Thursday, October 30, 2003

Today’s Word: Cataract

Pol did a spec-check on his biosuit – all indicators green or tinged orange, perfectly within parameters. The newest Gen-Gamma suits could run red on all systems and still maintain a human for up to thirty six hours on regenerated air, and automatic morph doses, injected through the over-body webbing.

"T-minus fifteen seconds to infusion," said the computer.

Pol said a silent, fast prayer, crossed himself and raised his PrT. The muzzle spun round to rocket propelled grenade topped with pump-action shotgun.

The starboard deck plating curved outward, ripping with an ear-spitting scream, and exposing components of the ship's interior to planetary atmosphere for the first time ever.

Several million spiders clamored inside, too fast for Pol to spot which ones had finally managed to breach the hull of a ship that could withstand a formed nuclear missile. Their hairy, scrabbling bodies, merged in his field of vision like a cataract spilling over a precipice.

Pol began shooting, spinning his weapon's select system through each redundant cycle as one failed from overheating or sheer depletion.

He was still firing when the spiders hit him like a tide, rushing over him, ripping at his biosuit with black beaks on their undersides. He felt the first break through on his right thigh, but others followed quickly – on his shoulders, arms, belly. The suit did its level best to compensate, sealing the breaches almost as soon as they were made, pumping morph through Pol's body like liquid peace. But the poison was already awash in his bloodstream. He could feel it mingling with the morph, pushing his mind from detached euphoria one moment, to waves of sweating nausea the next.

He died.

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