Cran Palto | Books | Raheem
Bows and Arrows




Chapter 9
Bows and Arrows

Nothing is worth transporting across star systems except at the behest of the emperor or their agents. The costs are too exorbitant. It was so until Rao was discovered.

—Matta Oppse Qi, Gerant of Bauxe Asteroid Mines Concerns, upon the discovery of element Rao 889.

With Agra still recovering, and the garden far from producing food, it was Trion who went hunting. Vaega did some foraging for berries, nuts, and edible roots, but they were meager meals.

That morning was cool and misty, with a sharpness in the cold air that Vaega didn’t like at all. She went to see Trion as he was cleaning up the new cabin and setting up the furniture.

“Aren’t you cold?” she asked.

Trion pushed a table in the cabin’s corner and put three chairs under it. “I am, but what’s to be done?”

“Maybe you could try to make clothing?”

“I thought you were going to,” Trion said.

Vaega looked at her hands. “Maybe it’s not something I can do after all.”

Trion stayed quiet while righting a shelf. He bolted it to the wall with four screws.

Vaega stayed still, looking at him work, waiting for an answer, some comment. Finally she asked: “What do you think?”

Trion put his tool down on the table and turned to Vaega. “We need to take down bigger game with thicker and larger skins. Do you want to go hunting with me?”


“I’ll make bows. I’ll show you how to shoot. We’ll go together and take down larger game and then we can make clothes.”

Trion picked up his tool and moved to the next shelf, bolting it to the wall.

“What if I can’t hunt either?”

Trion stopped and put the tool down again. He walked to Vaega and put his hands on her shoulders. “You’ll have to be strong, Vaega. We must all survive, and knowing how to shoot can save your life. We must eat, we must have clothes.” Trion paused and smiled. “You have awesome skills and we are so fortunate to have you here. I could never cook like you do, and I know nothing about planting. I don’t think Agra knows how to do that either.”

“It’s not that hard.” Vaega looked down.

“Neither is hunting.”

Vaega looked up with a smile. “Okay, I will try to learn.”

“Good. I will make bows and I will teach you.”

That afternoon after testing the new bows, they went hunting. The hottest part of the day had passed and shadows began to streak the landscape.

Vaega shot a rabbit; Trion killed a small antelope. They had gone farther into the valley than before. On the way back they saw some herds in the distance, but could not make the kind of animals. After some time they saw a pack of wild boars trotting along a trail between the edge of a grove and the shore of a creek.

“Let’s not bother them, “ Trion said, “Boars can be dangerous. We’re not ready for that yet.”

“They are more dangerous than foxes?” Vaega asked.

“Yes, much more. They are smart, strong, and their tusks can easily gore someone to death.”

“So how do we hunt them?”

“According to the survival guide, the further we are the less likely they are to see us and attack. If they see us and attack, we have to shoot them quickly or hide in a safe place.”

Vaega looked around, turning her head to the left and to the right. “There is no shelter anywhere around here.”

“We could build hunting cabins, where we could be safe and rest, and store weapons and arrows.”

The wild boars had moved on, fading from view in the brush. Trion began walking again, and Vaega followed.

“There are still things I am thinking to build at the camp.” Trion said.

They spoke as they walked. The sun was lower in the sky than when they had set out, and night would come soon now. Was there an imperceptible change in the season?

Back at camp they skinned the rabbit and antelope, and cooked all the meat.

“I think I need to make a refrigeration room,” Trion said as they were eating.

Vaega poked her head into the cabin: “Agra, come eat!”

Agra came out of the cabin, blinking against the evening sun. She sat near the fire and took the plate of meat Vaega gave her.

Vaega sat down again and looked at Trion. “You were saying, about a refrigeration room?”

Trion pointed to an empty spot next to the new cabin he was still building. “There, I can build a kitchen, with a proper stove and butcher table. Next to it, I can build an insulated room to store fresh food.”

Agra looked at the place Trion was pointing to. She stopped chewing on meat and spoke: “How will you refrigerate it?”

Trion thought for a moment. “I think if we can collect the proper equipment, I can make a heat exchanger.”

“A what?” Vaega asked.

“A sort of air conditioning machine to cool the air below freezing point.”

“Won’t you need electricity for that?” Agra asked.

“We would, yes.” Trion paused and picked up another piece of grilled antelope flank. “I think I could build a windmill generator too.”

The sun dipped just below the edge of the mountain and the sky turned orange and purple.

Agra looked at Trion. “I’ll collect as much equipment as I can. I’m certain I will find everything you need to build those things.”

Vaega collected the last of the meat in a large tray. “Can we use the new cabin yet?”

Trion shook his head. “No, not yet. It will be ready tomorrow.”

“Any plans for the old cabin?”

“We can use it as storage, for now.”

Vaega looked at Agra. “Trion said he would work on making clothing. Maybe we can use the old cabin for that?”

Agra kept eating. “Yes, that would be fine.”

“I can build a tailor’s bench too,” Trion said.

Vaega smiled. “Oh good, that would be great.”

When night came a chill came to the air and they quickly hid under furs in their beds. Before they fell asleep, Agra talked to them in the darkness of the cabin.

“Soon we will be back home with our friends, doing meaningful work and using our skills to expand human knowledge in the galaxy. I will work hard to figure out a way to get off this planet. I….”

Trion and Vaega had fallen asleep, and Agra stopped speaking, keeping her plan to herself another lonely night.

Next chapter: Scar

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