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