When you have as much space as the United Federation of Planets does, you can afford not to throw anything away. In a stable orbit around an agri-world that in turn orbits a quite normal star, Bix [Sigma Beta Va] is in a quiet patch of space and is thus perfect for Starfleet’s storage facility – Long Term Storage 1.
Bix was selected for its reduced gravity and hospitable atmosphere. The containers lack of weight makes them a much easier to handle and the breathable air alleviates the need for spacesuits. The containers are filled with argon and sealed to keep their contents properly preserved. Bix’s surface is very flat, it having experienced a period of profound volcanic activity that removed most of the impact craters. The few native species are lichens with some algae in the single crate sea on the equator. Its rotation is a gentle twenty hours and it takes twenty one days to orbit Sigma Beta IV.
The moon is administered from Peaceful Fields base in Galcord crater which is partly filled with the Stratagamau Sea. It’s a single building that resembles a small starship saucer section and is laid out internally in a similar manner. A standard unit for Starfleet ground side operations, it’s control centre sits atop the crew quarters that are in turn above the stores and facilities. The hanger bay for shuttles and rovers shares the ground floor with a small suite of science labs. Spare interior space is filled with a quintuple redundant computer core specifically hardened to prevent data loss.
Bix is divided into a number of sectors each with its own storage purpose. Blue sector is for the short term storage. With some ship’s missions lasting for up to ten years, it often doesn’t make sense for the crew to continue to have a residential space they aren’t using. They can pack up their belongings into a standard container and have them shipped to LTS-1 for safekeeping until they return.
Purple sector is where Starfleet keeps the possessions of those crew declare missing in action. Most of the lost officers possessions are returned to their family and friends. For what’s leftover and for those without kin, their belongings are respectfully packed up and shipped to Bix. Nearly all of the containers here will never be reopened. Purple sector has a sombre mood to it with one of its more poetic custoridans refers to as the monument to memories. Rarely a container will be returned to its owner but the oldest units sit gathering dust.
Unlike the other sectors where the containers are neatly stacked on the surface, Gold Sector is entirely underground, a few kilometers south of the Peaceful Fields. This sector is a Starfleet secure vault. The itinerary is only accessible to those with high level clearance and there are sections further in that no-one on Bix has the authority to enter. Rumours abound as to what Starfleet keeps in Gold Sector with most consistent story being a mixture of items of immense artistic value and weapons of unusual effect.
Lastly there is White Sector. Partially filling a small crater that has been domed over, the sector houses Starfleet’s curiosities, strangenesses and oddities. Here you will find objects that no museum has any interest in and which no researcher has found a use. Here they are kept in a tidy if themeless display in the theory that one day someone might take an interest.
With most of the base systems automated only a crew of fifty is needed to manage the moon. Whilst the assignment is a small logistics team, the importance of what is stored and the size of the installation warrants a commanding officer of at least commander rank. The rest of the crew are engineers and logisticians. Medical needs are covered by paramedic training and an EMH. If a specialist is required, they’re hired from the civilian population on Sigma Beta IV. There are regularly some visiting scientists using the labs for studying. An assignment to LTS-1 is considered a quiet and easy posting and to many of the adventurers who join Starfleet it’s a dull job to be avoided. The base tends to attract and acquire those that stray from the stereotype of a Starfleet officer. Those that don’t work well with others; the obsessives, the content and the downright strange.
- A team of scientists from Planet Algernerionixatix have arrived to investigate an artifact in White Sector. Newly admitted to the Federation, they claim that it’s a long lost probe of their containing important historical data. But why are they wearing hazmat suits?
- Strange things are happening in purple sector. Sightings of a mysterious figure, objects moving, cold spots and sensor malfunctions. Is a long lost crewman trying to make contract from beyond the grave or from somewhere else?
- Commander Smith is finally retiring from Starfleet after seven decades of service, the last two of which have been as commander of LTS-1. The crew are determined to give them a proper party and send off but Starfleet has ordered an inventory of the entire moon before the new commander arrives.
- The only highlight to the monotony of life on Bix is the annual crew Starfleet Has Talent evening. With petty rivalries, alcohol, bad singing and an entire planet of props, it’s only a matter of time before things get out of hand.
- Iapetus from Cassini by NASA/JPL – Public Domain
- Container by Florian Timm – CC-BY-SA-2.0