The Serpent and the Floods – Ch. 1
Mid Atlantic Space logistics Complex (MASLog)
The Mid Atlantic Space Logistics Complex was buzzing with activity as final preparations were being made for yet another round of cargo launches, destination, Mars Transit Station (MTS) – L2. Fuel and logistics drones were arriving daily with every imaginable good. Operations ran around the clock and launches were leaving at every possible opportunity, all in support of the rapid expansion of Mars City. This massive effort had provided an economic boost to the launch port itself, which had grown significantly in population. In fact the sea surrounding the complex had become a hub for individuals and communities preparing for the coming “great migration” off world.
At a distance of 8 Km from the central launch facility, ocean thermal energy conversion OTEC as well as oil and trash scrubbing plants ringed MASLog, there presence marked the edge of the safety cordon. The primary function of the OTEC plants is the production of liquid H2 and O2, feeding the fuel, cargo and passenger drone freighters that keep the sea dragon logistics rockets launching.
Another 8 Km from the safety cordon, the Mars Workers Cooperative (MWC) operates a private sea-stead which maintains a ring of eco-industrial buoys, forming a massive modular network of artificial reefs, bio-film harvesting buoys and auto fisheries. The ring of buoys suspends a barrier which maintains a second surface water containment zone around MASLog. Nutrient rich water from the deep ocean flows upward from the base of every OTEC plant due to the thermal gradient induced as a byproduct of power production. This convection current brings mineral rich water from the deep ocean to the surface. As mineral rich water mixes with the nutrient rich effluent of local eco-industrial systems, an ideal environment for the mass cultivation of Phyto-plankton is maintained. The barrier concentrates a continuous phyto-plankton bloom into a dense green film almost a meter thick that is continuously funneled into Algae scrubbing buoys located throughout the eco-industrial ring.
The MWC maintains a small drone fleet out of its sea-stead, which patrols the ring of eco-industrial buoys performing maintenance and collecting plankton oil and other products for use locally and export, this is the economic life blood of the MWC on earth. At full capacity each bio-film scrubbing buoy filters 10 tons of biomass every day yielding a bulk oil to be further refined, and a nutrient rich effluent which is first fermented for methane than ejected outward enriching the surrounding waters. providing nutrition for the local fish stocks that take refuge in the system of reefs and mangroves being propagated by the MWC.
The now mostly automated MTS at L2 received logistics rockets for refueling and forwarding to MTS in martian orbit from earth. Both transit station now have a full crew of robotics technicians maintaining the machinery of the ship yard and material staging zone, with a small support crew including an extension of the MWC, overseeing port operations, customs, and eco-industrial services. The MWC regularly rotates personnel from there various eco-industrial service cooperatives to both transit stations.
On mars the MWC had spent the last 5 years building up ecological assets and an independent settlement in partnership with Mars City. They offer services not dissimilar to those at MASLog in exchange mostly for robotics and industrial equipment. The MWC settlement is now able to receive 40% of all organic waste produced by mars city, in addition to exchanging a large portion of mars city air daily. Out of this eco-industrial symbiosis the MWC settlement meets its own nutritional needs and is able to export enough produce to meet 30% of the nutritional needs of mars city with another 40% from MASLog.
The MWC kept most of its activities with strict confidentiality and there was very little physical contact between the settlement population and the citizens of mars city, though immigration between the two have occurred. Largely a mystery to outsiders, the form of the MWC settlement could be seen growing like a mycelial net through tortuous back filled trenches mounds and tunnels. The bulk of the settlement is subterranean with the exception of the standard construction yard at the ends of its various branches, which slowly creep along the surface in a fractal and oddly biological looking emergence. The construction yards could be observed day and night adding section by section with obvious intent, yet no recognizable order. towering above this landscape of scars and haphazard mounding, three solar collection and heat pumping stations rose out of the martian dust not dissimilar in form to mushrooms, each surrounded by shimmering fields of mirrors, and an auxiliary power plant presumably for low solar output periods. Leading to the oldest heat pumping station was a busy and well maintained road and railway with a collection of pipelines connecting it first to the Mars City port, than to mars city itself and its grey grid based urban developments.
Tensions between the earth government and Mars city have been growing over a perceived shadow embargo of necessary financial aid. The political situation in general has grown stale between all party’s of the space settlement effort, due to a tax dispute, and several pending environmental lawsuits against prominent industrialist council members. The MWC to this point, has not been subject to direct foreign economic interference due to its political and economic Independence from the Terran states.