Tag Archive: aliens

Year 5, Day 2

Sand Dunes, MorguefileStill the coast runs eastward, though now south as well. At least the rain has been left behind, though there is now no vegetation. Did I think I was following a desert shore before? I had no idea that such a large area as that now to my east could be so barren!  Sand, mostly, varied by a few rocks and distant hills. When the wind blows, it whips up sand and dust, carrying the dust far over the ocean, and I can no more fly than I could in a thunderstorm. When I can see anything, it is clear that the sand itself is piled into huge waves by the wind. Some days I can feel the sand blowing as I prepare to teleport to the coast, and just don’t bother.

The People should be returning soon, if I am right in thinking they arrive not too long after the northward equinox, what I have taken as the start of the year. Songbird is preparing for her baby’s recognition by the group. She has nagged Giraffe into killing a gazelle fawn, and is tanning the skin to a buttery softness to make little WildDog his first shirt. He’s never worn clothes, so she is dithering about how large to make them. Luckily this is an old problem for Meerkat, who has told Songbird quite firmly to wait until the last minute to see how much he grows. And to wait also to put them on him, as he is quite definitely not housebroken, and (unlike Patches) seems to have no instinct not to soil his sleeping quarters!

I am thinking I should take a day or two off mapping and check the edible date trees I have found, to see if any are ripe. I scooped out a little hollow near the desert coast and filled it with sea water, and the sun is evaporating it so quickly that I should have a good supply of salt to bring back. Obsidian can be collected at the last minute; I’ve found several good sources. Perhaps I should collect that for a parting gift?

Jarn’s Journal is the remote background of my science fiction universe. For all of Jarn’s Journal to date, see my Author site.

30 Doradus, HubbleWith the little time left, I’m posting a couple more snippets from War’s End, though it will probably be quite a while before it’s ready for publication. I will continue posting snippets on Sundays, but unless the new list goes up you’ll have to follow the blog to see them.

“Bounce,” [Coralie] called, and heard a bark in response.  She reached her mind out to the little dog, and caught her breath sharply as she realized what Bounce was doing.  “Audi, she’s bringing that creature here!”

Audi looked startled, but then grinned.  “Good for her!  That’s a Maung, if you didn’t know.”

A Maung? There was a captive Maung on the ship, but it was takeover by the Maung-possessed that led to Rakal’s removal from the Confederation!

At some point I’ll devote a week to a short I’m putting up on Amazon, “Horse Power.” It won’t be completely different; characters Timi and Amber are Coralie’s remote ancestors.

Do stop by and visit the other authors posting on Six Sentence Sunday. Just click on the logo below.Six Sentence Sunday logo

Year 4, Day 330

The tideless sea does connect with the tidal sea to the west, though the connection is much farther west than I expected.

I’ve not been getting as far on my mapping as I was; there are too many thunderstorms. In general it’s not too bad in the morning, but as soon as I approach a storm, I head home. As a result, I don’t get very far on any given day.

Strait of Gibralter

Strait of Gibralter, NASA image. Spain to left.

Yesterday, however, I began seeing another landmass, very faint, to the north. The coast I was following bent north to meet it, and I feared I had come to the end of what might be only a colossal salt lake. But today I continued and found a relatively narrow strait between the coast I have been following and the one approaching from the north that leads to a slightly fresher sea with a much higher and longer swell. I cannot be absolutely sure this is the global ocean, but I went far enough to be sure it is quite large, somewhat less salty than the tideless sea, and that the current through the strait is primarily the pouring of the slightly fresher water into the sea I have been following. The climate along the shore has been suggesting for some time that more water is evaporating than is falling on the sea or running into it, so it makes sense that the water must be replenished somehow.

Little WildDog is two moons old. He seems to be developing physically at about the same rate as the computer says is normal for an infant R’il’nian, and now drags himself around the floor. He does not seem to understand speech as a R’il’nian infant would, but he does seem to recognize that it means something, and listens quite intensely when his mother is speaking. I suspect he will understand language before he is able to produce it. Certainly he babbles enough!

Songbird is asking me repeatedly when the People will return. I estimate about a moon cycle and a half, and I hope to at least have a good start on mapping the west coast of this continent by then. The weather should be drier once I turn south.

Jarn’s Journal gives some of the early history of the science fictional universe in which Homecoming and Tourist Trap are set. It is the fictional journal of a human-like alien stranded in Africa some 125,000 years ago. The journal to date is on my author site.

Year 4, Day 287

New MoonThe baby is actually starting to look human. I almost said R’il’nian, but that is not true. The head is smaller, probably to fit through a smaller birth canal, and he still looks rather unfinished. But from what I’ve seen of R’il’nian babies (not much) and what I’ve been able to find from the computer files, he’s normal, just born at a little earlier stage of gestation than is usual with my people.

We had a little naming ceremony when the faint crescent of the new moon was just visible at sunset. Meerkat very officiously escorted Songbird and her new son from the birthing hut, which was then ceremoniously burned. While it was burning, and before the crescent set, Giraffe curled the baby’s hands around the tiny spear he had made and promised to teach him how to use it, and Songbird announced that his name was WildDog, after Patches. I stood by looking benign and feeling rather foolish.

Patches appears to approve the name, and (with a little tweaking of her mind) regards little WildDog as a pack puppy. Getting her to regard him as her own puppy might not be safe for Songbird—the packmate bond is strong, but not so strong that it will prevent a female from attacking a packmate she thinks is stealing her pups!

Giraffe and Songbird seem to have appointed themselves as my acolytes, and I helped Giraffe build a relatively permanent structure for the two three of them to live in. He started out with a somewhat more permanent version of the huts they build for shelter during the rainy season, a sort of brush structure roofed with grass and leaves. I suggested that if he pressed mud against the walls, it would hold it together and I could fuse the surface to stabilize it. Then he suggested that the inside walls might be daubed too, and I offered to fuse the floors. We left an open space between the walls and the roof, for light and air, but it can be filled with thorns to stop predators. In fact, Giraffe devised a very clever shutter system, so that thorny branches fastened to a frame of smooth ones can be lifted into place by hide ropes. More of the creativity these People posses.

Songbird is delighted with her new home. I need to get back to my mapping.

Jarn’s Journal is the fictional journal of an equally fictional human-like alien stranded in Africa 125,000 years ago. His story is part of the back story of my science fiction universe. The journal, as far as it has been written, is on my author site.

Year 4 Day 236

Nile SunsetOne of the bits of information that is in the computer files is that pregnant women sometimes crave particular foods, and that seems to carry over to the People. At least Songbird would very much like some dates.

The particular clone of trees I found earlier did indeed produce a fruit that the People relished, but most of the trees of that type do not. Since that clone does not currently have ripe fruit, I added testing of palm trees to my mapping–somewhat doubtfully, as the coastline I am now mapping is pure desert. Today, however, I levitated enough to get an overview of the area (and make myself very short of breath) and while I did not see any ending of this very salty sea to the north, I spotted a thread of green far to the west. A river? Could it flow into the tideless sea I seek?

It was indeed a river, and on its banks grew not only reeds, but date palms. And the river flows northward! I spent the rest of today checking for ripe fruit, feeling for high sugar content. And I found another of the trees with sweet fruit. It must be a rare mutation, so I made sure I memorized the teleport coordinates of that tree as well as gathering some of the fruit.

Shall I continue my mapping of the coastline of the salty sea, assuming that it will eventually meet with the destination of the river? Or start tomorrow from the river and follow it northward?

Whichever way I choose, Songbird (and Giraffe and Meerkat) were overjoyed to have the dates.

Jarn’s Journal is a fictional journal kept by a fictional alien stranded in Africa roughly 125,000 years ago. He is being treated as a god (much to his annoyance) by a group of primitive humans calling themselves the People. The story is the remote backstory to my published novels Homecoming and Tourist Trap and the trilogy I am currently editing. Jarn’s Journal to date is on my author site.

Year 4 Day 150

I am going to make a proper map. Certainly of this continent; perhaps in time of this entire world.

GlobeI’ve known that the key was time since my first fumbling efforts. If I know a base time, and the exact height and direction of the sun, I can locate myself on a grid of longitude and latitude. The height and direction of the sun are no great problem, but time?

I think I have solved that problem. The computer has a mental interface, but I’m not very good at that kind of interfacing. I can, however handle the interfacing for something as simple as a time check, and give it back the exact position of the sun at my location. It can then calculate my position relative to its own. Each landmark I observe is then given a latitude and longitude based on the equator being at zero latitude, and the computer being at zero longitude.

With Giraffe hunting, Songbird and Meerkat gathering and cooking, and all three supplying my clothing, I actually have time for this.

I am still a little worried about Songbird. The computer does have some information on the birth process, but for R’il’nians and animals. Our women remodel their bone structure as they approach their fertile period, and the remodeling to give a larger pelvic opening continues throughout pregnancy. They waddle most enticingly for the last month or so, but their pelvic opening by the time of birth is quite large enough for our large-headed infants to pass through. Animals do not remodel their bones, but they produce relatively small-headed infants.

The People produce large-headed infants – I saw some at the Gather – but their hips scarcely widen at all. When I spoke to Meerkat she admitted that this sometimes causes problems – especially if the mother has not had a child before.

It will be several moons, she assures me. About four, I think, if their gestation period is similar to ours. I hope Songbird is among those who have no problem.

Jarn’s Journal is the fictional journal of a fictional alien who was stranded in Africa roughly 125,000 years ago. The universe that comes from his stranding is the one in which my published books, Homecoming and Tourist Trap, are set. The entire Journal to date is on my Author site.

Year 4 Day 90

Is this possible?

Lions, MorguefileI have been torn between wanting the company of the People and the knowledge that I could not survive as they do. My feet will not stand walking, I am all but helpless without the computer, and I have far less strength and skill than do they. I was happiest with Songbird, but I could not keep her separate from her people. Yet now she wishes to stay with me, along with Giraffe.

Rain Cloud and Dust Devil came together to the portico of my new home this morning, trailed by Songbird, Giraffe and Meerkat. They bowed low, much to my annoyance – I hate having my home treated as a temple. Then they began a long spiel, interrupting each other frequently, about how they wished to honor me but it was difficult when they would soon be moving on after the herds. That they had something in mind that they were not sure I would accept was obvious. Meerkat again?

Songbird had been rolling her eyes for some time when they paused for a moment and she broke in. (I am afraid she learned some very bad manners while she was staying with me.) “Giraffe and I would like to stay with you, to prepare your food and clothing,” she said.

My first reaction was delight. My second, almost as fast, was panic. Songbird is quite definitely pregnant, and I have no idea of how to deliver a baby. Would even the computer have any information on that? Babies are so rare with us that I really was not sure. Furthermore, I have already noticed that these people’s hips, even at their widest, are not as wide as those of a R’il’nian woman during pregnancy.

“Meerkat would stay, too,” she continued. “My mother says she has taught me what she could, but Meerkat has knowledge she does not. And her own clan does not need her – they have others skilled at helping new life into the world.

Skilled at helping new life into the world – a midwife? Suddenly the prospect brightened. Giraffe is an adequate hunter, especially paired with Patches, and I can supplement what he hunts with foodstuffs from places out of his reach. Between Songbird and Meerket that food will be far better cooked than I can manage myself, and with Meerkat as midwife and whatever is in the computer Songbird’s pregnancy is no longer so terrifying. With Songbird and Giraffe present Meerkat is unlikely to become a problem. I can once again devote my time to exploration, to learning as much as I can about this world.

Rain Cloud and Dust Devil were looking at me as if they expected me to strike them with lightning. “I would enjoy their company,” I said.

By my calendar, tomorrow will be the anniversary of Storm Cloud’s death. I think she would be pleased by this turn of events.

Year 3 Day 136

African landscapeThe computer is no help at all.

Oh, it has an architectural module. I can play all I want with floor plans, wall finishes, furniture – anything like that. But it assumes I have access to finished materials, standard furnishings, and robot builders, none of which are available here.

What I do have is plant material in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and hardness, animal skins and bones, rocks of all sizes, and dirt. Lots of dirt. Can I use the architectural program to define the shape of what I want, and somehow build walls, roof and even furnishings from what I have?

I decided some time ago on a site. It is well above the lake, with a beautiful view. I wish I had some transparent material that would keep animals and insects out while allowing me to look out, but for the moment daylight will have to come from thinly scraped skins. Beyond that, I’m still not sure what I’ll use to make a dwelling. Parts of the emergency capsule are still usable, and I’ll certainly teleport the computer and the solar panels to the new site, but there must be a better way to build a shelter!

This is one place where the people would be of little help, even if they were here. They simply do not build permanent shelters.

I wonder …. Is it possible to fuse dirt into something harder with my esper abilities?

Jarn’s Journal is the remote back story of my science fiction universe — really remote. Like about 125,000 years. It is the fictional journal of a human-like alien stranded in Africa during the penultimate interglacial, and the story to date can be found on my author website.

Year 2, Day 355

African landscape, from Morguefile.comFifteen days it took them to get Meerkat to the place where Storm Cloud’s group was encamped, and by that time most of Storm Cloud’s group had moved on. They’d left a few behind, and everyone seemed to know where they were going, so I didn’t worry too much about leaving them at the old camp site. Lion’s group had reached good grazing and water several days earlier. Everyone was feeding themselves and finding water,  so all I had to do was continue to have Patches track Storm Cloud’s group to the Gather.

The Gather. Patches. Two problems for me to worry about. Do I really want to go to their Gather? Should I, or have I interfered more than enough already? And what am I to do about Patches? How easily the impulse to help can lead us into trouble!

I could have ignored the orphaned and starving puppy. Then I would not be agonizing over the moral problem of just how far I can justify meddling with Patches’ mind. She is not a domesticate, whose mind is adjusted to living with a dominant species. She is a tamed wild animal, and her instincts are telling her she should be part of a pack, challenging the dominant female for the right to breed. But she understands nothing of pack living.

I could free her, easily enough, but she could never survive on her own. No pack would accept her. Any dominant female would kill her on sight. She knows nothing of fighting; I myself have conditioned her against the very things that might keep her alive.

True, she is not a sentient, a creature that is aware of its own mortality, I can modify her mind, deepen her acceptance of humans as her pack, even reduce the instinct to mate. Perhaps that is what I should do? I cannot think of anything else. Perhaps I should not have saved her, but would I myself be alive if I had not?

In case you’re new to Jarn’s Journal it is a Friday feature of this blog, and represents the (fictional) journal of a (fictional) human-like alien stranded in Africa 125,000 years ago. The journal to date is on my author site, and is the remote back story of the setting of my science fiction books.

Year 2, Day 339

African Wild DogI am beginning to wonder if I may have promised more than I can deliver. At least it keeps me busy!

Yesterday morning was devoted to filling water containers, finding food (for three groups now) and checking on the woman whose name, I have finally discovered, is Meerkat. Then I teleported Patches and myself to the last camp of Lion’s group and had Patches try to track them to their next camp. Patches can move a good deal faster than they can, and they usually stop to hunt well before dark, so I caught them just as they are staring to look for a campsite. Yesterday I spotted a good site ahead of them and guided them to it. By that time, however, Patches was getting tired of tracking. Getting her to follow the hunters from Storm Cloud’s camp toward Meerkat’s took a good deal more mental control than I really like to use, and it was full dark before we found them and delivered their water.

I hoped to break up the tracking by having Patches track the hunters partway in the morning, as they leave as soon as there is any light at all. Then Patches could rest while I took food and water to Meerkat and filled the water containers for Lion’s group. Actually finding the group was as much a matter of guessing as following Patches, who by that time was sore-footed as well as rebellious. When it came to following the hunters from where they’d been around noon, she simply laid down and dared me to drive her on.

I thought that by then they might be getting close to Meerkat’s camp, as after all they had estimated two days to get there. So I teleported their supplies to the camp and then flew back along the route I though they would be using. Luckily there was a full moon tonight, so I was able to find them. Lucky also that they had estimated the time it would take them so well. And I have seen most of the trail they will be returning over, so if they tell me each day where they will camp the next night, I should be able to teleport to those sites, leaving only Lion’s group to depend on Patches’ skill as a reluctant tracker.