Meet Joe the maintenance tech. He is not especially important to the story, but he is exemplary, just a guy who got caught up in stupid stuff not even because it seemed like a good idea at the time, but because Stuff went Wrong for him, and someone offered to make it better, and delivered.
Joe is in his 30s (Solveig calls him "middle aged", showing that she's very young), red-haired, short and wiry, and dresses as if Grunge was already in fashion. He is a certified life support system maintenance tech, and if that sounds like a glorified janitor, consider that he's certified for large space installations. That makes him one of the select few trained in Terrania, and since 1979 he has worked on Venus, on the Moon, and in Antarctica (which, apart from the mostly breathable air is less habitable than Mars). In 1982 he signed on for five years with the Mars Terraforming Project to keep the habitats running. He was promised a promotion, so he would be allowed to take his wife and two-going-on-three children. However, after he signed, no one remembered that promise, no promotion was in sight, and the thought of being separated from his family for five years made Joe throw in his lot with Seller's Free Mars folks. He does not hold with their ideas and thinks they are a bunch of weirdoes, but they brought his family over weeks after he joined, earning Free Mars his conditional loyalty.
Despite having a low opinion on Free Mars' sense and sanity, their ideas have started seeping into Joe's mind: He considers the original design ideas of the habitats (that heat, air, water and accommodation should be available free of charge to everyone) absurd. But maybe he's just practical: While there might always be work for a life support tech, on an installation systematically sabotaged for ideological reasons, everybody needs their life support systems maintained -- whatever the cost.
Still, Joe is a kind man. And of all the characters in the story he is (IIRC) the only one who we see giving away something for nothing.
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