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Sleeper Site on Anomalous Terrestrial Planet -- Initial Survey Report

Author
Andrea Okazon
Laurentson INC
#1 - 2013-07-13 13:40:04 UTC
Hello, terrible space people. I have accidentally done some science. I will try to ensure it does not happen again in the future, but I can make no promises.

Report Summary

Surveys using tri-level interpolation (Kayaku and Yo 113) of a tidally-locked terrestrial planet in w-space have uncovered a megastructure belonging to the "sleeper" culture, of a type not previously identified in the archaeological literature. Notes on location, method, and initial findings are provided. Assistance of Amarrian capsuleers requested regarding out-of-date Imperial signal-corps emergency coding; see end of report for details

Planet Background

For corporation security reasons, the exact designation of the planetary body must remain redacted until such time as we leave the system; for the purposes of this report I will refer to the system as J-XX. J-XX is a G5 main-sequence star in w-space; it is mildly anomalous, with abnormally low luminosity (0.03).

J-XX-1 is a tidally-locked terrestrial with anomalous atmospheric properties, namely, heat-transfer between sunny and shady sides. The atmosphere is too thin to explain this heat-equalization through most conventional chemical theories -- leading me to speculate that there are either highly-exotic compounds present (such as noble-gas polymers -- see Kindred 99) or low-density nanite clouds actively discharging solar energy.

As a result of this atmospheric anomaly, the climate is "near-miss" for humans. The planet averages 75 degrees celsius on the sunny side and -60 degrees celsius on the shady side. It is also extremely muggy. Shallow subterranean swamps are present and support unicellular life-forms.

Site Discovery
All timestamps are Rens station time as reported by Alyexylva Paradox anchorage

At 0720 115.07.12, Anima, a Hoarder-class industrial, arrived on-station at J-XX-1, escorted by 3 Allotek "Seagull"-model shuttlecraft modified for transatmospheric remote-sensing, and carrying 6 flights of AMI "Boaz" planetary-survey drones. The survey group deployed in the "champagne fountain" doctrine outlined by Kayaku and Yo (113), in which the industrial ship maintains low planetary orbit, the shuttles cruise the upper atmosphere, and drones are deployed at 30 000 feet. Briefly, this three-level model allows interpolation of high- and low-resolution scanning over a vast surface area at much lower cost than full-resolution ground sweeps.

[There is a file attachment that leads to what seems to be a completely irrelevant video, played at 4x speed, of Andrea out of pod on the command deck of a Hoarder, Bouncing basketballs off of bulkheads, drinking margaritas, attempting to hot-box the executive bathroom with disastrous consequences, chatting with the crew, and napping]

The scan took three hours, until 1020, and covered a transect from 15 to 75 degrees north, from dawnline to duskline. Base metal deposits and microorganism colonies were identified, and a planetary command centre touched down at Point Echo [coordinates attached] at 1052. Extractor heads were deployed and processing facilities were constructed; planetary facilities were operational by 1301. During this time, analysis of scanning data revealed a huge structure north-west of planetary installation.

Two seagulls, AS-1 and AS-2, proceeded north-west from Point Echo to 40 degrees north, 32 degrees west of the dawnline and confirmed the structure visually. AS-1 then landed and crew conducted an initial ground survey of the site, while AS-2 remained aloft. No artifacts were removed from the site, and both AS-1 and AS-2 returned to Point Echo by 1745.

Site Description

The site is of a type not previously described in the published literature. It consists of seven metal pylons of height varying from 100 to 300 metres, spread across 3.7 km of open, flat ground. They are arranged in a straight transect, from shortest to tallest, with empty "loops" near the top. The bases of the pylons extend downwards into geologically-stable bedrock. Unlike Sleeper ruins observed in space, the pylons are badly preserved, showing signs of extensive corrosion.

Between and around the pylons are various lengths of large, flexible tubing made from what appears to be a woven, high-tensile polymer with a heavily-degraded inner coating of a friction-reducing colloid. The tubing sags between a few of the pylons, but other segments have become completely detached from the structure and are scattered over the plateau. Also present are perhaps four dozen "husks" of Sleeper drones, apparently cannabilized of all internal components in the distant past, but with frontal probe-digits and casings mostly intact.

Also present was an Amarr shuttle, obviously of much more recent vintage but still abandoned for at least a year, and stripped of all internal fittings. The outer hull of the shuttle was tagged with radar-fluorescing tack-paint, spelling out a message in what appears to be Imperial signal-corps lettering [Several high-resolution photos are attached of the lettering, which stands out starkly against the corroded hull; in the background the beetle-like wrecks of Sleepers are visible canted towards the orange sky, their spectral fingers grasping at heaven]
Andrea Okazon
Laurentson INC
#2 - 2013-07-13 13:43:02 UTC
Conclusion

Dating tests and further surveys are ongoing. Anima, AS-1 and AS-2 returned to anchorage at 1920, leaving a survey team along with AS-3 quartered at Point Echo. I will report data and hypotheses to the Summit in the interests of open-source scientific discovery.

If you are a capsuleer with knowledge of out-of-date Amarrian signal language, and the message above does not compromise Imperial security, please contact me or reply here. I respect that open communication regarding this message may not be possible due to political hostilities; however, the message may relate to missing Imperial citizens and if its translation can lead to their safe return I will cooperate fully.

Off the top of my head? I'm guessing either mass driver or cloud seeder. It's facing the sun, though, so any off-planet mass transfer would be pretty risky -- unless it was aimed at the star itself.

Works Cited

Kayaku, A, and Yo, L.K. 113. "The Champagne Fountain: Low-cost Interpolation for Planetary Surveys" in Ishukone Journal of Efficiency and Effectiveness, vol.10(8).

Kindred, S. 99. "Theoretical consequences of 790-PLX high-energy artificial covalency" in Molecule, vol.130(2).
Andreus Ixiris
Duty.
SE7EN-SINS
#3 - 2013-07-14 20:02:01 UTC  |  Edited by: Andreus Ixiris
So, uh... I try to keep up-to-date with what the other empires know about Amarrian signal language, because, you know, political enemies. I can't be sure of the message's content, but I gave it a good shot and you aren't going to like it. Some of it I can't translate, but I'd suggest it says something akin to what I've written down here.

Please note that the signalling language is high-bandwidth and so often uses a single symbol to denote an entire, commonly-used phrase. A "/" indicates that a symbol break, and that a single phrase was constructed of multiple symbols. Some words were spelt alphabetically, indicating that there was no single symbol that denoted that specific word - I have put these words in quotation marks, like "so." Some conjunctions and prepositions are intentionally omitted by the signalling language's syntax for brevity - anyone with fluency in the language will be able to determine their correct placement - I have placed these words in [brackets] for ease of reading. Possible alternate translations or interpretations have been placed in (parentheses).

Quote:
do not approach

this message is a warning about danger

nothing / valued (of value? we value? you could value?) / [is] here

what / [is] here / [is] dangerous / and / "repulsive(?)" / [to] us

the danger [is] / in / [a] particular location

[it] increase (increases?) / toward [a] / center

the / center / of / danger [is] / [at the following location]* / [of] [a particular size and shape]* / and / [below?]* / us

the danger [is] / still / [will still be?] / present

the form of / the danger [is] / unidentified technology / [unidentified technological device?]

the danger [is] / to / body / mind / soul

the danger [is] / lethal

*these sections appear to be using a co-ordinate and measurement system peculiar to the signal language they're written in. You'll have to ask someone who can read the signalling language with more than an intelligence agent's fluency to get accurate co-ordinates. I put a question mark next to "below" because I literally do not know whether these co-ordinates indicate something up or down.

I'm fairly certain my translation is basically correct but you may want to have an actual Amarrian pilot look it over - anyone taught by the Imperial Navy would have such knowledge as a graduation prerequisite.

This message, obviously, is a warning about some form of serious danger that the site poses. Apparently, the Amarrians in the shuttle either had or believed they had no other method of conveying warning about the danger other than signalling language, which meant that they had lost access to any method of communication that was more technologically sophisticated than leaving symbols in radar-flourescent paint. They felt the danger was significant enough to warn others not to approach (and, by extension, not to attempt a rescue), which would suggest they felt the danger was somehow communicable beyond the site.

Of particular note is the fact that they apparently took the time to spell out the word "repulsive." Given the terse, urgent and hurried nature of the rest of the message it seems like an odd addition. Why would someone who was afraid for their lives and the lives of those who might come looking for them - who, it should be noted, apparently did not have time to provide a more accurate description of the nature of the danger - spend precious seconds spelling out an emotive word that doesn't tell us anything about what we're dealing with?

Andreus Ixiris > A Civire without a chin is barely a Civire at all.

Pieter Tuulinen > He'd be Civirely disadvantaged, Andreus.

Andreus Ixiris > ...

Andreus Ixiris > This is why we're at war.

Andreus Ixiris
Duty.
SE7EN-SINS
#4 - 2013-07-14 20:11:47 UTC
There is a possibility that if the crew of the shuttle did not die immediately or soon after writing the message, they may have left additional messages. Such messages may clarify the situation. I would recommend doing a thorough search for them.

Andreus Ixiris > A Civire without a chin is barely a Civire at all.

Pieter Tuulinen > He'd be Civirely disadvantaged, Andreus.

Andreus Ixiris > ...

Andreus Ixiris > This is why we're at war.

Constantly Outraged Sebiestor
Gutter Press
#5 - 2013-07-14 21:17:05 UTC
Mysterious Sleeper planetary structures, when Sleeper things have only ever been seen in space before?
Creepy Amarrian ghost ships with no crew, and sinister messages ?

Sounds like the plot for a blockbuster action holo-film.
Andrea Okazon
Laurentson INC
#6 - 2013-07-14 22:23:07 UTC
Thanks, Andreus.

Well, it's just what every archaeologist dreams of -- my very own curse. I will be sure to keep people updated on what horrible things befall me.

I should point out -- too late, I suspect -- that I'm in the minority on my crew of thinking this belongs to the Sleepers. There are unquestionably dead Sleeper drones present, but most of the survey team don't feel there's strong enough evidence to tie this to -- as C.O.S. points out -- what has up 'till now been considered a strictly space-based civilization.

That begs the question of how they got here, but the Amarr shuttle might provide an alternate theory -- that the sleeper junk was arranged like this by humans for some reason.

Expect a full update soon.
Istvaan Shogaatsu
Guiding Hand Social Club
#7 - 2013-07-14 22:23:52 UTC
Well, you know what they say about finding millenia-old archaeotech festooned in arcane warnings and portents of doom...

Poke it with a stick.
Nicolas Merovech
Doomheim
#8 - 2013-07-15 03:46:36 UTC  |  Edited by: Nicolas Merovech
I am very interested by this. Are you sure the structure is of Sleeper origin? If, so that is incredibly interesting as they, in their current mechanical state, would have no use for a planet hospitable to life. They could mine the plant, I suppose, but asteroids are far easier and more profitable to exploit. If the structure was indeed built by the sleepers, it could be from the period when they were organic beings. Please keep me updated and share images if you can.

Also, are you sure the planet is tidally locked? The rotation cycle could just be very slow.

Dr. Nicolas A. Merovech, Ph. D, M.D.

Aquila Shadow
Deep Core Mining Inc.
Caldari State
#9 - 2013-07-15 09:37:48 UTC
Istvaan Shogaatsu wrote:
Well, you know what they say about finding millenia-old archaeotech festooned in arcane warnings and portents of doom...

Poke it with a stick.


Maybe its friendly!

                                              "Let Vigilance Be Your Sword"

Streya Jormagdnir
Alexylva Paradox
#10 - 2013-07-15 13:26:26 UTC
Are you certain the structure is Sleeper, Andrea? Even if it appears Sleeper in style and design, keep in mind that capsuleers and Anoikis explorers have been mimicking Sleeper engineering for some time: strategic cruisers are a notable example. Additionally, we've found shuttles on planets in the system before which presumably belong to the previous corporation that once resided there. I do not believe the Sleepers really interacted with planets all that heavily, since they appear to be an entirely infomorphic space-faring race.

Perhaps we're looking at some sort of monument erected much more recently? I can definitely see some sort of Sleeper-worshiping cult arising among the ranks of stranded crews in Anoikis. Have you performed metallurgical tests on the structure? Given the rather decayed state of things you described, the hypothesis that this was something built by non-Sleepers but in Sleeper styles becomes more cogent.

I am also a human, straggling between the present world... and our future. I am a regulator, a coordinator, one who is meant to guide the way.

Destination Unreachable: the worst Wspace blog ever

Kithrus
Tzedakah
The Rogue Consortium
#11 - 2013-07-15 15:21:17 UTC
Constantly Outraged Sebiestor wrote:
Mysterious Sleeper planetary structures, when Sleeper things have only ever been seen in space before?
Creepy Amarrian ghost ships with no crew, and sinister messages ?

Sounds like the plot for a blockbuster action holo-film.


At first I thought this thread had the Gutter press all over it till I saw the author of the post.

Darkness is more then absence of light, it is ignorance and corruption. I will be the Bulwark from such things that you may live in the light. Pray so my arms do not grow weary and my footing remain sure.

If you are brave, join me in the dark.

Andreus Ixiris
Duty.
SE7EN-SINS
#12 - 2013-07-15 15:59:50 UTC
Honestly, though, I'm more of an engineer than I am a signals intelligence specialist. I could probably tell you what the structures do if I could get a good look at them, but I understand you probably have security concerns, so if you could get me photographs, video footage, spectrographic analysis of material samples, I can probably work with that.

Heck, if I'm lucky, some of it might be relevant enough that I could include it in the thesis for my doctorate.

Andreus Ixiris > A Civire without a chin is barely a Civire at all.

Pieter Tuulinen > He'd be Civirely disadvantaged, Andreus.

Andreus Ixiris > ...

Andreus Ixiris > This is why we're at war.

Andrea Okazon
Laurentson INC
#13 - 2013-07-16 12:12:35 UTC
[Attached video file:

The camera drone pans slowly across the harsh, still landscape of the plateau. Thermals ripple in the distance. Three figures in lightweight survival suits move around the site described in the original report, tagging, snapping stills, operating remote sensing equipment. There's a shaded work-station set up near the Amarr shuttlecraft, and parasols erected here and there across the site. Whether by instinct or to preserve their suit batteries as long as possible, the people on camera tend to jog from shade to shade, spending as little time as possible in the direct sunlight.

The camera drone, showing a timestamp [OKAZ:10:20:50] in the corner, lifts slightly and moves towards the massive metal structures. Like demented sewing needles, they stand slightly canted with irregular looped crowns, masses of cabling spilling downwards along their corroded green-brown flanks.

The camera swings in closer to the 3rd largest pylon, and then scans slowly upwards from the base, flipping through metallurgical and structural scanning routines. The structure appears to be hollow, constructed of what experienced industrialists will recognize as poor-quality "tech 3" salvage materials and with obvious signs of crude welding and jointing.

When the camera flips over to a surface-penetrating sonar, it becomes apparent that the hollowed insides of the structure is filled with a complex array of wiring and ad-hoc circuitry, whose state of decay makes functional analysis difficult.


I have included a databurst of the results. Looks like I was a bit fast on the draw in my original report; if the Sleepers built this it was as a kidnergarten arts-and-crafts project. However, I don't think it's just a shrine, either -- it does appear to have been constructed to fulfill a function of some kind.

Unfortunately, because it's made from salvaged materials ageing it is extremely dicey. Most of the ageing results are going to give us the age of the drones I assume this stuff was pulled out of or off of.

So, what about the dire warnings? Well --

[Another camera drone attachment. This one is a static surveillance pod marked [AS2GC:timestamp:

Again you have a view of the survey team working on the site. As four humans move across the frame of reference, the shuttle's "gun cam" tags them with its IFF -- OKAZ, YANG, KISG, LAV2. It's a long clip, and doesn't show anything remarkable.

Looks fine, right? Thermoscope, same thing: [ The relevant footage is attached.]

Okay, so here's the ladar version:

[The footage plays again. This time, the figures are glittering assemblages of wave-reflecting matter, brilliant where the chemically-active material flows through the coolant lines of their survival suits. As they walk across the apparently lifeless landscape, glittering motes of matter bunch and flow six to twelve inches beneath them, within the hard-pack soil of the plateau. The whole place is alive with microscopic motes of ... something; inorganic but motile.

And then a fifth figure can be seen. It's hard to say where they came from because of the fixed angle of the camera, but at some point the four are joined by a stranger who walks among them, slowly and ponderously. Its features are impossible to make out, but it appears to be humanoid, six feet tall, and cloaked or robed in flowing garments like a desert nomad.

After moving among the four humans for about half an hour, the figure walks towards the Amarr shuttlecraft wreck. It pauses near the entrance hatch, and looks in the direction of the camera, raising a hand as if to shade its eyes from the sun. Then it turns and enters the shuttlecraft, disappearing from view.
]

Yeah, so that's a thing that's happening. One thing I think I wasn't wrong about was the presence of nanite clouds, though I didn't think we'd find them in the soil. We've made double sure our suits aren't being penetrated and we've established decontamination protocols at Point Echo. The funny thing is that we've caught this guy on camera... a few times now, and I'm pretty sure he's not actually reacting to us. His motions seem repetitive every time he shows up; he always walks to the shuttle, pauses, looks into the distance and then goes inside.

No more messages from our missing precursors, yet.
Andrea Okazon
Laurentson INC
#14 - 2013-07-16 12:12:58 UTC
... there's one more attachment. I'm a bit hesitant to include it because I'm not sure what it means. It's taken in Point Echo, I can tell from the background. But it showed up in my inbox from the station central supervisor system, the timestamp is ****** and, well.

[A corridor inside prefab habitation attached to a Planetary Command Centre. It's twilight outside the window, indicating that Point Echo is near the dawn or dusk lines of the planet, and in the distance you can see plumes of detritus rising from the active extractor heads. A woman labelled KISG, with bobbed hair and Sebiestor tattoos, is standing near the window looking outside, rubbing at her wrist absently as though it was itching. OKAZ is walking down the corridor, and slows to a stop as she passes KISG.

"Hey," says Andrea. KISG stares at her for a second, startled, and then nods.

"Listen," says Andrea, her voice tense, "It's a good joke, but with the decontamination protocols I think we need to come clean. I need your real name and ID code to send back to the Anchorage so they know we have an extra person on the team."

"I don't understand," says the other woman, shaking her head. "I'm Dr. Kisgari -- we met on the initial survey run."

Andrea chuckles, but it doesn't sound very funny. There's an awkward silence. "For real, though, no, you're not," she says. "Did Dr. Kisgari return to the Anchorage? Are you her assistant?"

"I. am. Kisgari," says the woman, her voice quavering. Andrea seems to be opening her mouth to shout as the feed freezes and dies


I don't remember this conversation happening.
Andreus Ixiris
Duty.
SE7EN-SINS
#15 - 2013-07-16 13:36:55 UTC
Well then.

I'm torn between intense, nigh-overwhelming scientific curiosity and the urge to tell you to nuke the site from orbit, glass the entire planet for good measure and study this phenomena as monomolecular debris.

Andreus Ixiris > A Civire without a chin is barely a Civire at all.

Pieter Tuulinen > He'd be Civirely disadvantaged, Andreus.

Andreus Ixiris > ...

Andreus Ixiris > This is why we're at war.

Scherezad
Revenent Defence Corperation
Ishuk-Raata Enforcement Directive
#16 - 2013-07-16 18:12:39 UTC
I am very glad I don't frequently dream, because this is the stuff of nightmares. More practically, I think you may have an unusually-bound cytomems swarm on your hands. I don't suggest going out there again, and make sure you do a thorough decontamination of everything that has been in contact with those suits and individuals.
Andrea Okazon
Laurentson INC
#17 - 2013-07-16 19:41:37 UTC
Galnet isn't very reliable here and is also turning up a lot of horrifying stuff about cytomems swarms that I'm a little rattled to sift through. Any chance you can boil it down for me?

I still don't remember confronting... Dr. Kisgari, but it appears that all four of us are now suffering from some, ah, disassociative symptoms.
Scherezad
Revenent Defence Corperation
Ishuk-Raata Enforcement Directive
#18 - 2013-07-16 23:21:12 UTC
Andrea Okazon wrote:
Galnet isn't very reliable here and is also turning up a lot of horrifying stuff about cytomems swarms that I'm a little rattled to sift through. Any chance you can boil it down for me?

I still don't remember confronting... Dr. Kisgari, but it appears that all four of us are now suffering from some, ah, disassociative symptoms.


Cytomems are notoriously resilient to harsh environments, making them ideally suited to terraforming tasks. Any sane organization requires strict controls on them, however, for they are typically high-energy self-assemblers and can overrun an area in binary time. They can be very sophisticated, able to recreate natural structures, up to and including the simulation of plants and, in some cases, simple animals. They could, for example, map the neural structure of a living organism - say a human, perhaps - and simulate its function post-consumption. The fidelity and long-term stability of such a simulation is debatable, however. I refer you to the excellent article by L. Sefuzzi et. al., "A Study of Cytomotive MEMS in Simulation of Complex Formations" in "Imperial Micro Electromechanical Review Annual", YC114.

One of the problems in dealing with the newest generation of cytomems is their intractibility. They are extremely durable to most smart-assembler sanitation swarms and are entirely resilient to the natural human immune system. They can be baked up to five hundred degrees, irradiated, exposed to extreme cold and vacuum - they're extraordinarily tough. The major vulnerability of the swarms have fortunately followed the line of most assemblers. Firstly, they are extremely power-intensive. Most require more than glucose to maintain full functionality, and often feed off of background radiation. Secondly, they have limited computing capacity. Decision making is distributed throughout the swarm and often supplemented by macroscopic computing and power distribution elements - hives, if you want to use the term used by our mercenary brethren.

These two vulnerabilities are currently our only way to treat individuals infected with this breed of device. Treatment usually involves placing the afflicted individuals in a hypoglycemic state, often cryogenically. They are kept in a tank which is shielded from background and directed radiation, in which traditional smart-assembler sanitation swarms are then used to slowly remove the infective bodies. It's a long and drawn out procedure, and survival of the patient is far from assured.

I hope that this helps you in your efforts.
Andrea Okazon
Laurentson INC
#19 - 2013-07-16 23:39:07 UTC
evac is inbound

i have restrained dr yang who was attempting to remove one of the filthy growths on his lower body i am unable to convince him that those are his legs meanwhile i find as long as i don't look at kisgari i can remain calm

more details when i can thanks for all your help
Scherezad
Revenent Defence Corperation
Ishuk-Raata Enforcement Directive
#20 - 2013-07-16 23:45:47 UTC
Andrea Okazon wrote:
evac is inbound

i have restrained dr yang who was attempting to remove one of the filthy growths on his lower body i am unable to convince him that those are his legs meanwhile i find as long as i don't look at kisgari i can remain calm

more details when i can thanks for all your help


For the evacuation team - please use hard hazard suits. Your landing team may need to be sedated, and should be put in stasis if possible.
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