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.