<< BACK TO RS001 LOG Message Incoming... Source Melchizedek.0294 β Hyi, 3rd Planet Ascension 00h 25m 45.07037s Declination –77° 15′ 15.2860″ Distance 24.37ly Equinox J2000.0 SOL Year 3782, QEC adjusted [Autotranslator enabled...] Stephanie Janssen, Specialist First-class ::: Hey ya'll, Stephanie here. I just have to tell you this place is so amazing! There's this slippery fungus mound nearby that smells exactly like root beer when you slide across it. Shoot, let me back up, though. There's so much to catch you up on. First off, I'm on planet 3, not 4 where most of the Melchy crew is stationed. Eva and I and a handful of others are doing survey work to prep for phase two of the system seeding. If you haven't been following along, that means that we get to live in the lush beauty of this wilderness while the rest of the poor saps have to scratch out a home on the dust bowl next door. Sucks, huh? They're so busy these days they probably haven't even noticed there's nothing outside their windows. But here, oh my! I'm not sure how best to classify this stuff that's all around. I guess if you imagine a sugary-glass that's shaped in all sorts of polyhedrons, but squishy and that leans to the side like it's feeling a little sick, that's the closest thing to trees. They're totally alive too! I mean, technically speaking and all. They don't talk or anything, but they react and reproduce-ish. I mean, have you ever done that golden ratio rectangle thing where you divide the rectangle into a square and the little rectangle left over is the same as the bigger rectangle, but, like, exactly that special proportion smaller? Well, these things work sort of like that, but really big and in three dimensions. They're all sort of transluscent so it's been briliant watching the divisions develop inside. Unfortunately for us, there's no familiar proteins at work here and our bodies can't interface with the alien poly-plants (oh, that's a fun name) in the normal chompy-chomp way. So, we're still on ship rations. The good news is, since there's no chemical crossover, the life on this planet should be unaffected by our seeding. We can move in and share the land and everything will work out fine. (Why does that sound ominous now that I've said it out loud?) In addition to the poly-plants there's the root beer squishes, the cliffs of neverending screams (more on them in a minute), bucket-rain, and oh oh oh... the golden caves. That last one is literally what it sounds like. I have no idea how this planet came to be or what sort of weird star cooked it up, but our camp is just a few clicks away from this massive cave network and the entire thing is just covered in gold. Like, AU. Gold gold. I swear it's the most beautiful and creepy thing ever. Brewer's the closest thing to a geologist that we've got and he's totally and completely stumped. Caves form from underground water and there's absolutely none of that nearby. Inside the cave looks just like the ones back home in Virginia, except if they were sprayed and covered in gold. If we weren't a thousand years and many lifetimes of travel away, we could pack this place up, head home, and be some sort of fantasticly rich big-shots back home. Assuming gold is still worth a lot back home. Assuming there's still a back home out there. Speaking of which, have any of you out there been in touch with Earth lately? Sorry, I'm back. Oh, I guess you didn't know I was gone for a while since this is a message log and not a recording or anything. Duh. Anyway, that was Jerome stopping by. He's here on three with us, by the way. I think it's been good for him. Mission critical living and the whole loss of Doctor Idjani is still hitting him hard. He needed the break. And now because of that break I can inform the universe from my personal experience that Jerome Somerset Pasani is absolute shit at cards. Haha! Seriously, he can't bluff at all. It's so cute. But more on that another time. Where was I? Endless screaming! So a while back Eva comes stomping into my hab with these giant boots in her hand and a goofy grin on her face as she declares we're going for a walk. When she gets excited she talks really fast and her accent gets thick, so I'm not really sure what she said after that, but it was something about flower power and getting all dirty in the dirt. To be frank, I... may have thought she was finally making a pass. So we tromp up these hills past the familiar poly-plant forests until we start getting really high up. For some reason the poly-plants tend to settle in valleys where they're shaded from the strong winds, and those winds can be really strong up high. The planet's rotation is pretty fierce and the isolated water bodies make the air currents a bit unpredictable. We're always wearing wind protection when we're away from hub, but for this trip Eva brought some heavy duty gear. We're all suited up, sweating our way higher and higher until there's nothing but dirt and sexy sciency ladies in the vacinity. And here again I may have thought something was happening that wasn't happening, but no matter because I was saved from my horrible embarrasement by the gut-wrenching screams of some soul being torn to shreds in barbaric torture. Or, that's what it sounded like! Eva gives one look my way then starts sprinting (well, more like how a giraffe "sprints", based on how we have to move in the suits) toward the cliffs ahead. I'm right behind her and we come skidding to the edge, dropping down on all fours so we don't take a dive into the nethers. We pop our heads beyond and look down and hear a truely horrific cocophony of death. Imagine that everyone you know were crammed around you in a giant circle having their toenails torn out. I'm still freaking over it. Of course there were no horrible dismembered bodies below. There were these glassy growths all along the cliff-face undulating with the wind. They're vaguely mollusk-like in their behavior and grow and expand on the surfaces like barnacles. They're also alive and as best we can guess, they cut into the air to produce sound. We're not sure if it's communication on purpose, some threat signal, something for sex, no clue. It is totally freaky and so amazingly cool. The universe is this massive thing that goes on basically forever, but in all that space there's only so many sounds that can be made. So the cliffs of neverending screams wasn't the best mood-setter for my outting with Eva, even if that were her intention. But the trip wasn't a total loss. Just as it dawned on us that we weren't witnessing an interstellar genicide she turned to me and mouthed over the screams, "We're fucking flowers." I don't have the first clue what that means, but I'm pretty sure it's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. .