I wrote this to demonstrate that the wise choices may not always be the most popular. But learning to say no can benefit us all.
For the good of mankind
Explorers were rare on the tropical planet of Delia. For one, it was several light years from anywhere. Second, only Earth had so far developed the types of trans-galaxy transportation quick enough to get there within two light years. Also, the planet was a fraction of Earth’s size; hardly worth wasting rocket fuel on according to most alien species.
But humans knew better. They knew that every planet was worth visiting. And ever since the first expedition had uncovered planet Delia’s alcoholic fruit trees, successive tours had tried and failed to come up with their secret, returning with hangovers and not much else.
The frustrating thing was the fruits weren’t dissimilar to those on earth. But the taste was. The oranges tasted like the sweetest vodka and orange and the bananas were like an instant banana daiquiri, and they had the same effect. Yet no amount of studying could determine how they came into being. They were too perishable to be preserved and planting the seeds back on Earth had proved, for want of a better word, fruitless. The plants just did not grow. Therefore, the people back home thought the idea of alcoholic fruit was a cruel tease.
The leader of the current expedition hated the humidity and constant heat of the planet. He spent most of the time sampling the fruit, growing ever more intoxicated. Marcel Page, a biologist, was the only one of the party who was teetotal. He was the one member of the group who could write coherent musings without the obvious distractions.
The humans were not the only ones who spent much of their time on the island drunk. The natives were little better. While the visitors made camp at one of the villages in the heart of the forest, Page came across one native that refrained from eating the fruit – instead drinking rain water and eating leaves.
The native welcomed the opportunity to spend time with a coherent human. And, during their sarcastic remarks on the drunkards, Page found out that the special soil was the key to growing the fruit. If it could be replicated then alcoholic fruit would be within arm’s length for billions of people on Earth. Page spent the rest of the trip – three days was all the human system could take of the humidity and heat – gathering soil samples and testing them, something previous expeditions inexplicably failed to do. The soil contained special properties never seen before on Earth.
On the way back to Earth, while the others slept off hangovers, he wrote in his diary: The secret of alcoholic fruit lies in the combination of weather and the unique atmospheric conditions, conditions we’ll never be able to replicate. It was the only option. If this came to Earth fruit would become the most popular food on the planet, sloth the most popular pastime.
He tossed the soil down a waste chute, sending it cascading into the void; for the good of mankind.