Samar’s Hamam

Life on broad ship is dirty and restricted. Water is a carefully rationed resource on board. After weeks in space, and considerable time in stasis during portal jumps, what crews most want is a bath. So most spaceports have a Hamam or bathhouse, either within the spaceport itself, or very nearby. Samar’s Hamam is typical of many medium sized facilities which may be found on pretty much any world. Sadar’s is privately owned and run by Sadar herself, a kindly but uncompromising Miran. She will often be there to greet you in the building’s welcoming Atrium, with its glass domed roof, lush greenery and cooling ornamental pool. 

With payment (priced well within your general cost of living budget) discreetly made, you are ushered into the bathhouse’ central temple, dedicated (like that of many Hamams serving spacers) to the Deckhand. Most crew choose to offer the Icon a prayer and toss a few Birr into the pool that surrounds the statue, before progressing into the segregated changing rooms. Many smaller bathhouses don’t segregate between male and female facilities, and some even offer mixed facilities with discreet spaces for more intimate couples. 

Here though, all the facilities are mirrored on each side of the building, offering each sex the same sequence of room. There are private disrobing rooms, where you leave your clothes before stepping into the Lavatorium to shower. Once clean, you can lounge as long as you like in the steam-room. Since time immemorial, such spaces are often used for private meetings and Samar’s staff will, for a few Birr, ensure that you are not disturbed. When you are ready for your massage, you can step through into the next room where a strong fingered masseuse is waiting to rub the tension out of your back, limbs and scalp. Then you can jump into the cold plunge pool, and put on a warm towelling robe before relaxing and in the Tepidarium, where you will find your clothes laundered, aired and pressed, no matter how short a time you spent in the baths. Staff will even bring snacks and drinks from nearby bars if you so desire. 

And while I’m here, here are some thoughts on a legal framework for Bounty Hunters and lawmen in the Third Horizon. 

The Ijma’urf (consensus of the common law) is a Firstcome initiative, a complex web of treaties and agreements designed to protect local laws and customers from being superseded by Zenithian legal structures. It’s most tangible face is a system of licensing police, detectives, bounty-hunters and debt collectors to operate across jurisdictions. 

It costs 100 birr per Coriolis Cycle to maintain an Ijma’urf licence, but that also gives access to a database of bounties, private detective jobs, and appeals for pay-cops. The database is also meant to be an intelligence sharing network, but as might be expected, where lawmen are also competing for jobs, they are reluctant to share valuable information. 

An Ijma’urf license does not by any means guarantee the co-operation of the local authorities, but it may delay arrest, or shorten jail terms if the holders manage to get themselves in trouble. What it allows is interpreted differently in different jurisdictions, but it does at least (in most places) identify the holder as an agent of the courts/law. Local law enforcement authorities usually resent Ijma’urf when off-worlders invoke it in their patch, but they are eager to demand it if a case takes them outside their jurisdiction. 

Of the Factions, supporters of Ijma’urf include the Free League, The Legion, Ahlam’s Temple, the Church of the Icons and the Nomad Federation. It also has somewhat less enthusiastic support from the Consortium, who constantly seek to reform it. The Draconites and the Order of the Pariah ignore it. (Of course it has no influence over Zalos.) The Syndicate of course, are absolutely against it. And the Zenithian Hegemony recognise it for what it is, an attempt to thwart their ambitions. They seek to abolish it, but while it exists, begrudgingly accept it in some places (for example, the monolith). 

Despite their paymasters’ attitude towards it, the Judicators are enthusiastic signatories. The Weeping Matriarchy are also participants. The Coriolis Guard are less enthusiastic but see its benefits (Special Branch consider themselves above this particular law). 

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