In the morning on the great plains of Pandora.
"Fuck this shit!", Liam yelled more out of shock than anything, the muscle in his arms taut, holding one of the wood spears he made yesterday. He didn't have to wait long to test their effectiveness.
Embedded halfway through the spear was a flying creature the size of a turkey, it was of a vibrant purple, and it was a stingbat.
Even stabbed through the chest with red blood spurting out. It was alive, jerking around, wings flapping uselessly, mouth full of small needle-like teeth aggressively snapping, screeching, and the barb at the end of its tail trying to stab him in the face.
Liam woke up not even minutes five minutes ago, and the first thing he saw was that little shit flying straight at him, as such he took one of his spears out. More of a prevention than anything but this creature kept flying in a straight line and impaled itself on it without him doing anything.
Liam stayed in place and waited this way for half an hour. Until the stingbat finally stopped moving, its eyes half closed and body limp. Liam shook the spear to see if it was really dead. He sighed. Finally, it was dead, he slowly brought the carcass to him. Just as he was going to take it off the spear the body spasmed.
Right after, a high-pitched screech escaped its throat and its bladed tail sprung to his face, missing his left eye by a few millimeters only thanks to his reflex. It cut deeply into his left eyebrow, just as it did that Liam's palm met its face.
A crack was heard.
The skull caved in, the eyes popped out and the small carbon-reinforced vertebrae of the neck crumbled under the strength behind the hit. This time killing it for good.
'I… uh. What the heck was wrong with that thing?', he thought, flabbergasted by it all. Then he felt a stinging sensation on his left eye, accompanied by blood trickling down onto his face from his left eyebrow, there was a numbness around the wound like that of a bee sting. It was venomous, but the venom was to Liam nothing more than a bee sting.
Great, it was a good way to wake up after a horrible night on an alien tree with barely any sleep thanks to another way worse injury. The said injury that was starting to close, one-fourth of it was now covered by dark scabs that were already falling to reveal scarred skin and the muscles in the middle were rapidly healing.
He touched his left eyebrow, this was likely going to scar. Not that he particularly cared, though now that he paid attention there was the start of a beard on his face, hair growing on his head, and also his chest.
'I will look like a caveman if I don't already do.', he remarked, he was also filthy covered in dry blood, dirt, and remnants of sweat. He yawned quite loudly and focused back on the creature that he slapped to death.
He took it off the spear, the body was still warm, and the smell of blood was strong, he turned it around studying the physiology of the thing. It was different from anything he saw, he didn't know how he was going to prepare but he would try.
Liam wasn't going to cook it that much he was sure, making fire on the branch of a tree was… Not the best idea. At best he was going to cure the meat he could get and cure it with the help of the sun, maybe also using some salt.
Or he was going to straight up eat it raw, he was oh so fucking hungry... It was maddening even if it hasn't even been that long.
His incredible regeneration needed a lot of fuel and a diet composed of plants wasn't going to cut it. Eating raw meat could be bad but anything he could eat here could be bad and potentially deadly so whatever.
Taking in a more appropriate position on the branch, biting his lips at the pain from the movement. He placed the stingbat on its back right in the middle of the branch, then took out the seashell knife.
It wasn't his first time preparing an animal he killed, he did rabbit, chicken, duck, and turkey at the farm of his grandfather. But here he didn't have the same tools, and it was a freaking alien bird-bat thing.
He wasn't going to touch any of the organs, only the limbs, and muscles surrounding them, those were the ones that interested him. And to be fair… It was kinda all there was to it.
The following event was him carefully and methodically cutting around the articulation of the six limbs, cutting the membrane for flight, then the skin around the body, a little bit of fat, tendons, veins, and nerves until only the bone could be seen. All of it he did with a calm face.
And the bones were blackish, reminding him of graphite, he simply twisted them one by one, and the limbs came right off. It was incredibly easy for him but that wouldn't have been the case if he had the strength of a normal human.
Each of the limbs was then placed in his inventory, he knew thanks to this that the bones had a lot of carbon in them which explained their color.
His attention shifted to the two strange tendrils that were growing from its chest around the holes the creature used to breathe. At the end of each was skin closed into the shape of bourgeon, cutting one open he saw small pink tendrils covered with tiny white hair.
"Ah.", he uttered, recognizing what those things were. Those were the neuronal tendril thingy at the end of the neural queue of nearly every creature such as the tall blue cat people aka Na'vi from… Pandora.
He would like to say he couldn't make any hasty conclusion, but he was 99% sure he was on this particular moon in this particular sci-fi movie he saw when he was 12 years old.
The thing was, he didn't remember much of the movie besides its incredible beauty, the one-dimensional evil corporate humans, and a crippled human soldier name Jake betraying the evil humans for a blue alien chick.
And that those blue aliens were called Na'vi and were spiritually and biologically connected with the flora and fauna and also a sort of 'deity' vaguely similar to Gaia in concept. And that he was soon going to watch the two at the theatre of his town... Until THIS happened.
All of these thoughts were interrupted by his stomach grumbling, putting Liam back to the reality at hand.
Storing the rest of the bat's body in his inventory, he took one of the legs. It was around the size of a turkey leg, with one swift move he peeled the skin right off till the start of the talon.
The pink raw flesh with blood was far from enticing, he hesitated, but ultimately bit it and started eating. It was not good, to say the least.
'Yeah it's raw… what did I expect? But that could be worse...'
Liam woke up in the middle of the night, again thanks to his back injury and a nightmare of the moment when he climbed the tree from the great austrapede but in it, his spine was cut. Opening his eyes he saw something that will forever be in his mind.
A giant swarm of stingbats, some up to 3 meters in wingspan, were flying in the far distance the sound of wings flapping, screeching, and short clicks echoed in the air, while their bioluminescent bodies covered half of the sky.
"They are eating everything like a locust.", he let out horrified as he could see from up here a herd of tall six-legged horses being consumed alive by the swarm.
He didn't move, transfixed on the ongoing feeding frenzy that nothing organic could survive. Even members of the swarm were not spared from being part of the feast and a third of it was self-consumed in a cannibalistic frenzy.
It was madness, the only thing he could do was not move and wait and hope till they fly away, as far as possible. And they eventually did, and he could finally calm down. Nothing could go against that but bombs and fires.
"Finally! Finally, I can move! AAAH MY BACK! Fuck.", Liam cheered, then cried in pain before swearing. It felt so good to be able to stand up and not keel over from the pain he forgot for a moment he still was very much injured.
It was just closed, leaving a fifty-ish centimeter-long scar running diagonally along his back but inside the flesh was still regenerating and the flesh tender. Same for his left eyebrow, it scarred as he anticipated but it was barely noticeable and didn't impede the supercilium from growing.
The one thing he was glad and surprised by was that he didn't get any infection, this was thanks to his superior immune system and that his body was… Inhospitable, so to say, with bacteria, viruses, and parasites of all kinds.
Another thing he was 'happy' about was that Pandora didn't possess mosquitoes or flies, or at least ones that were interested in humans.
There were still plenty of chitin-covered critters, such that during the night he saw bioluminescent wasps the size of a sparrow flying amidst the plain, those were hellfire wasps, not that he knew their name. For him, they were just bigass to not be stung by.
Calming down he sat down, his stomach grumbled and he extended his taking the piece of stingbat's jerky meat seasoned with Goat Horns (the plant). Far from being good but infinitely better than raw meat, the seasoning is mainly the cause of this better taste. The herb had a slight hint of curry too.
This meat didn't come from the one he killed two days ago, it was already eaten. It
was from yesterday, two of those bats attacked him at the same time. One swift spear strike at the head followed by a second on the other bat and both were dead, this time he double tapped to make sure they were truly dead, however.
Free meat, it was that, well until more than two or three come, and then the table will be turned, he only had so many hands. This was why since he now could move he was going to build a 'nest' where he slept, an idea he got when he saw the swarm and realized how vulnerable he was. And it could be beneficial.
This 'nest' was based on weaver birds' nests but adapted to humans, a type of bird that didn't exist anymore in this universe. The next twenty minutes was him thinking about how to build it, with the knowledge of architecture he possessed from the engrams and the new ways his mind worked it wasn't hard to exactly visualize a first schema and further elaborate and modify it to suit his needs.
At the end of the day he had mostly finished, it formed a protective sphere of woods and grass carefully woven together and attached to multiple branches with ropes, two entrances/exits one below and another above, both with no 'doors' at the moment.
It was far from being good in his opinion, there were many places to improve. He was a perfectionist in some aspects.
While at it he also finished the 'bed' he started some time ago, there was also the possibility of carving the trunk for him to sleep in but Liam needed better tools than what he currently has.
Punching worked but could break fingers, he knew he tried and that's why a 6-centimeter fist mark and fissures in the bark were behind him, his three broken fingers with the help of splints were healed in less than a day.
The most abnormal part for him was how breaking them didn't hurt as much as it should, and he lacked the fear of hurting himself if that made sense.
He worked with speed and efficiency, the resources in his possession he collected before he was attacked only helped, but he was running out of them. In the same manner, if he was running out of water(aloe vera), tomorrow he will go down the tree.
"Ah… It won't be easy... I have so much to do.", Liam mumbled, eyes gazing sadly upon the mesmerizing sunset of Pandora accompanied by the millions of stars in the clear sky of any pollution from the interstices of the branches, and woven plant fiber.
A deep feeling of homesickness in his heart, he must have missed his aunt's birthday, and he wondered how his loved ones must feel. All of his thoughts were soon eclipsed by his falling into a deep dreamless sleep.