SIXTY-EIGHT, 2.0

I know.

The rest of them don’t, but I know, and I don’t think I should tell them. If I don’t decide soon, then I won’t even have a chance to tell them. And if you’re listening to this recording, then you know, too, and I have to ask: WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!

I found out, as I said, an hour ago during my survey of our ground specs while the crew was changing. I had already changed, which is normal since I tend to be the first of the pack all the time. This whole trip it’s been that way, first in the pack. Commander Starns is always pissed at me, but f*ck him. He wants to be a leader, he can be first.

Any way, part of the routine checklist prior to our landing on Io is to view the thermal and satellite imagery. It’s mostly terrain, so it’s quite boring, but before my eyes zoned out I saw something that indicated movement. Heat signatures and patterns were changing, and not in the atmosphere due to weather. These were surface-level patterns.

Lifeforms.

Now, I at first took it to be possible that something on the planet could be, I don’t know, burning or something like that. We had, after all, jettisoned our preparation shelter four weeks ago to beat us to the planet and start preparations. I said that word twice in one sentence, but I have no problem with screwy grammar right now. I think we all deserve a break when it comes to telling a story.

So, like I said, heat movements on the surface of Io. Brilliant! Different! One of a kind discovery! I had to tell the others, right?

Except these patterns became unnerving when a shape emerged, a circle with triangles inside of it, like a gathering. Like nothing I’ve seen before, but perhaps a cryptographer could figure it out. I’m the closest thing we have on this ship, being the resident chemist. Lot of good a periodic table can do for you when you’re looking at a puzzle, he said, with a roll of his eyes.

Before spreading word, I decided to have a closer look, so I adjusted our telephoto lens. The surface was much closer than when these photos had been taken, so my results would come quickly.

F*ck telling anyone.

And we can’t turn back. These things, these “beings”, if you could call them that, are scary as hell. They have teeth, they have eyes, and they were all looking at me. I don’t mean they saw something in the sky and happened to look up all at the same time, I mean they were looking at me. It’s clear as day, and what else is clear is that they’re big.

There are dozens of them, and it looks like they just devoured our entire preparation site. Scraps here and there, but shit…it’s all gone. We have enough resources to last us three months remaining on this ship, but it’ll take two years to reach earth again. This wasn’t planned to be a one-way trip; the prep-site had supplies to multiply and grow resources for food.

All of our metrics told us Io could be perfect for setting up a station, residence, even — well you know this already, so I won’t bore you.

Shit, what do I do? I can’t control the mission, only Starns can, and he hates me. Should I show him these photos? This could be our sudden death, should we reach Io, and what, he believes me? Then what? Do we fight? Try to turn back —

——-

Just a few minutes ago, Starns interrupted my recording to tell me something boring. I barely paid attention. Instead I cut him off with a slap to the face — unprofessional, I know, but I play hard and fast.

When I showed him the new images I could see the hairs on his arms and neck ready to jump out of his skin.

He called for an abort, and the f*cker actually tried to override the computer. The Computer! I completely forgot about it (the others call “it” ELLIE and I just can’t give a name to a machine. I just….don’t ask that of me.). But the computer refused, and shut down all access. IT is controlling, and has a mission, and was set up by the government. Don’t mess with government.

So Sterns, the silly bastard, ran to the life boat and ejected. He is an idiot, won’t end up very far with the supplies on board. It’s built for short-form escape on the surface, not “outer-space” escape.

——-

*BOOM BOOM* We’re on land now, and the pounding on the *BOOM BOOM* doors is loud, as you can hear. *BOOM* I was praying it was rocks and we are in a windstorm, but *KABAM BOOM* the outer cameras show THEM. The creatures, *BAM* the aliens. They’re monstrous, and *BAM BAM* almost in the *BOOM BOOM BOOM* doors.

We’ve holed up in *BAM BOOM BOOM BAM* the control center, but I don’t know how much longer *KABAM* we’ll last. The rest of the crew are in shock. I’m transmitting *BOOM BOOM* this to earth now, hopefully *BOOM BOOM* you recover this *BOOM BAM BOOM BOOM* transmission

I’m keeping the *BOOM BAM KABAMMMMM* message uncoded so no one lies to you — don’t come here, you don’t know —

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