Archives of Nethys

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Deities | Systems & Settlements


Drift-based Hacker and Vidgamer Collective

Source Starfinder #51: Into the Dataverse pg. 62
Location The Drift
Diameter 1 mile; Mass less than ×1/100; Gravity ×1 (artificial)
Atmosphere Normal
Day 24 hours (artificial); Year 408 days

The small space station known as Zelk-363 is home to The Champion of Worlds, a shell foundation created to be a front for the hacker collective known as the MalWyrms. To the public, The Champion of Worlds is a cutting-edge vidgamer training facility and competition arena where the best of the best from across the galaxy come to compete. In addition to state-of-the-art HAC suites, luxury quarters, and studios set up to stream frantic vidgaming action, Zelk-363 offers a hidden computer den where MalWyrm hackers conduct their clandestine deeds.
Using diplomacy, bribery, and more than a little illegal altering of computerized records, the MalWyrms secured generous funding from the Marixah Republic to construct their space station within the Drift near one of the Drift beacons attached to their sovereign space. The construction took just under a year and was performed mostly by automated drones under MalWyrm control, so knowledge of the structure’s secret chambers couldn’t accidentally leak to the public. The name of the station was generated by an algorithm, but The Champion of Worlds literature explains that it’s the name of one of the founders’ old vidgame avatars; while the MalWyrms falsified records of this avatar dating decades back, no such character ever existed. Shortly after Zelk-363 became operable, the MalWyrms began to seek out professional vidgamers to legitimize the station’s existence while moving in its own hackers under that cover.
Like most places in the Drift, Zelk-363’s exact location can vary at any given point in time, but those who can find a specific set of astrogation coordinates (which aren’t widely distributed) can pilot their vessels to find the station after making a Drift jump. Once they’ve docked and step inside, visitors are bombarded with bright, flashing holoscreens and thumping music that make the station feel like a nightclub or high-end arcade. Casual guests are free to peruse the public vidgame consoles, while those who have come to participate in The Champion of Worlds training are usually seen to the quarters they’ll use while here. MalWyrm hackers, however, know to move to the rear of the station, where an archaic vidgame cabinet stands in dim purple light. By “playing” this game and inputting a sequence of button presses and joystick movements, the hacker unlocks the secret door behind the cabinet. They can then quietly slip through to the MalWyrms’ headquarters.
Hackers of all stripes have been inducted into the MalWyrms over the years, and their efforts have been equally varied. The collective is currently overseen by Ascella Hyvael (N female lashunta technomancer), who ensures her hackers have the resources they need to pursue individual projects. Thanks to her own hacking skills and the cunning of other MalWyrms, she can procure all manner of assets—security files, customized viruses, extortion evidence, and even more dangerous information. Ascella is also responsible for aiding those hackers who get discovered by authorities (or to cut them off completely should their actions be too flamboyant).
During the early days of the Drift Crisis, Zelk-363 was cut off from the Material Plane, but its inhabitants survived on stores of processed junk food and energy drinks until they could contact the Marixah Republic once again. Afterward, many of the vidgamers and hackers found themselves stricken with claustrophobia and needed to take some time away from the station. As a result, Zelk-363’s corridors are emptier than usual, but Ascella is confident the collective will be up and running at full capacity in a short time.