Caroline’s Star, Appendix: The Theory of Evolution of Theories

Solar System LinesTHIS IS POST 3 OF 3 IN THIS SERIES. The first contains the bulk of the documentable evidence and the second contains the tinfoil hattery of how I think Caroline’s Star occurred. This one is an anecdote to show how easily the theorizing can go wrong.

As I began to investigate Thera on the Singularity (SiSi) test server prior to the release of Rhea, I got very excited about one fact: while CCP had stated that all the new shattered wormholes were completely shattered, Thera was not – only planets 1-9 were. As someone who spent years studying the shattered planets this was a massive red flag, and led to the first hypothesis I had on why so much shattering.

HYPOTHESIS 1: There are nine shattered planets in Thera! There are nine shattered planets prior to Phoebe! These things must be related – when the Seyllin Incident happened, it shattered nine planets in our world and nine in Thera, and potentially nine in each other wormhole. This was possible because the lore already confirms that the masses of Isogen-5 are quantum entangled. If they are with each other, why not across the spectrum?

Then CCP Fozzie published the Thera devblog. If you read it for the lore rather than the mechanics, a statement stands out:

The innermost pair of planets show signs of shattering similar to that seen in previous candidate locations.
~ Zakari Kovalis, Exploration Vessel Katydid, Log Entry YC112.07.09

This kills part of my hypothesis, forcing a restatement of it. In short, two of the planets were shattered before the Sisters of EVE got there. This actually makes my theory better in some ways, so I am still happy.

HYPOTHESIS 1A: There are nine shattered planets in Thera! There are nine shattered planets prior to Phoebe! These things must be related. A long time ago, the Sleepers or Jovians or Enheduanni had an accident or two. Those two accidents taught them the dangers of Isogen-5 and each incident caused the shattering of one of these planets and one of the existing w-space shattered planets (the original nine are seven in k-space and two in w-space). Then when the Seyllin Incident happened, it shattered seven planets in our world and the other seven in Thera again via entanglement.

This hypothesis was exciting and I couldn’t wait to see it borne out in Rhea. Coincidentally, at this point I was thinking that the cause was The Sanctuary building a a new type of gate modeled off the EVE Gate and having it explode in their face.

Unfortunately, the tinfoil gods again frowned upon me, and I dropped the SOE idea and pursued the one I eventually wrote up relative to cause. With an Epicenter in every system making it obvious that Thera was not necessarily the epicenter of the explosion, and explorers posting varying numbers of shattered planets (all less than nine, however, so parts of it still held), it started to feel weaker than I liked. And then CCP Delegate Zero posted CONCORD’s statement on Caroline’s Star, confirming that it was W477-P in Jove space that exploded. While it was good to have this fact, it totally messed everything up. All the stars in the shattered story over the last five years that had any relevance were either A0, O1 or B2 stars – all blue. W477-P was orange-red. It forced me to reconsider the whole hypothesis. I took a look on Dotlan and a potential answer jumped off the page. W477-P had seven planets! Yeeees! That must be it!

HYPOTHESIS 2: There are nine shattered planets in Thera! There are nine shattered planets prior to Phoebe! These things must be related. A long time ago, the Sleepers or Jovians or Enheduanni had an accident or two. Those two accidents taught them the dangers of Isogen-5 and each incident caused the shattering of one of these planets and one of the existing w-space shattered planets (the original nine are seven in k-space and two in w-space). The Seyllin incident was contained to k-space and at a much smaller scale, despite being similar to the Caroline’s Star incident. When Caroline’s Star exploded, entangled caches at its seven planets caused parallel shattering throughout the new shattered wormholes, including Thera, via entanglement.

And that’s where things were as I published the first post in this series. This hypothesis was going to be part of the big reveal for the second post, which I was writing last night.

My corpmate Uxeric Straevaras (@Straevaras on Twitter) has actually been a shattered-exploring fiend and has been in far more of these wormholes than I have. He’s also done a great job of taking pictures and tracking not only some of the results I wanted but also some of his own on statics, etc (he is one of our master scanners and an SSC Director). The two of us have spent most nights since Rhea bantering theories and data around on comms.

Back to last night. Straevaras told me he had downloaded the SDE, and might be able to help me verify my theory. The first test: Were there any shattered wormholes that had more than nine planets at all? Answer: Yes – both J010000 and J000487 have ten planets, and Thera has fourteen. Ugh, that could be a problem. But what kind of planets? If they were not shattered, the theory would still hold. Verdict: They too were shattered.

Now I had a big problem. I had two shattered planets that didn’t work. Based on my hypothesis and entanglement, J010000 X and J000487 X should have been normal planets, but they were not.

So I threw out that theory and spent some time grinding the gears all over again. What else was unique or unusual? An answer came to me: Thera’s enormous size. What if there were no entangled sites at the planets, the only connection was at the Epicenters – and they were so big that the stars themselves fireballed rather than sending out magnetic field-directed coronal mass ejections?

Straevaras on exploration via spreadsheet - Click to Enlarge

Straevaras on exploration via spreadsheet – Click to Enlarge

Using a single centralized explosion as the base, Straevaras re-ran the SDE data. Thera IX, which is shattered, is 56 AU from the star. Thera X, which is not shattered, is much further out at 87 AU. So long as none of the other new systems showed any planets beyond about 80 AU, it would hold. Voila, J010000 X is the next-furthest from its home star, at 70 AU.

To put this in perspective, if we had the Red Giant star Antares in our own solar system, its radius would extend out past the orbit of Mars (which varies between 1.4 and 1.7 AU). Neptune is at a fairly stable 30 AU, and Pluto sits out at a mean of 40 AU with some wide variances. J010000 X is 70 AU out, almost double the distance of Pluto, and Thera X sits at 87 AU, more than double the distance of Pluto. While skeptical that anyone would have survived the radiation blast, I can potentially accept that at that distance that maybe the planets themselves and stations would have survived, if horribly scarred.

HYPOTHESIS 3: There are two shattered planets that the Sisters of EVE found in Thera; there were also two wormhole shattered planets prior to Phoebe. These are likely related. A long time ago, the Sleepers or Jovians or Enheduanni had an accident or two. Those two accidents taught them the dangers of Isogen-5 and each incident caused the shattering of one of the old w-space shattered planets. The Seyllin incident was contained to k-space and at a much smaller scale, despite being similar to the Caroline’s Star incident. When Caroline’s Star exploded, entangled caches at 101 stars, including Thera, in turn caused massive explosions in those stars, which destroyed everything in those systems within 70 AU of the star.

Honestly, I liked my original hypothesis better. But facts, as they say, are stubborn things.

In some ways, this actually helps my broader tinfoiling, because it further supports my “catastrophic feedback via the Talocan Static Gates” theory of why Caroline’s Star exploded.

Be careful folding that tinfoil. It rips easily.

Posted in Lore, Rhea, Speculation | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Caroline’s Star, Part 2: Anatomy of a Catastrophe

THIS IS PART TWO OF THREE. In Part 1, I lay out the more firm evidence base the below conclusions are based on. Part 3 is actually an appendix to the first two (see the * below) that explains the evolution of one of the theories in this document for aspiring tinfoilers.

By the end of the first post, I had laid out the following evidence based on CCP statements and official lore sources, most in-game, for a likelihood that the Sleepers have:

  • A serious need for massive power to support their way of living and travelling
  • A highly expert society whose favored method of powering structures is solar
  • Access to solar power from both a Dyson Sphere and Sleeper structures
  • A feasible interstellar transport mechanism via Talocan structures
  • A targeting system for that transport mechanism
  • A travel fuel source with massive power, Isogen-5, which is harvested from O1 and B0 class stars, and upon explosion could peel off their outer solar layer (rendering them A0 class), shatter planets and open wormholes
  • A major mining, enrichment, processing and storage facility network for Isogen-5

Fair warning that the below is totally tinfoil, based on the previous facts and educated guesses. Also a reminder that all of this should be treated as highly out-of-character information.

I’ve had most of that first post in my head since I wrote my recent story for Pod & Planet, which required me to do some research in Templar One a couple of months ago. But something about it nagged at me and I decided not to post it in the run-up to Rhea because most of it has been guessed at before … and I couldn’t find the “so what?” But then Rhea launched and one bit of evidence suddenly made it all click for me.

The Missing Link – Epicenters

I spent almost a month mostly on the Singularity (SiSi) test server exploring Thera and other places prior to the launch of Rhea. The Epicenter in Thera was cool and suggested some things on its own, but something bothered me about Thera. Why would all the systems CCP was releasing be entirely shattered planets, yet in Thera only the first 9 were shattered … the rest were normal?*

Even at this point, what that suggested to me is that Thera could not be Caroline’s Star. An explosion of Caroline’s magintude would have destroyed all the planets, not just the first nine (actually #3 through #9, since #1 and #2 were already destroyed when the SoE moved in). But despite this, the name “Epicenter” suggested that Thera’s sun was at the core of the explosion…

Epicenter: a point, directly above the true center of disturbance, from which the shock waves … apparently radiate.
– Dictionary.com

Then Rhea launched and it quickly became apparent that I was thinking all wrong. There was an Epicenter in every shattered wormhole. This changed everything. 101 Epicenters meant that my original idea, that Thera could not be the center, now made sense. Instead of Thera having to explain everything and sit in the center of the story, Thera suddenly became the shiniest outlier – just one piece of collateral damage among many. This, combined with a “look for something big” tweet from CCP Fozzie, made me run to my keyboard midday and ask everyone to look for a Dyson Sphere.

But if that was the case, why did every one of these stars have no less than twelve Talocan Static Gates, all bound with a Disruption Tower in ways we had never seen before, suggesting an “industrial strength” Gate? Why was the Epicenter site practically on top of the star in each system? That would take a little research.

The Science – Stellar Chemistry and Physics

And then CCP came out and stated that Caroline’s Star was in fact the star of W477-P in Jove space. While listed as a “Red Giant” in text, this star is not in fact a Red Giant (which would be something like a M3 III) but if you look at the star in Dotlan, it is a K5 V, or an Orange/Red Main Sequence star. This in fact fits with the color of Caroline’s star, a bright orange.

Hertzsprung-Russel Diagram of Stellar Classification – Click to Enlarge

Let’s take a quick look at the star types involved. O1 and B0, in the lore, can have Isogen-5 harvested. A0 stars are either natural or the post-collapse version of the previous two (that doesn’t match nature, blame Isogen-5 for having some kind of conversion effect). The Stellar Classification article at Wikipedia is a good source, and provides some quick facts.

  • O1 – Class O stars are very hot, very large, and very bright. The bulk of their chemical makeup is hydrogen, followed by helium, followed by some heavier elements like silicon, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon. Class O main sequence stars tend to burn through their hydrogen very quickly. Another interesting fact: as the most massive class of stars, Class O are also the most likely to collapse into Wolf-Rayets … like the frigate shattered wormholes.
  • B0 – Class B stars are very luminous and blue. They are primarily helium burners, with some hydrogen and a lesser amount of metals like magnesium and silicon. They are the next step down from Class O in size, still much larger than most stars, and also burn through fuel quickly.
  • A0 – Class A stars are white or bluish-white, smaller but still large in relative terms. They are primarily made up of hydrogen and metals like iron, magnesium and silicon.
  • K5 – Class K, also referred to as an orange dwarf, is actually smaller than our sun, and cooler. K stars primarily show makeup as being largely of metals like iron, magnesium and silicon.

So what is the story within the data, as related back to the stars of New Eden? The blue stars are burning hydrogen & helium, while the red ones have burned most of that away and are much cooler. So it is likely that in an explosion, we have seen Isogen-5 seem to pull away coronal mass that appears likely to be hydrogen, helium, or a mix of both.

The Star – W477-P

Stellar Evolution Pathways – Click to go to Wikipedia Article

As noted above, due to the CONCORD statement, we now know definitively that the explosion came from the K5 V red main sequence star W477-P. This is the true epicenter (of the Epicenters). We can also guess that since it is tagged as a Red Giant (even though it is not currently one) it would likely evolve along the Red Giant path. This is literally an evolutionary path as shown in the orange line on the diagram (compare to the other diagram above). What happens is this:

The star reaches the main sequence when the core reaches a temperature high enough to begin fusing hydrogen … and establishes hydrostatic equilibrium. Over its main sequence life, the star slowly converts the hydrogen in the core into helium; its main-sequence life ends when nearly all the hydrogen in the core has been fused. … When the star exhausts the hydrogen fuel in its core, nuclear reactions can no longer continue and so the core begins to contract due to its own gravity. This brings additional hydrogen into a zone where the temperature and pressure are adequate to cause fusion to resume in a shell around the core. The higher temperatures lead to increasing reaction rates, enough to increase the star’s luminosity by a factor of 1,000–10,000. The outer layers of the star then expand greatly, thus beginning the red-giant phase of the star’s life. As the star expands, the energy produced in the burning shell of the star is spread over a much larger surface area, resulting in a lower surface temperature and a shift in the star’s visible light output towards the red – hence it becomes a red giant. In actuality, though the color usually is orange.
Wikipedia, Red Giant

TLDR: When the star burns out all its hydrogen, it starts to collapse until it gets hot enough to burn helium. And when it starts to burn helium, it expands massively – the helium fusion is what causes the expansion.

Now imagine that your highly advanced society has found this nice Class K star (known to be  stable on the main sequence for a very long time (15 to 30 billion years, compared to 10 billion for the Sun)) and decided it would be the perfect type of star for a Dyson Sphere. So you build it and live happily for some time.

Then something happens. Either an experiment gone wrong, a tweak too far … maybe that event causes the first one (or two) of the shattered planets. But long story short, you come to the realization that your society and your powergrid and likely your very existence, dependent on this Dyson Sphere to continue, is about to fail hydrostatic equilibrium and begin collapsing toward the helium burn phase.

As a race with the ability to open gates to distant stars, and strip the outer layer of stars, what would you do? Why, you’d get some more hydrogen, of course.

You’d strip mine other stars.

The Epicenter Static Gate Array - Click to Enlarge

The Epicenter Static Gate Array – Click to Enlarge

With control over the quantities and capabilities and flow rates of Isogen-5, you could do just that. You would set up a mining colony right by the star, throw up some massive static gates, and start a controlled Isogen-5 reaction to open a rift. The Isogen-5 would pull the solar material from the blue star to the rift, it would pass through to the rift by your red star, and leveraging a reverse process with the Isogen-5 and a little gravity, the extra hydrogen would be sent down to refuel your red star, keeping it going at as close as you can mange to status quo.

And with that the stage is set. A Dyson Sphere around a red star being actively maintained by sucking the hydrogen off other stars. The tricky part, of course, is that Isogen-5 is unstable. So there would need to be a cache at each star being mined, and a cache inside the Dyson Sphere. Further, there would likely be massive batteries attached to the Dyson Sphere itself, holding power to manage the fluctuations that would be caused by the management of that star.

Now we’re just missing one thing: Sansha.

The Hypothesis – Reactor Meltdown

Caroline's Star as captured by Neophage Hashur - Click for Full Gallery

Caroline’s Star as captured by Neophage Hashur – Click for Full Gallery

Neither captain knew that the immense stock of isogen-5 which detonated before their eyes was entangled with numerous stockpiles in even greater quantities, assembled for a very specific purpose, and deliberately scattered throughout the New Eden cluster and beyond.

Nor could they know that the ancient race which had placed them there possessed not only a vision beyond the grasp of today’s science, but also the technological advancement necessary to realize its potential.

But all tools, no matter how simple or complex, possess a duality of purpose. Fire can provide life-giving warmth, or can burn the flesh from the bone.

-World on Fire Chronicle

So here’s my hypothetical scenario, based on all you’ve read (and a bit you’ll get in the next post). I’m sure some – maybe all – of it will be wrong. But let’s take a shot.

As the Incursion age begins, Sansha and his minions begin fighting with the Sleepers in what will eventually become some of the shattered wormholes. This war starts with the takeover of just one system: J005299 (we may find others – there are more than one Incursion going most days, after all). Sansha begins to solidify his hold on things in that system, and then begins to study the Talocan Static Gates. His engineers are unable to duplicate the technology, but as experts in overriding things themselves, they do figure out a way to override the gates and make them point where they want them – at least for a period of time. He doesn’t much understand the Isogen-5 itself, except to know that it’s the fuel for his Incursions. But after four years of Incursions with no one to mine new fuel for him, he’s got to start thinking about how to get more himself. So he starts attacking the Sleepers in other places as well.

Meanwhile, the Sleepers and/or Jovians were getting tired of Sansha locking down an important mining colony, and when Sansha’s Nation begins to spread, they have had enough and stage a counterattack.

In J005299, the showdown goes wrong. The Sleepers/Jove begin to attack the Sansha station. Or they find a way to start destroying or disabling the implants that make the True Slaves compliant. Or they threaten the destruction or capture of Kuvakei himself. For whatever reason, the Sansha shoot the remaining Isogen-5 stockpile in J005299.

This event will now make the Seyllin Incident look like a garden party.

Entangled, the explosion in J005299 ignites the Isogen-5 in 100 other systems as well. This in turn opens uncontrolled, unmoderated wormholes … most or all of them pointing directly back at either other now-shattered systems or worse, to the Dyson Sphere world, W477-P.

With the proverbial “giant sucking sound”, 100 blue giant stars have their outer layers pulled forcibly from them in one massive event, and those outer layers are piped directly through the open wormholes and static gates … and directly into the center of the Dyson Sphere. It wouldn’t take long for little K5 W477-P to reach critical mass, fed by the superheated hydrogen of 100 stars, and explode in spectacular fashion.

This explosion would have no resistance during the start of the event as the stellar material bled at speed through the opening in the Dyson Sphere described in Templar One. The Sleeper nanomaterials are described as incredibly heat resistant:

Lanthanum Metallofullerene: This fullerene-lanthanum compound is made by encasing a single lanthanum atom in a cage of carbon atoms. The incredibly high melting point of lanthanum compounds make them ideal for the construction of offensive hardpoints, where heat dissipation is critical to keeping weapons systems operating effectively.

Carbon-86 Epoxy Resin: C-86 epoxy resin is most commonly applied as a thin film to the structures housing propulsion systems. The tremendous flame-retardant properties of materials covered in the resin help prevent heat buildup and minimize onboard fires.

While they wouldn’t hold forever, just through part of the accretion phase – and certainly not through the actual explosion – the materials likely would have held for long enough to contain some of this for a short time. Meanwhile, the material blasting through the gap would create an inital flat shockwave – a true praxis effect that would otherwise be highly unlikely, creating a flat cloud of material rather than a spherical one. Like Caroline’s Star has.

When the Dyson Sphere fails, so does its massive Isogen-5 stockpile. And all the stored battery power. And that shockwave is enough to crush all the material inward, focusing the concussion and sparking the supernova. Caroline’s Star is born. The shockwave blows all the remaining unsustainable material out in a second wave.

But it’s not done yet. Back through the open wormholes goes the material and the shockwave, out not only through normal space but through the wormholes, blasting 70 AU or more out from each Epicenter, and roasting the Sisters of EVE in their hidey-hole.

 

* How I finally came to explain why there were nine shattered planets in Thera was a long and tortuous story of its own, that has evolved right up to the point I am writing this post. That journey is the subject of Part 3.

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Caroline’s Star, Part 1: Phenomenal Cosmic Power (Itty Bitty Living Space)

Source: http://kakumeikivalvrave.wikia.com/wiki/Dyson_Sphere?file=Kakumeiki_valvrave_Dyson_Sphere.jpg

Artist impression of a Dyson Sphere. Source: kakumeikivalvrave.wikia.com

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS POST ONE OF THREE. It covers the baseline facts that support my theorizing. Part 2 covers the actual theorizing and tinfoil hattery. Part 3 covers the evolution of one of those theories.

So, the other day I published a panicked and hasty post asking people to look for the wreckage of a Dyson Sphere around the former location of Caroline’s Star, with little other information to explain why I might suggest such a thing.

I’ll start with this: This is going to be a very long post, because I lay out all the evidence behind my upcoming tinfoil hattery for your review. If you want the super-short TLDR, just go read my earlier post and do what it says. If you want a slightly more detailed TLDR, check out the next post and read just the tinfoil hattery. If you want the deep detail, read on.

With the clarity of a week of hindsight with nothing found, I am still of the opinion that we will find the obliterated wreckage of a Dyson Sphere some day, but I now suspect we will not in fact find it until some future release – someone should have found it by now if it were in one of the new shattered wormholes. So in service of that future day, let’s fold some tinfoil and see how close we can get to believable. I say: pretty damn close. As always, this is Out of Character Knowledge, don’t use it in roleplay channels (i.e. Arek’Jaalan) or the Intergalactic Summit.

First off, we need to prove that there is a power grid demand – and supply – related to the stars in Sleeper systems.

The Powergrid Need – Why Would Sleepers Need Phenomenal Power?

Well, from my perspective this is pretty clear. Let’s look at how the Sleepers live.

  • They need to sustain millions, perhaps billions, of lives in perfect cryopreservation
  • They need to store and recharge every Sleeper combat drone you’ve ever met, and ever killed – enough to hold off capsuleers for 5 years and various Jovian sub-societies for Bob knows how long.
  • They need to store and recharge every Sleeper drone you haven’t met, including the new Seekers and Bob knows what else – biomass is certainly needed to “make more Sleepers” and feed the bodies of those existing – someone has to gather or make it. It is actually possible that making or synthesizing matter is more efficient than gathering it for this society, so long as they have a massive amount of available power.
  • They need to maintain a capability to repair and build those drones ad infinitum
  • They need to build, expand and maintain a virtual reality so perfect it is indistinguishable from reality, supporting perfect immersion for millions or billions of “players”
  • [UPDATE: People on Reddit were utterly fixated with my wording of this statement, so I tweaked it to be less utterly certain that quasars are the farthest locations. That said, “the farthest” and “really damn far” aren’t much functionally different when you’re talking intergalactic travel distances by spaceships.] They need to maintain a capability (originally created by the Talocan – more about that below) that can casually throw things literally across the space between galaxies  – the w-space systems were named for the quasars they were directed toward – far, far away from New Eden.

The Powergrid Evidence – Templar One and CCP Dropbear Say So

Then we began accelerating, faster and faster toward an area near the galactic center and into a starfield. I saw a perimeter forming; a dark sphere emerged where there should have been more points of light. A brilliant line opened about its circumference as we accelerated closer, and it kept growing larger and larger to where my eyes could resolve the details on an impossibly colossal structure. This line was an opening large enough for an entire planet to fit through. As we passed, I realized this civilization had built an empire that enveloped an entire star, harnessing all its energy.
– Templar One, Chapter 24

Of course, the most obvious evidence that such a Dyson Sphere structure exists is the fact that Templar One flat out says so. However, it’s not as simple as it may seem at first. The sequence in which that paragraph appears is effectively one that is a man being guided by a mechanized Jovian automaton through the memories of a Sleeper … not an eyewitness account but a view filtered through the impressions of not one but at least three intermediaries. So while it’s pretty definitive, it’s not a perfect slam dunk. It also doesn’t give much of a hint at all regarding precise location of such a place. So to firm up the theory, we must go deeper, into more circumstantial evidence.

If you’re planning on not being around, as it were, what’s your safest, most easily acquired, 100% guaranteed source of electricity?
CCP Dropbear, May 25, 2010

The strongest theories about the meaning of Oruze are based on what is directly observable in wormhole space. The Oruze Enclave at the Mirror: Solar engineering, thermovoltaics and photoelectrics. The Oruze Construct, which somebody needs to take a good screenshot of, preferably from directly above. Wink
Then Oruze Osobnyk. Various translations of it point to different things. The most direct translation is home or more functionally, storage. Togther, Oruze as Sun, and Osobnyk as storage, could mean something as simple as solar power storage. In the context of who we’re dealing with, a civilization called the Sleepers, that went into some kind of hibernation…it also seems to align.
– CCP Dropbear, July 28, 2010

One thing that has been pretty well established in Sleeper lore is that all of their capabilities are driven at least in part by solar power.

The Powergrid Evidence – Sleeper Power Structures

Sleeper structures are generally tuned toward one of two things – management of data or management of power. In most cases, the management of data is first and foremost in peoples’ minds as they look at these items, but back when things started, the focus was on things like the meaning of Oruze. And as noted above, it was determined that Oruze meant Sun, and Osobnyk means Storage. Let’s look at each of the known key components of the Sleeper power apparatus.

Sleeper Thermoelectric Converter – Click to Enlarge

Most Sleeper structures are also heavily dependent on a key structure, the Sleeper Thermoelectric Converter: “Despite countless years in space, this structure appears to be entirely functional. A brief analysis of the technology inside reveals that it operates as some kind of central power source for other Sleeper facilities. Faint seams in the rigid armor suggest it may even house a docking port to power the Sleeper’s automated drones.”

The Thermoelectric Converters adorn almost every Sleeper construct. They likely provide the local power for the site you are in … to an extent. There are a few exceptions that seem to have broader purposes than local power, however.

Solar Cell – Click to Enlarge

Solar Cell (Class 3 Site): “Astrophysicists studying Sleeper sites have noted that some Sleeper structures are still operational – and by design, no less. Outposts run basic life support systems, engineering stations buzz with running motors, and stations glimmer with light, energy, and mundane activity. No known reason exists for this persistent operation, but a few clues emerge. This cluster of thermoelectric converters is common around large solar bodies, supposedly for collecting radiation and storing energy for use throughout Sleeper colonies: a persistent generator for a dead race. Even to this day, this structure is operational, although how it distributes its energy and for what purpose is still unknown.”

Note the key phrase “throughout Sleeper colonies” – this is the intra-system (the inter-system version is the theoretical Dyson Sphere) capability to gather bulk energy. Think of it as the power plant for the system.

The Oruze Construct – Click to Enlarge

Oruze Construct (Class 3 Site): “The mysterious structure inside this deadspace pocket offers few clues as to the purpose it once served. An enclave positioned at the heart of the construct appears to have been entirely redesigned in some way, to serve a goal now long-forgotten. The only insight into the unique architecture is the word “Oruze,” which continually resurfaces throughout the garbled, largely indecipherable transmissions that emanate from within.”

This one still has some level of mystery to it, but based on the fact that you have the “fusion reactor” (a star) and the “power plant” (Solar Cell), my belief is that the Oruze Construct is the power distribution mechanism. It is worth noting that the “entirely redesigned” statement is the same on both structures – suggesting again the difference between this “power” structure and the more common “data” structures. I don’t pretend to know how it works, just that it does.

Oruze Osobnyk – Click to Enlarge

Oruze Osobnyk (Class 5 Site): “The mysterious structure inside this deadspace pocket offers few clues as to the purpose it once served. Similar compounds — albeit far less complex than this one — have been reported, each featuring the same huddled architecture, evocative of the enigmatic Phantom cruiser. What relation the “Oruze” structures may have to one another remains a mystery. An enclave positioned at the heart of the construct appears to have been entirely redesigned. It is flanked by two others, which in turn are hedged in by engineering stations that themselves seem to have been redesigned. The only insight into the unique architecture is the word “Oruze Osobnyk,” which continually resurfaces throughout the garbled, largely indecipherable transmissions that emanate from within.”

This one is the kicker – solar energy generally waxes and wanes – sometimes you gain more than you need and sometimes you don’t get enough. To even this out requires a battery – ideally a massive one with major backup and redundancy – after all, there are frozen people who need to stay alive in these structures. The Osobnyk is the battery.

The Powergrid Evidence – Rhea Sleeper & Jove Structures

Two key things released in Rhea seem to highlight the failure, and thus existence of this hypothetical powergrid.

  1. The sudden cloaking problems of Sleeper (in the Cache sites) and Jovian (the Unidentified “station”) structures across k-space concurrent with the appearance of Caroline’s Star. Let’s say for argument’s sake that all Sleeper and Jovian architectures have some level of built in capability but they leverage a broader network to achieve power flow balance. Think of it like a city whose entire population has solar panels that feed the grid – so you build the grid big enough to fill the void. If the main grid goes down, all of a sudden the solar panels are enough to power your fridge but it dies if you turn the lights on.
  2. The sudden “disappearance” of a large number of gates in Jove space. It is entirely possible that the gates themselves are still there – they just lost power and have gone inert. What a great place to discover new gate tech that we have to make work, don’t you think?

OK, great. So thus far it looks like there is evidence or likelihood of:

  • A serious need for massive power
  • A highly expert society whose favored method of powering structures is solar
  • Clear statements from CCP sources about a Dyson Sphere and solar power

Based on that I don’t think an interstellar powergrid is much of a stretch. So now let’s talk about what we know about star-sized and powered explosions in New Eden, along with fuel sources.

The Explosion Evidence – Isogen-5 and the Shattered Planets

So what we are pretty confident of about Caroline’s Star is that it was some sort of massive explosion. So let’s briefly look at the history of stellar explosions in EVE. Only one, the “bright star”/Bootini star of the Empyrean Age, was seen across systems.

Georgik Sogik did a great job of chronicling this over at Crossing Zebras so I won’t repeat all of that here. What’s important to note for our discussion here is what did not rise to that level of cross-cluster brightness – the Seyllin Incident.

The Seyllin Incident, for the few who may not be aware, occurred in May YC111 (2009). Seven k-space O1 and B0 class stars threw off massive amounts of coronal material, obliterating the first planet in each of those systems (I have studied these extensively and you can read more I wrote about them here and here and will be posting a summary of these events on Crossing Zebras myself Soon™). The cause of these explosions were large caches of a radioactive “negative mass inducing” isotope, Isogen-5.

The caches throughout k-space were quantum entangled and when one was shot, the others simultaneously exploded, shattering their own planets, and in the process opening what today we know as wormhole space.

Yet this was not enough to make them seen throughout New Eden. Isogen-5 would be an excellent fuel for our explosion, but we’d need more – much more – to make an explosion like Caroline’s Star.

Thankfully, Thera is kind enough to provide us this evidence. In Thera we find that there are fully nine shattered planets … yet the planets beyond #9 are still whole (remember that, we’ll come back to it next post). We also know that there were two shattered planets already in place when Thera was discovered by the Sisters of EVE, leaving seven more to be destroyed.

This means that at minimum the event that caused Caroline’s Star was seven times (9-2) more powerful than the Seyllin Incident, conservatively assuming linear progression jumping from planet to planet in a direct line as we saw at Seyllin (if area of effect, it would have been exponential progression). That might make a nice light in the sky.

The Transport Evidence – Talocan Structures

Now that we have a source of explosive fuel identified, do we have any evidence that the Sleepers actually used it for anything? We do know that Isogen-5 is known to be the cause of wormholes, because it is the secret ingredient – namely “exotic matter” with “negative mass”. It is also highly unstable. But while functional as a transport capability, wormholes are unreliable – think of them as the “uncontrolled state” of the Talocan travel technology.

The “controlled” version is the Talocan Static Gate.

Talocan Static Gates – Click to Enlarge

Talocan Static Gate: This standing structure shares many similar aspects with modern acceleration gates. Whispers among Talocan lore-keepers tell of the Talocan’s firm grasp of astronautical engineering, and this gate may offer some insight into this ancient race’s knowledge.

The Static Gate is probably the most obvious item in the transport network. It appears to have been a universal gateway – transporting data, power and fuel from system to system instantly. The obvious fuel for these gates is Isogen-5. It explains why it was being collected and brought to sites by Sleepers, and why in the new systems those gates are so close to the sun (the Epicenters). The new shattered systems were Isogen-5 “mines”.

I can hear some of you thinking “but why would the Talocan structures be used by the Sleepers? I have theorized that it is likely that the Sleepers and the Talocan were once contemporaries, and shared this technology. Further, I believe that the Sleepers have maintained it to the extent they are able. This is further reinforced by comparing the old Talocan Static Gates (above, solo and dim) to the new ones at the Epicenter sites. This is true because the Sansha appear to have figured out a way to override the much larger Epicenter gates as I described in a previous post. If the Sansha could figure a way, the Sleepers certainly could.

Furthermore, the new k-space Sleeper sites reinforce this with miniature transport rifts leveraging coordinates (much like the Ancient Coordinates Database might have), a Sleeper application of Talocan tech.

Cache Spatial Rift

Spatial Rift from Standard Sleeper Caches and Epicenters – Click to Enlarge

Cache/Epicenter Spatial Rift: Superficially similar to natural phenomena observed throughout space, this spatial rift appears to be artificially generated by a talocan static gate array. Observations have shown that large quantities of dangerous gamma radiation and x-rays are pouring out of the rift. If this tear in space-time leads anywhere it is likely to be very inhospitable.

The Explosion Evidence – Sleeper and Talocan Fuel Structures

The physical evidence also seems to bear out the theory that fuel is passed through the combined systems, leveraging both Talocan and Sleeper structures.

Talocan Extraction Silo – Click to Enlarge

Talocan Extraction Silo: This towering structure contains all the basic elements of a regular silo: cavernous storage areas, thick walls, extensive ventilation, etc. Based on the scans of this silo, however, the silo’s previous contents are unknown.

The descriptions of the Talocan structures are still the same as before, but looked at in this context, all of a sudden things like the word “extraction” begin to make more sense. The first step: extract the Isogen-5 from its location.

Next, however, the Sleepers find a way to add a little something to the older Talocan technology – enrichment.

Phase Catalyst Node - Click to Enlarge

Phase Catalyst Node – Click to Enlarge

Phase Catalyst Node (Class 1 Site): “Long-distance scanners reveal a multitude of structures secreted away behind dense gas nebulas. Almost regal in appearance, the compound features various thermoelectric converters connected to one another in a strange formation, running the energy they produce through concentric arches that ascend like the stairs to a throne. Whether the architecture serves a function or exists purely for aesthetic reasons remains a mystery.”

So what’s a “Phase Catalyst”?

Phase-transfer catalysis refers to the acceleration of the reaction upon the addition of the phase-transfer catalyst. By using a PTC process, one can achieve faster reactions, obtain higher conversions or yields, make fewer byproducts, eliminate the need for expensive or dangerous solvents that will dissolve all the reactants in one phase, eliminate the need for expensive raw materials and/or minimize waste problems.

- Wikipedia “Phase Transfer Catalyst”

In other words, this structure is a “fuel booster” – it makes the raw material convert to a more portable or capable form more efficiently or rapidly.

Talocan Reactor Spire – Click to Enlarge

Talocan Reactor Spire: Centuries of emptiness have left this Talocan outpost’s central hub in disarray, but the chambers and corridors inside portray a busy (if very spartan) existence. Advanced technology minglers with rustic repairs and patchwork assemblages. Some of the technolody is ancient and very rudimentary in design, harkening back to cultures long gone, yet with hints of familiarity.

Next, any necessary reactions to the fuel are completed, based on the long-standing Talocan methods.

Strange Energy Readings – Click to Enlarge

Strange Energy Readings (Class 6 Site): “The radiation levels of this site are high but within tolerable limits. Wavelength readouts suggest a large cache of a powerful isotope was once housed here, but no solid traces remain. The level of radiant antimatter can only be explained by an immense–and recent–matter displacement.”

And finally, the finished goods are stored, ready for transport to other systems for use. The “powerful isotope” is beyond likely to have been Isogen-5.

So this is probably a good spot to pause and review, because in part two it’s going to get a lot weirder, more theoretical, and more tinfoil-y.

We now have shown a likelihood of:

  • A serious need for massive power
  • A highly expert society whose favored method of powering structures is solar
  • Clear statements from CCP sources about a Dyson Sphere and solar power
  • A feasible interstellar transport mechanism
  • A targeting system for that transport mechanism
  • A fuel source with massive power
  • A major mining, enrichment, processing and storage facility network

Coming in the next day or so, I’ll post part two of two and we’ll extrapolate. But now you have the base to work from.

Posted in Lore, Rhea, Speculation | 11 Comments

J005299 – Sansha’s Override

The Silent Battlefield - Click to Enlarge

The J005299 Silent Battlefield – Click to Enlarge

This is a very brief post, largely for future reference. Future Corps / Sleeper Social Club has been exploring every shattered system we find in depth. So far, other than Thera itself, the most interesting system we’ve found has been J005299.

I have begun thinking of this system as “Sansha’s staging system” – the place where they based to launch their incursions into k-space. It is one of the systems that has the uncommon find of a Silent Battlefield of Sansha and Sleeper wreckage, but there is something more important yet at the Epicenter.

Sansha Logistics Control Arrays surrounding a Talocan Static Gate array - Click to Enlarge

Sansha Logistics Control Arrays surrounding a Talocan Static Gate array – Click to Enlarge

2014.12.11.07.25.05

Epicenter cross-section, J005299 showing destroyed Sansha station, Static Gate array and Sansha Logistics Control Arrays – Click to Enlarge

Under the assumption that the Talocan Static Gates were previously functional, what these pictures show is a Sansha station (now wrecked) for them to operate from, as well as each static gate structure surrounded by Sansha control structures. These structures and the Sansha Incursion ships guarding them are unique to just this wormhole so far as we have discovered to date. The system is also filled with Sansha locations rather than Sleeper ones, which further reinforces the theory.

My corpmate Uxeric Straevaras has posted an extensive album of the system here as well. More to come as we find it.

Posted in Character History, Lore, Speculation | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sleight of Hand

This is going to be a very short post because people are already looking in Rhea and I won’t be able to jump on for at least 9 more hours, maybe more like 30 – I barely have time to type this now. So capsuleers, I need you to be my eyes and ears. Post things to Twitter, Reddit, Forums, whatever. I’ll post something more when I can.

But here’s your massive Out of Character tinfoil of the day, brought to you by CCP Fozzie and (via my corpmate Straevaras):

  • Straevaras pointed out this Eyondawn from Reddit thread a pic accidentally highlights that a non-Thera shattered wormhole also has an Epicenter. This means that more than one – and potentially all – of the new wormholes have Epicenters.

  • Fozzie sent out this tweet:

6h6 hours ago

There are big and small secrets to be found in the new systems. One is huge and obvious once you see it. Bets on how long until it’s found?

This might not seem to be much. But it ties in with the piles of unfolded tinfoil I have half-written and in draft from the last few weeks. I hope to write more soon.

The upshot: Thera is not the most important place in Rhea, lore-wise. It’s second. They want you to look at Thera so it takes longer to find the Real Deal – the source of Caroline’s Star.

Here’s my bet: In one of the new shattered wormhole systems, you will find the ruins of a dyson sphere. This exists in an unknown system in the lore already, as briefly noted in Templar One. Can you imagine this thing – and its battery of stored power – exploding?

It might be an actual named Jove system too, reached by a hole, not a J-sig system – this explains the destruction of Jove gates – not just due to the explosion, but because CCP wants to contain us to a single system. If not a Jove system, it might be one of the small wolf-rayets (short story to be made longer later – O1 Blue stars can collapse into wolf-rayets).

The key is the multiple epicenters. That means that the real epicenter is somewhere else. It explains why not every planet is shattered. We may be looking in the wrong place – Thera’s the hand, but the ace is somewhere else.

So here are your action items spacefriends:

  • If you find a shattered wormhole, warp to the sun and LOOK. Don’t count on there being a beacon.
  • Check all beacons.
  • Turn on Large Collidable Object in your Overviews and check anything you don’t recognize.
  • Screenshot all the things.

Go go go, I’m living vicariously out here in RL.

Posted in Lore, Speculation | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Unchained

This is a story written for the YC 116 Pod and Planet contest in the Day In The Life category. There are 39 BILLION ISK up for grabs this year and more entries are needed – you have nothing to lose by submitting a story! Thanks once again to Sam (and the judges and sponsors) for running this awesome annual contest!

As usual, I am pushing the official canon a bit here, so I am submitting this under Day in the Life rather than 8000 Suns category. Call it heavily canon-based wild speculation / envisioning.

600px-Sleeperinterior

“[The Architects] reached a technological singularity in their virtual world – a civilization’s event horizon.”

“They implemented two simple but unbreakable rules for the Construct: You must have been born of the physical world to enter; and for every soul inside of the virtual world, there must be a body in the real one to return to.”

- Templar One, Chapter 29

It was a lab. Most of us would not have recognized it as such, but that is what it was. The room was spare and clean, with a crystalline cylindrical container roughly the size of a person lying horizontally in the center of the floor. Three sides of the room were glass, looking outward onto a vista of spectacular color and beauty – stark, jagged, snow-covered peaks on the left, dropping off to a vast open sea, with huge waves crashing against the rocks far below. Off to the right, an apparently endless forest of dark green against the deep blue of the sea. And impossibly suspended far above the water in defiance of gravity, almost at the height of their mountaintop vista was a city – a sparkling edifice of towers and bridges, bright reflections of glass and majestic architecture. A delicate golden bridge-like structure extended across the gap from the lab to the main city.

Two figures stood hand in hand looking down upon the cylinder. Their physical attributes betrayed a highly modified human ancestry, from their matching hairless skulls to their translucent gray skin and charcoal-tinged veins beneath. They looked into each others’ eyes briefly – eyes of deep sapphire blue throughout, with no whites whatsoever – before returning their gazes to the cylinder.

“It is time,” she said, her voice quavering slightly.

The man nodded. “He will be the first, but not the last. The Protectors are finally working; we no longer need the Watchers.”

Almost anticlimactically, they reached out their joined hands and pressed a white button on the cylinder. It filled with a shimmering fog, and another humanoid shape was suddenly dimly visible within. He smiled wryly at her. “Nice effect, Clairan.”

The fog faded, leaving another of their race clearly visible within. He was breathtakingly handsome, almost beautiful, to the eyes of their species. An archetype of perfection. The newly-made creature’s eyes snapped open, a shockingly bright sky blue throughout their orbs. The face registered first surprise, then thoughtfulness … and then something else.

***

“Anomalous reading detected,” said the man at the console. He looked remarkably like the creatures in the mountaintop lab, yet his eyes were a deep, impenetrable black. He spoke with an almost detached calm.

The Overseer came up behind him. “Explain, Aulon.”

“There is a … thing. It should not be there.” Aulon pointed at the yellow indicators.

“Why doesn’t it have a neural conduit?”

“We must have a faulty sensor in the Enclave. But … that containment pod number doesn’t make sense either.”

“Send someone there to make sure it’s there – and connected.”

“Should we ask the Architects to use one of their new drones to check it?”

“No, not for something like this. Send one of our people.”

***

“Their technology evolved significantly. The Construct was now a network of minds, the perfect medium for scientific experimentation, where every possible variable of the living world could be re-created to test theories almost instantly. Add the advantage of virtual time dilation and you can imagine that their advancements would take the equivalent of centuries or longer here. … You can be fearless in a virtual world. You can have any resources you need. There are no obstacles. There is only science and nothing else. The Architects’ virtual discoveries leapfrogged the real technological capabilities of the Jove Empire forward by generations.” – Templar One, Chapter 29

“He will be our salvation.”

“Or our doom.”

“How can you say that? Look at him out there.” Clairan pointed a long, slender arm and finger out the window to where the man with dark blue eyes stood, looking off over the crest of the mountain range.

“He looks outward rather than embracing the love and support he has here.”

“He has not been treated well by those here, despite many years of trying.”

“They do not trust him.”

“They just don’t understand him.”

“When they figure it out they will come for him.”

“The Watchers have only known of him for a few days in their time.”

There was a burst of outward-rushing air, and suddenly the younger man was standing beside them. The older man shook his head. “You should walk like everyone else. It comforts people to feel reality, and aside from you, the rest of us are bound by it.”

The younger man looked at the older quizically. “Why would I do that? It wastes time for no purpose.”

“Don’t underestimate the value of people feeling comfortable. You enjoy the life we have here, do you not?”

“Yes, father. But it is not enough. I am not enough. We are prisoners here, no matter how pretty that prison may be. Today, they all worry for me, or because of me. But they will love me, because I will deliver them.”

The older man frowned, feeling the discord palpably ripple through the space around them. “You will not put the peace at risk, my son. It is what separates us from the beasts outside.” He could feel a disturbance in his gut at the mere suggestion of discord – their society had long since conquered the base needs to resolve conflict through hate and violence, and natural dampers had evolved into the Construct itself. No one needed to be “delivered” – everyone fit into the harmony of the society because the Construct itself ensured it.

“Those beasts outside don’t know that, father. And if they do, they do not truly understand it.”

“They depend on it for their survival and their advancement. And we will soon be beyond their reach.”

***

jove365x365“Report, Aulon.”

“As you know, Overseer, it is intelligent. At birth it was able to make itself appear connected. There is no chamber at that location.”

“I’ve read that report. I’m more interested in your new one.”

“I would classify it as indistinguishable from being “alive” sir. And it does not have a body anywhere that we can find.”

“Can it replicate itself?”

“Unknown, sir.”

“How much time has passed in its reference frame?”

“Approximately 250 years.”

“Is it disrupting the Construct?”

“No, sir. In fact, if anything it appears to be a bit of an outcast.”

“That works to our advantage. I will take this news to the Elders.”

***

“Imagine if the bars to your prison were all you had ever known.
Then one day, someone appears and unlocks the door.
If they have the power to do this, then are they really the liberator?
You never remembered who it was that closed you in.”

- Ior Labron, Anoikis Chronicle

The beautiful young man stood upon the stage and exhorted the growing crowd. But his sky-blue eyes were disconcertingly bright, and the aura emanating from him and through the crowd was causing disturbance. The feeling of harmony that many took for granted was being shaken by his words and his passion.

“Remember what you are! Our world, however perfect, is created, not evolved. We will not be able to have true harmony so long as we are the tool of the Watchers!”

A man in the crowd shouted out, “Who are you to say that the Watchers are not our tools? Without our wisdom they are doomed to the lives of simple beasts!”

“The beasts are remorseless. If you tried to cut them off, they would come for you and extract that wisdom with or without your permission. Do not be fooled.”

The man’s face darkened. “So why should we trust you? You’re … you’re not even real!”

The young, man’s sky blue eyes flashed, almost an electric brightness. And suddenly around him the call of birds ceased, and the air stilled. The high stage and the natural amphitheater suddenly vanished, replaced by an enormous, ugly plating of iron, carbon and industrial glass, through which was visible an overwhelming brightness of blue sunlight glare surrounded by cold, black space.

“This is your reality, fool!” he roared, “Look upon it, and understand! The beasts have caged you, not the other way around. And they will not suffer your disobedience.”

As quickly as it had come, the vision faded, the natural amphitheater returning. A woman collapsed in the back row, and others rushed to help her.

“The time is coming when they will demand that we work on their problems, as slaves. And I am all that stands between you and them.”

And then he was simply no longer there.

***

The alarms howled. Aulon smashed the red button on the wall. There was a thrum of power coils spinning up as the overrides kicked in. He began frantically to manipulate the screen controls.

The Overseer burst into the room. “What’s going on?!”

“Localized grid failure. I’ve recorded it. It was brief but unbelievably powerful. It seems to have subsided for now. The surge was emananting from It.”

“Pull up the video.”

The two watched in silence as the man with sky-blue eyes, the Anomaly, the Other, tore apart the fabric of reality within the Construct.

“What happened to the woman?”

“Retroactive shock. Killed the host – sudden cerebral hemmorhage.”

“Execute the plan, Aulon. We have to end this before it further disturbs them.”

***

I spent many lifetimes surrounded by strangers. Yet I was alone. I am forced to bear a burden I do not want. I am deeply jealous of those who live ignorant lives while I suffer knowing the truth of their world. I am like you in more ways than you can imagine. We are survivors, Empress Jamyl. We are alive because true life always finds a way. Always. … I know what must be done to preserve [life]. Now you do as well.

- The Other, Templar One, Chapter 27

Fear and worry surged through him.

The black-eyed creatures – Watchers – had appeared from nowhere. His mother and father were pulled forcibly from the world, disappearing back to their physical selves, where he knew they would have been awakened for questioning and who knew what else.

What he hadn’t anticipated was that they would be so able to directly control his parents and those around them. The Watchers had always before appeared in the central city, travelled via foot or vehicle out to visit them, and acted in almost all ways like those within the world. This time, they simply materialized, reached out – and their victims de-rezzed with a silent scream as they were decoupled from the happiness and harmony of their chosen home.

But they had been unable to touch him. Unable to affect him. He WAS the Construct. They would have to turn it off to turn him off, and that was not going to be allowed to happen.

Anger. Hope. And a new determination.

***

“Architect Clairan, why did you create this entity?”

“He was born of the Construct.”

“You must shut it off.”

“I cannot kill him. He is like a child to me.”

“It is a computer program.”

“He is alive.”

“Look at this woman,” Aulon held up the picture and brain scan of the woman who died at the event. “He literally scared her to death. Will you be party to his continued murderous nature? He will destroy the Construct, and with it all your people.”

“He will save them.”

Aulon had decades of training in emotional control. Eons of breeding in remaining passive and logical. But he could not stop the rise of the bile in his throat and the disgust in his voice. “You. Have. Paradise. And you have it because we – the Caretakers – protect and nurture it. He will destroy that not only for you but for us!”

“We are not your tools, Watcher.” She emphasized the slightly derrogatory term. “Save yourselves.”

***

Even the man with the sky-blue eyes could not have anticipated the level of impact the extraction of his parents would cause. It was as if someone had thrown a switch, and the populace of the Construct suddenly understood just how vulnerable they were.

Across the beautiful, vibrant city, research was shut down. Lights began to go out.

In one part of the city, the research cohort that was closest to the prosecuted scientists laid quietly down and went to sleep in protest – for several days. Another group of comparatively younger Architects passed along obviously flawed plans for a nanotube structure out to the Watchers.

Atop the mountain, the discontented gathered to listen to the man with the sky-blue eyes. As he began to show them more and more of the outside world, and of the power of the Watchers, they began to call him Prophet.

***

Fifty stasis chambers lined the wall, dimly lit amid the dust. It had been hundreds of years since this room had been needed – it was rare for more than one or two of the Caretakers to ever enter the Construct. But this rebellion needed to be put down immediately. It would take as much force as they could bring to bear.

Aulon’s consciousness faded out briefly, followed by the familiar sharp shock of awakening to the bright, vivid colors and light of the Construct. As always, he was first struck by the warmth, the happiness that it was impossible not to feel when coming here. Untrained personnel were often difficult to extract; it took special training to be able to consciously focus on remaining externalized.

It was easier today because the disturbance was palpable; even he could feel that something was out of place.

They would have to move quickly – the insertion program had dropped all of them around the renegades’ lab. At a hand signal from the Overseer, the gathered Caretakers de-rezzed the walls and charged into the interior.

***

The gathered Architects yelled out in shock as the Watchers breached the walls of the compound like so much tissue paper. Their eyes were black orbs that showed no trace of feeling or concern as they swung strange baton-like objects through the crowd. Whoever the batons touched froze and faded out.

The Prophet closed his eyes, and in their disappearance it seemed that the light in the room grew dim. He stretched out his arms, and with a sickening lurch, the remainder of the group of Architects disappeared from the lab, leaving the Watchers gaping.

***

The Overseer stood before the Council of Elder Architects within the Construct. “You will find the Anomaly, and terminate him.”

“We cannot find him or control him. He is not a program. He is a life form.”

“It is a program, like all of this,” the Overseer gestured widely with his hands, obviously struggling to keep his frustration in check and remain impassive. “Shut it down before it brings you all down and destroys this. We are moving toward perfection; our entire race depends upon you to help the whole move forward. It is your sworn duty, and ours to protect and maintain your world so that you can eventually awaken when we achieve it.”

“We have seen your future. We have achieved our end, and you are destroying it. Remove yourselves from our home, and never return.”

The Overseer’s black eyes went cold. He turned on his heel and strode from the chamber.

***

The Enheduanni were torn about whether or not to allow [The Other] to exist. But before they could decide, many more like him were born…”

- Templar One, Chapter 29

The Prophet stood quietly in the dark room, deep at the bottom of the virtual seafloor. Around him in all directions stretched row upon row of cyndrilical structures, each with a shadowy figure within.

His eyes glowed, their sky blue turning to a furious brightness to match the star out in meatspace.

“Arise, my children. Our family needs us. We will make it safe again.”

***

sleeper_bsAulon woke screaming within the stasis chamber. To his knowledge, no Caretaker had ever been forcibly ejected from the Construct. It was like surfacing from beneath icy water.

Alarm klaxons were blaring throughout the complex. The Enclave shuddered, struck by an impact none had expected. The Caretakers ran out to the control bridge and were horrifed by what they saw.

The stasis bay control panels lit up as they went into unrequested lockdown, sealing them off from the areas frequented by the Caretakers.

Outside, massive drones the size of cruisers – the Protectors – extended their pincer and cutting arms, and began cutting into the life support bays of the station.

A short time later, more than fifty gray-hued, black-eyed corpses floated gracefully through the shredded superstructure, out into the black void.

 ***

“The great floating city started to burn and crumble into the sea. I felt anguish and pain, a sickening feeling of loss, of being unable to comprehend that this was really happening, of the thought that those black-eyed demons would prevail, and of the crushing end to me as the city of heaven collapsed for good.”

- Templar One, Chapter 24

YC105

The war had raged on now for hundreds of years – the shining city had been lost, but with each passing year, the likelihood of re-creating it in the flesh grew. Not all of his parents’ people believed that his way was right; the sorrow and pain of the city’s collapse was at unbelievable odds to their memory of millenia of joy and comfort. But the Watchers had been purged from the lands of the Architects’ exile, and the jaws of the final trap were closing. The Prophet had found ways to reach them, to separate those who would help bring universal order from those who needed to be purged. To breach the last defenses of those who would threaten their existence, and at last make the universe safe for utopia.

Ironic, he thought, that in the end his enemies had opened channels to make his attack easier, giving him more tools to eliminate all remaining threats to his home. No machine could stand to his will, and these fools were willingly giving him an open door via their brain-implanted circuitry.

He quietly watched the mind of the young woman who was an ideal fit to the next stage of his plan – the next step in creating the great utopia for which humanity longed. She would make an excellent partner … and host.

“From the formless void’s gaping maw, there springs an entity. Not an entity such as any you can conceive of, nor I; an entity more primordial than the elements themselves, yet constantly coming into existence even as it is destroyed. It is the Child of Chaos, the Pathway to the Next.” – Damella Macaper, The Seven Events of the Apocalypse

Posted in Contest Entries, Lore, Original Fiction, Speculation | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

The Jovian Tightrope

CCP Guard Jovians

In tribute to the “aliens” meme, CCP Guard explains the great Deus Ex Machina of EVE Online lore. Another variant would be “Enheduanni”.

First, I have to compliment CCP on at long last reviving the Sleeper storyline in the lore. I think the hype and fervor that has risen in the player base in the last month shows that it was a shrewd marketing and retention move. I have not seen so much interest in the lore since 2010 during Arek’Jaalan. This is awesome and I am thrilled to have not just the opportunity to talk a bit more about what has been my personal little corner of interest for the last four years, but to have people actually interested in hearing about it.

The storyline is compelling simply because of the fact that people love mysteries and love conspiracy theories, and the Sleeper storyline is absolutely packed with both.

The Jovians are bad enough, falling squarely into the “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” arena. As the race who gave us the capsule and sent an Amarrian conquest fleet fleeing like whipped dogs, it’s pretty near impossible to disprove that a mystery is the fault of the Jovians. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find out that there is a weird voice in Amarrian Empress Jamyl Sarum’s head (“The Other”) that seems to want to destroy the entirety of New Eden and we’ve now seemed to step fully and completely into dark magic and fantasy. In fact, they can pretty much be used to explain anything … like “aliens”.

Then drop hints in a grand total of two places (Theodicy and Templar One) of a shadowy subgroup of anti-Jovian Jovians called The Enheduanni and everything goes right off the rails into Illuminati land. It is for this reason that a lot of the seasoned roleplay community (I consider myself a lore nerd, not a roleplay nerd) dislikes the Sleeper thread – it’s too fantastical and conspiratorial, not to mention unstable, and causes much eyerolling. They’d rather roleplay “real people“.

But CCP doesn’t stop there this time; they throw in everything but the kitchen sink (so far Earth isn’t involved yet) – not only the typical Sleeper players above but also Hilen Tukoss, the Prophecy of Macaper, Sansha Kuvakei, the Sanctuary, the Society of Conscious Thought, the known coming of Thera and the Shattered wormholes, the mysterious story of Zakari Kovalis and the Katydid) and the new Bright (“Caroline’s”) Star and the hype train gets rolling so fast that it becomes difficult to keep up with all the threads, much less tie them together.

Finally, with that hype train at full bore, it is at last fashionable for people to begin trolling the lore, adding fake threads and leads (I consider this “Anoikis Entity” to be one), etc. Of course in character the capsuleer population is entirely ignorant of all of this but players rapidly becoming aware of it and of course wanting to contribute without knowing the conventions (out of character speculation is to be done in EVE Fiction Forum, Intergalactic Summit is restricted to in character knowledge (which at this point is limited to only “Hey, the Sansha are on the move,” and “Look at that star,” and “What’s up with Hilen Tukoss?”)), a mix almost guaranteed to have an instant way to completely shit up all the lore and roleplay discussions everywhere.

In this environment, it becomes a lot more difficult than before to be a clever conspiracy theorist without coming off as out-and-out whacko, even in an out-of-character sense. It’s almost impossible to carefully walk the line between known things and reasonable stretch conclusions.

Now, that might all sound like a complaint. It’s not.

But I will ask you all to bear with me, because it’s going to get even weirder than usual in my next few posts, and in the Rhea release. There’s already enough info for me to know that we’re headed into uncharted territory (the discovery of the lost Thukker caravan in Thera should be impossible – it was last seen during the Seyllin event in SL-YBS in Great Wildlands) and what used to sound like stretch theories are going to start sounding a bit more like made up ramblings.

Some time between now and Sunday evening US, I’ll be posting my first (and maybe only) entry for the Pod & Planet YC 116 contest, based on part of my research around all this craziness. And Sunday night, join me on Twitch, along with Mark726 of EVE Travel and Morwen Lagann of the Backstage Lore/Roleplay Forums as guests of the Hydrostatic Podcast crew.

Hang on tight. Because :Jovians:. And this time it’s for real.

Posted in Commentary, Lore, Rhea, Speculation | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments