King Davos of Tygeria
From High and Dry--Mate of the Tyger Prince 5
Huddled in the cage they’d put them in, Blake and Staff Sgt. Arrington, a man he’d known only by sight before last night, clung together tightly for warmth. This godforsaken planet was one of the coldest he’d ever been on, and the fucking Tygerians had stripped them of their clothing before they put them in these cages, for no other reason than humiliation. The cages were so small there had been no way all night for them to stretch out their legs or even raise their heads. It was total misery for both of them with no relief in sight.
As near as Blake could figure the time, the Tygerian vessel had appeared suddenly in front of them around nine hours earlier. Their ship, a Warrior Class troop carrier, had been on their way to Lycanus to put into port. Blake was scheduled for some well-earned leave after being in space for the last six months, ever since he’d first joined the fleet. He had been looking forward to doing nothing more than relaxing and maybe working on his tan under the hot Lycan sun. And maybe checking out some of the Lycan women to see if they were as sexually adventurous as rumor had it. They were a little large for him—he was only five feet nine and not overly muscular. From what he’d heard about the Lycan women, they were big chunky hunks of burning love. It wasn’t as if he weren’t proud of his own body, as he’d worked hard since his induction into the Army to build himself up, and his broad shoulders and lean muscles would attest to that fact.
But it had been six long months in space, with a strict non-fraternization policy on board the ship, and he wouldn’t object overly much to being manhandled a little by a big, curvy Lycan female. His mother used to say, “Half a loaf is better than none,” which hadn’t made much sense at the time, but his mother loved her old, stock phrases, and he’d been raised on them. He figured out that this one meant a person in need should be grateful for whatever they could get rather than complaining about what they wanted instead. That really broke it down as far as he was concerned. He wanted sex—so he’d take what he could get and not complain.
Blake had only arrived back on the bridge a few minutes before the attack began, having just taken his meal break. He’d just sat down at his console when the Tygerian vessel had uncloaked itself right off their port bow. The captain tried to outrun them, but the effort was doomed from the start, because they were woefully outclassed. A hail from the Tygerians had come over telling them to surrender immediately or be blown apart. The captain had reluctantly surrendered and all hands had been taken as prisoners of war without even a single shot being fired.
All things considered, it was good that Blake had gotten the chance to eat dinner. They hadn’t been given either food or water the entire time they’d been in this fucking cage, and he was about ready to bite his arm and suck the blood just to get some moisture in his mouth. Sgt. Arrington, who was probably twenty years older than Blake, was in much worse shape though. He’d been struck on the back of the head when he hadn’t moved quickly enough to suit one of their guards and had been going in and out of consciousness all night long.
The sergeant was awake at the moment though, and moaning softly. He was carrying a few extra pounds and Blake tried to scrunch over as much as he could against the bars to give him more room. Arrington raised his eyelids and gazed over at Blake, his expression bleak.
“You know what they do to Alliance prisoners, don’t you, sir?”
“Make them fight in some kind of stupid gladiator type games? Yes, I’ve heard about it.”
Blake had heard stories about the Tygerians for most of his life—about their savagery, their foolhardy bravery, their strange customs. Some said they were shapeshifters, and had the ability to turn into huge, terrible tigers when they were under dire attack or in imminent fear of their lives. Nobody knew for sure. The Alliance had been at war with Tygeria and the Axis of Planets for as long as he had been alive and for many years before that. Tygeria was a planet on the far reaches of the Milky Way and shrouded in mystery, along with thick clouds of gas that obscured the planet and shielded it from their sun’s rays to some extent, so that the weather was usually overcast and cold, or at least it was by human standards.
Blake had learned in school about the start of the war, but he hadn’t paid all that much attention to his teachers back then. He’d never liked school much and went to college only at the insistence of his parents and to avoid being drafted into the Alliance army. They got him when he graduated anyway, but at least, his mother had said, he had been allowed a chance to grow up. Which meant that the war was not going well for the Alliance and hadn’t been for some time. Alliance casualties were at an all-time the year he graduated from college, and he’d been taken for the Army almost as soon as the ceremony was over.
“They’ll take you for a love slave, you know,” Arrington was telling him. “Not me. Too old and fat. These big bastards will make short work of me in the ring.”
Blake didn’t know what to say to that, so he didn’t say anything, just gave Arrington a pat on the knee. About the only place he could reach with his arm jammed up against his side. Then a soft sob came from Arrington’s throat, and he knew he had to say something. Anything. They’d lost enough men to this war. And Arrington had a wife and three children at home. Not that these heartless assholes gave a rat’s ass.
“Look, when they come for us, let’s try to go together. Fight back to back and at least take a few of them with us.”
Arrington looked dubious. “They may take it easier on you because of the way you look. These Tygerians don’t like women. Don’t even live with their females—they have them in a different region altogether.”
The big Tygerian guard standing nearby their cage said something loud and harsh in Tygerian and banged on the side of their wire cage. Blake figured he was telling them to shut up and managed to get his arm up enough to stick his middle finger up through the mesh at the top. The Tygerian saw it and must have been familiar with the gesture because he laughed, a harsh, surprised sound, and motioned toward his groin, shoving his hips out at Blake a few times.
“Yeah, you’d like that, wouldn’t you, you big bastard? Well, fuck you!”
The Tygerian laughed again, like he understood English, or maybe he just figured it out from Blake’s tone. He moved on past their cage, though, with only one more obscene gesture toward Blake.
“Don’t make them angry,” Arrington said softly, avoiding the gaze of the Tygerian.
“Why not? They’re just going to kill us anyway. May as well get it over with.”