Today we get to see our fictional ICA colony at around day 500 as a great discovery is revealed to our cast and crew.
But before you click read more, please help us out by visiting the Gearstorm kickstarter page or sharing it’s link around. We’re hoping to strap on the rocket-boosters the game needs to become its best.
If you’re knew to the Gearstorm series, I’d encourage you to start at the beginning with The Last Day at the ICA story.
Anyway, on to the show!
This is a short story sequel to Short: We don't believe in reincarnation in the ICA colony series of stories.
Please know that this this is not a cannon start to the game.
Sergeant Major Tiberius Gunther Reiner smelled something. Something, amazing...
As he was a 2-year-old clone on an alien world, new experiences were par for the course. Still, the new smell was so unique, so unknown, and so alluring, he had to set down his wrench. Rolling out from under the armored flatbed truck, Reiner's foot knocked over a stack of 3D-printed replacement parts. He grabbed a towel from here it hung on the truck's side, stuck on a set of three-foot long clawed gashes in the truck's armor. He wiped off his hands and left the garage.
Reiner followed his nose as he walked across the newly-paved inner courtyard of the ICA's home base. A dozen feet away, the door to the medical log cabin opened up as Doctor Julia emerged. Her head raised as she sniffed the air.
"What's that heavenly smell?" she asked.
Reiner looked around, then pointed across the courtyard at a barrel-contained fire out front of the dining hall and food-synth building. "Looks like Doctor Harvey's doing something," he said.
Julia smiled at him and put her arm in his as they walked over. Reaching Harvey, Rainer saw that their chief of agriculture had filled a metal barrel with a wood fire, covered it with a grate, and was burning an entire Apollydeer over the blaze.
"If you cook it they will come," Harvey said smugly, brushing a sweet smelling brown sauce over the roasting herbivore.
"You're cooking?" Reiner asked. He knew about cooking, it was part of his skill map, but he'd never seen the point of doing so when he could just cram everything into the nutrient machine.
"Why are you cooking?" Julia asked. "What's wrong with nutrient paste? This looks so...slow and work-intensive. What if you ruin it?"
Harvey put down his bowl of sauce and raised a dark brown eyebrow at them. "Have you never had real food? Not nutrient paste, but something that can't be sucked through a straw?"
"No," Reiner and Julia said at the same time.
"I was raised on tubes and paste," Reiner added. "We all were. What's so great about cooking?"
"If the smell can't convince you," Harvey said, shrugging. "Just wait till it's on your plate."
"Haha, what's so great about plates?" Reiner said, since he ate from paste pouches every day.
"You'll see, come back at dinner time."
Two hours later, Reiner finished repairing the torn out transmission on the armored flatbed. He quickly cleaned up and made his way to the long log cabin everyone at base slurped their meals at. There was already a crowd. The ICA colony numbered twenty people now, and it was taking Reiner some getting used to.
"Hey there brother," Gunther said as he approached. Gunther, aka Reiner 2, threw an arm around Reiner 1's shoulder. "Are you ready for this?"
"I think." Reiner 1 said, and smiled at his 'brother' Gunther. It was hella weird having a clone so they'd decided to pretend they were brothers to make things less awkward. Reiner thanked his own laid-back nature that Reiner 2 had been cool going by their shared middle name: Gunther. In a perverse twist of name preference, Reiner knew that the third him was going to get their first name. He guessed that number 4 would just be screwed, or maybe saved, and have to make up his own damn name.
"Come and get it!" Harvey said, banging on a metal sheet. "Plates are there, barbecued space deer is here. Roast tubers are there. It's all HOT, I know that's a novelty kids, so don't burn your mouths. And no hands! I have forks and knives here!"
Reiner winced at Harvey's "kids" comment. Their agricultural scientist somehow had a bevy of memories from his original, age 76. This encouraged doc Harvey to act like an old man sometimes and gave him years of context to draw from as opposed to Reiner's 500 days of real-life experience. As the only code-R clone, Harvey liked to call everyone else "the kids".
Reiner's resentment vanished when it was his turn to get food though. Whatever his thoughts on the countless advantages and perfections of nutrient paste were, they were drowned out by the growl of his stomach. It made a convincing argument. He carved off a couple pounds of meat from the fat leg of Apollydeer with newfound eagerness.
Loading up on the brown starchy roast tubers as well, Reiner made his way into the dining hall. The inside was an eating room filled mostly by a single long table and chairs. In the back was an open area in which the nutrient paste machine's output nozzle came in through the wall. Despite living on paste, they'd started making a routine of having everyone not on guard duty eat together, to help foster a sense of family.
Julia stood up once everyone was seated, causing silence to drop over the room.
"Thanks, everyone. Today we welcome Sato 2 to our group," Julia pointed at burly Japanese man sitting next to an identical version of himself. Both were wearing powered armor with the helmets off for dinner. Both had hard-set eyes and black hair. Cracking smiles, they waved in sync with each other. Reiner caught Julia's groan.
"And they both want to go by Sato," she said. "Apparently the original Sato had a twin. So... let's all make the Sato twins feel welcome."
There were laughs and a round of clapping at that. Unable to tell them apart, the nearby table neighbors just pounded the backs of both Satos in camaraderie.
When Harvey cleared his throat, everyone stopped laughing to stare at their plates in drooling anticipation.
"And today Harvey has insisted on cooking dinner for all of us," Julia said.
"So dig in!" Harvey said, interrupting. Julia frowned, but let it go. The dining room was silent save for the clink of 3D-printed metal forks on their newly printed plates. Reiner raised a steaming piece of deer to his mouth and bit down. A flavor unlike he'd ever had exploded into his mouth. He never knew that one could enjoy the texture of food, the chewiness and sweetness enhancing the meaty, fatty deliciousness.
"Wow, Harvey..." Gunther said in awe.
Reiner nodded in agreement, too busy shoveling huge morsels into his mouth to talk. He cast a glance at the nutrient paste machine in the corner and knew there was no going back.
Leaning over to Julia, he said, "We're gonna need a cook next."
If you’d like more Gearstorm shorts, then just click the Gearstorm tag and it’ll bring up everything. Same goes for the short stories tab if you just want to check out more of my fiction and such.