Sightseeing in the Cluster

Posts tagged “metropolis

Minmatar Mining Corporation Testing Facility

Well at least I'm making fun of the Gallente for once.
The Testing Facility complex, with a defunct asteroid field in the distance.

I had a few hundred words typed up today about the weirdness of most corporate museums. How such institutions were such a transparent way to conflate a corporation with Incidents of Historical Note, to idolize a corporation for making A Difference over the course of history, and to try to make the public think that, finally, THIS corporation is different and cares about something other than just the next quarterly profit report.

And, well, then I remembered that the Gallente basically invented the idea. And, just to show how proud we were for coming up with that particular achievement, we went ahead and elected the self-aggrandizer not once but twice. So, well, I have no room to talk.

There is SOMETHING about this shot I really like, but I'm not sure I could tell you what.
Hagilur’s light glints off of the main corporate HQ facility.

Besides, my poor, somewhat hypocritical but now-deleted rant aside, sometimes corporations DO accomplish things during Incidents of Historical Note. Unlike Roden Shipyards, the main claims to fame of which are, well, making megathrons and getting its corporate CEO elected President of the Federation twice, the Minmatar Mining Corporation has in fact made some significant contributions over its many, many years of history. One of the only entities that can trace its history back to the storied Minmatar Empire, the entity that existed before the Amarr enslaved Pator, the MMC not only managed to survive Amarr enslavement but also became a crucial supplier of raw materials to the fledgling Minmatar rebellion.

I at least got a little bit  (though admittedly not too much) away from my usual style with these entries.
A series of observation towers to watch ship testing in the nearby asteroid field.

Since the contributions of the MMC are, well, actually worthy of being remembered, the MMC and the Republic have gone ahead and set up a site to memorialize the MMC and its influence on Minmatar history. To that end, in Hagilur you can now find the Minmatar Mining Corporation Testing Center. Although still a working facility, it also serves now to showcase both the MMC’s impact on history and how the MMC intends to stay relevant in the modern era (I feel compelled at this point to note that I am, in fact, not receiving any compensation from the MMC for these statements). The site was initially one of the first asteroid fields mined by the MMC. Though now long-mined out of any useful ores, the site was converted over the years to a ship testing facility, where the MMC worked to perfect its ship designs both for mining vessels and, later, combat spacecraft.

Querying Aura about the main testing facility, set up just a few kilometers from the now defunct asteroid belt, brings up this analysis:

Inside the dome.

The Minmatar Mining Corporation is the only Minmatar corporation still in existence that can trace its foundation to before the conquest of the old Minmatar Empire’s territory by the Amarr Empire. The corporation managed to stay in business during the Amarr occupation only because it was useful. Now it is useful to the Minmatar, providing the raw materials to build fleets and equipment to defend the Republic against the Amarr Empire, and all other threats to the Minmatar people.

Another stark shot that I really like (probably because its so similar to that other shot lol).

This is the headquarters of the Minmatar Mining Corporation’s Testing Division and the primary facility of the testing center located at this old asteroid belt. The Minmatar Mining Corporation is a key player in the economy of the Minmatar Republic, providing vast quantities of material to the military and heavy industries. The need to continually enhance mining, processing and transport technology keeps the testing center very busy.

Ramming speed!
One of the commemorative Scythes pointing at the main HQ facility.

The station is one of classic Minmatar design, replete with translucent biodomes, rusty plating, and a strongly industrial motif that is, I suppose, not very surprising for an R&D center focused on ship development. Although not open to the public, the station is abuzz with corporate activity, with small, personal station transport vehicles seen crawling over inch of the station at one point or another.

Surrounding the station is a variety of other facilities. Although the asteroid field had long ago been stripped of anything useful, the field itself still offers a fairly decent course to field test new starship concepts in a secured environment, so many of the nearby facilities include observation platforms and mechanical bays for the new spacecraft.

Some of the other facilities, however, are more dedicated to the museum side of the site. For example, the MMC Storage and Preservation Facility serves mostly an academic role in the preservation of key Matari artifacts:

This is, of course, the storage facility.

This facility is used to store and preserve samples of all the technology developed or used by the Minmatar Mining Corporation over the long centuries of its existence. A number of very old pieces of Minmatar technology are kept here, making the facility a magnet for Minmatar scholars keen to reconstruct the material culture of the old Minmatar Empire.

The background nebula here was so bright it actually made shots difficult to set up at some angles.
Two Scythe-class cruisers that commemorate the role the ships have played in Minmatar history.

Finally, one whole section of the facility is dedicated to what is, today, the most recognizable contribution of the MMC: the Scythe-class cruiser. Although today the Scythe is recognizable first and foremost as a logistics cruiser, it was initially designed (again, unsurprisingly for a mining corporation) as a mining ship. The Scythe’s original role is profiled heavily at the Testing Center. Two Scythes, in their original mining configuration, can be found on display at the site as a testament to the deep history surrounding the oldest ship design still in use in the Republic. The ships keep a watchful eye on the testing field from their pedestals nearby.

Aura has this to say about the two ships:

I will admit that I had to look up the Scythe when writing this, lol

The Scythe-class cruiser remains the oldest Minmatar ship still in use. It has seen many battles and is an integrated element of many Minmatar tales and the material heritage of the tribes. The Minmatar Mining Corporation retains a number of mining variants of the Scythe, despite the ship being little known as a mining vessel since the Republic Fleet, Minmatar Territorial Guards, and Tribal Militias adopted the upgraded combat support and logistics variant. Even so, the mining variant Scythe, upgunned and armored by rebel crews, has a storied history as a mainstay of the Minmatar resistance and a key ship of the Great Rebellion.

I think they've stopped doing the snowflakes on wordpress sites during the holidays and honestly that makes me sad :-/

Notably, despite the Minmatar Mining Corporation being riddled with collaborators during its operations under the Amarr occupation, a significant number of MMC Scythes found their way into the hands of the rebels, typically crews and all. The quiet and careful support for the resistance by a large number of MMC managers did much to rehabilitate the reputation of the corporation in the post-Rebellion period, and the heroism of those martyred when their luck ran out is marked by a memorial plaque in every station and facility owned by the corporation.

Remember when I played as a space lawyer, hahahahhaha
Flames flare from a foundry active in the Testing Facility.

I made the mistake once of asking my brother, an attorney who has in the past provided legal services to some fellow capsuleers, what the point of corporations was. About 20 mind-numbing minutes later, all I could really glean in terms of answers was something about liability protections, but said in such fluffy (and unending) legalese that I wasn’t even sure what those words meant anymore. But, while corporations have deserved reputation of being more concerned with quarterly profits than anything else, its important to remember that corporations are, well, just groups of people. Sure, sometimes those people only care about accruing wealth, but sometimes they care about the broader picture. Sometimes they help their people gain freedom after centuries of slavery. And sometimes, heavens help me for saying this (and I, once again, reiterate that I am not gaining any compensation for saying so), they deserve to have a museum to commemorate their accomplishments.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Minmatar Mining Corporation Testing Facility
  • System: Hagilur
  • Security Rating: 0.4
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: Hagilur is located in low security space.  Particularly given that it borders high security space on two sides, pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.

Project Discovery Phase One Monument

Discovery 1

The Monument, with various beams of Entosis Links visible

Growing up and until the past 6 or 7 years, I (along with the vast majority of the Cluster) deeply respected the work of the Sisters of Eve. Well, that’s not entirely true. I still truly admire the work that they do to across the Cluster alleviating suffering and setting up refugee camps for those displaced by war or the malice of capsuleers. Through their Food Relief corporation, they alleviated famine for millions. With advanced technology, they’re trusted by all 4 empires to be first responders in any kind of emergency situation, be it war or natural disaster. I could even stand their weird (to me) religious obsession with the Eve Gate, particularly in light of my own more academic interest in the deep past of New Eden.

discovery 2

The light of Lanngisi glints off the new monument

But over the past few years, I’ve noticed something always seems a bit… off about them. They consistently seem to know far more than they ever let on about some of the more mysterious events that have occurred over the past decade. I’m still wondering how they managed to sneak their way in to Thera and start to colonize it before it was connected to the broader wormhole network. And they’ve been hanging out in the Drifter Hive systems for almost 2 years now performing some sort of in-depth survey. Anything they do discover is either hidden until some other group forces their hand or they spring it on the Cluster with apparent disregard for any protocol. It’s a puzzling choice on their part.

discovery 3

The stylized symbol is a symbol of Project Disvoery.

With all of this in mind, you may understand my reticence regarding the Sisters of Eve launching the initial phase of Project Discovery, a collaborative science initiative that brought the capsuleer community into the forefront of genetic research by studying genetic samples taken of the Drifters. Although it had the possibility to significantly advance our understanding of human genetics and provide sorely needed insight into the Drifter threat, the project, with no public oversight of its use, could lead to monstrous results as well. In classic Sisters fashion, the research arm of the Sisters remained mum on any insights they may have gained as a result of their research. Oddly, though, after Project Discovery started, new drugs and boosters began appearing throughout New Eden that had pronounced effects on capsuleers. I’m sure it was purely coincidental.

Discovery 4

The monument is fairly sizeable

Still, given that I had participated in at least the initial phases of the Sisters’ stage of Project Discovery, it was with significant interest that I learned recently that the Sisters of Eve were looking to memorialize their time as the lead research group of Project Discovery (the project having since shifted to CONCORD oversight; another organization I could gripe about for some time). After the memorial was opened to the public in Lanngisi this week, I made my way over to see how, precisely, they were choosing to commemorate their time and research, especially given my wariness when it came to anything involving the Sisters and their interaction with the capsuleer community.

discovery 5

The Professor banks in towards the monument

The monument, near the Sisters station in Lanngisi, is a graceful one, and apparently the prototype of a new type of monument to be used by the various factions to memorialize various events. Although never explicitly stated, it’s clear that the monument base is an Upwell-designed structure; few could mistake the harsh, angular lines of the monument for any other architect. As a just released memorial only two jumps from the key Minmatar trade hub of Hek, the memorial is a hive of activity, with both capsuleers and the public alike coming to investigate, with craft ranging in size from battlecruisers all the way down to the personal skimmers often favored by the broader public. Above it floated a hologram of the symbol of Project Discovery: a stylized double helix. The Sisters were even kind enough to provide a readily accessible prompt for Aura to relay to me:

discovery 6In YC118, the Sisters of EVE launched the Project Discovery citizen science platform to the capsuleer community through the GalNet.

Beginning on YC118.03.09, Project Discovery’s Phase One work was aimed at achieving a comprehensive categorization and analysis of tissue samples acquired from the Drifters since their emergence in early YC117.

Led by Professor Emma Lundgren, Chief Scientist for the SOE advance research division, Project Discovery Phase One was particularly successful in mapping out a comprehensive protein atlas from the Drifter tissue samples collected and analyzed during the term of the project.

Project Discovery Phase One came to an end on YC119.07.11, after 16 months of highly successful work. Project Discovery Phase Two is a new Exoplanets Hunting Program and is being operated under the guidance of CONCORD’s Chief of Deep Space Research, Professor Michel Mayor. Please query the Phase One Monument’s database for records of those capsuleers who were elite research contributors to Project Discovery’s tissue analysis work.

If it had ended there, I probably would not have given it much thought. However, at the end, Aura made an additional comment:

Technical Note: there appears to be an open Entosis Link port on this structure.

discovery 7

A view of the underside of the monument

My eyebrow quirked. It seemed almost personally designed to pique my interest in a way to make me willing to directly connect to a Sisters of Eve computer with my own mind. Thankfully, I still had an Entosis Link fit on Professor Science after running some additional tests on the Jove Observatories earlier this year (and having discovered that sometimes the most unexpected objects are susceptible to Entosis Link effects), and so I tentatively activated the Link on the monument. As Aura promised, I was soon rewarded with a summary of the top capsuleer researchers who helped with Phase One. However, on a whim, I decided to run the Link again to see what would happen.

Discovery 8

The monument is a hive of activity.

Surprisingly, I didn’t gain a second version of the report. Rather, I gained an item called a “Project Discovery DNA Reference (Gallente)”, which was apparently a reference set of genetic data pertaining to the Gallente bloodlines. My already quirked eyebrow… quirked even more. I spent the next few minutes running yet another Link cycle on the monument, to be rewarded with a DNA Reference of Jove bloodlines. It quickly became clear that the Sisters were providing this data on all 5 major races of New Eden (though, of course, the Drifters, the ostensible focus of Phase One, were nowhere to be seen). But to what end? That was the million isk question.

discovery 9

The monument in profile

At this point, we are left only to guess. I’ll note, however, that my fellow researchers over at the Arataka Research Consortium have done some very interesting work on a new implant that has surfaced this week that appears to be related in some way to the data being released by the Sisters at the monument. Unfortunately, as is usual with the secretive organization, the Sisters have so far refused to comment on ARC’s findings, and CONCORD’s only response appears to be to warn against using untested technology. And so we are left with far more questions than answers, but at this point, as much as I hate the feeling, I can’t say I’m not used to that.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Project Discovery Phase One Monument
  • System: Lanngisi
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Note: The monument is NOT marked with a off-grid visible beacon, but is located about 50 kilometers off the Sisters of Eve station in Lanngisi (the only station in the system).

Astrahus Exemplar Site

Astrahus 1

The construction site found in Mara.

My legs are cramping. Given that I was in a pod, that was a feat in and of itself. The pod is a marvelous piece of engineering, designed as a complete life support system to protect that little kilogram and a half bundle of neural tissue that we call a brain. The pod feeds the body nutrients, exercises muscles, and provides alternative sensory input all to make the brain (and body) forget that its cooped up in a 2-3 meter capsule and not moving for long stretches of time in order to control a hulking interstellar spaceship. It’s designed to do this for weeks, months, maybe YEARS at a time. But here I am, only 6 weeks into my quest to find a fairly rare and specific site in Anoikis, and I can definitely tell through all of the neural input filters and thousand distractions that come with piloting a starship that my legs are cramping up.

I have no idea how Katia Sae does it.

Astrahus 2

One of the landing pads near the construction site

But the story of that particular is for another time, if only because I have yet to actually find it. Instead, while browsing galnet a week ago, a news item caught my eye that eventually prompted me to take a sojourn back to civilized space for a little bit. Those of you watching the news are probably aware of the waves being made currently by Upwell Consortium. The Consortium is an alliance of corporations from across New Eden looking to bring new technology to the public. Beyond giving the Serpentis a (rather deserved) public-relations black eye, the Consortium is perhaps most well-known for looking to release so-called citadel stations, which look to up-end the market for capsuleer-owned station services. In order to promote their upcoming line of citadels, Upwell has decided to build some demonstration citadels to show their advantages.

Astrahus 3

Mara I hangs in the background

Unfortunately, I decided to make a trip to see one such citadel, being built in Ourapheh, shortly after it was destroyed by a group of capsuleers who were apparently just looking for trouble. Sadly, I didn’t realize this until after I had left the confines of my temporary wormhole home and made the trip to Ourapheh. Upwell, however, seemed completely undeterred by the attacks on all 5 of their demonstration sites (found in Ourapheh, Anjedin, Asgeir, Mara, and PF-346), and quickly announced that the demonstration sites had been restarted with better security and the removal of a computer virus. That being said, the announcements were made by Upwell’s Department of Friendship and Mutual Assistance. If history is any guide, departments with name such as this tend to have precisely the opposite effect, but I guess I will have to see how these play out.

Astrahus 4

A close up of some of the manufacturing arrays

However, with the construction projects now restarted, I quickly made my way over to the new sites. Apparently, the second time is the charm, and I arrived at a not-blown-up construction site. Admittedly, there was not much to see at this point. The construction site was close to the Customs Office orbiting Mara I, although for now it consists of little more than multiple landing platforms to coordinate supply runs and a multitude of manufacturing sites. Although a bit of work could be seen occurring in the manufacturing yards, little could be seen by way of output, perhaps because Upwell is still waiting on research components to fuel construction. I look forward to seeing the finished sites, however, as all reports of the citadels thus far indicate that even the smallest versions will still be quite sizeable, while the largest version will be able to dock even the largest titans. Those will truly be sites to see, and hopefully someday I will be able to.

Astrahus 5

I look forward to seeing what eventually gets built

That being said, however, my ability to someday see the largest citadels seems contingent on me someday leaving Anoikis to come back to New Eden. After spending a few minutes at the site wondering what was to come, I reversed my course and headed back to my temporary wormhole home. Even though I was only in New Eden for a few short moments, it was nice to see the hustle and bustle of civilized space, not to mention actual ships instead of the feeling of dread that comes over me in Anoikis when probes show up on the d-scan that aren’t my own. Regardless, I was in it to the end. While the Children of Light may have defeated me, I am content to live in Anoikis as long as it takes to find what I’m looking for, even if it means dealing with leg cramps. With one last look around at New Eden, I went forth once more into the great unknown.

Basic Information:

  • Attractions: Astrahus Exemplar Site
  • System: Ourapheh, Anjedin, Asgeir, Mara, and PF-346
  • Security Rating: 0.9, 0.5, 0.7, 0.4, and 0.0, respectively.
  • Region: Genesis, Tash-Murkon, Metropolis, Lonetrek, and Syndicate, respectively
  • Potential Hazards: Varies, depending on the location. Three of the sites are in high security space, but the sites in Mara and PF-346 should be approached with caution as they are in low sec and null sec, respectively. Caution, as always, is advised.

EDIT: I don’t have time to add a complete new post but some updated pictures of construction on the Citadels can be found below.

Abandoned CRC Monitoring Station

Arnher 1

The remains of a former CONCORD listening post

For the remarkable freedom that capsuleers enjoy from most state-imposed laws in terms of fraud, murder, and general scumminess, we also have to put up with a significant amount of surveillance. Oh, they don’t mention it much, of course, but the space lanes throughout New Eden are thick with the tendrils that CONCORD sends out to make sure we’re staying in line. How else do they know instantaneously when one capsuleer is attacking another without justification, even outside of high security space? Be it our wallet or our in-ship comms systems, few things in a pilot’s life are safe from CONCORD oversight. In order to pull something like that off, a truly massive surveillance network needs to be set up, often hidden from the prying eyes of us capsuleers to keep us from its secrets.

Arnher 2

The listening post used to keep a watchful eye on nearby comms traffic

Of course, one of these surveillance posts was bound to be found at some point. Surprisingly enough, capsuleers were not the ones to find it. Rather, the Angels found a surveillance site (capsuleer pilots are by no means the only ones on CONCORD’s watch lists) and acted quickly to take it out. In remembrance to one of the agents presumed lost in the attack, CONCORD made the site a public memorial, and perhaps more importantly, gives us pilots a sneak peek at just what kind of systems CONCORD uses to keep a watchful, if not always particularly reactive, eye on the cluster. The memorial can be found in Arnher, a low sec system a few jumps out from Hek in Metropolis. As I approached the site, ever-helpful Aura pulled up the limited information from the local ‘nets that she could:

Arnher 3This relay station was used by the Communications Relay Committee until July YC116, when it was abandoned after an assault by Dominations forces.

Containing equipment used by the CRC to monitor and intercept radio, wireless and fluid router transmissions, the DED believe that the site was attacked after intercepting encrypted data broadcasted to Angel Cartel headquarters from a scouting party in Evati.

The CRC operator of this site, codenamed “Eshtir”, has vanished without trace and is now reportedly on the run from Dominations forces, whom have placed a sizeable bounty on his head.

Arnher 4

Support girders stick out from the remains of the destroyed battleship.

Compared to some of the other covert reconnaissance sites I’ve seen, the CONCORD site is surprisingly simple in design, though I suppose it’s fair to assume that CONCORD probably did a bit of cleanup work and got rid of all the real goodies before broadcasting its existence to anyone in the system. Still, I was expecting a bit more than just a receiver array and a power/shield generator in terms of equipment (and don’t even ask me how an antenna is supposed intercept fluid-router transmissions, but I suppose that is yet another CONCORD mystery™). But if it works for them – and from all indications, it does – who am I to argue?

Arnher 4

The power generator for the site.

The only other notable item at the site was the remains of a Raven-class battleship; apparently, the one that Eshtir was on at the time of the attack. My scans didn’t shed any light as to Eshtir’s fate, but I wish him luck nonetheless. The Angels are relentless hunters; if anyone is capable of finding Eshtir now, it’d undoubtedly be them.

After a few minutes at the site, it was time for me to move on. New sights beckoned, even if they were coming fewer and fewer these days. Still, if there’s anything I’ve learned about New Eden in these past years, it’s that it’s always full of surprises. You just have to know where to look.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Abandoned CRC Monitoring Station
  • System: Arnher
  • Security Rating: 0.2
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: Arnher is located in low security space.  Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised.  A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.

Myxhaut K8 – Waste Yard

Myxhaut 1

A former toxic waste dump serves as a base of operations for the Cartel

I’ve often wondered what drives non-capsuleers to the pirate life.  For us pod pilots, the reasoning is pretty simple: mayhem is fun and screw the consequences.  But there’s a somewhat more nuanced decision chain for people who won’t wake up in a vat of goo with a new body should they take their craft a bit too far.  Some, undoubtedly, are just like capsuleers: they just want to cause some mayhem even if it cuts their lives short.  But many, if not most, have a different dynamic at work.  Some may truly believe in the ideology behind their causes (such as they are).  Others may simply have nowhere else to go.  For whatever reason, they can’t return to civilization so they turn to the only people who will give them some food and not ask questions.  For others still, some other reason may have brought them into the pirate life.

Myxhaut 2

One of the Cartel ships stationed at the site

And the pirate life is not an easy one.  Most pirate organizations tend to be rather… tough when it comes to troop discipline.  Not to mention the variety of inter-pirate turf wars that can frequently pop up with little warning.  And CONCORD, who would undoubtedly love to bring some civility to low and null security space if they had the resources.  And 90% of capsuleers, who will go after pirate ships either as a way to ingratiate themselves with CONCORD or just to earn a few extra bucks between CTAs.  Given what is undoubtedly the short life span of most pirates at any given time, any rational person would have to be pretty desperate indeed to willingly choose to be a pirate (the fact that most of these dangers exist at equal, or perhaps even higher risk levels for members of a capsuleer crew are another matter entirely).

Still, for whatever reason, pirates do exist, and in force.  And given the size of most pirate organizations, they often need local gathering points to marshal forces.  One of these sites can be found in Eurgrana for the Angel Cartel.  As Aura notes:

Myxhaut 3Pirate hideouts are often found tucked away inside the deadspace pocket of a high security system or floating more openly in the lawless sectors of space, where they attract questionable clientele. For the Cartel, these places serve as a home and base of operations. At any given time, the occupants must be able to answer the call to arms or provide sanctuary to ranking members of the Cartel’s shadowy leadership.

Myxhaut 4

An abandoned missile battery

The re-purposed toxic waste dump here was crawling with activity.  Cruisers lumbered about, ready to respond warp out to some trouble spot at a moment’s notice, if necessary.  Or flee should there be a hardened assault on the site.  Smaller frigates flitted about, but that was about the extent of the fortifications to the site.  A solitary missile batter ostensibly stood guard, but it didn’t look like it had been fueled, much less stocked with ammo, in quite some time.  Presumably, sites like this were a dime a dozen in lower-security space.  Should the Cartel lose one site for any reason, 10 more within a 2 jump area stood ready to take its place.

Myxhaut 5

Two of the silos still hold their toxic waste, the distant one has lost integrity, however.

The area itself is suffused with a dull red glow that looked rather sickening.  It seems one of the silos holding the toxic waste in the area has been melted by the goop it held (although for a melted silo it looked to be… exactly like a non-melted silo but I guess my sensors wouldn’t lie), spreading said goop around the area.  Although shields easily held off the shower of radioactive particles being flung at me, it was still nothing I wanted to particularly concentrate on for any extended period.  Thankfully, the other two silos appeared to be holding together a little bit better than the first one.  So it looks like the Cartel found themselves a nice little hiding place: one that I was in no shape to assault in my Buzzard-class Professor Science.  It didn’t look like it would take much to push them out, however.  Still, it wasn’t going to happen in my frigate, and so I soon pushed on.  As I left, though, a lyric from an old song from my childhood came unbidden in my mind.  Awkwardly, thanks to the connection I shared with the ship, it blasted through the (thankfully empty) ship:

A pirate’s life for me…

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Myxhaut K8 – Waste Yard
  • System: Eurgrana
  • Security Rating: 0.4
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: Eurgrana is located in low security space.  Pirates and gate camps should be expected, and caution is advised.  Rats can obviously be found at the site, but it’s nothing too major.   A cov ops or other cloaking ship is recommended.

The Crystal Dust Compound

Crystal Dust 1

Tvink shines in the background of the asteroid field.

Drugs are well known throughout New Eden. Medicinal drugs, spiritual drugs, and yes, particularly recreational drugs have a rich history throughout the Cluster. But there’s more to drugs than just making you feel better (either during a sickness or just, you know, in general, depending on your proclivities). For quite a while now, drugs have also been used to help improve certain aspects of your life. Steroids are probably the best example of this, by vastly increasing your capacity for building muscle, and thus improving your overall physical condition (at the risk of some fairly significant side effects, even today). However, while steroids have been around since before the dawn of the true space age, we have only recently seen significant development of a kind of ‘neural steroid’ that could significantly increase cognitive abilities. Oh, we’ve had drugs to increase mental focus, for a while, but that really only lets you marshal your current cognitive abilities on a task better.

Crystal Dust 2

A forgotten sign floats nearby.

No, true neural boosters – drugs that could not only increase your concentration, but also increase your actual cognitive processes (your ‘intelligence’, if you will, though it’s not quite that simple) as well – have only been in development for the past century ago. So-called neural boosters were able to drastically increase memory and other cognitive abilities. These achievements were accomplished through the use of genetically-altered viruses that directed infected cells to alter the structure of synapses and other neurological structures, increasing synapse formation. More importantly, these viruses seemed to originally have no adverse side effects. Boosters quickly grew in popularity once government approved them for human consumption, and it soon became all the rage to increase your intelligence with boosters.

Crystal Dust 3

The Thukker manufacturing base.

But, of course, nothing is ever free. It turns out that there WERE side effects to these boosters, even if they didn’t manifest themselves for a few decades. The incidence of epilepsy reached record proportions, and other long term cognitive disorders soon manifested themselves. The cause of these diseases were soon traced back to boosters; it turns out that changing protein synthesis in neural cells eventually lead to significant protein deformities, causing a whole range of neurological illnesses. The resulting backlash was all-encompassing and harsh. Well-regarded biochemical companies soon collapsed under a deluge of lawsuits, and governments couldn’t act fast enough to ban these boosters. Given the severe long term side effects, it was thought that the booster industry was gone for good.

Crystal Dust 4

One of the Thukker ships camped near the base.

Of course, that was before the advent of a consumer group that had little care for long term side effects. With the rise of the capsuleer, boosters are once again coming into vogue. The new generation of boosters are much more targeted, both to reduce side effects and to create much more precise benefits for their users. The long-term protein deformities no longer mattered, because chances are that a capsuleer would be podded into a new body before the disease manifested itself anyway. And now that the market is back up and running along nicely (regardless of continued bans on boosters), various nefarious organizations have taken it upon themselves to ensure a continued supply of boosters and other illegal drugs. The Thukker Tribe, one of the Seven Tribes (though not quite as well integrated into the Republic as some of the others), is one of those who have taken to producing these drugs. In a surprisingly bold move on their part, they set up one of their minor production facilities in Ani. As Aura explains:

Crystal Dust 5This is a secluded factory site operated by some Thukker tribe nomads. It is used to manufacture various illicit substances, most notable the brand new Crystal Dust neural boosters. The Thukker tribe have used the Ani constellation for several decades as a base for illegal operations and to hide themselves or valuable stash in. They’re not too happy with the increasing Republic authority in the constellation, but are hoping that by laying low will keep them under the Republic’s radar.

Of more immediate concern for the Thukker nomads here is the Angel cartel, which has earmarked the Ani constellation as an area ideal for organized crime. Even if the cartel and the Thukker tribe are nominally allies when it comes to dealing with the empires, the cartel is renown to tolerate no competition in those areas they consider their own.

Crystal Dust 6

One of the Angel Cartel ships that hide amidst the outskirts of the base.

The Thukkers did their job well of hiding the base (even if it is, you know, well marked in CONCORD databases apparently). The base sits amidst an asteroid field, with the production facilities hidden in the shadow of a large, hollow asteroid. It’s a small base, consisting only of a few labs, as well as a tower of some kind. A few Thukker tribe ships sit nearby. Surrounding the base sit a number of large asteroids that easily dwarf the small production lab. A quick scan of the surrounding field shows a number of useful minerals sitting in the depths of these rocks, surprisingly untouched by miners as of yet. That strikes me as a bit odd, given the obvious hopes of the Tribe to keep a low profile here, but I’m in no position to question them. A few Angel Cartel ships prowl along the outskirts of the asteroid field, apparently probing the defenses of the base (but not being afraid to go after the stray capsuleer who may wander along).

I spend a few minutes poking around at the base, but frankly, there’s little to see. Perhaps the most exciting thing is seeing Tvink VII, a large gas giant with a significant ring system, providing a pleasant backdrop to many of my pictures. But it is soon time to move on. After all, plenty of more interesting sites out there to see.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: The Crystal Dust Compound
  • System: Tvink
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site. Furthermore, the larger asteroids here are capable of being mined.

Thin Red Line

Thin Red Line 1

The current military base seems to hide in the shadow of the massive former Nefantar station.

There’s a quirky little concept in old Gallentean law I ran across a little while back. It’s called “adverse possession,” somewhat more commonly known as “squatter’s rights.” Under this doctrine, a person can obtain legal ownership over a piece of land without ever actually purchasing it. Without delving too deeply into the legal necessities, you essentially have to live on and care for the land openly for a number of years. If you do it for long enough, the law will recognize a transfer of ownership. It’s an odd doctrine for the Gallente because, generally, personal freedoms (including freedom to own property) are sacrosanct. Generally, if you own a piece of land and someone comes onto that land unwanted, you can get a court order to evict that person for trespassing. It’s one of many powers that a property owner has to defend their rights to that property, because, as a general principle, the Gallente have decided that property ownership is a good thing and work to defend that right.

Thin Red Line 2

A closer look at the ruins of the Nefantar base.

But the concept of adverse possession suggests another principle is at play as well. In order to enjoy those (many) rights to property, you have to earn that right. Land is meant to be used, and if you aren’t using the land, but won’t sell it, it’s possible the law will act to help ensure the land is used in a productive manner. If you own a piece of land, but care about it so little that you don’t realize someone is living on that land for ten years, then the law declares that you aren’t worthy of continued ownership of that land and will transfer the land to someone who will actually put the land to use. Once you think about it, it’s a rather startling principle… at least depending on your background. For example, a Caldari would probably be rather unsurprised if one of the megacorporations decided to unceremoniously boot them from their home for the purpose of building a new distribution center, and an Amarr might be removed from his land to build a Church. But for the freedom-loving Gallente, it’s a surprising doctrine.

Thin Red Line 3

The current military base.

In some respects, though, the concept of adverse possession merely reflects the well-known cliché “use it or lose it.” This is something that the Republic is learning very well in Traun these days. Sure, the Republic ‘owns’ the system, but that ownership means nothing in practical terms if they’re unwilling or unable to actually maintain control over the system. Here, at least, the Minmatar are not simply ignoring the system (indeed, they’re trying to colonize the system). However, that ownership won’t mean anything if they’re unable to evict the pirate forces (mostly consisting of the Angel Cartel) that have come to enjoy ‘owning’ their own little corner of Metropolis. And thus began the fight over Traun. As Aura explains:

Thin Red Line 4The Republic considers the conflict in the Traun system a test of whether its resettlement effort is to have any chance of succeeding or not. If the Republic forces are unable to dislodge the pirate factions from Traun, the Parliament is liable to pull the plug for the whole project, with all the political backlash that would entail. The enemies of the Republic know this and are pouring everything they have into Traun.

Thin Red Line 5

Looking from the repair bay onto the rest of the base.

In an attempt to regain control over Traun, the Minmatar have apparently converted an old Nefantar base into their current HQ. However, they apparently have forgone retrofitting the base itself. Instead, the hulking base stands as merely an empty shell to the nearby base, seemingly overlooking the various structures the Minmatar have since erected. Like most of the Nefantar bases in the region, this one is also picked clean, with nothing but the superstructure of the base remaining. Still, it gave me another opportunity to admire the boxy, yet still intriguing Nefantar architecture, with it’s massive docking portals as well as the detail built straight into the hull plating. I had to admit I rather enjoyed the Nefantar architecture that I’ve seen throughout this trip. It wasn’t graceful like the Amarr, or organic like the Gallente, but there was a certain almost vulnerable quality to it. Like they were unsure of themselves and so tried to make their stations look as solid-looking as possible (or so the theory goes in my head, at least, I’ve been wrong about such things before).

Thin Red LIne 6

A closer look at the odd yellow glow emanating from the repair bay.

Nearby sits the actual Republic military forces, centered around a logistical and repair base. The sprawling base included numerous quarters for local forces, as well as supplies. To one end of the base sits the main repair bay. Oddly, Aura told me that the name of the repair bay was the “Redoubt Gate.” Even more oddly, the repair slip, rather than holding a ship under repairs or under construction, had a rather odd shining yellow object in the center. I could make neither heads nor tails out of it, but considering the fact that the nearby naval vessels didn’t seem overly concerned, I decided to just let it be. The rest of the base consisted of administrative services for the local naval forces, as well as command-and-control systems for the local military. All in all, it struck me as just what it appeared to be: a forward base for local military forces.

Thin Red Line 7

One of the ships that has set up station near the military base. Debris from the Nefantar station floats nearby.

As might be expected for a naval base, numerous ships stood guard over the facility, while others milled about as they took care of their business near the base. A number of smaller ships also took up station near the base. Some were just locals looking for a bit of protection from the Republic Fleet, while others were naval officers. Indeed, one of the local officers seemed more than happy to ask for help from any passing capsuleers, if only to make the best out of a locally bad situation. I had to turn him down, however, as I was somewhat pressed for time.

Speaking of that, it was past time for me to take my leave of Traun. After a brief word of encouragement to the local forces, I moved on, leaving the local military forces to their job of proving that they owned Traun in more than just name, and intended to prove it.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Thin Red Line
  • System: Traun
  • Security Rating: 0.6
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.

Machine Head

Machine Head 1

The abandoned research station originally focused on antimatter research.

One of the things that has always impressed (and depressed) me about New Eden is the sheer amount of ways we’ve invented to kill someone or make their ship blow up. We have self-propelled missiles to fling damage across space. Autocannons and artillery shoot old-fashioned projectiles that can smash a ship’s armor to shreds. Lasers zap destructive power across the entirety of the electromagnetic spectrum. Railguns use magnets to accelerate projectiles to nearly the speed of light that can pierce armor and bodies alike. And, of course, each empire has taken its weapons system of choice to the logical extreme in creating the 4 types of doomsday weapons. Given the sheer variety of weapons systems, ammos, and strategies in the Cluster, just about everyone can have their own personal way to make something explode.

Machine Head 2

One of the ships that has set up station in the nearby field of asteroids.

There is one form of death that I’m surprised isn’t used more. Its destructive power is unequaled, seeing as how it can convert matter into pure energy through the wonders of physics. I’m talking, of course, about antimatter, which is a curious concept if you think about it. A universe made of antimatter would be indistinguishable from our own, and yet the moment that it encounters regular matter, they completely annihilate each other, transforming into pure energy thanks to our dear friend, E = mc2. Of course, that’s not to say antimatter isn’t used at all. Railguns can use some ammo with antimatter in it, as does the Gallente doomsday device. And strangely, although most ships use aneutronic fusion for their power plants, certain Amarr capital ships apparently utilize the much rarer (and presumably more dangerous) antimatter reactors to help power their vessels. Given the apparent predilection for the Gallente and the Amarr to use antimatter technology, it seems a bit odd then that the foremost antimatter researcher in the Cluster was found in Minmatar space. Today, his research labs are a mere shadow of their former glory, having fallen into disrepair during the Minmatar Rebellion. Still, they’ve survived the past 100 some odd years since the Rebellion, and are worthy of mentioning. As Aura explains:

Machine Head 3When scientists first started serious research on anti-matter there was a public outcry over the supposed dangers this entailed. Thus, the first anti-matter laboratories were forced out into space. One such laboratory was constructed here in the Hjoramold system during the Amarr occupation, headed by the renown scientist Dr. Hydar Perdikan.

The laboratory was at the forefront of anti-matter research for decades, but was closed shortly before the Minmatar Rebellion. Dr. Perdikan refused to leave his lab though and lived there for the rest of his days. He started to dabble in cybernetics and implants and used many of his inventions on himself. He survived the rebellion and was left alone by the Minmatars, as he was considered harmless. Some called him Dr. Hermit, but he was better known as Machine Head. He has not been heard from in almost 50 years, his remains probably still lie in the ruins of his old lab.

Machine Head 4

The scavenger colony can be seen poking out of the station's docking port.

Apparently the labs suffered a classic case of NIMBY: Not In My Back Yard. These are items that have a universal use, but no one wants to live particularly close by them. The most traditional example is a garbage dump. Everyone makes garbage, everyone uses trash services, but they’d prefer not to see that junk out of their backyards. Of course, antimatter research is slightly more dangerous than merely bad odors, even if it could be just as useful. Even fusion can’t match the sheer efficiency of a true antimatter reactor, and a safe and stable reactor could provide significant power increases, which is always useful to a pilot looking for that last megawatt of powergrid. In any case, until the technology WAS stable, it was understandable to keep research into it offworld, where any mistakes would only lead to destruction of nearby structures as opposed to significant ecological damage.

Machine Head 5

A closer up view of the scavenger colony.

Surprisingly, the lab itself was Amarr in design. Well, perhaps that wasn’t surprising. Though historical records are a bit sparse, it seems likely that Dr. Perdikan was in fact Amarr and his research funded by the Amarr. It makes sense that the Amarr would want to isolate such research from the Empire as much as possible, so putting it into Minmatar space makes perfect sense from their point of view (while still assuring the local Nefantar administration that the station was an honor, I’m sure). It would certainly fit Amarrian behavior. Of course, it’s entirely possible that the good Doctor was actually Minmatar, meaning his research was just subsidized by the Empire. The fact that he chose to stay in Republic space after the Rebellion at least suggests he probably had Minmatar sympathies (or that he was one of those scientists so completely absorbed by his research that he didn’t recognize what was going on in the broader world, I suppose).

Machine Head 6

The other main ship that can often be found near the colony.

With the lab apparently abandoned for over 50 years, however, the station has certainly seen better days. As is usual in New Eden, the structure itself has been picked bare, leaving only the main superstructure of the station. Given the fact that the entire area wasn’t a gamma-irradiated wasteland, it seems safe to assume that all antimatter in the lab was either safely disposed of or stolen by pirates who managed to not blow themselves up. If there are any remaining antimatter caches, my sensors didn’t pick it up.

While the lab itself may be dead, however, the surrounding areas showed signs of life. Indeed, the station’s salvage was apparently so lucrative that local scavengers saw it profitable to establish a full-fledged colony here. Sitting partially within the station near it’s massive dock/undock port, the colony itself is a hodge-podge of asteroids hollowed out and tied together by a series of tubes. A number of other asteroids had also been towed near the vicinity of the station, probably for raw materials in use on the station. I’m not sure how much lucrative salvage was still left on the station (my sensors didn’t detect anything), but they certainly have yet to move on. Indeed, there were even a few ships nearby that seemed to make this station their home port.

Machine Head 7

Remains of radiation? Random nebula? We may never know.

I took a few minutes wandering around the station. Though Dr. Perdikan’s name has been well-recorded in the history books, his research results seemed less so. Antimatter-based technology as a whole still seems to be in its infancy. “Infancy” here meaning still devoted purely to killing things as opposed to more constructive uses… a surprisingly large number of technologies got their start in a similar matter. Necessity, they say, is the mother of all invention, and in a war-torn cluster like New Eden, there is often little more necessary than killing the enemy. Indeed, I would not be surprised if within the foreseeable, antimatter on its own became a fifth major weapons system in New Eden. After all, we can always use more ways to kill one another.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Machine Head
  • System: Hjoramold
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.

Rich Man’s Run

I looked out at the station hanging in front of me, not quite believing my eyes. Hoping that maybe I missed something, I read the entry Aura had dug up for me again:

Rich Man's 1The Sisters of EVE station nearby is one of the few former Nefantar space stations still remaining in the constellation. During the Amarr occupation their Nefantar collaborators used this station as a vault where they hoarded vast amounts of items looted throughout Minmatar space. This was a popular pit-stop for the freighter pilots ferrying the loot to the station, hence the name Rich Man’s Run.

Rich Man's 2

A processing facility with the main station in the background.

“Nefantar space station”? Really? CONCORD clearly needed to do some checking in on some of the sites it has deemed worthy of recognition. If that station was Nefantar designed, then my Velator is a titan. What happened to the original station is apparently lost to history (not to mention that history never noticed that the station got replaced). Still, it was nice of the Sisters to renovate such a well-known site for the use of people throughout the constellation, and not just the privileged few who had taken loot from the Minmatar. Re-purposing such sites, that originally could arouse such intense negative emotions, was certainly one of their smarter ideas. Symbolically speaking, I could think of few better ideas of how to move on from the past than this.

Rich Man's 3

One of the more unconventional "support" facilities that have sprung up near the Sister's Station.

Of course, this was just another stepping stone in the tortured history of the Nefantar tribe. The looting of the rest of Matari space while the Minmatar Empire burned seemed a bit low, even for the Nefantar, but it’s funny what war can do to a person’s sense of decency. Looting during war time is well-documented throughout history, so I couldn’t blame the Nefantar too much for it, but it still surprised me nonetheless. Especially knowing of the coming Nefantar redemption. Of course, only the leaders of the Tribe had anything to do with that; indeed, historical records indicate that the broader masses of the Tribe had bought into Amarr society (following the lead of the tribal leaders), and they were probably the ones to do most of the looting for the Run. Though what happened to that loot after the Nefantar abandoned Ani is anyone’s guess.

Rich Man's Run 4

One of the defensive batteries and a portion of the Minmatar fleet.

The site itself, though distinctly lacking a Nefantar station, was fairly straight forward. The anchor of the relief efforts was the aforementioned Gallente station. Surrounding the station, however, were a variety of support facilities, including defense batteries and processing plants. Some “support facilities” of a different sort, tailored to, shall we say, more basic instincts, have also popped up, proving that humanity’s oldest profession was still very much at work. Intriguingly, the Republic had also deployed a significant security fleet to guard the site, suggesting that the Republic had no desire to see the Sister’s station fall (and also that they saw a significant security risk even this deep into the Republic). This fleet patrolled the surrounding areas, ready to pounce on any security risk. Thankfully, I didn’t seem to raise their ire at all, and after taking one last glance around, I took off for my next destination.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Rich Man’s Run
  • System: Inder
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.

Insurgent Encampment

Insurgent 1

The Encampment orbits Uriok V, seen in the background.

It’s often said that history is written by the winner. That doesn’t just mean that the winners have the ability to just gloss over or ignore less flattering events or incidents. That kind of blunt force rewriting of history, of course, is easy to see through when you know where to look for more information. A subtler weapon, and more difficult to see through, is the wholesale reframing of a group of people by the winner. The winners are no longer terrorists or rebelss, but rather freedom fighters or revolutionaries. The subtle nuances to words such as these, which can so color our perceptions of a group, can be key to gaining widespread recognition and respect. For example, if the Minmatar Rebellion had NOT succeeded, rather than burying the Minmatar to the dustbin of history, the Amarr would have much more successfully labeled them as barbaric upstarts who grasped beyond their means. Instead, because the Minmatar WERE successful, we think of them now (generally, of course) as successful rebels who through off the shackles of their oppressors. The underlying concepts are the same, but the perceptions of the two are much different.

Insurgent 2

One of the small ships that makes its home at the Encampment

Of course, some people don’t really care about labels to begin with. They like to fight for the sake of fighting, regardless of what people call them. Some of them are just really dedicated to their cause, without trying to win the related war of public opinion. Others just fight for the sake of fighting. Still others fall into the much beloved “rebel without a cause” category, rebelling against mainstream culture and going along their own paths. Some, of course, defy explanation altogether, but with the trillions of people in the Cluster, a few weird apples like that are inevitable. And, of course, these types tend to find each other out somehow. Such a collection of these have made Uriok their home, in their continued efforts to… well, that much wasn’t quite clear. Outside of causing general mischief, of course. Aura put together a quick report for me:

Insurgent 3The Amarr Empire calls them rebels, in the eyes of most Minmatars they’re freedom fighters. Yet the strange assortment of pilots that frequent the Uriok system can hardly be classified as either. Most are rebels without a cause, fighting for twisted honor or scraps of money, rather than freedom or other high ideals. Still, some few cling to what small vestige of insurgence that still exists. This is their camp.

Insurgent 4

The Camp itself is fairly small.

I’m not entirely sure what kind of mischief they were hoping to raise with the Amarr in Uriok. The Empire is a good 12 jumps away at least from Uriok, essentially the other side of the Republic. So despite their apparent attempts to continue the glories of the original Minmatar Rebellion, they certainly weren’t in a convenient place to do that. But if they were instead out to try to bring up unpleasant memories of the departed Nefantar, they were in the perfect place. What better area to raise general mayhem than the very area where there’s a concerted Republic effort to recolonize and remove the taint of the Nefantar’s departure? If so, than perhaps the more appropriate question is why the Minmatar still seem to look kindly on this group, given their apparently anti-Minmatar bias. Granted, given the Minmatar’s general history, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they approve of someone with a bit of a rebellious streak to them.

Insurgent 5

And connected by a series of tubes.

The Encampment itself is a fairly simple affair, located in the outer reaches of the Uriok V moons. A hodgepodge of small asteroids form the entirety of the colony, hollowed out for living space and connected via a series of tubes to each other. It could probably house a few thousand people if necessary, but I’m not sure that their ranks were quite that extensive. Oddly, for people hoping to cause mischief in the spacelanes, they didn’t have much in the way of mobile craft. A few smaller ships seem to hang out near the site, but they weren’t enough to cause any trouble for anything larger than a pebble. The Encampment doesn’t exactly seem “gung ho” about this whole “insurgents” business, but what do I know.

I didn’t stay around very long investigating the encampment. CONCORD had apparently deemed it fit to mark with a beacon, but that doesn’t mean it was an actually interesting place to visit. After snapping a few photos, I was on my way.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Insurgent Encampment
  • System: Uriok
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.

Dream Port

Dream Port 1

An overview of the orbital infrastructure around the fledgling colony of Inder VIII.

It’s hard to remember just how big a planet is. When you see them in the distance from space, it’s easy to think that they’re just a little round thing that a few thousand people could live on, little more than a rotund station that doesn’t need artificial gravity. The forced perspective of the vastness of space makes any planet seem like only a pale dot in the endless void, barely worth noticing, much less of consideration. It’s only when you land on them, and feel the dirt beneath your feet, that you remember just how big a planet. Plains can seem as endless as space itself when you’re standing amongst the grasses (or whatever their local equivalent is). The oceans that you lord over while flying thousands of meters a second in your craft can take days to cross when traveling at a more leisurely place. Every so often, I try to ground myself (literally and figuratively) by heading planetside to remind me just how small I am.

Dream Port 2

Local security services with some of the residential habitats in the background

I bring this up because it’s easy to think that all of high security space is settled and safe. When a pod pilot thinks of high security space, they think of the comforting protection of CONCORD, the dense local pilot populations, and the swarm of naval craft near most of the gates. But it’s important to remember that many of the planets, even the habitable ones that need no terraforming, are still wild, uncolonized places even in high sec space. The various empires are trying to change this, of course, as populations continue to grow, but the fact remains that there is still plenty of room to grow for these planets. Plenty of time for these planets to be colonized, and for these people to write their own histories in service of their nations. One of these planets can be found in Inder. An out of the way system on the edge of Metropolis, Inder is currently at the center of an intense colonization drive by the Republic. As Aura explains:

Dream Port 3The Republic has colonized Inder VIII and is encouraging its citizens to settle here, offering free housing and substantial monetary aid. Despite the harsh environment and the difficulties of supplying the colonies due to lack of a space station in orbit, millions have already taken up that offer. Dream Port acts as the link to the planet until the time a space station can be constructed.

Dream Port 4

The storage silos and rings sit near the edge of the space colony.

The in-space infrastructure around the fledgling colony was extensive. Although there was no station in orbit yet to centralize operations, the sprawling space-based habitats have plenty of room for colonists who are waiting to be transferred down to the planet’s surface. A number of other necessary industries have also popped up since the colonization of Inder VIII has started, including police services and an industrial foundry. Massive storage silos sit to one side, presumably holding matériel for the new colony. Also to that side, a series of three rings stand near each other. I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of the rings are, but they add a touch of décor to an overall drab, if necessarily utilitarian affair. Shuttles flit between the various habitats, carrying messages, supplies, and colonists to the new shelters.

Dream Port 5

Part of the industrial infrastructure of the colony.

It’s odd. Most of the colonies of New Eden started precisely like this: halting, with bursts of growth, a feeble space-based architecture. But when we think of planets, this isn’t what we think of. We prefer the fully developed wonders of the Crystal Boulevard on Gallente Prime, or the hallowed halls of the cathedrals of Amarr Prime. But here is where it all gets started. A struggling colony no one is even sure will survive, on a seemingly endless, empty world. But, as we always do, humanity will make itself heard. And once we get ourselves settled, the sky is the limit.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Dream Port
  • System: Inder
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.

The Reactor Factory

Reactor 1

The remains of the Reactor Factory, the first space-based industrial experiment of the Minmatar, can be found in Nakugard

Everyone likes a good redemption. To find out that there was a good reason for purportedly evil people to act as they did. Or to see someone see the error in their ways and atone for past wrongs. Why else would so many people try to logically argue with the so-called griefer capsuleers, especially when it’s fairly clear in many cases that the griefers are enjoying the resulting complaints? There’s something very cathartic about it, knowing either that there was something more to the situation than meets the eye or that there will be some atonement for previous ills. Perhaps it’s just the inherent need for people to believe that there’s good in everyone (much as the universe tries to dissuade us of that particular notion), or perhaps it’s just another quality of the human condition that is inexplicable.

Reactor 2

The Reactor Factory seems a bit more decrepit than the normal ruins

Despite normally only seeing true redemption in holos or books, occasionally such grand redemptions do happen in real life. These past few weeks, I’ve spent quite a bit of time developing the Nefantar narrative as a tribe who sold out their people to save themselves. That they accepted gifts and the Amarr religion in exchange for favored status within the Empire. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. The Nefantar, like the villains in any number of stories, had ulterior, and much more sympathetic motives. To fully understand the Nefantar and what they did, we have to look at what they did with respect to the Starkmanir. Another of the Seven Tribes, the Starkmanir were purportedly wiped out by Amarr bombardment near the start of the Rebellion. What was generally unknown at the time, however, were the fairly extraordinary steps the Nefantar took to protect vast chunks of the remaining Starkmanir population, including concealing them and continuing the tribe on. Only recently, during the Elder Invasion of Amarr space of YC 110, has this story came to light, as the Elder Fleet arrived to ferry the rest of the remaining Starkmanir home to the Republic. The Ammatar Consulate Governor even encouraged her own Nefantar to return home, and many (common people and holders alike) took her up on this advice. Whether the steps the Nefantar took to protect the Starkmanir are enough to completely redeem the Nefantar for the other ways in which they sold out the other Tribes will be a matter of debate for some time, but no history of the Nefantar would be complete without taking it into account.

In the spirit showing that the Nefantar are not all bad, this week’s site shows one of few successful projects that the Nefantar developed in the Ani constellation before fleeing to the Mandate. As Aura explains:

Reactor 3The Nefantar Tribe channelled great amounts of wealth exploited by the Amarrians into the Ani constellation. Though most of it was burnt to finance the extravagant hedonism of the Nefantar elite, some of it was actually put to good use. This reactor factory is an example of the latter. Its construction was the first space-based industrial complex operated by the Minmatars and heralded the renewal of the space age in Minmatar space. In hindsight, it was the first stone in the path to the Minmatar Rebellion.

Reactor 4

Two of the ships that consider these ruins home can be seen here

It’s surprising that the first space-based complex was located so far from Pator. This makes sense to an extent, given that even then the Nefantar had begun to split away from the main Minmatar polity. Still, given the materials needed and the probable consumers of many of the Factory’s goods, putting it closer to the homeworld probably would have made better economic sense, regardless of how well-developed Ani itself was. But the Minmatar in general have rarely let things like logic get in their way when their pride was on the line, and in this respect, it seems the Nefantar were no different from the other Tribes. Still, that isn’t to downplay the Tribe’s part in the second Minmatar space age. Getting a solid industrial base in space that makes space worth getting to in an economic sense (and not just the more esoteric “because it’s there” sense) is key in the development in any space-based civilization, and the Factory certainly helped in that regard.

Reactor 5

This station's architecture is notable for its extensive use of towers, which is not normally seen in space-based architecture

Today, of course, the factory stands in ruins, long ago made obsolete as the Minmatar refined their manufacturing processes and trashed as the Nefantar were forced out of Ani. Today, it merely stands testament to What Could Have Been. All of the industrial equipment has long ago been stripped, leaving, as usual, only the superstructure of the station. In its prime, though, the station would have served as an interesting testament to the somewhat unusual Minmatar architectural style. Large towers – useless in space, when you don’t have to worry about land use efficiency – cover most of the station. The traditional Minmatar long undock ramp makes its appearance again as well, though unlike last week, there’s only one of them.

Reactor 6

The entire site has a very desolate feeling to it.

The entire site is actually fairly desolate. Nakugard shines brightly in the distance, but Nakugard IV, the local planet, presents only a mere sliver of its daylight side to the factory. Beyond the memories inherent in these kinds of sites, the only things present were a few agents looking to hawk their missions. Still, in some ways this site serves as a fitting tribute to the Great Nefantar Redemption. Despite not always getting things right, be it by aligning with the “slavers” or wasting money on frivolous and hedonistic projects, there is an underlying Nefantar desire to help. They proved that by setting up a profitable factory that sped the Minmatar’s return to space, and they proved it again when they took extraordinary measures to protect the Starkmanir and ensure the Tribe’s continued survival. As I said, everyone loves a good redemption.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: The Reactor Factory
  • System: Nakugard
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.

The Glass Edge

Glass Edge 1

The remains of the Glass Edge hover above Nakugard VII.

The joke is often that the Minmatar build their stations and ships from whatever rusted scraps they find laying around. This joke has gone so far as to become a bit of a rallying cry: “In Rust we Trust” is often heard from Matari loyalists going into the attack. And to an extent, the jokes have some truth to it. The Minmatar have never been known for their graceful architectural styles. In fact, the architectural style fittingly seems to be almost the antithesis of the Amarr design philosophy. Whereas the Amarr put form first, cladding all of their ships and buildings in gold, and fit the function in from there, the Matari choose to put function first. They’re not afraid to show the underlying structural elements. If something is just there to “look nice”, it’s not needed. In a society as starved for resources as the early Minmatar Republic, making things “look nice” simply wasn’t a priority. They wanted to get the job done, not win beauty contests. Intriguingly, given the lack of development in their designs, the Minmatar still seem to be in that mindset.

Glass Edge 2

A look down one of the two twin undock ramps that gave a rather pleasant panorama of surrounding space.

But more intriguingly from a historical perspective is that the Nefantar apparently followed this design philosophy. Although they had little chance to really develop their architectural styles before being forced from the Hjoramold stronghold, perhaps what is most striking is how dissimilar it is from Amarr stylings. Although there was certainly internal dissent, the Nefantar systematically brought themselves closer and closer to the Amarr between first contact and the official invasion. And after they withdrew totally to Hjoramold, they proceeded to adopt Amarr policies en masse. Surprisingly, however, they didn’t adopt Amarr architectural themes. Although Nefantar architecture generally appears a tad more blocky than the more traditional Seven Tribes architecture, it’s notable that they don’t borrow from Amarr architecture until after their move to the Mandate. Although there are certainly explanations for this (not wanting to further inflame the other Tribes being the most notable), I still find their decision to stick closer to Minmatar architectural norms interesting. One of the more notable examples of Nefantar architecture can be found at the Glass Edge. Aura, apparently growing a bit more poetic as time goes on, summarizes it thusly:

Glass Edge 3Nakugard is the entry system into the Ani constellation, ancestral home of the Nefantar tribe. The constellation enjoyed great prominence while the Minmatars suffered under the Amarrian yoke. The Glass Edge served once as a surveillance outpost for the Nefantars, but today it serves as a reminder of what the Nefantars stood for. The tribe used its privileged position to gather great wealth here, sometimes by force, but more often through guile and veiled threats. That is the glass edge, it may not be hard or obvious, but it will make you bleed all the same.

Glass Edge 4

A close up of one of the apparently-functional surveillance stations.

As someone interested in architectural stylings, I enjoyed looking over the Glass Edge’s structure. As I mentioned above, it was a bit blockier than normal Minmatar designs, who normally go for a shorter, but more spread out station design. The Glass Edge, on the other hand, was a taller station, with multiple ingress and egress points for different sized vessels. Beyond the more gaping egress points, the station also features the traditional long undock ramp surrounded by transparent viewports, one of my favorite parts of classical Matari station design. This station in fact features twin undocking ramps in this design, presumably allowing for a fast transfer rate. On another side of the station, three gigantic docking/undocking ports yawned open, presumably allowing larger freighter vessels to dock and easily transfer cargo.

Glass Edge 5

A rather dense cloud of debris surrounds the remains of the station.

As could probably be expected, the station itself has sat abandoned for quite a few years now, leaving scavengers plenty of time to pick at the remains. Gaping holes in the massive superstructure can easily be seen, and there is quite a bit of debris from the inner workings of the station floating around outside. Considering the fact that this was a surveillance station, it is not surprising that the station is also surrounded by various sensor antennae to report what is going on in nearby space. What IS surprising, however, is that, unlike the station, the radio antennae appear to be in almost pristine condition. Perhaps the Republic retrofitted the sensors for their early-warning net. The variety of Matari vessels now surrounding the station certainly supports that theory, but none of them were willing to comment on whether the surveillance stations were in fact operational.

Glass Edge 6

One of the ships who has set up permanent residence near the Glass Edge.

I’ve often felt that a culture’s architecture can give intriguing insights into that culture’s thought processes. The harsh, unforgiving lines of a Caldari station hint at their utilitarian nature and their need to conquer the harsh environments of space. The graceful lines of a Gallente station, with their large biodomes and stations that appear almost as a work of art, showcase their more peaceful nature and their desire to have a station blend in as much as possible with their local environments, instead of conquering them. Amarr stations too have a graceful design, but their willingness to clad all of their stations in gold showcase a desire to stand out from the crowd, to show off their superiority over everyone but God. And what of the Minmatar? What of the “In Rust we Trust” mentality? I think it shows almost a certain kind of pride in their ability to “live off the land,” so to speak. To take what they can find, and not only make it functional but also imbue a certain beauty of its own, to show that these days, not only can the Republic survive, but maybe that they can also thrive.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: The Glass Edge
  • System: Nakugard
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.

Assassin’s Overhang

Overhang 1

Legacy sits near the Assassin's Overhang

In the highest spheres of power, there is no greater fear, and (realistically speaking) no lesser threat than that of assassination. Civilized nations shun it, yet secretly keep plans Just In Case. The less civilized nations, of course, merely do away with the former and don’t exactly keep the latter much of a secret. It is something that security forces train their entire lives to prevent, yet whether or not it is successful often comes down as much to luck as skill (on both sides). It is a powerful political statement and can prove crushing to a nation, or it could mobilize them under a martyr as never before. In short, assassinations are the choice of last resort for most people and nations, yet for some they provide the golden standard of what they could achieve (not that I in any way advocate assassination).

Overhang 2

The remains of an old Amarr engine pod floats among the Overhang.

So what describes the difference? It seems to be mostly a function of how powerful the rebellious group appears vis-à-vis the established power. For small groups, or groups that are just getting started, assassination provides an “easy” way of proving themselves to the larger community. It establishes the group as a power to be dealt with and a player (welcome or not) in the larger scheme of things. Larger powers realize that they often have more to lose than to gain when committing assassinations. With the gloves off, no one is safe. In retaliation, the aggrieved nation could go after the assassin’s leader, civilians, or any number of other high stakes targets that are often considered “off limits” in war. To prevent that almost inevitable escalation, the ever fragile laws of war  try their best to discourage assassination, and, as noted above, most “civilized” countries are more than happy to at least give the appearance of following suit.

Overhang 3

Uriok VIII hangs in the distance beyond the Overhang.

As discussed, though, for smaller groups the calculus shifts significantly. With little in the way of organized leadership, and knowing that they will probably all die anyway, the PR and morale-boosting benefits far outweighs the potential losses for many small rebellion groups. And, as they have proved many times before, the Minmatar have proven themselves very adept at rebellion. Shortly after the colossal failure of Amarr military might at Vak’Atioth, the Minmatar rebellion must have felt as if they were standing on a razor’s edge. Downtrodden by over a century of Amarr rule, the rebels needed a way to not only make the Amarr respect them as equals, but to also rally their fellow Matari to their cause. Amarr royalty, much as that would prove a boon to Matari everywhere, was out of the question given their limited resources and exposure. However, there were a group of Minmatar sympathizers that would serve nicely in that role: the Nefantar. In case you can’t see where this is going, Aura provides the basics of the story:

Overhang 4Early in the Minmatar Rebellion, when the Amarrians and their Minmatar collaborators were still confident of succeeding in squashing it, the rebels managed to strike a massive blow to the Nefantars. Using a double-agent, they lured the military leader of the Nefantar tribe to this remote location and assassinated him. Even if the Empire managed to hunt down the assassins and kill them, the moral blow dealt that day reverberated throughout Minmatar space, spurring the freedom fighters on.

The site is little known today except to historians. In light of its past it’s funny that shady Amarrian agents are using the location today to further the Empire’s cause within Minmatar space.


In a somewhat fitting way, Amarr agents have recently made inroads at the Overhang.

The location the Matari rebels chose was a rather out of the way piece of real estate. A good 600,000 kilometers from Uriok VIII in the remote outer reaches of the system, only a few chunks of rock make this place anything resembling a place of note. The spiny arms of a convoluted piece of asteroidal rock mark the final resting place of the Nefantari general, whose name is already lost to history. He evidently was lured out here in an early Amarr battleship. Its wreckage, what little that hasn’t been picked away by scavengers even out here, is all that remains of the assassination that helped catapult the Minmatar Rebellion from a small sideshow to a major war that helped form one of the four main nation-states of today. Their showing of military might here, and the ease with which they planted the double agent, served to rally Minmatar to the rebellion and give notice to the Amarr as well. And proved that as much as assassination is abhorred by most people and governments, it can occasionally serve a purpose as well.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Assassin’s Overhang
  • System: Uriok
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.

Culture Recess

Culture Recess 1

The Culture Recess floats above Uriok IX.

During any unpopular occupation, a number of groups will eventually sort themselves out. The vast majority of people will simply try to carry on and survive under the new order. Even if they don’t like their new overlords, they have families or friends that depend on them, so they’ll just try to stay out of the invaders’ way. The next group that inevitably forms is the resistance/rebellion/guerillas/terrorists… however you want to call them. They dislike the occupation enough to fight for their freedom. They probably have the sympathy of most of the public, but not everyone is willing or able to support them. The measures they take, how far they’re willing to go, how many people they are willing to kill to get their way… all of that varies from cell to cell and even from person to person. But the fact of the matter is that they’re able and willing to fight against the invaders. Of course, this is the group most likely to be wiped out (at least if the invaders have their way).

Culture Recess 2

The station was originally constructed as a cross-cultural center to encourage ties between the Amarr and the Nefantar.

The most interesting group, in my opinion, is the so-called collaborator group. These are people who have decided to cast their lot with the invaders, in joining the new government, passing on information, or otherwise supporting the new regime. The reasons for doing so vary widely. Some simply follow whoever is in charge, legitimately or not, migrating towards whatever power exists. Others owe something to the new regime (perhaps the invaders have their family). And some just, in fact, agree with the invaders. Perhaps they didn’t like the old regime or they were the ones who asked for the invaders to come. But for whatever reason, they are willing to cast aside all previous relations and earn the scorn of their fellow countrymen in siding with the new regime.

Culture Recess 3

The central temple can be seen through holes in the massive station's superstructure.

The emergence of such a group during the Amarr occupation, then, could easily be foreseen. What perhaps couldn’t be foreseen was the sheer size of the collaboration group, or the ferocity with which they took up the Amarr theology, truly seeing themselves as lower than the Amarr and only worthy of subservience. Not just a few people here and there, but an entire tribe of the Minmatar were willing to cast their lots with the Amarr. The reasons for which the Nefantar collaborated with the Amarr are the subject of substantial debate even today, with as many theories as there are people you ask. But whatever their motivation, the Amarr had every reason to continue to woo the Nefantar to ensure that they didn’t have a change of heart. The Empire devoted substantial resources to developing ties with the Nefantar, even before the Rebellion started, to make sure that they had someone on their side amongst the tumultuous world of Minmatar politics. One of the projects they developed in an attempt to welcome the Nefantar into their flock was the Amarr-Minmatar Cultural Center. As Aura explains:

Culture Recess 4The Amarrians poured lot of wealth into the Ani constellation to keep the Nefantars happy. While most of that wealth was burned in heady narcissism, some was used to try and build an independent infrastructure for the Nefantars. A few of these ventures turned out to be quite successful, but most were doomed to fail from the start. The Amarr-Minmatar Cultural Center, constructed on this site, was such a project. Intended to amalgamate the cultures of the two races, the project never really took off. It was quickly abandoned, to much mockery from the rest of the Minmatars. Culture Recess is one of the mock names given to the facility by the Minmatars.

Culture Recess 5

A closeup of the central temple.

Today, the Culture Recess is only a monument to the Amarr’s failed attempt to subjugate the Minmatar. The site itself is fairly straightforward. The Amarr used their trade stations as a basis for the Center. Where normally there would be a docking point for ships, the Amarr apparently decided that there wasn’t quite enough religion, and placed another of their space temples. Of course, today the site is a complete wreck. The station is quite dilapidated and long picked over by scavengers. As usual, all that remains is the actual superstructure (one of these days, I would have to research what was in superstructures that made them so unwanted by scavengers, but I suppose that is neither here nor there).

Culture Recess 6

One of the ships that can often be found near the Recess.

Part of me wished, however, that I could see this in its heyday, if only to see how the Amarr tried to tie the two very different cultures together. It must have been quite the effort, as the Amarr tried to balance their natural inclination to play up their own importance with the need to glorify the Nefantar and try not to alienate the other tribes.

Of course, it’s pretty much a moot point now. With both the Amarr and Nefantar long expelled from Minmatar space, today the Culture Recess is just a monument to the biggest problems faced by collaborators throughout history: if the invaders are ever expelled, they’re stuck dealing with the consequences of their decision to side with the losers. The Nefantar gambled when the Amarr came in, and they lost. They continue to pay for that choice to this day.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Culture Recess
  • System: Uriok
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.

Forlorn Hope

Yrmori 1

A camera drone sits above the Gallente-built residence and looks upon the rest of the Forlorn Hope

It is remarkably hard to be a slaveowner in this day and age. Once most of the more menial jobs (like harvesting crops, mining, etc) are automated, you’re left using slaves for jobs that require having actual knowledge. You can’t train a slave to fix a speeder or maintain a laser turret without teaching some of the underlying concepts of transportation or weapons theory. Of course, at that point, slaves who might be less than enthused in their current occupation now also have means to sabotage any jobs that they are put in charge of. More unfortunately (for the slavers, at least) is that most modern jobs require at least rudimentary education. Unlike the slaves from the ancient days, most slaves nowadays NEED to know how to read and write. The thing about that pesky education is that it also allows them to be much more exposed to concepts like “freedom” and “not being a slave.” From there, at least for the more determined slaves, it’s fairly easy to get them to sabotage and attempt to escape. From a slaver’s point of view, that is not the most desirable situation.

A look at the rather run-down looking Ragnarok that served as the original research center.

Once slaves are educated, something more than just pain is needed. Slaves know that something better is out there now, and the pain of the lash alone is often not enough to maintain control over the slave population. The Amarr struggled with this for quite a while before coming upon a solution. In retrospect, it’s one of those ideas best classified under “blindingly obvious.” Just make the slaves WANT to be slaves. If you can addict them to it, so much the better. And thus was born vitoxin and it’s cure, vitoc. Originally, it started as a simple toxin that lodged in a slave’s bloodstream, threatening to poison the slave if the antidote was not taken every 24 hours. In more recent centuries, Amarr researchers have upped the deviousness of the scheme to an almost absurd degree. Today’s vitoxin is a virus that pumps the toxin into a slave’s body unless the antidote is taken. The death is quite gruesome, from all reports. More importantly, today’s vitoc also releases endorphins and oxytocin, giving the slave a euphoric, drug-like high that quickly addicts slaves. By triggering the same neural pathways that are activated during bonding events (such as having sex, or childbirth), the drugs attempt to bond slaves to their masters, and make them actually addicted to being a slave.

Yrmori 3

A ship stays stationed near the tachyon bombardment array.

Needless to say, a significant portion of the Republic’s R&D efforts have focused on counteracting this virus. Not just for the multitude of slaves still within the Empire, but also for millions of recently freed (or escaped) slaves who still find themselves needing daily injections in order to not die horrible, painful deaths. Not only that, but to also break the addiction in order to have the former slaves as productive members of society. The last thing the Republic needs is slaves who are not only still addicted to vitoc, but actually attached to their former masters due to the chemically induced affection. To that extent, the Republic recently established one of the largest research centers of its kind in Yrmori, the Forlorn Hope. A fitting, if somewhat depressing, name for a research center dedicated to reversing the evils of Amarr enslavement of the Minmatar. As I entered the site, Aura presented me with the following information:

Yrmori 4Housed aboard a Ragnarok-class titan, the Forlorn Hope is a massive laboratory complex dedicated to finding a cure for former slaves infected with Vitoxin. It was built by Eifyr & Co. as a memorial to Dr. Mishkala Osnirdottir and her research team, who were killed when their research facility in this system was destroyed by sabotage. Some say her spirit haunts the new laboratory complex, protecting the scientists there and guiding them towards the cure she never found in her lifetime. Others say that’s superstitious nonsense, but there has never been an accident at The Forlorn Hope since the last.

Given a titan’s normal job as a bringer of death, it was heartening indeed to see it used in another fashion. A scan of the titan was summarized by Aura as the following:

Yrmori 5This massive laboratory complex was once home to over 10,000 scientists, their staff and security personnel, working day and night to unravel the mysteries of Vitoc. Since the return of the Minmatar Elders and Otro Gariushi’s bequest of Insorum [Editor’s note: a secondary cure for vitoc] to the Republic, the facility has largely fallen into disuse, but some few scientists cling on, pushing to finish what they started before they too seek more commercial roles.

For the most part, research continues inside the newer biodome nearby, but a few smaller laboratories and their staff still insist on basing out of the aging titan.

Yrmori 6

The tachyon accelerator sits above the decrepit ruins of some unknown structure.

‘Aging titan’ is right. The titan itself is literally falling apart at the seams. Gaping holes can be seen in the general superstructure, making it a minor miracle that anyone manages to live there, much less perform complicated biochemical research. Still, a titan is a titan, and is always a site to see. As usual, my poor Professor Science was absolutely dwarfed by the hulking giant, a mere speck on the hull plating next to the beast. Even a nearby Tempest seems tiny next to the mass of the Ragnarok class titan. Pieces of debris, presumably from the titan, floated in a halo around the converted research center. I kept needing to tell myself that the titan was inhabited: there was certainly no outward sign of active power sources or life, and I could only assume that the habitable parts of the ship occupied only a very small portion of the entire internal volume. On the plus side, I was able to check the Ragnarok off my list of ships I’ve seen. With this out of the way, all I need is the Erebus and I’ll have seen every titan class in person.

Yrmori 7

The modern research labs.

Compared to the dilapidated Ragnarok, the other research sites practically gleamed in the sunlight. A Gallente-built outpost serves as the main residential area for the researchers. The biodomes serve as both nature reserves and stores for research materials. Nearby, a complex of control towers were melded together with other structures to form the primary research labs. Four control towers were needed to provide the necessary computing power for the protein folding models necessary to defeat the vitoxin virus. Sticking out from the main structure were a number of ancillary labs, specializing in various research areas. All together, this was probably one of the most advanced research centers in the entirety of the cluster. For when more high energy research is necessary, there was a tachyon collider nearby. I’m not entirely sure what a tachyon collider was needed for in biochemical research, but admittedly that’s not my area of expertise. Strangely, the collider is surrounded by ruins. Age has taken its toll on whatever used to sit there. All that remains are mangled sections of metal, surrounding the crackling energy of the tachyon bombardment chamber.

Yrmori 8

Yrmori glints off the residential structures in the background.

Forlorn Hope is an odd combination of the old and the new. An old and run down titan sitting next to the cutting edge of research facilities. A tachyon bombardment array sitting on top the warped ruins of some ancient facility. In some respects, it was an accurate analogy of slavery. Slavery is one of humanity’s most ancient (and monstrous) customs. Today, it is an old and tottering institution that (at times) seems held together by sheer force of will. In order to keep it functional today, the latest research must go towards figuring out how to best maintain control, often resulting in significant advances in biochemistry and psychology. If only the Amarr realized that they could attain the same results without resorting to such barbarism. But I suppose that’s a bit of a forlorn hope.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Forlorn Hope
  • System: Yrmori
  • Security Rating: 0.6
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: There are a number of agents scattered throughout the area, but the latest reports suggest that they are not yet offering missions.

Site One: Antiquus

Site One 1

Site One's extensive logistical and infrastructure support for the multitude of projects completed under the auspices of Arek'Jaalan.

ERAM, Metropolis– With great fanfare earlier this week, Dr. Hilen Tukoss unveiled the centerpiece of his well-known Arek’Jaalan research initiative: Antiquus. Only the first step of a multi-tiered construction plan, Antiquus acts as a staging site and research center for the multitude of research projects that fall under the Arek’Jaalan umbrella. Many of the active research projects have received their own archiving centers, while all members of the Project have access to the site’s archivists and media specialists. Beyond research and administration of the Project’s many active research initiatives, the site’s principal goal is to act as outreach to the rest of the capsuleer community and the public at large.

Site One 2

The visitor's center and the Project's administrative headquarters.

The site’s extensive premises were constructed solely out of capsuleer donations. Members of the Arek’Jaalan project and the larger capsuleer community donated substantial sums both in liquid isk contributions and materiel. Coordinated by the Acquisitions Division, the site required all the basic components for research: over 800,000 water-cooled CPUs, 50,000 supercomputers, and 30 million kilograms of synthetic coffee. By providing the Project access to its own supercomputers, it no longer need rely on the generosity of its previous benefactor, Eifyr and Co. The biochemical and implant giant has supported the Project, and Dr. Tukoss in particular, since its inception. The future of Eifyr involvement and support is currently unknown.

Site One 3

Surplus construction equipment and housing for visiting researchers, as well as the site's staff.

Site One is not without it’s problems, however. Less than 24 hours after the Site was declared operational by Dr. Tukoss, the Site was subject to an attack that continues in fits and starts to this day. Apparently led by pro-Sansha Nation forces, whom have already targeted Arek’Jaalan for destruction as part of a broader war against capsuleer forces, the attacks have frequently revolved culminated in a statement by the attackers that they are acting for Nation, or for Master (Sansha Kuvakei). Many of the attacks have followed the same basic pattern: a capsuleer will attempt to place explosives near civilian and staff housing. After the first few attacks, it became clear that CONCORD would not intervene in preventing such attacks, while still attacking defenders of Site One. CONCORD has yet to release any comments on current protocol. Many attackers are pilots who have only very recently received licensing by CONCORD, often flying ships that they normally would not have received licensing for yet. Attacks on Site One continue, though Arek’Jaalan’s Security Division has mobilized a continuous presence at the site to deter future attacks.

Site One 4

Eram glints off the rows of project archives, while the research offices sits to the side.

Dr. Tukoss, the leader of Arek’Jaalan, has been in the spotlight before. He is perhaps best known for his daring run from the Caldari State to establish Arek’Jaalan in the first place. Leaving his previous job at Zainou, Dr. Tukoss led a desperate late-night flee, escorted by a handful of capsuleers to his present base in Eram. Tukoss’s actions caused quite a stir in the State, prompting some of the megacorporations to declare sanctions against Eifyr, and some capsuleers placed a bounty on Tukoss’s head. Despite these protests, Tukoss gained widespread support for his actions and the establishment of Arek’Jaalan. Today, the Project spans 13 different operational areas, with over 15 active research initiatives under its auspices. The Project welcomes pilots from any background and affiliation.

Site One 5

The Gallente adminstrative outpost stands guard over the local housing. Despite recent attacks on the local housing, CONCORD has yet to intervene.

Befitting such an expansive project, Antiquus’ grounds are extensive. Two outposts, of Federation and Republic design, serve as anchors to the two sides of the site. The Federation outpost serves as the administrative center of Antiquus. The project’s multitude of staff are stationed here. The Minmatar outpost acts as the primary research center for the site. Archivists and shuttles can often be seen flitting about the outpost, ferrying staff and researchers from one part of the site to another. Although both outposts boast docking facilities and an atmosphere-retaining forcefield, neither outpost currently allows capsuleer vessels to dock. Whether that functionality is envisioned for the future is currently unknown. Along with the outposts, the site boasts a visitor’s center, as well as an acceleration gate for planned expansion of the site. Furthermore, the site also boasts housing for both capsuleers (the Antiquus suites), as well as non-capsuleers. Surplus construction equipment is also still present at the site.

Site One 6

Project Compass's archives and data storage center.

Between the two outposts sits the primary archives for the site. Each active research project under the Arek’Jaalan umbrella has received its own archive to store research materials and papers. The pads, 18 currently, have also been designed with public outreach in mind. If a vessel approaches any of the archival sites, the archive will automatically upload a copy of that project’s research abstracts, containing that project’s leader, researchers, purpose, and conclusions (if any) that have been drawn. Full contact details are given to ensure that if the public has any questions regarding any of the research, they will be able to contact the head of the project. Research ranges from investigation of the Seyllin Incident to attempting to determine the location of so-called wormhole space. Dr. Tukoss expects to expand the archive section as more projects become active.

Site One 7

Research continues at the Site's labs and offices.

While not without its problems, Antiquus promises to bring a new light to Arek’Jaalan and its research. Whether that will translate into further support from the capsuleer community and the public at large, or merely more problems from Sansha and his allies, remains to be seen. Until and unless Sansha’s attacks require otherwise, research will continue apace both in Site One and throughout New Eden. Dr. Tukoss fully intends to continue outreach efforts as well. Just recently, he has been promoting both Arek’Jaalan and Antiquus in many of the core worlds, in an attempt to raise awareness and support for its projects. As Dr. Tukoss said recently in a message to supporters and followers: “Having said all that, this is but the first small step on a long and winding path. Arek’Jaalan’s research has, so far, only reached perhaps a few hundred capsuleers. In the future, we want that number to be in the thousands, and someday, in the hundreds of thousands.

“We’ve a lot of work left to do, but you should all take this week to celebrate our successes, and to cherish all the good that can come from cooperative efforts like ours.”

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Site One: Antiquus
  • System: Eram
  • Security Rating: 0.8
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen. Additionally, while the attacks on Site One so far do not appear to be targeting ships, caution should still be exercised. Anyone interested in coordinating defense of the Site can contact me through links on the side.

Margin of Error

Margin of Error 1

Margin of Error hangs in space.

Inspiration is everywhere. Each place part of space, each station, has its own story to tell. I’ve dedicated my life these days to discovering those stories. Sometimes, the stories write themselves. The vistas are so grand, or the details are so beautiful… they can be enough to make you tear up, laugh, or just otherwise know exactly how to perfectly capture the essence of the site. Other times, when you’re standing in the midst of the ruins of a thousand ships, you can almost – almost – hear the cries of ghosts from ages past, screaming to have their stories told, their fights made worthwhile, their spirits avenged. These are the stories that are easy to write. You can tell what happened. You can find some, if not many, reliable sources to source your stories. And the stories themselves are the things that deserve to be told, to be repeated down the ages. I like these.

Margin of Error 2

Tvink VIII is a bare sliver in the background, while a ship stations itself near the Station's solar shielding

On the other hand, I hate the other kind of site. Sometimes… sometimes rocks are just rocks. Sometimes, a station is just a station. Oh, I’m sure that interesting people pass through the station. In the outskirts of civilized space, sleazy or illicit encounters happen almost every day.but with such a multitude of smaller stories, the overarching setting for the story can often become lost. This week’s site reminded me of just such an event. It’s a station. It is, in fact, just a station. A rather pleasant looking station, to be sure. I’ve always been a fan of the Gallente dome-design (most often appropriated to create “pleasure hubs”). But its hard to find a unifying story to this place. Even Aura is little help:

Margin of Error 3With the Republic’s incursion into the constellation, the many criminals found there have been forced away from Republic areas and into more remote ones. The Margin of Error is one such a place where the criminal elements like to hang out these days.

The name of the place came about a few decades ago when it was the stage of a famous showdown between two Sebiestor hackers. The two rivals wanted to settle once and for all which was the more skilled. It ended in tragedy though, as a particularly strong neuro-strike created a violent backlash, frying the brains of the two contestants. One was killed instantly while the other suffered so severe brain damage that he was reduced to a vegetated state for the rest of his life.

Margin of Error 4

A beauty shot of Legacy flying near the station

A good story, to be sure. But one good story amongst thousands that happen daily in such areas could hardly be considered noteworthy, especially decades after the fact. After all, there’s a hundred sordid stations out there, each with a million of its own sordid stories to be told. What’s so special about this particular black market stop compared to the multitude already out there? To that, I had no real answer. But one of the many things I’ve learned over the years is that not every story needs to be told. Inspiration is indeed everywhere, but sometimes its just not worth it to find.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Margin of Error
  • System: Tvink
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.

Sister Camp

Sister Camp 1

Both the interior and exterior components of the Sisters' Camp is visible here.

Perhaps one of the hardest things to do as a capsuleer is to keep ourselves grounded. Though this is certainly true in the physical context, I’m speaking today of the more metaphorical context. It is so incredibly easy to forget about the civilian community. The non-capsuleers, the general public, the unwashed masses, ordinary people, whatever you want to call them. I’ve heard fellow capsuleers praise them, patronize them, disdain them, and even insult them, but by far the most common reaction to the non-capsuleer public is perhaps the most destructive of all: we ignore them. It’s not hard to do it, heavens know I’ve been guilty of this myself. We get our missions, or we do our probing, and we want our isk. And no one can stand in our way when there is isk to be had. We capsuleers can conquer the stars themselves, a few non-capsule cruisers and battleships aren’t going to stand in our way.

Sister Camp 2

A view of the main landing pad for the station, and one of the ships that stands guard over the refugee center.

Yet what is easy to forget is that every time we swat these small flies aside, people die. Depending on the ship upwards of a thousand people could be on every non-pod ship that we engage, and it’s almost impossible to to tell how many make it out alive, left to drift in the wreckage as us capsuleers move on to our next victims. There have been any number of times where even I can kill ships in just one shot, giving crews almost no time to react. Most people who volunteer to serve on these ships know what they’re getting into, and know what the survival rates look like. But intellectually knowing something is one thing, emotionally and viscerally knowing that you may only have a survival rate of less than 5%… that’s another matter entirely. Even beyond the direct affect we have on non-capsuleers who fly on ships, our actions can affect the lives of billions, be it through fighting for control of solar systems or just being on a rather unlucky cruise liner that gets caught in the line of fire. Indeed, it’s no surprise that most non-capsuleers view us with suspicion, and even fear, even when we’re acting with the best of intentions. This is one of just many reasons that we, as capsuleers, need to ground ourselves now and then. Remind ourselves of our humanity, whatever that means.

Sister Camp 3

One of the surveillance stations to keep an eye on surrounding space. Legacy can be seen in the background, in orbit of Traun X.

Thankfully, not everyone has ignored the plight of the general public caught between the fights of the demigods. Living up to their reputation as the largest humanitarian armada within the realm of New Eden, the Sisters of Eve have been at the forefront of providing aid and care to civilians who have been attacked by pirates or by us capsuleers. Though they can be found throughout the cluster essentially wherever they’re needed, they’ve also been known to set up their own stations or refugee centers in areas of intense warfare to provide a more solid logistical basis. They aren’t exactly 5-star hotels, but they’ll provide food and shelter to those who have just lost everything. With the Republic’s recent attempts to reassert control over Ani, and take control away from the local pirate groups, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Sisters opted to open a refugee center here. Since I was in the neighborhood, so to speak, I decided that I should stop by. As I made my way, I did a bit of basic research:

Sister Camp 4The Sisters of EVE, always ready to aid those in need, have set up a relief camp here. The constant skirmishes around the system leave many wounded and hurt. Many more have also lost all their assets after accidentally getting in the cross-fire or being beset by on of the many warring factions. Here, the Sisters are giving first aid to those that need it. They are also monitoring the conflict, checking for any signs of inhuman treatment or war crimes taking place. But as everywhere else, they strive to maintain their neutrality.

Sister Camp 5

A camera drone peers over the edge of the local police station, keeping order within the refugee center.

Though some have questioned the Sisters’ intent and motive, I can’t fault them for their results. And they seem to be holding not just the pirates, but also the factions, to account to prevent atrocities. I know some would argue that all war is an atrocity, but unfortunately war is an inevitable part of human nature; the best we can hope for is to limit its effects to those who are directly involved in the fighting in some way. The Sisters appear to be trying to do just that. By monitoring the state of warfare throughout the constellation, they can have direct evidence if one side or another begins to use inhumane means to achieve their ends. By keeping themselves fastidiously neutral, they can leverage their reputation without worries that they are working for one side or another, instead of seeing to what really matters: care for those who are caught in the crossfire.

Sister Camp 6

A view over the surface of the asteroid which serves as the primary base for the local refugee center

The infrastructure the Sisters had managed to build up in Traun was impressive. It was a rather sprawling site, much more than I was expecting. The site itself was built around a hollowed-out asteroid. The massive rock provided a solid foundation for the base’s infrastructure as well as protection should anyone attempt to test the Sisters’ resolve in the constellation. Only a few buildings were viewable from outside the asteroid: the main landing pad and a few surveillance stations. The stations had a commanding view surrounding the asteroid, and provided them with a centralized location to monitor all the events in and around Ani. The asteroid itself had two openings roughly 180 degrees apart from each other. These two rather gaping holes, at least three times as big as my Drake, allowed access to the main facility, and the ability for me to see inside. Inside was a bit more crowded. The vast majority of the refugees made their living in a converted storage silo. Given the sheer volume of the silo, this makes sense, it could probably house thousands with room to spare. A number of surrounding facilities were built into the rock walls, providing logistical support. CONCORD has even made a point of showing the banner here; they have set up a station to act as police for the Sisters, helping them keep control over what at times must be a restless population.

Sister Camp 7

Sunlight filters in through a nearby ship's sails, stationed near the center's landing pad.

It seemed to be a fairly basic base, but it certainly got the job done. I would expect nothing less from the Sisters. But what it lacked in amenities, it made up in the most important way of all: it gave the refugees a home, if only temporarily. Losing everything and being forced to flee your home is a terrifying ordeal, but knowing that there is someone out there that will take you mean can make all the difference in the world. That sort of terror is something that is completely foreign to us pod pilots. We have enough money to buy almost anything our heart desires. We can find free shelter at any one of literally thousands of stations who are eager to house us in the hopes of getting even our trash. We have no need to fear death, since clones provide us with a nearly flawless new body whenever needed. In many respects, I suspect that we’ve forgotten what it is to be human. The very thing that has let us leave the surly bounds of our planet and touche the sky has also, fittingly, kept us from grounding ourselves in our own humanity.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Sister Camp
  • System: Traun
  • Security Rating: 0.6
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.
  • Scheduling Note: This coming Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States. Since I will be up to my neck in family festivities, I don’t think I’ll be able to update next week. Sorry!

Reclamation Wreck

Reclamation 1

The hulking remains of an old Amarr Battleship.

One of the oldest sayings out there is “form follows function.” Most people take this to mean that function of an object is what defines its form. I’ve always taken it slightly differently: The function of an invention first defines the design. Later, as the object is better established, the design can move beyond the solely functional to include aesthetic considerations. You can see this evolution in a number of everyday objects. The first airplanes were ungainly, bulky, multi-winged contraptions. The first automobiles were boxy things, the very opposite of aerodynamic. The first personal aircars were some unholy hybrid of the worst of both designs. But things eventually changed. Airplane designers learned that two wings were enough. Car designers learned that sleek designs meant better fuel efficiency. And the wonders of anti-grav technology allowed much more personal preference into the aircar design process. First came the function of these devices, then came the aesthetic form to take them from purely functional things to, in their own ways, pieces of art.

Reclamation 2

The remains of the engine casing pokes above the edge of an asteroid.

The designs of spacecraft have gone through a similar transformation. Given the lack of air in space, aesthetics (which, in my experience, tends to equate to aerodynamics in most cases) often took a backseat to strapping on all the necessary equipment as cheaply as possible, especially in the first days of deep-space exploration. Aesthetics were a secondary concern, if they were considered at all. Indeed, in many ways, many of the older ships resembled contemporary Minmatar designs. Of course, the Minmatar these days seem to take a certain pride from the apparent haphazard designs, to the point that it has acquired its own special sense of aesthetics. Still, it can’t be denied that many of the original ship designs more closely resembled Minmatar designs to their current ones.

Reclamation 3

The wreckage of Reclamation spread against the backdrop of Traun III.

Between then and now, however, there was an awkward, almost adolescent phase of starship design. Designers seemed to believe that bigger was automatically better in every situation (an idea that has once again been in vogue as of late, it seems). Interestingly, not only did the empires design bigger classes of ships, they made old classes of ships bigger. At the time, these things made sense, as new technologies were being invented to supplement existing ship classes, but miniaturization hadn’t yet taken hold to make the size of those new technologies reasonable. It was an interesting design philosophy, and really only seemed to see its downfall once the Caldari and Gallente began experimenting with smaller ship designs once again during the Long War, forcing that miniaturization to take place. These days, you don’t really see examples of these monsters outside of museums. Most of them were salvaged for rather ample amounts of scrap metal. Every now and then, however, one of these monsters can be uncovered where it fell, such as the one in Traun. Reclamation, a ghost of times past, sits silently in its grave to this day. As Aura explains:

Reclamation 4Once the Minmatar Rebellion spread into the Ani constellation the Nefantars pleaded with the Amarrians for help. The Amarrians responded by sending their largest battleship to the constellation, the Reclamation. At first, the huge ship along with its escort of support ships, swept through the constellation, destroying several squadrons of rebel forces. But only a week after its arrival, it was infiltrated by a Sebiestor saboteur and demolished. The destruction of the Reclamation signaled the end of the Amarrian initiative to eradicate the rebels in one blow, forcing them onto the defense.

Reclamation 5

One of the ships that makes a habit of hanging out near the wreck of Reclamation

Reclamation truly was a massive ship. Though billed (and classed) as a battleship, it would easily be comparable to today’s dreadnaughts or carriers. That’s not to say that it was as powerful as today’s dreadnaughts, of course. Indeed, it seemed to be the opposite of the recently announced ships from the various empire shipyards: a massive hull, with smaller class weaponry. At its prime, though, it must have truly been a sight to see. A massive ships, lasers screaming across the vast endlessness of space. Bringing death and destruction to all those who dare to defy the will of the Emperor. There is a reason that the Amarr Navy was feared for the longest time. Seeing this ship was like stepping back in history. And yet, it also shed some interesting light on history.

Reclamation 6

Parts of the superstructure of Reclamation have wrapped itself around a nearby asteroid.

As Aura noted, Reclamation was sent in response to the Minmatar rebellion. Interestingly, however, while Reclamation may have actually been the largest battleship in the Amarr fleet, it certainly wasn’t the strongest. As I’ve noted previously, the Minmatar Rebellion started in response to the trouncing given to the famed Amarr Golden Fleet. That fleet was composed of the most advanced ships in the Amarr fleet: at that time, Abaddons and Apocalypses. These ships were among the first in the Amarr fleet responding to the miniaturization seen in the other navies. So while Reclamation may have been the largest battleship remaining in the Fleet, it certainly was not the most powerful. That suggests that the Amarr High Command had already decided which way the winds were blowing. One ship, even one as massive as Reclamation, could not possibly have been enough to turn the tide of the Rebellion. It was a showing of the flag, knowing that it would go down. The only question was where and how, and that was answered within a week of reaching deployment.

Reclamation 7

Another view of the remains of Reclamation.

Regardless, today, all that remains of the Reclamation is a hulking wreck and the ghosts of the distant past. The Rebellion is long over, the Minmatar have established themselves as a legitimate nation, and all the sister ships of Reclamation have either been scrapped, been put into a museum, or sit in some space, adrift, like Reclamation herself. The only companions the wreck has today are those looking for a discreet place to meet and visitors like myself. The ship itself is a disaster: bits and pieces of the hull can be found throughout the area. Parts of the ship have detached. Departing from current Amarr design, the original hull apparently had a number of pods and bulges, most of which now float around the main hull like an awkward halo. In some respects, it was almost Gallente in nature, with random engine pods seemingly sprouting from the hull, though I doubt that the similarity was more than superficial. It was also odd to see an Amarr ship that didn’t glisten gold in the sun, but rather dully reflected the local star with a silverish sheen. I guess the golden hull was a bit too much form without much function.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction:Reclamation Wreck
  • System: Traun
  • Security Rating: 0.6
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.

Sanctum Psychosis

Sanctum 1

The ruins of Sanctum Psychosis float adrift in orbit of Lanngisi VI.

One of the repeating tragedies throughout history is the treatment of the mentally handicapped. It seems that every few decades, a “revolutionary” new treatment regimen comes around, or a new idea sweeps through the psychiatric community. Rarely, these new ideas result in better help for those afflicted with such diseases. All too often, however, it only worsens conditions for the mentally ill. You see it time and time again. Psychotropic drugs, horrific medical experiments, lobotomies, electroshock therapy: all of these have the dubious honor of having gained, at least for a little while, of being supported by the medical establishment. Worse, I suppose, is when we choose to ignore the mentally ill entirely. L0ck them away with no hope of treatment, or leave them out to fend for themselves in the depths of winter. Out of sight, out of mind. Thankfully, in today’s day and age, we at least attempt to help those who see things that aren’t there, think rules don’t apply to them, or even think that they have a lot more power than they actually do.

Sanctum 2

Over the years, a number of asteroids have congregated near the abandoned hospital.

Another problem with the mentally ill is that all too often, less civilized societies have the habit of calling any outcasts or those who don’t tow the line mentally ill, leaving them to the whims of mental health professionals. All too often, of course, there is nothing wrong with these people, other than the fact that they chose to speak their minds… against whomever the current authorities are. Even the Gallente and Intaki, in their more distant histories, have tales along this line. Less surprisingly, however, is the fact that the Amarr have a history of doing this. Even as recent as the Minmatar Occupation, the Empire made a repeated effort to lock up political dissidents, both Amarr and Matari, in mental illness facilities. And those efforts, for whatever reason, seemed to focus on the Lanngisi system. I don’t think I would enjoy living in a system whose claim to fame was housing the most mental health facilities and insane asylums out of the entire Empire but, then again, it wasn’t my place to judge. In any case, most of those hospitals seem to be shut down now, thankfully. Among those with the worst reputations, however, and the one that most deserved to be shut down, was the Sanctum Psychosis. As Aura explains:

Sanctum 3Long before the Rebellion, while the constellation was still home of the Nefantar tribe, the Lanngisi system was the main location for those with mental illnesses. Various institutions operated in the system, each preaching its own unique way of treating patients. In time, as the Amarrians had to deal with more and more Minmatar political radicals and dissidents, they started to send those they viewed as a threat to the social stability to Lanngisi for ‘treatment’. After the Rebellion the institutions were promptly closed. A decade ago the Sisters of EVE refurbished one of the old institutional stations as a local aid station for refugees.

Sanctum Psychosis was initially part spa, part mental hospital for those suffering serious psychosis and delusions. Later on, with all the seriously violent patients referred to the place, it become nothing more than a prison for those deemed too dangerous to be on the loose.

Sanctum 4

A snake-like asteroid sits near the Sanctum. Lanngisi hides behind one of the Sanctum's pillars.

From what little I knew of the Sanctum, it’s founders initially did mean well. But time can do dangerous things to even the best of intentions. Over time, the “therapies” used became more and more inhumane, especially as the Sanctum was left with more and more dangerous criminals, more and more radical dissidents. When the goal is to simply remove people from society, rather than help them, such a slippery slope is all too easy. Back in its prime, though, the Sanctum must have been quite a magnificent sight. In classic Amarr form, the station high above Lanngisi VI evokes the feelings of a castle: tall, with spires and battlements, but made of pure gold, to shine in the sun. I had always been a fan of Amarr design, and this former mental hospital certainly highlighted it.

Sanctum 5

Another view of the ruins of Sanctum Psychosis

Today, the site is a mere shadow of its former self. Like the Asylum three planets over, it is long abandoned, and certainly no longer providing any kind of mental health services. Similarly, the station has been picked to the bone for any usable technology or relics of the Amarr age in Minmatar space, leaving only the superstructure left in orbit of Lanngisi VI. Unlike the Asylum, however, neither the Sisters of Eve nor anyone else have attempted to make use of the site of the Sanctum. The site sits all but abandoned today, the hulk of the station left adrift in Lanngisi orbit. It seemed certain that within a century or two, without station thrusters to keep it in orbit, the station would come tumbling down on to the temperate world of Lanngisi. It wasn’t a pressing concern by any means, but something to keep in mind for the Republic. No one liked having stations fall on to their heads. Even more problematic were the asteroids that had gathered near the Sanctum. A few of them even seemed to contain valuable minerals, even if it was only veldspar. But unless they were mined into nothingness beforehand, they could prove even harder to move into a stable orbit than the Sanctum.

Sanctum 6

One of the few people who still visit near the Sanctum. She seemed willing to give out missions to other pod pilots.

The days of the bustling station, filled with patients, doctors, and assorted personnel, was long in the past. Today, all that’s left are a few scavengers and those looking for an out of the way place to meet with others of disrepute. Indeed, Lanngisi in general seems to have fallen off of the map. Perhaps because of its abuses during the Occupation, the system no longer seemed to be the center of mental health that it once was. But we shouldn’t take that to mean that there were no more mentally ill people out there. They don’t just disappear, they are always with us, either from the unfortunate happenstance of genetics or the horrors of life. And we must never forget that we should judge societies based on how they treat the lowest of the low, and those unable to help themselves. We should be ready and eager to help those with mental illness, and not just ready to leave them out on the streets to freeze. After all, winter is coming.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Sanctum Psychosis
  • System: Lanngisi
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.

The Asylum


The abandoned mental hospital lists steeply ot the side. Near the docking disk, more modern facilities can be seen.

I’ve never been a fan of horror stories, personally. When you live the life of a pod pilot, where death can visit you at any given moment (again and again, if necessary), I don’t really feel the need to get my adrenaline pumping or my fight or flight reflex to kick in. It happens all the time already. Even before entering the pod close to 4 years ago now, I never really understood why people would want to be terrified for fun. I suspect that it has something to do with escapism. You’re not normally going to be running for your life from a zombie or getting hunted by an axe murderer, so the opportunity to (safely) put one’s self in those shoes is very attractive to some people. Just not to me. I’m a powerful capsuleer, one of the most powerful people to exist in the history of mankind. What do I need with escapism?


A drydock stands near the abandoned hospital, with a ship in for repairs.

In any case, if I did enjoy horror stories, I have to admit that this week’s site has all the makings of an excellent story. An old mental hospital, fallen into disrepair. Crazy “psychiatrists” who performed horrific experiments on those sent there. A new group coming in, trying to turn the site around. Throw in some unexplained disappearances, mysterious noises, as well as a group of teenagers who are determined to set things right, and the story practically writes itself. Perhaps the creepiest thing about this entire site, however, is that it does seem so perfectly fit for a horror movie. It’s rare that you see those kinds of places in real life. As much as you’d like to think that there are not and never have been evil psychiatric institutions that may or may not be haunted,I suppose it was bound to happen eventually. And happen it did in Lanngisi. As Aura explains:

Asylum3Before the Minmatar rebellion, this facility, among others, served as a treatment center for mentally ill individuals. The Asylum was formally named Compulsions, Obsessions and Mania Asylum, or COMA in short. It used highly questionable methods to treat those suffering from mental illnesses. Notably the neuro-shock therapy coupled with a dream-induced state, doctors at the facility claimed they were able to ‘transfer the conscious to a new level’. In recent years, the facility has served as a refugee center. Conflict in nearby systems has increased lately and the Sisters of Eve have taken the role of aiding those in need.


The detainment facility sits slightly inside the now-abandoned superstructure of the hospital. Lanngisi III floats in the background.

Leave it to the Sisters to attempt something like this. While I, of course, commend the Sisters for their attempts to handle the wave of refugees, I couldn’t help but question their choice of where to put the center. Indeed, it was an odd choice in many ways. As far as I could tell, none of the structures the Sisters are using are actually attached to or rely on the old Asylum. They’re merely set up in proximity to the old station, which is just as well, because it is clear that that station has seen better days. As with most older and abandoned structures, it has been picked to the bone, leaving only the massive superstructure. Moreover, the station has been abandoned so long that it has lost its normal orientation: the station is listing heavily to one side (as much as one can list in directionless space, at least), a product of years without even stationkeeping thrusters to keep it stable. It certainly gave a rather eerie feeling to the area.


The various facilities set up by the Sisters of EVE.

Ignoring the super creepy abandoned mental institution of horror, the rest of the site was actually fairly lively. The Sisters have created a fairly extensive support infrastructure for the refugee center. Beyond the refugee center itself, which was a predictably drab and boxy thing, the site hosted a number of satellite facilities. One of these support facilities was a small drydock. A ship was docked there at the time, though I couldn’t tell if it was being built or merely undergoing repairs. In either case, the robotic arms moved back and forth along the length of the Minmatar vessel, bringing supplies and building materials to where it was needed. There was also a second smaller center, as well as a few other supporting structures and a ship keeping watch on the area. On a more ominous note, and more set off from the rest of the site, the Sisters had established a detainment center, suggesting that not all the refugees were acting as grateful as they should have been. Perhaps to give them a more appropriate setting, the Sisters had actually built the detainment center inside what used to be the station’s main docking port. A rather ominous location when things start going bump in the night, as they so often do on space-based facilities.


The old asylum hangs ominously in the background, beyond the rest of the refugee center.

Despite the Sisters’ attempt to reclaim the Asylum, even being near the old facility gave me the creeps. Despite all of my input coming directly from ship sensors and sound synthesizers, I could have sworn I heard some odd noises coming from the old hospital. Of course, it was probably just my ears playing tricks on me, but suffice it to say that I was very, very happy when I had finished my investigation of the site. I have seen many things in my travels: wrecks of countless ships, the sites of fierce battles, homes of many creepy cults, but nothing unnerved me quite as much as this abandoned hospital. As much as I tried not to put much stock into supernatural happenings that are all too common in horror stories, I couldn’t help but doublecheck all interior ship sensors to make sure that nothing unwanted had joined the ship while I was there. It was just my imagination that something was watching me… right?

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: The Asylum
  • System: Lanngisi
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.

Lord Bastion

Bastion 1

The remains of Lord Bastion

It has long been known in communication studies that perception is influenced not just by the topic of conversation, but also how that subject is framed. How it’s presented. Controlling the narrative itself rarely helps your cause when the way the narrative is perceived by the masses is in a negative light. For the longest time, the Amarr Empire had both the narrative and the framing working for it. I’m not referring to their attempts to proclaim that enslaving an entire race was for their own good; rather, I’m referring to their reputation as simply being unbeatable. No one challenged the Golden Fleet for the vast majority of its history. It simply wasn’t done. As much as most of the Seven Tribes may have hated their enslavement, when caught between the narrative of their enslavement being “good” for them, and the framing that even if it wasn’t, there was nothing they could do about it, it’s little wonder that before the Rebellion, there were few serious attempts to actually free themselves.

Lord Bastion 2

A closer look at the battlestation. It's interesting that in the century and more that's passed since the Rebellion, station architecture has changed remarkably little.

Of course, once the Golden Fleet got hammered into dust at Vak’Atioth, things changed rapidly. Suddenly, the Amarr were mortal. Suddenly, the vaunted Golden Fleet, the Fleet that was known to block out the sun to ensure that the Empire’s will was imposed, was able to lose. That kind of sea change, especially for enslaved races like the Minmatar, simply can’t be overstated. Almost overnight, the largest Rebellion against the Empire had begun. The Empire, for all its power and propoganda, had lost the framing battle in that distant system of Vak’Atioth. They didn’t realize it immediately. Large empires used to simply always winning rarely do. However, although on a broad level the Empire may not have realized that it was time to be knocked down to mere mortal size, certain sectors of the populace clearly did. One of them was the Constellation Governor in Ani. He realized surprisingly quickly that the Empire had lost its sheen of infallibility, and set out to rectify that perception. His solution: a massive battlestation in the heart of Ani. Within a surprisingly short time, he had built Lord Bastion, where even the name was designed to give an air of authority and fortification. Granted, it probably helped him that he built the Bastion within the heart of the Nefantar tribe. Undoubtedly, the fact that the soon-to-be Ammatar were so pro-Amarr gave Lord Basad the buffer he needed to get the station built. Unfortunately, even Lord Basad’s plans were too little too late in re-establishing the framing that the Amarr had worked so hard over the centuries to piece together. As Aura notes:

Lord Bastion 3The Amarr governor in the Ani constellation held only nominal powers due to the favored status the Nefantars enjoyed. Yet when the rebellion broke out he became a very important figure in the constellation, rallying the local forces to fight the surging rebels. The governor, Lord Basad, constructed a formidable space fortress orbiting Hjoramald XII, ancestral home of the Nefantars. The fortress soon became known as the Lord Bastion and held out for two months before finally succumbing to the rebels. Many Minmatars want this relic of Amarr domination torn to pieces, but the majority regards the bastion’s ruins as a symbol of the Minmatar spirit and resolve.

Lord Bastion 4

Ruins from the final siege of the Bastion.

In some respects, its impressive that the Station was able to hold out for so long. Since the Nefantar were both pro-Amarr but also one of the Seven Tribes, the rest of the Rebellion didn’t actually assault Ani until late into the war. By then, Minmatar ship and ammunition production capabilities were in full swing, and momentum had definitely shifted in the Rebel’s favor. Once again, perception was that the Rebel victory was inevitable at that point. However, perception and framing are only useful if unchallenged by piddling things like reality. The Empire was fighting tooth and nail to keep the Matari people within the Empire, and they were less likely to be affected by attempts of Matari framing and propaganda.

Lord Bastion 5

The only working station these days is the small adjacent museum, built to commemorate the battle to bring Lord Bastion down.

Today, Lord Bastion is but shadow of its former self. The hulking superstructure is all that remains; the rest of it has been picked clean in the intervening years. Even the bulkheads have been recycled into scrap, leaving only a hauntingly golden ghost that is completely hollow inside. The surrounding space is littered even to this day with debris from the siege. One of the hulking old-fashioned Amarr cruisers can be seen destroyed amidst a number of nearby asteroids, serving as a silent reminder of the price the Amarr paid to attempt to hold on to Ani. As if the ruined station itself didn’t serve in that function. In fact, the only working station in orbit of Hjoramold XII these days was of Minmatar origin. A small museum floated amongst the wreckage, built to remember and commemorate the Minmatar lives lost during the siege of the Bastion. A number of ships, mostly of Minmatar origin as well, could be found here as well. Some of them were even chatty with vessels that were passing through.

Lord Bastion 6

One of the smaller vessels found near the ruins of Lord Bastion

Perception is a powerful thing. In the right hands, it can be used to build empires, as the Amarr proved so well. Yet in many respects, perception is fleeting and ephemeral. Empires cannot be built on sheer reputation, framing, and perception alone, though they definitely help. Prior to the battle at Vak’Atioth, the Amarr seemed to have forgotten that. Stretched so thin to provide security amongst the soon-to-be-born Republic, they based their control over the Minmatar almost solely on their narrative and framing of that narrative. Once the Minmatar realized that the Amarr COULD be beaten, and beaten decisively, the entire house of cards came tumbling down in the Republic, leaving only ghostly reminders of the Empire and its perceived power  that used to be.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Lord Bastion
  • System: Hjoramold
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.

The Carnival

Carnival 1

The remains of the original Carnival Station drift through space.

When I was young, I remember being so excited when the carnival made its way to our hometown on Gallente Prime every year. In retrospect, the carnival that came to town was a rather dinky affair that took up only half of a small park near us. But at the time… it was like the heavens themselves opened up and placed these rides on the planet. The sounds, the lights, the rides, the games… even the waiting in line took on an almost surreal feel to them. Despite the fact that the carnival was less than 10 minutes from our house, the moment I stepped inside that wonderland, I felt I had been whisked away to some magical wonderland. To this day, I treasure those days that my family went to the carnival, and I treasure the memories of those happy times. That feeling of connection serves as significant comfort to me when I find myself alone in the distant depths of space, as there’s few times I can remember when I felt more connected to my loved ones.

Carnival 2

The basis of the present day, and significantly less impressive, Carnival.

It’s always amazed me how the universe can warp even the happiest of memories and concepts into something dark and twisted. Leave it to New Eden to take some of my happiest memories and warp them into something sad and depressing. Or, to be more specific, leave it to other people to try to cover up sad and depressing things by giving them happy sounding ( or at least, ironic) names. After so much time spent in New Eden, I’m usually able to figure out that almost ANYTHING that sounds remotely happy actually is, but I have to admit that this week’s site fooled even me. I wasn’t exactly expecting the carnivals from my youth, with the glitzy rides, games, and foods entirely unhealthy for you, but I was expecting something considerably more upbeat than what I actually found. Granted, I had some idea of what was up from the moment that Aura pulled up the initial background information for me:

Carnival 3At the height of Amarr Empire the Ani constellation was a busy place, bustling with activity. The Carnival was once the main trade hub between the Nefantars, the rest of Minmatar space and the Amarr Empire. After the Rebellion the Carnival quickly fell on hard times. While it has never been totally abandoned only thugs and black marketers remain.

Carnival 4

A close up view of what I'm sure used to be a quite nice biodome or park

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not as familiar with Minmatar history as perhaps I should be. I recognized from the description that the Nefantar were one of the original Seven Tribes, but I knew little more than that. As such, I had to dig around a bit more than I would necessarily have liked to uncover just what role the Nefantar Tribe played in Ani. What little research I had done to date showed me that they still have a significant presence in Ani, even if that presence is in the form of old, abandoned ruins. During my limited research, I was startled to discover that the Nefantar and the Ammatar were one and the same. To give a too-brief summary, essentially the Nefantar assimilated more readily into Amarr society than the other tribes, to the point where they apparently started believing Amarr theological doctrine. Once the other tribes began rising up against the Empire, the Nefantar made their choice: they chose to cast their lots with the Empire against the other Tribes. From that, the Ammatar Mandate was created. Once the Republic had solidified its boundaries, most, if not all, of the Nefantar’s traditional homelands in the Ani constellation had been subsumed to the Republic. It was a galling act, from a Matari point of view, a betrayal of their very being. I couldn’t say I blamed the Matari for having a less than positive view of the new Mandate. Even after the Nefantar were removed from Ani, their legacy remains, especially in areas like the Carnival.

Carnival 5

The admittedly unnerving sight of an Amarr-based battleship found near the ruins of the Carnival.

Whatever state the Carnival may be in today, I have little doubt that back in its heyday, the site lived up to its name. Thriving trading hubs often took on an almost carnival like atmosphere, as traders from all over tried to hawk their wares to the public. Those marketing schemes get progressively more and more elaborate, and if the hub is active enough, a certain festive atmosphere can overtake it all. That’s how I imagine the early Carnival days, even if today’s site is a mere shadow of its former self. Perhaps most surprisingly, the old Carnival site seemed to revolve around a Gallente-designed station. I find it odd that, especially in the days before the Rebellion, the Gallente were this far out from their core space, willing to construct stations. Today, the old Gallente pleasure hub, as the design is commonly known, sits adrift. Station keeping thrusters have long since run out of fuel, meaning that the station is now almost flipped upside down compared to its original orientation. Some of the old park biodomes remain surprisingly intact, the trees and grass flash-frozen, leaving a somewhat eerie hint of green on an otherwise drab atmosphere. In the distance, an ancient Amarr ship sits, decaying in orbit. The massive superstructure had already broken in half, and it seemed rather close to disintegrating entirely. Fittingly, the entire site sits above Barkrik IV, a frozen iceball of a planet that only adds to the feelings of being frozen in space and time.

Carnival 6

A number of the smaller patrol pickets can be seen here, while a mammoth Amarrian hulk sits decaying in the distance.

But not everything is dead at the Carnival. A number of rather drab-looking trading hubs sit in the shadow of the former station. Small, squarish things that aren’t really much to look at. Nearby, a drug repository sits, ready to draw in the next unwary capsuleer to the heights of drug-induced euphoria. I made a point of staying well away from THAT particular station. A number of ships also flitted about. The Republic was obviously intent on keeping its hold on the Ani constellation, as a number of patrol frigates could be seen cruising, keeping an eye on things even in this less-savory part of the system. Perhaps surprisingly, a few Ammatar vessels could also be seen. What they were doing here, I didn’t know, but if the Minmatar and the Mandate could keep an uneasy peace here, I wasn’t about to interfere.

Carnival 7

Legacy manuevers near the trading station

All in all, the Carnival was certainly not what I was expecting. Despite my feelings on the Minmatar enslavement, part of me almost wished that I could have seen the Carnival in its prime. Being able to walk along the colorful promenades of a bustling trade hub is always a unique experience. No two hubs are the same. The bustling, yet ordered crowds of Jita are a far cry from the almost-solemn Amarr Prime hub, with hymnal music being piped in. Different yet are the overall extravagance of the Dodixie markets, while Rens sometimes seems on the verge of exploding from the amount of energy it contains. The Carnival would have been different still, and I almost wish I could see what had given this site its name. But maybe that was just me longing once again for the days of my youth.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: The Carnival
  • System: Barkrik
  • Security Rating: 0.6
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.