I’m actually somewhat embarrassed about this week’s entry. I pride myself on my ability to ferret out new sites to discuss as CONCORD catalogs them, especially when they’re part of one of the major turning points in modern New Eden history. To not only have not discussed this site before now, but to be completely unaware of its existence until just a few days ago has admittedly given me a bit of a pause. Not that it is an overwhelmingly huge deal or anything of the sort, but more as a matter of professional pride in knowing that I’ve thoroughly canvassed the various sources I have at my disposal in my ongoing efforts here on EVE Travel.
It’s just as well that I haven’t discovered this site before now, however, since it mirrors the economic and violent turmoil currently wracking the Cluster. Death and destruction appear to be one of the few true constants in New Eden, and the past week has done more to demonstrate that truth than all of the words I or my fellow writers could ever hope to pass on through mere words. It’s one thing to pass on the terror of battle through either pictures or words; it’s quite another matter to find yourself in the heat of battle, where one wrong move could result in the death of your crewmates and the loss of millions, if not billions of isk. For better or for worse, the terror currently gripping both traders and miners (neither of whom are generally a particularly violent bunch) has acted as a wake-up call that no where can be considered safe, and that you must always be on your guard. It’s a lesson that people need pounded into their heads from time to time. This time around it’s the (normally) hapless industrialists of New Eden that are learning this lesson the hard way, but four years ago, it was the Ammatar Mandate who learned that you can never let your guard down in New Eden.
Long time readers will know that I’ve thoroughly discussed both the resurgence of war between the empires and the fascinating history of the Ammatar Mandate. And longtime readers will also know that those two subjects collided rather spectacularly on June 6, YC 110 when the Elder Fleet tore its way through Ammatar space to save the remaining Starkmanir tribesmen. And using “tore” as the verb here is perhaps putting it mildly. No one expected the Elders to return, much less that they would be able to singlehandedly bring down CONCORD’s entire threat response capability while leading a massive fleet of secretly built warships. I cannot even the imagine the horror that the Mandate defense forces must have felt as they saw these behemoths rampaging their way towards the heart of the Mandate. It’s to their credit that anyone managed to react quickly enough to offer any resistance, but that still didn’t keep the Battle of Jarizza from being a very lopsided massacre. As Aura explains:
The few Minmatar wrecks in this graveyard represent all of the casualties that could be inflicted by the hapless Ammatar Fleet against the Elder armada that swept through the Mandate worlds. Offering sanctuary to those who embraced their Nefantar heritage, the invaders were swift to execute those interfered with their mission to liberate the last remaining survivors of the Starkmanir Tribe. Rumor has it that many Ammatar Fleet captains simply turned their ships away—not from fear of the marauders, but out of respect, admiration, and above all else, a guilty conscience.
The battlefield sits about 200 kilometers off the stargate into Asghatil, in a gentle arc facing the sun. The vast majority of the arc glints in the sunlight: the golden hulls of the broken Ammatar ships still glint like new if you only glance at them. Indeed, my very first impression upon looking at a number of the ships was that the battle had only recently ended. Even after four years, some ships still had active reactors or capacitors, spitting off intermittent energy into the vastness of space. The majority of the wrecks were Armageddon and Apocalypse-class battleships, but that was only because any smaller ships had been pounded beyond any hope of recognition. The ships that did survive more or less intact still showed signs of immense damage. A number of the Armageddon class ships were cracked in half along the spine, like some child would do playing with a twig. The fact that these “twigs” were multi-million ton battleships shows something of the awesome firepower the Elders had brought to bear on this mission.
That is not to say, of course, that the Elders didn’t take their own casualties. Closer to the gate, a small collection of Minmatar wrecks sat, still gently tumbling through space. Of the recognizable wrecks, most of them seemed to be from Tempest-class ships. It’s astonishing to think that these battleships must have acted as the outer perimeter of the fleet, since all accounts show that the bulk of the Elder forces were capital ships (seemingly setting the stage for current null sec capsuleer doctrine). None of the behemoths were brought down (those losses wouldn’t happen until the Elders pushed through to Sarum Prime), only the outer perimeter forces suffered any damage. Perhaps most surprisingly, a few Tempest sails actually managed to survive, despite their apparent fragility. They added a somewhat ghostly backdrop to an already ghostly visage on the main battlefield.
I spent quite a while in Jarizza, paying my respects to the dead. This, after all, was the vanguard site of the Elder Invasion. The Elders managed to obtain almost complete surprise on the Jarizza forces, and they had almost no hope whatsoever. And, in a way, it also gave me a certain peace with the current situation. Reflecting on this past massacre also gave me a bit of closure for the current spasms that are wracking through New Eden. After all, if events like the current Jita incursion and the so-called Hulkageddon prove that death and destruction are one of the few things that we can count on in New Eden, it also reinforces the most optimistic message that I ca think of: Life goes on.
…And hopefully next time it won’t take me 2 years to discover it.
- Attraction: Ammatar Battle Site
- System: Jarizza
- Security Rating: 0.8
- Region: Derelik
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Ammatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
Libraries are a truly glorious thing. I remember my parents once taking me to the central library once in Caille, when I was perhaps 10. We had been rushing back and forth all day, trying to take in the wonders of the cultural heart of the Federation. The Crystal Boulevard itself seemed to pulse with the very lifeblood of the nation. Near the end of the day, we ended up near the royal palaces. It’s a little known fact outside of Caille itself that, technically speaking, Caille (and, indeed, the entirety of the Garoun continent) is a monarchy. The legacy of the great Gallentean hero Doule dos Rouvenor, the empire he helped found today exists more for ceremonial and administrative purposes more than anything else, but there is still technically royalty in the heart of democracy in New Eden, which I’ve always found more than a little ironic. It’s a powerless royalty, kept around for ceremonial purposes, but a royalty nonetheless.
Much as I have an inherent distaste for anything involving royalty, one of the things that has always astounded me is the traditional royal architecture. As you might have guessed with my professed love for Amarrian architecture, I have a certain soft spot in my heart for grandiose architecture, which fits in perfectly with most royal styles. Much of the palace grounds are astounding, as you might expect, but what I remember in particular is the library. The only possible way I could describe it is as a temple to knowledge itself. The walls were covered in mosaics of the great Gallentean thinkers of the day, fastidiously maintained over the centuries. Each book is treated as a sacred text, despite the fact that the knowledge they maintain can be found across the four corners of New Eden, in that ethereal connection to everyone in New Eden known as the GalNet. Each room in the library is dedicated to a different branch of knowledge, from physics to agriculture to literature. The central room, in the classic sacrosanct position, was dedicated to history, with the mosaics telling the founding of the nation. This is the one room in the library that had been kept up to date. Not only do the mosaics tell the stories up until the building of the palace library, but to the modern day. Rouvenor’s conquest of Garoun sits directly opposite a stylized painting of the original signing of the Federation Constitution. It is truly a masterpiece and tribute to the entirety of the Federation and its continuing pursuit of knowledge, and it’s inspired a love of knowledge (and, generally, in geeking out) that continues to this day.
I bring this story up because I was reminded of my visit the other day. I had been traveling through the Republic, intent on some task or another. I was halfway through my warp in the system of Tanoo when I noticed something on my list of in-system structures that I hadn’t expected to see: a mobile library. Instead of immediately jumping out of the system, I of course turned Legacy to go see what the library had to offer. En route, I briefly scoured GalNet for information on the library. Information was sparse. The most I could find was that the Krusual tribe, one of the Republic’s Seven Tribes, ran the library. It apparently moved from time to time to new systems, offering up its knowledge to a new solar system while it carried out whatever research needed to be done. As my depleted vacuum field dissipated around me, I eagerly looked to see at what this new knowledge repository had to offer.
I will say this: the Royal Library in Caille this is not. And I will admit that I was briefly disappointed to see that. That said, the mobile library WAS in classic Minmatar styling: bare girders, harsh lines, and, even through the vacuum of space, the smell of duct tape. Still, even here, there were echoes of the Royal Library. Like the rooms back in Caille, the mobile Krusual library was split into multiple bunkers, each dedicated to a different area of research. Overall, the library appeared to be primarily dedicated to archeological research. There was a bunker dedicated to preserving excavated relics, numerous storage facilities, a linguistics analysis laboratory, and plenty of space for both researchers and that quintessential scientific pastime: the symposium. All connected and held together by various metal contraptions that seemed to me to be ready to fall apart at the drop of an errant hat in zero gravity (though I’m sure was actually quite a bit more stable).
Unfortunately, the library wouldn’t let me dock to explore the library. Given the nature of the library as a research-based institution, I hadn’t exactly been holding my breath that they would let a random capsuleer come storming through (who knows what kind of mischief we’d bring with us). And I doubt the interior of the library even attempts to match the grandeur of the Royal Library in Caille. Still, I think a tour of the facilities would have given that same inner sense of awe, knowing that I’m almost walking through the knowledge that has been built over the course of millennia. Regardless of the form that libraries take, they serve a vital function in acting as a central repository of humanity. Be it in the temple to knowledge that is the Royal Library in Caille, to this simple research library, libraries will always have a place with humanity. After all, knowledge is power.
- Attraction: Krusual Mobile Library
- System: Tanoo
- Security Rating: 0.9
- Region: Derelik
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Ammatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
- Additional Notes: This site apparently serves as a portion of the Minmatar epic arc.
In an era where attacks can be launched with little to no warning at any time, conventional doctrine suggests that you should rely on a de-centralized defense command to ensure that an enemy couldn’t hit the basket with all your eggs, so to speak. Of course, Amarr-Minmatar relations are anything but “conventional”. While both navies do use the generally decentralized structure, both have deemed fit in recent years to build up their fleets on the border. This might make sense in a strategic location near the homeworlds (the Amarr-Pator route through Amamake comes to mind), but not so much in the relatively backwater systems of Kenobanala and Audesder. Still, here is where the standoff started, and here is where it shall remain. That being said, I took the Professor out for a spin and headed for the oddly named Fort Kumar in Kenobanala.
As I headed for the Fort, I looked up what information was put out by the Information Ministry:
Fort Kumar has been a bastion of Ammatar greatness ever since the Rebellion. It was erected shortly before the Minmatars rebelled against Amarr rule as a large mining outpost, but during the great conflict that ensued it was transformed into a military installation which stood firm against the large, albeit tired, rebel forces attempting to advance deeper into Amarr territory. This victory which some claim turned the tide of the war is largely credited to the massive kameira forces stationed in Kenobanala. The Amarr allowed the kameiras to become Ammatar citizens after the war, earning their freedom by their extraordinary bravery and loyalty to the Empire.
For many years Fort Kumar has stood largely empty, since the Ammatar government has not felt the need to maintain such an expensive military outpost in light of the calmer political situation. But all that changed with the ‘Tyrion’ incident. Now the Fort is again bustling with activity, filled to the brim with Amarr, Ammatar, Caldari and Khanid troops. Hastily erected personnel quarters litter the surrounding area around the outpost itself, due to insufficient accommodations. The men are tense beyond words, most of them have never been in an actual fleet battle, but that may soon change, as war seems almost inevitable.
A little out of date, no doubt, but that’s to be expected from the Amarr. Truthfulness has never exactly been high on their list of importance. Regardless, I was determined to see as much as I could of the fortifications, if only because such things were so rare in today’s day and age, when strength lay mostly in what an empire could project, not massive fortifications that could be easily passed by as an invading force swept through the system.
The Empire certainly didn’t make an attempt to hide the Fort. My scanners had no problems identifying the multiple structures and warships within moments of me entering the system. As I came out of warp at the Fort, my attention was first drawn not to the bulky and dark-colored fort proper, but to the graceful and brightly-lit cathedral standing in the middle of the complex. I was amazed that even in dark times, the Amarr refused to lose their aesthetic sense. A way of keeping the faith, I suppose. After taking my eyes off of the cathedral, I examined the nearby fort. It was a dark and foreboding structure, standing as a counterweight to the Cathedral. I couldn’t help but feel that even the pairing of the two was a deliberate design choice.
Nearby, minor manufacturing plants could be seen, presumably providing ammunition for the assembled forces. Speaking of assembled forces, perhaps the biggest surprise of the compound was the rather overt support the Caldari were providing. A number of Raven-class battleships could be seen orbiting nearby, seemingly as ready to go as the other Ammar and Ammatar forces. I was surprised that Heth had allowed the fleet support to continue. I had always viewed the Empire/State alliance as more of an “the enemy of my enemy…” type of relationship, rather than wholesale support. Perhaps Heth knew that nothing was going to come of this build up at this point. Certainly, if this hasn’t opened up as a battleground by now in the Minmatar/Amarr war, it never was going to.
I spent a good amount of time looking at the Fort. Enough, I’m sure, to make the forces there nervous, even given my good standings with the State and Empire. After the warnings started to be backed up with more than a little bluster, I decided it was time to take my leave of the situation. Besides, I’ve heard that equally impressive fortifications sat just a jumpgate away…
- Attraction: Fort Kumar
- System: Kenobanala
- Security Rating: 0.3
- Region: Derelik
- Potential Hazards: Getting to Kenobanala involves low sec travel. Pirates and gate camps should be expected. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.
- Additional Notes: This site is a COSMOS site, and agents are available if you have the proper standing with the Ammar or Ammatar.