Sightseeing in the Cluster

Damaged Drone Mind

Drone Hive 1

The main portion of the ruined hive, seen through a nearby shattered asteroid

In retrospect, drones were developed remarkably late. Space travel, even among the relatively-late-blooming Gallente (at least compared to, say, the Amarr), had been around for almost a thousand years prior to the War of Secession, and even then, it wasn’t until fairly late in the game that the Gallente apparently realized that attaching an engine to a gun, with pilots safely ensconced back on their respective ships, was a cheap and economical way to fight the war. Of course, there probably wasn’t much of an incentive to think that small (at least weapons-wise) until the Caldari themselves developed their small-craft warfare doctrine that proved so effective in the middle stages of the War. Still, it seems odd that something which seems so useful in today’s day and age apparently took quite a while to occur to anyone, despite the fact that the technology for the drone chassis and basic weapons had probably existed for quite some time.

Drone Hive2

The ruins of a larger drone construct.

Of course, given the shockingly long development time for drones, it took a relative blink of an eye for at least portions of the drone population to develop some form of sentience (or at least emulated sentience). Drones were developed sometime prior to the end of the War in year YC 12, probably only a few years ahead of time. After potentially as little as 30 years (the moment of time of this particularly brilliant moment is not entirely clear), some Gallente scientist had the idea of throwing in artificial intelligence in with the weapons/engine mix. And soon after that, the artificial intelligence realized that it had everything it needed to make a name for itself on its own, and thus rogue drones were born. They quickly spread throughout the cluster, focusing obviously on Gallente space, but also spreading of their own accord into previously unknown space- much to the detriment of Gallente explorers. Ever since, they have been an interest to portions of the capsuleer community and have come under renewed interest in recent days.

Drone Hives3

A drifting wreck occults Parchanier at the site of the Ruins

Normally, drone hives are fairly temporary affairs. Put up by drones (for reasons known only to themselves), and taken down again almost as quickly (either by themselves or capsuleers hoping to make a quick isk), drone hives rarely stay in one place for long. As such, once I heard of a permanent, if damaged, drone hive, I knew I had to see it. Thankfully, it was in the area of my recent explorations, and thus a second diversion to Parchanier wasn’t exactly out of my way. I quickly set course for the system. Once there, I noted that no drone hive appeared on my overview, meaning that DEDACNP hadn’t gotten around to marking yet. After a bit of searching, I found what I was looking in orbit of Parchanier VI, moon 2.

Drone Hive4

To the left, the remaining functional larger drone, which appears to function as a kind of mind for the other drones, sits latched on to the shattered asteroid. The rest of the hive sits to the right.

The hive sits in tatters. A number of asteroids had haphazardly been arranged together, connected by almost organically looking connecting metal structures, the purpose of which is unknown. Why would drones need something looking almost like an asteroid colony some of the mining corporations use? Towards the “bottom” of the hive, a large, red structure sat. Aura only identified it for me as a “cracked hive mind”, suggesting that whatever disaster had occurred here included hacking the hive mind. Whoever did this apparently had impressive computer skills. And left a trail of destruction in his or her wake.

Drone Hive5

A close up of the remains of the Hive Mind. Whether this acted only as extra storage or also the intelligence of the drones remains unseen.

Numerous “corpses” (it felt odd to apply the term to machines, but it seems to be the most accurate) of larger drones surround the remains of a still-budding hive. Numerous smaller drones still remained active, buzzing around the hive in an apparently-mindless (and so far, unsuccessful) attempt to repair the damage from whatever catastrophe beset the hive. Given how they appeared to only be buzzing around aimlessly, I suspected that any controlling intelligence had long since left this particular hive. I admittedly didn’t understand the organizational structure of the rogue drones, but, it seemed likely that the larger drones provided the intelligence needed to give purpose to the smaller ones, at least on a very simplistic level. Without them, the smaller drones were simply mindless again.

Drone hive6

One of the smaller defending drones orbits the remains of the hive.

Or so I had thought. Nearby, the remains of an asteroid sat near the base, presumably used for resources by the drones. Attached to the asteroid, hidden from the rest of the hive, sat another one of the larger drone corpses. Except this one couldn’t be considered a corpse at all. To my amazement, it was actually still transmitting. At first, it seemed to be gibberish, filled only with 1s and 0s, but I quickly realized it was transmitting in binary code. A quick run through the translator matrix showed that it was transmitting “HELLO WORLD! NEED CODE IN ASTEROIDS. GET BINARY CODE.” After a bit of conversation, I learned that it was still attempting to fulfill its purpose of creating a new drone hive… and willing to employ capsuleers to do this. Though I disapproved of how they attacked humans with no apparent warning, I sympathized with the very basic desire of all life to reproduce. Being only in Professor Science, however, I couldn’t help it very much with its quest.

Drone hive7

Another drone orbits the remains of the hive.

I’m not sure if the drone recognized (or even understood) my sympathy with its plight. It did recognize my refusal though, and I couldn’t help but note an almost pleading tone as it responded to my decline. After ending my conversation, I quickly decided that I didn’t want to hang around much more at the Hive. Interesting though it was, it merely reminded me of the mistakes my own people had made in the past. Or were they mistakes? We brought new life into the universe, deadly as they may be. In any case, this was much to deep for me to dwell on, not when I had other work to do.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Damaged Drone Mind
  • System: Parchanier
  • Security Rating: 0.6
  • Region: Sinq Laison
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen. The drones surrounding the hive are marked red and may attack, but they are relatively few in number and should be tankable. When I was there, there were 4 drones marked up as cruisers in my overview.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as an Gallente COSMOS site.
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