Riker had no warning before the shock prod tapped him in the small of the back. Immediately he died, temporarily, from the waist down. He hated the occasions when it happened, the feeling of total helplessness. The knowledge that the fall was inevitable was more grueling and hurtful to him than the fall itself.
He hit the ground hard, as he always did on such occasions. He dropped his ore breaker in the hopes of cushioning some of the fall with his hands, and he was partly successful -- but only partly, as the base of his hands crunched into the hard ground. He felt the jolt all the way up his elbows, and he gasped low in...