Sightseeing in the Cluster

Unidentified Wormholes

wormhole 1

A profile view of a Drifter battleship

It’s remarkable that just six months ago, I was worried about running out of things to discuss with in my travelogue. I had seen much (though certainly not all) that there was to see, and I had been consciously spacing out my entries to prolong my writing for as long as possible. But oh how things can change. Since Caroline’s Star quite literally exploded onto the scene, I have had a plethora of things to discuss, and for the first time in quite a while, I have a sizeable backlog of sites to catalog, analyze, and explore, to the point where I feel bad that I’ve let things go for as long as I have without comment. I suspect I’m not the only one who has felt this sense of renewal in New Eden in recent days. Between Thera and various happenings in New Eden, it certainly feels to me that the plodding ship of New Eden is getting underway again.

wormholes 2

A near-front view of the battleships, with freefloating turrets visible

Indeed, perhaps the most evident demonstration of this newfound momentum is the rather explosive appearance of a new faction in the Cluster. The Drifters are a mysterious, biomechanical race of beings that, if CONCORD is to be believed, are a splinter sect of the Jove… and perhaps all that remains of the Empire. Rumors surrounding the death of the Jovians have spread rampantly since Mouse Nell managed to capture a photo of what appeared to be Sansha Nation vessels stationed just off of a conquered Jove station in YC 112. Indeed, the last known communique from the Empire was that they had expelled the Sansha fleet. For the next 5 years, there has been only silence from the Jove, and the apparent collapse of much of the Jove stargate network following the appearance of Caroline’s Star only exacerbated those rumors. But CONCORD intelligence on the Drifters released to capsuleers suggests that the Empire may indeed have fallen:

wormholes 3Emerging from the ruins of the Sleeper civilization spread throughout Anoikis – otherwise known as ‘W-Space’ – the Drifters represent a tremendous challenge and perhaps a dire threat to the empires and capsuleers alike. Seemingly inheritors of a legacy left behind by some of the most ancient Jove, the Drifters are unafraid to wield tremendous power in response to any who get in their way. In this regard, the Drifters are a very different conundrum than the relatively benign presence that was the Jove Empire. (emphasis mine)

wormholes 4

The Drifters also have a scanning beam.

Perhaps the most notable thing about the Drifters is that CONCORD has determined recognized pilots in the battleships. Oddly, for all of the Drifter ships seen, there are only two pilots: Apollo Tyrannos and Artemis Tyrannos. From what data CONCORD has released about them, their appearances are the stuff of nightmares. While the Jove had always had an otherworld-y appearance about them, the result of millennia of genetic manipulation, Apollo and Artemis are another breed altogether. Their bodies are nearly completely covered in various cybernetic devices and enhancements. What functions these devices serve can only be speculated about at this point, but given their relationship to the Jove, perhaps the devices serve the same functions as what the Jove accomplished through genetic manipulation. Same ends, different means. Perhaps.

wormholes 5

The unidentified wormhole and accompanying structures

The Drifters are frightening not just for their appearance, but also for both their hostility and technological prowess. Although the Drifters have not (as of yet) begun to attack pilots at random, they have shown no hesitation in both defending themselves and protecting areas that they deem important (to date, Drifters have shown particular interest in protecting the unidentified wormholes and the unidentified structures that have popped up around the cluster) from capsuleer incursion. Drifter ships utilize a new form of propulsion that seemingly upends our understandings of physics. Rather than relying on classical concepts of propulsion (utilizing that good old law of motion that for every action there is an equal, but opposite, reaction), CONCORD analyses of the Drifter ships suggests that they interact directly with the fabric of space-time to move around. This method of propulsion evidences itself through a number of antennae at the back of the Drifter ships, with a nearly invisible field that is mostly seen by how it distorts background stars and planets when looking through it.

Wormholes 6

A closeup view of the wormhole

More importantly, the Drifters possess advanced defensive and offensive technology. Drifter battleships employ some form of dual-layer shielding system. Collapsing the first layer of shielding triggers some form of electro-magnetic pulse that forces all nearby vessels to lose target lock on the ship. And, of course, any attackers would then have to penetrate a second layer of pristine shields. Beyond the pulse, collapsing the first layer of shields also triggers an important step in Drifter rules of engagement: the deployment of their heavy weapons. Ships that do not collapse the first layer of shields are hit by weapons that CONCORD has designated as ‘lux kontos’. Once the first layer of shields drops, however, Drifter commanders authorize the use of what capsuleers have started calling ‘lux destructum’. This heavy weapon is capable of taking down capital ships in just a few shots, and has proven extremely destructive on the battlefield. However, similar to their Circadian Sleeper cousins, they also scan nearby ships and structures with their curious scanning beams.

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The multiplex forwarder and thermoelectric converter array.

So far, at least, Drifters appear only in systems that have or have had what CONCORD has dubbed an unidentified wormhole in them. And these wormholes, so far, have only appeared in systems with unidentified Structures in them. These unidentified wormholes are a mystery in their own right. Unlike the more common wormholes I’m well-familiar with, these wormholes, but like the ones found at Promised Land I and the various shattered star Epicenters, the unidentified wormhole here is not transversable by standard ships. However, that does not stop Drifter vessels from using the wormholes as they see fit: they can be found coming and going through the wormhole. The other side of the wormhole seems to be similar to Thera: at least from what little we can see through the spatial distortions of the wormhole. However, thorough capsuleer scans from Thera cannot find the other end of the wormholes. That may indicate that the other side of the unidentified wormholes, while not in Thera itself, may be near enough Thera’s location so as to share the same general sky.

Wormholes 8

The wormhole appears to lead to, or near, Thera.

Perhaps the oddest thing about the wormhole isn’t the hole itself, but what comes with it. The hole is bracketed by twin arrays of Sleeper structures. Each array consists of two types of structures: Sleeper Multiplex Forwarders attached to Sleeper Thermoelectric Converters. The Forwarders appear to be massive data-transfer conduits, presumably for transferring information through the wormholes, while the Converters act as the Forwarders’ power source. Exactly what is being transferred through these conduits is unknown, though given that these wormholes only appear in systems with the unidentified structures, it seems safe to assume that at least part of the bandwidth is dedicated to uploading whatever data the Drifters and Seekers discover (assuming the two factions are working together… I am admittedly uncomfortable with the amount of supposition in today’s entry).

wormholes 9

These wormholes raise much more questions than answers

As mentioned, the Drifters are generally not a fan of capsuleer ships snooping very close to the wormholes. However, I was able to take my bare capsule in for a look. As noted, I wasn’t able to transverse the wormhole, but I was able to get a good look through the distortions. As I was doing so, I recalled the various statements that have been made by CONCORD, the Sisters of Eve, and others, as well as the communiques we’ve received by someone claiming to be Dr. Tukoss. I’m uncomfortable with the feeling that so many people know so much more of what is going on than the general public does. What are they hiding from us? And why? Troubled, I quickly re-entered my ship and moved on before the Drifters took note of me.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Unidentified Wormholes
  • System: Various throughout known space
  • Security Rating: Various throughout known space
  • Region: Various throughout known space
  • Potential Hazards: As noted, Drifter battleships may be found near the wormholes and will attack with force if they see you near the wormhole (they do not attack capsules and do not attack cloaked vessels). You do not want to make Drifters angry. You won’t like them when they’re angry. Like Seekers, Drifters have followed hostile pilots through warp. Caution is advised.

5 responses

  1. A word of warning to future visitors of this report. Currenty, it’s true that the Drifter Pilots don’t engage capsuleers using only their Capsule to approach the structures that are present in systems where they’re found. But this could change any time!
    During my encounters with several Drifter Battleships I noticed that their capabilities and behaviour changed as days went by. There’s a high probability that you will be attacked while you get too close to a structure or wormhole. As the Lux Kontos weapons reportedly have no issue hitting even Frigate class ships, you may find yourself in your home station sooner than you expected.
    But for the moment, investigating those wormholes or structures in a Capsule is possible without getting attacked.

    Also be cautious when there are Circadian Seekers (but no Drifter Battleships) present when you aproach wormholes or structures in a ship. Seekers also attacked me when I got in close proximity of both.

    March 9, 2015 at 3:05 am

  2. What do you mean drifters might be all that remains of the Jove Empire?
    What are all those Jove affiliated stations in empire space doing? Representing an empire that no longer exists? Looking at my standing I am almost best buddies with the Jove.

    Probably just legacy from original game design which never envisioned sleepers, drifters and seekers…

    March 9, 2015 at 5:57 am

    • Eve: Source and other sources indicate that the Jovian companies are often run through intermediaries who, even before the current crisis, had little to no interaction with upper management. So they may have not noticed that anything is amiss.

      March 9, 2015 at 8:38 am

  3. One of these persisted for a few days last week in the system next-door to my base. It’s the only one I’ve seen so far. I went over to investigate it fully expecting to meet a Drifter, so I went in a rookie ship I wanted to get rid of (couldn’t sell, couldn’t give it away etc.).

    Sure enough there was a Drifter nearby. As an experiment I targeted it, approached it and it one-shot me. Then it disappeared into the Wormhole it was cruising towards. The Wormhole and its beacon disappeared from my Overview soon afterwards and hasn’t reappeared since.

    Speculation: if we’ve only ever seen two Drifter crew, then are they the only two Drifters that exist? Does the entire Drifter faction consist of clones of just two individuals? Or are the ships actually unmanned and autonomous and controlled remotely by just two Drifters?

    [PS loving the blog mate. Excellent work]

    March 12, 2015 at 8:00 am

  4. Correction:
    For the next 5 years, there has been only silence from the Jove, and the apparent collapse of much of the Jove stargate network following the appearance of Caroline’s Star only exasperated those rumors.

    Should be: exacerbated

    Thank you for this great piece of writing.

    March 28, 2015 at 9:53 pm

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