Monday, 26 October 2015

Update on J164710 - Vidette and the Magnetar

The Drifter faction hasn't been seen in New Eden since the Nandeza Incursion several weeks ago. The incursion followed soon after the brazen assassination of Jamyl. Then - nothing.

No proliferation, no mass assimilations, no futility in the face of deadly superweapons and no more 7:1 kill ratio.

Starting it in the remote, underpopulated parts of Khanid made no sense either.

Where did they go?

Since then, occasional sightings and loggings of the 'Unidentified Wormholes' that led to the four Drifter complexes known as Barbican, Conflux, Redoubt and Vidette, have continued, so one way to find out what happened to them would be to go and ask them.

I've wanted to dive in and explore one of the complexes again (I did the Barbican a while ago) but whenever I saw them on Overview, I was either in the wrong ship for the task or committed to some other job for the corporation.

The situational geometry wasn't working for me.

Then I saw one while passing through Ashmarir two days ago - an Unidentified Wormhole with the attendant massive Sleeper constructs that appear to be an essential piece of the puzzle.

I was in my Anathema - perfect. I dived straight in.

I found the Vidette complex.


No Drifters.

Just the massive structures as previously reported by others; still active yet attended only by a token Sleeper drone presence.

Shattered planets, with the same type of Turbulent Blue Subgiant star as in all the other shattered systems - Seyllin, T-IPZB, Thera etc. - except here, they're all shattered.

As is always the case with all these places in Anoikis, wherever you are, there is always something sinister nearby (in astronomical terms) which generates that constant feeling of helplessness because, unlike a Drifter battleship, it threatens death on you in ways you can't see and can't do anything about.

J164710 is a 'magnetar system'. A magnetar: a deadly neutron star - a supernova remnant - only 20 kilometres across but more dense than a K3 yellow dwarf like Mishi; saturating the vicinity with X-rays and gamma rays, and generating a magnetic field so strong that it would be lethal within 1,000 kilometres of it, because it takes the atomic nuclei that make up your ship and your body and your brain, and distorts their shape from spheres into cylindrical rods. Can you imagine what that would be like..?

It's a common theme in the cosmos: the deadliest stuff often shines the brightest. Drawing you in, seducing you.

Sidebar: Magnetars give off gamma ray bursts that should be detectable from the New Eden cluster, which would allow more accurate determination of where Anoikis actually is. If Anoikis is 1,300 light-years away, it can't be possible that this magnetar and the others within Anoikis all formed within the last 1,300 years it would take for detectable gamma ray bursts to reach us, because we would have seen and recorded the supernovae that generated them. Also, a powerful gamma ray burst from that distance has the ability to make a planet's own magnetic field ring like a bell. We wouldn't miss it...
The Sleeper structures in the Vidette complex are still there: one damaged yet still powered. Whatever dreams the Sleepers were having; whatever world they were inhabiting, would this corrupted shape be a part of it? Would they be living in a virtual hell?

Eventually, one Drifter battleship showed up. I dared not decloak. Would it have ignored me, or one-shot me? A 50/50 chance. One that I'm not wasting a ship on.

I couldn't progress any further into the Vidette complex because it is still necessary to be part of a fleet in order to achieve the simultaneous hacking of the complex's data cores, so I saw no more reason to stick around.

I tracked down a few exit wormholes and dived into one of them, emerging in MOCW-2 in Insmother, 49 light-years from home base in Danera. A single-gate dead-end system that serves no purpose except to cultivate sov-fodder.

Another sidebar: the Ginnungagap Nebula near the Kalevala Expanse is prominent and easily visible from MOCW-2. More than any other nebula I've seen so far in New Eden, this one looks terrifying, because whatever is in there that is causing those directional jets of incandescent gas, nothing good can come of it. Unlike the other nebulae in New Eden, this one is active.

I tried docking at the resident Outpost in this system in Insmother just for the hell of it, but I got a big fat lockout signal that was very rude. I'm not having that...

So nobody followed me out of the Vidette complex with its angry magnetar. No Drifter battleships were hovering around on the 'normal' side of the wormhole either.

I had no more answers than I did when I went in there. I only had more questions.

What the hell are the Drifters doing in there?  

What are they waiting for..?

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