There are worse things in the world than having too many things that interest you. Surely you know that feeling of wishing you had more eyes in your head or more hours in the day just to make sure you were able to keep up with all that was going on around you. Between planetside concerns, keeping up with friends, ongoing presidential elections, concerning changes in Sleeper behavior, and my own personal treasure hunt, it was all too easy to forget that I had promised myself that I would visit and scan every new Anoikis system that has become accessible since Caroline’s Star appeared. I haven’t even yet reached 10% of that goal, but the things that I have seen so far have been absolutely fascinating. The new systems appear to have suffered absolutely catastrophic damage. If we thought the Seyllin Incident was devastating, these systems appeared to have suffered disasters exponentially worse. Not only were the first planets destroyed, but all planets in almost every so-called shattered system have been, well, shattered (the one partial exception to this has been the newly-discovered Thera system, where only planets out to 70 AU have been so cataclysmically damaged).
But more importantly for my purposes, every system I’ve visited (and, from all reports, every shattered system in general) has another thing in common: they all have Epicenters. These are gigantic sites, sprawling across over 100 kilometers of open space within a million kilometers of the local star. And they offered such tantalizing clues into both the Sleepers and the Talocan, civilizations about which we still know far too little. My fellow explorer, friend, and researcher into the events surrounding Seyllin, Rhavas, has been practically giddy since the Epicenters were first discovered, putting together a speculative tour de force as to what the Epicenters may actually mean. But, as per my usual tendencies, I will try to stay towards what we can consider facts, and let others make their own judgments as to what those facts suggest.
The first thing I noticed about the first Epicenter I discovered (deep in J012402) was how, even moreso than many other Anoikis sites I’ve seen, the Epicenter demonstrates a melding of both Talocan and Sleeper components. Many of the traditional Sleeper stations can be found at Epicenters, such as enclaves, preservation conduits, and thermoelectric converters. You can find these kinds of buildings within almost any Sleeper site in Anoikis, and wormhole denizens would almost find them boring background objects at this point, they are so plentiful. Somewhat rarer, however, are the Talocan structures interspersed throughout. Though any Anoikis inhabitants are bound to be familiar with Talocan polestars and disruption towers, they are not quite as common as the Sleeper structures. Although Talocan and Sleeper structures intermingling like this is a common sight, we still have precious little information on the nature of the relationship between the Talocan and Sleeper civilizations.
Perhaps the most exciting discovery found at Epicenters, however, are the discovery of what are almost certainly working-examples of Talocan technology. It’s been long known that the Talocan are masters of hypereuclidean mathematics and spatial manipulation. And their disruption towers and static gates have long hinted at the Talocan’s ability to utilize a different form of long-distance transportation, separate from our stargate network. But what the Epicenters offer are working (or nearly so) examples of the Talocan tech in action. Four Talocan static gates tied together with a disruption tower appeared capable of opening a spatial rift to another location. Along with these rifts, various violent wormholes can be found interspersed within the Epicenter complex, though they are unusable by our ships.
If violent wormholes sound familiar to you, they should: another one has long been found in Promised Land as a leftover of the Sansha invasion of Yulai back in YC 113. Oddly, all the violent wormholes in Epicenters (along with the one in Promised Land) seem to point to somewhere in Pure Blind, given the nebulae we can see through the wormholes. Although I long ago conducted a survey of Pure Blind, I was never able to find any indication of where the other side of the wormhole in Promised Land was. We have long known that Sansha has had the ability to create wormholes of his own. Back in YC 112 and 113, he used this technology to wreak havoc and spread terror across New Eden, as system after system came under attack, with millions of civilians taken by his vessels. Today, he primarily uses this technology to attempt to stop capsuleers through his incursions. We’ve long wondered where Sansha has gotten this technology, and the discovery of these systems strongly suggests that Sansha and his minions were able to reverse engineer how these devices work. With the ability to open a wormhole into any system, it would only be a matter of time before he set his sights on New Eden.
But I’m wandering back into the realm of speculation here, aren’t I?
The last notable piece of the Epicenter puzzle are the presence of Sleeper drones. The drones themselves are not particularly notable, but the fact that they hang back as far as they do is. I admittedly did not have the ability to engage the drones when I visited the Epicenters (and given the Circadian Seeker’s increased hostility to aggressive capsuleers as of late, perhaps this was for the best), but it very much seemed as if the drones were guarding the Talocan polestars. Most archeologists agree that polestars were the center of Talocan civilization, and to find the drones focusing their patrol routes around the polestars, always found on the far side of the Epicenter from the star in my experience, suggests yet another connection between the two civilizations.
In my travels, I find myself repeatedly spending a lot of time at the Epicenters. Many of them are similar, if not identical, in appearance from system to system, but I can’t help but get swept away by the beauty of them, and the tantalizing hints that they offer. As I threaded my way amongst the various structures, I felt like I could actually feel the heartbeat of these ancient civilizations. And they stand as testaments to both the Sleepers and the Talocan. The civilizations are long dead, but their technology lives on. Considering the devastation wrought in these shattered systems, that is indeed saying something. I can only hope that the current crop of New Eden civilizations can build something that withstand the test of time even half as well as the Sleepers and the Talocan.
- Attraction: Epicenter
- System: In shattered systems, or Thera and any other wormhole system whose name starts with a J0xxxxx
- Security Rating: -1
- Region: Anoikis
- Potential Hazards: Epicenters can only be found in Anoikis, or wormhole space. As such, it is impossible to see in local chat if any other players are present in the system with you. As noted in the entry, Sleeper drones can also be found at the Epicenters. Caution (and cloakable ships) are strongly advised.