Translation of this article.
About Planet Ra Ciela
At the very end of the Sixth Age, only a very small part of Planet Ra Ciela has the conditions for supporting life.
That area has as its heart the NS magnetic pole that is located very close to where the North Pole would be in Earth, which covers an area of just a few tens kilometers in diameter.
This place wasn't one that could be inhabited by people until many centuries ago, as it was a continent covered by permafrost and thick ice layers, just like it is in Earth.
However, the whole world changed in an instant when Ra Ciela's Sun began expanding many hundred years ago.
The temperature and radiation emissions increased, and starting with the equatorial regions and ending in the most extreme ones, the places where people could live quickly diminished.
And so we come to the present point in time, where the NS magnetic pole that is so close to the North Pole is the only remaining inhabitable region.
While repeating a culling process that took the people several centuries to carry out, only [the chosen ones] gathered at the NS magnetic pole.
It was around 200 years before the end of the Sixth Age that the NS magnetic pole ultimately became the only place where the people could still live.
And now, the entirety of Ra Ciela's surface is covered by dead plants and cities that have been reduced to ruins.
Currently, it is far a greater problem to this planet the increase of the radiation levels than the rising temperatures are.
Therefore, the people knew they had to take whatever measures they could against the radiation doses they were receiving, as otherwise even the [NS magnetic pole] that served as their last bastion would go past its limits for supporting their lives.
As a shield using a powerful [metal convection field (a dynamo)] was deployed over the NS magnetic pole, the people continue their lives to the present point in time.
The field was created by a governmental institution called [Tenmon], and they are still in charge of its administration.
The State of the NS Magnetic Polar Region
Plants can only grow within the area covered by the metal convection field that the Tenmon created.
On the surface outside it, a wasteland covered by dead trees reaches as far as the horizon stretches.
And since the NS magnetic pole is located between the oceans and the continents, part of the field that makes the place capable of supporting life also covers the ocean. (The area covered by is roughly 70% land and 30% ocean).
Within the field, there are many trees and plants.
This is done to supply the local area with additional yet small quantities of oxygen and crops that are produced by the plants, which also have a role in softening the effects of the many kinds of radiation and the radiant heat emitted by the sun.
Additionally, plants have another important role in the current Ra Ciela, which is information transfer.
It is due to this that the people try to cultivate all the plants they can in all the areas within the field, from the urban ones to the suburbs, and up to the very limit of the field.
The more one approaches to the center of the field, the higher and thicker the trees sprout; but the more one approaches to the field's limits, the more the plants' height diminishes.
Ultimately, only weeds sprout in the areas near the field's limit, and the areas beyond feel entirely like a desolate dead land.
Well then, being the only place in the planet where people can live in, only one Empire rules over the area within the field.
It used to have a name long ago, but once the era of the warlords' rivalries came to an end, the planet had reached its current condition and only this area remained as an inhabitable place, so the people purposely refrain from using the Empire's actual name.
Therefore, the people only refer to the state that governs their lives by calling it the [Empire].
(It's might be somewhat like how the Americans call their own country [the Federal State] instead of calling it [America]).
And in the first place, the NS magnetic pole was part of the Empire territory, which was a ruling state every bit as large as the Soviet Union was or the United States are in our current Earth.
About several thousand to several hundred years ago, back when the people still lived throughout the entirety of Ra Ciela's surface, the NS magnetic polar region was a territory that had no attractive qualities to itself.
We could say it was a place similar to Rusia's Siberia, which by virtue of being located to the far east and bordering the Arctic Ocean it is conspicuously uninhabited.
So while we would have to say the Empire reluctantly had to accept the administration over it if we were pushed to do so, no one imagined that it would become the place that would save the Empire's own life several centuries afterwards.
In any case, the Empire has lasted for several centuries and its imperial capital has been relocated multiple times, until it finally settled down on this land.
And by the time it settled down here, there were no other places remaining where people could live in.
The Empire's Whole Scenery
Given that the regions the people can live in have become so limited, the Empire, or better said, its residential areas are laid out in a vertical manner.
First we will show a general diagram of how they are arranged, and then we'll give a summarized explanation for each of the areas from top to down.
A facility located slightly above the orbital height where geosynchronous satellites are launched at, giving it a position where it is possible to oversee the entirety of Ra Ciela and the Birdcage.
This is the place that was created for the singing of the Song that will put the Birdcage into motion: the [Ra Ciel Fuser].
It is located outside of the Birdcage, as once the Ra Ciel Fuser is sung, everything inside the Birdcage will be annihilated.
The Singing Hill is also equipped with facilities such as the ones that allow it to shelter people temporarily, as well as having the deck for the Empress to sing, and administrative areas.
The deck for the singing is the only exterior area it possesses (as the rest of the facilities are inside the Singing Hill itself).
This deck also has a partially ceremonial nuance to it, as it was made to allow the people that are taking refuge on the Singing Hill to see Her Majesty the Empress singing. It could be said that it is similar to a stadium.
A system that uses planet Ra Ciela as an energy source to shift the space-time angles to summon the space where planet Ar Ciel is located.
While the theoretical principles behind it are similar in nature to those of radio tuning, both processes operate on entirely different scales (on a dimensional level in this case).
It is formed by three rings, each of which rotate independently when they are put in motion.
They float slightly above the height used for geosynchronous satellites, and while the rings spin at very high speeds when they are working, they are normally left to rotate at very slow speeds.
When the rings' speed reaches their critical level, a hyper gravity well (a mini black hole) will form in their centre, or in the center of planet Ra Ciela, which will compress the planet into a clump of mass of around 1 cm in diameter.
At the same time, the rings carry out the role of detaching the gravitational field they generate from the areas around them, so the Birdcage itself and the Singing Hill don't get affected by the hyper gravity well.
There is a place called [Tenmon] a ways below where the Birdcage is located.
Tenmon is the organization that administrates both the Birdcage and the Singing Hill, and they a research institution based on the study of quantum mechanics.
If we had to point out what are the special characteristics to Tenmon's exterior, these would be its gigantic cyclotron (particle accelerator) and the many research facilities it holds within, as well as also having a gigantic vacuum tube at its very center.
Additionally, the upper part of the Tenmon facilities is equipped with a panel used to harvest Tz-Waves (the energy that serves as the Cielnotrons' power source).
As for its lower part, it has many vacuum tubes of differing sizes clustered together, so it looks like a starry sky to anyone who looks at the facility from below during the night.
Tenmon can be generally divided in two large sections: an area filled with research facilities and another formed by residential quarters.
The residential quarters are like company-owned houses Tenmon has for its workers, but said workers generally receive a much better treatment than the inhabitants of the Colonies, which will be explained later.
This is because it is said that those working at Tenmon form part of the greatest organization in Ra Ciela, which has the fate of the world on its shoulders.
Its architectural style is quite modern, and its exterior is made from very advanced materials (similar to the ones found in spaceships), which give it protection against dangers such as radiation.
As Tenmon exists at the highest height among all the residential areas, radiation shielding is a very important matter, which is why basically almost the entirety of the residential and research facilities are indoors.
Currently the Empire is the nation that governs this world. The Palace that serves as its seat of government is located slightly below Tenmon's location.
While it could be thought that Tenmon being above the Imperial Palace is a tremendous lack of respect, it was pointed out since long ago that Tenmon also holds the very important role of protecting the Palace from dangers such as radiation and the cosmic rays.
While the Palace is located right below Tenmon at the moment, that doesn't mean it has always been there. The reason for it being where it is at the moment is merely due to Tenmon being the current [ruling party].
If [Chimon] ended becoming the ruling party at some point in the future, the Imperial Palace would be moved next to Chimon.
Additionally, since Tenmon is located so high in the sky and Chimon lies under the planet's surface, the Imperial Palace is equipped with mechanisms similar to an elevator that allow to change its current height.
This road that allows to move the Palace from place to place is called the Imperial Avenue, and entry into is strictly forbidden even during normal circumstances.
Even the later-mentioned Colonies have this area of the airspace forbidden for constructing new structures, and the airships and trains are all forced to detour to not get near it.<br /. The Imperial Avenue is located at the very center of Ra Ciela's NS magnetic pole, so it could be essentially called the heart itself of this world.
The Colonies are the most important structures existing over this world.
As their very name says, they are floating structures that dot the Empire's airspace, which could be said to be be visually similar to Laputa, or if we use an example from Ar tonelico 1, Firefly Alley.
There are several Colonies floating in the skies of this world.
The [Tenmon] and the [Imperial Palace] we explained previously could also be generally called large Colonies on their own.
The Colonies have many shapes. They can be chaotic like Firefly Alley, oval-shaped, or cylindrical like a candy cane, their shape exemplifying the main selling point each Colony has.
For example, oval-shaped Colonies would have their cities completely in the inner side of the sphere, keeping their environment completely clean from the radiation, while chaotic Colonies would have a great personal freedom as their main selling point.
Each Colony governs itself, while their administration structural maintenance is entrusted to the same company that originally built it.
Of course, this doesn't mean that they can deviate from the laws ruling over the rest of the Empire, so it could be said this is like a more extreme form of the state laws each of the states have in America.
Also, while the Colonies govern themselves and are under the Empire's umbrella, there are many that are also under the umbrella of either [Tenmon] or [Chimon].
For example, there are Colonies that are directly administrated by either Tenmon or Chimon, Colonies that were built by former prominent Tenmon members or Colonies owned by companies that share the same deep-seated beliefs the Chimon do.
Additionally, around a 70% of the existing Colonies have strong nuances of being part of either the Tenmon or Chimon factions. The other 30% are [crucible] Colonies where both factions are melded together.
It's also possible to distinguish from their appearance when a Colony belongs either to the Chimon faction or the Tenmon faction.
This is because both Tenmon and Chimon utilize entirely different technology systems, so there are two [latest technology] currents in this world (which would be absurd to the Earth societies).
In other words, the Tenmon faction ones conspicuously utilize materials similar to the ones found in spaceships, while the Chimon faction ones have conspicuous brass hues to them, giving them an alchemical charm.
As each Colony floats by itself on the sky, there is no way to move from one to another on foot.
Therefore, the people normally use trains, the Orbital Elevators or the Wire Ships to move through them, and while there are some people that own their private means to move through the Colonies, that privilege is only reserved for a very small group of VIPs recognized by the Empire.
This also plays an important role on the security for the Colonies, which also makes their merits much more remarkable.
A gigantic colony ship whose construction was initiated and carried on by the [Chimon], which also served as its research institution and administrative organ. Its name is [Soreil].
While basically almost all the facilities that are subordinate to the Chimon are located very close to the planet's surface, this Ark is the only exception to it, as it floats very close to where Tenmon is located.
While there aren't any reasons for that, Soreil is currently under Tenmon administration, and an amusement park called [Palace Nyurokeel] has been built over its surface.
As the Ark is an enormous spaceship, its structure can greatly divided in two parts: a cylindrical-shaped mechanical section and a spherical residential area, giving a shape similar to a large key.
As it was built to lodge a large amount of people, the Ark has an extremely large build, with the residential areas covering a diameter of around 8 KM.
The old city is the only residential area still existing on the surface.
When this land became inhabitable for the people and the radiation levels increased to the point no other place in Ra Ciela was suit for inhabitation, a lot of people ended getting brought to this place, greatly invigorating it.
Afterwards, the Old City ended becoming a very unsightly place due to the overpopulation caused due to the large influx of refugees, which coupled with the ever-increasing amounts of radiation that rained upon the land caused a tremendous panic.
These were the underlying causes that caused several people, mostly wealthy and prominent ones, to escape the Old City and start the construction of the Colonies, which they ultimately moved into.
As the Colonies are small-sized residential units, it was easy to build them with an electromagnetic field that could just protect them from the radiation. This is why the inhabitants of the Colonies have no reason to fear the radiation.
While this phenomenon was restricted only to the richest people, gradually the middle-class people also seeped into the Colonies, so the Old City is currently the residential zone where only the poorest members of the population live.
The Old City has a very pronounced Chimon architectural style, with the buildings having a mix of Japanese and European styles similar to the early Showa period, as well as lot of metal plating that comes from the brass culture unique to this planet (more details below).
While it covers a wide area, its very center (the location of the Imperial Avenue) is actually an enormous hole inside which Chimon has installed its facilities.
Sometime ago, when Chimon was still the ruling party, the Imperial Palace floated at roughly the same height at which the Old City is located.
The Imperial Avenue itself is considered as the point where the Old City (its surface area) starts, so if someone goes further below into the hole, they would find themselves inside the Chimon facilities.
Chimon is an organization possessing a completely different culture from Tenmon.
Strictly speaking, both Tenmon and Chimon were the same organization until a few decades ago, which had as its purpose conducting research and development on how to carry out the Life Salvation Projects.
Chimon had its specialty mainly in DNA-based life sciences and chemistry, while Tenmon's forte where the fields of physics and quantum mechanics, each of them making serving as a good balance for the other.
What allowed Chimon to keep its authority was the fact that they were the organization that controlled the relationships between humans and Genoms as well as the Genoms' powers, but this status quo collapsed when the Tenmon-developed Cielnotrons supplanted the Genoms' role a few decades ago.
Given that the people started used the Cielnotrons because they were far more convenient, they abandoned Chimon and the Genoms.
This even included the migration project itself, as Tenmon shifted the methods for it in a way that used the Cielnotrons instead of the Genoms, and ultimately they severed their ties to the Chimon and started operating independently.
And from that point on, Chimon steadily lost more and more of their power and influence.
Despite these conditions, Chimon is still an enormous organization that has a fairly large number of members and supporters.
Chimon is located inside a large hole that is located even further below in the Imperial Avenue's route, and it possesses both research and residential facilities.
It gives off the feeling of being a group of research facilities that tightly squeezed together in the areas around the large shaft.
Special Characteristics of the Details in the City's Scenery
One of Ra Ciela's main characteristics is something that would be unthinkable in our current Earth: that two avant-garde cultures coexist with each other.
This is because two scenic cultures exist in said world, which at times can be seen mixed up and at times can be seen on their own.
We will now explain how the Tenmon Culture, the Chimon Culture and the mix of both each give their own charm to Ra Ciela's sceneries.
Chimon and Tenmon used to have the same culture a until a few decades ago. However, Tenmon started walking their own path after the Cielnotrons were developed.
Tenmon was originally a a space science research institution established to complete the early stages of the Ark, its greatest strength being environmental radiation shielding.
It is due to this that their influence is the most apparent on the building materials they use.
Generally speaking, the Tenmon Culture is found within the spaces built for people to inhabit. Their walls exist to block the radiation, excessive solar heat and ultra-violet rays.
It is also due to this that a large part of the Tenmon structures are built to cover an area completely. Additionally, the materials in them are the ones that normally would be thought to be used in a spaceship's external walls.
Overall, they have a very strong near-future trend.
#In Ar tonelico 3 terms, they would be located even higher than Clusternia.
The Chimon culture is more alchemical.
As the metal they are based on isn't iron, but brass instead, their architectural style seeks [beauty] instead of [practicality].
And given the Genoms like the brass a lot, the Chimon Culture actively uses said metal for their artistic objects and the other walls of their structures.
As the Chimon Culture was originally the means used to establish relationships with the Genoms, their elements naturally ended showing up on the buildings they constructed.
For example, a Chimon Culture house will have several small entrances and exits so several Genom can come in and out of it however they please.
Such entrances can be found under the roof tiles, under the floor, having open spaces either at the top or at the bottom of the doors,
so while it could be somewhat misleading to say this, they could be somewhat compared to the house of a cat lover, which have entrances on the doors for the cats.
As for their design culture, it has features of the Renaissance period from Earth with some alchemical elements. For example, we could compare its designs to the orrery (planetary models) that simulate the way the planets rotate around the Sun, which were first made on Europe during the Middle Ages and that can be seen frequently inside the houses and on the cities' streets.
As the place where the Empire is currently located is the [final area where life can exist] in this planet of Ra Ciela, the people came to this place from all other areas around 100 years ago.
Due to this, the Empire became a crucible of multiple ethnicities and nationalities for a time, and this was especially true for the surface city that served as the Empire's heart at the time, which became a massive mix-up of people and cultures.
Due to the mix of cultures from many regions around the planet, this Empire ended developing a sort of Hodgepodge Culture.
It could be comparable to the Meiji and Taisho Era we had on Earth, as it was very similar to the [houses that were built imitating the Western architectural styles but using Japanese construction methods].
The modern houses built in Japan during these periods were made by constructing with wood designs that were supposed to be made with stone and bricks, which is why they give off a feeling of being a mix-up.
How they Are Mixed Up
The [Old City] and many of the [Colonies] mix up the [Tenmon Culture], [Chimon Culture] and [Hodgepodge Culture] to a certain degree.
While the trend is that the Tenmon Culture will be displayed more strongly in the areas where there are more Tenmon sympathizers, and the same goes for Chimon and their sympathizers, this is basically due to this being the current status quo.
However, their proportion changes depending on the area, like for example the Colonies that had their main structural frames built using Chimon Culture will display strong characteristics of said style.
Almost all Colonies are formed either by a [Chimon + Hodgepodge Culture] or a [Tenmon + Hodgepodge Culture] pattern to them.
As for the Old City, since Tenmon and Chimon exist scattered through some parts of the region, the remaining larger percentage features the Hodgepodge Culture.
About the structures built by Tenmon and Chimon on the Old City, many enormous Chimon Culture buildings can be found through it. The reason for this is because most of these structures also require infrastructure facilities to be able to function.
To compare them to how things are on Earth, this would refer to power generation plants, power reserve tanks, waste disposal facilities and such.
As for the Colonies, all these infrastructure facilities are lodged within the Colon's main structural frame. It is due to it that the Colony's structural frame ended up being what determines the cultural trend (Tenmon sympathizer, Chimon sympathizer, or neutral) that the Colony itself will have.
Colonies can be simply explained as [cities floating in the sky], like Laputa.
These cities exist in a variety of shapes located at different altitudes throughout the Empire, and they each have constructed generally independent societies within themselves.
We will now explain why it is that the Colonies are so important when it comes to this world.
Appearance Characteristics of the Colonies
Aside of the fact they all [float in the sky], the Colonies have no other common appearance characteristics.
But if we had to mention something they all had in common despite that, it would be just a single point: that all the Colonies have vacuum tubes of differing sizes plugged into them.
May it be due to being part of the Colony's design or as a particular characteristic of it, this makes them quite a striking part of their appearance, as normally the largest vacuum tubes are set up at the very center of the cities, while on the other hand, the smaller ones are tightly buried within the Colonies' lower areas, to the point in which several look like parts of starry sky at night for the people looking at the from below.
As for the Colonies themselves, they truly have an infinite variety of shapes.
There are inner types that are similar to eggs, holding the entirety of the residential areas within the shell, there are ring types that have the residential areas in a candy cane-shaped part that goes into the ring, there are Firefly Alley-like ones that have their houses spread out in a disorderly manner, Laputa-like types that have hills similar to external walls and castles, and like them, there are many other kinds.
Functional Types of the Colonies
There are two large kinds of roles that a Colony can have.
One is the [Residential Colony] and the another is the [Production (Infrastructure) Colony].
Additionally, there are also a few [Elevator Colonies] located in special areas.
As they are located in the areas where the four pillars sustaining the [Imperial Avenue] are, these Colonies have become the connection points for the Orbital Elevator gondolas and the trains running through them.
The Colonies were set up by the Empire as independent organizations, so each Colony can make laws that are applicable to itself to a certain degree.
In that sense, they are closed to America's states than they are to Japan's prefectures.
As each Colony can establish its own set of laws, taxes and services, this gives a relative degree of freedom to its residents.
The main reason behind this is that originally the Empire was built as a city by people from many lands possessing many different cultures, all of which had gathered in a single place.
So rather than force the Empire's customs into these people, a former Empress decided to just give them a place where they could live, as she thought this would ultimately the best way to resolve the issue.
This is why every Colony is allowed to administrate itself even over matters on the level that would cause worry on their citizens like the services and laws are.
By the way, while the administrative order we just explained mainly refers to the Residential Colonies, naturally there are also Production Colonies.
Production Colonies are also independent units constructed and managed by companies and enterprises to serve as production facilities.
Therefore, the people who work at them must abide the Production Colony's laws during their labor hours.
The most important pieces of infrastructure for this world are the ones related to Tz-Waves. As these are energy waves extracted from the sparse or dense growth of gravitational waves, they are the power source for the Song Magic used throughout the modern world, and thus an irreplaceable kind of energy that makes Cielnotrons work.
Currently, the Tenmon is the only organization that has the capability of harvesting the Tz-Waves.
The upper surface of Tenmon's facilities are covered by Tz-Wave capture panels, which can absorb these waves with a high degree of efficiency.
They then distribute their energy to every single Colony in Ra Ciela.
In exchange, Tenmon collects the amount of Tz-Waves consumed as a tax that must be separately paid by every individual Colony.
Therefore, the Colonies generally collect a percentage of these taxes from their residents in order to not fall into red numbers, with the collection methods being left up to each Colony to decide.
Aside of this, there are other infrastructure services like [water], [waste disposal], [information], [transportation] and [elevators], each of which is managed by privately-owned Production Colonies.
As for the transportation used in the Colonies, they are all made by each Colony, so there are several kinds to them.
Still, there are two main kinds of methods for moving from a Colony to another, which are the [Trains] and the [Wire Ships].
But among them, most people generally use the trains.
The trains are transportation facilities that connect the Colonies that are situated at roughly the same altitude, and were made from investments contributed both by the Empire and the people.
Additionally, the railways were laid down in a way that connect multiple Colonies at the same time, so they also have a range in which the difference in altitude doesn't impede direct communication between the Colonies.
However, this was also made as a scheme on the Empire's part to limit the degree of movement the people have available. From this, it should be apparent that it was done with the intention of safeguarding the public order.
And in order to move between Colonies that have extreme differences in altitude, it would be necessary to go first to an Elevator Colony, as these are the only ones that allow for transfer between the Orbital Elevators as well as between train lines.
As for the Wire Ships, they are mainly employed as cargo transports, so no ordinary person privately owns one for their own usage, very similarly to how it happens with the ships on Earth.
There are also commercial passenger ships, but boarding them is more expensive than boarding the trains.