Sightseeing in the Cluster

Null Sec Sights

Blood Raider Sotiyo

[Editor’s note: Special thanks to Wilhelm Arcturus of The Ancient Gaming Noob fame for helping me find this site.]


The Blood Raider Sotiyo-class engineering complex in E-DOF2

Regardless of how much effort the Empires and the capsuleers (or at least the capsuleers who can be brought to care about these kinds of things) put into eradicating the various menaces of New Eden, at least one of the pirate factions or another always seems to be on the rise, each bringing their own particular kind of nightmare into the cluster. These days, the nightmares have been taking the form of those sanguinophilic cultists, the Blood Raiders. After exploding back on to the scene, so to speak, with their Crimson Harvest a few years back, they have managed to maintain momentum from their recent exploits, despite getting handily beaten back each time they manage to make the news.

This site was so annoying to take pictures of, lol

The Blood Raiders left little doubt as to just who owned the shipyard

Indeed, they seem to have only grown bolder over time. While a number of pirate factions have begun to expand their industrial base, the Blood Raiders have now gone public with exactly what they intend to do with their increased resource collection. Taking advantage of their recent successes, Bloody Omir and his lieutenants have developed their own capital ships, and have rushed headlong into the deployment process to get these ships operational as soon as possible using the new engineering complexes that have been recently released. As someone who has never flown anything larger than a battleship, I am hesitant say just how dangerous these new ships are, but regardless, the sheer tonnage of them raises the threat level and force projection that the Blood Raiders would be able to deploy with ease.

I couldn't even get my camera to train on the much more exciting bhaalgorns :-(

One of the many defending ships the Blood Raiders kept active at all times

Needless to say, the Blood Raiders have made it difficult to find their new shipyard. However, regardless of any advances in technology, you can’t build a ship without raw materials. And to get those raw materials, you need to send out mining ships to collect them. Some relatively resourceful pilots realized that people just need to follow the ore (so to speak) to find out the location of the new Blood Raiders shipyards. With that tactic in mind, it wasn’t long before the pilots tracked down the location of the first shipyard to the system E-DOF2 in Period Basis. With the location found out, I made my way out there at the first opportunity.

Who knows where it's moved now? Someone, probably, but it ain't me

E-DOF2 glares in the background while the Sotiyo remains on alert

The system itself was deep in null security space, but thankfully I managed to get myself out there with relative ease. With help from a fellow chronicler of the happenings of New Eden, I managed to warp to the Sotiyo-class engineering complex undetected. What I saw there was… odd. While the shipyard was defended by a small fleet of ships of various classes, their coordination seemed… almost lacking. Indeed, I witnessed quite a few ships, presumably defending other Blood Raider interests in the system, warp in to the shipyard, only to miss the shipyard and overshoot by several hundred kilometers. The ships would then have to turn around and warp once again to get in range to properly defend the system. Perhaps whatever ailed the Blood Raider navigation systems also affected my camera drones, as I was unable to keep them focused on most objects near the Sotiyo for more than a few seconds at a time.


A Blood Raider mining ship in a nearby asteroid belt. Sources say a mining operation can always be found in the Sotiyo’s system.

The Sotiyo itself was skinned to make it obvious who owned it and what it was used for. Fires belched from the various processing systems as the Blood Raiders scrambled to build their capital ships before the capsuleer pilots, inevitably, arrived in force to boot them out and seek their prizes.

And arrive the capsuleers eventually did, bringing the Sotiyo down only a day after I was able to find it in E-DOF2. Despite the Sotiyo’s destruction, Omir Sarikusa sounded inordinately pleased with himself, suggesting that they would go on to rebuild the shipyard somewhere else in their native lands, allowing the legions of Omir’s army continue their bloody ascendancy.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Blood Raider Sotiyo
  • System: Anywhere in the regions of Delve, Period Basis, or Querious.
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Delve, Period Basis, or Querious.
  • Potential Hazards: All three regions lie deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates. Additionally, although the Blood Raiders seemed a bit cautious in attacking non-hostile ships, they were certainly present in force at the site itself Caution is advised.
  • Additional Notes: As noted in the entry itself, AI seems to be a bit weird still, and the camera was acting oddly, not letting me track most of the NPC ships on the scene for more than a few seconds, if at all, before reverting back to my ship.

Black Jack’s

Hey look I know how to blog

Black Jack has claimed a small nebula to himself.

In recent months, I’ve been dedicated to hunting down new or moving sites, often giving chase to half a rumor or some breaking piece of news that I had to see before it ended. Those kinds of sites are both exhilarating and, in their own way, exhausting, keying me up so that I can deploy on a moment’s notice but also meaning I rarely had the chance to completely relax, knowing that a new (or old site) might rear its head and require me to dash out on a moment’s notice. But with a bit of a lull, it seems, it means that I got to return to my roots a bit. After refamiliarizing myself with my home system for a few weeks, I found myself ready to go on a good, old fashioned roam. And not just any roam, but a roam to the outer fringes of New Eden.

I do like dense nebula lighting a lot

Ghost of a sun, ghost of a ship

Null sec is, by far, the area of New Eden I have spent the least amount of time in. Though comprising the largest chunk of New Eden proper, the untamed wildernesses beyond the empires has held little appeal to me. And why should it? Null sec is the heart of the capsuleer realms, where the big kids play with their thousands upon thousands of friends. The internecine alliances, grudges, rises, and falls hold little interest and mostly mean I want to stay out of its way, lest the interminable drama seizes a hold of me as well. That, of course, doesn’t mean that no sites exist in null sec to tickle my interest nor does it mean that I won’t go out there (clearly). It just means that I have to take care when I head out that way. Thar be dragons (and other sundry creatures) out there, after all.

So does Caroline's Star for that matter

Planet 5 looms large nearby…

And so, I loaded up my now somewhat-dirty Scientia and plotted a course for Vale of the Silent. Vale stands on the fringes of Jove space, and Caroline’s Star casts a baleful glare indeed from this bordering region. Had the Jove not completely cut themselves out, Vale would undoubtedly be a much more civilized border region between the Fifth Empire of New Eden and its more primitive brethren. Without that through-traffic, however, Vale seems much more sedate than it might have. That’s not to say that I didn’t run across anyone, of course, and I have little doubt that my presence raced across the various intel channels of New Eden, but I ran into few bubbles out that way and even fewer people as I steered towards my destination system. Today, that was the unoriginal name of BR-6XP.

That's one way to avoid Caroline's Star I guess

…But can barely be seen from within.

Hidden in a far corner of BR-6XP was today’s destination, known only as Black Jack’s. A bit of research dug up that Black Jack was a rather notorious Angel’s pirate back in the day, known for terrorizing the denizens of Molden Heath before becoming too famous for his own good. After being unceremoniously shoved out of Molden Heath by Angels command, he retreated back to Vale of the Silent, and his various underlings and followers can be found to this day hanging out in the small gaseous cloud that he apparently claimed and, in true Amarr tradition, promptly named after himself. Although the small nebula bears his name, Black Jack himself is nowhere to be seen. Indeed, it’s not entirely clear what’s become of Black Jack, though further investigation may turn up his fate.

There's something very soothing about the symmetry here

The nebula is bifurcated into two lobes.

The nebula itself sits fairly close to the ringed gas giant of planet 5 and is remarkably dense. Indeed, it was difficult even for Scientia’s sensors to penetrate that thick soup. Camera drones flown to the middle of the nebula had difficulties determining in just what direction the local sun could be found, and in most areas, BR-6XP V was merely a ghostly outline of a planet, barely visible through the dense haze. In the depths of the nebula stands a ship that, if BR-6XP were a little more highly traveled, would undoubtedly spawn a few ghost stories. The ghostly outlines of a Machariel can just be made out from the fringes of the nebula. Closer investigation proved that the ship was quite real and belongs to one of Black Jack’s compatriots, but its eerie semi-appearance and the quiet of the surrounding system lends itself quite well to a spectral story or three.

I do like the Mach design.

Softened starlight glints off the hull.

All in all, it felt good to be getting back to my roots. Out here on the fringes of space, just seeing what there is to be seen. No rush, no particular goal, just a very cathartic trip all in all. After admiring the view for some time, I turned my ship to the gate and on to the next system.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Black Jack’s
  • System: BR-6XP
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Vale of the Silent
  • Potential Hazards: BR-6XP is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.

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.

Rogue Drone Sites

rogue drones 1

The largest of the observed drone constructs.

I’m not entirely sure if its restlessness or merely writers block, but obviously I have not been writing much recently. Or perhaps it’s me getting tired of finding new ways to write “the Drifters and Seekers are weird and I have no idea what’s going on but here are some fun things to look at instead.” In any case, I was looking for a bit of a change of pace when searching for things to discuss. Such moods usually involve me browsing through the map of New Eden, aimlessly clicking to see if there is something, anything, that I was previously unaware of. After all, in a cluster of 5,000 star systems, there are bound to be things that I haven’t heard of even after nearly 6 years of writing Eve Travel. At first, nothing really caught my eye. When I got near the eastern end of the map, however, I noticed one site kept popping up: the rogue drone site.

rogue drones 2

A flatter drone construct.

I had cataloged the rogue drone sites intending to do an article on them almost two years ago, it turns out, but intervening events meant that I never actually wrote anything on the topic. Still, with a bit of a lull in discovering yet another Drifter or Sleeper colonized system that we knew nothing about (though CONCORD, Sansha’s Nation, and the Sisters all did), I took this opportunity to update my image albums, and set a course for the Drone Regions for a tour. The Rogue Drone sites can be found sprinkled across these eight regions, with almost no development by the other empires either now or in the past. Such is to be expected, however, given the unique way in which the Drone Regions were unlocked to capsuleers and the general public.

rogue drones 3

The last of the three observed types of rogue drone sites

It is rather ironic that the Gallente were the ones to begin colonization of the Drone Regions in the manner they did. One of the oft-cited triggers of the original Caldari-Gallente war was the fact that the Caldari megacorporations had colonized areas of space without informing the federal Senate, as required by law. Once these hidden colonies came to light, the Caldari refused to submit them to federal authority, and it was the demand to do so that finally broke the back of Caldari citizens, prompting their withdrawal from the Federation. Two hundred years later, the Gallente attempted to do the exact same thing, and began quietly preparing for the colonization of what are now known as the Drone Regions in YC 88 without informing anyone, as was required by interstellar law. In order to do so, the Federation utilized their massive armadas of drones to do much of the grunt work. Four months in, however, the drones went berserk with little warning, prompting a full evacuation of the regions. The Federation swept everything under the rug, and that, as they say, was that.

At least, until the gates all opened unexpected 20 years later.

rogue drones 4

A distant sun shines past a rogue drone construct

The backlash against the Federation was severe, but perhaps more important was the fact that, while the gates were fully operational, the drones, now considered fully rogue drones, had colonized the region. The area is replete with their structures, and they used the reactivation of the gates into the Drone Regions to spread beyond, and they now have a presence in almost every area of space. Today, however, I turned my attention to the drones’ homelands, such as they were, intent on investigating a random sampling of the rogue drone sites that can be found throughout their space. They answered few questions, but were fascinating nonetheless. Upon warping to one, Aura offers up this succinct analysis:

rogue drones 5Although the rogue drone threat has never been fully understood, perhaps the most well-known characteristic of this enigmatic scourge is its capacity to replicate and expand. Within only a few short years of their discovery, rogue drones have been reported in every sector of the cluster, from deep-space research facilities to densely populated market hubs. The consequent discovery of the “drone regions” has only served as a further demonstration and revealed a more centralized structure behind the rogue drones’ aggressive expansionism.

rogue drones 6

A pair of drones guard one of the constructs.

Although there appear to be three different types of sites, they all remain similar in appearance. Each site is anchored by a massive drone construct, consisting either of a disk or a semi-completed sphere. These constructs are massive (though perhaps not as massive as various Drifter structures that have since come to light), and dwarf both my own ship and the ships of the independent drones that can be found buzzing about it. Although the purpose of these structures can’t be known until we establish more solid communications with the drones, they undoubtedly act at least in part as a station or staging area for drone fleets. That they were able to construct so many of these in just the thirty years since they’ve claimed their independence goes to show their true potential.

rogue drones 7

The surface of one of the constructs.

Beyond these massive central structures, there appears little of note nearby. One class of station seems to always be found the destroyed superstructure of another station; presumably the cannibalized ruins of partially-completed Gallente stations. Others have multiple drone bunkers nearby, arranged in odd toroidal shape, but the purpose of the structure, especially so close to the larger drone construct, remain unknown. Beyond that, there were some scraps of construction debris and other wreckage nearby: I guess even rogue drones are not always the neatest of neighbors.

rogue drones 8

Another view

Of course, there were also the drones themselves. Most of them are fairly alien in appearance, with their spindly appendages and odd attachments, but by far the most disturbing drones are the ones that act as their standardbearers. The drones that are converted Dominix-class hulls are probably the most well-known, and the most disturbing, members of the drone fleets. Undoubtedly originally leftover from the original Gallente attempt at colonization, the Dominix hulls have since been converted to serve as drone vessels, with frail-looking collection arms and other additions to the hull, giving it a distinctively creepy appearance.

rogue drones 9

Even nearby asteroids have a drone presence

My full tour of the Drone Regions was extensive, but I never saw a site that varied from the three baseline sites I saw. That is not to say that there are not others out there, but with eight full regions under the command, I did not have the time or resources to visit every one of them. After all, I’m not Katia Sae. Still, it was a nice change of pace, and my tour of the area also served to have me do a full lap around Jove space (not that I was able to visit Jove space itself, of course; the area is as locked down as ever). I am convinced that the drones are connected to all of the recent happenings in a way we aren’t entirely familiar with yet. Their machine intelligences would, at least on paper, seem to mesh quite nicely with what we know of the Drifters, but that remains my suspicions only. For now, I’ll have to be content with having yet another mysterious race flying around New Eden that we know little about.

But hey, at least saying “rogue drones are weird and we know little about them” is at least a bit of a change of pace.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Rogue Drone Sites
  • System: Across the drone regions
  • Security Rating: 0.0
  • Region: Cobalt Edge, Etherium Reach, Kalevala Expanse, Malpais, Oasa, Outer Passage, Perrigen Falls, the Spire
  • Potential Hazards: These systems are often deep into null security space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.