THIS IS POST 3 OF 4 IN THIS SERIES. The first contains the bulk of the documentable evidence and the second contains the tinfoil hattery of how I think Caroline’s Star occurred. This one is an anecdote to show how easily the theorizing can go wrong. The fourth was written a year later, and examines what really happened.
As I began to investigate Thera on the Singularity (SiSi) test server prior to the release of Rhea, I got very excited about one fact: while CCP had stated that all the new shattered wormholes were completely shattered, Thera was not – only planets 1-9 were. As someone who spent years studying the shattered planets this was a massive red flag, and led to the first hypothesis I had on why so much shattering.
HYPOTHESIS 1: There are nine shattered planets in Thera! There are nine shattered planets prior to Phoebe! These things must be related – when the Seyllin Incident happened, it shattered nine planets in our world and nine in Thera, and potentially nine in each other wormhole. This was possible because the lore already confirms that the masses of Isogen-5 are quantum entangled. If they are with each other, why not across the spectrum?
Then CCP Fozzie published the Thera devblog. If you read it for the lore rather than the mechanics, a statement stands out:
The innermost pair of planets show signs of shattering similar to that seen in previous candidate locations.
~ Zakari Kovalis, Exploration Vessel Katydid, Log Entry YC112.07.09
This kills part of my hypothesis, forcing a restatement of it. In short, two of the planets were shattered before the Sisters of EVE got there. This actually makes my theory better in some ways, so I am still happy.
HYPOTHESIS 1A: There are nine shattered planets in Thera! There are nine shattered planets prior to Phoebe! These things must be related. A long time ago, the Sleepers or Jovians or Enheduanni had an accident or two. Those two accidents taught them the dangers of Isogen-5 and each incident caused the shattering of one of these planets and one of the existing w-space shattered planets (the original nine are seven in k-space and two in w-space). Then when the Seyllin Incident happened, it shattered seven planets in our world and the other seven in Thera again via entanglement.
This hypothesis was exciting and I couldn’t wait to see it borne out in Rhea. Coincidentally, at this point I was thinking that the cause was The Sanctuary building a a new type of gate modeled off the EVE Gate and having it explode in their face.
Unfortunately, the tinfoil gods again frowned upon me, and I dropped the SOE idea and pursued the one I eventually wrote up relative to cause. With an Epicenter in every system making it obvious that Thera was not necessarily the epicenter of the explosion, and explorers posting varying numbers of shattered planets (all less than nine, however, so parts of it still held), it started to feel weaker than I liked. And then CCP Delegate Zero posted CONCORD’s statement on Caroline’s Star, confirming that it was W477-P in Jove space that exploded. While it was good to have this fact, it totally messed everything up. All the stars in the shattered story over the last five years that had any relevance were either A0, O1 or B2 stars – all blue. W477-P was orange-red. It forced me to reconsider the whole hypothesis. I took a look on Dotlan and a potential answer jumped off the page. W477-P had seven planets! Yeeees! That must be it!
HYPOTHESIS 2: There are nine shattered planets in Thera! There are nine shattered planets prior to Phoebe! These things must be related. A long time ago, the Sleepers or Jovians or Enheduanni had an accident or two. Those two accidents taught them the dangers of Isogen-5 and each incident caused the shattering of one of these planets and one of the existing w-space shattered planets (the original nine are seven in k-space and two in w-space). The Seyllin incident was contained to k-space and at a much smaller scale, despite being similar to the Caroline’s Star incident. When Caroline’s Star exploded, entangled caches at its seven planets caused parallel shattering throughout the new shattered wormholes, including Thera, via entanglement.
And that’s where things were as I published the first post in this series. This hypothesis was going to be part of the big reveal for the second post, which I was writing last night.
My corpmate Uxeric Straevaras (@Straevaras on Twitter) has actually been a shattered-exploring fiend and has been in far more of these wormholes than I have. He’s also done a great job of taking pictures and tracking not only some of the results I wanted but also some of his own on statics, etc (he is one of our master scanners and an SSC Director). The two of us have spent most nights since Rhea bantering theories and data around on comms.
Back to last night. Straevaras told me he had downloaded the SDE, and might be able to help me verify my theory. The first test: Were there any shattered wormholes that had more than nine planets at all? Answer: Yes – both J010000 and J000487 have ten planets, and Thera has fourteen. Ugh, that could be a problem. But what kind of planets? If they were not shattered, the theory would still hold. Verdict: They too were shattered.
Now I had a big problem. I had two shattered planets that didn’t work. Based on my hypothesis and entanglement, J010000 X and J000487 X should have been normal planets, but they were not.
So I threw out that theory and spent some time grinding the gears all over again. What else was unique or unusual? An answer came to me: Thera’s enormous size. What if there were no entangled sites at the planets, the only connection was at the Epicenters – and they were so big that the stars themselves fireballed rather than sending out magnetic field-directed coronal mass ejections?
Using a single centralized explosion as the base, Straevaras re-ran the SDE data. Thera IX, which is shattered, is 56 AU from the star. Thera X, which is not shattered, is much further out at 87 AU. So long as none of the other new systems showed any planets beyond about 80 AU, it would hold. Voila, J010000 X is the next-furthest from its home star, at 70 AU.
To put this in perspective, if we had the Red Giant star Antares in our own solar system, its radius would extend out past the orbit of Mars (which varies between 1.4 and 1.7 AU). Neptune is at a fairly stable 30 AU, and Pluto sits out at a mean of 40 AU with some wide variances. J010000 X is 70 AU out, almost double the distance of Pluto, and Thera X sits at 87 AU, more than double the distance of Pluto. While skeptical that anyone would have survived the radiation blast, I can potentially accept that at that distance that maybe the planets themselves and stations would have survived, if horribly scarred.
HYPOTHESIS 3: There are two shattered planets that the Sisters of EVE found in Thera; there were also two wormhole shattered planets prior to Phoebe. These are likely related. A long time ago, the Sleepers or Jovians or Enheduanni had an accident or two. Those two accidents taught them the dangers of Isogen-5 and each incident caused the shattering of one of the old w-space shattered planets. The Seyllin incident was contained to k-space and at a much smaller scale, despite being similar to the Caroline’s Star incident. When Caroline’s Star exploded, entangled caches at 101 stars, including Thera, in turn caused massive explosions in those stars, which destroyed everything in those systems within 70 AU of the star.
Honestly, I liked my original hypothesis better. But facts, as they say, are stubborn things.
In some ways, this actually helps my broader tinfoiling, because it further supports my “catastrophic feedback via the Talocan Static Gates” theory of why Caroline’s Star exploded.
Be careful folding that tinfoil. It rips easily.
Learn more about what really happened in Part 4: Kardashev’s Children.
Great detective work!
I am currently holding three Shattered Wormholes. Two have 5 planets; one has seven. All are less than 35 AU from their AOIV suns. All are shattered.
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A couple things have been nagging me (I do by the way love this series, and the information around it. It is wonderful, and I only hope to help it be better)
A couple of these things could be down to the “age” of the data that concord et all has about the system with Caroline’s star. First being that if there was a dyson sphere that existed before the database was made how the flip do we know there is a star?
In a semi hard sci fi mode if the database didn’t come from the first peoples of eve (long before the sleepers began construction) then a dyson sphere would have completely covered the star. we would get some black body radiation on the outside because of heat bleed through, but nothing on the scale of a detectable (and classifiable) star. First the sphere would have to be much bigger than the star (several times the diameter) or it would cook sleeper tech or no. Because of this the black body radiation (assuming for a moment “best case” scenario for detecting it: no power drained) would be orders of magnitude cooler than the containing star.
The surface area of a sphere is relative to 4 times the radius squared, so the growth is an exponential relationship to the diameter. It would get very dim (in black body terms) very quickly because even if none of the radiation energy of the star was used it would be spread over a much bigger are.
Problem two is unless these are old pieces of star system info is that there are planets around that star. a dyson sphere is “REALLY FRICKIN HUGE!!!!!!” it takes incredibly massive amounts of matter to create. Look at the mythos around the dyson sphere from Star Trek TNG it sits in an empty void of stars for light years around it. It was probably once neighbored by numerable systems, but every bit of matter was syphoned up and converted for use in the sphere. If there was one in the system with Caroline’s star then the first place anyone would have went for materials to build it is the plants in system, they would end up being dark dead worlds once cut off from solar radiation anyways.
you did however get me thinking about another possibility: there is a sphere, it was supposed to do the exact things that you think the function served, but its not there, its somewhere else, and running out of time (or has ran out of it). The sleeper tech realizes that the old main sequence star they built their sphere around is dying, the core despite careful massages with extra hydrogen is too large. too hot, and possibly has too much iron in it (side note since iron cant exothermically fuse with anything so an iron core that is too large to be gravitationally stable is the real star killer in our universe)
What are they to do? find another star and move the damn thing before its too late. they find W477-P its a good system, no pesky capsulers etc, and they begin work, either taking apart the old one (might even explain the gap in the one seen in Templar, a ring world is the likely first step to a sphere as they can be made to have a stable orbit) or by doing a combination after concord’s database of the properties was made. Somehow they got it wrong, either sancha interference or just plain old bad luck meant that a switch feeding the star hydrogen was thrown too soon… boom goes the thermonuclear dynamite
I think your analysis is pretty solid. This, however, is where I sort of have to draw the “I wish CCP would let us know what we would clearly know” line. This was a major deal with the Arek’Jaalan project as well. We would know spectra of stars at a distance. We would be able to estimate things that astronomers today can. We would be able to detect traces of things like Isogen-5. But somewhere “cool game story” separates from hard fact and we’re left to guess.
I also think assumptions were made along the way in The Empyrean Age of things like a Dyson Sphere (which the books describe) and a Dyson Cloud (which today seems much more likely to succeed). A lot of this comes down to internal consistency of facts even if those “facts” don’t work in our real-world universe. And of course you’re right that it should have been cold, dark, and massive at a distance.
Along with the absolute massive amount of matter it would take to make one. If I recall correctly, to make a Dyson Sphere around Sol at Earth distance, we would have to use the entirety of material in the solar system other than the sun, and that would make a sphere 3 cm thick. That said, I figure if the Talocan/Sleeper/Jove combo can siphon stars, stealing planet stuff from other systems to make a Dyson Sphere would be relatively straightforward.
I also agree that it’s nearly certain that our info on what is “really in Jove space” is wrong. I expect that CCP will make a number of alterations before they let us in (assuming that is their plan, which I think it is).
I actually like the idea of entanglement playing back in with a separate star as well. One of the things I dance around in these posts is whether the Sphere is built/owned by the Jove or the Sleepers … and honestly I have no idea. Templar One and the location of Caroline’s Star argue for it to be the Jove. But I think need and action suggest the Sleepers. Hopefully someday we’ll know!
My main issue is what do we know in game? if we know the number of planets etc around a particular star (even one we cant reach) how do we know it? is there a database that concord etc found listing all these systems that we can go to for the information? if they didn’t find it, did they build it? If it was built do they somehow fly to all the systems and check? or do they use things akin to Hubble? If its the first then the information could be incredibly old, long enough to have been compiled, have the sleepers find the system, move in, build sphere decimate the system’s planets (and others) in the process, work for an incredibly long time, then have it go boom. If they compiled the list actively with remote sensing then they needed to see the star, and at least infer (like we do today for exoplanets) the number of planets.
the last possibility is that this is all explained “somewhere” and I am just too dense to find it
‘Look for something really big’. I tried scanning in Thera, and was goggled at the size, but what I found odd was the way the probes could not scan, or adopt positions way outside the orbits of the outermost planets. I assumed that it was just my inexperience and all probes met a boundary if you pushed them too far beyond the system you were in. But now I wonder. Is Thera actually inside the Dyson sphere?
I expect the sphere’s wreckage is in the Jovian system of Caroline’s Star.
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thanks for your work
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