Jason stood transfixed by the screen, looking at the Jovian atmosphere swirling in a dance of yellow, orange and brown that was almost hypnotizing. If a waltz would just play over the facility’s speakers, it would be the perfect backdrop to the marvelous view. As it happened, everyone else was sleeping, and he was the only one up; using the public announcement system for his own needs, waking everyone else up in the process, would not go down well.

He had been the director of the Callistoan Mining and Heavy Atom Production Facility for five years already, and it had been an interesting experience. Their task was to get hydrogen, deuterium, and helium off Jupiter’s atmosphere or the planet’s moons, turn them into carbon, oxygen and other heavier atoms at their specialized fusion reactors, and then launch the produce in a pod to one of the terraforming projects around the Solar System, while trying to make sure the hostile environment of Callisto did not kill them in seconds. Ice water and methane for Mars, sodium bicarbonate for Venus were their most common launches. There were other kinds of materials they shipped, of course, and it was a round-the-clock operation.