Apart from Earth, the only place in Sol system in which people can work under the open sky without pressure suits is on the surface of Titan. This world, the largest of the moons of Saturn, has a nitrogen atmosphere with a surface pressure of 1.6 Standard. However, the surface temperature is -180°C and so heated suits are required.
Titan is larger than the planet Mercury and almost as big as Mars. Most of its surface is made up of water ices, stained in pastel shades of pink and yellow by light organics, with large darkened regions of long-chain hydrocarbons. There are large lakes and small seas of methane dotted with ethanebergs across much of the moon and a constant rain of hydrocarbons through the methane mists from the orange, smog-stained sky.
The largest colony on any planetary body except for Mars and Luna is situated on the edge of Arges Terra, a high plateau of water ice the size of Australia. This is Titan City, a community of 20 000 or so that grew up as an extension of the Cyrax scientific outpost on the moon. There are still many planetary scientists present, working towards understanding the enigmatic moon, but they are now vastly outnumbered by industrial workers.
The main industry of Titan is nitrogen production. The combination of Saturn's position high in Sol's gravity well and the low gravity and dense atmosphere of Titan make the export of atmospheric gases and reaction mass from the moon economically favourable. There are large-scale distilleries at several points on Arges Terra, liquifying nitrogen for transfer to the many habitats of the belt. The moon has a single beanstalk, which is tethered just outside Titan City; the synchronous terminal is Huygens.
Titan is often considered to be just an outpost of the Belt, but this is far from true. Although many of the industrial facilities on Titan are owned by various Belt factions, no external group has outright control of Titan City. The mining of the moon and construction of new towns is coordinated by the Titan Supervisory Authority. Titan City itself is a free city.
Control of Titan is seen as a major prize by the Belter factions, and by the Praesidium. The orbital space over the moon is cluttered with warships and weapons platforms, both Belter and Terran. In Titan City and Huygens there is constant frenzied activity by diplomats and memeers, a whirlwind of politics and propaganda. Behind this facade, PraeSec, the CDS, Argus, ISIS and a dozen minor players engage in an unending duel whose weapons are blackmail, espionage, sabotage and assassination. The Supervisory Authority is careful to preserve the status-quo, sometimes making use of Stasis, its own secret police.
The future of Ad Astra