Back to The Aliens of the Flaming Red Sun

Sin and repentance[]

Boy and maid were both were safely away from the window and the light of the flaring sun, the boy knew why he was being punished and shook with remorse. The maid lowered her tentacles with a contrite tremor as she thought about her sins asking herself how far she had failed in her duty to please her master and mistress. The Sun Priest who ministered to servants always impressed that duty onto his charges, after all the master paid his salary. Certainly she tried to please her mistress as she dutifully should but did she please her master? The master and mistress wanted different things. How in the Sun’s name could she please both? What did the Great Lord Sun want from her?

An announcement interrupted these thoughts,
“The master wants me to fetch the others, stay here till I return and keep away from that window.” the maid told Blue Tentacles, then went off while Blue carried on thinking about his sins alone, he was used to that from the prison.

Outside in the shelter the older brothers and sisters of Blue Tentacles hung tentacles remorsefully and also thought about their sins. Father regularly reminded them that Blue had damaged father’s marriage plans for them and impressed on them their duty to be good and to act with decorum so they could become attractive brides and bridegrooms despite this. [1] Had they done enough they wondered. The younger brothers and sisters understood to a varying extent that the flare happened because they hadn’t always behaved well but mainly they minded that they were stuck in a boring shelter. A little one asked the Priest with serious childlike faith,
“If we promise we’ll never ever be naughty again will the Lord Sun stop the flare and let us go out to play?”

Eventually the maid turned up in a vehicle that was shielded against the radiation from the flare and he/she drove them all back to the mansion with the Sun Priest feeling very uncomfortable. Yet again the Priest feared his colleagues who ministered to the servants would tell him about radiation burns the workers suffered. Far too often the workers couldn’t get to shelters in time or the shelters they used were badly maintained. Would there be fatalities this time? The Sun Priest quivered his tentacles with agitation. The Priest knew his duty was to bring the light of the Lord Sun to his employer. The Priest knew he should tell his employer how far he was failing to care properly for his family and for his servants. The Priest also had a family to support and that meant not annoying his employer. In the Sun’s name which duty was more important? What wrongs had he personally done that brought the flare onto the planet? The Sun Priest hadn’t resolved any of those questions by the time they all got to the mansion.

So Blue Tentacles met his brothers and sisters, the younger ones had already forgotten about being good, they wriggled their tentacles mockingly at him, saying things like,
“You can’t have a mudbath because you’ve been in prison!”
Blue grabbed at them and tried to rub off some mud that was still sticking to their tentacles. Then he was in trouble for fighting. The older sisters and brother of Blue hardly spoke to him. They knew that Blue had damaged their marriage prospects and they might have to make do with marriages to older and less attractive Centaurians than they would have liked. Then it was announced that father wanted them all to assemble in the exalted Family Sun Temple for a penitence lecture. All tried very hard not to groan audibly.

Servants arranged the mud on the tentacles of Blue’s younger brothers and sisters in decorative patterns that it was hoped would please the Great Lord Sun but the older brothers and sisters knew how to do this for themselves. Then with tentacles lowered miserably and remorsefully all went in a procession to the Family Chapel. Windows that generously let the light of their God the Sun in at other times were firmly shuttered against the Flaring Sun. The glowing red Sun-Shaped Orb in the temple centre shone with just enough light so Centaurians could see their way but overall the gloomy atmosphere reminded all of their sins.

Chapter 14 Penitence and more


  1. Among hermaphrodites every bride is also a bridegroom.