Gardens Of The Sun, Part Two, Chapter Five
The motor crew had worked up detailed plans for the exploration of Neptune and several of the dwarf planets at the edge of the Kuiper Belt, but after the expedition to the Pluto System returned to Miranda the Free Outers voted against further trips. Neptune's largest moon, Triton, was a highly promising piece of real estate, to be sure, but it had been comprehensively mapped by human visitors and robot probes, and at present Neptune was on the opposite side of the Solar System. There was no urgent need to go there just yet, and it would be a waste of resources and time better used to improve and expand the settlement on Miranda, and to equip the rest of the Free Outers' little fleet with the fast-fusion motor.
Newt Jones wasn't disheartened by the vote against further expeditions. In fact, he was energised by defeat, convinced that sooner rather than later he would be proven right. He worked long hours on the conversion programme, discussed refinements to the design of the motor with his crew of tech wizards. Macy Minnot returned to her work with the biome crew, tweaking and improving and enriching the habitat's ecosystem. And then, just sixty days after the expedition returned, everything changed.
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