The VAT is a local beverage dispenser common throughout all ships and bases throughout the Union. It is used to dispense a variety of non-alcoholic drinks, and functions in both gravity and weightless conditions.
VAT devices are plumbed into the water management system of all facility and spacecraft. They work by maintaining water and beverage synthesis compounds in small local storage chambers inside the apparatus. Generally a VAT will provide fresh water, Hardball (a normally caffeinated hot beverage similar to coffee), Fullrack (synthetic guarana based beverage served hot or cold and used as a strong stimulant), and Gojuice (an electrolytic and enzymatic supplement drink). Upgraded VAT systems can provide elaborate variations on these three primary beverages, as well as many others.
Beverages are selected through a touch screen system and delivered through a hose/nozzle into personal use drink containers (such as a thermocup).
The actual origin of the acronym VAT is lost in the early days of space exploration but it is believed to have been Value Added Technology.