The Fall of Terra #31: The Cooking House


30th December, 3899ad.

“As you can see, the recipe is running down the side of your holo-projection.”

The host chef, wearing whites as pristine as if she hadn’t cooked anything, stood behind the hob panel, stirring the meat in the shallow pan.  Every now and again, she would flip the meat over, licking her lips with her long tongue.

“So, shallow fry the Tocroo slice until it’s turning a nice and juicy blue.  Now, whilst that is going, you can prepare the vegetable side dish.”

She pulled out a glass bowl filled with the pristine vegetables she needed and picked out four of them, placed them gently on the chopping board.  She tapped a control on the board and a tiny laser cutter popped from the edge and quickly sliced the vegetables into small chunks.  Steaming slightly from the cutter, she popped them all into another pan and applied the heat.

“So we gently simmer the vegetables in the pan, adding a little Longberry juice and some strong herbs.  Of course, if you don’t have these exact ingredients, you can quite easily use others of a similar family group to keep the flavours similar.”

A man walks into the camera’s view and whispers in the chef’s ear, handing her a small digipad.

She stares at him in disbelief, but he nods insistently and then points to the digipad.

Her hands tremble, the food forgotten.

“My fellow chefs,” she said, her voice as unsteady as her hands.  “I have been asked to inform you, along with many other presenters and news readers across every channel.  The Prime Minister is about to make an address regarding an asteroid headed for Terra.  Please keep watching, and stay calm.  Goodbye, and… and… good luck.”

The hologram morphs into the head and shoulders of Prime Minister Conrad Joknass.  He looked far older than he should, his shoulders slumped, his hair greying quickly and thinning from stress.  He looked exhausted, his eyes looked like he had been crying, and when he talked they looked haunted.

“Good afternoon.  I…”

The PM choked, trying to force words out that wouldn’t come.

“I…  At oh-eight-hundred hours Navy time this morning, the government was made aware of an asteroid headed directly for Terra.  This asteroid is only seventy-five-percent smaller than Luna; if it hits the planet, it will destroy us.  We are talking an extinction-level event, the end of life on Earth.  A Navy battlegroup attempted to destroy it soon after it was discovered, but were unsuccessful, almost all of the ships destroyed.”

He stopped, composing himself as his bottom lip trembled.

“I hereby give the order to evacuate Terra.  Please do so in an orderly and calm fashion.  Anybody who owns a starship is to fill those vessels with as many people as you can.  Do not leave without filling your holds; the Navy will be doing the same.”

He sighed, straightening himself.

“I will remain here in London to oversee the evacuation.  We predict that the asteroid will hit Terra at Singapore.  If you are of a religious nature, I would suggest praying.  I must reiterate that we must all act in a calm and orderly fashion.  Violence will not be tolerated.  Goodbye… and good luck.

To us all.”

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