PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS POST ONE OF FOUR. It covers the baseline facts that support my theorizing. Part 2 covers the actual theorizing and tinfoil hattery. Part 3 covers the evolution of one of those theories. Part 4, written a year after the fact, highlights the reality of much of what really happened.
So, the other day I published a panicked and hasty post asking people to look for the wreckage of a Dyson Sphere around the former location of Caroline’s Star, with little other information to explain why I might suggest such a thing.
I’ll start with this: This is going to be a very long post, because I lay out all the evidence behind my upcoming tinfoil hattery for your review. If you want the super-short TLDR, just go read my earlier post and do what it says. If you want a slightly more detailed TLDR, check out the next post and read just the tinfoil hattery. If you want the deep detail, read on.
With the clarity of a week of hindsight with nothing found, I am still of the opinion that we will find the obliterated wreckage of a Dyson Sphere some day, but I now suspect we will not in fact find it until some future release – someone should have found it by now if it were in one of the new shattered wormholes. So in service of that future day, let’s fold some tinfoil and see how close we can get to believable. I say: pretty damn close. As always, this is Out of Character Knowledge, don’t use it in roleplay channels (i.e. Arek’Jaalan) or the Intergalactic Summit.
First off, we need to prove that there is a power grid demand – and supply – related to the stars in Sleeper systems.
The Powergrid Need – Why Would Sleepers Need Phenomenal Power?
Well, from my perspective this is pretty clear. Let’s look at how the Sleepers live.
- They need to sustain millions, perhaps billions, of lives in perfect cryopreservation
- They need to store and recharge every Sleeper combat drone you’ve ever met, and ever killed – enough to hold off capsuleers for 5 years and various Jovian sub-societies for Bob knows how long.
- They need to store and recharge every Sleeper drone you haven’t met, including the new Seekers and Bob knows what else – biomass is certainly needed to “make more Sleepers” and feed the bodies of those existing – someone has to gather or make it. It is actually possible that making or synthesizing matter is more efficient than gathering it for this society, so long as they have a massive amount of available power.
- They need to maintain a capability to repair and build those drones ad infinitum
- They need to build, expand and maintain a virtual reality so perfect it is indistinguishable from reality, supporting perfect immersion for millions or billions of “players”
- [UPDATE: People on Reddit were utterly fixated with my wording of this statement, so I tweaked it to be less utterly certain that quasars are the farthest locations. That said, “the farthest” and “really damn far” aren’t much functionally different when you’re talking intergalactic travel distances by spaceships.] They need to maintain a capability (originally created by the Talocan – more about that below) that can casually throw things literally across the space between galaxies – the w-space systems were named for the quasars they were directed toward – far, far away from New Eden.
The Powergrid Evidence – Templar One and CCP Dropbear Say So
Then we began accelerating, faster and faster toward an area near the galactic center and into a starfield. I saw a perimeter forming; a dark sphere emerged where there should have been more points of light. A brilliant line opened about its circumference as we accelerated closer, and it kept growing larger and larger to where my eyes could resolve the details on an impossibly colossal structure. This line was an opening large enough for an entire planet to fit through. As we passed, I realized this civilization had built an empire that enveloped an entire star, harnessing all its energy.
– Templar One, Chapter 24
Of course, the most obvious evidence that such a Dyson Sphere structure exists is the fact that Templar One flat out says so. However, it’s not as simple as it may seem at first. The sequence in which that paragraph appears is effectively one that is a man being guided by a mechanized Jovian automaton through the memories of a Sleeper … not an eyewitness account but a view filtered through the impressions of not one but at least three intermediaries. So while it’s pretty definitive, it’s not a perfect slam dunk. It also doesn’t give much of a hint at all regarding precise location of such a place. So to firm up the theory, we must go deeper, into more circumstantial evidence.
If you’re planning on not being around, as it were, what’s your safest, most easily acquired, 100% guaranteed source of electricity?
– CCP Dropbear, May 25, 2010
The strongest theories about the meaning of Oruze are based on what is directly observable in wormhole space. The Oruze Enclave at the Mirror: Solar engineering, thermovoltaics and photoelectrics. The Oruze Construct, which somebody needs to take a good screenshot of, preferably from directly above.
Then Oruze Osobnyk. Various translations of it point to different things. The most direct translation is home or more functionally, storage. Togther, Oruze as Sun, and Osobnyk as storage, could mean something as simple as solar power storage. In the context of who we’re dealing with, a civilization called the Sleepers, that went into some kind of hibernation…it also seems to align.
– CCP Dropbear, July 28, 2010
One thing that has been pretty well established in Sleeper lore is that all of their capabilities are driven at least in part by solar power.
The Powergrid Evidence – Sleeper Power Structures
Sleeper structures are generally tuned toward one of two things – management of data or management of power. In most cases, the management of data is first and foremost in peoples’ minds as they look at these items, but back when things started, the focus was on things like the meaning of Oruze. And as noted above, it was determined that Oruze meant Sun, and Osobnyk means Storage. Let’s look at each of the known key components of the Sleeper power apparatus.
Most Sleeper structures are also heavily dependent on a key structure, the Sleeper Thermoelectric Converter: “Despite countless years in space, this structure appears to be entirely functional. A brief analysis of the technology inside reveals that it operates as some kind of central power source for other Sleeper facilities. Faint seams in the rigid armor suggest it may even house a docking port to power the Sleeper’s automated drones.”
The Thermoelectric Converters adorn almost every Sleeper construct. They likely provide the local power for the site you are in … to an extent. There are a few exceptions that seem to have broader purposes than local power, however.
Solar Cell (Class 3 Site): “Astrophysicists studying Sleeper sites have noted that some Sleeper structures are still operational – and by design, no less. Outposts run basic life support systems, engineering stations buzz with running motors, and stations glimmer with light, energy, and mundane activity. No known reason exists for this persistent operation, but a few clues emerge. This cluster of thermoelectric converters is common around large solar bodies, supposedly for collecting radiation and storing energy for use throughout Sleeper colonies: a persistent generator for a dead race. Even to this day, this structure is operational, although how it distributes its energy and for what purpose is still unknown.”
Note the key phrase “throughout Sleeper colonies” – this is the intra-system (the inter-system version is the theoretical Dyson Sphere) capability to gather bulk energy. Think of it as the power plant for the system.
Oruze Construct (Class 3 Site): “The mysterious structure inside this deadspace pocket offers few clues as to the purpose it once served. An enclave positioned at the heart of the construct appears to have been entirely redesigned in some way, to serve a goal now long-forgotten. The only insight into the unique architecture is the word “Oruze,” which continually resurfaces throughout the garbled, largely indecipherable transmissions that emanate from within.”
This one still has some level of mystery to it, but based on the fact that you have the “fusion reactor” (a star) and the “power plant” (Solar Cell), my belief is that the Oruze Construct is the power distribution mechanism. It is worth noting that the “entirely redesigned” statement is the same on both structures – suggesting again the difference between this “power” structure and the more common “data” structures. I don’t pretend to know how it works, just that it does.
Oruze Osobnyk (Class 5 Site): “The mysterious structure inside this deadspace pocket offers few clues as to the purpose it once served. Similar compounds — albeit far less complex than this one — have been reported, each featuring the same huddled architecture, evocative of the enigmatic Phantom cruiser. What relation the “Oruze” structures may have to one another remains a mystery. An enclave positioned at the heart of the construct appears to have been entirely redesigned. It is flanked by two others, which in turn are hedged in by engineering stations that themselves seem to have been redesigned. The only insight into the unique architecture is the word “Oruze Osobnyk,” which continually resurfaces throughout the garbled, largely indecipherable transmissions that emanate from within.”
This one is the kicker – solar energy generally waxes and wanes – sometimes you gain more than you need and sometimes you don’t get enough. To even this out requires a battery – ideally a massive one with major backup and redundancy – after all, there are frozen people who need to stay alive in these structures. The Osobnyk is the battery.
The Powergrid Evidence – Rhea Sleeper & Jove Structures
Two key things released in Rhea seem to highlight the failure, and thus existence of this hypothetical powergrid.
- The sudden cloaking problems of Sleeper (in the Cache sites) and Jovian (the Unidentified “station”) structures across k-space concurrent with the appearance of Caroline’s Star. Let’s say for argument’s sake that all Sleeper and Jovian architectures have some level of built in capability but they leverage a broader network to achieve power flow balance. Think of it like a city whose entire population has solar panels that feed the grid – so you build the grid big enough to fill the void. If the main grid goes down, all of a sudden the solar panels are enough to power your fridge but it dies if you turn the lights on.
- The sudden “disappearance” of a large number of gates in Jove space. It is entirely possible that the gates themselves are still there – they just lost power and have gone inert. What a great place to discover new gate tech that we have to make work, don’t you think?
OK, great. So thus far it looks like there is evidence or likelihood of:
- A serious need for massive power
- A highly expert society whose favored method of powering structures is solar
- Clear statements from CCP sources about a Dyson Sphere and solar power
Based on that I don’t think an interstellar powergrid is much of a stretch. So now let’s talk about what we know about star-sized and powered explosions in New Eden, along with fuel sources.
The Explosion Evidence – Isogen-5 and the Shattered Planets
So what we are pretty confident of about Caroline’s Star is that it was some sort of massive explosion. So let’s briefly look at the history of stellar explosions in EVE. Only one, the “bright star”/Bootini star of the Empyrean Age, was seen across systems.
Georgik Sogik did a great job of chronicling this over at Crossing Zebras so I won’t repeat all of that here. What’s important to note for our discussion here is what did not rise to that level of cross-cluster brightness – the Seyllin Incident.
The Seyllin Incident, for the few who may not be aware, occurred in May YC111 (2009). Seven k-space O1 and B0 class stars threw off massive amounts of coronal material, obliterating the first planet in each of those systems (I have studied these extensively and you can read more I wrote about them here and here and will be posting a summary of these events on Crossing Zebras myself Soon™). The cause of these explosions were large caches of a radioactive “negative mass inducing” isotope, Isogen-5.
The caches throughout k-space were quantum entangled and when one was shot, the others simultaneously exploded, shattering their own planets, and in the process opening what today we know as wormhole space.
Yet this was not enough to make them seen throughout New Eden. Isogen-5 would be an excellent fuel for our explosion, but we’d need more – much more – to make an explosion like Caroline’s Star.
Thankfully, Thera is kind enough to provide us this evidence. In Thera we find that there are fully nine shattered planets … yet the planets beyond #9 are still whole (remember that, we’ll come back to it next post). We also know that there were two shattered planets already in place when Thera was discovered by the Sisters of EVE, leaving seven more to be destroyed.
This means that at minimum the event that caused Caroline’s Star was seven times (9-2) more powerful than the Seyllin Incident, conservatively assuming linear progression jumping from planet to planet in a direct line as we saw at Seyllin (if area of effect, it would have been exponential progression). That might make a nice light in the sky.
The Transport Evidence – Talocan Structures
Now that we have a source of explosive fuel identified, do we have any evidence that the Sleepers actually used it for anything? We do know that Isogen-5 is known to be the cause of wormholes, because it is the secret ingredient – namely “exotic matter” with “negative mass”. It is also highly unstable. But while functional as a transport capability, wormholes are unreliable – think of them as the “uncontrolled state” of the Talocan travel technology.
The “controlled” version is the Talocan Static Gate.
Talocan Static Gate: This standing structure shares many similar aspects with modern acceleration gates. Whispers among Talocan lore-keepers tell of the Talocan’s firm grasp of astronautical engineering, and this gate may offer some insight into this ancient race’s knowledge.
The Static Gate is probably the most obvious item in the transport network. It appears to have been a universal gateway – transporting data, power and fuel from system to system instantly. The obvious fuel for these gates is Isogen-5. It explains why it was being collected and brought to sites by Sleepers, and why in the new systems those gates are so close to the sun (the Epicenters). The new shattered systems were Isogen-5 “mines”.
I can hear some of you thinking “but why would the Talocan structures be used by the Sleepers? I have theorized that it is likely that the Sleepers and the Talocan were once contemporaries, and shared this technology. Further, I believe that the Sleepers have maintained it to the extent they are able. This is further reinforced by comparing the old Talocan Static Gates (above, solo and dim) to the new ones at the Epicenter sites. This is true because the Sansha appear to have figured out a way to override the much larger Epicenter gates as I described in a previous post. If the Sansha could figure a way, the Sleepers certainly could.
Furthermore, the new k-space Sleeper sites reinforce this with miniature transport rifts leveraging coordinates (much like the Ancient Coordinates Database might have), a Sleeper application of Talocan tech.
Cache/Epicenter Spatial Rift: Superficially similar to natural phenomena observed throughout space, this spatial rift appears to be artificially generated by a talocan static gate array. Observations have shown that large quantities of dangerous gamma radiation and x-rays are pouring out of the rift. If this tear in space-time leads anywhere it is likely to be very inhospitable.
The Explosion Evidence – Sleeper and Talocan Fuel Structures
The physical evidence also seems to bear out the theory that fuel is passed through the combined systems, leveraging both Talocan and Sleeper structures.
Talocan Extraction Silo: This towering structure contains all the basic elements of a regular silo: cavernous storage areas, thick walls, extensive ventilation, etc. Based on the scans of this silo, however, the silo’s previous contents are unknown.
The descriptions of the Talocan structures are still the same as before, but looked at in this context, all of a sudden things like the word “extraction” begin to make more sense. The first step: extract the Isogen-5 from its location.
Next, however, the Sleepers find a way to add a little something to the older Talocan technology – enrichment.
Phase Catalyst Node (Class 1 Site): “Long-distance scanners reveal a multitude of structures secreted away behind dense gas nebulas. Almost regal in appearance, the compound features various thermoelectric converters connected to one another in a strange formation, running the energy they produce through concentric arches that ascend like the stairs to a throne. Whether the architecture serves a function or exists purely for aesthetic reasons remains a mystery.”
So what’s a “Phase Catalyst”?
Phase-transfer catalysis refers to the acceleration of the reaction upon the addition of the phase-transfer catalyst. By using a PTC process, one can achieve faster reactions, obtain higher conversions or yields, make fewer byproducts, eliminate the need for expensive or dangerous solvents that will dissolve all the reactants in one phase, eliminate the need for expensive raw materials and/or minimize waste problems.
In other words, this structure is a “fuel booster” – it makes the raw material convert to a more portable or capable form more efficiently or rapidly.
Talocan Reactor Spire: Centuries of emptiness have left this Talocan outpost’s central hub in disarray, but the chambers and corridors inside portray a busy (if very spartan) existence. Advanced technology minglers with rustic repairs and patchwork assemblages. Some of the technolody is ancient and very rudimentary in design, harkening back to cultures long gone, yet with hints of familiarity.
Next, any necessary reactions to the fuel are completed, based on the long-standing Talocan methods.
Strange Energy Readings (Class 6 Site): “The radiation levels of this site are high but within tolerable limits. Wavelength readouts suggest a large cache of a powerful isotope was once housed here, but no solid traces remain. The level of radiant antimatter can only be explained by an immense–and recent–matter displacement.”
And finally, the finished goods are stored, ready for transport to other systems for use. The “powerful isotope” is beyond likely to have been Isogen-5.
So this is probably a good spot to pause and review, because in part two it’s going to get a lot weirder, more theoretical, and more tinfoil-y.
We now have shown a likelihood of:
- A serious need for massive power
- A highly expert society whose favored method of powering structures is solar
- Clear statements from CCP sources about a Dyson Sphere and solar power
- A feasible interstellar transport mechanism
- A targeting system for that transport mechanism
- A fuel source with massive power
- A major mining, enrichment, processing and storage facility network
Next, we’ll extrapolate in part two of four. But now you have the base to work from.