Towering cathedrals. Gleaming golden spires spread over dozens, if not hundreds, of square kilometers. Bustling, luminous starships everywhere you turn. You might be forgiven for thinking you were at the very heart of the empire in Amarr, just a few kilometers off the Emperor Family station in orbit of Amarr VIII. Instead, I found myself 3 jumps out from the Amarr homeworld, in the distant outskirts of the Thebeka system. Surrounded by over 220 AU of complete nothingness and the nearly 250 AU-distant local star merely a glint of starlight on the many towering cathedrals, the Order of St. Tetrimon Fortress Monastery is an imposing sight and a striking reminder of the power of the fanatical orthodox sect of the Amarr religion.
Founded nearly two millennia ago, the titular St. Tetrimon (born Inire Ardishapur) earned his sainthood in the most Amarrian of fashions: by killing an emperor who also happened to be his grandfather. To be quite fair, the emperor, Zaragram II, probably deserved it, given that even today he is known as the Mad Emperor. Zaragram II is probably best well-known today for attempting to construct the City of God in Shastal, a disastrous engineering project meant solely to stoke Zaragram’s own ego and proclaim how great he was. It didn’t work. But beyond his poorly-thought-out engineering projects, Zaragram II also attempted to rewrite the Amarrian religion, rewriting the sacred Scriptures as he went to give even greater power to the Emperor. Plenty of clerics disagreed with the rewrites and other changes being proclaimed by Zaragram II, but it was Inire who sought to solve the problem permanently. As he plunged the dagger into his grandfather, he allegedly yelled “a manu dei e tet rimon”, which roughly translates to “I am the devoted hand of the divine God” in ancient Amarr. A new saint was born.
Since its founding, the Order (some call it a cult) has dedicated itself to restoring the Scriptures to its original, pre-Zaragram II state. Unsurprisingly given its initial mission, the Order since its founding has served to maintain the orthodoxy of the Amarr religion; it frequently objects to any attempts to modernize or update the religion. Its power over the years has waxed and waned, but its impressive fortress monastery in Thebeka demonstrates that even at the lowest ebb of its power, the Order is a force to be reckoned with in Amarr society. Indeed, even Aura seemed to be stepping lightly as she collated relevant information for me as I dropped out of warp at the monastery:
This heavily fortified monastery serves as a regional chapterhouse for the Order of St. Tetrimon in Domain. As a major base for this powerful religious and military order, it is defended by fanatical followers of the Tetrimon’s radical scriptural, theocratic, and militarist doctrines.
The construction of this fortress monastery within the Thebeka system was made possible by Royal Heir Arim Ardishapur who sees the Tetrimon as valuable allies on the politically conservative and religiously militant side of the struggle for the future of the Amarr Empire. Order of St. Tetrimon military forces were involved in putting down a number of slave rebellions in Ardishapur domains, including a major uprising in the Thebeka system. The construction of this fortress monastery in the system marks that service and underlines the political alliance between House Ardishapur and the Order.
Although the monastery is officially sanctioned by the local Ardishapur authorities, many observers have noted the Order’s choice to construct their facility at the very outer reaches of the Thebeka system, far from the populated inner planets and public space stations. This choice of location is viewed as a clear signal that the Order of St. Tetrimon continues to see itself standing apart from the temporal politics of the Empire, with its mission distinct, deeply spiritual, and remaining fully inspired by the example of St. Tetrimon.
The Order was founded in 21460 AD in the name of St. Tetrimon, an Ardishapur noble who assassinated his grandfather the Emperor Zaragram II, in response to the increasingly megalomaniac and heretical actions of the “Mad Emperor”. The Order of St. Tetrimon was tasked by the Council of Apostles with the role of preserving the original Amarr Scriptures and purging all apocryphal and non-canon texts, which included the majority of Zaragram II’s decrees. This mission later brought the Order into tension with the dominant powers of the Amarr Empire during the era of the “Moral Reforms” that began in 21875 AD. This tension grew until 22762 AD, when the Order of St. Tetrimon was officially suppressed by the Imperial authorities. Surviving members of the Order fled to the Khanid Kingdom where they received political protection.
During this time in exile, the Order of St. Tetrimon worked to increase their martial strength and increased their militarism to ensure that they would be able to defend their beliefs if another conflict erupted. This served them well when the Minmatar Rebellion began in 23216 AD. The Order reached an agreement with Emperor Heideran VII as Amarr forces were overstretched by the spreading rebellion. The Order would be allowed to once again travel through the Empire freely in return for assistance against Minmatar forces. In subsequent decades, ships flying Tetrimon colours became much feared by the young Republic Fleet for their fearless attacks and the suicidal fury shown by their pilots.
During the remaining reign of Heideran VII the Tetrimon were left untouched, on the understanding that they would not attempt to undermine Emperor’s authority. The agreement did not survive under Heideran’s successor Doriam II, a ruler with liberal views and a history of releasing slaves. Increasing conflict with the Theology Council during Doriam II’s YC105-107 reign led to the Order of St. Tetrimon being suppressed once more following a political struggle that involved several Royal Houses and even capsuleers. Returning to their secluded fastnesses in the Khanid Kingdom and beyond, the Order remained relatively quiescent during the Karsoth Interregnum, building its strength and continuing its mission.
Following the Elder Fleet Invasion of the Amarr Empire in YC110, and the return and coronation of Empress Jamyl I, the Order of St. Tetrimon welcomed the new Amarr ruler and pledged its continuing fealty to the Holy Amarr Empire. Upon the death of Empress Jamyl I in YC117, the Order returned to the Empire as a neutral arbiter and guardian of the Imperial Succession process, in an Empire that had become deeply factionalized and corrupted by “Red Chamberlain” Dochuta Karsoth’s rule.
During the rule of Empress Catiz I, the fortunes of the Order of St. Tetrimon have continued to improve. Under the leadership of Grand Master Khemon Dulsur an-Tetrimon, the Order has established a role as a force useful for seeking out and suppressing rebellion and heresy. Increasing conflict across New Eden has revitalized the “Religious Reclaimer” tendency among the Amarr Empire’s powerful nobility and brought support for the Order. Militant and conservative houses such as the Ardishapur and Sarum have forged cordial relations with the Tetrimon, in an Amarr Empire with royal houses, powerful ministries, and religious factions carefully balanced against one another by a relatively new Empress.
I was surprised to discover that the monastery in Thebeka was only a regional chapterhouse for the order. Its grandiosity and the bustle of nearby ships could be mistaken for the main headquarters of the Order. The main structure is a grand building of classic Amarr design: a soaring structure with two main towers clad in gold that very much evokes the feelings of an Amarr cathedral that wouldn’t be out of place in the heart of Dam-Torsad, the capital city on Amarr. The gently curving twin towers are surrounded by a golden ring that emphasizes the “fortress” side of the fortress monastery, making it feel as if the central cathedral is surrounded by a protective moat.
Serving as a sort of “honor guard” leading up to the main structure are 11 pairs of smaller, though no less resplendent, structures. The smaller structures, all of identical design, reminded me of nothing so much as giant golden apostrophes. The space apostrophes appear to serve as the main spacedock facilities for the base here, as well as the barracks. My assumptions are apparently confirmed by the numerous Paladin- and Zealot-class ships that can be seen swarming around these smaller structures. No larger ships can be seen around the main monastery, almost as if the ships were also too afraid of the leaders of the Order being too aware of their existence. I strongly sympathize with that feeling.
Indeed, I was quite glad that I chose to fly Professor Science in today’s visit. Not only would the 220+ AU trip out to the monastery have felt interminable with a slower warp drive, I found myself nervous being near so many combat vessels, so I stayed cloaked my entire time. To be quite clear, I was deep in high security space Aura didn’t mark any of the vessels swarming around the base as a direct threat to me, but you can never quite tell what will set off a fanatical follower of the Amarr religion. I wasn’t about to take any chances, as I had heard some horror stories of the forced conditioning that some of the more… enthusiastic adherents to the religion were willing to carry out. After taking one last look at the gleaming spires of gold, I initiated the long warp back towards the stargate.
- Attraction: Order of St. Tetrimon Fortress Monastery
- System: Thebeka
- Security Rating: 0.9
- Region: Domain
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
Let’s be honest here, I am indelibly linked to Iyen-Oursta in the public’s mind. My (unfortunately) continuing quest to view the Children of Light has spawned no small amount of continued mocking, even nearly a decade later, and after some initial misgivings I have learned to embrace the ridiculousness of the situation. I didn’t exactly mean for my quest to see the fabled Lights to become as well-known (or as long) as it had, but the irony of being the Pilot Who Takes Pictures of Notable Things being unable, after nearly a decade of searching, to see the Children of Light is not lost on me, particularly when it seems to appear to others on a fairly regular basis. Such is the cross I must bear in life, apparently.
And yet the Children of Light, and its subsequent association with me, is not the system’s initial claim to fame. Well before Lumin effect was well-known, and far before I was born (much less, became a capsuleer), the system was the site of the climactic battle in the Gallente-Caldari war. The battle featured one of the first head-on collisions between the new tech that each side had developed over the course of the war: on the Gallente side, the drones that the Gallente developed to counter Caldari fighters and that the Gallente are known for to this day, and on the Caldari side, the new-fangled capsule technology gifted to the Caldari by the Jove. Not that I would know anything about that. After the 15-hour slugfest in which the Gallente held the system but the Caldari inflicted heavy losses, the war settled into a strategic stalemate and mostly lost its urgency, though it took another 20 years for a CONCORD-brokered peace to officially end it.
Last summer, the Gallente constructed a small monument to mark the battle in Iyen-Oursta. Aura provides considerably more details on the importance of the battle:
This monument marks the sacrifice of all those who died or were injured in the Battle of Iyen-Oursta.
Let peace prevail and nevermore war darken these stars.
The climactic battle of the Gallente-Caldari War was fought over the system of Iyen-Oursta in late BYC10. An outlying colony system that had attempted to remain neutral in what was effectively an interstellar civil war, Iyen-Oursta was viewed as strategically important by both the Gallente and Caldari. Inevitably, both sides moved to secure the system for their own and a major battle was the result. The battle is historically notable as the first battle in which capsule-controlled vessels were used in large numbers by a non-Jovian empire.
Both sides were confident of victory and thus were willing to throw everything they had into the battle. The Gallente committed a huge armada of drones and their carrier vessels. The Caldari deployed their latest advanced frigates, newly-equipped with the capsule technology provided them by the Jove. The ensuing battle was the second-largest seen in New Eden to date, eclipsed in scale and destruction only by the Battle of Vak-Atioth fought between the Amarr and Jove.
The Battle of Iyen-Oursta raged for a whole day, with running engagements across the system as each side attempted to strike a decisive blow. During a lapse in the action following 15 hours of constant fighting, the Caldari withdrew their remaining forces in good order, leaving the battlefield to the Gallente drone fleets. The Federation naturally claimed victory as the side retaining control of the system. The Caldari also claimed victory on the basis of inflicting considerably greater losses on the Gallente heavy vessels than their own frigate fleets had received.
Strategically, while the Gallente achieved their objective, it had come at a much higher price than they had anticipated. For their part, the Caldari had counted on capsule-controlled frigates to give them a clear edge but were unable to press the advantage. Ultimately, the Caldari frigates were able to block subsequent attempts by the Gallente to mount decisive offensives, but they could not overwhelm the sheer industrial capacity of the Federation and its ability to rebuild drone fleets.
With a swift victory elusive and no way to break the strategic stalemate, the Gallente-Caldari War turned into a long, distant series of skirmishes along the borders and in disputed systems. Life in core systems became focused on rebuilding the State and Federation, while maintaining enough of a war effort to satisfy patriotic sentiment on both sides. There was little thought of suing for peace and the war faded into the background, sometimes reduced to a cold stalemate, sometimes erupting in some limited border struggle.
In the end, the state of war was reduced to a formality, with even the occasional raiding winding down as the core empires became focused on the foundation of CONCORD and the establishment of interstellar agreements. By YC12, it was clear to CONCORD diplomats that a peace agreement could be brokered. Six months of talks bore fruit as it became clear that neither side wished to continue the war, and certainly nobody wished to have another Battle of Iyen-Oursta. With the Treaty of Tierijev peace was signed in that other oft-disputed system, but in reality Iyen-Oursta was the system where the Gallente-Caldari War truly ended.
The monument plinth itself is of standard modern design, with the monument base working its way up to a large holographic projector at the top. The hologram shows one hand grasping another in a sign of friendship: an admittedly odd choice for a few reasons. First, the symbolism is a bit defeated by the iconic Gallente eagle declaring victory above the clasped hands. Second, although the Gallente and Caldari tolerate each other these days, I would hardly call them friends. Indeed, war (of a sort) still rages, even if it’s heavily regulated under the CONCORD Emergency Militia War Powers Act. The entire structure sits in a low orbit over Iyen-Oursta VIII, giving a spectacular view both of the habitable planet in system and the Gallente nebula complex.
Although its initial role in history has now been subsumed under more recent events (and glowy stargate effects, even if I may never see them), the importance of the battle of Iyen-Oursta in establishing the modern interstellar order should not be forgotten. The battle ultimately led to peace being declared by both sides, even if it was an uncomfortable one. And it introduced into battle something that each pilot today takes for granted: the capsule. Finally, brokering that peace was the first time that CONCORD truly flexed its diplomatic muscles, leading to the rise of the defining institution of the modern era… other than us capsuleers, of course. Although the Children of Light (and my obsession with it over the years) may have mostly stolen the spotlight in the system, at least this vital system remains firmly within the public eye.
- Attraction: Battle of Iyen-Oursta Monument
- System: Iyen-Oursta
- Security Rating: 0.8
- Region: Sinq Laison
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
Alliance Tournament XVII is got started in earnest this weekend. Although I’ve found myself enjoying almost all of the matches I watch, my favorite matches are probably those where an established or well-known alliance tournament team gets thrashed by an unexpected underdog (I suspect I’m not alone in that particular preference). There’s just something particularly satisfying in watching a match that every commentator (professional or amateur) had assumed would be a walloping by the preferred team, only to see those expectations overturned either in one magnificent mistake (such as the ever-beloved boundary violation) or by a slow battle of attrition going absolutely the wrong way. If its satisfying for me as a viewer, I can only imagine the ecstasy the underdog team feels to see the strategy that everyone questioned pay off (or, even better, when an unexpected mistake gives the underdog a win even they weren’t expecting).
Of course, there’s an entire nation in New Eden that have the experience of being the successful underdogs: the Minmatar. When the Minmatar began to rebel after the brief (but disastrous) Amarr-Jove war, no one really expected them to be successful. Over the course of the thousands of years of Amarrian history, they had never failed to subdue a targeted race: from the Udorians on Amarr Prime to the star-spanning Minmatar Empire, the Amarr had Reclaimed every civilization it had encountered so far. The sole exception? The Gallente Federation, and the Empire never formally targeted the Federation for a Reclaiming (though many an armchair military historian has salivated at the thought of watching such a fight play out).
But, spoiler alert, the Minmatar managed to pull it off, against all expectations. Through a combination of tenacity, duct tape, and (covert) support from the Federation, the Minmatar managed to not only free their home system, but establish themselves as one of the 4 major powers in New Eden. Minmatar independence was guaranteed when they managed to strike a surprise blow (a standard play by the Minmatar, who are exceptionally good at pulling off such moves) against amassed Amarr fleets at Fort Kavad in Odatrik, a half dozen jumps out from Pator. Today, a monument stands at the ruins of Fort Kavad to commemorate the victory that assured Minmatar independence.
Aura has the following to say about the Battle of Fort Kavad:
The preserved ruins of Fort Kavad loom over the battlefield where the Minmatar struck the final blow that would secure their territories and allow their fledgling Republic to rise to its full height in relative peace.
Named after an ancient lord of the Ardishapur Family, Fort Kavad sat at the center of the Ortner Redoubt, the last major toehold of the Amarr Empire in Minmatar space at the end of the Great Rebellion. The position guarded the core of the Ammatar Mandate the Amarr had set up as a defensive buffer but more critically was within striking distance of the Minmatar heartlands.
Despite the chaos that the Great Rebellion had sowed across the Empire for several years, many Amarr lords were unwilling to settle for defeat at the hands of their erstwhile slaves. In BYC17, a militant faction at the Imperial Court promoted a plan to use Fort Kavad as a springboard for a counter-offensive that would regain the lost territories. A demoralized and confused Emperor Heideran VII, possibly afflicted by an attack of the Turit Disease he suffered with, allowed the militants to proceed with their plan.
As Amarr forces built up at Fort Kavad, the Minmatar became aware of the plan and knew that an opportunity to strike a decisive blow was at hand. The Battle of the Golgothan Fields had robbed the Amarr of much of their capital ship strength, forcing them to concentrate battleship squadrons at Fort Kavad. Minmatar rebel forces from across their hard-won territories assembled and launched a pre-emptive strike in numbers that would overwhelm the defenses of Fort Kavad and catch the assembling Amarr fleets by surprise.
With Fort Kavad’s defenses crippled and entire battleship squadrons destroyed or disabled, the Amarr were in disarray but refused to retreat knowing well the penalty they would face at the hands of their fanatical lords. Many commanders launched suicidal counter-attacks and some broke past the Minmatar assault in an apparent attempt to mount the counter-offensive they had planned. At high cost in ships, including precious battleships, the Minmatar prevailed and wiped out the scattered Amarr taskforce.
The news of the defeat at Fort Kavad roused Emperor Heideran’s erratic anger and the militant faction at court suffered accordingly for their fatal underestimation of the Minmatar. Once the Emperor had seen to the security of the Ammatar Mandate, he once again lapsed into seclusion, having ordered no further military adventures on pain of death and the enslavement of all relatives of any lord foolish enough to defy the orders.
For the Minmatar, the Battle of Fort Kavad was a famous victory that eliminated the danger of a counter-offensive by the Amarr Empire. In the relative peace the Minmatar fighters had bought with their blood, the Minmatar Republic was established and its defenses secured. Amarr warlords knew better than to openly defy the Emperor’s peace but inevitably the means for militant Amarr and Minmatar to strike at one another was found in the bitter Vindication Wars that would be fought through and against the puppet state of the Ammatar Mandate.
Anyone who has flown through the Amarr system will immediately recognize Fort Kavad’s profile. A tall and narrow station structure, this particular type of Amarr station has always reminded me of a mothership from a hologame I used to play as a kid, though gilded in traditional Amarr gold rather than the soft blues and reds that I was used to. I’ve always wondered if the resemblance was intentional. In any case, today, the gold trimming of Fort Kavad is burnished from centuries of lying in ruin. Unsurprisingly, the only thing to survive is the superstructure of the station itself; it’s long been stripped for parts otherwise, though I imagine that the Republic carried out some minimal restoration for purposes of the monument.
Nearby, the remnants of a few Amarr ships can still be seen. I didn’t recognize some of the classes of ship that can be seen, but those hulls of the ships had been warped and tattered almost beyond recognition, so perhaps that would those particular designs. The remnant ships appear to be draped over nearby asteroids. Perhaps the impetus imparted on the ships as their power cores exploded pushed them into the nearby rocks to drape as they do. In addition to the mysterious ships, the twisted wrecks of more standard Amarr designs (such as the Apocalypse), along with Minmatar ships (such as the Tempest) can be seen. Also nearby is the standard memorial plinth that has gained fashion recently around the cluster. The Minmatar Republic seal glows above the holographic base, a final flag of victory flying over the defeated Amarr station.
Just like the Minmatar over a century again, a number of underdogs managed to upset the presumed status quo over this past tournament weekend, and undoubtedly more such upsets are to come as the tournament continues. There’s a reason why ‘the underdogs are victorious’ are such a well-worn trope in most kinds of fiction: there’s something far more compelling about watching a juggernaut snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Sure, a larger, better funded, better armed team can win. But that’s expected. That’s boring. But when a juggernaut is felled, that’s something. When a supposedly unstoppable force is brought to a screeching halt, that’s a story. That’s something that will be talked about, analyzed, pored over for future generations. So it is with Alliance Tournament underdogs, and so it is with those scrappy rebels that managed to stop the juggernaut of the Amarr Empire.
- Attraction: Battle of Fort Kavad Monument
- System: Odatrik
- Security Rating: 0.8
- Region: Heimatar
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
As a kid, one of my creche teachers liked to tell me that I was destined for great things. I think he just appreciated the fact that I always turned my assignments in on time and that I did relatively well on them, but the fact remains that his words stuck with me, even to this day. But what is “destiny”, really? Am I living that destiny now, as a relatively well-off capsuleer best known for taking pictures and writing about said pictures? Is this really what my creche teacher had in mind? Consider me skeptical. As far as I’m concerned, the universe doesn’t give a whit about me or what I end up doing with my life. I could have been President of the Federation. I could have ended up as a mindflood addict living in the back alleyways of Jita 4-4. My life is my own, and the universe’s plan for me is, frankly, nonexistent.
I know others disagree with me on this take. Depending on exactly who you talk to, either everyone has a destiny of some kind, or certain, special people are destined to have a vast effect on their surroundings. Minmatar society as a whole leans towards the latter interpretation, and this is helped by the process of the Voluval. The exact process is a well-kept secret even to this day, but the general idea is that certain chemicals are injected into both a person’s heart and the base of the spinal nerve. With proper mental preparation, this results in a permanent tattoo appearing somewhere on that person’s body. The various tattoo shapes have different meanings to the Minmatar people, but one in particular is particularly portentous: the Ray of Matar. It’s believed that a person who receives the Ray of Matar after the Voluval ceremony is destined for great things.
One of the people who ended up receiving the Ray of Matar was Karin Midular. A familiar name to interstellar politics, she began her career in politics as a member of the Republic Parliament. Without getting too much into detail here (skip down a few paragraphs if interested!), Midular managed to use her political acumen to become the Chief of the Sebiestor Tribe, one of the largest Tribes in the Republic, and from there springboard her way to Prime Minister. Unfortunately, “destiny”, such as it is, is not always a good thing, and she has the somewhat dubious distinction of being the last Prime Minister of the Minmatar Republic before it was reformed into its current shape under Maleatu Shakor. She died a somewhat ignoble death after a terrorist attack in YC115. She was the only living person with the Ray of Matar tattoo, and she has yet to be replaced.
Today, she serves as the everlasting guardian of the Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai over Pator, given a spot of honor near the space-based hub of the rulers of Minmatar space, in full view of each of the Tribal embassies that surround the main station. Querying the statue gives you the highlights of a long career dedicated to the service of the Seven Tribes:
Born into slavery yet marked for greatness, Karin Midular, the Ray of Matar, lived and died as a symbol for all Minmatar of their culture, history and place in the universe as a people.
Karin Midular was born to parents living in slavery under the Amarr but was smuggled as a baby out of the Amarr Empire, to be raised by the Sebiestor Tribe she was identified as belonging to. Unable to escape themselves, Karin’s parents had not known their clans and no records provided a clue on Matar. Nevertheless, Karin was raised on the steppes of the Mikramurka, heartland of the Sebiestor, in the city of Mithuris. It was when Karin came of age that her destiny became clear as more than merely a liberated orphan.
As with most youth of the Mikramurka clans, Karin took part in a Voluval Ritual close by the Crystal Steppe. It was at this rite that she received the rare, venerated “Ray of Matar” mark, made doubly auspicious by its location under her left eye. Following this event, Karin joined the Midular Clan out of respect for Vormar Midular, her essence instructor.
Eventually, a career in politics beckoned, with Karin Midular convinced that lasting interstellar peace was essential to the future of the Minmatar. She began by campaigning for an end to the Vindication Wars with the Ammatar Mandate but found herself stymied by entrenched political positions in the Republic Parliament. Midular then set out to assemble a political bloc around her and by YC97 had become Chief of the Sebiestor Tribe, having gained the near unanimous support of the federated clans of the huge tribe.
Her status as a Tribal Chief provided a large platform from which to run for office as Prime Minister of the Republic. Though she did not win office immediately, the growing appetite for peace after the long years of the Vindication Wars peaked during the brutal Battle of Tears in YC102. In the election that year Karin Midular was elected Prime Minister by a landslide, with even many of the militant Brutor and Krusual sickened by the bloodshed.
Her first act as Prime Minister was to announce an end to hostilities with the Ammatar Mandate, and her first years saw her as a wildly popular and successful leader of a Republic focused on trade, diplomacy and rebuilding after long years of conflict. For all her political acumen and technical insight, however, even Karin Midular did not foresee the extent to which the licensing of independent capsuleers in YC105 would shake New Eden.
By YC106, Midular felt secure enough to confront the still powerful militarist elements in Minmatar society and moved to ban the wearing or display of the Khumaak ceremonial weapon, or symbols depicting it, by government officials or members of the armed forces. The proposals elicited a harsh counter-reaction from the Krusual Tribe’s leadership and considerable protest among the people. The Republic Security Services were moved to intervene in the security of tribal gathering halls, an ambiguous move by a powerful force often at odds with Midular.
An even more powerful political player moved into the spotlight at this time as Maleatu Shakor took the opportunity to establish his trademark belligerance in the popular mind. While a compromise was eventually brokered, the Khumaak episode was a political disaster that began a slow decline in the fortunes of Prime Minister Midular. The economy of the Republic began to falter in YC107, with many Minmatar increasingly emigrating to the Gallente Federation. Worse yet was the mutiny and rebellion of the Defiants, led by Captain Karishal Muritor in YC108.
Backed by increasingly powerful Minmatar capsuleers, Muritor was a hero to many when he was killed in YC109 during an abortive truce meeting with Republic Fleet forces. The revelation that Midular had given the order to stop him by any means was another political catastrophe and militant Minmatar capsuleers were in the forefront of campaigning for her downfall from that time on. The news that Midular was in secret negotiations with the Ammatar Mandate was leaked at the worst possible time, and a wave of terrorist attacks threatened to destabilize the Republic.
The final days of the Midular government in YC110 were marked by the shocking secession of Skarkon system under the apparently popular rule of the Angel Cartel. In the midst of attempts to resolve this crisis, the news that survivors of the Starkmanir Tribe had been found in the Ammatar Mandate broke. Worse yet was a motion of no confidence proposed by Maleatu Shakor. The final blow was news of a Minmatar-Thukker fleet headed by Keitan Yun threatening CONCORD.
Parliament descended into chaos as Midular attempted to call for new elections. In an apparent coup attempt, Midular herself was almost assassinated by Amarr agents, saved only by the actions of a clandestine force that had begun eliminating Amarr infiltrators and Minmatar collaborators. The government of Karin Midular collapsed as a counter-coup launched by Keitan Yun and Maleatu Shakor ushered in emergency rule by a temporary military junta.
Despite events, Karin Midular was still Sebiestor Chief and the Ray of Matar, and in her post-government years regained a significant degree of political influence as a counter-balance to the militarist factions and security forces. The new Tribal Republic created by Prime Minister and then Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor was not to her taste but the Ray worked tirelessly to bring out the constructive and creative virtues of Minmatar culture. Ever a believer in diplomacy, Chief Midular often visited other nations of New Eden in her neverending search for lasting peace.
It was on one such trip in YC115 that Karin Midular was to meet her fate. A lone gunman detonated explosives and opened fire at a Federal Tribes cultural event attended by Midular in Caille on Gallente Prime. Among the 58 dead and 304 wounded was Karin Midular. Gravely wounded, Midular was transferred to the Republic for treatment but could not be saved. Apparently eschewing a clone backup for personal reasons, Karin Midular, the last living Ray of Matar, died on YC115.03.07. In accordance with Sebiestor tradition, Chief Karin Midular’s body was returned to the Mikramurka in a sky burial at the Place of Silence outside Mithuris.
The life of Karin Midular leaves a lasting legacy of principle and courage on behalf of the Minmatar people. She faced fate and the future as a Ray of Matar should and we all may learn from her example. This memorial is established by order of the Tribal Council of Matar, YC123.
As I noted, Midular stands just a few kilometers from the Orbital Caravanserai that serves as the primary space-based location for the Minmatar government. Midular, sculpted out of a black metal with bronze highlights. She keeps a watchful eye on the Caravanserai complex, one hand holding the other as she stands forever in a dignified but cautious pose that captures her mark on Minmatar history well. Her Ray of Matar marking is clearly visible under her left eye, the bronze coloring drawing attention to it without making it the center of attention, if that makes any sense. She stands forever watching the sun that she tried so hard to ensure remained in Matari hands.
I’m tempted to wax philosophic on the concept of destiny. But regardless of whether the impact that Midular had on the Republic resulted from her destiny in the universe, the self-confidence that resulted from receiving the Ray of Matar from the Voluval, or just the fact that she was a talented person in the right place at the right time, no one can deny that Karin Midular had a vision that she did her utmost best to see fulfilled. It was a shame that she was taken from the Cluster too soon, but perhaps that, too, was part of her destiny. Remind me to follow up with my creche teacher that that was not what he had in mind for me.
- Attraction: Karin Midular: Ray of Matar
- System: Pator
- Security Rating: 1.0
- Region: Heimatar
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
A younger sibling inevitably ends up having a complicated relationship with the older one. I don’t mean that in a bad way, of course (or, at least, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a bad way), but the relationship is almost never a simple one. The older sibling is the trailblazer (like it or not): he or she figures out what works and, perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t. The younger sibling, in turn, is left to figure out how to follow in the older sibling’s footsteps (or not). As a result, the younger sibling almost inevitably goes through phases of idolizing, hating, copying, and pushing away the older sibling over the course of years (or, perhaps, over the course of seconds). Eventually, however, the younger sibling realizes that they are their own person. What worked for the older sibling may not work for the younger, and vice versa. Realizing that separation and becoming one’s own person can be a difficult, but vital, realization for any sibling (and for the parents of those siblings, for that matter).
As usual, this is a rather tortured metaphor for New Eden on a broader scale: in this particular instance, the Minmatar and the Gallente. The metaphor is obviously not perfect, but in many ways, the Federation did act as an older sibling to the Republic as the Minmatar re-learned how to be a self-governing nation after winning its independence from Amarr slavery. In classic self-important Gallente fashion, when it was time to set up how the Minmatar would govern themselves, the Gallente “strongly recommended” that the Republic follow the model that had proved (mostly) so successful for the Gallente. And the Republic followed suit, setting a tripartite republic that would look familiar to any Gallente schoolchild, but ignored the unique cultural and political history of the Minmatar.
I speak, of course, of the Seven Tribes. The Gallente, in our usual way, ignored the importance of the Tribes in the every day life of the Minmatar, unwilling to believe that something that meant little the Gallente (familial relations on such a large scale) could have deep and significant meanings to another. And for two centuries, the Republic tried to follow the Gallente example. But the cultural inertia eventually became too much to ignore. As the disastrous premiership of Karin Midular came to its ignoble end (a story I will turn to in the next entry), Maleatu Shakor, another leader in Minmatar society, decided that the time was ripe for the Republic to put its own stamp on the concept of self-governance.
Shakor had a new vision for the Minmatar Republic that restored the supremacy of the Tribes, flinging off the ideals of its older sibling, the Gallente. Rather than being led by an elected Parliament, the Tribal Council, with representatives from each of the Seven Tribes, would meet weekly to decide matters of state in the Great Caravanserai on Matar. Shakor also revived the concept of the Sanmatar to lead the Tribal Council, and soon found himself installed in that position. In the way that all younger siblings eventually must, the Minmatar had finally decided how they themselves wanted to live. They kept the self-governing ways that the Gallente tried to instill, but in a unique way that more fully represented the rich cultural history of the Minmatar.
Although the Great Caravanserai on Matar served as the formal meeting place of the Tribal Council, it eventually became apparent that a Council that governed an interstellar republic needed better access to interstellar space, leading the Council to eventually establish the Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai in orbit of Matar. Here, the Council could more quickly gather in times of emergency, while also providing both additional space for the offices and embassies necessary for the burgeoning Republic and the more modern settings necessary for interstellar governance that might seem out of place in the storied and ancient halls of the Great Caravanserai itself.
Needless to say, I was eager to check out the Orbital Caravanserai once construction was complete. As I arrived in the vicinity, I queried Aura to get her take on the station complex:
The Tribal Council is the collective head of state of the Minmatar Republic. The council is made up of the chiefs of the Seven Tribes of Minmatar and is chaired by the Sanmatar. While each tribe is substantially sovereign unto itself, the Tribal Council in practice wields enormous executive power by the common consent of the tribes. The traditional leadership role of Sanmatar functions as a mediator with no formal vote in the Council, but the holder of this office can be given emergency powers and is typically delegated command of the Republic’s armed forces by the tribes.
The formal meeting place of the Tribal Council is the Great Caravanserai in the Eyniletti Plains of Matar. However, the Tribal Council often meets remotely or at other convenient locations. The “Orbital Caravanserai” was established to provide a meeting place and transit station for chiefs, appointed deputies, and others attending Tribal Council meetings. The Tribal Council’s secure FTL communications are now routed through this fortified location and it readily facilitates remote participation by holopresence. The facility is also used by delegations from Minmatar clans and circles, ambassadors from other empires and states, and corporate executives seeking the ear of the Council.
The most striking aspect of the Orbital Caravanserai complex is the main station itself. A classic example of Minmatar architecture, the station that hosts the legislature of the Minmatar Republic still feels as if it is held together by rust, duct tape, and dreams. Of course, like all Minmatar engineering these days, the structures are bound together quite more soundly than that, but despite the relative richness of the Republic these days, they seem to pride themselves on that aesthetic. Between the various docking pathways into the station, the arcology domes connected to the main structure host a dense urban landscape within them, presumably home to the many support staff and bureaucracy necessary for the functioning of the Tribal Council. Somewhat surprisingly, the station also appears to host some heavy industry, with flares and vents very visible on the station superstructure. Unsurprisingly, when I requested docking clearance at the station, I was turned down rather unceremoniously.
In an arc around the station, each Tribe has also been granted an embassy. Although structurally the same (and demonstrating the classic Minmatar love of vertical supremacy), each embassy is burnished in the colors of that Tribe, and is guarded by a small task force of that Tribe’s ships. Near the embassy proper also stands a small structure flying the standard of that Tribe. The embassies allow each Tribe to have its own administrative center, where it can be sure of secured channels for deliberations and consultations. In querying each embassy, Aura provides a brief summary of each Tribe (reproduced in the appendix at the end of the entry), but has this to say about each of the embassies itself:
This [Tribal] Embassy serves as a facility that is unarguably the territory of the [Tribe] within the Orbital Caravanserai complex. Here the Chief [of that Tribe] takes counsel with elders, advisors, industrialists, and delegations from member clans of the tribe, secure in the knowledge that opportunities for eavesdropping and subtle interference by other parties are severely curtailed.
I remain vaguely uncomfortable with the cultural imperialism so endemic to the Federation. We have a bad habit of assuming that, despite the vast diversity in human history and experience, ultimately everything is one size fits all, and that the Gallente way of doing things is the best for everyone. But that viewpoint has caused the Federation any number of problems in the past, most notably in the Caldari secession, but also with respect to the Minmatar. We assumed our system would work, without giving any consideration to the history and values of the people we helped to free. Sure, the Republic declared independence from the Amarr and those that enslaved its people in the past (and continue to do so). But it took another 2 centuries for it to declare independence from those that helped the Republic achieve that independence. In its own way, that takes just as much courage.
But it’s a courage that little siblings across the cluster are more than familiar with.
- Attraction: Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai
- System: Pator
- Security Rating: 1.0
- Region: Heimatar
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
Appendix (Tribal descriptions):
With a culture emphasizing the virtues of patience, contemplation, and practical skill, the Sebiestor are known far and wide as engineers and inventors. The Sebiestor reputation for tinkering with any kind of technology is well deserved, and this excellence in engineering naturally propelled the Sebiestor to the fore during the period when the old Minmatar Empire pushed into space. During the Amarr occupation, the Sebiestor did much to hold what remained of Minmatar society together with their skill at maintaining or adapting technology. The Sebiestor Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
Pride is a common Minmatar trait, but the Krusual are wont to take it to extraordinary lengths. They rarely lose an opportunity to remind the other tribes that they alone managed to maintain strongholds in the mountainous Tronhadar region of Matar during the Amarr occupation. It is certainly remarkable that in all the long years of the occupation, the Amarr were unable to once and for all crush Krusual resistance. Their ability to hold onto a certain amount of independence during the occupation resulted in the Krusual retaining more of their pre-conquest culture than any other tribe, and their underground bases played an important role in sheltering some Vherokior mystics. The Krusual Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
The Brutor are marked by a disciplined stoicism and deeply spiritual cast of mind that combine to project a sense of nobility around the people of this tribe. While the Brutor have a traditional mindset, they suffered great loss of cultural heritage and knowledge of their history during the Amarr occupation. To the occasional annoyance of the other tribes, the Brutor consider themselves responsible for the freedom of the entire Minmatar people and make no bones about standing on this claim for political purposes when it suits them. In particular, the Brutor are great supporters and protectors of the Starkmanir Tribe, on account of the former originating as an offshoot of the latter. The Brutor Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
Vherokior are disinclined to engage in great collective efforts, and their various clans are rather loosely grouped under the tribal chief’s authority. Indeed, the clans themselves hold nominal authority in many cases, with the family being by far the most important social unit to the individual Vherokior. These families are traditionally matriarchal in structure, though the aftermath of the Amarrian occupation has disrupted this pattern somewhat, as with so many other aspects of Minmatar tribal culture. Most Vherokior have long-abandoned the ancient nomadism of their tribe but the Vherokior mystics are the guardians of the Voluval Ritual and travel immense distances in this role. The Vherokior Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
The Nefantar Tribe played a notorious role during the Amarr Empire’s occupation of the Minmatar home worlds as collaborators who actively assisted in the enslavement of other tribes by the Amarr. When the Great Rebellion succeeded in driving the Amarr from the Minmatar Regions, the Amarr subsequently set up the Nefantar in a puppet state called the Ammatar Mandate. Unbeknownst to anyone else, certain Ammatar elites had hidden a large number of Starkmanir survivors from the Amarr within the Mandate. After the discovery of the Starkmanir led to a Minmatar invasion in YC110, the Nefantar conspirators and their families led a mass defection back to the Minmatar Republic, assisting in the recovery of the Starkmanir. Today, the Nefantar tribe has been restored as one of the Seven Tribes of Matar.
According to what remains of the historical records of the Minmatar, the Thukker tribe had always been a nomadic people, journeying back and forth across Matar in large caravans. The development of the old Minmatar Empire appears to have done little to inhibit the wandering of the Thukker. Indeed, the Great Caravanserai itself was constructed by the Thukker long ago to serve as a major junction in their network of routes and caravanserais. The Amarr found the Thukker intractable and many escaped to remote areas of space, forming the nucleus of the later culture of Great Caravans. The Thukker were notable fighters in the Great Rebellion but declined to join in the founding of the Republic. The wanderering Thukker Tribe officially joined the Republic in YC111, maintaining full autonomy of their Great Wildlands region but once more uniting the Minmatar as seven tribes.
Subjected to an Amarr campaign of annihilation, the Starkmanir Tribe was considered lost for centuries until the discovery in YC110 of a viable surviving population hidden by Nefantar elites on Halturzhan, the sixth planet of Jarizza in the Ammatar Mandate. The discovery spurred a Minmatar fleet into an invasion of Amarr territories with a view to recovering the Starkmanir and as many other enslaved Minmatar as possible. The vast majority of surviving Starkmanir were successfully recovered, evacuated to the Minmatar Republic, and settled on lands set aside for them by the larger tribes. The Starkmanir tribe is also notable for being the mother tribe of two splinter clans that went on to become major tribes in their own right: the Brutor and the Vherokior. This Starkmanir Tribal Embassy serves as a facility that is unarguably the territory of the Starkmanir within the Orbital Caravanserai complex. Here the Chief takes counsel with elders, advisors, scholars, and delegations from clans of the tribe, secure in the knowledge that opportunities for eavesdropping and subtle interference by other parties are severely curtailed
Solitude is solitary no more. Solitude had always lived up to its name by being an exclave of the Federation. Rather than connecting directly to the rest of Gallente space, the region was only accessible through the low security Amarr regions of Aridia and Genesis or through a trek through Intake Syndicate-controlled null security space (unless, of course, you were lucky enough to find a wormhole connection, though that raises its own host of problems). It was an odd situation for a sizeable chunk of Gallente citizens, and one that newly-elected President Celes Aguard had promised to rectify during her successful election campaign. She followed through with that campaign promise with this week’s opening of a stargate between Solitude’s Eggheron and the system of Kenninck in Placid. Although the region is still only accessible by traveling through low security space, it no longer stands completely isolated from the rest of the Federation.
And that means it’s easier than ever to go take a look at one of the lesser-known wonders of New Eden, the Trace Cosmos. The Trace Cosmos is a vast interstellar wasteland that fills the gap between Solitude’s settled stars, Aridia, and the capsuleer-controlled region of Fountain. Despite its location between 3 well-travelled regions of space, there’s only one system close enough to the wastelands to allow visual observation of the field without specialized equipment: the Solitude system of Gererique. At the tail end of a short pipeline from the bulk of the high security systems in Solitude (which includes the system of Postouvin, which readers may recall as the site of the Kyonoke Outbreak in YC 119), Gererique sits on the very edge of the Trace Cosmos. And it’s just as well that it’s not any closer to the Trace Cosmos, as Aura explains:
The fields of Trace Cosmos hold miniscule black holes and weird spatial rifts, making it much too dangerous to traverse. It is widely believed that the fields are the remnants of a massive collision between two galaxies millions of years ago. The colossal occurrence permanently altered the areas most affected, turning them into barren death traps.
Barren and full of death they may be, the Trace Cosmos are also absolutely gorgeous. From the safety of Gererique, the fields dominate the sky, glowing a vibrant purple hue. Along with the countless smaller black holes that make up the field, there are perhaps a dozen or so that are large enough or close enough to have an accretion disk and relativistic jets visible from the system. At first glance, it may seem paradoxical that something that is most well known for having so much gravity that even light can’t escape could be so bright against the blackness of space. But having that much mass in such a small area has the effect of drawing in the interstellar gas and other matter near the black hole and, in doing so, accelerating them to incredible speeds. Before the matter is swallowed up by the black hole, the gas begins to collide with other matter being pulled into the maw of the black hole, and because everything is travelling at such high speeds, the friction alone is enough to make the accretion disk shine like a sun, glowing not just in visible light but ultraviolet and even x-ray, and because the disk is beyond the event horizon (the so-called point of no return), the energy can escape the black hole’s clutches to ionize the more distant gas in the field, giving the Trace Cosmos its iconic violet glow.
With so many black holes in such a compact area of space, it’s unsurprising that the Trace Cosmos is an area ripe for scientific research. The research giant Duvolle Laboratories has taken advantage of Gererique’s unique location to construct the Duvolle Gravitational Wave Observatory near the first planet in the system. Gravitational waves, ripples in the very fabric of space-time itself, are most easily detected when bodies with incredibly high gravities interact with each other, so it’s unsurprising that the Trace Cosmos, with its multitude of black holes, is a fertile hunting ground for the elusive waves. Although the Labs are best known for their biotech and propulsion systems, they have a sprawling research portfolio, and its clear that they have invested significant funds into developing the Observatory here. Aura has this to say when asked about the Observatory:
This Duvolle Laboratories corporate research facility was established in the Gererique system to take advantage of close proximity to the field of miniscule black holes and weird spatial rifts known as “Trace Cosmos”. Gererique has the notable distinction of being the only inhabited system that comes close enough to sections of Trace Cosmos to make the phenomena visible to the naked eye.
The results of research conducted at this observatory are considered closely guarded trade secrets of Duvolle Laboratories.
Closely guarded as the results of the research may be, Duvolle does not appear to mind you coming to take a look at the equipment used. The main research center is a station of Gallente design, with a distinctive sun-shield on one side and various jutting arms that I presume are filled with all manner of scientific equipment. But the observatory itself, I presume, is found a few kilometers from the station. There, surrounded by constantly moving antennae pointing every which way, sits a large stack of rings that are strongly reminiscent of some other research facilities that I once studied in Drifter Hive systems. A soft blue glow emanates from within the rings that stands out all the more because of the vibrant violet hues of the Trace Cosmos. I could not possibly begin to describe the functions of the rings, but they certainly look impressive enough from my layperson’s perspective.
As much as I tried to pay attention to the Observatory itself, however, I found my eyes drawn repeatedly back to the stunning views of the Trace Cosmos. The ever-shifting dance of black holes is easily apparent even from this distance, and the streaking jets and swirling accretion disks were almost hypnotic to watch. I found myself glad that Gererique is now at least somewhat easier to access from the rest of the Federation. More citizens deserved to behold this breathtaking view and to watch the hypnotic remains of a titanic collision that occurred before humans had even evolved. Solitude is indeed solitary no more and, though the introverts among us may disagree, at least in terms of having access to the views of the Trace Cosmos, that is very much a good thing.
- Attraction: Duvolle Gravitational Wave Observatory and Trace Cosmos
- System: Gererique
- Security Rating: 0.7
- Region: Solitude
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen. Additionally, although the system is high security space, please note that this is a high sec pocket and is ONLY accessible through either null security space, a few low security routes, or a fortuitous wormhole connection.
With tensions just a tad high across the Cluster at the moment, maybe now is the time to look back at what was, in retrospect, a more peaceful time for almost all concerned. YC 105, probably best known as the beginning of the age of the capsuleer, was also notable for the death of Heideran VII. Heideran had been the ruler that empires across history dream of: beloved, peaceful, and, in a particular rarity given later events in the Empire, long-ruling. During the reign of Heideran, the Empire made peace with the nascent Minmatar Republic and joined CONCORD, two events that would have been unthinkable for almost any other emperor in history. Indeed, Heideran was the only ruler that many in the Empire had ever known. His death, though not entirely unexpected given his long battle with Turit disease, still acted as a wake-up call to many in the empire.
Although it couldn’t have been known at the time, Heideran’s death also marked the end of an era of peace in the Cluster, though you probably would not have guessed that based on his successor. Doriam II was, in many ways, cut from the same cloth as Heideran, and in retrospect it seems a minor miracle that he managed to win in the first succession trial to be fought with the use of capsuleer champions. Although he ended up having a famously poor taste in chamberlains, Doriam strove to maintain the legacy of Heideran, both within the Empire and in terms of its relations to the other major nations of New Eden. By no means particularly seeking to rock the boat, Doriam sought to maintain peace with all except for that splinter sect of the Amarr religion known as the Blood Raiders. Indeed, it was his particular antipathy for the sect that ultimately led to his assassination just 2 years into his reign. No Amarr ruler since Heideran has lasted more than a handful of years.
The recently constructed Emperor Doriam II Memorial in Kor-Azor Prime sums up Doriam’s legacy thusly:
During his short rule, Emperor Doriam II was known as a benevolent leader to his people, a peacemaker with the neighboring empires, and a stalwart enemy of the heretical Blood Raiders. Born Doriam Kor-Azor, he was elevated to the Golden Throne thanks to the support of the capsuleers Ecliptical, BlackViper, Grikl and Kileak in the Amarr Championships of YC105.
Doriam II strived to be a just leader for all citizens of the Amarr Empire, demonstrating this commitment early in his reign by embarking on an extended tour to visit every inhabited planet within Amarr space to hear the concerns of local Holders and appear before their populace.
Viewed as a sympathetic successor to Heideran VII, Emperor Doriam II continued his predecessor’s irenic stance towards the Amarr Empire’s neighbors, including efforts to maintain the tenuous peace with the Minmatar Republic. His primary military interventions were directed towards the Blood Raider Covenant, including a major assault on the Blood Raider strongholds within the Bleak Lands by combined forces of the Amarr Navy and capsuleer loyalists.
The success of Doriam II’s campaign against the Blood Raiders saw them driven from the Bleak Lands and the reassertion of imperial rule over the systems the cultists had occupied. However, this success was not to be without a price, as Doriam II was assassinated in the Imperial Palace on July 4th, YC107. While the killing was a great mystery for many years, the assassins are now believed to have been members of the “Red Chamberlain” Dochuta Karsoth’s Blood Raider cultist cell.
This monument was erected in YC123 by the Order of Royal Heir Ersilia Kor-Azor in memory of her uncle’s leadership of House Kor-Azor and the Amarr Empire.
The site itself is pretty straightforward. A colossal Doriam II stands guard above the clouds of Eclipticum (itself renamed after the captain of the Emperor’s Championship team in the Succession Trials), his back upright and his arms outstretched as if ready to bear the weight of the empire in his hands. As usual, I find myself impressed by the craftsmanship inherent in the statue. The marble used to construct the giant monument captures the gathering of his robes of state so well it seems as if the statue was the man himself covered by only a thin veneer of stone. Standing in two lines stand an honor guard of 8 Armageddon-class battleships, resplendent in Kor-Azor colors. It’s a grand site to honor someone who was, by all accounts, a kind man devoted to his empire.
That being said, Doriam’s legacy can’t be viewed solely in terms of the good decisions he made or the good intentions that he had. Although I sincerely believe he was a peaceful man who sought to maintain the Empire’s good standing, his errors in judgment cannot be ignored, nor can the chaos that those errors ended up causing. He was, to be sure, not the only one fooled by Dochuta Karsoth (he was initially Heideran’s chamberlain, though Doriam kept him on in the same role), but the fact that a Blood Raider was able to maintain such a high position within the Imperial Palace of an emperor so avowedly anti-Blood Raider is an embarrassment to Doriam’s legacy. And Karsoth’s betrayal directly led to a multi-year interregnum that was only ended by the arrival of Jamyl Sarum, whose legacy is also… questionable at best.
But perhaps I am being unfair. After all, while Doriam may have been a god-emperor revered across the Empire as infallible, he was still ultimately human and therefore imperfect, even if Amarr theology strenuously disagrees with me on that point. He tried, was successful in some ways, and failed in others. Who among us hasn’t experienced that on some level or another? But despite his failings, there can be little doubt that he was devoted to peace across New Eden. As I look back at the events of recent days, I can’t help but be reminded that rulers devoted to maintaining peace for trillions of souls should never be looked down on.
- Attraction: Kor-Azor Battle Site
- System: Kor-Azor Prime
- Security Rating: 0.9
- Region: Kor-Azor
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
Despite being one myself, I have to admit that I don’t really pay much attention to what happens to the capsuleer alliances out in null sec. The alliances come and go. The alliances take space and then lose it (to be fair, I rarely pay attention to gains and losses in the various wars between the empires either). They make broader coalitions only to have those coalitions fall apart as they begin to backstab each other for hopes of further advantage. Sure, after the fact I find the histories written up on the great soap operas of null sec space to be fascinating, and (unsurprisingly) I always appreciate when a battle or some epic struggle culminates in a battle that the Powers That Be seek to commemorate in a landmark or site. But, truth be told, for someone who prides himself on seeking out knowledge on the history of New Eden, I often find myself woefully out of date on current events in New Eden’s perimeter.
One thing that even I paid attention to, however, was the Alliance Tournament. How could you not? Even for those of us who can’t appreciate the finer tactics and strategies that go into the countless choices made during a tournament match, it’s still fun to see some of the best known alliances in the cluster duke it out for the title of champion, and I say this as someone who’s inclination to engage other capsuleers is, shall we say, tenuous, at best. But the fact remains, it was exciting to watch the matches as teams fought against each other, inevitably lost track and left the boundaries of the tournament area, and, yes, even the inevitable Tournaments scandals can be entertaining in their own way. Not to mention the color commentary both during the match and after that revs people up for getting on the applicable so-called Hype Train.
Given the vaunted history of the Alliance Tournament, it’s a little surprising that CONCORD has waited until now to recognize the history of the Tournament and to erect a monument in honor of past winners, particularly given the fact that the Tournament has been on hiatus for a few years now. But the fact remains, a monument has gone up at long last, and recognizes each of the winners of the tournament over its 16-tournament history, along with the Alliance Open held in YC122. It’s a simple, if elegant, site: 17 plinths, one for each tournament as well as the Alliance Open, sit in a half circle. At the center of that half circle stands a large, golden, winged woman reaching for the stars.
Querying the statue through Aura yields the following:
“Throughout history humanity has struggled for survival, fortune and glory. The fight to exceed nature’s limits continues but as often the combat is within and between ourselves.
While the need to hunt for food is long behind us, and life itself is seldom a daily struggle for survival, we still crave the fearful rush that comes with the imminence of death.
There is both terror and majesty in combat: from the steel swords and wooden shields of ancient conflicts; to the masses of kilometers long spacecraft unleashing firepower to equal that of entire planetary wars.
No matter the tools, no matter the arena, all clashes of arms meet and fulfill the same purpose: the need to fight, and the determination to win.”-Khumat Mebroh, Chief Executive Officer, Independent Gaming Commission
And then, of course, there are the memorialized winners, one for each plinth at the site:
- 1st Alliance Tournament (YC 107): Band of Brothers
- 2nd Alliance Tournament (YC 107): Band of Brothers
- 3rd Alliance Tournament (YC 108): Band of Brothers
- 4th Alliance Tournament (YC 109): HUN Reloaded
- 5th Alliance Tournament (YC 110): Ev0ke
- 6th Alliance Tournament (YC 111): Pandemic Legion
- 7th Alliance Tournament (YC 111): Pandemic Legion
- 8th Alliance Tournament (YC 112): Pandemic Legion
- 9th Alliance Tournament (YC 113): HYDRA RELOADED
- 10th Alliance Tournament (YC 114): Verge of Collapse
- 11th Alliance Tournament (YC 115): Pandemic Legion
- 12th Alliance Tournament (YC 116): The Camel Empire
- 13th Alliance Tournament (YC 117) Pandemic Legion
- 14th Alliance Tournament (YC 118): The Tuskers Co.
- 15th Alliance Tournament (YC 119): VYDRA RELOADED
- 16th Alliance Tournament (YC 120): VYDRA RELOADED
- Alliance Open (YC 122): Templis CALSF
As you may notice, it’s been 3 years since the last official Alliance Tournament, and there’s no particular indication that they are going to be picked up again any time in the near future. I have no doubt that there is quite a lot of logistical work that goes into holding the Tournament each year, and I can’t fault the Independent Gaming Commission for being wary of committing more resources to an intense endeavor. Though there is no official news on this particular subject, it was quickly pointed out after unveiling the monument that there were plenty of spots left to be filled in for that circle around the golden statue. Hope, as always, springs eternal.
- Attraction: Alliance Tournament Monument
- System: Manarq
- Security Rating: 0.8
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: Because this is CONCORD space, if you’re below a -3.0 security status, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
[Editor’s note: Wow. That’s about all I can say: wow (you will probably not be surprised to learn that speechlessness is a rare concept for me!). I started this blog in December of 2009, and if you had told me then that I’d be going 11 and a 1/2 years later and that CCP would eventually memorialize this blog with its own site in-game, I would have laughed you out of the room. But, as often as I write about the many varied, strange things that go on in this shared virtual universe of ours, it feels particularly weird to me to be writing about myself. It would be my tendency to make self-deprecating jokes on my own behalf, and that is not how I want to treat something that really is quite an honor by CCP. So I’ve asked my friend and fellow adventurer, Katia Sae of that particular fame, to write this particular site up for me, and she very kindly agreed. To CCP: Thank you for the amazing game you’ve put together, and thank you for this unique distinction. I cannot say enough how much I love the site and how honored I am by it. To my readers: Thank you for reading. As I’ve mentioned previously, I still don’t quite understand the fame I’ve developed over the years, but I am humbled by it nonetheless, and I can sincerely say that this blog would not be going so many years later without the sheer outpouring of kindness and support that I’ve received from the Eve community over the years. To each and every one of you: My sincere thanks for allowing me to be your guide to the sightseeing in the Cluster for all of these years.
Anyway, enough with the mush and on to the good stuff.]
It wasn’t unusual to hear from Mark726 these days as we’ve been working on a project together, but this time speaking with him over comms was a bit different than usual because of the excitement I could hear in his voice. That’s not to say he isn’t excitable, far from it, just mention a far away ancient forgotten site somewhere and his love for lore and adventure comes shining through. It’s just one of the many things I admire about him, his excitement is infectious. This however, wasn’t that. I could tell from his voice this was… different.
He wouldn’t tell me what was up, instead he invited me out to his home system, Mozzidit, in the Genesis region. It’s no mistake his home system is close to the New Eden system where the EVE Gate can be found. The Gate and region were perhaps his favorites among all the sites and places of New Eden and for that matter, probably mine as well. I know he’s talked about spending his early days as a capsuleer exploring this area and basing his operations in Mozzidit because of its close proximity to Amarr for trading and Iyen-Oursta for the elusive Children of Light sighting.
According to him, it was something that I was just going to have to come out and see for myself. I suppose I have been sitting behind a desk for a bit too long tending to Signal Cartel, so the timing felt right to undock and see some sights. I alerted my Chief to prepare ‘Traveller’, a Sisters of EVE Astero-class frigate based on my beloved ‘Voyager’, which was now retired. Setting out from my home system, Saisio, I plotted a course for Mark726’s home system, Mozzidit. The journey wasn’t bad at all at twenty-five jumps for the most secure route and by coming in via Imya, only the last two systems, Antem and Mozzidit, were Low Sec where I had to be a bit more cautious. I had no difficulty at all and didn’t see any threats to be concerned about.
Upon entering the system with its bright and relatively cool but stable K5 orange sun, I was directed by way of a beacon to the last/eighth planet of the eight planet system. First of all, I was a bit surprised by the presence of the beacon, having traveled through this system before, I was unable to recall anything of particular note. Of course, it could be that something recent had been added. Did Mark726 discover something new here after all of these years? I was eager to find out and wanting to be surprised, I declined Aura’s recital of the beacon’s information and instead locked on for warp.
Landing on grid, I wasn’t sure what to expect so I was surprised to find what appeared to be a couple of asteroids. To be surprised for a capsuleer can be deadly, but what I was seeing before me didn’t seem as unusual as I was hoping for. I took in the sight before me for a few moments, before finally taking action, having ‘Traveller’ orbit the area while I processed just what I was seeing. The first thing that caught my eye was what I thought the beacon was established for, The “Giant Snake-Shaped” and “Broken Orange Crystal” asteroids. I had Aura do a search, as I had not heard of these celestial objects in this area, other than a few references to similarly shaped asteroids at other locations. However, she was unable to find any specific information on the ones before me. Mentally scratching my head, I turned to Mark726’s own blog, EVE Travel. No mention there either. I grinned ear to ear, this must be it! He’s discovered some new ancient mystery or tidbit of New Eden lore.
Giant Snake-Shaped Asteroid
Fragments from an asteroid collision or a supernova, this rock formation decorates the starscape as a planetary mountain range.
Broken Orange Crystal Asteroid
This towering asteroid seems to have suffered a tremendous impact, splitting it into multiple pieces.
Excited for him, I couldn’t wait to open comms to learn more about these two objects and was wondering just where he was when Aura said, “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you Katia, the beacon is for the new ‘EVE Travel Agency’ headquarters”… and that’s when my jaw literally dropped.
EVE Travel Agency
This habitation module serves as the home base for the “EVE Travel Agency”, a small independent corporation that provides tours and travel information services to explorers across New Eden. Their proximity to the New Eden system makes them a convenient stopping point for travelers making a pilgrimage to the EVE Gate.
EVE Travel’s GalNet blog is a must-read for all capsuleers seeking to explore New Eden’s various sights.
No longer interested in the asteroids, I set my orbit around the new facilities. There were three structures. The first appeared to be a logistics platform, likely to support shipping and receiving with its landing platforms and container yard. It seemed both modern and practical in design and like other platforms of its kind, I was sure it got the job done.
The next structure could only be the new EVE Travel Agency HQ, with its beautiful design and lighting. I couldn’t picture Mark726 in a luxurious office behind a desk, but if he had one, it was certainly there. I could, however, picture visitors at the center inquiring about travel information and booking excursions. There was probably a waiting area for tourists as they prepared to head out to see the sights of New Eden. I wondered if there was a gift shop as well and if they sold snowglobes. I’ll have to book an excursion and do some shopping while I’m here.
Lastly, I turned ‘Traveller’ towards the final structure, a docking facility, and there was ‘Professor Science’ his Buzzard, a Caldari covert ops frigate. Not only that, there were three brand new shiny tourist shuttles ready for departure. The shuttles were Gallentian style and the red of the red and white trim reminded me of the ‘Steel Cardinal’ ship skin that he is so fond of flying on ‘Professor Science’. My smile only broadened upon seeing Mark726’s ship, after all it was like seeing him in person. As capsuleers, we literally become the ship and it’s as much a part of us as any other part of our own body. To baseliners, it’s hard to describe just what that feels like, but in that moment, I was seeing Mark726, my friend, and I couldn’t be more proud of him than I am today.
After more than ten years of exploring and documenting nearly two-hundred sights around the cluster with EVE Travel, Mark726 laid down and built the foundation in Mozzidit where it all began, establishing himself in the lore of New Eden. I dare say it’s the most exhaustive travel resource you’ll ever find on the cluster. His hard work and dedication over the years is admired by all that take in his blog and the ‘EVE Travel Agency’ is a fitting tribute. His blog was a main source of inspiration to me and I know countless others to go out, explore, and see the stars. I started off as a fan, but have been blessed and honored to call him friend over the years and was absolutely thrilled and honored when he asked me to work up this blog post for EVE Travel.
- Attraction: EVE Travel Agency
- System: Mozzidit
- Security Rating: 0.3
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: Getting to Mozzidit from high sec space requires just a couple of jumps of low sec travel if you approach via the Imya system in Genesis. Pirates (both pod and rat varieties) can be quite common on the route. A covops would be recommended
New Eden is a small fraction of a vast galaxy. It’s hard to remembering that sometimes, heavens know. Some 5,000 systems filled with thousands of capsuleers, millions of ships, and trillions of individuals. Even just trawling across the cluster feels like you are spanning the galaxy itself. But as vast as New Eden in, space is so much more so. We’ve learned our tiny corner of the galaxy well, but what exists beyond the reach of the stargates remains something of a mystery to us all (Anoikis, which may not even be within our own galaxy, notwithstanding of course). But just one view from null sec of the vast cloud of stars making up the great disk of our galaxy is enough to remind me, for all of our technology and advancements, just how insubstantial we remain in the grand scheme of things.
But that doesn’t stop us from seeking to find out more about our galactic environs. And since capsuleers have proven before that we can serve as useful data crunchers, it should not be surprising that we were called on once again to analyze data for possible planets surrounding stars near the New Eden cluster. Once again under the Project Discovery umbrella, Phase Two involved studying the light curves of stars outside of the stargate network for regular telltale dips that would indicate the likely presence of a planet blocking the light from a central star. As with Phase One, capsuleers took to the project with gusto, and we quickly moved our way through the data sets provided, giving New Eden astronomers crucial starting points on the search for new worlds to send our ships to.
With the outbreak of a new disease requiring significant processing resources, Project Discovery has since moved on to a new project and a new phase, but the Project recently constructed a site to commemorate the discoveries made during Phase Two, and to honor those capsuleers who made the most significant contributions to the stellar transit analyses. The site, unveiled a few weeks ago, can be found in Pakhshi, in CONCORD space. The site is a fairly simple one: a few commemorative observatories surround a central memorial plinth. The plinth’s hologram shows a simple, 4-planet stellar system, of course symbolizing the central thrust of the research carried out under the project. The planets slowly orbit around a central yellow sun.
Of course, queuing the plinth also prompts Aura to display some information:
Project Discovery Phase Two began in July of YC119, following the extremely successful protein classification work of Phase One with a new exoplanets hunting program under the guidance of CONCORD’s Chief of Deep Space Research, Professor Michel Mayor.
This phase of the project marked the official transfer of the Project Discovery mantle from the Sisters of EVE to a dedicated research division within the CONCORD Assembly.
Project Discovery Phase Two advanced the search for new exoplanets significantly in its nearly three year operational lifetime, as capsuleers contributed their expertise to the analysis of stellar light curves in search of planet in search of planetary transits.
Project Discovery Phase Two came to an end on YC122.06.15 and was replaced by a new Phase Three Flow Cytometry project.
Please query the Phase Two Monument’s database for records of those capsuleers who were elite research contributors to Project Discovery’s light curve analysis work.
Following that, there was a note that there appears to be an open Entosis Link port on the central plinth. Running through a full cycle of the module downloads into Aura’s databanks a short record of research achievement, which notes every capsuleer who reached ranks 2,000 through 5,000 in Phase Two.
When Phase Two first began, I did try my hand at the analyses necessary for the project. I have to admit, however, that I didn’t have the patience necessary to stick with the project over a longer period of time. But I am still pleased to have played some small part in unlocking the mysteries of the universe. The sky is sprinkled with the twinkling lights of a thousand stars, and each of those lights has its own story to tell. With Project Discovery Phase Two, I am proud to say that we helped tell those tales.
- Attraction: Project Discovery Phase Two Monument
- System: Pakhshi
- Security Rating: 0.8
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
I suspect none of my readers will be particularly surprised to learn that the Federation Grand Prix holds a special place in my heart. An event whose apparent purpose is to force capsuleers to visit and at least briefly consider major landmarks across high sec, low sec, and null? It’s like the Federation was specifically thinking of me when it decided to start holding the yearly event. The event, held for 2 weeks each year, has morphed from humble beginnings. Back in YC120, the event only involved flying to 1 of 13 different sites within 2 dozen jumps of Luminaire. This year, the event had capsuleers flying (at least) one of 3 long-distance routes across the North, South, and East of New Eden. Each route had numerous points of interest (most, if not all, of which have been covered elsewhere on Eve Travel!) along the way, and while there was no fixed route a pilot had to take (only key systems you had to fly through), even the shortest routes took over 100 jumps to complete, at least assuming that you didn’t luck out with some conveniently placed wormhole shortcuts.
Each of those routes, however, start from the same place: The Federation Grand Prix Starting Line in orbit of Gallente Prime in Luminaire. The starting line has grown over the years, and is now a permanent feature in Luminaire. Dominating the landscape by far when you first warp in is my favorite design of Gallente station. Aura tells me it is a Gallente logistics hub, but I always think of it as the tri-ring. If I’m not careful, I can spend quite a while watching the graceful rotation of those toroids. The tri-ring station serves as the administrative hub for the Grand Prix and its associated bureaucrats (because what kind of Gallente event doesn’t have an army of bureaucrats behind it?), but also serves as the backstop behind the true starting line.
In front of the tri-ring station, a few repair docks sit ready for ships that may need a last-minute tune-up before undertaking one of the routes. Immediately in front of those repair docks is the starting line itself. In true Gallente fashion, the starting line flag is a set of billboards constantly displaying ads from the many sponsors of the Grand Prix, as well as other organizations. The Caldari may be the ones known for megacorporations controlling every aspect of life, but trust me when I say that Gallente capitalism isn’t all that far behind. I have to admit that I miss the traditional checkered flags that should mark the start of the Grand Prix, but who am I to stand in the way of that advertising revenue.
Speaking of that special brand of Gallente capitalism, a number of sponsored viewing stands can be found to the sides of the starting line. Although the stands provide an expansive view of the area, with wide observation domes offering a 360-degree view, I can’t imagine there is actually all that much to see other than ships occasionally warping in, getting their routes, and then starting off again (indeed, viewers from these stands don’t even get to see the ships that finish: a more temporary Grand Prix finish line is generally set up elsewhere in the system to process the pilots that finish the race). I have little doubt that drinks and other substances flow freely within those observation domes, which perhaps adds to the excitement of the event. For those for whom the Grand Prix is even less interesting, a traditional Gallente pleasure hub also awaits to serve those needs.
The final sight at the starting line is the monument intended to commemorate the participants in the Grand Prix who completed the route the most quickly. The Champions of the Federation Grand Prix YC123 monuments is a traditional memorial plinth that stands opposite of the aforementioned pleasure hub. Although, as of the time of this entry, it has yet to be updated for the champions of the most recent Grand Prix, it still has a few things to say:
This monument has been erected to honor the Capsuleers who achieve the fastest completion times in the Federation Grand Prix courses.
Once the YC 123 Federation Grand Prix has finished this monument will be inscribed with the list of top ten racers for each circuit in this year’s event.
I’m particularly glad the Federation has taken to promoting tourism not just within the Federation, but across the cluster. There is a legacy in New Eden that reaches across both the capsuleer and non-capsuleer populations that deserves to be acknowledged, and taking a few weeks a year to let people discover that legacy for themselves, particularly when they may not otherwise, is a fine way to encourage us all to learn about our history. Again, it’s probably not surprising that I support initiatives such as these, but I always love opportunities for a new portion of the population to discover the past of New Eden. So for those of you who are new to exploring New Eden’s history or until now have not given it much thought: welcome! Let’s see what’s out there, shall we?
- Attraction: Federation Grand Prix Starting Line
- System: Luminaire
- Security Rating: 1.0
- Region: Essence
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
Fame is…. well, fame is weird. Particularly when you aren’t trying for it. In writing about the things you can find across New Eden here, I find myself with a modicum of fame to deal with. I admit that there is something captivating about the way someone’s eyes light up when they recognize you, but I also admit that I seem to remain as tongue-tied today as I was the first time that someone recognized me for my writings. Of course, I’m not sure why I even remain surprised by this. Over the years, I have made somewhat of a name for myself across the GalNet and beyond, so I suppose I have no one to blame my tongue-tying on other than myself. Still, that doesn’t stop me from being flustered each time it happens anew (though that is not to say you should not say hello!). As I said, fame is weird!
It’s hard, but certainly not impossible, to be famous in New Eden. It is significantly easier, however, to be famous in New Eden for being a jerk than it is for being famous for not being one. Such individuals are rare across the cluster indeed, but if anyone has that reputation, it is certainly Chribba. I’ve written about Chribba before, of course, in the context of his still-trusty Veldnaught that can still be seen plying the asteroid belts in Amarr to this day. And it’s more than just a reputation! I’ve had the honor of meeting Chribba a few times over the years, as we’ve run into each other at a few capsuleer gatherings, and I can say with full honesty that he is genuinely a nice person. His reputation is well-earned.
In a cluster known for its backstabbing and devious ways, it’s genuinely refreshing to see someone getting honored for the good they have done across New Eden. Indeed, HZO Refinery and Upwell seem to be looking for some good-guy coat tails in having a statue erected in Chribba’s honor in his home system of Amarr. Here’s what they’ve written up with respect to the Renowned Good Guy:
Some know him as a GalNet tools developer, others as broker of high-value transactions, others still as a passionate Veldspare enthusiast. Most know him simply as the most trusted capsuleer in New Eden. [links added by the author]
Quite possibly the most famous capsuleer alive, Chribba has been a pillar of the community for many years. He can often be found in the vicinity of Amarr flying one of his non-traditional mining ships.
This statue was constructed in YC123 as a joint project between the HZO Refinery corporation and the Upwell Consortium in honor of his many contributions to the capsuleer community and the economy of New Eden.
Among a crowd of immortal warlords, Chribba stands out for building his legacy through trust and peaceful industry. His success stands as a testament that there are many paths to greatness in New Eden and Capsuleers should be bold in charting their own course.
“Never let anyone else dictate your goals”. – Chribba
Matching the golden nebula that surrounds the Amarr system quite well, the Chribba monument stands several kilometers tall near Amarr VIII, about 180,000 kilometers from the main trading hub in the system. The statuesque pose has Chribba with one arm on his hip, and the other reaching out in a friendly way, seemingly ready to welcome anyone who comes near like an old friend. In front of him floats a holographic Veldnaught, probably the object he is most infamously associated with, that orbits a small cluster of asteroids, mining beams active. Appropriately, Chribba’s head is turned to look directly at the holographic Veldnaught, and you can almost feel the true affection he has for his ship, which goes to show the attention given to detail in the monument’s construction.
I’m truly pleased to see Chribba given recognition for his work. This isn’t the first time this has happened over the years, and I suspect it will not be the last either. And yet, despite all of his well-earned acclaim, he always seems determined not to let it go to his head. It’s a simple, unassuming but well-earned monument for a capsuleer who does so much for the community. And while fame may indeed be weird, it is good to see that not all capsuleers get caught up in it as the end-all be-all, and instead seem content to simply sit back and enjoy the ride that it brings.
- Attraction: Chribba Monument
- System: Amarr
- Security Rating: 1.0
- Region: Domain
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
Editor’s note: This is an entry for the revised version of the Mekhios Graveyard, which was released in March of YC 123 (2021). If you are looking for the original (very brief) entry, please see here.
After weeks of escalating tensions, including a showdown in Yulai, things had finally come to a head in the cluster. The Elder Fleet, a Minmatar armada built over decades in secret in the far reaches of the cluster, had just taken down CONCORD’s central command facility in a mere 15 minutes, paralyzing the agency’s threat response capabilities. It remains one of the most galling acts of defiance against CONCORD’s authority since the agency established credibility ending the first Gallente/Caldari war. With CONCORD out of the picture, a plan decades in the making came to fruition as the Elder Fleet swept through Amarr space, not only freeing Amarrian slaves of their chemical dependency and, thus, from their enslavement, but also heralding the return of the estranged Nefantar tribe to the Minmatar flock. Long thought to be traitors to the rest of the Minmatar nation by collaborating with the slavemasters, over the weeks and months that followed the Elder invasion, it became clear that the Nefantar alliance with the Amarr had at least some measure of support from the Minmatar Elders all the way from the start as a way to gain intelligence on the Amarr as well as to shelter certain problematic tribes from the Amarr.
The Amarr, caught off guard, struggled mightily to respond to the sudden invasion. Led by the, shall we say, less than competent Dochuta Karsoth during an unfortunately lengthy interregnum, it seemed that nothing could stop the Minmatar fleets as they drew ever closer to the Throneworld. The Imperial Navy haplessly tried to respond further out, but the admirals decided to launch one last stand in Sarum Prime. Just one jump from Amarr herself, this would be the last opportunity for the Amarr to put any kind of stop to the rampaging Minmatar fleet. Still, morale was low given the utter inability for the Amarr to stop the Minmatar up until that point, and there was little hope that even the gathered fleets in Sarum Prime would be able to do much more than delay the inevitable.
But then, reports started trickling in that Jamyl Sarum had arrived in Sarum Prime leading a new fleet of fresh ships. To those not paying attention, that may have been an unremarkable event except for the fact that Jamyl was supposed to be, well, dead. And not in the capsuleer kind of way. As the Sarum Heir, Jamyl was forbidden by the Doctrine of Sacred Flesh from using cloning technology to resurrect herself after death. So you could probably imagine everyone’s surprise when Jamyl showed up in Sarum Prime during the middle of a Minmatar invasion nearly 5 years after losing to Doriam Kor-Azor in the YC 105 succession trials and being forced to commit ritualistic suicide. And not only had she arrived on the scene, but she arrived on the scene with gusto.
Shortly after Jamyl’s arrival, a massive explosion occurred over Sarum Prime. In a single blast, Jamyl drew the Elder Invasion to a close. The Elder Fleet over Sarum Prime was destroyed in a single hit, and that victory was enough to rout the other Minmatar fleets out of Amarr space and send them running back home. The Amarr (or, more specifically, Jamyl) had won.
But even after the Minmatar were routed from Amarr space, the method of Jamyl’s victory remains a mystery to this day. Rumors abound, of course, ranging from divine intervention of the sort that routinely happens in scripture to some kind of ancient superweapon. No particular explanation was ever provided, and it’s likely that Jamyl took the secret to her grave (well, her second grave, I suppose).
Although CONCORD quickly marked the site of the infamous battle, the site was otherwise left to languish for the next decade. A number of wrecks, both Amarrian and Matari, littered the site, but with little in the way of historical preservation being carried out at the site, the wrecks soon collapsed in on themselves, turning into indistinguishable lumps of metal slowly spinning in the shadow of Sarum Prime. I would check in on the site every now and then (it was only a jump away from Amarr Prime, after all), and noted that as the years went on the battlefield seemed to grow ever more dilapidated. So it was with great interest that I heard that the Amarr had finally gotten around to carrying out some historical preservation at the site, restoring a number of the old wrecks to something more cognizable.
Needless to say, I quickly made my way over.
When I arrived, the first thing I did was query the central monument to see just what
propaganda information the Amarr were giving on the subject:
In the moment of our greatest need, with savage enemies at the gates, Jamyl Sarum returned from the embrace of God to rescue her people from destruction in YC110.
Though Royal Heir Jamyl Sarum had undertaken the Rite of Shathol’Syn following the victory of Doriam Kor-Azor’s champions in the Amarr Championships of YC105, the Elder Fleet invasion of YC110 so threatened Holy Amarr that divine intervention restore her to the temporal world. Jamyl Sarum’s Holy Flotilla was able to destroy the Elder Fleet with a weapon of divine power and liberate Amarr from a terrible doom.
Acclaimed a divine savior by the Empire, Jamyl I was crowned Empress of Holy Amarr following the repulsion of the Minmatar Elder Fleet from the territories of the Amarr Empire. Since her untimely death and return to the embrace of God, Empress Jamyl I has also been known as “St. Jamyl the Liberator”.
This monument has been erected within the graveyard of broken warships above Mekhios in memory of our great liberator Empress Jamyl I, that her heroic deeds never be forgotten or allowed to diminish in the passing of the ages.
“I am the Harbinger of Hope! I am the Sword of the Righteous! Unto all who hear my voice I say this: what you give to this Empire, I shall give back unto you!” – Empress Jamyl I, Coronation Speech, YC110.
Say whatever you will about the Empire’s propaganda machine, they know how to restore a site well. The first thing your eye is drawn to is the giant, stereotypically golden statue commemorating Jamyl herself. She stands fully upright, facing down the tightest mass of Matari wrecks at the site. Her arms, outstretched, seem to be guarding the holographic Amarr relief fleet that she used to rescue the Imperial forces from their rout. Most of the ships in the holographic fleet are small and indistinguishable, but the central Abaddon-class battleship, ostensibly the one that fired the still-mysterious superweapon. At the bow of the Abaddon, a glowing white ball represents the weapon that brought the invasion to such a screeching halt. It’s a moment frozen in time, ready to fire.
After focusing in on that moment frozen in time, the rest of the battlefield slowly come into view, showing the immediate aftermath of that moment. Unsurprisingly, directly in front of Jamyl sits the wreck of a Matari Ragnarok-class titan. Nearby sit the remains of other Matari capital ships. The vertical Naglfar-class dreadnoughts stand out the most, but other ships like Nidhoggur-class carriers can also be seen. Somewhat surprisingly, surges of energy can still be seen flowing among these wrecks. The white arcs of energy appear to be relics of the superweapon, still actively cascading energy even nearly 13 years later. Despite approaching them, the arcs didn’t cause any apparent damage.
But the Matari were not the only ones who took losses over Sarum Prime. The sprawling battlefield site, spanning hundreds of kilometers from one end to the other, include quite a few Imperial wrecks as well. Indeed, I was initially started when an Avatar-class titan seemed to loom over me from a distance, apparently sparking with energy and prepared to fire. After a few moments of travel, it was clear that the dusty site had obscured that the Avatar, like the Matari ships, was simply a wreck. I had been scared by only a ghost, though admittedly one that was at least still sparking with energy. The wrecks of other Imperial capital ships can be found nearby, though none were quite as imposing.
On a whim, after leaving the battlefield, I decided to look up my initial writings on the Mekhios Graveyard. It’s only the fourth site I ever wrote about, dating back to a time when I was still trying to find my own voice and style. I hadn’t even bought the first Professor Science yet! The writing is, to put it kindly, concise, though lacking in any kind of context or description, if I had to be honest. It amazes me to see how far my writing has come since those few scant paragraphs (though perhaps the readers who have made it this far may beg differ). In any case, I’ve long struggled with how to best handle these kinds of areas that the Powers That Be have revamped over the years. The Mekhios Graveyard was not the first, nor will it be the last if current information is any indication. Like the Amarr, however, I’ve ultimately decided that maintaining the old information is important, so long as the information also indicates that it’s out of date and where to find more current information. After all, historical preservation is important for the written word as much as the battlefields of New Eden, as I’m sure the Amarr could attest.
Though maybe I could stand to learn once again that there is something to be said for being a bit more concise.
- Attraction: Mekhios Graveyard
- System: Sarum Prime
- Security Rating: 1.0
- Region: Domain
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
I grew up a few hours away from the nearest major city, on the other side of a major nature preserve on Gallente Prime. My father (the Luddite that he is; the irony is not lost on me) always preferred ground transportation over the orbital shuttles whenever possible, so whenever we needed to make a trip into the city, we generally drove on the established roadways through the preserve. We only took the trip a few times a year, but I have vivid memories of watching through the forward window as the city rose over the rolling plains of the preserve, the glitter and glam of modern Gallente arcologies, modern Gallente life, slowly rising over the gentle green hills of the preserve. That image stuck with me all through my childhood, probably far more than my father would have liked, all things considered, and it always promised to me a day full of luxury, fun, and adventure.
That image, which I hadn’t thought of in quite some time, came rushing back in full force as I dropped out of warp near the newly renovated Caldari Navy Assembly Plant at Jita 4-4. Of course, the infamy of Jita 4-4 (as it is colloquially referred to, despite the presence of a second station orbiting the same moon) makes the description of the largest trade hub in New Eden nearly superfluous for all. By almost any measure, be it ISK volume, trade flows, net imports, presence of rare items, or any other measure, Jita 4-4 dominates the field, to the point where the economists of the cluster will at times exclude The Forge from economic analyses just to allow them to see details from other regions. To say that Jita 4-4 is the economic heart of New Eden would be an understatement.
It’s actually surprisingly easy to forget that this is not just the way things always have been, but Jita’s emergence as the dominant economic hub of New Eden was never a given. In the early days, CONCORD had established a network of highway gates across the cluster, which all converged (perhaps unsurprisingly) at Yulai, making that system the initial major trade hub in the capsuleer era. However, Yulai’s market dominance withered almost as soon as those highway gates were brought down starting in YC 106 and continuing through the next year. Jita, with its proximity to multiple other regions (for traders to easily check prices across major parts of the cluster) and, at the time, the presence of well-known agents offering missions, quickly asserted its dominance by virtue of the cluster’s astrography and the rest, as they say, is history. Jita 4-4 became the de facto trade hub, with all of the hawkers, scammers, and (though we often forget about them in reference to Jita) legitimate traders that entailed.
With its primacy as the economic heart of New Eden now well-established, it was probably long overdue for a substantial expansion of the Jita 4-4 station to account for the increased trade activity. Strolling through the main market floor of the station recently, I was struck at just how overcrowded the station seemed to be getting. Every square meter of the floor was filled with a market stall. Trade goods were stashed in any corner traders could find or, barring that, air ducts or even just left out in plain sight. Warehouses overflowed with trade goods; at one point, a trader told me that a waitlist for proper warehouse storage in the station tallied nearly a decade at that point.
Something had to give. That something ended up being, eventually, the plodding Caldari Navy bureaucracy, which finally authorized an expansion of the station after years of pleading by the various megacorporations and other business interests of the State, along with the construction of satellite facilities and additional orbital annexes to help fulfill the needs of a modern trading hub. The modern trading hub in New Eden. And the results were magnificent.
As previously noted, dropping out of warp, I was immediately called back to my childhood and the image of the city rising from the plains. A glittering, glitzy metropolis rising from a sea of black. And it’s an apt comparison, as the Caldari Navy designers managed to evoke the feelings of a modern, planet-based metropolis. The newly expanded station rests on a bedrock frame of a flat plain. From that plain rises not only the warehouses and storage facilities necessary for any trading space, but also extravagant towers filled with living quarters, all dominated by a truly colossal central tower, right at the fore of the station, which seems to act as the prow of a mighty vessel. That central tower oversees the main ingress and egress lanes of the mighty station, though additional docking ports can be found at literally any angle, and often in surprising locations. Also covering seemingly every square inch of the station is a variety of holographic billboards, throwing out news and ads for almost anything a capsuleer’s heart could desire.
Once I took in the sheer majesty of the overall design, the overwhelming sense of… well, capitalism, I began to notice some of the other details in the design. Behind that looming central tower, and rising above the cityscape on that massive central plain, rises an atrium that, ignoring the sheer size of it, manages to evoke nothing so much as a pedestrian shopping mall. It’s an astounding effect given the scale. Under that atrium, bridges crisscross each other from that giant central tower to the upper reaches of the rest of the station. The tiny motes of light, in truth representing the movement of thousands of people, following those bridges across the chasm only reinforced the feeling that I was looking at some sort of massive shopping mall.
And this was all to say nothing of the satellite and ancillary structures nearby. Although now hidden towards the back of the station, the remains of the Jita Memorial can still be found, now surrounded not just by perimeter warnings, but also spotlights, demonstrating that CONCORD had not yet forgotten the lessons learned from those days of capsuleer protests. More notably, reaching towards the surface of the moon was a constellation of smaller structures, some that would be quite impressive in their own right if not dominated by the colossus of the main station. The stations arced in an archipelago away from the main station, ending in a platform sponsored by Deep Core Mining. The DCM platform served as a hub for a space tether connecting to the surface of the eponymous Jita 4-4 moon, where a thriving surface colony has sprung up. Two cars can be seen racing up from the moon’s surface to the DCM platform, and then back down again, with the two cars always moving in opposite directions.
After spending far too long examining the outside of the station and its environs, I finally filed my docking request with tower control. Soon, Professor Science found itself nestled deep in the interior of the station. Even here, however, could be found of that same feeling of hugeness, of being overwhelming seemingly just for the sake of being overwhelming, as evidenced by the hints of docking platforms stretching far into the distance. Now, instead of being reminded of my approach to that (to me) vast city (though, in retrospect, it was a fairly middling one, all things considered), I recalled the days spent exploring it seemingly unending reaches. And just like that city of my youth, I had no doubt that while exploring the depths of the redesigned Jita 4-4, I would find luxury, fun, and adventure.
- Attraction: Jita 4-4 trading hub
- System: Jita
- Security Rating: 0.9
- Region: The Forge
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Caldari, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen. Because of the high volume of traffic, suicide gankers and station camps (not to mention isk scammers) can be common.
Editor’s note: If you are looking for the original cemetery post, please see here.
The common trope amongst the civilians of the cluster is to assume that all of us capsuleers are immortal. To a certain extent, of course, they’re not wrong. The body my consciousness resided in has ceased functioning a number of times, and in a few cases, explosively so. And yet, the circumstances in which those happened have always been fairly well-controlled, and occurred in such a way that the technology we rely on to be capsuleers could move my consciousness into a new body mere moments later. Yet, despite all the marvels of modern technology, life is not always well-controlled. Accidents happen. Technology malfunctions. Sometimes, even capsuleers are lost for good, and when that happens, our community does mourn, as with any other. Indeed, it was only a few weeks ago that the community came together for a similar reason.
A decade ago, I came across an attempt by a capsuleer corporation to provide a place for those pilots left behind after a capsuleer leaves the community forever to mourn. Since its founding in 2007, the capsuleer cemetery had seen its up and downs. It’s been raided by a number of capsuleer corporations and alliances over the years. And yet, regardless of how many times the cemetery fell, it always reappeared, ready again to act as a place for mourning and comforting, and ready again to serve as a place to light a cyno for those lost capsuleers to find their way home. It’s a remarkable testament against the stereotype of pod pilots as selfish, conniving people only out for themselves.
Still, given the vulnerable nature of the original POS tower that served as the cemetery, there has long been a strong contingent within the community that pushed for CONCORD to provide a more durable and permanent place at which to hold these vigils and cemeteries. CONCORD has always been receptive to the idea, but ideas had changed over the years on the best way in which to establish such a memorial.
After years of deliberations, pleading, and planning, CONCORD last month unveiled the final memorial. Appropriately, the new monument is found just a few dozen kilometers from the still-standing capsuleer cemetery POS tower, near Molea II, moon 1. CONCORD has not placed a warpable beacon to the site, but it will show as a landmark on a ship’s sensor overlay. CONCORD has this to say about the memorial:
Having been in place for over a decade, and in view of ongoing developments in structure technology, it increasingly became clear that a dedicated memorial structure would enhance the cemetery and help preserve it for decades more. The Upwell Consortium, at the urging of a large number of private citizens and corporations, constructed the new Fallen Capsuleers Memorial in YC122.
Any Secure Cargo Containers that are anchored within 200km of this structure will not automatically decay over time. This structure does not provide any special protection against intentional destruction or scooping of containers.
The memorial itself is a towering one, very much dwarfing the POS tower around which the cemetery had rotated for so long. Three immense dark gray slabs rise up to meet each other. The slabs are segmented into basaltic columns so as to appear as if three enormous, irregular stairways to the heavens were converging in one place, an appropriate reminder both of our common humanity’s ultimate roots planetside, as well as our eventual ascent into the heavens. Between the three slabs, a cyno remains permanently lit. For a long time, now, cynos have been used by capsuleers to send off their fallen comrades, so that they might always still find their way home. Although nonoperable, the cyno at the memorial continuously oscillates and wraps in upon itself.
At the very pinnacle of the monument, above the three converging slabs, floats the symbolic capsule itself. Carved from the same dark basalt, the stylized capsule has both a male and a female figure emerging from the capsule. The male figure remains attached to the capsule, while the female figure is reaching towards an ineffable something, as if getting ready to move on. The cyno directly below the capsule reaches out in a column of light that bathes the entire sculpture, and small particles of light can be seen rising from the very base on the monument all the way up to the cyno, and again past the capsuleer sculpture. Every now and then, a great ball of light seems to emerge, as it follows the column of light into the night.
I haven’t meant to be so morbid during the past couple of entries. I have always been one to try to see the silver lining on any particular situation. And yet, these are important things to consider. The capsuleer age in New Eden has been going strong for nearly 2 decades now and, with it, has come a close-knit community. Inevitable with the formation of that community, unfortunately, is the loss of some members, and the need to remember those who have left is powerful indeed. And yet, with the mourning of those very real losses comes also a celebration of sort for what, out of all of the possibilities in which we could have found ourselves in the universe, we have managed to find.
Godspeed to those we have lost, and o7
- Attraction: Fallen Capsuleers Memorial
- System: Molea
- Security Rating: 0.7
- Region: Khanid
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
- Additional Notes: A few of them this time. As I noted in the entry, this particular site is not marked with a beacon viewable in the overview, as most sites are. You can warp directly to Molea II, Moon 1, however, and it does show up on the sensor overlay. Additionally, as noted, anchored cans within 200 km of the monument will NOT decay.
On February 20, YC 112, shortly after posting my survey of the Traumark Installation, I received a comment from another pilot. My explorations and reviews have never generated much in the way of comments, and while other writers may be disappointed by the lack of engagement, I was always content that what few comments I did seemed to be genuinely kind and positive comments. This particular one was no different, even if it was from a pilot I hadn’t encountered before. After finishing her remarks, she ended by noting, “We’re on similar missions. My goal is to explore all of the new planets. Good luck in your journey, fly safe.”. I’ve encountered pilots with that goal before, and those pilots generally tend to get daunted once they realize the sheer immensity of the task of visiting over 7,800 systems within and connecting to New Eden, so at the time I didn’t give it much thought.
Though that was the first time I met Katia Sae, it wouldn’t be the last. She would pop up every now and then, always with generous praise of my various musings here, before moving on, while I quickly began watching her own progress once I found her site. Since then, we’ve interacted not just on our respective journals, but on the GalNet and elsewhere, and I’ve become much more comfortable with calling her not only a fellow pilot, not only a fellow explorer with a deep sense of wanderlust, but a friend. And now, some 7,806 systems later, with that friendship comes a deep sense of pride as well as Katia has now visited every system accessible in and to New Eden, including a much-coveted (by me, at least) visit to Polaris, a system within the generally inaccessible depths of what used to be Jove space. And she did it all without losing a single ship (a claim I certainly would not be able to get away with).
I get the sense that Katia remains a little overawed by the response to her achievements. The end of her journey gained her attention not just within the fairly tight-knit exploration crowd, but well beyond. While it is perhaps not surprising that her own corporation, the ever-friendly Signal Cartel, took not a small amount of pride in her accomplishment, it is perhaps more surprising that Katia has captured the imagination of not just the capsuleer press and other writers, but broader news sites as well. All to celebrate what truly is a remarkable achievement. And that wasn’t the end of the celebrations for Katia, as the Achura Stargazers Society quickly announced that they would be erecting a permanent monument to her achievement next to the very first stargate she used in starting her journey, the gate to Abagawa in the system of Saisio.
Not one month later, the Society unveiled the likeness of Katia about 35 kilometers from that gate, saying the following:
In the unending dark of space, there are a few bright lights to which we can reliably turn for guidance and inspiration. Katia Sae is one such beacon, a shining example of what we can all aspire towards. She exemplifies the attitude of a true explorer: friendly to all in her travels, neutral and never initiating aggression, and very, very hard to catch.
She began her quest to explore all of New Eden from Saisio III on December 1, YC111 and came full circle back to Saisio on March 9 of YC121 after having explored every known-space and wormhole system that can be reached – all without a single ship loss.
May Katia Sae’s epic journey be remembered forevermore by all who travel into the furthest reaches of New Eden and the fathomless depths of Anoikis. Every star is one of her footprints, and every heavenly body tells the tale: “Katia Sae was here.”
The Journey of Katia Sae Memorial,
raised by the Achura Stargazers Society,
in association with Signal Cartel.
As expected, the statue is magnificent. A gargantuan Katia, who dwarfs my lowly Professor Science, is seen standing on a shimmering plinth reaching up to the stars, quite literally holding a star system in the palm of her hand. The details included on the statue are impressive. Individual strands of hair can be seen gathered behind her head in a utilitarian ponytail, along with creases in her pant legs and jacket. Her expression is one of a certain calm confidence, seemingly quite comfortable in knowing the limits of herself. The metal plating riveted together to form the statue might in other circumstances detract from the monument, but here adds a striking juxtaposition to the otherwise quite-real appearance.
But, of course, what truly catches my eye is the system she holds in the palm of her hand. I can’t help but zoom in for a closer look at that orrery, and as my camera drones approach, my view becomes awash in holographic static. The central star is but a pinprick of sapphire light; even close up, I can’t see any features, though it throws Professor Science in sharp relief when I approach. Surrounding it are 3 planets in inclined orbits around the central orb. Although supposedly metal in nature (metal that reflects the light of both their own sun and Saisio), their true nature is belied both by their ghostly orbital paths and the holographic grids that can be seen superimposed on the edges of the spheres, regardless of your viewpoint.
If that were all there was to the monument, I’d be satisfied but perhaps ready to move on. But in examining that star system, after just a few moments I caught a hint of movement. I at first thought it was just the movement of another ship at the site (I was by no means the only person there to inspect the monument, and CONCORD had made its presence known as well), but after casting around for a few moments for whatever movement caught my eye, I came across the spectral apparition of a half-cloaked Astero – Katia’s signature ship – also in orbit around the central star. The ship, ironically slightly large than an actual Astero, is a clever addition to the monument.
I’m, of course, incredibly happy for Katia and proud to have played some small role in her journeys. She’s certainly earned the adulations that she’s so far received. Exploration takes a certain type of personality, a certain amount of patience, and a whole lot of perseverance, all of which Katia has in spades. I can’t imagine having the dedication to see a project 10 years in the making all the way through to completion, so I must content myself to celebrate those who can. And now this monument stands as a testament not just to Katia’s achievement, but to that ineffable spirit of wanderlust that drove her.
- Attraction: Journey of Katia Sae Memorial
- System: Saisio
- Security Rating: 0.7
- Region: The Forge
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Caldari, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
- Additional Note: Unlike most of the sites I profile, this one is not marked with a beacon and thus cannot be seen on the overview if offgrid. It’s classified as a Large Collidable Object for overview purposes. It can be seen in the sensor overlay, however, and, as mentioned above, is located about 35-40 km off the Abagawa gate.
Editor’s note (4/9/YC120): I can confirm that the ship is currently not undocked in Yulai. Hopefully it will be back soon for people to see!
Drifters have always… unnerved me. While the Jove are similarly advanced in terms of technology, at least they deigned to talk to us every now and then. The Drifters, on the other, basically just showed up one day and started shooting. Hard. They even went so far as to one-shot Empress Jamyl, throwing the Empire into turmoil. Combine this aggression with their unusual and haunting method of propagation and their relentless scanning of New Eden for… whatever it is they’re looking for along with their apparent Sleeper allies, and I feel like my wariness is justified. Although the people of New Eden have eventually managed to settle into a kind of détente with them, and we can even punch back against them under the right circumstances, we still know precious little about them, such as even their main bases or what their motives are. And it’s clear that if they ever truly wanted to, they could wipe the floor with us. They’re just that advanced.
The superiority of the Drifters, however, was challenged a few weeks ago. Out of nowhere, fleets of heavily damaged Drifter ships began appearing across the Cluster. These fleets appeared in systems not normally subject to Drifter surveillance. While not hostile, capsuleers in their usual fashion blew them up anyway. Normally I would have been hesitant to condone this kind of unprovoked attack, given our history with the Drifters, I couldn’t blame the caution of the ARC fleets. As usual, communications with the damaged fleets were unsuccessful. However, when destroyed, they dropped trinary data vaults containing cryptic messages. At the same time, rumors started swirling about some race called the Triglavians. These messages were eventually cracked and found to contain heavily damaged video archives suggesting the source of the attacks on the Drifter fleets to not only originate from an unknown, but to take place in unknown space. It seems Anoikis may have more growing to do.
And then, yesterday, seemingly out of nowhere, a new ship appears in Yulai near the DED Assembly Plant. Its configuration appears to match the glimpses we get in the trinary data archives, but is otherwise completely dissimilar to any other known ships in the Cluster or beyond. Apparently piloted by CONCORD DED Agent Oveg Drust, the ship is, according to sensor scans (and evident from the multiple hull breaches) heavily damaged. According to Scope reports, the ship was found drifting in Raneilles before being captured by DED forces. In classic CONCORD fashion, however, the only comment from the pilot is hardly one at all, with Agent Drust merely saying that the ship is under quarantine before docking it within the nearby station.
The ship itself is a sight to see, to be honest. Approximately the same size as a New Eden cruiser, the ship is dwarfed by some of the curious capsuleer vessels that have come to see it. Composed of a main hull with two appendages sweeping downward, even in its damaged state it was clearly a dangerous ship. From the convergence of the two nacelles, a glowing red sphere can be seen; this, theoretically, is the naked singularity mentioned in the Discourse broadcasts. If that is truly what is powering the vessel, it suggests that the ship is orders of magnitude more advanced than even potentially the Drifters. Poor Aura clearly cannot make heads or tails of the craft, and her sensor analysis only reveals that it is a “Trig Medium”, an apparent confirmation (at least according to whatever sources Aura uses in her analysis) that this may well be a Triglavian ship.
The ship didn’t respond to my attempts to activate an entosis link, data analyzer, or relic analyzer on it (not that I was particularly expecting it to). As noted, the ship is surrounded by a small fleet of capsuleer vessels looking to see the new ship with their own sensors. The ship was unresponsive to any kind of communications, although I did manage to cause a reaction when I approached it slowly.
Now we have a new player on the scene. Hopefully, given that we both appear to dislike the Drifters, we could hope for an enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend situation. But, especially given that we apparently managed to steal an enemy ship under duress, I did not have a ton of hope that they would react kindly to our presence. Still, I hoped that CONCORD aimed to try diplomacy with the Triglavians, because if they are truly capable of harnessing the power of black holes to power their ships, diplomacy may be our best hope.
- Attraction: Triglavian Cruiser
- System: Yulai
- Security Rating: 1.0
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with CONCORD, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
- Additional Note: The monument is NOT marked with a off-grid visible beacon, but is located a few kilometers from the DED Assembly Plant near Yulai X.
I startled myself a week or two ago by realizing that I had let my 10 year anniversary of becoming certified as a capsuleer pass without commemoration, celebration, or, indeed, note. Something that had, at the time, seemed so momentous, so important, that I could never forget it had become something so commonplace that I barely remember my life before becoming a pilot. I was generally good at making note of the event over the years, but it had slipped my mind this year. I guess it was just a sign that even the most significant changes in life eventually can become mundane, even when your life can end over and over and over again. Still, it was hard to believe that almost 1/3 of my life had been spent as an immortal capsuleer.
I was also surprised to discover that it has been nearly 10 years since the brief Elder War. Looking back, I didn’t realize that the War had occurred so soon after gaining my pilot’s license. It consisted of a very brief, but intense, invasion of the Amarr Empire by renegade factions of the Minmatar Tribes. After the discovery of the survival of the Seventh Tribe of Matar, the Starkmanir, the Minmatar Elders (who had long faded into legend for most of the Cluster) returned with a vengeance, leading a massive rescue operation using materiel and ships built up secretly for centuries. The Elders crippled CONCORD before invading the Empire, and was only stopped by the return of Jamyl Sarum (who should have been dead but apparently got better) and the use of a superweapon whose origin and eventual disposition remain a mystery even to this day. Of course, this is a very, painfully brief synopsis of the War, but it suffices for our purposes here.
Although the entire war lasted for under 24 hours, the War had vast implications for the Cluster. It signaled the return of the Minmatar Elders, the discovery of the survival of the Starkmanir Tribe, the fallibility of CONCORD (a lesson I much took to heart as time went on), and the return of Jamyl Sarum. The Empire’s response to the return of Jamyl always fascinated me; it was clear that she had returned using some variation of capsuleer cloning technology, yet the Doctrine of the Empire meant they could never acknowledge it. And the fact that she had essentially single-handedly stopped the Minmatar invasion and preserve much of the Empire’s status quo meant that when she was proclaimed Empress, the Empire’s theologians could do little more than shrug. After the disastrous reign of Chamberlain Karsoth, Jamyl brought a much-needed sense of stability to the Empire, even if Jamyl eventually brought her own problems.
In an apparent bid to tie her reign to Jamyl’s, Empress Catiz recently commissioned the creation of 4 memorials to some of the battles from the Elder War. These 4 memorials were erected in addition to the two battlegrounds in Jarizza and Kor-Azor that I have chronicled over the years. They were constructed off of stations in Ami, Andrub, Kor-Azor Prime, and Nishah that suffered damage during the War. It took them nearly a decade, but they finally repaired the damage to those stations (I would make a snide comment about wanting to keep the damage for the sake of arousing public sympathy, but CONCORD still hasn’t repaired its own heavily-damaged headquarters and it was damaged on the same day).
The same prompt appears any time Aura is asked for information regarding the memorials:
As imperial construction crews completed repaires of the nearby stations damaged in the attack, the monument was placed by order of Her Most Sublime and Imperial Majesty Catiz I, First Apostle of the True Faith and Sovereign Defender of the Imperial Rite.
The monument appears to be similar in design to the Project Discovery monument erected in Lanngisi, which was itself based on an apparent Upwell design. However, rather than featuring a large hologram of the Project Discovery symbol, these monuments feature an ornate Imperial Seal. Despite being placed on the same day as the Project Discovery monument, the Elder War memorials do not appear to be susceptible to entosis effects like the Project Discovery memorial. However, like the Project Discovery memorial, the Elder War memorials are bustling hubs, with traffic coming and going around the memorials as visitors flock to see the museums and the views.
I spent time at each of the memorials, but given that they were all pretty similar in design, I didn’t linger at any. Still, I appreciated the reminder of what the Cluster was like back when I first gained my license. It’s remarkable how many things have changed since then: Jamyl is long gone, capsuleer alliances have risen and fallen, the Drifters have appeared. But still, so many things have tayed the same. My sense of wonder and wanderlust, the graceful ship designs, and the friends who make this lifestyle well worth it. It may have been 10 years since I first started flying in New Eden, but somehow, it feels like it was only yesterday.
A happy and safe YC120 to you all.
- Attraction: Elder War Monuments
- System: Ami, Andrub, Kor-Azor Prime, and Nishah
- Security Rating: 0.4, 0.7, 0.9, and 0.6, respectively.
- Region: Kor-Azor
- Potential Hazards: Ami and Andrub are located in low security space. Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended. As for Kor-Azor Prime and Nishah, if you’re below a -2.5 or -4, respectively, in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
Growing up and until the past 6 or 7 years, I (along with the vast majority of the Cluster) deeply respected the work of the Sisters of Eve. Well, that’s not entirely true. I still truly admire the work that they do to across the Cluster alleviating suffering and setting up refugee camps for those displaced by war or the malice of capsuleers. Through their Food Relief corporation, they alleviated famine for millions. With advanced technology, they’re trusted by all 4 empires to be first responders in any kind of emergency situation, be it war or natural disaster. I could even stand their weird (to me) religious obsession with the Eve Gate, particularly in light of my own more academic interest in the deep past of New Eden.
But over the past few years, I’ve noticed something always seems a bit… off about them. They consistently seem to know far more than they ever let on about some of the more mysterious events that have occurred over the past decade. I’m still wondering how they managed to sneak their way in to Thera and start to colonize it before it was connected to the broader wormhole network. And they’ve been hanging out in the Drifter Hive systems for almost 2 years now performing some sort of in-depth survey. Anything they do discover is either hidden until some other group forces their hand or they spring it on the Cluster with apparent disregard for any protocol. It’s a puzzling choice on their part.
With all of this in mind, you may understand my reticence regarding the Sisters of Eve launching the initial phase of Project Discovery, a collaborative science initiative that brought the capsuleer community into the forefront of genetic research by studying genetic samples taken of the Drifters. Although it had the possibility to significantly advance our understanding of human genetics and provide sorely needed insight into the Drifter threat, the project, with no public oversight of its use, could lead to monstrous results as well. In classic Sisters fashion, the research arm of the Sisters remained mum on any insights they may have gained as a result of their research. Oddly, though, after Project Discovery started, new drugs and boosters began appearing throughout New Eden that had pronounced effects on capsuleers. I’m sure it was purely coincidental.
Still, given that I had participated in at least the initial phases of the Sisters’ stage of Project Discovery, it was with significant interest that I learned recently that the Sisters of Eve were looking to memorialize their time as the lead research group of Project Discovery (the project having since shifted to CONCORD oversight; another organization I could gripe about for some time). After the memorial was opened to the public in Lanngisi this week, I made my way over to see how, precisely, they were choosing to commemorate their time and research, especially given my wariness when it came to anything involving the Sisters and their interaction with the capsuleer community.
The monument, near the Sisters station in Lanngisi, is a graceful one, and apparently the prototype of a new type of monument to be used by the various factions to memorialize various events. Although never explicitly stated, it’s clear that the monument base is an Upwell-designed structure; few could mistake the harsh, angular lines of the monument for any other architect. As a just released memorial only two jumps from the key Minmatar trade hub of Hek, the memorial is a hive of activity, with both capsuleers and the public alike coming to investigate, with craft ranging in size from battlecruisers all the way down to the personal skimmers often favored by the broader public. Above it floated a hologram of the symbol of Project Discovery: a stylized double helix. The Sisters were even kind enough to provide a readily accessible prompt for Aura to relay to me:
Beginning on YC118.03.09, Project Discovery’s Phase One work was aimed at achieving a comprehensive categorization and analysis of tissue samples acquired from the Drifters since their emergence in early YC117.
Led by Professor Emma Lundgren, Chief Scientist for the SOE advance research division, Project Discovery Phase One was particularly successful in mapping out a comprehensive protein atlas from the Drifter tissue samples collected and analyzed during the term of the project.
Project Discovery Phase One came to an end on YC119.07.11, after 16 months of highly successful work. Project Discovery Phase Two is a new Exoplanets Hunting Program and is being operated under the guidance of CONCORD’s Chief of Deep Space Research, Professor Michel Mayor. Please query the Phase One Monument’s database for records of those capsuleers who were elite research contributors to Project Discovery’s tissue analysis work.
If it had ended there, I probably would not have given it much thought. However, at the end, Aura made an additional comment:
Technical Note: there appears to be an open Entosis Link port on this structure.
My eyebrow quirked. It seemed almost personally designed to pique my interest in a way to make me willing to directly connect to a Sisters of Eve computer with my own mind. Thankfully, I still had an Entosis Link fit on Professor Science after running some additional tests on the Jove Observatories earlier this year (and having discovered that sometimes the most unexpected objects are susceptible to Entosis Link effects), and so I tentatively activated the Link on the monument. As Aura promised, I was soon rewarded with a summary of the top capsuleer researchers who helped with Phase One. However, on a whim, I decided to run the Link again to see what would happen.
Surprisingly, I didn’t gain a second version of the report. Rather, I gained an item called a “Project Discovery DNA Reference (Gallente)”, which was apparently a reference set of genetic data pertaining to the Gallente bloodlines. My already quirked eyebrow… quirked even more. I spent the next few minutes running yet another Link cycle on the monument, to be rewarded with a DNA Reference of Jove bloodlines. It quickly became clear that the Sisters were providing this data on all 5 major races of New Eden (though, of course, the Drifters, the ostensible focus of Phase One, were nowhere to be seen). But to what end? That was the million isk question.
At this point, we are left only to guess. I’ll note, however, that my fellow researchers over at the Arataka Research Consortium have done some very interesting work on a new implant that has surfaced this week that appears to be related in some way to the data being released by the Sisters at the monument. Unfortunately, as is usual with the secretive organization, the Sisters have so far refused to comment on ARC’s findings, and CONCORD’s only response appears to be to warn against using untested technology. And so we are left with far more questions than answers, but at this point, as much as I hate the feeling, I can’t say I’m not used to that.
- Attraction: Project Discovery Phase One Monument
- System: Lanngisi
- Security Rating: 0.5
- Region: Metropolis
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
- Additional Note: The monument is NOT marked with a off-grid visible beacon, but is located about 50 kilometers off the Sisters of Eve station in Lanngisi (the only station in the system).
A few strands of amino acids. That, surprisingly, is all it takes to bind 4 systems together across the light-years of interstellar space. You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but that short string of organic molecules has managed to entangle the systems of Efu, Muttokon, Oijanen, and Postouvin, tying their fates together across the harshness of interstellar space. But rather than uniting to tackle the threat posed by this tiny piece of matter, it seems destined to pull the four empires even further apart as they race to save millions, if not billions, of lives from a terrible fate. So far, only the Society of Conscious Thought, the newly-designated heir to the Jovian Directorate, has attempted to tackle the problem posed by the short string of carbon known as Kyonoke.
The story of Kyonoke starts, for our purposes, a few years before capsuleers arrived on the scene. The Caldari had found a particularly mineral-rich asteroid near the planet Kyonoke in Taisy, and had established a mining colony to plumb its depths nicknamed the Kyonoke Pit. Rather suddenly, Caldari authorities lost contact with the colony. The team sent to investigate the colony found a gruesome scene, with the entire mining colony dying rather agonizing deaths. Despite the full set of protective equipment, the investigation team succumbed to the disease within hours. The Caldari eventually managed to isolate the cause: a short and seemingly run-of-the-mill protein strand that managed to disrupt almost all biological systems within a few hours of exposure. Needless to say, since that discovery, Kyonoke Pit has been under round-the-clock Caldari surveillance to make sure that no one gained access to this potent pathological protein.
Even knowing about the heavy security cordon the Caldari used to keep Kyonoke secure, it was with a bit of trepidation that I recently began reading reports of a sudden quarantine appearing on an orbital platform in orbit of Muttokon II. Almost immediately thereafter, the city of Myrskaa in Oijanen experienced a rapidly spreading plague, which quickly led to the entire city being placed in quarantine. Three became a crowd after certain decks on a Society of Conscious Thought station in Efu were cut off after the appearance of another deadly plague. And any doubts that this was a coordinated effort were put to rest when the very next day, Federal authorities lost contact with a mining colony in Postouvin after sending out a distress call concerning a disease outbreak. Although rumors swirled, it took a full day for Caldari authorities to confirm that the disease at issue was in fact Kyonoke, albeit an apparently modified strain.
With Kyonoke identified, the cluster soon began to wonder how the pathogen escaped. Answers soon fell into place when an expedition into the now-abandoned Kyonoke Pit revealed the body of one Ohmon Kasaras, a former member of the Kaalakiota Home Guard, who had apparently ventured into Kyonoke just weeks before. Although reports identified him as a loyal Caldari, the fact that his family has gone missing suggests we do not know the entire story behind the Kasaras breach of Kyonoke, if that was not evident from the fact that it’s still unknown who Kasaras was supposed to deliver Kyonoke too. To say that fear has gripped the cluster is a bit of an understatement, with Caldari/Gallente tensions flaring to a height not seen since the days of Tibus Heth… which is all the more worrisome because there does indeed appear to be a Heth connection to all of this. Despite the hostility on both sides, the isolation protocols seem to have done their jobs, as no more outbreaks have since been reported, although that does little to help the millions already under quarantine.
Although the empires appear to be paralyzed either by infighting or paralysis, the Society of Conscious Thought has stepped to the forefront in researching ways to combat or eradicate Kyonoke. Recently, they announced the formation of the Kyonoke Inquest, a coordination center for research into the origins of the prion and ways to combat the disease. The Inquest is based out of the H4-RP4 Kyonoke Inquest Center, a massive Keepstar-class citadel built near the asteroid colony in Postouvin that suffered the outbreak. Given the sheer amount of news recently concerning the Kyonoke crisis, it should surprise few to learn that as soon as I heard that the Inquest would be based out of Postouvin, I made my way into Solitude to await its public opening.
The Keepstar itself is a massive station constructed near the sunward side of Postouvin IV. I have had few opportunities to really examine a Keepstar since their release, but everything about the station feels titanic. I’ve flown Professor Science near battleships and titans, and considering that Keepstars dwarf even the largest ships New Eden has to offer, it’s no wonder that I felt almost as small as the Kyonoke protein strand next to it. Despite only having gone public within the past few hours, the Inquest is clearly already in full swing, with hundreds, if not thousands of intra-station craft crawling their way along the edges of the giant citadel, hopefully working around the clock to solve the Kyonoke problem. And the Society has now called in capsuleers to join the research efforts, making Postouvin the center of the cluster for all intents and purposes. Aura performed a preliminary analysis of the station for me, although she didn’t have anything to say that I didn’t already know:
Widely considered by academics to be the single largest research installation in New Eden, its laboratories have hosted research projects from some of the most intelligent minds in human history.
The stricken RP4 hemorphite processing facility lays cradled in the arms of the Keepstar, with the citadel seemingly built around the mining colony. The colony, built into the crescent-shaped asteroid itself, pokes up from the surface of the colony, pieces of gray metal gleaming against the brown regolith of the asteroid’s surface. A lonely Obelisk-class freighter sits near the dock, apparently caught up in the station’s quarantine when the order came down. The entire colony is wrapped in a rather ominous cloud of debris, which is fitting because there appears to be few signs of life on the colony. Given the apparent speed with which Kyonoke acts, it seems unlikely that many are left alive at this point, and the colony acts as a somber reminder of the staggering human costs at play in this plague and the goal of their efforts for anyone who merely looks outside the Keepstar.
There are millions of lives at stake out there, and billions more hang in the balance if any of the containment protocols breach or whoever first released the plague decides that it is necessary to strike again. Right now, we can only that the answer to this crisis lies somewhere in the colossal depths of the H4-RP4 Kyonoke Inquest Center. And while not quite as important as solving the Kyonoke plague, I’ll sleep a lot easier at night if we can find out who released the disease and why. I may only be but one man, but I am ready to help out the effort however I can, for if this ordeal has taught us anything, it’s that the smallest changes can stretch across the galaxy.
- Attraction: Kyonoke Outbreak Containment Site
- System: Postouvin
- Security Rating: 0.7
- Region: Solitude
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen. Additionally, although the system is high security space, please note that this is a high sec pocket and is ONLY accessible through either null security space or a rather long low security route.
- Additional Notes: You cannot dock at the Keepstar, nor will it tether you.
[Editor’s note: Just a very quick entry as I don’t expect this to last past the Succession Trials next week. If you want to see these, get to Amarr ASAP!]
[Additional edit: As of 5/3, only 4 titans, the titans of the winning ‘retainers’ of the Trials, remain in Amarr. Not sure how long they will last!]
Just as the Empire races headfirst towards the Succession Trials to choose its next ruler, so too did I race headfirst towards the Empire’s homeworlds. With the end of the Trials close at hand, an honor guard has formed, the likes of which many space denizens have never seen before. The various champions of the two remaining Heirs in the Trials, Lord Aritcio Kor-Azor and Lady Catiz Tash-Murkon, have began holding vigil in spectacular fashion outside the Emperor’s Family Station in Amarr Prime, forming a fleet of Titans that haven’t been seen publicly in high security space since I’ve been a capsuleer. Next week, these titans will escort Lord Kelon Darklight and Lord Lysus, the two remaining champions, to the conclusion of the Trials.
Few denizens of high security space have seen a titan, much less a fleet of them. While I have before experienced the truly humbling experience of seeing such a, dare I say, titanic piece of engineering next to even my more sizeable vessels, seeing a fleet of them in formation is enough to once again remind me how small we truly are in the grand scheme of things. That being said, seeing these ships up close also helps to remind us the things that we can attain when we work together, and I have little doubt that the Empire hoped to instill that sense of unity when planning this display. Although I have little direct interest in the outcome of the Trials, I wish both sides the best of luck.
And if you have ever wanted to see eight titans in-person, now is your chance.
- Attraction: Honor Guard
- System: Amarr Prime
- Security Rating: 1.0
- Region: Domain
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
- Additional notes: No beacons are present; you can easily see the formation off of the undock point outside of the Emperor Family Academy station. These are not expected to last past next week.
My legs are cramping. Given that I was in a pod, that was a feat in and of itself. The pod is a marvelous piece of engineering, designed as a complete life support system to protect that little kilogram and a half bundle of neural tissue that we call a brain. The pod feeds the body nutrients, exercises muscles, and provides alternative sensory input all to make the brain (and body) forget that its cooped up in a 2-3 meter capsule and not moving for long stretches of time in order to control a hulking interstellar spaceship. It’s designed to do this for weeks, months, maybe YEARS at a time. But here I am, only 6 weeks into my quest to find a fairly rare and specific site in Anoikis, and I can definitely tell through all of the neural input filters and thousand distractions that come with piloting a starship that my legs are cramping up.
I have no idea how Katia Sae does it.
But the story of that particular is for another time, if only because I have yet to actually find it. Instead, while browsing galnet a week ago, a news item caught my eye that eventually prompted me to take a sojourn back to civilized space for a little bit. Those of you watching the news are probably aware of the waves being made currently by Upwell Consortium. The Consortium is an alliance of corporations from across New Eden looking to bring new technology to the public. Beyond giving the Serpentis a (rather deserved) public-relations black eye, the Consortium is perhaps most well-known for looking to release so-called citadel stations, which look to up-end the market for capsuleer-owned station services. In order to promote their upcoming line of citadels, Upwell has decided to build some demonstration citadels to show their advantages.
Unfortunately, I decided to make a trip to see one such citadel, being built in Ourapheh, shortly after it was destroyed by a group of capsuleers who were apparently just looking for trouble. Sadly, I didn’t realize this until after I had left the confines of my temporary wormhole home and made the trip to Ourapheh. Upwell, however, seemed completely undeterred by the attacks on all 5 of their demonstration sites (found in Ourapheh, Anjedin, Asgeir, Mara, and PF-346), and quickly announced that the demonstration sites had been restarted with better security and the removal of a computer virus. That being said, the announcements were made by Upwell’s Department of Friendship and Mutual Assistance. If history is any guide, departments with name such as this tend to have precisely the opposite effect, but I guess I will have to see how these play out.
However, with the construction projects now restarted, I quickly made my way over to the new sites. Apparently, the second time is the charm, and I arrived at a not-blown-up construction site. Admittedly, there was not much to see at this point. The construction site was close to the Customs Office orbiting Mara I, although for now it consists of little more than multiple landing platforms to coordinate supply runs and a multitude of manufacturing sites. Although a bit of work could be seen occurring in the manufacturing yards, little could be seen by way of output, perhaps because Upwell is still waiting on research components to fuel construction. I look forward to seeing the finished sites, however, as all reports of the citadels thus far indicate that even the smallest versions will still be quite sizeable, while the largest version will be able to dock even the largest titans. Those will truly be sites to see, and hopefully someday I will be able to.
That being said, however, my ability to someday see the largest citadels seems contingent on me someday leaving Anoikis to come back to New Eden. After spending a few minutes at the site wondering what was to come, I reversed my course and headed back to my temporary wormhole home. Even though I was only in New Eden for a few short moments, it was nice to see the hustle and bustle of civilized space, not to mention actual ships instead of the feeling of dread that comes over me in Anoikis when probes show up on the d-scan that aren’t my own. Regardless, I was in it to the end. While the Children of Light may have defeated me, I am content to live in Anoikis as long as it takes to find what I’m looking for, even if it means dealing with leg cramps. With one last look around at New Eden, I went forth once more into the great unknown.
- Attractions: Astrahus Exemplar Site
- System: Ourapheh, Anjedin, Asgeir, Mara, and PF-346
- Security Rating: 0.9, 0.5, 0.7, 0.4, and 0.0, respectively.
- Region: Genesis, Tash-Murkon, Metropolis, Lonetrek, and Syndicate, respectively
- Potential Hazards: Varies, depending on the location. Three of the sites are in high security space, but the sites in Mara and PF-346 should be approached with caution as they are in low sec and null sec, respectively. Caution, as always, is advised.
EDIT: I don’t have time to add a complete new post but some updated pictures of construction on the Citadels can be found below.
As a travel writer, I tend to see my job as almost quasi-journalist, but with a twist. Rather than merely reporting the events of the day using words, I try to capture both the spirit and the beauty of the areas that can be found throughout New Eden. For many sites of natural beauty or gorgeous manmade structures, I have no qualms, moral or otherwise, in my attempts to capture the essence of a site. Sometimes, however, I have to admit that a site, while gorgeous and important, was formed in the midst of much death and destruction. In those cases in particular, I try to not just become another heartless paparazzi photographer, going for the ultimate scoop no matter the moral cost, but I try to capture the event’s dark splendor, showing both its beauty and the cost in human lives. I will not claim to always be successful in such endeavors, but I can at least claim to have tried to show the darker sides of space.
I find myself feeling much more uncomfortable with today’s entry, though I suspect my discomfort stems primarily from just how recently the events in question have occurred. This weekend was supposed to be Empress Jamyl’s victory lap. After an extended absence from the public eye, the Empress had returned with a vengeance (though perhaps less vengeance than she had when she first arrived at Sarum Prime those many years ago). In numerous public appearances, Jamyl had taken to not only making token public appearances, but showering praise on supporters of the Empire, and even opening herself up to questions from the local press (myself included). Her ostensible reason for returning to the public eye was to champion the construction of the new Amarr flagship, the Imperial Issue Abaddon-class battleship Auctoritas, which was to set a new technological standard for ships of the Golden Fleet. After weeks of work and testing, the Auctoritas was due to be commissioned this past Friday. The Empress herself showed up for this commission, piloting the Avatar-class titan EF Seraph, in which she had made all of her recent public appearances.
Although the commissioning started well, it ended in tragedy. Within minutes of the start of the ceremony, the Empress was interrupted mid-sentence with the arrival of a fleet of over 150 Drifter battleships. Without warning or ultimatum, they opened fire on the Seraph with their destructive doomsday-type weapon. Before anyone could react, both the Seraph and, in quick succession, Jamyl’s pod were destroyed. Without a word, the Drifter fleet then warped off again, leaving a stunned audience. One of the strongest ships in the known universe brought down in a single volley, followed by the quick assassination of the leader of the largest empire in New Eden. Although chaos initially reigned at the proceedings, within hours the Court Chamberlain announced the initiation of new Succession Trials as powers from across the cluster reacted to the news. It is worth noting that the Jamyl’s body was not found in the wreckage, and that some parties (myself included) are very interested in seeing examining the body before allowing it to be laid to rest.
I had been unable to attend the ceremonies because of business planetside, but I had been eager to see exactly what technological advances the Auctoritas was to herald. Instead, I found myself watching my newsfeeds in horror as the situation unfolded. And it was with some trepidation that I found myself heading to Safizon only a few hours after her death, somewhat unsure of what I would find but trusting the instincts I have honed over the years. I had no desire to make a spectacle of the area or of Jamyl’s death, but I felt a need to see it with my own eyes. The wreck of the Seraph sits where it fell, only a few kilometers off the Amarr Navy Assembly Plant, the tomb of countless thousands beyond the Empress. Given the site’s importance, I suspect the ruins will remain well-tended for the foreseeable future.
Although the ship itself cracked in two, the hull is still very recognizable even after being hit by so many simultaneous weapons blasts. Unsurprisingly, energy still crackles through the superstructure as emergency backup generators struggled to kick in and restore power. Lights still flickered, as if someone were just fiddling with a light switch across most of the ship. A lie I was almost able to believe, if only I could ignore the massive hull breaches and floating debris surrounding the area. I was once again struck by the, if you’ll excuse the choice of adjectives here, titanic nature of the ship’s proportions. As a pilot who primarily focuses on frigates and cruisers, I was once again reminded that my ships are often nothing next to the gargantuan vessels that other pilots fly.
I was by no means the only one to visit the area. Some visitors seemed to be pilots with similar intentions as myself: there to see the fall of an Empress and pay their respects. Others, the more faithful among us, held vigil, just a few of the countless memorial services to be held in the coming weeks as a nation mourned not only their leader, but also their voice of God. Others seemed to be on guard, either from fear of looters or another Drifter attack. I can’t blame those who are worried of another attack: the Drifters have shown substantial interest in the Empire, moreso than the other three nations of New Eden. But the Drifter attack also shows that no one is safe when the Drifters decide to take out a target. Let’s just hope that, come what may, we learn to stand together against whatever it is the Drifters may have in store for us. That may be our only hope in withstanding the coming months.
- Attraction: Wreck of the EF Seraph
- System: Safizon
- Security Rating: 0.8
- Region: Domain
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
- Additional notes: The wreck (as of time of publishing) does not have a beacon associated with it. Instead, it can be found just a few kilometers off the station at the only station in-system at Saifzon 2-1.
A persistent beeping brought me to consciousness. For a moment – just a moment – I had forgotten not only where I was but who I was. For that brief moment of awareness, I forgot about flying through the stars with only myself and my ship. I had forgotten that I was an immortal human, a paradoxical statement until even a few decades ago. I had forgotten not only the wars and the death that ground on throughout the Cluster, but also the beauty and mystery found throughout it.
And then that moment passed, and it all came rushing back to me.
The beeping, of course, was a rather insistent series of communiques, both from fellow pilots and Aura, telling me that I needed to get into my ship yesterday. The Drifters and Circadian Seekers had made their move, and it wasn’t in the direction I was expecting.
I undocked and, once again, made my way back to the no-longer-unidentified structure in my current home system of Iyen-Oursta. CONCORD had finally unveiled their initial analysis of the structures, and had concluded, as most had, that they were Jove in origin. More importantly, CONCORD has identified the structures as observatories, meant to watch the systems they were planted in, and those around them. A little unnerving, to say the least. Aura summed up the analysis in her classically succinct phrasing:
CONCORD’s analysis has revealed only scant and confusing information about this structure. Surveys of the damaged areas of the structure reveal a series of clearly powerful but functionally mysterious elements. The structure is undoubtedly Jove in origin but it is hard to determine its exact age given the advanced nature of the materials and construction. Regardless of its age, it is safe to say the structure surpasses anything we have previously seen.
As I came out of warp, the observatories loomed in the distance. Even this far out, my poor Buzzard-class frigate felt minuscule next to such a hulking structure. I enjoyed the sight of the massive yet still graceful structure before I actually figure out what had everyone up in arms. While the overall superstructure appeared intact, the observatories had three clear breaches of the hull, with each breach surrounded by slowly a expanding cloud of debris. Immediately, I needed to know what caused the breach. I knew it wasn’t capsuleer in origin, though that certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. Numerous attempts, both by myself and others, could not even dent the resilient alloys used by the Jove in construction of the observatories.
I examined the breaches closely, looking for any clues as to why they were there. The breaches did not appear intended to destroy the overall observatory: instead, they appeared to be surgical strikes towards targeted area of the structures. Precisely what was being targeted in the observatory was a mystery, of course, since our own scans couldn’t even penetrate the surface. Even with the breaches, my sensors weren’t able to make heads or tails of what, if anything, was viewable in the interior. But even without knowing what the attackers were after, it was clear that the assaults targeted three areas in the observatories. The biggest breach could be found near the middle of the superstructure. The breach was near what appeared to be some vents in the observatory, and the damage is severe enough that lightning can be seen arcing through the interior of the observatory at various intervals, their bright sparks lighting up the insides for the briefest of moments.
Although I assumed that the Seekers and Drifters were behind these attacks (who else could have done this kind of targeted damage?) I waited for confirmation for a few days. Eventually, while camped out at the observatory in Iyen-Oursta, I finally saw some Circadian Seekers assault the Jove structure. It was a long-running affair, as the Seekers came out of warp near the beacon to the site, and then slow-boated the 150+ kilometers to the structure itself. Once a few kilometers from the structures, rather than using the gentle blue scan beams I had become accustomed to seeing from the Seekers, they lashed out with a brilliant orange cutting beam towards the various areas that had already been breached. After attacking the structure further, they activated a narrow white beam on the area.
At the time, I was unable to figure out exactly was the purpose of the white beam, but I now believe that this beam is a form of tractor beam. Evidence for this comes from a newly-discovered piece of equipment found in many Seeker and Drifter wrecks: the Antikythera element. Just what this piece of equipment does is unknown, and, as usual, Aura’s analysis isn’t particularly helpful:
A direct analysis reveals some vague and distorted results.
Slight external damage signals that it was detached from something else, but despite its removal, the core structure continues to thrum with a deep, surging power.
Even without proof or solid knowledge of the function of this component, it is quite clear that it forms a vital part of something much larger.
I could immediately imagine a few reasons why the Seekers would only focus on the element and not the larger machine, but each hypothesis raises its own questions. More important, in my mind at least, is whether the Jove observatories and these Antikythera elements are what the Seekers were sent out to, well, seek. That they’re hunting them down now is obvious, but is it what they were designed to do? It’s also clear that the Seekers’ threat response protocols have been repeatedly increased in recent months. Seekers, along with their Drifter brethren, have become more and more aggressive, and the most recent reports state that they’ve even begun attacking capsuleers with no provocation. Such a change in behavior is troubling indeed, and I can’t help but wonder if the Drifters have somehow assumed control of the Seekers.
I was shaken out of my reverie as the Seekers finished their excavation and warped on to their next target. I quickly managed to get my hands on my own Antikythera element. I’m not sure what good it’ll be, but I felt better knowing that I had my own copy of the mysterious device. It also felt more than a little awe-inspiring to have a piece of actual Jove tech sitting in my hanger, and not something that’s been dumbed down for the rest of the Cluster. I may have no idea what it does, but it’s my own piece of history, sitting in my own hanger. As I settled back down in my bunk to get back to sleep, I wondered what stories it had to tell.
- Attraction: Jove Observatory
- System: Various throughout known space
- Security Rating: Various throughout known space
- Region: Various throughout known space
- Potential Hazards: Both Circadian Seekers and Drifter battleships will attack if you are uncloaked at the Observatories (or in other places in system). Seeker offensive strength has risen. Caution is advised.