Tweeter and The Space Monkey (2014)
Summary: When Tweeter's ship crash lands on a snow planet, she makes a new friend/enemy.
Warnings: Survival, mentions of drugs, stir crazy, lack of oxygen, death. This is actually a funny/crack story, it just happens to end in death...
Did the monkey’s teeth chatter? It wouldn’t be surprising, Tweeter thought. The temperature had dropped another 5 degrees in the last hour and the monkey didn’t have a standard all-weather coverall like she did.
Not that it was making much of a difference in these sub-zero temperatures. Snow was starting to build up on the right port holes, the ship still precariously perched on the snow-covered rock it had landed on. A nightmare planet, Tweeter reflected. It hadn’t been her plan to set down, nor had she in fact set down at all. Instead the ship had lost flight capability in the star system and plunged her through the atmosphere and into this hell.
She stared at the monkey. It stared back.
She had tried to manoeuvre the ship towards the green looking planet. Had her NavCom not imploded, she would have been able to confirm if it was Brynax IV, her destination. Not that it mattered, the big, cold, ice planet had sucked her in like it was satiating a hunger. Once its gravity gripped her there was little she could do other than try to minimise the impact and relay a distress signal.
She had initially come to, after the ship had crashed, to find the monkey staring at her. She wasn’t sure where it had come from, but one thing was for certain, it was in her ship and its purpose in life seemed to be to maintain eye contact with her.
The first day she had found this creepy. Towards the end of the second day she had grown accustom to the monkey’s stare and had kept herself occupied by playing an impromptu game of peekaboo with it. Despite her whiplash from the crash making it a little uncomfortable, this had been the most amusing six hours of her ordeal.
During that time, the monkey had not moved and its stare had been continuous. Even so, at one point Tweeter was sure it had let out a small exasperated sigh. She had persisted in another 46 minutes of peekaboo in spite of this.
Tweeter mulled over, for a while, where the monkey might have come from. Her ship had always been clean of space monkey infestations, and with her cargo it always paid to have it regularly checked when she was docked. Monkeys were the worst for sampling merchandise and she doubted this one was any exception. She wondered if it was high.
She stared at the monkey. It stared back.
It was on the third day that life support started to fail. Despite the ship being made to withstand the frozen vacuum of space, with life support spluttering on and off, it was the computer’s regulation of the hull temperature that was the first thing to offline completely.
The monkey watched as Tweeter wandered in and out of various areas of the small ship whilst gathering supplies, food and other essentials into the cockpit before finally sealing off all other compartments. As she dropped back into the pilot chair, Tweeter offered a piece of fruit to the monkey. As with the last few days the monkey did not take it.
The monkey stared at Tweeter. She stared back.
On the fourth day the inside of the cockpit began to ice over. It was then that Tweeter started to fantasise about warm food and hot drinks. Hot chocolate. Coffee. Tea. Coffee. Tea. Cofftea. She wondered whether the monkey would want a hot drink. Perhaps a Capuchin-o, she chortled to herself.
On the fifth day, the life support completely failed. Tweeter estimated that from the cabin size, she had less than half a day left before the oxygen would run out and she would be left with the option of suffocating in the cockpit, or suffocating on the airless planet in a mad and futile bid to escape.
She stared at the monkey. It was still staring at her.
She wondered if the monkey would come with her on her mad dash for life. At least they would get to play in the snow for a few moments before their chests exploded, painting the white landscape a lumpy shade of red. Staring at the monkey, she wasn’t sure it would come with her. It had been sitting there, un-moving since the crash. The only reason Tweeter knew it was alive was from the glint in its eyes – the way it alternated it’s almost unchanging stare, between bored and annoyed. Also, it still didn’t have a coverall so would likely freeze within seconds.
After an hour or so Tweeter began contemplating whether it would be better to freeze to death or to suffocate. She figured that freezing would initially be more painful, before the numbness set in. But, suffocating, gasping for breath before imploding, seemed just as nasty. The truth was, she mulled, that it wasn’t much of a choice. In the end Tweeter decided freezing would be the better option.
She looked over at the monkey. The monkey stared at her.
She didn’t particularly want to start taking off her clothes with the monkey staring her down. It just felt a little unsettling and wrong. She huffed and sat back into the pilot chair.
“My chest is going to explode because of you!” she muttered at the monkey. It didn’t react. It just stared. It obviously didn’t really care.
It probably also didn’t care that she had to struggle those words out as the air was beginning to thin. It probably didn’t care that its own little monkey lungs would end up splattered across the cockpit too.
It was another two hours before Tweeter found herself struggling for breath. The monkey, appeared to be fairing much better, as it sat there. And stared.
Just as Tweeter’s eyes began to roll into the back of her head, she thought she saw something. Was it movement outside the cockpit? Was she saved? She tried to focus. It took her last bit of strength to force herself to squint and hone in on the movement. It wasn’t coming from the cockpit screen, but from in front of it. It was the monkey. Tweeter watched as it made its first movement in days. As it lifted a tiny paw and began to wave.
Waving me goodbye?! Tweeter realised. As she finally blacked out the last thought that crawled through her expiring mind was fucking monkey…
Note: The title comes from a song by my favourite super group, The Traveling Wilburys. The song is not scifi, but having an understanding of Tweeter and the Monkey from the song, may help you decide whether or not the monkey is real or an hallucination.