Sleep was impossible as the raging winter storm continued to howl outside so Reuben resigned himself to light dozing. The thermal blanket he had pulled out of his pack seemed almost useless against the below freezing temperatures. But something was better than nothing. Gritting together his chattering teeth he pulled the thin fabric even closer. He had to remember to look for fire fuel when he got the chance.
Snow was accumulating in thick sheets but at least the deadly ice storm had stopped. Reuben could deal with snow. Any minute now the winter weather should start to slow down and give way to spring... whatever spring meant.
Reuben blinked his tired eyes. He had to stay somewhat alert. He had to watch for his chance. On a planet that changed hourly, every minute counted.
With startling suddenness the sheets of snow stopped. Reuben sat up and checked his chronometer. A little early for the new season but he didn't have time to waste. Double checking the fastenings on his jumpsuit and the ammo level on his pistol, he trudged out into the waist-deep snow.
He knew already from his walk to his cave that there had been no usable resources. At this point it would be best to attempt another direction. He had only made it a few yards from the opening of the cave before stopping to think. What were his priorities? He needed food and water. Snow was water. Clean water at that which is something he might not be able to find elsewhere.
He was going to need a container of some sort...
Heading back to his cave he turned his pistol up to the highest setting and in three powerful bursts he had drilled a hole out of the bedrock floor. Not a perfect solution by any means but if it gave him just a day or two of extra water without having to tap his rations it would be worth the spent ammo.
After carrying several large armfuls of snow to his makeshift water basin to melt, Reuben resumed his quest to find food. He knew that Gittern had native mushrooms but that was questionable. He vaguely remembered from school that many types of fungus were poisonous to humans. The roots of some of the larger growths might be a better bet.
Trekking through the frozen buildup was slow going but at least it was easy enough to see where he was going. Most of the younger mushrooms had been destroyed or buried. Only the largest ones remained. He stopped at the foot of one such growth and dropped his pack to the ground. Reuben had just started to make serious headway shoving aside snow with his bare hands when a distant roar made him look up.
He had never heard the like before. Was it an animal? Peering off into the distance a black cloud loomed on the horizon. Lightning sliced flashed and an almost solid wall of rain was rapidly moving toward his general direction.
Spring was here. He looked down at his progress and back at the approaching storm. There wasn't enough time. Picking up his pack his sprinted back toward the cave.