The BarThe Man in Black has been around for just under three years, having previously been a nondescript bar next to the Jericho-4 spaceport. No-one's quite sure who owns it since the manager, Paul Simpson, keeps quiet on the issue. However, it soon became the home of the local underworld and a favourite of the freelance miners and crews of visiting spacecraft who wished to get away from the White Sands domination of the rest of the system.
The Man in Black is a fairly select place and outsiders aren't too welcome. If you want to go to The Man in Black, it's best you have a very good reason. Otherwise, it's not the sort of place you just drop in to.
Security is tight: all weapons are confiscated at the door, and anyone found trying to smuggle weapons in is likely to be denied entry. Similarly, anyone found causing trouble is likely to be given short shrift. The best you can hope for is that they kick you out and leave you enough money to pay the hospital bills.
Unfortunately, The Man in Black's peaceful seclusion has been under threat during the last few weeks. Word has it that a couple of months ago someone on Jericho-4 let it be known that he wanted the infamous assassin The Man in Black to do a hit. For the last couple of weeks, all sorts of strange people have been turning up at the bar and things have been getting worse. Now the latest word is that if the Man in Black is going to turn up to do the hit, it's going to be tonight and it's going to be in the bar...
The RegularsThe following people call The Man in Black home and go under the general heading of "Regulars".
The LocalsThe Locals are an informal grouping of freelance miners and their associates who have adopted The Man in Black as their home. There is no formal membership of the group, it's more a matter of trust. If you're trusted then you're a Local. The Locals only have one rule: you look after your own. Cross one Local and you cross them all.
The WanderersThe Wanderers are another informal grouping. These are a collection of misfits and other types who live outside the law in the Federation and use Jericho-4 as a safe haven. They include smugglers, couriers, ship-for-hire types and anyone who doesn't really fit in with the restrictive way of life the Federation forces on its population.
Like the Locals, the Wanderers don't really have a formal membership. Again it's a matter of trust. The Wanderers also only have the one rule: Jericho-4 is a safe haven, so if you're in trouble, you don't come here and spoilt it for everyone else by bringing the Federation with you.
The Locals and the Wanderers co-exist peacefully enough. Both groups trust each other and many friendships exist across the rather ill-defined boundaries. Both groups consider The Man in Black as their home. They are suspicious of outsiders in general and White Sands and the Federation in particular. If there's one thing that'll draw the two groups together, it's hassle from outsiders.
The StaffA third group who make up the Regulars of The Man in Black are the bar staff, who are considered honorary members of both groups. These are:
Paul Simpson (Manager): A quiet man who keeps himself to himself but is quite happy to talk forever about anybody else. He's been manager of The Man in Black since it opened and is well trusted. He is renowned for his discretion if you're a Local, Wanderer or Criminal, and complete lack of it if you're not.
Al and Vlad (Security): The two bouncers at The Man in Black. Both are easy-going guys who are popular with the regulars. Vlad has a reputation as the nastier of the two, but no-one wants to mess with either of them. They look after the Locals and the Wanderers though.
The CriminalsThe Criminals are the fourth group that makes up the Regulars at The Man in Black. They are tolerated rather than welcomed by the rest of the Regulars. By and large, the Locals are straight, almost law-abiding types, while the Wanderers may be smugglers or similar, but they do their work out of system. In contrast, the Criminals make their living by criminal activity in the Jericho system itself. An unwritten agreement operates that they do not undertake any criminal activity in the Bar (although business can be and often is arranged there, especially the fencing of stolen goods).
OutsidersAn Outsider is any person who is not a member of the Bar Staff, Locals, Wanderers or Criminals. By and large, they are not welcome in The Man in Black and the usual rule about criminal activity does not apply to them. Again, by unwritten agreement, The Man in Black is off-limits to law enforcement agents and corporate types, although the authorities only tolerate the place because there is so little trouble there.
Off-worldersOff-worlders are a particular class of Outsiders who come from outside the Jericho system. If you thought Outsiders were unpopular...