An encyclopedia of Earth after The Exile

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Report 09.EZD.1095.1.a

Most people won’t admit it, but I’m personally quite fond of EZ-Docks. Sure, they’re a bit… underwhelming most of the time, but when you’ve been outside the signal and floating dry for a couple of weeks, there’s nothing like seeing one of those hideous buoys popping up on your nav screen promising, at bare minimum, a recharge and a bit of bad company.

It’s a simple but effective concept. Building residential into space stations is hard. You need a lot of engineering to support human life in space and that costs money, so most of the time it’s easier to have humans roaming around in ships, finding what they need where they can get it. EZ-Docks caters to the wandering masses who are living on their ships but occasionally need to stop off and reconnect with humanity for the briefest of moments before they drift to the next “opportunity.”

You pull up, you dock your ship, and you get a punchcard. With the punchcard you can go to the mess, the canteen, the warehouse – get whatever you need to keep flying. They punch it on the card and charge you at the end for whatever power and supplies you made use of. Simple.

Then there are the Hangarounds. Hangarounds are people who got dropped at an EZ-Dock on their way to somewhere else but – through bad luck or stupidity or both – don’t have enough money to make the next leg of their trip. Stage one of being a Hangaround: finding a place to sleep while you wait for your fortunes to magically improve. Stage two is when you start to get your shit together and offer something to the other travelers. Whatever service you can provide using whatever materials you’ve been able to scrounge up: cleaning, basic ship maintenance, basic human “maintenance.” You use what you got.

An end-stage Hangaround has either given up or decided not to leave and instead just full on set up shop. They run the secondary markets on EZ-Docks, managing their own inventory as well as the ship-to-ship. Some of the bigger Hangarounds have even specialized to the point that their EZ-Dock becomes a destination. For example, if you’re looking to buy or sell pre-Exile papers (documents, books, letters, etc.) everyone knows you’ve got to go to the Burt’s EZ-Dock (people like to give them these quaint, old-timey names) in between Cairus and Seshan Station, where Colin Hood runs the shops.

EZ-Docks may be dirty, accident prone, and generally full of morons, but every once in awhile it’s a fucking necessity to sit and eat and have a bunch of humans ignore each other, together.

An EZ-Dock buoy, often the first sign of civilization for a wayward traveler.
Signage to guide tenants and their ships to their temporary residence.
An EZ-Punchard, a traveler’s bread and butter (almost literally) while visiting an EZ-Dock.