The ShipS.M. Staggs / Actions & Adventure / Science Fiction
By S.M. Staggs
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – The Suspicion
Chapter 2 – The Visitor
Chapter 3 – The Discovery
Chapter 4 – The Trick
About the Author
Chapter 1 – Suspicion
It had to be the icemaker. The thing that kept making that damned clicking noise that was. At least, David had always supposed it had to be the icemaker. Lately though, it seemed to have grown to be more than that, sending shivers across his skin when he heard it unexpectedly. But he would always settle down and sigh to himself, “Damn, icemaker.” No one can really blame him though because, after all, you hardly expect an adventure to begin in your small-town apartment, least of all in the kitchen.
It started with the day David sat down to work on his book. He’d only managed a mere ten pages in his last three months of writing and the writers block sat heavily in the room like some sort of unwelcome in-law he couldn’t be rid of. He had assumed once Melissa had started the new job and he had the apartment to himself and his thoughts that the words would come of their own volition and he could sit back sipping coffee and spellchecking. It had begun to be painfully clear to David that his novel wasn’t going to work that way and it seemed bound and determined to beat him into unconsciousness nearly every night, no matter the amount of coffee and cigarettes.
In all actuality after having to clean up after himself, his fiancé, and the cat he somehow seemed to find himself constantly running out of time in the day and sitting up late into the night with his clouded thoughts, the cat and a stack of paper. And of course the incessant, always distracting click. The click, of course, had to be the icemaker. That’s what it was in every other place he had lived in so obviously that’s what it was in this one. One of those noises in the background he supposed, that society had long ago forgotten about and had become overlooked in the busy day-to-day proceedings. Little did David know, nor could even his writers mind imagine, the truth of the click. He would never have suspected the truth, that right then, even as he was struggling to write, a strange visitor was in his home and the idea for a novel greater than he had ever imagined was more than working its way up to biting him on the ass. So, up he stayed night after night, cat, pen, and paper until the early morning hours.
He supposed since the first day he had been slightly more aware of this click than others. He noticed a tightening of the skin, a heightening of the senses when he heard it. He sensed it was connected to something more incredible and awe-inspiring than a simple ice cube slipping into the box. No, this click had the sound of great and magical things attached to it and one particularly wide awake 2 a.m. he decided to find out what it was, completely unbeknownst to his strange new visitor who was, in fact, the source.
Chapter 2 – The Visitor
Hidden away behind David’s fridge was quite an interesting problem. An alien, desperately stranded after a grueling crash and now quite angry, had flown through David’s apartment window not two weeks ago and come to a crashing halt behind the refrigerator. The visitor was know to his people as Q’ulan Dirge, a captain of the highest order who had slain every enemy his battalion had come up against. At a staggering 3 inches tall, he towered over virtually all of his people and his turquoise tinted skin had been admired for years as the best hue on planet Qerlurae. Now he had no time for focusing on himself however, his ship was in need of many repairs and he had quite a dangerous and grueling mission while stuck on this spinning dirtball. He silenced his tinkering, which always caused quite a few annoying clicks, and grew tense as he heard the giant, pink owner of the domicile he had come to rest in, rise from his mighty throne and move closer toward his location.
The storage room at the end of the kitchen David always checked and of course there was never anything there because the icemaker was in the freezer. On the way to his eventual destination he would stop, kneeling to check cabinets below and stretching for the ones above, making his way slowly through the kitchen and back around to the freezer. It was here, he had found, that his hand always lingered for a moment. Pausing, just above the handle, it seemed his hand never really wanted to know if it was ice or not, it just wanted to forget about the click and move on. He eventually would always rest on the handle a moment then give it a gentle tug, always revealing nothing more than a piece of ice falling with a harsh click into the box of previously made cubes. This morning was different.
At first everything appeared just as it should, frozen burritos next to the popsicles next to the white ice-box under the ice cube dispenser. It took him nearly a full three seconds to realize why his skin was crawling. He had heard perhaps three or four clicks while staring into his ordinary freezer when it struck him that despite the noise to back it up, no ice cubes had fallen to make the sound. The click, it seemed, was not from his icemaker. It took him significantly less than three seconds to exit the kitchen and run headlong into the living room behind the couch, were he sat quivering like a three year old for nearly twenty minutes.
Behind the fridge, Q’ulan silently cursed himself and lightly kicked the hull of his ship. The engine had been cooling from his earlier repairs and had decided, at a most inconvenient time, to let out one of its deafening (to the captain anyway) clicks. He heard the large pink one panic and scramble out of the room and waited in silent agony to know what decision the giant would come to regarding this mystery noise he had surely noticed.
Having decided that being afraid of a click was completely irrational and ridiculous David sat on the couch and decided to think it through. Obviously there was a cool-headed, rational explanation for this; it wasn’t as if his life was some two-bit story concocted by some sci-fi writer. No goblins in the closets, no ghosts in the halls. It was just a simple enough noise with a simple enough explanation in his small, simple enough apartment. Having decided this he picked up a large bowie knife he had purchased on a whim at the gun and knife show the previous weekend and set about discovering what exactly that explanation could be. No sense going unprepared after all.
After several trial and error attempts, which involved much running to and from the kitchen, David had finally come to the conclusion that the noise was coming from behind the refrigerator. It took him a good few seconds more to come to the conclusion that, to see the source of the noise the fridge would have to be moved. It was at this point he had to step back and consider how foolish this looked. If Melissa heard him scratching about and came to investigate, how could he possibly explain the fridge being moved without sounding like a raving lunatic? Hearing a click was one thing, moving a fridge at four in the morning to find its source was another. He decided to try and sleep for now and resume his odd little quest in the morning when she had left for work.
Meanwhile, the small space captain from beyond the stars had grown weary of the giant who, he now knew, was an unbelievably large coward and had set back to fixing his ship as hastily as he could. He knew, after all, that his mission was a complete failure if he couldn’t get his Chymal drive running and he knew that, even more importantly, he had no hope of completing his mission without power flowing into the Gyser Gun. He worked hastily into the late hours of the night, eventually falling asleep slumped on the hull of his ship, Trycher tool in hand (sort of an intergalactic screwdriver).
The day came and went rather quickly as they always seem to do when you don’t really want them too. David had awoken bright and early with Melissa, made her pancakes and eggs for breakfast before sending her on her way to work with a kiss. Afterwards he proceeded to crawl back into bed, shielding himself from the rising sun like a theatrical vampire hissing and hiding from the dawn. He eventually awoke around 3 in the afternoon and proceeded to slouch about doing meaningless tasks for most of the day. The click of course had been washed away and placed on a shelf in the back of his mind where it would soon make itself very known.
Melissa bustled in the door around dinner-time looking very tired. She told David all about her day over mashed potatoes, gravy, and steak that David had prepared for them. They chatted and kept one another company till around ten or so where David once again found himself facing his mortal nemesis, The Book to Be. The cat looked at him as if to say, “The words aren’t going to jump on there you know, you actually have to think and write them.” He waved a hand to chase it away and nearly screamed when he heard the bang.
An unexpectedly loud bang issued from the Chymal drive and the Captain paused for a moment with a slightly wicked grin. The odd pink thing that seemed to live here had become more and more aware of his presence lately and has taken to running to and from the room he was occupying. More often than not he seemed to be muttering to himself about the click that his ship generated. This usually made the captain chuckle to himself as the click that irritated it so was usually nothing more than simple energy reading checks to ensure life support, translation systems, and most importantly communications stayed powered up and ever ready for use. “The bang I’ve caused has sent the giant pink one into a screaming and trembling fit, I have to stifle my laughter lest the giant hear me and further his investigations. Soon I will reveal myself to him and beg for his assistance, a funny ruse but a necessary one if I am to be successful. My whole mission, after all, is to bring one back for testing.”
It was very silent for several minutes in which David simply sat dumbfounded on the couch trying not to weep like a small girl. He listened carefully and heard several rapid clicks, almost a popping static-like noise. Every now and then a few more bangs would make themselves known and the popping clicks would resume. To be quite honest, to him it sounded like a very tiny construction crew, or perhaps a small arms war. Either way, he personally felt no reason to get involved in mysterious noises and tried very hard to push it out of his mind. Obviously this would be very hard to do with various pops, clicks, and bangs issuing from behind your refrigerator. After a few very tense hours his courage once more began to build and certain guilt for not being the big man made him turn red. It was bad enough he did almost nothing but cook and clean but he would be damned if his own fridge would scare him away from his kitchen, not on his watch.
He was, of course, very practical and cautious about his approach. He got no closer than five steps away and had to lean forward on his toes to poke around the sides of the fridge with his broom. He went on that way all along the bottom of the fridge and the top. He scraped his makeshift weapon all up and down both sides without coming across any horrible dangers. He had begun to think the whole thing was in his head. It was just a ridiculous auditory manifestation of his writer’s block. He took a few steps closer and thrust the broom behind the fridge and began to poke around. A few pokes along and something happened that nearly stopped David’s blood cold. He had to be hearing things, there was simply no way his mind could accept this as reality but it kept on just the same. A tiny little voice was yelling from behind his refrigerator. The retreat to the living room was much faster this time.