The Cage That Binds the World

It keeps us in and keeps something else out.
  Beneath a steel sky, the prisoner-world is shrouded in gloom. Forge-fires and electric sparks cut through the choking darkness, always at the precipice of extinguishing forever. Men and women, aliens and metallic monstrosities, genetic abominations all toil away under the World-Cage, a vast space fortress that envelops the entire planet. This is the world they share - a nightmarish surface of trash, metal, and ruins, of polluted oceans and radioactive plains, of great scars across the earth for mines and industry to infest like maggots around a corpse.   Like arteries on a diseased heart, caravans and powerlines criss-cross the shattered world while great spires of metal and nightmare rise to the prison above, taking but never giving. The greatest cities are connected by railway, and armored trains hurtle through the desolate wastelands were outcasts, outlaws, and the unfortunate struggle to survive. Whatever name this world once had has been lost, and only the Cage looms.   There's no sun here, only the beaming lights from the World-Cage, shining down on its prisoners. No stars grace the skies, only thousands of weapons, pointing down on the survivors of the world. The world has been remade and consumed by industry and desolation. Everywhere, there is danger.    

The World-Cage

Shrouding the world like scabs over a wound, the World-Cage is a space fortress that hangs in high earth orbit and spans the entire world. It is divided into rings and sectors, slowly grinding away and across the world, like one great puzzle. Created by the Wardens, humans that rose to the skies before their kin, and what they found among the stars set the Cage in motion. With frantic, desperate vigor, they enslaved nations and worked legions to death, exhausted the wealth of continents, and left only scraps behind. When it was complete, the Wardens themselves had become something else, something less than human. They had gazed into the abyss beyond the stars, and were changed.    

Sectors, Rings, and Spires

Rather than a singular, solid construct, the World-Cage is made out of interchangeable and mobile parts, connected but capable of shifting in place. It is separated into three parts - the mobile rings, the static spires, and the areas of ownership called sectors.  

Rings

Massive bands of hollow metal, each Ring could be a space station on its own. These rings can rotate on their axis, or around the central points made by the spires. Each one holds millions of Wardens within, as well as their habitats, orbital farms, manufacturing facilities, and everything else they need to pursue life at the edge of the world. Even the smallest Ring spans across continents, and the largest cross the entire world as a noose.  
Ring 17A During some cataclysmic breach of the Cage, an entire ring was split in half with an explosion that melted to metal even as it rained down upon the earth underneath. Even now, a heap of forbidden technology lies within the mountain of scrap left behind, and a gaping wound in the Cage.
 

Spires

Anchors to the world and lifelines of goods and slaves, Spires are sky-splitting towers that connect the nameless world to the World-Cage. These anchor points are where Rings connect in the skies and points of travel for Wardens to go to the surface to claim tribute. The greatest spire is the Adamant Tower, a single tower the size of a nation.  

Sectors

With the world bound, Sectors are how the victors have divided the spoils. To those who toil on the surface, they know little beyond who comes to collect their wealth and their young. There are 17 sectors, all more or less controlled - certain regions are so lawless and wild that even the Wardens only go there when the need is great.
 

Science and Technology

The exact level of technology varies greatly, depending on where in the world you are. The Wardens have access to technology so advanced to be almost magic, and most replace much of their flesh with robotic or vat-grown replacements, wield weapons that slag entire buildings, or shield themselves with energies almost impenetrable to mundane weaponry.   On the other hand, the people on the surface have to make do with a lot less. It is a nightmarish mix of crude technology and high science, of cybernetics and corpses, desperate industry, and horrible pollution. More than anything, technology is the highest currency that can be traded - and the most dangerous. Wardens do not take lightly to those who steal their secrets.    

Life On Earth

Below the Cage, only the hardiest life has remained. Little is still in its natural shape, and the combination of mad science, pollution, and failed experiments have replaced nature with something more and less than what used to be.  

Beyond the Cage

For every gun that points down upon the world, another ten point towards the stars beyond.
  What the Wardens found when they took to the stars was not a galaxy waiting to be explored, wonders to be measured, the promise of progress fulfilled. Instead, what they found was a hungry void, and their clumsy fumbling into the universe had brought countless eyes upon their world. For every horror the Wardens inflict upon their prisoners, they justify themselves with what the things from beyond would do to them all.   And so, the World-Cage has become a prison even for its wardens, locked in a desperate and ceaseless struggle against celestial predators that have no hope, no mercy, and no end.  
SECURITY CLEARANCE 13 REQUIRED - First Encounter
REPORT ON CELESTIAL PHENOMENA 86-12-10-NL
Document | Dec 3, 2020

This document is classified and restricted to Wardens only. Proceed at your own peril.

Comments

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3 Dec, 2020 16:58

WOOOOOORLD CAAAAAGE!   I love it :D Fantastic descriptions of the cage here, and you really paint an excellent picture of a world both enslaving itself and protecting itself from horrors. I cant wait to read more :D


Cathedris, the world of God-husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
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Aiming for copper this Summer Camp, check out my few articles!
4 Dec, 2020 08:37

Soon! More World-Cage will happen! :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
3 Dec, 2020 23:04

Really interesting concept for a world. And also terrifying. I'm looking forward to seeing how you expand upon it!   Also, this:  

For every gun that points down upon the world, another ten point towards the stars beyond.
  Gives me shivers.

4 Dec, 2020 08:39

I'll be writing about why that is sometime soon <3


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
4 Dec, 2020 04:34

What a fantastic and creative spin on a world. Not just twisted and broken, but caged! Damn!


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4 Dec, 2020 08:38

Thank you :D It's a vision that's been in my head for a while now, happy to get some of it on paper!


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
4 Dec, 2020 11:44

Whoa! Love it so much! That bit about Ring 17A is sooooooo tantalizing! I'm looking forward to seeing more here.

4 Dec, 2020 14:26

Stay tuned! Hoping to expand on World-Cage this WE :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
8 Dec, 2020 10:35

What a hopeless world this sounds like, in a really fascinating setting too! I'm curious to see where this goes :)

Author of Arda Almayed - check out my SummerCamp articles here!
8 Dec, 2020 10:58

It's definitely a strange dystopia :D It'll be fun to write for, thank you :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
1 Jun, 2021 08:23

This is an amazing concept and sounds very dark :D I'm very curious about the wardens and all those horrors living into space...

To see what I am up to, see the list of my Summer Camp articles—my favourite is Sentient Cells.
5 Jun, 2021 10:51

Stay tuned! Hopefully, I will write more soon! :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.