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Rock Raider fan no.1

Chelicerae - A Rock Raiders Story

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Rock Raider fan no.1

Foreward
 

Spoiler

 

This is a story I all about how I started writing Ell Ar Ar, so I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there, I'll tell you all about how I ....

 

Sorry...

 

Anyway, I started writing this little...I suppose what one might call anthology story back in mid to late 2015, which I had uploaded to the LEGO Message Boards... There seems to be some stigma about that place... I thought it was pretty good. :P At least, I enjoyed my time there. :P

 

Anyway, I was (and still kind of am) a bit obsessed with spiders. Which is a bit awkward. Cuz I'm slightly arachnophobic... Okay, arachnophobic, full stop. :P But in spite of that, I find spiders fascinating. Did you know there are two kinds? Mygalomorphae and Araneomorphae; Mygalomorphae have fangs, or Chelicerae, that point all the way downwards, and araneomorphae's are in a pincer arrangement.

 

So, from the context I have given you, I think you might be able to guess what's to come. You have been warned.

 

 

Scene 1

Spoiler

I wonder what Chief has us to do today,” Sparks wondered aloud, as he and Axle walked down the hall to the command bridge elevator. They had been working together fairly often as of late, and because of this, a strong friendship had developed between them. They enjoyed working together, as much as one would in the situation they were in, but they did find it a bit odd at the frequency of their jobs as a team.

Probably surveying that new cavern that was found last week,” Axle ventured, keeping pace with Sparks.

They reached the elevator, and Sparks entered his Senior Crew ID Number. The elevator soon descended, and the doors opened. They both stepped inside, and they went up to the command bridge.

When they arrived, they saw Chief examining a GeoScan of a cavern on one of the left-hand terminals. He looked up when he heard the doors open.

Ah, there you two are,” he said, walking over to them. “Come here. I’ve got something to show you.”

Axle and Sparks shrugged, and followed Chief to the console he was working at. It displayed a scan of the same cavern that Axle had mentioned. Axle glanced over to Sparks, eyebrows raised. What were the odds of getting that right?

I need you to do some surveying work in this area.” Two out of two. Axle gave Sparks another surprised glance. Sparks nodded in agreement.

Any details?” Sparks said, propping himself on his right arm against one of the monitor housings.

None at the moment,” Chief replied. “It should be fairly straightforward. You should probably get a hover scout for the two of you, for faster travel.”

Sounds right,” Sparks said. “C’mon, Axle. The sooner we get started, the sooner we finish.” He strode to the elevator.

Right, Sparks,” Axle said, following suit.

 

®®®

The two of them entered the small vehicle storage and tool depot, where they got small pickaxes and a GeoScanner for each of them and a laser cutter. They then selected two hover scouts, which they flew at a low speed over to the SSTS departure/retrieval zone. Docs was there waiting for them at the terminal which controlled it.

You two again, hmm?” Docs asked, smiling slightly. “Wouldn’t that be the seventh time in two weeks?”

Eighth,” Sparks corrected. “You forgot the time Ax and I went to remove a cave-in in sector three.”

Ah, yes, you’re quite right. I remember now. Except it was Jayce who sent you down, wasn’t it?”

Yup,” Sparks replied, nodding.

Where to?” Docs said, looking down at the terminal’s monitor.

The new cavern…what was it called…” Sparks tapped his chin in thought.

Never mind, I know which one you’re referring to.” Docs set the coordinates, and initiated the teleportation process. “Good luck you two. I am expecting detailed scans of the area, and plenty of mineral samples.”

Of course, Docs. We won’t let you down,” Sparks said, as he was beginning to dissolve.

A pair of blue rings started moving up along the perimeter of their hover scouts into the scanning array above them. A brilliant blue glow enveloped the entire area as their bodies and vehicles seemed to dissolve, leaving streaks of blue energy behind in their respective shapes. Finally, they froze, the last of their particles dissolving and they were pulled up into the scanning array, stretching them. The blue energy streaks faded, and the SSTS chamber was empty. Their particles were transferred across a network to the waypoint set by Docs in the cavern.

 

Scene 2

Spoiler

They reconstructed in the middle of a large, dark empty room. When they turned their helmet lights on, they saw that it was open and spacious - perfect for constructing a new base, large outpost, or teleportation junction.

Sparks let out a low whistle from the size. It made a satisfying reverberation.

Let’s look around,” Sparks said, starting up his hover scout.

The twosome headed towards a shallow bend in the cave. They stopped to hook up their GeoScanners to their hover scouts’ scan booster, and continued on, getting detailed readouts of the cave and the few meters behind the walls. They found cobalt ores, a few energy crystals, and a seam of gold during their trip. After five minutes, they found the end of the cavern, which was actually more of a wide tunnel, due to the bend they had rounded. There was just a smooth, wide rock wall, with a dark tunnel off to the left. Axle and Sparks both had a lot of work they needed to do, so they left the tunnel alone for the time being.

Sparks set to work collecting surface samples, while Axle did perimeter scans of the area. He started out on the right side of the cavern, and swept his way along the wall over to the opposite side.

Sparks, we’ve got crystals,” he said, after an alert came up on his GeoScanner. “Wow, they’re not too far inside the wall. Should I get them?”

If you want,” Sparks called from the opposite end, without looking up from his work.

Axle examined the wall, and decided against it. They would be mined out eventually, he figured. He continued his sweep.

When he passed the tunnel, he caught scent of a foul odor. He brought his free hand up to his face, wincing.

Eugh!” Axle exclaimed. He coughed, gagging slightly. “Smells like something died in there…A lot of somethings…” He turned away from the opening, still coughing.

Because he was coughing, he didn’t hear the faint scuttling sound behind him. Axle, though, oblivious to whatever was behind him, walked further away from the tunnel’s entry to get away from the smell.

On a whim, Axle turned to look at the tunnel again, and was confronted with the most hideous sight he had seen in his life. So hideous, he let out an escalating yell of horror.

The sight he beheld was that of an abnormally large spider. Its body was about the size of a pumpkin, and its legs held it about half a meter off the ground. And it was advancing toward him.

Axle did what most normal people would do. After a brief period of being frozen to the spot from fear, he turned and ran. His first error, however, was the fact he underestimated the spider’s agility. The spider leaped out from behind him, and landed in front of him. Axle skidded on his heels, and turned tail, fleeing in the opposite direction, but the spider jumped in front of him again. Thrice did this dance repeat before Axle finally had sense to actually do something. With catlike reflexes, he underhanded the pick he had clipped to his belt at his assailant. However only the blunt end made impact, which only stunned the spider briefly.

Enraged, the spider leapt upon its prey. Axle threw himself to the floor, and the spider sailed overhead, landing clumsily in a tangle of legs. It righted itself, and sprinted toward its quarry.

It is here where Axle displayed additional incompetence in this situation, and committed his second error. He failed to get up off the ground, and he was crawling away from the arachnid at a surprising rate of speed. But it wasn’t fast enough for his pursuer. He was upon him in a few heartbeats (and Axle’s heart was beating quite rapidly at this juncture), and Axle was now wrestling the spider, trying to prevent it from injecting the potential fatal dose of venom he saw beading on the spider’s chelicerae. In a sudden burst of energy brought on by adrenaline, with mighty grunt of exertion, he threw the spider off. It sailed through the air, flailing its legs in fury, before impacting the ground, upside down, with a sickening thud several meters away from him.

It is here where Axle commits his third error. The relief from the struggle came on him like a tidal wave. Because of this, he had is eyes closed, panting from exhaustion. He didn’t see the spider right itself, and it advancing on him before it was too late. He just had time to let out a yell, and turn around to run, but the spider pushed him to the ground. Axle tried to crawl away, but he was too late. He felt a sharp pain in his left calf. He knew what happened. Axle let out a cry from the pain, but it was stifled from the venom taking effect. His throat tightened, and his eyes rolled to the back of his head. He then collapsed, the venom having taken full effect. His throat then relaxed, and his lungs let out the air that didn’t get a chance to be used from the cry. Thankfully, he was now breathing normally.

The spider, quite possibly chuckling to itself for a job well done, wound some thread around the leg that it had previously stabbed, and started dragging Axle away, down the dark tunnel.

You may be wondering, and quite rightfully so, why Sparks hadn’t seen what was going on, and attempted to help. Well, as a matter of fact, he did see it. But he couldn’t move. Every neuron in his brain was screaming at him to run to his friend’s aid, but he was frozen to the spot in fear. Sparks, as you may have already gathered, is an extreme arachnophobe. The event that brought upon this fear, was, as a boy, a brown recluse had crawled up his arm, and bit him. After feeling the bite, he saw what had happened, and so did his parents. They sprayed the spider with an increased dose of bug spray, put it into a plastic container and rushed him and it to the hospital. The spider inside the container helped the doctors identify what had bitten him, and helped prescribe proper treatment. Sparks was really sick during and after the whole adventure, and from then on, whenever he saw a spider, made sure that there was at least a distance of ten meters or more from him and it. The larger the spider, the further away he preferred to be.

And that’s just what he did on this occasion.

Sparks watched the spider recede into the tunnel, mentally kicking himself for not helping his friend. He knew he had to at least get his friend’s body back. He couldn’t let the spider… No, he didn’t want to think about that.

It was then he stiffened, and did the bravest thing he had done in his life. He strode deliberately over to his hover scout, and produced the laser cutter they had brought along. He then briskly walked to the tunnel. It was here he hesitated, and nobody would blame him for doing so.

The tunnel was long and dark. And it stank. He could only imagine what had made the stench, and that made him even less inclined to go down there to rescue his friend. But he had to do it.

Tightening his grip on the laser cutter, gritting his teeth, and activating his respirator, he walked down the tunnel. He could only guess what was on the other side.

 

Scene 3

Spoiler

Fortunately for Sparks, the journey down was quite uneventful. He knew when he was getting close to where he needed to be when he saw streaks of dusty webbing along the walls. Soon he found an opening, off to the left. The web was getting dense, and he had to keep brushing it out of his face. It felt disgusting.

He rounded the corner, and the sight that greeted him disheartened him.

All around the cavern, there were bundles of web. But he couldn’t tell which one was Axle. He let out a moan of despair.

It was at this point he was inspired. He got out his GeoScanner, and set the scanning method to heat signatures. If Axle was alive, he’d know. If he wasn’t, he was hoping he hadn't lost all of his bodily heat.

He made a slow, left to right sweep of the cavern. Each bundle he inspected so far was cold. Nearing the right, he found something. It was the orange shape of someone in a fetal position. This had to be the one.

He rushed towards it, and used the laser cutter to cut the thread suspending it in the air. Dropping the laser cutter on the ground, he ran over and caught it, and tried prying open the silk. He succeeded, and he gazed into Axle’s face, ashen and eyes closed, unconscious. He felt for a pulse. He rejoiced when he found it. He slung him over his shoulder, and, picking up the laser cutter, jogged out of the cavern.

Someone wasn’t too happy for losing its meal. The someone in question emerged from the shadows, staring from its black, unblinking eyes at the receding figures of Axle and Sparks. It proceeded to follow them at a distance, possibly hoping to get another meal.

When he returned to the cavern, Sparks immediately turned on his SSTS lock-on beacon, and requested to be teleport up. Docs responded on the radio, and quickly warmed the SSTS up. Soon a blue beam materialized around them. Sparks breathed a sigh of relief, thinking the worst was over. He looked up, hearing a scuttling sound above the distorted noise of the teleportation sequence, and saw the spider running towards him. It leaped, and Sparks was about to let out a cry of distress before he froze, and was beamed up...

The spider, mid-leap, along with him.

 

Scene 4

Spoiler

When they began to materialize in the ship, Docs and Jayce, who was with him, immediately noticed something odd. Sparks was looking horrified at something, holding what looked like a linen-wrapped mummy over his shoulder. The oddest thing, however, was the third figure, hovering close to Sparks.

What in the worlds…” Docs said, walking closer. “That looks like a…”

SPIDER!” Jayce screamed as the teleported figures solidified. They came to life once again, and Sparks hit the floor, the bundle along with him, and the spider sailed through the air for the third time that day. It landed among a stack of crates, upsetting them. It scrabbled out, and attempted to chase Sparks down.

Acting quickly, Docs grabbed a stun gun from a rack on the wall behind him, and fired at the arachnid. An arc of lightning flew out of the barrel of the stun gun, and made contact with the spider. It was knocked backwards, folding its legs up.

Sparks, knowing he was out of immediate danger, took cover behind the console.

Docs and Jayce walked closer to the creature. It then went into convulsions, and they jumped back.

Well, it’s still alive,” Docs said, his hand upon his heart.

No kidding,” Jayce said.

Kill it!” Sparks yelled from the console.

Docs ignored Sparks’ command, and got a piece of rope from a grappling hook. He removed the hook, and then bound the spider’s legs, cautiously just in case it woke up.

That’s one thing out of the way. He won’t be bothering us if he wakes up. Now, let’s see about this white bundle you were carrying.” They walked over to the SSTS departure/retrieval chamber towards the aforementioned bundle. “By the way, Sparks, where’s Axle?”

You’re walking towards him,” Sparks said, who had removed himself from behind the console.

Oh my!” Docs exclaimed. “You mean he was a victim of that…thing?!”

Yeah,” Sparks said. “I saw the whole skirmish.”

Why didn’t you try to help him?” Jayce said, accusingly.

I have a severe case of extreme arachnophobia,” Sparks replied, looking sheepish. “I couldn’t move, even though I really wanted to. Believe me, my brain was screaming ‘help him, for goodness sake!’”

You can’t blame him for that, Jayce,” Docs said, stooping down to examine Axle’s cocoon.

I guess not, no,” she said, sighing. “Well, at least you went into the belly of the beast to rescue him.”

At least! It took every milligram of courage to do that!” Sparks snapped. “You’re not an arachnophobe, Jayce – far from it, you’re an entomologist, so I can’t expect you to understand.”

Biologist,” Jayce corrected. “I like to study all creatures, great and small…and ugly.” She cast a glance at the still unconscious arachnid. “Yeah, I don’t have arachnophobia, but spiders aren’t exactly my favorite animal to be around either.” She shuffled a bit further away from the spider, proving her point.

He’s still drugged up from the venom,” Docs said, after examining him. “He’ll live, but he’s going to be out for a while yet, it seems.”

What are we gonna do with Incy Wincy over there?” Sparks asked, jerking his thumb toward the spider.

I have a few ideas…” Docs said, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.

 

Scene 5

Spoiler

Docs walked into the Specimen Analytical Laboratory dragging the rope with the spider bound by with. The way its legs were twisted in the ropes made it look very awkward indeed. He dragged the creature over to the bench in the middle of the room and, carefully, out of a slight arachno- and germophobia, he released the knot from the creature's spindly limbs. They fell apart, making Docs jump back in fright.

Regaining his composure, he walked over to a computer terminal, and set a small crane to lift the spider up on to the bench. When the operation was done, he set to restraining the legs to the bench, with robotic claws on the end of snaking appendages. The spider now was lying flat, its legs splayed out like an open hand. A Plexiglas case descended from the ceiling, and slotted into a groove in the bench.

Docs booted up the analyzation system on the computer he was working at. After about a minute, he had monitors of the spider's vital signs. Its heart rate was at a steady, resting 64 beats per minute.

<<Attention: Specimen is unconscious,>> the computer's feminine voice reported. <<Select operation.>>

The operations displayed were "extract blood sample," "retrieve dermal tissue sample," "CT scan specimen," "stimulus test," "extract venom sample," - the computer had by this time detected venom glands in the spider - "administer fatal electrical discharge," and "initiate dissection procedures."

Computer, extract blood sample,” Docs instructed.`

<<Please select site of extraction.>> The computer showed a top-down, wireframe image of the creature. Docs selected the middle of the abdomen.

A syringe on the end of one of the snaking appendages came out of a hatch on the bench. It navigated to where it was instructed to go, and injected the needle into the designated site. A clear, pale blue liquid was drawn into the vial that the syringe was connected to. The implement was retracted back into the bench, and a moment later, the vial came back, out of the side of the bench from another hatch. Docs picked it up and scrutinized its contents meditatively.

Computer, send this vial to cold storage, please,” Docs said, placing it into a pneumatic tube.

<<Attention: Specimen’s heartrate at 70 BPM. Activity increasing.>>

Thank you,” Docs said absently, deciding which operation to perform next.

Computer, extract a venom sample,” Docs commanded.

Another syringe and vial on snaking appendage appeared out of the bench, only the vial was a lot smaller and the needle a lot longer than the blood sample extractor. It moved over to the chelicerae, and injected the needle into one of them. The spider reacted a little bit, indicating that it was awake, albeit weak. It didn’t take long for the extraction process to finish, so it wasn’t too painful.

Docs got back a clear, off-white, viscous fluid. He took the vial and placed it into a liquid tester.

Computer, scan this fluid,” Docs said.

<<Scanning. Please wait,>> the computer reported.

A moment later a molecular model of the venom appeared on the screen.

<<Substance: unknown. Source: unknown. Toxicity: 5% - 500 milliliters calculated to be fatal to healthy adult male. Toxin type: neurotoxin. Impurities: digestive enzymes - 0.05%. Acidity…>> Docs turned off the analysis results for the venom. He’d heard all he wanted to hear. He entered corrections to the substance and source entries, and closed the application.

<<Warning! Specimen activity increasing. Adjusting restrains accordingly.>>

Docs turned to see what was going on. He saw the spider starting to struggle against the restraints. He watched it for a little while, and then turned back to the computer.

Computer, retrieve dermal tissue sample.”

<<Please specify amount to retrieve,>> the computer responded.

Three square centimeters,” Docs said after a moment in thought.

<<Please select site of sample.>> It displayed the model again. Docs moved the crosshair to the center of the abdomen again.

A fine blade extended from the bench, on the end of another arm. It sliced a thin flake of the spider’s skin. It didn’t seem to react too much. Another arm with a pincer-claw extended to retrieve the flake of skin. It put it inside a plastic bag, and brought it back to Docs through the hatch on the side of the bench.

Computer, send dermal tissue sample to cold storage. I’ll look at it later,” Docs said.

<<Acknowledged.>> And it did as instructed.

Computer, display heartrate,” Docs said.

<<80 BPM – steady,>> the computer reported.

He heard a knock at the door.

Come in,” Docs said, absently.

The door opened, and Axle walked in in a white dressing gown, looking rather tired.

Ah, Axle, you’re awake. How are you feeling?”

Groggy, and a bit itchy where the bite is,” Axle replied, in a slightly hoarse voice.

Well, neurotoxic venom would do that to you,” Docs said. “And the itchiness may be a result of the digestive enzymes in the venom. I assume the medics cleaned the wound?”

Wounds, actually,” Axle said, chuckling.

Oh, yes, of course,” Docs said, chuckling also.

This the guy, huh?” Axle said, walking around the bench.

Yes, that’s him. Which reminds me... Computer, analyze blood sample for chromosomes.”

<<Analyzing blood sample,>> it reported.

What’re you doing?” Axle asked.

I want to determine the animal’s gender,” Docs replied.

Ah, of course,” Axle said, nodding. He yawned.

You’d better go get some rest, Axle,” Docs said.

Yeah… Say, you wouldn’t happen to have a glass of water on ya? I need to drink lots cleanse my system of the venom.”

No, I don’t. There’s a water dispenser down the hall though. It comes supplied with plastic cups.”

Thanks Docs. You gonna release this guy when you’re done?”

Of course,” Docs said, pausing. “Unless complications arise.”

Ugh. Complications… Can’t get away from ‘em. See you later, Docs.”

Goodbye, Axle. Get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids.”

Will do,” Axle said, and he walked out the door.

Now back to you, my friend. Don’t worry, you’ll be released soon. Just don’t cause any trouble, okay?”

The spider shuddered a bit, as if in answer. Docs didn’t know whether that was an affirmative or not, but he took it as such.

<<Blood sample did not contain any cells or nuclei,>> the computer reported. <<Analyze dermal tissue?>>

Yes.”

<<Please retrieve sample from cold storage tube.>> The plastic bag slid into the slot on the side of the tube. Docs grabbed it, and shook the sample onto a solids scanning grid. A light moved along the middle of the grid.

Cells and nuclei found. Analyzing.”

Docs went to look at the venom molecule again, when the computer displayed an alert.

<<Alert! Specimen’s heartrate has increased to 120 BPM.>>

Docs spun around to see the spider thrashing around in the case.

<<Specimen activity has increased to potentially dangerous levels.>>

Apply mild sedative,” Docs ordered.

Another syringe and arm extended from the table, this time containing a liquid all ready. As it was navigating over to the spider’s abdomen, the unthinkable happened. The spider got one of its rear legs free, and it thrashed around even more, and with one of its legs now free, it managed to hit the vial. It shattered, and the contents spilled onto the benchtop.

<<Error: sedative lost. Error code 0x0000000A.>>

The spider, one by one, got its rear legs free. And when it had gotten them free, it somehow managed to get all but one of its front legs free as well. It then displayed the most amount of intelligence that Docs had ever seen in a spider. It threw itself against the case, trying to break or dislodge it.

Computer, administer fatal electrical discharge!” Docs barked, realizing the danger of the situation.

Just as the capacitors for the discharge had charged up, the spider got its last leg free by breaking the arm the last restraint was connected to.

<<Error: restraint damaged. Discharge failed. Error code 0xF1E001A5.>> The computer reported.

Docs had just enough time to get between the bench and the door before the spider broke out of its case. It landed on the floor with a sharp report from the claws at the end of its legs.

Docs darted out the door, before the spider could get to him. It reared up in front of the door’s window, revealing its fangs, venom forming on them. It did this a couple times before it gave up. Docs reckoned it was waiting in front of the door. He got out his key to it, and locked it. The door lurched, indicating the spider was throwing itself at it. At this, Docs turned and ran.

 

Scene 6

Spoiler

So it’s loose?” Chief asked when Docs had finished explaining the situation at the emergency meeting he called.

Not entirely. It’s locked in Specimen Analytical Lab on the third floor, and as far as we know, it hasn’t escaped. I mean, no-one has called about a giant spider skulking around the place.”

Well, what are you going to do about it?” Chief asked.

Me?”

Well, you’re the one studying it. You could very well have teleported it back to where you found it.”

I was going to tell him, sir, but I didn’t. I thought Docs knew better,” Jayce said.

If you had that idea, you should’ve told him, Jayce,” Chief said, sternly. “We may not be in this mess if…”

Pardon the interruption, Chief, but I doubt very much if I would’ve listened if she suggested that,” Docs said. “I was too interested in the data I could collect, which, I may add, was quite substantial.”

Nobody cares about the data at this point in time, Docs,” Chief said. “We have a large arachnid all but loose on the ship, and we have to do something about it.”

Hear, hear!” Axle chimed in.

Well, Axle, I just had an idea,” Docs said, turning to him.

Yeah-wait, why did you say my name specifically?” Axle asked warily.

Because, he’s your friend,” Docs said, walking slowly up to him.

Friend? The spider? I’m afraid you’re gravely mistaken, Docs,” Axle replied, backing away.

Besides, you’re just the right size for the job.” Docs said, examining him.

Oh, good grief,” Axle moaned, wild imaginations running through his mind as to what Docs would have him do.

Have you ever crawled through an air duct, Axle?”

No sir, I can’t say that I have.” By this point, Axle’s back was to the command bridge elevator door. He smiled nervously, chuckling.

Well, there’s no time like the present to try something new…”

 

Scene 7

Spoiler

Several minutes later, a great bulk of which was spent persuading him of the idea, Axle was down on all fours inside of an air duct, leading directly to the third floor specimen lab. He was equipped with nothing but a screwdriver and a laser cutter.

Are you sure this is the best of ideas, Docs? Surely there’d be an easier way,” Axle said, voice shaking.

Don’t you want an opportunity for revenge, my friend?”

I don’t believe in vengeance, Docs. It’s a waste of time, and quite frankly, revenge over an animal’s natural instincts is actually kinda sick,” Axle replied, turning to face him. “Besides…I don’t like spiders too much…especially large ones.”

Exterminators have to do it,” Docs said. “They kill bugs all the time.”

Well, if a trained exterminator was to see this fella, he’d run away, and probably end up in a mental institution.”

At the most he’d retire, Axle.”

You have got to be kidding me, Docs! You saw what that spider is capable of! He broke out of a Plexiglas – bullet proof glass – case.”

We keep calling it a he,” Docs wondered aloud. “I never got to see which chromosome was dominant.”

Does that even matter at this point, Docs?” Axle asked, anxious and irritated. “I’m about to go and have another run-in with an enemy that overpowered me the first time. I do not care about its gender! Why do I have to do it, anyway??

Axle, Axle, Axle,” Docs said, shaking his head. “If you would just go and do the job, we will be rid of the monster.”

Creature,” Axle corrected. “I know it’s monstrous, but it is not a monster.”

But don’t you see my logic?”

Yeah, but you don’t see your irrationality. We could easily gas it, or turn the heat down in that room. Or better yet, suck all the air out. Why do I have to go in and fry it?”

It’s the fastest and probably least painful way if you do it in the right place. Besides, the hole it might make may help with dissecting it later.”

Ugh! Docs, that’s disgusting!” Axle protested.

It’s a new species, and I want to document it. And that means I will, eventually, have to dissect it.”

I’d rather it cremated,” Axle mumbled.

Aren’t you going to get a move on?”

Oh! All right, fine!” Axle said, turning around in the tight space.

He commenced crawling through the ducts, making a muted metallic thudding sound along the way.

Axle crawled slowly through the vent ducting, heading towards the specimen lab. The ducting itself was rather spacious, made so to accommodate the maintenance robots that used the ducting as pathways when the ship was docked.

He crawled on, his movements making muted thumping noises. He was thankful he had fresh air.

He took a few turns, mentally following the directions Docs gave him. It took a few minutes, but he finally wound up at the duct grate to the specimen analytical laboratory C, the one that Docs used.

He looked through the grate, but he could see anything. He saw pieces Plexiglas on the floor below the bench, where the rest of the case was still sitting. He saw the damaged restraints, glass shards and liquid from the broken vial, but no spider.

Axle went pale. What if the spider was in the air duct? He shook his head, realizing that a spider that size would most likely not be able to get through the grates in the vent, much less unscrew it...especially from that side. He smiled, chuckling in relief.

He went flat on his stomach to try and see from a different angle. Still no spider at the far end of the room. Nothing seemed to be damaged...Hang on.. Did something just?

Axle squinted, staring at the weird light artifact that he though he saw. It happened again. A streak of light just hovering in the air, moving back and forth. If he didn't know any better he thought it was...Wait. It was!

He quickly crawled to the other side of the grate, and, awkwardly, turned around in the duct. He looked out of the grate.

His suspicions were confirmed. What he saw was spider web reflecting the light. The spider had erected a trapping web just inside the door, and that was one of its support lines. He shook his head at the speed and intelligence of the spider. Placing it over the door was pure genius!

But he had a job to do. He unclipped a screwdriver from his tool belt, and took the screws out of the grate. He gripped the mesh, and lifted it out of the aperture. He turned around again, and slid out of the hole, his arms resting on the inside of the duct, holding him up. He fell a bit more, and caught the lip of the vent, and observed his situation.

The spider was up in Axle's right-hand corner, about 45 degrees from the middle of the web. He let go of the lip, and fell to the floor. The spider did nothing.

He advanced slowly, taking the laser cutter off of his tool belt. Still the spider was motionless. He soon realized he was expecting his next meal to come from his web. He was a patient fellow, that spider, he had to give him that.

Since he was in a laboratory, Axle decided to do an experiment. Still watching the spider, he reached down and carefully picked up a piece of glass from the sedative vial. He threw it into the center of the web.

It was as if a movie was paused, and then played again. The spider crawled to the center of its web to subdue its prey. It couldn't find it, though, as its 'prey' was just a piece of convex glass.

While the spider was in the center of the web, Axle aimed the spider's cephalothorax. Closing his eyes, and looking away, Axle pulled the trigger.

A brilliant red beam appeared out of the laser cutter's lens, with a high pitched whine. The trigger was only pulled briefly, though, and the beam disappeared. A burn mark surrounded the point of contact from the laser, which went right through.

Axle sighed in relief, bringing his arms down, and dropping the laser cutter. He drooped a little, relishing this moment of newfound safety. He sniffed, catching an odd odor. At first he thought it was ozone from the air, but when he sniffed again it had a more pungent, organic odor. He sniffed again, and an odor almost as foul as the one from the tunnel stung his olfactory glands. He held his nose, turning green slightly, both from the smell, and the hole he burned.

 

Scene 8

Spoiler

Well, that ordeal's over.” Docs said when they had gotten Axle out of the lab. The spider was carted off in a wooden crate to cold storage, and the webbing was cleared away with a rake, and stored in a vial for later analysis. They were now in the Senior Crew lounge, taking a breather from the drama of the day.

Yes. And I'm glad,” Axle said, sipping a glass of one of Sparks' raspberry sodas.

Axle...” Sparks began.

Yes?”

Sparks took a breath.

I...I am sorry for not trying to help you when you were attacked. I know I have severe arachnophobia, but that's no excuse. I mean, I eventually saved you, getting over my fear, but I am sorrowful that I didn't help, Axle. Will you please forgive me?”

Sparks...” Axle said, shaking his head. “I don't blame you for freezing back there. Not at all. In fact, I probably would've done the same thing I were in your position. I do forgive you, but only because you asked, not because it was needed.”

But I feel like I failed you.”

We all make mistakes,” Axle shrugged, taking another sip. “I mean, we're only human.”

Thanks, Axle. I feel better about it now.”

Don't sweat it, dude. I'm not the type to hold grudges.” Axle smiled, raising his glass in a mock toast to his friend.

And because of your mistake, Sparks, we've learned quite a lot from it,” Docs interjected. “We now know there are other lifeforms other than the rock monsters and slugs, and we know that they only have paralytic venom.”

Yeah, I wondered about that,” Axle said setting his glass down on a coffee table next to the chair he was sitting on. “They only had paralytic venom, but nothing really to kill and digest their prey. I wonder if there are other subspecies.”

You may be right, Axle,” Docs said, sitting up straighter. “And I got the test results back too. It turns out the spider was a male. If we are to go by the sexual dimorphism we see on earth, the females will be much bigger!”

Yeah, and there might be a community of them, serving a queen, or something,” Sparks added.

That's a little unlikely, Sparks. Ants and bees have queens, not spiders.”

True. Makes you wonder what that'd be like, though.”

Yes, and I hope we only ever experience that concept in media.” Docs shuddered. “Actually, I think I will have a glass of that raspberry soda...” Sparks handed him a freshly poured glass, and he drank from it, deeply and meditatively.

 

The end.

 

Afterward (is that a thing? Ah, what the heck!)

Spoiler

So, this is Chelicerae. How a short-lived theme that ran for barely a year managed to inspire something like this is almost beyond me.

 

Almost, but not quite.


Rock Raiders introduced a new atmosphere, previously unexplored by LEGO, and possibly not quite in the same way since. A desparate crew, flung to an uncharted galaxy, forced to extract a planet's natural resources to survive, and, hopefully, eventually get home. Makes you wonder about Green Aesops. Whether their plight justifies their actions. It's a grey area. And LEGO deals largly in black and white. Even in BIONICLE there were clear heroes and villains. They may have crossed lines at points, but it was still clear cut.

 

The games, specifically the PC RTS, expanded the universe, probably to the point where fan fictions seeds could sprout. The games showed us more than the theme had to offer. While the sets may have, well, set the tone, the PC game, and possibly even the PS1 game, established it. It showed us the hard work the crew had to do, and the lengths that the six protagonists had to go, and the risks they all had to take in order to survive.

 

If LEGO Rock Raiders was a movie or a TV serial, I reckon it would have been popular if it had expanded on the concepts it had established, given the characters depth, and gave us even further glimpses into this beloved world, constructed largly out of self-interlocking plastic elements. Might have been more of a niche audience, but probably really well loved. Like Deep Space Nine, perhaps.

 

And, weirdly enough, I cared enough about it to do just that. Give the characters depth, expand on the concepts LEGO established, gave further glimpses into the world... I even had the lofty ambition of making a _full length, 3D animated movie!!_ I cared enough about it to give Axle (who is my favorite character) an origin story. I cared enough about it to plan _five books_ of expanded story! Not much actually ended up coming to fruition, but the ideas were there. The intention, the ambition, the care, as short lived as it might have been, was there. It still is, to some degree. But as much as I want to throw myself into writing for LEGO Rock Raiders, the unfortunate fact is that I'll be writing for LEGO Rock Raiders. It may be me telling the story, and I may introduce new ideas, new characters, new "episodes," as it were, but it's not my story.

 

That's the trouble with fan fiction. It's fun, it's good practice for writing, and you already have a springboard to jump off of, but it's not your own story. And it's hard to reconcile that. I would surmise that more people love LEGO Rock Raiders now and in much more profound ways than LEGO ever did. I know I did... Or do... But the fact remains, it's not mine. I can't sell it, I can't claim it as my own, so spending time in it like I used to is a waste. And that's a truth that's hard to swallow.

 

I don't know much about buying rights. I've fantasized about it. I know that I could give it the love and expansion it so rightly deserves. I don't care it it loses the LEGO brand. But if that happens, will it be the same? Or will it be the same, but different? Or will it be so drastically different, that it barely resembles the source material?

 

Anyway, that was a long tangeant.

 

Suffice it to say that Rock Raiders was, and is, inspiring. It has, sadly, untapped potential, and though many a hobbiest writer may have tried to extract it, like metal ores from a seam, the resulting material would be refined and alloyed so differently, that it takes on a myriad of tones. I don't know if I did, but I hope I kept the original tone intact, while refining the potential to a logical, and comprehensive conclusion.

 

I hope you enjoyed this little romp in this world we all hold dear. It will survive in some way, whether in our hearts and imaginations, in the modifications we make to the game, or in a possible spiritual successor that may come later (I've had a few ideas). And with that, I bid you adieu. At least for now. Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

Miners in space... Who would have thought...

 

Edited by Rock Raider fan no.1
Finished the story

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Rock Raider fan no.1

I'm wondering whether or not I should post daily updates, or just dump the whole thing at once, since I have it all written...

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Rock Raider fan no.1

Decided on daily updates. Or, semi-daily anyway.

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Rock Raider fan no.1

Just wanna ask, is anyone actually reading this? I know Cyrem checked it out when I first posted it, but is anyone else?

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Rock Raider fan no.1

Finished the story! I hope you enjoy it!

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