It was high time for a new addition to Albia, especially with many of the Norns approaching the ten hour mark. The egg to be hatched was the last one from a male other than Ranulf, and I hoped that he or she would offer a bit of diversity! As the incubator came to life and breathed life into the egg, it crackled apart to reveal the son of Valborg and Nordis: Meet Dragvik! He was a lively one right out of the gate. Although I had my fingers crossed that he would have more White Haired Pixie Norn in him than Santa Norn, he was still a little treasure. Dragvik learned his vocabulary very quickly, and also absolutely loved to eat. I had no idea how such a small Norn managed to eat a bunch of carrots and a gallon of honey, but he did! Perhaps that was a slight exaggeration, but food was his favorite thing! As for his genetics, Dragvik had a couple of mutations.
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.
244 Emb B Mut ‘Invol 3=’cough” causes sig=1 GS neu=255 int=0, , , => 32*Pain + 8*Tiredness + 8*Fear + 16*Hexokinase
This mutation has absolutely no effect on Dragvik: The standard Norn genome defines the significance as zero, while it has been mutated to a value of one in this instance. The most important thing to note her is the GS neuron, which defines the general sensory neuron that is affected by the stimulus. These include “I’ve been patted” and “I’ve bumped a wall,” among others. The value of 255 in this space simply states that there is no sensory neuron: Although coughing will inject the listed chemicals into Dragvik, his brain will not recognize when he coughs. Significance only plays a role when there is a defined general sensory neuron.
Instincts define the expectations for certain behaviors. These genes do not state exactly what happens when the parameters are met, but rather provide the basis for Norns to base their decisions on.
163 Ado M MutDupCut (Lobe/Cell=0/12) + General Sensory i/ps IT is opposite sex + (Lobe/Cell=0/0) and I Push => 207*Reward
Finally, an interesting mutation that should have an actual effect! However, the excitement is not all that wonderful, since this could be quite problematic for Dragvik. This gene controls the mating instinct in male Norns. In the standard Norn genome, it basically encourages a male Norn with a high sex drive to locate a female Norn and kisspop, thereby receiving a large dose of reward. The link to a high sex drive does not exist in Dragvik. As I see it, this could mean one of two things. First, he might be very reluctant to kiss pop, perhaps to the point that he never does it. Second, this could mean that Dragvik would become a super breeder, with no regard for how high his sex drive is. The underlined section corresponds to nothing, so it could be that all he needs to do is find a female and kisspop to receive a reward. With such a high population, I desperately hope that he manages to hold himself back and leave the females alone!
The arrival of Dragvik brought the total Norn population to thirteen, yet as I prepared for the larger population, I was alarmed to find a death notification. Ytteren looked on at the still form of Stokka, who had managed to pass away while standing up. It was very unexpected: She only made it to 8 hours and 44 minutes, and seemed to be so full of life. At least she had traveled all across Albia late in life, though, and Stokka even managed a couple of late pregnancies. With eight eggs, I was sure that she would live on in the next generation. Poor Ytteren had only just come out of her shell, and the loss of Stokka sent her into a state of shock. We all would remember and miss her. Rest in peace.
No sooner had Stokka headed off into the beyond, than I realized that another Norn had passed away: Nordmela. Surrounded by delicious parsnips, she laid herself down to accept her fate. At 10 hours and 30 minutes, she had lived a full life and bore six eggs. Although I was anxious to move onto the next generation, it seemed like my Norns were leaving the land of the living a little too soon. It’s funny that they can be a scientific experiment most of the time, yet always tear out our hearts from time to time. Farewell, Nordemela. May you rest happily.
The world was not entirely filled with sorrow! Ramsvika grew into old age, and looked quite content. I could not help but stifle a roar of laughter over her body: All of her Forest Norn body parts had shrunk, but her legs remained the same size. Thunder thighs, anyone? I jest out of love, of course. Ramsvika was none the wiser, and enjoyed the attention. It was sad that I had no one to confuse her with anymore, though. She and Stokka had been together for so long, and now the duo was down to just one. I imagined her friend watched over her… And perhaps shared in a little laughter!
Although more of a coincidence than anything else, Norns seem to do things together: Whether it be traveling together, getting pregnant together, or passing away together. Within ten minutes, Stokka and Nordmela had passed away. Pettvika was not far behind, sadly. Her last journey had been on the cart under the sea. Her 10 hours and 7 minutes had yielded six eggs and a lifetime of memories. Rest well, my friend.
To counteract the dwindling and aging population, another new egg was hatched. This is Engan, the son of Ranulf and Nordis! He might have taken mostly after his mother, but his body and tail were those of a Forest Norn. Certainly that would make for an interesting appearance in old age! Engan was not quite as lively as Dragvik, although his appetite for honey was neverending. He had two genetic mutations, although one was automatically corrected: A chemical reaction can not have one of the chemicals set to a value of zero. If it had worked, Engan would have been rewarded for being angry… Thank goodness the genetics kit took care of that! One mutation remained, which probably would have made him a very angry Norn early on in life. At least mutations can be interesting challenges!
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.
44 Ado B MutDupCut Creature, Drive Levels Pain, chem=Pain, thresh=0, nom=0, gain=255, features=Analogue
The mutation here is quite obvious and significant: This gene is supposed to be switched on at the embryo stage, but Engan’s mutation will cause it to activate only when he becomes an adolescent. Effectively, he should not experience pain until he is an adolescent. My main teaching method is through positive reinforcement, yet the occasional slap can be helpful. It would be interesting to see how this would effect Engan during his babyhood and childhood: Perhaps it would even have lasting effects into adulthood. Whereas he might not feel any pain from a slap early on in life, the action might suddenly hurt him for unknown reasons. Strange, indeed!