In the Engineering complex, Roed and Hugh were in front of an open panel, busy working on it. Tools lay messily around Roed. They looked up with alarm as dust poured through a vent.
Hugh reacted first. “Security alert!”
Roed pulled Hugh’s Pocod over to his mouth. “Medical, too,” he said.
Roed and Hugh and a few others near them held their throats and covered their noses as they struggled to put on masks.
“I can hardly move!” Roed said.
On the bridge, Jack bounced over to a shut-off for the vent that was near his seat. He landed on the lever on the wall with his feet tight together, in pogo stick mode. His natural arms hung limp as the mechanical part of him did all the work. The powder was thick near the valve, but had almost stopped coming out of it.
As soon as he’d spoken, Roed started coughing uncontrollably. “I can’t move!” he gasped.
In the observatory, pale yellow dust swirled, especially thick up high around Walsh’s stool in the centre of the dome. The raised platform twelve feet up seemed to almost touch the stars twinkling happily outside the clear dome above. As his eyes, one with the binocular telescope, focused on the little gems above, Walsh drank in a high concentration of the odourless pollutant. Suddenly he went stiff and tumbled off the stool. He lay on the floor unconscious, blood trickling from his nose. On his chest, a crimson circle was forming on his uniform.
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