The Greatest Story Never Told: Part Two
He pulled her to her feet before turning and marching purposefully towards the dock. Jaycee, at his heels, was hurrying to catch up with him, all the while protesting.
“But we can't, not really, the Space Station, Seb? No way— have you heard?! Mel told me what she heard from the Tombola man, the rumors about that place! Grundos, Seb, Grundos! Not to mention it’s so far away— are you even listening to me? Sebastian! Oh, you really annoy me sometimes, did you know that? Why do you never listen to me?” she raged as they walked, while Sebastian seemed perfectly oblivious to her warnings.
She carried on protesting the entire boat-ride home, all the journey from the dock to the airport. She only stopped when they were on the rocket leaving for the Space Station, and this, Sebastian assumed, was because she had nearly lost her voice. But he knew she would never let him go on his own, so there they were together, at the Space Station, gawping wide-eyed around at everything.
Grundos hurried here and there, often accompanied by a little Robot, which on closer inspection they decided were actually Petpets. They looked very busy, scurrying around their owners’ feet, clicking and whirring, polishing shoes and ankles as they went along. Strange smells wafted over from the Recreation Deck (was it food?), and a loud speaker boomed overhead: “Donna, to the front administration desk please... and has anyone lost their feet? A lone pair has been spotted randomly kicking people over on the Deck. If they are yours, please come and collect them, and do teach them some manners. Thank you, have a nice day.”
“So... where do we go, Seb? I mean, Sloth isn’t likely to be just strolling around, is he? Does he have... I don’t know, a headquarters or something?”
Sebastian was still furious with – well, everything, really - and was feeling particularly daring. He casually sauntered over to the nearest Grundo, who was checking if both his feet were still there.
“’Scuse me? Yeah, hi. We —” he jerked his thumb over his shoulder at Jaycee, who was watching him nervously “— aren’t from around here. So if you could just tell me where to find the charming and notoriously handsome Mister Sloth, that would be great, thanks.” He crossed his arms over his chest and jutted out his jaw defiantly, as the Grundo jumped as though someone had poked him with a kebab. He squealed and hurriedly looked around to see if anyone had heard. When, evidently, no one had, he nervously pulled on his ears and shook his head, before quickly turning away and busied himself once again by examining his feet.
Sebastian drew himself up to his full height (which, unfortunately, wasn’t that impressive, as he was the shortest Blumaroo in his family) and narrowed his eyes.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I’m not sure if I made myself very clear.” He raised his voice a little. “I want to know where Dr Sloth lives, ‘cause I have a bone to pick with him. Although, he won't have any bones left when I’m through with him...”
This time, the Grundo covered his ears completely, as though he was determined not to listen to him. He even started whistling to drown him out.
“I said,” Sebastian practically bellowed, “Have you got any idea where Dr Sloth lives?”
Several Grundos standing nearby turned and gaped at him, there was a frenzied whisper picking up around them, as they moved closer, almost threateningly.
Jaycee rushed to step between him and the mob.
“Sorry, sorry, he’s just grumpy, don’t mind us, we were just... leaving. Yeah. Come on, Seb.” She glared at him furiously, her jaw clenched.
One of the mob, a particularly large Robot, stepped forward so he was practically flattening her, and as she hastily took a step back, she tripped and fell hard onto the floor.
“You spoke his name,” the ‘leader’ thundered in a voice deeper than Sebastian could ever hope to have.
“Yeah, so what?” he snapped, helping Jaycee to her feet.
“You have violated our one and only code regulation.”
“You must be punished.”
“I must what?”
“Do not claim ignorance, Traitors! You are visitors to the Station, and you are sentenced to be banned for life. Now be gone!”
“Now, hang on a minute! What did I do?” Sebastian protested, throwing his hands up in defense.
“You spoke the name of the Abomination. Therefore you are not permitted to be here anymore. And you—” the leader now directed himself to the small Grundo cowering behind them, no longer interested in looking at his feet, “—you are friends of the Traitors. We demand that you leave also.” The pudgy little Grundo squeaked in terror and shook his head so hard his ears flung wildly around his face.
“Look, we’re sorry, we just didn’t think. Can't you just let us go? I mean, not go, like you want us to, we just need to find... oh, this is a mess!” Jaycee grumbled and glared at Sebastian, who felt his face flush unpleasantly.
“You will leave now.” The leader took another step forward and his look was no longer intimidating — it was threatening.
“Sorry, Jayc, for getting you into this. But I don’t like being pushed around, and I will not just leave, we came here for one reason and one reason only — to find Dr Sloth! And we are not leaving until —”
Then everything went black. . .
* * * * *
“Uhh... Wha-?” Sebastian groaned and opened his eyes. He shook his head to clear the fog before taking a good look around him. He was in a large room; the walls looked as though they were made of solid metal -much like the rest of the Station - and the floor was covered in shiny black and white tiles. The room was completely empty, except for Jaycee, the little Grundo and himself, and the walls and floor looked immaculately polished and shiny. It was much too clean for his liking, and gave him a distinct feeling of uneasiness.
He found his voice and mumbled, “Jaycee, wake up.” She rolled over. “Wake up right now!” he yelled louder. But still she didn’t stir. She was curled up in a ball next to him, snoring slightly. Oh, and you said you don’t snore! he thought, grinning and making a mental note to tease her about it when she woke up.
Which would be... any time now... stop snoozing, Jaycee... come on...
“Stupid Xweetok!” he sighed, slowly getting up and stretching. His head was throbbing and his tail felt as though it had been crushed under his weight as he fell. He fell? Why did he fall? The details were more than just blurred— he couldn’t remember a thing. Where was he? What was this black-and-white room? Why had he crushed his tail? Did he do it on purpose? Nah, he wouldn’t have done, he loved his tail. It was quite fun to bounce on.
He tried giving it an experimental spring, but he simply toppled over; his tail just wouldn’t support him anymore. What was going on?!
“Are you alright?”
Sebastian spun around so fast he fell over again.
“Who’s there? Jaycee? Who is it? Come out and fight like a — do I know you?”
The little Speckled Grundo had gotten to his feet and was looking at him with concern. Speckled Grundo... he was familiar... where had Sebastian seen him before?
Oh! Everything came rushing back to him and he gasped aloud.
“Are you ok?” the Grundo repeated.
“Yeah, yeah, fine.” Sebastian waved his hand as though shooing an annoying fly. “But what about you? Who are you? Where am I? What is this place?”
“I am Uilleam.”
“Can I call you Will?”
Uilleam paused to consider this for a moment.
“Yes, that would be fine,” he said.
“Hi, Will. I’m Sebastian. And I seem to be a little lost... do you have any idea where we are?”
Will looked very solemn.
“I am afraid I do know where we are. We are in the room where all the bad Grundos go. Or in your case...” he trailed off, gesturing at his useless tail. “Anyway, we are where the Traitors go. Those who break the code.”
“Great. So how do we get out?”
“Oh dear. I see you do not know much about the Station. Why is it you came?”
“We need to find Dr Sloth.” Will cringed at the name. “We have a score to settle with him.”
“Oh. Well, I’m sorry, but you will not find him here. He does not live here anymore; he was banished years ago. Now the Station is the home of the Grundos. But it is forbidden to say his name. If you do... well, here we are.” He smiled ruefully.
“Yeah, but where is here exactly? I mean what happens to us now?” Sebastian asked, sitting down on the tiles. Will sat down next to him, looking very worried.
“I am not certain, as none come back from here. But I have heard things, whispers amongst my people. They say any who come here do leave— they just don’t go back to the Station.”
Sebastian’s eyes widened.
“Well, where do they go?” he asked, intrigued by the mystery.
“Again, do not quote me on this. But I think they are sent to Kreludor. To work in the mines, as they have no place here anymore.”
“Oh. Well, that can't happen! I hate working... and anyway, we have to find Dr Sloth.”
“Can I ask why?”
Sebastian was taken aback.
“Well, sure, I guess.” He shrugged. “He sludged our paintbrush. It was Grey,” he added, so Will understood the severity of the situation. “So we’re going to go and get it back.”
“How will you escape from here?”
“Well, yeah, that is a slight hitch. But there doesn’t seem to be any point in staying here, I guess, if Sloth doesn’t live here. I wonder where he lives now? I mean, since the Space Faerie showed up, he sort of just sulks, really.” He leaned back against the wall, looking thoughtful. Will let out a laugh.
“You do not know where he is? Really?”
Sebastian sat upright.
“You mean you do?”
“Of course! He lives on Kreludor now. That’s why no Grundos will say his name— none want to be sent to work on the same moon that he lives on.”
“Oh, but this is perfect! We’ll be sent to Kreludor, we’ll escape the mines, go and find Sloth, and get our paintbrush back. Brilliant!” Sebastian grinned.
Everything was working out perfectly...
To be continued...