Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

Day 1. Our transport ship just crash landed on Piscium III. It was a miracle that twenty-four of us survived. The subspace transceiver still works, but C&C said it would probably be eight months before a rescue ship could get this deep behind enemy lines.

Day 2. We buried the dead today, and inventoried our supplies. Food and water don’t appear to be a problem. We have enough ammo to defend ourselves against a modest ground force, but if they come at us from above, we’re toast. Starting tomorrow, we’ll begin dismantling the ship to build a more defendable base.

Day 7. The days are getting hotter. According to the ship’s database, Piscium III has a highly elliptical, orbit. For the two months near perihelion, the average temperature will be over 60C, and for the four months near aphelion, it drops down to 40 below. Apparently, we arrived near late spring. Good thing we packed sunscreen.

Day 12. We thought this planet only had plant life, but we saw a three foot tall spider-like creature digging out its borough this morning. Sarge figures they must have been in hibernation during the Piscium winter. We’re hoping that they might be good enough to eat so we can supplement our food supply. We’ve been living off rations since the perishables spoiled when the freezer crapped out.

Day 20. We’re starting to get concerned. There are thousands of those giant spiders running around, and they are getting more brazen. They started probing the perimeter yesterday. Dickerson blasted one to pieces, and it seemed to scare the rest of them away. As a precaution, Sarge doubled the number of sentries.

Day 21. Dickerson’s screams woke us up at 0200. By the time we reached his post, he was gone. It looks like he scuffled with the spiders. We followed the tracks, but they disappeared into a hole. Looks like we’re at war with these demons too.

Day 37. It’s over 60C all the time now, and the damn spiders are attacking us day and night. We’ve been forced to pull back to a smaller, more defendable position. We lost another three men last week. We’re down to twelve now, barely enough to rotate guard duty.

Day 65. Our prayers are being answered. It’s finally starting to cool off, and the spiders are getting sluggish. We hope they go into hibernation soon. Eight of us are still hanging on, popping stims every few hours so we can stay awake. If we get off this God forsaken rock, we’ll probably need to spend months in detox. C&C says evac is five months minimum. Winter, please hurry.

Day 91. By the grace of God, I think we’re going to make it. We haven’t seen a spider in three weeks. We’re able to get four hours of sleep for the first time in months. However, it’s really getting cold. We’ll have to hunker down for the winter, but that will be a cakewalk compared to the hell we just lived through. Only four months to go.

Day 115. Sanchez went missing last night. His sleeping bag was ripped to shreds. But it wasn’t the spiders. By the looks of the footprints in the snow, it was some kind of large quadruped. Damn this world. Giant spiders in the summer, carnivore bears in the winter. The bastards are howling now, nonstop. There must be hundreds of them, maybe thousands. Three more months. God, have mercy on our souls.

Personal Log: Timed out


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