Space Janitor 081-100
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Space Janitor 081-100
Shep thought of the plucky Space Janitor (081-090) with the familiar face. In truth, whether this was a repurposed model or a brand new one based on a classic design, it didn’t matter. Shep was thankful that it was bringing him along. If it were down to him, he would be part of the menu.
Shep was trying to think what compelled him to go into the freezer. Was it some form of desperation? Looking back, Shep liked to think of himself as somewhat of a smart dog. He had a keen nose. At least he hoped he still had a nose. If he could open his eyes, then he would be able to see a little more clearly. However, as it were his eyes were still stuck together. His paws were bundled in his pits. He gave them a subtle flex to see if he could even move them. Shep could move his hands, but the fluids in his joints were becoming more substantial over time.
Shep’s entire body vibrated, and he could feel it going on forever. What would this mean for him? Where was the mutt? He knew he shouldn’t call this new pup a mutt, but then he didn’t call it pup either. What it was exactly, he wasn’t sure. There was something that didn’t sit right. In all likelihood, Shep wasn’t sitting right at all. He could feel his arse and tail go numb. There was no noise around him. There was the wind that became loud as he was able to discern the doorway was narrow, open a sliver.
Shep had not heard anything. He did not know if his ears ceased functioning. He was going to take a chance and wander out and hope that he could open his eyes. Would he see again?
Shep crawled to the threshold. Where was the little Space Janitor who helped him? He should have been kinder to him. It was too late for that now. If he saw him again, then he would make an effort to be kinder to him. At the same time though the mutt, the pup did melt off his foot, didn’t he? Shep struggled to remember what happened to his foot. He was certain he had both feet before he went to sleep and then whenever he woke up, it was gone. It was more than likely to be the Space Janitor.
Either way, he would get to the bottom of things if the two of them got out of here alive. It was looking unlikely.
Shep felt his way forward the ice thinned, and he thought it turned to water. He was outside the freezer and in the ante-chamber. He wasn’t being digested by gunk so whatever the Space Janitor did had worked. Did he sacrifice himself? That would be the most unnecessary.
Shep could feel his lashes becoming looser. He tried to loosen them up, but they were still stiff.
Shep didn’t know whether to linger or remain. He wasn’t actively attacked, which was good. Shep would risk moving forward. The ground was sticky to the touch.
His paws felt electric as blood flow resumed regular service.
Shep called out for the mutt. He couldn’t remember the name. Shep opted for repeating “Hey,” in the hopes that the other Space Janitor knew it was him being addressed.
Shep’s voice was too weak to be heard. The room was cavernous. There were many other background sounds, like dripping, for example. I’d go on, but you get the idea.
Shep came to the edge of something. There was a hole in the middle of the floor. Shep wondered, had it always been there?
No, if it had been there, then he for one would have gone down. The other Space Janitor would have done the same thing too. While Shep knew the Space Janitor’s heart was in the right place, he believed that the brain was absent in this case.
What if the little Space Janitor had fallen down the hole? Shep knew that he would have to go down there.
The ice on his lashes was softening. Shep thought it best to persist with the eyelashes. Shep tugged at his eyes. It took a while, but they started to give. The eyes opened. Shep’s vision was blurry, and everything was a nondescript fog that he could not see through.
Shep blinked rapidly hoping it would become apparent. Opened his eyes as wide as he could. The fog came into sharp relief. Shapes became detailed, and he saw familiar things. Shep sat for a moment, taking it all in before him. The room was large and empty. There were puddles on the ground that looked like water and gunk. Some areas of floor wall and ceiling were marked by the corrosive properties of the gunk.
Shep looked down, and in front of him, there was a large hole. How deep it went, he did not know. Although the mutt had melted his foot, his sacrifice was more than a repayment. Shep edged his way over to the hole and prepared himself for the descent.
The climb down would be slow, but there was nowhere else for him to go.
Shep steadied himself on a rung of the ladder and lowered himself.
It struck him.
What would happen if the little Space Janitor had failed and the gunk was still active?
How would he fight it without his own pack?
What would he do then?
Shep was scared and felt the fear grip his throat. Despite his fear, he would have to ignore it and make some effort to find his fellow Space Janitor.
Even if he could not find the Space Janitor, a mercenary thought entered his head. The idea that he might be able to get access to his pack. It was a voice-activated one. It definitely had some form of personality matrix installed. If he could negotiate with it, then he might stand a fighting chance.
A wash of guilt flooded Shep’s neurons. Was he wrong to think that? It must be a bad thought. It had been a long while since he had felt a lousy feeling. His canine ancestry lived on in his cranium. Even though the corporations had done all that they could to root it out.
He grasped the rung of the ladder and began to climb down. They were slippy, and he clung tight to the ladder. One misplaced step and this would take a while. If he were to make a wrong move or if the gunk was still active and were to envelop him that would be the worst. In no uncertain terms, Shep would be buggered.
Despite all his intelligence and ability, he was still a mutt. Calling himself a mutt in his own mind caused him pain. Dif the Space Janitor feel the same pang of misery at being called mutt. Whether he did or did not was irrelevant. Shep didn’t like it when he was called it a mutt so it would be unfair to carelessly call the Space Janitor mutt.
Water dripped, it took a few moments for him to hear the splash. Shep was aware that he was descending into a large cavern. How big could it get?
How would he find the Space Janitor down here? The ladders kept going down. Shep stopped for a break. In the vast emptiness of the underground, Shep contemplated why was there such a vast underground in this station. Was this part of the fooditorium? Was it part of the overall structure?
Shep’s vision was returning at the same rate; there was less and less to see. It was dark because sure, why not everything was dark here. There was no possible way for him to see too clearly. It looked like there was water at the bottom of the ladder. If this was part of some unknown transit system, then why would the ladder come straight down through it? It must have been left derelict.
Shep looked down to see ashore because he could hear the sound of waves lapping. Instead of what was considered standard shoreline sights, rocks, sand and seaweed. Instead, there were giant gulfs of garbage. What I’m trying to say is that it looked like Cone Island circa 2763 AD. Sorry, Cone Island 2763 be more like Cone Island in the 30th century. Consider yourself warned.
Shep could see that the ladder stopped before the end. The lack of light made it difficult to gauge how much of a drop there was before him. Shep continued the descent until he got to the last rung. His foot slipped, and his body fell dead weight below him.
His arms remained steadfast to the rungs on the ladder. He could feel his arms be stretched and pulled. There was a loud pop from one of his shoulders that felt strange and good simultaneously.
Shep looked down and realised that he could not see the bottom. He did not know how far he would be able to drop. How far did it go?
If Shep’s fellow Space Janitor was down here, he would find out soon enough.
His grip slipped, and he fell. It was a short drop into the cold, what he hoped was, water.
Shep used all his might to surface as quick as he could. The missing foot sent him veering off to the right. It would get infected, and he’d have to lose more of the leg. What a spiffing day, Shep thought to himself.
Once his head was above water, you know what, liquid is more fitting. After his head was above the liquid, he looked to the nearest shore and swam in that direction. He doggy paddled, but due to his canine composition, he referred to it as paddled.
Shep was tired and sore. He took a look down at his leg. The area where there had once been a foot. There was a wound, he could see the bone. He padded it off and inspected it as best as he could. The wound had become weepy, and Shep followed suit. He endured long days. He suffered days that felt shorter but were more packed with experience than others. Shep had never suffered a day such as this.
His canine nature got the better of him, and without his full realisation, he began to howl. They were long sorrowful howls. Howls that you would not expect of such a well-groomed dog. Howl, he did none the less. Even a dog in a tux, with a monocle and old-time tobacco cigarette, was still underneath a dog. Shep was no exception. One may have felt as if there was a moon nearby, such was the length and pitch of the howling. Shep realised he was howling and then grew deeply ashamed, which led to him howling longer and harder.
“Who the heck is doing all that, howling?” asked a familiar voice.
Shep didn’t want to get his hopes up, but it sounded like the little Space Janitor’s Spenglactic. There it was again as usual chirping in, uninvited as usual. Shep was glad to hear that annoying accent reverberate.
Shep made his way over. He let out a short howl.
“Shadup! Some of us are trying to sleep here!” the Spenglactic shouted. Shep was able to work out where it was coming from, roughly. Shep crawled and scraped his way through the garbage. The garbage was a small series of hills, but Shep was able to scramble over the top of them.
Over the crest, he could see the lights of the Spenglactic pack. He could see the outline of the Space Janitor. Shep could see that the Space Janitor appeared to be out for the count. Shep got beside him. Now the tables had turned, he considered removing part of a limb so they would be equal. Shep flushed the thought from his mind. If he felt the urge to settle the score, he would do so at a more appropriate time.
Now was not the time.
Shep looked down at Space Janitor.
“What happened?” Shep asked.
“How am I supposed to know?” Spenglactic replied. “I don’t got no sensors or nothing. Ask him.”
“Is he dead?” Shep asked.
“Again, I don’t know these things, I’m not what you would call an expert.”
“And the gunk?”
“Buddy!” the Spenglactic blurted out. “How many times have I got to explain it to you? I don’t know, alright? All I know is that we were covered in the stuff then the next thing I know, we weren’t. Do you follow?”
“We’ll have to get a move on,” said Shep.
“That’s a fantastic idea. There’s one little problem though, how exactly do you plan to do that?”
“Well,” said Shep looking down at the Space Janitor. “It’s clear that we need to wake him up. If he can be. I hope he’s not dead.”
“You changed your tune,” said Spenglactic.
“Well I mean, he could be my only way of getting out of here. I know that sounds bad but, didn’t he come and get me when he didn’t have to? That’s mighty kind of him,” Shep said, looking down at the Space Janitor.
“That’s beautiful, poetic almost. You really should consider a transfer to something more befitting of your skills. I don’t think he’s dead. There are pressure pads registering shifts in weight. If anything feels like the guy is hanging on. You gotta wake him,” Spenglactic advised.
“How do you think I can wake him?” asked Shep. Space Janitor was breathing. The breath was almost imperceptible to a standard vision range. The chest, however, was moving. It filled Shep with hope although he knew that he wasn’t out of the woods yet. Or out of the puddle.
“I can tell you how to do it but to be honest with you, you’re not going to like it.” Spenglactic teased.
“Tell me what to do, come on,” said Shep.
“Well, the thing is, you got to bark at him,”
“C’mon, don’t make me bark. You know how demeaning that is. You know what we say about barkers? Please, please, please. Can you not shock him or something. You must have a little wire somewhere in there,”
“This is how it’s gotta be,” said Spenglactic.
Shep did not want to bark. On some level, he knew there was a chance that Spenglactic knew he did not want to bark. This was some bizarre test or some retribution.
Shep was reluctant, but what choice did he have in the end?
“Fine, I’ll do it then,” said Shep. “If this means saving the Space Janitor, then there are no other options,”.
“That’s the spirit. Now come on, pucker up. You still remember how to bark?” asked Spenglactic.
“Please, none of your nonsense alright? It’s been a long first quarter. I remember, OK?” Shep snapped at Spenglactic.
“There we go, I even hear some of your snarl there. You’re almost there. Now come on and be a good dog,” said the Spenglactic. You know for a thing that was mainly zeroes and ones it sure behaved like it was enjoying itself.
Shep needed to take a moment to get into the motions. He may have barked once or twice in his younger years. Shep couldn’t recall if that was part of who he was or something implanted. Shep breathed in deep. The air was putrid. What made him feel even worse was that he didn’t mind the smell. At the end of the day. Shep was still a dog. He knew how to bark.
The lips curled, the teeth showed, and Shep opened his mouth wide. He barked once. Short, fierce and fueled by fear. Shep liked how it made him feel. Shep barked three more times in quick succession. Barking made Shep dizzy.
Drawing in a deep breath, Shep barked more. He kept on barking. His eyes closed and he wasn’t even aware of where he was, he felt connected into part of an invisible pack. The barking stretched back through time, and Shep felt alive and present. He was aware of his lungs. His feet, unsteady on a mound of rubbish. His fur standing up on his arms wanting to bust free from under his coveralls.
Shep stopped and looked down. There was the Space Janitor, eyes open.
“Are you alright?” Space Janitor asked.
Shep blinked fast and then rubbed his temples.
“I’m good, you? We need to get out of here,” Shep said.
“Can you move buddy?” said the Spenglactic. The use of the word “buddy” caught both Space Janitor and Shep off guard. What was the little pack up to?
“I can move,” said Space Janitor. He got up to his feet. Shep helped him steady himself. The two/three of them made their way back to the ladders. The two waded out into the centre of the water. It got deep in the middle.
Space Janitor reached the ladders, but he stepped aside.
“You go first Shep,” Space Janitor said. Shep obliged and climbed on the ladder. No sooner had Shep set his hands on the ladder than it lifted from the floor. Raising up carrying Shep. Space Janitor remained in the dirty water.
“What the?” Shep shouted, surprised by the recoiling ladder system. “Pup, grab on.” Shep was getting himself as low as he could get. Upside down hanging arms outstretched, Shep beckoned to the Space Janitor. Space Janitor impotently jumped to try and reach him to no avail.
“Speng, can you give me some kind of boost?” Space Janitor asked.
“After all I gave you, and you still want more?” said Spenglactic.
There was a deep rumbling coming from somewhere in the caver.
“Oh, OK, I know where we are. We’re in one of the understation sewer systems. It’s been out of commission for a couple of cycles.
“Thank goodness for that,” said Space Janitor.
“Oh, don’t be sighing relief just yet. They still need to purge it regularly.”
“Fantastic news,” Space Janitor said looking up to Shep. How was he going to get up to him?
Would you mind reading from the beginning because it’s a fantastic place to start. You can find the first instalment of Space Janitor by clicking here.
Space Janitor (091-100) looked up and saw the window of opportunity closing. Shep was getting further away, and the sound behind him was becoming louder.
“This might work,” Space Janitor said pulling out the cleaning nozzle as far as it would go. Space Janitor checked the back of the pack. The bar showed the power was gone almost completely. “You have a bit of juice left,” said Space Janitor. “Can I use it?”
“Wow, you gotta promise me that you’ll recharge me at some point,” Spenglactic sounded worried.
“I will,” said Space Janitor. He raised his voice to compete with the rising volume of the purging wave. It was almost on them.
“You’ll not exchange me for a better model?” Spenglactic said in a voice, pleading.
“Promise, I promise, I promise,” said Space Janitor. He heard the tidal flow crashing behind him.
“Recorded,” Spenglactic responded. “Tell him to catch. You stay here and hang onto the nozzle otherwise surfs up”.
Space Janitor looked up to Shep.
“Shep catch Spenglactic,” Shep didn’t look like he could hear what was being said. “OK Speng, go for it,”
Spenglactic powered up and boosted launching up into the air. It was a short hop, but it went past Shep who missed.
Shep grasped frantically for the pack on its way down. It sailed past him, but Shep managed to get his paws on a loop. The weight wrenched Shep down. Shep was sandwiched between a rung. His body wrapped around a rung must have hurt, but he would have to hold on.
Space Janitor held onto the nozzle and hoped it would be enough. The cleansing rush of liquid swallowed the light and darkness prevailed. The sheer force of the water had him lifted until he was parallel to the floor.
How much force was there?
Space Janitor found there was a considerable amount of force flushed through. Space Janitor felt himself being battered along by the massive outpouring of liquid.
It took all his strength to hang on. He tried to look up to Shep during this only it was to no avail. All he could see was was a dark foam, and all he could hear was a thunderous cacophony of roaring waters.
Shep was doing well to hold on. Space Janitor could feel himself being dragged back. He gripped tighter to the nozzle and ever so slightly slid his hand forward. Space Janitor made inconsequential progress. He had to persist. This would be a good chance for him to get it done. When the flood died off, he would be hanging. A victim to the laws of gravity.
Space Janitor recognised that he needed to stay gripped to the nozzle pipe. If he were to go big, then he would lose the grip of one hand and then the other, and he would be carried along to who knows where.
With his other hand, Space Janitor had it follow the dominant paw. He was working his way up closer to the pack. It was undoubtedly thorough if nothing else. Space Janitor hoped it would end.
His wish was granted.
The water flow was subsiding. Space Janitor felt himself fall a further. Now was the chance to get further along. He could afford to take a leap. It would mean that he ran the risk of falling off and being carried by the current. The alternative was to hope that Shep did not slip and would be able to hold his body weight a little longer.
Space Janitor did not want to risk it. Would he be able to catch hold?
Space Janitor forced his whole body forward. The last remnants of the water washed pash him. The cavernous tunnel was empty. Devoid of movement. Space Janitor could hear Shep catching his breath. He was wheezing hard.
Space Janitor reached out for the ladder and grabbed on.
“Shep are you still with me?” Space Janitor asked. He was concerned for the older dog. He had been put through it today. Space Janitor didn’t want to annoy him too much more. This had been his fault.
“I’m still here. What else do you think could happen today? Do you think the whole station will self destruct? This hasn’t been a great day,” Shep confided in Space Janitor.
“I’m sorry. We’ll have to get out of here. All we need to do is climb the ladder. Do you think you can do it?” Space Janitor asked, looking up at Shep. Space Janitor reached and took the Spenglactic from Shep.
Shep shrugged and then put a hand in front of the other and ascended as best he could. It was a slow climb, but Space Janitor was glad that it was almost over.
Space Janitor had managed to get Spenglactic onto his back. It had not made a sound in a while, and for now, Space Janitor didn’t concern himself.
“I hope you’re alright Spenglactic,” Space Janitor said to himself quietly. He didn’t want Shep to hear him talking to the pack. In fact, he did want Shep hearing much of anything. Space Janitor knew that he should value the silence. What more could he do, what more could he ask?
At the same time, Space Janitor didn’t want Shep to feel neglected. There was a chance that Shep was hurting more than he could fathom but would asking about it help anyone?
Space Janitor decided that it would not be in anyone’s interest to start asking questions. His constant need to pry could grate on some people, and he understood their irritation.
Space Janitor decided to hold back on speaking for now. All that mattered is that they climb the ladders and hope that their ordeal was at an end.
Shep climbed up and was out. When Space Janitor emerged from the hole in the ground, Shep was on his back. His hands were gripped, and Space Janitor could see that the older dog was trying to unclench his fists. Shep’s eyes were open, but they did not blink. Were it not for the rapid expansion and deflation of his chest Space Janitor would think him dead.
Space Janitor sank to the ground too but didn’t lie down. Instead, he bowed his head down between his legs and breathed deep. Space Janitor closed his eyes. In his mind, the events raced through his head. Strobaspocis freeze frames of traumatic events etched into his mind.
Space Janitor could hear himself bark at the memories. They were just memories, nothing to be afraid of. Space Janitor lifted his head.
Shep lay on for a moment longer. He blinked, Space Janitor knew he was back in the room. Shep rolled onto his front. Heaved himself to his feet and stretched himself out.
“We should probably get out of here. Management doesn’t like it when we screw around on the job.
“OK, back out the main entrance, do you know the way?” Space Janitor asked. Shep grunted.
As they made their way back to the front door, they registered the carnage that had been left behind.
“Do we not need to stay and clean this up. Look, there are tables overturned. Is this not our job?”
“You know what, probably,” Shep said to Space Janitor.
“Where do we start?” Space Janitor asked, looking around.
Space Janitor watched as a chandelier fell from the ceiling. He held an arm out to halt Shep. The fixture fell shattering in front of them. Glass was sent flying and bounced off their limbs.
“Let’s see if there’s any back up alright?” Shep asked Space Janitor. “If there isn’t, then we’ll have to see what our best option is. You know I’m without a paddle, and your one looks like it’s out of juice. We’re not that useful in general and to be honest, I don’t think they’ll look too kindly on this. We shouldn’t get fined. We shouldn’t. You know what we might,” Shep looked about and saw all the damage that had been done.
The two continued towards the entrance. Shep rolled his head around until he heard a distinct crack. He laughed at the relief he felt.
Space Janitor focused his attention on the door. An enormous crater in the floor of the entrance. It went down several levels. There was, even more, to clean up than he first thought. This would take years if it were left up to the two of them. Would there be any support? Space Janitor gulped at the prospect.
They circumnavigated the hole in the floor and made it to the door. Shep and Space Janitor turned and gave the room one last look.
“You know we could run from this,” Shep said. A smile crept onto his face. “If they caught us, it would mean death, but we wouldn’t have to clean anymore,”
“You need to get some medical attention Shep. You’ve been cold too long, let’s see what they say. Do you think they’ll be mad?”
“They don’t get mad,” Shep said to Space Janitor. “What they do is make sure it goes onto your account, so you have no chance of getting free. Think of it as deferred billing.”
Space Janitor and Shep made their way out the door. When they got to the other side, the station went about its business. There was no acknowledgement of what had gone on the other side of the doors. They were finally out in the artificial sunlight.
Space Janitor felt good as the rays hit him. He looked to see Shep who hobbled along beside him. They took a moment and sat down on the steps, unsure of what to do next.
Space Janitor took of the Spenglactic and lay down on the steps. The sharp corners dug into his spine, but at the moment, he didn’t care. He was glad to be warm.
The warmth dropped.
A shadow grew overhead.
Space Janitor’s eyes opened and looked up. Something was heading their way. Shep stood up.
Space Janitor joined him and stood upright. The vehicle, small, sharp and shiny landed in front of them.
A side hatch opened up revealing the Great Dane. The ship was too small for his stature. It rocked violently as the Great Dane scrambled out.
Space Janitor and Shep stood to attention as the Great Dane made his way towards them.
He began talking to them, but he was at too much of a distance to be heard. By the time he got to them all that they could make out that they were to make some kind of decision about something.
“Well, is it number one, or is it number two?” the great Dane asked.
Space Janitor looked at Shep. Shep shrugged.
“Number 2?” said Space Janitor. The Great Dane smiled at Space Janitor and nodded. “Did I choose, right?”
The Great Dane could not help but smile at Space Janitor.
“Of course, you made an excellent choice. If there’s anyone who’s equipped to clear out the landing strips it’s you,” the Great Dane said to Space Janitor.
Space Janitor wasn’t too sure what any of that meant he looked round to Shep. Shep’s eyes were wide, and his ears were up.
“Oh no,” said Shep.
“What’s the matter, Shep?” the Great Dane asked. “If anyone can do it, new pup here is more than up for the task. What better than you to guide him?”
“Can I tend to the clean up here, Max?” Shep asked the Great Dane, Max.
“How do you intend to do that? I see you are without a pack? Tell me what happened.” Max said.
Shep stuttered and stammered trying to find the words.
“It’s not my fault,” said Shep.
“I’m not worried about attributing blame at the moment,” said Max. Space Janitor watched the two of them speak.
“There was a malfunction with the pack, and it was destroyed,”
“That’s not good. That’s not good at all. You see, you can’t help with the cleanup. If anyone can it’s new pup here,” Max gestured at Space Janitor. Max turned to him. “Do you want to help with the cleanup and I’ll send Shep on his own to the next job?”
Space Janitor looked at Shep and then back round to Max.
“I’d prefer to stick with Shep if you allow it,” said Space Janitor.
“Oh, I’ll more than allow it,” said Max. “I just want to make sure you’re sure.”
“Yep,” said Space Janitor.
“Would you look at that Shep, nothing more loyal than a young pup. You could learn a thing or two from this one. Are you ready to go?” Max asked them.
“Shep needs a new pack,” Space Janitor said to Max, the Great Dane.
“Oh, if you’re doing your job right, you won’t need a pack,” Max responded.
Space Janitor, confused, looked round to Shep. Shep didn’t move.
Max regarded them and smiled.
“Get to it mutts,” Max said. “I tell you what you can take my transport. My treat, don’t say I don’t do anything for you.”
Max walked away from them. He observed the eatorium.
“This is a real mess,” Max said. “Get out of here before the sector head gets here. They don’t like setbacks.”
Space Janitor and Shep walked over towards Max’s transport.
“Getting use of his transport. That was good of him,” Space Janitor said to Shep.
“Is that what you think?” Shep said, limping towards the transport. Space Janitor kept pace with him.
“I don’t really know what to think,” Space Janitor responded. “Whatever it is we’re going to must be better than having to deal with that mess behind us.”
“OK, keep thinking that. Clearing out landing strips. Dog, this is not good for me. Need to see if something can be done about this. Feeling is returning. It’s going to weep soon and so will I,” Shep said.
They arrived at the transport. The door opened for the two. As Space Janitor went to get on board, Shep held out an arm and held him back.
“You know, we don’t have to get on,” Shep said, closing his eyes. Focused on his breath. “You and I, we could go stray.”
“Would you get far without the foot?” Space Janitor asked. Shep snarled at the question.
“Three-legged dogs can still run. Clearing out landing strips are the worst” said Shep.
“We clear out the strip. We see if we can do something about the foot. Then we see how we feel. How does that sound?”
Shep looked at Space Janitor with astonishment.
“You really are a new pup, aren’t you?” said Shep. He shrugged and got on board. Space Janitor followed him. “You’re not even thinking about what’s in store,” Shep let it hang in the air. The inside of the transport was spacious enough for the two of them. There was a seat for both of them.
The transport door closed. A slight rocking indicated the transport had taken off.
Space Janitor saw there was some dispenser. He knew it would give out some form of sustenance. The question was in the how.
Shep looked at Space Janitor and smiled.
“If you go over, press the button and say what you want, it’ll make it happen,” said Shep. “Of course, try the Margetanian trout, it’s pretty good,”
Space Janitor looked round to Shep.
“It can make anything?” Space Janitor asked, eyes off in the middle distance, thinking of infinite possibilities.
“Yeah, pretty much. Don’t be asking for a Remical Sky Whale. This transport is tight enough as it is. Plus it can’t give life. So, keep that in mind,” Shep sat back on the chair.
Shep wanted to get some rest before they got to the next place. To be frank, he also wanted to ignore Space Janitor for a bit too.
Space Janitor got up and approached the device. Pressed the button as instructed and leaned in to speak to the device. Space Janitor licked his lip. A well of droll formed at the side of his mouth. In all the morning excitement he had not eaten, and his stomach made him aware of this.
Space Janitor looked round to Shep.
Shep was dozing, but his ears were still alert. He could hear Space Janitor whisper. What was he saying?
Space Janitor approached Shep. Shep kept his eyes closed. If he kept them shut for long enough, then the journey would be over, and they could get on with the task at hand.
Through the transparency of his eyelids, the silhouette of Space Janitor stood before him. Reluctantly, Shep opened his eyes.
“I’m not hungry,” Shep said, not looking at what was in Space Janitor’s hands.
“Good, I hope that means you won’t eat this then,” Space Janitor replied.
Shep looked down to see what Space Janitor was holding.
“Great, you got me a foot,” She said. Space Janitor handed the foot to him. It looked as if it would fit his stump. The gesture touched Shep. He didn’t want to let his feelings known.
“I don’t know if it will work. It was just an idea,” said Space Janitor.
Shep held it down to where his original foot would have gone.
“I hope you don’t think this means I like you,” Shep said, looking up at Space Janitor.
“Oh no, of course not. I mean you wouldn’t need a replacement foot if it wasn’t for me,” Space Janitor said.
The transport rocked as it made its way across the station. On the inside, traffic was silent.
“Guess there’s no harm in trying the thing on for size. It looks like you may have got my size wrong. This is a nice…” Shep couldn’t bring himself to finish the sentence. The words hit an invisible wall in his throat. He was forbidden from speaking those words.
Space Janitor watched intently as Shep held the foot to the stump.
“It could work,” Space Janitor said.
“Need to work out how I’m going to attach it,” said Shep. “Any ideas?”
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