Kayla: Destiny's Meeting
In the 28th century, the technology of rejuvenation allows for immortality. This device is also used for sentencing as well. A penitatas; a criminal that is sent back to childhood to live a highly strict and disciplined life to start anew. (Story Thirty-Seven)
Concept by Lurking Dragon
Kayla and story by Professor Bob
More Kayla Stuff!: www.Professor-Bob.net
Stars glimmering in from the window beside his desk, a middle-aged Starfleet doctor sat reclined in his chair, one leg over the other, reclined as he skimmed over research reports. Sol shined it's brilliant orange rays against the thick window pannel that separated him from the vaccum of space, shining off the edge of the bulkhead as the occasional starship passed within viewing range, and Earth defense station Gamma a grey speck out in the distance. The man's green reptilian skin, nearly scale-like in appearance from it's soft look, was a step apart from those you typically found in a command position, orbiting Earth in a medical vessel. He was no human, and often never noticed much difference, fitting in fairly normally with such a humanoid appearance. Aside from the muzzle and long dragon-like tail of course. His species was not the most common on Earth, but not too rare that it was impossible to see a member of his species; the Karrian. Often compared to Drakonians, they tend to be concidered the more physically advanced of the two races, even if either one would call that a predjudice statement. Even so, the doctor couldn't much wear shoes either, with large claws off each of his digitigrade toes. Dark brown hair came off his reptilian head, covering the patch of gold colored plates on the back of his neck that cease once they reach his back, where his spine met with his neck.
The claw upon his thumb grazed the silver datapad's frame as he used the appendage to interact with the screen, scrolling through report after report with his other, very hand-like claw open loosely below his snout. Staring at the data with his bright blue eyes, it was dull in the quiet office atmosphere. The poor Karrian doctor could feel his tail growing stiff behind his chair, tingling like a foot that fell asleep. It's not like he needed to read these reports, as active as he was on board his vessel. The man, being of commander rank, was the head officer for his own deck, being that it was a Starfleet medical vessel. Filled with laboratories and physicians of varying skill and experience, ranging from seasoned surgeons to cadets from Starfleet Medical Acadamy. Each day he had to ship the results of tests down to the Starfleet Medical complex in San Francisco, where it sat on the grounds of Starfleet Headquarters. With he himself being a very much experienced doctor and researcher, sitting behind a desk wasn't his idea of getting a whole lot of work done. Though, his door had soon sounded, signaling that someone wished to enter. Slipping the datapad back onto the desk, it went into it's standard display mode, showing it's vessel designation - U.S.S Apollo, with the hippocratic oath sprawled neatly below the ship's title in orange text.
"Enter. By all means, please", the doctor responded, a smile across his snout as he sat up in his desk chair and corrected his posture to something more professional. The interruption was appreciated, showing a couple of his sharper looking pearly white teeth as he spoke and corrected his uniform with his claws to make sure the blue across his shoulders were uncreased. It was in vain however, as when the door split and slid out of the way, it wasn't anyone he had to be massively professional with. Instead he took his claws from the light grey-metalic colored collar of his uniform and picked up the datapad from his desk, giving it a bit of a wave in the air. "I do hope you're not delivering another one of these", he was forced to joke, concidering she knew his disdain for desk work. The female human stepped in with a smirk of sorts, finding it sad in a more pathetic way how long he had been in here working on logs and reports. Even so, it was still unwise to tell your superior they would have an easier time if they finished their work faster, even if you had known them for many years.
"You never did like doing your work, even in the acadamy Jacob", she did however tease, long blonde ponytail lightly bouncing as she stepped up to his desk and placed a much larger datapad upon it. This one's sizable display showed the reaction of a Gamma quadrant fungus on a simulated human body, to test for possible dangers out in the vast black sea in which they explored. Looking down, the dragon-like doctor sighed out a hum, giving the pad a meer glance before looking back up. It seemed the simulated patient in question had a runny nose; not exactly the find of the century. The look across his face and snout was almost desperate, if not amusing, as the two were used to in their banter. They really had known eachother since Starfleet Medical Acadamy. Jacob, sporting even a human name, joined when he still had a silver 'V' on the backs of his claws, at the age of eightteen. He had lived a successful life as a doctor, deciding to reach for the stars literally the second time around by applying with Starfleet after his schooling as a Voluntarus. The two were nearly best friends throughout their education as she learned the ropes for the first time, and Jacob learned more then he did previously. As the years went by and they filled their assignments and posts, Jacob's experience and knowledge as a healer provided him his rank. The woman knew better however, knowing that deep inside there were some parts of that promotion the Karrian did not like. The look across his face wasn't one he had when he tutored her through the acadamy, all those years ago, full of pep and vigor to be a teacher and have a study partner.
"Come on commander, you're expected in pathogen research lab three anyhow. Doctor's orders", the woman snickered at the end, trying to think way back when you wouldn't have caught the reptile sulking behind datapads. Was it.. twenty nine years now? It wasn't like he had anyone else, she always felt it neccessary to be there for him. Even as his subordinate, she couldn't stop being his only casual friend. For someone who hated being behind a desk, he still loved being in a lab, as long as it was quiet and he was typically by himself. Raising up from his seat, Jacob slipped his tail from the hole in the back of his chair so he wouldn't get caught on it, flicking the prehensile appendage to his side before placing it back behind himself and walking around his desk. He didn't need to be told twice - important experiments were a solid reason to skimp out on his desk duties.
"Without you Cameron, I would have a need for a scheduler and a calendar. Glad one of us isn't getting senile yet", the man spoke with some of that lightly humorous, if not sarcastic vigor. Stepping past the woman, the two filed out of his office and into the corridor of deck twelve which Jacob commanded. Cameron turned her head to her left, looking up at the extra one or two inches of height her commanding officer had on her.
"Not until I am a hundred and thirty. I'll be rejuvenating long before then anyway. Maybe a hundred and ten, to keep up the girlish figure", she replied once they were on their way to the laboratory they needed to be at. It seemed like Jabob needed a good hypospray of humor. Not moving his head much, Jacob just looked to his right with his eyes, sort of tilting his head to one side to do that.
"Never thought of you as being vain. That dress you wear while on shore leave doesn't exactly scream vain", Jacob said plainly, even though there was a hint of a smile towards his cheeks. Cameron shook her head and took the jab as normal, thinking of a retort as one of the acadamy cadets stepped past.
"I never really thought of you as a fashion connusor either. Learn something new every day", she shot back plainly, though she couldn't hide her amusement in it as the pair approached the door to the lab. That time the reptile turned his head, giving a look from his eyes that silently said 'thanks', appreciating her being there for him. It was a calm, soft moment for them both as they took those last few steps. Cameron's boots left the ground as well as Jacob's footclaws, taken off their feet by a heavy force. Going from so light and loose, both felt a jolt of tense fear flow into them as if in slow motion as they fell. Cameron struck the floor first, landing safely on her forearms, while Jacob landed with a smack of his muzzle against the wall beside him as a blast rippled through the U.S.S Apollo's hull. As suddenly as it occured, the reptilian doctor shifted his tail first against the floor, lifting his body up with his arms right away as he got his bearings. Like being shot back into reality, the light in the corridor faded to dark, with an alarm klaxon sounding and the telltale ripple of red moving past him from the lights going down the side of the wall. Red alert throwing the commander back into his senses, he clammered back onto his feet using the wall for support, while Cameron attempted to do the same at his side. Eyes focusing, Jacob looked down the hall, seeing a door open, with people running out of it. Clearly they didn't want to be in there for some reason, he thought as he held his head, and got a bolt of realization that rippled a sensation down his back and tail. As if going right back into training, his right claw smacked his communications badge upon the left side of his chest, baring his teeth as he sounded his first order, voice sounding serious, if not even dire.
"Deck twelve, evacuate immediately! Evacuate!", the Karrian shouted hard, finding step in his feet again to bolt for the door his eyes were locked on, until another sound caught his attention that made him stop and turn his head back around. It was a look Cameron had never seen before, the red from the alert lights flowing down the corridor past her commander. His teeth showed almost angrily, and Jacob had never looked this serious. She was still on her hands and knees getting up, with things in such slow motion, she could process everything so quickly it was like she responded to his look even before he turned and made it. The room that appeared to be the cause of the blast.. she knew just as much what it was as he did.
"Commander?!", she stammered out, getting to her feet with wrinkles in her uniform and her ponytail draped over her right shoulder after being thrown by what had to have been an explosion.
"Lieutenant, assist with the evacuation of the deck! Notify the captain and clear decks eleven and thirteen, and get a team to monitor the bio-filters! You are in command!", was his second, firm string of orders, given to whom he concidered to be second in charge of his deck. It was a painful order to hear. She is in command? Evacuate, as in leave the deck? But what about.. ! "That is a direct order!", Jacob was very quick to remind, snapping the woman out of her daze and back onto her feet as the reptile ran down the corridor in a strong sprint.
"Jacob!", Cameron cried out, even as she averted her eyes and ran the opposite direction to get everyone off the deck, as she was told. Wouldn't even call him commander after what he just did, caring for him too strongly. The thought made her sick to her stomach, hoping for the well being of everyone in that particular laboratory, and especially her friend and mentor. 'That foolish lizard!', she yelled in her mind as her hand touched her com-badge to notify the captain, as Jacob had leapt into the fray and may have given his very last order.
Claw smacking against the doorway to stop himself, the man's maw was slightly open as he looked inside to investivate the damage to the laboratory. The lab was the largest on this deck, and even occupied a portion of deck thirteen as a second floor for some of the controls and mechanics needed for the research lab. This was 'radiology one', the primary lab on the ship for doing research on different types of radiation encountered throughout the universe. The device in the center of the room, circular and surrounded by pannels with a cylinder headed up towards nearly the ceiling, had been split down it's side and showered sparks from above due the amount of power it handled. To make matters worse, a support beam from deck thirteen had fallen and gone through the bulkhead on the left, splitting two control consoles in half with a minor fire, as smoke began to fill the room while a plasma leak up towards the top of the room spelled out another deadly story. A plasma conduit ruptured on the way back towards the warp core for the ship, flooding the room full of radiation and a blue glow as plasma fire shot out of the wall on the second level. The radition generator in the middle of the room.. something must have happened, and created a surge back through the ship that blew out even plasma conduits. How could this happen? There were failsafes, and even.. ! There was no time to think about it.
Jacob's deck was flooding itself with powerful radiation from the research reactor in the middle of the room. Different frequencies and intensities of unseen radiation were intermingling, and the room had quickly gotten very hot. It was like being in a furnace in the room's doorway. None of the units had gone offline as they should have, placing the ship at risk for a much worse disaster. Radition would quickly degrade the containment fields for all the experiments on the deck, releasing viruses, pathogens, bacteria.. and another power surge could send the ship into a much more disasterous explosion. As soon as Jacob saw where the blast was, he knew the danger. So did all the ones running away.
Anyone here after the blast, would die. Quickly.
In a rush of courage and confidence, the Karrian took a deep breath and sprung into the room towards certain radiation poisoning. His arms promptly covered his face and snout with a grunt from the heat flowing around the room, as he ran past the reactor to a control pannel in the rear of the room. Tiny sparks skittered off the metal of his com-badge, reminding him just how much radiation his body was being blasted with. He already felt something not right in himself as he went through the large room, knocking over a specimen cart and scattering it's tubes and trays across the floor. Alarms ringing loudly through his mind, he placed his claws on the console and quickly tried to get everything deactivated. Systems - power - emergency release, the reptile quickly attempted to select as his shaking claws tapped at the console. In a flash, the display pannel turned dark and came back with red flashing text and a solid orange boarder. 'Unable to Comply. Relays locked', the computer replied without a sense of sympathy for the Karrian's situation. His open claws smacked the console, to get a bout of dizziness travel up his arms to bite at his brain. He was in agony. It was getting hard to see straight already, and his reptilian skin was seeping sweat. The radiation leak was getting to him as quickly as it was getting to the systems in the area, burning out circuitry and apparently melting relays, as the computer had informed.
"Warning, radiation exceeding lethal levels and rising", announced she ship computer in it's deep feminine voice.
"Fuck off!", Jacob looked up and spat at the computerized voice, shoving himself off the console which began to flicker from it losing power. Swearing wasn't much his forte, but it was excusable in this situation. Even though he was staggering and clutching his abdomen, looking as flushed as a green reptile could, he fought to make it to a table nearby which he nearly fell onto. He was gasping for air, claws barely able to function as he scrambled through medications, knocking many of them carelessly off the table in his current paniced, and pained state. The radiation was burning his skin clear off his body, slowly but surely, with the rays destroying his insides just as quickly. Barazine, barazine, where is it! As soon as the Karrian located the hypospray he was searching for, he flung it to his neck and injected it into himself, before throwing it over his shoulder to thump against the floor while he slumped against the table. That would buy him a few more moments of radiation resistance, even as his vision began to blur from his intentional over-dose. The hypospray worked within seconds, as the man shuffled and staggered for another set of consoles at the side of the room, looking desperate. There were kids all through this ship, young and never rejuvenated, learning to save the lives of others. If he failed, it could cost many of them their lives.
"Warning, radiation has far exceeded lethal levels", the ship's computer again announced, with the same serious air as it did the first time.
"I said to fuck off!", the draconic reptile shouted upwards again, clutching his claw up higher and higher upon his body, reaching his chest instead of his abdomen. His heart began to beat erradically and rapidly, giving the doctor the sign an organ of his must have failed. The radiation was likely destroying every little strand of DNA in his body, melting the nuclei of every little cell till his insides began to liquify back into the water his body was based upon. "Your patient's ability to overcome illness is also a psycological battle. You keep their confidence up, computer", Jacob scolded the computer with a quiet, slurred sort of voice. He hummed and huffed out his nostrils once at the console, holding his head with a claw, as blood tainted sweat dripped down his lowered snout. It was hard for him to sweat with his skin type, the pain in his body was debilitating, with the only thing keeping him up and alive being that over-dose of Barazine. His blurred eyes could see his claws.. looked red, and felt hard. Almost crispy from the bloody, fleshy burns. He felt them throughout his body. What he said to the computer he didn't know if it was himself trying to find courage, or himself growing delirious.
He began slowly tapping at the keys on the console, barely able to keep his head up to look at the display and work. Jacob tasted blood, and was too far from reality to realise blood had been flowing from his muzzle and covering the chest of his uniform. His tail hung limply, trailing blood down it as it burned. The computer screen fluttered through power systems and control systems as the Karrian went through each as quick as he could, to shut down anything he could, reaching out further to find relays he could close to kill power to his area.
Down on deck fourteen, Cameron chewed on her right index finger nervously; a habit she had never been able to kick. She was leaning over a console, watching in a quiet horror at the work Jacob was attempting to perform. There were no control pathways left, all destroyed by the radiation leak. She could only see portions of what Jacob was doing, unable to even help and access the same systems. The ship's captain had force fields brought up around deck twelve to shield everyone from the massive radiation, but it would only hold out so long. Up on deck one, his finger was hovering over the proverbial button. The order to jettison the warp core was a possibility, waiting till the last moment because of the danger doing so would cause to the people of Earth. If the warp core fell into the atmosphere.. his order could kill so many. Chances were, the ship would be abandoned. Cameron knew this, and stared blankly at the data while behind her, the team monitoring the bio-filters were busy at work. They were able to keep everything contained on deck twelve aside from a strand of fungus spores on deck eleven that was causing some to have a runny nose. But Cameron's screen stayed watching only the power relays Jacob was trying to hard to cut. Then, in an instant, the screen went dark. The woman stepped back, unsure of what that meant to Jacob's work.
"Systems on deck twelve disabled. Clearing deck of radiation - levels falling", one of the officers behind Cameron had said, making her snap her head back around with a look of shock on her face. He did it! That idiot!.. He.. !
"Keep working on it, I'm going to deck twelve", Cameron ordered as soon as her feet sent her towards the turbolift, hearing confused stammering behind herself.
"But ma'am! The radiation!", the young man from Starfleet Medical Acadamy was quick to remind his superior. The woman simply pulled out a hypospray of Barazine she prepared, injecting it into her neck as she stepped into the turbolift and annouced, 'Deck twelve'. She slipped the hypo back into her pocket and turned back around to step out almost right away onto deck twelve, running as quickly as she could down the dark and smoke filled corridor. The deck was darker now, being lit by the red light moving down the corridor as she ran. The smoke smell grew stronger till she was at the door to radiology lab one, heart full of dread and sickness. Not even stopping, she ran right into the room, gagging on the burning odors and heat. There he was though, right in front of her, to her right as she ran in. On his knees slumped against the now black and deactivated console in the dark room, his head lay against the console, body motionless. Flinging her body towards him in a sprint, Cameron grasped the medical tricorder off her hip and began scanning him. Massive blood loss, internal trauma.. my god, the radiation.. there is almost nothing left! She could smell the burns on his body, and see his blood smeared across the glass-like console pannel.
"No!", the woman cried out, running to a medical cabinet in the wall and flinging it open with force. With it banging against the wall, she pulled out a large device, half the size of her torso. Silver and eliptical, it took a toss up into the air somewhat in order to lift. Wrapping her right arm under it, she points the four inch long emitter end at the Karrian's form and powers it up with her left, with it's lights adding a glow to the dark area. It made a quiet high pitched whine, and taking aim with the machine's viewscreen atop the unit, she pulled it's trigger. With a loud clap.. nothing happened. Squeeling in a panic, Cameron fumbled with the unit, opening a chamber on it's right side to have bits and pieces of green crystal fall and clang across the floor in shards. The rejuvenator crystal fell to pieces, and the emergency rejuvenator was useless. Radiation was too much for it. Hoping for nothing more then a miracle, she grabbed the lifeless body of her friend and commander, lifting it as best she could using her adrenaline, and showing strength she didn't even have as she tried to get him out of the room quickly. Jacob's tail drug against the ground, leaving a trail of blood as she rushed him into the room across the way, towards the exterior of the ship. A medical ship had rejuvenators! Heaving in hard breaths, pushing through into the corridor as her legs and arms screamed to stop. The doors directly across the hall opened automatically and the room lit up brightly, still having power. Body under such pain and strain, even in her chemical induced strength, Cameron rushed Jacob's body to the clear booth and threw his body in with a throw of her right arm, with the limp form landing in a bloody thump at the floor of the rejuvenation chamber. Slamming the door shut, Cameron ran to the control pannel a few steps away and began hitting keys, even as her jaw shook. Watery eyes and teary voice, she whispered 'Please work', quickly, and repeatedly. As long as the chamber at least had one crystal! One of the eight has to still be there! And with a hard press of her hand, she activated the rejuvenation chamber, flooding it with a beam of orange, red, and green light.
Overcome with a numbing sensation, he didn't know what was going on. With the last memories in his mind being searing heat and pain, and loud crushing noise generated by his own failing mind, he could only assume this was some sort of final out of body experience. The doctor deduced in a stupor, barely even awake, that his brain had been deprived of oxygen and his death was imminent. He wondered if he really did save everyone, as he had hoped, feeling strange sensations in what sort of felt like his body. It was a combination of exhaustion and weakness, and a state of half consciousness. He felt, but could not see, and could not do. It was honestly frightening to the doctor to think he was quietly disappearing. Then, unexpectedly, there was light. Was there really light, just as the old sayings had gone? He couldn't move towards it, it seemed to not move. So blinding; his thoughts didn't know what to make of it, unable to process the visual signal. What would Cameron say in this situation? Ah, Cameron. She had a great career ahead of herself, as long as she could go on without his help. The feelings going through what seemed to be himself, an invisible, formless version of himself, pulsed and radiated dull feelings. Light shining brighter for a moment, it coincided with a jolt of tactile sensation, sort of like.. his eye-lid? Finding strength, reality began to sink back, though slow.
Jacob had opened his eyes, seeing the bright grey ribbed walls of his office, facing sideways it seemed, as the wall sconce behind it desk was turned the wrong way. He felt very tired, as if he was ready to sleep. In fact, it felt like he could barely wake up, sleeping or not. Sharp tingles of confused signals went up his legs, making his tail shift; green reptilian skin stroking the marble-like surface of what he knew to be his desk. He had been sleeping on his desk, perhaps? What a silly thing to do.
"Are you back with me now, Jacob?", came a familiar voice, even though it did not sound happy. It was piercingly neutral, and lone toned. The Karrian felt a smile come upon his muzzle, even as he laid there weak and still, taking a moment to reply to the voice behind himself.
"Didn't know I had gone anywhere. It a crime to sleep? Not sure if I am on duty or not, so maybe it.. ", Jacob began to speak happily even if his voice lacked energy. Another thing it lacked was his size, and tone, which made him stop dead in mid sentence. He grunted, which sounded more like a child-like whine, while closing his eyes and rubbing his muzzle with his right claw. Sensations still dull, there was no denying his claws felt tiny, along with his claw and snout in general. So that's how it was? "How long have I been out, lieutenant?", Jacob asked with a sigh, speaker slower and deeper as he normally would, even if the pitch was way different now. The setting was dark and quiet, even in the comfortable light and normally welcoming atmosphere of his office.
"One hour. Trying to save your life was a feat, more on your body then anything else", Cameron's came, flat and solumn in reply. The Karrian knew she wasn't directly sad, but she was not happy. This was a solution that didn't fit either one catagory. His ear-slits picked up disappointment, shot nerves, and a painful dose of reality as he fell back into it. Rolling over onto his other side, he could feel the claws on his feet scraping against his desk, and a small blanket covering most of his body from below his arms down to his ankles. Everything else was bare, making that blanket a kind boost to the reptile's modesty. The look the older woman saw upon the small Karrian's face was so familiar, it made her want to choke up right then and there. It was so similar to the look he gave her only earlier today, not even two hours ago, sitting behind this very desk with a datapad of medical information clasped loosely in his claw. Eyes of strong confidence were now small, and innocent in appearance, while the mind of her long time friend and superior resided within this new appearance. This was a man whom was always a little taller, quiet and sarcastic, and always wise. From when he was eightteen, to now, twenty-nine years later, that was his position.
Fighting with his body, Jacob pressed his two claws into his desk and lifted himself up with a push. Claws directing his blue blanket to come with him, the Karrian sat up onto the bare base of his tail, tucking the soft fabric of the blanket into his lap. He couldn't seem to look up too well, eyes gazing off towards his side, staring into the floor and corner of his office. The woman standing only feet from him was silent, giving him time to lift one of his claws into view, and see it's smooth, small, and young appearance. He was quite young indeed; even his tail was short. Jacob was a child, a mere hatchling in his own eyes. But.. if he was emergency rejuvenated, why was he not female? Those machines worked with only one rejuvenation crystal, giving it not enough power to execute any special programs, such as age control and gender.
"What's the status report?", Jacob finally asked, lifting up his small head with a shift in his brown hair, looking to be slightly thinner then it used to be. The human woman could see his worry.. perhaps a sort of childish fear that came from his smaller mind beginning to grasp such an occurance. His body was so exhausted he had slept this long, and Jacob didn't even seem all that coherant when he awoke initially. Seeing him like this, so small..
"You have been rejuvenated twice for medical reasons, due to damage caused by lethal radiation poisoning and burns. Time of final rejuvenation was logged by Doctor Cameron Richardson at thirteen hundred hours, December twenty seventh relative Earth time, while in orbital status", she had replied, taking an air of professionalism as even Jacob had taught her, to relay the most appropreate and to the letter information when requested. While detailed, hearing it that way made the Karrian wince, knowing he was a patient, and not a doctor at all right now. His eyes averted her own for a moment, while his breathing changed through his little reptilian nostrils.
"Just tell me what happened", the little reptilian boy had asked, sounding as if he was trying very hard to speak deeply and seriously, without making any breaks in his voice due to being upset. They were emotions he didn't like dealing with, and didn't want to sound weak. Footclaws dangling from the edge of his desk, Jacob wrung his claws slowly, and softly. Cameron corrected her ponytail and took a few breaths, just to find her words. This was something she had requested to do alone, and even then it was still difficult to lay this on someone, especially so close.
"The emergency rejuvenator in 'Radiology One' did not work; the radiation disintegrated it's rejuvenator crystal. I pulled you from the room and across into one of the rejuvenation labs instead. You were still alive, and the radiation had not damaged the booth's crystals, because my attempt at quickly running a rejuvenation cycle worked. However, when I went and checked on you, there was still malignant cellular mitosis from the radiation exposure. I had to rejuvenate you a second time to repair the damage it was so extensive. You should see my uniform, covered in your blood, Jacob.. ", Carmen spoke with clear distress, still in an after-rush from what had happened. Jacob's mind was cloudy, but he was having one of his own, thinking back to what he had done as his comrade spoke. The burning pain, choking for air, trying to shut everything off. He heard her voice grow shaky as she went on, till the end, when she needed to stop a moment, placing a hand on her chest to try and relieve some tension. Jacob slowly shook his head, letting it hang while his paws kept the blanket modestly over his lap, and his tail still.
"Cheer up lieutenant. That is an order", the young Jacob looked up again and spoke, not wishing to hear her sound that way. Maybe it was his new child-like needs, but he didn't like seeing her upset. Never really did. The look he was shot back for his words was not what he expected, appearing cross, and stern.
"You don't have the command authority", she again spoke in that shaken, almost teary sort of voice, looking stiff. Jacob grasped his head with his claws, just to hold his head and get some relief from this torment. His footclaws pressed to one another, unable to keep still. She was clearly upset.. Jacob's career had ended prematurely. So quickly was he decommissioned from Starfleet, and something Cameron likely had to do by her own hands as she was handling his medical and rejuvenation work. It was her own signature that signed away his command, and life. There were no children in Starfleet, and the Karrian had to take his leave. Taking one of those small claws from his face, he opened one eye and turned it around, finding the telltale silver colored 'M' on the back of it. As a doctor he made avoided making Medicalos, seeking to save patients without resulting to rejuvenation that would disrupt and damage their lives. Families could be torn apart as kids are forced to care for their younger parent, and prosperous careers could end with no way to return. Being a child when you didn't wish to be, with no plans for it, or even consent. Why did this have to happen when he didn't do it to others? Why did he deserve this?
"When I first rejuvenated you Jacob, you were eleven by what the computer systems reported. But during the second rejuvenation, a rejuvenator crystal failed, dropping the unit down to seven functional crystals instead of eight. You should have been dropped down to eight as your age, with the three year minimum age gap.. but after the crystal failed, I could not control your age as accurately. As a result, I believe your age is seven, instead", Cameron had to answer honestly, noting her difficulties in rejuvenating him. With her own arms did she hold the child to her blood stained chest, once she had lifted him from the remains of his clothes in that cold rejuvenator. Leaving the tattered, bloody garments behind, she had carried him with an arm around his back and a hand cradling his tail, to take care of the matters and get things set right. She filed her papers as he slept, body and mind exhausted to a deep sleep due to a twin rejuvenation. Passing off datapads to command, her Captain ended the Karrian's career, with silent, grateful dignity. She gave Jacob his designation herself right after, filling the forms and running those two little claws through a cell recoder to turn the green pigment in his skin to silver, and make the letter that told the world what he was.
Silently, the young Karrian slid himself from his desk, keeping the blanket in front of himself till he turned, flinging the blanket around himself to cover his tail back up. Stepping over towards his window, his arms hugged the blanket to his body, wrapped around himself with enough length to barely go past his hips. It was a painful sight, seeing this young boy stop at a window he was so familiar with being his own, knowing he would likely never see it again. Following the boy's lead, Cameron stepped up slowly behind him, kneeling down at his right rear, so she wouldn't be directly behind him and make him nervous. She could see his blue eyes, as bright as they ever were, glistened and showed his fear and uncertainty. He wanted nothing to do with the feelings in his mind, but it was nothing he was able to help, due to his new age. With a quiet act of love and appreciation, for so many years of friendship and taking good care of her, Cameron wrapped her arms around the young Jacob and pulled his back to her chest. She knew the thoughts that went through someone's mind when they were rejuvenated; that rush of new feelings and nerve impulses as their brains began rewiring themselves to their new form. It had to be harder, faced with such concequences of his heroic actions. The two stayed that way for some time, the young boy sniffling, though comfortable, thanks to the support he desperately needed. Naturally his more adult half was ashamed, silent, and embarassed, but he knew he didn't have the power to handle everything alone anymore. Not like Cameron would care if he cried, as he stared out into the stars, and thought about what he managed to amount to before it ended. Earth looked big and unforgiving again.
"Cammie', what am I going to do?", Jacob asked with a tiny initial quiver in his lower jaw, speaking in a sad, almost whisper level volume while keeping his eyes locked on Earth's oceans and land. It had been a very long time since he called his friend by that name. Only a couple of times back at the medical acadamy, and he had usually been talked into knocking back a few synth-ales. "I don't have family here. It wasn't my time yet, there's no one here for me", he had to admit, sounding so quiet and shaken, reaching out with his left claw to gesture at Earth, while keeping his blanket-granted modesty with his left arm. Cameron responded first with a squeeze from her arms, wishing there was more she could do. A rejuvenated seven year old, ex-Starfleet commander or not, could not live aboard the U.S.S Apollo.
"I'd do it if I could, but you know that isn't possible. Seeing you clutch that blanket makes me think you wouldn't be so comfortable with me parenting you anyhow", Cameron replied verbally, speaking lighter and pulling out each bit of kind humor she could. The older Jacob would do the same for her, if she was in this situation. The Karrian remained quiet, obviously thinking, but there was at least not a sniffle. She didn't want to leave him hanging, standing there staring off as if by himself. His younger mind must have needed some direction. "We need to find you parents. I can locate a fine couple in the registry of volunteer parents that have signed up for a Medicalos, if you can give me other parameters to search for. You are a Medicalos afterall, you have a say", she spoke softly, head near the little reptile's right ear-slit, with his brown hair up against her cheek. Playing 'mom' was strange, but for Jacob, it was alright. Jacob thought hard about it, looking away from the window to find his response.
"Back in the acadamy, I told you that I hated being a Voluntarus. Other kids had the ability to be fairly cruel, or at least loud and bothersome", he had hummed after some moments, still speaking somberly. Cameron did remember that, come to think of it. Even the young Jacob had a quiet professional side. Must be hard to dislike kids when you yourself were one. "So find me a nice Penitatas neighborhood", was his request, giving a nod towards the window. Now that answer was strange.
"Penitatas neighborhood? What, why?", Cameron had to ask, sounding a bit more confused then soft at that point. The way she worded it and sounded made the reptile grin, thinking this was how she usually acted. It was oddly comforting. Jacob turned his head, looking back over his shoulder to answer.
"That's easy. It will be quiet. No one screaming and causing a racket, because each of them would be in serious trouble if they did. They would all be kept in check, and wouldn't act like fools. Maybe that way, I would be left be", he replied with an air of confidence about his decision, trying to think of the bright side of things. Cameron had to assume some rejuves or kindern must have treated him badly due to his species, or perhaps due to the fact he was never very competitive. Racism was rare, but so was his race, leaving that possibility to not be discounted. If that was his idea of enjoyable and relaxing to have a street of quiet front-yards, then she would make sure he got it.
"Understood. I'll go see what I can do", Cameron was quick to assure, giving the boy's form one last snug to her chest before standing back up and starting for the door. Jacob turned a bit on his footclaws, still holding the blanket around himself as he watched her go, keeping still and quiet. Though, as his colleage opened the door to his office, she spoke as she left. "By the way, I spent the last of your replicator rations before I decommissioned you. Go look on your chair", were the words she spoke until the two sliding doors closed with the sound of the pneumatics that operated them. Then he was alone, back in the quiet of his office. Stepping behind his desk, Jacob find himself quite short compared to it; dropping his modesty-blanket to the floor once he saw what was left. He wouldn't need it any longer. Cameron had thought ahead it seemed, and had the replicator make him some clothes that would actually fit. Kindly, she even make the clothing plain colors, so he wouldn't have to march around his vessel in demeaning attire. Minding the claws upon his feet, he stepped into a pair of white cotton briefs, slipping them over his fleshy sheath and tight bits for a snug fit. Embarassingly enough, it seemed like Cameron took measurements before making these.. no wonder she left before mentioning them. Jacob sighed out from his dragon-like muzzle, shaking his head at the thought of having to get used to this again, as he slipped his legs into a pair of black slacks before securing both above his reptilian tail. Topping it off with a sized down version of his favorite dark tan, black line design shirt, buttons all the way down to his waist, he could at least keep his dignity. Turning his head to look at his desk, he mentally gave it a goodbye speech. His office - these scents and sights, were no longer his. The datapads on his desk from less then only two hours ago would sit and await their new owner.
Carrying a case full of Jacob's belongings, Cameron walked down the corridor of deck twelve, with Jacob walking slowly at her side. He didn't look sad, but she knew he could walk faster, despite his recent rejuvenation. She had found him a home as she promised, but he seemed so reluctant to leave. Appreciative and honored Starfleet Medical cadets nodded their heads at him and provided their thanks and praise as they walked by, stopping any duties they were performing to simply acknowledge his presense. All Jacob would do was smile and give a nod back, trying to seem strong. The older human could only hope he wouldn't hurt himself by trying to be this way. His life was destroyed and changed all in an instant, he had reason to be upset or quiet. It took some time of silent walking with neither speaking, till they reached their destination, up on deck nine. She took the long way, just for Jacob.
"We should part our ways here", Cameron spoke up suddenly, stopping before the door to transporter room one, with a sad sort of air to her voice. The boy tagging along beside her and looked up, almost upset and confused in his appearance at just what she said.
"Why? Don't you want to see me off?", he asked, looking as if he felt neglected. The older woman had to stifle a laugh, finding that to be fairly not a Jacob thing to say. She guessed since he was younger now, and her being one of the only friends he had, his child mind didn't wish to let her go. She was confident she found him the perfect place to live that this wouldn't be too painful for her, so now she had to make sure it wasn't too painful for him. Kneeling down onto one knee, she gave the Karrian a kiss on the end of his snout. Jacob blinked a few times idly, seeming surprised.
"You'll see why once you step in there. I'll miss you, Commander Jacob Vasse. Don't worry about deck twelve, I'll keep the new researchers in line. Take care of yourself", Jacob recieved as he stood quietly, smiling lightly as Cameron knelt in front of him with a kind demeanor and smile. But with that, she stood up, without another word or even a hug. Despite his age, she didn't rub his cheek or stroke his hair. She knew Jacob well enough that he loved being older, and giving him something he could misconstrue as 'cutesy' would be something he wouldn't like. Granting the boy his maturity, she handed him the case which he took in both claws. He stared up with a smile, feeling so small to need to look up at her, but appreciated she stuck with him to the end.
"Please write, okay? I didn't help you through the acadamy so you could disappear into the ranks of Starfleet. Keep me informed, and keep your abilities sharp!", he was quick to request in his smaller voice. Speaking at his normal volume, without faking any tones, he did sound like a small version of the Jacob she had known since she was young. Did end up being a cute kid, even if quiet and calm for someone his age. Cameron took his last sentence as 'beware the desk work', and gave her acknowledgement.
"As long as you write me back. I know how much you hate sitting down and thumbing over a datapad", she grinned as she said, turning on her right boot and starting down the hall with a strong step for her old friend. Once Jacob saw her head turn, it did not turn back around again. Seeing her walk away, seeming so slow, it made Jacob want to break down and sob. Even so, his quivering smile remained solid, thankful for twenty nine years. If only he had more time. Maybe he would have been able to make it a relationship, if he wasn't so professional and shy.
"Goodbye!", he called, with a happy sort of teariness in his tone that he couldn't remove. The woman lifted her right hand over her blue uniform shoulders and waved, never turning. She couldn't make this harder on him with a reply of her own, trying to be mindful of his situation. It was hard, but she knew she made it easier on him. Jacob had to take a deep breath to calm himself, turning her head to his left to look at the transporter room door. Tightening his grip on his case, he lifted it with both arms, waddling with a bit of difficulty towards the door, one footclaw onto the other, till it opened. He stopped as soon as it opened, getting a bolt of that embarassment he was attempting to avoid, with the bottom of the case clanking against the floor of the ship. The walls of the transporter room were lined with officers, as his Captain stood in the center of the room and called them all to attention. In one fine military motion, all of them stood up straight with their hands behind their backs. Men, women, of all races. Medical officers from across the ship, and most every member of command, right down to Jacob's own subordinates and colleagues. A first year Starfleet Medical cadet took Jacob's case and carried it to the transporter pad, while the young Karrian stepped in as naturally as he possibly could, not wishing to be childish at this particular moment, surrounded by so many. This was their first time seeing him in this state, but as his blue eyes scanned the room, he saw no expression that spoke of a bad thought inside their minds. Approaching the man that was his Captain, an older human wearing formal Starfleet atire and his command lapels, gave Jacob his military commendations, and the personal thanks from those down on Earth in Starfleet Medical. The boy was familiar with events and policy, standing with his arms behind his back, despite his lack of a uniform as his Captain spoke of his heroism. Was hard to listen to such praise, not thinking he would get anything like this for what he had done. His green reptilian skin stayed colored and unflushed, he was thankful for, as he smiled and accepted a Starfleet Medal of Sacrafice, an honored award that signified he caused himself mortal harm in the line of duty and saved the lives of others. It was often seen as a sign of courage and leadership when others saw it.
What meant more though was when his Captain knelt down to his new level, and asked him to extend his hand. Jacob placed out his right claw as requested, to have his old com-badge placed into it. It looked a bit blackened and charred in some places, with an obvious blood stain on the back. After being so irradiated, it no longer functioned, and could be a suvenir of his tenure in the military. Little things like that were often important to him, and he accepted it gladly. With the Captain's words spoken to his crew, and ex-commander, he bid Jacob farewell, with Starfleet honors, and the love and thanks of the U.S.S Apollo crew. That his actions would not be forgotten. Jacob was pleased to have been successful, but everyone could have ignored him and he likely would have been okay with it. Sheepish smile upon his face, the boy took the two steps up onto the blue and black transporter platform, holding his old badge between his claws. 'Best of wishes, everyone', was the boy's final words and valediction, just as a tingle shot across his green skin and his body dematerialized into a transporter matter stream. With that, life as he knew it then, was over.
Take care, Apollo. You too, Cameron.
Searing, burning heat. It was the only thing Jacob could remember, as he awoke the next morning, paw covering his face to get a grip on things.
The sun was shining in his new window, though with plenty of orange in it's bright color, letting the boy know it was early morning without even looking at his clock. His thinner, stubbier dragon-like tail laid curled to his right side as he sat up in bed, taking deep, yet quiet breaths. Was taking time, but he was realising the kind of pain and horrors he had gone through, now that it was within his hindsight. Blinded by adrenaline, and shortly after, a lethal dose of Barazine, he was able to push through the blinding pain to complete the task he wished. He himself though could have died, and likely should have, based on the information his mind was running off of when he did what he did. Phantom pain of his skin burning off remained engraved in his mind, something that made the young doctor grasp his tail within his paws and hug tight. One of his final memories before collapsing was the smell of his tail's meat. Being a talented physician only made it that much more difficult, knowing what the radiation did to his body. What Cameron had to see.. he felt lucky she didn't beat him once he woke up in his office, where she had placed him.
Looking up and out his new window, Jacob tried to calm himself down a little. It was a very nice room he thought, and not overly playful, as he had hoped. It apparently belonged to a penitatas previously, leaving it without anything overly extravagant. His new parents, both humans, seemed to have also taken a quick warming to him. Well, his mother anyway; he hadn't yet met his father. Being that their previous rejuvenated child was a penitatas, and they had registered for a medicalos this time around, they had at least gotten a holo for the room, which sat across from his bed. Dresser to his left, closet to his right full of toys, and his desk beside the holo's stand. The walls were a clean white, and the carpeting a dark blue. Due to the color of his reptilian skin, his new parents also gave him a green blanket, and even framed his medal. Not to mention it was a pretty big house, with his bedroom getting to be on the second floor. Never living anywhere besides an apartment-like living center for his first Voluntarus cycle, this was very comfortable. The only thing that was hard was getting used to two strangers being his new parents for the time being, and allowing his modesty to be surrendered. So soon after his rejuvenation, and not sure if he would be able to shower alone, Jacob had to tolerate a bath - washed and supervised by his new mother. For someone whom was a penitatas parent only a couple months back, tops, Jacob couldn't notice it, being she was soft. She did give him a silent scold when he was initially refusing his bath, but he did himself and her a favor by undressing voluntarily. Long black hair down to her mid-back, and a stay at home gardener. She prepared seeds from things grown in the backyard for the local area as a side business and hobby. If the bath was any indication, a woman with a soft touch, careful not to embarass him. Cameron really did her research.
His father ended up being a Starfleet officer, likely another something that caught Cameron's eye, figuring he would be well taken care of. The man was apparently an officer at the nearby Starfleet Operations installation. Number eighty eight, was it? His mother's name was Lory Rich, which would have made his dad Lieutenant David Rich, she had told him. Was strange to think he had at least one time outranked his new parent, but that's alright.
Getting out of bed, the Karrian boy did so with a slide against his tail to land on his footclaws. Going to his window and leaning on it with his forearms and elbows, he leaned on it wearing nothing more then the briefs Cameron had replicated for him. There seemed little reason to be tense as he looked out across the way, at the other houses and sidewalks. This city, Calleet, was an okay area. This was not his idea, but there was no choice in the matter. He needed a parent, and a home. His head turned, hearing a light knock on his doorframe; running a claw through his hair to correct it, messy from a night of hard sleep. His body needed it.
"Good morning. Hungry honey?", Lory had asked from his door, already dressed for her day and sporting the softest and most parental voice he had ever heard. Normally it would be his brother from his home planet who would take care of him once he reached the age that he needed it, and he wasn't exactly a parent. Maybe that was why he was so independant, even as a rejuvenated child. Trying to be polite, despite the butterflies in his belly, Jacob smiled and shook his head lightly - not turning around. The nudity thing difficult for him, and even the bulge of his underwear was a source of embarassment. Unfortunately for him, his mother living in a penitatas neighborhood and being a penitatas parent, was familiar with all the tricks. It made her laugh slightly, stepping into the room with her skirt making swaying motions with each placement of her bare foot into the carpet.
"You know you're going to have to get over that. Come on, turn around, get it over with", she said with a note of playfulness in her soft, gentle, and quiet voice as she bent over near Jacob's side and placed her hands on her knees. Still facing the window, Jacob felt that familiar burn in his muzzle, mustering up some courage to do as asked. Really didn't want to, but he didn't want to stand with the seat of his briefs and tail facing her all day either. Getting dressed was the easier way out. Giving a light, childish spin on a footclaw, he turned around and scratched his head bashfully with his left claw. Once turned, his mother tweeked the end of his snout as she was waiting to do, which got out a quick giggle of sorts. It made Jacob feel rediculous, but it was also fun. Having little time to prepare, the mother didn't have any clothing meant for him, resorting to providing the boy his clothes from yesterday now that they had been washed. She never even seemed to notice his bare parts; something Jacob appreciated. Had to figure her penitatas didn't wear clothes often, leaving a lack of care. Being that he was a Medicalos, essentially guaranteed a light hearted and enjoyable childhood, it didn't take long for the once proud doctor's childish side to come out, playing with his new mother and bonding with her. A soft bouncing ball that couldn't break anything was a toy Lory had sprung on the young reptile, bouncing it off the floor by his feet for the two to have a quick round of catch. She did want to get to know him, and it would take a cold heart to not feel for the experience he had endured. As part of the psycological side of parenting, a volunteer parent was given a report on just what happened to their new little charge. A detailed and often grusome report. It worried her that such things could happen to a Starfleet officer, with her husband in the military as well.
Fun and games aside, the pair went down for breakfast not long after. Lory found Jacob to be a quiet and reserved boy, actually fairly quiet. Playing with him was about the most energetic she had seen him. At the dinner table, speaking with her as she cooked homemade french toast beside him, he sat still in his chair, holding a calm conversation. Never added too many details, and was concise. When asking about his past and what he did, he explained his duties and some of his medical background, but not as much as someone else would. There were no elaborate stories, or even the story of what happened to him yesterday. Right to the point, he had said there was an accident. Didn't even mention that he was the ship's hero. She didn't know if it was because she was used to penitatas, but Jacob was not quite what she expected of a seven year old. Such a loner of sorts, but he was at least warming to her. Seemed very selective of his words, and his friends. Once seated at the table with her new Karrian son, pile of french toast on the table and the boy eatting as messily as she did at least expect, she wanted to take the time to get to know him a bit closer. His small green muzzle had brown sticky bits of syrup going across his maw. Was certainly an amusing child, even if it was quiet.
"Jacob honey, how would you like to meet some of the other rejuvenated children nearby? They are typically penitatas, but they're not all horrible. You asked to live here for a reason, so you must know that as well", Lory asked in her usual, soft feminine voice, eating her breakfast slower then her child. It wasn't usually what she had, but she figured if she was going to make Jacob a treat, she might as well participate. The look on young Jacob's face spoke a sort of disinterest, or at least a shyness.
"No thanks. I.. ", he went to start speaking as he swallowed a delicious lump of the french toast, accented with a dash of vanilla and syrup. He seemed to stop as he said something else however, ceasing his sentence with a hum and placing another bite of his food into his muzzle. Lory was quite surprised. She didn't think her new medicalos would be so reserved. Oh dear.
"No? Why not honey? I sort of already sent out invitations for a get together, so you could meet the neighborhood", the mother had to speak a bit softer then even usual, gulping as she spoke. And it wasn't for food reasons either. Her sentence didn't even get finished before Jacob froze in mid chew, eyes seeming sort of wide. At least he got to see his mother was nervous about the matter, and it was enough to calm him from getting too jittery. Wasn't expecting to have to deal with anyone else.
"B-but! I figured it would just be quiet, and I could be by myself.. ", the little Karrian spoke in surprise, looking certainly sheepish. So that really was it, then, huh? Her new boy was shy. Didn't even seem used to having a parent. Being as sweet and friendly as he was, that made little sense.
"Sorry, I didn't know you were shy Jacob. We will have the gathering though, I think you need to make some friends around here so you can start feeling better and being happier", Lory had to admit, but also lay down at the same time. Medicalos or not, locating his social side was a neccessity. The Cameron whom wrote his report was clearly his friend, so he wasn't a loner. No, not this sweet little thing, not at all. Jacob sulked in his chair for some moments, eating much slower, even while some of the syrup from before began to dry and get sticky on his maw. A gathering? It sounded like the transporter room on the Apollo all over again. Something to be tense at - to be the center of attention. He hated it, the staring eyes. The first tease was inevitable, and the first person he wouldn't get along with. Cameron became is friend because she was first his partner, not because he approached her or anything. His relationships came from the natural order of things. His mother had no trouble keeping her resolve at least, as when it came down to laying the law, she did so firmly. At least, she used to. Otherwise the boy at the other side of her table would have tasted the wooden spoon's sting for eating in a way that got syrup across his snout. But he was just a shy little Medicalos, and certainly no hard time penitatas.
"I don't know anyone here miss Rich", Jacob felt compelled to say after a minute of quiet, and seeing his mother's resolve was going to be stronger then his own on this matter. The woman shook her head lightly, reaching across the table to pat the boy's left claw. Her thumb rubbed his fingers, little claws included.
"That is the point dear. You're going to need friends to go with your family. Something bad happened to you, and I can't let you stew in the confines of your room each day. You're a playful young man, as tough and reserved as you act", Lory replied, taking a few moments to just talk to him and watch the boy eat. Her words, especially about being playful, seemed to make his backside squirm in his seat. From there though, she could see he accepted it. Was a respectful young boy at least, and with a powerful intellect he seemed to hide. In his position as a renowned physician made that clear. He needed some bright friends as well, they could relate. He wasn't human, and.. maybe he did feel sort of lonely. Lory had a hard time pinpointing things, but she figured she was at least on the right track.
While cleaning up breakfast, she assured to him that she herself did love him, and what she felt of him. It initially got a response of shyness, but Jacob could appreciate her being fair and forthright and seemed even warmer and comfortable afterwards. She knew he was just shy in some way, he wasn't a loner. There had to be a penitatas in the area he could relate with. The poor thing.. seeing him head out back to examine her plants. Sure he seemed happy, likely pondering the medicinal qualities of the different things she was growing.. but he was out there on his little claws and knees, alone. And his only friend, that Cameron Richardson, isn't here anymore. For now though, she would head out back and keep him company herself, but every child needed a reprieve from their authoritive figures once in a while.
Right paw held high, fingers squirming and writhing in aching pain, Kayla grit her teeth and kept her head down, scuffing her bare footpaws against her room's carpet. She slept in late from exhaustion, with her punishment weekend finally over. Emily never bothered to wake her either, just letting the exhausted girl rest. All of yesterday, if she wasn't in the bathroom or eating, she was in the corner. Standing, sitting, punishment stool; she got it all. The fox's legs still hurt, and clearly, so did her rulered paws.
Her backside had already recieved a light massage of nano lotion, and Emily was busy with her paws. However, with the swatting they recieved sending aching damage so deep into her paws, Emily's thumb had to rub the lotion firmly into the palms of the fox's two paws. It was painful and itchy at the same time, leaving the fox's eyes watering and a sharp whining and whimpering filling the room. Emily attempted to tolerate it as best she could, giving Kayla some degree of leniency.
"Kayla, that's enough. Tough it out", the mother did decide to scold, opening up the girl's right paw again to rub it briskly with both of her hands to ensure the whole paw got a dose of lotion. It was a harsh thing to say, but she couldn't allow Kayla to over react. Didn't know if she was.. but if she was, she better quit it. The fur atop Kayla's head was a mess from getting up so recently, and missing her bath yesterday. There was no time, with so many hours of corner time perscribed. At least her parents placed her in different corners to alleviate some level of the insanity it caused. No boredom could have been worse, and the pain was enough to fool her into thinking she got spanked all day again. Her punishment stool kept the cane and switch welts on her rear swollen, and her legs eventually got so tired it made her cry from the ache. Her legs wobbled as she stood for some time, trying to keep up standing straight. It was horrible and horrific, and Emily noticed her daughter wasn't even looking up at her. Hadn't since she woke. Not even yesterday. Sure Kayla had been feeling guilty, but now she looked as if she was over disciplined. Not a great combination, and Emily would slip that into her report for the Corrections Council. Even as Kayla stood still, whimpering more quietly with her head down, Emily spent a moment massaging the fingers and knuckles of her charge's left paw, to square it away. Her fur felt sticky and caked with the lotion, but she needed it.
"I'm sorry for how things have been since you got home. Want some time to be by yourself today?", the mother tried to slip in more pleasantly, not wanting to have to be harsh with Kayla after what she had gone through with the kidnapping and the resulting modified Christmas punishment. Still not looking up very much, Kayla began to nod her head, opening her muzzle to speak right after. Her eyes glistened, showing her mom her whining was at least genuine when it came to the deep massage for her well beaten palms.
"You don't have to leave me alone. I'm just hurting, and yesterday was one of the worst days of my life", Kayla's voice spoke, sounding depressed and meek. Hurt to hear her daughter like that. Emily didn't like the idea of spending that many hours in a corner either. But at least she was able to lotion up everything she could, even giving the backs of Kayla's calves a rub to see if the nanites could relieve a bit of the muscle ache her daughter had. Was hard to reply to such a thing, but the mother sure did try.
"Say, why don't I call Ninne? You haven't gotten to play for days now, I bet she misses you", Emily warmly invited, believing her idea to be perfect and the thing her daughter needed. How more wrong her perscription could be. Seeing Kayla fold her canid ears back was not the response she expected, with the fox's head staying low. The girl was so quiet, and it was hard for Kayla to think about Ninne on top of the other things her mind was trying to process. Staying knelt in front of the adolescent Aspatrian fox, she lifted Kayla's muzzle up with her hand to get Kayla back to eye level. For a second Kayla looked like she was preparing for a swat, but her hand could feel her muscles loosten up. Why was she so forelorn? It was over, the punishment had come and gone.
"Sweetie, what's wrong? Talk to me. You're never this quiet", she had to ask the teary, empty look Kayla was giving her. Her voice radiated with concearn, placing her other paw on the girl's bare right shoulder. Looking into her mother's eyes like that, Kayla wasn't sure what to say, or where to begin. So much had occured so quickly, and even in her best ability, her adolescent mind could not deal with it.
"I just want everything back to the way it was. Without everyone hating me", Kayla spoke quietly enough to tip off Emily that she was trying not to cry. She was growing so accustomed to seeing her daughter's foxy jaw quiver, she figured even that must be hurting by now.
"Who hates you? We don't", the worried mother tried to probe. She wanted nothing to do with discipline today. This poor girl needed a lot of loving attention. Was Kayla like this too, before the kidnapping? And she just never saw? Kayla herself folded her ears back a little more, letting out a little girlish sniffle, running a decision through her mind. Should she tell? To 'rat out' another penitatas was a taboo, but so was telling a penitatas parent something that another penitatas had told you in confidence. Ninne had violated that trust as much as she, right now, had the ability to. Thinking of her folder, and the personal secrets it had inside.. where she vented and was able to fill her more emotional creations.. it wasn't meant for anyone's eyes. No, Ninne would pay for this! Kayla swallowed hard, opening her mouth for a breath before answering.
"Ninne does, momma", Kayla said with a studder stuck inside of it, not sounding smooth due to her forcing the words out. She didn't want to speak of what happened, but she couldn't do it easily. Before her mother could get in a word after making a 'you're being silly' sort of look in response, Kayla simply continued. "She came in the hospital room after you guys left. She told me how much she hated me, and that I let everyone down. That I wasn't her friend anymore", she went on to say in a teary, meek tone still. Kayla looked and felt so vulnerable, she was tremling and there wasn't even the threat of spanking involved. Emily was gazing into the eyes of one tormented penitatas, and what Kayla told her made her chipper attitude she was wearing to help the fox, fade. Not getting a response immidiately, Kayla went on further, speaking louder and faster in her childlike sort of panic.
"It's not fair, I didn't mean to hurt anyone as badly as I did! I know I'm stupid mommy and I'm sorry, but she was my friend! What is everyone else going to think? Everyone hates me - the planet, the Corrections Council, Deltastar.. ", she went on to sob, making a gesture upwards with her paw once she got to Deltastar, to signify there were all sorts of people throughout the galaxy that would hate her. It wasn't right to see Kayla like this, and so out of the blue. The horrors the girl's mind must have raked through while she was in the corners of the house all day yesterday.
"Shh! Come on honey, calm, calm. The galaxy does not hate you. People get over things, and Ninne isn't right either. I will call them right now and straighten this out", Emily answered once she could break Kayla's teary words. Though, as soon as she began to stand, Kayla's arms grabbed her and held her while she made a shaky whimper.
"No momma, d-don't! Ninne will hate me forever if you did that.. she's my friend, I don't want to hurt anyone else", the fox begged sharply, till her voice dropped off significantly. She really meant what she was saying. Emily couldn't believe the fox was feeling this responcible and shaken. Life did change very quickly.
"Nothing will get better unless you address them Kayla", was the response she got back in a higher pitched voice, with Emily kneeling back down to stay with her girl if that was what it took at the moment. Kayla's paw's grip didn't deminish, despite the pain in her paws from the swatting they recieved the other day. The lotion would need more time to work all the way through her flesh, deep to where all the damage occured.
"That's something I can handle momma, I promise. Please? Just you and me today?", Kayla asked with pleading enthusiasm, trying to make sure everything would be okay. Honestly, the idea of getting Ninne in trouble by her direct action scared her. Didn't need more anger her way. Emily had to stare into the sad face of her daughter a little bit longer before sighing and relenting. She supposed Kayla could handle this her own way, since she wanted to do it as peacefully and kindly as possible. Was a valid thing to ask for, and a mature one. Kayla could recieve her chance.
"Alright, I won't call across the street", her mother allowed, getting the hold the fox's paws had on her torso to loosten. She patted the fox's back, giving another parental advisement on top of it. "But you're going to get a nice relaxing bath, right now. Go scoot into the bathroom and potty, then hop in the tub. I'll be in shortly", she added with a wag of her right hand's index finger, then tapping the fox's ebony nose to get Kayla to step back from it and get moving. The fox didn't at all protest, heading out of her room for the bathroom now that she had the time. A bath did sound nice, her fur felt dirty. Yesterday did cause a lot of strain on her body, and likely some sweat on top of it. Once her bare furred daughter had left the room, the mother stepped over to the closet and thumbed through the clothing in the drawers. Finally Kayla would be wearing clothes again, so she needed to pick some out. Keeping Kayla occupied, yet off the computer would be the day's other chore, but it was one Kayla needed to deal with fast. There would be no compromises when it came to using it, unless she wanted her paws flat on that computer's desk getting a taste of the ruler again already. Trying to get Kayla feeling like her old self and rebuilding her life seemed like an uphill battle.
But in that bathroom next door to her was a penitatas willing to learn. As she picked out Kayla's new pair of jeans and a comfortable pair of white cotton panties, to go with one of Kayla's white t-shirts, she thought of something she recieved that morning. Yes, that might work.. it was exactly what she needed. A chance to get out and reintegrate with her fellows. She was going anyway, but maybe it would have a secondary benefit. That morning an invitation arrived on the vid-phone for a get-together down the street for a new medicalos whom moved into the neighborhood, sent to the other families in the area, being a primarily penitatas community. Was always good to see the other parents and share ideas, disciplinary or not, but Kayla needed something like that too. Everything all bottled up inside like that, and lonely. After spanking and putting Kayla through so much, she did need someone who didn't do that to her to hear her out too, and play. And since Ninne and Ki'rene were bound to be there, that should work itself out.
Tucking the almost eight year old Aspatrian's clothes under her right arm, she closed the closet door and started for the bathroom. Warm water and gentle hands to get her daughter feeling better. She'd play with her today, see what she could get off the fox's chest, and be that parent she failed to be those few weeks before Kayla's terrifying experience.