Lockdown - Intro by Alexander Shaw

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SUMMARY: Re-named from 'The Neutral 3 Incident'.

After it was all over.
A bar somewhere. Forget which one.

If I'm gonna tell you this story, then I guess I better tell you where it all started. One thing you gotta understand is that I never met ‘em. I don't know what they looked like or if this isn't some pile of shite I'm about to spill for no reason other than you asked me too. But hey, there's no refunds to this little recitation, so I don't really give a fuck if you like it or not.

Too bad.

It all started at Neutral 3. Well, no, actually it started before that, but I'll tell you about 3 first. You know about the Neutral Haven plans? First one was sponsored by the Korsneakian government over the dead world of Dee'Vak. But then the funding got cut and I think it's still out there, half finished. Last I heard smugglers used it as a running depot. Pretty much what it was designed for anyway. Second one's still operational I think, it's over orbit of Alin, you know that arse-world on the fifth ring of Tay. Alin was the only planet willing to take the financial risk of having another Neutral station built there. Costs too much, they say. Well that's true. And for what? It's stuck out there, on the edge of space with only a hundred people on it. Worthless, serves no purpose whatsoever.

But 3? Well, that's the real kicker, ain't it. Some say that Sorrell found it himself and staked claim, that's probably what he'd say himself, but lets face it, someone else found it first and Sorrell got them all kinds of shot. Still, pure speculation on that, don't let my thoughts on the past bother you. Still, where was I. Oh yeah, finding the place. Neutral 1 and 2 were built at great expense to any of those worlds stupid enough to actually sign on to the project. Space Stations cost money you know. And since these were supposed to be big-arse Space Stations, it cost big-arse money and nobody was interested in building another one, one that might actually work, you know. So all this changes when this guy calls up the Korsneakian Project Department and says:

"Found me a Space Station. I'm keeping it. Need one of those Neutral Declaration thingies."

Just like that, brazen as can be. And before anyone can sit back and say, hang on... FOUND a Space Station? Like it fell out the back of someone's jeans? No, actually wait, they did ask that before anything else happened. So this guy, Sorrell, says that him and his honest-to-faith prospector crew on the way back from the Nimmessa Belt take a piece of debris to the engine block and accidentally stumble upon a fully operational yet conveniently abandoned and did I mention ridiculously huge Space Station that nobody's ever heard of before?

You'd think that would raise some interesting questions in the Project Department. You know what, it did. So would Mr. Sorrell mind too much if the PD sent out an investigative party to do the investigative thing and check that this is legitimate?

Sure thing, Sorrell says with a practised smile and the flash of a suit that's far, far too expensive for a crew of prospectors. So they get in their ship and they go out to the co-ordinates that they've been sent and lo and behold.

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