In recent months, I’ve been dedicated to hunting down new or moving sites, often giving chase to half a rumor or some breaking piece of news that I had to see before it ended. Those kinds of sites are both exhilarating and, in their own way, exhausting, keying me up so that I can deploy on a moment’s notice but also meaning I rarely had the chance to completely relax, knowing that a new (or old site) might rear its head and require me to dash out on a moment’s notice. But with a bit of a lull, it seems, it means that I got to return to my roots a bit. After refamiliarizing myself with my home system for a few weeks, I found myself ready to go on a good, old fashioned roam. And not just any roam, but a roam to the outer fringes of New Eden.
Null sec is, by far, the area of New Eden I have spent the least amount of time in. Though comprising the largest chunk of New Eden proper, the untamed wildernesses beyond the empires has held little appeal to me. And why should it? Null sec is the heart of the capsuleer realms, where the big kids play with their thousands upon thousands of friends. The internecine alliances, grudges, rises, and falls hold little interest and mostly mean I want to stay out of its way, lest the interminable drama seizes a hold of me as well. That, of course, doesn’t mean that no sites exist in null sec to tickle my interest nor does it mean that I won’t go out there (clearly). It just means that I have to take care when I head out that way. Thar be dragons (and other sundry creatures) out there, after all.
And so, I loaded up my now somewhat-dirty Scientia and plotted a course for Vale of the Silent. Vale stands on the fringes of Jove space, and Caroline’s Star casts a baleful glare indeed from this bordering region. Had the Jove not completely cut themselves out, Vale would undoubtedly be a much more civilized border region between the Fifth Empire of New Eden and its more primitive brethren. Without that through-traffic, however, Vale seems much more sedate than it might have. That’s not to say that I didn’t run across anyone, of course, and I have little doubt that my presence raced across the various intel channels of New Eden, but I ran into few bubbles out that way and even fewer people as I steered towards my destination system. Today, that was the unoriginal name of BR-6XP.
Hidden in a far corner of BR-6XP was today’s destination, known only as Black Jack’s. A bit of research dug up that Black Jack was a rather notorious Angel’s pirate back in the day, known for terrorizing the denizens of Molden Heath before becoming too famous for his own good. After being unceremoniously shoved out of Molden Heath by Angels command, he retreated back to Vale of the Silent, and his various underlings and followers can be found to this day hanging out in the small gaseous cloud that he apparently claimed and, in true Amarr tradition, promptly named after himself. Although the small nebula bears his name, Black Jack himself is nowhere to be seen. Indeed, it’s not entirely clear what’s become of Black Jack, though further investigation may turn up his fate.
The nebula itself sits fairly close to the ringed gas giant of planet 5 and is remarkably dense. Indeed, it was difficult even for Scientia’s sensors to penetrate that thick soup. Camera drones flown to the middle of the nebula had difficulties determining in just what direction the local sun could be found, and in most areas, BR-6XP V was merely a ghostly outline of a planet, barely visible through the dense haze. In the depths of the nebula stands a ship that, if BR-6XP were a little more highly traveled, would undoubtedly spawn a few ghost stories. The ghostly outlines of a Machariel can just be made out from the fringes of the nebula. Closer investigation proved that the ship was quite real and belongs to one of Black Jack’s compatriots, but its eerie semi-appearance and the quiet of the surrounding system lends itself quite well to a spectral story or three.
All in all, it felt good to be getting back to my roots. Out here on the fringes of space, just seeing what there is to be seen. No rush, no particular goal, just a very cathartic trip all in all. After admiring the view for some time, I turned my ship to the gate and on to the next system.
- Attraction: Black Jack’s
- System: BR-6XP
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Vale of the Silent
- Potential Hazards: BR-6XP is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.
It had been quite a less than stellar maiden voyage. Finally fed up with losing the Professor again and again, I bit the bullet and invested into the new-fangled Tech 3 ship, the Tengu. Properly specced, the Tengu had the ability both to fit a covert operations cloaking device, and the ability to fly through warp interdiction bubbles. These bubbles have long been the bane of my existence while flying through non-empire controlled space, and the ability to side-step them entirely interested me immensely. Since their introduction a year ago, their prices have dropped steadily, and I was able to reasonably fit one for a little over 400 million isk. Certainly still the most expensive ship I have owned to date by far, but much less than what I would have had to pay even 6 months ago. The strength of this setup was immediately apparent, and the newly christened Scientia (a more regal, and appropriate name) breezed through numerous gate camps.
Unfortunately, my fellow fleetmates were less than lucky. As a way to help get to know some other Coalition members, I had offered to serve as a tour guide to anyone interested. Three others ultimately ended up joining me: Casiella Truza, Rettic, and Dallen Ward. The other three were in covert operations frigates of various classes. Normally, that would be fine for what I had planned. Unfortunately, our small fleet quickly took a turn for the worst. Our first jump into alliance-controlled space took us straight into a gate camp from Morsus Mihi. Three covops ships and a Tengu quickly attracted their attention. Scientia thankfully got through without a scratch, but my other fleetmates were less than lucky. One by one, each of my fellow pilots were caught in the jaws of the various gate camps and warp interdiction bubbles, even as I used Scientia‘s advanced technology to scout ahead. Just 6 jumps in to Morsus Mihi controlled space, I found myself entirely alone. Unfortunately, Rettic and Dallen both were podded (though both quickly contacted me after being rather forcibly revived in clone stations to pass along that they were ok), and Casiella lost her ship. She managed to avoid getting podded herself by apparently deft manuevering on her part, and eventually managed to even extricate herself back into the safety of empire space.
That adventure ultimately left me alone to finish my trek to our destination. Thankfully, soon after Casiella fell, they left me alone, apparently aware that they weren’t going to catch a tech 3 Tengu. Fifteen minutes later, I found myself completely alone in the system of G5ED-Y. I had heard rumors that the Caldari had set up an extensive base in the system. Rumor had it that they had discovered something quite significant, even if my sources couldn’t tell me what that “something” was. Obviously, I was intrigued to investigate. As I entered the system, Aura presented the results of the search query I had entered when the fleet first set out. The results weren’t much, but:
The Caldari State have found something significant in G5ED-Y. The State military has set up a huge base of operations in that system, and its presence there is thick as sour milk. The Guristas on the other hand are extremely curious as to what their arch nemesis has discovered, and have set up many bases in the surrounding systems to oversee reconnaissance missions into G5ED-Y. A division from the Serpentis has also been sent to the constellation on behalf of the Smuggler Cartel, led by the infamous Black Jack.
The site itself was rather impressive. I took Scientia in from a few kilometers distance to investigate. Nearby, Sergeant Hakiro kept a watchful eye from his Caracal. I suspected that it was only my decent reputation with the State that kept me from being blown out of the stars. I sent a hail towards him, and he sent a very curt welcome back to me that implied that I was anything but. I took that as a sign to keep my explorations brief. Still, what I saw was quite impressive. Rows upon rows of what I presumed to be antennae floated among the support structures for the base. Nearby, a cracked asteroid floated, its useful minerals mined out to help produce the structures for the base. A few navy vessels patrolled the outpost, ever-vigilant to the many threats found beyond empire-controlled space.
Attempts to learn exactly what the State had found out here, exactly what warranted this substantial projection of force so far from the State’s boundaries, were unsuccessful. the Navy ships did not respond to my hails, and all scans were inconclusive to anything found either at the base or the nearby temperate planet. Whatever the State had managed to dig up this far out, they were hiding it extremely well. Even Scientia‘s advanced sensor package did little to reveal any new secrets. Something told me that if I had a better reputation with the State that Hakiro would be more open with me, but as it stood now, it would simply have to remain a mystery.
While the start of the journey was not as safe as I might have hoped, I had to admit that (for as long as they lasted, at least) it was nice having companions on these journeys. I certainly felt guilty that I had led them to their temporary demises, but I also knew that my friends didn’t blame me for it. At the very least, though, our trip ensured that the next time that I took a fleet with me on a trip, I wouldn’t be the only one in a tech 3 ship.
- Attraction: First Sergeant Hakiro’s Lookout
- System: G5ED-Y
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Vale of the Silent
- Potential Hazards: G5ED-Y is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to high security space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.
- Additional Notes: This site is a COSMOS site, and agents are available if you have the proper standing with the Caldari State.