Rogue's Weyr : "the Weyr is where the dragon is" -Brekke Rider of Gold Wirenth, Southern Weyr

This is the continuation of the story begun in 'Diaspora'...

This is the second posting attempt, as I have not seen it yet.

Background: This story is set in the 28th century. Rejuvenation is common, and is used not only to extend life but as a punishment for criminal behavior. Melody is a fifty year old woman who was convicted of embezzlement last October. She was sentenced to three cycles from 6 to 12 years old. Like all convicted criminals, she is spending her first cycle(s) in the custody of 'spanko' parents, who are authorized, even encouraged to spank her as often as possible, AS WELL AS often as she deserves...
   —Lurking Dragon

The Trial

Oct. 1-3, 2748

Part 31 of Melody's Stories

Melody was not released from the hospital until the evening of the next day. And that wasn't much of a change, as her Mommy took her straight home, changed her into a white Baby-doll nightie and put her straight to bed. At first Melody thought she'd been sent to bed without her supper, but her Mommy showed up shortly afterwards with a tray. She actually fed Melody bite by bite, keeping Mel as tucked in as she could. Then it was time for Melody's medicine. Her Mommy told her she'd have to take it four times a day for a while.

It tasted GOOD. "That's right, Mel. They...didn't have this available in a Penitatas formulation." Then she turned the lights down and told Melody to go to sleep.

Friday was more of the same. Melody was kept tucked right into her bed ALL DAY. And Mommy ran the delta inducer for most of the time, too, which kept Melody quietly asleep. It was incredibly dull.

But Saturday her Mommy awoke Melody early, and started laying out clothes for her. Not just any clothes, but her nicest white-on-white print dress she usually wore only to church. But she was dressed in it today, along with a slip and white cotton panties.

"Where are we going, Mommy."

"To Penitatas Court, dear." Her Mommy looked at Melody closely, seeing the total, absolute panic in her eyes.

Penitatas court is where Penitatas are tried for crimes. Not the ones they are serving sentences for. New ones.

"You aren't a defendant, Melody!! You're a witness. Don't worry."

Well, she'd worry anyway, witness or not!! Penitatas court was the one place NO bad penny wanted to be anywhere near. But... "Who IS the defendant, Mommy??"

"Janie. Yes, Janie. I'm afraid there is evidence that your SpankMaster was sabotaged, Melody. No, I can't answer any more questions. They do not want your testimony prompted or tainted in any way. Now, you be quiet until you are asked to speak. Oh, and I'd better get your medicine; we'll be there all day."

Melody was dosed and bundled (quietly) into the family car, and the trip to the regional Corrections center was underway.

* * *

At the center, Melody and her family were taken in to the court of Judge Marilyn Jones. There in the courtroom, they saw little Janie sitting with her lawyer and parents. The four-year-old was wearing a white sailor dress.

She was also wearing KidKuffs. These children's handcuffs consisted of five centimeter-wide carbon fiber bracelets, thoroughly padded, of course, connected by a 12 cm. length of light chain which was run through a 10cm metal tube. Her hands were cuffed in front of her. Janie's face was tear-streaked, and she clearly had been crying.

Once Judge Jones had called court to order, Melody had to leave until it was time to testify. As she was the only child testifying, she had the 'kids room' to herself, and could play quietly with the toys as the young female bailiff watched. But she was called to testify quite early; she was the first witness.

On the stand Melody was asked about her earlier run-ins with Janie. And she was asked to describe what had happened in the SpankMaster. That was hard, and Melody became rather upset as she tried to describe the horrible events. But it was finally over, and Melody could join her parents in the audience.

Mrs. Garrett testified, not just about finding Melody, but about pulling the computer core. And the SpankMaster technicians testified as to the virus program they'd found. The one tied to prisoner number 253322455. Designed to change the program for one particular person.


Because of his earlier attack on Melody, the Christmas caning incident, James Platsburk / Janie Smythe was the natural suspect, and had been brought in for questioning. She had tried to refuse to cooperate with the police, as was her right.

And at first, there was some doubt as to her guilt. But not for long. When Melody's dad had reported James for his earlier attempted rape, and his alteration of Melody's Christmas caning was discovered, he had been immediately suspended from his duties, and his access to the Corrections computer system shut off. But he had been furious, and determined to teach Melody a lesson she'd never forget, to 'get back' at her for ruining his life, and his... 'special' entertainments.

And he'd created a back door to the system years ago. And after Janie's first humiliating spanking at Melody's hands last spring, she'd snuck into her parent's room and used their system to access the back door. She'd tried to cover up her tracks, but had missed a hidden logging function on the Smythe's system — a standard precaution when a rejuve has extensive computer skills. Actually, she'd found the standard logger, which as a corrections official James Platsburk had known all about. What she didn't know was that a second logging system had been attatched by the comlink company, at Correction's request. Because she knew about the standard logger. She successfully managed to obscure exactly what she'd done by using some of the public 'rand'ers maintained by the cypherpunk community, but nothing she did could prevent the hidden logger from showing that the home system was in use — at a time when both her parents knew they'd been asleep.

At first, even when she'd finally admitted to tampering with the SpankMaster, Janie tried to claim that he'd done it at the same time he'd arranged the Christmas canings, and her use of her parent's computer had been an attempt to destroy the virus. But none of the other women he'd tried to abuse had been affected. And both the logger and the SpankMaster's trace codes showed the program had been planted on April 29th of that year. All of which added 'slicing' to the list of crimes....

Crimes commited AFTER Jane had been convicted and rejuvenated.

With her guilt certain, the court authorized a verifier scan by a Rigellian telepath to determine the truth. And asked Janie's parents to encourage their daughter's cooperation. Unfortunately for Janie, a child does NOT have the right to refuse to answer her parents. Janie quickly learned that the combination of a verifier scan and the back of a hairbrush was irresistible.

The truth was soon out.

Finally Janie had tearfully confessed to the truth, her bare bottom spanked to a crimson red ball of pain by her Mommy and Daddy's repeated application of the hairbrush-back to her poor fanny.

But Janie maintained that she'd NEVER wanted Melody to be tortured the way she had been. She claimed that the virus should have just doubled each of her punishments. And the Rigellian verified that this was the truth. So Janie was claiming that, since the program hadn't worked right, obviously it wasn't HER fault...

Then the Senior Programmer for the SpankMaster line was called to testify. Surprisingly, she supported Janie's claim... sort of.

"Yes, your honor, thanks to Mrs. Garrett's quick actions, we were able to recover a good bit of the program. We believe it was all a set up; once Melody was assigned to that machine the virus was downloaded into it alone; none of the other machines was affected. Yes, it WAS destroying itself even as she pulled the plug; we might have never known just what happened, especially if it had worked as it was supposed to. Yes, Janie actually wasn't lying about that. The actual program is so well protected she couldn't get in to alter it, but the processor's microcode was another matter. His 'back-door' access was adequate for that; nobody thought to protect the processor microcode, since any change to it would basically make the computer not function. She reprogrammed the processor to shift all values left one when storing them back into the data area. She figured that would double all the punishment values as they were computed, which it did. But it also doubled all the parameters used to DETERMINE that punishment as they were downloaded into the system. Yes, like Melody's age; that was a big clue. But the worst thing was that the bit-mapped code for her offense type was also shifted."

"That code has bits representing, oh, felony or not, sex of offender, violent or not, whether there was a sexual component, that sort of thing. Yes, each bit means something different, so shifting the code totally changed everything."

"Yes, I did try shifting Melody's code. Ah, I'm afraid the SpankMaster was trying to set up a punishment for a 12 year old boy, who had been convicted of multiple counts of murder. Of Kindern. Ah, sexually."

The entire courtroom gasped at this. In this century there is NO worse crime than killing a Kindern. Multiple murderers....

"But, Ms. Thomas, that is an impossible situation. No such offender would ever be allowed to get to twelve as a Penitatas; they ALL get sentences in the very lowest possible ages. And as a sexual offender, they would almost certainly have Y repression..."

"Yes, your honor, it WAS an 'impossible' situation. Which is why it was never given a 'sanity check'. I- I'm afraid the company will have to take the blame for that. Procedure called for EVERY combination of bitcodes to have a sanity check, but I'm afraid some of our engineers got lazy and skipped 'obviously impossible' combinations. Yessir, they'll be gone by Monday, and I've tendered my own resignation over this. I am SO ashamed, I should have double-checked myself. Oh, no sir! The final result for the 12 year old boy was 80 paddle swats and 40 strokes of the senior school cane, ridiculously severe but plausible for such a case. But I'm afraid the number of swats were then doubled. And the implement codes were doubled, right past the highest implements allowed. I'm afraid the system automatically truncated the result to the highest possible values, a bumblebee paddle and a penal punishment cane. And I'm afraid the computed impact velocity was doubled as well."

"Yes, sir, the SpankMaster 3000 DOES check the heart rate and blood pressure to make certain they stay within safe limits. Of course, a young man of 12 can endure a pretty high pain level, a pretty high heart rate and B.P. for the duration of his punishment. But, those numbers were also computed and stored in the data area. Yes, and they were doubled, too. Oh, thank you sir. I- I'm glad if I could help."

The young executive stepped down.

Melody realized that Janie was already convicted. The court was just making sure she knew just how bad an offense she'd committed. And Janie had committed the crime AS A PENITATAS. And THAT meant Janie would be subject to...

Judge Jones pressed a button on her bench, and it settled into the floor. She was seated on an odd-looking armless chair. In her hand was a small paddle. "Janie, the evidence is overwhelming. You are guilty. I hereby sentence you to an ADDITIONAL THREE CYCLES, all of them to be served 'hard time'! In addition, I am sentencing you to a Judicial Paddling!!! Come here."

Janie screamed "Noooo! You Can't!! You CAN'T!" Janie was jumping up and down, now, howling and crying.

"Janie Smythe, you are a Penitatas. A convicted criminal, a violent and vengeful person who cruelly used your position of authority to violate and harm others. And you have just proven that even the sanction of being made a child again, of Penitatas, is insufficient to protect others from you.

"You are wicked young lady. Our society has only one sanction available for criminals who continue to commit crimes as Penitatas. Judicial Paddling is used only when a Penitatas has committed a crime AS a Penitatas. And you knew that! That's why you tried to claim that the tampering had been done prior to your conviction, that the family logger codes showed you trying to undo your tampering. You might have gotten away with that claim if the Spankmaster core hadn't been recovered intact, and crimes DISCOVERED after a Penitatas has been convicted, but COMMITTED prior to being captured usually results in an increased sentence, appropriate for the discovered crime."

"That is NOT the case here. The trace codes in the core recovered by Mrs. Garrett prove conclusively that you commited this crime AS A PENITATAS. You did this for pure revenge on a CHILD who had only told the truth, who had only done what she was SUPPOSED to. This... this heinous act was a deliberate attempt to torment someone for the 'crime' of testifying about your own crimes.

Judge Jones looked at the suddenly very frightened Janie. "Now you know just how your little 'prank' resulted in poor Melody being tortured. By law, A Judicial Paddling is used to punish 'Any person serving a sentence as Penitatas who is subsequently convicted of a serious crime.' Which you just were. Bailiff, bring that naughty little girl here and put her over my knees."

Melody shuddered. Judicial Paddling was the reason this court was so dreaded by Penitatas. After all, if a little boy or girl is already enduring the life of a Penitatas, and actually commits a crime, then something extreme was needed. An ultimate deterrent. That little paddle in Judge Jones' hand was very special. It wasn't very long, or wide, but it was 1cm thick, and very hard, and had a lot of very special holes drilled through it.

It was designed for one thing. To raise a good crop of hot sting blisters on a naughty little child's bare bottom as quickly and as painfully as possible, while avoiding unnecessary damage to the deep, underlying muscle of the bottom. It would be totally illegal for Melody's parents to blister her bottom with such a paddle. A parent could raise blisters only on a Penitatas who was over eight years old, and then only for serious naughtiness or disobedience. A Penitatas under eight could only be blistered on her 'Special Punishment Days', and those blisters were always promptly treated with nano-lotion.

But THAT paddle was specifically designed for a four year old. The paddle was exactly the right size to deliver a devastating spank to a tiny four year old bottomcheek, yet still large enough to 'bridge the crease' as well. It was designed to be the most horribly painful thing a four year old could possibly feel. In fact, if a child of seven or over got sentenced to Judicial Paddling, they would first be given an Administrative Rejuve to the age of four. This would NOT count as one of their cycles. It would simply put them back to the beginning, or even before the beginning, of their current cycle.

To do all over again, but under even STRICTER discipline.

That would be bad enough. But the real punishment would come from that little paddle. Pain experts had determined that a four year old bottom was simply the youngest for which a blistering should even be remotely contemplated. A blistering at that age, on a four year old's extremely soft and tender bottom, would be totally agonizing, intolerable, but would do no permanent damage. So that was the preferred age for a Judicial Paddling. A Judicial Blistering.

Melody knew that somewhere in the Judges chambers were the slightly smaller, plain paddle for three year olds, as well as the slightly larger 'bumblebee' paddles for five year olds... and six year olds. She shuddered again.

But by now the bailiff had carried the struggling Janie up to the Judge and had positioned her over her Honor's lap. The bar of her KidKuffs was snapped into a holder just below the seat of the Judges chair. A wide strap was fastened around her knees, fastening them loosely down. Janie was totally helpless. The Judge then quickly turned up her white dress. Janie wore no slip; her parents knew what was coming. Her panties were gently tugged down to bare her bottom. Tugged right down to her knees.

The Judge began to spank Janie with good, firm swats from her lean hand. The crowd rustled at this; apparently a preparatory handspanking was rather unusual. After a dozen spanks, the judge paused and said "That was for making such a fuss and giving Officer Parker a hard time. In a moment, I will begin your Judicial Paddling. But there are two more testimonies we need to take before you receive what you so richly deserve. Mr. Franks, please take the stand."

Mr. Franks, it turned out, was the EMT who had treated Melody.

His testimony scared Melody a lot, but her Mommy held her hand and rubbed her back to help her through it. "Mommy, did I really have a cerebral h-hemorrhage??"

"Yes, dear, I'm afraid you really did. And your heart stopped briefly, too. You owe Mrs. Garrett and Mr. Franks a lot, dear. If she hadn't gotten to you so quickly, if he hadn't figured out that a broken vessel in your head was why your heart had stopped. Well, they were getting out the Emergency Rejuvenator when he grabbed the Neural Plaser and fixed it. You ALMOST ended up a three year old, dear."

Melody shuddered at the thought of enduring an extra three years as a Penitatas. Or would she be a Medicalos for three years? That wouldn't be so bad...

"So you almost had to give Melody an Emergency Rejuvenation. Well, I'm certain Melody is glad you didn't. I suspect she finds life as a six year old bad enough. If he HAD, Melody, you would have been a Medicalos Penitatas. Your next three years wouldn't have been quite as severe as now, but you would hardly go unspanked, either. Like a Juvenala Penitatas, you would have been sort of in between. Be glad you avoided it, young lady."

"Mrs. Garrett, I have heard that the EMT's professional organization, and the Teacher's Conference plan to recognize the exceptional way you handled the entire matter. I will not. I've seen your record, Madam, and I'll simply say you performed exactly as I would expect."

Huh? That was a weird complement, thought Melody. But Mrs. Garrett was BEAMING, in her stern way. It must have been just the right thing for ol' iron-hand. (The vice principal was notoriously strict, especially with little Penitatas. And her handspankings were rumored to be unbelievable. Melody hoped she'd never find out first hand. But figured she eventually would.)

The Judge dismissed Mr. Franks, then said to Janie, "I'm afraid it gets even worse. Dr. Smith, would you take the stand."

At this point, something strange happened. Melody's Mommy picked her up from where she was sitting next to her, and put her down on her lap. There she simply held Melody in both arms, pulling her head back against her warm breast.

"Dr. Smith, please tell us about Melody's injuries. The ones you found after she reached the hospital."

"Yes. Well, in addition to her other injuries, we did a microscan of her cerebral cortex. What we found was quite alarming. There were over thirty microfractures in the circulatory system, some of them in potentially disastrous locations. She was in surgery for several hours, and is still receiving medication to strengthen her vascular system."

WHAT!! Melody's body shuddered helplessly as her Mommy hugged her firmly to her bosom. "It's true, Mel." She whispered. "When I think about it I want to scream, too..."

"Then Dr. Smith, you're saying Melody was on the edge of... several more cerebral events."

"She was seconds away from a massive, multiple cranial stroke, if that's what you mean. If that dam, I mean DARN machine had given her two or three more lashes of that cane, if Mrs. Garrett had been a little slower in getting her out of there, if the EMTs had been late.... Well, with luck an Emergency Rejuvenation would've saved her life. Maybe. But with that much cerebral damage, it's always iffy. Sometimes a secondary rejuve will correct holdover problems with neural synaptic interconnectivity, but at her age that would be impossible. There was a very significant chance the poor girl would have died. Its actually just a matter of luck that she didn't."

"And a matter of a number of people doing their jobs to perfection." replied Judge Jones quietly. "Thank you doctor."

"So you see, young lady, you came very, very close to being over my knee right now... for MURDER." There was a gasp from the crowd. Melody shuddered again, and pressed back against her Mommy.

"Bailiff, please bring me a dose of Firebottom Three for this little criminal."

The crowd gasped.

Melody squealed.

Janie screamed!!

Firebottom. The ultimate punishment for a convicted Penitatas. ONLY useable as part of a Judicial Blistering. Rarely used then, and only for a severe violent crime like Assault, or Murder. Or Attempted Murder, like now.

Melody blanched as she thought about the horrible drug. Firebottom One was bad enough. It was an endorphin inhibitor.

Usually, during a spanking, your body would attempt to accommodate the pain. Even as the spanking built up the burning fire in your bottom, the pain of each individual swat would lessen, get easier to take.

Not with Firebottom One. Under that drug, each and every spank would have the fresh, burning, horrible pain of the first swat. No tolerance. No endurance. Every swat would feel just as bad as every other swat, AND you'd still have the cumulative effect AS WELL. But as bad as Firebottom One was...

Firebottom Two was worse. It was a flat-out pain enhancer. It stimulated the nerves so that a spanking hurt more. Melody had read (It was required before her own sentence had been carried out) that Firebottom Two made each and every spank hurt four to five times as bad as it would have otherwise. It would make even an ordinary spanking a horrible experience of unendurable pain. And it was only used for Judicial Paddlings. Which resulted in a little bitty blistered bottom. Every time.

Firebottom Three... Firebottom Three was simply Firebottom One.

And Two.

Concentrated essence of Hell.

The bailiff handed the Judge a hypospray and stepped back. "Janie, I am giving you a standard one week dose. Then your Judicial Paddling will begin."

Melody winced once again. A Judicial Paddling would hardly have its proper deterrent effect if the blisters didn't stay around for a while, so usually no Nano-treatment would be allowed for a week after the paddling. In fact, like a spanking in school, being called before a judge and sentenced to a Judicial Paddling warranted parental punishment afterwards. Traditionally, this consisted of a good, sound handspanking from each parent, EVERY DAY, for the entire week before the poor child's blistered bottom could be cured.

Spankings administered over the child's blisters. Breaking them, renewing them, enhancing them. Painful beyond belief.

But Janie was getting a one week dose of Firebottom Three. It would be in effect for the entire duration of her punishment. For all of her parent's handspankings. Over her blistered bottom. Janie was going to be one incredibly sorry little girl.

And no nano-treatment for a week. Melody had been severely blistered before her caning had begun, but she barely remembered it now. Janie would have to endure the results of her crime for a week.

(Melody didn't know it, but the Hospital had insisted on calling in a Rigellian telepath to 'blur' her memory of her ordeal. While both Justice and Corrections had objected, her physicians insisted, saying that the memories could have had severe long-term psychological harm).

Even if Janie STOLE some nano-lotion, now it wouldn't work. Nanites were programmed to shut down when they detected Firebottom. There would be no hope. Janie was 'in for it' BIG time; her bottom was a bun about to be toasted. And to her own self-disgust, Melody was glad, and glad she'd get to watch.

Judge Jones had applied to hypospray to each of Janie's bare bottom cheeks in turn. Now she raises her Judicial Paddle in her strong right arm, and brings it down onto Janie's poor bare left bottom cheek...


Janie freezes in shock for a second as the unbelievable pain crashes through her bottom. Then she threw her head back and screamed, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWOWWWWWWWWWWWW!"

The second spank impacted her right bottomside on the matching spot. Another howl echoed through the courtroom. Judge Jones, as a long- time Penitatas Court Judge, was a VERY experienced spanker, and knew just how to place each spank as the previous one reached its maximum intolerability. By the third spank, Janie was bawling like a baby. Her wrists jerked helplessly against her KidKuffs. Her legs TRIED to buck herself off the Judges stern lap, but her knee-strap held her down, though leaving her free to kick and squirm helplessly under the hard, blistering paddle-swats.

After ten spanks, Janie was making one long, hard howl after another, pausing only long enough to suck in another deep breath with which to express her intolerable pain. Tears streamed down her little face from her bloodshot eyes. Mucous poured out of her nose, spittle moistened her chin as judicial swat after painful judicial swat burned into her poor bare bottom. She was still struggling, wiggling, trying to swim off the Judge's lap. But the stern woman held her still and continued to apply her paddle to the strawberry bottom before her.

By the time twenty hard spanks had been applied to Janie's bare nates she was struggling no longer. Totally broken and defeated, the little girl lay helplessly over the Judge's rough robes crying in great heaves as hard as she could. Each spank barely affected her sobbing. She was just crying as hard as she could, completely converted into a very well spanked, very naughty little girl. And still the paddle spanked her poor cherry-red bottom. This spanking would end only when the Judge saw the results the Law demanded, and that was a good, thick crop of white sting blisters.

Thirty swats had her bottom turning that odd white of pre-blistered skin. Then those nastily designed holes had done their work, and sting blisters began to appear on the crown of each of Janie's bottom-cheeks.

But the judge continued spanking Janie until her blisters ran from the crown right down to where she sat down, the whole spank spot. Only then did the Judge terminate Janie's punishment. "There! Bailiff, please record that Penitatas number 253322945, Janie Smythe slash James Platsburk completed her Judicial Paddling with a Well Blistered Bottom after forty-eight good, sound swats, spanking endured under Firebottom Three. Mr. and Mrs. Smythe, do you understand your responsibilities under her sentence? Good, yes, a good, sound spanking every day from each of you for the next week. And I am going to use my discretionary authority, and ask that one of those be with a standard 'Mother's Helper' paddle, instead of your hand. This little BRAT deserves nothing less for her little blistered bottom!! And Janie, you just remember that it can get even worse. I was half-tempted to have you back here next month for another Judicial Paddling!!"

Melody winced again. A judge could order multiple Judicial Paddlings for serious or repeat offenses, although no more than one could be carried out in any thirty day period, to allow some physical and mental recovery time.

"Bailiff, get this child into the corner." And the bailiff unfastened Janie's bindings and carried her over to the corner, where her KidKuffs were secured to a fastener well over her head, forcing her to stand on her tiptoes with her face pressed hard to the walls. Then he pinned up her dress to expose her blistered bottom to the entire watching crowd in the courtroom.

"Melody Johnson, please come here."

Oh, noo! Melody didn't know what she'd done, but she wiggled off her Mommy's lap and trotted down. The clerk let her past the gate, and she went straight to Judge Jones, even as her eyes filled with tears from the fear of the terrible implement of Justice on her lap.

"Wha? Melody, why... Oh. Sorry, dear! Bailiff, take this, please!" She handed the Bailiff the terrible Paddle, then patted her knee, "Come here, child!"

Well, a handspanking was a lot better than that paddle!! With a sigh of relief, Melody moved around to the Judge's right and started to bend over.

Only to be halted by her right hand. "Oh, Melody!!" The Judge then suddenly swept her left hand under Melody's knees, her right caught her under her arms, and the woman picked Melody right up and deposited her on her lap.

Face UP. "Laps ARE meant for more than spanking, Mel." The entire crowd had erupted in laughter. Melody's face turned brick red in embarrassment at her silly assumption. But, darn it, she WAS a Penitatas, and this WAS a Penitatas Judge, and no sane little Penny WOULDN'T be utterly terrified.

"Melody, I just wanted you to understand that what I had to do to little Janie was necessary. Making someone a Penitatas is the most severe penalty our society has. When that doesn't work, when someone proves that even being turned into a child and controlled and spanked isn't enough to keep people safe from them, well, there just has to be a penalty so terrible that NOBODY can ignore it. Do you think Janie will be able to ignore the fire in her bottom, Melody?"

"N-No. I don' think Janie'll EVER try ANYTHIN' again. I sure know I won't, jus' watchin'. It was awful, Ma'am. How can you STAND it? I mean, she's so LITTLE, and..."

"Shh. Melody, she may be little now, but she could still be dangerous. You're a lot bigger than she is, but she managed to really, really hurt you twice now. Aren't you even a little angry at her?? If I told you you could go swat her blistered bottom a dozen times, wouldn't you want to?? ("(sob)Noooo! Waaaaaaah!") She almost KILLED you!"

Melody looked at Janie's blistered bottom. "I-I know, Ma'am. Really, I do. An' I've enjoyed the times I've seen her gettin' spanked. An I've even been allowed to spank her a couple of times, and that felt pretty good. But I don't think I could stand to hurt her now. Maybe later. But not now. Nobody should be hurt like that."

"Oh, Melody. How did somebody like you end up Penitatas, anyway. No, No, I know all about it. But Melody, Janie deserved every bit of what I gave her. Don't you doubt it. And if you're asked to help punish her you just spank her exactly as you're told too. Because, Melody, if we can't help Janie become a better person, if she eventually grows up again without changing. Well, Melody, do YOU want to be responsible for the NEXT people she hurts? Maybe even other children?? Maybe even KINDERN??"

Melody turned white at the thought. "No..No!! Never!! But..."

"I know. It's not an easy thing to think about, Mel. But remember, most people aren't like Janie. Most people care about others. Even your Mommy and Daddy. Yes, they spank you, because you've earned it, and you deserve it. And because you NEED it if you are to complete your sentence, your guilt all gone, to become a proper member of society again. Remember the biggest advantage of out system. Once your time as a Penitatas is over, and you grow up, it's a whole new life. No 'criminal history' making it impossible to lead an honest life. Yes, some people have exploited that. But we feel that, once you've paid for your crimes through another childhood, or many childhoods, then like any child you deserve a chance to make a new life as you grow up."

"Another thing, Melody. Diaspora. SpankMaster."

Melody's reaction to the words was instantaneous and shocking, even to herself. Her entire body stiffened and jerked with the words as if she'd been struck. She quivered in fear.

(sigh) "We were afraid of that. Melody, Janie got what she deserved. But nobody should ever be subjected to what happened to you. Our system is predicated on the severe but SAFE punishment of our felons. What happened to you is just the sort of thing the Penitatas program was created to prevent; one crook taking viscous revenge against another while they are held helpless by the system. While I have some misgivings, the psychologists all agree we simply can NOT ask you to go back into a Spa...machine next year. Simply trying to enter the machine might be damaging. You'll be getting some therapy sessions about what happened as it is."

Melody wiggled a bit on the Judge's lap. What was she getting at?

"Melody, I am officially deleting Diaspora from your 'special punishment' list. You will only have to deal with Christmas, Easter, July 4th and your birthday from now on."

Melody's jaw dropped. 'Special' punishments were NEVER dropped like that!

"The question is, what to do with you next Diaspora (wince). You certainly cannot go on any of the field trips; those are non-Penitatas only. I could send you to study hall with the soft-timers, but then you'd still see all of the set up SpankMasters on the field, and the psych boys insist even THAT's a bad idea. And just letting you stay home is too much like an extra holiday for me. I know! Melody, for the next few years you will spend all day on Diaspora IN BED. No excuses, no exceptions, you will stay in bed ALL DAY, tucked in quietly with the lights turned down. What do you say about that?"

"Ah, Ma'am, no exceptions? Wh-what about, you know, (whispered) ..potty?"

"Well, young lady, since you won't be allowed to get up to go potty, your Mommy will just have to put you into diapers to prevent any little accidents, won't she."

Melody turned brick red at the Judge's (loud) comments on her fate.

"Now, one last thing. Now that you are no longer a witness, I'm afraid you'll find your medicine has taken a turn for the worse in taste. And I'm afraid you'll be getting a good spanking once your parents get you home. You've been a pretty good girl, Melody, but you ARE a Penitatas, and I'm afraid its time you got back to your regular routine."

And with that the judge set Melody down on her feet and gave her bottom a swat to send her back to her folks. "ALL RISE" said the bailiff as the Judge's bench rose back into position. Then court was dismissed, and Janie's parents went over to fetch their little girl from the judicial corner.

When Melody reached her parents, her Mommy was taking her medicine out of her purse. Melody glanced at the clock; Two PM, it was time. Then she noticed that it was a new bottle, and remembered the Judge's comment. With a sigh, she opened her mouth as her Mommy poured the thick syrup into the child's Medicine Spoon. And poured it into her mouth.

YECCCH! it was AWFUL. The horrible, bitter-sour foul-tasting syrup that ALL Penitatas medication came in. But Melody shuddered and swallowed the thick stuff, which left its awful taste all over the inside of her mouth. She sure didn't want a spanking right here!

Unfortunately, the other half of the Judge's prediction came true sooner than Melody would have believed... as her Mommy took her over her lap in the back seat of the hover car for a good, sound spanking on her bare bottom as Daddy drove them back home. And it hurt, just as much as ever, and made her cry and bawl. And wiggle and squirm, too, and feel terribly naughty and punished.

But somehow it just didn't seem quite so bad.