Up Right Left And Down Under
rating: +13+x

It was an ordinary day on the moon. Well, not so much a day as much as the generally accepted awake time/sleep time cycle, though, in all honesty, the whole 28 and a half earth days that composed a moon day were fairly ordinary as well. One might even describe it as "quite boring". As one might expect, not a lot goes on all the way up on the moon, and it can get extremely boring. So boring in fact, that extreme amounts of time in these conditions could make a person go mad with cabin fever. This information will not become relevant later, it just feels important to set the scene with it.

"Ma'am, there's… something you need to see."

The opening of the pressurized door knocked over the card castle that the woman had been laboring over for ten whole minutes. Her name was Daisy Conway, and she was Area Director for Lunar Area 33. In truth, she wasn't very good at her job. Their Area had been constructed for the express purpose of housing one single anomaly, the last egg in a dozen eggs whose anomalous property was being so incredibly fragile that even the force of gravity was beginning to destroy it, and thus it had to be taken to the moon. That went quite well, at least until Agent Beckard sneezed too hard across the Area, causing the egg to break. Speaking of Agent Beckard, that was the man whose vaguely ominous statement had destroyed Conway's card castle.

"Goddamnit Beckard, what have I told you about coming into my office with only vaguely ominous statements?" Conway grumbled, chucking the last of the cards at his head.

"I'm so sorry ma'am but this is of the… utmost importance," Beckard replied, as ominously as possible, as he caught the low-gravity card.

"Just tell me what it is. And what have I told you about dramatic pauses? You'll go blind if you keep pleasuring your vocal cords like that."

"Please, just…" Beckard pretended to cough to mask his dramatic pause, "Just follow me."

Conway grumbled and followed Beckard. The halls of Lunar Area 33 were empty. There really was nothing to do. Any remaining personnel had gone back to Earth for Christmas, with no real reason to stay at the Area. This complete outflow of people had left the Area with no ships in which to escape the Moon in case of some sort of crisis. Conway and Beckard were the only people left to watch the Area: Conway to manage it, and Beckard to protect it. In truth, it was just that neither of them wanted to go home for Christmas.

Things weren't great at home for Conway. Years ago, she decided she wanted to get married, and when she did get married to a very nice guy, she found herself to still be unhappy. This dissatisfaction caused her to want to have a child, to see if her problems would be resolved, but she still found herself to be unhappy and unfulfilled. Now she lives on the Moon, with her husband and child on Earth, and she still feels unhappy. At this point, she resolved that perhaps she is just an unhappy person, and according to a poll in Lunar Foundation Bimonthly, was ranked "unhappiest person on the Moon" in the superlatives section.

Nobody knows why Beckard didn't go home for Christmas. Maybe he's just a weird guy.

"Stop here," Beckard commanded, "I gotta get the keys to the lunar buggy."

As Beckard entered his room, he left the door wide open, revealing the interior to Conway. The walls were covered with the statement: "All Moon and no Earth makes Beck a dull boy", written in a blood-red substance that smeared every area of the room. The only area without this paint in it was a poster on the back wall for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, as well as a race car bed. This did not faze Conway in the slightest, and if she did have a thought at that moment it was, "Maybe he's just a weird guy".

"Yo Beckard, on the back right corner on the floor you wrote, 'All Moon and no Earth makes Beck a dill boy.'"

Beckard emerged from the room with a key. "Ah thanks, I'll fix that later, Follow me."

The two roamed the empty halls until they reached the garage with the lunar buggies. Suiting up, they drove out into the lunar landscape. They weren't driving for more than two minutes before they saw what had Beckard so worried.

It was a sign.

A kangaroo crossing sign.

"Okay, I have to admit, I didn't see that joke coming but where the hell did you get this? Did you make it yourself? If you've been hiding papier-mâché from me there's going to be hell to pay."

"This wasn't me ma'am."

"Sure, we've got nothing better going on. I'll keep going along with whatever bit you're doing."

The buggy continued to chug on past the sign. Conway lightly chuckled to herself at the absurdity of the situation. Kangaroos on the Moon? How would they even get here? Did they take that sign with them to the Moon? And of course, the most important question, how high could they jump on the Moon?

Conway was so perplexed by the number of questions that the situation, if real, presented that she didn't notice Beckard slump forward in his seat until the buggy rolled to a stop.

"Hey dumbass, wake up, I want to get back and redo my card castle."

With no response, she began to actually worry, beginning to shake Beckard before realizing that that's probably the reaction he wants with whatever bit he is doing, and resolved to simply look around herself. Nothing to the right, nothing to the left, nothing on the floor…

Conway looked up.

Silhouetted on the Sun was the shape of what looked like a disfigured monster in a jumping motion.

Two large legs, thin but muscular arms, a head with bunny-like ears in what seemed like a bowl, and a huge tail. The figure descended, putting a leg down like a trained ninja performing a flying kick. The
last thought that went through Conway's head before the foot broke straight through her helmet was:

This is not at all improving my mood.

And all of the residents of Lunar Area 33 were gone.


Why are there no soft things in this car?

Oliver the Kangaroo drove the lunar buggy after disposing of the two potentially alive or potentially dead bodies. After all, you can't check pulses in space suits. Besides, Oliver is a kangaroo and likely didn't know how to check pulses. If he did, he would likely rip the suits open to check, which would be extremely counterintuitive to the whole point of checking if they were alive, as at that point they would certainly be dead. But Oliver didn’t understand air pressure either, and if he did he would face some very serious problems, due to the fact that he also wasn't wearing a spacesuit.

Oliver reached up and scratched his face under his fishbowl, which let him breathe on the Moon. This concept Oliver understood. One of his friends had taken off his fishbowl and was unable to breathe, which he found to be very non-conducive to living. He didn't find the fishbowl to be at all comfortable but at least he was not like one of his other buddies who only had a fish tank, and didn't even get the nice bowl shape.

Getting very sick of the slow movement of the lunar buggy, Oliver exited the vehicle, and after stealing as many tires as he could hold, namely two, he hopped along on the Moon. Oliver also didn't have a fundamental understanding of metric units, but innately he seemed to know he could easily jump 9 meters up, which he found to be very nice. That's the whole reason they all moved to the Moon; Queensland had shit gravity. Those who are kangaroos have a fundamental understanding that the ultimate goal of living is to achieve "mad air", a concept that humans just wouldn't get.

Within thirty-five hops (if one was to count), Oliver had returned to the area that the kangaroos had set up as a home base, at least if you consider a small area with a very basic shuttle a “home base”. It really was just a place to keep their spaceship. Now, Oliver obviously did not know how to fly spaceships, as that is an action that was very foreign to kangaroos. To this day, there has never been a kangaroo who has managed to fly any sort of aircraft, no less spacecraft. That was what The Pilot was for.

There are no King Kangaroos, but there are King People, and The Pilot was a King People. Kangaroos are not ambitious enough to be King and are largely too confrontational to each other to maintain a kingship. So Oliver and his court of fellow kangaroos allowed The Pilot to become the King Kangaroo.
Kangaroos cannot speak English, but Oliver thought himself to be a very bright kangaroo, so he could usually get the gist of what The Pilot was gesturing for. Requesting an audience with The Pilot was very easy for Oliver, due to his relative lack of large visible bodily trauma. The Pilot could be fussy about trivial issues like that.

Oliver entered the ship containing the great King Kangaroo, the esteemed “The Pilot”. The King Kangaroo was not actually a kangaroo, at least physically. The Pilot was actually a small human in a kangaroo costume. In Oliver’s opinion, the costume was not very convincing. Oliver had seen humans before and the costume still exposed The Pilot’s face, which seemed very much human. Oliver was a good sport though and acted as if The Pilot was a real kangaroo. He was, of course, the King Kangaroo, and it would be ill-fitting of the King Kangaroo to not be a real kangaroo, at least in the eyes of the kangaroo people.

The tires were placed at the feet of The Pilot, who touched Oliver’s head. Instantly, the power flew from The Pilot to Oliver and he could feel his breathing easing, and his body starting to ease under the pressure from the Moon. Oliver never understood why but he really felt as though he couldn’t live on the Moon without this little guy. Maybe he was magic, maybe it just made Oliver feel better. Either way, he was King now and King says to stay on the moon. Hopefully, he loved his meager offering of Soft Thing today.


Jamie didn’t understand why kangaroos brought him soft things. Maybe it’s just a thing they do.


Conway woke up covered in moon dust. As she checked the body next to her, she discovered that it is quite obviously gross and dead. Unlike the moon creature that kicked the shit out of her, Beckard was not magically immune to the effects of space. She dragged herself to her feet and examined further around her for a glimpse of the creature.

Fucking kangaroo-ass-looking piece of shit trashing the only interesting piece of boring fucking moon life I’m gonna kill that piece of shit.

During this incessant mental raving, Conway checked her and Beckard’s bodies for anything she could use, coming up with very little except for a small black tube in Beckard’s left pocket. Tapping a button on the underside, a light emerged from the barrel, and five seconds later, Conway was nearly shot by a beam of light emerging from the tube and continuing into the sky. The tube opened up on the bottom and seven fried AAA batteries fell out and slowly floated to the ground.

Damn, it’s a low-caliber battery laser. These batteries are way too inefficient.

Doing another cursory search of Beckard’s body, she came up with seven more AAA batteries, a single D battery, and inexplicably, an incredibly small pink pony, small enough to fit on a fingernail. Conway pocketed all of these, figuring the pony to be a useful good luck charm, before realizing which one of them had died and which one had the pony, before chucking it as far away from her as possible.

Conway would never fancy herself a detective but was reasonably smart enough to notice a very large pair of feet that were all spaced a few dozen meters apart. Conway began to thank her lucky stars that the wind had not blown the tracks away, before remembering that she would definitely have to report something to someone if there was a stiff breeze on the Moon. She began to follow the footprints while muttering curses at the concept of jumping, as well as rationalizing her decision to recklessly follow something that could produce enough force to hurt or kill people on the Moon.

“Supervisors will never know, how could they know, I’m on the fucking Moon, I’ll just kill the thing and say it was self-defense, and then I’ll get reassigned to Disney World or something in honor of my achievements. It’ll be great. After all, I have a laser gun and the creature doesn’t. The only thing that can beat a laser gun is another laser gun! But what do I do if the creature has a laser gun as well…”

This kind of ranting and rationalizing continued for a half an hour until Conway finally saw something interesting on the horizon. The tracks led to a circular looking spacecraft, styled like a classic UFO. It looked more like it belonged as a prop in an amusement park that liked to imagine what the year 1990 would look like. Conway cared about none of these details, only really caring about what she saw coming out of it. It stood in the doorway, a silhouette again, against a strong white backlight, until the light faded and she could see it clearly.

She stared at it.

It turned its head and stared at her.

It WAS a fucking kangaroo.

Conway felt the rage welling up within her, clouding her vision in a shade of red. She bounded across the Moon’s surface like a kangaroo herself, as the kangaroo looked more confused than anything. Landing a few meters away from the monster, she took aim with the laser tube.

“HAHA, I GOT YOU NOW!”

At this moment, a particularly strange series of events occurred. The kangaroo stared at the tube, which was just now beginning to emit a small light, which seemed to charge in the barrel. Kangaroos do not understand the principles that constitute small projectile weapons, especially small projectile weapons in which the primary projectile is concentrated light and heat. This simply isn’t something a kangaroo could conceptualize, even at a fundamental level. Only a Person could understand something like that.

A second passed.

A Person stepped in front of the kangaroo.

A second passed.

The Person pulled an incredibly oversized mirror from a small purple bag which looked more like it
should contain marbles than comically oversized mirrors.

A second passed.

With the arrival of a Person, especially such an odd Person, Conway began to angle the tube up and away from the Person.

A second passed.

NYOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM

The laser emerged from the tube and bounced off of the mirror at more of a 30-degree angle, and nearly popped a hole in Conway’s helmet. Seven AAA batteries fell out of the tube and Conway began to run in the opposite direction, her anger being replaced by the sudden realization that she no longer had a useable laser gun, and now a small Person had entered the play as if a kangaroo monster wasn’t enough to deal with. Before she could get very far in her escape, a herd of kangaroos closed in around her, seemingly coming from out of nowhere.

So Conway ran into the ship.


If one was thinking completely rationally, you would likely decide that this particular option was just an awful idea. Conway didn’t realize that this was an awful idea until she realized she had no clue how to close the door. None of the buttons seemed to tangibly affect anything on the ship as if all of them were purely for decoration. The Person saw this as a good time to enter the ship with his kangaroo companion, closing the door behind them.

“Hi, lady.”

Conway was startled as the Person spoke. This Person was very short but his voice was muffled by the helmet speakers. The Person moved forwards and slowly removed his helmet, revealing his face. It was the face of an eight-year-old child, seemingly a boy, wearing what looked like a child’s attempt at a kangaroo-astronaut costume, looking like cardboard covered in aluminum foil, with patches of brown “fur” on some parts. His visored helmet was not a visor at all, but a fishbowl painted white, with black paper on the front as a “visor”. He also had bunny ears on the helmet, which didn’t really look much like kangaroo ears at all.

The kangaroo followed suit and just removed his fishbowl.

“Are you a government lady?” The child said, cautiously, “You have a government symbol on your shirt.”

Conway looked down at her space suit to what the child seemed to be indicating towards.

“Uh… not really,” Conway replied, “I’m from the Foundation. Do you know the Foundation?”

“Sorta. Are you still chasing me?”

“No?”

“Good. Stay here then. I need people to play House with.”

The child guided the kangaroo to a table across the room with cardboard props of food on them. A selection of cardboard fruits, meats, and drinks sat flat on the table. Conway approached the table with trepidation and sat down.

“My name is Jamie,” the child, who was named Jamie said, “let me make the food work.”

Jamie waved his hands elaborately over the table but nothing on the table changed. The kangaroo and Jamie mimed bites of food extremely convincingly, doing everything but taking actual bites of food. Whenever the kangaroo would attempt to eat something without picking it up first, Jamie thumped him on the shoulder to remind him.

Conway looked at the pair incredulously. Seeing them distracted she stood up quietly and started backing slowly to the exit.

“No, don’t leave.” Jamie commanded, “Sit down and eat please. Tell me your name.”

Conway complied, saying, “My name is Daisy Conway.”

“Hi, Miss Conway. This is my favorite kangaroo, Oliver. Do you like my spaceship?”

“Yes, it’s very nice here. Can… I ask you some questions?”

“Yeah, but you should eat. It’s really good and I spent a lot of time drawing it.”

Conway tried to take a bite of the cardboard only to come up with… cardboard. As to be expected when eating cardboard. Jamie frowned from across the table.

“You’re a boring adult. My food and stuff don’t usually work on adults because most of them are boring.”

“Er-well, I’m sorry. How did you pull a mirror out of that tiny bag? Is the bag anomal-err, magic?”

“No, I just saw it in a show once. Maybe if you start pretending it will work you can eat the food. I don’t have anything else.”

Conway frowned and tried to mime a bite as Jamie and Oliver seemed to be doing, which produced effectively nothing.

“Are you pretending hard enough?” Jamie’s voice was muffled from eating with his mouth full.

“What the hell do you mean? And stop talking while pretending your mouth is full.”

In response, Jamie took a large sip of “water” and spat it back out at Conway. A spray of water cascaded onto Conway as she recoiled sharply from how cold it was.

“What the… how the hell?”

Briefly, the table flickered in her eyes to be a full spread of food and drink before reverting back to the cardboard state. Conway rubbed her eyes in disbelief.

“Eh whatever, sometimes that works. You can still play House. I can set up a little room for you in the corner, kay?”

“Uh, sorry kid but I have a whole job and all and I really gotta go home. Could you just let me head
back to my base so I can get a ride back to my family on Earth?”

“You’re… leaving?”

“You seem like a fun kid and all but I really have to go home. I can take you with me back to Earth though. Where did you live?”

“Queensland,” Jamie muttered, looking down sadly at his meal, “Queensland, Australia.”

“Is your mom and dad there?”

“Yeah, but they’d just give me away again. I would much rather be here with my friends.”

“These are kangaroos, not friends.”

“If you don’t like it you could be my friend.”

“Let me go home, kid.”

“Fine. Oliver, kick her out.”

Conway quickly reattached her helmet as the kangaroo approached.

“Hey, hey, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, there’s no need to be harsh, I just want to go home. I promise I’ll visit you.”

“I don’t care, just go away.”

“Call the kangaroo off, I can walk home myse-“

“Hurry it up, Oliver.”

“Okay, okay I’m sorry, I’ll stay he-“

“I DON’T EVEN WANT YOU HERE ANY MORE JUST GO AWAY!”

A pedestal containing a single button raised next to Jamie’s foot and he slammed his fist down on the button. The UFO sprung to life and began flying extremely quickly upwards. The sudden G-Force pushed Oliver and Conway to the ground. At the same time, a set of panels opened up around the room and mechanical gloved hands emerged. A hand grabbed every one of her limbs and lifted her up and put her in a very large catapult that popped up on the roof of the UFO.

THWING

Conway was launched along the surface of the Moon, away from the UFO. In the distance, Lunar Area-33 grew larger and larger, before she landed flat on the roof soundlessly.


Awful kid, good aim though.

At least his fit of rage meant skipping a lot of walking, even if it hurt like a bitch. A cursory check of her body revealed that she was just sore from the fall and that the low-gravity landing didn’t do permanent damage, at least through the spacesuit. Conway got to her feet and walked inside the base, making a calm beeline to her emergency phone.

“Yeah, there’s an anomaly a few ticks east of the Sea of Tranquility who has a troupe of kangaroos… yes, he got the moon via UFO… as far as I know, he is a reality bender that makes reality like a cartoon… no, I’m not on anything, just get somebody over there! A kangaroo killed my partner!”
Conway hung up, and thought ”I must sound like a lunatic.” before returning to her office. Sitting around for a moment, she realized the only logical thing to do at that moment was return to her card castle.

And so she did.


It was done. And it was beautiful. The greatest card castle of all time. And they RUINED IT.

Nobody has ever claimed Foundation custody is a cushy lifestyle. If one did think something like that they would need to be placed in Foundation custody because they have been infected by some memetic infohazard causing insanity. Unfortunately, that was currently the lifestyle of one such Daisy Conway, former Area Director at Lunar Area 33.

“Why are you doing this? Put me back in my Area! Go about a kilometer west of the Mare Cognitum and its right there! Big-ass UFO, and kangaroos! When you see the kangaroo crossing sign you’re close!”

The guard did not acknowledge this statement. He was too busy reading Lunar Foundation Bimonthly to stoop so low as to respond to prisoners. As soon as a shuttle was available, she was going to be taken from Lunar Area 36 back to Earth for a quiet trial, likely followed by amnestization. The guard didn’t want to get at all attached to somebody who would be gone in a few days, as he was a sweet guy and made friends easily. Who wants to be friends with a murderer anyway?

Conway began pouting in her cage. Pouting was something Conway did quite well. Looking at her helmet on the wall, she traced the large dent with her eyes.

I know I’m not crazy, the dent confirms that it happened… doesn’t it?

Maybe… amnestization wouldn’t be so bad. If they’re nice, they might give me a nice identity, as a nice person with a nice job. That would be good.

No, that’s wishful thinking. I’m going to jail after they amnestize me.

Well, we don’t really know that.

Yes, we do.

I guess we do…

Conway had quiet conversations with herself in the dark. Maybe she was crazy. Maybe being crazy isn’t so bad. The thought of being crazy intrigued her.

Maybe being crazy will make me happy. I would like to be happy.

You don’t deserve to be happy.

I guess you’re right. I didn’t consider it that way…

Several hours later, personnel escorted Conway to a shuttle where they returned to Earth. The days passed quickly. Her trial was held in a single day, by a “judge” within the Foundation who ruled her to be guilty, finding no evidence of "kangaroos on the moon". She would just be amnestized, and then what? I guess Daisy Conway would never know.


Danielle Carter woke up in Green Dolphin Street Women’s Prison. She was 35, well-educated, had a husband and a kid, but she killed a coworker and ended up in prison. She remembered that much. But there was something else. A memory welling up inside of her. No, not a memory, but an idea.

I think I’m just a very unhappy person.

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