Sightseeing in the Cluster

Low Sec Sights

Birthday Bash

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

The site of the eponymous birthday bash.

The backstabbing, conniving, and generally ne’er-do-well nature of capsuleers is famously well known across the cluster. Pod pilots are known to blow each other up without warning or provocation, and pilots will not hesitate to set the plans of enemies, acquaintances, friends, or people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time back months if not years if given half of a chance. We are constantly pilloried across the cluster for not only enjoying, but thriving, in that kind of cutthroat environment, and yet the stereotypical capsuleer response is to shrug and immediately go and try to find the nearest thing to blow up yet again. The cycle of violence in the spacelanes of New Eden is long and well-established.

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

The wreck of Chappy’s Phoenix-class dreadnought.

All of that being said, one of the worst-kept secrets in New Eden is that capsuleers are an incredibly tight-knit community when push comes to shove. Sure, we’ll conspire to our hearts’ content when the threat is just another pilot, but we are also incredibly willing to leave all of our conspiracies behind at the spacedock door and let loose. The parties capsuleers throw when they get together are often legendary, and the best of the parties are those that cross corporate, faction, and alliance lines to get as many capsuleers together as possible. Having attended a few of them myself in my time, let me assure you that they are not to be missed.

Probably my favorite image from this set

Tunudan provides a dramatic backdrop for the scene.

While we don’t necessarily need a reason to let loose and have ourselves a good time, it definitely doesn’t hurt, even when that reason is a sad one. A few weeks ago, a pilot registered as Chappy78 Chapman (“Chappy”, for short) posted on GalNet that he was looking to celebrate what was to be his very last birthday. Even with all of the advances of modern medicine, he has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, with a life expectancy of less than a year remaining. And he was hoping, given that prognosis, to teach New Eden how to say goodbye. With that in mind, he asked people to show up for a “huge fight” in the low-security system of Tunudan on June 24, saying he was hoping to lose his last two capital ships while he still had time to enjoy it.

The better graphics are because of an upgraded computer!

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

In classic capsuleer fashion, the community delivered in spades. Even before Chappy made it to the system, he found himself escorted through Uedama, a notoriously dangerous (though still high security) system, by CODE, a group of capsuleers whom normally revel in attacking the defenseless. And once he arrived, a crowd that soon swelled to more than 2,000 pilots greeted him at the star in Tunudan. Fights galore broke out around him, as he got to watch the festivities. From all accounts, a wonderful (and, thanks to my friend Razorien, well-photographed) time was had by all, including, most importantly, Chappy himself. And towards the end of the fight, he even managed to get most pilots present to send off his Phoenix-class dreadnought, with 762 pilots listed on the kill report. Given that Tunudan is a low-security system, his Phoenix was not the only capital ship to appear (or be destroyed).

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

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

And now, just weeks after the event, a beacon can be found near the star in Tunudan marking the event. It’s a simple site, just a collection of the wrecks of capital ships that found themselves blown up during the festivities. In place of pride in the center of the site, the wreck of Chappy’s Phoenix can be found. Surrounding it is a veritable matching game of capital ships from across the cluster. The wrecks of a Ninazu, a few Naglfars, and even a Leviathan can be found near the remains of the Phoenix. A bit further out, the ruins of a Zirnitra (one of those newfangled Triglavian-derived designs that have entered into service recently) can be see, separated from the rest of the group.

The entire site is dramatically backdropped by Tunudan itself. Its roiling surface, along with some breathtaking flares and prominences, provide a vivid background to the wrecks, the contrast with the stellar surface providing deep contrasts with the shadows from the wrecks. The entire effect, particularly from the point of view of a small frigate, is striking indeed.

o7 chappy

Another shot of the wrecks.

I can only hope that Chappy enjoyed himself. Thankfully, every indication is that he did. I am thrilled that once again, the capsuleer community was able to come together to support one of its own. When people ask me how I can keep flying after all of these years, its situations like this birthday bash keep me connected with my fellow pilots. Our willingness to support those in our community who are in the most dire of circumstances, to bring a bit of joy to each other’s lives in dark times, is truly heartwarming. I can’t that I know how I’ll go (and, obviously, I hope that will not be an issue for quite a while yet), but when I do, I can only hope that I have as large of a community to fall back on then as Chappy78 Chapman does today in New Eden.

o7 Chappy

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Birthday Bash
  • System: Tunudan
  • Security Rating: 0.4
  • Region: The Citadel
  • Potential Hazards: Tunudan is located in low security space.  Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.

Elder War Monuments

Elder War 1

The Elder War Memorial in Ami.

I startled myself a week or two ago by realizing that I had let my 10 year anniversary of becoming certified as a capsuleer pass without commemoration, celebration, or, indeed, note. Something that had, at the time, seemed so momentous, so important, that I could never forget it had become something so commonplace that I barely remember my life before becoming a pilot. I was generally good at making note of the event over the years, but it had slipped my mind this year. I guess it was just a sign that even the most significant changes in life eventually can become mundane, even when your life can end over and over and over again. Still, it was hard to believe that almost 1/3 of my life had been spent as an immortal capsuleer.

Elder War 2

The Monument in Kor-Azor Prime

I was also surprised to discover that it has been nearly 10 years since the brief Elder War. Looking back, I didn’t realize that the War had occurred so soon after gaining my pilot’s license. It consisted of a very brief, but intense, invasion of the Amarr Empire by renegade factions of the Minmatar Tribes. After the discovery of the survival of the Seventh Tribe of Matar, the Starkmanir, the Minmatar Elders (who had long faded into legend for most of the Cluster) returned with a vengeance, leading a massive rescue operation using materiel and ships built up secretly for centuries. The Elders crippled CONCORD before invading the Empire, and was only stopped by the return of Jamyl Sarum (who should have been dead but apparently got better) and the use of a superweapon whose origin and eventual disposition remain a mystery even to this day. Of course, this is a very, painfully brief synopsis of the War, but it suffices for our purposes here.

Elder War 3

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

Although the entire war lasted for under 24 hours, the War had vast implications for the Cluster. It signaled the return of the Minmatar Elders, the discovery of the survival of the Starkmanir Tribe, the fallibility of CONCORD (a lesson I much took to heart as time went on), and the return of Jamyl Sarum. The Empire’s response to the return of Jamyl always fascinated me; it was clear that she had returned using some variation of capsuleer cloning technology, yet the Doctrine of the Empire meant they could never acknowledge it. And the fact that she had essentially single-handedly stopped the Minmatar invasion and preserve much of the Empire’s status quo meant that when she was proclaimed Empress, the Empire’s theologians could do little more than shrug. After the disastrous reign of Chamberlain Karsoth, Jamyl brought a much-needed sense of stability to the Empire, even if Jamyl eventually brought her own problems.

Elder War 4

And the memorial in Andrub.

In an apparent bid to tie her reign to Jamyl’s, Empress Catiz recently commissioned the creation of 4 memorials to some of the battles from the Elder War. These 4 memorials were erected in addition to the two battlegrounds in Jarizza and Kor-Azor that I have chronicled over the years. They were constructed off of stations in Ami, Andrub, Kor-Azor Prime, and Nishah that suffered damage during the War. It took them nearly a decade, but they finally repaired the damage to those stations (I would make a snide comment about wanting to keep the damage for the sake of arousing public sympathy, but CONCORD still hasn’t repaired its own heavily-damaged headquarters and it was damaged on the same day).

The same prompt appears any time Aura is asked for information regarding the memorials:

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

As imperial construction crews completed repaires of the nearby stations damaged in the attack, the monument was placed by order of Her Most Sublime and Imperial Majesty Catiz I, First Apostle of the True Faith and Sovereign Defender of the Imperial Rite.

Elder War 6

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

The monument appears to be similar in design to the Project Discovery monument erected in Lanngisi, which was itself based on an apparent Upwell design. However, rather than featuring a large hologram of the Project Discovery symbol, these monuments feature an ornate Imperial Seal. Despite being placed on the same day as the Project Discovery monument, the Elder War memorials do not appear to be susceptible to entosis effects like the Project Discovery memorial. However, like the Project Discovery memorial, the Elder War memorials are bustling hubs, with traffic coming and going around the memorials as visitors flock to see the museums and the views.

Elder War 7

Professor Science flying near the monument in Nishah.

I spent time at each of the memorials, but given that they were all pretty similar in design, I didn’t linger at any. Still, I appreciated the reminder of what the Cluster was like back when I first gained my license. It’s remarkable how many things have changed since then: Jamyl is long gone, capsuleer alliances have risen and fallen, the Drifters have appeared. But still, so many things have tayed the same. My sense of wonder and wanderlust, the graceful ship designs, and the friends who make this lifestyle well worth it. It may have been 10 years since I first started flying in New Eden, but somehow, it feels like it was only yesterday.

A happy and safe YC120 to you all.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Elder War Monuments
  • System: Ami, Andrub, Kor-Azor Prime, and Nishah
  • Security Rating: 0.4, 0.7, 0.9, and 0.6, respectively.
  • Region: Kor-Azor
  • Potential Hazards: Ami and Andrub are located in low security space.  Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended. As for Kor-Azor Prime and Nishah, if you’re below a -2.5 or -4, respectively, in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

ISHAEKA Tactical Response HQ

Sorry CONCORD.

The sight that greets you upon warping in (and killing all of the enemies).

(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.

We blew up a LOT of CONCORD and they do not seem happy with me.

The classic silhouette of a CONCORD battleship. Some of the stationary defenses can be seen near the gate.

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.

The poor, poor Stratios :-(

One of my fleet’s ships comes under heavy fire.

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.

Sometimes I feel bad that the pictures don't match where I am in the narrative very well, but I write so long after I take pics its very hard to coordinate :-(

The CONCORD battleships under heavy fire.

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.

This and the past pic might be my two favorites

CONCORD is not having a good day.

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.

I love my little drones look at them go!

The drone buzzes past the staging area in the Haven.

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.

And a nice little contrail to go with it!

A closer view of the landing pads and logistical centers.

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.

This might be my longest entry ever. I'd have to check.

CONCORD under attack in the fleet staging area.

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.

This was a fun area.

A better view of the Fleet Staging Area

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!

I'm really not sure what to make of this, tbh

The wreckage of an Archon-class carrier.

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.

SO MANY PICTURES AND STILL SO FEW PARAGRAPHS.

A CONCORD battleship nearing completion

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!

These damage textures really are quite awesome

A damaged Amarr defender with the remains of the Justiciar Archive in the background

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.

I really am confused about what this site is supposed to be about. What info was CONCORD afraid we'd be stealing? Why the ISHAEKA tie in but no Sansha? So many questions.

The structures in the Archive area.

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.

I had a lot of fun with these guys!

A view of the triumphant fleet.

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Abandoned Guristas Transportation Facility

This was a Valkyrie event, FYI

The abandoned transportation hub

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re missing an important story? Do you ever run across something out in the world, and it seems significant even if you can’t place it into context or even say why it’s important? It’s a frustrating feeling. Even with the adage that ignorance is bliss, generally we like to know the full story on something. We long to be a fly on the wall in order to hear exactly how a crucial meeting went down, or just to have the schadenfreudic joy of hearing and seeing others get in trouble out of the public eye. We’re curious creatures by nature and the idea that there are things that we are not and cannot be privy can be a very maddening experience when you stop and think about all that happens around us that we don’t know.

I actually don't know much of the story behind this, which makes it a bit fun in that regard actually

Planet 11 hangs in the background

I bring this up because I very much got that feeling while flying through Nalvula a while back. It’s a low-sec system a few jumps out from Tribute, in an otherwise nondescript area of space perhaps most notable for being in-between Taisy (the home of the notorious Kyonoke Pit) and Vuorrassi (the former location of the Terminus Stream). In the outskirts of the system, near planet 11, an abandoned Guristas transportation facility stands out easily on a ship’s scanners. This in and of itself isn’t particularly unusual; abandoned Guristas facilities can be found throughout Caldari space and beyond. Indeed, space is almost littered with their abandoned facilities (yet that doesn’t seem to stop them from making more…). No, what’s weird about this is that someone has clearly hacked the facility’s transponder, taking it off of private Guristas frequencies and broadcasting it throughout the system with a rather odd message. Aura interprets it as:

No seriously, there isn't much to see hereOnce a hive of pirate activity, this Guristas Transport Facility now drifts in space blackened and scarred, left partially intact by its attackers to serve as a message to its former owners. As you draw closer, it is apparent that the facility’s distress beacon has been hijacked and reprogrammed to loop an audio message of defiance:

>>CQD/NULL-REBROADCAST/30001445

“You believed you could hunt us, but you have become the quarry. You believed you could subdue us, but we have risen up. You may be Fatal, but we are immortal.
We have proven that the Empyreans stand with us.

Do not test us again. If you attempt to do so, you will burn at the hands of the Valkyrie and our most loyal and skilled capsuleer wingmen.

Kavik out.”

A data packet is attached to the transmission, listing the DED profiles of a number of capsuleers known to have aided the Valkyrie during their fight against Guristas forces:
Jaret Victorian
Kev Lar
Krastor Sandoval
Morwen Lagann
Asher Kagen
Walter Islands
Pelea Ming
Dr SetiWon't stop me from posting pics of it anyway vOv
Sheldon d’Albion
Imperator Trajanus
MINIMA16
OneWay Trip Hunter
Angelina Fortrueks
BUISNESSWOMAN
Maja Chou
Antarah ibn Shaddad
Alvarez Akachi
Angeli Inferna
slphy vansyl
Sargeant Summers

It almost looks like the mast of a ship here. Almost.

The top of the damaged but still functional tower.

An intriguing message. The reference to “Fatal” was particularly intriguing. Fatal, of course, is one-half of the infamous duo of Fatal and the Rabbit, the initial founders of the Guristas. Fatal is perhaps most notorious for pulling down the most ambitious joint Gallente/Caldari project to date, the Crielere Project. During a daring raid on the Project, Fatal was podded, and apparently his medical clone was not quite up to snuff. After the raid, Fatal quickly fell off the radar and it was assumed that he no longer held any significant position of power given that he had lost most cognitive functions. This message, from the enigmatic Kavik, suggested he has a more significant role than we had realized. If so, that could mark a dangerous return of one of the most notorious criminals the Cluster has known.

I like this photo though I wish I could have centered it a bit more.

The transportation hub is rather utilitarian in design.

The site itself is pretty simplistic. Obviously, the Guristas had focused on a much more utilitarian design for their transportation hub, and its remains show little regard for aesthetics as well. A series of cargo pads and bunkers surround a central control tower. There are few evident signs of damage, despite the fact that a battle was apparently waged here; the most obvious one being the slowly expanding cloud of debris spreading from the control tower. Beyond that, however, the power systems seemed mostly operational, even in the satellite bunkers, so clearly the offensive wasn’t directed at the transportation hub itself. I made up my mind to ask about the event from a few contacts on the list that I recognized to see if they could provide any additional details.

I pondered the odd message a little while longer before heading out once again. I may not know the whole story here, or even most of it, but I wasn’t going to learn any more about it by just sitting around and hoping it came to me.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Abandoned Guristas Transportation Center
  • System: Nalvula
  • Security Rating: 0.4
  • Region: Lonetrek
  • Potential Hazards: Nalvula is located in low security space.  Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.

Astrahus Exemplar Site

Astrahus 1

The construction site found in Mara.

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.

Astrahus 2

One of the landing pads near the construction site

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.

Astrahus 3

Mara I hangs in the background

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.

Astrahus 4

A close up of some of the manufacturing arrays

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.

Astrahus 5

I look forward to seeing what eventually gets built

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.


Jove Observatory

Jove 1

The Jove Observatories are now damaged.

(Editor’s Note: For previous entries on the Jove Observatories, please see here and here).

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.

Jove 2

A close-up view of one of the breaches. A flash of lightning can be seen in the Structure’s depths.

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:

::vents gas into space::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.

Jove 4

A Seeker flies towards the Observatory

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.

Jove 5

The Seeker fires a cutting beam into the Observatory.

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.

Jove 6

The Seeker activates a second beam, possibly a tractor.

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:

Jove 7Limited information is available on this object.

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.

Jove 8

Two Seekers focus on one area of the structure.

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.

Jove 9

Exactly what the Seekers are after is unknown but probably related to the Antikythera elements.

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Unidentified Structures (Uncloaked)

uncloaked structures 1

The fully decloaked Jove structures.

(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.

uncloaked structures 2

Professor Science heads towards a rendezvous

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.

uncloaked structures 3

Professor Science is dwarfed next to the structure.

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.

uncloaked structures 4

A look up one side of the Jovian structure

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.

uncloaked structures 5

The top of the structures.

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.

uncloaked structures 6

Zooming up the structure

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.

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 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.

Unidentified Wormholes

wormhole 1

A profile view of a Drifter battleship

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.

wormholes 2

A near-front view of the battleships, with freefloating turrets visible

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:

wormholes 3Emerging 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)

wormholes 4

The Drifters also have a scanning beam.

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.

wormholes 5

The unidentified wormhole and accompanying structures

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.

Wormholes 6

A closeup view of the wormhole

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.

wormholes 7

The multiplex forwarder and thermoelectric converter array.

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.

Wormholes 8

The wormhole appears to lead to, or near, Thera.

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).

wormholes 9

These wormholes raise much more questions than answers

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Unidentified Structure

Unidentified 1

Lightning crackles next to the Professor

(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.

Unidentified 2

The barest outline of the odd structure can be seen here.

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.

Unidentified 3

Another view of with hints of a new structure

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.

Unidentified 4

A Circadian Seeker scans a nearby object in New Eden.

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.

Unidentified 5

The purpose of the sphere coming out of the Seeker is currently unknown.

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.

Unidentified 6

A customs office gets scanned by the seekers

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.)

Unidentified 7

The scanning beams do not appear to cause any ill effects.

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.

Caroline’s Star

Caroline's Star

The new star is bright in some skies. And growing brighter. Photo courtesy of pilot per.

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.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Caroline’s Star
  • System: W477-P
  • Security Rating: Unknown
  • Region: UUA-F4
  • Potential Hazards: Unknown for now.

Guristas Recruitment Center

Taisy 1

The Guristas Recruitment Center.

“Hey.”

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?”

Taisy 2

Some of the debris surrounding the station.

“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.

Taisy 3

A view from the surface

“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.

Taisy 4

The main recruitment ship.

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.

Taisy 5

More debris

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.

 


Abandoned CRC Monitoring Station

Arnher 1

The remains of a former CONCORD listening post

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.

Arnher 2

The listening post used to keep a watchful eye on nearby comms traffic

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:

Arnher 3This relay station was used by the Communications Relay Committee until July YC116, when it was abandoned after an assault by Dominations forces.

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.

Arnher 4

Support girders stick out from the remains of the destroyed battleship.

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?

Arnher 4

The power generator for the site.

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Minmatar Shipyards

Egbinger 1

The entirety of the shipyard complex.

“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.

Egbinger 2

A close up of the upper half of one of the Naglfars under construction

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.”

Egbinger 3

The auxiliary power array seemingly glows with the light of Egbinger

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.

Egbinger 4

The central administration complex of the docks

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.

Egbinger 5

The apparent entirety of the shipyard’s defenses

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.

Egbinger 6

A closer view of one of the construction yards

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).

Egbinger 7

The Naglfars are approaching spaceworthiness tests

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…

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Myxhaut K8 – Waste Yard

Myxhaut 1

A former toxic waste dump serves as a base of operations for the Cartel

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.

Myxhaut 2

One of the Cartel ships stationed at the site

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:

Myxhaut 3Pirate 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.

Myxhaut 4

An abandoned missile battery

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.

Myxhaut 5

Two of the silos still hold their toxic waste, the distant one has lost integrity, however.

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…

Basic Information:

  • 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.

The Solitaire

 

Solitaire 1

The giant vessel looms like a giant shadow out of its surrounding dust cloud.

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.

Solitaire 2

Professor Science banks as it orbits the Solitaire, which was left adrift in space.

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.

Solitaire 3

The engines alone for the vessel dwarf the Professor.

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:

Solitaire 4A 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.

Solitaire 5

Parts of the hull have dissolved over time. Here, part of a massive cargo bay has been exposed to space.

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.

Solitaire 6

The barest outline of the cloaked Professor Science can be seen here, with Cloud Ring and the Solitaire looming in the background

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.

Solitaire 7

Cloud Ring seen through, well, the cloud

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.

Solitaire 8

The front end of the massive vessel, with Ienakkamon shining in the background

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Blog Banter 39: Home

BB39 1

In this vast universe, where is home?

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?

Enjoy!

BB39 2

My homeworld nearly silhouetted against Luminaire.

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.

BB39 3

Professor Science warps through a planet on the way to its next adventure.

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.

BB39 4

My trusty Drake is another vessel I’m close to.

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.

BB39 5

My current base of operation.

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.

BB39 6

New Eden is my home.

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.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Home
  • System: All
  • Security Rating: -1.0 to 1.0
  • Region: All
  • Potential Hazards: Some of the neighbors can be less than friendly 😉

Other banterers:


Shady Acres

Shady Acres 1

The entire colony sits ensconced in a cloud of dull gray dust

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.

Shady Acres 2

The exhaust from one of the colony’s industrial sections sits near the top of this photograph.

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.

Shady Acres 3

Ihakana IV sits below the colony’s sole protector.

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:

Shady Acres 4Some 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.

Shady Acres 5

The only other ship that can be found in the area.

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.

Shady Acres 6

The entire area reeks of decay, but that hasn’t stopped some from trying to find their way out here.

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Celestial Navigation

Nebula 1

A vision of the Vapor Sea.

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.


Crielere Project

Crielere2-1

These structures are all that remains of one of the most prodigous research projects of modern times.

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.

Crielere2-2

The central research center stands between the ruins of two stations.

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.

Crielere2-3

The run-down ruins of the Caldari support station.

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:

Crielere2-4In-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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.

Ultra! Premiere

Editor’s note: This site appears to have been removed from Elarel as of 3/29/2016.

Editor’s note: Digging through the EVElopedia on a completely unrelated (though nearby) site lead me to the entry I’ve linked to below which demonstrates that my previous entry on Ultra Premier was, umm, entirely wrong. Rather than attempting to tweak the old version, I have decided to revamp it entirely to bring it in line with new information. The old entry will remain up, but all links will point to this entry.

Elarel1

The Professor moves in to investigate the small nebula

I suppose I was a bit of a fool for thinking that anything in New Eden could come about from anything other than violence. Either the violence of nature or the violence of my fellow man, it seems that most things of beauty are formed in the midst of violence. I had to wonder why that was. Perhaps it was the passion inherent in the violence that produced it. Be it planetary collisions or vast battles of ships of the line, there is an inherent and primal beauty in destruction, much as I hate to admit it. Even the most seemingly tranquil places today are often formed in the heat of battle.

Elarel2

The Elarel star glares down just offscreen

And so it was with the cryptically named Ultra Premiere. With little more than a beacon and some sparkly clouds, it’s unsurprising that the history surrounding this tragic site has been lost in the five years since the site was created. Indeed, but for a surprisingly well kept historical reference guide, the history of the site might have been lost forever. It was a tad odd that the beacon at the site had no accompanying information in the broadcast. CONCORD’s historical arm was usually fairly good on giving at least some hint to the history of the site. On this, however, CONCORD has decided to stay silent.

Elarel3

Elarel seen through the haze of the nebula

The origins of the site date back to early YC 106. Quafe, that omnipresent soft drink giant, had just released its newest product, Quafe Ultra, in the midst of a massive PR binge. Apparently Quafe does nothing halfheartedly. Instead of doing the standard PR of commercials and other standard advertisements (those billboards at stargates being a bit too low brow for this campaign, apparently) Quafe decided to up the bar. Beyond standard campaign materials, Quafe began a full frontal assault, using every power it had at its disposal as a central player in the Gallente cultural zeitgeist. Holo stars. Video games. Even an entire holo dedicated to how amazing the drink is. And the public ate it up (or drank it, as the case may be). Ultra! was a box office success the likes of which have rarely been seen.

Elarel4

Ultra Premier hangs against the inky backdrop of space.

To capitalize on the box office success (more so than it already had), Quafe decided that a gala was needed to celebrate. Why Quafe decided to put the gala in the Rent-a-Dream Gardens in Elarel – an out of the way and, more importantly, low security status system – is beyond me. Perhaps CONCORD could have prevented the tragedy (though given CONCORD’s more reactionary character, perhaps this is just wishful thinking). In any case, during the height of the gala, attended by not only the stars from the holo but President Foiritan himself, disaster struck in the form of a group named UDI- United against Decadence and Impurity. They raided the Gardens, and killed a number of famous celebrities, and barely missed killing President Foiritan himself. It was a galling and daring attack.

But this is not the first run in that Quafe or the Federation have had with UDI. Contact dates back at least two years prior, always the proverbial thorn in Quafe’s side. Apparently comprised of hardliner Caldari and Amarr patriots, the group seemed dedicated to wiping out consumerism and capitalism as we know it… a surprising perspective given the Caldari’s background. But it is not my job to wonder why on this sort of thing.

Elarel5

This is the only structure that remains at the site. The Rent-a-Dream Gardens are nowhere to be found

In any case, all that remains now is a slowly dissipating nebula surrounding the now-demolished Gardens. Presumably, Rent-a-Dream was unable to recover from the attacks and the building was quickly taken down. The nebula, surprisingly close to Elarel, creates a rather stunning backdrop, casting a gentle golden light around the entire area, diffusing Elarel’s shine. Professor Science had no trouble identifying the various remaining chemicals and debris surrounding the site. Given the beauty of the site, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that it was born under fire.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Ultra Premier
  • System: Elarel
  • Security Rating: 0.4
  • Region: Everyshore
  • Potential Hazards: Getting to Elarel involves low sec travel.  Pirates and gate camps should be expected.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.

Violent Wormhole

Promised Land 1

An apparently stable wormhole.

Missiles and ammo flung themselves across the vastness of space at incomprehensible speeds. Lasers singed shields, armor buckled and collapsed, and ships exploded as their reactors went critical. My own drake, hardened as it was for battle, heaved violently as it took what evasive maneuvers it could to avoid the Sansha onslaught. An artificially generated wormhole had been discovered in Yulai mere moments ago, and the battle was just getting underway. About 100 kilometers out, a cloud of Sansha battleships, dark enough to block out the sun despite how close we were to it, began ever so slowly moving towards the fleet set up to defend the heart of civilized space. Suddenly, alarms blared at me as over 50 Sanshas locked on to me. Apparently, I was one of their first picks of the day. Ammunition bore down on me as the drake struggled valiantly to keep my shields up. Within moments, though my shields collapsed, and soon the armor did as well. My hull collapsing around me, I instructed the crew that remained alive to abandon ship and suddenly-

Promised Land 2

Professor Science can be seen through the spatial distortion of the wormhole

I shot upright in my bed, drenched in sweat. This hadn’t been the first time that I’d had nightmares in the aftermath of the battle of Yulai, but it was the first time that I had woken up in the middle of one of my dreams. After a few moments of confused disorientation, I realized that Aura’s incessant beeping was alerting me to a priority message. I quickly opened it up, and as I read it, my eyes widened in surprise. I quickly contacted my hanger to prep Professor Science for immediate departure. If what I was seeing was true… This I had to see with my own eyes.

Promised Land 3

I unsuccessfully attempt to take my Buzzard through the wormhole.

Within half an hour from waking up, I entered into the system of Promised Land. I have been in this system a number of times, as it was only one jump out from New Eden and the EVE Gate, but never before had I known of anything noteworthy in this system. The massive collapsed remnant of the fabled link to our home planet had always been this area’s primary attraction. Indeed, the Sisters of Eve spent countless hours attempting to study and even reopen the supposedly stable wormhole that had collapsed so long ago. This time around, though, my eyes were set in Promised Land. I vectored Professor Science towards Planet I, and the ship launched into warp. As I came out of warp near the planet, there it was as clear as day. Exactly as the message had described it. Sitting just a few kilometers from the warp in point sat a wormhole.

Promised Land 4

A storm rages below on Promised Land I while the wormhole sits... and doesn't collapse

But this wasn’t just any run of the mill wormhole that you could easily find in most systems throughout the cluster these days. This, at least from initial appearances, appeared to be another stable wormhole. Just like the infamous one just a system over. But this one also had the distinction of being of artificial construction (the current wormholes popping up throughout the cluster may or may not be naturally occurring, the academics have yet to come to a conclusion on that to my knowledge). And constructed by the Sansha no less. Prior to the current incursions of entire constellations, the Sansha had shown the ability to create artificial wormholes to invade particular systems. They had used their wormhole technology to directly invade Yulai, where a large capsuleer force had appeared to defend it. Directly after the Yulai event, however, Sansha forces regrouped in Promised Land and engaged in a much more limited battle with defense forces. The wormhole used to enter Promised Land was the one sitting in front of me today. More than a month later, it was still sitting here. Perhaps most surprisingly, no one seemed to have known or cared about this. Despite the obvious significance of this, there were no survey or science ships here to study this wormhole compared to the one in New Eden.

Promised Land 5

A second sun can be made out within the wormhole itself. What sun that is, however, remains a mystery.

I tried to take Professor Science through the wormhole to no avail. Like the other wormholes used by the Sansha, they had somehow keyed it to only allow only Sansha ships through. All I could do with the wormhole was see a very distorted image of the other side. I circled around the wormhole to see if there was anything I could see through it, but it remained as mysterious as ever. I could make out a star of some kind on the other side, but all attempts to identify it failed. I couldn’t even tell if it was just a strange reflection/refraction of Promised Land itself. It remained as mysterious as ever. All attempts to cross the event horizon boundary merely resulted in me getting bounced back by some kind of force.

After about 15 minutes I gave up. Professor Science simply could not get me the information I needed. I would have to do the only thing I knew how: advertise this bizarre wormhole to others, and hope that someone else could crack its secrets.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Violent Wormhole
  • System: Promised Land, Planet I
  • Security Rating: 0.3
  • Region: Genesis
  • Potential Hazards:  Low sec travel is needed to get to the landmark.  Caution is advised.

EMERGENCY TRAVEL ADVISORY

Incursions1

A Sansha cruiser blocks out the sun.

The following is a Scope Special Report.

YULAI, Sanctum- Yulai stood aghast this week as, just days following an invasion into the heart of CONCORD-controlled space, five constellations went dark as the Sansha Nation initiated simultaneous incursions in what is believed to be the single largest offensive in the history of New Eden. Despite the shutdown of official means of communications, stories quickly spread as capsuleers, crews, and civilian vessels fled the scenes, causing mass chaos. Even CONCORD-patrolled space was not immune from the Nation’s reach, as Algintal, a constellation in the Gallente Federation, fell completely dark for several minutes before officials were able to re-establish contact through emergency channels.

Incursions2

The Sansha Nation has shown remarkable proficiency in establishing bases of operation soon after deployment.

CONCORD officials reacted swiftly to the news. After a hastily convened Inner Circle closed session, CONCORD quickly announced measures the peacekeeping force has taken, as well as new legislation authorizing capsuleer response to these so-called incursions. The quick turnaround time on the legislation, as well as immediate upgrades to capsuleer software in their ships, have lead some to believe that there were those in CONCORD who have been expecting this to come. Indeed, some Inner Circle observers have referred to the so-called “Operation Ishaeka” as evidence that CONCORD has had information regarding the Sansha movements for some time, and yet has taken little to no action before now. These observers have referenced CONCORD’s inability (or, at least to some observers, CONCORD’s unwillingness) to respond to prior Sansha invasions, even when concentrated to only one system, as proof of some kind of détente between Yulai and the Nation, while others argue that this simply shows how capsuleer forces are better able to handle the situation.

Incursions3

Fleets of capsuleer-piloted vessels have been quick to respond to Sansha incursions… so far.

Meanwhile, reports on the situation within Sansha-controlled space have been few and far between. Federation officials, speaking on condition of anonymity as they are unauthorized to speak for the Federation, expressed surprise as the first reports from Sansha-affected space came in to Luminaire. Said one: “They’ve managed to infiltrate everything. All the various financial and administrative control systems we thought were secure have proven not to be. I don’t know where they managed to develop their hacking software, but its years ahead of anything either the Federation or the other empires have been able to produce.”

Incursions4

CONCORD-released imagery of what CONCORD has dubbed a Nation Propoganda Cluster

Initial reports indicate that after Nation forces move into a constellation, they quickly overwhelm many software safeguards in place around financial systems and protective measures. Gallente intelligence reports show that these Sansha forces are stronger than many other non-capsuleer forces that capsuleer forces have encountered before. Initial threat assessments show that even the weakest sites should not be handled by less than five to ten capsuleers. Reports also refer to money being diverted from CONCORD accounts traditionally paid for bounties on known criminals to Sansha bank accounts instead of capsuleer accounts, demonstrating an ability to hack into Secure Commerce Commission accounts. Similarly, the Sansha have been able to quickly establish cyno-jammers in null and low security systems, preventing capital ships from jumping in to join the fight. Early reports even indicate an ability to hamper, though not destroy, capsuleer-piloted vessels by reducing armor and shield resistances, as well as damage output. Strangely, these setbacks appear to affect at least some Sansha ships themselves, which some have suggested are indicative that the exploits that the Sansha are using are endemic to all capsuleer technology, and cannot be turned on and off at will by any particular ship.

Incursions5

CONCORD-released imagery of a Sansha logistics base

Despite early CONCORD reaction to the recent incursions, many have criticized what they see as non-action by the Directive Enforcement Division, the enforcement arm of CONCORD responsible for keeping the peace beyond planetary atmospheres. CONCORD spokesmen were quick to respond to the accusations. Said DED spokeswoman Ruera Penthe, “CONCORD is working closely with capsuleer forces. The DED has made the determination that capsuleer forces are better able to respond to fluid situations, while DED ships maintain their customary peacekeeping roles. However, recent legislation by the Inner Circle has authorized CONCORD to hand out ISK to capsuleers and open private CONCORD materiel stores to capsuleers who have worked with us to resist the Sansha threat. We thank all pilots for what they’ve done so far to ensure the safety and security of all citizens of New Eden, and we look forward to cooperating and planning offensive and defensive operations in the future.”

Incursions6

Capsuleers have responded to the Incursions with predictably mixed results.

There are at least some indications, however, that CONCORD’s trust in the capsuleer community is misplaced. Since the legislation authorizing capsuleer response to the Sansha incursions, reports have come to light that while many capsuleers have taken up arms against the Sansha, a number of capsuleer corporations and individuals are either sympathetic to Nation causes, or at least excited for the prospect of wreaking havoc. Some, mostly in the null security space beyond CONCORD jurisdiction, appear to not care about the incursions at all and are, so far, ignoring them, letting Nation forces fulfill their plans without resistance. Reports of outright defense of Sansha ships by capsuleer supporters are few and far between. However, there have been a number of reports of capsuleers joining fleets with so-called “logistics ships” (a capsuleer term to refer to ships that are able to support either shields or armor repairers to help other vessels) only to find that another logistics ship that they were trying to help will violate CONCORD rules, triggering CONCORD’s automatic threat elimination response. These responses will destroy not just the offender’s ship, but also those who were repairing the defender, meaning that even well-intentioned and dedicated capsuleers to lose their vessels. Questioned on this apparent defect, Penthe responded: “Since these incursions have begun, DED has begun re-evaluating it’s threat detection and response procedures in response to capsuleer concerns. However, due to the essential nature of these software changes, DED is unwilling to give any kind of time frame on when improved software may be deployed to prevent this situation in the future. In the meantime, DED strongly advises all capsuleers to only join fleets with others you know and trust.” Furthermore, in order to prompt capsuleer participation, DED has released the standard message sent to all capsuleers when entering an incursion constellation, giving some insights into CONCORD’s defensive strategy:

Attention all capsuleers: Sansha’s Nation forces have staged an incursion of the [] constellation. Local empire navies are standing by to protect against planetary abductions. Reinforcements are required to actively remove the threat.

CONCORD has created this channel to aid in the organization of capsuleer fleets willing to fight the Sansha. All pilots who offer assistance will be rewarded.

Authorized by Operation Ishaeka Commander Vieve Creston, DED Special Operations. CONCORD cannot guarantee the operational security of this channel. Attendants are advised to use caution when sharing intelligence.

Incursions7

A battleship-class Sansha vessel.

While this is by far the largest coordinated Sansha incursion, this is not the first time Sansha Kuvakei or his forces have invaded the cluster. The CONCORD Directive Intelligence Agency has released background information regarding Sansha Kuvakei and his history. Kuvakei’s motives are as of yet unclear, but ever since his return last year, his ire appears principally directed at the capsuleer community. However, in order to achieve his goals, he has been known to abduct planetary citizens. To date, such abductions number into the millions, despite heavy capsuleer resistance to any and all Sansha incursions even prior to the current breakout of hostilities. In recent weeks, however, Nation tactics appeared to change. In last weekend’s attack on Yulai, most Sansha forces appeared to ignore the inhabited planets in favor extracting plasma from Yulai itself. The Nation’s intentions with the solar plasma is as of yet unknown.

In the meantime, CONCORD advises all spacefaring and planet-bound citizens to be aware of their surroundings. CONCORD has already deployed new software to all capsuleer vessels to alert them when entering Sansha-controlled space, while planet-bound citizens are advised to keep watching newsfeeds to determine if a Sansha incursion is occurring nearby. Penthe, the DED spokeswoman appeared to acknowledge CONCORD’s limited ability to respond to the Nation threat, “All we can do is give out the information and alert as many people as possible. Watch your neocoms. Know where you’re going, and where the Sansha are currently active. The rest, unfortunately, is up to the citizens of the cluster.”

This has been a Scope Special Report.

Potential hazards:

  • Sansha infested systems can be found anywhere, and at any time. It’s strongly encouraged to check whether your routes take you through Sansha space.
  • As noted in the story, effects in Sansha controlled space can be severe. These include a halving of all damage outputs, as well as lower shield and armor resistances. NPC bounties of non-Incursion sites are cut in half while an incursion is active in the constellation. Null and low sec space will be cynojammed.
  • There’ve been too many stories of people fleeting up with strangers only to have CONCORD’s aggression mechanics used against them. Beware of who you’re fleeting with. (UPDATE: With the release of the latest Incursion patch, CONCORD will no longer respond to remote repping issues, as you can no longer remote rep anyone with a GCC. Once a person triggers GCC, any reppers on him will shut off, and the GCC’d person will get CONCORDed, but the reppers will not).
  • These are not for the solo players. These sites were specifically designed to be done in groups. Your journal can show recommended force sizes, as well as isk payouts from completed sites.

Roden Shipyards Manufacturing Center

heluene1

A shipyard for building Gallente naval forces.

Out with the old and in with the new, as they always say. With an economy as complex as New Eden’s, you need a continuing source of matériel in order to remain even somewhat viable. This fundamental requirement is universal, regardless of the career you pursue: manufacturers always need new supplies to create their wares; traders need things to, well, trade; and combat pilots, of course, need a continuous supply of ammo and, despite how much you may try to avoid it, new ships. Of course, those whose job it is to protect the rest of the Cluster from us rabblerousing capsuleers have an even greater need for ships. I never really envied the various national navies for having to interpose themselves between capsuleers and the rest of society, but I always appreciated the job they did (and tried to interfere as little as possible). Of course, I’ve always wondered just where their seemingly endless supply of ships came from to begin with. Given the site I saw from Professor Science as I came out of warp, I had a small idea of the answer. As I came out of warp near the center, I received a standard message:

You are entering a fully licensed Roden Shipyards manufacturing area. All unauthorized non-capsuleers found trespassing will be persecuted to fullest extent of Federal Law.

Heluene2

An Occator docks with the shipyard in front of an Obelisk.

The message once again reminded me how essentially unchecked capsuleers were by any traditional political forces. Whoever managed to negotiate the kinds of freedoms that capsuleers enjoy was either a genius or a monster. Almost completely unaccountable to anyone but CONCORD and the occasional taxes from the various empires (and you can even avoid most of those if you go to null sec). But I digress…

Heluene3

Storage space for the variety of materials needed to build the Megathrons.

The shipyards themselves were bustling with activity. A variety of transport ships could be seen near the main storage silo, offloading the materials needed to continue producing the Megathron-class vessels needed to keep the Gallente Federation safe. At the time, an Obelisk and Occator could be seen docked at the silo, as well as a Thorax, acting as guard for the yards. Admittedly, it seemed a small guard force for something located in low-security space. Then again, Roden had never seemed all that wary of placing important manufacturing facilities away from the guards of CONCORD and the naval fleets. Maybe it was just fear of retribution that kept the pirates away, and more focused on us capsuleers.

heluene4

A Megathron still in the early stages of production. Small clouds of hardware that need to be installed can be seen near each of the arms.

Then, of course, there were the rows of drydocks themselves. Each drydock seemed active, with Megathrons at a variety of stages of construction. Some were only mere superstructures, with barely more than the hull beams laid. Some had their hulls completed, but the majority of their armaments and other hardware sat nearby in a cloud, waiting to be installed. Others still were clearly near finished, and I’m pretty sure I saw one or two that were actually in the stages of being painted before being sent off on their assignments. All in all, it was precisely what I’d expect to see in a bustling shipyard for one of the largest naval forces in the Cluster. All in all, twenty-four vessels sat in various states of readiness. The one thing I wish I could know was exactly how long it took for the shipyard to go from laying the keel to sending the vessel on its way. I know capsuleer manufacturing centers could turn ships like the Megathron around in a day or so, but I suspected it was a bit longer for naval ships to ensure that the various high tech equipment still worked.

Heluene5

The internal support beams are still visible on this craft, still under construction at the Yard

I had no doubt that this was only one of many shipyards throughout high sec and low sec, continuously pumping out the ships needed to maintain order throughout the Federation. And I had no doubt, in unfortunately classic Gallente fashion, that Roden Shipyards (and thus the namesake of the company and President of the Federation) was making a good amount of isk off of the construction contracts for these ships. Still, it was a small price to pay for ensuring the safety of the Federation. They could be helping out a little more with some other enemies out there, but I realized the importance of maintaining the all-important status quo, and a multilateral effort to eradicate the Cluster of this evil (as much as it would make me feel good) would probably be disastrous at this time of, shall we say, interstellar disharmony.

Heluene6

A ship of the line, almost ready to be launched

And so, the shipyards continue to produce the ever-needed vessels of war. To replace the ones that have come before it, just as these ones will, probably all too soon, need to be replaced themselves. Around the Federation, these beautiful, massive vessels are converted to scrap metal and plasma every minute of the day. It certainly puts a new perspective on that phrase, “out with the old, in with the new.” Sometimes, you don’t get the chance to decide when the old exactly need to be put out.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Roden Shipyard
  • System: Heluene
  • Security Rating: 0.2
  • Region: Solitude
  • Potential Hazards:  Low sec travel is needed to get to the landmark.  Caution is advised.

Hangman’s Hill

Ihakana1

A seemingly normal station.

What is that saying again? “All that glitters is not gold”? While I am normally all for shiny objects, sometimes things are simply not as they appear. I had been preparing to head back to my home base in Domain when I decided to dock up before the rush to take care of a few last minute items. Ihakana was the last system in my route, so I looked at my options. Two State-owned station and a mysterious one simply named “Hangman’s Hill”. I set a course and popped in a search query to Aura. She spit back some results almost instantaneously:

Ihakana2Harsh environment breeds harsh people and in a place where the most popular hobby is murder and mayhem, dying of old age is a feat few accomplish. In a place like Ihakana everything and everyone is somewhat good, somewhat bad and very, very ugly.

Ihakana3

I attempt to take the Professor in for a landing near the so-called "Gallows" and the gambling hall.

My eyebrows went up a bit at that description. Heavens know that I had enjoyed my CONCORD protection, but I seriously wonder sometimes if they simply devoted too many resources to capsuleer enforcement. This wasn’t some two-bit drug market or gambling hall, but a full-on station of sin within the confines of CONCORD and State jurisdiction. And there wasn’t a single law enforcement officer to be seen! Maybe I could buy local State officials being paid off (it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch), but CONCORD as well? Something fishy was going on here. Regardless, I still needed those supplies, so I decided to attempt a docking. It seemed to be a fairly standard Gallente-designed station, with an extra landing pad attached near the bottom. I attempted to dock there, but Station control wouldn’t even deign to acknowledge my existence. Either they were passed out drunk or I was missing the code word…

Ihakana4

Another view of the station

Clearly, I wasn’t going to get anywhere. I quickly realigned and docked with a formal State station to load up on the supplies I needed. As I came onto the gate out of the system, I noticed a CONCORD swarm, leftover from some poor capsuleer who had probably looked left instead of right in violation of CONCORD regulation 4321(c)(2)(i) or something like that. I shook my head in disgust, and jumped out of the system.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Hangman’s Hill
  • System: Ihakana
  • Security Rating: 0.4
  • Region: The Forge
  • Potential Hazards: Ihakana is a low security system.  Pirates and gate camps should be expected.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended. Additionally, the following warning can be found on the system’s wiki site: “This system is currently the home base of Idle Empire, who were most notable for their exploits in the ‘Alliance Tournament’, and in the fanfest PVP tournament in Finland. Any travelers through this system should beware as they will shoot on sight.” I, however, did not notice any particular presence in system.
  • Additional Notes: This additionally serves as a COSMOS site.