Dessert Debate

[At exactly 4pm, Linnet walks into the conference room wearing her little scout uniform.]

[At about 4: 01, Ruthie dashes in in her little scout uniform.]

Ruthie: We haven't started yet, have we?

[Linnet puts a little collection of "Chocolate Pudding" buttons on the table by the door for people to take with a little sign that says, "Chocolate Pudding thanks Hippocrates for providing these buttons." ]

[ Katya waves. ]

Linnet: Nope, we're waiting for Hippocrates.

Ruthie: Oh! Are we doing buttons now too? I have buttons!

[Ruthie puts a collection of "Apple Cranberry Front" buttons by the front door too. But with no little sign.]

[Hippocrates walks in, uncharacteristically late, but looking smashing in his Captain's uniform. He is holding a bunch of index cards, and walks up to the podium...]

[Ciernan's paying attention.]

[Ace watches everything while slummed against the wall playing with a little electronic gadget]

[Katya sits near the front and looks attentive]

[Akito elbows Ace]
[Ace dodges with 3 successes while his device beeps, but Akito gets him anyway.]
[Akito frowns at Ace when he begins to beep]

Hippocrates: Greetings, shipmates. Linnet and Ruthie have agreed to debate the merits of the dessert choices. The format of the debate will be, first, opening remarks by both participants, then questions, then closing remarks. Questions will be brief answer, followed by brief rebuttal. The order of first and last speaker will be alternated. Does either of you prefer to cede the right to begin, to the other? Whoever speaks first in the opening, the other will have the final speach at closing...

[the beeping stops]

Linnet: Ruthie can go first.

[Akito whispers quietly to Ace]

Ruthie: Linnet ca... er, never mind.

Hippocrates: All right. Ruthie, you may make your opening statement.

[Akito glares at Ace and his electronic thingy, but stops whispering]

Ruthie: Apple pie is a great and traditional dessert. Who hasn't heard someone say "As hegemonic as apple pie?" The addition of cranberries adds a, um, a piquant note bringing other traditions of holidays into the dessert. And making apple cranberry pie requires all sorts of skills. You have to be able to peel and cut and make pastry and prebake the crust and pastry is actually very hard if you want to get it right.

Hippocrates: Thank you, Ruthie. Linnet?

[Ruthie sits down, and Linnet stands up: ]

Linnet: Thank you for coming. I want to say that Chocolate Pudding is a better dessert because it is sweet and tasty, which are the main things a dessert needs to be. Sometimes, people can add sugar to other foods to make them more like dessert, but that's just trying to pretend that the thing you have is more like dessert, while Chocolate Pudding is dessert already.

"So, when you go to vote, please remember. Chocolate Pudding: It's Real Dessert, Not Pretend!"

Hippocrates: Thank you, Linnet.
Now we'll start with questions from the electorate. The format will be: First respondent answers, then second respondent answers, then first respondent rebuts, then second respondent rebuts. Please save your "answers to each other" for the rebuttals. Linnet will be first respondent for the first question...

Hippocrates: The first question is from Mr. Maxwell Sinclair: "What are we actually voting for? If we are voting for which dessert is best, how do you define 'best'?"

Linnet: We are voting for the dessert to have on board next week. I agree with Mr. Sinclair though that, we should have the best dessert. Chocolate pudding is best in many ways. It's the sweetest and makes a good ending to a meal. It's different than the main courses which already have lot's of fruit and grain in them, so it's more interesting. It's known as a good dessert food, because it's supposed to be a dessert in the first place.

Ruthie: There are lots of things that make a dessert good. Tasting good, tasting different than dinner, being fun to eat, being fun to make, being good for you, and being shareable with your friends. The best dessert is the one that has the most of the ones that are important for you! Apple Cranberry Pie for me is the best dessert, and I hope it's the best dessert for everybody else too.

[ Ciernan raises his hand ]

Ruthie: You have to tell Hippocrates your question, we don't get to call on you.

Hippocrates: After the first question, Mr. MacPherson.

Ruthie: Oops, I'm supposed to rebut.

Hippocrates: No, Linnet rebuts first.

Linnet: While some people might like Cranberry Pie, or Cobbler, or other things for their individual dessert choices, we must now choose the dessert that appeals to the most people most of the time. Chocolate Pudding is very popular and sweeter than pie, and therefore is the best dessert when you can only have one.

Ruthie: Chocolate pudding might be best for some people, but it's very all the same. If you want a sweetest dessert, you can put ice cream on your pie and then it's more sweet. And it's all glopped together, so you can't tell if you're having more or less so it's less good for sharing all around.

Linnet: Linnet looks like she wants to say more, but then looks at Hippocrates and waits silently.

Hippocrates: Mister MacPherson, a brief follow-up?

Ciernan: Are the choices for vote still limited to Pudding or Pie, or have other candidates been submitted?

Hippocrates: Moment Before Dawn? Is that information available?

Moment Before Dawn: There are currently several options including as well, Mint Kugel, and Carrot Cake, but these two options, Chocolate Pudding, and Cranberry Apple Pie are the two main choices as they are most plentiful in current stores, and were the two origianlly proposed by the girls. People can vote for the others at voting time however.

Hippocrates: Thank you, Moment Before Dawn.
Second question, from Miss Mirris Auden. Ruthie will answer first. "Why is dessert important?"

Ruthie: Dessert is important 'cause if there's no dessert there's no reason to eat your spinach or other stuff you don't like to eat. If we didn't eat food we liked, we might as well be eating those frozen nutribar things, and nobody wants that! It's the part of the meal that doesn't have to be good for you or good for something, it can just be because it makes you happy.

Linnet: Yes, not having to be nutritious and providing enjoyment for the meal, as well as difference from what has come before, and signalling a clear ending to mealtime, are among the reasons that dessert is important. All areas in which chocolate pudding excels.

[Katya fusses with the baby for a moment.]

Ruthie: I don't have anything to disagree with except that apple cranberry pie excels at it too, which my esteemed opponent forgot to mention.

Linnet: Other foods might be used for dessert when real desserts aren't available, but the importance of dessert, to get back to the question, demands that the best option be chosen.

Hippocrates: All right. For the third question, Linnet will be first respondent. The question is from Kith of Creek. <brief hesitation, then grave> "In what ways does your chosen dessert reduce suffering?"

Linnet: Chocolate Pudding reduces suffering on the ship by being a delicious ending to meals that can make every mealtime end with a goodness that will last to the next one. But it also reduces suffering across the Linked Worlds, because the best chocolates, such as those used on board are lovingly crafted in small cottage industries on Stannis Law, rather than being mass produced on giant bogs on places like the Well where drudges have to suffer to get cranberries, for instance.

Ruthie: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is a saying everybody knows. And okay lots of people here are doctors, but still, most people like not being sick. And cranberries, with their natural, um, they have some sort of little thingies like electronic fruit bits, um, anti oxidants! that are good for you too.

Apple Cranberry Pie, like little Kaufman nanites for your dinner!

[Katya glances amusedly at Jim and at Ace. ]

Linnet: But instead of maybe reducing some suffering in the future by worrying about being sick and tired, we could be reducing suffering right now, but enjoying the dessert made to be rich and creamy, Chocolate Pudding.

[Ace is amused]

[Ace coughs slightly and clears his throat]

Ruthie: Some people think we should go into the Well with Fire and the Sword and things, and those are the people who would tell you that it's best to never ever ever buy anything from there, so that we can starve the wellians or something, even thought that would probably make them suffer, I think.

Isn't it better to reward the places on the Well that provide better opportunities for drudges than acid mines and crash test dummies and things?

[Ace doesn't look amused anymore. He looks studiously neutral]

[Katya's got her head down looking at the baby again ]

Hippocrates: Fourth question; Ruthie will be first respondent. The question is from Mr. Maxwell Sinclair: "Do you believe that if your dessert were the only one served on board, the ship wold be better off? Why?"

Ruthie: I'm not saying that apple cranberry pie should be the only dessert ever served. That would be silly. I'm just saying it's the best dessert and should win the dessert election.

Hippocrates is the captain, but that doesn't mean we should throw everyone else off the ship. Even the Inopportune Moment lets you have different desserts.

Apple Cranberry Pie, the Captain of Desserts!

[Linnet concentrates in thought]

Linnet: If we have chocolate pudding as our only dessert for next week, life would be better on the ship, because, as Moment Before Dawn said, we have a lot of chocolate pudding and will be here in the cloud for several weeks, so we should have desserts that make the most people happier and keep up morale like pudding.

[Ace's amused expression is back]

Ruthie: Oh! Did he mean the only one next week and not the only one forever and ever?

If we're going to have only one dessert for next week, it should be apple cranberry pie, because we wouldn't want the apples to go bad!

Linnet: Since Sharra and Twig keep the refrigerators fixed all the time, the apples, which would be useful in lot's of things other than dessert will probably not go bad, but we'd want to use the chocolate in pudding dessert for the next week, since that's why we bought it, and we should use our resources efficiently.

Hippocrates: All right. Ladies and Gentlemen, as we're nearing our time limit, I'll have to end the questions at this point. It's time for closing statements. We'll begin with Ruthie, and then Linnet will close the debate.

Ruthie: Apple Cranberry Pie is much better looking than gloppy chocolate pudding. It combines geometric aspects, circles and triangles, with different shapes and textures, and different colors and tastes. You can have it hot, or with ice cream, or cold. It's better for you than pudding, and chocolate is bad for dogs if any of the dogs on board were to eat the pudding.

Apple Cranberry Pie! It's good, and good for dessert!

Linnet: We've heard a lot about the non-dessert uses and benefits of other foods, how they may be nutritious, or easily converted to sort of like dessert foods by adding extra things like ice cream, but I'd like to ask everyone to remember that chocolate pudding is a dessert food at its heart. Nutrition is for meals, and yummy tastes is for dessert. If you add ice cream to our esteemed opponent's food, you might get something that tastes a bit like dessert, but pudding is dessert from the start.

[Linnet turns a little towards Jim and First Frost of Autumn]

Linnet: Chocolate Pudding: It's Real Dessert, Not Pretend!

Thank you.

[Ciernan applauds politely]

[So does Katya]

[Ace gives a wry smile and polite appause]

[Akito claps loudly, especially for Ruthie and the Apple Cranberry Front]

Hippocrates: That wraps up our Dessert debate. Don't forget to vote! I'd like to thank our studio audience here this evening, but especially, I'd like to thank Ruthie and Linnet for their time and diligence in answering the questions. <clap clap clap>

[Ace claps louder]

Hippocrates: Debate transcripts will be available on ship's net for all those who were unable to attend, along with commentary offered by the studio audience.

Ruthie: And don't forget to pick up buttons if you want them!

Linnet: Yup, there are buttons for both choices.