I shrugged. "We're still a tank farm. We buy 'em and store 'em and later we'll all get rich selling 'em back for a profit."
"Even when they cut the water ration?"
"There'll be a way. We're in the future business. Now get out of here and let me finish my recreational farming."
Don smirked at my euphemism, but withheld comment. He ducked out, leaving me alone to my "recreation"... and my worries.
After clearing a clump of gelatinized algae from the input ports, I climbed onto one of the catwalk longerons rimming the pond and turned on the bubbler. The air began to fill with tiny superoxygenated green droplets.
I took a leap and sailed across the huge chamber to alight near the exit hatch. There I stowed my waders and looked around the greenhouse to make sure it was ready.
In the ten years I've been living in tanks I doubt I've ever entered or left one without blinking at least once in awe. The hatch was at one end of a metal cylinder as long as a ten-story building is tall, with the diameter of a small house. The walls were stiffened with aluminum baffles which once kept a hundred tons of liquid hydrogen from sloshing under high stress. That ribwork now held my greenhouse ponds.
The former hydrogen tank had a volume of over fifty thousand cubic feet. It, and its brothers, were just about the largest things ever put into space. And this one was all mine -- my own huge garden to putter around in during off-duty hours, growing new types of spaceadapted algae and yeasts.
I passed through the yard-wide hatch into the intertank area between the two main section of the External Tank. In the middle the intertank was only four feet across. The hatch closed.