Death by Mushroom
We put on our space suits and stepped out of the ship. Saeed was the first one to get off. We had landed in an open area a few miles away from of the old Capital. The abandoned city and everything around it was completely covered in ash. Everything around us looked grey, hidden under a thick layer of dust.
We walked for a few minutes and we arrived to the ruins of an old nuclear station. Inside we found a field of Tetranacci. A kind of leaf mushroom that grows only in the ground inside station.
We used liquid hydrogen guns for the mushrooms. We first freeze them with the gun, then hit them with something solid and the mushroom breaks into very small crystals. Easy to collect and transport. The plant is worth is weight in gold. For hours we collect as many as we could find.
Saeed was one of our new explorers. And like most of the new hires he hadn’t read the manual. The company insists reading the manual is mandatory but they don’t really enforce the rule. There is always somebody who thinks they don’t have to read the manual to do such a simple job as mushroom hunting.
And Saeed was one of them. The thing is the mushrooms are extremely dangerous. Saeed probably never read that the freeze guns disables the mushroom’s defense mechanism.While I wasn’t looking, Saeed got too close to one of the plants. As soon as he touched the plant, the thing extended one of its leaves around his hand and grabbed it with tremendous strength.
First I heard Saeed scream, then I heard the bones crack. I run towards him. The plant pulled him to the ground. A second leaf circled his neck. Once again I heard the sound of cracking bones. Saeed stopped moving.
Unfortunately I’ve seen the same situation play out many times before. One of the other explorers pointed at the plant with her freeze gun. I stopped her before she could shoot the plant.
“That won’t be necessary now.” I said. “It’s too late to help Saeed. Let this plant enjoy its dinner. We’ll collect it next time.”
I could see it in her eyes she wanted to protest but she just stared at me without saying a word.
She knew just as well as I did that Tetranacci mushrooms need large amounts of fresh nutrients to thrive. With a food source like a fresh human body, this plant would grow many times its size and produce a hundred thousand spores. The next time we visit this mushroom will be worth a lot of money.
I don’t want to think that the Company wants any casualty to happen, but they do benefit greatly from the accidents. Yeah, I should remind the newbies to read the manual or at least warn them about the dangers of the plants. I just never seem to remember and for some reason the company has never complained about it. They do compensate me for my distress with a fat bonus every time a casualty happens, though. It has happened many times before, so I know they care.