Stepping out onto that planet was wondrous. The sun was a little bit blinding but after a couple of rapid blinks, everything was alright. I took in a sniff of the air and then another, wondering what that odd smell was.
"Problem?" River was beside me, clearly questioning my double sniff.
"Smells like a Tuesday and a Wednesday." I broke into a wide grin. "How unique."
Serenata stepped out of the ship, squinting against the sun. After handing her a pair of sunglasses that I wasn't initially aware existed in my pocket, we started to walk.
"Umm, Dad. This place is dead."
I was wandering off through the desert, curiosity having already got the better of me.
"Not dead." I muttered in response.
"He cares, sweetie. He really does." River had her arm around Serenata, cuddling into her. I considered dropping back and walking with them but before the thought even entered my mind, I was running, chasing a disturbance in the vortex. I could sense something ripping through the dimensions, echoing through my mind. In seconds, I was doubled over on the floor with the women standing over me. My hand was supporting the back of my head, trying to stop it from breaking apart.
"Are you alright?" River was kneeling next to me, holding my hand.
With a sudden shake, my head had sorted itself out and I jumped up to my feet, running my hand through my hair until I could locate the disturbance again. Before I could run off, River had handcuffed me to her. "No running away this time." She whispered in my ear.
"I thought you left these in the ship." I looked to her but my eyes were focused on other things.
"Get down." I ordered her.
"Pardon?" Both of them looked at me in shock but before the answer started to put itself together in my head, I crouched, making the handcuffs dig into me. I've been in worse.
I scooped up some sand in my free hand, pouring some of it into my mouth.
"Dad!" Serenata yelled, clearly not impressed.
"Tastes different." They were giving me the looks again.
"How so?" River was crouching next to me, ready to spring up whenever I did. I looked at her and offered her a short smile. We worked well as a team.
"Doesn't taste like sand. Tastes like."
Before I could finish what I was saying, I felt the sand give way beneath me. In the final second before I fell, I pushed Serenata away, hoping that she wouldn’t fall with me and River. I didn't want to put her in any danger.
"Go back to the ship, Serenata. You'll be safe there." I shouted up. "Got the key?" I asked River, knowing that the answer would be no. "As I was saying. Tastes like crocodile scales."