July 17th 2015
“Racks of rifles, stacks of shotguns, piles of pistols,” excitedly promises the Cubby Blast holo-jingle, and the store delivers, firmly establishing itself as one of Area18’s more eccentric locales. While most of the stores on the planet strive to achieve an aura of respectability, Cubby Blast seems to stand in staunch defiance to the corporate culture that surrounds it. Supposedly modeled after a weapons shop on the infamous Spider station in the Cathcart system, this small personal weapons store is pure counterculture. Even the name itself is taken from a Cathcart sales phrase meaning “the weapon fires fine.” It’s this flavor that makes Cubby Blast a popular destination for all people traveling through the system, whether they are buying a weapon or not.
At the epicenter of the store is owner/operator Clor Vee. A heavily tattooed man with a thick Cathcart accent, he is generally the loudest thing in the store, constantly regaling customers with stories about the seedy side of life on Spider. Little is known about the man who opened the store in 2932; cursory background checks indicate a few minor arrests for assault and robbery, but to hear the man himself say it, “I din know many crood that was caught. Blips I ran wit, we got ghosted, not caught.”
It should come with little surprise that even the origin of Cubby Blast has traces of the scandalous. Clor Vee claims that after decades smuggling weapons and other illegal activities, he began to lose his appreciation for the thrill of living on the edge. As this dissatisfaction grew, he realized that he had established enough contacts within the weapon industry who operated on legitimate fronts that he could build a planetside locale and “let them Creds raze into Vee, ratha then Vee chasin’ em.” The first iteration of Cubby Blast was out of his Freelancer in his Landing Control hangar, before he moved into a small stall nestled in a back alley of the fourth tier of Area39. There he stayed until the Avasi Scandal of 2931 rocked the foundations of ArcCorp. Allegations of corporate malfeasance and insider trading quickly decayed the land values of storefronts across the planet, allowing Clor the opportunity to not only secure a storefront in Area18, but also negotiate an incredibly favorable long-term lease.
Combining an emphasis on personal sales tactics with a fantastic location conveniently near the primary landing zone, Cubby Blast has become a name that weapon enthusiasts and security professionals throughout the empire have come to rely on. Inside, the shop offers a variety of personal weaponry as well as a diverse catalog of support weapons from combat knives to grenades. Defensive products are also available for purchase, as are an ever-changing catalog of military surplus supplies — from armored flak jackets to even replacement servos for Titan armor. Many customers are drawn to a handsome series of lighted displays that show off the best of what Cubby has to offer (more stock is kept elsewhere, with one or two of each model on display). Thanks to numerous industry connections, limited-edition models of weapons are frequently available fresh from the manufacturer; stocks of these are always extremely limited, and they are never offered via Spectrum.
While the store does not currently have room for a shooting gallery, Vee readily allows prospective buyers to activate and test the sights on their weapons in the store (technically a violation of local ordinances, though all parties involved leave well enough alone). He has also cultivated a reputation as someone who can, for a price, acquire special order rarities, often provided ‘no questions asked’ with newly produced papers. Plastered around the store are sigils bearing a “Best Prices in the ’Verse!” promise, although further investigation has revealed that there is no specific system of recourse for those who find the same weapons offered cheaper elsewhere. Note that, on the whole, these more questionable business practices are not specific to Cubby Blast, but are common throughout the defensive weapons industry.
Cubby Blast offers an illuminating experience for the aspiring entrepreneur as well as the eager first-time gun buyer. The look and feel of the store manages to strike a fine balance between embracing its colorful anti-establishment flavor and providing an informative shopping experience: for every disparate piece of cultural bric-a-brac (a shot-up Vanduul body target, the obsequious variations on the classic ‘Imperator Who?’ stickers and the like) there’s also a beautifully lit display offering the latest and greatest in handheld weapon technology. This balance has been so successful that rival companies such as Centermass apparently sent undercover employees to Cubby Blast to study the store’s layout in an attempt to replicate the flavor of the place. This led to Centermass’s somewhat disastrous Cathcart-themed sales campaign in 2941.
In 2943, a spectrum producer attempted to capitalize on the shop’s oddball reputation by creating a series tentatively titled “Blast Off!” A pilot was produced based around showcasing Vee’s eccentric personality and his knowledge of rare weapons desired by unusual customers. The production was ultimately not picked up and Vee blamed the failure on widespread public resistance to security weapons (an opinion he shares, loudly, with anyone who mentions the failed project within his hearing). Those who saw the pilot episode do not agree that it was sunk by politics, saying instead that Vee’s antics and the generally guarded nature of most customers just didn’t make for a compelling narrative. The end result of the project was an abundance of CUBBY BLAST-branded merchandise, produced by Vee in anticipation of the show’s success, which have been sold off at a huge discount and now frequently appear in ArcCorp thrift shops.
As the Cubby Blast name and reputation have spread, so have suggestions of expansion. It is a matter of public record that several fund management groups have made significant approaches, hoping to turn the business into a galaxy-wide themed showcase for arms and armor, but thus far, these have apparently been rebuffed. While Clor Vee has expressed interest in the potential for franchising his brand, he recently appeared on an underground spectrum broadcast and was quoted as saying “Yeah, the bigawans resen with Creds an all, but wa the Cubby Blast gon’ be widda the Vee.”