The Ark of the Ocean

Our Ultimate Vision for the Arca Oceanus Colony

It’s the middle of the ocean in the middle of the night, with a sky so full of stars it hurts your eyes to look to the heavens. You can see them because they aren’t washed out by millions of city lights.

But there are lights, here where no one would expect them to be. A helicopter flying overhead would see a miniature city laid out before him where once there was only darkness, tiny islands gathered into a cluster, flowing out to form it’s own star on the surface of the sea.

At the center of the star two larger islands dominate, attached and yet distinct, twins holding hands. Together they form the hub of the newest collection of sovereign nation-states to grace the planet.

Arca Oceanus. The Ark of the Ocean.

Morning dawns and the sea-star reveals it’s full glory. The hub islands seem to have grown tentacles, reaching out from the center and spiraling around it. Lanes are open between the island arms, with new floating cities arriving as others depart. There are twenty. Fifty. A hundred. At the outer rim of the cluster a floating reef creates a breakwater where men and women in boats busy themselves. Workers from the fishery harvest today’s catch, while hatchlings prepare to make their way to the open depths. Seaweed of assorted varieties grows in shallow lagoons where before there were none. Below these man-made wonders a mile of ocean reaches downward.

At the outer edge of one of the spirals people gather around the rims of their own cities, peering below their platforms to view the latest city-state coming in. It is a wonder to some–the “new” vessel type which travels through the water under it’s own power, it’s platform almost touching the waves. Once it reaches its berth, it too will fill a ballast tank and reach heavenward, rising like a skyscraper to join the other tall columns that form the sea-star arm.

Docked and in place, the new arrival will connect to the Umbilical. Fresh water will fill her reserve tanks, and her power plant will join the main grid. Her excess production will flow to the colony center, though if she’s depleted she could recharge instead. Those citizens who choose to do so will board the shuttle which has been dispatched to collect her Ambassador, who will be escorted to the Central Union for “The Joining”. It is almost a tradition now, rather than a formality; the leaders of the sovereign states are well versed in the procedure, as they were once founding members of the hub colony. Now they preside over their own colony-states.

At The Joining, the Ambassador re-commits her citizens to the few laws of the hub–laws that exist to allow colony-states with different rules and government types to act in concert with one another while a part of the collective. Aboard the nation-vessel its own rules apply, but within the hub and other common areas the overarching laws take precedence. As a collective, nation-colonies share resources and common defense. They ride out storms together, thwart would-be pirates, and enjoy the specialty trade goods that are only produced by their sister colonies (while offering their own in exchange).

Today the Ambassador is here to represent her nation on the Federation Council, a meeting of leaders that convenes periodically to consider ways to further foster cooperation between the individual nation-colonies, as well as the rest of the world. The Council today is gathered to discuss the fantastic news–Arca Oceanus has been recognized as the representative body for The Federation on the world stage. The quest for ultimate “legitimacy” has been fulfilled.

On the other side of the star, a ship approaches in the distance. The trade vessel brings beef and other goods from South America. It will return to its home port with everything from medicines to craft goods, fish to flavorings, and it’s greatest prize–the latest product from the wizards of “Sapphire One”, the science colony. Their innovations and inventions have rocked the world from the day they first boarded their new colony-ship and established what they affectionately called “the world’s first geek nation”.

Other nation-colonies are specialized–a medical colony that offers the most advanced stem-cell transplant treatment in the world; “Hooch”, nicknamed as such because they brew amazing beverages that aren’t available anywhere else; gay and lesbian colonies, a nation of Italian expatriots, the “psychedelic circus” (where experimentation with particular substances is encouraged “in the interest of science”).

And then there’s the nudist colony. They only own clothes for when they visit the hub or another nation. They don’t import a lot of fabrics. Not much vinyl, either.

These specialized nations are possible because they govern themselves, experimenting with rules and structures that work for them but might not work for others. Each holds to a compact that they signed at the beginning, when their nation vessel was completed and ready for boarding; it lays out a few basic human rights that are (generally) recognized and respected the world over, and it confirms the rules that exist for all colonies that wish to be a part of the Federation–overarching safety rules and joint defense obligations. Beyond these, the governance of individual colonies is up to the colonists themselves.

The trade ship has brought tourists, who upon landing will disperse to the individual nation-colonies they came to visit (or to the Hub so that they may tour whichever nation-colonies will host them). Colony citizens will depart with the ship for extended visits to the mainland, just as others have done with previous ships from other nations. The hub facilitates all of this. It is a busy place.

As dusk approaches, the Hub berth-book reflects six arrivals and four departures. Nation-colonies come and go as they please, though most stay close to the hub (and some never leave it). Freedom of movement ensures the freedom of each individual nation-colony, and affirms it’s sovereign status. Citizens appreciate this, though most also enjoy the feeling of comfort provided by the sight of a patrolling gunship. And they enjoy the added safety of the breakwater. That’s why even when disconnected from the Umbilical, most nation-colonies move only a few feet from their “regular” position on the sea.

Sure, they can leave at any time. But why would they?


 


 
What you’ve just read is a fanciful vision of what may or may not be the future of the Arca Oceanus sea colony. Only time, technology, and the will of the colony will tell. This is but one of infinite possibilities for the future of Arca Oceanus and the colonists adventurous enough to turn the dream into reality.