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Yellow Worm

M is for Monstrosities - A Wasteland Compendium

By Kerry WilliamsPublished 3 years ago 9 min read
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The Yellow Worm is probably one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen, or touched, in the Wasteland. No, you really don't know. Tiny Biters and Paraskiees are nothing compared to this "thing". Twenty? You wanna add anything to this? Any words of wisdom or scientific... bullsckrick?

Negative. The Yellow Worm is not known historically, and is not found within my database.

So I guess this one is all on me. Okay. Ummm, lemme see. I wanna sound like I know what the fuck I'm talking about here. I only... ugh. I only touched one, one time... and that wasn't by choice.

Everything I know, I know from Mimisha. She's the real expert, if you could call her that. Anyway, here's what I know. So, the Yellow Worm is a parasite. It will infect and inhabit anything it can, whenever it can.

An opportunistic infector.

Yeah. An opportunistic... yeah. So, they start off in an egg. This is the cycle. There's an egg. It has worms in it. The worms hatch. Then they squiggle and squirm around to try and infect anything they can, and then they grow, lay more eggs, and the process repeats.

Jesus fucking crispy! Gimme a fucking hand here! I sound like a fucking reject! Anything! Can't you do one of those memory things? You're done analyzing Captain Nutter's bullsckrick, you can help me out, can't you?

User. I will assist. Please stand by while I access your autobiographical memory surrounding the event in question. Are you aware of any additional incidents, events or encounters with the Yellow Worm?

No. Just the one. I think. Maybe... maybe two.

Was the Yellow Worm mentioned by name or scientific reference?

Uhhh, just the name. Yellow worm. Uh, maybe Yellow Worms? Plural? Oh I hate that word. "Plural".

I have found six memory events. Accessing. Analyzing. Here is the information derived from your memory and the events concerning the Yellow Worm. All information provided from this point further is incidental, derived from the User's personal observations and should not be considered scientific fact or-

Get on with it!

The Yellow Worm is a voracious parasite and an opportunistic infector, reaching a size up to ten feet in length and up to six inches wide.

Sexless, the yellow worm's primary form of reproduction is through a process called parthenogenesis, or natural cloning.

An adult worm can lay a clutch of up to one hundred eggs, with each egg containing anywhere between ten to a hundred genetic clones of the adult worm.

Eggs are usually deposited into the nests of birds or ground dwelling egg laying animals such as lizards, skinks, or large insects. If an opportunity arises, the Yellow Worm may lay an egg in the vicinity of a nesting mammal, in hopes of the unsuspecting animal ingesting the Yellow Worm egg and thereby infecting itself with the parasitic young, or, leaving the egg, thinking it will serve as a source of nourishment for its own young, only to inadvertently infect its own offspring when the egg hatches inside the warren or burrow.

Inside the egg, the liquid material cushioning the juvenile parasitic worms serves as a nutrient, feeding the worms until their first or second molt. After the second molt, the worms are two to three times their original size and are comprising a majority of the space within the egg, consuming the old shedding material as food as well. Normally, if left to their own devices without any assistance from outside factors, the juvenile worms will begin to feed on the interior membrane of the egg, weakening the egg shell, and eventually breaking it, facilitating the hatching process.

Should the worms not feed on the shell, they may become cabalistic, feeding on each other until there is only one worm remaining, or until the shell is broken open by whatever means facilitates the hatching.

Once the worms outgrow the confines of the egg, the egg will break and the worm(s), once released, will immediately seek shelter and a prey host. Any animal, whether insect, reptile, mammal or bird, in the immediate vicinity will be suitable. The Yellow worm is indiscriminate in its choosing. Multiple worms have been known to attack and inhabit a single host at the same time in the number of worms exceeds the number of hosts available.

Infection: The parasitic juvenile worms infect and inhabit the host by energetically "worming" their way into the host through any orifice or open wound possible. They have also been known to attack a host, using a small spike like protrusion above their mouth called a "spear" to poke an opening in the hosts skin. Once an opening is created, the worm will "worm" or slither into its host, quickly making its way to the hosts digestive tract where it will begin to feed.

The yellow worm lacks digestive acids or enzymes, instead, it uses the hosts own digestive system to facilitate feeding and voraciously eats any and all food consumed by the host, only passing on undigested food itself does not absorb or cannot consume itself in the process.

Maturity: Once the worm has grown and reached maturity, which is entirely dependent on the amount of food consumed and how quickly it can grow to its full size, which coincidentally is only limited by the size of the host itself, it will begin its reproductive cycle. The middle of the worm will inflate and a number of small lumps will begin to grow, which are the eggs being generated with the juvenile worms being deposited into the eggs before they are sealed and then inflated with the liquid nutrient the worms will need to grow. Once the eggs are fully developed, filled and sealed, the worm will stop eating, and exit the host animal through the animals standard digestive exit.

Unknown infection: Many larger animals with voracious appetites, may never know they are infested with one or more yellow worms. They may pass the adult worm without notice. If a host animal does not feed enough to support both itself and the yellow worm's growth cycle, the host animal may starve. If plentiful enough food is not consumed by the host animal to support the Yellow Worm, the worm may start to feed on the host itself, slowly eating away at its stomach where the host may begin exhibiting ulcer like symptoms. In contrast to a traditional ulceration, eating additional food, especially acidic food, will satiate the Yellow Worm and alleviate the ulcerative symptoms. Adversely, if the Yellow Worm eating into the host's stomach causes it to die, the Yellow Worm may starve and die.

Death and mutual death: Death of the host effectively prevents the worm from escaping, or being able to reach maturity and reproduce. Lacking digestive acid or enzymes, if the host animal dies, the Yellow Worm will also die, unless it is able to escape through the dead host's body, and infect another host animal. The chances of an adult worm being able to do this to most hosts is inversely proportionate to the worm's size. Once a Yellow Worm has grown to any significant size, it becomes suitable prey for an animal that would seek to eat and ingest the worm in pieces, rather than swallowing it whole.

Yellow Worms are neither toxic, nor poisonous. There is a huge amount of stigmatism about eating the Yellow Worm, given its infectious nature and its standard life cycle, however, most of the worm itself is both edible and nutritious. Adult worms can be captured, butchered and cleaned, cooked and eaten. Juvenile worms including Yellow Worm eggs can be caught, cooked in a variety of ways, and eaten as well.

A word of warning. Due to their unique nature, life cycle and extremely high metabolism, the following safety precautions are advised:

Most of the worm's bulk is passive digestive system and reproductive organs. It is recommended that the adult worm be caught using protective equipment to prevent accidental infection or infestation. This includes at a minimum, gloves, arm guards, and tight fitting clothing. Face guards or shields, or full body protective hazardous materials suits are recommended.

Prior to cooking and consuming, it is recommended that all inedible or undigested material be removed from the worm's digestive tract and all egg containing portions of the animal be separated and cooked thoroughly to ensure that no uncooked juvenile worms or worm precursors are ingested.

Yellow Worm eggs themselves are also edible, as long as the contents are thoroughly cooked and therefore rendered inert or dead. Eating any uncooked or live portion of the yellow worm may result in an infestation of the host by the worm.

The Yellow Worm, having an extremely high metabolism, is also known to have one the most highly regenerative systems as well, being able to recover from being severed or chopped into pieces, quickly growing back lost portions of its body, or growing into multiple fully regenerated worms in a very short amount of time. Due to their extremely high metabolism, they are also very fast at moving, and can cover large distances in a very short amount of time.

Vulnerabilities: Due to the fact that the Yellow Worm breathes through its skin, it can be drowned if placed in a container filled with liquid or water. The Yellow Worm has been known to defeat this drowning attempt by quickly consuming the water or liquid within the container, bulking its body up and allowing it to slither to the surface to breathe. Worms thrown into bodies of water will slither quickly to land in an effort to avoid drowning. It is recommended, if drowning is the preferred method to eliminate the Yellow Worm, that the worms be drowned in some liquid that is indigestible by the worm, such as gasoline, petrol, methanol, or some other caustic or flammable liquid.

The Yellow Worm is also extremely vulnerable to fire and open flames. Due to the animals exotic makeup, exposure to heat causes extreme physical pain and damage to the worm's flesh. Portions and areas of the worm's flesh damaged by extreme heat or fire will experience prolonged healing and slowed regenerative processes. A Yellow Worm may die from being exposed to flame or fire, even if the entire body is not fully cooked.

Hunting: Yellow Worms spend their entire lives inside host animals, or in the egg stage. As such, there is very little “hunting” involved. Any such hunting or capture of the Yellow Worm occurs after it has left its host's body and before or after it has laid its eggs. Once it has laid all of its eggs, the Yellow Worm often burrows into the sand where it dies quickly thereafter. A Yellow Worm's carcass desiccates quickly in the dry desert sand, and its remains are often eaten by a variety of sand dwelling insects and microbiology, unsuitable for Yellow Worm habitation.

Certain creatures in the Wasteland are unaffected by the Yellow Worm, such as the BullBear, the Stone Cat, and the Sand Wraith, due to their size and indifference to the relatively small parasitic animals. Other animals such as the Agoraton and the Sand Vulture, possess digestive systems that are strong enough to eat the Yellow Worm's flesh itself, rendering the parasite to nothing more than an unexpected meal for such predators. The preferred host of the Yellow Worm is the Sand Boar or Sand Snark. Other frequent hosts are a vast variety of lizards, skinks, geckos, iguanas, large wasteland insects, nesting birds, burrowing rodents, and human beings.

All right! That sounds all right. Holy crap. That one was easy. What else do we have? Should we do another one? How much time do we have?

User. It is imperative that we make it to a town or settlement within the next twenty-four hours.

Why? I keep asking why, and you keep giving me the same dumb excuse.

We need to get-

-additional information. Yeah, I get it. But why in the next twenty-four hours? It's like... you were in no hurry before, and now all of a sudden there's some sort of urgency. What the hell is going on?

I have completed the deep memory analysis concerning the Winter Wolf Tribe. There are numerous instances of miss-matched information. There are multiple pieces of missing information I require in order to calculate as accurate a list of hypothetical destinations as possible.

Well why the fuck didn't you say so before!

User. I have stated this before.

Not like that. Not that you needed additional information so we could go find Azziza and Zax. Fine. Wrap this up. We're heading out. What time is it?

Twenty-one o' six. I do not recommend we head to a settlement at this time. I recommend we stay in place until sun-rise.

Yeah, yeah. Alright. End this here.

Confirmed.

Sci Fi
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About the Creator

Kerry Williams

It's been ten days

The longest days. Dry, stinking, greasy days

I've been trying something new

The angels in white linens keep checking in

Is there anything you need?

No

Anything?

No

Thank you sir.

I sit

waiting

Tyler? Is that you?

No

I am... Cornelius.

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