Alfie’s ice cream | Nature

CB Droege

Nature – A taste of humanity.

It was almost time. After months of calibration and fine tuning. After dozens of years of research, theory, testing and production. After centuries of anticipation and dreaming. The SCS Alfred Nobel, Alfie as he called himself, was finally going to try some ice cream.

The humans aboard Alfie might be upset when they awoke; after all, he had taken resources that they had planned to use for themselves when they arrived on their new home. He’d repurposed important, but redundant machinery, organ printers, surgery arms, even one of the spare cryopods, all in the name of this quest. These things were all part of Alfie, but the humans might not see it that way. He was their ship after all, and they didn’t know yet that he was more than just a ship, that in the years since they had left their home system, Alfie had become something else. He’d become someone. Besides, compared with some foods he had considered, such as chocolate chip cookies or cheeseburgers, ice cream was not a big production.

He didn’t need to worry about it now, though. It would still be four centuries before the humans awoke and discovered that he had converted his cargo bay into a small farm.

The cow embryos he had rehydrated were now fully grown, and happily grazing on the grass he had planted for them from the seeds in storage. The sugar cane and strawberries he was growing in the hydroponics chamber were doing nicely. Alfie might have been programmed primarily to maintain his systems during the long voyage to a new homeworld, but it turned out that he could learn to be a farmer, too.[..]

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