March 2010 Archives

Personal Log, Svetlana Scarlet
Captain, Buzzard-Class Frigate Lonely Hunter
Rapid Assembly Plant, Hatakani System

I have finally emerged from the wormhole I have spent much of the last week in, where the system's magnetar secondary was playing havoc with my onboard systems.  The magnetic interference and constant high-energy radiation bombardment prevented much in the way of extensive exploration, but it present a spectacular sight I'm not likely to see in any of the inhabited systems of the cluster.

Buzzard with Magnetar.jpg
The Lonely Hunter drifts in the light of a magnetar.

There was little sign of Sleeper presence, but I did find one outpost in the system.  Again, the Sleeper drones prevented a close inspection, but from what I could tell, this was some sort of scientific outpost, quite likely to study the unique phenomenon that the nearby neutron star presented.  I find it somewhat heartening that the Sleepers -- and perhaps all the old races -- were not nearly as all-knowing as some would have us believe.  The universe is a mysterious and complicated place, and it seems like hubris to think anyone could unlock all its secrets.  I do not doubt that the Sleepers were more advanced than us for now, but I do not think they were so far ahead that we will not see similar technology emerging from laboratories in the State and elsewhere before the middle of this century, especially now that we have their relics to reverse-engineer.

Sleepers and Magnetar.jpg
A Sleeper scientific outpost, still studying the magnetar perhaps.

After two weeks of this journey, however, I still feel lost.  When the only wormhole leading out of the magnetar system led to Hatakani, it was as if I was opening the windows of a country home on the first warm day of the year.  The constant buzz of radio chatter, the clusters of ships at the gates -- wormhole space may be good for introspection, but you are constantly aware of just how alone you are.  Here, along the main route between the State and the Federation, you are always aware of how widespread humanity has become over the last millennium.

Buzzard in Hatakani.jpg
The Lonely Hunter emerges from a wormhole into the Hatakani system.

Hatakani also brings back memories.  The memories I have of the Reserve, and when I fought in wars where I truly believed we were in the right.  When we fought to prevent the escalation of regional conflicts and to keep the Federation from supplying violent malcontents here at home.  When we fought Phoenix Wing and the Acheron Federation, I had no doubt that what we were doing benefited not only the State, but the entire cluster as a whole.  Now, our nation fights for the exact wrong reasons -- out of malice, for territorial conquest, destabilizing the status quo because of one man's mad obsession.  It is easy for me to understand why my friends in the Reserve have become disillusioned with this war and with our leaders.  No wonder they left to fight in nullsec, where they at least have control over what they fight for.

Hatakani's Rapid Assembly plant, once headquarters to the Reserve.

And yet, I still can't bring myself to leave the State behind.  It is my home; it is the land I have fought and died for, and I still believe its values are my values, and the only ones worth fighting for in the cluster.  This current war is not about those values, however, and being here in Hatakani only reinforces that.  What has happened to those fights?  The ones I felt proud to win?  Today, even a victory against the Gallente seems hollow; the Distinguished Blade on my uniform feels more like a mark of shame rather than a decoration.

Kassigainen Gate in Hatakani.jpg
A pair of Charon-class freighters approach the Kassigainen gate in Hatakani.

The Provists are foolish to think that we can win a long-term victory against the Federation; our "victory" over the disputed territories last year only drove them to fight harder, and coalesce into a stronger fighting force.  Our own forces have become largely discouraged, and do not see the point in defending territory that isn't ours, aside from a few holdouts.  As the FDU pushes closer to our systems in Black Rise and elsewhere, I wonder what will happen if the situation is reversed.  I feel the need to defend my homeland, but to do it on behalf of a man who has made himself king...
Personal Log, Svetlana Scarlet
Captain, Buzzard-Class Frigate Lonely Hunter
Location Unknown, Locus J110108


I have spent the last four days surveying the system I entered through the last wormhole, which has proven to be extremely intriguing, at least from an astronomical point of view.  The eighth planet is unusual in that its orbit is wildly out of alignment with the rest of the system, but despite being more than 18 AU from the system's primary, it appears to have liquid water and at least primitive life.

J110108 Planet 8.jpg
The Lonely Hunter over the anomalous garden world.

It seems likely that this is not an entirely natural course of events, but if this is the work of the Sleepers, they were far more advanced that anyone has even tried to suggest.  It's possible the planet is a captured body; that would account for its orbit, at least, but how the planet's surface can be warm enough to have liquid water this far out -- or why anyone would terraform a planet so far from the primary star -- is a puzzle that I don't think I have the astronomical knowledge to figure out.

J110108 Planet 8 Orbit.jpg
The orbit of planet 8 (click to enlarge).

Unfortunately, the rest of the system does not offer a great many clues.  From repeated intensive scans of the system, the Sleeper presence appears to be limited, what one would expect in a system at the edge of their sphere of influence.  Resources are in abundant supply, especially of the more common ores and fullerene gases, but I have only found a few outposts and what might have once been some sort of resource harvesting operation.  The Sleeper drones still patrolling these ruins made a closer inspection rather impossible for my ship, unfortunately.  I toyed with the thought of attempting to make some sort of contact, but every attempt to do so I have heard about has ended in violence.  While I have fought Sleeper drones before with great success, doing so in an unarmed and lightly shielded frigate will probably bring a swift end to my explorations.

Sleeper Resources.jpg
A Sleeper drone prowls asteroids and gas of a long-dead mining operation.

I thought that perhaps a survey of the other planets in the system might turn up some information, but aside from an extremely geologically active "lava world," none of them offered anything particularly unusual.  The lava world did not appear to be the result of a massive kinetic impact; if it had, it's possible that it could have been related to the eighth planet's orbit.  Nor does the proto-garden world appear to have any sort of artificial structures; I detected no energy signatures or other signs of civilization, at least in the recent past.

J110108 Lava World.jpg
The "lava world" of J110108, third from the primary star.

Is it possible that this planet was terraformed by a race who lived here before the Sleepers?  I still don't understand why this world, and not one of the ones closer to the system's primary, where solar energy would be in a far more abundant supply.  Unfortunately, my knowledge of astronomy and planetology is somewhat limited, so I suspect I will not be able to unravel this mystery.  I've recorded my findings and will forward them on to Dr. Ikkola in Uchoshi the next time I can link with a comm buoy.

Speaking of that, I've been unable to find a suitable new wormhole to move on to yet; so far, the only wormholes I can find have led into high-security Federation space, which, to be sure, is not a place I think I would be particularly welcome.  Until I can find a more suitable way out, I appear to be stuck here.  I actually made contact with another pilot who maintains a space platform in the system today, and spoke to him for a bit.  While he was suspicious at me at first -- he seemed to think I had attacked his platform for some reason, which I assured him was quite impossible -- I think I managed to convince him I'm not a threat.  Still, his worry seems justified; it looks like a pilot from the Cry Havoc. alliance, who are rather notorious for their capital ship-busting exploits, has also taken up residence here.  Hopefully I'll be able to move on soon.

Sleeper Outpost.jpg
A Sleeper outpost remains here, a relic of their forgotten empire.

As for where I will head, I don't know.  It seems like wormhole space may be a bit limiting; I'm somewhat constrained in what I can actually do here, as Sleeper activity seems to be much higher and wormhole availability much lower than what I had originally anticipated.  Part of me longs to return to combat fleets, but my heart is not with what the Reserve is doing these days, and joining the State Protectorate -- I don't know.  I regret supporting the war effort of an incompetent madman like Heth as much as I did before, and cannot bring myself to do so again, even as the Federation draws ever closer to our borders.

I have considered going to Intaki to assist with Ishukone's efforts there; returning to the fold of my parent corporation alongside Mordu's Legion, who I spent so much time in 5ZXX-K with years ago, is a tempting thought, and I have long felt that the Intaki deserved better than what the Federation had given them after our secession.  Unfortunately, I fear that my presence would not help the pro-Intaki forces there; no doubt the FDU would take a decorated Caldari combat pilot assisting as a sign that they were nothing more than Caldari puppets.  It is unfortunate that the Federals have such a black and white view, but I cannot say I would feel differently in their place.  I do not want to damage the strides Ishukone is making in the system, nor do I want to encourage the kind of brutality the Federation showed our people during the last war.  Already I see them slipping towards that kind of unreserved malice, and I admit I am frightened -- not for myself, but for the people caught in the middle; I have no doubt Heth would retaliate in kind, and we would end up with barren and burned-out worlds the length of the border zone.

I am also considering joining Eve University; I've always had great respect for their work, and I think my experience might be of some service.  It is too soon to make a decision however, and if I do join another capsuleer organization, I want it to be for at least a respectable length of time, several months at the least.  We shall see.  For now, I need to find a safe path out of this wormhole to continue my explorations.
Personal Log, Svetlana Scarlet
Captain, Buzzard-Class Frigate Lonely Hunter
Location Unknown, Locus J131842

Yesterday, I threw my life away -- four years and nearly four months in the Reserve, and today I am without a corporation for the first time in my life.  It had to be done, though.  The past two years I have found myself making excuses for what I do and I have come to have a hard time believing them myself.  No longer; today, I left for parts unknown to find a sense of purpose again.  Like the State, I have lost my way.  If I can find it again, maybe I can help the Caldari to return to our true purpose as well.

I released my crews from their contracts today; I do not know when I will return and it seems cruel to leave them waiting around when I could be dead and gone forever.  I'm told that cloning technology works even from within the depths of wormhole space, but having never tested...well, I am ready to meet my Maker if it does not.  If I don't return, I've made provisions for them to receive the balance of my assets.  They have served me well, and that is to be rewarded.

My ships, save this one, have been put in mothballs.  I've managed to get the automation aboard the Lonely Hunter working well enough that I should be able to handle everything myself, barring a firefight.  Considering I have no weapons, that seems for the best anyway; any fight I get into will be short, one way or another.  The cloaking device should manage to keep me away from trouble for the most part anyway.  I've loaded three months of supplies, which should be enough for now.  I suspect I will be able to find my way back to known space within that window anyway.

Departing Ishukone HQ.jpg
The Lonely Hunter departs Ishukone headquarters in Malkalen.

And so, here I go, into the unknown.  I thought to begin my journey in Malkalen; if nothing else, it would serve as a reminder of all the Caldari have lost these last two years.  I do not know whether to curse Otro Gariushi or praise him; he was a kindly father to his employees, but sometimes I think he spared the rod a bit too much.  Perhaps if we had known of the dire straits we were in before our nation was wrested into the hands of a fanatic, before the treachery by the Gallente that doomed us to this ridiculous war...perhaps it might have shaken us from our slumber.  Now, I fear, we have traded one lie for another, prosperity for hollow patriotism.  I see it on GalNet every day, Caldari who think extolling our superiority and slandering the Federation will propel us to greatness.  It takes more than words to make great men, a lesson I have learned all too many times.

Over New Caldari Prime.jpg
The Lonely Hunter over New Caldari Prime.

I tried to find a wormhole within Malkalen, but to no avail.  I don't know if it's my own inexperience with the probes and sensor systems on this vessel or that there were none; I'm certainly not the equal of Derrys or Beann with such things, I'm afraid.  I decided New Caldari was as good a place as any to have another look, and so I set course for New Caldari Prime.  As tempting as it was to visit home again, I restrained myself, and merely looked down from orbit.  I did not want to take the chance of being distracted; I have heard things are...not as I remember, these days.  I will return when I can make a difference.

New Caldari Wormhole.jpg
On approach to a wormhole in New Caldari.

I had better luck in New Caldari; it took me a while, but I managed to narrow down a wormhole some 5 AU from New Caldari Prime.  On the other side, I emerged in an uncharted system -- a small, G2 class star with a spectacular nebula in the background.

Into the Wormhole.jpg
Emerging from the wormhole in unknown space.

As quiet as it seems to be here, it is not as deserted as I thought; perhaps unsurprising, considering that it is accessible, at least for now, from one of the most populated systems in known space.  I found a space platform being operated in orbit around the moon of a ringed gas giant, and while I was there, cloaked, I watched a Hoarder arrive with what was presumably fuel for the platform.  The pilot was unaware of my presence, thanks to my cloaking device; for more than half an hour I watched, simply to see the time go by.

Wormhole Platform.jpg
A space platform in orbit around the moon of a gas giant.

Unfortunately, aside from some Sleeper ruins I am wary of approaching, especially with others in the system, I have been unable to find much else of note.  As I write this, I am on approach to another wormhole; sensors indicate that beyond it is another system unlinked to the main gate network.  Onward to new discoveries...

Well, today, after nearly 52 months in the Reserve, I resigned my commission.  Probably the hardest thing I've done in a long time; despite the fact that I've never met most of these guys in person, I still consider them to be good friends.  Unfortunately, I'd sort of fallen out of love with Eve the last few months, and I think part of that was CAIN going off into nullsec to join the 0.0 wars and the my disappointment with the way things have gone in the way of roleplaying for me the last year or so.  Rather than be an absentee member, which isn't fair to CAIN, I thought it best to cut the cord and move on.

What I plan to do now is a little exploration on my own to try and get me back to the right headspace where I can enjoy the game and Svetlana can find her destiny again.  A bit of a walkabout, if you will.  I've purchased a ship for the purpose, one that should see me through the darkest parts of the cluster (hopefully) and I'm gathering the last things I need to head out.  As part of this, I think I'm going to be doing some stories or diary entries for Svetlana as she goes out, accompanied by screenshots from my travels.  I know I've talked about a lot of writing projects and never really followed up on them before, but this time...well, I hope it is different.  Svetlana has come to mean a lot to me over the last four years, and I don't want to see her end her career by just fading away into nothing.

I'm not sure how soon these will start up -- I'm thinking of starting this weekend, but I have some other stuff I need to take care of tomorrow (and I just started Arkham Asylum too) so I'm not sure if that will happen.  I'd like to get it started this week for sure though, and it will go on as long as it has to.  It's only fair to a character who has become a big part of me.

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