Author : S. Tyrel Murray

Its cold all the time. I don’t mean cold, as in frozen. More like uncomfortable, chilly. Its still cold enough to die from hypothermia.

I was one of the first volunteers selected. They said we would travel. See the sights. They lied. They had us in cold sleep for the trip, so we didn’t get to see any of it. Even warping space and travelling at 27 times the speed of light, it took us more than 18 years to reach here.

There were sixteen of us when we left. We lost the first two a half million klicks from Earth. A secondary reactor in the aft storage module started leaking coolant. Johnson and Valasques went to shunt the coolant line so we could salvage some supplies, and dump the module. They were boiled alive. It wasn’t pretty.

You may be wondering, “Where is here?” “Here” is Kepler-186f. We found the planet orbiting an M class dwarf, a red sun, back in early 2014. It’s habitable, but barely. The air is breathable, the water is potable, the vegetation is edible. We haven’t seen any native fauna, but I’m no zoologist. That was Valasques’ job.

When we landed, and I use that term loosely, the wind was too strong for us to set up our survival equipment. We had to weather the storm in the crew module. It passed after almost a week, then we set about building our domed houses. Azzimi, a structural engineer, made sure our houses could withstand the high winds.

He was the first to disappear. We don’t know when it happened. There were no screams, and no bootprints or tracks to follow, thanks to the constant winds. Over the next four months, nine more men disappeared under the same mysterious circumstances. The rest of us were petrified to leave each other’s sight.

There are only four of us left, and we always have one person on watch. We’re all very tired, bored, afraid, and resentful. We haven’t been apart from each other in more than six months. We have begun to hate and fear each other. Suspicion runs high, but we still need one person watching at all times. It’s my turn for watch, so that’s what I’m doing.

They say familiarity breeds contempt, and I agree. I hate those guys so much. I think I’ll go for a walk.

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