Talga Vassternich Part 5

Read Part 4 First

They didn’t stop.

Kilometer after kilometer, Max was forcibly hauled over the broken terrain. Despite the forceful relocation, the ride wasn’t as bad as he thought it would have been.

They were even moving him closer to his base, though more parallel than anything, but he wouldn’t have to traverse the canyons to get back.

More than once he thought to make a break for it, but the computer, constantly scanning the biters and recalculating the neighboring areas, made one thing abundantly clear. The biters were in formation.

The radar HUD, which generally looked like an overhead map, looked like a dart board that was larger than it normally would have been in a bar.

Alternating red and black circles surrounded him in all directions. For the entire trek, they maintained this formation.

Looking at the circular configuration one more time before flipping to another screen, Max thought it seemed more like a bullseye, pointed right at him.

The biggest issue he faced was getting oxygen.

The scrubbers on his suit only stored a nominal amount of on-board O2, as this suit was built to be worn in a semi-hospitable environment, one where a human exposed to the elements wouldn’t instantly be fried, imploded, burned, or otherwise destroyed.

Half an hour of O2 was all it held in reserve, but this was able to be extended because he remained motionless and practiced slow breathing techniques as often as he was able.

The low O2 alarm blinked at him again.


It would start emitting an audible alert very soon, when O2 reserved dipped below 5%, and this one he wouldn’t be able to shut off, per design. He had to figure out something.

Taking his knife back out, he plunged it upward into the soft flesh of his wormy coffin. The knife was not long enough to puncture out past the thick hide of the beast and he had to push his arm into the slimy mess of innards until he felt the blade get stuck.

The skin of worms was thick, even the ammo from his handguns barely made purchase, but if the distance this thing had been dragged without falling apart was any indication, It would be better to have a chainsaw to get out than a knife.

His big problem was lack of leverage. He had nothing to push against, given his arm was extended completely in one direction and his body was wedged in the esophagus of a massive train-length worm. No, he needed another plan.

He took stock of what materials he carried around with him. He had most of the basics, minus iron. Steel, copper, wood, a handful of circuits, more solid fuel he had a use for, and a couple pieces of coal. He did have some gear wheels the he might be able to shave down to get iron with his knife. He had a few processing unit, a few turrets, a few pieces of coal and a fish.

Now how did I get a fish?

Max looked through everything he had, mulling over his different options. He might be able to route power to a laser turret to fire off, but that would be sure to attract the attention of the biters. Besides it was nighttime outside according to his HUD. Nothing would miss that blast.

He flipped up his visor to toss the fish into his mouth. Suddenly, Max knew what he had to do.


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