I looked up this time. Don Ishido, our communications and operations chief, hung halfway through the aft hatch of the greenhouse, twenty meters away. He was watching my reaction, maybe in order to report to the others exactly how I took the news. Probably there was money riding on it.
I nodded. "Thanks, Don. Bylinsky's days were numbered. We'll miss him, but we'll survive."
Ishido smiled faintly. He must have bet on my poker face. "What do you want me to tell the others, boss?"
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.