WARNING! The following page contains spoilers for the lore and story of Worlds Adrift
It was fiercely hot even for Redusa that spring, and I remember how crowded the cloistra were. I was young and healthy, and I had many invitations from beautiful women to meet. But I couldn't accept them, I simply didn't have time.
My assignment, you see, took up near every waking minute. I was a cook. A really bad cook.
Every day l'd get up at dawn, wander blearily from the bunks into the kitchen, don my whites and get to preparation. By midnight l'd finished, was exhausted and went home to bed. I had one day off a week. when I'd just lie half—asleep in a cold bath.
The kitchen was attached to a busy restaurant named "The Crescent" at the foot of the Stalk. It could have been a fine task for some, working at a place of such high reputation, but I quickly realised I wasn't cut out for it.
My biggest problem was Hermonio, a chef that had been working there for thirty-five years. Every year, he turned down the annual offer of reassignment. He had loftier ambitions, he wanted to be better than Chef Molin - an unrealistic but impassioned dream. Cooking was his life, but to me it was just a job, and l was spudging things up or him.
Like everything else, the restaurant belonged to Sabor, but Hermonio let us know in no uncertain terms that it was his kitchen.
I was counting down the days to my reassignment. While I'd had some training on the job, I kept making horrible mistakes. There were a lot of youngsters there, a lot of inexperience. but I really stood out as a weak link. A dropped pan here, an overcooked fish there, mistakes with quantities. I was all over the place, living proof that our society's work distribution model was dysfunctional, and it made Hermonio furious.
Then one day it came to a head. i was peeling some ogballs, and I just couldn't get the technique right. I was scalping away half the vegetable with every stroke. Seeing red, Hermonio charged over to my worktop and slammed his cleaver down fowards my hand. Luckily, I flinched in time, and he only caught my little finger. I saw his face, and knew at once he was terrified of himself, and of what he had done. But he still managed give me an earful. I hurried away to the sink to wash and dressed my wound.
I was fit enough to carry on, and received only sympathy from the other chefs. Hermonio spent the rest of he evening ignoring me.
Finally, when it was time to go home to bed, he approached.
"Can we have a quick talk outside?" His voice wavered.
I remember nodding, and us slipping out to the herb garden, which was balmy in the moonlight. l could hear the crickets ticking in the desert beyond.
"The ogballs, inexcusable!" His lips flapped, "but my behaviour, inexcusable. Sorry."
For some reason I shrugged.
"I've been...ill," he continued, "not my body, no! I'm as fit as I've ever been. At my peak in fact. It's just-"
"-it's time?" I said.
"Yes," he sighed, "I have at most one summer to eclipse Molin, before I must hang up the ladle, and take to the rising place."
The frustration quivered upon his upper lip. I scratched my head.
"I'm sorry I've not been much help."
"Oh, don't worry. You're not the first," he smiled briefly.
He looked around as if to make sure we were alone.
"I shouldn't say this, but I don't want to rise. I don't want to until I've done what I set out to do."
"You don't have to rise," I said. "You know I do. I'm not famous enough, I won't be allowed to carry on. They'll exile me - a Pilipus with not a bean to my name."