Sightseeing in the Cluster

Posts tagged “Sinq Laison

Impetus Site

Impetus 1

A major distribution center for entertainment company Impetus.

Sometimes, I think about the logistics necessary to keep an economy like New Eden up and running.  Inevitably, when I do, I immediately get a headache.  I’ve only dabbled on the industrial side of New Eden, back in my early days as a pod pilot, and that was enough to give me an appreciation that lasts to this day for the countless citizens who work around the clock to give us the goods we often take for granted.  Everything, from the smallest piece of ammunition in your autocannon to the largest Titans, is built by teams of capsuleers.  These capsuleers need to gather the materials necessary (either through mining or reprocessing other equipment), utilize blueprints to put those materials together.  For higher quality equipment, multiple levels of this become necessary, and that doesn’t even begin to look at the complexities of reverse engineering, invention, and other processes necessary for tech 2 and Sleeper-based technologies.  I am shocked time and again that the entire economy hasn’t collapsed in on itself when I realize that this is all due solely to capsuleer efforts. But such is the world that we live in.

Impetus 2

A portion of Impetus’s shipping fleet.

Of course, there is an entire side of the economy that we have little to know interaction with as capsuleers.  Entire planetary economies are often offlimits to us, as us capsuleers have little use for most consumer goods.  With our whims completely catered for, what use would we have for a microwave or oven?  While some inroads are starting to be made in certain areas, for the most part, capsuleer-produced equipment is often reserved solely for capsuleer use, and vice versa.  Whether it is the natural economic result or a CONCORD-mandated division, the fact of the matter is that, economically speaking (and in many other ways for that matter), the billions of people on the planets below us are invisible.  We simply don’t have any interaction with them.

Impetus 3

A top down view.

That’s not to say that they don’t have their own economies though.  And sometimes, we capsuleers have the opportunity to run into this other side of New Eden.  Interstellar-shipping and interstellar logistics are not only a concern of capsuleer-based corporations; it is a major concern for the civilian-oriented trans-stellar corporations as well.  Indeed, you can sometimes see hints of this other side of the economy when you see those convoys coming and going from stations.  There seems to be little rhyme or reason for the stations these convoys visit, but perhaps the civilian population is similarly confused as to why Jita is given so much attention by us capsuleers.  It’s just another example of the ever-widening gap between the capsuleer and non-capsuleer portions of humanity.

Impetus 4

Cargo crates can be seen next to these small industrials

But for those of you who may want more than a glimpse, I highly suggest Dodixie.  Like Jita, Dodixie is a familiar market hub for many capsuleers throughout Gallente space.  Unlike Jita, however, Dodixie also appears to have a thriving non-capsuleer economy as well, as evidenced by the major distribution center established here by the well-known film maker Impetus.  I’ve profiled Impetus before, so I won’t belabor the point other than saying that its extremely broad range of entertainment materials, it in many ways mirrors broader Gallente society and tastes.  Aura puts it much more concisely:

Impetus 5An Impetus agent awaits you in this deadspace complex.

Impetus are the leading creators and distributors of all sorts of entertainment: holoreels, cheap pornography, even seedier (or perhaps, more ethically questionable) means of kinetically visual fare. Regardless of their product, the entertainment lifestyle is decadent and glamorous, so talking to this agent might provide you a glimpse into that exotic world.

Impetus 6

The Professor approaching the distribution center.

The first thing that came to my mind as I dropped out of warp at the distribution center was that it was a giant flower floating in space.  Four “petals,” in reality, the docking platforms, sprout from the top of the central stem.  These platforms gleam in the sunlight of Dodixie, not to mention the variety of ships that can be found here as well.  Travelling down the central stem about half way, a set of four “leaves” can be found sprouting off the stem, rotated 45 degrees from the central platform.  As best as I could tell, these seemed to function mainly as storage areas.  Given the bustling activity at the center, there would have to be substantial storage in order to make all of these ships have a reason to be here.  The stem itself probably served as the primary administrative areas for offices.

Impetus 7

A Thorax sits docked at the station.

Beyond the center itself, a veritable fleet of cargo ships could be found docked at the station.  Industrial ships ranging in size from the massive Obelisk to the tiny yet (relatively) speedy Occator can be found docked, with ships both sitting on the sprawling docking ports as well as off to the side.  The top (as much as such a word has meaning in space) of the docking platforms are also covered in stacked crates of cargo, undoubtedly filled with a variety of filming equipment and sets, not to mention hardcopies of the hundreds of films pumped out by the studios every year.  With Impetus as a major producer of entertainment products, I have no doubt that the activity continues around the clock here.

I very much enjoyed my brief time at the Impetus site.  Given that I was in the area anyway to pick up some supplies, it was nice to have a new site to discover so close to where I needed to go anyway.  As I watched the bustle of activity, the coming and going of ships as they dropped off or picked up supplies, it made me once again appreciate the complexities of New Eden.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Impetus Site
  • System: Dodixie
  • Security Rating: 0.9
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Gallente COSMOS site.

Yan Jung Ruins

Yan Jung Ruins 1

One of the broken Yan Jung monuments. Moon 1 of Planet VI can be seen in the background

(Editor’s Note: It appears that CCP has removed the force-repeller from this site at some point. The hackable cans and defenders are still present, however. Thanks to @MikeRock512 for the heads up!)

For whatever reason, I just couldn’t quite get myself out of Algintal. Whenever I thought I had finished with this constellation, something else came up that required my attention. Sometimes it was personal business that required my attention on one of the planets. At other times, capsuleer business would take me to the other side of the constellation. And that doesn’t even include the density of landmarks in the constellation due to it being a CONCORD designated COSMOS constellation. But after last week’s exploration of the Relic, I thought I was finally done with Algintal. Finally, I’d finished the marked COSMOS sites. I’d explored the available Yan Jung history available. I’d judged the Friends of Nature for their admirable purpose but less-than-memorable techniques of advancing it. And I’d shown my mother just what drew me out here time after time. I thought I’d seen all that Algintal had to offer. Until a few days ago, at least.

Yan Jung Ruins 2

A Serpentis Scout cruiser fires a rocket at my ship. Clearly, however, their damage output against a battlecruiser left something to be desired.

That was when I’d heard that there was, in fact, a second Yan Jung site in Deltole. Which made sense, of course. The Yan Jung were from Deltole, so it only stood to reason that a space-faring species would leave more than one artifact site behind. So it shouldn’t have surprised me that there was an unmarked site in Deltole, a second site of discovered Yan Jung relics. Indeed, my source tells me that the site even includes another working example of Yan Jung technology. Given that the Yan Jung disappeared at least a few thousand years ago, any examples of working technology were impressive. I could only our modern technology, of which we are so proud of, could show such resilience over the course of millennia. I looked up what little information I could, and Aura returned this:

The Serpentis have already cleaned most items of interest from these ancient ruins built by the Yan Jung nation eons ago. Yet the peculiar force repeller remains, a strange device capable of holding back ships that try to approach it. The only way to get close to it is by shooting it first.

Yan Jung Ruins 3

A number of the relics that float within the site

So it was with understandable enthusiasm that I set course to Moon 1 of Planet VI in the Deltole system. There was no beacons for that area, but as soon as  I dropped out of warp, I saw an unmarked acceleration gate. Next to the gate sat a scientist. He was able to give a brief overview of the Yan Jung, and even asked for some help in his investigations. Intrigued as I was, however, I needed to do my own investigations first. With that, I activated the acceleration gate, which took me to the heart of the site. The first thing I noticed was that I was almost immediately locked by two Serpentis cruisers. In Legacy, they were little match for me. Indeed, it seemed a little unfair, and I felt a little guilty for how easy it would be for me to dispatch them to the Hereafter. On the other hand, it seemed a little silly to waste ammunition on such a minor threat. Thankfully, my drones were able to handle the cruisers without me having to replenish anything.

Yan Jung Ruins 4

A close up view of the force repeller relic that would not let my ship approach

Once the guards were dispatched, I finally had a chance to take a look at my surroundings. There was nothing close by, but about 25 kilometers away there was a small collection of relics. Among the items present were a few pieces of wreckage. These were smallish things that looked like panels off of a larger object. One side was flat, with a small symbol on it, while the other side was a jumble of pipes and conduits. I looked at it for a second, noticing that it appeared to be nearly identical to wreckage I saw in the Yan Jung relic site. Also there were a series of small beacons. These were small pieces of equipment, still apparently functional. At least, the small shields that glinted in the sun suggested that SOMETHING onboard was still active. The shields appeared spindly, unlike the invisible shields around my drake. And in the center sat the force repeller relic. I did a brief scan on it, but the analysis was unfortunately less than complete:

A strange device built by a human civilization dead for thousands of years that repels any ships that try to near it. It must be destroyed from afar, preferably with EM damage weapons.

Yan Jung Ruins 5

Legacy gets deflected by an odd force as it tries to approach the center of the phenomenon.

Why I would want to destroy the thing was a mystery. However, there was only one way to see what all the fuss was about. I quickly set course for the relic, to see if was still active. Legacy traveled smoothly towards it. Then, quite suddenly, it didn’t. Alarms flared as the ship was suddenly shoved aside for reasons unknown. For a moment, I feared that there would be damage from the sudden shearing force, but a quick systems diagnostic proved otherwise. Instead, I just couldn’t go any farther. I tried again and again to force my ship through, but whenever I got to within 10 kilometers or so of the relics site, it was just met with an unconquerable force to prevent further approach of my ship. Oddly, my camera drones were unaffected by the relic. Perhaps there was a mass limit before the relic itself activated. Or maybe it was able to differentiate between ships and other objects. Or maybe it just didn’t care about camera drones. Whatever its reasoning, I was at least able to still capture close up visuals of the remains of the Yan Jung, even if I couldn’t get my ship close.

Yan Jung Ruins 6

One of the so-called “intact crystals” float in the foreground, shields glinting in the sun. The force repeller relic can be seen in the distance.

I debated whether I should attempt to destroy the relic to get a look at the other relics. It was admittedly tempting. Getting access to the other relics might show unknown treasures, and it was even possible pieces of the force repeller relic (a technology that, to my knowledge, had no analogs in modern day) could survive if I was light enough with my bombardment. Unfortunately, it was something I just could not bring myself to do. It wasn’t my place to destroy something that had lasted thousands of years. It was a testament to a civilization that had built such monuments, and who was I to trample on the only thing that remained of that civilization? As a capsuleer, it was easy to convince myself of my own superiority over a civilization that has been long dead… but in this case, I would have to learn to appreciate from afar.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Yan Jung Ruins
  • System: Deltole, Planet VI, Moon 1
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: As noted in the entry, there are two cruiser class Serpentis rats.

Yan Jung Relic Site

Yan Jung 1

A look at overlapping Yan Jung ruins in Deltole.

It’s sometimes easy to forget that the Gallente, Caldari, Amarr, and Minmatar weren’t the first civilizations to conquer the stars. The ringing silence that beckoned first the Amarr, and then the other empires to the vastness of space seemed to assure all concerned that they were expanding into virgin, untouched lands. After all, if anyone had come before us, if anyone else had established colonies throughout the cosmos, surely they would still be around to greet us, right? But, of course, the only thing that greeted the first modern explorers was the resounding silence of the centuries.

Yan Jung 2

The Yan Jung gun battery looks surprisingly similar to modern designs.

Of course, the archeological record shows that those thoughts, tempting as they are, just simply are not true. It has been well-established that we are, at best, the second generation of civilizations to conquer New Eden. Well, third, if you presume that the people from the EVE Gate also originally colonized the area, though the record from that era is much more spotty. Regardless, the record is fairly clear that there was, in fact, a generation of four empires that were roughly analogous spatially to the modern empires. The Takhmal roughly correspond to the modern day Amarr empire. The Sleepers, of wormhole fame, originally inhabited Minmatar space before moving on to Anoikis. The Talocan once ruled an area roughly analogous to the modern day Caldari State. And finally, the Yan Jung originally settled within modern day Gallente space. The Jove, of course, seem to have been the only continuous civilization in both the ancient and modern era. The chance to work my way through the Jove archive would be a dream come true, but unfortunately I don’t foresee that happening in the near future.

Yan Jung 3

A so-called Gargoyle: "A very old object that seems to once have acted as a guardian of this space. It is not active at the moment and perhaps it has malfunctioned."

Barring a near-miraculous change in Jove policy, I would be stuck learning about the ancient races the old fashioned way: through hard work and archeology. Thankfully, a Yan Jung site has already been found and research has already begun. Unfortunately, the research is being done by an arm of the Serpentis Corporation. Between Yan Jung defense systems that were still at least partially active, as well as Serpentis agents who were not exactly expected to share research in the spirit of scientific collaboration, it was clear that going in on my own may not have been the smartest idea I’ve ever had. If I wanted a chance to actually explore the site and not simply try to stay alive for a few moments, I was going to need some help. Thankfully, as with most things in New Eden, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Yan Jung 4

A Yan Jung data cache sits amongst various asteroids that were apparently purposefully arranged by the Yan Jung.

I was able to make my way into the site through the help of some fellow friendly capsuleers. Members of the corporation Vicious Industries, in a small fleet of the fellow capsuleers Mizz Vicious and Toyaoka Katsuo, graciously allowed me to tag along as they searched the site for valuables. Since I needed help, and didn’t have the necessary passkey to get into the locked areas of the site, I was more than happy to take up their offer to tag along. It was a bit unusual for me, who was much more used to working on my own, to be working, and relying on, people beyond my own crew. Still, all things considered, I was downright lucky to be allowed to tag along, especially since I had never met them before. They did seem a little hesitant initially, but once I showed them some of my research, they were happy to let me tag along.

Yan Jung 5

Mizz Vicious keeps an eye on the area while a Yan Jung Impaired Monument floats in the foreground.

With my passage into the site and protection assured, it was time to turn my attention to the site itself. The site itself consists of three deadspace areas tied together by acceleration gates. The first room was fairly unimpressive, consisting solely of the Serpentis picket of the site. Thankfully, they didn’t feel compelled to put a massive force in the initial room. We were easily able to deal with the frigates and occasional cruiser in that first room. After that, we made our way to the second room. This room consisted of Yan Jung defensive systems that were still, even some 10,000 years later, at least partially operational. It was impressive to say the least. The defensive grid consisted mostly of missile launchers and gun batteries. It was remarkable that these structures appeared fairly similar to the modern day. There was also a number of older structures that Aura identified simply as “gargoyles.” The structures appeared inoperative, and something told me that I should be happy about that fact.

Yan Jung 6

One of the Serpentis archeology ships, conveniently located in a battleship class hull.

We made our way to the very heart of the relics site. Here, the Serpentis were back, in force. Two battleships, and a small fleet of cruisers and frigates zoomed around, protecting the Serpentis’s finds from bumbling interlopers like ourselves. Thankfully, my fellow capsuleers handled themselves with aplomb and quickly dispatched the defending force. The force also appeared to consist of Serpentis’s exploration fleet as well. The debris from the battleships made it clear that there was a significant amount of scientific equipment aboard. It seems weird to me that a bunch of pirates would be concerned with scientific endeavors, but I had to remind myself that the Serpentis Corporation had a significant R&D division. Once these ships were dispatched, it was time to move on to what, precisely, they were studying.

Yan Jung 7

A close up of the center of the ruins.

The archeological site itself wasn’t in quite as good of shape as the previous deadspace area. Unlike the still semi-functional defensive grid, most of this site appeared to be in tatters. The site itself appears to center around two strange, glowing orbs. Given that similar relics can be found in Friggi, near the heart of the former Talocan empire, it made me suspect that perhaps the two empires were tied closer together than may have been suspected. Unfortunately, without knowing the significance or function of the orbs, it was hard to make many more conclusions. That they were of central importance to the Yan Jung seems evident though. The surrounding space is littered with battered and impaired monuments, all distributed equally around the central orbs.

Yan Jung 8

Legacy approaches the site.

More directly noticeable were the deliberately arranged asteroids around the orbs. The stones were roughly hewn, but definitely taller than wide. Despite the rather haphazard initial appearance of the stone arrangements, it soon became clear after a bit of analysis that there were, in fact, two overlapping stone circles, one centered around each orb. This only reinforced the central importance of whatever those orbs were. But what were they for? Why put data caches AND monuments around them? Why guard this site with such an advanced  security system when the site itself, with rough-hewn stones that are only imprecisely arranged, is decidedly low tech? What was the connection with other, similar sites? I know that there are research projects that are attempting to answer these very questions… I just wish I was able to provide more answers.

Yan Jung 9

Another part of the defensive systems.

Eventually, I figured I had gathered as much information as I was going to, and my fellow capsuleers were also done with the site. It was also clear that the Serpentis were regrouping to make another push to establish control of the site. Realistically speaking, the Federation could fairly quickly establish control to open up the site to more legitimate scientific research. Why the Federation refuses to assert its sovereignty over the area is yet another part of the mystery surrounding this entire site. The Yan Jung clearly are not as directly relevant to us these days as, say, the Sleepers, and some might even argue that the interest in the Yan Jung at this point are merely academic. Still, anything that can help us understand who we are and where we come from can only help us, if only by reminding ourselves that we were not the first ones to touch the stars.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Yan Jung Relic Site
  • System: Deltole
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: As noted in the entry, the site requires a passkey to enter. Furthermore, the site is guarded by both Serpentis ships (up to and including battleships), as well as gun and missile batteries.

Central Administration

Central Admin 1

A distinctly Caldari-designed main administrative complex in the middle of Gallente space.

No one particularly likes red tape. I can safely say that no one I know gets particularly excited over Schedule B of Form 6320-G, Requisition for Replacement Environmental System Components. At least, my systems engineers always gripe at me over that particular form (something about having to figure out how to fit a square peg into a round hole). Despite the fact that no one likes these forms, however, they’re almost inherently necessary for any organizational system larger than 3 guys in a garage. Humans have an innate need to organize and compartmentalize their lives. It just makes our lives easier knowing that somewhere out there is a specific piece of paperwork to get what we need done (even if it doesn’t seem that way when we have to fill out that form in triplicate and get it cross-signed). Remarkable, even, when you think about the sometimes obscure things that need a form yet almost never seem to be needed. Yes, I realize I have a bit of an odd fascination with obscure things.

Central Admin 2

A Gallente merc orbits one of the nearby listening posts, alert to any dangers.

I bring this up because every empire seems to deal with the need for red tape and bureaucracy in their own ways. The Amarr had their glorified governors for paper pushers. The State uses corporate obfuscation to lose anything and everything your heart may desire. The Federation, of course, is no better. They have their own administrative needs, and those needs are only aggravated when dealing with yet another empire. For reasons beyond my understanding, Wiyrkomi was still pushing ahead with its attempt to make a presence in Algintal, despite the state of war between the two nations. I guess not even cold-blooded enemies can stand in the way of profits. Wanting to see just how the melding of the Gallente and Caldari bureaucracies were going, I quickly set course towards the administration complex. En route, I pulled up what information I could find:

Central Admin 3This is the headquarters of the Wiyrkomi Corporation in Algintal. It is here that Veko Tallaja, the operation manager for the Wiyrkomi Project in Sinq Liason, resides. Gallente Temko mercenaries closely guard the perimeter of the complex, authorized to strike at any trespassers. Security here is super tight after a spat of high profile incidents involving violent protesters made headlines in inter-galactic media. Wiyrkomi desperately want to avoid any more bad publicity, as their multi-trillion ISK deal with the Federation hangs on a razor thin edge.

Central Admin 4

A close up of the loading docks. Various pieces of cargo and supplies can be seen.

It always weirded me out to see Caldari and Gallente ships flying near each other and not trying to blow each other up, yet here we are. Granted, I’ve seen that sight more and more in recent days as I continued my tour of Algintal, but it still seemed wrong when, in at least some other systems, they were still at war. Yet that was precisely what we were seeing here. Both Wiyrkomi and Gallente mercenary ships flew near each other, protecting both their own interests and each other from outside threats. Nice to see that we can, in fact, all get along sometimes, even if its just to save the Caldari’s face. But I very much believe that economic interdependence could lead to peace, and to that extent I supported this initiative.

Central Admin 5

Wiyrkomi warships also keep an eye on the situation

Beyond that, the entire complex seemed like a fairly mundane space office complex. A central control tower seemed to hold the vast majority of office workers, with support offices that spidered out in classic Caldari hard-angled fashion. Nearby, cargo platforms sat, laden with supplies coming in and what I’m sure were cargo containers full to the brim of Requisition Order forms and other exciting bureaucratic items. A number of security outposts were also present, and even a bar for the workers on site, called The Pit. All together, it seemed like a pretty self-contained office complex. Although no freighters were present at the time, I had no doubt that this was a fairly bustling center.

Central Admin 6

One of the nearby security posts.

I finished up looking around and figured it was about time to get myself underway. Despite my apparent love of all things bureaucratic, I had just about had my fill of office complexes. Unfortunately, that also meant that it was just about time to move on from Gallente space. It was nice being close enough to home to visit if it ever struck my fancy, but like oh so many ships, I wasn’t born to stay close to home. And so, I set a course out of Gallente space, wondering just what else there was to find.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Central Administration
  • System: Fluekele
  • Security Rating: 0.6
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as an Gallente COSMOS site.

Roden Center

Iyen-Oursta 1

The office workers at the Roden Center apparently do not suffer for lack of updated news.

As a full-throated supporter of the Gallente democratic tradition, part of me has always been uncomfortable with such a well known corporate mogul winning the Presidency. President Roden has a long history not in politics, but in the so-called military-industrial complex. Roden Shipyards is a major contractor to the Federation Navy. While their small-craft division is well known in the commercial sector, the President has made the vast part of his fortunes from manufacturing machines of war. The argument is easy to make (and I’m sure it has been) that, in fact, the President has a vested interest in making war to ensure the continued prosperity of his company. Given all that doom and gloom conspiracy theory making, one might assume that I’m not a fan of President Roden. On the contrary, I’ve been happy with the President so far. The war we’re admittedly in wasn’t started by us, but was rather brought upon us by an attack by the Caldari when our defenses were down. I can’t blame President Roden for that (though I realize certain conspiracy theorists would disagree with me).

Iyen Oursta 2

A slight paraphrase of an ancient saying seems appropriate here: The sun never sets on Roden Shipyards

What I CAN blame President Roden on, however, is the plethora of Roden Shipyard facilities that seem to pop up throughout the Federation. At times, I feel like every other system I visit has some form of Roden facility, be it orbital facility, deep space military shipyards, or some other administrative center just floating in the middle of nowhere, why not. I thought I had discovered, by now, the various forms of the somewhat cookie-cutter Roden facilities. That’s why I was particularly surprised to discover that I had apparently missed one in my various wanderings through Gallente space. Merely called the Roden Center, the rather banal name drew my attention as I was warping through the system. Intrigued to see precisely what this new complex did, once I dropped out of warp at my original destination, I quickly turned around and warped back out from the gate. As I approached, I was met with a standard greeting:

Iyen Oursta 3Welcome to the Roden Center!

If you are here for the Roden Experience or the Jacus Roden History Museum, please proceed to docking bay two.
For guided tours of our offices, please proceed to a security checkpoint in docking bay three. Gift shops are available on all floors.

Thank you for visiting the Roden Center, where the Federation’s past and future collide!

Iyen Oursta 4

Some of the cargo containers near the Center

Notwithstanding their somewhat hackneyed motto, the site itself seemed to be a bustling spaceport in its own right. Ships flitted around the area, while massive cargo vessels were docked, ready to load or unload their cargo. Most striking about the complex, however, was the dozen news billboards surrounding the station. Apparently, Roden valued well-informed employees, as each of those billboards were tuned into the CONCORD Information Network that could be found at every stargate. I was immediately reminded of yet another recent news report that said that people were so overwhelmed with information these days that their attention spans were shrinking drastically. I don’t remember if there was anything else in the report, since as I was reading the story I was distracted by a new message and never got back to it, but I’m sure it was something along those lines.

Iyen-Oursta 5

A closeup of the upper part of Roden Center.

I had to admit that I was tempted to stop at the gift shop. I was always a fan of cheesy gifts, even if I never actually bought any of them. I didn’t have a chance to stay, however. Being involved in other pursuits currently meant that I had limited time today. Besides, I was hoping that I might see some pixies. As I warped to the stargate though, I continued my reflection on the current Federation President. He certainly was not my first pick when I saw the presidential field, but he’s weathered the recent crises as well as anyone could expect. For a military-industrial hack, maybe there was hope yet. After all,  the People have spoken.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Roden Center
  • System: Iyen-Oursta
  • Security Rating: 0.8
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -3 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.

Damaged Drone Mind

parch drones 1

The main portion of the remaining Drone hive

In retrospect, drones were developed remarkably late. Space travel, even among the relatively-late-blooming Gallente (at least compared to, say, the Amarr), had been around for almost a thousand years prior to the War of Secession, and even then, it wasn’t until fairly late in the game that the Gallente apparently realized that attaching an engine to a gun, with pilots safely ensconced back on their respective ships, was a cheap and economical way to fight the war. Of course, there probably wasn’t much of an incentive to think that small (at least weapons-wise) until the Caldari themselves developed their small-craft warfare doctrine that proved so effective in the middle stages of the War. Still, it seems odd that something which seems so useful in today’s day and age apparently took quite a while to occur to anyone, despite the fact that the technology for the drone chassis and basic weapons had probably existed for quite some time.

parch drones 2

A close up of one of the infested asteroids.

Of course, given the shockingly long development time for drones, it took a relative blink of an eye for at least portions of the drone population to develop some form of sentience (or at least emulated sentience). Drones were developed sometime prior to the end of the War in year YC 12, probably only a few years ahead of time. After potentially as little as 30 years (the moment of time of this particularly brilliant moment is not entirely clear), some Gallente scientist had the idea of throwing in artificial intelligence in with the weapons/engine mix. And soon after that, the artificial intelligence realized that it had everything it needed to make a name for itself on its own, and thus rogue drones were born. They quickly spread throughout the cluster, focusing obviously on Gallente space, but also spreading of their own accord into previously unknown space- much to the detriment of Gallente explorers. Ever since, they have been an interest to portions of the capsuleer community and have come under renewed interest in recent days.

parch drones 3

Parchanier peeking out behind other drone structures

Normally, drone hives are fairly temporary affairs. Put up by drones (for reasons known only to themselves), and taken down again almost as quickly (either by themselves or capsuleers hoping to make a quick isk), drone hives rarely stay in one place for long. As such, once I heard of a permanent, if damaged, drone hive, I knew I had to see it. Thankfully, it was in the area of my recent explorations, and thus a second diversion to Parchanier wasn’t exactly out of my way. I quickly set course for the system. Once there, I noted that no drone hive appeared on my overview, meaning that DEDACNP hadn’t gotten around to marking yet. After a bit of searching, I found what I was looking in orbit of Parchanier VI, moon 2.

parch drones 4

A still functional part of the drone hive mind. The mind is looking for help and will interact with capsuleers.

The hive sits in tatters. A number of asteroids had haphazardly been arranged together, connected by almost organically looking connecting metal structures, the purpose of which is unknown. Why would drones need something looking almost like an asteroid colony some of the mining corporations use? Towards the “bottom” of the hive, a large, red structure sat. Aura only identified it for me as a “cracked hive mind”, suggesting that whatever disaster had occurred here included hacking the hive mind. Whoever did this apparently had impressive computer skills. And left a trail of destruction in his or her wake.

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A closer look at an odd portion of the hive.

Numerous “corpses” (it felt odd to apply the term to machines, but it seems to be the most accurate) of larger drones surround the remains of a still-budding hive. Numerous smaller drones still remained active, buzzing around the hive in an apparently-mindless (and so far, unsuccessful) attempt to repair the damage from whatever catastrophe beset the hive. Given how they appeared to only be buzzing around aimlessly, I suspected that any controlling intelligence had long since left this particular hive. I admittedly didn’t understand the organizational structure of the rogue drones, but, it seemed likely that the larger drones provided the intelligence needed to give purpose to the smaller ones, at least on a very simplistic level. Without them, the smaller drones were simply mindless again.

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A close up of one of the remaining rogue drone defenders

Or so I had thought. Nearby, the remains of an asteroid sat near the base, presumably used for resources by the drones. Attached to the asteroid, hidden from the rest of the hive, sat another one of the larger drone corpses. Except this one couldn’t be considered a corpse at all. To my amazement, it was actually still transmitting. At first, it seemed to be gibberish, filled only with 1s and 0s, but I quickly realized it was transmitting in binary code. A quick run through the translator matrix showed that it was transmitting “HELLO WORLD! NEED CODE IN ASTEROIDS. GET BINARY CODE.” After a bit of conversation, I learned that it was still attempting to fulfill its purpose of creating a new drone hive… and willing to employ capsuleers to do this. Though I disapproved of how they attacked humans with no apparent warning, I sympathized with the very basic desire of all life to reproduce. Being only in Professor Science, however, I couldn’t help it very much with its quest.

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Another of the defenders.

I’m not sure if the drone recognized (or even understood) my sympathy with its plight. It did recognize my refusal though, and I couldn’t help but note an almost pleading tone as it responded to my decline. After ending my conversation, I quickly decided that I didn’t want to hang around much more at the Hive. Interesting though it was, it merely reminded me of the mistakes my own people had made in the past. Or were they mistakes? We brought new life into the universe, deadly as they may be. In any case, this was much to deep for me to dwell on, not when I had other work to do.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Damaged Drone Mind
  • System: Parchanier
  • Security Rating: 0.6
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen. The drones surrounding the hive are marked red and may attack, but they are relatively few in number and should be tankable. When I was there, there were 4 drones marked up as cruisers in my overview.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as an Gallente COSMOS site. The site now needs to be scanned down using probes. It’s a combat site entitled “Secret Drone Hive”. Special thanks to Namu Hakoke for pointing out the changes.

Pend Insurance Storage Bin

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The rings of Fluekele IV fade spectacularly into the distance behind the insurance bin.

It’s surprisingly easy to forget that life exists beyond the realm of your capsule at times. Flying amongst the stars, looking down on planets like oh-so-insignificant smears against the blackness of space, it can become difficult to remember that there are things that demand your time that do not involve other spaceships. Of course, in my four years of experience as a capsuleer, the moment you forget about the importance of the other life is precisely the time that that other life decides to flare up, dragging you out of your capsule for weeks on end to deal with some pressing matter that simply can’t be ignored. Such was the case with me. Business planetside had called me away from the freedom among the stars that I loved so much. Yet with things finally resolved, it was time to get back to where I belonged.

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The rings of Fluekele IV form an almost warp-like backdrop to the bin. To one side, hired security guards from Pend Insurance can be seen.

Unfortunately, planetside business had called me away at a point in my ever-fluid list that was not precisely the definition of “exciting.” At the time, I contented myself with the knowledge that I wasn’t missing anything special, but now it was hardly the “welcome back” gift to myself that I had been hoping for. But who was I to argue with the list? With a slight grimace to myself, I set course for the Fluekele system to what I’m sure was the entertainment capital of the cluster: the Pend Insurance Storage Bin. With but a thought to the proper commands, Professor Science flung herself into warp towards Fluekele.

A closeup of one of the hired hands for the local security arrangement.

It was times like this, as I looked over what precious little information I had on this site, that I wondered what, precisely, the DEDACNP was on, and if it was possible for me to talk to their supplier. The little-known DED Advisory Committee on Notable Places is tasked with designating sites throughout the Cluster as notable, and worthy of an official CONCORD beacon marking their place. Of course, not every site I visited had a beacon (Choonka’s Ship-wash being a notable example), but the vast majority of my cataloging work revolved around what they have deemed important. The name might suggest that as an advisory committee, they had no real power, but their decisions were often rubber stamped by the Directive Enforcement Department since, let’s face it, they don’t exactly have the most exciting job in the world and if they say something is important, it probably is. Normally I couldn’t fault them with what they deemed important (though what they DON’T deem important can be a point of contention at times), today, however…

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A closer examination of the insurance bin itself.

In any case, I finally arrived at Fluekele. Frankly, the area was approximately as boring as I was afraid it would be. The best that could be said about the area was that it had a gorgeous backdrop in the form of Fluekele IV, a gas giant with an extensive ring system that provided a rather stunning background to the area. I actually had quite a bit of fun taking various pictures with the rings in the background. Other than that, the bin itself was rather large and foreboding. Given the fact that Pend apparently spent quite a bit of money bulking the Bin up, numerous fortifications could be seen. In addition, a number of hired security ships orbited nearby (including two cruisers and three frigates), keeping a watchful eye on the scene to ensure that no one tried to make a sudden move on whatever was stored in the Bin (for obvious reasons, Pend wasn’t exactly forthcoming on that tidbit of information).

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One end of the monstrous structure. It easily dwarfed my small Buzzard-class frigate.

After playing around with the scenery for a bit, I knew it was time to move on. Regardless of what the DEDACNP thought, there just wasn’t a lot to be said about an insurance company’s storage area. Still, it was a nice way to ease myself back into piloting after so many weeks stranded on a planet. And it was was fantastic to be back amongst the stars.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Pend Insurance Storage Bin
  • System: Fluekele
  • Security Rating: 0.6
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This is IN the Gallente COSMOS constellation, but my records don’t show their being any agents here, nor are there any drop off or pick up points, so frankly I have no idea what’s going on. (EDIT: Per a commenter below, apparently this poor place is the oft-blown-up target of a Caldari COSMOS mission).

Grand Future Information Center

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Casinos disappear into the distant fog in Jolia

Someone once called the future the undiscovered country. The future can often scare people: for a civilization that relies on constant technological innovation to revolutionize the way we live our lives, people can often be shockingly afraid of change. As I’ve watched New Eden evolve over the past few years, however, I’ve come to a realization: a lot of the angst, a lot of the gnashing of teeth, that often accompanies such revolutionary changes in our way of life can be mitigated by simply managing expectations. People may not necessarily always like the change that’s coming if you make an attempt to manage expectations – they may be angry or upset – but they’re far more likely to react with a bit of sensibility instead of a blinding rage that can sometimes happen if change is sprung with no warning whatsoever. As a profit-making company, you want to avoid that blinding-rage stage at all costs, as the loss in profits from those kinds of people can often be incredibly difficult to recover.

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Federation Navy battleships guarding Caldari bases provides an intriguing juxtaposition that I never expected to see in my lifetime.

One of the companies who seems to have learned the value of expectations management is Wiyrkomi. Many Federation citizens would normally be furious if a Caldari corporation was planning on setting up a major base of operations within Federation territory; indeed, near the very heart of the Federation. Yet, being aware of this potential for outrage, Wirykomi made a conscious effort to reach out to the citizens of the Federation, and specifically the citizens in the Algintal constellation, in an attempt to raise awareness of precisely what Wirykomi was trying to do here. And thus was born the Grand Future Information Center. The named was a little grandiose for my liking, but I appreciated the effort that Wirykomi was making in showing that despite the continuing hostilities between the Federation and the State, they had no ill intent. Granted, some people would see conspiracies and read between the lines for things that may or may not even be there, but there was little chance of pleasing everyone. Still, that wasn’t for lack of trying. As Aura explains:

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Construction of The Grand Future Information Center was funded and organized by Wiyrkomi. Its purpose is to educate the populace of the benefits of making use of the abundant natural resources within the Algintal constellation. With opinion polls showing support for the construction of power plants in areas of vast natural beauty is very low, Wiyrkomi certainly have their work cut out for them.

The information center itself is built according to Gallente design, and nearby Wiyrkomi have erected a few pleasure hubs as well as a casino, which they hope will appeal to local Federation citizens.

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Some quarters for the local workers. A Raven-class battleship can be seen in the background

Pleasure hubs AND casinos?  A business after my own heart. Clearly Wirykomi had done their homework here in what would calm down the masses… or at least help most people tolerate the fact that a Caldari megacorp was opening up business in Algintal. The main attraction, of course, was Information Center itself. It reminded me a little bit of the ancient World Fairs I used to hear about: lots of various exhibits about how the cluster was coming together in the interests of Science and Progress, with a heavy dose of subliminal corporate messaging to top it all off. But I suppose that was to be expected, given the aims of the Center. There was a lot of State fanfare and frankly the thing seemed to be a little overdone in my opinion. But given the LACK of mobs setting fire to everything in sight, I suppose it was doing its job.

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The entire GFIC can be seen in the background beyond this rather oddly placed cargo can

The overall site was pretty much what you’d expect. It was settled within a small nebula, providing a diffuse glow as the gas reflected the light from Jolia. Near one end of the site, a row of pleasure hubs could be found, while the casinos were a little more spread out. In the center of the site, of course, was the Center itself. It was flanked on both sides, oddly enough, by Caldari tactical outposts. I wasn’t entirely sure what they were doing there (the conspiracy theorists could tell you any number of theories), but it was plausible that they were here to coordinate the surprisingly sizable defense fleets. A number of both Caldari and Federation battleships swarmed the area, perhaps waiting for the protestors that never quite seem to materialize.

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One of the tactical outposts above the rest of the site

I watched the slow ballet of ships as they wrangled back and forth with each other, pondering the future. What the future has in store for us is anyone’s guess, to be honest. Whether Caldari or Gallente, pirate or explorer, it’s impossible to predict with certainty where we’ll be a year from now, much less fine. But the more that we can know what’s coming, the better to allow us to take whatever measures we see fit in a calm and reasonable manner. Given how I’ve seen some businesses act in the past, it seems like this is a lesson that can’t be taught enough.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Grand Future Information Center
  • System: Jolia
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as an Gallente COSMOS site.
  • Scheduling Note: I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this, but the past few weeks have made it clear that I am not going to be having much free time for the next month or so. Stupid RL. As such, I’m going to have to go on a hiatus on here until August. I’ll still be around on the #tweetfleet and IG, so please don’t hesitate to contact me if anything interesting is found. Thanks, and I’ll see you all in August.

Crielere Project

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These structures are all that remains of one of the most prodigous research projects of modern times.

Editor’s note: Unbeknownst to me until recently, the Tyrannis expansion has apparently resulted in a move of the original Crielere Project to now becoming an Abandoned Research Outpost. To take this into account, here is a revamped Crielere Project entry. Like Ultra! Premiere, I will keep the old entry up in the archives, but all links will point to the new entry.

For all the recent success I’ve seen in my time out this way in Caldari-Gallente relations, not all of it has had a happy ending. And why should it? These are two bitter enemies, with innate and, at times, seemingly implacable cultural and innately psychological differences, all backed by a century of bloodshed. Regardless of the airs each side tries to put on, that kind of history cannot be erased after just a few years and a few mildly successful joint ventures. To their credit, though, given the history and the current state of affairs between the two governments, I would have expected to see many more failures on the lines of the Crielere Project than seem to have actually happened.

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The central research center stands between the ruins of two stations.

The story surrounding the project is enough to make any holo director drool. Two bitter enemies make a desperate attempt at peace by setting up a joint research effort. The effort turns out to be wildly successful, producing a number of blueprints that are still in use even today. Popularity of the project soars on both sides, and it seems like the cold war between the two nations might finally be put to rest. Just as the team is resting on their laurels, however, disaster strikes when it becomes known that one side is stealing other blueprints for their own uses, claiming it as “compensation” for the contributions made. The other side backs out of the project in protest, cutting off all funding and project support. The project is left in free fall as both sides cut off all security teams and leave the project on its own in low security space. Then, just for fun, pirates show up and start killing everyone, and would have taken it all if not for the plucky and scrappy defense by capsuleer forces. Throw in Amarrian slavers and kidnappings, and you have the making of a blockbuster.

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The run-down ruins of the Caldari support station.

Strangely, despite the eventual Gurista victory over the forces defending the Project, the Guristas seem to have all but ignored the project. Except for a few pirate vessels hanging out near the warp-in point for the complex, the entire structure appears to be all but abandoned. The twin Caldari and Gallente stations, built a few dozen kilometers apart from each other to provide yet more support for the research center proper, stand abandoned and clearly falling apart. The deteriorating ruins of the stations, swaddled in the gentle nebula around the entire site, stand almost as ghostly sentinels to the research center, perhaps guarding the memories of those who died here. Perhaps more surprisingly, the research station itself looked in far better condition. It stood between the two hulking stations, dwarfed in comparison. The various station rings still gently turn, and some kind of emanations can still be seen from the core of the structure, showing something was still active over there. Whatever it was, though, is clearly not all that important if it wasn’t stolen along with the rest of the valuable equipment in the area. Another surprising feature is that, despite the well-known history surrounding the area, someone still seemed bound and determined to keep the story hidden. Aura’s standard synopsis of the site made no mention of the specific history:

Crielere2-4In-space research laboratories are often established to circumvent planetside laws and oversight. As a consequence, an entire research industry has slowly emerged among the stars, often leading the planetside economies in space-related research. One inevitable by-product of this relentless expansion has been the downfall of countless outposts and laboratories, whose empty, pilfered husks now lie discarded and forgotten.

Whoever is trying to cover up the history of this site obviously doesn’t know that, like technology itself, the genie can rarely be put back in the bottle.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Crielere Research Station
  • System: Crielere
  • Security Rating: 0.4
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: Getting to Crielere from high sec space may require extensive low sec travel, and the system is just one jump from the well-known pirate haven of Rancer.  Pirates (both pod and rat varieties) can be quite common on the route.  A covops is recommended. Note, however, that cruiser and frigate rats can now be found at the site, so warping in at a distance from the beacon is recommended.

Ebony Tower

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The mysterious fortress sits, Barmalie shining in the background

Legend tells of an old story of two opposing towers. One: a shining beacon of free beings everywhere, standing as a guard against the forces of darkness. The other: black as night, and home to one of the greatest evils ever known. The two towers commanded their armies, ending in a massive battle that would determine the fate of that ancient land. Would good or evil triumph? Of course, being a children’s story, good ended up trying. I always suspected that there was more to the story than my parents ever told me, but I never quite wanted to ruin the mystique and wonder of that original story as only my parents could tell it. Yet I was reminded of that old story as I made my way to the next site on my list. Given the mysterious name of the Ebony Tower, I couldn’t help but imagine some vast castle out of the days of old, turrets and keeps as far as the eye could see. I’ve already discussed my love of castles, and I would see another version of a modern day castle. As I flew into the site, I had Aura pull up some basic information.

Barmalie2The Ebony Tower is a fortress built by parties unknown. Theories abound as to its origins, but nothing has ever been conclusively proven. Today, it houses various anti-corporate splinter groups – activists, militant protestors and eco-terrorists comingle within its echoing confines, plotting all kinds of doom for the headless monster of capitalism.

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One of the small ships standing guard near the Tower

It certainly gave an interesting enough backstory. Assuming the Tower hadn’t been moved (and given the fractured state of the groups currently inhabiting the tower, I would be surprised if they had gotten the will to move it), it was clearly originally constructed as part of some kind of orbital defense system for the temperate planet below. Unfortunately, GalNet was sorely lacking on any details of any cultures that might have been present in Barmalie in ages past. Could it have been one of the traditional ancient civilizations? Were they guarding against the Yan Jung? Could this have been one of the original Sleeper planets? Or some other civilization we’ve yet to learn anything about? It was a pity that records from the Dark Ages were so sparse (but given that whole, you know, need to survive thing, I guess I couldn’t really fault my ancestors. I bet the Jove had great archives though…), but there was really nothing I could do about that. Whoever originally built the tower could quite possibly be lost to the Ages, as with so many other things in the Cluster.

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Professor Science banks in front of the Tower.

Given the age of the Tower, it was in surprisingly good condition. Carved directly out of a larger asteroid (one that I can only imagine would have the miners salivating), the Tower dwarfed my Buzzard as I flew around it. Surprisingly, there was very little evidence of any kind of development on the asteroid’s surface. If I had just been conducting a visible inspection, I would not have guessed that there was anything under the surface except rock except under close inspection. I tried to figure out how to even get inside, flying Professor Science low over the surface. That crater over there could potentially be a port… and those spikes on the bottom were probably part of a thermal regulation system… but it took incredibly close inspection to gather any hint of occupation. Of course, the two ships standing guard were certainly conspicuous enough to draw attention as well.

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The Tower floats in space, its original purpose completely unknown

It was clear, however, that I would not be permitted docking privileges. It seems that the various factions guarded their turf carefully, and they weren’t about to let some unknown capsuleer gain access to this ancient marvel. It was a shame, I would have loved to have a chance to walk around the interior of the Tower, and take it all in. The thought of walking the very halls that people built possibly countless millennia ago was very tempting to me. But I suppose it was not to be. I set a course out of the system. As the Ebony Tower receded into the far distance, I thought back to the stories my mom used to tell me in bed. Where there was a black tower, there was always a white one to stand against it… I wonder if there was ever an Ivory Tower…

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Ebony Tower
  • System: Barmalie
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as an Gallente COSMOS site.

Natura Seminary

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I approach the Seminary

Long time readers may not be surprised to learn that I’m not much of a religious man. I hold little regard for the Amarr faith, and despite the best efforts of my parents and my community, Ida has held little sway over my life. That is especially true since becoming a capsuleer, when the concept of reincarnation has become a much less metaphysical concept for me. Despite my lack of faith, I respect the societal power of religion enough to not actively argue against it in public. Over the millennia, religion has of course caused more than it’s fair share of great suffering, but a deep and abiding faith has also created some of the greatest humanitarian organizations and activities the Cluster has ever known. As with all things in life, faith appears to do its greatest good when used in moderation. Though, now that I think about it, that is precisely what Ida teaches us. That thought’s gonna fester…

Audaerne2

The nearby asteroid colony silohuetted against Audaerne.

Anyway, I bring up faith today because it’s also been my experience that even those who proclaim to have no faith often have one, even if it’s not exactly a traditional one. I use faith not as a precise synonym for religion (i.e. a belief in some higher power/powers or abstract guiding force in the universe), but rather as a concept or belief that forms the foundation for one’s entire view of the universe and one’s place in that universe. Some find their anchor, so to speak, in their patriotic love for their country. Others find it in their love of the arts. Still others, and I mean this unironically, find their faith in science and the good it can do for humanity. I actually have no problem with any of these kinds of faiths as long as they’re respectful and willing to take ‘no’ for an answer. But just as among the religious, you can always find those willing to take their beliefs to (and past) the limit. A patriot could want to declare war for a mere slight against their nation, while the artistically inclined may find their overt passion in bringing art to the masses, whether they want it or not. Today’s site, though, is dedicated to a fanatic of a different kind: the environmentalist. The Friends of Nature,  a quasi-legal group at best, easily falls into my view of a fanatical organization. They’ve taken their faith that the environment must be protected to the extreme. Of course, it also helps my analogy that they were kind enough to call their main training ground the Natura Seminary. As Aura explains,

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Built on the ruins of an abandoned asteroid colony, the Natura Seminary is the place where prospective anti-corporate activists are brought into the Friends of Nature’s fold. Lessons on corporate greed, the inhumanity of the capitalist system and ways to bring down the Man, along with tasty syntho-organic snacks. What more could you want?

Apparently even Aura was feeling a bit snarky when it came to FoN, which, given that Aura wasn’t really programmed to have a sense of humor, I suspect was saying something.

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The main training center is surrounded by a ring of asteroids and pylons

The Friends strongly believed that the natural beauty found in the Algintal constellation is being ruined by corporate greed and environmental malpractice. I’m personally rather sympathetic to the view, but would rather see more legal means used to accomplish their goals. To further their goals, however, they have set up their main base of operations in a corner of the Audaerne system, near the rather unassuming first moon of Audaerne III. Here, the Friends have the opportunity and ability to teach anyone who was willing (and, if the stories are true, a number of those who aren’t) the history and views of the group, as well as their more recent efforts in the Algintal constellation. Between team building exercises, holo presentations, and snacks, the Friends attempt to convert some and reinforce others to the fact that the environment must be protected at all costs.

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Audaerne III and its moon can be seen through the pylons.

The complex itself was fairly impressive. On the outskirts, the remains of an asteroid colony and refining complex could be found. Long abandoned, they were no doubt forced out by the Friends when they first seized the area as their own. The main attraction, however, was the main seminary itself and its environs. The Seminary itself was a standard Gallente tactical outpost, of civilian design of course. However, it was surrounded by an impressive and imposing double squares of asteroids. The asteroid squares, one just above and one just below the Seminary, appeared to be composed of smaller asteroids that were completely fused together in painstaking fashion. Rather than merely floating near each other, the asteroids appeared to be partially melted and then fused to its neighbors.

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A view through the pylons

From there, the asteroids were then hollowed out in order to attach metallic pylons as a kind of sentinel around the Seminary. The overall effect was incredibly impressive; a perfect example of the Friends’ views on fusing man with the nature around him, and using what nature provides to create pieces of beauty without destroying the natural feel. But there was also another (I assume unintentional) feeling to the structure. Surrounded by the guards of the asteroids, I couldn’t help but feel it was appropriate that the Friends’ Seminary was imprisoned in its own design. One of those nice ironic touches to life, I suppose. But whichever view someone chooses to take of the Seminary, I would hope that we can all agree that it was an architecturally impressive creation, and a representation, for better or for worse, of the faith that the Friends have in themselves and their cause.

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One last view

As I’ve already stated, faith is not necessarily a good or a bad thing. It’s how that faith is used, and what it’s used to justify. The problem is that it can be incredibly difficult to tell when the foundations of your own moral beliefs goes too far. You know its right and you want to show everyone else that its right. It ‘s easy to slip into an “all means justify the ends” mindset. But moderation has to be used (that festering thought again). As I prepared to leave the site, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own faith. And, to very much my surprise as both a capsuleer and a citizen of the Cluster, I found that my faith revolved around the good that humanity does. To every hulkageddon, there are those willing to defend. To every Sansha invasion, there are those willing to give their lives to save civilians. For every fanatic (of any kind), there are those willing and reason with them. There was a chance to do that here. The ends the Friends are trying to create are good ones. They just need faith. Not in nature, but in mankind.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Natura Seminary
  • System: Audaerne
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as an Gallente COSMOS site.

Latent Transmitter

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I approach the transmitter

The mind is a complicated thing, and even in this day and age we have yet to unlock all of its secrets. Oh, sure, we’ve made great strides since we first thought that thinking took place in the heart and the brain was useless, to the point where today we can even freeze the precise neural configuration of a person, scan it, and transmit it into a new body. When you stop and think about that for a moment, think about the unfathomable complexity of the human brain, the fact that we are able to transmit it into an entirely new body is nothing short of astonishing. But I digress. Despite our advances in the understanding of neuroscience, some things remain unknown. How does that vast interconnecting web form who we are? What is that precise spark that determines my self-awareness? What sensory inputs do we actually detect? This last one has been a matter of intense study. The idea that there’s something else the conscious brain can sense other than the normal six senses has always fascinated us as humans, and there always seems to be some research into something beyond.

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The main transmitter can be seen in the background

I had always chalked these up to superstition, personally. The idea that there was something that we could only perceive unconsciously, that certain things could influence us in ways we can’t even detect, that we could read other people’s minds… it always seemed like a bunch of hogwash to me. Yet people always seemed interested in it. Particularly, the Thukkers have apparently taken an interest in it in recent years. And, if reports are to be believed, they may have actually found something. At the very least, they certainly think that they’ve found something. And they believe it enough to try to take advantage of it. And so, with the help of Egonics Corporation, they built a testbed facility in the heart of Federation space: the Latent Transmitter. I had been doing a bit of research on the facility before I set course. Having set up my comms system to block all transmissions from the facility, I quickly set course, while looking over the summary of information that Aura provided for me.

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Belt 1 of Parchanier IV sits about 350 kilometers away from the Transmitter

The Thukker tribe smugglers have acquired top secret technology from Egonics Inc. and are using it for their own nefarious purposes. The technology allows the transmission of latent messages over long distances. The smugglers have erected a huge transmitter station that is capable of reaching the whole constellation with its subliminal messages. Some are wondering why the local authorities aren’t doing anything to stop this depravity, but they never seem to wonder for long…

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The landing pad beneath the main transmitter. Parchanier IV can be seen in the distant background

I had to wonder why the Thukkers decided to put their testbed so openly into Federation space. I had to hope, at least, that they would target their “nefarious” plans towards the Empire instead of the Republic’s allies, but the Thukkers had always been a bit of an odd tribe within the Republic. Maybe it was to protect their alleged smuggling ring set up throughout the constellation. Maybe it was just a test bed before being deployed to active duty. Or maybe it was just a legitimate transmitter that sent out legitimate Minmatar entertainment programming. Who knows. What I did know, however, was that it was putting out something. Professor Science was clearly picking up undecipherable transmissions from the facility (though potentially just encrypted). In any case, Aura couldn’t make heads or tails out of it. I didn’t dare listen to the transmissions in case the rumors were true, regardless of how initially preposterous they sounded…

Parchanier5

A Thrasher-class vessel sits near the facility

Whatever the use, the facility itself certainly appeared innocuous enough. It appeared to be a standard broadcast facility. A central transmitter stood in the center, a massive antenna broadcasting… something to… somewhere. Surrounding the main antenna stood four smaller pylons, connected by bridges. Presumably, they held crew and support facilities. Just below the antenna stood the main docking port. Unusually, the transmitter only stood about 350 kilometers away from the Parchanier IV asteroid belt. It was rare to find anyone building anything so close to an asteroid belt without actually putting the facility in the asteroid belt, hoping for some kind of shielding from the belt ores. The Thukkers almost certainly used the belt for the resources to build the transmitter, but decided to put it just beyond the belt limit for some reason. I’ll just chalk that one up to the same indecipherable reasoning that put the thing in Parchanier instead of somewhere, you know, important.

Parchanier6

Parchanier glows in the distance.

I circled around the facility for a few minutes. A number of ships, both of Minmatar and other designs, sat around the facility, but none seemed particularly interested in talking to me. The longer I sat around the transmitter, I have to admit, the less the entire facility seemed to interest me. It was just a transmitter, right? There is nothing particularly fascinating about it. I soon got bored with the entire facility. As I set course out of the system, I couldn’t even remember why I wanted to visit in the first place…

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Latent Transmitter
  • System: Parchanier
  • Security Rating: 0.6
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as an Gallente COSMOS site.

Nickel & Dime Store

Augnais1

One of many storage containers floats a fair distance away from the main store complex

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” seems much too obvious a saying to begin this week’s entry with. And given the apparent history surrounding the Nickel & Dime Store, much too simplistic. It might be a tad more correct to say that “one man’s trash is another man’s method of hiding a smuggling and money laundering operation while making a tidy profit through selling used goods on the side.” Whichever is closer to the truth (far be it from me to draw a conclusion either way), the Nickel & Dime Store seems to be here for good. And it’s not a shabby place to find some decent second-hand civilian items. The Thukkers, who own and run the store in the heart of the Algintal constellation, don’t seem to cater much to the capsuleer type. A shame, really.

Augnais2

The central store complex.

I first ran across the Nickel & Dime store while sitting in a bar in Bourynes, catching up on some paperwork (the liquor helped to dull the numbing effect, if that makes any sense). I was distracted by a shockingly low-budget commercial on the near by holo. Unless I was very much mistaken, it was actually just a 2-d shot that was forced into 3-d, leaving each separate object flat, if at different distances from the viewer. But we’ve all seen those, right? Always selling used ships at low prices, with no credit checks and you can fly it right out of the lot. They guarantee that you can fly a ship home TODAY, credit or no credit! I generally don’t give such commercials any thought, but given the fact that I was close and willing to do just about anything that doesn’t involve reading more requisition reports, I took Professor Science and off I went. On the way, I looked up a little more info:

Augnais3Some say that the Nickel & Dime Store operated by the Thukker tribe smugglers in Algintal is an indication that they are trying to go legit. Other, more skeptical, observers point out that the Nickel & Dime Store is the perfect operation for the smugglers to laundry their ill-begotten money. While the armchair sociologists debate the merits of allowing the Store to operate the average consumer simply rejoices in the good deals to be had there.

Augnais4

Another view of the main complex. The warehouse can be seen in the back.

As Professor Science dropped out of warp, I was immediately greeted with a hail from one of the Thukkers who presumably helped to run the store. They of course gave me their standard sales speech, and I kindly waved them off, saying I was only here to browse. The complex itself seemed fairly straight forward: a docking pad, utilities trunk, warehouse, a few connecting pylons and your standard Gallente entertainment. Honestly nothing entirely out of the ordinary. A freighter sat docked nearby, either waiting to unload or waiting to load, I couldn’t really tell.

Augnais5

One of the proprietors of the store keeps watch over coming and going crowds.

After looking around outside a bit (and making the owners nervous, I’m sure), I quickly docked up to have a look around their warehouse. Once inside, I was forcibly reminded of how being a capsuleer can throw off your sense of scale. The warehouse was large compared to my Buzzard, but compared to myself outside of the capsule, it was an absolute maze. Parts and generators and wires were seemingly strewn at random inside the large egg-shaped warehouse. And the prices were decent for stuff that I wouldn’t be buying at Jita. No capsuleer-grade equipment, but from what little I knew of about non-capsuleer wallets (when did THAT happen?), it seemed reasonable.

Augnais6

A surprisingly thick haze surrounds the entire site.

All in all, it seemed like a perfectly legitimate storefront. I don’t know if I was hoping to stumble into some kind of massive smuggling operation, but I certainly didn’t. It just seemed like your normal, run of the mill spaceship parts center appealing to your average middle class family. No hint of any underhanded dealings of any kind, and the entire place seemed to be on the up and up. Of course, the best smuggling operations always do.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Nickel & Dime Store
  • System: Augnais
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as an Gallente COSMOS site.

Municipal Junkyard

Deltole1

A discarded cargo container

As a civilization, we put out a lot of trash. And I don’t just mean that in the metaphorical Renyn Shore context either, but the physical, dirty, smelly kind as well. Even on a ship as well run as most capsuleer vessels, there’s always some waste, be it in spent missiles that fly off into space, ammo casings, packing materials, construction debris, or just an output of heat that invariably increases entropy in the universe and leading us all to a very slow and cold doom. Even Professor Science, without an offensive hardpoint in her body, has been known to lose probes or dump reactor exhaust overboard, sending it off into the great final frontier. Most of the time, this kind of trash is left to float in endless oblivion or crash into an asteroid or burn up in an atmosphere. However, even the tiniest bits of trash can cause immense damage at the proper relativistic speeds.

Deltole2

The junkyard in Deltole.

As such, at various times the different nations have taken it upon themselves to the interstellar environment a favor and begin cleaning up local areas. The nations invariably get weighed down by the sheer amount of, for lack of a better term, crap floating around, and soon give up, just a few years after they began. We’re left with, then, a collection of a lot of junk in one spot, and only a marginal reduction of random junk elsewhere. Now, if you ask me, it’d be a heck of a lot easier to just fling things into the local star once a large piece of trash was discovered. But what do I know. I’m just your run of the mill capsuleer who made his life out among the very stars you’re trying to clean up. Nope, don’t know a thing about it. Anyway, after a while, people tend to stop caring about a bunch of junk floating around in space, assuming it wasn’t causing any particular harm. And so it was in Deltole. As Aura explains:

Deltole3When the tourist industry in Algintal was in its infancy the local authorities became concerned that the abundance of space debris left by earlier colonists would hurt tourism in the long run. They carried out a hasty cleanup operation of the constellation, collecting most of the debris and dumping it in a remote place in the Deltole system. The intent was always to finish the job later and incinerate the heap, but the authorities have never gotten around to it and the Municipal Junkyard has been left alone for decades now. It is thus the perfect place for smugglers running illegal operations such as forgery.

Deltole4

A dilapidated sign that still retains its product placement powers

Honestly, as proud as I am of the Federation, there are times I think that they are purposely trying to make it as easy for smugglers and other illegal ilk to operate as possible. Granted, its entirely possible that the big-wigs in the Underworld contributed rather handsomely to certain Senators’ election campaigns, so that statement might very well be true, if not something I particularly wanted to think about. Thankfully, my (thankfully short) attention was almost immediately diverted by something shiny that caught my eye. Actually, there were a LOT of shiny things that caught my eye. Shininess surrounded me as I took Professor Science into the heart of the junkyard. Entire superstructures of ships, old advertising signs, engines, old guns, it could all be found within this junkyard. I once heard that the garbage dump was one of the most valuable sites that an archeologist could find, and I had to wonder what this kind of site would tell a future archeologist about us. Given the amount of spent ammo and missile casings, I didn’t think it would be particularly pleasant.

Deltole5

The twisted remains of a massive ship sit in the center of the junkyard.

After taking a tour of the junkyard, I still didn’t see any particular reason why we couldn’t set the course of the entire yard directly into Deltole itself. Anything hazardous still remaining in the various debris would surely be vaporized by the class-K star… eventually. It was better than having it sit here near a barren planet that could potentially have colonies on it. Who knows what kind of damage a 1/2 kilometer long former space ship superstructure could cause as it came careening down through the thin atmosphere of the planet. Best to get it all out of the way. But I didn’t have the power to do that. What I DID have the power to do, however, was to start paying closer attention to how I dispose of my trash. Some waste was unavoidable, but surely I could do something more with my 50 weekly cases of roe limbs than throw them out the airlock…

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Municipal Junkyard
  • System: Deltole
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as an Gallente COSMOS site.
  • Scheduling Note: For those of you who watch me on the Tweetfleet, you may know that I’ll be graduating from law school next weekend. Due to various festivities surrounding that, I don’t think it will be practical to have any updates. As such, I will see you back here on the 22nd!

Survey Station

Colelie1

A Megathron-class vessel patrols near the Survey Station

Appearances are sometimes everything. You see it in any number of situations. Companies that you thought were stable can collapse overnight thanks to years of neglect that was kept under the surface. Marriages can be kept up purely “for the sake of appearance.” Appearances are powerful things. If your enemy in the next system over thinks that you have 20 HACs to your tech 1 cruiser, it doesn’t matter if all you actually have available is a couple of Retrievers in the local belt. But sometimes, it’s clear that you’re doing something “for appearances” that is clear to the rest of the world to mean the exact opposite. Yet you continue soldiering on, in some desperate attempt to maintain your dignity to the world, even as the appearances you’re trying to display seem to argue just the opposite.

Colelie2

A Wirykomi vessel stands guard near the Caldari-built control tower.

Unfortunately, this latter type of appearance seems to be exactly what we have happening in Colelie and the rest of the Algintal constellation. If this tiny little survey station was a representative sample of the current state of Gallente-Caldari relations, one might expect relations to really be quite good. Here is a Caldari megacorporation gearing up for a massive investment near the heart of Gallente space. An investment that will be jobs and infrastructure for the too-long-ignore Colelie system. Heck, the Gallente and Caldari military assets guarding the Station seem to be coordinating patrols in a cooperative, and dare I say friendly matter. Even CONCORD appears in on this, their beacon marking the site with the following data:

Colelie3The Survey Station serves as a Wiyrkomi outpost for its engineers and surveyors planning the development of their power station in Colelie. Ever since the Wiyrkomi Corporation bought the lease on the Azure Canyon the populace here has been growing. But the inability to drive the Serpentis out of the Azure Canyon deadspace pocket as well as constant harrassment by protesters has seriously lowered morale within the complex. Rumor has it that Caldari agents are offering large sums of credits to mercenaries willing to put their lives on the line in defense of the Wiyrkomi project.

Colelie4

Rows of workers quarters sit near the control tower, ready to be deployed when the surveying is complete

But, of course, just two regions away, the Federal Defense Union and the State Protectorate are blasting each other apart in a vicious war of the proxies. Government-backed and capsuleer-driven, these vicious wars appear to combine the worst of both worlds in terms of government financing and capsuleer viciousness. Yet despite the battles being waged across parts of five different regions, here the Caldari and Gallente appeared to be working in comfortable harmony. As if the pains of renewed war, centuries of distrust, and years of betrayal were little more than water under the bridge. And sitting here for a moment, in this quiet little corner of this quiet little system, I could almost believe it. Appearances could do that to you.

Colelie5

Industrial ships also stood ready to provide whatever assistance was needed

The Station itself seemed a fairly low-key affair, mostly consisting of a central control tower and numerous sets of workers quarters. A variety of support and defense vessels flitted about, as the Caldari and Gallente worked together to scope out the site of the coming power station. And, of course, there were the scanners themselves, spread throughout the site, sending out strong sensor scans to the nearby planet. I wasn’t exactly clear on why a mere survey would take so long, but the sheer amount of infrastructure built up at the site demonstrated that this was to be no short-term affair. A dozen sets of workers quarters housed hundreds of people, ready to be deployed as soon as a site was officially chosen.

Colelie6

A broader view of the site as a whole.

I flew Professor Science in and out of the site, marveling at the relative calm here between two fairly bitter enemies. Of course, as a purveyor of all things aesthetic in my journey, I recognized and appreciated the necessity of appearances. And the fact that these two nations could work together here proved that it was, as a practical matter, possible to do. Yet I couldn’t help but wonder at the incongruity between working together here for a better future, and tearing both nations’ futures down everywhere else.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Survey Station
  • System: Colelie
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as an Gallente COSMOS site.

Arid Park

Arid Park 1

A view of the failed advertising space

I twirled my hair nervously, looking around at the rather cramped confines of this “Buzzard”, as he called it. I was sitting on what used to be the bridge, surrounded by a whole bunch of panels that were flashing information that made little to no sense to me. I hadn’t heard from Mark for a while now, caught up in… well, whatever it was that he did while flying this oddly shaped ship. If the little map was any indication, we were almost 7 jumps out from Luminaire, where he had picked me up. It was creepy being the only person on this ship. Well, the only not melded in some unholy hybrid of man and machine and easily accessible to talk to.

“Hey”

Arid Park 2

A close up of the standard Gallente outpost, constructed apparently by the Friends of Nature.

I jumped for a moment, before turning to see a semi-translucent hologram of Mark, standing by me as if nothing happened. He had changed his appearance significantly since he had left for that brainwashing camp known as the Center for Advanced Study. Gone were the flowing blue robes and long, stringy brown hair. He’d let his hair turn back to its natural reddish hue and cut it severely, and the holographic projectors gave it a rather tousled look. Given that he was always running his fingers through his hair (he got that from me), that didn’t surprise me.

Of course, I also knew that he currently had wires running out of the length of his entire body, as he floated in darkness in that… pod he seems so attached to. Just thinking about it gave me the shivers, so I shoved the thought out of my head.

“Don’t DO that, you know how it terrifies me.”

“I just thought you’d like to know that we’re almost there.”

“Almost where?”

With not even a blink, and showing far more control over this ship than felt natural, a zoomed in map popped up, clearly labeling the system Alsottobier.

“What’s out there.”

Clearly for my benefit, he looked to the ceiling, and said simply, “Aura?”

A cool, female voice suddenly spoke.

Arid Park 3Arid Park was originally intended as a piece of corporate art displaying Quafe’s cultural superiority over its competitors and its general gravitas within the Gallente zeitgeist. After an intensive anti-commercialist public smear campaign by the FON [Friends of Nature], however, its construction was abandoned. Now, all that remains is a half-constructed skeleton of ugly rocks, something FON are quick to cite as metaphoric for the ugliness of the corporate soul. Opting to keep things in their unfinished state, they have turned the place into a broadcasting and information center.

Arid park 4

A side profile of the Park, with Alsottobier I in the background.

As the voice was speaking, the ship shuddered a tad, which I recognized as the ship’s warp drive engaging. The screen that was previously a map showed a forward looking view. A bluish tunnel seemed to surround us as the system flashed by. Within seconds, the ship shuddered again and a quickly enlarging scene appeared on the screen: it seemed to be a whole bunch of rocks arranged in a rough cross, with each end apparently weighted with a larger asteroid. A variety of small craft surrounded it, as well as what appeared to the untrained eye to be a small station of some kind. I glanced over at Mark, who had a surprisingly excited look on his. I hadn’t seen that look since he was a child with a new toy.

“What exactly is this?”

“It’s Arid Park! Oh man, can’t you feel the history here? Do you realize how hard it is to take down Quafe? Even capsuleers can’t do that, and we’re more powerful than most of the empires! That must have been an amazing feeling!”

I looked back at the screen. Mark was apparently guiding the ship around the asteroids. We paused now and then as he looked at the site from various angles.

“But honey… they’re just rocks.”

He looked away from the screen and back towards me for a moment. He started right back up again, even more excited.

Arid Park 5

A look inside the center of the crux

“But they’re more than that! These aren’t just any rocks. They’re part of a story. A story that needs to get told. A story about how the little guy can win, even if he’s only fighting with a slingshot against someone with tachyons. You CAN take down the big corporations. Not necessarily saying I want to, of course, but everyone needs to be taken down a notch every now and then, right? Think of how astounding it is that a small group of nature lovers stopped a full blown Quafe advertising campaign. And these rocks, right here, are part of it all. They’re part of history.” He spread his holographic arms out wide, as if trying to encompass the universe in his armspan. “This is what it’s about! Trying to see where we all come from, and where we’re going.”

I looked at him as he continued at a rather fevered pitch. It wasn’t until that precise moment that I realized I had lost him. I had always had a vague, perhaps irrational hope that some day he was going to come back to Luminaire, back to our little neighborhood, and we could go strolling again down the Crystal Boulevard just like we used to. But that wasn’t going to happen, was it? For reasons I couldn’t possibly understand, he enjoyed being poked, prodded, and violated to become this ship. He loved it out here, in a way that I never could. He was in love, of all things, with a bunch of rocks. And that was the moment I knew.

I had lost my son to the stars.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Arid Park
  • System: Alsottobier
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen. Furthermore, Serpentis rats and rogue drones (no larger than cruisers, I believe) can be found if they aren’t farmed out.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as an Gallente COSMOS site.

Infested Comet Remains (Contested Canyon of Rust)

Infested Comet 1

The comet's nucleus seems to lead the way for the unfinished station

Back in the ancient days, comets were seen as omens or harbingers of change. Stories of comets portending doom date back centuries even on my homeworld of Intaki Prime. Presumably, we know what we do now after the Fall, but given the stories that have appeared throughout history, it seems apparent that we needed to gain that knowledge back through our own hard work and observation. Of course, these days we know that comets are little more than so-called “dirty snowballs”, a collection of mostly water ice and dust from the very early stages of a solar system’s formation. As a historical record of the early days of a solar system, comets should more be seen as a vast repository of what HAS happened, not what is going to happen. Of course, telling that to my ancestors probably wouldn’t work out all that well.

Infested Comet 2

Alsottobier shines behind the half-finished remains of the comet

Beyond being a historical archive the sorts of which astronomers dream, comets are also useful places to put something to hide. With all kinds of dust and gas streaming off of the comet when it begins to heat up, if you can anchor something relative to the comet’s nucleus, it’d be difficult to detect anything fairly small from any particular distance. The Gallente appeared to have this idea when they first began constructing a station within the gas tail of an unnamed comet deep in the recesses of the Alsottobier system that was slowly moving in system. Such a station would be difficult to detect and always on the mood. Of course, knowing us Gallenteans, it’s just as possible that we started building here just because it would look pretty, and not due to any particularly strategic concerns. Unfortunately, something appears to have gone wrong. Aura explains:

Infested Comet 3The Gallente meant to build a major outpost in the remains of a deep-space comet that had collided with an unknown object.

Unfortunately it got overrun by rogue drones before it was finished and then Core Serpentis smugglers have made their home close by. The rogue drones seem to leave them in peace, probably as they benefit each other for the time being.

Infested Comet 4

The nucleus of the comet can barely be seen through the tail of the comet.

So rather than being the pinnacle of Gallente engineering and aesthetic achievement, we let the half-built station get overrun by rogue drones and Serpentis smugglers. A sad story of half completed hopes and dreams, but one that seems to be happening all too frequently these days. And, true to form, the Serpentis and Rogue Drones were quick to capitalize on the situation, and quickly made their home in the now-abandoned station. Which is a particular shame because the promise of this station, be it as a place to relax or to get some secret work done, seemed great. Of course, that is not to say that all is lost, but only rather that there is simply more work to be done.

Infested Comet 5

A view of the craggered nucleus of the comet, looking back towards the station ruins

Some people have already taken it upon themselves to get that work done. Despite being a wretched hive of scum and villainy, some capsuleers have taken it upon themselves to weed out the various enemies that have taken up residence in the former station. A popular site to earn some isk and salvage drone components, some capsuleers have taken to so-called farming this site, as one was doing on the day I visited the comet remains. Situated in a Dominix-class battleship, this particular pod pilot quickly and efficiently destroyed all visible drones, as well as any Serpentis ships that happened to be nearby. Without so much as a nod to me, sitting in my unarmed Professor Science, the pilot warped off as soon as the site was cleared of enemies. Of course, I knew they’d be back. Rogue drones always came back.

Infested Comet 6

A Serpentis-built elevator stands in the center of the ruined station, the most recent construction at the site

Ignoring the possibility of the drones coming back, I took the opportunity to explore the desolate wrecks. If completed, I could already tell that it would have been a true sight to behold. The station was positioned a few kilometers away from the nucleus of the comet, nestled deeply within the gas tail (the ion tail, alas, was nowhere to be seen). The comet nucleus itself was, as one would expect comet nuclei to be, a noxious combination of gas and dust and ice, pitted with numerous impact craters. Sensors read numerous jets coming from the nucleus’s surface, ensuring that the cocoon of gas wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The station itself has certainly deteriorated, no doubt a combination of stray ammo, rogue drone and Serpentis harvesting, and being continuously pelted by debris from the comet. However, within the center of the station, the Serpentis had constructed a small tower. It seemed to be a minor operational command post, but I couldn’t tell much from my sensors.

Infested Comet 7

What might have been

All in all, this site, buried deep within the Contested Canyon of Rust, and accessible only by going the the Wirykomi Engineering Outpost, is a tale of lost promise. This site had the potential to be a crown jewel (if us Gallente believed in that sort of thing) within the Federation, and it was a true shame to see so run down, overrun, and dilapidated. Comets may no longer be the bringers of doom like my ancestors believed, but this particular comet certainly still has its own sad story to tell.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Infested Comet Remains (Contested Canyon of Rust)
  • System: Alsottobier
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen. Furthermore, Serpentis rats and rogue drones (no larger than cruisers, I believe) can be found if they aren’t farmed out.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as an Gallente COSMOS site.

Wirykomi Engineering Outpost (Contested Canyon of Rust)

Wirykomi1

A Gallente designed, yet Caldari megacorp controlled, rest stop for wayfarers

Caldari and Gallente. For two peoples so diametrically opposed to each other, it’s ironic that they both arose from the same system. Whereas the Gallente value individual freedom and liberty beyond all else (with admittedly some uncomfortable exceptions that have come to light in recent years), the Caldari as a people naturally subsume all individual wants and desires to the needs of the State. And, to a point, that makes sense. Caldari Prime is a cold and unforgiving world. In order to survive the Fall, the Caldari needed to band together, putting survival above all else. The Gallente, on the other hand, had it comparatively easy. Gallente Prime is a lush, verdant world, and the ease with which the Gallente survived the Fall is demonstrated in the individual ethos that the Gallente have evolved. Humans on Gallente Prime have never experienced the fight for survival, so that survival of the fittest dropped from the species as a whole (as it did on Caldari Prime) to the individual. Given these starting points, later developments seemed almost unavoidable.

Wirykomi2

Alsottobier shines just above the Gallente resort, owned and operated by Wirykomi.

Yet despite the tension between the State and the Federation, and despite the outbreak of war between the two, there appears to be one thing that can draw the two together (or at least to the point where we want to stop killing each other): greed. Where there is money to be made, you can almost guarantee that there are Gallente elite and Caldari megacorporations ready to pounce on the opportunities. And so it is in the Algintal constellation. The home of a number of natural wonders (almost TOO fitting given the liberal nature of the Gallente), the Gallente have recently begun to develop some of the resources in the area. Needless to say, environmentalists (if such a word can be applied to space) have been up in arms over this. In a rare case agreement between environmentalists and hawks, the hawks have been similarly upset when Caldari megacorporations were given a green light to help develop the area. One of the areas being developed is the Canyon of Rust. Aura brings up the following information:

Wirykomi3Renown for its natural beauty, the Canyon of Rust has vast amounts of untapped resources. The Federation corporations have been afraid to exploit due to the public outcry this would inevitably entail. But now one of the Caldari mega-corporations, Wiyrkomi, is using a loop-hole in the joint trade agreement between the Federation and the State to move in full force.

Numerous environmentalist in the Federation have reacted and are gearing up in Algintal to fight the planned constructions. Being on the border between the Federation and the Republic makes the constellation also a prime location for smugglers, smuggling cheap Federation made goods into the Republic and drugs and small arms the other way.

As I made my way to the Canyon, I did a bit of background research. The Canyon consisted of two deadspace pockets, connected by acceleration gates. As I slipped Professor Science through the first of the gates, I did a bit of reading on what I could expect to find:

Wirykomi4The Wyirkomi Engineering Outpost is a popular maintainance stopover for Caldari figthers, traders and haulers.

The Rust Canyon’s draws its name from the first deadspace pocket. Its incredible scenery and comfort of some old Gallente luxury recreational facilities encourage pilots to spend more time than they absolutely need in here. And the same goes for their hard earned ISK.

Wirykomi5

The station viewed from just above the surface of one of the asteroids in the Canyon.

The site itself is something to see. The entire site is bathed in a soft glow of a reflection nebula, softening the harsh black of surrounding space. Arranged in near perfect lines, asteroids surround each side, presumably what gave the Canyon its name. Within the canyon, rows of entertainment facilities (those famed Gallente casinos) can be found leading a way up to a resort station near the “top” of the canyon. Near the station, an acceleration gate stands ready to whisk nearby ships to the second part of the deadspace complex. Given the backdrop of the nebula and asteroids, the area seemed incredibly relaxing, and I had an admitted desire to dock at the resort for a while. Showing uncharacteristic tact, the Wirykomi Corporation, who had won the bid to develop this particular area, seemed aware of the concerns of a Caldari megacorp this deep into Federation space, and the site showed no overt signs of Caldari development. If I didn’t know better, I would have said that it was Gallente through and through.

Wirykomi6

A side view

Given the development I saw here, it seemed like the collaborative effort was well underway here. Which, considering the war currently in existence between the State and the Federation, not to mention the years of animosity and the 100 years of war prior to that, is no small effort. Ironically, it was at that point that Aura notified me of a sale of some datacores that I had recently come across, netting a few hundred thousand isk in my wallet. If there was ever to be peace between the Gallente and Caldari, a truly lasting peace, it was to be not through higher ideals of cooperation, but rather to the lowly (yet also mighty) ISK.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Wirykomi Engineering Outpost (Contested Canyon of Rust)
  • System: Alsottobier
  • Security Rating: 0.5
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as an Gallente COSMOS site.

Crielere Project

Remains

The remains of one of the most advanced scientific projects in recent history

It was only one jump from my small detour in Rancer to my ultimate destination for the day: Crielere.  The Crielere Incident happened a few years before I had become a capsuleer.  Nonetheless, the story surrounding this building were spoken of even today in some capsuleer circles.  It involved what any true tragedy should: a hopeful beginning, betrayal, destruction, and pirates.  The capsuleer community tried their hardest to keep the Crielere secrets from falling into the wrong hands, but when the Guristas are bound and determined, few can really stand in their way.

Crielere 2

The station itself was surprisingly small

The Professor dropped out of warp only a few kilometers from the ruins of the research station.  I was surprised by how small the research center itself actually was.  It seemed to be only a few hundred meters across at best.  The station was a series of concentric, still slowly spinning rings.  Certainly not the kind of expansive research center I was expecting.  Perhaps even more surprising was the two massive stations nearby: the Duvolle Labs and Ishukone stations were mere kilometers apart.  I had never seen stations that close together before.  And especially given the state of war between the two empires, I was surprised that the system remained so peaceful.  Not that I was one to complain about that.

Crielere 3

The Professor approaches the research station cautiously

I ran a few scans from my ship.  As expected, most of the advanced equipment and data storage units had been long pilfered.  Not that this was a bad thing: many of the technologies developed at Crielere were now standard issue among capsuleer ships.  It was one of the few good things to come out of this tragedy.  I sighed (or came as close as I could to sighing as was possible in the fluid-filled pod) and shook my head as I maneuvered the Professor back on a course to high sec space.  Having good come from tragedy, and tragedy from good, seemed to be what New Eden was all about, some days.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Crielere Research Station
  • System: Crielere
  • Security Rating: 0.4
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: Getting to Crielere from high sec space requires extensive low sec travel.  Pirates (both pod and rat varieties) can be quite common on the route.  A covops would be recommended.

Roden Shipyards

Roden Shipyards

An unexpected sight in pirate territory

Rancer is many things.  Welcoming is not one of them.  As one of the main thoroughfares for traveling between Sinq Laison and Metropolis, and more importantly, as a low security system, Rancer had quickly become known as one of the more dangerous low security space systems, where pirates loved to prey on unsuspecting ships.  Perhaps not quite as bad as Amamake, but still notorious nonetheless.  As such, I was taking no chances when it came to traveling the system, en route to another landmark.  The Professor was fully cloaked as I warped her through to Crielere.

Halfway through the warp, however, I noticed something come up on my system map that I didn’t recognize.  Frowning, I pinged the local com net relay.  It came back mercifully empty, meaning that I was the only one in system for the moment.  Feeling a little brazen, I decloaked the Professor and set a course for the unknown signature.  As I came out of warp, Aura gave me a little bit of background on the signature:

This site is just one of many production and manufacturing assets of Jacus Roden, whose shipyards continue to yield great fortunes—both for him and for all those under Roden’s employ. A self-made capsuleer who emerged from retirement to make his bid to lead the Gallente Federation, Roden is a powerful man with connections in every corner of the nation, and it would be wise not to cross him. His passion for the welfare of the Federation is genuine, as is his intent to rule.

Megathron

The shipyard was surprisingly busy given the constant pirate threat

A fully functional shipyard zoomed into view.  I was a tad surprised.  Roden was, of course, well known in the Federation, and Roden Shipyards was one of the Federation’s premier companies, rivaling some of the smaller Caldari megacorps, and their R & D programs really can’t be beat.  Still, given such a high profile system, I was expecting more in the way of security.  I didn’t see anything obvious, at least, as I took the Professor in for a closer look.

Cargo

A ship drops off supplies for the new ship productions

It wasn’t long before the shipyard hailed me, requesting me to state my business.  They seemed a bit wary that I was just here for a look around, but seeing as how I was just in a Buzzard (and a quick scan proved I wasn’t carrying a cyno), they gave me a few moments to poke around.  It was quite an elaborate production, really.  Half finished ships sat inside cradles, I could even make out a few workers gamma-welding hull pieces in place.  An Obelisk sat on a cargo pad, presumably offloading yet more supplies.

Eventually, shipyard security got fed up with me, threatening to bring in the full force of the Federation Navy if I didn’t vacate the premises, a not-empty threat given the new President.  Not wanting to press my luck, I resumed my original course.  As the Professor entered warp, I reflected on just how unlikely it was that I had ran across this.  One thing was for sure: New Eden is always full of surprises.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Roden Shipyard
  • System: Rancer
  • Security Rating: 0.4
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: Rancer is a well-known pirate haven.  Be prepared for gate camps.  Low sec travel is needed to get to the landmark.  Caution is advised.
  • Additional Note: Such sites can be found throughout Gallente space and Caldari space. A high security example of this is in Iyen-Oursta.