- "The Ark, once a oceanic paradise, has been torn apart by civil war."
- -- Brink's back cover
The Ark is a floating megastructure featured in Brink. It was originally constructed in the 2010s as an experiment in sustainable technologies. In the decades that followed, natural disasters turned the Ark into humanity's only shelter from calamity. By the 2040s[note 1], the Ark's resources were mostly depleted; disagreements over resource rationing led to a civil war between the Resistance, a group of oppressed lower-class workers, and the Security, the Ark's police force.
The Ark was constructed just off the coast of San Francisco. It was originally intended to be a massive five-star eco-resort, designed with the goal of creating a self-sustaining habitat independent of natural landmasses. Its location was also kept a secret. As such, it was the perfect haven for scientists focused on green living and the rich and famous, who lived in luxury in the Ark's lavish Resort.
The megastructure consists of a breakwater, which surrounds hundreds of artificial islands called "pelgos". The breakwater is made up of wave-absorbing ramps, which harvest energy from the ocean waves. The Founders' Tower lies at or near one corner of the Ark, but due to it sheer height it is visible from nearly every location on the megastructure. The vast majority of the Ark was constructed using a genetically-modified strain of coral called "Arkoral". Most of the Ark's collective mass lies beneath the surface of the ocean.
When the seas began to rise in the 2010s, the Ark became the only safe place on the planet. Expecting a mass influx of refugees from all over the planet, the Ark's Founders had the megastructure moved to a undisclosed location. The Ark briefly became safe, secret, secure, and self-sustaining. Even despite the relocation, however, large numbers of refugees managed to find the Ark in the 2020s. Many of these refugees were dangerous criminals, and many more had caught highly-contagious diseases; these concerns did not outweigh the Founders' morals, however, and so these refugees -- dubbed "Guests" -- were allowed into the Ark. The Founders suddenly found themselves in an emergency situation, with the Ark now being forced to support many thousands more people than it was designed to. Resource depletion quickly ensued, and the suddenness of the Guests' arrival meant that the Founders did not have time to design appropriate accommodations for them. The result seemed much like oppression to the Guests: they were forced to live in hastily- and poorly-constructed cities, shanty towns, and pelgos, and many of them were relegated to intensive physical labor to help keep the Ark running. The complete loss of contact between the Ark and the outside world in the 2030s did not help matters.
The Ark contained numerous technologies for harnessing renewable energy, including solar panels, an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plant, underwater "Wave Turbines", and wind farms; by the 2040s[note 1], however, all of these systems were either failing or already unusable. To keep critical systems powered, the Founders were forced to commission the construction of a nuclear reactor. Even despite this, virtually every resource on the Ark was rationed, with the Guests receiving the fewest essentials.
By the 2040s[note 1], the Ark -- built to maintain a population of 5,000 -- was forced to support 45,000 people. The Ark was moved once again, this time to international waters, after a secret attempt to contact the outside world ended in the capture, interrogation, torture, and murders of the scouts that were sent. The megastructure was divided into two sections: the Upper Ark, where 80% of the Ark's wealth was concentrated; and the Lower Ark, a tangle of squalid, rusting slums housing the Guests that made up 80% of the population. The two sections are separated by Security Tower. Bitter and brutal warfare has broken out between Security and the Resistance, led by Clinton Mokoena and Joseph Chen, respectively. Worse yet -- the Ark itself is literally breaking down due to a problem with its Arkoral, and Chen is the only person that knows it.
Locations on the Ark
Over the years, the Ark has collected a wide variety of abandoned and disused ships. Those no longer seaworthy are broken up at a floating drydock for spare parts and scrap metal -- a scarce and vital resource on the Ark. Odd pieces of a wide variety of old boats and ships are scattered all about -- ocean liners, cruise ships, pleasure boats and even a scuttled navy destroyer -- held together like a patchwork quilt by a network of platforms and cables. Over time, the shipyards and hulls have also been taken over by refugee squatters: living space is scarce and they literally have nowhere else to go.
Originally used as docks and long term storage, the need for "guest" accommodation saw disused shipping containers hastily and sloppily converted into living quarters. With the huge influx of refugees, Container City was born and is now a rusting favela. The lack of maintenance, marine corrosion, and pillaging have accelerated the aging process. Old rusty containers are piled dangerously high and those that were not strong enough to be stacked have collapsed completely.
Now thousands of men, women and children live in tight, confined spaces with almost no access to vital resources. Out of this decay, the Resistance was born, and they continue to use the city as a base of operations, hiding amongst the civilian populace.
- The island could have been named "Ark" as a reference to Noah's Ark, according to The Old Testament all the living animals, Noah and his family were carried on an ark to avoid a massive global flood that God created to eradicate all of the wickedness from the earth.
- The Ark could be based off the city of Atlantis in the TV series Stargate Atlantis, because they are both futuristic floating cities torn apart by war.
- This date is estimated. In a quote, Ishmael describes the Ark as having lost all contact with the outside world "fifteen years ago". In a separate quote, she states that contact was lost in 2030. Therefore, the events of Brink take place at or around the year 2045.
- Informative text in Aquarium.
- The Ark's precise location is a secret. People on Ark are doing important work, and need privacy, peace, and quiet to do it. Besides, the Ark is such a desirable place to be, everyone would come here if they knew where it was, and there'd be no room!
- [graffiti:] ^ HA BLOODY HA
- Quotes from Ishmael, shown on loading screens.
- Informative text in Aquarium.
- Each pelgo is constructed on the "floating spar" principle: it has most of its mass under sea level and incorporates a ballast control section that keeps the pelgo both buoyant and stable.
- Quote from Ishmael, shown on loading screens.
- The Ark was moved to international waters. No Intellectual Property laws means unlicensed knock-offs. There are worse forms of piracy.
- Encrypted personal journal entry by Founder Barbara Elmhurst.
- Narration by Clinton Mokoena, in the mission briefing for "Chopper Down".
- Encrypted personal journal entry by Joseph Chen.