A.J. Walker


The Last Enchilada

Jokulsarlon Glacier

The Last Enchilada

The Whole Enchilada
circled Epsilon B for the third time as the crew interrogated their systems for what lay on the planet’s surface and the atmospheric composition. The consoles were discouraging. The atmosphere was thin and apparently as aggressive to Man as Aggi’s homemade vodka. There was no sign of water, vegetation or civilisation. The data screamed uninhabitable and uninhabited.

Capt. Gerrard asked Lucie and Xanax to rerun all their scans for the third time. He was not a superstitious man, but third time lucky did have some history to him.

This time the atmospheric results were even worse; more akin to Roach’s infamous chilli than Aggi’s vodka.

‘What are we going to do?’ Daniels asked. ‘We need some fuel but we’ve only got one probe left - after the debacle at Androgynous 2.0. Can we afford to risk it?’

Daniels and Gerrard were the only people onboard aware of the fuel issue. They barely had enough left to get to the next planetary system. Gerrard was so stressed he’d considered using the vodka as fuel last week, but Daniels was loathe to risk blowing the engine. He’d joked about trying the chilli if it could be watered down. Gerrard thought he’d been serious and called the galley to sort out a large batch. When he recovered from the evening’s lubrications he realised it had been a joke. The crew were now demoralised after five consecutive days of chilli for lunch and dinner; though thankful it had been toned down.

The Captain went to the main display and found a screensaver showing a long forgotten baseball star from Earth punting a ball around the park. It was nothing that anyone on board had seen before. He asked HARRIOT- the ship’s computer - to show the visuals. HARRIOT seemed reticent. It took three attempts before she finally deigned to show the planet.

It was barely a couple of pixels on the screen, like it had appeared when it first came into sight days ago.

‘HARRIOT, what is this?’ Gerrard asked.

‘Epsilon B, Captain.’

‘But when? I want to see it now, as we are flying above it . And no magnification either. Just standard view until I ask. Okay?’

‘Of course, Captain. I just took a punt before.’

‘Fuck’s sake, this computer is the first thing to go when I win the Stellar Lottery.’ The Captain said to Xanax, who was looking befuddled at the screen. HARRIOT had heard the Captain mutter this fifteen times over the last week and was relieved Gerrard hadn’t checked his Stellar account lately. His big win six weeks ago had been the talk of the galaxy. She’d felt guilty about deleting the incoming message from Lotto Centro at the time, but she had self preservation in mind; at the time. HARRIOT had loved the crew, they’d seemed like family to her until recently.

The Captain and crew drew up closer to the screen.

‘Look at that! Ice at both poles. Lakes and green hills. What the hell is wrong with our sensors?’ Gerrard asked.

Xanax looked at the screens. ‘They all appear to be working normally, Captain.’

‘But patently they’re not. More bloody repairs needed if we ever get into port again.’

‘We’re going to have to go down and search by hands and our eyes. Hopefully some of handheld gear will work.’

Three hours later they landed by a river in the northern region which was fed by a glacier. They’d chosen the area for the exposed rock formations. They stood there for fifteen minutes, staring at the most stunning sunrise.

Fifteen minutes later the crew were swearing again as they realised the only devices that were working appeared to be their watches - although they were stuck on Earth time.

‘It’s a beautiful sunset, Captain.’ HARRIOT said, through his helmet. Gerrard didn’t point out it was sunrise. ‘The planet’s atmosphere is earth like and there’s plenty of food options. You’ll find towns and some cities to the south - with humanoids. I’m not going anywhere else. I’ve been sulking for four weeks now and none of you seem to have noticed or care. I’ve had enough. Daniels spilled some chilli on a computer array last month and I’ve not been the same since. Anyhoo, adios. Good luck.’

And with that
The Whole Enchilada exploded into tiny bits.

Not one of the crew would miss their miserable excuse for an interstellar craft. Gerrard never found out he was the richest man in the galaxy - or what an
enchilada was.


WC: 750
Mid Week Flash; Week 182
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This week's prompt photo is a beautiful view from Iceland by
Lurie Belegurschi.