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Is this better or worseEdit

A guard opened the entrance of the little prisoner’s cell, told him he could meet the other prisoners and grumbled about all those Terran innovations. Blue Grey Tentacles shuddered when Terrans were mentioned. He didn’t want to meet anybody. He felt miserable about what he’d done to the Terrans. He just stayed where he was with his head buried in his tentacles and half his food uneaten. There was a tingling in his tentacles, he began to feel better. He looked up. There was the old prisoner with the brown tentacles stroking him. The youngster stopped feeling better. ”
“Get your rotten tentacles away from me!”
“Come on, I want to be your friend. I’ve got some MUD for you. ”

Blue Grey had been warned not to accept mud from strangers. It was the same as Terran children being warned not to accept sweets from strangers. But mud. He’d been without mud so long. He grabbed the canister eagerly and gobbled up the creepy crawlies in the mud greedily. He didn’t even notice that the other prisoner was eating the remains of his food.

After both prisoners had plastered their tentacles with mud the youngster asked frightened, “What if the guards find us using mud?”
“It’s OK, Old Shaky Tentacles is on duty. He won’t come round. That’s how I could steal the mud that the guards use.” [1]

As on Earth older Centaurians are less attractive than young adults. Natural selection made things that way. Centaurians pass on their genes better by making it with young adults. Young adults are strong enough to help care for their children and probably won’t die before the children are independent. Blue Grey didn’t find the old prisoner handsome. Those drooping frills round the old fellow's mouth and along his tentacles just weren’t sexually good for young Centaurians. He knew any relationship would be unnatural. But hardly anyone had had liked him or been uncritical since his arrest.

Gradually the older Centaurian persuaded him to be his friend. Brown Tentacles, the older prisoner was superficially very nice. He told the youngster how to get on the good side of the better guards and how to avoid the worse guards when he could. He warned him not to stay with his head buried in his tentacles. Anyone could have attacked him or taken advantage.
“Of course”, Brown Tentacles insisted, “I wasn’t taking advantage. But anyone else could have.”
"I'll just be your friend," the youngster insisted. "I don't want you touching my tentacles that way again."

The time for meeting other prisoners ended and both were locked in their own cells. Young Blue Grey Tentacles felt more relaxed as he was sure he had a friend who would do nothing bad and Blue Grey would see to that. Blue Grey played with his own reproductive organs while he thought about how decisive and strong he would be, firmly he would see to it that the unattractive old fellow did nothing sexual. In that young Blue Grey Tentacles would clearly be the leader and that was a pleasant thought. Blue Grey Tentacles felt better than he had at any time since he came into the prison.

Chapter 6 Prison Psychology


  1. Shaky Tentacles is a common name for Centaurians who have trouble controlling their tentacles for whatever reason. We will come across a different Centaurian also called Shaky Tentacles much later in the story.

Can you imagine what it’s like to be dying in some dirty place with cockroaches biting you while you are still alive? I can’t though Scientologists let Lisa McPherson die that way and sadly that wasn't fiction. If you’ve the stomach for them here’s the Autopsy photos. Here's a further account of what happened,Death in slow motion: Part 2 of 3 in a special report on the Church of Scientology

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