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Third Earth (Updated every Wednesday.)
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Third Earth

“To conquer a planet,” Chatterton said, “one must attack it. Burn the forests. Kill the animals. Get what you're there for, and get out as fast as you fucking can. Or the planet will kill you. Danger lurks behind every corner...or even in plain sight.” “Oh, shut up, Chatterton. We need to take a way more cautious approach than that. It's your agressivity that'll kill you.” Clarkson replied. “If you want to go die, then I'm out!” Chatterton screamed. He then left the building. The noise of the door slamming was noticable several blocks away. “Well, there goes the angriest man on the planet,” Ericson said, mockingly. "I don't think we would've needed that guy anyway," Clarkson said. "Anyway, let's get this over with. How's the shuttle faring?" Ericson responded by pointing at an engine in the corner of the room. "That's it," he said. Clarkson scratched his head. "So, we basically have to buy and build the entire ship over again?" Clarkson asked, dissapointed. "Yes," Ericson replied. "But, we do still have the ten million dollar budget." "Well, at least that's something." "I'll call the stores and factories nearby. Hold on for a second." Ericson dialed some numbers on his phone, and started calling up several stores. "Hello, my name is Ericson...I need fi...four car seats...I need 500 square meters of 4mm thick aluminum sheets..." "Aluminium," Clarkson said. "...I need 30 feet of green wire, 30 feet of blue wire, 30 feet red wire, and a 200 feet-long cable. Oh, and a windshield. Three million? Yes, we can cover that. Thank you." Ericson hung up. "We call it aluminum in America," he said. "Bah! In Russia, we would've welded seats on top of the engine!" It was Senin, the patriotic Russian. "You would suffocate if you did that," Ericson replied. Senin stalled for a moment, then he looked at the floor. After a while, he looked to his left. "MUDIN! We're trying to do stuff here!" he yelled. Mudin jumped, said "Wha...Mom, I didn't..." and then got to his senses. "Well, now that we're all awake, it's time to get things started," Clarkson said. He opened his suitcase, and took a pair of sheets of paper out of it. He placed them on the table. "Okay. This first sheet of paper says how the shuttle is going to be when it's finished, and how to build it. We'll get to that later. This other sheet of paper is a map." Clarkson pointed at a small cluster of dots on the map. "This is our solar system, located in the first arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. This should be familiar. Over here, 900 lightyears away, lies the solar system known as Keiper. The third orbiting planet, Keiper-4, is our target. It looks just like our earth. We're going to the planet to gather resources, and maybe colonize it. It's a tougher mission than what NASA did at the Second Earth, also known as Mars, but we will succeed." "Now then. When is the launch due?" Ericson asked. "Three days from now, 10:00 AM." Clarkson replied. "That gives us two days to build the ship," Mudin added. "Gentlemen, I hope you're ready for the task ahead. Let's get to work." Clarkson said. The next day, Ericson picked up the supplies he had bought, and the group started building the ship.

Two days later, the launch pad was set up, and the shuttle was completed. "It's a fine piece of work for just two days," Senin said. "A piece of art, if I do have to say so myself." "One hour left, gentlemen." Clarkson said. "It might be a good idea to say goodbye to your beloved ones," Ericson said. "You won't be seeing them for a long time." "Granted we survive," Mudin added. "Oh, lighten up a bit, Mudin," Senin said.
"It's now five minutes to launch time," Clarkson said. "Okay! This is it, the moment we've been waiting for!" Senin said. He went into the shuttle, thought to himself "Which seat can I take?" took the middle-right seat, and got comfortable. "Good quality, with it being a car seat and all," he said. Mudin followed, and took the far-right seat, beside Senin. Next was Ericson, who took the middle-left seat. "Did you notice the dashboard?" he asked Senin and Mudin. "No, we di- Whoa. How'd you do this in two days!?" Senin asked. Mudin was speechless. "You know my special talent is electronics," Ericson replied. Then, Clarkson entered, closed the door, and sat down in the far-left seat. "The launch is in one minute," he said. The team got ready for the incoming g's. "I've been waiting for this moment for years!" Senin said. Mudin, however, fell asleep. "It's quite genius, really, how we made the shuttle start flying like a plane, and then go vertically up into space," Clarkson said. "I'm looking forward to seeing Mudin's face," Senin said. "Launch commencing in 10..." Clarkson said, and started the countdown. "Yes!" Senin said. "8...7...6..." Ericson braced himself. "4...3...2..." Clarkson grabbed the key to start the engine. "1...Launch!" He turned the key, and the engine roared, sending the shuttle and the team into the air.

“Blastoff!” said Ericson. “The launch has been successful,” said Clarkson. The team quickly left the earth and its orbit. “Turn on the over-light speed,” Ericson said. “Yes, comrade!” Senin said. He pressed a red button. “Light speed x10, x100, x10 000!” he read. “Great! We’ll be there in no time,” Clarkson said. “It’s still seven days at top speed,” Ericson replied.
The next week went by quickly. Clarkson wrote a book, Ericson planned the landing, Senin read a 2000-page book in Russian, and Mudin slept.

Seven days later, the ship had entered Keiper-4’s orbit. “I am scanning for possible landing sites, get ready for descent,” Ericson said. “I can see vegetation down there!” Mudin almost fell out of his chair. “But it looks prehistorical! Just like scientists say the vegetation was like in Russia 100 million years ago,” Senin said. “Senin, would you stop with the Russia!?” Clarkson replied. Senin sank down in his seat. The cheap car seat wasn’t all that comfortable, but it worked. “I’ve located an empty hill that will be a perfect landing site. Initiating laaaaandiiiing!” The g’s of descending in over 9000 mph sent everyone in the ship into the roof. Ten minutes and a banging headache later, the team had successfully landed on Keiper-4.
The team went out of the ship. Ericson got into his commander mood. “Clarkson, go downhill, and find some drinkable water. Senin, Mudin, find some trees, chop them down and bring them here. I’ll keep watch over the ship, and build a base with the wood.” Senin and Mudin scouted the area, and located a small forest two miles away. Clarkson found a river five hundred yards to the south. He went down to the river, and took a swig of the water. “Seems drinkable enough,” he said to himself. He went back up to Ericson. “Nice. Take some tubes and pipes, and get the water up here,” Ericson said. “Okay, sir,” Clarkson replied sarcastically. “Excuse me?” Ericson answered. “Nothing, mate, nothing,” Clarkson said, to end the not so nice conversation.

“Senin, there’s something weird about the trees here.” “I noticed. The trees look like evergreen trees, but they are hollow, like bamboo. Yet, they’re strong and durable. Weird indeed.” Senin grabbed his hatchet and hammered a tree to the ground. Mudin gave it a more cautious approach, and used twice as long to get a tree down. Eventually, the group had collected enough wood to make a base, or at least a fence around the shuttle. “Let’s go back to base, Mudin.” “Fine...” Senin and Mudin carried the pile of wood back to the space shuttle.

“Bloody piping,” Clarkson muttered to himself. He connected the final pieces of pipe, and started pumping water back to base. “All done, Ericson!” he yelled. “We have a water flow up here!” Ericson yelled back. Clarkson went back to base. “Ericson, you should probably turn that tap,” he told Ericson. “We can’t waste the water.” “No shit, Sherlock. I didn’t know that.” Ericson muttered something Clarkson couldn’t hear. The tension was interrupted by the sound of logs being dragged across a field. It was Senin and Mudin. Ericson and Clarkson ran downhill to help them, and they shared the load.

“Well, this was a whole lot of wood. We’ll get a good base out of this,” Ericson said. Senin grinned. “I can see it. A tower in red here, a tower in gold there...” He then received a slap in the head from Clarkson. “No.” “Oh, come on!” Senin walked towards the pile of wood, and started sorting the logs by size. “I have a sheet of paper here,” Ericson said. “You need a pen?” Clarkson asked. “Yep.” “Here you are.” “Thanks.” Ericson placed the sheet of paper on a random flat rock lying nearby. He drew a square, sixteen centimeters long, thirty-two centimeters wide. He set the drawing to be in scale 1:50. “You’re thinking a normal house?” Clarkson asked. “Yes. It’s simple and efficient.” “We’ll have to build around the shuttle, though. And we may need defense mechanisms,” Clarkson added, “just in case.” “We can have a small tower that we can stand in, and shoot at any eventual enemies,” Senin suggested. “I remember how to build a fully automatic sentry!” Mudin exclaimed. “Both of those are nice. We’ll add them both,” Ericson said. “Mudin, do you remember what materials you need?” “Yes. It consists of iron, stone, and wiring. Not to mention ammo.” “Iron and wiring might be a problem. But we’ll get to mining later.” “Okay, men. It’s time to get building!” Clarkson said. “Senin, have you found the four biggest, strongest trees?” “Da, they’re right here.” “We’ll use those in the corners. Now then, we’ll build it so that the longer sides are to the north and south, which means that the southwest corner is at, as the compass says, 240°, or to the west-southwest. The northwest corner is at 300°, or west-northwest. The northeast corner is at 60°, or east-northeast, and the south-east at 120°, or east-southeast. Each corner is approximately 12 meters from the center of the shuttle. You got all that?” “Yes!” the group answered. “Good! Now get to work!”

Placing the corners was simple, and done within the next five minutes. When the job was done, Clarkson got back into the commander-zone. “Give me eight sticks! It’s crucial. Ericson, find the saw and the hammer in the shuttle.” What was ordered was done. Soon, Clarkson had used the sticks and the tools in an efficient way, and created a wooden workbench. He made three knobs, one knob to hang the saw up on, and two more to hold the head of the hammer. “Now, the real work starts. Senin, give me every last bit of wood in the pile. I’ll probably end up using it all.” Clarkson started making planks out of the wood. It was a lot of work, as he needed to make 288 square meters of planks. He needed to build two walls at every side, because the house needed to be able to be insulated with whatever they could come up with. That was for the first floor. In addition, he needed to make 36.25 square meters of planks for the tower. Luckily, Clarkson was able to make enough for the house, but the process took several hours. It seemed as they had landed at dawn, because after all the work that had been done, the sun was only now starting to set. The setting sun told the group one thing; they had to get the house done, and soon. The team managed to put the planks together, and make the three of the four walls; both of the wide ones, and one of the narrow ones. As night fell, the team had no choice but to sleep in the shuttle. They guarded the house, and changed shifts every second hour.

As the sun rose in the morning, it had felt like the night had lasted as long as the previous day. “At least we got to sleep long enough to feel fully rested,” Mudin said. Senin seconded the notion with a simple nod. “Should we start some mining today?” Clarkson asked Ericson. “We should. At least that’ll give us tiles for the roof,” he replied. “I can make us shovels with the workbench, and pickaxes when we get through the dirt. Using the pickaxes will probably be a slow, slow process, though. Mining through stone is hard work.” Clarkson continued. “Wooden shovels are weak, though.” Ericson said. Clarkson didn’t bother to reply to that. Instead, he grabbed some wood and got to work.

Senin went outside. “Prokhladno,” he said. “The sun has barely risen above the forest where we got the wood. Wait, why is the sun rising in the south?” Senin walked half a mile to the west. He then discovered that just a bit downhill, there was a perfect spot to start the mining operation. Senin got Ericson over to look at it. “I can see why you would bring me here, Ericson said. “It does look promising.” “That’s what I hoped.” “We’ll get Clarkson and Mudin over here as well.” Senin ran back to base. Ericson was in no hurry, and didn’t bother running.

“Clarkson, are the tools done?” Senin asked. “Yes, we have four shovels and four pickaxes,” Clarkson replied. Senin continued: “I found a good mining spot half a mile to the west. Ericson and I had a look at it, and it seems promising.” “Seems fine by me,” Mudin said. “Shall we?” “Yes, let’s go.” The three people walked back towards the spot, and met Ericson halfway. “Someone needs to guard the house,” Ericson said. “I’ll come to the mining spot in half an hour, and we’ll have shifts on guarding.” “We were going to send you there to guard anyway. Good to see you’re in on it,” Clarkson said. Ericson went back to base, and Clarkson, Senin and Mudin continued on towards the mining spot.
I didn't get a chance to read this yet, but I'd like to suggest maybe posting smaller amounts at one time? It might just be me, but when I have found a story I liked I always see the same problem of posting way too much at one time. A bunch at one time can be intimidating.

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Senin stuck his shovel into the ground. "Seems like normal dirt," he said. He marked of a circular hole with a diameter of 10 feet. Clarkson, Senin and Mudin dug down, at a 20 degree angle. Since they were three men working on a relatively small hole, they managed to dig 300 feet into the ground before the 30 minutes were up. Mudin walked to guard, and met Ericson halfway there. And so, the hours went, and the team got down to a depth of 3000 feet before the day was over. What stopped them from going any further, was Senin finally hitting the stone layer. When the team saw this, they went back to base. Still, their fourth wall was nonexistent. Once again, the team slept in the shuttle, which was starting to get annoying for Mudin, who missed a good, soft bed to sleep in.

At the dawn of Day 3, Senin once again got up before the others, and went for a walk outside. He spotted nothing interesting on his walk, so he passed the time by singing the Russian national anthem. At what could seem like noon, he returned to base, and ate breakfast with the others. "We should really get our fourth wall built up," Ericson said. "Indeed, we should," Clarkson replied. "I'm just not sure what is more important, the mining or the house." "None of them," Mudin said. "Our food will soon run out. Nothing matters more to our survival." "He's right," Ericson said. Senin nodded. "I agree," Clarkson said. "We need to find a food source. Even if our mission here may not take more than a month or so, we won't survive the time without food. So we should all go search for something to eat." "Don't go splitting us into groups again," Senin said. "Not to worry. This time we're going together," Clarkson replied. The team walked towards the north, in search of food.

Three miles and an hour later, the team reached a forest, stretching as far as the eye could see. "You know what they say." Mudin said. "All toasters toast toast?" Clarkson replied, mockingly. "No, you idiot," Mudin said angrily. Then he calmed down, and continued: "A forest is always the best chance for finding food." "Where there's plantlife, there's water," Ericson added. "If there's water, there should be animals. At least some sort of fish, if nothing else." The group went into the forest. They soon found themselves stuck deep within the forest's reaches. "This really seems to go on forever. We remembered a compass, right?" Senin asked. "Yes, I have it right here," Clarkson replied, and pulled out a compass from his back pocket. However, the needle was spinning constantly in circles. "Well, shit," Ericson said. "Looks like we'll have to follow our instincts to get out." "Let's focus on finding the water we're looking for first," Mudin said. The team continued walking in the same direction, deeper and deeper into the forest. As they went, the vegetation grew tighter and tighter. "We're getting closer," Mudin said. "We just have to be getting closer." "Aye," Clarkson agreed. As they spoke, they walked towards a cliff. "Guys," Senin finally said, at the edge of the cliff: "Watch where you're going." "Oh. Whoa," Mudin said, worryingly, as he nearly walked off. "And that below us," Senin continued. "That, my gentlemen, is a river." "Aye," Clarkson said. "But we need to get down there. There's no way from this location. Let's follow downstream." And they did. It still took them a good hour before they actually found a place to descend. "That was a good distance," Ericson said. "The water around here seems to have slowed down." "So, fishing," Mudin said. "I have a lure and string, but no fishing rod." "I'll go find one for you," Senin said. It didn't take him long to find a fitting stick to use as a fishing rod; he was in the forest, after all. "I hope this works for you." "Indeed, it does," Mudin replied. He knitted the stick, string and lure together into a pretty good improv fly fishing rod. "Let's get this done," he said, confidently.
((Sorry for late upload, I was incredibly busy this weekend.))

But the river yielded nothing. The hours went, and not even one bite. "Shit," Senin finally said. "You've been fishing here for hours! This river is dead." Mudin sighed. "You're right," he said. "This isn't working. We need to search for something else." "But we're completely lost," Ericson said, worried. Clarkson picked at the ground. The ground felt fertile between his fingers; something could easily grow here, if it wasn't for the light being blocked out by the giant trees that were towering above it. But to his right, he noticed something familiar, but strange; a straw. "Why would there be a straw in a forest?" he thought. He pulled the straw out of the ground, and examined it. It looked like wheat, in blooming season; green and lively. But it also looked like it could be harvested. These facts were confusing for Clarkson; he dug out some more soil, and found out that there was only four inches of fertile soil below it. Clarkson picked at the straw; he harvested it. Clarkson put every last seed he could find on the straw into his pocket. The total number of seeds was but a dozen, which wasn't enough to use for anything except replanting. Clarkson looked around to see if there was any more straws around, but there was none. "I'll have to replant all of these seeds when I get back to the base. If we ever get back to base at all..." he thought. Clarkson's thinking was interrupted by Ericson, who patted Clarkson on his back. "We're leaving this place," he said. Clarkson got up, checked that he wasn't leaving any seeds behind, and started walking with the others. "Where should we go?" Senin asked. "We should turn around before it's too late," Mudin said. "The search was a failure." "Not quite, Mudin," Clarkson said. The group looked at Clarkson, wondering if he was high or something. "I found a straw back there. A lonely straw. Wheat, if you're wondering. It had twelve seeds on it." Mudin's face lightened up. "These seeds grow at an extreme rate," Clarkson continued. "Five days, I assume. And every seed will yield a straw with twelve more seeds." Ericson fell to his knees. "You're completely sure about this?" he asked. "Positive," Clarkson replied. Senin started walking around in circles. "Five days equals 144 new seeds. Ten days will get us 1728 seeds... Clarkson, can we plant them by our house?" "Yes, we just set up an efficient farming facility. I'm pretty sure we need 50 seeds to make a ration-size bread for one person," Clarkson said. "So we'll have to live on our rations for ten more days." "There should be just enough food at base for ten days," Mudin said. "Mission success! Let's go home." Mudin turned towards the south. He easily found his way out of the forest, and even though it was a two-hour walk in one direction, the team was happy. They had a stabble source of food now, thanks to Clarkson's boredom.

However, when Mudin finally led them out of the forest, they found themselves on a flat, plain area. There was absolutely no sign of their base, nor the hill it stood on. But Mudin was smiling. "Follow me, my friends. My special ability is sense of direction, after all," he said, confidently. The group kept their hopes up, and they continued walking across the barren plains. But the walk seemed to last forever. After a while, the light started to decrease. "Sundown," Ericson said. "We need to pick our pace up!" As soon as Mudin heard that, he turned on max walk speed. The group was now walking at a pace that would seem extremely fast for anyone watching from afar. But they noticed nothing; they were too focused on their mission, and survival. Before the sun went below the horizon, they reached a more wavy landscape. And as they went up on the top of the very first hill, they spotted their base, standing perfectly on the same hill, everything in order. The fourth wall was still missing. "We did it," Senin said. "The base is within our reach." As night fell over Keiper-4, the group made their way into the house, and went to sleep.
Dawn of Day 4. After the previous day's challenges and tiring walking, the group was sleeping tight way into the day. Not even Senin woke up before noon. This time, Clarkson was the early bird, relatively speaking. The pile of planks he was going to use to build the fourth wall was still lying in the corner. Clarkson thought he could get the shit over with while he had nothing to do, and so he started to build. As the only thing he needed to do was to build the eact same wall as the one on the other side of the house, the job was done quickly. When the wall stood, he was very happy for the progress he made. But he got an unpleasant surprise when he tried to go outside. He walked right into the wall. "Of course I fucking forget to add an opening for a door," he mumbled. As he did, Ericson woke up, and managed to laugh his ass off, waking up Senin and Mudin in the process. Nothing special happened as the group sat together, ate breakfast, made a door, and went outside to search for any signs of anything that could be a problem, or even interesting at all. The weather was sunny, without a cloud in sight. The wavy landscape still stretched out like it used to. The mine was still standing, but the group felt too tired to work there. Finally, Clarkson suggested that they should plant the twelve seeds, and set up the small, efficient farm. And so they did. They placed the farm not more than 100 feet away from the north wall of the house. Ericson and Mudin changed the piping, so that the soil would be ideal for healthy growth. Clarkson tilled the soil, and planted the seeds. Senin didn't have to do anything, so he just gazed out towards the horizon. As the team, or most of it, worked, the time went. When the farm was finished, it was mid-afternoon. And Clarkson had been right; the seeds were already growing, at a pace so fast that a human eye almost could see it. After the daily observations were made, and supper had been eaten, the group went to bed, as the sun set over Keiper-4.
Day 5 was like the second and third days. Senin got up early, walked a walk, and came back while the others were eating breakfast. Everyone was feeling great. Since Day 4 had been a day where nothing happened, the group discussed what to do. "It's time to get back to the mine, isn't it?" Senin said. "Yeah," Ericson replied. "And build a roof before some kind of downpour gets here." "We need tiles for the roof, Ericson," Mudin said. "And where do you get tiles? You make them out of stone, which we'll get from the mine." "We'll have to get to mining, then," Ericson concluded. The team grabbed their picks and went to the mine. The mine was standing completely untouched since last time. The team walked into the mineshaft, and Senin was the first one to swing his pickaxe at the stone. To his surprise, the it seemed like the stone crumbled as he mined it. "So pourous," he said. "This is going to be extremely easy." The team mined downwards at a high speed. The yards went by, and before they knew it, they had mined half a mile downwards. Suddenly, Clarkson spotted something unusual. "Hey, there's something pitch-black in the wall here," he said. Clarkson wiped it, and noticed that his hand got dirty. "Coal?" he wondered. Clarkson was right; it was indeed coal he had found. Mudin helped Clarkson mine out the coal, while Ericson and Senin continued mining downwards. As they did, they noticed that the light behind them was beginning to fade. They were not sure if it was because of the fact that they were so far below ground, or if it was because the sun was setting. "It's getting too dark to work here," Ericson said. "We need some sort of light source." From Clarkson and Mudin's sideshaft, a voice yelled "We can make torches with this coal!" "I was thinking something more permanent!" Ericson yelled back. "An electrical lamp or something!" "But we need wiring for that!" Mudin replied. Ericson and Senin turned around, and went back up to Mudin and Clarkson's sideshaft. "That's some vein you have here," Senin said. "A giant one, actually." As it turned out, Mudin and Clarkson had mined out 1300 pounds of coal from the vein, and it seemed like there was still loads more left. "Maybe it's time to wrap this up?" Ericson asked. "We've been in here for quite some time." "Yeah, okay," Clarkson replied. "Is it sundown again?" "I have no idea. It's better safe than sorry, so we're going out before night falls." "Okay, let's go, then." But before they went, Senin stopped them. "Roof tiles, remember?" he said. "Oh, right!" Clarkson said. "But the stone we mined through is rubble." "We'll need to resmelt the stone into tiles, then," Mudin said. "But how?" "We can probably use the engine to smelt some of the stone, and then use the resmelted stone to make a furnace." "Let's try that, then." Everyone grabbed as much stone as they could, and went out of the mine. When the team came out on the surface, they noticed that the sun was on it's way down, but there was still a couple of hours of daylight left. The group went back to the house. Ericson went into the shuttle, and managed to remove the engine. "Maybe it's better to test this outside?" he asked. The others nodded, seeing as they didn't exactly want molten lava floating around in their house, burning down everything and killing them in the process. They carried the engine and stone downhill, and at the bottom, they started up the engine. It was a weird and dangerous task, because nobody had any idea about what they were doing. It seemed like an impossible task, the smelted stone flowed into puddles on the ground; no progress was made. "Well, shit," Ericson said. "How are we going to do this?"
(Missed the deadline yesterday. Sorry about that.)

Then, a brilliant idea appeared in Clarkson's mind. "Since gravity is gravity, the molten stone will flow downwards. So if we can direct the stone downhill into a mold we make into the ground, we can at least make stone bricks," he thought. It seemed possible to him, so he explained the idea to the others. "Brilliant," Senin said. "We should've thought of that sooner," Ericson said. Using their bare hands, the group dug out a trench for the stone to flow down. Then they proceeded to make a mold in the ground. The mold for the stone was 4 inches deep, 6 inches wide, and 10 inches long. "Let's do it," Ericson said. He put some of the stone rubble in the engine's heat. The stone melted, and flowed downhill. The plan worked perfectly; the mold got filled up with stone. Ericson and Mudin worked hard to put more rubble for melting, while Senin and Clarkson took the finished bricks out of the mold. The team spirit was high, and everything seemed to work perfectly. After three hours of intense working, the team had emptied half of all the rubble, and made it into stone bricks. They had made about 2000 bricks in the 180 minutes, so they were exhausted. The sun was setting, as well. "Time for the 'bed' again," Mudin said. The others nodded. The group went inside. Clarkson checked the wheat; it was about half-grown, and it looked healthy. The explorers had a quiet night, and quickly fell asleep.
(Guess what.)

Day 6 was different. The seemingly endless sunny skies had gone over into clouds, and rainfall was inevitable. Senin woke up first yet again, and went outside to examine the clouds. "Looks like a downpour could start at any minute," he thought. He ran back in, woke up the others, and pointed out the obvious: "We need to make the roof!" Clarkson replied with a simple "Aye", Ericson nodded, and Mudin was still half-asleep.The group had a quick breakfast, and then discussed how to build the roof. "Well, we have around 2000 stone bricks," Senin said. "End of discussion, then," Mudin said, still tired. "Hold the phone, Mudin," Ericson said. "Stone bricks can't support themselves." "We'll need to make some inner walls and a frame, then. Do we have enough wood for that?" Clarkson asked. Senin pointed at the massive pile of logs lying by the west wall. And thus, a massive build started. Senin, Mudin and Clarkson carried logs outside, because it was going to be impossible to build at that scale indoors. Ericson measured, made drawings and planned how the roof should be made.After what seemed like about half an hour, the team was ready to start the build. But first, they had to take a look at the plans. Ericson's final drawing of the roof showed a classic design, with the shuttle sticking out in the middle. The stone bricks were useless in this stage of the build. Instead, they had to use planks to cover the frame. "I figured the stone bricks were way, way, WAY to thick to be used as tiles. So we just use planks instead," Ericson explained. "And for the walls... Well, this drawing right here shows how they'll have to be made." Ericson grabbed a drawing, and showed it to the others, and explained. The walls were made so there would be three equal rooms in the house. The middle, with the shuttle, the back room, which would be the bedroom, and the front room, which would be the entrance and the living room. The walls themselves were to be just as strong as the outer walls, which would give enough strength to hold the roof. After a brief conversation and teambuilding, the group started on the massive build, the rain threatening their base more and more by the minute.
Senin and Clarkson started to work on the frame for the roof. A simple task, but a whole lot of wood was needed to cover the frame later, which would be harder. Ericson and Mudin went inside, and divided the house into three equally sized rooms. It became clear to them that they couldn't possibly make the walls from the outside and carry them through the door, so they took about half of the stack of wood and carried it inside for more convenient use. And so, the manual labor started. Using some random materials from the shuttle to bolt, glue and tape the wood together, the team slowly built the frame and walls. After a couple of hours, one of the two inner walls was done, and half the roof was already covered with wood. The clouds were looking even darker now, but the group couldn't make out if that was because of the rain coming in at any second, or if the sun was setting. Either way, they figured it would be for the better if they picked up the pace. Clarkson went to help Mudin and Ericson with the walls, so Senin was alone with the roof. But the roof only needed to be covered, so it wasn't a big deal. With three people on one wall, the build went by really fast, and soon enough, the wall stood. Now there was just the roof left. There was a slight problem; how to lift the roof up on top of the walls? Clarkson took on the task to find the easiest way. And after analyzing angles and such, he found the best way to be that one person stood on an inner wall or the shuttle and pulled the roof up, while the other three pushed from below. Seeing as Senin was the strongest man of the group, he climbed his way up on the shuttle, and onto the inner walls. To his right, he could see rain falling over the forest. "We don't have much time!" he exclaimed. The other three pushed the roof up the wall with all their strength, and it seemed to work flawlessly. Senin used a bit of everything he could find in the shuttle, and attached the half of the roof to the rest of the house. The process was done the same way on the other side of the house. And as soon as the roof was finally put together, a raindrop fell, right in Clarkson's neck. "Bloody typical," he grumbled. "Anyway, what about the house?" "Looks like a mix of IKEA and the Mythbusters' old gaffa tape episodes," Ericson said. "Well, it was the only way," Mudin replied. "How else were we going to make the stuff stick together?" The rain started falling, slowly at first, then faster and faster. The group went inside to look at the inner walls. "IKEA and gaffa tape," Ericson said. "Even worse in here." "It's damn dark in here right now," Mudin said. "Fits for nighttime, but not ideal when we're eating, for instance." "We'll need to add windows in the two outer rooms some time," Clarkson added. "But right now, I'm starving. Let's eat something." "How are the crops doing?" Ericson asked. "They look close to done," Clarkson replied. "But we need to grow all the seeds we get from them into more crops, so no bread for another six days." "Damn it," Senin said. "Well, let's enjoy the rations for now," Clarkson said.
Day 7 came. The group had slept in, because it was so dark inside the now light source-less house. Senin was, as usual, the first one to wake up, but when he walked outside, it was already noon. So instead of taking a walk, he just woke the others up. The weather was cloudy, and even though the rain had stopped, it still seemed pretty unstable. That didn't stop the group from eating breakfast outside, though. And Clarkson remembered, this was a special day. He went to check the wheat, and as he had calculated, the seeds had grown into healthy wheat. Each grain had twelve new seeds on it, which Clarkson picked and replanted. There were now 144 seeds in the ground, and in another 5 days, the first Keiper bread would be possible to make. "What to do today?" Senin asked after a while. Ericson shrugged. "Mine?" "I guess that's a possibility," Mudin said. "By the way, what date is it today by Earth's standards?" "October 27th," Clarkson replied. "And I suggest carving windows in the house first, so we don't oversleep again." "Takes less time to do," Mudin added. "Do we even have a saw-like tool?" Clarkson asked. "Just look in the shuttle," Ericson replied. And surely enough, there was a saw there. Clarkson took it, and cut out circular windows in the two front rooms. One could see the quality of the walls and roof even better now that daylight flowed into the house, and it still looked like IKEA and gaffa tape. Clarkson looked at the walls and roof, to see if they would even stick together. It seemed like it was good enough. He then went back to the others, as they were yet again without any work to do. "What now?" he asked. "Solving the furnace problem," Senin suggested. "We have a shitload of stone bricks, but no furnace." "How did they make furnaces in the olden days?" Mudin asked. "I guess they used cement and stuff," Senin said. "Yeah, they made furnaces with thick walls by using concrete and stone bricks," Clarkson said. "For concrete, one needs cement, water and sand. Cement is ground rock, so that shouldn't be hard. But sand..." Senin said. "Sand is nowhere near here," Clarkson said. "Guess we'll have to search for it, then," Mudin added. Ericson sighed. "That might take days or weeks. Time we don't have, in other words." "Still, we have to do it," Clarkson replied. "I guess so." "Let's pack necessary things like water and food, and go." The items the group carried was about a gallon of water per person, enough rations for three days for each person, and a plastic bag they found in the shuttle, to collect sand in. "I say we set off to the east," Mudin said. "You're the navigator guy," Senin replied. And the team set off.
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