(Timeline of Newer York stories here. Like what you're reading? Consider becoming a patron!)


A bakery in Ellis Ring C1...

"What is that smell?"

"What smell?"

"That sort of...I dunno...burnt smell that's everywhere?"

"You mean...coffee?"

"Wait...you people still have coffee? On Earth, we thought coffee was extinct for centuries!"

"The founders made a point of bringing seeds along. Apparently, it took quite a lot of experimentation to get it to grow right hydroponically."

"Wait...didn't I read somewhere that y'all barely had food the first few years of the trip?"

A vigorously nod, "Yes, that's right. There were several accidents and mistakes made in the first decade that meant lean eating. There's all kinds of rumors to this day about how they managed to stretch the rations. The standard denial of the wildest of those rumors is a reminder that human flesh isn't kosher."

The Earther snorted. "Well, soylent green is..."

"Yes, we still remember that one, too. Both the movie and the original Harry Harrison novel it was based on. It's part of the Canon."

"I actually didn't know where the phrase came from, now that I think about it! But...the Canon? You added old movies to the Bible?"

The Newer Yorker laughed out loud. "Sometimes it seems like that, but no. It's just that the Founders realized we were making it up as we went a long--nobody'd ever done anything like this. So they studied a lot of things people wrote and filmed speculating about different human futures, good and bad. It's not really a religious canon, but some people study and argue about it the same way the rabbis do their stuff."

"You know, I knew this place was going to be...different. I came here knowing that, right? But...that's just weird. And so's the whole coffee thing. I mean, they were having trouble growing food, and they kept coffee around?"

The Newer York looked at his new Earther friend like he had grown an extra head. "It's...coffee! The drink of life! The bean that expands consciousness! The holy elixir! That which wakens! It is known!"

Every Newer Yorker in the line adopted a perfectly straight face and intoned, as if on cue, "It is known!"

A pause for a moment. Perhaps three.

"This place is definitely weirder than I was ready for."