Doing their jobs on the abduction services spaceship, Ronnie and Carly dragged mops through the estuarial passageways, rarely used, but they got cleaned once every few weeks whether they needed it or not. They raced to see who could complete their side of the corridor first, but Carly kept tangling her mop up with Ronnie’s to slow him down.
“Two points off every time you do that.” Ronnie gained the lead.
“Says who?” Carly caught back up and pushed ahead.
“Why do you get to make the rules?”
“I’ve got seniority, remember?”
“Not since we changed ships, you don’t.”
“Oh, yeah.” Ronnie pushed his mop in front of hers and made her stumble, taking his lead to the end of the conduit for victory. “Hah!”
The ship quaked violently with a deafening boom. Ronnie and Carly stumbled to the floor, and their mop buckets spilled over sending a flood of soapy water down the corridor.
“What the hell?” Ronnie gained his feet and helped Carly up.
They ran to the main conduit and opened the portal. Aliens that looked like the Michelin Man but with scales and a stack of pancakes for a head dropped out of large tubes that had crashed through the wall of the ship, some kind of grey ooze filling in the sides where there would have been airleaks.
Ronnie shut the door. “We’re being boarded by hostiles.”
“You mean, like, space pirates?”
They ran to a windowed observation deck, where they could see the ovate ship outside, a gigantic, spiny, rough-surfaced vessel with curved spikes protruding out the far end, and dozens of tubes coming out the close end into their boss’s ship.
“Turn on the ship monitor,” said Carly.
“I am.” Ronnie flipped a few switches and dialed channels for the command decks. Images of several areas came on the screens.
The pancake stacks carried around doorknob shaped instruments that with a twist of a knob squirted a clear substance, covering the aliens that ran the ship and immobilizing them. They picked up Tibittot, the talking toilet brush Ronnie and Carly had taught a few lessons to about pushing around humans, and they tossed him into one of the tubes going back to their ship. They did the same with a few Gormapipers, including the one they liked that called himself ‘Bart.’
One intruder with an orange scarf-like cloth around his neck seemed to be in charge because he gesticulated a lot, but didn’t do anything.
“The abductors are being abducted,” said Ronnie.
“Can they do that?” asked Carly.
“Apparently. I’m betting they don’t have a license for it.”
“What do we do?”
Ronnie chewed the side of his thumb. “The only thing we can do. Let’s go meet them.”
“You can’t be serious.”
“Can you fly this ship? Can you keep its life-support running?”
She was silent and twitchy as Ronnie escorted her to the command deck. He marched in and handed the Michelin Man with the orange bandana the universally recognized card of the janitor guild. The translator chirped the words, ‘you’re engaged,’ and the alien respectfully boosted them into the nearest tube, gravity immediately adjusting so they could walk to the other vessel.
“Yet another ship,” said Carly.
Ronnie nodded. “Don’t mess with our union.”