Translation of this article.
The Purpose of the Ark
The Ark is a spacecraft that was built over 50 years prior to the end of the Sixth Age, and it originally was a conjunct project between Tenmon and Chimon.
But around 40 years after its establishment, the Tenmon withdrew themselves from the project, essentially leaving it stuck at an impasse.
While it has an almost spherical shape, this is due to giving a great importance to the living space for the people, even greater than the already important factor of considering a good shape for cruising through space, as it was designed to be a gravitational center ship.
As a gravitational center ship, it has a gravity generator installed on its very core, which aside of greatly increasing the amount of people it can lodge, it also allows to protect its occupants from the radiation found in space in a similar way to how a true planet's gravitational field does.
The purpose of the Ark can be explained simply as being a [spaceship that cruises through the universe in search of a planet similar to Ra Ciela while its occupants undergo cryostasis cycles over and over].
The larger part of the people that have boarded the Ark will be put in cryostasis and will conduct an extremely long journey that will take over a thousand years.
And when they ultimately reach a planet with an environment identical to Ra Ciela's, they will migrate and establish themselves there.
The State of the Ark During the Seventh Age
By the time the PS3 game started (the Seventh Age), the Ark is still in the middle of its journey in search of a planet inhabitable for the people.
Every 1000 years, over a period of ten years, part of the people that were put into cryostasis are awakened and made to live their lives on the ship.
There are 100 cryoastasis sections, each one of them being set to awaken its occupants in alternation according to units of ten years.
As every section will be made to wake up at different times, there won't be any people aside of the ones belonging to these people's community.
Strictly speaking, it's possible for sections that are physically distant to have the same awakening period, but as they are so far away from each other, the occupants from them won't meet.
This was a system established during the ship's development so the people wouldn't try to kill each other over the extremely limited resources on board.
However, this system ended up backfiring during the current times.
This was because while they were in cryostasis, the people ended up facing a tremendous crisis.
This was because their lives ended being filled with danger due to the sudden and unexpected appearance of the lifeforms known as [Sharls].
Sharls mainly have abducted people that were still in cryostasis and with their pods locked and still functioning.
And thus, these sections ended up abandoned and the rooms they used to have being buried due to the plants that began growing out of nowhere.
Why Did This Happen?
The Ark wasn't originally designed to be like this.
This was actually the result of a stratagem that Zill incited Cosal to carry out.
Currently, the Ar nosurge Tube is installed in a place at the core of the Ark called the [Placenta].
However, a G2-Tube was actually installed in that place in the Ark's original blueprints.
So essentially, the plan was that a Genom (Cosal) would take control of the Ark using that G2-Tube and navigate it over a very long period of time.
But since both Cosal and the Genomirai Church are giving that equipment very different uses from what they were originally designed for, this situation sprang up.
Cosal's goal is the [regeneration of the planet].
Thus, he is using the Ark to regenerate his own mother planet Sharlanoia (Ra Ciela), which was annihilated with no traces of it being left over due to the actions of the Ciels (the Ra Cielans).
He is essentially carrying this out in the following way:
[By using the humans' SH energy, their Symphonic Power is channeled into creating a planet that has the Ark as its core.]
Given the Ark is a gravitational center ship, gravity works by pulling everything toward its center. And since it is created by following the structure used by an actual planet, it possesses a magnetic field capable of blocking out the harmful cosmic rays.
Therefore, if it was possible to make the soil flourish on the Ark's surface, the water to fill it, and give shape to an atmosphere, it would become a pseudo-planet, making it possible to regenerate the planet.
And the ingredients that are being used for this task are no other than the humans themselves.
The Structure of the Planet Regeneration Carried Out by Cosal
Well then, we can concretely explain the situation as the Sharls using the humans.
Sharls are the inhabitants of planet Sharlanoia, which means they are the [Genoms]: the original inhabitants of planet Ra Ciela.
When the Ciels (humans) invaded their planet, the Sharls refused to fight and abandoned their bodies, roaming as mere souls until they started dwelling within all sorts of animals.
In other words, they started living in a similar way to how parasitic plants do.
And in this situation, the Sharl King Cosal decided to do something to remedy it, which giving to the Genoms [bodies only for their own kind].
It was in this way that they started used the extradimensional energy by manipulating Ion and created the Sharls' bodies, afterwards embedding the Genoms' souls into them.
The Sharls that were born this way were first given the position of Labor Sharls and they started working to create a planet.
Their labor basically was summarized as [the job of going underground, abducting humans, putting them into water tanks and creating a land].
The Sharls that demonstrated a great performance in these tasks would be afterwards released from them and gain permission to go live on the [surface] they themselves had created.
On the surface, they would be able to happily live surrounded by a land made up with actual soil and plants, much like how their planet was before the Ciels came.
And in this way they would keep the Ciels (humans) alive underground, their final fate being becoming part of the land.
It is the same idea as how the pigs eat on their pigsties without knowing they ultimately will become meat for our consumption.
When the time comes, the Sharls destroy their communities according to a preplanned schedule, harvest the humans and use them to regenerate the planet.
So the Ciels (Ra Cielans) would never realize this, Zill and Cosal closed up all the dividing walls existing between the communities they could, leaving the people unable to go anywhere.
And not having enough with that, they also filled the navigational charts of the Ark with false information, making the televisions only project images of the space as it is right now, and projecting false images of forests and other amenities so the people wouldn't go insane from the stress.
It is due to this that most Ciels earnestly and without question wish to arrive quickly at a new land where they can live in peace.
The Ark's Situation by the Time the PS3 Game Starts
We will now explain the ship's interior, beginning with the section the main characters reside in, heading then to the outer walls, and finally diving into the center.
The first areas where the protagonists find themselves is the Residential Areas, which are very wholesome areas typical of the inside of the near-future spaceships.
The area is completely covered in walls and floors, and there are several devices scattered throughout it like the displays that show information related to the ship's current status.
The Residential Region contains areas for sleeping that are akin to [houses] and areas for working that have many amenities, which includes production facilities and entertainment facilities.
As their name says, the production facilities are areas as small as possible where practicing agriculture and carrying industrial work is possible, and all people can freely use the equipment and similar tools they find in them.
But practically speaking, their usage is decided by the inhabitants of each particular section.
As for the entertainment facilities, there are several kinds to them, but they can generally be divided into outdoor types and indoor types.
As they are relaxation areas, they also have displays of forests that couldn't be seen any more even at the end of the Sixth Age (corridors where forests can be seen as if they were on the other side of a window), which were made the feeling of isolation the people would feel on space.
Additionally, there are many multipurpose plazas where markets and bazars can be carried out.
All of these areas form part of a set, with the Ark itself having a total of 100 such sets in its entirety. And thus, the people live divided among these 100 sections.
Each section has a population ranging from 500 to 1000 inhabitants.
Heading to the Outer Walls
The Residential Region is basically made up by layers, so the sections go on and on until they reach the point where they are relatively close to the outer walls.
The section the main characters reside in is actually located in the most central one of all the layers in the Residential Region, so since it is located so far inside, they need to climb through many residential sections in route to the outer walls.
And going upwards from these sections is quite difficult.
The more they approach the outer walls, the more they can see plants, ivies and roots growing thick throughout the ship, and there are even places in which the pathways have been covered by dirt.
There are even sections that have been buried in water.
And once they reach the section closest to the outer areas, they would see that the area is almost entirely covered in dirt, with the soil being filled with animals and bugs and having the roots of large trees running throughout it.
If they head further above, they will find themselves on the place that is thought to be the Ark's outer walls. However, this place is still located underground.
If they continue digging and climbing upwards, they will finally find themselves on a land filled with sunlight.
In that place, they would find many tall trees growing and many animals living in there, and also the Sharls going about their daily lives.
Given that the extradimensional existences (Ion and Nero) disappeared for several thousand years, the sun Bezel has contracted and returned to its original form. It releases a gentle light and shines beautifully whenever the weather is clear.
Heading to the Center
The central area of the ship isn't located very far away from the Residential Regions, as building the ship in any other way would have been impossible.
The reason for this is because the place is spherical, so it would cause a situation akin to [if you walk over a sphere, there will be a point where you notice you are walking on circles], so having the people live in it would make them feel very uncomfortable.
That is the reason why the central area is filled with mechanical facilities.
In other words, this is the area where the propulsion devices that are so important for the planet-ship are located, and also where the many G2-Tubes of varying sizes that are used for controlling them have been installed.
This refers to the pillar jutting out from the sphere part, which is called a tower by the residents of Sharlanoia.
The interior of this pillar contains many of the ship's essential propulsion devices as well. And there is a place at its very top called the [Observatory], which contains the ship's central control room.
Originally, a Ciel (human) was supposed to perform a Perfect Synchronization with a Genom to then enter this room, and then they would be able to control Soreil as if it were part of their own body from inside the Soulspace.
Had the original project proceeded without any setbacks, this is the place where Kanon and Cosal would have been once they had carried out a Perfect Synchronization.
However, the one that actually ended sleeping inside this place was Ion, and the one that carried out the Perfect Synchronization with her was the player.
So the current situation is that Cosal controls it from the outside.