The starship USS POME is docking at remote station Crone Space 9. You brace for impact as the shuttle locks into the docking bay. What kinds of interesting strangers will you meet on this floating world at the furthest reaches of space? Which brave souls made this journey with you? You take a look around at your crew members as you mill out of the ship in search of the bustling, universe-renowned Crone Space 9 promenade.
As you briskly walk through the USS POME corridors, you run into the esteemed Matron Zaada on her way back to the ship’s childcare facility. She doesn’t seem to be taking any shore leave today.
As a warm and nurturing being, Matron Zaada acts as the caretaker for all children aboard the USS POME. Originally from the Jieli system, Zaada joined the POME’s crew decades ago as an assistant in the children’s unit. Since that time, she has helped rear and teach many crew members from birth as their parents carried our their various duties aboard the space station. Young children can often be seen gleefully flitting about the Matron’s voluminous skirt as she floats through the halls.
On your way out, you wave to Dr. Webbly, the ship’s doctor.
Before becoming a crew member on USS POME, Dr. Webbly spent year researching toxin and vaccines. The infirmary has lots of plants all over the place because Dr. Webbly believes that nature can help the crew relax and heal.
You depart from the USS POME, and take a deep breath as finally take your first steps on Crone Space 9. You’re not off the clock yet, though. You have a bit of time to kill before you can take a break, so you decide to take in some of the scientific sights and sounds around the station. Crone Space 9 is the center of this star system’s astroherbological research. You meet one of the station’s botanists as you check out the plant life in the station’s garden/plant nursery.
Mae is a junior botanist on the Crone Space 9, and loves to study all the galactic flora that goes through the space station. She was a little nervous to leave her home planet at first, but she’s found a new home among the rest of the space station crew!
By Rachel Weiss
You spot another friendly stranger as you take in more of the station’s plant life.
Lonicera, or “Lonny,” is a plant cyborg who manages the archive/library on Crone Space 9. In addition to having an expansive knowledge/database, Lonny is skilled in making engaging conversation and enjoys learning more about those visiting the space station. Due to its access to the station’s comprehensive roster, Lonny is able to recognize guests by name on their initial visit to the library. After experiencing Lonny’s friendliness and pleasant smell, visitors usually leave the library in a good mood.
By Alicia Kania
Phew! So much research has left you hungry and thirsty, so you decide to check out Crone Space 9’s finest restaurants.
But naturally, your low-ranking ensign’s pay doesn’t leave you with nearly enough credits for the station’s best high-class, exotic cuisine. So you decide to grab a drink at one of the cantinas on the station’s lower level. You warily glance around as you walk into the aptly-named Terminus (the only club you could afford and the last, lowest one on your list of places to check out). You see some familiar-looking patrons before you realize you saw them walking the corridor as you first came aboard the station. You recognize them as freelance haulers.
The freelance haulers wander about the station, advertising their services under the insignia of their fleet unions. Though defined as couriers by tax law, more common parlance might refer to them as “hot-rod mercenaries” or “state-sanctioned smugglers”. Competing to land the most extreme cargoes, they’ll (probably) deliver just about anything a souped-up lightweight craft can haul. They’re most often found in the high-end bars, prowling for the flashiest potential clients (or getting distracted by them)…when they’re not in the lowest-end bars, hunting for the jobs too seedy for UniEx’s insurance.
In another, even seedier corner of the club, you spot the area where you assume that bounty hunters gather. Then you realize that the flickering “bounty bar” sign was an even clearer indicator that you’re not in your part of the galaxy anymore. You spot Leena and Geena, the fearsome mother/daughter duo at the helm of the Bad Bitch Brigade bounty hunter network.
You watch them survey their latest catch and enjoy a drink at the bar. You overhear their conversation:
Geena: “If your bounty weren’t so high, I’d keep you to myself, Sugar Fins!” She cackles.
Leena: “Ugh. Mother. Stop embarrassing me in front of our bounty.”
Have you gotten in over your head? You nervously finish an intensely-blue drink purchased for you by a mystery patron over by the bar. You’re trying to calm yourself, to feel like you belong in such an intimidating atmosphere. But then you notice the strangely completely-pitch-black corner at the far side of the bar from where you’re sitting. Full of liquid (blue) courage, you approach.
Everyone’s seen the Arachne fortune-tellers, beckoning in dark corners with their long fingers and veiled smiles. They come from a planet so dark that even the slightest light will blind them. For a few credits they’ll roll the strange silver bones they carry and tell you your future. But for something more- perhaps a piece of ancient alien tech, or a finger bone, or your fondest childhood memory- it is rumored they can change your fate, alter your future. Now, if that change is for the better or worse . . . that’s another story.
What was in that fortune? You’re willing to take that secret with you to the grave. You amble out of the bar and back towards the comforts of home aboard the USS POME. As you sit in the decontamination chamber, a warm, purple light washes over you. The ship’s kind but mischievous AI greets you as you wait.
When you finally return to your quarters, you sink into your bunk and think back upon the last few months. Who would have thought that a xenon farm kid like you could have found a place here among the stars? For all of your misgivings about your future, you close your eyes and drift off to sleep, only occasionally interrupted by terrifying, blue-tinged nightmares.