Crescent Station

Constructed in 2160 as little more than a shipyard, the core of what is now Crescent Station is the oldest space station still in use, and has served many purposes in the course of more than 150 years in service. Currently, Crescent Station is the home of the Unity Council and is the commercial, cultural and diplomatic hub of the outer solar system, drawing tens of thousands of traders, merchants and recreational visitors every year. The station has unquestionably cemented its place in history, and continues to play a crucial role in humankind’s ongoing quest for peace. It has been known by many names, sometimes several at a time, though none were official until its dedication as neutral territory following the Jovian Conflict.

Crescent Station started life as a nameless facility with the sole purpose of constructing the first ever interstellar colony ship, the Skidbladnir. Its location in the outer solar system, between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn, was chosen due to the limitations of FTL technology that prevented it from being used too close to a large mass like the sun. Only out past the asteroid belt could an FTL drive be safely activated. Constructing the Skidbladnir far from the sun meant that many months of travel time would be saved on the initial journey, and time was certainly a factor in the longest-distance manned spaceflight in history.

The construction of the station took only 18 months, with the original structure consisting of only a habitat ring with room for 150 people, three docking bays for the delivery and storage of parts and materials, a power generation tower and, at its central hub, the elaborate scaffolding upon which the Skidbladnir would be assembled. Over the course of the thirteen years it took to complete the incredibly complex vessel, the station itself was added on to as well and, by the time the Skidbladnir launched, housed nearly 400, including administrators, construction workers and various support crew. The station remained in service as a shipyard for another twelve years, during the construction of the three large supply vessels that would travel the loop between the home system and Freyr. These vessels were smaller and far less complex than the modular, multifunctional colony ship, and were constructed in a fraction of the time.

Once construction on the transport and support vessels for Freyr was complete, it was decided that, rather than being decommissioned, the station would be refitted for use as a docking, loading and fueling hub for the ships travelling to and from Freyr. The refit also included additional docking and freight handling areas for commercial use. The station’s position was re-aligned to keep it always on the side of the system in line with Wodan, Freyr’s parent star, reducing in-system travel time for ships travelling to and from Freyr and ensuring that there would be no need for the months of non-FTL travel through the inner solar system that limited other vessels. The most important function of the refitted station, however, was the monitoring and maintenance of the Odin’s Eye, a dedicated pinhole burst transmitter/receiver which uses a gravitational warping effect to allow for rapid communication between Freyr and the solar system.

As the largest such facility in the outer solar system, and because it lacked an atmosphere or any substantial gravitational interference, the station was ideally positioned as a neutral trading post. This new utility coupled with the station’s historical significance quickly made it a very popular destination for merchant and cargo vessels. Where shipping goes, so go the administrators, and very quickly, private interests were funding new expansion and upgrade projects to increase the station’s capacity, comfort and functionality.

During the Jovian Conflict, the station was seized by colonial forces and used as a military staging ground. Even during this period, and with much of the station’s resources devoted to military function, trade continued, though Earth and, for the most part, Mars, were barred from trade there. To their credit, colonial forces were extremely careful not to disrupt the supply ship schedules to Freyr, and the Odin’s Eye monitoring facility was impeccably maintained throughout the occupation. Towards the end of the war, Earth forces made two unsuccessful attempts to wrest back control from colonial forces, but their efforts were hampered by the necessity for minimizing damage to essential functions, and the station remained in colonial hands until the signing of the Unity Accords.

Since that time, the station has continued to expand at a rapid rate. The addition of the outer ring following the Jovian Conflict tripled again docking, storage and housing capacity. The opening in the outer ring, designed to allow smaller craft to dock more securely within the central hub, also gave it its distinct crescent shape, and the resulting comparisons earned it, finally, the official name of Crescent Station. It was also declared neutral territory, owned by no planet or colony, and controlled by the jointly elected Unity Council. Following the announcement of the new status and name, the mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana, made the station an honorary neighborhood of that ancient and enduring city often known as the “Crescent City.” Aside from the naming similarities, the station and the city shared similar beginnings as ports and a similarly difficult history, and yet both continued to persevere. The linking of the Crescent Station and its namesake city seemed an appropriate fit.

The Unity Council’s 2314 decision to make Crescent Station a diplomatic as well as commercial center resulted in an agreement with the Hyatt Hotels Corporation to provide civilian accommodations. The product of this agreement has been the addition of new, state-of-the-art facilities and premium amenities for visitors, including fine dining, luxury rooms and suites, legendary Hyatt customer service and, most famously, a revolutionary new holographic projection grid that nearly perfectly recreates the city of New Orleans at the peak of its popularity in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Crescent Station has lasted many lifetimes and served many different functions, has survived two wars, military occupation, attack and numerous reconstructions, and still stands to serve a new generation of humanity as the commercial, cultural and diplomatic hub of the outer solar system. Many historians argue it is the single most important human-made object ever constructed. While its renewed popularity has rendered it something of a tourist destination, Crescent Station will forever be a part of humanity’s sometimes tragic but always proud legacy.