The Story of Grue: Part 1 He Was Still Alive & Part 2 the Conscious Planet

by Carson Tingler

Grue Part 1: He Was Still Alive

Written by Carson Tingler

He was still alive. He breathed a heavy sigh of relief as he surveyed his surroundings. The wreckage of his spaceship, The Veon V, lay a hundred yards away, still burning on the charred surface of this strange planet. Repairs, if even possible, would take weeks. He eyed the oxygen gauge on the left forearm of his space suit. He didn't have nearly enough air for that.

He needed to find a way out of here and fast. Since his coms were destroyed when he ejected there was no way to call for help. He resigned to checking out the surrounding area. The ground was covered in a strange plant life that an earthling might describe as grass, except, it was blue and moved as if it was conscious. The "blue-grass" clung to his whole body as he lay in the clearing. He seemed to be inside a crater. There were high walls on all sides of him. At the tops of this rocky cage all he could see was the orange sky and the beaming green sun.

Movement near the burning wreckage caught his eye. It was the grass. It writhed and wiggled as if in pain from the fire. It looked as if it were stretching out and trying to pull itself from the ground to escape. Then something even more surprising happened; the wreckage began to dissolve. From the bottom up it was rapidly disappearing. It was as if the grass was devouring it at lightning speed. This made him eye the grass he was lying on wearily. It seemed to be calmly sticking to him, as if it liked him. He didn't know what to do. He had no way of stopping the millions of grass from eating his ship, even though he knew it was his only chance to survive.

Before he could fathom another thought the The Veon V was gone as if it was never there. The events that had just come to pass were not sitting well in his brain. It was becoming hard to contemplate all these strange new things, let alone an escape plan. As if it had sensed this the grass began to move. A few strands of it stretched out towards his face. He just watched it, not knowing of any alternative. He really didn't want to make it mad. There was no way he could hide from this thing, especially in a black suit with a red stripe. The strands came closer to his neck and unclasped his helm with surprising dexterity. He jumped back a little, but relaxed when his lungs tasted fresh air.

He sat in astonishment and enjoyed filling his lung. After months cooped up in that jet propelled tin can with stale stored air, breathing freely felt truly incredible. Meanwhile the blue grass continued its work. They didn't just stop at his helmet, but stripped him of all his garb; space suit, and underclothes alike. There wasn't much he could do about it. If, this deceiving creature had the power to devour whole metal ships, he guessed he would make light work for them. He watched as they made his suit disappear within a dozen seconds.

But there was more to them than that. They were alive, intelligent, and apparently friendly, for they had shown him the existence of air on this planet, something which his own instruments could not discover. Maybe, if he could communicate with them he could find a way out of here and back home. It was a long shot that they had any knowledge of interstellar travel, but what other choice did he have?

"Hello," he said carefully.

They froze. Slowly they bent and pointed their tips at him as if examining him in a new light. After a few seconds there came an ambient voice, coming from everywhere and nowhere at once.

"Hello," it echoed.

"Can you help me?"

There was another long pause before the voice returned.

"Yes, I can help you."

"Who are you?"

""I am Grue. I inhabit this planet and all things that fall into my domain become mine. I enjoyed eating the metal you brought me. Thank you."

"I am glad. You're most welcome. I am Captain Keeler, from the planet Earth. I would love to stay and continue our discussion, but I really need to return to my planet. Is there any way you could help me?"

"Of course."

Without hesitation the blue grass started moving again. It began wrapping itself around Captain Keeler's body as if he was a mummy. It covered him completely until he was in darkness. He felt the grip tighten. It squeezed him until he could no longer breathe. He felt as if he had been tricked. He opened his eyes and mouth to scream.

What he saw was his own bedroom on Earth. He lay in his familiar bed, with his own blankets wrapped around him. He breathed heavily, bewildered. His eyes darted to his calendar. His launch date wasn't until tomorrow.

"Was it all a dream?"

He had no way of knowing, but he surmised that it was just his subconscious messing with him. His anxiety for the trip ahead had spread into his dreams. He laid back and tried to go back to sleep. He tossed and turned for an hour before he gave up. That dream had unsettled him. It felt so real. He could not stop thinking about it. His subconscious had never been creative enough to invent such strange alien things before.

He climbed out of bed and looked out the window. The familiar yellow sun of his home planet was just touching the horizon. It wouldn't be long now before he would have to suit up to be shipped out on the Veon V. His reflection on the window caught his eye. From beneath his brown hair and pale skin, his green eyes stared back at him, revealing just how worried he was. If he was nervous about it before, he definitely was now. What if the events in his dream came to pass? Would he wake up in his bed again? These questions weighed heavily on his mind as he prepared breakfast.

As he sat down to eat his bacon and eggs, his mind never stopped wandering, but the cheep coffee in his hand held no answers for him. There was no way he was going to cancel the trip, so he finally decided that he would find out the hard way. As he drained his caffeine, the phone rang. Returning his cup to the table, he pulled his cell from his robe pocket and flipped it open.

"Hello?" he inquired the caller.

"Mornin', Keeler," came the voice of Colonel Gem, "Excited about today's events?"

"You could say that," Keeler responded wearily.

"What's the matter, son? You aint getting' cold feet on us are you?" Colonel Gem asked, sensing the weariness.

"Oh no, Sir, just got a lot on my mind."

"I bet you do. It's not every day you get to explore an uncharted planet. If I were in your shoes I'd be damn near shitting myself with excitement," the colonel said laughing.

Keeler laughed dryly in response. "Of course, Sir, my pants are damn near soiled, sir. I just had a bit of a rough night, but I'll be ready to go as scheduled."

"Glad to hear it. See you on base at 07:00." The colonel added and hung up.

Captain Keeler put his phone on the table and went to get dressed. The conversation added to his worries. He had been waiting for this opportunity for nearly a decade. He couldn't mess it up now, because of one screwed up dream.

Half an hour later he exited the door of his old white apartment. One thing he knew he wouldn't miss was the suit and tie he wore now. In fact, he wouldn't miss much about his home at all. He was never much of a people person. He had no outstanding relationships and barely kept in touch with his family. The space program had been his life. He had poured years into climbing the ranks of the IEC (Interstellar Exploration Corporation). His status as captain was the precise reason the dream bothered him so much.

If he was going to be stranded on an alien planet his first trip out, it wouldn't look good on him. Losing a multimillion dollar spaceship as food to alien grass wouldn't look good on anyone's resume.

"You sound crazy," he said out loud to himself. "Pull yourself together. You've been training for this your whole life. This is your moment."

He straightened his tie, and climbed into his little red Porsche, but his mind was no more settled than when he had woken up. He activated the autopilot, and tried hard to relax as his car drove to the base. Upon arrival, the gate's cameras scanned the pass card clipped to his blazer and it slid open to admit him. He slid into his familiar parking spot, jumped out, and ran inside the large metal doors of the lab. It was a large open room with a high ceiling, and desks stacked with beakers, vials, and test tubes, just as you'd imagine any chemistry lab to look like.

"Morning, Keeler," came a friendly voice.

"Morning, Dr. Zimmerman," he said, returning the greeting.

Dr. Zimmerman's white lab coat swayed as she approached him. She gave him a quick handshake and a smile.

"Everything is going according to schedule, Captain," she reported.

"Good to hear, Doctor, I am eager to be off."

He followed her out of the lab and into the armory. This room had no desks, but its walls were lined with weaponry of all kinds. He didn't stop to gander. He knew where they were headed. At the far side of the room space suits lined one wall, all in glass cases. It was an archive of what astronauts wore from centuries back to now.

"I bet you're glad you don't have to wear that." Dr. Zimmerman commented, pointing to a 21st century suit that was bulky and had wires and hoses coming out of it every which way.

"Of course," Keeler chuckled, but then froze. He had just said the very same thing Grue had said to him before sending him home.

"It was nothing," he told himself.

"What was nothing?" Dr. Zimmerman inquired, confused.

"What? Nothing. Let's get moving." He stammered.

She eyed him suspiciously, but didn't ask any more questions. They walked down the row of suits until they reached the one he would be wearing.

"State of the art, lightweight, extremely durable, and damn near impenetrable." Dr. Zimmerman boasted about her all new suit designed just for his mission.

He gasped as he laid eyes on the suit. He examined it closely. He had never seen it before today" The dark red stripe ran right down the middle and was bordered by black. It was the exact same suit from his dream.

"What? Don't you like it?" Dr. Zimmerman asked, surprised.

He looked over at her, "It looks great. It just reminded me of something" well, I'm ready to put it on."

No matter what signs may present themselves, he decided he would go through with the mission. He pressed the release button next to the case. The suit was lowered down to him. He carried it into the preparation chamber. Dr. Zimmerman helped him into his new attire. It took a little bit to get the leggings and chest piece aligned right so that it would seal up properly. With his helmet and pack finally locked into place, he inhaled his first breathe of canned air.

"Alright, spaceman, it's time to get you into your rocket." Dr. Zimmerman chuckled.

The suit was surprisingly agile. He had no problem walking out to the launch pad, where Colonel Gem and the rest of the science team greeted him.

"We've been waiting on you, boy. It's your moment. Are you ready to get out there and explore a brand new planet?" Colonel Gem asked while patting him on the back.

"Yes, sir."

He walked around shaking hands, and receiving congratulations from all the participating scientists.

"Thank you, so much. If it wasn't for all your hard work this, my dream, wouldn't have been possible," Keeler announced. "See you in a year!"

The small crowd cheered as he climbed into the Veon V. The red fins of the ship touched the ground and her red nose pointed up. The silver sleek body of the ship glinted in the sun as Captain Keeler closed the hatch. He secured himself in the singular command chair at the front and activated his coms. He called off each piece of equipment as he made sure each was working properly. He flipped on the engine and gripped the controls. The unnecessary launch sequence was tradition so he waited as the crowd counted down. Four" three" two" one"

He jammed down launch button and away he went, flying directly up at incredible speed. Within a few minutes he was bursting through the atmosphere. His windshield went black, but he didn't stop. The ship was set on course for an unknown planet dubbed x-8694. Even as he approached light speed it would still take the better part of a year to get there, but it was a promising destination. All the scans read that it was very similar to earth and could serve humans much better than the colonies on mars and the moon.

He watched the stars for an hour or so and then activated the hibernation pod. His command chair slid back down the center hallway of the ship, and flattened out. He would be put in a deep sleep that would last nearly seven months. He would be given special drugs to keep his subconscious from running wild. Dreaming for seven months was said to drive you crazy and could seriously impair your judgment, which, is exactly what Keeler didn't need. So he lay back in the pod and allowed the transparent dome to close over him. He was very comfortable and probably would have fallen asleep without assistance, but the pod activated and he instantly fell out of consciousness as pink sedative gas filled the enclosed environment.

It felt like he had only been asleep for a few seconds when the alarms blared, abruptly waking him up. The pod instantly released him. He tried to take a step forward, but floated weightlessly instead. His legs were weak, but it didn't matter. He looked at the screen on the wall beside the pod. He had been asleep for five months. Regardless, he shouldn't be awake yet. He had to find out what went wrong. He clung to the rails lining the hall and pulled himself toward the cockpit.

"Computer! Assist me!" He shouted with his sore unused throat.

The command chair folded back into a seat and slid forward to catch him. Robot arms protruded from the walls and clipped onto his belt, pushing him down into the chair. When he was clasped in, the chair slid forward to the bridge. He ran a diagnostics on all systems. The entire right side of the ship was engulfed in flames. The alarms squealed, despite his attempts to shut them off. He shut down several of the main lines to that sector of the ship, cutting down on the fire's fuel. With a press of a few more buttons he activated the extinguishers. The fire was out, but that was the least of his problems.

The Computer told him that a rogue asteroid had glanced off the side of the ship nearly obliterating it altogether. The ship had been off course for nearly an hour. His fingers typed wildly. He tried to activate the right thrusters to turn the ship, but they had been destroyed. He tried compensating with the front boosters, but that just started the fire back up. The best he could do was make the ship fly in a tight circle, but even that didn't break them from their current trajectory. There was no way he could stop the ship. He was going to keep flying in this direction until something crossed his path.

"That could take years!" he shouted to no one.

As if in answer the computer told him that the current trajectory would intersect with planet x-5622 in less than an hour. He pressed a few more buttons. The computer had no knowledge of this planet other than its name. He did a scan of the surface. No useful information could be returned. The Veon V couldn't even tell him if there was air on this planet. All he knew was what he could see with his own eyes. It was blue.

He scanned around for a nearby moon, but all he could see was a blazing green sun"

"No! It can't be! How is that possible?! How could I have dreamed something before it happened?!" He screamed at the planet.

He thought he was going to lose it, but he calmed quickly as the ship began to scrape the planet's atmosphere. As he entered the sky he tried everything to slow down his descent, but all the thrusters were good for was setting the ship ablaze again. There was nothing else to be done. He had to eject or he would die. He flipped open the protective case and pressed the eject button. Straps pulled him into the chair tightly and he launched away from the falling wreckage.

His parachute engaged and he floated safely to the ground. When he looked around him dÃjà vu punched him in the face. There lie in the familiar crater with the familiar blue grass. He lay there in horror as he watched the Veon V dissolve once again. He laid back and let the grass devour his space suit again.

"Hello?" he said just as he had done before.

And just as before the grass froze and pointed up at him.

"Hello," came the ambient voice.

"Can you help me?" Keeler said, playing his part.

"Yes, I can help you."

"Who are you?"

""I am Grue. I inhabit this planet and all things that fall into my domain become mine. I enjoyed eating the metal you brought me. Thank you."

"I am glad. You're most welcome. I am Captain Keeler, from the planet Earth. I would love to stay and continue our discussion, but I really need to return to my planet. Is there any way you could help me?"

"Of course."

Without hesitation the blue grass started moving again. It began wrapping itself around Captain Keeler's body just as in his dream. It covered him completely until he was in darkness. He felt the grip tighten. It squeezed him until he could no longer breathe, but this time he was relaxed. He opened his eyes expecting to see his room on Earth.

What he saw was the inside of the Veon V. He was still in the hibernation pod, and the alarms were blaring.

"Another dream?!"

Grue Part 2: The Conscious Planet

Written by Carson Tingler

Grue awoke as soon as the green sun's warmth touched his face, just as he did every day. He opened his big bright glowing eyes, and allowed his moons to pop from their socket-craters. It was much easier for him to see himself when he allowed his eyes to extend into orbit. The large white glowing orbs looked much like any other moon, except they had large green iris rings, and dark black pupils. They extended hundreds of feet away from the surface of Grue's planet-body, but they remained safely attached to their sockets by what one might call an optic nerve.

He allowed them to spin slowly around him as he spun slowly around the unknown planet nearest him. He deftly moved his eyes to look upon himself. He needed to start his morning ritual and survey his domain, or rather his own body. He looked up at his north pole, where his crown of mountains rested, pointing out into space. They were still just as pointy and red as they were the day before. He loved his mountains, from the shiny pink tips down to the deep red bases. He loved the way they attached to him in a perfect circle, crowning him king of his domain.

As his moon-eye skidded across his orange atmosphere he examined the twin oceans that covered most of his eastern and western most sides, much like ears would. He stopped for a moment, distracted by their never ending indigo waves, before moving on to the massive crater of a mouth, or crater-mouth.

"How are my taste buddies, this morning?" He vocalized to himself gleefully. The tiny blue grass-like extensions stretched and wriggled around on what one might call his tongue.

"I am a bit hungry." Grue thought to himself.

He blew a giant tuft of air from the two bottomless pits that rested just north of his mouth, which served as his nostrils. As he drew in another breath he curved his moon-eyes around to examine his south pole, where his giant volcano sat. This was very important part of his domain. It played the part of movement. Whenever he liked he could fire large jets from the protrusion and shoot out across the galaxy.

His survey was complete. He had made sure that he was whole. His eyes started to wander. They scanned the endless scheme of stars and planets. They ogled the wonderful green sun that he loved so much, and just as he started to eye the nearest asteroid hungrily, he spotted something moving extremely fast in his direction. He looked closer. It was a big metal asteroid. It glinted and shined in the sun, and the flames that blasted from it propelled it towards him.

"Oh, what luck!" He laughed happily. "My breakfast is coming to me! I haven't had metal in forever!"

He rotated on his axis, positioning his mouth to welcome the incoming guest. Within seconds the projectile crashed into his tongue.

"OW! HOT HOT! I gotta eat this fast!" flashed across his mind as the burning wreckage burnt his taste buddies.

He devoured the metal scraps as fast as he could. He felt himself grow a little as the metal sunk into his center. He released some air from his nostrils in relief.

"Despite the burn, it still tasted sweet." He thought to himself.

Then he noticed something else resting on his tongue. It wasn't metal. His moon-eye moved behind the orange atmosphere over to get a look. Whatever it was it was alive. This surprised him. He starting thinking as he watched it crawl around.

"Whatever it is it seems to be hurt and it's trapped inside that cloth. Hey, I bet it's responsible for bringing me that metal. How else can I explain food coming right to me? That never happens. I should help it for being so nice!" He happily used his taste buddies to strip the awful cloth from his new friend. Then he figured that his new friend wouldn't want to sit staring at the wretched thing that had just recently ensnared him, so he ate the cloth, even though it tasted quite sour.

His moon-eye stared at the thing from orbit. It was very light colored like the stars, but not quite so bright. He had never seen this color before. It was similar to the orange of his atmosphere, but not as intense. That's not all he noticed. It had long grass-like stuff coming out of it, there was especially a lot on the top of it, except, it was brown like his volcano. It had moon-eyes just like his! They were green and moved around wildly scanning his domain, except, they seemed to be stuck. They didn't stick out and orbit its head like his did. It had ears like funny looking hills, rather than oceans. It had a mouth like his, but it was red like his mountains. It even had nostrils to breathe with, but they were on the side of a small hill. He stared at the thing with intense curiosity. It had no mountains or oceans or volcanoes. He began to wonder how it moved through space when he saw the strange appendages that attached to it. They wiggled and moved, pulling it along the ground. He was about to see what it tasted like when something even more surprising happened; it spoke!

"Hello," his friend thing said.

He wasn't sure what to say at first. He had never talked to another living thing before. He knew that there were such things in his great galactic playground, but he had always kept to himself. Finally he just returned the greeting.

"Hello," he echoed.

"Can you help me?" it asked.

He wasn't sure what the thing meant, but he was definitely willing to help anyone who brought him delicious metal.

"Yes, I can help you."

"Who are you?" it asked.

Happy to see the thing was interested in him, he responded.

"I am Grue. I inhabit this planet and all things that fall into my domain become mine. I enjoyed eating the metal you brought me. Thank you."

What it said next was even more interesting.

"I am glad. You're most welcome. I am Captain Keeler, from the planet Earth. I would love to stay and continue our discussion, but I really need to return to my planet. Is there any way you could help me?"

All the things it said were so curious and strange. He knew nothing of Captain Keelers and planet Earths, but he certainly didn't want to be rude to his new friend.

"Of course."

For the thing's protection, he wrapped his taste buddies around it. He definitely didn't want it to fly off during travel.

Grue thought, "I bet the thing would enjoy it even more if he wasn't as inconvenienced by having to spend all day coming here. I'll just open a worm-hole and travel back to yesterday so that he won't have wasted any time."

Grue was very happy with himself as he opened the portal through time and space back to Earth. He hoped that the intense travel wouldn't hurt his little friend, and he tried not to squeeze too hard as his girth was warped though the tunnel. When he arrived at yesterday, he entered Earth's orbit. He checked his tongue. Just as he thought, his friend was already zapped back to wherever it was he belonged on this massive planet. So he turned and jetted back through the portal to his own galaxy. He hoped he would see his friend again someday. He had been so nice.

He didn't have to wait long. The very next morning, when the green sun lit up Grue's domain, Grue began his morning ritual. He had just completed checking on his volcano, when he spotted the burning ember blasting towards him.

"My friend has come back!" he shouted.

It wasn't long before Grue was opening his mouth wide for Keeler's return. In his excitement he forgot that the ship was going to burn his tongue. He gobbled it up quick to put out the fire, and let out a breath of relief. Then he turned his attention to Captain Keeler. Who was lying in the exact spot he had been before. He helped his friend out of its cloth prison. Then he started trying to think of something to say. It wanted to tell him how happy he was to see him, but then Keeler spoke first.

"Hello," Keeler said.

Grue was confused. Had he forgotten about him? It certainly seemed that way. Maybe, the thing only had short term memory, but he didn't wanted to scare it or hurt its feelings so he simply returned the reply once again.

"Hello," Grue said. All this was rather strange to say the least. Maybe it was some kind of ritual Keeler's species upheld.

"Can you help me?" Keeler asked just as he had before.

Grue was dumbfounded, but he was excited he knew this answer.

"Maybe, this is just a game Captain Keeler is playing," Grue thought as he said.

"Yes, I can help you."

"Who are you?" Keeler asked.

Grue giggled to himself. It must be a game! So Grue played along, trying to remember exactly what he had said the day before.

"I am Grue. I inhabit this planet and all things that fall into my domain become mine. I enjoyed eating the metal you brought me. Thank you." He said finally.

Then Keeler gave his inevitable reply. "I am glad. You're most welcome. I am Captain Keeler, from the planet Earth. I would love to stay and continue our discussion, but I really need to return to my planet. Is there any way you could help me?"

Grue liked this game.

"Of course," he said happily, and then began wrapping Keeler up in his taste buddies just as he had done before. He opened the worm-hole and began to bring Keeler safely back home for the second time, but then he stopped.

"I'll just play a little game myself," he thought, "Instead of bringing him all the way back to yesterday I'll just put him some of the way back."

laughing at his own joke, Grue opened a worm-hole to just a few hours before. He zipped through the tunnel and looked to see that Keeler had gone safely back to his flaming chunk of metal, and then turned around and zipped back.

When he returned home, he sat and pondered curiously about Keeler's strange game. It had been fun, but it didn't leave anytime to talk about anything else. He wondered about his friend Keeler for a bit as he went about eating asteroids and exploring planets, but when he grew sleepy he returned to where he had been before, just in case Keeler tried to find him again. He was not disappointed.

Right on time, Keeler came rocketing back to Grue. This time Grue was ready for him. As the ball of fire got close, Grue blew out the fire, and gobbled up the metal. Turning his attention to Keeler, he devoured the cloth that surrounded him. Before, Keeler could say a word the overly excited Grue shouted.

"HELLO! Did you like my game?!"

To his surprise Keeler gripped his ears and grimaced.

In a quieter voice, Grue said. "Oh, I'm sorry. Was that too loud? I said, did you like my game?"

Keeler still did not seem very happy to see Grue. He looked confused and unsettled.

"Who are you?! Why are you doing this to me?!" Keeler shouted in anguish.

Confused, Grue replied, "Don't you remember? I am Grue! This is the third time we've met! Are you playing another game?"

"I'm not playing any games!" Keeler shouted back.

"You don't have to shout, I can hear you just fine. What do you mean you're not playing any games. You came to me, brought me metal, and then pretended not to remember me. You are a very confusing thing." Grue said taken aback.

"I crashed into you! An asteroid destroyed my ship and I couldn't help but come here! Then you dissolved the remains of it and the only means of me getting out of here!" Keeler continued to shout.

"Dissolved? I ate it. I thought you brought it to me. It was very tasty. You even said you're welcome. I don't understand why you are being so rude this time around," Grue said calmy.

"Then those weren't dreams! I'm not crazy! You've just been playing games with my mind! Why are you doing this?" Keeler was distraught and wild, but he seemed to be calming down.

"You asked me to help you. I brought you back home to yesterday. I thought I was doing you a favor." Grue explained calmly.

"To yesterday? What do you mean? You can travel through time? You're just grass! Albeit, talking and eating grass, but grass nonetheless." Keeler said, the strangeness of his words not being lost on him.

"Grass? You think I am grass?" Grue was little insulted. "I think you are referring to my taste buddies. I am grue! I am planetian! You merely sit on my tongue! The vastness of my being stretches from north to south! I am the grand explorer of the green sun galaxy!"

Then Grue giggled a little bit, he'd never had the chance to give out his full self appointed title before.

Keeler was quiet for a few moments, and then he burst out.

"You're a fucking planet?!"

"Planetian," Grue corrected.

"This is insane!" Keeler began to laugh.

Grue laughed a long with him not really know why, but he always tried to be a good sport.

Then Keeler continued, "This is the most amazing discovery of the century! Alien life! Not at all as I'd imagined it would be, but alien nonetheless! So you're a planetian? Are there more of you?"

"More of me?" Grue had never thought about it. "No. I am the only Grue."

"Yes, but are there more planetians?" Keeler asked

"Oh. Yes, but" they are" mean. I am an explorer. They are" destroyers." Grue answered sadly. He had run away from his own kind long ago.

"Will you return with me to Earth to meet my friends?" Keeler asked.

Grue got excited and spun around, knocking Keeler to the ground. "Yes! I love friends! Will there be metal to eat?"

Captain Keeler laughed, "Oh yes, I imagine we have a few junk yards you could clear out."

"When are we going?" Grue asked anxiously.

"Very soon, but um" I don't suppose I could get my clothes back?" Keeler asked, remembering he was only wearing his birthday suit.

"Clothes? You mean that evil cloth you were trapped in?" Grue asked.

"Trapped in? I wasn't trapped. Humans use cloth to cover their bodies and keep warm."

"WHAT?!" Grue shouted, forcing Keeler to cover his ears.

"There is much we can learn from each other, my dear friend, Grue." Keeler said.

Grue beamed with happiness at the word friend.

"Keeler?"

"Yes, Grue?"

"Where were you going when you crashed into me?"

"Oh yeah! I was trying to explore this planet to see if it was safe for humans to live on."

"You're an explorer like me?!" Grue shouted.

Keeler laughed at his peculiar friend. "Yes I am. There's no way I can figure out where the hell that planet is without my ship, but maybe after we go back to Earth and get all fixed up, we can go explore it together."

"That would be so much fun, dearest friend-thing!" Grue exclaimed, bursting with excitement.

"Alright, Grue, let's go to Earth, but this time, not to yesterday." Keeler said.

"Hurray!" Grue shouted as they took off across the universe.

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