A few days after the release of the Rhea update, I undocked from a station in a 1.0 high-sec system, and saw something new on my overview: an "Unidentified Structure". I'd never seen this designation before, and it piqued my curiosity. I had just finished a short hauling run in my blockade runner, which is equipped with a covert ops cloak, so I decided to go check it out.
After cloaking up and warping in at a safe distance, I observed a dirty cloud of gas and dust - but no structure was visible. I approached the cloud to investigate further.
In a small clearing to one side of the cloud, I saw what appeared to be lightning flashes. Moving closer, it was apparent that those flashes were rippling around what seemed to be a large, cloaked structure - the outline was dimly illuminated with each small electrical discharge.
I approached this transparent structure slowly. Its outline was visible only in brief glimpses when highlighted by the sporadic electrical flashes. It appeared that this structure's cloaking device was failing - explaining why it had just now appeared in my overview.
The structure was huge - at least 50 km long, and as I soon discovered by attempting to orbit it closely, at least 10 km deep. No amount of ramming would cause it to emerge into full visibility. (Later, I brought out a battlecruiser to the site, and fired lasers into the structure, but that made no difference either, and my sensors reported that no damage had been inflicted.)
While orbiting the large structure, which I determined to be spindle-shaped, three Circadian Seeker drones warped in. These are the new Sleeper drones I'd read about in the release notes. Cruiser-size, they approached the structure, without any apparent care about my ship.
The Sleeper drones orbited the structure, casting what appeared to be some sort of beam on it. Whether these beams were scanning or repairing, or perhaps both, I could not say for certain.
As I was observing this odd behavior, one of the Sleepers cast their beam on my ship. I saw no change in status - there were no deleterious effects apparent. It did cause an interesting graphical effect on my shields, but there was no harm inflicted.
(Later, I fired upon an destroyed one of the new Sleeper drones. It did not fight back, and it dropped only a single scrap metal - there was no loot to be found.)
It has now been a week since the Unidentified Structure appeared in this system, and it still remains there. Is it a Jovian structure, as EVE lore expert Mark726 speculates? Have the Sleepers been spying upon us in k-space all this time? Why are the structures appearing now? Another EVE lore master, Rhavas, suggests that we are seeing these structures because of a broad malfunction of Sleeper power management systems.
Regardless, I am intrigued by the mystery behind these strange new structures - I can't wait to see what they portend for the future of New Eden.
Fly safe! o7