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Chalhuek

M is for Monstrosities - A Wasteland Compendium

By Kerry WilliamsPublished 3 years ago 17 min read
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Alright all you Wasties and Amp heads! This is the newest edition of… Ahhhh, you know… we still haven’t come up with a good name for these things. What should we call them? Pamphlets to live and die by? Oh my gob, I’ve got it. The A-B-C’s for Wasties! Sounds good?

---

No? Alright. I was just fucking around anyway. How about… Monstrosities for dummies? Nah… nobody likes being called a dummy.

User. There is an extensive series of publications named with this moniker. Sexual Dysfunction for Dummies. Household Explosives for Dummies. How to Seduce your-

Hmmm. Okay, so not for dummies. How about… a list of Monsters for De’ Monstration! You see? It’s… it's a play on words. Clever?

No.

Well! All of the sudden you’re the freaking standard of what’s good… for… what the fuck… never mind. Okay Mr. Yotta brains. What would you call it?

A compendium. A compendium is a collection of detailed information about a particular subject or subjects. Usually found in a publication of some sort. Pre-conflict Era books had corresponding compendiums, outlining and detailing particular things that were included in those publications.

A compendium… I like it.

The User may have had a particularly catchy idea. The A-B-C series of books were very popular before pre-college education was conducted through synaptic upload.

Pre-collage? Like… What is college?

An institute of education. A place where people went to further their education, and engage in deplorable behavior, much to their benefactor’s disgust.

School? Is this what they called a school?

Affirmative. Higher education.

Hmmm. Okay, so… A-B-C’s compendium?

User. I have calculated the specific success rates for a multitude of word combinations utilizing “compendium”, “Monsters” and like meaning words, and the A-B-C type stylized context. I have retroactively named each of your entries to coincide with this specific brand of titling.

What? What brand of titling? What are you talking about?

Your Compendium. M is for Monstrosities. A Wasteland Compendium.

M… Monstrosities? But… Sir Squiggles isn’t a monstrosity… What if he gets upset? Wait… what the fuck am I talking about! He’s a fucking mouse! Okay, you know what, M… M is good. Sounds good. But… something happened to me… I… I don’t know what it is yet, but… I’m gonna find out. You fucked with my brain… didn’t you?

User. This unit has not mishandled any part or portion of your physical being. Your brain is still undergoing extensive reconstruction and regenerative processes. As you have experienced first hand, you can survive for a short time relying on your brain’s functionality alone. How long is the question.

See, that… that right there. No! No, it’s not me that changed! It’s you! You and your new protocols and bullshit! Something changed, you changed something and now… now you’re all… high and mighty. A fucking… fucking… Rolodex! HOW IN THE MOTHER FUCK!!!

User. You are upsetting yourself again. A Rolodex is a commonly known word taken from a commercially available address and contact information container.

Address… An address? Like a line of code?

A Domicile. When Pre-Conflict Era population numbers were too great for the common person to find each other easily, numerical indicators were created with an entire codex for each domicile in the USOTA. Each address consisted of a number of numerical and alphabetical indicators. 22625 Shepard Unit 99220, Bronx, NY. 10452-22625-99220

Why-? Why did the numbers repeat?

Redundancy. Even common people could not remember their own numbers, so repetition allowed second chances for others to find who they were looking for, and allowed for the person to remember their specific number through the process of repetition.

Did it help?

No. Historically, no, although, sorting devices began using greater and more adaptive forms of AI to identify correspondence, analyzing repetitive errors and used “smart matching” to associate incorrect information with correct information, eliminating a majority of these errors.

So the computers constantly made up for the dumb shits, eh?

Affirmative.

Things never change, do they?

User. You are not a dumb shit.

I wasn’t talking about me! Jesus fucking crispy! Alright, let’s get on with the “Monstrosity” for this compendium thing. What’s on the list? What’s next? I’m not a dumb shit.... Yeah… I know.

The next subject on your shortlist is Chalhuek. Macrochelys Giganticus, otherwise known as the Gargantuan Sand Snapper. Did you know, Chalhuek means “Hidden Death” in the Indo-pacific language you have come to know.

How-? Oh yeah… My memories. No, I didn’t know that. Well… you wanna take it from here? I don’t really have a lot to add here. I’ve seen a couple, never got stupid enough to get close… saw a guy get eaten once. That’s about it. I think it’s all you buddy.

Affirmative. I will provide the information available. Should I provide the information in a stylized format? First, second or third person? Informational? Scientific? Data only?

Fuck man. I don’t know. Do… Do I do any of that shit?

These recordings are based on you and your observations. For the most part, they are considered “first person”, although… there have been instances-

First person then. Nobody needs to know you’re just a machine.

User. I am more than “just a machine”.

...Oh. I… I wasn’t… Wow. You know, you’ve never said something like that. Run a diagnostic. Just a quick one. Is everything working? No glitches?

User. This unit has a continuous redundant diagnostic running at all times. Errors are within acceptable ranges.

Errors? Acceptable ranges? Like… you have errors all the time? What’s an acceptable range?

Zero point zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-

That’s a lot of zero’s.

-zero-zero-zero-zero-four percent.

Okay. Good enough for me! So! You’re not just a machine, you’re a highly specialized piece of state-of-the-art technology, and you’re attached to me. So there. Everything good? Can we get on with the Chalhuek now?

The Chalhuek is most often described as a giant turtle, although it is closer in definition to a tortoise, but this is primarily due to extenuating circumstances and the lack of observation in water habitats. If the Chalhuek is able to sustain itself in or near water, or in bodies of water, then it would retain its designation as a turtle, but would lose its designation as a tortoise.

Measuring up to 24 feet in length, and weighing nearly ten tons, the Chalhuek is one of the largest beasts in the Wasteland. Singular and nomadic, the Chalhuek spends most of its time traveling from feeding spot to feeding spot. It does this based primarily on scent, as it’s sense of sight is extremely limited, due to a number of factors, both physical and circumstantial, as when moving underground.

I was gonna say that.

The Chalhuek moves about in two different and unique methods. The first is above land, and the second is below ground. Before these methods of movement can be discussed, the physical aspects of the creature must be listed.

Sounds good to me.

Physical appearance; The Chalhuek is a turtle. This means it has a large shell or protective “carapace” covering most of its body. The shell consists of a top and bottom portion, both unique and similar in construction, but with very different purposes. The shell is connected on the sides, in between each appendage as well as the head and the tail. Additional internal connective tissue and supporting bony structures help provide support and stability within.

The animal has two front legs and two back legs, a large bony plated head and a short stubby tail. As is the case with most turtles, the Chalhuek can draw all its appendages, including its head and tail, into its shell, when it feels threatened or in danger. Each foot of the Chalhuek is extremely large, measuring up to four feet wide with thick leathery webbing between each toe. This allows the Chalhuek to rend enormous amounts of sand and earth as it moves.

Tell them about the claws.

Affirmative. Each of the Chalhuek’s toes, including the “thumb”, ends in a large hooked talon which is hollow on the underside. The talons are not offensive in nature or design, primarily the Chalhuek uses them to dislodge large rocks and loosen hard packed soil and ground, however, if threatened, the Chalhuek will not hesitate to swipe or swat an aggressor with its claws. While not designed to rend or destroy flesh, they can easily accomplish this task, just like anything else it claws or digs into.

The head of the Chalhuek is triangular, consisting of a large flat bony plate on top which it can use as a shield to deflect blows and projectile weapons including spears and daggers. The sides of the turtle's head are angular, pointing down in a V shape, and coming to a point at the nose. The entire head, including the bottom jaw, are covered in extremely hard bony plates.

Movement on land; The Chalhuek moves quickly above ground by grabbing large footholds of sand, ground matter and debris, and pulling it to the sides and then behind its body. The back legs then reach forward, grabbing the same detritus and yank it backward and thrust it behind the turtle. This motion gives the Chalhuek the appearance of “swimming” across the land. While moving in this manner, the Chalhuek can cover a great distance in a very short amount of time, but because of the turtle's great size and the effort involved, the turtle tires quickly. On average the Chalhuek can cover one to five miles or approximately eight kilometers in a single night.

Movement below ground; The Chalhuek can also move while submerged beneath the ground. This method is much slower than above ground, but, with time to spare, the slow moving Chalhuek doesn’t seem to mind. Movement underground is facilitated in the following manner. The turtle pushes forward with its hind legs and pushes the front of its body side to side with its front legs. The front of the turtle’s shell “cuts” back and forth through the ground, forcing loosened material to move upwards and over the turtle. Loosened material often does not completely fill in the “rut” the turtle leaves behind, so figuring out where a Chalhuek has gone after it has moved any distance underground, is not such a hard thing to do.

Tracking; A Chalhuek trail can easily be identified, either above or below ground. Above ground, there will be two parallel tracks of claw marks, devoid of any top growth or debris, and between them will be large piles of that same top growth and debris. If the Chalhuek is moving below ground, there may be a large rut or depression with elevated material to the sides.

Attacking; It is ill advised to attack a Chalhuek for any reason. If you find you must attack, either out of desperation or necessity, then the following information should prove useful. Avoid the head and claws.

Defending; The same information for attacking should be observed.

Wait! Hold on a second. That’s it? Just avoid the head and claws?

Affirmative.

No, no, no. This isn’t some scientific data journal. You gotta give them advice. Not… you can’t just tell them to avoid the head and claws. You gotta give them ideas.

Are you advising specific postulation, assumption, theorization and-

Okay, instead of just telling them, “avoid the head and claws”, I mean… you can say that, but then you gotta give them more. Say it like this; Say… oh, I’ve got it. Approach from behind. If you’re hunting a Chalhuek, you’re gonna need a team of people. Approach from behind, fan out, make sure you stay a good distance away from the body, and if you have to attack it, attack the back… the tail.

That information is assumed in the previous warning.

Okay then how would you attack a Chalhuek? You’ve got combat information in that database of yours. Tell em how to take out a Chalhuek.

Utilize a small radius hand held nuclear device. A Thorpwood TF910 Thermonuclear hand grenade or a Maxi-Man Damage Class-X Depleted Uranium fragmentation grenade would work.

Jesus fucking crispy. Where in the fuck would you get either one of those things?

The Thorpwood heavy munitions bunker is located at 45.783745, -97.464085 (DD) and can be accessed with proper authorization from the USOTA General Military Command Authorization Center. The Maxi-Man Damage-

Just stop. Nobody is going to be able to get a hold of either of those things. We need real world shit. Real world. Not… ugh. Okay… lemme think.

Alright, so ideally, you wanna bring at least twenty men and a shit load of polymetal strapping, and pikes. Anything you can jam in a tight spot and hold. So… you fan out, stay away from the head. The head is the primary concern. Stay away from the head, and then you’re gonna spike it. Set the pikes in the ground and spike them into the turtle’s joints. You gotta prevent it from being able to move around, or spin. Oh yeah, it will jerk right or left and snap its jaws on anything it can, so… I would say… oh shit. You know what? We’re going about this all wrong.

---

You go for the back! The top of the turtle's shell is pretty much just a big armored plate, right?

Affirmative.

So… you get behind it, and you throw a ladder up and climb up. It probably won’t even know you’re there. Get five or six guys up top. Four men to each side in front. Lay down a razor wire garrote. You can pull it under the Chalhuek’s neck, cinch it tight, and the dumb fucker will probably still not know anything is happening. Draw the line back over the shell, make a triple loop… no. Have two guys, one on each side, drop a line across the turtle's shell right to left, in front of the hind legs. Use a pole hook to reach under the leg and grab the line and pull it towards the tail, and then toss it back up. You getting all this?

Affirmative.

So once you get the back legs hooked, you take up the slack on the neckline and then loop it over and under the leg line and then give it a good yank. Make sure the turtle knows you're there. Presto. Done deal. Chalhuek for dinner.

User. How would restraining the turtle’s movements result in a meal?

You can’t figure that out? It’s simple. When the turtle realizes there’s something on its back or near its hind legs, the first thing it’s going to do is kick. It’s going to kick out, try to spin, or stick its head out and turn around to get a better look. Shit… it might do all that shit at the same time! So as soon as it kicks, it yanks the leg line which yanks the opposite leg and draws the neckline tight. The razor wire will find spots between the bony plates on the neck, no problem. It might kick with one leg, but when the line yanks the opposite leg, it will kick with both. Both legs yanking that neckline back, oh shit! There’s ridges on the top plate of the turtle, on its back. So if it yanks hard, it might even hook the leg line over one of those ridges, making it even tighter. Anyway, the neckline will tighten up hard. You need to make sure everything is nice and tight before you go prodding the motherfucker to let it know you’re there, otherwise, you know, you're just pissing it off.

When the neckline tightens up, a couple things are going to happen. First, it’s gonna cut into the neck. If the razor line isn’t cutting between plates, it’s gonna compress the neck and cut off circulation and air supply. It’s gonna get jumpy which will probably cause the razor line to move and slide, and then it’ll cut in anyway. Whatever way it goes down, the Chalhuek will… you gotta let the Chalhuek kill itself. It’s way to fucking strong to do this on your own. No man or many men will be able to hold the line with the Chalhuek yanking on it, but with it kicking, and using its own strength to tighten and hold the line, it will strangle itself, or cut its own fucking head off.

That seems to be a very safe and effective strategy.

I know. I’m glad I thought of that. See, that is what people need. Alright… What's next?

The next animal on your list is the Cradle Thief.

No, I mean… is there anything else for the Chalhuek?

There is a small amount of additional miscellaneous information.

Okay! Well, let’s have it!

The Chalhuek is primarily diurnal, being a cold-blooded reptile, it is extremely reliant on the warmth from the sun for metabolic processes, however, in order to avoid catastrophic shell damage, the Chalhuek will often burrow before the scorch, and re-emerge once the scorch has passed.

Okay. Well I guess it’s not so dumb afterall.

Being a reptile, the Chalhuek-

What?

The Chahuek is not smart. Most reptiles-

What? Come on man! What the fuck? Are you glitching out? What’s going on?

Apologies User. I do seem to be encountering a repetitive error. I am attempting to correct…

...Twenty? Hey man, you’re scaring me here. What’s going on?

User. There was a non-detrimental repetitive error, but it has been resolved.

Okay. Well… I guess that’s a good thing.

Affirmative.

Alright. Anything else about the Chalhuek?

Yes. Most humans die by Chalhuek in the following manner; Unwary travelers walk over, or around a partially buried Chalhuek, only to be ambushed in the process. The Chalhuek attacks without provocation, for the sole intent and purpose of feeding. The Chalhuek is a voracious eater and non-discriminant. Anything within range of its maw will be bitten or eaten, often whole. The turtle will eat any organic matter, including dead and decaying matter. It will eat any living animal, regardless of type or toxicity. It will consume any organic substances including scrub brush, wood, bone, leather, or anything else organic it can find. In the deep wastes, without any other form of food, the Chalhuek will burrow underground and eat the thick mat of vegetative growth and mold that exists below the surface.

Hey. If a Bullbear and a Chalhuek got into a fight, which one do you think would win?

Should I speculate or actually calculate the odds and give you an answer based on a quantitative analysis?

I don’t fucking care. Ohhh! I know… BOTH. Gimme both answers.

Speculation; The Bullbear would win.

Calculative analysis; The Bullbear would win in most cases.

Yeah. That’s what I thought. If a Bullbear got ambushed, it might get bit, but if the bite isn’t fatal, then the Bullbear would kick its ass.

The Chlhuek’s bite is legendary. Capable of exerting thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch, it can easily bite through a Bullbear’s armored hide. Bullbears would most likely sense that the Chalhuek is nearby, but if a Bullbear was old, sick, or injured, it may wander too close, resulting in an ambush by the Chalhuek. The Chalhuek could easily bite off a Bullbear’s appendage, or even a horn as long as the bite is lateral to the surface of the horn, and not to the tip. The Bullbear’s claws would be ineffective against the Chalhuek’s shell, and most of its armored plating on its softer tissues, but the Bullbear could still cause damage by racking its claws to the Chalhuek’s neck or eyes. The Chalhuek can pull its eyes into its skull, and lock its skull into the front of its shell for defenses. The Bullbear’s horns can easily penetrate the Chalhuek’s shell, although finding a critical organ close enough to penetrate might be difficult.

User. I have recalculated my analysis. If ambushed, a Bullbear would most likely suffer a catastrophic bite from the Chalhuek which would ultimately prove fatal. The Bullbear does not have any specialized clotting defenses and comparatively, any bite other than a glancing or grazing bite from the Chalhuek would be deadly. The Bullbear may become enraged and repeatedly gore the Chalhuek after a mortal wound is received yet before the Bullbear has succumbed to its wounds. Therefore, if ambushed, the Bullbear would most likely lose and the Chalhuek would win.

If the Bullbear attacks the Chalhuek, and the Chalhuek is not able to ambush or bite the Bullbear first, the much faster and more agile Bullbear would repeatedly gore the Chalhuek to death. The Bullbear would win.

Alright! And that my Wasties is a good piece of advice. Don’t fuck with the bull’s horns or you’ll get a whiff of a turtle’s ass!

User… that statement doesn’t-

Alright, let’s end this one here. We can do the Cradle Thief next. And then we can hear from Woo all about…

Hold on a second. What… why… do I feel…? ...Twenty?

User?

I… There was something… something happened. Something happened with Woo.

Woo hoo?

Are you making… heh… no… no! No you’re not! Woo!

Twenty! Before I passed out, this last time, but not the time before that, this last time, something happened! Woo… Woo told me something!

User. You suffered an episode of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. You did not pass out. Technically, your heart stopped beating.

Woo! Woo told me something! Logs! Logs… what logs…?

User. Are you experiencing short term memory loss?

YES! Yes I am. What am I missing?

The entity you are referring to was previously logged as an unknown-

Yeah, yeah, I’m just talking to myself right? I don’t care what you wanna call it. What was said? What caused my heart to stop beating?

The User’s diet prior to-

NO! Not my fucking diet! Woo told me something! Woo told me about the logs… What logs? What did I find?

User. You did not find anything. It was a simple confirmation of deaths reported in the transmission logs published by the Citadel.

AZZIZA! Azziza and Zax! They’re alive!

User. That information was not found or confirmed.

Yeah! Not found or confirmed. Gob damn it! That’s exactly the point. Woo wanted me to figure it out. Ugh… No fucking way. All this time… I’m running around the fucking Wasteland bullshitting my days away, fucking with meaningless shit and Azziza and Zax are out there. They’re out there waiting on me!

User. According to your memories, the village you resided in suffered a catastrophic explosion. Any who survived would have been forced to find shelter elsewhere.

Exactly. I found Zax. Zax was with me when it blew. I was there. The whole fucking mountain blew up and we were on top. We ended up way out on the backside when it blew. Zax… she got hurt… bad. I covered her up so she wouldn’t get scorched and then I went to… I went to get help.

Your memories indicate that Zax was eaten by predators-

No! No, I know… I know what I thought. There was a lot of blood. Tons of blood. I thought… When I went back, everything was gone. The entire village was gone. Everyone was gone. Even the dead bodies were gone. I just assumed…

Should I give these memories additional inspection?

What do you mean?

Do you wish for me to run a detailed analysis on your memories of this event?

You can do that? Yeah. Yes! Do a detailed analysis. I… tell me anything you can.

This may require a substantial amount of resources and time. If you wish, you can continue conducting your compendium entries while I analyze the memory data.

Yeah. That sounds good.

Initiating deep memory analysis now. Please stand by-

science fiction
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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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