Sightseeing in the Cluster

Hyperbole Nexus

Hyperbole 1

The remains of an ancient interstellar communications cluster.

In many ways, interstellar travel strongly resembles the wet-navy days of old. I suppose that’s evident from the fact that the empires refer to their military forces as “navies” and the vessels we use are called “ships.” But the similarities don’t end there. When the empires first took to the stars, they encountered something that they hadn’t had to deal with since radio was invented: delayed communications. In a universe with instant communications today, it’s hard to understand just how fundamental the ability to instantly communicate from one side of the cluster to another actually is. Knowing that naval units could be out of communications for hours or days, with no possibility of backup or relief, added a certain amount of independence that just isn’t possible today. For obvious reasons, naval central commands were not always enthused with this set of circumstances, but the laws of physics seemed to make it clear: unless you were on a ship with a Sotiyo-Urbaata Drive there was no way to get a message to go faster than light.

Hyperbole 2

A close up of the amplification node

Until the advent of the fluid router and other faster than light communication devices, empires often struggled to find something, anything, that would allow them to get news home faster than their counterparts. In something as sprawling as the early Amarr empire, this need was particularly acute. Needing to get news as quickly as possible from the distant reaches of the current Minmatar Republic was all the more important once the Rebellion started up. And so the empires grasped for anything that could help. It seems that the Empire happened to stumble upon one particular method for quick communications. For reasons that are still not entirely clear, there are certain areas of space that seem to act as old-fashioned echo chambers, only across interstellar distances. Able to capture and transmit information (somehow) from one system to another, these areas of space proved to be a boon in early interstellar management. With the advent of more stable and reliable FTL communication methods, these areas have obviously fallen into disrepair. However, one of these sites remains remarkably well preserved in Barkrik. With that in mind, I took off to the site. Unfortunately, Aura was unable to give me more than the cursory background information:

Hyperbole 3Before the technology for employing crystals for faster-than-light communications was invented various other techniques were used to bolster celestial communications. Half a millennia ago the Amarrians discovered a space phenomenon, places in space that seemed to echo with other similar places elsewhere. They learnt to tap into these echoes, greatly boosting the strength of communication devices. Though these places are today largely neglected, there are some people that feel a connection [with] them. The Hyperbole Nexus is one such a place.

Hyperbole 4

Presumably this dish helped transfer messages from more traditional communications equipment into something transmittable through the Nexus

From what little description that Aura was able to give me of the phenomenon, it actually sounded fairly similar to current FTL communication technology. It almost sounded like there may have been some kind of entangled particles that were able to amplify and repeat information or signals from one system to another. Where these particles came from and why they only appeared in certain areas of space were another mystery entirely. While they may have simply been natural, its also entirely possible that these areas were part of ancient communication networks dating from before the Dark Ages. I had no particular way to validate that theory, but it certainly felt right, and if my years of exploration have taught me anything, its to not ignore those kinds of feelings, unprovable as they might be.

Hyperbole 5

An odd field can be seen surrounding the Nexus itself, while another ship can be seen in the distance

With those feelings in mind, I set off to see the Hyperbole Nexus on my own. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Since it was a bizarre spatial anomaly that caused the echo phenomenon, I was expecting some kind of visual anomaly to appear. Instead, I was confronted with a radio transceiver and a strange structure, almost like a gyroscope. The various concentric rings slowly spun around the connected axes. The entire area, I suppose this was the actual echo chamber itself, with the rings acting as perhaps some sort of encoder or amplifier. The nearby antenna was clearly the link to the outside world: I presumed that it took normal communication transmissions and converted them to a signal that was transmittable by the echo chamber, while also transmitting messages that it received from this particular nexus. I wish that I could have seen a map of the echo network; it would have been interesting to see what systems had other echo chambers, and whether there was any pattern to them. Unfortunately, I was unable to recover any information of the sort. Nor was I able to glean anything from my own sensors regarding the strange phenomenon.

Hyperbole 6

A close up of one of the ships stationed near the Nexus

Although my sensors were next to useless regarding the strange properties of the area, the visuals were still quite enjoyable. Barkrik’s harsh glare formed a stark contrast with the gentle glow emanating from the contraption. A number of ships, mostly Minmatar in origin of course, but a Gallente vessel can be found as well, hovered nearby. They were an interesting group, including both researchers and representatives of the Republic. Unfortunately, none of them were able to give more background about the Nexus or how it worked. That’s what I was really interested in: finding some more information on the ancient network. But unfortunately, it seemed that piece of information was going to remain buried for at least  a while longer. But as I waited, at least I had a taste of what it was like to live in a world of still-delayed communication.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Hyperbole Nexus
  • System: Barkrik
  • Security Rating: 0.6
  • Region: Metropolis
  • Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
  • Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.
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