Chapter 4

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"Naphys pulex, Acinonyx jubatus, and Heterocephalus glaber."

There was no response to the redhead's revelation and after a moments silence Casey glanced up to see her audience staring at her silently. Remembering their lack of scientific education she smiled and translated, "North American jumping spider, cheetah, and naked mole rat. That's the makeup of the sample Burt brought in."

"And this one's mostly the same," Roger added over the large specimen he had grabbed from the garage after Burt's call. "Except the spider DNA is wolf spider instead."

"There's also something else we have been unable to identify," Cletus said, squinting at a computer screen. " looks...very familiar."

"Two different spiders?" Burt asked, puzzled.

"Actually, about three dozen spiders," Roger corrected. "But each creature has one specific species that's more concentrated than the others. It's...kinda like the fur colour of a Black Labrador. It has the genes for brown fur, black fur, and white fur, but the black is more dominant."

Casey nodded. "It's quite fascinating, really. Because of the cheetah DNA the inside of the spider body is actually built a lot like that of a cheetah, giving them the ability to run at incredible speeds."

"Not to mention the random snout," Tyler put in.

"Yes, and strangely enough, that houses the naked mole rat's olfactory system, which is much more sensitive to smell than the cheetah's since they live underground most of the time."

"Don't they also have poor eyesight?" Burt asked. "Is that why it couldn't see Tyler when he wasn't moving?"

"Say it like that, it sounds like a T-Rex," Tyler commented.

Cletus shook his head. "Completely incorrect assumption. A T-Rex's vision was, actually, quite good. But, it is possible for vision to be based on movement like our new friends here. Because of their bad sight anything that stands still is more likely to go unnoticed. Where as something that moves is easier to notice."

And what about the acid?" Burt frowned as he remembered how easily it ate through the freezer door.

"Combination of each spiders' digestive fluids," Casey explained. "Contrary to popular belief, most spiders don't just suck out their prey's bodily juices or blood. They vomits their digestive fluid on the prey so it breaks down outside the stomach before being ingested. That's what these do except they can also melt down a metal door. The combination makes the fluid much more concentrated and stronger."

"So far I'm not liking the odds," Burt said irritably.

"Oh, it gets better," Casey assured him. She tapped the table the creature was laying on. "These guys actually have a completely new and fairly efficient way of reproducing. We're not sure exactly how it works yet, but one thing's for sure. They can have a hell of a lot of kids."

Tyler raised an eyebrow. "How much is a lot?"

"Well," Cletus sighed. "A normal, medium-sized spider can lay about, oh, a hundred or so eggs at a time. Larger spiders, about a thousand or two. But these guys..." he shook his head.

"Great," Burt readjusted his hat angrily. "Can you find a way to kill 'em?"

"We're working on it. Should have something soon."

"Just one more question," Tyler cut in, looking confused. "How exactly did it find the mole rat and cheetah DNA? We don't have either of those around here."

"The scientists probably had some in the lab," Cletus replied. "Or samples of the DNA anyway."

Burt sighed and turned to Tyler. "I'm gonna run back to the bunker, check on the others and grab a few things. You wait here, let me know if anything comes up."

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