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The Wind at my Back, Stars at my feet Chapter (Cover Art)

Chapter 30 - The Wind at my Back, Stars at my feet[]

The Wreck of the CBS Exsanguine
You never know what you might find if you look hard enough...

Engineer's mate Lin Ham Phuc721 didn't mind showing the dirtyfeet the basics, after all, every Rockjack is descended from someone who was born in the Well. She had a specific target in mind, letting the boys look for the bombs, she was thinking crosswise.

To wit: central environmental.

"What is in these?"

"Sludge." she said, "Tanks look intact, valves undamaged...sludge, graywater, and the process-and-reclamation gear."

"The sewer??"

"Cooked sewage is valuable." she said, "Biomass is, anyway. You mix it with powdered rockdust and a few soil samples from a living planet, and you've got starter-soil for crops and fresh air." she tapped a tank, registering the resonance. "I'd say around twenty thousand liters here of prime Rokkajakkah trade bait, enough to start two or three small stakes. mix in with some nice regolith on a quarter gravity moon and in a few months with the right seed? bumper crops, fresh O2 and food. you need this."

"The sewage?"

"The sewage." she affirmed. "Long term survival says you'll need fresh food and vegetables, get the right lamps and you can grow everything from grain to watermelons. Set up in a big enough burrow and you can even have livestock for meat, you never have to risk your ass going to a planet again."

"You do not like going to planets?"

She chuckled, "Not if I can help it. Don't get me wrong, I'm a brave soul, I did a full four year tour of surface duty on a planet, but it was uncomfortable and I'm glad as hell I don't have to do that again. Give me bulkheads I can seal and a few meters of stone for a roof and I'm happy, none of this endless, featureless blue sky where you can only see the stars at night-uh-uh, no way. I like my weather pre-planned and controllable, none of that random 'the life system is trying to kill you' crap."

She pulled out a set of magnetic tags, "Anyway, check the systems, and mark the ones that look intact, you'll want to come back here for this...and for the bodies."

"To bury them? this is a suitable-"

"No, you want the bodies because bodies contain biomass, you can ash them first and mix it with minerals into water for hydroponic systems, which keeps your plants healthy if you do the mixing right, and lets these brave souls rest knowing they're still protecting their people. Earthies liked to write poems about the 'cycle of life' but out here? we practice it because if you don't you die. every one of those dessicated bodies we passed? is enough fertilizer to grow enough food for a family of two for six months to a year, longer if they do the enzyme and mineral balances right. it's the seed to turn a barren hole in an asteroic into a garden that will sustain a growing population."

She sighed, "and besides, the dead aren't using those bodies but, they can still serve their kin. diggit? Plant the man, eat the grain. There's bio-cultures we'll need to grab from Haven, but this here? this is good news for your collective long-term survival."

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