Canopus Station
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'Proof' Of Concept

Posted on Mon Mar 22nd, 2021 @ 10:42pm by Daihnaa & Bar'soon'fo'da'gree'nars
Edited on on Wed Apr 7th, 2021 @ 6:55pm

Mission: S2:3: Snow Drift

Bar'soon held up the loaf of freshly baked replicated bread to his ear, and gave it a squeeze. The crust broke with a hiss of steam and crackling, and steam arose scented with sweet poppy seeds. He turned his head to look upon the loaf, his fingers dig into the soft white dough, pulling it apart...

...And then he sighed and tossed it over his shoulder, to land on the floor beside the hundred other such discarded and disembowelled loaves. Sourdough, rye, marbled, wholemeal, white flour, rice flour: it was a mass grave of baked deliciousness that gave the Em-Bar-See a charming aroma.

"Oh computer!" he said, leaning forward to gave into the matter assembler longingly. "How many styles of bread are left to sample in your database?"

"78'871."

"Ooooh, sevens! My lucky number!" he rubbed his hands together. "Next!"

At this point, Daihnaa had started taking the half destroyed loaves and began to make furniture out of it. Chairs, couches and even a throne. However, she discovered that bread unless toasted makes for lousy furniture. "Mistah B! Can you make some toasted bread?" she asked.

"Huuum...after what happened last time, I think setting fire to the pyre of baked confections again will only lead to overly inquisitive station personnel. And whilst the Operations tech's were easily distracted by your naan dance, I do not think it will work twice," Bar'soon said, ripping open a pita bread and slipping his hand into it. "I think the B pile of baguettes, beignets and buns will be quite stale."

"Just what exactly in the name of avarice are you doing?" She asked as she tossed aside a loaf that he had similarly mutilated. "I made a deal, Mistah B and all you're doing is making bread."

"Making...bread? Making...BREAD?!"

Bar'soon stood, the split tin loaf of bread soaring into the air as he raised his hand sharply. In his other, he held a rustic French baguette, a thinner and more flour caked confection than the traditional stick of bread. A perfect baton shape.

"Making bread is done by the common clay, the salts that seed the earth and lay barren the very sod in which creativity grows. I make no bread, nor do I ferment yeast today Daihnaa. Today I am seeking glorious purpose! I am breathing in the Delphian vapours of this energy converted matter to gain keen insight into the- Oh dammit my stick broke," he whined as said loaf folded. He tossed it aside. "By repeating the same action, and altering one of the variables in it, I seek the very answer of clarity and sanity. This..."

He gestured to the piles of ruined bread.

"...this is a mandala of my mind at work," he hooked his arm and gestured it towards Daihnaa. "Care to wander through my mind?"

The Orion woman picked up a bread knife. "I'm going to make a sandwich of your mind in a minute if you replicate one more, then I'm going to sell it on the Medina as Delphinic prophecies," she promised him.

"Huum...I don't think I see a future in that," Bar'soon said after a few seconds of ruminating. He sighed theatrically and relaxed into a mountain of Cinnabon's that had congealed into a single iced desert the size of a bean bag chair. He took a handful of the cakey dough and fed it to himself, quietly imagining the voluptuous serving girl with the broken moral compass he would have had on his homeworld. "I am, as all great rulers before me, beset with the paralysis of options. I have the means to replicate all that I wish, without restrictions, and yet what use can I put it to? Unless I could somehow murder ever replicator on this station, thus leaving my own as the sole provider of vittles and wares, there is no power structure here. Every need is catered for! Every want neutered by sanitized holography!"

She dropped the bread knife and opted for a nice loaf of hardtack that even he hadn't been able to rend. With a smile, she whacked him over the head with it. "I have it! Computer, play random song about bread!"

The computer beeped, then began to play.

"Is this the song of your people?" Bar'soon asked, seeing stars along with song notes from his bread based training.

"No, I had the computer random play something," she said. "Just what the hell are you going to do, anyway?"

"You know...I'm not quite sure. Truly, when I was a Prince in waiting I had every whim catered to. I never had to...to perform labour in exchange for anything," Bar'soon wriggled as a shiver ran through him. "Urrgh! The very thought is enough to make my regal soul scream."

"So now you're bored and can only think to replicate bread," she said drolly. "I have a solution for that." She started grabbing all the molested rolls of bread and throwing them back into the recycler.

"My collection!" Bar'soon said, though he took no steps to stop her. It more a perfunctory declaration as the bread began to vanish into the sizzling maw of the matter reclamator chute.

"Enough of this," the Orion said. "Computer, replicate code Nine Alpha Six One Omega Four Echo."

The computer protested a bit but the codes she had gotten proved to be invaluable. It hummed and a greenish vine with red thorns appeared on it. She delicately pinched one end between her thumb and index finger and held it up. "This is what you need. Not bread."

Bar'soon peered over a horribly crushed tiger loaf he was holding like a teddy bear.

"What...what is that?" he asked.

"Orion Thorn," Daihnaa said as she brought it over to him. "Get rid of the bread."

The tiger bread.
He destroyed his delicate sesame seed crust.
Yes
YES
The tiger bread is thrown into the trash.

"It's a hallucinogenic plant which allows you to give post hypnotic suggestions to the user after they've taken it," she told him.

"OH! Recreational pharmacology! Why didn't you say so?" Bar'soon said with mock scorn in his voice. "Why I am something of a connoisseur of the fine chemical cornucopia of chemical concoctions. So how does one try it?"

He reached out for it.

"Is it imbibed? Infused? Steeped? Secret-OW!" he blurted as he jerked his long-fingered hand back, sucking on his thumb. "It's sharp thorny bite reminds me of a barfolian night sack."

"Donnnnnnnn't, you stupid sujuuet!" she cried as she saw what he did. "Well, shit."

"I don't feel any different," Bar'soon said after a moment, smacking his lips. "Though I taste mint. A sort of melancholy sensation at the back of my mind. And burnt toast, I don't know what that is but it's there as well. A sort of charred crumb to it."

"Act like a Targ," Daihnaa tried to see if the post hypnotic suggestion element in the hallucinogen even worked on him.

"Whats a Targ?" Bar'soon asked, the pupil of one eye beginning to go from fully blown to pin point the Thorns venom kept coming up with a 404 error code.

"Act like a human," she suggested as she watched him.

Nothing seemed to change, but then everything did change. His back straightened out of its lackadaisical slouch which he had been perfecting since early childhood. His face lost some of its expressiveness, though for a Shishimi it would be better to consider this sudden lack of animation a sign of a traumatic brain injury.

He then tutted to himself, with hands-on hips, looked at the floor and began to clean up the expressive mess he had made.

Maybe the rumours about people from another dimension weren't too far off the bat?

"Hikt sghip," the Orion woman muttered. "Either it works or you're doing a perfect parody of a human."

"Huum?" He said, taking the handful of bread back to the replicator. Even his words lacked the sing-song, listen-to-me, quality that seemed to be genetically hardwired into him. "What works?"

"He's like a meat puppet instead of a muppet," Daihnaa mused. "Amazing. Maybe we can play this up, Mista B..."

"If you say so," Bar'soon said cheerfully and tossed the bread into the replicators intake hopper.

"Hey, Boss, make me a Risan Sunset?" she asked to see if he would.

Bar'soon stood there, the eye's blinking asymmetrically.

"And how would I do that?" he said slowly, teasing the words out. Menial manual labour was not his thing.

"Nevermind, keep being human."

"Alright!" Bar'soon said, and went back to cleaning up the mess he had made. Meanwhile, somewhere deep inside Prince-Never-Was, a part of him was dying over and over again.

 

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