otf: bees

Six space stations

1. FD9780-DS-N. A convenient, if rudimentary, transfer point between Earth and Alpha Centuri. Make sure to bring vacuum-secure luggage. Although the station maintains human-compatible corridors for transport between terminals, management can take several days to respond to complaints that the seals have been breached. Since Centurians frequently use the corridors as a short cut and they are not pressure wave secure, the seals are broken more often than not. As a workaround, the station staff will transport you across the vacuum areas inside your luggage for a small fee. In the unlikely case that you have a safe route there, try the Irish Bar in terminal five. It is made from real lumps of Ireland.

2. Station Blue, 6162879-xbq. Constructed by beings who are only able to see in the blue and ultraviolet regions of the spectrum. Human travellers are advised to use blue-spectrum imaging cameras and rapid translation software to interpret the blue-on-blue text printed throughout, which says important things like: LUGGAGE WILL BE EATEN, HEAD-CRUSHING MACHINERY and FARTING IS A CRIME PUNISHABLE BY DEATH. A fifth-dimensional block to avoid impinging on the locals’ extradimensional whiskers is also a must.

3. New King’s Cross, in orbit around New Jupiter. A faithful representation of the ancient Earth trainshed in space, by a range of medieval transportation enthusiasts. All the best archaeological and textual information was used in the reconstruction, including a fragmentary copy of William Shakespeare’s Harry Potter trilogy, genetically-reconstructed horses, and a full map of the station’s moat system. Make sure to bring your wand to unlock the left-luggage suites if you need to sleep in between shuttle flights: rough sleepers are occasionally flushed into space when the moat needs venting.

4. Novy 47865-b-XF. The gateway to the Shulgin system. Not a good point for a human to transit: the seats are all shaped for one rectangular buttock and you are only allowed to sleep hanging from the roof. Nevertheless, the spider-milk shots are amazing. Just be aware that the chirality of their amino acids may not sit well with your digestive system.

5. Beijing spaceport, low Earth orbit. Interestingly, the spaceport is derived directly from Beijing Capital Airport, which was put on extendable legs following the grey goo incident of 1873 CT. During the Winter Migrations of 2572-2590 CT, the airport was left unattended and a minor bug in the leg code uncorrected-for. Travellers returned to find that the airport had effectively fabricated a space elevator from the local bedrock and was now at an unusable altitude. In more recent times it has been enclosed in a bubble and used as the first staging point for commuters travelling to Moon One.

6. Bee Station B, HD5780. A relatively minor intergalactic shuttle hub, but a major centre for deep space bee conservation. Legend has it that the first space-hard bees were engineered on the nearby Bee-B asteroid by a reclusive florist looking to move into vacuum horticulture. Do not under any circumstances change flights here whilst dressed in any even vaguely floral colour. Eating sugary food, using scented grooming products, having limbs and the use of a body temperature above 200 degrees Kelvin is also discouraged for transit passengers. This may all sound discouraging; however it is perfectly possible to carry on a normal existence whilst covered in nesting space bees, as witnessed by the life of mafia boss Clive ‘The Hive’ Fellowes. Be sure to check out the waterfall in terminal two.