Catch of the Day

Brett sat in a dark space, upon the floor, twiddling his thumbs.

‘Three million years. Three million years. It’s unfathomable, absolutely ridiculous. He’s alive well past his expiry date, well past the expiry date of most plastics!’
His mind just couldn't cope. ‘What is the point? I mean, really, what? The Earth was probably a ozone-less arid wasteland with no plants for salads and garnishes and no livestock. No reason to be a chef anymore. Chef of what? Nutritional bars and sludge packets that taste like cream corn even if the original intent was to be a T-bone steak?’

Brett looked around at the blackness, it was very dark. Dark as his mind right now, filled with dark depressive thoughts.

‘Probably where I am right now. Pit of my own shock and despair. Smeggin’ great. Well, maybe I can become a disc jockey again. Maybe entertain the cockroaches at least, since they are likely the only living things left in the universe…...but there was that castle. What if others are still aboard? Other survivors who slept as long as he did? It was a slim chance but what if?’

A white door suddenly appeared a few feet in front of him. ‘Well, time to get some answers, plenty enough time to be depressed later. I owe to it Penny.’

He rose, opened the door and stepped through. And opened his eyes.

“Back with me I see.” Holly greeted. “Everything okay in there?” Brett was lying in the deactivated cryo chamber, staring at the ceiling, his holo lenses still clutched in his hands. His head ached a little from where it landed on the floor when he collapsed, but otherwise he was fine.

“Yes, Holly. Thanks for asking, I’m OK now. It was just a lot to take in, y’know?”


“Well, it was for me, I’m only human after all.”

“Well, can’t help that I suppose. So. Fancy a game of checkers?”

“No Hol, not at this moment. I’d rather like to leave this chamber without drowning.”

“Oh, you sure? The water looks awfully….wet.”

“Yes, thank you, I’m quite sure. But first, am I the only crew left on Blue Dwarf?” He queried, half-dreading the answer.

“Currently yes.” Brett was about to go back through that proverbial door. “The rest of the crew are on a satellite resort we are orbiting.” Brett breathed a sigh of relief. “Haven’t heard from anyone in awhile though. Must be having a laugh. They didn’t ask if I wanted to go. Oh no, Holly doesn't need a vacation.”

Brett detected disappointment and, was that hurt, from the A.I.? Very strange, someone probably fiddled with his programming. Holly was always a bit drab but never displayed sarcasm before.
“I see, well, can you signal them, maybe tell them I’m out of stasis, and I could do with a bit of rescuing?”

“Sure mate. But I don’t see much point to it.”

Brett looked a little stunned. “And why is that?”

“You only have about ten minutes of oxygen left in there.”

“Oh.” Brett pursed his lips. “Smeg.”

“I’d say that was the appropriate response to the situation.” Holly nodded his head in the frame of the holo lens.

“OK, think think, think. What is the temperature of the water in the cargo hold?” he asked instinctively placing one of the holo lens’s arms in his mouth.

“A balmy nineteen degrees Celsius.”

“Good, good, so I won’t freeze, why is it so warm?”

“From the water coming in from the vents. It passes through hot water pipes heading up to the Promenade.”

“Does the water reach right to the ceiling?”

“Afraid so. Seven minutes of oxygen left by the way.”

“Thanks Hol. Are the blast doors in the corridor leading to the cargo lift still closed?”

“Yes Brett.”

“Ok, that’s good. And is the cargo lift still working?”

“I dunno.”

“Well, if it’s not too much trouble…”

“Yea, I’ll check, hold a ‘mo.”
‘Hold a ‘mo?’ Brett repeated in his mind. Is he physically checking?

He reappeared after a ‘mo. “Yeah, working fine and still on your floor.”

“Fantastic. Alright, OK, alright.” He took in a deep breath. “Here’s the plan……”

After another minute’s preparation and another time update from Holly, ‘two minutes, 46 seconds of oxygen remaining,’ Brett gave his instructions to Holly then folded the specs into his apron which he had removed and tried to make as watertight as possible. He also placed his container of rare exotic spices he always kept with him, probably the last organic spices in the galaxy, he placed both items into the apron/pouch and tucked it into his trousers. He really wished he was a better swimmer, he hadn’t done so since he was a child, but if his idea worked his skills wouldn’t factor too much into it.
At the one minute mark of oxygen the door began to slide open, letting in a deluge of water. Brett had instructed Holly to let it open slowly at first so he wasn’t washed off his feet and could suck in as much air as he could. The water was indeed warm and gave off a pungent smell of algae. Much of which now clung to his feet. At the halfway mark the door slid quickly open and a few seconds later he was submerged, after having taken one last lungful of breath. He pushed himself out into the cargo bay.

He floated for a few seconds, once again admiring the castle, which he forgot to ask Holly about given the time, he then moved to his left towards the door. He passed the cryo chambers belonging to Javier and Renaldo, both stood open and empty, he wondered what happened to them briefly before moving on.
He quickly scraped and kicked off algae and what looked to be barnacles from the door release panel and pushed the button. Amazingly, it slid open a quarter of the way before the crust and seaweed stopped it’s progress. But that was enough, he started to head towards the opening near the floor when he caught movement out of the corner of his eye.

Brett looked around and released some of the oxygen from his cheeks with a shocked exclamation. “Blurp.”
Floating not a few feet from him were four very human-sized pink beings. Well, two of them were, the other two seemed to be the size of eight year old children. They had arms and legs though their feet were webbed, three darkly coloured knobbly bits protruded from their heads, somewhat resembling a crown in shape. They each had a tail in proportion to their body which they swung back and forth lazily to stay steady. They wore no clothing and Brett could see a set of scales upon their chests. Two of them even had blonde hair that swept out from the back like a 1950’s hairstyle, female perhaps? All had human-like faces, two eyes, a semblance of a nose, though no visible ears. All were smiling at him.

They looked like fish-versions of The Cleavers.

The larger one moved towards him, hand extended. ‘He, it, he wanted to shake hands!’ Brett thought to himself. Slowly he raised his hand, ignoring the burning that began in his lungs. ‘This is the most incredible experience of my life. I’m meeting another intelligent being that isn’t human!’
The two grasped hands, the Pink King, ‘Well, what else can I call him?’ continued smiling, Brett tried to grin back without opening his mouth, although he probably looked more like Hannibal Lector then anything friendly. The Pink King opened his mouth…..

‘He was going to speak! This is incredible!’ Though he likely wouldn’t understand him, unless they managed to pick up some English or French-Canadian in the millions of years their race have been evolving. But evolving from what?

It didn’t much matter, before the Pink King could utter a sound, a great suction grabbed hold of Brett’s body and snatched him from the cargo hold.


It was Holly, as per his instructions he had released the first blast door, sealed as it was for centuries it had created a vacuum. Water rushed into the enclosure and pulled him with it. Actually, now that he realized it, it pulled THEM with it. He was still holding onto the hand of the Pink King, he tried to let go but the grip of it’s tough rubbery flesh was incredible, he looked shocked and terrified. He didn’t blame him.
The second door opened and the two of them continued to be washed down the corridor, Brett slammed against the door, they had caught up to the front of the wave. For a moment his head was out of the water, instinctively he tried to take a breath but there was still no air here and he lost more precious oxygen. The Pink King had finally let go, his eyes went wide as his head emerged from the water. Brett imagined it was like sticking one's head out of a space shuttle without protection to him. At last the final door began to open and they were on their way again.

Brett saw the lift door rushing to meet him, he looked up and saw the Pink King struggling against the water, actually slowing his momentum with rapid waves of his tail. The lift door opened, Brett’s vision was going black, spots danced in his eyes and he had swallowed mouthfuls of water but when he hit the back of the lift’s wall, oxygen flooded into his lungs. He breathed in great gulps of it, his brain felt like it was tingling. He looked out the door and amongst the foam and weeds saw a pink tail fin coming closer, foot by foot.

The door slid shut and the lift began to ascend with three quarters full of piss-warm water, four buckets worth of kelp and an exhausted three million year old ship’s cook with a massive headache, that almost killed the first intelligent new life he encountered.

The door opened on the Promenade, dumping the whole lot into the lobby. Brett was so tired he could barely look up and see the mob of rodent men, scampering away from the deluge of water rushing across the floor. “Because, of course there are.”

<TAG- Anyone that wants to communicate with their new crew member is able to do so now. Gosh, I hope these vermin are friendly. O.o>

OOC: Anyone guess what species the Pink King and his family is?
Boy, can't wait to use italics to indicate thoughts. For now it's " for speech and ' for thoughts.

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