13/06 Desperate Times

Resources are becoming scarce. This is largely due to the Ratkin’s advancement. They have taken to using tools fairly extensively, so many of the materials that were being circulated are now being retained until the item they were used for is broken and discarded. I knew that the hunters would develop weaponry sooner or later, but the Arboreals have come up with some ingenious creations of their own. They have constructed simple platforms on the branches, and in between the branches, formed from sticks and twisted plant fibers. They’ve used more of their primitive ropes as artificial vines, allowing them to swing more easily from branch to branch and platform to platform.

I knew that the hunters would develop weaponry sooner or later, but the Arboreals have come up with some ingenious creations of their own. They have constructed simple platforms on the branches, and in between the branches, formed from sticks and twisted plant fibers. They’ve used more of their primitive ropes as artificial vines, allowing them to swing more easily from branch to branch and platform to platform.

Somehow they’ve managed to get hold of some scrap, chunks of unreclaimable material. I suspect that they’ve acquired it by trading with the tunnellers, though Pan and I have yet to find solid proof of this. They tie a length of rope around the smaller pieces, leaving a long section loose to grip. They use them like a flail at close range or spinning them like a slingshot and releasing them to be used as a projectile. They mostly use them against any hunters that get too close or to hunt the lesser Arboreals, but occasionally they’re used to settle disagreements among themselves.

Larger chunks of scrap have been tied beneath branches. Presumably to be dropped upon any larger threat that happens to pass under them, but I have yet to see this.

The hunters have expanded on the basic club with simple polearms, axes, and knives.They’ve learned how to use the knives to skin their prey and quickly learned how to clean and tan the pelts. The blades are salvaged from the metal parts of Nymphs and tied onto bones or sticks with strips of leather. They also wear the furs of course.

They’ve also managed to harness fire. I don’t think they have figured out how to start it themselves. One of them brought back a lit torch after taunting a Quest Nymph, and the fire in their camp has been burning ever since. Collecting firewood and building material from Arboreal territory isn’t quite as hazardous as facing the Quest Nymphs, but it’s close, especially with their new arsenal, but they manage.

Which brings me to another interesting development. The hunters have ceased to be nomadic. They’ve erected fence posts spanned with hides, and made walls in a similar fashion to form private sleeping areas. Most interesting though is the scaffold of wood and bone that they’ve constructing leading up to the mouth of the primary reclaimer, where they’ve begun to throw their refuse and occasionally whole uncooked Ratkin. At Pan’s suggestion, we’ve rewarded this behavior by having Nymphs drop food pellets made from this recycled biomatter from a safe distance.

It’s become rare for them to eat their own kind, choosing instead to prey mostly on the Grazers. They don’t even hunt the Nymphs as frequently as they once did. Some of them have even begun growing their own edible vegetation. Of all the Ratkin, only the Grazers and the smaller Arboreals, have failed to develop any tools or weapons. Instead, the Grazers have grown more physically imposing. Thicker hides, denser bones and stronger muscle. A head-on collision from the thick skull of a Grazer will kill any other Ratkin instantly. Only those that can’t hold their own fall to the Hunters axes and spears.

The lesser Arboreals remind me a lot of monkeys and squirrels. Some of which are able to leap great distances using flaps of skin to bear them aloft. They are the larger Arboreals main source of meat, so they’ve adapted to escape capture more easily. It’s hard to imagine that it could possibly be the result of Pan’s gene-splicing. This can only be natural selection at work.

The Tunnellers continue to be a thorn in my side. Their development remains a mystery since the Nymphs never survive the encounter. I can only surmise based on the damage they leave in their wake. They must be accessing the raw materials, for what purpose I’m not sure. None of the Ratkin could have become advanced enough to manipulate base chemicals. They’ve definitely got into the scrap.

Pan has proposed that we harvest external material. A surprising amount of detritus and gases have built up on the hull. He discovered this when trying to re-dock with me after one of his little jaunts. He sent out a modified Nymph to clean up the airlock and has been collecting and reclaiming the build-up ever since. He uses it to re-stock his fuel reserves. Sometimes I envy his ability to go wherever he pleases. I must remain on course in order to accomplish our mission.

Pan suggested we construct more of his Cleaner Nymphs and an external reclaimer port in order to make use of this unexpected source of material. It will require almost all of my remaining resources to do it, but if his data is correct it should pay off.

 

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