“You’re quite the dancer, you filthy Scentian,” the Endoleon said. “Oh, wait.”
The pressure removed itself from Janny’s mouth and something small and grey scurried toward the Endoleon. The cuffs came off as well, dropping to the ground. Janny watched in horror as the Endoleon bent down and reached out the palms of her hands. For a moment the palms were all she had, until the four double-banded cuffs separated out into eight individual fingers and reattached themselves to her hand.
Janny had heard that Endoleons could do complex manual work with detached hands, but had no idea they had that much power.
“Ew,” he said. The Endoleon glared at him and produced a little black button from her pocket, then pressed it. A moment later he was winded by black cables flying from the walls on either side of him and wrapping around his abdomen. His arms were squeezed into his sides and he could barely stay balanced upright.
“Help!” Janny screamed, realising he probably ought to have started screaming as soon as the pressure was taken off his mouth - oh Gods, those must have been her thumbs!
The Endoleon raised an eyebrow. “Oh, come on. Don’t you hear the sound of the buzzagong? Everyone’s screaming to the beat out there. Nobody’s going to hear you.”
The Endoleon stepped towards him, revealing a small cart that she’d been standing in front of.
“Over here, if you please,” she said, gesturing towards the cart.
Janny tried to look back over his shoulder, but the binds around his arms and stomach tightened. When he looked back the Endoleon had the button held in one hand and was flexing the fingers on the other. Janny hung his head.
“Fine,” he whimpered.
He dragged his feet as he climbed up the little steps on the side of the cart and settled himself in the bucket seat on the passenger side. It didn’t quite fit Janny, with the lip at the digging into the underside of his thighs, she he shifted some mass around. He was so nervous his flesh bounced around with a loud squelching sound.
“Ew,” said the Endoleon, settling down on the driver seat.
“Uh-huh,” Janny muttered. He stared at his feet, tucked under the little dashboard with its steering wheel on one side and glove compartment on the other. As they whizzed away from the party, away from the buildings, Janny barely looked up. They could have been driving in a landing field full of tens of thousands of different spaceship designs and he wouldn’t have cared.
“What’s the matter, Scentian?” the Endoleon asked, bringing them to a stop beside a neat grassline at the edge of a tarmac strip.
Janny sighed. “I want to go home. Or at least back to the party.”
The Endoleon rolled her eyes. “Typical self-absorbed Scentian. Nothing in your life but parties and ruining the lives of others. “Come on, up you get.”
Janny dragged himself around and set his feet down on the ground. As he pushed himself up, his view tilted upwards and he saw the craft they had come to a stop beside. A silver disc propped up in the air by a small spherical cabin. It was a TIPO ship, like the one that had been chasing Ennet and Grescin.
The Endoleon was looking at him with her head tilted to the side.
“Oh,” Janny said, “I said that out loud, didn’t I?”
The Endoleon nodded slowly. “Come on, we’re going somewhere we can alert your SRA unit - Ennet and Grescin, apparently - so they can come trade for you.”
She started to cross the grass towards the cabin, which was parked in a perfectly shaped circular dip in the ground. It was only as she opened the convex circular door that its loud his jarred Janny out of his huff. He sprinted across the grass and looked up, holding her gaze.
Panting, he said, “What’s your name?”
The Endoleon looked down at him from her slightly higher footing of the top step. “Lestili… Why?”
Janny slowed his breathing and said, in careful Fladian, “Lestili, I am not a Scentian.”
Lestili stared at him for a long moment, then tilted her head back and snorted. “Whatever. Get on board or I’ll detach my hands again.”
She turned and jogged up the rest of the steps. Janny bounded up after her.
“I’m serious! I’m a janitor. My name is Rolgen Gomm - though most people call me Janny, because, you know, I’m a janitor. I am not involved in the Scentian Retaking Allegiance or whatever it’s called!” Janny gasped, and found himself panting again.
The door closed behind him and the ship started to rumble. Janny grasped a handle beside the door tight, squeezing it to stop himself from crying.
“Nice try,” Lestili said, darting around the cabin and flicking switches all over the place. “Then why were you looking out the back window of the craft when your two friends stunned the bottom left quadrant of my ship?”
Janny gestured wildly with his free hand. “They abducted me!”
Lestili stopped and stared at him, one hand on her hip. In the dim - slightly green - light of the ship Janny realised that she was wearing a brightly patterned floral shirt and a flowing white skirt. He’d probably brushed right past her in the dance floor and not realised she’d attached her hands to him.
“Seriously, mate, stop insulting my intelligence. Abduction is not the SRA’s style. They disrupt trade and hack currency transfers.”
Janny’s gut clenched as she turned back to her controls. Clearly she had not been on the dance floor during the news report. She pulled a final lever, and they took off.
“Wait!” Janny wailed, as they flew off into the night sky. “Don’t you know that SRA abduction is beginning to become a more documented phenomenoooooon!”