Screams ripped from his lips, lost in the distance. He couldn’t hear a sound beyond the air whooshing by his pointed visor. He couldn’t breathe! Black dizziness filled his awareness as he saw vibrantly green land below. His vision blurred and darkened, and before he could pass the tree tops, he was unconscious, clinging with a grip like stone to the malfunctioning rocket’s handle.
Greeb woke slowly, vision blurry, to the sight of blood on the inside of his visor. He took a slow breath, and felt boulders slam into his sides as broken ribs objected to movement. Sudden blackness and silence rebounded onto him, and he faded once more.
When next Greeb woke, the pain was more bearable. He looked around, confused by the blood on the right side of his visor. With shaking hands, he unhooked it and tossed it aside. Blinding sun stabbed his eyes, like a cooked lemon half shoved against each and squeezed.
Slowly, he took a deep breath and held it as he forced himself upright, to a sitting position. It took him several minutes to rid himself of the urge to faint, and he gripped the mossy ground tightly, desperate not to fall over. Beady eyes looked around as he tried to find his rocket.
The blasted thing was junk now, he saw. The front half was smashed against a tree, and only the humid air had smothered the fire that began. He glumly stood, his large feet providing plenty of support as he walked to the cone-headed cylinder and began to search the hidden compartments for any survival gear. The only thing that wasn’t too damaged was a knife, a small throwing hatchet, and one day of rations. He did not even have a flint and steel packed up!
Irritation inflamed him, and his face reddened with rage. Another failure, and this one took him well beyond the targeted landing zone!
Greeb clicked his tongue against his sharp teeth and began to work on finding shelter. Greedily, he dragged his broken rocket along with him, creating a trail through the moss.
It didn’t take long to find a tree whose roots created a cave just large enough for him and his rocket. He began to take the thing apart, in hopes of finding any other hidden goodies he might have stashed away. With joy, he found a toolbox under the seat, and a melted chocolate bar, which he ate with gusto. He felt starved!
Quickly, he worked on making a door for his home out of the top casing of his rocket. The door was several inches too small on several sides, but it worked, and he found himself exhausted. Despite the bright, noon sun, he soon fell asleep, leaning against the rocket that he refused to leave behind.
After he woke, Greeb’s stomach demanded, in no uncertain terms, food. Greeb still ached, but decided he would wander around with some wire and his knife, and see what he could find to eat.
As he looked around, his eyes more keen than when he arrived at his shelter, he frowned. The local trees were not the heat-loving palms he was so used to, but instead had thicker, shorter trunks and branches filled with leaves. They were like taller, bigger bushes with trunks. Ferns adorned the lower parts of the hilly forest, while moss grew thick in any spot left by the larger flora. Now and then, a pink flower was visible on the ground, or some white flowers in a cluster of small, three-leaved stems. He grumbled at the diminutive size of the flowers, and the lack of any good place he could hide if someone came walking his way.
The man wandered sullenly, careful to mark his path. He marveled at his lack of luck, until he found a clear stream. Small fish darted about, and Greeb grinned. Fish were tasty, salty things. He ripped part of his shirt to make a line, then used a bent off piece of wire to form a hook, mindful that it was his only three yards of the copper metal that he owned that wasn’t welded into his rocket.
After two hours, he finally caught one fish. It was only as wide as one of his fingers, and four inches long. He hooked one end of the remaining wire and strung the fish up with it, happy that he didn’t have to destroy the longer part of the wire.
Another three hours, and he had enough fish to satisfy him for one meal. He continued to fish, eating the flesh off any that were dead by the time he reached for them. Eventually, he used fish guts to bait his pole after he noticed the fish in the water became frenzied to eat what remains Greeb didn’t want.
He cackled as he easily fished up several dozen more fish than he needed, then began to toddle back, fish and line in hand.
Perhaps life would not be so hard, he wondered at himself. He had easy food, a shelter, and his tools.
Then again, he had no bombs, and he was hurt. He let out a shriek as the realization that he had no explosives set in, and he ran the rest of the way to his shelter to desperately try to find something that he could cause booms with.
Frantically, he dismantled his rocket, then searched his toolkit. Nothing! Finally, he took apart some of his tools. Relief flooded him as he found a tiny firecracker from months ago, unused. He paused, then howled in irritation.
“Why the bloody hell am I so relieved to find something this fucking tiny?” he demanded to the skies, only to howl in pain as his ribs battered him. The pain drove him once more into unconsciousness as his freshly caught fish flipped and flopped beside him, trapped by copper wire they had no hope of breaking.
Thus, Greeb was trapped alone, left with only basic tools and no fire.