The Morning After


7/9/20232 min read

My eyes snapped open, the harsh light of a sun not my own searing through my eyelids. The ground was a cushion of something dense, foreign, and faintly mossy beneath my cheek, smelling sharply of a pine-tinged dew. The pulsating rhythm in my head drummed a dissonant counterpoint to the cheerful trilling of some distant, unknown creature.

Groaning, I pushed myself to sit, my senses struggling to make sense of my surroundings. As the blurry panorama morphed into focus, I saw the bright turquoise sky dotted with fleecy pink clouds, an alien skyscape that hung over a landscape unfamiliar in its exotic foliage.

"Dude…" A low groan interrupted my thoughts. I swiveled my gaze to find Fitt crumpled beside me, his usually vibrant demeanor replaced by a grimace of discomfort. His eyes squinted in the harsh sunlight, scanning our surroundings before meeting my gaze. "Where's our ship?"

His words echoed in my head, my heart pounding a beat faster. I followed his gaze to where our ship should've been. It wasn't.

"That's a great question, Fitt," I said, my voice sounding way calmer than I felt. Our ride, our home, our vital connection to the rest of the galaxy was inexplicably missing.

We retraced our steps, lumbering through the foreign town that held the infamous bar. People of various shapes and sizes gave us a wide berth, casting us amused looks while they haggled over wares in the market or chatted idly by their own ships. Our inquiries met with shrugs, chuckles, and empty promises of keeping an eye out.

Arguments erupted. Who last had the keys? Who was responsible for docking it securely? The lingering after-effects of the night before compounded our frustrations, every question a potential spark for a new disagreement.

We wound up at the bar, hoping for clues or maybe more helpful locals. The place was as chaotic as the previous night, a thrumming hive of activity. The bartender, a burly, broad-shouldered man with an unruly beard and weather-beaten skin, seemed vaguely sympathetic but clueless about our predicament.

A sudden guffaw from a corner table interrupted our discourse. A group of locals, their faces merry with the effects of strong liquor, had been eavesdropping. The largest of them, a towering figure with a bushy beard, clapped his hands on his knees as he doubled over in mirth.

"Looking for your ship, are ya?" He finally managed to wheeze out, pointing a thick finger at us. "Good luck with that."

He and his companions roared with laughter, leaving us baffled. Before we could respond, he staggered out, leaving behind an air of heavy amusement.

The sinking feeling in my gut intensified. This wasn't just about forgetfulness. It felt worse.

As we prepared to leave, a faint, familiar beep echoed in the bar, freezing us in our tracks. It was our ship's alarm, the sound weak but unmistakable. The source was the jolly man's keychain, now abandoned on his table.

"Dude…he had our ship's remote." Fitt's whisper was horrified.

Our ship wasn't just missing. It was stolen. And the thief had just become a needle in this alien haystack. I gritted my teeth, promising myself that we'd find our ship, no matter what.

Little did I know, our wild goose chase was just about to begin.