“This is such a giddy experience!” Quilx’tch said as he darted around the side of the towering vat of super-heated fluid.
The massive cylinder was rated to produce pressures and temperatures most often associated with gas giant planets and the base security officer had nearly had a moral breakdown when the board of directors had affirmed its use as a common cooking device on the base. The young Shatar male had had to be sent home to his mother with a case of nervous twitching that left the base medic deeply puzzled.
Personally Quilx’tch didn’t see what the fuss was all about. Yes, the machine did pose the very tiny possibility of exploding with the force of a low grade excavation charge, but the device was safety certified by the mechanical engineers on dozens of different planets. It was a bit disconcerting to think that the environmental pressures on the human homeworld were such that the need to exterminate all micro-organisms completely outweighed the threat of an exploding kitchen appliance. Quilx’tch secured the drip-cloak over his head again, fretting a little at the decreased visibility it left him with.
“There is so much to see!” he exclaimed as he walked out to the edge of the table his friend had set up.
The human, broad and powerful even by human standards gave a companionable laugh at that but didn’t turn his binocular vision away from the pressure readout on the device. His drip-cloak only selectively covered the greater area of his front and was completely opaque. He had opted for clear safety glasses and thermal resistant gloves for his hands but left the larger part of his arms and face bare. It was either a bold move, disregarding his personal safety, or a completely confident statement of faith in the manufacture and upkeep of the highly pressurized appliance they were using.
Quilx’tch took this moment of relative calm to cast his gaze around the rest of the festival grounds. This early in the diurnal cycle the majority of the booths were still being set up. There was a group of Shatar clustered around the powerful body of an older female sorting out various congealed fruit pods. Quilx’tch tapped out a quick note to purchase a selection of the smaller pods, clearly marked for Shatar hatchlings. They did look delectable.
A mid-sized human strolled past the cluster of Grandchildren and Quilx’tch enjoyed the sudden shift in perspective as the Shatar, so much larger than himself, suddenly appeared small and fragile. Even the age roughened Grandmother with her shoulders thickened from years of work seemed delicate as the human strolled by carrying a massive polystructure support pipe on her shoulder.
“Perspective is a funny thing,” Quilx’tch quoted softly as he watched the younger Shatar flap their frills in astonishment.
“Here come my first customers!” the human said suddenly. “They messaged ahead for their order. We need about fifteen slices of toast.”
Quilx’tch darted over to the solar oven and began placing the slices of bread on the toasting surface. The device worked quite quickly and he was already turning over the first toasted side by the time the laughing group of humans arrived and exchanged greetings with the booth. Quilx’tch’s human friend opened the pressure device with a flourish that sent giant clouds of heated steam drifting up to the top of the booth and out into the general atmosphere.
“There you go!” the human called out as he carefully began scooping bright orange orbs from the interior of the device. “Fresh from the fifteenth century in England!”
“I doubt that they used a pressure cooker in the fourteen hundreds!” one of the group laughed.
The chatter continued as Quilx’tch wished that he could listen. The concept of valuing the antiquity and history of the recipe was a fairly easy to understand paradigm. Anything that survived that many generations of the natural change of life in a recognizable form was bound to have some value. However from what he could gather the humans were talking about two distinct eras separated by at least twenty reproductive generations as if they were the same. It was curious, but he could not divert attention away from finishing the presentation of the toast that was to be the base of the meal.
His human friend was using his body position and joint vectors to broadcast that he was now applying the art of food preparation rather than the science as he garnished the orange orbs with a green topper of sugar make to look like a leaf. The group of humans applauded in appreciation and Quilx’tch quickly rolled his trolley piled high with toast over to the front of the stall.
One of the humans gasped and one crooned.
“He’s wearing itty-bitty oven mitt on his itty-bitty paws!” one human exclaimed.
Another human drive his elbow into the ribs of the human who had spoken with enough force to eject air from the human’s lungs. Quilx’tch wondered what about the legally required protective gear the human found cute but was too busy arranging the toast to really ponder it. Oddly he could see the enthusiasm draining from the human’s faces as they considered the offering.
“Tiny oranges on toast?” one human finally demanded. “You said he was selling meat!”
“These are meat!” Quilx’tch’s friend declared.
Quilx’tch could hear the amusement in his voice and one of the purchase group was very noticeably smirking. Clearly they were engaged in that favorite human pastime, pulling one over on one’s friends. With a flourish Quilx’tch’s human friend reached out with a small knife and slit the orange orbs open, revealing the pink, pasty interior.
“It’s meat!” one human exclaimed.
“Weird!” and whispered as he leaned forward to peer at the false orange.
Quilx’tch rather agreed with the assessment, that is why he was here to gather data on this rare and odd human delicacy. Barring any lethal explosions he hopped to have a very interesting paper published about fruit made of meat in the next journal entry.
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Hey! The books are moving well on Amazon and now have 56 reviews and ratings! If you bought the book and enjoyed it, it would really help me out if you leave a quick star rating on Amazon. A review would be great but just stars would be a huge boost *****!
QUICK NOTE: RE: everyone who asked. The book is avaliable in Amazon regions US-UK-DE-FR-ES-IT-NL-JP-BR-CA-MX-AU-IN. HOWEVER The above link only takes you to the US Amazon site. The one indicated by the .com ending. If it says "not avaliable in your country" that just means that you need to click over to your Amazon region.
Of course if you want a signed first edition you can email me at the email on my website and I can ship you a signed Author copy of the first edition for the same price as the crowdfunding campaign $35 domestic and $50 overseas. I'll do that until I run out of extra books.