Well, I say crash. It was a bit less dramatic than that to be perfectly honest with you; which is what I'm trying to do here if it hasn't already sunk in. It was more a sort of long slide culminating in a squelch and a loud hissing as a thousand tons of primordial ooze swamped the engines.

    We tried to get that ooze out of course, hacked and scraped for days, but the heat had baked it into stuff like you find inside a smokers lung; black globs mixed with crunchy bits. Azrael gave up first, the lazy sod. Not that he'd been doing much of the work, mostly leaning on a spade making out he was in charge of operations.

    "That's it!" he said. "We're stuck here. Thanks to you know who." He flung down his spade in disgust.

    "If you mean me..." I said. Azrael, nonchalantly admiring a distant volcano, did a double-take.

    "Are you talking to me?"

    "So I'm getting the blame for this!" I said. "Who was it showing off just before we crashed? If I recall correctly your exact words were: "Watch this boys, you think you've seen snazzy moves? Watch and weep!" And well, what can I say? We watched and we wept. But have I mentioned it? Have any of us?" I waved dramatically, nearly catching Gabriel in the eye. He was bringing the tea around on a tray. Another bloody shirker. The effort of tea-making exhausted him so he took a three hour nap every afternoon.

    "I never wanted to come," Azrael muttered.

    "You did jog his arm Luce," Asmodeus chipped in.

    "Jog his arm? I was attempting to save the ship! AND DON'T CALL ME LUCE!"

    "Don't look at me," Verin said, shrugging. "I didn't see anything."

    "Let's all calm down," Raphael said, the serene git that he is. He sighed and put down his chisel. "Azrael is right about one thing. We're not shifting this anytime in the next several eons. We'll have to sit it out until we can a - build another or b -  wait for a passing patrol."

    "Passing patrol? Excuse me?" I said with with frigid politeness, cupping a hand to one ear. I'm sure you're admiring the way I kept my temper "Did I hear you right? In case it's escaped your notice Raph, we're not even in the right dimension. This is the back of beyond. The end of the line. The proverbial last outpost of the known."

    "You never know," Raphael said. "Where there's life there's hope." He smiled in a way that made me glance about suspiciously in case his guitar was nearby. Raph thinks there's no crisis that can't be fixed with a 'jolly singalong'.

    "Never know!"

    "Calm down Luce!" Azrael said.

    I hit him. Come on, wouldn't  you? I'm impulsive alright? Anyway, it's not like I regret it. Except maybe I should have hit him harder.

    My fist smacked him in the mouth with a crunchy squelch like our ship made hitting the ground. One of his teeth flew out, travelling in a mixed mass of blood and spit.

    It hit the ground, and bubbled...

    You could practically see all the little amino acids jumping into line.

    "uh oh," Raph said. "You've really gone and done it now Luce. Wait until the big guy hears about this one!"

    "DON'T CALL ME LUCE!" I screamed.














The End

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