“Hey there, all that’s left of the human race! Why sit there and muck around on a planet that’s beyond saving? Just take a helmet, an oxygen tank and a ship and move up here with us! There’s a lot of space.. in Space!”
Magdelin turned off the small screen in front of her and exhaled deeply, her breath clouding up the window separating her from the vast, oxygenless vacuum of the cosmos. It was beautiful, of course, but the same stars, texture and colors had grown quite boring. It was better than living on a shriveled, dying rock, but anything could be better than that. The only real interesting thing to look at now and again was…
Xavier turned away from the control panel, giving her a look that could kill. His technicolored skin had grown quite intense, the reds, blues, yellows, pinks, and greens of his cheeks and nose becoming almost eye-bleeding.“Kid, if you don’t stop staring at me, I swear I’ll throw you out the garbage chute.” She nodded and looked away almost immediately, intimidated by his tone of voice. He went back to what he was doing, spinning his chair to face the wide glass in front of him. “You’re off-task too much, you’ve gotta focus on being an auto-pilot. If I’m doing something wrong, or if I need to take a whiz, you’re in charge. Y’can’t be in charge if you’re staring at me and not at your surroundings.”
Magdelin said nothing, her legs swinging in the empty air between her feet and the floor under her. It was silent between them for a long moment and, though oxygen weighs nothing, it felt unbearably heavy. The dreadful quiet was broken by the loud ringing of the spictocommuniator behind them. It had started to ring, the screen lighting up almost instantaneously with the answer call button front and center of it. Xavier looked over at her, cocking a brow and motioning towards the screen. She exhaled deeply and hopped off the seat, strutting towards the device and pressing the button.
She screamed at what she saw next and hid behind Xavier, whose expression remained solid (though, for a brief moment, he too looked shocked). It was a grotesquely old alien creature, the sag of her skin clinging only to her gaunt, worn skeleton. Her wrinkly face was bitter, and her lips were stuck in an eternal scowl. When the old... ‘lady’ had seen them, she had only scowled more. “Congratulations,” She said, her voice rocky and monotonous, “you have been chosen by an anonymous council of peoples to participate in our bounty hunting district, 48-C. You have no choice in the matter, and if you refuse, we will promptly blow up your ship, which could cause severe burns, the crippling of several body parts, and in a lot of cases, immediate death.”
Xavier spat the inch of chewed-up tobacco into the waste bin next to him with such force, it almost toppled over. “.. You’re joshin’ us, haglady. We ain’t gonna be participating in nothing.”
Almost immediately after he said that, giant ships had surrounded them, their noses opening up to reveal giant laser cannons- and they looked as if they were about to blow. The alien glared at him with an expression so bitter, it puts lemons to shame. “This is your last chance, young man.”
Xavier glanced at the lasers, then back at her. “.. You talked me into it. What do you want us to do, then?” The alien smiled a nauseatingly, nasty smile, and her scratchy voice once again echoed through their ship. “Well, I trust that you two have heard of a certain group of.. intergalactic freebooters who’ve been running amuck recently...”
He glared at her. “.. No. There is no way we’re chasing after a bunch’a dirty, parasite-ridden, nasty heckin’ space pirates-”
“We will do it.” Magdelin swiftly cut him off, crawling out from under the chair and standing her full four feet and eleven inches. “We never do anything cool, it’s like I’m living with a rainbow grandpa!” The elderly alien chuckled a low, deep chuckle, and looked towards the angry Xavier once again. “Rainbow grandpa, you must have the captain of the Nova Raiders at the office, dead or alive, by the end of the week. If you don’t complete your first bounty by then, we will take it as a refusal to join 48-C, and you will be obliterated.”
Before he could cut her off, her hideous face had disappeared from the screen and the monitor turned off. Xavier turned over to her and flared his nostrils, looking absolutely livid... Though it was hard to take him seriously with how colorful he was. Magdelin crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him and, even though she was a five-year-old, she had death in her eyes. “We are doing it. We could have deathed if you kept on talking like you were.”
“Well, we coulda’ negotiated with the biddy if yha didn’t run your yaps so much.” He said, his tone gaining more and more firmness as he continued to speak, “now, I have a giant, deadly heckin’ ship to track down, and I don’t need an autopilot. Go to your room.”
“I DIDN’T WANT TO BE HERE ANYWAY!” Magdelin stomped her foot and ran off to her room, her tiny hands balling into fists. Once Xavier was alone, he stared out the window into space and sighed, the arrangement of color pigments on his skin softening. His face was so close to the thick glass between him and the rest of the galaxy that his uneven, sickly sweet-scented breath fogged up the barrier. Every now and then, another ship would drift by with neon signs, advertising a bar, or a club, or a restaurant just down some way on the asteroid to the right. It was so peaceful, so paralleled from everything that just happened. It made him wonder how things can just continue with absolutely no awareness of what kind of trouble he’s in, what he’s going through.
Because it doesn’t matter what happens, life is going to continue. Xavier scooted out of his chair and took one last glance at the cosmos, before finally getting up and leaving. He had a big day ahead of him tomorrow.