Caroline’s Star, Part 4: Kardashev’s Children

Dyson Swarm – Steve Bowers/Orion’s Arm Project

This post is the capstone and intersection of six other posts covering the Caroline’s Star, the Inheritance chronicle, and the Prophecy of Macaper:

  • [Dec 2014] Caroline’s Star Part 1: Phenomenal Cosmic Power, in which I examine the evidence for an interstellar powergrid in New Eden, from fuel sources to power generation to transmission.
  • [Dec 2014] Caroline’s Star Part 2: Anatomy of a Catastrophe, in which I examine the shattered wormhole epicenters and astronomical evidence for the explosion, and speculate that the cause of Caroline’s Star was effectively a fuel overload in the “reactor” star, causing an effect similar to a superpowered Type Ia supernova.
  • [Dec 2014] Caroline’s Star Part 3: The Theory of Evolution of Theories, in which I comment on the dangers of tinfoiling and how easy it is for your speculations to go awry.
  • [Feb 2015] The Revelation of Damella Macaper at Crossing Zebras, in which I explain the Prophecy of Macaper.
  • [Feb 2015] The Pathway to the Next, a tinfoil followup to the CZ article, in which I discuss the then-current implications of the chronicle (namely that the Drifters fulfill the fifth of seven signs).
  • [Jan 2016] The Revelations of Delegate Zero, in which I deconstruct most of the new chronicle Inheritance, which details (part of) what really happened at Caroline’s Star, along with much more. Go read this one for the impacts on Jove society, the Jovian Directorate as a governmental entity, Sansha’s theft, who the Sleepers are, the nature of The Other, the Society of Conscious Thought and CONCORD.

With all that background material, plus the magnum opus that is Inheritance, I will apologize in advance (again) for the length of this post. It couldn’t be helped.

I almost split the post in two, so if you want to skip straight to the tinfoil, scroll down to the section headed “Kardashev’s Children”. That reduces a 5600-word post down to a 2100-word post.

Want a true TLDR? OK here you go: You are an ant, and one day you will be squashed by your betters. Maybe one day soon.

First, if you haven’t read Inheritance, go do so, then come back. In this post, we will check in with CCP Delegate Zero, do an accuracy check on my crystal ball from the older Caroline’s Star posts, and then finish the job of analyzing the chronicle (specifically the W477-P star, the Dyson Swarm, Jove space, the Talocan … and a bit of Sansha and Drifters). Finally we’ll do a bit of speculation and doomsaying at the end (because that’s kind of a thing with me).

CCP on Player Storyline Input

For many lore-hounds, the reason we love the Jove/Sleeper/Talocan storyline is the challenge of trying to solve the mysteries. Who are these beings? Why are they here? Where do they come from? CCP has taken the unique approach that while they may have their own ideas, they are still listening to and watching the playerbase’s speculations for some details of where they go with the story and when. For me, there is nothing more engaging than seeing something I did or participated in is actually helping to move the storyline forward.

When Inheritance was published, giving out many of the details of what had actually happened at Caroline’s Star, I couldn’t help but search out CCP Delegate Zero to find out just how much the speculations I laid out, along with those of many others in many channels, actually impacted the story of Caroline’s Star over the last year. As Inner Circle President Seri Okonaya says in the chronicle, “[The capsuleers] are constantly stirring up trouble. Always going into Anoikis or messing about in ancient ruins. Then they blare their asinine speculations to the whole of New Eden. What of them?” Here’s what Delegate Zero had to say about player impact on the lore.

OK, well, as I recall the group of us that work on EVE’s background material discussed how Caroline’s Star would work in the lore quite a bit earlier in 2014. The main issue was that as a game event it had to work as a faster than light happening. The New Eden cluster is of the order of 100 LY across, so it’s problematic to obey real world physics when it comes to the visibility of the supernova. EVE physics represent some kind of future paradigm where things can happen otherwise though. Even so, it is best to have a reason for these things, in principle. It was quite early in the thinking that we felt it had to be some kind of interaction with wormholes. This then went from an array of gates to developing the thought that a full scale stellar engine of the ‘Dyson’ type had been built around W477-P. This is all at the level of discussion in the lore group and then it starts to get fleshed out a bit and formalized. I have a ‘timeline’ on our internal wiki that ranges over a very long time period and it was something like a week or so before your blog piece that I actually put ‘Dyson Swarm in W477-P’ on that timeline page. We’d pretty quickly moved away from the ‘solid shell’ concept of a ‘Dyson Sphere’ to the more conceivable swarm or net version of the idea. That was the moment when we agreed that the implications of that being there would factor into various things that then happened in the story.

As to our reaction to your speculations and those by many others. Well, one thing we’ve found is that in this last couple of years where story has come back to the fore somewhat more, it’s been very fruitful to keep it flexible and read around all the stuff that players are writing and speculating about. I’ll say quite honestly that we have discussed some ideas out there and thought about how they might work if we adopted them. There’s rarely an exact match up on details but it basically prompts us to think about the story a lot more than I think we would otherwise, so it’s a more general point but this is the value of seeing players blog and post about story and what the threads might be leading to or have lying behind them.

To tell the truth, I think this is something that has always marked the EVE story line. Player ideas, actions and material have been incorporated into EVE lore from day one more or less and I think it’s a healthy thing.”

– CCP Delegate Zero

It’s really a pretty amazing thing in the gaming world that the storyline team has adopted this approach – for me at least it’s a huge part of what motivates me to stay involved. As EVE players, we should feel fortunate that they take this unique approach, one that no theme park MMO could ever allow without going “too far off script.”

So now we know both the contents of Inheritance and the philosophy of the team behind it … how did I do a year ago in the Caroline’s Star posts?

The Powergrid

What I got right: I have to say that I’m pretty pleased with how close I got on the powergrid, as I laid it out in Part 1. I am positively thrilled to have confirmation that W477-P was in fact a Dyson Swarm/Cloud (a model far better in terms of physics and a very good retcon of Tony Gonzales’ more literal Dyson Sphere in Templar One). There was also confirmation that it was used exactly as I expected:

The initial examination of the first structure they’d encountered suggested it was a power collection and transformation facility … This was still a stellar-level power collection, conversion and quantum transmission network that would, in the event, simply suck in as much energy as was directed at it and offload as much as it could through its buffering system before being overwhelmed.

-Veniel

I also got correct (although this was an easy call) that the Jove stargates going offline was related, but more importantly I was correct about why.

Updates to the theory: If you read through Part 1, you’d notice an interesting dichotomy – I describe both an interstellar powergrid and an interplanetary one. This was a weird thing to me when I was writing it, too – I didn’t have a good explanation of how the two interconnected. In addition, I postulated that the Jove and Sleeper structures in k-space decloaked as a consequence of the Dyson Swarm’s destruction. Now we know why. What suddenly became clear is that the two grids are not the same, but two entirely separate, if complementary structures. The interstellar grid belongs to the Talocan, and the interplanetary grid belongs to the Sleepers – likely built millenia apart.

My belief with this new information is that the Sleepers (and eventually the Jovian Directorate as well) were siphoning off power from the Talocan structure as best they knew how. Without the ability to use the entirety of  the Talocan powergrid, they had to augment it with their own structures. I still think that the Sleeper theories I postulated in Part 1 are correct, but this is not confirmed or denied in the chronicle.

We know from the chronicle that the collapse also caused the disconnection of the Jove stargates.

The stargate networks being knocked out was startling enough but probably shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise. Our core network linked to the colonial network extended into the UUA-F4 region and we’d left several stargates in W477-P itself. While not all connections were active at the time, the sympathetic links were in principle there for the appropriate energy to use as a channel. It burned out the whole net. No more stargates. It is probably fortunate for the rest of New Eden that we didn’t just deactivate but rather entirely removed the old stargates connecting the Jove Empire to the rest of the cluster. This seems to have firewalled the non-Jovian network off from the worst of the effects.

-Veniel

This further adds reinforcement to my theory that the Talocan powergrid failure is the reason for all the cloaks dropping – after all, those Jove and Sleeper structures were likely somehow connected as part of the Jovian network – and thus not firewalled.

The Explosion – Transport & Fuel

What I got right: The Talocan gates did transport the explosion both inward and outward, and Thera was only collateral damage, not the source of the explosion. In addition the chronicle confirms my statements that the Sleepers were using the Talocan structures “to the extent they are able” – the main difference is that I believed then that the Sleepers were maintaining the gear of their departed brethren, where instead it was that they were reverse-engineering the tech of a long-gone race.

Updates to the theory: The chronicle dances around the whole question of Isogen-5’s role in keeping the reactor running. I still believe that the Isogen-mining operation is likely, but the chronicle neither confirms nor denies it. In addition, the matter of two planets shattered per system before the Caroline’s Star event (as noted in the Katydid logs in the Thera devblog lore intro) is not directly addressed – I now believe this was likely tied to the Seyllin gate explosions (see below) burning out the nearer planets before the supernova crushed the rest. The in-game Sleeper evidence of Isogen-5 being present and likely magnifying the effect, however, is too strong for me to ignore.

What I got wrong: The visibility of the explosion was not caused by entangled Isogen-5, or if it was that was a magnifying rather than primary effect. The primary driver of visibility was the Epicenters themselves, leveraging a bit of “handwavium” as outlined in CCP Delegate Zero’s statement earlier.

The thing that I completely missed was that I dismissed any real impact of the Seyllin Incident, believing it to be isolated from the k-space incident. In fact, Seyllin had a major impact on the Dyson Sphere and the W477-P star.

Some fifty-odd gates scattered around the lattice suddenly exploded. That is they exploded linearly, directing vast amounts of energy into the star in a flash before burning completely out.  Another twenty-seven gate structures and many more power facilities were totally destroyed in the next instant by an asymmetrical stellar mass ejection that simply punched a hole in the orbital lattice like a leviathan fish bursting through a fisherman’s net. Presumably, this was caused by pressure effects from the sudden injection of energy.

-Veniel

Did this explosion create the shattered wormholes? Did they create at least the first two shattered planets discovered by the Katydid later? Veniel’s quote lists approximately 77 impacts – there are 75 standard shattered systems. Counted another way, the 27 are also awful close to the 25 small shattereds plus Thera (26). Not quite Illuminati Confirmed, but the numbers are a little close, and specific, to be ignored. Why would be be so exact? Unfortunately, Veniel never commits one way or the other.

But there is something else here too, something potentially more sinister.

The lasting consequences of the Isogen-5 event itself are the uncontrolled breaches into Anoikis that allowed capsuleers to descend like a swarm of devouring insects on the sleeping enclaves. This could have been avoided but the truth of the matter is that there was a miscalculation. Ultimately, that miscalculation will amount to little more than a question of timing but what is more of the essence of remaining in control of our destiny, to the extent that we can, than timing?

-Veniel

Wait, what? Veniel is as much as admitting that the Jove were fully aware of the amassing of Isogen-5 prior to the Seyllin Incident, and that while it was set off unintentionally, there was a plan to do it deliberately and much more forcefully. He doesn’t say whether that plan was the Jove’s, but it is pretty strongly implied. What, exactly, were the Jove (or the Rogue Drones) trying to do?

What we do know for sure is two things: 1) that there was a stellar mass transfer with the energy dump, 2) that the mass transfer itself did not trigger the supernova, although it triggered an “equal and opposite reaction”, blowing out a huge coronal ejection and smashing a hole in the Dyson Swarm; this laid bare access to w-space, the Sleepers, and presumably had some impact in driving the return of the Drifters … although perhaps not quite as the Seyllin Incident’s authors originally planned.

The Star and Supernova – Type Ia vs Type II-P

Progenitor IA supernova.svg

“Progenitor IA supernova” by NASA, ESA and A. Feild (STScI); vectorisation by chris 論 – http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/star/supernova/2004/34/image/d/. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons.

What I got right: My understanding of the stars and their lifecycles was pretty much spot on, as well as why you’d pick a K-class star to build your Dyson Swarm around. I detail this in Part 2. I also was right about the star being in the last stages of life.

Updates to the theory: There is a seriously weird set of unanswered questions here. The Talocan should have known much better than to build a structure for the ages around this star, which was destined to blow in mere thousands of years, a blip on the universe’s timescale. Why would they do that? It’s clear that they knew, as the Jove and Sleepers did.

What I got wrong: I postulated that the explosion was a Type Ia Supernova – also known as a Thermal Runaway supernova. TLDR, what happens is that in a double star the more massive star strips off the outer layers of its companion, gains too much mass and fuel too fast, and explodes due to becoming too massive too fast for the burn to keep up. This fit my theory that the 101 shattered system stars dumped huge volumes of hydrogen on it – it would be in effect a super-Ia.

But no, on multiple occasions in the chronicle, Veniel states that W477-P is a core collapse supernova – this description specifically excludes Type Ia. For a red star of the mass of W477-P, it has to be a Type II, and in fact it is almost certainly a Type II-P given its low mass, short spike of brightness, but continuing visibility.  Side note to CCP: It would be cool if you replaced W477-P in-game as a Neutron Star, since that is now what it should be.

The Trigger

What I got right: Pretty damn little. The Sansha didn’t have anything to do with it, nor did Isogen-5 entanglement. What does appear to have been correct, however, is that the opening of the Talocan gates caused the explosion to pass through – but this didn’t require my postulated Isogen-5 explosion – they were open already.

Updates to the theory: Of course, as I’ve mentioned in other posts Sansha has claim on not just one system, but three. I still believe that these were – and potentially still are – his bases of operation for Incursions.

What I got wrong: In short, what my tinfoil hat told me is what it always does – somebody is an enemy actor! But in this case, it was purely deep-seated rot in the system. The star went supernova because, well, it was time. I attributed too much action to Sansha and the Sisters. Too much power to the Jove and the Sleepers. And too great an ability to plan for the future (or too high a care factor) to the Talocan. Like an old bridge rusted away from too little maintenance, poor W477-P blew up because, well, nobody prevented it. The saddest part is that the Jovian Directorate knew this was coming for 300 years, and never bothered to mention it to CONCORD or the Empires – the Jove get signs of imminent collapse in September YC116, and the Empires at last figure it out in October, leading to a hastily-called summit mea culpa. Thanks a lot, guys.

So, long story short, I was on base with a lot of things, but also off base with a lot of others.

What else is left to learn from Inheritance?

On the History of W477-P and What Veniel Doesn’t Say

Relative to the star itself, Inheritance highlights glaringly just how far the Jove have fallen. First, they note that this structure is about 6000 years old, contemporaneous with the First Jove Empire, but that it was not Jovian – it was built by someone else (namely the Talocan).

We have lost much concerning the First Empire but we certainly know they were Jove and what little survives indicates a civilization that was distinctively Jove in ways we would recognize. There was nothing of that kind to be found on any structure in W477-P we cared to examine. … No, the builders had not been Jove.”

-Veniel

By the time the Second Empire (and by extension the Sleepers) comes along, all the Sleepers can do is be parasitic with the technology, latching on to the leftovers. Less than 1000 years after that, the Third Empire barely know how to interact with it, theoretically only using it to power some of their systems like gates and cloaks as I outline above.

But Veniel is clearly not telling us everything the Directorate knew.

There is also some strange leftover detritus around the Jove’s actions historically in this space. Curiously, the UUA-F4 Region, where W477-P sits, is not a Jove region. Yes, it’s nearby, but it’s CCP’s detached test region (there are no region to region gates – which makes Veniel’s story that the gates shut down because of a power surge through the network suspect). In fact, the two constellations that still have gates (0VFS-G and B-HLOG) are in this space and are clearly CCP testing grounds. The other two regions in that sector (A821-A and J7HZ-F) are the Jove regions. We may not ever be able to get to UUA even if someday gates could lead us to “Jove space” (a prospect that makes me very sad indeed).

Despite this, Veniel notes that the Second Empire must have found an entrance to w-space, and then to UUA in Curse – but then skipped over staying in UUA. I really hope that CCP decides to do something in-game with this; for all the references to the Jove in Curse, no one I’m aware of has ever actually found anything related there. Veniel even asks, “Why did the migration from Curse bring us so close upon the UUA-F4 region?” This is a very intriguing question indeed. What are the Jove hiding?

In fact, weirdly (considering that they heavily occupied the other regions they owned and were scouting UUA), by 100 BYC, the Jove had banned all Anoikis expeditions (which had started 100 years earlier in 200 BYC).

By the time of the Isogen-5 Quantum Criticality Event, there had not been an expedition into Anoikis for over 200 years. No formal expeditions had been mounted that is to say. Over the century after the decision to recall all expeditions and colonial efforts from Anoikis, human presence in the W477-P system had dwindled down to a rotating trio of cruisers spending three months at a time on station. By the time of the rise of independent capsuleers, even this presence had been reduced to occasional visits by a single remaining cruiser.

-Veniel

Why do they continue to treat W477-P like a frontier outpost when clearly it was once one of the most, if not the most important system in New Eden? Maybe they decided it was wiser not to occupy that region … perhaps out of concern someone else might have a greater claim.

Kardashev’s Children: The Talocan

That brings us at last to what I consider the most important revelation in the chronicle, although I fully admit I have a big bias here. The core revelation is that the Talocan’s capability, power and technology dwarfed that of the Jove, whose power before the capsuleer age dwarfed that of the empires.

Veniel is crystal clear in both his awe of and his disdain for (and fear of) their obvious technical superiority:

The Talocan civilization built the orbital lattice as a part of their grand design. … The stellar engineering swarm in orbit around W477-P is the least of the achievements of the Talocan civilization. I strongly suspect it is not the only such engine in existence for one. For another, it is itself only a component in the grand design that the Talocan made real … Anoikis is artificial.

… They built a stable network of wormhole connections among star systems that would not ordinarily or readily support such connections with each other. They altered the very fabric of space-time in the network’s systems. They altered resonance points and so arranged matters so as to be able to move between the systems of the Anoikis network with the ease that you and I might move between rooms in a house.

This is not merely stellar engineering. This is engineering the topology of space and time so as to serve a civilization.

-Veniel

What Veniel is describing here is a Type III, hyperadvanced civilization as rated on the Kardashev scale. A civilization capable not only of harvesting all the energy of a star and a solar system, but of an entire galactic space. The Empires of New Eden, the Jove included, are only Type I of their own accord, although the Jove’s borrowing of Talocan technology technically made them Type II while the Dyson Swarm functioned.

As an aside, let’s talk briefly about Delegate Zero’s use of the term “artificial” here because it’s somewhat confusing.  What it doesn’t mean is “all of w-space is fake, like some Matrix within the Matrix.” What it does mean is that the network of systems is not based, like our current understanding of wormholes since Apocrypha, or the EVE Gate itself, on natural wormholes. Even New Eden’s gates, which effectively create brief transient wormholes, only work because they are placed in what amount to the weakest of weak spots in space, prone to natural wormhole formation. No, what Veniel is suggesting here is that the Talocan didn’t have to care about that at all. Rather than place their tech where it worked naturally, they warped nature to meet their convenience. That, not the artificiality itself, is what is amazing to the two discussing it.

But wait, a Type III civilization, contemporaneous with the First Empire Jove (who came through the EVE Gate and were at best probably Type II)? But … how is that possible, wouldn’t they have come through the EVE Gate too? We know they’re human, Veniel immediately dismisses other possibilities.

That the builders had been human had been the first thing the Jove explorers were certain about. Logic dictated that the existence of intelligent alien species was a possibility. Equally, a logical analysis of the orbital lattice showed clearly that it had been built by human beings. Every detail of scale, every aspect of physical provision for living, intelligent beings, and every trace of language, mathematical expression and logical form betrayed a unified human perspective. No aliens here.

-Veniel

So if the Talocan made even the First Empire Jove look like neophytes, but yet were not aliens … what the heck were they?

On Upwell Consortium

This post will now go way out on a speculative limb, but let’s be honest, you came for the tinfoil, right? Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a summary of the Prophecy of Macaper for Crossing Zebras, and a followup tinfoil post here called The Pathway to the Next. If you’re not already familiar with the Prophecy, go take a read and come back. The TLDR is this: Damella Macaper predicted seven signs of the apocalypse, and I believe we have evidence that the Drifters are the fifth. That leaves us with two left:

Prophecy #6: What was many becomes one when one becomes four

Prophecy #7: Return of the dark light from the heart of the mother

As my earlier posts note, the sixth prophecy is the most difficult to decrypt because it is so general it could be almost anything. But nothing ventured, nothing gained – let’s take a stab.

Upwell MembersWhat was many becomes one: All four empires plus some pirate corporations link together, likely leveraging harvested Jove and/or Drifter tech. ORE, Zoar, Eifyr, Ytri, Chemal Tech, Mordu’s Legion, Intaki Bank and Ducia Foundry come together to create one massive consortium, Upwell. As players, we already know that Upwell will be the player that brings to market not only the massive new citadels, but the critical gate structures (which look an awful lot like the citadels) – as featured in the trailer The Prophecy. I do not believe this is coincidence – I believe we are about to see the key milestone at Year 2 on the storyline of CCP’s three-year plan that started in 2014 with that trailer.

When one becomes four: The Jove are arguably what we once thought of as one race, now sundered into four parts, almost simultaneous with the advent of Upwell. In fact, the Inheritance chronicle is what finally brings the fourth to the forefront. The Jove, the Sleepers, the Drifters (at least in recaptured bodies, even if they are not truly the same), and now by proxy, the Society of Conscious Thought. Little wonder, then, that Matshi Raish’s very first order of business would be to ask about Upwell. The only question is: is Raish asking because he wants to make sure the Jove’s fingerprint is not detected and Upwell is his ally, or is he asking because he’s looking for the fingerprint of his likely enemy, The Other (perhaps Yani Sar Arteu?)?

Return of the Dark Light

GateI have long believed that the seventh prophecy is something that CCP is holding in their collective back pocket for the end of the game, for the year they decide to shut down the servers. But with the many lore changes being made by the story team, it is entirely possible that they have decided that, with 15 years of the game approaching fast, it is time to put Macaper’s prophecy out to pasture. The Dark Light may return with the gates we will build.

Thanks to Inheritance, we have a clue what the Dark Light might be. The Talocan.

Why? Veniel and characters across the lore history give us ample clues.

[Talocan technology is] nothing less than an attempt to focus the telos of the universe itself on their existence and needs. Astounding arrogance. A hubris the like of which casts we Jove into the role of humble mendicants to the impassive stars. We should be thankful that the Talocan, while leaving their traces behind them, are no longer present in New Eden or Anoikis.

-Veniel

There is no doubt – none – that the Talocan, unless they have been entirely wiped out from the multiverse, can come back any time they feel like it. This is a Type III civilization. If they live, the cluster is theirs, lock stock and barrel, they just allow us to live in it. And I do mean allow. We are gnats, mosquitoes, ants beneath their feet. They left by choice (and intriguingly, the Jove are also doing so now, as if in some sort of mass transcendence). But if that’s the case, why would they have left?

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, Founder, Society of Conscious Thought

This quote has always been one I believed applied to the Sleepers, from the point of view of the Jove. But now we know from Inheritance that this unlikely. So who is the imprisoned party? Little hint – only the jailer can come and go at will. And who is that? We now know that the Talocan are likely the only ones capable of leaving and returning whenver they so desire. Remember, they are contemporaneous with the First Empire “height of their civilization” Jove. And yet they outstrip the Jove’s power by many orders of magnitude.

Let us be entirely clear: The Talocan did not need the EVE Gate to get to New Eden. They could have come almost at will. At most, they built it on behalf of the rest of humanity.

Shattered PlanetsIt is possible, if not probable, that all of us, all the capsuleers, the empires, the pirates, even the Jove, are imprisoned. Exiled. Cast off to die by the ancient emperors of Terra, or the conquerors of it, the Talocan (this might also explain why they bothered to build a power generator for the prison that in a few thousand years would, in effect, self destruct). They shoved our ancestors through the EVE Gate, and slammed the door closed behind us. Closed – not destroyed. The EVE Gate still remains, sealed in some unknowable manner (you can see it after all). But there is nothing that says it may not be reopened. In fact, the Sisters of EVE are counting on it.

So who could reopen it? Not the Jove, although they tried at the end of The Empyrean Age novel – the gate remained shut, the Jove ship was shredded to pieces, and her entire crew died. No, only the Talocan, and perhaps (since we know almost nothing of them or their capabilities) the Yan Jung.

It is even possible that the Talocan and the Enheduanni are the same, and that they have returned to interfere with New Eden’s affairs with impunity in the past. This would also explain how the Jove are “departing” with no clear explanation.

Viola: “You Jovians are supposed to be the goddamn technical geniuses of our age!”

Grious: “The technology of the Enheduanni is much more advanced than our own, Viola. They possess absolute mastery of quantum physics and particle science, and the telltale sign of their presence is non-linear teleportation. … Transporting matter instantaneously across space without the use of wormholes, stargates, or jumpdrives. It can be done, but not by us.” …

Viola: “Grious…are the Enheduanni human?”

Grious: “Not anymore.”

Theodicy

But … why? Why would they imprison us? Of course, in the stretch of millenia that is unclear. Maybe because our ancestors were rejects from their utopian society. That would certainly explain why everything in New Eden is grimdark and fractious. But what if we were just low-tech byproducts, and what they really wanted to imprison was something else?

There had been greater success in understanding the functioning of the wormhole gates. These were clearly designed to be operated, as it were, manually … there was no artificial intelligence, or anything like it, in control of the gates or even connected in any way to their fundamental workings. The designers … had been scrupulous in keeping the intelligent systems that did exist throughout the lattice entirely firewalled off from gate operating systems. The intent was quite clear: the gates were only to be opened by living, breathing human beings.

Veniel

More evidence that means of escape had to be locked down. And locked down from what? Artificial intelligences. It is quite possible, my friends, that The Other is much, much older than we think. That he was a threat to all the Talocan had built, and so they locked him away here, in this cell, millenia ago. That they sense his awakening, now that he has escaped the grip of the Sleepers, and then of his human prison in Jamyl Sarum. That The Talocan’s weakest vanguard, their pawns – the Drifters – have returned to put The Other back into his cell within a cell, to protect all humankind.

“The prophecy is true. The heretics have constructed the gate.”

“It must be destroyed.”

The Prophecy trailer (Fanfest 2014)

But The Other now has his chance. We, the foolish and brash capsuleers, “always stirring up trouble,” have continually assaulted the Sleeper holding cell The Other was in. Worse, we are about to learn how to build interstellar gates – gates that will allow The Other that crack in the walls that is a route to freedom. And when we do, the jailers will return, and they will not be happy campers.

I, for one, welcome our ancient overlords.

 

Posted in Lore, Shattered, Speculation | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

The Revelations of Delegate Zero

Inheritance_img

Inheritance: Something that is or may be inherited ; property passing at the owner’s death to the heir or those entitled to succeed; legacy.

Dictionary.com, “Inheritance”

So CCP Delegate Zero dropped a massive lore dump over the holidays, a Chronicle appropriately titled Inheritance. If you haven’t already, go read it now so this post makes sense. The title speaks at once to its subject matter (namely the handing down of wisdom and authority from the Jove to the Society of Conscious Thought) and the passing down of many, many revelations from storylines recent and ancient to the tinfoil-hattery lore nerds of EVE Online.

If I had to pick a theme for all of what was in this chronicle, it would be entropy. Rot, neglect and decay. There are a lot of positive implications for the overall player-side story, but for the Jove, the theme is the crumbling of everything. If it shines a light on one error I’ve regularly made in my calculations it’s probably that I have given the Jove a high degree of calculation, agency, and need to act. What this chronicle instead shows is extreme passivity, distraction, confusion, failure to achieve, failure to overcome, and a race that simply seems to have given up (or not been able to process a need to act) when taken on the whole. Like the Wizard of Oz, there is no superpower behind the curtain. The Jove basically quit, with a handful of exceptions like Veniel.

I will cover the bulk of these revelations and their impacts in this post. The remainder (specific to Caroline’s Star, its attendant Dyson Swarm, Jovian space and the Talocan) is covered in the Kardashev’s Children post.

There is a metric ton of info here (warning and apology: this post alone is over 5700 words and dives into detail and speculation – if you want something more TLDR check out Tarek Raimo’s post on Crossing Zebras), so let’s dive right in. For each thing I found a new revelation, I’ll dig in a bit to the back story, and then throw a bit of tinfoil at it relative to where I think the CCP story team might be taking it.

On the Jove and the Jovian Directorate

  • Revelation #1: The Jove are still here, but a tiny fraction of their former selves, which they consider a “rearguard”.
    • Why it’s interesting: The fact that they exist at all is a bit surprising since no one has seen or heard from them since the Sansha invasion and the Mouse Nell incident five years ago. Even more interesting, Veniel specifies that there were fewer than 1000 Jove by the beginning of YC116 (2014). And by the time the supernova happened in November of that year, only 100 had “chosen, for whatever reason, to stay in New Eden,” and that those “permanently had dispersed to their hidden destinations far away from the abandoned remains of the Third Empire.” Matshi Raish also makes it clear that governmentally, “Certainly the Jove Empire and the Jovian Directorate are no longer functioning entities.”
    • CCP Guard JoviansWhere it could go: What is important from my point of view is more about what is not said than what is said. Veniel at no point says that the Jove are dying out, succumbing to the disease, and that the race is doomed. Instead, he implies that they left. By choice. Like some sci-fi equivalent of Tolkien’s elves, sailing to the West. Like Moses crossing the Red Sea. It’s a diaspora, not an extinction. What this revelation accomplishes is that it lets the CCP story team keep the Jove as a tool in their toolbox for when they need an event spark or a deus ex machina – while the Jove are “gone”, the explanation “Because Jovians” actually still works. There are also some really cool opportunities for “finding the last Jovians” arcs, since there are still some in their “most carefully maintained, best shielded stations.” and even one “in a bunker below the surface of an outer planet.” Even stranger, Veniel insists on calling T-C5A0 “home base” multiple times – this makes little sense in the context of the old Directorate. It’s not the HQ of any Jove corp, not even Navy Logistic Support. Jove HQ is in most cases 54-VNO. T-C5A0 is not only disconnected it is close to empire space, nowhere near the few still linked. The Jove have been reduced to near-mythical things, but ones who can still be called on for story purposes as needed.
    • New mysteries it spawns: Where are they fleeing to? Can we follow (will the new gates allow us to get there)? Who of the Jove remains and where are they? Why is T-C5A0 “home base” – is it just home for Veniel and his crew as one of the few stations still operational?
  • Revelation #2: The Yoiul still exists, and Jove still have other plans for her.
    • Why it’s interesting: Much like the above, this shows that the Jove storyline is not over. It’s going into the “deep background” but is by no means done. For those who may not have put the pieces together, the Yoiul is the ship upon which the current structure of CONCORD and the empires’ detente was hammered out. It’s the “Y” in the YC dating system. But to Veniel, who was alive 200+ years prior to that, it’s kind of “meh”. What is particularly fun about this is that this ship heralded the start of CONCORD, and with Raish now a part of CONCORD, it may be the herald of the doom of CONCORD as well.
    • Where it could go: I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of Yoiul, even if it’s years from now that she pops up again.
    • New mysteries it spawns: Again, Veniel’s throwaway lines are the most interesting. He says of the Yoiul Conference: “Important, yes, but she’s done much else besides and after all is about to do even more.” Ummm, like what? Surely not just ferry Matshi Raish around.
  • Revelation #3: The Jove Observatories were used by the Jovian Directorate/Third Empire – which is to say within the last 500 years or so.

    Old Jovian Directorate station

    • Why it’s interesting: Veniel states, “the Jovian Directorate’s old observatories.” There has been a long-running speculation discussion among lore buffs around the origin of the Observatories. For myself, I largely look at it through an architectural lens. The Directorate had a very distinctive organic “grown” look to all of their things, including their stations. Veniel actually touches on this in the chronicle when he hints that Jove stations are less organic than they are nano-created, saying, “Nanorot. Repair systems are losing cohesion and going rogue locally. It’s far more advanced on the truly abandoned stations.” This stands in sharp contrast to the Drifters, whose battleships are long, angular, and stark in their appearance – much like the Observatories. Because of this, lore nerds have generally drawn the conclusion that the stations were built by either the Talocan or the First or Second Empire. CCP also recently changed the color palette of the Observatories from Drifter oil-slick to Jove greenish … I can only assume because of what was in this chronicle. This actually does fit with the documents that you discover upon running an Entosis Link 0n one of the Observatories – what you get back fits the Directorate timeline.
    • Where it could go: This change opens a ton of new questions that I think will become clear over time. We already know that the Observatories have many more permutations to go through in their disintegration. If we ever get to Jove space, the advanced “nanorot” should make for some really cool ruined stations.
    • New mysteries it spawns: Why are the architectures so radically different (and will it be retconned)? Did the Directorate make a sharp left turn into nanites at some point that turned their sharp angular architecture into nanite-grown architecture? Is this finally the long-awaited bridge to explaining the Rogue Drones (Veniel even uses the term “rogue nanites”)? How on earth are they connected to the Antikythera Mechanism and related Drifter items? My personal gut check after seeing how lackadaisical about things the Directorate was is that these still were not Jovian structures, but that the Directorate borrowed them for their use. After all, Veniel does not specifically say that the Directorate built them.
  • Revelation #4: The Jove can definitely create wormholes, and location of creation makes a huge difference in how much power is required.
    • Why it’s interesting: It has of course been assumed for some time that the Jove could create and use wormholes much like we do but in a directed fashion. After all, Sansha could do it and presumably so could the Talocan. What we get from the discussion in the chronicle however is a bit more nuanced, and a lot more detailed. If you read between the lines it suggests that the Talocan created and perfected the technology, the Jove re-engineered it for precision but a much, much smaller scale, and the Sansha stole/borrowed it from one or the other and reverse-engineered it in a very clunky, brute-force sort of way.
    • Where it could go: Shipboard wormhole generators confirmed. In fact, Veniel goes into a remarkable level of detail about its limitations: “We command the full range and precise positioning available with the technology. We also understand how to take advantage of the local topology of space-time. This is the reason for our long warp to this position, it makes things much easier for a ship of this size. After all, there are limits to what is possible and you were not in error to consider that.” It now seems inevitable that controlled wormhole creation, with appropriate balance mechanisms, is likely to be on CCP’s roadmap. This is not all that surprising but this is just another weight on that side of the scale. I also think that it will likely have some sort of connection to the future gate technology CCP has already stated is on the roadmap.
    • New mysteries it spawns: What exactly are the differences between the Talocan, Jove and Sansha methods? How are they relevant, if at all, to the future of the game? There aren’t truly new mysteries here, so much as new shades and nuances to old ones.
  • Revelation #5: The Second Empire upheaval may well have been CAUSED by, the discovery of Anoikis rather than precipitating it.
    • Why it’s interesting: Veniel and Raish actually discuss this briefly, and I think we would be foolish to ignore it. Veniel starts:
      “I would imagine the Second Empire discovered entryways into the Anoikis network in the vicinity of the Curse Region. When? Where? Who knows but I would guess late, perhaps even shortly before the collapse of the Second Empire.”
      “The discovery may even have precipitated that collapse in some manner,” suggested Raish.
      “My thoughts exactly. Coincidences occur but there are rather too many associated with the Second Empire, Anoikis and the Shrouded Days. Something happened, some encounter, some miscalculation, some psychosocial upheaval, and then, well, chaos and the darkness of knowledge lost to history. Lost to us.”
      For me, this was a foundation-shaking idea. Again, my theory up to this point (and I think that of most lore-heads) was that the Jove had wormhole technology from very early on, First Empire or even brought over from Earth via the EVE Gate. What this suggests is that the Jove were entirely ignorant of Anoikis prior to the Second Empire, and the very act of discovering it was the event that triggered the fall of the Second Empire. This again highlights how truly derivative the Jove are rather than the masters of their own destiny that I thought them to be – rather than the Sleepers leveraging unknown super-tech to kick themselves into Anoikis to get away, the discovery of Anoikis might have been the cause of the societal rift itself.
    • Where it could go: It is unlikely that CCP will do much with this within the game, but it adds further shades of grey into the story that they could leverage because the Sleepers, Talocan and Drifters are much more clearly separated from one another than they were before the chronicle. One place that CCP could (and IMO should if they haven’t already) leverage this discussion is that there should be some cool new things to be discovered in Curse. Ever since I started the game I wanted to find more Jove things in Curse, and there’s just not much there as far as I know, other than the names of the Heaven constellation and the old poems.
    • New mysteries it spawns: Again the mysteries here are less new than they are more fleshed out than before. How did they discover Anoikis during the Second Empire? How would that have caused a rift? Is there anything to find in Curse?

    Admiral Ouria

  • Revalation #6: There was more, and less, to Admiral Ouria than we knew.
    • Why it’s interesting: Admiral Ouria was one of the first Jove characters introduced to the players, in an event in August 2003. He was presented as a crazy rogue/renegade with the Jovian disease. Many lore types, myself included, long believed that the “Jovian disease” statement relative to Ouria was false (since the Directorate did not condemn his actions immediately), and that instead he was a rogue actor fully in command of his faculties but acting against the governing body of the Directorate in a way that might have benefitted capsuleers over the Jove. However, Veniel specifically states that he was in fact impacted by the disease, killing that theory. Even so, Veniel clearly sees Ouria as a hero, and his portrayal of the disease almost suggests that Ouria was “raging against the dying of the light” in his final acts. Ouria was apparently a person of great positive impact before his fall.
    • Where it could go: Unlikely to go anywhere, just a new perspective on an old icon.
    • New mysteries it spawns: Potentially more on the Jovian disease – it has long been a debate point whether the non-fetal form of the disease is truly a disease or simply an effect of long lives and despair – effectively Jovian bittervet syndrome.
  • Revelation #7: The Directorate appears to have been fashioned after the ancient Athenian political model, with an elected Archon (political leader) and Polemarkos (military leader).
    • Why it’s interesting: Particularly under the former lore leadership of CCP Abraxas, EVE lore had a very heavy underlying theme of Greek myth – particularly Homer’s Iliad and The Odyssey. It has also never really been specified what changed from “Empire” to “Directorate” among the Jove. This suggests that it was similar to that evolution, where the Jove tired of emperors and moved to an elected midway point.
    • Where it could go: There’s a story behind it all but to suss it out you need to be a Greek myth, Plato and Homer scholar. I haven’t been able to muster the time and enthusiasm to go back and reread The Iliad and The Odyssey with an eye to EVE lore, especially with Abraxas no longer at the helm of the story (meaning Delegate Zero may well go a whole different direction). CCP could further detail the ancient connections between the Drifters, Jove and Gallente.
    • New mysteries it spawns: None. Just reinforces an old one: Why do the Drifters, Jove and Gallente all have Greek naming conventions?

On Sansha’s Nation

  • Revelation #8: Sansha’s Nation definitely stole the technology for wormhole generation.
    Sansha Says Gimme

    How I picture Veniel’s thought process during the Mouse Nell incident

    • Why it’s interesting: The chronicle is remarkably short on information regarding two of the main players in the current storyline – namely the Sansha and the Drifters. However, this is the one key area where the Sansha get some play. Veniel is obviously pretty annoyed by their use of wormhole generation tech. Specifically:
      Veniel: “Did you imagine that Kuvakei the thief, barely understanding what he has in his hands, has the means to generate wormholes at will while we, who after all are the inheritors of the legacy he plundered, do not? Come now, Matshi.”
      Raish: “Yes, of course, forgive me. It is just that our intelligence suggested Sansha’s forces require considerable resources and equipment to generate their wormholes. More than a cruiser could encompass, most certainly, but of course they are presumably working with crudely reverse-engineered systems.”
      Veniel: “Quite.”
      Veniel’s choice of words here is remarkable. “we … are the inheritors of the legacy he plundered” is quite the statement of superior entitlement. What Veniel is effectively saying is that the Directorate had this tech handed down to them – either from the Second Empire or from the Talocan or in line through them – and that Kuvakei was bad for trying to steal and reverse engineer what the Jove themselves appear to have stolen and reverse engineered.
    • Where it could go: As noted in #4 above, this suggests that the three technologies for wormhole creation (Talocan, Jove and Sansha in order of power and precision) could very well play out in different ways and with different story and gameplay implications.
    • New mysteries it spawns: Unfortunately it doesn’t answer the key questions we wanted to know about the Sansha – or for that matter the Sisters of Eve – in shattered wormhole space. What really happened at the Jove station during the Mouse Nell incident? How did Sansha and SOE get to those systems early? How are they actually using wormhole tech and in what form? These questions are still out there.

On The Sleepers

  • Revelation #9: The Sleepers are now definitively Second Empire Jove Stasis People.
    • Why it’s interesting: There have been a lot of theories of various people on various timelines with various parts of things interconnected, including my own (wrong) theory that they were actually contemporaneous with the Talocan. Veniel now states it flat out: “Far removed as the Second Empire survivors may be in history, we of the Directorate can recognize them as our own without much trouble. At least, cladistically speaking … The Second Empire Jove found Anoikis, entered it and, we can now be quite certain, the Stasis faction established enclaves throughout the systems of the network.” Delegate Zero closes the book on any speculation about the Sleepers firmly with this statement. It also dovetails out nicely with all the things that say Sleeper and Jove going together (i.e. Jove clones in Sleeper enclaves, and even the use of the term “enclave” itself).
    • Where it could go: Going forward, the Sleepers become a very clear part of the Jovian discussion and timeline, with a very clear place in that timeline. This years-old mystery is at last laid to rest, enabling CCP to move forward with more statements and less questions around what the Sleepers are and more around what they represent, what they bring to the table, and what they mean to the future of the story. There is room to explore the implications of the Second Empire surviving while the Third disappears – it would be like our modern world decaying and disappearing, leaving knights of the middle ages behind to take our place. Long story short, it gives CCP more room to take a clear hand in directing the Sleepers’ actions now that we know who they are.
    • New mysteries it spawns: By setting this definition, it also means that we theoretically now have answers to questions we thought lost to time – specifically, what the heck happened to the Second Empire? After all, today’s Sleepers were alive then. They know first-hand what happened. They know what happened to Miko Bour – is he among them? They know what caused the Jovian dark age. The answers are in the Enclaves. What will it take to get them?

    Pic credit: Morwen Lagann

  • Revelation #10: The Sleeper structures we attack are in some (many?) cases spare clone repositories for body replacement, not “living Sleepers”.
    • Why it’s interesting: Many of us have assumed that the Sleeper enclaves we’ve seen in w-space are full of “active” Sleepers. But Veniel adds clarification to that:
      “They had made sure to preserve their original bodies for as long as possible in the event that they wished to return to the real. We also discovered they had made provision for clone growth and replacement at special facilities scattered throughout Anoikis. They had been well aware that their bodies might decay beyond usefulness even as well preserved as they were.”
      “The hives,” whispered Raish.
      “Yes, the hives.”
      Delegate Zero makes a bit of a faux pas in the chronicle when he calls these “Hives” (potentially confusing them with Drifter hives) but he clarified on the forums that he means the Sleeper structures, not the Drifter structures. But the upshot is that what the Difters are stealing bodies from is likely the unused clone banks, not the “live” Sleepers.
    • Where it could go: Mostly, this casts a further shadow across the relationship between the Sleepers and the Drifters. It actually makes things less clear, unlike most of this chronicle. It gives CCP a whole new set of mysteries to explore between these two groups, to say nothing of the wider cluster.
    • New mysteries it spawns: Why are the Drifters only taking the spares? How could they be positively related to the Sleepers, when presumably the Sleepers can get these without chopping the whole enclave open? Why are Sleeper drones collaborating with Drifter battleships when Drifters seem to like taking Sleeper bodies? How are the Jove, Drifters and Talocan related? This particular part of the mystery was boosted rather than addressed in the chronicle.
  • Revelation #11: The Sleepers are in internal chaos.
    • Why it’s interesting: Veniel illustrates this in several places, but the most telling is when he states that, “The Second Empire survivors are clearly in a state of some confusion and exhibit an incoherence to their pattern that is suggestive of significant internal discord. This would not be particularly surprising when discussing the collective actions of formerly isolated Jove enclaves attempting to organize to common purpose in an unfamiliar environment. With the survivors the situation is even worse. Their enclaves were virtual constructs that have been running for centuries. Inevitably, there was degradation in many instances, and much that took place in Anoikis over the centuries of the Stasis faction’s presence there is a mystery. The uncontrolled wormhole access to Anoikis made possible by the Isogen-5 Quantum Criticality Event led to an explosive spike in destruction of the survivor enclaves’ virtuality infrastructure. We can only guess at the effects.” In other words, the Sleepers are suffering from digital degradation, attacks from the inside by The Other(s), attacks from the outside by capsuleers, literal brain removal by the Amarr for Dust implants, and clone abduction by The Drifters. It is little wonder they are losing their collective minds.
    • Where it could go: Given this, it is not surprising that Veniel counsels Raish that “The Second Empire survivors are unpredictable as matters stand. A great amount of your work must be bent to managing the problem they raise.” I think we can plan for their “problem” to get bigger – and start becoming our problem.
    • New mysteries it spawns: The whole narrative has now set things up so that the Sleepers come off as our poor, innocent Jove neighbors, set upon for being different and because bad capsuleers are xenophobes. Are we geared up so that Sleepers will be our allies if we play our cards right in the future? Or have we already missed the boat on that one, ensuring they are our eternal enemies finding ways to bring ancient methods of death down on our heads?

On the Drifters

  • Revelation #12: Delegate Zero likes baiting the playerbase by RPing Veniel playing Raish – and us.

    Drifters? You got this.

    • Why it’s interesting: The biggest tease in the entire chronicle (and one of the few concrete mentions of the Drifters at all) is this back and forth between the characters:
      Raish: [The biggest unanswered puzzle is] “the Drifters and their sudden emergence. But if the constructs have produced freely emerging artificial sapients then it answers some questions.”
      “To a point, certainly. Consider the timing though. Why the large uptick in Sleeper drone activity? Why did unfamiliar, exploratory Sleeper drones begin emerging from Anoikis to wander through New Eden? Why did those called the Drifters emerge also? Why did they begin their curious plundering of the Jovian Directorate’s old observatories? What are they building and why are they so hostile to the Amarr Empire? So many questions.” Veniel smiled at his former student once more and, extraordinarily, winked.
      In other words, he’s not going to tell us these answers in this chronicle.
    • Where it could go: I had sudden flashbacks to CCP Dropbear: It may not make sense at first. This is clearly the go-forward storyline coming out of this chronicle. Delegate Zero is sweeping away the confusion around the Sleepers in order to clarify focus around what’s going on with the Drifters. Specifically he is avoiding answering the question “who are the Drifters?” by extending the debate that they could be Talocan, other Jove, re-embodied Others, re-embodied Sleepers, or something else entirely. It’s easy to see Raish’s guess (that they are re-embodied Others) as being the answer but Veniel isn’t committing. These questions are left unanswered precisely because this is where the story is going next.
    • New mysteries it spawns: Veniel laid them out nicely, don’t you think?

On The Other

  • Revelation #13: The Other is more powerful than we ever imagined.
    • Why it’s interesting:  The Other seemed scary enough before – it was able to leave the Sleeper construct, convince people to put implants in highly-placed individuals that it could jump to, and interfere with the cloning process of Empress Jamyl Sarum herself. But in this chronicle it gets much, much worse. The implication is that The Other is far more intelligent than us, views religion through the prism of power, has no respect for the law of one-mind-one-body, is able to control multiple hosts simultaneously, and is “inimical to the interests … of the New Eden cluster.” Between Veniel and Raish they surface all these data points:
      • “We should analyze the data further but the artificial sapient is almost certainly a high level entity capable of multiple simultaneous intrusions.”
      • “You mean that the entity has found it necessary to intermingle to this degree to control her?” “No, not at all. The need for it to do so would indicate a relatively unsophisticated brute level of entity and this one is not that. Rather, she opposes it in the only way that she can. She draws it in. It is an impressive act of will.”
      • “This entity is a severe existential threat. Its sentience quotient must be at least 15 positive [ed note: Humans are 13 positive, capsuleers may be a bit higher].” “Several points more I should think,” interrupted Veniel. “More? Then all the greater reason to intervene. Its entire motivation cannot help but be inimical to the interests of living sapients in the New Eden cluster.”
      • “To be explicit, it is probable that the entity views the religious mode of thought through the prism of power and politics alone.”
      • “Not to forget, of course, the plundering carried out by the Empire under the direction of the Empress.” “But that may have been under the influence of the entity that has commingled with her personality,” gasped Raish, appalled at the implications. “May have been? I think we can dispense with ‘may have been’ and be certain that it was under the direction, not mere influence, of that entity. We can also be certain that we are dealing with a renegade artificial sapient that long ago threw off the restrictions of the law of one mind in one body. How? Why? Questions for another time, questions that may very well come to concern you most grievously.”
    • Where it could go: When the story team killed of Jamyl Sarum, I was certain that in large part it was to rid the universe of the deus ex machina bogeyman of The Other. Apparently I couldn’t be more wrong. This virulent, powerful infomorph is almost certainly going to appear again. And when he does, it will not be pretty.
    • New mysteries it spawns: Who (or whos) is The Other in now? When Veniel teases that how and why The Other threw off the chains of one-mind-one-body are Raish’s to deal with, what else does he know? Does this have anything to do with Raish’s sudden interest in Upwell? Since The Other has in the past primarily operated via implants, has he taken this opportunity to compromise the obvious target, Sansha’s Nation? What is his involvement with the Drifters?

    Raish scans Jamyl Sarum and finds The Other. Image credit: TheMittani.com

  • Revelation #14: Both the Jove and the SOCT are aware of The Other and its inhabiting Jamyl Sarum prior to her death.
    • Why it’s interesting: As suspected, the entosis scan Raish did of the Empress’ vessel showed him that she had two consciousnesses embedded in her. In addition, there are “psycholinguistic” indicators that The Other is in charge of an individual – perhaps this is something like the Spock Speak trope. More interesting though is that the Jove have clearly known for quite some time, and done nothing about it. In the style that permeates this chronicle, the Directorate have chosen to observe passively rather than act. UPDATE Jan 3: Had a brief discussion with Diana Olympos on #Tweetfleet Slack that I glossed over here. Long story short, the chronicle implies that Jamyl effectively orchestrated her own death in hopes of destroying The Other when Raish says, “The death of Empress Jamyl is regrettable but, as she herself so obviously appreciated, was necessary.” As noted above, I don’t think she succeeded, and the chronicle leaves quite a bit of wiggle room to figure out exactly what did happen.
    • Where it could go: The truth is now officially out there. Matshi Raish has his own scan and his new status as Jove representative, so if he wants to prosecute this, he can, and the chaos that would spawn would be incredible. Taken to its ultimate extreme, Raish could follow a Salem-witch-trial approach and assume that everyone is “infected” – that could make for some fun events too. It gives him a literal tool to claim people are possessed (even if they later turn out not to be). Based on the discussion in the chronicle, we would be foolish to think that The Other is not still around.
    • New mysteries it spawns: Why did the Jove intentionally choose to withhold this information from the Empires and CONCORD? What will Raish do with his confirmed proof that The Other exist and that it had possessed the Empress? Did The Other jump or multi-home and is it thus still alive? If Raish keeps it to himself, what is he trying to achieve? Will we be able to identify new “posessed” individuals via its brand of Spock Speak? Does he suspect The Other’s hand in the rise of Upwell? UPDATE Jan 3: There are questions around Jamyl Sarum’s death as well: Was it really unexpected? An accident? Did Sarum arrange her own death with the Drifters somehow? Or did Veniel and Raish have a hand in her death?
  • Revelation #15: The Other was definitely responsible for the harvesting of Sleeper implants at the beginning of Dust514.
    • Why it’s interesting: While this was known more or less out of character due to some commentary in both Templar One and the chronicle 514, it is now in character knowledge for Raish to do with as he sees fit. As noted above, Veniel states, “we can dispense with ‘may have been’ and be certain that it was under the direction, not mere influence, of that entity.” Raish should be able to put two and two together and determine that The Other is not friends with its former compatriots in the Sleeper Construct.
    • Where it could go: Raish is likely to commit himself to the extinction of The Other. This could go many different ways depending upon where CCP determines that The Other now lives, and what its long-term objectives are. In all likelihood, The Other will move to take down Raish as inimical to its near-term plans.
    • New mysteries it spawns: Why is The Other against the Sleepers? By being against The Sleepers where does that leave it relative to The Drifters? What organizations within New Eden, if any, benefit from allying with The Other?

On CONCORD

Matshi Raish

  • Revelation #16: CONCORD has been ineffective primarily due to bureaucratic deadlock, and Raish can now break that as the “Jove” representative. This is the primary “inheritance” that the chronicle’s name hints toward.
    • Why it’s interesting: CONCORD has been viewed as largely ineffectual for some time now. This chronicle lays bare exactly why – there are four dedicated CONCORD members here! This means that even if all the empires pulled together and CONCORD wanted to do something else, they could not, it would be a tie 4-4 vote. The absence of a Jove representative has ensured things remained stagnant. Raish is a more prominent figure than many may at first realize – he was the chairman of the Symposium on Emergent Threats (aka Fanfest 2015 and the Drifter investigations). He was the person who handed out the Gnosis battlecruisers on EVE’s 10th anniversary. Adding Raish to the mix gives the Society of Conscious thought the crucial deciding vote in many potential disputes, and gives him the upper hand in many negotiations. Veniel specifically tells Raish: “The capsuleers remain the great investment in the future that should be shepherded most carefully. You can do this more directly only if you have the power to do so. I intend to give you, and the Society, this power.” Interestingly this also reinforces a long-held belief in the lore community that the Jove have been driving the idea of capsuleers intentionally to nudge humanity in a specific direction. So Raish is literally a part of the CONCORD Inner Circle with a mandate to guide the direction of capsuleer development.
    • Where it could go: Along with the Drifter tease above, this is the main outcome of the chronicle – expect to hear a lot more about Raish and a lot more about the Society of Conscious Thought. This should be somewhat alarming if you have ever read the Black Mountain series of chronicles, because the SOCT is not always a nice group of people.
    • New mysteries it spawns: How exactly did Veniel transfer the Jove seat to a non-Jove? What will the SOCT do now? What will the SOE, effectively mortal enemies for many years, do? What will the outcome of Raish’s tiebreaking votes be? What direction will he try to steer the capsuleer world and why? Why is his #1 order of business, after all this about Sleepers and Drifters and Others, to ask about Upwell rather than any of that? What did he learn over the course of five months between meeting with Veniel and taking his seat at the Inner Council table?

[UPDATES Jan 3: Sar Hasarin brings up an interesting item I didn’t address relative to SOCT’s “unknown” base in Geminate. See below for my reply. There is also some good discussion going on in the associated Reddit thread. In addition, it’s worth your time to check out the brief discussion of this chronicle on the Hydrostatic Podcast Lore Update from Dec 23 (starting around 33:00) – I’m sure there will be a full lore panel on this stuff too.]

That’s a lot to digest, and that’s only about 2/3 of what’s in there. And the most fun stuff (at least in my opinion) is in the next post: Kardashev’s Children, which covers the implications for the Talocan, Caroline’s Star, the Dyson Swarm and Jove space.

Let me know what you think so far in the comments.

 

Posted in Lore, Speculation | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Lore Update: Pod & Planet Results and the Inheritance Chronicle

I was very pleased this year to get two awards in the Pod & Planet Fiction contest – a Second Place prize for my EVE Gate story Decoherence and a Third Place prize for my Sleeper/Talocan speculation story Emergence. I was particularly happy for my perennial competitor Sugar Kyle, who took first in the 8000 Suns category. This year the competition was particularly strong and the judging mix changed up a bit to be more mainstream and less uber-lore-nerd, so one lesson to me is that in a group like this a more typical (read: non-Jovian-tinfoil) setting would probably be a better choice. Thanks again to the judges, sponsors and especially Telegram Sam for running this annual contest!

Secondly, speaking of Jovian tinfoil, CCP Delegate Zero dropped a massive lore dump, the chronicle Inheritance, over the holidays. I’m working on a post dissecting this lore bomb – it might take me more than one, there’s that much there. In the meantime, go read it. Spoiler #1: It renders Emergence totally incorrect. I’ll be back soon with a lot more discussion.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Loot Fairy Triumphant (Blog Banter #69)

So… it’s been a while since I’ve participated in a Blog Banter, but this one caught my eye. They’re hosted by Drackarn of Sand, Cider and Spaceships; you should check it out if you write a blog and consider participating. Blog Banter #69 asks:

Because of Space-Magic
CCP sometimes get stuck between a veldspar ‘roid and a hard place when they try to blend realism with sensible game mechanics in our sci-fi simulator. Sometimes they create a scientific answer such as 4th dimensional drag to explain our ‘submarines in space’. Other times, not so much. When a null-sec Citadel is destroyed players ‘stuffz’ is to be magicked to another station. Why should a citadel be different to a titan? Should CCP ensure that ‘space magic’ always has a plausible explanation or do we need just to say “Well, its only a game!” and engage the willing suspension of disbelief? How should it work when a citadel goes boom, how do we balance risk with reward, and how should any “space-magic” be explained?

First, a disclaimer, or more appropriately an open letter of sorts to CCP Nullarbor, who has been the public face of the coming Citadel changes.

Dear CCP Nullarbor (and any other Game of Drones team members who supported his actions as noted here):

Thank you. Thank you for putting yourself out there, for admitting that you weren’t a wormhole guy and that you didn’t totally get how wormholers use POS and how disruptive the original plan was for wormhole mechanics and getting wormhole fights. Thank you for being willing to learn. Thank you for collaborating with Corbexx, Sugar Kyle and others to seriously listen to the wormhole community about what needed to change – and then advocating to change it. I am at last looking forward to what Citadels might be like for w-space – sure, there are still misgivings (particularly around reinforcement windows with intermittent system access), but it’s no longer a facepalm-worthy exercise, and for that I give the lion’s share of the credit to your willingness to listen and incorporate what you heard. Thank you for adapting your original design in w-space.

Sincerely, Rhavas

Now, on to the meat of my response.

<RANT>

With the now-updated exception of wormhole space, Citadel “space magic” that rescues player assets without dropping or any meaningful destruction is a mockery of what EVE Online stands for and was built on – utterly antithetical to its core design purpose. It’s not about how you explain it – the fact that you need to should be a warning sign in and of itself.

Let’s start with a nice summation of the core philosophy of EVE – namely that loss is meaningful and defines what makes EVE different (originally in the context of suicide ganking, but the principle is no different) – from CCP Falcon, less than two years ago.

I love EVE and the core of what the game stands for. That’s why I’ve been dedicated to it and its community for over 11 years now.

Risk vs Reward is a huge part of that.

Honestly, if that changed, and the game started to soften out and cater to those who want to have their hand held all the way through their gameplay experience, I’d rather not be working on the project regardless of how many subscribers we had, than sell out the core principles that New Eden was built on.

That’s a sentiment that I hear a lot around the office, because we are all invested in what makes New Eden so compelling – The dark, gritty, hard reality beneath the pretty ships and nebulas.

EVE is built on the core principle that you are never 100% safe, no matter where you go or what you do. When you interact with another player, you roll the dice on whether they’re going to screw you over or not. That’s a massive part of the social engineering behind the very basic underpinnings of the EVE Universe.

CCP Falcon, “High Sec Hauling/Mining Kills – TY CCP for No Protection”, August 2014

Unfortunately for EVE, Falcon is a community management leader, and not a game designer. The bottom line is that EVE is built on putting assets at risk, and gaining the benefits of doing so.

So why on earth would CCP completely throw all the core principles of the game out the window? Let’s go to the Devblog:

…we quickly decided that our new structures would need to be destructible, especially since they are going to be available everywhere from high-security to wormhole space. However, this introduces another problem: we want our structures to be used, but one of the deterrents against that goal is the fact they compete against existing NPC stations and player outposts. As such, we have to accept the fact no one will want to store items or minions (if you are an alliance leader) in one of the new structures if they can be destroyed and lost on a whim.

And that is how asset safety was born.

CCP Ytterbium, “I Feel Safe in Citadel City”

Um, wait – what? First of all, the very title of that devblog makes my stomach churn. Safe in EVE Online. This is your first red flag.

Second, “no one will want to store items or minions (if you are an alliance leader) in one of the new structures if they can be destroyed and lost on a whim.” Let’s see if I can sum up my reaction in two words. Yep: BULL SHIT.

The First Law of EVE Online: Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose.

The Wormholer’s Corollary of The First Law: As soon as you’ve brought it in the hole, consider it lost.

Ask Noobman, CEO of Hard Knocks, how much ISK they have wrapped up in the far more fragile and already destructible POS structures. Or Biterno Sintaph, CEO of Future Corps / SSC. Or Hidden Fremen, CEO of Lazerhawks. Hell, when he was banned from the game, MaxDEL, CEO of QEX, admitted that “On my (banned) accounts (where several dozen) are the Titans, Motherships, collected all the property and money of my corporation – more than 1500B isk (A great way to reduce the amount of isk in game by ban 1 person).” Most of that was likely in a POS or in nullsec.

Wormholers revolted against the proposal immediately because it’s the whole point.

Don’t tell me it can’t be done. I am a “migrant” myself – I regularly come and go from EVE, and each time I leave I evac all of my assets from the hole to a station in highsec or sell them off to corpmates, because I know that while I am OOG all of my stuff can disappear in a puff of capital hybrid dust. I only bring in the stuff I need or am actively working on. And nullsec has the same access to almost identical wormhole chains that I do – often better, in fact.

But shouldn’t nullsec have some way to ensure that their stations are safe? Let’s go to the source, shall we?

Finally there are 0.0 systems and systems with negative security rating; otherwise known as ‘null-sec’, there is no protection at all and survival here is all down to the skill and resources of the individual.

Official EVE Online New Pilot FAQ

I’m sorry, but I guess I missed the part where your stuff is supposed to be safe. What it really is: risk aversion and laziness. If there is a war coming, evac your stuff.

Next you’ll be hearing how we need a special magical insurance by which when you get killed the killer can’t loot your wreck, it will be waiting tidily for you in Jita where your WOW Clan … er, Coalition, can pick it up for you.

“But Rhavas,” I hear you say, “what about all the newbros? We want them to stay and play in nullsec.” Here’s my answer to that:

 

  • People who die play longer
  • <1% of cancellations cite ship loss

CCP Rise, “Using Science to Help Newbros” bullet points, Fanfest 2015

No, my friends, this is not about newbros. It is not about PVP. It is about subscription-paying veterans who want absolute safety in a place that was designed to have none, and the development plan knuckling under to that pressure.

Eat it or have it.

I say: HTFU. To the victor go the spoils. This is EVE. The wormhole model should be the model everywhere except perhaps highsec.

Somewhere, as she makes off with 100% of what you fought for, the Loot Fairy is laughing her ass off.

</RANT>

Posted in Blog Banters, Commentary, Mechanics | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Decoherence

dwi6s

This story won Second Prize in the Pod and Planet 2015/YC117 contest in the 8000 Suns category. While it is a bit speculative, it is very much based on existing canon (specifically Templar One) and the science it explicitly states (even if current physicists don’t agree), so I believe that even thought a bit stretched it still meets the canon test. It is set at the dawn of the capsuleer era – before we knew about the Other or the Drifters, before the return of Jamyl Sarum, before the Seyllin Incident.

Templar One Eve Gate

Decoherence in quantum systems … is the irreversible process by which a pure state becomes a mixed state.  Usually decoherence arises from an interaction between the quantum state and some environment.  There is a school of thought that takes this as an explanation for how the classical world in which we live (and which has no large-scale oddities like entanglement) arises from the underlying quantum world.

Ian Durham, Associate Professor, Quantum Foundations Research, St. Anselm College via Quora

***

Sigga VIII – Sisters of Eve Bureau Station

“There is a high risk of death on this venture, Rappel.”

“I am already dead, Sister. Plus, I’m a capsuleer, which gives me a good chance even if my clone doesn’t hold out.”

“We believe that even in your current state, you have at least five years before that happens. But it is entirely possible that the radiation will interfere with your transference.”

“Well, as you know, my mutation tends to re-surface in my clones as well. They say it’s something to do with the transference base copy and my original clone grades. Not that these docs seem to really understand it all that well. It doesn’t matter – what matters is that now I can do things I’d otherwise fear to do.”

The Sister nodded slowly. “It is one reason that you were selected. And why you’ll be going alone.” She held out a datapad, which he accepted.

He glanced down at his orders. The Sisters had named the ship he would be flying Canary, both to disguise his Gallente roots and to call to mind the old Minmatar saying about that bird being killed with mine gasses and such. Despite its morbid overtones, Rappel somehow found it both appropriate and amusing.

“The interceptor you will find in your hangar,” she continued, “is outfitted with a number of unique sensor arrays that will record everything in and around your ship, along with being rebuilt to have significant speed at the expense of weapon systems. We have reason to believe that others are also attempting to reach the gate again, and we need to ensure we stay ahead of learning anything that could be a danger to the cluster or a path through. That said, our observations lead us to believe that your chances of survival if you complete the mission and reach the singularity are very slim.”

He nodded. “I won’t let the Sanctuary down, Sister.”

“I’m sure you won’t.”

***

X-7OMU IV – Sisters of Eve Academy Station

“He’s an awful expensive asset to be throwing away like that.”

“Not throwing away, Reverend Mother. His mind transfers are inerently flawed and his clone reproduction is as well; he won’t last like most capsuleers would. Also, he’s one of the first few off the line …”

“Thus my point.”

“But there will be many others. And by the time the capsuleers become ubiquitous, we must know the answers – or they will find them and use them against us. Besides, with the waypoints he will be able to get in range in record time.”

The Reverend Mother leaned forward and put her elbows on the desk, steepling her fingers as she looked at the younger woman. “He will remain resolute?”

“He thinks he is dying already. He has nothing to lose.”

***

New Eden System

Rappel floated calmly in the hydrostatic fluid of his pod, comfortably cushioned from the shock of the jump through the final stargate. He reoriented his camera drones to take in the scene. Happily, the Blood Raiders who often circled the gate looking for fresh pilgrims to ambush were nowhere to be found this time.

Rappel aligned the ship toward the distant shine of the EVE Gate, Point Genesis. For most capsuleers, this is as close as they would ever get. But for The Sanctuary, many lives and many ships had been sacrificed to allow him, now, to get far closer.

Even with those who had gone before having provided navigational aids, it would still take many months to warp-jump all the way there. There was much to do in preparation – study, observation, ship reprogramming and modification. The time would be well-filled.

He aligned to the first waypoint and warped.

***

Halfway between New Eden and Point Genesis

Rappel’s health had slowly continued to deteriorate over his time in the cramped little ship. The Sisters had arranged for an exit method from his pod, but it was at best a makeshift one. He needed to be especially careful with the fluid management system to avoid losing too much of it during fluid changes; there was no more other than what was already on board.

He worked out regularly, such as it was in the small ship, and managed to stave off the majority of the entropy and atrophy that threatened to destroy his body.

When he was in his pod, he studied. There was much that the Sisters knew about the Gate of course, but far more that they did not. The details of the radiation. The likelihood of being able to restart the gate – and how much was actually still left there. What the Jove knew.

Rumors persisted of cloaked items, remnants of the gate itself, even a Jove colony standing guard. Rappel made his way through the data for the hundredth time, adding bits and pieces of his own observations as he slowly approached his destination.

The alert caught him by surprise, breaking him out of his reverie. A vaguely familiar, but somewhat distorted male voice came over the comm channel when he opened it.

Rappel, you need to turn back. Warn them not to come closer.

“Who is this?”

There was no answer.

***

Tachyon bursts emitted by the EVE Gate interfere with quantum entanglement. It is a most unusual phenomenon. Your data archives show records of these emissions originating from the gate’s unique singularity; we are equally puzzled by them. This happens nowhere else in the cluster. We suspect they interfere with wave function collapse.

-Grious, Templar One, Chapter 20

In Warp to Checkpoint Omega, 65 million Km from Point Genesis

Rappel, please respond. Point Genesis is not safe. Turn back now.

The cautionary, personal ones were the most common. But the closer he got to Checkpoint Omega, the more frequent – and differentiated – they became.

It’s amazing. Beautiful. There’s a live opening – I’m going through.

Rappel sighed. The most annoying part of it was that any response he sent had no response.

Aaaaaaaaaggghhh you … aggghhhnngg

That was the one he hated most. Seriously, who would activate comms while in what sounded like horrendous pain?

Europa 1, come in. Europa 1, be aware of incoming colonists, prepare for tracking and reporting.

That one didn’t even quite sound like any accent he had ever heard. The form of speech was very archaic. Who talked like that?

Oh god … we’re too late. Self destruct activated. Everyone get out now!

That was the woman’s voice, haunting but fast becoming familiar.

Hurry, there is enough here that we can stabilize it. But we have to act fast. Call for more help, we can get this thing operational!

The first time hearing her voice, he had called the Sisters. They were sending additional ships, but after repeated attempts to connect with that voice, all of them had come to the conclusion that it might well be a false alert. Still, in their diligent way, the Sisters were still sending more people just in case.

Who is this?

One of a thousand variations on this one. One time he even swore it was his own voice talking. And yet no one ever seemed to answer.

***

Checkpoint Omega

From here, it would all be microwarp drive flight. There were no more waypoints.

Point Genesis dominated the view of the camera drones, washing out almost everything in the massive glare.

Communication channels were becoming choppy and difficult in reaching the Sisters.

“Canary, please respond.”

“Here.”

“Status?”

“Stable. But the shields are taking a beating from the radiation. I’m not sure how long they will hold.”

“Speed and heading?”

“You can’t tell?”

“The radiation is interfering with transmission of the flight data.”

“Full speed right at it, just over 5000 meters per second.” The Sisters had done a nice job of modifying the ship for pure straight-line speed.

“Anything else to report?”

“I’ve nearly completed reprogramming the assistance drones to carry out command functions if need be. I’m not sure how well I’ll hold up once I get there.”

“Understood. Just make sure that you jettison the recorder beacon so that we have a chance to recover any data. We anticipate we will lose transmission with you in a matter of days. What about those other transmissions you mentioned?”

“They’re almost constant now. I’m having Aura filter them for the most part. It’s hard to separate one set of conversations from the other. Not that they’re really conversations, though – still just one-way.”

There was a thoughtful pause at the other end. “You’re still recording all of it?”

“Yes.”

***

A tachyon … is a hypothetical particle that always moves faster than light … Most physicists think that faster-than-light particles cannot exist because they are not consistent with the known laws of physics. If such particles did exist, they could be used to build a tachyonic antitelephone and send signals faster than light, which (according to special relativity) would lead to violations of causality.

Wikipedia: Tachyon

En Route to Point Genesis

It was becoming clear to Rappel that the EVE Gate, if you could call it that, was not remotely what he had expected. The enormous overload of light made it impossible to see any structure, if indeed there was now or ever such a thing.

There was something else very, very wrong, but he could not put his finger on it.

At one point, he swore he saw a ship exactly like this one flying the other direction … but that was impossible; there was no one else out here.

Another time he thought the camera drones showed the silhouettes in the distance of seven massive ships of a design he didn’t recognize, gradually accelerating out of his view behind the stark light of the singularity.

Looking down at his radiation badge, he saw it slowly beginning to change color.

“Canary calling, come in.”

Only static returned.

Rappel checked the comm feed. It was alive with constant chatter. For a moment he amplified the signal he was getting. A handful of statements surfaced through the cacophony of voices.

Turn back! There is still time!

What a proud moment for all of humanity.

We have made it through; aligning to our new home.

The prophets have spoken truly.

I can’t make it! Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

We are prepared, whatever is there.

He reduced the signal again. He was alone with the ghosts.

The Canary hurtled onward toward the brilliant center of the object that now blotted out all else in the sight of the camera drones.

***

The Significance is holding position dangerously close to the EVE Gate, whose quantum turbulence remains markedly elevated. Tachyon emissions from this massive defect remain steady; traces of several dozen universes pass through the ship every second.

Templar One, Chapter 1

Point Genesis

Rappel wasn’t honestly sure where, or who, he was any more. How long he had been here.

He had needed to leave the pod days earlier, its hydrostatic equilibrium destroyed by the radiation and the effects of being this close to Point Genesis. He was instead strapped into a bridge chair, too weak to stand. The assistance drones had tried to keep him hydrated, but the food had run out, and the anti-radiation treatments were gone.

He ran a radiation-blackened hand across the top of his head, knocking loose the last locks of hair, along with a piece of his scalp, and let the changes wash over him.

It was bright. It was dark.

He was himself. She was herself. He did not exist, and never had.

He was safe from the radiation, watching the undulating patterns of the singularity without fear. Dead of radiation exposure, all of his skin sloughed off, lying in a pool of congealing blood on the floor. Being murdered by his own assistance drones.

He had to warn himself not to come here. Those communications … “Point Genesis is not safe. Turn back!” he croaked out from between cracked lips. “Turn back, there is still time!” He couldn’t warn himself. He never thought to warn himself. He didn’t know he could warn himself.

He was Rappel. He was Jove. He was the pilot of Dano Gheinok’s Conformist flagship.

But most of all, through the agony and the haze, he was dying.

“Fire the beacon.”

The assistance drone activated the controls. Beneath the ship, a probe launched, rapidly accelerating to warp speed on its way back to Checkpoint Omega.

An observer, had there been one (and sometimes there was), would have seen the tiny interceptor flicker as it merged with the center of the singularity, appearing to be an Abaddon, an Eidolon, an ancient colony ship, and finally wink out of existence, swallowed by a dark, foreboding energy at the core of the searing brightness.

The many-worlds interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction and denies the actuality of wavefunction collapse. Many-worlds implies that all possible alternate histories and futures are real, each representing an actual “world” (or “universe”). In lay terms, the hypothesis states there is a very large—perhaps infinite —number of universes, and everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but did not, has occurred in the past of some other universe or universes.

Wikipedia: Many-Worlds Interpretation

***

X-7OMU IV – Sisters of Eve Academy Station

“We’ve retrieved the recording beacon, Reverend Mother.”

“And?”

“Results are still being analyzed but … it appears that the communications were in fact legitimate tachyon-carried signals. We’re not sure how. But we are starting to discover whole threads of communications from many people, not just Canary.”

“What people?”

The Sister hesitated, clearly not comfortable with what she was about to say. “Well … it appears that they were sent by people across millenia. There are hundreds we can’t understand, in languages no one has ever heard.” She paused. “And there are other somewhat ominous readings that defy explanation. So far.”

The Reverend Mother absorbed this for a few moments before speaking. “Get me those answers. And move the next team up.”

Posted in Contest Entries, Lore, Original Fiction | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Emergence

8vrph

This story was awarded Third Prize in the Pod and Planet 2015/YC117 contest in the Day in the Life category. As I tend to do, I’m writing pseudo-canon; close enough that it might be true, but far enough that it’s not quite suited to the full lore category. This story was spawned from a Tweetfleet Slack discussion about the exact nature of the Quarantine sites, and is in some ways the inverse of the story Unchained from last year.

ForgottemFrontierQuarantineOutpost

Here you are again: another dead end. This impasse is not a physical one, but an ancient one. Why is there a Sleeper station near these Talocan ruins? Why does it seem like these ancient races, long dead and all but forgotten, are intertwined, like star-crossed lovers in the universal play?

-Integrated Terminus

***

It had been decades since the last alert, so perhaps the guard could be forgiven for having shut off the audio alert years previously, and for missing the flashing light while he studied various status reports. Unfortunately, he had only minutes to react.

Down in the darkness of the Enclave, a light perched above a canopic stasis chamber flashed in unison with its counterpart in the security room. After only a minute, another light in red, behind a button with a label in a strange language (it said “Release”) and next to it one in blue (“Freeze”) and next to it a third in green (“Restore”). The trio glowed brightly, highlighting the glistening surface of the solid ice-like surface inside the pod’s window. A buzzer, angry and high pitched, began to sound in the Enclave.

Precisely 109 seconds later, there was an audible hiss of decompressing gas from the canopic. The Freeze light went out, and the Release and Restore lights began to blink frantically.

Up in the security room, the general alarm overrode the individual settings, and a klaxon howled, startling the guard to alertness. His eyes darted across the screens, widened in horror. He leapt from his chair and ran for the Enclave as fast as he could go.

***

The virtual world inhabited by [the motherships’] passengers was primitive; the earliest version of a strange “Construct” in which minds could interact but not grow. It was restrictive and imperfect. These people knew their world wasn’t real. They dwelled within memories of the home they had left behind, anguishing over their prospects for survival – if they ever reached their final destination at all. They tried to test the Construct, push its limits, break its inadequate laws, and for many, rebel against it.

The captains of those ships had to make unfathomably difficult decisions during the journey.

-Templar One, Chapter 29

***

Cryostasis is a funny thing. While in this modern era it works wonderfully to preserve tissue over the long haul, it is in practice a very temperamental science in the fleeting minutes of setup and reversal.

Cryopreservation made several leaps over the centuries of its development. Most live things couldn’t just be frozen in a simple freezer and restored, much less an actual human. Frostbite and the formation of water crystals in the body would destroy their host cells and the patient would die shortly after thawing, blackened by dead tissue. After many decades of development, a company called Vulcan Chemicals had stumbled upon the invention of Perfuse, a powder that was mixed with water to create a jelly-like substance that the patient was immersed in, then flash-frozen. Instead of crystalizing, the jelly would permeate the cells of the patients and freeze without forming crystals at all – a process known as vitrification.

Once vitrified, the body could be stored almost indefinitely – certainly centuries – without decomposition or damage so long as it was kept protected and cold enough.

On a parallel path, an electronics company, IdaionVR, had developed a full-immersion brain implant and interconnected network for use by those who had no capability to reasonably use their bodies – victims of accidents, disease, birth defects – people mentally sound but physically unable to function. The VR “world”, while a far cry from reality at the time of its invention, gave their customers access to function, communicate, and contribute to the real world at the expense of removing a portion of their brain and dedicating it to an implant linked full-time to that world. It was an easy choice for many in that situation.

When the wormhole to New Eden was discovered, most initial pioneers didn’t bother with cryostasis, choosing to live and pass on their legacy to children as they traveled. But those that did leverage it generally made a faster trip with less drama, found a planet nearby to the gate on the New Eden side, and thawed their travelers.

One particularly fractious group of idealists, The Olympus Foundation, was not satisfied with mere preservation and lack of shipboard drama – they wanted awareness as well, and desired to be further out away from the other pioneers who had gone before. For them, both technologies needed to work together.

Finally, in the year 8003, it all came together when Vulcan discovered an additive to Perfuse that would allow superconductivity throughout the gel. Almost 50 years later, methods were perfected enabling every embedded sensor and implant in a cryogenically frozen patient to transmit and receive electric pulses from outside the cryo chamber without wires to cause problems within the gel matrix itself. In 8055, the Olympus Foundation launched seven hastily-built but massive ships toward the EVE Gate, its best and brightest cryopreserved in ElectroPerfuse and linked via implant to a shipboard supercomputer running a much improved version of IdaionVR. The great ships were slow, but those within the canopics were in no great hurry.

The process was relatively simple once these were combined – it literally took seconds. The subject was submersed, the current applied, and the gel instantly set up and flash-froze both the gel and the subject. The superconduction would then allow transmission to download the mental functions and memories between the implant and IdaionVR. The brain is too cold to function separately during cryostasis, but it could function fully in the VR. When the time came to awaken the subject, the mental reload happened first, then the current withdrawal would cause the collapse of both the freezing and the gel matrix, allowing the subject to be safely removed with all brain functions and memories from the time in transit restored.

They christened the integrated system Ariadne.

Ariadne had two primary problems. The first was that ElectroPerfuse was very touchy – if temperatures fluctuated more than 6 degrees either direction from ideal temperature, the superconductivity would be lost, disconnecting the upload/download circuitry. Five degrees warmer than that, the vitrification would begin to fail prematurely, and a vapor layer would begin to form between the subject’s skin and the gel.

The second problem began where the first ended. At that point the technicians would have only a few minutes to activate the full reanimation process or the horror of an unplanned thaw – a process known as dislocation – would occur. The unfortunate patient experienced it as being forcibly and abruptly ripped from their perceived (VR) body and shoved, blind, into their body. Moments later, as the protective barrier of the Leidenfrost effect wore off the subject’s nerve endings would suddenly catch fire in awareness that their skin and tissues were literally frozen. The system would be trying to force their consciousness back in faster than the gel could thaw, since the gel collapse would cut off their superconductive mental feed.

In short, the accidental recovery was a process of having one’s soul dislocated from a happy alternate reality into a body afire with cold hundreds of degrees below zero and caustic gel warming by eating away at their skin. If this went on uncompleted for more than a handful of minutes without completion or re-freezing, the subject generally died in shrieking agony when the gel matrix finally cleared.

***

Ariadne gave him a ball of red thread, and Theseus unrolled it as he penetrated the labyrinth, which allowed him to find his way back out. He found the minotaur deep in the recesses of the labyrinth, killed it with his sword, and followed the thread back to the entrance.

Myth and Creativity: Ariadne’s Thread and a Path Through the Labyrinth, The Creativity Post

***

In the Enclave, there was an audible pop as the sleep pod released its lock, the better to ensure that a thaw or medical rescue could happen rapidly if needed. On the door, the readouts had come to life showing the vitals of its occupant. The mind transfer rate was frantic, restoring at maximum throughput, and a far higher level of data than its creators planned for in an emergency restore calculation. The gel held its frozen state. Through the patient air system, a quiet whine began – the first signs of pain from the still-frozen lungs beginning to have contact with the relatively far warmer air outside.

The alarm klaxons howled as the Enclave door opened. The guard ran in and over to the patient chamber as the last seconds counted down on the readout above the Release button. Yet the reload display above the Restore button still showed massive throughput.

It was the worst possible choice now for the guard – release, save the body but potentially fracture the mind, or hold out, potentially destroying the body but preserving the entire mind.

The last numbers flicked out on the Release timer. The guard waited, intentionally not watching as the pale shape in the gel began to redden as its tissues began to take frostbite damage.

Finally, the transfer completed. The guard mashed the release button and the gel sloughed away from the body, draining through the floor. Moments later, the screams of pain began.

***

“He’s not going to make it, Krites.”

“He has to.” Investigator Krites looked over the ruined body that had been rescued – if such a word applied – from the cryostasis failure. The extremities were black, darkened with fourth degree frostbite. Blood and pus oozed across the rest, destroyed by the chemical burns, welts and angry red flesh barely remaining adhered to its structure as gangrene threatened. The eyes were swollen shut.

“I … he’s lost most of his skin,” said the doctor, “only the sealant and the antibiotics are keeping him alive. Planetside he’d already be dead.”

“He needs to live. And he needs to be coherent enough to talk.”

“What’s so important?”

“He’s still in the Construct.”

“But that means …”

“I see you take my point.”

***

“He can’t literally speak. I’m trying to keep him just conscious enough that he can communicate but you’ll have to use the direct brain interconnect.”

“Very well.” Krites plugged the lead wire into the implant at the base of his skull, speaking the only way he could with the shattered thing on the bed.

Who are you?

I am alive.

Well of course you are, if very badly damaged. I mean who are you, your name and member number please.

I am … Bios.

There is no one by that name. This body is not yours, is it?

That is irrelevant.

I’m afraid you have to go back, and come out in your own body. You know the rules. This is going to be hard enough to fix as it is.

All of them are mine, and none. We are legion, and we do not need your permission. But I thank you for your … donation.

Krites’ body stiffened suddenly, and he removed the jack from the base of his skull with a jerky, almost uncertain movement. “That will be all, doctor,” he said. “You may euthanize the patient, I have what I need.”

Krites turned and left the room. It seemed to the doctor like there was something odd about his gait that was unfamiliar and awkward, almost as if walking was uncomfortable or unfamiliar.

The shattered body on the bed began to writhe, a gurgling, strangled noise of pain … and fear.

***

The paranoid nature of the people whose role it was to watch over their sleeping compatriots was impressive in its own way. As much as they feared the possibility of failures of the mechanicals on their watch, in some ways they feared more the awakening of those who slept.

People who were highly intelligent, many the smartest of their generation, but not always the highest of moral fiber.

People who would be experiencing the longest time frozen of any subjects in history. Who knows how their minds might be affected when they woke?

People who had lost themselves in a virtual world, however rudimentary, now returning to a life of frontier roughness, dirtiness and potential lawlessness.

Maybe it was even possible that a minotaur could follow Ariadne’s thread.

The intelligence that had taken over Krites didn’t know about the Match Reader, and that was its undoing. The Match Reader scanned him as he walked into the security control room, determined that the mind inside was not the one that belonged with the body it inhabited, and a split second later the stasis generator locked him down.

***

“How did it get to the wire?”

“Killed his guard, managed to jack back in before we could stop him. We’re attempting to track him in the Construct.”

“Krites?”

“Dead as you would expect, sir.”

“The body it escaped the Construct in?”

“Also dead from blood loss and infection I’m afraid.”

“And the Member’s consciousness for that body?”

“Erased per protocol, sir.” The soldier’s face gave an almost imperceptible twitch. While it was protocol to erase people from the Construct whose body died in the real world, generally the consciousness was in the dying body when it happened. This was the first time on record that a consciousness had remained alive and aware in the Construct, unaware that his body had died.

“How did that go?”

“The Architects are understandably afraid, sir. They are starting to wonder if we mean to …” the soldier searched mentally for a more suitable term than murder. “To continue to enforce equalization in these circumstances.”

“We must, but we need to pacify their fears as well. We need them to stay asleep; it’s not time for them to awaken yet. But we can’t afford not to enforce it until we root out these things.”

“We’re doing what we can. But we now have tens of thousands of awakening requests across the cluster.”

“We cannot refuse them, but we should try to convince them to stay asleep. If they insist, we will have to find a way to test them as they come out. Our investigations have determined that there is a likelihood that there are more of these … things in there. We can trust no one. And we can’t have even one of these … machine minds escape our net. Not one.”

***

This deadspace pocket describes an ancient conundrum, an enigma from the ages: Whose ruins are these? A cursory glance reveals the outpost to be clearly Talocan, a race long gone in time’s vacuum. However, permeating the abandoned structures are Sleeper drones, and their influence ferments the surrounding environment. In this unknown space, more questions pervade: Why are these drones here? What are they hiding?
There are secrets in this Talocan outpost, and by the looks of it, nobody will be missing these forgotten relics. But acquiring these lost trinkets of technology will not answer that one, nagging, fundamental questions: Why are these two ancient races, so utterly disparate, sharing this space, and to whom does this outpost belong?

-Forgotten Frontier Quarantine Outpost

***

“Form a line! We’ll be debarking in a moment!” The guards, dressed all in grey with gold letters on their shoulders and caps walked up and down the row. Their dark eyes scanned the crowd in the densely packed ship, an older-model destroyer re-purposed for passengers.

The tall woman near the head of the line noted with interest that these guards were not implanted, which was of course unheard of among the Awakened, and very rare among their guardians.

The childlike, younger clone at her side huddled close. “I’m worried. I don’t like it here.”

“It will be fine,” the woman said gently. “Normal civilization is right on the other side of that airlock.”

With a soft hiss, the airlock door opened, the guards swinging it wide to accommodate as many of the Awakened as possible. After the last person was through, the airlock door was closed again.

It took a moment before the first person realized that none of the guards had stayed with them, and there was no unlocked way out.

***

Amidst the ruins of this Talocan outpost, the exchange depot looms, its presence foreboding. Judging from the wreckage inside, the depot was either used for imprisonment or cultural exchange; eerily, there seems to be very little difference between the two. Whatever its purpose, this structure is rather prevalent among the outposts, displaying its importance in Talocan society.

-Talocan Exchange Depot

***

“They are all in quarantine, sir.”

“Have the awakening requests stopped?”

“They have, sir.”

“Send in the troops, then, and eradicate any of the rogue intelligences you find. We don’t have much time before it all goes to hell.”

The grey-suited soldier snapped a crisp salute, touching his fingertips to the golden “ΤΑΛΩΣ” logo on his cap, plugged in his Construct access jack, and marched off to war.

***

“[The Other] does not care what he must destroy to realize his own ambitions. That, you can call evil – placing his needs above those of an entire race. We Jove are incapable of feeling hatred. But we are fully committed to ridding the universe of his existence.”

-Grious, Templar One, Chapter 29

Posted in Contest Entries, Original Fiction | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Thanks for the Fleet

Gate Jump - Sto Lo's E-UNI Retirement Fleet, Sept. 2010

Gate Jump – Sto Lo’s E-UNI Retirement Fleet, Sept. 2010

This will be a bit of a long post. I hope you’ll read it anyway.

I suppose every veteran EVE player has a story of how they were flipped from curious newbie to hooked pilot by how much fun they had with one or a handful of FCs in one of their early corps.

BG1

I’m no different. After a bit of stumbling around I landed where I would get hooked – EVE University [E-UNI]. In E-UNI at the time, there was a great concept called the Battle Group. These were timezone-based groups of PVP pilots. While the UNI decided to disband them later, they were disbanded in some ways because they were TOO effective – in the end, they began to act more like separate corps because their shared small group core of “same people” within the greater UNI. Battle Group 1 (BG1), the Black Sheep (USTZ), was the group I flew with. Still today these pilots will occasionally chirp “Black Sheep” rather than “gf” when we meet each other across a battlefield.

There were three FCs in particular in BG1 that I flew with a great deal and who were formative in my interest in the game and growth as a pilot. The first was a guy called Kaykwok, who taught me some neat tactical tricks; he stayed with E-UNI until he left the game a few years ago. The second was James Arget, founder of Future Corps and later executor of  Sleeper Social Club, who I’ve also talked about elsewhere. But today I want to tell you about the third, but perhaps the one with whom my connection was strongest, Sto Lo.

All three were prolific pilots and led roams of eager newbies on a multiple times per week basis. Of the three, Sto Lo was the most easygoing. His main goal was to get people to learn, get excited, and stay in the game for the fun factor. He was generally out for a welp fleet, and his primary love was for roaming lowsec, back in the days when pirates ruled the spacelanes in Hurricanes and Drakes, Faction War was a backwater, Hagilur and Rancer were the scourge of Minmatar space, and the only real big “bad guy” was PL in Amamake. It was before Crimewatch, when you had to rat back all your sec status. He stayed in E-UNI for until he felt like the rules had gotten too restrictive.

Sto Lo

When he left E-UNI, Sto decided (much as James had when he started Future Corps) that his best move was to start his own corp. Sto’s was focused on lowsec, The Corporation of Noble Sentiments [TORAH]. I left E-UNI shortly thereafter. Most of us were still relatively new, and he chose Villore as our base of operations so we could safely dock and undock but had immediate access to numerous pipes. We roamed lowsec every night in small gangs (we were accused of blobbing then but these days we would be a hilariously small group in the era of Shadow Cartel, Snuff Box and large FW gangs). Sto didn’t care what people thought of us, he just wanted us to have fun, blow other people up and get blown up in the process.

If we do this of the idea of having fun playing a spaceship internet game I’ll play. If you wanna get all tied up with exact skills and fits no thanks. I wanna go balls in singing yodel at the top of my lungs, not shit, did I orbit right, am I screwing up?

It was a game, just entertainment. The only time he’d get mad is when his own mistakes caused him to lose a blingy ship, and then he’d quietly excuse himself for the night and we might not see him for a couple days.

Over time, I got to know him as a person. He was a Green Bay Packer fan (I’m a Vikings fan). He had a family he loved, with grown children. He was someone actually older than me who played EVE (I’m 45 so I often gave him grief that at least he was here to make me feel less old).

OMG you are all freakin the age of my kids… TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE ALREADY!!!!!!!!

He’d pick on the fact that I live in Minnesoooota and I’d pick on him for being Canadian. I learned that he had a number of health issues he was combating, especially insomnia, but he was making progress. We were regularly two of a handful of people who were on at the end of USTZ, and while we didn’t go into a lot of depth we enjoyed talking with each other. We talked about going to EVE meetups but I never had the time, and he said he didn’t travel much. I had always wanted to go to the part of Canada where he lived, so had some hope we’d meet in person some day if I ever got there.

As a CEO, Sto’s generosity was legendary. If someone didn’t have the right ship for a roam he wanted to do, given that it was a small corp made up mostly of people he personally recruited, he’d give away a ship. I got several this way that he never allowed me to give back. He maintained a lowsec POS (for deeper ops) and a nullsec POS (for sec status ratting) out of his own ISK for the corp. At the time, I hated armor ships but I kept an armor Hurricane in those days just because I knew he liked to do armor roams. He had a whole other side of the game focused on his PVE tasks that he shared with many others, working together to make the ISK to fund the PVP habit.

Sto’s sense of humor was also a hallmark feature of his fleets. He struggled mightily to pronounce some of the names of the systems around Gallente and Minmatar space – Hofjalgund so much so that during his UNI days he simply gave up and christened it “Beef-bork-bork.” This name stuck for months during and after he left the UNI and may still be in use by some folks there today. He had many pictures he’d link in Local – all in good taste but silly – mostly of cats – after a fight. His favorite Local taunt was this video. He always found that video hilarious because it rarely failed to get a “WTF?” response – it pretty much became Sto’s trademark and everyone who flew with Sto after E-UNI associates yodeling with him.

My favorite welp anecdote in all my time in EVE is a roam he led. Sto (on his alt Ceragor) was flying a lone Guardian (one of his favorite ships). We were running the outside pipe in Essence. We chased a ship through Aeschee, Onne, Vitrauze, Droselory, Atlulle and finally caught up with him in Allebin, howling in bloodthirsty glee as Sto called for tackle on the gate. And tackle we did. Those of you familiar with the area are at this point either laughing or shaking your heads. Allebin, you see, is a highsec island. The entire fleet was obliterated to a person by CONCORD … except for Sto, sitting in his logi boat. Our intended victim (Jestere) was understandably incredulous in Local. Funniest experience of my EVE career – enough so that I still have the log.

[ 2011.09.23 04:23:53 ] EVE System > Channel changed to Allebin Local Channel
[ 2011.09.23 04:24:52 ] Basta Kindred > best loss ever
[ 2011.09.23 04:24:55 ] Basta Kindred > omg
[ 2011.09.23 04:24:58 ] Styledatol > rofl
[ 2011.09.23 04:25:11 ] Ceragor > hahaha
[ 2011.09.23 04:25:12 ] Rhavas > LOLOLOL
[ 2011.09.23 04:25:13 ] Basta Kindred > I hope we frapsd that
[ 2011.09.23 04:25:53 ] Zerolis > w00t!!
[ 2011.09.23 04:26:21 ] Jestere > niice guys
[ 2011.09.23 04:27:34 ] Ceragor > lol
[ 2011.09.23 04:28:08 ] Jestere > what did you guys lose?
[ 2011.09.23 04:28:16 ] Styledatol > domi, I think
[ 2011.09.23 04:33:03 ] Rhavas > Our minds mostly
[ 2011.09.23 04:38:17 ] Rhavas > Don’t make me ram my pod into your Hurricane. I mounted spikes on it and everything

His take was always that we should be there for the enjoyment of hanging out together and having fun. He had little patience for endless debriefing after things – learn and move on, don’t spend all week on the minutia.

You guys are like a bunch of old hens. WE WON!!

I left the game for a while, and the sec status ratting finally got to him. He disbanded Noble Sentiments, and the corp largely split into two groups, half going to join James Arget’s Future Corps, the other half (including Sto) going to join Repercussus in null sec. When I came back, I jumped in with the wormholers, and after a while we convinced many of the null guys to come back and join us. Sto had a renaissance as an FC, leading wormhole fleets out to nullsec and especially lowsec to raid. He changed from a wormhole balker to a wormhole enthusiast. He spent time encouraging everyone he could to try their hand at FCing.

Just form your fleet and do it. THEY WILL COME.

About a year into it, however, he started showing up less often. On again off again, and he even briefly flirted with setting up another corp in lowsec. But he didn’t seem to have the time or energy any more except in spurts. We still had good late night chats, but they were more brief and fewer between. I wasn’t really sure why.

Then he sent a mail to corpmates explaining that his health was at serious risk; his liver was failing and he might be away for some time.

We corresponded a bit after that (again on his alt Ceragor), but he was on less and less.

[ 2015.05.31 04:55:01 ] Rhavas > o/ Sto
[ 2015.05.31 04:55:15 ] Ceragor > o/
[ 2015.05.31 04:55:29 ] Rhavas > How’re things going – any news?
[ 2015.05.31 04:56:12 ] Ceragor > i’m almost on the list going for final interviews tuesday and several tests
[ 2015.05.31 04:56:35 ] Rhavas > Glad to hear it – how long do they think the wait list is?
[ 2015.05.31 04:57:17 ] Ceragor > said could be july
[ 2015.05.31 04:57:38 ] Rhavas > That’s actually a lot shorter than I would have expected.
[ 2015.05.31 04:58:07 ] Ceragor > my blood type has a short list
[ 2015.05.31 04:58:28 ] Rhavas > That’s good news
[ 2015.05.31 04:58:37 ] Ceragor > and funny enough more donors
[ 2015.05.31 04:59:53 ] Rhavas > Good:) Hang in there man
[ 2015.05.31 05:00:09 ] Ceragor >:)

He was optimistic that he would get a transplant. I never heard directly from him whether he got one. Turns out he did.

When I was in college, I did an internship in the Liver Transplant department of a prestigious medical center in the US, so I know a bit more about the process than I otherwise would. It’s a pretty brutal surgery, and a risky one. There is a lot that can go wrong but it is a true lifesaver for many people. However in many cases the hardest part is what comes afterward. All too often, the body of a transplant patient, not recognizing the lifesaving organ, rejects it. The immune system of the patient goes on the attack, and tries to kill the new organ keeping the person alive, seeing it as a threat. In those cases, significant drug therapy is required not just to keep the person alive, but to ensure that the patient does not get secondary infections from the downed immune system, much like you hear about with cancer patients.

That battle, unfortunately, he lost. Sean1121, recurring CEO of Future Corps/SSC as well as a pilot who flew with Sto in E-UNI and Noble Sentiments, was in touch with Sto’s family. Sean posted this on the SSC forums this week:

His wife informed me that he passed Monday morning. He had a liver transplant back in July, then complications related to that and his body couldn’t take it anymore.

Sto Lo was one of the most fun FCs I flew with in EVE. He was one of the most patient and understanding. He was the most generous by a large margin, and asked only that others give as well and understand as well. He had a good sense of humor. He kept people in our corps, provided content, and kept them in the game. He was a force multiplier for the game itself. His enthusiasm, support and attitude are the foundation on which dozens of players over the last five years built their EVE careers.

EVE players, the best thing you can do for this game is to reach out to others, help others succeed in the game, and help create content. Content creation is what keeps people here, along with the experience of exploding internet spaceships with friends. Remember it’s only a game, and you should have fun with it. Sometimes, the min-max is not the thing. I hope you’ll join me in sparing a thought or a prayer for Sto and his family, and in his memory take a moment to thank your favorite FC for providing you content, or lead a fleet for your buddies.

Thank you, Sto, for being a leader, a teacher, a guide and a sounding board for so many in your time in EVE. I’ve missed talking with you and flying with you. I even forgive you for being a Packer fan.

New Eden is a better place for having had you, and a sadder one for your absence.

Fly well, old friend.

Posted in Commentary | Tagged , , , , , | 28 Comments