It started, as most things do, with a single settlement on a major route.
The route was, in this case, a slip-hole through an asteroid belt, not a long valley or a waterway, and the settlement was a group of seventeen people, miners and their kin, who staked out the best chunk of belt and attached their settlement to the biggest stable land mass.
The first to come was a teacher, someone whose skills lay in education but who had always had what they called “void-fever.” He brought with him a module that attached near the settlement, and the tubing to make a “road.”
After the teacher came some scientists, who were curious in studying – well, they were scientists, they wanted to study everything. Micro-G living on humans. The elements found in the asteroids. Void and zero-G’s effects on just about everything. They brought a company-sponsored seven-level settlement, and triple-wall tubes to connect to the miner’s cubic. Since they also brought children, they attached to the teacher’s module, as well.
And many of them brought spouses, partners, cuddle-friends, which meant that there had to be something for those people to do. Three of them dreamt up a small business, and wrote up a proposal, bringing money, a module, and materials from the grounded cities. They also hired three programmers and a mechanic who could handle micro-G, and, as their business took off, another seven employees, only half of them already on the Rock.
There’s some argument about whether that first company was the tipping point, or the bar-slash-bordello that followed (Angie’s, done in an imitation old-style, complete with swinging saloon doors past its airlock and girls in bright saloon costumes), but, one or the other, people started coming for things other than the mine, the miners, and their children. And once the hydro-farm and distillery came to service the bar, and the gidget factory to support the first building, and the hair salon and massage parlour to support the factory workers… Well, then they needed a water refinery and a toy store (and a “toy store”) and a movie theatre.
The police first formed when the population topped a thousand and, while the city did not have a fire department, quite, it had a leak department, and then a public works bureau, that collected money and used it to reinforce the tubes and, at about ten thousand, build a globe around the whole thing for another layer of protection. And then, of course, they needed someone in charge.
It surprised no-one, except possibly herself, when the first miner, whose idea this had all been, was elected mayor seventeen years after she had first started digging on the rocks.
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