Back to The Aliens of the Flaming Red Sun

Towards a ‘Home’ Among the Homeless[]

“How in the name of all that’s good do we stay in touch when you’ve been assigned fresh work?” Silver Grey Tentacles asked Purple. Silver Grey didn’t dare to say more as Purple could be a good friend and she didn’t want him to think she was just greedy. Desperately she hoped Purple wouldn’t get a bad impression and realise she mainly wanted the material things an engineer with the Galaxy Shipping Company could provide. Then she turned in horror to her son.
“Yellow Tentacles stop that, you rude little ....! You’re old enough to know you don’t put your male reproductive tentacle so close to your partner’s female reproductive groove in a public place! Remember we’re poor but we should still be respectable.”
“We weren’t close enough to need contraception!” Yellow complained.
“That’s still unforgivably rude! What will our new friend Purple think of us?”
“Don’t do that type of thing in public, Blue.” Purple added trying to stay measured, after all Blue Tentacles had just been snaking his male reproductive tentacle far too close to Yellow’s female reproductive groove as well, remember they were both hermaphrodite.
Purple felt a sense of wonder, even unreality at how far his status had changed from low down slave to respected and valued provider and all this in such a short time.

The cheaper lounge simply didn’t have the vast array of cool computer games and other fun things that were in the more expensive area with the television sets where the party had been before. The adults found getting the youngsters involved in anything except sex wasn’t at all easy. Yellow wanted to go back and couldn't understand why that wasn't allowed. When the adults could take time off trying to keep the youngsters behaving properly Purple started thinking, then he risked going up to some group of Galaxy Shipping Company workers who were off duty, he spoke to one who seemed to have authority.
“Please help me!” he begged.
“Ah I see you are newly started as a seafarer, welcome.” The other replied.
"Welcome indeed!" Purple responded, polite talk seemed so irrelevant but could be essential to get good relationships with his new work mates, he continued “The family my young friend has joined really want me to stay in touch and if times are hard among the homeless food, medicines and other useful things that a Galaxy Shipping Company worker can provide may be the difference between life and death for them. In the name of Our Lord the Sun, I entreat you! Please don’t let my first duties force me to leave my friends or we could lose touch altogether!”
Would being too friendly with homeless folk count against Purple? How serious was the Galaxy Shipping Company about being democratic? The supervisor clicked onto a computer terminal like the one they’d used when Purple started the voyage and again Purple felt his whole future as well as that of his friends hung in the balance.

Tantalizingly the supervisor couldn’t reply right away but when he invited Purple to join the group that was clearly a good sign. Purple tried to concentrate on learning a Galaxy Shipping Company loyalty song which the others worked to teach him and he could even join in after he had heard it a few times. Concentrating on that song had been difficult as Purple couldn't stop thinking about young Blue among the homeless and his desperate mistress who knew hardly anything. This time Purple even appreciated it when the group started yet more adaptations of Terran sailors’ songs. Blue Tentacles couldn’t easily accept anything Terran so Purple at last could stop worrying that Blue wouldn’t embarrass him by trying to join his group but there could still be other embarrassments. All the other Galaxy Shipping Company workers turned towards Purple when something in his robes made a loud pinging noise, even as far away as the group with Blue Tentacles others in the room noticed it and Purple had no idea what to do.

The supervisor explained how to take the Galaxy Shipping Company bleeper out of his robes and get the message. The sailors shook their tentacles when the communicator told them where Purple had been assigned.
“You don’t want to work in that backwater, there’s only tramps and alcoholics there.” one said.
“Do your work well and the company will assign you somewhere better the supervisor encouraged. As a former slave Purple wasn’t used to having any say in where he worked but he didn’t know whether he should mind his assignment. Perhaps the Galaxy Shipping Company suspected a new worker with homeless friends wasn’t likely to be good for anything better, perhaps they were being considerate and helping Purple stay in touch with his friends.

Purple went back briefly to tell Blue and the others his first job would be to help run the craft that would take them to the homeless swamp where they planned to live and all especially Silver Grey relaxed their tentacles. Silver Grey understood he needed to go back and develop the relationship with his future work mates though once the sailors knew his unimpressive assignment they made less effort to teach him about the company.