by M.D Schultz
The world experiences the sixth major extinction with the appearance of Charybdis.
|Case Study 365045 Charybdis
There have been many investigations looking into the effects that Prism Gates have on the surrounding environment. The displaced energy, for example, has been found responsible for the appearance of altered human beings we call Chimera. Yet, these gates don’t just affect the living but have a profound impact on our climate. Even closed gates can change the environment from the energy that slips through the scars left behind. As of this moment, the number of scars around the globe is beyond counting and many are responsible for the unusual and often conflicting weather patterns that earth suffers from. The appearance of the rogue gate Charybdis produced the most lasting and devastating change our world had yet seen.
Near fifty years after the creation of the first Prism Gate, the A.I known as the Cathedral predicted the appearance of a three-quarters of a mile wide rift in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The rift was dubbed Charybdis given its likely location and speculations surrounding the damage it could cause. Though Prism Gate’s had been a recurring threat for a long time, very few had actually made an appearance in a major body of water. Initially, scientists feared that the rift would appear below the water’s surface and, in doing so, drain an enormous quantity from the Pacific ocean. Since unstable rifts could last as little as a few minutes to over one month, there was no telling the extent of the damage that it could cause. As such, members of the Fifth Chapter were dispatched to forcibly shut the gate. In order to achieve this, scientists were prepared to use the Orsinium Rods which could mimic the gates energy frequencies to either stabilize or destabilize it. Although we knew the time of the rifts appearance, there was no way of knowing at what depth the gate would open. In preparation, weighted Orsinium Rods, suitable to withstand the ocean floors pressure, were sunk all around the predicted site. Despite our preparation, the gate didn’t appear below the ocean surface but rather some five miles above it. Within the lower tears of the atmosphere, an enormous rift opened and with it arrived calamity. The Charybdis rift was unique among any other because it emitted a gravitational force so powerful that it pulled the ocean's surface up to meet it. Furthermore, this Prism Gate spun at speeds exceeding 800mph. For those caught on the water’s surface, it was too late. A five-mile pyramid of water was pulled towards the rift and everything caught within its vicious spin was torn to pieces. Although the loss of the initial investigation team was a disaster, the true threat had only just begun. The consequences of the Charybdis rift stretched all across the globe and were felt immediately.
As the rift pulled an incomprehensible quantity of water towards its center, the ocean levels along the coasts of every major continent receded by a significant quantity. Furthermore, the unusual spin of the rift produced a five-mile-high column of rotating water that disrupted most currents within every ocean. Since these currents play a vital role in weather patterns by moving warmer water from the tropics to the poles and cooler water from the poles to the tropics, the act of disrupting this process was disastrous. The most severe storms our world had ever experienced ravaged the continents closest to the Charybdis maelstrom while those furthest away were plunged into a lasting winter. In a matter of days, tropical locations became ice ridden wastelands while deserts were drowned and temperate climates were torn asunder by heat, wind, and rain. Earth had come to experience such calamity that it is widely accepted that Charybdis had delivered the sixth mass extinction. Though there are only estimates, it is believed that over three billion people perished with a third having died in the first day of the rifts opening. Such devastation could never have been accurately predicted and some hypothesize that the scars of previous Prism Gates only worsened the weather effects around the globe. As for the Fifth Chapter, we were hit hard with up to 65% of our facilities damaged beyond inoperable. In addition, the chain of command was disrupted as many operatives, both at home and in the field, were killed. Communication, even with the Cathedral, was limited to small groups and what research we could perform pointed to a new threat. You see, after two weeks of destruction, the Charybdis rift was going to close. Models predicted that the Prism Gate’s unstable signature would cause it to become dangerously imbalanced in less than four days. While closing the gate was initially a good idea, it was no longer in the best interest of humanity for it to shut. Consider for a moment what would happen to the five-mile high pyramid of swirling water if the force keeping it in place was removed. The resulting tsunami would flood half the world and bring humanity to the brink of extinction. If, however, the gate were stabilized, the planet would eventually correct itself and enter a state of homeostasis. Even with Charybdis, new currents would establish themselves and our planet would shift to meet the rhythm of this devastating force. That, at least, was our hypothesis. Fortunately, it didn’t appear that anything could actually pass through the gate which meant that the total volume of water on earth wasn’t changing. Whether lack of passage was due to the rifts violent spin or some other barrier we couldn’t say. The challenge, however, was finding a way to keep the gate open long enough for us to find a lasting solution.
Based on what little information we had, anything brought too close to the rifts spin was torn apart. Given the gravitational force emitted, keeping an Orsinium Rod a safe distance while still influencing the gates stability appeared to be a near-impossible task. Yet, the answer would be found in weather balloons. These instruments had been used for hundreds of years and could withstand pressures and wind speeds where many others would fail. The plan was to attach orsinium rods to larger variations of weather balloons and launch them above the maelstrom. The idea came from observing the rift itself. It was unlikely that anything would float safely within the violent waters just below the Prism Gate, but Charybdis’s gravitational force had an impact on more than just the Ocean. A thick wall of black clouds had formed what looked like a wedge-shaped tornado above the rift. The spinning column of clouds produced frequent flashes of lightning and were a menacing sight but offered a solution to a developing crisis. Weather balloons launched above the maelstrom would be caught in the rotation of the clouds and slowly move towards its center where speeds reached its maximum. The instruments we had proposed to use could survive the wind speeds on the outer edges of the storm and provide a much-needed window for the Orsinium Rods to operate. Unfortunately, this was only a temporary solution for eventually the balloons would get too close to the rift and be destroying. With time working against us, we had no choice but to go ahead with our plan. In the very least it would buy us more time. Backed by what remained of the world’s nations, we successfully launched over two hundred weather balloons into the maelstrom. As predicted, the Orsinium Rods stabilized the tipping balance of the Prism Gate before being destroyed. Over one years time, 10,000 weather balloons would be released into the atmosphere to maintain the rifts stability. The temporary solution was a massive success and, as predicted, the world itself did return to a state of balance. Though the continents would never be the same again, life could continue albeit with a terrifying sight in the middle of the Pacific ocean. However, having secured ourselves time, we needed to develop a lasting solution for this problem. Together, the united nations developed the towers of Babel which are the largest Orsinium Rods ever created. One was built on the eastern coast of Japan and another on the western coast of the United States. Each tower stands five miles high and are a technological wonder able to withstand wind, pressure, and ice at heights no structure had ever reached before. Together, these towers emit a strong enough frequency to stabilize a rift even 300 miles away. They took one year to construct and, although constant maintenance is required, the towers of Babel brought peace to a devastated world. Slowly, civilization rebuilt itself from the ashes and a new challenge now faced the Fifth Chapter. After having defended the world from the rift threat for over fifty years, the parallel realms could no longer be kept secret. The Charybdis rift had changed everything and still stands as a reminder of our failure. The public outrage, however, was kept to a minimum for we were the only group the could stop the crisis. Yet, the time for waiting was over and just predicting Prism Gates was no longer enough. We needed to find a way to stop rogue rifts before it was too late.