Challenge #02625-G068: Toxic Under Certain Circumstances
Alien and Human conversation:
A: And Humans keep drinking these?
A: Even though it can dissolve Rats?
H: Jup, in Moderation.
H: It tastes good.
(/TIL https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-mountain-dew-really-dissolve/ The Mouse-Mountaindew-Case) -- Anon Guest
[AN: Offensensitivity warning for the mouse in the Mountain Dew. Food adulteration implications therein.]
Humans are Deathworlders. It should therefore be little shock that they can enjoy consuming toxic substances. Some Humans claim they cannot continue to exist without their daily dosage of poisons or acids. Others refuse to operate without their first dosage of toxins. For those who are more sensitive to such things, take warning - there are no limits to the chemistry that a Human should not, but will add into their bodies anyway.
Theobromine, acid, toxic amounts of sucrose, not to mention the assorted intoxicants they voluntarily consume for recreational purposes. Combinations of all the above and more are available in Human culture can simply boggle the mind. Always verify with the attending Medik that your Human is actually in good health.
Companion Crix was not in a fit state to remember any of that when they met their assigned Human for morning bonding time whilst eating. They were used to strange noises around their Human and didn't become concerned until they noticed that Human Ker's chosen beverage was fizzing.
"Your morning drink is bubbling, Human Ker."
"Yeah, I wasn't in the mood for coffee, so I got a cola."
Crix scanned it. "That is an acid, Human Ker. Mixed with toxic levels of theobromine, sucrose, fructose, glucose, sugar alcohols and other toxic compounds. The acid alone can dissolve a small rodent."
Human Ker took a sip. "Not completely. The collagen and connective tissues will hang around. You get like... a jelly ghost-rodent. There's a timelapse fid on the infonets, it's pretty cool. Wanna see?"
This Human, Crix was reminded again, bonded by sharing things at mealtimes that were guaranteed to put others off their food. "Please wait until my digestion process is safely past regurgitation stage, thank you."
Human Ker found this funny. "Sweet. Remind me when you're ready, okay?" Another sip. The Human was apparently unharmed. "I can see you're worrying your fluffy little head about this so let me clear up a few things. One. Carbonated beverages are an acid. You know this part."
"Yes," said Crix. They waited patiently. The Human was in lecture mode. This meant that an education was incoming regardless of whether or not it was wanted.
"Thing is, so is citrus juice. It's an acid. You use it to shine up your arm feathers."
"It's a mild acid. Diluted and mixed with other subs...tan...ces," Crix had begun by attempting to defend themself, but realised their words as they were saying them.
Human Ker toasted Crix with her beverage glass. "You get yourself pure citric acid, and you could dissolve a lot of things. Same with carbonic acid. Mix the two and you get the famous 'mouse in the mountain dew' case. Which just leads to a whole load of panic. What they always skip is that any acid can dissolve flesh, teeth and bone... given enough acid and enough time. Don't get me started on dihydrogen monoxide."
Now that they were in the right space, Crix mentally rearranged the atoms. "Is that not water?"
"Yup. Universal solvent number one. There's plenty of that in every drink in the universe, but nobody kicks up a stink about it."
"So if you were to spill that..." began Crix.
"No structural damage. Provided I was quick enough with the paper towels and a mop." Human Ker leaned in to whisper, "The sugars do more damage by attracting little bugs."
All the same... that was still a dangerous liquid for Crix.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / bhofack2]
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