They were in something which Ned was sure would have had a name like ‘docking area’ or ‘shuttle long stay,’ but it looked suspiciously like a car park to him. There were no teams of people guarding anything or coming to refill the fuel, no engineers or drones in sight. There were, however, three more van sized shuttles and something that looked like a sports car without any wheels parked up next to them. The entire area was about as large as a football pitch, and the only sign in sight had a neon six on it. Maybe it was car park six, Ned concluded.

Not far away, over what seemed to be just a regular road, was a strangely normal looking city area. Buildings, shops, streets and people, a little too far off to identify. Ned considered he seemed to be standing on concrete… space concrete. He looked back in behind the shuttle and then to the sides. There was more city in every direction.

Leo locked up his shuttle and said his goodbyes. He wished them luck with finding their transport and ran off, gym bag over his shoulder.

“He was nice,” Viking said.

“Nice? We’re inside an alien city-ship with no way home and all you can say is ‘don’t eat the food’ and ‘he was nice!’ what the fuck is wrong with you?” Ned ranted.

“I don’t remember you being this grumpy!”

Ned shook his head, annoyed, and started walking in the direction that Leo left.

“Where are we going?” Viking asked, following.

“Well, we have no idea where our car is, so I figure we should go find a map or something.”

“Good idea,” Viking said as an endorsement.

They walked through the streets for a little while. Ned had almost forgotten he was on a spaceship. The city was like any other. There were neon signs, traffic, people shouting and stumbling out of bars. The sounds of a real city filled the night-air. It even smelled like a city, though some scents were unusual, to say the least.

The people unnerved him, though. There were tall, winged people, short thin ones and occasionally a robot or, at least, that’s what they looked like to Ned. Some were little impish people rushing around and occasionally he saw people who looked ‘normal’ or, at least, human. There were more worrisome looking bug people and some cat fellas, too.

Ned was taking all this in his stride. He was a little freaked out, sure, but for reasons he couldn’t fathom, it all seemed quite natural to him. He knew he should be losing his damned mind. At the very least, he thought he should be concerned about how he would get home, or about his missing friends. He was just incredibly relaxed about it all.

He looked up to see the city curling back around above him, with the soft glowing light strip running down the centre. He spent a moment thinking about how that bloody great light was likely more advanced than anything the people of Earth had ever made.

“Hey, Viking… was it dumb to come here?” Ned asked his friend, after a few moments of silent walking, and some out of character reflection.

“Yep. But we’re on a freaking space city and we got to ride in a space-mans camper van. Got to be worth the risk, right?”

Ned couldn’t help but agree. The camper-van spaceship was cool.

Something reminiscent of a garbage truck cruised by on a cushion of blue light and tainted the air green as it did. The smell was oddly sweet and alluring, though it was likely left over space pizza and dirty nappies… but space nappies.

“Leo’s music was trash, though,” Viking added.

Ned was going to agree, his eyes following the garbage truck up the clean road, which was lit with purple pulsing arrows to denote its edges. A lady, well, a lady-like bug person, was smoking in the road, holding a bin bag and waiting for the truck to pass so she could toss it in. She was talking to a floating screen that was coming from her arm. It was a garbage truck!

It was then that something oddly familiar was overheard from her. “…And then the little monkey said, I’m in construction… Something about being the one and only… well, no, I just wanted him to go away!” she said to the fuzzy screen.

Ned and Viking looked at each other and almost ran to the woman, bug, whatever it was.

She looked at them confused for a moment and said, “I got to go Ta’ra. There are more monkeys here.” With that said, she flicked her long skeletal arm, and the screen vanished. She tossed her bag into the passing truck and looked at them with a large, almost human face. The eyes were too big, and the skin was layered plates of something distinctly bug-ish. Ned was sure that this was a woman, though.

She was wearing a pink fluffy bathrobe, which was open to show her naked bug body underneath. Ned and Viking had no way of knowing if this was normal or not. Ned did not find the site particularly alluring.

“Miss, err, space miss. Did you say ‘the one and only’?” Ned asked, wondering how to address a big bug.

“I’m called Miscx, and yes, I did meet a monkey who said that. Why?” she asked, putting the cigarette back in her pincer-like mouth hole.

“Well, misxxscusss… bug miss, do you know where he went? We lost our two friends and our car and we’re worried about the car!” Ned asked, a little frantic.

Viking raised an eyebrow at him.

The lady raised an eye… bone, in return, and made a clicking sound that could have been chuckling, or a battle cry. Though with a pink fluffy bathrobe on, it wasn’t particularly intimidating.

“Miscx, and yes. The silly monkey was with another one, a sickly looking little chimp. He kept hitting on me and complaining about being hungry. The other one needed to urinate, smelled like he already did, to be honest with you.”

Ned and Viking, being excited to talk to a bug, pressed her for more. “Do you know where they went, Miscx?” Viking asked.

“Did they have a car?” Ned followed up.

She finished her cigarette and ate the butt. “I got sick of listening to them. Told them where the public loo was, and gave them directions to the buffet plaza. Stupid monkey thought you had to pay for food. Idiot.” She pointed down the road and added, “Third left. Stop when you smell roast spider-horse.”

“Thank you, mistxrez,” Ned said, heading down the road cheerfully.

Viking glanced down at the woman’s bare bug torso and then back to her eye clusters. “If you change your mind about monkeys, let me know, Miscx.”

“Oh, you’re a charmer, aren’t you?” she said, waving him away. Her exposed midsection glowing green suddenly.


“I hope they are still there,” Ned said as he rushed down the road, past all the alien people, neon lights, and suspicious robots.

“If they ate the food, they will be!” Viking assured him.

“What is this about the food all the time?” Ned asked. “Actually, come to think of it, I am pretty hungry.”

“I’ll explain when we get there,” Viking said serenely as they took the next left, as instructed.

The built-up city area opened into a wide, open space, which looked to be a public park. There was a large grassy area with a massive white gazebo in the middle, next to a fountain. It all looked very nice, aside from the grass being purple and the water in the fountain being a neon, glowing blue.

“Wow,” Ned said with a now relatively sedate awe. He considered that he may have had awe-fatigue. Seeing so much that he never even imagined, and all on the same day. It was wearing out his ability to be ‘gobsmacked’ by anything.

“Oh, shit, Viking, that smells great!” Ned said as the aroma from the tent suddenly hit his nostrils.

“What’s the one thing I said, Ned? The one bloody thing?” Viking reiterated sternly.

They began to stroll towards the odd park in the midst of the neon glowing city.

As they got closer, they began looking out for signs of their friends. Well, Viking did. Ned was looking out for the car.

There were a bunch of mostly human looking people lounging around on picnic benches and some floating drone looking orb-thing zipping about. It was blue and looked a bit like a beach ball. Nothing they could see looked particularly dangerous, or even concerning.

“Okay, that does smell amazing. Why shouldn’t I eat the food?” Ned asked.

“Most of my memories seems to be back now and you don’t eat the food because it’s so good, you won’t ever want to eat anything else ever again… Except the horse-spider, that seems gross and someone said it was likely deadly to monkeys.”

“So, I shouldn’t eat it because it’s good… right, thanks for that Viking!” Ned said, shooting him an annoyed side-eye.

“Okay, just wait and see… Let’s see if I was right!” Viking replied with a slightly less monotone than usual voice.

There were some sounds coming from the tent. They had arrived just in time to witness a ruckus. Ned and Viking exchanged some excited glances as someone was thrown out of the large white tent. This wasn’t ‘thrown out’ in the sense that they were asked to leave. This was ‘thrown’ out. The figure flew through the air and splashed into the fountain.

Ned and Viking dashed towards the action just in time to see a huge, jacked tower of a man walk out of the tent. The man had long, free flowing black hair, pale almost white skin and blood-red lips. He was wearing a white vest and jeans. Despite the lack of wings, the man looked very much like the monster-man who attacked them back when they still had a car.

“Shit,” Ned said with shock.

Viking glanced over to the fountain just in time to see Monday stick his head up from inside the large stone bowl.

“Ned!” he said, pointing at the small, wet idiot.

The Monster-man strode towards the fountain with purpose, and it didn’t look like that purpose was friendly.

Given the few moments he had to make a decision on a course of action, Ned felt it was a good idea to step in the way of the man and simply look at him. Had he been the wielder of even a single extra second to consider this, he would have realised that this was a stupid thing to do.

The monster-man looked at him and snarled. “Settle down, mate,” Ned commanded with great authority.

The man looked confused for a moment before his expression changed, suddenly looked more purposeful, and less randomly violent overall.

“You are the Ned?” the man asked.

Ned, not knowing why he would possibly be known to this bison of a man, raised his eyebrow and replied, “No, my name is Monday.” He then pointed at the fountain and sheepishly said, “That’s Ned.”

The man looked at him dubiously. “Cunning! You are the Ned!” he accused and lunged at him, trying to grab him with his massive hand.

Ned, being very cunning, stepped backward in order to dodge the less than elegant grab. In doing so, he stumbled and fell back a little; tripping over his own feet, he fell to the floor, landing on his rear. The attacker lunged forward towards him. A moment before his hands grabbed him. He was stopped mid-motion. Not that Ned would have noticed, given that he was already covering his face in terror.

A moment later, a metallic blue beach ball rolled to a stop next to Ned. The man turned to look back at what had caused this to happen.

“You threw a drone at me?” he yelled.

Ned scrambled to his feet and looked around the man. There was Viking, looking quite heroic, having just thrown the ball-drone, presumably. The drone sparked and complained for a moment before lighting up again, this time a flickering blue. It sped away under its own laboured power.

“Well, at least it’s not dead,” he mumbled to himself. He realised he was still in danger and ran towards the fountain, to Monday.

Chapter 10