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.
(Editor’s note: if you’d like to read my first write-up of the only partially-decloaked unidentified structures, please see here. To see my write-up after the assault by the Seekers and Drifters, please see here.)
They’ve been listening to us. For how long? We don’t know. Why? We can only guess. Who are they? Well, that finally seems to be crystallizing. We’ve long known the Jove to take a light touch with Cluster politics. They have a knack for showing up unannounced, preening their advanced technology and, if they so deign, gifting us with a bit of it if they so desire, and then disappearing again as quickly as they arrived. Long the distant older sibling of the New Eden family, it’s become clear that the Jove have in fact kept a much closer eye on us than we have previously realized. Which brings us, of course, to the question of how they’ve been watching us. That has become more obvious in recent weeks. I had previously mentioned the appearance of partially-decloaked unidentified structures that had popped up across the Cluster. Well, those structures have now fully decloaked, and it’s now fairly clear that these structures are part of a Cluster-wide observing network. Both the media and the Sisters of Eve agree that the structures are probably Jove in origin.
These structures fit with the Jove’s general modus operandi. It’s long been rumored that the Jove have hid the remains of ancient technology surrounding the Eve Gate that far surpasses the technology of today. If the Jove are able to cloak debris and remains of this magnitude, it’s a small logical step indeed to suppose that they could also have cloaked these structures across the Cluster with us knowing nothing about them. Of course, this raises the question of why the structures are decloaking now (as well as the question of whether the rumored tech near the Eve Gate will also start appearing on our scanners). Most people seem to agree that whatever caused Caroline’s Star devastated what remained of the Jove Empire, as evidenced by the collapse of their stargate network. Why that would lead to structures spread throughout New Eden to decloak at roughly the same time is anyone’s guess, although there are a few plausible theories out there.
Whatever the reason, the structures are now here for all to see, with CONCORD already marking them with beacons for all to see. And quite a sight they are. For one, the stations are absolutely gargantuan in nature. They dwarf even a titan in size, with estimates showing that the stations are roughly 190 kilometers from top to bottom. Needless to say, Professor Science is but a mote of dust next to such a large structure. Indeed, it takes me a good one to two minutes altogether to transverse the entire structure, even with a microwarpdrive attached to my Buzzard-class ship. The power requirements to cloak such a vessel must have been enormous, even if the station was designed with cloaking in mind. Sitting next to the structure was enough to make my head spin.
But that’s nothing next to the design itself of the structure. This was the first time I’ve come in contact with anything Jove. I’ve, of course, seen pictures of Jove ships and stations. But this is the first time that I’ve seen Jove engineering up close (the Gnosis and Apotheosis excepted, of course, but it has not been clear how closely the Society of Conscious Thought and the Jovian Directorate were intertwined since the Society’s scandal with Sansha’s Nation), and the results are, understandably, stunning. The architecture is different from the almost-organic feel (which is distinct from the Gallente’s graceful organic architecture) that other Jove structures and ships have displayed. Instead, the tower, with buttress-like structures and ridges traveling up and down the observation post reminds me most of the soaring cathedrals often seen on Amarr planets. It was not an impression I was expecting from the Jove, perhaps the antithesis of the Amarr when it comes to religion, but it was the impression I got nonetheless.
It should be noted that both the Circadian Seekers and the Drifter Battleships, despite neither being strictly Jove in origin (so we think, at least), have taken a keen interest in our interactions with the observation posts. Indeed, I let myself get careless with Seekers nearby, and just heading in the structure’s general direction earned me weapons fire from the Seekers. Both types of ships seem intent on preventing interaction with the structures whenever possible, and they will not hesitate to use weapons if they are around. Not that much interaction is even possible. The structures are resistant to scans and as well as any and all communications requests, and Aura’s analysis simply notes that the structure doesn’t match anything in her database. We don’t even know if the stations are manned, for that matter. Too many questions, so few answers.
Given all we have learned in the past few months, and the even more that we haven’t, its natural to wonder exactly what has happened to the Jove. I do fear the worst for our erstwhile benefactors; it seems unlikely that they would let these Circadian Seekers and Drifter battleships roam around unchallenged if the Jove were at all capable of responding to them. I’ve always been slightly disgruntled with them given their potential to improve our lives in so many ways, but it has taken this level of potential disaster in their space for me to realize that even given their hesitance to interact, I will miss them if they are gone.
- Attraction: Unidentified Structure
- System: Various throughout known space
- Security Rating: Various throughout known space
- Region: Various throughout known space
- Potential Hazards: As noted above, both Circadian Seekers and Drifter battleships, if present at unidentified structures, will attack if you try to approach while uncloaked. Caution is advised. EDIT: With the release of Scylla, Circadian Seeker drones have become stronger and more hostile. Drifter battleships have begun to pod players. Caution is strongly advised.
It’s remarkable that just six months ago, I was worried about running out of things to discuss with in my travelogue. I had seen much (though certainly not all) that there was to see, and I had been consciously spacing out my entries to prolong my writing for as long as possible. But oh how things can change. Since Caroline’s Star quite literally exploded onto the scene, I have had a plethora of things to discuss, and for the first time in quite a while, I have a sizeable backlog of sites to catalog, analyze, and explore, to the point where I feel bad that I’ve let things go for as long as I have without comment. I suspect I’m not the only one who has felt this sense of renewal in New Eden in recent days. Between Thera and various happenings in New Eden, it certainly feels to me that the plodding ship of New Eden is getting underway again.
Indeed, perhaps the most evident demonstration of this newfound momentum is the rather explosive appearance of a new faction in the Cluster. The Drifters are a mysterious, biomechanical race of beings that, if CONCORD is to be believed, are a splinter sect of the Jove… and perhaps all that remains of the Empire. Rumors surrounding the death of the Jovians have spread rampantly since Mouse Nell managed to capture a photo of what appeared to be Sansha Nation vessels stationed just off of a conquered Jove station in YC 112. Indeed, the last known communique from the Empire was that they had expelled the Sansha fleet. For the next 5 years, there has been only silence from the Jove, and the apparent collapse of much of the Jove stargate network following the appearance of Caroline’s Star only exacerbated those rumors. But CONCORD intelligence on the Drifters released to capsuleers suggests that the Empire may indeed have fallen:
Emerging from the ruins of the Sleeper civilization spread throughout Anoikis – otherwise known as ‘W-Space’ – the Drifters represent a tremendous challenge and perhaps a dire threat to the empires and capsuleers alike. Seemingly inheritors of a legacy left behind by some of the most ancient Jove, the Drifters are unafraid to wield tremendous power in response to any who get in their way. In this regard, the Drifters are a very different conundrum than the relatively benign presence that was the Jove Empire. (emphasis mine)
Perhaps the most notable thing about the Drifters is that CONCORD has determined recognized pilots in the battleships. Oddly, for all of the Drifter ships seen, there are only two pilots: Apollo Tyrannos and Artemis Tyrannos. From what data CONCORD has released about them, their appearances are the stuff of nightmares. While the Jove had always had an otherworld-y appearance about them, the result of millennia of genetic manipulation, Apollo and Artemis are another breed altogether. Their bodies are nearly completely covered in various cybernetic devices and enhancements. What functions these devices serve can only be speculated about at this point, but given their relationship to the Jove, perhaps the devices serve the same functions as what the Jove accomplished through genetic manipulation. Same ends, different means. Perhaps.
The Drifters are frightening not just for their appearance, but also for both their hostility and technological prowess. Although the Drifters have not (as of yet) begun to attack pilots at random, they have shown no hesitation in both defending themselves and protecting areas that they deem important (to date, Drifters have shown particular interest in protecting the unidentified wormholes and the unidentified structures that have popped up around the cluster) from capsuleer incursion. Drifter ships utilize a new form of propulsion that seemingly upends our understandings of physics. Rather than relying on classical concepts of propulsion (utilizing that good old law of motion that for every action there is an equal, but opposite, reaction), CONCORD analyses of the Drifter ships suggests that they interact directly with the fabric of space-time to move around. This method of propulsion evidences itself through a number of antennae at the back of the Drifter ships, with a nearly invisible field that is mostly seen by how it distorts background stars and planets when looking through it.
More importantly, the Drifters possess advanced defensive and offensive technology. Drifter battleships employ some form of dual-layer shielding system. Collapsing the first layer of shielding triggers some form of electro-magnetic pulse that forces all nearby vessels to lose target lock on the ship. And, of course, any attackers would then have to penetrate a second layer of pristine shields. Beyond the pulse, collapsing the first layer of shields also triggers an important step in Drifter rules of engagement: the deployment of their heavy weapons. Ships that do not collapse the first layer of shields are hit by weapons that CONCORD has designated as ‘lux kontos’. Once the first layer of shields drops, however, Drifter commanders authorize the use of what capsuleers have started calling ‘lux destructum’. This heavy weapon is capable of taking down capital ships in just a few shots, and has proven extremely destructive on the battlefield. However, similar to their Circadian Sleeper cousins, they also scan nearby ships and structures with their curious scanning beams.
So far, at least, Drifters appear only in systems that have or have had what CONCORD has dubbed an unidentified wormhole in them. And these wormholes, so far, have only appeared in systems with unidentified Structures in them. These unidentified wormholes are a mystery in their own right. Unlike the more common wormholes I’m well-familiar with, these wormholes, but like the ones found at Promised Land I and the various shattered star Epicenters, the unidentified wormhole here is not transversable by standard ships. However, that does not stop Drifter vessels from using the wormholes as they see fit: they can be found coming and going through the wormhole. The other side of the wormhole seems to be similar to Thera: at least from what little we can see through the spatial distortions of the wormhole. However, thorough capsuleer scans from Thera cannot find the other end of the wormholes. That may indicate that the other side of the unidentified wormholes, while not in Thera itself, may be near enough Thera’s location so as to share the same general sky.
Perhaps the oddest thing about the wormhole isn’t the hole itself, but what comes with it. The hole is bracketed by twin arrays of Sleeper structures. Each array consists of two types of structures: Sleeper Multiplex Forwarders attached to Sleeper Thermoelectric Converters. The Forwarders appear to be massive data-transfer conduits, presumably for transferring information through the wormholes, while the Converters act as the Forwarders’ power source. Exactly what is being transferred through these conduits is unknown, though given that these wormholes only appear in systems with the unidentified structures, it seems safe to assume that at least part of the bandwidth is dedicated to uploading whatever data the Drifters and Seekers discover (assuming the two factions are working together… I am admittedly uncomfortable with the amount of supposition in today’s entry).
As mentioned, the Drifters are generally not a fan of capsuleer ships snooping very close to the wormholes. However, I was able to take my bare capsule in for a look. As noted, I wasn’t able to transverse the wormhole, but I was able to get a good look through the distortions. As I was doing so, I recalled the various statements that have been made by CONCORD, the Sisters of Eve, and others, as well as the communiques we’ve received by someone claiming to be Dr. Tukoss. I’m uncomfortable with the feeling that so many people know so much more of what is going on than the general public does. What are they hiding from us? And why? Troubled, I quickly re-entered my ship and moved on before the Drifters took note of me.
- Attraction: Unidentified Wormholes
- System: Various throughout known space
- Security Rating: Various throughout known space
- Region: Various throughout known space
- Potential Hazards: As noted, Drifter battleships may be found near the wormholes and will attack with force if they see you near the wormhole (they do not attack capsules and do not attack cloaked vessels). You do not want to make Drifters angry. You won’t like them when they’re angry. Like Seekers, Drifters have followed hostile pilots through warp. Caution is advised.
(Editor’s Note: The Unidentified Structures have undergone a few changes since this entry. To see my entry on the uncloaking of the structures, please see here. To see my entry on their assault by the Seekers and Drifters, please see here).
It is perhaps needless to note that I have my hands full over the next few months. New Eden is in a state of upheaval, and CONCORD has deigned fit to mark quite a few new beacons and landmarks throughout and beyond the Cluster. I, of course, fully intend to canvass all of these sites here, but doing so will take time indeed. Over one hundred new systems have been added to the wormhole network, and it’s still not completely clear what can be found in them. I’ve already given myself the goal of visiting all new systems to ensure that I can bring the most accurate information here. But for today, we’re going to have to just settle for what is, from what I’ve seen at least, the least visually impressive landmark that has been uncovered in recent weeks, but what I think is perhaps the most important.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I came out of warp. The beacon had appeared in space in my home system with little ceremony, and reports were coming in that these beacons had popped up across the Cluster. At first, I saw absolutely nothing. It seems the beacon, marked as an “Unidentified Structure” had been wrongfully placed in the middle of a normal dust cloud. But then a flash of light caught my eye. Lightning crackling in the distance. What was lightning doing in space? As I watched for it again, I noticed a faint shimmering. Lightning crackled again, and I noticed that the lightning seemed to travel up the edge of… the faint shimmering thing. Sensors were, of course, inconclusive, but if I had to take a guess, I’d say that a station’s cloaking device was failing. I’d never seen a cloak fail quite like this, but I’d also never seen a cloak on quite this scale before.
I strained my eyes (and my sensors) trying to see what was there. I couldn’t glean much either, though. It was tall, that much was obvious. Tall and fairly narrow. It seemed to have three prongs on the bottom of it, but that could just be my eyes playing tricks on me. Aura, with her prodigious analytical capabilities and access to various databases, couldn’t identify the station either. But something was tugging a bit at my memory nonetheless. With the nearly-cloaked station still seemingly flickering in and out existence a few kilometers away, I pulled up old archival photos of Jove stations. While certainly not identical, there did seem to be… similarities to the contours. A certain conical shape to them, though the Jove stations of old had a more organic feel to the harsher, almost crystalline angles that I could barely discern. It wasn’t a perfect match, but it was a plausible theory. For a better view of the general shape of these objects, Aurora Arcology News has an image enhanced view of the structure here.
Another thing leads me to think that these stations may be Jove related. Rumors have long swirled that the Jove know more than they have let on regarding the Eve Gate in New Eden. One of the key parts of that theory is that the Jove have long cloaked any wreckage leftover from the Eve Gate catastrophe to prevent us lesser-developed nations from getting our hands on technology that could very well disrupt (or destroy) the balance of power in the Cluster. I had never believed in these rumors myself (I tend to like theories that can be proven one way or another rather than just relying on saying the Jovians did it), but there was certainly evidence now that I couldn’t ignore. Assuming that the Jovians are, in fact, behind these newly discovered but apparently long-standing structures (and this is a larger assumption than I am generally comfortable with making), they would indeed have experience with cloaking structures and other items over large areas. Though New Eden itself showed no readings, it is notable that one of these unidentified structures can, in fact, be found there. More and more curious.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the other thing that can almost always be found in systems with these Unidentified Structures: the new Circadian Seekers. These appear to be Sleeper drones within the New Eden cluster. While initially a cause for concern given the reputation Sleeper drones have in being fearsome defenders of their turf in Anoikis, these drones appear to be docile. Despite numerous and repeated attacks on them, I have yet to run into any verified reports of them responding with any kind of force. Instead, they merely appear to roam the system, firing what appears to be a scanning beam on any objects they find. No negative repercussions of these scans have yet come to light. Given that these seekers almost always appear in systems with these new structures (Eram, apparently, is an exception to that rule), a substantial possibility also exists that these unknown structures are also Sleeper in origin, but the designs of these structures would represent a significant departure from known Sleeper architecture. Furthermore, the seekers have been seen attempting to scan the new structures like they would any other object in space, which suggests that they are unknown to them as well.
What is more disconcerting about the appearance of these seekers is what they represent in the evolution of the Sleepers. Since Anoikis became accessible to capsuleers a few years ago, Sleepers have been a purely reactionary force. Capsuleers and the empires would appear near Sleeper sites, and the drones would reactively attempt to repel them. Despite initial fears, the Sleepers never, to our knowledge at least, attempted to follow us beyond the confines of their small patrol routes. They never followed us back to New Eden, and certainly never attempted to discover more about us. We had lulled ourselves into thinking that the Sleepers were unintelligent drones with no curiosity. But then, a few weeks ago, it came to light that various Sleeper caches had started appearing in New Eden. Not only have the Sleepers been in New Eden for quite a while, but they were collecting information and items on us. For what purpose I don’t know, but I have little doubt that these Seekers are a more blatant attempt at learning more about us now that the caches have come to light. (Edit: Furthermore, for the first time, these Sleeper drones have active shielding systems. Sleeper drones prevalent in Anoikis have strong armored hulls, but they’ve never exhibited shield systems before. These new Circadian Seekers, however, have shields as well as armor. That they’ve managed to reverse engineer shield systems is yet another indication that the Sleepers are not as passive as they have seemed. Special thanks to @BlackDeathJazz for reminding me to note that here.) (Second edit: As of 1/13/YC 117, Circadian Seekers have begun responding to attacks with force. Seekers have been known to follow hostile pilots through warp and may pod hostile pilots as well.)
I realize that this has been a somewhat meandering entry, but I fear that this cannot be helped. I try my best to tell a clean and concise narrative in these entries: Eve Travel exists to give context to the universe around us. Unfortunately, right now there is no clean, concise narrative for many of these new objects. We don’t know everything yet, and you’ll have to bear with me as we all discover what all of this truly means. I don’t know what, if anything, the seekers are looking for, and I don’t know the purpose of these unidentified structures. There is a very good chance that there are other things out there that haven’t even come to light yet. And I, for one, am excited to see exactly what the universe has in store for us. EDIT: I’ve received a number of reports (now personally confirmed) that the Unidentified Structures will appear and disappear in a system. It’s unknown at this time if they move positions when they reappear. Basic Information:
- Attraction: Unidentified Structure
- System: Various throughout known space
- Security Rating: Various throughout known space
- Region: Various throughout known space
- Potential Hazards: As noted in the second edit above, Circadian Seekers have begun to respond to attacks with force. Seekers have been seen to defend themselves with heavy missile launcher-strength weaponry. Seekers have followed hostile pilots through warp and may even pod hostile pilots. Caution is advised.
Editor’s note: The source of the star has since been tracked down to W477-P, a system in the Jove regions and, as of now, inaccessible to capsuleers.
I picked a heck of a time to go planetside for a few days. Reports started trickling in a few days ago regarding a new star that has appeared in New Eden skies. Even scientists are baffled as to how a phenomenon like this could appear simultaneously across hundreds of lightyears. For now, theories abound but facts are few. What we do know is that the star’s position appears to be close to the edge of Jove space, and that the phenomenon is only growing brighter. What exactly this means is anyone’s guess at this point, but I will note that this is not the first time we’ve seen a phenomenon like this. As for me, given that I anticipate being planetside for the next few days still, I’ll continue to gather my information second hand. The situation is very much still developing, and information will continue to trickle in from a variety of sources. Keep watching the skies.
- Attraction: Caroline’s Star
- System: W477-P
- Security Rating: Unknown
- Region: UUA-F4
- Potential Hazards: Unknown for now.
I’ll be the first to admit it: the concept of the Minmatar tribes confuses me.
Coming from the pluralistic Federation, the idea of such extensive family units is baffling to me, especially since the tribes seem to play such a large role in determining who you are. And with the new changes to the Republic, it seems like the Tribes will be taking even more of a center stage for the average Matari. In some ways mimicking the Caldari (of all people), the Tribal Assembly has radically decentralized the Republic, in favor of allowing the Tribes to handle most, if not all, internal matters. The Tribal Council, composed of the seven tribal chiefs and the Sanmatar, will be the true powerbase of the Republic, with the Parliament being reduced to a subservient, almost advisory council. From what I’ve read in GalNet, the Tribes will be acting in a very similar capacity to Caldari megacorporations, with tribes handling almost all internal matters. Considering the fact that some have declared Sanmatar Shakor’s centralization of power in recent years almost dictatorial, the fact that he agreed to this radical restructuring of the Republic is surprising indeed.
Thus, it seems almost fitting that I find myself sitting today in Frarn, closely examining the Brutor Tribe Community Area. Before running across this site, I hadn’t even realized that the Brutor (or any of the tribes, really) had such large space-based colonies, but here we are. I have, of course, run across a few Brutors in my day, but I rarely run across the average Brutor citizen. Then again, that’s hardly surprising given the fact that these days, I only rarely see non-capsuleers of any sort. But given the newly-forged primacy that the Tribes were taking in Republic life, I happily dove into my examination of the Brutor tribe. It seems that the Brutor ought to be pretty happy these days. They have long advocated for a tribal-based Republic, and with the recent reforms advocated by the new Sebiestor Chief, Acassa Midular, they are getting their wish. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they tend to congregate together, as it seems it is their tribal bonds that helped them survive the Amarr enslavement.
Given the trauma of Amarr enslavement, it is perhaps unsurprising that the tribes have remained relatively close-knit. In many circumstances, it was the tribal bonds that helped the culture survive through the Dark Days. Those bonds remain as strong as ever today, as can be seen with these Community Areas found throughout the Republic. As Aura explains:
Hundreds of these small community areas have been erected in recent years to accommodate those returning from travels abroad and seeking temporary accommodation. Ironically, they were originally designed to facilitate a great exodus to Federation space, but with the rise of fresh new ideas inside Minmatar borders causing many to return to their homelands, these spacebound communities have come to play an entirely different role. Typically, a single community will be dedicated to one tribe or another, but it is not unheard of for two or more tribes to share the one area.
Like many Matari sites, this one is based around Amarr ruins left over from the occupation. Many of these old Amarr structures don’t appear to be utilized in anyway; rather, the ruins are left intact solely as a reminder of how far the Republic has come from the Occupation (and, possibly, as a giant middle finger to the Empire, though I suspect most Matari architects would deny that… or maybe not. In fact, it’s a bit odd that the primary feature of the site is completely abandoned and unused. An old Amarr station, broken, decayed, and stripped of any useful materials, is the first thing that draws the eye upon coming out of warp. The next thing a person notices is that the abandoned station is curiously surrounded by eight large rocks, all named Rememberance. The stones were clearly placed by the Minmatar around the station, perhaps as a reminder that metaphorical sticks and (in this case, at least) rather literal stones were able to bring down the might of the Amarr Empire. The entire memorial helps reinforce the Matari self-image as a plucky, technologically backward species that nonetheless manage to throw off their oppressors, never mind the fact that these days the Minmatar are just as technologically advanced as any in the Cluster.
It’s only after the eye thoroughly examines the Amarr station and its immediate environs that you really notice the actual location of the community area. It’s tucked off to one side, well outside the influence of the Amarr station, preferring to remain the shadows of the Amarr leviathan, perhaps hoping it won’t be seen. The community area is, in typical Matari fashion, a rather hodgepodge assortment of cargo bays, living quarters, bars, and ships. Perhaps surprisingly given the pains the locals took to arrange the Amarr station just so, little thought is given to the appearance of the community area. A number of large, bulbous storage vats anchor the bottom of the site, while the top is dominated by the cargo platforms that help transfer needed goods to and from the community center. The area also appears to act as a banker for many of the local residents, since I can’t understand why else the area would need a Bursar. The Republic has stationed two Tempest-class battleships to watch over the area: one remains docked at the facility while one stays stationed nearby.
As I’ve implied above, I was rather taken aback by the powerful symbolism found throughout this site. When it comes to architectural symbolism, I tend to think of the Amarr much more than the other empires, yet here is a stunning demonstration of Minmatar tenacity found within a decrepit Amarr station and a few well-placed asteroids. Perhaps it is yet another way that the Minmatar are casting off their Amarr history, by using the Amarr’s own heavy-handed symbolism against them. I was also surprised by the relative insularity of the community: only Brutors were really to be found here. Perhaps given that insularity, I should be less surprised than I am at the radical shift currently taking place within the Republic. The tribe has been likened to an extended family, and families tend to stay together whenever possible. So its natural that if there’s seven extended families in the Republic, power is concentrated into those seven.
…Nah, it’s still weird to me.
- Attraction: Brutor Tribe Community Area
- System: Frarn
- 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 an explorer by profession, it’s surprisingly easy to forget just how dangerous the profession can be for the uninitiated. Things that I often don’t give a second thought to can be the difference between life or death for those new to the profession: fit your ships for speed (especially in low security space); a cloak never hurt anyone; and d-scan, d-scan, d-scan (again, especially in low security space). With the withdrawal of pirates from most sites about six months ago, most explorers may have even gone so far as to give up giving their ship many defenses; the recent appearance of so-called Ghost Sites (which don’t seem to be very ghostly at all considering anyone can see them, but I suppose that is neither here nor there) and its new potential loot has undoubtedly changed that particular paradigm. And I suspect we haven’t seen the last of what the pirate research programs have to offer.
Regardless, it’s important to remind explorers that despite all of valuable resources that exploration provides, it is, like so many professions in the cluster, a dangerous one. And Echelon Entertainment is here to serve (and undoubtedly get a holo deal or three out of it). After the Sisters of Eve announced a drive to collect pictures of well known landmarks in New Eden, Echelon randomly selected one of those capsuleers to complete all 29 images to be honored at a so-called Explorer’s Relief Post. The Post can be found in Jakanerva, near the heart of Caldari space a few jumps from Jita. Aura’s background on the site, normally only a few sentences long, was a bit more verbose this time as Echelon provided more background on the site:
This site stands as a quiet and somewhat unnerving mark of honor for the efforts of Marcus Yeon and all others who took Echelon Entertainment up on its exploration challenge. These capsuleers risked their ships, their clones and their crews on a perilous venture to capture some of the amazing sights of New Eden.
While those pilots who succeeded in the various stages of the challenge were rewarded with various material goods, Echelon Entertainment also commissioned a landmark to be created so that their fearless efforts would be remembered throughout history.
Echelon Entertainment also requested that the landmark be placed next to the scorched ruins of a quite astonishingly ill-fated secret experiment, in order to warn intrepid explorers that on a very few select occasions, discretion is very much the better part of valor. In an interesting quirk of fate, rumor has it that this experiment was being run by Yeon’s own people – possibly a subtle warning from Echelon Entertainment not to get too boastful in the dangerous world of New Eden – and that the ghostly form of one of his past clones still haunts the place.
Tantalizing hints here, but what did they mean (rumors of ghosts aside: I’ll believe THAT when I see it)? That Yeon had been conducting his own experiments was news to me, and I couldn’t help but wonder if the experiments tied into the newly discovered Ghost Sites (which I have yet to discover). Rumor has it that the Ghost Sites are actually pirate-based research initiatives; if so, then Yeon’s experiments here may have tied in to the pirate factions’ R&D. That the experiment apparently backfired is just another demonstration that cutting-edge research can be hazardous to one’s health. Still, it was heartening to see what would otherwise be a deserted research base turned into a testament to expanding the frontiers of knowledge.
The site itself was fairly extensive, if straightforward. A formation of Explorer Relief Posts were organized around an empty, but now-iconic data site. Though the site has long been emptied of useful data, it serves as a graceful centerpiece to the site. It also gave me the opportunity to closely examine the data hub itself, something I had never paid much attention to during my explorations. Surrounded as it was by three rings, it brought to mind a gyroscope, with the central hub always maintained upright within. Surrounding the data site in a diamond formation, Echelon has placed a number of so-called “explorer relief posts”, but what relief they are meant to provide is a bit beyond me. Apparently consisting primarily of some kind of resource cache stored in a small forcefield, the posts were completely inaccessible to my ship, making me question just what kind of “relief” was to be provided. Still, it was soothing to watch the various field emitters spin to maintain the field’s integrity.
Nearby, the ruinous remains of the research station loomed. Above the tattered superstructure of the research station, presumably at the site where the experiments were performed, a spatial rift of some kind had formed. Aura herself was apparently spooked by it, as she had labeled the rift as “ominous,” despite the other spatial rifts we’ve seen in our days. I originally didn’t examine the rift particularly closely, but after watching it a while, I noticed a small speck nearby that I had initially dismissed as a sensor blip. Upon closer examination however, I discovered that that blip was actually a corpse of Marcus himself: presumably the corpse was the origin of those “ghostly forms” that Aura spoke of. The explosion which formed the rift was clearly a powerful one: besides completely destroying the top half of the research station, a number of ship wrecks could be seen nearby, undoubtedly the station’s former guard battalion, caught up in the blast. Indeed, given the devastation evidently rained down upon the station from the blast, it’s a miracle that Yeon’s corpse survived at all. How it survived, and how it remains stable so close to the rift, is a mystery to both Aura and myself.
I actually spent quite a bit of time simply admiring the site. I didn’t expect to be gratified to see acknowledgment of the work that myself and thousands of other explorers pursue in order to help improve the quality of life in the cluster. And being the explorer that I am, the site certainly whetted my appetite to see what else was out there. The pirates are on to something here, and the Empires want them to stop (even if they aren’t always the best at executing their goals). I look forward to helping the research in any way I can. There are plenty of clues to be found and discoveries to be made, but ultimately, one of the best skills that an explorer can have is patience. After all, even after finding everything there is to find, it may not make sense at first. But if I have anything to say about it, you better believe it will.
- Attraction: In honor of intrepid explorer Marcus Yeon
- System: Jakanerva
- 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.
Governments. You expect them to, well, govern you. Provide necessary services, protect you from threats. It’s all part of the social compact: you agree to submit to the government’s authority in exchange for that government keeping you safe and healthy. According to some political theorists, in fact, this social compact is the source of the government’s authority. In fact, keeping its citizenry safe (from threats both external and internal) is perhaps the most important service that a modern day government provides. And in maintaining a nation’s safety, I, and most people, understand that some… questionable choices must sometimes be made in order to maintain the balance between safety and liberty. I may not always agree with the choices made, but I do understand that there are broader issues at work.
Of course, it normally does not need to be said that in providing governmental services, we expect of modicum of competence. We’re all just human, of course, but in providing for Gallente national security, I would expect the Federation to not make idiotic moves or mistakes. Ethically questionable? Sure, especially with the rise of the Black Eagles and other national security institutions. But I’d like to think that, if nothing else, the professionals we hire to safeguard our nation’s closest-held secrets have a bare minimum of common sense. After all, President Roden created one of the premiere ship-building companies in the Cluster from basically his bare hands. How hard could it be?
So, of course, my faith in governmental institutions was severely tested by my discovery in Noghere, a system in Essence not far from the Caldari border. There, a cursory glance at the system’s beacons will display an “Unmarked Operation,” run by the Gallente government in full view of anyone who passes through the system. Now, don’t get me wrong, when you’re establishing a site crucial to national security, it’s not necessarily possible to keep a site secret. After all, spy agencies need headquarters and its not necessarily possible to keep such a headquarters secret. But you would think that you’d at least not broadcast its existence not only throughout the star system, but on CONCORD controlled maps as well. Not only that, but the site does not appear to be protected or secured at all. The only thing warning you away is a brief message you receive upon warping to the site:
Please be advised:
We are here to protect the citizens of the Gallente Federation. Do not be alarmed by our presence, and please carry on with your daily activities.
Being, in fact, quite alarmed at the state of Gallente security, I dropped out of warp at the site. If I hadn’t known what the site was ostensibly for, I would actually find it quite beautiful. It’s dominated by what appears to be two listening posts, which slowly comb the space surrounding Noghere, no doubt searching for stray Caldari signals. Strange devices were attached to the end of each listening post, glowing an odd shade of blue. Neither I nor sensors could make heads or tails of the devices, and it struck me as something that the Federation would PROBABLY want to keep secret, if it had any kind of common sense. But alas, here was a civilian photographer taking pictures of a government operation and unknown technologies.
Beyond the two listening posts, the entire area is pretty quiet. A few smaller Gallente vessels can be seen ferrying equipment and personnel back and forth. I would normally say they also secured the site, but given what I’ve seen so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had orders to shoot each other instead of other ships should hostiles invade the area. Between the two listening posts, a rather sizeable bunker floated, no doubt housing the operations’ staff and administration complex. In a vain attempt to cover their tracks, the government appears to have towed a sizeable asteroid to the complex, probably thinking it was a foolproof way to hide the site from prying eyes.
As I looked over the site, I realized that perhaps I was being too hard on Federation authorities. Still, it was difficult to figure out precisely what the Federation hoped to accomplish by making the site so blatant. If it was perhaps a tad more difficult to find, I would think that it was meant as a diversion or counter-intelligence operation to distract the Federation’s enemies. But even the Amarr would realize that the Federation is simply trying too hard here to make the site obvious. Or perhaps this is just a public relations site: meant to show the citizenry that the government is Doing Something to protect it from the Caldari menace. Whatever the reason, the fact that this site was even conceived disabused me strongly of the notion that governments should ever, ever be run by bureaucrats. They just don’t exactly ooze competency, it seems. Perhaps they should just be left to running symoposia and be done with it.
- Attraction: Unmarked Operation
- System: Noghere
- Security Rating: 0.7
- Region: Essence
- 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.
I’ve been having a recurring dream lately. In it, I’m trapped inside an endless maze. Every few meters, I’m presented with an option of going left or right, with no indication of which option will let me out of the maze, which direction will get me to the center of the maze, and what I will find at the maze’s end. I spend the entire dream running through, knowing that I have to find an exit to the maze, without knowing at all why. Half of the time, I’m being chased by an unknowable Something Evil, but the other half I’m merely wandering aimlessly, feeling more and more desperate. Inevitably, I wake up safely ensconced in my ship or captain’s quarters, with no mazes in sight (station interiors notwithstanding), but inevitably, I wake up drenched in sweat. Capsuleers aren’t supposed to be afraid of anything, but clearly something has me uneasy. I guess demigods still fear their own dreams.
And so it was with some trepidation that I approached the site found in Aphi known as the Labyrinth. Obviously, the name alone brought my dreams to mind. But with everyone’s sudden interest in exploration and sightseeing, I knew I had to confront my fears sooner rather than later. But that didn’t mean I had to go in unprepared. I started trawling GalNet with gusto, trying to find any information on the Labyrinth that I could. While my research wasn’t quite as productive as I might have hoped, I did at least manage to find a map that would safely guide me through the site, making sure I not be stuck wandering aimlessly. A warp drive also helped with that, admittedly. I also discovered that to access the site, I would need the Key to the Labyrinth, which is obtainable either through the Museum Arcana or other capsuleers.
Upon entering the site, the courageous pilot is presented with a ring of spatial rifts. Although the rifts bear some similarity to their more well-known cousin, the wormhole (most notably, the ability to move ships a certain distance through non-linear space), a number of differences remain. Most notably, the rifts only work over relatively short distances, astronomically speaking. The rifts will only move you tens of thousands of kilometers, instead of the thousands of lightyears that wormholes can throw you. Additionally, while spatial rifts can be found throughout the Cluster, the Labyrinth’s rifts are one of the few known stable examples of the phenomenon. However, they are not completely stable; each segment of the Labyrinth has 8 rifts associated with it; despite this, only certain rifts still connect with something on the other side, suggesting that portions of the Labyrinth may be lost to the ages.
Whether the Labyrinth is a natural or manmade phenomenon is subject to quite a bit of debate. On the one hand, as discussed below, the center of the maze was clearly settled by the Takmahl, with the rest of the site perhaps acting as a proving ground or security system. On the other hand, the Takmahl, clear descendants of an off-branch of Amarr theology (and thus, the fact that Blood Raiders can often be found here should not surprise anyone), were not known for their prowess in spatial manipulation. Such an honor usually falls to the Talocan. So how the Takmahl could have put such a site together is unknown, given that the Takmahl tend to date significantly later than the other lost races of New Eden. Of course, it is just as possible that the Labyrinth was a natural phenomenon merely co-opted by the Takmahl, but that still raises the question of the nature of the Labyrinth. Such a densely packed area of spatial rifts is unknown anywhere else in the Cluster, and nowhere else do we such rifts surviving for as long as the ones here do; at least 2000 years.
As mentioned, when one navigates the, dare I say, labyrinthine connection of spatial rifts to the center of the site, a large Takmahl site can be seen. The site is dominated by an absolutely massive rock, portions of which had been hollowed out by the Takmahl to serve as a base of some kind. Aura marks it as a “temple” (perhaps an understandable assumption given the Takmahl’s religious origins) but I’m not entirely sure where she got her information from. However, it was difficult to see many details from the surface, or even with sensors. More apparent, however, was the cloud of objects surrounding the central structure. Takmahl data terminals and caches could be found strewn around the base, many of them still functioning millennia after they were constructed. Like the Museum Arcana, the Labyrinth is a testament to the Takmahl’s engineering prowess. A number of Blood Raiders based from here, and a number of other collectors can be seen zealously digging through (and defending) the various artifacts to see what hasn’t been snatched up yet.
Given the activity at the site, I didn’t have quite as much time as I would have liked at the central site. I was unfortunately quickly decloaked and forced to defend myself, giving me only minimal time to take sensor readings and collect data before retreating. My ships are built for speed and stealth, not combat. As I warped out of the site, however, I had an eerie moment of déjà vu. Although I was safely ensconced in my ship and warping out, I couldn’t help but feel like I had been here before. On the run, tail tucked between my legs as I sought to exit from a massive maze. Hmmm….
- Attraction: The Labyrinth
- System: Aphi
- Security Rating: 0.5
- Region: Kador
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen. Additionally, a number of rats, ranging from frigates to battleships, are present throughout the site. They will fire on you if you remain uncloaked. Please note that the frigates, at least, may warp scramble you.
- Additional Notes: You MUST obtain the Key to the Labyrinth, which I purchased on contracts, in order to get past the first acceleration gate. The key is not consumed upon use.
Most people often think of museums as musty old buildings filled with fading exhibits and the bones of animals long dead, or perhaps artifacts from cultures of days past. They’re quiet buildings, filled with knowledge for those who are willing to seek it out. Unless, of course, you happen to be a capsuleer, in which case anything that doesn’t involve explosions isn’t worth doing, be it for knowledge or some other cause. Which is why it shouldn’t surprise anyone that, tucked away in the Araz constellation, the Museum Arcana combines the thrill of combat with the soporific effect that museums tend to have on people. More an archeological site than a true museum, the area is still overseen by a Curator who seems curiously oblivious to the ships fighting over the choicest archeological artifacts.
The Museum is dedicated to the Takmahl. Although often playing second fiddle to the more well-known Sleeper and Talocan ancient civilizations, the Takmahl have a fascinating history in their own right, and are probably the most recent of the lost civilizations of New Eden. The Takmahl started off as an offshoot of an offshoot of the Amarr faith. Those familiar with Amarr sects might recall that the Sani Sabik believe that purity can only be found through human blood. While the official Faith disclaims these teachings, these theological ideas have long had some popularity amongst the Amarr. Every so often, the Faith would set out and purge these blood believers. One of these purges, early on after the discovery of interstellar flight, led to the expulsion of what would eventually become the Takmahl. The followers left in cryo-ships, and apparently ended up in the Araz constellation. They became experts in cybernetics and bio-engineering before mysteriously dying out. One of their more complete data repositories was eventually rediscovered and labeled the Museum Arcana.
Aura has this to say regarding the Museum:
The Museum Arcana is an exclusive abode for purveyors of ancient, even arcane knowledge. The museum prides itself in serving only those truly learned in the secrets of the ancient world. To make this a certainty all visitors must not only have a rudimentary knowledge in prehistoric matters, but may be called upon to demonstrate their capabilities.
Aura has apparently been developing a bit of a sense of humor, since “a bit of rudimentary knowledge” roughly translates to “able to spend a few million isk.” By running an analyzer and obtaining a Key of the Arcane, the doorkeeper is happy to let you pass into the primary area of the museum. There, the Museum becomes a bit of a free for all. Despite being open for business for a few years now, the Museum still has quite a few juicy morsels at play, and collectors of archaic memorabilia can often be seen tussling with those hoping to find some of that cybernetic and bio-engineering technology that I mentioned. And, of course, any newcomers can expect to have both of those groups gang up on them for daring to intrude into their territory. However, it can be useful seeing as how finding a few tokens for the Curator allows you access to another fascinating Takmahl site, the Labyrinth in Aphi. But that’s for another entry.
Assuming you can take your mind off of the people trying to blow you up, the Museum itself is quite a sight to see. The Museum is anchored by a massive central structure, surrounded by a field of secondary data repositories. While the main structure has long been mined out of artifacts, many of the secondary repositories are still active, assuming you have the proper equipment with you. However, the main structure of the Museum dominates from an aesthetics viewpoint. Amarrian influences are clear in its construction, almost making the entire thing feel like a temple dedicated to preserving Takmahlan knowledge. In particular, the top of the structure is dominated by the all-too-familiar sweeping hand of Amarrian destiny, demonstrating that the Amarr (and the Takmahl) had delusions of galactic domination for millennia.
Although the Amarr influences are to be expected, perhaps more surprising are the deviations from Amarr architecture. While the Amarr are well-known for their love of all things golden, the Takmahl structure’s blue-ish hues, organic curves, and biodomes gives much of the structure an almost Gallente feel to it. I would have thought the styles would clash, but they go together remarkably well, giving the structure a very graceful feel. The biodomes, of course, fit the Takmahlan historic interest in bio-engineering. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of it was the fact that even now, hundreds if not thousands of years later, the biodomes were still as verdant and green as anything you would find on Gallente Prime. Indeed, everything seemed remarkably well-preserved, which is yet another testament to Takmahl technology, regardless of any ethical concerns I might have about their religious beliefs.
I spent some time at the Museum, mostly just looking around and admiring the views. Professor Science’s cloak meant that just about everyone ignored me, something with which I was perfectly content. Eventually, however, it was time to move on from the Museum. As I warped out, I couldn’t help but wonder if museums would be more popular if they all involved guns, explosions, and blood-drinking religious fanatics, but I guess we will never know.
- Attraction: Museum Arcana
- System: Zimse
- Security Rating: 0.5
- Region: Kador
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen. Additionally, a number of rats, ranging from frigates to a battleship, are present at the site. They will fire on you if you remain uncloaked.
- Additional Notes: You MUST obtain the Key of the Arcane, which I purchased on contracts for about 10 million isk, in order to get past the first acceleration gate. The key is not consumed upon use.