Day 111: Metals and monsters

Day 111:

Some days I swear all I have to do is cross a threshold underground and there’s a horror squid waiting for me. Today’s bruised me up pretty badly, and wrecked some of my stuff, but I eventually beat him.

I think I need to build better weapons, but out of what? I have found exactly two metals out here, and that’s iron and gold. (The chunk of gold I found today. It’s a pretty sizable nugget, but has a lot of other crap rock mixed into it, so it’s not exactly a high quality. And for all I’ve been digging, it’s an indication of the scarcity of gold that it’s taken me this long to find some.)

It’s not much of a surprise that this little planet isn’t metal-rich. If it was loaded with heavy metals it probably would’ve drawn more debris in during its formation and the planet would’ve been bigger. The benefits of the planet’s size and lack of heavy metals is that gravity isn’t nearly as strong as it would be on, say, earth, where most of these explosions would’ve been a lot more deadly as they threw me into their.

Either way I’d like to get rid of the squid. And maybe make a mirror somehow. I’m sure this is a hell of a shiner on my left eye but I’ve got no way to take a look at it.

A sketch of the center of a planet - a circle representing the outer crust, a very wide circle representing the mantle, and a very tiny circle in the center representing a very small iron core.
I do remember a little of the planetary briefing before everything went pear-shaped

Day 110: More singing

Day 110: More singing

Here’s an old one I’ve been singing.

Some blues are just blues, mine are the miner’s blues.
Some blues are just blues, mine are the miner’s blues.
My troubles are coming by threes and by twos.

Blues and more blues, it’s that coal black blues.
Blues and more blues, it’s that coal black blues.
Got coal in my hair, got coal in my shoes.

These blues are so blue, they are the coal black blues.
These blues are so blue, they are the coal black blues.
For my place will cave in, and my life I will lose.

You say they are blues, these old miner’s blues.
You say they are blues, these old miner’s blues.
Now I must have sharpened these picks that I use.

I’m out with these blues, dirty coal black blues.
I’m out with these blues, dirty coal black blues.
We’ll get attacked by squid tomorrow with the coal miner’s blues.


Not everything I’ve been mining has been coal, obviously, but it still seems fitting. It’s dated way back, to before the last calendar change, probably a few hundred years ago.

Black shapes representing coal on a dark blue background, labeled "coal mining"
Miners have been around a long time

Day 109: Songs

Day 109:

Here is what I’m singing right now…

As a poor Earther I was born
Pick away, haul away
And for my birth home I now mourn
We’re bound to make our fortune

I found a job in outer space
Pick away, haul away
But now I’m stranded in disgrace
We’re bound to make our fortune

I’m digging in a crooked line
Pick away, haul away
But keeping everything I mine
We’re bound to make our fortune

It goes on from there, but I’ll spare you. I didn’t say I was good at it.

A watercolor sketch of a water skin hanging from a wall. It's brown and looks somewhat like a stomach.
A sketch of my water skin to make up for my horrible singing.

Day 108: On structure

Day 108:

Occasionally, when I dig up from a chamber below where I am, I hit a wall from a chamber above, instead of a floor. That’s annoying.

I could avoid the problem by sizing every space I carve equally, so that they’re all 3 meters by 4 meters, by example. I’ve seen the results of mining companies that follow that kind of policy.

There are a few problems with doing that:

  1. Every room starts to look the same, so regardless of how well you map, it’s easy to get lost. That’s not a big deal in a small mining operation, but in a large one, it can literally be deadly.
  2. Crossing a half distance underground, one does not want to open dozens of doors. TRUST ME.
  3. The ore doesn’t cooperate with that layout, so you end up with a lot of empty spaces behind walls or spaces you weren’t planning to dig out but have to because that’s how you get the chambers evenly spaced.

Another alternative is giant rooms. There’s only one problem with that:

  1. The ceiling gives way and you die.

No matter how high or low the gravity of a planet or planetoid or asteroid, eventually gravity wins the fight and no manner of stabilizing poles will last forever.

So my mining chambers are somewhat randomly sized. (They’re a lot more randomly sized when I don’t have to sink a torch every three meters to keep the local fauna away.) That means sometimes when I dig up, I hit a wall. One can’t carry maps this size everywhere.

Anyway, that’s the quick reason why my digging is annoying the duck out of me today.

Sketch of the view from below, as the author dug upwards and hit a granite wall she had installed herself previously.
stupid walls

Day 107: What I would give for some music

Day 107

On the ship, we carried radios powerful enough to stream music from anywhere on board, and they were tiny little things you could clip to your collar. They didn’t play in your ears, but instead used wireless communication to vibrate a chip embedded just above your jawbone.

Everyone has one of these chips. They’re the primary way of communicating between people now. Grandma said when she was a kid they still had to carry devices, and when her grandfather was a kid they called the devices “phones”, though they were primitive at best and only could handle a few thousand apps and streams.

Since I was a kid, I’ve always had some kind of sound running through my chip. Sometimes it was sports or some kind of talk-based show, but most of it was music.

I’d give anything for some music right now.

I’ve started to sing in the caverns. They always say your voice sounds better in a chamber of echoes, and maybe it does.

The bats are singing along.

It’s sure bringing all the zombies to the yard.

line sketch of the profile of a woman with a chip implanted just behind her earlobe on the left side of her head.
I can feel mine under the skin with my fingers.