Captain Red Jake Rollintide left a trail of bootprints in the rich maroon sands. The alien sun had risen and set three times since his vessel had crashed from orbit. A plume of radioactive smoke still rose from the crater.
Jake let loose another phlegmy cough. “Yarr,” he muttered — a curse in his native tongue. Though this world was (barely) terra-grade, chlorine levels of eighty-six parts per million took a toll on his lungs.
“Jaku-san,” the disembodied voice spoke again. “Accept defeat, and I will offer my assistance.”
Red Jake slumped to the dark sand, gasping for breath, the taste of his own blood on his tongue. “I’ll be pushin’ daisies ere I kneel to a bilge-rat like you, Shinobu.”
“There are no flowers on this world, Jaku-san. The air, the waters all are poison.”
Red Jake spat at the dark sand. “Shinobu Dakusuta,” he said in a raspy voice. “Your ninjutsu is weak.”