Unidentified Sleeper Device
[Editor’s note: This site appears to have already been replaced in all five hives with a large debris field.]
While my space-based life is a fairly solitary one, when I’m planetside I tend to be a bit of a social butterfly. I’ve talked to capsuleers from all walks of life, from fellow solitary explorers to those who are at the heart of the nullsec battles that the interstellar media love to cover. I’m often struck at just how regimented a null sec pilot’s life can be when in one of the larger capsuleer alliances. Regardless of any planetside concerns, you’re supposed to available and on-call as often as possible for potential flare-ups with other alliances and other operations. Some alliances can require certain minimum participation requirements and those who are particularly poor at flying can even be booted from their corporations or alliances. All of these requirements and schedules seem like a bunch of pressure to me, and I’m often quite happy that I have to deal little with that regimented life.
So it struck me by surprise a few days ago when I was contacted by a fellow explorer that it would be well worth my while to join a fleet with the simply-named Consortium to dive into the Drifter hives yet again. The time was generally a few hours before I undocked after returning from planetside activities, but after raising my eyebrow at the closest thing I’ve received to an order since becoming a capsuleer, I agreed to show up at the appointed time. Before I even had time to eat after returning from the nearest planet, I found myself undocking and racing to meet the rest of the fleet, in a standardized fit Caracal, no less. But with little info to go on other than a promise that I would be well-served to attend this fleet, I joined up with my fellow pilots, a collection of friends and other explorers that I have grown to know quite well. I chuckled as I was initially slotted in as a squadron commander, as putting me in any kind of leadership capacity tended to not end very well.
The initial dive into the Barbican complex was remarkably similar to what I recall during my initial foray into the Hives. Indeed, nothing seemed out of place as we progressed farther through the Hive, and I began to wonder what, exactly, I was supposed to be looking for. That is not to say that there was nothing to see, of course. The Drifter and Sleeper structures sprinkled throughout the Complex continued to dazzle me, and I was told at least once to stop taking pictures and keep my eyes on the various Sleeper and Drifter drones before they blew me up. After reminding them exactly who they had recruited into their fleet, I did refocus my attention on the various Sleeper and Drifter vessels, though I still managed to sneak a few more pictures along the way.
Finally, after a fairly smooth operation, we made it to the Barbican hive. Telling me to pay attention to the site and not the views ended up being fairly prescient when I ended up losing my Caracal after a few broadsides from Hikanta Tyrannos, and my feeble instincts of not remembering to broadcast for reps until it was much too late. I looked on in dismay as my pod was summarily expelled from my disintegrating ship, but thankfully Hikanta chose to ignore me afterwards as I looked around the rest of the Hive. The only noticeable change that I was able to see was that the Hive had taken on rather more of a greenish hue than I had previously remembered. Certainly there was nothing here that really attracted my attention as particularly noteworthy, even if the company and sights were still enjoyable.
At this point, seeing that there was no other way to view the alleged Noteworthy Site, we were told to reship into the fastest vessel available, as we had a bit of a slog ahead of us. Thankfully, I had brought Professor Science with me to the fleet rendezvous, and after flying back in my pod to pick it up, I returned to the Barbican system. I had never fit the good Professor for speed in particular, but I felt that it’s 2.5 kilometers per second (with microwarpdrive active, of course) would at least be respectable. We arrived back at the site, and headed in the indicated direction (from the second room, we were told to head directly towards the now-bookmarked Hive). After finally getting out of range of the local Drifter forces (which took ages at sub-MWD speeds whilst cloaked), I was able to finally push the Professor to full speed… just to watch everyone else in fleet zoom past me, clipping along at 7-10 kilometers per second.
Left in the metaphorical space dust, I was left to my own devices for the next 45 minutes or so as we trudged over 10,000 kilometers to the site. Being smackdab in the middle of a deadspace pocket, it wasn’t even possible for the faster fleet members to arrive at the site, bookmark it, and warp out to the rest to drop off the bookmarks; anyone wishing to see this site has to take it the long way. Perhaps the one silver lining to be in such a relatively sluggish vessel was being able to listen in as other pilots raced ahead and first came into view of the new site. Whatever it was, it was apparently impressive, as reactions ranged from startled gasps to yells of disbelief, with quite a few expletives thrown in for good measure. As I picked up the tail end of the fleet, merrily going along, I couldn’t quite help but wonder if this thing wasn’t just getting hyped all out of proportion.
Then it came into view and I immediately understood what everyone else was saying.
It’s almost impossible to describe the truly awe-inspiring scene that rather abruptly resolved on the Professor’s sensors (I wonder if rather than me, the fleet should have included a poet). Infront of me stood a large… pointy thing. Well, large is an understatement. Final measurements appear to put the structure at over 200 kilometers across on its largest axis, meaning that it has bigger dimensions than even the Jovian observatories. Needless to say, it put my tiny Professor Science to shame. The structure appeared to have two rough halves, with spindly arms extending straight out from a top or bottom ring. The arms themselves, despite being dozens of kilometers in length, were relatively skinny. Though a standard Sleeper gray, portions (I hesitate to say “windows” or “portals”) of these arms also had a greenish glow to them. Aura was of no help identifying the device, noting that it was only an Unidentified Sleeper Device. Somewhat oddly, despite only recently appearing (to our knowledge, at least), portions of the arms also appeared pockmarked, while other arms seem to have snapped liked twigs on the proverbial tree. Unlike the damaged Sleeper enclaves that could be found near the Hives, these only appear to have been damaged by age and exposure to the elements, but they do give the structures a more aged appearance than we’ve really seen so far from the other Drifter or Sleeper constructs.
I was so entranced by it that it took me a few minutes to notice that the spindly structure was not all that there was to see. Both directly above and below the structure (relative to the system’s ecliptic, of course) were two large, swirling maelstroms of energy. Glowing with a mysterious blue energy that reminded me strongly of the spatial rifts we can see in the Sleeper epicenters, the energy present spiraled slowly inwards towards a central point in each maelstrom. If these truly were large whirlpools, what the energy was being sucked in to was not at all clear, other than some large, white, glowing mass in the center of each. Towards the fringe, each vortex took on an almost cloud-like appearance. Exactly what caused them were completely unknown, but considering that it lined up with the axis of the center rings of the spindly structure, the whirlpools were undoubtedly related to the mysterious structure. Whatever the Sleepers were doing here, it was having quite an effect.
I spent more than an hour spellbound by the mysterious Sleeper device and its environs, and spent much of it running up and down the various arms, just to see if I could find any further clues. Unfortunately, there is little that can be divined from a purely visual inspection, and instruments are of little to no help right now. But a dearth of evidence has never stopped speculation from running rampant, with some even suggesting that it was a map of some kind. But I remain unconvinced of most of the theories we’ve seen so far, since we need to first know exactly what the energy vortices are for first. Figuring those out may well be key, even though attempts to approach them have, as of yet, proven fruitless. That being said, investigations will undoubtedly be ongoing, and I have no doubt that any changes in these structures will be reported widely.
Finally, however, the long day began catching up to me, and I regretfully turned my ship towards home. I was even more reluctant to leave, given that once I warped back, even with a bookmark, I would be stuck making the 10,000 kilometer trek back to see the structure again should I ever want to visit (unless the Sleepers are kind enough to install an acceleration gate of some kind to the area, of course). The joys of deadspace physics, if you want to call it that. But as the structure shrank to a pinpoint and disappeared behind me, the spindly arms seemingly collapsing into the rear of my warp tunnel, I got the distinct feeling that even though the mysteries surrounding these structures seemed almost impenetrable now, we would be learning details of them much sooner than we might think.
- Attractions: Unidentified Sleeper devices in Barbican, Conflux, Redoubt, Sentinel, and Vidette complexes
- System: Barbican can be found in J110145, Conflux can be found in J200727, Redoubt can be found in J174618, Sentinel can be found in J055520, and Vidette can be found in J164710. As of writing, the device has been confirmed in all five hives.
- Security Rating: -1
- Region: Anoikis
- Potential Hazards: Beyond the normal dangers of wormhole space (including other pilots), Drifters and Sleepers can be found throughout the site. Drifters can doomsday almost all subcapital ships in one shot once their primary shields are brought down. Drifters will change the rooms they are stationed in throughout a complex approximately every half-hour. Data analyzers are required to hack the gates. Fast, cloak-equipped ships (to evade Drifters until they out of range) are strongly advised.
- Additional Notes: As of now, the only way to discover these devices is to fly in a straight line from the ‘lobby’ or ‘split’ of the complexes towards the complex’s hive. The device will be found roughly halfway between the two rooms, about 10,000 kilometers from the ‘lobby’ and 10,000 kilometers away from the hive. The device appears to be in the same location relative to the rooms regardless of which Drifter complex is visited.