THIS IS PART TWO OF FOUR. In Part 1, I lay out the more firm evidence base the below conclusions are based on. Part 3 is actually an appendix to the first two (see the * below) that explains the evolution of one of the theories in this document for aspiring tinfoilers. Part 4 was written a year later, and covers much of what really happened.
(NOTE: This was written prior to the discovery of the Drifters)
By the end of the first post, I had laid out the following evidence based on CCP statements and official lore sources, most in-game, for a likelihood that the Sleepers have:
- A serious need for massive power to support their way of living and travelling
- A highly expert society whose favored method of powering structures is solar
- Access to solar power from both a Dyson Sphere and Sleeper structures
- A feasible interstellar transport mechanism via Talocan structures
- A targeting system for that transport mechanism
- A travel fuel source with massive power, Isogen-5, which is harvested from O1 and B0 class stars, and upon explosion could peel off their outer solar layer (rendering them A0 class), shatter planets and open wormholes
- A major mining, enrichment, processing and storage facility network for Isogen-5
Fair warning that the below is totally tinfoil, based on the previous facts and educated guesses. Also a reminder that all of this should be treated as highly out-of-character information.
I’ve had most of that first post in my head since I wrote my recent story for Pod & Planet, which required me to do some research in Templar One a couple of months ago. But something about it nagged at me and I decided not to post it in the run-up to Rhea because most of it has been guessed at before … and I couldn’t find the “so what?” But then Rhea launched and one bit of evidence suddenly made it all click for me.
The Missing Link – Epicenters
I spent almost a month mostly on the Singularity (SiSi) test server exploring Thera and other places prior to the launch of Rhea. The Epicenter in Thera was cool and suggested some things on its own, but something bothered me about Thera. Why would all the systems CCP was releasing be entirely shattered planets, yet in Thera only the first 9 were shattered … the rest were normal?*
Even at this point, what that suggested to me is that Thera could not be Caroline’s Star. An explosion of Caroline’s magintude would have destroyed all the planets, not just the first nine (actually #3 through #9, since #1 and #2 were already destroyed when the SoE moved in). But despite this, the name “Epicenter” suggested that Thera’s sun was at the core of the explosion…
Then Rhea launched and it quickly became apparent that I was thinking all wrong. There was an Epicenter in every shattered wormhole. This changed everything. 101 Epicenters meant that my original idea, that Thera could not be the center, now made sense. Instead of Thera having to explain everything and sit in the center of the story, Thera suddenly became the shiniest outlier – just one piece of collateral damage among many. This, combined with a “look for something big” tweet from CCP Fozzie, made me run to my keyboard midday and ask everyone to look for a Dyson Sphere.
But if that was the case, why did every one of these stars have no less than twelve Talocan Static Gates, all bound with a Disruption Tower in ways we had never seen before, suggesting an “industrial strength” Gate? Why was the Epicenter site practically on top of the star in each system? That would take a little research.
The Science – Stellar Chemistry and Physics
And then CCP came out and stated that Caroline’s Star was in fact the star of W477-P in Jove space. While listed as a “Red Giant” in text, this star is not in fact a Red Giant (which would be something like a M3 III) but if you look at the star in Dotlan, it is a K5 V, or an Orange/Red Main Sequence star. This in fact fits with the color of Caroline’s star, a bright orange.
Let’s take a quick look at the star types involved. O1 and B0, in the lore, can have Isogen-5 harvested. A0 stars are either natural or the post-collapse version of the previous two (that doesn’t match nature, blame Isogen-5 for having some kind of conversion effect). The Stellar Classification article at Wikipedia is a good source, and provides some quick facts.
- O1 – Class O stars are very hot, very large, and very bright. The bulk of their chemical makeup is hydrogen, followed by helium, followed by some heavier elements like silicon, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon. Class O main sequence stars tend to burn through their hydrogen very quickly. Another interesting fact: as the most massive class of stars, Class O are also the most likely to collapse into Wolf-Rayets … like the frigate shattered wormholes.
- B0 – Class B stars are very luminous and blue. They are primarily helium burners, with some hydrogen and a lesser amount of metals like magnesium and silicon. They are the next step down from Class O in size, still much larger than most stars, and also burn through fuel quickly.
- A0 – Class A stars are white or bluish-white, smaller but still large in relative terms. They are primarily made up of hydrogen and metals like iron, magnesium and silicon.
- K5 – Class K, also referred to as an orange dwarf, is actually smaller than our sun, and cooler. K stars primarily show makeup as being largely of metals like iron, magnesium and silicon.
So what is the story within the data, as related back to the stars of New Eden? The blue stars are burning hydrogen & helium, while the red ones have burned most of that away and are much cooler. So it is likely that in an explosion, we have seen Isogen-5 seem to pull away coronal mass that appears likely to be hydrogen, helium, or a mix of both.
The Star – W477-P
As noted above, due to the CONCORD statement, we now know definitively that the explosion came from the K5 V red main sequence star W477-P. This is the true epicenter (of the Epicenters). We can also guess that since it is tagged as a Red Giant (even though it is not currently one) it would likely evolve along the Red Giant path. This is literally an evolutionary path as shown in the orange line on the diagram (compare to the other diagram above). What happens is this:
The star reaches the main sequence when the core reaches a temperature high enough to begin fusing hydrogen … and establishes hydrostatic equilibrium. Over its main sequence life, the star slowly converts the hydrogen in the core into helium; its main-sequence life ends when nearly all the hydrogen in the core has been fused. … When the star exhausts the hydrogen fuel in its core, nuclear reactions can no longer continue and so the core begins to contract due to its own gravity. This brings additional hydrogen into a zone where the temperature and pressure are adequate to cause fusion to resume in a shell around the core. The higher temperatures lead to increasing reaction rates, enough to increase the star’s luminosity by a factor of 1,000–10,000. The outer layers of the star then expand greatly, thus beginning the red-giant phase of the star’s life. As the star expands, the energy produced in the burning shell of the star is spread over a much larger surface area, resulting in a lower surface temperature and a shift in the star’s visible light output towards the red – hence it becomes a red giant. In actuality, though the color usually is orange.
– Wikipedia, Red Giant
TLDR: When the star burns out all its hydrogen, it starts to collapse until it gets hot enough to burn helium. And when it starts to burn helium, it expands massively – the helium fusion is what causes the expansion.
Now imagine that your highly advanced society has found this nice Class K star (known to be stable on the main sequence for a very long time (15 to 30 billion years, compared to 10 billion for the Sun)) and decided it would be the perfect type of star for a Dyson Sphere. So you build it and live happily for some time.
Then something happens. Either an experiment gone wrong, a tweak too far … maybe that event causes the first one (or two) of the shattered planets. But long story short, you come to the realization that your society and your powergrid and likely your very existence, dependent on this Dyson Sphere to continue, is about to fail hydrostatic equilibrium and begin collapsing toward the helium burn phase.
As a race with the ability to open gates to distant stars, and strip the outer layer of stars, what would you do? Why, you’d get some more hydrogen, of course.
You’d strip mine other stars.
With control over the quantities and capabilities and flow rates of Isogen-5, you could do just that. You would set up a mining colony right by the star, throw up some massive static gates, and start a controlled Isogen-5 reaction to open a rift. The Isogen-5 would pull the solar material from the blue star to the rift, it would pass through to the rift by your red star, and leveraging a reverse process with the Isogen-5 and a little gravity, the extra hydrogen would be sent down to refuel your red star, keeping it going at as close as you can mange to status quo.
And with that the stage is set. A Dyson Sphere around a red star being actively maintained by sucking the hydrogen off other stars. The tricky part, of course, is that Isogen-5 is unstable. So there would need to be a cache at each star being mined, and a cache inside the Dyson Sphere. Further, there would likely be massive batteries attached to the Dyson Sphere itself, holding power to manage the fluctuations that would be caused by the management of that star.
Now we’re just missing one thing: Sansha.
The Hypothesis – Reactor Meltdown
Neither captain knew that the immense stock of isogen-5 which detonated before their eyes was entangled with numerous stockpiles in even greater quantities, assembled for a very specific purpose, and deliberately scattered throughout the New Eden cluster and beyond.
Nor could they know that the ancient race which had placed them there possessed not only a vision beyond the grasp of today’s science, but also the technological advancement necessary to realize its potential.
But all tools, no matter how simple or complex, possess a duality of purpose. Fire can provide life-giving warmth, or can burn the flesh from the bone.
So here’s my hypothetical scenario, based on all you’ve read (and a bit you’ll get in the next post). I’m sure some – maybe all – of it will be wrong. But let’s take a shot.
As the Incursion age begins, Sansha and his minions begin fighting with the Sleepers in what will eventually become some of the shattered wormholes. This war starts with the takeover of just one system: J005299 (we may find others – there are more than one Incursion going most days, after all). Sansha begins to solidify his hold on things in that system, and then begins to study the Talocan Static Gates. His engineers are unable to duplicate the technology, but as experts in overriding things themselves, they do figure out a way to override the gates and make them point where they want them – at least for a period of time. He doesn’t much understand the Isogen-5 itself, except to know that it’s the fuel for his Incursions. But after four years of Incursions with no one to mine new fuel for him, he’s got to start thinking about how to get more himself. So he starts attacking the Sleepers in other places as well.
Meanwhile, the Sleepers and/or Jovians were getting tired of Sansha locking down an important mining colony, and when Sansha’s Nation begins to spread, they have had enough and stage a counterattack.
In J005299, the showdown goes wrong. The Sleepers/Jove begin to attack the Sansha station. Or they find a way to start destroying or disabling the implants that make the True Slaves compliant. Or they threaten the destruction or capture of Kuvakei himself. For whatever reason, the Sansha shoot the remaining Isogen-5 stockpile in J005299.
This event will now make the Seyllin Incident look like a garden party.
Entangled, the explosion in J005299 ignites the Isogen-5 in 100 other systems as well. This in turn opens uncontrolled, unmoderated wormholes … most or all of them pointing directly back at either other now-shattered systems or worse, to the Dyson Sphere world, W477-P.
With the proverbial “giant sucking sound”, 100 blue giant stars have their outer layers pulled forcibly from them in one massive event, and those outer layers are piped directly through the open wormholes and static gates … and directly into the center of the Dyson Sphere. It wouldn’t take long for little K5 W477-P to reach critical mass, fed by the superheated hydrogen of 100 stars, and explode in spectacular fashion.
This explosion would have no resistance during the start of the event as the stellar material bled at speed through the opening in the Dyson Sphere described in Templar One. The Sleeper nanomaterials are described as incredibly heat resistant:
Lanthanum Metallofullerene: This fullerene-lanthanum compound is made by encasing a single lanthanum atom in a cage of carbon atoms. The incredibly high melting point of lanthanum compounds make them ideal for the construction of offensive hardpoints, where heat dissipation is critical to keeping weapons systems operating effectively.
Carbon-86 Epoxy Resin: C-86 epoxy resin is most commonly applied as a thin film to the structures housing propulsion systems. The tremendous flame-retardant properties of materials covered in the resin help prevent heat buildup and minimize onboard fires.
While they wouldn’t hold forever, just through part of the accretion phase – and certainly not through the actual explosion – the materials likely would have held for long enough to contain some of this for a short time. Meanwhile, the material blasting through the gap would create an inital flat shockwave – a true praxis effect that would otherwise be highly unlikely, creating a flat cloud of material rather than a spherical one. Like Caroline’s Star has.
When the Dyson Sphere fails, so does its massive Isogen-5 stockpile. And all the stored battery power. And that shockwave is enough to crush all the material inward, focusing the concussion and sparking the supernova. Caroline’s Star is born. The shockwave blows all the remaining unsustainable material out in a second wave.
But it’s not done yet. Back through the open wormholes goes the material and the shockwave, out not only through normal space but through the wormholes, blasting 70 AU or more out from each Epicenter, and roasting the Sisters of EVE in their hidey-hole.
Want to find out (at least part of) the truth of the matter? Check out Part 4.
* How I finally came to explain why there were nine shattered planets in Thera was a long and tortuous story of its own, that has evolved right up to the point I am writing this post. That journey is the subject of Part 3.