22:VII:CXIV A.Y.What's in a Name - Finale
...I didn't set foot on "my" planet until the second year in the Royal Amarr Insitute, when I was 17. I entered RIN not as a future capsuleer, but as one of the myriad baseliner students. The education cost us a small fortune - enough to build a Punisher-class frigate from scratch, I believe.
It was summer. Though there is no difference between seasons when you spend most of your time in an orbital city the size of a small moon. I and several other students took a ten day vacation to Amarr. After six days of exploring the holy places, the imperial capital and other common sightseeing, I boarded a shuttle to Tamiroth.
Of course, I knew everything about the planet and expected nothing. It was a ritual, a symbolic act of completion, closing the circle of life. I took nothing with me, only the tiny memory crystal that contained my childhood drawings - of the lush islands, pirates, mermaids, rainbows and the beautiful winged ships.
When the little craft entered the low orbit and began the long descent into the atmosphere, a surreal, mystic feeling visited me. It is if as everything I imagined, the world of my dreams that never existed, was washed away and faded, one layer after another.
A beautiful emerald covered with cloud swirls, snow-white and golden, has transformed into a foggy cup, boiling with fierce hurricanes over the brass sea below; the shuttle was falling into the middle of that cup. Then, the all-cleansing plasma of atmospheric re-entry engulfed the ship, and the fake observation windows went black, like a coffin closed.
AMARR IV (TAMIROTH)
The planet is covered by the warm, even overheated, but relatively shallow ocean with highly mineralized water. Tropical and equatorial zones are uninhabitable because of the runaway greenhouse effect caused by the water vapors. In fact, most of the planet's atmosphere is water vapor; giant cloud masses form over the equator and drift up towards poles, where they fall out in a torrents of rain never seen elsewhere.There is no indigenious life, except the gene-modded terraforming bacteria that fill the ocean. The terraforming project slowly moves forward, and you can already breathe the air, at least in the polar regions.
Low gravity and shallow water give birth to the storms otherwise unimaginable. The waves tower like slowly moving liquid mountains, like glassy cathedrals of divine wrath. The air is ablaze with electrical currents, the invisible sky covered with lightning nets.
The few families of True Amarr holders with lineages going back to the first Reclaiming own most of the planet. Like everywhere else in the Amarr system, you can't legally buy or sell real estate on any noticeable scale. It is called "not available for the general public." Even surveying the resources is forbidden. Everytime I see the message "Amarr IV (Tamiroth) is not available for the general public" in my neocom, i still grin a little.
There are numerous sea resorts around the poles in the "cool zone". The owners of those resorts tout the mineralized ocean waters of Tamiroth as a divine gift and a cure for every disease, but as someone who spent several days fiercely scratching every inch of my then-natural skin after a few minutes of swimming, i'd say that the healing and rejuvenating effect of this mineral soup is highly exaggerated. People from Amarr Prime, Oris and the orbitals flock to those resorts like flies though.
Otherwise, the planet is dead and inhospitable, and there is nothing to see.
* * *
I booked a room on one of the resort platforms that looked like a pyramid of gold, white and glass with my RIN student card and rented a small yacht. Next morning, just before the sun rose, I sailed away from the platform towards the horizon.
The sea was calm, a sheet of brass foil under the tan sky, pinkish towards the sunrise. The stars on the western half of the sky were barely visible because of all the humidity. The air was hot and literally wet, but yet thin, and my head went dizzy after a hour or two. It was hard to breathe.
By noon, I reached a shallow with a flash beacon of some kind sitting in its middle, the only landmark in the watery wasteland. I anchored my yacht near the beacon and descended into the waters of Tamiroth. Old Sailor Tammy reached her final destination, the end of the journey.
The water was warm and very salty, sour ar the lips. It doesn't feel refreshing, perhaps, because the mineral composition didn't match the human body somehow. Below, in the dim haze, was the dead sea floor. Though it wasn't entirely dead: soon I noticed something that looked like clumps of ugly orange fungi. Above them the water was slightly bubbling with tiny sparks of gas, like champagne. The colonies of terraforming bacteria slowly continued their centuries-long work.
* * *
Then, I laid on the deck, clinging to the warm fake wood for awhile. The copper sun above covered my naked skin with ornaments of salt, making me a tattooed warrior of some unborn tribe. The memory drive in a waterproof case hung from my neck on a thin metallic chain.
I took it off, kissed slightly and let it go into the ocean. The crystal gave off few faint sparks as it was descending below the yacht, and everything was over.
It was a fairly stupid gesture, I know. I borrowed it from some holoreel I saw when I was a schoolgirl. But then, on Tamiroth, I felt that it was necessary to complete the circle, to make the final peace with all my furriers and mermaids. To lay my childhood to rest in the waters of my secret magic planet that was neither secret nor magic anymore.
By that time I already knew that my father was dead. His cruiser, HMS Gardens of the Faithful, was lost on December 25th, when the fleets of the Kingdom launched a massive attack against the Covenant. The Ministry of War already had its eyes on me, and the offer was already made.
In the cold, harsh world that I was about to enter, there was no place for childish dreams, and I knew that the only things that await me in the star-filled sky above are war, hatred, madness and death.
So be it.