#TeamSpaceWestern - Last Frontier Saloon

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Last Frontier Saloon: Intro

by Jinn Tiole / jinnis

The double doors of the Last Frontier Saloon swing in a hot gust of wind. With the rag I use to dry glasses, I wipe sweat and black grime from my brow, then look at it in disgust and throw it into the recycling bin. They are welding over in dock three since early morning. One should think it would be no issue to vent heat out of a space station hanging in hard vacuum on the western fringes of Black Eye Galaxy. But obviously this is not the case. Every time a big miner pulls in for heavy damage repair, we get so-called desert days in the lower decks: hot and dusty.

On the upside, big miners mean big money. And this ship brings old friends in addition: Repair-dock three hosts the Spider's trawler. Captain and crew will visit for sure tonight. Doesn't hurt to clean up the place for this special occasion. Not too much though, or it will destroy my authentic Saloon's reputation.

I adjust my favourite potted cactus on the bar. Cacti are rare specimen in space. Greenhouses on Outer Rim Station are strictly reserved for food production, not recreation. I brought this cactus as a tiny seedling when I pushed out to the frontier, twenty years ago. To my everlasting astonishment it likes the harsh environment of the lower decks of Outer Rim. A pity Lin couldn't hold her guns the other day and shot a considerable chunk out of my baby. It looks rugged now, with a half-inch hole punched out of its main stem. But even this maltreatment hasn't broken the plant's survival instinct, the scar has already scabbed over nicely. I'm sure it will keep amusing the customers and develop into another rim legend.

The door swings open with a telltale squelch. I don't have to turn around to know Lin has entered, Lin, the famous woman-with-the-fastest-guns on station. Incidentally she's also my sister, or, more precisely, half sister. A relation close enough I grudgingly forgave her shooting my cactus.

She throws her broad white hat onto the counter, grunts unintelligible, and switches on the music box. A classic mixture of bluegrass and rap shakes the bottles on the shelf in front of the giant bar mirror.

I could have guessed on Lin's choice. Sometimes she spends hours submerged in old music files I won in a bet some years ago. She insists there are timeless gems, even copies of songs played way back on old Earth. She might be right, but I won't tell her, I'd never hear the end of it. Or poor cactus might become victim of another enthusiastic shooting spree.

Lin drops into her favourite chair, offering the view of the whole establishment, and leans back with a silent sigh.

"She's contagious..."

The chorus is the only part of this particular song I ever understood. It fits Lin, somehow. I raise my voice above the music.

"What's up, sis? Long day?"

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