A Piece of Cake

It should have been simple enough for the mining bots. But, you know the English expression about cake? Maybe it doesn’t apply to kozunak.

The Easter-bread ingredients weren’t easy to come by. Glucose syrup and yeast cultures came from the bio-labs and could be had for a few favors, but I nearly had to sell my soul for lemon and vanilla. The closest thing to eggs and flour were protein and fiber feed-stocks for the food printers. Getting my robots to hollow out a small asteroid to act as an oven was easy, just very illegal. So was pressurizing the metallic asteroid and aiming a mining laser at it.

But it worked! Warm in the asteroid’s shell, the yeast started turning carbohydrates and oxygen into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The dough began to rise. I set the laser to increase its intensity over a 24-hour period, so the hot metal of the asteroid would bake the dough inside. Heated air could escape through a valve I had the robots drill at an angle, so the oven would spin in place rather than zoom off into deep space. After a day, I could have the robots bring the (now cool) oven into the station and crack it like an egg to get at the finished Easter bread.

It was all going well. I had had the physics of Easter bread all figured out, but biology is more complicated, and psychology is even worst.

I didn’t plan on the yeast growing as fast as it did. I really didn’t plan on Mendez noticing the hot rock and going to investigate. Why would he try to crack the oven open? And how could I have predicted his reaction to the dough when it came rushing out at him?

Long story short: no, alien life has not been discovered on the Ryugu Mining Station. Also, I’m coming home early. Happy Easter!

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