Deep caverns

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Deep caverns
United Defiant Caverns.jpeg
by Isaac Stewart
Type Cavern
World Detritus
Universe Skyward Universe
Featured In Skyward
This page or section contains spoilers for Skyward!
This information has the ability to potentially ruin elements of the plot for the reader. Proceed with caution if you have not read this book.
If it comes down to destroying Alta but saving Igneous, Igneous is more important. There’s a reason we rotate a third of our ships, pilots, and command staff into the deep caverns. The DDF can survive—maybe—if Alta is destroyed. But without the apparatus to make new ships, we’re done for. So if the admiral orders it, you shoot that bomb and make it detonate, even if doing so destroys Alta.
Cobb on the importance of Igneous and the deep caverns to the survival of the DDF.[1]

The deep caverns are a subset of the United Defiant Caverns that are below Alta Base on Detritus.[2]

Location[edit]

A number of connected caves make up the deep caverns, including Highway Cavern, and are considered safer than Igneous, due to their distance from the surface.[2][3] They could possibly withstand a lifebuster bomb being dropped on Alta Base, however, this is not a guarantee and a lifebuster could potentially cause these caves to collapse.[4][3] It is possible to travel from Alta Base to the deep caverns in less than five minutes,[5] although the journey normally takes closer to fifteen.[6] Scouts from the protein factories hunt for rats in the deep caverns.[1]

Politics[edit]

We host the admiral once a week for formal dinner at my parents’ house in the lower caverns. It’s only slightly worse than the other nights, when the National Assembly Leaders visit.
Jorgen on the political interactions that he is involved in while at home[7]

The government of the United Defiant Caverns can be found within the deep caverns, and is presumably made up from the wealthy families that call the caverns their home.[8] There is animosity between the NAL and DDF, with the former being overly critical of Ironsides' leadership and decisions, and the latter, frustrated with the lack of proper support provided by the government.[9] Despite this friction, Ironsides attends a formal dinner with NAL Algernon Weight, and his family, once a week.[7]

Although several families that live in the deep caverns, with at least one containing a member of the NAL, own private fighter jets, these ships are unlikely to ever be willingly lent to the DDF in an emergency.[10] Instead, these private ships are a means of escape for the family that owns them, and use by the DDF, especially during a crisis, poses too much risk for the owners.[10] Eight private ships are currently stored in the deep caverns, with three belonging to the Mendez family.[11][12] These ships are also used as escorts during trade runs.[12] The piloting jobs for these operations are highly competitive and usually filled by retired DDF pilots.[12]

The Defect[edit]

The existence of the defect is a contentious matter that is disputed by several members of the deep caverns, including some who are part of the NAL.[13] Some of the more prominent families that live in the caverns, and may have a family history of cytonic users, are particularly active in suppressing knowledge of the defect.[13] Although Ironsides' provides these dissenters with data collected on Spensa, they remain resistant to claims of the defects existence.[13] Denial of the defect by these families likely became much harder following the Second Battle of Alta, due to Spensa's use of her abilities to save Alta Base and the United Defiant Caverns from destruction.

Culture[edit]

People who live in the deep cavern often wear more formal and business like clothing,[3] have a faint accent,[4], and are cleaner than those who live in Igneous or at Alta Base.[3] Children from wealthy government families are sent to Flight School to be trained as pilots, as well as gather recognition and respect from their peers.[8] This provides a good foundation for them to move into government roles, with parents pulling their children from the DDF after they have served a certain portion of time as full pilots.[8]

Formal dinners and balls are hosted amongst the elite in the deep cavern.[7][14]

Disputers[edit]

I figure, if I become a famous pilot, I can speak for the little guys, you know? I’m more likely to be able to change things here than down in the deep caverns, wearing ball gowns and sitting primly next to my sisters.
FM commenting on the ingrained culture of the deep caverns and her motivations for becoming a pilot.[14]

The Disputers movement has gained traction, and may have started, in the deep caverns.[15] The safer nature of the caverns likely contributes to the Disputers belief that the Defiant League should become less militaristic.[15] Despite their growing presence in the deep caverns, it is likely difficult for the Disputers to disrupt the culture of the upper class.[14]

Residency[edit]

A third of off-duty duty pilots,[16] overseers,[3], and those who have gained high enough merit[3] live in the deep caverns. It is also possible for those who do not live in these caverns to attend school there.[17] The exact lineage makeup of those that reside in these caves is unknown, however, several of the more influential families are descended from the groups who mutinied aboard the Defiant before it crashed on Detritus.[18]

The command staff of the DDF, as well as DDF ships, are rotated through the deep caverns, with a third of each being located in the deep caverns at any one time. Four flights of ships, ideally with ten jets per flight,[10] are stored in the deep caverns and can be retrieved in an emergency, however, there is a significant delay in the time it takes for them to be ready to engage due to transportation time. This limits the DDF's response force in battle and impedes calls for reinforcements, however, provides a measure of security for the people in the Defiant League in the scenario where Alta and Igneous are destroyed by the Krell.[1][19]

Notable residents[edit]

Notes[edit]

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