“We are approaching Point Zankathie. Everyone get ready for customs,” William announced over the intercom. The merchant vessel, Bread Basket, Was in a way a large cylinder with rockets on the back and a cockpit on the front from the outside. The center of the ship however rotated, providing a gravity effect for everyone and thing within the vessel. Bread Basket was an Earth vessel, one of many privately owned merchant ships within the Terran Fleet. The news spoke most often of pirates and smugglers, enough so you would be understandably under the impression that that was the only type of ship Earth sent out aside from military cruisers and transports to hunt them. It did not talk about the families and groups who crossed the stars engaging in free trade and commerce, the simple folk who wanted nothing more than to make an honest living for themselves and their families.
There was nothing sexy about a flying farmers market. Bread Basket wasn’t even the only ship of its type. The interior cylinder of the Bread Basket was covered in hydroponic crops and trees. The oxygen produced by the various plants within the main ship made life support less of a worry. It helped that the entire ships systems were based around the farming area. It was only at most a mile long including the expanse of the engines propelling them through space and the control area up front. Due to the design, based off an O’Neil Cylinder, there was a modest sized farm carried in the ship.
Fresh fruits and vegetables were considered luxury items in most space stations due to how they were designed. Life support, docks for incoming and outgoing ships, equipment to relay signals across the known galaxy, and efficient quarters for personnel and their families had been considered more important.
They sold staples, but the thing that made most ships like Bread Basket so treasured to the various stations both of Human and Xenomorphic personnel were the more pleasant items. Fresh fruits, sweets, natural flowers, things of that nature. The chance for a walk through the interior of the ship was something wonderful for those who only saw the dull metal walls of a station. A self-contained world where one could almost be tricked into thinking they had set foot on a habitable planet. After months in space with nothing but the site of stars and bulkheads to fill ones time a walk through a beautiful park.
Considering how long most people were on these stations it was no wonder that you had children, teenagers, families there just for support. So the arrival of a ship like Bread Basket was also a time for couples to spend with each other in pleasant surroundings. It wasn’t unusual for the ship to make a little extra money with more recreational areas on their inner hull. It wasn’t too difficult to create a good sized lake with a small beach. Most of the ships water had to be reclaimed, and once it was purified from whatever it had been used from it was as safe as anything else. In space you recycled everything.
So while Bread Basket was docked at Point Zankathie there would be a constant stream of beings going back and forth, either for recreation or commerce. There was even a Wedding that had been scheduled for the stopover this time in the Forest. It wasn’t unusual, and Bread Basket had an Ordained Minister on board for just such an occasion.
Ships like her were a piece of the world flying through the night, providing more than just supplies and cargo. They provided moments of peace, moments of joy, and moments of happiness. While the Destroyers and Carriers of the Terran Starfleet were the giants of the Galaxy, vessels like Bread Basket were its soul.