Monday, August 17, 2015

229. A Plan for Ceres

The Hidden Concern maintains a stranglehold on the extraction of water from the Hidden Sea to the surface 100km above, a grip granting them both wealth and control. The neo-octopus cartel has played their position into greater and greater degrees of wealth and control, becoming one of the wealthiest and most powerful groups in the system, and the masters of the dwarf planet. The neo-octopuses do not collect wealth and power for its own sake, they have a dream, a grand plan for Ceres.

The Hidden Concern intends to contain the entire dwarf planet within a greenhouse, raising the temperature, melting the ice, and creating an aquatic paradise for cetacean and octopus mercurials. Ceres will be contained within a translucent self-repairing bubble halfway between plastic wrap and denim. The bubble will be kept inflated by an Earth standard atmosphere, while preventing atmospheric escape due to Ceres' low gravity. Supplemented by a solar mirror, the bubble will be the basis for a greenhouse effect, melting the planet from the outside in. If all goes well, the result will be a tropical ocean more than 100km deep.

This endeavor is on the scale of the terraforming of Mars, and arguably more difficult. The Hidden Concern do not currently have a definitive plan for the creation of their atmosphere. Even if the atmosphere can be created, the length of time to melt even a portion of Ceres' massive ice sheet cannot be calculated with precision, but centuries is likely. The Hidden Concern are in a position to begin, but who can predict the next decade, let alone century?

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