Food of the Gods

The cave-in saved his life. Casimer thanked various pantheons that the rocks had cut him off from enemy forces as he groaned and started unburying himself. He glanced ahead at Bobbi.

The blond crossed her arms.

“Little help?”

She rolled her eyes and shoved a few of the lighter boulders out of the way, grumbling the entire time.

“Some women would appreciate being pushed out of death’s pathway.”

“Some women aren’t paying you to sneak past Allied Forces and native parasites to get her the food of the gods.”

Casimer stumbled free of the rocks’ embrace. “Thanks. Now, we’ve got a few hours before they’ll be able to break through. Let’s do this.”

The narrow passage widened into a brightly lit chamber. Torches sputtered along the walls. Colorful glyphs showed the mythical animals of Ancient Earth. The far side of the cavern rose to a natural podium, upon which stood a small dark chest.

Bobbi inspected one of the painted quadrapeds, her fingers grazing the surface. “I can’t believe they hunted it to extinction. After all my research, they regarded it as the source of joy.”

As Casimer studied the pathway to the far side of the chamber, he nodded. “The one food that Ancient Earth prized above all others. The food that made them powerful enough to do anything. They devoured it all. Except for what’s in that container over there.  You eat that, you’ll be as powerful as the Ancients.”

He took out an instrument and scanned the ground. Several dark patches appeared. “That’s where the foot traffic was. No sweat on any other portion of the ground.” He stood and tiptoed a few paces. “I think it’s safe. The last trick might have been that cave-in.” His foot fell on one last step.

Poison darts shot from the sides of the cavern. They pierced his neck, his hand, several spots on his side. Casimer collapsed. He grunted, fighting for breath as his esophagus started swelling shut. “Hurry! The food’s my only hope!”

Bobbi nodded. “Fine. I need you alive to get out of here.” She followed in his footsteps and continued the pattern: one foot forward, two to the side, one foot forward.

Finally, the chest of ancient wood. The hinges didn’t even creak as she swung the lid open. She lifted up the sealed packet of dried meat and hurried back to Casimer’s side. Kneeling, she ripped open the packet and took out a strip and placed it in his mouth.

He chewed and swallowed. It didn’t help.

Bobbi shook her head. “It’s supposed to do anything! They worshipped it! Why isn’t it working? It has to work – it’s bacon!”

If all that people of the future knew about bacon was what we speak about it now, it could lead to some crazy legends…

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4 thoughts on “Food of the Gods

  1. Hardy har har. You wrote this as a tribute to Mike, didn’t you?!

    Hey, did you know there’s a book by H.G. Wells of the same name? Only it wasn’t about bacon. It was about a secret compound some guys come up with that makes everything become giant. Gave rise to a whole bunch of really crappy sci-fi films in the 60s and 70s.

    Anyway, this was fun, but one piece of honest criticism: Given that this is a society so far past the point where bacon is a known quantity, the mannerisms and flavor of speech for your characters is all too 21st century American. Take a page out of Vance’s book and give them some distinction. I think it would make the appearance of the bacon so much more… meaningful.

  2. Yes, this is prodded forth by Mike, but I’ve seen many more who have hailed bacon as ambrosial food.

    Since this is really just a joke, I’m not entirely sure I agree with your criticism in this case. In general, yes: alien worlds call for alien language. I’d like to think that I’ve done that in other stories, such as Crownless and Neither Dead, Nor. In this case, I wanted something short so no one would feel shortchanged by the abrupt ending. To facilitate quick bonding with the characters, I employed modern flippant language.

    I think this is something worth discussing, though. Other responses? At what point is “alien language” necessary, at what point is it good, and at what point does it get in the way?

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