Read part 1 to get caught up…

I awoke gasping for air and pawing at the inside casing of my sleep chamber. I was freezing cold, and I couldn’t see anything. I’d heard guys talk about sleep panic, but I’d never experienced it before. It was worse than I imagined. My sleep chamber hissed open, and a rush of warm, dry air filled the space. I inhaled sharply, and a musky scent filled my nostrils. A pair of hands pressed down on my shoulders, and another held my legs in place, putting a stop to my frenzied thrashing.  

“Hang in there, little buddy,” Bradford said. His voice sounded distant and muffled. “You gotta calm down before we can let you up.”  

The hands on my shoulders started to gently massage me. I quit resisting, and my panic began to subside.  

“Attaboy,” Chapman said. “Almost there. Just waiting on your vitals to stabilize.”  

One of them lifted the OcuBloc off my eyes, and I squinted under the bright lights. Bradford and Chapman stood over me, looking down with concern. I never thought I’d be glad to see these two guys.  

“Let’s get you outta there,” Chapman said. He lifted me over his shoulder and carried me across the room, depositing me in a chair. Bradford threw a blanket around my shoulders. Another few minutes passed before I was able to speak.  

“I’ve never had sleep panic before,” I said between sips of water. “How long have we been underway?”  

Bradford shoved a hand into his open jumpsuit and scratched his belly. “Six days.”  

Only six days. The thought of returning to the chamber for another 12 weeks of sleep set my panic in motion again. The space bros must have sensed it because Bradford resumed massaging my shoulders.  

“Don’t worry, little buddy,” he said. “We’re not gonna put you back in there. Chap’s gonna take the rest of your sleep shift.”  

“Thanks, Chapman,” I said breathlessly. “I owe you one. Both of you.”  

Bradford refilled my cup of water and handed it to me. “Don’t worry about that now, little buddy, just get some rest. Can’t have you freaking out on us again.”  

I nodded and gulped the fresh water down in one swallow. Chapman pulled a bunk down from the wall and patted it gently. “You heard the man. Rest up.”  

I woozily got up from the chair, and the space bears helped me get to the bunk. It was hard to believe they were the same Bradford and Chapman whose reputation preceded them across the galaxy. They might have been loutish, rowdy swashbucklers when we first met, but they’d kept their cool in the face of my space panic. They acted like professionals. Hell, they were nurturing, almost fatherly in how they cared for me.  

Each of them patted me on the chest as they passed my bunk, and Bradford draped a blanket over me. The whole ordeal left me exhausted, and the surprising kindness of the space bears eased my adrenaline high. I swear I fell asleep before they even left the room.  

“Rise and shine, little buddy!”  

Startled awake, I inhaled sharply. The air still smelled like a locker room, and when I opened my eyes, I realized why. Bradford knelt at my bedside with his armpit directly over my face, grinning like an idiot.  

“What time is it?” I asked.  

“Oh-six-thirty. Gym time!”  

I groaned and pushed Bradford’s arm away, trying to sit up. My leg muscles ached, and my chest felt tight, a reminder of the panic from earlier. Bradford’s enthusiasm for gym time was infectious, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to face a workout.  

“Come on, Cole,” Chapman called from across the room. “You’ll feel better after a good sweat.”  

“Chapman,” I blurted. “You’re awake. I thought—”  

Chapman stuck a meaty paw into his open jumpsuit and scratched his belly. “We gotta make sure you’re recovered first. Berengaria can support all three of us for a little while. Now, come on, mister, no stalling. It’s gym time!”  

I swung my legs over the side of the bunk and rubbed my eyes. “Alright, alright. Just give me a minute.” When I stood up, I felt a disorienting weight between my legs, as if the artificial gravity had been turned up but only for my cock and balls. I looked down and remembered.  

TitanLock. One of the devices I had plugged myself into before deep sleep was still tightly fastened around my junk. Bradford and Chapman struggled to contain their laughter at my predicament.  

“It looks like we forgot to take care of something before I passed out last night,” I said, walking over to the computer access terminal. I pressed my palm against the control interface. “Override TitanLock on crewman Cole and release.”  

The computer beeped and then droned a reply. “Dual control authorization is required for early release.”  

I looked at my crewmates expectantly. They didn’t budge; they stayed put and grinned at me. “One of you needs to concur to unlock me,” I said. “Which one of you will do it?”  

Bradford crossed his arms across his broad chest. “Neither of us, little buddy. You gotta earn it!”  

Chapman flung a jumpsuit across the room at me. “Stop thinking about your junk and get dressed for gym time.”  

The space bears filed out of the room, their inane banter echoing down the corridor as they got further away. Still standing with my palm pressed against the control interface, I didn’t know what to do. TitanLock was designed to keep a guy’s plumbing working normally during months or years of deep sleep. But without being connected to the sleep chamber, it functioned instead as a heavy, onerous barrier to my cock and balls. Was this just a joke? How long would BradChap keep me locked this way?  

I slipped into Chapman’s jumpsuit, feeling a thousand workouts’ worth of sweat soaked into the fabric, and stepped into the corridor. With every step, TitanLock weighed down on my junk, transforming my normal gait into an embarrassing waddle.  

Just go with it, I thought to myself. They can’t keep me locked up forever. 

Maybe not forever, but without one of them to cosign the early release, I’d be stuck like this for another nine months. 

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