[Historical Farm] Mystery Cake and Moonshine
Sunday 1st January 2017
Summary: First Contact gives the farm a reason to celebrate amidst the gloom of the post-atomic depression
Notes: Written for melliyna. Star Trek Fusion.
"5th April 2063 was a date never to be forgotten," Peter said, as he pulled on his boots. "First Contact with another species." As he headed outside he joined Alex, who came across the yard to join him. "On 6th April Europe woke up to the news. With very little cause for celebration for years, this of course meant a party."
"We never need an excuse for a party," Alex put in and they both chuckled.
"The one thing that was never hard to get hold of, even after the war, was alcohol."
"Some things in Britain never change," Alex commented.
Peter nodded. "But since it's a special occasion, we're going to pep it up a bit."
Peter and Alex entered their shed, where'd they'd spent the year so far making their own beer. The shelves at one end held metal cans of various sizes, with tubes going between them. Around the shed were shelves of bottles, some empty, some holding already made beer. Cardboard boxes on the floor contained the ingredients they needed to brew the beer. Just the smell in there was enough to get you merry.
Peter and Alex had grown used to it enough that it didn't affect them, but they still didn't get much work done that day.
"Every party needs food." Ruth was in the kitchen, standing behind the table, upon which were an array of different foods. The flour looked ordinary enough, but the eggs were small, the carrots were thin and stringy, and the butter looked more brown than yellow.
"Food has been the biggest problem, with the soil still irradiated. The precious 'clean' soil in greenhouses grows food that's too expensive for most people to buy. Fortunately the literature of the time gives lots of ideas to make what food you do have go further." Ruth held up her now-antique electronic device that still worked, and held many recipes and other household tips. "And, most importantly, how to make a decent cake."
She started by weighing out the flour and sugar. "Home baking was enjoying a bit of craze in the mid 22nd century," she said as she stirred in some fruit. "People tried adding pretty much anything they could get their hands on. Which made cakes interesting, if not not necessarily tasty. But it was amazing what people tried to get their vegetables to grow big and strong." She paused for a moment. "I don't think Peter's singing is helping ours much."
"We brought you something for the party." Alex and Peter entered the dining room, where Ruth had just finished setting the table. Peter passed Ruth a short, fat, clear bottle with no label. There was a brownness to the contents, but beyond that it would have impossible to tell what it was if she hadn't known where the boys had spent most of the day. She unscrewed the lid to sniff at it and recoiled, blinking. "Woah."
"Careful," Alex warned, belatedly. "It might be a bit strong."
"Might be?" She made a face as she replaced the lid. "It smells like 100% proof."
"I don't think it's quite that alcoholic," Alex said, not sound sure about that.
Ruth ignored him. "I think we should dilute it with something."
"Anything other than water will taste terrible," Peter said. After a look from Ruth he headed to the kitchen, while she placed the bottle in the centre of the table.
"This all looks good," Alex said, sitting in his usual place. "What sort of cake is it?"
"Mystery cake," Ruth replied, taking the chair in the centre. "It's made with whatever I could get hold of. Guessing its contents is one of the games played at parties in this era."
"I am happy to taste plenty so I can beat Alex," Peter said, returning with a jug.
Ruth rolled her eyes at him, but he ignored her to pour them all a drink, with a healthy dose of water in their glasses. Alex passed round the bread and butter that had become their staple diet, while Ruth cut the cake.
"The other reason for a celebration," Alex began with the history lesson, "was the idea that the Vulcans would solve all our radiation problems."
"But in fact," Peter took up the tale, "they'd been watching us kill each other and the planet for years and had no intention of getting involved to that extent."
"The hope is what was important, at first," Ruth said. "It was a long struggle back to normality and people needed something to keep them going."
"To the Vulcans." Peter held up his glass and the other two chinked theirs against it. After a sip, they all coughed.
"I think we might have made that a bit strong, Peter," Alex rasped.
"I don't know what you're talking about." But Peter's voice was no better.
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