Day 41: Damp and squeaky

Day 41:

The top of my cave house is pretty well sealed against the wet. It’s taken me a while to accomplish that – stuffing pitch from the wood I’ve been burning into every crack I could find to seal the place up.

Below the main level, though, when it rains, things still get pretty wet.  The water seeps through the ground and turns the dust to mud and the stone into a slippery surface that even the best of boots struggle to maintain a grip on.

It rained all day today. I did my best to mine, but the risks are much higher than even The Company, with all their equipment, was generally willing to take on. We almost never dropped into a site if there was rain in the local forecast.

I remember the Captain complaining one time about the delay in starting a drop because of the rain, and Marvin just looked her and said, “How many bones do you want the doc to set?” and that was the end of that.

Tomorrow hopefully there will be less rain and more time to work my way closer to the mountain.

Watercolor sketch. All colors are muted as if seen through the rain. Blue-grey sky, some trees way in the background, yellowish-green fields in the distance, brighter green, then darker green fields in the foreground.
The view from my front door. Plenty of water for watercolors, but I’m running out of blue flowers.

Day 40: Peace, and boots

Day 40:

When I finished yesterday’s post, I took a nap, but it wasn’t a very long nap because now that I’ve got windows in my cave house, sleeping is harder because the sun actually makes it into the room.

Funny that. Biorhythms are difficult to defeat on any world.

I gathered eggs, wheat, carrots, and seeds from my “farm” and fed the animals. Since feeding the animals results in more animals, I’ve got a sizable number of chicken ducks now and enough cows that fresh milk is definitely not a problem around here. (These weird cow creatures give milk all the time even though their young are only “young” for about three days. Maybe they’re always producing milk in case they accidentally eat and mate that day?)

I discovered one of my horses had escaped, but he wasn’t very good at it. He stood on the other side of the fence and looked at me like “Yo, what am I doing out here?”

I still haven’t figured out how he escaped. Sometimes I swear animals can just like slide through the fence. I know the physics folks swear that’s impossible — something about the fact that even though there’s more space in our atoms than material the atomic forces don’t actually let us slide though things — but I’m pretty sure those physicists haven’t met the vwooping land squid of death either.

Anyhow, Stupid Horse (his new name, he didn’t really have one before) went right back into my fenced-in yard once I caught him.

Near the end of the day I did some fishing. I caught:

  • One bone. Looks like a femur off a skeleton. (I haven’t seen any of the skeletons lately. Maybe I killed them all off. That would be both an ecological disaster and good for my health.)
  • One wooden bowl. Looks like a soup bowl. Reminds me of those songs Gran used to sing about “Here’s good luck to the pint pot, half a pint, gill pot, half a gill, quarter gill, nippikin and the brown bowl /  here’s good luck to the pint pot, good luck to the barley mow” from way way before any of us were born.
  • One pair of boots. If I didn’t think the archaeologists at The Company would flay me alive and use my corpse as a figurehead on the prow of the ship, I’d set up a boot shop at the end of all this.
  • One fish.

Kind of glad for the fish, I was getting nervous they’d all died or something and the water’d gone toxic. But nope, still fish in there.

Also, chicken ducks takes too long to write. I think I’m going to call them “duckens” from here out.

Going to try to get a good night’s sleep tonight and then get back down into the mines tomorrow. My arm’s still sore — one day of rest isn’t enough to save it — but it’s either that or sit around watching Stupid Horse to see if I can figure out how he got out the first time, and that’s, well, boring. I’m a miner, I like to dig.

Black and white sketch from above: one femur, one wooden bowl (badly drawn), one pair of boots
Bowls are really hard to draw from above.

Day 39: fears

Day 39:

I dug through the night. After all the problems I’ve had surface-level lately, honestly, it felt good. I think I’ve overdone it a bit though because my right shoulder’s halfway to frozen, and I don’t have a stim kit here to loosen up the muscle if it freezes up.

That means I have to spend the day tomorrow topside doing other things – gathering my crops, checking my animals, etc. etc. Moving my shoulder around, but more gently than swinging a stone pickaxe.

To be honest, I’m not looking forward to it.

I know, I know, humans need sunshine and vitamin D and all that. And the heat of the sun will help my cold and sore muscles, because staying underground all the time isn’t exactly great for me.

But half of what’s outside wants to kill me and I’m not up for that all the time.

Yesterday, when I came up to my rooms to grab some water to drink, one of the camouflage giraffe corgis was standing at my window, just staring in. Just… staring… like the only thing it wanted to do was come inside and blow me to kingdom come.

I guess if there’s one thing I’m lucky about, it’s that they seem to be too dumb to realize they could collapse my cave house, and crush me inside, by blowing up right next to it.

And at least it isn’t the land squid. I heard one of them while I was mining yesterday, stopped mining, and hid under an overhang for about a half hour, hoping it would pass me by. It didn’t do it’s **vwoop** thing into the cave I was in, so I was spared.

I’m not really safe anywhere here. I just feel safer in the caves. After all, I’ve been trained in mining, not so much in farming and animal husbandry. Especially xenobiological animal husbandry.

Anyway, the sun is up, and I should go use it to relax. Maybe I’ll start a fire and heat some water and take a bath or something. I miss hot showers.

Sketch of the inner wall of the cave house. Window on left, door, window on right. in the window on the left one can see a giraffe corgi (head and snakelike body or maybe it's the neck) staring in with black eyes and a gaping maw. Not as creepy as it should be, but the author is a bad artist.

Day 38: More digging

Day 38:

All I did today was dig and fall down.

Occasionally, when The Company knew we’d be working in risky locations, they’d allow us to use the internal dampening belts, that ensured if you fell you wouldn’t hit the ground hard.

(The complication was that they also dampened the inertia of our mining, so they slowed us down significantly.)

I’d give my eye teeth for a dampening belt right now.

Sketch of a human figure wearing a dampening belt, which is more like a harness (shoulder straps, leg straps, belt in the center). The harness is surrounded by a green glow which covers the torso, most of the arms, part of the legs and head.
I miss these

Day 37: Loops

Day 37:

I said I was going to dig all day and I did. Wore out a number of my tools, too, so I know what I’m doing tomorrow.

I hit a huge vein of ore  (I think I mentioned that the other day), but I didn’t realize how huge. It’s big enough I’ve been digging for 14 hours and it’s still going. For a while it was swerving off my chosen course of “toward the mountain” but then the entire vein swerved back toward the mountain, so I’m good there.

I’m sore. I’m tired. I’m running out of tools and seriously missing my mining laser. But I feel a lot more accomplished today than I did when I was repairing things other creatures broke.

It takes a special kind of person to fix things that other people break, especially when it happens over and over and over again. I was always kind of impressed that the ship’s mechanic, Marvin, didn’t just beat me over the head with my laser mining pistol after the third or fourth time I held it too close to the wall and half-melted its firing mechanism.

Marvin was pretty awesome.

Marvin was actually his last name – his first name was like Hinkley or Reginald or something horrible that had been passed through the generations, so we all called him Marvin.

He was about two meters tall, sandy hair that was thinning at the edges and showing a bit of grey at the ears, stormy grey eyes but a smile that lit up the room. He spent most of his time laughing. He loved a challenge, loved to see what horrible ways we’d broken the equipment this time, and almost always could fab something out of the fabricator to repair whatever we’d done.

One time when I was snooping around his workshop waiting for him to finish a job for me, I looked him up on the versnet. Turned out he was the top contributor to the MakerBotVers network for repair and upgrade instructions in like the whole universe. Or at least the part of the universe that uses versnet.

He was like everything my dad wasn’t when it came to life: handy, friendly, laughing, willing to share what he knew with others…


Dug a lot of holes. Need some sleep. Will probably do the same tomorrow.

Sketch of broken shovels. Two have broken heads, one has a handle split in half lengthwise (down the shaft) and the other is split in half widthwise (snapped). labeled "broken shovels"
The shovel where the handle split straight down the center gave me so many splinters.