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Story 83

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Soylent Green

The B’tor’s booth is a metallic kaleidoscope of flashing lights and softly humming machinery. One of them extends an upper arm and waves you towards a food molecular reorganizer. You can’t deny the appeal of being able to enjoy a variety of fresh, nutritious meals onboard your ship. However, the unsettling truth about the protein source gives you pause.

Speaking your language perfectly, without any help from a universal translator, she asks, “Why don’t you at least give it a try?”

The interface has an option for your language, so you key in a bacon cheeseburger, fries, and a chocolate malt. In less than 5 minutes everything is ready and smells amazing. You get past your initial hesitancy and give it a try. It tastes great.

The B’tor continues, not only can it simulate nearly any food, but what you’re eating is actually nutritious. We may have faster than light travel and communication ansibles, but in many ways I consider this one of my people’s crowning achievements.

As you slurp from your chocolate malt, you really have to agree. You contemplate the moral dilemma of consuming something that contains a small percentage of protein derived from deceased B’tor, but the taste is so satisfying that you push those thoughts to the back of your mind.

“So how much are you asking?”

The male B’tor interjects, “2,000 credits and a couple of stands worth of slurry.”

“How about a stanyear’s worth of slurry and you install the machine?”

The male B’tor counters, “Six stands and we’ll install it in your ship’s galley.”

Do you accept the offer?

If you do, pay 2,000 credits and gain a fame point. The food molecular reorganizer does not take up any cargo space on your ship. You may also choose if you want to visit any other vendors in the flea market.