Birthday presents are extremely hard to find in space. The dilemma would be difficult enough on a planetary surface, but the Jupiter II was between planets. That made it particularly awkward for the family, with John Robinson’s and Don West’s birthdays, only two days apart, being only a few days away.
The travelers were all gathered on the upper level when Will asked uncomfortably, “What would you two like for your birthdays?” Someone was obligated to ask, of course, although for the two birthday boys to answer would be as hard as for the family to think of something independently.
They both sat back casually and pensively in their piloting chairs.
Then West brightened. “I’ll tell you what I want! I want John and me to finally beat the daylights out of Smith!”
Startled, suddenly the center of attention, Smith recoiled. “What?! Here now!”
Laughing at how well Smith had taken his bait, Don jumped up, rushed Smith, and made a fist. With a small “Eek!” Smith’s hands flew up to cover his face. Don seized Smith’s wrists, pulled his hands down, captured both wrists in one hand, and drew back to strike with the other. A much louder “Eek!” accompanied him.
Don released him, laughing. “Just kidding.”
Smith’s wide, shocked eyes flew to John Robinson, searching for disapproval of West’s antics. Instead John smiled good-naturedly and shook his head in mild enjoyment of the impromptu entertainment.
“Indeed!” Smith huffed, and retreated belowdecks, where he indulged himself in a shower. He stood there letting the water pour over him, and tried to sort out his feelings. He knew that he should hate what had happened, and resent the two men, and in a way he did. But he found that he could not explain the strange shivering sensation that kept vibrating down his spine, that wasn’t wholly unpleasant. He found himself repeatedly reliving the experience on the upper deck, his mind returning to it again and again. His nerves undeniably found it titillating. And a tiny corner of his mind insisted on suggesting how much more thrilling it would have been, had John Robinson taken a more active part.
Smith was startled from his reverie by a sharp pounding on the shower wall, and West’s voice bellowing, “Smith! Time’s up! Get out of there!”
Long since finished washing, more than able to obey immediately, nevertheless Smith held back. A renewed spark of excitement ran down into the small of his back, inspired by the daydreams he’d been having.
“Smith!” Robinson added his voice. “You know we have to ration water, especially on ship. And besides, it’s someone else’s turn. Don and I each need showers before we go on night watch, too.”
A new surge of hope flooded Smith, hope that this time both formidable men would manhandle him, just enough to make his nerves tingle. Then he blushed at the wish. But illogical or not, he wanted it.
“Go away!” he shouted, belligerently defying them.
Outside the shower, West and Robinson could hardly believe what they’d just heard. Smith had actually deliberately taunted them. Dropping the towels from around their waists, they shoved the curtain aside and stepped into the small cubicle behind Smith.
The older man turned, saw them, and screamed shrilly.
Instantly, Don again had hold of Smith’s wrists, this time pulling them behind his back, as if arresting him. John seized Smith’s jaw and made him tilt his head up, thrusting the panicked face right into the full force of the flood.
Smith instinctively shut his eyes, gasped in fright, and choked. Water ran liberally into his mouth and nose. Beyond the pounding of the waterfall around and in his ears, Smith heard Robinson’s challenge, “So you want more of a shower, eh? Well, we’ll make sure you’re clean, inside and out, before we’re finished!”
Smith sputtered, tried to speak, and gagged. By this time he was so waterlogged that it seemed that more water was cascading out of him than into him.
Not wanting to drown him, John and Don pushed him back out of the deluge and then released their holds. Smith stared at them in astonishment as water drizzled out of every opening in his head.
“Now get out. It’s my turn,” Robinson ordered.
“Yes, Sir,” the shocked man responded timidly. He tried to back out, away from them, stumbled, and almost fell out of the stall. West caught him, and eased him out, exiting with him.
Smith stood trembling and panting outside of the shower, never taking his stunned eyes from West’s face, as West restored his towel into position. Wave after wave of fear-thrill tremored from the top to the bottom of his spine. His wrists twitched from West’s powerful previous grip. His jaw shuddered from Robinson’s relentless former grasp. West’s eyes met his only once during Smith’s euphoric stare, and the look was neutral, yet Smith was instantly hot and cold all over, just from the brief eye contact. The blood pounded in his ears as loudly as the water had done. West hooked a thumb at the outer exit into the main lower area, and Smith meekly preceded him through the door.
Mechanically, Smith went to his room and shut himself in. He lay down in bed, and shivered and panted and rejoiced at their rough touch. His nose let loose a belated trickle of water, and Smith sat up to blow it, celebrating to himself that this minor discomfort, too, was thanks to their extraordinary attention. And then he realized how badly he wanted more. He lay back down and speculated on the infinite possibilities in the circumstances with which he’d been suddenly blessed. Why, they might have done any of a number of things to him. Instead of shoving his face into the water, they might’ve held his nose and mouth shut, and made him desperate for air. That would’ve been fun, too. Or, as the Major had wished, they might’ve beaten him. Ooooo! Or… or…. All three of them had been naked together in the shower. Smith had automatically known that that was so, although he hadn’t actually looked at them intimately. He chided himself momentarily for the lost opportunity. But then he brightened, wondering if they had looked at him in that way. They certainly could have. He wondered, too, if they’d thought about touching him more personally, and what their touch would be like. He shivered all over just thinking about it. Still, of all of the possible things that they might have done, the one that they’d chosen had certainly been marvelous enough, at least for a first. And above all else, it couldn’t be denied that Robinson had played an active role this time! Smith smiled into the darkness. He’d loved having them gang up on him, and he wanted more. And maybe one of these days…. He thought again about being nude with them. Nude and vulnerable. He imagined the touch of their firm, ungentle hands on his tenderest places.
He bounded out of the bed with renewed vigor, and with a new inspiration. He sneaked his door open, looked around nervously, and went out into the main area. He tiptoed to various doors and listened. Robinson was in his quarters, talking quietly with Maureen. West was now in the shower; Smith could see his towel hanging just outside the cubicle. Seeing his chance, Smith stole up the elevator with a screwdriver. Fear vying with joy, he unscrewed the two piloting chairs from the floor. When he’d finished, they were sitting precariously on the deck, ready to take a tumble at the least provocation. Smith hoped fervently that both men would sit simultaneously so that neither would be spared, and therefore tempted to spare Smith, or at least to withdraw his own participation from the ensuing punishment. Smith pictured their stern, formidable expressions right before the magic moment of punishment, and giggled.
Smith hurried back down and into his bed before the two men could go back up for their evening watch. He waited. He didn’t have long to wait. The twin crashes sent him into gales of silent laughter. Then he braced himself for the furious footsteps. He considered stripping off his nightgown and pretending that he slept naked, but decided that it would look too suspicious. He waited in the dark, heart pounding. And he waited. Where were they? Surely they wouldn’t just let him get away with it. Smith felt a surge of disappointment. And it hurt inside. His lower lip pouted, unseen. He waited and waited, his heart calming boringly. At last, his varied expenditures of energy caught up with him and he drifted off to sleep.
In the wee hours of the ship’s morning, John and Don soundlessly slid Smith’s door aside and placed the bowl of water on the floor by his bed. They put his hand into it, and went back outside of his cabin to wait. It didn’t take long. A horribly blushing Smith with a hopelessly soiled nightie emerged and paraded past them, meeting their joyful laughter with tight-lipped, feigned fury. But inwardly he celebrated. He now had the perfect excuse for nudity, and he used it. When he returned from the bathroom, he left the dirty gown behind, and walked right past them in the buff, brazenly stopping in front of them, ostensibly to glare and fuss, but actually to exhibit himself and to try to tempt them to glance downward on him. As he did so, he watched their eyes carefully to try to see if they were looking, although it was not easy to keep tabs on both of them at the same time. But at least once, he was sure, each man’s eyes drifted to briefly examine the merchandise that Smith was flaunting. Ecstatic with his latest achievement, Smith went back into his room and lay down again, this time nude, and thinking, “Come on, follow me in here. Do nasty, despicable things to me.” But he didn’t really expect them to, and when they didn’t, he was scarcely disappointed; he’d accomplished much for one night. And there was always tomorrow.
The next evening, Smith remained in the shower as long as it took to await their inevitable, eventual arrival. At last, there was the expected pounding on the wall, followed by West’s “Not again, Smith!” Smith waited in silence, mentally crossing his fingers as he listened for the other necessary, welcome voice. It came. Robinson’s “Smith! I’m warning you!” was music to his ears.
Gleefully, Smith roared, “I dare you!!”
Setting new speed records, the two burst into the shower.
But this time, Smith was standing with his back to the wall, right beneath the nozzle, letting the shower spray protect him by flowing directly between him and them.
Caught off-guard, they hesitated infinitesimally.
Smith raised a hand in self-defense. “No, don’t! Please wait!” When they continued to pause doubtfully, he went on a bit more calmly, “Don’t drown me tonight, not that it wasn’t fun. I simply wanted to see you alone.”
They exchanged a look, and nodded for him to continue.
He stepped around the miniature Niagara to stand very close to them.
“Don’t you want to grab me, Major?” He took West’s hand and led it to his most private place. West took hold and seemed less surprised than he would have been mere days before, although his hand was unmoving.
“Don’t you want to manhandle me, Professor?” Smith pulled Robinson’s hand below as well. Robinson didn’t resist, but his fingers, too, were still.
The two men were studying Smith, calculating.
“I’ll get out of your way now,” Smith offered, “and leave you to your respective showers. But afterward, please meet me in the power core.” He placed his left hand enticingly on West’s chest, and his right hand invitingly on Robinson’s. He looked from one to the other, meeting their eyes. He saw interest, curiosity, comprehension, and marginal acceptance.
However, Robinson said quietly, “No one is allowed into the power core.”
“Precisely.” Smith answered evenly, his eyes never wavering. “And that is why we will not be discovered.”
Robinson stared penetratingly into Smith’s eyes, shrewdly reading his feelings, his excitement, his fear-thrill, and beginning to recognize it for what it was.
Smith felt West’s heavy-handed grip on his upper left arm. He turned to face him. West’s eyes burrowed at least as deeply into his heart as Robinson’s had. West said, “You’d better be sure you’re ready for this.”
“I’m ready.” Smith forced his voice to be steady. His upper right arm was squeezed. He looked to Robinson and waited. Robinson said, “Do you know what you’re getting into, Smith?”
Smith responded smoothly, “I know what you’ll be getting into, Sir.” He held his head up proudly. Robinson nodded, convinced. Smith turned in time to see West nod in kind.
Smith pulled free and stepped out of the shower.
Robinson and West smirked at each other. They knew what Smith would be giving them for their birthdays.
Smith stood against the most distant wall of the power core and watched as Robinson and West entered and pulled the inner airlock door shut behind them and sealed it. Smith derived a wave of pleasure from the knowledge that now, even if he did scream, no one on the outside could hear him.
The two men looked across at Smith where he waited helplessly in his clean nightgown.
“Take it off,” West ordered quietly.
“Yes, Major.” Smith stripped it off over his head. “I love obeying you!”
The two went directly to him, West on his left and Robinson on his right. West reached out to Smith’s most delicate place, and this time his fingers were not still. Robinson’s fingers played across Smith’s chest.
“Ooooo!” Smith’s eyes closed. “I love being helpless and vulnerable to you! I love being at your mercy!”
“What makes you think we have any?” West teased.
“Mmmmm! I do hope not! It was fun being half-drowned by you in the shower. And having you make me shower myself in my bed.”
“And having you unbolt our chairs?” West gripped Smith’s parts suggestively. “Do you know what we could do to you for that?”
Smith’s eyes traveled quickly from West to Robinson, seeking but not seeing imminent rescue in the latter. For a moment, a flush of genuine fear coursed through him. His eyes flashed back to West. “Oh please don’t.”
West chuckled and released his grip, satisfied. Robinson smiled his enjoyment of the joke. Smith stifled a gasp; they were truly as sadistic as he’d hoped they were. Now that it was too late to get out of it, could he handle it?
Almost as if he’d read Smith’s thoughts, Robinson asked in a deceptively easy-going tone, “Are you really sure you know what you’re doing, Smith? Not that we’d let you go in any case.”
Still mostly happy, and not wanting to reveal the germ of true fear that he felt in any event, Smith replied dreamily, “I know what you’re doing. And I love it!”
They picked him up and laid him on the floor. Their busy fingers explored creatively.
Smith moaned with pleasure. “I love knowing that I can’t stop you. I love it that you can do anything you want to me! Ooooo! My body is your property! I’m your toy…!” His noisy response interrupted him. It was not surprising that he had one so promptly, considering the number of times that he’d fantasized about them; their sudden real presence constituted quite a trigger.
Smith lay back, panting, and watching their faces. Their eyes were bright, anticipating. He sensed that his own had dimmed somewhat. For him, the best was over now. For them, it had just begun. His kernel of fear had returned, but this time more insistently. These were powerful men, dangerous. Smith could easily be in over his head. He’d acted so bold in the shower, and even in here, in the power core. But was he up to the next stage, the stage in which they took their pleasure, possibly at his expense? His eyes were softer, less tantalizing now as he looked from one to the other. In an almost childlike voice, he asked of them, “Will it hurt?”
Misreading Smith, and basing his reply on the formerly sensed masochistic fear-thrills, Robinson promised, “We’ll see to it that it does.”
A fear-fever washed over Smith, and he felt once again as if he were drowning, but now, peculiarly, not in water, but in fire. And then, once again, water came, in an unexpected torrent of tears. “No!!!” Smith turned his face away from Robinson, which automatically faced him toward West. “No, please!!! I don’t want to be hurt!!!”
West still misunderstood. “He really enjoys this act, doesn’t he, John? Here, help me roll him over; I’m ready!”
As they effortlessly turned him, a tide of fear swept over Smith, carrying him into an ocean of terror. Smith screamed endlessly, futilely, heard only by his two tormentors, as the promised pain was delivered. He again nearly drowned, this time in tears.
When they had both fulfilled their needs, and turned him once more onto his back, they watched his damp, crimson face as he continued to cry more quietly.
Robinson took Smith’s jaw in his hand as he’d done the first time in the shower, but this time he gently used the grip to turn Smith’s face to his own. “You’d better calm down before you go back out of here.”
Also remembering the shower, West gave Smith’s wrist a playful squeeze. “Will you be available to meet us in here again tomorrow night?”
Smith mopped at his tears with his free hand, and his chest spasmed. He couldn’t believe it. They’d thought he was playing. His tortured body throbbed with fire. And they had casually dismissed his suffering and crying with practical suggestions, and nonchalantly requested an encore.
Smith studied their faces, and his mind struggled to frame an appropriate reply. Then he had it. He regarded them calmly, and said, “Yes.”
Just as the three were about to exit the power core, Smith found the nerve to say, “May I tell you something?”
The two younger men turned to him.
Smith’s breathing still came in irregular little heaves. “For a little while there, I was afraid for real. And it hurt too much. I’m not playing games now; I’m serious.”
Robinson and West immediately looked sorry.
West said hesitantly, “Smith, we didn’t know.”
“I…know it’s…my own fault. I…sent…you…mixed signals.” He was going to cry again; all three knew it in the same instant.
“Oh, Smith, I’m so sorry!” Robinson was sincere. “We’ll take it a bit easier next time.”
Smith’s genuine fears were washed away, leaving only the joy in their wake.
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