Think about that. It may not make sense at first.
So today CCP Rise casually dropped the names of the new SOE ships in his stats thread on the forums: the Astero frigate and the Stratios cruiser. I’ll admit I was pretty disappointed as these didn’t fit any of the patterns I expected and seemed sadly generic to me. So I took to Twitter to see if the lore folks even had input on the names or they were pulled out of the “Bin O’ Generic Gallente Ship Names”.
So this was an interesting revelation. I’m used to pinging Eterne and Falcon on lore items because they’re active on Twitter, so sometimes I forget that Abraxas is actually their boss as far as lore goes. I forget because Abraxas (a.k.a. @cloisterphobe) is not very active on Twitter.
PLEASE NOTE: From here on this post has lots of nice shiny tinfoil. None of it is proven fact (and I’m betting Abraxas will not confirm or deny anything), but join me in the thought exercise.
So why these seemingly boring and generic names?
If you’re not familiar with Abraxas, he is also the author of “the other book” – namely The Burning Life. As the author of that book, he’s written a lot of in-depth stuff on the individual NPC groups and is pretty uniquely qualified to create those names. But he’s also got a reputation for a few things – namely loving conspiracy theories, surprise endings, and getting in the heads of average-seeming killers.
So the TLDR is this – I think in bold strokes, and would have the Sisters wear their lie on their sleeve, naming their “secret combat ships” as if they are aid ships. Abraxas, on the other hand, is more likely to send an oblique, multi-layered reference and message with his names. Both are pseudo-classical, one Greek, matching the Gallente convention, and one Latin (hinting Amarr) – despite sounding Greek.
Let’s start with the easy one first, since I’ve all but stated it already. Stratios means “from the region called Stratus,” which doesn’t translate to EVE. It really is only close to one word in Latin/English: strata, plural of stratum. Here are a subset of its definitions:
stratum (plural strata)
- One of several parallel horizontal layers of material arranged one on top of another.
- Any of the regions of the atmosphere, such as the stratosphere, that occur as layers.
- (biology) A layer of tissue.
- Synonym (layers of material arranged one on top of another): tier
The story here is one of layers. At its simplest, it suggests exactly what I’ve suggested about Abraxas’ taste – multiple layers of meaning and understanding. This also meshes well with the Sisters – they are many fronts, but as you peel the onion you find more and more curiosities. And no one who doesn’t work for CCP knows what’s at the center of the onion.
The Sisters are also obsessed with the EVE Gate and Wormholes. This ties closely with the “region” and “tier” definitions above. We’ll talk about biology a bit more below.
In the end, the name Stratios is still very nonspecific, but by its own name is fully intended to be so – nondescript on the surface with ulterior motives underneath. Just like its makers.
NOTE: See update at the end of this post, there is a Greek link after all, and it’s a whopper.
This one is a bit more fun. In my initial read-through I was very disappointed with this name. “Aster” is Greek for “star”. Booooring. Obviously it’s a starship. Have we been reduced to this? Is it the last name in the hat?
So I looked up the dictionary listing for aster.
aster (plural asters)
- (obsolete) A star.
- (biology) A star-shaped structure formed during the mitosis of a cell. In some cells, the positions of the asters determine the site of cell divisions.
Wait, what? Now this is interesting, but only to someone who has read too many chronicles and who was way too deep into the wormhole threads a few years ago. We’ll come back to asters and mitosis in a minute.
Why am I even blathering on about biology? Because CCP Dropbear messed up my head when I first started playing this game. He was fond of telling us that the dropped hints were intentionally cryptic: It may not make sense at first. Especially when it came to wormholes. After some time living in a handful of mind-bending forum threads, we came to understand that w-space was Anoikis, a term still used by a small handful of players.
Think about that. It may not make sense at first. The complexity of the Sleeper’s story runs so deeply that it may take some time to understand. Some time indeed, but you should think about it all the same, if you ever want to understand. The pieces of this puzzle are scattered across a wide area, and a stretch of time unlike any event in EVE has seen before. If you think anyone forgot about developing this storyline, if you think the “silence” right now is indicative of apathy or disregard at our end, then you’re (quite understandably) assuming that all of this is being done on the traditional timescale – but that is not the case. All of this – all of it – is unfolding in real time, and it will take either a genius or a collective effort to make sense of the whole from the fragments that remain. We are watching and waiting for the day to come when the capsuleers will move this particular storyline forward. We are still waiting.
Let me tell you now that if you look closely at all things Sleeper, you will be rewarded for it. Nothing was put anywhere by mistake, and very, very, little of it is what you could describe as “filler”. When it comes to the Sleepers, each stroke on the canvas was meant to be there and each part serves a purpose, whether little or…big. There are depths to this storyline that nobody has explored, complexities that have not yet been understood, mysteries that are still waiting to be unraveled, and this is a year and half after the discovery of Anoik…wormhole space.
There’s more out there than people have realized, and more in store than you might expect.
If you think I’m being overly cryptic, then when you all understand this, you’ll also understand why. Simply put, we don’t want to destroy the mystery because it’s not for us to spell it out to you all. That’s the point of all of this – for you all to figure it out. Consider it an experiment in interactive storytelling, and one that has really only just begun.
Anoikis is a type of Apoptosis. Let’s get those definitions out here too.
Apoptosis is the process of programmed cell death (PCD) that may occur in multicellular organisms. … In contrast to necrosis, which is a form of traumatic cell death that results from acute cellular injury, apoptosis generally confers advantages during an organism’s life cycle. For example, the differentiation of fingers and toes in a developing human embryo occurs because cells between the fingers apoptose; the result is that the digits are separate.
Anoikis (or cell-detachment-induced apoptosis) is a self-defense strategy that organisms use to eliminate ‘misplaced’ cells, i.e. cells that are in an inappropriate location. Occasionally, detached or misplaced cells can overcome anoikis and survive for a certain period of time in the absence of the correct signals from the extracellular matrix (ECM). If cells are able to adapt to their new environment, then they have probably become anchorage-independent, which is one of the hallmarks of cancer cells. Anoikis resistance and anchorage-independency allow tumor cells to expand and invade adjacent tissues, and to disseminate through the body, giving rise to metastasis. Thus, overcoming anoikis is a crucial step in a series of changes that a tumor cell undergoes during malignant transformation.
So… as hinted in the chronicle appropriately called Anoikis:
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
In other words, the Sleepers were locked away, metaphorically ejected from the cluster, and expected to die quietly in exile (it’s been a while since I read Templar One, so correct me if I forgot something). But instead they have been reconnected – some believe intentionally – and the “threat of malignancy” is present (despite argument whether that malignancy is the Sleepers, the capsuleers, or the voice in Jamyl Sarum’s head).
Dropbear then added Jita 4-4 into the mix. This chronicle posits the criticality of C3-FTM Acid, which comes from wormholes, in making pod pilots possible. In fact, C3 is the key ingredient in Tech 3 cruiser hull creation, and likely the lore reason for skillpoint loss if you blow up in a T3. It’s the component that mentally links a pilot to a T3.
Long story short, wormhole space is packed with biology references and metaphors. So now let’s go back to the Astero and mitosis.
Aster: (biology) A star-shaped structure formed during the mitosis of a cell. In some cells, the positions of the asters determine the site of cell divisions.
Mitosis is the process by which a cell, which has previously replicated each of its chromosomes, separates the chromosomes in its cell nucleus into two identical sets of chromosomes, each set in its own new nucleus.
So if we torture the metaphors just a bit more, what do we come up with? That the Sisters’ new ship may be geared, from a lore perspective, to counteract Anoikis – either through repopulation, reconnection, or expansion of the gate matrix. In fact, the Asters might determine the site at which these things occur – which strikes me as something the Sisters would like very much.
Sound anything like something you might have heard from CCP Seagull?
UPDATE #1 10/3: First off, CCP Abraxas has actually confirmed that some of this is correct! Granted he wasn’t very specific (tweets are in “most recent” order so start from the bottom):
So I’m pretty happy about that.
Also, my sometime Arek’Jaalan co-conspirator Mark726 of EVE Travel fame reminded me in the comments that I forgot to even mention the “Quarantine Site” and numerous other references to disease and plague (potentially the Jovian Disease) that are all over the Sleeper sites.
Finally, Sarmatiko (@myronik) pointed out this site on Stratios, which is in German and has no English wiki page to match (which, along with the fact that all the other references I found are for Stratius, is why I missed it in my analysis). Happily it is quite short, and says, with assistance from Google Translate:
Stratios (Greek Στρατίος) or Stratichos (Greek Στράτιχος)  is a person of Greek mythology. Stratios is a son of Nestor in Homer … in a [ceremony?] in honor of the god Poseidon, he is the one who leads the animal with his brother Echephron the place of sacrifice.
This, I think, is the “layer in the middle” that I missed. Yes, that’s right folks, your shiny new cruiser is the Sisters’ tool to take the sacrifice to the altar for slaughter! As someone pointed out on Twitter yesterday (apologies, I forgot who) – the Sisters have not always loved capsuleers. Maybe they still don’t!
Take a look at the relevant passage of The Odyssey. I especially love this quote: “[Nestor] prayed … and made offerings to Minerva [Athena], daughter of the Aegis-bearing Jove.” I sense a whole new connection.
I look forward to the Echephron-class battlecruiser and Nestor-class battleship. Thanks for everyone’s insightful comments!
UPDATE #2 10/3: Bingo! \o/ More Abraxas Twitter comments below, again start from the bottom. Thanks for reading!