Sightseeing in the Cluster

Posts tagged “Anoikis

Testing Facilities

Testing facilities 1

The remains of the Testing Facility and Exotic Specimen Warehouse

Since the opening of Anoikis space almost 6 years ago, capsuleers had gained a solid practical understanding of wormhole space. Oh, there was plenty of mystery surrounding it, but the community, particularly those who lived there, had a good idea of how to take advantage of the resources available. But us pilots were not the only ones who saw the potential of Anoikis space. Imagine our surprise, not even 6 weeks ago, shortly after Caroline’s Star first made her appearance, when not only did we discover that there were new systems connected to the wormhole network, and not only did each and every one of these systems show signs of massive devastation, but that the Sisters of Eve have been inhabiting at least one of those systems. And, in fact, they’ve been doing so for quite some time. Eight Sisters’ stations, in various stages of array and disarray, can be found in a system they’ve named Thera.

Testing Facility 2

The Testing Facility is clearly Gallente in origin.

This, of course, raises any number of questions. How did the Sisters even get to Thera in the first place? The wormholes between New Eden and Anoikis are fairly well-mapped, if not always well understood. If the old wormhole network connected to Thera, pod pilots would have discovered it in the 6 intervening years. So the Sisters didn’t just stumble through a wormhole to find it. Then how did they get here? And what, exactly, happened here? The devastation is evident throughout the new wormhole systems, but particularly in Thera. Over the years, the Sisters had managed to establish 8 stations throughout the massive system, and only 4 of them now remain active. The other 4 are but drifting wrecks now, and with the Sisters being characteristically tight lipped on the subject, we’re left to only speculate how these stations met their fates.

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Damage appears concentrated near the former docking port

Today, I’m focusing on what I think is the most interesting of the wrecks: the remains of the Sisters’ Testing Facilities. As might be expected, information from Aura was scarce:

Apparently set up to study nearby Talocan technology, this station has been buckled and broken by numerous impacts, possibly from material thrown up from the devastated planet below. The array of Talocan static gates nearby is eerily intact and seems to be functional to some degree.

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The Exotic Specimen Warehouse sits about 200 km off of the Testing Facilities.

The station itself seems to be built to Gallente specifications. Close examination of the station shows the damage seemed, oddly enough, to be greatest near the docking port of the station. Almost as if there was an explosion inside the station that forced its way out, rather than from the outside in as Aura’s scans suggest. The station’s graceful rings, though no longer spinning of course, add a surprising serenity to the site, despite the near total devastation. The entire station is enclosed in a dim greenish glow that I’m not immediately able to identify, and with significant amounts of debris nearby, navigation was a hazard.

Testing Facilities 5

Sunlight glints off the Warehouse wreck, surrounded by a dense debris field.

In stark contrast to the devastation wrought on the station, the nearby Talocan static gate appears almost completely untouched. The gate here is, as far as I can tell, identical to the operative ones seen in Epicenters throughout the shattered systems. Where this particular one came from is anyone’s guess: a quick visit to the Epicenter in Thera showed that none were missing there. Static gates in such good condition haven’t been seen outside of Epicenters, but the Sisters just happened to find one in a secret system? Curiouser and curiouser. I have little doubt that the Facility here was working on Talocan technology, and probably focused on unlocking the secrets of the static gates. If I thought that they had done so, I would be tempted to say that the Sisters got to Thera using the static gates, but with no indications of any functioning static gates in any previously explored systems, I still can’t figure out how the Sisters got to Thera in the first place. But that is not all that can be found at the site. About 200 kilometers from the testing facilities stands a second station, which Aura calls an Exotic Specimen Warehouse. Per Aura:

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A close up of the central complex of the Warehouse. Note the radioactive fullerene gas clouds.

Wrecked and battered, though largely intact, this station and its neighbor must originally have been sheltered in the lee of the planet to some extent. Disruption of orbital mechanics in this system make it difficult to be sure but the proximity of Thera III to the central star and the survival of recognizable station ruins requires an explanation of this kind. Some have suggested wilder theories concerning the nearby Talocan technology. The station itself seems to have functioned as a vast storehouse of materials and specimens gathered from the core of the system. Not much remains and large quantities of radioactive fullerene gas seem to have bled from the ruptured storage vessels.

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A nearly pristine Talocan static gate remains untouched next to the ruined station.

Encased in the same debris and eerie green glow, which I now knew was the aforementioned radioactive fullerene gas, the Warehouse gave few clues as to the other materials it held. The station itself was heavily damaged and cratered. Although we have no indication of exactly when the devastation wracked Thera, given news reports, it seems likely the devastation was recent. Given how silent the station is now, the thought that just weeks ago these two stations were teeming with life and science is a bit too morbid for my tastes.

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Quite a few mysteries remain to be solved.

Events seem to be accelerating quickly these days. So much so that at times I can hardly keep up. But I suspect the mysteries surrounding Thera are going to be with us for a while. I heard it once said that there 4 kinds of information: the information we know we know, the information we don’t know we know, the information we know we don’t know, and the information we don’t know we don’t know. With the events surrounding Caroline’s Star and Thera, mysteries still abound but at least we’re moving items from the ‘information we don’t know we don’t know’ category to the ‘information we know we don’t know category.’ It’s not the most heartwarming of realizations, but in times like these, I’ll take what I can get.

Basic Information:

  • Attraction: Testing Facilities
  • System: Thera
  • Security Rating: -1
  • Region: Anoikis
  • Potential Hazards: Thera is well-known for being a hotbed of player activity. Despite the system size, fights break out often, and the working stations in system are often gate camped, as can the wormholes into and out of the system. Caution (and cloakable ships) are strongly advised.

Epicenter

Epicenter 1

Epicenters are sprawling complexes of Talocan and Sleeper structures

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).

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A Sleeper preservation conduit, with a Violent Wormhole in the distance.

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.

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A (nearly) working example of Talocan gate technology

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.

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A closer look at the Static Gate structure.

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.

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A close up of one of the violent wormholes. Note that Cloud Ring can be made out through visual distortion.

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?

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Another view of the Epicenter

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.

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A Sleeper drone, one of three usually found at Epicenters, continues its route near the polestar.

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.

Basic Information:

  • 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.