ICYMI, here’s part 1
Steve woke up on fire. His head popped up and he looked around frantically. He couldn’t smell anything charred, and the end of his snout was dripping in the humidity. He stuck his tongue out to the air.
“Friggin’ tropical here,” Steve harrumphed, and hauled himself to his feet. He walked out of the rocket and looked around the open, wide room, windows on each wall, stars and planets beyond. Were they moving? Maybe? How do you set anchor in space?
“Yoo-hoo? Anybody home? Yo, Slimy Guy!” he called out. He slipped and slid on the slimy floor. The rocket was docked in the middle of the room, its bay door still open. He walked around to the opposite side of the rocket. A mass of interwined, crawling, continuously moving tentacles greeted him. One of the pile stretch straight up into the air and pointed its tip at Steve.
“Hey bro, hands up, don’t shoot!” Steve shouted and hit the deck. The laser missed and burned a hole in the rocket’s side just about where his head had been. Steve closed his eyes tight and waited for death.
And waited some more.
Steve opened one eye.
A Smark approached him, swoosh, swoosh. Steve’s eye followed it. It seemed larger than the alien who’d aardvark-napped him from Earth, but that could have been his view askew from his position on the floor. One of the Smark’s eyes examined Steve from snout to tail. A tentacle moved toward his nose, slowly, like a snake testing the air for dinner. The tip of it booped him on the snout, then entered his nostril.
Steve sat up and back, snorfling and snuffling, tears, his two front paws over his snout. Lord, the smell. Like sewage and gasoline and week-old diapers. Gross. The aardvark was backed up against the hull of the rocket in the middle of the mothership. The tentacle advanced farther and farther up his snout, icy slime nearly reaching his face. Steve’s eyes blinked wide as the rest of the Smark clan moved in. There was only one way out.
Steve cut the cheese.
It was more of a shart than a pure fart, and the sulfur smell combined with the misty emission caused the Smarks’ tentacles to curl up in disgust. They blinked their membranous eyelids and bounced away, some wiping their tentacles on the floor or other Smarks to remove the light brown residue of Steve’s gas.
The Smarks huddled up. Tentacles swarmed and rolled and reached and coiled around the pack. A long purple tentacle rose in the air, stabbing at it decisively. Another tentacle rose and pulled it down. Laser shots were fired and all the Smarks collapsed onto the floor. A wobbly, gelatinous pile of writhing tentacles quivered this way and that as the Smarks argued over whether or not Steve was worth the hassle.
They decided to give it one more shot. Mostly for fuel economy. The mothership was closer to the target planet than it was to Earth, and they would need to refuel soon. Plus, driving back through the asteroid belt to reach Earth was really rough on the old mpg.
Steve watched the pile argue from his now-warm spot on the smooth floor. His tummy rumbled. The aardvark’s brow knit in consternation. What the hell was he gonna eat? He hadn’t see Slimy Guy pack any termites from home in a cooler.
“Guys?” he ventured, somewhat louder than a whisper. “Guys?” he asked, a bit louder. “GUYS!” he screech-growled, because aardvarks aren’t really the hollering type. “Got anything to eat? Termites? Ants? Cheetos? And I’m thirsty, where’s the bar?”
He could swear he saw the soldier Smark that hustled him on board roll at least one of his three visible eyes. Steve hauled himself up to all fours and shambled over to him. He stuck his tongue out to a tentacle and got a smart rap on the head.
“Sliiiimyyyyy, I’m hunnnngryyyyy! And when I get hungry, I get gas. We don’t wanna go through that nastiness again, do we?” Steve looked up at the Smark with his best aardvark-cum-puppy dog eyes.
The Smark seemed to sigh, then shrug, then slowly bounced across the room to a large wall of cabinets. He pulled open a door which lit its compartment, and coiled around a thick metal cylinder. He removed it from the alien fridge and twisted off the top.
“Earthworms? You’re giving me earthworms?!” Steve squeaked. “What am I, a trout?” The Smark yanked it from Steve’s grasp and tossed it back in the fridge. He removed another cylinder and opened it.
“Lightning bugs? Come oooooonnnn, mannnn, we were JUST there! You didn’t think to get take-out of the shit I actually eat?” Steve whined. The Smark growled and tossed the cylinder back, handed Steve a third.
“Ahhh, this is what I’m talkin’ ‘bout! Termite Tenderness! Yassss, come to Daddy mah precioussss,” snarled Steve as he flopped down to slurp out his snack. The Smark tentacle-palmed himself and bounced away to another alien somewhat removed from the group.
Soldier Smark’s tentacles pressed an elaborate pattern on the other Smark’s headlump, leaving suction cup marks on its jello-y skin.
YOU COULD HAVE AT LEAST LABELLED THAT SHIT WE BROUGHT FROM EARTH. WE DON’T EVEN KNOW WHEN IT EXPIRES.
The other Smark closed its eye membranes and pressed a pattern upon Soldier Smark’s headlump.
SORRY, I DIDN’T KNOW IT WOULD BE SO PERSNICKETY. WIKIPEDIA JUST SAID SMALL CRAWLY THINGS. ANYWAY, LAND HO.
It pointed a tentacle out the window and sure as shit stinks, a reddish orange planet grew in the window as the mothership approached. Tiny specs of light jumped up into its atmosphere from the ground. Laser war. Or maybe just laser tag. It was tough to tell from that altitude.
Soldier Smark returned to where Steve had flopped and was licking the remaining termites from the bottom of the metal cylinder. It pointed a tentacle to the window, Steve’s eyes followed it.
“You brought me to fucking Mars? Are you serious, bro? Dude, this planet is so overrated,” Steve sighed, then belched. It was a big one, and all the slimy headlumps popped up in unison.
“S’cuse me,” Steve muttered, and raised his leg to piss on the wall.
TO BE CONTINUED…