25 August 163 GA
Hi Mom & Dad,
It occurs to me that you aren’t going to get my letters until the fleet returns to the colonies. And the fleet only transits every six months, and it’ll be another week or two before the ships head back. So, you’ll be getting my letters from Selva a bit later than my normal letters, though I think I’ll try to write more. Somehow there are fewer distractions here, and I feel the need to talk with my family greater here.
We lost a marine a few days ago. He was killed by an indigenous creature the size of a bear. It got him in the middle of the night and dragged his body almost a kilometer into the jungle. At dawn the First Expeditionary Marines went into the jungle, following the trail of blood. The monster attacked them, and it took all five of the marines shooting to take the monster down. It’s covered in a hide that’s almost as tough as stone. In fact, when the insect-thing drops down to the ground, it’s indistinguishable from a mundane boulder, and guess what…? Boulders are everywhere around here.
The picture above I drew a picture of one based off what I saw in Balashov’s lab. I don’t know if I got its legs right (it’s dead on a table), but it’s close. Size of a bear. Think about that. I guess the good news is that they don’t appear to be intelligent or organized. Just wild animals.
They’re calling them ‘rock bugs.’ Clever.
Now no one wants to go outside without armed marines nearby. My fellow scientists feel quite exposed and in jeopardy, but… the marines are protecting us, and no one has been hurt since. The expeditionary marines are now carrying their rifles and pistols all the time, and I think the other marines will be issued their weapons soon. I hope so. I know a lot of us will feel safer.
I’ve dived into research. I haven’t left the lab here in… too long. Margaret told me earlier I should get out and get some sun, and she’s right. I should. But I’ve got a few ferns to look at in depth, and the results on some soil samples are just a few hours away. I’ll go out after all that’s done.
Feeling a little depressed, but I suppose that’s normal. Talking with Sarah helps. Mom, you’ll be glad to know she and I kissed the other night. I guess you could say it’s going well.
Stahl. The kid who was killed. His name was Stahl. Hopefully we don’t see anything else bizarre.
Tell Charlotte I’m debating the idea of a mansion here…. I think any world where there are bugs the size of sofas might not be the ideal place to retire. Although we’re getting a massive land grant bonus if we settle here. Double normal. Tell her I miss her, and to take care of herself.
I’ll watch out for massive insects covered in stones.
Love and miss you all,