For awhile, it felt like theirs was the only hover in the world, but as they descended the traffic grew, until it was so thick above them she could barely see the sky.

It was then that the first of the skybridges came into view. The enclosed walkways–some three or four hovers wide and several storeys deep, others as delicate as a spideruck’s web–criss-crossed the spaces between buildings, forming narrow channels through which the traffic flowed.

An enclosed walkway between buildings, often spanning distances of 1-2 kilometers, with some–often found in a city’s lower levels–as short as a few hundred metres.

The record for the longest skybridge was set by the Koobi–Werb Bridge in Sabre’s Upper City. Built 18 years ago, it spans an 38.7-kilometre stretch between the Koobi and Werb United skytowers and is supported at serveral points by its own mag-lev generators.

Maintenance bug

Big and small, the hovers flowed around and over them. A shadow blotted out the light and she looked up to see a massive sky-train pass overhead, while a squadron of maintenance bugs, bubble-like domes with triangular wings, clung to the side of a tower.

A small, automated hover controlled by a city’s Maintenance AI, maintenance bugs (colloquially known as ‘bugs’) are equipped to handle the vast majority of a city’s repair works.

Built from a generic core, bugs are highly customisable and have a vast array of attachments, allowing them to be configured for any job, no matter how specialised. This customisation also allows for them to be reused and retasked, depending upon the Maintenance AI’s needs.


…there was nothing to see in the docking bay except the porters with their shaggy cow-ocs, loading bags and boxes onto the barge behind them.


Classification: Strider
Specialisation(s): Hauler
Breeding Status: Retired from the program. Licenses for external breeding available.

Weight: 520–640kg
Height (at shoulder): 1.2–1.8m
Length (nose to tip): 2.2–4m
Genetic combination: Cow (Terran), ocupline (Jørn)

More info

A large shaggy beast renowned for its uncanny ability to escape almost any effort to confine it. The cow-oc closely resembles a Terran cow except for the two prehensile tendrils that attach to top of its skull, just behind its ears.

The tendrils are often the same colour as the cow-oc’s coat, which ranges from a dull cream through to dark brown.

Cow-orcs are reliable animals with a calm, steady nature. Little seems to worry them, which made them very popular as beasts of burden and for over a century they formed the backbone of the freight/transport industry. However, with the increased availability hovers and shuttle, their popularity has waned, and now there are only a handful of studs that continue to breed this under appreciated animal.


A magnetic field generated by each of the human cities. It performs two functions:

  1. support the network of suburbs (‘burbs) that surround each of the five human cities
  2. enable the use of mag-lev (magnetic levitation) technology

The ‘burbs

The mag-web redistributes a portion of the magnetic energy that keeps the cities aloft through a network of relays that extend its range outwards. This has enabled humans to expand beyond the boundaries of the cities, establishing satellite suburbs for food production, industry and living space.

The two largest human cities, Cumulus City and Sabre, have found that the ‘burbs on the outer edges of their mag-webs lack the stability of those closer to the city proper. These outer ‘burbs are sensitive to changes in atmospheric pressure and wind currents, and move anywhere from several centimeters to a hundred metres in any given direction. This instability makes them unsuitable for human habitation. Most are given over to agriculture and maintained by AI-controlled machinery.

Mag-lev technology

The field, which projects upwards, allows vehicles to use magnetic levitation to hover/fly. The field is strongest closer to the source (the base of the city) and weakens as it gets further away (the top of the city). Mag-lev technology has come a long way, and the levs on newer hovers are far more efficient than older models, enabling them to utilize the weaker field at the top of the city.



Classification: Land predator (large)
Gene Bank Status:
Limited genetic samples available.

Weight: 740–900kg
Height (at shoulder): 1.8–2.6m
Length (nose to tip): 3.6–6m

More info

The largest land-based predator on the planet the rucnart is also one of the most successful, with several subspecies across a variety of environments.

Typically rucnarts are large, lean individuals with four eyes and six legs. They are similar in appearance to Old Earth felines with elongated, wedge-shaped heads and pointed ears that range in size and length depending on the subspecies.

Their two sets of eyes, one set positioned above and to the outside of the other, forward-facing set, function independently and differ in colour. The role each set of eyes is the subject of much speculation, but current research suggests the upper set is attuned to a different colour spectrum.

While all rucnarts have a prehensile tail, it varies in length and dexterity across the species. The New Saharan and Gobi rucnarts have the shortest tails, averaging just under a meter in length, while the Sidrat and other forest-dwelling species have the longest, averaging 1.8m in length.

In general, rucnarts live in packs of 5 to over 40 individuals, often accompanied by large flocks of qwans, with whom they appear to have a mutually beneficial relationship.

Their aggressive and territorial natures make rucnarts highly dangerous, which is why, despite their size and numbers, little is known about them.

Rucnarts are a favorite subject for mainstream fiction.

Earth-Jørn hybrid specialisations

Originally designed for a particular purpose, every species of Earth-Jørn hybrid can still be classified not just as a strider or flyer (and their attendant sub-categories) but also by their job/specialisation.


Note that a species specialisation is independent of its classification as either a strider or flyer, and that while a species can be suited to many purposes, it is usually ideally suited to just one.


Fast and agile, scouts were designed to be intelligent animals capable of independent thought and action while remaining loyal to their handler. These same traits can make them difficult to work with for handlers who are inexperienced or unconfident.

The first scouts were created to accompany Riders on the surface to scout ahead, relay important information and map the terrain.

Most scout species are flyers. They include the linch-adder and oad-hawk.


Versatile and hardy, an explorer’s primary attribute is their ability to adapt to  any situation or environment, and survive. Most explorer species are inquisitive, athletic striders, capable of going long distances and defending themselves against large predators.

Explorer species include ruc-pards, toa-mares and sterdanes.


Guardians are fierce, predatory and loyal. Large and small, they are defined by their ability to defend a person, object and/or location. 

Dober-shepherds, used mostly by police, are the most common guardian species.


Large, strong and hardy, haulers are beasts of burden, designed to move cargo from one location to another. Although still common in ground side installations, they have been replaced by motorized transport in the cities.

Hauler species include cow-ocs.

Search and rescue

The search and rescue species are the most specialised. As a type, they are calm and highly intelligent with exceptional sight, hearing and sense of smell. Many of them hear and see in ranges far beyond that of humans and even other hybrids.

Sternards are the most successful of this type.


Like scouts, racers are built for speed and agility, but without the same demand for independence and intelligence. The racer specialisation is the most recent, spurred on by sports such as barrier racing.

Doe-ocs are a popular species of racer.


A companion is an Earth-Jørn hybrid animal that is similar to a pet, but forms a closer bond with their human than the typical Old Earth cat or dog.

The term was coined by the first-gen Rider Beatrice Shrew to describe her relationship to the two animals (a ruc-pard and a flurry-thyt) that helped her explore the Jørn wilderness. Beatrice found the terms ‘pet’ and ‘mount’ grossly inadequate to encompass the mutual respect and cooperation that existed between her and her companions, and which was so necessary to their survival.

Instead, Beatrice described the relationship as a partnership in which they all had a role and relied on each other to do their part, and through which they became more to each other than just a friend, but an integral part of their being.


A category of Earth-Jørn hybrid. All species of flyer are capable of flight and typically feature a large percentage of avian or insectoid genes in their makeup.

Most species of flyer are bred as pets or found in sports such as barrier racing.


Flyers are classified according to their:

  1. wingspan
  2. typical flight distance
  3. speed and agility


  • Midget
  • Small
  • Midi
  • Large

Typical flight distance

  • Short-distance
  • Long-distance

Speed and agility

  • Rocketeer
  • Cruiser


A land-based Earth-Jørn hybrid animal, typically over 120cm high at the shoulder and capable of carrying a full-grown human. The roomal was the largest amongst the strider species, while the turt-sheep remains the shortest.

Developed by the human colonists as beasts of burden and as a food source when their Earth-born spieces succumbed to the Pollen, striders are the most common companion animal.


Strider spieces are divided in several different classifications, based on weight, height, strength and hardiness. These classifications are:

  • Mini strider
  • Light strider
  • Mid strider
  • Heavy strider

Beasts of burden

These striders, such as the ruc-pard and toa-mare, were initially developed to carry people and goods across long and often hostile terrain. Species that fall into this category are generally over 130cm high at the shoulder, intelligent and hardy animals.

Food source

Although species in this category can, and have, been used as beasts of burden in the past, they were developed primarily as a food source. Species in this category include the wombacow, turt-sheep and por-ig.

Sidrat Foothills

The Sidrat Foothills sprawl at the southern end of the Klone Ranges. On the windward side of the Ranges and receiving high annual rainfall, they are blanketed in lush forests and dominated by massive everblues that support a range of wildlife. Most notable among the native fauna are the tree-loving rucnarts.

A notable feature of the Sidrat is the Lisab Canyon, which, over time, has been cut into the landscape by the Sidrat River. Although the river runs all the way from the southern end of the Ranges to the Tsuaf Sea, the Canyon is only a fraction of that length, at 362 kilometers long.