Encounter with an Unidentified Wormhole

Note to self: Drifters really don't like capsuleers poking their nose into their wormholes, apparently.

The Drifters appear to be heavily modified with cybernetic implants, and pilot battleships of Jovian-inspired design.

The Drifters appear to be heavily modified with cybernetic implants, and pilot battleships of Jovian-inspired design.

An Unidentified Structure - now fully visible, and over 140km long.

An Unidentified Structure - now fully visible, and over 140km long.

The New Unknown

Something big is brewing in the lore of EVE Online. With the Tiamat release, a new race made itself known to the inhabitants of New Eden: the Drifters. They have begun to appear in battleships of apparently Jovian-inspired design, near unidentified wormholes throughout known space. We've seen what the pilots of these Drifter battleships look like, and it's clear that their bodies are heavily enhanced with artificial implants.

The massive cloaked structures that have been appearing all over the cluster - one of which I previously investigated, as reported in this post - have now become visible. And they are huge - over 150 kilometers long. The purpose of these spindle-shaped structures isn't yet known, though it is clear that they have been there a long, long time, listening and observing.

I ventured back to the site in my home system where I had investigated a cloaked unidentified structure, and was struck by how impressive it is, now that it is fully decloaked. It exudes a completely alien and unwelcoming presence. Flying closely alongside the structure in a frigate makes one feel especially small - and vulnerable.

Further, the heretofore benign Circadian Sleeper cruisers are now defending themselves, if provoked. The damage they deal out is low, and the danger they pose to capsuleers is minimal - so far. I attacked a fleet of Circadian Seekers, and they responded with a persistent barrage of low-damage blasts. I warped away and docked up at a station. When I undocked, I discovered that they had followed me, and were waiting for me outside the station. They restarted their attack, so I re-docked.

As I said, the damage was low - nothing to really worry about if you have any tank at all on your ship - but the behavior of the Circadian Seekers fleet is a matter of concern. They warp after targets and pursue them persistently, even if they dock up. If these Sleeper cruisers ever increase the damage they deal, this could ruin a pilot's day, certainly.

The relationship between the Circadian Seekers and the Drifters is not entirely clear. Are the Drifters controlling these Sleeper cruisers? No one knows for sure, and the Drifters aren't talking - except with their weaponry.

Flying up alongside one of the massive Unidentified Structures makes one feel especially insignificant in a frigate.

Flying up alongside one of the massive Unidentified Structures makes one feel especially insignificant in a frigate.

An Unidentified Wormhole

I recently undocked and discovered an Unidentified Wormhole listed on my overview. Intrigued, I decided to investigate. I warped in at 100km, cloaked.

This was no ordinary wormhole. It appeared to have been either created or sustained artificially by two structures, which faced the wormhole on opposite sides. My overview indicated that these structures were of Sleeper origin.

Cross-shaped Sleeper structures face the Unidentified Wormhole on opposite sides, like two hands suspending the anomaly between them.

Cross-shaped Sleeper structures face the Unidentified Wormhole on opposite sides, like two hands suspending the anomaly between them.

My overview indicates that the two structures on opposing sides of the Unidentified Wormhole are of Sleeper construction.

A few Circadian Seeker cruisers were circulating near the wormhole, but they soon all warped off to investigate something else in the system. Alone, I decided to approach the wormhole and see if I could enter it.

As I approached, the wormhole blinked, and a Drifter Battleship appeared on grid. It's an impressive-looking ship - black and angular, with long antennae-like feelers splayed out like catfish whiskers. Beyond my curious fascination, I didn't worry too much about the Drifter. I was unarmed and didn't pose a real threat. My complacency was a mistake, however.

As I continued to approach the wormhole, at 30km away, I heard a low hum and then suddenly my ship evaporated! My ship's wreck appeared before me, and I was floating in my pod. I warped back to my station and docked up. Reviewing my logs, I saw that the Drifter Battleship had destroyed my ship in a single massive blast, like a mini-doomsday super-weapon.

I reshipped into a small covert ops ship, and returned to the Unidentified Wormhole at a safe 100km distance. The Drifter Battleship was still there, as was my wreck. I saw the Battleship approach the wormhole, enter it, and blink out of sight. I decloaked, turned on my MWD and quickly scooped the salvage from my wreck, ready to warp away if any new hostiles appeared. None did, but I decided not to poke the Unidentified Wormhole in the eye any more - I'd learned my lesson.

What next?

Even though I'd lost a ship (fully insured, fortuitously), I was fascinated by the encounter. What does it all mean? Do Drifters possess the ability to create their own wormholes? It certainly looks that way, and they appear to be very protective of them. What do the Drifters want? Will they become more aggressive and hostile? Or will they continue to ignore capsuleers, unless provoked?

Some players have been able to take down a Drifter Battleship, but not without significant cost. The Drifters' super-weapon is extremely effective, and not to be taken lightly. I hope they are indeed Jovian in origin, as EVE lore experts have speculated, and that there aren't very many of them. If Drifters operated in significant numbers, and became overtly aggressive, they'd pose a formidable threat to every pilot in New Eden.

I, for one, can't wait to see how this all plays out. We certainly live in interesting times.

Fly safe! o7

Warning! If you intend to investigate an Unidentified Wormhole, make sure you have selected "Drifters Battleship" and "Roaming Sleeper Cruiser" on your overview settings, under the Entity category - or else, they will not appear on your overview!

UPDATE: Mark726 has posted a more substantive report on an Unidentified Wormhole on his excellent EVE Travel blog, here: https://evetravel.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/unidentified-wormholes/ Recommended reading!

Encounter with an Unidentified Structure

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.

The "Unidentified Structure" lies somewhere in this dirty cloud of gas and dust.

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 new Sleeper drone, the Circadian Seeker

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.

The Sleepers cast their mysterious beams on the Unidentified Structure

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.

The Sleeper's beams cause an unusual rippling effect on my ship's shields.

(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