I am writing this commentary both for my esteemed colleagues as well as for all people of all factions. I am alarmed both at the dangers that were presented during The Battle for Dark Crossroads, as well as by the apparent lack of information and action presented before, during and after the actual event. I can only hope that general awareness, concern, and questioning will help to remedy that situation and make us all safer and better-informed.
Dr. Veron Ni’bur
Department of Astrophysics
The Battle for Dark Crossroads was much more than an intense hour or so of combat with The Conflux. It was even more than the preceding skirmishes that happened in and around Dark Crossroads sector – most notably in The Gurge, but also including encounters in Ring View, Connexion and The Stith. The Battle for Dark Crossroads was an accumulation of events, communications, missions and fights, that resulted in an apparent “victory” but it left us with as many questions as answers, some very tantalizing ones – questions which no one seems to be asking.
Why Dark Crossroads?
Dark Crossroads is hardly a crossroad. It’s an infrequently-used unregulated connector between The Gurge and Connexion. It has an anomaly, but no other notable features. Searches through archives are unrevealing because of the current dearth of information available since The Catastrophe. But based on general knowledge, the sector has no notable historical significance.
Dark Crossroads has never seemed to be a Conflux target in the past. While Amananth has been regularly invaded, and periodically infested … while Pulsar has been a jumping-off point for numerous Conflux incursions (including one where they actually infested a station) … there have been no such headlines for Dark Crossroads. Until now.
What Were The Conflux Saying?
One of the many curiosities about The Battle for Dark Crossroads was the frequency of communication attempts by The Conflux. While some of it seemed to be combative swagger and posturing, there were a few interesting things.
We hear “Ka” mentioned repeatedly:
- It is the Ascendancy of Ka
- Ka is unleashed
- First of Ka
We see an individual Conflux named, and it seems to be a leader:
- Zythren is coming
- My name is Zythren, First of Ka
We see a number of apparent accusations:
- You cleave the children from The Nest
- You jump not feeling our pain
- You put us in glass to ogle and probe
- You drain our essence for your factories
- For sport you make us venery
We encounter some unfamiliar terms:
- You cleave the children from The Nest
- Free from the shackles of The Komon
- Too long has The Komon let you live unfettered
But the biggest mystery spurred by these communications is – why isn’t anyone buzzing about it? Yes, we translated it. Yes, the news outlets published the translations. But neither the Factional governments not TRI Corp – which has its fingers in everything – have shown any obvious interest in the messages.
What is “Ka?” Is this what The Conflux call themselves? Is Zythren the leader of all Conflux? The “My name is Zythren” message came from a C17, which is a fearsome Conflux Class, but nothing near the highest. So why would a C17 Sentient be “First” of all Conflux? Why would The Conflux risk their leader on the front line of battle? And if Zythren is not the leader, what is a “First?” A military leader of some sort?
And what is The Komon? Whoever they are, they have left us fettered in some way, while having shackled the Ka. So they are not us and they are not Ka? Is there a third party at work here?
With regard to the accusations, some seem pretty clear: You put us in glass to ogle and probe (in 104 we did capture and contain a sentient Kraken-class Conflux at the CCC); You drain our essence for your factories (seemingly a clear reference to biomass extraction); for sport you make us venery (another clear reference – flux hunting). But how are we “cleaving” them from The Nest? What does our jumping have to do with their pain?
Lastly – and one of the most puzzling communications in my opinion – we heard a very brief and ambiguous statement which might have been “fight on” and also may have been “no fight.” If it was “fight on” it was rather incongruous with the other statements which seemed to be full of hyperbole. And if it was “no fight” then it seems even more incongruous being a “pacifist” message in the middle of a clear military buildup – completely contrary to all of the other messages and actions.Why isn’t anyone questioning this?
What did we learn from the scans of the anomaly?
While we heard and saw some pretty clear results from the scans done by Athena ShaiDen on the resilient infestation in The Gurge, we hear little more than double-talk: “The rupture in spacetime presented by this anomaly seems to be shifting in phase, fluctuating in amplitude dramatically …”
Every anomaly is technically a rupture in space-time, so that’s not news. And other than the fact that they detected electromagnetic phase-shifting and dramatic amplitude modulation, that is something that could describe a bad analog radio broadcast. It hardly seems to be a notable finding.
So exactly what kind of EM was TRI concerned about? How was it different from the emissions from any other anomaly? Or did they find something other than this? Or did they find nothing at all? They certainly didn’t seem to think it was “dangerous” since the only advice was basically to be vigilant around the anomaly.
Has anyone even looked at the DX anomaly since the Battle? Why not? This anomaly became a portal for one of the most significant Conflux incursions we have seen in years. They used it as a direct link to their space and build a Hive in our space!
For such a remarkable invasion, why isn’t anyone focusing on the door the invaders came through?
Where Was Everyone?
As I said in the Preface, this “Battle” started long before 115.10.25. The first time we have a record of Dark Crossroads with a sentient incursion marker was also the time of the first message – and it happened on 115.10.5. Over the following two weeks, there were numerous markers and numerous messages happening with increasing frequency, but the first time there was a call for pilots to clear the Gurge infestation, was on 115.10.24! And even then, we saw about a dozen pilots responding. TRI Corp. records indicate that there are currently 2,802 licensed jump-pilots. Where was the urgency – from the Factions ? And once the call finally went out to the pilots, why did so few respond?
Hopefully the fact that The Conflux managed to build a hive within two jumps of Evening’s End (four jumps from Outpost; and five jumps from Quantar Core) creates some alarm both among our governments and among our citizenry.
Where Does this Leave Us?
In the aftermath of The Battle for Dark Crossroads, are we better prepared for fend off another incursion? While Lexxor came up with some modified weapons that were effective against the resilient infestation, are there plans to apply the modifications to the arsenal in-general? The infestations in Dark Crossroads seemed to be the result of apathy. There was random, inconsistent effort to keep the “regular” infestations cleared. What are the plans to avoid that in the future?
As I look at the Duty Board while I write this commentary, there are FOUR pilots on duty, with only two in-flight. I have great concern that pilots have taken their cues from the lack of urgency displayed by the Factions. As a Citizen of Hyperial I am absolutely frightened. We Hyperials cannot actively do anything. Because of absurd now-dated agreements with TRI – a TRI that no longer exists as the same entity – we are prohibited from becoming jump pilots and prohibited from manufacturing jump-ships. So here I, and we, sit.
Knowing there is something more to all of this. And completely impotent to do anything about it.