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.
Took a day off from digging to do some fishing and smelt some iron ore. (I prefer to be home when setting super-hot fires under molten rock. It’s a thing I do.)
So to recap, I decided a while ago that I wanted to be able to identify potentially hazardous pockets of air in my caverns, but this planet lacks canaries.
I took about 50 eggs down into the caves and hatched duckens, so that they could act as canaries.
They’ve been doing what duckens do, which on this planet means multiplying at almost exponential rates.
I stood outside one of the far caverns today and fished from the river… not where I normally fish, but it was deeper so I thought I might get some bigger fish. (I did, too, so we’ll be doing that some more!)
While standing on the shore, I could hear muffled clucking.
Underground, below my feet.
In the caverns, the duckens cluck.
How many duckens are down there now?
Sheep. I’m digging and thinking about sheep.
Sheep are bigger than I pictured. And they smell. Badly. They don’t smell like clean socks or a wool suit, either. They smell like sheep shit. I guess that’s pretty obvious, but these aren’t things I had to think about back on the ship.
Do I want sheep? I could use the wool for better clothes, and the meat for eating, and the skin for leather… in that way, sheep are pretty handy things to have. They eat what’s already here, so I don’t have to find them food. And they seem friendly enough, compared to exploding giraffe corgis and horror land squid.
I want sheep.
But do I want sheep badly enough to lure them over a mountain and over a river?
That part I’m still thinking on, while I dig.
At the top of the mountain, I learned a few things.
First, I learned that it’s possible to have a pool of bubbling lava in an otherwise-normal looking field. This is good information to have because it means this area’s seismically active. (It also means I won’t be swimming over there any time soon.) All the more reason to build solid stone walls for my cave walls wherever possible.
Second, I learned that there are no towns or cities or other signs of life anywhere in my immediately-viewable area unless they’re also underground. I certainly wouldn’t blame anyone for going underground here, but it means to find other people I have to either hope this is just an abandoned area, or hope that I’ll dig into the sides of their houses.
I’m sure they’ll be totally understanding when I do that.
Third, I learned there’s a much bigger mountain to the east of my current position — but it’s far enough away that I can’t see it unless I’m on the current mountain. So digging to the next one the same way that I dug to this one is probably my safest best. Because digging holes to reach bigger piles of dirt is a thing here.
Finally, I learned there are sheep on the other side of the mountain. Do I go capture some? I haven’t decided yet. Sheep would be a good thing to have though. I could make clothes somehow, and mutton. That would be good.
Anyway, that was today’s adventure set.
Well, I’ve already discovered that the mountain is not what I was hoping for.
I climbed a third of the way up the face, found a cave full of valuable stone, and that cave…. well that cave had two openings that were only a few dozen meters apart.
So instead of having a massive mountain to climb, it appears I have a thin mountain. It’s like if someone put a piece of toast on edge.
I’m now actually a bit afraid I’m going to cut right through the middle instead of getting to the top. That could make looking for a town or a city a bit more difficult.