Conspiracy to use large numbers of big air compressors to compress and store all the earth's atmosphere. Conspirators are humans, fairly near future. Serialized in Analog SF/SF, probably late 1960s. Author, title if anyone knows - thanks. Read the second installment when it was published. Would like to read all of it.
This is Earth, Air, Fire and Water by Stephen Nemeth and William Walling. It was done as a three part serial in the February, March and April 1974 issues of Analog.
I found a link to a scanned first couple of pages and the main character is named Volpone, which I remembered.
Alex Volpone sighed. “Leonard, Leonard, there are no sure things in this’precarious world. It has to be an excellent bet, a clean, tremendously efficient innovation in mass transit, tucked neatly out of sight subsurface, providing aircraft speeds, near-foolproof safety, and gravity compensated acceleration-deceleration passenger comfort.
“You’ve watched the model work, listened to Dr. Seymour’s pitch on the compressor equipment
we’re to build. Can you ask more than CompAir’s chance to participate in such a gigantic enterprise?”
“If the horse is allowed to run,” maintained Colo doggedly. “And if young Seymour’s blue sky approach proves feasible in this, the real world.”