Back to The Aliens of the Flaming Red Sun

Reaching New “Homes” and PartingEdit

Purple ordered the driver to restart and watched as the five Centaurians began the journey towards the cave that would become their home. As the vehicle moved away they shrank to become five specks in the distance and finally became invisible.

Purple made himself stop nibbling his tentacles, he was far too old for that type of nervous habit. A scheduled stop lasted longer than expected because meteorological reports suggested the sun was about to flare and in due course a flare started. The craft was strong enough to shield Centaurians but waiting the flare out was better. Even homeless passengers complained that hanging around in a rough shelter without facilities was boring and Purple struggled to sooth them. Purple wondered what was preventing the regular driver helping.

Unfortunately the driver got hold of intoxicants during the wait and after that Purple didn’t feel it was safe to let him drive. Purple was still driving and trying to make up for lost time towards the end of the shift. When the craft went back through the sea wall tiredly Purple pointed his eye stalks forward and struggled to see a safe course through that gloomy tunnel. Afterwards tentacles relaxed visibly as Centenarians on-board recognised that they were now on the safer side of the barrier where paying Centaurians generally preferred to stay. At long last all reached the terminus where there was a facility for Galaxy Shipping Company workers. For a short while despite tiredness Purple’s spirits rose as he looked at his new home, the first place where he would work and live as a free Centaurian. The driver’s condition was noted and he was escorted promptly to a sobering up station. They also noticed Purple, there was the formal greeting.
“I see you are newly started as a seafarer, welcome!”
"Welcome indeed!" Purple responded as custom dictated though he was totally exhausted from driving very long without breaks and this politeness seemed both trite and burdensome.
One of the Centaurians showed Purple the way to a mudbath that engineering ratings and other skilled workers used and where Purple could at last rest.

“I’m sorry if that’s not as good as you’re used to,” the Centaurian who’d shown Purple the way commented, “We’re a bit of a backwater here.”
Purple just stared at the beautiful mudbath, it was nowhere near as good as what the master had for overseers and high ranking employees but it was far better than anything that lower servants or slaves ever got to use. The mudbath was rectangular in imitation of many Terran swimming baths which gave the facility prestige as well as using space efficiently and saving resources for the Galaxy Shipping Company. Prestigiously they also imitated Terran swimming baths in having a shallow end and a deep end. That was only done to follow fashion and quite unecessary, after all Centaurian can always swim well and only Terrans need shallow water for weak swimmers and those who can’t swim. Purple just dived into the mud at the shallow end which as in most Terran swimming baths was near the entrance then fatigue got the better of him and he went to sleep.

Purple woke later with sympathetic workmates round him, sleep wake cycles haven’t evolved on a planet where the inhabited side is in perpetual daylight, and Centaurians simply don’t sleep unless they are totally worn out. The workmates assured Purple that the driver would get a proper dressing-down when he sobered up and could understand what he’d done. Purple felt edgy as he’d got a fellow worker into trouble.
“It wasn’t only the driver,” Purple excused, “I haven’t had a good rest since I left my master’s mansion.” Then Purple corrected himself, “I haven’t had a good rest since I left my last employer’s workplace.” Purple hoped the others wouldn’t notice he was a former slave.

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