Mutant Year Zero
The supplies laid down by the ancients, mostly canned goods and ready eat rations, are dwindling. . What’s left is well past it’s expected lifetime, mostly rusty old cans, filled with nasty, decaying sludge. is strictly rationed by the Elder and the people close to him, an arrangement that has been accepted by the bosses – so far.
Bedbugs to Bite
As food sources began to dwindle, some enterprising Arkers began to start to try and cultivate and breed insects. Insects had always supplemented the diet in the Ark, but up to this point were only eaten as they were found. Insects require much less feed than other sources of animal protein and they were easy enough to catch and contain. Ironically the most abundant and most economic insects to raise were the same ones that were a constant bane to the Ancients. Cockroaches have always been touted as a hardy species, capable of surviving the radiation of total nuclear war. Along with Cockroaches, mealworms, crickets and spiders are also raised. This is known colloquially as The Roach Ranch.
Fun With Fungi
The people realized that they were going to need to start supplementing their diet with something. The Ancients who first settled the Ark apparently had a method for growing their own food underground. This was apparently called “hydraponix.” This was housed in a former control center in the silo. As far as anyone can tell this was abandoned after an apparent roof collapse in the area. Only recently some Arkers were able to break through to this section and made a fortunate discovery. Mushrooms! The room was covered in them. The walls, the floor, the old control panels, everything. Whatever fertilizers and decaying plant matter where left in this room mixed with the dampness and the dark created a perfect nursery for the wild fungi. The People realized that what they had discovered was a precious resource and they set to work cultivating it. A majority of all biological waste is now diverted to what Arkers refer to as Mushroom Alley.
This discovery made such an impact on the lives of The People that the simple mushroom became a symbol of hope for the Ark. So much so that it is common for Arkers to treat mushrooms much the same way the ancients treated a four-leaf clover. They are seen as a symbol of luck and prosperity. This has spawned the phrase “As lucky as a mushroom” to indicate good fortune or “He’s got a mushroom growing out his arse” to indicate someone who is especially or unnaturally lucky. Run by Frouhooloolough.
A Feast of Yeast
A recent development in the Ark is the growing of yeast for food. This is done in pools of water mixed with feces known as The Yeast Pools. The yeast is harvested, dried and ground into a meal which supplements the diet of the Arkers. The growing conditions for the yeast are less than pleasant for The People to work in, but it may just be the key to their long term survival. The yeast pools are run by Mutha Crusha.
As a consequence of the yeast production, alcoholic beverages are now also being brewed on a small scale. Although this gives the Arkers some way of entertaining themselves, it has also caused it’s share of problems.
You Dirty Rat
Rats and people have always had a linked relationship. Now that the Ark is starting to produce more food, common rats are becoming more abundant. Although they carry disease and are often a nuisance, they are also a good source of protein. Although small, a rat can make the difference between living another day and starving.
The food situation in the Ark is still dire, but is beginning to look up. With the addition of mushrooms, insects, rat meat and yeast to the Arker’s diet there is hope for the future. Currently the new sources of food are for the Ark as a whole, and are doled out much the way the old supplies are, but the bosses are subtly vying for control. Those who work in the various food production areas are forced to wear rigid masks so that they aren’t tempted to take extra rations.
It must be noted that due to the mushroom and yeast farms, the smell in the Ark, especially at the lower levels, can be quite foul. It is a mouldy, damp smell, that has been described as the smell of unwashed feet soaking in cheese.
Unique Food Items
With the Ark now beginning to grow it’s own food, several unique food items have started to become common. Some examples are presented below:
- Clink – an alcoholic beverage brewed from leftover yeast and whatever other plant material can be gotten a hold of. It is a nasty tasting brew, but it’s easy to make and has the desired affect.
- The Arker’s Lunch – This is a common meal now eaten in the Ark. It is comprised of mushrooms, usually sautéed in rat fat, and a cake made from ground insects mixed with yeast. This cake is normally soaked in the broth from rat soup, another common food item.
- Rat Soup – Yep, it’s as gross as it sounds, but hey it’s food. Lucky Arkers sometimes find a chunk of tail!
- Noooka – This is an alcoholic beverage prepared much in the same way as clink with the addition of a tea brewed from some of the psychedelic mushrooms grown in Mushroom Alley. The combination is a highly intoxicating substance know to bring on bizarre hallucinations. Said to be created by Frouhooloolough.