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.
– 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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
What 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
I 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.
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.
It 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.”
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.
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.