Re: I, Bot 404
Chapter 27: The Protector of Innocence
Two weeks passed and I missed sleeping with Rayne in my arms that whole weekend. It was probably the best sleep I had gotten and would get for a while. Her breathing was so quiet, like a cute kitten, when she slept. I noticed she mumbled in her sleep, even saying my name once. It was adorable. I just wanted to keep her in my arms forever and cuddle her. Life wasn’t that easy though.
There was only one month left of the academy. Soon, all the trainee’s would be taking their boards to become officers. Some would pass. Some would have to reapply to the academy the following year. Some would apply to a different division of the UGNF. The Galactic Forces wasn’t made for everyone. Getting into the Galactic Forces was one thing, staying in it was an different subject entirely.
People left the first few months of working in the Galactic Forces. Knowing secrets of the universe brought some to take their own lives. Some end up in psychiatric institutions. Some, life in prison. I’ve heard the stories. I’ve seen some for myself within my eight years of experience.
After passing the boards, they would be assigned to jobs, special assignments if chosen. Some would stay on Hanna. Some sent to other planets or back to their home planets to work around the galaxy. Some may stay at the academy and become a training officer like me and Jay. On a rare occasion, one would be sent to the Intergalactic Space Station for cutting-edge jobs, assignments or further training for specialized skills. Maybe even a mission like my brother.
I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone, not even my worst enemies. Every new officer dreamed of being sent to the Intergalactic Space Station. They didn’t know the dangers, the implications of it all. It was rare to be chosen to go there right after the academy unless they had a conference or seminar for new officers. Officers chosen to go there hardly ever came back. They would train to have specialized skills. To visit or monitor other planets. They would be trained to be the spies of the galaxy.
It was a dangerous thing to be a part of. Sometimes so dangerous to the point that you could be killed, or, worse, be put into an induced comatose state.
‘My brother was in a found in an unresponsive state. The doctors said he is currently in a coma for unknown reasons.’ I told Rayne and her friends two weeks ago. I did, in fact, wish it were that simple.
That was a complete lie. The doctors knew what happened. A small trace of an injection site on my brother’s neck was found near his hairline. Someone injected a rare strain of rapid meningitis into his bloodstream. They weren’t trying to kill him. They were trying to stage a naturally caused infection or, worse, death. The doctors said if he were to ever awake, he’d most likely have permanent disabilities.
Thinking about it made me depressed, and, even worse, angry. I couldn’t think about it. I told myself, that maybe, just maybe, he’d come out of it perfectly fine. He would be the older brother I used to know. The one who helped raise me when my dad passed away. The one who taught me how to be there for people when there was no one else. The one who taught me how to be strong, even when you felt like you couldn’t do something. Anything was possible. He showed me that.
I had to lie. Rayne didn’t need to know the dangers of this world. I’d shield her from them. She was safe in the dark. I would try to keep her there as long as I could.
Was I a coward? Possibly. My brother wasn’t though. He went to Valorion without a sliver of fear. He was trained to be able to hide thoughts from Amphibians, and so was I. I had the same specialized training as him. We trained for a few months at the Intergalactic Space Station, together. Red wanted both of us to go to Valorion. He believed that since we both were part Valorion, with distant family living on the planet, we could blend in, seamlessly. Effortlessly.
He was right, and that’s exactly what Daryx did. Or so we thought.
I backed out, and requested to be reassigned to the Academy to become a coach about five years ago. I would have been the youngest officer to go on an undercover assignment to Valorion but I couldn’t. I wasn’t mentally prepared and the thought of leaving my mother alone pained me. Who knows the next time I’d be back?
Someone needed to take care of her and let her know we were both still alive. If she knew even one of her sons was on Valorion she’d have a heart attack right then and there. Let alone, both sons? I couldn’t do that to her.
In actuality, I wasn’t a coward; I just couldn’t leave my mom like that. I couldn’t bear the thought of her alone. She was a kind-hearted woman that didn’t deserve her sons to leave her like my dad did.
I didn’t even tell her about Daryx yet. When I left for two weeks, I visited her for dinner. I didn’t tell her one thing. I wanted her to think he was fine, doing wonderfully. I was good at lying, one of the skills we were well trained to do at the Intergalactic Space Station, yet I hated myself for it.
When I came back from my trip, I lost it. I went out drinking a few nights, getting too drunk and calling Jay in a mess. He picked my ass up twice and he even had to split me up from beating up a guy in downtown Dixen. The bar owner was there that night. Little to say, I’m banned from that bar now.
I broke down when I was talking to Jay that night, finally telling someone what had happened. Jay is a true friend for dealing with me those few nights. He told me to just go home with my mom, take a family emergency leave from the Galactic Forces. He said it’d be best for me to get my shit together.
I shook my head, “I can’t leave her.”
Jay looked at me, confused who I was talking about, “Your mom? Dude, don’t get suicidal on me.” He said, a bit worried, but in a joking nature.
I smiled, weakly, “No, Rayne. I can’t leave her.” I said shaking my head as I looked at the ground.
And I couldn’t. She made everything seem right. She made me forget that everything was going wrong in my life. Sure, she had an attitude, but it distracted me. It kept me sane. It brought me back down to the ground when I was about to fly away. I had no control over what was happening, and she was that one thing I could control. It made me feel like myself after a two-week hiatus.
I was a mess, inwards. But my brother taught me to be strong, even when you felt like you can’t be. If my brother wasn’t coming back, I told myself I would. My mom needed me if he was gone. I needed to be that strong person she could lean on. I needed to be that strong person Rayne could lean on, god forbid anything would ever happen to her.
I told myself every day, ever since Red gave me the news about Daryx, that Daryx would come out of the coma like he was waking up in the morning. I told myself he’d be fine to keep myself sane. This was one of the toughest times of my life after my dad passed away and it was time for me to step up to the plate.
Rayne was naturally very skilled at many things. It was absolutely jaw-dropping. Hell, she beat me in Knockout the first day we played. No one beat me. I knew I met my match in a small little girl that day. I didn’t know if I lost my magic touch or if she had that magic touch in herself too.
It was also scary for me to watch because she reminded me of Daryx. I didn’t want her to be that good. The boards were coming up and if she impressed anyone, she could be going to training for the Elite Division of the Galactic Forces where my brother and I went to train. It was a rare occasion and I highly doubt they’d send someone right out of training there, but it was a possibility.
I didn’t ever want her to be in that position. It was too dangerous. Especially for someone as eye-catching as her. She could be mishandled. Mistreated. End up like my brother. Or, worse, dead. The thought kept me up some nights. I couldn’t and wouldn’t allow her to be in that if we got to that point.
When I visited the Intergalactic Space Station, Red pulled out Rayne’s file on his iGlass and had me look at it.
Red looked at me, with his signature spark of humor in his eyes as he glanced at me, “You guys could have made it more believable.” He stared at me for a moment and I blinked, thinking he was serious for a moment. He began chuckling underneath his bright orange-red mustache.
I cocked my head at him, “You knew?”
Red shook his head, “I’ve known for a long while.” He knew this whole time? I shook my head, confused.
“Does she have to leave?” I asked, the thought that had been consuming me for a while finally left my mouth. I wasn’t scared that people would find out about Rayne. I was more scared that she would have to leave planet Hanna, immediately.
Red studied my face, “No. She’s hidden, in plain sight. I don’t think there’s a better place for her to hide.” He paused, looking at her digital chart, “I think she’ll be fine, Zane.” Red said as if he knew. As if he knew that I cared for her. As if he knew that I had been developing a crush on this girl.
I asked, curiously, “Where are the Nefareons?”
That was never a known thing throughout the UGNF. The whole Nefareon concept was information hidden from even officers. Heck, it was hidden from the universe. I knew there was a real planet called Nefareon, yet, in school, they never taught about it.
Planetarium classes spoke of the Orion Galaxy, the Milky Way Galaxy, the Ekkberg Galaxy, the Light Galaxy, the far far away Aareon galaxy and the list goes on and on. Every galaxy had to teach the same thing about each planet in every single galaxy. That was a requirement set by the UGN for education. Nefareon was never mentioned. It was as if it were made up. No one even knew what galaxy it was part of. It was as if it were completely gone. For all I know, the planet disappeared entirely.
You’d think being an officer meant you had access to the secrets of the universe, but we only were allowed to know so much. Only high ranked officials could know. If it were a part of your assignment, you would be let in on certain secrets. However, I have never heard of anyone speak of a Nefareon assignment. It was unheard of. Sometimes, I even thought it was a rumor. A made up story. A joke, even.
I wanted to know where the remaining Nefareons were, just in case she disappeared.
Red eyed me with his green eyes, “That’s unknown to the UGN, even to officials like me, Zane.” That made absolutely no sense. How would he not know? He was a council member of the UGN for Christ sakes.
I cocked my head, “How do you not know?” Was he pulling my leg? Red liked to do that from time to time.
Red said, “It’s top secret information, but, after what happened to your brother, I feel the need to explain.” He sighed, “The UGN is in close relations with the leaders of Nefareon. We have an agreement in which their location is unidentified to the galaxies to keep their people safe. Why do you think planet Nefareon was never taught in schools? Your answer lies within an ancient alliance between the fae and the UGN.”
I had so many questions. It was intriguing to hear about this hidden place, this hidden culture. I hadn’t heard anything like this my entire life, besides in children’s tales.
“Are there any officers who have ever went there?” I asked, curiously.
Red smiled, “Yes. However, most live on the planet and do not leave.” Planet. So Nefareon was real. Thriving.
That was an odd statement. Did they have no choice not to leave? “They can’t leave?”
Red shook his head, “They can. Most don’t want to leave.” I cocked my head. What did that mean?
“Do Nefareons ever leave?” I asked. I only met one and I still couldn’t believe it.
Red smiled, “Yes, they live among us, like your friend, Rayne.” He said, studying me.
“Then why are they in hiding? What’s the point?” I asked, confused.
That was never explained. The ‘gifts’ just couldn’t be real to me. Levitation, energy manipulation and cell regeneration all seemed like far stretched ideas. Like in the fairy tales. Just stories or superpowers you only saw in movies.
I didn’t really believe any of it, well, until I saw Rayne’s gift.
Red blinked, “That’s top secret information, Vandore.” I internally winced. Ugh. He said it as if I were in trouble. I hadn’t heard anyone say that since when I was in training. It was my father’s last name. I didn’t respond to that anymore.
I went by my mother’s last name, Graham. It was a common Hannan last name. Vandore was derived from planet Valorion. People would know if I was a Vandore. After all, it was known for a famous bloodline in the Sequoia Capital. My father was a high-ranked official for the Valorion Republic. His dad was part of the senate of Valorion. My great grandfather was a vice president of Valorion for two terms, eight years. My brother had gone by Vandore when he was on his assignment on Valorion. You’d think he’d be safe, but I knew from the start it was bad news. Something didn’t feel right about it. Only another reason why I backed out.
Red had already told me about my brother. It didn’t hit me until I visited Daryx at the hospital on the Intergalactic Space Station.
His face, pale, lifeless. He had a tube in his mouth and was hooked up to multiple machines. He looked like he was sleeping. He looked nothing like my brother. I saw none of the humor that once made Daryx Vandore my older, shit-talking, brother.
My jaw became tight, I sat next to him, touching his hand. Tears, for the first time in a long time, rolling down my face. I was strong, but not enough for this. This was too much to see. I had never been so thrown off. I was mad, pissed off that this happened. This was absolutely painful to see. Awful. Sickening.
To know that someone did this to him made my blood coarse icily through my veins. He was a good guy. A brave soul. He didn’t deserve this. No one did. This was torture to the highest degree. This was disgusting, inhumane.
“You’ll be fine, Daryx. You’ll come out of this in one piece, I promise.” I said as I looked at his unresponsive state, as if he was listening. Hope leaving my pores. Pain replacing that hope. What if he didn’t? I pushed the thought out of my head. Not possible. I couldn’t think that way.
I stood in the gym, thoughtfully watching Rayne do chasers as she ran back and forth on the court. It amused me how I could hear Jaimie’s friends talking about Rayne and I, as if she was going to get kicked from the academy for ‘messing around with an officer’. They didn’t know even the slightest of what was happening. I wouldn’t do anything even slightly sexual with Rayne until she was outside of the academy. Even though, sometimes, my mind went to those places with her. She wouldn’t know that though; I wouldn’t allow it just yet.
Rayne was fast. Her and Eli were almost head to head when running, especially in the mornings. We watched the trainees run from one end of the court to the other as the automated buzzer went off. A few trainees had to sit out from not making it past the line in time. Rayne, Derren, Eli, Ryo, Gavin, Maxx, Jodie and Leroy were still in the chaser game. Everyone’s face was red, they were already in the eighth round and still going.
Jay said to me as he watched, “Do you ever wonder where she might be assigned after this-“ He paused, “when they see how fast she is?”
He looked at me, writing things down on his chart. We had to document their progress as the weeks went by. We would submit our final reports to the council members of the UGNF boards a week or two before they visited. They would know who was the top of the class, preliminarily placing trainees to assignments and jobs before they visited for the board exams. Then they would cast their final decisions at the end of training.
I shook my head, “I don’t want to think about it.” The buzzer went off again after thirty seconds. Eli, Rayne and Derren crossing the line just in time.
“Why?” Jay looked at me, confused.
I shrugged, “We’ll be separated, if she goes to a different planet, or, worse, to space.” Space was in terms for the Intergalactic Space Station. “I’m just getting to know her, you know?” I said, trying not to make it seem like I cared that much.
“You know that better than I do, you could be transferred anywhere she went. What’s the real reason?” He knew me too well. He knew I’d request a transfer again. Was it that obvious?
“Do you think they’d send her up?” I asked, scratching my growing chin hair. I needed to shave soon.
Jay studied me, “You’re scared she’s going to go to the Intergalactic Space Station, aren’t you?”
I turned away from him, staring at her, “Yes.”
He laughed, “You are like a protective dad, Zane, I swear.” I rolled my eyes, as he continued, “I highly, I mean highly, doubt she’ll be going up there. When was the last time you heard about them sending new officers straight to the space station?” He shook his head.
He was right, as usual. The last officer sent up there, straight out of the academy, was a few years ago, but it was for training to go to another planet for research about the animatronic surgeries in Manta. Not a hard or dangerous in the slightest. Most assignments on other planets weren’t as dangerous as my brother’s. He was surrounded by powerful, corrupt figures in Valorion. He had been in danger the moment he arrived.
Some assignments were fun. Such as being sent to Zena. I went there a few times myself in my early years and it was a great time. We partied just about every day. I even met a straight Zenon girl, a rarity, and had a one-night stand. I think the Zenon girl I met showed me more about intimacy in one night than my exs in eight years. I attribute some of my best moves to that Zenon girl. It was always a sexually educating experience, visiting Zena. I liked Zenons, their culture. I was always intrigued when I talked to them.
I had only told two Zenons, Gemini and her friend, about my special interests and now I wish I told more Zenons when I was younger. I would have felt a lot more comfortable about it and wouldn’t have wasted my time with my past girlfriends if I knew how many people were accepting of it. I knew about people on the galactic interweb who had millions of followers for ABDL or CG/L interests, but I wasn’t as interested in those girls.
I didn’t like the idea of online dating either. That’s how people get kidnapped, taken. Even people like me, who were strong and tall, trained to be able to defend themselves. That shit happened, and I didn’t mess with it after reading countless articles on the UGN newsfeed. That was one of the vast conflicts between planet Valorion and the UGN. One I hoped that Rayne would never find out about. However, it was a part of the inevitable, unfortunately.
I was also old-schooled in the sense that I liked meeting someone without the influence of social media. I wanted that significant other to be a mystery, a guessing game. I liked getting to know someone over time, not in an instant by looking at a profile. - - -
A week after Jay and I watching Rayne in gym, I couldn’t sit back anymore. I was overthinking possibilities of her going somewhere risky. I went through Rayne’s digital charts, editing things that Jay and I put down throughout the past two months. Was it wrong to do? Absolutely. Would it be worth it? I could only hope.
I didn’t want her to stand out. She was quick, smart, and naturally skilled at many things. I wanted to heighten her chances of staying on planet Hanna. This was the only way to keep her here, and I would do anything to know that she’d be safe.
If she seemed average, she would have a Hannan International Galactic Forces position where she could be sent out to monitor cities and towns or she could have a backseat job where she worked at the Galactic Forces Headquarters in Kirkland, Hanna. Sure, officers were still at risk, even on Hanna, but these were much safer and, not to mention, closer for me to watch her.
I had already decided this was my last year with the United Nations Galactic Forces Academy. I would transfer wherever Rayne went or somewhere nearby that wasn’t so obvious. I didn’t want to make it seem like I was stalking the girl; I needed to keep my distance to make me seem coincidental.
Why did it matter so much to me where Rayne went? I asked myself one night as obsessive thoughts filled my mind.
A part of me was broken. A part of me needed some type of balance. I was emotionally unstable, deep down. Things were spiraling out of control ever since I received the news about my brother, and I couldn’t allow another person I was attached to be hurt.
Something I was trying not to admit to, ever since I had met Rayne, was that I was beginning to fall for her. I was attaching myself to her with every moment that I saw her. Things I attached myself to I had to protect. Simple.
I needed to protect her from this cruel world. That idea was almost impossible with her being in the Galactic Forces, but, on Hanna, she wouldn’t be exposed to the worst things of the galaxies. She’d worry about gang violence, drug trading, illegal aliens from other planets, and secret service protection of special beings. Easier things than what I knew.
She was still innocent, and I wanted to keep that innocence for as long as possible.
Chapter 28: The Diaper Girl
“To think, next Friday is our boards. I can’t believe it’s so close.” Gemma said as we sat down at the officers table.
I set down my food near Zane. Who knew we’d be sitting here the past three weeks? None of the officers questioned it, not even Erik. Zane acted like it was nothing. Even though it was quite obvious me and him had something going on. The only people who had an issue was Jaimie’s friends who liked to glare at me and talk.
I’ve heard some of the things they said from Jodie. Jodie was part of the all-girls cabin and during gym class, she’d tell me some of the things that were being spread around. It was disgusting, things that I had never done before. Girls were cruel, and I wasn’t going to pay attention to any of it.
The past few weeks I had been getting strange glances from the other tables. Derren stopped pursuing me the week I began sitting with the officers, but, regardless, he still was friendly towards me. It was pretty known at this point that I was already crushing on Zane. As the past three weeks progressed, I felt like everyone was talking about us. I’d pass the guys table and my old table to get food with Zane, and people would stare and talk low.
Derren and his friends didn’t talk to me this past week, which was odd. Usually, he would still have small talk with me in the gym or say hi as he passed me outside. After all, I was pretty friendly to anyone who wasn’t part of Jaimie’s clique; I didn’t understand this sudden cold-shoulder from his group. I didn’t do or say anything to anyone to egg it on. I didn’t understand.
The sudden change of warmth from everyone was weird. I got it was the last normal week of the academy, but what was the deal?
It was like high school all over again, except for this time I had two really close friends and whatever-the-fuck Zane was considered to me. We weren’t dating, yet we weren’t friends either. I had no idea and didn’t dwell on it for long.
“Hey, Rayne. I have to talk with you.” Jodie said, her blue eyes worried, as she came up to me after dinner while I was headed to my cabin with Gemma.
I was confused by the sudden urgency from her, “No, you’re fine. What’s up?” Gemma looked at us and realized the conversation didn’t include her.
Gemini said, “I’m going to go meet up with Eli near the pilot base.” She waved as she left me with Jodie.
I followed Jodie to an area near the forest behind the main building. I sat at the bench in front of a tree.
She sat next to me, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but Jaimie has been spreading rumors about you.”
I said, nonchalantly, “That’s not a surprise to me.” I’ve heard that Gemma and I were the ‘hoes’ of the camp and that we were supposedly fucking the officers.
Jodie blinked, “So you’ve heard the most recent one?” She asked, in surprise.
I frowned, “The one about how three weeks ago me and Zane had sex in the bathrooms? Or the one where I gave him a blowjob in the dining hall my first day?” I said, irritated. Not irritated at Jodie, but at Jaimie. I was a virgin and had never done anything like that before. Heck, I hadn’t even touched a guy’s nether regions before, how would I even know how to give head? It revolted me thinking that she was painting me to be a slut, yet she knew nothing.
She shook her head, “No, this one’s worse.” She said. What other sexual act did I do now?
“Just blurt it out, Jodie. I’m ready for it.”
“She was talking about how Kelsey and Kyla saw something that you and Zane were doing.” She paused, uncomfortably, “Like, uh, about how he spanked you and you were wearing a diaper about a month ago in his cabin?” She said it as if it were my choice to wear the diaper.
I frowned, blinking and tilting my head in confusion. That was a little bit ago. Why did they decide to tell people now? That was well over a month ago. How? Were the windows open? I thought back, blinking. Think, Rayne, think. I think they were. Zane was intoxicated and he obviously didn’t care at the time; he wasn’t paying attention and neither was I. Those girls couldn’t have made it up. My back stiffened, humiliation shuddering through my brain.
I shook my head, “I have to go.” I said, quietly, storming off.
“Rayne, wait.” Jodie said, confused as I looked back, “Is it true?”
My hand ran through my hair, “Yes. Just, please, don’t tell anyone else.” I said to her.
Jodie said, “Everyone basically already knows, Rayne. Like, Jaimie’s been telling everyone.” She looked sadly at me, feeling bad for me.
I walked away, saying nothing else. Was that why Derren and his friends stopped talking to me? The realization hit me, hard.
My face flushed red; I was humiliated. Not in the nice way that Zane made me feel. I felt disgusted with the thought of someone seeing us. Someone telling others about us. It was our thing. It was something intimate, in a nonsexual way. It was something I never ever wanted people to know about.
I walked past a couple who had been dating the past eleven weeks that I hadn’t really talked to who looked at me as I walked by. I heard a laugh from the girl, I think her name was Analise, as I passed. Did they know too? Paranoia sunk in. I wanted to cry, to vomit.
I turned the opposite direction of the cabins, towards the lake. I began jogging, I needed to get away from people. I ran, for a long while, by myself. Tears falling down my face. I stopped, halfway to the lake near the stream. I picked up a rock and threw it at the stream over the bridge I was on. I walked over the bridge, tears still falling down my face. I sat on a large rock near the stream, crying, whimpering by myself.
Life was un-fucking-fair. Is this how Calvin felt? Alone. I put my hood over my head.
I was sad, angry. A mix of terrible, ugly emotions. I picked up another rock, throwing it at the stream. Fuck, Jaimie. She could go to hell. Why was it her business to tell others? I didn’t understand why she was out to get me. I never did anything to her. Sure, I fought with her on a few subjects, but I’d never tell others if the roles were reversed and she was doing these things with Zane. It was sickening.
People probably thought I was a freak. Knowing Jaimie, she probably made it seem like it was me who was into the diaper stuff, not Zane.
Was it only Zane though? He wasn’t alone in this. I liked it too, but I wasn’t ready to tell anyone, ever. I wanted it to be a secret, sacred to only Zane and I. Now it was out there, in the open. I had no choice but to let it be. It was what it was. I was a freak, but I had people who I was close to who didn’t seem to care. Eli and Gemini already knew anyways.
Why did I care what others thought? I had what I wanted and we’d all be split up soon anyways. Hopefully, I’d be sent to another planet. Or better, the Intergalactic Space Station. I probably wouldn’t even see half of these people in the next year.
I got up, throwing another rock and walked back. I took my time walking back. I would act like I didn’t know. There was one week, I could slide by perfectly fine. If people knew, it didn’t matter anyways. Zane and I’s secret was out. I wasn’t going to let something so stupid take me down.
Friday came a few days later and we were having our last extracurricular gym class. We were playing dodgeball, and I was randomly chosen as one of the team captains.
It was bittersweet, when Jamie, Kyla and Kelsey were left as the last people to be picked for teams. I hope they felt the dislike from everyone. Even though I was the most talked about supposed ‘slut’ of the camp, people still liked me. Rumors didn’t change who I was. Rumors only made them look like idiots.
It was my turn to choose between them. I smiled, winking at Jaimie, “I’ll take Jaimie.”
Jaimie glared at me, “Ugh. Of course the diaper girl chooses me.” My jaw tightened, I bit my tongue from spitting my venom at her. The other trainees were silent. I felt so many sets of eyes looking at me, waiting for what I’d say next. Zane, looking at me with a blank stare.
I flashed a smile, “I’ll take the diaper girl title any day over the stuck up bitch who can’t keep my name out of her mouth.” Saying ‘diaper’ out loud made me cringe on the inside, but I didn’t let that show.
She responded, quick, “Maybe if you hadn’t been sucking dick and wetting diapers for the past twelve weeks you wouldn’t be in my mouth.” A bunch of guys began ‘ooooooo’ing and laughing. I glanced at them; they thought this was entertaining. Humiliation hit me like a brick, but I wouldn’t let that show either.
“Fact check: It’s been only 11 weeks. I’ve never sucked dick before, never even seen a real one. Get your facts straight before you spread rumors about the next girl you’re jealous of.” All I saw was red from anger and humiliation, “And the last one, you caught me. But that wasn’t you’re fucking business to spread around the base.” I said with a razor cutting my voice. She blinked her blue eyes at me, speechless. Did she expect me to deny it all? She had a moment to reply, but she didn’t say anything.
Jay blew his whistle, “Cut it out, girls. Cody, pick your last teammate.” I calmed myself, glancing at Zane. This was all, basically, his fault. I took the blame, yet I could have thrown him under the bus, easily. I could have said he was the one who had the diaper kink but I didn’t. Why? I didn’t give a fuck. The secret was already out, why did it matter whose kink it really was?
I wasn’t scared of some bully. She wanted to make me feel humiliated, and she succeeded, but I had to tell my truth, even if it further humiliated me. Liking diapers wasn’t a terrible thing, she tried to make it look like it was. Like there was something wrong with me.
I knew what she was doing and counteracted it quickly. If she was going to put my secret on blast, I wasn’t going to deny that. I was going to act like I was confident about it, proud even. The idea of me wetting diapers was already out in the universe; I couldn’t run away from that, only to it.
Also, she was unintentionally dissing Zane, which made me laugh to myself. I knew she was jealous that we were something three weeks ago and she failed, miserably, at trying to get his attention.
The last dodgeball tournament began as we watched Maxx’s and Analise’s team go against one another. My team and Cody’s team would go next.
Eli was sitting next to me, “I’m surprised you didn’t deny it.” He raised his eyebrows at me, tilting his head to Jaimie who was talking to Kyla on Cody’s team.
I shrugged, “What’s the point anymore? She told everyone anyways. Denying it would just make me look like an idiot.”
“Yeah, true. But, technically, it’s Zane who likes it I thought?” He paused, “Unless you do too?” Eli asked, awkwardly. He was unusually interested and not being an asshole about it for the first time since Zane spoke about it weeks ago. Was there a change of heart from Eli on the whole age play and diaper kink subject?
I stared at Eli, “I’m not talking about this with you.” I said, looking away at the game. Gemini, on Analise’s team, hit Gavin on the other team. As much as I appreciated with Eli’s change of heart, I still was uncomfortable talking about it with him, of all people.
I clapped and cheered for Gem and Eli joined in, cupping his hands over his mouth, “Get em’, Gem!” We were the only ones cheering and some people turned their heads to us.
After we stopped clapping, Eli turned to me, “So that’s a yes.” I squinted at him, warmth traveling to my face.
He shrugged, sitting back on the bleachers, “I can see you in one.” He blinked, with a smile underneath his beard, “As weird as it feels to say that out loud.” Why was he smiling? Ugh. Fucking Eli.
I blushed, shaking my head, “Don’t ever say that again.”
He laughed, “You are a special breed of whatever-the-fuck you are, Rayne.” I laughed, he smoothly slid us out of that awkward conversation.
Our team huddled, with one minute of strategy talk, “Three people will run to pass the balls back, the other five are going to catch.” I said to everyone.
Derren said, “Okay, so who’s willing to pass the balls back?” He looked around, no one volunteered.
Jaimie raised her hand, “I’ll do it.” And Jodie rose her hand along with Amber, a Hannan girl, who I never really talked to. I was surprised. Jaimie rose her hand as if she were willing to go along with my plan. Was she trying to sabotage our team? I couldn’t tell, yet.
The game began and Jaimie followed through, rolling balls back quickly. Jodie got struck out and Jaimie retreated from the middle line. I saw a ball coming at her from Ryo, as she looked away, who was a pretty burly Ekkberen guy who had a hard throw.
I ran in front of her, catching the ball with a hard punch to my stomach from the ball. You could hear a soft boom as I caught it. I winced, my hands stung from the catch but I shook it off.
“Thanks, uh, Rayne.” I looked back in shock. Jaimie’s blue eyes looked at me, for the first time, apologetically. Was I seeing things?
I smiled, “Thanks for not calling me Raven.” She laughed, awkwardly, in response. I didn’t understand, why the sudden change in heart? Maybe she felt bad. She didn’t know me, really, and, maybe, deep down in the black hole of hers, she was beginning to think I wasn’t such a terrible person, after all.
We went back to the game. Fifteen minutes later, our team won. The next game we played, we won, making up the winners of the entire tournament. Surprisingly, Jaimie and I were on okay terms during both games. She was being respectful. I would never trust her as far as I could throw her, but it was a pleasant surprise.
A week passed, and our boards testing was here in a blink of an eye. Tomorrow, everyone would be traveling home. In a week, we’d be assigned to different jobs, different places, even, if we were lucky, our first assignments.
Nostalgia hit me. I would miss this place. These moments. It was probably the toughest thing I had ever been through. Yet I met the best people. I met Elliot Ghalderas and Gemini Xara. Friends who I’d never forget. People who made me feel accepted and made me feel less like a loser throughout the course of 12 weeks. Most importantly, I met Zane Graham.
Who knows if I’d ever see them again. We’d all be split up and the odds of me coming back as a trainer to the UGNF Academy in the next few years was quite slim. Zane was leaving anyways. He spoke about how this was his last year and how his resignation letter was already made. Why was he leaving? He didn’t say the real reason. He just joked about he didn’t want to spend another year with Erik.
I sat, in our usual seats at 10 AM, as Frank and an Amphibian man brought in a stack of booklet tests in. Amphibians were a rare sight to see in Hanna. We all looked at him, staring. He didn’t pay much attention to our stares, looking, if anything, with annoyance in our direction. He looked off-putting, as if he didn’t care for us.
His light green, almost grey eyes, with specks of brown in them, dilated and constricted. His skin was scaly, with a pastel evergreen green color with an almost turquoise blue hue. It almost glittered when he stood near the window.
The man was handsome, for someone who looked so different from the stereotypical human. He had black, medium length hair that was shaven on the sides and slicked back. He wore a dark brown, weathered down jacket and skinny black dress pants.
Was he not hot in those clothes? I thought to myself. His eyes shifted to me, as he passed out the test booklets, with a humorous glance in my direction. He placed a booklet in front of me and Eli, glancing at me again, with a smirk. That was odd, considering he had an irritated look for the past five minutes yet he smirked at me.
I brushed off the thought, opening my booklet and starting my test. The questions were tough. They were pretty detail oriented and was asking what year certain codes of the UGNF were put in place or initiated. Why, the hell, was that important? I thought. I knew the answers, but it was stupid.
In my peripheral vision, Eli glared while tapping his pencil on the test as if he was thinking ‘what the fuck is this?’. I suppressed my laugh. I didn’t want to be kicked out for laughing during the most important written test of my career. I stared at one of the questions that stumped me, Which doctrine of Reorf was established in year 5872 that led to the allegiance to the United Galactic Nations? I was stuck between two answers: The Perils Doctrine or the Endogens Doctrine?
This one was hard. I thought back to our text book and then back to my parent’s books in their library. In the 5800’s, Reorf was becoming a wasteland, in which they needed help from other planets to sustain life on their planet. Reorf was stubborn, and did not want to pledge allegiance to any laws of other planets, let alone the UGN, so they tried to stay away as long as possible.
It was a trick question, I thought. Perils Doctrine was made in 5872 GY(Galactic Years) also, BUT, it didn’t lead to the allegiance of Reorfs. The planet’s demise led to it from the rare Endogen virus plaguing the planet and the UGN extended a branch of help that same year. Within hundreds of years, planet Reorf would be brought back to life, thriving once again, by the sole help of the UGN. Other planets would have rather let planet Reorf die along with its citizens, yet the UGN revived it.
The Amphibian man walked by our desks, looking at me with a blink, his eyes dilating and constricting again as I glanced at him. I felt slightly uncomfortable with him in the room. It made me feel as if he was eyeing everyone in the room. Watching us closely as if we were about to cheat. His face was stone cold as his eyes flicked to different faces in the room.
I went back to my test, finishing quickly. I closed my booklet, mentally locking in my answers. That test was ridiculous. Some of the questions I could only take an educative guess on.
The Amphibian man came by me, taking my booklet away, “You’re dismissed, Miss Griff.” I blinked, how the fuck did he know I was done? I set my booklet down for only a second and I could have went back to it.
A second later I paused before I left, how did he know my name? I tilted my head as I glanced at him on my way out. His eyes still dilating and constricting as he caught my look, a slight rise of the corner of his lips in a subtle smile and then it disappeared, in a blink of an eye, as he turned his head to another trainee.
I walked down the hall, wondering what the fuck just happened. I glanced near the hallway that led to offices and saw a man with fiery orange, almost red, hair pulled back into a ponytail. Something was very familiar about this man. I think I saw him, once or twice, at my childhood home. My childhood memories had faded the older I got, but I think I remembered him through my clouded memory. I had to really think about it, because I was unsure.
Zane spoke to him and the man’s back was to me. Zane’s eyes looked behind the man, as he was listening to the older man respond, meeting mine. The man turned, catching my glance.
“Rayne Griff?” He said as I turned and began walking away.
I stopped, turning around, “Do I know you?” I asked, confused as Zane’s facial reaction behind the man.
His green eyes flashed, “I’m one of your parent’s old friends, the name’s Red.” He paused, looking at me as if nostalgia hit him, “I was only around when you were just a tyke, so it’d make sense you don’t remember me too well.” He said, with a humorous look as he eyed me. He had small eyes, with wrinkles that lined his tanned complexion.
“You’ve known about her this whole time?” Zane said, stunned, as if I wasn’t there. As if they spoke about me before.
Red eyed Zane, “Yes.” He paused, thinking, “Speaking of which, I have to talk to you in private still.” He nodded his head to the other room. Zane eyes flashed with something unreadable.
Red turned to me, “It was nice seeing you, Griff.” He looked at me as if I were a ghost of someone else.
Weird. I already had some really weird days, especially with Zane, throughout the past twelve weeks, but this was becoming one of the strangest days I had since joining the academy.