The Promised Land

 

Some time ago I wrote an article about the parallels between Ayn Rand’s philosophy and EVE Online. Back then I named the Caldari State as expression of an ideal Randian society, but when it comes to the personification of her ideology, nobody fits the template better than the former Caldari tycoon Sansha Kuvakei. Here is a short video about him that will save me lots of words:



 

This is of course only an introduction, so let me go ahead to fill in the blanks and expand on the backstory of both the man, the nation he founded, and how they connect with current events.

The Flawed Utopia

Originally, Sansha Kuvakei appeared on the public stage as a charismatic visionary who promised to create a society without economic scarcity or the need for money. Intellectuals and innovators of all kinds were to be given the freedom to fully realize their potential. Starting from a number of solar systems he had acquired by spending his considerable wealth, his new nation expanded quickly as colonisers from all over New Eden joined and settled more worlds.

Secretly however, Kuvakei made further plans with the dispassionate reasoning of a megalomaniac technocrat.

The basic premise of his society was that all previous forms of human organisation are flawed because they did nothing to improve humanity itself. According to Kuvakei’s ideals individuals of lower physical or mental aptitude had to be “enhanced” cybernetically to make them stronger and smarter. He based his improvements on the then recently introduced Jovian capsule technology and experimental neural augmentation science. Incidentally his implants would also strip away the subject’s free will and humanity, turning them into completely obedient slaves who were specialized to fulfill assigned tasks. To test his developments, Sansha Kuvakei used Minmatar slaves acquired from the Amarr who thought he would provide them with effective mind-control technology which they could use on their own slaves in return. Kuvakei’s purpose was not to serve Amarr interests though. The True Slaves his method created were destined to be the labourers and soldiers of Sansha’s Nation, linked into a hive-mind and under the control of himself and the intellectual elite of his utopia, the True Citizens. The latter also received neural augmentations, but they were allowed to retain their individuality and were “only” conditioned to not oppose Sansha Kuvakei himself.

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Not all of the chosen few were prepared to sacrifice the freedom of others to live in Sansha Kuvakei’s utopia. When he revealed the full extent of his plans, many Nation citizens who still had a choice turned away in disgust. It is not known who exactly revealed Kuvakei’s hidden agenda to the public, but when it happened in YC 37, an exodus began. Only the most fanatical supporters of Sansha Kuvakei and the already enslaved remained. The escaped colonists spread the word among the empires and the Gallente Federation spearheaded an initiative to petition CONCORD for the formation of a task force that would liberate the remaining slaves and destroy Sansha’s Nation. Immediately, the Minmatar Republic, the Caldari State and even the Jovian Directorate supported the move. Under pressure from the other empires the Amarr eventually joined in too,

When the CONCORD-led forces moved against Kuvakei and his remaining loyalists, they discovered that liberation efforts were futile. Sansha’s army of True Slaves was programmed to fanatically defend the Nation with complete disregard for their own lives. During the terrible war of attrition which followed, several of Sansha Kuvakei’s inner circle True Citizens managed to extract themselves together with a number of slave-crewed ships under their control. Kuvakei himself, however, apparently died in the final confrontation. Gallente forensic experts found remains that matched his DNA. With the Nation shattered, its remaining forces driven into uncharted space and their leader declared dead, the coalition called it a decisive victory and withdrew.

They would be proven wrong several decades later.

Something Stirs In Stain

The ascendency of the Capsuleers in YC105 lead to a renewed interest in Sansha’s Nation. The pod pilots found that slave implant technology recovered in the aftermath of the Nation’s destruction was highly effective in augmenting their ability to operate ships. Sansha ship designs also provided interesting instruments of warfare. Capsuleer explorers thus went on expeditions to find more of the Nation’s lost secrets and they did. The capsuleer alliance Ascendant Frontier had settled in the cluster’s south-eastern regions and allied themselves with the notorious Angel Cartel. Together they discovered a forward operations base at the border with Stain from which True Citizen Frazier Eachann lead raids into Angel Cartel territory. They engaged the Sansha forces and despite heavy losses remained victorious. More importantly, the hiding place of the reconsolidated Nation forces was discovered. It turned out that they had spent the last decades settling territory in Stain and replenishing their numbers with newly created True Slaves and a large number of ships.

Initially they appeared leaderless. True Slave piloted vessels encountered appeared to only execute old command routines, until one day a representative calling himself Sansha’s Speaker issued a public statement to the Angel Cartel warning them against further incursions into Stain. Furthermore, speculation arose whether Sansha’s Nation might have attracted capsuleers into their ranks. Still, for years a detente endured which saw only sporadic skirmishes between Sansha fleets and small groups of pod-pilot explorers.

That turned out to be nothing but the silence before the storm.

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The Master Speaks

In the early weeks of YC112 (i.e. 2010), Sansha Nation forces launched coordinated attacks against a number of systems all over the central cluster without warning. Those assaults were unsettling in nature and purpose. Everything but leaderless, the Sansha forces were commanded by True Citizens supported by capsuleer sympathizers. Their fluid-router hivemind appeared to be fully functional and they had radically improved the combat capabilities of their ships, including a previously unknown supercarrier-class vessel. Using methods that defy explanation, they entered their target systems through artificially created wormholes and caused system-wide disruptions of defenses and communication. Their goal was not military victory against the hurriedly scrambled capsuleer militias and faction navies, but to abduct inhabitants of settled planets.

During their first attack, they successfully took roughly 200.000 citizens from different worlds. As the Incursions continued the fate of those abductees became terribly obvious: converted into True Slaves they were used to crew and pilot even more ships in the Sansha fleets. Contrary to the last major confrontation with the Nation, the four empires failed to form a unified response. CONCORD consequently stepped in and offered rewards to capsuleers who would repel Sansha incursions, but they were not the only ones trying to rally capsuleer support. A man who called himself Master Kuvakei and perfectly matched the appearance of Sansha himself called out for capsuleers to join him.

That broadcast caused a wave of speculation. Nation sympathisers rejoiced and declared their allegiance but many asked themselves how Kuvakei could possibly have returned so many decades after being declared dead. Cloning technology would of course make that possible, but there were doubts whether Sansha Kuvakei even had a clone, and if so, why would he wait so long to reveal himself. Still, one anonymous CONCORD official warned against doubting that Sansha Kuvakei is not really who he claims to be, and there was indication that CONCORD knew more than they would let on.

The leaders of Synenose Accord – a capsuleer militia formed to fight the Nation threat – publicized evidence that CONCORD had been aware of a military buildup within Stain, and for reasons unknown kept that knowledge from everyone else. There was even evidence that Nation agents had infiltrated CONCORD. The compounding mysteries got yet another twist when a capsuleer managed to collect visual data from the other side of a wormhole opened by a Nation fleet.

The implications of that discovery were staggering.

Mouse.Nell.Wormhole.Probe.Huttaken.IV

Revelations And Further Mysteries

To everyone’s shock and surprise, Nation forces had succeeded in taking control of at least one station in Jove space. By doing so they might have acquired technology far beyond anything other powers of New Eden possess. That would be a possible explanation for the advanced weaponry, electronic warfare and wormhole generators the Nation fleets deploy in battle. The connection between Jovians, Sleepers, Talocan and wormhole-travel has been discussed earlier, and as of YC112 Sansha’s Nation has become another factor in this mysterious interrelation. Recent reports from explorers now also show that Nation forces are active in Thera and other shattered wormhole systems which further supports speculation that they are involved in current events related to the opening of new wormhole connections.

It is still an open question whether the current Sansha Kuvakei is actually who he claims to be, but his behaviour and mindset has not changed from 70 years ago. The capabilities and methods of his forces have changed radically though. In addition to their advanced military technology Sansha’s Nation also found a way to turn people into slaves within minutes by using nanotechnology, as is evident from this chilling interview with the man who appears to be Sansha Kuvakei. Only very recently a small consolation came when CONCORD reported that Nation forces evacuated a constellation in Oasa which had been under their control. Uncharacteristically, they did not use wormholes to extract themselves and that may indicate that they at least temporarily lost the ability to create them.

To conclude I would offer one speculation to ponder: If a pure infomorph like The Other could subvert the transfer of Jamyl Sarum’s mind from one clone to another, what would it be able to do with an implant-based fluid-router hive mind like Sansha’s Nation?

Food for thought.


 

Further reading and references:

Evelopedia entry on Sansha Kuvakei

Evelopedia entry on Sansha’s Nation

Evelopedia entry on The Nation War of Resurgence

Aurora Arcology synopsis of the YC112 Sansha attacks

Press conference of CONCORD Inspector Sutola Endoma

Special thanks for inspiring and helping with this piece go to: Julianus Soter, Rhavas and all the contributors of Aurora Arcology and SYNEPublic.

Tags: Jamyl Sarum, Jove, lore, Sansha, tarek, Thera

About the author

Tarek Raimo

Former nullsec spy (no not under that name of course) and current failure at lowsec solo PVP, Tarek spends his time not logging in to the game as much as he keeps thinking about its social and metagame nature and sharing some of those thoughts with the CZ readers.


  • Bam Stroker

    hnnnghloreboner

  • Francisco_dAnconia

    Individualism is a huge theme in Rand’s books which is quite at odds with both Caldari Corporatism and Sansha’s collectivism. It’s not subtle either. She practically beats the reader over the head with John Galt’s speech. If you’ve actually read any of her books and somehow didn’t pick up on that then you’re a fucking idiot.

    • Kamar Raimo

      Individualism, yes, but also the superiority of rational individuals above the “unenlightened masses” who are just motivated by their base emotions.

      Those concepts are alive both in Caldari Society and in Sansha’s Nation. Before you call me an idiot you would do well to provide a sound argument.

      Kindly note that defending Ayn Rand puts you in a precarious position and resorting to simple name calling does not particularly help with successfully making your point.

      • Francisco_dAnconia

        Its much more difficult to make a counter argument when all you have to respond to is an unsupported assertion in an intro. Normally I would be happy to indulge regardless but you’re so very far off base. Seriously just read any ten pages of any book or essay discussing Objectivism and you’ll notice that rationality is but one theme and not in any way the most prominent.

        Please notice that I wasn’t speaking towards the merits of Rand’s philosophy. I was simply pointing out that you misunderstood what she was saying on a very basic level. I trust you would never do anything as juvenile as conflating the two.

        • Bam Stroker

          “you’re a fucking idiot.”

          Nek minnit

          “I trust you would never do anything as juvenile…”

          My sides!

        • Kamar Raimo

          I am guilty for not linking my earlier article I guess. Well here you go: http://crossingzebras.com/alisa-and-eve/

          If you really think that rationality is *not* a fundamental theme of objectivism then I don’t know what you read, but Ayn Rand herself has said in interviews that rational thought is very central to her philosophy.

          • Druik Arbosa

            Ayn Rand was not a rational person, looking at her life’s history she was a person of great charisma, but had few useful things to say about living your life. She was a very selfish woman, who would often change her personal ethic to suit her wants.

          • Kamar Raimo

            I think she was a bit more complex than that, but I would certainly say that her ideals were flawed and could only lead to ruin if actually put into practice.

            Edit: Actually, in terms of charisma she was pretty horrible. I saw some TV interviews with her. She mostly looks nervous and awkward.

  • Lochiel

    At FanFest last year I asked CCP Delegate Zero about The Other having an influence on Sansha Kuvakei. His response was that he felt (ie, not established in Lore yet) that Sansha Kuvakei was a man driven by his own motivations, and not someone to be controlled.

    This, of course, leaves plenty of room for interpretation. Including the possibility that as the lore is written things change. But I am fairly confident we can ignore the possibility that The Other has taken full control of The Nation.

    • Kamar Raimo

      Well, Sanha Kuvakei sure was a very strong-willed individual. So was Jamyl Sarum for that matter. I would not immediately suggest that The Other took over Kuvakei’s mind though. But what if it insinuated itself into the Nation hivemind? Kuvakei has been out of the picture for decades, maybe he re-awakened to a Nation that is not quite what he knew it to be?

      • Lochiel

        If I recall correctly, Jamyl was infected by The Other at a time when she was being “groomed” to be a figure head and was certainly not at her most capable. The fact that she has been able to resit The Other’s control and gain her own strength, I feel, is not only a testament to Empress Jamyl, but The Other’s weakness in controlling other people.

        I don’t mean to distract from a possible relationship between The Other and Kuvakei. They both have goals that could benefit from some sort of relationship, and they most certainly have crossed paths at this point.

        • Kamar Raimo

          I honestly don’t know whether The Other has gained access to the Sansha hivemind or even the mind of Kuvakei himself, but I certainly consider it very vulnerable. After all, the True Slaves are conditioned by their implants to respond to a higher authority. The main thing I was wondering was who that “Sansha’s Speaker” individual might have been. That character appeared at roughly the same time as Jamyl Sarum’s return.

  • This was an awesome read.

  • Kir

    Meh… the Rand-focused intro was just a clickbait setup. I could writeup the same article with an intro linking Sansha to Obamacare, but aside from stroking the political biases of ~40% of the readers it would do nothing for the actual article. Amusingly enough, virtually everyone on every side of the modern US political scene thinks of themselves as a technocrat… especially when they lose an election. 🙂

    The article was excellent, the intro was pointless.

    • Kamar Raimo

      Dunno, it’s simply that the story of Sansha Kuvakei reminds me a lot of Bioshock which in turn is the story of a Randian vision gone horribly wrong. Maybe that works as clickbait for US-Americans and triggers responses related to their political views but that was not my intent. From a European perspective Ayn Rand really isn’t that significant and I guess that made me facetious.

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