Fantasy Nerd Hole
“The Web” is the term used to refer to the worlds and planes linked to the Crux.
The first several races to discover the Crux did so through their own volition; these were all races that, through either magical or technological means, managed to create a link from their world to the Crux.
As the founding races became more familiar with the mechanics of the Crux, they discovered the ability to “move” portals, which were originally fixed in a specific location in the plane. The portals were relocated to a central complex in the city where they could be properly regulated and monitored. For most of the history of the Crux, there were only 20 portals total. A welcome center of sorts was added outside of the portal complex to introduce the city to newcomers, give them a translator device, and catalogue their visit.
As Generica became more abundant and applied to more and more tech, Web technicians began noticing “blinks” into other worlds. Portals and fissures would open in random parts of the planes; some would last for a fraction of a second, others for several hours. Web technicians worked with Generica scientists to establish a pattern. Underground Generica deposits would flare up with increased activity, then a blink would appear on the surface immediately above the reservoir.
This led to a shocking discovery: Generica seemed to be actively seeding new worlds. After thorough study of established portals, Crux scientists also learned that each civilization had used Generica in some manner to create their first link. This completely shook the foundation of what the Crux officials thought they knew about portals and Generica.
Web technicians used this new knowledge to create another breakthrough. They were able to direct Generica energy and create stabilized portals to new worlds. Previously, all attempts at creating new portals (either in the Crux or in separate worlds) would only link to the Crux again. This new method artificially mimicked the natural expansion process of Generica and allowed them to immediately track and lock portals in place in the Web center.
The Drifter Corps was quickly created. A group of trained specialists were tasked with entering these new portals and determining the viability of linking new worlds to the Web. If the corps members believed the world would be an acceptable addition, all collected data would be processed through the Crux council who either approved or rejected the link. Any dangerous worlds quickly had their link severed once the Drifters made it back to the Crux safely.
All these developments took place over the last few decades; the Crux is prepared to expand exponentially as more answers are discovered.
An extensive, mostly underground facility located in the center of the Crux. Its location is both symbolic and practical; the portals linking to the Crux were the foundation and center of this plane, but it is also heavily fortified and protected to prevent any disasters originating from the portals. The facility goes several levels down into the earth; most administrative and public floors near the top, with the actual research labs and portal control at the bottom.
The Web Central Control facility is a massive underground department with several floors. A large shaft with multiple elevators goes through the center, all the way down to the portal control area. The first two levels can be accessed by anyone; the Drifter Corps, research lab, and portal control floors all require separate special passes granting access. A separate express elevator from the lab to the surface exists in case of emergencies or to dispose of hazardous items or creatures.
The defense against portal-based threats is complex and layered: When the alarm is activated on the portal control floor, the elevators stop functioning and only allow access to those with proper clearance. Two large turrets flank the portal control elevator entrance, and a small contingent of Crux guards are stationed on the floor as well. Access to the lab is completely cut off to protect sensitive equipment and contain any threats. If it is determined that travel to the portal floor is relatively safe, multiple groups of Drifters will immediately be sent down to back up the guard force and handle the threat. The facility can go on full lockdown, not allowing anything in or out, but the Drifters are the last active line of defense against invaders. If they fail, the Web Central Control may be shut down indefinitely until an adequate force can be mounted to reclaim the facility.
⦁ Entrance: The only above-ground section of the facility. It contains a museum, gift shop, and welcome center for new arrivals to the Crux. Visitors arriving from the portals are given translation devices here and introduced to some basic concepts and laws regarding the Crux.
⦁ Executive Offices/Meeting Rooms: The offices of the department heads are on the first underground level. The large offices are spread out between even larger meeting rooms for the hundreds of employees working in the complex. The largest floor of the facility is mostly taken up by massive auditoriums. These are used both for company seminars and tourist group presentations. The Web Central Control is an extremely popular tourist destination and thus has several auditoriums to accommodate all the visiting groups.
⦁ Offices: Most employees are found on this level. The hundreds of cubicles are manned by workers that catalogue new arrivals, data, and plane information. This is the last level that can be regularly viewed by the public. Even then they are quickly shuffled through to show how busy the department is.
⦁ Drifter Corps: The old research lab was repurposed into a living and training area for the newly formed Drifter Corps. Sparse living quarters fill the left half of the level, with the rest of the space devoted to recreational and training use. Both the department and Drifters understand that a good team needs good relationships, so Corps members are encouraged to interact with fellow Drifters in lounges or in the large cafeteria. Drifters are certainly not forbidden from leaving the facility, but most spend their free time here as the department has everything they need. The training area takes up most of the right side of the level. There are sparring rooms where Drifters can compete against each other to gain practice against live targets, modified environment rooms for underwater, arid, jungle, and various other types of general training, as well as an armory and equipment room. Drifters must also be prepared to intercept any threats originating from the portal; they are the last line of active defense.
⦁ Research Lab: The new location of the lab after the expansion of the Web project. Any flora, fauna, or tech brought in from new planes must be thoroughly studied in this quarantined environment to determine if it poses any danger to the Crux. Anything determined safe and/or useful is catalogued and slowly introduced to the Crux. Any dangerous items are secured and taken through a separate express elevator to the surface, where a containment unit will dispose of the objects or creatures in a massive furnace on the outskirts of the city (or whatever disposal method is determined appropriate).
⦁ Portal Control: The second largest floor of the facility, and home to the most cutting edge tech ever created by the Crux. This is where all connections to the Crux are contained and monitored. Portals that are deemed “safe” are located closer to the elevators; any visitors from these portals or from newly established safe connections are escorted by two guards on an elevator ride directly to the surface. Most of the space is taken up by the massive computer network that discovers and links new worlds. Computing tech is still relatively new to the Crux, and the machines take up entire rooms to handle proper calculations. The process is simple: The computer calculates likely locations of new planes using dimensional coordinates. It then artificially mimics the Generica seeding process using a deposit located directly under the Portal Control floor. The portal is then opened in a special chamber and stabilized. Portal techs note the coordinates and request a Drifter team. The team enters the portal, scouts out the new plane, and reports back to the portal techs to inform them of the stability and safety of the plane, if any. The portals are not truly “stabilized,” as this ability has not yet been mastered. Instead, the link is formed and Drifters use their jumpbands to travel through the void to the linked world. This is actually to their benefit; it doesn’t allow anything back through without the jumpband as it is not an actual physical link, but a multidimensional one.
⦁ Director Hardin: The head of the entire facility, he reports directly to Madame Rothraid. He is extremely busy handling all the new expansions and processes of Web Central Control. He was the head scientist on the team that discovered the ability to artificially link worlds and quickly rose to the prominent position once the previous director retired. Some people see him as extremely cold and distant. The truth is, Hardin believes the safety of the Crux comes first, and knows that he needs to carefully monitor the use of this new discovery. Secretly, he also knows that if anything goes wrong his head will be the first on the chopping block. He is loyal to the Crux and does not want to lose control of such a monumental step forward for its citizens. He personally designed the security system and, while he values the project’s work, is absolutely willing to completely shut the facility off if it means protecting the Crux.
⦁ Corporal Fendrake: The Urtanid commander of the Drifter Corps. Fendrake spent decades as the personal bodyguard to Madame Rothraid’s predecessor and is one of the few Crux citizens to have experience in every connected world (as well as some unconnected ones). He was one of the first to explore an artificially linked plane and his process for doing so became the basis for the Drifters. He lives with the Drifters as he believes that establishing close connections between all the corps members is extremely important for team efficiency and responsiveness. He is tremendously strict during the Drifter recruitment process, and makes it abundantly clear that this is a dangerous job not for the light-hearted or for lone wolves. His corps is key to the establishment of new connections and he takes this responsibility seriously.
⦁ Dr. Erie: An Aquean portal tech. Drifter teams are typically paired with one tech to establish a rapport and a good level of familiarity; Dr. Erie is the PC team’s tech. She worked with Hardin on developing the portal technology and is a bit laxer with its use; she believes that the benefits are well worth the risk. Her Aquean rituals were key to developing the tech; she was offered the director position before Hardin as a goodwill gesture to welcome her race, but she chose instead to stay close to the portal process. Dr. Erie certainly isn’t willing to endanger the Crux based on small discoveries, but she knows she has a team that will bend the rules a bit if it means learning more about new planes.