Survival Cucumber [TL 11]
Cucumis sativus machinatum
It remains, primarily, a cucumber: you can still eat them. However, should one find themselves trapped on a hostile planet that chews up machine technology and spits it out, then the Survival Cucumber is invaluable.
To begin with, it’s hyper-nutritious; one standard cucumber will support a human for two days. If the ends are cut off, it becomes an almost perfect water filtration device. A Survival Cucumber used as a filter can last about a man-week before it wears out; fortunately, Survival Cucumber vines can grow pretty much anywhere, and start providing new Cucumbers three days after planting. The vines are bioengineered to limit their own population growth, so no need to worry about runaway colonization.
But that’s not all. A Survival Cucumber is psionically sensitive to the ordered brain-patterns of the average TL11 spaceman; in practical terms this means that someone from that TL may more or less will the Cucumber to become as hard as oak. The Cucumber will not take any kind of edge, but once modified it can serve as a decent hammer, brace, or club. Furthermore; if psychically commanded to ‘dry’ it will swiftly shrivel into a desiccated form, perfect for starting small fires.
Finally: Survival Cucumbers are actually faintly acidic instead of alkaline. This means that someone can use one to generate a small electrical charge. It may seem like a trivial amount of energy to the primitives of the 21st century, but modern spacemen know how to most efficiently use whatever power comes their way.
How do they taste? Awful, of course. They are carefully calibrated to taste awful enough that the person consuming them will be desperate to find something better to eat. Interestingly, this is a common feature for many survival foods of the future.
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