06 A Small Obscure World
The Heart of Gold touched down on a small obscure world somehere in the middle of nowhere in particular.
Perhaps touched down is the wrong word. Splashed down might be a better word. Followed by sinking down, since the heart of Gold was rather heavy in comparison on the watery surface it had splashed down in.
This delighted the tall, shambling man standing on the beach nearby. He thought he remembered something about a big, white ship at some point long ago, but since that was the past, it didn’t bear thinking about. He wondered whether the ship would look good with the collection of interesting shells he was assembling on the beach, though perhaps it was too large and would dominate the arrangement. Then he was delighted when he spotted another interesting shell on the beach. He was further delighted when the slightly weather-worn cat that was with him took an interest in one of the piles of interesting shells he had assembled, and sent them skittering across the sand.
The water around the ship wasn’t particularly deep, so Eddie decided against hovering above the water. It would only scare the fish. Eddie didn’t much approve of scaring fish. It was rude. The sinking did mean the airlocks were now securely under water, but this didn’t worry the two life forms that had appeared in the jacuzzi mid-transit. They would have preferred the water outside to be just a little saltier, but it was cool and crystal clear, which was good enough for them.
After some bickering to convince Eddie to flood the lower deck of the ship so they could swim out, the dolphins exited the ship and frolicked for a while. Then they caught a few small fish as gifts before swimming closer to the shore where the man and the cat sat playing with shells in the sand.
The dolphins chittered at the two of them on the beach. The man waded into the water to receive their gifts and to talk to them for a bit, feeling it was highly likely that they were not in the best position to come onto the hot sand to meet him. The cat ignored them on the beach. This gave the man a moment’s pause as he wondered whether the dolphins were really there, but he was delighted by the discovery of how the water felt on his legs, as he had already been five times today, and decided the sensation was worth any misunderstanding. After a brief discussion between them, the man returned to the beach, and the dolphins returned to the ship.
The cat gave the man an annoyed look when he set foot on the dry sand again and, after glaring in distaste at the water for a bit, also swam out to the ship. It was not in the least bit delighted at how the water felt on its legs. A short while later, there was a very annoyed, very wet cat in an airlock on the Heart of Gold, and the ship sat floating in space with a few stray globs of water where a planet would once have been, had it ever been at all.
A a short while after that, a damp, but slightly less annoyed cat wandered onto the bridge of the Heart of Gold. It was looking for food. Finding none, and rather sensibly wanting nothing to do with anything branded Nutrimatic, it opted for a nap instead. It decided the best place for that would be the navigation console, which was currently sporting a nice, old school mechanical keyboard that provided a perfectly lumpy place to curl up.
While settling in, the cat, entirely by accident of course, entered the coordinates for a somewhat distant, but very popular shopping planet. Eddie, increasingly disturbed by the increasing non-existence of things that had clearly never been there in the first place, was happy to comply with the request.