by Ada Herschel, Science and Technology
29/1/282- There have been rumblings in the scientific community for years concerning the viability of Blackwood as a sustainable fuel source. But never have those rumblings been so loud as they are now in the wake of a new survey that projects a massive shortage in the coming decades.
“When the Blackwood Grove was first discovered nearly three hundred years ago, it seemed too good to be true,” Caridan Wellerby, the philanthropist who first made headlines when he railed against the Leviathan prison project, said while presenting the report to Triumvirate Authority Officials. “And guess what…it is! Despite its slow burning properties, our consumption of Blackwood has quadrupled in the last fifty years. Nearly a fourth of that increase has come in the last ten, starting with the Dividing War and continuing on through the Monteddorian Civil War. Now we’re building iron clad air ships and preparing to fight an enemy we can’t even identify yet.”
Even Wellerby’s biggest naysayer, Frederick Jurgenstahl, agrees that the situation is dire.
“We always knew that Blackwood was a finite resource,” Jurgenstahl said during the same presentation. “But it was so plentiful! And when we saw one tree keep half a fleet in the air for nearly a half year we thought, there’s enough to last. And we put it in everything, and used it for everything. A hundred years passed and only a hundred acres had been felled and we thought there’s enough here for a millennia. And so we kept on, our cities and our fleets growing exponentially larger while the Grove shrunk by mere meters every year. We stopped watching. And guess what? We look at it now and we can actually see the edge of the grove as it creeps ever inward toward the center.”
The group that formed the report say that nearly two thirds of the Blackwood Grove have been consumed. Unless the alchemical secret to producing the strange wood is reproduced, or a sustainable alternative found, the Age of Steam in the Triumvirate could be coming to an end, possibly within our lifetimes.
The report is not without its naysayers, of course. These naysayers are quick to point out that Jurgenstahl and Wellerby both have significant financial interests in Sarnwain, which claims to have developed a method for refining oil into a fuel suitable for machines.