The Inquisitive Eater fed you three randomly chosen food related words; couscous, dough, and peas. One of our best responses was the science-fiction short by Eli Nunes.
Dr. Salma Azoulay leaned lightly against a small, circular window. Beyond it lay the dark void speckled with promises and possibilities. One sphere loomed larger than the rest. Home. When she saw it, she wanted to feel memories of her family smiling and laughing over a glass of wine and a bowl of couscous with butternut squash. She wanted to see the sun rise over Earth and to appreciate how few have held this miraculous view of their planet. She could not.
All Salma could see when she looked up were melting ice caps, receding forests, plagues, and starvation.
Climate change, deforestation, genetic homogenization of agriculture; there were eight billion people on Earth and with less food and space than ever before. Already, the average family fought to find enough wheat to make dough.
She turned her gaze downwards. Humanity’s resignation lay before her and it manifested in a final collaboration to build hope for the future. The International Agricultural Moon Base stretched out on either side of the window with its gray tunnels like fingers to the dozens of greenhouses it connected and served.
“Soon, Earth will not be able support our people,” Salma remembered the UN Secretary General’s address to her crew not a full week prior. “You and your team are our only hope. If there’s no life for us out there,” the Secretary pointed to the stars, “there’s no life for us anywhere.”
Salma turned away and left the window to tour the IAMB’s greenhouses for the umpteenth time that day. Since they had arrived on the moon and sown their first seeds, Salma had barely slept a wink. She was too anxious. Earth was a lost cause. Humanity’s future depended on her team proving they could farm on their moon base. If humanity had a future, it lay among the stars.
Greenhouse Alpha appeared as she had left it. Dozens of rows of three by ten foot soil planters lined the floor. Salma loathed the blank brown stuff. She used to love soil for all it magically produced. But after less than a week, she couldn’t stand its sight. Every granule of the artificially nutrient rich dirt was a testament that nothing had yet grown. She feared the unpunctuated brown was as barren as the planet it had come from. Limply, she placed her hands in her pockets and paced around the greenhouse, searching for any sign of hope. She thought of Earth as she ambled, glad the rest of her species lived blissfully unaware that the moon-crops were not yielding.
Salma stopped in her tracks. She almost couldn’t believe what she saw. A break in the brown. She collapsed to the floor and knelt by the infantile flora, caressing it with a finger.
“Peas!” Salma laughed with relief as tear rolled down her cheek.
Eli Nunes is a lover of science fiction in all forms and is excited to begin a journey of contributing to the science fiction community with his first publication “Migration”. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Political Science in 2011 and now works as a Sales Engineer for a small software company in Boston.