Son of the Soil

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Guugel came out of his rest cycle slowly, his lone eye staring at the ceiling as he laid in his bed; the only noises he heard were the warm hum of the ship and the death rattle that was Kracker's snoring. The concept of bed was still so alien to him, and he would dwell on how artificial it all seemed when he came out of his rest state. In their own strange way, beds did have a tint of familiarity. Back home on Ottwa, his people would rest in the communal peat rooms. There they would slow down their bodies while lying upon the soft plants. Guugel did feel a twinge of familiarity and homesickness every time he woke up inside the crew bunks. He kept expecting to see the greenery of his youth. He continued to stare at the ceiling which loomed above him, a ceiling which seemed miles away, as far as he could tell at such an early hour. His mind wandered as he rested on his gigantic bunk in the cavernous room.

Most of the ship was gigantic to him. He wasn't quite sure how Marken handled it; Marken was just as small as he was. Whenever he was around Marken, Guugel would feel flashes of business-related panic; there would be worries of failure, and loss, and disappointment, with just a hint of sad longing. However, more overwhelming was the love of food and cooking. Guugel had always picked up on the subtle emotional vibrations of other beings. Then he learned to avoid them entirely because, most often, they would overwhelm him. He had made his choice to explore the stars... unusual for most Wot. He wouldn't let someone else's sad feelings spur him toward homesickness and self-doubt. He'd made his choice to leave the safety of Ottwa, and he was determined to see as much of the galaxy as he could.

The rest of his bunkmates were still asleep and actively dreaming as the wot prepared for his day. He would get small flashes of the abstract imagery of their dreams, but there were times where their meanings were unmistakable. He did not want to invade their dreams, but the dreams were adamant about invading his mind. As usual, Kracker's unconscious mind was flashing the energetic imagery of the Zero-G races; the dream felt almost lustful, as though he was opening up the throttle of a technically advanced racer, just like the ones he was always watching on the GIN. Kracker was addicted to racing and the pursuit of speed, as evidenced by most of his flying when he could get away from the pre-laid routes. Guugel turned to Dorian and noticed the young Grey was tossing fitfully as he recalled a sad memory involving a sibling. Guugel promptly tuned it out. All he had seen was the presence of three Grey children in a hallway. The oldest tried to talk to one who was grudgingly acknowledging him while, down the hall, the youngest was crying. Guugel felt this was Dorian, and promptly tried to flush the image from his mind. Most unusual was Dash, always Dash. Dash always understood Guugel and was one of the few individuals the Wot had met who could actually hear his conscious projections. As usual, though, Dash's dreams were indecipherable; the mental equivalent of static. Tonally, Guugel sensed conflict: rage, fear, but yet some tang of optimism? Puzzling.

Guugel began his day as he always did, with a few moments at his footlocker. He popped it open to inspect his collection of soils. As he traveled from planet to planet, he would take a sample and store it in the footlocker. His people had an intimate connection with the soil. The weary Wot dug through his small bags of earth, looking for one he hadn't tried in a while. He spied Poenva. He unsealed the bag and poured some of the grit into his hand. Poenva's soil was fairly acrid. It wasn't entirely unpleasant though, as the planet was full of life and aged stone. It felt old, and old soil was always of the most comfort. In a way, he just needed that pick-me-up.

Soil still in hand, Guugel sealed up the Poenva bag, set it back into the footlocker, and shut it. He took a moment to make sure he didn't wake any of his coworkers and made his way to the fresher. Along the way he spotted the robot, Blu, jumping from seat to seat in the living area. The small robot paused for a second and waved. Guugel nodded back.

Despite the energy the robot showed, he felt old... far older than the ship. It was something that filled Guugel with curiosity most of the time, but curiosity was best avoided in the mornings. He stepped into the fresher and selected his custom settings. No laundry, no soap, 2-inch lukewarm water fill, high-luminosity lighting, and no air-dry. In seconds the tub began to fill and shut off at exactly 2-inches. Guugel dipped a finger into the water to make sure the hygiene system did not have the occasional hiccup it was known for. Satisfied with the temperature, he tossed his small handful of dirt into the water. It made a plunk, and a cloud of coppery brown billowed out from the surface of the water down to the bottom of the tub. Guugel stepped in, mixed the dirt in with his feet, and finally laid down, his back resting against the plasteel flooring of the tub. He spent a few minutes soaking. He enjoyed the texture of the earthy water. Combined with the bright light, this would be just perfect to keep him going for his day. Everyone else had breakfast. He had this.

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