Without Warning

Declan hit the water without so much as a splash. The radiation increased the viscosity and surface tension. He waited for his heavy armor to pull him downward, holding still to avoid creating bubbles.

He soon reached the metallic floor, below the reach of the spotlights high above, and he army crawled his way to the edge of the cylindrical tank. He found a conduit line and followed it by feel, advancing on hands and knees and taking slow, measured breaths. He activated his helmet’s adaptive optics, but the neutron storm around him only turned his display from pitch black to harsh white. He turned it back off.

Eventually he reached the sensor array that measured the tank’s integrity. He placed both hands upon it like he was about to perform CPR, and pressed. The haptic-activated software suite integrated into his gloves activated, and the failsafe protocols in the sensor were immediately rendered ineffectual.

In six hours’ time, this place would be a smoldering mass of alpha particles and sublimating beryllium.

Now, how the hell to get out of this coolant vat before then?

Notes: I used an image as a writing prompt for this piece. You may be able to find the image on the artist’s ArtStation page.

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