On Earth, you can never be too rich. On Mars, you can never have too much air. On Arrakis, “He who controls the spice, has it made.” You won’t hear it spoken of openly around here, but the available oxygen generation/regeneration stations are each controlled by a different faction. When the Council meets and decisions are made – each faction eyes the other with some suspicion, but knowing that they at least have their own oxygen supply.
You’ll find that people hoard it. Got an extra suit tank? Stick it under your bunk, just in case. Lay hands on a rogue regen unit? Plenty of room outside, where you can grab it when you need it. Even full tanks for ‘bugs have been known to walk off.
How important is this stuff? Cross the wrong person and you may wake up in the morning and find the pressure door to your cabin sealed and the emergency atmo cutoff engaged. Quite the negotiation tactic.
News of this kind of stuff doesn’t make it back to Earth, of course. We still need those shipments of choco bars, chips and of course, fresh Chorizo. Wouldn’t do to upset the Earthies, though new arrivals go through a bit of “re-orientation” you might say.
When someone arrives who’d expecting a return trip, well. We keep ‘m in the dark. The smart ones eventually figure out that something is going on, and the real smart ones keep it to themselves.
Yeah, there’s a lot of horse trading that goes on. The hydo farms need waste CO2 to keep the plants growing so mostly the peace is kept, but we keep our eyes on each other. Yet a Marsy can go a long time without food, a few days without water. Yet, how long can you hold your breath?
Yeah, that’s why air is money here.