((Planet Limbo, Day 21))
::Meat. Alora wanted meat. While she knew plenty of people who subsisted on vegetarian and vegan diets, Alora had always been a meat lover, and that hadn’t changed. What she wouldn’t give for a good hunk of steak. In addition, she also didn’t have access to the variety of food that she would have normally, or to replicator that would have created something that tasted like meat and contained the same nutrition. Alas, cow was nigh impossible to get, and there were no restaurants nearby still in business, and her replicator was busted. Tubers and greens, the latter of which she had also discovered were edible by watching local fauna, would only offer so much to energize and nourish her body.::
::The desire had led her to trying to figure out how to make traps. She had seen it done on historical field trips, read about it in books, even watched and participated in a demonstration during a primitive survival skills class in Starfleet. A couple of times in a class, however, really didn’t compare to actually having to apply it. Her first few attempts had been useless. Further attempts had improved. Each failure had been frustrating, but also enlightening. Every time one didn’t work, she learned something, and that allowed her to try again in a different way. Every night, before setting up camp, she would make another attempt. Sachiko, in the meantime, continued to hunt the strange large eared, long nosed rodents and leave some for her.::
::Alora hadn’t expected it to work. After all, when she’d had multiple failures, one just didn’t expect to succeed, even when one continued to try. That morning, however, as she crept to the spot where’d she left her device, the science officer realised that her trap had worked before she even came into view by the squealing of some sort of critter who was most definitely not happy. The sound spurred her to pick up her pace and she hustled over to the spot.:: ::Hanging from a branch and swinging just a couple of feet off the ground, one of the critters she had seen from time to time hung, thrashing about in a desperate attempt to escape. It’s assortment of squeals and grunts indicated its displeasure with its particular predicament. This one was on the larger side, around the size of a labrador.:: ::Now that she had it, Alora wasn’t quite sure what to do. Sure, she’d watched and read and taken that class, but once again, this wasn’t a re-enactment, book, or class. This was reality.::
::Glancing at Sachiko who, despite the reputation of cats, had stuck close to Alora like a dog rather than a member of her own species, Alora queried her companion.::
DeVeau: Okay, now what?
::There were times Alora wondered if Sachiko understood far more than people realised. When the little feline leveled what appeared to be almost a look of exasperation, the woman couldn’t help but ponder that again. Since Sachiko could not speak or offer any advice, Alora’s ponderings had to turn back to the situation at hand. There she was, prey finally caught in one of her traps, and she had to deal with it. Either she had to kill, skin, quarter, cook, and eat the meat, or she had to let the creature go.::
::Suddenly faced with that choice, Alora began to rethink her idea. What she needed to do wasn’t going to be easy, especially since she had no extensive experience. Beyond humanely killing the creature, she was going to have to flay it, then quarter it, then cook it. The last part would be a cinch - the other two, not so much.:: DeVeau: Okay Alora, you can do this.
::Killing creatures had become unnecessary in her society, although there was still a market for meat on Earth, especially for the higher quality types. Alora did always enjoy a good steak, though this critter, what looked to be more of a cross between a dog and a pig, probably tasted more like pork.::
::A pog. That’s what she’d call it.::
::Giving it a monniker didn’t help.::
DeVeau: Got to do it quick. Don’t want to make it suffer.
::Sachiko might have rolled her eyes at that if she’d been capable of such a thing. Cats were known to play with their food. Instead, the critter yawned, then settled down, evidently resigned to the fact they were going to be a while.::
::Alora gripped the claw sheath, for which she’d fashioned something of a sheath and handle thanks to those ever so handy dandy vines that were so numerous, along with a sturdy, thick portion of a branch. Her fingers tightened, loosened, then tightened again, fingers drumming a couple of times nervously on the makeshift hilt.::
DeVeau: The neck. Deep, swift, get it done, it will die quickly.
::Approaching the critter, the so named pog had, by that point, ceased in its struggle until it saw her approaching. Its renewed efforts caused it to swing back and forth, increasing the difficulty of what she had to do.::
DeVeau: I’m sorry.
::Alora murmured, even though the animal couldn’t understand her.::
DeVeau: I’ve gotta eat.
::It was the circle of life. She was the predator, the pog the prey. Alora had just never expected that she’d actually have to hunt for her food. Or trap as the case may be.::
DeVeau: I guess there’s a first time for everything.
::The pog struggled a few more minutes, then hung limp, turning as it swayed, it squeals going silent. Gripping the hilt firmly, Alora lifted the homemade knife. She lifted it and thought about how to kill the creature instantly. Her first inclination was to slice the neck, but realised that might actually prolong things. What had she read somewhere? Thinking back, she remembered an entry in a book from her teen years about how the quickest way was actually to strike the head and crush it. As sharp as her new dagger was, Alora didn’t have confidence in her ability to do that. Still, she needed food, more than what she knew she could safely eat from the earth.::
::Knock it out then. Yes, knock it unconscious, then do the deed. With that in mind, Alora lowered her dagger and sheathed it, then began to hunt. She examined and passed over several stones before she found one she felt would do the trick. Firmly in her hands, she lifted it and carried it back over to the pog. Dark eyes stared at her from its upside down position, turning one way, then another, watching her every move. Slowly, she drew closer, then swallowed hard. Gingerly, she lifted the rock, then lowered it, lifted, then lowered again. Finally, after taking a deep breath and steeling herself, Alora drew it up high, then brought it down hard.::
::A couple of hours later, Alora prodded the meat with a stick. Without a thermometer, she had to be careful to make sure it was cooked thoroughly. After all, she didn’t have any way to deal with food poisoning, and that would certainly make her travel more difficult. Cutting into the leg, she checked and decided it was well done. Carefully removing it from the heat, she placed it on one of the big leaves that she’d procured and let it cool. From a perch nearby, Sachiko watched as Alora sliced off a chunk, blew on it to cool it, then tried a bite. Thoughtfully, Alora chewed on the morsel.::
DeVeau: Not bad. ::She remarked to her friend.:: Tastes like chicken.