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

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...

Note: This story contains the NC spanking of a (physically) six year old girl. If you are under 18 or offended by such material DON'T READ IT AND GO AWAY!!!

Also note that this story takes place in February!! I COULD have posted it back then — but All Falls Apart leads directly to Hell On Earth — which covers (episodically) from Feb. to late March... and ends in a cliffhanger. So I either left everybody hanging for the last two months — or I wait until now to post the entire thread over the next week or two (I HOPE I can get the last couple of stories done this week... they've been harder than I would've thought to write!!)

Hey, I'm not cruel you know...

These are the last big 'push' on the Melody stories, wrapping up the Melody — Ellen ongoing thread I've had going since last summer. Some of these stories have little or no spanking in them; they are more plot-oriented. Still, those of you who have become 'fans' of the Melody stories should enjoy them; I hope so...
   — Lurking Dragon

All Falls Apart

Wed. Feb. 3, 2749

Part 47 of Melody's Stories

Melody squealed and bucked as Mrs. Jackson expertly applied the light grade 1 #1 paddle briskly to her rapidly pinkening bare bottom while the whole class eagerly watched. Melody had just gotten a 'B' on her weekly pre-calculus quiz, and Mrs. Jackson was applying a little encouragement to her fanny to stimulate her performance. Melody was the last student to be 'encouraged', as Gloria was sniffling with her face to the 'board' (the master display unit). She'd gotten a 'B-' on the same quiz as Melody — but just barely, and her spanking had lasted quite a bit longer. Even if it was with the same paddle. She held up her skirt with both hands to expose her rosy bare six-year old bottom to her first grade class.

And Tommy Murphy was only taking trigonometry, but had still only managed a 'C-'. He was facing the board crying, his pants and underwear around his ankles, sobbing out the thorough application of the #2 paddle to his bare rump. Judy stood next to him, holding up her skirt. Her modesty at least was protected — her 'A-' had only earned her a handspanking, and that over her panties.

Soon Melody's spanking ended, and she went to join the others facing the wall. She sure wasn't looking forward to the sound spankings she'd be getting this evening!! But then the bell rang, all the students collected their weekly quizzes in their various Interterm subjects, and school was over.

* * *

"Mommy?? Where are you?" called Melody (withOUT yelling, mind you) as she entered her home. She figured it was better to get the spanking over with.

As Mary entered the living room, Melody immediately spewed out "Igotta'b'inmathclassI'msorrydon'spankmetooHAAARD??"

"Yes, well, I'm sure you tried Melody. And, well, perhaps I can spank you tonight, but Dr. Miller just called, Ellie isn't feeling very well, and she's really being very fussy. She wants to see you, dear, and is almost throwing a tantrum about it. The Miller's can't seem to calm her down, without using delta induction, and they were wondering if we'd come over to see them tonight."

"Oh! Ah, of course, I mean, if I can help or anythin'. Sure!!"

Melody was very worried. Ellie was rapidly becoming her very best friend, and how could she have gotten sick?? Melody knew she supposedly didn't have much resistance to the modern and alien disease organisms, but this wasn't the first time she'd gotten sick. It had happened twice just since Christmas. And nobody would tell Melody anything. They were probably afraid she'd tell Ellie, and upset the 'barbarian'.

And she probably would, too.

* * *

Melody was even more worried when they arrived in Ellie's suburb, near what used to be Atlanta. As they walked in the door, they heard Ellie howling and crying from upstairs, and as Mrs. Miller came downstairs she said "Oh, good!! Please, Melody, go upstairs and see if YOU can calm Ellie down. She's crying herself into a fit, and I don't know what to do about it. She's feverish and delirious, so please be careful, dear, but we simply MUST get her calmed down and in bed asleep!!"

Melody ran right upstairs.

Ellie looked awful. There were dark circles under her eyes, and she was squirming fitfully under the covers of her bed, shiverring.

[Ellie!! What's wrong!! How are you feeling!]

[M-Mel'dy?? Oh! Oh goody! I-I hadda dream. Thought you were dead!! I-I couldn't remember if it'as real or ah, ]

Ellie was in bad shape!! She really was sick! Melody quickly moved over and slid into bed with her friend, cuddling and snuggling up to her and trying to warm her with her own body. "Oh, Ellie!! Of course I'M all right, YOU'RE the one who's sick. You're burning up, Ellie!! Here snuggle down. No, don't try to talk, just let me be here for you..."

As the two children cuddled together Ellie began to calm down. Her frantic heartbeat slowed, and her voice became slow and sleepy as her feverish fears were assuaged by her friend's calming presence. Only then did Melody notice the tight bandage covering Ellie's upper thigh.

[What's this, Ellie?? Did you hurt yourself??]

[Huhzz?? No, some sorta skin rash broke out las' week. Again. Itched like anythin' but itz OK now. Mel, I think I wanna taka nap...]

As Ellie fell asleep, Melody quietly slipped out from under her friend. Fear gripped her heart in an icy vise. Slowly, careful not to awaken her friend, Melody slipped the bandage up Ellie's leg, just a few millimeters.

The skin under the bandage was scaled.

Not scaly, like Eczema or a skin condition.

Scaled. Like a lizard's skin, or a fish's.

Melody shuddered. She was terrified for her friend. And mad as hell at her parents, Ellie's parents, all the grown ups. She should've been told, damn it!! Right from the beginning!!

Melody slipped out of Ellie's room, turning out the light behind her. Tears streamed from her eyes as she carefully walked down the stairs, holding tight to the handrail to support herself.

The Millers were with her Mom and Dad in the living room. Melody pulled herself up straight and walked firmly in, tears running freely down her face.

Conversation in the room came to a sudden halt. A chill fell over the room. "Melody?? What's wrong, dear?"

Melody lifted her head. Multiple emotions wracked her soul. She stared directly into Dr. Miller's eyes and spoke:

"Ellie's dying, isn't she?"

Dr. Miller glanced over at his wife. She shrugged, and he turned back towards the seven-year-old confronting him.

"Not if we can help it, Melody. Not if we can help it."

"But her skin. I-I looked under the bandage. Don't worry, I didn't let Ellie see or anything. But — her skin has devolved!! That's a sign of late-term Chronostatic radiation poisoning, isn't it?? That's why you two have been taking care of her. She wasn't cured at all!! Even FOUR rejuvenations didn't drain all the radiation out of her..."

"You're right, Melody. And you're wrong." started Dr. Miller. As he spoke Mary, Melody's mother, quietly stood and walked over behind her daughter.

"We knew there was a chance there was some residual radiation, Melody" added his wife. "We hoped not, but after such a large dose, sometimes there are deep pockets not easily scanned."

Mary's hands gently rested on Melody's shoulders, quietly offering her maternal support to the distraught child.

"Then she's dead" declared Melody with a sniffle. "OK, so the dose left was so small it took eight months to express. Even I know that Chronostatic radiation causes the genetic code to go crazy in time. Some sections evolve, others devolve..."

"Yes, dear, but with the tiny dose remaining in Ellie, the cells are losing chronal stability very slowly. Until recently, it was slow enough for her immune system to destroy the aberrant cells as they mutated..."

"Only now it's spread so far her system can't keep up. I know the drill, Ma'am." sobbed Melody. "It's gone too far now. Once her own system can't keep up with it, it'll keep getting worse and worse. And nothing can stop it. Nothing we can use, anyway..."

"There is rejuvenation." quietly declared Dr. Miller.

"NO! You can't!! Ellie isn't just her body, she's her mind, her memories, WHO SHE IS!! She's not even four, yet!! Another rejuve will drop her to under ONE, and even I know NOBODY'S personality and memories can survive THAT!!"

"We know that, dear" replied Mrs. Miller, with a frown. "But the situation isn't quite as bad as you think..."

"We knew, of course, that Ellie's dosage was... extreme" her husband interrupted. "From that idiot Parker's notes, of course. So we took especial care in her rejuvenations."

"The three year figure as the minimum for each rejuvenation is an average, of course. The actual figure varies... Once we'd given her one rejuvenation to stop the immediate catastrophic failure, and to reverse what had 'killed' her..."

"Complications from Emphysema and Osteoporosis. She was eighty-seven when she passed on..."

"Yes, well, after that first rejuvenation we brought in specialists. The others were all given at John's Hopkins, and they did their best to maximize Ellie's final age. They did quite well. She averaged only two years and nine months or so for each rejuvenation. Her physical age was actually just a few months under four when you first met her, even though we'd told her three and a half. Now she's four years and four or five months, as close as we can figure it."

Melody rapidly added in her head. "<Snif> It's still not enough. Another two years and nine months will leave her well under two. That's too young!! What's the youngest anybody's ever survived a rejuvenation, anyway??"

"That's also a variable, dear. The absolute youngest was rejuvenated to two years and one month. But she was a child, a Kindern, so there wasn't as much neuronic encoding to do. For adult rejuves, the youngest personality survivor was rejuved to two years and four months." Mrs. Miller failed to mention the adults rejuved to two years and six or seven months who had NOT survived.

"No way." Melody shook her head. "If she's already showing the symptoms... nine, ten months of that??? She'll never make it..."

"Some of the best people on the planet are working to have her 'make it', Melody. They figure that with enough preparation, they can chop at least a couple of more months off of her next rejuve, and maybe more. But it will be brutally close. Every week, every day, every minute we can keep Ellie going before we HAVE to rejuvenate her is critical."

"That's the only excuse we can make for not telling you or Ellie anything. Her mental attitude was important... worry and anxiety would have only depressed her immune system and made it harder for her to fight off the radiation effects. And we couldn't be sure how you would react, Melody. You've been a good friend to her, but you are Penitatas. And nobody... NOBODY would blame you if you stayed out of it from here on in. It's going to be bad, Melody. Very bad. But you could help. Ellen trusts you completely. She's calmer and more comfortable with you around. You could help make the difference. Will you help us? Will you help her?"

"Of course I will." Melody quietly replied. "But like you said, Ellie trusts me. I won't lie to her. And I think you both know it's time to be honest with her. Will you go up with me in the morning and tell Ellen the truth with me??"

The Drs. Miller discussed the matter between themselves for some time. Meanwhile, Melody sat on her Daddy's lap and allowed him to cuddle HER for awhile. Melody wasn't really a little girl, but he body was. And the emotional impact of what she'd learned was felt by that body.

Melody NEEDED a long cuddle.

Finally, "Yes Melody. Tomorrow morning we tell Ellen the whole story. And I just hope she's up to it."

* * *

Melody spent the night snuggled up to her best friend. And the next morning, it was time to tell Ellen everything.

First, at Melody's suggestion, they removed the bandage and showed Ellen what was happening to her leg. The shock was enough to get the headstrong little girl to be quiet and just listen...

[But why didn't you TELL me Melody!! I thought we were FRIENDS!!]

[I didn't KNOW Ellie!! Until I looked under the bandage last night. Then I confronted the grownups an' made 'em tell you this morning!!]

"Oh. <snif> Y-you wouldn't even tell Mel'dy about it??"

"No, Ellen, we were afraid she'd tell you, and we really didn't want to worry you yet..."

"But whadda we gonna DO anout it?? A-am I gonna die??"

Dr. Miller looked grimly at his wife, and for once ignored the apparant age of his daughter and answered her honestly. "Maybe, Ellen. There isn't much we CAN do, short of another rejuvenation..."

"NOOOO!! You CAANT!! I'd be a BABEEE!" agonized Ellen.

[Don't be silly, Ellen!!] snapped Melody at her silly friend. [So what if you're in diapers again?? At least you'd be ALIVE!! The real problem is the lower age limit!! I TOLD you about it once, remember? If we rejuve you back TOO far you'll lose all your memories and personality!! For all intents and purposes you'd DIE!! THAT'S why you aren't already in diapers suckin' on a bottle, Ellen Miller!! The ONLY reason!!]

Melody's sharp words had their desired effect, as Ellen suddenly realized the true extent of her medical problems. That they were, in fact, a threat to her life and mind, that the problem wasn't a matter of her convenience, or an interruption to her growing back up again, but to her existence as a unique individual. [But — Melody you said three years was the minimum!! I-I'm almost four — isn't that old enough??]

[You're OVER four, really, Ellie, and no it isn't. Not for a normal rejuvenation. They're trying to build a special rejuvenator that won't take so much off — but, Ellie, It will be close. Believe me, they won't rejuvenate you until they absolutely HAVE to.]

"Oh!! ah, but, what can we do?? ELSE I mean??"

"The effect is similar, in some fashions, to a disease you may be familiar with, Ellen. Cancer — the problem is still cells going genetically crazy, and one way of treating it is to enhance your body's own immune system to allow it to destroy the deviated cells. That's one of the reasons we agreed to tell you — it will be obvious to you soon that you are being treated for a serious disease. In fact, I'm starting you on interferon treatments today."

"Interferon!! THAT word not changed!! <sob>" Ellen began to cry [MELODY!! I had cancer once, back when. And interferon, too — it's awful — I felt sick as a dog and couldn't eat a thing...]

"Oh!! Sir, Ellen says she's had interferon, and didn't like it. Is it really that bad??"

"Yes Melody." It was Mrs. Miller who responded. "Most of the alternate treatments for Chronostatic radiation we've developed are based on the old cancer therapies. With rejuvenation, there hasn't been much need for them, but we've tried to be prepared. We have chemical poisons that will selectively kill the altered cells. Some will be sensitive to more ordinary radiation. And, of course, we'll be making massive use of nanotechnology. A large collection of nanoprobes are destroying the skin of her thigh right now — and re-growing it from the unaffected cells."

"But I'm afraid all of these therapies are going to make Ellen feel a lot worse. They may keep her alive, but I won't lie to either of you. Ellen, dear, you are going to be in a great deal of severe pain for a long while. And much of the time you are going to be a very, very sick little girl. But it's your only option — with luck, we can keep you going until you're old enough to rejuve again."

"I-is they any chance you ca' cure me w'out rej-rejuvation?" asked Ellen. "PLEEASE, bein' fo' is bad 'nuff <sniffle> I wanna grow UP!"

"No, Ellen. Eventually we WILL have to rejuvenate you. There is NO other option." Ellen began to bawl at the news, curling up on her bed and rocking as Melody and Mary tried helplessly to comfort the devastated child. Her whole world had just fallen apart completely.

Worst — Ellen hadn't lied about her bout with cancer. She'd been a smoker into her sixties, when the lung cancer had finally come. She'd been lucky — she'd lost 2 lobes of her left lung, but she'd survived.

And she'd survived breast cancer two years later.

And she remembered every moment of the hours and days of misery from chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Losing all of her hair had been the least of it.

Now she had to face that terror again — but in the body of a four year old.

Ellen cried.

To be continued.