Day 2: Night of the what the hell

Day 2:

Well, that could’ve gone better.

I didn’t get much sleep.

Some of it’s because the days here are much shorter than Company standard, so even though it was dark I wasn’t exactly tired. Call it spacefaring jet lag if you will.

Some of it’s because the cave was incredibly damp. I spent much of my free time tilling up dirt from the dryer sections of the cave to transport to the wet bits so I could dry everything out. I left myself a bit of an area with a spring in it so I won’t dehydrate and die before my team finds me and extracts me. But the rest I can say is quite comfy and actually growing grass already.

Most of my lack of sleep though I can attribute to the zombies.

Yes. Zombies. I don’t know what other term I’d use for them. Local fauna that resemble humanoids in both dress and form, but green-skinned and groaning a lot? Their only language seems to be “ow” and that only when I’m slashing at them with the stick I sharpened on my workbench with a rock. High tech here, folks.

They were both wearing the same clothes – ugly teal shirts and purple pants. They reminded me a little of the Incredible Hulk dolls my great grandfather passed down to my grandparents, but with a shirt. And much skinnier. And thankfully not stronger.

Then again, The Company didn’t hire me for my brains, they hired me for my ability to quickly and efficiently identify and dig rocks. I’m not a scientist. I’m not an astronaut, not really. I’m barely even an adult. I’m just an idiot who got out of high school, didn’t feel like staying in college, and proved she could tell the difference between granite and andesite.

Anyway, the zombies: they fell through my ceiling because I, being the idiot I am, left a tiny barely-noticeable hole up there so that I could lay back and watch the stars while thinking about how wet the ground was and how I am never going to see my family again.

I don’t know how they missed landing on me, but they were definitely out for blood. Went straight for my throat first, one, then the other. When I bashed them enough times they pulverized into dust.

I hope the dust isn’t deadly. Maybe they’re some kind of fungal zombie, like that one that takes over ants. Maybe I’ll be a zombie tomorrow from breathing in their remains.

I hope the Company comes back for me soon.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that I hit bedrock while digging out the cave bottom last night. This morning in the light I discovered that it contains not only standard run-of-the-mill stone (which at least I can use to make a fire pit and probably some charcoal) but also some granite and diorite. Not the most expensive minerals on earth, but if I can show The Company that I’ve been earning my keep, it may be the difference between being saved and being stranded again.

When they come back. They’re coming back now any time.

I spent the day making better tools (of stone, instead of wood) and putting in the furnace that I talked about yesterday. Even made myself a little bit of glass to test the furnace, and plug that hole in the ceiling. Hoping for some better sleep tonight.

Damn, what I’d give for a pizza right now.

Sketch of a zombie
Sketch of a zombie

Day 1: Landing

Day 1:

I woke up just off the beach on Serendipity, a bit south of where the original drop had been planned. Things have obviously gone wrong, but what exactly I don’t know, as I’ve got no suit, no transmitter, and only the clothes that I had when I reported for medical clearance before the drop.

Well, and this notebook, obviously. It’s supposed to be used to log rock and mineral formations, drawn maps, general spelunking safety stuff, but I think this qualifies as a safety emergency.

I was supposed to transport with a team of six others, including a medic. I am alone. I was supposed to be dropped at a deep ravine. I’m on a hilly beach next to what appears to be an ocean, but surrounded by fields.

I’m not even sure I’m on Serendipity, to be totally honest. I’m just a rookie, and without my transmitter or computer, I could be anywhere.

The Company provided extensive survival training, so I’m not dead yet. I found a storage box of supplies: some wood, an axe, a pickaxe, fish, bread, and an apple. I’m not sure if it’s from the ship, or something that someone here on the planet left behind. I did some light exploring.

I’ve spotted some horses and some chickens (ducks? they like swimming but sound like chickens), and cows, but nothing resembling civilization.

The plants here are amazing – mushrooms the size of maple trees, oaks four times as big around as me.

I found a small underground cave full of freshwater to spend the night in. It’s damp and uncomfortable sleeping on the ground, but better than being out in the open.

At least this place seems friendly.

Map of where I've landed on what I'm assuming is Serendipity
Map of where I’ve landed on what I’m assuming is Serendipity

2018 Young Explorers Adventure Guide Kickstarter!

The Kickstarter for the 2018 Young Explorer Adventures Guide is just over halfway funded to its goal. My story, “The Smell of Home” is in it, so if you’d like to read it and a whole ton of other great YA fiction about exploration, go give it a pledge.

One of the things I like about this particular Kickstarter is the number of tiers specifically dedicated to donating copies of the anthology to libraries. The goal is to give kids works that they can see themselves in, and I think we’ve got a great anthology to do just that.

2018 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide

I’ve sold “The Smell of Home”, a story about what it means to be where you belong”, to Dreaming Robot Press! It will be published in the 2018 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide. The Guide is a yearly anthology of middle-grade science fiction. They believe in publishing for a diverse range of characters and situations, which makes me proud to be one of their authors.

You can still pick up a copy of the 2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide if you need something to hold you over until the 2018 edition is out.

What the hell happened here?

Sometimes, you need to refresh things a little, and sometimes you need to refresh them a lot.

The old version of the site was built around a comic I haven’t faithfully updated in over half a decade, and a world where blogging was one’s main way of getting one’s voice heard.

But now we have Twitter and Medium and all kinds of other sharey things – and we have blogs about our work and blogs we edit about our work, and this one? This needed a refresh post haste.

And frankly, I’m looking forward to refreshing the site again in another 13 years.