It's the first time we've been out past Jupiter with anything sort of military presence. Show the flag, impress the natives, keep the United Martian States and the Asteroid Belt Confederation from getting too much influence. Hell, even Venus is getting in the act; the Duchy of Maxwell sent out a corvette that just happened to arrive at the same time as us.
I understand the political posturing, but I'm not sure about the economic benefit. The whole Saturn system only has about a million people living in it. Enceladus has less than thirty thousand. Sure, we can get gasses out of Saturn easier than Jupiter, but we're really moving away from xenon and argon as ion fuel and xenon freezes out of Saturn's upper atmosphere anyway. Helium three is still a good commodity, but when you factor in the transport cost -- amortized over the increased travel time -- I'm not sure it's really that much cheaper to pull gas out from Saturn than from Jupiter.
I suppose we can sell stuff to the natives. Lower priced industrial goods than the Belters, but probably not as good. Might not matter much; some of these old colony domes and tunnels are pretty threadbare. Cheap is all they can afford.
To me, that part doesn't matter. I'm not in it for the money; I joined up for the travel. To stand near Damascus Sulcus at the southern pole of Enceladus and see the water vapor rising like a fine blue mist across the splendor of Saturn -- that's worth the trip right there. So of course, I volunteered to lead the surface team. I just wished the natives didn't smell bad. I mean the whole moon is basically water. You'd think they could take a bath.
Lt. Cmdr Steven Gautam, X.O. HSN Arcturus, Personal Journal, 12 August 2498
Hesperian Dominate Goodwill Tour
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