As the craft began to tumble faster and faster, Crash Facepalm began to regret his choice of breakfast that morning.
“Shiiiiiiiine on, you craaaaaaazy diamond,” he sang through gritted teeth, trying to ignore the building nausea. Orbit made a sound somewhere between a meow and a whine, oddly in-tune. Crash was turned upside-down as the ship’s wild motions started to calm.
He prepared himself for the impact, but the ship hit ground before he was quite ready. Even with the impact foam that filled the cabin, the air was pushed from his lungs and he felt as if his eyes popped out of his head.
“Now comes the part where this tin can tumbles for five minutes to the delight of the special effects team,” he muttered.
Crash quickly realized he was wrong as the ship rolled twice and hit the side of a large cliff, stopping abruptly with a reverberating bang, and then tumbling back down a slope until it finally came to a stop. A series of comical groans and pops sounded as the foam dissolved and atmosphere was put back into the cabin. Seat straps unlatched and retracted as the electronics came back online and the computer gave an unsolicited status report.
“Welcome to ME44-P3. All electronic systems operational. Batteries full. Fuel exhausted. Flight dynamic controls destroyed. Atmosphere outside is breathable but not advisable. Oh, and the paint job is seriously scratched.”
“What’s wrong with the atmosphere?” asked Crash.
“Nothing harmful,” said the computer, “but I don’t think you’re going to like the smell. I’d call it the smell of old fish, but that would be kind to old fish.”
Orbit’s ears perked up. Fish.
Crash knew he had bigger issues ahead of him, so he quickly made his way to the storage locker where he took out an oxygen generator for his suit, clipped on a carry bag with rations and a medical kit, and attached his personal bug-out bag. He hit the hatch release and walked out of his now-useless ship to take a look around, Orbit close behind him.
The landscape was desolate, to the point of suggesting a good cry might be in order. The rocks were a monochrome brown, flaking and chipping and having that sharp, knife-like look of retro science fiction posters. A red sun sat low in the sky, projecting shadows that had a tendency to be hard to follow, making the landscape a dead optical illusion. A light breeze made the dust that was blown up hit Crash’s suit just hard enough for him to hear it. Even that sound was depressing. In the distance, Crash could see what might be called a shoreline. The liquid rolled slowly, filled with some kind of goo.
“There’s your smell,” said the computer, once it realized what Crash was looking at. Tell a man a stove is hot and he has to touch it to be sure. Crash and Orbit took off their helmets together and drew in cautious breaths. Sure enough, Crash felt the smell was as unpleasant as it was expected. Orbit let out a contented meow and collapsed the helmet into its suit container. Apparently the smell was appreciated by cats.
He stood there, amazed at the scene before him, and marveled at how stereotypical it was of his situation. The last notes of the Pink Floyd song finished from his held helmet as Crash realized he’d never turned it off.
“I never really liked that song,” said the woman’s voice behind him, startling him out of his stupor.