Massive Debris Field
All good things must come to an end, as the saying goes. Nothing in life is permanent. Change is perhaps the universe’s only constant. Even us capsuleers and other infomorphs can’t last forever, regardless of how hard we may try. It’s to remember this when looking at small, ephemeral things. The newspaper changes every day, as we pick up the previous day’s to toss it out. For certain pilots, they can’t go a day without losing a ship (or five). It’s harder to remember that saying, though, with larger, more permanent objects. Indeed, it’s fairly natural for the mind to make the leap that “big” is fairly equivalent to “permanent”. Anthills are small and easy to destroy. Mountains are big and hard to destroy. Seems simple enough. That’s partially the reason that the Seyllin Incident shook us to our core. Even beyond the staggering loss of lives, many of us were aghast to see entire planets ripped apart like so much tissue paper, and we trembled when the stars themselves seemingly turned against us. For many of us, especially those born planetside, planets and stars are the eternal anchors of our lives, rarely changing, never going anywhere. To see this kind of destruction wrought can’t help but humble us to our very cores.
With all of this in mind, I admittedly did not expect to have to cover happenings deep in the Drifter hives again so soon after my last entry. It had been a long day to get myself into the Hive in the first place, and I didn’t really relish having to repeat the experience so soon. But shortly after posting my entry on the odd, pointy unidentified Sleeper Device, I started to receive some odd intel on happenings within the Hives. First off, somewhat conveniently for me, an acceleration gate was added near the Drifter Hive itself that allowed easy access to the area. Secondly, and much more ominously, it looks like the Device, whatever it was, has been destroyed. Mere hours after I had posted my article.
Apparently I need to filter my readership a bit more.
Having not meant to dive back into the Drifter systems so soon, it took some time before I was able to dedicate myself fully to the task of another Drifter sightseeing tour. But this past weekend, I was finally able to meet up again with my fellow explorers in the Consortium and take another jaunt into the Drifter systems. Digging up some old and, admittedly, rusty skills, I soon found myself in a Scythe, helping to repair my fellow fleetmates while they fought against Sleeper drones and Drifters. Still, it was a pleasant change of pace from my usual solo sojourns, and even more of a change of pace to not be firing weapons for once, but rather remote repairers. And waiting for the return of the Hikanta Tyrannos drone allowed me to reflect once again both on the staggering size of the Hive construct, and how little we truly know about the Drifters.
Finally, however, it was time to move on to the big event, such as it were. By using the now-convenient acceleration gate, we were able to cut out the long slog that was the original trip to the unknown device. The near-instantaneous transportation to the area didn’t take away from the grandeur of seeing the majestic, spiraling whirlpools materializing above and below me as I drew close to the area. My eyes were immediately drawn to them, so much so that I nearly forgot what I had even come into area for. But the corner of my camera drones caught flashes of light that quickly drew my attention from the stately, if still completely mysterious, vortices.
The flashes of light, it turns out, belong to what remains of the unidentified sleeper device. As if a giant hand had hand-picked pins out of a pin cushion, the debris field stretched almost as far as the eye could see. The various sticks, originally arranged in circular fashion, now are laid out in a serpentine pattern, as if it were a winding path. Lightning crackles between the various posts: the flashes of light that originally caught my eye. As far as I could tell, the lightning was completely harmless to my Scythe. Even when flying amongst the various pieces of debris, I couldn’t detect any damage being taken by my ship. And debris is how Aura immediately identified the various objects: unlike before, where she identified the space pincushion as one large, over two hundred kilometer object, she now identified dozens, if not hundreds, of pieces of individual debris, and labeled them accordingly.
The total length of the debris field, if stretched into a line, was many hundreds of kilometers in length, and why it was laid out in that particular shape is unclear. Indeed, if this were the result of a strict attack on the structure, I would have expected the various prongs of the device to be even more scattered than they had been before. Instead, the prongs have been mostly lined up in the same orientation, and there were few signs of damage on the prongs themselves other than the lightning that can be seen crackling amongst the forest of former arms of the device. Even odder, if there were an attack, it’s not clear who would have done such a thing. There were no signs of Drifters or Sleepers anywhere near the area, and it seems unlikely that they would leave the area unattended after. On the other hand, the acceleration gate may demonstrate that the Drifters and Sleepers are aware of, and have easy access to, the device. Why the Sleepers would attack their own device remains a mystery, but that leaves the unsettling possibility that there may be another, as of yet unknown faction at play here.
Regardless, it was unsettling to see such a complete restructuring of a device that seemed so stable mere weeks before. It was one thing to watch the gradual deterioration of the Jove observatories as they are slowly disassembled by the Drifters and Sleepers, but it’s another matter entirely to see the complete transformation that occurred here over such a short period of time. It goes against the core of the idea that “big things change slowly”, yet here was obvious evidence that this was not always the case. But perhaps this was just the exception that proves the rule. As I set a course for home, I hoped that I would never be on the receiving end of whatever calamity befell the unidentified Sleeper device.
- Attractions: Massive debris field 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: An acceleration gate can be found in the Hive room of each of the Drifter complexes that leads to this area. Additionally, the old method of flying in a straight line from the ‘lobby’ or ‘split’ of the complexes towards the complex’s hive is still valid. 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.