New Landing Dragon Guide Month 1

The Hatching ~

Fire-lizards and dragons are the first to know the new dragons are ready to hatch and begin humming in welcome for the youngsters. Because of several accidental Impressions, only the senior project personnel are allowed in the hatching room with the approved candidates. Because this is still an experimental project, there is a “bouncer” at the door with a checklist verifying everyone’s IDs. Security has grown stricter since people have been caught sneaking in, and now security is placed around the science wing to keep everyone who isn’t part of the science team or bringing food from the kitchens out of the entire wing. This upsets many of the older dragons and their partners who wish to attend the hatching, but the tiny hatching rooms are crowded enough with the parent dragons and so many candidates (three are presented for every one egg, if there are enough candidates available).

Obviously the strict security and space constraints mean there are no stands, but the hatching is broadcasted live around the hold.

Impression ~

It generally is a few hours after initial rocking before the dragons actually hatch. Naturally laid clutches tend to be faster than the original artificial clutches and can be over in a matter of minutes or take an hour or two. Dragons hatch wet, hungry, and clumsy. They search for a suitable lifemate, sometimes knowing instantly who they want while others make spend several minutes weighing their options before deciding. They approach their chosen partner, give their name, and ask to be fed. New dragon partners escort the newborns out of the room. Now that more is known about hatchings, the meat for baby dragons is kept outside the hatching room along with oils for their young hides. Once the empty bellies are filled, they will complain of itchy hides as the egg fluids dry and they adjust to the harshness of the outside world. New dragon partners will clean off their new lifemates with a sponge and gently massage oil into their skin. The baby dragons will soon fall asleep and many will have to be carried to their partner's quarters. The hatchlings are about 2.5 feet in length, 8-10 inches at the shoulders, and the size of large fire-lizard or housecat, although their proportions are much different due to their infancy. The dragons have large, oversized heads, feet, and wings while their tails are short and stubby. They weigh about as much as a housecat. New riders do not yet shorten their names upon Impression like they do in later passes.

The following four weeks... (month 1) Feeding: Despite their small size, the young dragons are bottomless pits. They will need to eat about six times a day. Human partners are taught by the science team or older partners how to feed the dragons, record their proportions, and watch closely that the dragons don't choke as they get used to eating. The dragons will wake up hungry and demand food, and may also wake their rider for feeding during their first few nights. By the third and forth week, their appetites will have slowed slightly and they may require one or two less feedings daily, be able to handle larger pieces of meat, and make it through the night without demanding food.

General Care: The older dragon-partners have set the precedent of bathing at least twice daily followed by oiling as much as needed, at least twice a day but often even more. Dragonets defecate in proportion to what they’ve eaten, usually in the morning. They will usually find a private place to do this, so riders may find little surprises in odd places until the dragons are “potty trained” (which may take a few months). The dragons spend most of their time sleeping, eating, and being oiled in the first two weeks, but will be awake and slightly more active towards the end of their first month. Partners will soon learn while their dragons are sleeping is a good time to sneak away and get some work done, but young dragons can be prone to panicking when left alone, especially if they awake and find their human is gone. Dragon partners are now excused from most of their previous job duties to care for the young dragons.

Dragon partners from the artificial clutches met with older partners who bonded with dragons from an earlier hatching for mentoring. When possible, the new dragon partners are matched with those who have a dragon of the same color. Mentors will help show the new partners how to care for their dragons and answer questions that come up. In the first month, dragon partners meet with the science team in the early morning and evening for health inspections and growth monitoring.

Dragon care is similar for the later dragons hatched from the natural clutches, although everyone seems to know what they are doing a lot more. Dragon partners are still assigned a mentor and meet with the science team twice daily for health inspections. Size: The dragonets grow rapidly and will gaining several inches in length each week. The difference in size between the colors is minimal at this point. By the end of the first month, they’ll have approximately doubled in size and be mid-shin height (in comparison to a human) by the end of their first month.

Housing: The artificially clutched dragons lived with their human partners in their current housing during the first month. The dragons slept with their riders or have their own special spot, depending on the human’s preferences. Towards the end of the first month, the dragon partners began thinking about who they'd like to room with when they move up to the plateau.

The naturally clutched dragons move to the plateau much sooner as a stricter, more precise training program is developed. They have a day to relax and bond with their new dragon before moving up to the plateau where they’ll begin their training as a future Threadfighter. Dragons are small enough to ride in skimmers, which are provided to help the new partners reach their new home, where a "dragon training camp" has been set up for the dragons and their partners to live until the dragons are old enough to fly. The settlement is a half mile from the stairs leading to the main hold. The siliplastic cots are positioned in a loose circle around a center common area, leaving room for more to be built as the dragon population grows. Each cot is fixed with an overhang to provide a sheltered porch for up to four sleeping dragons (think carport). There is a larger, central building with scientific equipment for dragon checkups. In this building there is also a modest lounge with couches, tables, and computer consoles. Not far from the housing runs a creek that has been dammed to provide a bathing pool large enough for a growing dragon.

Single dragon partners will be paired up to share a cot with up to three other people. Partners are allowed to chose their own roommates regardless of gender (although special arrangements may be made in a repeat of the Darleen Cole incident). Partners who are married, in a long-term relationship, and/or have children will be given a "family cot" so their loved ones can continue living with them.

General Life with a Dragon: In the first few weeks, the dragons are especially emotionally needy. When they aren't sleeping, they will follow their riders around and often get upset when left alone. This is a frustrating time for the new riders because their dragons, families, scientists, and employers may all demand their time. The higher ups learned from the first group that caring for a dragon is a full time job, so arrangements can be made for missed work, although the dragon partners are still expected to help out with they can and continue their family obligations. New riders from the artificial clutches met with scientists daily in the first month, once in the morning and once in the evening. Human partners were strongly encouraged to attend both sessions and required to attend at least one daily, where their dragons were measured, weighed, studied, and checked for good health.

With the natural clutches, things are a bit more organized. There are now official “classes” held for the new dragonpartners and scheduled daily checkups with scientists. Classes are fairly easy-going at this point, although dragon partners are required to attend as part of their candidacy agreement. The first week is spent discussing the bonds with their dragons and being lectured by older partners on early dragon care and what they might expect in later months. As the weeks progress, new partners begin to study the biology of dragons, the brief but growing history of the species, and are trained on how to spot health problems in their dragons.

These classes provide the newborn dragons a chance to socialize with one another and the riders to discuss their new partners with the only other people who really understand. The science team still keeps a fairly tight leash on the new dragons to make sure the dragons are reproducing properly and gives them health inspections at the beginning of each class.

Personalities: The baby dragons are still newborns, and the world is a brand new place! Some may be intimidated by this and frightful, while others will be inquisitive to the point of being obnoxious. There will be many things the dragon doesn't understand, such as why their human partners sometimes have to leave them alone. They may respond by panicking. The dragons may be very jealous of the people their human partner loves, while others won't have a problem. The dragons are too young to have sexual feelings, but may or may not have an easy time understanding their human partner's feelings and relationships. Some will respond with jealousy and become upset, others with amusement and fascination or indifference. Each dragon is different, and it is important for each dragon and human pair to get to know one another's boundaries before overstepping them.

Towards the end of the month, the dragons will start showing more of an interest in their human's interests and socializing with the other dragons. They'll form friendships of their own, and their human partners will soon find their dragon's preferences can influence their own. In the dragon programming, the territorial instinct between golds has been toned down from fire-lizards so the golds can live in close proximity to one another without aggression. Among the first hatchlings, there was no color-based hierarchy in the early months. Golds and bronzes were the most common colors, so they do not have the superiority complex seen in some later pass metallics. In natural clutches, newborn hatchlings may have more of an idea of the dragon hierarchy, although most will be oblivious or indifferent. Throwing color around at this point is discouraged, although even a newborn dragon will obey the authoritative voice of a gold.

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