Is There Anything Good to Eat?

Only a few of the characters in the “Quirni” series have lived on all three planets in the system. Erica lived on Sirrus until she was eight. She lived on Marril until her mid-twenties, and then she moved to Quirni. She was never lovingly housed and protected from harm no matter which world. Instead she had to find means to protect herself, means to make money, and she often had to find her own shelter and food. Given that, Erica has a unique perspective of the worlds.

Once Erica moved to Quirni, she realized how unvaried, unhealthy, and tasteless her diet had been. The farms of Sirrus and Marril could not produce the myriad of fruits, vegetables, and meats that Quirni farms produced.

vermont-farm-2431117_1920Sirrus is a cold planet. Only a small strip of land around its equator has a growing season long enough to produce crops and those crops need to be fast growing. No orange trees grow on Sirrus unless they are housed in a greenhouse. The land is nutrient poor and expensive to fertilize. The population of Sirrus can survive off what they produce but if they want orange juice or wine or most fruits they have to pay a premium for goods grown in a greenhouse. If they want fresh vegetables, they have to wait until summer.

Marril is a poisoned planet. Anything grown there will grow tainted with thayanite. Those who move to Marril from Sirrus can taste the difference and so they buy Sirrian food. The Sirrian farmers can produce enough to export to Marril but that means there is less quality food on Sirrus. The poorer Sirrians must make due with sub grade foods.

This is only right because claimants are more important than tenants. Everyone but Erica knows that. The people who work with claimants are more important too. Plus, a lot of the poorest people on Sirrus are Tenpole. They think the sub grade food they get on Sirrus is a banquet so they don’t complain.

tropical-2531697_1920Any Sirrian or Marrilian who visits Quirni realizes their own diet is sub grade. The variety of fruits and vegetables farmed on Quirni are far better than anything they ever thought possible. The sweetness of a Quirni orange and the crisp, vibrant Quirni vegetables convince some who visit the backwater planet to move there. It’s just a matter of giving up electricity, computers, air conditioning, hot water from a tap, and so much more. Nevertheless, the choice is easy when made by a sick person who knows the healthy food and air on Quirni can heal them.

 

agriculture-2382185_1920 (1)Quirni’s health was exported via the filters that Cyril Kinsley invented. Quirni also exported dirt to Marril so they could grow food in soil that wasn’t tainted with thayanite. So much more could have been exported in the form of food but Quirni’s farmers used horses and metal plow blades to farm. There were no tractors. One farmer might farm ten acres rather than hundreds.

Given what Erica knew about the foods available on the three planets, she knew exporting Quirni food was an obvious step. She also knew importing tractors would be insanely expensive and Sirrus and Marril could control Quirni farming and steal the profit as long as they controlled the import of that farm equipment.

That is why Erica told the High Claimant of Marril, Silas Kinsley V, she had to feed her tenants on Quirni and she could no longer honor the contract to send him Quirni air filters. She wasn’t being entirely truthful. Quirni could feed everyone. She didn’t need to stop the production of the filters and take away the bit of health Quirni could export.

Silas isn’t an idiot so he understood what she meant. In her way, she was offering to farm more and send food to Marril but only if he kept his fingers off her world. He saw the advantages of Quirni farmers becoming more productive regardless of how much control he could exert.

The High Claimant of Sirrus, Ward Pereria, saw that as well. Once he heard about the agreement Quirni had signed with Marril to import food, he sent his Star Seal to Erica. By indebting her to him, Sirrus would get better food and more variety. He knew Quirni grew groves of orange trees and Ward likes his orange juice.oranges-1117498_1920.jpg

By the time Erica leaves the High Claimancy of Quirni, the three planets are tied together by a bond no one had ever been able to forge. Because she knew what the tenants needed, she knew how to make their lives better, unlike the well fed claimants who ruled them. The health and comfort of the average tenant usually drives her decisions and that endears her to the common man more than the pomp and royalty of the Empress and Emperor.

That’s another part of the story.

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