Flying wings, in vogue at the time of the Cresting Wave’s initial design, offer advantages in lift to weight ratio. With two fuselages blended into the wing as sturdy hulls, much of the centre wing section can be loaded with freight. The flight crew is situated in the starboard fuselage and both of these reinforced structures can either house passengers or even more cargo.
To avoid water ingestion the engines are mounted in a tall dorsal nacelle, turbojets stacked vertically and sharing common paired intake slots that can be shuttered during surface operations; retractable propellers in both fuselages then provide slow but quiet and efficient propulsion.
The design has several limitations that have prevent its adoption much beyond the southern cities; several fatal accidents have been attributed to ‘tumbling’ of the high aspect ratio wings, and the relatively small engine nacelle reduces carrying capacity and results in long take-off runs. Additionally, the vehicle sits so low in the water that high seas render lift-off and landing risky endeavours.
In spite of these issues large numbers of the vehicles remain in operation, in some cases simply out of habit or the inability to now afford something better. With reclamation efforts in the Kiln now increasing on both sides of the ocean, several Cresting Waves have been given larger engines and sent into the burning equatorial coasts to bring valuable pre-Fall salvage (among other things) south.
Evolving in sweltering, humid wetlands, preindustrial Birrin found the frozen places of their world among the most forbidding. A hothouse planet, most snowbound regions of Chriirah are restricted to high altitudes and were seldom visited until the advent of lightweight insulated clothing allowed the intrepid to explore these last terrestrial frontiers.
Already rare on Chriirah, the upheaval of The Fall and subsequent global temperate rise has left even fewer permanent snowbound peaks on the planet. The most spectacular of all tower above the inhospitable Kiln desert: the legendary First Mountains.
To climb this ancient range in modern times requires considerable capital and influence; the region lies in the Kiln desert and remains largely lawless where not outright uninhabitable. All supplies have to airlifted or transported overland to establish a base of operations from which climbs can be co-ordinated.
The isolation of the region is twofold: satellite communications post-Fall have been hampered by debris still filling most useful orbits. As such sat-phone services are exceptionally expensive for anyone without a personal stake in the space industry. High-powered radio transmitters and relay stations help climbers maintain contact with both basecamp and one another, but sudden storms and low temperatures can leave climbers cut off and vulnerable.
The First Mountains are littered with spent oxygen bottles and iced radio equipment, but few bodies. Subsequent expeditions often feed on the preserved carcases of other climbers, carrying back choice parts for basecamp meals in celebration of the dead. Those engaged in the feasts would expect nothing less for themselves.