Day 19: This whole farming thing

Day 19:

I was sent down here to mine, but I seem to spend more time on the surface than deep into the ground.

Sometimes it’s defensive; a spider climbed over the fence and attacked, so I had to kill it. The good news is I succeeded. The bad news is that I killed one of my chickens accidentally in the process.

Sometimes, it’s things like feeding the chickens (so that I now have a bunch of chicks) or gathering their eggs, or feeding the cows (so now I have more cows).

Sometimes, it’s chopping down trees so I can make fences so I have more space for the chickens and the cows.

None of this seems to involve digging up rock.

It’s making me think a lot about my ancestors, way back while we were still on the first Earth. The story goes that this is how they had to live before people invented robots and machines to do all the farming. It’s a lot of work, and it’s kind of crazy.

But I’m alive. I haven’t been killed by the spiders or the giraffe-corgis or the green zombie hominids or the skeletal archer thingamajigs. (I’m still not convinced they’re not robots of some sort.) I haven’t starved to death or broken any bones falling in a cave. So if I’m getting subpar digging done, well, there are worse things.

One other note: I saw a human today, a woman I think, dressed all in purple, a few hundred yards out from my house. I would have called out to her, but there was a pony spider between us and I didn’t want to alert the spider to either myself or her. Turning wild beasts onto the neighbors isn’t generally considered polite. By the time I got rid of the spider problem, the woman was gone.

She had a hell of an eerie laugh though. Almost a cackle.

black and white sketch of a bowl of eggs, with the words "bowl of eggs" over it.
Eggs!

Day 18: Basements and horses

Day 18:

Woke up, headed down into the basement to do more mining, almost got blown up by a hideous green thing right there about 200 feet from where I was walking.

The good news is I’m starting to learn their pace and if I can draw them away from my work area they don’t blow up my stuff.

The bad news is that usually I still get hit by the shockwave, and I’m pretty sure that can’t be good for my internal organs. Or any of the rest of me.

I’m hoping that the rock I’m using is the cheapest, so that when The Company comes for me, they don’t feel compelled to tear the walls down. This is a lot of work to do to have it wrecked, even if it is a temporary thing.

Later in the day I went out to chop down some trees. That sounds horrible when I put it like that, and it’s strictly against Company policy. On the other hand, the wood here is thick and solid and makes a good fence. It seems the easiest way for me to catch a horse is just going to be to install a fence around one. They don’t seem to run away from me, but they yell a lot if I try to ride them. If I fence a couple in, at least I can slowly train them, I hope, instead of trying to train different horses every day based on who happens to be grazing in the area.

I’m lonely. I go out and hug the cows pretty frequently, but I’d like to have someone to talk to that isn’t a chicken.

I’m starting to sketch more, or take more time with my sketches. I’m not claiming to remember anything at all from high school art class, but, well, it’s better than a quick line drawing. Plus, I’ve figured out how to make something a little like watercolors out of the local mud for brown, and some of the flowers for colors. Not much to go on here, but better than a plain journal I guess.

ps. Just watched a chicken push a cow across the porch, so we know who’s in charge around here. Ain’t me. Ain’t the cow either.

A badly-drawn sketch of a chicken head butting a cow, and a cow resisting. Says "a cow pushing a chicken" on it. The artist has discovered yellow and brown watercolors.
Seriously, that shouldn’t be possible.

Day 17: More boots

Day 17:

I fished for so long today that my fishing rod wore out. I guess I’ll have to kill another spider soon, since I haven’t found any other rope-like substances in the area.

I pulled up another pair of boots.

Maybe I’m fishing over an old abandoned shoe store.

I also dug up some sand to use to make glass. My cave is nice as caves go, the bed doesn’t stink nearly as much as it did, but even with all the torches I’ve lit it’s kind of gloomy.

It’s also hard to tell when the neighbors have stopped by to murder you if you can’t see out the windows. LOOKING AT YOU, CORGI-GIRAFFE-BOMB CREATURE.

I fed my cows, and they immediately produced a baby cow. I fed my chickens and they produced a baby chicken. Somehow on this planet, the native life got the idea that “hungry” and “horny” are the same thing.

I have to wonder what kind of external environmental pressures had to be on creatures to cause them to use any extra calories they receive to immediately spawn and develop and birth a baby creature.

I’m guessing it’s because it was the only way they could breed fast enough to survive the giraffe-bombs.

black and white sketch of 1 adult chicken and 2 chicks, but the heads are very large compared to the bodies and the beaks are nothing like Earth chickens. Includes "this is not as bad as it looks. The chicks' heads really are almost as big as their bodies. They faceplant a lot."
The chicken-duck things have very wide beaks that are rounded at the end like a shovel, but they don’t seem to dig.

Day 16: Signs of life

Day 16:

My supplies of meat were getting low again, so I spent the day fishing.

I must have hit an old trash dump or something under the surf, because I didn’t just catch fish. I also caught my line on some leather, what appears to be a horse’s saddle, and, somewhat stereotypically a pair of boots.

If I was fishing on old Earth with my grandfather then I would only be surprised because we hadn’t pulled out a whole washing machine. But humanoid tools mean that humanoids are here — or at least, were here.

Maybe the zombies were actually intelligent (or at least non-homicidal-maniac) humanoids at some point. Or maybe the skeletons were. But there was someone, and they were here. And if I dig up enough stuff, I may be able to figure out where they went and follow them.

Side note: there are wild horses in the area. They’re so wild they don’t really care about me at all. I walked up to one and threw the saddle over it, and it yelled at me. So taming a horse is harder than that… which I knew, but it was worth trying.

Time to sleep. It’s been a few days.

black and white sketch of a right boot with no laces. includes the words: boot clearly for a hominid. no laces. all leather. unsure what the sole is. fluffy lining once?
They’re pretty solid boots, as random objects one finds while fishing go.

Day 15: More digging, and a theory

Day 15:

All I did was dig. I hit a vein of diorite that led to a vein of of granite that led to a vein of andesite that led… well, you get the idea.

I found some more iron ore, which is good because digging with stone tools kind of sucks, though it beats the wooden ones I was using two weeks ago.

I also found a few small coal veins, which is really good, because I think I’ve figured out how to protect myself here.

I think the monsters are afraid of light.

Ok, let me back up a second.

The skeletons and the zombies seem to catch fire if the sun hits them directly, so I think it makes sense that they’d avoid it. But the exploding things unfortunately appear to be unaffected by the sun (or hey, maybe they’re solar powered! Everybody likes solar-powered camouflage giraffe corgis that explode!).

I’ve seen a few other scary-looking shapes in the dark, but nothing close enough to do a formal identification.

Anyway, I found a zombie in my cave yesterday, in a dark corner. I still don’t know how it got in. Sometimes I swear they just, like, spawn in dark places.

But that’s a good thing, because if my theory’s right, just making enough torches to keep things bright should protect me from surprises in the basement.

I wonder what happened two weeks ago when I came here… I wonder a lot. Those first few days I was stranded I was way too busy just trying to stay alive, but now that I’m spending hours in the basement digging, there’s not much else to do but think. (Things have gotten so bad I’ve taken to singing sailing songs my dad taught me just to not go insane in the quiet.)

There have been stories of The Company stranding miners before, but all things considered, the reasons have always been rumored to be good ones. Thieves, in particular, because The Company isn’t stupid. But anyone who showed violence to their fellow miners, destroyed company property, or incited riots or unions have needed to watch their backs.

The thing is though that all those folks fall under the “You know what you did” clause, and if that’s why I’m here, I don’t know what I did. I’ve tried to be, well, maybe not the model employee because that’s the one that usually gets shunned by the others anyway, but at least someone just good enough to be considered for promotion and just human enough not to look like a kiss-ass. I certainly haven’t stolen anything or gotten violent with anyone.

So if the company didn’t strand me, what happened?

Here’s my going theory.

We usually come in at night, when it’s dark, so that if there are any natives, we’re harder to spot.

And we’re usually dropped a good distance above the surface, and use a combination of parachutes and antigravity hover boards to make our way to the surface and whatever caves we’re targeting.

It’s possible that we dropped into the field here by the shoreline, and immediately got attacked by the local fauna. The Company does look for any signs of large predators, but I’m not sure they would’ve checked strictly at nighttime for skeletons and zombies. And I’m totally sure they wouldn’t have been checking for exploding hell monsters.

I might be the only one who survived the first night. It would certainly explain my lack of memory if we were rocked by multiple explosions. Concussions are nobody’s friend.

And if I am the only one, there’s a good chance that The Company doesn’t even know there’s anything wrong, because radio silence is the norm.

Which means, in theory, they’ll be back in about 13 days, because a 28-day drop is standard protocol.

That means I can relax a little, do more to protect my position, and not constantly worry about missing The Company’s return.

And since everyone else has been killed and there’s absolutely zero sign of intelligent non-zombie non-skeleton life here, I can light as many coddamned torches as I can make and maybe have a monster-free night for a change.

Wish me luck.

Sketch of a floor with a torch embedded into it every 3 feet or so. Includes "Torches every few feet should keep the monsters away?" in the sketch
The torches end up being very close together which is a bit risky, but better than exploding fauna.