conduit Technology / Science in The Ocean | World Anvil
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Conduits are tracks laid across the surface of the ocean between the major islands of the Cluster. The connecting system within the Inside Sea is especially complex, with a network of switching stations shifting boat traffic from radial to arc sections for the most efficient possible routes. A conduit-compatible boat has a rotating-chain hull system that latches onto the conduit sections, making electrical contact that powers the chain and propels the boat forward. To prepare for conduit travel, a sailing boat must retract its masts and outriggers and deploy shields to protect the crew from the certain death of falling overboard.


There was initially a great deal of resistance to the conduit system among tiderider families, since freesail boats--especially mother ships--were unable to cross the tracks, thus interfering with established trade patterns. However, families with enough resources to invest in conduit travel were also able to fit their scout boats with a system able to lever the small craft across a conduit track. Another method used was to attach a blade to a larger boat's prow and ram the conduit, destroying the floats at that point and creating a sag in the track deep enough for the boat to pass through. Sabotage of that type led to multiple derailing incidents, and prompted both regular patrols of vulnerable track and safety systems such as the endpoint proximity sensors that are now standard on every conduit boat.
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Conduit boats remain costly, despite Sage Varen's attempts to subsidize their construction.
The ocean conduit systems are an extension of the existing chain-drag tracks already used to transport boats across Scaetra, themselves descended from the "raft ladder" system still used to travel upstream on the Vastland's river Ciiadociee.

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