I rolled my eyes. The first humans to make footfall on E3137 and Jed was already planning to dissect the local life forms. We’d wrecked Earth and now we were starting again somewhere else. I had kind of hoped we’d be coming in peace.
“I’m going in”, his voice came clearly over the intercom. “I think I can get a clear shot with the tranq gun”.
As he wriggled, commando style, towards the – birds? Pterosaurs? What were they? – a fine mist began to drift towards us. They looked so peaceful, weaving a gentle dance, their outlines blurred by the cloud around them.
“It’s coming from them!” – he sounded excited – “A defence mechanism, I think? To hide them from predators? How do they do that?”
The mist grew thicker. I heard a choking sound from Jed – I couldn’t see him. I shouted his name. Radio silence.
I looked down at my suit. It looked strange – it was melting! Acid, I realized, in aerosol form. A cloud of acid – one hell of a defence.
I turned and started to run.
This is for Jane Dougherty’s microfiction challenge. The words this week are unchartered waters.