The Baking Cooperative is a shared home and workplace for eight different chefs, all belonging to species of extra-short stature. Their size permitted them to divide a standard cube into two floors, with the bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs and the kitchen downstairs.
Plumbing provided a bit of a challenge, since there was enough variation among the species to require three different types of toilets. But they found bathtub and bed designs that worked for all of them, and their sleep differences actually helped with scheduling. The complementary sleeping cycles of the various species enable them to work and rest in shifts, so they need only four beds and can keep the shop open all day and night.
On the whole they get along well as both roommates and coworkers, and can cooperate to make pastries big enough for people many times their size.
Tree Mother’s real name can’t be pronounced, because she doesn’t communicate through sound. Her language is based on movements of the feather-like flaps on her chest. When introducing herself, she has her name translated into words of the same meaning in the other language.
Her translator and life companion is a Dian Cliff-bird named Singer, who knows her language and over seventy sound-based ones— thanks to a brilliant linguistic mind, individually controllable feathers, and a vocal tract that can mimic nearly any sound.
On Tree Mother’s world, people choose their own names, and hers reflects her passion for gardening. On her potted plants she grows fruit that she sells to chefs like those in the nearby Baking Cooperative.
She feels more need for privacy than most other beings in this sector, so her bed and bath are behind a door. She even has curtains, but she usually keeps them open for the plants.
When the station was first built, all the elevator operators were robots like Operator #16. Now the job is open to anyone strong enough to pull the elevator cords for two shifts a week, but Operator #16 has felt no desire to look for a different position.
A much simpler machine could do the job, but the station likes to provide its residents with a sense of purpose and a chance to be involved in the community. Operator #16 enjoys meeting and talking with all the people it transports in the elevator.
In its spare time it participates in several online chat groups, shares its poetry, and watches theater productions on the other side of the station.
Its apartment is bare, since it doesn’t need anything except its charger and the internet connection in its brain. But its neighbors, the members of the Baking Cooperative, are some of its best friends, and they visit so often that a door has been built between their two homes.
Kit and Sessaris are humanoids from the planet Becca. No one knows why their home world has so much variation in the number of limbs people are born with, but their society excels at accommodating all sorts of body configurations.
Sessaris has only one arm and one leg, and Kit has only arms. Both of them use an assortment of prosthetic limbs, which can be switched out as needed. Kit is a painter, and Sessaris is skilled with the prosthetic violin.
Their shared home consists of two cubes: a dry upstairs and an aquatic downstairs for swimming with fin prostheses.
A, G and F# are a family of crystalline beings from the Ambrian diamond caves. Their language is sound-based, but resembles musical notes more than words, so any attempt to write their names usually ends up in some sort of music notation.
The walls of their apartment are made of a self-replicating alloy invented by their species, who needed it to support their growing population, all of whom must eat certain types of metal and minerals to survive.
In addition to providing food, the metal that grows on their walls serves as a resource for their jewelry business. They find it amusing that the leftover crystals that grow on their bodies— and fall off like hair or fingernails— are considered so beautiful that other species will pay to have them set in a ring or necklace.
They make plenty of income to keep buying the raw material to feed their walls, and also to attend the occasional sold-out concert by their neighbor Sessaris.