In the place where I was born, stones had been used to mark boundaries for four hundred years. We harrowed stones up in fields, turned them up in roadcuts. We built the foundations of houses from stones, dug around and between them. We made stone walls, and our greatest poet wrote poems about those walls and their lichen-speckled granite. The gift of glaciers, and the wry joke of farmers. “She’ll grow a ton and a half an acre, between the stones.” The people who lived there before mine made tools of them, made weights and currency.
This episode of the Drabblecast opens with a Drabblenews story about the resurrection of an ancient human vaginal yeast once used to make a fermented drink fittingly dubbed “vag yeast moonshine” by Norm. In the drabble, while Shouting Cloud has correctly read the signs predicting the return of the Sky Father, there isn’t only one – and they are armed and dangerous. The feature explores the need to adapt to new environments. Humans have fled a ruined Earth to find themselves on a planet where they can’t digest the plants or communicate with the oddly amiable natives, and their preserved supplies are dwindling. While reflecting on memories from a visit to Africa on Earth and desperate to discover some clue about how to survive, a xenobiologist risks exhuming the corpse of a juvenile native for dissection even though one of her colleagues was brutally slaughtered for doing so. When she is discovered by a group of natives, she is sure she will be murdered as well, only to find herself forced into nursing from one of them. As she drinks its milk, she realizes that the intelligent natives, after dissecting rather than slaughtering her colleague to learn about human biology and digestion, have likely theorized that the microscopic flora in their milk may allow humans to finally be able to digest the alien crops on their planet.