Children of Raxxla Report: The Underworld Theory (DECLASSIFIED)

In light of recent discussions in the Rift mystery thread, Children of Raxxla officials have seen fit to release the following report on mythological references that may be relevant to the ongoing storyline. It is our hope that the information we have gathered and summarized within can benefit the greater community and assist in our shared goal of better understanding the forces at work in our galaxy. Keep your eyes open, commanders, and as always... Remember!

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Underworld Theory: The Mythology Behind Salomé’s Descent
Compiled 5 Dec 3302
CMDR Sajime Chent-Shi


The story of Salomé tells of her "Dance of the Seven Veils" for King Herod, inspiring him to offer her any favor in return - to which she demanded, and later received, the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Kahina similarly offered her assistance to the Children of Raxxla in exchange for, ultimately, Senator Patreus' head on a platter. But the parallels to history and mythology go much deeper than this.

The Dance of the Seven Veils has been described as a striptease of sorts, a removal of seven garments to reveal the naked truth. The story is derived from the ancient Sumerian myth of Inanna (a.k.a. Ishtar), a goddess of fertility and vitality. Inanna's most well-known story is of her descent to the underworld in order to learn the mysteries of death. In preparation for her trip, she gathers seven garments symbolizing various aspects of humanity and civilized life. As she descends to the underworld she must pass seven gates, and is required to remove one article of clothing at each gate. Eventually she arrives, naked, before the queen of the underworld, who judges her and strikes her dead (teaching her the mysteries firsthand). She is eventually rescued by her highest servant who brings her the food and water of life, resurrecting her and allowing her to make her escape. The guardians of the underworld do not want to allow anyone to return to the land of the living, and so an arrangement is made to split the year, spending half in the underworld and half above. This myth explains the difference between the seasons - spring and summer when she is present, and fall and winter when she returns to the underworld.

A later variant of this same story is the Greek myth of Persephone (a.k.a. Kore or Cora), the goddess of fertility and plant life, who is kidnapped to the underworld by Pluto (a.k.a. Hades). She is eventually rescued by Hermes, but not before Pluto tricks her into eating a little bit of food there, which normally would doom her to remain in the underworld forever. Because it was such a small amount, however, she is allowed to leave - but must return to the underworld for a portion of every year, again as an explanation for the seasons.

Another Greek myth echoes these events in the story of Eurydice, wife of Orpheus. Upon her death, Orpheus sang and played mournful songs on his lyre, which moved the gods so strongly that they told him to go to the underworld and rescue his wife. In order to gain entrance, he had to pass the three-headed dog Cerberus, which he put to sleep with music from his lyre. Upon finding Eurydice, he is told that he may bring her back to the land of the living, but he must walk ahead of her and not look back until they had left the underworld. He did as he was told, but as soon as he reached the daylight he turned to look at his wife, who had not yet stepped out from the underworld. Because of this mistake, she vanished and returned to the underworld, where he would not see her again until his own death years later.

All of these myths have been heavily referenced in recent writings by our Architect. Names, locations, ships, and explicit hints have all been chosen to direct our attention to these stories. I fear that these references may have been too subtle and sparse for our members to see the pattern clearly, so I will attempt to highlight as many as possible in this document. I do not mean to state that every last one of these links is meaningful, or even intended, merely to establish patterns and provide context for future investigations and discoveries.

To begin, many of us are familiar with the significance of the name Salomé and her Clipper, the Seven Veils. In early 3301, Kahina took this ship on a diplomatic visit to the Sol system, where she was specifically noted to be visiting the outer gas giants of Sol (all of which are named after the Roman counterparts of Greek mythological figures), despite no official welcome or escort from the Federation. Returning to Empire space, she made her rendezvous with the Imperial Interdictor Lucius (a name meaning "light"), and described her trip to Sol as "most enlightening." Recently several more bodies have been found in the outer reaches of Sol, all matching current observations except the last, a distant "Planet Nine" which is conspicuously named Persephone.

Kahina then immediately began preparing her Seven Veils for what appeared to be a long-range exploration mission - specifically upgrading the drives, shields, frame-shift drive, fuel scoop, and a "custom built Gutamaya discovery scanner." This could be seen as a reference to Inanna's preparation for her descent. All of the modifications were performed at Persephone station in the Avalon system, another hint at the upcoming journey to the underworld. She was then summoned to Achenar, where she proceeded to vanish, shedding her Seven Veils; the ship modifications were revealed to be a ruse, and the ship had in fact been completely stripped down. Kahina left behind only her Imperial tiara, just as Inanna left her crown at the first gate to the underworld, and a Dark Wheel medallion bearing the name Salomé - a clue to her followers that she was abandoning her role as an Imperial senator and assuming a new identity and purpose.

As Children of Raxxla, we know the details of what happened next, though Galnet never reported them. Salomé, now, was picked up by her old friend Luko and taken to Tionisla Orbital Graveyard, truly the land of the dead. There she met with Dark Wheel member Elyssia Fields (whose name refers to the Greek equivalent of heaven, an afterlife separate from the underworld), echoing the meeting Alex Ryder had in the same location many years ago. Elyssia then introduced Salomé to our own CMDRs Thorn and Lestenio, who accepted her leadership knowing she could offer her diplomatic skills - her Dance of the Seven Veils - for which she would one day ask, in exchange, for "Senator Patreus' head on a platter." Salomé remained mostly in hiding, assisted by CoR and perhaps the Dark Wheel themselves, for nearly a year before her next public appearance - at Beagle Point, some 65,000 light years from home. She spoke of the knowledge gained by the explorers joining her in the void, "pushing the veil of the galaxy aside", and revealing the mysteries of the galaxy - mentioning Raxxla, the Rift, and permit locked sectors. It is clear that her journey to the underworld has the same motivations as Inanna's; she wishes to understand the mysteries of the darkness, though it has already cost her place in Imperial society.

Salomé then returned to the core worlds, ensuring the Cobra "Cor meum et animam" ("My heart and soul") found its place in Tionisla Orbital Graveyard, but was swiftly captured by Imperial forces accusing her of an attempt on Patreus' life. After being found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment, her prisoner convoy was mysteriously destroyed, right down to the escape pods. The ships of the convoy bore the Latin names "Diadem", "Cypripedium", "Velum", "Monile", and "Vestimenta"; these roughly translate to "tiara", "slipper", "veil", "necklace", and "clothing". Again it seems these are references to the garments removed by Inanna, and we may assume that Salomé has again descended to the underworld - whether literally, in death, or figuratively once more. And again we are reminded to look to the "core" of the problem, and warned that "winter is coming," as it does when Kore (Persephone) returns to the underworld.

Kahina/Salomé is not the only one in our galaxy whose story hints at ancient mythology. Our own Alessia Verdi, whose family background calls to mind the events of a Greek tragedy, flies a ship named "Eurydice," referencing the myth of Orpheus. I hypothesize that even the "Dark Wheel" name may refer back to this myth; when Orpheus went to the underworld, his lyre stopped the "wheel of fire" that tortured the fallen king Ixion. Virgil's telling of this myth in Georgics IV even uses the Latin word "formidine" ("fear"), in the phrase "caligantem nigra formidine lucum", translated as "the grove dim with dark fear," which Orpheus must pass through along his journey to the underworld. Perhaps, then, the Formidine Rift is (or was) a gateway to this underworld, symbolically or otherwise.

A number of suspicious "accidental" deaths have also been peppered with mythological references. In January 3301, Federal Vice President Nigel Smeaton was found dead at his apartment "on the foothills of Mount Olympus" on Mars. In early August 3301, just a few months after the disappearance of Starship One, two independent shuttle accidents killed two of the primary investigators into the case - one in Sirius, and one in Artemis (Greek goddess of the hunt). Weeks later, a Federal Times reporter named Elaine Boyd, who had been seeking information on these deaths and the Starship One incident itself, was found dead at a hotel in Wyrd (Old English goddess of fate). She was a suspect in the murder of her romantic partner Susan Monroe, a member of the Presidential Protection Detail who had been assigned to Nigel Smeaton's guard at the time of his death. Elaine Boyd's death also revealed evidence that Nigel Smeaton was investigating the similar incident that resulted in the loss of the Highliner Antares.

Another mythological parallel was brought up when the Cobra in Tionisla emitted a signal that decoded to "The vain queen rides a giraffe that remembers her daughter's hero." This was determined to refer to the constellations Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Andromeda, and ultimately Perseus. The Perseus constellation depicts the hero holding the head of Medusa, which was described in Ovid's Metamorphoses as "formidine," striking fear into the hearts of enemies who saw it. This again echoes the themes of beheading from Salomé's myth, and was Perseus' weapon against Cetus - the great whale - when saving Andromeda.

Additionally, Professor Ishmael Palin seems to be named for the narrator of Moby-****, a famous tale of hunting a great whale covered in barnacles. He was leading research into the unknown artefacts, barnacles, and meta-alloys when he was kidnapped and infected with a strain of the Cerberus plague. This is an obvious reference to the hound of Hades, the three-headed dog guarding the underworld, which Orpheus' lyre soothed; the plague may be analogous to the poison foam Cerberus spit out when he was taken from the underworld, which landed on the ground and caused poisonous plants to grow. Though Professor Palin has since retired, the current director of the Palin Institute is now one Cora Shaw, perhaps also named after Persephone. This suggests the possibility that their work is closely tied to the knowledge sought by Salomé, the mysteries of the underworld.

It also hints at the identity of the group working to keep these secrets from being exposed; just as Cerberus guards the underworld, the Sirius Corporation - named for the "Dog Star," and allied with all three "heads" of the major powers - guards much of the information we wish to discover. Sirius has long been associated with mythological references to dogs, inhabiting locations such as Sothis, Egyptian name for the Dog Star; Takurua, Maori name for the Dog Star; Ceos, a Greek island whose inhabitants worshiped the Dog Star; and Robigo, a Roman deity whose festivals featured the ritual sacrifice of a dog. Even their pledged government leader, Li Yong-Rui, is often referred to by the initials LYR, evoking the lyre of Orpheus. Given Sirius Corp's constant research into experimental hyperspace technologies, even the most distant mysteries could be within their grasp before we have a chance to discover them. And with the recent launch of deep space probes for "exploration" purposes, potentially with defensive capabilities, this dog may indeed have teeth.

Again, it is not my intent to state that every reference within this document should be taken as gospel or pursued in depth. In particular, there are many obscure mentions of Greek myths that may only be coincidences due to the way our stars and constellations are named. I have tried, to some extent, to filter out those which seem most spurious or irrelevant, but I am happy to provide further details if desired. For the most part, the events described here were documented in galaxy-wide articles published in Galnet, along with Alessia Verdi's writings for the Children of Raxxla, though my research into these references included readings of earlier works, namely: The Dark Wheel, And Here The Wheel, Elite: Reclamation, and various ancient writings of Greek, Roman, Sumerian, Irish, and other Earth civilizations' mythology. All references will gladly be provided upon request, and I welcome further questions and investigations on any of the topics covered here.
 
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Nice read, thank you for putting this together. On the subject of Sirius, are you CoR chaps aware that dropping a bookmark on that system causes it to appear as "Orion + DM99 Focal Point"? I'm not sure what it means or how relevant it is: Wikipedia throws up some interesting stuff about Sirius being Orion's dog but makes no mention of DM99, which appears to be a cluster of 2MASS stars with no mythological connotations.
 
After having your cheese you might realize how incredibly well this has been thought about. How much information gathering has gone into it. I'd rep it a hundred times if I could.
Well said.

The amount of work Sajime and CoR Intel have put into the quest over the past 12 months has been staggering.

Sajime, thanks for the awesome write up. [up]

This is only a small part of the overall picture. In the interests of cooperation and in recognition of the dedication shown by the community who have also worked hard on unraveling the Formidine Rift mystery over the past year, CoR will be releasing more of its working theories in due course.
 
Sorry no. It's 3303. I'm afraid science and common sense wins for me over semi-religious mythical babble in understanding the universe. You enjoy it though.

Few aliens appear and out come the tin foil hats with conspiracy theories and religious nutters looking for meaning.

Truth is a lot simpler. We are humanity. We learn as we grow. We are not the first here and won't be the last. There is nothing supernatural going on, it's just other life who grew up first or differently and government keeping secrets for self interest.

It will be the average Joe who understands reality and learns from it who will eventually solve what some call the mysteries but is just something we don't yet know, and I'll wager a round for everyone in the bar at Lave station on that one.

Symbology may work for you, but not me.

I'll definitely enjoy the extra cheese though. Cheers.

The only thing I can say for you Children is that at least I trust you more than Feds, Imps or Alliance. I might think what you say is a load of mumbo jumbo but I do believe that you believe it.
 
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Sorry no. It's 3303. I'm afraid science and common sense wins for me over semi-religious mythical babble in understanding the universe. You enjoy it though.

Few aliens appear and out come the tin foil hats with conspiracy theories and religious nutters looking for meaning.

Truth is a lot simpler. We are humanity. We learn as we grow. We are not the first here and won't be the last. There is nothing supernatural going on, it's just other life who grew up first or differently and government keeping secrets for self interest.

It will be the average Joe who understands reality and learns from it who will eventually solve what some call the mysteries but is just something we don't yet know, and I'll wager a round for everyone in the bar at Lave station on that one.

Symbology may work for you, but not me.

I'll definitely enjoy the extra cheese though. Cheers.

The only thing I can say for you Children is that at least I trust you more than Feds, Imps or Alliance. I might think what you say is a load of mumbo jumbo but I do believe that you believe it.
A number of devs (one in particular) are pretty big on symbolism. There's a lot of hints in both the game texts and well as in some of the model designs that reference some fairly "fringe theory" concepts.

Elite will be full of that stuff as it develops...no doubt about that. :)
 
To learn requires first the acceptance that one might be wrong...

ooc The whole background of the game is written by highly educated guys who know these references - I knew a fair few of them before reading this, in a kind of half-remembered vague fashion. The FDev team are quite likely to have referenced stuff like this, so it's worth considering carefully
 
True and I will consider it no more religious or supernatural than a cryptic crossword which may lead to science we don't yet understand and a history we don't yet know.
 
This was a great read thank you.

I'm most interested to see everyone's own response to this because it is never the truth that has ultimate significance to individuals and culture but it's the story they tell about events that shapes the past, present and future.
 
Roman !!

The planets of the Sol system are named after the Roman pantheon, not the Greek, although the Roman Pantheon is effectively a rip off of the Greek
 
Roman !!

The planets of the Sol system are named after the Roman pantheon, not the Greek, although the Roman Pantheon is effectively a rip off of the Greek
Ah, good point - a mental slip I made in that parenthetical. The OP and Google doc have been corrected accordingly. Thanks for catching it!
 
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First post seems to be missing due to Sajime editing it for clarification, regarding Britannkic's thoughts. This is likely due to the forum moderation system where a brand new account's post and edits must be authorized.

Should be back soon, folks.

Update: The moderators have not re-approved the post since her edit/update to the original post. You can find the original documentation release on Google Docs until things are sorted out: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11MF3m4fP8YDbih3STXkM2N9-jZIq-ONihxFsGy1vQ_Y/edit?usp=sharing
 
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