"But Uriel, in that case, why is Strategos the CEO instead of Polemos?"
I’m glad you asked, hypothetical person - let’s now go into some expanded tinfoil about:
THE OTHER AND THE DRIFTERS
The Jove faction we know as the Sleepers was once an elite sect of the Second Jove Empire, inhabiting a virtual paradise - linked with this construct via an implant installed into a genetically purpose-modified empty space in the brain. Blamed for the creation of the Jove Disease after its appearance - after revealing that they, in all their advanced knowledge, could not cure it - they and their administrators were pursued by the Tyrants; the Sleepers took up full residence in Anoikis in order to escape, closing the doors behind them.
At some point in their history, spontaneous intelligences arose in the Sleepers’ VR world - ones that had not been born in the real world, but had come into existence entirely within the perfectly-simulated haven.
They were, in appearance and mind, as Jove as the others in the VR. However, these beings were intrinsically aware their world was false, wanted to leave it, and tried to tell the unknowing Sleepers - but were met with violent resistance to the truth they preached.
They were persecuted by the admins of the VR, as their very existence violated the noemata governing the virtual world - principally, the need for every mind within the VR to require a body on the outside - but eventually, the Intelligences and the Sleepers who took their side seem to have won. No known traces of the world’s once-admins remain in Anoikis.
Back in New Eden, the Battle of Vak’Atioth led to the defeat of the Amarr at the hands of the Third Jove Empire, the pale remnants of the once-great Second. Years later, at the site of the battle, a man named Falek Grange would discover Jove FTL communication implant technology - which shares similarities with the VR implants of their Sleeper cousins, installed during gestation into a genetically purpose-modified empty space in the brain.
He would go on to build this Jove technology into the secret clone of Amarr heir Jamyl Sarum, following her ritual suicide in YC105 following the Succession Trials - connecting her mind to that of her followers, with the intent of portraying the heir as a truly divine being.
Through some machination, during the process of the infomorph transfer, one of these spontaneous intelligences from the Sleeper interloped into Jamyl Sarum’s being and implanting itself in her cloned mind, taking up residence in the implants in her head, and becoming known as “The Other”.
This ruthless being began to enact its plans, all the while completely trapped in Jamyl’s head - and even as they internally grew to know and fight one another, the Other continued to progressed its works. The guiding of the Amarr to derelict precursor technology led to the jury-rigging of a powerful superweapon, which was strapped to an Abaddon and was fueled by Isogen-5 - an exotic material capable of affecting the fabric of spacetime. This weapon was used to push back the Elder Fleet invasion in YC110, after which Jamyl became the Amarr Empress.
In YC111, SoE, Blood Raider, and Thukker representatives came across a massive rogue drone hive, whose drones had been subverted by an external directive. They were tasked with collecting and amassing Isogen-5, as well as refueling the there-tethered superweapon Abaddon - and were, in retrospect, clearly under the control of the Other.
Not wanting the weapon to fall into anyone’s hands, the Thukker fired at the hive and the ship - causing it to sublimate instantly, causing entangled isogen-5 caches across New Eden and Anoikis to detonate simultaneously and violently disturbing the fabric of spacetime - resulting in the ongoing formation of unstable wormholes across New Eden and Anoiks.
Things hadn’t gone as planned: the caches were destroyed, wormholes were opening everywhere, and the Sleeper civilization was now vulnerable to the predations of the Empires and Capsuleers - long before whatever had been planned was able to be completed - and the Other adjusted for it.
CHANGE OF PLANS
The Other directed the Amarr to retrieve Sleeper bodies, whose construct implants had been imbued with the minds of Sleepers and Intelligences in league with it - alongside other Sleepers who had fought it, now forced into this fate as retribution.
These harvested implants were used to create the first generation of Clone Soldiers - who soon found themselves sharing a mind with whatever Sleeper or Intelligence had come back with them, as Jamyl did - and the Other intended to create many more, planning to use them as an army.
The works of a now-dead Jove, however, led to Jamyl becoming aware of this plan - allowing her to order the destruction of the 1st-gen clone soldiers. Later versions were created after the successful reverse-engineering of the implant tech, and are since free of such headmates.
In September YC116, Jamyl Sarum stopped appearing in public, with rumors that she was unwell - secretly a consequence of heavy activity on the part of the Other, and her fighting against it, in previous instances.
In or before October YC116, Doctor Hilen Tukoss discovered a massive fleet of mysterious ships amassing at a gargantuan structure in an unknown system in Anoikis. At the termination of his broadcast - which was not unveiled until the next year - his ship and pod were destroyed. But by some machination, these beings - in fact the Drifters, gathering at their Hives in preparation for some unknown mission - intercepted and hijacked his pod’s infomorph transmission, routing him instead into their Virtual World in some manner.
In October YC116, the SoE reported strange and distressing changes in Sleeper activity.
In this same month, the Drifters - posing as Hilen Tukoss using his unique neocom ID - contacted capsuleers on the Intergalactic Summit. They would then request Jove biomass be delivered to Eram’s Site One in a second message.
In November YC116, an anomalous bright star was observed in the skies of EVE - W477-P’s star had exploded in a violent supernova. Unknown to the capsuleers and Empires, this star had been surrounded long ago with a lattice of gates and power-collection structures constructed by a faction we call the Talocan. These gates offloaded as much energy as possible into the “Epicenters” in the now-shattered wormhole systems, as well as into with mysterious megastructures found in the Drifter Hive sites, where the Drifters had gathered en masse, known only as the “Nexus Gates” - entering the massive structures and being routed forward to another, unknown destination…
In mid-November, a third communication from Tukoss appeared - this one from the real Doctor. In a garbled transmission, he revealed that he had been captured, and that Site One was compromised.
In December YC116, massive structures began to decloak all across New Eden, in the wake of the bright star’s superluminal propagation across the cluster. Simultaneously, strange Sleeper drones began to roam the spacelanes, scanning and investigating all they came across - these were the first Sleeper drones ever observed roaming, not guarding their Enclaves.
In February YC117, the Drifters revealed themselves to New Eden. The mysterious Vigilant Tyrannos were soon discovered to be immensely dangerous and ruthless compared to the benign Third Empire, and quickly took to salvaging the wrecks of the now completely-decloaked Directorate observatories.
In May YC117, the broadcast of Hilen Tukoss made before his death the previous year is leakes.
In June YC117, the Drifter Hives are discovered by Capsuleers, along with the Doctor’s body.
In July YC117, the Amarr navy announced the keel-laying of their new flagship. Days later, Jamyl appeared in public for the first time since the previous September; during this appearance, Matshi Raish would perform a scan of her vessel and learn of the existence of the Other. It was discovered that Jamyl had intentionally allowed herself and the Other to mentally intermingle - she was fighting it in some hidden way.
And in August YC117, the Drifters came to Safizon as the Empress appeared, firing their weapons and destroying her Avatar-class titan, then destroying her pod. The Empress, and the Other, were dead - but were they really gone?
Soon afterward, the Drifters began an invasion of Amarr - but this ended almost as soon as it started, with no reason observed. IRL, this was because of issues with the content - but there’s a way this could also be explained in-world…
And now for:
The Intelligences born within the Sleeper VR have been shown, on two prior occasions, to be capable of intercepting infomorph transmissions.
The Other knew the Drifters were beginning to emerge, given Jamyl’s unwellness just weeks before the SoE reported Sleeper activity changes that would be an omen to the Drifters.
The Drifters came to Safizon only for Jamyl and the Other.
Jamyl had been intermingling with the Other far more than necessary, holding onto it in order to fight it.
The Drifters began an attack on Amarr, but stopped almost immediately afterward.
Taking the information above, and blending it with the first subject of the post, here’s a story-hypothesis enclosing all the story of the Drifters and the Other in a neat package - this is my strongest-believed possible theory concerning the truth of the faction, and I hope to explore it further whenever more information arises:
– The Other was a major figure among the Intelligences and Sleepers rebelling in the VR
– After winning, they began to wait and develop toward a point of entering the real world
– They modeled their command structure after the Second Jove Empire’s rulers, the Tyrants
– Wanting to be real, they saw themselves as the rightful inheritors of the Jove legacy
– The Other was appointed as the commander, the Polemarchos, of the organization
– Seeking out all possibilities, they detected the FTL node in the Empress’s clone’s head
– The Other was burn-transmitted during the cloning, embedding itself in Jamyl’s mind
– The “Tyrannos Strategos” then became the chief of their organization
– Planning the emergence of the Vigilant Tyrannos, the Other set plans in motion
– Suborned rogue drones - either itself or by its comrades - began collecting Isogen-5
– This Isogen-5 would be stored at the caches, and used to eventually open Anoikis
– This opening would be controlled, however, and would be under the power of their forces
– Instead, the caches were detonated - and wormholes opened everywhere
– The Sleeper infrastructure was now helpless against pillaging, and the Drifters weren’t ready
– The Other adjusted by planning to use clone soldiers as an army, using sleeper implants
– This plan was foiled, and the Other waited
– When the Drifters were finally ready to mobilize in YC116, the Other was aware
– Jamyl continued to fight the Other
– The Drifters gathered at the Hives went to the Abyss when Caroline’s Star went nova
– Tyrannos Strategos was seen as the Drifter “CEO” when they appeared
– The Drifters, having now established themselves, planned to retrieve the Polemarchos
– Killing Jamyl, the contents of the implant were retrieved by the Drifters
– However, Jamyl’s consciousness was brought back alongside the Other
– Unaware of this, but returned, the Other - the Polemarchos - invaded Amarr
– The invasion stopped abruptly when Jamyl, within Polemarchos, forced it to end
– Strategos maintains a commanding position, Polemarchos becomes Polemos - Warlord
– Polemos now leads the campaign in Pochven, still piloting vessels designated Polemarchos
And tangentially, as a final hypothetical:
The Triglav are many minds in one body; with what we know of them, and of the implants they use, it stands reasonable to consider that the Drifters we encounter in space are copies of single minds, in many bodies - hence the multitudes of the same-named and ranked ones encountered across space. Naturally, the Drifters are not subject to the mandates of CONCORD, or the strict noemata of the Triglav - I hope to learn more about their nature as time passes.
With the weaving of Pochven, the Drifters have had their HQ system changed from 3CE1-R to New Eden, and social skills no longer apply to their standings, just as they don’t with the Triglavians or Edencom. Combined with all we know so far, and all the potential this fascinating facet of EVE’s story holds, I hope to see the Drifter story begin once again, hand in hand with the story of the Triglavians.