Challenge #02033-E209: So They Noticed
The little vessel was lost. Broken. Limping through a Sargasso of wrecked and abandoned vessels in the middle of nowhere. No radio. No comms. No chance of making it to civilisation as the occupants knew it. They were losing air and hope at the same rate.
"I found a vessel with compatible air," said one occupants. "With the 'locks together, we can minimise air loss for evac."
And since a temporary solution that allowed them to live longer was better than nothing, they opted for the current Plan A. The found vessel took some time to limp to, and docking had to be performed by vacuum-welding the ships together, but again, it was better than nothing. They expected the air to be stale, and surprised when it wasn't. The previous inhabitants had left some plant life behind when they abandoned this craft. The stuff had invaded as much space as it could.
The new crew vowed to make certain it didn't spread any further.
With some floating debris, they could patch the remaining leaks in their original hull, but since they were now welded to their lifeboat, they couldn't go to what passed for their home. And with a relatively soft landing on a dwarf planetoid, they had a source for gravity and minerals, once they worked out how to get to them safely.
One said, "This is probably illegal."
Another said, "We're in the middle of a junkyard in a kuiper belt of a backwater system in the middle of nowhere. Who's going to notice?"
The answer was - other lost souls like them. People who were forced off course. People who had found themselves without hope. People who needed to refresh their shipboard air. People who could trade gadgets from other random corners of civilised or quasi-civilised space. And, eventually, people who found them on the other side of a wormhole from where they had begun.
Their lifeboat grew into a kludge station, forged from their kuiper planetoid and the abandoned hulks around them. Supplanted by atom reassemblers, snagged comets, and people bringing in useful volatiles as trade. Assisted by technology with stories as wild and vast as the frontier they called home. Added to by people with food plants, by people with decorative plants. By people with furniture and decor and a sense of architecture.
And eventually, it got noticed by traders and pirates and capitalists alike. They, too, built on what was already there. Those who knew it as a lifeboat had lived and died, and their descendants lived and died there, too.
And eventually, it earned a place on the maps. A spot in history. A permanent name. And everyone knows of it.
This is Amalgam Station.
[Image (c) InterNutter ]
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