It’s finally time for another Township Tuesday!
Today I want to ramble on about a location from Township that holds a special place in my heart. We call it World Ship Two-Two-Nine-Six.
The first hints of World Ship 2296 were revealed in S4E4: The Journals. The only hint was the gold filigree numbers on Ronin’s journals, a number that wouldn’t have much meaning until much later during S4E10: Core Protocol, when we learn that Ronin and Thresher are from a different World Ship than the one with our main characters.
World Ship 2296 makes its first physical appearance in S5E3: WS2296. We meet a variety of characters, and our first major villain for the series, during the events of Season Five. The conclusion, and the fate of World Ship 2296 are revealed in the final episodes of the season, but today’s post is meant to cover the historical past that’s not covered in the series. Like our own setting on World Ship 3906, this World Ship started off with a population that arrived from the Core. The World Ship had multiple exit points for its citizens, placing them in various sections of the ship where they initially had no contact with one another. Each group’s society developed in isolation, unaware that the others existed. The two largest population hubs to arise on World Ship 2296 were Providence Bay, and Mainland Harbor. These two locations saw the largest growth. Mainland Harbor was located in Section 04 of the World Ship while Providence Bay occupied Section 09.
Mainland Harbor quickly accessed technology via the Grid. They harnessed the power of the World Ship to advance their society, developing vehicles and quickly reaching a late 20th century Earth level of technological development. Their coastal city sprawled across all of Section 04, and they soon built vehicles to carry them across the small sea that led to the rest of the World Ship. beyond their borders. It was here that they encountered a separate population in Sections 03 and 05. They were kind, and traded well, but the people here saw the Mainlanders as potential invaders. Their relationship was strained by the growing population in the Mainland Harbor and the farmers that became a necessity for their survival. Section 03 was massive, with rich farming lands, and people within the city became fearful that if their trading partners ever cut them off, starvation would be imminent. That concern boiled into paranoia, and that paranoia led to suspicion. Soon, the people of Mainland Harbor decided to secure the lands for their own farming. This event was known as the Deadliest War. History would argue about the specifics for centuries, but the fact was the farmers were unprepared for the growing military might of Mainland Harbor, and Sections 03 and 05 became controlled by the Mainland within a year.
By now, scouts had already sailed further into the World Ship. A small colony of Mainlanders lived at the Grid to research the power of the World Ship. They considered Section 01 and 02 to be under their control. They spread the Mainland Empire, absorbing most nomadic citizens or wayward colonies as they went. The plan was to be a unified people with no risk of conflict like they had seen in the Deadliest War.
When they reached Section 08, their expansion reached its first true resistance. They encountered a massive population group here, the Empire of Providence Bay. These citizens were masters of the sea and sky. They met with the Mainlander scouts in hopes of a possible alliance, but when the Mainlanders’ true intentions were made clear things changed.
The Core in Section 09 delivered a group of citizens that little to no access to the many technological benefits of the World Ship. They were far away from the Grid, and with no real guidance from the advanced technology, life moved more slowly in this watery section of the World Ship. Over time, the population developed into a pre-industrial revolution society, with tall ships, metal workers, and a more authoritarian rule. Where the Mainlanders operated as a people fueled by fear, the citizens of Providence Bay saw combat and war as a way to maintain discipline and order within their borders.
They built mighty ships that patrolled the many islands, and their lust for order gave birth to citizens that kicked against their growing Empire. An order of pirates that set out to take what they could from whoever they could.
The two sides gave one another a target for their aggressive natures, and that fighting led to more and more powerful weapons and ships.
Meanwhile, explorers discovered the four walls, documenting that their Empire was confined in a massive structure. They also found the pathway out. The island chains of the Empire led to a doorway that would take them to Section 08, a massive ocean… a World Ship water reservoir. The islands in this section of the World Ship were plentiful, and soon both order and chaos were attempting to sow their seeds across the realm.
It was the Providence Bay Empire that first met the Mainlander Scouting Party in Section 08. They collected what information they could, inviting the scouts to sail back home with them. The scouts declined, planning to return home to Mainland Harbor to reveal this militaristic people and prepare for another invasion.
Fortunately, after they departed from the Providence Bay Empire, they were intercepted by the Order of the Pirates, who took them hostage and went to work on learning everything they knew about these people. Their methods were less than ideal for modern society, but the Order of the Pirates uncovered the truth in short order. Pirate Admiral Henry Tew sailed his flagship into Providence Bay with a white flag. They revealed what they had learned and quickly struck an alliance with their foes. A unified army would sail to Section 08 and defend their lands.
The Ocean War
Two mighty Empires went to battle. The actual war took time to ramp up. Mainland Harbor never heard back from their scouts in Section 08. It wasn’t impossible to lose some citizens, but usually if they died they would be replaced by the Core. Curious if they had simply become stranded, they sent another scout ship, which returned to tell them that Section 08 seemed to be nothing more than a massive ocean.
Assuming their expansionary plans to be quite safe, the Mainlanders started authorizing citizens to travel out and settle in this new land of islands. Over the first year, many colonies that settled soon went silent. Over the entire year, only two citizens were replaced through the Core.
Providence Bay knew about the Core the same as Mainland Harbor. They rarely executed a prisoner, and went to great lengths to keep their prisoners alive. They worked fields, built ships, and farmed animals, but they were treated with respect for their work and given decent accommodations for being prisoners. Over time, many of these citizens grew to appreciate Providence Bay more than Mainland Harbor.
Eventually, the military forces of Mainland Harbor were sent to find out what was happening in Section 08. They found and confronted a pirate ship, but soon the might of Providence Bay arrived and the first official battle of the war began.
The Siege of Sea Skull Island
When the Mainlanders first officially declared war on Providence Bay, they misunderstood their enemy. They saw wooden ships and unrefined weapons, so they assumed the fighting would be short as it had been when they subjugated other areas of the World Ship.
The problem was that many of the Mainlander colonies had carried weapons, munitions, and other secrets about their military that Providence Bay had already put to good use.
Several scouting missions by the Mainlanders revealed a large outpost where the Order of Pirates congregated their fleet. Already mistaking this fleet for the Providence Bay Empire’s own ships, the Mainlanders put together a massive assault, pulling together the full might of their ships and soldiers to lay siege to the island, known as Sea Skull Island.
Taking their military to Section 08 was not without difficulty. There were only rivers that were fed from the reservoir and the entire fleet had to be moved one ship at a time through Section 02. The ships were frequently attacked by guerrilla fighters as they made their way up the river. While no ships were lost from these attacks, often times a ship would become stuck along the shore. The ships in front would continue on, while the others remained behind.
Three ships arrived in Section 08 on the first day. In the dead of night, as they waited the others still slowed in the river, the Providence Bay military attacked. They knew they couldn’t easily puncture the metal hull of the Mainlander ships, so they quickly sailed alongside the ships and boarded. One ship fought off their attackers. Another was sabotaged and destroyed. The third was stolen, sailing away with the escaping military.
The Mainlanders soon took control of the rivers, spreading their forces thinner than they liked, but securing passage for their ships. They finally mustered their fleet in Section 08 and pressed forward toward Sea Skull Island.
In the early morning hours just a short distance from their intended gathering place, two different Mainlanders ships suffered heavy damage and sank. The Providence Bay military had designed a weapon that was drawn to the metal hulls of the enemy ships, but not the wooden structures of their own vessels.
It’s generally agreed that the Mainlander fleet had suffered nearly 50% losses by the time they finally reached their intended target. Of course, by then the Order of the Pirates had fled from their haven. The Mainlanders, not aware of this, laid siege to the island for three days. They bombarded the island during the day, and played loud music and flashed lights at night. All of their work was in vain, as the main pirate fleet, united with the Providence Bay military, closed in all around them.
Fearful that there would be no mercy, the Mainlanders decided to fight their enemy to the bitter end. This decision had a significant impact on the relations between the two sides for centuries to come. The end result was a defeated Mainlander military being sent home after a brutal fight that lasted over a week across all of Section 08.
The Providence Bay military met with the Admiral when he formally surrendered the battle. They sent a message to Mainland Harbor that was quite clear. The war was over. The Mainlanders had lost. Any enemy ship spotted in Section 08 would be destroyed on sight.
The Mainlanders limped home, intent on someday getting revenge.
The Darkness Arrives
A tenuous peace between Providence Bay and Mainland Harbor stretched on for several hundred years. The notions of brewing conflict faded and both sides became content with leaving the other alone. It was important to note that Providence Bay had also created a kind of doomsday scenario. If the Mainlanders ever attacked them again, they could simply poison the water supply as it fed out of Section 08 and down the river to all of the citizens beyond. It was a type of scorched earth policy that would probably ever be used, but could anyone really risk it?
So on things went. Over time, the Core stopped sending citizens to help supply the population. Natural breeding took over from there, and life flourished across the World Ship.
Then, one day, there was a massive fireball that ripped across Section 08 and 09. At this time, the Mainlanders had discovered that there as a massive ring of forest growth beyond the habitable sections of the World Ship interior. This area of the World Ship was known as the Woods. The damage to the World Ship was mostly focused there, but some of the debris had breached the habitable walls.
The crash site was secured by the Providence Bay military, and they built their own fortifications here to stop any potential invaders, but they never could have prepared for the creature that emerged from the crash. A mechanical monstrosity of untold power. It decimated the population of Section 08 and 09. Providence Bay sent an envoy to the Mainlanders begging for help, but they were met with resistance.
It didn’t take long for the mighty creature to seek them out too.
The fighting was quick. The creature was unstoppable.
The Blue Dragon
As more and more of the World Ship fell to the dark creature, hope arrived in the form of another creature that offered to help the citizens fight back against their new foe. The unified forces led a massive attack in Section 02 and successfully pushed the enemy back through Section 08 and into the area known as the Woods. The Blue Dragon and the Black Dragon fought to a bitter conclusion, until the blue dragon ripped the soul of the black dragon from its physical body. The citizens of the World Ship claimed the body and fled. The Blue dragon helped them establish an energy barrier around the habitable sections of the World Ship that would keep them safe. The enemy, revealed to be a Yunai, would be contained in the Woods, but the citizens could never explore this part of their World Ship. The Blue Dragon could not kill the Yunai spirit, but as long as the spirit did not reclaim its mechanical body, their world would be safe. In a final gesture, the Blue Dragon gave the citizens their first power crystals and two crystal blades, then departed from the World Ship never to be seen again.
The Temple of the Yunai
The citizens hid the dragon’s body away wtihin the Core of the World Ship, caving out a small area using the crystal blades the Blue Dragon gave them. The body was locked behind a second force field that would stop the spirit from gaining entrance if something ever went wrong with the Woods, and the two swords were made into keys. Both had to be removed for the shield to lower, and if the Yunai could only control one person at a time, then it could never obtain what it sought.
The Wear of Time
As Mainland Harbor had been ravaged by the Yunai, their efforts turned to survival. Most of their Empire fell due to lack of attention, with populations claiming Independence either out of self-interest or immediate necessity. Most of their technological capabilities were lost in these dark days, and much of the history shown here was forgotten.
The path to the Temple of the Yunai was sealed off, dams were built for power generation, and the citizens began to recover from the ancient enemy. Power crystals became their new source of strength, and their need for them grew. The Providence Bay military cultivated and grew many of these crystals in the deep waters of Section 08.
The citizens of Mainland grew power-hungry, and with limited power crystals to fuel their growth, they turned to the power supply of the World Ship itself. Over time, they took more and more of the energy that the ship required, using it for their own consumption instead.
By the time Ronin was born, the World Ship was bustling with population centers in almost every section. The researchers had discovered that other World Ships existed, the Travelers were a point of obvious interest, and relations with the Providence Bay Empire remained tenuous as it always had.
Ronin would go on to become part of a group that aimed to cultivate and use power crystals without the need to barter with the Empire. His technology and research caught the attention of the Order of Pirates, who sought to create their own business stealing power crystals and selling them to the rest of the World Ship on the cheap. Ronin offered what he knew to them assuming it might help spur the Empire into cutting down their own prices.
Eventually, their unchecked “progress” caught up with them. Power crystals became harder to procure due to the pirate involvement in Section 08, which led to greater power consumption from the Grid, which strained the ship’s systems. The ship began filtering less water, which lowered the supply in Section 08, which caused the dams to no longer generate power, which compounded the initial problem, until the rivers flowing out of Section 08 were nearly dried up. The crystal production in Mainland Harbor ended as Mainland Harbor itself began to dry out.
Eventually, the researchers turned to the Travelers as a last hope, fearful they might have to someday leave their dying World Ship.
The story of World Ship 2296 from this time on is covered throughout Season 4 and Season 5 of Township. If you’re interested in learning more about the story’s conclusion, I highly encourage you to read the series!
If, on the other hand, you have questions or thoughts on the history of this amazing World Ship, feel free to ask it in the comments and I will try to answer it!
Thanks for tuning in on this new series of blog posts. I’m looking forward to doing more!