Setting out aboard bulk hauler Trinidad from farspace station Kaipur-5 bound for HG-424. They call it Oregon. My wife DICKFACE is excited but also nervous and my children FARTtY and LOVESBALLS are just entering stasis. I hope we can find fortune and happiness on the trail to Oregon.
We have exited from autonomous transit and I am just waking up from hypersleep. It is so strange looking out the portholes aboard Trinidad and seeing a different star. Oregon is beneath us. We've caught a ride with one of the terraforming drops. We'll be the first people since the exploratory team arrived almost 10 years ago to set foot on Oregon. My career as a banker has prepared me well financially for the journey. The captain of Trinidad says that the indigenous aliens can provide my family with our needs at their trading post.
We are well-stocked with food capsules and tungsten pellets for hunting and defense, but I am concerned that my money ran out before I was able to purchase more than a dozen or so tread segments. The Conestoga Mk IV crawler we are using also required three caterpillar tongues, though I have yet to discern what exactly these are. The shopkeeper warned us to avoid several hazards in the area including deadly boron storms. We set out tomorrow morning for the self-constructing habitat beyond the mountains.
We encountered a stream of liquid methane. Because there were gathering boron clouds on the horizon and LOVESBALLS was feeling a bit under the weather as well, I opted to pay a Sectoid for passage on his grav-ferry. We arrived safely on the opposite bank and hunkered in until the boron storms had raged past.
We have been ambushed by Sectoid savages! They have stolen almost 2/3rds of our food capsules as well as both of my spare caterpillar tongues. I suspect I will never have a chance to find out what they are. More pressing are the concerns of my wife, who seems to have contracted dysentery. Perhaps medicine would have been a good investment. Tomorrow I hunt in the hopes of restocking our diminished supplies.
Two days of seemingly fruitless hunting finally paid off! I was approaching a sulfur vent on a geode outcropping when I spotted a skittering eight-legged creature with a long and seemingly prehensile tail. It took several blasts from my gauss rifle to score a hit, but the tungsten-tipped projectile perforated the little beast. In the process of butchering the creature for its three pounds of meat I spotted what may have been an adult version of the creature I had just killed. It had a smooth black carapace and walked on two legs with a hunched and loping gate. It moved very quickly, but it was large and not too difficult to get in my sights. It took several full-auto bursts to bring the monster down. When I approached to butcher it for its meat I found its innards dissolving into the ground.
We have reached the immense geothermal structure known as Chimney Rock. Black sulfur gas pours from the top of the natural stack and creates a foul-smelling miasma at ground level. The sky is blotted out by its exhaust and rock itself is encrusted with thousands of barnacle organisms. Hang crabs moved among them and I shot several for their bitter-tasting meat. We move on in the morning.
Yesterday we reached another stream of liquid methane. This one was much larger than the last and, unfortunately, my lack of money meant that a ferry ride was not possible. I scouted for a satisfactory crossing and with great trepidation we began to make our way across the river. I am not sure how it happened, exactly, but during our transit poor LOVESBALLS toppled from the habidome cockpit and fell into the river. She was flash-frozen instantly and we could do nothing but watch in horror as her lifeless body was swept downstream. DICKFACE hid her eyes in my shirt, but I could not look away as LOVESBALLS frozen corpse struck and broke apart on rocks. We erected a holo-tombstone for her once we were back on dry rock.
We have entered the trackless wastes and hunting has become sparse. I attempted to trade with a tribe of Sectoid savages, but our negotiations were stunted by the fact that I speak Neo-English and they speak "throwing spears at your face." I retreated back to the Conestoga and we continued on.
FARTtY has left us. I think a Nega Lion got him. All I found were pieces of his head and a threadbare space tunic. DICKFACE is growing increasingly despondent. I tried to comfort her by telling her that we could have more children once we reached the self-constructing habitat. She did not reply to me.
Our situation is on the brink of calamity. We were traveling the trail earlier today when either tectonic activity or the burrowing Wormrats that inhabit the wastes caused a subsidence. The Conestoga fought for purchase and I struggled at the controls. Just when I thought we had passed the point of no return and would topple to our deaths into some bottomless chasm, I managed to get us back out of the hole. Unfortunately, in the process I managed to run over several of the creatures I have been hunting for meat and their horrible acidic haemolymph managed to eat away the transaxle. We were forced to abandon the Conestoga with what supplies we could carry on our backs. I believe the habitat to be no more than two weeks journey, even on foot, but it will be difficult.
The mountains are in sight, but my spirits could not be lower. DICKFACE has passed away during the night from a case of space herpes. I know not where she managed to catch the vile disease, but the affliction claimed her life. Sectoid savages are on the prowl and I can hear the baying of the Nega Lions. I had to leave her to the scavengers and already I can hear the Wormrats burrowing towards her.
One final obstacle remains between me and the habitat: the Great Methane Sluice of Xfxgg. I thought, perhaps, to threaten a ferryman with my gauss repeater, but Charon is not at his place. Fording the river is impossible without the Conestoga. Low tide will be at dawn. I will attempt my crossing then.
I have failed. The bones of my legs were frightfully smashed during my crossing of the river and it is only by luck that my suit did not tear and I was able to swim to the opposing bank. I can feel the cold of night creeping in and the Nega Lions draw closer. I will erect my own holo tombstone on this spot, a warning to those who might travel this same treacherous Oregon trail.
After years of being misunderstood, I had hoped we finally had "our" story. I was wrong.
He had a yellow inflatable tube around his waist, the kind with a comical duck head. There was a tiny fish in one of his hands, and a trident in the other. In the background a squirrel wearing shades was water skiing.
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