Okay, time to try to reboot this blog again. I’ve pretty much lost track of how many times I’ve tried this. People tell me that I’m a good writer and I should write more but I keep telling them that I’m no good at making things up, I’m just a smart-ass full of witty comebacks. Those sort of things don’t build themselves into anything worth reading very well, but I think I’ve got the solution… well, that’s a bit optimistic. Let’s just say that I’ve got another cunning plan that I think will be worth trying. I’m going to use a magical device that generates some random events and I’m going to immerse myself in it and see if anything entertaining comes of it, blog-wise. I’ll let you be the judge of whether this works or not but hopefully I’ll come up with some characters that are worth following. Without further explanation, let the experiment begin…
Before The Beginning
As the re-entry process started I couldn’t help but wonder what I was in for this time. I’d done some strange things and seen many that were stranger but this was a bit on the fringe even for me. A rocket. To a random world on the rim. Alone. And unless I’m very lucky, one way. At this point you’re probably expecting to hear about the crimes I was falsely convicted of prior to being exiled, or perhaps you have a better opinion of humanity and how the world treats it and are eagerly waiting to find out just how obscenely I’m being paid for this mission. Either way, you’re going to be disappointed. I paid a quarter of my fortune for this privilege.
I tell people that I was a childhood spy. It’s almost certainly a lie, but after 2146 years any possible record of my early years are long gone and after wandering through life for 44 years my own memories of my childhood have faded so that they are indistinguishable from dreams. The spy thing makes for a good icebreaker and I can spin it any number of ways so that it explains my wealth without further questions being asked. I can also spin it to explain the extreme fatigue I felt about the various worlds I’d lived on and the lives I’d led on them. It was time for change, and I expect I’ll get my money’s worth.
Yeah, I know. I’ve seen them too. The disaster vids. Fatal sunburn. Muffalo herd tramplings. Colonies destroyed by raiders. Ravaged by disease. A thousand different ways to die, none of them even close to “quietly in my sleep with a supermodel by my side”. I’ve seen the vids and I’ve seen a few in real life, too, but I think I can beat the odds. I think I can make it back.
The planet looked pretty good from orbit; lots of temperate forest, no more than the usual amount of desert, swamp, and other less-hospitable areas. A number of larger villages could be seen distributed at country-neighbor distances (relatively speaking) from each other. The travel company, true to their word, had not sent me to a gas giant or a ball of molten lead so things were off to a good start, right? Right. Time to pick a landing spot.
The agency, to add to the mystery, had stripped the ship of all hi-res imaging leaving me with a pixelated view of the planet that was little better than looking through frosted glass. Aiming for green, avoiding blue and brown, I picked my landing spot, started the landing sequence, and relaxed into the cryptosleep chamber to avoid the bumps, jolts, and possible no-charge funeral / cremation combo that re-entry offered.
The Actual Beginning
Landed. The ship held together and got me here. First, a quick look around.
The immediate area is littered with supplies. Included in that is the steel slag that was once the lander I arrived in. The travel agency sure won’t get sued for false advertising over that “experience the thrill of a one-way voyage” line in the brochure. There’s nothing but strips of scrap metal. The engine must have consumed itself or buried itself in the ground or something because there is nothing even remotely engine-like anywhere to be seen. I can see wood, steel, food rations, gold, silver, some medical supplies and, blissfully, a charge rifle. And Sin, running around exploring things on his own.
Beyond the “landing site” (indistinguishable in appearance from an impact crater) the first things that I see are a raccoon and a geyser. An odd combination, but each reassuring in its own way. The raccoon means that creatures can live here, and by extension, maybe I can too. The geyser holds the promise of unlimited power from a thermal generator once the minor hurdles of gathering materials and learning how to build one are overcome. A problem for another day.
The goals for Day 1 are simple. So simple, in fact that the Complimentary Survival Guide doesn’t even mention them. The sections for Day 2 and beyond are full of helpful tips about foraging, hunting, building, researching, fighting, trading, mining, cooking, and (inevitably) doctoring and all the other skills I’ll need to have to survive in the long term on this rock. Day 1? Here’s the full text of the entry for day 1:
Day 1? Day 1? Seriously?!? If you have to ask what you need to do on day 1, you are not qualified for this adventure. You have already filled out Form 12, “Next of Kin”, please also fill out the “Last Will and Testament” form found in Appendix C. Fortunately, you still qualify for our strict no-refund policy.
Day 1 will consist of immediately arming myself with the charge rifle, finding shelter, building a bed to sleep in, and if there’s spare time, starting to haul supplies from the landing si… hell, who’s kidding who here? From the crater to someplace closer to wherever home ends up being.
I grab the rifle and begin to assess the bigger picture with an eye toward shelter. I’m in a narrow valley running mostly south to north with a bit of a clockwise tilt to it. I can’t really see an end in either direction; I’d be happy to know that I wasn’t in a box canyon but won’t have time to answer that question for a couple of days. To the northwest there is what appears to be a lone wall, which isn’t too helpful but to the northeast is a small structure that is still mostly intact. It doesn’t look fresh enough to have a living owner and it doesn’t look ancient enough to be ready to fall down, so I guess it’s JUUUUST right. I head that way to check it out.
I’m pleased to find some ripe raspberry bushes ready for harvest; any food that I don’t have to cultivate or kill is free eats. The valley narrows as I approach the structure, which almost seals the gap despite being fairly small. Too small, really. Once I get a bed inside there wouldn’t be much room for anything else. I keep walking. A squirrel chitters away as I pass; another good sign. As meals go squirrels aren’t quite as effortless as berries on a bush and they don’t have much meat on them, but they’re not likely to trample you to death if you miss with the first shot, either.
I continue on past the shed heading northeast. The valley begins to spread out again and a cave appears in the west wall, just past a stand of trees, right near where the grizzly bear is wandering. A grizzly bear I do NOT need right now. I could just shoot him (probably about dozen times to get the job done, I’d say) but then it might charge and Bad Things would probably happen. Even if I managed to kill it, I don’t have any way yet of keeping the meat fresh and I’d end up eating spoiled bear meat and different Bad Things would happen. I decide to give the bear some room and head into the cave.
But it’s not really a cave after all. It’s a nice room, partly covered with a stone overhang, sandstone floor, and no occupants living or dead. This should make a nicer place to call home, so I do. Over the next few hours I manage to get a roof over the rest of the cave (which probably isn’t a cave if it needs a roof, but there’s no one here to quibble with so I can call it whatever I want to), use some of the wood to build a bed and some doors for the cave entrance, and get almost all of the rest of the supplies into the shed. I even have time to build a torch to light up the house before turning in for the night. The bear watched for a while then moseyed off. At that, the bear was more help than Sin was. Some serious training is going to be required before he’s of any value.
Hey! I think I managed to survive day 1.