Originally posted on my Ko-fi
A wailing alarm jerks me instantly awake from a dream—a very pleasant dream too, I may add.
Equal parts fear and excitement rush through me. I mean, the alarm can only mean two things, right? One: something has breached the hull of the ship and I’m about to die. Awesome. Or, two… Something is close by. It could be a stareater or a bomb or pirates or anything, really.
But it’s something… (Unless it actually is the hull, of course, which, now that I think about it, is the more likely of the two.)
A distinct clunk shakes the entire ship, dispelling any thoughts I have about the hull. Fear skitters away. Because, as long as it’s been since I’ve heard that clunk, I know what it means.
Automatic docking procedures implemented.
Ah. Yeah, well, you see, when I was stranded out here, literally in the middle of nowhere, my only thought was “I need to get out of here” and not “I need to be cautious in case some pirates find me.” Hence the automatic docking procedure that I switched on ages ago.
I mean, I guess if it does turn out to be pirates, I’ll probably get a swift death rather than a slow one, right? Maybe I can even barter with them using the great pile of absolutely nothing valuable I carry with me.
Huh. This doesn’t look good.
The ship announces that it’s pressurising the airlock. Like an afterthought, I dive toward the back of the ship—which is generally where I toss stuff so it doesn’t get in my way—and wade through piles of randomness for my blaster. I don’t have much to go on; I’ve never actually used it, so it’s not like I really remember what it looks like or how it feels.
A door hisses. I’m out of time. I grab the first thing within reach that looks sturdy: my galaxy binoculars. Well, at least if I’m in danger, I can…stare at them to death?
Two Ivuls duck into the ship. I’ve only ever seen an Ivul once before; I’m pretty sure, if I remember right, that their planet was a casualty of some huge war. They’re known to be violent, but I can’t really blame them after that. Not that they’re really built for it, from what I see in front of me; they’re tall and lanky, almost like elephants standing on their hind legs, giant ears and all, but without the trunk. Their skin colour ranges from grey to light yellow, and they have little bristly hairs all over their bodies.
One of them sees me and speaks in a harsh, guttural language. I drop the binoculars; I feel sort of stupid with them anyway.
“Who are you?”
The translated voice comes through the speakers of the ship, though it’s devoid of emotion. Before I can respond, the other one fires off another question.
“What is this place?”
By the scrunching of the first Ivul’s beady eyes, I can tell that it’s critically assessing my ship. I follow its gaze, seeing all the rope hanging about, haplessly strung with lights, a sad attempt at making the place a little cheerier. The Ivul eyes the junk pile in the back of the ship too, frowning.
“Well,” I say, my voice croaking from lack of use, “Had I known I was going to have guests at 4:00 am, I would’ve tidied up.”
And that’s when the reality of it hits me: two people. Two actual people with a working ship. I hardly dare to hope.
I’m going home.