Thieves, robbers and villains, they'll send 'em away,
Author unknown -1790
To become a new people at Botany Bay.
Dupres had made it to the prison ship by
crawling into the knapsack of a drunken officer.
He now found himself scampering about in an
unfamiliar environment without the benefit of trees.
He was able to reach Lovey telepathically so he
knew that he had boarded the right ship.
The clone was in a terrified state and his thoughts
were so scrambled that Dupres could
not figure out exactly where he was.
But the squirrel knew he would
be below deck somewhere.
The squirrel found his way into the
captain's quarters quite by accident.
There was not a soul around and the
scent of fresh tobacco hung heavy in the humid air.
He searched frantically until he found the booty:
10 pre-rolled cigarettes!
They were his!
Sitting high on a stack of crates full of rum,
Stockton Dupres had his first cigarette in weeks.
As he took a long drag and half closed his eyes in bliss,
he was suddenly jolted by the rustling of . . . a cat!
It ran into the chamber and leapt upon the captain's bed.
A cat in itself was not likely to disrupt the
thoughts of a battle-hardened,
dominant male squirrel like Dupres.
But what caught his attention was that
the cat carried a young rat in its mouth.
"That's life." Dupres thought to himself
as he took another puff.
The cat let the terrified rat drop onto the bed.
Its breathing was labored and he seemed frozen in place as he
awaited his doom at the paws of the sinister feline.
The cat batted the rat in the face with a quick paw.
But the rat would not run.
The cat pounced on the wretched creature and bit it lightly
on the head trying to antagonize it into running.
Still, the rat remained on the bed, looking up defiantly
at the cat with his fierce black eyes.
Dupres began to feel enraged for the
small creature and lowered his cigarette.
Without further adieu,
he was on the bed and behind the cat.
As it turned and spat in surprise,
Dupres forced his cigarette into the
open mouth and down the throat.
The cat half fell, half jumped off the bed
and rolled around on the floor.
Dupres looked at the rat who in turn,
gave him a grateful nod.
"What did you do to him?" He asked.
"Nicotine," said Dupres.
"He will die a slow and agonizing death
as his lungs cease to function.
Are there anymore cats on board?"
"No," the rat went on. "This one's the captain's pet."
Dupres paused before asking the nagging question,
"Why didn't you try to flee when you had the chance?"
"Because," the rat said. "I have seen him torture
other rats in the same manner.
He was simply entertaining himself.
If I had tried to run, he would have become
even more perverse in seeking his pleasure.
I was not about to give him any satisfaction."
The rat had not been seriously injured and agreed to take
Dupres below decks to the prisoners.
And there, he met with darkness and stench.
Human agony and grief.
The sounds of leg irons and chains mingled with
the moans and the sobs of a banished horde.
The squirrel made his way through perilous
human feet in utter darkness.
He thought he would pass out from
the smell of waste and decay.
And finally he found his friend.
He sat on Lovey's lap as they spoke telepathically
and tried to come up with a solution.
Dupres would have to try to get
the key and release the clone.
Then, they would have to swim for land.
Back in the captain's bedchamber,
Dupres went about searching for a
master key to the leg irons.
It was no use and he needed to rest.
So he built a small nest inside one of
the high rum crates and fell asleep.
When he awoke the next day –
He found that the ship had set sail.
They were on their way to Botany Bay.
To be continued . . .
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