Aboard Wraith, Geztic, Khanid
In the end, the mysteries around the shattered planets were less about the planets themselves than the stars that they orbited. The scientific community of New Eden had spent countless hours reviewing data about the Sleepers, wormholes and how they behaved. Rhavas’ own studies had highlighted the importance of the A0 Blue designation.
His Chief Science Officer had sent him two sites to investigate, and both were intriguing. As with much of this effort, his targets were on opposite sides of empire space. The first was here at Geztic, and the second was Barkrik, far from here in Metropolis near Hek. The scientific community had theorized that both were communication nodes that might be related to the wormholes and Sleepers.
As he sat and watched, the Caldari shuttle orbited over and over at a ridiculously close orbit to the Geztic sun. Shielding, particularly Caldari shielding, would hold up pretty well for a time under the intense solar radiation and heat, but Rhavas had reports that the ship had been here for a year or more. It was remarkable that the tiny ship hadn’t become merely a heap of orbital molten slag.
The probes unbelievably confirmed his officer’s report – there were life signs aboard.
Wraith Capsuleer Log Entry 101112, Geztic, Khanid
The probe couldn’t tell me much, but it highlighted two key things.
First, that the shuttle had some sort of receiver aboard that was directly interacting with the star’s magnetic field. This, of all things, is very suspicious. One of the known quantities from the Seyllin Report is that the Isogen-5 driven explosions of the shattered worlds’ stars were driven out to the planets along magnetic field lines. Could a ship like this have been the instigator? The aiming mechanism? A portal of sorts to connect back to w-space systems before the wormholes opened up?
Second, that there is a faint life sign aboard, similar to a human in cryogenic stasis. This too echoes the things I have found so far. After all, what could be more of a “sleeper” than this?
I have processed all the data I can find through the scientific record now that I have firm telemetry data and signature codes from my scans, and the CONCORD conflict report data are disappointing to say the least. Other scientists have been here before me, and have fired weaponry of all kinds at it, as well as activating electronic warfare, hacking and archaeological equipment focused on it – all to no avail. That’s right, no one was able to blow up a shuttle. Not even dent the shield.
My own efforts with hacking and archaeology equipment were equally ineffective. I am led to conclude that there is something completely awry here that may have much deeper meaning once someone comprehends it. Either there is some new sort of impenetrable shield technology, the sun’s magnetic field is being diverted into the ship’s defenses, or the shuttle is slightly out of phase with the rest of the universe around it, rendering it untouchable.
I am only disappointed that I have been unable to puzzle it out after several days of investigation. I will be returning to Metropolis to investigate Barkrik tomorrow.
UPDATE: My fellow explorer Mark from Eve Travel visited Geztic as well not long after this was posted.
Aboard Wraith, The Hyperbole Nexus, Barkrik, Metropolis
The science officer’s report specified a site known as the Hyperbole Nexus in Barkrik as another potential link in the chain. Being within spitting distance (astronomically speaking) of Hek, the site was well-known, if not well-visited. Rhavas Aura unit passed along what little information was available as he warped in to the site.
Before the technology for employing crystals for faster-than-light communication was invented, various other techniques were used to bolster celestial communication. Half a millennium ago the Amarrians discovered a space phenomenon – places in that seemed to echo with other similar places elsewhere. They learned to tap into these echoes, greatly boosting the strength of communication devices. Though these places are today largely neglected, there are some people that feel a connection to them. The Hyperbole Nexus is one such place.
The first thing that struck Rhavas was that despite being much further from the local Ao Blue star than the shuttle had been, the Hyperbole Nexus was awash in light scatter from the nebula that surrounded it. It was difficult to register the details of his surroundings given the glare that threatened to overwhelm the apertures of the camera drones.
The second thing that struck him was the odd multi-ringed contraption that floated in space at the heart of the Nexus. Aura only identified it as a Particle Accelerator, and didn’t have much else to say on the matter. And normally, Rhavas would have dismissed it as unworthy of further notice. However, he had spent far too much time with the scientific community studying other snapshots recently. It was a thread that ran through many of the “mysterious sites” in New Eden – this multi-ringed yet usually nonfunctional artifact. It was common enough to find it tied to Sleepers (the constellation of Ani, of which Barkrik was part, had more Sleeper artifacts than any other place in New Eden) and Rogue Drones that it could not be dismissed that these rings could be tied to the greater history behind the events that created the shattered planets.
One scientist, Umega, had posted a photo that he had taken before realizing he had an important find – he no longer remembered what system held the artifact, only that he thought it was in Caldari space. From the photo, it was likely an A0 Blue. Mark from Eve Travel also posted a photo of Crielere station showing the same multi-ringed structure at the famed lost research facility.
Another, much more alarming, had been posted by an unknown capsuleer – a Rogue Drone Hive in the system of Vellaine (interestingly an orange star rather than the A0 Blues that had dominated Rhavas’ research). This photo showed another of these strange multi-ring creations … but this one was activated. Worse, it was attached to a drone hive that looked very much like a Jovian station under construction.
Rhavas didn’t have enough data to draw any real conclusions. But it did not take a scientist to guess that this part of the story was far from concluded, and implicated a great many parties.
This is the 10th part of a 12-part series. Next: Part 11 – CONCORD’s Fine Print.