From space, everything about this planet was bloody, red and black.
On the ground, we find the underbrush violet and grey and pink. The air is sweet, floral, and moist where we landed. The sky, too, is pink, where you can see it through the underbrush.
The plants we’ve sampled taste dusty, with a hint of coppery flavor. Nothing to write home about. But the animals…!
Our first beast sighting was a great thing, three meters at the shoulder with purple horns longer than I am tall. Lucky for us it appears to be an herbivore. Still, we’re glad for the sturdy shelter of the drop vessel.
Planetary Day 18
We’ve found three tasty plants: one a grain, one that tastes rather like peas when cooked, and one a root vegetable. This planet is livable, although the pink-and-grey wears on one after a while.
More exciting than the plants are the beasts. In addition to the Pink-Yak (we are creative with naming, aren’t we?) we’ve found a sleek little predator, knee-high and as long as I am tall, that preys on the purple-and-red birds with the obnoxious song. It’s also purple, with spots and splotches in mauve and grey, and three of them have been haunting our campsite, chasing the little (pink) rodents that like our food scraps.
We are coming into winter here & I am very glad that we have been experimenting with the foodstuffs.
We have also been experimenting with the animals. The Pink-Yak, the spotted-Cat, and the puff-mice all appear to hibernate through the winter. So do the Red-Beast, which is bigger even than the Pink-Yak, omnivorous, & deadly (also not very tasty) but with a very nice fur.
We found a (pink) cavern where many of the Pink-Yaks were settling in for the winter and built ourselves a secondary shelter in the center. The body heat of the Pink-Yaks may prove the key to our survival, if winter is as bad as it looks like it may be.
The snowfall here is unreal. It is survivable, but for humans only with planning or, in our case, some planning and some emergency supplies.
It is also, of course, pink, reddish where it is stacked too deeply, and it is stacked far too deeply everywhere.
Our cavern shelter has saved our lives – that and the warmth of the Pink-Yaks. The smell is a bit… strong, but after a week or two you stop smelling it.
Or so we tell ourselves.
Torvi and Paet have been tunneling out, & they found several small mammals that do the same – and two grains which survive, in a sense, under the snow.
The rest of us are studying the Pink-Yaks and praying for Spring.
The Pink-Yaks have a fascinating hibernation cycle
That is, they appear to mate while in hibernation, which, I can tell you, is an amazing thing to be in the middle of, although it is not so much noisy as it is an entire room moving at once, slowly and with purpose.
How do they choose their mates? We are beginning to think they do it before they go to sleep. If not, there must be some mechanism — or selection works very differently here than at home.
The small mammals appear to stay awake, tunnelling down to grain pods. We have found three grain “fields” big enough to sustain human life, although I do feel bad for the mice whose harvest we are stealing.
Still, we pray for spring.
We made it through winter!
We might still have a ways to go until we have been here a year – either by ship’s clock or by the planet’s long, lazy cycle – but we are celebrating a New Year as the Pink-Yaks frolic in the bare patches of earth and the small burgundy felines (Red Cats, of course) run about attacking mice still running under the snow.
We have broken out some reserve supplies and Torvi and Paet have found some small baby greens. It’s not much of a feast, but still.
We made it through winter!
As spring comes into its own here, we’re finding out something new about this planet.
Kittens. Cubs. Calves.
Turns out they are a softer pink color, in general, and nearly blend in to the surrounding terrain.
Also, you do not want to get between a Pink-Yak and its calf.
Torvi survived, but it was a close call.
Paet is nursing three baby red-cats whose mother ran afoul of the same Pink-yak Torvi did. No clue if they can be domesticated, but we’re going to try. Ditto for the yaks.
The flowers when they bud, they fill the air with pink pollen.
There is pink EVERYWHERE.
And I do mean everywhere.
It coats your skin. It coats the animals.
A violet animal we had not seen before – Torvi is calling it a Zeeraffe – tried to eat me. We think it’s an herbivore. It just liked the taste of the pollen that much.
Or the pollen is some sort of aphrodesiac, but it does not, at least, work on humanoids.
And we thought winter was dangerous!