I, Bot 404

Re: I, Bot 404

Chapter 16: Running With Trouble

Zane.

Early in the morning, around 5 AM, we stood outside the new recruits’ cabins. Erik had the horn to wake up the new recruits. Little did they know, they would have a rude awakening. Jay and I would be taking them on the morning run as every day, minus the weekends, of the training base.

The horn sounded. We waited as the trainees slowly walked out. I crossed my arms, it was cold out. A run would warm everyone up. They would have a long day. The first day of training was always the longest.

Erik yelled, “Come on, hurry up, you slow pokes!” His hoarse country accent blaring at them, “Line up together.” Erik and Frank handed out small backpacks, that held water bottles and compasses, to each trainee.

In the darkness, I could see her messy hair and puffy eyes from lack of sleep. I suppressed my smile, looking away. I had to stay away from her. Far away. I noticed the Zenon girl and Ganakk guy standing near her. I had a feeling that those three were still friends. I didn’t believe the Ganakk guy when he said to not associate Rayne with the Zenon girl and himself. I knew he was joking, but it was the perfect chance for me to get her alone yesterday.

Erik looked at me, “They’re all yours, Zaney.” I blinked as he said Zaney, annoyed. That’s what he called me when I was in training, once upon a time.

“Every morning, at 5 AM, we will have a morning run to build your endurance. If you can’t run, power walk. We will stop at Lake Montauk, take a break, and then run back. It’s approximately a 2 mile run there and 2 miles back. At the end of your twelve weeks, you will have to pass a 10K endurance test.” I looked at everyone’s faces. Priceless. Some looked worried. Some looked arrogant. I met her eyes. She was indifferent.

Erik added in a yell, “That’s 6.2 miles for those of you idiots who still don’t know how to convert kilometers to miles.” That one made me laugh a bit as I shook my head. Erik was a dick, but sometimes he was funny.

Frank said, “If you get lost, you’ll have to find your way back. You have compasses in your bags we gave you. Do yourselves a favor and learn how to use it.”

I looked at the group, “Questions?”

One of the Hannan girls raised her hand, “I, like, can’t even walk two miles, how am I going to do four?”

Erik spoke, “You’re going to get your ass into gear and walk it then. Breakfast closes at 7:30 so if you’re not back before then, that’s too bad. Good motivator, right?” The girl rolled her eyes and groaned. I flicked my eyes away, annoyed. Why join the Galactic Forces if you can’t run? It’s one of the major tests to get your license. That girl was a lost cause.

“Let’s begin.” I said as Jay blew the whistle.

We began our run. Some recruits ran with us the entire way. Usually the strongest recruits proved to keep pace from day one. The weaker fell behind after the first mile. It was unusual that any girls of each new training group kept pace. Three years ago there was a Ganakk girl who ran with our pace every morning but that was the last one.

This was always my favorite part of the first day. I was curious to see who would be running with us and who would prove themselves as the most promising. Every first day showed the strongest trainees. The fastest trainees. After a few weeks, other trainees would keep pace too, but the first day showed who was prepared.

I never looked back when I ran, only forward. I didn’t look back because, for one, I didn’t want to trip. Second of all, on this day especially, I wanted to be surprised by who was left when we reached the lake. After the first mile, I heard a few people trailing behind Jay and I, steady. We ran at a fast pace, usually people followed far behind us. I only had a few guesses of who these people would be. Possibly the Ganakk guy, the Ekberren man or the slender human boy. I still didn’t know the new recruits names yet, well, besides one girl.

As we reached the lake, I still heard, what sounded like, two recruits running at our pace. We came to a halt at the lake and I turned around. I was surprised, to say the least.

I rose my eyebrows as I saw her face. Her cheeks flushed as she laid on the ground and looked up to the sky as the sun began peeking out over the lake. Rayne sat up, coughing and catching her breath. She took out her water bottle and drank on the ground with both hands gripping the bottle. I suppressed a smile. An image of her holding a sippy cup up like that flashed in my mind. I mused at the thought.

The Ganakk guy was sitting on the ground next to her, “Honestly, you were the last person I thought I’d be running with all the way here.” I laughed to myself. Me too. My eyes met Jay’s and he furrowed his eyebrows and tilted his head towards her with a surprised face.

“Shut up, you ass.” She said with a smile. We’re they flirting? I couldn’t tell. I felt a twinge of anger and… jealousy? Why was I jealous? She wasn’t mine. We weren’t casually dating. I didn’t know why this upset me.

Then you should probably stay away. Jay’s words popped into my head from the night before. He was right. This was my perfect chance to detach myself while I still had a chance. I had a crush forming on this girl, but I knew it’d be a risk.

She was young. Naïve. She didn’t know what she wanted yet in life. If we had any type of fling, I could lose my job and, even worse, I’d be heartbroken. If she was mine, I wouldn’t want to ever let her go; I knew that much. I needed to stay away. Those initial feelings will go away. She’s just a young, silly girl. Don’t waste your time. I told myself. Would I listen to my rational side? Probably not. I could at least try.

Re: I, Bot 404

Chapter 17: Subzero Zane

Rayne.

“Shut up, you ass.” I said to Eli with a smile. The endorphins hit me from my run. I felt like I was walking on a cloud. I usually didn’t run at the pace Zane and his friend were going, but I tried to keep up. I wanted to impress Zane. I wanted to show him what I was capable of. A lot of the girls have been gawking at him so I wanted to stand out. I wasn’t like the other girls; I wanted to make that known.

I looked up and caught Zane’s gaze. He was staring at me with a blank expression. What was that look? I didn’t get why he looked upset. He looked away, coldly.

I shrugged it off. Zane was bipolar as fuck. That was becoming apparent. He was hot, fine-looking as fuck. He was undeniably attractive. Even when he was sweating, his face flushed from the run, he was even hotter; it was insulting how hot. The way the other girls gawked at him was ridiculous.

Last night Gemini and I hung out in the all girl’s cabin so Gemini could hang out with her friend that she knew before the Galactic Forces. I decided to join her in an attempt to make friends with other girls at the training base. One girl, named Jaimie, would not stop talking about him. About how she wanted to do ‘bad things to him’. About how he brushed by her at dinner and looked at her and it ‘meant something’. I blinked and tried to drown out her voice by listening to Gemini and her friend, Tera, talk about why they joined the Galactic Forces. Hearing Jaimie talk about Zane made me feel like what I felt earlier, while he watched me mop and got close to me, was insignificant. Like it was nothing, and my mind made it something- which was most likely the case. He was probably 5 to 10 years older than me. I had little to none experience with guys, I didn’t even know how to be sexy, how was I going to stand out among other girls? I was not competition; I was the first one out of the game. Why did I think I even had a chance?

He was also cold. Ice cold. I didn’t know his cold side yet, but as the week went by, I’d feel a cold shoulder from him. I didn’t understand why.

After the look from Zane on our first morning run, he was far and distant from me. He didn’t look at me; he didn’t turn his head in my direction. It seemed as if he was avoiding me. During morning runs, I’d get a cold shoulder from him. He would talk to Jay when we arrived at the lake. I didn’t even attempt to join in on their conversations by his body language. Zane didn’t seem to like me anymore. I didn’t understand; was it something I said? Was it something I did? I begin thinking that that chemistry and attraction between us the first night was just all in my head. I must have made it up, because I felt nothing else from him.

A week later, I was sitting in Code and Ethics of the UGNF class as Frank drowned on about discrimination between peoples of other planets.

“So, how should you treat a Reorf in comparison to a human?” Trick question, the exact same. This was a common sense class. The fact that we had to go over so many ridiculously obvious concepts made me annoyed. Reorf’s were naturally disgusting. They smelled terrible, like greasy food and had an excessive amount of sebaceous glands which caused such stink. However, we shouldn’t treat them any differently because of their stench and appearance.

“The same, they’re both disgusting and smell bad.” The Hannan girl, Jaimie, said. A few of the people who were her ‘friends’ laughed. We were only a week in but you could tell where the cliques were forming and this Jaimie girl had two other girls who laughed at her jokes and talked a lot. Maybe too much for my liking.

I bit my tongue at her response. Poison wanting to leave my mouth. Hannans and humans are known to dislike each other, but, come on, it’s not the 20th or 21st century anymore. This is like when ‘white’ people hated ‘black’ people and there was racism. Color discrimination isn’t even a concept in the 23rd century. Of course, now we discriminate by planets. Discrimination somehow got worse.

If you’re from Hanna, you must be really polite and fucking fit. If you’re from Earth, you must be foul and selfish. If you’re from Valorion, you must be part of the elite and rich. If you’re from Ekkberen, you must be pretty filthy and poor. If you’re from Zenon, you must be promiscuous and party a lot. If you’re from Manta, you must be emotionless and clean. If you’re from Ganakk, you must be a brave and tough to the core. The list goes on and on. There are so many preconceived assumptions about people by stereotyping them by their planet. Cultures are different every planet you go, but that doesn’t mean everyone falls within the norm. I know I don’t, nor does many of the people I’ve met.

Hannans always think they are the ‘superior’ breed of homo sapiens. You’d think us, homo sapiens, would learn about discrimination by this time. You’d think we’d grow the fuck up and teach the younger generations wrong from right. But here we are, discriminating against our own kind, still. Hannans are raised to think they are better than humans, but why? We both have the same genetic makeup. The same need for oxygen. The same need for water. Hannans are humans, after all, yet it’s an insult to be called human on planet Hanna. I didn’t get it, nor do I think I ever will.

Frank blinked, ignoring the comment, “You are right, you would treat them the same.” My mouth dropped. He wasn’t going to say anything about her comment? She just insulted two planets. Yes, I agree, Reorfs did smell bad but that wasn’t their fault. That was just their human biology. You can’t help what you are. I felt bad for Reorfs; they don’t like how they smell either.

Frank looked to the door as it opened. Zane walked in and talked quietly to Frank, asking for a few stop watches. I found that Zane was one of the coaches for our physical training at the base camp. Every morning we would run as a group with him and then, before lunch, we would go to the gymnasium for weight training and workouts. Last week, Jay, the other coach, told us we would have an extracurricular day on Fridays where we would play games like dodgeball, soccer, basketball and other activities. Every Wednesday we would have swimming lessons at the lake. Wednesdays would be the days we get to sleep in so we could run/walk to the lake, at least we got there on time. This new Wednesday and Friday schedule would start this week, since last week was our orientation week.

“Yeah, I know, he didn’t say anything because he agrees. Fucking humans are trash, I swear. Everyone knows it.” I looked at Frank and Zane, did they hear that? She was speaking loudly.

I looked behind me at the rest of my classmates in awe that everyone was ignoring her like it was okay. I eyed the slender human guy, Calvin, who sat quietly. He was naturally quiet, but he was shockingly funny when you spoke to him. No one really spoke to him because he was nerdy looking and awkward but he was a real gem. He was part of my cabin: the cabin of outcasts, the weird ones. I liked the people in my cabin, we got along wonderfully, so far.

Light chatter was going on as class was paused when Zane entered the room. I met Calvin’s eyes and he blinked at the girls, pissed. He was too nice of a guy to say anything; however, I wasn’t.

My eyes not blinking at I caught Jaimie’s light blue ones. The girl was beautiful, with her long, wavy blonde hair, fit body and blue eyes; the stereotypical hot blonde girl that men idealized on Hanna and even Earth. She was pretty, yes, but that didn’t mean her insides were the same.

“You are a fucking human, you idiot. But, let’s see, you called them trash, so technically, you just called yourself trash. I’ve never heard something more ignorant than what you just said in my life.” The class went silent. Frank and Zane turning their heads to us. Jaimie’s face became red, angry.

“What are you? Human, like, from Earth? How’s your planet doing?” It was dying, but there were animals, there was life in Africa, in Brazil, in Canada. There was still places that had life left to give. There was hope. She wouldn’t know that though; her mind was too narrow.

“I’m whatever-the-fuck I want to be. It’s 2218, does it matter? How did you join the UGNF with such a limited perception of the galaxies?” All I saw was red. “Expand your mind and then we’ll have a leveled conversation. I feel bad getting into an argument with someone who has such a primitive brain.” She was speechless, opening her mouth and closing it, she looked to Zane and Frank. I crossed my arms and sat back, trying to suppress my smile. Eli, sitting next to me, began laughing and then cleared his throat to hide his laughter. Gemini, from across the room, raised her eyebrows in surprise.

My eyes met his for the first time in almost a week. His face was blank. I couldn’t read it. I couldn’t tell if he was angry or cheering me on.

“Are you guys going to do anything? That should be a write up for god sakes!” Jaimie hissed at Frank and Zane.

Zane spoke up, “Griff, come with me.” Zane raised his eyebrows at Frank in question if it were okay to take me out of class.

Frank shrugged, “That’s basically the lecture and I think she gets the concept pretty well.” The whole class burst out laughing. The only few people not laughing was Jaimie and her two children of the corn. As I passed Jaimie, I looked directly at her, she met my eyes, fuming. I smiled and gave a wink.

“You’re fucking psycho.” She said.

Ouch, that insult really burned me. I’m going to go to the hospital now for that one.” Sarcasm leaving my lips. A few people laughed quietly. I looked at Frank and he was one of them. I think people liked me a little bit more than Jaimie. Then again, Jaimie was a spoiled Hannan girl who probably got everything handed to her growing up. Her first electric car. A Glass tablet. Her own cellphone.

I wish. I never even had a cellphone. Weird, right? I always wanted one. Fern and George kept me sheltered, to an extent. I could have a cellphone if I got a job. Catch 22: I couldn’t get a job until I graduate high school. Here I am, 18, and still no cellphone because I don’t start getting paid for the Galactic Forces until I pass my boards in twelve weeks and get my license to be a member of the UGNF. I didn’t care though. During our twelve weeks of training we weren’t allowed to have cellular devices anyways, but, of course, no one actually follows that policy. After classes and training, everyone is on their phones in the cabins. The officers don’t seem to care.

I followed Zane, catching his glance at me. His blue eyes, trained on me, pensive. Intimidating. Was I in trouble? Because everyone was laughing, even Frank. He turned away from me and walked down the hallway; I trailed behind as he made another turn to where the locker rooms were near the gymnasium.

He stopped quickly, turning to me. He turned so quickly that I almost fell into him. I looked up, his eyes, livid. I was confused, why?

“What?” I blurted out, my eyes squinting. I didn’t understand why this was such a big deal to him. I didn’t say anything that wasn’t untrue. Sure, I had an attitude; I’ll give him that. But was it really that bad?

His jaw shifted, my eyes traveling to his strong jaw line, to his lips. My heart fluttering, he was making me flustered again.

“Be very careful what you say next.” He said slowly, his voice rough. What did he mean? Be careful, or what? What was he going to do? Write me up? Oh, so scary.

I cocked my head, “Or what?” My voice, cutting the air like a razor, “You’re going to write me up for saying something that was factual? Even Frank didn’t care. What’s your fucking problem, Zane? What the hell did I do wrong this time?” I was pissed. Zane was pulling me out of class for nothing.

Zane blinked, “Ah, fuck it, I don’t care anymore. You need a lesson, and I’m going to give it to you.” I blinked in confusion, what type of lesson?

The next few moments were a blur. He tugged my hand roughly into the girl’s locker room. My jeans unbuttoned. I didn’t stop him. It didn’t feel like I was being violated in the slightest. If anything, I was okay with it. More than okay with it. A guy who I thought was fucking hot was unbuttoning my jeans. Was I dreaming? I had to pinch myself. What was he going to do, though? Not what I would have guessed in a billion years.

He tugged down my jeans, my cotton purple underwear on display, and sat on the bench, pulling me over his lap. What?

I fidgeted, trying to get up, “Wait, wait, wait. This is not really happening right now.” He held me down, his grip tightening. He was strong.

“No, it really is.” He said in a statement, no questions.

“Okay jokes over, let’s get back to writing me up.” I fidgeted some more, attempting to get up the second time, his grip not letting up.

He chuckled, and then his tone became serious, “Are you done moving around yet? I’ll hold like this all day if I have to.” My face was flushed, my butt was literally right in front of his face. I was beyond embarrassed. Fuck, he was serious. I stopped moving.

“Good girl.” He said, all the blood rushing to my face in embarrassment. The worst part: it sounded like he was enjoying every moment. Zane must be into some fucked up shit. It was exciting, in a weird way. I was scared, but it felt exhilarating.

I felt a sting on my bottom and heard a loud smack. Ow. That one hurt. He paused, adjusting his grip on my side. Then, more stinging sensations radiated on the soft tissue of my bottom. It began feeling tremendously painful. I scrunched my face, waiting for it to be over. It kept going after I counted to ten.

“Okay, I get the point. Please, no more.” I said in pain. My ass was on fire. It felt like my bottom was a candle wick and a flame was flickering.

No reply. He kept spanking me. Was this really happening? Please tell me it was a nightmare. I didn’t get what I did that brought this on. My attitude? But I was a grown woman, why was the punishment a spanking? That was something given to kids. I was no kid. I didn’t get it. I got the cold shoulder for a week and now I’m being spanked. What made him decide to do this?

The pain was becoming unbearable. Tears began falling down my face. I tried to be quiet and then I began moaning from my cries. The spanking stopped. He stood me up and pulled my pants up, buttoning them. I couldn’t look at him. I wiped my face with the long sleeve of my shirt.

“Shh, shhh. It’s okay.” He was cooing me, like I was under the age of 3. Let’s get things straight, I wasn’t a toddler. Why was he treating me like this? His thumb wiped away a tear from my face. I sniffled, my face drying as my tears stopped falling.

Zane was quiet, waiting, “So what do you have to say for yourself, missy?” I blinked, meeting his eyes. He was purposefully treating me like a toddler at this point, no further questions.

My bottom lip quivered, “I’m sorry.” I didn’t know what else to say.

His eyes dancing, playfully, “For what?” What game was he playing? I looked away, what should I be sorry for? My attitude? This was obviously family feud and except for there’s one thing on the board. I have only one attempt. This better be correct.

I looked down, at his jeans and his dark grey gym shoes, “For my attitude.” I said quietly.

I glanced at his facial expression. His face was contemplative, “How about you say that while looking at me and a little more convincingly, hm?” I met his eyes, they were amused, “Or, if you need more time, you can think of what you’re going to say during another spanking.” I opened my mouth in shock. His eyes were dead serious. This guy was not joking, in the slightest. It’s like he had a personality change within ten minutes. He was this person I didn’t know. I was seeing Zane’s cold side, and I didn’t know if I liked it or hated it. It was thrilling, but also I was absolutely terrified.

I looked at him, innocently, “I’m sorry for my attitude with Jaimie.” I said quickly. I thought adding in Jaimie would help.

He chuckled, shaking his head and scratching the stubble on his jaw line, “Convincing.” He paused, “But who else did you give an attitude to, hm?” Oh fuck, was that why he spanked me?

I added quickly, “And you.” Zane smiled, his teeth flashing like a lion’s.

“Good girl.” I let out a breath in relief. He stood up, his height towering over me. He was probably 6 feet tall. Not as tall as Eli, but tall enough to intimidate me by height.

I looked up to him as he touched my arm, “How about you go back to class.” It wasn’t a question; it was a statement.

I nodded, I needed to leave his presence. It was overwhelming. My mind was racing. So many questions. So many things running through my brain. What were Zane’s true intentions? For his own pleasure? Or what it really to adjust my attitude? If so, then why wouldn’t he implement a different punishment? Something that wasn’t so privacy invading? It was almost sexual yet it wasn’t; it didn’t cross that line. He didn’t touch me inappropriately. He just gave me a spanking. He treated me like a young child. It was absolutely mystifying why he did that. What was the reasoning? I wanted to know, but I was terrified to ask. He was hot and cold. I didn’t know if I wanted to see the cold side again. I met subzero, chilling Zane today, and it was unquestionably terrifying.

Re: I, Bot 404

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone reading! I thought I’d post one of my favorite chapters to write as a Christmas present. This is also probably the longest chapters in the story so if you’re enjoying the story I hope this is a nice treat to those of you.:slight_smile:


Chapter 18: Rayne like Rain, Bitch

A few days passed with cold Zane. It wasn’t as bad as the last week but it was like he was a lion, laying in the grass, waiting to pounce. I would catch glances when I walked past him in the dining room. I would also catch glances from Jaimie and her friends. It’s as if I were at battle with two different forces and I had to keep my guard up at all times.

Before I knew it, it was the end of our second week of training. I was becoming closer to Gemini and Eli. Gemini was easing off of me and keeping her distance, but was still very friendly. I think Eli may have broken it to her that I am not, in fact, lesbian. She was sad on Monday and I didn’t get why but Eli said he just had a talk with her about someone she was supposedly ‘crushing hard on’. I could only guess who that was.

On Tuesday, during lunch, Gemini asked me, “So are you and Eli interested in one another?” People were leaving the room and we were left at our table alone. Eli was running late for lunch and got his plate before they closed the food lines.

I blinked, laughing, “Oh god no. Eli? He’s like a brother. And he’s a fucking asshole. I could never date him, for god sakes.” And I was beginning to have other interests in mind. Someone who I shouldn’t be liking, but I couldn’t help it. He spanked me, but it made me feel even closer to him. What was this witchcraft that made me closer? I had no idea. I looked behind my shoulder and looked at him. He was speaking with Jay and laughing. He was enticing and thrilling to understand. I wanted him, badly. I knew I’d be hurt liking him, but I couldn’t stay away. The attraction was a strong tide that kept pulling me back in even though I knew I would drown.

Eli sat down at the table, “You hurt my ego a little bit on that one but it’s okay, I’ll get over it one day.”

Gemini looked to where I was looking, “It’s him, isn’t it?” She asked. As I got to know Gemma, as a bunk bed buddy and friend, I’ve gotten to know she’s extremely upfront. She does not lie and will ask things without hesitation. It must be a Zenon thing; I don’t know, really.

I hushed her, “Gemmy, shhhh.” Warmth spreading to my face.

Her purple lips smiled, her eyes twinkling, “It is him. You’re blushing, Rayne Griff.”

Eli rose his eyebrows and said in a hushed voice, “You’re having sexual relations with an officer?” Eli leaned on the table, “Can’t you get kicked out for that?”

I rolled my eyes, shaking my head, “Nothing has happened, Eli. Nothing. Shut the fuck up before you get me kicked out. If I get kicked out, I’m dragging your tall ass with me.”

Eli’s light grey eyes flashed with humor, “I’d like to see you try.”

I squinted, “You have something on your beard.”

“No I don’t.” Eli said, catching my lie, “You’re a terrible liar. I’ve known you two weeks and I can already see through all your lies.”

Gemma asked, “So what happened after class yesterday?” I blinked.

“Zane talked to me and gave me a verbal warning.” I said. I was not going to tell them what happened.

Eli replied, “Mhm, I’m sure that’s what happened.” He winked at me.

Gemma said, “Rayne, you can’t lie to us.”

I looked at them, palms sweating, “I’m going to plead the fifth on this one.” I said as I stood up with my tray.

Gemma looks at Eli, “What does ‘plead the fifth’ mean? I don’t understand this Earthling lingo.”

I walked away as I heard Eli explain, “It means that she has the right not to answer.” He said loudly to me as I was about to walk out the door, “Rayne, this isn’t Earth; you can’t pull that shit here!” I squinted at him with a glare. As I was about to turn, I caught Zane’s eyes, watching me and Eli interact. He seemed to always be present in my worst moments. This wasn’t one of them but I was beginning to think he liked catching me in bad moments. It’s like he was waiting for another one already.

When we had our first swimming lessons on Wednesday, I was put in the advanced group, which Zane taught. I caught his eyes traveling up my body when I passed him in my one piece bathing suit. His signals were confusing me. He would treat me like a toddler one day and then he’d be looking at me as if I were a piece of steak. What was it? Was I attractive to him or just a child? The world may never know, I guess.

Friday came quickly and before I knew it, it was the 2 PM and we were on our way to the gymnasium after our Critical Thinking class.

I changed into my dark grey shorts and light grey t-shirt with the UGNF logo that had UGNF in the center with a galactic swirl around it with speckled stars around the swirl.

Gemini took off her shirt, revealing her neon yellow push up sports bra, “On my home planet, people wear only sports bras normally to work out, it’s weird to wear shirts so often when training. It’s unnecessary heat, you know?” I liked hearing about Zenon. Most of the girls in our class, including Jaimie and the children of corn, thought that Gemini was too revealing and gave it out to everyone. Gemini did not do that. She was raised to be monogamous, even though polyamory was widely accepted in Zenon, and sexuality was not a taboo subject on her planet. It was the norm. Girls like Jaimie wanted to take the easy route out: call Gemini a slut. She was very wrong. She’d find out one day. That day was not today.

I shrugged, “Yeah, I can understand that. On Earth they do the same. Sometimes, here too.”

Gemma sat on the bench and put on her shoes, “How long have you been on Earth?”

“Not long. I went there for only three summers when I was younger and that’s it.” I said, thinking back. Jaimie and her friends passed us, her and her friends looking at us then opening the door that entered into the gymnasium.

“You talk about it like you’ve been there for a while. I mean, most Earthlings talk about it like it’s atrocious and you speak of it as if it’s great. Don’t take this the wrong way, but, why?”

I shrugged, “It’s not bad. Everyone makes it seem like it’s terrible. There’s still animals, wildlife. There’s deer, lizards, birds, bunnies and so much more. It’s dying, sure, but it’s still salvageable if people stopped migrating to the moon.”

Her eyes studied me, “You are a good person, Rayne. I’m happy to meet someone who cares about planets and the people of those planets like you. It’s refreshing.” She said, smiling. I loved Gemma, but she was always hitting on me. I was trying to friend zone her but I’m not good at letting people down like that.

We were the last girls to walk out. Zane and Jay were waiting patiently and talking to one another. It became apparent that Zane and Jay must be good friends.

There were red balls across the ground in the center line of the gymnasium. Dodgeball. This would be fun, I guess. I’m not good at throwing, but I am good at catching and dodging. I guess we would see how this goes.

By random, a Hannan guy named Ryo, an Ekberren guy named Derren, Jaimie and her friend, Kelsey, were chosen to be the four team captains. I had a good feeling I’d be chosen last because I never had a conversation with Ryo or Derren and both Jamie and Kelsey hated me. Eli was called first on Jaimie’s team. Gemini got called onto Kelsey’s team about three picks in. I stood there, waiting. Me and Calvin were left after everyone was picked. Nothing sucked more than being picked last. I didn’t care though, I didn’t know these people and I get it, I looked weak. I was small and looked to be a bad teammate. Maybe I was, we were going to find out.

Jaimie had last pick, she looked between us, as if this were a tough decision.

A minute passed, this was fucking bullshit, “Here, let me make it easy for you since it’s such a hard choice.” Poison spit out of my mouth. I wasn’t dealing with fucking bullies. I glanced at Zane. He had a blank stare again. What did that stare mean? Fuck.

I began walking over to Kelsey’s team and Jaimie said, “No, I’ll have Raven.”

I cocked my head at her, “Who the fuck is Raven? By all means, you can have her. I’ll just leave.” People started laughing. Jaimie’s face flushed red, mad.

“Okay, cunt.” Did she just call me a cunt? All the guys started making the ‘oooooooo’ noise and laughing, “Whatever you name is. Come over.” She looked away, annoyed.

I said as I walked over, “The name is Rayne like rain, bitch.” The guys who were ‘oooooo’ing began clapping and laughing, “Get it right, next time, or you can have whoever-the-fuck Raven is.” Everyone was laughing and talking after I said that.

She was about to respond but a whistle cut her off, “Alright, alright, girls, anymore from the two of you and you’ll both be written up. Remember, write ups stay on your record forever, even after training.” Zane cut in, his voice serious as he looked at us. His face went blank when he looked at me, his eyes stared at me for a moment longer and then blinked away.

Jaimie and Kelsey’s team was called first to go against one another. We were allowed to huddle to talk about strategy for the game.

Since Jaimie was captain, she began, “Just run, grab the balls and start throwing as soon as possible.” Great strategy. That’s, like, what every single team within the galaxies probably thought of.

“Or, just a thought,” The team looked at me as I was partially outside of the huddle, “we can have half of the team run, and roll as many balls back as possible. Have the people in the back protect the people running forward by throwing these said balls rolled back. And we go from there.“ Eli and the guys next to him nodded in agreement.

Jaimie said, “I think we’ll just stick to the original plan. Thanks though.” She said it super fakely, with an exaggerated smile. My mouth went into a line and I turned around, walking away before anymore vile thoughts spilled out.

The huddle time ended, “So here’s the catch. Whatever team loses the tournament, has to clean the dining hall after dinner.” Jay said. Every trainee looking around like ‘oh shit’.

Derren asked, “So, what do we get if we win then?” The guys behind him laughed.

Jay thought for a moment and Zane cut in, “The title of being undefeatable for the first dodgeball tournament. Wonderful, isn’t it?” People groaned. Some of the girls, including Jaimie next to me, giggled. I rolled my eyes. Those thirsty bitches.

We all lined up and got into starting positions. Zane blew the beginning game whistle and Kelsey’s team split up. Four people ran forward. The other four stayed behind. Well, I can’t say I didn’t try to help our team. The whole of our team lunged forward, not including myself. I stood at the starting line, crossing my arms, waiting. I decided I’d be the only one catching to bring teammates back into the game.

Eli was the first to begin throwing. His arm was sending balls like rockets at the opposing team. He took out Gemma first and she rolled her eyes, “Thanks, you ass.” She said across the room.

He laughed, and then was hit by Calvin from the opposing team. Calvin was a smart guy, and I don’t think many people understood that. I stood and watched the players, trying to find their patterns.

“Griff, get in the game!” I heard Zane say and I blinked to him, my eyes almost rolling. His expression was blank, again, but his eyes were trained on me. I looked back in front of me and a ball was hurled at me. I dodged it by moving to the right. I was too far away to be hit that easily. One girl, Kyla, Jaimie’s second child of corn, threw it. I smiled, so that’s the game we were playing.

3 people were taken out from our side within minutes, including Eli, leaving 5 of us to fend for ourselves. The other team only had one player on the side.

Eli yelled from the sidelines, “Someone catch some balls so we can get back in!” I found that Kyla and Kelsey were high and light throwers as I watched. The other team began taking the middle area for balls. Well, we were pretty fucked.

There was a standstill and I still hadn’t played in the game yet. I could feel Zane’s eyes on me. He was speaking to Jay while looking at me. What was he saying? Was me talking about me? I couldn’t tell. All I know is it finally made me consider joining this game we were losing.

Fernando, who was a heavy thrower and hit people hard from the opposing team, threw a ball down the middle of the court. I ran, kneeling and catching the ball near my stomach with a loud boom. I winced. That stung my hands and stomach but I’d get over it. Our team and the two teams who were watching the game roared loudly as Eli was back in the game. Now we had a chance. Our best throwing contender was back in. As I was kneeling, another ball flew at me from Kyla. I rolled to the side, dodging it by a hair.

I stood up, tossing a ball to Eli. Three of our teammates got hit in an instant. One of our teammates threw a ball and it was caught. Our team was only left with me, Jaimie and Eli. Well, fuck us, right?

“You throw, I’ll catch, okay?” I said to Eli as the opposing team was all still on the court. About eight people versus three. Our odds were not in our favor.

Eli nodded as another ball came hot at me, to my knees. I dropped to the ground, catching it. I tossed it to Eli as he threw it at Kyla, hitting her with a boom. Our team clapped, hope rising for our once hopeless team. One person came onto the court. We had four, they had seven.

Then, balls began flying and I dodged the throws, jumping to the side and ducking. Jay blew the whistle and Eli, Jaimie, and the one person other person, who I did not know the name of yet, brought on the court, went back to the sidelines. I was alone.

Gemini, on the opposing team, was on the sidelines, cheering me on, “C’mon, Rayne, you got this!” She was loud and her team looked annoyed that she was cheering me on.

I laughed to myself as another ball was thrown at me by Fernando. It skidded close to the floor and almost touched my ankle.

Another ball flew high, and I went to catch it. As I caught it, another ball hit me in my side. The whistle blew for the end of the game. The other team began cheering. We were the first team out and probably would be cleaning the dining hall if we didn’t win the next game.

I said bluntly to whoever blew the whistle, “That’s bullshit.” I rolled my eyes, meeting Zane’s. His eyes were watching, carefully, with a blank stare, “I caught the ball before Fernando’s hit me.” I said, incredulously, looking at him with my hand holding the ball as proof.

Jay spoke up as Zane’s eyes looked at me, not blinking, “It was caught at the same time, which is a loss. Off the floor, Griff.” He said, as Zane crossed his arms. He spoke in a low voice to Jay. Jay shrugged, nodding.

“Change of plans. The losing team is off the hook, Griff is cleaning the dining hall by herself tonight.” Zane said, looking at me. Chills went down my spine. Alone with subzero Zane tonight? Well, I’m fucked. The teams made an ‘oooooooo’ sound again. Warmth traveled up to my face and I dropped the ball, pissed, and walked to the bleacher seats.

“Last time you cleaned after dinner it wasn’t too bad, was it?” Eli asked, looking at me as I sat.

I blinked, staring at the ground, “I don’t want to talk about it.” I said as I crossed my arms. We watched the other teams play and I was quiet. I was scared for after dinner. My heart fluttered at the thought. He wouldn’t do it twice in one week, would he? I felt a ghost of a sting on my bottom as I thought of it. The losing teams didn’t battle again, since I was already chosen to clean the hall.

We were back in our cabins and I laid on my top bunkbed, staring at the oak ceiling.

“What’s wrong with her?” Gemma asked quietly to Eli was on his phone as his feet hung off his top bunk bed, probably scrolling through the Galactic Tinder. Yes, you heard it right, after 200 years, Tinder was still a thing, but now between the galaxies. Earth capitalized on it and now you have to pay for a membership but people still used it, quite frequently, actually. I’ve caught Eli on it a couple of times and he always showed me bisexual Zenon girls. I’d roll my eyes; he had a crush forming on Gemma, but Gemma was strictly into girls. He knew that, so he looked for other options.

He said, “She’s probably still mad about her little fiasco with the coaches earlier.” Eli put up his hands, “She ‘doesn’t want to talk about it’, so I wouldn’t ask her.” He said with sass.

I closed my eyes, rubbing my temples, “I’m literally right here. I can hear you, Eli.”

Calvin walked into the cabin, sitting on his bottom bunk bed in the front of the room against the wall, “You guys never stop fighting with each other, do you? It’s like watching a network show; it’s actually quite entertaining. Please, continue. I’ve been so bored.” We all turned our heads to him, laughing.

Gemini looked at him, “I’ve never heard you speak before, but that was funny.”

Calvin shrugged, “No one really speaks to me. Ever since we got here, everyone grouped together quickly and I realized I was outcast before I could even warm up to people.” He smiled, “But that’s okay, I’m used to it.”

I sat up, my feet hanging down on my bunk, “You can join us. We do bite, though, I must warn.” I said, with a smile.

Eli said, “The only one that bites is Rayne, if you didn’t already notice from what happened earlier today.”

Calvin smiled, his eyes happy behind his glasses, “Thanks, I guess I’ll have to accept this invite with the rebels of the bunch.” We all laughed. Rebels? Is that what we looked like? I thought of us all together. We were a weird bunch, but rebellious? Maybe only me.

Calvin usually sat at the end of the table at lunch near Jaimie’s friends but today he began sitting with us. He pushed his glasses up as he began eating his food. I looked at our group, we were a weird collective bunch of people that probably would have never talked if not brought together by a common interest in the Galactic Forces.

Eli was respectable, tall, muscular and handsome guy that I caught some of the girls talking about. Gemma was a ‘hot Zenon babe’ (Eli’s words, not mine) that guys gawked at, especially when she walked out of the bathroom in short shorts and a sports bra one morning. I was the short, quiet but snappy, what-ever-the-fuck I came from planet, girl. I didn’t fully know what I was, that was the truth. I was still curious what my DNA test said, but Jay never came up to me afterwards about it. Maybe I’d ask for a printed out DNA results later. All in all, we were a strange group, individuals in our own ways yet we came together with the same sense of humor and got along well. These new friends, I would not trade for the galaxies. These people made the Galactic Forces training bearable, and that was something to be said about the bonds we were beginning to form with one another.

I moved around my food on my plate. I was not hungry. I was anxious, if anything. There was only ten minutes of dinner left before people were kicked out so the kitchen staff could clean and put away food.

“Are you not eating?” Eli asked.

I sighed, sitting back, “I might.”

“Because I will gladly eat your food. It’s barbecue flavored chicken for Christ’s sake. This is the first time we’ve had flavored food in two weeks.” He eyed my food.

I stuck a few pieces in my mouth, eating quickly. Then I pushed my food to him, “You can have the rest.”

Gemma looked at me, her eyes studying me, “What’s wrong, Rayne?”

I shook my head, “Nothing.” I turned my head to look at the officers table behind me. Only Frank and Erik were talking. Zane and Jay were gone.

Eli was looking where I looked, “Why are you so nervous?”

“What? How am I nervous?” I asked, blinking. I didn’t think it was that obvious.

“Well, you’re not eating, you’ve been clenching your fist all day and your jaw has been tight ever since gym class.” I guess they knew me too well.

“I’m going to start cleaning early.” I said as I got up.

Eli shook his head, “And the mysterious Rayne strikes again. Leaving when serious questions are asked.” He narrated as I walked away to the kitchen. I glared at him as I opened the kitchen door.

Jean looked at me and shook her head as she was scraping the grill off, “What happened this time?” Her curly short hair sticking to her face from sweat underneath her hair net.

I put on gloves and started the sinks to clean the dishes, “I argued with one of the coaches during dodgeball.” I said as I began soaking trays in the soap water.

She shook her head, disappointed, “Well, after I clean this stove and put away the food I’m going home.” She seemed irritated and looked ready to leave. Jean was nice, but she warned me about this. Ultimately, it was my fault this happened again.

I nodded, beginning to clean the trays. Jean left and about thirty minutes later I drained the sinks after drying and stacking the trays. I was making good time as I cleaned quickly, trying to get to mopping before Zane would be checking in on me.

I put on new gloves and went to the tables with a rag. I wiped down the tables and began putting chairs up. I wiped sweat from my forehead as I put the chairs up. Hair stuck up on the back of my neck as I heard the door close, softly. Someone came in, very quietly.

I turned my head. His stare was blank as he crossed his arms, unreadable. I turned back to what I was doing, placing chairs up on the tables. My palms became sweaty, I was nervous. This was the third time I was completely alone with Zane. From my past experiences, this could go one of two ways: really well or really terribly.

I went to the kitchen and grabbed the mop and filled the bucket, placing it under the sink. Water filled it while I went looking for the mop soap; it wasn’t in its usual place. I came back too late and the water was overflowing the bucket. I tried pushing the bucket so the water would pour out, into the sink. The water splashed forward in a wave, some pouring out into the sink and then splashed back onto me as the bucket swayed backwards. Over the bottom of my shirt and jeans. I looked down, there was water over my lower abdomen, crotch and inner leg. It looked like I pissed myself. Great.

I stopped for a moment, staring. Should I ignore it and walk out confidently? Or should I try to cover it? I looked over to Jean’s apron. Ahah! Perfect. Not too weird, right?

I tied the dark blue apron behind me, snugly. I grabbed the bucket and put the soap pod in it. The water foamed as I dragged the bucket out to the dining hall. Zane brought a chair down, and sat at the front left corner of the room, on his phone.

I began, at the opposite corner, mopping in a figure 8 motion, effectively cleaning.

“What are you wearing?” I halted, my heart skipping a beat. He was five feet behind me; how did he get there without me noticing? He was silent and quick, I didn’t hear him at all move from the chair he was just at.

I looked behind my shoulder, “Jean’s apron.” I said quietly and then continued mopping.

I felt his fingertips brush my lower back, undoing the strings of the apron. My face was becoming red.

“Why didn’t you have it on earlier when I first came in?” His voice low, in my ear. I could feel his warm breath. I could smell his enticing sweet woodsy scent. His body, the closest it had ever been to mine. I could feel a tingle between our proximity, as if we were magnets and I was attracted to him.

I blinked, “I, uh, spilled something on myself.” I said, shyly.

He chuckled, near my messy hair, “Did you now?” I turned my head to his face, it was a few inches away from me as I looked up to him. My breathing hitched. I felt butterflies tickle my stomach. His breath, minty sweet. His eyes traced mine and traveled down to my lips.

He crossed his arms, taking a step back, “Turn around, let me see.” Zane said, eyes dancing playfully, like a lion.

I turned slowly and he lifted the apron over my head, tossing it on the nearby table. His eyes traveling down my body, humor playing across his face.

“Someone had an accident, didn’t they?” Zane’s eyes met mine. He said it as if I were a small child. As if I wet myself. Warmth traveled up my face in embarrassment.

I tucked hair behind my ears, shaking my head, “No, I just spilled the mop water on myself.”

“Are you sure that’s what happened?” He said, not believing me. It was as if I were a toddler to him and he didn’t listen. Was he really not believing me? I didn’t piss myself. That was for sure.

I searched his eyes, confused, “I’m not two years old. I didn’t piss myself, Zane.” When I said Zane’s name, venom rolled off my tongue. I was insulted.

“You act like your two years old, so isn’t it appropriate for me to treat you the way you act?” He asked, with a tone of authority. I blushed, that was a good burn. He got me on that one.

I said, “Forget it, I’m getting back to mopping.” I turned around, draining the mop.

“Excuse me? What did you just say?” I blinked, looking at the wood paneled wall in front of me.

I turned my head and looked at the table near us, “I said forget it, I have work to do.”

Dead silence. My palms becoming sweaty. My heart beating out of my chest.

“Sit in the corner.”

I turned to him, “What?” I blurted out, meeting his eyes. His expression was blank, eyes trained on me.

“You heard me. Now.” His snapped as his head nodded to the chair he sat at in the corner. I dropped the mop, pissed. My face becoming flush red, in humility mixed with anger, as I walked over to the chair.

I sat down, crossing my arms with a huff.

Zane blinked at me, I couldn’t read his face anymore, “Stay there, don’t move. I’ll be back.” I sat, wondering where the hell he was going? Why did I have to sit here? I could be mopping instead. This made no sense.

Five minutes passed. I fidgeted in my chair, anticipation of the worst getting the best of me. I got up and began pacing, angrily. Why was he doing this? What was the point? I was sitting for no fucking reason and he was just making a power move. My fist was clenched as I paced, and I crossed my arms.

“Fucking shit, this is so fucking stupid.” I huffed as I paced. My hand trembling. I was nervous but angry. I was a huge mess of emotions. Zane was making me overwhelmed. I needed to calm down.

The door opened and he had a backpack with him.

He looked at me, “Why are you standing?” His voice hoarse, blatantly irritated.

“You left me and told me to not move. I got bored. What else was I supposed to fucking do?” I said in a matter-of-fact way.

Zane ignored my response, turning and locking the doors of the dining hall, closing the doors blinds. He walked over to the corner and set the backpack on the ground. He was silent as he sat down in the chair. He didn’t say a word, fuming quietly. It was terrifying. I rather have threatening Zane over this quiet, fuming Zane any day.

“Come here.” He said with a low, calm voice as he patted his lap. So we were doing this a second time in one week? Fuck. I winced, thinking about the pain.

“Wait. Can we talk about this, first?” I asked, blinking at him innocently.

He gave me an unbelievable look, “Where do I begin?” He shook his head, his fingertips brushing his lips, “You fought with another trainee today, using profanity, you didn’t participate in dodgeball until I called on you, you gave me an attitude twice and questioned me, and within these past twenty minutes you used even more profanity and continued to give me an attitude and question me. And now you think you’re going talk your way out of this one?” He said as his eyes studied me in amazement, humor.

I opened and closed my mouth; he did make valid points. I put my hands up, saying the only thing that made any sense, “In my defense, she called me a cunt first and that’s why I called her a bitch.”

“That’s still not acceptable.” Zane said, blinking with irritation. I stood there. Not moving.

“It’s either you come here willingly or I’ll do things the hard way. Your choice.” He said as crossed his arms in the chair, waiting.

I hesitated, and he lunged towards me, beyond irritated. He was livid, enraged. My vision got blurry, my heart racing. He pulled my wrist, roughly, to the chair. I whimpered but he didn’t care. He ripped the buttons of my jeans apart, tugging my pants down in a second, and then my underwear. Oh god. Not my underwear, too. I blinked. I was clean shaven but it was absolutely embarrassing. I didn’t want him to know I shaved down there. Now I really looked like a child. I caught a glimpse of the corner of his mouth rising before he brought me over his lap.

The pain was worse than the last spanking. His hand to my bare bottom, no fabric protection, stung remarkably worse. I whimpered, hoping he’d go easier on me, but he did not. It seemed like he was getting his anger out, adrenaline making the smacks much more painful than Monday’s spanking. I began crying much sooner and whimpering, almost to the point of wailing. I didn’t want this spanking. I wanted it to end. I was sorry to give him an attitude. I got it. I learned my lesson. What felt like hours was only minutes and he ceased his terror on my bottom.

After he helped me stand up he looked at me, a puffy mess. Tears stained my face as I looked at him. I pulled down my wet shirt to hide my bare self in front of him. He was hot. And this was not the way I imagined being half naked in front of him. Not in the slightest.

His eyes flashed with humor, “Do you have something say to me?” His eyes studying mine.

I sniffled, “I’m sorry for having an attitude with you and Jaimie earlier.” I said, making eye contact.

He smiled, “That’s a good girl. Now let’s get you into something more fitting, hm?” He said in more of a statement than a question. I cocked my head. What did that mean?

Zane reached into his backpack, pulling out a towel and placing it on the floor, “Take off your shoes, underwear and pants and lay down.” Oh no, please don’t tell me this is what I thought. There’s no way he’d have what I think with him.

I stumbled as I laid on the ground, slipping my shoes, underwear and pants off and still attempting to cover my bare lower regions.

My eyes catching a white soft item in Zane’s hand. No, no, no. Nope. This was not happening right now. There was no way that was real. How would he have diapers, at the camp, in my size? My brain was flabbergasted. This wasn’t adding up. He placed it down near me with powder.

“Lay back.” He said, calmly. I laid down, still covering my nether regions with one hand and my legs crossed.

He moved my hand away and said, “Relax your legs. The more relaxed you are the faster I can get your diaper on you.” Your diaper. I blinked, my face becoming blank. I couldn’t think straight my mind was fuzzy with humiliation.

He lifted my legs up, with one hand. That’s how strong this handsome man was. I blushed even more. Someone so damn attractive was changing me into a diaper. I was beyond humiliated.

The padding was slipped under my bottom. He kept my legs up, my bottom in front of him. I was confused why my bottom was still up in the air. Then I felt light tickles of powder on my butt, and him patting it onto me evenly. Then he set my legs down, powdering my front area. The front of the diaper was wrapped snugly around me and taped on. It was comfy. I was past embarrassed but the diaper was soft, hugging. The powder made it even comfier.

I glanced at Zane’s face, content, “Here, we’ll put your jeans back on.” He helped me stand up as he knelt. His eyes scanning my vulnerable state, twinkling happily. He was enjoying this.

I steadied myself on his strong shoulders, taking note as I lightly touched it, stepping into one pant hole and the next. He pulled up my jeans and buttoned them. My jeans were a lot tighter than before but I could still walk.

Zane put away his items and zipped his bag up, dusting off his powdered hands on his jeans.

I was like a lost puppy, I didn’t know what to do, what to say for the first time. I stood there, awkwardly.

He looked at me, “You can continue your mopping now, baby girl.” He winked at me. I blushed and walked back over to the mop I dropped earlier. I began mopping slowly, in a trance and then I woke myself back up, getting back into my routine of the figure eight motion. Zane sat at the chair in the corner and looked on his phone, as if nothing happened.

The padding between my legs became increasingly hard to ignore as I moved around. The worst part was: I felt my bladder becoming full. Of course, right? The one time I was in a diaper is when I feel like I can hardly hold it. Just my luck. I could probably hold out for a little bit longer.

I got to the opposite corner of the room and mopped near where Zane was sitting. He got up as I came closer and took his backpack and the chair and moved to the tables. He put the chair upside down and put his backpack on the table.

“Thank you.” I said as he moved his items.

Zane rose his eyebrows in surprise, “Awe, that was polite of you, Rayne. That’s a good girl.” I blushed, for the seventeenth time. He sounded like he was talking to a puppy that finally peed outside.

I finished mopping and looked at him for approval. I was hoping he’d let me leave, so I could release my bladder and take this diaper off.

He walked around the room, slowly inspecting, even going into the kitchen to check. Oh, he was milking this. Five minutes later, he said, “How do you think you did?”

I scratched my head, “I think it’s okay. I cleaned the tables, washed the dishes and mopped so it’s all pretty clean.” I shrugged.

“What are you forgetting?” He said, cocking his head. I shook my head, that’s exactly what I did last time. There was nothing that I was missing? Was there?

“Trick question? Nothing?” I asked, timidly.

He smiled, “What about the kitchen?”

“Uh, lemme see.” I said, passing him and looking in the room. All of the trays stacked up were on the ground. They must have fell when I had the whole bucket issue. Fuck. This was going to be more time. I had to pee so bad. I couldn’t hold it for another twenty minutes, there was no way.

I began walking over to the bathroom, Zane said, “Where do you think you’re going?” I looked at him, confusion flashing on my face. Oh god. Please, please, don’t tell me he wants me to use the diaper too. This was overwhelming.

I was like a deer in headlights looking at him, “Can I please use the bathroom, Zane?” I said, crossing my legs. Humor playing on his expression.

“With your act today, as far as I know, you don’t know how to use the restroom.” He said as a statement.

“But what if I did?” I asked, dancing. The pressure from my tight jeans was making it difficult for my bladder to hold strong.

“But what if I gave you another spanking?” His eyes flickered wickedly.

“Okay, okay, I get it.” I said as I walked back to the trays. I cleaned them quickly and towel dried them, carefully stacking and placing them on the shelves. I moved, and a small stream of pee escaped. I pressed my hand on the sink, grimacing. Fuck. No. This was not happening. If I peed myself fully, I’d be mortified.

“What’s wrong, Rayne?” He opened the door and saw that I was done and grimacing.

“Nothing.” I said, shaking my head.

“Do you need a change?” He asked, approaching me.

My mind blanked, embarrassed, I technically did. I didn’t respond.

He came up to me, his hands wrapping around my waist to my pants, and unbuttoning and unzipping them from behind. His chest brushing gently on my back. Was he going to check if I wet myself? Blood rushed to my face.

Zane pulled my pants down to reveal my diaper. I froze, more pee trickling into the padding. His hand pressed against my bottom, squishing the newly warm, wet padding.

“Hmm.” His mouth near my ear, “It looks like someone needs a change, doesn’t it?” His sweet woodsy cologne hypnotizing me. My walls were down, I was vulnerable.

I was mortified, beyond speechless. I blinked, what was the reason I was letting him do this to me? I could have left. I could have ran far away. I could have went to Frank and Erik or the heads of the UGNF and said I was being harassed during my training. I had every reason to. What made me stay? What made me let him belittle me?

The answer was simple: in some dark way, I, like Zane, was enjoying this. I didn’t know it yet, but it felt right in some strange, twisted way. I acted like Zane was crazy, but I was just as crazy. I wanted Zane’s attention, even if were in the form of a spanking. I wanted his looks, even if they were intimidating. Most of all, I wanted to be his and only his. It was a dangerous thought that could hurt me and leave me heart broken, but my naive self couldn’t ignore the feelings I was developing.

Re: I, Bot 404

Chapter 19: Rewriting History

Rayne.

“Shhhh, shhhh, it’s okay little one.” He was babying me as my diaper became soaked, “I’m going to change you and then you can go back to your cabin, how does that sound, hm?” His nose nestled in my messy hair. His hand traveled down my side as tears fell down my face and I turned around to him. I turned around and buried my face in his shirt, hiding from humiliation. He kissed my hair as his hands caressed my back. I felt so little, so tiny in his arms.

He picked me up by my under pits and I instinctively wrapped my legs around his waist, my arms hugging his neck. Before I knew it, I was on the ground and my pants were wrapped around my ankles as he was untaping the diaper. I crossed my arms over my face, I couldn’t look.

“Is someone playing peek-a-boo?” He asked as he tickled my side and a giggle escaped my lips. I laid there, my arms still shielding my face, as seconds passed by. Was Zane was waiting on me? I couldn’t tell, nor could I see.

I peeked out between my elbows, squinting. Zane said, “Oh, look I found Rayne!” I blushed, covering my face again as he said, “Oh, no, where’d she go?” He was treating me like I was a toddler.

I huffed, uncrossing my arms over my face, “You can’t be serious.”

Zane’s eyes danced playfully, “Somewhere, deep down, you’re enjoying this attention.” He said as a statement. I scrunched my face at him in response. Maybe he was right. I just didn’t want to admit to it.

He lowered the diaper, and took a cold wipe to my front areas and then raised my legs for my bottom with a new wipe. I winced as the cold wipe came into contact with my bottom, still sore and hot from my spanking. Zane rolled the wipes in the wet diaper and placed it to the side. I caught a glimpse of the rolled up diaper, blinking, god that was embarrassing.

He slid a new diaper under me and patted powder on me, then pulling the diaper snugly over my front area, “There, there, all better now aren’t we?” He said, smiling at his work and meeting my eyes. I got up, pulling up my pants and nodding, quietly. He disposed of the diaper in the trash and then got his backpack.

I stood there, awkwardly waiting to be dismissed.

Zane turned off the lights and walked me outside the dining hall. I could see a few other recruits walking in the distance near the woods as Zane turned to me, “So what did you learn today?” I blinked up to him, pushing hair behind my ear.

“That you’re into some really kinky shit.” I said, winking and walking backwards.

“Watch you’re language, Rayne.” He said as his expression went blank. He began walking to the cabins with me.

“Sorry.” I said immediately after. Forgetting that he told me that my ‘profanity’ was too much earlier.

It became silent between the two of us as we walked, he spoke up, shaking his head thoughtfully, “You’re something else, you know that?” I looked at him, as the sky was pink, purple and light blue behind him. His eyes twinkling as they looked at me.

I walked, looking at the gravel below me, shrugging, “Thanks, I guess.”

He chuckled, “You just never stop surprising me.” I looked up, meeting his light blue eyes. Was he trying to hit on me? He was an officer and I thought I was making it up for so long but here he was, walking with me and seeming to be dropping hints.

“I could say the same about you.” I said back to him, grinning.

Zane licked his lips, looking at me as we walked to near where the gravel trail split to the recruits cabins and officer cabins, “Do me a favor, and try to behave next week, then I won’t have to spank you and maybe we can actually talk as adults, okay?” I blushed, that one slapped me in the face. Maybe we can actually talk as adults. Was I not an adult today?

I scrunched my face, thoughtfully, “Well, Zane, well-behaved women rarely make history. I’m trying to be in the books, if you couldn’t tell already.” I said, with a playful glimmer in my eyes.

“You were in the books since the first day of training, maybe you should let someone else have a role.” He said as he began walking up the bridge that was over a stream to the officer cabins.

“Get some good sleep tonight, Rayne. Your bottom may feel better with rest.” He said with a wink as he turned away from me.

Ugh. Always stinging me with good burns;I think I’ve met my match. I rolled my eyes, “Fine, I promise I won’t go past my bedtime, Dad.” I said over the stream as he crossed and said the word dad with an added sass. I heard him chuckle with a shake of his head as he walked away.

The thought crossed my mind in the moment to call him daddy. I blushed as the thought as I walked back to the cabins. Thinking of Zane as a dad or daddy was kind of a hot thought. It made my stomach tickle with butterflies in some strange way. I liked the thought. I shook it off as I walked into the room.

That night I had to take a ‘midnight run’ to dispose the diaper in the trash after everyone fell asleep. I came back to the room and Gemma whispered, “Rayne, where’d you go?” She said, her purple eyes glowing flecks of magenta in the dark.

I blinked, “I couldn’t fall asleep so I just went on a walk around the camp until I got tired.”

Gemini said, “Oh, I bet that’s what happened.” Did she just wink in the dark? I couldn’t tell.

Re: I, Bot 404

Maybe Zenon girls have night vision? :wink:

Re: I, Bot 404

Chapter 20: Mine for the Taking

Zane.

I touched the bottom of her diaper. She was wet and still soaking the fresh diaper I put on her barely twenty minutes ago. It was adorable. Beyond adorable.

I was in for it now. I was attached. She didn’t know it yet, but she was mine for the taking.

She was timid, shy and, most of all, vulnerable. She spoke, quite often, defensively and deflected her real feelings with humor. In the moment, I could see her, raw and transparent. She was melting in the palm of my hands and I was loving each second.

My nose brushed her messy hair as I took in her coconut scent. Her body, trembling, as I could tell she was wetting herself, releasing her control. My hand, traveling up her side and back down to her padded bottom. It was becoming full.

I knew I should have purchased the extra absorbent diapers for her last weekend. She was tiny, who knew she’d wet this much? I took a mental note to buy the extra absorbent, thicker ones for next time. Would there be a next time? I’d guess so, but it’s all dependent on her. She had the right to refuse this all. She had the right to walk away. She could tell on me if she wanted and I could lose my job, my future.

Why did I risk it all? Why would I take the leap of faith and spank her on Monday? Natural inclination told me she was asking for it, seeing how far she could push me before I snapped. Instinct took over and I couldn’t help but spank her for an attitude like that. After, I knew I could be in big trouble, but I wasn’t scared, not in the slightest. A certain amount of trust was placed on Rayne. I trusted her to understand that it wasn’t sexual. To understand that it was not abusive, but out of good intentions. Out of a loving nature.

If she said no, I would have stopped, immediately. She didn’t say stop or no. She was playfully speaking to me, testing my patience. She wanted to know what would happen if she poked me too much, and she found out quickly. I could tell she had a crush on me prior to. I knew what I was doing; it was all calculated, I was just waiting for a reason to spank her. When she gave me an attitude on Monday, how could I resist? It was the perfect chance. I even warned her, but she didn’t listen.

Her body stopped trembling, but when I turned her around, her lip was quivering and tears fell down her face. I broke her, which is what I was waiting for. Little did she know, she would be mine, with time. I wanted her soft whimpers to tend to. A baby to hold. She was becoming my baby, and it made a part of myself content, one that I hid away for years until I met her. Rayne.

I tried to stay away last week, but I soon realized I could not stay away any longer. I could not even begin to imagine her with anyone else. The thought made me repulsed. No one could give her the care and love she needed like me. If I thought someone would be a better fit for her, sure, anything to make her happy, but I was the best she was going to get. I could give her unconditional love; what other partner could give her that? Not many.

She was naïve and would probably fall for some guy who just wanted to fuck her, to use her. I wasn’t that guy. Sure, she was sexy, but I didn’t require sexual acts from her, I didn’t need it. I wouldn’t pressure her into anything she wasn’t ready for. She wouldn’t find that with anyone else. She didn’t know it, but I was looking out for her. If she were mine, I’d know she was safe. Maybe she’d have rules, being mine, but she’d be happy. I’d make sure of that. That’s all that mattered to me.

My perception of a relationship was unusual. I had special tastes in my partner and what they wore, what they did. Saying I was a control freak was a bit of an understatement; I couldn’t deny that. We all have our flaws, don’t we? Ever since I met Rayne, I’ve wanted to control her, to punish her, and, most of all, to care for her. I didn’t want to destroy her, in any way, shape, or form. I wanted to see build her up, be that person who would be there for her, no matter what the circumstances. I wanted to teach her lessons, steer her in the right direction.

She had an attitude, which I knew was part of her personality, that needed to change towards others. If she wanted to use it towards me, that was fine. When she had an attitude towards others, that was a different story, entirely. Her profanity, as of recently, was uncalled for. It was immature, mean-spirited, and needed to change immediately.

Even though I didn’t approve of it, her attitude made me feel alive. I loved a challenge, and she was becoming that challenge. I would attempt to fix her attitude, but not her personality. I liked her snappiness and clever sense of humor. Sometimes, I would stare at her with a blank expression, because what she said was amusing, I’d give her that. She would never know I found some of the things she said were humorous; it would only add gasoline to a fire that I needed to extinguish, quickly. Especially with that Jaimie girl.

Jaimie was a spoiled Hannan girl who got into the Galactic Forces because of a good word from her dad, who was my boss, Red, and also one of the counsel members of the UGN. Red was a good guy. Of course, sometimes good people have kids who are shitty people. The good skips a generation in some families and this was one perfect example. His only child became the polar opposite of him. Red always made jokes about how he wished his daughter could meet a guy like me, but he told me, “Don’t you get the slightest idea because you have five years on that girl.” Age was but a number. Heck, I was 8 years older than Rayne, but that didn’t stop me. I couldn’t even envision me with a girl like Jaimie. I knew the type of girl she was and I’d never even give her a look in that way.

Jaimie was one of those girls who were in the Galactic Forces for the look it gave her. Would she really risk her life for this? Did she actually care about others from different planets? Would she take her job seriously? Probably not. It disgusted me seeing girls join to make them seem like they cared about the galaxies, about other planets. They didn’t and never could, even if they tried. I could see through girls like her, because I dated someone like her before. It was a waste of time, and that took four years to figure out.

Rayne was a different story. She had an attitude, but she had good intentions. I didn’t know everything about her, but I knew that her interview and exam scores placed her at the top of the roster for the 36 recruits the UGNF accepted this year. I had to dig deep into her records to find that out. Officials weren’t allowed to know sensitive information like that about new recruits, but I was breaking a lot of rules this year.

The UGNF doesn’t accept just anyone, especially for the Galactic Forces division. You have to pass a psychological evaluation, pass a lie detector test, pass a drug screening, and pass an examination over the United Galactic Nations. The exam brushed over the history of each planets foundings, the history of the UGN, laws of other planets, mathematical problems and cultural diversity questions.

The questions were ridiculously hard and most of the information you learned throughout the academy which was long after you took the exam to get into the Galactic Forces Academy itself. Unfair, isn’t it? You have to take a test over material you won’t thoroughly go over until you’re in the academy.

The average score of this year was a 74.8%, and it was a rarity to see a grade over a B-. You had to have above a 68% to even be considered for the UGNF, and let me just say, half of the people accepted this year barely made even that score. Rayne received a 94.67%, which was the highest grade in the past four years. She didn’t know that, only I did. That’s another thing I wouldn’t tell her. She was intelligent, but I wasn’t going to add fuel to her smart-aleck fire that had been flickering low, waiting to spark.


“You seem oddly happy.” Jay said later that night as I was on my phone, reading a UGN article about President Wormuloid, of planet Valorion, considering the possibility of stricter immigration laws and travel bans and the effects it would have with other planets. Valorion-born Earthlings and Reorfs would be affected the most, and have the possibility of being forcefully removed from the planet if not having proof of citizenship.

I shook my head, ridiculous. Valorion was a beautiful planet, but there were a lot of things that happened that was far from the public eye in Valorion. It was striking, impeccable even, but dangerous. Dark things were stirring and had been moving for a long while. There were tensions with many planets and Valorion.

The UGN was the eye in the literal sky, watching like a hawk and stepping in when necessary. The UGN knew about a lot of dark things that the people of Valorion did, but kept quiet, waiting to make small moves, one at a time. War was in the realm of possibilities, one that could be short if the UGN had the balls to make the first move, but that was the last thing that would happen if tensions became too high.

I remember, eight years ago, I asked my brother, Daryx, what was so bad about Valorion when I began with the Galactic Forces, “Let me give you the greatest secret of the universe: Valorion wealth is all stolen.” Daryx had been part of the Galactic Forces for over three years and had been one of the youngest officials to go on undercover operations, “Valorions are the wealthiest of the galaxies, hands down. They raise their children to one day be in the Forbes top 100, not to give a shit about anyone else but themselves. They don’t care about the poor. They don’t care about the dying. The don’t care about the longevity of other planets. You know what they care about? They care about capitalizing on anything and everything, even if it’s immoral, downright evil. Whatever you do, stay away from that filthy money, you don’t want any of it. Trust me.”

I hadn’t seen my brother in a while. He hadn’t reached out to my mom or I in about five years. I couldn’t tell my mother, but Daryx was on a top secret mission within the Sequoia Capital. He was on his way up the political ladder in Valorion. I accessed top secret UGN articles about him to make sure he was safe. If his cover was blown, he could have a lifetime sentence in Valorion prison or worse, a death sentence. That idea kept me up the first few nights I heard my brother would be gone for a long, long time.

I told my mom that he was still at the Intergalactic Space Station every time I visited her. She already had heart issues, she didn’t need another reason to have a heart attack by hearing one of her sons was in one of the most silently dangerous areas of the galaxy. She had cried when she found out I was enlisting in the Galactic Forces. She had lost her husband to the Galactic Forces and now both her sons were joining. She was happy for me, but her poor heart was still worried, like most mothers are when sending their kids off to college for the first time but with an added element of danger. I knew I’d be leaving her alone, but I wanted to be a part of the Galactic Forces my entire life. It was my dream job, to say the least.

I looked at Jay, a few seconds later, breaking out of my deep thoughts, “I am.” I said, suppressing a smile.

He was playing Galactic Conquest III on his psInfinity and paused the game, looking at me, “So what happened?” He didn’t want to know. What do I say? I made Rayne wet herself and then changed her? I mean, he knew about that part of me but I wasn’t going to get into the details.

I smiled, “I think she likes it.”

He blinked, raising his eyebrows in shock, “What did you do to her?” He said it as if I did something bad, which I did do, in all honesty.

I began chuckling to myself, “You, of all people, do not want to know the details of that.” I said as I laid back, putting my arms behind my head.

“Zane, this is week two. You have to be kidding me, man.” He said shaking his head and going back to blasting asteroids in his game.

“Oh, it’s not that bad. I gave her a spanking or two for her attitude.” I said with a shrug, smiling to myself.

He paused his game, “You did what?!” He looked at me, shaken.

“Don’t. Worry. About. It. Jay.” I said slowly, becoming irritated with his reaction. Jay was acting like I was going to lose my job tomorrow.

“When you leave for sexual harassment I’m going to say ‘I told you so’.” He said.

“Last week you said I’d get a pat on the back from Red. Now I’m going to lose my job. Which is it?” I said, wondering why this was such a big deal.

“Well, that’s when I was under the assumption you were doing the vanilla approach like a gentleman and not some kinky shit with a new recruit.” He paused, thinking, “You didn’t even tell your last girlfriend until three years in. I just assumed if anything happened you would be normal about it for the first three years again.” He shook his head.

“She has an attitude, Jay, you know I had to do something about that.”

“Yeah, I thought you would just make her write a paper or have her clean the windows, that was my last guess of what would happen.” Jay said as he went against a boss battle craft.

“After what happened tonight, I don’t think she’ll be telling anyone anytime soon.” Jay turned his head to me, confused, as the boss on Galactic Conquest III destroyed his space craft.

Re: I, Bot 404

You’re onto me, catching the hints I’ve been dropping down. Maybe you’re right or maybe you’re wrong. I guess we’ll find out with time, haha. :wink:

Re: I, Bot 404

This chapter is where I have to put in a warning: the story will pick up with some sexual elements.

This will not be going farther than the book Twilight sexual elements. I will be alluding to certain things but I’m not going to be going into great detail, to stay within the rules of this forum and keep this story somehwhat PG - if that’s even possible. Most of the scenes will be up to the reader’s imagination, but it’s, like the ABDL elements, not the main part of the story. This isn’t some 50 Shades of Grey story; I can guarantee that, haha. So this is just a fair warning before the story begins picking up in that way.

Chapter 21: The Bystander Effect

Rayne.

So many thoughts about Zane swirled around my brain over the weekend. I went for a run Saturday morning, early, hoping to see him or maybe cross paths. Usually, most of the officers were gone for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the camp. After two weekends, it became apparent that two officers had to take duty and babysit the trainees each weekend. Jay and Zane seemed to be the first week and then last week they were gone the whole weekend. This weekend, Zane was gone, but not Jay. It was odd, seeing Jay alone. They were a duo always seen together, like a packaged deal, and now Jay was alone.

On Sunday, Jay was gone for lunch and dinner. I couldn’t help but wonder what Zane and Jay did when they were gone. Did they go out and party? Did they go home for the weekend? Did they visit another planet and then come back? I wondered what Zane was doing now. I wondered if he thought of me over the weekend the way I thought of him.

I imagined us kissing, and I smiled, blushing. Only in dreams, that would happen. He was probably a decade older than me and I’m pretty sure he thought I was a child at this point. Then again, he said ‘maybe we can actually talk as adults, okay?’ as if he were trying to tell me something. Maybe he thought I was more than just a toddler, who knows.

Monday came around and I got up, giddy to see Zane, and was the first one out of the cabins. I looked and was confused. Jay and Mathias were standing outside. Mathias? Not Zane? My brain couldn’t wrap around the idea.

“Morning, Griff.” Jay said as he looked at me. Mathias crossed his arms as he glanced at me, probably wondering why I was staring at him. He was Ganakkan, probably 6’ 5 and had curly hair. I was only staring at him because I was confused that he wasn’t Zane. Where was Zane? Was Zane okay?

Everyone filed out of the cabins and Jay spoke, “Zane is on a temporary leave of absence so Mathias will be running with us in replacement for the next few days.”


A few days turned into a week. Friday came slowly, and I was missing him. I didn’t get where he disappeared too. No one knew anything. I didn’t get what happened. Did someone find out about us? Is that why he was gone? It was completely consensual; I could have said no and I didn’t. If they asked me, I’d take the blame. He had a longer career than me and didn’t deserve to be let go of.

I shifted my thoughts, trying to think of simpler reasons. Maybe he was sick? Or maybe he got hurt over the weekend? Maybe a family emergency? Or he took vacation days? It could have been a lot of reasons. I didn’t know the full story, but I was beyond curious.

I looked over to the officer’s table at dinner on Friday, it had been a whole week since I saw him last. Every day I went into the dining hall expecting to see him. His blue eyes. His dirty blonde hair that stuck up straight in a messy way. His strong jaw line. His warm smile. Yet they weren’t there.

I met this guy of my dreams, he begins to like me and then he disappears. Fuck me, right? It was a real sucky feeling. I was depressed, in a way. Something felt off the past week and now it seemed like it was going to be another week with me feeling down again because I couldn’t see him.

“Rayne, he’s fine. You need to think about something else.” Gemma said as her purple eyes studied mine. I glanced at her, she put mascara on for once and it made her eyes pop even more than usual.

Eli chimed in, “How cute. Rayne has a crush.”

I glared at Eli as I held my plastic fork, “I will stab you with this fork and it will hurt. I will make sure of that.”

“Oooooh, I’m so scared.” Eli said, mockingly.

Calvin ignored us, as he ate quietly by himself. I looked at him, realizing I had been ignoring him this past week, “Are you okay, Cal?” I asked.

Calvin shrugged, “I’m just feeling home sick.”

Eli snapped, “Aren’t we all?” What a dick. Eli was sometimes a prick and didn’t have an ounce of sympathy.

I thought about it, I wasn’t homesick. Was that odd? I didn’t want to go home. Home was boring. I didn’t have an electric car, a phone, or really any friends. I had Fern and George but besides that, I didn’t have anything to go back to besides a plentiful of books and my music.

That’s all I did in high school was study, listen to music, and read books. Books were extinct after everything became digital. You had to have a iGlass or some type of tablet to even read books. I didn’t have the money, nor would Fern and George ever buy one for me. I had hundreds of books, passed down through my family. My mom and dad had a room full of books. I read and read, searching for answers, information. There wasn’t anything besides boring, useless information I had about other galaxies, planets. A bunch of books from my childhood that my mom would read to me as a kid to help me fall asleep. Besides books, I’d listen to old music from millenniums ago. I found that the 20[SUP]th[/SUP] century had some really good music. It never disappointed.

I missed my music. I wish I brought it with me to camp, but I assumed that we couldn’t because we signed a contract for camp that had a strict ‘NO ELECTRONICS’ statement which, obviously, no one took seriously besides myself. Go figure.

Calvin responded as he broke my trance, “Yeah, but you didn’t come from an entirely different planet.” He said to Eli. He did have a point, but Gemini was from Zena. She was farther than Calvin from her home planet. Gemini didn’t say anything as she sat there; I knew she was just being polite by not adding to the argument that was beginning at the table.

Eli looked pissed, “Whatever, dude.” He shook his head, getting up and leaving the table. Maybe, somewhere under Eli’s tough exterior, there was a young boy who was feeling homesick too. He was born and raised in Hanna and was once one of the captains of the football team at Mortar High School. I heard he had a big family from Gemma and that he missed. He talked about his brothers and sisters quite often to her.

It was weird that he was part of the outcasts cabin, strange even. He was outgoing, funny and talked to just about everyone, yet he sat with us and was close to me and Gemma. Eli was confusing to me. He could have easily made friends with Derren’s, who were considered the ‘popular clique’ of the trainees.

Why did he stay with the Zenon ‘slut’ and rebellious whatever-the-fuck I was? I know he liked Gemma, but it wasn’t to the point that he had to keep talking to us. He could of left and it’d be Gemma, Calvin and I. We would have been fine.


I had a few dreams of Zane, over the weekend, and one was a bit on the, how do I say, naughty side? I woke up on Saturday morning of our fourth week feeling hot. I dreamed of him kissing my jaw line and traveling down my chest, down my stomach. The dream ended before he made it below my belly button but I woke up flushed, tingling.

Zane showed me things about myself I didn’t even know. I didn’t know I’d want a guy who was so, how do I say, dominant? I didn’t know I wanted to be dominated, but that element of being little really excited me. It was thrilling, different.

He kept me on my toes those two weeks. I missed that, dearly. I wanted to see his blue eyes again, even if they were unreadable. I wanted to be held again, babied. There was something so intimate, in a nonsexual way, between me and Zane when he babied me that night. It’s like he gave me a taste and left and it was bittersweet.

On Monday morning, of the fourth week, a twinge of hope filled my soul as I walked out of our cabins for the morning run. Mathias stood by Jay again. I shook my head, sad. Life was fucking unfair.

Mathias ran at a slower pace and was left about a minute or two behind Jay, Eli and I on our morning runs. We made it to the lake and it was just Jay, Eli, and I at the lake.

I drank my water and caught my breath, looking at Jay, “Not to be nosey, but what’s up with Zane?” I asked.

Jay’s eyes flashed with something unreadable through his glasses, “He’ll be back soon. You can ask him.” He was coming back? So he wasn’t in trouble? I suppressed my giddiness. I couldn’t wait.


“Are you, like, going through a midlife crisis? You’ve been acting weird, Rayne.” Eli said in the Codes and Ethics class on Thursday. It was the beginning of class and Frank had a record of coming in about five minutes late to start class. Gemma sat down, across the room. I glanced behind me, looking for Calvin. Gemma and Cal usually walked in together almost exactly at 10 AM, where was he?

I shook my head, looking forward, “Nope. I’m just going through a funk.”

Gemma said, across the room, “You know why she’s sad Eli.” God damn Gemma, she doesn’t have a filter and always has to say things in front of people that I don’t want included in our conversation, such as our whole goddamn class.

Jaimie turned her head to me, “I mean, it’s pretty apparent. Didn’t you have a little crush on Zane?” How would she know?

I cocked my head at her, “What?” I blurted out.

“It’s kind of obvious, I mean who doesn’t? He’s hot. But he wouldn’t go for someone like you.”

I shook my head, “I don’t.” I paused, confused, “And what’s that supposed to mean?”

She rolled her blue eyes and threw her wavy blonde hair behind her shoulder, “I’ve seen him with his ex’s and first of all: they look nothing like you.” Her eyes scanned my face, “The last girlfriend he had was tall, blonde hair and blue eyes. You’re not even his type, honey, sorry to break it to you.” I was clenching my fists underneath the light wood table, biting my tongue.

That one stung. I’m not going to lie. I blinked away the pain as Eli looked at me. I looked out the window, to the dining hall in the distance. She didn’t know the moments we shared, but it still hurt to hear that I wasn’t his type. Maybe I had it all wrong in my head. Maybe Zane didn’t feel what I felt. Heck, he was gone, did it matter anymore?

“Why would I give a fuck?” I said as she turned around with a laugh, as if I had no chance.

Frank walked in, and I went quiet, “Good morning, everyone.” He said as his tired eyes looked at us, “And I’m just going to ignore what I just heard, I’m not feeling like writing up anyone today.” He said as his eyes landed on me. I sunk in my chair, crossing my arms.

Frank called everyone’s names on the roster, besides Calvin’s. What did that mean? I looked back to his seat at the last table in the middle back area of the room near Jodie, a Hannan girl with long curly orange hair, that he always sat next to. My face was concerned for him. Why wasn’t he here?

I glanced at Eli and Gemma, they looked back just as confused as me.

At the end of class, I waited until everyone left. Frank got up, grabbing his laptop bag, “What do you want, Griff?” He asked with a humorous gleam in his dull brown eyes, as his front strands of gray hair brushed his eyebrow. Gemma and Eli were waiting outside the class, listening.

“Where’s Calvin?” I asked, concerned.

“That would be information that I cannot disclose with students.” What did that mean? He slung his satchel over his shoulder.

“Oh, c’mon. Can’t you tell me something? He was my good friend. I just want to make sure he’s okay.” I asked, following him out the door. Gemma and Eli began walking out the doors of the main hallways, leaving me and Frank alone.

He locked the door, shaking his head, “He’s fine, Griff. He had a change of heart and will not be returning to the Galactic Forces.” Did that mean he dropped?

“So, did he, like, quit?” I asked as Frank walked to the offices of the main school building.

Frank shook his head, “I already told you too much, Griff, just do me a favor and leave me alone so I can take my lunch.” He said with a trace of dry humor.

I stopped following him and turned down the hallway to leave, “Gotcha. Thanks, Frank!”

I was shocked. Calvin was gone. First, Zane. Now, Calvin. Why did he leave? I knew he was homesick but never, and I mean never, did it cross my mind that he’d straight-up leave before speaking to Gemma or me.
I couldn’t believe it. I knew one other Hannan girl left our first week, but I thought we were at the point where it was too late to leave. Not to mention, we all signed contracts. Wasn’t it a big deal to leave like that?

Gemma blurted out, knocking over her water on the table, “WHAT?!” The tables near us went silent after I told her about the news.

I hushed her, “Shhhhhh. God, Gemma. We’re not even supposed to know that, yet.”

“Why didn’t he talk to us about it? I thought he was beginning to get comfortable with us. I can’t believe that.” She said, angrily.

Eli added, “I knew he’d go. He seemed weak-minded.”

I glared at him, venom spitting out, “Shut. The. Fuck. Up. Eli.”

Eli asked with a serious tone, “Why did you care so much about him, Rayne? What, was he your project? You knew he didn’t fit in.” My mouth opened and closed.

“Fuck off, Eli. He was a good guy, who just wasn’t lucky in finding friends.” I blinked, going off in a tangent, “I’ve been a loser my whole life with little to no friends. I got lucky meeting you two, but Calvin didn’t. I tried making him feel like he was a part of something, and it failed, obviously. So thanks, you dick.” I said, storming out of the dining hall.

I went to our cabin and climbed up the dark wooden ladder to my bunk. I sat there, and tears fell down my face.

Fuck. This sucked. The worst part: I felt like an ass. Was he my project? Did I try bringing him into a group that he didn’t feel like he belonged too? I fucking failed Calvin. My hand punched the stiff mattress under me, angrily.

It was my fault. I saw what was happening and ignored it. I could have done something instead of being a bystander. He was bullied, when Jaimie, the first week, spoke of humans like they were terrible people as Calvin listened. I argued with Jaimie that day, but it still didn’t change her disrespectable behavior towards Calvin. I put in minimal effort. I ignored a lot of her comments, thinking that Calvin could handle it on his own.

‘No one really speaks to me.’ he said the second week we were here. The past three Fridays, he’d be picked last when we chose our teams. No one spoke to him besides me and Gemma and sometimes Eli, and that was only if Eli decided to be nice. It was a sign, that I clearly ignored. When Eli, last week, was a complete asshole to him, did I say anything? No, I didn’t. I was the reason he left. One of the main reasons.

Calvin was intelligent, and could have been, would have been, a great part of the Galactic Forces. That idea was ended today. It was sad to see a friend go like that. I don’t know why it affected me so much, but it did. I was much like him and would have been him if I didn’t meet Gemma or Eli my first day. I was lucky to have friends, I never had them before. Calvin wasn’t that lucky and it was unfair.

Life was un-fucking-fair. The Galactic Forces was becoming real. This was not a cute career that everyone could do. You had to have a strong will to stay, and that was becoming apparent.

Re: I, Bot 404

Chapter 22: The Chocolate Protein Shake Phenomenon

Rayne.

Friday morning came of the fourth week of training, and I expected to see Zane during the morning run, remembering that Jay said Zane would tell me why he was gone in ‘a few days’. Zane was still gone. Where was he? Did Jay even know?

During the fifth week, I had lost all hope, Zane wasn’t there the following Monday, still. I didn’t even expect to see him, I anticipated he left, for good. Calvin left, so it was only expected that Zane was in the same boat.

I already made up the story in my head: someone must have saw us that night he spanked and diapered me. He probably got in trouble and then got kicked from his position. It was the only thing that made sense at this point. Why else would he be gone for so long?

People that had any significance in my life left, in a blink of an eye. You’d think I’d be used to it at this point. You’d think I’d learn by now.

Tuesday morning came and I didn’t go outside of the cabins the earliest like the past two weeks. I took my time, getting up and walking out the cabins screen door in my sweatshirt and dark grey leggings with my backpack on. I rubbed my eyes as I looked in front of me. Jay and Zane. Was I dreaming? My eyes, blinking in shock.

I looked at him, thinking he’d look back, but he didn’t. He had his arms crossed, talking in a low voice to Jay. Something seemed off about Zane. He seemed… sad? I didn’t know. His gaze cast to me and I blinked. Something wasn’t right. I didn’t know but he looked tired. A sad tired.

When we got to the lake, I looked at him and he looked away. Was it me? It had to be. My heart dropped.

I looked at the lake, watching the water ripple with the air brushing it. It was a hot morning and I was getting sticky. I took off my sweatshirt and wrapped it around my stomach. More trainees met us at the lake, including Jaimie’s group. They were finally making it to the lake before we ran back. It was becoming annoying because, now that Zane was back, she could speak to him more.

She was wearing short black shorts and a grey tank top. Jaimie walked up to Zane, “So, where’d you go the past two weeks?” She said as she took down her long, blonde hair as she looked at him. Blood boiled in my veins. Zane turned his head to her.

Eli said, “Just look away, Rayne.” My back became stiff, watching them. I couldn’t look away. Jaimie’s eyes met Zane’s. Fucking thirsty ass bitch. It was as if she were purposefully doing it in front of me. If she was trying to piss me off, it was working.

“I don’t really care to tell you.” Zane said with an annoyed voice, turning away from her back to Jay. Did he just turn her away? My insides wanted to burst out laughing in her face. Instant karma at its finest.

Jaimie blinked, walking back to her friends, confused, “What? Was it something I said?” She said to Kelsey and Kyla. They looked just as confused as her and shrugged.

Kyla said, “I think he’s just in a mood or something.” Was that really the case? He seemed like he just gave her the cold shoulder and I’m not referring to the one I usually got. This one was fucking cold-hearted. I liked it, when it was to Jaimie.

“What are you smiling about?” Jaimie’s eyes met mine, catching my gaze to them.

I frowned, suppressing my smile, “Nothing. You’re just one thirsty bitch, aren’t you?” Humor twinkling in my eyes.

Zane turned in our direction, listening.

“What is that supposed to mean?” She blinked, irritated, “I could say the same about you.”

I rolled my eyes with a laugh and began walking away, “Sure. Let’s go with that.”

I turned to Jay, ignoring Zane’s blank expression, “I’m going to start running back, early, if that’s okay?” I asked. I needed to leave before I punched Jaimie in the face. I was close to getting into a cat fight with her. I was no cat though; I was a lion. This would not end well for her.

Jay nodded, “We still have five more minutes, but, sure, if you want to.”

Zane said, in a serious tone, “I’ll run with her.” His stare was still blank. It was still too early in the morning for me to process this all. I took a sip of my water and put it in my bag while Zane took off, without me. I trailed behind him, having to sprint to catch up.

I asked, after we passed trainees who hadn’t even gotten to the lake yet, “Why were you gone?” As my feet crunched over a few twigs. We ran over the bridge that went over the stream and down a few steps.

He glanced at me and then in front of him, “I don’t really want to talk or think about it this week. Don’t take it personally, Rayne.”

I asked, quickly, “Was it because of what happened between us?”

He laughed, loudly, shaking his head, “No. Why would it be?” He asked as his pace slowed down a bit.

There was silence for a minute as we ran and my breath was becoming ragged, “I just thought that’s why you were gone, is all.”

All I could hear is our footsteps and his breathing as we ran, “No. Not in the slightest.” Relief broke through my sweat as I breathed in the warm air. Then why was Zane gone? I wouldn’t ask again, but I was still curious.


The week went by as Zane was far and distant. He was more serious during our workouts and did not have the same spark in his eyes that he had before he left. I couldn’t tell if it was just me or not but he was solemn, quiet. It was out of character for him.

On Friday, we had our first exam in our Code and Ethics of the UGNF and I was the first to turn it in and leave. I went to lunch exactly at 11, being the first one in line for the first time, ever. I always came late, that was just known at this point. It was weird being here before everyone else came in.

Jean looked surprised when I walked in and set down a stack of trays at the beginning of the line, “Well, look who it is. I’ve noticed you’ve been in good standings as of late?”

“I’ve tried my best, but no promises in the future.” I said as I flashed a smile and grabbed a tray. Zane was back, so I’d probably be seeing Jean more often again.

Jean laughed, “Oh, Rayne, you are a funny one. You better stay out of trouble or one day you’ll be replacing my job.” I laughed, shaking my head as I placed brown rice and chipotle seasoned chicken on my plate. Oh, this was probably my favorite meal. It was the most flavorful, in my opinion. Eli would most likely disagree and say that the barbecue chicken was.

I sat down at the end of the middle wooden table of the lunch room that was nearest the officer’s table as more trainees and officers walked in. I took the seats where Jaimie and her friends usually sat, which was directly in line of sight in front of where Jay and Zane sat each day. Those thirsty bitches always tried to be near Zane; it infuriated me.

Seats for lunch were basically cemented in stone at this point. I didn’t care though, I wanted to fuck with Jaimie. She would probably be the last out of the exam today since she obviously didn’t understand most of the concepts in class, anyways. Gemini and Eli walked passed me, going to grab their food.

“What a surprise, Griff at lunch early.” Jay said as him and Zane passed my table. Zane met my eyes with his eyebrows raised at where I was sitting. I chewed on my chicken and studied his eyes, they looked tired with circles underneath them. Had he not been sleeping well?

Gemini and Eli sat down, “So, me and Eli were talking. Tonight we should go out.” Gemma said, smiling, eyes twinkling with excitement to do something.

Eli hesitated to sit down, “Not to cut Gemma off, but…” His eyes looked at our end of the table that we usually sat at, “Why are we sitting here by the way?” He sat down, next to me. I looked over to the table in front of me as Zane sat down.

“To fuck with Jaimie. Why else?” I said, glancing to Eli.

Eli smiled underneath his beard, light grey eyes twinkling, “That’s fucking hilarious. I hate that bitch.” Jaimie rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, especially Eli. She was bossy, and every Friday she tried to tell everyone what to do in our teams during extracurricular activities. Eli was on her team 2 out of the 3 games so far and he was absolutely annoyed with her telling him what to do. It was as if she thought she owned each team she played with, like she was entitled to be the leader of every group. I could tell when I listened to her. Ugh. It was irritating.

Gemini ignored us, “Are you in?” She asked me.

“Aren’t we not allowed to leave the training camp? Isn’t that, like, against the rules?” I asked, confused.

Gemini rolled her eyes, “Rayne, have you not seen or heard about the girls and guys from the other cabins going out like every other weekend?” She said, incredulously, as if it were a known thing. I never noticed anyone from our cabin not there or gone. Then again, I didn’t know about the other cabins.

Eli laughed, “Rayne is oblivious, Gem, of course she hasn’t.”

Gemma asked, “So? Are you coming? My friend can pick us up about a half a mile down the road outside the gates around 8.” I scratched my head, my eyes glancing to Zane. I bet none of the officers would care if I left the camp, well, besides Zane. He wouldn’t know if he didn’t see me, right?

“Sure, I’ll go.” Jaimie and her friends walked in. Jaimie passed our table, eyeing me with a resting bitch face. Her friends spoke low to her as she looked at us.

I was almost done with my food as Jaimie walked up to me, I looked up, “What are you doing in our seats?” She said with a hiss in her voice, loudly. A few officers looked in our direction. Jaimie looked pretty pissed, I suppressed a laugh.

I played stupid, “As far as I know, there are no assigned seats.” I shrugged looking to Eli’s face. He was trying not to laugh. I could see a slight smirk underneath his beard.

“We’ve been sitting here since day one. Don’t you think it’s a bit rude to, like, take our seats?” She said, snippily, blinking rapidly. Her friends held their trays behind her, awkwardly waiting to sit.

“It looks like there’s a change in seating. Fucking deal with it.” I said as I looked in front of me, staring past Eli. Ignoring Jaimie’s stare. Was this elementary school? Why was seating such a big deal? We were grown adults.

The table we were at was silent. People leaned on the table to see what was going on at our end. A few officers watching as if this were good entertainment and talking lowly about us. Zane’s eyes staring blankly, watching closely. You could hear the table of guys behind us chatting, not paying attention to us.

Bitch.”

The next few moments blurred. I felt a wet, cold substance spilled over my head, chocolate flavored protein shake falling down my hair, splattering on my clothes and the floor. I blinked, droplets falling off of my eyelashes. I looked down, protein mix making my clothes wet, cold. Eli was back splashed with the protein shake, a droplet on his beard. Gemma, to my side, had some mix on her leg from falling off of my right shoulder. Gemma gasped and I sat there, silent.

The whole room, quiet. Eli looked in awe at me and Jaimie. I paused, thinking carefully what I would do next.

I stood up, turning to her. I wiped the chocolate milky substance off of my face with a smile and threw it at her. She gasped as it hit her chin and her white UGNF shirt. I glared, why was she mad? She spilled a whole protein shake on me. The least I could do is share some with her.

The guys at the table began laughing, clapping and chanting, “Fight. Fight. Fight.”

Jaimie was a few inches away from me. Her food tray, still in one arm. Gemini stood up, her height well above me and Jaimie’s level. She flung Jaimie’s tray onto Jaimie’s white t-shirt, ruining it with chicken grease and apple sauce. Jaimie backed up, blinking in shock, livid. Why was she surprised? Did she think we were just going to have a protein shake spilled on us and be nice? It was me and Gemini, she was obviously messing with the wrong crowd.

“Fucking slut.” Kyla said, throwing her chicken at Gemini in attempt to back up Jaimie. What a waste of good chicken, I thought.

Derren, at the table behind us, began throwing his food at his table, “Food fight!”

In a blink of an eye, food was being thrown between tables and the officers didn’t even try to intercept. Frank and Erik spoke to Jay, Mathias, and Zane pointing at everyone in a low voice under the loud noise breaking out in the dining hall. Frank, Erik, and a few other officials left the room.

Gemini lunged at Kyla and I got in between, stopping Gemini as Kyla scratched my arm, feeling a sting on my skin. I instinctively stretched out my hand to Kyla’s chest and felt a push to her coming from my palm, with my fingers barely brushing her grey UGNF shirt.

She fell on her back, looking at me in shock.

Did I even touch her? I looked, confused. I didn’t even feel myself push her, it just happened. Something pushed her, but it wasn’t me. Did anyone see that? Maybe she fell on her back to make it seem like I pushed her? It was a tough call, but that was not me. I didn’t even mean to do that.

I frowned, “Are you okay, Kyla?” I asked, concerned, as she winced on the ground.

“No, of course not. You fucking pushed me.” Kyla said, pissed.

I shook my head, “No, I swear that was not my intentions.” I needed to clear this up. I was not one to push others. Yes, I wanted to punch Jaimie, but I would never. I wouldn’t act upon those things, fighting solved nothing in my eyes.

Jaimie looked at me as she knelt down to Kyla, “You must really be fucking psychotic, you just pushed her and now you’re acting like you didn’t.” She looked bewildered, as if I were really crazy.

I heard a whistle and everyone stopped, looking at Zane as he said, “Everyone besides Rayne, Jaimie, Gemini, and Kyla, throw away your trays and leave.”

All of the fellow trainees left, quietly. Kyla was still on the ground, being overdramatic. She acted as if I punched her.

Gemini looked at me, shocked, “Did you really push her Rayne?”

I shook my head, “I honestly don’t know.” I said quietly. Did Gemini not see it either? Did anyone see that my arm didn’t move when she fell back? Maybe I was hallucinating. Maybe Kyla fell back on purpose or by accident. Things weren’t adding up.

We all sat at the end of the table, waiting awkwardly. As we waited, I looked at the grounds around us: chicken, rice, apple sauce, protein shake, and fruit littered the ground. This place was a fucking mess. Jean and the other cooks were probably pissed in the kitchen. I felt bad, but, in my defense, none of this was my fault. Maybe the part of me pushing Kyla was my fault, but I took hardly any part in the food incident.

Zane and Jay walked outside, without Mathias. Mathias stood and watched us. A few minutes later, they came back in and went to the kitchen with Mathias. The three came out, with serious looks on their faces.

“Here’s what’s going to happen, Griff is going to come with Zane and I, while the three of you are going to clean this room up and Mathias is going to make sure you all get it done right.” Jay said solemnly.

Thank god I didn’t have to clean this fucking mess. I felt bad leaving Gemini with the two girls from hell, but technically Gemma threw food at Jaimie so it was partially Gemma’s fault too.

Jaimie spoke up, “Oh, come on. Rayne should be the one cleaning; it seems to be the only thing she’s good at anyways.” She said with a sneer, “And she pushed Kyla. She should be kicked out at this point.” She said as if she ran the place. I shook my head, rolling my eyes.

Jay blinked, ignoring her comment, “Jaimie, we’ll be seeing you later for a write up after gym class.”

Her mouth opened, “What?! What about Rayne?” She looked between Zane, Mathias and Jay in shock, “She fucking pushed Kyla! I swear, you all will be hearing from my dad soon if you want to write me up.” She said, redness blossoming on her face from anger.

I rolled my eyes, “You’re a grown adult. Your daddy’s not getting you out of this one, you spoiled brat.” At least she had a dad.

She hissed at me, “My dad’s a counsel member of the UGN and the vice president of the UGNF. I think he may have something to say to the people who run this camp.”

I shook my head, squinting my eyes, “And that excuses you from pouring a protein shake on another person?” Gemma laughed at my comment. Was this only making sense to me? Did this girl really not have an ounce of rational thought or compassion in her?

Jaimie was about to say more as she was cut off, “Girls, stop.” Zane said to us. I glanced at his blank stare, “Griff, come with us.” My shirt and pants still wet, soggy. I got up, feeling the cold shirt clinging to my stomach as I moved.

I followed them to the offices in the main building where classes were held. I was brought into a clean and organized office that looked to be Zane’s. I passed a picture of him and what looked to be his mom and brother at his graduation of the Galactic Forces Academy. His mom was a cute little woman. She had strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes and was skinny for her age. His brother was the same height as Zane, but with dark brown hair that fell on his forehead. He had brown eyes and looked to be older than Zane. Zane looked a lot younger, with his face clean shaven and a lot less muscle definition than he had now.

I sat down at the chair in front of his desk, and Jay leaned against the wall as Zane sat in front of me.

“We’ll have to write you up also.” Zane said, making eye contact.

I shook my head, “I didn’t push Kyla. Whether you believe me or not, that was never my intentions.” I put my hands up in defense.

Jay said, eyeing my hands, “We know.” They both looked at each other for a moment.

I squinted, looking between Zane and Jay, confused, “What?” I blurted out.

Zane’s blue eyes flickered, pained, “There’s something we have to tell you, Rayne.”

I cocked my head, “What? What is it?” Zane opened a cabinet, looking through his files. He pulled one out, with a tab that said GRIFF, RAYNE on it. He pulled out a sheet that had a pie chart on it. He handed it to me. I read it, trying to figure out the point they were making:

GRIFF, RAYNE

41% Hannan
28% Human(Earthling)
17% Ekkberen
8% Terethian
6% Other(mixed)

Ekkberen? The fuck. I don’t think I had anyone in my family of Ekkberen descent. I looked over it, confused why this was such a big deal.

“We changed it. You are actually 17% Nefareon, not Ekkberen.” Zane said as his eyes studied me.

I looked up, “Why would you change it?”

Zane covered his mouth with one hand, looking frustrated with my question, “Because, anyone of Nefareon descent are in hiding at the moment.”

I shook my head, “Why?” Is that where my mother and father went? Were they in hiding too?

Zane said, “Have you ever heard of the story The Tales of the Fae?”

I shrugged, “Yeah, but what does that have to do with anything?” Why did we go from Nefareons in hiding to a children’s book? I hope Zane wasn’t trying to belittle me again. This was not the time. Especially in front of Jay.

Jay said, “The three ‘gifts’ that the fae received are real. People with Nefareon blood have abilities.” What were they trying to say? I didn’t have abilities, my mom did.

“I don’t have abilities, if that’s what you two are getting at. My mom did, not me.” I said, looking between them.

Zane’s face flashed with amazement, “So you knew? This whole time?”

I shook my head, shrugging, “I mean, I had a feeling I wasn’t fully human or Hannan, but I didn’t know I’d have that much Nefareon DNA nor any at that matter. But I’m not gifted, I simply can’t be.” I said, blinking to them.

Zane and Jay looked at each other. Kyla could have just fallen back, making it seem like I pushed her. There were so many elements of that moment that could have been made up. I wasn’t about to believe that I had some type of supernatural gift. It seemed too farfetched to me.

Zane asked, fascinated, “Why do you think you’re not gifted?”

“For 18 years I’ve had no signs of an ability. There’s just no way.” I paused, “I think Kyla fell back on purpose, to make it seem like I pushed her.” I said in a statement.

It was how I truly felt. Kyla, Kelsey and Jaimie had it out for me. They were trying to get me kicked out, no question.

Jay looked at Zane, shrugging, “She could be right, Zane.” Jay was agreeing with me. Zane nodded, still studying me. He didn’t look to believe me, but he nodded in agreement anyways.

“So am I still getting written up?” I asked.

Jay shrugged, “A verbal warning would be sufficient. We can document it if Red asks later.” Who was Red? Was that their boss? Or maybe Jaimie’s dad? Or, wait, her dad is technically their boss, so I guess both?

Zane scratched the scruff of his beard, looking towards Jay, “If I get a call from Red, I think he’ll understand.” Red? That sounded like a familiar name. Where had I heard that name before? My brain searched into the deep abyss. Blurry memories from my childhood were so far and distant I could barely remember. I think my parent’s had an old friend named Red. The name may have been common. It could be a totally different person. I brushed off the thought; it wasn’t that important.

Zane paused, looking back at me, humor playing on his expression as he looked me over, “You should go and get yourself cleaned up.” Jay left the room, looking like he had something else more important to do.

I looked down, blushing. My clothes were soaked in this chocolate milky protein substance. My hair, a complete mess. I looked up, “So that’s it? Just a verbal warning?” I said, surprised.

Zane chuckled, sitting back in his chair, “You know you’re not just getting away that easily, Rayne.” He crossed his arms, studying me, “We’ll deal with it tomorrow.”

I asked, curiously, “Why not tonight?” I blinked, Gemini wanted me to go out tonight. I just wanted to make sure I was in the clear.

“Jay will be gone tomorrow, and I’m on dining hall watch this weekend.” What did that have to do with anything? Unless Jay and Zane shared a cabin? What would that mean? I wondered what plans Zane had up his sleeve. Did I want to know? Probably not, yet I was still curious.

Re: I, Bot 404

As usual, great stuff. This is rapidly becoming one of my very favorite stories.

Re: I, Bot 404

Awe, why thank you kerry! It’s good to hear that someone is as happy to read these chapters as I am to write them and share with everyone.

And sorry I keep randomly posting chapters here and there. I have many chapters ahead already written but I’ve been slowly rereading and proofreading so I do apologize. This week I will be writing a lot so I would expect more coming everyone’s way. After this week, school starts up again so I most likely won’t be posting as often as I am currently and possibly not at all until spring break time hits. I’m going to post as much as I can and if I do have a hiatus, it will be at a part of the story that is a good place to leave it.

Chapter 23: Believing in Something Significant

Zane.

Odd. Rayne sat where Jaimie and the other girls usually sat.

Jay caught my glance and said to Rayne, “What a surprise, Griff at lunch early.” I was very surprised; Rayne was always changing things up. Was she trying to make Jaimie mad? It seemed like it.

I was keeping tabs on her attitude issues such as on Tuesday when she called Jaimie quote unquote ‘…one thirsty bitch.’ Now, it seemed like she was trying to make Jaimie mad on purpose. I was waiting, patiently, for my next chance to give her a lesson.

That’s probably the one thing I thought of the most while I was gone. I thought of how much I wanted to treat Rayne like a baby again. Of how much I wanted to cuddle her, to hold her in my arms. I wondered, how many flares of attitude did she have while I was gone? I wondered how well she was behaved, and, surprisingly, Jay told me she was good.

Jay said, lowly to me, “That can go one of two ways.” Nodding to Rayne sitting in Jaimie’s seat.

I chuckled, “With Rayne, it can only go one way.” Jay shook his head as we grabbed our food.

Mathias said, “Anyone notice what’s going on at the table ahead of us?” Jack, Victor and Mathias watched Jaimie and Rayne talking. Little did he know, I had been glancing over ever since Jaimie and her friends walked in.

You could hear Jaimie’s voice hissing at Rayne about the seating. I looked down their table where Rayne and her friends usually sat; the seats were still open, I didn’t get why Jaimie, Kyla and Kelsey couldn’t sit there for one meal. It seemed like Jaimie wanted a reason to be mean to Rayne. I don’t think she understood that Rayne was relentless and resilient. It was almost an impossible feat to make Rayne back down. Trust me, I’ve tried.

Jay was talking to Frank about some galactic soccer game between planet Ekkberen and Hanna. I drowned out their words as I watched Rayne speak to Jaimie, with an annoyed look. Her green eyes with a spark of anger in them as she looked to Jaimie and then in front of her. Her table went silent as I saw Jaimie stare at her protein shake.

I blinked, as I heard Jaimie say, “Bitch.” And watched Jaimie pour her whole protein shake on Rayne.

It was in slow motion. The chocolate milk substance toppled on Rayne’s wavy dark hair, falling down her face, over her little eyebrows, long lashes, and her shoulders, and down to her shirt and pants. Her friend, Gemini, gasped next to Rayne as some fell on Gemini’s pants. I expected Rayne to do something irrational; however, she sat there, quiet. Good girl. I thought as I watched her. She was proving to mature throughout the course of the month.

After a moment, Rayne stood up, flicking the protein mix on Jaimie. Well, I take back what I just thought. Now that was immature. That one would require some type of punishment later. I sighed as Jay looked at me. The guys table began clapping and chanting for Rayne and Jaimie to fight.

Rayne’s friend stood up and flipped Jaimie’s tray on her shirt. Kyla threw chicken at Gemini. Before any of the officers could intercept, a food fight broke out. I rolled my eyes, was this fucking kindergarten?

Erik said to me, Jay and Mathias, “You guys can deal with that fucking mess. We’re leaving for the weekend.” His country accent exaggerating as he said ‘that fucking mess’. How convenient, Erik and Frank leaving at the worst time, again. Go figure, of course they would.

I stood up with Jay, walking to the side of the dining hall. As I looked over, I saw Rayne jump in between Gemini and Kyla to break them up.

That was unexpected. I was surprised; she was trying to stop a fight. I suppressed a smile. I wasn’t her dad, yet it made me proud of her, in some strange way. I didn’t expect for Rayne to do that. It was humbling to see that Rayne had good intentions. She was a good girl, caring for even people she didn’t like.

The next moments left me speechless. Her hand stretched to Kyla, her fingertips brushing Kyla’s shirt, defensively, as Kyla scratched Rayne. Rayne’s hand didn’t even touch Kyla, but Kyla fell on the ground, in a blink of an eye. It looked as if some type of force from Rayne’s hand pushed Kyla. Kyla’s shirt ruffled as if a breeze hit her before she fell. Rayne was frowning and inching towards Kyla as if she was sorry.

Jay looked at me, obviously irriated as he rubbed his temples and walked away from me, “Fuck, Zane, this is what I was warning you about.”

Jaimie joined in, kneeling by Kyla. Kyla and Jaimie really thought Rayne pushed Kyla. Maybe no one else saw besides me and Jay? I looked around, seeing that Jay and I were the only ones directly perpendicular to the gap between Rayne’s hand and Kyla.

I blew my whistle, the hall going quiet, “Everyone besides Rayne, Jaimie, Gemini, and Kyla, throw away your trays and leave.”

We had the girls sit at the table as Jay said to me, “I need to talk to you, alone.” He said, looking from me to Mathias, nervously. I nodded, following him outside, away from the windows of the dining hall.

“We are fucked, Zane. What are we going to do? Did you even tell her?” He said quickly in anger.

I shook my head, “No, I didn’t.” I paused, “Red knows, we’re fine.” I said in response. I didn’t tell Jay much of what happened while I was gone, but I did speak to Red.

Jay blinked, “He knows that we changed it?”

I said, “Yes, but he knew she was Nefareon long before she was accepted into the Galactic Forces.” Red was super vague on how he knew, but I didn’t question any further. I added, “I told him, you’re fine, Jay.” Jay sighed in relief.

Jay crossed his arms, “You better tell her today or else I will.” I rolled my eyes, Jay was adamant about this.

I said, snapping, “Fine.” I disliked people telling me what to do, but he was right. What we saw a few moments ago was beyond normal.

Ten minutes later I told her, thinking that she would be shocked. She wasn’t. Of course she wasn’t.

“I don’t have abilities, if that’s what you two are getting at. My mom did, not me.” I blinked. I never heard her speak of her parents. I could only imagine her mom as beautiful as Rayne, raven black hair and bright green eyes, yet much older.

I wanted to know more about her; I was still learning. Did she know about her DNA already? Her ancestry? Is that why she never submitted her DNA records before? My interest was unwavering.

“So you knew? This whole time?” Keeping her DNA chart away from her was seeming silly to me now.

She shrugged, “I mean, I had a feeling I wasn’t fully human or Hannan, but I didn’t know I’d have that much Nefareon DNA. But I’m not gifted, I simply can’t be.” How could she be so sure? She didn’t see what Jay and I saw. If I had a video, she would believe. She was gifted, but I don’t think she was ready to believe it. I saw Kyla’s shirt flutter when she fell. It was unexplainable. Supernatural, even.

I asked, “Why do you think you’re not gifted?” I didn’t understand her natural inclination to deny what just happened and write it off as nothing.

“For 18 years I’ve had no signs of an ability. There’s no way.” She paused, “I think Kyla fell back on purpose, to make it seem like I pushed her.”

Jay looked at me, “She could be right, Zane.” I realized that Jay was trying to ignore what happened. He didn’t want to dwell on it. A classic Jay move. I nodded, but I didn’t believe it. It wasn’t possible. Kyla was about to attack Rayne if she didn’t fall back. I saw it, like it was a slow motion cat fight.

What I saw today, was incredible. Far beyond incredible, breathtaking. I never saw someone have special abilities until Rayne and now I really did believe in things I never had before. I thought that it was all a joke, that gifts and superpowers were only just stories for young children. That they were made up. Even though I knew amphibians were telepathic and that Zenons had night vision, yet the idea of levitation, telekinesis, and cell regeneration were only childhood fairytales in my eyes.

Today, I began believing. Believing that the Tales of the Fae were real. Believing in the extraordinary. Believing in Rayne Griff.

Re: I, Bot 404

Here is where I get a bit confused. It seems that Nafareon is known for people with these abilities. Certainly both Jay and Zane. (Zane and Rayne: I just did that for the first time. Cute.) They spoke about it earlier when they were hiding her DNA heritage from her. And if that is true, and people from Nafareon have been known for centuries/millennia, how is it possible that an officer of the Galactic Forces wouldn’t know a critical fact about them? And why is telepathy easier to believe in than telekinesis anyway? It’s all the power of the mind, which one imagines has been being unlocked more and more over the preceding millennia.

Re: I, Bot 404

I definitely thought about this as I was writing as a possibility to confuse some people. Here’s the important things to take note of: For 1) Zane had never met anyone of Nefareon descent and took it lightly when he met her. For him, seeing is believing. He was a skeptic because he never saw these ‘gifts’ in person. It’s like when people talk about ghosts and know their real but don’t actually believe until they see them. Spoiler: he’s met an amphibian before. Hence why he believes in telepathy. It’s not that Zane didn’t know about Nefareon’s having abilities, he just didn’t think that the supposed nonfiction fables ‘The Tales of the Fae’ were real. And for 2) Jay took it seriously from the very beginning and Zane ignored him.

The other element that may be confusing you is that some things are still unexplained at this point of the story. Your other questions will be answered very soon.

I love the questions though Kerry!:slight_smile:

Re: I, Bot 404

Chapter 24: The Knockout Legend

Rayne.

I went into the women’s washroom with my new set of clothes, shampoo and soap. I took a shower stall and set my items on the wooden bench. I turned on the water and stripped my wet clothes off that clung to me. I went under the hot water, chocolate protein remnants running down my body to the shower drain.

So I was Nefareon? Were the stories true? I only heard about tales when I was young. One I remember reading in my parent’s library as a kid. Was Nefareon, the planet, real? In planetarium classes growing up, Nefareon was never mentioned. It was literally only in fairy tales. Science didn’t meet the tales of time. Why was Nefareon not mentioned? Was it really just a kid’s story?

‘Because, anyone of Nefareon descent are in hiding at the moment.’ Why would they be in hiding? If I was part Nefareon, then my mother and father must be in hiding. Why didn’t they take me with them?

So many mysteries wrapped into one. I wanted to go back to my home and reread the books my mother and father had left. I wanted to read again, and search for the answers. There were many books I overlooked and never read that I thought were just fiction. Just old fairy tales. Now, looking back with what Zane told me, they must have been nonfiction. Maybe they meant something. Or maybe they meant nothing at all. I didn’t know, but it was worth a shot.

I slipped on dark heather grey shorts and my UGNF gym shirt. My hair was still wet when I walked into gym class and Zane’s eyes drifted to me as he was speaking to the class about the rules of Knockout. I looked at the two basketball hoops that were lowered from the ceiling. We never had played a basketball game yet. I guess this would be a fun gym session.

They split us into two groups so one group would be playing on one side of the gym and another on the other side of the gym. You could tell they purposefully put Jamie, Kyla and Kelsey together in one group and Gemini, Eli and I in the other group. They obviously didn’t want another cat fight.

Gemma looked at me at we stood there, her hand touching my hair, “You have a speck still in your hair.” She pulled her hand away after rolling a piece of my hair between her fingers, removing the protein mix. Ugh. I thought I got it all.

Zane said behind me, making me jump, “Rayne, you’re the lucky one to go first.” A basketball was thrown at me, by him, and I caught it, “Everyone line up!”

Derren stood behind me, taking the second basketball, “Sorry, Rayne, but you’re going down.”

I laughed, meeting his green eyes, “We’ll see about that one.” I only spoke to Derren a few times but he was light-hearted and always joked with me. He was also super competitive each Friday and liked to talk shit. That was becoming apparent as the weeks rolled by.

Eli stood a few people behind Derren and Gemini was at the end of the line, lucky. I wish I wasn’t going first. Zane blew the whistle and I stood behind the free throw line, bouncing the ball on the ground and staring at the hoop.

“Come on, Rayne, we don’t have all day.” Zane said crossing his arms. I glanced at him and winked, throwing the ball. Derren, immediately getting in the game and throwing a second after me.

My ball went in the hoop with a swish and Derren’s bounced off the rim, “Fuck.” Derren cursed. I ran to get the basketball and bounced it to the person behind Derren.

Fifteen minutes into the game, Eli, Derren, Gavin -Derren’s friend- and I were left. I stood behind Eli as we watched Derren and Gavin rush to throw their basketballs in the hoop. Both kept hitting the rims or knocking one another’s balls out.

I said to Eli, “I hope you know I’m taking you out this round.”

Eli looked at me, raising his eyebrows, “Oh, I’m so scared. The smallest girl in gym class, about to knock me out of the game.” He put his hands up, mockingly.

I laughed as he turned and a basketball came at him from Derren as he ‘knocked out’ Gavin. Zane blew the whistle for a ‘knock out’ and Eli missed catching the basketball because he turned to me. Eli ran to retrieve the basketball and shot it from the free throw line. A second later I threw my ball. Eli’s basketball hit the backboard and rebounded down and he grabbed it. My basketball went through the hoop with a swish. The whistle blew again and Eli looked pissed as he threw the basketball to Derren, leaving the game and I went behind Derren. People sitting at the sidelines began clapping and ‘oooooo’ing.

“I honestly didn’t think you’d make it to the end. No offense, Griff.” Derren said, looking behind his shoulder.

I shrugged, “It’s okay, I used your underestimation to my advantage.” He laughed as he threw the basketball.

His basketball hit the rim, almost going in the basket, and bounced off. I threw my basketball. It hit the rim and I ran to retrieve it. Derren threw his basketball in the hoop and went back to the free throw line. He threw his basketball and I dribbled to get to underneath the basket. As his basketball almost went in, I threw my basketball through the hoop, knocking his away from the hoop, and to the sidelines where people sat.

Derren laughed, “God damn, Rayne.” I bounced my basketball off of the backboard into the hoop and went back to the free throw line. I had a chance to win the game if I could knock out Derren.

I threw my basketball before he could retrieve his ball and aim. My basketball went through the hoop in a swoosh. Zane blew the final whistle and everyone cheered in surprise.

Derren came up to me and stuck out his hand and I shook it, “That was close.You’re good. Until next time.” He said, his dark brown eyes meeting mine. His black hair was gelled up with flecks of brown. His gaze fixed on me for a second longer than I anticipated, which made it awkward.

I said, “Uh, thanks.”

I brushed my hair behind my ear and walked away to Gemini and Eli, “Are you good at everything? Like, what the fuck, it’s not even fair. I’m trying to hit on those Hannan girls and your kind of killing my vibe I have going on.” Eli said with humor twinkling in his grey eyes.

I looked up to him, “What vibe? The douchebag vibe? Oh trust me, it’s still there.” I said, laughing to myself.

We played a second round and I got knocked out, within the last five people left in the game, by Derren. Eli ended up beating Derren and Gavin. We had a third round and Derren won. The other group ended up finishing and Jay and Zane brought us all together. I looked at the clock in the distance, we still had 30 minutes left. Were they going to let us out early, maybe?

Zane rubbed his hands together, “The one thing we forget to mention is that after three rounds we would have an all-star competition of knockout where all winners will play against one another.” Zane looked at Jay.

Jay said, “Here’s the catch: Zane and I are going to be playing as well.”

Derren said, “Do we get any incentives if we win?” I crossed my arms; it was a good question.

Zane said, humor in his eyes, “You get to say you beat your coaches. Become the new Knockout legend. However, we’ve been undefeatable for the past five years running.” Knockout legend? I wanted this title.

Eli said, as he stroked his beard, “Challenge accepted.” Zane and Jay laughed and a few other people laughed including myself.

We all lined up, Zane and Jay standing at the end of the line. Eli was first to throw and I was the second. His basketball hit the rim and I arched my basketball perfectly, swishing seamlessly into the hoop. People cheered in surprise as he was knocked out in the first minute of the game.

“God damn, Rayne, I thought you were my friend.” Eli said as he stormed off the court. Since Zane was part of the game, no whistle was blown. We were the all-stars, we knew if we were out at this point.

“Not in this game I am.” I said with a mischievous smile as I threw my ball to Derren.

I stood behind Jay in line. Derren was knocked out by Jodie, Calvin’s old seatmate in Code and Ethics class. Her long orange curly hair tied up in a bun above her head. She stood behind me. She was tall, like Gemini, probably about 5’7 as she stood behind me.

“Did you play basketball in high school?” She asked in line as we watched Garett, a Ekkberen guy, and Maxx, a Hannan guy who was also Derren’s friend, battle it out as they kept bouncing each other’s basketballs away from the hoop. People laughed from the sidelines as they kept doing it to each other.

I shook my head, “Nope. I wasn’t allowed to be in sports, only academics. I was the vice president of the Planetarium club, if that counts as anything.” I said as I met her light, almost grey, blue eyes.

“How are you so good at this then?” She asked, shocked.

I shrugged, “I took an extracurricular gym class credit each semester where we played Knockout, dodgeball, soccer, volleyball and H.O.R.S.E a lot so I got a lot of good practice in.” That class was a fun time. Since I wasn’t able to join sports after classes, I took activity courses in high school. I guess that’s what made me so good at these games. Ever since I graduated, I missed playing games like this. The child in me wanted to be in elementary school again and participate in sports, but the older I got, the less fun I would be having.

I asked, “Did you play?”

She grinned, “Yeah, I was the captain of the Fennington Ravens. I was offered a scholarship to Fennington State University but I didn’t take it.” Fennington, Hanna? That was a giant city in Hanna. The cost of living was high there, but it was notorious for their sports such as the Fennington Redhawks hockey team and the Fennington Farrows, which were a pretty big women’s college basketball league. Women’s college basketball was huge on planet Hanna. People from planets far far away watched it. I was surprised she didn’t go to college, she could have been on the galactic network. Famous across the planets.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but, why didn’t you take it?” I asked, surprised.

She shook her head, “It’s what my parents wanted me to do, not what I really wanted.” She was genuinely nice to me as she spoke. I took note: I liked Jodie. She was part of the girl’s cabin friend clique but she was inviting. I could relate to her; I didn’t do what my parent’s friends wanted either.

I looked ahead, seeing Zane catching the basketball. God, it wasn’t fair how attractive he was as I watched him confidently aim his basketball. He threw the ball, making a quick swish in the hoop and taking out Garett. Poor Garett; he didn’t have a chance with Zane behind him.

Garett passed his ball to Jay before he left the game and Zane bounced me his basketball. Humor twinkled in his eyes, it seemed like he was having fun. I never saw him seem so alive. He was pretty down the past week and tired-looking but now it’s like his spark came back for a few moments. He liked playing games of all sorts, I could tell.

Jay threw his ball, and it swished into the hoop like Zane’s. Perfectly thrown. Well, fuck, this has to be perfect too then. I aimed, eyeing the backboard’s red square and arching the basketball as I tossed it. It went into the basket in a swoosh. This game was getting intense. Only five people left and everyone was making perfect shots.

Jodie went and hit the rim, breaking the perfect throw count. Maxx threw his basketball and hit the rim too. I stood behind Jay and Zane as they talked shit to one another.

“Oh c’mon, you’re talking big game but I’ve beaten you in every game last year.” Zane said as he rolled his eyes.

“Yet the year before that I had the winning streak. Don’t you remember?” Jay said as he pushed up his glasses.

Zane frowned, shaking his head, “I have sudden amnesia, I cannot remember for the life of me.” He said wittily. His eyes caught my glance and he winked.

Jodie finally threw her ball through the hoop and Zane got into the game. Before Maxx could rebound his basketball into the hoop, Zane’s basketball fell through right before Maxx’s, knocking Maxx out.

Jay threw his ball and it hit the backboard, not arching enough. The basketball rebounded over the hoop. I threw my basketball from the free throw line as Jay scrambled after his basketball going to the sidelines. My basketball fell through the net in a silent swoosh and everyone began cheering and standing up as Jay was knocked out.

“C’mon, Rayne, you got this!!” Eli said, clapping loudly as if he were my personal coach.

Jodie threw her basketball and it hit the rim again and Zane threw after her, going into the net effortlessly.

My palms got sweaty. Well, fuck. Only me and Zane were left.Jodie passed me the basketball and Zane stood behind me, waiting for my first throw.

I took a deep breath and aimed, carefully. I threw the ball and immediately began running near the hoop because once I threw it, I knew I arched the ball too much. I glanced at Zane as he threw his basketball, perfectly aimed for the hoop. My basketball hit the rim and bounced up. I stood underneath as it fell into my stretched hands. I threw the basketball up the hoop immediately after I caught it, hitting Zane’s in perfect timing. The crowd of trainee’s roared behind me in awe. I grinned as I felt my heart fluttering. I really wanted to beat Zane. This was becoming personal.

“Shit.” He said, shocked, the first time I ever heard him curse in front of the other trainees.

I was basically underneath the net as I threw my basketball to the backboard to rebound into the hoop. Zane caught his ball a few feet away from me as my basketball made a silent swoosh through the net, ending the game.

Everyone roared with applause as I beat the supposedly undefeatable, claiming my title as the Knockout legend. Zane met my eyes, something unreadable flashing in his eyes, and then smiled.

He stuck out his hand and I shook it, he gave my hand a quick squeeze, “Congrats, Rayne. You are the first trainee, ever, to beat me or Jay.”

I winked, “Don’t you forget it, Zane.” His eyes flashed with humor as he smiled, with a chuckle.

At dinner, Eli shook his head as he sat down at our regular seats, “How, the fuck, did you get so good at playing Knockout?”

I shrugged, “I played a lot in high school.”

Gemini laughed to herself, “I still can’t believe you beat Zane and Jay. I think you hurt their egos, big time.”

“I can only hope I did.” Glancing at Zane as he ate and looked at his phone, reading quietly at his table with Jay. In the corner of my eye, I could see a figure walking up to me.

Someone touched my shoulder, “Hey, Rayne.” I looked up, meeting Derren’s dark eyes.

“Oh, hey, whatsup?” I asked, confused why he was approaching me.

“Do you think I could talk to you, uh, alone?” He asked as his eyes glanced to Eli and Gemini’s stares.

I shrugged, “Sure.” I followed him outside as I felt Gemini and Eli’s eyes watching me. I glanced back as I left the dining hall and Eli and Gemini looked at me with their eyebrows raised. I caught someone else’s stare; it was Zane. He looked up from his phone, his expression, blank.

I walked out the dining hall and Derren we stood in front of one of the windows. His hand brushed through his black hair that was messily gelled back.

“So, uh, some of the guys were going out bowling tomorrow night and I was just wondering if you wanted to go out with me?” He had a strong cologne scent, as if he just sprayed himself, and I could smell it from where I stood. He looked down at me, almost nervously. Was he really asking me out?

I could feel Gemma and Eli’s stares through the window, I blinked, “Uh, I have detention tomorrow night.” I said, looking down at my feet. It was a perfect escape. It was true, wasn’t it? I couldn’t leave, Zane had plans for me tomorrow. Anyways, I didn’t want to go out with Derren. I didn’t like him, like that.

“Oh.” Derren said, scratching his head, “Really? Like, at night?” He sounded like he thought I was lying.

“Yep, after today’s fiasco at lunch, Zane said that I’d be thoroughly cleaning the dining hall tomorrow night.” I gave a small white lie, who’d know but Zane? “I can’t leave, I’m under hot water as it is with them.” I added quickly, trying to make my story seem genuine.

Derren nodded, “Yeah, that makes sense.” He seemed to believe me, “Maybe, uh, next time then?”

I tucked my now dry messy hair behind my ears, shrugging, “Possibly.” I was terrible at turning people down; I hated myself for it. I felt like I couldn’t fully count Derren out anyways. I had a crush on Zane, but I was single. If Zane didn’t like me in that way, then I wasn’t going to blow off other opportunities until I knew for certain. Anyways, Zane was gone for a whole two weeks, he could have a totally different perspective on me by now. I didn’t know where Zane and I stood. What we were considered, even.

He flashed a handsome smile, “Okay, well, I’ll see you around then.”

I nodded as I walked back to the dining hall, “Yeah, I’ll see you around, Derren.”

I sat down as Gemini looked wide eyed at me, “So? What was that about?” She asked loudly as people left the dining hall, including Derren and his friends. Derren glanced at me as he left.

I looked behind my shoulder, Zane was still reading on his phone, “Nothing. He just asked me to go out with him tomorrow night.”

Gemini opened her mouth, “What did you say?” Eli rolled his eyes at Gem’s giddiness to know more.

“Well, I can’t because I think I have some sort of detention tomorrow with Zane.” I shrugged.

“Did you really want to though?” Eli asked, bored.

I shrugged, “I honestly don’t know. He’s a nice guy, but I’m not sure if I like him in that sense. I just didn’t want to make it look like I was a stuck-up-bitch by telling him no.”

Eli burst out laughing, “So you’re leading him on, Rayne?” He said, his voice becoming louder. I bet Zane could hear us at this point. Ugh. Freaking Eli and Gem were always so damn loud.

“In my defense, I didn’t mean too. I just didn’t want to hurt his feelings.”

Gemma said, “It’s better if you let them know earlier rather than later, Rayne. You hurt my feelings but I got over it and he will too.” She finally verbalized what happened between us the first week. I blinked, feeling bad about that one.

Eli said, “God damn it. Why is Rayne getting all the attention and the person who actually wants a god damn relationship can’t get a head turned in his direction?” He pointed to himself.

I rolled my eyes, “Trust me, you don’t want this type of attention.” I nodded to Zane at the other table when I said ‘this’. Zane’s eyes looked up immediately after I said that, blinking with a thoughtful expression. Had he been listening this whole time? Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

“You’ve gotten more action than me within the past four weeks than I have in two years.” Eli said, irritated.

Gemma laughed loudly, “That’s just sad Eli. I feel bad for you.” We all laughed.

Gemini asked, “So since you were 16?”

Eli looked at her, “I’m 24.” He looked at both of us in surprise, “You guys really thought I was 18?” He did look a lot older than us. I guess we both just assumed he was our age based on his maturity.

I said back, “You act like you’re more immature than both of us so it was an educated guess.”

“Wait, how old are you, Gem?” Eli asked, wondering.

“20.” Gemma said.

Gemma asked me, “You’re 18, right?”

I nodded, “Yep, and old enough to drink.” I said with a smile. In Hanna, the legal drinking age was 18. On some planets, that was 21 or 25 even. I was happy to go out tonight, but who knows if I’d even drink.

Re: I, Bot 404

Chapter 25: Shamelessly Honest Zane

Rayne.

That night we walked up to Gemma’s friend’s car.

She rolled down her window, her purple skin illuminating in the darkness, “Hey guys! I’m Effie. It’s nice to meet you all.” She was super friendly as we got in her car.

Effie drove us a few miles to downtown Dixen. We passed a few cute little shops, restaurants, and bars. She pulled into the parking lot of Late Night Bar and Grill.

Gemini turned to me after we sat at a large circle booth that fit about six to eight people in the back of the room, “Have you drank since you turned 18?”

I shook my head, “Nope.”

She raised her eyebrows, “First drinks on me, what did you want?”

I shrugged, “Rum and Coke?”

Effie said, “I think they only have Elke at this bar.” Elke was the equivalent to Coke from Earth. I wasn’t a fan of Elke. It had more carbonation and was less sugary. If I was going to mess up my pancreas, I wanted it to taste good at least. Elke would do this one time, I guess.

Effie paused, “Are you from Earth?”

I shook my head, “I’m from Hanna.”

Her eyes studied me, “You look striking. Are you part Terethian?” Was she hitting on me across the table?

I nodded as Eli leaned near me, whispering in my ear, “Get her number for me.” He pulled back and winked. I rolled my eyes. I straightened out my white cotton shirt as I looked down to break Effie’s gaze at me. She was looking at me as if I were some mysterious creature. The stare was becoming uncomfortable.

Gemma came back with our drinks, “You would not believe who’s here.” I sipped my rum and Elke.

“Who?” Eli asked as he took a swig of his beer. I looked around the room at the people sitting at the bar top. I couldn’t see who she was talking about until my eyes found two familiar figures sitting at the bar. Zane and Jay.

“Oh, fuck. Hide me now.” I said, sinking down in my seat, looking at Zane as his head turned slightly in my direction as he spoke to Jay. The one person I would be fucked to see outside of camp was here.

Eli and Gemma looked at me in confusion, “Why? What’s the big deal?” Gemma asked.

“Zane will kill me if he sees me, you guys don’t understand.” His head turned, as he got up from his bar stool, looking to be headed toward the bathroom. His eyes glanced at us and then away. And then he stopped, looking at us, again, at me. Confusion flashing on his face, then a spark of humor in his eyes.

I covered my face, “Yep, already dead. Someone end it for me now.” My voice, muffled, from my hands. I pulled my hands away from my face as Zane walked back to Jay, touching his back as Jay turned his head to our table. Jay shrugged to whatever Zane was saying.

Eli sat up straight as Zane and Jay approached, “Hey, guys. Long time no see.” Zane joked, humor twinkling in his eyes.

Gemini spoke first, “Hey Zane and Jay, nice seeing you two outside of camp.” I sank in the booth at the corner seat, looking at the black wooden table. Bless Gemini’s heart for breaking the awkward tension.

Eli spoke, “Did you guys want to join us?” I blinked at Eli, with a glare. What was he trying to do? Make my situation worse?

Zane flashed a smile, meeting my shy glance, “Of course.” We all scooted over left to let them in the circle booth. I was the one at the end of the right side and Zane sat next to me as we scooted more to the middle.

“So what brings you all out here tonight?” Jay asked, making conversation. It seemed like they didn’t care that we were outside of the base. My body relaxed, slowly.

Gemini said across the table from Zane, Jay and I, “We’re just celebrating making it through the first month.” Zane’s hand brushed my leg underneath the table. Was that on purpose? I couldn’t tell.

I sipped my rum and Elke quickly. I needed sufficient alcohol to calm myself. Zane’s presence made me nervous, flustered. His sweet woodsy cologne was beginning to hypnotize me again as I sat next to him.

Ten minutes passed by as Eli talked to Jay and Zane about some game on the psInfinity. Jay mostly spoke and Zane would add in some thoughts. I sat awkwardly between them.

A waiter came up to our table, “Can I refresh your drinks or get you all started on some appetizers?”

Gem said, “I’m getting shots for everyone. We need to lighten this tension.” She said, winking.

It was pretty awkward for Gem, Effie and I as we sat there. Gotta love Gemini for being the brave one in the group. Eli was good at making small talk but it was just weird being at a table with our coaches. There was this weird tension between me and Zane. Almost crossing the line of sexual. His arm brushed mine on occasion as he sat next to me, especially when he took a sip of his beer.

“I’m not taking a shot. You or Griff can have it. One of us has to drive back and I’m thinking it’s going to be me.” Jay said as he looked at Zane and his eyes glanced at me.

I laughed quietly to myself; Jay still called me ‘Griff’ outside of the base. It was funny. Zane glanced at me as I laughed, his eyes twinkling, happy. This was probably the first time I had seen him somewhat happy in the past week, well, besides playing Knockout earlier today. It made me wonder what made him so sad this week. It was a mystery.

The waiter came back with shots and passed it to everyone. Jay pushed his shot to Zane.

Zane said, “I haven’t done shots like this since I was 20.” He smiled, looking down at his two.

I said in response, sarcastically, “Yeah I haven’t done shots like this since I was, like, 18.”

The whole table began laughing, including Zane and we all touched our shot glasses together and drank. The alcohol burning my esophagus as it went down. I blinked as I washed down the shot with my rum and Elke.

Zane took his second shot quickly, shaking his head, “God, now I remember why I stopped doing shots.” Everyone laughed.

Gemini said, “So, I thought we’d play a game that we play on Zena. Kind of an icebreaker, if you know what I mean.” She winked at me. My arms and legs tingled as I felt the shot and rum hitting my bloodstream.

Eli spoke, “Don’t tell me it’s truth or dare Gemma, because I hope you all know, I am only a dare only person. I will do anything, and I mean anything.” He said good-humoredly.

Effie shook her head, her pixie cut ice blue hair moving, “No, silly. It’s not truth or dare but you’re close! We play a game called Bullshit.”

I laughed, “That’s like the card game on Earth and, if I’m not mistaken, also on Hanna, right?” I looked to Zane and Jay.

Zane nodded and stretched, one of his arms going on the top of the booth behind me. I think the shots were hitting him. His eyes glanced at me, traveling from my eyes to my lips.

Gemini nodded, “Yeah, except for it’s better. So, someone is the ‘detective’ and asks whoever they want, three questions. It can be dirty or clean, doesn’t matter. The person answering has to tell a lie between three of the questions. If someone thinks it’s a lie, they say bullshit. The only person who can’t call bullshit is the detective. If the person who called bullshit is wrong, then they have to answer three questions from the person they called bullshit on. If the person who called bullshit is right, they become the new detective. You can’t ask the same person a question two rounds in a row. When the person is called out on the bullshit, then they have to tell the truth. If the person makes it without someone calling bullshit, then they win the game.”

Jay asked, “One question: If the person makes it to the second question without anyone calling bullshit, then doesn’t that mean they win anyways?”

Gemini shook her head, “That’s the fun part of the game, if the person gets away with their bullshit answer through all three questions, they don’t have to tell which one was the lie if they win so no one will know.”

Zane scratched the growing scruff on his chin as he looked at the table. He must have had some big secrets. I wanted to know things about this mysterious man.

Eli groaned, “Of course it’s a game of honesty. Well, boys, we’re all fucked.” He said as he looked at Zane and Jay.

Gemini and Effie laughed, “It’s true, we’re both pretty good at playing this game. Gem almost always wins, I swear.” Effie said as she looked at Gemini.

Gemini said as she looked at all of our faces, “I’ll be detective first.” She put her hands together mischievously as she scanned all of our faces, choosing the first victim.

“Rayne. You’re first.” She said, looking at me.

I rolled my eyes, sinking in my seat, “Totally not fair at all, but let’s just get this over with.” Eli and Gemini knew when I lied, it was going to be pretty obvious. I was beginning to feel a buzz and that made it worse.

“Are you a virgin?” I sat up, laughing in surprise by the blunt question. It became apparent, early on, how this game would be played.

“No.” I sucked at lying, let’s be honest. This was not a good game for me to play.

Zane said quickly before anyone else, “Bullshit.” Eli spoke at the same time but Zane beat him by a second. I squinted at Zane. How would he know?

I smiled, embarrassed, “Yes, I am.” I said crossing my arms.

Zane looked at Eli, “Eli, you’re next.” Eli stroked his beard with humor in his eyes as he looked at Zane, awaiting Zane’s question. I glanced between them, it was humorous the way they looked seriously at each other.

Zane smiled, “When was the last time you watched erotica?”

Eli’s eyes didn’t waiver as he stared at Zane, “A month ago.”

Gemini said, “Oh, bullshit Eli.” She rolled her eyes. How would she know?

Eli said, “Fine, 3 nights ago.” Eli laughed loudly. Zane laughed with a clap in response.

The whole table chimed in laughing. I punched Eli’s arm, “Eli, that’s so gross!” He shrugged. We were in the same room, that grossed me out. Ugh. Boys.

Gemini went, again, looking at Zane, “Zane, you’re my next victim.”

He locked eyes with Gemma, “Go ahead.”

“Do you have a kink?”

He blinked, without hesitation, “Yes.” The whole table, silent.

Gemma looked around, “No one is calling bullshit?”

Eli shrugged, “It’s 7018 who doesn’t have a kink at this point?” Everyone was nodding in agreement.

Gemini continued, “Well then. Second question: what is your kink?” I looked up at Zane’s face as his eyes didn’t waiver and he smiled, warmly. What was his kink? I had a slight inclination, but I still wanted to know.

His eyes met mine, and then looked back at Gemini, “I like women in diapers and treating them like babies.” Warmth spread up to my face. I hope no one saw.

Eli laughed, “Bullshit, Zane.” Everyone else was silent, wondering if they really heard Zane’s answer right.

Zane laughed, “Nope. You’re turn Eli.”

Eli’s eyebrows rose, “Wait, that’s really true? Woah, dude. You’re into some weird shit.” He said as he looked at Zane. Zane smiled, Eli’s comment not even touching Zane. It was as if Zane were proud. Like he didn’t care.

Gemma said, “Don’t be an ass Eli. On Zena, that’s like the third most popular kink below BDSM and foot fetishes. I even dated a girl who was into that.” She shrugged, looking at Zane. Effie nodded in agreement.

“So that’s really a thing?” Eli said in surprise, glancing at everyone’s faces. A moment passed in silence.

Zane broke the silence, looking at Eli, “Since it’s your turn; have you ever had a crush on anyone at the camp?” Why was that Zane’s question? That was out of character for him. It’s almost if Zane asked like he already knew the answer. I mean, it was apparent who he liked anyways.

Eli blinked, “Yes.” No one called bullshit. It was obvious, Eli had a crush on Gemma. We all knew that.

“Who was that?” Zane said, staring at him blankly.

“Rayne.” He said, unflinchingly.

I laughed, “That’s total bullshit, Eli.”

He shook his head, his eyes meeting mine, “I had a crush on you and then I realized quickly that you liked someone else, so I looked elsewhere.” He looked to Gemini, shifting his gaze quickly.

Gemma said, “It’s true, he did. We talked about who got dibs on you the first few days and then we realized we had no chance.” Eli laughed, I could tell he was embarrassed under his beard.

It was Eli’s turn to ask me questions. He turned to me, and I squinted at him. “Who do you have a crush on, Rayne?” He said my name as if I was in trouble. I knew Eli’s intentions; he asked this to embarrass me.

I blushed, looking at my empty shot glass. I could tell Zane was watching me carefully as he studied my face.

I said quietly, “Zane.” Now, all my secrets were out. Great.

Zane said in a statement, “That’s adorable.” I glanced up to him; he looked content, eyes twinkling. It seemed like he was becoming slightly intoxicated, saying things loosely without any care.

You could tell Gemini was getting really buzzed, “You two would be so cute together. Just imagine: Rayney and Zaney. I’d ship you guys.” She said with a wink.

Zane said, “Do me a favor and never call me that again.” He said with a bit of humor and a trace of annoyance.

Gemma laughed, “Sorry Zane, it’s just I heard Erik say it and ever since I’ve always had it in the back of my mind.”

Eli looked at me, his eyes looking sinister, “Have you ever had any wet dreams?” Fuck. With Zane, yes.

I glared at him, “No.”

“Bullshit. You can’t be that innocent, Rayne.” Zane said with a chuckle. It’s like he was a lie detector and knew my lies well.

Warmth traveled up to my face, “Okay, you caught me. Yes, I have.” I crossed my arms, sliding down in my seat in embarrassment. Zane’s eyes looked at me, flashing with something unreadable.

“Awe! Rayne, that’s so cute!” Gemini squealed from across the table, “I was beginning to worry that you didn’t have a sexual organ in you.” She said to me as she smiled, warmly. I drank the rest of my rum and Elke.

A half an hour later we trailed off the game and were just talking. Zane was probably on the third or fourth beer I saw him with. There was something on his mind and it seemed like he was drinking it away.

“Is it true on Zena that sex ed classes are a required course?” Jay asked, intrigued. I was drinking my second glass of rum and Elke and began feeling a good buzz.

Effie answered, “Yes, there are. I mean, sexual education and exploration are fundamental values of Zenons. There is hardly any sexual abuse or rape on our planet, if any at all. It’s unheard of. The only rape is when other people who weren’t raised on Zena visit and take it the wrong way. We are taught, at young ages, to respect one another. It’s weird coming to places like Hanna that do not do the same.”

Eli asked, “So, no offense, but why are Zenons so open to talking about sexual things? Like, every time I talk to a Zenon girl there’s no filter. I always think they’re straight and hitting on me when that’s not the case at all.” I laughed; he did have a point. Eli had bad runs with many of the Zenon girls he spoke with on Tinder, even before the academy. He told me countless stories and I felt bad for him after the third one.

Gemini said, “It’s because, in our culture, we express our sexuality openly with friends and family. Unlike this planet, where it’s odd or unusual.” She added after a pause, “It was a huge culture shock to me when I first visited five years ago and people took offense to me talking about butt plugs and adult toys in a grocery store.” Everyone burst out laughing at her comment.

After everyone calmed down she fixated her gaze on Zane, “Do people take offense when you talk about your kinks, the ABDL ones?” She paused, “It is called ABDL, right?” What did ABDL mean? How did Gemini know this terminology?

Zane crossed his arms, “Well, yes. To a sense. I call it DDLG not ABDL since ABDL refers to me wanting to be the child and that’s not at all the case.” He paused, thoughtfully, “People think it has to do with actual children, and it doesn’t, that would disgust me entirely. I’m no pervert, not in the slightest, but people like to think that right off the bat. So yes, people do take offense.” He said as he glanced at me.

Effie looked to Gemini, “Wasn’t it in Mr. Warren’s class he spoke about ABDL kink and whatnot? I remember one girl had a presentation on it once.” She said, as if in reminiscence of her home planet, to Gemma and then looked at Zane, “What does the acronym stand for again?” She asked curiously.

Zane said, “It stands for Adult Baby Diaper Lover. DDLG stands for Daddy Dom Little Girl which refers to a relationship. You had a teacher who spoke about it?” He asked, intrigued. I bit my lip, this was embarrassing to listen to for some reason. Hearing Zane say the word ‘diaper’ made me cringe on the inside and want to curl up in a ball. It made my stomach flutter with butterflies with a mix of humiliation. I liked the feeling, in some strange way.

Eli looked between Zane and Effie in disbelief, “I cannot believe this is a real thing, still.”

Gemini nodded, “I mean, in our Sexual Exploration class we went over hundreds of kinks and had to write papers on acceptance of kinks we didn’t understand fully. Like I said earlier, the whole diaper kink is pretty up there. There’s people on the galactic interweb who have billions of followers on Space Cinema.” Space Cinema was the Earth’s Youtube of the galaxies that people from all planets had access to.

Jay said, “I’m not going to lie, I thought Zane was a freak for the past 5 years. Now I still think he’s still a freak, but I understand it a bit more.” I quietly laughed as Zane gave Jay a look. I felt Gemini look at me for a moment then look to the guys.

Gemma said to Zane, “For a Hannan guy, you are very open with your sexuality. I like it.” It seemed that Zane and Gemma were getting along very well. Zane captured Gem’s interest quickly. She loved talking about kinks, you could see it in her eyes. Zane seemed to be pretty open with Gem, especially, about his special interests. It worried me, that he may say something about me in a diaper. If he did, I would die instantaneously, mortified.

Zane said with his elbow resting on his other hand and his other hand brushing the scruff of his chin, pensively, “I’m not fully Hannan.” He wasn’t? That was a shock to me. He piqued my interest again.

Gemini asked, “What are you, exactly?” Thank god the subject changed. I was becoming worried.

“Ekkberen, Hannan, Earthling, and Valorion.” I cocked my head. Valorion? Did I hear that right? As far as I knew, Valorions kept their blood line sacred to only other Valorions. Hearing that Zane was part Valorion was unheard of. It was either you were fully a Valorion or considered a mutt to Valorions.

Eli coughed, almost in a choke, after he drank his beer, “You’re really Valorion?” Everyone, except Jay, was in shock.

Zane shrugged, “My father was a pure Valorion. My mom, on the other hand, was an entire mix of things.” How the hell did a Valorion fall for a mix? Wouldn’t they be exiled from planet Valorion for that or something? I was speechless, that was astonishing.

Effie said, “Isn’t that, like, against their religion or whatever?”

“Of the ancient Seqouians? Technically.” He paused, sipping his beer, “It’s all bullshit if you ask me.” Zane winked at me when he said ‘bullshit’, as if we were still playing the game. He didn’t look like he cared to talk about it any longer. I was surprised he winked at me in front of everyone. Maybe he had enough alcohol to the point he stopped caring. I couldn’t tell.

Gemma changed the subject, “So why were you gone the last two weeks?” Probably not the best thing to ask, Gemma. I thought. She had good intentions, but Zane didn’t seem to want to talk about it, even to me.

Zane drank the last of his beer and set it on the table, staring at it, “My brother was in a found in an unresponsive state. The doctors said he is currently in a coma for unknown reasons.” He paused, “I had to go home to see my mother and then to the Intergalactic Space Station to speak with the UGN.” He said, solemnly, there was no trace of emotion in Zane’s face. I couldn’t read his face. He seemed angry, in a silent way. He also seemed sad, to the point of emotionless.

I blinked, that was tragic. Why was his brother in a coma? Would his brother ever come out of it? I couldn’t imagine what had been going through Zane’s brain the past two weeks. The picture I saw of Zane and his brother flashed in my head.

“Did the doctors say if he would come out of it anytime soon?” Eli asked what everyone else was thinking. I wanted to shake Eli. This was not the time to be an ass. Zane was obviously really affected by his brother in a coma.

Zane smiled, sadly, “I wish it were that simple.” What did that mean?

Re: I, Bot 404

So, I originally wrote a portion of this with song quotes and then I researched into it, being someone who has posted youtube videos and is not a stranger to copyright(I have one or two videos with 100k+ views that have no music as a result. Lesson learned. Haha.), and decided to take out the quotes. The songs I allude to do have meaning to the story, if you would like to listen. I may consider making a public Spotify playlist with songs of this story if anyone would be interested? I promise, I do have good music taste -or at least i like to convince myself I do- haha.

Chapter 26: Karma Hath No Mercy

Rayne.

A half hour later Gemini was drunk and Zane was on his sixth or seventh beer. There was no sign that Zane was drunk. None. He either had a high tolerance to alcohol or little signs of being intoxicated. I couldn’t tell for the life of me.

He seemed like he got moodier the more he drank, but that was the only thing I could tell that was different. Gemini was a whole other story. She was still functioning but you could see she was acting differently. A drunk Gemini, was a, how do I say, awfully sexual, especially towards me.

Gemma looked at me, “Rayne, did you ever have some type of attraction for girls?” I blinked and Zane glanced at me mid-sentence as he was speaking to Jay.

Eli said, “As interested as I am to hear Rayne’s answer, I think it’s time to go.” Eli always coming in to save my ass. Eli was an asshole, but, every once in a blue moon, he’d actually care about me. Gemini didn’t move as she looked at me, curious. Her dark purple eyes were watery and her face was glowing more than usual.

“We’ll leave when Rayne answers.” Gem was at one end of the table and blocked Effie and Eli from sliding out of the booth.

I was speechless, “I, uh…” I thought before I spoke, feeling pressured as I couldn’t read Zane’s stare. Would it change things if I were honest? Or should I lie?

I blinked, remembering a girl I once talked to in high school. Dark brown eyes. Warm smile. Long dark brown hair. Her name, Dahlia. Dahlia Brenderson.

She was a popular girl, and I wasn’t, obviously. She would always talk to me as if I were just as high up in the social ladder as her. I had no friends, yet she still talked to me. Social standing didn’t keep her away from me.

During extracurricular class in my senior year of high school, we chose our two person teams for tennis outside. Dahlia chose me on the first day. She hadn’t talked to me for the past three years and it shocked me. Why? I wondered. I didn’t know, she had many other friends in that class she could have chosen besides myself.

I expected to be with Billie Feres who was always chosen last with me. Yet, for the rest of semester, she chose me. There was a static electricity silently buzzing between us, some type of natural unexplainable chemistry that had drawn us together seamlessly; I didn’t know what it was until I felt it again when I met Zane.

I thought maybe it was just friendly, but, looking back now, it wasn’t. I thought of holding her hand. I thought of kissing her soft lips. I thought of us touching, cuddling. That wasn’t something friends do. I knew that now.

Once, I dropped my book in Planetarium class and she kneeled down when I did. I looked up, her face, inches away from mine. We were close enough to kiss. But we didn’t. I was too shy to make the first move and I didn’t even know if she felt the same way. Homosexuality was accepted in Hanna, but in high school, it was still a big deal if you came out. Bullying was still real. People still didn’t accept a lot of 23rd century concepts.

Unfortunately, the town we lived in was a heterosexual dominant one. A bunch of pretentious Hannans infested the neighborhoods with superior perspectives of how a household ‘should’ be. With a man and a woman having a child. When there was a gay couple that moved in down the street, it was the talk of the town. People still spoke about them to this day, even.

That’s the one thing I hated about Petri, Hanna. A bunch of assholes raising their children to be just like them. It was the 23rd century, why was sexuality such a big deal still?

Dahlia never dated, as far as I knew, but she didn’t seem to have an interest in guys. Maybe she was in the closet? Maybe she was scared to tell her parents? Thousands of years have gone by yet parents still can’t accept if their children are gay. Would mine if they were still here? I wasn’t fully gay, but I wasn’t fully straight either. I was whatever-the-fuck I wanted to be. Simple.

I broke out of my trance as I felt everyone’s eyes on me, “I am attracted to souls. I never have really paid attention to gender. It’s not a factor for me.” I said, frowning, wanting to cry.

Why did I want to cry? I didn’t know. It was scary for me to say that out loud. I knew I was bicurious before but memories of my past made me think it was something much farther than I even knew. Why would I lead Gemma on if I was really straight? I had thought it for so long, but saying it made it real. I didn’t think of myself as bisexual, but speaking about it to these people I call my friends made me embarrassed. Why was I embarrassed? It’s how I really felt.

Gemini smiled, warmly, “That’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard.” Yep, she was still hitting on me. I didn’t feel that way towards Gemini though. She was very attractive but I didn’t feel an ounce of that chemistry between us. Lust, maybe, on her end. On my end, only friendly affection was in the realm of possibilities.

Effie said, “Are you bisexual? Or pansexual?” She perked up, eyes studying me, intrigued. It was as if I opened up the gates of my sexuality and she was trying to get her first ticket in. I only had one ticket though, and it had someone else’s name on it. I didn’t know if he’d show up though, but my one ticket was already on hold.

I blushed, “I don’t know, honestly. It’s something I never really said out loud, well, until now.” I said, looking down. I didn’t really want to talk about it anymore.

After a period of silence, Gem got up with Effie, Eli and I following. Jay slid out of his side and Zane followed us out. Zane didn’t say anything. Did he think differently of me now? I couldn’t tell. Heck, I couldn’t even tell how intoxicated he was right now. He was silent, like a lion waiting to pounce. I felt his glances grow as the night progressed. Thank god I’d be going back to our cabin.

Zane and Jay walked behind Eli and I as we went to the car. I felt my hand grabbed, “Rayne, can I talk with you before you go?” I looked back at Zane, coming to a halt. Eli, ignoring us, walked with Effie and Gemma to Effie’s car, leaving Jay, Zane and I behind.

Jay said, taking his cue to leave, “I’ll be in the car, waiting.” Zane and I were alone. Well, fuck. I was still slightly buzzed, but I’m pretty sure Zane was really fucking buzzed or drunk by the look in his eyes.

Zane walked over to a tree outside the bar. He leaned on it, “I didn’t know you were into girls.” He said, humor twinkling in his eyes.

I rolled my eyes as I felt them getting watery; I just didn’t want to talk about it. I wasn’t ready to come out to everyone and Gemini put me on spot. A tear fell quickly down my cheek.

Zane frowned, his finger brushing the tear away, “Don’t cry, baby girl.” Baby girl? Ugh. I was hoping that wouldn’t stick as a name he called me.

I shook my head, “I get it; I’m a freak. Always have been, always will be. I just wanted to hide it as long as I could.” I said as I looked away, sniffling as another tear fell. Zane shook his head with a chuckle; I looked at him, confused.

“I tell everyone at the table tonight that I’m into women who wear diapers and you think you’re the freak for liking girls?” He laughed to himself as he looked at the sky, “Oh, Rayne Griff. You amaze me.” He blinked down to me, eyes twinkling in wonder.

I shrugged, “I mean, I like guys too. I just wasn’t ready.” I paused, adding, “You seem like you could care less who knows about your special fantasies. It seems like you tell everyone, anyways.” I said with a careless tone as I began walking away.

I was tired, and wanted to keep my distance from Zane. For one, he was intoxicated. For two, tonight he made it seem like what we had wasn’t special anymore. It wasn’t just our secret. It was just something that he told everyone. And, deep down, that hurt to think of.

The way he told people about his interests made me think that maybe I wasn’t the only girl he babied or spanked. It made me sad that I wasn’t special to him. I was probably no different than his past girlfriends or flings.

My mind imagined his ex with blonde hair and blue eyes in a diaper. Was I jealous? In a way, yes. I wanted it to be special, but it didn’t feel special anymore. Zane could easily get any girl he wanted to wear a diaper. He could tell anyone. Why was I wasting my time?

Zane shook his head as I turned back to him, his mood changing quickly, “I do care who knows, believe it or not.” He said in a snap, as if my comment irritated him, “I just am careful in who I tell. I was hurt a few times pretty badly from telling people who I thought would accept me. I was wrong. I learned that the hard way.” He said with pain flashing in his eyes.

I asked, “What’s with the sudden change in mood?” Slightly intoxicated Rayne was coming out, “I don’t get why you’re so fucking bipolar sometimes.” I said, squinting at him.

Zane’s eyes studied mine, “There’s a lot of things you still don’t know, Rayne. It frustrates me when you act like you know everything.” This conversation was turning into an argument as if we were a couple.

My eyes flashed incredulously at him, “When, the fuck, have I ever acted like I know everything? Are you drunk?” I asked in awe. He was saying things that made absolutely no sense. We went from talking about how I had an interest in women to how I supposedly acted like I ‘knew everything’. This was a result of us both being intoxicated, but more on his part.

Zane looked blankly at me, “How about you come back with me and Jay and we’ll discuss this a little more, hm?” What did that mean? I didn’t want to. Zane was obviously intoxicated. I didn’t know how badly but it was an added element that I was scared of.

I said, walking away, “Nope, I’m going back to my friends. Night, Zane.”

I felt his hand grasp my wrist roughly, “Not so fast, little one.” He said in a low voice.

Effie’s car pulled up as Zane hugged me from behind, “Hey, Rayne! Are you coming back with us or what?” Gemini said from the side seat with the window rolled down.

Zane said, his warmth wrapped around my body, distracting my thoughts momentarily, “No, she’s coming over to my cabin tonight. I’ll take care of her.” Gem winked at me; I rolled my eyes as I looked at them.

Eli studied Zane and I standing there. Zane was trying to make it seem like he was holding me, yet a second ago he was acting like he was going to spank me. He was playing games, very well, in front of my friends.

“Okay, you two be good tonight.” Gemini said as Effie pulled away. Well, fuck me, right? I didn’t say anything, even though I was scared of what Zane would do to me. Why? Because I was a stupid girl. I wanted to see what would happen between Zane and I. It was terrifying, but thrilling.

I got in the back of Jay’s car and Zane sat in front.

“I had a feeling this was going to happen after we saw you all in the bar.” Jay said, tiredly, as he drove away from the bar, catching my glance in his rearview mirror.

Zane said to Jay, “Thanks for going out for some drinks tonight.”

Jay responded, “It’s fine, I had to stay up anyways. I’m trying to get myself tired enough for my four hour hovertrans ride so I can at least sleep a little tonight.” Jay was leaving tonight? He was going on a hovertrans to where? It must be somewhere at least a thousand miles away from Glades, Hanna, where one of the training bases of the UGNF was located. Did that mean that Zane and I would be completely alone? Well, fuck.

Jay added, “Also, I didn’t want what happened yesterday to happen again today.” They talked as if I wasn’t in the back of the car. As if I were a child.

Zane chuckled, “That won’t happen again, I can promise that. I embarrassed myself enough last night.” What were they talking about? I wondered.

I leaned forward, “What happened last night?” I asked curiously behind them as I eyed the blue glowing radio in front of me as it showed the title of the song playing. Stronger than Ever, by Rayleigh Ritchie. Odd.

The music was out of character for Jay and Zane. It was from the 21[SUP]st[/SUP] century, which was right up my alley. I didn’t think anyone listened to that type of music anymore. Synth-pop, Latin pop and techno R&B music was all the rage in the 23rd century. Zing, from planet Manta, the most popular artist of the 23rd century, was the supposed ‘god’ of synth-pop.

I hated the 23rd century music, especially Zing. I wanted to travel back in time, to the 21[SUP]st[/SUP] century, where music was genuine, passionate, honest. Now, I felt a disconnect with 23rd centruy music. It sounded too techno for my liking and just straight up emotionless.

I heard rap blast from the speakers of Jay’s car. Zane’s finger tapped to the beat. Was this his music? He picked up his phone, changing the song. It was. I knew the next song, too. Kanye West? He was playing No Church in the Wild. How did Zane have such superseded tracks? It didn’t seem like something he’d listen to. I was happily surprised; his music taste was good. Unlike the trash that people listened to now. It was 21[SUP]st[/SUP] century Earth music. No one listened to that anymore. Well, besides me.

I glanced at Zane’s face as he looked back at me, “That’s none of your business.” Ouch. That one was harsh. He seemed irritated with me.

I sat back, crossing my arms, “Well, then.” I said in a huff. The car was silent as Zane turned up the music.

I sang to myself under my breath, in the back of the car. I looked outside the window of the car, rapping silently with Jay-Z as we passed a field of grass and trees on the interstate. I knew most of the words of the song, if not all.

Zane looked back, in surprise, “How do you know this song?” Was he shocked I knew ancient earth music? C’mon, these were classics. Did he really have that low of expectations of me?

I looked at him, meeting his eyes with a playful smile, “That’s none of your business.” I said in a snap back to him. Jay burst out laughing at my response as Zane raised his eyebrows at me, no comment.

If I wasn’t already fucked, karma was coming for me. No question. Zane was already in a mood tonight, but I think I pressed a new button on him and he looked infuriated as he turned forward. He turned on the intergalactic satellite radio and turned off his music.

Wow. I must have royally pissed him off.

Five minutes passed in an awkward silence from Zane’s sudden mood change.

We arrived back at the base and Jay parked the car, “Well, this is where I part ways. I’ll see you both Monday.” Jay said after he parked. Zane got out and I slowly crawled out of the car, hoping that someone or something may save me from the wrath of Zane.

“Thanks, Jay, again. For everything.” It was as if he were apologizing too, “You have a good weekend, man.” Zane said before he closed the door and I waved at Jay goodbye.

After Jay pulled away, Zane’s hand was behind my back as we walked over to the officer cabins. Was he not scared of people seeing us? I was mythed.

The air was getting chilly and all I had was a white shirt on and jeans. I crossed my arms as we walked, cold. We got to the fork in the pathway that split between the officers and trainees’ cabins. It must have been well past 10 PM. The all girls cabin and my cabin lights were on in the distance.

I said, “Well, it was a great time.” Unintentional sarcasm leaving my mouth. I needed to save myself, quick, “But I think I should go back to my cabin just in case Gemini and Eli worry.” That was a good escape route, right?

Wrong, “Ah, ah, ah.” Zane said with a hoarse voice as he tugged my wrist, “I’ll carry you like a baby up to my cabin. I don’t care.” He said, looking down to me.

I pulled my wrist away from him as my eyes gleamed under the dark blue skies, playfully, “That’s if you can catch me.” I smiled, mischievously.

“Rayne, no. You don’t want to do-“ I ducked under his arms as they went to grab me. I began running to the cabins that were 200 feet away. I felt one of his arms hook in front of my stomach, making me trip and almost fall. He caught me before I fell.

He was breathless, “You’re really asking for it tonight, aren’t you?” He said as he scooped me up, cradling me. He wasn’t kidding, was he? My stomach tickled with butterflies again. Oh god. Why was I liking this? It was humiliating, but it kept me wanting more.

I looked at the officers’ cabins as we passed them, still in awe how much Zane didn’t care, “Can’t you get in trouble for this? Like, if anyone saw?” I asked, looking up to him, my face inches away from his.

He looked at my face, licking his lips, “It’s in the realm of possibilities. Do I care at this point? No.” He said, his breath smelling like beer. His scent was a mix of beer and his sweet woodsy cologne. The beer was unpleasant, but the cologne made up for it.

He set me down on the porch of his cabin. They had porches? Our cabins were just on the ground level, no steps, no porch. I had only seen these cabins from the distance, but this was such an upgrade from the trainee cabins.

Zane opened the door with his key and tugged my wrist as he brought me inside, flicking on the light. I glanced inside; it was a cozy little room. There were two queen-sized beds on opposite ends of the room. The floors were standard dark-stained oak wood but the walls were painted white.

A circular screen projector sat on one end of the room that looked to shoot across to in front of where a black leather futon sat between the beds. There was a blue miniature fridge pod and a bunch of books stacked on top of it. A bathroom was to the left when you first walked in. Wow. The officers got their own bathrooms. I wish.

He brought me over to the bed on the right side of the room. Zane didn’t pause, my pants and underwear were taken off in a flash. He roughly pulled me over his lap and I huffed as breath was knocked out of my stomach as it pressed against his legs.

I whimpered, as I fidgeted on his lap and pain ran sharply through me as he began spanking me. This was a long time coming and I had no escape. I held my tears for a few minutes and then I began whimpering, tears streaming down my face.

Smack. Smack. Smack. The noise filled my ears. Pain radiated from my bottom. I clenched my fists, to try to block the pain, but it didn’t stop it. Five minutes later he was still going, getting his point across well. I waited, patiently, as tears kept coming. Whimpers kept escaping my lips.

After a few moments, he didn’t stop. I began wailing, the loudest I ever cried when he spanked me. It was absolutely painful; he was merciless. I couldn’t stand anymore spanks.

He stopped and he pulled my pants and underwear off of my ankles as he picked me up, cradling me. I hugged him, cries still racking my body. This spanking hit my psyche hard. I didn’t know why I was crying but earlier flashed through my mind, when I told everyone I was into women. If Zane was trying to break me, it worked. He cradled me and cooed me. Kissing my head as he held me.

I finally calmed down and he stood up, setting me on his bed. My hand brushed over the plaid green cover that smelled like him. I was naked from the waist down and I closed my legs, trying to hide my lower parts. Zane opened a closet near the bathroom and got out a familiar backpack that he kept the diapers in.

Before I knew it, soft padding was placed under me, he powdered my bottom, and snugly enclosed the diaper around me.

“I was waiting for tomorrow to do this, but, I felt like it became necessary tonight. Your attitude was entirely uncalled for.” He fished through his bag, pulling out two other items that took my eyes a second to lock in on.

Was that a… pacifier? And a… sippy cup? Well, fuck. My situation was getting worse. My stomach tickled with excitement, yet my ego wanted to hiss at him and tell him I was a grown adult.

Zane plopped the pacifier in my mouth before I could protest, “Much better.” He said, his eyes dancing contently. He walked over to his miniature fridge pod and took out some milk. I blushed, feeling my warm cheek with my fingertips.

I laid on his bed, watching him as he poured some milk in the sippy cup. On the dresser, near the fridge pod, there was a food warmer that he placed the sippy cup on. He pressed a button and the warmer dinged after an orange light glowed underneath the black ceramic top.

He placed it on his dark titanium night stand and went to his dresser, taking off his shirt.

Fuck. I looked at him, staring at his well-defined chest and my eyes traveling down to his slim but toned abs. His dark grey underwear peeking out above his jeans. He pulled off his jeans, his legs were just as sculpted as his chest. You could tell he didn’t take leg day lightly. It was fucking unfair how damn attractivehe was. It was like looking at a male model but from a weight-lifting magazine. He was handsome as hell. I was getting flustered looking at him.

He pulled on plaid blue pants as he looked at me. I blushed, looking at the ceiling, trying to make it seem like I wasn’t just gawking at him. My body tingled as I realized I was in a diaper and had a pacifier in my mouth as I checked him out. This ungodly attractive guy, with his shirt off, was far out of my league. Let’s be honest. Why did he even give me a chance? I was, literally and figuratively, just a child compared to him. I was only a baby in his eyes. Maybe he didn’t look at me like the way I looked at him? I could always dream, at least.

I glanced at him again as his well-developed arms, with veins running across his forearms, pulled over a long-sleeved navy blue t-shirt over his dirty blonde hair.

Zane disappeared in the bathroom. I waited patiently as he went to the bathroom and I could hear him brushing his teeth and then the toilet flushing. I soon realized that I had to pee also, which made my arms and legs tingle with embarrassment. I already knew he wouldn’t let me use the restroom. That was quite obvious. He came out and went over to the bed across the room and grabbed a remote, walking back to me, motionless, on his bed.

Zane smiled, warmly, “Did you want to get under the covers with me?” Oh, he didn’t know to what I extent I would want to. I suppressed a smile from the thought.

I nodded and crawled underneath the covers as he raised them. He chuckled as I giddily snuggled underneath them and he got in. He was obviously an experienced guy with cuddling. One could say he could make a career out of it. After all, he had probably ten years of experience with many other girls than just me. It was probably instinct at this point for him. That was apparent as he got in and placed his arm around me, bringing me over him, gently, as his hand touched the bottom of my diaper.

He said, “Relax, baby girl. It’s cuddling, not a stress test.” Zane smiled as the lights dimmed of the room when he pressed a button on the remote. I could feel my back was tense and my shoulders were like stone. My breathing was ragged.

I had never been with anyone like this before. I’ve never been with a guy or, even, a girl this close. It was intimate. That was unfamiliar to me. My heart was fluttering; my palms were sweaty. I was nervous to embarrass myself in front of this specimen of a man.

The thought crossed my mind: was I spending the night in his cabin? Oh god, this would be awkward. I was already so nervous, how was I supposed to sleep here, with him? I was sleepy, but I also had an urge to pee and my body was a nervous wreck.

I took deep, slow breaths and felt my body relax. My head nestling into the nook between his shoulder and neck as he chuckled, his breath tickling my ear. I shifted, getting comfortable. His hand traced the guards of my diaper and up my back. I felt a tingling sensation tickle on my back as his hand drew patterns on it.

It was soothing, as I laid on top of him and he tucked the covers over me. There was complete silence in the room, yet it felt like he was speaking to me through his touch. One hand was on my padded bottom, the other was traveling up and down my back. I felt like I was getting attention like I never had before. He kissed my head, tenderly, as he snuggled me.

“I think it’s sleepy time, baby.” He said as he could tell I still wasn’t fully relaxed.

In the dimmed room, he smiled, his eyes sad as he took out the pacifier I was beginning to get a rhythm of sucking on. It was, admittedly, soothing. He placed it on his nightstand and moved us to a sitting position. The arm under my bottom moved under my leg as he pulled me into a cradle again.

He grabbed the sippy cup, “I know this isn’t a bottle like your used to,” Yep, he burned me on that one. I get it Zane, I’m just a baby, I thought as I looked up to him. “but this will do for tonight, hm?” Zane said as his tired eyes studied mine. He seemed more tired than me. I was sleepy but I think he was the one that would probably fall asleep first between the two of us.

He guided it in my mouth and I sucked the milk quickly. I was thirsty, especially from crying, and hadn’t really drank anything since my rum and Elke at the bar. The sippy cup was emptied and he placed it back on the night stand. Before I knew it, Zane placed me on the bed and came in with me, again. He let me lay on the bed and tucked the covers in around me and snuggled me in his arms, kissing the top of my head. His head was to the side of mine on the pillows. I turned to him and nuzzled my nose into his chest. I felt a rumble of his laugh and I took in his woodsy scent.

Five minutes later, his grip around me loosened as Zane’s breath became slowed down and he breathed out of his mouth. He was much more tired than I was. The milk made me tired but it also increased the pressure on my bladder. I couldn’t sleep until I peed. However, I didn’t want to pee because I knew I wouldn’t be changed until the morning. I was conflicted on what to do.

I shifted on the bed, uncomfortably, as Zane’s minty fresh breath blew in my ear in a soft rhythm. I closed my eyes, trying to release my bladder. I had too. I couldn’t fall asleep if I didn’t. I tried hard to pee, stiffening my legs.

Nope. Not working. I had to pee so badly, why couldn’t I? I was becoming frustrated. Why was it so easy to use the toilet but it was harder to un-potty-train myself to use a diaper?

I calmed myself, taking in deep breaths. I told myself to let go. Let go, Rayne. That simple right? As I let out a breath, slowly, warm wetness spread behind my bottom. The stream trickled and my body tingled in embarrassment as I released my bladder. I was surprised the diaper was still holding up as I was almost done.

I froze, what if it leaked? I shifted, trying to not make it spread out of the diaper. I felt it being soaked up by the padding, but it was full. I was finally done and was beginning to feel sleepy. The diaper was heavy on me but I would have to deal with it. It didn’t leak, so far, and that’s all that mattered.

My mind drifted into a slumber as I listened to Zane’s rhythmic breathing as if it were a song in my ear. I nestled into him as my brain slowed and I felt myself drift into an unconscious state. - - -

I dreamt of a kingdom with a beautiful landscape of stretched of bright green grass, flowers, trees, wildlife and animals. Some of the animals were part human. The trees spoke with the wind. The people were planting trees that sprouted after they placed seeds in the soil. In the distance, I ventured. It was as if I was a bird in the sky, yet I was still human, but with wings.

I flew to the castle, feeling absolutely free, overlooking the beautiful rivers that led to a waterfall under the bridge and walkways on the grounds. I landed, on a chair in the gardens, turning into a girl, a princess with a beautiful blue periwinkle dress.

I looked around, “Where’s the king and queen?” My parents. Where were they? A few half bird half human people, elven folk, and a dwarf looked at me in confusion.

“They left a long while ago, silly girl.” A centaur man said as he passed me, “When will you pay attention? The answers are right in front of you. They have been. For a while now.” He shook his head, trotting away.

I felt myself sinking into what felt like warm water below my waist. The water turned cold. I looked down. I was only a baby. I crawled around on the garden grounds, looking for people to help me. I needed to find answers. I needed to be a big girl again to get those answers.

I crawled on the ground, stopping in front of familiar gym shoes. I looked up, meeting awaiting blue eyes. He picked me up, holding me, cooing me. I was happy in this man’s arms. The happiest I ever was. I wanted to say words, important things, what felt like warnings, but all I could do is mumble nonsense to him. He chuckled, kissing my head and cooing at me to calm me. I was only a baby, why was what I was going to say going to matter anyways? I hugged the man and he checked my diaper I now had on.


My dreams floated into reality as I woke up to a cold wipe touching my front lower regions. I opened my eyes, squinting. What time was it? The wet diaper was cold under me; I shivered. I looked at the clock on Zane’s nightstand. 5:40 AM. I looked in front of me, in the darkness as a bright blue light seeped through the windows and into the dark room.

He rolled up the wet diaper and held my legs up in the air, wiping my bottom. He slid a fresh diaper under me and powdered my bottom and then front area. He taped it snugly on me. I met his eyes, they were puffy from sleep. He threw the old diaper in the trash in the bathroom and got back into bed. The air was cold in the room and he tucked the covers around me and him and warmed my arms, snuggling me again.

I fell back asleep and woke up an hour later and he was on his phone, reading something. I rubbed my eyes, stretching. Was that a dream of him changing me? My diaper was dry. God. That was embarrassing. I really was a baby at this point. I blushed from the thought, my stomach rumbling loudly.

“Someone’s hungry, aren’t they?” His voice soft. I sat up, my hair falling to one side, a mess. His eyes looked at my hair with a smirk on his face.

I nodded, “I’m actually close to starving.” I said with a croak in my voice from waking up.

He smiled, contently, “Okay, then let’s get you into some big girl clothes and to breakfast, hm?” Big girl clothes. The dream I had last night, fading as my brain became more conscious. I had a dream about shrinking to a baby and trying to become a big girl again to find answers. The centaur man said the answers were right in front of me. Where? I saw nothing.

I shook my head. It was only just a dream. Dreams meant nothing. I brushed off the thought, even though the dream was so vivid. The dream felt like someone was trying to push me, trying to show me something. It was like me trying to show myself. I didn’t understand it.

Zane helped me into my jeans and I asked, “So…” I looked at him, and he cocked his head at me, “Do I just walk out or should I like… sneak out?”

Humor played on his expression, “I was going to walk you out. Unless you didn’t want breakfast?” I was confused; wasn’t it suspicious if I walked outside of an officers cabin in the morning?

“Isn’t it, like, I dunno, weird if we walk to breakfast together?” I asked, eyeing him.

He raised his eyebrows, eyes twinkling, “Well, there’s only me and Mathias here this weekend. He already knows. I’m not worried, baby girl, and you shouldn’t be either.” He winked at me. I scratched my head and shrugged. If he didn’t care then I guess I won’t.

We walked outside of his cabin and the cool morning air hit my skin. I crossed my arms and looked down, frowning. I was still wearing the same thing as the day before. If this didn’t look like I had a ‘morning after’ look, then I didn’t know what else did.

We went to the dining hall and Zane tried to make small talk, “Have you traveled to any other planet besides Hanna?”

He held the door open for me to the dining hall, “I’ve been to Earth a few times.” I said, as I entered. We were probably the first few people in the hall. People usually slept in on the weekend and about two-thirds of our group showed up to breakfast.

“Only Earth?” He asked, shocked as he handed me a tray for food. I grabbed it and placed egg whites, an orange, and turkey bacon on my tray.

“Yep.” I said as he grabbed two orange juices. Why did he grab a second? Hopefully, not for me. I didn’t really want one.

I passed the area I usually sat and hesitated as I followed him, “Sit with us.” Zane said, nodding to his table where Mathias sat already.

I sat down at the officers table, feeling the cushion of the diaper pressing on me as I sat. I blushed, I forgot I had it on for a good moment. I was more worried that people would see us leaving Zane’s cabin together.

“Hey, Griff.” Mathias said, looking up from his phone.

“Hey.” I said, awkwardly, as I looked around. This was weird. Was it not blatantly obvious that it looked as if me and Zane slept together? No one would know the exact opposite happened, but still. I felt entirely out of my element at the officers table. It was funny that I sat here my first day, thinking back now.

Zane set down an orange juice in front of me. I glanced at Zane with a look. His eyes studied mine, giving me a wink back. I shook my head, stabbing at my fluffy egg whites. He was controlling, to a certain extent, and the closer I got to him, the more he liked to decide things for me. That was becoming apparent.

Jaimie and her friends all glanced at me as I sat near Zane. I caught Jaimie’s stare as I looked up. She talked low to her friends as she looked at me, across the hall. I shook my head, looking down at my food. I could tell by her stare what she was saying and I didn’t want to dwell on it.

Gemini and Eli came in, surprised faces as they saw me at the officer’s table. They grabbed their food, and sat with us, hesitantly.

Eli said, as he sat in front of me and Gemini sat to my right, “Rayne, there was waffles. What is so wrong with you that you didn’t grab any? Unless you got them and ate them already then I’m sorry for prejudging you.” He was good at extinguishing awkwardness with new situations.

I squinted at him, seeing Jaimie’s eyes staring behind him, “I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, Eli, but that was not one of them.” I said, flashing a smile.

He laughed and Zane smiled next to me. I ignored Jaimie and her friends stare. It was as if we were at a zoo and they were watching the lion and his cub. They didn’t know that though. They thought they were watching the lion and the lioness. Little did they know, they would be sorely mistaken.

Re: I, Bot 404

Chapter 27: The Protector of Innocence

Zane.

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.

[HR][/HR]

Chapter 28: The Diaper Girl

Rayne.

“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.

Re: I, Bot 404
Chapter 29: The Mysterious Disappearance of Class '85

Zane.

My eyes flashed as I saw a familiar face.

“Red? What are you doing here?” I asked as I walked down the hallway to my office. I had never seen Red here on the day of a boards. Maybe it was for his daughter? That would make the most sense. The trainees were leaving tomorrow, after all.

He looked to be waiting, as he looked at the picture frames of the graduating classes of the United Nations Galactic Forces Academy. He was staring at an old picture of his graduating class.

I followed his nostalgic gaze to a young Red, a burly recruit with long red hair that fell to his shoulders. He wasn’t looking at himself though; he looked at a girl who stood with dark black, with pigments of dark purple, hair and hazel eyes. There was something familiar to her that I couldn’t place my finger on.

I wondered why Red was looking at her? Maybe she was just a girl who he had spoken to a few times. Maybe she was an old crush. Maybe she was an old friend who passed away.

I had heard a few stories of Red’s graduating class and how he was one of the few people still left, alive. He never told the stories himself; I only heard them through Erik and Frank. I couldn’t imagine how Red felt.

The classes even before Red’s had more than half of the people still alive. Yes, the Galactic Forces was dangerous, but losing more than half of your graduating class after 30 years was rare, unheard of. It was a bit of a shock to the officers of the UGNF, hearing that the class of 2185 had lost so many. Some murdered or taken during assignments. Some disappeared from their homes, without any trace of where they went. Others pronounced dead from unknown causes. His class was a true mystery. I’ve heard conspiracy theories about his class. One saying that Red was behind all of them so he could become the president of the UGNF. Other conspiracy theories saying someone is trying to frame Red. It was all talk around the Galactic Forces and more secrets that no one knew the real stories behind.

Red cast his gaze to me, “I came here to talk to you about something.” He visited Hanna for me? Was it about my brother? My heart dropped.

I looked as Rayne passed by, her green eyes looking curiously at Red as she walked towards us, as if she might know Red, and then turning around and retreating, seeing that we were having a serious conversation.

Red followed my gaze, turning his head, “Rayne Griff?” He must have known her face from her profile. She had a striking appearance, it was hard not to remember those green eyes.

She turned around, her eyes flicking from Red’s to mine, “Do I know you?” I was confused, she sounded like she knew him.

“I’m one of your parent’s old friends, the name’s Red.” He paused, a moment passing as he looked at her, “I was only around when you were just a tyke, so it’d make sense you don’t remember me too well.” What? He acted like he didn’t know her when we spoke about Jay and I changing her DNA chart.

I’ve known for a long while.’ His words echoed in my head. He wasn’t referring to when we changed her charts, he was referring to actually knowing her. Thinking back now, I just ignored him. I must have been too overwhelmed by my brother. Red was a mysterious man with many secrets he liked to surprise me with and this was yet another one.

“You’ve known about her this whole time?” I said, still confused.

Red eyed me, “Yes.” He paused, thinking, “Speaking of which, I have to talk to you in private still.” By his tone, it must not be about my brother. What else would he be here for?

Red turned to Rayne, “It was nice seeing you, Griff.”

Red walked into my office, picking up the picture of me at my graduation with my mom and brother, smiling with sad eyes.

I closed the door and sat at my chair, crossing my arms, “So, what was so important you came down here for?” I asked, feeling somewhat uneasy to hear his answer.

Red set down the picture, looking at me with tired eyes, “You, out of all people, know that that girl is something special, Zane.” He said, pausing as he sat down in front of me, eyeing me with a thoughtful expression, “She’s a Griff. There’s nothing in about that girl you can hide. Changing her charts is not going to change where she’s going to be assigned.” I tore away from his gaze, my jaw tightening. How did he know? It’s like he was watching me like a hawk.

A realization hit me. How did I not notice? This whole time he was watching Rayne, not me.

Red was studying me, “You care for her, don’t you, Zane?”

I met his eyes, “She’s probably the best recruit we have besides that Ganakk guy named Elliot.” I shrugged, shaking my head, “I know it was wrong of me, but she’s still young and I was scared she’d be sent somewhere she wasn’t ready for. I was attempting to protect her, and, clearly, I went too far.”

Red chuckled, his eyes wrinkling with a grin under his mustache, “You remind me too much of myself, sometimes, Zane.”

I smiled, cocking my head, “How so?”

His tired eyes twinkling in thought, “I may tell you that one day.” The mysterious Red leaving me in the dark once again, “But I came here to tell you something else.” He said in a serious tone.

A moment passed, “Your brother is awake.”

Re: I, Bot 404

Chapter 30: Hope

Zane.

I felt the ice that had resided in my veins for the past month melt. He was awake. I had so much I wanted to tell my brother. So much I wanted to say.

“He’s awake, but still unresponsive. The doctors say it’s a good sign. It’s something and that’s all that matters at this point.” Red said. I was sad that I still couldn’t speak to him, yes, but it meant that he was progressing.

I nodded, clearing my throat, “That’s great news, Red.” I said, my eyes watering. I blinked it away. That was probably the best news I could have received. Daryx wasn’t back completely, but it made me have hope. I lost my hope a few weeks ago and this brought me back.

After lunch Jay, Mathias and I sat down at the benches, waiting to see which recruit would run through the finish line first. The 10K run showed who proved to be the best. The bets we made at the beginning would be finally ended.

“Well, boys, you all are going to owe me money soon.” Erik said as he looked at us.

Jay eyed Erik, “Don’t you, I don’t know, owe money already?”

Erik swirled a toothpick in his mouth, “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.” His country accent humorously chopping the sentence.

“Didn’t you bet that Griff would be the first to leave?”

Erik walked away, to the council members sitting at a table looking over files of the recruits and chatting, “Well, if Ghalderas comes through the finish line then I still win. The game is called I win, I always win.” Jay rolled his eyes and I laughed.

I looked at my stopwatch. Any moment someone would be running through the forest.

In the distance, you could see Elliot’s long strides as he ran through the trees and bushes. You could hear the board members chatting and circling things as they saw him.

Sure enough, hidden underneath the trees and bushes, behind Elliot, was Rayne. She was picking up pace, passing Eli. You could hear the council members of the board mumbling to one another in surprise. Fuck, I thought. Well, how could Rayne not impress them? It was her. She did not blend in with the pack, that was a given.

She increased the distance between her and Eli, running past the yellow sprayed finish line across the gravel, face flushed.

“Who bet on Rayne?” Erik asked, still twirling his toothpick in his mouth, pissed that Elliot didn’t pull through.

“I did.” Erik’s eyes met mine in blatant surprise.

[HR][/HR]

Chapter 31: The Unbreakable Tri-pinky Promise

Rayne.

I sat on the ground, catching my breath.

Eli stood, drinking his water, “You gave me hope that I’d be the first one past the line and then you crushed me.” He said, flashing a smile.

I laughed, endorphins making me feel better, “Someone had to crush your hopes and dreams and I’m glad to be that person for you.”

He laughed and sat next to me, “You better promise you’ll still talk to me and Gemma after this. Even if we’re all galaxies away from each other.” I didn’t want to think of it. Today and tomorrow morning would be our last moments together. It was sad.

I stuck out my pinky, “Pink promise, my dude.” I said, grinning. He wrapped his long pinky around mine.

Gemma sat down near us, coughing, “What did I miss?” She asked.

Eli said, “You have to pinky promise, wherever you go after this, that we’ll always reach out to one another.”

Gemma laughed loudly, “Of course. You guys can’t get rid of me that easily. I’ll stalk your asses.” She said, wrapping her pinky under me and Eli’s. A tri-pinky promise. One that could never be broken.

The next morning I woke up somberly, sad that this was our last day. Some recruits were giddy to go home and others were just as sad as myself. Some were anxious, not knowing where they would be assigned for the first time. I couldn’t blame them, I was anxious myself.

We had breakfast in the dining hall, for the last time.

Jay and Zane sat down at the table, the trio of Eli, Gemma and I were early this morning, already eating, “So, are you all excited to go home for the week?”

Eli said, “Hell, yeah I am. I can’t wait to be with my family.”

Gemma shrugged, “I have a long hovertrans to go on back but I guess I’m excited to see my moms.”

“Moms… did you just say moms?" Eli cast his gaze to Gemma in amazement, "And you’re not going back to Zena?”

Gemma shook her head, wide-eyed, “Duh, Eli. It’s common to have same sex parents where I come from." She squinted at his lack of knowledge of her planet, "And did you really think I still lived on Zena, Eli? All this time?”

Eli shrugged, “I just assumed every time you talked about family it was on Zena.” I did too, but I didn’t say anything; it was always funny watching them fight.

“No, I’ve been on Hanna the past 4 years of my life. God, Eli.” She shook her head as her long, dark purple hair moved in waves with her reaction.

“How about you, Rayne?” Zane said, looking at me.

I shrugged, “Not really, to be honest. I honestly rather be here, with you guys.” I said, looking to everyone.

Gemma’s eyes twinkled, watery, “Aweee! Rayney, I’m going to miss you so much.” She said, chewing on her turkey bacon.

“I’m not going to miss any of you. I can’t wait to never see you all ever again.” Eli said sarcastically, his eyes sad. He would miss us, I had a feeling.

“How soon do we find out where our first assignment is?” Gemma asked Zane and Jay.

Jay answered, “Usually around your first few days home you’ll receive a package in the mail with your license and whatever else they send you.”

“God, that’s nerve-racking. What happens if someone doesn’t pass their boards?” She asked, anxiously.

Zane said, “Same timing, you just are sent an envelope instead of a package.”

“Ouch, that would suck.” Eli said.

The time finally came. We all hugged each other before we got on our separate buses. One bus went to Forestor for people who were flying to other planets. Another bus went to the hovertrans station that Gemma went on. The other two buses were for local Hannan residents.

Before I got on my bus with Eli, I felt someone grab my hand, “Rayne, wait.” I glanced back, his blue eyes looking at me.

“I just wanted a hug goodbye.” He smiled, opening his arms to me. I nestled my head into him, hugging back.

He chuckled, “I’m going to miss you, baby girl.” Baby girl. My stomach tickled with butterflies.

I looked up at him as I pulled away. This was the scene in the movies where I would have kissed him goodbye, but I didn’t.

I walked backwards, “I might miss you, too.” I said with a wink, sarcastically, “Farewell, Zane.”

Who knows if I’d see him again? I had this feeling that he’d find me, no matter where’d I go. It was Zane, I’d be disappointed if he didn’t. If he found me, that would mean something. I still didn’t know if I was special to him, or just some summer fling. Time would only tell what we really were. I would be patient, waiting to see those blue eyes again.

Re: I, Bot 404

Chapter 32: The Gardener Spy

Rayne.

A few days later I sat, in my old room on my twin-sized bed, listening to my music.

I heard a knock on my door, “Rayne, you got a package.” I sat up, my heart racing. I pulled out my ear pods and ran to the front door after Fern signed for it.

She handed it to me with a FIRST CLASS PRIORITY MAIL sign on the box and I brought it to my room. My hands scrambled on the tape, tearing the box.

“What is it, Rayne?” Fern asked, wondering why I was ripping this package open like an animal.

“It’s my license and other stuff.” I said as I pulled out an envelope that was hard. I ripped it open, a square-shaped card popping out that iridescently shined blue and purple with my picture on it and the UGNF hologram that only showed in certain lighting behind it. Bad ass, I thought. This was my Galactic Forces badge and I gawked at it for a moment, before digging back into the package sent to me,

I looked in the packaging, confused. I slowly pulled out a matte black box with an apple logo on it. No, it couldn’t be.

Fern inched into my room, “They sent you one of those iGlass phones, didn’t they?” I looked up, annoyed that she was being nosey. Her mouth dropped as she looked at the box in awe.

I said, “Technically, you’re not allowed to see this.” I wasn’t wrong. In all honesty, I just wanted to be alone and bask in this glory by myself.

Fern closed the door, “Okay, honey. Dinner will be ready at 5 when you’re ready to come out.”

I opened the box and a dark transparent phone shined as my light hit it. I took it out, holding it up. It was tinted black, yet it was beautiful. I never had a phone before and only saw this phone with the officers. The phone was expensive as hell; why did I get one? Was it an all new recruit thing or just me? I had no idea. I never heard of people being sent these.

I set the phone down, carefully. I pulled out the next envelope in the box, tearing the top off, hungry for information on where I was being assigned.

I read:

We are pleased to inform GRIFF, RAYNE that you have been hand-selected selected for:

ELITE DIVISION OF THE GALACTIC FORCES

You are to report to the Intergalactic Space Station effective September 10[SUP]th[/SUP].

Best Regards,

United Galactic Nations

I blinked, was I reading that right? Elite Division? What did that mean? All that mattered is that I was being sent to the Intergalactic Space Station. Was this real? I stared at the paper for a moment, and then turned to my new phone, giddily.

I held the power button, the edge to edge screen turning darker to contrast the apple logo that flashed in the center as it powered on.

The phone showed glowing cyan text: Hello, Rayne Griff. It had a white text underneath that said: Let’s get setup.

I looked at it in awe. This was one of the coolest fucking things I had ever held. And it was mine.

The rest of the day, I played on the phone, downloading countless useless apps. This was galactic nations property, but I didn’t care. I was amazed by this device, playing GalaxyPool on it with people from different planets. I had no shame, this was incredible.

A few other things in the package: a touchscreen smart watch and a pocket-sized UGN code and ethics manual. I had a few grey shirts and pants with UGNF logos on them. A black zip-up with my named etched on it. So freaking cool.

That night, I thought about Zane. Would I see him again? I wondered where he was now. Maybe he was with his mom. I only heard him talk about her a few times and he never spoke about his dad. I wonder if Zane was thinking about me.

I fell asleep, with thoughts of Zane in my mind.

He took his off, throwing it across the dining hall floor. He was inches away from me, closing the distance between us quickly. His back brushed against mine, his warmth pressing against my back. His hand, traveling to my shorts, unbuttoning them, teasingly. His hand went underneath my shorts and I felt a tingling feeling. Soft moans, escaping my lips.

I woke up, hot and sticky, looking at the clock, 5 AM. My heart was racing in excitement. Why did dreams always have to end at the best parts? Fuck. That made me super bothered and tingling. I got up, realizing that I wouldn’t be falling back asleep anytime soon. I put on shorts, a sports bra and a tank top.

I ran around my neighborhood as the sun peeked out over the trees. It was still chilly out but the farther I ran, the more warmth I felt. I looked at the cookie-cutter houses and apartment buildings as I passed them. What a cute neighborhood, I thought. I wondered if I’d ever live on Hanna again. I’m sure I’d still reach out to Fern and George, but I don’t know if I’d even want to come back to Petri, Hanna. I wanted to travel the galaxies. I wanted to live near a beach or on a different planet. Who knows where’d I be in a year or even four years? The thought excited me. I wanted to adventure out, and I had already made up my mind to not return to Petri.

Nothing ever happened in Petri, Hanna. The most news that ever came from Petri was when a few seniors from Petri High School disappeared about four years ago and HBC (the Hannan Broadcasting Company) did a news piece about the missing teenagers and young adults around the planet. I was only a freshman so I didn’t know any of these seniors. They disappeared, without a hint of where they went. It was the talk of my first year and everyone made up stories about what happened, but no one knew the truth.

At the end of September, four seniors didn’t show up to school. That night, search parties were sent out. What had happened? They never found out. It was still a mystery to this day.

One of the freshman girls had a summer fling with the guy, Ben, who had went missing in the fall semester of classes that year. It was shocking, to say the least. Ben was part of the football team, strong and big. How could he go missing? Out of all people, wouldn’t he be able to get away from a kidnapper? No one knew what happened. Some people made up stories, saying that he ran away from home. However, that didn’t explain why the three other girls disappeared too. Did they run away with him? Highly unlikely. None of the four people barely knew each other.

After that week, Petri, Hanna had earlier curfew times and the parents of Petri became paranoid. Fern and George were beyond paranoid, that was for sure. I was already sheltered, but Fern wouldn’t allow me to join any sports even though I had already applied for Petri’s track team and had done a few training sessions with them. Instead, I negotiated with Fern into joining the Planetarium club. Even though I was bitter to leave the track team and was about to apply for the soccer team, it was at least something I could do after school hours.

I began to resent Fern and George for holding me back. They were the reason why I couldn’t have friends or a life outside of high school. I resented Fern but not so much George because he just listened to what Fern said and agreed.

Fern was like a protective mother, and I absolutely despised it. I wanted my own sense of freedom, yet I felt that had been taken from me. Sure, some people went missing, but that didn’t mean I had to live like a bird in a cage. I was patiently waiting until I could find and escape, and I found that at a careers seminar in high school when the UGNF visited, handing out pamphlets.

There were so many branches of the UGNF to go into. From the Sky Forces to the Marine Forces to the Visionary Forces to the Encoding Forces to the Militant Forces, and the list went on and on. The Galactic Forces caught my eyes as I looked over the pamphlets on the long table. I read, the world around me blurring:

Do you want the secrets of the galaxies at your fingertips? To monitor and over watch other galaxies, planets? To be the part of the eye in the sky between all the galaxies? Search no more, your answers await here.

Be a part of the top division of the UGNF, the Galactic Forces by applying to the United Galactic Nations Forces Academy that begins June 1[SUP]st[/SUP]. Application acceptance ends May 15th.

Join, with caution, the Galactic Forces. Now recruiting, must qualify for entry. See officer for more details.

I remember standing at the booth, talking to one of the officers my junior year near a few guys on the football team, glancing at me as if I didn’t belong at the booth. Only the dyke girls and toughest guys applied to the UGNF divisions. It was one of the many defense branches of the government of the galaxies and you had to be strong to join. Why would I, a small town girl from Petri, think I could do it? I may have seemed weak, but everyone was wrong. I’d prove that to them all. I was always underestimated wherever I went; it never failed.

My senior year came and during the required careers seminar, I visited the Greenbergs State University table and took a pamphlet. It would be a good cover up so I could show Fern later.

I walked over to the UGNF table and grabbed a Galactic Forces Division pamphlet, turning to the officer, “So, how would I go about applying to the academy?” The older man in a uniform from the Militant Forces looked at me, surprised I was asking to join the covert and, possibly, riskiest division of the UGNF.

The Militant Forces was seemingly the most dangerous, but, this man tried to scare me off, saying that the Galactic Forces was much more cutting-edge than people thought. He said people in the Galactic Forces were kept prisoners, murdered, or, even worse, tortured.

I smiled, not blinking, “Sign me up.” I wasn’t scared, not in the slightest.

He shook his head, as if I were just a silly girl, while he fished through an envelope and handed me a packet, “Send this in by May 1[SUP]st[/SUP]. You have to visit this address-“ He circled the closest address to Petri, Hanna that was listed near a bunch of other government center addresses, “on May 5[SUP]th[/SUP] for a preliminary exam.”

I looked at the address. Perfect. Kirkland, Hanna. It was close enough to Greenberg, Hanna that Fern never questioned it when I told her I was going to leave, saying I was going with my friend and her mom. In actuality, I went by myself. It was dangerous and I was anxious to go on a three hour hovertrans alone for the first time, but it was also thrilling.

I had a thoughtful run, thinking back to how I got where I was. Who’d know I’d be a part of the Elite Division of the Galactic Forces already? It was jaw dropping and I was proud of myself. I couldn’t wait to be something. I couldn’t wait to travel up to space. It had been over ten years since I flew anywhere.

The night before I left I transferred my music onto my iGlass phone, and double checked my bags. I stayed up late that night, thinking, a bit anxious about leaving. My life would change entirely. I wasn’t going to be living on Hanna anymore and I was going to the Intergalactic Space Station. I knew I’d be coming back down to Hanna in two weeks’ time for my graduation, yet it was still nerve-racking to go to an unfamiliar place.

I had never been there but I’ve heard it’s one of the most breathtaking places in the galaxy. People vacationed there, and toured it as if it were a museum. There were people who actually lived on the space station and worked there. Beings from every galaxy visited and it was home to the UGN headquarters on one of its many floors.

I remember watching documentaries and movies being shot there. It was only in dreams I could visit there with a free ticket. To travel through space, it was beyond expensive. You’d have to have some type of work or education reason to barely afford traveling.

I once calculated how much it would cost for a round trip from the Intergalactic Space Station and back for one ticket. It came out to 5,390.32 $ for a round trip. My jaw dropped. I would never have that type of money. When I heard of this girl and her family taking a vacation to the space station, I was so envious of her. I wish I had rich parents like that. I couldn’t imagine affording one ticket, let alone four others.

It was an incredible honor to be getting my full ride paid for- even though it was stated in my contract that it’s partially taken out of my check. However, no one had discussed any type of hourly pay or anything like that with me. I knew beginning officers, like myself, didn’t make much, but I heard the more years you serve, the higher your pay grade goes and some officials make six figure salaries.

That night, I had troubles falling asleep, anxiously excited for the next day. I finally fell asleep, waking up four hours later to my alarm on my phone. God, it was loud. I got ready, pulling on my hoodie and dark grey leggings. This was going to be a long day of travel, that was for sure.

I hugged Fern before I left while George threw my two bags in his car.

On the way to the hovertrans George said, “Your parents would be proud, Rayne.” I looked out the window to the expressway that we glided down.

I turned my head to George, “Do you know why they left without me? The real reason, not the ‘They’re in a better place now’ crap.” Fern and George always said that they left for business

He furrowed his grey eyebrows as he watched the car auto-steer, “They didn’t tell us why, really. It was something about your mother’s job, she had to leave.” He shrugged, “When your parents went away; they didn’t tell us where. Actually, they couldn’t tell us where.” He glanced at me, seeming just as confused as me.

I shook my head; this wasn’t making sense, “Woah, woah, wait. My mom was a member of the Galactic Nature Preservation Committee and worked as a gardener. Why did she need to leave for her job? And why wouldn’t she take me with?”

George sighed, scratching his head, “She was more than just a gardener. She was a spy of some sort with, I think, the United Galactic Nations. I don’t know all of the specifics but I just know your father and her had to leave immediately because of it.” I scrunched my face, confused.

All this time, I thought she left because she was gifted. Instead, she left because of her job? What had happened that she needed to leave so quickly? It would make sense why I wasn’t allowed to come with. I was only a child, but I still was hurt that they didn’t take me with them.

“Have they reached out to you since?” I asked George, wondering if they kept more secrets from me.

George shook his head, “No. We haven’t heard anything.” My heart sunk in my chest. They could be dead.