Two tired Tullimbar soldiers trudged wearily through the open elevator doors. It was a long and tedious journey from the basement to the apex of Pine Gap and they would have to do it all over again after they visited the Chief Science Officer. As their transport crossed from level fifty-five to level fifty-four the lift shuddered, then struggled to move as if it were being pulled back by a colossal weight. The motor strained and cried out with a high-pitched whine that steadily increased in tone and volume, whilst the cables groaned in mechanical pain. Suddenly, as it extricated itself from its entrapment, the elevator launched skyward with a mighty jolt that sent the men smashing into the ceiling before dumping them onto the floor.
“What the hell was that?”
“I’ve no idea, but it felt like something was blocking the shaft. We should check it out.”
The bruised soldiers hastily reversed direction of the elevator and began their descent. Once again the car seemed to grind its way through the unknown obstruction, although this time the progress was a little easier. Finally it stopped and the doors opened. The sight that befell them was incredible. Thin strands of gossamer floated in the gentle stillness whilst glistening angels hair extended between the prison cells on both sides and up into the elevator shaft. So captivated were they by the beauty that both men stepped out of the car simultaneously and sealed their fate.
The lights in the ceiling reflected a dazzling brilliance from the delicate, silky threads as the spectrum exploded into tiny rainbows that shifted position depending on the viewer’s perspective. Neither man had seen anything like this before. The awestruck visitors walked along the soft, cottony surface until they noticed that their impetus was gradually being impeded by an invisible force field. The lead soldier knelt down to touch the floor and was instantly puzzled to find his hand had become adhered to the substance they were standing on. He turned to look up at his partner in time to see the blue and yellow abdomen of a Catonque spider drop from the ceiling above his friend’s head. He watched in horror as the beast sunk its humongous fangs into the unfortunate man’s neck.
The crouching soldier wrenched his hand from the glued glove and attempted to extract the pistol from its holster. The floating threads that had been tickling his neck would not yield however and his entire torso was immobilised, held fast by invisible fingers of immense strength. He tried to kick his feet free from his boots and found that this was an impossible task. The more he struggled the more he stuck.
Long spindly legs began to emerge from the cell on the left. A second Catonque spider was slowly creeping towards him with a visage that betrayed its malicious intent. He realised now what had happened, he and his friend had blundered into their nest.
He frantically tugged once more at his shoes, but his feet were cemented to the floor.
The creature crept closer.
With his strength waning the Tullimbar veteran fought in vain to free himself from the sticky filaments.
The spider crawled onto his foot.
He unloaded a stream of vociferous obscenities upon the arachnid and it reacted as only a soulless arthropod would, by biting him.
The doomed man screamed in agony as dual five centimetre long chelicerae punctured his leg and injected their venom. The thick, sticky poison began coursing through his bloodstream, melting his internal organs and reducing his insides into a gooey humanoid soup.
Eight lidless, emotionless eyes looked at him and then everything went black.