Sunday, January 24, 2021

Another Space Station

 I did this one in an hour.

Out on the rim near a ship graveyard, Pontian’s Price (callsign 83-2) spins. It’s outwardly controlled by Salo-Mercury Biomotors Inc., though undermined by secret union instigators led by a highly intelligent mercenary captain. There’s a 20% chance the station is under quarantine, otherwise everything is fine. They offer weapons for sale and are in dire need of mercenaries. The station has a spherical main docking module and four surrounding sphere modules, each with one location of interest- a dance club, a solitary confinement area, the Great Loom, and a bustling black market. Due to poor water treatment, the injured and sick aboard Pontian’s Price do not recover quickly, if at all…

Salo-Mercury Biomotors Inc. are a ruthless android mercenary company. Squads of their androids- some built specially for the company, some reprogrammed from captured android enemies- are sent around the galaxy to deal with problems that organic beings couldn’t handle. Lack of food/water, no atmosphere, dangerous toxins- all problems a Salo-Mercury droid sneers at. SMB Inc. One of their many space stations is Pontian’s Price (named for a massive payday they received after ransoming a CEO by the name of Pontian, and using the funds to construct the station) which is located by a ship graveyard. They work constantly to salvage the ships and bring any valuables back to the Price. Because Salo-Mercury droids drink no water, the water filtration aboard Pontian’s Price is subpar, and they laugh at organics who complain.

The average SMB Merc is the equivalent of five human marines. They act like the Peacekeepers from Farscape- coldy fascistic military culture, repressed emotions, and strictly defined social and military roles that are not to be overstepped. SMB leaders follow a strict organizational structure and have total contempt for everybody below their station. They can advance in the ranks by being real good at their jobs, but SMBs who were created from captured droids can never advance to be anything more than grunts. They do have full emotion chips because emotions are often necessary in predicting enemy movements and behavior, but they can turn them off at will. They all have names according to the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and all Mercs with the same name have the same appearance (if made specially for SMB) and personality chip.

sadly there are no SMBs as cool as Aeryn

The leader of the SMB Mercs is a totally coldhearted (or so he wants everyone to believe) guy named Charlie. He has a secret- he runs his emotion chip 24/7 and is beginning to think of his own mind as the only ‘real’ one in the whole SMB contingent. He alone knows the true purpose of Pontian’s Price- to find the one ship that started the war evidenced by the graveyard. It carries an experimental prototype of an unspeakably powerful memetic control weapon. Admiral Charlie is beginning to think that when he finds the device he will destroy it to prevent its use.

Union Instigators and their Mercenary Leader

Apart from Admiral Charlie’s private rebellion, a quiet murmur of unrest is beginning to sweep the Price. Androids who have similarly overclocked their emotional chips are being swayed by the rhetoric of unionists who occasionally visit the Price to trade with their black market. They want to do away with the strict structure of SMB society, encourage rather than punish individualism, and promote a more humanlike mental framework. They want to seize the memetic control weapon to use it for their cause.

Their leader is a Whiskey personality, who is also a bartender of the Salo-Mercury Biomotors Inc. Dance Club and Pool Hall (SMBs are not overly creative). She is a captured droid whose personality was not totally wiped and still rebels against her new programming, leading to dramatic mood swings and erratic behavior, but also strange and beguiling visions and ideas unique among the SMBs. She is also much much more intelligent than a Whiskey personality ‘should’ be, and is recruiting human mercs to join in the struggle for freedom.

The SMB Dance Club and Pool Hall is a shitty little imitation of a human club, but the beer is cheap and spacers visiting the black market enjoy its fumbling attempts at the comfort of home. 

All their drinks are made not with normal alcohol but with eyedroppers full of pure ethanol.

Oftentimes, salvagers returning from the graveyard are placed in Quarantine in the Solitary Confinement Units due to contamination from the ships or if they are suspected of outlawed thoughts and ideas from their contact with spacers at the black market. They are placed into tiny claustrophobic containers like a capsule hotel with their systems monitored for contamination. If they are considered ‘contaminated’ they are deactivated and sold as scrap metal. Spacers visiting the station who go against SMB rules are also held in solitary, which is a very horrible experience.

The Great Loom is a device salvaged from a research vessel. The SMBs are keeping it for themselves and are trying to unlock its secrets. It looks like a ten-foot-tall black cube split down the middle with very sharp geode-like rock formations inside. The crack is just big enough to stuff a person into. If somebody is put in there, the Loom snaps closed into a perfectly smooth obsidian cube. 1d10 hours later, the Loom opens up again. This time, inside the crack is a number of smaller black cubes which are actually sealed containers. Inside each one is some degree of a pure element. It has been determined that the cube ‘unweaves’ a person into their constituent elements and puts each element in a new container. Only the person’s body is included- it is not known what happens to the person’s clothing, held items, and so on.

It doesn’t work on androids and if a human spacer really pisses the SMBs off they might kidnap them and put them in the cube under new experimental conditions for study. It is top top top secret.

The Black Market is where the SMBs sell the salvage they’re not keeping for themselves is an anything-goes bazaar of gigantic proportions. It is staffed by SMBs who don’t haggle, and located in a very orderly grid.

1d10 things to buy at the Black Market

1 The biggest gun you’ve ever seen

2 The only known cure to an awful disease

3 Scrapped androids that plead for mercy and forgiveness

4 Weird drugs that implant evil alien consciousnesses in your mind, but also increase your stats a lot (contraband)

5 Century-old but previously-unknown military intel from a salvaged ship’s hard drive

6 A squad of 1d10 SMB mercs to join your crew on the next mission; they’ll find their own way home afterwards but you’re in big trouble if any of them die

7 Harvested organs of spacers who were put into the Great Loom as test subjects after the harvesting

8 Safe passage among SMB-held ports

9 Extremely rare spices, worth a fortune on the faraway Marut’s Sword station

10 bulk crates of android liberation pamphlets (contraband)

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