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art by Ron Sanders

We Don't Believe That They Are Friendly

Sylvia Spruck Wrigley obsessively writes letters to her mother, her teenage offspring, her accountant, as well as to unknown beings in outer space. Only her mother admits to reading them. Born in Heidelberg, she spent her childhood in California and now splits her time between South Wales and Andalucia, two coastal regions with almost nothing in common. You can find out more about her at intrigue.co.uk.

Find other works in the Postmark Andromeda sequence and other unrelated stories by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley at dailysciencefiction.com.

To our foaming Excellency of the Gyst
Our exploration continues but I'm afraid we do not have any good news regarding making contact with other bubbling civilizations. We have come to the conclusion that the current population on the planet system in circulation of the Jiaomu star is best avoided.
First of all, the entire star system is surrounded by a large asteroid belt which we believe to have been artificially created in order to create a boundary between their orbital sector and the rest of the universe.
The outer planets are too distant from Jiaomu for habitation. The inner planet is too close and could only be considered for superheated preparations. The central planets can support anaerobic processes; however, upon further investigation we do not believe that they offer a safe spore environment.
On the fourth planet of this system, we found only remnants of what is clearly a completely extinct yeast civilization and a single robot, roving sadly in circles.
The third planet of the system is the only one still populated. We have ventured as close as the moon of that planet, which is utterly deserted. The only sign of life is six white flags on the planet-facing side of the moon. Further investigation has shown that this is a planet-wide symbol recognized to mean surrender. It is particularly chilling to see that despite this obvious attempt to surrender, the local population has been eradicated and the moon itself left completely uninhabitable.
Finally, we have discovered that on this biosphere, the inhabitants find yeasts to be particularly compelling for both food and drink. As a result, we feel that if we attempted to make contact we may be in real danger. We are planning to quit this solar system as soon as possible.
We have updated the public share to mark the entire system as dangerous to inhibit other civilizations from exploring the planets and inadvertently becoming "ale" or worse "sauerkraut."
We'll update again from the next system.
Yours, ever rising.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Author Comments

My son told me about NASA's report on the conditions of the flags on the moon: hq.nasa.gov/alsj/ApolloFlags-Condition.html.

All but one of the six flags are still standing, and they've been bleached white through the UV radiation. As soon as I read that, I knew there must be a story there.

- Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
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