"s 2015 Horror Write-off:

" Return to Pandora "

Submitted by ProphetStorm

Pandora Probe Three Duty Log 42-Alpha

Renewal of official investigations concerning astral body Moreau-37

Upon the last entry, Operation Snowfall, entailing destruction of said astral body was indefinitely delayed, but no rationale was given.

Transcription begins.

ALPHA: Alpha, checking in.

BRAVO: Bravo, checking in.

CHARLIE: Charlie, checking in.

BASE: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, check-in confirmed. You are cleared for investigation. Good luck--come back safely.

ALPHA: Careful, fellows. The last party that went in didn't came out.

CHARLIE: That's why they gave us these!

(CHARLIE gestures with e-laser rifle.)

BRAVO: The, uh, 'natives' apparently have them too.

CHARLIE: What? Really?!

ALPHA: Didn't you pay attention to the briefing, Charlie? These little green men are former US Astronauts, and they were equipped just like we are. And their rifles didn't do them much good. We're carrying them only because the regulations say we should; the idea is to resolve this thing with negotiation. If things go bad, the capsule can be relaunched with only ten seconds' warning.

BRAVO: That's a relief. I understand the second probe was just left here...

ALPHA: They joined the ranks.

CHARLIE: I think I'm gonna be sick.

(Several minutes go by without speech or incident. Phosphorescent glow over the next hill stimulates conversation.)

ALPHA: What's that?

CHARLIE: Rifles ready.

BRAVO: You love that thing way too much.

ALPHA: Follow me, on my mark. Three...Two...One...Now!

BRAVO: What the?!

CHARLIE: Do we shoot it?

ALPHA: Not immediately. Base, are those the mutates?

BASE: Affirmative, Alpha. Camera ready.

ALPHA: Camera ready.

BASE: Got 'em. Proceed.


Addendum: Description of Moreau-37 photograph 1317

Photograph depicts typical Moreau-37 landscape. Consists of barren rock, of a mineral not known on Earth. Large amounts of metallic ore of an unknown composition readily visible in rock specimens. Eight formerly human mutant life-forms, and one readily identifiable satellite lander (Pandora Probe)

Mutants still appear humanoid in basic shape (Head, central thorax, four primary limbs with accessory digits) though bones have dissovled to a cartilege-like state. Muscular system greater than a human's appears evident. Mutants do not wear their former suits, and have skins of mottled, varying tones of pinks, reds and blues. Mutants' brains appear to be close beneath the skin of their scalps, and veins stand out on their heads. One of them wears the remnants of his space suit as a fabric cape over his back. Their eyes glow red, although actual luminosity cannot be differentiated from the camera's flash.


ALPHA: Attempt communication?

BASE: If no hostile moves are made.

ALPHA: Proceed, fellows.

(Bravo puts his weapon down and waves amiably. Creatures remain static, staring at Alpha in particular.)

BRAVO: Buzzkills. These guys seem a little spacey.

CHARLIE: Ha, ha, Bravo.

BRAVO: Wait...I made a pun, didn't I?

ALPHA: One we should shoot you for. External speakers on.

(Alpha turns his external speakers on and places his weapon on the ground. As he speaks, he gestures to the extraterrestrials.)

ALPHA: Greetings. We are your brothers.

(The interpreted 'leader' of the extraterrestrials, the one with the fabric cape, raises a foreleg and appears to nod.)

MH1: Brotherss.

CHARLIE: Take a while to get used to that accent.

(Charlie places weapon on the ground, makes 'peace' sign with gun hand.)

CHARLIE: So, we come in peace, we talk to you about what went down here a while ago.

MH2: Peeeeeeace.

(MH2 mimicks the 'peace' gesture with some difficulty. Digits do not appear useful; when raised upright they fall limp. Most likely accessory or vestigial from former structure abandoned by natural or artificial means.)

ALPHA: We were sent here to settle things with you. We don't want to fight

MH1: Nasss...sssent you...

ALPHA: Yes, but new people are in charge and we want to help you. Shake?

(Alpha approaches MH1 and extends a hand.)

MH1: Hhhhhand...shhaaayy....

ALPHA: That's right. Shake it.

(MH1 shakes hands with Alpha with right foreleg. Digits appear to grasp Alpha's fingers firmly. Though awkward, the handshake appears to be a known concept.)

ALPHA: Now, do you know...what happened here?

MH1: Nassss betray usss. Sssend uss here to explore.

ALPHA: And? And then?

MH1: We fffind the mushhhhrooomssss, but there wasss sssomething wrong... the mushhhhhhrooommmsss were evvviiiillll....

BRAVO: Are you getting this, base?

BASE:...Affirmative, Bravo. Our first mission to Moreau-37 was an unmanned probe with a shipment of mushroom spores, the only Earth organism proven to grow on the planetoid. The first manned probe was to investigate whether or not the mushrooms had taken root. Apparently, there was some mutagenic material that the fungus' structure assimilated when it established colonies. Now, we'll need one of the mutants to run some tests--we need to know more about this mutation.

ALPHA: We're not thinking about doing this on Earth?

BASE: Not necessarily. But mutations this radical mean that Moreau-37 could hold the key to controlled, sustained, beneficial mutations. According to our earlier readings, these posthumans have twice to three times the normal musculature. See if you can convince one to come with you. This is why there's a quarantine cell in the capsule.

ALPHA: We'll give it a shot. Um, what was it they called themselves? Alf Leed, we need one of your friends to come with us.

MH1: Braff.

MH2: Whhaaaat isss it, Alf Leeed?

MH1: Do yooouu wissshhh to return to Nasssss, to become huuuumann againn?

MH2: I do not, but iffff thissss iss how I mayyy sssserrve, I shhhall...

(The observed MHs accompany the away team back to the capsule without much more talking. Charlie opens the quarantine cell.)

CHARLIE: After you, my good fellow.

MH2: Gooood-bye, Alff Leeeed...

(MH1 says nothing, but holds his arm in the semblance of a military salute. Charlie seals the quarantine cell behind the MH and the away team boards. Ignition and takeoff cover any further recordings until four minutes later.

ALPHA: That was...harrowing.

CHARLIE: I'm just glad we were able to get that creep into the cell without...

ALPHA: What was that?

BRAVO: He's pounding on the cell door. Can he escape?

ALPHA: Hopefully not. That's four-inch thick steel alloy plate with four-inch plate glass.

CHARLIE: Is...Is that the same critter I put in the cell?

ALPHA: Holy...Base, camera on! BASE, CAMERA ON!

BASE: What the...


MH2: Braaaaafff...tooo baaaaasssse...

(MH2 is changing. Its bones appear to be calcifying into solid form, which gives its muscles a great deal more strength than it had. Its tongue falls out of its mouth, and it begins licking the window.)

BRAVO: Is it...

CHARLIE: It's burning through!! IT'S BURNING THROUGH!

(A muscular arm reaches through the now-open window to open the cell door. MH2 emerges into the cell and attacks.)


BASE: No charges were implemented. Recommending nuclear interception outside atmosphere.

BRAVO: Our fastest missile's top speed is Mach 10 and it steers like a ****ing cow! If you fire it now, it'll be too late! Base, we can't divert! Base--it got me...

BASE: He's right, sir. Even if we got a bead on them with the Marathon...

---: Well, what's the worst that could happen if that thing did touch down?

BASE: With the speed that thing adapted to human conditions? No, sir. If it's ever unleashed in an Earth environment, it'll be unstoppable. Adaptable on command, with a post-human intellect--that's not very good odds. Even the e-lasers didn't do much good on their weakest form.

---: Where's it going to land?

BASE: The Arctic Circle. That might not be so bad. We could send a pretty big team down there without attracting a lot of attention.

---: Any markings on the craft?

BASE:...Nope. It's a standard Journeyman capsule, saucer form.

---: Anyone near the estimated landing site?

BASE: An American-Norweigian research facility. Shouldn't bother them, though, it's quite a distance away from the area we've charted...

---: Give me names.

BASE: Sander Halvorson, alien research, Adam Finch, his assistant, uh...

---: That's enough. We'll get in touch with them if we need to.

Classified information end. Registry date: 10/16/1981