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Bright Star

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Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,

- Bright Star, Keats (1819) [1]

Contents

First Sightings

Towards the end of year 109 EST, and particularly in the first months of 110 EST capsuleers started to report having spotted a new star in the sky, brighter than all the others. Planet-bound citizens even reported that they could see it clearly in the night sky with the naked eye; some even claim it's visible in daylight.

Reports came in from nearly every known system that this curious new phenomenon was visible throughout the Eve Universe. The only phenomenon known to be anywhere near this bright, or visible outside it's home system is the Eve Gate, and even that can't be seen everywhere.

First Official Response

It was two months before the first official response, when the University of Caille organised a conference of astronomers in the Aporulie system to discuss what many call one of the biggest astronomical conundrums in recorded history.

UC Professor Kral Sangan, the chair and first speaker at the conference, outlined the nature of the problem. "We have no idea what it is," he said, "we have had a much easier time determining what it is not. The true nature of the phenomenon is truly baffling."

The explanations ruled out by the conference's panel of experts include a newly born star or recently exploded star. "One thing for certain," UC Professor Venter Joubrille stated unequivocally, "is that it can't be any kind of star at all. The emission spectra are all wrong." In his hour-long presentation, Professor Joubrille provided more details on the nature of these dilemmas. "We know a great deal about stars and stellar formation," he said, "and we know that a star emits radiation at a specific number of wavelengths. And although we know that the emission spectra of a star will vary slightly depending on its exact chemical composition, broadly speaking when we observe a star we know what kind of data to expect." It is generally understood that the object defies these conventions. "The thing is a perfect black body," the professor explained, "the emissions are powerful, unbroken and fall across the spectrum, giving us very little insight into what the object is made from."

Doctor Hanno Brokkenheim of Hedion University continued the debate by examining some of the observational data in more detail. "There is no discernible physical structure in the vicinity of the object," he concluded, "if it was a supernova, the ejecta from the explosion would be visible. Similarly, a large object such as a black hole would be detectable by its accretion disk and by its distinctive polar radiation. This thing has no structure at all. It's like an unbelievably hot singularity, that just popped into existence out of nowhere."

The second half of the conference was devoted to possible explanations of what the object could be. Professor Heins Yans of Caldari State University, another speaker at the event, put forth his theory that this might be humanity's first observation of a white hole, the theoretical physical opposite of a black hole. "There really can be no other explanation for the level of energy being released by the object," he said, evoking controversy and criticism from his colleagues.

Doctor Yeldrem Bane of Renyn College of Astronomy was prepared to go even further. "The laws of thermodynamics may not be the only physical laws that are being violated by this object," he conjectured. "If this object is two-hundred light-years away it would take two hundred years to reach us in the Federation, with a variation of several years depending on which system you are in. For its light to appear in every system in known space at the same time simply doesn't make any sense. We've witnessed a physical impossibility!"

The conference closed without consensus, although all in attendance were agreed that the phenomenon was highly unusual and warranted detailed and protracted study by the academic community. The uncertainty however did play into the hands of armchair theorists and fringe groups, many of which saw the new light in the sky as some kind of omen or portent.

Disputed Theories

One of the more radical hypotheses was posited by Dr. Jahazer Simoom, an astronomer for The Sanctuary (the scientific arm of the Sisters of EVE) who has spent the majority of his career studying the remnants of the EVE Gate. Simoom had been analyzing the phenomenon with great interest since it appeared. "According to measurements from our observatories in Rens, Simela, and X-7OMU, we believe we've been able to triangulate the location of the disturbance." He followed with an extraordinary claim that sent ripples through the scientific community. "We believe that its located below and to the 'south' of our cluster, separated from us by some 3.64 million light years. That is consistent with exponentially slowing freespace tachyon propagation times for the collapse of the other side of the EVE gate some fifteen thousand years ago. In other words, we are just now seeing the other side of the cataclysm that separated us from our ancestral home."

Very few astronomers accepted this theory however, and the Sisters of EVE issued a public statement saying that the views of Dr. Simoom did not necessarily reflect those of the organization as a whole. Other scientists were decidedly less charitable. "Bah. Tachyon-tunneling. Pseudo-science claptrap!" This is the opinion voiced by Dr. Semnal Hontuzer, an astronomer with Hedion University. "It's absurd! Why can't those fools understand that not everything is about the EVE Gate?" When pressed for an alternative explanation, Dr. Hontuzer was refreshingly concise. "Frankly, we have no idea. But it's not a star."

Many religious figures simply accepted the phenomenon as evidence of the divine at work. "Why can these men of science not accept what is so evident before their very eyes? It is clearly a sign from God, a portent of momentous things to come," said Guril Akkad, a member of the Amarrian clergy. "It is a light in the dark vastness of space, just as our faith in God must be a light in these dark times."

Indeed, the phenomenon has been taken as an omen of some sort by many, and strange interpretations have begun to gather pace across the cluster.

Reactions

In a seemingly direct response to the appearance of the new star, participation in a number of Achura Stargazer mystical sects saw a marked rise over the weeks after the Bright Star appeared. Shuuranien Olkkunen, a monk of the obscure Teur sect was quite sanguine in his explanation of the phenomenon. "It is a symbol. Its mystery and wonder serve to remind us that all that we know of the Universe is not all that there is to the Universe."

Ever ones to capitalize on a trend, several Caldari entrepreneurs began offering a new business thinking course using the stellar object as its inspiration. Based on an old Achura meditative custom seldom seen practiced in recent decades, the course taught its students methods of marshalling their thought processes for use in the corporate world. They also believed that one practicing such techniques would find great fortune bestowed upon them. Bradner Ventannien, one of the course's instructors said, "By clearing the mind and focusing the thoughts, your spirit shines as brightly as the new light in the heavens. That brightness intrudes upon the consciousness of others, and you will be seen more favourably in their eyes. How can this not be of benefit to you when it comes time to hand out promotions?"

Direct Investigation

By far the most spectacular response to the riddle of the new stellar object came from Minmatar space. Saynen Grulliver, a shaman of the Vherokior tribe was reported to have assembled an expedition to venture beyond the galactic rim towards the object. "This strange bright star that has appeared in the skies of all New Eden is a gateway leading to the spirit world of our ancestors," claimed Grulliver in a rare interview. When pressed about the fact that most scientists believe the object is extremely far away, Grulliver merely smiled and said, "The road ahead is long, but we Minmatar have never shirked from an arduous journey."

Reaction from Republic official sources was dismissive of this enterprise stating that there is little scientific fact or accepted spiritual interpretation on the matter. A spokesperson for the Republic Parliament had this to say; "We have been made aware of this... expedition that is being assembled and we have studied the facts of the matter at hand. It is our strong recommendation that citizens should not undertake such a dangerous activity without proper preparation and that more careful study and contemplation is required."

Support built for the venture and a significant number of other Minmatar journeyed to join the expedition despite these concerns. It was noted that several of the Republic's more prominently traditionalist Clans lent their support to the expedition and that a solid core of tribal Shamans to echoed Grulliver's interpretation of the phenomenon.

When invited to comment, Amarrian clergyman Guril Akkad scoffed at this idea. "A gateway to the spirit lands of his ancestors? A journey beyond the galactic rim? This heathen and all who follow him are doomed. Had they simply accepted the word of God which we brought to them, then the Minmatar people would now be much better off."

Speculation as to the true nature of the shining light in the sky continued unabated, but its pulsating beauty continued to inspire religious figures and scientists alike.

Disappearance

Suddenly in the middle of March 110 EST; the scientific establishment was baffled by the discovery that the unidentified stellar object commonly referred to as 'The Bright Star' had disappeared as mysteriously as when it first appeared approximately three months before. This event caused controversy in the fields of astronomy, astrophysics and interstellar science, provoking a wide variety of responses from experts.

Professor Kral Sangan, the stellar physicist who had chaired the conference debating the nature of the mysterious object in Aporulie a month before, established his position in an online statement where he explained that, "never before has the scientific world witnessed such a truly inexplicable phenomenon." He went on to state that, "experts in every applicable field will be working hard in the coming days to explain the sudden disappearance of such a unique and mysterious object." Dr. Yeldrem Bane of the Renyn College of Astronomy was prepared to be much more frank in a similar statement, "Humanity has just witnessed a physical impossibility. An object of such power and magnitude simply cannot just disappear overnight. It is like someone, somewhere just flipped a switch."

Speculation had mounted regarding the sudden appearance of the unidentified object, with many claiming a lack of hard data, and calling for continued observation by scientists from all corners of all four empires. The equally sudden disappearance of the object meant that astronomers simply had to work with the limited data on the object gathered over the months, although some claim that there is a possibility that it may reappear once again in the near or distant future. "We cannot know for sure," said Gantril Forbes, a spokesperson for the Federal Astronomical Society, "it is possible that the object is still there, but has just been obscured, possibly only temporarily, by a very massive, incredibly absorbable interstellar body."

It is also rumoured that the Federation Navy has taken some interest in the nature of the object's origin and possible demise, in response to claims by a handful of researchers that the observational data might suggest the distant testing of some kind of super-weapon. "The ability to ignite or explode a star is theoretically possible," claimed Gunnar Hesten in the last issue of fringe science periodical The Beacon, "the Federation might not be technologically capable of such destruction, but what of others, such as the Jove? Or even other civilisations in uncharted space that we have yet to encounter?" When the Federal authorities were approached for comment, they issued the following statement in response: "The Navy does not engage in idle and ludicrous speculation, but will remain at all times alert for any potential and genuine threats to national and interstellar security."

In other quarters however speculation ran rampant, with the bright object's disappearance from our skies being read by many more superstitious citizens as some kind of omen. Ramon Gavile, a citizen of Adreland II, even founded a new religious cult at his home dedicated to his belief in the World Eater, a monstrous beast that roams the deepness of space consuming entire worlds and stellar systems. Others claimed that the sudden loss of light from the object is like a door or gate being closed, lending unsubstantiated credence to the theory proposed originally by Dr. Jahazer Simoom of the Sisters of EVE that the object might be linked with the original EVE Gate. It was even postulated that the simultaneous appearance and disappearance of the object from the night skies of all worlds across the Federation might indicate the existence of a network of micro-wormholes, which could perhaps be exploited and expanded to initiate a new form of long-distance interstellar travel.

It is not know what impact these latest developments had on the support that gathered behind the Minmatar spiritual leader Saynen Grulliver, who only days before the disappearance announced his intention to travel to the vicinity of the mysterious Bright Star to determine its true nature. Grulliver's mission had been a subject of heated debate between politicians, academics, religious leaders and Capsuleers throughout known space, but many felt that the sudden disappearance of the object may mean that Grulliver's expedition is no longer necessary. At the time of writing, Grulliver and his aides were not available for comment.

Whatever beliefs or theories that the layman or the scientist might have about the object, the sad, simple truth is that there is a lack of sufficient evidence to pinpoint an explanation, and with the object now gone, there may no longer be any opportunities to procure that evidence. A mystery it has been, and so it may remain.

External Links and Sources


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