Max hadn’t experienced a headache this severe since his early cadet days when he experienced stasis sleep for the first time.
The pressure from the worm’s insides reminded him of his predicament, but also gave him hope. He was still inside the worm. He hadn’t been discovered yet.
But something else was different. He was motionless. the biters had stopped.
Max’s heart raced. Why had they stopped? Where was he?
He finally opened his eyes. The gentle glow of the beasts innards reminded him just how precarious a position he was in.
Slowly he moved his limbs. Everything was functional, and the searing pain in his head was beginning to subside.
Must have been the fish.
He chanced a stretch, easing tension out of his sore muscles. He didn’t know how long he’d been out. O2 levels were low but stable. He found he was lying on the hole he had drilled so that no more air was leaking in.
He flipped on the HUD and began to scan the area.
Red dots as far as his suit could scan milled about in random orders, worse yet were the bizarre organic structures these things lived in. Like living entities on their own, there seemed to be a never-ending number of the biters that could be stored inside them, burrowing out of the ground to feast on your flesh.
He was smack in the middle of the largest base he had ever seen. He was trapped inside of a giant deceased worm. He had no ammo, no food, would run out of oxygen again in twenty minutes and only had a few supplies remaining.
Worse yet, he had no plan.
Panic began filling his mind. He’d been in bad situations before, but nothing like this.
Focus on the solution, not the problem.
Max gritted his teeth. This would not do. Max Power was not a quitter, he was a doer.
He set the computer analyzing movement patterns of the biters, looking for anything that might help him out of this place. He initiated additional subroutines to pore over thousands of years of military history to find anything that might help him with his predicament. From the genocides on Rigel 7 to the peaceful cohabitation of the Meeyyaa Tiiblees of East Snvlrks, nothing was off-limits. He would even take fictional military tactics at this point.
His suit’s computer beeped. An ancient Earth-side story about a horse being brought into the city may have been similar, but he was inside this thing not for the reason to sneak into the biter’s base, he was trapped and needed to flee.
He re-evaluated his stock of supplies, looking over the list of all the possible items he could make.
It was fairly grim. He might be able to construct a few magazines of piercing rounds, but that wouldn’t get him very far. No, he would need to come up with something different, something unique.
Something he could make caught his attention. It was reckless and would never be useful in anything but the more dire situations. He was pretty sure that the engineers that designed this apparatus did it purely as a joke.
Yet he couldn’t get it out of his mind. It was stupid, yes, but what did he have to lose? It was his last resort.
Max shrugged, remembering something his Grandfather told him when he was a boy. “You only live once.”
With that, Max began to construct a discharge defense.