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...
   — Lurking Dragon

Final Assembly

May 28, 2749

Part 55 of Melody's Stories

Melody and her schoolmates were just a bit more rambunctious than usual. Little boys grinned and nudged each other with elbows, while little girls giggled behind palms and winked and smirked at each other.

Mrs. Jackson smiled indulgently at the children; after all, it WAS the Last Day of School, and a certain amount of leniency was allowed.

Besides, the children would be taking home their Report Cards today, and that would mean more than one very, very sore bottom tonight!

Melody wasn't afraid of her report card; well, not TOO afraid. It had been a brutally hard two months, trying to catch up on a full half-year of schoolwork, but with Mommy and Mrs. Jackson's help, she'd managed — and with pretty decent grades, too! At least — she thought so...

It had been a busy, busy time — so MUCH going on!!

Ellie going off every morning to Charleston for swimming lessons—with a KINDERN class, no less!! (There were obviously no classes for any other kind of children her age...)

Shopping, all the stuff they'd forgotten that Ellie would need...

Spankings — not very many, but enough that Melody was constantly reminded of her Penitatas status. Although it DID seem she wasn't getting spanked as much as before.

(Well, with all her schoolwork, Melody hardly had any time to GET into trouble any more. That was probably it.)

And not just spankings for Melody. Ellen had gotten more than a few herself; mostly 2-5 swat 'spankings' over her shorts or panty-seat, as Mommy held her close; but a few old-fashioned over-the-knee bare-bottomed spankings as well.

Like what Melody thought of as Tantrum Tuesday, last month, when Ellen had thrown four kicking, screaming, howling tantrums — the last one right in the middle of Assville mall!!

Melody didn't actually SEE any but the last one, of course. (She was in school). But she certainly heard Mommy and Daddy discussing them!! For the next week!!

So she knew that Ellen had gotten a 'six-swatter' from Mommy to stop the first one. That the second had resulted in a bare-bottomed over-the-knee spanking and fifteen minutes facing the corner. The third had really tested Mommy's patience — and Ellen had faced the floor for a good, long (if not hard) dose of her very special little paddle before being put to bed for most of the afternoon in disgrace.

But her final eruption in the mall, triggered by a family descision NOT to have pizza AGAIN, was the last straw.

And Ellen was plopped right over her Daddy's lap, her little bluejeans yanked down off of her slender hips, her white cotton panties going right down with them to her knees — and Ellen discovered the horrible embarassment — and stinging pain — of a bare-bottomed Daddy-spanking IN PUBLIC.

Of course, everybody knew JUST who Ellie was — there was no possibility of a Kindern being in Assville mall, of course. And she was far too young for a normal Penitatas or Voluntaras.

But her behavior had been so naughty, the entire crowd burst out in applause as Ellie began to cry and bawl over her Daddy's lap.

And Ellie ended up that awful trip to the mall eating her Vrachnia while sitting on a hard, wooden stool on a very sore bottom.

A very sore BARE bottom — as Mommy had peeled off both jeans and panties after her paddling, and Ellen spent the entire rest of the evening completely bare from her t-shirt to her socks, her red bottom out for everyone to see.

And worst of all, as soon as they all got home Ellen got ANOTHER spanking from Daddy before being put straight to bed — a proper bare-bottomed bedtime spanking, just like Melody got so often!!

* * *

But that had been last month, and Ellen seemed to finally be behaving herself better. She hadn't been in trouble for over a week, that Melody knew of, anyway.

But now Mrs. Jackson was signalling the children to go line up at the door. Of course — the last day of school would HAVE to have an assembly, wouldn't it?

So they all trooped off to the auditorium of Assville Elementary.

Where old Iron Hand Garrett waited for them, standing in front of the stage curtain behind a podium.

Which was a little unusual; the curtain was usually left open for Assembly.

Mrs. Garrett congratulated the children on completing another year intact (giggles)—except for their bottoms, of course (more giggles).

And she reviewed business. And gave out a few academic awards—(Melody didn't win anything — the first grade award going, inevitably, to Johnny Devine).

Then, all preliminary business taken care of, Mrs. Garret quietly said: "And know, children, something special. Melody Johnson, please come up to the stage."

HUH?? What was? Melody, a year and a half of strict discipline behind her, was already obediently jumping to her feet and hurrying to the steps even as he mind spun and wondered what was happening.

The curtain was parting as she went up the stairs to the stage... MOMMY and DADDY were there, seated behind the curtain!! And ELLIE, too!

And the Smythes, and Pastor Wallace! And next to them...

Mother? Melody almost tripped as she realized that the woman sitting on the end was her mother.

Her REAL mother, Carol Marston. And the man with her was Uncle Jason, her father... her REAL father's brother!!

(Melody knew that her real daddy, Peter Barstowe, was out on the rim, helping to explore and pioneer a frontier world with his new wife. And she knew that there was no way HE could've gotten back to Earth — it was incredible enough to find MOMMY here, back from Rivendell).

Melody was feeling a bit shocky as Mrs. Garrett guided her over to the podium. Melody stood next to the stand, Mrs. Garrett behind her, her hands lightly resting on Melody's small shoulders.

In the back of the room, a couple of holocams had been set up. Melody recognized them (from the logos) as being from WOTK and WSPK — local stations.

Mrs. Garrett began to address the school. "As many of you know, last summer Melody met a little girl named Ellen Miller, a medicalos who had been cryonically preserved after her death in the twenty-first century, and then successfully revived a year ago tomorrow...."

She went on to describe how Melody had befriended Ellen, how they had become close friends.

And how Mel had helped Ellen cope with the twenty-eighth century, helped to deal with her renewed childhood.

And finally, of Ellen's secret illness from Chronostatic radiation poisoning. Melody shuddered as Iron-Hand brutally described Ellen's final illness — and Melody's 'heroic' efforts to help Ellen endure and preservere in the face of the horrors that were tormenting her small body.

She glazed over the final incidents — to Melody's relief — saying only that Melody had "helped signifigantly in the final search for the missing little girl". This made sense — if Melody was to be rewarded somehow, 'they' wouldn't want any of her fellow Penitatas to think her DIS-obedience and naughtiness were any part of the reason!!

Iron-hand emphasized her courage and, most of all, her long, hard, messy, smelly, uncomfortable work.

Melody still couldn't beleieve what was happening. What HAD to be happening, with all this fol-der-ol. It COULDN'T be. Not for HER.

Not for a damn SEVEN-year old. That just didn't happen.

Not for a PENITATAS, especially a hard-timer. THAT didn't happen EITHER.

"So, at the request of the Medical Board, and with the complete agreement of the School Board, the Corrections Board, and of course the Coordinating Board, Melody is to be presented with the Confederation Good Citizen Award. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson?"

Melody couldn't believe it. It WAS true. But it COULDN'T be.

It was the highest award the Confederation had, for children. Only three or four were awarded every year.

To TEENAGERS — not SEVEN-year-olds.

To Voluntaras, Medicalos, Completadas — even Kindern; never a PENITATAS, even a SOFT-timer! Melody had never heard of one going to a Penitatas. Oh, it must happen sometimes, but she was certain never in HER lifetime.

But Mrs. Garrett was handing her Daddy a certificate, and was holding open a velvet-covered case for her Mommy — BOTH her Mommys. A case decorated with the space-black and star-siver of the Confederation!!

Melody stood perfectly still as her Mommy's took the 4cm wide piece of gleaming precious metal from the case, and her birth mother opened the pin and gently fastened it to the left front of her tartan school jumper, over her heart.

Where Melody would wear it on her school uniform, every schoolday, for the rest of her childhood; finally removing it and putting it away on her 'official' twenty-first birthday. As every other child who had received the medal had done. Melody's heart throbbed like it would explode right out of her chest; she didn't know HOW she managed to breathe, her chest felt so full...

Carol Marston hugged Melody tightly, telling her how PROUD she was of her daughter. And then Mary and Josh were there, hugging and congratulating her.

Tears blinded Melody as she was turned to receive the applause of her friends and schoolmates. She was staggered by the noise; it seemed even louder than Johnny's had been!

(It was. The children of Assville Elementary couldn't really understand or 'connect' with Johnny Devine. His actions, and the Medal of Honor he'd been given for them, were beyond most of the children's true comprehension. Really, only his fellow veterans could understand what the medal really meant. Melody's award, however, they DID understand. And some of her schoolmates knew, or guessed, what it meant. This was something they knew THEY could achieve, if they tried hard enough, worked hard enough, were willing to sacrifice enough of themselves — and had a bit of luck!)

And then Pastor Wallace brought Ellen over by the hand, and the whole family was hugging each other AGAIN.

Finally, Melody made her way down the stairs, to the congratulations of her classmates.

And then she was standing in front of Johnny Devine. His hand clasped hers firmly; "Congratulations, Melody!! You certainly deserve it; what you did for Ellen was truly remarkable." Then, as Melody had done months before, Johnny suddenly pulled his fellow first-grader into an embrace, hugging Mel tightly as he quietly whispered into her ear:

"Well done, Mel!! BLOODY well done!! I am SO proud of you!"

Melody looked into Johnny's eyes — and knew he meant it. Completely. Without reservation. He was as proud — no, PROUDER of her achievement than he was of his own Medal of Honor!! Melody suddenly KNEW that with a certainty she couldn't explain. Suddenly, Melody had an insight into how Johnny thought.

They were HIS class — even though he was just another student, another kid, they were HIS because they WERE a group. And he would take as much pride and joy in their accomplishments as in his own.

And as she was again congratulated, this time by her teacher, Melody felt she'd had an insight into just what being a leader, being like Johnny, really was.

And as Melody sat back down in her chair, as Mrs. Garrett began to wind up the last assembly, tears of joy streamed down her face, and her left hand drifted up to her breast...

And her small finger traced one bright, shiny point of her Gold Star.