September 16, 2011
Presently, most of the staff aboard the flying fortress are from Lockutas, including our old friend Roman. That said, with the exception of a brief appearance during exposition in Book 2, we don’t actually know much about Lockutas. Time to resolve that, I think.
The Lockutan Republic (colloquially, Lockutas) is a nation in the upper-left area of Avbaroy’s world map (a continent named Eustaria) which has its roots in the Empire of Mann, springing from what later became Schizotec. Once Schizotec separated from the Empire in its final days following Arcania’s own separation, Lockutas also separated from Schitzotec in the Lockutan Revolutionary War.
Lockutas gets its name from old Schizian “Lockutec”, or “place of splendour”, owing to its majority share of the world’s copper and tin mines, which account for the brassy appearance of much of its technology.
Lockutas is also known globally for its early mastery of steam power, including its implementation in a miniaturised boiler that powers manipulator arms on much of its military, and on larger mobile artillery. It was this technology that allowed Lockutas to survive for quite a while against the early assaults of the Moon Elf Empire, as most dragons possess breath weapons that can be utilised to actually improve the heat in Lockutan steam boilers, thereby improving the speed and power of their military armaments.
For more than a few centuries, Lockutas being one of the oldest countries still in existence, Lockutas was the center of industrial development and engineering advances, developing primitive zepplins, helicopters, scuba gear, and similar technologies, almost entirely derived from steam power and very basic electrical batteries. Consequently, it has produced many notable engineers to date, including Roman and most of the Citadel crew.
Once Arcania fell, the front lines on the coast of Lockutas grew much fiercer, but the supply of fresh water from its mountain rivers and lakes meant that Lockutas had an almost inexhaustible fuel supply for its boilers (Even if they ran out of coal and wood, electrolysis provided them with fuel for gas boilers, provided they had water). Knowing this, experimentation took place on Arcania (now Alphantica) regarding long-term climate control, resulting in an alchemical substance that, applied to a large area by air, drained heat away from the surrounding environment. This resulted in a nation-wide cold front that frozen Lockutas’ natural water sources, effectively eradicating their fuel source and forcing them into surrender.
However, the true long-term effects of the substance had not been studied at the time of its release over Lockutas. While the effects were less intense than in Alphantica, the substance sank into the lowest levels of Lockutas’ water table and soil, essentially making it almost impossible to remove. And thus did both Alphantica and Lockutas enter their own private ice ages, with Alphantica being sunk into an arctic state whilst Lockutas enjoys a, comparatively, warmer climate. With fresh water now much harder to acquire, the country’s economy and industry ground to a halt following the surrender, and in a stroke Lockutas became a broken nation.
The higher-level engineers like Roman continued to be taught, however, as education, though greatly reduced in availability, remained. The heating systems in most of the national libraries also allowed much of Lockutas’ literature to remain, including detailed diagrams and components to construct most of the now-decrepit technology of old. In high demand by the Empire, Roman and his cohorts helped their oppressors for many years in developing new technologies in Schizotec, home to their ancient oppressors in a bitter twist of irony that few enjoyed. Roman himself is responsible for the automated computer systems aboard the Empire’s missing flagship, the Vendetta.
If I were to offer a real-world equivalent, think of Lockutas as the steampunk version of Soviet Russia, especially the Russia we all like to imagine in the land of historical Hollywood, where snow falls constantly and the technology, whilst potent, is cast iron with rivets and mass-produced components. And now, just as with the real Russia, Lockutas too must suffer a bitter winter after its long summer of greatness.