Friday, 13 November 2015

Outer Ring, Fountain, Shattered Planets

Thera dumped me into 33FN-P in the Wield constellation of the Outer Ring region - another place where I find the remoteness appealing. I don't know why it is that I favour places like this, light-years from the eternal noise of central cluster politics where the players may change but the game remains forever the same. Perhaps I've just answered my own question.

This system, like so many others throughout New Eden, features planets in highly-inclined orbits around the primary. It is supposed to be a fundamental tenet of astrophysics that the more extreme this kind of arrangement, the younger the system is on the universe's calendar because tidal interaction between bodies always results in the system being 'ironed out' over the aeons. The prevalence of these systems throughout the cluster is therefore a rough guide to the cluster's youth relative to the galaxy around it, which in turn indicates why we've never found any evidence of non-human advanced intelligence in the cluster in either the past or the present.

Outer Ring is where the ORE company originated from. The spectacular Cloud Ring nebula is prominent. During the time of 'day' I was there, it was also quiet with very little traffic or trade of any kind, but I don't know how normal that is for the region. I found a Serpentis Relic Site and decided to hack it, a process which, in null security space, is not good for my nerves. This site also featured a circle of equidistant asteroids with an Amarrian dome icon at its centre, which was unfathomable given this site was of Serpentis origin. Maybe those Gallente-born Serpentis corporatised drug pushers went completely crazy out here amid the isolation of null, seeing ghosts where there was nothing to see and appropriating the icons of other races in order to cling on to something. Anything. 

The hacking process: orbit the wreckage at 2,500 metres. Hack it as quickly as possible while looking at either Local or the directional scanner (or both) every few seconds. If someone new appears on either, get ready to move. If your instinct tells you to move, listen to it!
I successfully hacked every wreck, in part due to my headware being optimised for the task. I now had 33 million ISK's-worth of loot in my cargo hold and decided to set myself the challenge of routing back to Danera with it the long way, through the nullsec of Outer Ring and Fountain and the lowsec of Aridia. Just for the hell of it. Just to see if I could. What were the odds against me... 

After a few jumps I arrived in the 3HQC-6 system. This is one of the notorious 'shattered' systems that were all laid waste by simultaneous novae as part of the Seyllin Incident during 3/10/111. The ORE mining facility that was resident here in 3HQ was vaporised during the event, leaving no witnesses in a dead system. Humanity's tendency to memorialise is entirely absent here.

Wormholes, Anoikis, Thera (where I just came from), Sleepers, Caroline's Star, Drifters, cosmic mayhem and imperial assassinations all followed this event. Nothing in New Eden will ever be the same as it was before these planets had their surfaces stripped away by either coronal mass ejection or the rumoured Isogen-5 substance, or [insert favoured rumour here].

For all we know it could happen again tomorrow. None of us is safe anymore.

* * *

Later on I docked in our allies Lowsechnaya Sholupen's outpost in BYXF-Q in Fountain, called 'e6acpaHck'.

It was virtually deserted. I was the only ship docked at a facility where almost every sign or notice on-board was written in a non-Standard language, even the pod gantry's ship status displays.

I understood nobody (not that there were many to speak to), and although, despite the language barrier, it felt like a relatively safe harbour at the time - causing me to contemplate basing some stuff here for explorations - I checked it out on the DOTLAN service and found it had changed ownership five times during this year alone.

This is nullsec, where if you are cursed with a vivid imagination, the quietest systems become the most dangerous of all...

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