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.
Missiles and ammo flung themselves across the vastness of space at incomprehensible speeds. Lasers singed shields, armor buckled and collapsed, and ships exploded as their reactors went critical. My own drake, hardened as it was for battle, heaved violently as it took what evasive maneuvers it could to avoid the Sansha onslaught. An artificially generated wormhole had been discovered in Yulai mere moments ago, and the battle was just getting underway. About 100 kilometers out, a cloud of Sansha battleships, dark enough to block out the sun despite how close we were to it, began ever so slowly moving towards the fleet set up to defend the heart of civilized space. Suddenly, alarms blared at me as over 50 Sanshas locked on to me. Apparently, I was one of their first picks of the day. Ammunition bore down on me as the drake struggled valiantly to keep my shields up. Within moments, though my shields collapsed, and soon the armor did as well. My hull collapsing around me, I instructed the crew that remained alive to abandon ship and suddenly-
I shot upright in my bed, drenched in sweat. This hadn’t been the first time that I’d had nightmares in the aftermath of the battle of Yulai, but it was the first time that I had woken up in the middle of one of my dreams. After a few moments of confused disorientation, I realized that Aura’s incessant beeping was alerting me to a priority message. I quickly opened it up, and as I read it, my eyes widened in surprise. I quickly contacted my hanger to prep Professor Science for immediate departure. If what I was seeing was true… This I had to see with my own eyes.
Within half an hour from waking up, I entered into the system of Promised Land. I have been in this system a number of times, as it was only one jump out from New Eden and the EVE Gate, but never before had I known of anything noteworthy in this system. The massive collapsed remnant of the fabled link to our home planet had always been this area’s primary attraction. Indeed, the Sisters of Eve spent countless hours attempting to study and even reopen the supposedly stable wormhole that had collapsed so long ago. This time around, though, my eyes were set in Promised Land. I vectored Professor Science towards Planet I, and the ship launched into warp. As I came out of warp near the planet, there it was as clear as day. Exactly as the message had described it. Sitting just a few kilometers from the warp in point sat a wormhole.
But this wasn’t just any run of the mill wormhole that you could easily find in most systems throughout the cluster these days. This, at least from initial appearances, appeared to be another stable wormhole. Just like the infamous one just a system over. But this one also had the distinction of being of artificial construction (the current wormholes popping up throughout the cluster may or may not be naturally occurring, the academics have yet to come to a conclusion on that to my knowledge). And constructed by the Sansha no less. Prior to the current incursions of entire constellations, the Sansha had shown the ability to create artificial wormholes to invade particular systems. They had used their wormhole technology to directly invade Yulai, where a large capsuleer force had appeared to defend it. Directly after the Yulai event, however, Sansha forces regrouped in Promised Land and engaged in a much more limited battle with defense forces. The wormhole used to enter Promised Land was the one sitting in front of me today. More than a month later, it was still sitting here. Perhaps most surprisingly, no one seemed to have known or cared about this. Despite the obvious significance of this, there were no survey or science ships here to study this wormhole compared to the one in New Eden.
I tried to take Professor Science through the wormhole to no avail. Like the other wormholes used by the Sansha, they had somehow keyed it to only allow only Sansha ships through. All I could do with the wormhole was see a very distorted image of the other side. I circled around the wormhole to see if there was anything I could see through it, but it remained as mysterious as ever. I could make out a star of some kind on the other side, but all attempts to identify it failed. I couldn’t even tell if it was just a strange reflection/refraction of Promised Land itself. It remained as mysterious as ever. All attempts to cross the event horizon boundary merely resulted in me getting bounced back by some kind of force.
After about 15 minutes I gave up. Professor Science simply could not get me the information I needed. I would have to do the only thing I knew how: advertise this bizarre wormhole to others, and hope that someone else could crack its secrets.
- Attraction: Violent Wormhole
- System: Promised Land, Planet I
- Security Rating: 0.3
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: Low sec travel is needed to get to the landmark. Caution is advised.
My travels once again took me into the oldest region in New Eden: the rather aptly-named Genesis region. Ruins of stations and other structures left over from a time long since past could be found throughout the region. The ruins could often be found near the gates in that region, which makes given the long term stability of the gravitational resonances around the stars that are necessary for interstellar travel. However, even with the graceful and ancient Amarrian structures floating about, my eyes were instead drawn to a site of natural beauty.
Near the Antem gate in Djimame stands a large asteroid. By no means the largest asteroid out there, it’s not even large enough to be spherical, but it’s a sizeable asteroid nonetheless. What makes the asteroid notable, however, is not its location but rather what it was missing. As I sat behind the asteroid relative to Djimame itself, I could easily see the star through the asteroid. A large hole bored almost straight through the thing to the other side. The hole was sizeable enough that I could have maneuvered the Professor through it if I had tried. Not that I wanted to try, of course. The fragile “bunny ears” of my ship wouldn’t take well to grazing the asteroid’s interior.
The asteroid was by no means the grandest sight that I’ve seen in my travels. It wasn’t a sight that made me question my place and significance in the universe. It didn’t make me stare in awe at the fury of nature or man. It didn’t even make me feel particularly strong about, well, anything. But I guess not everything in New Eden had to inspire strong emotions. After all, sometimes, a rock with a hole in it is just a rock with a hole in it.
- Attraction: Hollow Asteroid
- System: Djimame
- Security Rating: 0.3
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: Getting to Djimame involves low sec travel. Pirates and gate camps should be expected. A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.
Capsuleers are many things. Throughout my travels, I’ve met some very noble souls, but I’ve also met some very wicked ones. I find it hard to fathom exactly how much control we ultimately wield over the affairs of not just a planet or a system, but a veritable galaxy. The course of empires can be changed at the mere blink of an eye of a capsuleer. Remarkably, though, I’ve always found it heartening that, for the most part, we keep our affairs to ourselves. It’s rare indeed that civilians get caught in the crossfire of our great wars, and when they do, it’s almost always because they made a choice to be a crew on our ships. Indeed, it’s really only when I see the glittering lights of a colonized world that I think about how many lives go, for the most part, untouched by us.
It was for that reason and more that I read about the events at Pashanai with sadness. I had headed planetside two days before to handle some personal business, and was not able to return to my pod for another three, but the moment my pod secured itself in the Professor, I knew exactly where I was going. It was a strange, but pervasively human desire to see the results of disasters. Part of you can’t bear to think of the lives affected or destroyed, and yet the rest of your can’t even think of looking away, if only to see what happens next. I’ve seen it time and time again, even before I gained my Pilot’s license. That strange desire was pulling me once again, so off I went to Pashanai.
By the time I had returned to my pod, of course, most of the details of the attack had played out. At roughly 11:00 Eve Standard Time, an explosion ripped through the hull of the Ministry of War station in Pashanai. The Amarr rapidly mobilized on the Minmatar border, especially after it was learned that a member of the Theology Council, the Amarrian high court, was on-board the station. Indeed, up until 20 minutes before the explosion, Empress Jamyl Sarum was scheduled to be on the station at the time of the explosion. Over 5,500 people perished that day. The Amarrians were understandably upset over the attack, but at least some commentators jumped on the Amarrian response as too aggressive. The Minmatar terrorist group Bloody Hands of Matar soon claimed responsibility for the attack, and they were quickly and rightfully denounced by the Minmatar and Gallente governments. However, at least some ties have been uncovered between the BHoM and the infamous Ushra’Khan capsuleer alliance.
It was with this background that I approached the station. Given my original warp-in angle, the station looked remarkably untouched, and I briefly wondered if the explosion had occurred in the heart of the station. As I circled the Professor around, however, the huge gash on the other side of the station quickly came into view. Almost half of the station’s dome was charred and burnt. These sections stood in stark contrast to the normally gleaming Amarrian hulls that I have grown so used to seeing. Tiny bits of debris still littered the area, though unlike the Caldari, the Amarr had at least managed to put the fires out by the time I arrived.
As I circled the station a few times, I couldn’t help but marvel at how just cheap life can appear. It’s often easy to forget about mortality when you’re a capsuleer. Instant cloning will do that to you. Still, that’s a luxury beyond most people’s wildest dreams, and it is a constant struggle to remind myself that just because I may wake up in a clone bay doesn’t mean that the hundreds of other people that serve on my ship will. And those on the station certainly didn’t have a chance to get to an escape pod, or know that they’d wake up mildly irritated in a new body. Capsuleer technologies are a wonderful gift, but it’s times like this that I wonder if it’s worth the loss of our humanity. Because if mortality isn’t the singular defining feature of our existence, what is? If losing our lives means nothing to us, how can we fathom what it means to those who don’t have our benefits?
With too many questions, and too few answers, I left the smoldering ruins behind.
- Attraction: Ministry of War Station
- System: Pashanai
- Security Rating: 0.5
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Amarr, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
CONCORD represented the strength and order of the Empires. When CONCORD was prompted into action, nothing stood in its way. It was the ultimate statement by the Empires that they would punish those who broke its laws within Empire space. It was always important, however, to remember that CONCORD never preemptively attacks but only responds. But respond it will, and there is not a capsuleer out there who can resist its wrath.
Indeed, for as long as I’ve been a capsuleer, CONCORD had an almost mythic quality to it. Nothing could resist it when it decided action was necessary. Of course, that’s what made the attack on Yulai all the more shocking to those who relied on CONCORD to enforce order throughout empire space. It was a daring attack, really. That was not to say that CONCORD shouldn’t have seen it coming. Cynos, of course, are banned in empire space, and CONCORD should have been on its highest alert the moment one first appeared in Yulai mere weeks before the actual attack. But I suspect CONCORD had grown just as complacent as some capsuleers have become in thinking that Empire Space is and should always be completely safe.
We all remembered where we were when the attacks happened. I was back sitting in my old base of Isikesu, sitting in a bar when Scope broke the story. The station immediately locked down. I can’t blame the station authorities, really, since chances are SOMEONE would have blamed them and sued for allowing them to leave when CONCORD was, for all apparent purposes, inoperative. By now, the story itself is fairly well known: In a daring attack, and in an attempt to free one of the Minmatar tribes still held by the Amarr, the Thukker Elders attacked CONCORD in an attempt to take down their Enforcement Division, so the Thukkers could stage multiple attacks on Amarr space.
I maneuvered the Professor through the wreckage. It was clear from the battlefield that both sides suffered massive damage. Of course, seeing CONCORD battleships adrift, lifeless, was a bit jarring for me, since you so rarely see CONCORD wrecks of any kind. But I suppose that CONCORD doesn’t often have to deal with capital ships, with the aforementioned ban on cynos in high security space. The Naglfar remnants, tattered remnants floating nearby, however, showed that even when caught by surprise that CONCORD could respond admirably. However, the nearby CONCORD headquarters, still damaged even after all of this time, showed just as clearly that the Thukker Elders knew exactly where and how to hit CONCORD the hardest. For that, they deserved some respect. Shaking my head, and wondering if life would ever quite be the same again, I vectored the Professor out of the system.
- Attraction: Yulai Graveyard and CONCORD Station
- System: Yulai
- Security Rating: 1.0
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2.0 security status, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
Editor’s Note: With the Crucible update, it appears this site is no more, alas. The station itself is gone from the gate, and the gate is now pointing in a different direction entirely.
Being this deep into Genesis, a number of older ruins still littered the area. Older stations, clearly Amarrian in design, could often be found just a few klicks off of many of the stargates in the area. It was a bit jarring to see these old, battered, stations- more than picked clean by raiders over the years- next to the more modern stargates and CONCORD billboards, but such was life as a pod pilot.
Before jumping into Dead End, I noticed something a little strange, even for this area of New Eden. Near the Dead End gate stood a station. Perhaps that wasn’t quite the right wording: In the Dead End gate stood a station.
The gate seemed to be installed directly into the station’s former superstructure. I had never seen anything like it. Gates were usually free-standing affairs, I didn’t see any immediate reason why the original gate builders needed to put this one in the station. I turned on the Professor’s sensors. I couldn’t make any definitive conclusions, but apparently some material defects within the gate’s construction meant that the gate’s superstructure couldn’t maintain integrity. Rather than sending out for a new gate (a long time to wait, especially before the invention of jump drives), the builders probably decided to use the already-existing station to reinforce.
A few hull breaches existed in the station’s structure. One of them was- barely- enough to maneuver the Professor through. For a cobbled together gate built into a station, the gate itself looked remarkably nondescript… if it hadn’t been bisected by a massive station. Still, the gate itself seemed to be functional. The wormhole that actually threw the ship to Dead End was formed just in front of the station’s hull: as long as the gate mechanisms stayed intact, it could safely throw myself and the Professor into Dead End.
I sent the automated request to activate the gate. As the gate opened the wormhole, I couldn’t help but think that this kind of situation must have terrified the builders of the gate. The prospect of making that years-long trip for nothing… well, I could certainly understand why they would do whatever possible to salvage the situation. It was a quirky little discovery that I had made, but a cool one nonetheless.
- Attraction: Gate inside a station
- System: Central Point, jumpgate to Dead End
- Security Rating: 0.2
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: Getting to Central Point from high sec space requires extensive low sec travel. Pirates (both pod and rat varieties) can be quite common on the route. A covops would be recommended.
EDIT: Please note that there have been recent changes to the Monolith. Specifically, it has been moved to approximately an Astronomical Unit out from Dead End V, Moon 5 (though Moon 5 is still the closest celestial object). A beacon has now been added to the overview to navigate to the Monolith. Finally, Blood Raider cruisers and frigates now congregate near the Monolith. Caution is, as always, advised.
Cruising near New Eden, I came across a small, out of the way system known as Dead End. It’s a small, relatively unremarkable system, really, with eight planets. Living up to it’s name, there’s only one way in, and one way out. I almost warped right back out looking at the basic system map, but I felt like there was something out there. After probing for a few moments, nothing came up on the Professor’s scans, or on the scanner probes. Still, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that someone, or something, was watching me. Judging me. I checked the local comm net, but I was the only ping back from the system router.
Regardless, I began warping among the various celestials in the system. Time and again, there was absolutely nothing out there. But why didn’t I feel quite alone?
Then, near the fifth moon of the fifth planet, I noticed something in the distance from my warp in points. I immediately directed the Professor’s scanners at it, but it registered as…. nothing. Not just the “nothing” of empty space, but literally nothing. Like my scanners were going right through it.
Playing around with my sensors for a few moments, I recalibrated them to take at least the dimensions of it. One thing was immediately apparent: it met a perfect 1:4:9 ratio. Not even a micron off. The cool, clean black surface, with nary an impact crater in sight, suggested it might have been dropped into the system just yesterday, but something told me that this dated back to the time of the original Colonizers of New Eden, maybe even further back than that.
I approached it, hoping that maybe some of the Professor’s probes could knock off a sample of the material, but to no avail. I managed to lock onto it, at least, but my analyzer couldn’t make heads or tails of it.
After a few minutes, I gave up, and resumed my exploration. I couldn’t shake the feeling that, as much as it didn’t seem to react at all to my presence, that something had studied me closely during those brief few moments. With a final shiver, I returned to Central Point, intent on getting back to high sec for the day.
- Attraction: The Monolith
- System: Dead End V, Moon V
- Security Rating: 0.2
- Region: Genesis
- Potential Hazards: Getting to Dead End from high sec space requires extensive low sec travel. Pirates (both pod and rat varieties) can be quite common on the route. A covops would be recommended.
- Additional Notes: I’ve heard a number of rumors that a second monolith actually exists in New Eden, and that it jumps around from system to system. I haven’t seen this myself, and so therefore can’t confirm or deny it, but I wanted to pass it along.