Children of Light
To the Caldari merchants that shuttled between the core systems it was considered a good omen if, on approaching the Iyen-Oursta stargate, they might witness the hypnotic ballet of the Lutins. Some Gallente locals even took to worshipping these strange dancing lights, that would on rare occasions surround an approaching ship like a swarm of angels until the jump to Perimeter was made. The more belligerent of the Amarrian traders meanwhile saw them as mere baubles, strung up in space to calm the women, children and slaves before the warp drive’s wrench pulled them briefly into timeless non-existence.
Rumours had spread across the Border Zone of vengeful ghost drones returning from the climactic battle at Iyen-Oursta, perhaps to enact a haunting toll for the Caldari secession a century previous. Conspiracy theorists, as is their way, held that the spectral phenomenon was evidence of Jove experiments. Ironically, it was the dismissive Amarrians who capitalised most -- on the widening belief among Minmatar slaves that if they witnessed the spectacle of lights, their firstborn son would be blessed with freedom.
Despite the fact that the detour sometimes doubled the length of their journey, slaver vessels would divert through the Gallente Border Zone in the hope that a sighting - staged or otherwise - would serve to quiet an obstreperous cargo. Some slavers lent the spreading belief further credence by freeing the Luti, the children subsequently born of ‘blessed parents’. Others weren’t as compassionate, taking instead to neutering their human cargo, often by furtively poisoning the ceremonial Kapli bread baked in honour of a Lutin blessing.
Whilst a few scientific studies were conducted on the phenomenon (or ‘Iyen Pixies,’ as they became colloquially known), efforts were half-hearted. Welcoming the income afforded by the increased traffic, the Amarr Empire exerted its pressure on the academic community. In the end, even the most inquisitive of academics were dissuaded from seeding their sensor arrays around the increasingly busy node.
Meanwhile, among pockets of forced-migrant Minmatar workers, the legend continues to flourish. Kapli bread is still baked by those hoping for release from captivity across plantations and farms everywhere, and in a quiet corner of San Matar, on the darkest day of the year, the Lutinlir, (‘Festival of lights’) attracts thousands of Luti families now living in the relative freedom of the Ammatar enclave.
Of the widespread theories put forward through the years to explain the fabled Lutins, the one most favoured by the scientific community is that of superheated plasma escaping through poor venting from the stargate itself. It is thought that if approached at the right speed, correct angle and proper warp drive frequency, the vented plasma is attracted away from the jumpgate’s boson sphere and towards the approaching ship. According to the theory, the plasma’s reaction to the ship’s shields is what creates the brief, dazzling and harmless display of multispectral lights.
Over time, perhaps due to the advances jumpgate technology has seen over the years, the number of sightings has dropped considerably. Of the few reports that are made, most are dismissed as elaborate hoaxes. As a consequence, the Iyen-Oursta system has become something of a quiet bypass for traders as opposed to the highway it once was. Still, every once in a while, a hopeful soul may be seen roaming around the gate, wishing for a glimpse of that fabled beauty.