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"The habitat" is the environment that contains the town that Alice protects. Following Alice's explanation in Comic 70, it is apparent that the entire planet exists in a state without most advanced technology. It reached this state following the Blink, an event many centuries in the past that instantaneously repaired the planet and its ecosystem, and removed advanced technology. The habitat exists in separation from a civilisation of technologically advanced human who live in orbit, and from which Ardent and Gavia originate. They are forbidden from travelling to the habitat so as to avoid contaminating the locals. Alice is also aware of this rule, which appears to be enforced by the Praesides.
All evidence points to this world being the Earth, but this has yet to be explicitly confirmed.
Outside of the forest, the landscape is dominated by plants indistinguishable from grass. The Forest itself cannot be differentiated from an Earth deciduous forest except with prolonged examination. The climate is evidently pleasant enough for Ardent to walk around at night clad only in his shorts. However, average wind-speeds are high enough that wind turbines are a viable means of energy production.
Alice's cottage, inside the Forest, and the Town are close enough that Alice considers it an easy journey. In Comic 59, Alice notes that the Forest is safe enough for children to wander unaccompanied during the day. The unstated implication is that it is very dangerous at night, especially when, like Ardent and Gavia, you were going in a different direction to the Town.
Sedna's house is a couple of day's walk and still inside the forest. Beyond the forest (about 3 weeks away) is a barren area of dead grass and trees.
Flora and Fauna
The human-inhabited parts of the habitat are bordered by a dense deciduous forest in which can be found Alice's cottage.
Although superficially indistinguishable from a similar forest on Earth. Several unusual life-forms have been shown living in the forest which imply that the habitat is either elsewhere or at least has had unusual creatures implanted there some time in the past.
Several of these life-forms are seen during Ardent and Gavia's attempt to walk through the forest at night to reach the Town, starting in Comic 39.
- Main Article: Characidae plant
The forest is home to an extremely large carnivorous plant that is capable of swallowing deer in one bite.
- Main Article: Deer
During their journey through the forest, Ardent and Gavia pass a curious animal resembling an animal of the family Cervidae but with one noticeable anatomical difference - It's lack of eyes.
- Main Article: Struthio Ridiculensis
In Comic 44, Ardent and Gavia flee into a cave to escape a mysterious, shadowy giant seen moving through the forest. Inside the cave, they encounter two large avians, visually very reminiscent of family Phorusrhacidae, the 'Terror Birds'.
- Main Article: Night Walker
The most bizarre inhabitant of the forest, the Night Walker, is a humanoid figure seemingly composed of diffuse, smoke-like particles. Several hundred feet high with two distinct lights in its 'head' reminiscent of eyes, it terrifies Gavia and Ardent, especially when it reaches down towards them on their first encounter with it.
Relationship with 'Up'
- See Also: The habitat
In Comic 29, Ardent refers to 'transport volunteers' who have access to a 'console' that allows movement between their extra-habitat homes and the habitat. He also acknowledges the existence of regulations, enforced by the Praesides, according to Alice, that forbid those from outside the habitat from visiting or even communicating with the inhabitants of the habitat. This is in order to prevent their 'contamination'.
Alice earlier elaborates on this in Comic 12. She explains that the habitat exists in a 'carefully balanced harmony' that is not able to handle the presence of 'extraterrestrial sightseers'.
It is not clear why this embargo has been breached for Ardent and Gavia. However, it is clear that at least one Praeses, Cupressaceae, has been a party to this incident.
Alice's knowledge of the space-dwelling humans, their culture, laws and their society strongly implies that she has had her own previous contacts with 'up' and may have her own methods of communication with this branch of humanity.