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A Better Time at the Canteen Edit

They were actually asking Purple what he chose, slaves risked punishment if they tried too hard to get what they wanted.
“I think I’ll try the slime-worm sauce with kelp.” Purple requested. In the mansion where Purple had lived slime-worm was a high-priced luxury normally reserved for the Patrician family and Patrician visitors. Even the highest ranking overseers could only expect slime-worm on very special occasions.
“Are you sure you don’t feel like anything better than kelp with your slime worm?” Straight Tentacles asked a bit surprised.
“I just like kelp.” Purple told him.
“Look I’m a catering engineer, I take care of the catering equipment here, I know which the good dishes are.”
“I’d really like kelp with slime-worm.” Purple insisted.
“Good I’ll get you kelp with slime-worm.” Straight Tentacles went to fetch another portion of kelp and the other engineer who had unusual tentacles, mainly black but with an odd gold sparkle went close to Straight, partly for protection.
“Let’s buy something good for him, there’s a story going round he’s been a slave till recently and the chances are he’s got hardly anything.” the other engineer said quietly so Purple couldn’t hear. [1] Straight Tentacles agreed to this gladly as he was beginning to like Purple really a lot.

While they were away some of the others warned Purple that it would only be slime-worm flavoured sauce. The Galaxy Shipping Company wouldn’t provide expensive items like slime-worms free to lower ranks they told Purple, a few even wriggled tentacles disapprovingly and complained that officers got far better food than ratings. Purple hardly heard any of that, what mattered to him was that after half a lifetime in slavery he was choosing what he ate.

Purple turned his eye stalks towards the steaming container that Straight Tentacles brought him,
“Ah that type of jet black food is always enticing!” Purple exclaimed. [2]
“I knew you’d like it.” Straight replied.
Purple dipped his tentacles into the bubbling dish and sensors on his tentacles already told him that was really good food. Purple put a little into his oral cavity, yes it was delicious. Straight Tentacles didn’t say anything but he’d paid to get the enhanced quality slime-worm sauce, there was very little real slime-worm in it but the flavour was altogether far better than the taste of the free sauce. Purple and Straight Tentacles pointed eye stalks at each other and Purple wondered, was Straight giving him that, ‘I think we can get on together.’ look?


Footnotes

  1. There is a suggestion that animals living round a Red Dwarf star are unlikely to communicate using sound waves because the continuous gale would make such communication difficult. See Weather conditions and habitability of Red dwarf star systems. However they communicated the engineer was careful that Purple could not detect his communication.
  2. Some sources claim photosynthetic organisms round a red dwarf star would tend to be black or nearly black, see Photosynthesis round Red dwarf star systems

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