The Maid of Orléans

Description

The Maid of Orléans, or “The Maid,”, as she’s affectionately known, attracts work-seeking residents of other stations due to the opulence of its construction and having the strongest Barnard’s Star economy, despite it now being a military outpost. Rose granite cobblestones and marble arches contrast violently with razor wire and armed patrols.

A Gaule military base that was once a luxury retreat for the rich and famous, The Maid holds a unique position due to several of her warships having survived the Catastrophe. This, combined with her shipyards, has allowed The Maid to be the pre-eminent power in Barnard’s Star. However, the military acted with restraint, recognizing humanity’s precarious position. The officers on The Maid enforced law and order, but coordinated relief efforts throughout the Barnard’s Star system, earning the grudging admiration of the other stations and a measure of peace in the reconstruction.

The Maid is a Gaule station, but it was originally a station named “Amethyst,” constructed by the Consortium almost 800 cycles before The Catastrophe. This would not have been known, but during The Catastrophe, a few Gaule naval ships “running dark” in military drills had escaped the destruction, only to return to The Maid to find most residents dead. Those naval ships held some historical records and after Gate 420.C was re-opened between Sol and Barnard’s Star, those records were leaked to the Consortium.

With the re-opening of Gate 420.C between Sol and Barnard’s Star, that peace is coming to an end. The Consortium wants the Amethyst returned but recognizes that after several centuries, they no longer have a legitimate claim. The Gaule would be hard-pressed to say “no” were it not for the Gaule naval ships already in the system. To add to this, many residents of The Maid of Orléans are unhappy with the strict military discipline imposed by the Gaule and many now advocate for rejoining the Consortium. Thus, a tense stalemate is evolving. Any person able to move the needle on this problem is likely to be handsomely rewarded—and reviled. “Fake news” about Gaule abuse and Consortium plots is rampant. The Consortium isn’t fomenting an insurrection but they’ll happily assist with one if it occurs.

Statistics

System: Barnard's Star
Affiliation: Gaule
Level: 12
Legal: Strong
Orwellian: Poor

Areas

Bank

Like much of The Maid of Orléans, the bank is luxurious, with comfortable sofas in the waiting areas, free coffee and tea, and desks surrounded by privacy shields. There is no row of bank tellers: everyone receives personalized attention, as if even the smallest transaction is of utmost importance. A large marble wall appears to have been painstakingly rebuilt after having been crushed by something. It has a noticeable hole.

Strangely, there appears to be no military presence here. Everyone is friendly and efficient and clients are made to feel as comfortable as possible. It appears that the bank suffered very little damage during the Catastrophe, but in a few discreet corners, small waist-high doors have been installed in the walls. If you watch carefully, sometimes one of the doors moves outward ever so slightly, releasing a small puff of what appears to be water vapor.

Brig (Clairvaux)

A set of old converted offices, the station’s prison is for punishment, not rehabilitation. While relatively clean, it’s overcrowded and the privately hired guards are apathetic. Director Albin, a determined but quiet man, is seemingly there at all times, trying to maintain the prison and improve conditions, but the guards rarely listen.

Clairvaux was originally part of an old set of administrative offices established long before the Catastrophe when the station was controlled by the Consortium and known as the Amethyst. While not as luxurious as the rest of the station, life here could still be pleasant were it not an overcrowded prison. To maintain control, all prisoners wear tracking collars on their neck. If a fight breaks out, or if someone attempts to tamper with a collar, the collar injects responsible parties with endomorphin-13, a powerful opioid neurotransmitter that calms the patient and makes them very drowsy. Prisoners are known to pry at their collars when they can’t sleep, hoping for an injection. Generally, prison staff look the other way when this occurs.

NPCs

Employment (Civilian Employment Center)

The Gaule want everyone to know that they’re guaranteed a job and security and this is particularly reinforced here. Most advisory personnel appear to be civilians but have discreet military insignia on their collars.

The employment center offers free coffee and tea, warm smiles, and watchful eyes. Most of the personnel working here appear to be Patricians, pleasantly chatting with people to help them find a career suitable for them. A group of Malls and Colonists, lacking any obvious military insignia, quietly chat with some visitors, perhaps offering career possibilities outside of the mainstream.

NPCs

Career Advisory

The career advisory center is mostly empty. Few people today have the needed skills to pursue good careers.

Discreet Work

Sometimes jobs are offered by those who need to be able to deny involvement. Don't ask too many questions; you won't get many answers. And don't be surprised if you wind up in the brig or sickbay.

Side Jobs (Unskilled Work Center)

The Unskilled Work Center is staffed by Gaule military personnel, questioning everyone as to their background and recommending appropriate jobs. Notices for “quick gigs” litter the job board and a Gaule soldier quietly reads them, taking notes on her slate. Newcomers to the station are watched more carefully than regular visitors to the Center.

Due to the heightened tensions between the Consortium and the Gaule, every newcomer on The Maid is watched carefully. Gaule soldiers discreetly note which people are reading which ads and the soldiers occasionally regroup the ads on the notice board to make it easier to see who is looking for a particular type of work. Whatever you do here, you can tell you’re being watched carefully.

Name Description Credits Statistic
Exotic Dancer Moulin Rouge seeks beautiful people looking to earn good credits for natural talents. Men, women and everything in between welcome! Stop by and speak to our Madame today for more details, lovelies. 35 Social
Graffiti Removal Local authorities seek hard-working individuals to assist in removal of treasonous graffiti in The Blocks. Generous reward offered for speedy results. 45 Agility/Stamina
Hotel Room Cleaning L’Hôtel de Jeanne d’Arc seeks new cleaning staff to maintain our beautiful rooms and help us keep our reputation as the most comfortable place in Barnard’s Star! 35 4x Stamina
1x Social
Prison Guard Clairvaux now hiring new guard staff. Look after prisoners and administer endomorphin-13 when necessary. Speak with Director Albin for further details. 50 Multiple1

Government Center (Marie de Jeanne)

The Government Center of The Maid of Orléans is a well-appointed building with large rooms that, frankly, look tacky. Gold framed mirrors, marble statues, and desks that appear to be real wood are everywhere. But the mirrors and statues have cracks and some of the desks have scorch marks. Security watches you closely as you enter.

The Marie de Jeanne belies the Gaule reputation of “Bureaucracy as performance art.” All business here appears to be conducted quickly and professionally. The tension between the Gaule and the Consortium has even warranted its own section, with a large sign labeled, “Citizen Relations.” People visiting this section are quickly ushered into private offices where matters can be discussed discreetly.

NPCs

Gym (Discipline)

The Maid’s gym, known only as “Discipline,” is wall-to-wall military personnel. As soon as you walk in, many of them turn to watch you. While they cannot deny your access to this area, it’s clear that they’d rather you not be here.

Once a luxury gym staffed exclusively with Patrician personal trainers, Discipline has been overhauled to handle the specific needs of the Gaule military. There are firing ranges, obstacle courses, and vacuum rooms. There are even connections to low-G training facilities near the station hub, but many of these areas are exclusively for Gaule military use. Most of the non-military people using Discipline have an air of “mercenary” about them.

You must have minimum combined physical stats of 45 to avoid injury at this gym.

NPCs

Inn (L’Auberge)

Known simply as “L’Auberge,” the local inn is a comfortable gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. Tables are arranged out front to let patrons sit and “people watch” while enjoying a quick drink, and more discreet booths are available inside for those seeking privacy. The efficient staff all wear black trousers and white shirts, with a neat black apron over the front. A Harsene security officer wearing military insignia on his collar hovers discreetly in the background.

L’Auberge is run by Gregor O’Connor, a man closely watched by Gaule security due to his support for returning the The Maid to Consortium control. He bitterly resents having mandatory Gaule security on the premises, though he and the officers themselves generally get along rather well. Gregor is a Colonist, his short stature putting him at odds with his tall Belter wife, Cybil. Together the two of them and their employees run a tight ship, serving all with a smile.

NPCs

Bar (Moulin Rouge)

The Moulin Rouge is the only cabaret in the known star systems. It’s a wild, exciting dance hall, with art on the walls purporting to be from a huge Gaule city on Earth. The drinks flow freely, and many soldiers are relaxing here with the tourists. At the far end of the hall, the area is dominated by a large stage with flirtatious dancers performing a “cancan.”

Despite the air of fun and relaxation, the atmosphere is tense. The smiles of the dancers don’t extend to their eyes. The soldiers “relaxing” are also constantly scanning the crowd, their hands not far from their weapons. Mall bouncers are quick to step in and separate troublemakers. The phrase “Consortium troublemakers” is heard more than once. You can get a drink but enjoying yourself is another matter.

Menu

NPCs

Hotel Rooms (L’Hôtel de Jeanne d’Arc)

Given the luxury background of The Maid, the Hôtel de Jeanne d’Arc is sumptuously appointed, though the signs of deprivation reach even here. Most of the hotel rooms have separate bedrooms, a kitchenette, worn faux-silk sheets on the beds, and are guaranteed to be free of interior security cameras. A Gaule officer stands behind the registration desk, ready to assist the receptionist, or simply note who is checking in or out.

Given the squalor that most people live in today, it’s hard to imagine anything more comfortable than the hotel rooms on The Maid. The beds are neurological memory foam which notes how comfortable you are and adjusts itself accordingly … when it works. The kitchenette offers a variety of soy-based and fungus-based sauces to improve the flavor of rations, and the water tastes curiously chemical-free.

Rose-tinted diamond windows overlook a large park. Though the ponds in the park are now empty, the plants are flourishing and children are playing everywhere. Gaule soldiers stand discreetly at the entrances to the park, keeping a watchful eye on all.

Prices

  • 1 day: 90.06 cr
  • 5 days: 360.24 cr
  • 10 days: 630.42 cr
  • 30 days: 1621.08 cr

You should have minimum intelligence of 15.5? to avoid injury while reading.

NPCs

Lounge (Salon de Thé)

The outside of the Salon de Thé has rows of red and white chairs behind round tables; patrons resting at them and watching the crowds walk by. The interior has high ceilings, with strangely ornate golden fabric wallpaper (torn here and there) and hand-drawn art set into the broken walls. Here the tables are larger and separated by physical and electronic privacy screens.

While the outside of the Salon de Thé seems dedicated to relaxation and people-watching, the interior is quieter, with guests talking in quiet, animated conversations punctuated with strong hand gestures and the occasional argument. Some people have civilian clothes, but with military insignia on the collars. These guests are usually scanning the other crowds, and sometimes whispering to each other, with quick nods to other tables. There is a palpable air of impending decisions, as patrons glance quickly at the soldiers before resuming their conversations.

You should have minimum social of 15.5? to avoid injury while socializing.

NPCs

Market (The Maiden’s Market)

The market is a large, open hall with many stalls organized in neat rows. The salespeople are impeccably dressed and the market stalls appear permanent, not the hastily thrown together structures visible on many stations.

Hawkers yell out to the crowd, trying to attract customers, with weapons and armor on one side of the hall, and food and medical items on the other. One stall, with what appears to be real ice, offers fresh, vat-grown fish. Another stall offers a variety of heavily engineered fungal products promising “real meat flavor” flavor, but at a fraction of the price. Tucked away in the corner is a stall with heavy security out front, guarding a variety of pre-Catastrophe rarities, the centerpiece of which is a paperback book.

Despite the air of wealth of security, there is a heavy, yet discreet military presence here, often remaining at the back of dark gaps between the stalls. Looking further reveals that some people seem more intent on listening to conversations than browsing the wares. Occasionally a political flyer hits the floor, obviously arguing for which affiliation should control The Maid, but security quickly steps in to pick up the flyers before you can read one. Not, of course, that it matters; it’s clear that openly reading one of those flyers would bring unwanted attention.

NPCs

Public Market (Le Marché)

The public market has people frantically scanning the boards, looking for good deals. Others are trying to haggle better shipping fees, but to no avail.

Storage

The Maid’s storage facility is a large room with what appear to be multiple sets of cupboards along the walls. A query via your CORETECHS verifies the authenticity of your request and moments later, a door slides open revealing the goods required or accepting items for deposit.

Unsurprisingly, the Gaule military are here, randomly selecting goods for inspection for “contraband.” One set of cupboard doors has been removed and a thick group of cables snake their way through and up, for purposes unknown. They connect to a terminal manned by a Gaule officer.

  • Small: 237 cr
  • Medium: 569 cr
  • Large: 1422 cr

Syndicate Vendors

[Coming soon]

Vendors (Milspec Supplies)

This dedicated vendor area of The Maiden’s Market is situated far away from the regular stalls. A variety of “military specification” supplies can be bought and sold here for those who provide special services to discriminating clients. While there is the usual heavy Gaule military presence, many of the soldiers appear to be as intent on buying (and sometimes selling) supplies as monitoring the crowd for subversives.

There is no pretense here; no attempt at being discreet. If you’re buying or selling something in the Milspec Supplies area, you have a background that probably involves violence from time to time. The Gaule military want to know who you are. There is at least one soldier at every market stall and they inspect every purchase or sale. No exceptions are made, even for other Gaule soldiers.

Port (Gate to the Heavens)

The spaceport of The Maid is a chaotic affair, with a luxury shipyard and private docks next to run-down public shuttles and a shipping bay. The private docks might have a limited capacity as several of the airlocks to them appear somewhat crumpled, with large plates welded over others. Brushed steel walls and white counters with rounded edges line one side of the entrance, with automated ticket terminals, some of which are out of order, posted at the entrance to the various local shuttle bays. As with the rest of the station, the Gaule military presence is heavy here.

It’s easy to see the “haves” and the “have nots” in the Gate to the Heavens. Private docks and the shipyard have round-the-clock human attendants waiting to assist those with money, while the heavily armed security patrols walk past the ticket terminals and the shipping bay. But even on the “posh” side of the port, there’s the odd sign out of service, or service counters still bearing some of the damage from the Catastrophe.

NPCs

Docks (La Rochelle Docks)

Private ships docking here are separated into Gaule and non-Gaule registered ships. Non-Gaule ships are inspected much more closely. Heavily armed troops following contraband-sniffing canid robots wander everywhere. Each ship enjoys a private docking bay, ensuring some measure of privacy to the occupants. Guards have free reign to all bays regardless of who owns the ship.

The La Rochelle Docks were originally designed largely to accommodate the pleasure craft of the rich and famous. Thus, private docking bays were the norm. Liveried deckhands and stewards to assist in resupplying and cleaning ships are everywhere, but often have discreet military insignia on the collar, indicating their service to the Gaule military.

NPCs

Local Shuttles (The Metro)

The name “The Metro” is a long-running joke referring to the local shuttle bay by the name of an ancient underground tram system on Earth. Due to the luxury of the station, many traveled to The Maid in private ships, leaving The Metro to be used mostly by service staff. Unlike the rest of the station, it’s a bit dingy and run down, and some of the dark side corridors smell of cheap alcohol and urine. It’s not a place to hang around in.

The Metro, like all local shuttle services, runs on software that is very efficient, ensuring timely arrival and departures of all shuttles. That’s where the efficiency ends. Despite The Maid being a tourist destination, the Gaule are not terribly interested in making The Metro too inviting at the present time. They have other things to worry about and the heavy influx of tourists makes it even easier for those of bad intent to arrive. Like much of The Maid, there’s a heavy military presence here.

Shipping Bay

Galactic Parcel Service ships are constantly docking and unloading goods in the shipping bay. Unlike other stations, the shipping area of The Maid offers many “private” shipping containers, but they’ve been hastily retrofitted with security cameras. Gaule soldiers are everywhere, inspecting all cargo and randomly checking shipping containers to compare against the ship's manifests.

Residences (Amereaux)

The residences in Amereaux are multi-story villas with (empty) swimming pools, large fenced gardens, and cobblestone streets. The Gaule military aren’t as openly present, but many homes sport razor wire topping their fences, and defense robots occasionally pop out of their hutches at unpredictable times.

Though the origin of the name is lost, records indicate that Amereuax was designed by an architect known as “RW” to evoke a sense of true luxury. There is a spaciousness rarely present on most stations, as The Maid of Orléans was apparently designed to play host to a relatively low population. The streets meander in unexpected ways, and it would be very easy to get lost here. Some of the homes are still apparently uninhabited.

NPCs

Ruins (The Blocks)

Known locally as “The Blocks,” large groups of buildings stretch as far as the eye can see. While lovely, the structures are still more utilitarian than the rest of the station. They appear to not be heavily populated, but there’s still the occasional building with lights on and recent pro-Consortium graffiti adorns many walls, though there appears to be attempts to remove some of it.

Usually, the ruined areas of stations appear to be hotbeds of illicit activities, but that oddly doesn’t appear to be the case in the Blocks. The odd resident looks you in the eye and nods in acknowledgment, but there’s no sense of threat. Even the omnipresent salvaging gangs, constantly searching for valuable goods, maintain a respectful distance.

NPCs

Security

Brisk and efficient, the security services of The Maid are run by Gaule military, with no standard station security personnel in sight. The main entrance is well-lit, but those who appear to have valuable information are quickly whisked away to private offices to hide their identity.

The tension between Gaule and Consortium claims on The Maid have led to all security personnel being replaced by Gaule military. Large screens adorn the walls, soldiers watching them carefully for any signs of trouble. Some screens apparently have “keywords” flashing on them, suggesting that conversations are being tracked. From time to time, soldiers will huddle together, pointing at screens where particular faces are highlighted in crowds, usually followed by two or more of those soldiers quickly leaving the security offices.

NPCs

Shipyard (BlomVoss Ship Construction)

Even after the Catastrophe, the name “BlomVoss” is synonymous with quality, and any ships with the BV mark are highly prized. The Maid’s shipyards reflect this. Though they’ve been retrofitted to meet military needs and thus accommodate larger ships, the shipyard clearly has high-quality tools which don’t show much evidence of damage from the Catastrophe.

The military retrofit is clearly evident in the BlomVoss Ship Construction facility. There are new weapons management systems and advanced drive units, along with some sections of the facility which have been hastily partitioned from view. Due to the needs of civilians also having their ships serviced here, the Gaule can’t ban non-military from this area, but they are clearly unhappy with the security concerns of maintaining military vessels in what is primarily a civilian facility. BlomVoss employees can be heard arguing with soldiers regarding construction priorities and heavily armed patrols are constantly on the lookout for trouble.

One wall of the facility has a large Gaule banner hanging down from a single cable. The banner was clearly intended to hide the words “The Amethyst will shine again,” which have been burned into the wall.

NPCs

Sick Bay (Albert Schweitzer Clinic)

The Albert Schweitzer clinic is, understandably, clean and well-organized. Every patient, regardless of background, has a private room and the medical equipment was state of the art at the time of the Catastrophe. Gleaming diagnosian ring stations line one wall of the main area, with patients being efficiently processed to assess their health.

The reception area of the clinic has many patients, several of whom are clearly from the ruins, waiting patiently for attention. A receptionist calls the names of the patients in turn, while a Gaule soldier reviews all medical details.

NPCs

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