B1 Berthing

I wrote before about the bubbles-within-bubbles that our species creates to survive. I’m going to nest a few deeper.

Pod A is on the left, B on the right. Going counter-clockwise around each pod, the left-hand tine is 1, 2 and 3 are the backbone, and 4 is the right-hand tine.

Pod A is on the left, B on the right. Going counter-clockwise around each pod, the left-hand tine is 1, 2 and 3 are the backbone, and 4 is the right-hand tine.
[Photo: Scot Jackson, http://antarcticsun.usap.gov ]

The Amundsen-Scott Station was designed and built in modules — there’s a backbone four modules long from the Beer Can to Destination Alpha — A2, A3, B2, B3 — and four modules perpendicular to that on the lee side — A1, A4, B1, B4. All the on-station berthing is in three of the later, and B4 is the gym.

My first view of my room, from back in November.

My first view of my room, from back in November.

My berth is B1-117 on the first floor.
The room is 6-by-10 feet, and comes furnished with a bed, a dresser under it, a desk, a chair, and an armoire. That doesn’t leave much room for swinging cats, but then, cats are rare here. There are rooms for couples and they are twice as big, 12×10. If they aren’t in use by couples, they are cut up into two single rooms with a wall that isn’t much of a wall. These cut rooms are low-demand; you can hear everything in the partner room. Well. I hadn’t noticed until now, but a bunch of berths are 8-by-10. Lucky bastards.

One must personalize. Much the same now, except messier.

One must personalize. Much the same now, except messier.

The berths are in three rows along the “arm”, and mine is in the middle row, so I don’t have a window. On the one hand, that means I don’t have to worry about how to keep my room dark when I sleep, but it also means I don’t have a place to put my beer to cool. I’d say it’s a fair trade. Mine is also the one on the end farthest from the spine, so I have only one neighbor — there’s an emergency exit on the other side. Generally it’s quiet, but someone considers “I have to be at work” as an emergency, and leaves that way at 6:45 every day, and doesn’t understand what “please don’t slam the door” means. I’m almost always up by then, but if I’m not, I am.

The door on the B2 deck, keeping the -100 away from the 68.

The door on the B2 deck, keeping the -100 away from the 68.

The slam-door in question is a beefy door like you’d find on a commercial fridge, as are all the external doors at the station and most heated out-buildings. When it’s 90 below out, you need something pretty beefy to keep 68 in.

Quick, Robin, to the Game Room!

Quick, Robin, to the Game Room!


Games! In a room! What shall we call this place?

Games! In a room! What shall we call this place?

B1 is also the “lifeboat”. In a situation where the Station has had a pretty awful failure, the design is that B1 can function as an independent unit for long enough to either fix whatever happened or get everyone out. All of the options at this point are pretty bad, but letting everyone die would be a lot worse. B1 has a power plant, a kitchen, a HAM radio, a washer and dryer, and medical facilities. And a pool table and the VHS tape collection, for what that’s worth. In the winter, that would be about 50 people in 38 berths. It would be pretty tough, but as I said, it’s not the worst option.

B1 is also a bit of a Secret Lair. Or maybe B1 is a gated community and we have guards. The sign outside says “GAME ROOM” to help confuse things. The B1 lounge has the pool table, dartboard, lots of books, and a bar as well as the kitchen and emergency supplies. It’s one of the social hubs at the station, and you have to go through it to get to the B1 berthing area. The party helps hide the Secret Lair.

We're walking, we're walking ... and out the other side of the Game Room is the way to B1 Berthing and heads.

We’re walking, we’re walking … and out the other side of the Game Room is the way to B1 Berthing and heads.

Looking back the way we walked in to the Secret Lair, the door between B1 and the rest of the station is another massive fridge door. That matters if B1 is the only warm part of the station.

Looking back the way we walked in to the Secret Lair, the door between B1 and the rest of the station is another massive fridge door. That matters if B1 is the only warm part of the station.

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