This post has been in draft for nearly a year. For a long time, the ties were a bit too loose for me to draw any conclusions. In some ways, they still are. But recently, some things have begun to break loose in news events and announcements in the run-up to Rhea. So it’s time to fold the tinfoil hats (again). Come take another ride with me.
This week a news report on CONCORD activity announced that key research and CONCORD agencies are teaming up with the Jove-connected Society of Conscious Thought and noted exploration experts The Sanctuary to “discuss changes in Sleeper activity”. At first look, it would appear that this is nothing more than a space-UN meeting with key science leaders.
But it is much more than that.
First, let’s look back at what inspired my original draft. Imagine yourself car shopping. You badly want a Tesla Model S. It’s electric! It’s green! It’s sporty! And to top it off it’s fast and has great cachet, cool features and awesome tech! Sadly, you do not have the $70,000-$95,000 to afford this fancy transport. Then along comes the deal of a lifetime. You can get a Tesla, but this one is called the Model G. It’s exactly the same car, but in exchange for a $35,000 price tag, you agree that numerous additional sensors will be installed and all the car’s data will be reported to the sponsors, and that those sponsors want their logo prominently featured on your car. What would you do?
OK, now what would you do if those sponsors were the UN Security Council, the Department of Homeland Security (specifically NSA & CIA), Greenpeace, Google, Facebook, General Electric, Northrup Grumman and the American Psychological Association? Still interested?
Yet in EVE, you are doing exactly that - I warned a year ago of the sinister implications of the Sisters of EVE cruiser, the Stratios. The Sisters built it to be flown by capsuleers, especially in wormholes. Yet this ship is festooned with logos, practically space-NASCAR.
There are six corporations with their logos on this ship:
The Servant Sisters of EVE – A cluster-wide humanitarian organization specializing in search and rescue. Their primary mission recently has been rescuing general populations from the predations of capsuleers.
Propel Dynamics – Maker of the ring-shaped special warp drive of the SOE ships, presumably under independent contract since there is nothing else like it. Propel’s name appears numerous times in numerous places and clearly is an advertisement as much as a sponsorship.
Carthum Conglomerate – The primary Amarrian participant, likely the hull builder and provider of electronics keyed to energy weapons. While not mentioned in the meeting press release, it is clear that the Amarr are being the most cagey here, with the logo on the Stratios easy to miss if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
Chemal Tech – The primary Gallente participant, likely builder of the sensors and drone control systems.
Eifyr & Co. – The primary Minmatar participant, likely builder of the weapons control systems and turrets. Eifyr is also not on the participant list (so far) for the Inner Circle meeting, but we’ll discuss why more below.
Let there be no mistake – the Sisters might be selling you this ship but their motive is not (purely) profit. They are in this for one primary purpose: the data. They are highly interested in what capsuleers do, and beyond that what can be learned from wormhole space and by watching direct capsuleer behavior. As a group without much in the way of liquid funds to build spaceships, they would have had to give the builders some advertising and a shot at some of that data too.
For a year, capsuleers, you have given them that data. And you have gained nothing from them while they learned, considered, and planned. And then they used a subset of that data to ask CONCORD to step in.
Escalation of Concern
And step in they did, along with several others. Here’s who the newcomers are.
CONCORD is a pretty obvious play. CONCORD is all about control, and they don’t like it when people come and play with their toys. They are in effect the UN Peacekeepers of New Eden.
The Inner Circle of CONCORD is particularly touchy. They see themselves as the true “one cluster government”. As their corp description states: “The policies of CONCORD are discussed and decided at Inner Circle meetings, which are usually closed to the public. At first the members of the circle were nominated by the empires, but now they rise from the ranks of CONCORD employees. Thus, their loyalty is no longer bound to any one empire, but rather to CONCORD itself.”
Duvolle Labs – As one might expect from the more democratic Gallente Federation, things are a bit harder to lock down. Duvolle is a much stronger player than Chemal, and over the course of the year anything might have prompted this switch. However, it’s not a total change-out. This is evidenced by the presence of…
Center for Advanced Studies. This organization was born from and has direct ties to Chemal. It is likely that they are standing in for the Chemal team with a thin veneer of “neutrality” to better comfort the voters when all this comes out.
Science & Trade Institute. Another think tank like CAS, STI is its Caldari mirror. They likely represent a more broad-based State response to the call, not wanting to have Propel as the only player in such a highly-visible discussion. It also adds credence to the idea that this is meeting a research discussion.
There are two others, but we’ll come back to them in a moment. Again, what we see here is direct rivals working together, now ostensibly under the banner of direct interaction with the one organization that has any sway over all of them: CONCORD. Why would the Gallente and Caldari step things up, risking a reduction in the subtlety of their third-party collaboration with the Sisters of EVE? What is necessitating the need for this to be an Official discussion?
So let’s review. Around the SOE ships, especially the Stratios, was formed a research consortium. But not just any research consortium. The Sisters ships live at the intersection of Amarrian and Gallente skills. But that’s not all we see here. What we see is Eifyr, a quintessential warlike Minmatar group, collaborating with Carthum, an Ammarian group with ties to the Caldari State, neither of which have love for the Matari. Chemal Tech, a Gallente organization, cozy beside Caldari entities Zero-G and Propel.
In the dark world of New Eden, where conspiracy lurks around every corner and the rulers of the Empires have a hand in any major corporate affair, do you really believe that those listed on the Stratios hull are the entirety of those involved? No, if nothing else the rulers of the empires are all certainly well-informed on this. In fact, the likelihood is that these organizations, including Carthum, Chemal (and now Duvolle and CAS), Zero-G (and now STI) and Eifyr, are thinly-masked or “supervised by” official representatives for their particular empires in the data-gathering effort. And the SOE gets to run the show and have access to all four teams’ data … plus their own and Propel’s.
What could convince all these enemies to come together, secretly, and play nice in the sandbox with each other? The answer is, I believe, fairly obvious: A common threat. There are a handful of candidates for this. Let’s eliminate a few off the bat:
- Sansha Kuvakei. Incursions qualify as a broad threat, but why would CONCORD wait three years to call a meeting on this?
- Pirates (Angels, Guristas, Syndicate). While they were involved in the initation of Ghost Sites, they are not part of the traditional bailiwick of the Sisters of EVE. The fight against them has also gone top down from CONCORD, rather than bottom-up from other organizations.
That leaves two real candidates: The Sleepers, and Us. Sure, there is some discussion of Sleeper activity. But what we’ve seen so far in wormholes is pretty much par for the course. There is little to indicate that there is a real threat there, unless it comes via the capsuleer commuity. (NOTE: I’ve gotten some questions since the original post about the new Sleeper sites in k-space. I think these are tied more directly to the coming introduction of Thera and are definitely tied to what’s going on in this post, but in a path that will soon but has not yet collided with this thread - correlation rather than causation. I’m watching for new info on Hilen Tukoss or these sites since so far they’ve only really been announced out of character; there’s not much lore to go on. Yet. I expect that to change very soon.) [UPDATE 11/11: This correlation-not-causation hypothesis now appears to be confirmed based on the 11/11 devblog, which states: “The backstory of [the k-space sites] is that they’re storage sites created by Sleepers. The Sleepers have always been interested in collecting items of curiosity and have done so in secret throughout known space for years. But they haven’t always been able or willing to cart the items they collect back to their wormhole enclaves and have instead deposited them in storage sites. To keep their collections hidden from the prying eyes of enterprising pilots, the Sleepers used highly advanced cloaking technology to obscure the sites. Recently the cloaking mechanisms have started to malfunction and the sites are becoming visible. Why this is happening is unknown at the moment, but seems caused by heavy-handed scavenging by someone or something.”]
So if it’s about capsuleers, what catalyzed the discussion? There are many – this meeting has been coming for a long time. It probably began with old warnings (CONCORD’s fear of capsuleer interference in Ghost Sites) and proof of capsuleer caprice and malice (the Live Event slaughter of Rubicon). And everyone happily skipped along for months, until the empires requested help cornering the market on two types of Sleeper blue loot.
WARNING: OUT OF CHARACTER KNOWLEDGE AHEAD
So now let’s look at our last two participants in the discussion. Deep in the Chronicle archives is a series called Black Mountain. It is the story of two highly-trained paramilitary organizations. One is a group of religious crusaders, and the other a group of psychopathic, sadistic professional killers. They are on a collision course over a Jovian artifact called The Book of Emptiness, which can be used to brainwash mass audiences and alter their emotional and mental state. I’m not going to make you read all sixteen chapters, although it is a good read. But here is the upshot.
The Sanctuary (who has their very own version of the Stratios, called the Emergency Responder) is a subgroup of the SOE. On the surface they are a scientific group, particularly focused on wormholes (they were directly involved in the events that triggered the isogen-5 explosion that created the shattered planets and opened the wormholes) and the EVE Gate. But when you start looking into it, the group has a far less palatable agenda. In Black Mountain, their representative, Nale, is the crusader. His overriding goal is to get the Book in order to use it to impose peace on the cluster by mental, rather than physical, force. He hits this realization in the chronicle Pushing Towards Bliss:
“Still,” Hona said, “You could do it differently. You don’t have to push people towards bliss. You can encourage them to seek it themselves.”
“I’m not going to stand there, like a mad prophet, constantly harping on other people to go after their true purpose in life. All I’m going to do is eliminate the roadblocks.”
Hona stepped in his way, and looked him straight in the eye. “Don’t do this, Nale. Don’t. If you even manage to regain the Book, you’ve no guarantee it’ll work like you think, and even if it does, you’ll be taking away people’s basic rights. You’ll be no better than the capsuleer who ruined our mining colony. And besides, how on earth will you achieve any change? What if the effect is only temporary?”
“Then we will use it on the right people first; the ones who determine the lives of others. Everyone at the top of the social stratus. Leaders, and dictators, and every capsuleer we can get to. After that, we will find ways of duplicating the Book, and we’ll start to spread its word to the masses.”
She goggled at him. “You’re talking about a revolution here. You’re going to be violating people’s basic rights on a fundamental scale.”
“The fundamental right of man is to be happy,” he said to her. “You’ll see. This is right. It’s the only thing that makes sense.”
Many people never find the behind-the-scenes chronicle called The Sanctuary. It pulls back the curtain on what these people are really thinking. And to them, you are (as I said on Twitter the other day) literally Hitler.
The Sisters have always been unified in love, but they are also increasingly becoming unified in hate. This is not as paradoxical as first might seem. Everything has its inverse, and if you truly and honestly devote yourself to a particular entity, whether it’s a physical object, a living thing or an abstract ideal, you will invariably find yourself at odds with that entity’s antithesis and enemies. The Sisters of EVE have devoted themselves to saving lives, helping the sick & wounded, and gently prodding humankind to sacred ascendancy; and what foils them at every turn, in greater measure than politics and weaponmaking and natural disaster, is a force that continues to grow: The capsuleers …
To the minds of many Sisters, and even of many others, the capsuleers have come to represent this malevolent nadir of humanity: They are powerful, and they use that power in the ways of the old gods, delivering it with fire and noise and blinding lights and leaving a wake of anguish, all in the name of whim and immediate desire. …
It is the Sanctuary who have taken their anti-capsuleer stance to the furthest and most dangerous point, and they are the one corporation within the entire Sisters of EVE faction that can now be said – carefully, for nothing they’ve done has been proven, and as the Sisters tread with care around us, so must we around them – be schisming from the rest.
The Society of Conscious Thought is nearly the antithesis of the SOE, its darker mirror (and the creator of the Apotheosis shuttle and Gnosis battlecruiser, which likely are instrumented for k-space much like the SOE ships are for w-space). SOCT is a societally-based education institution built on Jove principles, and with suspected ties to the Sansha. They are effectively amoral, and for them, the ends always justify the means. It is their team that is comprised entirely of pyschopathic professional killers. In Black Mountain, their goal is to destroy the Book, because they do not want it in anyone else’s hands, and they want to ensure that expansion of knowledge, first and foremost, continues. The Book is a threat to conscious thought. However they too are on the outlook for power plays to give them the ability to further their agenda, as outlined in the Hyperconsciousness chronicle.
The addition of SOCT to this group is the canary in the coal mine. Their amoral approach would normally make the empires, and especially the Sisters, keep them at arms’ length. That they are invited speaks volumes.
The core groups are running scared. And the ones who will be leading the discussion want you controlled – and the sooner the better.
And then, capsuleer Guillome Renard stepped into the spotlight and attempted to wrest away the loot for use without empire interference. This is something the empires would have seen as untenable – a direct threat, and one that very nearly succeeded in embarrassing one or more empires. It is not coincidence that it was immediately followed by a price increase on those same two types, to ensure that their supply does not dry up.
And mere days later, the return of a long-lost fly in the ointment (Hilen Tukoss, founder of Arek’Jaalan and irritant to the Caldari State). Eifyr’s welcome and support for him is likely what left them off the conclave invitation.
A second message to capsuleers attempting to resurrect Arek’Jaalan and outlining a request from Tukoss for Jovian body parts, however, is what finally pushed them over the edge. The empires now must believe there is no more time to waste. That, I would wager, is where the SOCT comes in. As the last remaining known connection to anything Jovian, the Society’s knowledge of their biology and psychology is the missing piece to determine what Tukoss is up to, and what capsuleers like Guillome will do when they link up.
These are the conspirators racing us to Thera. The Jovian parts have been handed off, and we await the ignition of the fuse.
The empires are losing their grasp on power. And as our age begins to dawn, they will learn to fear us.