Jump to content
  • Join For Free and Get Notified of New Chapters!

    Are you enjoying a great story and want to get an alert or email when a new chapter is posted? Join now for free and follow your favorite stories and authors!  You can even choose to get daily or weekly digest emails instead of getting flooded with an email for each story you follow. 

     

    Parker Owens
  • Author
  • 2,549 Words
  • 3,025 Views
  • 14 Comments
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Predator Prey - 15. Threatened

Chapter warning for assault. Please read with caution.

"Well, I'm very glad to have you."

These words greeted him in the first few moments he spent working with the Marine Technician, Mel Haskins. They'd met before, of course, but this was a welcome change from the way the Mate had pretty much brushed him off.

Their first morning together, Haskins took him on a fairly detailed tour of the labs and equipment on board. At least, as detailed as it could be without interfering with the work of the scientists and their research. The Feigenbaum didn't have enormous labs, but what space there was got used with incredible efficiency. Everything was incredibly tight, and demand for the resources of the ship was always high. Still, most researchers managed to reserve daytime slots for their time in the labs, preferring to use the onboard computer network or their own laptops later in the day or in the evening hours.

His early morning watches had already told him how few researchers used the pre-dawn hours for time in the labs.

Equipment which could not be left out in lab cabinets was stowed carefully away in compartments below decks. Part of the Marine Tech's job was to be able to locate, pull out and set up portions of lab apparatus according to the daily request schedule worked out with the Chief Scientist. There was plenty of variety in Mel Haskins' job, and it wasn't as confusing as Engineering, which seemed to require a vast amount of technical knowledge.

Some of the stuff he saw in the storage areas looked fascinating, though he hadn't the least idea what it was used for.

In fact, his tour and discussion of procedures for basic equipment setup went long enough to make him a little bit late for his own regular watch at noon with Cookie.

He hustled down the ladder and darted into the galley to find the big man sweating over a huge pile of sandwiches on a tray.

"Here, Wally, grab this tray and put it out on the counter," he instructed shortly. "You can serve today."

Most of the time, he'd been relegated to dishwashing and cleanup, followed by prep for the next meal and galley maintenance.

"Sure thing, Cookie," he returned, manhandling the tray over to the serving counter.

Already, scientists and members of the crew were filtering down to the mess for lunch. Nearly all the time, Cookie stood by the counter, bantering with scientists, chatting up interns, kidding around with the crew. Everybody liked Cookie.

But on this day, the usual assistant who helped prep lunch was missing, so Cookie had done it all himself. Cookie chose to immerse himself in cleanup, so he was left to serve the meal out. No way could he perform the social duties that went with Cookie's performance. The lunch procession in front of him was decidedly quieter, more mute, though he managed to greet a few people he knew.

Toward the tail end of the line, a balding, round faced member of the scientific party slouched along the counter, filling his plate. He was dressed in the usual academic uniform: shorts and faded graphic tee shirt, the relic of some long forgotten conference or other. The man stopped, and stared at him a moment, then looked away, and moved on to a table in the mess.

He thought it a bit strange, but soon forgot the incident as he began to set out more food, followed later by the need to clean up the mess room and the meal. Cookie stood aside and had him complete the dishwashing, the hot water welcoming his hands in the deep sink. But maybe twenty minutes later, as he reached deep into the sink to wash out a large mixing bowl, he felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise – he sensed he was being watched. Looking over his shoulder, he saw the same round faced scientist at the counter, staring at him again.

"You need something?"

The scientist narrowed his eyes. "No, not right now," the moon face breaking into a thin, knowing smile. The effect was ghastly. There was something deeply unsettling about the look on the man's face. Something predatory. Fortunately, another researcher deposited plates and cups onto the counter just then, and the episode ended. But not before he shuddered inwardly.

"You're getting to be real good at this, Wally," Cookie said to him proudly afterwards when it was time to begin prepping for supper. "I think I'll be able to trust you with most of the midnight watch. Won't need me until four in the morning."

He sagged a little. Cookie's company had made the long hours of the dark morning go by quicker. Now it sounded like he would be on his own.

The next two days saw the tempo of life on board quicken. The January cruise was nearing its end, and every researcher in the ship scrambled to collect and tabulate every last available scrap of data. Mel Haskins had him assisting on set up and take down for half a dozen projects in the lab. He was getting proficient at the fine art of repacking instruments and stowing them in their respective compartments.

Cookie let him alone for a couple of overnight watches, arriving with a yawn at four in the morning to prep breakfast.

And with forty eight hours left in the cruise, the Mate tapped him on the shoulder in the middle of his morning's work. "The Captain wants to see you," he said in a neutral voice.

What could that mean?

He climbed the ladder to the next level and crossed to the Captain's stateroom. He knocked carefully.

"Come!" the Captain's voice sounded through the door.

He entered, and the older man nodded to him from his tiny desk. "Sit down, Wally."

He sat, taking the only other seat available.

"I've been talking to the chiefs I've assigned you to," the Captain went on, "and all of them seem satisfied with your work. Haskins and Cookie both gave you glowing reports."

A wary nod seemed a sufficient answer at that point.

McCallum allowed himself a smile. "That means you've worked out well."

"Thanks…sir."

The Captain shifted in his chair. "I've talked with Dr. Boudreau, and I think it might work out well for you to ship out again for the next six week cruise. Technically, you'd be doing twelve credit hours for the semester – you'd start working on board, mostly working with Cookie to learn ship's accounting and the role of the Purser. When we return, you'd finish your other coursework ashore. You'd have to stand watches – nothing too strenuous – and you'd get a small stipend, and your tuition paid. What do you think?"

He considered. Where else would he go? Back into business? He wasn't at all sure about doing that. Remembering Marc and Lee made him want to try something else. But what? For now, perhaps this would do.

"I'd like that, sir, thank you."

"Good," the Captain replied, nodding. "We'll berth at the Station Sunday. The ship will get a five day refit while the next research party assembles and undergoes onshore orientation classes. I'm going out on the next cruise, and so is Cookie, so there will be familiar faces aboard."

"Will I be able to stay on the ship?" he ventured.

"No, sorry, Wally. You'll need to take your gear with you and find a bed on shore for a few days. Let me know if you have trouble with that."

So he'd have to figure something out. He'd manage it.

"Yessir."

"I'm glad you're coming, Wally. We need more people doing the Operations courses," McCallum grinned. "It’s the only way we'll convince the University to make it a major." The Captain nodded at the door. Clearly the interview was over.

He stepped out onto the deck feeling a little lost. Someone actually wanted him for something? Someone who would give him a chance without wanting something in return? He wasn't sure he knew what to think about that.

But the pudgy scientist from a few days earlier was at the lunch counter again, staring hard at him during lunch. When he glared back, the man smiled a creepy smile. Toward the end of the meal, when the counter was vacant, he returned a second time.

"Excuse me, there's something wrong with this." Even the man's voice slouched.

He looked at the plate the man held up for examination. The sandwich looked all right. "What's matter with it?"

The moon face split into a leer, and the rounded shoulder shrugged. "You'll see." The man turned and walked off.

Puzzled, he opened the sandwich. Under the bread, a bit of paper, smeared with a little of the sandwich's mayonnaise. Meet me on the upper deck by the bow anchor, right after supper. I know you're available, the note read.

He felt sick at his stomach. He did not want to know what the fuck the guy wanted. It couldn't be anything good.

He stewed about it all afternoon. Cookie noticed his mood and commented on it. "Something wrong, Wally?"

No discussion about this little problem was possible. "No, thanks, Cookie. Just thinking about what I'm going to do when we pull into harbor."

"Raise hell, right?" Cookie chuckled.

He tried to grin back. "Yeah, Cookie, that's it. Raise hell."

But the dilemma distracted him for the rest of his watch. What was he going to do? He could meet the guy after supper up on deck. The Feigenbaum wasn't a cruise ship, and very few of its crew or scientific party spent time lounging about, let alone loafing on the bow. He recalled the scheming look on that pasty round face and shuddered. He really didn't want to find out what the note was all about.

All afternoon, he pondered over what to do. A little tension seeped into the evening meal; it was one of the last suppers of the cruise. Everyone was going to spend the next twenty four hours trying to wrap up work as the journey came to an end. He'd been anxious, and this just made it worse. By the end of his watch and supper, he'd decided to ignore the note. Maybe the guy would get the hint and just go away.

He slept restlessly before his late night watch began at midnight. He met Cookie in the galley.

"You know the drill, now, Wally," the Purser told him, "coffee and snacks for the browsers working late. You'll probably want to make more than usual, 'cause I bet there's half the scientific party is up tonight."

He nodded. "Sure, Cookie."

"Good boy, Wally" Cookie grinned. "I think you can handle it yourself. I'm going to turn in for a few hours. See you around four."

Cookie had been right, of course. He could easily manage the early morning shift on his own. He probably could have started breakfast alone, too. Perhaps Cookie just had to be there, or something.

Cookie had correctly predicted the increase in traffic through the mess, too. A fairly steady stream of researchers trickled in from the various labs on board over the ensuing couple of hours; enough that he discovered the galley had run out of coffee. Cursing under his breath, he headed forward in the ship to the compartment where galley stores were kept.

The heavy door swung into the little room and the corridor light illuminated the supplies stored in shelves from floor to ceiling. He stepped inside and inspected the items carefully. Where was the coffee?

His search was interrupted as a shadow in the doorway blocked the light. Before he could turn, an arm put a chokehold around his throat, and something awfully sharp jabbed him in the side.

"You didn't show up after dinner," a soft voice growled in his ear. There was a powerful odor of terrible breath, of unwashed man.

"Let go of me," he said, irritated. He started to break free, but the stabbing in his kidney suddenly felt more piercing, more painful.

"Oh, no, I don't think so," the voice chuckled. "Besides, you'll like what I have planned."

"I don't know what you're thinking about, but I don't want to."

"Yes, you do. You like doing it."

"Doing what?"

"You can't play dumb with me, Wally. I watched you. You loved it. And if you can do it for them, you can do it for me."

A shudder ran through him. Somebody who had seen the video; someone who wanted the experience for himself. He was about to be forced into sex in a closet with an evil smelling psycho. The whole thing made him feel sick.

"I didn't like it, I was drugged. Tied up –" and he tried to break free again, unsuccessfully. "Shit, you fucker, that hurts," he cried out as whatever he was poking him in the kidney was pushed in harder.

"You struggle again, and I'll have to cut you open," the voice spoke to him less quietly, more frustrated. "Push your pants down," the man directed, "now."

"You're crazy, you know that? You hurt me, and there's no place for you to run."

There was a moment's hesitation. "Do it. Or you're going to bleed. A lot. You'll just be an intern who had an accident." The pain in his side felt sharper still. What blade was the guy using? Something from the lab equipment?

He didn't want to do this. But he didn't want to get himself killed, either. His assailant seemed insane enough to do just that. His hands slowly moved to the waistband of his jeans, ready to push.

Just then, he heard a voice just outside the door. "Yo, Wally, got any new coff – what the hell?"

Instantly, he was released. Something clattered loudly to the deck plating, rolling away under a shelf. "Yes, well, thank you, that was very helpful…" began his attacker loudly. He started to make his way out into the corridor, but Cabrera blocked his way.

"I asked what was going on," the Engineer said evenly. The lean, muscled Cuban looked lethally ready for a fight.

"Nothing, nothing," the pudgy scientist insisted, even whiter than earlier, trying to pull thinning hair back across his scalp, "I just got lost looking for an instrument in storage."

"Didn't look like that to me, man," Cabrera stated flatly. "Wally, you okay?" The Engineer hadn't relaxed.

He'd managed to recover his breath. "I'm okay," he said slowly. "Fine."

"You see? Nothing. No problem," the scientist tried to bluster.

"Good thing he's fine," Cabrera told him stepping up and facing the flabby researcher squarely. The older scientist might have been taller, but it hardly looked that way. "Wally here is crew, understand, old man? And you never, ever mess with crew. Got that?"

His assailant nodded rapidly. Message received.

The Engineer stood aside, letting the scientist flee down the corridor.

Softly now. "Wally, look at me."

He lifted his head, met deep, dark eyes.

"You sure you're okay?"

"Yeah. I'm all right." Deep breath. He felt himself begin to calm. "Thanks."

Cabrera's face relaxed. It might almost – almost – have been called a smile. "So, Wally. New coffee?"

My heartfelt thanks go to Craftingmom for her kindness and faith in editing this story. To tim, Carlos, and Spike, I offer gratitude for their encouragement in beta-reading.

And to you, kind reader, I offer my thanks for the comments you leave. They mean a very great deal.

Copyright © 2017 Parker Owens; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 36
  • Love 2
  • Wow 2
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
You are not currently following this author. Be sure to follow to keep up to date with new stories they post.

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments

Oh dear. The past never stays dead for long. I'm glad that was interrupted, TP doesn't need to go through that.
Glad that TP decided to take the Capt. offer for another trip and to continue his studies. Smart move.
Nice Parker.

Link to comment

Praise, another job with money, and his shipmates looking out for him ... Things in one direction are improving.

 

One of the dubious pleasures of the internet is not knowing who will see what - as our hero is re-discovering. Hmmm ... feeling sorry for him, again.

Link to comment

What kind of disgusting pervert looks at videos of a drugged guy getting raped? I'm glad Cabrera rescued Wally. TP slowly became Wally and now Wally seems to be a reasonably sympathetic character.

Link to comment
On 12/31/2016 08:16 AM, Mikiesboy said:

Oh dear. The past never stays dead for long. I'm glad that was interrupted, TP doesn't need to go through that.

Glad that TP decided to take the Capt. offer for another trip and to continue his studies. Smart move.

Nice Parker.

TP was very, very lucky. He could easily have been badly hurt or killed. Good thing he may have a friend in Javier. And the Captain was very good to him, too. Now it remains to be seen if he can build on that...many thanks for your review...

Link to comment

Oh man, who would have thought on a ship in the middle of nowhere (lol), there would be some sick perv who actually SAW TP's video!

 

As Tim said, the past always comes back to haunt you. TP was so lucky Cabrera came in when he did. I actually had a feeling that the perv would have made it look like TP/Wally was seducing HIM just to get Wally in trouble. I'm wondering if TP (The Perv :lol:) has some sort of rep or something on the ship. Cabrera didn't seem to like him at all.

Link to comment
On 12/31/2016 10:16 AM, droughtquake said:

What kind of disgusting pervert looks at videos of a drugged guy getting raped? I'm glad Cabrera rescued Wally. TP slowly became Wally and now Wally seems to be a reasonably sympathetic character.

I fear there are a great many people in this world who will watch that video. Cabrera was an excellent angel at the moment he needed one. TP may reflect on that, too. Many thanks for your encouraging comments.

Link to comment
On 12/31/2016 09:09 AM, northie said:

Praise, another job with money, and his shipmates looking out for him ... Things in one direction are improving.

 

One of the dubious pleasures of the internet is not knowing who will see what - as our hero is re-discovering. Hmmm ... feeling sorry for him, again.

The internet is not an unalloyed good, is it? And there are wackos out there. But in another sense, TP is learning about angels, who are also out there, and appear at the most interesting moments. Many thanks for your reading so far into the story.

Link to comment
On 01/02/2017 01:21 PM, Lisa said:

Oh man, who would have thought on a ship in the middle of nowhere (lol), there would be some sick perv who actually SAW TP's video!

 

As Tim said, the past always comes back to haunt you. TP was so lucky Cabrera came in when he did. I actually had a feeling that the perv would have made it look like TP/Wally was seducing HIM just to get Wally in trouble. I'm wondering if TP (The Perv :lol:) has some sort of rep or something on the ship. Cabrera didn't seem to like him at all.

If the video went viral, there will be plenty of people who see that vid. But you are right in characterizing the rather sad, puffy scientist as a sicko. But the past came back to haunt TP in a big way, and, um, pointedly, too. Sadly, I suspect the perv would have injured or even killed Wally, if Javier hadn't appeared. Javier is kind of protective of his people, isn't he? Many thanks for your thoughts and comments...

Link to comment

Things are looking good for TP one way, then there's a sicko to remind him that his past is never far behind. In the most unlikely place too. Will he ever outrun this or will he always have to wonder if everyone he meets saw that video.

Link to comment
On 01/02/2017 11:21 PM, Defiance19 said:

Things are looking good for TP one way, then there's a sicko to remind him that his past is never far behind. In the most unlikely place too. Will he ever outrun this or will he always have to wonder if everyone he meets saw that video.

TP Wally was very lucky someone like Javier was present and day to help at the right moment. A very lucky man, really. But TP Wally will continue to have some form of trouble as long as that video is out there...the best he can hope for is that it gets old, and the, er, viewing public moves on. As tim put it, the past never stays dead.

Link to comment

Close call... I felt sympathy for Wally, but in a way, he just met himself. He was that guy, looking to take advantage of someone, with no compassion... only the need to use and abuse. But, because the scientist was old and creepy, did that make him worse? No. He,too, was an opportunist who was intent on preying.... All in all, I think it was a good reminder... and now he has a protector in Cabrera... the other side of the coin. He also has a chance at building a life to take pride in... a great installment, Parker... G

Link to comment

Yeah, I felt sympathy for our boy. This should surely serve to reinforce the horror of his past deeds. People are not property. They can never be treated in such fashion. Hope that old scientist has a run in with a Great White sometime, just so he knows how it feels to have something sharp in his back. :)
Wally learned something else besides fear, and the memory of fear. He learned about friends. Not just that he has them, but that he needs them.
<Sigh>. Sure is a pretty day today, isn't it?

Link to comment
On 01/04/2017 02:58 PM, Headstall said:

Close call... I felt sympathy for Wally, but in a way, he just met himself. He was that guy, looking to take advantage of someone, with no compassion... only the need to use and abuse. But, because the scientist was old and creepy, did that make him worse? No. He,too, was an opportunist who was intent on preying.... All in all, I think it was a good reminder... and now he has a protector in Cabrera... the other side of the coin. He also has a chance at building a life to take pride in... a great installment, Parker... G

A close call, indeed! How truly you speak in these thoughts. We often assign more evil and malice to the old and creepy, but in truth, the scientist is just as awful as our Predator was. Perhaps the greasy scientist was far less subtle than TP, but the end result would have been pretty much the same. Cabrera did what I hope any one of us would do...and I agree that Cabrera made it possible for Wally to sustain the changes he has made. Many thanks for your thoughts and for reading!

Link to comment
On 01/31/2017 08:35 AM, Geron Kees said:

Yeah, I felt sympathy for our boy. This should surely serve to reinforce the horror of his past deeds. People are not property. They can never be treated in such fashion. Hope that old scientist has a run in with a Great White sometime, just so he knows how it feels to have something sharp in his back. :)

Wally learned something else besides fear, and the memory of fear. He learned about friends. Not just that he has them, but that he needs them.

<Sigh>. Sure is a pretty day today, isn't it?

This incident must remind Wally of the terrible pain he inflicted on so many, in addition to the horror Ted put him through. The older scientist fled when confronted with Javier Cabrera, so it seems doubtful he'd ever be brave enough to face a shark of any variety. And you're also right about friendship. He definitely needs friends. Many thanks for your insights, and for reading another chapter!

Link to comment
View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Newsletter

    You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on.  We get it, because we feel it too.  Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.

    Sign Up
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..