By. Joshua Scully
The cable ladder twisted violently in a ripping burst of wind. Distracted by some distant irregularity not yet observed by the others, Zane Graham lost his precarious hold onto a rung some fifty-five kilometers above the Venusian surface. Falling backward, he yelped a panicked but indiscernible vocalization over his transmitter.
Graham fell for several meters before striking the support housing over the third habitation module with an audible resonance. He limply rolled off this metallic surface, becoming lost in the swirling atmospheric cream below the habitation.
Villavicencio and Hays, several rungs below from where Graham had fallen, desperately clung to the ladder. Both silently hoped that Graham was killed by his collision with the habitation. Otherwise, their friend would endure an agonizing plummet toward Venus. If he was alive, he would most likely survive the first few minutes of his fall before increasing heat and pressure simultaneously…
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