Book of Days: January 29, Journey to Oloin

When everything was shut down for the night, all the animals in their berths and all the passengers in the bunks, Figit liked to get a mug of hot chocolate and go to the observation deck. It wasn’t real chocolate, of course. Wasn’t even the powdered crap they used to sell in packages. Instead, it was a trick on the brain. Stimulate the right nerve-endings and water was whatever you wanted. Neat trick. Had been devastating for the beverage industry but gangbusters for the company that first made and marketed the tech. 

Figit didn’t remember a time before it, of course. They weren’t that old. But their grandparents talked about it often, like it had been a miracle invention and maybe it had. After all, the human race was good at partaking in things that were terrible for them, and drinking their weight in liquid sugar had apparently been one of those things. Figit figured they probably would have, too, the only way to get that taste had been with the unhealthy drinks, but those companies had gone out of business long before they were born, so they’d never really be sure. 

A friend of theirs had once found a recipe that was supposed to be one of those sugar-drinks, one whose scent-sip was always among the top five flavours. They’d mixed it up, carbonated water and all, but were certain they must have done something wrong. It had been so sweet they’d had to spit it out right away. They’d tried a few more, once they were braced for it, but in the end it all went into the recycler. If they’d been thinking, Figit would have saved some for their grandparents, but it might even have been too sweet for those who had grown up with it, if the changing flavour palette of the scent-sip made the taste better.

Figit had never had the chance to try real chocolate, not with the dairy farms also a thing of the past, but they’d tried some near enough once, and at least that they’d been able to drink the whole cup of that. They still preferred the scent-sip, maybe the familiarity or the consistency had something to do with it, but they could see the appeal of the real thing, even if there would have been no way to store enough varieties of food on the ship to accommodate every taste.

No, scent-sip had been a blessing there, too, once they’d managed to work out the same technology for food. Now everyone on the ship could eat whatever they wanted, as long as they accepted it looked like porridge. Most handled it well, though some of the more spoiled among them, those who had access to a variety of textures back on Earth, had complained at the start of the journey.

Maybe threatening to limit their wake time had been cruel, but Figit and the rest of the crew weren’t about to spend their duty shifts listening to spoiled brats who wanted everything to be like it had been back home. Nothing was ever going to be like that again, which was why they were all out here. The sooner they got that through their heads, the better. So a little threat, nothing serious and nothing outside the actions permissible by the contract, and the trip went better for everyone. Except maybe the complainers, if complaining was the thing that made them happy.

Figit took another sip of the hot chocolate, let the now lukewarm drink pour down their throat and closed their eyes. The trip wasn’t that far, in the grand scheme of things, and their duty shift was only a part of the greater journey. They could put up with a few spoiled brats. After all, it meant they’d survived.

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by | Jan 29, 2021