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Crime and rescue Edit

The boy in the water could swim easily. All Centaurians can. Still watching him was pathetic as he struggled to keep up with a powerboat.
“Help me! Help me!” he screamed.
Blue Tentacles reached out. [1] The other boy grabbed his tentacles and clung on so forcefully it was frightening. Blue tried to get hold of the railings and stop himself being pulled into the sea as well. The other boy was holding onto him so tightly he couldn’t have let go in any case.
“Please help my young friend” Brown Tentacles pleaded, “Alas, Alas, my old tentacles. I’m too weak. I can’t help.” Patricians nearby heard the Plebeian manner of the old fellow and did nothing. Young Blue Tentacles could feel his grasp slipping, a tumultuous wave gripped them and both were in the water, then a maelstrom sucked them under. How deep were they, five metres, ten metres, fifteen metres? Rough water rammed them against the side of the ship, both were too shocked and frightened to feel any pain [2] The boys tried to swim upwards but the whirlpool sucked them back down and it was a long time before the water calmed and they got away from the whirlpool.

On the bridge the engineer who should have been steering the ship rushed back as fast as possible, took over and brought the craft smoothly to a halt. Purple looked down and couldn’t see either boy on the deck or in the sea. After a harrowing long time Purple saw first one, then a second set of tentacles appeared on the surface, the two Centaurians were almost white with fear and it was some time before Purple realized that one was his protégé Blue Tentacles.

After a long ordeal both swam back to the ship and got onto the deck, and then they started telling young Blue Tentacles off yet again. How could he risk his life for some Centaurian who was just a Plebeian stowaway? They understood that he needed a servant with him, he didn't just need a chaperone, he needed a servant to stop him being silly. Others came up and said, they knew that Blue Tentacled boy is feeble minded and they told elderly Brown Tentacles off as well. Why hadn’t he done more to help his young charge? Patrician Centaurians demanded to know who his employer was so they could tell that employer how lax the servant had been. The Attendant who pushed the boy into the sea was arrested. What he’d done might have been overlooked in one of the cut-price organisations but the Galaxy Shipping Company had to keep up its reputation for operating responsibly. [3] Pushing some Centaurian overboard was well out of order by their standards and he’d got a Patrician boy into danger.

An adult Centaurian rushed out from the cheapest area and grabbed the other boy. What have you been doing? The boy clung onto her with all the strength in his tentacles. When he was with his mother he became a bit yellow again. Mother noticed an injury to her son’s body,
“Did you hit the side of the boat? You could easily have been killed!” Blue Tentacles realised he had a similar injury which started to hurt, Blue rubbed the injury and also the tentacle he had strained before he left his ‘father’s’ house.

Meanwhile they gave the arrested attendant antidotes to the intoxicants he’d taken and the prisoner tried to get away. In the commotion all four who hadn’t paid slipped off to the cheap area. Yellow Tentacles’ mum found her husband sprawled on the deck with a pile of half consumed intoxicants beside him. She started telling him off.
“How could you? I was relying on you to look after the boy!”
The drunk mumbled something incoherent. Mother turned her attention to her son.
“What were you doing, running away to where we haven’t paid to be? You’re lucky we’re Centaurians, Terrans could never have survived under water anything like as long as you two did.“ Blue Tentacles was too frightened and upset to complain that he didn’t want to hear about Terrans, mother continued,
“You’d have starved to death in the mid ocean. How would you ever have found land?”
“I’d have kept swimming towards the sun till I got somewhere, I think.”
“Are you sure the land’s in that direction?” Mother told a story about some Centaurian who’d been picked up by a boat half starved and exhausted after swimming and swimming, she didn’t know for how long.
“You’d have starved to death before anyone rescued you.” She finished. Then she turned to young Blue Tentacles. His whole body was becoming pale bluish white with fear as he began to realize what could have happened. The other boy’s mother put her tentacles round him, gently stroking.
“You saved my son’s life. I’ll never forget how brave you were.”
A new emotion swept through young Blue Tentacles, it was something he had never experienced before. Blue Tentacles felt self esteem, he realized that he had done something very well.

Chapter 12 They really respect me


Footnotes

  1. We already know that Blue Tentacles has a reckless kind of courage. He can act without thinking when he upsets a whole planet or when he rescues someone in danger.
  2. Neither saw their whole lives flashing before them because Centaurian brains are different from ours.
  3. It’s not clear how long they would have searched for a Plebeian stowaway but fortunately that wasn’t necessary. The time Blue Tentacles had been holding the other was just long enough to prevent either being separated from the ship.

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