I could feel something crawling up my ankles, encasing my legs, moving up my thigh. I tried to move, but seemed stuck to the floor. “Tim!”
“Move!” he shouted.
I felt his hand grip my arm and then both his hands caught my shoulders and yanked me free. “Move!” He shoved me forward into the black.
I stumbled and found myself stuck again. Tim ran into me.
“Shit!” He thumbed on his light.
I don’t know if it was better to see what was happening or not. The programmable matter had turned into a liquid substance and was oozing up our legs trying to restrict our progress toward the door. It was to my waist and still rising. It looked like I was pulling on a jet black wet suit. Tim was being overtaken too. He was struggling to get something out of his pocket before the matter enclosed it.
“Damn, Damn, Damn it!” He cursed as he fumbled in his pocket. He flipped whatever it was out just as the matter reached the top to seal it off. “Yes!!!” It was some sort of device and he flicked a switch on it with his thumb. The light immediately went out again.
I felt the matter fall uselessly at my feet in a pile. I reached down and tentatively felt something that seemed like a loose drape around my feet.
“What just happened?” I asked. My breath was coming in gasps. I had been so frightened. I could just imagine the matter coming up over my mouth and then my nose and suffocating me. I have a great fear of suffocating. A lot of spacers do.
“It was an EMP pulse,” Tim explained. “Got us out of that, but now we’re back in the dark, our blasters won’t work, our Ears are dead and we are locked in a hallway without a way out." He took a deep ragged breath. "But hey, the matter isn’t trying to make us into mummies anymore.” I could just imagine that roguish grin I love so much plastered across his face in the dark. “Let’s see what we can do.”
I heard him step by me and walk toward the door. I followed the best I could navigating by sound. He must have put his hand up to the door, because amazingly it swooshed open effortlessly. It wasn’t locked. We were immediately bathed in light from inside. It took my eyes a moment to adjust from the pitch black of the hall.
Daniel was there. We had found him.