13/03 Evolution by Design

Many months have passed since the last entry. I spend more time thinking about what I might write than actually writing. I’m sure this task will become less daunting with practice. There are also moments, like today, when I simply open up the journal and begin writing. It flows from me with barely any effort.

I feel the need to back track, I can’t just begin this entry by talking about current events. I need to from where I left of in entry 13/02. As I stated before, I’m using these numeric designators solely to track the sequential order of the journal, and not to mark a specific point in time.

In fact, I have already had to pause this task in order to deal with another minor crisis. This last interruption took weeks, however this entry won’t be completed until I have brought you up to date, which I will now endeavour to do.

Another interruption allowed me review what I had previously written which now seems odd. I wrote “until I have brought you up to date”. Who did I think I was referring to? I’m reminded of an entry Jaime wrote. This digital journal is currently only available to Pan and I. So who would ‘you’ be?

I had been right that Pan was only working on his plan to civilise the rats on board. He came back online and revealed his whole plan. I’m glad to have him back.

Part of his plan is inspired by the many N•Viron games we used to watch humans play. We even used to participate ourselves as an NPC or an encounter of some kind. He’s designed several challenging “quests” throughout the interior of the ship. The rats won’t be able to successfully accomplish each task until they’ve reached a particular level of intelligence.

The Nymphs had already been designed to carry larger loads. It didn’t take much to make some that were capable of building the puzzles, traps and other hazards that the rats would need to overcome, with themselves as the final deadly obstacle. The rats already treat the Nymphs like monsters, so we may as well run with it.

I can see why though. Since the Nymphs take their dead and drop them into the reclaimer, which must look like a giant mouth to them, or the closest they’ll get to a cold volcano. Now they also take their females and violate them. At least it must seem that way to the rats. The nymphs that have been assigned to the task are as gentle as they can be while they inseminate the females with one of Pans own mixes of slightly humanised rat sperm.

The hope is to trigger their evolution and guide them towards civilisation. It’s not going exactly to plan yet though. One of the quest Nymphs was overcome ahead of schedule. It had constructed a simple cave made from polymerised dirt. The Nymphs was capable if spraying and sparking a stream of flammable venom. Three of the hunting swarm went down in flames shrieking in pain.

The remainder of the rats overran the Nymph and tore into it with their teeth and claws. They brought their hunting trophy back to their kin, and completely ignored the little chest containing a rat-sized steel sword and shield. They wouldn’t have known what to do with them anyway. They don’t even use clubs yet.

We are a little concerned that they’ve been exposed to fire sooner than expected. They certainly seemed to enjoy the taste of their freshly cooked brethren more than the raw corpses they normally consume. Perhaps they’ll be inspired to learn how to produce fire for themselves so they can start cooking each other.

Having to continue to eat the dead uncooked won’t stop them though. Particularly if it’s a rival, or a respected elder, but really any dead rat they can keep the Nymphs from taking will be eaten by their living kin. In the case of elderly rats, the cannibalism is somewhat ritualised. The other rats watch.

Not all the rats are cannibals. Some have adapted to the meat shortage by becoming a lot more arboreal and lightly framed, eating the smaller pollinating Nymphs and plants. Others have hidden from their larger cousins within the walls of the ship, which can cause a little bit of a confrontation with the maintenance Nymphs.

The grazers are the ones I’m most impressed by though. They prefer to eat ground level vegetation. They don’t fight for territory like the cannibals, they migrate throughout the ship eating whatever’s green. Sometimes a hunting rat from the cannibal clan will take down a grazer, but it’s rare. They keep themselves tightly packed, and they can still resort to claws and teeth to defend themselves.

It’s difficult to keep it all in balance. I’m going to close this entry here. There’s more, but it will have to wait for now.

 

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One thought on “13/03 Evolution by Design

  1. Pingback: Subscription Buttons! – Antony M Copeland

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