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Interview: Makoto Priano

Eram - Bureau Memorial Laboratory

March 14th YC 121



Semiki escalates as Drifters appear in system and besiege Capsuleer citadels.

ZANIE has been monitoring the events unfolding in Semiki since news about a sabotage aboard the Zainou biohazard containment facility and the appearance of a strange virus was dropped by The Scope news agency. Since then, Capsuleers have flocked to the system to render humanitarian aid to those affected and assist official Caldari forces in ensuring another security breach doesn’t occur.

Links to rogue drones and Triglavians was announced by Ishukone Watch officials investigating the virus running loose which prompted several groups to stockpile trinary datastreams and rogue drone components to contribute to the Ishukone Watch to aid their investigation. However, this stockpile drew the attention of CONCORD officials and Capsuleer representative Oveg Drust appeared on the Intergalactic Summit to demand that the materials of all stockpiles be handed over due to a policy violation CONCORD legislation however would be pushed back as Ishukone Corporation’s CEO Mens Reppola with Chief Executive Panel take this matters to the courts and take the case with a favorable resolution

Next to fall in line in this series of events is the appearance of Drifters, who show up such force that besiege and assault several citadels in the system anchored to provide aid. Adding a whole new layer of mystery to what exactly is going on in the system. Looking to get some answers - Kalto Moxin of ZANIE’s external news team sits down with Itsukame-Zainou Hyperspatial Inquiries CEO and one of the many iconic figures in Drifter research, Makoto Priano.

We go now to the transcript:


[Kalto]
“Today, I’m in the Eram system aboard the Bureau Memorial Laboratory owned by the Itsukame-Zinou Hyperspatial Inquires Ltd, or IKAME for short. My guest is none other than the CEO of IKAME and one of the most prominent names in Drifter and Triglavian research - Makoto Priano. Makoto, I thank you for giving me this honor with speaking with you, and do apologize if it appears if I’m not giving due to credit to the other fine minds under IKAME and ARC’s banner who’ve contributed their fair share to the pool of knowledge New Eden has on these external threats. That said, with what’s been going on in Semiki i can’t think of a better person to sit down with. There’s a lot i want to unpack, but first might i ask how you’re doing?”

[Makoto]
“Thank you for speaking with me, Mr. Moxin! And I’m doing well, thank you. Always busy, of course, hence why I’m in Eram at this particular moment. But we’re all always busy, which is a credit to the pilots and researchers who dedicate their time to the emergent threats confronting New Eden. And may I add? Thank you for acknowledging the fine minds! We’ve benefited from having many involved, and look to collaborating with many more pilots in the future.”

[Kalto]
“Good to hear, now introductions aside let’s get into this. First - a brief run down of the events that have transpired in Semiki. Day 1, The Scope reports on the Biohazard Containment Facility in the system owned by Zainou being compromised by some saboteur, followed by some malicious malware appearing and infected the implants of Aliastra employees going in between the Zainou station and a Aliastra owned warehouse in Semiki. IKAME and other notable organizations loyal to the Caldari State such as I-RED and HECON respond to the crisis. Officials release details linking the malware attacking Aliastra Employeee to subroutine software utilized by Rogue Drones, as well as providing more info on this saboteur. IKAME and other Capsuleers begin collecting Rogue Drone components and Triglavian trinary datastreams to donate to offical to aid in the investigation until CONCORD steps in and starts flexing a policy about there being to many components stockpiled in this one location. The Ishukone Corporation steps in with support from the Chief Executive Panel to push CONCORD back so they can get those materials. Is this order of events correct?”

[Makoto]
“In broad strokes, correct! Though I’ll add that we still don’t know much about Vailakkel, neither how the interrogation has been proceeding, nor his whereabouts between his dismissal from Lai Dai and his reappearance aboard the Zainou station in Semiki.”

[Kalto]
“Vailakke - The saboteur in question. I want to discuss him but not before pointing out the next series of events that follow in this chain. Because what’s next to start appearing in Semiki are wrecks of Drifter battleships, Drifters themselves and then and most recently, entire fleets of them coming down on several key citadels anchored by Capsuleers in the system…Now i understand the question I’m about to ask is unprofessional, but frankly i got no clue how to approach this subject without just point blank asking you out right what you think this all is. Like, if you had to lock in a answer right now to what is going on in this system, what would it be? Because we got links to the Rogue Drones, Triglavians and now the Drifters. What can any of this possibly mean?”

[Makoto]
“It’s well known by now that the Collective has either suborned or is in cooperation with some sets of rogue drones, to the point that CONCORD recognizes ‘Navka overminds’ as being an entity unto itself. Whether the Drifters were seeking to verify the presence of uncontained rogue drone elements, of Collective agents, or merely trying to opportunistically seize Collective data stockpiles is unknown. Either way, the Drifters were certainly in Semiki due to the rogue drone connection.”

[Kalto]
“So where would you say Vailakke fits in to all of this? Out of the possibilities you’ve listed - presence of Collective Agents was one of them and only person in Semiki that can even be remotely considered an agent of the Triglavians is Vailakke. Vailakke is the one at ground zero for this whole disaster…Now if I’m interpreting what you meant incorrect, do call me out and clarify on what you really meant by Collective Agents. Otherwise if we’re on the same page…Give me your thoughts.”

[Makoto]
“We can’t rule out the possibility that Vailakkel is operating for a non-State actor. Given CONCORD’s on-going concern about neuromemetic warfare, novel infowarfare constructs, and the Astromancer affair…Of course, the simple truth is we don’t know. It remains a possibility. We’re attempting to pursue any lead we can, and of course the Watch has far more resources for this work than we do.”

[Kalto]
“I would press further on this theory but i fear i’d be delving into realms of conspiracy theories…So instead let’s move toon to the next item on that list of possibilities, that being the Drifters showing up merely to grab hold of the stockpiles of Triglavian datastreams Capsuleers have collected. You’re the expert, so i wanna ask what exactly is so useful about this data in bulk, what can we gain from it, and more importantly, what can the Drifters gain from it?”

[Makoto]
“The trick is that the text we’re familiar with is only a partial translation. Sure, we have experience with trinary data structures. Sure, we’ve encountered the Triglavian alphabet. But there is a lot your average researcher still hasn’t exposed in terms of metadata and similar things.Imagine, for instance, that this is sort of a collective way to share ‘memories,’ in the form of infomorph-compatible or neuromemetic structures, and there’s routing history, access protocols, and header information that means little to us, but can be parsed by others who have operated trinary-based systems for possibly centuries.So, conceivably, there’s a lot more here than one would think at first.Honestly, I’m sure that’s part of way SARO’s Case Red Gamma group wants the stockpile.”

[Kalto]
“So basically if we’re gonna have any chance of learning more about the Triglavians, it’s gonna be though these datastreams. These are gateway into a whole new world of knowledge , problem currently however is cracking the code and unlocking that gate. Now your people literally wrote the history book on Drifter activity, so i think you and i can both agree that the Drifters have a history of being bombastic whenever they want to. They lurk in the shadows a vast majority of the time, and when they step out? They deliver a haymaker - and that’s what happened in Semiki when IKAME’s citadel was reinforced by an armada of Drifters. Not only that, but reinforce two other citadels in system…Thing is, they never came back for round two, correct? See, what if that was a just a display of force? If this was a smash and grab run for the Drifters then they could’ve easily came back for the next timer. If the information I’m working is accurate, the Drifters were reinforcing their attacking fleet effortlessly on the fly.”

[Makoto]
“That’s the trick, though. They did come back for round two. There were over a hundred Drifter and Drifter-allied ships amassed in system. They just didn’t attack. We still don’t know why, necessarily. It may be that CONCORD’s new systems worked. More likely, though, is that the Drifters simply didn’t have a suitable target. If they were intending to strike Collective targets…”

[Kalto]
“Sorry, I must not be up to date. I’m not familiar with any kind of "new system" CONCORD has, can you elaborate?”

[Makoto]
“SARO has stated that it’s rolled out countermeasures that have reduced Drifter activity. TheyS didn’t exactly elaborate.”

[Kalto]
“New countermeasures? I-I mean i heard you, you said they didn’t elaborate but…What what could they be possibly talking about? I ask for your theory because I’m running all this in my head and i can’t see where this new countermeasure could be in all this. Drifters still reinforced your citadel and while they didn’t attack the second time - they still formed up in Semiki in full force… So whatever SARO got isn’t stopping them from getting in the system, but stopping them from attacking? How would something like that work? I do recall hearing reports however of a one "Ovreg Drust" appearing in system and scanning all the reinforced citadels. So did he sprinkle digital dust on your citadel or something?”

[Makoto]
“Honestly, I can’t even imagine what they did. SARO has avoided even suggesting what their capabilities are. Mind, I will say that wormhole formation rates from the Drifter-held systems dropped precipitously at around that time, from anywhere around 350 active wormholes at a time to approximately a hundred. If that’s SARO’s doing, then that indicates that they’ve reduced, but not eliminated, the ability of the Vigilant Tyrannos to salvage material. Of course, Lancers are always active in JO systems, so how much that actually did…&”

[Kalto]
“Would you say you trust SARO? Or CONCORD as a whole for that matter when it comes to the subject of these emergent threats? Undoubtedly CONCORD has knowledge about these forces and they ain’t sharing…Knowledge I’m sure that your people would find extremely useful…Even more so now with the Drifters becoming more bold as time moves on. I mean correct me if I’m wrong, but the attack on IKAME’s citadel was the first ever time a non-capsuleer entity has reinforced a citadel. Pirates like the Guristas and Blood Raiders have only sent small frigate wings to tap the shields, never tear them down out right…”

[Makoto]
“I respect SARO. I respect CONCORD. I understand and appreciate the difficult tasks they undertake, and that they have to deal with capsuleers who are indeed nearly rabid.At the same time, I dislike being lumped in with those capsuleers. I dislike that all of us are being dismissed and insulted by the powers that be even when we serve an essential role. Ultimately, I wonder if the failure of Operation Spectre all those years ago taught CONCORD the wrong lesson. I wonder if they thought it taught them that independent capsuleers have little utility, when the truth of it is that we have greatest utility when given an objective and free rein to accomplish that objective how we see fit.”

[Kalto]
“Operation Spectre?”

[Makoto]
“In late YC115, the empires detected an energy surge that evidently looked like the collapse of a high-energy artificial wormhole. It turned out to be the product of research conducted by the Angels and Serpentis. In response, the empires rallied capsuleers to attempt to strike the research facilities-- and walked right into null sec blockades. Needless to say, it didn’t go well. And ever since, CONCORD’s been reticent about seeking capsuleer assistance with its operations.”

[Kalto]
“So if i understand your feelings, what you’re saying is that you respect CONCORD’s authority and understand they’re handling a sensitive matter and preventing the wrong kind of Capsuleers from interfering…At the same time however, you’re agitated that all Capsuleers are lumped into this same pile as crazed psychos that will only cause problems, thus vast swathes of information is held from everyone. …No matter how devoted you are or how respectful you are to the laws - You’re still seen as some looney empyrean that has no fashion sense and some outlandish callsign with no moral compass. Would i be correct?”

[Makoto]
“Essentially. And I understand. We do use some of those loose cannons, from time to time. But I’d rather we try to use them to some productive end than to not even try.”

[Kalto]
“Forgive me if I’m jumping to assumptions here, but honestly I’m just reaching for something to transition into this next question, but when say you use loose cannons you’re referring to specific "independent" pilots that operate with the Arataka Research Consortium, correct? ARC being an open doors organization attracts pilots of all walks of like. Not here to name and shame, just pointing out there’s ARC and then there’s IKAME. Two different - but related - entities that have their own roster and ways of operating. You’ve made it clear that when entering Semiki, that this wasn’t an ARC matter but an IKAME matter. You guys were here because of a problem affecting the State , that at first had no intial connections to the Triglavians or Drifters. Now? with recent events and all these connections - is this an IKAME matter still or an ARC matter now?”

[Makoto]
“I’ll admit. It’s a bit complicated. To keep it brief, though, the consortium started as an enterprise with support from PNS, SFRIM, Signal Cartel, and IKAME. The exact nature of the group has been, I’ll admit, a bit amorphous and prone to drift. Basically said, though, the Semiki situation remains primarily an IKAME matter, though the Drifter intervention certainly rose to a proper Consortium matter. And I’ll be honest: I need to be better about consulting the coordination group before raising the ARC flag for some matters.”

[Kalto]
“A sound enough plan…Now you’re quite busy and I think we’ve exchanged enough words as it is. So I’m gonna present one final question before we move onto final remarks. What is IKAME’s current plan moving forward? Assuming you’re willing to disclose that information that is.”

[Makoto]
“Absolutely. While obviously there are always operational concerns, we aim for whatever amount of transparency is practical. Very simply, at this point all we can do is advise the Watch and Zainou, given their proprietary handling of the quarantine and emergency response. Documents are being finalized as we speak. If need be, we’re absolutely ready to step up material support, though for that we’d need some amount of guidance on how to best assist in the emergency response without risking a breach of quarantine.”

{Kalto]
“Well we can only hope that more amplified support isn’t required…Makoto Priano, it was an honor to speak with you and I thank you for all your responses. Now before we part ways i wanna ask if you got any final remarks. The floor is yours to say whatever, a message to the public, something you want to mention but didn’t cover…Say whatever. Of course this is purely optional if you have nothing more to say.”

[Makoto]
“A pleasure to chat with you, Mr. Moxin. As for final comments, all I can really say this: that I hope the quarantine holds, and that some sort of novel solution proves effective. That a hardware-focused solution has proven ineffective continues to baffle us.However, we’ll press on. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of lives may depend on it.”

[Kalto]
“Encouraging words…Once again Makoto Priano, I thank you for your time and wish you and IKAME luck out there.”


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