Janny peered over the chair in front of him, the one occupied by the Scentian named Grescin. The single green cube in front of her wasn’t obviously a joystick, but Daerian limbs could carefully apply pressure to any surface by jutting out muscle tissue with incredible precision. A screen in front of Ennet’s chair flashed some radar signals with irritating little beeps, but neither Scentian said anything much about this. Grescin would occasionally glance towards Ennet, but there were veins popping about an inch out of Ennet’s neck and it didn’t seem to be voluntary, so she stayed quiet.
The result was a strangely peaceful cabin for a ship being hotly pursued. Janny couldn’t really see Ennet’s screen from the angle he was at, so he turned around, pretty sure that he had noticed a window on the way in.
“Oh good Gods!” he cried, “It’s right on us!”
The disc shaped craft chasing them had the closest point of its circumference roughly two metres away. It was a good bit larger than them too - maybe twice the width, though very flat.
“Hush!” Ennet snapped, as Janny spun around.
“The window is closer in. We… must view… the hole!” Grescin explained, her words coming slowly as her eyes screwed up. Janny reckoned that meant the window was showing a zoomed in display, like on a computer screen. Though he wasn’t sure what the hole had to do with. He certainly hoped it wasn’t some sort of hole in their craft.
“The hole?” he asked.
But this time Grescin didn’t reply. She took a deep breath and squeezed the cube tight with both hands. A moment later the back left corner of the craft, just about where Janny was standing, juddered and tilted downwards. But immediately it sprang back up, overcompensated slightly, then righted itself.
Janny gasped. “What was that?”
“Turn, buddy,” Grescin said.
Janny stepped back around again and peered off into the distance to see the pursuing craft; the zoom must have been reset. He thought maybe something glinted near the bottom right, but it could have been just the starlight on the shiny side of the silver saucer.
“Indeed!” Ennet shouted, punching his hand into the air and brushing the ceiling. Janny was becoming more and more certain he was translating that word wrong. Ennet turned to face Grescin. “Applied job, Grescin! Paralysis delivered.”
They continued forward though, just as fast. Both Scentians had returned to almost complete silence, with only one exchange in the next ten minutes or so.
“Which spot?” Grescin asked.
“Spot five seems deadest,” Ennet replied. Alright, Janny thought, that definitely meant quickest.
Eventually they started to approach a thin asteroid belt, hardly a belt really - more like a necklace. Except, the string was invisible and the beads were craggy lumps of rock floating along in space.
“Hi, Janny, that ship still hidden?” Grescin asked. Janny supposed Grescin was probably asking if they were still hidden from the ship.
Janny couldn’t see anything behind them for miles, lightyears or something he supposed, nothing but the stars. “Yes… er, indeed!”
“Perfection!” Ennet cried, and Janny was fairly certain that was actually the word he had used.
They swept around to the other side of the nearest rock, which as they got closer was revealed to be about the size of the big Endoleon cargo ship Janny had been on. There was a small - in relative terms - circle on this side that was darker than most of the pits and craters on the other side, starkly lit by the tractor beam the Scentians’ craft had suddenly started to point forward. The craft glided forward with a low hum, heading straight for the patch of darkness.
As they got closer Janny started to notice a few more shadows within that patch of black, and after a moment Janny realised that you couldn’t have shadows in a big black circle. Shadows had to have light on either side in order to be picked out as shadows and that meant… there was the light! Now that they were level with the black hole - because it clearly was the opening of a tunnel - Janny saw that there were the ends of some fluorescent tubes poking out from around a sharp bend. He was staring straight down a rough black tunnel, with enough light coming around a corner to cast shadows.
“Are you aware you’ve been speaking aloud?” Ennet asked, frowning up at Janny.
“Oh, sorry, I do that sometimes when I’m working things out,” Janny said.
“Proficient logic though,” said Grescin.
“I have to do a lot of deduction at work.” Janny nodded. “Working out who’s best suited to what, which locations have easiest access to other locations. It’s quite a large ship. You have to make sure you don’t waste too much time walking up and down the corridors.”
“What do you earn for?” Grescin asked.
Janny drew himself up to his full height and straightened the creases on his jumpsuit. “I’m a janitor. Everyone calls me Janny.”
Grescin grinned at Ennet, who continued to stare straight ahead for a moment as they floated forward into the tunnel, and even for a few moments afterward. Then he slowly turned to the left to face the smiling Grescin.
“I believe I know what you’re thinking,” Ennet said.
“Well?” Grescin prompted, smile spreading wider. This looked incredibly strange on a Daerian, because of the points of the lips on either side often stretch beyond the width of the face.
Ennet pursed his lips as he rounded the corner, but his whole body relaxed as the tunnel quickly opened out into a dimly lit cavern. The lights behind them clicked off, the cavern before them lit up, and a cornucopia of mess was visible at the far side. Janny’s eye was immediately drawn to it.
Ennet parked the craft on a ledge just to the left of the doorway and looked up at Janny. “The object you’re seeing over there is the mound of stuff brought to us last cycle by a passing SRA cell.”
Janny frowned. “And you haven’t sorted through it?”
“I have been intending to for a lengthy time.” Grescin shrugged, which for a Daerian is frankly just hilarious.
“But she’s been leaving it off,” Ennet said, undoing his seatbelt.
“We are in need of a janitor.” Grescin nodded vigorously.
“In particular one who appears in no race to get home,” Ennet murmured.
Grescin nodded and raised an eyebrow. “Or enquire questions what the SRA is…”
Janny tilted his head to the side. “Oh, I guess that is a good question. What is the SRA? And wait, were you not planning to take me home?”