The collection of external resources has been very successful. Pan even managed to nudge a small meteor fragment into a low angle intercepting course, allowing it to gently bump against my hull causing no damage. The Cleaner and Harvester Nymphs then broke it down into smaller reclaimable chunks. I do feel it would be helpful to have an arm built onto the exterior to help stabilize large pieces of debris while we mine them.
There are some materials I’ve collected that require further study to understand their properties before we can make use of them. I may even ask Pan to do so since I’m currently in the process of analyzing and processing some aberrant behavior among the Ratkin Hunters. Some of them have thrown themselves into the Reclaimer.
I’m not sure what the purpose of this is, or why they have chosen to do so. It could be simple curiosity. An attempt to discover where the corpses, excrement and any other refuse they may throw in there goes. None of them ever come out again of course, and yet the behavior persists. Sometimes it’s juveniles, though it’s almost as frequently elder and middle-aged Ratkin.
On one occasion it was even a member of the tribe that had successfully vanquished the Quest Nymph protecting the sword and shield. He had his prize with him when he dove into the reclaimer, screaming his warcry. I’ve had to reproduce and replace the quest items and put them back in their original place, guarded once more by it’s assigned Quest Nymph. Hopefully, another Ratkin will find them.
If the Hero had been the first on in, I would have assumed that the others, particularly the juveniles, were all making ill-advised attempts to retrieve the sword and shield for themselves. Another possibility is that some of them may have been trying to rescue those that went before. I believe the first one to go in was female. It would match several gaming tropes for young able-bodied males to attempt a rescue. However, the Ratkin have yet to be exposed to any N•Viron games, or any other works of fiction.
It also occurred to me that it may be some form of ritual suicide. Perhaps it’s designed to reduce the population or to appease some imaginary god. In which case, am I the god they are trying to appease? Is this behavior a direct result of Pan’s idea to reward the Ratkin for using the Reclaimer correctly?
Now that the Nymphs are providing them with food pellets, and no longer have to try and clean up the bones and excrement the Hunters leave behind, the attacks on Nymphs have been significantly reduced. The Ratkin sacrifices might be intended to encourage the Nymphs to bring more food pellets.
Pan has assured me that there’s nothing to be concerned with, that the remaining Hunter population is stable. However, it still bothers me that no clear idea why they are killing themselves and what, if anything, I can do to stop it. Perhaps the answer will come as I continue my observations.