The others do not like her much, yet. They make her watch over the brooding ones. She can hear the skittering of the babies in their mother’s bodies, eating. To distract herself, Lin sings, although her mother always called her voice too sharp; the rise and fall of it is a comfort, now, and a buffer. It is the only human sound. She does not know if the others have forgotten how to talk, or if they are hollow on the inside. They do not let her close enough for her to be sure. When she feels brave, she reaches down to touch the two holes in her side that are like the holes in the others; twinned hollows she can reach three fingers into, groping at the bizarre hardness of something that once belonged to her flesh. Lin thinks this should not be possible, that the wounds must have hit something vital – lungs, kidneys, whatever – when the spider grasped her. She thinks the holes are getting bigger. She has not eaten or slept or pissed in three days, either. Lin thinks that might be indicative. That’s a word her teachers used to use, and it’s another buffer. She sings, and underneath she can hear the babies, but at least she cannot hear the absence of her heartbeat. Twenty years after she watches the impaled body of a girl carried over the cliffs, Claire returns with bandoliers crossed between her breasts and the heavy whump of the helicopters in her ears. The machine gun fire takes the first spider over the edge with a satisfying amount of spatter; the second tries to dodge back, but loses half its legs to the human assault and plummets from the cliff. The queen is too intelligent to show herself; but Claire can see the light off the spider’s gem-studded carapace on the promontory of rock opposite from their position. She gestures her soldiers to follow.