Aboard Wraith, Near the Sansha Command Center, Saminer, Tash-Murkon
The light was so bright that Rhavas had to reduce his camera apertures to levels normally reserved for a parking orbit around a star. In this case, the light was streaming from a construct in space around the largest Sansha site he had found thus far. The bright light emanated from what seemed to be some sort of emergent portal – it appeared to the ship’s sensors to be contained and locked within its matrix, but ready to burst forth at any moment.
In counterpoint, the dark, organic and sinister bulk of the nearby station blocked out the system’s sun.
Many times in his life as a capsuleer, Rhavas had felt the rush of adrenaline and nerves as he tried to react to incoming fire. It was an ancient animal response to need to quickly react and address an urgent and stressful situation.
But this was the first time he had felt cold, chill fear in as long as he could remember.
Death was not generally a threat to the capsuleer. An inconvenience, an irritant, a frustration. But you always were able to reclone. Unless you didn’t want to, chose not to … or someone chose for you. Living under the Sansha might well make you wish you had simply died after all.
Wraith Capsuleer Log Entry 100916, Saminer, Tash-Murkon
On the way down to Saminer, I was disappointed to find little activity, little of interest, and worse – no clear system that was at the heart of the Shattered Planets circle. What I did determine is that the center is somewhere in deadspace between Asesamy, Lossa, Shesha and Hilaban – all positioned between Tash-Murkon Prime and Saminer. Kerepa is actually closest to the center in some ways as well (it has the lowest standard deviation of distances of any system), but it comes in from the backside of the three-dimensional space between the other systems.
Saminer was much more noteworthy – not for the shattered planets and wormholes, but for the understanding it brought me of the mind of the Sansha.
The Amarr would have you believe that Saminer is a quiet, useless dead-end system. Nothing really ever goes into or comes out of it, positioned as it is on the edge of a great empty space in the galactic cluster.
Those who say this are deluded – or liars. When the Sansha finally have had enough of their isolation, when they finally have enough drooling puppet Slaves, if my calculations are right they will come en masse first for the Amarr. And I believe that the invasion horde will come through Saminer. A handful of jumps later, they could decimate Tash-Murkon Prime, and shortly thereafter Sarum Prime and on to Amarr.
The very first thing I saw in the system was a cynosural field at the system’s lone station. This system is a bridgehead for those transitioning to and from nullsec, especially Stain, where the Sansha still are holed up. What should be an isolated system is instead a critical stop on a hidden highway.
The infamous Traumark Installation is a clear example of what the Sansha can do, even to a huge battlestation. They had clearly done major damage to it. What struck me as strange as I flew around it was just how bad the damage still was. It was still effectively a ruin, despite decades passing since it was torn out from under the proud Amarrian holders. Why wouldn’t the Sansha have fixed it up to use against their foes?
My scan probes soon gave me the answer. While they are well-hidden to the average capsuleer, there are six Sansha stations in the system. The largest, according to my database is Sansha Regional Command. It is quite well maintained and menacing to behold. To make matters worse, a barely-contained energy source sits nearby it, looking for all the world like a gate of some sort in the making.
Saminer also shows dramatic evidence of just how closely the Sansha are linked to the wormhole phenomenon. The system has three drone hives and three wormholes – more than any other system I have ever entered. The drone hives in particular are concerning. Most rogue drone hives are chaotic, organic, crazed things that seem to have little or no order – designed by malfunction. The Sleeper drones in wormholes, on the other hand, craft beautiful symmetric circular shapes. The Saminer rogue drones are not Sleepers. But they are clearly working on the Sleeper drone architecture. It is as if they are learning from them or preparing them for a move to Empire space.
It has been clear that the Sansha have been using wormholes for their attacks on the high security areas. For a long time, I believed that this must dictate that they would come from a wormhole system. This too is a false assumption – and was proven to me by the first wormhole I found in Saminer. I jumped through and found myself in Eldulf, in Molden Heath. No intermediary system, just a straight jump a third of the way across the cluster. No “wormhole generator” was needed. All Sansha would have to do is to gather here and wait for the right opportunity.
Wraith Capsuleer Log Entry 100917, Wormhole J125016
I returned today to take a look at the other wormholes. While they both went to unknown space, both were a revelation for me in their own way. The first was nothing unusual for a wormhole. No strange anomalies or direct ties back to the mystery of wormhole origin or the Sansha preparations for war. What was unusual is that I found my first independent starbase, and saw my first carrier. I got lucky, and no one was home to blow my tiny ship to pieces with a swarm of fighters.
The second wormhole was much more interesting relative to the investigation. While the wormhole itself did not provide any new data toward the case, what it did show me is a stellar phenomenon too like the Eve Gate to ignore. I will have to talk with the team back at Boundless about this potential connection.
While I agreed to help Boundless Creation in this investigation, I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that this cannot stay a secret mission. There is too much here that the cluster – all of the empires – need to know. While I am no fan of the Empress, even the Amarr need to know that they are potentially the first target. What slows me in that thought is that perhaps they already know.
This is the fifth part of a 12-part story. Next – Part 6: Table Talk