Tanso stepped out of the camp without waking any of his colleagues. The night on this planet was darker than night on any of the other planets they had visited so far, and that is probably why the crew commander had ordered that they not go outside until sunrise. It was a hard order to abide by, though, as one “day” on M6-12 was approximately 183 hours…or 91.5 hours of night.
M6-12 was proving to be a rather boring planet so far, but Tanso hoped that he might be the first to discover something of interest. This line of reasoning was rather weak, and he knew it, but he was restless. So armed with nothing but a small lantern, he set out.
If he had waited until daylight, Tanso might have seen the writhing mass of creatures that lay on his path. As he stepped into the mass, he immediately felt an excruciating pain as he was injected by thousands of the creatures with a neuro-toxin yet undiscovered by humanity…one that severed his ability to move or talk…but that left his ability to think and feel entirely in tact.
Even as he lay paralyzed among the creatures, his mind would not stop functioning in a scientific manner. He noted that the creatures were small…about the size of grasshoppers from earth. They had 10 legs apiece, and they were carnivorous. He also noted that they were a highly intelligent creature that functioned very much as a colony.
It became obvious that they would only eat live meat, as some of the creatures would come and put some sort of liquid in his mouth that kept him a few steps from starvation. He noted that they started with the extremities, eating fingers and toes first, and working slowly inwards, leaving the head and torso intact so that the victim of the creatures’ appetites would survive as long as possible. Too bad he hadn’t told anyone where he was headed. The creatures kept him alive for over a month.