“I’ve had more fun in my life,” she said, attempting to rise from the prone position in her XB-2134 chem-warfare suit. She understood why it had to be so heavy, but at the moment, she couldn’t believe they never trained for this. She was on her back and knew she couldn’t sit up. That meant she needed to roll over. The trouble was that the arms of the suit were so heavy that the designers built into the suit a feature which took some of the weight off of the wearer’s shoulders. The feature prevented the arms from lowering past 45 degrees. In effect, they were sticking out, both to the side and front. Through her helmet’s face shield, she could only see a slight cloud of pink smoke thickening and the ceiling. “No more effing around, Tara, you have to get out of here,” she told herself.
Up until she found herself on her back, she had been working on a new chemical weapon and been payed very well to do so. Rocking back and forth, back and forth, she finally made it to her stomach. She was on her stomach, arms extended over her head. “I’m not sure this is any better,” she thought. For the first time since she was knocked off her feet she felt a pang of fear. And now on her stomach she couldn’t see anything but the floor. It was smooth cement. She had never really looked at the floor before. It reminded her of the skating rink where she used to play roller hockey with her brothers.
Deciding that perhaps her side was a better position to start from, she rocked and rocked some more, gaining more and more momentum. She did it. She made it to her right side and was able to use her extended right arm to keep her from rolling back on her stomach. It was then that she noticed no one had said anything over the suits comm system since she woke up. Scanning the room from her new vantage point, she saw her four co-workers struggling to stand back up just as she was. There was no noise beside her own breathing. And the pink cloud was not only thick now, but starting to attack the suit.
“Jim! Jim, do you read me?” she shouted, hoping that anyone listening could hear her distress. She realized what part of the room she was looking at, and quickly decided to at least turn towards the containing door, with its one small window. She had to rotate clockwise about her right shoulder or else she’d end up back on her stomach. Feeling as foolish as she imagined she looked, she began to make progress. But not faster than the pink cloud. As she began to make out the hinge to the door, the chemical came nearer and nearer to eating a hole in her suit.
“Help! Anybody!” she screamed, totally aware of what was coming. She kicked her feet harder and harder.
Outside the door, Jim’s hands bled. It wasn’t until they smashed against the program director’s teeth over and over again that he even became aware of the blood. But now that he heard the squishy sound of pummeled flesh smacking against an immovable object, he realized the deep red substance that obscured the window he watched her through was his own blood. He frantically tried to wipe the blood away with his fingers. Making little progress, he saw Tara and the others speed up their movements the way ants walk faster on a frying pan over a flame. Then, just like the ants, everyone stopped moving at the exact same time. Everyone except Jim.