Monday, March 9, 2015

68. Moon Worms

Alcohol excreting, worm housed, symbiotic bacterial colonies, usually just called "moon worms", have been a bane for military discipline and a blessing for isolated communities and egos. A moon worm, bought and stored in a desiccated, inert state, becomes active (although always still) when placed in water. If sugars are mixed into the water, the worm's symbiotic bacteria colonies begin metabolizing sugar into alcohol. A worm can be added to any bottle, jug or canteen of water, mixed with locally available sources of sugar and flavoring, and produce an alcoholic drink.

The worms can be the genetically engineered larvae of several species, usually whichever the local ectogenesis labs have the genomes for. They host colonies of engineered symbiotic bacteria whose purpose it is to eat sugars and excrete alcohol. The worm is virtually invulnerable and immortal: when dehydrated it enters a stasis that can be maintained for almost a decade before actual death. The worms were first created on Earth, but the details were lost during the Fall. Some scum swarms claim they maintain gene-lines of worms a half-century old, but this is probably just advertising and local pride.

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