The Skybrary

A Treatise on Aerial Agriculture

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"I'm switching over to autopilot."

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There are a few things that, without a doubt, would cause the fall of all skytopian civilization were their absence to be felt. These things are very basically: wood, grains, meats, and fish. All of these things are incredibly difficult to harvest in this day and age, what with a veritable lack of land, and we have had to make do with what we could get. Cattle meats especially are an incredible luxury food, served only to the wealthiest, where as fish and fowl meats are far more common. This paper shall go into the specifics of how we gather and produce each of these goods in this day and age.

Firstly, it should be noted that because of a lack of land, the central, stable skylands are often heavily populated and kept with a high degree of industrial tasks. They are where our factories, our foundries, and our processing houses are. And of course, our air fields and hangars are almost always located on our central skylands, there is simply no room for farmlands.

This is where the orbital skylets come into play. Skylets are often towed to nearby skylands, for the vast majority of skylets are not metal bearing, but instead are only laced with trace amounts of raw unobtanium in their incredibly rich soils. These skylets are towed together then stablized with skystone to make the basis for our agriculture, husbandry and logging.

In the case of agriculture, it is as simple as growing grains, corns, and various other plants whose seeds survived the Great Upheaval, and from them we slowly managed to survive and grow our food stores up. Since then, the Order and the Court have since brought over many additions to our own supplies, such as new kinds of coffee and dates, in the case of the Order, or in the case of the Court, silk, teas, and similar crops. Now a vareity of crops can be found surrounding every skyland, placed high above the smog and smoke created by the industrial sectors of the skylands to best catch the sun, and often irrigated with small reservoirs of water placed atop them. Planes bearing ferilizer and scattering seeds are also a common sight on such skylets.

Husbandry is a trickier manner. Most often, cattle are stored in great pins somewhere on the main skyland, where they are fed and their excretions used in the making of fuel and gunpowder. During the day they are shuttled out in vast, short range cargo vessels similar to the bullfrog, but much smaller. From there they are placed upon larger, flatter islands stabilized by large nodes of skystone and covered in tall grass upon which they graze. Often they are shuttled between these islands in a precise order to ensure the grass has time to grow back. For this reason, sheep and goats, which eat the roots of grass rather than the leaves, as cattle do, are far less common as stock animals. Pigs are also common sights in the inner regions of all Skylands, for their usefulness as a meat animal as well as a garbage disposal unit to recycle refuse. Chickens and small fowl hold a similar place in many homes, with a small coup of chickens being common to most neighborhoods, the chickens providing meat and eggs.

Logging is by far the most carefully regulated and protected industry in any Skyland. Trees are considered precious by most people, and while it is the least valuable of all common trade commodities, it's value as a renewable building material cannot be doubted. Unobtanium's influence on plant growth is not fully understood, but what is known is that it greatly accelerates and increases the boundries and life span of trees, as can be seen in the great tree of Arcadia. The same is true of trees throughout the skylands, with sapplings reaching maturity in under a year. But this is not tree's only value. Most skylands have their borders ringed by powerful trees that are carefully groomed and maintained to prevent erosion, their roots directed to make a kind of net under the skyland to slow the rate at which the skylands erode slowly. In this respect, Trees are more precious than any other substance in the skylands, in a way wood itself can never compare too. Many skylands outright forbid the harming of trees in any form except in designated zones. Many a young couple have carved their names into one of the anti-errosion tree's trunks, only to have the constublary knock upon their parent's doors the following day with a hefty fine.

Logging is a careful and precise affair. the Skylets it is conducted on often have great barrier nets made from strong steel cables surrounding them to prevent felled trees from falling from the skyland, for it takes time to grow a new tree. The actual logging is often conducted by hanging great chain driven saws below a plane and having it fell multiple trees in one swoop, leaving the lower branches untouched so that the tree can regrow later.

Fishing is by far the easiest and most plentiful resource available to us in this day and age. And many claim it to be the greatest of sport. Harpoons or nets are mounted in place of a plane's usual weaponry, teathered to great steel cables and moored tightly. The pilot then flys low over the water, searching for tell-tale signs of schools of fish or small whales (larger fish such as dolphins, small whales, and similar are incredibly common now that the oceans have grown so large as to cover most of the planet). Once a target is sighted they launch the nets or harpoons into their prey and haul them upward, dragging them back into the ship as team mates riding on the sides of the vessel reload the guns with new nets or spears as others pull the prey into the cargo bays of the vessel. Once the haul is brought into skydocks it is unloaded to be processed or sold directly onto the market. Many times large whales will be brought down by multiple, high torque planes with large sedative-laced harpoons, killing the massive beast in as humane a manner as possible as it is drug skyward to be dropped into the sky docks.

These methods outline how the basic renewable raw materials of Skytopian agriculture function and supplies our skylands with the necessary foods and materials to construct the most basic of our craft and homes. More detail shall be given upon each individual aspect of Skytopian agriculture in later chapters.

~Introduction to A Treatise on Aerial Agriculture by Hetros S. Wukon

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