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"Hell became our second heaven, while the ground turned into hell."
"Down with SAPPHIRE!"


Overview: It is the year 2043, the world has changed greatly since the last years.

In the 20th century a company founded in 1947, called "SAPPHIRE Inc." had its start in technology and transport development. Soon SAPPHIRE developed technologies for the transport of goods and passengers, with great results. New engines, aircraft designs, car models and ship types emerged. The company became a market-leading success in the transport industry.

But SAPPHIRE was also a research institution, and for such, there are no boundaries.

SAPPHIRE began researching a new technology called the "SAPPHIRE pattern system". A new, and seemingly insane idea and technology that would pull "SAPPHIRE-lines" all across the world. Over the whole surface of the earth, as well as the sky above the clouds. These lines would be used by machines specially designed by SAPPHIRE, the so-called "line ships". A revolution for movement, a new era of mass transport.

The lines represent invisible but physically existing "noodle-like tracks." There are two types of lines: "main line" and "side line". A main line is suitable for large ships. A side line, in turn, is a line adapted for medium-sized and smaller ships. Another sub-category of lines is the "link line". This is a line that exists between other lines and connects them. The size of the line being connected by the link line again determines the size of the link line. Thus, when a link line connects a main line to another main line, the link line has the size of a main line.

Lines also never have curves. Main lines and side lines would be stretched around the earth in a circular structure.

The lines would have to be maintained with "main system facilities", which according to SAPPHIRE are located "somewhere in the sea".

20 years ago, SAPPHIRE succeeded in developing the SAPPHIRE-pattern and lines. The ships worked perfectly, the lines were stable. SAPPHIRE bathed in fame and capital. No one noticed how the lines were created, no construction work, no nothing. On one day, SAPPHIRE merely announced the completion of the project and carried out a test ride with a ship. Despite the refusal of several governments to establish invisible transport lines across their country and in their flight zone, SAPPHIRE insisted. SAPPHIRE's great, if not global, impact facilitated the negotiations, a "line-traffic pact" was introduced. If necessary, each country can use it to control the transport on the lines in "their" sky.

The sky-lines are located on the 7-kilometer mark in the sky, the earth lines on the 500-meter mark. Since some buildings are above the height of the earth lines, SAPPHIRE agreed to adjust the lines, if necessary, at the locations mentioned. Because of the usually existing possibility to go on the "deck" of a ship, a gas mask with oxygen supply and a protective suit has to be used continuously.


A medium-sized ship model; built by SAPPHIRE; "Czar"-class

The lines are being driven by the "line ships", a kind of steel machine which can differ greatly in size from other ships. From a 30-meter-long merchant ship to a 4-kilometer-long colossus. They are powered with "cores", these were developed just like the ships and the entire pattern system by SAPPHIRE. Despite the name, "line ships" have very little in common with "real" seagoing ships. Each sky ship has a "stabilizer", a device that connects the ship to the line and moves the ship forward, an "X-line-stabilizer", a module attached to the stabilizer that maintains the ship's hold on the X axis so it does not tilt and several tanks, which are installed at the rear of the ship and are equipped with fans. The fans also have ventilation slots and bonnets that regulate the supply of air. The content of the tanks is used by the stabilizer for the movement of the ship, this substance is filled up in liquid form and comes from an anomaly.

The stabilizer was constructed alongside the stabilization of the ship, also for forward movement, this "pulls" the ship along the line. The stabilizer uses the substance from the tank and the plasma from the core. These two substances converts the stabilizer into a kind of "movement". However, if the cooling of the tanks fails, the substance heats up to very high temperatures and thus creates a risk of explosion. In the situation of uncontrolled warm-up of the substance, an automated system is started, which releases the brackets from the tanks and drops them towards the surface. In the absence of the substance, a ship is unable to move.

The maximum speed of a line ship depends on several factors, e.g. the type of the vessel, weight and load weight. An unloaded colossal ship can reach a speed of 100 up to 160 km/h while a lighter and smaller vessel can reach speeds up to 250 km/h.

SAPPHIRE even announced that they had plans for "underground lines". The corresponding construction work on tunnels and underground facilities had already begun. Information on this topic was published by SAPPHIRE very rarely.

But at what price were these things achieved?

The Foundation became aware of SAPPHIRE when it presented the sample system. The science behind the lines did not settle for the Foundation, the system just worked. The Foundation had it's doubts, it had to bring SAPPHIRE under it's control at all costs. It coordinated an attack on the SAPPHIRE stations and line maintenance facilities.

It came as it had to, the attack succeeded at large, but in a main system in the U.S.A. Ohio, something went wrong, the system got out of control. A domino effect had been triggered. Starting from the main system, the earth lines began to decay irregularly in all directions, but did not simply decay, the decay reaction created an anomalous region, which was getting bigger and bigger. The SAPPHIRE pattern system on Earth destroyed slowly but surely everything on its way. Sometimes thunderbolt-like electroshocks showed themselves as they swarmed over the surface. The anomalous region is an invisible field, which exists only on the surface and doesn't enter e.g. bunkers or metros. In the event that someone or something moves into it, a shrill and continuiously louder getting tone manifests itself, which in a way resembles a high pitched scream. This can be suppressed with certain
ingestible medicaments, which suggests that the "cry" is a psychological effect of the anomaly. The object which has moved into it is hit by strong electric shocks. However, this is not quite true for the flora. Some plants located in the abnormal zone are happy about the absence of humans. Often, fatal electric sparks with different sizes appear in the air, bullet-like spheres which turn into a thunderbolt when touched. Just like small, spontaneous discharges and lightning strikes which climb up buildings and whirl around antennas.

The sea was also affected by the disintegration, the area continued to spread over the entire surface of the earth. The access to seawater was made impossible. However, the area did not penetrate holes, earth or sea surfaces, so to speak, remained as a "shield" on the earth's surface.

The fault was pushed unto SAPPHIRE, a scapegoat for the Foundation, which could not reveal its existence to the public. Members and researchers of SAPPHIRE were searched, captured, held responsible, and, if the police failed to protect the member, killed by the people. All resentment and hatred went towards SAPPHIRE. The Foundation shifted its members and SCPs to underground bunkers, but it wasn't possible to transport all known SCPs. Already on the 3rd day, a large part of the SCPs contained in the U.S.A. were lost, the people were also transported to bunkers, underground facilities and tunnels built by SAPPHIRE, or driven onto sky-line ships and lifted into the air. The sky-lines were still stable. The Foundation shifted its presence to the underground, but went to the sky a little while later. Many bunkers were connected with corridors and tunnels. A small part of the people could guess that most of the tunnels, bunkers and facilities were built by SAPPHIRE itself. The promised underground lines were never completed, however, the already established tunnels and installations were searched, found and used for the evacuation.

Very few wanted to go into the sky, the "cursed" SAPPHIRE-lines were hated and abhorred by many. Broad sections of the society organized protests. Most rescued people found shelter in the bunkers below the surface. Many bunkers were provided by the Foundation, those who came from the Second World War were made habitable.

The anomalous area was spreading steadily, many people who were not evacuated died.

On the 30th day the whole of U.S.A. was wrapped by the anomalous area. On the 100th day, South America was no more. On the 200th day the event horizon reached Europe. On the 300th day, Moscow was "cleansed" and on the final day, the earth-line system had completely collapsed. Of the approximately 8 billions still alive humans in 2022, ~3 billions survivors remained in the 2023rd year. A big portion of mankind was extinguished. Again, a new era had begun.

Of the 3 billion people, 98% lived in the underground, and the rest in ships on the sky-lines. Over time however, more and more ships rose to the sky until about 600 million people were present in the sky.

Food and water mostly comes from the underground. Genetically manipulated vegetable as well as animal food allowed itself without the need to be "copied", to be raised without sunshine. Salt water was extracted from the sea by so-called "deep fountains" in the underground, cleaned and distributed. However, the cleaning of salt water is not quite easy in the underground and thus most of the water is delivered by ships from the sky. This in turn is won with special equipment from the clouds.

A couple of years later, the largest ships were formed into so-called "ship settlements" or "shipyards". Most of them fixed themselves to a certain point in the sky-lines. A social system has been set up. Provisions were brought from the underground with transport ships. This was done with rare "docking-points" on the surface, which were not run over by the anomalous zone. The docking points were connected with the sky lines from the beginning, but not with the earth lines. The appearance of the docking points resembles a huge and deep "concrete hole" into which the corresponding ship descends. The depth can vary between 500 m and one km. The contact between sky and earth remained. There was no doubt that a certain tension arose between the two, now different in social order, communities. The people in the underground brandmarked those in the sky as "traitors". The other way around, the inhabitans ob the sky called the people living in the underground "setbacks". The contact was reduced to the exchange of goods.

In the year of the disaster, "Leviathan-ships" were lifted into the sky. These are monumentally large compared to other ships and have much more space for passengers or goods. Leviathan-ships usually use several stabilizers and therefore main lines at the same time. There are only a few Leviathan-ships, most of which have been reconstructed into shipyards or ships, and the control of such a ship has a certain influence over traffic in the sky. These ships are described by many as "predecessors of all sky-ships" because of their origin from the surface and their size, although this is not exactly true.


The "FCS Acario"; heavily armed transport ship, built by the FCS; Smaller "colossus" class

"Alliances" were formed. The "Federal Cities of the Sky" ("FCS"), "United Federation of the States of the far West" ("UFSW") and the "Alliance of Free Skycities" ("AFS") are amongst the largest alliances between sky-cities. Although, not all alliances share the same opinions and ideals. E.g. the relationship between the FCS and the AFS is not exactly to be seen as "friendly neighbors", while the AFS understands itself with the UFSW very well. The FCS is at the moment the largest alliance and the AFS, the one with the weakest influence, and is thus the third-largest alliance. There are also other alliances and deferations, but on a much smaller scale.

The FCS is much more militarily organized, the UFSW has its focus on the trade between sky and underground and the AFS is active in the scientific field. Amongst other things, the AFS has developed the CPCS-cores. These fuel new and modern ships. The cores were developed in a project called the "Cooperational Project regarding the Cores of Skyships". The UFSW and the AFS have common interests and are looking for further partners and allies, such as the underground.

The FCS brought four Leviathan-ships under its control, three were converted into a kind of "capital", the remaining ship serves as a military base. The UFSW owns two Leviathan-ships. One is being used as a command and government headquarters, and the other as a capital. The AFS, on the other hand, has access only to a single Leviathan-ship, which it uses as a general base.

The governments have also brought nuclear weapons on board of the line-ships during the disaster. The FCS, as well as the AFS, have nuclear weapons and use them as a means of pressure, but not the UFSW. Since the AFS has refused to share its nuclear weapons with the UFSW, the UFSW is trying to find nuclear weapons. Since the FCS and the AFS have their origins from "original" governments from the time before the disaster, they possess nuclear weapons. The UFSW, on the other hand, was based on "independent" cities.

The Foundation tries to control all three alliances from the background, which not always works, has its strongest influence however in the AFS and supports it secretly with the surface research.

The society can vary differently on different ship-cities, but they always have one thing in common: the hate for SAPPHIRE. The one thing that destroying their lives and killed 5 billion people. SAPPHIRE has destroyed the world, that's the history everyone agrees on. People have always felt better when they can push their misfortune to someone else. On the other hand, the Foundation knows exactly who was involved in the end of the world.

To the surprise of his own, the Foundation succeeded, with the help of the AFS, in developing a protection suit which allowed to stay on the surface for a certain amount of time. The suit includes non-flammable and non-conductive textiles, so that the heat generated by a shock does not get through. A metallic wire-mesh is placed around the fabric and is grounded over the shoes. An armored version is available, in addition to the wire-mesh a number of metal and kevlar plates are worn. The oxygen supply is carried out by means of interchangeable filters and several oxygen bottles connected to these filters. However, the suit can only be worn by trained and prepared soldiers and agents. The regular training to wear such a protective suit takes about one to two months. It allows to be on the surface just over an hour before the suit begins to melt. The suits can withstand the shocks longer in closed rooms, but also begins to melt after a certain time period. The suit is used by the Foundation to retrieve objects from the surface. However, since the suit is very heavy and uncomfortable, it is not often used. The weight is the reason for the very slow movement. The freedom of movement is also very much limited. The measuring instruments from the Foundation can not be used on the surface, since the electrical shocks disturb them. At the moment, the AFS is trying to develop a vehicle with the help of the Foundation with the same principle as the suit.

A person recovering objects from the surface is called "Salvager" or "Seeker", and those who come from the underground are also referred to as "Stairclimber". This comes from the fact that those who want to get from the underground to the surface, have to climb stairs again and again.

In 2043 the SAPPHIRE-lines in the sky are the main component of the transport and life of the people in the ships, and the underground for the people in the bunkers.

"The big disaster," as people call it, will not be forgotten so quickly.

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