Crash spun around, looking to see where the voice had come from. Standing on the steps of the craft was Princess Anne, daughter of the King of Prodovia IV. She held her helmet at her hip, a small smile on her face that belied her statement. For once, Crash was at a loss for words.
“Happy to see me?” she asked.
Crash gave the question some thought, prompting a frown from Anne. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ll be glad for more company pretty soon, but for right now? WTF, Anne? Where did you hide yourself?”
“In the storage locker like any good stowaway. Thankfully your impact system foams everything, including the stores or I’d be some kind of goo on the wall.”
Crash tried to put that mental picture out of his mind. “Fine. Grab what you need and let’s get going.”
Orbit let out a questioning meow.
Anne looked puzzled. “Yeah, I’m with the cat. Go where? The ship’s intact. Why not stay here? Surely someone watched us go down.”
“Three reasons,” said Crash, avoiding the obvious retort, “first, the range on the transmitter isn’t enough to reach anyone, so unless they were pinging our plasma interference, they’d only be guessing. Second, I scanned before I lost control and saw that there’s an automated outpost on this continent and tried to get as close as possible. It’s walking distance, for a liberal definition of walking distance. Third, there is no number three. I just wanted to get your hopes up.”
Anne had heard that joke before, so the smile on her face was out of courtesy. “Sounds fair. I’m good. Let’s go.” She gestured at Orbit and added, “intelligent creatures first…”
The three started walking away from the ship towards a break in the hills ahead. The planet didn’t boast impressive topology, so Crash hoped they wouldn’t have much climbing to do. Ever since the incident escaping from the horde of angry Lorax Trees, his knees hadn’t been what they used to be.
“I’m getting too old for this,” he muttered under his breath.
“You seemed in perfectly good health when you decided on that little detour,” said Anne. Crash made a note to remind himself that Anne’s species had impressive hearing.
“So it appears we’ve got time on our hands,” she said. “Time for a story.”
“You or me,” asked Crash.
“You,” said Anne. “You promised to tell me how you got your name. Seems as good a time as any for an origin story.”
Crash considered for a moment and decided it would be a good way to pass the time, so he began, “Well, for one, my given name isn’t Crash.”
“Nor is Facepalm,” guessed Anne.
“No, actually, that’s my dad’s name. But ‘Crash’ came later. Believe it or not, this isn’t my first forced landing…” he began, settling in to tell the tale.