These crops are coming along nicely.
I take this moment, ignoring the persistent ding of a message, to enjoy balls of various colors floating in the center of the huge recreational deck. A different algae mix bloom inside each ball:
Blue-green-black. (Not the harmful black, my assisting AI reassured me.)
Yellow-orange-red. (Not the harmful red, either. We have a reputation to maintain.)
My favorite orb of algae today is the indigo and pink of a trending mix that will bring in the most money. Yep, I could stare at their beautiful contrast of colors all cycle. What dims my appreciation are thoughts of how people need all these tiny plants. I won’t sell to Earth plastics makers. They cater entirely to the resource-hoarding elite. These balls of algae are food for lunar refugees. Even my profit-maker will fuel humans.
What’s the message? I think to the implant beside my ear.
A voice dips and curves in an old European accent. I recognize the client’s voice well enough without an ID from my assisting AI. “We were notified of an obstruction in our pool orbital weeks back. Have you taken care of that? We plan to vacay in a week.”
She’s the owner of the orbital under my grip, ready to climb out of Earth’s atmosphere to float in her micro-g pool.
I sigh. A week is more than enough time to harvest what’s grown, but I hate watching my secret greenhouses shut down to transform back into playhouses. In place of these hypnotic balls of color, the client expects plain water for swimming.
The elite can remake their personal bubbles however they want. They could easily help us all. But they refuse offers to multi-purpose their orbitals. No matter what the off-world property laws — those laws created by their kind — say, not everyone waits for their permission to make use of available resources. They leave their possessions thousands of kilometers above Earth attended only by robots, under the supervision of maintenance technicians. Like me.
This is my favorite orbital for growing. Plenty of water, because it was designed to hold the spherical pools. Central to the network of orbitals I’m hired to maintain, so I can push the harvested algae to a shipping orbital for cheap.
My favorite gets lonely. It wants to help the refugees in between “vacays”.
I glance at the robots waiting for instructions.
Time to clean up.