Hal eyed his oxygen indicator. Even if they got his suit free, he'd barely make the ship.
There was a flash of light as Clunk approached the cavern. The robot's shiny head appeared through the jumbled rocks at the entrance, and Hal smiled to himself. The situation was tricky, but Clunk was always resourceful. He'd know what to do!
"I don't know how we're going to get you out of this," said Clunk, inspecting the metal shard. "Removing all these barbs will take far too long, and cutting the suit will release the last of your air."
"I was hoping for something a bit more positive," said Hal. "You know, unpick the tape, carefully peel back the fabric, patch it up as we go. That sort of thing."
Clunk shook his head. "No, we'll have to cut it off."
"Eh! That's a bit extreme, isn't it?"
"It's the only solution. The longer we spend here, the more likely Sandy will run out of air too."
"No! You'll have to find another way."
"I'm very sorry, Mr Spacejock. Time is of the essence."
Clunk raised his right hand, holding it in the beam from his chest lamp. The plasteel skin parted along the side of his palm, revealing a fine-toothed blade. "Hold still please."
"No, wait! You go back with Sandy and I'll take my chances. I'm sure I can get it free!"
"This is the only way." Clunk bent over Hal's leg, saw at the ready.
"Don't I get anaesthetic?"
"Trust me, this won't hurt a bit."
Hal screwed his eyes shut, clenched his fists and gritted his teeth. There was a gentle pressure on his shin, and he steeled himself for the bite of the saw. Instead, he felt rapid vibrations, and he realised Clunk was using some kind of self-healing surgical blade. The vibrations continued for several seconds, and then the pressure was gone.
"All done," said Clunk. "Let's go."
Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)