Rametha, the capital of Ruzhan Prefecture, was once a sprawling metropolis that had covered the shoreline from the mouth of the Vilbeht in the south to the Krenarr Peninsula in the north, before rolling east across the plains as far as the foot of the Strov Mountains. It had formed a near-perfect square of achievement in urban planning: a dense block of industry, commerce, and residences knit together in a glowing harmony of production and happiness. From the center of that great living city a gleaming spire pierced the atmosphere, a wondrous space elevator that had been Shianzhan’s most efficient lifeline into the vacuum and the rest of the planetary system.

When the last great war ravaged Solarus, pulping the face of history with its brutal fists, Rametha had been the hardest hit. The greatest concentration of planetary bombing had occurred over the city, and more than a hundred million inhabitants had perished in the destruction before the restoration of an uneasy peace. The elevator, the product of a thousand generations of scientific and industrial effort, had been severed like a newborn’s umbilical cord. The upper half of the structure had torn away into space, snaking its way into orbit where it remained to this day, a grim reminder visible in clear afternoon skies as a glinting and twisted scar. The other half of the elevator had lashed the surface of the planet, draping over mountains, deserts, and plains, sinking into oceans and lakes, and crushing anything unfortunate enough to lie beneath its fall.

Today Rametha is a living ruin, a corpse that supports life through decomposition. While still the capital of Ruzhan (and, some would argue, all Solarus) it remains a shade of its former glory, like moss upon a stone. At the base of the old elevator a traditional star port now services the needs of interplanetary travelers, and not a day goes by when someone doesn’t look up to the sky and wonders if they will ever tether themselves to the vacuum once more.

2014.12.06 – 2023.07.08

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