Saturday, June 11, 2011

100 Avast; What Do Aliens Eat: Part II…

What do Aliens Eat: 100 Years Avast Pt 2 Solomon © 2011
Dear Friends,
Now imagine that our intrepid travelers, generations two and three of the original crew (they now deceased) have arrived and landed upon Gliese 581d, that big rocky world bathed in an oxygen rich atmosphere and titanic oceans. They are recognizably Human Beings, but mutated en-route from conception by human tech to protect their tissues from the ravages of interstellar radiation, as well as by the radiation, itself. Some odd things have popped up in their genomes. The latest generation has some of their minion now enhanced with chloroplast-like organelles with fruity organs blossoming from their ears to turn the inescapable cosmic rays into energy. They are truly Human but  also truly alien. Mostly Human, but partly a vegetable that had never grown on the home world that their grandparents departed. These individuals have never know Earth.
Nonetheless, they are essentially Human. Thus, upon arrival at their new home in the sky, a primary question is, “what’s to eat?” These folks have never tasted anything but flesh grown in petri dishes, dry flakes of lab-grown broccoli, carrots and such mixed with water purified from urine and feces, and a gruel constituted from Krill nurtured in tanks full aforesaid wastes. These folks are hungry.
Alas, the only apparent edibles on land are mainly various mossy plants that smell like puke, and hard, woody trees. There are some many varieties of insect-like critters. They are found to possess exoskeletons so sturdy that they require hours to butcher with expensive tools better used to maintain the spacecraft. Worse, when their flesh is finally exposed, it is revealed in the lab to contain cyanide. The “terrestrial” creatures on Gliese 581d have apparently evolved from a primordial species whose metabolism utilized cyanide rather than potassium or sodium to mediate its well-being. But, for a Human, to eat their flesh would be to die.
Fortunately, this new world is eighty-percent ocean. It’s horribly salty and presents a strange fragrance of vinegar by its shores. Still, the waters are so vast and ancient that a remarkable ecosphere has therein evolved. After much trawling on improvised rafts with nets crafted from the fabric of pressure suits no longer needed by the deceased first generation, three fauna are identified as edible. There is also a tasty sea-weed flora near shore. It would be quite suitable on a sushi plate, if anybody remembered how to make sushi.
What our Off-Worlders do remember how to do is boil and fry. That’s how most of the gunk that they’ve eaten since coming out of the incubarium was made savory, or at least palatable.
First, close to the surface of the Great Ocean are a sort of bacteria, but a very large bacteria. Each prokayote-type cell is as large as a dime. They fry up nice and are tasty when shredded into a frothy drink of purified urine. Better yet, are the larger jellyfish-like beings; the so-named Jello. They are genetically close to their bacterial kin, but have learned the trick of colony living. They are essentially lipid bags containing a somewhat more developed form of their apparent ancestors, all living and in communication within the floating bag that they communally create. They communicate through florescence. They are quite a treat when topped with the aforementioned vegetable crumbs and baked (after hours soaking to get rid of that vinegar odor) as the residual bluish light emitted from their bodies adds a certain romance to any dinner.
Then, there’s the top of the food-chain. In this case, it’s the bottom of the food-chain. In an ocean, food falls down. Prey comes from below. The Off Worlders call this species the Big Hairy Worm. That’s sort of what it is. It is basically a six meter long alimentary canal outfitted with flipper like, uh, flippers. But, there are no bones in this beast. The Big Hairy Worm just squirms its way through the deep, flapping the, uh, flippers by taking in gulps of smelly, salty water. It has always got it’s non-existent jaws open (it has no jaws) and lets the those big bacteria and the Jello breathe through it’s savage gut to be emitted moments later in bits from the rear end. It has swiped the nutrients from its neighbors and provided nutrients for its next prey.
It is best prepared after a week of soaking in sodium bicarbonate, thorough washing, followed by a shave. Then a marination for several hours in whatever you have handy. In the case of our fearless crew, a lot of grandmother’s cologne, smuggled onboard forty years, worked fine. A crew member with profound intestinal fortitude then slices the beast into fillies, bakes it, fries it, and adds more of the crummy vegetable powder and some of that salty sea-weedy stuff as a garnish. Mighty fine dining 20 light years from a place that the diner cannot even detect in the sky on a clear night by an ocean big enough to swallow two Earths!
Hic Finis Est