xiangjun zeng

from: Field Observations of a Far-Future Mars

12th Day of the 4th month of 972.

Day 5 of The Expedition to *the Cauldron

*Researcher's notes 1A: The original page had been heavily damaged and it was unclear where the expedition led to.

Based on close forensic study and inference, however, it is the belief of this scholar that it most likely referred to the Cauldron, an immense maelstrom in the Southern Dune Sea that was a migratory spot for Sandworms.

Please note that all mentions of this expedition's location have been rendered as the Cauldron until more evidence comes in.

*End Researcher's notes 1A.

…..ow day today. Compared to yesterday anyhow. What an amazing sight.

Sandworms are such fascinating creatures… Detailed observations of them remain impossible of course; the Dune Sea makes for a remarkable barrier against study. The *Cauldron is surely a gift from the Old Gods; so many Sandworms pass through here that it defies belief. They must all come here at some point.

Why though? It is my conjecture that...**

**Researcher's notes 2A: Section here had been rendered unreadable. Water stains and ink scratch damage too extensive.

**End Researcher's notes 2A

There had not even been, to the best of my memory, a sighting of a carcass. The Dune Sea entombs any that dare travel upon it eventually and so my hypothesis must remain a hypothesis. For now.

Questions still plague me. How do they know where to go, year after year? What draws them here? What do they eat? Are there perhaps small life forms living within the Dune Sea? What would I not give to be able to swim in that mire!

But I must be satisfied. We already know so much more. Yesterday was incredible. I am still excited, to have witnessed the mating rituals of the beasts! Such beauty and violence!

However, the most exciting discovery we have made on this trip must surely be the close relationship between the Sandworm and the Dune Sea.

But I must not be hasty. There is not enough evidence yet. I must refrain from making such far-reaching conclusions.

It is well known of course, that sandworms are sensitive to sounds and vibrations, and that they communicate with one another. When a swarm of Sandworms are together, the hollow thunder of their *voices is like hearing the song of an alien God.

*Researcher's notes 3A: It is now known that the Sandworms generate their “voices” through an organ hidden deep within their bodies. It bears more study.

*End Researcher's notes 3A

We watched a swarm of Sandworms enter the region soon after we arrived. They performed a strange ritual, swimming around in odd circles.  We took notes of course, and will analyze further.

And then we watched as they dashed themselves against the rock shelves.

It is common knowledge that Sandworms avoid hard rock by instinct, but in this instance, we observed them diving into the rocks, drilling through them with their hard beaks. The rocks broke apart, softened, becoming the texture and consistency of the Dune Sea.

Can it be, I wonder, that the Dune Sea is the result of the Sandworms….