Alder held his creation firmly, his thumb resting on the “equals” button. It looked like an old IBM calculator, a vent on the top and the side exhausting slightly warm air. The antiquated LCD display struggled to print readable numbers. The man’s black tie had been loosened around his collared neck, and his once clear glasses had become smudged and dusty. It was blue skies, outside. The birds were happily chirping away, and the garage door was wide open, letting in fresh air. Alder took a few steps back, letting the heel of his black converse brush against a storage shelf, almost knocking it over. He look behind him to make sure that the shelf wouldn’t chase him as he took off, running down the length of his garage and out the door. This time was different from the rest, however, because this time, he actually pressed the button. The increasing heat jetting out of the vents quickly made the device almost impossible to hold. Then, just as he felt he couldn't bear to grip it any more, it became cold.
Alder closed his eyes and held his breath. When he opened them again, he was somewhere dark. The air was extremely dry - like that of an airliner - and there was the sound of whirring fans reverberating and vibrating the floor. There was an alarm blaring, but he detected no screaming or panic. Suddenly, a hand tapped him on the shoulder. He turned his head slowly, his body reluctantly following. He was face to face with another being. One who, instead of a face, had one giant eye. The eye was surrounded by a dull yellow coat of fur. The creature opened his mouth, which was right underneath his eye. "
“Wh- what are you?” It said.
Alder frantically pressed every button that he could on his contraption, searching once again for the equals button. Once he found it, he was gone.
He didn’t know where he was. All he knew was that it wasn’t home. The skies were glowing bright orange, and the ground beneath him was covered in a teal, grass-like plant. It was thick and prickly. When Alder collapsed into a sitting position, he gazed into the atmosphere. He was lucky he wasn’t dead.
“How did…” Alder heard a voice behind him trail off.
Alder looked at his contraption, trying to make sense of the mess of numbers displayed on the screen.
“I don’t know.” He said. His glasses were now cracked and his once neatly tucked-in dress shirt was loose, covering his thick black leather belt. When alder got up he took a breath and examined the creature who was now looking up at the sky. It was tall, and was wearing a blue overcoat. He was wearing matching slacks and had some sort of badge affixed to his right sleeve. The massive eye didn't have a visible iris - only a pupil. The pupil was a slit that ran down the length of the eye.
“Do you know where we are?” Alder asked the creature.
“Uh…” It peered into the distance, and then around at the flora, “Yeah...Kepler 17…”
Alder raised an eyebrow, “You have a Kepler too? What did he do?”
“I don’t know. I just know the names of the planets.”
Alder scratched the back of his head. “Huh…”
Alder tried to find what the creature was looking at, and soon discovered a large ring that was wrapping itself around the planet.
“I’m Captain Mac Ceti, by the way. I was Captain of the Horizon before we uh...teleported off of it.” The creature said. Captain Ceti took off his overcoat and set it on the ground. He then patted it looked expectantly at Alder. “You don’t, by any chance, have anyway to leave here, do you?”
Alder paused for a moment before saying, “Yeah. I’m just not completely sure where we’re going to end up.”
“I guess that’s alright…Let’s stay here for a bit though.”
And with that, the Captain and Alder returned to the burning orange sunset of Kepler 17.
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