Chapter 5: The value of information
Clyde Walker –
Blue Arm – Island Region
Clyde was mindlessly carving a piece of wood, to become the shaft of an arrow. He had been mulling over a few things, while doing so. It felt like the past week had been one of enlightenment, thanks to the delivery by Ranger Lauren of the Ark Rangers. All around him, people were moving in and out of each other, continuing their day to help the tribe grow and become more secure. More shelters were being built so that people weren't crowding each other. There were layouts of three different shops for future use, which currently housed various materials for construction.
The tribe had adopted the Ark's units of measurement when it came to how much resources there are. So far, it had been pretty accurate even if it didn't make sense. For example, when building something, it took a certain amount of a resource or resources to craft it. A primitive stone pick cost one unit of wood, two stone, and ten units of thatch. The tribe had been harvesting river rock, which would give a lot of stone, but also a few pieces of metal. That metal was being stockpiled carefully under a shelter. The metal would be useful when crafting new tools in place of primitive gear. The yield of resources gathered would help too.
The amount of information that the tribe had to pour through was a shit ton. The majority of everyone received a copy of each book. For several days, the tribe had combed through the three books and blueprints. Easily the most interesting information came out of the Dino Dossier and the Domestication Guide. The original iteration of the Dino Dossier was created by Helena Walker, but updated by Ranger N. The surname of Walker raised the attention of the Walker family. They hadn't known a Helena Walker in their family and figured it was pure coincidence that they shared the same surname. He had spent a lot of his time in these two books. He wasn't one much for reading before, but these books held valuable and interesting information.
For starters, there were 108 species of creatures in this Region, 7 Alpha Predators, and 1 Guardian. There were massive creatures out there, both herbivore and carnivore. The most terrifying creatures were perhaps the predators. There was the Raptors, Carnotaurus, Allosaurus, T-rex, and the biggest predator, the Giganotosaurus. Those were just the dinosaurs. There were smaller creatures that were just as dangerous such as Direwolves, Sabrecats, Titanoboas, Sarcosuchus, Pulmonscorpius, and Hyenadons. The herbivores were no pushovers either. There were stegosaurus, triceratops, Diplodocus, Brontosaurus, and the biggest creature in the region known as the Titanosaur. The oceans in the region wasn't to play with either. There were Mosasaurs, Plesiosaurs, Tusoteuthis, and Megalodons. There was one Herbivore that brought up a red flag, which was the Therizinosaurus. It was a highly aggressive and territorial herbivore that could rip one to ribbons with its long claws. Several species were known to be on Cragg's Island, which is the sub-region that the tribe was located on. Being on the southern side of the region, larger predators weren't common. But according to the map and cross referencing the dino dossier, it was determined that rarer species that would almost never be seen were the Titanosaur and Unicorn. Apparently, there was only one wild unicorn per region. If one was domesticated, then another would appear, eventually. Wild Quetzals could also rarely be seen flying over. Uncommon creatures would include, Brontosaurus, Carnotaurus, Chalicotherium, Diplodocus, Iguanodon, Mesopithecus, Oviraptor, Pachycephalosaurus, Pegomastax, Pelagornis, Phiomia, Sarcosuchus, stegosaurus, Tapejara, and Therizinosaur. You were more likely to see Carbonemys, Compysognathus, Dilophosaurus, Dimorphodons, Dodo's, Hesperornis, Ichthyornis, Lystrosaurus, Meganeura, Moschops, Parasaurolophus, Pteranodon, Utahraptors, Titanomyrma, Triceratops, Trilobites, and Troodon. In the surrounding waters, one might see different fish such as Coelacanth, Megalodon, Manta rays, and Megapiranha.
There was a single creature that surprised everyone. It was apart of most if not all regions. It was the Primal Survivor. They were cloned humans who retained no advanced cognitive functions or personality that made a human such as Clyde or his family. It seemed that they were human-shaped creatures who could be tamed and "trained" like any other creature of the Mega-Ark. There were many subspecies, which wasn't the same as a race of humans such as Caucasian, African American, or Asian. Their subspecies determined their skillset or what they could learn. Apparently they were tribal and could utilize creatures the same way normal humans could. Clyde didn't really go into the different subspecies as he wasn't much of a reader.
It was tough getting the hang of domesticating creatures. They were all different. The tribe had opted to start out small, domesticating Dodo's, Lystro's, and Compy's. Dodo's and Lystro's were easy. Just feed them some berries and they'll follow you to the ends of the earth. There had been seven dodo enclosures built due to the influx of them. Six of them would have one rooster and various hens, while the last would just hold roosters. The enclosures with the hens would be for eggs and raising more dodo's, while the Roosters were killed for their meat and feathers. There had been almost enough to stop hunting them for food. Lystro's were basically the pug of the dinosaurs. It followed people around like a puppy and had an effect that allowed those around it to learn better. The children picked up on things a lot quicker than they would normally. So naturally, it was a constant with children's classes. There were only three Lystros, but their purpose was served. There wasn't much one could train a Dodo or Lystro to do that was particularly useful, but at least they could follow, stay, or be herded to where they were wanted.
The Compy's however were a lot more complicated. To begin with, their abilities stem from their numbers. A tamed one can call a group of wild ones that would fight with it. When you had multiple tamed Compy's and they call in wild compy's to help them, the swarm would be overwhelming for any one human or creature of similar size. Training them was a little tricky. They followed their handlers pretty well, but they didn't really like to listen when you tried to tell them to go to a certain place. Also, no matter how much one tried, you couldn't get a singular Compy to attack anything. But you get them to in a pack three or bigger and they were vicious. Clyde watched a pack of them swarm a dodo. They were all over it, bringing it to the ground and ate it like land piranhas. Training them to halt their attack was difficult, especially once they got in their frenzy. Training them to just pin down and overwhelm their prey without eating it whole was another challenge. There was one ability that they seemed to be especially useful for. The meat they gleamed from their prey, was always of the finest cut, like an expert butcher had sliced it and it was always prime meat or poultry. Because of this, the quality of meats that the tribe would soon enjoy was just around the corner.
Clyde put the shaft in a basket on the table before picking up another stick deemed good enough to make an arrow with. He began carving away. Well. Until he felt someone walking up to him from behind. It was like a sixth sense or something. It was his awareness. It was a lot of someone's.
"Uncle Turkey?" He heard his nickname given to him by his mother and father from a familiar voice. He turned to see Kayla Parker and a group of women of similar age. Kayla was his niece and he knew all the other women as they were cousins or friends. Along with Kayla, there was Kayla Osborne(Kaykay) her best friend, Brennan Parker(a cousin of Eric's), Katy Beaty, Brenna Lilly(or Bean as we call her, Trey's wife) and Christian Parker(Eric's sister). Behind them was twins, Loren and Breanna Benton, along with their little sister Sarah. Next to them were Ashlynn O'Connell, her little sister Olivia(Livvy), along with several of their friends Courtney Elvis, Maddie Squires, Haleigh Squires, Bettyanne Causey, and Izzy Mcknight. There were other women, such as Destiny Jacobs, Merritt Bury, and Megan Munn.
There were nineteen women here, from ages eighteen to twenty-six. Those nineteen women apparently wanted something from him. I'm in trouble, he thought with a little humor. "What's up y'all?" He asked as a few of the other tribemates were giving him and the group a few curious looks as they passed by.
"We need a favor," Kayla said, "We all want to take a more active role in the tribe."
"A more active role?" Clyde replied slightly confused. They did their part for the tribe. Why would they want more responsibilities?
"We don't want to be stuck just gathering stuff and babysitting kids," Christian spoke up, "We want to learn more stuff."
"We need to," Ashlynn spoke up.
"Like Christian said," Kaykay said, "all we ever get to do is gather berries, water, or watch the children. We want to be more useful. Learn more things, like hunting."
"And you're one of the best hunters here," Kayla said, "and we want to learn from you and Aunt Amanda."
Clyde truly didn't have a problem with teaching them, but Amanda could help teach as well. Amanda being a woman and experienced hunter as well, could probably relate to them. I could teach them how to make a bow, where to aim, and to field dress a kill; so could Amanda. An idea ran through his head. He needed to get Peyton into it as well.
"I'd be happy to," Clyde said, "You girls need to learn anyways. But first, find Amanda and Peyton and bring them here. If I'm going to do this, Peyton's learning too. And Amanda's going to help. I think they're wandering around here somewhere. They might be working at one of the Gatherer's food storage taking in food, helping them out. They shouldn't need her or Peyton too much though."
"We know where she is," Kaykay said, "We saw her talking to Meagan there." Kayla, Kaykay, and Brennan went off to go get Amanda and Peyton. The rest of them either stood around awkwardly or were gossiping with each other. Clyde turned to finish carving his arrow shaft. Some of the women watched him do it. Fifteen minutes later, the three women returned with Amanda, Peyton, Codi the direwolf, and four other women. "They're multiplying!" He thought humorously, "We're going to have to balance this out with some men, just so there's an equal amount on both sides. I refuse to be the only guy."
"So what's this about Clyde?" Amanda asked.
"We just got drafted to teaching all these girls how to hunt and shoot," Clyde replied, "I ain't doing it alone." He grinned with that last word.
"Okay," Amanda said shrugging, "That's completely fine with me. All women huh?"
"Girl power," Ashlynn joked.
"Nope," Clyde said humorously, "I ain't being outnumbered. You two are bad enough." He said that last one to Amanda and Peyton. "I'm getting Eric and his buddies. Got to find other guys too."
"But Eric already knows how to hunt and field dress." Kayla said.
"Zac too!" Katy spoke up.
"Are they using spears or bows?" Clyde asked questioningly.
"Then they can learn too," Clyde continued, "How long have they been out on a hunt?"
"A few hours," Kayla replied.
"Okay then," Clyde said, "We'll start from scratch. You want to learn how to hunt? You're going to learn Archery. To learn Archery, you need bows, arrows, and equipment. Currently, we're short on bows and people who know how to use them effectively."
"So, what do we do?" Livvy asked, "Take turns using them?"
"Nope," Clyde said, "You're going to learn how to make them."
There was some grumbling. "You girls want to learn?" Amanda said cutting that line of thinking off, "Then you got to learn from the beginning. There isn't an outdoorsman store anywhere around. Clyde knows how to make a bow. That's what you have to learn how to do."
The group of women eventually agreed to the elder two's logic. They wouldn't start right now, because Clyde was going to recruit as many men as he could to learn. They'd begin the next day if possible. He made sure to give this information to his Uncle Charlie, who was on the council.
Blue Arm: Island Region
He wanted to just go out and find him. His grandson. Nate was his boy. Charles Walker and his wife Janice Walker adopted Nate because his mother was not at a point in her life to be financially and mentally responsible to raise her son. She was the kind who enjoyed partying and going out while leaving her son with her father and stepmother. So after a while, Charlie gave her an ultimatum. Either straighten up, raise her son, and put him first, or let his grandparents adopt him. She chose to let them adopt him. From that point on, Nate was their responsibility. His mother still visited, but she still did what she wanted to. And what she wanted to do, didn't involve her son much. Right now, she was regretting everything that she had done in the past that didn't include her son. Her son was missing, probably alone, and knowing him, right at home.
Nate was a strange individual. He hated being the center of attention, as he was socially awkward and had a severe case of social anxiety. He blamed himself for that. Outside of school he grew up on a farm and all he asked Nate to do was work. He worked the farm with such vigor and had an interest in animals. He wanted to raise and breed different fowl, such as peafowl, chickens, ducks, geese, guineas, and turkeys. He always dreamed about being a zoologist and opening his own wildlife preserve. That boy would study and interact with animals his entire life. He loved the outdoors. He asked Charlie to teach him how to fish both freshwater and saltwater, hunt, track, and set up bushcraft shelters. He took to it all like a certified genius. Charlie wished he was here. He'd probably tame up every damn dinosaur out there.
Right now, Charlie was in a council meeting. It wasn't fun. He'd love to say, the hell with the council, but if anything was going to get done, they'd have to make rules and come up with jobs, and generally decide what's best for the tribe as a whole. It was also a universal guideline that everyone's safety was more important than risks. So far there hadn't been any casualties, which was a blessing on its own, because no one wanted to hear of a family member being killed. The tribe stayed alive by hunting smaller game. They could handle anything smaller than them. They hadn't come up against a raptor since the Rangers had left. According to the Dino Dossier, there were much larger and bigger threats than a raptor. Raptors were supposedly common on Cragg's Island, usually swimming across the river to get there to hunt smaller prey. That didn't stop other carnivores from making the same trek.
Dilos and compys were already abundant here. The only threats that we had yet to encounter on Cragg's island, were Utahraptors, Therizinosaurus, Sacrosuchus, or any of the aquatic carnivores such as Megalodons, Piranha, or the Manta.
The council room was in a temporary crescent building with an open front but closed in the back. Each council member sat on a chair, with a table in front of each one, acting as a desk. There was enough shelter to keep them dry if it rained, unless the rain came in from the south. Wall torches were on either side of the open-faced building. Behind each table was a storage box which housed each council member's possessions, usually extra papers. There were papers and graphite pencils on each table, along with paper weights and candles. Off to the side were the "secretary" and "Archivist" table, where everything was recorded from each meeting and announcements. The archivist shelter was in the process of being constructed. In front of the building on ground level was a cleared-out area with several benches. Standing torches surrounded the area. A makeshift stairway led up to the building. This was the general tribal assembly area. It was where council meetings and tribal meetings took place.
At the moment, the council was comprised of several different people. There was one from each family, with five families representing six other families. The five families were known as the Great families while the six under each of them were known as Vassal families. This did not mean that the Vassal families were lesser. The Great families were only just, because of the sheer number of members in them. The great families were Walker, Parker, Holmes, Benton, and Stroud. The Vassal families under the Walker family were Lily, Watts, Karnes, Wright, Masters, and Brock. The Vassal families under the Parker family was Hewitt, Beaty, McCann, Gerhart, Embry, and Osborne. The Vassal families under the Holmes family were Tarte, Bellamy, Fryar, Blackburn, Plusnick, and Owens. The Vassal families under the Benton family were O'Connell, Elvis, Squires, Hardee, Graham, and Sarvis. The Vassal families under the Stroud family were Small, Faulk, Smith, Hudson, Martin, and Rabon. In order to make everything run smoothly. Each of the Great families held meetings with the heads of the Vassal families to discuss what was going on in the meetings, so everyone wasn't crowded in one spot and left the village borders unmanned from dinosaur attack. Each family head had a meeting with their own family. For those who weren't one of the Great families or Vassal families, they were integrated into a voice in one of the families. The Walker family had Charlie Walker as the head of house. Don Parker was the councilman for the Parker family. Alice Holmes was the head of the family for the Holmes family. Ashley Benton Sr. was the head of the Benton family. Beatrice Stroud was the head of the Stroud family. The system wasn't the best, but it was working for the tribe at the time.
Charlie wasn't the oldest in his family, but he had more experience leading than anyone else as he used to be a Captain in the American Armed forces. Naturally, his older brothers and sister basically told him what he was going to do. Lead. That didn't mean he liked it.
"I've been going over the count," Alice said, "We have enough food to last the entire tribe for three weeks. Editable berries are all we can find right now for plant life. I've got a few people looking at the botany guide that the Rangers left us to try and find more. Fishing is adequate with the fishing nets and spear fishing. With as many dodo's as we have and hunting, our poultry production is rising. With the domesticating of small creatures such as Compy's, Lystro's, and the dodo's themselves, that's all we have to go on. But we are getting dodo eggs at slow amount. Nothing sustainable yet though. We've had some spoilage, but that was because one of the younger member of the tribe forgot to rotate the stock. I recommend we keep hunting and gathering parties working at an increased pace so we could potentially have food for four weeks out."
"Food is sustainable at the moment," the archivist spoke as she wrote down that information. Her name was Deanna Fryar, Charlie's Stepdaughter.
"Good steps," Beatrice Stroud spoke up, "Domestication and training is going well according to my son. They're not horses, but he has taken to the Compys we have gotten better than anyone had hoped. He figures maybe in a week, he could get them to listen to advanced commands more effectively. He's trying to use them to take down dodo's. He hasn't used them against anything bigger. He does think that we should try and domesticate Dilo's if we come across them again. Then maybe we could move on to bigger tames. As for our tame numbers, we have 58 Dodo's; 22 of them are male, the rest female. We have three Lystrosaurus'; two female, one male. For Compy's, we have a total of 43 of them; 8 male, the rest female."
"Taming is going adequate," Deanna spoke writing down the information.
"Infrastructure is coming along nicely," Don Parker said, "Shelters are almost complete for every family unit. Although we have barely any kind of metal, we do have the beginnings of a few workshops for the resident blacksmiths and masons. Food storage is being looked at for upgrading as well which I'm sure Alice, you will be glad to hear. We've found plans for preserving food. First though, we have to start making mortar and pestals. A resource known as spark powder is apparently useful in various ways. One is preserving foods if it's in a bin or vessel. As for our water collection, we've got a lot of rainwater collectors built all around the village. There's something we've been looking into, which is a water reservoir. We're planning on getting some of the masons to work on as many that can fit in the village." Rainwater was perfectly safe to drink. Saltwater from the ocean however, had to be boiled into drinking water. The tribe was having to gather with a combination. Boiling water took a lot of time, especially with so little area to do it in. "I recommend that we expand the borders of the village down to the surrounding cliffsides ocean level where we fish and gather resources. But that depends on how the security of it is."
"All that," Deanna said still writing information down. Charlie was pretty sure she was just doing cliff notes and would get with each individual council member soon.
"Resource gathering is becoming slightly easier with proper tools from supply drops," Ashley said, "Gathering wood, thatch, stone, and flint is the easy part. Transporting it back to the village is another story. We're able to harvest nearest the village, but once we get across the field to the hill, it's a chore. If we had a way to transport it back, that'd be great. Maybe we could domesticate one of those bigger dinosaurs and train it to pull a cart or something. Anyways, apart from that, we have a few people trying to build boats, such as Canoes, Rafts, or Dinghy's so we can get a little farther out on the water to fish or cross rivers. This kind of goes hand in hand with the infrastructure. The southwestern area where we send gatherer's out to mine stone could very well be a good addition to the village for more productive stations such as the beginnings of a shipyard, warehouse for resources to be refined, and fisheries. In addition, the southeastern side of the village on ground level could house more of the same. I believe the other side could be more secured though."
Deanna didn't voice too much on this one, but she was still jotting stuff down.
"I think it's time we began building walls at the West and East entrances to the village," Charlie said, "I'm starting to feel naked without them. Right now, we have ten people standing watch at all times. We do have standing torches to increase visibility at night for the sentries, but I believe walls are something we've neglected. The village has sustainable food and water. I believe we can hold off on any more shelters for the time being. These walls don't have to be Fort Knox, but we can make them to keep larger dinosaurs out. We haven't had a problem yet or seen one, but I don't want to push our luck. The sentries atop the mountain are requesting some kind of shade up there as well as a viable way to signal anything. Until we reach a better tier of technology, such as radio towers, we've got to come up with something. The spyglasses that we have provided for them are working as well." At the moment, the only thing the sentries had up there was a platform to stand on with a storage box full of gear. There was a map, several spyglasses, a few compasses, and a few flare guns. It needed a major upgrade. "They're up there in the heat all day. I think we should cater to them quickly. Have there been anything for better communication other than flare guns from drops?" Charlie directed this to Shayne Tarte, the leader of the village guard. He was a regular to all meetings.
"I believe the scouts have found a few war horns, and there was an air raid siren," Shayne said nodding, "I can have the air raid siren and a war horn delivered up there. There are two more. A guard can be equipped with one at each entrance to the village. Anything similar is a requested item to be on the look out for, so scouting parties could have these as well."
"Okay," Charlie continued nodding, "My nephew and his wife Amanda has come up with an idea. They're training some of the younger men and women in hunting and survival skills. I believe it'll be a good thing. It's not like we're expecting a war any time soon, but I've been going over a few things with some of the military Veterans. They're in agreement that we need to start training people in self-defense along with weaponry usage. Baxter used to be a martial artist. Shayne here was in the Coast Guard, Patrick McCann was in the Marines. I believe they could help us teach people how to fight. We might not need it now, but it could be useful later down the road." Charlie went silent after that. Deanna was writing all this down.
"So that's where we are at the moment," Don said, "We're making progress. It probably helps that we have sheer numbers on our side, to make up for the lack of dinosaurs. We are a month and a week into our arrival and according to the calendar on the implants, it is May 3rd, year 803." That year was how long the Mega-Ark had been active. "I don't know if smaller tribes who have arrived have advanced as far as we have, but I believe we're doing good. We just have to take it one step at a time. I feel like we're gaining traction in advancement to next technology tier."
"Yes," Beatrice said, "So far we can consider ourselves primitive and land locked. We may have a few iron aged tools, but we're considered stone age." Most tools we had were crafted and made of stone, bone, and wood, such as spears, picks, and hatchets. We did have a few metal versions of all the tools. Those were given to the gathering crews who worked on getting resources. Everyone was usually armed with spears or had someone around who was. Either that, or bows. "We are constantly going through blueprints and combing the knowledge of others in the tribe to figure out a way to advance quicker."
"Well," Alice said, "Until tomorrow." The council each got up and walked down a set of stairs, Charlie included. Shayne walked with him.
"I'll get some of the carpenters to look into the things you were talking about Poppy." He said to Charlie. Poppy was his nickname to all his grandchildren and step-grandchildren. "Designing a wall and a better shelter up top would do wonders."
"Thank you, buddy," He said.
"You going to make your rounds?" Shayne asked.
"Yeah," Charlie said, "And see if I can find Janice. She's probably weaving baskets or clothes right now with the other women." The women he was referring to were the wives of most of the elders. Janice Walker(Charlie's Wife), Bonnie Walker(Fred's Wife), Cindy Walker(Clyde Sr's Wife) Phyllis Wright(Zeno Wright's wife and the Walker senior's baby sister), Angela Parker(wife of Don Parker), Suzanne Walker(wife of Ken Walker), and Lois Watts(Janice's best friend).
"Yeah probably," Shayne said with a laugh, "Okay. I'll see you later." They both walked into the village passed the gathering area, albeit going in different directions. He went to the west side, while Charlie headed to the east side. He took note of all the shelters that had been erected, from A-frames to Modular shelters.
He had been fascinated with the designs of primitive shelters. Most of their shelters were modular now. The frame was made of was made of four six- to eight-inch-thick logs at each corner of the foundations, four long sticks that connected each log (three to four inches thick) and were tied together by plant materials or fiber. There would be three long sticks laid across the roof, with banana leaves, or palm leaves atop to keep the sun and rain off. The walls were made by placing two long sticks on the inside and outside the frame in a staggered formation while the leaves were tied to them like a weave.
There were a few primitive weavers in a newly built shelter specifically for textiles and basket weaving. The primitive weaver was four sticks that acted like stakes in the ground. One end was six inches out the ground while the other end was a foot. Each end had a stick that connected the two stakes. The way this weaver worked was tying regular fibers, plant fibers, or bark fiber to different stakes. There would be thirteen temporary stakes on the taller end to tie one end of the fibers off. One the shorter end along the horizontal support stick, the other end of the fibers would be tied off. That made thirteen fibers. A separate horizontal stick on the taller end would be tied to the shorter end to create the primitive weave. In between the thirteen fibers that were already placed, would be twelve fibers that connected the high and low end, which completed the weave. This separate weave would be placed above and below the original thirteen fibers each time fiber was ran through the weave to create a textile. Once the weave was complete, all the fibers, except for what tied the weaver together, was tied to hold the textile together. There were several sheets of textiles, which would be used as flooring, mats, and shades. Bigger weavers could be used to make shades that could act as tarps, windows, or walls to shelters.
He could see his wife Janice, Lois, and Suzanne weaving textile sheets while the other older women were busy doing other things such as making straw baskets, or weaving plant/thatch materials into fibers. Jute was a common plant here. These Jute fibers would be used to create rope. It would help replace unrefined plant materials as rope. Jute was also used to make burlap. Innovations with these included, straps, burlap sacks, clothing, shade tarps, fishing nets, rope ladders, climbing ropes, clothes lines, barriers, and traps. These ladies were the forefront of all of those innovations. They were quite good at making them.
"Hey darlin'," Charlie said to his wife.
"Hey honey," She said going over to him and giving him a kiss, "Tough day?"
"Nah," Charlie replied, "Just the normal. Y'all look like y'all are working hard though."
"We're trying," Janice spoke putting her hands on her hips. "We're finally ready to start using some of the rope. It's just a lot, considering how many need it."
"Don't stress about it too much," Charlie replied, "Everyone can wait their turn, just like with everything else."
She nodded. "You making your rounds?"
"Yeah," Charlie said.
"I hope everything is going well with everyone else."
"It is," Charlie replied, "I'll see you tonight."
Charlie continued to walk up the Eastern side of the village. People moved in and out of shelters or pathways to shelters. Some of them were carrying materials or gear. He looked at one of the smithy shelters. This one would probably be the most advanced tier structure they had. It was being built out of and partially in the dirt. It would have low mudbrick-layered walls all the way around, a wooden roof with a chimney where the smelters would be located, and a metal working bench. The interior would be more sheltered, housing borrowed blueprints or finished products. There was also a storage for the metals, wood, and coal. There were a few metal workers who would become the blacksmiths. There were Josh Hewitt, Jamie Hucks, Bill Rockefeller, and Tommy Masters. None of them knew each other save for Jamie and Bill as they worked together. Josh Hewitt was a family friend of the Parker's. Tommy Masters, or Little Tommy, was the son of another Tommy Masters who was adopted as Charlie's Son. It looked to be almost complete. There was already one completed forge, but they were working on a second one. The other two were building tables. There were a few carpenters putting the finishing touches on the door to the storage area. Pretty soon, they'd start to be able to forge metal.
Charlie remembered when they started to build the smithy. It was a process. First, mud bricks had to be made. Since the Mega-Ark replenished everything, it made sense to have everything right in the village. The little work area for the mud was dubbed the Mud Pit by the tribe. It was where the mud and clay were made and cooked into mud bricks and where the cementing paste was created. Incidentally, pottery was made in this area as well, which was valuable for storing various things, such as ash. Ash was a prime ingredient to any mud-based build. Once the mudbricks were molded, cooked, then left to sit for a few hours, they were moved to the smithy. Afterwards, they were placed and mudded into a strong structure supported by wooden beams that would hold the roof up. With the forges nearly complete, they could start making tools.
He continued on towards a storage building, that housed supplies and gear. It was manned by a large man named Neil Jordan. He was in charge of making sure gear got back to the village in case other people needed to use them. He took inventory of everything they had. This included weaponry, nets, rope, armor, baskets, tools, or anything one might use on patrols or gathering missions. There was a clearing that had nothing built in it. It was one of two. The other one was on the Western side. With the ability to tame creatures, the tribe had made specialized areas for paddocks. There was a dodo coop nearby, fenced off by sticks dug into the ground and shelters with makeshift nesting boxes. Along the way, there were various more huts being constructed or already built. Some spots were reserved for future buildings. These buildings would be built as needed for whatever the tribe required at the time. He finally got to the Western entrance, where Shayne was talking with some of the guys about wall construction and how best to do so. Charlie however was focused on the Compy house.
The Compy house was where all the tribe's little land piranhas were located when they weren't on a hunt with the hunters. At night, they were locked up in wooden cages where they could rest. Otherwise, they'd be let out in a small yard that was six feet by ten feet, the exact dimensions of the shelter that housed their kennels. The tribe made the mistake of letting them stay in their yard overnight and the little shits escaped and wandered the village. They got into the food stores where the meat was located. One scared one of the members of the tribe in their sleep. The result was the tribesman breaking the poor creature's neck by smashing it with a hammer that happened to be lying near him. The tribe made the perimeter out of wooden sticks just like the Dodo's but made it as tall as the shelter. The Compys could jump about three or four feet. They were also capable of climbing, though they struggled. That made the tribe weave a net over the yard as a roof. Even with all these precautions, the trainers and hunters were still teaching them to kennel up so that they could each have their own space. Eventually, the Compys were getting used to it every night.
Right now, the Compy house was empty, as they were out on a hunting trip. I watched as someone was gathering ash and charcoal from a campfire near a cluster of shelters. This cluster was right across the "road" from the Compy house. Ash was great for mixtures for mud structures, or even making mudbrick. If used as a dressing for wounds, it worked wonders in helping healing lacerations. Charcoal could be used for a lot of things as well, particularly in crafting gunpowder, smoke grenades, water filtration systems, and writing utensils. Gathering the remains of a fire was proof that the tribe was trying to recycle their resources when needed. The more resources they had, the better off they'd be. So far, they hadn't had to protect those resources from anything other than their own Compys. With everything looking right, Charlie decided to head towards his personal shelter.
Blue Arm: Island Region
Nate had to admit, when they finally made it to the Ark Ranger Compound, he was impressed. It's location was along a ravine atop the cliffs near a river that flowed off the side. The compound was made of high grade metal, looking similar to structures in the 2020's. There was a wall that surrounded the compound, being high enough to keep anything big out. One could walk atop the walls, and it had railings to keep anyone from falling over. There were several buildings made of metal, It looked like an observatory almost; something you'd see in a science fiction show, but not too futuristic. There were various observation-like buildings and zones. Creatures of different breeds stood in stables, waiting to be used. A Greenhouse looked to be located in the corner. The Quetzal landed atop a natural pillar above the compound. On one end of the pillar was what looked like a specialized machine to take on something. There was a staircase and walkway that crossed the ravine into the compound from the landing pillar.
"Welcome to Island HQ of the Ark Rangers," Lauren said as the group unloaded onto the platform that the Quetz had landed on. Michael and his Argentavis landed on a perch that was attached to what looked like an Aviary for Argentavis-sized birds. He directed his bird to walk into the open doors of the perch, which promptly closed behind. Everyone was looking all around the compound from the walkway. "Come on!" Lauren walked passed them, and led the group to the compound. "We have every amenity a tribe would need! Food, Agriculture, technology, equipment, defenses, and of course tames!" She started pointing out buildings as the group walked between them. "That's the mess hall….the armory…recruit barracks…conference building…..radio tower…..paste farm…fertilizer house…greenhouse…flier aviary…one of the herbivore barns….a carnivore barn…..observation building…..smithy….storage…dodo coop…..teleporter…."
Nate lost track of all the buildings that Lauren pointed out. There were so many. The compound was bustling with people and prehistoric creatures. Some people were being trained as soldiers. Some were mounting on dinosaurs and leaving the compound, and some were simply standing guard or patrolling.
"You may notice that some people in the tribe will be rather bland and look relatively the same," Lauren said, "These are called Primal Survivors. They are completely obedient to the tribes who own them. They may look like humans, but they don't have the complex cognitive freedoms we do. They can learn and fight like us, but they behave like tamed creatures. It's all weird and we've tried to treat them as normal humans like us, but the Mega Ark has deemed them to be treated as an evolved creature. They are completely obedient to us humans if they are "Tamed" or cloned. For short we call them Clones. It's easier than calling them Primal Survivors, and calling them humans would be too short. But there are different "breeds" of these Clones. We'll get more on that later. Just know, they aren't real humans and CANNOT breed with us, so don't even try it. In fact, their intelligence in the wild is just above the great apes."
"This happens enough for you to post that kind of warning?" Erik asked.
"What do people use them for?" Dylan said with no filter, "Walking sex dolls?" I punched him in the arm. "Ow."
"I don't know what's more disturbing," Lauren replied disturbed, "The fact that you have a point, or that's the first thing you thought to say about them."
"Dylan is crass," Mark said, "But it's hard to vouch for him being a good person sometimes."
"HEY!" Dylan yelled.
"Oh put a sock in it," I said back, "You haven't been on this island for three days and you've already gotten in trouble."
"ANYways," Lauren said trying to change the subject, "Ranger N….sorry, Michael wants to brief you on what you four will be learning and helping the tribe with….hold up!" She put her arm out when a man on a saddled theropod started to walk by. It shook its lumpy head and bucked its rider a little. Its head had various bumps on it, with larger ones above its eyes. Its back seemed to be armored along its spine as well. It had pronating wrists just like the Dilophosaurus'. This creature was much bigger with its head alone the size of a human. Its armor and upper body was a russet color while its underbelly was almost creamy yellow.
"Sorry Lauren!" He said, "Still breaking in this Allo. I'm taking him outside the compound."
"An Allosaurus?" Nate thought giddily.
"It's cool Zed," Lauren said as the Allo and its rider charged off, "Good luck!" They kept walking.
"As you can see," She said, "Domesticating creatures is a process. At least he can ride that Allosaurus now. A week ago, that creature would barely let someone hand feed it."
"How'd yall tame it?" Nate asked immediately.
"Passively," She said, "Zed did all the work. It was injured so Zed tranq'd it and doctored its leg up. It didn't try to eat him after so Zed brought it back. He's been trying to train it ever since. A Ranger was jogging, with several clones behind him. He wore armored pants a green cloth shirt with a tactical vest. On his head was a cap. On his back was a rifle of some sort. There were about twenty clones who all wore green clothing and leather boots. They each had a bow with a quiver full of arrows strapped to their rucksack.
"Let's move archers," He said, "Your shift has now begun."
"Yes sir!" They all bellowed as they ran towards the main gate.
"We let our clones rest," Lauren said, "We have various different breeds of clones, all specialized in a certain task. They make up the majority of our military power as far as manpower goes. Clones do twelve hour shifts unless we come under attack. They have leisure time, but do not spend it how a normal person would. They will stand in one place like robots unless they eat, drink, or sleep. Training them to do tasks or fighting also depends on what they know."
"So…." Dylan confirmed, "They're slaves….just willing slaves."
"Shut up Dyl," Mark commented.
The group finally made it to the conference hall, which was guarded by two clones on either side of the main entrance. They were in full iron armor, a metal round shield, and metal pointed spear. Their armor was painted military green. They didn't pay the group no attention, just standing there silently.
The conference hall was separated into two rooms. One was a small meeting room complete with a table and chairs like you'd see in conference rooms of businesses, while the other was almost like an auditorium. Lauren led the group to the auditorium. There were six people standing on stage all wearing green cloth shirts, brown pants, and leather boots. They seemed to be waiting on someone other than the group.
"Sit right here," Lauren said to us, "Ranger Michael should be here any minute." She went and sat down off to the side. The group sat down.
From a double door in the center of the stage, came Michael. He was still in his uniform, not showing his face just as he hadn't on their first encounter.
"Hello," He said, "Welcome to orientation. As you know, I'm Ranger Michael. Behind me are some of your instructors; other Rangers who are going to teach you everything you will need to know about the tribe, how it functions, and everything we can cram into your heads about the Mega-Ark. You four are going to be part of the same class and are the only ones that are being taught at the moment. Everyone else has either graduated and transferred, or are still here on the island. From your instructors, you will learn combat, agriculture, bestiary, crafting, survival skills, and what we know about the Mega-Ark. The question is, do you have the mental and physical capacity to learn all these skills and become Rangers, or are you going to become subpar survivors who may or may not live long on this mega-ark? That remains to be seen. You will be challenged, it'll be like basic training in the military, then advanced training. Only this time, we're combining all the branches of the military and then some. We call it Ranger training. You are free to pass on your training in the future to those you deem worthy of our skills. Your time in training will be grueling and can be time consuming. You can opt out now and join one of the other jobs in the tribe or you can leave entirely. Make your choice now."
"I'm staying," Mark said.
"Me too," Nate spoke up.
"I guess I'm in," Erik said shrugging.
"I'm in," Dylan said, "But first…..I got to know."
"What is it?" Michael asked.
"Why don't you show your face?" Dylan questioned, "You ugly or something?"
The room was silent with the exception of the sound of everyone in the recruitment group facepalming themselves. Classic Dylan. "You." Mark said with conviction, "Dumbass." The other Rangers just stared at the rude member of the group.
"Hey I just want to know!" Dylan said indignantly, "I don't trust people who don't show their face to others. If you're willing to hide behind a mask, then you are hiding other things too."
Michael however didn't miss a beat and shrugged off Dylan's rudeness. "Your caution is understandable," Michael said calmly, "I might suggest you show restrain in the future with other survivors. Diplomacy is part of survival out here. You may offend less composed leaders and start a war. I admire your boldness, however. As for why I do not show my face; very few Rangers have seen my face, not because I am hiding something sinister from anyone. It is because I have been burned by one of the Guardians. The Origin Dragon to be more precise. My scarred face stings at the touching of air. Wearing something all the time may be uncomfortable, but it is more comfortable than the bareness of sunlight or the elements of nature all the time."
"One last question," Dylan said, "Can I see it?"
"You're an idiot," Erik concluded.
"Your training begins tomorrow morning," Michael said, "Lauren? I know I've taken a lot of your time from your duties. But do you mind showing them the barracks and give them the rundown. I have a meeting to attend. You'd be welcomed there of course. I'll discuss everything with you afterwards for our records."
"No problem Ranger N," Lauren said with a mock salute, "I'll take care of the rascals for ya."
"Thank you," Michael said cordially, "Now, everyone is dismissed."
The leader of the Ark Rangers left through the way he came, with the other Rangers on the stage filing out behind him.
"Let's go you bunch of misfits," Lauren said to the group as she led them back out the front entrance.
"Hey," Mark said, "Don't be comparing us to the class clown. We're not all a bunch of idiots."
"Yeah," Dylan said jokingly as they walked out the front door, "I'm the only special one around here."
"At least you're honest," Nate commented. He saw a group of flying reptiles with people on the back of them fly overhead. Pteranodons? They flew in a formation, like a wing of jet fighters. They disappeared over the trees.
Lauren led the group back through the compound. A Parasaurolophus was pulling a cart full of unrefined metals, while a clone was mounted on cart. Two clones in iron armor, metal tipped spears, and shields flanked the cart on either side with more clones bringing up the rear as workers. The workers wore brown clothing leather boots, work gloves, and had picks and hatchets. Nate briefly wondered if they had any free will at all. Were they as subservient as they seemed to be?
"Look's like they got an okay haul this time," Nate heard a Ranger say to another, "Better get to melting these down. How'd they do with the new Anky's?"
"Pretty good," Another ranger said, "With the Anky's smashing the rocks getting a better metal selection and them picking the majority of the stone that clings to the metal, it went faster than just them or the Anky teams. Plus, the Clones can get to the tighter spaces than an anky can." Nate briefly wondered what an "Anky" was. It was definitely a shorter nickname for some kind of creature. The only creature that he was aware of with that kind of name would be an Ankylosaurus. Those were armored herbivores with clubbed tails.
He continued on, watching the hustling and bustling of the compound. He saw people tanning hide, a blacksmith, and people carrying baskets of food. A yellow fat flying insect behind flown by someone towards a rather tall building that had no windows at all but had small door at the bottom and a ladder that climbed the structure. It was a genus of bee. A giant bee. It landed atop the structure out of view. The rider came climbing down the ladder. He briefly read a plaque above the door that said: "Beehouse." A warning sign was next to the door that said, "Do not enter without a Bee Keeping Suit." He noted a small shed off to the side of the tower.
They finally made it to the barracks, which was built like a Quonset Hut. There were several of these huts, in rows. There had to be at least twenty in this one area, all built basically on top of one another. Inside, it had twenty or so bunkbeds, ten on each side. There were two chests at the end of each bunk bed as well as a footlocker under each side of the bottom bed. On top of each mattress was a stack of written works.
"I feel like I'm back at basic," Erik commented.
"Yup," Mark replied.
"This hut is the where new Ranger's in training sleep," Lauren said, "We never have more than twenty recruits such as yourself, so we don't need any more lodging. The other huts were built for the Clones. The huts are usually separated by their specialization. Not all of them are filled, but we do keep a good amount of them in most of them. I think each hut fits a hundred. They don't require much space. They just need a place to rest and a place where their gear individual gear is stored. They are fed twice a day and have their own water canteens to keep them hydrated. We give them numbers and callsigns. Every now and then, they get a nickname. It's just to help distinguish them and their specialty. That's in the handbook by the way. There are various texts you must read while you are here in training. They're updated and when an update is available, we try to publish a new edition. The Clones have the capacity to learn from these books, so you should too." Nate walked over one of the bunkbeds and looked at the stack of books. It was sort of absurd how many there were. "I suggest you read up on the handbook. It'll somewhat prepare you for what kind of training you'll go through. It also has the rules and regulations that all tribe members must follow. Dinner is at 19:00. Breakfast is usually at 07:00. The Mess Hall for non-clones is located across from the barracks. I have to get started on some things. You are permitted to explore the compound, but I ask that you don't interrupt too much. People have work to do. But they'll probably tell you somethings about their craft and how it benefits the tribe. I'll send for someone to bring you all a fresh change of clothes for training in. There are four bathhouses in the barracks area. Yours is the one closest to the entrance. I'll see you four later." With that, she left the four of them to their own devices.
There was a silent moment there as Nate decided to look at titles of the books. He heard the conversation going on behind him.
"I call top bunk." Dylan said.
"There's literally twenty bunkbeds to pick from you idiot," Mark said.
Nate however looked at the texts. "Ark Ranger Handbook: Rules and Regulations," "Creature Dossiers: Island Region," "Geography and Botany of the Island Region," "Dinobites: Recipes for Survivors and Fauna," "Domestication Guide: Island Region." These were some of the titles of the books. There were others such as the "Ark Combat"or "Ark Defense"series. Those showed basic maneuvers and strategies against enemies in singular, small scale, and large scale combat involving land, sea, and air. This could be with just the survivor, or with creatures. These people were organized and well educated. The other books were of Martial Arts, Bushcraft guides, survival guides, crafting guides, all sorts of stuff. Nate was going to have a field day with all of these books.
While he was waiting on their new clothes, he looked through the handbook.
Ark Ranger Handbook: Rules and Regulations
Authorized by Ranger Michael – Leader of Ark Rangers
Written by Ranger Lauren – Archivist
Our mission is to discover the mysteries of the Mega-Ark and do our best to bring every tribe together, while protecting the innocent. We are to keep hostile tribes at bay and protect the newer and weak ones. We come together to use utilize every asset and skillset we have available and teach those who we deem are worthy. We come together to learn new tactics, discover new species, and recreate technology to better everyone. War is not our first response unless it is unavoidable.
He read through the rules, regulations, what they will be taught, the training schedule, and different protocols.
The training schedule was something else. It operated on a seven-day block period, which was similar to a week. It was in the format of a five day weekday with a two day weekend.
4:30 – First Call (Wake up, Hygiene, etc)
5:00 – Physical Training (Cardio and Strength)
6:00 – Breakfast
7:00 – Training
12:00 – Lunch
1:00 – Training
5:00 – Dinner
6:00 – Study Time
8:00 – Personal Time
9:00 – Lights Out
6:00 – Breakfast
7:00 – Labor Duty
12:00 – Lunch
1:00 – Labor Duty
3:00 – Personal Time
5:00 - Dinner
6:00 Personal Time
9:00 Lights out
It was similar to the Army Basic Training schedule only there was more personal time. Dylan had some reservations about the schedule, being the most unorganized and undisciplined of the group. Nate frankly didn't care either way. Erik and Mark knew it couldn't be as bad as their military's basic training. When their tailer arrived, it was a petite woman with big hazel eyes and full lips. She looked relatively young and her hair was cut short. She had a blank expression for the most part, almost if she constantly staring off into space. She wore simple clothing, being modest. On the front of her white shirt, was embroidered callsign and number: ARC – L0034, "Leta."
"Hello," She said, "I am Ark Ranger Clone – Worker Zero, Zero, Three, Four. Or Leta for short. I've been tasked with providing you with training uniforms by Ranger Lauren."
"Cool," Mark said, "What kind of clothes will we receive?" She looked at Mark.
"You will receive seven pairs of clothing depending on the environmental and specialized training you will have," Leta replied, "Simple clothing is what I am tailoring you for now. You will learn how to create your own clothing soon as part of the curriculum for Ark Ranger recruits."
"Okay," Erik said, "So clones have different uh, breeds right?"
"That's correct," She said looking at him with an inquisitive look.
"What breed are you?" He asked. That question sounded insulting to Nate. But the Clone didn't look offended or anything. It was more like….she was strongly acute to answering questions. Nate noticed how when she answered questions, she looked at the one asking, giving them her full undivided attention.
"I am a Laborer," She said replied almost robotically but kept her soft voice, "I am tasked with general cleaning and doing laundry. Speaking of which, I must do my duty as a Tailor as tasked." She proceeded to pull out a measuring tape and wrote down all the measurements. It was almost uncomfortable. "I have all four of your sizes available." She walked outside to a wagon that had various stacks of clothes on it before handing us each a few stacks of clothing. These clothes didn't look that great, looking like the cheapest clothing you could find anywhere. It was probably hand sewn. The boots didn't look like much either, being handmade. The pants were brown, the shirt was olive, and the boots were brown leather. The group quickly changed into their respective uniforms, then began to do what they were told.
Nate however, started to thumb through the Dossier. He really just wanted to see the species that were in the region. What he saw, impressed him. Almost every creature had unique traits and abilities. There were some where their pure size was their ability, such as the Titanosaurus or Giganotosaurus. Titanosaurus wasn't a titan per se, but it was the next step down. It was called a walking mountain and a Giga-killer. Giganotosaurus was nothing but massive angry teeth on legs. It preyed on large animals such as Brontosaurus, Diplodocus, or Paracers. Although killable, one's best chance to survive an encounter with that beast was to disappear and fast. If it saw you, you were probably already in its stomach. They had anger issues as well. Pain was the quickest way for a Giga to become enraged. Its eyes begin to glow as it loses its mind and sees red. There were other creatures that interested him; Direwolves, Utahraptors, Hyaenodons, Argentavis, Tapejara, Mosasaurus, and Megalodon.
Direwolves, Hyaenodons, and Utahraptors were pack hunters, often not needing more than one survivor to control them or direct them. Direwolves had the best noses in the region. Their nose was so good, they were basically oversized bloodhounds who could track anything for miles. They could sniff out subterranean creatures as well, such as Purlovia. Hyaenodon's were smaller and acted in a similar manner. They didn't have as good of a nose, but they could fit in tighter places. Utahraptors were much faster and nimbler than Direwolves. They could use complex behaviors in order to hunt. They'd pounce on their prey or could jump up higher than most island creatures. Although they couldn't scale steep slopes, they could hang onto larger creatures. Argentavis' was a hardy bird that could heal itself my eating corpses. It was probably the strongest flyer, being able to fly for miles and able to pick up heavier loads. It was a fierce competitor of the skies. Tapejara's were probably the most versatile flier as they could hover and fly in all directions thanks to their crest. They also could attach to trees or rocky outcroppings. Mosasaurus was an apex predator under the sea, just like Megalodons. Mosa's could sport a platform saddle that is used to create a mobile underwater base. Megalodons were considered teeth with fins and were a common mount underwater and excelled in underwater combat.
There were all kinds of uses for these creatures and warfare tactics he wouldn't have thought about. The Dossier's didn't go into detail on what they could be used for, just their abilities or what they were commonly used for. Ankylosaurus could hit a metal node and it would yield much more than normal. It could hit a rock and shatter it into flint. A Therizinosaurus' long sickle-like claws could cut bushes so fine that it created fibers, in addition to making mincemeat out of anything unfortunate enough to come in contact with its claws. Phiomia, when fed stimberries, pooped a lot…..which could be turned into fertilizer. Dung Beetles were expert at transforming in poop into fertilizer and oil. Castoroides, or the giant beaver could harvest wood more efficiently than any other creature. Wood, thatch, fiber, and stone could be carried easier by it, being fifty percent lighter. Nate didn't know how in the world that was possible, but he just accepted it. The Stegosaurus was probably one of the more interesting creatures. It had three modes that were possible, in which its plates change. There was Hardened Plates, which hardened its skin and made it bullet resistant. This also protected the rider. Heavy Plate would almost stun aggressors if they came in contact with the stego's tail in addition to being pierced. Sharpened Plate applies more armor penetration when attacking with its tail. It could also impale anything that comes in contact with its tail. Each "mode" helped gather a different resource; wood, thatch, and berries respectively. Before Nate knew it, it was time for dinner. He simply couldn't wait to learn everything that the Ark Rangers had to offer….