Sightseeing in the Cluster

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Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai

I'm alive!
The Orbital Caravanserai complex.

A younger sibling inevitably ends up having a complicated relationship with the older one. I don’t mean that in a bad way, of course (or, at least, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a bad way), but the relationship is almost never a simple one. The older sibling is the trailblazer (like it or not): he or she figures out what works and, perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t. The younger sibling, in turn, is left to figure out how to follow in the older sibling’s footsteps (or not). As a result, the younger sibling almost inevitably goes through phases of idolizing, hating, copying, and pushing away the older sibling over the course of years (or, perhaps, over the course of seconds). Eventually, however, the younger sibling realizes that they are their own person. What worked for the older sibling may not work for the younger, and vice versa. Realizing that separation and becoming one’s own person can be a difficult, but vital, realization for any sibling (and for the parents of those siblings, for that matter).

And moved!
A closer view of the main station.

As usual, this is a rather tortured metaphor for New Eden on a broader scale: in this particular instance, the Minmatar and the Gallente. The metaphor is obviously not perfect, but in many ways, the Federation did act as an older sibling to the Republic as the Minmatar re-learned how to be a self-governing nation after winning its independence from Amarr slavery. In classic self-important Gallente fashion, when it was time to set up how the Minmatar would govern themselves, the Gallente “strongly recommended” that the Republic follow the model that had proved (mostly) so successful for the Gallente. And the Republic followed suit, setting a tripartite republic that would look familiar to any Gallente schoolchild, but ignored the unique cultural and political history of the Minmatar.

I had a LOT of problems writing this entry for some reason.
The arc of Tribal embassies can be seen here.

I speak, of course, of the Seven Tribes. The Gallente, in our usual way, ignored the importance of the Tribes in the every day life of the Minmatar, unwilling to believe that something that meant little the Gallente (familial relations on such a large scale) could have deep and significant meanings to another. And for two centuries, the Republic tried to follow the Gallente example. But the cultural inertia eventually became too much to ignore. As the disastrous premiership of Karin Midular came to its ignoble end (a story I will turn to in the next entry), Maleatu Shakor, another leader in Minmatar society, decided that the time was ripe for the Republic to put its own stamp on the concept of self-governance.

There was just SO MUCH to talk about this with this, sigh.
A closer view of some of the Tribal embassies.

Shakor had a new vision for the Minmatar Republic that restored the supremacy of the Tribes, flinging off the ideals of its older sibling, the Gallente. Rather than being led by an elected Parliament, the Tribal Council, with representatives from each of the Seven Tribes, would meet weekly to decide matters of state in the Great Caravanserai on Matar. Shakor also revived the concept of the Sanmatar to lead the Tribal Council, and soon found himself installed in that position. In the way that all younger siblings eventually must, the Minmatar had finally decided how they themselves wanted to live. They kept the self-governing ways that the Gallente tried to instill, but in a unique way that more fully represented the rich cultural history of the Minmatar.

Kind of overwhelming in some ways, but hopefully I managed
The entire complex orbits the Matari homeworld.

Although the Great Caravanserai on Matar served as the formal meeting place of the Tribal Council, it eventually became apparent that a Council that governed an interstellar republic needed better access to interstellar space, leading the Council to eventually establish the Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai in orbit of Matar. Here, the Council could more quickly gather in times of emergency, while also providing both additional space for the offices and embassies necessary for the burgeoning Republic and the more modern settings necessary for interstellar governance that might seem out of place in the storied and ancient halls of the Great Caravanserai itself.

Needless to say, I was eager to check out the Orbital Caravanserai once construction was complete. As I arrived in the vicinity, I queried Aura to get her take on the station complex:

Also I... think the introductory metaphor works? I couldn't figure out a good hook for today.

The Tribal Council is the collective head of state of the Minmatar Republic. The council is made up of the chiefs of the Seven Tribes of Minmatar and is chaired by the Sanmatar. While each tribe is substantially sovereign unto itself, the Tribal Council in practice wields enormous executive power by the common consent of the tribes. The traditional leadership role of Sanmatar functions as a mediator with no formal vote in the Council, but the holder of this office can be given emergency powers and is typically delegated command of the Republic’s armed forces by the tribes.

PROBLEMS ALL AROUND IS WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY.

The formal meeting place of the Tribal Council is the Great Caravanserai in the Eyniletti Plains of Matar. However, the Tribal Council often meets remotely or at other convenient locations. The “Orbital Caravanserai” was established to provide a meeting place and transit station for chiefs, appointed deputies, and others attending Tribal Council meetings. The Tribal Council’s secure FTL communications are now routed through this fortified location and it readily facilitates remote participation by holopresence. The facility is also used by delegations from Minmatar clans and circles, ambassadors from other empires and states, and corporate executives seeking the ear of the Council.

But either way, with the move completed I am hoping to move back to more regular updating. The backlog is getting a bit long again!
A Thukker Hurricane-class battleship stands guard near the Thukker embassy.

The most striking aspect of the Orbital Caravanserai complex is the main station itself. A classic example of Minmatar architecture, the station that hosts the legislature of the Minmatar Republic still feels as if it is held together by rust, duct tape, and dreams. Of course, like all Minmatar engineering these days, the structures are bound together quite more soundly than that, but despite the relative richness of the Republic these days, they seem to pride themselves on that aesthetic. Between the various docking pathways into the station, the arcology domes connected to the main structure host a dense urban landscape within them, presumably home to the many support staff and bureaucracy necessary for the functioning of the Tribal Council. Somewhat surprisingly, the station also appears to host some heavy industry, with flares and vents very visible on the station superstructure. Unsurprisingly, when I requested docking clearance at the station, I was turned down rather unceremoniously.

v e r t i c a l  s u p r e m a c y
Another view of an embassy.

In an arc around the station, each Tribe has also been granted an embassy. Although structurally the same (and demonstrating the classic Minmatar love of vertical supremacy), each embassy is burnished in the colors of that Tribe, and is guarded by a small task force of that Tribe’s ships. Near the embassy proper also stands a small structure flying the standard of that Tribe. The embassies allow each Tribe to have its own administrative center, where it can be sure of secured channels for deliberations and consultations. In querying each embassy, Aura provides a brief summary of each Tribe (reproduced in the appendix at the end of the entry), but has this to say about each of the embassies itself:

I am pretty sure those stars are going to get subbed in with actual Tribal icons at some point (if they haven't yet! I verified that nothing had been filled in somewhat recently).

This [Tribal] Embassy serves as a facility that is unarguably the territory of the [Tribe] within the Orbital Caravanserai complex. Here the Chief [of that Tribe] takes counsel with elders, advisors, industrialists, and delegations from member clans of the tribe, secure in the knowledge that opportunities for eavesdropping and subtle interference by other parties are severely curtailed.

I feel like I've been mocking the Gallente a LOT lately but honestly we just make it so easy.
A Tribal standard.

I remain vaguely uncomfortable with the cultural imperialism so endemic to the Federation. We have a bad habit of assuming that, despite the vast diversity in human history and experience, ultimately everything is one size fits all, and that the Gallente way of doing things is the best for everyone. But that viewpoint has caused the Federation any number of problems in the past, most notably in the Caldari secession, but also with respect to the Minmatar. We assumed our system would work, without giving any consideration to the history and values of the people we helped to free. Sure, the Republic declared independence from the Amarr and those that enslaved its people in the past (and continue to do so). But it took another 2 centuries for it to declare independence from those that helped the Republic achieve that independence. In its own way, that takes just as much courage.

But it’s a courage that little siblings across the cluster are more than familiar with.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai
  • System: Pator
  • Security Rating: 1.0
  • Region: Heimatar
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

Appendix (Tribal descriptions):

Sebiestor

With a culture emphasizing the virtues of patience, contemplation, and practical skill, the Sebiestor are known far and wide as engineers and inventors. The Sebiestor reputation for tinkering with any kind of technology is well deserved, and this excellence in engineering naturally propelled the Sebiestor to the fore during the period when the old Minmatar Empire pushed into space. During the Amarr occupation, the Sebiestor did much to hold what remained of Minmatar society together with their skill at maintaining or adapting technology. The Sebiestor Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.

Krusual

Pride is a common Minmatar trait, but the Krusual are wont to take it to extraordinary lengths. They rarely lose an opportunity to remind the other tribes that they alone managed to maintain strongholds in the mountainous Tronhadar region of Matar during the Amarr occupation. It is certainly remarkable that in all the long years of the occupation, the Amarr were unable to once and for all crush Krusual resistance. Their ability to hold onto a certain amount of independence during the occupation resulted in the Krusual retaining more of their pre-conquest culture than any other tribe, and their underground bases played an important role in sheltering some Vherokior mystics. The Krusual Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.

Brutor

The Brutor are marked by a disciplined stoicism and deeply spiritual cast of mind that combine to project a sense of nobility around the people of this tribe. While the Brutor have a traditional mindset, they suffered great loss of cultural heritage and knowledge of their history during the Amarr occupation. To the occasional annoyance of the other tribes, the Brutor consider themselves responsible for the freedom of the entire Minmatar people and make no bones about standing on this claim for political purposes when it suits them. In particular, the Brutor are great supporters and protectors of the Starkmanir Tribe, on account of the former originating as an offshoot of the latter. The Brutor Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.

Vherokior

Vherokior are disinclined to engage in great collective efforts, and their various clans are rather loosely grouped under the tribal chief’s authority. Indeed, the clans themselves hold nominal authority in many cases, with the family being by far the most important social unit to the individual Vherokior. These families are traditionally matriarchal in structure, though the aftermath of the Amarrian occupation has disrupted this pattern somewhat, as with so many other aspects of Minmatar tribal culture. Most Vherokior have long-abandoned the ancient nomadism of their tribe but the Vherokior mystics are the guardians of the Voluval Ritual and travel immense distances in this role. The Vherokior Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.

Nefantar

The Nefantar Tribe played a notorious role during the Amarr Empire’s occupation of the Minmatar home worlds as collaborators who actively assisted in the enslavement of other tribes by the Amarr. When the Great Rebellion succeeded in driving the Amarr from the Minmatar Regions, the Amarr subsequently set up the Nefantar in a puppet state called the Ammatar Mandate. Unbeknownst to anyone else, certain Ammatar elites had hidden a large number of Starkmanir survivors from the Amarr within the Mandate. After the discovery of the Starkmanir led to a Minmatar invasion in YC110, the Nefantar conspirators and their families led a mass defection back to the Minmatar Republic, assisting in the recovery of the Starkmanir. Today, the Nefantar tribe has been restored as one of the Seven Tribes of Matar.

Thukker

According to what remains of the historical records of the Minmatar, the Thukker tribe had always been a nomadic people, journeying back and forth across Matar in large caravans. The development of the old Minmatar Empire appears to have done little to inhibit the wandering of the Thukker. Indeed, the Great Caravanserai itself was constructed by the Thukker long ago to serve as a major junction in their network of routes and caravanserais. The Amarr found the Thukker intractable and many escaped to remote areas of space, forming the nucleus of the later culture of Great Caravans. The Thukker were notable fighters in the Great Rebellion but declined to join in the founding of the Republic. The wanderering Thukker Tribe officially joined the Republic in YC111, maintaining full autonomy of their Great Wildlands region but once more uniting the Minmatar as seven tribes.

Starkmanir

Subjected to an Amarr campaign of annihilation, the Starkmanir Tribe was considered lost for centuries until the discovery in YC110 of a viable surviving population hidden by Nefantar elites on Halturzhan, the sixth planet of Jarizza in the Ammatar Mandate. The discovery spurred a Minmatar fleet into an invasion of Amarr territories with a view to recovering the Starkmanir and as many other enslaved Minmatar as possible. The vast majority of surviving Starkmanir were successfully recovered, evacuated to the Minmatar Republic, and settled on lands set aside for them by the larger tribes. The Starkmanir tribe is also notable for being the mother tribe of two splinter clans that went on to become major tribes in their own right: the Brutor and the Vherokior. This Starkmanir Tribal Embassy serves as a facility that is unarguably the territory of the Starkmanir within the Orbital Caravanserai complex. Here the Chief takes counsel with elders, advisors, scholars, and delegations from clans of the tribe, secure in the knowledge that opportunities for eavesdropping and subtle interference by other parties are severely curtailed


A History of War

Sorry, sorry, I know, it's been ages.
The oddly terrestrial-seeming History of War monument.

I have never hidden the fact that I am not exactly an expert on the history of null-security space. Oh, sure, I could string a coherent overall storyline together with a few commonly known corporations, alliances, and CEOs and, and it might even be close to being historically accurate, but for whatever reason, null sec space has never grabbed my interest as much as other areas of New Eden’s history. And I’m okay with that. There are others out there far more adept than I at threading that particular tapestry of stories together. Mostly, this is fine. My interests tend to run in a particular direction, if you, as my readers, haven’t noticed, and there is enough history in New Eden for everyone to enjoy their own particular specializations.

RL got away from me this summer and it was not fun?
The glowing red of the monument’s interior is more apparent in this backlit image.

But every now and then, my somewhat determined-avoidance of the intricacies of null sec history leave me puzzled. For example, as I was making my way to M2-XFE to examine the monument recently constructed there, I came across something that was unexpected. It was only a bit of luck that I saw it at all, frankly. I’m not entirely a stranger to null security space and the dangers it can bring, meaning that when I fly through null security space for whatever reason, I tend to be paying far closer attention to other capsuleers that may be nearby than I am to other constructs that I might normally be on the lookout for. But, thankfully, something prompted me to be paying more attention to non-capsuleer related matters than I normally would in null-sec when I jumped into the system of C-J6MT. C-J6MT is a system a few jumps into Insmother, not too far from the region’s borders with Etherium Reach and Scalding Pass. My rather barebones knowledge of New Eden history gave me no reason to be familiar with that system, but that changed in a moment.

But also I am now like 8 or 9 monuments behind WHOOPS
An isometric view of the structure displays the unique fins and columns of the design.

Just as Scientia entered warp from the 78-0R6 gate, I noticed something unexpected on Scientia’s sensors. In fact, thanks to the warp jump, it was off of my sensors almost as soon as I realized there was something there at all. Unfortunately, once the warp tunnel forms there’s really no stopping it, so I was forced to warp all of the way to the next gate on my route before I could quickly turn around, recloak, and jump back to the 78-0R6 gate just to see what I had even missed. As I warped back to the site, I found myself wondering just what had happened in this system to warrant any kind of memorial at all. Unfortunately, my questions would not be answered as quickly as I would normally hope.

I can't promise I won't disappear again, though. I move in about 2 weeks, eeep.
A side profile of the monument. In the background, a nebula.

I dropped out of warp to find myself face to face with an odd, red-hued stone monument a few hundred kilometers off of the 78-0R6 gate. Standing tens of kilometers from top to bottom, the monument seemed hewn from volcanic rock (similar in effect, in fact, to the rock that makes up the Fallen Capsuleer Memorial in Molea, though a bit lighter in tone), an effect bolstered by the seemingly magmatic red pulsing from the interior of the monument. In letters about as tall as Professor Science, the monument simply read “C-J6MT”. Various fins and other protuberances could be found protruding from the monument. Aura’s analysis of the monument immediately identified it as a monument entitled “A History of War”. Unfortunately, it seems that the builders of the monument had a bit of a sense of irony, as pinging the monument for information provided no such history at all:

(moving sucks)

Monument honoring the notorious sieges and violent battles in C-J6MT and all those involved or impacted by these events.

That… was not exactly helpful. I’ve become spoiled by many of the more recent monuments that have been constructed in the cluster and their attempts at giving a fuller context for those monuments. With this sentence, I was still very much in the dark as to what significance C-J6MT has in the tapestry of New Eden’s history.

But it is what it is. And this is better than nothing!
Note the weathering on the monument’s facade. In the distance, the red glow of the gate to 78-0R6 can be seen.

Thankfully, a brief search of GalNet and other sources of information sated my curiosity. It seems that the importance of C-J6MT dates all the way back to YC108, where the Red Alliance made a successful last stand. Red Alliance had been one of the early powerhouses in null-security space, quickly gaining prominence after CONCORD authorized independent capsuleers in YC105 and gaining control over large swaths of null-sec. But with its prominence came quite a few enemies, and a so-called Coalition of the South quickly rose in opposition. Overextended, Red Alliance found that it could not defend the space it had claimed. Although able to survive through guerilla tactics, Red Alliance decided it needed a real victory. After looking at its options, it decided to turn the tide in the system of (as you may have guessed) C-J6MT. The Alliance quickly established that system as its last beachhead. And when the Coalition of the South finally caught up to Red Alliance, outnumbering Red Alliance by over 4 to 1… Red Alliance held. It pushed off the invasion, and lived to see another day.

(Also, CCPlz flesh out the show info text here a bit. I was so confused by this at first)
The monument can be seen as a tiny silhouette against the star in this farther out shot.

Since then, C-J6MT has held a special place in the heart of Red Alliance and the various splinters sects of that group. Other battles have been fought there, but it’s that original siege, where Red Alliance held its own for 3 days against a better-armed enemy, that makes the system special to begin with. Defending a system against all odds forges a special, nearly spiritual connection with the system, and makes you far more willing to defend it in the future, no matter the cost.

As I was leaving, I chastised myself for being so unfamiliar with the system. I had read the story of this siege before, but did not connect the system involved in that mighty last stand with the peaceful, quiet system I found myself in that day. Perhaps it was time to give my histories of the null sec empires another read…

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: A History of War
  • System: C-J6MT
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Insmother
  • Potential Hazards: C-J6MT is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol.  Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to empire space, as well as on other gates.  Caution is advised.

Massacres at M2-XFE Monument

The art team YET AGAIN knocks it out of the park.
The graceful curves of the monument in M2-XFE.

I think I’ve mentioned before that for as much as I love the politics—and political theater—surrounding the major empires and CONCORD, I often pay surprisingly little attention to empires of the capsuleer world. Those giants of null sec, with their ever-swirling array of alliances, coalitions, wars, and backstabs is often the source of much fascination across the cluster. Pilots may be allies one day but fighting savagely the next after some sudden but inevitable betrayal. The constant internecine warfare, needed as much to keep pilots engaged in their respective alliances as it is for more pragmatic astropolitical reasons, can be exhausting to keep track of.

I am pretty sure I'm going to have more pictures than I have text for, even with the GINORMOUS quoted text  block that starts in a sec.
A closer look at the monument.

And yet even I have become aware of the latest in a long-running series of wars that has engulfed null security space. This is partially due to the excellent reporting from a fellow capsuleer I have long followed, but also partially because whenever the null security alliances break some record for the largest battle in New Eden, they seem determined to break the new record again as soon as possible. And so it was with the current war, which, to cut a very long story short, involves the ever-embroiled Imperium (née Goonswarm Coalition) and a coalition of other alliances variously called PAPI or PandaFam. The war, now entering its second year, seems to have stalemated somewhat in the current climate. But when the war was a little more active, a number of high-stakes battles took place in M2-XFE. By the time of the final battle in the system early in YC123, more than 20,000 capsuleer-piloted vessels had been destroyed, including more than 450 titans.

The Powers That Be felt that the astrostrategic battles that took place in M2-XFE, including the largest battle in New Eden to date (a record I can’t imagine will last too long, if recent recordbreakers are any indiciation), warranted a memorial to the lives and ships lost in the system, and goodness did the sculptors hired by the PTB come through (as they usually do). But first, Aura’s analysis of the battle, which does a far better job of describing the battles themselves than I ever could:

I write for a living and I DESPERATELY want to take a red pen to this entire writeup, lol

This monument honors the thousands of capsuleers that participated in the series of cataclysmic battles over a Keepstar-class Citadel in late YC122 and early YC123. At the time these battles represented the largest and bloodiest clashes in the history of New Eden.

In YC122, the southern and western nullsec regions of New Eden were shaken by the massive conflict between the capsuleer coalitions popularly known as “The Imperium” and “PAPI”. By the end of YC122 the primary front of the war was the Delve region, with PAPI coalition forces invading the capital region of the Imperium. In October of that year clashes over an attempted PAPI beachhead in FWST-8 broke the record for the largest battle in New Eden history, a record that was destined to be broken again less than 3 months later.

So many missing commas smh

By the end of December the fighting in Delve was focused on the system of M2-XFE, where an Imperium Keepstar came under sustained attack from PAPI forces. The first massive clash occurred over the Keepstar’s armor timer on December 30th and 31st YC122 with a combined 5,158 pilots fighting in the system at its peak. Supercapital fleets from both sides traded blows relatively evenly as ships exploded all around the Citadel. When the dust settled from this first battle, 3,404 capsuleers ships including 257 titans and a combined value of over 29 trillion ISK had been destroyed.

On the other hand, I would not be in ANY position to give ANY kind of history like this so, hooray!

The second battle of M2-XFE a few days later saw even more capsuleers attempt to join the fray, leading to an infamous result. On January 3rd YC123 a record 6,739 pilots entered the system, and several thousand more attempted to join the fighting. This unprecedented number of warp-capable starships in close proximity led to unpredictable spacetime anomalies as the universe itself seemed to strain under the stress of the battle. The anomalies played havoc on all ship systems within M2[-XFE], but the defending forces of the Imperium coalition were in a better position to weather the storm as they had arrived on location earlier than the PAPI fleets and therefore they did not need to make use of jump drives and stargates during the period of greatest disruption. The result of this second battle was a significant victory for the defending forces, as the attackers faced significant disruption to the operation of their jump drives into the crowded system. Many attacking ships were destroyed as they entered the system, and many more were trapped in the system by the forces of the Imperium. The Keepstar had been saved for a time.

In case you forgot where you were, I guess.

In the weeks following the second battle of M2-XFE, Imperium fleets anchored mobile warp disruptors and patrolled relentlessly to keep as many PAPI supercapitals as possible trapped in the system as fighting raged on across the Delve region, taking advantage of the strategic advantage provided by the trapping of so many hostile vessels. Several smaller clashes occurred over operations to rescue some of the trapped supercapital vessels, and the coalitions also continued to fight over other structures in the system. On January 27th YC123, PAPI were able to free a portion of their trapped pilots after a battle that saw nearly 450 Capitals and 6 Titans[sic]-class hulls destroyed. On February 1st YC123, PAPI forces were victorious in a battle that stretched across the NJU-QV constellation and involved thousands of capsuleers, giving them control of M2-XFE’s Infrastructure Hub. PAPI then began to slowly lay the groundwork to activate their own Tenebrex Cyno Jammer structure which would give them the ability to disrupt Imperium reinforcements to the system. On March 7th YC123 the PAPI Cyno Jammer structure came online and the Imperium retreated the bulk of their forces from the system, freeing the remaining trapped PAPI capital ships. Finally on March 12th YC123 the M2-XFE Keepstar that had been the original focal point of all this bloodshed was destroyed by PAPI forces.

This was another monument that I literally gasped at when I first dropped out of warp. The art team is FAR too good at doing that to me, lol

All in all, the fighting within M2-XFE in late YC122 and early YC123 led to the destruction of more than 20,000 capsuleer vessels including over 450 titan-class starships. The first battle of M2-XFE broke the New Eden record for the most value destroyed in a single battle, and the second battle broke FWST-8’s record for the battle with the most capsuleer ships within a system at one time. The Keepstar was eventually destroyed after over two months of brutal fighting, and the forces of the Imperium regrouped at their nearby capital system of 1DQ1-A. At the time that this monument was erected, the greater war between PAPI and the Imperium was raging on and only time would tell how the conflict would eventually be resolved.

Phew.

Is this even an Eve Travel post if I don't have the sun peeking through in 1 shot?
The local sun pokes through the towers.

The monument itself is absolutely stunning. The entire structure is built using an obsidian-esque shiny black stone. The central complex consists of a series of sweeping, interlocking towers that span from the central axis along a graceful curve. The center of the structure reminds me of an organ from some grand, obsidian cathedral. A blue glow pulses its way from the center of the structure out to its extremities. As those towers gradually grow shorter, new, flatter structures jut out from the extremities, eventually coming to sharp points at each end. If the center of the structure is some grand organ playing a baleful tune, then the outer edges of the structure is a majestic bird of prey, with powerful wings outstretched and ready to strike.

I'm speaking truths here. I'm terrible at artistic intent, lol
A close look at the churning orb of energy.

At the center of the entire complex sits what at first glance seems to be a crackling sphere of blue energy. It’s only when viewed from the sides that it becomes evident that the energy field is actually teardrop shaped, with the point connecting to the rest of the structure. Within the teardrop is a constantly churning globe of lights. I suspect this is meant to symbolize the spacetime-shattering energies unleashed during these battles, or perhaps the sphere contains just a sliver of the rifts that opened up in M2-XFE during the battle that caused the pilots so many problems. Or perhaps the artists just thought it looked cool. I’ve never been fantastic at figuring out the intent of an artist.

I *really* love this pic as an ending pic. (Also, this paragraph also tells true stories. Please do not ask me to summarize null sec history I will fail miserably)
The monument seems to stand as a sentinel against the local sun.

I spent quite some time admiring the monument from all angles. The graceful curves and the spectacular majesty of the site is truly breathtaking. Even if, like me, you didn’t know until fairly recently that there was a fairly significant difference between the abbreviations “NC” and “NCdot” (or, even worse, just “NC.”), I still recommend you come and check the site out for yourself. The capsuleer history of New Eden is worth taking in, even if only for the absolutely magnificent memorials that result from their never-ending feuds. Internecine warfare has rarely looked so good.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Massacres at M2-XFE Monument
  • System: M2-XFE
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Delve
  • Potential Hazards: M2-XFE is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol.  Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to empire space, as well as on other gates.  Caution is advised.


Intaki Syndicate Executive Retreat Center (Cord of the Elements)

Did you want hot, corporate regulation action? Never tell me I don't know what my audience craves.
The Executive Retreat Center and Cord of the Elements.

I sighed as I glared at the rest of the agenda for today’s meeting of shareholders of Project Compass Holdings. Secure Commerce Commission regulations require that each corporation hold a quarterly meeting of shareholders to make sure all owners of the corporation remain up-to-date on the goings on of the corporation. Never mind that: 1) I was the only shareholder and thus the only required participant and attendee of today’s meeting, 2) Project Compass Holdings main purpose these days is that of a legal shield, and the corporation itself held nothing other than the legally required minimal assets since CONCORD shut down my research projects back in YC114, 3) the corporation was not a moneymaking venture, 4) all of the information being presented was available to me at any time anyway through the magic of computers, and 5) did I mention that I was the only shareholder? But the forms must be obeyed, and obeyed they were as Aura obediently took the minutes of this very important shareholders meeting, serving as both the corporate Secretary and Treasurer.

YES, CONCORD, I'M STILL A LITTLE BITTER ABOUT THAT MOVE.
The biodomes and the Cord.

What I need, I thought ruefully to myself, is a corporate retreat. The meeting seemed to stretch interminably as required report after required report was dutifully read into the meeting minutes, and I allowed my mind to wander. My thought on corporate retreats brought to mind a newsblurb I had read recently that the Intaki Syndicate, a side of the Intaki race I was less than proud of if I was being honest, had recently opened an executive conference center deep in Syndicate space and in full view of another of the natural wonders of New Eden, the Cord of the Elements. As Aura explained, in surprising depth, that Project Compass Holdings took in no revenue nor had any notable expenses for the 37th quarter in a row, I dug up the story again on my console, and loaded the system of D-B7YK into Scientia’s computers for route plotting.

Although the meeting only lasted 12 minutes and 43 seconds (per Aura’s fastidious notetaking), I could not wait to get out of the conference room I had rented (using my own ISK, not the corporation’s) and get back into my ship. Within a few minutes, I was en route to Syndicate space to see what I could see. As I did so, I brought up what little Aura could find on the Cord of the Elements:

Scarred but still gorgeous tbh

Winding through the Syndicate region is a natural phenomenon that has baffled scientists for centuries. The phenomenon, a super-dense dark cloud, bends time in such a way that all space-travel in or close to the phenomenon is impossible, or at least extremely hazardous. Most scientists believe that the Cord is the remnant of collision between two black holes millions of years ago that permanently ‘scarred’ space. Others believe the Cord to be the result of a science experiment, possibly conducted by alien life forms, that went seriously awry eons ago.

Pleasure cruiser!
A visitor to the, ah, unique pleasures of the Center.

I soon arrived in D-B7YK and easily found the retreat center on my scanners. The center itself consists of a standard Gallente station design, with an organic-looking design with a gleaming sun-shield and some well-placed biodomes offering dramatic views. In classic Gallente fashion, area surrounding the station was littered with pleasure hubs and pleasure cruisers. I chuckled to myself as I thought of holding my bone-dry legally required shareholders meeting in such a location. It certainly may make it seem shorter, at least. The pleasure hubs, 8 in all, formed a line pointing towards nearby D-B7YK VII, an icy planet that hung in the near distance. Finally, I bothered to look up what Aura, continuing in her role as corporate Secretary, had to say on the center:

This luxurious retreat center has been constructed in one of the rare locations where a gap in the natural clouds of stellar dust allow a clear view of the gorgeous Cord of the Elements phenomena that separates the Syndicate region from the territory of the Gallente Federation.

Operated by the Intaki Syndicate, these facilities are exclusively made available to the Syndicate station governors, their executive leadership staff, and their guests.

I know the station graphics don't really hold up well with these kinds of shots (I'm far too close), but I still love these type of shots anyway??
A view from inside one of the biodomes.

Of course, the real star of the show, so to speak, was the Cord itself. From D-B7YK, the Cord stretched across a quarter of the sky, immediately drawing one’s eye even above the local star. The Cord presents itself as a vast, flattened spheroid cloud of dark gas and dust. As promised by Aura above, the cloud breaks apart slightly to allow a view towards the center of the Cord, from which a bright yellow glow emanates along with a streamer of material.

It’s hard to do justice to the Cord using just words. It’s a magnificent sight. Despite the distance, watching the Cord for just a few minutes is enough to show the fascinating interplay of light and shadow between the dark clouds surrounding the Cord and the glowing center itself. Crepuscular rays stretch across the sky, a thought that boggles the mind once you realize that these shadows stretch over light-years. It’s truly spectacular.

I sometimes wish we were allowed to dock at these things tbh.
Scientia was refused docking clearance.

I will admit that I hailed the station about the prospect of holding my next shareholders meeting at the center. Even ignoring the pleasure hubs, the thought of holding the same boring meeting in one of the biodomes in full sight of the Cord was an image I found hard to resist. But, alas, even appealing to my Intaki ancestry was insufficient to get me access to the corporate retreat center without some direct relationship to the Syndicate or an invitation from one of the Syndicate’s executives. Still, I captured enough imagery of the Cord that perhaps I could spruce up future shareholder meetings with some holograms. At least then I’d have something to look at other than yet another report of a quarter with no earnings whatsoever.

Long live SCC regulations, I suppose, but more importantly: long live the Cord of the Elements.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Intaki Syndicate Executive Retreat Center (and Cord of the Elements)
  • System: D-B7YK
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Syndicate
  • Potential Hazards: D-B7YK is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol.  Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to empire space, as well as on other gates.  Caution is advised.

True Creations Pool of Radiance Research Lab

HAS IT REALLY BEEN A DECADE SINCE INCURSIONS. HAS IT SOMEHOW BEEN THAT LONG.
The research lab facilities in the foreground, with the Pool of Radiance shining beyond.

Remember the Sansha? Creepy group of mind-controlled cyborg zombies led by a deluded cult leader who has the distinction of being the only person that the 4 empires have ever unified around destroying? Caused a lot of problems a decade or so ago by figuring out how to invade into the heart of high security space and make off with millions of people who were later forcibly converted into the aforementioned cyborg zombies?

Despite the high-profile nature of their attacks over a decade ago, the Sansha have mostly fallen out of the public conscience. Not that I can blame the public for that, of course. Between the Sleepers, the Drifters, the Triglavians, and the recent resurgence of the Equilibrium of Mankind back onto the galactic scene, the denizens of New Eden could be excused for feeling like they need a spreadsheet to keep track of everyone and everything they’re supposed to be afraid of these days, particularly those that have not really made a peep in more recent years.

Because what we really need more of in eve is spreadsheets
A view of the research lab looking towards the 13th moon of the fourth planet of 6QBH-S.

To be quite clear, that is not to mean that the Sansha have not been keeping themselves busy. Indeed, their assaults on New Eden continue to this day, even if I am caught by a sense “oh yeah, those guys are still around” every time I jump into a system to find that now-familiar warning from CONCORD about yet another constellation currently undergoing a Sansha incursion, along with the creepy green hue that Aura has seen fit to add to systems under threat. But I was surprised to learn recently that Sansha have interests that go beyond converting the citizens of New Eden into zombies to bring their dream of a cyborg utopia, or whatever dream it was that Sansha Kuvakei professed (or at least that their interests extend to things that may only tangentially lead to such an outcome).

So... pointy.
A closer view of the research lab.

For you see, if you have ever needed proof that the universe is deeply unfair, you only need look to the fact that one of the natural wonders of New Eden is located smack dab in the middle of Sansha-controlled space. Although Stain is best well known for the Vapor Sea nebula (and the fact that it’s the home of Sansha’s Nation… a true stain on any map of New Eden), it’s also home to the Pool of Radiance. Stain curls around the Pool, with only the very northern part of it encompassed by a handful of systems in Catch. But, of course, the best views come from deep within Stain itself, the heart of Sansha territory, specifically the system 6QBH-S. If you ask me, the risk is worth it. Of the Pools of Radiance, Aura has this to say:

Space holds many spectacular sights and few are as spectacular as the crystal-clouds in the Pool of Radiance. The Pool is illuminated by surrounding stars, which makes it shimmer and shine in every color imaginable, radiating an almost hypnotic glow that delights anyone that sees it. The only problem is that the Pool is located in space controlled by Sansha’s Nation, so any prospective visitors are advised to carry an armed escort.

SHINING, SHIMMERING, SPLENDID.
One of the outer satellite stations.

The Pool is indeed hypnotic, a shimmering whirlpool far grander than any you could see elsewhere in the Cluster. The heart of the whirlpool shines a bright purple-pink much of the time, but the Pool swirls around so much that the center is frequently obscured by one of the many-hued gas clouds that surround it, letting some of the other colors of the Pool dominate a bit better, for a time. The view is indeed hypnotic, as the ever-shifting clouds of the Pool seem to always reveal some new hidden feature.

Perhaps it’s that hypnotic ability of the Pool that the Sansha seek to study with the establishment of the True Creations Pool of Radiance Research Lab. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Aura doesn’t have many details to share:

What are crystal-clouds tho

This Sansha’s Nation facility appears to have been constructed within the 6QBH-S system in order to study the spectacular crystal-clouds of the nearby Pool of Radiance phenomena.

The Nation jealously guards its secrets, and intruders to this location have been known to come under fire from True Creations forces immediately.

OK a lot of these photos ended up looking very similar, so shoot me
Note how the Pool’s appearance varies in every shot.

Not wanting to risk that fire, I visited 6QBH-S in my cloakable Tengu-class cruiser, Scientia. Hidden under my cloaking device, I was able to get a good look at both the Pool itself and the research lab studying it. True to Sansha form, the most that can really be said about the Lab is that it is… pointy. A standard Sansha station, the lab appears to present a shield to the Pool (a shield that, in actuality, I imagine is chock full of scientific instruments and, of course, many cyborg zombies) and is topped with what almost appears to be a crown. The central lab is surrounded by 4 smaller stations, presumably there either for defense or full of additional instrumentation. I didn’t decloak to find out.

(no please don't shoot me)
The barely visible outline of my cloaked ship

All told, it was fitting to once again see Sansha’s Nation overshadowed by the Exciting New Thing. If not for the fact that they were capturing and enslaving millions through cybernetic-induced bondage, one might be willing to compliment them for not letting the loss of the spotlight get in the way of their mission. That kind of plodding reliability, like a shuttle that is not the fastest one out there but never seems to need a stop at the mechanic, has a certain admiration to it. I have no doubt that, someday, there will be a resurgence for the Sansha too. And I hope that when the Cluster’s attention is once again drawn down to Sansha’s Nation in Stain, we wipe them out, if only so more people can get to safely enjoy the Pool of Radiance.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: True Creations Pool of Radiance Reseach Lab
  • System: 6QBH-S
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Stain
  • Potential Hazards: 6QBH-Sis deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol.  Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to empire space, as well as on other gates.  Caution is advised. Additionally, the site’s description ingame warns of near-immediate fire if you come to investigate, but I will admit that I did not test that personally.

Duvolle Gravitational Wave Observatory (Trace Cosmos)

Seriously, look at that gorgeous skybox!
The Gravitational Wave Observatory, with the stunning Trace Cosmos in the background.

Solitude is solitary no more. Solitude had always lived up to its name by being an exclave of the Federation. Rather than connecting directly to the rest of Gallente space, the region was only accessible through the low security Amarr regions of Aridia and Genesis or through a trek through Intake Syndicate-controlled null security space (unless, of course, you were lucky enough to find a wormhole connection, though that raises its own host of problems). It was an odd situation for a sizeable chunk of Gallente citizens, and one that newly-elected President Celes Aguard had promised to rectify during her successful election campaign. She followed through with that campaign promise with this week’s opening of a stargate between Solitude’s Eggheron and the system of Kenninck in Placid. Although the region is still only accessible by traveling through low security space, it no longer stands completely isolated from the rest of the Federation.

Blast from the past with that Postouvin shoutout tbh
A better look at the research complex.

And that means it’s easier than ever to go take a look at one of the lesser-known wonders of New Eden, the Trace Cosmos. The Trace Cosmos is a vast interstellar wasteland that fills the gap between Solitude’s settled stars, Aridia, and the capsuleer-controlled region of Fountain. Despite its location between 3 well-travelled regions of space, there’s only one system close enough to the wastelands to allow visual observation of the field without specialized equipment: the Solitude system of Gererique. At the tail end of a short pipeline from the bulk of the high security systems in Solitude (which includes the system of Postouvin, which readers may recall as the site of the Kyonoke Outbreak in YC 119), Gererique sits on the very edge of the Trace Cosmos. And it’s just as well that it’s not any closer to the Trace Cosmos, as Aura explains:

So puuuuuuurdy

The fields of Trace Cosmos hold miniscule black holes and weird spatial rifts, making it much too dangerous to traverse. It is widely believed that the fields are the remnants of a massive collision between two galaxies millions of years ago. The colossal occurrence permanently altered the areas most affected, turning them into barren death traps.

Sorry to get my Science on, I guess?
The Observatory orbits Gererique I.

Barren and full of death they may be, the Trace Cosmos are also absolutely gorgeous. From the safety of Gererique, the fields dominate the sky, glowing a vibrant purple hue. Along with the countless smaller black holes that make up the field, there are perhaps a dozen or so that are large enough or close enough to have an accretion disk and relativistic jets visible from the system. At first glance, it may seem paradoxical that something that is most well known for having so much gravity that even light can’t escape could be so bright against the blackness of space. But having that much mass in such a small area has the effect of drawing in the interstellar gas and other matter near the black hole and, in doing so, accelerating them to incredible speeds. Before the matter is swallowed up by the black hole, the gas begins to collide with other matter being pulled into the maw of the black hole, and because everything is travelling at such high speeds, the friction alone is enough to make the accretion disk shine like a sun, glowing not just in visible light but ultraviolet and even x-ray, and because the disk is beyond the event horizon (the so-called point of no return), the energy can escape the black hole’s clutches to ionize the more distant gas in the field, giving the Trace Cosmos its iconic violet glow.

I'm trying not to make all of my shots center around the Trace Cosmos I PROMISE.
Part of the research complex.

With so many black holes in such a compact area of space, it’s unsurprising that the Trace Cosmos is an area ripe for scientific research. The research giant Duvolle Laboratories has taken advantage of Gererique’s unique location to construct the Duvolle Gravitational Wave Observatory near the first planet in the system. Gravitational waves, ripples in the very fabric of space-time itself, are most easily detected when bodies with incredibly high gravities interact with each other, so it’s unsurprising that the Trace Cosmos, with its multitude of black holes, is a fertile hunting ground for the elusive waves. Although the Labs are best known for their biotech and propulsion systems, they have a sprawling research portfolio, and its clear that they have invested significant funds into developing the Observatory here. Aura has this to say when asked about the Observatory:

Would really love to know what these rings are tbh

This Duvolle Laboratories corporate research facility was established in the Gererique system to take advantage of close proximity to the field of miniscule black holes and weird spatial rifts known as “Trace Cosmos”. Gererique has the notable distinction of being the only inhabited system that comes close enough to sections of Trace Cosmos to make the phenomena visible to the naked eye.

The results of research conducted at this observatory are considered closely guarded trade secrets of Duvolle Laboratories.

I think this was the last flight of Scientia before the nullifier changes. Still pretty bitter about those changes tbh, but at least it nudged me to take these shots before they kicked in.
Scientia navigates one of the station’s exit lanes.

Closely guarded as the results of the research may be, Duvolle does not appear to mind you coming to take a look at the equipment used. The main research center is a station of Gallente design, with a distinctive sun-shield on one side and various jutting arms that I presume are filled with all manner of scientific equipment. But the observatory itself, I presume, is found a few kilometers from the station. There, surrounded by constantly moving antennae pointing every which way, sits a large stack of rings that are strongly reminiscent of some other research facilities that I once studied in Drifter Hive systems. A soft blue glow emanates from within the rings that stands out all the more because of the vibrant violet hues of the Trace Cosmos. I could not possibly begin to describe the functions of the rings, but they certainly look impressive enough from my layperson’s perspective.

I like the purple reflection you can see here.
Looking onto the stars of the Federation to which Solitude now connect.

As much as I tried to pay attention to the Observatory itself, however, I found my eyes drawn repeatedly back to the stunning views of the Trace Cosmos. The ever-shifting dance of black holes is easily apparent even from this distance, and the streaking jets and swirling accretion disks were almost hypnotic to watch. I found myself glad that Gererique is now at least somewhat easier to access from the rest of the Federation. More citizens deserved to behold this breathtaking view and to watch the hypnotic remains of a titanic collision that occurred before humans had even evolved. Solitude is indeed solitary no more and, though the introverts among us may disagree, at least in terms of having access to the views of the Trace Cosmos, that is very much a good thing.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Duvolle Gravitational Wave Observatory and Trace Cosmos
  • System: Gererique
  • Security Rating: 0.7
  • Region: Solitude
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen. Additionally, although the system is high security space, please note that this is a high sec pocket and is ONLY accessible through either null security space, a few low security routes, or a fortuitous wormhole connection.


Old Man Darieux’s Stargate

For the record, Professor Science's 3992c top speed equals warp 9.969 on the Star Trek TNG warp scale, making it faster than the Enterprise-D (warp 9.6) but slightly slower than Voyager (warp 9.975)
The haphazard assemblage of the gate between Old Man Star and Villore.

As the cliché goes, space is vast. Frankly, its easy to forget that these days. It takes light more than a century to cross the expanse of New Eden, something that I can do in a little over an hour with Professor Science, assuming no gate camps or other ne’er-do-wells. What makes this possible, of course, isn’t our Sotiyo-Urbaata drives (more colloquially known as the warp drive). Professor Science’s warp drive tops out at a hair under 4,000 times the speed of light. Even at that jaw-dropping speed, it would take me more than 9 days to travel the roughly 100 light-year diameter of New Eden, and that’s before we even begin to take into account needing to drop out of warp every few hundred AU’s to recharge the capacitor. That kind of travel time across the Cluster would give a very different feel to the geopolitics of New Eden.

Bless you Wolfram Alpha for knowing exactly what inane FTL speed translations I was looking for lol
A closer look at the cables holding the gate in alignment.

No, what makes New Eden’s 100 light-years feel so small is the presence of stargates, a revolutionary device that can fling you a dozen light-years in the span of a few seconds using a stabilized wormhole. Even having to travel “slowly” (I say, flying my spaceship capable of flying thousands of times the speed of light) between gates, the ability of the gates to bring travel time between systems down to mere seconds is what makes New Eden feel, at times, so claustrophobic. Throw in jumpdrives and you get ability for force projection almost anywhere in the cluster at almost any scale within only a few minutes of getting the ships launched. And thus we have the posturing frequently seen between both null sec alliances and the modern empires.

After the battle of Vak'Atioth, this was the site I was most excited for when I heard the announcement of the sites being dropped.
A view of the gate-builder ship partially cannibalized to complete construction of the gate.

What’s key to remember about stargates, however, is that, aside for a few ancient stargates that allowed the modern empires of New Eden to reverse engineer the technology, the gates had to come from somewhere. If an empire is looking to expand to a system not already connected to the gate network, a construction ship needs to get to that new system in order to build the companion stargate. Because of quirks of how the warp drive navigates at FTL speeds, using the warp drive between systems generally isn’t (to my continual surprise) as reliable as some may assume, sometimes leaving as the only real option something that almost any capsuleer dreads to hear: slowboating, or traveling at sublight speeds to get to a destination. If reduced to that, it can sometimes take years to get a construction ship to the new system and then to get the gate built.

Also wordpress is being real weird today and not letting me see the captions, so if I have typo there, sorry (but also: I know I have typos everywhere so I guess also... not sorry?)
A closer view of the gate and the surrounding infrastructure.

If space travel has taught us anything, if something can go wrong, it eventually will, regardless of the precautions you take. And so it was with the ill-fated expedition to build a stargate from the Gallente capital system of Villore to the system of Ouperia, leading to an event now indelibly linked to the gestalt of New Eden. But if space travel has taught us, say, two things, it’s that even in the midst of disaster, humanity has a weird way of… persevering. Because rather than let disaster stand in his way, the sole survivor of a massive disaster not only survived, but completed his mission, if only a few decades too late. And it’s his perseverance that today allows nearly instantaneous travel between Villore and the system known today as Old Man Star. But let’s let Aura tell the tale:

I really love how desolate this shot seems.

Old Man Star to Villore

A unique stargate constructed by Ceul ‘Old Man’ Darieux using a fleet of drones of his own design, following a disastrous navigation accident that left him as the sole survivor of a Federation gate-building expedition.

In YC11, a Gallente gate-builder vessel was sent to construct a link between the then Ouperia system and Villore. A critical error in the gate-builder ship’s jump drive navigation systems placed the ship several light years off course, in the middle of an asteroid cluster. In the confused aftermath, an asteroid struck the vessel and killed four of the five crew. Ceul Darieux was left with the daunting task of regaining control of the ship and somehow completing his mission or returning home.

The story of OMS is probably one of the most well-known chronicles, even to non-lore nerds

Given the relative distances, Darieux decided to press on to Ouperia, though without the benefit of a functional jump drive the journey would take decades. In YC55, the gate-builder ship arrived in system and the work of building a new gate back to Villore could begin. The effort to correct the ship’s flight path had been difficult but hardly took four decades. With the time on his hands, Darieux, knowing he would need help, had worked to design tools and drones to replace the materiel and crew lost in the accident.

I also appreciate that the ship is very clearly of gallente design lol

Setting up a drone assembly station on a conveniently located asteroid in Ourperia, Ceul Darieux managed to use a combination of intact gate components, drone-built replacements and cannibalized elements of the ship’s systems to construct a functional stargate back to Villore. The labor he and his drones carried out took five years but was a remarkable success given the disaster and long decades of Darieux’s solitude.

In YC60, the Federation was astounded when the dormant Villore-Ouperia gate activated and established a stabilized gate wormhole to the abandoned Ouperia system. The stripped-down and patched-up core of the gate-builder ship carried the now elderly Darieux and some of his drone crew back to Villore to a hero’s welcome. Old Man Darieux went on to found the CreoDron corporation on the strength of his designs and fame, while the Ouperia system was renamed “Old Man Star” in his honor.

Although much upgraded, the original Old Man Star to Villore gate is still located within the cleared and stabilized cluster of asteroids Darieux used to as a base and source of materials. CreoDron drones continue to watch over the stargate, maintaining its systems and ensuring the stability of the link to Villore.

Oh, also, CSM voting starts Tuesday. If you're reading this, you should go vote!
The bridge of the old gate-builder ship, with computer panels still active.

For a split second after coming out of warp in Old Man Star, you might be forgiven for thinking this is a normal Gallente gate as the soothing Gallente-green glow of the gate is the first thing that becomes apparent. But any level of examination after that initial reaction will show that this is a very different gate indeed. Instead of the graceful, almost organic lines traditionally associated with Gallente architecture, the gate looks much more akin to something of Minmatar make. In lieu of the long and elegant traditional design of a Gallente intraconstellation gate, the gate aperture is instead anchored to one large asteroid and a half dozen smaller ones, all kept in alignment with a series of heavy-duty cables strung across the gate complex. Other small asteroids sit nearby, their positions long-ago stabilized within the gravitational resonance point associated with the gate.

It feels a bit weird writing like this has always been this way when it's a brand new gate model but WHATEVER.
Although upgraded heavily since, the gate’s appearance remains the same as when it was first activated.

In addition to the gate itself, the remains of Darieux’s gate-builder ship remains quite obvious. Although the ship was heavily cannibalized to construct the hodgepodge stargate, the ship is quite recognizable, permanently set down on the largest of the asteroids used to stabilize the gate. Although many of the essential parts of the ship were used to construct the gate, it’s obvious that power still runs throughout the ship, with glowing control panels and sparking wires still quite evident even 60 years later. On close inspection of the ship, you can even find the remains of the bridge from which Darieux supervised his drones in the construction of the gate. It’s also said that you can see the fleets of modern drones that still maintain the gate, although I wasn’t able to observe them myself when I visited.

An Ashimmu tried kinda hard to decloak me while taking pics and I was basically just like NOT TODAY SIR.
A traveler through the gate arrives from Villore.

I think it’s important to have gates like the one in Old Man Star, and stories like Darieux’s. They serve as an important reminder that we should never take the dangers of space travel for granted. The deep dark is always out there, sitting only a few meters away from you at almost any given time, and all that keeps you safe are the alloys and plastics between you and the vacuum. But the gate also serves as a source of inspiration, a true success story in the face of utter catastrophe. Even when things are at their most grim and a person is stranded light-years away from anything they’ve ever known, as long as they’re alive, there’s a chance to succeed. Space may indeed be vast, but not nearly as vast as the source of human perseverance.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Old Man Darieux’s Stargate
  • System: Old Man Star (née Ouperia)
  • Security Rating: 0.3
  • Region: Essence
  • Potential Hazards: Old Man Star is only one jump from high sec space (from Villore, of course), but the low security system itself has long been a popular system for player pirates who will often hang out on or near the gate. If you’re looking to take a close or extended look at the gate, I strongly recommend a cloaked ship, and caution is advised.

Battle of Vak’Atioth

I definitely based this story after my obsession with the Titanic as a kid, lol
The Jove research station looms in the background of Amarr wrecks.

One of the earliest space stories I remember hearing as a child was the great space battle in Vak’Atioth. I remember distinctly hearing about this tory and my mom soon picking up an (age-appropriate) book on the subject for me. Within a few weeks, I could have recited every fact in that book. It would probably be a stretch to say that I’m a capsuleer today because of my fascination with that battle, but it would not be a stretch to say that learning about the battle was the first time I became truly fascinated with something that happened outside of my immediate surroundings on Gallente Prime. It was not just the excitement of how the battle quickly sparked the Minmatar Rebellion. It was the mystery surrounding the Jove ships. How were they able to so completely overwhelm the mighty Amarr Empire? What secrets did their ships hide?

You wound me, CCP. I had been so excited for more!!
A few scraps of metal are all that remain of the Jove frigates lost in the battle.

After becoming a fully licensed capsuleer and gained my space legs, one of my first dips into the world of null-security space was a trip out to the system, now simply called Atioth. I had hoped and dreamed that I would be able to find the battlefield, and take a look for myself at the Jove ships that had so captured my imagination as a child. But I was disappointed to discover that the battlefield could not be found using ship systems. Whether it be the Empire itself trying to hide the site of its most famous defeat, the Jove trying once again to hide the secrets of their vessels, or CONCORD in one of its convoluted schemes meant to protect the Cluster from us capsuleers, the battlefield from the Battle of Vak’Atioth has long been hidden from view. But that has not stopped me from returning every few years in hopes that I had somehow missed something, or that someone had finally made the battlefield more public.

Also, CCP wounds me with the changes to nullifiers. RIP my poor bubble-proofed Scientia :-(
The remnants of an Amarr battlegroup.

You can probably imagine my excitement then when CONCORD announced that the site of that storied battle was finally being made public. As seems to be always the case these days, it seems that the CONCORD announcement was purposefully made at the worst possible time for me to be free to travel to null sec for an extended tour. But as soon as I could free myself from the obligations of my planetside life, I set course back down the now-familiar path to Atioth. In a display of how eager I was to finally see the battlefield I had dreamed about since I was a child, I found myself seriously considering taking the faster Professor Science over Scientia, a slower Tengu-class ship but one far more suited to travel in null security space. Eventually, common sense won out as I undocked in the safer Tengu-class ship, but I silently urged her to pick up the pace as I warped from jumpgate to jumpgate along my route.

And then, quite suddenly, I was there. As Scientia’s scanners resolved the system after the last jump from K-IYNW, the beacon resolved on my scanners, clear as day: “Battle of Vak’Atioth”. I nudged Scientia into the proper alignment and cautiously triggered the ship’s warp engines. The warp bubble soon collapsed around me and I found myself at my destination.

Lots of CCP wounding!
An Amarr battleship ravaged by the Mothership’s superweapons.

The first thing I noticed when dropping out of warp was the silent visage of a Jove Observatory, a station we are now quite familiar with but, at the time, would have been a complete mystery. Surrounding the station were groups of Amarr wrecks, clearly the remains of the losses suffered by the once-thought-unbeatable Golden Fleet. But I wasn’t here for Amarr wrecks (there seemed to be a plethora of those these days anyway), and I quickly searched for the wreckage of Jove ships. But I was disappointed to discover that the only remnants of those storied vessels were a few twists of scrap metal. Anything else from the quick Jovian ships had either decayed in the harsh environments of space or been plundered by the Amarr, CONCORD, the Jove, the Angel Cartel, or some other mysterious entity long ago. The dreams I had long harbored of seeing the sleek Jovian vessels had been dashed.

While I contemplated my next move, I pinged the local beacon for the information about the site, and found a surprisingly comprehensive summary:

But also they gave me the Travel agency so how can I stay mad at them.

The Battle of Vak’Atioth was the major engagement of the Amarr-Jove War. It was fought in 23216 AD (BYC 20) in the system of Vak’Atioth, now known as Atioth, between two hundred ships of the Amarr Navy and a detachment of Jove ships headed up by a Jovian Mothership. The battle was a massive defeat for the Empire and had far-reaching consequences. It was, for a time, the largest battle in New Eden’s history.

The Empire decided to strike Vak’Atioth, a border system which contained only a small Jove research station, as a show of might. For weeks beforehand they broadcasted messages of Imperial dominance and the Amarr position as God’s chosen.

Forewarned, the Jove were able to meet the Amarr fleet with a perfect counter. The Amarr fleet was composed mostly of battleships and heavier cruisers. Its support was light, leaving the fleet sluggish and unguarded.

Also, lol, Amarr wrecks really are a dime a dozen these days, aren't they?

The Jove countered with small wings of frigates. While the Amarr scored the first kill, destroying a stationary Jove ship, the Jove frigates quickly reached full speed and were able to pin down the Amarr vessels. It was then that a Jovian Mothership was brought onto the field. An ancient vessel of a size nearly unmatched throughout New Eden, it had been equipped with the latest and most devastating of Jove weaponry. Each shot was capable of destroying an Amarr battleship entirely.

The Amarr, finding their ships pinned by the Jove frigates and being picked apart by long-range cruiser fire and the Mothership’s doomsday weapon, fell into chaos. Their lines of communication were broken and Amarr battle doctrine refused surrender or retreat.

The entire battle lasted just under six hours and ended with the majority of the Amarr ships lost, while the Jove had lost only a third of their vessels.

I will also say this: the captions for this new batch of sites are MUCH more detailed than I'm used to.

The Empire was shocked by the complete loss to the Jove. It quickly regrouped and planned a second assault, using different tactics that would be capable of countering the Jove frigates. The Jove, meanwhile, withdrew from their border systems and regrouped for a more concentrated defense.

The second battle never came, however. Shortly after, the Minmatar took the opportunity to rebel, aided by sympathetic elements within the Gallente Federation. The Empire quickly turned its eyes on the Minmatar and entered into a hasty peace treaty with the Jove.

The Battle of Vak’Atioth provided the Jove Empire a reputation of invincibility that spared them any further assaults from the Empire or the other races.

I pinged the abandoned research station as well. I had expected the generic analysis found at every other abandoned Jove observatory, but was surprised that Aura managed to dig up some additional information for me:

This makes it a LOT easier for me to write a lot of these, since I don't have to give a ton of context separate from the info screen dumps that I already include!

This decaying wreckage wis the remains of the Jove Research outpost that was the only known Jove presence in the Atioth system before the Amarr attack that lead to the famous Battle of Vak’Atioth.

Although the outpost survived the battle unscathed, it was abandoned by the Jove soon after the battle as they withdrew from systems bordering the Jove regions. Ultimately, the Jove severed all gate connections between the Jove Empire and the rest of New Eden. Outposts such as this one were left to gradually disintegrate as their integrity maintenance systems broke down, leading to so-called “nanorot”, while pirates and other occasional opportunists braved erratic defense mechanisms to plunder the abandoned facilities.

Also the sheer amount of quoted text this time is nice because saying "oh look more wreckage" would have gotten old VERY quickly.
Atioth I hangs in the background of yet more wreckage.

Although disappointed that I couldn’t see the Jove ships I had long dreamed about (at least beyond the remains of a few pieces of scrap metal; it is perhaps needless to say that the Jove mothership did not remain on the field after the battle), at least I had still managed to fulfill one of my childhood dreams. I was literally flying where history had been made. Though the Jove ships still remain a mystery to me, they were flying right where I was currently positioned, high above Atioth I. That fact was not lost on me. Maybe some day I’ll finally see a true Jove vessel. But until then, there’s nothing wrong with having a new dream to reach for.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Battle of Vak’Atioth
  • System: Atioth
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Geminate
  • Potential Hazards: Atioth is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol.  Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to empire space, as well as on other gates.  Caution is advised.

EVE Gate Joint Research Complex

I don't know if I can even count how many times I've made this trek out.
The full Joint Research Complex above New Eden I. The EVE Gate wormhole remnant shimmers in the distance.

Sometimes, you need to start back at the beginning.

I couldn’t help thinking of this as I found myself once again in the system of New Eden, the stellar system that is closest to the fabled EVE Gate. Although 3 light-years out from the ruins of the collapsed jumpgate, the system and the ruins are indelibly linked in the minds of the Cluster. While the collapsed wormhole is visible to the naked eye even from Amarr Prime (and visible through telescopes from anywhere in the Cluster), it is in New Eden itself (and, to a lesser extent, Promised Land one system over) that visitors get treated to the spectacular light show that emanates from the remains of the ancient stargate. Coruscating loops of energy twist endlessly from the wormhole, and whatever is on the other side of the wormhole now glares brighter than the white dwarf at the center of the system.

Of course I guess you all know now that I base not too far from here, so that can't be too surprising!
A better view of the research complex and accompanying instrumentation.

It is perhaps not surprising then that the EVE Gate has long fascinated scientists. Indeed, the scientific consensus these days is that our ancestors built the Gate long ago, and it is from the New Eden system that humanity spread out, as evidenced by the trail of just-as-ancient but far less catastrophically failed stargates that spiderweb out from the New Eden system (not to mention, of course, the impossible odds that humans would spring up independently on at least 7 different worlds). In particular, the Sisters of EVE have long been fascinated by the Gate, both from a scientific and religious perspective. Convinced that the Gate is some sort of relic of their god, the Sisters have long had the only known research facility near the seething maelstrom of the collapsed wormhole in an attempt to unlock its secrets.

Just a weird view idk i liked it
The EVE Gate itself constantly changes in appearance.

Recently, however, the Sisters have established a second, more accessible research location in New Eden in conjunction with House Kor-Azor, the Amarrian house that controls this portion of Genesis. Like the Sisters, the Amarr have a complicated relationship with the Gate. Given its visibility from Amarr Prime, it features somewhat prominently in Amarr scripture, but of course the Amarr also have a scientific interest in the Gate. It is perhaps that tension that has kept the Amarr from a serious research effort into the Gate, but the new Kor-Azor Heir, Ersilia, appears to have finally decided to be more visible with the House’s research efforts into the Gate, and the prospect of working with the Sisters was too much of an effort to pass up.

With the joint research center now fully operational, the location has become public knowledge. Aura has this to say about the new Sisters of EVE station:

Science machines go brrrrrrr

This station acts as the central hub for the Sisters of EVE’s research efforts in the New Eden system.

The Sisters of EVE consider the EVE Gate wormhole remnant an important subject of both scientific study and religious faith. They believe the EVE Gate to be a gift from God and that it is the divine will they study it thoroughly and unlock its secrets. The Sisters maintain that God resigns at the other end of the EVE Gate, guiding and protecting those who follow him from the domain it guards.

The SOE are careful to emphasize the scientific nature of their research and avoid discussing their religious beliefs openly within the shared facilities, lest they embarrass their Kor-Azor hosts or be accused of illegal proselytizing by their enemies within the Amarr Empire.

And of the Kor-Azor portion of the joint research facility, Aura has this to say:

It was hard to get a good shot of the Kor-Azor station for some reason.

This station acts as the central hub for House Kor-Azor’s research efforts in the New Eden system.

House Kor-Azor has long been keen to bulwark and expand its power and influence within the Amarr Empire through its policies of diplomacy, trade and scientific exchange beyond the borders of its realms and the Empire itself. Royal Heir Ersilia Kor-Azor has re-emphasized this approach since her accession to Kor-Azor title, and the house has successfully enhanced its contacts and co-operation with external entities.

House Kor-Azor control over the division of the Genesis Region containing the New Eden system and obvious scientific value of studying the EVE Gate wormhole remnant has led it [to] co-operate with the SOE. Even so, House Kor-Azor maintains a careful watch over SOE activities, mindful that Ministry of Internal Order paladins attached to the site are keeping everything that goes on here under their own scrutiny.

And of the EVE Gate itself, Aura has this to say:

I really love the skybox effect, can you tell?

In the system of New Eden sits the impenetrable EVE Gate. Thousands of years ago the forefathers of all the human races used the gate to travel to the world of EVE. But the gate has been closed for a long time, a catastrophe that destroyed all planets in the New Eden system and plunged the fragile human settlements to the brink of extinction. Anyone foolish enough to get too close to the gate today will be ripped apart by the magnetic storms that still surround the massive gate.

Again, just kind of a weird image that I liked
Note how the Gate outshines the much closer white dwarf by a considerable margin.

The joint research base itself comprises primarily two large stations in orbit around the sole planet in New Eden. The Kor-Azor station is of standard Imperial design. The design has always evoked in me a shard or a sail gliding through space, though that is partially offset by the bulbous and somewhat awkwardly placed primary docking port. The Sisters station should be familiar to anyone who has visited Sisters stations in Thera: a modified Gallente tri-ring station design in the iconic white and red of the Sisters. Surrounding both stations are a host of scientific instruments I could not pretend to understand, constantly collecting terabytes of data from the maelstrom of the wormhole remnant.

Needed the flying towards the gate image tbh
Professor Science makes the journey.

Of course, it’s difficult to focus on the research center with the gorgeous splendor of the EVE Gate itself so obvious. The constantly changing appearance of the wormhole remnant mesmerizes me today just as much as it did when I first examined the Gate. The fact that the wormhole remnant is this bright and this obvious from 3 light-years out shows just how much power spills from that ruined rip in space-time. But it’s also our connection to our (presumed) ancestral home that also draws our attention. Indeed, even today you can still find markers from ships that have attempted to make their way back to the Gate without the benefit of warp drive. It’s a rite of passage for explorers that has existed since I became a pilot.

Back to the beginning indeed. In more ways than one.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: EVE Gate
  • System: New Eden
  • Security Rating: 0.3
  • Region: Genesis
  • Potential Hazards: Getting to New Eden from high sec space requires extensive low sec travel through a pipeline with only one way in or out.  Pirates (both pod and rat varieties) can be quite common on the route.  A covops would be recommended.

Doriam II Memorial

I'm impressed I managed to keep this paragraph this short tbh.
The Doriam II Memorial.

With tensions just a tad high across the Cluster at the moment, maybe now is the time to look back at what was, in retrospect, a more peaceful time for almost all concerned. YC 105, probably best known as the beginning of the age of the capsuleer, was also notable for the death of Heideran VII. Heideran had been the ruler that empires across history dream of: beloved, peaceful, and, in a particular rarity given later events in the Empire, long-ruling. During the reign of Heideran, the Empire made peace with the nascent Minmatar Republic and joined CONCORD, two events that would have been unthinkable for almost any other emperor in history. Indeed, Heideran was the only ruler that many in the Empire had ever known. His death, though not entirely unexpected given his long battle with Turit disease, still acted as a wake-up call to many in the empire.

I'll take any chance I can to mock the amarr tbh
A closer view of Doriam’s statue.

Although it couldn’t have been known at the time, Heideran’s death also marked the end of an era of peace in the Cluster, though you probably would not have guessed that based on his successor. Doriam II was, in many ways, cut from the same cloth as Heideran, and in retrospect it seems a minor miracle that he managed to win in the first succession trial to be fought with the use of capsuleer champions. Although he ended up having a famously poor taste in chamberlains, Doriam strove to maintain the legacy of Heideran, both within the Empire and in terms of its relations to the other major nations of New Eden. By no means particularly seeking to rock the boat, Doriam sought to maintain peace with all except for that splinter sect of the Amarr religion known as the Blood Raiders. Indeed, it was his particular antipathy for the sect that ultimately led to his assassination just 2 years into his reign. No Amarr ruler since Heideran has lasted more than a handful of years.

The recently constructed Emperor Doriam II Memorial in Kor-Azor Prime sums up Doriam’s legacy thusly:

I will say I actually had some problems coming up with unique angles for this site, so I'm not sure how well all of these pictures work

During his short rule, Emperor Doriam II was known as a benevolent leader to his people, a peacemaker with the neighboring empires, and a stalwart enemy of the heretical Blood Raiders. Born Doriam Kor-Azor, he was elevated to the Golden Throne thanks to the support of the capsuleers Ecliptical, BlackViper, Grikl and Kileak in the Amarr Championships of YC105.

Doriam II strived to be a just leader for all citizens of the Amarr Empire, demonstrating this commitment early in his reign by embarking on an extended tour to visit every inhabited planet within Amarr space to hear the concerns of local Holders and appear before their populace.

This one at least comes off rather dramatically though.

Viewed as a sympathetic successor to Heideran VII, Emperor Doriam II continued his predecessor’s irenic stance towards the Amarr Empire’s neighbors, including efforts to maintain the tenuous peace with the Minmatar Republic. His primary military interventions were directed towards the Blood Raider Covenant, including a major assault on the Blood Raider strongholds within the Bleak Lands by combined forces of the Amarr Navy and capsuleer loyalists.

The success of Doriam II’s campaign against the Blood Raiders saw them driven from the Bleak Lands and the reassertion of imperial rule over the systems the cultists had occupied. However, this success was not to be without a price, as Doriam II was assassinated in the Imperial Palace on July 4th, YC107. While the killing was a great mystery for many years, the assassins are now believed to have been members of the “Red Chamberlain” Dochuta Karsoth’s Blood Raider cultist cell.

This monument was erected in YC123 by the Order of Royal Heir Ersilia Kor-Azor in memory of her uncle’s leadership of House Kor-Azor and the Amarr Empire.

Honestly, I don't use the word "resplendent" enough.
Half of the Kor-Azor Armageddon-class battleship honor guard.

The site itself is pretty straightforward. A colossal Doriam II stands guard above the clouds of Eclipticum (itself renamed after the captain of the Emperor’s Championship team in the Succession Trials), his back upright and his arms outstretched as if ready to bear the weight of the empire in his hands. As usual, I find myself impressed by the craftsmanship inherent in the statue. The marble used to construct the giant monument captures the gathering of his robes of state so well it seems as if the statue was the man himself covered by only a thin veneer of stone. Standing in two lines stand an honor guard of 8 Armageddon-class battleships, resplendent in Kor-Azor colors. It’s a grand site to honor someone who was, by all accounts, a kind man devoted to his empire.

Way to go DORIAM.
A side profile of the statue.

That being said, Doriam’s legacy can’t be viewed solely in terms of the good decisions he made or the good intentions that he had. Although I sincerely believe he was a peaceful man who sought to maintain the Empire’s good standing, his errors in judgment cannot be ignored, nor can the chaos that those errors ended up causing. He was, to be sure, not the only one fooled by Dochuta Karsoth (he was initially Heideran’s chamberlain, though Doriam kept him on in the same role), but the fact that a Blood Raider was able to maintain such a high position within the Imperial Palace of an emperor so avowedly anti-Blood Raider is an embarrassment to Doriam’s legacy. And Karsoth’s betrayal directly led to a multi-year interregnum that was only ended by the arrival of Jamyl Sarum, whose legacy is also… questionable at best.

Gotta love a beauty shot of the Professor.
The Professor flies by.

But perhaps I am being unfair. After all, while Doriam may have been a god-emperor revered across the Empire as infallible, he was still ultimately human and therefore imperfect, even if Amarr theology strenuously disagrees with me on that point. He tried, was successful in some ways, and failed in others. Who among us hasn’t experienced that on some level or another? But despite his failings, there can be little doubt that he was devoted to peace across New Eden. As I look back at the events of recent days, I can’t help but be reminded that rulers devoted to maintaining peace for trillions of souls should never be looked down on.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Kor-Azor Battle Site
  • System: Kor-Azor Prime
  • Security Rating: 0.9
  • Region: Kor-Azor
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

Alliance Tournament Monument

The Alliance Tournament Monument, with all 17 plinths.

Despite being one myself, I have to admit that I don’t really pay much attention to what happens to the capsuleer alliances out in null sec. The alliances come and go. The alliances take space and then lose it (to be fair, I rarely pay attention to gains and losses in the various wars between the empires either). They make broader coalitions only to have those coalitions fall apart as they begin to backstab each other for hopes of further advantage. Sure, after the fact I find the histories written up on the great soap operas of null sec space to be fascinating, and (unsurprisingly) I always appreciate when a battle or some epic struggle culminates in a battle that the Powers That Be seek to commemorate in a landmark or site. But, truth be told, for someone who prides himself on seeking out knowledge on the history of New Eden, I often find myself woefully out of date on current events in New Eden’s perimeter.

Man I remember being pissed with the collusion at the championship match at the time, even if its funny in hindsight lol
A closer view of the central statue.

One thing that even I paid attention to, however, was the Alliance Tournament. How could you not? Even for those of us who can’t appreciate the finer tactics and strategies that go into the countless choices made during a tournament match, it’s still fun to see some of the best known alliances in the cluster duke it out for the title of champion, and I say this as someone who’s inclination to engage other capsuleers is, shall we say, tenuous, at best. But the fact remains, it was exciting to watch the matches as teams fought against each other, inevitably lost track and left the boundaries of the tournament area, and, yes, even the inevitable Tournaments scandals can be entertaining in their own way. Not to mention the color commentary both during the match and after that revs people up for getting on the applicable so-called Hype Train.

Pics were a little hard to make unique this time :-|
Plinths stretch into the distance.

Given the vaunted history of the Alliance Tournament, it’s a little surprising that CONCORD has waited until now to recognize the history of the Tournament and to erect a monument in honor of past winners, particularly given the fact that the Tournament has been on hiatus for a few years now. But the fact remains, a monument has gone up at long last, and recognizes each of the winners of the tournament over its 16-tournament history, along with the Alliance Open held in YC122. It’s a simple, if elegant, site: 17 plinths, one for each tournament as well as the Alliance Open, sit in a half circle. At the center of that half circle stands a large, golden, winged woman reaching for the stars.

Querying the statue through Aura yields the following:

I DID like this pic tho

“Throughout history humanity has struggled for survival, fortune and glory. The fight to exceed nature’s limits continues but as often the combat is within and between ourselves.

While the need to hunt for food is long behind us, and life itself is seldom a daily struggle for survival, we still crave the fearful rush that comes with the imminence of death.

There is both terror and majesty in combat: from the steel swords and wooden shields of ancient conflicts; to the masses of kilometers long spacecraft unleashing firepower to equal that of entire planetary wars.

No matter the tools, no matter the arena, all clashes of arms meet and fulfill the same purpose: the need to fight, and the determination to win.”

-Khumat Mebroh, Chief Executive Officer, Independent Gaming Commission

And then, of course, there are the memorialized winners, one for each plinth at the site:

And this one I guess just to show the semicircle?
The semicircle stands above Manarq V
  • 1st Alliance Tournament (YC 107): Band of Brothers
  • 2nd Alliance Tournament (YC 107): Band of Brothers
  • 3rd Alliance Tournament (YC 108): Band of Brothers
  • 4th Alliance Tournament (YC 109): HUN Reloaded
  • 5th Alliance Tournament (YC 110): Ev0ke
  • 6th Alliance Tournament (YC 111): Pandemic Legion
  • 7th Alliance Tournament (YC 111): Pandemic Legion
  • 8th Alliance Tournament (YC 112): Pandemic Legion
  • 9th Alliance Tournament (YC 113): HYDRA RELOADED
  • 10th Alliance Tournament (YC 114): Verge of Collapse
  • 11th Alliance Tournament (YC 115): Pandemic Legion
  • 12th Alliance Tournament (YC 116): The Camel Empire
  • 13th Alliance Tournament (YC 117) Pandemic Legion
  • 14th Alliance Tournament (YC 118): The Tuskers Co.
  • 15th Alliance Tournament (YC 119): VYDRA RELOADED
  • 16th Alliance Tournament (YC 120): VYDRA RELOADED
  • Alliance Open (YC 122): Templis CALSF
You can only do so much with plinths, friends!
Plenty of space left for more.

As you may notice, it’s been 3 years since the last official Alliance Tournament, and there’s no particular indication that they are going to be picked up again any time in the near future. I have no doubt that there is quite a lot of logistical work that goes into holding the Tournament each year, and I can’t fault the Independent Gaming Commission for being wary of committing more resources to an intense endeavor. Though there is no official news on this particular subject, it was quickly pointed out after unveiling the monument that there were plenty of spots left to be filled in for that circle around the golden statue. Hope, as always, springs eternal.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Alliance Tournament Monument
  • System: Manarq
  • Security Rating: 0.8
  • Region: Genesis
  • Potential Hazards: Because this is CONCORD space, if you’re below a -3.0 security status, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

EVE Travel Agency

[Editor’s note: Wow. That’s about all I can say: wow (you will probably not be surprised to learn that speechlessness is a rare concept for me!). I started this blog in December of 2009, and if you had told me then that I’d be going 11 and a 1/2 years later and that CCP would eventually memorialize this blog with its own site in-game, I would have laughed you out of the room. But, as often as I write about the many varied, strange things that go on in this shared virtual universe of ours, it feels particularly weird to me to be writing about myself. It would be my tendency to make self-deprecating jokes on my own behalf, and that is not how I want to treat something that really is quite an honor by CCP. So I’ve asked my friend and fellow adventurer, Katia Sae of that particular fame, to write this particular site up for me, and she very kindly agreed. To CCP: Thank you for the amazing game you’ve put together, and thank you for this unique distinction. I cannot say enough how much I love the site and how honored I am by it. To my readers: Thank you for reading. As I’ve mentioned previously, I still don’t quite understand the fame I’ve developed over the years, but I am humbled by it nonetheless, and I can sincerely say that this blog would not be going so many years later without the sheer outpouring of kindness and support that I’ve received from the Eve community over the years. To each and every one of you: My sincere thanks for allowing me to be your guide to the sightseeing in the Cluster for all of these years.

Anyway, enough with the mush and on to the good stuff.]

There was... a lot of screaming when I saw that. My twitter that day had a LOT of caps ahahahahaha.
The EVE Travel Agency in Mozzidit.

It wasn’t unusual to hear from Mark726 these days as we’ve been working on a project together, but this time speaking with him over comms was a bit different than usual because of the excitement I could hear in his voice. That’s not to say he isn’t excitable, far from it, just mention a far away ancient forgotten site somewhere and his love for lore and adventure comes shining through. It’s just one of the many things I admire about him, his excitement is infectious. This however, wasn’t that. I could tell from his voice this was… different.

No, seriously, so many caps.
Asteroids snake near the Travel Agency.

He wouldn’t tell me what was up, instead he invited me out to his home system, Mozzidit, in the Genesis region. It’s no mistake his home system is close to the New Eden system where the EVE Gate can be found. The Gate and region were perhaps his favorites among all the sites and places of New Eden and for that matter, probably mine as well. I know he’s talked about spending his early days as a capsuleer exploring this area and basing his operations in Mozzidit because of its close proximity to Amarr for trading and Iyen-Oursta for the elusive Children of Light sighting.

THIS ALL HAPPENED IN THE LIKE 15 MINUTES I HAD BEFORE WORK.
A closer view of the Agency HQ

According to him, it was something that I was just going to have to come out and see for myself. I suppose I have been sitting behind a desk for a bit too long tending to Signal Cartel, so the timing felt right to undock and see some sights. I alerted my Chief to prepare ‘Traveller’, a Sisters of EVE Astero-class frigate based on my beloved ‘Voyager’, which was now retired. Setting out from my home system, Saisio, I plotted a course for Mark726’s home system, Mozzidit. The journey wasn’t bad at all at twenty-five jumps for the most secure route and by coming in via Imya, only the last two systems, Antem and Mozzidit, were Low Sec where I had to be a bit more cautious. I had no difficulty at all and didn’t see any threats to be concerned about.

So much giggling when I saw this. SO MUCH.
Professor Science waits in the tour guide line.

Upon entering the system with its bright and relatively cool but stable K5 orange sun, I was directed by way of a beacon to the last/eighth planet of the eight planet system. First of all, I was a bit surprised by the presence of the beacon, having traveled through this system before, I was unable to recall anything of particular note. Of course, it could be that something recent had been added. Did Mark726 discover something new here after all of these years? I was eager to find out and wanting to be surprised, I declined Aura’s recital of the beacon’s information and instead locked on for warp.

Landing on grid, I wasn’t sure what to expect so I was surprised to find what appeared to be a couple of asteroids. To be surprised for a capsuleer can be deadly, but what I was seeing before me didn’t seem as unusual as I was hoping for. I took in the sight before me for a few moments, before finally taking action, having ‘Traveller’ orbit the area while I processed just what I was seeing. The first thing that caught my eye was what I thought the beacon was established for, The “Giant Snake-Shaped” and “Broken Orange Crystal” asteroids. I had Aura do a search, as I had not heard of these celestial objects in this area, other than a few references to similarly shaped asteroids at other locations. However, she was unable to find any specific information on the ones before me. Mentally scratching my head, I turned to Mark726’s own blog, EVE Travel. No mention there either. I grinned ear to ear, this must be it! He’s discovered some new ancient mystery or tidbit of New Eden lore.

Also, Katia did all of the hard work for this one. Thank you, Katia!

Giant Snake-Shaped Asteroid

Fragments from an asteroid collision or a supernova, this rock formation decorates the starscape as a planetary mountain range.

Broken Orange Crystal Asteroid

This towering asteroid seems to have suffered a tremendous impact, splitting it into multiple pieces.

Excited for him, I couldn’t wait to open comms to learn more about these two objects and was wondering just where he was when Aura said, “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you Katia, the beacon is for the new ‘EVE Travel Agency’ headquarters”… and that’s when my jaw literally dropped.

But seriously, still kind of speechless.

EVE Travel Agency

This habitation module serves as the home base for the “EVE Travel Agency”, a small independent corporation that provides tours and travel information services to explorers across New Eden. Their proximity to the New Eden system makes them a convenient stopping point for travelers making a pilgrimage to the EVE Gate.

EVE Travel’s GalNet blog is a must-read for all capsuleers seeking to explore New Eden’s various sights.

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Traveller travels nearby.

No longer interested in the asteroids, I set my orbit around the new facilities. There were three structures. The first appeared to be a logistics platform, likely to support shipping and receiving with its landing platforms and container yard. It seemed both modern and practical in design and like other platforms of its kind, I was sure it got the job done. 

The next structure could only be the new EVE Travel Agency HQ, with its beautiful design and lighting. I couldn’t picture Mark726 in a luxurious office behind a desk, but if he had one, it was certainly there. I could, however, picture visitors at the center inquiring about travel information and booking excursions. There was probably a waiting area for tourists as they prepared to head out to see the sights of New Eden. I wondered if there was a gift shop as well and if they sold snowglobes. I’ll have to book an excursion and do some shopping while I’m here.

This is a lovely shot tbh.
A line of touring ships.

Lastly, I turned ‘Traveller’ towards the final structure, a docking facility, and there was ‘Professor Science’ his Buzzard, a Caldari covert ops frigate. Not only that, there were three brand new shiny tourist shuttles ready for departure. The shuttles were Gallentian style and the red of the red and white trim reminded me of the ‘Steel Cardinal’ ship skin that he is so fond of flying on ‘Professor Science’. My smile only broadened upon seeing Mark726’s ship, after all it was like seeing him in person. As capsuleers, we literally become the ship and it’s as much a part of us as any other part of our own body. To baseliners, it’s hard to describe just what that feels like, but in that moment, I was seeing Mark726, my friend, and I couldn’t be more proud of him than I am today. 

And off into the distance!
My thanks to you all!

After more than ten years of exploring and documenting nearly two-hundred sights around the cluster with EVE Travel, Mark726 laid down and built the foundation in Mozzidit where it all began, establishing himself in the lore of New Eden. I dare say it’s the most exhaustive travel resource you’ll ever find on the cluster. His hard work and dedication over the years is admired by all that take in his blog and the ‘EVE Travel Agency’ is a fitting tribute. His blog was a main source of inspiration to me and I know countless others to go out, explore, and see the stars. I started off as a fan, but have been blessed and honored to call him friend over the years and was absolutely thrilled and honored when he asked me to work up this blog post for EVE Travel.

Congratulations, Mark726!

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: EVE Travel Agency
  • System: Mozzidit
  • Security Rating: 0.3
  • Region: Genesis
  • Potential Hazards: Getting to Mozzidit from high sec space requires just a couple of jumps of low sec travel if you approach via the Imya system in Genesis. Pirates (both pod and rat varieties) can be quite common on the route. A covops would be recommended

Project Discovery Phase Two Monument

A nice, simple site tbh.
An overview of the Phase Two monument.

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.

I do wish I had participated in this more, but free time is precious to me these days.
A closer look at the central monument.

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.

Needed this shot tbh.
Pakhshi shines through.

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:

And I just love these closeup shots LIKE YA DO.

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.

Realized when writing this that I didn't actually have a pic of the "sun" getting occulted WHOOPS.

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.

The entosis module that the Professor definitely needs for all of the sov work it does.
Professor Science engages its entosis module.

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.


Federation Grand Prix Starting Line

Oh look, the travel and sightseeing guy likes things that make people travel and sightsee. Imagine that!
The starting line for the Federation Grand Prix

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.

Spinny rings go spin.
I’ve always enjoyed this Gallente station design.

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.

No, you can't dock here.
Some of the repair docks for participating ships.

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.

Nor can you dock at the pleasure hub (and you knew I couldn't not mention the pleasure hub)
A view from one of the domes of the nearby pleasure hub. Some of the viewing stands can be seen in the distance.

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.

I'll try to come back and update this when the monument gets updated.
The monument of the champions of the Grand Prix.

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.

Off on an ADVENTURE.
And Professor Science is off!

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?

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Chribba Monument

Did I just brag about all of the things I've done over years? maaaaaaaybe
The Chribba Monument.

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!

Also, seriously, Chribba is the nicest guy.
A closer view of the holographic Veldnaught.

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:

Golden asteroids, lol

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.

Still love the rivets on these things lol

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

Chribba gazes at the Veldnaught.

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.

A golden sky.

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Mekhios Graveyard

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.

I have all sorts of things to write about now!
An overview of the graveyard above Sarum Prime III

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.

Though this begs the question: why did I choose the one that needed so many cross-references right off the bat.
A closer view of the statue of Jamyl I and the holographic fleet

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.

Also lol I cannot tell you the last time I had such a sizeable backlog for this blog
A closer view of the Ragnarok-class titan wreck, as well as a Naglfar-class dreadnought.

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.

But hey, I'm back! And more things are coming!
A Tempest-class battleship wreck.

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).

I'm hoping to be sending out blogs maybe once every 1-2 weeks?
Death of an Avatar.

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:

Because RL is terribleeeeeeee

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.

I wonder how many times I've had to describe Jamyl's background for one reason or another. No, the answer would probably depress me.
Another view of the Matari wrecks. Note the white energy coursing around the wrecks.

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.

More like WRECKvalation amirite
A Revelation-class wreck spills debris from a hull breach.

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.

I will be completely honest. I have NO idea what ship this is.
Another wreck.

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.

Avatar booty.
A rear view of the Avatar wreck. Note the dust obscuring the more distant objects.

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Jita 4-4 trading hub

It is gorgeous!
The entirety of the Jita 4-4 trading hub complex.

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.

A rear view of the station, with the Jita Memorial in the foreground.

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.

No seriously, the station feels like a cross between vegas and a shopping mall and I love it.
A view of the central cityscape of the station.

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.

It really is nice to see Jita get some love tbh. As usual, the art people did a great job
One of the warehouse districts of the station, with the cityscape in the background.

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.

But now I have to grapple with the fact that there's a pretty reason to go to Jita.
Another view of the central plain of the station. Note the fireworks and the atrium-like awning.

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.

I really love this shot. Something about the combo of the lighting and the diagonal girders, idk
Another warehouse district near the rear of the station, starkly lit by Jita.

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.

Ugh, remember when we could go to shopping malls? I remember when we could go to shopping malls.
A view of the ancillary Deep Core Mining platform, showing both the colony present on the moon’s surface and the space tether connecting the two.

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.

But, maybe someday, 2020 will pass.
The other major ancillary structure near Jita 4-4.

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.

Anyway, I hope everyone is staying safe and sane during 2020!
Fireworks occur sporadically along the massive front-facing facade of the station.

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Fallen Capsuleers Memorial

Editor’s note: If you are looking for the original cemetery post, please see here.

This took FAR longer to post than I wanted, but RL bows for no one, sadly!

The Memorial, with moon 1 of Molea II in the background

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.

That's a lot of cans tbh

The amount of cans (each dedicated to someone lost) anchored around the cemetery demonstrates its continuing popularity.

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.

Just a nice shot :-)

The pinnacle of the monument

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:

From the bottom upThis memorial to Fallen Capsuleers is the centerpiece of the cemetery originally established in orbit of the moon of Molea II by capsuleers of the EVE Cemetery corporation.

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.

A close up of the sculptureThe Fallen Capsuleers Memorial continues to support the establishment of individual memorial containers by capsuleers in the cemetery at Molea II, moon 1 .

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.

This is just a nice and peaceful shot tbh

Molea II in the distance

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.

I mostly like the warp flash in this one

A visitor warps away

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.

This is seriously such a wonderful shot. Thanks to Manic for permission to use it

Reaching for the stars (Photo credit: Manic Velocity)

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

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Birthday Bash

See, look, I'm still around when there's something to do!

The site of the eponymous birthday bash.

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.

You (hopefully) notice that these are higher res than before!

The wreck of Chappy’s Phoenix-class dreadnought.

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.

Probably my favorite image from this set

Tunudan provides a dramatic backdrop for the scene.

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.

The better graphics are because of an upgraded computer!

Views of some of the other wrecks that can be seen nearby.

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).

Also, I hope all of my readers are doing well during these, uhh, weird times

The wreck of a Zirnitra-class dreadnought can be seen nearby.

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.

o7 chappy

Another shot of the wrecks.

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.

o7 Chappy

Basic Information:

  • 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.

World Ark Proving Ground

What is this?! TWO posts in like 3 months?

The Xordazh-class world ark in a Triglavian-invaded system.

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 must not be feeling well.

A closer view of the massive power core of the world ark.

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.

At least I still blog about stuff when I stumble on it, heh.

A view of the larger proving ground.

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.

And in case you're wondering if I participated in a proving: Ahahahahahahahah do you even KNOW me?!

The prow of the world ark. Note the numerous docking ports above the power core.

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.

As you can see.... (see what I did there?)

Even from 150 kilometers, the world ark only appears slightly smaller than a cloaked Buzzard.

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:

A proving in the distance.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.

Looks like a klingon teleporter tbqh

The world ark brings in additional reinforcements from abyssal deadspace.

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.

Thanks, mysterious fleet who didn't know I was spying on them.

The green of the synthetic conduit stands out from the rest of the surrounding area.

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.

A LOT of my photos from this shoot ended up being from almost this precise angle for some reason. You're seeing the rare outliers that weren't, heh.

A Triglavian has a bad day.

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.

I seeeeee you

A capsuleer has a bad day.

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.

When will I be back next? WHO KNOWS.

A view from the perimeter of the proving grounds.

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Journey of Katia Sae Memorial

Katia Sae 1

A full view of the monument. The star she holds looks like it could be a background star.

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.

Katia Sae 2

A closer look a the star system in Katia’s hand.

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).

Katia Sae 3

A closer view of the ghostly Astero that can be found hiding in the system.

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:

Katia Sae 4In 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.

Katia Sae 5May 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.

Katia Sae 6

Going in for a look.

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.

Katia Sae 7

Gazing in wonder.

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.

Katia Sae 8

Passing through.

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.

Katia Sae 9

Off to the next adventure.

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.

Congrats, Katia!

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Triglavian Cruiser

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!

triglavian1

Triglavian cruiser in silhouette, with Professor Science nearby.

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.

Triglavian2

A view down the prow. The singularity core is the glowing red sphere.

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.

Triglavian3

The ship is heavily damaged. A pod sit above the ship for comparison.

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.

Triglavian4

A view from the rear of the mysterious vessel.

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.

Triglavian5

CONCORD’s plan for the ship remains unknown at this time.

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Elder War Monuments

Elder War 1

The Elder War Memorial in Ami.

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.

Elder War 2

The Monument in Kor-Azor Prime

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.

Elder War 3

The Memorial in Nishah, with the now-repaired station in the distance.

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.

Elder War 4

And the memorial in Andrub.

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:

Elder War 5This monument marks the honor conferred by the Empress of Holy Amarr on the countless heroes of the Empire who sacrificed their lives to repel the Minmatar Elder Invasion of YC110.

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.

Elder War 6

A close-up view of the Memorial in Kor-Azor Prime.

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.

Elder War 7

Professor Science flying near the monument in Nishah.

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Project Discovery Phase One Monument

Discovery 1

The Monument, with various beams of Entosis Links visible

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.

discovery 2

The light of Lanngisi glints off the new monument

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.

discovery 3

The stylized symbol is a symbol of Project Disvoery.

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.

Discovery 4

The monument is fairly sizeable

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.

discovery 5

The Professor banks in towards the monument

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:

discovery 6In YC118, the Sisters of EVE launched the Project Discovery citizen science platform to the capsuleer community through the GalNet.

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.

discovery 7

A view of the underside of the monument

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.

Discovery 8

The monument is a hive of activity.

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.

discovery 9

The monument in profile

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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).