Year YC111 - March

March, YC111

Before Seyllin

March YC111 was to be dominated by one event and its aftermath above all others: the Seyllin Disaster. In itself, what happened in Seyllin was one catastrophic effect of a much more profound and widespread phenomenon: the emergence of unstable wormholes across the New Eden cluster. The long-term effects of that emergence can only be guessed at but it was Seyllin, with its almost inconceivable human tragedy, that gripped New Eden before the wider impact of the events of that day began to be comprehended.

Before Seyllin, however, the month began with the affairs of the empires playing out much as they had done in previous weeks. In the Minmatar Republic, continued pressures in the troubled polity led to charges of political stasis being leveled at Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor amid chaotic and fractious scenes in the Republic Parliament. An attempted amendment on a financial motion that attacked the Sanmatar's assumption of powers was heavily defeated by a majority of the members present but served as an indication of increasing disquiet at the uncertain political situation.

The Sanmatar may have felt that his call soon after for an Assembly of the Seven Tribes of Minmatar answered any such charges as had been aired during the turbulent parliamentary session. This was swiftly followed by a stunning political development as the Sanmatar and Thukker Chief Einnar Aeboul were able to jointly announce that the Thukker Tribe, long estranged from the other tribes, was to join the Minmatar Republic with full autonomy in the Great Wildlands. An emotional Maleatu Shakor was able to declare that "the Seven Tribes of Matar are once more unified." The details of this union and the changing political structure of the Minmatar Republic, now being spoken of as a "Tribal Republic," were clearly to be major agenda items of the Tribal Assembly that Shakor had called for only days before.

In the Gallente Federation, Intaki Senator Suvio Bellaron proposed a ban on public executions following the Eturrer execution. Senator Bellaron condemned the execution as "a shameful and barbaric spectacle" when introducing his bill. Others criticized Bellaron and noted the scale of Eturrer's treason. The bill was effectively killed through procedural devices. In Black Rise region, scene of intense warfare between the Gallente Federation and Caldari State, the Kaalakiota Corporation announced a large-scale surveying program aimed at locating resources and potential colonization sites in the region. This was soon followed by announcements from Lai Dai for development in Black Rise and clear positioning by Wiyrkomi and Sukuuvestaa for future Black Rise projects.

In the Ammatar Mandate, Grand Admiral Einkur Aro, former head of the Ammatar Fleet, pleaded guilty to charges of dereliction of duty and treason and was sentenced to death by a panel of Theology Council Justices headed by Royal Heir Yonis Ardishapur. In addition, Admiral Aro's family was ordered to be enslaved. There was some protest at the severity of the sentence but Einkur Aro himself remained impassive and there was order as he was led from the courtroom to await execution a week later.

111.03.10 - The Seyllin Disaster and Emergence of unstable wormholes

First Indications

The first indications that anything unusual might happen on 111.03.10 were a series of communications disruptions early in the day. First there came a report of travel delays in Seyllin system, Essence region caused by the disruption of the system's "Cassandra" solar weather monitoring network. Shortly after this, contact was lost with an ORE survey expedition in 3HQC-6 system in Outer Ring region. Of course, nobody connected the two incidents, happening as they did so far apart and occasional disruptions of the kind were hardly unknown. An entire planet dropping out of contact was, on the other hand, rather unusual and when the FTL link with the planet of Seyllin I and the rest of the Gallente Federation was inexplicably lost it caused real concern.

With planetary FTL fluid routers typically being among the most secure and hardened of installations - and Seyllin I's were reported to be located several kilometers beneath the surface of the planet - the sudden loss of contact seemed mysterious and worrying enough for Gallente President Souro Foiritan to order the mobilization of so-called "Tripwire" defenses across the border separating the Federation from the Caldari State. Justified as a "precautionary" measure, the mobilization nevertheless triggered a response in kind from the Caldari, as their forces adopted a heightened defensive posture along the border. Within the hour, Caldari State Executor Tibus Heth had issued a statement in which he said that the Caldari deployment was purely in response to the activation of Gallente border forces and denied the presence of any Caldari forces in the vicinity of Seyllin.

Solar Pulse

When communications with Seyllin I were restored a half-hour later all emergency channels immediately flooded with planetary distress calls. With distress signals originating from all four primary cities of the planet - Loadcore, Metal City, Southern Cross and Valimor - it became clear that planetary communications systems had restarted autonomously following a protective shutdown against an external threat. With the cities of the barren mining planet all located underground, speculation as to the nature of the threat was widespread and only fueled by continuing distress calls, many calling for evacuation of the planet. Speculation turned to alarm when an automated distress signal from a ground-level installation on Seyllin I indicated a possible nuclear attack underway. With CONCORD and Federation warships scrambling for the system, authorities called for calm and refused to confirm that an attack had been launched, noting that the early-warning system could be triggered by other environmental events aside from a nuclear strike. However, further distress signals from Seyllin indicated that many injuries consistent with exposure high levels of radiation were being reported. The first messages received were determined to have originated from the daytime side of Seyllin I near the city of Loadcore, although communications with the day side of the planet were reportedly being routed through underground links to the night side. Direct communications with day-side cities and installations remained massively disrupted and effectively impossible. With radiation burns and poisoning continuing to be reported it became clear that a radiological event had taken place and the fear that a nuclear attack had been carried out continued to grow.

These fears were allayed somewhat when scientists at a hastily-arranged emergency conference in Bourynes declared that a "solar radiological pulse" originating from the powerful blue sun of Seyllin system was the cause of the catastrophe. The University of Caille conference further ruled out any kind of military attack or nuclear strike, noting that no weapons available to any state in the cluster could have delivered almost instantaneous planetary-wide devastation reaching into the deep subterranean cities of Seyllin I. While this may have been regarded as good news by some, the scientists were not sanguine about the chances for survival of anyone caught on the surface of the planet, and even more ominously were unable to rule out the possibility that the Seyllin sun had gone nova. Even though the O-class star would not have been expected to enter the post-main sequence period for another million years, the evidence was that the planet had been doused in massive bursts of ultraviolet light and high-energy particles consistent with a nova or similar solar event.

While events at Seyllin were ongoing, the Scope reported that a Thukker Great Caravan had been reported missing in the Great Wildlands region after passing through the SL-YBS system. For one of the vast, hundreds-of-ships-strong Great Caravans to simply disappear was so unusual that the Thukker were reported to be urgently consulting with the Minmatar Republic's Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor. Additionally, Outer Rings Excavations confirmed that their deep-core survey expedition operating in 3HQC-6 system had been lost. Most significantly, the team had been working on the first planet of the system and reported a "possible nuclear strike or other radiological pulse weapon" detonation near their location shortly before all contact with them was lost. The similarities with the Seyllin event were lost on no-one and ORE immediately began sharing data with the scientists at Bourynes.

Panic Spreads

As panic began to spread around the Gallente Federation - one serious incident being a stampede at the Oursulaert III Federation Navy Testing Facilities station - the first Federation and CONCORD warships arrives in orbit around Seyllin I. They were met by a scene of devastation and CONCORD officials confirmed that a "natural disaster of unprecedented scale and consequence had occurred." The Federation Navy announced it was bringing in dropship squadrons for evacuation of the wounded by carrier, and that many other capital ships and freighters were en route bringing supplies and intending to operate as orbital triage centers.

Shortly after the arrival of the warships at Seyllin, President Souro Foiritan and CONCORD Chief of Staff Kivas Odaka held a joint news conference confirming that a radiological pulse had emanated from the sun of Seyllin system and impacted on Seyllin I. The statement confirmed that the "Cassandra" weather monitoring system had gone offline at 08:41 EST, followed by the shutdown of fluid routers across Seyllin I at 08:49 EST, apparently as the pulse struck the planet. At 08:59 EST, communications with the city of Southern Cross were restored and it had been determined that the pulse had disabled the planetary communications network, incapacitated the global power grid and destroyed or heavily damaged any equipment on or below the surface of the planet to a depth of 20 meters.

Importantly, President Foiritan emphasized that the pulse was not an attack by any nation and appeared to be a singular solar event with an unknown cause. Given the high level of damage, he had issued an executive order to evacuate Seyllin I and had appointed Grand Admiral Anteson Ranchel to oversee the operation. CONCORD forces would be assisting in the evacuation and that dropships would be ferrying evacuees from the night-side cities of Southern Cross and Valimor. The cities of Loadcore and Metal City would not be directly evacuated and citizens were advised to use magrail lines operating on backup power to reach the night-side cities.

As the magnitude of the events in Seyllin became understood, together with a few indications that the solar radiological pulse was by no means an isolated occurrence, so did panic rise across New Eden. In the Gallente Federation, increasing numbers of crowd panic incidents were reported and the stock markets began to fluctuate. In particular, the stock prices of the Gallente mining sector tumbled as the impact of the loss of Seyllin I, a major Federation mining planet, began to be felt. In the Caldari State, many citizens in colonies along the border with the Federation began to take to emergency shelters on the outskirts of cities and other settlements. Fear of war with the Federation appeared to be the main reason for the flight to the shelters and the authorities in some colonies were reported to be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people flooding in.

Situation Worsens

While the wider reaction appeared to become more hysterical, the situation on Seyllin I lurched into chaos despite the presence of many freighters and capital vessels operating as medical triage centers and support ship for squadrons of dropships. The rush of Seyllin I's inhabitants to get off the devastated world soon resulted in tragedy as two overloaded Federation Navy dropships collided on take-off, killing all aboard and many in the waiting crowds of refugees. An estimated 4,000 were killed in this disaster and Federation Marines were quick to move in and place cordons around all loading bays to establish order and prevent further overloading of dropships. The desperation of the crowds only intensified as distress signals and footage of the horrors of Seyllin I, particularly from the day-side cities, were received and re-transmitted in their hundreds across the planet and beyond.

Despite the extraordinary news of the Serpentis Corporation, despite its longstanding enmity with the Federation, sending medical equipment and personnel to Seyllin, alongside specialized excavation and rescue equipment from ORE, the overall situation appeared to worsen by the minute. When the Scope obtained and transmitted a feed of President Foiritan imploring the people of Metal City and Loadcore to use the magrail system to move to safety, rather than wait to be rescued, it became clear that the effort to evacuate some half a billion inhabitants from the planet was becoming increasingly desperate.

In response to the crisis the Gallente charity Renyn Relief, itself based in Essence region, announced an emergency aid response for Seyllin I. The charity dispatched all its available vessels to Seyllin, with several freighters laden with medicine and other supplies sent on their way to the stricken planet. Elsewhere in New Eden a rather less charitable response to the tragic events of Seyllin came from the Amarr Empire when a fundamentalist groups, the God's Righteousness Conclave, transmitted a statement calling the solar event "God's cleansing fire." Claiming the disaster to be foretold by scripture, the Conclave claimed it was the consequence of "heresy" and a "vengeance" on the Gallente Federation, described as "the heretic nation."

Evidence of Wider Events

Late in the morning by standard time, more evidence of the wider and more profound nature of the events of the day came to light as an Intaki Syndicate Bureau station orbiting at 16AUs from the sun of the 35-RK9 system was struck by a radiological pulse. This was the third confirmed solar event of the type to occur that morning. Fortunately, the considerable distance of the station from the sun appeared to result in the pulse hitting the station much less strongly and the shields were reported to have held, despite many electrical and electronic systems being knocked out. As this news was being digested, the Scope broke a story that CONCORD probes investigating the Seyllin sun had disappeared and had apparently been destroyed on approach to the star. The DED was reported as having detained the journalist breaking the story and CONCORD itself refused to discuss the story or confirm the detention of the reporter.

Despite the clear and increasing evidence that Seyllin had been the site of an extraordinary yet naturally-occurring event that was not even isolated, anti-Caldari demonstrations began to flare up across the Federation. Even the statements of President Foiritan had not been enough to allay fears and dispell suspicions among many that the Caldari had struck at the Federation using a diabolical new weapon. Perhaps mindful that his words would not be enough, as well as requiring more ships to relieve Seyllin, President Foiritan soon recalled the Federation Navy ships deployed along the border with the Caldari State. The Caldari, for their part, made no immediate move to mirror this action.

In a sign of the increasing tendency to blame any unusual occurrence on the mysterious but deadly new phenomena apparently afflicting stars across the cluster, an Amarr Navy report that contact had been lost with one of their scout patrols in the border system of Kourmonen caused some consternation. The local Navy commander placed his fleet on high alert and this in turn triggered a matched response from Republic Fleet vessels in neighboring Auga. However, within the hour contact with the patrol had been re-established and the ships recovered with no loss and seemingly having suffered nothing akin to the radiological pulses reported elsewhere in New Eden. No hostile action by other nations or military forces was evident on the Amarr-Minmatar border but both sides remained at high alert following the incident.

"They're Dead Already"

On Seyllin I, the situation continued to deteriorate. Shortly after noon EST, the magrail link between Loadcore and Southern Cross failed, trapping thousands of refugees in transit deep underground and making the job of evacuating Loadcore vastly more difficult. Rescue teams on Seyllin I described the situation as "hell" and it was reported that many rescuers were receiving high doses of radiation while working on the planet. Radiation poisoning was the subject of a leaked radio communication by a Federation disaster relief official. The official was heard saying "they're dead already, they just don't know it" in reference to survivors from the day side of the planet showing signs of receiving high doses of radiation. The grim prospect of the evacuation of people doomed to die anyway transfixed news audiences across New Eden.

In the Minmatar Republic the disappearance of a Great Caravan - later revealed to be the important Lakat-Hro caravan - took precedence over all. Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor announced that the the ability of the Republic to respond to the Seyllin disaster was minimal while Republic Fleet assets were diverted to the search for the missing Great Caravan. Coordinating the effort to find the caravan last known to be in SL-YBS system, the Trust Partners corporation organized a huge effort by Republic and Thukker ships to quarter a large volume of space centered on the last checkpoint made by the Lakat-Hro caravan. Many more Republic squadrons were sent to this effort as the Minmatar focused on recovering their Thukker brethren.

Elsewhere, with the Empress perhaps concerned that the religious radicals of the God's Righteousness Conclave not be seen to speak for Amarr, the office of Imperial Chancellor Aritcio Kor-Azor issued a communique offering assistance to the Gallente Federation at the order of Empress Jamyl I. While the communique stated that natural phenomena are the work of God, it took the line that the Seyllin event was a "test of faith" rather than a divine punishment, as the Conclave had asserted. In a rather pungent twist, the fleet recently removed from Royal Heir Uriam Kador's control - a fleet that had invaded the Gallente Federation less than six months before - was placed on 30 minute's notice to provide assistance should President Foiritan request it.

On the planet of Villore VII, anti-Caldari protestors were dispersed by local police as they turned to throwing stones at the Caldari consulate. The police used tear gas and sonic grenades to disperse the rioters before the situation got out of control. Authorities assured the citizenry that the Seyllin events were not attributable to the Caldari State and peace was swiftly restored. Notwithstanding the anti-Caldari flareups in the Federation, Caldari State Executor Tibus Heth finally responded to the withdrawal of Federation warships from the border by standing down the Caldari Navy from its heightened defensive posture. The Caldari State also repeated an offer of assistance to the Federation.

The Federation Stock Exchange in Luminaire ceased trading until further notice in the afternoon as it became clear that the turbulence of the morning trading session would continue without intervention. Meanwhile, the Gallente Federation's emergency infrastructure braced itself for a severe overload as refugees from Seyllin I began to be shipped away from the planet and out of system. The biggest concern amongst disaster management officials was the very large numbers of people suffering from varying degrees of irradiation. Concerns grew that, if the proportions of radiation poisoning seen among the relatively few evacuated thus far held true for the entire population, existing stockpiles of radiation treatment drugs would be totally inadequate.

Zero Hour

Unfortunately, all concerns over coping with half a billion evacuees were eclipsed by news of a "large, superheated mass' heading towards Seyllin I. The shocking story also revealed that CONCORD were tracking the mass and had established a "Zero Hour", or time of impact, by which all ships were under orders to have left the vicinity of the planet. the Scope broke this news despite attempts by CONCORD to suppress the facts and the detention of several of the news agency's staff. The news that a potentially world-shattering plasma wave was approaching the planet sent Seyllin I into a mass panic. Some spaceports were forced to cease handling dropships as bordering gantries were overrun and in some cases collapsed as hysterical crowds fought for space aboard transports off the planet. CONCORD condemned the Scope for publishing the new and called Chief Editor Lars Kiormen's report "impetuous, inflammatory and irresponsible."

Despite the panic amongst many residents, several journalists trapped on Seyllin reported that in the deepest city caverns an eerie calm had descended. Many citizens had apparently resigned themselves to their fate and decided to spend their last moments alive in peace, enjoying the company of their loved ones. With news agencies broadcasting emotional farewell messages to their staff and continuing to carry reports of an oncoming plasma wave, CONCORD and the Federation Navy ceased to co-operate with journalists. The approximate count of Seyllin I residents safely evacuated by this time, early afternoon EST, was 843,000.

With scientists openly speculating on the nature of the superheated mass rushing towards Seyllin I, with most concluding that a vast plasma wave had been unleashed from the system sun, the desperation on the planet increased. It was reported that Federation Marines had opened fire on crowds attempting to rush dropships at the spaceports remaining open and able to service evacuation transports. Outrage was provoked by the evacuation of convicted prisoners off the planet while millions upon millions of innocent citizens remained below. The withdrawal of starships from Seyllin I orbit began, with medical vessels and triage centers moving off. Roden Shipyards and CreoDron announced that they had hardened the defenses of their stations in Seyllin but would remain open for new docking for as long as possible. With it noted that full defensive measures would require the stations to seal and deny all traffic, CONCORD and the Federation Navy declined to comment on the safety of the stations.

By 14:30 EST, it was clear that a mass exodus of ships away from the orbit of Seyllin I and out of the system was underway. the Scope reported that its news-gathering vessels were fired on by Federation Navy warships as they attempted to defy system-wide evacuation orders. These ships left the system under duress but were able to report that all dropships had left Seyllin I and the planetary evacuation had effectively ended. Blockades of entry points into Seyllin from the adjacent systems of Aporulie, Ane and Metserel were put in place by large formations of CONCORD ships. "Zero Hour" had arrived.

Seyllin Lost

Shortly after 14:35 EST, all contact with Seyllin system was lost as the stargates leading into the system were shutdown. Fluid router signals out of the system were interrupted and all automated distress signals from Seyllin I abruptly ceased. In the face of this terrible silence a dreadful realization dawned across New Eden.

With the blockade of Seyllin being maintained by CONCORD as a precaution, other developments across the cluster came to the fore. Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor had announced the destruction of the Thukker Great Caravan Lakat-Hro and confirmed that a "solar event similar in scale and power to that described in Seyllin" had been the cause of the loss. This announcement had brought the number of near-simultaneous main-sequence solar anomalies occurring that day to four. This evidence of a cluster-wide phenomenon underway only stoked the already heightened popular fear of an armageddon-scale catastrophe afflicting all of New Eden.

To the repugnance of many, the God's Righteousness Conclave had issued a fresh statement warning of dire consequences for those assisting the population of Seyllin I. The Conclave claimed that "those lost in the Seyllin system shall serve as a stark reminder of both the glory and power of God." The Amarr government refused to comment on the statement and referred all reporters to the official position of the Empress and the offer of support made by the Empire to the Federation.

Wormhole Warning

Of more profound importance was the warning issued by the Servant Sisters of EVE that they had detected signs of unstable wormhole formation throughout the New Eden cluster. The Sisters claimed that "multiple instances of defect-mediated turbulence in the fabric of spacetime had been detected in various locations throughout the cluster," and went on to note that the sightings coincided with "the erratic behavior of multiple star systems ... all throughout New Eden."

In layman's terms, the reclusive humanitarian and scientific organization was saying that they were forecasting the formation of many wormholes across New Eden and that this formation appeared to coincide with stellar events such as those witness in Seyllin and at least three other systems that day. That the Sisters referred to many "unreported" events of that type caused some consternation but the Sisters addressed the dangers of the wormholes themselves, calling on CONCORD to issue travel warnings to avoid such wormholes. With their expertise in the field, based on many decades of research into the EVE Gate and related matters, the Servant Sisters were taken very seriously indeed.

Aftermath of Seyllin

Shortly after 15:30 EST, the CONCORD and Federation forces guarding Seyllin entry gates lifted the blockade while warning ships not to approach Seyllin I itself. Within minutes, after confirmation by probes of the status of Seyllin I, Gallente President Souro Foiritan addressed the Federation and announced the total loss of the planet due toa main sequence anomaly affecting the system's sun. With only a million or so inhabitants evacuated from the planet, the President announced the death of a half billion on Seyllin I with its effective destruction as a stable body. Foiritan accepted responsibility for the decision to withhold information during the evacuation and confirmed that the order to detain reporters had been his own. Chief Editor Lars Kiormen was said to be released, but has not been seen since.

the Scope soon established a live feed of the remnants of Seyllin I. The scene showed clearly that a plasma wave had passed through the area and showed the planet's remains slowly coalescing back into a sphere. Massive fragments and ejecta were seen in orbit around the center of gravity and capsuleers were noted inspecting the remains of the dead world, despite CONCORD warnings of the extreme danger.

CONCORD also warned of the dangers of wormholes after confirming for itself that the "topological space-time defects" predicted by the Sisters of EVE were indeed wormholes appearing across the New Eden cluster. While technically "unstable", in that these wormholes appeared to be short-lived and subject to mass transfer effects, these "tunnels" through space-time were reported to be sufficiently stable structurally to enable vessels to traverse them. CONCORD declared itself unable to protect those entering such portals and announced an "unenforceable travel ban" to discourage pilots from exploring the wormholes.

The Scramble for W-Space

It soon became clear that the "ban" would do little to dissuade would-be explorers. CreoDron announced their discovery of a wormhole in an undisclosed system. The corporation's lead astrophysicist, Lianda Burreau, announced her opinion that a "stable wormhole" had been found by CreoDron in a system that remained undisclosed. Professor Burreau refuted the CONCORD advisory and ban, making clear that she intended to travel through this new wormhole after having scouted the transit with long-range autonomous drones. The CreoDron announcement prompted CONCORD to restate its warnings and emphasized that all exploring such wormholes took such an "extreme risk" solely on their own responsibility.

The CreoDron scout drones sent through the apparently stable wormhole were soon transmitting telemetry back to the Prof. Burreau's team, including image data. The images showed a system with dark, empty planets set against a background dominated by an unfamiliar and darkly crimson nebula. Encouraged by the apparently normal orbital dynamics of the system, and setting aside indications of abnormal electromagnetic fields, Prof. Burreau maintained that she would be leading a manned excursion into the unknown system.

Reactions to the CreoDron discovery and plans were immediate and various. The deep space explorer Julien Sirrok warned that the CreoDron expedition was taking a serious risk by relying on scout drone telemetry to guide exploration of a new region of space. The School of Applied Knowledge urged CreoDron to treat its discoveries as the collective property of all humanity. This appeal was regarded by many commentators as naive, while others regarded it with some cynicism given that a Caldari institution was making such an appeal. Corporations such as Chemal Tech and Roden Shipyards, meanwhile, began to make plans and allocate resources aimed at replicating CreoDron's discovery.

Religious and spiritual reactions to the wormhole discoveries were no less varied than the materialistic. The Sebiestor spiritual leader Vuld Haupt announced that he would be organizing an expedition to explore the newly-emerging wormholes, describing them as the "paths of our ancestors." The announcement prompted immediate comparisons with the ill-fated "Bright Star" spiritual expedition of YC110. In the Amarr Empire, Sani Sabik cults openly revealed themselves on stations and in cities in reaction to the apparent discovery of a new crimson nebula, interpreting it as a "cloud of blood" detailed in an apocalyptic Sani Sabik prophecy. The Amarr Ministry of Internal Order acted swiftly to remove the cultists, described as "troublesome elements," from the streets of the Empire.

A Lost Civilization

If the initial data from CreoDron's scout drones was unusual, their subsequent discoveries were nothing less than startling. When CreoDron's drones identified "non-natural deadspace signatures" in the unknown system on the other side of the wormhole discovered by Lianda Burreau's team, the professor had lost no time in publicizing the news via the Balrille constellation's liquid router network.

The news appeared to galvanize New Eden's various empires and factions with the Sisters of EVE, Amarr Navy and the Lai Dai Corporation all announcing plans to mount expeditions into "W-Space", as the realm that many of the wormholes appeared to lead to became known. The population of the Gallente Federation were by now in a state of collective shock, stunned by the Seyllin Disaster and its aftermath, and transfixed by the discoveries being made about and within the newly-emerged wormholes.

The Federation authorities, however, took a highly precautionary line, no doubt heeding CONCORD with whom they had been working hand-in-glove throughout the day. Late evening reports had Federation Navy reserves seizing control of the secret CreoDron site somewhere in the Balrille constellation. This was apparently an attempt to forestall the Burreau expedition into the Balrille wormhole but the intrepid professor had left some time before the Navy's forces were able to lockdown the CreoDron facilities.

Upon hearing the news of the Federation Navy's actions, the University of Caille expressed their shock and outrage at the seizure of CreoDron's facilities. Through its press office, the University declared that the Navy's actions threatened "the very foundation of our scientific research." University of Caille scientists and other academics had been heavily involved with the day's events concerning the "Seyllin Pulse" and were concerned that the Navy's step would damage attempts to understand the possibly linked phenomena that had been observed.

Late that night, the Federation Navy let it be known that all its attempts to contact the Burreau expedition had failed. They also revealed that contact with the scout drones that had preceded the expedition had been lost as well. The Navy made no indication that it intended to send a party into the wormhole in search of Professor Burreau and her expedition team. With little more emerging and the Navy being reticent on the subject, many assumed that the Burreau expedition had met a grim fate and was lost somewhere in W-Space. The School of Applied Knowledge declared that "despite the possible tragedy, the exploration can continue and in fact, it must do so." The indications from across New Eden, as planning an preparation for more exploration continued, were that governments, corporations and academic institutions were very broadly in agreement on that point.

The Burreau expedition proved to be the final drama of a very long day. A day that could be claimed to rival even the cluster-shaking 110.06.10 for momentous impact and which may, in the final analysis, turn out to have even more far-reaching implications for the future of the cluster. Certainly, by any measure, 111.03.10 had surely established itself as a historic day that would long be remembered in New Eden.

After 111.03.10

W-Space exploration

Shocking as the Seyllin Disaster was, the sensational news that the new wormholes were potential routes to another realm, containing traces of an ancient civilization, seemed to push the catastrophe on the Gallente planet into the background. Certainly, some capsuleers went to Seyllin to try and assist with what remained of the evacuation of refugees from Seyllin's stations and those ships that had remained in the system. Others went simply to take a look at the shattered planet, marveling at the destruction wrought by the superheated plasma burst that had radiated out from Seyllin's sun.

Far more capsuleers acted as many non-capsuleer organizations did and began to explore the potential of wormholes. As reports and rumours of more and more expeditions to wormholes dominated the news feeds, it was only within a few days that the first reported capsuleer starbase was deployed in a W-Space system. (By now, the parlance "W-Space" for wormhole space and "K-space" for known space had become current and accepted.) As this was being reported, the Thukker caravans were said to be taking the lead in the Minmatar's wormhole exploration efforts. The expertise of the Thukker as explorers, and perhaps their wish to see that the Lakat-Hro caravan had not been lost in vain, made them the natural choice to spearhead Minmatar efforts in this area.

Jarek's Pride

While the aftermath of Seyllin and the emergence of the wormholes dominated March, events elsewhere continued. In the Minmatar Republic, the Salvation Crusade was once more the focus of attention as Abel Jarek confessed to the "sin of pride" concerning the chapel built by his followers on Matar and subsequently burned down by rioters. The charismatic leader of the Salvation Crusade revealed that he had meditated on the destruction of the chapel and concluded that he was "not yet worthy to build a house for our Lord."

Still dogged by demonstrators and opposition among the general population, the slave-based Amarr faith movement had also apparently been the cause of difficulties with the Minmatar government for Aidonis Medical, a charitable branch of the Aidonis foundation. The medical charity claimed that it had been placed under "insidious pressure" to withdraw humanitarian aid workers from the Salvation Crusade compound in the largest Matar refugee camp. Tensions between Aidonis Medical and the Minmatar government had already arisen over the handling of the humanitarian situation in the refugee camps. The case of Dr. Arturio Kiervalani, a volunteer medic with Aidonis Medical who had spoken about the anti-Salvation Crusade rioting, also exacerbated matters. The revocation of his license to practice medicine in the Republic was seen by the charity as part of the "pressure" claimed to be under. For its part, the Republic government denied the claims and refused to comment on the Kiervalani case.

To the surprise of some, the next declaration by Abel Jarek was that he intended to found a permanent community in Matar's remote Tronhadar valley region. He consequently took over half of his followers, including all the children and elderly among them, to the Tronhadar where he founded the township of "Salvation" in the "unclaimed hills" of the lower Tronhadar. The move caused considerable disquiet among the Krusual Tribe, with its ancestral holdings in the mountains of the upper Tronhadar abutting the area where Jarek established his "community of believers." Even though many of the "crusaders" remained in the camps to preach and carry on the work of conversion among refugees, those who had protested against Jarek and his followers claimed that the controversial preacher had been driven to "flee into the hills."

Ardishapur and the Mandate

In the troubled Ammatar Mandate, Royal Heir Yonis Ardishapur continued to set his seal on the imperial province by appointing a new chief of the Ammatar Fleet. Elevating Admiral Hastar Jibril of the House Ardishapur forces to Grand Admiral of the Ammatar Fleet, the Royal Heir also set about integrating units of his family's fleet into the Ammatar forces. The heavy losses suffered by the Ammatar Fleet during the Elder Invasion, as well as the desertions that followed, were to be made up in this way. This also neatly allowed Yonis Ardishapur to comply with the reactivated edict of Heideran VII banning personal fleets while retaining control over a very large space navy.

Grand Admiral Hastar promptly set about implementing the merger of the two forces and also issued a swathe of promotions across the Ammatar Fleet, replacing many lost officers and NCOs while maintaining a balance within the fleet by promoting a large number of Ammatar servicemen. In a related matter, the family of the executed former Grand Admiral of the Ammatar Fleet, Einkur Aro, was purchased by Arim Ardishapur, nephew and Heir-apparent to Yonis Ardishapur, to serve as "favored" household slaves.

The Fall of Intaki

The ongoing war between the Caldari State and the Gallente Federation in the Black Rise region and surrounding areas continued despite the tragedy of Seyllin. The Caldari State Protectorate militia had made advances in the Placid region and soon threatened to occupy the Intaki system. The Federal Navy called on the Gallente Federal Defense Union militia to make incursions into the Inolari constellation in Black Rise as part of "Operation Justice's Reach," an apparent effort to recover military equipment suspected to have been stolen by Caldari forces in a raid on shipping in Caslemon. The Caldari Navy dismissed this campaign as a "smokescreen" and indeed neither FDU nor State Protectorate forces seemed inclined to take much note of the call, preferring to concentrate on the offensive underway in Placid.

Whether due to the Federation Navy's lack of focus, the FDU's disorganization or the State Protectorate's single-minded efforts, the Intaki system duly fell under Caldari occupation. With a major Federation race's home system now under the control of the Caldari State, a significant blow had been dealt to the Gallente. The occupation of the system by Caldari forces led to much disruption on Intaki Prime, with outbreaks of violence reported on the planet as pro-Federation, pro-State and Intaki secessionist demonstrators took to the streets. The ensuing clashes led to over a dozen deaths and hundreds injured. While Intaki Prime remained under the control of its planetary government, considerable confusion as to the intentions of the Caldari manifested itself in concerns that a blockade, extended siege or even a full-scale invasion might take place. The Intaki government made appeals for calm and the well-respected Sadereron Idama, an Intaki spiritual leader, urged Intaki citizens to keep to their homes.

While a major Federation system fell under Caldari occupation, the Federal Intelligence Office internal security and counter-espionage division known as the "Black Eagles" raided the offices of the Renyn Relief charity, based in the Essence region system of Renyn. With the raids taking in the charity's offices in war-torn Placid and the charity having been founded by a Caldari prospector, Gaido Noreitta, with links to Outer Ring Excavations, it seemed to some that the Federation's internal security force was placing organizations run by expatriates under special scrutiny.