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The genre? Science Fiction. The rules? Nonexistent.
Dearest Sephira, The field hasn’t been a kind to us. Though our ship has safely landed on Bedlam, a crystalline planet in the Faud’ey system, our welcome has been anything but warm. We knew the planet was only host to the single expeditionary team, and we figured they would have tried to reach us at the landing coordinates we had sent ahead of time. But, alas, we landed on a flat plane (a remarkably rare sight on a planet such as this, let me tell you) to find no sign of the expeditionary force at all. We tried scanning for them, but their tracking beacons must have been damaged, or perhaps the signal can’t penetrate the densely packed fields of crystals that extend in every direction.
Stumbling, drunk, into the unlit room, a man waits patiently for the automatic lights to switch on, something that happens almost immediately, but feels like an eternity. The pale blue lights quickly, but gradually fill the room with light, showing piles of worn out and dusty goods; it was a mess. He wobbles across the room, kicking garbage out of his path as he stomps across the metallic floor with his dirty work boots.
The Astrals of the Iron Lake
Anthropology Log: 45th of September, 7840 I’m beginning this log with a brief introduction into the culture I will be involving myself with for the next several months. They call themselves Astrum Sapiens, or simply Astrals, referring to a Latin word signifying stars, constellations, or heaven. They exist on the periphery of the Iron Lake, maybe 100 miles due north of the New Chicago Republic, though their existence in similar circumstances in several other places in the world has been noted by my friend and colleague Hamish La Parc from the University of Versailles. The conditions surrounding the Iron Lake are particularly interesting to me, as I remember hearing about them as a young boy and being absolutely enthralled by the concept of a lake of extraterrestrial ferrofluid that responded so strongly to the reversing of the magnetic field of the earth it created new life. It was Dr. Juni Lao who first explained to me that she was not convinced that the lake had created life at all, so much as it had simply influenced the life around it during the last magnetic shift. She stated that, because strong electromagnetic fields can have psychological effects on people, it was reasonable to assume that the Iron Lake had merely influenced much of the local population into behaving differently.
The wave of red light gleaming through her window was the only alarm clock she would ever need. As the alien sun, barely crossing the horizon, beamed down on several acres of her red moss, it seemed to transform the valley into a gleaming stained-glass window, red as the hottest embers. Thick, and looking like a gigantic rug, her moss fields stretched out to meet the horizon, a blanket of red over an indifferent plain. She stretched as she stumbled out of bed, staring out at decades of work nearly ready to pay off. This crop had been particularly troublesome, and she had had some close calls that almost destroyed everything she had worked for, but the day had finally come for someone to appraise all of her delicious plants.