Exit Strategy

by London Lampy

Chapter 37

I swallow and take a step further into the hallway, my heart racing and my mouth suddenly very dry.

"Topher woke up and found you gone, after what happened last night he was concerned so came and woke me. My first thought was that you'd either gone to get some sort of revenge Tobias or were attempting to free his pets. Can you imagine the conversation I had to have with him?" He asks, and waits for my answer.

"I think so." I say, my voice unsteady with fear.

"It wasn't pleasant, he took great pleasure in pointing out how little control I have over you."


"Once I was as convinced as I was ever going to get that your disappearance wasn't in some way connected to him I got to thinking about where else you could have gone. I remember when I first acquired you, you told me that you didn't really know anyone on the freighter as you had only just joined up, am I right?"

"Yes Captain." If I run I could make it out of the upstairs window before he could catch me, but then where would I go?

"Although yesterday afternoon I noticed that you were talking to a couple of the sailors. I thought I'd give you the benefit of the doubt then, but now I want to know, what are doing coming out of the gaol at almost two in the morning?"

One thing I've learnt about Quint is that when he's really angry he goes very quiet and calm, he's like that now.

"I..." I try to think fast, my mind feels completely scrambled and I can't focus.

"You what?"

"I...wanted to know...about home." Does that even make sense?

"Wanted to know what?" His voice is almost a whisper.

"My...my flat, my things." I take a deep breath. "A couple of the crew, I sort of know them, and they know my landlord, Mr Costa." Maybe I can pull this off.

"Go on."

"And, I wanted to know if I'd been evicted and what had happened to my possessions, I don't own much but I've got some clothes I like and...a few other things, a vase..." I can't think of anything else, I just hope he's buying this.

He steps across the hall toward me. "All right, introduce me to these sailors and if they corroborate your story I won't punish you...much."

Oh shit.

He stands behind me and opens the door to the cellar over my shoulder, and I feel like I'm about to bring up everything I've ever eaten.

"What are you waiting for?" He says quietly into my ear, and I begin to slowly descend.

When we reach the bottom of the steps dozens of pairs of eyes fix on us from inside the cages, I seek out Vin and Vio again, they are both still stood at the bars and they stare at me and Quint.

"It's these two isn't it?"The Captain asks as he points at them, I see what little colour she has drain from Vio's face, and I realise that they might be thinking that I've betrayed them.

"Yes, that's Vio." I point to her. "And that's Vin, I bunked with them on the freighter."

"Hello, so the two of you are friends of my pet, is that right?" Quint steps right up to the bars, and I hang back.

"home things" I sign at them desperately from behind his back. Vio is staring at him but Vin sees me and slightly widens his eyes to tell me he understands what I'm trying to do. "suit" I have no idea what the signs for evicted of landlord are, I just hope he's getting this.

"We know him a little." Vin says smoothly. "He shared a cabin with us until you decided to relocate him." Quint glances at me, I stop trying to spell out "costa" with my fingers and run my hand through my hair as if that's what I was going for.

"What's his name?" He asks them.

"Exit." Vin replies. "Exit Bryce."

Quint looks at me again, he's never asked me my second name.

"So you do know him, what were the three of you talking about?"

All I can do is pray to the gods that some of what I tried to sign made sense.

"He's worried about his possessions." Vin glances at me and I give him a tiny nod.

"Really?" The Captain says as if he doesn't believe him.

"Yes, really." Vin replies.

"His suit." Vio suddenly says. "He's very fond of it and he wants to know if his landlord has disposed of it." She knows me too well.

Quint nods. "What is his landlord's name?"

"Mr Costa." Vin says. "And his daughter is named Effie if you're interested, and yes, he has been evicted and Mr Costa has sold his possessions to cover the cost of his unpaid rent, is that what you want to know?" He addresses this to Quint but I know it's meant for me, so I sign "yes", and just catch his eyes flicking in my direction.

The captain looks at me, back at them and nods to himself, then addresses me. "Well Exit Bryce, it seems you were telling the truth." I feel relief flooding through me, but try to keep it off my face. "Let's go."

I follow him back up the steps, not daring to look behind me, and it's not until we get outside the town hall and have started walking back to the house that he speaks again. "Why didn't you just ask me if you could go and talk to them? I would have let you, accompanied of course."

"I...I know you don't like me thinking about my old life, or of Parnell as my home." I hope he stops asking me things soon, I don't think I can come up with many more lies.

"I really thought you'd done something stupid after you said you wanted to free Tobias' pets yesterday. He would demand you be executed for that you know, I was trying to work out if I could get it commuted to keel hauling, at least you'd have a chance of surviving that."

"Sorry." I say miserably, I think I would rather he was angry than concerned about me.

"Once we've dealt with the smugglers we'll make a stop in Kipp, your new suit should be ready by now, will that make you feel better about loosing your old one?" He puts his hand on my shoulder.

"Yes." Why is he being so nice?

"I'm still going to have to punish you, but in light of the fact that you didn't do anything that bad, and taking into account the events of last night and that you are still sporting injuries I won't make it that severe."

"Fine." So not the cat again, I suppose that's a good thing.

"You might even enjoy it." We're back at the house now, and before I can ask him what he means the front door opens and Topher comes running out and throws himself at me.

"Are you all right? Did Tobias get you again?" He says hugging me tightly.

"I'm fine." I say hugging him back, I'm far from it really, but it's nothing I can talk about. "Apart from you squashing my bruised ribs."

"Sorry." he says letting go. "Where were you?"

"He can tell you inside." Quint says, gently pushing Topher toward the door.

"When I had to leave my home I lost all my stuff, it's not that bad, you can always get more, can't he Captain?" Topher says looking at Quint.

"Yes, although you seem to have acquired an unusually large amount of things. Exit, did you have anything irreplaceable that you've lost?" He asks me.

"No." I answer quietly. I'm sat in the arm chair in the living room with Topher perched on the arm beside me, while Quint is seated on the couch.

"That's good, make a list of what you want and I'll try to help you replace it, I trust that you won't ask for everything under the sun like some people would." He looks at Topher with raised eyebrows, who just shrugs in reply, not bothering to deny the accusation.

"Now, I need you to swear to me you won't do that again, next time we take temporary custody of a freighter's crew if you feel the need to speak to them tell me, but I trust you won't. I can't see that you have anything left to ask about your old home."

"It won't happen again." I reply, because next time we encounter the freighter it will have a small army on board ready to fight back.

Quint and Topher look at each other. "You can stop being grumpy now." Topher says, dropping down off the chair arm onto my lap. "You're going to get new stuff, and it kind of ties things up doesn't it?"

"Yes, I guess so." I rest my chin on his shoulder and put my arms round him, I'm tired and I don't want to tell any more lies.

"So." The captain says sitting forward regarding me intently. "About your punishment."

"You're not going to punish him tonight are you?" Topher protests.

"You remember when I caught you "borrowing" a bottle of rum from my cabin, what I did to you then? I thought I might do that."

"Yes, I remember that, can I watch?" He asks, sounding very eager.

I'm naked and lying across Quint's lap on his bed. By now I've a pretty good idea of what he's about to do, and I'm far more excited than scared by the prospect.

"I'm not hurting your ribs am I?" He asks.

"No." I murmur into the pillow that he has put under my head.

"Tuck your tail up out of the way please." I lift it up so it's lying across my back leaving my ass exposed for him. I feel a hand stroke along it's length from tip to base and a shiver of pleasure runs through me.

"Ready?" He asks.

"Mmm." I reply, squirming on his lap, creating friction between my cock and his bare legs.

His hand leaves my tail and suddenly comes down hard on my bare ass with a crack.

"Ow!" I squirm again, feeling the sensation move from stinging pain to radiating warmth.

He does it again, this time four smacks in quick succession, each of them a sharp point of pain, but by the time he's finished my whole body is alive, and as he rubs his palm over the area he hit I arch into his touch wanting more.

"You really like that don't you?" He asks me, his voice thick with lust, I can feel his erection pressed against me, I don't doubt he's enjoying this too.

"Yes." I pant as his fingers start exploring between my ass cheeks.

"Topher!" I hear Quint saying firmly. "If you make yourself come I'm sending you back to your room."

I look round to see Topher, who's sat on the other side of the bed, hastily moving his hand away from between his legs.

The Captain spanks me another half dozen time until I'm on fire with a mixture of pleasure and pain, and I can't resist rubbing myself against his legs with every strike.

"His ass has gone very red." Topher comments when he has stopped.

"Mmm, hasn't it, and hot too, come and feel."

A different hand runs over my burning flesh, smaller fingers touch my entrance and push between my legs to stroke my balls.

"Is it all right if I taste him?" He asks.

"Go ahead." The Captain pushes my legs apart for him, and his tongue licks a path from the behind my balls to the base of my tail, and back, stopping at my hole where his licks become firmer until the tip of his tongue is darting inside of me.

"I know you like that." Quint says as I let out a moan of pleasure. His mouth moves up to the crease of my tail, then further along, licking and kissing as he goes until he's along my back with his mouth at my neck.

"Exit, would you like to fuck Topher?" Quint asks me.

"Is that allowed?" I question, I can feel Topher's erection pressing against my ass, if he moves much more he's going to be inside me.

"It is if I say it is." He replies.

He then has Topher lie on his front in the middle of the bed with a pillow under him and passes me a tin of lube. I kneel between his legs, scoop some of the slick substance onto my fingers and begin to work it inside of him, it doesn't take long for him to loosen and pretty soon I've got two fingers pushed inside of him which I scissor with him pushing back against me from underneath.

I suddenly feel the Captain's hands on me again and he starts to do to me what I'm doing to Topher.

"Is he ready?" Quint asks me.

"Yes I am, and I want someone inside me." Topher answers impatiently.

"Enter him." The Captain commands.

I position myself directly behind him and slowly guide myself in, pushing through his tight ring of muscle until I'm balls deep inside him.

"Tell me, how does he feel?" Quint requests, his fingers moving deeper inside me and hitting the spot that makes me shudder with pleasure.

"Tight...hot." I manage to groan as he does it again, then pulls his fingers out.

"Are you going to move?" Topher complains at me.

"Be patient, and lift your hips up, I need his ass a bit higher." The Captain comes back.

I'm pretty sure if I move I'll come, when he complies with Quint I end up having to pull out and thrust back in, both the sensation and the noise he makes push me very close to the edge.

"Captain...I can't hold on much longer." I manage as Topher wriggles beneath me, not helping one bit.

"Do not come, either of you, until I say you can." He orders, and I bite my lip trying to obey.

It's a relief when I feel him enter me as my body stretching to accommodate his size distracts me, but it doesn't last and once he starts to thrust in me, and I move inside of Topher I'm back at the brink.

"Please...Captain." I gasp, he's hitting me deep inside and Topher is rolling his hips, it's all just too much.

"All right, both of you, go on."

I grab hold of Topher's hips and drive myself forward, calling out his name as I unload inside of him, coming as hard as I ever have, when I feel his muscles clench around me and I know he's coming too.

Quint speeds up behind me and it's not long before he shouts out "oh fuck." and does the same, filling me with his seed.

The Captain has us quickly untangle ourselves from one another, and send send us off to clean up, because he doesn't want to end up sleeping in a damp bed. Topher grumbles but we leave him and head for our bathroom.

When I finally climb into my own bed Topher curls himself around me and falls asleep, and in the silent darkness I think about everything that happened in the gaol. I stroke his soft hair and try to empty my mind, but I'm aware that somewhere a countdown has begun, and that unless I betray my friends and colleagues my days here are numbered.

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