by Chris McGinty
It was raining and he needed to get inside. It wasn’t that worrisome yet, but when rain turned to acid rain on this planet it would be really bad. It usually took about 20 minutes for the rain start becoming painful and possibly deadly. The patrol vehicle was about 5 minutes away. After that it would be just a few minutes to get to the base and he would have plenty of time to get inside where it would be safe. The patrol car itself would be just fine if he didn’t make it back to base in time. Nonetheless he jogged to the car and was there in a couple of minutes.
The first problem was that the other patroller had left early today because of a family emergency. He hadn’t properly shut down the car. The battery was completely dead. The windows were down to keep the cabin depressurized and would not give him the protection from the rain that he would need.
Luckily the trunk was not electrical, so they could keep tools in it in the case of the battery ran dead. He opened the trunk and they had a hoverboard inside. While they could never get these to work on Earth, they worked fantastically on this planet. They just weren’t very fast. He figured he still had time to get back to base, but would be cutting it a lot closer than he wanted.
He took off on the hoverboard and everything was going well. Soon the base was in sight. This is when he first noticed that drops of rain were starting to erode his suit. There were backup methods to breathe in case the suit was ever compromised like this, but it wasn’t just bad air getting in, it was that soon he would be having trouble breathing and his skin would be burning.
The acid in the rain started going a little bit heavier now, and there must have been something exposed in the wiring of the hoverboard, because suddenly he found himself collapsing to the ground. His suit was torn and he had to start using the backup breathing method. He clasped the suit down so that the rain would not get inside. He ran for the doors.
As he got through the doors into the base he found that his skin was burning. There was an emergency bath nearby and he started to strip the suit from his body. He saw someone out of the corner of his eye walking down the hall and he cried out for them to come and turn on the shower.
By the time all was said and done, he was in need of skin grafting and breathing treatments for the next two months. He had narrowly avoided greater consequences.