It was two hundred miles to the temperate equator, across the frozen tundra of the planet Dera. At the start of the trip, in front of the mangled ship, the colonists had cursed the planet, cursed their dead pilot, cursed the persecution of the government that forced them from the center worlds and cursed the faulty engine that crashed them two hundred miles from the land where they could farm, worship their pantheon, and live free.
Ten cold nights had finished the cursing, and settled them into a slow march as their supplies dwindled, and the cold sunk deeper into their bones. Helen, the hearth keeper, and Apollo, the unofficial leader of the expedition, lead the colonists forward, following their doctors navigation towards the warmer climate, that thin warm belt around the belly of the world. So when Helen, usually serene, cursed, it stopped the seventy colonists cold.
â€œHoly shit! What is that?â€ screeched Helen, pointing.
A thing, with eyes, many eyes, glassy and yellow, ran across their path and froze, looking back at the colonists curiously.
â€œThatâ€™s a.. .â€ the doctor paged through his handheld record keeper â€œActually, itâ€™s not in the records for this planet.â€
Helen grabbed the doctors arm. â€œHow does it even live out here, it doesnâ€™t have fur and itâ€™s freezing!â€
â€œI donâ€™t know.â€ The doctor put his scanner back in his pocket. â€œIt looks like itâ€™s walking on little mouths.â€
Apollo cocked his rifle. â€œI know what it is.â€ he said, aiming the rifle with both eyes open. â€œLunch.â€
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