January by the numbers continues (now seven days off but I’ll get there).
From rix_scaedu‘s prompt “xerographing xenophobic, xanthophyllous xanthiums;” a fiction vignette of sorts.
Did you Know:So I grew up in Rochester, home of Xerox, and I always thought that xerography came from Xerox, and not the other way around… Nope!
“So, tell me again why exactly we want to photocopy a noxious weed? It’s not exactly pleasant to handle, it’s no fun to look at, it doesn’t taste good, and it’s all over the place.”
“Well, one.” Xavier had his lecture-face on, which was not his most pleasant expression, but Xadrian found that he liked it. “It’s not exactly photocopying. Xerography is just making a reproduction of an image…”
“Right, right. I mean, we could just take pictures and copy that, and it would probably be less unpleasant.” It had fallen to Xadrian to gather the stuff, and even with gloves involved, his hands were not pleased with him. “Wouldn’t that be a lot better?”
“The problem is, as unpleasant as the xanthium is, it has an advantage nothing else on this blasted island does. It’s xanthophyllous.”
“It loves yellow?”
“It makes a yellow pigment. And that may not seem like such an important thing to you at the moment, but the thing is, we don’t have any yellow anywhere else here. Nothing but clothes we brought with us, and those are fading. Not to mention, they protect eyes from ionizing blue and ultraviolet light… anyway, this noxious mess is important.”
“So we’re photocopying it.” The thing was, Xadrian might have been a xenozoologist rather than a xenoherbologist, but he knew what he was talking about. He just loved teasing Xavier. It got him this lovely lecture-face reaction, and sometimes increasingly detailed explanations until Xavier figured out he was being put on. “This nasty thing.”
“We’re dupli – yes. And maybe you should be the one to pull it apart for the duplicator, too. And then you can make the yellow dye we’re going to use, and feed the rest to the chickens, and…”
“Next time I want to play dumb,” Xadrian muttered, “I’ll go bother Xena.”
“She’d have you xerograph the proto-xenops. And those things hate outsiders.” Xavier’s smile was far too pleased with himself. “Now, take your gloves off. You’re going to need your dexterity to get these thorns into the machine.”
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