Suddenly the ground shakes so hard that Nate and Derek fall right over. When the shaking subsides, Derek stands up and turns around. “What is that?” A large mushroom cloud rises from beyond the horizon to the west.
“Just a scratch,” Nate responds, rolling up his sleeve and tenderly touching his arm.
“Not you, stupid! What exploded? What aren’t you telling me about this planet?” Derek demands.
Nate pauses a moment. “Do you remember the time we traveled too close to that black hole and cracked our warp crystal?”
“Yeah,” Derek says.
“Well, this planet eats warp crystals,” Nate says as if this explains everything. Derek just glares at him. Nate stares back, blinking. “We really should get to the ship before it happens again.”
BOOOMM!!!! The sound finally reaches them through the air. One second later, another mushroom cloud rises in the north and the ground shakes again.
Finally, Nate speaks. “In other words, our contaminated warp crystal has given the planet diarrhea.”
I just barely got to the punchline in ten minutes. I was still putting on the last period and quotation marks just as the leader said “pens down.” This one was fun.
In other news, I saw this poor, flattened giraffe in the parking lot outside: