Jayce dug his way through the sand, unable to breathe through being buried alive. He couldn’t stay calm, his entire body shook as he pushed through. Thankfully he wasn’t so deep, pulling himself out of the heap and standing up.
“Good glory…” Jayce mumbled as he found himself face to body with one of the goliaths of metal, its blades had stopped spinning as it lay still before him. He looked up at it, almost one third as wide as the village was tall.
Then he realised he was still standing on sand, quickly glancing down at his feet and then about in a spin he surrendered himself to the only possibility of survival he had. Jayce rushed towards the seemingly disabled machine, grabbing hold of its studded hide and beginning to climb.
As fast as his arms let him, as fast as his legs allowed him Jayce climbed. Hands holding onto metal studs, feet over the flat of blades he pulled himself up little by little. “Oh pick up the gun J! You can fix it J!” he mumbled to himself while climbing “It will be easy J! You’ve got everything you need right in the damn trash J!”
His tone was bitter, as he grimaced through exerting himself more than ever as he climbed the goliath “Bring it to Kylin, why don’t you J?! Easy promotion!” he continued to grumble “What the hell was I thinking!?”
As he neared the top the smell of melted metal hit his nostrils, as the air around him and the body beneath him began to feel warmer “Make wings! Resist the fall! Sneak into elevator! Easy! No problem!” he suddenly slammed his fist into the goliath’s side, cringing as pain filled his hand.
He quickly grabbed his left hand with his right, slightly leaning back as he realised he had just let go. Jayce panicked as he began to slide back and off the blades’ flat, putting all his weight forwards he quickly grabbed hold of one higher up and held tightly to its edge. Even as the skin on his hand tore from the blade he held on, pulling himself back as blood slid over the metal.
“Dammit!” Jayce grumbled as he held onto the worm’s metal studded body, resting his head onto it he sighed “A murder weapon…a damn murder weapon…” he then looked up, at the several meters that remained for him to climb.
Sighing once more he gritted his teeth and continued to climb, slowly and carefully. Watching every stud he held onto, testing every blade he stepped onto before doing so. Until finally after a few minutes, he reached a spot he could actually stand on the body itself.
Jayce still held onto the studs but from here on he crawled, quickly he made his way further up the worm’s body until…he reached a sudden edge. Stopping right before he touched molten iron Jayce found himself faced with a massive gaping hole, a huge chunk of the machine was melted off and still hadn’t cooled down.
But what he saw ahead of the gaping hole surprised him even further…
A second worm, its maw was just as melted as the first one’s side but…this one was still moving slightly. Its blades were still spinning around its body like many dozen saws, as it seemingly felt around its surroundings by wiggling ever so slightly.
Jayce lay dead still as he watched, his eyes wide, his mouth gaping open and his expression ghostly pale. He stared, petrified by fear. As the colossal machine spun and grinded sand, wriggling about like a confused worm.
He knew of these machines from stories told to him by his elders, how they surrounded their oasis but never dared dig under or move over. They were the reason nobody could leave the oasis, the reason nobody knew what waited beyond the desert.
Nobody knew what they actually were, nobody had ever successfully taken one down either. These were just one known type of machine that preyed on the dunes, but they all had one name Jayce’s people used.
Rust Wyverns they were called, after the rusty metallic bodies they had and… the seemingly beastlike mentality of hunting down their prey to the very ends of the world similar to the creature of ancient myth. The only exception to that seemed to be the grounds the oasis lay on, the Rusts wouldn’t even leap over it and crash into the village which they could very much accomplish.
“Rust Wyrms?...” Jayce mused, remembering what this kind of Rust was specifically called. Jayce had heard many a story about these beasts of metal, about how once they had chased after a hover craft around the entire oasis day and night for three weeks straight until the craft ran out of juice and the entire crew inside was melted down alongside it.
There were many recorded kinds of Rusts, each with their own trait of either size, speed or power. But each one had one trait in common, they were relentless killing machines and these Wyrms were within the size and power category.
Jayce watched the second Wyrm carefully, glancing between it and the trees of the oasis several dozen meters off from where it came out. Jayce clicked his tongue in annoyance “Now what?...” he asked himself, he had to get back to the Oasis.
He glanced down at the first Wyrm’s melted body, it was still too warm for him to scrap parts out of it. Looking up the day was getting close to sun set, after which the desert would become dreadfully cold. “Two? Two hours?” Jayce guessed as he watched the sun through the cover of his palm, just then remembering the cut over it.
Jayce sighed as he settled down, watching the second Wyrm’s movements while tending to his cut. He watched for several minutes, waiting patiently. “It’s not like I have anything else to do…” he mumbled to himself to pass the time “I wonder how this looks from over there…” he then mused, glancing up at the village. The two goliaths would have been very much visible from there, and with a magnification tool they could very well see Jayce too.
Time passed as he waited, the sun beginning to set when…As Jayce glanced between the village and the still wriggling Wyrm he noticed a glint of light reflecting the descending sun behind him. The glint was coming from the village…and Jayce had been around enough weapons to recognise the green light that followed.
Quickly ducking behind the flat of a blade “Shit!” Jayce swore constantly as a blast of green light shot past his head’s previous position. “Buckets of shit! Are they try- Of course they’re trying to kill me!” he exclaimed angrily while crawling and ducking behind cover. Several blasts of energy followed, thankfully the village guards weren’t the best of marksmen as all but one shot ended up colliding with iron and slightly melting it.
All but one which singed right over Jayce’s left arm, disintegrating a part of his sleeve and searing his skin. “Fuaaahh!!!” Jayce screamed as he ducked behind a blade and held his arm, smoke coming off the ray-wound. Grimacing and gritting his teeth through the waves of pain that followed.
Jayce breathed heavily through the agony “Fuuuu!!...Fuck!” squirming as the sudden heat slowly radiated off his flesh, tearing up as he momentarily lost all feeling in his left arm. “Hah…Ahaha…” He began to laugh, through the pain, disbelief and frustration Jayce laughed.
“Well…ain’t going that way I guess…” He resigned himself, trying his best to fight the urge to glance back at the village. Knowing full well he’d lose more than a patch of skin now that the marksmen had gotten used to the range.
With the pain mildly subsiding, Jayce thought over his current predicament. He needed to get off the Wyrm and out of the marksman’s sight. Between him and the shooter was the large blade that he had his back to, and in front of him were several thousand more blades.
He couldn’t just slide down the way he came up either, the blades were set in a way that there was no doing that unless he wished to be sliced in two from the groin up. Jayce continued to glanced around, looking for anything, any way he could get out of this awful situation.
Then he noticed, several of the blades around him had been melted by the other Wyrm’s breath. And they had still not cooled down, to the point that many were bent and fallen over the next blade over.
A thought came to him.
And he acted upon it, turning to inspect the bottom of the blade behind him which was still entire whole. Looking at where the blade met the Wyrm’s shell he saw the blade continued inwards, there were slits in the armour were the blades were embedded. Jayce guessed that the entire shell moved to make the blades spin…
That meant something held the blades to move with the shell, something small, intricate and many of it per blade. And intricate systems if approached with extreme heat, became very fragile.
Making up his mind, Jayce prepared his heart and gut for what was to come. Rising slightly he angled himself to dash, towards the closest melted blade. “One…Two…” Counting up “Three!” Jayce dashed to the blade, ducking behind another as two shots were fired after him before he dashed again continuing his momentum and ducking behind the blade in front of the melted one.
Jayce took several quick breathes, clenching his chest as he tried to slow his breathing and calm his nerves. “Yeap…Definitely trying to kill me.” He nervously mused while glancing at where the two shots had collided, the iron was melted and fused inwards.
After several moments of calming himself down, he snapped back to his original goal of rushing through possible death to sniper. Slowly sit-crawling forwards and towards the bent and melted blade, it had cooled down severely over the past hour but was still slightly malleable. Nowhere near enough for Jayce to break it but enough to be very hot to the touch.
Except for the blade’s tip which was a few feet higher than Jayce could reach. So he had to deal with some warmth on his palms as he clasped the highest part possible of the blade’s edge and…suddenly pulled upwards with all his might.
The sound of something cracking beneath the shell reached his trained ears, telling him this incredibly stupid idea might just work. He gave it several more nudges and pulls, giving it his all in each one before suddenly…something inside snapped and the blade came entirely out.
It was so sudden that Jayce fell back and slammed his head into the flat of the blade behind him “Grah!...” he groaned in pain, while rubbing the back of his head. He stared at the fallen blade, he had let go of the thing when it fell so it now lay next to him.
Five feet long and three feet wide the blade was large but it was barely a centimetre thick. On the end it was once firmly connected to the shell, a long chain had been going through what seemed like a bike’s wheel chain mechanism. It kept the blade in place while allowing it to spin with the shell.
Jayce followed the chain with his eyes, one part had snapped broke and came out with the blade but the other end lead straight back into the slit. “That could be…useful.” He thought and got back to work, grasping the chain with both hands and then realising it was still extremely hot.
“Crapbaskets!” he childishly swore in surprise before quickly letting go of the chain, sighing from the new injury to add to the ever growing list on his current body “Alright…carefully this time.” He told himself while taking off his coat and wrapping it around the chain, then pulling with all his might.
To his right he noticed another blade slightly move with his nudges, it seemed each chain went through several of the blades and probably all around the Wyrm. Jayce continued to pull, for much longer than before. Several minutes passed before finally, without the sound of snapping like earlier… the chain began to come off.
He pulled it out, little by little…carefully and pulling back his coat along the way until after a few more minutes he had a very long coil of the chain. “Must of snapped somewhere a long ways away…” He still hadn’t pulled it all out either, and he also had no way to break it so…for a few more minutes he continued to pull.
As he did, he heard sound of clattering to his right so he agitatedly turned to see what had occurred. Jayce watched in surprise as off to his right a blade had come off and began sliding down the Wyrm’s body, falling off and into the sand below.
He had removed what kept the blade in place, and it was heavy enough that gravity pulled it down from its now weak lodge.
Jayce continued to pull on the chain for a few more moments, watching as several dozen more blades came off and fell off. Until finally he had more chain around him than he probably had use for, so much that it was going to be too heavy for him to carry alone.
“Maybe they got bored and went home…” he mused while glancing at the blade behind him “Yeah, right.” He sighed and grabbed the chain from an end that wasn’t burning his hands. Pulling it over to the blade next to him he carefully entered that end into the blade’s long tunnel, perfectly made to allow the chain in. He passed several feet of the chain through then brought it back around…and tied a few simple knots to keep it from coming back out.
With the chain in place now he just needed to carry the blade, and the chain would follow. “Hopefully it doesn’t get stuck somewhere…” he lightly chuckled, mostly caused by his still present nervousness.
Jayce lightly touched the blade’s edge, feeling that it was still warm but not painfully so. Grabbing the blade by either edge Jayce heaved it up, it was surprisingly light for its size. At worst, it was as if he was carrying a thick wooden chair.
Which was strange…because as far as he could tell this thing was entirely made of iron. Or was it? He didn’t actually know, Jayce didn’t fancy himself a miner or blacksmith. He knew about mechanisms, what part could go with what and a lot about electronics. The differentiation of metals wasn’t his forte.
He held the chunk of thin mangled metal on his back like armour, holding the two chains on either side to drag it with as he moved forward. Shielding himself from the shooter. Jayce made himself scarse as quickly as he could, dragging the blade on his back and the rest of the chain behind himself.
The marksman didn't fire another shot, probably knowing his caliber couldn't penetrate the blade. Jayce made it safely down a few meters and out of sight, but the blade was going to be difficult to drag with from here onwards...
Shrugging to himself Jayce dropped it over another blade and...slid it off, letting it fall down and clatter along to the bottom. All the while the chain was pulled after the blade ” Heh, quick delivery.”…until the chain whipped around Jayce’s legs and a hook got stuck in his pants “Shi-”
Jayce’s legs were swept from under him, his back slamming down onto the shell before suddenly being pulled down…towards a very badly angled blade. “F-Fu-Fuck!” he swore while rolling to the left, evading being sliced in halve then rolling back over.
As he fell Jayce opened his legs wide and pushed on two blade’s flat sides that came up on either side of him, briefly stopping himself before the chain pulled on his leg once more and pulled it with. Jayce quickly reached out with his arm and replaced the leg, now holding himself between the blades with his right arm and left leg while his right leg was still being pulled.
“Okay! Okay! Ohohoho…This is a bad day isn’t it?” Jayce nervously joked as he held himself, then began wiggling his caught leg “Damnit get off!” He kicked and swung his leg left to right until finally the chain came off…by tearing through his pants.
Jayce slumped down to the slanted ground, sighing as he watched the chain continue to fall down with a chunk of his lower clothing caught in it “Just…Why.” Letting out a long breathe he stood back up, glancing to his side he noticed the chain had stopped falling. The blade must have reached the bottom.
He looked over at the horizon, it was starting to get dark “Shit out of luck today huh?...” he mused while glancing over the descent ahead of him…pondering for a moment what a quick death it would be. “Nope, definitely still wanna live.”
With that thought out of his tired mind, Jayce began the long climb downwards. Using whatever blade he found that was angled well enough for him to stand on and making sure not to slide into a badly angled one…he very much preferred to remain in one piece.
It took him a while and once he reached the bottom, it was already night. Looking up Jayce briefly watched the illuminated night sky, as stars, far away galaxies and many other things lit it up. But nothing was brighter than the moon, a shattered and deformed object of stone that reflected the sun’s light onto this side of the Earth.
For as long as his people remembered, the moon had always been broken.
“Screw this world…so many others out there…why was I born here?” he pondered out loud whilst staring up at the bright stars. Sighing for what felt like the hundredth time this week alone, Jayce looked down and upon the gloomy and cold desert before him.
“So…what now you might ask to the brilliant Tinkerer Jayce, Ms.Chain.” mumbled out Jayce as he grabbed the chain that had been dangling over to his left “Well I honestly don’t know, all I got is you, a couple dozen sharp objects and fuck all else!” he pulled on the chain and the rest of it came tumbling down to the sand joining the rest.
He sighed, again. “What am I going to do?” he asked himself.
Then suddenly the ground began to quake, even as he stood on a flat blade a few feet off from the sand below he still felt it. From behind the very Wyrm he stood on the sound of rumbling and heavily shifting sand filled the desert, as the ground shook and the machine beneath him trembled. Even as he froze, a quake was sent through his entire body.
The rumbling ended a few moments later, the quake persisted for a couple more before it also disappeared…
“That…was slightly terrifying.” Jayce chuckled squeamishly, amused and afraid at the same time “So the wormie behind me didn’t do that so…was that the second one or…Hell I don’t even know how many of these things are out here!...”
On that thought he looked down and around the sand below, there was no movement at all. Relieved but still alert Jayce made his way down a blade-platform lower “Damn it’s getting cold…” he noted while wrapping his coat around his lower half “I’m going to freeze out here before I fucking god damn starve!”
Swearing this much seemingly made Jayce calmer…he thought it did at least.
“I need to cover myself with something more…” he glanced around “Why couldn’t it be a desert of blasted anything other than s-sand!?” Yet it was, and there was nothing he could do to change that so he continued to look around “C-cover…s-s-somewher-re.” it was really starting to get cold.
A thought came to him then as he looked over to one side of the Wyrm “This thing does have a mouth…does it have a stomach?”