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A Hundred-thousand Legs


Anomaly Z-9375


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File no. MFA-Z.9375-█████


Description: Anomaly is a phenomenon affecting Holden, an isolated small town within the Black Hills of South Dakota. The town has been fully encapsulated in a dome composed of spider-silk, the thickness of which measures approximately 3 m on average, and is formed from multiple layers. Debris such as cadavers, vehicles, and local fauna are intertwined within this structure.


The dome is inhabited by multiple species of parasitoid spiders with 1,200 observed phenotypes. They exhibit a high degree of intra-species cooperation and coordination, allowing for the performance of tasks unfeasible for single instances, including swarm behavior.


Innumerable spiders can be observed to be traveling along the silk dome at all times; any damage sustained by the silk is rapidly repaired. They will attack and attempt to ensnare anything that makes contact with the silk wall. Adult humans and even large prey can be subsumed in a matter of seconds.


Though spiders seem to produce endlessly from within the dome, they are capable of parasitic reproduction. All specimens regardless of phenotype possess a paralytic venom which they use to incapacitate prey. Following this, they proceed to burrow and deposit multiple egg clutches throughout the host's soft tissues. Internal organs and blood vessels are circumvented to avoid termination of the host.


Timeline:


  • A mass dispersal event of juvenile spiders is noted to occur in Holden. No anomalous behavior was observed at this point in time; and several dozen videos of the organisms traveling via air-currents are uploaded to popular video-sharing websites. Area monitored for further developments.

  • Communications from within the town ceased. It is believed this is due to the dome structure acting as a sort of Faraday cage with regard to wireless communications. Landlines are presumed damaged.

  • Personnel are deployed to investigate and address the situation; disinformation campaign commenced.

Incident Record:


Shortly after a perimeter was established, the silk wall was witnessed to rupture from within along the main road to the town's south, due to an impact from a school bus. The bus did not manage to fully breach the wall; everything beyond the engine compartment remained within the silk dome.


The driver had been ejected through the windshield, and remained face-down on the hood of the bus. Agent Kershoff left his post to investigate.


<Begin Log>


Agent Kershoff approaches the bus cautiously until approximately twenty meters away. Screaming from at least twenty individuals, primarily children, becomes audible. Agent swears and breaks into a run. A few voices become discernible, shouting over the screams.


Unknown - Adult Male: Go, go, go, go!


Unknown - Adult Female: Out the back! Out the back!


Unknown - Female Child: We can't go!


Unknown - Adult Female 2: Help me with her, she's—


Unknown - Female Child: I can’t get the buckle off!


The agent reaches the breach, but refrains from interacting with the wreck directly. A mass of spiders, scattered by the impact, begin converging towards the wreck. By the time the agent nears, they have already started to produce silk over the shattered windshield. The agent is unable to establish a visual of the bus's interior.


Unknown - Male Child: They’re getting inside!


Unknown - Adult Male: Take this! I'll grab her!


Unknown - Adult Female 2: Comon'!


Unknown - Female Child: [screams]


Unknown - Adult Male: It's too late! You need to move! Just go!


Unknown - Adult Female: Leave him!


Unknown - Female Child: [screams] Daddy!


A metal clank is heard as the rear door of the bus is slammed shut, muffling vocalizations from those on the other side. Within the bus, there is a repeated slamming of metal-on-metal. A man screams. There are sounds of struggle. A single gunshot rings out, and then there is silence.


Agent Kershoff remains motionless, swearing quietly. Suddenly, the bus's driver twitches, startling the Agent.


Driver: [Convulses, spits up blood.]


Agent Kershoff: Ah!


Driver: P-p-p-p


The driver shakily lifts a broken arm. Spiders begin to weave silk over his legs.


Agent Kershoff: Take it easy, don't try to move. Can you tell me anything about what's going on in town? How many survivors are there?


The driver stirs and attempts to reorient himself. He manages to angle his head to look Agent Kershoff in the eyes.


Driver: Please.


Agent Kershoff: We're doing the best we can. Can you tell me anything?


Spiders begin boring into the individual's flesh, while others secure the body with silk. A thousand more begin to coat the exposed portion of the bus. Command radios for Kerschoff to withdraw. Weakly, the driver reaches out.


Driver: Please? [pause] P-please?


Agent Kershoff draws his sidearm. Hesitantly, he brings it up to meet the driver’s temple, and the camera is switched off.


There is a gunshot.


<End Log>


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Preparations are currently underway for devising a means of breaching Holden’s perimeter with the goal of rescuing survivors. If they are unable to be extricated, the situation will be deemed All Souls Lost; firebombing may then commence.


Sources:

S D Locke


Mr. Illustrated

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