ENTRY 022: Butterfly Avernus
A community oxygen bar in the Progress habitat on Deimos, the Butterfly Avernus is all sun lamps and green growing mosses with tiny colored flowers contrasting against stark industrial benches and chairs. Aside from the enhanced oxygen levels and carbon dioxide scrubbing, patrons at Butterfly Avernus partake from bottles containing nanobiological plants that produce gaseous cocktails to suit every biomorph’s palate—from the straight elemental oxygen/carbon dioxide/nitrogen mixtures of Old Earth to the alcohol-vapor infused Sunset Flower. Groups use a hookah-like setup using larger bottles that are almost small biomes in themselves.
Nominally organized by a directing committee that buys raw materials, tracks usage, and directs the planting and pollination cycles, Butterfly Avernus subsists on donations of work, materials, and credits. Many Progress locals volunteer their time tending to the garden of plants, changing out nutrient packs, and checking gas mixtures. The whole thing is on the honor system without any formal track of donations, but word gets around about substantial contributors and their rep goes up accordingly.
The name of the oxygen bar comes from the pollination season, when swarms of tiny robotic butterflies with clingy-fiber multichromatic wings flood the bar to help pollinate the exposed plants. The cheap ’bots are a tourist attraction during the two weeks or so they’re deployed, and often attract small celebrities and press in roughly equal numbers to get swarmed by the mostly mindless flying nuisances while the locals stay at home and measure pollination coverage from free apps.
- Morphs at the bar are usually trusted to know their own biological limits when it comes to what their systems can and cannot take; poisonous consumption isn’t unheard of but remains rare. However, when a hypercorp rep from Qing Long accidentally sucks down gaseous arsenic, Fa Jing orders the bar closed. Any outsiders that can prove the rep was assassinated rather than died because of something the bar did would earn a heavy rep fast.
- Butterfly Avernus is also the front for a small group of dealers in prohibited narcotics and nanobiologicals, which are concealed within certain “special orders.” Fa Jing risks losing the support of the locals if the hypercorp actively moves against the bar and its volunteers, but if some outsiders were to snoop around and provide evidence to the identities and methods of the criminal ring, the hypercorp reps would be very grateful.