- Configuration does not match any known technology.
World Engine core within planet Sand.
A World Engine is a massive piece of expansive technology, deep inside the centre of many worlds such as Ice, Fire, and others, and is capable of propelling even the vast bulk of a planet at high-speed.
A planet's World Engine is buried somewhere deep within its core, most likely directly within the centre of the planet. This means that most World Engines, with the exception of planet Sand's, are inaccessible without the use of a corresponding Telepod. The World Engine core is a huge spherical metal chamber, in the exact centre of which is suspended a large concave disk with a central platform (where the Telepod is located), around which are arrayed a set of sixteen metal obelisks, with a further sixteen obelisks arrayed further away on the edges of the disk, providing a high level of illumination.
The entire central structure is contained within a spherical rib-like frame, with no obvious means of support or attachment to the walls of the World Engine chamber, possibly suspended by gravity alone at the exact centre of the planet. The central obelisks light up in different colours once activated, and the telepod is able to act as a view-screen. Interaction with the world engine occurs via a voice-controlled, semi-sentient computer interface.
Despite the vast size of the World Engine, no know power source is ever seen. The creators of the World Engines and related technologies are unknown, and were likely some precursor race that lived in, passed through, or even created, the Cluster many hundreds or thousands of years prior to the development of the sentient life on those worlds. It is unknown what the intended purpose behind the World Engines was, however, it is entirely possible that the creating race had knowledge of the Beast Planet, and developed the engines as a counter-measure to allow them to escape from it, should it ever enter their system.
Though the age of the Beast Planet itself is unknown, it is similarly possible that the creators of the World Engines may have created the Beast Planet as well, or known of the race that did.
Either way, it is known that the Beast Forces are aware of the World Engines, as Princess Tekla is only able to find the Telepod within planet Ice as a result of images stolen from Lamprey's mind when she inhabited Tekla's body during the events of Episode 1.6 "Mind War".
An even more advanced form of the World Engine existed on the sixth planet of the Cluster, the Prison Planet, and was a Teleport Engine. It is unknown if this was developed before or after the World Engines, as the damage it caused to the Prison Planet may be evidence that the design was flawed, resulting in the need for the comparatively simpler World Engines.
Although it is believed that the World Engines were somehow built into the core of existing worlds, it is similarly possible that the worlds themselves have always been artificial, created to some unknown design. This possibility would account for the highly specialised and uniform climates of the worlds, please refer to the Cluster for further supposition.
Seen a number of times, the World Engines must initiate in sequence in order to preserve the integrity of the planet, prior to the activation of the engines themselves, and to avoid the severe stresses of such large scale propulsion.
The first stage in the activation of a World Engine is to initiate the pre-flight systems, which begins to charge the engine's core. During this stage the large disk in the core of the engine begins to rotate, with visible energy charge appearing through the gaps showing the machinery beneath it. It is unclear if this is the way that a World Engine's power source operates, or if it is drawing energy from elsewhere.
Until the World Engine has reached a stable rate of operation, the spinning mechanism has a tendency to be somewhat unstable, causing the entire core section to shake, before smoothing out once the engines have finished activation.
In order to preserve the atmospheric conditions of the world, an integrity shield is activated, create a large energy bubble around the world. This phase likely provides an artificial layer capable of simulating the planet's natural environment, including the heat and light it would normally receive from its parent star.
This stage is necessary in order to prevent the planet's eco-system from being destroyed, which would render the world inhabitable, largely defeating any possible gains from moving it to avoid destruction.
Before the World Engine can safely halt the natural rotation of the world in order to begin propelling it in a single, stable direction, it must activate a "gravity matrix", which appears to be an additional layer to the atmospheric integrity shield. This layer allows the world to continue to generate gravity once its normal centrifugal spin has been arrested, preventing objects on its surface, along with the oxygen and other gases contained within its atmosphere, from simply drifting away from the planet.
Even more crucially, the presence of artificial gravity ensures that the planet does not tear itself to pieces during propulsion, as the comparatively thin and fragile crust of the world would be torn apart without the force of gravity to hold it in place.
Once planetary integrity has been achieved, the engines themselves are deployed. The massive tapered cylindrical thrusters extend noisily from the planet's surface, likely breaking through the crust, and somehow connected to the World Engine core. As these extend, a set of four massive metal arms swing into place to secure to the primary and secondary nozzles together.
When the engine is ready to fire, it will emit a powerful blue jet of heated exhaust thrust, propelling the world "forward" along the relative axis in which the World Engine assembly has been constructed. With a total of five engines (one primary, four secondary), the entire World Engine can propel a world forward at speeds comparable to those of starships, as well as perform effective (if cumbersome) manoeuvres in order to move out of the path of dangerous obstacles.
The first appearance of a World Engine is in Episode 2.1 "Worlds within Worlds". As planet Ice appears to be facing its demise from a Null Energy blast fired by the Beast Planet, Princess Tekla and Lady Zera discover the world's Telepod. Upon entering the World Engine, an automatic warning is issued as the computer registers the imminent, fatal impact, recommending maximum thrust to avoid the threat. Without hesitation, Tekla orders maximum thrust, triggering the impressive start-up sequence of the massive technology marvel, and managing to rescue the planet mere moments before the Null Energy would have impacted, and obliterated, the entire world.