This Little Piggy…
Somewhere between the cold, hostile stars of the Serpent’s Teardrop, below the inky tentacles of the Dark Zone nebula, a behemoth slips silently through a ring of arcane fire and back into the vacuum of real space. Like burning spires of an ancient cathedral, its bristling bow reflects the glow of astral space for a few moments longer as radiation dissipates from the insulated hull in cooling plumes of gas. Behind these clouds arrives a tremendous asteroid fixated in the midst of the ship’s structure as if part of a patchwork automaton. More spires, flanges, and even towers scar the rock’s surface before the dark iron of the dreadnought’s stern and engines encapsulates the stone.
The astral burn subsides and the Royal Exploratory Service Ship “Mithral Star” engages it’s massive fusion engines to push itself across the gulf of darkness. In the noiseless radio waves and tight-beam transmissions that erupt after its arrival, codes and handshakes bleat themselves to attentive ears. From complete stillness a massive shadow detaches itself from between pinpricks of light and falls in to flank the city-ship. Far smaller than the “Mithral Star,” the Golion Destroyer “Absolution” is still a gargantuan vessel, it’s sleek hull occasionally glinting with inferred malice.
Below the starboard stone skin of the “Mithral Star’s” asteroid, the half-moon shaped City of the Rock bustles with business and banter, almost oblivious to the incredible change in dimensions that took place just beyond its walls. Cowled dwarves hurry about on furtive errands, disappearing into their sealed districts and mines when done. Disparate passengers wander the market perusing goods from hundreds of worlds under an artificial sky. Crew members spend hard-earned leave in the rambunctious bars or queuing up at the Siren’s brothel. And a select few answer a mysterious summons to a quiet establishment in the bowels of the rock, the Drop Bottom Inn.
The Drop Bottom Inn is a small establishment in the rougher neighborhood at the bottom of The Drop. The Drop is a large semicircular atrium near the center of the city next to the outer wall. It’s an open space that reaches all the way from the top residential neighborhoods of the city, down through the market and service districts, to the seedy workers’ quarters at the very bottom. Lined on each level by plazas, trendy restaurants, parks, pubs, or inns it is a virtual slice of the city (although it still excludes any access to dwarven quarters). More than this it is something of a highway. Most vehicular traffic is prohibited in the city, so the quickest direct route from one level to another (besides private elevators) is to step out into the Drop. Color coded disks whisk passengers to pre-programmed landing zones and make the Drop a dizzying rainbow of people during peak market hours.