The Anchor

The Anchor is a waterfront bar in the southwest Dockside district, nestled between a high-tech docking facility and a busy road that leads to the southern gates. A steady stream of traffic passes the bar by land, sea and air: trawlers and Chinese junks bob in the water alongside spacefaring trawlers, while caravanserai throng the trucks and beasts of burden laden with their wares. The docks are new, a large concrete ring tethered to the shore by an old pier, with three levels of chrome-plated docking bays in the center.

The bar is in a square chrome-plated building, with aluminum stairs leading to the rooftop landing pad, where shuttles touch down and take off with enough force to rattle the foundation. The back is enclosed, but the front is completely open: a field of blue static stretches between the support beams, controlling the climate and hosting a variety of neon ads that flicker and dance across its surface. The counter is a curving slab of the same polished chrome as outside, and the back wall is lined with bottles and chem cases packed into refrigerated shelves, spilling a steady stream of fog from the cooling system.

For a price, the bartenders can set you up with noodles, fish skewers, spirits, stim sticks, or "flash" -- a euphoric burst of subliminal messages through VR goggles. For a little extra, they can point you to one of the pilots that bide their time here waiting for their next job, or recommend your ship to any customers that pass through. The holonet screens at the high-top tables are free, streaming vids from sports across the Multiverse, and more than a few bookies have been known to haunt the bar, giving odds and taking bets.

Whether you've come to cool your heels after a desert trek, light up or dull your senses, place a bet on the big game or line up a job, The Anchor can provide -- just as long as you can pay.

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