As Earth lay dying, buried beneath mountains of trash and flooded by rivers of toxic waste, we took to the sky. Civilizations huddled together on floating platforms that were little more than large discs, approximately ten miles in diameter, with apartment buildings stacked on top of each other like a game of Tetris gone awry. The cities were kept aloft by powerful engines in the base that forced pressurized columns of air toward the ground, not too unlike the blades of a helicopter. Markets were mixed into the jumble of housing to provide what little sustenance was left. These floating cities hovered above the surface at just over five thousand feet when weather systems permitted, yet at that altitude the wind made the walks to various destinations nearly unbearable. When storms rolled in the cities would ascend to a height of nearly thirty thousand feet, staying just above the worst parts. The only reliable source of food was grown synthetically in labs. Humans were one of only a few living creatures left on the planet. Almost anything that remained on the surface had become horribly grotesque mutations, which only added to the hostility of the surface. Most were variations of insects or reptiles. Few mammals remained.
Nearly a decade before the planet became virtually uninhabitable we sent a probe into space in an orbit opposite our own, and found a planet practically identical to ours that was also capable of sustaining life. We began communications with the denizens of the planet and as we learned their language, and they ours, it became clear that both our planets were heading for the same fate. Their planet had two equally dominant and sentient species, the Trooviians and Calvorans, who had shared their planet by residing in opposite atmospheres. The Trooviians found that becoming subterranean sheltered them from the toxic atmosphere while the Calvorans took to the air, much as we did. Our planets were dying and we, the dominant species of our respective worlds, were at fault. Their planet’s condition was already fifty years ahead of ours and we offered a home for them in the hopes that what we learned from them would prevent the death of our planet.
The first extraterrestrial ships landed as we launched our first floating city. They were too late. Our planet was beyond saving, but with their presence we regained hope that our species could survive. With their unique technology and ours there was finally a chance that we could build a new home that both species could inhabit and peacefully coexist. Mars was out of the question. While the planet may have been able to support life at one time, it would never be able to again as our efforts to terraform were a dismal failure, so we had to construct a planet of our own.
There were the Trooviians, a subterranean race who excelled at the more physical aspects of the project. They were easily two feet taller than the tallest human, and twice as wide. Their flesh had the appearance of a dried riverbed, cracked and dry. They had a froglike appearance, their eyes set on either side of their heads. Large, square teeth filled their wide mouths and a horizontal slit lay where a nose would be. Most Trooviians were darkly colored and gender was nearly indistinguishable. We initially regarded them as a threat, but the Trooviians proved their trustworthiness by acting as guards and protectors.
The Trooviians’ counterparts, the Calvorans, were tall and long of limb. They had long, eight fingered hands, small black eyes set in their large oval heads. They resembled the “Greys” of human science fiction, but in truth they had a bluish cast similar to that of a hypothermia victim. They were gentle in demeanor and seemed to glide when they moved. Their voices were the most unusual aspect, as it sounded like they spoke with more than one voice. All Calvorans were genderless, though some seemed more masculine than others. We often suspected that they were all lab grown.
On the surface of our derelict planet resided the outcasts. Humans who’d been shunned by the more wealthy groups before The Human Collective had been formed in order to unite the entire Human Race. These outcasts had become divided into two groups, the Scavengers and the more hostile Bandits. Both looked nearly identical, malnourished and badly sunburnt, but the Bandits chose to kill rather than coexist. Scavengers were often employed to maintain the floating cities as they had demonstrated an uncanny affinity for machinery. The Bandits were avoided at all costs.
Humanity, along with our Trooviian and Calvoran partners, banded together with a singular purpose: the construction of a new home. A manufactured planet capable of sustaining all three races in perfect harmony. A utopia birthed from the ashes of ruin.
This project was deemed Phoenix 1.