Tag Archive: Confederation History


Year 8 Day 117

Rainbow never complains or makes demands. She merely looks martyred.

Subtly.

I would probably have noticed earlier if I had not been so fascinated by the salt lake. For several days I’ve been up before dawn and teleporting to the rift. There I alternate exploring with swimming until it becomes so hot that even swimming in the relatively warm water cannot cool me down. At that point, usually before noon, I teleport back to my laboratory with generous samples of water, halite pebbles, salt crusts from various shores and occasional salt-tolerant life forms.

I have found mountains of halite – literally – and brought back small boulders. Salts other than halite are common in the crusts along the shore, and the water, while quite undrinkable, is actually healing to my skin.

I thought until this evening that my failure to taste salt in the food Rainbow was preparing was due to my being so surrounded by salt that my sense of taste was overwhelmed. It finally occurred to me that the gifts of the group had not included salt, probably because I generally supply it.

When I asked her if she could use any salt she told me, very apologetically, that she had almost none left.

I could not help laughing, which made her look even more martyred.

“I’m laughing at myself, not at you,” I assured her once I got myself under control. “I’ve been surrounded by salt lately – pebbles to mountains. I’ll bring you several forms, and you can decide if pebbles, crusts, or evaporated lake water would be the most useful for you. But please, if you need something you don’t have, tell me. I had no idea you needed salt.”

I hadn’t even remembered to show her the pebbles, I thought. But she has seemed to have so little interest in what I am doing. Perhaps I should mention anything that might help her with food preparation or clothing.

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Year 8, Day 90

crude basketLittle Gnu and Gazelle may have started it, but I suspect it was Songbird and through her, Rain Cloud, who spread the word to the shamans. The People want to serve me, to keep me placated, I suspect. But a year away from everything they know is a major sacrifice. (Well, it would be for most of them, though I am not so sure of Torch Flower.)

Materials for Rainbow to use in making and repairing clothes and food, however, are a way of showing me honor without much pain to any one person. Surplus tanned hides, furs, sinew, linen thread, tools, fish traps and storage baskets have been pouring in. It’s a good thing I designed my home with a number of extra rooms!

Torch Flower had not taken good care of the building I originally built for Songbird and Giraffe. I had designed it, like my own home, with a warnoff to keep small pests from moving in and multiplying, and both Songbird and Gazelle had kept it clean. Torch Flower had unthinkingly assumed that scavengers would clean up any dropped food, and the place was beginning to stink.

Rainbow took one look, or rather one sniff, and began cleaning. By the time she had the place spotless down to the fused walls and floor, which she regarded with delight, a new sleeping mat had been left on the portico. Then she tackled the roasting pit, and soon had it in better condition than when Songbird initially supervised its construction. In fact, now that people have started to leave for their treks following the herds, we are in the best condition I have ever been in at this time of year.

I will definitely extend my mapping to the area north of the tideless sea this year.

Jarn’s Journal is part of the back story of the Jarnian Confederation, in which my science fiction books are set. Jarn is a human-like alien wo was stranded in Africa roughly 125,000 years ago. His story to date is on my author site.

I stopped by to watch Rainbow prepare a hide this morning, and found myself wondering what she got out of the relationship with her mate. Her scraper was little more than a rock, and while she used both the scraper and a cutting tool with skill, the tools were scarcely more than chipped pebbles. I could do as well, and I am hardly an accomplished flint knapper!

new arrowOne of the things I have done over the past year is collect various types of stone for Little Gnu, so this afternoon I went by to present him with my finds. I hadn’t intended to bargain, but when I mentioned the state of Rainbow’s tools, he smiled. “Then I will make her new ones,” he said. “It is little enough return for such fine stone, but if she is to make your clothing and prepare your food she should have tools of the best.” He picked up a dulled scraper, and it took him only a few blows to blunt the back and sharpen the edge. “Here,” he said, handing me the resharpened tool. “Give her this for the moment. It is better than what she has, but hardly a finished tool. Have her bring what she has to me, and I will see if any can be saved. If not, her tools will help me design what she can best use.”

“And if she is to prepare your food,” Gazelle said firmly, “she will need tools for that, too. I know you can provide salt and fruit, as well as meat, but she could use a better fish trap. Songbird is still the best at that, and you, Gnu, must make her a good gutting knife. And awls, for sewing. Sinew – who is best at preparing that, I wonder? Perhaps some flax? And porcupine quills for decoration ….

I have a feeling that the whole camp is going to see that Rainbow is better equipped than when she was living with her mate.

AtoZ 13 logoIf you are looking for the A to Z Challenge post, click on the logo to the left or scroll down.

Year 6 Day 32

Well, they’re back.

Orange sunsetI tried to explain my map, now transferred to a hide with Songbird and Meerkat’s help, to the gathered shamans. Songbird seems to have figured out that the map in some way corresponds to where I have been, though for the most part she considers it some sort of incomprehensible magic. Rather as I regard their ability to find their way around by using landmarks, I suspect.

The general reaction of the shamans could be summed up as “But we are standing here, on grass. How can we also be standing on that piece of hide?”

It might be possible to teach WildDog what a map means, but would it be wise? In fact, is it wise to let him grow up here? There are no other children here, and it has taken him only a few days to discover friendship with other children coming in. Songbird and Giraffe, likewise, are delighted to renew bonds with their old friends. Is it fair to them, to keep them here?

I need to think more deeply about this.

This is an except for Jarn’s Journal, supposedly the journal of a human-like alien stranded in Africa some 125,000 years ago. He has made contact with a group of primitive, nomadic humans, three of whom (with their child) are staying with him at the area where the normally scattered family bands meet once a year.

Letter JJarn was a R’il’nian who lived around 125,000 years ago, during the penultimate interglacial on Earth. He was a starship designer, but he was young and he left a few safety features out of his design. As a result he was stranded in Africa, and met primitive humans there. By everything he had learned he should have avoided having anything to do with them – the morality he had grown up with emphasized that proto-sentient and sentient species were to be left strictly alone to work out their own destiny. But he could not refuse to help a badly injured child, and as a result of this and other well-intentioned acts, he wound up hybridizing with the primitives, so that ultimately all of these Human ancestors had a small contribution from Jarn’s genes. In my science fiction universe Jarn made it back to his people after several thousand years, taking many of his hybrid descendants with him.  Here he is recording his first thoughts after the crash.

His Journal is currently being blogged a bit at a time on Fridays, and is also on my author site. The Jarnian Confederation, home of all my science fiction, is named after Jarn.

Earth, as photographed from Galileo in December. Photo credit NASA I am alive, which still astonishes me. I do not know enough about this planet yet to have more than a rough idea of its year length, but no doubt I will find out soon enough. If I ever get back to where designing another starship is possible, I will design it with a few more of the standard safety features. Like the block against exiting a jump point too close to a gravity well.

If by any chance I do not get back home, and this record does, perhaps I should introduce myself. I am Jarn, a R’il’nian and a designer of starships. Not, I regret to say, as good a designer as I thought, or my third ship would be around me instead of lying in pieces on the bottom of one of this planet’s oceans. Indeed, it all happened so fast I am still somewhat confused, but I will try to state briefly what happened.

I was aiming for the vicinity of a G-type sun, and I came out of the exit jump-point too close to the third planet’s atmosphere, and heading into it. All I could do was maneuver into a braking orbit and try to kill enough energy that a water landing wouldn’t vaporize the ship and cause a major tidal wave. No, I could not have teleported to safety. I never was any good at interstellar teleports, or at going someplace I hadn’t been before. Another thing to work on if I ever get home.

Anyway, not only does the planet have lots of water, it also has land areas with large stretches of chlorophyll green. A huge one stretches almost halfway around the planet in the northern hemisphere, with an extension into the southern hemisphere at its trailing end, and a pair on the other side of the planet together extend almost from pole to pole. It looked as if there was ice at both poles, though it could have been clouds, and the readouts as I got into the atmosphere indicated one part oxygen to four of nitrogen. All this strongly suggested life, and it would be unethical in the extreme to let the ship destroy any more of that life than I could help.

I managed to trigger the escape capsule a minute or so before impact, which was toward the leading edge of the broadly serpentine north-south ocean, and flew it, with some difficulty, to the trailing edge of the southern extension of the larger land mass, where I am now recording this. I suppose it was a good landing, since I am still alive and sound, if shaken, but the capsule will never again be anything more than a rather crude shelter.

There is a small stream nearby, and an abundance of fibrous-looking vegetation which is being eaten by a wide variety of animals, including what appear to be perfectly good mammals. I don’t have and probably never will have the equipment to test whether their proteins are compatible with my own, but a fish from the stream was tasty enough. The stream water seems reasonably pure, though the larger water areas taste salty and are probably too mineral-rich to drink on a regular basis. The atmospheric oxygen content is neither so high as to allow uncontrolled wildfires nor so low as to give me any problem in breathing, and so far there are no obvious atmospheric toxins. So if I don’t swell up and die tonight from the fish, it looks as if I have the basic requirements for staying alive.

I didn’t manage to get a measurement of axial tilt, so I have no idea what the weather is likely to be or what season I am in. A lot of the vegetation looks desiccated, which may indicate that I arrived during a seasonal dry period, in which case I may need shelter when it starts to rain again. Or I may have landed in an area entering a long drought. I hope the stream does not dry up completely.

I suppose I should count myself lucky, but I have no idea of what I can do beyond keeping myself alive.

I’m doing my A to Z blogs from my books, both characters and background information. For characters I’ll introduce them quickly, say what point of time they’re talking from since their situations change drastically through the books, and let them talk. Background information will vary according to what I’m talking about. All of these blogs will be scheduled to go live just after midnight Alaska time.Banner AZ logo

Year 5 Day 133

Jungle, MorguefileI haven’t gone mapping every day, but today I found what I think is a huge river delta, as large as the one I found when I found the tideless sea. It’s not at all the same, though. The earlier delta was in a desert climate, the only water being the river itself. Vegetation was mostly plants that grew well with flooded roots, and generally not very tall within the delta itself, and limited to palms and other desert vegetation back from the delta islands.

This delta is rain forest, and from the air looks very much like any other rain forest: green, green, green. Different tree heights, different shades of green, but all green. The narrower watercourses are barely visible from the air, but they are there.

Even more exciting, I followed the outer coast for quite a distance to see how large the delta was, and I think the coast finally swings south beyond it. The delta seems to form a bump—quite a large bump—in a corner where the coast goes from trending east to trending south. I teleported to where I found the ocean off a desert coast far to the south, and this is indeed close to the same longitude. My map is beginning to show the shape of this continent.

WildDog is fascinating to watch, but I am reminded of my first impressions of Patches: destructive, messy, sharp teeth, good at getting over, around, or through barriers, and adorable. Except that Patches got over her messy stage much faster than WildDog (assuming he gets over it) and he is getting steadily more destructive. I have to admit his teeth aren’t quite as sharp as Patches’s were. Meerlat says he is a normal baby; Songbird and Giraffe are quite besotted with him. I am still wondering how he will interact with others of his species.

Jarn’s Journal is the fictional Journal of a fictional human-like alien stranded in Africa 125,000 years ago. His story is part of the back story of the Jarnian Confederation where Homecoming, Tourist Trap and Horse Power are set. You can read the whole Journal to date on my author site. Speaking of which, Horse Power will be free for three days on Amazon, starting midnight Pacific time March 16 (Saturday.)

Year 5 Day 112

Chimpanzee, MorguefileThe coast has been running east for some time, though I am still far north of my initial landing site, and north of the equator. Its character has changed completely, from sand waves to a riot of green. It’s lucky I can levitate, as I have some real doubts as to whether I could penetrate this much vegetation on foot. I have caught glimpses of animals that have some remote resemblance to the people, and marked their location on the map I’m making. But I’m getting eager to finish the outline of this continent.

The coast must turn southward ahead somewhere, and meanwhile I can only observe a coast covered with trees. No doubt some are edible, and others are medicinal. But which? I have been taking samples back to Songbird and Meerkat, but with few exceptions, they can only say that these plants are unfamiliar.

I’m having better luck with the fruit, especially those varieties that the local animals obviously relish. They aren’t familiar, either, but some do appear to be edible. Meerkat is very cautious about sampling them, first binding them against her skin and then later eating a very small piece. After a few days she will ask me to bring more of that variety, and she will have begin to cook with it, or have all of us eat it. Some are truly delicious, and I have marked the locations of those trees. But this near the equator, the fruiting season seems to vary from tree to tree.

I am also getting wet. It seems to rain almost all the time here, so I don’t explore every day. Besides, it is getting entertaining to watch WildDog as he grows older.

Jarn’s Journal is the fictional journal of a fictional alien who was stranded in Africa roughly 125,000 years ago. He had befriended (and been accepted as a god, much to his annoyance) a group of primitive humans. While most are nomadic, three have appointed themselves as his acolytes and are staying near the shelter he has built himself near the spot where  the family groups come together shortly after the northward equinox. The Journal to date is on my Author site.

Year 5 Day 50

Fire, MorguefileHow do I get myself into these things? At least Rain Cloud agreed to stand with me!

I verified that WildDog is Songbird’s child. (And Giraffe’s, though I am determined not to say anything that will puff him up any more than does being guardian to such a fine boy.) But Songbird still regards Rain Cloud as her shaman, and herself as a part of Rain Cloud’s group. So Rain Cloud accepted WildDog as a part of his clan, and I vouched that he was born into that group. And we both held him aloft between us for the recognition by the whole group. I hope that as he grows older he will not be treated differently because I took a part in his Naming.

I counted fifteen other children being Named, rarely more than one to a group. Rain Cloud’s group counted two including WildDog, and one other group also had two. There seemed a reasonable balance between boys and girls, and both were greeted with equal joy.

It is a good thing that Songbird waited until the last moment to make the adornments for WildDog, as he is growing so fast that her original plan for a shirt (really a piece of hide with a hole for his neck) would have been little more than a collar. As it was, the hide made him a garment of sorts, and between that, the white and red clay skin painting, and the token I gave him, he looked very impressive and quite definitely not like an animal.

Songbird painted me, too, and while I felt rather silly, I was at least far cooler than with the mask and leopard skin last year.

I even added a bit to the ceremony. Only the People control fire, and as symbol of this a child is passed through smoke as part of the Naming. I added a bit of the sweet-smelling sap to the fire, and the smoke had a fragrance Rain Cloud said was different from any he had smelled before. Privately, he asked if this could be a part of the ceremony from now on, so I find myself committed to another task for the People. At least finding the sap is no problem, as I know exactly where to get it.

I wonder what other treasures this world holds?

World Building logoIf you’re looking for the World Building Blogfest Excerpt, scroll down or click on the logo to the left. However, Jarn’s Journal is also a part of the history of my science fiction universe, and is the basis for several holy books — much modified by priests, of course!

Year 5 Day 24

You’d think that by now I’d know that I haven’t a shred of artistic sense in my body. No, I had to try to decorate myself. Giraffe and Meerkat are too much in awe of me to laugh in my face, but Songbird could not suppress her giggles.

“Fine,” I said. “You decorate me. But I absolutely am not going to wear that mask and leopard skin!”

feathers, MorguefileShe fingered my skin, covered with splotches of the red-purple dye. “Can you get that off?”

Rather sullenly I felt out the structure of the dye and teleported it away. It took me a while – I’m not exactly expert in that kind of work – and while I was working at the problem, Songbird was drawing with a stick on a patch of dirt. She finished and began chewing a twig about the time my skin returned to its normal dark bronze color.

“Now, do you have more of that color? It’s different from any I’ve seen before. We’ll say it’s a holy color, just for you, and set it off with white.”

I handed her the rest of the shellfish dye, and she dipped the chewed twig into it and began painting a curving design on my inner thighs, the least visible part of my body. Gradually she extended her design over the rest of my body and face, now and then asking me to remove the dye in some small area she had painted by mistake. “There,” she said. By then it was night, and I went to one of the small glass windows I had made and looked at myself. The reflection was distorted, of course, but I was very definitely not an animal. And it was clearly adornment, the red dye and the white clay in a pattern that followed my body with symbols I had come to recognize.

“You do need a headdress,” she said. “Feathers, perhaps? I could braid them into your hair so they make a crest. And I should touch up the skin color, especially the white, just before the celebration.”

I rolled my eyes a bit, then thought of the sap. “Could you scent the feathers with this?”

At least it is better than the gear I have had to wear the last two gathers, and the sap should cover some of the other smells!

 Year 5 Day 15

Guinea coast, NASAThe vegetation is changing rapidly as I move farther south. I think I must be approaching the summer-wet zone as the shores are rapidly getting greener, though a green that looks somewhat wilted. Palm trees are reappearing, and where rivers flow out of the interior of the continent (as they do here) they are lined with trees.  When I levitate as high as I can while still being able to breathe, it looks as if the coast is bending west ahead of me. I am still far north and west of where I crashed, but the varying climates are starting to make sense.

I think I will curtail my further exploration, though if I am right about approaching a summer-wet area it will be much harder to map in a few moon-cycles than it is now. But I find I am looking forward far more than I expected to the return of the People to the lake shore. Meerkat and Songbird are frantically making adornments for all of us, though I certainly have enough from last year. Songbird, however, insists that I must have ornaments that suit my status as a god, and apparently last year’s won’t do.

Could I possibly convince them to limit their adornments of me to body paint, and concentrate on suitable decoration for WildDog? Or perhaps I could make myself some kind of jewelry? At least I am not going to wear that headdress or leopard skin cloak! They are far too hot!

Jarn’s Journal is the fictional journal of a human-like alien stranded on Earth, in Africa, 125,000 years ago. He has joined (and to his annoyance been accepted as a god) by a group of primitive humans he refers to as The People — their name for themselves. His story is the remote backstory of the Jarnian Confederation, in which my science fiction is set. His Journal to date is on my author website.