Orbiting high above the planet Rhydin, Gateway Station 1 serves as the local operations center of the Gateway Business Federation. The GBF conducts business in many sectors throughout the galaxy, seeking to monitor and regulate commerce. Such regulation is primarily between its own member corporations, but the GBF does and will attempt to intervene in other trade disputes which may threaten its collective holdings. Since many of the corporate groups which compose the GBF operate through divergent and seemingly unrelated companies, the GBF itself is difficult to define as a singular entity.

It is not known just how many Gateway Stations are in operation throughout the galaxy … it is only known that the GBF expands slowly, but constantly. It is also known that GS1 is the first of its kind … and that the GBF itself has its roots in the commercial underworld of the Star’s End Spaceport. Until recently, GS1 was not open to the general public and the Federation actively kept its presence a secret through various means. The time eventually came when the GBF decided many commercial ventures would be better served by dealing directly on the station itself. This turn in policy, while painted as an attempt to benefit all businesses on Rhydin, was really a thinly veiled attempt to solidify control of an economic environment growing at exponential rates. There was, however, a side effect which the Federation didn’t count on. The station quickly became regarded as an exotic vacation destination for the more space savvy denizens of the planet. Never an organization to pass up the opportunity to make a profit, the GBF embraced this unexpected bonus.

The Federation appoints an individual magistrate to oversee the general day-to-day operations of each station. While the magistrates are on the GBF’s payroll, they are not formal members of the Federation itself. Pay credits are deposited into their personal accounts under a myriad of methods and seldom the same way twice. GBF contact with each magistrate is usually done by fourth and fifth party couriers, or encrypted subspace transmissions. The magistrates know that they work at the behest of the Federation, but they do not know (and usually do not wish to know) the specific identities of GBF members. While most magistrates need only worry about the essentials of station operation and security, the magistrate of GS1 is doubly burdened. He or she must also serve as activity and entertainment director for the growing tourist trade.

GS1 measures a somewhat astounding five miles in diameter and can comfortably accommodate hundreds of people in its housing compartments. The bulk of the GS1 crew (everyone from the cooks to the navigators) lives full time aboard the station. Some, however, do make a daily commute via shuttles from the Star’s End Spaceport or use the transporter located in the Star’s End Bar and Grill. The docking bays (for smaller spacecraft) and docking couplers (for larger vessels) are located in the hub of the station itself. GS1’s transporter facilities are located in the hub as well, and all three arrival/departure points are closely monitored by station security.

While GS1 is not a particularly mobile structure, it is outfitted with several impulse engines located around its outer ring. These engines allow the station’s orbit to be adjusted as needed. Being hulkingly slow, however, does not mean that the station is defenseless. In fact, GS1 is equipped with a powerful array of multi-phased tachyon shields and a more conventional neutrino buffer. GS1 isn’t punchless, either … it can fight back, if need be. With a series of mass driver turrets ringing its exterior and two powerful ion cannons mounted above and below its hub, GS1 can be a formidable opponent in battle.

The social focal point of GS1 is simply known as The Depot. The Depot is a rather lavishly furnished lounge where patrons may purchase drinks, meals, or other useful equipment. The compartment in which it is located occupies a fairly large portion of the station’s outer ring, bounded on each end by sliding pneumatic doors. The Depot is furnished with many panoramic viewports which allow a customer to either gaze into space or at the blue sphere of Rhydin below. Amenities include a full service bar, a kitchen (located behind the bar), restrooms (on the left, adjacent to the bar), many free standing titanium table/chair sets (grouped loosely in front and to the flanks of the bar), a stage and dance floor (located directly opposite the bar), and several private booths which line the outer walls (each booth is equipped with individual sound and energy shields which may be activated to ensure complete privacy as well as safety). Live entertainment on the stage is always a possibility, but The Depot also has a state of the art multimedia system with remote terminals available to all tables and booths. The overall decor of The Depot tends towards “space gothic,” but there are some more “rustic” paintings hanging from the walls. The one most patrons notice first is a large fresco of the Red Dragon Inn hanging between the “Male” and “Female” bathroom doors.

The general atmosphere in The Depot, as well as GS1 as a whole, is usually reserved but friendly … if not simply business-motivated. Deals are always being hatched, grand plans to exploit exploding markets being devised. The sight and sound of children running down the corridors of the visitor lodging compartments isn’t out of the ordinary. Lovers, admiring the serene views of space, are often seen hand in hand. Security is amply provided by a team of battle-ready androids that quietly patrol all sections of the station. Skirmishes tend to be a very rare event as errant blaster fire or other such activity is most unwise. From the standpoint of good health, a ruptured space station hull usually tends to be fatal to all concerned.

The Gateway Station … a business and social mecca for those who wish to partake of it.

Updated: 02/07/01