It was only moments into my latest visit to Albia when Bera became pregnant by the omnipresent Folkvar! He disappeared shortly afterwards, as was his custom. I couldn’t help but share in Bera’s excitement and happiness: Ever since she was a young adult, she seemed to be extra happy about getting pregnant. A quick look at the genetics got my hopes up for a moment, before a deep sadness filled my heart. Mutations have handed me some of the worst luck, yet I never questioned the initial survival of any of the unborn babies. In the case of Bera’s slowly growing egg, the possibility of life seemed almost impossible. As I dug deeper, it was a certainty that the baby would not be viable.
Chemical emitters define specific conditions within a Creature in order to affect chemicals. Some examples include experiencing stress from excessive drives, becoming cold due to environmental conditions, and more.
Mutation: 143 Creature, Somatic, locus 4, chem=Hexokinase, thresh=0, samp=17, gain=1, features=Analogue
Default: 143 Creature, Somatic, muscle energy used, chem=Hexokinase, thresh=0, samp=17, gain=1, features=Analogue
This gene would affect energy consumption, yet I could not locate “locus 4” in the Genetics Kit. I had a feeling that this would not be a serious mutation, but something more to study.
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.
Mutation: 174 1*Glycotoxin + 2*Glucose => 2*Pain++ + 2*Sleepiness++; half-life = 72
Default: 174 1*Glycotoxin + 2*Glycogen => 2*Pain++ + 2*Sleepiness++; half-life = 72
I could not decide if this was an inherently good or bad mutation. In essence, it meant that glycotoxin would interact with glucose, rather than glycogen. Since glucose is often created more quickly from starch, I wondered if this could be something that made glycotoxin less dangerous. On the other hand, I could also see how it could function in the opposite direction and require glycogen to become glucose relatively quickly.
Initial concentrations define the starting values of different chemicals at birth. The most important of these genes are for glucose and glycogen, allowing babies to survive without needing to eat immediately after hatching.
Mutation: 147 Initial Concentration of Starch is 122
Default: 147 Initial Concentration of Glycogen is 122
My heart sank when I saw this mutation. Glycogen is what keeps creatures alive, and it is a measure of their life force. Babies often begin life with a life force a little under 50%, which comes from their initial concentration of glycogen. Although starch is a helpful chemical, this Norn would be born with no glycogen, and thus would be a stillborn. Bera had no idea, yet at least she would be rewarded with an egg. Was it more humane to keep the egg unhatched forever, or hatch it and let the Norn rest in peace? Certainly a difficult choice.
Fortunately, there was still a lot of life to brighten the day! Nordis had quickly grown up, and I was once again reminded that there were no little babies running about. Her curiosity was adorable, though, and seemed to pass on to those around her. Toys which had previously been ignored were played with, while the adults got to enjoy their ability to tower over another… At least for the moment! I hoped that Nordis would be able to reach adulthood in time to lay at least an egg or two of her own. Rumor had it that a male Santa Norn would not be visiting Albia until the winter holidays. Perhaps Nordis was watching the clock and hoping for that day to come very soon!
Eydis was nearly nine and a half hours old, and the time seemed to be flying by. When she laid down near the learning computer, I was reminded of the time when she was a baby and the only Norn in Creatures 1. With several eggs of her own to carry on her genes to the next generation, she seemed quite content with herself. Norns can’t possibly understand their own mortality, especially when they have not yet encountered death. All of the deathcap mushroom experiences also pointed to Norns simply not having a clue! Humans are said to be the only beings who understand their mortality: Is that a blessing or a curse?
Keir was unable to escape old age! He took a quiet nap near the submarine bay to recover his strength. I hoped that his new life stage would finally convince him to head off to the Albian mainland. Even after following the traveling Norns around, Keir simply could not leave the desert island. It wasn’t as if he stayed in one place, either: He visited the submarine bay, the beach, and the aquatic viewing area. If anyone knew the desert island, it was Keir. Maybe his early solitude taught him to fend for himself and enjoy the quiet, lonely life. He was very loved, though, and I couldn’t bear to imagine the island without the little Grendel.