There are some pilots whose name will echo through the ages, their deeds and achievements undisputed, forever taking their place in the pantheon of New Eden.
This is the story of one of those pilots, an explorer who flew into the deepest corners of space and returned with a complete map of the stars. Legends built up around him, stories are still told, and his journey ranks amongst the greatest of our time.
This is the story of Jeran Tek.
Graduating from the State War Academy in the year 108, Tek led a laidback and self-confessed unproductive career until one day he "decided to change this fact."
Studying star charts and tomes of knowledge about our solar systems and regions, Tek had drawn up an ambitious plan. A plan that would see him write himself into the annals of New Eden.
The plan? A pilgrimage to visit every system currently registered in the CONCORD/DED database.
Adrift Among The Stars?
For the majority of the citizens of the empires being a pod pilot is a distant dream. Many children of all ages dream of casting off and drifting amongst the stars before they are hit by the cold harsh light of reality.
Few people ever step into a capsule, and fewer still can afford the advanced vessels and equipment. It comes as no surprise then that Tek had made his fortune and was able to buy an advance covert operations class vessel, a Cheetah, in which he was to travel the deadly territories of the cluster.
On the eve of departure his intentions were announced.
Unusually the GalNet observers remained hopeful that Tek would succeed in his undertaking. Normally such outlandish ideas would have received instant criticism and portents of failure. Fellow pod-pilot Ryuu Katsu encapsulated the general mood of GalNet by saying "[I] hope you'll make it, though I must say I reserve some doubt as of whether you will or not..[however] prove me wrong by all means."
And So It Begins....
The hour has come, the journey has begun. This pilgrimage of discovery started in the region known as Impass. The path Tek plotted would take him through safe sectors, alliance territories, pirate and drone infested regions and a myriad of other systems where unexpected wonders and danger lurk.
One of the earliest landmarks to fall under Tek's gaze was the wreck of "Steve." This is the wreck of the first titan class vessel constructed within New Eden. The behemoth still floats in space awaiting the day when scavengers will finally carry away the last reminants of its carcass.
Travelling onwards, Tek found his discoveries were not all inanimate. A number of other pod-pilots aware of the journey and vaguely aware of the route being taken, had decided it would be an enjoyable exercise to hunt the Cheetah.
Thankfully the investment in an expensive cloaking device saved him many times. As Tek's fame grew some of these pilots started to openly reminisce about hunting him. "I was looking for you..." declared Escobar Noreaga, Tek replied by saying he enjoyed the games of cat and mouse and that when all is said and done "A man can be judged by the tenor of his foes."
The Long Way Round
"I'm beginning to think I severely overestimated the magnitude of this task" declared Tek when he posted an update on his GalNet site. With a little under ten days of warp travel under his belt Tek had already managed to traverse eleven nullsec regions. That was half the number of regions around the so called "great ring" of regions that circles around New Eden.
There was however a stumbling block on this current path. Three of the regions on the route belong to the mysterious Jovians. Despite petitioning CONCORD and attempting to get a message to the Jovian directorate, Tek was not given permission to enter these territories. There was also no way to attempt to infiltrate these areas due to a lack of information relating to entrance points or gateways.
Putting the disapointment behind him, Tek strove ever onwards. After three weeks of travel, a quarter of the planned route had fallen before him.
Explorer, discoverer, pioneer, some of the phrases used to describe Tek. How does he describe himself? "I'm just a tourist with a camera and an urge to wander."
Pilot Dragos Mrs had this insight into his motivations: "to some people, exploration is it's own reward. new sights, new sounds, like walking early morning on freshly fallen snow."
This epic wanderlust has at this point in the journey seen more than 2000 systems conquered. Some pilots never make it through more than one or two systems in their lifetimes. One system on the route thus far bears the memorial "In memory of all the brave pilots who have lost their lives attempting to traverse the chasm."
On his GalNet site many had left messages about the journey. The general tone of the messages are summed up in this note from Victor Ivanov, "[I] just wanted to say that I think the concept of this journey is a glorious venture and that I greatly admire you for undertaking an exploration of this magnitude simply out of wanderlust and curiosity."
The Final Stretch
Time has passed.... the path has been travelled. Once out of nullsec, low security areas and empire controlled space fell quickly to his wanderings. Tek remarked at one point that "it hardly seems more than a numbers game" due to the ease of travel in the areas CONCORD patrols.
The finishing point was set, the system named Asgeir. GalNet was awash with praise. The journey was almost complete. Crowds gathered to await the arrival.
An epic pilgrimage, according to the ship computer 5152 systems traversed, thats more than 8000 jumps. The local CONCORD Commander even turned up and was overheard proclaiming that it was "a remarkable achievement."
Praise came from every quarter, pilot Ryuu Katsu declared it an "amazing job you did there, I'm pleased to find that you proved me wrong in the end." Friends and co-pilots in Really Nice And Laidback Corporation and Brutally Clever Empire are rumored to have held a party that ran late into the night.
"Well, it's done....I've seen it all". An achievement unriveled in New Eden history, the first person to visit all the accessible systems within the galaxy. Perhaps one day Tek can gain entry into Jove space. Whether that day arrives or not, one thing remains true about Jeran Tek, simply stated by pilot Gabriel Death:
"Legend in the making..."
External GalNet Resources
Original Announcement and Trip Diary