Story A Day May 11

Today’s dish:epistelary scif horror.

Dearest Ophelia:


Sorry I haven’t written in so long. I’ve been down with dropsy, and then this other thing came up. I hope Carl the Third is well, and that he likes the spear gun I sent him. A boy is never too young to learn to defend himself. I miss him and you more every day.

The rains here in New Africa continue unabated. It rains during the day for six or seven hours, then stops, leaving us the humid nights to come out and stare at the two moons. It does make my job as project director a 24 hour position. Add loathsome native food to that stress and you have the dropsy that kept me bedridden for the last week.

I miss you both so much, and I’d like to tell you more, but security is tight, and if I spill the wrong bean, I get a one-way ticket to the brig. Kiss my son for me, and know that when I think of home, I think of you two.



Charles Grayson

Project Manager

Simtex Colony 5



Dear Ophelia:


Once again I must apologize for the delay in writing you. I wish I could tell you more about the goings on here, but they’re watching my every move. Plus, the medicine for the dropsy makes me light headed by nightfall. I’m hoping the ship arriving in two weeks has actual British food. The stuff the natives give us to eat is vile at best, and prison level at the worst. The food at the cantina on New Azatlan in tubes was better than this slop. Give my son my love, and tell him how proud I am of him passing his level tests. He’ll be a manager someday, just like me. The medicine is making me dizzy, and I miss you both so much. More later, when I get a good moment.


Charles Grayson


Simtex Colony 5



(Transcript of illegal video call from Simtex 5 to New Avalon)


A man appears on the screen, clad in Navy dress uniform. It hangs on him,covered in blood and various other stains. He has a bottle in one hand and a gun in the other.


My dearest Ophelia, where do I begin? Please understand that my rantings on print were not made by me. Let me explain:

When I took the position as Lead Officer for this colony, I thought I was dealing with a standard Set and Get colony. Set down, get the natives to like us, get them dead, and get home. It had been so easy on Bernia and Tanelorn 9. I signed the contract, assuming it was the usual one.

Then Prince Harry 23 bollixed it up with his New Empire directive. We were to welcome new species to the Empire, not destroy them. I think that pop singer husband of his is the first alien we should have killed. Not because of his sex preference, but because of what’s happened here.

We arrived after a six day warp flight, prefab housing up in 24 hours. Then came the new orders. First thing cook does is throw out all the potatoes and sausages. If it wasn’t for the tea, I think we’d have had a mutiny the first day. But we did as we were told, like good Empire men. I look at those words on the screen and cry now.

The first week we lost fifty men. For a colony load of five hundred, that was ghastly. But it was only the beginning. We lost more men every week, until the Natain showed themselves.

Anthros will tell you the Natain are cute small humanoids, four feet tall, smart as a dog, or a civil servant. That says so much, but leaves so much out. Like the smell. They smell like airlock cleaner and toilets. It’s horrible. But easy to get used to, Ophelia. Especially when you’re hungry.

The food was awful smelling, but we were desperate. It looked and smelled like manure. But then we tasted it.

The troops have taken to calling it Manna, because the taste is so good. Like caramel mixed with good port and the taste of your woman or man’s sex right after a shower. Yes, it’s that good.

So we ate and ate. Then shat and shat. I’ve lost two stone since I’ve been here. Not that it matters now.


The man breaks down, crying into his sleeve. His tears are bright green. He stops, looks at something off camera, and fires his gun at whatever he sees He then puts his face into the camera, blocking the view.


If I could go back in time. Ophelia, I would not have gotten off the ship. But I did, and now the Empire will pay the cost. Damn the Natain.

So we ate and ate. And then things started to happen. Equipment failures, people missing shifts on the terraformers. Odd data in the computers. It wasn’t until the Bill Consuelos matter that we realized what was going on.

You remember Bill, don’t you? Good man. We came to mess one morning, and there’s Bill, sitting at one of the mess tables, quietly eating the cook. Calm as could be, twining entrails around the fork as he did. We locked him up after that. Figured after ten tours out here, he’d snapped.

Then the screams came from the cell. Unholy in loudness. Bill was squatting on the floor, crapping out his guts. He screamed on and on then as we got into the cell, he died.

But not his crap. We recognized it, appalled. The Natain had been feeding us their fecal matter. That wasn’t the worst part. Ophelia.

The worst part came when it moved and spoke. Your bowel movements should not move but in one way, and certainly not have vocal cords. We threw a thermite grenade in the cell and ran for the office.

Which is where I am now, Ophelia. You’ll have to be strong. I’m doing this back channel because the regular ones are quarantined. Raise our son well, Ophelia. So sorry to leave you alone to it. And if we should ever meet again, Ophelia, you must kill me dead, right then, Ophelia.


Because I won’t be me.

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