of massive shopping mall.
And this was all to say nothing of the satellite and ancillary structures nearby. Although now hidden towards the back of the station, the remains of the Jita Memorial can still be found, now surrounded not just by perimeter warnings, but also spotlights, demonstrating that CONCORD had not yet forgotten the lessons learned from those days of capsuleer protests. More notably, reaching towards the surface of the moon was a constellation of smaller structures, some that would be quite impressive in their own right if not dominated by the colossus of the main station. The stations arced in an archipelago away from the main station, ending in a platform sponsored by Deep Core Mining. The DCM platform served as a hub for a space tether connecting to the surface of the eponymous Jita 4-4 moon, where a thriving surface colony has sprung up. Two cars can be seen racing up from the moon’s surface to the DCM platform, and then back down again, with the two cars always moving in opposite directions.
After spending far too long examining the outside of the station and its environs, I finally filed my docking request with tower control. Soon, Professor Science found itself nestled deep in the interior of the station. Even here, however, could be found of that same feeling of hugeness, of being overwhelming seemingly just for the sake of being overwhelming, as evidenced by the hints of docking platforms stretching far into the distance. Now, instead of being reminded of my approach to that (to me) vast city (though, in retrospect, it was a fairly middling one, all things considered), I recalled the days spent exploring it seemingly unending reaches. And just like that city of my youth, I had no doubt that while exploring the depths of the redesigned Jita 4-4, I would find luxury, fun, and adventure.
- Attraction: Jita 4-4 trading hub
- System: Jita
- Security Rating: 0.9
- Region: The Forge
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Caldari, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen. Because of the high volume of traffic, suicide gankers and station camps (not to mention isk scammers) can be common.
Editor’s note: If you are looking for the original cemetery post, please see here.
The common trope amongst the civilians of the cluster is to assume that all of us capsuleers are immortal. To a certain extent, of course, they’re not wrong. The body my consciousness resided in has ceased functioning a number of times, and in a few cases, explosively so. And yet, the circumstances in which those happened have always been fairly well-controlled, and occurred in such a way that the technology we rely on to be capsuleers could move my consciousness into a new body mere moments later. Yet, despite all the marvels of modern technology, life is not always well-controlled. Accidents happen. Technology malfunctions. Sometimes, even capsuleers are lost for good, and when that happens, our community does mourn, as with any other. Indeed, it was only a few weeks ago that the community came together for a similar reason.
A decade ago, I came across an attempt by a capsuleer corporation to provide a place for those pilots left behind after a capsuleer leaves the community forever to mourn. Since its founding in 2007, the capsuleer cemetery had seen its up and downs. It’s been raided by a number of capsuleer corporations and alliances over the years. And yet, regardless of how many times the cemetery fell, it always reappeared, ready again to act as a place for mourning and comforting, and ready again to serve as a place to light a cyno for those lost capsuleers to find their way home. It’s a remarkable testament against the stereotype of pod pilots as selfish, conniving people only out for themselves.
Still, given the vulnerable nature of the original POS tower that served as the cemetery, there has long been a strong contingent within the community that pushed for CONCORD to provide a more durable and permanent place at which to hold these vigils and cemeteries. CONCORD has always been receptive to the idea, but ideas had changed over the years on the best way in which to establish such a memorial.
After years of deliberations, pleading, and planning, CONCORD last month unveiled the final memorial. Appropriately, the new monument is found just a few dozen kilometers from the still-standing capsuleer cemetery POS tower, near Molea II, moon 1. CONCORD has not placed a warpable beacon to the site, but it will show as a landmark on a ship’s sensor overlay. CONCORD has this to say about the memorial:
Having been in place for over a decade, and in view of ongoing developments in structure technology, it increasingly became clear that a dedicated memorial structure would enhance the cemetery and help preserve it for decades more. The Upwell Consortium, at the urging of a large number of private citizens and corporations, constructed the new Fallen Capsuleers Memorial in YC122.
Any Secure Cargo Containers that are anchored within 200km of this structure will not automatically decay over time. This structure does not provide any special protection against intentional destruction or scooping of containers.
The memorial itself is a towering one, very much dwarfing the POS tower around which the cemetery had rotated for so long. Three immense dark gray slabs rise up to meet each other. The slabs are segmented into basaltic columns so as to appear as if three enormous, irregular stairways to the heavens were converging in one place, an appropriate reminder both of our common humanity’s ultimate roots planetside, as well as our eventual ascent into the heavens. Between the three slabs, a cyno remains permanently lit. For a long time, now, cynos have been used by capsuleers to send off their fallen comrades, so that they might always still find their way home. Although nonoperable, the cyno at the memorial continuously oscillates and wraps in upon itself.
At the very pinnacle of the monument, above the three converging slabs, floats the symbolic capsule itself. Carved from the same dark basalt, the stylized capsule has both a male and a female figure emerging from the capsule. The male figure remains attached to the capsule, while the female figure is reaching towards an ineffable something, as if getting ready to move on. The cyno directly below the capsule reaches out in a column of light that bathes the entire sculpture, and small particles of light can be seen rising from the very base on the monument all the way up to the cyno, and again past the capsuleer sculpture. Every now and then, a great ball of light seems to emerge, as it follows the column of light into the night.
I haven’t meant to be so morbid during the past couple of entries. I have always been one to try to see the silver lining on any particular situation. And yet, these are important things to consider. The capsuleer age in New Eden has been going strong for nearly 2 decades now and, with it, has come a close-knit community. Inevitable with the formation of that community, unfortunately, is the loss of some members, and the need to remember those who have left is powerful indeed. And yet, with the mourning of those very real losses comes also a celebration of sort for what, out of all of the possibilities in which we could have found ourselves in the universe, we have managed to find.
Godspeed to those we have lost, and o7
- Attraction: Fallen Capsuleers Memorial
- System: Molea
- Security Rating: 0.7
- Region: Khanid
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
- Additional Notes: A few of them this time. As I noted in the entry, this particular site is not marked with a beacon viewable in the overview, as most sites are. You can warp directly to Molea II, Moon 1, however, and it does show up on the sensor overlay. Additionally, as noted, anchored cans within 200 km of the monument will NOT decay.
The backstabbing, conniving, and generally ne’er-do-well nature of capsuleers is famously well known across the cluster. Pod pilots are known to blow each other up without warning or provocation, and pilots will not hesitate to set the plans of enemies, acquaintances, friends, or people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time back months if not years if given half of a chance. We are constantly pilloried across the cluster for not only enjoying, but thriving, in that kind of cutthroat environment, and yet the stereotypical capsuleer response is to shrug and immediately go and try to find the nearest thing to blow up yet again. The cycle of violence in the spacelanes of New Eden is long and well-established.
All of that being said, one of the worst-kept secrets in New Eden is that capsuleers are an incredibly tight-knit community when push comes to shove. Sure, we’ll conspire to our hearts’ content when the threat is just another pilot, but we are also incredibly willing to leave all of our conspiracies behind at the spacedock door and let loose. The parties capsuleers throw when they get together are often legendary, and the best of the parties are those that cross corporate, faction, and alliance lines to get as many capsuleers together as possible. Having attended a few of them myself in my time, let me assure you that they are not to be missed.
While we don’t necessarily need a reason to let loose and have ourselves a good time, it definitely doesn’t hurt, even when that reason is a sad one. A few weeks ago, a pilot registered as Chappy78 Chapman (“Chappy”, for short) posted on GalNet that he was looking to celebrate what was to be his very last birthday. Even with all of the advances of modern medicine, he has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, with a life expectancy of less than a year remaining. And he was hoping, given that prognosis, to teach New Eden how to say goodbye. With that in mind, he asked people to show up for a “huge fight” in the low-security system of Tunudan on June 24, saying he was hoping to lose his last two capital ships while he still had time to enjoy it.
In classic capsuleer fashion, the community delivered in spades. Even before Chappy made it to the system, he found himself escorted through Uedama, a notoriously dangerous (though still high security) system, by CODE, a group of capsuleers whom normally revel in attacking the defenseless. And once he arrived, a crowd that soon swelled to more than 2,000 pilots greeted him at the star in Tunudan. Fights galore broke out around him, as he got to watch the festivities. From all accounts, a wonderful (and, thanks to my friend Razorien, well-photographed) time was had by all, including, most importantly, Chappy himself. And towards the end of the fight, he even managed to get most pilots present to send off his Phoenix-class dreadnought, with 762 pilots listed on the kill report. Given that Tunudan is a low-security system, his Phoenix was not the only capital ship to appear (or be destroyed).
And now, just weeks after the event, a beacon can be found near the star in Tunudan marking the event. It’s a simple site, just a collection of the wrecks of capital ships that found themselves blown up during the festivities. In place of pride in the center of the site, the wreck of Chappy’s Phoenix can be found. Surrounding it is a veritable matching game of capital ships from across the cluster. The wrecks of a Ninazu, a few Naglfars, and even a Leviathan can be found near the remains of the Phoenix. A bit further out, the ruins of a Zirnitra (one of those newfangled Triglavian-derived designs that have entered into service recently) can be see, separated from the rest of the group.
The entire site is dramatically backdropped by Tunudan itself. Its roiling surface, along with some breathtaking flares and prominences, provide a vivid background to the wrecks, the contrast with the stellar surface providing deep contrasts with the shadows from the wrecks. The entire effect, particularly from the point of view of a small frigate, is striking indeed.
I can only hope that Chappy enjoyed himself. Thankfully, every indication is that he did. I am thrilled that once again, the capsuleer community was able to come together to support one of its own. When people ask me how I can keep flying after all of these years, its situations like this birthday bash keep me connected with my fellow pilots. Our willingness to support those in our community who are in the most dire of circumstances, to bring a bit of joy to each other’s lives in dark times, is truly heartwarming. I can’t that I know how I’ll go (and, obviously, I hope that will not be an issue for quite a while yet), but when I do, I can only hope that I have as large of a community to fall back on then as Chappy78 Chapman does today in New Eden.
- Attraction: Birthday Bash
- System: Tunudan
- Security Rating: 0.4
- Region: The Citadel
- Potential Hazards: Tunudan 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.
Editor’s note: While the World Ark can still be seen at times (particularly, as I understand, in systems that have reached Final Liminality), the Proving Ground appears to no longer be accessible.
I’ve always loved big ships. I realize that’s somewhat ironic for someone who is best known for flying a Buzzard-class frigate and could probably count the number of times I’ve flown a battleship on one hand, but just because I couldn’t stand to fly such a slow and unwieldy ship doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate it every time something comes along that just dwarfs my poor Professor Science. Indeed, I’ve always enjoyed the architecture and, dare I say it, artistry that goes into the largest ships that ply the spaceways of New Eden, and I always try to track down such ships whenever I can find them. It’s why I so frequently visit Titanomachy or Empress Catiz’s Honor Guard whenever I’m out those ways. Heck, if I knew where the empires had squirreled away their Iapetan titans or the Emperor Ship, I’d be there in a heartbeat, undoubtedly waxing poetic about the sheer majesty of it all.
I guess the best thing about liking titanic ships is that, sooner or later, something bigger is likely to come along and take your breath away all over again. Heck, if you’re willing to ignore fuel requirements, matériel requirements, and sheer cost, there’s not really an upper bound on how big you could make something, slap some engines on it, and call it a ship. I’m sure at some point there’s a point of diminishing returns in increasing the size of ships, but given the proliferation of titans in null sec, I’m not sure we’ve hit it yet. I suspect the only reason we haven’t seen even larger vessels on the scene is that CONCORD and the Empires have kept us capsuleers outside of the ship design business. Frankly, that was probably a smart idea.
Of course, this is all a rather circuitous way of bringing up that apparently there is a new record holder for ‘largest ship in New Eden’, and it’s probably not a good sign that its from a race of people we didn’t know about 18 months ago. By now, most everyone has heard about those thrice-obsessed Triglavians. They barreled onto the scene over the course of the last year, seemingly intent on declaring war against the Sansha and the Drifters and very undecided about us non-cybernetic zombies. But the Triglavians, despite their ambivalence, seem willing to give us a chance. Ever since we started blundering our way into abyssal deadspace, the Triglavians have been throwing us into ‘proving grounds’ of various sorts, to see if we’ve ‘aligned the flow of Vyraj’, whatever that may be specifically referring to.
But their willingness to give us chances to prove ourselves have grown, shall we say, rather aggressive in recent weeks. Starting in the middle of last month, the Triglavians have started full on, if localized, invasions of New Eden. Paradoxically, the Triglavians are thus following in the footsteps of the Sansha, whom are one of the enemies that the Triglavians seek to ‘extirpate’. These invasions radiate out 2 jumps from the beachhead system in high security space, and involve hundreds, if not thousands, of Triglavian vessels flooding in through minor and major conduits to Abyssal deadspace. They trawl the invaded systems, scurrying over stations, gates, and other landmarks, attacking any ships they see. Eventually, some threshold is reached with the Triglavians, and then they bring out the big guns in the beachhead system, at the center of the invasion.
The Xordazh-class world ark, as the name and this essay may have implied, is a truly vast, yet gorgeous ship. CONCORD in fact has officially designated it as the largest known vessel in New Eden, stretching some 55 kilometers across from wingtip to wingtip. As a comparison, the length of an Avatar-class titan is just under 14 kilometers. Indeed, it’s even larger than an Astrahus-class citadel, which tops out at 45 kilometers across. The general shape is one of a flat, angled plane. Below the plane, the familiar, if similarly titanically proportioned, Triglavian triple-singularity power core can be seen. The power core evokes the sight of the gates used to travel between pockets in abyssal deadspace, which may well be purposeful on their part. The surface of the ship is studded with the familiar cascading forcefields that signify docking bays for the mammoth vessel. Although they weren’t activated, the back, of course, was covered with large engine exhausts that could probably swallow 2 dozen Buzzards without being noticed.
CONCORD’s managed to put some (as usual) unhelpful analysis together for capsuleers that face these vessels:
The immense World Ark is the center of operations for the local Triglavian forces in this invasion zone. The vessel appears to function as a mobile base of operations and is speculated to incorporate a Triglavian conduit gate through which additional forces can flow from Abyssal Deadspace to New Eden.
The Xordazh-class World Ark would seem to be easily the match of any vessel known to New Eden and is presumably at least as powerful and hard to destroy as the heaviest military structures. The ship has been observed deploying “field effect subpylons” of a variety of types as part of its defensive network. Approach with extreme caution.
The world ark is easy to find. Once it’s entered a system, the ship quickly becomes viewable across the system, with Aura marking it as a “World Ark Proving Ground”. Anyone in system can warp to it, though if an observer doesn’t intend on engaging the Triglavians, I would recommend warping in some distance from the center. I found that warping in 100 kilometers from the center put me well outside of the defensive perimeter established around the world ark. Thankfully (for me, at least), Triglavians don’t appear capable of seeing through cloaks. I was able to warp in some distance from the proving ground, and remain completely unmolested as I carried out my observations. I shudder to think of what would have happened, however, if I had accidentally decloaked myself somehow.
CONCORD was not joking when it mentioned the defensive network of the world ark. Whether it’s there as part of the “proving” or just there to protect what even for the Triglavians has to be a substantial asset, the world ark has quite a number of defensive fortifications. The ship itself seems to be protected by a hefty, visible shield. The area around the world ark is seeded with Triglavian devices and installations. Somewhat surprisingly, before a capsuleer fleet engages the begins its proving, the defensive fleet of the world ark consists of only a ½ dozen ships or so, with no ship bigger than a cruiser. Surrounding the complex, pylons of some kind have been constructed to form a rather visible perimeter to the proving ground.
I had the opportunity to watch the initial parts of the proving with an unsuspecting fleet. They warped into the proving grounds in unison, and quickly dispatched the small defensive fleet. The proving itself seemed to progress in waves. As the fleet tackled one wave, the power core (which, as I mentioned, evokes the gates used between abyssal deadspace pockets), opened a synthetic conduit to abyssal deadspace to bring in additional reinforcements. While the conduit was open, the power cores glowed an eerie green, standing in stark contrast to the overwhelming red of an overrun New Eden system. Reinforcements could include more ships or the subpylons that the CONCORD analysis mentioned. Looming over all of the fighting, the world ark keeps a watchful eye.
And yet, despite the world ark’s presence, the Triglavians apparently aren’t (yet?) willing to let it engage us directly. Rather than actively participating in the battle, the ship instead disengages at the end of the proving, jumping itself back to abyssal deadspace. I was, unfortunately, not able to witness this myself, but the Triglavian disengagement is well documented at this point, with the ship seemingly jumping from the inside out back to its home facilities, wherever they may be. I suppose I can’t blame them for not wanting to put those ships at risk.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel concern about these world arks and what they represent. Vastly technologically superior races of all kinds have taken a sudden, rather unwelcome interest in the denizens of New Eden. And I have no for what purpose. What happens if we prove ourselves worthy to the Triglavian Conclave. For that matter, what happens if we don’t? I find myself back in the familiar place of having far too many questions with far too few answers (and for that matter, I’d even take the poorly translated Triglavian-speak at this point). At least I’m used to it at this point.
- Attraction: World Ark Proving Ground
- Potential Hazards: There are a lot. The proving ground can bring in substantial Triglavian reinforcements, and the proving should not be attempted without significant fleet assets. Caution (and a good covert ops cloak-fit ship) is strongly advised.
- Additional Notes: As of the posting of this entry, Triglavian invasion beachheads are only found in high security space (though the invasion may bleed into low sec space if the beachhead is near low sec space). Once in the beachhead system, the Triglavian information panel will show if the world ark has been detected for that invasion yet. As noted in the entry, you may warp to 100km from the proving ground while cloaked and avoid detection.
On February 20, YC 112, shortly after posting my survey of the Traumark Installation, I received a comment from another pilot. My explorations and reviews have never generated much in the way of comments, and while other writers may be disappointed by the lack of engagement, I was always content that what few comments I did seemed to be genuinely kind and positive comments. This particular one was no different, even if it was from a pilot I hadn’t encountered before. After finishing her remarks, she ended by noting, “We’re on similar missions. My goal is to explore all of the new planets. Good luck in your journey, fly safe.”. I’ve encountered pilots with that goal before, and those pilots generally tend to get daunted once they realize the sheer immensity of the task of visiting over 7,800 systems within and connecting to New Eden, so at the time I didn’t give it much thought.
Though that was the first time I met Katia Sae, it wouldn’t be the last. She would pop up every now and then, always with generous praise of my various musings here, before moving on, while I quickly began watching her own progress once I found her site. Since then, we’ve interacted not just on our respective journals, but on the GalNet and elsewhere, and I’ve become much more comfortable with calling her not only a fellow pilot, not only a fellow explorer with a deep sense of wanderlust, but a friend. And now, some 7,806 systems later, with that friendship comes a deep sense of pride as well as Katia has now visited every system accessible in and to New Eden, including a much-coveted (by me, at least) visit to Polaris, a system within the generally inaccessible depths of what used to be Jove space. And she did it all without losing a single ship (a claim I certainly would not be able to get away with).
I get the sense that Katia remains a little overawed by the response to her achievements. The end of her journey gained her attention not just within the fairly tight-knit exploration crowd, but well beyond. While it is perhaps not surprising that her own corporation, the ever-friendly Signal Cartel, took not a small amount of pride in her accomplishment, it is perhaps more surprising that Katia has captured the imagination of not just the capsuleer press and other writers, but broader news sites as well. All to celebrate what truly is a remarkable achievement. And that wasn’t the end of the celebrations for Katia, as the Achura Stargazers Society quickly announced that they would be erecting a permanent monument to her achievement next to the very first stargate she used in starting her journey, the gate to Abagawa in the system of Saisio.
Not one month later, the Society unveiled the likeness of Katia about 35 kilometers from that gate, saying the following:
In the unending dark of space, there are a few bright lights to which we can reliably turn for guidance and inspiration. Katia Sae is one such beacon, a shining example of what we can all aspire towards. She exemplifies the attitude of a true explorer: friendly to all in her travels, neutral and never initiating aggression, and very, very hard to catch.
She began her quest to explore all of New Eden from Saisio III on December 1, YC111 and came full circle back to Saisio on March 9 of YC121 after having explored every known-space and wormhole system that can be reached – all without a single ship loss.
May Katia Sae’s epic journey be remembered forevermore by all who travel into the furthest reaches of New Eden and the fathomless depths of Anoikis. Every star is one of her footprints, and every heavenly body tells the tale: “Katia Sae was here.”
The Journey of Katia Sae Memorial,
raised by the Achura Stargazers Society,
in association with Signal Cartel.
As expected, the statue is magnificent. A gargantuan Katia, who dwarfs my lowly Professor Science, is seen standing on a shimmering plinth reaching up to the stars, quite literally holding a star system in the palm of her hand. The details included on the statue are impressive. Individual strands of hair can be seen gathered behind her head in a utilitarian ponytail, along with creases in her pant legs and jacket. Her expression is one of a certain calm confidence, seemingly quite comfortable in knowing the limits of herself. The metal plating riveted together to form the statue might in other circumstances detract from the monument, but here adds a striking juxtaposition to the otherwise quite-real appearance.
But, of course, what truly catches my eye is the system she holds in the palm of her hand. I can’t help but zoom in for a closer look at that orrery, and as my camera drones approach, my view becomes awash in holographic static. The central star is but a pinprick of sapphire light; even close up, I can’t see any features, though it throws Professor Science in sharp relief when I approach. Surrounding it are 3 planets in inclined orbits around the central orb. Although supposedly metal in nature (metal that reflects the light of both their own sun and Saisio), their true nature is belied both by their ghostly orbital paths and the holographic grids that can be seen superimposed on the edges of the spheres, regardless of your viewpoint.
If that were all there was to the monument, I’d be satisfied but perhaps ready to move on. But in examining that star system, after just a few moments I caught a hint of movement. I at first thought it was just the movement of another ship at the site (I was by no means the only person there to inspect the monument, and CONCORD had made its presence known as well), but after casting around for a few moments for whatever movement caught my eye, I came across the spectral apparition of a half-cloaked Astero – Katia’s signature ship – also in orbit around the central star. The ship, ironically slightly large than an actual Astero, is a clever addition to the monument.
I’m, of course, incredibly happy for Katia and proud to have played some small role in her journeys. She’s certainly earned the adulations that she’s so far received. Exploration takes a certain type of personality, a certain amount of patience, and a whole lot of perseverance, all of which Katia has in spades. I can’t imagine having the dedication to see a project 10 years in the making all the way through to completion, so I must content myself to celebrate those who can. And now this monument stands as a testament not just to Katia’s achievement, but to that ineffable spirit of wanderlust that drove her.
- Attraction: Journey of Katia Sae Memorial
- System: Saisio
- Security Rating: 0.7
- Region: The Forge
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Caldari, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
- Additional Note: Unlike most of the sites I profile, this one is not marked with a beacon and thus cannot be seen on the overview if offgrid. It’s classified as a Large Collidable Object for overview purposes. It can be seen in the sensor overlay, however, and, as mentioned above, is located about 35-40 km off the Abagawa gate.
Editor’s note (4/9/YC120): I can confirm that the ship is currently not undocked in Yulai. Hopefully it will be back soon for people to see!
Drifters have always… unnerved me. While the Jove are similarly advanced in terms of technology, at least they deigned to talk to us every now and then. The Drifters, on the other, basically just showed up one day and started shooting. Hard. They even went so far as to one-shot Empress Jamyl, throwing the Empire into turmoil. Combine this aggression with their unusual and haunting method of propagation and their relentless scanning of New Eden for… whatever it is they’re looking for along with their apparent Sleeper allies, and I feel like my wariness is justified. Although the people of New Eden have eventually managed to settle into a kind of détente with them, and we can even punch back against them under the right circumstances, we still know precious little about them, such as even their main bases or what their motives are. And it’s clear that if they ever truly wanted to, they could wipe the floor with us. They’re just that advanced.
The superiority of the Drifters, however, was challenged a few weeks ago. Out of nowhere, fleets of heavily damaged Drifter ships began appearing across the Cluster. These fleets appeared in systems not normally subject to Drifter surveillance. While not hostile, capsuleers in their usual fashion blew them up anyway. Normally I would have been hesitant to condone this kind of unprovoked attack, given our history with the Drifters, I couldn’t blame the caution of the ARC fleets. As usual, communications with the damaged fleets were unsuccessful. However, when destroyed, they dropped trinary data vaults containing cryptic messages. At the same time, rumors started swirling about some race called the Triglavians. These messages were eventually cracked and found to contain heavily damaged video archives suggesting the source of the attacks on the Drifter fleets to not only originate from an unknown, but to take place in unknown space. It seems Anoikis may have more growing to do.
And then, yesterday, seemingly out of nowhere, a new ship appears in Yulai near the DED Assembly Plant. Its configuration appears to match the glimpses we get in the trinary data archives, but is otherwise completely dissimilar to any other known ships in the Cluster or beyond. Apparently piloted by CONCORD DED Agent Oveg Drust, the ship is, according to sensor scans (and evident from the multiple hull breaches) heavily damaged. According to Scope reports, the ship was found drifting in Raneilles before being captured by DED forces. In classic CONCORD fashion, however, the only comment from the pilot is hardly one at all, with Agent Drust merely saying that the ship is under quarantine before docking it within the nearby station.
The ship itself is a sight to see, to be honest. Approximately the same size as a New Eden cruiser, the ship is dwarfed by some of the curious capsuleer vessels that have come to see it. Composed of a main hull with two appendages sweeping downward, even in its damaged state it was clearly a dangerous ship. From the convergence of the two nacelles, a glowing red sphere can be seen; this, theoretically, is the naked singularity mentioned in the Discourse broadcasts. If that is truly what is powering the vessel, it suggests that the ship is orders of magnitude more advanced than even potentially the Drifters. Poor Aura clearly cannot make heads or tails of the craft, and her sensor analysis only reveals that it is a “Trig Medium”, an apparent confirmation (at least according to whatever sources Aura uses in her analysis) that this may well be a Triglavian ship.
The ship didn’t respond to my attempts to activate an entosis link, data analyzer, or relic analyzer on it (not that I was particularly expecting it to). As noted, the ship is surrounded by a small fleet of capsuleer vessels looking to see the new ship with their own sensors. The ship was unresponsive to any kind of communications, although I did manage to cause a reaction when I approached it slowly.
Now we have a new player on the scene. Hopefully, given that we both appear to dislike the Drifters, we could hope for an enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend situation. But, especially given that we apparently managed to steal an enemy ship under duress, I did not have a ton of hope that they would react kindly to our presence. Still, I hoped that CONCORD aimed to try diplomacy with the Triglavians, because if they are truly capable of harnessing the power of black holes to power their ships, diplomacy may be our best hope.
- Attraction: Triglavian Cruiser
- System: Yulai
- Security Rating: 1.0
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with CONCORD, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
- Additional Note: The monument is NOT marked with a off-grid visible beacon, but is located a few kilometers from the DED Assembly Plant near Yulai X.
I startled myself a week or two ago by realizing that I had let my 10 year anniversary of becoming certified as a capsuleer pass without commemoration, celebration, or, indeed, note. Something that had, at the time, seemed so momentous, so important, that I could never forget it had become something so commonplace that I barely remember my life before becoming a pilot. I was generally good at making note of the event over the years, but it had slipped my mind this year. I guess it was just a sign that even the most significant changes in life eventually can become mundane, even when your life can end over and over and over again. Still, it was hard to believe that almost 1/3 of my life had been spent as an immortal capsuleer.
I was also surprised to discover that it has been nearly 10 years since the brief Elder War. Looking back, I didn’t realize that the War had occurred so soon after gaining my pilot’s license. It consisted of a very brief, but intense, invasion of the Amarr Empire by renegade factions of the Minmatar Tribes. After the discovery of the survival of the Seventh Tribe of Matar, the Starkmanir, the Minmatar Elders (who had long faded into legend for most of the Cluster) returned with a vengeance, leading a massive rescue operation using materiel and ships built up secretly for centuries. The Elders crippled CONCORD before invading the Empire, and was only stopped by the return of Jamyl Sarum (who should have been dead but apparently got better) and the use of a superweapon whose origin and eventual disposition remain a mystery even to this day. Of course, this is a very, painfully brief synopsis of the War, but it suffices for our purposes here.
Although the entire war lasted for under 24 hours, the War had vast implications for the Cluster. It signaled the return of the Minmatar Elders, the discovery of the survival of the Starkmanir Tribe, the fallibility of CONCORD (a lesson I much took to heart as time went on), and the return of Jamyl Sarum. The Empire’s response to the return of Jamyl always fascinated me; it was clear that she had returned using some variation of capsuleer cloning technology, yet the Doctrine of the Empire meant they could never acknowledge it. And the fact that she had essentially single-handedly stopped the Minmatar invasion and preserve much of the Empire’s status quo meant that when she was proclaimed Empress, the Empire’s theologians could do little more than shrug. After the disastrous reign of Chamberlain Karsoth, Jamyl brought a much-needed sense of stability to the Empire, even if Jamyl eventually brought her own problems.
In an apparent bid to tie her reign to Jamyl’s, Empress Catiz recently commissioned the creation of 4 memorials to some of the battles from the Elder War. These 4 memorials were erected in addition to the two battlegrounds in Jarizza and Kor-Azor that I have chronicled over the years. They were constructed off of stations in Ami, Andrub, Kor-Azor Prime, and Nishah that suffered damage during the War. It took them nearly a decade, but they finally repaired the damage to those stations (I would make a snide comment about wanting to keep the damage for the sake of arousing public sympathy, but CONCORD still hasn’t repaired its own heavily-damaged headquarters and it was damaged on the same day).
The same prompt appears any time Aura is asked for information regarding the memorials:
As imperial construction crews completed repaires of the nearby stations damaged in the attack, the monument was placed by order of Her Most Sublime and Imperial Majesty Catiz I, First Apostle of the True Faith and Sovereign Defender of the Imperial Rite.
The monument appears to be similar in design to the Project Discovery monument erected in Lanngisi, which was itself based on an apparent Upwell design. However, rather than featuring a large hologram of the Project Discovery symbol, these monuments feature an ornate Imperial Seal. Despite being placed on the same day as the Project Discovery monument, the Elder War memorials do not appear to be susceptible to entosis effects like the Project Discovery memorial. However, like the Project Discovery memorial, the Elder War memorials are bustling hubs, with traffic coming and going around the memorials as visitors flock to see the museums and the views.
I spent time at each of the memorials, but given that they were all pretty similar in design, I didn’t linger at any. Still, I appreciated the reminder of what the Cluster was like back when I first gained my license. It’s remarkable how many things have changed since then: Jamyl is long gone, capsuleer alliances have risen and fallen, the Drifters have appeared. But still, so many things have tayed the same. My sense of wonder and wanderlust, the graceful ship designs, and the friends who make this lifestyle well worth it. It may have been 10 years since I first started flying in New Eden, but somehow, it feels like it was only yesterday.
A happy and safe YC120 to you all.
- Attraction: Elder War Monuments
- System: Ami, Andrub, Kor-Azor Prime, and Nishah
- Security Rating: 0.4, 0.7, 0.9, and 0.6, respectively.
- Region: Kor-Azor
- Potential Hazards: Ami and Andrub are 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. As for Kor-Azor Prime and Nishah, if you’re below a -2.5 or -4, respectively, in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
Growing up and until the past 6 or 7 years, I (along with the vast majority of the Cluster) deeply respected the work of the Sisters of Eve. Well, that’s not entirely true. I still truly admire the work that they do to across the Cluster alleviating suffering and setting up refugee camps for those displaced by war or the malice of capsuleers. Through their Food Relief corporation, they alleviated famine for millions. With advanced technology, they’re trusted by all 4 empires to be first responders in any kind of emergency situation, be it war or natural disaster. I could even stand their weird (to me) religious obsession with the Eve Gate, particularly in light of my own more academic interest in the deep past of New Eden.
But over the past few years, I’ve noticed something always seems a bit… off about them. They consistently seem to know far more than they ever let on about some of the more mysterious events that have occurred over the past decade. I’m still wondering how they managed to sneak their way in to Thera and start to colonize it before it was connected to the broader wormhole network. And they’ve been hanging out in the Drifter Hive systems for almost 2 years now performing some sort of in-depth survey. Anything they do discover is either hidden until some other group forces their hand or they spring it on the Cluster with apparent disregard for any protocol. It’s a puzzling choice on their part.
With all of this in mind, you may understand my reticence regarding the Sisters of Eve launching the initial phase of Project Discovery, a collaborative science initiative that brought the capsuleer community into the forefront of genetic research by studying genetic samples taken of the Drifters. Although it had the possibility to significantly advance our understanding of human genetics and provide sorely needed insight into the Drifter threat, the project, with no public oversight of its use, could lead to monstrous results as well. In classic Sisters fashion, the research arm of the Sisters remained mum on any insights they may have gained as a result of their research. Oddly, though, after Project Discovery started, new drugs and boosters began appearing throughout New Eden that had pronounced effects on capsuleers. I’m sure it was purely coincidental.
Still, given that I had participated in at least the initial phases of the Sisters’ stage of Project Discovery, it was with significant interest that I learned recently that the Sisters of Eve were looking to memorialize their time as the lead research group of Project Discovery (the project having since shifted to CONCORD oversight; another organization I could gripe about for some time). After the memorial was opened to the public in Lanngisi this week, I made my way over to see how, precisely, they were choosing to commemorate their time and research, especially given my wariness when it came to anything involving the Sisters and their interaction with the capsuleer community.
The monument, near the Sisters station in Lanngisi, is a graceful one, and apparently the prototype of a new type of monument to be used by the various factions to memorialize various events. Although never explicitly stated, it’s clear that the monument base is an Upwell-designed structure; few could mistake the harsh, angular lines of the monument for any other architect. As a just released memorial only two jumps from the key Minmatar trade hub of Hek, the memorial is a hive of activity, with both capsuleers and the public alike coming to investigate, with craft ranging in size from battlecruisers all the way down to the personal skimmers often favored by the broader public. Above it floated a hologram of the symbol of Project Discovery: a stylized double helix. The Sisters were even kind enough to provide a readily accessible prompt for Aura to relay to me:
Beginning on YC118.03.09, Project Discovery’s Phase One work was aimed at achieving a comprehensive categorization and analysis of tissue samples acquired from the Drifters since their emergence in early YC117.
Led by Professor Emma Lundgren, Chief Scientist for the SOE advance research division, Project Discovery Phase One was particularly successful in mapping out a comprehensive protein atlas from the Drifter tissue samples collected and analyzed during the term of the project.
Project Discovery Phase One came to an end on YC119.07.11, after 16 months of highly successful work. Project Discovery Phase Two is a new Exoplanets Hunting Program and is being operated under the guidance of CONCORD’s Chief of Deep Space Research, Professor Michel Mayor. Please query the Phase One Monument’s database for records of those capsuleers who were elite research contributors to Project Discovery’s tissue analysis work.
If it had ended there, I probably would not have given it much thought. However, at the end, Aura made an additional comment:
Technical Note: there appears to be an open Entosis Link port on this structure.
My eyebrow quirked. It seemed almost personally designed to pique my interest in a way to make me willing to directly connect to a Sisters of Eve computer with my own mind. Thankfully, I still had an Entosis Link fit on Professor Science after running some additional tests on the Jove Observatories earlier this year (and having discovered that sometimes the most unexpected objects are susceptible to Entosis Link effects), and so I tentatively activated the Link on the monument. As Aura promised, I was soon rewarded with a summary of the top capsuleer researchers who helped with Phase One. However, on a whim, I decided to run the Link again to see what would happen.
Surprisingly, I didn’t gain a second version of the report. Rather, I gained an item called a “Project Discovery DNA Reference (Gallente)”, which was apparently a reference set of genetic data pertaining to the Gallente bloodlines. My already quirked eyebrow… quirked even more. I spent the next few minutes running yet another Link cycle on the monument, to be rewarded with a DNA Reference of Jove bloodlines. It quickly became clear that the Sisters were providing this data on all 5 major races of New Eden (though, of course, the Drifters, the ostensible focus of Phase One, were nowhere to be seen). But to what end? That was the million isk question.
At this point, we are left only to guess. I’ll note, however, that my fellow researchers over at the Arataka Research Consortium have done some very interesting work on a new implant that has surfaced this week that appears to be related in some way to the data being released by the Sisters at the monument. Unfortunately, as is usual with the secretive organization, the Sisters have so far refused to comment on ARC’s findings, and CONCORD’s only response appears to be to warn against using untested technology. And so we are left with far more questions than answers, but at this point, as much as I hate the feeling, I can’t say I’m not used to that.
- Attraction: Project Discovery Phase One Monument
- System: Lanngisi
- Security Rating: 0.5
- Region: Metropolis
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
- Additional Note: The monument is NOT marked with a off-grid visible beacon, but is located about 50 kilometers off the Sisters of Eve station in Lanngisi (the only station in the system).
[Editor’s note: Special thanks to Wilhelm Arcturus of The Ancient Gaming Noob fame for helping me find this site.]
Regardless of how much effort the Empires and the capsuleers (or at least the capsuleers who can be brought to care about these kinds of things) put into eradicating the various menaces of New Eden, at least one of the pirate factions or another always seems to be on the rise, each bringing their own particular kind of nightmare into the cluster. These days, the nightmares have been taking the form of those sanguinophilic cultists, the Blood Raiders. After exploding back on to the scene, so to speak, with their Crimson Harvest a few years back, they have managed to maintain momentum from their recent exploits, despite getting handily beaten back each time they manage to make the news.
Indeed, they seem to have only grown bolder over time. While a number of pirate factions have begun to expand their industrial base, the Blood Raiders have now gone public with exactly what they intend to do with their increased resource collection. Taking advantage of their recent successes, Bloody Omir and his lieutenants have developed their own capital ships, and have rushed headlong into the deployment process to get these ships operational as soon as possible using the new engineering complexes that have been recently released. As someone who has never flown anything larger than a battleship, I am hesitant say just how dangerous these new ships are, but regardless, the sheer tonnage of them raises the threat level and force projection that the Blood Raiders would be able to deploy with ease.
Needless to say, the Blood Raiders have made it difficult to find their new shipyard. However, regardless of any advances in technology, you can’t build a ship without raw materials. And to get those raw materials, you need to send out mining ships to collect them. Some relatively resourceful pilots realized that people just need to follow the ore (so to speak) to find out the location of the new Blood Raiders shipyards. With that tactic in mind, it wasn’t long before the pilots tracked down the location of the first shipyard to the system E-DOF2 in Period Basis. With the location found out, I made my way out there at the first opportunity.
The system itself was deep in null security space, but thankfully I managed to get myself out there with relative ease. With help from a fellow chronicler of the happenings of New Eden, I managed to warp to the Sotiyo-class engineering complex undetected. What I saw there was… odd. While the shipyard was defended by a small fleet of ships of various classes, their coordination seemed… almost lacking. Indeed, I witnessed quite a few ships, presumably defending other Blood Raider interests in the system, warp in to the shipyard, only to miss the shipyard and overshoot by several hundred kilometers. The ships would then have to turn around and warp once again to get in range to properly defend the system. Perhaps whatever ailed the Blood Raider navigation systems also affected my camera drones, as I was unable to keep them focused on most objects near the Sotiyo for more than a few seconds at a time.
The Sotiyo itself was skinned to make it obvious who owned it and what it was used for. Fires belched from the various processing systems as the Blood Raiders scrambled to build their capital ships before the capsuleer pilots, inevitably, arrived in force to boot them out and seek their prizes.
And arrive the capsuleers eventually did, bringing the Sotiyo down only a day after I was able to find it in E-DOF2. Despite the Sotiyo’s destruction, Omir Sarikusa sounded inordinately pleased with himself, suggesting that they would go on to rebuild the shipyard somewhere else in their native lands, allowing the legions of Omir’s army continue their bloody ascendancy.
- Attraction: Blood Raider Sotiyo
- System: Anywhere in the regions of Delve, Period Basis, or Querious.
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Delve, Period Basis, or Querious.
- Potential Hazards: All three regions lie 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 high security space, as well as on other gates. Additionally, although the Blood Raiders seemed a bit cautious in attacking non-hostile ships, they were certainly present in force at the site itself Caution is advised.
- Additional Notes: As noted in the entry itself, AI seems to be a bit weird still, and the camera was acting oddly, not letting me track most of the NPC ships on the scene for more than a few seconds, if at all, before reverting back to my ship.
A few strands of amino acids. That, surprisingly, is all it takes to bind 4 systems together across the light-years of interstellar space. You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but that short string of organic molecules has managed to entangle the systems of Efu, Muttokon, Oijanen, and Postouvin, tying their fates together across the harshness of interstellar space. But rather than uniting to tackle the threat posed by this tiny piece of matter, it seems destined to pull the four empires even further apart as they race to save millions, if not billions, of lives from a terrible fate. So far, only the Society of Conscious Thought, the newly-designated heir to the Jovian Directorate, has attempted to tackle the problem posed by the short string of carbon known as Kyonoke.
The story of Kyonoke starts, for our purposes, a few years before capsuleers arrived on the scene. The Caldari had found a particularly mineral-rich asteroid near the planet Kyonoke in Taisy, and had established a mining colony to plumb its depths nicknamed the Kyonoke Pit. Rather suddenly, Caldari authorities lost contact with the colony. The team sent to investigate the colony found a gruesome scene, with the entire mining colony dying rather agonizing deaths. Despite the full set of protective equipment, the investigation team succumbed to the disease within hours. The Caldari eventually managed to isolate the cause: a short and seemingly run-of-the-mill protein strand that managed to disrupt almost all biological systems within a few hours of exposure. Needless to say, since that discovery, Kyonoke Pit has been under round-the-clock Caldari surveillance to make sure that no one gained access to this potent pathological protein.
Even knowing about the heavy security cordon the Caldari used to keep Kyonoke secure, it was with a bit of trepidation that I recently began reading reports of a sudden quarantine appearing on an orbital platform in orbit of Muttokon II. Almost immediately thereafter, the city of Myrskaa in Oijanen experienced a rapidly spreading plague, which quickly led to the entire city being placed in quarantine. Three became a crowd after certain decks on a Society of Conscious Thought station in Efu were cut off after the appearance of another deadly plague. And any doubts that this was a coordinated effort were put to rest when the very next day, Federal authorities lost contact with a mining colony in Postouvin after sending out a distress call concerning a disease outbreak. Although rumors swirled, it took a full day for Caldari authorities to confirm that the disease at issue was in fact Kyonoke, albeit an apparently modified strain.
With Kyonoke identified, the cluster soon began to wonder how the pathogen escaped. Answers soon fell into place when an expedition into the now-abandoned Kyonoke Pit revealed the body of one Ohmon Kasaras, a former member of the Kaalakiota Home Guard, who had apparently ventured into Kyonoke just weeks before. Although reports identified him as a loyal Caldari, the fact that his family has gone missing suggests we do not know the entire story behind the Kasaras breach of Kyonoke, if that was not evident from the fact that it’s still unknown who Kasaras was supposed to deliver Kyonoke too. To say that fear has gripped the cluster is a bit of an understatement, with Caldari/Gallente tensions flaring to a height not seen since the days of Tibus Heth… which is all the more worrisome because there does indeed appear to be a Heth connection to all of this. Despite the hostility on both sides, the isolation protocols seem to have done their jobs, as no more outbreaks have since been reported, although that does little to help the millions already under quarantine.
Although the empires appear to be paralyzed either by infighting or paralysis, the Society of Conscious Thought has stepped to the forefront in researching ways to combat or eradicate Kyonoke. Recently, they announced the formation of the Kyonoke Inquest, a coordination center for research into the origins of the prion and ways to combat the disease. The Inquest is based out of the H4-RP4 Kyonoke Inquest Center, a massive Keepstar-class citadel built near the asteroid colony in Postouvin that suffered the outbreak. Given the sheer amount of news recently concerning the Kyonoke crisis, it should surprise few to learn that as soon as I heard that the Inquest would be based out of Postouvin, I made my way into Solitude to await its public opening.
The Keepstar itself is a massive station constructed near the sunward side of Postouvin IV. I have had few opportunities to really examine a Keepstar since their release, but everything about the station feels titanic. I’ve flown Professor Science near battleships and titans, and considering that Keepstars dwarf even the largest ships New Eden has to offer, it’s no wonder that I felt almost as small as the Kyonoke protein strand next to it. Despite only having gone public within the past few hours, the Inquest is clearly already in full swing, with hundreds, if not thousands of intra-station craft crawling their way along the edges of the giant citadel, hopefully working around the clock to solve the Kyonoke problem. And the Society has now called in capsuleers to join the research efforts, making Postouvin the center of the cluster for all intents and purposes. Aura performed a preliminary analysis of the station for me, although she didn’t have anything to say that I didn’t already know:
Widely considered by academics to be the single largest research installation in New Eden, its laboratories have hosted research projects from some of the most intelligent minds in human history.
The stricken RP4 hemorphite processing facility lays cradled in the arms of the Keepstar, with the citadel seemingly built around the mining colony. The colony, built into the crescent-shaped asteroid itself, pokes up from the surface of the colony, pieces of gray metal gleaming against the brown regolith of the asteroid’s surface. A lonely Obelisk-class freighter sits near the dock, apparently caught up in the station’s quarantine when the order came down. The entire colony is wrapped in a rather ominous cloud of debris, which is fitting because there appears to be few signs of life on the colony. Given the apparent speed with which Kyonoke acts, it seems unlikely that many are left alive at this point, and the colony acts as a somber reminder of the staggering human costs at play in this plague and the goal of their efforts for anyone who merely looks outside the Keepstar.
There are millions of lives at stake out there, and billions more hang in the balance if any of the containment protocols breach or whoever first released the plague decides that it is necessary to strike again. Right now, we can only that the answer to this crisis lies somewhere in the colossal depths of the H4-RP4 Kyonoke Inquest Center. And while not quite as important as solving the Kyonoke plague, I’ll sleep a lot easier at night if we can find out who released the disease and why. I may only be but one man, but I am ready to help out the effort however I can, for if this ordeal has taught us anything, it’s that the smallest changes can stretch across the galaxy.
- Attraction: Kyonoke Outbreak Containment Site
- System: Postouvin
- 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 or a rather long low security route.
- Additional Notes: You cannot dock at the Keepstar, nor will it tether you.
Say what you will about the Amarr (and trust me, I could say quite a bit), but they do know their pomp and pageantry. Their ships and stations bring the art that is space architecture and design to a whole new level. I would say that they have overly prioritized form over function, but the fact that they stand as the premier military power in New Eden suggests otherwise (assuming the Jove are as dead as they appear and ignoring the Drifters…). Although I have never quite gotten the hang of flying Amarr ships myself, I have always admired their graceful lines and glorious golden hulls that make my preferred ships look they just escaped from a trash can somewhere. And, obviously, if you’re looking for a lot of pomp and circumstance in swearing in a new leader, look no further than the Amarr Empire.
Unfortunately, due to a previously-planned engagement, I was forced to miss the grandest example of Amarr pomp and circumstance in recent memory: the coronation of Empress Catiz I. Granted, it was to take a long-planned vacation (it never hurts for even empyreans to reconnect with their planet-side roots every now and then), so it’s not like I didn’t have some compensation for missing the coronation, but I was still somewhat bemused to miss the it, if only to make sure that the Drifters didn’t make another appearance at an Imperial event. But at least I was missing the coronation for a good cause. I would just have to cross my fingers and hope I didn’t miss anything too exciting, while keeping an eye on GalNet every now and then. I went on my vacation and had a delightful time, the coronation seemed to have gone relatively smoothly, except for a few minor surprises here and there, and honestly, I had assumed that that would be that.
A few weeks after returning from my vacation and re-settling to non-vacation life (always a more difficult transition then I’d care to admit), I was finally catching up on a market run I had been meaning to make for a while now. I undocked my trusty Viator-class Planet Express Ship and made my way to my closest market hub, Amarr Prime. It wasn’t until after I had finished my business and I was preparing to leave Amarr that I noticed something on my sensors. Having flown to and through Amarr countless times, I hope I can be forgiven for not necessarily paying as close of attention to my sensor returns in the system as I might normally do. Been there, done that, so to speak. However, if I hadn’t given even a cursory glance to my sensor returns, I might have missed that Aura was detecting a new beacon in the system. My curiosity duly piqued, I warped away from the jumpgate and over to the Empress Catiz I Honor Guard that Aura had discovered for me, not quite knowing what to expect.
As I dropped out of warp, however, it became clear that Catiz had never officially dismissed the Honor Guard that escorted her to her coronation and, like good soldiers, they had remained at their posts until instructed otherwise by their leader. It was certainly an impressive display of Imperial might, all the more so because what was surely a merely ceremonial honor guard was able to field 12 Avatar-class titans, along with countless other capital vessels and battleships. I was even able to spy one or two of the new Apostle-class force auxiliaries that are a relatively recent entry into the ranks of Amarr capital ships. And these were apparently ships that the Amarr Navy was content to just leave lying about. There is a reason that the Amarr are commonly considered to be the strongest of the four empires, and its displays like this that prove just how right the conventional wisdom is in that regard.
Needless to say, I felt a bit like a kid in a candy store in having the chance to examine most of these graceful yet powerful vessels up close. As I had mentioned, I always appreciated the artistry that Amarr ship designers brought to spacefaring ships, and seeing them all arrayed in perfect precision is definitely a sight to behold. From Avatars to Armageddons, many of the most iconic Amarr ship designs could be seen standing at parade rest, ready and waiting to serve the new Empress. It was enough to send a chill down my thoroughly-Gallente-loving spine. Indeed, I spent quite a while just wandering up and down the rows of ships, trying to notice all the details and structures that the Amarr have built in to many of their ships. I may never agree, even with the new Empress, with the vast majority of Amarr policy, but I will say this: they sure know how to put on a show.
- Attraction: Empress Catiz I Honor Guard
- System: Amarr Prime
- 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.
(The Author would like to thank the Misfits crew of Markus Vulpine, Situla Vaire, Dr Zemph, Kaia Starchaser, and Cali Estemaire for helping him clear the site!)
Living just off the main pipeline to the Eve Gate, I’m used to seeing a certain amount of traffic fly by on a regular basis. Capsuleers making their pilgrimage to the Gate, capsuleers hunting down the pilgrims, research vessels, and a fair amount of Blood Raider activity really round out the area. It is perhaps not the quietest area in game, but for the past few years now I have called it home quite happily. Being in low security space was an added bonus, as I was able to get away from the increasingly worrisome oversight of CONCORD and its many, many regulatory heads. When you add in the bonus of more lucrative loot from exploration than you might find in high security and being able to check in on a number of significant New Eden historical sights on a regular basis, I find that choosing to live in my little corner of New Eden was a smart choice indeed. And while I may have moved on temporarily at different points in time, the area is always there to welcome me home when I’m done with my latest adventure.
When settling into the area, however, I quickly discovered something odd. This was shortly after Sansha Kuvakei had started rearing his ugly head in New Eden once again. At the time, CONCORD essentially abdicated defense responsibilities when incursions by the Sansha occurred, preferring instead to coordinate with the empire navies and focus on protecting civilian populations while leaving it to the capsuleers to rid the constellation of Sansha’s space-based presence. I, along with many others, were very vocal at the time, criticizing CONCORD for not taking a more proactive response to the clear threat. However, as time went on, it became clearer that CONCORD was at least gathering significant intelligence on the Nation, and a number of classified reports were eventually leaked, suggesting that CONCORD’s response to the Nation was centered in something called Operation ISHAEKA. This, along with clear evidence that capsuleers were able to handle the Sansha threat, eventually lessened the calls for a coordinated CONCORD response to the incursions beyond what they were already providing.
But back to the story at hand. As I was first settling into my new home, I quickly became aware that there was a heavier CONCORD presence than I would normally encounter in low security space. Generally, low security space should be beyond the reach of the Directive Enforcement Division, the part of CONCORD that most directly interacts with capsuleers (not to mention the part of CONCORD that seems to have the most anger issues…), but there was a suspiciously high amount of CONCORD activity throughout my local constellation, Monalaz. They didn’t seem to act like the CONCORD fleets in high security space, reacting to capsuleer aggression and the like, but they were there nonetheless. Within a few weeks, I discovered that Operation ISHAEKA was more than just intelligence gathering when my probes managed to dig up the ISHAEKA Tactical Headquarters.
Eager to see what kind of response CONCORD had planned, I grabbed the Professor and warped to the site. Although cloaked, my comm system pinged with an automated warning for all capsuleer vessels to stay away lest we be met with lethal force. I came out of warp near a large taskforce of combined CONCORD and Amarr vessels, along with heavy fortifications. Cruise missile batteries, stasis towers, and a large array of ships ranging from lowly frigates to the fearsome standard-issue CONCORD battleships. To say that it was a little intimidating would be, shall we say, an understatement. But your intrepid travel guide was intent on seeing all that there was to see. On the far end of the landing area, I could see an acceleration gate leading deeper into the complex. I maneuvered the Professor around the various fortifications, quickly decloaked, activated the gate and-
Died. Quite quickly.
I gathered one or two close friends to try again a few weeks later. The site had moved to another part of the constellation but it was still fairly easy to track down. We managed to take a few larger, better armed ships in. Needless to say, CONCORD and the Amarr agents, apparently a division of the Amarr military called the Justiciars, were not happy with our arrival, and scrambled a large reaction force. However, we managed to fight them off and even cleared out the fortifications of the landing area. Triumphant, we gathered up what loot we could and activated that heretofore elusive acceleration gate to take us deeper into the complex. Our small flotilla quickly dropped out of warp and then-
Dead. Again. Quite quickly.
Thankfully, CONCORD didn’t seem willing to attack our pods. Although we couldn’t progress past the second area, we were able to see the sizeable fleet that had so quickly and effectively destroyed us. The fleet’s core was a set of 16 battleships who locked us almost immediately upon warp-in, screened by lighter forces of frigates, cruisers, and battlecruisers. Clearly, something was here that CONCORD wanted to protect. Unfortunately, at the time I was not quite in a position to replace my losses. My interest drifted to other, more accessible locations and despite the fact that I still lived in Monalaz, I quickly stopped giving the Headquarters much more than a second glance as I saw what else the Cluster had to offer.
That is, until a few weeks ago. For what should be obvious reasons, I have been on pretty friendly terms with the Evesploratory Society, a group dedicated to exploration. Indeed, the members of the Society were kind enough to name an Astrahus-class citadel after Eve Travel as a tribute to my work (I was admittedly tempted to profile the citadel here but it seemed oddly self-serving to do so, though that hasn’t stopped others from talking about it). In any case, while chatting with members of the Society and some other explorers, the topic of the ISHAEKA Headquarters once again came up. After I explained my prior difficulties getting into the complex, a number of pilots agreed to challenge CONCORD and their Amarr allies yet again. A week or two later, we formed up in a fleet and headed off. Although some of the local pirates decided that our forming fleet was an ideal target, we eventually got in a ragtag fleet consisting mainly (though not entirely) of Stratioses. And so we brought the fight to CONCORD and warped in to the ISHAEKA Tactical Response HQ.
As before, the initial area surrounding the warp-in point consisted primarily of heavy fortifications for the rest of the complex. It was clear that CONCORD didn’t want anyone poking around (and we were once again threatened with lethal force if we tried to breach the rest of the complex). However, with the help of my fellow fleetmates, who called themselves the Misfits, we quickly cleaned up the initial fleet, and made our way deeper into the complex. As we worked our way through the defensive forces, it quickly became evident that although the forces were formidable, they apparently did not have authorization to utilize the classic anti-capsuleer technology that capsuleers rightly fear. Instead, the CONCORD forces appeared to be restricted to classical weapons. After the fighting had finished, I was able to pause and examine our surroundings a little more closely. The initial area was fairly bare beyond the defensive fortifications, as you might expect. On the other side of the area from the warp-in point, an acceleration gate led deeper into the complex. With some amount of trepidation given my prior history, we activated the gate and were flung deeper in.
As I remembered, upon dropping out of warp in the Justiciar Haven portion of the complex, we were immediately pounced upon by over a dozen battleships and another dozen smaller vessels waiting at the warp-in point for us (undoubtedly warned by their compatriots in the landing area of our impending arrival), and they opened fire almost immediately. As you might expect, they were cold and methodical in their attempts to eliminate us. Most, if not all, of the ships would target one person in the fleet in hopes of wearing us down. When it became clear the fleet member wouldn’t break or the fleet member had to warp out to repair, they calmly selected their next target. Eventually, however, we managed to eliminate the resistance, and I managed to get a good look at the second area. I had plenty of time to poke around after the fighting ended as we waited for our ships to repair themselves. The haven area of the complex seemed to be a central loading area for the allied forces. A number of landing pads and administrative centers were arrayed between two acceleration gates, both leading deeper into the complex. Notably, although there were plenty of pads to receive freighters and sort out cargo, they didn’t seem to be in use at the time. Since this was undoubtedly a mobile site, perhaps this site was where the construction ships were based out of, but that is only speculation. Finally, after everyone’s ships were back up to fighting status, we moved deeper into the complex, and on to the ISHAEKA Fleet Staging Area. As we activate the gate, a general broadcast goes out to all ships in the area:
We are under heavy attack! Capsuleers are breaching our staging area! All local files are to be transferred immediately from the archives to a secure location offsite. Initiate burn protocols for all hard data. DED forces will delay the capsuleer incursion at the staging area until we can secure all intelligence. Give ’em hell!
Once again, our ragtag fleet was met with heavy resistance. While there were 5 fewer battleships waiting for us, those missing battleships were more than made up for by the 20 smaller ships flitting between the battleship behemoths. But once again, our fleet kept its collective cool and we calmly worked our way through the various vessels. I only hoped we were giving the CONCORD crews enough time to evacuate their vessels: I only wanted to see what CONCORD had hiding here, I had no desire to cause mass destruction unless absolutely necessary. Eventually, however, all that was surrounding us were cooling wrecks and I had a chance to examine the area once again. As a fleet staging area, I was not surprised to find a large array of shipyards waiting for us, along with quite a few landing pads filled with freighters in various states of loading and unloading. Most of the drydocks were empty, but a few held various CONCORD or Amarr ships nearing the end of construction. Surprisingly, one of the drydocks also held the shattered remains of an Archon-class carrier that had clearly undergone heavy fire. Why had they bothered dragging it back to the shipyard for analysis? Perhaps it had been damaged by Sansha forces and they were studying it for purposes of developing countermeasures. It was at this point that I was startled to realize that I had seen few, if any, indications that the forces here were in fact organized to fight Sansha’s Nation. Indeed, I had seen few indications at all of any relation to Sansha. This struck me as very odd.
However, before I had time to ponder the mystery, it was time to move on yet again. We activated the acceleration gate, which somewhat unexpectedly took us back to the Justiciar Haven. However, the second acceleration gate, previously locked to us, had become active, and we headed to the final area: the Justiciar Archives. Although I was hopeful that our answers would be found there, another general broadcast shattered that hope:
The information you have come for is gone. All that awaits you now is the cleansing light of Amarrian laser fire! All pilots engage!
Not exactly the welcome I was hoping for. But we were quickly once again fighting for our lives against a combined CONCORD and Amarr onslaught. But we once again managed to prevail through sheer force of will (and the timely arrival of two logistics ships to help us repair). As soon as we were once again surrounded by cooling wreckage, I took a look at this last area of space. Clearly, this was the central administrative area of the complex. A large, though now abandoned, station formed the backdrop of the area, while a multitude of communications and other equipment could be found arrayed nearby. A quick scan confirmed that there was no information salvageable; the CONCORD technicians had done their job quickly but thoroughly.
As the rest of the fleet celebrated their conquest and rare victory over CONCORD, I couldn’t help but notice that once again, CONCORD was raising more questions than answers. Absolutely no reference was found to Sansha or combating the scourge of his forces throughout the cluster. What, then, is Project ISHAEKA actually concerned with? Their last message to us especially made it clear that they clearly thought we were after specific information. What were they afraid we’d find? What could force CONCORD to enact such drastic measures? I couldn’t help but feel that, as usual, if CONCORD were just more open with the capsuleer community, more willing to treat us as equals rather than rabid animals to be contained, we’d be able to help CONCORD achieve whatever goals they had… assuming it wasn’t something directed against us.
Whatever unanswered questions I had, however, certainly weren’t going to be answered that night. Those were worries for another day. Instead, I chose to revel in the feeling of finally overcoming something that had mystified me for years, and to do so with a group of good friends. Although we left a trail of destruction in our wake (and it is rare indeed that a group of capsuleers leaves behind anything else), successfully completing our mission in a group of friends is a feeling that can’t easily be described or replicated. As I set a course back for home, I felt happy that after five long years, I had finally met the neighbors.
- Attraction: ISHAEKA Tactical Response HQ
- Constellation: Somewhere in Monalaz
- Security Rating: Low Security Space
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: Monalaz is an entirely low sec constellation. Pirates and gate camps, especially when flying in from Amarr, are common, and caution is advised. Additionally, the rats are quite difficult in the site and heavy resistance is to be expected. Soloing the complex is not recommended, though you can see that we completed the site without too much difficulty with a number of smaller ships.
- Additional Notes: The Tactical Response HQ should almost always exist somewhere in Monalaz, though I did not confirm if the site respawns immediately after completion or whether you must wait until downtime before finding it again. It is listed as a combat site, and you do need probes to scan it down.
Do you ever get the feeling that you’re missing an important story? Do you ever run across something out in the world, and it seems significant even if you can’t place it into context or even say why it’s important? It’s a frustrating feeling. Even with the adage that ignorance is bliss, generally we like to know the full story on something. We long to be a fly on the wall in order to hear exactly how a crucial meeting went down, or just to have the schadenfreudic joy of hearing and seeing others get in trouble out of the public eye. We’re curious creatures by nature and the idea that there are things that we are not and cannot be privy can be a very maddening experience when you stop and think about all that happens around us that we don’t know.
I bring this up because I very much got that feeling while flying through Nalvula a while back. It’s a low-sec system a few jumps out from Tribute, in an otherwise nondescript area of space perhaps most notable for being in-between Taisy (the home of the notorious Kyonoke Pit) and Vuorrassi (the former location of the Terminus Stream). In the outskirts of the system, near planet 11, an abandoned Guristas transportation facility stands out easily on a ship’s scanners. This in and of itself isn’t particularly unusual; abandoned Guristas facilities can be found throughout Caldari space and beyond. Indeed, space is almost littered with their abandoned facilities (yet that doesn’t seem to stop them from making more…). No, what’s weird about this is that someone has clearly hacked the facility’s transponder, taking it off of private Guristas frequencies and broadcasting it throughout the system with a rather odd message. Aura interprets it as:
Once a hive of pirate activity, this Guristas Transport Facility now drifts in space blackened and scarred, left partially intact by its attackers to serve as a message to its former owners. As you draw closer, it is apparent that the facility’s distress beacon has been hijacked and reprogrammed to loop an audio message of defiance:
“You believed you could hunt us, but you have become the quarry. You believed you could subdue us, but we have risen up. You may be Fatal, but we are immortal.
We have proven that the Empyreans stand with us.
Do not test us again. If you attempt to do so, you will burn at the hands of the Valkyrie and our most loyal and skilled capsuleer wingmen.
A data packet is attached to the transmission, listing the DED profiles of a number of capsuleers known to have aided the Valkyrie during their fight against Guristas forces:
OneWay Trip Hunter
Antarah ibn Shaddad
An intriguing message. The reference to “Fatal” was particularly intriguing. Fatal, of course, is one-half of the infamous duo of Fatal and the Rabbit, the initial founders of the Guristas. Fatal is perhaps most notorious for pulling down the most ambitious joint Gallente/Caldari project to date, the Crielere Project. During a daring raid on the Project, Fatal was podded, and apparently his medical clone was not quite up to snuff. After the raid, Fatal quickly fell off the radar and it was assumed that he no longer held any significant position of power given that he had lost most cognitive functions. This message, from the enigmatic Kavik, suggested he has a more significant role than we had realized. If so, that could mark a dangerous return of one of the most notorious criminals the Cluster has known.
The site itself is pretty simplistic. Obviously, the Guristas had focused on a much more utilitarian design for their transportation hub, and its remains show little regard for aesthetics as well. A series of cargo pads and bunkers surround a central control tower. There are few evident signs of damage, despite the fact that a battle was apparently waged here; the most obvious one being the slowly expanding cloud of debris spreading from the control tower. Beyond that, however, the power systems seemed mostly operational, even in the satellite bunkers, so clearly the offensive wasn’t directed at the transportation hub itself. I made up my mind to ask about the event from a few contacts on the list that I recognized to see if they could provide any additional details.
I pondered the odd message a little while longer before heading out once again. I may not know the whole story here, or even most of it, but I wasn’t going to learn any more about it by just sitting around and hoping it came to me.
- Attraction: Abandoned Guristas Transportation Center
- System: Nalvula
- Security Rating: 0.4
- Region: Lonetrek
- Potential Hazards: Nalvula 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.
In recent months, I’ve been dedicated to hunting down new or moving sites, often giving chase to half a rumor or some breaking piece of news that I had to see before it ended. Those kinds of sites are both exhilarating and, in their own way, exhausting, keying me up so that I can deploy on a moment’s notice but also meaning I rarely had the chance to completely relax, knowing that a new (or old site) might rear its head and require me to dash out on a moment’s notice. But with a bit of a lull, it seems, it means that I got to return to my roots a bit. After refamiliarizing myself with my home system for a few weeks, I found myself ready to go on a good, old fashioned roam. And not just any roam, but a roam to the outer fringes of New Eden.
Null sec is, by far, the area of New Eden I have spent the least amount of time in. Though comprising the largest chunk of New Eden proper, the untamed wildernesses beyond the empires has held little appeal to me. And why should it? Null sec is the heart of the capsuleer realms, where the big kids play with their thousands upon thousands of friends. The internecine alliances, grudges, rises, and falls hold little interest and mostly mean I want to stay out of its way, lest the interminable drama seizes a hold of me as well. That, of course, doesn’t mean that no sites exist in null sec to tickle my interest nor does it mean that I won’t go out there (clearly). It just means that I have to take care when I head out that way. Thar be dragons (and other sundry creatures) out there, after all.
And so, I loaded up my now somewhat-dirty Scientia and plotted a course for Vale of the Silent. Vale stands on the fringes of Jove space, and Caroline’s Star casts a baleful glare indeed from this bordering region. Had the Jove not completely cut themselves out, Vale would undoubtedly be a much more civilized border region between the Fifth Empire of New Eden and its more primitive brethren. Without that through-traffic, however, Vale seems much more sedate than it might have. That’s not to say that I didn’t run across anyone, of course, and I have little doubt that my presence raced across the various intel channels of New Eden, but I ran into few bubbles out that way and even fewer people as I steered towards my destination system. Today, that was the unoriginal name of BR-6XP.
Hidden in a far corner of BR-6XP was today’s destination, known only as Black Jack’s. A bit of research dug up that Black Jack was a rather notorious Angel’s pirate back in the day, known for terrorizing the denizens of Molden Heath before becoming too famous for his own good. After being unceremoniously shoved out of Molden Heath by Angels command, he retreated back to Vale of the Silent, and his various underlings and followers can be found to this day hanging out in the small gaseous cloud that he apparently claimed and, in true Amarr tradition, promptly named after himself. Although the small nebula bears his name, Black Jack himself is nowhere to be seen. Indeed, it’s not entirely clear what’s become of Black Jack, though further investigation may turn up his fate.
The nebula itself sits fairly close to the ringed gas giant of planet 5 and is remarkably dense. Indeed, it was difficult even for Scientia’s sensors to penetrate that thick soup. Camera drones flown to the middle of the nebula had difficulties determining in just what direction the local sun could be found, and in most areas, BR-6XP V was merely a ghostly outline of a planet, barely visible through the dense haze. In the depths of the nebula stands a ship that, if BR-6XP were a little more highly traveled, would undoubtedly spawn a few ghost stories. The ghostly outlines of a Machariel can just be made out from the fringes of the nebula. Closer investigation proved that the ship was quite real and belongs to one of Black Jack’s compatriots, but its eerie semi-appearance and the quiet of the surrounding system lends itself quite well to a spectral story or three.
All in all, it felt good to be getting back to my roots. Out here on the fringes of space, just seeing what there is to be seen. No rush, no particular goal, just a very cathartic trip all in all. After admiring the view for some time, I turned my ship to the gate and on to the next system.
- Attraction: Black Jack’s
- System: BR-6XP
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Vale of the Silent
- Potential Hazards: BR-6XP 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 high security space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.
[Editor’s note: Just a very quick entry as I don’t expect this to last past the Succession Trials next week. If you want to see these, get to Amarr ASAP!]
[Additional edit: As of 5/3, only 4 titans, the titans of the winning ‘retainers’ of the Trials, remain in Amarr. Not sure how long they will last!]
Just as the Empire races headfirst towards the Succession Trials to choose its next ruler, so too did I race headfirst towards the Empire’s homeworlds. With the end of the Trials close at hand, an honor guard has formed, the likes of which many space denizens have never seen before. The various champions of the two remaining Heirs in the Trials, Lord Aritcio Kor-Azor and Lady Catiz Tash-Murkon, have began holding vigil in spectacular fashion outside the Emperor’s Family Station in Amarr Prime, forming a fleet of Titans that haven’t been seen publicly in high security space since I’ve been a capsuleer. Next week, these titans will escort Lord Kelon Darklight and Lord Lysus, the two remaining champions, to the conclusion of the Trials.
Few denizens of high security space have seen a titan, much less a fleet of them. While I have before experienced the truly humbling experience of seeing such a, dare I say, titanic piece of engineering next to even my more sizeable vessels, seeing a fleet of them in formation is enough to once again remind me how small we truly are in the grand scheme of things. That being said, seeing these ships up close also helps to remind us the things that we can attain when we work together, and I have little doubt that the Empire hoped to instill that sense of unity when planning this display. Although I have little direct interest in the outcome of the Trials, I wish both sides the best of luck.
And if you have ever wanted to see eight titans in-person, now is your chance.
- Attraction: Honor Guard
- System: Amarr Prime
- 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.
- Additional notes: No beacons are present; you can easily see the formation off of the undock point outside of the Emperor Family Academy station. These are not expected to last past next week.
You may have heard that there’s a war on. It’s been mentioned once or twice in the news. It doesn’t particularly affect me, of course, as I have little interest or say in the machinations of the capsuleer empires. I’m not the one paying the price of this war in blood and treasure. That being said, it’s fascinating to watch this war develop as an outsider. I don’t pretend to understand all of the underlying dynamics between the various sides in this feud, but to see essentially all of the capsuleer-led entities take one side or the other is a fascinating development, and one not seen in quite some time in New Eden. While I hope that few innocents get caught in the cross-fire, I can’t help but read each new report with an excited zeal to see what the next twist in this story is, even if I take care to keep myself a step or two removed from the conflict.
Of course, while I keep myself on the outskirts of the current war, I can’t help but dive headfirst into the wars of the past. I had mentioned in my past few entries that I had holed up in Anoikis to search for a site hidden deep in Anoikis. Fittingly, given current conditions, the site I was searching for is the remains of another battleground. Not one from the current war, of course, but the remains of a war that, in its own way, shaped the current condition of the Cluster as much as this World War Bee has the potential to shape null sec. I speak of the war between the Sansha and Sleepers that resulted in Sansha Kuvakei apparently attaining Sleeper – or possibly even Talocan – technology, allowing him to project his cybernetic reavers across the Cluster in pursuit of his goals.
Exactly how Sansha found these other Anoikis systems – systems that hadn’t yet joined the general wormhole network – is unknown. Exactly how Sansha learned of these systems in the first place is unknown. Exactly when these battles occurred is, as you might have guessed by now, unknown, but probably occurred shortly after Anoikis opened to the general space-faring public. In any event, we know now that Sansha managed to stumble upon the ability to create his own wormholes to any destination he so desired. An ability he used to devastating effect, especially in the early days of his incursion. But it seems that he did not earn this ability easily. Indeed, remains of his struggles against the Sleeper protectors of these relics can be found scattered throughout the depths of Anoikis. It was one of these battlegrounds that I set off to Anoikis to find. These sites are most likely to be found in shattered Anoikis systems colonized by the Sansha (evidenced by the appearance of Sansha, rather than Sleeper, guardians at the system’s epicenter), but can be found throughout Anoikis; a sign of just how widespread the fights were to gain control of this technology. I fairly quickly found such a Sansha colonized system, and waited for my scanners to pick up signs that I had found what I was looking for.
And waited. And waited. And waited some more.
After nearly 3 months of searching, it wasn’t even I who ended up finding the site, but rather a pilot with whom I was placed in contact with through the Arataka Research Consortium. I received notice of the site at a slightly awkward time, after I had shut down my ship’s systems for the night and had been preparing to rest in my ship in low power mode, but science waits for no man, even a capsuleer demigod. I quickly booted up my ship’s systems and raced towards the scene, joining a few fellow explorers from ARC while I was at it. Even if my months spent in Anoikis were for naught and I wasn’t the one who found the site, I wasn’t about to let this opportunity pass me by. The entrance wormhole to the system with the battleground required me to travel through k-space. Although I had lived in k-space for the vast majority of my time as a capsuleer, it was surprising how eerie it felt to be back amongst the thriving masses of New Eden after such a relatively short absence. It was a feeling I quickly overcame in the coming weeks, but it was notable at the time.
Of course, thoughts of the rest of New Eden quickly left my head as I finally approached the so-called Silent Battleground after three long months of searching. Despite my various mods, implants, and general skills at exploration, the site barely registered as a blip on my ship’s sensors, so I wasn’t really expecting to see much there. As the warp tunnel around my ship collapsed, I was pleased to discover that I couldn’t have been more wrong. The first thing to catch my eye was the destroyed superstructure of a Sleeper enclave. In fact, it was hard to miss, as it took up almost one-half of my view as I dropped out of warp. Despite the massive amounts of damage done to the enclave, I was surprised to see that the power infrastructure appeared to still be intact: lights still glowed throughout the enclave and the lack of fires or other explosions suggested that fire containment systems were still active. However, it was clear that the battle had taken its toll on the enclave.
On the other side of the battlefield, the wrecked remains of a Revenant-class supercarrier can be found. Even though Sansha ultimately won the fights, as evidenced by his getting hold of the wormhole technologies, it was clearly not without a high cost. Revenants aren’t cheap, and although Sansha’s power has only grown since his reintroduction to New Eden, I have little doubt that the losses of so many Revenants across Anoikis were keenly felt. The behemoth vessel has been pulverized almost as much as the Enclave. Part of me wishes I could have been there to witness the colossal battle that took place here between the Sleepers on one side and the Sansha on the other. I have no doubt that such an image would be burned in my head even today if I had been able to witness it.
The rest of the site is filled with debris and detritus from the battle. Throughout the site, local data clusters and safeholds within the various vessels involved could be seen, and the entire area contains a plethora of debris that a data or relic analyzer would salivate over, if the modules were capable of such a thing. Sadly, nothing particularly noteworthy appeared in the scans of me or my companions… although a lot of salvage debris and other remains could be found, I wasn’t able to recover any data archives of the pitched battle or anything of use to uncovering more of the secrets of Sansha. Still, at least I managed to get some isk out of the deal. It felt a little like desecrating the graves of the unknown, but I consoled myself with the idea that one side of the battle was fought by mindless drones while the other side was fought by people essentially turned into mindless drones. Death may very well have been a blessing.
Eventually, however, it was time to return to New Eden, my months-long search finally at an end. I profusely thanked the pilot who had found the site (who wished to remain anonymous) as well as the pilots who had ventured forth with me to explore the area, and made my way back home. I re-entered New Eden almost feeling like trumpets should be sounding to blare my success, but my reappearance in New Eden caused little stir, except perhaps to my docking crews whom had undoubtedly gotten used to their boss being away for so long. But as my now well-used Tengu slipped back into its docking bay, I couldn’t help but feel that it was good to be home.
- Attractions: Silent Battleground
- System: The site, though rare, can be found throughout wormhole space (including Thera). It registers as a data site, but it can be very difficult to scan down.
- Security Rating: -1
- Region: Anoikis
- Potential Hazards: Few beyond the normal dangers of wormhole space. No Sansha or Sleeper rats were found at all during the observation of this site. Still, you will be wormhole space so caution is always advised.
Strange as it may be, I find few things as majestic as a fleet of ships flying in formation. There’s something very elegant as seeing a multitude of ships flying with a singular purpose, acting for a single goal, with each having its part to play. Ships flying through the inky depths of space are graceful enough on their own, but put them together with others of their kind, dancing together among the stars, and they become much more than the sum of their parts. It’s a bit weird that a few tons of metal could elicit this kind of reaction in me, but I’ve always had this fascination with fleets. Heck, I even get giddy when a few ships happen to join me in a warp tunnel as I fly to my next stargate. It is perhaps ironic, then, that I focus so much on individual activities as opposed to activities where I could enjoy flying in a fleet more, but that’s a musing for another time.
I bring this up because the Sisters of Eve have been spotted flying fleets in the various Drifter systems in Anoikis. The Sisters’ interest in the Drifters is perhaps a tad surprising seeing as how they traditionally focused their research on the Eve Gate and how to open it again. But considering their settlment in Thera and the substantial resources they committed to whatever it is they found there (presumably Sleeper in origin) the Sisters’ sudden appearance in the Drifter wormhole systems is much less surprising today than it might have once been. Perhaps more surprising, however, is that they are not even trying to hide in the Drifter systems. When they first settled in Thera, they managed to hide both Thera and their presence in it exceptionally well, despite the resources they needed to move there. In the Drifter systems, however, they are not bothering to mask their presence, which is particularly odd given that their ships are particularly suited to mount cloaking devices. Indeed, their fleet can be detected from any corner of their system. Between my love of fleets, my love of the designs of Sisters’ ships, and the ease with which I could find the fleets (especially given my last foray), it was a no-brainer that I had to track down one of these flotillas.
As expected, the hardest part of the entire trip was finding an entrance to a Drifter wormhole, but a conversation with a few friends managed to point me to the right direction, and within a few minutes I was on my way. I quickly entered the now-familiar Drifter systems, and for once ignored the large sensor echo that represented the Drifter Hive that could be found in the system. It was a little odd to be ignoring the Drifter mystery for once, but I’ve waxed poetic enough about the Hives, and my intel suggests that little has changed since the collapse of the unidentified sleeper devices. Instead, I focused on a second, smaller (though no less detectible) sensor echo representing the Sisters flotilla. After making sure I could find my way back to my entrance wormhole, I eagerly set a course.
As the warp tunnel collapsed around me, I have to admit, my jaw dropped. I’ve always found the Sisters’ hull designs to be particularly attractive, but to see them arrayed in such a stunning fleet took my breath away (or would have if my mouth, throat, and lungs weren’t already filled with an oxygen-rich liquid that doubled as a way to cushion inertial stresses while connected in my pod). Dozens of gleaming white ships, each class with those peculiar ring-shaped warp drives that still baffle non-Sister scientists, stretched off into the distance, countless beacons in the night. A group of 8 Nestor-class battleships formed the spine of the fleet, lumbering along the flight patch, with one leading the way and another picking up the rear. Their forward-mounted warp drives were large enough to pilot a frigate through.
Each battleship had a complement of Stratios-class cruiser attendants to act as screens for the much more massive Nestors. The Stratios’s design has been my favorite cruiser design (perhaps even my favorite design period) since the Sisters introduced it a few years ago. Not only do they offer an stellar (pun very much intended) sensor suite to aid in exploration activities, but their ability to mount covert-operations cloaking device as well as a suite of offensive weapons makes it well-suited to my preferred piloting style. Throw in an elegant hull design and that gleaming white hull that stands out so well from other starship designs, and its little wonder that I find myself looking for any excuse at all to take my own Stratios out for a spin. Finally, comparatively-tiny Astero-class frigates flitted among their larger brothers. After going on for so long about the virtues of the Stratios, I’ll just say that I find the Asteros… cute.
The fleet didn’t appear to have much in the way of organization. Nor did they seem to be in any particular hurry. Indeed, from all the activity I was seeing, it was a minor surprise that they were all pointing in the same direction, although that direction didn’t appear to be to anything significant. And, of course, their entire purpose for being there is a bit of a mystery. They are presumably out to discover something, but just what they’re trying to discover is anybody’s guess as of now, though I’m sure the Sisters will announce their intentions when the time is right. Still, for all those problems, the fleet itself is still a sight to see. I may not always see eye-to-eye with the Sisters’ in terms of their overarching goals, but they do good work and design gorgeous ships, so I suppose I can’t really complain.
- Attractions: Sisters of Eve flotillas.
- System: Barbican can be found in J110145, Conflux can be found in J200727, Redoubt can be found in J174618, Sentinel can be found in J055520, and Vidette can be found in J164710.
- Security Rating: -1
- Region: Anoikis
- Potential Hazards: Few beyond the normal dangers of wormhole space. No Drifter or Sleeper rats were found at all during the observation of this site. While I remained cloak while here, I likely didn’t need to be and I haven’t found any indication that the fleet turns hostile. Still, you will be wormhole space so caution is always advised.
In an era where I can cross 100 lightyears in less than an hour, I sometimes need to remind myself that space travel used to be a much slower and deliberate event; one where astronauts subsisted on protein pills and put their helmet on whenever possible in case of sudden decompression. It was also an era of more stately space travel in some ways; the time it took to get some place didn’t matter as much as the destination itself. But the stars look very different today than they did back we first left the tenuous grip of our homeworlds. Now, space travel is helter-skelter, as we rush from station to station and on to pick up, unload, and, as necessary, blow up, only to start the process again and again. But perhaps I’m just looking back at the supposed golden years of space travel with more than a bit of rose-tinted glasses.
As I continued my surveillance for that other wormhole site I’d been searching for, I got word that I may only have one shot to track down a new appearance in the Cluster. Some kind of space oddity had appeared, and it looked to be very slowly on the move. Under pressure to find it before it moved on again, I probed down a wormhole to take me back to the familiar confines of New Eden, and quickly made my way out to Fountain, where sources had indicated it could currently be found. I quickly located the odd little site, but to my sorrow my exploration-fit tengu (along with implants, Sisters’ launcher and probe, and maximum scanning skills) were unable to initially probe down the site to sufficient precision to let me warp there. Indeed, it required some changes to Scientia (mainly the addition of a Scan Rangefinding Array II) before I could finally warp to the site. Aura, who has never let me down with this kind of thing, had a bit to say about Tom’s shuttle as I dropped out of warp:
This mysterious shuttle is slowly passing through the system, following a predetermined course from some unknown origin. Although similarities between its design and some current starships can be discerned, this vessel appears to predate those ships by many centuries.
Scans indicate that the shuttle once had room for a single occupant but now lies empty, sailing onward in silent memory of the visionary pilot it once ferried.
I had expected to find some sort of labyrinth around the oddity. Instead, I found a single shuttle, for all the world looking as if it only travelled when the solar winds blow, surrounded by a gently glowing gas cloud. The similarities to the Zephyr, of course, couldn’t be ignored, but according to Aura’s analysis this particular tin machine appeared to be much older than that design. The shuttle floats in a most peculiar way; its design seeming to convey both standing still and a stately glide amongst the stars. Still, I couldn’t help but feel that the spaceship knows which way it wants to go, with or without a pilot to guide it. Soon it would undoubtedly move along from the outskirts of D-Q04X, on to yet another of the prettiest stars in New Eden, though where it will go next is completely unknown to me. But I’ll take what I can get by keeping the sound and vision in front of me as long as I could.
Eventually, at the risk of being reduced to ashes, I had to move on and return to my broader search. It’s tempting to look back in anger at the time I’ve wasted in Anoikis searching for it, but maybe I should just learn to appreciate the time I have available to me to just sit and float amongst the stars. After all, there’s a certain graceful simplicity to probing down my corner of Anoikis day-in and day-out, and learning the quirks of my own personal corner of Anoikis. For here am I sitting in a tin can, far from the cluster, waiting to see what else is out there; not unlike, I suspect, Tom in his shuttle. Though I never met Tom, I can’t help but feel as if in some ways we’re kindred spirits, both roaming the darkness of space, both of us, in our own ways, starmen.
- Attraction: Space Oddity
- System: Anywhere, including wormhole space (thanks to the two readers in comments for confirming this)
- Security Rating: Varies
- Region: Varies
- Potential Hazards: As far as I can tell, Space Oddity can be found anywhere in known space (though it was in null when I manage to track it down). There were no rats at the scene, but obviously the normal warnings about other players apply.
- Additional information: Space Oddity appears on your probe screen as a combat site. Please note that it was VERY difficult to scan down, so if you run across it, a dedicated scanning ship is almost a necessity.
My legs are cramping. Given that I was in a pod, that was a feat in and of itself. The pod is a marvelous piece of engineering, designed as a complete life support system to protect that little kilogram and a half bundle of neural tissue that we call a brain. The pod feeds the body nutrients, exercises muscles, and provides alternative sensory input all to make the brain (and body) forget that its cooped up in a 2-3 meter capsule and not moving for long stretches of time in order to control a hulking interstellar spaceship. It’s designed to do this for weeks, months, maybe YEARS at a time. But here I am, only 6 weeks into my quest to find a fairly rare and specific site in Anoikis, and I can definitely tell through all of the neural input filters and thousand distractions that come with piloting a starship that my legs are cramping up.
I have no idea how Katia Sae does it.
But the story of that particular is for another time, if only because I have yet to actually find it. Instead, while browsing galnet a week ago, a news item caught my eye that eventually prompted me to take a sojourn back to civilized space for a little bit. Those of you watching the news are probably aware of the waves being made currently by Upwell Consortium. The Consortium is an alliance of corporations from across New Eden looking to bring new technology to the public. Beyond giving the Serpentis a (rather deserved) public-relations black eye, the Consortium is perhaps most well-known for looking to release so-called citadel stations, which look to up-end the market for capsuleer-owned station services. In order to promote their upcoming line of citadels, Upwell has decided to build some demonstration citadels to show their advantages.
Unfortunately, I decided to make a trip to see one such citadel, being built in Ourapheh, shortly after it was destroyed by a group of capsuleers who were apparently just looking for trouble. Sadly, I didn’t realize this until after I had left the confines of my temporary wormhole home and made the trip to Ourapheh. Upwell, however, seemed completely undeterred by the attacks on all 5 of their demonstration sites (found in Ourapheh, Anjedin, Asgeir, Mara, and PF-346), and quickly announced that the demonstration sites had been restarted with better security and the removal of a computer virus. That being said, the announcements were made by Upwell’s Department of Friendship and Mutual Assistance. If history is any guide, departments with name such as this tend to have precisely the opposite effect, but I guess I will have to see how these play out.
However, with the construction projects now restarted, I quickly made my way over to the new sites. Apparently, the second time is the charm, and I arrived at a not-blown-up construction site. Admittedly, there was not much to see at this point. The construction site was close to the Customs Office orbiting Mara I, although for now it consists of little more than multiple landing platforms to coordinate supply runs and a multitude of manufacturing sites. Although a bit of work could be seen occurring in the manufacturing yards, little could be seen by way of output, perhaps because Upwell is still waiting on research components to fuel construction. I look forward to seeing the finished sites, however, as all reports of the citadels thus far indicate that even the smallest versions will still be quite sizeable, while the largest version will be able to dock even the largest titans. Those will truly be sites to see, and hopefully someday I will be able to.
That being said, however, my ability to someday see the largest citadels seems contingent on me someday leaving Anoikis to come back to New Eden. After spending a few minutes at the site wondering what was to come, I reversed my course and headed back to my temporary wormhole home. Even though I was only in New Eden for a few short moments, it was nice to see the hustle and bustle of civilized space, not to mention actual ships instead of the feeling of dread that comes over me in Anoikis when probes show up on the d-scan that aren’t my own. Regardless, I was in it to the end. While the Children of Light may have defeated me, I am content to live in Anoikis as long as it takes to find what I’m looking for, even if it means dealing with leg cramps. With one last look around at New Eden, I went forth once more into the great unknown.
- Attractions: Astrahus Exemplar Site
- System: Ourapheh, Anjedin, Asgeir, Mara, and PF-346
- Security Rating: 0.9, 0.5, 0.7, 0.4, and 0.0, respectively.
- Region: Genesis, Tash-Murkon, Metropolis, Lonetrek, and Syndicate, respectively
- Potential Hazards: Varies, depending on the location. Three of the sites are in high security space, but the sites in Mara and PF-346 should be approached with caution as they are in low sec and null sec, respectively. Caution, as always, is advised.
EDIT: I don’t have time to add a complete new post but some updated pictures of construction on the Citadels can be found below.
All good things must come to an end, as the saying goes. Nothing in life is permanent. Change is perhaps the universe’s only constant. Even us capsuleers and other infomorphs can’t last forever, regardless of how hard we may try. It’s to remember this when looking at small, ephemeral things. The newspaper changes every day, as we pick up the previous day’s to toss it out. For certain pilots, they can’t go a day without losing a ship (or five). It’s harder to remember that saying, though, with larger, more permanent objects. Indeed, it’s fairly natural for the mind to make the leap that “big” is fairly equivalent to “permanent”. Anthills are small and easy to destroy. Mountains are big and hard to destroy. Seems simple enough. That’s partially the reason that the Seyllin Incident shook us to our core. Even beyond the staggering loss of lives, many of us were aghast to see entire planets ripped apart like so much tissue paper, and we trembled when the stars themselves seemingly turned against us. For many of us, especially those born planetside, planets and stars are the eternal anchors of our lives, rarely changing, never going anywhere. To see this kind of destruction wrought can’t help but humble us to our very cores.
With all of this in mind, I admittedly did not expect to have to cover happenings deep in the Drifter hives again so soon after my last entry. It had been a long day to get myself into the Hive in the first place, and I didn’t really relish having to repeat the experience so soon. But shortly after posting my entry on the odd, pointy unidentified Sleeper Device, I started to receive some odd intel on happenings within the Hives. First off, somewhat conveniently for me, an acceleration gate was added near the Drifter Hive itself that allowed easy access to the area. Secondly, and much more ominously, it looks like the Device, whatever it was, has been destroyed. Mere hours after I had posted my article.
Apparently I need to filter my readership a bit more.
Having not meant to dive back into the Drifter systems so soon, it took some time before I was able to dedicate myself fully to the task of another Drifter sightseeing tour. But this past weekend, I was finally able to meet up again with my fellow explorers in the Consortium and take another jaunt into the Drifter systems. Digging up some old and, admittedly, rusty skills, I soon found myself in a Scythe, helping to repair my fellow fleetmates while they fought against Sleeper drones and Drifters. Still, it was a pleasant change of pace from my usual solo sojourns, and even more of a change of pace to not be firing weapons for once, but rather remote repairers. And waiting for the return of the Hikanta Tyrannos drone allowed me to reflect once again both on the staggering size of the Hive construct, and how little we truly know about the Drifters.
Finally, however, it was time to move on to the big event, such as it were. By using the now-convenient acceleration gate, we were able to cut out the long slog that was the original trip to the unknown device. The near-instantaneous transportation to the area didn’t take away from the grandeur of seeing the majestic, spiraling whirlpools materializing above and below me as I drew close to the area. My eyes were immediately drawn to them, so much so that I nearly forgot what I had even come into area for. But the corner of my camera drones caught flashes of light that quickly drew my attention from the stately, if still completely mysterious, vortices.
The flashes of light, it turns out, belong to what remains of the unidentified sleeper device. As if a giant hand had hand-picked pins out of a pin cushion, the debris field stretched almost as far as the eye could see. The various sticks, originally arranged in circular fashion, now are laid out in a serpentine pattern, as if it were a winding path. Lightning crackles between the various posts: the flashes of light that originally caught my eye. As far as I could tell, the lightning was completely harmless to my Scythe. Even when flying amongst the various pieces of debris, I couldn’t detect any damage being taken by my ship. And debris is how Aura immediately identified the various objects: unlike before, where she identified the space pincushion as one large, over two hundred kilometer object, she now identified dozens, if not hundreds, of pieces of individual debris, and labeled them accordingly.
The total length of the debris field, if stretched into a line, was many hundreds of kilometers in length, and why it was laid out in that particular shape is unclear. Indeed, if this were the result of a strict attack on the structure, I would have expected the various prongs of the device to be even more scattered than they had been before. Instead, the prongs have been mostly lined up in the same orientation, and there were few signs of damage on the prongs themselves other than the lightning that can be seen crackling amongst the forest of former arms of the device. Even odder, if there were an attack, it’s not clear who would have done such a thing. There were no signs of Drifters or Sleepers anywhere near the area, and it seems unlikely that they would leave the area unattended after. On the other hand, the acceleration gate may demonstrate that the Drifters and Sleepers are aware of, and have easy access to, the device. Why the Sleepers would attack their own device remains a mystery, but that leaves the unsettling possibility that there may be another, as of yet unknown faction at play here.
Regardless, it was unsettling to see such a complete restructuring of a device that seemed so stable mere weeks before. It was one thing to watch the gradual deterioration of the Jove observatories as they are slowly disassembled by the Drifters and Sleepers, but it’s another matter entirely to see the complete transformation that occurred here over such a short period of time. It goes against the core of the idea that “big things change slowly”, yet here was obvious evidence that this was not always the case. But perhaps this was just the exception that proves the rule. As I set a course for home, I hoped that I would never be on the receiving end of whatever calamity befell the unidentified Sleeper device.
- Attractions: Massive debris field in Barbican, Conflux, Redoubt, Sentinel, and Vidette complexes
- System: Barbican can be found in J110145, Conflux can be found in J200727, Redoubt can be found in J174618, Sentinel can be found in J055520, and Vidette can be found in J164710. As of writing, the device has been confirmed in all five hives.
- Security Rating: -1
- Region: Anoikis
- Potential Hazards: Beyond the normal dangers of wormhole space (including other pilots), Drifters and Sleepers can be found throughout the site. Drifters can doomsday almost all subcapital ships in one shot once their primary shields are brought down. Drifters will change the rooms they are stationed in throughout a complex approximately every half-hour. Data analyzers are required to hack the gates. Fast, cloak-equipped ships (to evade Drifters until they out of range) are strongly advised.
- Additional Notes: An acceleration gate can be found in the Hive room of each of the Drifter complexes that leads to this area. Additionally, the old method of flying in a straight line from the ‘lobby’ or ‘split’ of the complexes towards the complex’s hive is still valid. The device will be found roughly halfway between the two rooms, about 10,000 kilometers from the ‘lobby’ and 10,000 kilometers away from the hive. The device appears to be in the same location relative to the rooms regardless of which Drifter complex is visited.