Walking in a Winter Wasteland

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To put it lightly, this was not good.

Leif had no idea how long he had been staring out the window of the spaceship. All he could see was a seemingly endless blanket of snow, with sharp looking ice crystals breaking from the ground. He could just barely spot a line of trees peaking over the horizon. It was also snowing pretty heavily, and it had even started to build up on the edge of the glass.

Seated in the same ship was Iris, who was currently nose deep in a book; the ship’s manual. They were flipping back and forth throughout the pages, looking for any information that may help. Their stoic expression was starting to show signs of frustration. With a sharp exhale from their nose, they slammed the manual shut, creating a loud sound that startled Leif.

“Nothing. There’s nothing in there.” Iris had a hiss in their voice. They carelessly threw the book aside and sighed. Leif looked at them, face falling.

“Are you sure? Surely there has to be something?” he asked.

“I’ve read through it at least three times.” they began, “The only way to fix this is to get more fuel.”

It was hard for the two of them to process how this could have happened. The two had left Space Planet to go out on a planet check. Iris was called to one planet specifically to help study the wildlife that had recently been discovered on it. They decided to bring along Leif, not only because she wanted to come, but Iris really wanted the company. A new planet is scary territory, even for Iris. So they were glad when their partner decided to come.

However, on their way to the planet, they were quickly hit with disaster. A flashing light indicating low fuel. Both Leif and Iris were clueless as to how this had happened, given they had left with quite an adequate amount, but it left them with no choice other than to make an emergency landing on the closest planet, one that had been completely uncharted, and showed no signs of life. 

The current planet they were now stranded on.

Leif walked away from the window to approach Iris, who was rubbing the bridge of their snout. He placed a paw on their shoulder.

“Iris, it’s going to be fine. Cats are going to realize we’re missing. Someone will come looking.”

“We told everyone we would be gone for five days.” Iris spoke, paw still on their nose.

That was right. 

It was true that Leif wanted to come, but he was worried about leaving, since that meant leaving Topaz and Hyacinth alone. Iris was able to convince him to come since the twins were both nearly adults, and were responsible enough to be in charge of themselves, as well as Iris getting Sapphire, who was often not home, on standby call for them if they needed someone older for help. If all else failed, there was also Summer, even if she didn’t live in Starville. The trip was expected to last five days, with the pair set to return in the evening of day five. They also said they would contact their children if anything about their trip was changed.

The ship’s communication system was not working, and today was day one of the trip.

To be honest, Leif was absolutely terrified of the situation, but watching the stress rise in Iris, she knew being outwardly nervous would just make it worse. The best thing they could do right now is stay calm.

“We have enough food and water, remember? We have that part covered.” She was attempting to reassure her partner.

“But that’s only enough for the days we planned. By the time people realize we’re missing, it will all be gone. Even then, they’ll still have to find us, and that will take longer. Who knows how much longer...”

“Iris, please don’t worry. We’re going to be fine.” Leif tried to sound as genuine as possible. He really didn’t know if this was even true. He just wanted to believe it was. Given the look on Iris’ face, it seems like they didn’t really agree with that statement either.

“... We can’t stay here.” Iris broke the silence that was building. “We have to preserve everything else that’s still working on the ship. We can’t have it running for heat constantly, that will fry the battery.” 

“What are you saying?”

Iris made direct eye contact with Leif.

“We need to go outside for resources.”

“What!?” Leif shrieked. “Outside!? In that!?” He gestured to the window. “It’s freezing out there! There’s ice crystals growing from the ground!

“And soon enough, it will start to freeze in here.” Iris cut in. “There’s resources outside. That forest over there has wood. It probably has some kind of food. We can use it to build shelter and a fire. We can also use the branches to write a SOS message in the snow. It will stick out more like that compared to just writing it in the banks.”

“That’s…” Leif started a protest, but faltered quickly, “true…” his ears drooped down. Iris reached for his shoulder and grabbed it comfortingly.

“It’s what we have to do.” They spoke.

“Alright…” he muttered. “But where would we set up a fire anyways? We can’t do it here, and doing it in the snow doesn’t seem like a good idea.”

That was a good question. The two hadn’t looked around that much ever since they landed. After all, it was not the brightest idea to go for a simple stroll in what seemed to be an endless abyss of snow and ice. Iris turned to another window in the ship, looking outside, scanning the environment for the best shelter. At first, it wasn’t giving any results, until they finally saw something new.

“There.” They pointed. Leif followed their paw, and she saw it, too.

There was a mouth of a cave in the distance. The two could see inside, and in doing so they spotted that the snow did not make its way inside, showcasing evidence that it was protected from the elements. It was the perfect spot for them to stay.

“I need to investigate it to make sure it’s safe for us. Stay here.” Iris began walking to the spaceship door.

No!” Leif quickly spirited to the door, placing herself in between it and Iris. “You are not going by yourself!

“Leif-” Iris tried, but was cut off fast.

“I won’t let you do that! The only way you could ever stop me is if you were to tie me down to the seat! And even then, I would still find a way to follow you!”

Iris didn’t try to cut in this time. It left a window of silence.

“Please…” Tears pricked in the corners of his eyes. “I don’t want anything bad happening to you… I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if something did…”

Leif soon found himself in an embrace. Iris had wrapped their arms around him tightly. Leif returned the embrace. It was warm. Comforting. Iris was also very relieved the hug stopped Leif from full-on sobbing. 

“It’s decided.” Iris began. “Whatever we do here, we do together. No exceptions. Is that alright?”

Leif could not speak, as there were still tears in his eyes, but he nodded with a sound approval. Iris reluctantly let go, but Leif seemed to be better now. He wiped his face of tears and smiled at Iris. The two then turned to the door.

“Are we ready to go?” Leif inquired.

“Yes. Just brace yourself for the cold.” 

“Well, the best way to do that..” she started. Just as fast as she ran to the door, Iris found Leif instantly by her side, pressing up against them. It was enough to send a flush to their face that they quickly tried to suppress. “... is to stay real close together. Y’know, sharing body heat?”

“Right…” Iris was still a tiny bit flustered.

“Ok, let’s do it on the count of three.”

Leif grabbed the handle to the door.

“3…2…”

A quick deep breath from the both of them, almost in sync.

“1.”

The door swung open, and the two squinted as snow began to blow in their eyes, as the duo stepped out onto the planet, together.

Walking in a Winter Wasteland
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In Event Gallery ・ By sugarsprink
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Submitted By sugarsprink for StrandedView Favorites
Submitted: 7 months agoLast Updated: 7 months ago

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