Through the reinforced windows you can see a bright speck of light in the sky.
A research space station, one of the finest achievements of humankind. Space has been conquered. Living in it is trivial. Transportation seemed to hit a practical cap on speed just under 0.8c and even instantaneous teleportation over short distances was something under development.
And then, a mining digsite on a complete backwater moon of a gas giant in Epsilon Eridani hit on something new. Something completely off of the periodic table of elements that you're familiar with- and before it could be given a name, a proper name that wouldn't be easily confused with something else, some yahoo of a politician back on Earth called it plasma. And the name stuck, much to the scientific community's collective disappointment.
Plasma opened up all sorts of new advancements in technology- it's among the most energy-dense materials in existence, it bonds with organic compounds in interesting and new ways, and it has all kinds of potential uses.
Shipping plasma any significant distance for research would have taken over a decade, and that's not always practical. Besides, your corporate overlords wanted results, and they wanted them fast.
Humanity had constructed twelve large space stations outside near-Earth orbit prior to the massive undertaking that created the one you're now shipping to.
The ship awoke you from cryogenic stasis two days ago. And now the pilot, on final approach, makes an announcement. “We are now on final approach to Space Station 13. Please secure any and all belongings.”
You yawn, reach up to the hook above your berth, and detach the satchel from its resting place. In the next berth over, you hear a faint honking.
That sound has baffled you for the last two days. What's making the honking noises? And more importantly, why won't they stop? Forty-eight hours of nigh-uninterrupted mysterious honking can drive people mad.
Then the ship thumps against the station, and it rocks as the docking clamps engage.
From the berth behind you topples out... oh, Jesus. It's a fucking clown. She picks herself up, blinks, and then honks a horn at you.
Please, you think, please don't let the clown be part of the permanent staff.
And then you spy the clown's ID card. Chen Yakumo honks at you again.