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19 August 2015 @ 05:32 am
_Project Dystopia_ part 6  
 

Ebsa cleared his throat. "People who did not grow up eating only fabbed stuff often prefer the sort of food they grew up eating. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but they out number you. By a very large margin. So, you two know the turnoff routine for the fabs? Please demonstrate."

Their lifetime familiarity made it a snap. Their faces shown clear and bright, for the first time.

"You guys are good with equipment. Watch what the works crew do on the move. This is something you'll need to know, eventually."

Then he made them help uncrate the chest freezer for the moving crew, assemble both large and small work tables, set up the two ten liter coffee machines, run water through them, then grind the beans and brew the first pot.

All with the work crew, and Chief Ocho, hovering.

The first pot lasted minutes. A stunned Rye ground more beans while Woofie fetched water.

"But Ebsa! It’s isn't very good!" she hissed.

"Again, it's what you're used to." He grinned. "I'll show you two the old fashioned way to make bread, as soon as you've got that pot going."

The yeasty odors had them backing away in horror. But he made them punch the dough down twice, and form sandwich rolls. In between they were relieved to be able to deal with vat meat.

"Which is also a form of yeast, by the way. Genetically engineered to produce the muscle proteins of several types of animals. And the edible bits of fruit and vegetables."

Seasoning the meat products and roasting it was something they were familiar with.

"Friday dinner, mother always made a roast." Rye pounced on the cutter and dialed it for thin slices. "So, sandwiches on your disgusting bread?"

"Yep. We'll do paper plates again. Then I'll talk to Wxxo about the garbage. Maybe a fire pit for reducing the sheer volume of it." Ebsa grinned at their aghast expressions. "Now, let's assembly line this process. Rye, check the coffee makers, and make sure they're full. Wfne, lay out a double row of paper plates and I'll start slicing the rolls."

They were well ahead by the time people started showing up and started grabbing plates.

The vegetarians took one look and took themselves off to the vendos.

They finished with half a dozen extra rolls. Ebsa told them load their own . . . "Oh fine, go hit the vendos. Kids these days! Take a break. Check back in two hours." He spotted Paer hovering, and loaded the rest of the rolls, in case of more latecomers, grabbed two and abandoned the kitchen for an empty table.

Paer plunked down two cups of coffee. "This is my third cup. All Hail the Chef!"

"Magical black elixir of life." Ebsa inhaled, and sipped. "I never did get over to the Aide Station. You have much staff over there?"

She shook her head, and looked exasperated. "Dr. Atly, Haad, who is the clerk, and me, who does everything else, including mopping the floors. I have to work to not sound like your helpers."

Ebsa snickered. "City kids. Non-cooking parents. They grew up eating nothing but fabbed food, or something from a vendo that was probably also fabbed. Well, they admitted to eating vat meat sometimes. They think all this stuff I make tastes nasty, and can't believe anyone actually prefers it."

"That . . . explains a lot."

"Indeed. Fortunately they both want to be camp managers, so this is a 'learning field kitchen management' assignment, not the beginning of a cooking career. Sort of like mopping. No spell for that?"

She blushed. "Well, I do have a cleaning spell I use."

"Good. I guess the budget couldn't stretch to a janitor . . . how many people are here?"

"You make it a hundred and twenty-five. The Directorate's got twenty researchers on site, with staff, looking for causes and trying to date the cataclysm, and biologists wanting see how the surviving plants and animals have evolved. Three universities have pooled resources, they've got forty people, about half archeologists and half slave labor—that's a joke, they call themselves that. The University physicists and astronomers have gone home. Then Wxxo's got a clerk, Chief Ocho and his crews, us three in Medical, and Action Leader Iqgu with two full teams and an aide. And now a Mess Chief and two cooks."

"Just two teams? That's a lot a fence to cover."

"Well, Ocho's got eight people as well, plus all the sensors and so forth. It would be overkill if the bugs just didn't get so big."

Ebsa hunched his shoulders. "That anti-chitin spell worked really well. Nobody mentioned that the local spiders got as big as my hand."

Paer bit her lip . . . "Umm, actually they get a whole lot larger."

"A whole lot? Oh, man, that's, umm. Well. It's not like I'm afraid of them or anything."

The corners of her mouth tucked in. "They're only extremely dangerous right after they hatch. After they've had a couple of meals, they settle down and don't attack things our size unless we annoy them."

"Oh . . . " Ebsa hunted for a change of subject. "So . . . to be taken seriously you're going to have to go to medical school, aren't you?"

"Yeah. But I like the field work. And . . . I want children . . . "

She was blushing, meeting his eyes, then glancing down. Smiling. Ebsa suspected he was grinning like a loon and tried to damp it down.

He took a deep breath . . . paused . . . common sense flooded back in, even as he reached across the table to take her hands. "Paer . . . you can do anything. You can do everything. But you can't do it all at once. What order do you want to do things in?"

"I know. And children and field work don't mix, unless I store them away like Nighthawk, and I don't think Oners are ready for that."

"Medical School is supposed to be really tough. Time consuming and exhausting." Ebsa hesitated. "Good training for motherhood? Or . . .more field work after, then motherhood?"

"It's hell being sensible, isn't it? I didn't mean to blurt that out. I mean, we could wait another ten years and then Dad'll be leaving office and I don't have to worry about a scandal . . . But ten years?"

Ebsa swallowed. Brave. Be Brave. "Well, somebody's got to be the first to do the weird time bubble things with their kids." Dry swallow. "Paer . . . "

 
 
 
(Anonymous) on August 19th, 2015 03:05 pm (UTC)
He's going to ask!

Except you left a cliffhanger so now I'm betting on a giant spider attack, or aliens, or the kitchen exploding... Hehe.
matapampamuphoff on August 19th, 2015 11:44 pm (UTC)
Oooo! I hadn't thought about the tykes burning down the kitchen. I shall have to ponder this development.
hollybambolo on August 19th, 2015 09:31 pm (UTC)
Well, Ebsa's armed with Wine of the Gods, so we just need some events, and do Oners do shotgun weddings?
matapampamuphoff on August 19th, 2015 11:47 pm (UTC)
Tsk! They are both very well aware of the political climate. There will be no accidents, orgies, or shotguns involved in their (eventual) nuptials.
hollybambolo on August 20th, 2015 04:53 pm (UTC)
"But, but, but he's a Closey! She's a 216! He can't be the father!!!"
matapampamuphoff on August 20th, 2015 06:35 pm (UTC)
So how long is it going to take the Conclave to make a decision? Ebsa, like Ajha, has all twelve insertion packets. Mind you, I doubt Paer's going to wait for them. The wedding will be quite the media circus. Will they tough it out, or give up and elope? Then everyone can debate Warriors or Wine, when Paer gets pregnant.

And outrage over treating the baby like a pet--kept in a no-time bubble when inconvenient!!!!!
matapampamuphoff on August 20th, 2015 06:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, and then there's Ebsa's mother's reaction to the engagement. I'm having fun with her reaction to the occasional paparazzi pix.

From their senior year:

The call from his mother woke him at three in the morning.

"Ebsa! You cannot marry a Princess! And I will not have a scandal in the family! My poor innocent son! Being taken advantage of by that, that, High Oner!"

"Mom! I am not being taken advantage of, and as for a scandal, I'm the bastard son of a bastard mother. Dunno about grandmother, but I sure don't remember ever hearing about a great grandfather."

"Ebsa Clostuone Castillos Montevideo! How dare you say something like that to your own mother!"

"Umm, Mom? What's the problem?" Ebsa levered himself out of bed.

"What's the problem! What's the problem! I get up to punch down the rolls and what do I see on the news! I see my little boy, my only child! Being waylaid and kissed by that predatory woman!"

Ebsa reached for his comp, popped up a news site . . .

"Umm, Mom, Paer isn't predatory. She's a good friend."

. . . and there it was. A video of him and Paer talking, laughing, a spontaneous happy kiss . . .

"Friend!"

"Don't worry, Mom. When I pop the question, I'll let you know."

"Oh! My heart! You are breaking my heart!"

"More likely your bread."

"The rolls!" Click.

Ebsa moaned and pulled the blanket over his head.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on August 20th, 2015 02:10 am (UTC)
But if they damage the fabbers they will have to eat Spiders (Ebsa having been trained by Ahja).

Perhaps a flour or custard powder dust explosion ?

(bread from scratch means flour).


If every Baen associate did a dust explosion it could catch on like killing Joe Buckley. (Wen Spencer has already done it.


Little Egret in Walton-on-Thames
matapampamuphoff on August 20th, 2015 03:02 am (UTC)
You know, I'll bet an ultra fine ground pseudo wheat flour fresh from the fab would be perfect for, I mean _unfortunately_ highly flammable when suspended in air. A frying pan with oil in it, left too long on a hot stove . . .