Cleanser Pit Stop

Kanuva kept his head down, anxiously peering out of the glass dome above him. Shield Six, the Decay Lord ship he was currently residing in, had had a huge amount of upgrades over the last couple of weeks. The whole ship had been extended, complete with a personal chamber, just for Kanuva to live in.

Right now though, he was hiding away in the ship’s observatory on the top of the ship. A shimmering glass dome, which normally allowed him to watch the empty void, spotting newborn stars and growing nebulae. Kanuva had a perfectly good window in his personal chamber, but that window was at ground level, where other beings could peer in. Beings with every-ray vision, somehow allowing them to see though the lead-lined curtains.

The Imperator had been hiding in the observatory for a while. It was fine to do so, the room was perfectly safe, it just wasn’t up to his normal preferences. Ever since they had arrived here at this small Life Oasis, a hub area for both Life Goddesses and other Periuniversal beings, Kanuva had been hounded by various feminine, mostly naked beings, all wanting him to join them on their adventures. Annoyingly, they kept on calling him a “cute little baby Voidborn”, which Kanuva was certain he was not.

Yet the rest of the crew of Shield Six seemed uninterested in leaving. The six Cleansers that had adopted Kanuva as a crew mate were all busy counting money, gathering supplies and collecting information. In fact, the only other being on board currently was Cleanser Tah, who was preoccupied doing routine inspections across the ship. Tah was technically the ship’s captain, but the six Cleansers all treated each other as equals.

A cabinet could be heard closing somewhere on the ship, being slammed shut with a hint of frustration. Mechanical footsteps clomped down the main corridor and… towards the observatory. A heavy, metallic clang echoed on the door frame, the Cleanser outside asking permission to come in.

“Kanuva, are you busy?”

“No, not at all!” Kanuva quickly replied, as the door opened without any real waiting for his answer. Tah, like his five fellow Cleansers, lacked any real expression on his face, which was mostly made of a heavy metal head plate, four overly sharp and large teeth and two glowing eyes. All hints of emotion came from the sound of Tah’s voice. “Is something wrong?”

“Nuh used the wrong insulation foam on some broken wires and I need to fix it, but it’s in an awkward position and I need your assistance in cutting out the old foam so I can replace it.”

Kanuva got up slowly, making sure he couldn’t be seen from the outside, and made his way to the door. “I’m happy to help, lead the way!”

Tah let out a small, high-pitched sigh, then traipsed back down the hallway, Kanuva in tow. The faulty area in question wasn’t too far, just a small box in the small hangar of the ship. On the front of the box was a simple sentence, written in Panphthor, the language of the Decay Lords.

“Oh, is there a problem with the heating?” Kanuva asked, taking the tool Tah was handing to him. The offending insulation foam could easily be seen, but Kanuva quickly realised why Tah was having issues. The Cleanser had thick, clawed fingers and short arms, and the foam as right at the back, in the top corner of the cabinet.

“Been using it more in the last thousand hours than we have in the last ten thousand hours. Had I known we’d actually be using it for the whole ship, I would have upgraded it sooner…” Tah tutted. “Normally we only needed it to heat the cockpit and main space.”

Kanuva felt a little bad. The six Cleansers had done a LOT of work in order to make the ship hospitable to him. Heck, his own personal chamber was larger than all six of the Cleansers’ individual chambers.

“Don’t feel bad…” Tah tutted. “It’s been nice having someone relatable on board…” Tah suddenly stopped. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to mind-read.”

“It is absolutely fine, I appreciate the reassurance!” Kanuva beamed. “The six of you must have spent a long time out here on your own!”

“True…” Tah tutted some more. Kanuva finished removing the foam, then watched as Tah brought over a small stool, so he could see inside. Using a miniature omnitool, modified to fit Tah’s Cleanser fingers, he quickly applied a thin layer of red insulation, followed by a second layer of white foam. “Alright. All done. I am surprised you stayed on the ship though.”

Kanuva shrugged, following Tah back into the ship proper. “I do not like the attention the Life Goddesses give me. Life Goddess Kinisis was palatable. These ones? Not so much. I also do not appreciate being called a Voidborn.”

Tah glanced at Kanuva (or, rather, he appeared to, it as hard to tell with those massive, glowing eyes), then grunted. “I can see why though. Stoic, armoured, biomechanical being in white and gold that calls itself a hero and believes itself to be good above all. Matches up. But we’ll be out of here soon.”

Feeling slightly more confident, Kanuva followed Tah further. Turns out, Tah was heading to the cockpit, where a print-out sheet was slowly snaking out of a slit in one of the panels. Tah ripped it off and began studying it in silence.

“So, why have we spent so long here?” Kanuva asked, breaking the silence.

“Supplies and repairs. Ship is old, it needs it. And if we are going to be out in the vast depths for a long time, better to over-stock than under-stock… Hm… Looks like the Thantir stopped by here too.”


Tah nodded. “Yes. Most of them returned to Deathven, but a small group is still doing navigational exploration in the area. If my calculations are correct, we actually might bump into them.”

“Huh…” Kanuva trailed off. “Interesting…” Before he could continue that thought though, more metallic footsteps clanged behind him. Standing in the doorway was Leh, carrying several large boxes in one hand and a roll of paper in the other.

“Guys, stocking is all sorted. Can we get out of here now?”

Tah stared at his sibling. “Why, what’s wrong?”

“Life Goddess started hitting on me.”

“Oh.” Tah turned around and started flipping switches. “Alright. Grab the others, we’ll leave as soon as possible…”