The next egg to be hatched was a special one, for inside was the only child of Arnes. He struggled throughout his life, yet found one lucky moment to kisspop with Dalselv. It never dawned on me that the one seemingly minor mutation would prove deadly. When an egg is placed in the incubator, the Norn is immediately added to the observation kit. I found it odd that he started off at an unusually low life force of 38%, which quickly fell to 17%, then 9%, and finally, 0%. All of this happened before he even popped out of his egg. Technically, he was not stillborn, though, since he was alive for a few moments. What happened?
Chemical reactions define rules for individual chemicals and chemical combinations. These genes can also state the rules for how chemicals are used up, and each reaction has a defined half-life to determine how often it occurs.
144 Emb B MutDup 3*Glucose + 1*NFP => 1*Glycogen + 1*Hunger-; half-life=56
When I first looked at this mutation, I assumed that it was good, and that this Norn could reduce his need for pleasure (NFP) with a simple and common chemical reaction. What I failed to consider, however, is that NFP was necessary to convert glucose (short-term energy) into glycogen (long-term energy). The initial concentration of glycogen brought him to life, but this reaction was necessary to keep his glycogen from immediately falling. Since he was cozy and happy in his egg, there was not any NFP in his system. At least he was not in any pain, yet it was heartbreaking to realize that Arnes would not live on through any children. Perhaps that was just his destiny: I know I’ll never forget him! And neither will his son be forgotten.
I decided to temporarily hold off on hatching another egg. Coll decided to go exploring under the garden, which was pretty rare. Most Norns traveled to the east and ended up on the desert island. With the new and dangerous cave flies, perhaps he hitched a ride in the opposite direction for a reason. That cart could not go fast enough for Coll, though! If he could have sped it up somehow, I think he would have danced at the opportunity. The safety of the garden didn’t appear to be very enticing to anyone… Everyone was fascinated by the cave flies, despite the constant pain! Such a typical thing for Norns to do, after all.
In a much happier turn of events, Angharad had managed to take care of herself and eat enough to keep her stomach full most of the time. She still needed a lot of encouragement, and I often had to repeat something about ten times before she got the idea. Yet she was eating on her own, which was wonderful! Angharad also enjoyed hanging around the cave flies, which made her ill. I kept a worried eye on her, waiting for her to refuse to eat. She seemed perfectly happy, though, which was a huge relief.
After a time, I decided to take another chance with a new egg. This one was from Kleppstad and Dalselv: Out popped Dallben! He was the half-brother of the last hatched Norn, and it was nice to somewhat have a tie-in with Arnes. This Norn was very laid back: He smiled at me for a few seconds, then obediently followed me to the learning computer. He attempted to race through the words, confidant that “wun” was the same as “run” and “wight” could suffice for “right.” Not quite, Dallben! Although he was mainly a Forest Norn and Purple Mountain Norn mix, he did not have the genes present that made geddonase so dangerous. Dallben did, however, have one interesting genetic mutation that could prove to be both helpful and harmful.
Chemical receptors define parameters for a certain chemical. When these parameters are met, an element in the Creature is affected. These genes can increase drives, define life stages, control fertility, and more.
235 Emb B MutDupCut Creature, Sensorimotor, Invol 2=’sneeze’, chem=NA Toxin, thresh=58, nom=0, gain=255, features=Analogue
The wonderful sneeze gene! This gene defines which chemical, and at what level, will generate a sneeze. In the standard Norn genome, the chemical associated with sneezing is histamine A. In Dallben, sneezing is controlled by one of the unknown toxins. Note that these toxins are defined as “NA Toxin” in the D-DNA Analyzer. As stated above, this could be both good and bad. Illnesses become contagious with sneezing or coughing: Histamine A is often pretty common, so this would isolate those illnesses to Dallben. On the other hand, a normally noncontagious illness with an unknown toxin could be contagious if Dallben was infected.
All of the excitement with Dallben’s birth left the other Norns to their own devices. Coll soon grew into a child, but also decided to become much more mischievous! All of the hootch cans scattered about him had been neatly perched on their shelf until he came along. He staggered about for a spell, ate some honey, and proceeded to pass out. No harm done, thankfully! I planned to let him sleep off some of the effects, and then separate him from his collection of green cans.
The two Grendels, Ellidyr and Achren, were not to be forgotten! They traveled with Dallben after meeting him for the first time in the garden. Despite their supposedly thick skin, the cave flies stung them over and over again. No one was any worse off in the end, though… Particularly when a shiny, bouncy ball came into view! I would have to keep a close eye on the Norns and Grendels who played in this area. The cave flies were feasting on them, and my slaps did little to keep them at bay.