Day 101: Getting Deeper

Day 101:

In addition to turning toward the giant mountain (a direction I call “east” based on the sunrise) I’m digging deeper than ever before. The deeper I go, the higher the quality and volume of valuable stone like granite and andesite I’m hitting. I’m finding more iron ore, too.

I’ve got two baby chicks following me around as if somehow we’re going to find a corn cavern or something down in the lower ends of the pit. They’re much more eager than Bobby is… Bobby just kinds of lolls about as if to say “yeah, sure, let me know if there’s something interesting going on,” while the two chicks are like “HEY WHAT IS THAT WHAT ARE YOU DOING HOW ABOUT IF I STAND HERE IN THE WORST PLACE POSSIBLE WHILE YOU DIG?”

Babies. Ugh.

Day 100: 100 Days

Day 100:

If I hadn’t kept this log since arriving, I would’ve had no idea that today was any kind of special. And really except for humans’ obsession with base 10 and round numbers it isn’t special.

But it is day 100.

It takes less than 100 days to become a certified miner. Because the job is hazardous, dirty, and involves a lot of interstellar travel, it takes about 3 days to find a job after certification. Now that we use mining lasers and frictionless mining transportation, I could’ve taken this entire planet apart in less than 100 days had I the right equipment.  100 days means nothing in terms of mining.

It doesn’t even really mean much in terms of time. Earthers still keep to the old  30-day-to-a-month calendar, so 100 days isn’t even a round number of months in that system. It’s an overrun, meaning that whatever was supposed to be done in 90 days wasn’t finished on time.

But it’s a triple digit number. It means I’ve been here 100 days longer than I desire. It means my arms are always sore and my shoulders injured, my back aches, my legs are bruised, and I still sleep on a sheepskin in front of a fire in a glorified cave next to a yard full of very loud duckens.

(It occurs to me that I could probably make a feather bed. Why did it take until now to occur to me?!?)

I wonder how long it will take for me to totally adjust to my situation. Another few weeks? A year? Ten years? I’m already so tied up in my day-to-day that I rarely have time to get angry about it until I’m going to sleep, and then I’m blissfully too tired to care anymore.

I want to go home, but instead of a burning searing pain of knowledge of everything I’m missing every moment, it’s become an ache of longing for the things I remember. I’m afraid I’ll forget what it’s really like and at some point just miss it because I’m supposed to.

On the other hand, if you had told me 200 days ago that I would spend 100 days stranded on a planet by myself with no technological assistance, I would have bet all I had that I wouldn’t have made it 30 days, forget 100. I’m proud of surviving, if such a thing is allowed.

The sun has set and the zombies are starting to growl over the hills, so I’m going to dampen my fire and go to sleep.

Here’s to another 100 days.

Day 99: My map

Day 99:

Dug all day. Sore and tired. But the mapping is going well. Here’s a few sketches of where I’m at right now, one for each level I’ve made level enough to walk safely.

Day 98: Protecting the flock

Day 98:

I came upstairs from a  tunnel I’m digging toward the big mountain to find a  horror squid standing in the middle of my duckens.

It immediately attacked me. I had to cower in a doorway that it couldn’t fit through to attack it back. From there I could slash at its lower tentacles where it couldn’t reach me. (I don’t know why they can’t bend over and attack but I’m grateful.)

I killed it, and only one of my duckens sustained minor injuries. They crowded around me afterward like I was some kind of magical mother hen…. which I guess I am.

I’m starting to get attached to this place.

Day 97: Cluckable

Day 97:

One of the duckens has started to follow me. Not all the time, but often enough that I don’t mind sharing a bite of my carrot sandwich with it.  It’s the same way that I got my cat Bobby when I was a kid.

Bobby was what we called a neighborhood cat. Technically, I think he lived with the Rodriguez family, but they got him to hunt mice in the garden, so he was always an outdoor cat. He hunted mice and small birds when it suited him, but he preferred human food, so he was always following someone around.

I think at some point everyone fed Bobby something, whether it was stuff kids were dropping or a cup of milk from Mz Henry down the street, or cat food that he scarfed down with the Smiths’ cats. Somehow he stayed skinny.

Bobby liked me best. I used to give him bits of ham from my lunch sandwich during the summer, out on the front stoop. He napped in my lap sometimes while I was reading, and rode in the basket of my bike.

This ducken follows me around a lot like Bobby did. Doesn’t expect anything really but will take whatever I offer, and lets me pat him on the head and tell him my troubles in exchange. I think I’ll name him Bobby too.