Incident at Kimrah Station
Chapter 01: Triggering Event
The tavern didn't have any kind of sign or distinguishing markings for identification on its drab gray exterior. However, it had an infamous reputation in the criminal underworld, so it didn't need to advertise. The round hatch of an airlock served as the only door inside.
The winds were kicking up clouds of violet colored dust and limiting visibility to little more than two arm lengths. Although unpleasant, it was standard weather for the northern continent of Fejin during the winter.
A traveler approached the door while tightly wrapped in a long cloak. Reaching out a gloved hand, the traveler pulled the lever beside the door to activate the mechanics. The airlock cycled, motor rumbling loudly as it pulled the outer doors into pockets on either side of the entry. To keep the hostile environment outside, a secondary hatch blocked further progress out of the airlock until the outer door closed. Metal scraped loudly against metal as the hatch slowly closed.
While waiting for the inner airlock seal to open, the traveler dusted himself off and removed the thick scarf wrapped around the lower half of his face. A visor with a horizontal strip of softly glowing blue light covered his eyes completely, providing on the interior display a listing of everything its sensors detected.
After opening the fasteners down the left side of the cloak from shoulder to waist, the traveler flipped the garment back. A utility harness crossed his chest diagonally with a dozen small pouches. A blaster resided above the knee on the outside of both legs. The straps holding the weapons in their holsters were already open as he was expecting trouble.
On the wall of the airlock, instructions were written in several languages. To be sure the message was understood, a picture of a droid was posted next to the warning. A bright red line had been slashed across the droid's image. The tavern was the location for many illegal meetings and criminal figures, so anything capable of taking recordings was strictly prohibited.
The interior hatch opened. Because it didn't have to contend with the outside dust getting in between the moving parts, the inner doors moved smoothly and without the sound of grinding metal.
Crowded with patrons, the tavern was filled to capacity. Spacesuits of different shipping lines, trading consortiums, and private corporations created a jumble of colors and textures. The lighting was dim on purpose to provide cover for the illegal activities taking place. The traveler wasn't bothered by the dark as the visor compensated. He looked over the assembled patrons, and the scanners in his visor inspected them as his line of sight crossed over them.
Moving through the crowd to a table where three aliens were seated, the traveler took the last remaining chair and joined them unannounced and uninvited.
"What's the meaning of this?" one of the aliens demanded. A member of the Verpine race, the alien was a tall insect with slender limbs and large eyes on either side of its mantis-like face. A pair of antenna protruded from the back of its head directly behind its eyes. It pointed one of its three claws toward the traveler in an accusing manner.
"The place is full," the traveler explained. "I've had a long journey, and I'm paying for the drinks. Any further objections?"
The trio of aliens at the table looked at each other momentarily before the insect Verpine sat down.