Progress is under way for laying out Saurids on the Grosvenor Express; we’ve gotten our first proof in today (as expected, much faster now that we’ve at least got the basic formula laid out), so a lot of my focus is directed that way, though I don’t have a lot solid I can show as a preview just yet.

To try and help me keep the posts relevant to all of your interests in the game line, I’ve added a new thread on Discord as a place to organize questions you’d like to have answered in these blog posts. This platform gives me an opportunity to go more in-depth on questions you all have than I can just answering as I have time in the text channels. So far I think some of the best received posts have been from direct questions from the fans. Don’t be afraid to ask something big or small; if I can get enough of them gathered together, I’d like to do some posts covering multiple questions in succession. Also, sometimes the simplest questions have some of the most complicated answers, or at least can get me going in a (hopefully) interesting and entertaining tangent.

In the mean time, rather than leave you all hanging for a blog post for this week, I thought I’d dip into the old fiction folder for a quick, simple, and fun one. Enjoy!

The Colonel swilled the brandy around his glass and raised it to his nose to confirm his worst fears. Even his favourite ‘68 lacked that certain vigour.

“Damn it Jenkins, does nothing taste or smell right out here?”

Jenkins frowned at his cigar.

“I agree, old man: must one always be expected to make these sacrifices for the good of the Empire?”

The map laid out on the desk was depressingly all but blank as the Colonel traced a yellowed finger along a vague line.

“It won’t do you know, won’t do at all. Anything could be lurking out there.”

He stood and stretched his aching back.

“We simply must make better progress. I gave Sir Amos my word that this entire area would be documented in short order, and now we’re falling seriously behind.”

Jenkins blew a saucer-sized smoke ring.

“It’s the horses though, is it not? Nobody expected them to be so skittish. Some of these places, I’ve seen it with my own eyes, a perfectly good, battle-hardened mare jumping like a schoolgirl with a wasp in her bonnet for no visible reason! Oh, granted, some places seem almost like back home, but go on a few furlongs and the damned things act up like there’s all hell to pay.”

The Colonel sipped at his drink and grimaced.

“Old Cruikshank of the Dragoons is of the impression that it’s all down to time and training. He reckons we can solve this with some selective breeding and whatnot. I myself am of the impression that time is a luxury that we can ill afford right now.”

“There is one thing we might try.” Jenkins ground out the cigar butt. “It may sound a little odd, even for this place, but have you heard of the big chickens? They’re not actually chickens of course, although they apparently taste not dissimilar. Some of the settlers came across them out to the West. They call them chickens on account of how they move and they look not altogether different from a distance. I think they are some sort of lizard, a bit like those supposed prehistoric things at the museum, but Lord knows I’m no biologist.”

“Giant Chicken Lizards?” The Colonel put down his glass. “I confess, it is becoming difficult to be surprised at anything out here. Africa is starting to look like Regent Street!”

“Apparently they are quite docile,” suggested Jenkins, drawing his propelling pencil and beginning a sketch that would have made any five year-old proud, “Naturally at first the settlers shot a few and tried them on the menu; not too shoddy at all, I hear. The chaps being what they are, they roped some and had a jolly time riding them around, and guess what? They move at quite a kilter! Next thing you know some of the fellows are racing the things around the walls!”

The Colonel stroked his mustache. “Are you suggesting that we try some of these chicken things out in the regiment?”

“I think we could do a lot worse. I don’t see that we have much to lose. One small point though: I have heard that they whiff like a good’un. Make camels smell like a ladies boudoir, in fact. May give the lads a chance to try out those masks they have in their packs, what!”

The Colonel returned to the map. “We certainly need to do something to make headway. They’re fast you say, and presumably know what to eat and what will poison them, unlike the horses out here. Jenkins, this brandy is tasting better already! Let’s put together a party and we’ll go and visit the good people of… what did you say the place was called?”