Part 3. Club Storm: An Abridged History
Welcome back to the TNN’s Crew Chronicles—a multi-part series exploring the history and culture of our galaxy’s most influential tar crews. Our next two installments take us to the smoke-filled parlors of the Dapper Lounge…
Owned and operated by the tuxedoed tars of the Club Storm crew, the Dapper Lounge bar chain is renowned for its welcoming, yet discreet atmosphere. With locations in every major city and settlement, these dives have become popular meeting spots for all tars regardless of crew affiliation. Today, we will delve into the history of the bar chain’s proprietors, Club Storm, who in addition to their barkeep duties, also work the high-roller tables at lux casinos. Since the evolution of Club Storm coincides with significant shifts in the greater economy, we’ll frame much of this as an econ lesson. Apologies if that’s not your thing. If it is, let’s go.
During the Age of Suspension (3348-3554), mega-corps traded in the business of existence. SEEDs were humanity’s lifeline and humankind was quick to monetize every aspect of their operational demands. Most surface activity went towards SEED supporting enterprises, like food manufacturing, natural resource mining, and data storage. The remaining surface activities, and galactic investments, went towards research and development (i.e. bubble cities).
So, how did the average person fare in this rather contained economy? SEED regulations required employment, but with a population far exceeding available work (at a rate of about 4 to 1) full-time positions were scarce. Job shares became the standard and the margins for occupational choice narrowed. Most had to take tar-dependent jobs. Utility tars could be owned, rented, or serviced as an employee benefit, depending on your company’s tar policy. Earned wages were taxed at a universal rate of 90%. The steep tax covered all SEED costs (accommodation, healthcare, overall upkeep) as well as Gates-backed R&D projects. Little could be done with the individual’s remaining 10%—inter-SEED travel was expensive and time-consuming and small dorm sizes led to mandatory asset caps. With nowhere to go and nothing to buy, large-scale consumerism lay dormant. Until The Third Inflection Point.
You can check out Part 1 of our series for a more detailed explanation, but here are the quick hits: the combined impact of the 8/8 tragedy and the Black Matter Rail discoveries upended the status quo. Bubble city hopes dimmed, while space travel possibilities flourished. It was in this climate that Vogu introduced its first line of personalized tars. These moderately-priced bots spurred a vigorous era of surface development—recreational outlets, stores, real estate—all built to attract tar-user crypto.
Again, let us consider the individual. New construction and the revival of long-dead consumer markets temporarily reversed the population to job ratio; for about thirty years or so, jobs outnumbered the workforce. Leverage in hand, workers secured exponential salary increases and successfully lobbied The Gates to lower SEED taxes. They also pressured companies to change their tar policies. If fulfilling certain tech requirements, one could now use a personal tar on the job. This saved users from having to buy/rent utility tars in addition to their personal tars. Capitalizing on an extraordinary labor shortage, workers of this time period were especially flush—they had crypto to spend and places to spend it. One such place? Casinos.
Though known for its bars, Club Storm actually originated in the backroom of a casino. One of the first casinos of the new surface era, in fact. In the few years following the 8/8 tragedy, the mega-corp RED quietly acquired the abandoned structures of the almost-was bubble city New Damascus. RED then transferred the deeds to several of its gaming subsidiaries. In 3556, The Gates approved the city’s new name and construction of a gambling mecca began. New Damascus would now be known as New Vegas.
Three luxury casinos opened in New Vegas, Mars on January 1st, 3560. Among the three: Ferdinand’s. Part casino, part art gallery, the venue’s design and décor drew inspiration from the modern art museums of the 20th and 21st centuries (well, modern for the time, ancient to us). To this day, Ferdie’s boasts one of the most impressive art collections in the galaxy. Ferdinand’s quickly established itself as the poshest of the new casinos thanks to its innovative theme and stylish staff. While its competitors outfitted their croupiers in ancient Las Vegas inspired attire (vests, cheap button-downs, and clip-on ties), Ferdie’s went for the tux. Requiring few tech upgrades, working the casino tables was a coveted position. Especially at a high-roller honeypot like Ferdie’s. Users were happy to be there (via their tars) and it showed. They were friendly and engaging. They listened well. They earned the trust and respect of their patrons.
They also forged trust amongst themselves. In the late 3570s, sensory simulation tech advanced to include smoking. Tars could now “inhale”. Cigarettes, pipes, and vapes became top-selling accessories. Many businesses instituted smoking restrictions to curb cloudy visual obstructions. Casinos, for example, allowed patrons to smoke on their gaming floors, but restricted employee smoking to the breakrooms. It was in the breakroom at Ferdinand’s that Club Storm members first met.
Brought together by circumstance and a smoking habit, these colleagues developed a type of camaraderie previously unknown to the SEED-bound generations. They worked together. Got high together. Laughed together. Fought for better wages together. They traded sensitive information with the certainty it would remain within the confidences of their network—a network that would soon grow beyond Ferdie’s.
As more and more casinos opened galaxy wide (many of them adopting the same tuxedo employee uniform), Ferdie’s original croupiers moved on to other gigs. Fortunately, BMR travel and the burgeoning bar scene allowed this crew to maintain their community. They were also able to grow it, welcoming in many of their new coworkers. On one boozy evening in 3583, the crew met at a local New Vegas dive. During the hang, one particularly tipsy member factitiously suggested that the chainsmokers call themselves Club Storm. The name stuck. Another member floated the idea of pooling their resources to open their own dive bar—one that attracted the likes of both cigar toting fat-cats and vapers in Hawaiian shirts. Two years later, the first Dapper Lounge location opened in New Vegas, Mars.
Our next installment will take a closer look at the Dapper Lounges of today—their regulars, ties to other crews, overall vibe, etc. Stay tuned for more!