[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.
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.