What is the Rift?

When the Turritella was suddenly thrust into use by the Blight, it was far from complete. The final structure was going to be a thriving state, built on the inside of a vast cylinder of a space station, including artificial terrain features, cities, roads, trains, and a whole variety of other things. In its half finished state, it is only a meandering ribbon of land, broken up by a spiral of artificial cliff walls and mountains, full of exposed substructure and blemishes of construction, though layers of dirt and dust have made it all look as though it were intentional. Aside from with special equipment or secret knowledge of paths or openings, these cliffs are essentially unscalable, and produce an absolute natural barrier so great that few people even consider the fact that a destination that feels like it is dozens of miles away might only be a fraction that, as a bird flies.

The Rift is not an area without air or life - or even without ground. It's merely barren and inaccessible. In a few places, a hole may expose a fall straight to the outer wall of the
Turritella itself, but generally they are closed over in brown or black Chitin covered by layers of natural sand and dirt, blown by the wind. The Rift's insides are full of columns and tubes of Chitin, and exposed clusters of Actin mechanisms with bundles of Spiracle nerves. The towers that connect The Spire to the the rest of the Turritella all fall within areas of Rift, and no passable route to reach a Spire tower has ever been documented.

From the ground of the Turritella, a man might live his whole life without particularly noticing that the Rift exists. It might simply seem that in two directions the land stretches on for miles and miles, and in another there are great mountains and walls, and that's simply the way things are. That most places in the Turritella that seem to be dozens of miles apart might only be separated by a few short thousand feet of Rift never occurs to a normal farmer or tradesman.

The Downs-Tube

The one place where most people can become intimately aware of the Rift's presence is the Downs-Tube: the public execution grounds of Kaipalu. The city nestles against a cliff so tall, straight, and without handholds that it is unclimbable even at its base, but a single cave breaks the cliff's face and leads into the Rift. Its insides are so steep and smooth that anything dropped inside will simply slide down and vanish forever into the underbelly of the station.

The finest smugglers all know the truth though. The Downs-Tube is simply a garbage chute. It leads down a tunnel to an airlock, and anything dropped through that cave will go soaring down to the surface of Newgulf?, where it will burn up in the atmosphere after facing painful suffocation in the freezing and irradiated vacuum of space. According to local common law, any man tossed through the Downs-Tube who returns, alive, is given an automatic pardon by the General of the Frontiersmen, but tales of survivors showing up at The Lift in Cessnock seem to only be urban legend.