Atlanteas began using submarines to reach their subterranean seafloor cavern cities almost eight-hundred years ago. The original vessels were practical, but crude designs using steam on the surface and electrical drives powered by chemical batteries for the short duration of dives to the ancient airlock systems allowing them to transfer cargo directly rather than using carts traveling hundreds of kilometers of along the excavation tunnels from the eastern coasts of the Americas. It took four hundred years before the vessels were fully developed, capable of reliable and efficient operations allowing the City-States enlarging as the first Domes to begin closing the land access tunnels to prevent discovery or invasion they had feared from the European, Arabian, and African powers of the period.
Three hundred years following the First Priestess War, Blackships became the lifeline of trade, travel, and life between the twenty-one Domes of the Nation of Atlanteas. Over those centuries the submarines evolved with advances in technology and knowledge of the Atlantean civilization. For the first two centuries they were steel hulled ships, then for another two centuries they became hybrids hulls of metal and concrete. The following three-hundred years, up to the events of Madman across the Water, they returned to use of steels and alloys the advanced metallurgy of their sciences allowed. Most changes in this period were driven more by economics and and quickly advancing power technologies following the first methane-oxygen fuel cells and the practical advances in fusion plasma generators. With these new capacities Blackships have become underwater ocean liners and freighters carrying thousands of tonnes of shipping and thousands of passengers daily at unimaginable speeds to the inhabitants of the land by their fastest horses, early steam-powered experiments in trains in Europe, and swiftest sailing vessels.
The last seventy years saw fusion power available to the biggest of Blackships; The Scylla class , the Line Class, the clandestine Defender class operated exclusively by the Science Council’s Shadow Guard secret police, and the upcoming Fire Star Class,
Scylla Class Blackships
Scylla are the most common of Blackships serving in the Fleets of Atlanteas. 100 meters long, these hardy vessels can dive to 700 meters, cruise at 30 knots, and have a flank speed of 40 knots. Their hulls are half the width and height of Line class ships allowing for smaller berthing and harbor space. They are used by the three Fleets and dozens of private Conglomerates and individual businesses and individuals. A reduced version had been offered as a private yacht to the wealthy.
Line Class Blackships
By standard these ships are 166 meters long, can dive to 800 meters, cruise at 30 knots, and can dash at 40 knots. They do not require surfacing of the seas, yet all enter Domes by sophisticated air locks and use the artificial harbors to dock for loading, unloading, and periodic maintenance and refitting.
One vessel of the earlier Line Class remains in service in 1801, a monsterous 200 meter long ship called the Kraken still serving in the Passur Fleet of the Rödd. Another, the Borealis of the Science Fleet, was modified with an extended wet-bay hull section to accommodate a bathysphere system used in deep ocean research in the abysses of the Atlantic. The Rödd Flagship Helle is another specially modified Line Class vessel adapted to be a floating embassy for the Rödd Cletrics to make evangelical calls on the 21 Domes of the nation. Its main cargo hatch has been fitted out to open as a decorated stage with audio and holographic imagers for presentations to the faithful during calls by the Rödd Priestesses and Deaconesses.
Defender Class Blackship
Defender Class Blackships (named for the first vessel in this class) were clandestinely modified versions of the Scylla Class vessels of 1750 to 1775. Made exclusively for and by the Science Council Shadow Guard secret police these special operations submarines are used to carry out missions against both Atlantean and Lander forces or individuals deemed dangerous by the Primus and Admiral of the force. Equipped with extra Hammerhead drones and a rear firing tube they have been the source for sinkings of ships from both civilizations for 25 years. They are able to operate in shallow water while still diving to 700 meters. Only 66 meters long, they transport high officials and teams of Tigershark commandos to missions kept secret from the Senate and population of the Domes. They cruise at 30 knots, and have a flank speed of 40 knots. One has been sunk in combat with another Atlantean vessel in the last 20 years, but there is no official record of the event.
Fire Star Class Blackships
In 1801 only one vessel of this class is in service with the Passur Fleet. Fire Star is a testbed of the latest technological advances, with a now low-temperature fusion generator, improved electrical drives and transmissions, the most complete integration of Artificial Intelligence to all systems, the ability to launch Fire Spear underwater rocket-propelled drones, and improved performance on all primary systems and sensors. This allows the 125 meter long ship to dive to 900 meters, cruise at 30 knots, and dash at 48 knots.