An encyclopedia of Earth after The Exile

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Report 72.FDS.1100.3.a

In the reformation of society after exile, there were winners and there were losers. A few got really lucky – conveniently poised with equipment and resources that might have been valuable on Earth but were downright existential in space.

Enter Foodstuffs, an enterprise whose origin is fairly straightforward compared to most of our other subjects.

Before Exile Foodstuffs was a no-name contractor, fulfilling a mix of government and military contracts in orbit. They’d take ingredients (either purchased or seized, depending whose contract it was) from the planet, process them on the surface, and then ship them to a meager plant they’d established in orbit so that they could press out precise ration orders without wasting materials.

The efficiency of the operation was incredible but came at the expense of such trivial factors as taste, variety, and even the vague notion that food should appear edible at all. This bothered the military operation not at all since their attitude at the time was very much “aren’t you lucky to be here and have something to eat.”

The government contracts were a bit more demanding. As politics pushed into space, the politicians, less accustomed to being force fed, demanded a bit more from their meals. But in the dark days after Exile and before colonies, even the best of us had to adapt to those brownish bricks we’ve come to know and love.


Officially labelled “Foodstuffs Essential Mealbars,” these squarish, unbearably chewy bars are known across the galaxy as slabs. Slabs make up the majority of every ship’s mess, unless you’re frequently cruising between your beach home on Cairus (78.CAR) and your cloud palace on Shangri-La.

Hilariously, one slab provides about 80% of the average daily calorie requirement, ensuring that eating one of these extremely dense objects per day is both uncomfortable and insufficient.


The official name, “Foodstuffs Essential Hydrate,” never had a chance on this one. I don’t really enjoy reporting on this particular product because the functioning of our society largely relies on all of us doing our best to forget that we mostly drink piss water. If someone in this galaxy is offering you water and not asking for your ship in exchange, what they mean is space water and what that means is it’s made out of some horrible combination of noxious ice mined from floating space rocks in the belt combined with noxious piss mined from floating space people everywhere. I suppose, if you squint hard enough, you could use that pungent tin and copper taste imparted by the Foodstuffs’ patented “collection process” as a subtle reminder that we are all connected after all.

If you’ve got the money and a big enough ship it’s possible to buy your own Foodstuffs processing system for your ship. It’s not that it’s all that complicated of a process these days (having improved a lot since Exile) but instead the wide variety of chemical compounds you have to around in order to neutralize and strip all the inedible things determined to kill you. It’s usually easier for passenger ships to just pick up what they need at ports, since the amount of equipment necessary to process all the input would eat up more space and pay out less than a passenger can. However, once it’s installed, a ship can become functionally self-sufficient, as long as it’s got a decent scoop on it (they sell those too).


Now for something more interesting. Part of the pitch for the exorbitant cost of living on a colony is finally getting back to eating fresh, surface-produced food like a real human being. But what most colonists don’t know is that there’s nowhere near enough arable land being terraformed around the colonies to provide for the density of people they pack into those luxury palaces. Sure, all of them boast about a big plots of farmland during a sales flyover, but what really comes out of that land is the garnish and veneer needed to turn basic rations into “gourmet cuisine.”

The base product: slabs. A little less chewy, a little closer to food than rocks, but essentially the same product, sold under the name Eden Farms.

Warm air! Pristine sandy beaches! Cairus has everything you need to shake off the aching existential terror of spending your life in a cold metal box surrounded by poor people!
Report 78.CAR.1095.4.a

Foodstuffs Essentials logos and trademarks.
Foodstuffs Essentials Mealbars and packaging, better known as “slabs.”
Foodstuffs Essentials Hydrate and packaging, better know as reclaimed “space water.”
A rarer find: an Eden Farms automatic power spreader, used to distribute chemicals and fertilizers on their colony farms. I suspect this farmland is largely for show.