Colonia, Here and Now is a series in which we visit settlements in our Colonia Nebula, learning what life is like for those who live there and discovering what each offers to travellers. In the forth instalment, we visit Colonia Dream, located in Eol Prou LW-L C8-138.
The first thing I notice are the scars on Brian’s face. There are three. A result, he says, of a nasty riot he experienced back at Truman Orbital, an Imperial prison.
“That was a crazy night. Riot started, and a Jet I had beaten up came right at me. Guard pulled him off, threw us into a sim before letting us get to the doctor…”
Brian is currently hammering at the keys of a console in front of him. There is a smirk on his face as he tells me the story while fixing a few lines of code in the station’s auto docking protocols.
“That was back in eighty-seven… Ended up adding another five years. That Jet lost an eye, so I guess it was a push.”
I feel the coin of Randomius in my pocket as I ask him if he’s afraid of admitting it.
“Nah, no Jet families this far out, and besides, I’d be the first one to see ‘em coming.” He tells me this without looking away from the terminal.
He finishes, and we begin a tour of Colonia Dream. With only sixty dedicated people inside the massive Coriolis station, the feel is of relaxed sparsity. We take a tour through the stations boroughs and sections while Brian points out the various portions of the station ready for use or in need of repair. A quiet calm fills the air, and, once every few minutes, we spot a crewman quietly working on a section of the station.
What has been repaired is remarkable, given the small crew. The communications network was their first project, enabling them to communicate with the rest of Colonia while bringing their commodities network online. From there came the automated coordinator for incoming and outgoing passenger flights. Brian points out his favorite project as our transport makes its way to the dock yards.
“Finished last week…” he says as we watch my borrowed Asp meet us below the landing deck. A series of arms protrude from the wall. The weapons on my ship deploy one at a time as Brian cycles through them. “I’m hopin’ to get a few more modules in… Figure if we get more done we can put in a request.”
Brian is one of the more versatile members of this talented crew. The Colonia Co-operative, a population of backers interested in safe relocation to the Colonia Nebula, have sent this sparse group to bring this new station online. This is no small task, as the station, pre-assembled and sent to orbit this rocky planet, must be brought online before the investors can move here. I am amazed at the work he has done to make an entire city operational, and press further for his story. His work, coupled with his scars and genetically engineered frame, make him something of an anomaly.
“I was raised in a Federal system. We were fairly new to Fed rule, which got me in trouble around my twenties… Got to a Imperial system to avoid the hassle… lived there a bit…” He smirks as he cycles through the maintenance stock. “It turns out they have more rules…”
We head upward to the pad after the outfitting demo as he continues.
“I bummed around the system, kept fighting, kept getting in trouble, kept learning something new. About five years ago, I just got tired of goin’ from system to system, but by then, even Alliance systems were trackin’ my geneprint. I knew a lot from traveling, but no one would hire me in a civilized system.” Brian looks up at the massive empty bay as a Cobra above us begins its departure. “I heard about Colonia, started diggin’ around, and found out about the Colonia Co-op. Turns out, they just needed people – any people. If they hadn’t overlooked my past, I don’t know where I’d be right now.”
Brian stares out to the dock yard, a kaleidoscope of lights and automated transports, carrying supplies to the drones and androids working across each plate of the station.
“I got to pick my crew. I met a few interesting people here and there who could do what I need here. Only hard part is keeping them in line.”
He smiles as we read “BRIAN’S THUGS” on a station directory he waved open, the representative anarchy faction of a population of sixty.
“I even got to name them.”
We head up the tarmac to my ship, as Brian shakes my hand.
“I’m glad you liked the place. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a station to bring online. By the way, I got you a gift for the trip…” he says as an android stutters up to us. From the android’s hand Brian plucks a bottle of whiskey, his face emblazoned on a logo affixed to the face of the bottle. I look at him questioningly. He smiles as he turns to leave. The automaton stands up straight, gives me a salute, and follows him down the tarmac.
I request a second pass from my pilot before we depart. Colonia Dream shines before me one last time, and before we turn to our jump vector, I see along the exterior a cluster of lights pulse and come alive.