Rebuilding and Recovering: Double Norn Trouble

After suffering through a terrible day, I was tempted to either take a break from Creatures 1 or dive right back in to rebuild. I tentatively entered the world, suddenly so quiet and lonesome. Believe it or not, my main concern was Niltava, the new mother who was severely weakened by her pregnancy. I went into a lengthy discussion about her strange genetics, and her constant flinching made me wonder if she was going to be another casualty. With perseverance and a bit of luck, I managed to coax a smile out! With it, she realized that it felt rather nice to bite into a carrot. Niltava’s life force went from 30% up to about 70%. The awful sickness was over, and my Norns were ready to live happy lives again.

In the midst of it all, old age decided to set in among some of the gentleman Norns. I found Blackcap on the island with Junco. They both were happy to have a companion, although I thought they both were secretly laughing at the other one. If Blackcap’s droopy eyelids and Junco’s shrunken bald head aren’t funny, I don’t know what is! On a more serious note, it took Blackcap a matter of minutes to find Junco while I was busy elsewhere. Had he still been contagious, there would have been another death. Luckily for everyone, antigen 0 had fled in fear! The only thing missing from the world were female Norns. Niltava was the only female among five males, and I wasn’t about to let her get pregnant again so quickly.

So it was onto a day of rebuilding the population! Meet the newest baby Norn, Towhee, the daughter of Rhun and Orgoch. This made her a half-sister to Niltava, though she did not carry any of the same mutations. She was one of the few Norns still carrying the Santa Norn appearance genes. Although the head gene was no longer present in the population, Towhee possessed a very holiday-like appearance! In terms of her genome, she did actually carry one major mutation. Sometimes genes could be good or bad, other times they’re terrible. This time, Towhee was in luck!

Stimuli

Stimuli genes define the chemicals that a Creature expects to receive in response to an action. These actions can range from interactions with the hand to involuntary actions like coughing or sneezing.

Default: 244 Emb B Mut ‘Invol 3=’cough” causes sig=0 GS neu=255 int=0 => 32*Pain + 8*Tiredness + 8*Fear + 16*Hexokinase
Mutation: 244 Emb B Mut ‘Invol 3=’cough” causes sig=0 GS neu=255 int=0 => 0*Pain + 8*Tiredness + 8*Fear + 16*Hexokinase

This gene controls the chemical components a Norn experiences when he or she coughs. As expected, it’s a rather painful and tiring experience! Towhee’s mutation means that she will never feel pain directly from a cough. It will still be an unpleasant experience, and something she will not enjoy. After seeing so many suffer from coughing and sneezing recently, it was nice to know that Towhee would at least be spared unnecessary pain.

Although Towhee would help with the shortage of females, I decided to bolster the Norn population even more by hatching a second baby about a minute later. Meet Whydah, daughter of Taran and Orwen! Forgive me for being a little selfish, but her genetics were too interesting to pass up. The geneticist in me enjoys finding out how a mutation will actually play out. One time I was horribly mistaken, and rather than an interesting Norn, I had to deal with the sad consequences. Whydah might not have been the best choice for introducing a mutation into the population, yet we needed something positive to make better memories! I will save a discussion of her genome for a little further down, for I ran into a new problem…

Teaching one Norn is hard enough work. Apparently my mind was off on vacation when I chose to teach two new babies at the same time. Towhee and Whydah looked cute enough together, but they were violent! I had no time to give one of them a time out because I was so busy bungling their vocabularies. A tip: Teaching new words to a group only works if all subjects are looking at the right object. Both of them thought a bee was food for a short time, and I had the hardest time figuring out what Towhee had learned was food! It turned out to be the computer. Yikes. Everything worked out in the end, though!

Then it came time to dissect Whydah’s genome. Does this graph seem utterly impossible and strange? It should! The very faint lines are those of a fairly typical Norn with no hunger. That basically takes the red line out of the equation and discussion. Take a look at the starch levels: These are pretty much identical, considering one Norn was eating carrots and the other honey. Fine. The huge difference is with glucose and glycogen. In a standard Norn, glucose and glycogen typically follow a similar pattern when graphed. These are represented at the top of the graph, where one line goes up and down in relation to the other one. Where is Whydah’s glucose level? Down at nothing! And her glycogen level? That straight line at the very top! Her life force steadily climbed from about 50% just before she was born to 100% before she had her first meal. Must be a bunch of mutations, right? Nope: Just one!

REACTIONS

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.

Default: 145 Emb B MutDup 1*Glycogen => 3*Glucose; half-life=64
Mutation: 145 Emb B MutDup 1*Boredom- => 3*Glucose; half-life=64

First of all, this is one part of a paired digestive reaction. Glycogen turns into glucose, and glucose turns into glycogen as needed. These are otherwise known as short-term (glucose) and long-term (glycogen) energy storage. Typically, three glucose units can create one glycogen unit, and one glycogen unit can create three glucose units. The levels only drop due to natural decay (half lives) or possibly glycotoxin poisoning. For Whydah, her body is capable of storing glycogen with no problem. As for glucose, it apparently never enters her system because it is converted so quickly. Notice the very small bumps in glucose? That’s all that registers. Glucose is primarily used up with glycogen production, but it also reacts with hexokinase to create CO2 and activase. Whydah could get a big boost of glucose if she were to end up extremely bored, and suddenly experience a decrease in boredom. As unrealistic as her mutation makes her digestive system, Whydah is still a Norn I’m excited to have in the population! What do you think?

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