Deep Space Post Office

The galactic travel network has a weird and twisted shape.  Rather than freely connecting all the stars, there are several key nexuses that funnel traffic to them.  Mega-Station-Blue is the service centre for the Blue nexus point. It was built centuries ago and only just keeps up with demand.   The enormous space station has a nine sided core with nine arms spiralling out.  Arm 5 is entirely taken up by the branch office of the Galactic Postal Service.

Nearly a fifth of known space’s post arrives here, is sorted and then distributed.  Everything from the tiniest of envelopes to super containers full of parcels.   To keep things simpler, ships deliver post on inside surface of the spiralled arm and load post on the outside surface. Though a lot of the process is automated by three AI controlled sorting machines, a crew of three thousand is still needed.  The habitation section of the arm means the sorting office is fully self contained, with its own hydroponics, living quarters and recreation facilities.

The station itself houses nearly 45,000 people, all working for or making money off the ships passing through the Blus nexus.  They range from maintenance engineers to squatters, from traders to bureaucrats.

Plot Hooks

  • Escaped Live Cargo – no matter how many times the customers are told, there’s always some attempt to ship a live animal.  This time the poor creature got out of the packaging and now it’s running amok inside the arm.
  • Radioactive Package – Alerts are going off across the office, but no-one seems to be able to track down the source.  Whatever it is, it’s amongst the sorting machines and needs finding.
  • Lost Letter – One of the AI’s is grumpy.  It’s got itself into a logic knot trying to decipher a cryptic and poorly written address.  How did the envelope even make it this far unnoticed?
  • Batch Mailing – A big shipment of diplomatic post is going out from one of the embassies on the station.  The crew have been told it’s exceptionally important and potentially reputation breaking.  But someone on the station has plans to stop the mailing.
  • Customs and Security – After several high profile cases of illegal smuggling using the mail service, extra manual customs check have been put in place.  What strange and disturbing things are the staff going to find?
  • Thieves – Somewhere in the system, post is going missing.  The AIs can’t fathom how or when.  But more comes in than goes out and headquarters is getting complaints.
  • Sudden Influx – With the end of conflict in the Kestrel Belt, the transit embargo for the sector has been lifted.  The office suddenly has to deal with massive burst of delayed parcels.
  • VIP Inspection – Headquarters is sending an executive to oversee a visit by an engineering firm bidding for the installation of a fourth sorting AI and machinery.
  • Landlord – That the post office takes up so much useful space with its cargo holds and sorting machines is a point of contention.  The administrator would much rather sell the space to a better paying tenant.

Image Credit – Assembling a Space Station by James Vaughan – CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0