Kayla: The Ultimate
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-Five)
Concept by Lurking Dragon
Kayla and story by Professor Bob
More Kayla Stuff!: www.Professor-Bob.com

A thick fog shrouded Kayla's mind for a period of time she could not even recall. She didn't even know she was still alive, or had the awareness to know that she was partially conscious in her void of mental nothingness. The fox had been outside of this world for a long time, till feelings began to return, along with the realization she had not left the universe. There was no shock, no joy, no pain.. there was no part of her mind or body capable of preforming any such emotion. Her only reaction was to clasp onto her thoughts, and hold on tight! To fight without a single movement or sound; a brutal war against death, fought without weapons or physical form - only your grip on the memories and world you do not wish to leave. The young girl had endured so many hardships in her two 'lives', it would be a waste to let go now, before finally getting to enjoy living. Despite her wounds, despite her disciplinary home, and despite the sadness around her, Kayla chose life. As if her body turned itself back on, all her nerves jolted impulses to her brain in a torrential storm all at once, with a sensation in her throat causing her to cough weakly as she came to. Saliva dribbled from the side of her dirt coated muzzle, colored red as it disolved the dried blood that escaped her throat. Her body was cold, and her mind was filled with signals that made little sense.. she was very obviously in severe pain, but not all of her body was processing it. The left side of her body was lacking in response, to a great degree. Even as the fox's eyes opened into clouded slits, she still felt half-dead, and found it hard to breathe or move. The only good news was that she did not hear anyone - she was alone. The bad news was similar - she was alone.

"..W-..wha'-..?", left Kayla's dry muzzle, which had become filled with sandy dirt and blood that had soaked the ground below her. It was all dry now, leaving her to wonder how long she had been laying where she'd fallen. The phaser appeared in her mind, remembering the burn and searing pain of her wound. But she was not dead? Moving her head slowly and carefully, she strained to look around, seeing something on the ground within her paw's reach. Using her more responsive right paw, she reached out and clasped it, bringing it closer to her eyes. It seemed Tyson had dropped his phaser, as it ended up in his victim's paws. After firing at the computer to disable the connection and stop it, Maxwell and Tyson must have shot her and ran. There was no power to the shack, leaving it very dark and cold. It must have been after dark by now, hours after she had been hit with the phaser. Opening her eyes further to examine the device, she looked at the colored setting bar on the phaser, to look at it's output level. Injuries or not, the small fox started to lightly laugh, though it made her cough and sputter very quickly and gasp for air. Choking on her own need for air, she shakily pressed the output-increase button on the phaser twice, being replied with a small beep each time, bringing the green color on the setting bar to a higher level. "Now it can kill me..", she said with a spiteful grin, feeling like being alive was her way of sticking it to her ex-captors as her body went limp again. "I told you fuckers.. Don't think of me as a human. Cause I'm not one", she added with the weapon still loose in her paw. A human child would have died, but not an Aspatrian. More vitality and ability to sustain injury.. not to mention the young fox's heart was on her right, not her left. It left Kayla pleased that her kidnappers did not do their anatomy homework; they were too focused on their greed and her hacking exploits. However, her being alive could very well be temporary. She was still dying. From all her injuries over the course of her capture, she had lost a critical amount of blood.. and her phaser wound, though not instantly fatal, was enough to put a very large cap on her lifespan. The blast might as well have blown out half of her chest, as it caused her left lung to explode, damaged critical arteries and nerves all around the area of impact, and inside her spinal cord. The heat from the particle beam fused her wound mostly shut as the beam ceased, even if there was still blood loss for a while. Beneath the blackened, charred, and in some areas completely vaporized fur and flesh, was an internal structure that looked similar to the outside. The arterial ruptures sealed, though circulation was damaged to some parts of her body from charring, leaving some of her internal areas in grave danger from dying. Her nerves were simply severed and cooked, leaving impulses through sections of her spinal cord to be damaged, and the branching nerves to her left side cut; a partial paralysis that left her left side dull and lacking in function, and impulse loss between her lower half and the partially damaged section of spine. Her lung was re-sealed after being ruptured, allowing her airways to again pressurize.. but the left lung was collapsed, with the muscles not operative, leaving her only her right to try and supply her body with oxygen. "Come on girl.. to your feet..", Kayla encouraged herself, raising herself from the dirt weakly with her arms. Carefully, and using the computer terminal at her side, she fought to get up, against the pain and damaged flesh. Even with many of her nerve impulses not reaching her brain, the pain was still unbearable. She had to hold herself against the terminal to remain upright, as she looked down at all the bloodied earth below her. She had been soaked in it from head to toe, and could barely stand. As soon as she tried to take a step foreward towards the door, her left leg went dead and she fell foreward, landing in the dirt on her arms and elbows so her torso would not take an unneccessary blow; she figured her internal injuries would not appreciate it. "Dammit!", Kayla snapped, needing to take a deep breath and try to regain her air just from the one word. It felt like she was suffocating, having no blood to carry oxygen, and only one lung to retrieve any. While gasping for air, she lowered herself to the ground and reached to her back, to feel her throbbing wound.. and when she looked at her paw, it had fresh blood upon it. The fox figured she felt something back there; a fleshy crater, again bleeding. 'I don't have very long to live', was all the seven year old could ponder in deep fear. The cold was creeping up on her..

* * * *

"Ensign, have you been able to obtain any further information from the investigative teams? It's been hours now, we must have something to go off of by now", Commander Falstaff inquired, as he stepped to Ensign Brayden's side and peered over his shoulder, at the terminal he was working at. Alarms had gone off after Kayla's attempted attack on the Starfleet Headquarters system; a normal protocol when other installations and their computer systems could be in danger. With all their attempts, their tracers did not make it to the hacker's position. They could not neutralize their threat, leaving Starfleet installations at a hightened state of alert, with anti-computer-terrorism personell on active standby to thwart any attempts on their systems. The control room had been a noisy pit of Starfleet officers and investigative personell every since the initial alert. Not one officer on duty had any time to sit, with headquarters breathing down their necks. A hacker made it into the Starfleet Headquarters system and was not traced.. not only was it a serious security threat, but it was also embarassing for the upper brass of Starfleet. Kayla only ran circles around them, when their systems were supposed to be secure enough to keep all intruders out and not even give them a fleeting chance. Bank robbery on the grand scale, hacking, disabling all interplanetary commerce, damages to a major computer system, crimes against Starfleet.. the list of charges against the young penitatas were racking up fast.

"Yes sir, but it's not the good news you were looking for", Blaine answered, turning his head to face his superior before turning it back to the screen on his console. He had been working at the terminal at the end of the front-right row, to monitor the main screens and his work both. With several keystrokes from his fingertips across the smooth pannel, a map display appeared and data was laid across it piece by piece, layer by layer. The notible feature of the map was Calleet, the city on the lower left of the map; small from being zoomed out. "Investigative team six was working on Kayla's connection paths and bouncing routes, and narrowed down a location on Earth's surface. Based on the information that remained in the planet's orbital communications satellites, they worked with team three, the sattelite log scanners, to find one common sattelite. That one sattelite was the one she was connected to constantly, with no connection bounce. It was the one above her location, and apparently the only one she could connect to", he explained quicker and more confidently then he normally spoke. Knowing he was being concidered for promotion was certainly an encouraging thought, and it granted confidence. A translucent red image appeared on the screen, far from being perfectly circle. It went from the upper perimeter of Calleet, through the suburbs and out into the wilderness. "While we know that much, we still do not know where she is. Out in this shaded area somewhere. However..", he went on to speak, with a couple more taps to the flat console keys and confirming chirp from the computer. Several pieces of the red shade disappeared on the map, shrinking the area. Calleet was fully excluded from the area, and a chunk of the outer living areas as well. "Since Kayla is not stupid, she would have bounced her orbiting connection if she was able. She only used the one connection. The areas I removed had another sattelite in range, and she could have bounced her orbital connection. This area that is left, is only servicible by the one sattelite", Ensign Brayden clarified while pointing to a few areas on the map. Took some work to not smile, that deduction was of his own doing - not the investigative teams. Falstaff hummed and stared at the map for a few more seconds, till he stood upright and looked down towards Blaine.

"It's still a large area, but a lot more managable. Good work Ensign", he congratulated with clear appreciation. This fox had been a thorn in his side for long enough, and he was sick of listening to his superiors complain about how dangerous Packet-Storm was. Enough was enough. She needed to be captured and in custody, now. "I need you to go and prepare a hopper for us. Enlist two other Ensigns to assist in the operation; you will be their commanding officer for the time being. I'll meet you in docking bay one shortly!", the commander was quick to order, even while already turning and heading away with haste towards the rear turbolift. Ensign Brayden was quick to rise from his chair, to try and catch him, looking almost confused by the orders.

"But Commander, I thought you wanted to be discreet with the Kayla Ackart operations?", he called out, trying to be loud over the commotion and computer terminals in the busy control room. A hopper was a low altitude troop-transport craft, and a very obviously militaristic ship. Not to mention the hover-engines were not the quietest.

"We don't have such liberty anymore. I want her found as quickly as possible!", Commander Falstaff called back, turning only long enough to reply before continuing his haste to the turbolift. He had a transmission to Starfleet Headquarters to make, and a weapons locker to visit. He had been made a fool of for the last time!

* * * *

As it does each year, the day every penitatas dreads had finally arrived. With all it's pain and horrors, any sane child would be crying as soon as they woke. For many that is true, but for some with strong hearts, they can hold them back a little longer. Not by much though. It was early Christmas morning, around seven. Ninne had awoke and could not sleep any longer, seeing the glow of the rising sun just starting to pry it's way through her window and into her mind. It meant her day was upon her, and the scales of her Drakonian vaginal slit would be treated to the harshest punishment the Corrections Council could devise for a drakeling - male or female. Even if it was customary by now for her to hide in her bed till her mom summoned her, the girl's mind was too preoccupied with other things to sulk.

"They should give us exemptions from these damned spankings when we need them.. ", Ninne grumbled harshly as she slipped from her bed, already pulling her underwear down her smooth reptilian legs. The expression on her snout was more annoyed and angry at the moment, then sad. The reaction of someone whom did not have hope, and wished they had it. Her best friend was gone with the recent happenings a ruckus. Now she had to worry about getting a steel bristled brush between her legs. The drake had her night-shirt off right after, heading down the stairs to get the news chip for the day.. even if she was trying not to worry about her punishment, her footclaws were extra careful to be quiet as to not wake her mother. Her mind was being double-teamed by two different fears, with her pain receptors already tingling. Cornered and frightened, with no escape possible.. she'd have to take each full force smack from her brush just as each other penitatas would from their own brushes or switches. At least her punishment didn't last all day like everyone else's, right? Every time she tried to think of it that way, she found it really did not help any. The sulking and thought-filled nine year old lifted her long neck as she walked off the last step of the stairs and into her livingroom, just to stop and have her pupils shrink.

"Good morning Ninne. Couldn't sleep anymore either I take it?", Ki'rene asked her young daughter with a sullen look on her snout, holding a cup of coffee in her right claw while a datapad rested on her leg. She had already beaten her girl to the news chip, for all the same reasons. After such a wonderful year with Ninne, Christmas was going to be even harder then normal for the mother. Kayla being missing was just insult to injury. So much already on their minds, and now Ki'rene had to humiliate and severely discipline her girl. She was just as ready to start crying as Ninne was.

"No ma'ma. Find anything in the news?", Ninne simply asked right off, wondering if anything new was said about Kayla. She really didn't want her mother awake yet, but there was nothing she could do on that matter; so she slipped her bare scaled tail onto their large sofa at her mom's side.

"Not a single thing we didn't already know, and even the things they got wrong about her. These people don't know who she is, and it would be nice if they could not be so judgemental. Sure, Deltastar lost a lot of their money, and.. ", she went on to shake her head and reply, until a growling sigh escaped through her teeth and she sat her coffee mug harshly down on the table. "Just forget what I said. You're right, Kayla really is a stupid jackass to have done what she did. I wish I could get her under my tongue right now.. I would rather punish someone more deserving then you sweetie, I really would", Ki'rene spoke much more sharply, reaching down and gripping the datapad hard in her claw. If anyone spoke with more sincerity, Ninne did not know them. Just the angry look her mom had whule looking at the datapad was enough to tell her she wanted to beat the fox's backside to shreads.

"I for one would like to see how she'd react to a brush between her own legs if she's going to betray us. Now if only she'd come home so we could do that.. huh?", Ninne agreed, even if her own voice slowly relented it's anger. They missed her. Enraged with the small fox or not, her safety was a priority - to return her to where she belonged.

"I wish she'd come home too.. But I guess you and I do have other matters to attend to this morning. It's still early, would you like some breakfast before we got started?", Ki'rene was forced to cut to the chase and ask, as she set the datapad down onto the table beside the sofa with a light clack. Her neck turned so her head would be lower, and more close to her daughter's.. just to be there for her. This day was a punishment for them both really. Ki'rene took no pleasure in this - Ninne was learning very well without her reptilian crotch being spanked once a year. Ninne shook her head lightly, just to have her cheek nuzzled by her mother, whom was disheartened by the reponse. It took the girl a moment to think of what to say, and to get it out.. but she did.

"I'd rather skip breakfast and do my punishment right away..", she hung her head as she said, just looking plain sad as the looks of anger and annoyance left her tense, dinosaur body. That time had finally come, there was no more hope that it would go away, and no more denial. Her eyes shifted to her mother's, looking defeated and honest. "For a penitatas, waiting is one of the hardest parts of Christmas. Makes me sick to my stomach.. besides, we can have a good Christmas a while later. Think we can get it over with?", Ninne explained more descriptively, raising her neck to ask her final question, just to ensure her mother that is was a serious one. A year ago, Ki'rene would have been shocked at such a question. Her little girl would normally try to delay any sort of punishment.. wanting to have it done sooner then later, was a sign of her growing maturity. Her daughter was growing up, even if she herself would have loved to delay this punishment so she would not have to deal it so quickly. At least Ninne's request made sense, to beat her early and have Christmas day to try and enjoy themselves.

"Even if I don't want to do this to you, I'll do it how you want, so it's easiest. All at once, and then a long corner time on your stool. We'll skip breakfast and I'll hold you till lunch, then I'll let you off. It'll give you about four and a half hours over there.. should be more then enough to satisfy anybody within the justice system. As long as you can handle that severity involved in shortening your suffering honey", Ki'rene spoke in a way she normally never did - bleak and monotone. She'd have to shove all her love and emotions into the back of her head this year.. her daughter could not be more perfect in her eyes, and this punishment was too harsh for her to handle. After such a good year raising her, she'd have to be stern, strict, and overbearing to be able to deal this much pain. Her smile and care would have to take a backseat this morning.

"It's for the best ma'ma.. Just give me what I deserve. Our nicer stuff can come after my 'formal repayment' for robbing people three and a half years ago", Ninne said with a light smile, adding some humor to her sad yet determined voice. It's not like she did not know she earned this punishment afterall, even if it was long ago she earned it. The world insisted penitatas would be forced harshly to repent for their crimes; this was a taste of their demands. Ki'rene took one long, last, quiet sip of her coffee.. returning it to the table beside the sofa, next to the datapad. She rose to her large legs, walking across the livingroom to the area between Ninne's corner and the TV, below where she hung her daughter's paddles for display and a reminder to her girl.

"Then concider your punishment started Ninne. Come here and get in position. I'll open your present from the Corrections Council", Ki'rene ordered simply, with a stern tone lurking inside of her voice. Ninne knew her mother had to be serious today. It was her way of being strong for her daughter, and getting the job done. The young drake slid from the edge of the sofa cushion with ease, smooth scales providing little friction against the soft fabric as she complied with the first order given. Knowing exactly what position her mother desired, she walked to a few paces in front of her mother and turned around, facing back towards the sofa, and away from the paddle wall. Her traditional spot in the house to recieve her dragon-paddles, be it on the tail or hip. All the while, Ki'rene was slitting the present she had left under the paddles open with a sharp claw, to remove the lid of the box and see what she would be forced to do this day. Removing the traditional Drakonian disciplinary slip and brush, she dropped the box to the floor carelessly in order to read the slip. Serious or not, Ki'rene could not help but let out a smile behind her bare girl's back as soon as she unfolded it and read it. "Looks like the justice department had been reading my reports on you! They know you've been a behaved penitatas this year and your count shows it. One hundred thirty-five with the brush, fourteen less then last year. They also did not send me any new paddles to add to the wall, even if I still have to pull down the blistering level dragon-paddle.. ten to the tail, and each hip", she explained and informed, till she gave the slip a light toss; not caring about it. After this was all over, that present box and slip would be in the trash right away.

"Doesn't sound like they were too merciful with the paddle part.. ", Ninne added with a weary whine, nervously holding her claws at the impending hurt she was to recieve. Knowing her fate right down to the number of swats made her chest heavy, and her eyes water before even a single spank. Feeling her mother's larger claw grasp her tail, she bent herself over as her tail was raised and her counter balance was disrupted. Reptilian tail in the air and snout to the carpet, a set of tears slowly glided across Ninne's cool scales down towards the floor. Just as a kangaroo uses their large tail to counterbalance, with her tail raised, she could not move.. it was past the point of no return; base of the tail within her mother's aim.

"The paddling is standard, and get's worse with your age. That's why your hips are included this year", she was repilied from the voice above, as she also heard the large, heavy, and sharply studded paddle being lifted from it's place on the wall. Ki'rene could not help but answer her girl as she always did, even if she was trying to be stern so she'd be able to do this right. The worst impliments, the worst places to spank, and at maximum force - something that would be concidered a beating on even an adult. Now she had to cause that much hard to a child she saw as her own daughter, that she loved. This was only going to get worse each year. "Now, hold still.. I'm not going to stop once I start! Get ready", the mother did say quite sternly however, gritting her teeth and summoning all her strength into her right arm. Ninne clenched her eyes tight, digging her toe's claws into the carpet, as the sound of a heavy object breaking the air filled her ears..

* * * *

Elsewhere, there were no presents to open, and no penitatas to be punished for their crimes against the law. There was little more then the usual beeps and chirps of Federation computer consoles, and the droning of six high-payload hover-engines. The 'hopper' was a much more reliable craft then it was a couple hundred years ago, when it was being mass produced for war during the 24th century. Since such fewer were needed, more time could be spent on production and improvements, leaving the new transport crafts capable of carrying more weight, weapons, and even shields to protect it's hull, while the hoppers of old would simply drop from the sky. All the perks of a starship, designed for fast low atmospheric travel. As impressive as the decently sized ship and it's bridge were, Blaine Brayden was much less then pleased. Being stuck in front of a sensor scanner with the feeling of pointlessness was de'ja'vu; he had already done this with the old shuttlecraft a day ago. Nothing but a few false alarms from Aspatrian readings that were supposed to be there from the residential areas outside of Calleet, in the Rossburg district. Every place with a home or place to hide out and commit electronic crimes from was clear. Blaine would have rather been at home, spending Christmas morning with his wife and kindern daughter. Instead they were spending Christmas without him, since he had to search for another little girl besides his own, in full Starfleet uniform. It made him wish he could give Kayla his own 'Christmas present' of a swift kick in the..

"Commander, we have scanned all of the inhabited areas within Ensign Brayden's selected area", Ensign Stacy Macklenstein, a female human, called from her station on the other side of the bridge, opposite from Blaine. Commander Falstaff had a captain's chair in the center of the small metalic bridge, with Ensign Jason Basso, a Bejoran Starfleet officer, at the foreward helm as they manuvered the craft quickly through the residential area at the altitude reserved for emergency vehicles. It was low enough to shake nearby houses for a second, before they blew by at roughly two hundred miles per hour. It could travel four hundred, but Commander Flagstaff ordered a thourough sensor sweep and their speed had to be regulated.

"All that is left is the wilderness to the northeast. It's a preserved habitat, mostly due to the region's hills being made of a highly magnetic and uncommon mineral - magnedroxide. Our sensors will have a very difficult time scanning that area, if not an impossible time. Visual contact will also be difficult, due to the dense trees and vegitation that thrive on the mineral. While it would be the perfect place to hide, I do not see how Kayla could have done what she did from the magnedroxide hill region. There are no available power sources out there, and any computer or generator would have to be protected from prolonged exposure to the mangetic fields", Ensign Brayden added to his colleague's statement, swiveling his station chair to be able to speak to his superior more properly. Commander Falstaff slipped into thought for a few moments, placing his right hand against his chin while staring out into the foreward viewscreen of the sun that was peeking out above the clouds.. it was a cloudy morning, with snow creeping up on Calleet. It was looking to be a white Christmas.

"Ensign Basso, alter our heading by negative fourty degrees. Increase outputs of all six engines to three hundred miles per hour", he gave in a command order fashion, turning his head to Ensign Macklenstein, the acting science officer, while taking both his hands and clasping them below his neck, fingers intertwined. "And I want the sensors reconfigured to better penetrate the magnetic fields and interferance. Divert all spare power to the main sensor array, we will need all the sweep-strength we can get", he added in order to his other officer, moving his head back to the viewscreen. "Kayla might be one of the most dangerous criminals of our time, but she is still very young in her current state. She will still be somewhere in the area of where she accessed the Galactic-net", the man thought as he stared at the changing scenery, after a whine from the right hover-engines to change the vessel's course. Though they could not be seen through the dim light from the clouds coming in from that direction and the low lying haze, the hills were out there, thirty-nine miles away. Ensign Brayden swiveled his seat back, only pretending to look at his sensor monitors.

"Merry friggen' Christmas.. ", he sighed quietly, thinking of the family he was missing out on being with.. but so was the penitatas they were looking for. He wanted her back with her parents today, so she could be taught her Christmas lesson and be safe like everyone else.

* * * *

Positioned awkwardly across the arm rest of their sofa, Ninne laid sobbing and sputtering for air desperately through her nostrils and through a stiny spot between her lips at the tip of her snout. Her body was limp, with a familiar piece of blue cloth tied around her snout, which was now catching her flowing tears, while the other piece restrained her claws. Ki'rene was not kidding about not stopping once she began, having driven all thirty extreme paddle blows quickly under her tail and upon her hips, leaving the three areas badly marked. Many bruised circles with a red prick in the center, with a larger red area on some with a white, protective cap of fluid-filled flesh over the damaged hole in her scale. First glance you would think she was bleeding, from the rate of her bawling, and all of the blood colored marks from the blood pooling heavily into her scales and the flesh the studs drove their points down into. A punishment that would have made an adult repentant placed full force onto the tender scales of a child; with that only being the warm-up. Bent over the left arm of the blue, thin cream striped sofa, the spot more up the base of her tail was more easily accessible. Her legs were bent at the knee, spread out along the sofa; a position not commonly used on a Drakonian due to the difficulty of finding something appropreate to bend them over where they can be kept over it. Voluntarily restrained for the worst spanking of the year, the girl was only waiting for her mother to begin.. wishing she just would not have to wait. This always choked Ki'rene up, concidering she knew she would not want her own genitalia beaten full of pin-pricks. Every year a new brush, just so the Corrections Council can ensure their Drakonian penitatas are being spanked with freshly sharpened bristles. Just in case the ones they sent last year had dulled any from repeated use. With the cool, lightly colored, one inch thick wood brush in claw, sporting it's sharpened steel bristles, the mother was ready to treat her penitatas to a waterfall of tears and exploding pain. Even if she did not wish to make her daughter wait, since she asked not to be.. she just stared at the familiar brown tailbase of her girl, wishing she did not have to do this. Arm aching from the quick swings of such a heavy paddle, and a tingling sort of pain sensation under her tail from sympathy pains, threw her off completely. Either way, the drakeling that called her 'ma'ma' was relying on her to do her duty, and she could not deny her what she deserved. It was the price Ninne had to pay, to get her second chance at an upstanding life.. and it was the price Ki'rene had to pay, to keep the daughter she had grown to love and protect as her own. Failure to do this properly would mean the end of her penitatas parenting liscense. There would be no more waiting or stalling - the time was now, whether either of them were ready or not!

"I'm as set as I will ever be Ninne. This will be quick as promised.. it will hurt more, but we'll be done sooner, and your corner time can be done this morning all at once", she spoke somberly, cluching the brush's handle tighter in her claw, till she let out a defeated sigh. "..Wanted to try hard to be stern this morning, so I could be serious and uneffected by doing this. It's never going to work.. I won't stall anymore. Brace yourself honey.. ", Ki'rene let out quietly and softly from her snout, with even a hint of teariness in her voice. Ninne clenched her eyes closed and tensed up the appropreate muscles to best deal with the pain that was about to come, simply thankful with the idea that this was close to coming to an end, despite the remanants that will follow her all day and night. With a quick repositioning of her body and grasp of her daughter's tail, Ki'rene's arm drew back and swung the brush's metal and merciless bristles as hard as she could - forcing herself to begin. With such force and determination, even metal bristles against scale made a sharp and loud sound, even if the pitch was high instead of low.. the first swat digging in fast, dead center of it's target that Ninne had to endure the horrors and humiliation of having smacked swollen and nasty. A bolt of sting and heat dispursed across all of the nerves that made up her lower half, while a shock enveloped her entire body. The brush was swung and applied to her thin-scaled and extra-sensitive vaginal opening very quickly as promised. In the time it took to shrink her body from the hurt, and lift her head to express a sharp, muffled squeel from inside her snout, her mother had already placed five maximum force swats to her reddening slit. Ninne had sworn to herself not to express any sort of muffled cries for her mother this year, just to make things easier on them both.. she wanted to be still and take it like she needed to, but it was proving to be very difficult as she squirmed and screeched through the confines of her closed snout while her feminine area was beaten with such a horrific impliment. They might as well have used a wooden board with jagged nails, with all the weight and force being blown into her Drakonian crotch from the needletips of the steel bristles. Each swat would cause several to knick and badly hurt her outer lips, while the others would simply pierce the scale and whack the tender nerves below. Not enough to cause bleeding, but just barely.. blood was drawn a lot during a Drakonian Christmas day accidently, but the Corrections Council conveniently turned their backs on that fact most of the time, in order to use such a severe tactic. The burn and sting accumulated with every swat as quickly as they came.. twenty.. thirty.. each more painful then the last as it became harder for Ki'rene to make certain the sharp bristles would not cross over any previous pinholes, to dig in deeper and pierce the flesh below the scale, or cause her daughter a jolt of excess fire that would spread right up her feminine slit. Ki'rene burried her mind in thoughts and reassurances as the cries of her daughter filled her ears, sounding so paniced and desperate. 'It's for her own good'.. 'The people she robbed and stole from deserve to have her repent'.. 'She'll not commit crimes in the future' .. All excuses to make herself feel better, while her eyes watched as she so severely spanked her own penitatas. Blood red marks were cropping up with each swing, and by sixty, the lips of Ninne's slit had puffed out with all sorts of red dots and marks, with thirty seconds gone by into the rapid swatting. The smaller drake's frame trembled and winced constantly, with her throat going hoarse as much as she was raising her neck and trying to scream - tears flowing from bloodshot eyes to soak the baby-blue fabric around her snout, as well as her cheeks when she raised her head. Pain surged down her tail, legs, and clear up her spine as damned the fact she was a Drakonian, and a female. A normal penitatas' punishment lasts all day, but they do not get their genitals disciplined at all.. could always be a fair tradeoff. The two girls detached themselves from what was going on, sheltering their minds from what their senses were forcing them to deal with, be it auditory, visual, or tactile. Buring swat after swat, the needletip bristles smacked and stuck their way into Ninne's vaginal scales, as the swelling made it easier for the tips to pierce the scales along the very opening of the lips where the scales were the pinkest, traveling inward to become flesh. The more she swelled, the deeper the swats and pain seemed to travel down her passage, forcing the child out of her shelter, to thrash about on the arm of the sofa and beg in her mind for the spanking to end - finally end! More sting, more fire, more throbbing in her eyes from the tears, it was too much for her tiny body and mind to handle.

"Mmmrrrroooooooomm! Mmmmrrroooommmrreee!", were the one things that resonated from Ninne's stressed throat, that sounded remotely like words. Some of the other things were words as well, but they made no sense she was bawling so hard and trying to let out so many cries at once. The speed of the spanking was the most painful thing she ever had to experience, but the count was trickling down.. Ki'rene could not even announce the numbers she was so choked up, just trying so hard not to cry. She was a very stern and strict penitatas mother when her daughter had done wrong, but after doing such a horrificly severe punishment every year, it seemed more and more unneccessary. Not even pretending it was someone like Paul, the little drakeling that had shot her girl and someone more deserving of this treatment, made her feel any better. He'd have to deal with having his own genital slit beaten with one of these brushes soon enough as it was. From each tip of her reptilian slit, Ninne grew to be dark red with marks that would suggest something along the lines of even injury the scales had been penetrated and smacked at with the bristles so badly. Many of the sharp bristles dove into old pin-pricks and between her lips, to smack her where not intended - actual defenseless and nerve-littered flesh. It could not be helped at this speed, making Ki'rene one of the penitatas parents that year to accidently draw blood from their girl, even if it was only a little. It still took work to keep her daughter still enough to finish the spanking.. so much work, she could no longer focus on holding back her tears. It could not be helped; not this year. A sharp sob left her as the tears dripped slowly down her older scales, trembling from the intensity of her sympathy pains. They actually downright hurt, badly. Nothing was going to make her stop or slow down now, she was too close to being done with this. All Ninne could do was simply hold on and wait it out, having even fewer options then her mother in terms of dealing with something this intense.. taking the two swats per second her mother was downright swinging out, with the weight from the one inch thick wood brush helping to drive the steel bristles home. Sputtering and gasping for air for her exhausted and drained body through her bawling was proving to be too difficult, listening to each steel swat towards her upper tailbase ringing out.. till they finally just stopped. Without even a word of notice, they simply stop, allowing her to take a deep breath through her nostrils to continue to cry, going limp over the arm of their sofa. Every portion of her body hurt from tensing it up and squirming so badly. Through her cloudy eyes, she saw two brown claws appear in front of her snout, untying the cloth that was holding back her howls. As soon as the pressure was removed from her snout, she let out a deep and long cry and sob, taking a deep shaky breath right after to bawl tearily.

"Just keep still like that honey! I need to wipe you back there, I cut you a couple of times by accident.. I'm very sorry.. ", Ki'rene was very quick to appologize, as soon as the spanking was finally done, and her daughter got the air the cloth was denying her. All one hundred thirty-five full force swats, driven in. The poor mother felt like a walking wreck, feeling fortunate she could at least walk, unlike her daughter. She was the first to always put so much care into this punishment as to not injure her girl, but she was not successful this year, and felt terrible as a response. Keeping her hold on Ninne's tail, she gently placed the cloth against Ninne's upper-slit and wiped upwards to remove the traces a blood, running it slightly between her lips to get the bits she may have caused in there. "This punishment is just too harsh, robbery or not.. ", she was forced to huff through her nostrils with a growl inside of her throat. If anything, it would make her girl feel better to remember her mother was always on her side, no matter what it was that she did. That is what a real parent is for, not just the discipline to brighten her future. Ninne could not reply though, as she left her head hanging off the side of the sofa, crying hard and gritting her teeth from the feeling of the cloth wiping past all of the swats and pierced scale. This punishment would leave her upper-tailbase and Drakonian female crotch littered with red spots, bruises, cuts, and even tiny white blisters similar to what was on her hips and under the base of her tail, behind her slit. Once the blood was removed and Ki'rene was certain the tiny flesh-deep pricks and cuts were done, she helped lift her girl to her footclaws by the underarms, not letting go till she was sure Ninne had a footing on the floor. She wanted to lay there and rest, and could not really walk.. but this was her own idea. Right to the corner. It just took a lot out of the mother to lift her girl and help her support her weight.. Ninne was getting bigger by the day it was starting to seem. "I'll help you get to your stool Ninne, I just need you to try and move, okay? You can rest then, and I'll hold you all you want come noon.. ", she was certain to assure, since she wanted to hold her girl and let her calm down. That would only prolong this though. With wobbly steps and legs spaced far apart, movement pulling at her swollen lips, Ninne made it across the room with her mother's help, still bawling as much as she was as soon as she was able to catch her breath. Knowing her daughter would have too hard a time sitting down on her tailbase voluntarily, she sat her down on the smooth, short stool mostly on her own, trying to at least be gentle. The weight going down on her tailbase, upper and lower, both pounded and blistered as badly as her mother's arm could swing, caused a bit of a roar to blare from Ninne's throat, till she lowered her head sullenly and bawled into the dim corner. Her claws were left restrained by the other cloth.. her mother figured it would help her to resist rubbing anything. Ki'rene was as exhausted as her daughter was, and needed to relax and let out her own tears by then. Saving her choked up words, since they would sound too sad to help her girl, she just patted Ninne's scaly-smooth back to let her know all was done and well. She knew it was going to be a couple hours with her snout in the corner anyway, there was no reason to again remind her. Not wishing to leave her girl's side, she grudgingly stepped her footclaws back to the sofa and laid herself down to rest and perhaps quietly cry to get her bad feelings and frustration out, while able to watch her girl and make certain she was fine in the corner. Not even caring about the thing, she even smacked the steel bristled brush off the sofa to the floor just so she could lay there. There would be time to clean up later while they spent their real time together, presents and venalark steak and all. That young penitatas was the one sunshine that entered her simple, lonely life.. Ninne just meant that much to her. One more Christmas punishment down.. Now to wait till next year.

* * * *

The air was growing heavier and colder out in the hills, as the weather declined and the leaves and grass grew more moist. It was still very dark under the dense foliage and icy fog, even as the morning sun rose to not be seen within the forest. Rocks, roots, dirt, leaves, and grass were all being shoved aside as Kayla pulled and crawled her way through the wilderness with all her remaining strength - anything to not die! Not like this, out alone in the cold! Grunting and growling from the strain and intense pain from the internal injuries she recieved, her arms worked hard to pull her through the forest with limited help from her footpaws; twitching and spazeming from delayed and unrecieved impulses from her spinal cord. The damage to her back was quickly growing worse it seemed.. she figured the bloodflow was restricted, as it was to many of her other internal organs. Her spine was also slowly dying, and so was her opportunity for any mobility. The fox's dirty fur collected each drop of dew and moisture from the bed of the forest, replacing it with a light trail of displaced leaves and droplets of blood. Each motion ripped something else on her body, from the wound on her back, to fresh new scratches caused by jagged deposits of magnedroxide cutting into her skin along her torso and limp legs. Her clothing was tearing worse then it was before from being manhandled, and she was missing her shoes, which was not helping her either. Crawling and fighting her way through the dark wilderness was the only thing such a young and desperate mind could think of doing in her condition.. if she stayed, she would have died without a fight.. and she was willing to fight! Once she had strained her way up against the wall earlier and opened the door to the shack, she did indeed fild Maxwell and Tyson's ship missing. Wasn't even one sound in the entire forest, except the sound of her efforts to find someone, or someplace.. just to get away. Kayla would clutch the dirt and pull with her might with her right paw, and use her left arm to assist, while it's paw gripped the handle of Tyson's phaser. Dragging herself through the cold was feeling so futile after such a time of trying.. she didn't even know how long she had been doing this. Out of frustration, the tired girl slammed the leaves and grass with her right fist, making no more then a sharp rustle.

"This is so pointless!.. I saw no one and nothing on the way here, where am I even going?", Kayla snapped to herself, keeping her voice low and quiet as to not waste air. Crawling slowly along had already used up all her energy and oxygen, but having only herself to talk to made it neccessary for her to speak. A child her age could not deal with being alone in such a situation.. she doesn't even like being left alone after being punished for doing something wrong. She was so confused about what she was doing, as her adult memories and thought processes conflicted with a child's brain and illogical reasoning. The charred crater in her back had to be one of the most painful things she ever had to deal with.. but her body was pumping her full of all the endorphins it could produce, and her mind was already half gone. Laying there on the ground, she laid her head down and wanted to close her eyes.. just.. so tired. Her pupils were dialating, and there was no escape from the cold flowing across the hills and rustling the trees when the wind hit. "I wonder if I never became a hacker.. what would I have been? Would I have chosen a better life?.. The karma train paid me a visit, and I guess this is what I get for being who and what I am.. ", she began mumbling, stumbling weakly over her words and gasping for air with every few words. Blood again started to leak from her muzzle from the extreme strain on such a damaged body. She could not crawl and drag herself through the woods anymore - this was it. This small patch of dead leaves and grass surrounded by trees would be where she passed away, with a total age of only fourty one years old. A pathetic lifespan this day and age. No accomplishments, aside from being the best hacker to ever live and the most dangerous criminal in decades. Nothing to be proud of, especially now that she assisted two murderous kidnappers in the most successful robberies of all time. Overcome by cold and grief, her body didn't even shiver. All was slipping away as she gave up her hopes, ready to damn herself for everything she had ever done.. every moment was always a struggle for her, and she didn't need to draw others into it any longer. They'd be free. Kayla closed her heavy eyes and felt at the ground below her right paw, to feel the face of the planet she had came to live on and terrorize. While wallowing in her impending demise, remembering her regrets, an odd sound began resonating in her one ear. A constant shrilling of something large.. from what she could tell, it had a high pitch with a lower overtone.. an engine? A hover engine? Perhaps more then one? Her eyes flung open, with the fox's head raising to disect the sounds, looking around towards the dense overlapping treetops to see if anything could be seen. With the fridgid wind and darkness, all she had was the sound.. one ship, large! But where? Pushing herself up shakily with both her arms, Kayla flicked and rotated her right ear, scanning the air. She immediately started desperately whimpering and tearing up in a panic, pivoting her ear violently in desperation. "No!", she cried out, blown apart lung or not, as tears rolled down her already moist cheeks. "I can't find it!", she exlaimed to herself hysterically, looking all around the dark, rustling treetops to find any sign of the ship she heard. Her species relied so heavily on their ears, having only one destroyed her ability to locate the source of a sound. She'd pivot both ears and triangulate a location.. but now she was as good as blind. "Please help- ", was all Kayla could scream out of her muzzle before she choked and coughed hard, dropping violently to the ground as a gush of blood flew out of her mouth from trying to yell out to the craft. Her frame shook roughly for several seconds, gurgling to try and breathe as she burried her head into the leaves and dirt. The Aspatrian's chest was ablaze with pain; mind lost in a fog as her body died away, as well as the sound she once heard as it disappeared. If she didn't die from her injuries very soon, she'd die from basic blood-loss. All she could do is lay there half unconscious, and wait for that time as a chilling rain began to fall..

* * * *

Emily sat on her sofa, eyes fixed on the pile of presents addressed to her daughter on the table. It was just customary for her to set them out for her penitatas, and gave her comfort last night.. but now, it only brought sorrow. The illusion that her daughter would be coming home for Christmas was gone - Kayla got her wish that it would never come. Her coal filled stocking hung beside the holo ever so neatly within her girl's reach, with the three switches prepared and leaned against the wall just below it. Next to it would be their tree, but she never did get the chance to get a Christmas tree and decorate it with her furry blessing. As if she would have, the way she was acting before. That was all she could think about, is if things would have been different if she didn't become so severe. She felt she should have learned from her friend, Ki'rene.. to keep that strict and severe nature where it needs to be, and ensure the rest of the time is filled with proper parenting. Emily thought she had it down, but all it took was one major wrong doing by the girl she thought was perfect in so many ways, for her attitude to turn cold. The ironic part is that she'd have to be that strict and stern mother today anyhow, denying her daughter her first meal to beat her backside as hard as she could with one of those switches.. then twice more, with corner time to follow each. A terrifying day, caused by her own hand. It was a cruel fate to want to be kind when it was expected of you to bring your penitatas such discipline. Of course Kayla deserved every lick she would have recieved today, and Emily would not have questioned the spankings of any Christmas even. This was what Kayla has to pay to get her second chance; to shed her tears for crimes of old. It was what tormented her heart, the stern nature and desire to see penitatas repent for their crimes counteracting against her other nature that wanted to be Kayla's first mother, so she could grow up well guided and taken care of. Balancing her scolds and stinging hand, with her sweet words and embraces, was becoming difficult. Having time to think about her actions over the last day gave her time to seek clarity of thought. She had questioned her parenting as to if she was at fault.. and could only decide that she was, but with stipulations. If Kayla does wrongly, she is to be punished. If she breaks laws, hacks things, and beats up her classmates, then she is to be punished severely. There was nothing wrong with her spanking, oh no.. it was what she failed to do afterwards. Tuck away the anger long enough to tuck her daughter in, and give reassuring words. She confused being strict with having a stiff face and a lack of love; something Kayla did not deserve, unlike all of the rough spankings. It was a mistake she regretted this somber Christmas morning, wondering if that error was what caused her house to be dark and quiet, without a single glimmering Christmas tree light, or even a tree at all.

"Didn't even get to decorate the tree with her.. wish I had gotten one sooner like I should have. Just had to be a bitch though", Emily griped to herself as she stared off at the presents and whippy branches intended for below her girl's tail. To see her girl's friendly smile once more.. even to see her sorrowful tears.. even if it was to give her a hug and say she was sorry, she wanted the chance.

"Kayla would get in big trouble for talking like that you know", Alex decided to interject, causing Emily's head to snap around startledly, having thought she was alone. He stood beside the stairs, resting on the wall slightly with Melissa in his arms.. making sure not to wish his wife a merry Christmas in this sort of mood. Nobody was that merry anyhow. He had awoke shortly after Emily, around eight in the morning, finding the other side of the bed empty, and Melissa tucked against his back.

"I guess you're right there", he was replied with a sigh, as Emily lowered her head with a more or less plain voice. Oddly not teary, somber, or depressed. A sound which was more choking then the sound of tears. She was so exhausted and distraught, there was nothing left for her to give emotionally. "You might be right about something else too. She could be a major criminal, and not coming home. It's just that I think.. that was not what happened. There's something wrong here, where none of us know what really occured. Either way, I have to accept that it's my fault. I was not vigilant, and she disappeared under my own watch. Today I'd be beating her butt raw..", she spoke confidently, raising her head. It was the words of a woman whom confronted themselves, and found peace in her clarity of thought. The truth, knowing her mistakes and admitting her fault, allowed her to accept what happened. The sole focus inside her mind was simply getting Kayla back, safe and sound.. not worrying about her own guilt, now that she was certain where her guilt laid.

"We, would be beating her butt raw", Alex added to her thoughts, assuring that he would have played an active role this Christmas. He didn't want to leave the rough spankings and tough calls all to his wife - it wasn't fair, even if he was a lot more squeemish about his duty. Causing harm was difficult for him, despite being good at spanking. "..She'll be back honey. Only need to wait", he attempted to reassure, but it ended up coming out awkwardly. There was not much to say. The two wanted their daughter to come home, and no matter what he told his wife, it was not making it happen any sooner. His words could only do so much, for someone obviously adamant about the care of their child, penitatas or not.

"Waiting is something I'm already tired with. I'm going to try and get in touch with Starfleet, and speak with whomever is handling Kayla's disappearance. Don't care what it takes, but I'm not going to sit here and stare at her presents!", Emily announced, with a new sort of emotion arising from the ashes. Love. She got to her feet, turning and walking quickly for the vid-phone in the wall by the dinningroom, vowing to place those presents into her daughter's paws. If she could not search for Kayla herself, she wanted answers, now!

"This is going to be a rough Christmas", Alex said to himself, as he watched Emily leave him and the livingroom to do what she felt she had to. He really wanted to see some cheer and a breakfast, but that seemed unlikely. When something caught him at the corner of his eyes, he turned his head slightly towards the window near the front door. "It's snowing..", he whispered quietly to himself, stopping for a moment to take in the sight of the small white flurries.

* * * *

Blaine Brayden grew more frustrated with his sensor sweep attempts each minute, carefully examining what he saw on his monitor to counteract the magnetism of the hills he was scanning below. It was like trying to see what was at the bottom of a murky lake; there was a layer of useless garbage in the way. Most of the time, all he was scanning was the sensor ghost of their own hopper, or the top of the thick trees they were hovering above. Ensign Macklenstein had been busy attempting to set the sensors to better scan the hill the entire first run around the wilderness area, as their hopper sped through it at a meer sixty miles per hour. That idea turned out to have little effect, concidering just how much magnedroxide was compressed and consentrated into these hills. A place perfect to act as a shield from sensors and other scanners.. making it a place they wanted to search, repeatedly.

"Sir, we have completed a sweep of the entire hill region", Blaine announced for Commander Falstaff, swiveling his chair around to face the captain's chair that was more higher elevated then he was.

"Any results at all that could be concidered a lifeform large enough to be Kayla?", the Commander asked once he turned his head from watching the rain out of the foreward viewscreen, and propped it once again with his hand below his chin. It was growing to be a sign that he was nervous and concearned. If this expedition for their master hacker failed, he would have a lot to answer for when his leads turned sour.

"No Commander.. I could not detect any lifeforms at all. There were too many sensor ghost spikes, where our image was reflected off the magnaetic fields. We penetrated the tree line many times, but there is too much interference and false readings coming from the hills. Boosting the sensor power and reconfiguring them has not had enough effect against magnedroxide deposits in such close proximity to our ship", he was forced to answer more bluntly then he would have liked. All of his attempts to scan for Kayla were futile, and she could have been within their sensor sweeps at any time and just not seen because of the magnetic fields. If at least a portion of his sweeps were worth a damn, then maybe he would have had some better news.

"Thank you for the vote of confidence in my sensor relay modifications Blaine", Stacy Macklenstein quipped over her shoulder with a tiny sigh, while still operating her sciences console to again boost the sensor accuracy. She was trying her best, but knew very well it was not helping all that much at the moment. She had access to the sensors as well, and saw the false readings for herself.

"Slow the ship to foreward thirty miles per hour, and balance the right and left hover-engines accoringly to allow us to slide smoothly. This next pass will have to be the one that counts, so the more time we spend in an area sweeping, the better off we will be. Afterwards, if we cannot locate miss Ackart, we will break off our search and return to the installation", Commander Falstaff spoke and ordered as he added his other hand below his chin. Yet another sign of his growing disappointment and anxiety, now perfectly uncertain if their thieving hacker could ever be caught, and all of the money and latinum returned to Deltastar. Blaine turned his seat back towards his console and set his station up for another round of long sensor sweeps as they picked up where they had first started scanning the first time, while Ensign Basso slowed the down significantly and set the engine outputs to where it would seem like they're gliding along smoothly. When the sensors continued to give him nonsense information and images, despite the slower speed and his concentration, it crushed the last bit of his hope that the hopper's sensors would be much of any help.

"We're going to have to come up with a new plan and hope we have time to implement it. I'm not going to see a thing down there on the surface.. ", Blaine spoke to himself, watching his screens and console even if they would not prove to be useful.

* * * *

Cold rain pelted Kayla's still body, having not been able to move very much since she found herself immobile. There was a heavy pain in her chest, feeling as if it was under a crushing pressure. Breathing took all of her strength, and she could have sworn she felt her own insides and organs failing and dying from the injuries and blood loss from her ruptured and charred arteries. The only thing she truely could not at all feel, was the rain landing hard against her phaser wound, with no nerves left within it to feel it. Inside of her dying body was a dying hope, as the small fox waited for her time to come. Red rainwater ran from her fur as the water washed the blood away, and in turn soaked her fur with it's icy chill as the storm moved down the hills to turn into Calleet's snow. Without even an expression on her muzzle, she thought about all of her regrets, and awaited her time. Now she knew how many Aspatrians on her homeworld felt as their passing drew ever so slowly near, with bodies that refused to let go even when they were mortally wounded and diseased beyond recognition from the pollution and chemicals. Those who died of starvation next to her in the alleyways, and those who died of thirst due to the cruelty of the industrial corporations.. what they must have went through. It's what made her run away and sneak on board that freighter, only to find another hard, painful life. As a kindern she did not wish to face the horrors of the death around her, but it seemed to have followed her to her new home on Earth. Kayla was terrified and feeling her being slip away from her.. the beginning of the end - the ultimate. Nothing was more powerful then the end of something. With the death of her will to live, would shortly come the ceasing of her heart. She could almost imagine it shuttering and coming to a halt.. feeling it so vividly, the fox began to think that perhaps it really was happening. Her heart was perhaps finally failing, with her battered body going numb as feeling escaped her. The poor fox's blank, teary eyes stared at the rain as it fell beside her head.. seeing how it lapped at the leaves and mud below.. how fragile life seemed to be, when there was no emergency rejuvenator nearby. She had to face the fact that it was only technology that made her immortal, and she was about to leave the world cold, wet, and all alone. Murdered.

Her regrets were already clear.. how she was never able to turn her life around to a life of good, and ended up being evil to the end. Kayla layed there in the soaking rain and fridged air, thinking about each person she hurt, and even those she had not met and had touched in some way. 'Emily - my mom. You took me in, when everyone else only knew me as a sleeze-ball hacker. As much as it hurt me, you always made your mark with that paddle of mine, teaching me right from wrong. You did your best, this wasn't your fault... and dad, Alex, your care always meant something to me too. You were not around a lot of course.. but you were the one with a smile, that didn't spank me unless you had to. The two of you together made a good home, despite how I had been feeling as of late. If only I was.. leaving the world on better terms with you mom.. that I had finally did something to make you proud of me again, and not as angry. My friends too.. Ninne, Ki'rene.. you were the two I wish I could have had all along. Ki'rene, your clarity of thought and warm wisdom.. and Ninne, your friendship. I would have never become what I am today if I had such qualities', she thought to herself as the tears left her eyes along with the rainwater, all dripping down her fur at once. Just thinking she was getting to speak with them all.. imagining their faces.. gave her a bit of peace for her final moments. They were not there in person, but they were deeply imprinted on her mind and heart - even if she did not have much of either left alive. Alive.. the thought of something being alive or not made her think of her parents. She never did get to know who they were. Being raised an orphan, fending for herself with the assistance of other homeless Aspatrians, there was not much opportunity to ask. Everyone was too busy trying to live one more day on that planet. As much as she wanted to believe there was an older, sweet Aspatrian woman with a face and personality like her.. Kayla had to admit she was more then likely dead as well. Why else would she have been orphaned? Her mind gave her the image of a skinny and ailing Aspatrian, fighting to give birth in a back alley behind a decrepid building.. she had managed to keep herself alive long enough so that her child would survive.. only to finally pass away once she had given birth. Toxins, pollutions, cancers.. all having torn her body to shreads, and only managed to keep her bony body alive with the hopes her girl would see life. The thought made the poor girl cry harder.. wondering if the name 'Kayla' really was from her own mother. Someone who kept themself alive long enough to give birth so that she'd have a life, and she threw that gift of life away! Bastardized it with her evil and twisted games with people's livelihoods. She felt her mother's sacrafices to ensure her life on Aspatria were in vain, if she had wasted it like this. Maybe.. she would get to tell her she was sorry, very soon.

"Everyone... I'm sorry... I love you.. ", Kayla attempted to say, but it came out barely audible when she could barely move her muzzle, and vibrate her vocal cord with her throat caked in blood. Deep down, she was begging anyone or anything to respond to her.. just to make it all better, and say they were there for her. But there was no sound besides the rain falling through the trees, and her own faint breathing, made difficult from her crying. That was it... the fox closed her eyes. It took a minute, but the dying girl's right ear started to raise from it's flattened out position. That engine sound again? They were back! "Wha?.. Them?.. I'm down here damn you", Kayla growled confusedly, with a lot of the sounds slipping through her teeth as her muzzle had a hard time opening. Her body was not responsive, her vision distorted, hearing useless, and her mind dying along with the rest of herself. Everything felt like there was a weight on it, even if she really did wish to run after this ship and hoped they'd find her. Mind going or not, she still remembered what Maxwell said the hills were made of, and that no one would ever find her there. The magnetism made her invisible below the thick trees. Hearing the sound grow nearer made Kayla sob desperately, needing some sort of answer of what to do.. clenching her paws and her toes in frustration, even if the toes didn't exactly move anymore. The firmness in her left paw gave her an idea, pulling the paw and it's contents towards herself. Through her eyes she could see the dark grey and black casing of the phaser she had dragged along with her, and with a shaky motion of her paw against the ground, the pressed the power-increase button again and again. The twin power output bars reached full-green, the maximum, as the sound of engines grew to be it's loudest. Taking a deep breath with her single lung, Kayla summoned the last of her strength as her heart began to give out, and her vision to blur the more effort she tried to use, and wasted more oxygen and blood. With a single, quick movement, she took her arm and flung it into the air as she rolled onto her wounded back at the same time. It was her only chance! "If I hit you, I'm sorry!", she called out, using each bit of her reserve energy as her thumb pressed into the phaser's firing button. The phaser accumulated it's particles inside of it's emitter for a full power beam, and with a flash of red and orange, fired straight into the air where the fox had it pointed, gaining distance from the power setting. The phaser blast singed and vaporized it's way clear through the dense trees, causing some leaves to fall from the air. From all the energy she had just used within her body, she had to resist coughing up more blood as it leaked down the sides of her muzzle.. even as her arm began to lose feeling, she released her thumb and pressed the button, firing all around the sky above in the hopes that her beam could be seen.. that someone would know she was there! The beam left the phaser and fired it's way through the trees where ever she could, littering the sky above with short bursts of phaser fire. The pain in her chest exploded the more she moved around, heart racing till it felt like someone slammed her chest with a sledgehammer.. and everything stopped. Her body suddenly jolted and convulsed inward on itself, with a sharp gurgle of blood leaving Kayla's mouth as the phaser slipped from her raised paw to the muddy leaves at her side.. everything seemed so slow motion and quiet now.. seeing the hazy blur of her arm falling from the air, and the rain trickling down towards her from the trees above..

* * * *

All seemed perfectly routine on board the hopper, with Blaine watching his screens and pannels. None of the two ensigns he chose to come along were making any noise, leaving only the beeps of the consoles and the drone of the engines to fill the metalic bridge of the craft. Though they were taught to expect the unexpected, even on the most routine of missions, none of them would have expected what was coming. With their sensors detecting nothing unordinary, they had no idea. Commander Falstaff had been keeping his eyes on the rain outside the craft, slouched in his commander's chair to think about the next course of action. They weren't finding anything at this rate at all. However, their target found them all on her own, without their even knowing. A sharp vibration jolted upwards through Commander Falstaff's large chair as the sound of something hitting the lower hull came up through the craft. As he quickly sat back up in his chair startled, he threw his head over his shoulder towards Ensign Macklenstein, wanting a report.

"Ensign, what is th-", was all he could get out of his mouth before he was replied with just what it was, as Stacy worked quickly at her consoles and scanners. The other two ensigns were equally baffled at the sudden bumps in what was supposed to be a smooth ride.

"Phaser fire?!", she exclaimed as a prompt warning for her commanding officer, but it sounded more like a note of total confusion and surprise if anything. Those two words were enough to make the three men cringe, with Blaine turning his own head from his console - the sensors were not providing him with any data on the matter. Commander Falstaff's face went solid, bringing out his leadership abilities automatically as soon as he heard they were in possible danger. Who the hell would fire on his hopper? When another beam hit the bottom of the ship again, he wanted to know that answer immediately.

"Shields up! Continue foreward momentum and give me a damage report on the hull!", he ordered very quickly, watching the viewscreen to see a discipating phaser beam miss the nose of the ship. None of them thought they would be attacked.. and who ever their attacker was, picked an odd place to fire on them. The thought of it being Kayla crossed their minds only briefly; they did not care whom it was.

"Damage appears to be minimal. No major systems were damaged when the lower hull was struck", Stacy answered in a more collected manner, even if her voice was still excited as she worked. A phaser blast then struck their lower shields, causing a small vibration through the ship's hull.

"The last shot to our outer plating ruptured a power junction at the base of the number two engine. The circuits have been bypassed to the secondaries - no loss of hover output", Ensign Basso called from the pit-like helm of the ship, up towards his commanding officer and crew members. Then, as suddenly as the phaser fire from below began, it seemed to have ceased as they slowly passed by it's point of origin. Commander Falstaff watched the viewscreen carefully for any more beams for only a few seconds more, till he decided they could stop the ship as it was.

"Engines, full stop. Keep at the sensor sweeping altitude Engisn Basso, the rest of us will be transporting down. I'll set the computer to re-raise the shields after we drop them for transport. Ensign Macklenstein and Brayden, get your rifles and let's go", he again barked in order, using haste in his words and movements as he got up from his chair and moved towards the rear transporter pad at the back of the bridge. Before leaving the installation, he stopped by the weapons locker and picked up three phase rifles, one for each of his landing team. The two lower ranking officers left their stations as directed, both with a knot in their stomach. No one wants to end up in a situation with many unknowns, and this situation was just like that. An armed suspect had fired at their ship, meaning they were armed, and their location was not completely known. Never knew when you yourself could be struck with a phaser beam, one which apparently had enough power to punch a hole into the base of one of their engines. Commander Falstaff entered their coordinates into a small terminal on the wall beside the small transport pad while Stacy and Blaine picked up their rifles and pulled the black strap shoulder strap onto their shoulders. They would have to go down and deal with whatever was thrown at them.

"Ready Commander", Ensign Brayden acknowledged, once his phase rifle was secure and Stacy was on the transporter pad beside him. Falstaff gave a quick nod and pressed a single button on the control pannel.

"Energizing! Be ready!", he replied as he hurried onto the pad. Ensign Brayden held his rifle poised ready in his arms, so he'd be ready to fire as soon as he materialized. The timed transport engauged, taking down the ship's shields.. the tingle and visual sensations took over Blaine's body, as he was taken apart molecule by molecule inside the transporter, feeling himself inside the matter stream. The bridge disappeared from his view as the beam took apart the last of his body, and he began to reappear on the surface, somewhere just below the ship. He looked around readily as soon as the beam materialized his entire body, and he did not have to worry about harming himself inside the transporter beam. The party's uniforms began to get wet in the freezing rain once they had each appeared, phase rifles raised with their flashlights shining off into the dark woods. Each had a look of alarm on their faces, peering around the trees nervously.. they had been fired upon by something, and visibility was much too low for comfort. All they could hear was the pitter-patter of rain on the trees above, to pitter-patter again on the leaves below, along with the sound of their hopper's engines hovering in place a few yards behind them. Even the bright blue shine of the six hover engines proved to be no assistance through trees this dense.. it was pitch black. Cold, wet, scared, and with a weapon in your hands - an inevitablily for a Starfleet officer at some point or another. Commander Falstaff slowly lifted his right arm, and made a gesture for Blaine to go right, and Stacy to go left, with simple, silent points and movements of his arm and hand. Without wasting any time to acknowlege the order, the two officers cluched their phase rifles and begun to creep around through the trees, while Falstaff attempted to continue foreward. A formation that would put someone on their attacker's flanks. It was not possible to be quiet through the rustling leaves on the bed of the forest, but they were already busy shining their flashlights around for a sign of life as it was. As he worked his way through the wet darkness, Blaine did see something odd in the light of his flashlight as he panned his rifle around. Looked a decent distance from him.. but it wasn't the color of the forest floor. He shined his rifle flashlight around to see if he could see the Commander nearby, and flashed his light to him to show he had found something. Commander Falstaff was back a few paces, but he answered with a flash of his own light. Blaine continued foreward from there, half walking and half running through the brush of the forest, only being careful enough to not trip on a thick surface deposit of magnedroxide. The object grew closer, with Blaine moving left to get between Commander Falstaff and he's paths, where it was located. Shining the light upon it.. made it not look like an object. The sight made Engisn Brayden stop in his tracks, to raise his weapon and shine his light at what was a few yards ahead.. didn't move, and it did look a lot like..

"Kayla?..", he asked himself, completely uncertain. What he saw certainly did not look like the clean, orange anthro-fox from the pictures. What ever it was, looked very distressed. With a heavy huff from his nostrils, he took off running through the leaves, making a wake of crunches and snaps from twigs as he pushed branches and brush away from his body as he ran. The man held his rifle unready with his left arm, only using it's flashlight. It was a foolish move, but it felt right. Breaking through one last branch, he arrived to find what he had saw, and knelt down very quickly to assess the situation. Just as he thought he saw.. this girl was in no condition to fight. In fact, she seemed to be in bad shape. Kayla had been laying on her back, soaked in rainwater and mud.. head tilted backwards as she laid unconscious, blood dripping precariously from her muzzle.. with her right arm out to her side, and the phaser beside her, at maximum setting. The small fox looked like hell.. but what was wrong? Blaine hurrily shove his rifle down to the ground to get it off of him, reaching for Kayla's neck to check her pulse.. there was barely anything at all, and it was erratic, skipping several beats at a time. She was dying, and was going to in a matter of only a minute or two. "Stacy! Commander! Get over here quickly!", he called out desperately, knowing she needed prompt help.. but he was not a medical officer. In fact, none of them were. 'Dammit, why the fuck didn't I choose a medical officer to accompany me?', Blaine cursed himself inside his head, lightly slapping at Kayla's right cheek to see if she'd come to. Her body was limp and lifeless, no matter how much he smacked or prodded her. It's when he noticed the wound on the back of her head though.. and her mangled, broken left ear as it hung awkwardly.. This girl was no runaway. With a quick growl he decided he could not wait for the others, and reached his arms underneath the girl to lift her from the ground and get a transport... but as soon as he reached his left hand under her back, he found the phaser wound and jumped backwards startledly onto the seat of his uniform pants. It felt fleshy and burnt, and was one of the most frightening surprises he had recieved all his life. In the glow of the flashlight coming from the ground, he could see the red blood run off his hand as it was washed away by the rain. This girl was more then just dying, it seemed like they were already too late. Just before he could fling his hand to his communicator badge, Ensign Macklenstein slid to the ground on her knees at Kayla's other side, to also check for a pulse. Only this time.. she felt nothing. The blood had stopped trickling from her muzzle, and it was slowly being removed from her fur by the rainwater.

"She's gone into cardiac arrest. We have to get her to the ship!", she said as quickly and tensely as her body could allow. She was only an ensign, a rookie science officer.. seeing a body and a dying person was not something she had become desensitized to. The urge to cry was great even for her, but she could not allow her superiors to see that. All Blaine had to hear was 'cardiac' and he had snapped back to and smacked his com-badge as hard as he could while Commander Falstaff caught up with the younger officers.

"Jason, four to beam up! Hurry!", Ensign Brayden himself ordered, concidering these were his colleagues, and he outranked them due to Commander Falstaff's orders for this mission. He quickly placed a hand on Kayla's chest, through her matted down and very dirty white shirt, to ensure she was pulled into the matter stream with them. Commander Falstaff came to a quick halt at their side and stood up straight for transport as they were all enveloped in the transporter beam and dematerialized in a blue sparkle. As soon as they arrived back on the bridge of the hopper transport, Falstaff made haste with his feet for Ensign Macklenstein's station, wet black boots clanking against the metal.

"Basso, raise the hopper to emergency vehicle altitude! Proceed to Calleet Hospital, maximum speed! Transmit a medical emergency beacon so we don't hit any other emergency vehicles, and so the hospital knows we are coming!", he gave in prompt order, working his hands across his own computer pannel to open a communications link to his installation. There was no way to get there in time to save Kayla, they needed to get her to the nearest medical center. They did not even have an emergency rejuvenator on the ship, just medical supplies. Stacy Macklenstein was busy with a med-kit as the engines roared to full, rotating the hopper and accellerating it off at it's max empty-cargo speed of four hundred miles per hour. Inertial dampers or not, the metalic interrior of the ship still shook at this speed. Blaine grasped Kayla's shirt hard at the chest and ripped it open, allowing Stacy to connect a cardiac stimulator above her heart, before placing a cordical stimulator on her forehead above her eyes and muzzle. Blaine raised his head with a worried and inquisitive look on his face towards Stacy.. she knew just what he was thinking, raising her head as well.

"This will only hold her vital signs for a short time. She's been too badly injured", she answered his expression, sounding choked up about the situation. Blaine was forced to sigh and let out a smile only a leader could force out.

"You did your best. I'll take it from here", Blaine was quick to compliment and offer the shaken officer. She bit her lip and nodded her head accordingly, before raising herself to her black shoes and heading for the front of the bridge. It was his duty to help those like her when he could.. even if he felt no better, seeing such a young penitatas bloodied and dying before his eyes. Reaching his hand under her back will be a feeling and image that will follow him through his career now. Trying to keep close to Kayla and watch her, he reached over across the transporter pad for the medical tricorder and scanner from the med-kit Stacy and pulled down. He did the only thing he could.. flip it open, and use the scanner on the fox's head and chest to monitor her vital signs. They were almost nonexistant, but the important ones were still partially functional. Her organs just had to last a bit longer till they arrived at the hospital in a couple minutes..

* * * *

"Where is she? I want to see her, now!", Emily ungraciously demanded as Alex kept his arms wrapped around her. Not to comfort her, but to keep her from knocking the nurse over to get into where Kayla had been taken inside the hospital. The desperate mother's Christmas morning phone-tag eventually got the news relayed to her that her daughter had finally been found, and had been taken to the Calleet Medical Center - their hospital. Not long ago they were here for Ki'rene, and now Kayla was even worse off. They arrived not all too long after Kayla; roughly fourty minutes. The hopper she arrived in was still hovering in place at the back of the facility, with the Starfleet officers staying to question and protect the small fox. They could do neither though, as the doctors were still working to try and save her life. When she first arrived, even an emergency rejuvenation was too dangerous with her flatlining. You could not rejuve the dead afterall.

"I'm sorry miss Targate, but Kayla is undergoing major surgery!", the nurse told her for the third time, holding her hands nervously together as she stood in front of Emily to bar her passage. Emily gripped her husband's arms, teeth clenched as she tried to squirm and pry his hands from around her belly. This whole ordeal was painful enough, she didn't even know what was going on with her girl, and she was so close by.

"Nurse?", came a voice from the push door at the nurse's side, as someone pushed it open and poked their head out from around the side of the door to look at what was going on. It was very obviously a doctor, in full gown, as he stepped through the door and let it swing closed behind himself. "I can help her here. Go in and get prepped, the other surgeons might need you to help with some of the reconstruction. All the hands we can get is a plus", he calmly explained to the nervous woman, whom replied with a nod and stepped through the swing door she was guarding. As soon as he turned towards Emily, she froze.. seeing all the blood on his gloved hands. Kayla's blood? No..

"Where is Kayla? Please tell me what happened.. ", Emily spoke slowly and deeply tearily, going limp in Alex's hold on her. Her voice was filled with worry and fear, pleading to know what happened to her girl. Alex gulped down his own insecurities, releasing his hold on his wife, since she seemed to have stopped struggling and trying to get into the operating room Kayla was occupying. The doctor took a quick deep breath, still seeming oddly calm and alright with even this situation in his expressions and body language. It came with the line of work.

"We're having difficulty saving her at the moment, and we still have an emergency rejuvenator on standby if there ends up being no way to repair such extensive damage to her body. When she was last here a year ago, the problem was an anurism caused by too much blood pressure and tightening blood vessels.. quite frankly, an easy fix. This time around, we are forced to deal with her Aspatrian physiology, and it's differences from our own. Your penitatas daughter has suffered a close range phaser wound that would have been instantly fatal for a human her age, one blunt force trauma wound to the back of the head, and another to the left side of her head. Your daughter's left ear-drum and delicate inner ear bones shattered, and the cartilage of the ear has been broken apart - leaving her partially deaf. Her spinal cord is damaged and suffering blood loss, and she is currently paralized completely below the waist. Her internal organs have all failed at least in some way, and her left lung has sufferd extreme damage. As it stands, Kayla has had multiple heart attacks from her injuries, with almost no blood left in her body. We're still synthesizing blood for her, and pumping it in as quickly as we can make compatible Aspatrian blood. It's very difficult since they are not a common species on Earth, and we're not familiar with their insides. However, we are still trying our best for you and her both.. so she does not have to prolong her sentence by becoming a medicalos. There are three other surgeons and soon to be three nurses working on Kayla right now, and she's stable. Her heart is now operating as intended, we repaired blood vessels and trauma first. Her spine is what we're doing now, using a neural pathway generator to re-connect severed nerve connections, while we find solutions to some of the other internal organs that do not function exactly like a human's, and how to repair her lung. It's going to take a few more hours to make sure she's all set on the inside, but we're doing our best. I can promise you that. Kayla is not going anywhere, and you'll be able to see her whenever she wakes up later today", the doctor explained as simply as he could for the two non-medically-able parents. Calm or not, he was sorry this could not go any quicker. There was just too many things wrong with his patient, thanks to complications from her phaser injury. Emily was too choked up and shocked about what had actually happened to her daughter to say anything. Her eyes were watery and glazed over, with her mind seeming to be elsewhere.

"Thank you sir. We'll wait. Good luck", Alex spoke very quietly, almost like a whisper as he pulled Emily into more of an embrace.. now, he was holding her for comfort, and not restraint. The doctor smiled slightly and gave them a wave from his bloody hand, turning and heading back through the door that he emerged from. Right inside was a small archway that blasted him from all sides with a tingling sensation, sanitazing him instantly. As soon as the doorway in front of him was certain of his cleanliness, it opened and allowed him through into the large, dark single operating room. The doctor walked towards the only source of light in the room above a large table, where his patient continued to lay motionless as she was operated on by the other three surgeons. When noninvasive surgery was extremely prevailant, it was out of the ordinary for him to see such a young patient cut open as if this was a butcher's shop of old. Cut open along the spinal section to have her spine repaired, while the other surgeon painstakingly worked inside the opened crater of Kayla's phaser wound, attempting to solve the issue of her partially destroyed lung. Only thing that kept her lifesigns stable were stimulators and a pure-oxygen ventalator, as synthetic Aspatrian blood was pumped into her body through a tube in her right arm. Nude and clean, aside from blood released during her operations, she was still out cold.

"What is our patient's status?", he asked his fellows once his cloth mask was back over his mouth, taking a dermal regenerator into his right hand.

"I have the cranial swelling under control from her blunt force trauma. Nurse Teia, I need her skin closed up at rupture at the back of her head. Don't need her bleeding out the blood we're trying to keep in", the older of the doctors answered first, as he scanned the status of Kayla's brain activity with a medical tricorder. The second doctor at his side made a grunt, as he continued his own work inside Kayla's back and chest cavity with a cutting laser and sealer. The other doctors simply continued working on what they had been, trying to repair whatever biological damage they could locate, in order to save their patient's life. The fox was not making things easy with her anatomy, or body that was quite ready to give out.

"I wish I had much of a status to give you at all Doctor Wyatt. This girl's lung is fused in it's current position, it will go to pieces if I continue to cut into it. There is also this.. green thing I see down here, below the wound. Don't even know what the hell that is", the much younger doctor repied nonchalantly, sticking his finger into the hole in Kayla's back to point down at the organ, and some areas of concearn involving her lung. Just a whole mess of pinks and reds, with black areas of dead flesh and burns.

"Does it look damaged?", Doctor Wyatt asked in a curiously amused manner, using his dermal regenerator on the incision that exposed Kayla's spine, in the areas that had been repaired already by the third doctor. That one was running a complex device with a cylindrical emitter on a metal arm over her back. Every so often the emitter would shine a shade of blue, or rapidly flash white as he worked through a virtual reality interface over his eyes and hands to preform micro-surgery on the damaged nerves throughout her back and spineal section. Normally they would not have to cut their patient open and expose the spine, but Kayla's fur was confusing the device.. and there was no room for a possible error when it came to something so vital.

"Well, no, not really", the other doctor hummed and pondered curiously, sticking his head close to the wound to be able to see into her lower chest cavity more clearly, moving some skin with his forefinger. The wet flesh caused some nearby charred fur to stick to it.

"Then leave it alone. You know what they say, don't fix what isn't broken. Assist Doctor Kotomari with the nervous system repairs and stabilization. I'm still seeing a degraded response from the left side of her body, even though the spinal connection to her lower areas has been re-established", he instructed the young doctor, tapping on a vital sign and bioscan data monitor at the side of Kayla's bed, to show what areas of nerve damage he was referring to. It was taking time, but it was working. "As for me, I'll see what I can do about her lung. The phaser damage and burns should be a lot easier to handle if I could at least get her breathing on her own. Her metabolism would assist the regenerators in putting her skin back together", Wyatt commented, taking the cutting laser and sealer into his right hand, and a bio-comminutor into his left. He had a lung to disassemble and regenerate. His eyes looked down lower then the wound he was about to operate in.. looking at the small, orange paw of his patient. Sitting the cutter-sealer down upon the table, he placed his hand on top of the furred paw, and looked up at the lifeless muzzle and face of the penitatas they called 'Packet-Storm'. All he could see was a little girl that looked like she did a lot of smiling.. rubbing the paw lightly with his fingers and thumb. She had a family she needed to go home to. He wanted to make sure she got there.

* * * *

After a couple hours, Emily had the delightful news of finally getting to see her daughter. Kayla was not yet awake, but done with her surgeries. Her internal damages had been repaired, as well as her ear when all four doctors were able to work on it together to fix the delicate bones and cartilage. As far as they knew, all was fixed and she was on the road to recovery, even if the road wasn't entirely short. Kayla's body would not be the same to her for a while during the healing process. The two scared, yet thankful parents were lead to a patient room a few floors up by one of the other nurses that had tended to their daughter. Knowing Kayla was alright put them at ease, even if the cause of all her injuries was still partly a mystery. Needless to say, she did not beat and shoot herself. When they reached the room, the pneumatic door was already opened for them.. walking in quietly to lay their eyes on Kayla once more. Now they truely could be at rest, seeing the furry fox laying restfully on the hospital bed, looking much better then what the doctor described to them earlier. All that covered her body was a blue blanket to keep her warm. A pannel on the wall let out a short beep, as it checked on one of Kayla's bodily functions, and monitored her heart and other activities with rows of graphs and oscilliscopes. All that was left attached to the young girl was a small grey device upon her temple.. what it did, they didn't have much of an idea. They were just glad they did not get to see her when she was bloody and so badly wounded apparently.. would not be enough buckets to hold the vommit and tears. The thought of Kayla so mangled was nauseating and sickening.

"Kayla honey, we're here now. Please, wake up?", Emily spoke tenderly and softly as she sat down in the chair beside her girl's bed, taking her paw and holding it between her hands as tears welled in her eyes. The fur of her paw.. the little black claws.. it all felt so warm. It did not take much time without her for Emily to realise how much she cared about Kayla. This feeling was one she missed dearly, looking into the still face of her daughter. As she started to pet and rub her paw, the mother noticed a certain twich in the whiskers on Kayla's muzzle. Though, in a burst that broke the silence in the room violently, the fox's body lurched foreward in a wretching cough, trembling as she pulled her other arm from the covers to clutch her aching chest. It sounded as if she was trying to cough up blood, but in actuality, there was none left. She had been out for hours. Emily nearly bolted from the seat, holding Kayla's paw tightly with one hand, to use the other on her girl's chest to push her gently back down onto the bed. "Hold still! You're alright!", she was quick to re-assure, parental instincts kicking in promptly to make sure the fox did not hurt herself. The nurse that accompanied them rushed to Emily's side and leaned over the guard-railing of the child sized hospital bed, using a hypospray into her neck once Emily had her head back down on the pillow. Kayla growled and whimpered pitifully in sputters, eyes tearing up from an intense pain that enveloped her chest.. till the painkillers sunk in, and she started to untense her body, panting and making strange noises from her ordeal. As far as she knew, she was supposed to be dead in the middle of a forest, and the next person she was suppsed to see was her real mother.

"I'll go get the head doctor", the nurse said to them both before hurrying out of the room with her empty hypospray. The doctor wanted to be notified as soon as she woke, so she ran to ensure he got there as quickly as he cold.

"Kayla?..", the mother tried once again, taking her hand and using it to turn her girl's muzzle towards her. She just wanted to hear one word.. anything! As Kayla's panting slowed upon her vision un-bluring and seeing her mother huddled over her.. she could not speak. The young fox broke out into tears, sobbing and crying out of the shock of just being alive to see her family again. The ultimate horror would not befall her today. Alex knelt down at Emily's side as she reached down and held Kayla closely, trying hard not to move her too much. She knew her daughter felt better when she cried into her chest while being held, so she held her and let her do just that.. besides, she too wanted to weep, while over her girl's shoulders. Alex simply beamed a smile, placing his hand on Kayla's thigh through her blanket, giving it a caring pat.. even if he wanted to cry just as badly as the other two. Figured one had to be strong during this, even if the thoughts of her injuries haunted his mind. He admired and loved Kayla, and knew her terrible past life.. it was not fair to be maimed so indiscriminately. To spill such a sweet girl's blood was unthinkable.

"I had convinced myself I'd never see you guys again!.. Tha-.. That I was good as dead! What happened?!", Kayla cried out with difficulty, feeling a tight sensation in her chest. Though.. it felt like she had two lungs once again. Painful or not, that throbbing lung felt good to her as she sobbed.

"I was going to ask you that!", Emily exclaimed in return, having still not known what happened to her daughter. How she ended up in such a horrible condition, and disappeared from their home. "Starfleet officers found you and took you here in a transport ship. You have been on an operating table for hours, they had to butcher you to fix everything that was wrong", she tried to answer, despite the teariness. There was no rush to know how Kayla got into her condition, there was plenty of time for that. Her only duty was to wipe the fear from her young girl's mind, and it was working, with Kayla's tears slowing.

"Butcher is such a harsh word. I prefer to call it controled mutilation. How is my little patient feeling?", Doctor Wyatt entered with the carefree and humorous nature of a long-standing doctor, stepping towards the bed with a large medical datapad in his right hand. Emily sat back into her chair so the doctor could have his room, even if she still took Kayla's paw to hold again.

"In semi-tolerable pain.. didn't feel this bad even when I was laying face down in a puddle of mud with a hole in my back", she sniffled and choked out as she tried to stop crying so she could speak with the man. There was so little energy in her body, she felt like sleeping another several hours already from just crying half a minute.

"That was before we were ungracious enough to piece back together your nervous system. Now your nerves' complaints are actually reaching your brain. The device on your right temple there will help your head manage all of the signals - it was too much for your damaged synaptics once we brought your spine back to working order. It will buffer the sensations for you, to make them manageable so you do not pass out from the signals confusing your brain anymore", he replied as if it was everyday material as he tapped at a few keys on his datapad, kneeling down at Kayla's side to check on her and her vital signs on the wall.

"What about everything they did to me?", Kayla then asked as she wiped her eyes and her nose, even checking her paw to make certain to herself nothing was bleeding.

"They?..", Emily let out inquisitively, even if she did not mean to interrupt. So something horrible did happen to her daughter..

"Your injuries? You will be alright, but your body has a lot of natural healing to do. I'll be accelerating it, but it will still be difficult. Your body will be using all of it's energy to work on all the areas we operated on, completing the repairs needed. The damage to your spinal cord will also require your brain to get used to the signals again, so just watch your step when you walk for the next day or two. The other aches and pains will take a week or more.. we did extensive operating inside your chest. However, you're still completely biological, no implants were required. It was like adding more stuffing to the teddy-bear with a hole in it, except we just regenerated the stuffing you already had. Even your blood is a replicated synthetic - there is not much of the real deal inside of you right now, till your body can produce more. Your ear was also tricky work, we had to do all the work manually since there is no record of an Aspatrian ear reconstruction on record here on Earth. You have lots of little bones in there, about nine. Go on, move your ear", the doctor went on to explain further, as he was asked. He did notice Kayla's not moving her left ear, and decided to add an encouraging word. Kayla lifted up her head a bit more, and though she was scared it might hurt, she pivoted her left ear.. bringing it into normal conjunction with her right when she realised it did not hurt. Boy was it good to hear like a normal Aspatrian again. Kayla let out a big smile upon her muzzle, even if her face looked tired and worn at the moment, with her eyes watery.

"Thank you for all the work you did.. ", she was certain to thank, wishing she wasn't laying on her tail. She wanted very much to swish it around and wag it happily, just to feel free. The fox lifted her left paw and brought it close to her muzzle, where she could see through the fur a little easier. Her silver, filled in 'P' was right where she left it. No 'M' today. "And you did it without rejuvenating me. Now that's good work, concidering I was supposed to be dead", Kayla decided to joke back to the doctor, since he seemed like the one that would appreciate a lighthearted compliment.

"Supposed to be, should be - the natural probability of things will just have to wait their turn. I got to you first, so I won fair and square!", Doctor Wyatt softly chuckled, reaching up and giving the fox's headfur a quick ruffle. "There's some Starfleet folks that want to have a tea break with you. Either that or they want to interrogate you. I have not yet told them you are out of surgery, and I plan to keep it that way for a short while longer if I have a say in it. And I do!", he continued to speak in his perky demeanor, climbing to his feet. "I'll let you see your family and rest till they show up", he said as he hit a few last keys on his datapad, and using it to wave to his patient.

"Bye doctor!", came out of Kayla's muzzle as friendly and warm as she would always speak. Music to Emily's ears, by every means. There was still the matter of.. the hacking though. She had to deal with that, and find out what happened out there. The room seemed all too quiet as the doctor left, and Emily held her head low, trying to think of how to ask what she wanted to.

"Kayla, I need you to tell me what happened to you. Did you really want to get away from me? Ninne told me all about how cornered you felt.. with how I was treating you", Emily asked to know, with difficulty. Alex stood up from where he had knelt before, to excuse himself if need be. His wife was adamant when it came to setting things straight with Kayla, and he wanted to give the two that chance. He just wanted to hear what happened to his girl as well. Kayla sank the back of her head into her pillow, looking up towards the ceiling at the thought of trying to explain all her horrors in a nutshell.. plus she was not at all happy to hear that Ninne started leaking her personal secrets. That was information shared in confidence. Penitatas confidence, from one to another.

"No mom, I'd never do that.. ", she spoke very softly, very hurt that Ninne would have said such a thing. True or not, she did not want to hurt her mother's feelings like that. It made her feel terrible - more so then she already felt. "I'm sorry you heard about that. Yeah, I was rather down and unsure of what to do in terms of avoiding being roughly spanked. You had gotten so strict with me, and seemed angry a lot with me. I mouthed off too much for my own good though. Not supposed to poke the bear. If I really was being bad I guess I have no one to blame but myself. I missed you mom!", Kayla made certain to clarify first, scared of what her mother might thought. Even if she had not heard the words 'furry blessing' in a long time, and spent each day being spanked without being consoled.. she missed her mom, so much. Owed too much to her. Hearing her daughter say that put so much in Emily's heart to rest. She squeezed Kayla's paw affectionately, lifting it as she tried not to cry again, even if her voice remained teary as ever.

"I have to punish you when you're bad, but I caused you to be bad some of those times by being cold. You're my daughter, and I didn't care for you properly because I was too angry about how you did all that hacking and going after Ashley. Felt bad you were so actively defying me, it wasn't like you and it just made me want to punish you. But.. I made things too hard on you, it's no wonder you had grown so frustrated with me. I'm sorry.. you're still my furry blessing, and you always will be! I'll keep myself in better check, so I preform both my duties.. not only correcting your behavior. You deserve every spanking you get Kayla, always.. but you'll have me there to help make things better. I don't abandon you emotionally like that again. I will take care of you right, and make sure you get only what you deserve", Emily herself also had to assure her furry daughter.. they both had things to admit and tell one another. They loved eachother too much to do that to themselves. The mother just wish she knew how she slipped into such a downward spiral when it came to her care.. Kayla was her life. Teaching the little fox right from wrong with the firmest of hands, and showing her what it's like to have a parent, with the gentlest of hands. Working using the two extremes at once was amasingly hard.

"I'll try not to disappoint you like I did again.. I just tried to do my best.. ", Kayla said somewhat sadly, turning her head back towards her mother's. Without a sound, a pair of tears left her eyes - she could not help it. She did not want to disappoint her mother, meanwhile she had to admit to the crimes she just again committed. The fox was a penitatas for a reason afterall; her 'best' when it came to judgement was not always that sound. Fighting for her friend seemed great at the time, and she did end up bearing some great fruit from her investigation.. but that did not make it legal, or moral. Her mother paddled that hard enough under her tail.

"I know sweetie, I do. There were just times that I lost it, and the more I punished you the more I grew away from what I was supposed to be doing. Confused being strict with not telling you that I loved you, and not taking good care of you. You'll be punished just as hard and strictly, I can assure.. but you'll get the breaks that you earn yourself, and the warmth a growing girl needs. Promise!", Emily reiterated clearly, so Kayla knew that she really did understand her plight. She knew Kayla tried her best, and that was what made her a great daughter.

"But what happened? Who did this to you? Were you the one who robbed Deltastar, like the news said?..", Alex broke into their conversation to ask, not able to wait any longer to know. The truth had to be told, and Kayla had it. The fox looked suddenly saddened deeper by being asked so bluntly, but she had a feeling it was coming. It could not be avoided.

"Yes. It was", Kayla said with a pause and a gulp, feeling all too vulnerable with admission of guilt. She was not about to pause again though, to ensure neither of her parents would smack her before she told her story. "I was kidnapped to do just that. These two sick, pathetic men named Maxwell and Tyson.. they had long planned to do it. Tyson hit me in the back of the head to knock me out and transport to their waiting ship when no one was looking out front of our house.. nearly killed me. They took me to an area of nothing but hills, full of this stuff called magnedroxide so no one would find me. Forced me to hack into Deltastar by threatening to kill me.. I.. was just very frightened, and didn't want them to hurt you guys either. They said they'd kill you all too. If I wanted to come home I had no choice.. ", the poor fox whimpered very tearily, sputtering and sobbing lightly as it looked like she was fighting it immensely. Strong girl or not, it was still horrific. "They tried to manipulate and hurt me.. and forced me to break into Starfleet Headquarters again, to try and steal valueable files. I failed, and I was shot with a phaser in the back and left for dead. I had no choice!", she cried, ever so ashamed of what she did, and the people she hurt. Emily and Alex were choked up, not certain of what to say.. she committed the worst crimes imaginable, but it was to save her life. They always say to comply with kidnappers, but what she did sat awkwardly in their stomachs.

"We'll take this one step at a time, don't you worry. No one is going to arrest you without going through us first. Your mom and I will go and find the Starfleet officers so you can tell them what happened, and the money can be recovered", Alex was actually quick to reply, even if he was very baffled as to how to feel about the situation. He made a bit of a hand motion to his wife, that suggested they needed to go, right then. Emily bit her lip for a moment, standing up and still holding her girl's paw.

"I understand Kayla. You did what you had to do.. even if a lot of money was stolen, you did just as you were taught to do. No money is worth your life! Think about it sweetie.. cause I know it's hurting you. I don't damn you for this, and I never will", Emily said slowly and melancholy, looking straight down into Kayla's foxy eyes to show her she meant it. Kayla sniffed through her black nose, finding herself only able to lightly nod. She was too uncertain of herself to do otherwise. Emily reluctantly released Kayla's paw, so that she could rest. "After your dad and I find the Starfleet officers, I'm going to make a call to the Corrections Council. See if I can't get rid of your Christmas punishment. I knew this whole thing was fishy, when Ninne showed me your personal folder and I read the things you wrote..", she then tried to say more quickly, as Alex continued to beckon her towards the door so they could get the Starfleet officers. Time meant the people who did this to Kayla were slipping farther away. Kayla laid there in her teary silence, watching as her parents rushed from the room. There was a lump in the fox's chest, and she could not tell if it was from the guilt and crying or from the surgery she apparently had. Having to tell her parents what she did was heartbreaking. It was hard enough fighting her own thoughts on the matter, but now she had to worry about everyone else's too. Now she was some sort of super criminal.. oh the blisters this would bring her. Hearing all the secrets Ninne leaked during her ordeal was also very disheartening. Unlike what she had first told her mother, releasing the location of her folder made Ninne brake a confidence stronger then what penitatas tell one another in confidence. It was the confidence between friends. That folder contained her most deepest thoughts, like a diary of her life and things that she wanted to keep private - for herself only. Certainly miffed her, if anything, as well as added to her feeling of awkwardness. She had to worry about being judicially paddled now by a judge, and the disappointment of her parents and friends about Deltastar. They didn't even seem to know about Starfleet, so perhaps that had not leaked out yet. All she could do was lay there with a worried expression on her face, and stare off at the white ceiling once again..

"Miss Ackart?", came a call from her doorway, as someone knocked on the door-frame. Kayla made a quiet 'hmm?' to herself, turning her head back over to see whom her visitor was, being that the voice was entirely unfamiliar. It was a young man in a full Starfleet uniform.. and though he was smiling, Kayla had little welcome for the man. She turned her head back over and whimpered a bit, feeling the urge to cry returning to her chest and eyes.

"Come to arrest me officer?", she asked as soon as she was not looking at him, and could not see his actions. After her ordeal, Kayla wasn't much in the mood to see a pair of wrist-cuffs or a phaser. The man must have understood her worries, so he approached the bed very slowly as he continued speaking, going no further then a couple paces away from the bed to allow her space.

"No, I haven't. I've come to see how you were doing for myself, and to ask you some questions about today", he asked as carefully as he possibly could, to make certain there was no room for possible hostility in his voice, or anything that would further scare the girl. Kayla, though lightly trembling under the blanket, rolled her head back over to look at the man. She had to comply, or face even worse charges or beatings, she figured. The man placed his right hand unthreateningly upon his chest as he started to speak again. "I am..", was all he could get out, before Kayla noticed an oddly proud smirk come across the man's face, "..Lieutenant Blaine Brayden - Starfleet operations installation number eighty eight", he had spoke as proudly as he smirked. While waiting, he finally recieved his promotion with commendations for his superior actions throughout the investigation. Now there was a Christmas present he could enjoy.

"And I'm the miscreant penitatas that dampened your holidays. I'm sure you've heard my name enough, so I'll spare you it. Just don't forget I was physically forced to do what I did, before you give me a mountain of charges. A hill of charges will suffice to punish me", Kayla sighed in relent, only trying to humor herself while she delt with what would most likely be an announcement of her charges. The that'll be coming from her backside when this is all over with a judge will be able to boil water.. so she could not help but be a smartass. She was just lucky Emily was not in the room to hear her speaking that way to a Starfleet officer.

"True, doing this at Christmas time was rough, but it's not your fault. I had a quick word with your parents already, and that tidbit of information you just gave me corresponds to what they said, as well as our own forensics team. Maxwell and Tyson are now the real owners of the number one 'most wanted' slot. We found the shack too Kayla. There isn't much we don't know at this point; the pieces have fallen together", Blaine answered honestly, but he knew honesty was the best policy in this situation. Kayla was too unoptimistic to be delt with totaly rationally - she needed to be shown he was not hostile and was trustable. Only way to do that was with.. well, honesty!

"Then what do you need to ask me?.. ", the fox was forced to ask, since they seemed to get the picture rather well. The man didn't seem like he was ready to arrest her at this point.

"Why did you fire at our ship that that phaser, and why did you do such a good job covering your hacking trail for those two criminals?", Blaine finally asked, not skipping around the point. Kayla toyed with the blanket in her right paw, just watching and feeling it while she thought of what to say.

"I fired that phaser in hopes you would see the beam. Without my left ear, I couldn't use sound to locate your direction.. so I fired blindly. I'm sorry about that, but it was the only way for me to try and contact you before I died. And.. I could not fail in my hacking mission by leaving behind a trail. They were logging me and watching me work.. if I did less then the whole job, I and my family would not have survived", she answered in the simplest manner possible, trying to take her mother's advice and not worry so much about it. It made her want to feel more guilty, even with all her work to keep such feelings away. Blaine hummed to himself, taking a few steps closer to Kayla's beside, to rest his hand on it's guard-rail.

"As of current, we have no reason to doubt you. There are going to be no charges placed against you, because your actions were clearly against your will. We found your blood all over that shack, spatters even. Most importantly, your blood was found on the computer console, where your muzzle there must have smacked one of the screens after you were hit with that phaser discharge. We also found indentations where their ship had landed, and residual particle resonance patterns in the magnedroxide mineral below the ship.. we have their ship's warp signature, to track them. The Federation starship U.S.S Rhode is following the trail", the lieutenant spoke much more positively, enjoying the fact he could give the poor girl some good news. Sorrow had hit him pretty hard when he found out the girl he had carried into the hospital in his arms was a victim.

"I.. wow.. thank you sir!", Kayla found enough energy to exclaim, even if it made it feel like her chest was tightening on her. That was at least one less worry. "Thank you for everything.. for you guys saving my life, when I thought it was over", she felt it proper to say, since they were the ones who found her. Even if they were looking for someone to charge, they at least found their woman. Blaine smiled and gave the girl a modest nod, knowing inside that it was he himself that found her first.

"My mission was to find and capture one Kayla Ackart, and I think my job is done. Good luck Kayla. Have a good life, maybe I'll see you again someday when you're bigger", he warmly wished, knowing a penitatas' life must be tough. She could use all the encouragement and good wishes she could get.

"Maybe lieutenant", Kayla replied as kindly as she could, making certain to call him by his rank. Her alien senses were able to pick up on the fact that he recieved a promotion because of her.. and she felt good for him! The two raised a hand and paw in goodbye, and he stepped out of the room.. but Kayla heard something along the lines of an, 'Oof! Excuse me!', come from the hallway. That's when another familiar faced popped out from around the corner of her doorframe.

"I see you're doing a lot better then what I heard you were doing.. ", Ninne said before she walked her claws across the cool, white floor. Her face looked a bit down, and Kayla could pick up a hint of discomfort in the way she was walking. It was rather clear that Ninne had already recieved her 'Merry Christmas'. The drake had quite the hard time putting her pants and panties on over her tailbase and hips, with all the rubbing against her scales the garments did as she walked or moved. Going out was one of the last things she wanted to do only an hour after getting out of the corner, but when Ki'rene saw the breaking news report that the 'notorious hacker had been captured and taken to Callet Medical Center', they were scrambling to get to Emily, Alex, and the wounded fox. Kayla kept her small, tired smile, happy to see another person she had missed while captured.

"Hiya Ninne! Guess you saw my parents downstairs? Where's Ki'rene?", Kayla asked almost in an excited way, happy to see her whole family coming close together and welcoming her back. Had been too long she was away with those scumbags. Ninne made an odd huff through her nostrils as she stepped closer to the fox's bedside, stopping right beside it, against the small guard-rail.

"Downstairs still, I came up alone. I just want to know why you did it Kayla... why you helped people like that. You should have told them to screw themselves!", Ninne was prompt in demanding to know, making a harsh snap out of it. She took her claw and balled it into a fist, swinging it down into the top of Kayla's paw. Concidering most of her body was in pain already, the elevated jolt from the smack and press into her paw made her yelp and want to back away.. if only she could really move in her bed, she knew she would not have been allowed. She was shocked at the look on Ninne's snout; one of anger. Ninne left her raptorish knuckles pressing harshly into the top of Kayla's paw, making certain it was hard.

"Ow!.. What the hell Ninne?! I tried to fight back! Why are you blaming this all on me when I tried my best? I did all I could do, or I and everyone I loved would have died!", Kayla tried to defend herself, speaking shakily out of shock and the sharp pain in her paw. Ninne would actually hurt her over this? Ninne growled out angrily through her sharp teeth, lowering her neck to put her nose very close to Kayla's own.

"You don't get it do you? We all cared about you, and you turned your backs on us with what you did! You promised to never hack anything again, and you go and preform the largest bank robbery in history? Then hack Starfleet yet again from what I hear? Didn't get enough the first time, did you? Do you want a fucking medal for being the most persistant hacker in Alpha quadrant history?", Ninne hissed out into Kayla's face, looking like she was releasing some pent up anger she wasn't able to get out before this moment. The drake had been stewing in this mess of rage ever since she heard of Deltastar being broken into and completely disabled. Kayla whimpered out in desperation, trying to pull her paw out from Ninne's crushing press from her knuckles into the topside of her paw, pressing it hard into the thin bed.

"That isn't fair! I didn't have a choice with what I did, I didn't want to do any of those things! There was no back turned on you, I swear!", Kayla had to try hard and get out, clenching her teeth from the pain in her trapped paw. "Come on, let me go, that hurts!", she whined out with a bit of her own demanding hostility, growing insulted from what she was being accused of.

"Is that right? You told me Packet-Storm was no more! You completed your hacks on Deltastar and Starfleet so nicely. You didn't even try to foil their plans! So selfish, not even trying to risk anything at all to stop what was going on! You helped them! We all rely on you to keep your word, and you went back to being a goddamn criminal! Did you have fun setting up all those bounces and relays that would stop your captors from ever being caught? Get into the rush? You idiot!", Ninne spat at Kayla, with bits of saliva landing in the fox's muzzle and cheek fur. Each little spot left a light, burning sting from the irritant in Drakonian saliva. By now Kayla was raising her own nose closer to Ninne's returning her own, fox-like growl and teeth baring, as both species were very capable of it. Kayla used her free left paw to reach up and push against Ninne's right shoulder, trying to force her off her paw which was starting to really hurt.

"You try to save your own fucking life in that situation! Show me you would have done any different in my shoes! It's just money and latinum, why the hell do you care?! They are going to be caught anyway!", Kayla yelled right back, trying to ignore the pain in her paw. Ninne let out a very aggressive growl, suddenly pressing her knuckles in a lot harder into the back of Kayla's paw. It was enough to make her want to cry, squirming and trying to force herself free as the bones in her paw felt like they wanted to buckle.

"Why do I care! You really don't give a shit about what you did, do you? All of us huddled around your holo with everyone in disbelief, your mom crying, and all the while knowing you were the son-of-a-bitch that shut down the entire interplanetary market! You haven't learned a thing from being a penitatas, and you sure as hell did turn your backs on us with what you did! You hacked again, and did it so perfectly the two crooks got away! I heard all about the damned warp signature. Know what I heard as I came up here? Some Falstaff guy was told the ship they sent after them lost the trail! There's nothing left of it, they're gone and they can't catch them now with no leads! You let them get away! It's all your fault!", Ninne tried to yell back harder, wishing she could do more then just drill her knuckles into the fox's paw. She wanted to sock her clear across the muzzle and give her another reason for being in the hospital. Kayla was fighting by now to get Ninne off of her, pushing as much as her injured body would allow.

"Don't give me all this morality shit when you broke your own words asshole! Giving my mom my folder, and telling her about what I told you? You can't keep a damned secret, and you're damming me for saving my life and even your's! Get real! The first time you see me still alive, you don't even back me up!", Kayla continued in the back and forth retaliation, even if she wanted to cry from the pain and strain on her entire body trying to get someone Ninne's size off of her paw. All she wanted was to be with her family, Ninne included. What the hell was with this? This was atrocious! The poor fox's feelings were falling apart right out from under her at such a terrible treatment from someone she could not wait to see.

"Well hey, I guess I did what I had to! Doesn't sound like a great excuse for everything, does it? I couldn't tell the cops nothing, and your mom needed whatever the hell you kept in that stupid folder! Penitatas don't get privacy, get used to it miss priss! Thinking you're better then everyone and can get away with everything!", Ninne huffed and shouted harshly, before finally releasing Kayla's paw and walking towards the door with her claws clenched and her breathing heavy. Kayla winced and grasped her paw to rub it as soon as she could, curling up slightly from the pain of using so much energy. After a second she raised her head and watery eyes to the drake walking away from her, growling sadly.

"Some friend you are Ninne!..", Kayla harshly commented, feeling like she herself was betrayed by such an action. Ki'rene took her here for a reason, and Kayla bet that was not what she had in mind! There was nothing she could do to defend herself.. and her mind felt even worse then it did before. Ninne stopped dead in her tracks by the door, swinging her neck around to look straight at Kayla with the deepest, most damming look the fox had ever seen from her. So serious, with her teeth just barely showing, and her eye ridges scruched.

"I'm not your friend!", Ninne spit in one single snap, turning her head and walking out of the room to smack the control pannel beside the door and actually close it behind herself, to leave Kayla perfectly alone. The fox's heart was crushed, more so when it was damaged by a phaser beam. She just laid there with her head up and jaw slightly lowered, eyes tearing. If she had ever recieved a more unfair judgement and set of words, it was now. Being accused of such terrible things, when there was nothing else she could have done! But Maxwell and Tyson did get away?.. No.. They were ruthless criminals, their place was in the corrections system with a black 'P' on their hands! This wasn't how it was supposed to be, they weren't supposed to get away! All that money and latinum gone, and her justice along with it.. because of her? What if she did those hacks differently and made one miniscule error? Would things be different? Would she be dead, or a hero? Cause right now she was neither. She was evil scum that helped two criminals for her own agendas, apparently. Kayla let out a high pitched whine and sob, crying from such a loss and confusion inside her mind. She slammed her paws against the pillow and bed, clawing at it with her black nails quickly and desperately with cries and growls till she ran out of energy and turned all the way over to sob into her pillow. It was not a case of, 'what have I done?'.. it was a case of 'what haven't I done?'.

* * * *

Emily sat alone in one of the small hospital lobby vid-phone booths. Overhead was simple lighting, and a door behind herself, aside from the device in the wall and the chair she was sitting on. A pass of her penitatas parenting liscense to the pay-card scanner activated the phone, dialing the Department of Corrections for free. A failsafe in case a parent needed to contact them away from home easily. An image appeared on the screen in front of her as she was putting the card back into her wallet.

"Department of Corrections. How may I direct your call?", asked the very young woman on the other end. Seeing the 'V' on her hand, Emily assumed the girl was an intern for the justice system.

"I'd like to speak with a member of the Corrections Council on a decision that would require a member's ruling. It's in reference to penitatas Kayla Ackart", she replied her plainly, speaking in the professional tone that penitatas parents have to use while dealing with 'the department'. It was almost like an unwritten lingo. They had the final say when it came to every penitatas on the planet, especially when it came to altering something as law-heavy and required as the Christmas punishment day. Kayla was quite an exception she felt though. It was basicly the supreme court of penitatas - their fates were all sealed here, when a tough call had to be made. The Corrections Council said what was to happen to a penitatas and established all their laws, ensuring they were followed by every parent to see that each young criminal was treated to the heavy dose of discipline they were required.

"The council has currently convened to discuss this issue. I will patch you through to the chambers", the intern answered after a few moment of tapping on her workstaion console, and forewarding her transmission. Emily could not overcome the feeling of shock quick enough before the screen came alive again with a new, startling image. She only wished to discuss this matter privately with only one council justice member, to make a ruling. She was now practically seated in the Correction Council chambers itself, as their video transmitter was seated on the podium in front of the curved and intricately designed wooden council table. It was like being in a high court.. and she was, literally! Emily was stuck with a nearly dumbfounded expression as she stared at the seven members that made up the entire Corrections Council, each seated in a row, with no one person having more power then the other. All of their power came from them as a whole; that was how the laws were dictated. This had to be one of the most frightening moments of her life, suddenly dropped in front of all of these justices.

"You must be Kayla Ackart's penitatas parent, Emily Targate. This makes things easy, since we will not have to attempt to contact you later", spoke the second one from the left, an older woman that looked like she was in her sixties. Below her white hair stood a stone face, that each other member on the council seemed to have. Good lord, they even looked frightening..

"We heard of her being found and taken in for medical treatments, and have just been notified of her ordeal. Sounds awfully sad yes, but we are still much too alarmed with her actions as the notorious hacker Packet-Storm", the one right from the center spoke next, a middle aged and strong looking man, adding emphisis to the words about his concearn. Seemed he was one of the main ralliers for whatever it was they were discussing. Emily was overwhelmed and put her hands up as a sign to slow down and put on the brakes.

"Whoa whoa, hold up. None of that was her fault, you must have been notified by Starfleet of that. There will be no charges as her actions were done against her will", Emily had to try and defend her daughter with, even though this was not the reason she called. She did not expect this much of a response from her daughter's capture. But, she did hack into Deltastar and take it down, and take billions for a pair of crooks..

"That is not being disputed", the other man to his left spoke plainly from the center of the long justice's stand.

"However, Kayla is still a penitatas, and did commit actions she knew was a heavy crime. There has been a devistating blow to the financial system of the quadrant. Trade is way down due to questions about Deltastar security. She has done incomprehendable damage, and billions in Earth money and Ferenginar latinum are gone due to those actions", the old man all the way to the left, aside the first aging woman, tried to explain.

"There must be a point made to Kayla that her hacking must stop. She should be punished for using her abilities, reguardless of the circumstance. It is your job as well as our's to ensure she learns her lesson that her days of being Packet-Storm are over", the second female justice again spoke in the dim room.

"It is the principle of the matter", a woman at the far right said to sum up what the other justice was saying. Emily could not have felt more sick at hearing such a thing.

"That is not fair! Kayla did the only things she could do in her situation!", Emily snapped at the Corrections Council members, not bothering anymore to keep that false image of professionalism. Her instinct to protect Kayla was too strong. All of these old bastards must each have a black 'P' penitatas, having such strict frames of mind!

"Perhaps, miss Targate", the man to the right of the center again spoke aloud, sounding as if he truely did believe what Emily said. "But you must understand where we are coming from. As a penitatas, Kayla must pay for the things she does that are wrong, even if they seem right or justified. That is the price she must pay for her actions, to be reminded they are wrong. We convined here today to discuss how miss Ackart's missing Christmas should be delt with, since she requires a very severe punishment for doing what she did", he went on to explain further, being clear and passionate in his reasoning. Quite the politician.

"We have found this to be quite true, and had Kayla's release and recovery time send to us so we could instruct you accordingly on what to do with her. With Christmas over it hardly seems appropreate for her to simply take her punishment tomorrow, but should instead recieve something special - just for her and her actions. We on the council are being sought to ensure Kayla get's a very long and very severe punishment for engauging in hacking Deltastar, robbing it of an immense amount of monetary funds, shutting it down, and hacking into a secure and top secret military system with hostile force. She is no ordinary criminal.. she had committed one of the worst crimes in decades, affecting many millions of people across many planets. Miss Ackart is absolutely required to pay for what she has done, even if it's simply a reminder of the consequences of using her illegal and immoral skill", the other older woman second from the right spoke out very sternly towards Emily, with a cold look on her face. She had been quiet this whole time.. seems if you made her speak, you said something wrong. The mother wanted to outright smack the vid-phone at all the things they were saying so unfairly about her girl, but there was no going against the Corrections Council. Their 'disciplinary perscription' for Kayla was law, and binding. Emily did find at least a tiny bit of logic in their words at least.. her girl should be punished for the principal of the matter and as a reminder.. right? After all, she did quite the major hacks and caused a lot of havoc..

".. So you're making an example of her?", Emily was forced to ask, speaking more quietly then she was before.

"Not exactly.. this has been a long decision process for all of us. Trying to rule on what is 'fair' and what needs to be done to make certain Kayla knows where her hacking skills belong. She has to be taught a harsh lesson that crime is not justifiable when you are a penitatas. Sure, she was forced to do what she did. But maybe she could have done a little less. Maybe she has grown too comfortable with her hacking since her previous incident with her school computer system - where she again thought her actions were justified. Her punishment is a preventive measure, to make certain she does not become a bad egg of a penitatas, and continue to commit crimes. Just as many penitatas are punished at home for things they are accused of and may not truely be guilty of.. it was done 'just in case'.. ", the other quiet council member spoke, to the left of the center man. A woman, the oldest seeming on the board. She looked at least one hundred and ten, and she was most likely still beating the rear of some black 'P' penitatas even at her age. Emily sighed and placed her hands together, interlacing the fingers in thought. There was no choice but to comply. Apparently Kayla had not been through enough as it was, and she had to recieve what she earned as a penitatas.

"Let's hear it then. What do you want me to do?", Emily inquired with a low voice, looking again serious and professional. They must have been thinking up some horrible things to replace the Christmas Kayla missed, to reflect the severity needed for her actions..

* * * *

Back in Kayla's hospital room, she laid in bed seeming so sad and tired as she talked to Ki'rene and her dad, Alex. Ninne was not present, as her mother allowed her to go to the bathroom instead of going up to Kayla's room. It was only a farse though, since the drake really did not wish to see the fox again. Ki'rene knew she had been up to the hospital room already, but not what happened. The distrought fox did not say a word about it, even if she wanted to make things better with her. Ninne was just.. so angry and harsh.

"I'm just happy to have you back Kayla. It's terrible what you went through.. we were all scared and wanting you back. You're a part of all our lives you know, a good one! You did your best with your captors though, don't worry about it", even Ki'rene said very encouragingly and happily, showing the fox that she was not sharing her daughter's beliefs. Ki'rene didn't even know what her girl's beliefs were.

"Doctor's visit! Everybody open their mouths and say 'hello'!", Doctor Wyatt walked into the room with one of his trademark quirky jokes that got all three's attention. In the mood Kayla was in, even she cracked a smile at the sight of the man. He saved her life, and he amused her. Couldn't be a better surgeon then that. "I'm just bringing Kayla's perscription. This bottle", he said to Alex while wiggling around a perscription bottle, before lowering the volume of his voice to speak solely to Alex. "It's a medicine taken orally to control Kayla's pain and speed up the healing process inside her metabolism. I doped it with a strawberry flavoring. She didn't look much like a mango to me", the doctor explained in reguards to the medicine, pointing to the dosage directions on the bottle for he and his wife to follow.

"Hmm.. Looks like it's about time for me to go Kayla, sorry Ninne couldn't come back up to see you. I guess she really had to go. I'll go find her, I think you'll be leaving pretty soon. Feel better!", Ki'rene turned her neck back to Kayla wished the fox, still wondering what happened to her daughter disappearing like she did. If she wasn't in the bathroom like she said, there was a tail that was going to need to be chewed, blisters or no blisters. The fox just seemed so tired to her when she was normally so happy.. it made her sad, right down to the heart, especially knowing the full extent of Kayla's injuries and how two men nearly took her from all their arms.

"See you Ki'rene. Thanks for checking up on me.. ", Kayla whispered much more exhaustedly, though lovingly. She was spent by now, and her somber attitude was only making her more tired. It meant a lot to her that Ki'rene loved her enough to come and see her in the hospital right away, even on such a busy day. For a woman much older then she was, and a penitatas parent that spanked her more times then she could count, she was an awesome friend to have. Kayla wished the same could be said for a certain other drake..

"We'll take you downstairs to see your mom then honey", Alex said a moment later, snapping Kayla out of a sudden trance. She was dipping in and out of being awake and being asleep. Ki'rene had left, and so did the doctor too apparently. Alex stepped over and pulled the blanket down the bed, exposing all of Kayla's fur to the open air. Oh how nice it felt to be clean; no dirt or blood. With a carefull pull, Alex removed the small device from her temple and set it on the chair beside the bed that Emily sat on earlier, so that he could help his girl up.

"I'm back guys, and not too happy with the Corrections Council", came a voice from the doorway, as Emily returned to the room looking frazzled. She might have found logic in the council's words, but the severity of the punishments they wanted her to apply to her daughter were more then she would have wanted just after getting her back from such an ordeal. Kayla had to take what she earned, and even the fox knew that, speaking up as she was pulled from the bed and lifted into Alex's arms. She was starting to get heavy, even for him, but he could manage.

"I don't want to not be punished at all for what I did.. it's the only way apparently for some people to ever look at me again I bet", Kayla sighed, reaching up to wipe her tired eyes and her muzzle before holding onto her father's shoulder. The lifesign monitors all went blank as she left the bed, and it no longer detected a patient. "..Is it severe mommy?", the young fox asked sadly, not excited about what might have gone on when her mother spoke to the Corrections Council. Emily made a soft hush, stepping to her husband's side to kiss Kayla on the side of her muzzle.

"Don't you worry your pretty little self over it honey. You have all day to sleep and rest, and presents later today if you're able. We'll worry about your special punishment tomorrow.. it'll be a reminder that your hacking skills are still bad, even if I think you did the right thing. Some do just want to see you pay for what you did.. and we'll give them what they want. You'll be the sorriest girl Kayla for what you did.. It's not all my decision, and I'm sorry about what I have to do. It will be like the punishment weekend you had a little bit back, except much more severe and.. without force and blistering limitations. It's going to be long and hard on us both, but I'll be here for you Kayla!", Emily just had to come out and say, even if it was hard to. She didn't want to be this severe on her daughter when she really did her best.. but she had to be taught right from wrong, even when she might not have made a wrong. That 'might' made her need to be punished, severely. A horror and downfall to being a penitatas. Emily ran her hand through Kayla's headfur as she was held by Alex, chest against his shoulder, with a hand on her back and the other under her tail. As soon as it looked like Kayla would cry from the thought of something that severe for two days straight, she placed her cheek against the side of her girl's small muzzle, kissing the fox's own cheek as her whiskers tickled the human mother's skin. This was going to be so hard. The poor, poor fox. Trying her best and surviving to only be judged, losing her best friend and being promised the beating of her life at the hands of those that love her most. All in the name of penitatas discipline - the price she paid to have her second chance. There was nothing more the family could do but walk out of the hospital room and head for home, to relax and recooperate till tomorrow morning.. greeting the sun with loud cracks and tearful cries of repentance, thinking of the two real criminals that got away without a trace. Justice escaped Kayla's grasp once again. At least she wasn't dead.. right?