Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Last night, I dreamt I went to see Bob. His heavy, metal door was open. His clothes hung in rags from the swollen white tissue that had become his body. He was almost formless, his human shape overtaken by the bloated matter. What had been an arm still anchored him to the corner, but now, thin strands reached like webbing across the ceiling. He was spreading.

I looked at his head. It was nothing but a lump. His eye still looked out from deep inside, but the tunnel through the fungus was narrowing. The eye looked dead. I leaned closer. I thought I saw the eye move, flicker to a point behind me and then return. I spun. On the inside of Bob’s door was a gun case. Inside the gun case, a pistol and clip. I turned back to Bob, but his eye was motionless. I left.

In the morning, I asked Sergei if there were firearms in the station. He said there probably were, as a safety measure. I asked him if he knew where. He didn't. I went to the lab and picked up the bunch of keys. None of them were labelled. I stood in front of the metal door holding the keys for five minutes. Then I put them back. 

Monday, 29 April 2013

Today's trip had a small hitch, but otherwise went well. We set out in the morning in two Jeeps. Xi and I took one, Sergei the other. We were collecting data for Sergei's mapping project. He led us to an area where, he claimed, the mal was very strong. I think he was right, as his Jeep broke down. I stopped our Jeep farther back and Sergei walked over to us. He said that he would stay here and collect samples, and that we should drive around so that Xi could get used to being out. If he didn't manage to start his Jeep and get back, I would come and get him. I was reluctant, but I did as he said and drove off.

Xi and I toured the area near the station. She pointed out some interesting places to me; often, a patch of dirt or a dying plant would remind her of a story from some ancient people. I'm going to start looking into the mythology more deeply, as I think it could provide insight into The Sick Land. After two hours, I dropped her back. Sergei was still out, so I drove off to find him.

His Jeep was still there, but I couldn't see Sergei. I left the engine running and got out. Sergei was in his Jeep, covered in oil. Somehow, he'd managed to bandage his left hand, despite having limited use of his right hand. He'd been under the Jeep trying to fix it, and gashed his hand with a wrench. For someone so smart, he's accident prone. I tied the tow rope to his Jeep and took it back to the station.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

We're going out tomorrow to make one more trip into the Green. If it goes smoothly, Xi says she'll come with us into the Yellow Zone. When we've done that, she's free to leave with the next relief. I'll be sad to see her go: we're getting on well. Sergei's stopped playing poker with us, so we've been playing cribbage instead. Xi knows so many stories from the people who have lived in this region, often we'll stop in the middle of a hand so she can answer a question or recount a forgotten tale. She's a great storyteller, and you can see that she loves the subject. It's a shame that The Sick Land didn't suit her as much as its mythology.

I dreamt I went to see Bob tonight. His door in the lab was open. His right arm had grown into the top corner of the tiny room, anchoring him. His single eye looked at me without recognition. Wriggling cilia an inch long sprouted from his arm in patches, and one of his shoes had burst open, revealing more of the white mass. When I woke up, I went to the lab and tried Bob's door. Of course, it was locked. There's a huge bunch of keys hanging on the wall. Maybe one of them will unlock the door.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Sergei studied the skull all day, while Xi and I talked about the Birdheads. They feature in the legends of a tribe of nomads who, hundreds of years ago, lived near The Sick Land. At least, that's what their descendants claim; it's hard to verify. Xi wrote her Master's dissertation on the subject, so she's an expert. I'll summarise what she told me.

The nomads and the Birdheads inhabited roughly the same area, the nomads further away from The Sick Land, the Birdheads closer. The nomads called them 'Birdheads' because of their bony beaks. Otherwise, they didn't look like birds.

The nomads and the Birdheads interacted frequently, sometimes trading, sometimes warring. Many of the Birdheads were completely inhuman; others barely differed from the nomads. The more wild legends are about the more monstrous Birdheads.

In the end, the nomads left The Sick Land. According to their stories, the son of the chief started growing a beak.

Friday, 26 April 2013

I showed the skull to Sergei and Xi.

Sergei's head injury turned out to be fine. It's still bandaged, but he's not concussed. He looks bad, though, with his head and hand bandaged, his arm in a sling. I told them I'd dug something up in The Sick Land that I wanted to show them. They looked at each other. A knowing look. I ignored it, and asked them to follow me to the lab.

When we got there, I opened the locker and took out the wrapped bundle. I put it on an examination table. I said they ought to brace themselves. Another knowing look. I unwrapped it and stepped back. Xi gasped, her hand to her mouth. Sergei came forward. He lifted the skull, ran his hands over it. Poked his fingers into the eye sockets. He said it was fascinating. I turned to Xi. She was pressed against the wall, staring at the skull. I asked her what was wrong. She said one word, a word I hadn't heard before.


Thursday, 25 April 2013

I stowed the skull in a locker in the lab. Better there than in my room. I wanted to show it to the other two, but it didn't work out like that. I found Xi tending Sergei. His head was bandaged; he'd fallen from another ladder. Xi found him when he'd finished bandaging his head; she's worried he might be concussed. I won't show them the skull until I know Sergei is fine. It's not fair on Xi to burden her with it. We'll know by tomorrow whether he's okay. He seems fine to me.

Bizarre dream last night. Bob came to me. The white fungus was covering the right half of his face. Only the eye was visible. His left hand was a stump. The left side of his face was bare bone, with occasional clumps of greying meat. He walked out and I followed him. He moved as if he couldn't remember how. We went up to the lab in the lift. Bob was swaying, his single eye fixed on nothing. He shuffled to an open cupboard. The door was metal; I'd never seen it open before. He limped in and turned round. I knew he wouldn't move again, that I should come here to see him. He stared through me, unblinking, and closed the door.

 When I went to the lab today, I tried the door. Like always, it was locked.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

I examined the skull.

It looks vaguely human. But not. The nose and teeth are wrong. There's no hole for the nose; in its place juts a pointed mass of bone. The back of the skull is elongated: if I align the front with my nose, the skull extends five inches behind my head. There are four eye sockets in a row, two in the normal place, two beside them. A fifth eye socket dominates the centre of the forehead.

I'm going to show the skull to Xi and Sergei. I can't tolerate it alone.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Sergei told me he's happy with my mental state. He said I showed admirable fortitude during yesterday's crisis. I thanked him, and said that I thought the haze wasn't there. I said I didn't think I'd see it again. All true. Sergei's right arm is in a sling. Apparently, he fell off a ladder he was trying to climb with only one hand. I asked him how his hand is. He said it was fine, but healing slowly. Xi spent the day resting in her room.

In my room, the bundle sits on the floor next to my desk. I'll look at it tomorrow. I didn't want to look at it today. I stayed out of there, doing odd jobs and catching up on reading. I only went back to my room to sleep.

I had a dream that Bob came into my room. He didn't say anything, just bent over and stared intently at the bundle. The white fungus covered the right side of his neck and jaw. He still had his right eye, and some skin on his scalp. There weren't any fingers on his left hand anymore.

Monday, 22 April 2013

I'll try to keep this short; today was eventful.

We drove out this morning in a single Jeep. The Jeep broke down. Xi was upset: one of her fears is to be stuck in The Sick Land overnight. Sergei decided that he would walk back to the station with Xi. I would stay with the Jeep. When they got back, Sergei would drive out to pick me up and tow the other Jeep.  We can't all walk back together because it's too dangerous; there's a risk the whole team could be wiped out. I watched them walk away.

I tried to start the Jeep. It wouldn't start. I realised we'd broken down about a mile from the haze. I walked to the viewing point. The haze was twenty metres out; I went to it. I could have reached out and touched it. I put my hand in my pocket.

I found the flux detector, which Sergei said didn't work. I switched it on, producing a constant high-pitched sound. I waved the detector toward the tape measure. I thought it sounded different. I stepped forward. Waved it through the patch of space where the haze appeared to be. The pitch increased. I held it there, moving it up and down. The pitch was highest at the bottom of the movement. I crouched. The pitch increased. I put the detector on the ground. For a second, it squealed. The sound was somewhere between a mosquito and inaudible.

With a pop, the device broke.

I dug down into the ground. Found something. Went back to the viewing point. The haze was gone. Carried what I found back to the Jeep. Wrapped it in a sleeping bag. Turned the key, knowing the Jeep would start. It started.

I drove to the station. Sergei and Xi had just got back. I told them the Jeep had started. I took my bundle back to my room. I'll look at it in detail later.

It's a skull.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

They told me their decision: they aren't going to report me yet, but they will if my 'condition' gets worse. Sergei asked if I'd had any other unusual experiences. I didn't mention Bob. I told him I'd sleepwalked last night and picked something up somewhere. I took the tiny device out of my pocket and passed it to him.

He took it clumsily with his left hand. His right is still heavily bandaged. Apparently, the device is a flux detector. It has electronic circuits with different levels of sophistication, each one controlling a small speaker. In theory, when you move between two areas with different strengths of mal, the sound coming from the device should change, as different circuits are affected. I'd never heard about these devices. Sergei said that was because they don't work very well. They break easily, and give false positives. He switched it on; it made a continuous high-pitched sound. He waved it in the air in front of him. The sound changed. He said, "see?", and threw it to me. I tried it. The sound from the device stayed the same as I waved it around. Sergei said that showed the device was unreliable. I switched it off and pocketed it.

The three of us are going out tomorrow. Despite Xi's earlier misgivings, we're going in a single Jeep. They don't trust me.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

I stayed in my room. I don't know what to do. I have been seeing things. Things that aren't real. That much is true. But the haze.... It's consistent. I can't believe it's in my mind. Maybe it's something that only certain people can see. Maybe it's Sergei and Xi who can't see it. Maybe they're mad. I need to go out and see it again. I need to study it. Show that it's not a hallucination brought about by The Sick Land. Show that I'm not crazy.

What if I am? I dreamt of Bob again. I assume they are dreams; maybe they're just more delusions. The white fungus was all the way up his arm. Creeping over his shoulder. There wasn't much skin left on his skull. He's rotting away. He'll just be bones, soon. Bones and fungus. He passed me something with his good hand. His good hand had only three fingers. He passed me a tiny electrical device. I hadn't seen it before. He went.

I woke up. Not in bed. I'd sleepwalked. I've never done that before. I'd locked the door to my room, but now it was open. I had no idea where I'd been. In my hand was the tiny device. I'd picked it up somewhere. Maybe the lab. Had I walked that far?

Friday, 19 April 2013

We went to see the haze. I crouched down and found it. It looked closer. Sergei squatted next to me. I pointed to it. Xi squatted next to me. I pointed to it. She moved around a lot. Put her head right next to mine.  After a while, she told me she couldn't see it.

Xi and Sergei walked away and whispered. I moved a rock to the 37.5 metre mark. Went back to view the haze. It had moved forward about a metre. I went to tell Sergei and Xi. Sergei said we were going back. That Xi was uncomfortable. They got into their Jeep and drove off, while I followed in my Jeep. They were talking the whole drive back.

We convened in the living area. Sergei stood up. He told me I was hallucinating. That he couldn't see the haze; that Xi couldn't see it. He'd played along at first because he wasn't sure, but Xi had confirmed his suspicion. There was nothing there. They had to decide whether to report me. Whether my delusion was bad enough that I ought to be sent away. They would make this decision without me.

I went to my room.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

We're going to look at the haze tomorrow. It will be Xi's first trip out for months, and the precursor, I hope, to my first trip into the Yellow. She's been warming to the idea, and somehow Sergei has convinced her.

Sergei's hand is heavily bandaged. The scratch is infected, and he needs to keep it covered. He can't use his fingers because the binding is restrictive, but he assures me it won't be a problem tomorrow.

Xi isn't relishing going, but she appreciates the necessity. Sergei has relinquished his place on the next relief, and she'll be eligible as soon as I've been into the Yellow. She's also excited to see the haze.

I'm looking forward to it. I want to know if it's moved again. With three of us, we'll be able to perform a whole range of experiments. If I can get enough data, I can start my paper. This discovery could ignite my career.

Bob talked to me about it last night. In a dream. He knocked on my door. I opened it. On his left side, I could see his skull. From the eye socket to the jaw. The eye was gone. The skin on the other side of his face was grey and dead and beginning to slough off. His arm was covered in white fungus, almost up to the elbow. There was no sign of his hand. Bob told me the others are jealous of my discovery. They want to ruin me. They conspire behind my back. He left.

I woke up and went into the corridor. Xi and Sergei were speaking in Sergei's room. I couldn't make out what they were saying.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

I went out on my own to study the haze. I would have taken Sergei, but he was in his room all day again. I heard him moving about in the night, so I know he's okay. I drove to where our equipment was set up; it took me a couple of minutes to find the haze, but I managed in the end.

I ran through some simple experiments. I put a large rock down at the point on the tape measure where we'd found the haze. The haze isn't on the 38 metre mark anymore. It's about half a metre closer to the 'X'. I'm not sure whether we've been measuring inconsistently, the haze has moved, or The Sick Land has affected the tape measure. I noted the readings and headed back to the station.

When I got back, Xi was in the kitchen having lunch. She seemed more relaxed. I told her what I'd found. She was interested, and we discussed going out together to look. She wouldn't agree to a trip, but she said we could talk about it. I asked if she'd seen Sergei, and she said she'd seen him going into his room, but hadn't spoken to him. She's heard him moving in the night too, going up to the lab. She thinks he's doing an experiment.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sergei locked himself in his room today. My first thought was of what happened to Bob. Or what I thought had happened to Bob. I banged on Sergei's door. He slid it open and asked me what the problem was. I apologised and left him to whatever he was doing. It made me realise how on edge I am; I did some work to take my mind off it.

I roped Xi in to help me with my research into optical phenomena. She brought me a paper that she found on hallucinations. I thanked her, and said I'd look at it, but I was more interested in concrete occurrences. I put the paper into my desk drawer for later. I've hallucinated at least once since I got here, and my dreams about Bob are vivid.

The policy is that we can tolerate a certain amount of delusion in the researchers, but that serious problems have to be reported. This can result in the researcher being replaced. It's moot at the moment, as there's no one to replace me, but I'll keep my dreams to myself. It would only worry the other two.

Monday, 15 April 2013

I wanted to study the haze again today, but Sergei let me down. His hand looks pretty bad, and he's worried it might get infected. I could have gone out on my own, but I didn't. Instead, I talked to Xi about my find. She's quite excited, I think for the first time since I arrived. Everyone likes a novel scientific discovery.

I've started compiling papers on similar topics. Optical phenomena aren't unheard of in The Sick Land, and I need to see if anything like the haze has been reported before. I'm hopeful that it might provide some insight into the workings of The Sick Land. Probably a lot of scientists have had that hope, that maybe this time...

I must have dropped off at my screen; I thought I saw Bob walk past the open door. I need more sleep.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

We went to see the haze. Sergei knelt on the mark we'd sprayed and looked in the right direction. He couldn't spot the haze. I went over. With a bit of swaying, I was able to find it and point it out to him. We took measurements today. It's 38 metres away from the 'X', 1.1 metres wide, and 1.9 metres high. We got the height and width using an old-fashioned theodolite, and the distance by tape measure. We left it stretched out.

When we got back, we discussed our theories about the haze. More accurately, Sergei lectured me about his theory. He thinks it's an area where the laws of physics don't apply to light the same way they do everywhere else. I wasn't really concentrating. He's scratched his hand so much it looks red. If he spent more time listening to people, his hand wouldn't be so sore.

I had a Bob dream last night. He was sitting in the kitchen when I went to get a drink. I could see his whole cheekbone underneath his eye, and the top of his teeth. The eye itself was red and sagging. The specimen covered his whole hand. He looked at me, but he didn't say anything. I think it's interesting that, despite the horrible images, the dreams don't really scare me. It's weird. But then, that's pretty much the defining feature of dreams.

Saturday, 13 April 2013


I made a discovery!

We were out with the maps again, and we passed the tree where Bob had shown me the mal. I pointed it out, and we went over. The tendril had decayed away. I told Sergei I wanted to dig in the area; he nodded and walked off with his map and pen. I grabbed a spade from the Jeep and got to work.

The ground around the tree was too hard to dig except in one area. I dug about ten inches. When I didn't find anything, I squatted down and took a drink. I scanned the area. About forty yards in front of me and to the left, I saw what looked like a heat haze. I stood to get a better look. I couldn't see it from standing. I squatted back down. Still nothing. I swayed from side to side. Found it. There was only one position from which the haze was visible. I pulled out my radio and got Sergei.

He took ten minutes to get back to where I was. He came over and squatted next to me. I leaned as far away from him as I could and still see the haze, and showed him where to look. 'Remarkable' was all he said.

He pulled out a pair of binoculars, looked, then passed them to me. You couldn't see the haze through the binoculars. He told me it was a great find, that we'd study it. We stayed there for the rest of the day experimenting. We've marked the observation point with spray paint. We're going back tomorrow to see if it's still there. This could be the topic of my next paper.

Friday, 12 April 2013

We spent the day driving in an arc around the base. Every so often, Sergei would get out and walk around for a while, take some notes, then get back in. He thinks he's sensing the level of mal in each area. I'm not sure that's possible. The research, of which there is little, suggests that the mal in an area can only be inferred from the visible effects. When I said this to Sergei, he told me I was too inexperienced to sense the mal.

I seem to have gotten over my sickness. The body adapts quickly. I'm confident about being okay when we go into the Yellow Zone. Obviously, you never know, but it's a good sign.

We didn't go near the tree that Bob mentioned the other night. I'd probably dig around there a bit. Not because I think I have prophetic dreams. From Sergei's map, I can see that we'll be in the area tomorrow. I'll have a look if we stop there.

I was writing on the computer before bed last night. I needed to note something down, but I couldn't find a pen, so I gave up. I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night. When I came back, the pen was right there in the middle of the desk next to my pad. It's funny how perception works.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

We spent the day pouring over maps. Sergei wants to go out tomorrow and assess the mal over a wide area. He's started colouring maps with different shades. He wants to isolate a long strip of weak mal for us to use when we take Xi into the Yellow.

Now that I've noticed, Sergei's scratching is annoying me. Not because of the habit itself, but because it shows he's not listening. He'll be speaking to me about his latest theories, hands folded on the desk or gesturing. When I respond, he stares away and scratches. It's rude.

I think he's like that because he's the senior scientist. He's the guy with the most experience, with all the ideas. And apparently with an itchy hand. But only when he's not paying attention to some boring peon.

Weird dream about Bob last night. I thought I was getting over his death, but it seems I still have a few issues. I dreamt that I went to the bathroom. When I came out, Bob was leaning against the wall. The wound under his eye was so deep now that I could see bone between the ragged edges of the flesh. He asked if I was going out tomorrow. I said yes. He told me to dig under the tree where I'd first seen the mal. I looked at his hand. His specimen was bigger, the size of a small melon. It seemed to be growing between his fingers. It pulsated. He saw me looking. He lowered his head, and regarded the specimen with no real interest. He left.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Sergei is working on Xi. She came out of her room and they had a long discussion about the Green and the Yellow. She gave me the impression that she'll make the trip out as long as she can ride with Sergei while I follow in the other Jeep. We've also got to find the shortest route to the Yellow. This is progress.

Sergei told me afterward that he was considering offering her his seat on the next relief. He'd have to clear it higher up, as he's already over the maximum time a researcher is supposed to spend in The Sick Land. I'm pretty sure she'd take him up. We're getting on at the moment, and while it's improving her mood, she still wants out.

We played poker for matchsticks in the evening. Xi is really good. Turns out her first degree was in statistics. Sergei is terrible. He would have been out early on if we hadn't let him open a new box of matches. He's not bad at the decision making side of it. No worse than me, anyway. He just has a distinctive tell that we picked up on. When he thinks he's won, his mind wanders and he starts to scratch his hand. He doesn't even realise. When he's bluffing, he focuses on how you're playing, and doesn't scratch. He couldn't understand how we knew when to fold. Decent day today.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

I went out with Sergei today. He insisted we wear hazmat suits. The suits are uncomfortable and restrict your vision and movement. I can see why Bob never bothered with them. I said that to Sergei. He thinks that's why Bob died. He didn't take the mal seriously. We went in one Jeep, with Sergei driving.

We started with a sweep of the area near the base. Apparently, it has changed since he was last here. We stopped at a patch of scrub that didn't stand out. A few months ago, Sergei said, it was a pocket of Yellow. Now it was just another part of the Green. I couldn't see any evidence that it was different. Next, Sergei drove us to where a few plants were growing. He claimed the mal was so weak here it wasn't a true part of the Green. I asked him how he knows all this. He said that you get a feel for the mal when you spend enough time around it. I haven't got any sort of feel for it yet.

He's trying to map the area by the strength of the mal. It's a difficult task because we don't have a reliable way to judge it. He thinks that we could pick out patterns. If we could find a long stretch of weak mal, maybe we could head deeper into The Sick Land. It's something to think about.

Monday, 8 April 2013

More lectures from Sergei. I think he's using the material he prepared for his university. Instead of half-a-dozen bored post grads, he gets me.

Class today was on protecting yourself from mal. We went through a timeline. Some of the natives thought that if you wore a wolf skin, you were safe. They lived here for generations, so maybe they were on to something. Then again, almost the entire tribe disappeared one winter. When the traders arrived after the thaw, they found a single child roaming the village. She never learned to talk, so they never found out what happened. Victorian-era adventurers used to enter The Sick Land in lead-lined diving suits, walking out as far as their air pipes would reach. I remember a story from a worker on an expedition. He watched his boss the whole time, saw him waving, lifting his arm in a lead suit that took two men an hour to remove. He stood, staring off into the distance, hands on hips. Five minutes passed; his helmet fell off, then his suit collapsed. No sign of a body. We pretty much know now that nothing stops it. It's just luck. Sergei likes the hazmat suits, though.

We're going out into the Green tomorrow. I'm not dreading it. It's amazing how quickly you adapt to circumstances.

Another dream about Bob. He knocked on my door. I opened it. Under his left eye was an open wound. The specimen in his hand was bigger, about the size of a snooker ball. I wasn't sure if he was squeezing it, or it was pulsing. He looked like he was about to speak, then turned away. I closed the door and got back into bed.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sergei trained me today. He wants us to go into the Green soon. Xi won't come, but he's making progress persuading her to go into the Yellow. My guess is that she won't be relieved if I'm not a competent senior researcher. To prepare, I learned more about the Zone system.

Sergei told me that the standard model of The Sick Land - with a Green outer ring, a Yellow inner ring, and a speculated Red centre - is an approximation. The topology of The Sick Land is more like a heat map, with localised hot and cold regions within a general band. These regions are dynamic; the effect on a broad scale is the three Zone system (or two? We don't know if there's a true Red Zone, as nothing has ever made it past the mid-Yellow).

The strength of the mal on an area varies, not only with distance from the supposed centre, but with many other factors, lots of which are opaque to science right now. Fluctuations, and the expansion of The Sick Land, are products of this variation in the mal. Sergei told me that the way to do good research is to find 'bubbles' of Yellow in the Green. That way, you can get good specimens and take important measurements without exposing yourself to unnecessary risks.

I asked him how deep he'd gone. He stared off into the distance for a while, then grunted. Apparently the outer Yellow was deep enough.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

The relief came. It wasn't what I was expecting. I thought we'd get two researchers, one replacing Bob, the other Xi. When we heard the Jeep, we looked out. Xi clutched her suitcase.

A man got out. The driver gave him a bag then pulled away. Xi said 'Sergei?'. Then she walked to her room and locked the door.

The new man came in. His name was Sergei, and he was the researcher I'd replaced. They were having difficulty finding people; he'd returned because it was unsafe to have only two researchers. He didn't know when the next relief would be. When it came, though, he'd be going. After that, it would be Xi's turn. Then me. It could be any number of months before I'm finished here.

Sergei took an empty room. He looked in Bob's room. Told me it stank of mal. I asked what mal smelt like. He looked at me, then pointed at Bob's room and said 'that'.

Sergei wants to train me. His only chance of getting relieved is if I'm experienced enough to train the next set of researchers. We have to go into the Yellow. We have to persuade Xi.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Terrible dream last night. Vivid. In my dream, I was thirsty, so I went to the kitchen. Coming back, I passed Bob's room.

Bob stood in the doorway. His face looked like an overripe plum. Skin flaked underneath his left eye. Around his neck, the leather belt dug into flesh, broken where it had hung from the ceiling. He clutched his specimen in his right hand, squeezing it to some rhythm only he could hear.

He asked me if I liked dinosaurs. I said I did. He asked me if I knew what had happened to them. I told him they'd been killed by a meteorite. He said not here. Not in The Sick Land. If only I'd go deeper. I stared at him for a while then went back to my bedroom.

I didn't sleep.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The relief arrives the day after tomorrow. Xi is packing. It's impossible to watch her singing and believe that she had anything to do with Bob's body.

Here's what I think: the fluctuation made me see things. Bob returned his Jeep, then he went back out into the Green. The fluctuation gave me a horrific hallucination, and screwed up my time perception. There's no body because Bob never killed himself here. I imagined the whole thing.

I'm going to ask for a transfer once the new researchers are settled. I've only been here a little while, but I don't think I'm coping well. It's best for everyone if I get out ASAP. I'm envious of Xi. She's so happy to be going.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The body is gone. I went to deal with it, and it was gone. Belt and all.

I thought maybe Xi had done it. So I spoke to her. She didn't know Bob had come back. She'd assumed he was lost out there. She never heard the Jeep come back. I let her keep thinking that and went up to check.

Bob's Jeep was there. So was his night kit. He definitely came back, at least to the entrance. His specimen is gone from the freezer. Decayed away. It left nothing. Nothing to prove he was in the lab. Nothing to show Xi.

I went back to her. Told her he came back. That his Jeep's here. She asked me if I thought he'd parked the Jeep and taken the long walk. Out into The Sick Land. She said they've lost people that way before. I nodded and agreed. What else could I do?

I don't know what's happening. I know what I saw. But his room is empty now. Did Xi move him?

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The lights came back on. It was a scary night, but at dawn, the station unlocked.

I raised the base on the radio. They told me we'd experienced a fluctuation. A fluctuation is where the boundaries of the Green Zone temporarily change. This time, the boundary overlapped the station and took out most of our electronics. Apparently, it happens occasionally, and is nothing to worry about. It certainly gave me a fright!

I told them about Bob. I wasn't up to giving the full details; I just told them we'd lost him after he spent the night out. I'll deal with Bob's body tomorrow. I'm still shaky after yesterday.

I'll have to tell Xi, too. Unless she went in his room, she probably doesn't know. I can at least spare her having to see the body. She's fragile enough.

I popped into the lab. The specimen is shrinking again. I'll be glad to see it go.

Monday, 1 April 2013


I hope this reaches someone.

Earlier today, the lights went off. The building has locked down. We're operating by oil-powered storm lanterns.

I've tried to contact the base. The phone and the radio are down. Internet is intermittent. I've written this and left it trying to post. It might be our only way out.

The lift isn't working, but we've got stairs. None of the Jeeps start. They wouldn't do us any good anyway. We can't get out of the station.

If you're reading this, please inform the base. We need immediate rescue.

I've been in the lab. All the freezers are off.  Something is very wrong. Bob's specimen isn't shrinking. I feel sick.