“A Madhi-Okoye converter, by the looks of it,” said Wicklow, poking the machine with the toe of his boot.

“Oh, right, I’ve heard of those,” Ortiz said. “They reverse the chirality of organic molecules, right?”

“More or less, when they’re working right,” Wicklow said. “But it’s basic stuff, amino acids at best. You need a lot more equipment to process the raw sludge into something you can eat, though I’ve seem plenty of alties desperate to suck on raw tubes of the stuff.”

“You think this was a lab?” Ortiz said. “Making illegal reverse-chirality food?”

“No, there’d be more equipment to synthesize some basic proteins. They’re keeping them separate and moving the ingredients between locations.”

“Smart,” said Ortiz. “Less chance of a fire.”

“Let them burn themselves out for all I care,” sniffed Wicklow. “As long as they don’t take any natives with them.”

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