Dann, Jackson and Rose marched at a slow but steady pace. According to Rose, the nearest armory wasn’t far; there were armories intentionally placed near all of the cryo-bays in anticipation of problems with predatory animals, no matter how unlikely it seemed that problems would result.
They moved as quickly as they could through the lightly forested landscape. Over and over, Dann was struck by how natural the place felt. It was only when he looked up high enough to see the superstructure of the ship that he remembered he was not actually in some forest on Earth.
The “sky” was a bit unsettling, but also beautiful to behold. The biome enclosures were massive wedges fitted around the central spine of the ship. The enclosures spun around that spine, providing an adequate simulation of gravity for the land-bound inhabitants. Birds and bats that flew too high would sometimes run into some trouble.
Because the land occupied the outer edge of the wedges, the air space above the ground was limited. This limited the ability for spontaneous internal weather to occur, though it didn’t prevent it entirely. Heat sources under the ground would vary land conditions and encourage micro-climates under Rose’s control, and likewise, she could pump rain into a biome when she felt it was needed.
There was some sort of directional light source that did a very good job of looking like sunlight, and was matched by a bright spot on the interior hull that stood in for a visible sun. The part of the sky that faced space was translucent and blue and beautiful; the difficult part came from looking more into the center of the ship, towards the spine where the biomes joined. The division between the biome wedges was semi-transparent and bluish, but it was all too easy to feel like you were staring down at the ground from a very high place if you weren’t careful. Seasons were simulated by both light and temperature control; they were in late spring, about to go into summer.
Dan had discovered that during the first hike on the way to Jackson’s cryo-bay. He’d been fascinated by the views of what looked like very small islands in a sea, some sort of much more heavily forested region and one that was craggy, snowy and rocky, some sort of sub-arctic habitat. The one directly opposite them on the ship was too difficult to see to get an idea of what it looked like, though when he’d asked, Rose had told him it was patterned after an African savanna.
Jackson seemed uninterested in the view after her first shocked sighting of it. She’d stared as though unsure whether she wanted to study it or be sick, and then paid it little mind thereafter. Dann had tried to talk to her few times as they moved on, but she was brusque, intent on reaching the armory as fast as possible.
They saw no sign of the predators on their path. Dann did notice there were paths here and there throughout the woods.
“Rose, did you create these paths we’re using?”
“My passing through the biomes has aided in maintaining them over the years, Dann, but most of the trails are natural animal trails.”
They did hear plenty of small wild animals, and sometimes caught sight of them too. Squirrels and chipmunks, rabbits, deer and moose were all represented, among others. Predators included fox and wolves, some wild cats, snakes and bears. There were predatory birds as well, primarily hawks and owls.