Editor’s note: CCP heavily revamped the Traumark Installation in YC123 (that’s 2021 for you non-lore-speakers). This entry chronicles how the site looks after the revamp, but if you’d like to see the original entry as it dates from YC112 (2010!), please click here.
I don’t believe in ghosts, much less space ghosts.
It’s critical that I am clear on this particular point given today’s entry. I don’t. Believe. In space ghosts.
But if I did believe in space ghosts, and if I was forced to pick one location in space where they absolutely, positively, 100 percent lived, I would definitely pick the creepy abandoned fortress surrounded by dark, spooky clouds filled with flashes of blood red lightning and also plenty of Sansha cybernetic zombies. Yeah, that sounds about right.
I don’t believe in space ghosts. And, just to prove it, I repeated it to myself. Over and over and over again as I explored the ruins of Old Traumark, who fit the description above to a T. But it’s fine, it’s not like I was scared or anything, because I don’t believe in space ghosts, you see. Just like I told myself. Repeatedly.
As is appropriate for most sites that definitely are not haunted (they can’t be! Because ghosts aren’t real!), the old Traumark Installation used to be a crown jewel for expansion of the Tash-Murkon royal family. Meant to serve as a bulwark of civilization against the untamed systems of Stain one jump out, Traumark was long thought to be impregnable against anything that Sansha or anyone else from Stain could throw at it. That conceit ended up being… erroneous on the Tash-Murkon Family’s part.
Aura explains a bit further:
The Old Traumark Installation was formerly a massive fortress guarding the southern space territories of the vastly rich Tash-Murkon royal family. At its height it represented the proudest moment in the history of the Tash-Murkon and a symbol of their commitment to progress and development. Yet that proud moment came and went, for the fortress, once thought to be impregnable, fell into the hands of Sansha’s Nation
Over the subsequent years several attempts were made to recapture and renovate the installation, however each attempt was stymied by the entrenched Sansha forces. The close proximity to Stain allowed Nation reinforcements to arrive with little warning, and the stations themselves were riddled with booby traps and infested by numerous cybernetically-augmented True Slave soldiers.
After these failed attempts to recapture the ruins, the pragmatic Tash-Murkons eventually changed their approach and chose to build a new Traumark Installation at a nearby location. Now two versions of the great southern fortress exist just a short warp away from each other: a bright shining facility that represents the best of Amarr progress and might, and the ruined fortification that serves as an ever-present reminder of that might’s limits.
Old Traumark consisted of 3 stations of familiar Amarr design. The Sansha have maintained the superstructures of those stations (surprisingly, the stations don’t have so much a single added spike to their design), but beyond the familiar shapes you might never guess that the Amarr ever controlled the station. Sansha ships constantly patrol the space between and around the stations. Pervading the entire area are dark clouds that nearly blot out distant Saminer. I can’t quite tell where the clouds came from. Perhaps its just debris that the Sansha have simply kicked into space as they maintained the stations over the years. Perhaps a particularly thick dust cloud moved into the area. Perhaps it’s simply the malevolent intent of the Sansha and their dark goals made manifest.
One thing I can definitely guarantee that the dark clouds are not: a ghostly miasma. Because, as I feel the need to remind myself consistently, ghosts aren’t real.
Either way, as I watch the scene, I find myself needing to reiterate that refrain even more. For between the stations, and between particularly dense patches of the dark and spooky clouds, lightning can be seen flickering within the depths. Lightning in space is a relatively rare occurrence, but not uncommon. What is uncommon, however, about this particular brand of space lightning is the color: a dark, blood red. If I hadn’t known that the Sansha were the ones that controlled the area, I would have expected Blood Raiders in the area given the overall motif.
I admittedly did not spend a lot of time looking over the scene. Not because I was afraid of ghosts or anything of the sort (I’m a sensible, rational individual and the concept is patently ridiculous, you see), but because afraid of one of the roaming Sansha patrols accidentally decloaking me in my unarmed Professor Science. And also because I wasn’t sure of the effect of getting hit by the blood red lightning. And also because I was really, truly interested in examining the modern fortress installation that could be found nearby. And so I after I got a sense of the site and snapped a few images from my camera drones, I set course away from the Ruins of Old Traumark.
And away from the ghosts that definitely don’t exist.
- Attraction: The Ruins of Old Traumark
- System: Saminer
- Security Rating: 0.3
- Region: Tash-Murkon
- Potential Hazards: Saminer is located in low security space. Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended. There definitely aren’t any ghosts around, at least, because there’s no such thing as ghosts.
The Mannar have always stood out a bit in the Federation. One of the founding members of the Federation and one of the largest member races, the Mannar were a bit unusual in that, at the time of first contact with Luminarian explorers, Kabar (Mannar VIII) was not unified under a central world government (although the ethnic Gallente maintained de jure nation-states, city-states, and various other governmental entities, they had long settled into a peaceful status quo under the World Democracy League and other multinational institutions; that system on Gallente Prime lasts to this day. Needless to say, the Caldari differed in, uhh, several respects). Rather, a number of nation-states still existed on Mannar, with many of them hostile to one another in the way that nation-states in geopolitical conflict are.
In fact, several of the major nation-states on Mannar still practiced slaveholding at the time of first contact, something anathema to the human rights ethos in slow development across the proto-Federation. In response, the Luminarians attempted to dissuade the major nations from their slaveholding ways by offering advanced technology. The slaveholding nations, well, continued to hold slaves. So the Luminarians instead brought the non-slaveholding nations up to technological equality with the Luminarians, who were there shocked (shocked, I say!) to see those nations use that newly-acquired technology to gang up on the slaveholding nations and declare war. Within a few years, the preferred nations of Mannar were in control, and the Luminarians welcomed them with open arms into the nascent Federation.
Mannar’s newly slavefree world continued happily through the next few hundred years. The Federation slowly expanded, the Mannar gobbled up newly discovered worlds, things were grand. But then, 24 years before the Youil Convention and still in the midst of the Gallente-Caldari war, an ecological disaster struck: whether through environmental degradation or an act of biological warfare (many Mannar blamed the Caldari at the time, but no links were ever proven), an insect species fundamental to the Kabar ecosystem went extinct over the course of a few months from a biological contagion of some kind. The collapse came to be known as the Doa dea Kabar, or “Destruction of Home”. The effects of Doa dea Kabar were widespread and calamitous; the entire ecosystem collapsed soon after, despite the best efforts of Federation scientists. Today, Kabar is a barren wasteland, barely capable of supporting life. The Mannar, en masse, moved to Leremblompes II (“Mannar Seginde”, though frankly I think Leremblompes is a cooler name), where the main Mannar nation resides to this day.
The Federation never gave up on Kabar, however, and CONCORD has joined the effort in more recent years, helping with logistics, research, and financial subsidies. To this day, the Federation maintains a significant terraforming effort on and around the world in an attempt to restore the world’s ecosystem. In orbit of the world, a sightseer can find a number of complexes dedicated to the terraforming effort.
First, Aura has this to say about the Kabar Terraforming HQ:
This station is the dedicated headquarters of the Kabar (Mannar VIII) Terraforming Initiative’s operations established to oversee the next phase of the “remedial terraforming” efforts aimed at repairing the devastated biosphere of the planet. President Celes Aguard made Federation backing of this effort a key priority for her administration.
Kabar is the original home world of the Mannar people, a founder member of the Gallente Federation that has continued to be a vital part of the democratic interstellar polity. In BYC24, Kabar was struck by an ecological catastrophe that led to total collapse of the biosphere, eventually rendering the planet barren and barely capable of supporting life. The Mannar call this event the “Doa dea Kabar”. While the event is loosely known as the “Destruction of Mannar” in the Federation and beyond, the name the Mannar give it renders more accurately as “Death of the Heart” or “Destruction of Home”. As a result of this disaster, the bulk of the Mannar population was settled on Leremblompes II, a world that they call “Mannar Seginde”.
The nature of the ecological catastrophe has been the subject of much speculation and controversy. The essence of the matter was the sudden mass extinction of a keystone genus of insects vital to the ecology of the planet. The insects were apparently struck by a plague that rapidly destroyed their populations, leaving vast numbers of plant and animal species dependent on the insects bereft. Despite the efforts of scientists, the plague was not cured and the insects could not be successfully cloned or otherwise replaced. The entire global ecosystem unraveled and the biosphere began to collapse.
The cause of the plague and dramatic global ecosystem collapse is unknown. Fingers were pointed at rival planetary states for a time, but outside sabotage became the main theory, with many Mannar and others in the Federation going so far as to openly blame their Caldari State enemies. This theory drove many Mannar to enlist with the Federation Navy in order to strike back through fighting in the ongoing Gallente-Caldari War. Ultimately, nothing was ever proven and the trigger for the extinction and ecological collapse remains a mystery.
Along with the headquarters, a Kabar Terraforming Logistics Station can be found:
This station is the primary logistics and transfer operations facility for the Kabar (Mannar VIII) Terraforming Initiative. Massive amounts of equipment, materials, and large teams of scientists and planetary engineers are constantly moving back and forth. The station has also increased the level of support that the Federation is able to give to the subterranean settlements of Mannar that remained on Kabar after the mass evacuations. While necessarily limited in number, the underground cities and arcologies of Kabar have endured and contribute significantly to the terraforming project.
CONCORD has continued to support the Federation’s efforts to progress the terraforming of Kabar, following the Joint Federation-CONCORD Ecological Surveying and Joint Exploratory Terraforming Missions. The SCC supports transport and communications efforts with generous material aid and costs subsidies, while the various science and engineering divisions of CONCORD’s vast apparatus are also involved in the logistics of terraforming Kabar.
The last major complex in the area is the Kabar Terraforming Science Facility:
This facility contains the core science programs directed at analyzing the current status of Kabar (Mannar VIII), designing and planning remedial terraforming elements, and running extensive simulations and live testing operations. The terraforming of a barren planet is a massive, lengthy undertaking but the Kabar project is complicated by the history of a pre-existing biosphere and the remnants of life that are capable of surviving on the devastated world.
Some Federation scientists have theorized that Kabar was itself the product of an ancient terraforming project that may have resulted in a too finely balanced ecosystem, fragile and prone to sudden collapse if critical elements should be removed. Some have noted the curious happenstance of an outer planet circling a very hot star developing any kind of complex ecosystem. While this idea remains controversial, the concept has informed the efforts to use terraforming to repair Kabar, with much focus on establishing a robust and flexible ecosystem in the planning.
Despite the impressive and wide-ranging efforts and impressive specifications, the terraforming orbital complex is, well, a little underwhelming. All three stations are of classic Gallente station design, sitting in close proximity to each other in orbit around Kabar. In addition to the 3 primary stations, 3 planetary transfer stations, using a design similar to those used as customs offices for planetary resource extraction, can be seen continually launching new resources down to the world and receiving shipments of used equipment back. There’s also a landing pad to facilitate the transfer of terraforming equipment and other materials from the rest of the Federation. At the time I visited, a few different cargo transports could be seen docked nearby.
In many ways, the Mannar were lucky. In an age where interstellar travel is easy and plentiful, it was thankfully easy to transport the population en masse to Leremblompes. If the environmental collapse had happened only a few hundred years earlier (the blink of an eye, in astronomical terms), all the Luminarians would have found during their survey of the Mannar system was yet another set of ruins on yet another dead planet. Another mystery in a stellar cluster full of them. But the Doa dea Kabar serves as a stark reminder that each temperate planet is a gift that must be treasured, for they hang in a delicate balance. Although the population was able to safely escape, we must strive to maintain that balance on each world we settle, lest all temperate worlds go the way or Kabar.
- Attraction: Kabar Terraforming Installation
- System: Mannar
- Security Rating: 0.3
- Region: Everyshore
- Potential Hazards: Mannar is located in low security space. Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.
I don’t think I’ve hidden that I’m proud to be a citizen of the Gallente Federation and all that the Federation stands for. Through representative government and a true respect for the dignity of the individual, great things can be accomplished. The potential of the Federation, when it truly respects the ideals it proclaims to respect, is nearly limitless. But, unfortunately, the Federation has strayed from that potential more than I care to think about. Again and again and again, the Federation has proven that it is no more immune to the dark sides of humanity than any of the other Empires scattered across New Eden. And that is truly a shame for a civilization that has so much to aspire to.
One of the most notable regular failings of the Federation is its habit of ignoring the hinterlands of its expanses. Although the Federation is quick to jump to the defense of Luminaire or Algogille, it often forgets that the Federation is far more than those critical systems. The fact that it took until last year to build a direct connection to Solitude from the rest of the Federation is a horrible stain on a government that claims to work for the benefit of all citizens. And don’t even get me started on how the Federation let the Intaki home system, one of the largest constituencies of the Federation and considered a major Federation member, fall to Caldari forces. I don’t agree with the Intaki Liberation Front… but I can’t say I blame them either.
A prime example of this is the failure of the Federation in responding to the Reschard V disaster. In YC108, Reschard V, a fairly small colony on the outskirts of Placid, was devastated by a supermassive explosion. Reports from the Sisters of Eve at the time suggested that nearly 90 percent of surface life was destroyed, a staggering amount of devastation that is nearly impossible to comprehend. Indeed, once relief convoys finally reached the system, only 2,000 survivors were found. It wasn’t until much later, after a detailed analysis, that it was determined that the Equilibrium of Mankind (an otherwise unnotable sect of the Amarrian religion) was responsible, using a captured Avatar-class titan’s doomsday device.
And in response to this staggering attack on Federation soil, the Federation did… nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. 15 years after the attack, they put up a basic monument. I suppose that’s something. But given that even primary relief efforts were led by the Sisters of Eve and the mercenary Mordu’s Legion, you’ll forgive me for not being particularly impressed by the efforts. Still, it sounds like the Federation may have finally recognized it’s grave and, frankly, embarrassing failures, as demonstrated by the text put out to any who come to visit the memorial:
This monument serves to remember all those who died in the Reschard V Disaster.
Let not the death of this world be forgotten as we build the Gallente Federation.
In YC108, the planet of Reschard V was suddenly hit with an electromagnetic doomsday weapon attack. The massive explosion enveloped a huge volume of atmosphere and saturated an entire hemisphere in deadly radiation. The explosive injection of enormous quantities of energy into the atmosphere resulted in global megastorms that raged around the planet. Together with the explosive effects and radiation, the devastating storms killed nearly 90% of surface life, with human survival estimated at one in fifty-thousand.
While it was clear from telemetry that some kind of doomsday weapon had been deployed in the upper atmosphere by a capital ship, it took an investigation headed by CONCORD many months to uncover clear evidence that the Equilibrium of Mankind (EOM) had been behind the attack. The apocalyptic, genocidal cult had used an Avatar-class Titan fitted with an old-style, unrestrained radiative doomsday device. CONCORD did not widely release this information, hoping to prevent a mass panic, but the conclusions slowly leaked and formed the basis of rumors that were quietly acknowledged as true.
The fate of the EOM’s Avatar remained a mystery subject to much speculation until May YC123, when it was used by Equilibrium agent and Khanid warlord Alar Chakaid to bombard the planet Kahah III with a modified directed-energy weapon of the newer type. Although it was destroyed over Kahah III, CONCORD analysts have suggested that scans of the EOM Avatar indicate significant repairs to the frontal sections of the massive vessel. Some have speculated that feedback effects from firing a heavily-modified old-style doomsday close to a planetary atmosphere could have destroyed the weapon and severely damaged the Titan.
The Reschard V Disaster was considered a huge failure both of territorial security and disaster response on the Federation’s part. The Sisters of EVE played a major role in the early rescue efforts but by the time substantial Federation resources arrived at the remote low-security system it was far too late for most inhabitants of the planet. Independent capsuleers proved themselves to be both angels of mercy and demons of destruction, as some supported relief efforts, while others actually hunted and destroyed relief convoys. Later search and rescue operations were to recover some 2,000 survivors from deep subterranean caves. Those lucky few beat odds that tens of millions of other Reschard colonists were unable to overcome.
The Gallente Federation’s lackluster response to a monumental humanitarian crisis on the edge of its domains was noted by many planets around its periphery, and the Reschard V incident surely contributed to a growing political movement demanding more equable treatment for the outer regions of the Gallente polity. This powerful current in the politics of the Federation was ultimately a major factor in the election of President Celes Aguard in YC122.
The monument itself is a plinth that has become standard in recent years. The hologram above the plinth is a classic Federation eagle; a somewhat odd design choice given that the text makes it clear that the Federation responded poorly to the disaster. The plinth orbits the still devastated Reschard V, a barren planet on which no life can be seen from orbit, even 15 years later. I will be the first to admit that it’s a pretty dreary place, all told. That is probably the point, if I’m being honest.
I didn’t spend much time looking at this monument. The failures that it represents still touch a little too close to home. But I’m glad that the Federation has begun to acknowledge the errors here, and the atrocities that resulted from those errors, and it seems that the behemoth that is the federal government has finally started to recognize that citizens on the frontier are worth just as much as those who live in the heart of Caille. It’s an understanding that has been far too long in the making, but let’s hope that this is a lesson that sticks.
- Attraction: Reschard V Disaster Memorial
- System: Reschard
- Security Rating: 0.1
- Region: Placid
- Potential Hazards: Reschard is located in low security space. Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.
We tend to think of history as a study in black and white. Things, events, historical figures… they are either Good or they are Bad. This tendency of ours to classify history in this manner is a bit surprising given that we all generally recognize that the present cluster is a sea of grey. Bad events can have positive side effects. Generally good people can have an off day and do something mean or evil-spirited. Bad ideas might have seemed necessary at the time. Insights change as social norms evolve as to what is considered acceptable. But the moment current events pass from our short-term memories and into the history books, we tend to forget the nuances of that moment in favor of a broad categorization one way or another. It’s up to the historians to maintain that nuance, to make sure that we don’t lose the full context to the people and the events of an era.
Take, for example, Karishal Muritor, the leader of the Defiants. The Defiants, though largely idolized now as harbingers of the resurrected Tribal Republic and a standard for freedom fighters everywhere, at the time were seen as traitors to the Minmatar Parliament for their refusal to back down against the Amarr when the Republic, led by Karin Midular, sought détente with the Empire. The refusal of the Defiants and others to accept peace with the Ammatar Mandate and the Amarr Empire at large was, in part, what led to the downfall of the Midular government and, ultimately, the parliamentary republic under which the Minmatar were originally organized. And at the head of the Defiants was Karishal Muritor.
Muritor was, unsurprisingly given his threat to stability in the Republic, demonized by Parliament and the Midular government and declared an outlaw. Indeed, an entire Republic Fleet task force was eventually organized to hunt him down, and it was this task force that ultimately killed Muritor in early YC109 in the system of Auga.
Today, Muritor’s image has been rehabilitated, largely due to the efforts of Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor (who, it must be said, benefitted greatly from Muritor’s intransigence). In this spirit, a memorial has been constructed in Auga in Muritor’s honor. In a pleasant surprise, however, the memorial gives a fairly even-handed accounting of Muritor’s actions over the years:
Although officially considered a hero by today’s Tribal Republic, Captain Karishal Muritor was condemned as a mutineer and rebel by the Parliamentary Republic that constituted the old government of the Minmatar. Muritor’s rebellion and formation of the Defiants was to set him on a path to his death at the hands of a Minmatar Republic fleet, followed by his elevation as a symbol for Minmatar freedom fighters everywhere. Since the establishment of a Tribal Republic by Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor, the memory of Muritor has been completely rehabilitated. His acts of mutiny and rebellion are considered totally justified in light of the infiltration of the Parliamentary Republic by Amarr agents, and the events of the Starkmanir rediscovery and Minmatar Invasion of the Amarr Empire.
In mid YC108, the Defiants were founded by Captain Karishal Muritor following a mutiny he led against the Republic Fleet, stealing several capital ships and their support fleet from their moorings. Having grown tired and disillusioned with the leadership of the Republic Fleet, its admiralty subordinate to a government he considered passive and too ready to appease the Amarr, Muritor had decided to take matters into his own hands. He gathered a cadre of like-minded officers and enlisted personnel around him and carried out a stunning coup, stealing a Hel-class supercarrier and a pair of Nidhoggur-class carriers.
Muritor had been finally spurred to action by the threat he saw from a resurgent Amarr military in the Bleak Lands region, following their comprehensive victory over the Blood Raiders and stationing of large naval forces in a border region now fully under Amarr control. His Defiants group used their stolen ships and considerable skills to launch a campaign against the Amarr in the Bleaks that would be condemned by both Empire and Republic as “terrorism”. By the end of YC108, the Defiants had sown chaos across Amarr holdings throughout the region, destroying infrastructure and liberating slaves. The climax came with an all out attack on an Amarr battlestation in which the Defiants were joined by capsuleer freedom fighters.
The Amarr Empire chose to blame the Minmatar Republic for the activities of the Defiants, suggesting dire consequences if the rebels were not stopped. While the Republic dismissed the Amarr accusations, the wish to maintain the peace won out over all other considerations. A Republic Fleet taskforce was assembled on the orders of Prime Minister Karin Midular, while Admiral Kanth Filmir extended an offer of truce to Muritor in early YC109. Accepting the offer, Captain Muritor met with Admiral Filmir in Auga system, in orbit of the tenth planet on the first day of February. Despite the urgings of Filmir, Muritor refused to give himself up, prompting the Republic Fleet Admiral to order in his taskforce.
As the Defiants and capsuleer allies fought against Republic Fleet ships, Muritor declared he would not have Minmatar fight one another. Moments later his ship and capsule were destroyed amidst a hail of fire. The Republic Fleet withdrew while the Defiants scattered and Muritor’s body was retrieved by capsuleers of the Ushra’Khan freedom fighter alliance. It was later confirmed that the order to stop Muritor by any means had been issued by Prime Minister Midular, causing a storm of protest that culminated in the resignation of Admiral Filmir and a considerable loss of authority for the Midular government.
Ultimately, Captain Karishal Muritor has come to be seen within the Minmatar Republic as farsighted in his recognition of the reality that compromise with the Amarr Empire’s expansionist ambitions is a trap the Minmatar cannot afford to fall into. His actions may be seen as precipitate and rash by some but his cause is one the majority of Minmatar recognise as just.
This memorial to the life of Captain Karishal Muritor is established by order of the Chief and Elders of the Brutor Tribe, YC123
Muritor’s life and death is a textbook example of needing to see history in shades of gray. While I hesitate to opine on whether the transition from the old parliamentary republic to the new tribal republic under Shakor is ultimately a “good” thing or not (there are plenty of other places to seek such opinions that are not the GalNet site of someone who likes to take some pretty pictures), it can’t be denied that Muritor clearly thought he was acting in the best interests of all Minmatar. As was Midular in her opposition to him. Both thought they were bringing about Good events. Both can be right and wrong at the same time. After all, much as we like to forget, the human experience can’t be easily categorized.
- Attraction: Karishal Muritor Memorial
- System: Auga
- Security Rating: 0.4
- Region: Heimatar
- Potential Hazards: Auga is located in low security space. Particularly given that it is one jump out from Amamake, a notorious low-sec haven for pirates, pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.
I had a few hundred words typed up today about the weirdness of most corporate museums. How such institutions were such a transparent way to conflate a corporation with Incidents of Historical Note, to idolize a corporation for making A Difference over the course of history, and to try to make the public think that, finally, THIS corporation is different and cares about something other than just the next quarterly profit report.
And, well, then I remembered that the Gallente basically invented the idea. And, just to show how proud we were for coming up with that particular achievement, we went ahead and elected the self-aggrandizer not once but twice. So, well, I have no room to talk.
Besides, my poor, somewhat hypocritical but now-deleted rant aside, sometimes corporations DO accomplish things during Incidents of Historical Note. Unlike Roden Shipyards, the main claims to fame of which are, well, making megathrons and getting its corporate CEO elected President of the Federation twice, the Minmatar Mining Corporation has in fact made some significant contributions over its many, many years of history. One of the only entities that can trace its history back to the storied Minmatar Empire, the entity that existed before the Amarr enslaved Pator, the MMC not only managed to survive Amarr enslavement but also became a crucial supplier of raw materials to the fledgling Minmatar rebellion.
Since the contributions of the MMC are, well, actually worthy of being remembered, the MMC and the Republic have gone ahead and set up a site to memorialize the MMC and its influence on Minmatar history. To that end, in Hagilur you can now find the Minmatar Mining Corporation Testing Center. Although still a working facility, it also serves now to showcase both the MMC’s impact on history and how the MMC intends to stay relevant in the modern era (I feel compelled at this point to note that I am, in fact, not receiving any compensation from the MMC for these statements). The site was initially one of the first asteroid fields mined by the MMC. Though now long-mined out of any useful ores, the site was converted over the years to a ship testing facility, where the MMC worked to perfect its ship designs both for mining vessels and, later, combat spacecraft.
Querying Aura about the main testing facility, set up just a few kilometers from the now defunct asteroid belt, brings up this analysis:
The Minmatar Mining Corporation is the only Minmatar corporation still in existence that can trace its foundation to before the conquest of the old Minmatar Empire’s territory by the Amarr Empire. The corporation managed to stay in business during the Amarr occupation only because it was useful. Now it is useful to the Minmatar, providing the raw materials to build fleets and equipment to defend the Republic against the Amarr Empire, and all other threats to the Minmatar people.
This is the headquarters of the Minmatar Mining Corporation’s Testing Division and the primary facility of the testing center located at this old asteroid belt. The Minmatar Mining Corporation is a key player in the economy of the Minmatar Republic, providing vast quantities of material to the military and heavy industries. The need to continually enhance mining, processing and transport technology keeps the testing center very busy.
The station is one of classic Minmatar design, replete with translucent biodomes, rusty plating, and a strongly industrial motif that is, I suppose, not very surprising for an R&D center focused on ship development. Although not open to the public, the station is abuzz with corporate activity, with small, personal station transport vehicles seen crawling over inch of the station at one point or another.
Surrounding the station is a variety of other facilities. Although the asteroid field had long ago been stripped of anything useful, the field itself still offers a fairly decent course to field test new starship concepts in a secured environment, so many of the nearby facilities include observation platforms and mechanical bays for the new spacecraft.
Some of the other facilities, however, are more dedicated to the museum side of the site. For example, the MMC Storage and Preservation Facility serves mostly an academic role in the preservation of key Matari artifacts:
This facility is used to store and preserve samples of all the technology developed or used by the Minmatar Mining Corporation over the long centuries of its existence. A number of very old pieces of Minmatar technology are kept here, making the facility a magnet for Minmatar scholars keen to reconstruct the material culture of the old Minmatar Empire.
Finally, one whole section of the facility is dedicated to what is, today, the most recognizable contribution of the MMC: the Scythe-class cruiser. Although today the Scythe is recognizable first and foremost as a logistics cruiser, it was initially designed (again, unsurprisingly for a mining corporation) as a mining ship. The Scythe’s original role is profiled heavily at the Testing Center. Two Scythes, in their original mining configuration, can be found on display at the site as a testament to the deep history surrounding the oldest ship design still in use in the Republic. The ships keep a watchful eye on the testing field from their pedestals nearby.
Aura has this to say about the two ships:
The Scythe-class cruiser remains the oldest Minmatar ship still in use. It has seen many battles and is an integrated element of many Minmatar tales and the material heritage of the tribes. The Minmatar Mining Corporation retains a number of mining variants of the Scythe, despite the ship being little known as a mining vessel since the Republic Fleet, Minmatar Territorial Guards, and Tribal Militias adopted the upgraded combat support and logistics variant. Even so, the mining variant Scythe, upgunned and armored by rebel crews, has a storied history as a mainstay of the Minmatar resistance and a key ship of the Great Rebellion.
Notably, despite the Minmatar Mining Corporation being riddled with collaborators during its operations under the Amarr occupation, a significant number of MMC Scythes found their way into the hands of the rebels, typically crews and all. The quiet and careful support for the resistance by a large number of MMC managers did much to rehabilitate the reputation of the corporation in the post-Rebellion period, and the heroism of those martyred when their luck ran out is marked by a memorial plaque in every station and facility owned by the corporation.
I made the mistake once of asking my brother, an attorney who has in the past provided legal services to some fellow capsuleers, what the point of corporations was. About 20 mind-numbing minutes later, all I could really glean in terms of answers was something about liability protections, but said in such fluffy (and unending) legalese that I wasn’t even sure what those words meant anymore. But, while corporations have deserved reputation of being more concerned with quarterly profits than anything else, its important to remember that corporations are, well, just groups of people. Sure, sometimes those people only care about accruing wealth, but sometimes they care about the broader picture. Sometimes they help their people gain freedom after centuries of slavery. And sometimes, heavens help me for saying this (and I, once again, reiterate that I am not gaining any compensation for saying so), they deserve to have a museum to commemorate their accomplishments.
- Attraction: Minmatar Mining Corporation Testing Facility
- System: Hagilur
- Security Rating: 0.4
- Region: Metropolis
- Potential Hazards: Hagilur is located in low security space. Particularly given that it borders high security space on two sides, pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.
As the cliché goes, space is vast. Frankly, its easy to forget that these days. It takes light more than a century to cross the expanse of New Eden, something that I can do in a little over an hour with Professor Science, assuming no gate camps or other ne’er-do-wells. What makes this possible, of course, isn’t our Sotiyo-Urbaata drives (more colloquially known as the warp drive). Professor Science’s warp drive tops out at a hair under 4,000 times the speed of light. Even at that jaw-dropping speed, it would take me more than 9 days to travel the roughly 100 light-year diameter of New Eden, and that’s before we even begin to take into account needing to drop out of warp every few hundred AU’s to recharge the capacitor. That kind of travel time across the Cluster would give a very different feel to the geopolitics of New Eden.
No, what makes New Eden’s 100 light-years feel so small is the presence of stargates, a revolutionary device that can fling you a dozen light-years in the span of a few seconds using a stabilized wormhole. Even having to travel “slowly” (I say, flying my spaceship capable of flying thousands of times the speed of light) between gates, the ability of the gates to bring travel time between systems down to mere seconds is what makes New Eden feel, at times, so claustrophobic. Throw in jumpdrives and you get ability for force projection almost anywhere in the cluster at almost any scale within only a few minutes of getting the ships launched. And thus we have the posturing frequently seen between both null sec alliances and the modern empires.
What’s key to remember about stargates, however, is that, aside for a few ancient stargates that allowed the modern empires of New Eden to reverse engineer the technology, the gates had to come from somewhere. If an empire is looking to expand to a system not already connected to the gate network, a construction ship needs to get to that new system in order to build the companion stargate. Because of quirks of how the warp drive navigates at FTL speeds, using the warp drive between systems generally isn’t (to my continual surprise) as reliable as some may assume, sometimes leaving as the only real option something that almost any capsuleer dreads to hear: slowboating, or traveling at sublight speeds to get to a destination. If reduced to that, it can sometimes take years to get a construction ship to the new system and then to get the gate built.
If space travel has taught us anything, if something can go wrong, it eventually will, regardless of the precautions you take. And so it was with the ill-fated expedition to build a stargate from the Gallente capital system of Villore to the system of Ouperia, leading to an event now indelibly linked to the gestalt of New Eden. But if space travel has taught us, say, two things, it’s that even in the midst of disaster, humanity has a weird way of… persevering. Because rather than let disaster stand in his way, the sole survivor of a massive disaster not only survived, but completed his mission, if only a few decades too late. And it’s his perseverance that today allows nearly instantaneous travel between Villore and the system known today as Old Man Star. But let’s let Aura tell the tale:
Old Man Star to Villore
A unique stargate constructed by Ceul ‘Old Man’ Darieux using a fleet of drones of his own design, following a disastrous navigation accident that left him as the sole survivor of a Federation gate-building expedition.
In YC11, a Gallente gate-builder vessel was sent to construct a link between the then Ouperia system and Villore. A critical error in the gate-builder ship’s jump drive navigation systems placed the ship several light years off course, in the middle of an asteroid cluster. In the confused aftermath, an asteroid struck the vessel and killed four of the five crew. Ceul Darieux was left with the daunting task of regaining control of the ship and somehow completing his mission or returning home.
Given the relative distances, Darieux decided to press on to Ouperia, though without the benefit of a functional jump drive the journey would take decades. In YC55, the gate-builder ship arrived in system and the work of building a new gate back to Villore could begin. The effort to correct the ship’s flight path had been difficult but hardly took four decades. With the time on his hands, Darieux, knowing he would need help, had worked to design tools and drones to replace the materiel and crew lost in the accident.
Setting up a drone assembly station on a conveniently located asteroid in Ourperia, Ceul Darieux managed to use a combination of intact gate components, drone-built replacements and cannibalized elements of the ship’s systems to construct a functional stargate back to Villore. The labor he and his drones carried out took five years but was a remarkable success given the disaster and long decades of Darieux’s solitude.
In YC60, the Federation was astounded when the dormant Villore-Ouperia gate activated and established a stabilized gate wormhole to the abandoned Ouperia system. The stripped-down and patched-up core of the gate-builder ship carried the now elderly Darieux and some of his drone crew back to Villore to a hero’s welcome. Old Man Darieux went on to found the CreoDron corporation on the strength of his designs and fame, while the Ouperia system was renamed “Old Man Star” in his honor.
Although much upgraded, the original Old Man Star to Villore gate is still located within the cleared and stabilized cluster of asteroids Darieux used to as a base and source of materials. CreoDron drones continue to watch over the stargate, maintaining its systems and ensuring the stability of the link to Villore.
For a split second after coming out of warp in Old Man Star, you might be forgiven for thinking this is a normal Gallente gate as the soothing Gallente-green glow of the gate is the first thing that becomes apparent. But any level of examination after that initial reaction will show that this is a very different gate indeed. Instead of the graceful, almost organic lines traditionally associated with Gallente architecture, the gate looks much more akin to something of Minmatar make. In lieu of the long and elegant traditional design of a Gallente intraconstellation gate, the gate aperture is instead anchored to one large asteroid and a half dozen smaller ones, all kept in alignment with a series of heavy-duty cables strung across the gate complex. Other small asteroids sit nearby, their positions long-ago stabilized within the gravitational resonance point associated with the gate.
In addition to the gate itself, the remains of Darieux’s gate-builder ship remains quite obvious. Although the ship was heavily cannibalized to construct the hodgepodge stargate, the ship is quite recognizable, permanently set down on the largest of the asteroids used to stabilize the gate. Although many of the essential parts of the ship were used to construct the gate, it’s obvious that power still runs throughout the ship, with glowing control panels and sparking wires still quite evident even 60 years later. On close inspection of the ship, you can even find the remains of the bridge from which Darieux supervised his drones in the construction of the gate. It’s also said that you can see the fleets of modern drones that still maintain the gate, although I wasn’t able to observe them myself when I visited.
I think it’s important to have gates like the one in Old Man Star, and stories like Darieux’s. They serve as an important reminder that we should never take the dangers of space travel for granted. The deep dark is always out there, sitting only a few meters away from you at almost any given time, and all that keeps you safe are the alloys and plastics between you and the vacuum. But the gate also serves as a source of inspiration, a true success story in the face of utter catastrophe. Even when things are at their most grim and a person is stranded light-years away from anything they’ve ever known, as long as they’re alive, there’s a chance to succeed. Space may indeed be vast, but not nearly as vast as the source of human perseverance.
- Attraction: Old Man Darieux’s Stargate
- System: Old Man Star (née Ouperia)
- Security Rating: 0.3
- Region: Essence
- Potential Hazards: Old Man Star is only one jump from high sec space (from Villore, of course), but the low security system itself has long been a popular system for player pirates who will often hang out on or near the gate. If you’re looking to take a close or extended look at the gate, I strongly recommend a cloaked ship, and caution is advised.
Sometimes, you need to start back at the beginning.
I couldn’t help thinking of this as I found myself once again in the system of New Eden, the stellar system that is closest to the fabled EVE Gate. Although 3 light-years out from the ruins of the collapsed jumpgate, the system and the ruins are indelibly linked in the minds of the Cluster. While the collapsed wormhole is visible to the naked eye even from Amarr Prime (and visible through telescopes from anywhere in the Cluster), it is in New Eden itself (and, to a lesser extent, Promised Land one system over) that visitors get treated to the spectacular light show that emanates from the remains of the ancient stargate. Coruscating loops of energy twist endlessly from the wormhole, and whatever is on the other side of the wormhole now glares brighter than the white dwarf at the center of the system.
It is perhaps not surprising then that the EVE Gate has long fascinated scientists. Indeed, the scientific consensus these days is that our ancestors built the Gate long ago, and it is from the New Eden system that humanity spread out, as evidenced by the trail of just-as-ancient but far less catastrophically failed stargates that spiderweb out from the New Eden system (not to mention, of course, the impossible odds that humans would spring up independently on at least 7 different worlds). In particular, the Sisters of EVE have long been fascinated by the Gate, both from a scientific and religious perspective. Convinced that the Gate is some sort of relic of their god, the Sisters have long had the only known research facility near the seething maelstrom of the collapsed wormhole in an attempt to unlock its secrets.
Recently, however, the Sisters have established a second, more accessible research location in New Eden in conjunction with House Kor-Azor, the Amarrian house that controls this portion of Genesis. Like the Sisters, the Amarr have a complicated relationship with the Gate. Given its visibility from Amarr Prime, it features somewhat prominently in Amarr scripture, but of course the Amarr also have a scientific interest in the Gate. It is perhaps that tension that has kept the Amarr from a serious research effort into the Gate, but the new Kor-Azor Heir, Ersilia, appears to have finally decided to be more visible with the House’s research efforts into the Gate, and the prospect of working with the Sisters was too much of an effort to pass up.
With the joint research center now fully operational, the location has become public knowledge. Aura has this to say about the new Sisters of EVE station:
This station acts as the central hub for the Sisters of EVE’s research efforts in the New Eden system.
The Sisters of EVE consider the EVE Gate wormhole remnant an important subject of both scientific study and religious faith. They believe the EVE Gate to be a gift from God and that it is the divine will they study it thoroughly and unlock its secrets. The Sisters maintain that God resigns at the other end of the EVE Gate, guiding and protecting those who follow him from the domain it guards.
The SOE are careful to emphasize the scientific nature of their research and avoid discussing their religious beliefs openly within the shared facilities, lest they embarrass their Kor-Azor hosts or be accused of illegal proselytizing by their enemies within the Amarr Empire.
And of the Kor-Azor portion of the joint research facility, Aura has this to say:
This station acts as the central hub for House Kor-Azor’s research efforts in the New Eden system.
House Kor-Azor has long been keen to bulwark and expand its power and influence within the Amarr Empire through its policies of diplomacy, trade and scientific exchange beyond the borders of its realms and the Empire itself. Royal Heir Ersilia Kor-Azor has re-emphasized this approach since her accession to Kor-Azor title, and the house has successfully enhanced its contacts and co-operation with external entities.
House Kor-Azor control over the division of the Genesis Region containing the New Eden system and obvious scientific value of studying the EVE Gate wormhole remnant has led it [to] co-operate with the SOE. Even so, House Kor-Azor maintains a careful watch over SOE activities, mindful that Ministry of Internal Order paladins attached to the site are keeping everything that goes on here under their own scrutiny.
And of the EVE Gate itself, Aura has this to say:
In the system of New Eden sits the impenetrable EVE Gate. Thousands of years ago the forefathers of all the human races used the gate to travel to the world of EVE. But the gate has been closed for a long time, a catastrophe that destroyed all planets in the New Eden system and plunged the fragile human settlements to the brink of extinction. Anyone foolish enough to get too close to the gate today will be ripped apart by the magnetic storms that still surround the massive gate.
The joint research base itself comprises primarily two large stations in orbit around the sole planet in New Eden. The Kor-Azor station is of standard Imperial design. The design has always evoked in me a shard or a sail gliding through space, though that is partially offset by the bulbous and somewhat awkwardly placed primary docking port. The Sisters station should be familiar to anyone who has visited Sisters stations in Thera: a modified Gallente tri-ring station design in the iconic white and red of the Sisters. Surrounding both stations are a host of scientific instruments I could not pretend to understand, constantly collecting terabytes of data from the maelstrom of the wormhole remnant.
Of course, it’s difficult to focus on the research center with the gorgeous splendor of the EVE Gate itself so obvious. The constantly changing appearance of the wormhole remnant mesmerizes me today just as much as it did when I first examined the Gate. The fact that the wormhole remnant is this bright and this obvious from 3 light-years out shows just how much power spills from that ruined rip in space-time. But it’s also our connection to our (presumed) ancestral home that also draws our attention. Indeed, even today you can still find markers from ships that have attempted to make their way back to the Gate without the benefit of warp drive. It’s a rite of passage for explorers that has existed since I became a pilot.
Back to the beginning indeed. In more ways than one.
- Attraction: EVE Gate
- System: New Eden
- Security Rating: 0.3
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: Getting to New Eden from high sec space requires extensive low sec travel through a pipeline with only one way in or out. Pirates (both pod and rat varieties) can be quite common on the route. A covops would be recommended.
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.
(The Author would like to thank the Misfits crew of Markus Vulpine, Situla Vaire, Dr Zemph, Kaia Starchaser, and Cali Estemaire for helping him clear the site!)
Living just off the main pipeline to the Eve Gate, I’m used to seeing a certain amount of traffic fly by on a regular basis. Capsuleers making their pilgrimage to the Gate, capsuleers hunting down the pilgrims, research vessels, and a fair amount of Blood Raider activity really round out the area. It is perhaps not the quietest area in game, but for the past few years now I have called it home quite happily. Being in low security space was an added bonus, as I was able to get away from the increasingly worrisome oversight of CONCORD and its many, many regulatory heads. When you add in the bonus of more lucrative loot from exploration than you might find in high security and being able to check in on a number of significant New Eden historical sights on a regular basis, I find that choosing to live in my little corner of New Eden was a smart choice indeed. And while I may have moved on temporarily at different points in time, the area is always there to welcome me home when I’m done with my latest adventure.
When settling into the area, however, I quickly discovered something odd. This was shortly after Sansha Kuvakei had started rearing his ugly head in New Eden once again. At the time, CONCORD essentially abdicated defense responsibilities when incursions by the Sansha occurred, preferring instead to coordinate with the empire navies and focus on protecting civilian populations while leaving it to the capsuleers to rid the constellation of Sansha’s space-based presence. I, along with many others, were very vocal at the time, criticizing CONCORD for not taking a more proactive response to the clear threat. However, as time went on, it became clearer that CONCORD was at least gathering significant intelligence on the Nation, and a number of classified reports were eventually leaked, suggesting that CONCORD’s response to the Nation was centered in something called Operation ISHAEKA. This, along with clear evidence that capsuleers were able to handle the Sansha threat, eventually lessened the calls for a coordinated CONCORD response to the incursions beyond what they were already providing.
But back to the story at hand. As I was first settling into my new home, I quickly became aware that there was a heavier CONCORD presence than I would normally encounter in low security space. Generally, low security space should be beyond the reach of the Directive Enforcement Division, the part of CONCORD that most directly interacts with capsuleers (not to mention the part of CONCORD that seems to have the most anger issues…), but there was a suspiciously high amount of CONCORD activity throughout my local constellation, Monalaz. They didn’t seem to act like the CONCORD fleets in high security space, reacting to capsuleer aggression and the like, but they were there nonetheless. Within a few weeks, I discovered that Operation ISHAEKA was more than just intelligence gathering when my probes managed to dig up the ISHAEKA Tactical Headquarters.
Eager to see what kind of response CONCORD had planned, I grabbed the Professor and warped to the site. Although cloaked, my comm system pinged with an automated warning for all capsuleer vessels to stay away lest we be met with lethal force. I came out of warp near a large taskforce of combined CONCORD and Amarr vessels, along with heavy fortifications. Cruise missile batteries, stasis towers, and a large array of ships ranging from lowly frigates to the fearsome standard-issue CONCORD battleships. To say that it was a little intimidating would be, shall we say, an understatement. But your intrepid travel guide was intent on seeing all that there was to see. On the far end of the landing area, I could see an acceleration gate leading deeper into the complex. I maneuvered the Professor around the various fortifications, quickly decloaked, activated the gate and-
Died. Quite quickly.
I gathered one or two close friends to try again a few weeks later. The site had moved to another part of the constellation but it was still fairly easy to track down. We managed to take a few larger, better armed ships in. Needless to say, CONCORD and the Amarr agents, apparently a division of the Amarr military called the Justiciars, were not happy with our arrival, and scrambled a large reaction force. However, we managed to fight them off and even cleared out the fortifications of the landing area. Triumphant, we gathered up what loot we could and activated that heretofore elusive acceleration gate to take us deeper into the complex. Our small flotilla quickly dropped out of warp and then-
Dead. Again. Quite quickly.
Thankfully, CONCORD didn’t seem willing to attack our pods. Although we couldn’t progress past the second area, we were able to see the sizeable fleet that had so quickly and effectively destroyed us. The fleet’s core was a set of 16 battleships who locked us almost immediately upon warp-in, screened by lighter forces of frigates, cruisers, and battlecruisers. Clearly, something was here that CONCORD wanted to protect. Unfortunately, at the time I was not quite in a position to replace my losses. My interest drifted to other, more accessible locations and despite the fact that I still lived in Monalaz, I quickly stopped giving the Headquarters much more than a second glance as I saw what else the Cluster had to offer.
That is, until a few weeks ago. For what should be obvious reasons, I have been on pretty friendly terms with the Evesploratory Society, a group dedicated to exploration. Indeed, the members of the Society were kind enough to name an Astrahus-class citadel after Eve Travel as a tribute to my work (I was admittedly tempted to profile the citadel here but it seemed oddly self-serving to do so, though that hasn’t stopped others from talking about it). In any case, while chatting with members of the Society and some other explorers, the topic of the ISHAEKA Headquarters once again came up. After I explained my prior difficulties getting into the complex, a number of pilots agreed to challenge CONCORD and their Amarr allies yet again. A week or two later, we formed up in a fleet and headed off. Although some of the local pirates decided that our forming fleet was an ideal target, we eventually got in a ragtag fleet consisting mainly (though not entirely) of Stratioses. And so we brought the fight to CONCORD and warped in to the ISHAEKA Tactical Response HQ.
As before, the initial area surrounding the warp-in point consisted primarily of heavy fortifications for the rest of the complex. It was clear that CONCORD didn’t want anyone poking around (and we were once again threatened with lethal force if we tried to breach the rest of the complex). However, with the help of my fellow fleetmates, who called themselves the Misfits, we quickly cleaned up the initial fleet, and made our way deeper into the complex. As we worked our way through the defensive forces, it quickly became evident that although the forces were formidable, they apparently did not have authorization to utilize the classic anti-capsuleer technology that capsuleers rightly fear. Instead, the CONCORD forces appeared to be restricted to classical weapons. After the fighting had finished, I was able to pause and examine our surroundings a little more closely. The initial area was fairly bare beyond the defensive fortifications, as you might expect. On the other side of the area from the warp-in point, an acceleration gate led deeper into the complex. With some amount of trepidation given my prior history, we activated the gate and were flung deeper in.
As I remembered, upon dropping out of warp in the Justiciar Haven portion of the complex, we were immediately pounced upon by over a dozen battleships and another dozen smaller vessels waiting at the warp-in point for us (undoubtedly warned by their compatriots in the landing area of our impending arrival), and they opened fire almost immediately. As you might expect, they were cold and methodical in their attempts to eliminate us. Most, if not all, of the ships would target one person in the fleet in hopes of wearing us down. When it became clear the fleet member wouldn’t break or the fleet member had to warp out to repair, they calmly selected their next target. Eventually, however, we managed to eliminate the resistance, and I managed to get a good look at the second area. I had plenty of time to poke around after the fighting ended as we waited for our ships to repair themselves. The haven area of the complex seemed to be a central loading area for the allied forces. A number of landing pads and administrative centers were arrayed between two acceleration gates, both leading deeper into the complex. Notably, although there were plenty of pads to receive freighters and sort out cargo, they didn’t seem to be in use at the time. Since this was undoubtedly a mobile site, perhaps this site was where the construction ships were based out of, but that is only speculation. Finally, after everyone’s ships were back up to fighting status, we moved deeper into the complex, and on to the ISHAEKA Fleet Staging Area. As we activate the gate, a general broadcast goes out to all ships in the area:
We are under heavy attack! Capsuleers are breaching our staging area! All local files are to be transferred immediately from the archives to a secure location offsite. Initiate burn protocols for all hard data. DED forces will delay the capsuleer incursion at the staging area until we can secure all intelligence. Give ’em hell!
Once again, our ragtag fleet was met with heavy resistance. While there were 5 fewer battleships waiting for us, those missing battleships were more than made up for by the 20 smaller ships flitting between the battleship behemoths. But once again, our fleet kept its collective cool and we calmly worked our way through the various vessels. I only hoped we were giving the CONCORD crews enough time to evacuate their vessels: I only wanted to see what CONCORD had hiding here, I had no desire to cause mass destruction unless absolutely necessary. Eventually, however, all that was surrounding us were cooling wrecks and I had a chance to examine the area once again. As a fleet staging area, I was not surprised to find a large array of shipyards waiting for us, along with quite a few landing pads filled with freighters in various states of loading and unloading. Most of the drydocks were empty, but a few held various CONCORD or Amarr ships nearing the end of construction. Surprisingly, one of the drydocks also held the shattered remains of an Archon-class carrier that had clearly undergone heavy fire. Why had they bothered dragging it back to the shipyard for analysis? Perhaps it had been damaged by Sansha forces and they were studying it for purposes of developing countermeasures. It was at this point that I was startled to realize that I had seen few, if any, indications that the forces here were in fact organized to fight Sansha’s Nation. Indeed, I had seen few indications at all of any relation to Sansha. This struck me as very odd.
However, before I had time to ponder the mystery, it was time to move on yet again. We activated the acceleration gate, which somewhat unexpectedly took us back to the Justiciar Haven. However, the second acceleration gate, previously locked to us, had become active, and we headed to the final area: the Justiciar Archives. Although I was hopeful that our answers would be found there, another general broadcast shattered that hope:
The information you have come for is gone. All that awaits you now is the cleansing light of Amarrian laser fire! All pilots engage!
Not exactly the welcome I was hoping for. But we were quickly once again fighting for our lives against a combined CONCORD and Amarr onslaught. But we once again managed to prevail through sheer force of will (and the timely arrival of two logistics ships to help us repair). As soon as we were once again surrounded by cooling wreckage, I took a look at this last area of space. Clearly, this was the central administrative area of the complex. A large, though now abandoned, station formed the backdrop of the area, while a multitude of communications and other equipment could be found arrayed nearby. A quick scan confirmed that there was no information salvageable; the CONCORD technicians had done their job quickly but thoroughly.
As the rest of the fleet celebrated their conquest and rare victory over CONCORD, I couldn’t help but notice that once again, CONCORD was raising more questions than answers. Absolutely no reference was found to Sansha or combating the scourge of his forces throughout the cluster. What, then, is Project ISHAEKA actually concerned with? Their last message to us especially made it clear that they clearly thought we were after specific information. What were they afraid we’d find? What could force CONCORD to enact such drastic measures? I couldn’t help but feel that, as usual, if CONCORD were just more open with the capsuleer community, more willing to treat us as equals rather than rabid animals to be contained, we’d be able to help CONCORD achieve whatever goals they had… assuming it wasn’t something directed against us.
Whatever unanswered questions I had, however, certainly weren’t going to be answered that night. Those were worries for another day. Instead, I chose to revel in the feeling of finally overcoming something that had mystified me for years, and to do so with a group of good friends. Although we left a trail of destruction in our wake (and it is rare indeed that a group of capsuleers leaves behind anything else), successfully completing our mission in a group of friends is a feeling that can’t easily be described or replicated. As I set a course back for home, I felt happy that after five long years, I had finally met the neighbors.
- Attraction: ISHAEKA Tactical Response HQ
- Constellation: Somewhere in Monalaz
- Security Rating: Low Security Space
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: Monalaz is an entirely low sec constellation. Pirates and gate camps, especially when flying in from Amarr, are common, and caution is advised. Additionally, the rats are quite difficult in the site and heavy resistance is to be expected. Soloing the complex is not recommended, though you can see that we completed the site without too much difficulty with a number of smaller ships.
- Additional Notes: The Tactical Response HQ should almost always exist somewhere in Monalaz, though I did not confirm if the site respawns immediately after completion or whether you must wait until downtime before finding it again. It is listed as a combat site, and you do need probes to scan it down.
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.
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 looked up from my datapad. I had been sitting at the local station bar, sipping a few ales while finishing up some paperwork. For being the sole owner of a corporation, it was remarkable indeed how much red tape CONCORD made you wade through. In front of me stood a person I would rather charitably call ‘weathered.’ Scars covered almost every visible inch of skin, and tattoos covered the others. His face was sharp and angular, and his eyes had an unsettling coldness to them. In what is perhaps the greatest indictment of CONCORD paperwork, the prospect of chatting to this fellow was still more enticing than continuing the trudge of paperwork. I slowly put the datapad down.
“Can I, uhh, help you?”
“I was actually wondering if I could help you.”
My eyebrow quirked at that. The man in front of me was clearly no capsuleer, and although I still considered myself rather down-to-earth (for a capsuleer, at least) I was surprised at the brazen attitude of this man. Rare indeed did the unenhanced masses feel like they could offer a capsuleer something without prompting. Without waiting for a reply on my part, the man saddled up on the stool next to mine.
“I’ve seen you around here before. Without fail, you have appeared bored. Bored bored bored bored bored.”
I didn’t immediately respond. It was true that as of late I had been feeling rather… blasé about capsuleer life. Despite the wonders of the galaxy around me, I had become rather aware of the fact that they didn’t excite me quite like they used to. I had sometimes toyed with trying another profession, but had never quite gotten past the ‘idle thoughts’ phase of planning. After a few rather awkward moments wondering just why this man has been spying on me, I softly responded.
“And your point?”
“My point is, I have an offer for you. Something to spice things up.”
With that, he got up, leaving his own datapad behind. I reached over to give it to him, but noticed that he had left it on with a simple set of coordinates listed. I quickly transfer them to my own pad. I then try to dive back into the drudgery of paperwork, but found myself even less able to concentrate than before. I quickly close out my tabs before heading back to my station suite. Pretending like I didn’t already know what I was going to do, I puttered around for about an hour or so. I tried watching the viewscreen, I tried chatting to a few friends over galnet. Eventually, however, I found myself outfitting Professor Science to be undocked. The coordinates were, somewhat unexpectedly, for Taisy. Taisy’s largest claim to fame was the rather infamous Kyonoke Pit, the site of a deadly disease outbreak. I hoped that I didn’t just agree to become patient zero.
I quickly installed myself into Professor Science and undocked. The way to Taisy was fairly quiet; I felt my eyes glazing over a bit as I warped, jumped, and repeated ad nauseum. Perhaps another symptom of the tedium I’ve been feeling lately. Still, I made it to Taisy without problem.
I put in the coordinates, and was relieved to see that I would be nowhere close to Kyonoke Pit. Instead, what flew into view before me was an extensive, but rather run-down, mining colony. The main colony, built into an arc-shaped asteroid, had definitely seen better days. Surrounding the asteroid was a cloud of debris, mostly consisting of old mining equipment and parts of ships that had apparently just fallen off. I still wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I quickly received a hail from a nearby Gila. My friend from the bar appeared on the comms.
With a certain smugness in his tone, happy that I had shown up undoubtedly, he explained that he was a recruiter for the Guristas, and then proceeded to explain to me what the Guristas were, as if I wasn’t aware of one of the most notorious pirate factions in New Eden. He finished with a little speech.
“You’re bored of life. I get that. I’m offering you a choice here, Mark. You can continue your dreary existence, or we could let you loose. Embrace your inner pirate. Cause some destruction for the sake of causing destruction. Let me know.” With that, he closed the comms window.
I have to admit that I was surprised by how tempted by the offer I was. Perhaps becoming a capsuleer was finally getting to me: the thought of causing destruction and wreaking havoc appealed to a part of me. Still, I wasn’t about to join Fatal and the Rabbit in their schemes, whatever they were. Deep down, in my heart of hearts, I would always be a carebear. And I was fine with that. There were other ways to spice up my life without wanton destruction. As I set a course away from this recruitment center, without another word to my contact, I resolved to figure out just what these other ways were.
- Attraction: Guristas Recruitment Center
- System: Taisy
- Security Rating: 0.3
- Region: Lonetrek
- Potential Hazards: Taisy is located in low security space. Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.
For the remarkable freedom that capsuleers enjoy from most state-imposed laws in terms of fraud, murder, and general scumminess, we also have to put up with a significant amount of surveillance. Oh, they don’t mention it much, of course, but the space lanes throughout New Eden are thick with the tendrils that CONCORD sends out to make sure we’re staying in line. How else do they know instantaneously when one capsuleer is attacking another without justification, even outside of high security space? Be it our wallet or our in-ship comms systems, few things in a pilot’s life are safe from CONCORD oversight. In order to pull something like that off, a truly massive surveillance network needs to be set up, often hidden from the prying eyes of us capsuleers to keep us from its secrets.
Of course, one of these surveillance posts was bound to be found at some point. Surprisingly enough, capsuleers were not the ones to find it. Rather, the Angels found a surveillance site (capsuleer pilots are by no means the only ones on CONCORD’s watch lists) and acted quickly to take it out. In remembrance to one of the agents presumed lost in the attack, CONCORD made the site a public memorial, and perhaps more importantly, gives us pilots a sneak peek at just what kind of systems CONCORD uses to keep a watchful, if not always particularly reactive, eye on the cluster. The memorial can be found in Arnher, a low sec system a few jumps out from Hek in Metropolis. As I approached the site, ever-helpful Aura pulled up the limited information from the local ‘nets that she could:
Containing equipment used by the CRC to monitor and intercept radio, wireless and fluid router transmissions, the DED believe that the site was attacked after intercepting encrypted data broadcasted to Angel Cartel headquarters from a scouting party in Evati.
The CRC operator of this site, codenamed “Eshtir”, has vanished without trace and is now reportedly on the run from Dominations forces, whom have placed a sizeable bounty on his head.
Compared to some of the other covert reconnaissance sites I’ve seen, the CONCORD site is surprisingly simple in design, though I suppose it’s fair to assume that CONCORD probably did a bit of cleanup work and got rid of all the real goodies before broadcasting its existence to anyone in the system. Still, I was expecting a bit more than just a receiver array and a power/shield generator in terms of equipment (and don’t even ask me how an antenna is supposed intercept fluid-router transmissions, but I suppose that is yet another CONCORD mystery™). But if it works for them – and from all indications, it does – who am I to argue?
The only other notable item at the site was the remains of a Raven-class battleship; apparently, the one that Eshtir was on at the time of the attack. My scans didn’t shed any light as to Eshtir’s fate, but I wish him luck nonetheless. The Angels are relentless hunters; if anyone is capable of finding Eshtir now, it’d undoubtedly be them.
After a few minutes at the site, it was time for me to move on. New sights beckoned, even if they were coming fewer and fewer these days. Still, if there’s anything I’ve learned about New Eden in these past years, it’s that it’s always full of surprises. You just have to know where to look.
- Attraction: Abandoned CRC Monitoring Station
- System: Arnher
- Security Rating: 0.2
- Region: Metropolis
- Potential Hazards: Arnher is located in low security space. Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.
“Well aren’t you just a little space pirate kitten, aren’t you?” I gently pet the small kitten curled up in one of my old uniform shirts, trying not to wake her up too much. I could get away with saying things like that in the privacy of my own quarters. I wouldn’t dare say anything like that in the presence of anyone else; I didn’t want to bring any undue attention to myself. Being a plant in the Republic Fleet for the Angels necessitated such self-censorship. Not that it was particularly hard to avoid suspicion: the security surrounding this isolated capital shipyard near the edge of Minmatar space was shockingly low, all things considered. It was surprisingly easy to get myself and my supervisor, Aton Hordner, inserted into the Fleet’s personnel rotations out here. It was win-win for us: not only did we get a plant inside the Fleet, but we also gained a place to contact prospective capsuleer pilots looking to work for the Cartel.
My thoughts were interrupted by a chime. After doublechecking on the kitten, I thumbed the release, and the door to my quarters slid open. An enlisted crewwoman stood outside the door, holding a report of some kind.
“Our latest requisition reports, sir.”
I groaned internally before thanking and shooing away the crewwoman. I didn’t understand how people who WEREN’T leading a double life as an agent for the Cartel managed to stay sane in this backwater. All we did was sit here, staring at the three capital ship construction platforms and pretending like we mattered by shuffling supplies between the shipyards themselves and the resource cache nearby. It was clear that the Republic didn’t even particularly care about us: despite the three Naglfar-class dreadnaughts under construction here, the entire security detail consisted of one Tempest-class battleship, the one Aton and I are stationed on. We didn’t do much; frankly, the captain was a bit of a drunk (possibly lamenting the life choices that led to her being stationed here) and merely had us maintain position constantly, with her popping her head up onto the bridge now and then to check to make sure we hadn’t blown up yet, as far as I could tell.
Me, I worked in the communications section, which easily let me hide Aton’s conversations with Angel contacts. He got the fun job; all I ever did was monitor and delete communication logs to make sure no one got too suspicious. Still, he needed backup, and that, unfortunately, was me. Not quite sure who I managed to piss off at the Cartel to draw this assignment, but whoever it was who got me this assignment was going to get a good kick in the rear when I got back to Cartel space.
Speaking of which, it was almost time for my shift. I checked the kitten’s food and water before I left. I would have to decide on a name for him before too long: I had gotten him smuggled in during the last food shipment with the help of a few contacts in the legitimate Fleet to keep me company out here. Even helping the Cartel, the only family I had really ever known, wasn’t enough to keep me sane during the endless nights in this godforsaken system. I made my way up to the bridge, and tapped my preceding shift officer on the shoulder, pretending not to notice the, uhh, explicit movements two guys on screen were doing before he hastily closed his screens and logged off. Whatever it took to keep you sane.
I logged myself on to the communications console, but before I got down to work for the day, my attention was drawn, as it often was, to the shipyard activity outside. It was surprisingly relaxing to just sit and watch the various workers inside and outside the three as-yet unnamed Naglfar’s build the vessels up. All three were nearing completion: the hull seemed pretty much sealed up and now and then I saw glows as various engine components were tested. They’d be ready for their trials soon enough. The three vessels, of course, dwarfed my own ship, but it was fun (or, at least, distracting) to watch these three ships seemingly grow from scratch, day after day. The power generation arrays surrounding the docks gave a much more solid feeling of protection than our measly ship did (though you would think that SOMEONE would catch on to the fact that the Cartel never attacked the shipyard with us here: Fleet “Intelligence” didn’t exactly live up to its name).
Nearby sat the bane of my existence, even here in this crap system, the paltry bureaucracy surrounding the shipyard seemed to exist solely to make my existence miserable. The command center and resource cache for the shipyards sat in an extensive station complex a few kilometers beyond the three shipyard docks. Not a day went by that I didn’t contemplate “accidentally” firing a few missiles at the heart of that complex. The thought of those many bunkers and towers flying apart into the coldness of space often warmed my heart more than anything else out here. The amount of grief they caused for the sake of causing grief was astounding. Being ignored by Fleet HQ gave them a giant superiority complex. I’d like to shove their requisition reports right up their-
The console beeped at me, drawing me out of my reverie. A capsuleer ship was contacting us, using a special Cartel encryption set up for those seeking us out. I engaged the decryption protocols while letting Aton know that we had a customer. At least it was something to do today…
- Attraction: Minmatar Shipyards
- System: Egbinger
- Security Rating: 0.1
- Region: Molden Heath
- Potential Hazards: Egbinger is located in low security space. Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended. As implied by the post, this is one of three starting points for the Angel Cartel epic arc.
I’ve often wondered what drives non-capsuleers to the pirate life. For us pod pilots, the reasoning is pretty simple: mayhem is fun and screw the consequences. But there’s a somewhat more nuanced decision chain for people who won’t wake up in a vat of goo with a new body should they take their craft a bit too far. Some, undoubtedly, are just like capsuleers: they just want to cause some mayhem even if it cuts their lives short. But many, if not most, have a different dynamic at work. Some may truly believe in the ideology behind their causes (such as they are). Others may simply have nowhere else to go. For whatever reason, they can’t return to civilization so they turn to the only people who will give them some food and not ask questions. For others still, some other reason may have brought them into the pirate life.
And the pirate life is not an easy one. Most pirate organizations tend to be rather… tough when it comes to troop discipline. Not to mention the variety of inter-pirate turf wars that can frequently pop up with little warning. And CONCORD, who would undoubtedly love to bring some civility to low and null security space if they had the resources. And 90% of capsuleers, who will go after pirate ships either as a way to ingratiate themselves with CONCORD or just to earn a few extra bucks between CTAs. Given what is undoubtedly the short life span of most pirates at any given time, any rational person would have to be pretty desperate indeed to willingly choose to be a pirate (the fact that most of these dangers exist at equal, or perhaps even higher risk levels for members of a capsuleer crew are another matter entirely).
Still, for whatever reason, pirates do exist, and in force. And given the size of most pirate organizations, they often need local gathering points to marshal forces. One of these sites can be found in Eurgrana for the Angel Cartel. As Aura notes:
Pirate hideouts are often found tucked away inside the deadspace pocket of a high security system or floating more openly in the lawless sectors of space, where they attract questionable clientele. For the Cartel, these places serve as a home and base of operations. At any given time, the occupants must be able to answer the call to arms or provide sanctuary to ranking members of the Cartel’s shadowy leadership.
The re-purposed toxic waste dump here was crawling with activity. Cruisers lumbered about, ready to respond warp out to some trouble spot at a moment’s notice, if necessary. Or flee should there be a hardened assault on the site. Smaller frigates flitted about, but that was about the extent of the fortifications to the site. A solitary missile batter ostensibly stood guard, but it didn’t look like it had been fueled, much less stocked with ammo, in quite some time. Presumably, sites like this were a dime a dozen in lower-security space. Should the Cartel lose one site for any reason, 10 more within a 2 jump area stood ready to take its place.
The area itself is suffused with a dull red glow that looked rather sickening. It seems one of the silos holding the toxic waste in the area has been melted by the goop it held (although for a melted silo it looked to be… exactly like a non-melted silo but I guess my sensors wouldn’t lie), spreading said goop around the area. Although shields easily held off the shower of radioactive particles being flung at me, it was still nothing I wanted to particularly concentrate on for any extended period. Thankfully, the other two silos appeared to be holding together a little bit better than the first one. So it looks like the Cartel found themselves a nice little hiding place: one that I was in no shape to assault in my Buzzard-class Professor Science. It didn’t look like it would take much to push them out, however. Still, it wasn’t going to happen in my frigate, and so I soon pushed on. As I left, though, a lyric from an old song from my childhood came unbidden in my mind. Awkwardly, thanks to the connection I shared with the ship, it blasted through the (thankfully empty) ship:
A pirate’s life for me…
- Attraction: Myxhaut K8 – Waste Yard
- System: Eurgrana
- Security Rating: 0.4
- Region: Metropolis
- Potential Hazards: Eurgrana is located in low security space. Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. Rats can obviously be found at the site, but it’s nothing too major. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.
Crews are vital to the running of just about any ship. Although us capsuleers tend to think of ourselves as the only people on a ship at any particular time, only the smallest of ships can operate with only a capsuleer onboard. Although a capsuleer can drastically reduce crew requirements for a ship, giving proportionally more room to strengthen and reinforce ship systems (the reason why capsuleer ships can generally destroy non-capsuleer ships of the same size and even bigger with relative ease), we cannot completely remove the human element. We still need crew to carry out our commands, keep an eye on ship systems, and repair and contain damage when possible. Given the turnover rates for most capsuleer ships, it’s surprising that people still sign up for capsuleer ship duty, yet when 1 isk could make most planetside families live comfortably for a year, crews are always willing to sign up as long as escape pods remain up to code.
As could be expected, crew requirements increase substantially as the size of the ship increases. Although frigates may require only 1-2 crew members, capsuleer titans can require anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 crew to maintain basic systems. For non-capsuleer titans often found in Empire militaries, up to 10,000 may be required, enough crew to populate a small planetary colony, all told. The crew requirements for a titan are simply staggering. Then again, when titans are 14 kilometers long, just about anything that have to do with titans are simply staggering. They are hard things to destroy, be they capsuleer or not, and even harder to misplace. These valuable military assets are simply not something that can disappear or get misplaced, so to speak. And yet, oddly enough, that seems to be precisely what happened.
I was warping through Ienakkamon when I saw a strange reading on my sensors. If I was reading the Professor’s sensors correctly, the signature was massive. Instead of moving through Ienakkamon onto the next system in my route, I dropped out of warp and immediately headed for the source of the strange readings. As the warp tunnel collapsed around me, a massive structure seemed to zoom in from infinity. At first, I thought it was yet another abandoned structure, Caldari no doubt given my position near the outer fringes of Caldari space (though now Gallente space, I suspect that this wreck dates back well before the Federation conquered the system). And yet, as the first details of the massive structure became evident, the first thing that came into view were the cone shaped constructs of truly gargantuan engines, which alone dwarfed my poor Buzzard-class frigate. More details came into view, and a massive Ragnarok seemed to materialize in front of me. My stomach immediately dropped before realizing that the titanic ship was adrift in the void, tumbling slowly end over end. I checked to see if Aura had any information to shed some light on what this ship was doing here:
A ghost ship of enormous proportions, this Ragnarok-class Titan should be at the core of a Minmatar strike force or planetary defense, yet here it floats in silence. Its hull is airtight, yet all useful technology has been meticulously stripped from it, including weapons systems, propulsion, and electronics. There is no trace of its crew, despite all of its escape pods being present.
The mysteries surrounding this ship, which some remaining paint on the ship identified (fittingly) as the Solitaire, were manifold. For one thing, Ienakkamon was almost as far as you could get from Republic space before entering capsuleer-controlled null sec space. Why the Republic would deploy a Titan class vessel so far from home, especially when the Republic has no particular grudge against the State except for their general dislike for any friends of the Amarr, is in no way clear. Nor is it clear what caused the ship’s obvious destruction. Although there were certainly holes in the ship’s superstructure now, sensor analysis made it clear that the breaches happened AFTER the ship’s destruction and were the normal wear and tear of any non-maintained structure left to the harsh vacuum of space. And, of course, there’s the mystery of the missing crew. Titans are massive vessels, almost impossible to vaporize in one blow. Though the ship may become broken beyond repair, it’s surprisingly difficult to destroy outright; indeed, with most titans much of the crew is able to make it to escape pods when it is clear that the ship is going down. Clearly, whatever caught the crew by surprise prevented the ship from launching any escape pods before whatever caused the ship’s destruction.
Nor was it clear whether the ship was part of some horrific mistake during a Republic military maneuver or some capsuleer alliance being caught unprepared. Although normally such information would be readily available by analyzing the command and control systems, that part of the ship was heavily degraded to the point where I couldn’t tell if the ship was capsuleer based or not. If it was a Republic maneuver gone wrong, it was incredibly bizarre that the Republic wouldn’t try to hide evidence of this incursion into Caldari space. Military logic and common sense both dictate that they would want to cover their tracks or risk the Caldari opening a second front in the ongoing war… so why just leave this sitting here? Granted, the fact that this ship, now marked with a beacon, has clearly been discovered without particular backlash from the Caldari. And the Republic has remained notably silent on whether the Solitaire is even a military vessel, much less what it could be doing that far from home.
The ship itself, as with the other titans I’ve encountered, takes my breath away from the sheer size alone. Everything about the vessel is monstrously huge. Things that, from a distance, look like tiny specks end up dwarfing Professor Science, and I have to fly the ship practically next to the ship to get a true sense of scale, lest my human brain shrink the manmade object to a much more manageable size in my head. The turret ports, though of course stripped of technology, hinted at the massive damage that this should could deal. I found myself flying into some of the hull breaches just to get a look at the inside of this magnificent vessel. The inside was desolate, of course, at least the parts I was able to get into. Shockingly, there did seem to be some airtight compartments remaining in the ship, although sensors couldn’t say much of what was in them beyond the lack of crew members.
I spent quite a bit of time just taking the ship in. There were so many mysteries surrounding this ship, and I wanted to get my mind around them, even if I couldn’t solve them. However, as I was preparing to leave, a disturbing thought struck me. While perhaps 10,000 missing people was certainly a tragedy, especially for their families, that was not the only thing taken. Beyond the standard technology found aboard any starship, titans have a singularly unique weapon: a doomsday weapon. These weapons of incomprehensible strength are normally found only within the bowels of a titan. But, like every other piece of technology on this ship, the vessel’s Gjallarhorn-class doomsday weapon was now in unknown hands. What they meant to do with it was yet another mystery, and I feared for what someone could do with that kind of power.
- Attraction: The Solitaire
- System: Ienakkamon
- Security Rating: 0.1
- Region: Black Rise
- Potential Hazards: Iennakamon is located in low security space. Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. Further, Black Rise is part of the faction warfare battleground, and battles there may be ongoing. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.
Author’s note: This week’s EVE Travel will be a little different than normal, as I join into the discussion from Freebooted’s current Blog Banter. I don’t normally join the Banters as I keep EVE Travel focused on living up to its name as a travel blog, but this Banter’s prompt allows me to join in the discussions for once. The prompt is:
Some say a man’s home is his castle. For others it is wherever they lay their hat. The concept is just as nebulous in the New Eden sandbox.
In EVE Online, what does the concept of “home” mean to you?
Home. It’s an effusive concept that seems to vary depending on my mood. Home is where I grew up, in that small house on Luminaire with my parents and siblings. It’s the smell of fresh cookies coming straight out of the oven, ready and waiting for me at the end of a long day. It’s curling up in my bed with a good book as I wait to see what tomorrow brings me. It’s the one place in this hectic universe where I know I can return to, even when everyone and everything else seems out to get me. I may not have seen my parents in months, and may not have set foot on Luminaire since becoming a capsuleer, but that does not and will never stop me from considering that little house in Luminaire my home.
Home can also be where the heart is, as the old adage goes. Professor Science, my first true travel ship, is my home. I have more memories with her than I do any of my other ships. Be it running gate camps and hoping my cloak activates in time or seeing some of the wonders that space has to offer, I can recall nothing but fond memories from her. I remember the punch in the gut I felt the first time I lost her, and I remember the joy I felt when I managed to slip her through a heavy gate camp with no losses. In terms of sheer emotional attachment, and in terms of the ship that let me start doing the things I love, Professor Science and its successors have no equal in where I can call home.
But home is also where I feel the safest. Where I feel the most secure. Having been a pod pilot for four and a half years now, home is my ship. Legacy, my Drake, has been my trusty ship for years now. I know her and her crew like I know the back of my hand. I know her strengths, and I know her weaknesses. I know her capabilities, and I know her limits. Legacy is my old, reliable workhorse. To put it colloquially, “she takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.” If I’m looking for the one place in the universe where I feel safe, where I feel like I can tackle anything, it’s my Drake. They say that capsuleers are hooked up to a ship to make it feel like a part of a pilot’s own body. Legacy takes that feeling to the extreme, so much so that I almost feel awkward in just about any other ship. Say what you will about the Drake, but Legacy has always been there for me.
In a more ‘traditional’ sense of where I primarily base out of, Pelkia is my home. For the better part of two years, now, the majority of my ships and belongings can be found in that lonely base in a fairly small system. It’s located conveniently near both Amarr for when I need to shop for new ships, as well as low security. It’s fairly equidistant from the other empires, making it easy should a new site pop up that requires investigation. But Pelkia is more than that. When I moved into Genesis for my research in Project Compass, it was Pelkia that I ended up yearning to return to. The familiar sights and sounds there are soothing, and I know I have no enemies nearby. Coming back after an extended excursion is like slipping into my favorite sweater. Something about it just feels right.
But maybe I’ve gotten to the point where I can call no singular place home. Maybe “home” is not so much as a place, but a feeling. In that respect, New Eden is my home. I am not just a native of the Federation. I am not just from Luminaire. I am a citizen of the broader stellar community. Us pod pilots are 300,000 strong and growing by the day. We live together, we fight together, we die together. And then we wake up in our cloning vats and do it all again. From the depths of null security space to the heart of Yulai, each and every one of us are bound to each other, be it through ties of alliances, ties of friendship, or ties of the marketplace. Each pod pilot is my neighbor, and each system is just a part of my home that I have yet to thoroughly explore. For four and a half years now, the stars have been my home. It thrills me that there are still more wonders out there waiting for me, and I can’t wait to see what else my home has to offer.
- Attraction: Home
- System: All
- Security Rating: -1.0 to 1.0
- Region: All
- Potential Hazards: Some of the neighbors can be less than friendly 😉
- Home and Hearth by Parisma Calles @ Small Ships FTW
- I’m like the Gypsy Band by Drackarn @ Sand, Cider and Spaceships
- Somewhere I belong by Sugar Kyle @ Low Sec Lifestyle
- Home in the Stars by Lukas Rox @ Torchwood Archives
- Home is Where My Hole is… by TurAmarth ElRandir @ A Carbon Based Life
- A Sort of Homecoming by Rhavas @ Interstellar Privateer
- Home Is Where the Heart Is by Anshu Zephyran @ Structure Damage
- A Place to Hang your Hat by Rixx Javix @ EVEOGANDA
- A Question of Location by Druur Monakh @ Hazardous Goods
- A Long Time Ago in a Constellation Far Far Way… by Kirith Darkblade – EVE Pirate
- Home is where my Pod is by Emergent Patroller
- Sweet Home Alabama by Orea @ Notes From New Eden
- BB39: Home by Mabrick @ Mabrick’s Mumblings
- home…was it a random choice? by MinorFreak @ Ordoministorum
- Home is where your Family is… by Kuan Yida @ Random Posts from Auga
- Blogbanter 39 by splatus @ A Journey Through the Mind
- two kinds of places by Sered Woollahra @ Sered’s Lives
- Home by Kirith Kodachi @ Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah
- Homeward Bound by Mike Azariah @ A Missioneer in EVE
- Where The Heart Is by Xander @ Crossing Zebras
- It’s not a house, it’s a home @ Morphisat’s Blog
- A Captain’s Quarters to call your own @ A Scientist’s Life in Eve
- The Funny Thing… by Orakkus @ 2nd Anomaly From the Left
- Where Familiarity Doesn’t Breed Contempt @ Diaries of a Space Noob
- Where is home? by Sunatzero
- Nebulosity by Helena Khan @ Aggressive Logistics
- Here by blastradius @ Blastrad’s Tales
- Home is where the Hulk is by Satyrwood @ Satyrwood Industries
- There and Back Again; An Ex-Capsuleer’s Tale* by Eelis Kiy @ Sand, Cider and Spaceships
- Homeward Bound by Adhar Khorin @ Margin Call
- Home is Where you Stage by Poetic Stanziel @ Poetic Discourse
- Broken Home by Marc Scaurus @ MALEFACTOR
- Home is Where the Alts Are by Kaeda Maxwell @ The Wild Rose of Molden Heath
- No place like it by Ripard Teg @ Jester’s Trek
- Home is where the hangar is by Jace Errata @ Year of the Snake
- An unpleasant truth @ EveHermit’s Blog
- Home is what you make of it by Anabaric @ Inside My Skull So Many Demons
Capitalism works. At least, it does for us. Although the State is best known for its free-wheeling capitalistic ways, many non-capsuleers are unaware of just how cut-throat business deals can be amongst the demigods. The fury of the .01 isk battles is well-known to any trader in New Eden, and all-out wars have been started over broken contracts, be they for general services or even just simple courier contracts. And capitalism can even thrive in death, especially when bounties are placed to help effect a massive market-manipulation scheme. The SCC has been either unable or unwilling to impose much in the way of regulation on capsuleer markets outside of requiring truth in advertising (though it’s your fault if you can’t read it correctly). Indeed, CONCORD interventions in the market are incredibly few and far between, with most scams being completely ignored by regulators. Indeed, the New Eden market may be the closest that humanity has ever come to the archetype ideal of a capitalist system.
But, of course, it helps that capsuleers are rich beyond the dreams of planet-bound avarice. Even the poorest capsuleers can quickly earn more isk in an hour or two than the vast majority of humanity will see in their lifetimes, not to mention the lifetimes of their children and their children’s children and their children’s children’s children. Any retiring capsuleers of any worth will be able to retire in luxury for the rest of their natural born days. Unfortunately, if the capsuleers are the winners of the economic game, someone has to be the loser. And that “someone” is much of the rest of society, even if us capsuleers don’t often have to deal with the lower classes. The Caldari, in their market-oriented ways, allow much of the same freedom in capitalistic endeavors, but even they have imposed some fairly harsh rules on how their markets can operate.
But these rules haven’t stopped the underlying Caldari realization that people like money. And they like having things. And if they can have things that are worth just about anything for free, someone is likely to take them up on their offer. So when confronted with the economic realities of settling a pirate-infested area of Okkelen, it’s fairly unsurprising that some government official took the logic to the next step and realize that they could offer financial incentives to settle in Okkelen. As long as the contracts had the proper fine print, the megacorps (and thus the State) could get all the benefits of a settled constellation, with the new colonists taking all of the risks and costs of driving the pirates out and settling the area. For the corporations and government, at least, it was a win-win deal. Appeal to a common State citizens sense of both patriotism and promise of future riches, and they would come running. And thus was born Shady Acres (the government official who came up with the name clearly wasn’t well-versed in the art of subtlety). As Aura explains:
Some genius working for the State had the idea that the best way to settle Okkelen was by handing out settling permits free of charge. The idea was for these hardy settlers to take care of business themselves, persuading the local banditos to leave the territories that has been theirs for years. Amazingly enough, there are individuals willing to take this on.
As might be expected given the harsh economic realities of colonization and my less-than-enthusiastic discussion of Shady Acres thus far, a posh condo in downtown Caille this is not. Little money was diverted to setting up living quarters for the colonists, and the
lack of efforts show. Shady Acres is stuck in a sad little corner of Ihakana, a low-security system already, in an orbit high above Ihakana IV; appropriately enough, a barren planet. The “condos” are little more than your standard asteroid-based colonies, held together by a series of metal girders. Evidently, the State tried to diffuse costs even more by getting some corporate sponsorships, but the poor condition of the Quafe sign suggests that that particular advertising deal was never renewed. The State has seen fit to give the fledgling colony some protection though: a Caldari Navy Raven sits protectively over the colony, warding off all but the most brazen of pirate attacks, and offering missions to the enterprising capsuleer. The entire area sits within a cloud of dull gray dust, adding an even more depressing tone to the scene.
Overall, it’s a rather dreary place and certainly nowhere I would seriously consider living. But the part that struck me was that people chose to be here. People looked at their lives, and decided that living in a hunk of rock in the middle of a pirate infested system that’s not even under CONCORD protection should something go awry was somehow better than what they currently had. That thought stuck with me as I viewed Shady Acres. Not only did it prove the age old adage of “if you build it, they will come,” but it proved that while capitalism may be one of the best socio-economic systems that we have, it was far from perfect. Some people will always be left in the metaphorical and literal dust. I took one last look around before left. As I warped off, I made a discreet donation to the Sisters of Eve’s anti-poverty programs and hoped against hope that that would sooth my conscience. Somehow, I wasn’t holding my breath.
- Attraction: Shady Acres
- System: Ihakana
- Security Rating: 0.4
- Region: The Forge
- Potential Hazards: Ihakana is located in low security space. Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.
- Additional Notes: This also serves as a Caldari COSMOS site.
Before the days of faster than light travel, before the days of space travel, before the days of even radio, humanity used to sail the seas of their respective homeworlds using only the stars as their guides. They say that history often goes full circle: in the modern day, with countless conveniences and methods of navigation, some are yearning for a return to that seemingly simpler time. With recent advances in camera drone optics, it has recently become possible to view these nebula anew, and indeed, even roughly navigate by them. In my continuing endeavors to provide travel resources, I have put together a listing of all visible nebula in New Eden for those who want to try their hand at navigating solely by these celestial beacons, available here, as well as at the top of this site.
Editor’s note: Unbeknownst to me until recently, the Tyrannis expansion has apparently resulted in a move of the original Crielere Project to now becoming an Abandoned Research Outpost. To take this into account, here is a revamped Crielere Project entry. Like Ultra! Premiere, I will keep the old entry up in the archives, but all links will point to the new entry.
For all the recent success I’ve seen in my time out this way in Caldari-Gallente relations, not all of it has had a happy ending. And why should it? These are two bitter enemies, with innate and, at times, seemingly implacable cultural and innately psychological differences, all backed by a century of bloodshed. Regardless of the airs each side tries to put on, that kind of history cannot be erased after just a few years and a few mildly successful joint ventures. To their credit, though, given the history and the current state of affairs between the two governments, I would have expected to see many more failures on the lines of the Crielere Project than seem to have actually happened.
The story surrounding the project is enough to make any holo director drool. Two bitter enemies make a desperate attempt at peace by setting up a joint research effort. The effort turns out to be wildly successful, producing a number of blueprints that are still in use even today. Popularity of the project soars on both sides, and it seems like the cold war between the two nations might finally be put to rest. Just as the team is resting on their laurels, however, disaster strikes when it becomes known that one side is stealing other blueprints for their own uses, claiming it as “compensation” for the contributions made. The other side backs out of the project in protest, cutting off all funding and project support. The project is left in free fall as both sides cut off all security teams and leave the project on its own in low security space. Then, just for fun, pirates show up and start killing everyone, and would have taken it all if not for the plucky and scrappy defense by capsuleer forces. Throw in Amarrian slavers and kidnappings, and you have the making of a blockbuster.
Strangely, despite the eventual Gurista victory over the forces defending the Project, the Guristas seem to have all but ignored the project. Except for a few pirate vessels hanging out near the warp-in point for the complex, the entire structure appears to be all but abandoned. The twin Caldari and Gallente stations, built a few dozen kilometers apart from each other to provide yet more support for the research center proper, stand abandoned and clearly falling apart. The deteriorating ruins of the stations, swaddled in the gentle nebula around the entire site, stand almost as ghostly sentinels to the research center, perhaps guarding the memories of those who died here. Perhaps more surprisingly, the research station itself looked in far better condition. It stood between the two hulking stations, dwarfed in comparison. The various station rings still gently turn, and some kind of emanations can still be seen from the core of the structure, showing something was still active over there. Whatever it was, though, is clearly not all that important if it wasn’t stolen along with the rest of the valuable equipment in the area. Another surprising feature is that, despite the well-known history surrounding the area, someone still seemed bound and determined to keep the story hidden. Aura’s standard synopsis of the site made no mention of the specific history:
In-space research laboratories are often established to circumvent planetside laws and oversight. As a consequence, an entire research industry has slowly emerged among the stars, often leading the planetside economies in space-related research. One inevitable by-product of this relentless expansion has been the downfall of countless outposts and laboratories, whose empty, pilfered husks now lie discarded and forgotten.
Whoever is trying to cover up the history of this site obviously doesn’t know that, like technology itself, the genie can rarely be put back in the bottle.
- Attraction: Crielere Research Station
- System: Crielere
- Security Rating: 0.4
- Region: Sinq Laison
- Potential Hazards: Getting to Crielere from high sec space may require extensive low sec travel, and the system is just one jump from the well-known pirate haven of Rancer. Pirates (both pod and rat varieties) can be quite common on the route. A covops is recommended. Note, however, that cruiser and frigate rats can now be found at the site, so warping in at a distance from the beacon is recommended.