"Science and science fiction, how do you even distinguish the two?"
The rifters, or divers working on the deep sea rift, have been surgically modified to adapt them to their new environment. One such modification is a device that extracts oxygen from sea water.
Getting oxygen from the surrounding water is the best way to have an unlimited air supply. The history of "rebreathing" devices has a rather checkered history. For example, a Frenchmen named Freminet invented a device that recycled the exhaled air in 1772. Unfortunately, his invention failed to fully recharge the air with oxygen; he died from lack of oxygen after twenty minutes.
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Publishing Technologies In Science Fiction
Well, this should be enough references to start...
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