Howdy! Steph here. I play Dr. Miranda Cristoff on the podcast. She’s a feisty, pig-headed little woman, but she’s got a soft-side, especially for her family. Her dad and brother are both military officers back on the Orbital Commune, and even though they couldn’t persuade her to change her mind and bow out of the obviously doomed mission to the planetary surface, she did promise to keep in touch as much as possible. With the ship crash-landed on the surface, who knows when regular communications will be up and running again, but she’s writing home anyway. And, lucky you, you get to read her letters! So, for your vicarious pleasure, I humbly present a new series of epistolary posts: “From Hell, With Love.”
To: SGT Jared C. Cristoff, ID#31423-17-4992, Orbital Commune
From: Dr. Miranda Cristoff, ID#31423-29-0081– LOCATION CLASSIFIED
By now I guess you’ve probably heard about our bumpy landing, but we’re all fine. There were no casualties, and only a couple major injuries, but my team handled themselves nicely. I was a little uncertain about Dr. Ford at first, but she seems to be pretty level-headed under pressure, at least in a medical environment. And Dr. Jindall is very professional. He definitely knows his stuff. Apparently he’s a former military combat medic, so I guess that should have been expected.
Anyway, the military team got the base camp set up pretty quickly, and due to the injuries our field hospital was erected almost within an hour of landing, so we’re already starting to settle in pretty well. I did hear there was an attack, but it must not have been anything too serious because they were already burning the remains when I came out of surgery. Probably just a pack of curious predators. On my way back to my tent I heard some of the military grunts muttering about “smart” cats, but I’m sure that must have been exaggerated. Anything sentient here should have been wiped out with the nuclear bombardment decades ago. I couldn’t imagine anything humanoid surviving in this environment, between the mutated flora and hostile fauna. It’s far too hostile an environment to allow civilization to flourish, in my opinion. But now that we’re here, we might just beat the odds.
I don’t know when you’ll get this. I’m not sure how much of the communications equipment survived the crash, but I’m sure these military folks will have a connection reestablished soon. Captain James is too much of a control freak to allow much time to go by without having his authority reinforced by ISC command. That guy is a real piece of work.
As soon as we crashed, I naturally went into business mode, trying to treat one of his men who had taken a pretty serious abdominal wound. I needed to get my med kit from cargo and was about to send one of the soldiers milling around the place to grab it for me while I did what I could to stabilize him when James basically overstepped me and sent the soldier off on his own errand. When I argued priorities with the guy he literally clothes-lined me and threw me on the ground! Can you believe that? I’m trying to do my job in the middle of an emergency situation and this guy has the balls to throw me on the ground in front of the entire landing team and rip into me for it! Then to make matters worse, that Renner guy, the party naturalist and guide, comes out with guns blazing and points his weapon straight at James and demands he let me up, like I’m some sort of damsel in distress. James complied of course (guess he’s not totally crazy), and allowed me to go back to doing my job, but he never really apologized. The most I got was a quick “Sorry things went the way they did” schpiel, which was about as sincere as Michael’s “Sorry you were offended when I cheated on you with my secretary.” Jacques! I swear, you and Dad are the only decent men in this universe!
Anyway, apparently James only picks on women and underlings who stand up to him, because I didn’t see Renner get so much as a wrist slap for shoving a gun in his face, and they’ve seemed pretty chummy ever since. Or maybe he only respects people who threaten to put a bullet in his brain pan. Either way… I’m having serious doubts about this mission, now. And I know, I know, you “told me so”, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with the planet or our goals here. It has everything to do with the sociopathic Napoleon they’ve put in charge. Luckily, it seems like James and Renner have shared leadership, and as a civilian, I apparently report to Renner, so hopefully that’ll cut down on my interaction with James. Still, I’m going to have to start a rotating schedule of physicals soon, so I won’t be able to avoid James entirely. Hopefully, though, he’ll back off a little and let me do my job, instead of breathing down my neck. He does seem to legitimately care about his soldiers (he spent the entire night at the bedside of the injured trooper), so maybe he’ll realize that keeping everyone else safe and healthy is my priority too, and cut me some slack for it.
Renner… he’s an odd one too, but for different reasons. That scene with James in front of his armed men kinda speaks to a mind that’s a tad unhinged– or at the very least an adrenaline addict– but by and large he’s come off as a very respectful, friendly, and helpful sort of guy since then. Almost a little too helpful, like maybe he thinks I need his help. Guess I have another person to prove myself too.
I’m up to it, though. I should have known starting over down here with a whole new team was going to have its challenges. Truth be told, I was hoping my reputation would speak for itself, but it looks like I’m going to have to try a little harder than that. Lucky for me I have that Cristoff stubbornness in my genes! I beat you up when we were kids (remember Cailen Rood’s birthday party?); I can certainly handle a chauvinist and a bully.
Anyway, I have to go. They’re rounding people up for an expedition to find a clean water source, and with Dr. Jindall worn out from taking the late watch, that makes me the med-team addition.
I’d tell you to give Dad my love, but it’ll probably be a while before this gets sent. I’m thinking about you guys all the time!