040 - The Factory Sightseeing Tour - Meat Chapter
“Um, Micah Corporation… This seems to be the place.”
My and Elma’s faces are probably making the same apprehensive expression right now. Cause, y’see, this Micah Corporation’s hydroponic farming facility is actually the spitting image of Sierra Corporation’s cultured meat processing facility…… The two of them both dealt with food products, so the designs of their facilities are identical. Is that it? Cause apart from the differences in signage, the facilities are practically twins.
“A-Anyway, let’s enter first.”
The three of us resigned ourselves in our hearts and entered beyond the facility’s front gate.
“Oh, so the interior is actually quite different.”
We still weren’t able to spot any other people apart from ourselves just like when we arrived at the meat plant, but unlike there, this hydroponic farm seemed far more brightly lit. Why the difference in illumination? The interior of this facility is evidently brighter and just looked more proper.
“Welcome, everyone. You’re the tour group led by Hiro-sama, are you not?”
The staff who welcomed us was a young lady who was a shining example of a normal company receptionist. She looked prim and proper in her uniform which resembled something worn by a stewardess. She was leagues better than the shady-looking male receptionist in that meat processing plant.
“I have been assigned as your guide for today’s tour. It has been a long time since we’ve had people visit us. The staff are really looking forward to– Um, what is it, dear guests?”
My face slightly cramped from the feeling of de ja vu. Mimi and Elma were probably feeling the same as me. The receptionist lady tilted her head in puzzlement at our reactions.
“Oh, uh, well, we just came from a tour of Sierra Corporation’s cultured meat processing facilities y’see. So, uh……”
“Ah…… That incomprehensible tour overflowing with weirdness, that really seems like someone’s bad joke gone terribly wrong…… No, although it’s bad manners to talk about others behind their backs, that kind of tour was a little bit too much, wasn’t it? We hired the same contractor to construct both our facilities, so that’s the reason why our buildings are so alike.”
The receptionist lady explained as she gave us a wry grin. It looks like she was quite familiar with that other company’s tour details.
“Please do not worry. I can guarantee that our company’s tour is a proper one. At the very least, it won’t cause our guest’s faces to turn all blue.”
The receptionist lady then gave us a sunny smile. Her smile managed to dispel the cloud of anxiety that had built up deep in our chests somewhat.
“We’re really counting on you……”
“Yes, please be at ease. You all will need to be sterilized before we start our tour. Please enter that door over there.”
The room the receptionist lady guided us to was something similar to the sterilization room found inside Sierra Corporation’s facility. Will white smoke go *pushuu inside here as well? Is that smoke even safe? I hope it doesn’t have any negative effects on the body or something. Well, the technology here is really advanced, so I guess there’s no need to worry… I hope?
We followed the instructions and walked out of the room after sterilization. What was waiting inside was not a freaky gondola, but a corridor with transparent glass walls serving as a barrier. It looks like we need to walk with our own feet to see the various sights during this tour.
“Uwah, it’s so bright.”
“Yeah, it is. It’s really similar to real daylight.”
“There’s an explanation here. Hm. It seems it’s a specialized light source which emits a wavelength that is more suitable for growing crops.”
“……So it’s like a sunlamp.”
I remember a certain game having a similar facility which allowed you to grow and harvest crops regardless of the season. I guess it uses up quite a bit of power, but with the technology in this world, I think they already have a variety of energy sources available. Even my Krishna boasts a power generator with ridiculous output that makes use of unknown tech.
“I wonder what kind of crops are those?”
“Hm? Yeah, I’m curious as well. They look like watercress.”
Watercress is often used as a garnish or side dish to things like steak after all. It seems they were raising crops that look really similar to watercress here.
“It says here that it’s a vegetable that’s high in nutrients. It has a bit of a sharp taste when eaten fresh. It’s one of the raw ingredients used in the contents of food cartridges, it seems.”
Elma read and relayed to us the contents of the explanation written on the glass partition. Fumu, I see. I heard that stuff like algae and krill-creatures were the main ingredients used in food cartridges, but I guess they use these vegetables as well.
The plants resembling watercress were taken care of by various robots; drones that flew around the vast cultivation area and robotic arms moving on rails stretched out all over the farm. It was almost completely automated.
While observing such a sight, we arrived at an area where a great number of circular pools were installed.
“Green-colored pools…… Algae?”
“It seems so. It’s an area specialized for growing the algae type used as one of the main ingredients in food cartridges.”
This area was also automated. Robot arms were harvesting the algae with nets. There were also ones that sprayed brown-colored powder on top of some of the pools.
“What is that brown powder? Fertilizer?”
“Let’s see…… Ugeh.”
“That’s made from domestic waste collected from starships, it seems.”
In other words, it’s those things that are solidified and turned into blocks. They not only consist of human waste but also garbage and wastewater from the bathrooms of the ships. Our ship also produces them, of course. And a waste collection company commissioned by the port administration office would regularly come to collect them.
“Well, it’s a classic case of recycling. Those came from people like us in the first place anyway.”
“Well, you’re right. But…”
“It feels a bit weird though.”
“Well, back on Earth, where I’m from, it was normal to use things like droppings for fertilizer. I think the use of human droppings has decreased compared to back in the past, but they would still make use of animal dung or the remains of seeds squeezed out of their oil. Things like that are quite common. They did use human excrement liberally in the far past though.”
In fact, the practice might still be going strong, but I haven’t seen an actual fertilizer pool anyway, so I really wouldn’t know. I’m not too familiar with agricultural stuff. The most I know are basic things.
“Fumu. As expected of someone who grew up on a backwater planet.”
“Don’t call it something like a backwater planet. It sounds weird. But it’s true that I think this world’s technology is extraordinarily advanced compared to where I’m from.”
As we discussed along the way, we managed to reach another pool area.
“It looks like this is the krill culturing area.”
“So it’s like a zooplankton culturing area. It seems domestic waste is being used as feed here.”
“Speaking of which, I think I heard something like that as well back in the cultured meat factory.”
“Well, we didn’t have the leeway to listen to the explanations given back there anyway……”
An image of a flesh-colored pool flashed in my head. It was followed by the image of factory workers with gleaming eyes, cutting out the meat of a tentacle monster the size of a train…… Yeah, it was a sight that would gradually grind your SAN points to dust. Maybe the reason we didn’t manage to remember most of the explanation was because our SAN points went critical.
We then came to an area that completely looked like an industrial factory next.
“Oh, this is where they put together the food cartridges.”
“It looks pretty rough.”
“They are putting all the raw materials together and throwing them all into the processing machine.”
The raw materials are sent via a conveyor belt to a processing machine and come out on the other side as a kind of paste.
“It’s ‘that stuff’, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is.”
“What the heck is ‘that stuff’ you two are going on about?”
“The local specialty of Alein Tertius colony……”
Elma displayed a look of pity after seeing our expressions. Fufu. I will never forget that appearance. Mimi gazed at the light-green paste with her empty-looking eyes. My eyes were probably looking the same – an expression devoid of emotion. Hahaha…
“That paste is further processed and stuffed into food cartridges, it seems.”
“Looks like it. And the auto-cooker processes it further and finally ends up on everyone’s stomachs.”
“It looks like the high-end cartridges aren’t made in this area.”
Just like Mimi said, the only things made here are ordinary food cartridges, it seems. High-end cartridges are five times more expensive compared to ordinary ones. The taste, while not five times more delicious, is easily twice as good as normal food cartridges.
“I kind of want to take a look at how they are making high-end cartridges. I guess there are more raw materials used on them, right?”
“I don’t think it’ll differ that much though.”
When we moved on, we found ourselves at a place that looked like a dining hall.
『『You can enjoy freshly prepared food from our quality food cartridges here! Automatic cookers from different makers affiliated with our company are waiting to serve you! Please enjoy them to the fullest! We also accept purchase consultations!』』
A signboard with these words written on it greeted us. It seems there really were auto-cookers from different manufacturers lined up inside. But there were none from the Tetsujin series though.
“I see. This part of the tour was well thought out.”
“They don’t have many visitors, it seems. Can they still make any profit?”
“Those who apply for this kind of tour are mostly rich folk, right? Auto-cookers are quite expensive. If they can manage to sell a few units every time, the commissions would be quite hefty.
I nodded and pressed the button on the wall which says『Press Here for Food Cartridges』. A live image of food cartridges being transported from the production line was displayed on the Holo Display together with realistic BGM. And presto! The cartridges came out from the wall along with flashy sound effects. It was quite interesting.
Mimi and Elma also tried it out. It seems there were several different combinations of BGM and live-video feeds being used. What they got to see were different than mine.
“This is fun.”
“It sure looks like something that would be really popular with kids.”
We walked towards the auto-cookers while giving out each of our impressions.
“Which auto-cooker brand should we choose?”
“Are their performances really that different from each other?”
“Why don’t we order the same menu from all of the brands and compare them?”
“That’s a great idea! Let’s do it.”
Thus, the three of us ordered omelet rice from a different brand. When they were done, we shared the food with each other and started comparing.
“Nm…… It does taste different, right?”
“Yes. The flavoring and textures are quite different from each other.”
“Let’s choose our favorite then… I personally prefer the one made by Kirsch Company.”
“I prefer the one by Murakumo Company.”
“I also like the one from Kirsch Company as well.”
By the way, the one produced by Shiimazu Company wasn’t that bad either. It was delicious enough.
“So the taste of the food really differs per brand huh. Each manufacturer has their own specialties, I guess.”
“That’s probably true.”
“It’s impossible to try everything.”
There may be brands that make more delicious curry rice, and there may be some which specialize in Japanese cuisine. Everything our Tetsujin makes is top class though. It isn’t a premium brand for nothing.
By the way, I tried ordering dessert pudding from the cooker made by Shiimazu Company, and it was excellent. As I thought, each maker had their own respective specialties.
“I guess rich people can buy multiple brands in order to enjoy each maker’s respective specialties, huh?”
“If one has a large enough space to install multiple cookers and the money to buy them, it would be a symbol of luxury.”
“But I think to buy a high-end machine like Tetsujin, that is able to prepare a wide variety of delicious dishes, is more economical and efficient.”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
In order to install multiple auto-cookers, you’ll need a very large space. In starships, living space is quite a valuable commodity. If one wants to get a large living space, one has to pay appropriate costs. In that case, installing a single high-end product like Mimi suggested is certainly more efficient and economical.
We drank some tea to wash down the food we ate and left the hydroponic farm afterward.
Elma was skipping excitedly along the way due to our next destination. Our next stop is a liquor manufacturing plant after all. Elma’s tension was increasing at a constant pace, with no signs of slowing down.
“I hope the next one is decent as well.”
“Yes. But I think it will probably be alright though.”
I and Mimi smile at each other as we watched Elma happily skipping about.
040 - The Factory Sightseeing Tour - Meat Chapter
Thanks for the chappu~
Thanks for the treat.
Thanks for the chapter!!
Reading about dropping and waste remind me of white coffee, but why many don’t like even tho it’s a good delicacy..
You made me think of Civet Coffee. Coffee eaten by a civet cat and then once they ‘dropped’ it, will be processed into ground coffee beans that will be sold for quite a luxurious price
You’ve never even been to earth get you label it as a backwater planet you disappointment elf? You insult out planet again and hell will befall you.
You’ve never even been to earth yet you label it as a backwater planet you disappointment elf? You insult out planet again and hell will befall you.