I have never hidden the fact that I am not exactly an expert on the history of null-security space. Oh, sure, I could string a coherent overall storyline together with a few commonly known corporations, alliances, and CEOs and, and it might even be close to being historically accurate, but for whatever reason, null sec space has never grabbed my interest as much as other areas of New Eden’s history. And I’m okay with that. There are others out there far more adept than I at threading that particular tapestry of stories together. Mostly, this is fine. My interests tend to run in a particular direction, if you, as my readers, haven’t noticed, and there is enough history in New Eden for everyone to enjoy their own particular specializations.
But every now and then, my somewhat determined-avoidance of the intricacies of null sec history leave me puzzled. For example, as I was making my way to M2-XFE to examine the monument recently constructed there, I came across something that was unexpected. It was only a bit of luck that I saw it at all, frankly. I’m not entirely a stranger to null security space and the dangers it can bring, meaning that when I fly through null security space for whatever reason, I tend to be paying far closer attention to other capsuleers that may be nearby than I am to other constructs that I might normally be on the lookout for. But, thankfully, something prompted me to be paying more attention to non-capsuleer related matters than I normally would in null-sec when I jumped into the system of C-J6MT. C-J6MT is a system a few jumps into Insmother, not too far from the region’s borders with Etherium Reach and Scalding Pass. My rather barebones knowledge of New Eden history gave me no reason to be familiar with that system, but that changed in a moment.
Just as Scientia entered warp from the 78-0R6 gate, I noticed something unexpected on Scientia’s sensors. In fact, thanks to the warp jump, it was off of my sensors almost as soon as I realized there was something there at all. Unfortunately, once the warp tunnel forms there’s really no stopping it, so I was forced to warp all of the way to the next gate on my route before I could quickly turn around, recloak, and jump back to the 78-0R6 gate just to see what I had even missed. As I warped back to the site, I found myself wondering just what had happened in this system to warrant any kind of memorial at all. Unfortunately, my questions would not be answered as quickly as I would normally hope.
I dropped out of warp to find myself face to face with an odd, red-hued stone monument a few hundred kilometers off of the 78-0R6 gate. Standing tens of kilometers from top to bottom, the monument seemed hewn from volcanic rock (similar in effect, in fact, to the rock that makes up the Fallen Capsuleer Memorial in Molea, though a bit lighter in tone), an effect bolstered by the seemingly magmatic red pulsing from the interior of the monument. In letters about as tall as Professor Science, the monument simply read “C-J6MT”. Various fins and other protuberances could be found protruding from the monument. Aura’s analysis of the monument immediately identified it as a monument entitled “A History of War”. Unfortunately, it seems that the builders of the monument had a bit of a sense of irony, as pinging the monument for information provided no such history at all:
Monument honoring the notorious sieges and violent battles in C-J6MT and all those involved or impacted by these events.
That… was not exactly helpful. I’ve become spoiled by many of the more recent monuments that have been constructed in the cluster and their attempts at giving a fuller context for those monuments. With this sentence, I was still very much in the dark as to what significance C-J6MT has in the tapestry of New Eden’s history.
Thankfully, a brief search of GalNet and other sources of information sated my curiosity. It seems that the importance of C-J6MT dates all the way back to YC108, where the Red Alliance made a successful last stand. Red Alliance had been one of the early powerhouses in null-security space, quickly gaining prominence after CONCORD authorized independent capsuleers in YC105 and gaining control over large swaths of null-sec. But with its prominence came quite a few enemies, and a so-called Coalition of the South quickly rose in opposition. Overextended, Red Alliance found that it could not defend the space it had claimed. Although able to survive through guerilla tactics, Red Alliance decided it needed a real victory. After looking at its options, it decided to turn the tide in the system of (as you may have guessed) C-J6MT. The Alliance quickly established that system as its last beachhead. And when the Coalition of the South finally caught up to Red Alliance, outnumbering Red Alliance by over 4 to 1… Red Alliance held. It pushed off the invasion, and lived to see another day.
Since then, C-J6MT has held a special place in the heart of Red Alliance and the various splinters sects of that group. Other battles have been fought there, but it’s that original siege, where Red Alliance held its own for 3 days against a better-armed enemy, that makes the system special to begin with. Defending a system against all odds forges a special, nearly spiritual connection with the system, and makes you far more willing to defend it in the future, no matter the cost.
As I was leaving, I chastised myself for being so unfamiliar with the system. I had read the story of this siege before, but did not connect the system involved in that mighty last stand with the peaceful, quiet system I found myself in that day. Perhaps it was time to give my histories of the null sec empires another read…
- Attraction: A History of War
- System: C-J6MT
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Insmother
- Potential Hazards: C-J6MT 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 empire space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.
I think I’ve mentioned before that for as much as I love the politics—and political theater—surrounding the major empires and CONCORD, I often pay surprisingly little attention to empires of the capsuleer world. Those giants of null sec, with their ever-swirling array of alliances, coalitions, wars, and backstabs is often the source of much fascination across the cluster. Pilots may be allies one day but fighting savagely the next after some sudden but inevitable betrayal. The constant internecine warfare, needed as much to keep pilots engaged in their respective alliances as it is for more pragmatic astropolitical reasons, can be exhausting to keep track of.
And yet even I have become aware of the latest in a long-running series of wars that has engulfed null security space. This is partially due to the excellent reporting from a fellow capsuleer I have long followed, but also partially because whenever the null security alliances break some record for the largest battle in New Eden, they seem determined to break the new record again as soon as possible. And so it was with the current war, which, to cut a very long story short, involves the ever-embroiled Imperium (née Goonswarm Coalition) and a coalition of other alliances variously called PAPI or PandaFam. The war, now entering its second year, seems to have stalemated somewhat in the current climate. But when the war was a little more active, a number of high-stakes battles took place in M2-XFE. By the time of the final battle in the system early in YC123, more than 20,000 capsuleer-piloted vessels had been destroyed, including more than 450 titans.
The Powers That Be felt that the astrostrategic battles that took place in M2-XFE, including the largest battle in New Eden to date (a record I can’t imagine will last too long, if recent recordbreakers are any indiciation), warranted a memorial to the lives and ships lost in the system, and goodness did the sculptors hired by the PTB come through (as they usually do). But first, Aura’s analysis of the battle, which does a far better job of describing the battles themselves than I ever could:
This monument honors the thousands of capsuleers that participated in the series of cataclysmic battles over a Keepstar-class Citadel in late YC122 and early YC123. At the time these battles represented the largest and bloodiest clashes in the history of New Eden.
In YC122, the southern and western nullsec regions of New Eden were shaken by the massive conflict between the capsuleer coalitions popularly known as “The Imperium” and “PAPI”. By the end of YC122 the primary front of the war was the Delve region, with PAPI coalition forces invading the capital region of the Imperium. In October of that year clashes over an attempted PAPI beachhead in FWST-8 broke the record for the largest battle in New Eden history, a record that was destined to be broken again less than 3 months later.
By the end of December the fighting in Delve was focused on the system of M2-XFE, where an Imperium Keepstar came under sustained attack from PAPI forces. The first massive clash occurred over the Keepstar’s armor timer on December 30th and 31st YC122 with a combined 5,158 pilots fighting in the system at its peak. Supercapital fleets from both sides traded blows relatively evenly as ships exploded all around the Citadel. When the dust settled from this first battle, 3,404 capsuleers ships including 257 titans and a combined value of over 29 trillion ISK had been destroyed.
The second battle of M2-XFE a few days later saw even more capsuleers attempt to join the fray, leading to an infamous result. On January 3rd YC123 a record 6,739 pilots entered the system, and several thousand more attempted to join the fighting. This unprecedented number of warp-capable starships in close proximity led to unpredictable spacetime anomalies as the universe itself seemed to strain under the stress of the battle. The anomalies played havoc on all ship systems within M2[-XFE], but the defending forces of the Imperium coalition were in a better position to weather the storm as they had arrived on location earlier than the PAPI fleets and therefore they did not need to make use of jump drives and stargates during the period of greatest disruption. The result of this second battle was a significant victory for the defending forces, as the attackers faced significant disruption to the operation of their jump drives into the crowded system. Many attacking ships were destroyed as they entered the system, and many more were trapped in the system by the forces of the Imperium. The Keepstar had been saved for a time.
In the weeks following the second battle of M2-XFE, Imperium fleets anchored mobile warp disruptors and patrolled relentlessly to keep as many PAPI supercapitals as possible trapped in the system as fighting raged on across the Delve region, taking advantage of the strategic advantage provided by the trapping of so many hostile vessels. Several smaller clashes occurred over operations to rescue some of the trapped supercapital vessels, and the coalitions also continued to fight over other structures in the system. On January 27th YC123, PAPI were able to free a portion of their trapped pilots after a battle that saw nearly 450 Capitals and 6 Titans[sic]-class hulls destroyed. On February 1st YC123, PAPI forces were victorious in a battle that stretched across the NJU-QV constellation and involved thousands of capsuleers, giving them control of M2-XFE’s Infrastructure Hub. PAPI then began to slowly lay the groundwork to activate their own Tenebrex Cyno Jammer structure which would give them the ability to disrupt Imperium reinforcements to the system. On March 7th YC123 the PAPI Cyno Jammer structure came online and the Imperium retreated the bulk of their forces from the system, freeing the remaining trapped PAPI capital ships. Finally on March 12th YC123 the M2-XFE Keepstar that had been the original focal point of all this bloodshed was destroyed by PAPI forces.
All in all, the fighting within M2-XFE in late YC122 and early YC123 led to the destruction of more than 20,000 capsuleer vessels including over 450 titan-class starships. The first battle of M2-XFE broke the New Eden record for the most value destroyed in a single battle, and the second battle broke FWST-8’s record for the battle with the most capsuleer ships within a system at one time. The Keepstar was eventually destroyed after over two months of brutal fighting, and the forces of the Imperium regrouped at their nearby capital system of 1DQ1-A. At the time that this monument was erected, the greater war between PAPI and the Imperium was raging on and only time would tell how the conflict would eventually be resolved.
The monument itself is absolutely stunning. The entire structure is built using an obsidian-esque shiny black stone. The central complex consists of a series of sweeping, interlocking towers that span from the central axis along a graceful curve. The center of the structure reminds me of an organ from some grand, obsidian cathedral. A blue glow pulses its way from the center of the structure out to its extremities. As those towers gradually grow shorter, new, flatter structures jut out from the extremities, eventually coming to sharp points at each end. If the center of the structure is some grand organ playing a baleful tune, then the outer edges of the structure is a majestic bird of prey, with powerful wings outstretched and ready to strike.
At the center of the entire complex sits what at first glance seems to be a crackling sphere of blue energy. It’s only when viewed from the sides that it becomes evident that the energy field is actually teardrop shaped, with the point connecting to the rest of the structure. Within the teardrop is a constantly churning globe of lights. I suspect this is meant to symbolize the spacetime-shattering energies unleashed during these battles, or perhaps the sphere contains just a sliver of the rifts that opened up in M2-XFE during the battle that caused the pilots so many problems. Or perhaps the artists just thought it looked cool. I’ve never been fantastic at figuring out the intent of an artist.
I spent quite some time admiring the monument from all angles. The graceful curves and the spectacular majesty of the site is truly breathtaking. Even if, like me, you didn’t know until fairly recently that there was a fairly significant difference between the abbreviations “NC” and “NCdot” (or, even worse, just “NC.”), I still recommend you come and check the site out for yourself. The capsuleer history of New Eden is worth taking in, even if only for the absolutely magnificent memorials that result from their never-ending feuds. Internecine warfare has rarely looked so good.
- Attraction: Massacres at M2-XFE Monument
- System: M2-XFE
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Delve
- Potential Hazards: M2-XFE 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 empire space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.
I sighed as I glared at the rest of the agenda for today’s meeting of shareholders of Project Compass Holdings. Secure Commerce Commission regulations require that each corporation hold a quarterly meeting of shareholders to make sure all owners of the corporation remain up-to-date on the goings on of the corporation. Never mind that: 1) I was the only shareholder and thus the only required participant and attendee of today’s meeting, 2) Project Compass Holdings main purpose these days is that of a legal shield, and the corporation itself held nothing other than the legally required minimal assets since CONCORD shut down my research projects back in YC114, 3) the corporation was not a moneymaking venture, 4) all of the information being presented was available to me at any time anyway through the magic of computers, and 5) did I mention that I was the only shareholder? But the forms must be obeyed, and obeyed they were as Aura obediently took the minutes of this very important shareholders meeting, serving as both the corporate Secretary and Treasurer.
What I need, I thought ruefully to myself, is a corporate retreat. The meeting seemed to stretch interminably as required report after required report was dutifully read into the meeting minutes, and I allowed my mind to wander. My thought on corporate retreats brought to mind a newsblurb I had read recently that the Intaki Syndicate, a side of the Intaki race I was less than proud of if I was being honest, had recently opened an executive conference center deep in Syndicate space and in full view of another of the natural wonders of New Eden, the Cord of the Elements. As Aura explained, in surprising depth, that Project Compass Holdings took in no revenue nor had any notable expenses for the 37th quarter in a row, I dug up the story again on my console, and loaded the system of D-B7YK into Scientia’s computers for route plotting.
Although the meeting only lasted 12 minutes and 43 seconds (per Aura’s fastidious notetaking), I could not wait to get out of the conference room I had rented (using my own ISK, not the corporation’s) and get back into my ship. Within a few minutes, I was en route to Syndicate space to see what I could see. As I did so, I brought up what little Aura could find on the Cord of the Elements:
Winding through the Syndicate region is a natural phenomenon that has baffled scientists for centuries. The phenomenon, a super-dense dark cloud, bends time in such a way that all space-travel in or close to the phenomenon is impossible, or at least extremely hazardous. Most scientists believe that the Cord is the remnant of collision between two black holes millions of years ago that permanently ‘scarred’ space. Others believe the Cord to be the result of a science experiment, possibly conducted by alien life forms, that went seriously awry eons ago.
I soon arrived in D-B7YK and easily found the retreat center on my scanners. The center itself consists of a standard Gallente station design, with an organic-looking design with a gleaming sun-shield and some well-placed biodomes offering dramatic views. In classic Gallente fashion, area surrounding the station was littered with pleasure hubs and pleasure cruisers. I chuckled to myself as I thought of holding my bone-dry legally required shareholders meeting in such a location. It certainly may make it seem shorter, at least. The pleasure hubs, 8 in all, formed a line pointing towards nearby D-B7YK VII, an icy planet that hung in the near distance. Finally, I bothered to look up what Aura, continuing in her role as corporate Secretary, had to say on the center:
This luxurious retreat center has been constructed in one of the rare locations where a gap in the natural clouds of stellar dust allow a clear view of the gorgeous Cord of the Elements phenomena that separates the Syndicate region from the territory of the Gallente Federation.
Operated by the Intaki Syndicate, these facilities are exclusively made available to the Syndicate station governors, their executive leadership staff, and their guests.
Of course, the real star of the show, so to speak, was the Cord itself. From D-B7YK, the Cord stretched across a quarter of the sky, immediately drawing one’s eye even above the local star. The Cord presents itself as a vast, flattened spheroid cloud of dark gas and dust. As promised by Aura above, the cloud breaks apart slightly to allow a view towards the center of the Cord, from which a bright yellow glow emanates along with a streamer of material.
It’s hard to do justice to the Cord using just words. It’s a magnificent sight. Despite the distance, watching the Cord for just a few minutes is enough to show the fascinating interplay of light and shadow between the dark clouds surrounding the Cord and the glowing center itself. Crepuscular rays stretch across the sky, a thought that boggles the mind once you realize that these shadows stretch over light-years. It’s truly spectacular.
I will admit that I hailed the station about the prospect of holding my next shareholders meeting at the center. Even ignoring the pleasure hubs, the thought of holding the same boring meeting in one of the biodomes in full sight of the Cord was an image I found hard to resist. But, alas, even appealing to my Intaki ancestry was insufficient to get me access to the corporate retreat center without some direct relationship to the Syndicate or an invitation from one of the Syndicate’s executives. Still, I captured enough imagery of the Cord that perhaps I could spruce up future shareholder meetings with some holograms. At least then I’d have something to look at other than yet another report of a quarter with no earnings whatsoever.
Long live SCC regulations, I suppose, but more importantly: long live the Cord of the Elements.
- Attraction: Intaki Syndicate Executive Retreat Center (and Cord of the Elements)
- System: D-B7YK
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Syndicate
- Potential Hazards: D-B7YK 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 empire space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.
Remember the Sansha? Creepy group of mind-controlled cyborg zombies led by a deluded cult leader who has the distinction of being the only person that the 4 empires have ever unified around destroying? Caused a lot of problems a decade or so ago by figuring out how to invade into the heart of high security space and make off with millions of people who were later forcibly converted into the aforementioned cyborg zombies?
Despite the high-profile nature of their attacks over a decade ago, the Sansha have mostly fallen out of the public conscience. Not that I can blame the public for that, of course. Between the Sleepers, the Drifters, the Triglavians, and the recent resurgence of the Equilibrium of Mankind back onto the galactic scene, the denizens of New Eden could be excused for feeling like they need a spreadsheet to keep track of everyone and everything they’re supposed to be afraid of these days, particularly those that have not really made a peep in more recent years.
To be quite clear, that is not to mean that the Sansha have not been keeping themselves busy. Indeed, their assaults on New Eden continue to this day, even if I am caught by a sense “oh yeah, those guys are still around” every time I jump into a system to find that now-familiar warning from CONCORD about yet another constellation currently undergoing a Sansha incursion, along with the creepy green hue that Aura has seen fit to add to systems under threat. But I was surprised to learn recently that Sansha have interests that go beyond converting the citizens of New Eden into zombies to bring their dream of a cyborg utopia, or whatever dream it was that Sansha Kuvakei professed (or at least that their interests extend to things that may only tangentially lead to such an outcome).
For you see, if you have ever needed proof that the universe is deeply unfair, you only need look to the fact that one of the natural wonders of New Eden is located smack dab in the middle of Sansha-controlled space. Although Stain is best well known for the Vapor Sea nebula (and the fact that it’s the home of Sansha’s Nation… a true stain on any map of New Eden), it’s also home to the Pool of Radiance. Stain curls around the Pool, with only the very northern part of it encompassed by a handful of systems in Catch. But, of course, the best views come from deep within Stain itself, the heart of Sansha territory, specifically the system 6QBH-S. If you ask me, the risk is worth it. Of the Pools of Radiance, Aura has this to say:
Space holds many spectacular sights and few are as spectacular as the crystal-clouds in the Pool of Radiance. The Pool is illuminated by surrounding stars, which makes it shimmer and shine in every color imaginable, radiating an almost hypnotic glow that delights anyone that sees it. The only problem is that the Pool is located in space controlled by Sansha’s Nation, so any prospective visitors are advised to carry an armed escort.
The Pool is indeed hypnotic, a shimmering whirlpool far grander than any you could see elsewhere in the Cluster. The heart of the whirlpool shines a bright purple-pink much of the time, but the Pool swirls around so much that the center is frequently obscured by one of the many-hued gas clouds that surround it, letting some of the other colors of the Pool dominate a bit better, for a time. The view is indeed hypnotic, as the ever-shifting clouds of the Pool seem to always reveal some new hidden feature.
Perhaps it’s that hypnotic ability of the Pool that the Sansha seek to study with the establishment of the True Creations Pool of Radiance Research Lab. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Aura doesn’t have many details to share:
This Sansha’s Nation facility appears to have been constructed within the 6QBH-S system in order to study the spectacular crystal-clouds of the nearby Pool of Radiance phenomena.
The Nation jealously guards its secrets, and intruders to this location have been known to come under fire from True Creations forces immediately.
Not wanting to risk that fire, I visited 6QBH-S in my cloakable Tengu-class cruiser, Scientia. Hidden under my cloaking device, I was able to get a good look at both the Pool itself and the research lab studying it. True to Sansha form, the most that can really be said about the Lab is that it is… pointy. A standard Sansha station, the lab appears to present a shield to the Pool (a shield that, in actuality, I imagine is chock full of scientific instruments and, of course, many cyborg zombies) and is topped with what almost appears to be a crown. The central lab is surrounded by 4 smaller stations, presumably there either for defense or full of additional instrumentation. I didn’t decloak to find out.
All told, it was fitting to once again see Sansha’s Nation overshadowed by the Exciting New Thing. If not for the fact that they were capturing and enslaving millions through cybernetic-induced bondage, one might be willing to compliment them for not letting the loss of the spotlight get in the way of their mission. That kind of plodding reliability, like a shuttle that is not the fastest one out there but never seems to need a stop at the mechanic, has a certain admiration to it. I have no doubt that, someday, there will be a resurgence for the Sansha too. And I hope that when the Cluster’s attention is once again drawn down to Sansha’s Nation in Stain, we wipe them out, if only so more people can get to safely enjoy the Pool of Radiance.
- Attraction: True Creations Pool of Radiance Reseach Lab
- System: 6QBH-S
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Stain
- Potential Hazards: 6QBH-Sis 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 empire space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised. Additionally, the site’s description ingame warns of near-immediate fire if you come to investigate, but I will admit that I did not test that personally.
One of the earliest space stories I remember hearing as a child was the great space battle in Vak’Atioth. I remember distinctly hearing about this tory and my mom soon picking up an (age-appropriate) book on the subject for me. Within a few weeks, I could have recited every fact in that book. It would probably be a stretch to say that I’m a capsuleer today because of my fascination with that battle, but it would not be a stretch to say that learning about the battle was the first time I became truly fascinated with something that happened outside of my immediate surroundings on Gallente Prime. It was not just the excitement of how the battle quickly sparked the Minmatar Rebellion. It was the mystery surrounding the Jove ships. How were they able to so completely overwhelm the mighty Amarr Empire? What secrets did their ships hide?
After becoming a fully licensed capsuleer and gained my space legs, one of my first dips into the world of null-security space was a trip out to the system, now simply called Atioth. I had hoped and dreamed that I would be able to find the battlefield, and take a look for myself at the Jove ships that had so captured my imagination as a child. But I was disappointed to discover that the battlefield could not be found using ship systems. Whether it be the Empire itself trying to hide the site of its most famous defeat, the Jove trying once again to hide the secrets of their vessels, or CONCORD in one of its convoluted schemes meant to protect the Cluster from us capsuleers, the battlefield from the Battle of Vak’Atioth has long been hidden from view. But that has not stopped me from returning every few years in hopes that I had somehow missed something, or that someone had finally made the battlefield more public.
You can probably imagine my excitement then when CONCORD announced that the site of that storied battle was finally being made public. As seems to be always the case these days, it seems that the CONCORD announcement was purposefully made at the worst possible time for me to be free to travel to null sec for an extended tour. But as soon as I could free myself from the obligations of my planetside life, I set course back down the now-familiar path to Atioth. In a display of how eager I was to finally see the battlefield I had dreamed about since I was a child, I found myself seriously considering taking the faster Professor Science over Scientia, a slower Tengu-class ship but one far more suited to travel in null security space. Eventually, common sense won out as I undocked in the safer Tengu-class ship, but I silently urged her to pick up the pace as I warped from jumpgate to jumpgate along my route.
And then, quite suddenly, I was there. As Scientia’s scanners resolved the system after the last jump from K-IYNW, the beacon resolved on my scanners, clear as day: “Battle of Vak’Atioth”. I nudged Scientia into the proper alignment and cautiously triggered the ship’s warp engines. The warp bubble soon collapsed around me and I found myself at my destination.
The first thing I noticed when dropping out of warp was the silent visage of a Jove Observatory, a station we are now quite familiar with but, at the time, would have been a complete mystery. Surrounding the station were groups of Amarr wrecks, clearly the remains of the losses suffered by the once-thought-unbeatable Golden Fleet. But I wasn’t here for Amarr wrecks (there seemed to be a plethora of those these days anyway), and I quickly searched for the wreckage of Jove ships. But I was disappointed to discover that the only remnants of those storied vessels were a few twists of scrap metal. Anything else from the quick Jovian ships had either decayed in the harsh environments of space or been plundered by the Amarr, CONCORD, the Jove, the Angel Cartel, or some other mysterious entity long ago. The dreams I had long harbored of seeing the sleek Jovian vessels had been dashed.
While I contemplated my next move, I pinged the local beacon for the information about the site, and found a surprisingly comprehensive summary:
The Battle of Vak’Atioth was the major engagement of the Amarr-Jove War. It was fought in 23216 AD (BYC 20) in the system of Vak’Atioth, now known as Atioth, between two hundred ships of the Amarr Navy and a detachment of Jove ships headed up by a Jovian Mothership. The battle was a massive defeat for the Empire and had far-reaching consequences. It was, for a time, the largest battle in New Eden’s history.
The Empire decided to strike Vak’Atioth, a border system which contained only a small Jove research station, as a show of might. For weeks beforehand they broadcasted messages of Imperial dominance and the Amarr position as God’s chosen.
Forewarned, the Jove were able to meet the Amarr fleet with a perfect counter. The Amarr fleet was composed mostly of battleships and heavier cruisers. Its support was light, leaving the fleet sluggish and unguarded.
The Jove countered with small wings of frigates. While the Amarr scored the first kill, destroying a stationary Jove ship, the Jove frigates quickly reached full speed and were able to pin down the Amarr vessels. It was then that a Jovian Mothership was brought onto the field. An ancient vessel of a size nearly unmatched throughout New Eden, it had been equipped with the latest and most devastating of Jove weaponry. Each shot was capable of destroying an Amarr battleship entirely.
The Amarr, finding their ships pinned by the Jove frigates and being picked apart by long-range cruiser fire and the Mothership’s doomsday weapon, fell into chaos. Their lines of communication were broken and Amarr battle doctrine refused surrender or retreat.
The entire battle lasted just under six hours and ended with the majority of the Amarr ships lost, while the Jove had lost only a third of their vessels.
The Empire was shocked by the complete loss to the Jove. It quickly regrouped and planned a second assault, using different tactics that would be capable of countering the Jove frigates. The Jove, meanwhile, withdrew from their border systems and regrouped for a more concentrated defense.
The second battle never came, however. Shortly after, the Minmatar took the opportunity to rebel, aided by sympathetic elements within the Gallente Federation. The Empire quickly turned its eyes on the Minmatar and entered into a hasty peace treaty with the Jove.
The Battle of Vak’Atioth provided the Jove Empire a reputation of invincibility that spared them any further assaults from the Empire or the other races.
I pinged the abandoned research station as well. I had expected the generic analysis found at every other abandoned Jove observatory, but was surprised that Aura managed to dig up some additional information for me:
This decaying wreckage wis the remains of the Jove Research outpost that was the only known Jove presence in the Atioth system before the Amarr attack that lead to the famous Battle of Vak’Atioth.
Although the outpost survived the battle unscathed, it was abandoned by the Jove soon after the battle as they withdrew from systems bordering the Jove regions. Ultimately, the Jove severed all gate connections between the Jove Empire and the rest of New Eden. Outposts such as this one were left to gradually disintegrate as their integrity maintenance systems broke down, leading to so-called “nanorot”, while pirates and other occasional opportunists braved erratic defense mechanisms to plunder the abandoned facilities.
Although disappointed that I couldn’t see the Jove ships I had long dreamed about (at least beyond the remains of a few pieces of scrap metal; it is perhaps needless to say that the Jove mothership did not remain on the field after the battle), at least I had still managed to fulfill one of my childhood dreams. I was literally flying where history had been made. Though the Jove ships still remain a mystery to me, they were flying right where I was currently positioned, high above Atioth I. That fact was not lost on me. Maybe some day I’ll finally see a true Jove vessel. But until then, there’s nothing wrong with having a new dream to reach for.
- Attraction: Battle of Vak’Atioth
- System: Atioth
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Geminate
- Potential Hazards: Atioth 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 empire space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
- Attraction: Birthday Bash
- System: Tunudan
- Security Rating: -1.0
- Region: Pochven
- Potential Hazards: Tunudan is located in Pochven, which is Triglavian controlled space. Special access restrictions apply; I recommend ensuring that you are familiar with the local restrictions before making a visit. A cloaking ship is recommended.
[Editor’s note: Special thanks to Wilhelm Arcturus of The Ancient Gaming Noob fame for helping me find this site.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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 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:
Once 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:
“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.
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:
OneWay Trip Hunter
Antarah ibn Shaddad
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.
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.
- Attraction: Abandoned Guristas Transportation Center
- System: Nalvula
- Security Rating: -1.0
- Region: Pochven
- Potential Hazards: Nalvula is located in Pochven, which is Triglavian controlled space. Special access restrictions apply; I recommend ensuring that you are familiar with the local restrictions before making a visit. A cloaking ship is recommended.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
My legs are cramping. Given that I was in a pod, that was a feat in and of itself. The pod is a marvelous piece of engineering, designed as a complete life support system to protect that little kilogram and a half bundle of neural tissue that we call a brain. The pod feeds the body nutrients, exercises muscles, and provides alternative sensory input all to make the brain (and body) forget that its cooped up in a 2-3 meter capsule and not moving for long stretches of time in order to control a hulking interstellar spaceship. It’s designed to do this for weeks, months, maybe YEARS at a time. But here I am, only 6 weeks into my quest to find a fairly rare and specific site in Anoikis, and I can definitely tell through all of the neural input filters and thousand distractions that come with piloting a starship that my legs are cramping up.
I have no idea how Katia Sae does it.
But the story of that particular is for another time, if only because I have yet to actually find it. Instead, while browsing galnet a week ago, a news item caught my eye that eventually prompted me to take a sojourn back to civilized space for a little bit. Those of you watching the news are probably aware of the waves being made currently by Upwell Consortium. The Consortium is an alliance of corporations from across New Eden looking to bring new technology to the public. Beyond giving the Serpentis a (rather deserved) public-relations black eye, the Consortium is perhaps most well-known for looking to release so-called citadel stations, which look to up-end the market for capsuleer-owned station services. In order to promote their upcoming line of citadels, Upwell has decided to build some demonstration citadels to show their advantages.
Unfortunately, I decided to make a trip to see one such citadel, being built in Ourapheh, shortly after it was destroyed by a group of capsuleers who were apparently just looking for trouble. Sadly, I didn’t realize this until after I had left the confines of my temporary wormhole home and made the trip to Ourapheh. Upwell, however, seemed completely undeterred by the attacks on all 5 of their demonstration sites (found in Ourapheh, Anjedin, Asgeir, Mara, and PF-346), and quickly announced that the demonstration sites had been restarted with better security and the removal of a computer virus. That being said, the announcements were made by Upwell’s Department of Friendship and Mutual Assistance. If history is any guide, departments with name such as this tend to have precisely the opposite effect, but I guess I will have to see how these play out.
However, with the construction projects now restarted, I quickly made my way over to the new sites. Apparently, the second time is the charm, and I arrived at a not-blown-up construction site. Admittedly, there was not much to see at this point. The construction site was close to the Customs Office orbiting Mara I, although for now it consists of little more than multiple landing platforms to coordinate supply runs and a multitude of manufacturing sites. Although a bit of work could be seen occurring in the manufacturing yards, little could be seen by way of output, perhaps because Upwell is still waiting on research components to fuel construction. I look forward to seeing the finished sites, however, as all reports of the citadels thus far indicate that even the smallest versions will still be quite sizeable, while the largest version will be able to dock even the largest titans. Those will truly be sites to see, and hopefully someday I will be able to.
That being said, however, my ability to someday see the largest citadels seems contingent on me someday leaving Anoikis to come back to New Eden. After spending a few minutes at the site wondering what was to come, I reversed my course and headed back to my temporary wormhole home. Even though I was only in New Eden for a few short moments, it was nice to see the hustle and bustle of civilized space, not to mention actual ships instead of the feeling of dread that comes over me in Anoikis when probes show up on the d-scan that aren’t my own. Regardless, I was in it to the end. While the Children of Light may have defeated me, I am content to live in Anoikis as long as it takes to find what I’m looking for, even if it means dealing with leg cramps. With one last look around at New Eden, I went forth once more into the great unknown.
- Attractions: Astrahus Exemplar Site
- System: Ourapheh, Anjedin, Asgeir, Mara, and PF-346
- Security Rating: 0.9, 0.5, 0.7, 0.4, and 0.0, respectively.
- Region: Genesis, Tash-Murkon, Metropolis, Lonetrek, and Syndicate, respectively
- Potential Hazards: Varies, depending on the location. Three of the sites are in high security space, but the sites in Mara and PF-346 should be approached with caution as they are in low sec and null sec, respectively. Caution, as always, is advised.
EDIT: I don’t have time to add a complete new post but some updated pictures of construction on the Citadels can be found below.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Although 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
A persistent beeping brought me to consciousness. For a moment – just a moment – I had forgotten not only where I was but who I was. For that brief moment of awareness, I forgot about flying through the stars with only myself and my ship. I had forgotten that I was an immortal human, a paradoxical statement until even a few decades ago. I had forgotten not only the wars and the death that ground on throughout the Cluster, but also the beauty and mystery found throughout it.
And then that moment passed, and it all came rushing back to me.
The beeping, of course, was a rather insistent series of communiques, both from fellow pilots and Aura, telling me that I needed to get into my ship yesterday. The Drifters and Circadian Seekers had made their move, and it wasn’t in the direction I was expecting.
I undocked and, once again, made my way back to the no-longer-unidentified structure in my current home system of Iyen-Oursta. CONCORD had finally unveiled their initial analysis of the structures, and had concluded, as most had, that they were Jove in origin. More importantly, CONCORD has identified the structures as observatories, meant to watch the systems they were planted in, and those around them. A little unnerving, to say the least. Aura summed up the analysis in her classically succinct phrasing:
CONCORD’s analysis has revealed only scant and confusing information about this structure. Surveys of the damaged areas of the structure reveal a series of clearly powerful but functionally mysterious elements. The structure is undoubtedly Jove in origin but it is hard to determine its exact age given the advanced nature of the materials and construction. Regardless of its age, it is safe to say the structure surpasses anything we have previously seen.
As I came out of warp, the observatories loomed in the distance. Even this far out, my poor Buzzard-class frigate felt minuscule next to such a hulking structure. I enjoyed the sight of the massive yet still graceful structure before I actually figure out what had everyone up in arms. While the overall superstructure appeared intact, the observatories had three clear breaches of the hull, with each breach surrounded by slowly a expanding cloud of debris. Immediately, I needed to know what caused the breach. I knew it wasn’t capsuleer in origin, though that certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. Numerous attempts, both by myself and others, could not even dent the resilient alloys used by the Jove in construction of the observatories.
I examined the breaches closely, looking for any clues as to why they were there. The breaches did not appear intended to destroy the overall observatory: instead, they appeared to be surgical strikes towards targeted area of the structures. Precisely what was being targeted in the observatory was a mystery, of course, since our own scans couldn’t even penetrate the surface. Even with the breaches, my sensors weren’t able to make heads or tails of what, if anything, was viewable in the interior. But even without knowing what the attackers were after, it was clear that the assaults targeted three areas in the observatories. The biggest breach could be found near the middle of the superstructure. The breach was near what appeared to be some vents in the observatory, and the damage is severe enough that lightning can be seen arcing through the interior of the observatory at various intervals, their bright sparks lighting up the insides for the briefest of moments.
Although I assumed that the Seekers and Drifters were behind these attacks (who else could have done this kind of targeted damage?) I waited for confirmation for a few days. Eventually, while camped out at the observatory in Iyen-Oursta, I finally saw some Circadian Seekers assault the Jove structure. It was a long-running affair, as the Seekers came out of warp near the beacon to the site, and then slow-boated the 150+ kilometers to the structure itself. Once a few kilometers from the structures, rather than using the gentle blue scan beams I had become accustomed to seeing from the Seekers, they lashed out with a brilliant orange cutting beam towards the various areas that had already been breached. After attacking the structure further, they activated a narrow white beam on the area.
At the time, I was unable to figure out exactly was the purpose of the white beam, but I now believe that this beam is a form of tractor beam. Evidence for this comes from a newly-discovered piece of equipment found in many Seeker and Drifter wrecks: the Antikythera element. Just what this piece of equipment does is unknown, and, as usual, Aura’s analysis isn’t particularly helpful:
A direct analysis reveals some vague and distorted results.
Slight external damage signals that it was detached from something else, but despite its removal, the core structure continues to thrum with a deep, surging power.
Even without proof or solid knowledge of the function of this component, it is quite clear that it forms a vital part of something much larger.
I could immediately imagine a few reasons why the Seekers would only focus on the element and not the larger machine, but each hypothesis raises its own questions. More important, in my mind at least, is whether the Jove observatories and these Antikythera elements are what the Seekers were sent out to, well, seek. That they’re hunting them down now is obvious, but is it what they were designed to do? It’s also clear that the Seekers’ threat response protocols have been repeatedly increased in recent months. Seekers, along with their Drifter brethren, have become more and more aggressive, and the most recent reports state that they’ve even begun attacking capsuleers with no provocation. Such a change in behavior is troubling indeed, and I can’t help but wonder if the Drifters have somehow assumed control of the Seekers.
I was shaken out of my reverie as the Seekers finished their excavation and warped on to their next target. I quickly managed to get my hands on my own Antikythera element. I’m not sure what good it’ll be, but I felt better knowing that I had my own copy of the mysterious device. It also felt more than a little awe-inspiring to have a piece of actual Jove tech sitting in my hanger, and not something that’s been dumbed down for the rest of the Cluster. I may have no idea what it does, but it’s my own piece of history, sitting in my own hanger. As I settled back down in my bunk to get back to sleep, I wondered what stories it had to tell.
- Attraction: Jove Observatory
- System: Various throughout known space
- Security Rating: Various throughout known space
- Region: Various throughout known space
- Potential Hazards: Both Circadian Seekers and Drifter battleships will attack if you are uncloaked at the Observatories (or in other places in system). Seeker offensive strength has risen. Caution is advised.
(Editor’s note: if you’d like to read my first write-up of the only partially-decloaked unidentified structures, please see here. To see my write-up after the assault by the Seekers and Drifters, please see here.)
They’ve been listening to us. For how long? We don’t know. Why? We can only guess. Who are they? Well, that finally seems to be crystallizing. We’ve long known the Jove to take a light touch with Cluster politics. They have a knack for showing up unannounced, preening their advanced technology and, if they so deign, gifting us with a bit of it if they so desire, and then disappearing again as quickly as they arrived. Long the distant older sibling of the New Eden family, it’s become clear that the Jove have in fact kept a much closer eye on us than we have previously realized. Which brings us, of course, to the question of how they’ve been watching us. That has become more obvious in recent weeks. I had previously mentioned the appearance of partially-decloaked unidentified structures that had popped up across the Cluster. Well, those structures have now fully decloaked, and it’s now fairly clear that these structures are part of a Cluster-wide observing network. Both the media and the Sisters of Eve agree that the structures are probably Jove in origin.
These structures fit with the Jove’s general modus operandi. It’s long been rumored that the Jove have hid the remains of ancient technology surrounding the Eve Gate that far surpasses the technology of today. If the Jove are able to cloak debris and remains of this magnitude, it’s a small logical step indeed to suppose that they could also have cloaked these structures across the Cluster with us knowing nothing about them. Of course, this raises the question of why the structures are decloaking now (as well as the question of whether the rumored tech near the Eve Gate will also start appearing on our scanners). Most people seem to agree that whatever caused Caroline’s Star devastated what remained of the Jove Empire, as evidenced by the collapse of their stargate network. Why that would lead to structures spread throughout New Eden to decloak at roughly the same time is anyone’s guess, although there are a few plausible theories out there.
Whatever the reason, the structures are now here for all to see, with CONCORD already marking them with beacons for all to see. And quite a sight they are. For one, the stations are absolutely gargantuan in nature. They dwarf even a titan in size, with estimates showing that the stations are roughly 190 kilometers from top to bottom. Needless to say, Professor Science is but a mote of dust next to such a large structure. Indeed, it takes me a good one to two minutes altogether to transverse the entire structure, even with a microwarpdrive attached to my Buzzard-class ship. The power requirements to cloak such a vessel must have been enormous, even if the station was designed with cloaking in mind. Sitting next to the structure was enough to make my head spin.
But that’s nothing next to the design itself of the structure. This was the first time I’ve come in contact with anything Jove. I’ve, of course, seen pictures of Jove ships and stations. But this is the first time that I’ve seen Jove engineering up close (the Gnosis and Apotheosis excepted, of course, but it has not been clear how closely the Society of Conscious Thought and the Jovian Directorate were intertwined since the Society’s scandal with Sansha’s Nation), and the results are, understandably, stunning. The architecture is different from the almost-organic feel (which is distinct from the Gallente’s graceful organic architecture) that other Jove structures and ships have displayed. Instead, the tower, with buttress-like structures and ridges traveling up and down the observation post reminds me most of the soaring cathedrals often seen on Amarr planets. It was not an impression I was expecting from the Jove, perhaps the antithesis of the Amarr when it comes to religion, but it was the impression I got nonetheless.
It should be noted that both the Circadian Seekers and the Drifter Battleships, despite neither being strictly Jove in origin (so we think, at least), have taken a keen interest in our interactions with the observation posts. Indeed, I let myself get careless with Seekers nearby, and just heading in the structure’s general direction earned me weapons fire from the Seekers. Both types of ships seem intent on preventing interaction with the structures whenever possible, and they will not hesitate to use weapons if they are around. Not that much interaction is even possible. The structures are resistant to scans and as well as any and all communications requests, and Aura’s analysis simply notes that the structure doesn’t match anything in her database. We don’t even know if the stations are manned, for that matter. Too many questions, so few answers.
Given all we have learned in the past few months, and the even more that we haven’t, its natural to wonder exactly what has happened to the Jove. I do fear the worst for our erstwhile benefactors; it seems unlikely that they would let these Circadian Seekers and Drifter battleships roam around unchallenged if the Jove were at all capable of responding to them. I’ve always been slightly disgruntled with them given their potential to improve our lives in so many ways, but it has taken this level of potential disaster in their space for me to realize that even given their hesitance to interact, I will miss them if they are gone.
- Attraction: Unidentified Structure
- System: Various throughout known space
- Security Rating: Various throughout known space
- Region: Various throughout known space
- Potential Hazards: As noted above, both Circadian Seekers and Drifter battleships, if present at unidentified structures, will attack if you try to approach while uncloaked. Caution is advised. EDIT: With the release of Scylla, Circadian Seeker drones have become stronger and more hostile. Drifter battleships have begun to pod players. Caution is strongly advised.
It’s remarkable that just six months ago, I was worried about running out of things to discuss with in my travelogue. I had seen much (though certainly not all) that there was to see, and I had been consciously spacing out my entries to prolong my writing for as long as possible. But oh how things can change. Since Caroline’s Star quite literally exploded onto the scene, I have had a plethora of things to discuss, and for the first time in quite a while, I have a sizeable backlog of sites to catalog, analyze, and explore, to the point where I feel bad that I’ve let things go for as long as I have without comment. I suspect I’m not the only one who has felt this sense of renewal in New Eden in recent days. Between Thera and various happenings in New Eden, it certainly feels to me that the plodding ship of New Eden is getting underway again.
Indeed, perhaps the most evident demonstration of this newfound momentum is the rather explosive appearance of a new faction in the Cluster. The Drifters are a mysterious, biomechanical race of beings that, if CONCORD is to be believed, are a splinter sect of the Jove… and perhaps all that remains of the Empire. Rumors surrounding the death of the Jovians have spread rampantly since Mouse Nell managed to capture a photo of what appeared to be Sansha Nation vessels stationed just off of a conquered Jove station in YC 112. Indeed, the last known communique from the Empire was that they had expelled the Sansha fleet. For the next 5 years, there has been only silence from the Jove, and the apparent collapse of much of the Jove stargate network following the appearance of Caroline’s Star only exacerbated those rumors. But CONCORD intelligence on the Drifters released to capsuleers suggests that the Empire may indeed have fallen:
Emerging from the ruins of the Sleeper civilization spread throughout Anoikis – otherwise known as ‘W-Space’ – the Drifters represent a tremendous challenge and perhaps a dire threat to the empires and capsuleers alike. Seemingly inheritors of a legacy left behind by some of the most ancient Jove, the Drifters are unafraid to wield tremendous power in response to any who get in their way. In this regard, the Drifters are a very different conundrum than the relatively benign presence that was the Jove Empire. (emphasis mine)
Perhaps the most notable thing about the Drifters is that CONCORD has determined recognized pilots in the battleships. Oddly, for all of the Drifter ships seen, there are only two pilots: Apollo Tyrannos and Artemis Tyrannos. From what data CONCORD has released about them, their appearances are the stuff of nightmares. While the Jove had always had an otherworld-y appearance about them, the result of millennia of genetic manipulation, Apollo and Artemis are another breed altogether. Their bodies are nearly completely covered in various cybernetic devices and enhancements. What functions these devices serve can only be speculated about at this point, but given their relationship to the Jove, perhaps the devices serve the same functions as what the Jove accomplished through genetic manipulation. Same ends, different means. Perhaps.
The Drifters are frightening not just for their appearance, but also for both their hostility and technological prowess. Although the Drifters have not (as of yet) begun to attack pilots at random, they have shown no hesitation in both defending themselves and protecting areas that they deem important (to date, Drifters have shown particular interest in protecting the unidentified wormholes and the unidentified structures that have popped up around the cluster) from capsuleer incursion. Drifter ships utilize a new form of propulsion that seemingly upends our understandings of physics. Rather than relying on classical concepts of propulsion (utilizing that good old law of motion that for every action there is an equal, but opposite, reaction), CONCORD analyses of the Drifter ships suggests that they interact directly with the fabric of space-time to move around. This method of propulsion evidences itself through a number of antennae at the back of the Drifter ships, with a nearly invisible field that is mostly seen by how it distorts background stars and planets when looking through it.
More importantly, the Drifters possess advanced defensive and offensive technology. Drifter battleships employ some form of dual-layer shielding system. Collapsing the first layer of shielding triggers some form of electro-magnetic pulse that forces all nearby vessels to lose target lock on the ship. And, of course, any attackers would then have to penetrate a second layer of pristine shields. Beyond the pulse, collapsing the first layer of shields also triggers an important step in Drifter rules of engagement: the deployment of their heavy weapons. Ships that do not collapse the first layer of shields are hit by weapons that CONCORD has designated as ‘lux kontos’. Once the first layer of shields drops, however, Drifter commanders authorize the use of what capsuleers have started calling ‘lux destructum’. This heavy weapon is capable of taking down capital ships in just a few shots, and has proven extremely destructive on the battlefield. However, similar to their Circadian Sleeper cousins, they also scan nearby ships and structures with their curious scanning beams.
So far, at least, Drifters appear only in systems that have or have had what CONCORD has dubbed an unidentified wormhole in them. And these wormholes, so far, have only appeared in systems with unidentified Structures in them. These unidentified wormholes are a mystery in their own right. Unlike the more common wormholes I’m well-familiar with, these wormholes, but like the ones found at Promised Land I and the various shattered star Epicenters, the unidentified wormhole here is not transversable by standard ships. However, that does not stop Drifter vessels from using the wormholes as they see fit: they can be found coming and going through the wormhole. The other side of the wormhole seems to be similar to Thera: at least from what little we can see through the spatial distortions of the wormhole. However, thorough capsuleer scans from Thera cannot find the other end of the wormholes. That may indicate that the other side of the unidentified wormholes, while not in Thera itself, may be near enough Thera’s location so as to share the same general sky.
Perhaps the oddest thing about the wormhole isn’t the hole itself, but what comes with it. The hole is bracketed by twin arrays of Sleeper structures. Each array consists of two types of structures: Sleeper Multiplex Forwarders attached to Sleeper Thermoelectric Converters. The Forwarders appear to be massive data-transfer conduits, presumably for transferring information through the wormholes, while the Converters act as the Forwarders’ power source. Exactly what is being transferred through these conduits is unknown, though given that these wormholes only appear in systems with the unidentified structures, it seems safe to assume that at least part of the bandwidth is dedicated to uploading whatever data the Drifters and Seekers discover (assuming the two factions are working together… I am admittedly uncomfortable with the amount of supposition in today’s entry).
As mentioned, the Drifters are generally not a fan of capsuleer ships snooping very close to the wormholes. However, I was able to take my bare capsule in for a look. As noted, I wasn’t able to transverse the wormhole, but I was able to get a good look through the distortions. As I was doing so, I recalled the various statements that have been made by CONCORD, the Sisters of Eve, and others, as well as the communiques we’ve received by someone claiming to be Dr. Tukoss. I’m uncomfortable with the feeling that so many people know so much more of what is going on than the general public does. What are they hiding from us? And why? Troubled, I quickly re-entered my ship and moved on before the Drifters took note of me.
- Attraction: Unidentified Wormholes
- System: Various throughout known space
- Security Rating: Various throughout known space
- Region: Various throughout known space
- Potential Hazards: As noted, Drifter battleships may be found near the wormholes and will attack with force if they see you near the wormhole (they do not attack capsules and do not attack cloaked vessels). You do not want to make Drifters angry. You won’t like them when they’re angry. Like Seekers, Drifters have followed hostile pilots through warp. Caution is advised.
(Editor’s Note: The Unidentified Structures have undergone a few changes since this entry. To see my entry on the uncloaking of the structures, please see here. To see my entry on their assault by the Seekers and Drifters, please see here).
It is perhaps needless to note that I have my hands full over the next few months. New Eden is in a state of upheaval, and CONCORD has deigned fit to mark quite a few new beacons and landmarks throughout and beyond the Cluster. I, of course, fully intend to canvass all of these sites here, but doing so will take time indeed. Over one hundred new systems have been added to the wormhole network, and it’s still not completely clear what can be found in them. I’ve already given myself the goal of visiting all new systems to ensure that I can bring the most accurate information here. But for today, we’re going to have to just settle for what is, from what I’ve seen at least, the least visually impressive landmark that has been uncovered in recent weeks, but what I think is perhaps the most important.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I came out of warp. The beacon had appeared in space in my home system with little ceremony, and reports were coming in that these beacons had popped up across the Cluster. At first, I saw absolutely nothing. It seems the beacon, marked as an “Unidentified Structure” had been wrongfully placed in the middle of a normal dust cloud. But then a flash of light caught my eye. Lightning crackling in the distance. What was lightning doing in space? As I watched for it again, I noticed a faint shimmering. Lightning crackled again, and I noticed that the lightning seemed to travel up the edge of… the faint shimmering thing. Sensors were, of course, inconclusive, but if I had to take a guess, I’d say that a station’s cloaking device was failing. I’d never seen a cloak fail quite like this, but I’d also never seen a cloak on quite this scale before.
I strained my eyes (and my sensors) trying to see what was there. I couldn’t glean much either, though. It was tall, that much was obvious. Tall and fairly narrow. It seemed to have three prongs on the bottom of it, but that could just be my eyes playing tricks on me. Aura, with her prodigious analytical capabilities and access to various databases, couldn’t identify the station either. But something was tugging a bit at my memory nonetheless. With the nearly-cloaked station still seemingly flickering in and out existence a few kilometers away, I pulled up old archival photos of Jove stations. While certainly not identical, there did seem to be… similarities to the contours. A certain conical shape to them, though the Jove stations of old had a more organic feel to the harsher, almost crystalline angles that I could barely discern. It wasn’t a perfect match, but it was a plausible theory. For a better view of the general shape of these objects, Aurora Arcology News has an image enhanced view of the structure here.
Another thing leads me to think that these stations may be Jove related. Rumors have long swirled that the Jove know more than they have let on regarding the Eve Gate in New Eden. One of the key parts of that theory is that the Jove have long cloaked any wreckage leftover from the Eve Gate catastrophe to prevent us lesser-developed nations from getting our hands on technology that could very well disrupt (or destroy) the balance of power in the Cluster. I had never believed in these rumors myself (I tend to like theories that can be proven one way or another rather than just relying on saying the Jovians did it), but there was certainly evidence now that I couldn’t ignore. Assuming that the Jovians are, in fact, behind these newly discovered but apparently long-standing structures (and this is a larger assumption than I am generally comfortable with making), they would indeed have experience with cloaking structures and other items over large areas. Though New Eden itself showed no readings, it is notable that one of these unidentified structures can, in fact, be found there. More and more curious.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the other thing that can almost always be found in systems with these Unidentified Structures: the new Circadian Seekers. These appear to be Sleeper drones within the New Eden cluster. While initially a cause for concern given the reputation Sleeper drones have in being fearsome defenders of their turf in Anoikis, these drones appear to be docile. Despite numerous and repeated attacks on them, I have yet to run into any verified reports of them responding with any kind of force. Instead, they merely appear to roam the system, firing what appears to be a scanning beam on any objects they find. No negative repercussions of these scans have yet come to light. Given that these seekers almost always appear in systems with these new structures (Eram, apparently, is an exception to that rule), a substantial possibility also exists that these unknown structures are also Sleeper in origin, but the designs of these structures would represent a significant departure from known Sleeper architecture. Furthermore, the seekers have been seen attempting to scan the new structures like they would any other object in space, which suggests that they are unknown to them as well.
What is more disconcerting about the appearance of these seekers is what they represent in the evolution of the Sleepers. Since Anoikis became accessible to capsuleers a few years ago, Sleepers have been a purely reactionary force. Capsuleers and the empires would appear near Sleeper sites, and the drones would reactively attempt to repel them. Despite initial fears, the Sleepers never, to our knowledge at least, attempted to follow us beyond the confines of their small patrol routes. They never followed us back to New Eden, and certainly never attempted to discover more about us. We had lulled ourselves into thinking that the Sleepers were unintelligent drones with no curiosity. But then, a few weeks ago, it came to light that various Sleeper caches had started appearing in New Eden. Not only have the Sleepers been in New Eden for quite a while, but they were collecting information and items on us. For what purpose I don’t know, but I have little doubt that these Seekers are a more blatant attempt at learning more about us now that the caches have come to light. (Edit: Furthermore, for the first time, these Sleeper drones have active shielding systems. Sleeper drones prevalent in Anoikis have strong armored hulls, but they’ve never exhibited shield systems before. These new Circadian Seekers, however, have shields as well as armor. That they’ve managed to reverse engineer shield systems is yet another indication that the Sleepers are not as passive as they have seemed. Special thanks to @BlackDeathJazz for reminding me to note that here.) (Second edit: As of 1/13/YC 117, Circadian Seekers have begun responding to attacks with force. Seekers have been known to follow hostile pilots through warp and may pod hostile pilots as well.)
I realize that this has been a somewhat meandering entry, but I fear that this cannot be helped. I try my best to tell a clean and concise narrative in these entries: Eve Travel exists to give context to the universe around us. Unfortunately, right now there is no clean, concise narrative for many of these new objects. We don’t know everything yet, and you’ll have to bear with me as we all discover what all of this truly means. I don’t know what, if anything, the seekers are looking for, and I don’t know the purpose of these unidentified structures. There is a very good chance that there are other things out there that haven’t even come to light yet. And I, for one, am excited to see exactly what the universe has in store for us. EDIT: I’ve received a number of reports (now personally confirmed) that the Unidentified Structures will appear and disappear in a system. It’s unknown at this time if they move positions when they reappear. Basic Information:
- Attraction: Unidentified Structure
- System: Various throughout known space
- Security Rating: Various throughout known space
- Region: Various throughout known space
- Potential Hazards: As noted in the second edit above, Circadian Seekers have begun to respond to attacks with force. Seekers have been seen to defend themselves with heavy missile launcher-strength weaponry. Seekers have followed hostile pilots through warp and may even pod hostile pilots. Caution is advised.
Editor’s note: The source of the star has since been tracked down to W477-P, a system in the Jove regions and, as of now, inaccessible to capsuleers.
I picked a heck of a time to go planetside for a few days. Reports started trickling in a few days ago regarding a new star that has appeared in New Eden skies. Even scientists are baffled as to how a phenomenon like this could appear simultaneously across hundreds of lightyears. For now, theories abound but facts are few. What we do know is that the star’s position appears to be close to the edge of Jove space, and that the phenomenon is only growing brighter. What exactly this means is anyone’s guess at this point, but I will note that this is not the first time we’ve seen a phenomenon like this. As for me, given that I anticipate being planetside for the next few days still, I’ll continue to gather my information second hand. The situation is very much still developing, and information will continue to trickle in from a variety of sources. Keep watching the skies.
- Attraction: Caroline’s Star
- System: W477-P
- Security Rating: Unknown
- Region: UUA-F4
- Potential Hazards: Unknown for now.
My parents never quite understood why or how I would choose to live in the Empire for any extended period of time. Born and raised in the heart of the Federation, just a short shuttle ride from the gleaming Crystal Boulevard in the heart of Caille, they couldn’t understand how I could subject myself to the Empire’s conservative views. Now that’s not to say I don’t have my reasons. Anyone with any familiarity with my background would be familiar with my desire to stay close to the Eve Gate, if only so I could also occasionally check on the status of Sansha’s Violent Wormhole in Promised Land. And being only a few jumps out from Amarr Prime while still reaping the rewards of low security space certainly helps as well. And the fact that the Empire wouldn’t dare lay any of its religious strictures on capsuleers. They just happened to not particularly care about my reasons, and complain to me to move back whenever they sent me a communique.
Oddly, they seemed much more concerned that I lived in Amarr space than that I lived in low security space. I always assumed that was because they didn’t quite understand the differences between high security and low security space, and as long as they weren’t planning on flying out this way themselves, I had no desire to educate them on the subject. What they don’t know can’t hurt them… unless they decide to surprise me with a visit and get blown up in Ami by a few pirates. But that’s a discussion for another time with them.All this is to say that they were thrilled when I moved back to Gallente space, albeit temporarily. I had a mystery to solve, you see, and I’ve been moving more and more assets into Iyen-Oursta in an attempt to solve it. Being fairly secure money-wise for the foreseeable future, I uprooted the necessary ships and my parents were thrilled with the news.
Of course, they were less thrilled when I said that I was leaving again. Not for any extended length of time, of course, but I had caught wind of an Imperial military base in null security space, deep in Catch, and of course I had to go check it out. So I pulled out my trusty Tengu Scientia and was on my way to HY-RWO. As I warped in, Aura kindly gave me a heads up:
Local rumor has it that an Amarr Empire strike force has appeared in HY-RWO and are secretly orbiting one of it’s planets. Whoever they are after, he must be someone important.
Now, I don’t really consider myself a fancy person. I usually take “secretly” to mean “we won’t broadcast it for all to see,” at the very least. But apparently the Amarr Empire and I share very different ideas of the meaning of that word. Indeed, the Amarr were even kind enough to put up a beacon for Aura to lock on to for warp. Subtle, the Empire is not.
Still, given that I was deep in capsuleer-controlled space, I dare not test the Amarrian resolve by uncloaking in their midst. As such, I was relegated, as I usually am, to observing without interacting. Precisely why the Amarr were here, given Aura’s cryptic message, wasn’t entirely clear, but their base of operations around planet 3, moon 1 was apparently the place to be in HY-RWO. The Amarr had a sizeable military force here, consisting primarily of battleships and accompanying frigates. All glowed red to me and I shuddered to think just how quickly Scientia would die should the Amarr become aware of my presence. She was a ship built for reconnaissance and exploration, not combat, and she would fall quickly should she ever be caught.
The ships milled around. I suppose the Amarr would say they were engaging in military maneuvers, but frankly that seemed to be giving “maneuvers” a bad name. Still, they managed a modicum of competency by not crashing into each other as they all hugged the compact and movable lookout tower that served as their forward military base here. The battleships hugged close to the tower, while the frigates scurried around edges. At a distance, a Bestower-class transport, presumably the ship that brought the lookout tower and its accompanying necessities, sat and calmly watched over the area. Oddly enough, if I was reading the comm traffic here correctly, the local military commander has made the Bestower his flagship.
I sat and observed for a few minutes before gearing up to head back to Federation space and the mysteries that await me there. It was soothing watching the ships pass in front of the brilliantly blue star of HY-RWO when the camera drones were positioned just right. But I had more important demands on my time. That mysterious blue cloud wasn’t going to create itself, apparently…
- Attraction: Amarr Military Brigade
- System: HY-RWO
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Catch
- Potential Hazards: HY-RWO 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.
It’s easy to think that contemporary events are gamechangers. How many times have we heard some crisis as the “defining moment” of Roden’s presidency, or any battle as a “tipping point” in a broader war? And when you look back a few months or years later, you see that these events were nothing of the sort. It’s natural to think that the most recent events are the most important. But in most cases, events – even ones that at the time seem monumentally important (pun is very much intended) – are mere drops in the ocean of human history. It is rare indeed that an event actually bends the course of human events. It’s almost impossible for most people to objectively determine the effects that any one incident will have until we’ve had a chance to move on. In fact, it’s precisely that reason that most historians try not to look at modern events that closely, until time has passed, passions have cooled, and the repercussions have made themselves more verifiably known, leaving it to the more pedestrian punditry to give the who, what, where, and why of modern events.
Even with all of this in mind, I find it hard to look back at the now infamous battle in B-R5BR and see it as anything short of historic. This was not the first time that a capsuleer alliance had neglected to pay its bills to CONCORD, nor was it the first time that a tiny mistake led to a massive battle. The battle of B-R5RB doesn’t even come close to the record of largest naval engagement. Both Pandemic Legion and the CFC have fielded more ships in a battle and more pilots have lost ships before. But what makes this battle different, beyond the sheer amount of isk lost, is the effect it has had on the general public. Never before has the general public’s imagination been captured so much as the day that the titans began to fall. While there have always been niche news sites dedicated to covering capsuleer goings on, for the first time, mainstream media have started to look to the skies. New pilots are flocking to capsuleer training centers in record numbers, flooding the spacelanes with new opportunities and new fodder alike.
CONCORD, to its credit, has moved quickly to memorialize the battle site. Within days, the often slow-acting agency declared the system a place of historic significance, and acted to preserve the wrecks so they don’t decay away in the harshness of space. What’s left is a stunning, haunting (or, should I say spooky?) tribute to this very literal clash of the titans. To some, it’s a tribute to the victory of the CFC; to others, it’s the gravesite to thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of crew aboard the various ships. Whatever its meaning to you, this heretofore unknown cul-de-sac system has attained a new place of prominence in the interstellar consciousness, and its newfound memorial will ensure that it remains so long after the pundits have stopped their prognosticating on its meaning. Of course, the quieting of the punditry won’t keep Aura from becoming rather existentialist on us:
You are entering the graveyard of Titans, a silent memorial to one of the grandest, most violent, most cataclysmic battles New Eden has ever borne witness to. Halt your ship, capsuleer, and take a moment out of the mad swirl of your life to ponder your own impending deaths.
The beacon that CONCORD has placed on the site is a bit more on-point and a bit less poetic than Aura:
Here lie the wrecks of monstrous ships, commemorating a battle that blotted out the sky on Jan 27-28 in YC 116.
Two coalitions of capsuleers clashed in vessels numbering in the thousands, causing destruction on a scale of war never before seen by human eyes. CONCORD elected – after advising with the various empires – to leave a few wrecks left on the field for all spacefarers to see. Ostensibly this was a warning of capsuleers to where their folly would lead them, but those who’ve encountered the immortals will know it was more likely taken as an ideal of death and destruction to which they can aspire from now until the end of time.
As your view adjusts after warping through B-R5RB VIII, one of the first things you’ll notice is the bright gray of the temple that CONCORD’s erected on the site (why the temple is already battered-looking and worn is another discussion entirely). Examining the temple closely will reveal a list of all the pilots that lost a Titan in the battle. As your eyes adjust, however, you’ll notice a number of hulking, looming shadows surrounding on all sides. These shadows eventually clarify into the hulking shapes of shattered ships. Surrounding you are ships from all four empires, torn apart by the massive forces brought down upon them in the battle. Fires still glow from the interior, and possibly will continue to do so for years (especially if the ships were Caldari built). Each wreck is surrounded by a cloud of debris, which is especially dense near the site of the hull fractures where these gigantic ships finally cracked. Each of them dwarfed Scientia and its small crew.
To the left, ships blot out an appropriately blood-red star. To the right, now-nameless titan wrecks, worth billions of isk and with thousands of lives lost on each of them, gently tumble through space against the green backdrop of the Immensea nebula. And all around, there is an eerie quiet. The stark stillness of the scene stands in sharp contrast to the ferocity of the battle that took place here just days before.
Am I wrong to think that this battle was different from the countless others that have happened over the years in New Eden? Have even my amateur historian’s eyes been clouded by the media coverage and the endless echo chamber that has come out of this battle? After all, this will hardly be the last time that B-R5RB will change hands. PL has already finished reimbursing its pilots for the ships lost in the battle. Other battles will rage, breaking this record or that. Only time will tell of the grander effect, if any, of this battle. But for now, for once, more eyes are focused on the stars. For now, the happenings of New Eden are drawing the attention of the broader masses. And for now, at least, B-R5RB certainly seems like a gamechanger. And even if it isn’t, at least this monument will help us remember the day that the titans fell.
- Attraction: Titanomachy
- System: B-R5RB
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Immensea
- Potential Hazards: B-R5RB 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.
Pilgrimages are a sacred rite of passage in many cultures, and important in almost all others. There are certain places, certain sites that are hallowed grounds for many cultures, for varied reasons. It’s not that you go there to witness what is happening at the site now. But there is something ineffable to visiting a place that has had such a marked impact on who you and your people are. Even though all that may remain are ghosts and stories, people still flock to these sites to remember what had been. Religions, of course, are particularly susceptible to deeming a site holy, but any culture seems to have their sacred areas. Even capsuleers have been known to make a journey out to the Eve Gate or Steve, to see where we came from. And while there, we reminisce about what it means to be us, what it is that ties us together. In traveling to these sites, we journey not just to a physical destination, but also to a psychological one.
And, of course, it’s not only rational people that have holy sites to make pilgrimages to. The Blood Raiders are perhaps the most devout in New Eden, in their own twisted ways. The more militant parts of the sect truly believe that drinking the blood of others (particularly us apparently tasty capsuleers) will bring them closer to salvation, and will endure almost anything to reach their version of immortality. But like just about any religion, the Blood Raiders have made their own holy sites as well. One in particular can be found in the constellation of OK-FEM, deep in Delve. The holy site itself is the former Amarr exploration ship Pagera Manton, which was discovered adrift by Blood Raider devouts and transformed into a place of worship. Why they decided to use this particular ship, I’ve never asked. But because Pagera Manton itself is heavily guarded, the Blood Raiders have constructed their own waypoint for weary pilgrims, named Blood Reach. As Aura explains:
Blood Reach is a fortified outpost run by the Blood Raider organization. Its purpose is to house pilgrims coming to visit the holy site in OK-FEM. In recent times it has also served as a base of operations for Blood Raider forces sent here to find and eliminate Amarrians who come to the constellation to sabotage the Pagera Manton.
Blood Reach is a bustling spaceport in the heart of fortified null sec. Despite being owned by capsuleers, the Raiders have carved out a substantial niche to call their own. The site is dominated by two massive structures. The first is your traditional Blood Raiders cathedral. Based off of the classic Amarr design, the colors have been changed to a bloodred to reflect the, well, you know, love of blood. But opposite that, an even larger structure is under construction. Although for now only part of the superstructure is complete, the design hints at a station that will dwarf even the current cathedral. Presumably meant to house the faithful and those passing through, for now the structure’s skeletal appearance gives a rather unnerving feeling to an already-unnerving area.
Beyond the two large stations, a variety of smaller structures can also be seen. Off to one side, a set of six bunkers can be found. Presumably meant to act as temporary housing for wayfarers until the larger structure is complete, their sleek Gallente stylings actually stand out quite a bit compared to the rest of the site. But around the cathedral is where the bulk of activity can be found. Although the cathedral sports a number of docking slips, the most notable thing here is what is rather untactfully called the “bloodsport arenas.” These are massive stadiums, whose tops are covered in clear materials. Inside, I could see hundreds, if not thousands of spectators surrounding a playing field that was already coated thick in blood. Despite blood being sacred to the Raiders, they seemed to be spilling an awful lot of it here in the thrill of competition. Right next to the arenas, a number of slave pens could also be seen. It was times like this that made me wish I didn’t fly an essentially unarmed Tengu.
A variety of Raider vessels could also be seen flitting between areas of the site. Thankfully, they seemed to ignore me, despite my obviously capsuleer-based ship. Whether they mistook me for a member of the faithful or just wanted me to make sure I could tell people of what I saw, I have no idea. But they left me alone, and for that I was grateful. The site also supported a significant industrial infrastructure. A number of mined-out asteroids could be seen surrounding the site, while foundries worked seemingly day and night. I decided not to examine too closely precisely why the foundries had been named “Clone factories.”
I didn’t spend long here. The Blood Raiders worry me more than any of the other factions in New Eden, with the possible exception of the Sansha. Religious fervor combined with cannibalism never seems to end well, and I couldn’t even begin to understand where they were coming from in their philosophy and theology. Still, even they are humans (though of a very deviant sort, I’ll concede), and like any humans, they need a place to call their own. Blood Reach and the nearby Pegara Manton appear to be precisely that. And so the faithful Raiders will continue making their pilgrimages, just like the devout have for thousands of years.
- Attraction: Blood Reach
- System: CX8-6K
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Delve
- Potential Hazards: CX8-6K 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.
- Additional Notes: This site is a COSMOS site, and agents are available if you have the proper standing with the Blood Raiders.
One of the interesting things about human nature is how we gravitate towards certain ideas, even when ostensibly eschewing them. Humans (even immortal ones) are ultimately creatures of habit, and once we get certain ideas in our heads, it’s almost impossible to excise those ideas, regardless of how hard we try. Take null security space, for example. This area is ultimately dominated by people who have decided that big government isn’t right for them: they want to live their own lives their own ways. So what do they do once they get out to null sec? Why, they start collecting taxes. They start conducting diplomacy with their neighbors and, if necessary (and sometimes even if not necessary), conduct war against their neighbors. The alliances start providing infrastructure for their members, and cultivating loyalty. They set up structures to air disputes, while providing for the general common defense of their lands. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that this is precisely what a government does.
Even the pirate organizations, the ones who fled “civilized” life to strike out on their own, ultimately end up creating their own forms of governments. To be sure, pirate based governments tend to be more heavy handed than most. They’re not afraid to use extreme measures to maintain control, and they likely don’t exactly care much about popular opinion, but they are governments nonetheless. Indeed, it’s rare that you find true “anarchists” who want to bring the entire system and keep it down, rather than just being unhappy with the current form of the system or the policies of the current system.
A classic example of this can be found out in Feythabolis. It’s a distant region, found near the southern tip of the current gate network in New Eden. It’s essentially the furthest you can possibly get from CONCORD and the empires. And yet even here, you see the basic qualities of a system of governance for the region. Capsuleer governors keep an eye on their holdings, farm them when they can, quell rebellions when they must. The local pirates, the Angel Cartel, likely fled from Minmatar space to get away from the classic tribal structure, and yet here they’ve merely set up a government of their own. We can see this in this week’s site, Minecore HQ. Minecore headed out to null security space for the reason that many do: to make isk. And they ended up getting taken over by the Cartel in the process. As Aura explains:
Minecore Inc. is a corporation founded by groups of freelance miners and mercenaries who had ventured into Feythabolis in search of valuable asteroids and gas clouds rumored to be located in this perilous territory. By banding together they also hoped to withstand attacks from marauding pirates and other outlaws. Inside this area of space they have set up an outpost which operates mainly as a gathering point for their mining expeditions before they venture out into uncharted space in search of harvestable gas clouds.
Shortly after Minecore’s conception, the Angel Cartel came in force to I-3ODK to claim their share of the profit. Minecore was forced to concede a large portion of their earnings to the Cartel, and have paid tribute ever since to keep them off their backs. Today Minecore is partially controlled by the Cartel, and their outposts are guarded by Angel ships.
The Minecore site is now a classic example of an organization ostensibly dedicated to taking down governments and creating general mayhem doing the exact opposite: imposing order (albeit their own kind of order). They weren’t going to let something like a few miners get in the way of profit, so they took by might what they couldn’t take by right. And in doing so, the Cartel even goes so far as to protect their investments. Arguably, defense is the most important of all governmental functions, and the Cartel provides it with gusto. Indeed, the Minecore site is now replete with Cartel forces, probably as much to protect the Cartel’s investment as it is to keep an eye on the local inhabitants.
Beyond the heavy Cartel presence, however, there’s little really to see at the site (beyond my ability to let my political science geekery out to play, of course). It’s your standard mining site: a main base dug into a fairly large, arc-shaped asteroid, with a variety of supporting industries and habitation modules. The site is certainly on the larger end of mining operations that I’ve seen, but there’s really little to recommend it unless you have a pronounced fascination with mining efficiency and industrial processes (granted, I know some people love this kind of thing, though it’s not quite my cup of tea). You have your standard asteroid habitats, foundries, and the myriad of other things you can find in just about any system in New Eden. If it wasn’t for the slightly distinctive background, it wouldn’t be worthy of note at all.
I didn’t spend long at Minecore. Though I obviously sympathizes with the workers, I had no desire to face the wrath of the Cartel (who already are not exactly my biggest fans). After I finished taking my photos, I set off for my next destination, wondering if that one to would let my inner political science geek out.
- Attraction: Minecore
- System: K-X5AX
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Feythabolis
- Potential Hazards: K-X5AXis 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.
- Additional Notes: This site is a COSMOS site, and agents are available if you have the proper standing with the Angel Cartel.
We all have our skills in life. Some of us are fantastic at fighting. Others of us are great at dying. Some of us have found our calling in creation. While still others like to theorycraft destruction. The thing about capsuleers is that we’re a varied lot. We go beyond mere death and destruction. Political intrigue is well cataloged in capsuleer circles. We have such a robust community that incisive political commentary is not just a nicety, but a necessity. News sites cover not just what happened, but offer commentary as well. Some people have fantastic stories to tell. And that doesn’t even begin to cover the pirates, wormhole dwellers, and people who are trying out a little bit of everything. Oh, and then there’s me, who keeps taking pictures of the things I see in New Eden, and for some reason, people keep reading it. In short, New Eden offers such a broad array of insightful, colorful, and just all around fantastic characters in every imaginable combination.
I bring this up because for all of the stories there are to tell, for all of the things that there are to say (and have been said), there are 100 more that never see the light of day. In a galaxy of billions, with intrigue, murder, and shady deals a constant part of life, I can’t help but thinking of the untold stories of the cluster, even when inundated with plenty of stories that are. While many of these stories are undoubtedly less exciting than the ones we end up hearing about, I have no doubt that there are certain stories that, if ever exposed to the light of day, would turn the cluster upside down. But, for whatever reason, these stories are often lost to the ages, never to be told.
This entire train of thought was prompted by my investigations in the 760-9C constellation. It’s a backwater constellation, out in Wicked Creek, and certainly not some place that I would really consider taking a vacation in. But it’s notable because it’s the suspected hiding place of wanted criminal from Matari space. Martokar Alash sounds no worse than many capsuleers, being wanted by Matari authorities for booster smuggling, killing CONCORD officers, and capturing Matari citizens and selling them into slavery. Yet the Republic Justice Department has decided that Alash needs to be stopped, and is willing to step on the toes of the Thukker Tribe to do it. Alash was last seen in 760-9C, and the Republic has made the constellation a focus of its search. Indeed, when you first enter the constellation, Aura receives an automated pop-up message from Matari authorities:
Rumor has it that the infamous Thukker warlord, Martokar Alash, was last seen in the constellation 760-9C. He apparently fled his homeland after Republic authorities threatened an invasion should he not be extradited into their hands. It is believed that he has become involved in the booster smuggling business, working alongside the Angel Cartel.
Martokar’s previous crimes include the murder of CONCORD officers, kidnapping and sale of Republic citizens into slavery. Investigators also blamed him for managing a large criminal network inside the Republic territories, which had direct links to the Angel Cartel. And although it is common knowledge that the Thukker Tribe leadership has strong ties to the Cartel, Dulinar Nerhoger, chief of intelligence in the Republic Justice Department, believes that Martokar’s crimes are grave enough to warrant special attention. He advises all travelers venturing into 760-9C to keep an eye out for Martokar, he is considered extremely dangerous.
For the purposes of finding Alash, the Republic has set up base in an old, abandoned station in DUO-51 of Minmatar origin, now only known as The Tain. What an abandoned Minmatar station is doing out this way isn’t entirely clear. Records don’t indicate that the Republic has ever made a concerted effort at settling the region; indeed, Wicked Creek’s been in the hands of the Angel Cartel and its associated criminal elements for as long as anyone can seem to remember. It’s possible that the Thukker built the station long ago, only to abandon it when their seemingly insatiable wanderlust kicked in again, but if so, those records have long been lost. Indeed, whatever purpose the station served is now known only to the solar winds spitting off the meager local star.
That’s not to say that the Tain isn’t a lively place, though. As mentioned, the Republic Fleet has decided to use the abandoned station as their command center for the hunt for Alash. To demonstrate how seriously the Republic feels Alash’s capture is, it has moved a fully-manned Nighoggur-class carrier to the Tain. This showing of the flag is especially significant because it’s rare to see any of the empires in New Eden deploy capital assets (capsuleer-controlled capitals are, of course, another matter entirely), and downright unheard of to see such capital assets deployed this deep into capsuleer-controlled space. To help protect the vested interest the Republic clearly has here, they’ve also deployed a small support fleet, consisting mostly of the iconic Tempest-class battleships. To send such a provocative and high-value deployment to Wicked Creek is undoubtedly an attempt by the Republic’s military command to demonstrate the seriousness with which it would take any attempts to interfere with the search for Alash. The empires very much know that us capsuleers can turn on them at merely a moment’s notice, and it’s only the threat of CONCORD that really holds us off. Given the public record of his crimes, that, of course, makes almost no sense. This suggests to me that something far more serious is at stake. Either Alash is wanted for far more serious crimes than the Republic is willing to announce publicly currently, or they’re using Alash as a cover.
The Tain itself clearly has some stories to tell, if only anyone could understand it. The local space is littered with debris, apparently from some epic space battle. Intriguingly, it appears that the Amarr also deployed some assets to Wicked Creek at some point; the remains of one of their old-style battleships can be seen beached within a local asteroid field. The station itself has been pulverized. Minmatar architecture can often be mistaken as damaged even when in full repair, but it takes little skill to notice the gaping holes throughout the station’s superstructure, not to mention the station batteries and other equipment that has been ejected from the station. There’s even a few mummified bodies floating amongst the debris, though it’s impossible to tell whether these date from the time of the Tain’s abandonment or the Matari were having some disciplinary problems in more recent times. Regardless, it’s clear that neither the Amarr nor the Matari had a pleasant time of things here at the Tain.
Whatever the Republic is doing out here, I wish them luck. When someone wants to get lost in New Eden, it’s easy to do so, and it seems that Alash is giving the Republic a run for its money. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something more at stake here for the Republic, given the profile of the deployment. But whatever it was, it was unlikely that they would announce it any time soon. And so what happens here at the Tain, along with happened here in the past, is likely to stay as another of New Eden’s countless untold stories.
- Attraction: The Tain
- System: DUO-51
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Wicked Creek
- Potential Hazards: DUO-51 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.
- Additional Notes: This site is a COSMOS site, and agents are available if you have the proper standing with Minmatar.
It’s a well-known but at times little understood fact that the interstellar economy requires constant destruction in order to not only thrive, but even survive. Without the vast amount of ships taken out of commission daily by my fellow capsuleers, New Eden’s economy would grind to a halt. Suddenly, people would no longer be buying ships or ammo. Prices for ships and the modules that go on them would plummet as supplies flood the market. This leads to a crash in mineral and salvage component prices, meaning that even the most isolated amongst us get hit hard as the economy grinds to a halt. It’s a sobering thought, because on the one hand the economy, such as it is, brings prosperity for billions. On the other hand, one only needs to look at the past day’s casualty lists to understand the cost of that prosperity.
Either way, it doesn’t appear that the economy will be grinding to a halt for lack of violence any time soon. Us capsuleers show no sign of abating our violent tendencies, either against each other or the multitude of pirates and other unseemly people who have made their homes in the stars. As such, there is a constant pressure to find new sources of raw materials to feed the ever roiling violent frenzy that is New Eden. It’s easy to imagine that in the vastness of any star system, resources are nearly limitless. But the key word of that phrase is “nearly.” While any one star system starts with a vast amount of resources, many of the core worlds in high security space have been in development for thousands of years. And the resources are therefore starting to dry up there. Such a trend is even evident in low security space, even though many systems have only been inhabited for a hundred years at best. Only null security and especially wormhole space still has nearly-untapped resources these days, and it is out there that you can still find the massive mining operations that keep our economy clipping along.
One such mining enterprise can currently be found in MY-W1V, in Catch. It’s a small colony, and nothing on the order of what you would see from a well-organized capsuleer mining operation, but it’s interesting to see nonetheless. Perhaps that’s because of late I’ve found myself more and more fascinated with how the non-capsuleer class lives. Though I of course used to be a non-capsuleer myself, I’ve recently passed my fifth anniversary of being a capsuleer, and perhaps my recent interest in the general public is a bit of nostalgia on my part. Regardless of where my current interest in what is otherwise a fairly normal mining operation comes from, it’s apparently also interesting enough to CONCORD to warrant a navigational beacon. As Aura explains:
Frolo Fatimar was a famous Amarrian explorer that passed away only a few years ago. During his later years he founded this outpost, hidden within a deadspace pocket which originally contained large quantities of Arkonor asteroids. Those are now long gone, having been mined to oblivion, but what remains is a sizable colony of harvesters and miners that have been scouring the 9HXQ-G constellation for the valuable gas clouds Frolo claimed to have found in massive quantities.
The colony has all the trappings of a modern day deep-space outpost. A number of asteroids have been hollowed out in the traditional format to serve as living and working quarters for the variety of crew that have settled here. A number of completely artificial habitats also populate the area. Beyond that, there’s also a shipyard and a number of huge storage containers, undoubtedly holding supplies as well as ore while waiting for the freighters to make supply runs out to Jita and back. There’s also a few solar energy harvesters to provide energy to the outpost. But by far, the scene is dominated by the massive sensor array and the central work outpost. The outpost itself is a standard Amarrian “let’s make everything look like a church” design, contrasting sharply with the utilitarian design of the dish.
It shouldn’t be surprising that even a minor outpost settled in the depths of null security space, away from the protection of CONCORD, should boast a substantial defense force. The colonists have not only built their own defense post (notably a rather non-Amarrian design), but have built a minor fleet to protect itself. The three battleships and assorted support craft won’t stave off a coordinated assault, of course, but it should be enough to scare off most minor pirate assaults. Considering the fact that they’re presumably supporting the defense fleet solely through earnings from the ore and gas they’ve mined, the colonists apparently know what they’re doing. But I guess high risk like this brings high rewards as well.
Anyway, I spent only a few minutes poking around on the colony. I was en route to other, perhaps more interesting sites, and I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. With another look around the system to make sure I wasn’t being followed, I was on my way.
- Attraction: Fatimar Outpost
- System: MY-W1V
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Catch
- Potential Hazards: MY-W1V 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.
- Additional Notes: This site is a COSMOS site, and agents are available if you have the proper standing with Amarr.
Author’s note: This week’s EVE Travel will be a little different than normal, as I join into the discussion from Freebooted’s current Blog Banter. I don’t normally join the Banters as I keep EVE Travel focused on living up to its name as a travel blog, but this Banter’s prompt allows me to join in the discussions for once. The prompt is:
Some say a man’s home is his castle. For others it is wherever they lay their hat. The concept is just as nebulous in the New Eden sandbox.
In EVE Online, what does the concept of “home” mean to you?
Home. It’s an effusive concept that seems to vary depending on my mood. Home is where I grew up, in that small house on Luminaire with my parents and siblings. It’s the smell of fresh cookies coming straight out of the oven, ready and waiting for me at the end of a long day. It’s curling up in my bed with a good book as I wait to see what tomorrow brings me. It’s the one place in this hectic universe where I know I can return to, even when everyone and everything else seems out to get me. I may not have seen my parents in months, and may not have set foot on Luminaire since becoming a capsuleer, but that does not and will never stop me from considering that little house in Luminaire my home.
Home can also be where the heart is, as the old adage goes. Professor Science, my first true travel ship, is my home. I have more memories with her than I do any of my other ships. Be it running gate camps and hoping my cloak activates in time or seeing some of the wonders that space has to offer, I can recall nothing but fond memories from her. I remember the punch in the gut I felt the first time I lost her, and I remember the joy I felt when I managed to slip her through a heavy gate camp with no losses. In terms of sheer emotional attachment, and in terms of the ship that let me start doing the things I love, Professor Science and its successors have no equal in where I can call home.
But home is also where I feel the safest. Where I feel the most secure. Having been a pod pilot for four and a half years now, home is my ship. Legacy, my Drake, has been my trusty ship for years now. I know her and her crew like I know the back of my hand. I know her strengths, and I know her weaknesses. I know her capabilities, and I know her limits. Legacy is my old, reliable workhorse. To put it colloquially, “she takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.” If I’m looking for the one place in the universe where I feel safe, where I feel like I can tackle anything, it’s my Drake. They say that capsuleers are hooked up to a ship to make it feel like a part of a pilot’s own body. Legacy takes that feeling to the extreme, so much so that I almost feel awkward in just about any other ship. Say what you will about the Drake, but Legacy has always been there for me.
In a more ‘traditional’ sense of where I primarily base out of, Pelkia is my home. For the better part of two years, now, the majority of my ships and belongings can be found in that lonely base in a fairly small system. It’s located conveniently near both Amarr for when I need to shop for new ships, as well as low security. It’s fairly equidistant from the other empires, making it easy should a new site pop up that requires investigation. But Pelkia is more than that. When I moved into Genesis for my research in Project Compass, it was Pelkia that I ended up yearning to return to. The familiar sights and sounds there are soothing, and I know I have no enemies nearby. Coming back after an extended excursion is like slipping into my favorite sweater. Something about it just feels right.
But maybe I’ve gotten to the point where I can call no singular place home. Maybe “home” is not so much as a place, but a feeling. In that respect, New Eden is my home. I am not just a native of the Federation. I am not just from Luminaire. I am a citizen of the broader stellar community. Us pod pilots are 300,000 strong and growing by the day. We live together, we fight together, we die together. And then we wake up in our cloning vats and do it all again. From the depths of null security space to the heart of Yulai, each and every one of us are bound to each other, be it through ties of alliances, ties of friendship, or ties of the marketplace. Each pod pilot is my neighbor, and each system is just a part of my home that I have yet to thoroughly explore. For four and a half years now, the stars have been my home. It thrills me that there are still more wonders out there waiting for me, and I can’t wait to see what else my home has to offer.
- Attraction: Home
- System: All
- Security Rating: -1.0 to 1.0
- Region: All
- Potential Hazards: Some of the neighbors can be less than friendly 😉
- Home and Hearth by Parisma Calles @ Small Ships FTW
- I’m like the Gypsy Band by Drackarn @ Sand, Cider and Spaceships
- Somewhere I belong by Sugar Kyle @ Low Sec Lifestyle
- Home in the Stars by Lukas Rox @ Torchwood Archives
- Home is Where My Hole is… by TurAmarth ElRandir @ A Carbon Based Life
- A Sort of Homecoming by Rhavas @ Interstellar Privateer
- Home Is Where the Heart Is by Anshu Zephyran @ Structure Damage
- A Place to Hang your Hat by Rixx Javix @ EVEOGANDA
- A Question of Location by Druur Monakh @ Hazardous Goods
- A Long Time Ago in a Constellation Far Far Way… by Kirith Darkblade – EVE Pirate
- Home is where my Pod is by Emergent Patroller
- Sweet Home Alabama by Orea @ Notes From New Eden
- BB39: Home by Mabrick @ Mabrick’s Mumblings
- home…was it a random choice? by MinorFreak @ Ordoministorum
- Home is where your Family is… by Kuan Yida @ Random Posts from Auga
- Blogbanter 39 by splatus @ A Journey Through the Mind
- two kinds of places by Sered Woollahra @ Sered’s Lives
- Home by Kirith Kodachi @ Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah
- Homeward Bound by Mike Azariah @ A Missioneer in EVE
- Where The Heart Is by Xander @ Crossing Zebras
- It’s not a house, it’s a home @ Morphisat’s Blog
- A Captain’s Quarters to call your own @ A Scientist’s Life in Eve
- The Funny Thing… by Orakkus @ 2nd Anomaly From the Left
- Where Familiarity Doesn’t Breed Contempt @ Diaries of a Space Noob
- Where is home? by Sunatzero
- Nebulosity by Helena Khan @ Aggressive Logistics
- Here by blastradius @ Blastrad’s Tales
- Home is where the Hulk is by Satyrwood @ Satyrwood Industries
- There and Back Again; An Ex-Capsuleer’s Tale* by Eelis Kiy @ Sand, Cider and Spaceships
- Homeward Bound by Adhar Khorin @ Margin Call
- Home is Where you Stage by Poetic Stanziel @ Poetic Discourse
- Broken Home by Marc Scaurus @ MALEFACTOR
- Home is Where the Alts Are by Kaeda Maxwell @ The Wild Rose of Molden Heath
- No place like it by Ripard Teg @ Jester’s Trek
- Home is where the hangar is by Jace Errata @ Year of the Snake
- An unpleasant truth @ EveHermit’s Blog
- Home is what you make of it by Anabaric @ Inside My Skull So Many Demons
It seems odd to have to worry about urban planning in today’s day and age. In this age of buildings that, for all intents and purposes, can be built to limitless heights, what does it really matter how things are laid out? Why does it matter if we put the park here or there? Who cares if the recycling center is in the center of town or out on the periphery? Although modern strategies of urban planning originated to deal with how to maximize land use when land itself was limited, the planning of land use is all the more important when the usable space you have to work with is practically infinite. Odd little things, such as examining pedestrian flow or infrastructural considerations can have a vast impact on how successful a community ultimately will be, since it amounts to making things as easy for the inhabitants as possible.
Of course, such considerations become even more important for space-based communities, when that pesky gravity no longer adds such a two-dimensional emphasis on planning. Now, we can sprawl however far we want in all three dimensions, which makes the use of space almost MORE important. It’s a counterintuitive thought, to be sure, but it becomes a matter of practicality and ease of living for inhabitants. The problems that can pop up in unplanned communities can be seen in old fashioned ‘boom towns.’ These often crop up when some incredibly valuable resource is discovered, and people suddenly rush to the scene. As is always the case, when people congregate together, some kind of town is born, but if it’s unplanned from the beginning, it can grow haphazardly and unevenly, leading to major problems down the road as the community continues to grow. Of course, boom towns can happen just as easily in space as they can on planets… perhaps even more so given the comparative riches that can be found in space. An example can be found out in A8-XBW, in Fountain. As Aura explains:
Extremely valuable gas clouds have been discovered in the Pegasus constellation which have created a gold rush. ORE was quick to claim ‘ownership’ as the constellation borders its sovereign space, but the Serpentis and the Syndicate, as well as multiple entrepeneurs from the Gallente Federation, have all claimed their own piece of the pie. Inevitably collisions have occurred and the constellation has become a sort of ‘warzone’ between various groups of greedy claimants.
The Yakura Harvesting Depot very much has that feeling of a town that grew too much too fast. Structures sprawl haphazardly on the edge of the gas cloud that fuels the incredible growth of the Depot. Rather than there being any particular order to the area, things grow from wherever they happened to be plopped down. Some structures have grown so large as to be unwieldy (not to mention poorly positioned), while abandoned structures are left where they stood, with the community not even attempting to clean them up. It leads to an odd dissonance throughout the site: structures that are so new they sparkle are built on top of older buildings that show their wear, while those are built just a little ways away from abandoned buildings that are left to gather dust in the endless void of space.
The Depot can roughly be split into 3 areas: the primary industrial area, which appears to be asteroid based. Then there’s the shipping area, where cargo pads seem to tumble on to each other in an attempt to maximize berthing space for incoming and outgoing freighters. And then, for some reason closer to the valuable gas clouds than either the industrial or commercial shipping areas, lays the somewhat ramshackle living areas. Despite the great wealth in the area, the living conditions have yet to catch up for the workers who simply wanted to plant their stake as quickly as possible. The quick-construction asteroid habitats should be familiar to my regular readers, made up of smaller asteroids that are linked together via a series of metal tubes. There is also a second, larger living facility nearby, made up of three larger asteroids that are still hollowed out and linked together. The larger facility seems newer to me, and closer still to the gas cloud. And, for some odd reason, a THIRD asteroid colony can be seen clear on the other side of the Depot, out past the industrial base.
The primary industrial base of the area is located on a massive asteroid. Rather than being entirely hollowed out like the living areas, the industrial area has a number of facilities that peak out of the surface, including docking ports and the like to bring materials to and from the factories. Nearby, the ruins of a Quafe sign can be seen. The sign actually intrigues me. Did Quafe really manage to jump onto the bandwagon so quickly? Was this an attempt at corporate sponsorship that went awry? If so, why did relations break down? The sign appears pretty battered, with twisted steel beams being the only remains of the sign’s original framework. The power source is apparently still active, as evidenced by the flicker of the sign every now and then, while a ghostly image of a Quafe bottle flashes across the screen for a few seconds. Remains of the word “ENJOY” float nearby, though I’m not entirely sure what happened to the ‘O’. Perhaps not the most effective advertising campaign, but at least they weren’t trying to hide what they were selling.
The most interesting part of the Depot, I think, is the commercial shipping area. It’s a hodgepodge of various stores that have cropped up, allowing pilots and crews to spend their time (and, more importantly, their money) while waiting for their ships to be unloaded and loaded. Here, one can easily see that there is no overarching design philosophy. New cargo pads were built as they were needed, wherever the builders wanted. Some pads appear to built literally on top of others. That doesn’t stop the constant stream of freight traffic, though. Three separate freighters can be seen while I’m there. Surrounding the pads are various shops that showcase the free-for-all feeling out here. A casino floats near a brothel, while drugs can easily be purchased as well. A few battleships float throughout the site, providing a measure of external security from raiders, but they didn’t seem to be conducting any police actions within the Depot. With no CONCORD presence and little order, the very western edge of the Cluster is indeed pretty wild.
The Yakura Depot is a thriving town on the edge of lawless space, but whether that can be sustained remains to be seen. These kind of boom towns often don’t survive much past the exhaustion of their resources, and even massive dust clouds in space don’t last forever. Still, as I vectored my Tengu onwards in my journey, I wished them the best of luck, and hoped that they’d get around to planning out their space just a little better.
- Attraction: Yakura Harvesting Depot
- System: A8-XBW
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Fountain
- Potential Hazards: A8-XBW 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.
- Additional Notes: This site is a COSMOS site, and agents are available if you have the proper standing with Serpentis.