by Kedra Brenari
(GBS Station) Torn Danton has seen many things during his sixteen-year tenure as the owner and principal bartender at The SpaceBar pub in GBS Station, but these days all he sees is empty stools and red ink.
“There were days when I would work fourteen or sixteen hours straight and there would be no lulls in the business. We’d have new beer shipments coming in daily. Now I have to severely limit our draft offerings to make sure the beer stays fresh. I just had to toss three kegs of Solrain Stoudt the other day,” said Danton. “But now I do maybe four hours and my kid does another four … and we mostly just sit there and try to stay awake. I have a link to the docking bay that sounds an alert any time someone docks, so we’re always up and ready for any visitors.”
During its heyday, The SpaceBar was just one of many busy watering holes sprinkled throughout space, with The Cabana Room, the Evenings End Pub and Fat Sally’s Bar being its most famous competitors. Business at The Space Bar was at its peak between 102 and 104 when the Independent Space Union was making GBS its home. “This place was humming,” said Danton. “And it wasn’t just ISU. This was a real hub – and no one minded the ISU ‘docking fees’ because they kept the station stocked to the rafters with prime gear. This was a place to get down to business. Hell, the things I heard . . .” he added, his eyes seeming to stare back in time.
GBS was a place where pirates, smugglers, non-factionalists and many others found a place to avoid prying eyes, and avoid the strict PR requirements and taxation on equipment purchases at Factional stations. Information was traded even more frequently than silicon or Flashfires – and probably at even greater profit. The bunk spaces were not luxurious, but they were plentiful and cheap. Pilot Ridgeway, the ISU’s leader, managed things with an iron hand, so most of the disputes and fights were brief, fairly fought and quickly forgotten. And of course, there was The Space Bar at the center of it all. But things began taking at down-turn at GBS not long after TRI started actively cracking-down on ISU and it has never really recovered.
“I’d do anything to try to bring some of that back,” reminisced Danton, “and not for the credits – I made plenty back in the day and invested it well. What I miss is the sound, the constant motion … the buzz. I doubt we’ll ever see anything quite like those ISU days, but there’s a void they left that needs filling – and if there’s some squad leader with the stones to try to fill it … well maybe they should come have a chat, “ he said, winking.
In the meantime, The SpaceBar will continue to carry on its traditions with Oct Lite growler specials every day and OctBurgers ready at a minute’s notice day and night. And Torn Danton will keep remembering … and keep hoping.