Nomad [6/9/2018] CH3

[SIZE=12px]Hey there, Sheltered isn’t dead, but I have fallen out of touch with the story. I need to reread it and go through my notes again to keep writing for it. A draft does exist but it’s nowhere near complete. Played with another story as well which should be going up around the time this one does. It’s a bit more lengthy than this one (as I wrote more for that one). This was something I wanted to post though and see if it went anywhere. Let me know what you think!

PS - Sorry for the long gaps in between posts. I know I tend to go quiet for a bit.[/SIZE] [HR][/HR]Nomad


[SIZE=12px]“Ms.West–no, Ana, ” my supervisor stared me down the eyes with a grave look. “I can’t within good conscience approve something like this for you. It’s too dangerous. Haven’t you considered the risks?”

“Sir, with all due respect I am [/SIZE]strongly[SIZE=12px] suggesting that you reconsider your stance on this.” I couldn’t lose my opportunity now. Not miss out on something this big. “What this means as my contributions to being a Frontiersman and for Interstellar is something I can’t pass up on.”

He stared back at me with an unwavering face, hardly different from how it looked a few moments earlier.

“How many Frontiersmen are there now? Nearly a million? I was born too late to explore Earth, too late to explore the solar system, and born too late to explore the galaxy! The entire galaxy has been if not literally then virtually explored, and we have confirmed zero traces of life. Suitable planets for colonization have already been plucked by China, America, Russia, Japan, Korea, Britain and more! But for the first time, we can finally step out the front door and explore an even greater horizon!”

“Ana…” he didn’t care to try using formalities this time, years of chemistry making it difficult. “I can understand your enthusiasm, but you’re an important engineer to your current shipment crew already. Why can’t you be content with already being able to visit a handful of solar systems? Billions would kill for that alone!”

“Sir I can’t be moving metals, water and food for the rest of my life. I’m more than qualified to move on to something bigger and better. I’m sure there are plenty of people who could fill my current position. We’re talking about making history here! Something a mere fraction of the entire human population will be able to experience within this lifetime.”

I could see his handful of digital pens laying idle against the insides of his decorative mug, much less his hand actually going near it. The holo-document on his desk shone its blue light ever so slightly on his prickly chin.

“Three-hundred, Ana. Three-hundred Frontiersmen get to make this expedition which is nothing short of suicide. All this is is just packing a bunch of explorers up on a ship and jump-gating them into the unknown. You’d really want to take that plunge into darkness? It’s a lottery to win your own death!”

He wasn’t the first to tell me it was suicide, but deep down I knew even with that risk in mind this was something I had to do. If I didn’t take the leap now, my chance at excitement and escape from a mundane life would be over. I could see he was trying to get through to me, but that wouldn’t change how I feel.

“Ana, the teams that they’ve had calculate the risk factors for this sort of mission,” he swiped his fingers in an empty space and a tiny blue holo-document appeared. “Nearly across the board results are inconclusive or completely open-ended. The only return they can guarantee for this crew is one based on the efforts of the people riding that ship! There’s no rescue crew and limited contact. Once you leave the galaxy you’re on your own.”

“I’m 29 sir. I’ve been with Interstellar since the day I turned eighteen. You know it and I know it that there’s nothing left for me. The connections I have keeping me here are the relations with my crew and you. My actions can’t be selfish when there’s no one I would be leaving behind here. It’s always been about me bettering myself, and this time is no different.” I almost hated my own words a bit there, disregarding my crew I’d spent years with already and my longstanding supervisor. But they were just coworkers. Nothing else.

“Even if I’m not chosen, I still want to toss my name in the hat. I think my chances are good at least, and I would hope you think the same. Paired with a recommendation from someone of your standing, that only helps all the more. But either way, I can’t keep making the same trips for the rest of my life.” My final efforts fired beams of hope from my eyes and into his, and I had to hide a smile when I could see the walls were starting to crack.

“What this means to you, and how willing you are to go for it is something I can’t understand.” he said briefly. “Off the record Ana I can’t condone this and truly wish you wouldn’t sign away your life like this, but legally I can’t refuse you. Not forever at least.”

My eyes followed his reluctant hand as he grabbed one of the pens and its tip illuminated on contact with human skin.

“And you’re sure this is what you want?”

“More than anything.”

With a sigh he opened a drawer and put on a pair of lenses. Glasses I think they were called. After scanning it over and with a soundless uninterrupted stroke he signed his name off on the holo-document and floated it in my direction.

“Thank you, sir.” The tension in the room was washed away by my newfound gratitude for his aid.
“Make no mistake, I don’t support what you’re doing. Or at least I just can’t figure out why. And…would you mind not staring so much?”

“Oh! Ah…sorry about that.” My eyes tend to get careless whenever he wears those things. They were one of few relics of the past that made their way to present day somehow. “Haven’t you considered getting a nanite job on your eyes at some point? Aren’t those things an inconvenience?”

“There’s a style to them, you know.” He always took the defensive whenever I commented on them… “Besides, everyone tries to hide their problems nowadays and use nanites to fix whatever they don’t like about themselves. Our imperfections are what make us beautiful.”

Out of respect I hid another smirk as his words were completely lost on me. But I chose not to poke and prod him any further.

“By the way, you’ll have another delivery to make in a week’s time. Use that time to think about whether or not you really want to go through with something like this. Maybe consider your alternatives while you’re on ice.”

“Alright and will do.” I pinched the document and ported it into my armlet’s data storage, causing the hologram to dematerialize. I gave my supervisor a goodbye as I walked to the door and it slid open for me and closing on my exit.[/SIZE] [HR][/HR]
[SIZE=12px]People stood shoulder to shoulder and then some as the city echoed with noise pollution. I couldn’t make out a single conversation as everyone’s words toppled over each other. The glass dome above me was covered by the flying ships and skyscrapers. It was almost laughable to think our ancestors only had at most a thousand of these in their lifetime.

The telltale beeping noise rung alongside the monorail as the suspended train soon followed after. As prophecy dictated, crowds of passengers trying to exit collided with the ones trying to enter and I managed to snake my way in. Everyone grabbed on to a bar or handle as their conversations carried out casually just like outside the train. I could feel myself longing for a seat to sit in, as only the public trains outside Interstellar’s property accommodated travellers. Rather, everyone around me was donned in the same gray skin-tight work-suit with identical with the company’s logo printed on the back. Not the prettiest of course, but the suit had its utility and no one was exactly competing for fashion. Living on a worksite that’s the size of a small city meant you weren’t going to see much differentiation in clothing. Not that I cared.

I browsed the news feed on my armlet, never really expecting to see anything new. It was all the same. Either reported murder, corruption, typical overpopulation counts or view-bait articles that couldn’t even get the dumbest of people to open it up. They couldn’t even be trying at this point. Surviving Tree Spotted outside Government Domain? Honestly. The last plantlife organism that was spotted was over thirty years ago and it was only a weed. Everyone knows that the only trees the public can see now are the ones in the holograms. Everything on this washed up planet besides humans and livestock has either died off or made itself scarce. Reminds me when China shipped off the last of its pandas where they might actually have a chance at living.

Whether it was day or night didn’t really make a difference. Clouds had long since been the only thing we could see for a while now. I heard it was after the third industrial boom our ancestors really pushed things over the edge. Not like they could have fixed things by then anyways. Neon lights invaded your eyesight wherever you looked and something was always trying to catch your attention. Despite being a business-owned territory even Interstellar wasn’t shy to let advertisers through its doors. While its population were mostly Interstellar employees plenty of residents were still making their living off of our paychecks. Despite moving at high speeds, I counted the fifth Coca-Cola ad like I always had on my occasional trip back to housing.

A few more stops later and we had finally reached mine.

In a female voice borderline robot and human, it sounded, “You have now reached Eden, please exit the doors on your left. Thank you.”

Eden. The name felt so cheap and tacky. It was probably the farthest thing from it, despite being such an appropriate name. Right off the monorail I could already make out a few poster bots, clad in the skimpiest clothing their manufacturers could have put on them. Other than their almost metallic looking skin, they had been made to capture the ideal fantasy of anyone attracted to the female body. It almost felt weird to see something synthetic with bigger breasts than mine.

“Just get off of work? Why don’t you spend some time with me, hm?” One of the bots made a seductive coo towards some guy passing by. Sure enough he gave her a look which was enough for her to grab him by the arm and lead him back to her den. Artificial or not, excluding the vast minority that actually lived here most were definitely coming for pleasure.

“Hey sweet thing, how about you?” I could feel the delicate brush of a finger on my shoulder. I turned back to see another female bot staring back at me. Her hair was a neon pink bob cut with bright blue lips, lashes as long as my nails and piercing eyes. She was built to know nothing of the concept of fatigue, flawless in every way with only one directive on her mind. Sex.
“Not my type.” I coldly replied. I always tried to avoid these interactions, otherwise I’d have five more blocks of this to go through on my way home.

“Don’t be like that hon. I can show you a good time…Just for you I can give a discount.” She tried to caress my hand, which I firmly pulled away. Of course this didn’t bother her though, as she drew me in closer. “Male or female, I can always accommodate my customer’s desires you know…No matter the request.” she took it upon herself to lean closer to my ear.

Her playful motion to the crotch reminded me why I hated these things so much. The only thing that mattered was getting business and shame meant nothing to them. Hell, they probably didn’t have the capacity to learn it. True intimacy was a dying breed now that these things existed. Why invest time into a longstanding relationship when there’s a quick fix waiting nearby? I kept walking and didn’t look back.

“Bye-bye!” She called from behind as her voice trailed off. My guess was she already found someone else to try and latch on to. I was just another moneymaker for her, without a face or name. Just like what I was to everyone else in the world.

I did better to avoid the catcallers from then on as I passed the familiar bars and sex shops into an empty, slim winding alleyway. I opened the door next to the one with an actual working light.

“To think after being gone for this long they couldn’t have even fixed a damn light…”

My lobby was a small square space with only a self-service kiosk built in the wall and a set of stairs. Security had always been lowkey here and that didn’t seem to change in my absence. On the fifth floor and in front of room 537 I opened a wide eye for the retina scanner.

“Identity: Ana West. Access granted.”

The door slid open and I walked inside, the same lights turning on upon my arrival like they always had. From the entrance alone I could see everything that mattered. My kitchen, bathroom, closet and virtual space. Serving as my bed and entertainment, the virtual space was thankfully a perk for being a Frontiersman. A luxury anyone with money could enjoy only that I got it for free.

“Good evening, Ana! It’s good to have you back!” A blue dot came to life on the panel attached to the wall.

“Hi Eva, good to see you too.” My house AI. Granted I’d only been here a handful of maybe twenty times or so in the span of about six years.

“It’s been, SIX MONTHS, since you last came home! It is currently MAY 28, 2212. Should I update you on any past news or messages you might have?”

My ears always cringe whenever Eva uses numbers in her dialogue. Past the preprogrammed phrases, the sudden shift in tone whenever she tried to pronounce numbers was jarring. I always told myself to upgrade her voice model but I knew I’d never be around here often enough to use it.

“That won’t be necessary. Just get the shower running for me please.”

“Right away.” Upon her reply like clockwork I heard the shower spring to life.

I had already started to unzip my suit. After being back on Earth for a few hours I was already starting to feel clammy. It was weird to think I felt more comfortable on a ship than a planet, or at least this one. Thankfully the suit was fullbody, so the feet were built like shoes too, meaning it was one less thing to take off. Dropping the suit to the floor and my undergarments next I stepped into the bathroom. I could hear the compartment near the floor open up and the vacuum suck up my clothes.

“Thanks, Eva.” Regardless of being a robot, common courtesy was something I tried to apply everywhere. As long as they weren’t trying to seduce me…

While I showered, Eva started to play ambient music in the background, which I didn’t object to. Having something to listen to in the background was always nice, as the silence always felt the noisiest.

The music died down for a second, meaning Eva probably had something to say.

“Should I prepare something for you to eat Ana?”

“I’m fine. Just hook me up to the nutrition feed when I go on ice.”

“Do you mean cryostasis?”

“Yes, I do.”

Eva didn’t respond when I could hear the music turn back to its normal volume. When I stepped out the water turned off for me and two towels were already waiting. Wrapping myself I looked into the fogless mirror and stared at my long black hair. Only then did I notice I never took my armlet off when in the shower, but it didn’t really bother me as much as a blunder more than an observation. These things were built to handle just about any harsh weather condition you could put them through. Nearly everyone’s lifeline in the galaxy, it was your ID, wallet, phone, computer and served just about any other use you’d have for it. To be honest, I can’t even remember the last time I took it off.

“Eva, send my GATE request form to Interstellar admissions for me. It’s on my armlet.”

There was a moment’s pause before she replied, “Done.”

“Thank you.” I finished drying off and could see the pair of underwear waiting for me. Apart from what I wore underneath, my work-suit was the only set of clothing I had. Yes there were a few pairs, but they were all identical.

The virtual space was already prepped for me when I stepped out of the bathroom. I laid down into the imprint left in the plastic cushions, to the point where my body felt like a plug being inserted into a socket, only I felt only snug and not rigid. The top closed over me as a mask gently pressed against my face.

“And when would you like to be scheduled for awakening?” Eva’s voice came from inside the machine.

“A week from now.” I barely flinched little when I felt the iv insert itself into my arm. The virtual space started to hum ever to slightly, as I could feel a familiar chill growing on me. Each breath became slower and felt longer than the last. Pressed against my eyes was a monitor that I couldn’t tell was just a screen had I known. Already immersed I watched the loading circle dance across the screen until I couldn’t feel my hands and feet anymore. Quickly the sensation traveled up my spine, until even my face felt like it was fading away. Everything went dark.[/SIZE] [HR][/HR]
[SIZE=12px]“Ana? It’s time to wake up now.”

My eyes opened, as I was laying down with my cheek pressed into the arm of a couch. I wasn’t tired, no. You never felt tired when you first entered the system.

“Did you sleep well? It’s been a while, you know.”

“I haven’t been gone for that long you know,” I sat upright on the couch, swinging my feet from off the ground. My hair was still proportionate to my new size.

“While six months might be seamless for me, I don’t think the same can be said for you.”

I was silent while he sat in a chair from across the room.

“But, I know you never come here unless you have a reason,” he pulled out a pair of those glasses things from his suit pocket. It must have been from my subconscious seeing my supervisor wearing them so much… “So I take it you want to talk?”

“Kind of.” I looked him over to see if he’d changed his appearance at all. Sure enough though he hadn’t changed the simulation much since I was last here. Still in his suit, with brown smooth-looking hair and a leg propped up on the other. “I submitted my application for the GATE expedition.” I wasn’t looking for any praise, or anything for that matter. I just felt like telling him. That’s what these therapy simulations were for anyways.

“That’s right. I do recall us talking about that last time. You’re happy, aren’t you? That you have a chance at going?”

“Mhm, definitely. But that’s just the first foot in the door. No guarantees I’ll be accepted. I don’t suppose you might have any advice for me, would you Claude?”

“I would tell you to stay neutral for now. Don’t have any expectations for better or worse, but cherish what you have now as well.”

“Neutral as always…” I blew on a hair dangling from my head. Although I suppose it was nice to have someone or something to bounce my thoughts and feelings off of, Claude was more of a filing cabinet that helped me organize myself more than anything. He’d never sway me left or right.

“You’re your own person Ana. Take control of that.”

A cup of something materialized on the coffee table in front of me.

“Tea?” I asked, bringing the mug into my smaller-than-usual hands.

“Your favorite.” Claude didn’t bother to pretend with me by drinking his own.

I took a sip and relished the drink at perfect temperature.This simulation was Claude’s sandbox and by extension mine. Even though it was all fake, the virtual space could immerse you on a whole other level, to the point even though I was unconscious everything felt just as real.

“So how long are you in cryostasis for?”

“A week.” I took another sip.

“And how long do you think you want to be here for? A day, a week? Month?” His voice never came off as demeaning or rude, simply monotone with the ever-slightest tinge of interest. And that was another perk being inside of your own mind.

Days in real-time could be compressed into hours, minutes or even seconds. Some of the newer models could even slow a second in the real world to a complete year in this one, where you could live multiple lifetimes over in the span of 24 hours. It was hard to comprehend doing something like that, how out of place you could feel. I always kept the timespace in here one to one though. I never wanted to feel like I was losing or cheating time.

“I’m not sure how long I want to be here for. But I want time to pass like normal.”

The bright sun flooded the white carpeted room from the large windows. Just beyond I could see other buildings, before there was a glass dome and so much building pollution. This couldn’t have been a recent setting. The 22nd century maybe? No. The 21st?

“Is it too bright for you?” Claude could see my right eye wince a little from the light.

“No, it’s fine. I like it this way.” Feeling the warm glow on my side was pleasing.

Everything in the room was white in some way. The walls, the floor, ceiling, and even the furniture. Accented by silver, everything looked untouched of the outside world. So pure. I looked at my own dress which ran down to my tiny calves. However the only contrast in the room was my black hair and Claude’s suit. I couldn’t remember if it was the same color as last time.

“How come you decided to wear a black suit this time?” I quizzically asked, digging my feet into the plump cushions.

“An interesting question,” He answered, standing up from his own seat. “Do you not like the color black? Maybe you don’t like how I look anymore?” Suddenly, a blue ripple started from the top of his head as the wave traveled from head to toe. Followed by the ripple Claude’s figure transformed into someone completely different, until he was an entirely different person altogether. Now his skin was tan with a completely different face, wearing some shirt checkered in dots and baggy shorts.

“Better?” he asked in his new, deeper voice.

My frown did the talking for me.

“How about a form a bit more female?” he said, quickly becoming a her as his male figure shifted with another change into that of a female. With darker brown and flowing hair, she was now in a button-up tucked into an ankle-length skirt. “Do you like this?” She asked in a strikingly much more feminine voice now.

“Change back.” was all I said, growing impatient. Claude changing into so many things was never amusing. It was just a reminder of how temporary this all was, and it felt as if I was talking to a new person.

Soon Claude was back to normal, with the same face, gender, height and hair as before. “Have it your way,” he blankly spoke while he returned to his seat.

“You know, you’re so good at changing your own appearance and our surroundings. Why can’t you change how I look?” It was that time to address the elephant in the room again.

“We’ve talked about this before. Only you can control how you look in these simulations. However you choose to appear is entirely up to you. You need only change it.”

The same explanation was always annoying. His words on loop never changed. Ever since I started going into these therapy simulations, I haven’t once gone into them looking like how I do in the real world.

“How old am I this time, then?” I felt tiny just like every other time, only it was a decent medium right now. It wasn’t the youngest I’d ever been in here, but certainly not the oldest either.

“If you’d like here’s a mirror to see for yourself.” I held a hand opened and a small mirror fell into its place. “But when I reference your annual checkup records and full-body scans I would say your body is approximately 3,045 days old or about eight years old right now.”
Once again I couldn’t argue with this guess, seeing as he was a supercomputer after all. With a finger I poked at one of my soft rosy cheeks to confirm for myself. Being drastically regressed like this didn’t affect me so much anymore. Not after it’d happen so much. While I didn’t know how old my body would be I at least had some expectations now going into this. And it wasn’t ever an inconvenience since Claude could accommodate me in any way I needed, but it was puzzling nonetheless.

“This likely has to do with something in your past. Maybe family perhaps? My database references a few thousand pieces that might give some insight if you’d like.”

“Don’t even bother.” I sighed. I couldn’t remember anything of my childhood, only when I was a kid housed in one of Interstellar’s orphanages. The memories were probably somewhere in my mind, but neither Claude nor I had the money or power to access them. Memory retrieval technology did exist, but it was reserved for only government officials or society’s true elites, both of which I did not belong to.

“Regardless of those issues though, I want to remind you of the progress we’ve made already. It’s good for you to talk like this to someone.”

“Uh-huh.” I wasn’t even looking at Claude. The look on my face was an open book at this point, just as unconvinced as was my supervisor earlier this afternoon.

“About this GATE expedition,” Claude started to switch gears. “The probability of return is either unknown or close to zero. Do you still want to go knowing this?”

“I do. I can’t take doing the same job over and over without going anywhere.”

“And you’re willing to risk your life for that? To feel fulfilled?”

“I’m not happy now.” came out in a dejected voice. “I have no friends or family. It’s just me, you and Eva.” Not that the latter hardly counted. Claude was the one I talked to the most and even then he was just a digital being.

“And what about your supervisor and crew? Haven’t you been with them for a long time? You wouldn’t miss them if you left? They wouldn’t miss you?”

“Not enough. I think both ways beyond being on a first-name basis we’re just coworkers. Or they at least aren’t enough to make me stay.”

“Have you ever considered finding a significant other then? Maybe it’s romantic satisfaction you’re lacking?”

It irked me whenever we revisited topics like this. The answers would never change and the record would stay on loop. “There’s no one here I can be with and I’m sure your database can support that. Everyone at Interstellar has work on their minds. Me included. People my age now are either already settled with someone or find the sexbots more appealing.” My words may have felt like they were with malice and bitterness, but it became something I’d grown to accept. “To find love I’d probably have to leave Interstellar, and that’s something I’m not prepared to do.”

“So you’re at a potential impasse, it seems?”

“Guess I am.” I cupped my head in my hands, slouching in between my legs as they stood on the couch.

“But is your solution to fire off into space? Hoping to find a solution to the problem by moving farther from it?”

“I don’t know.” My brows furrowed toying with the question. Every once and awhile Claude could have me doing a double take or take some serious contemplation. “But I know that whatever I need isn’t on Earth. Maybe even the galaxy for that matter.”

“And if you don’t find anything? The success you were hoping for? The intimacy you want to pursue?”

“Then that’s it, then.” I could find a much better answer than that.

Likewise, it was another rare moment when I could keep even Claude quiet for a few moments.

“Would you like any more tea?” It was his sign of shelving the discussion.

“No. I think I’m ready to go back to sleep for a bit.”

“Should I put you into cryostasis again?”

“Not yet. I want to fall asleep on my own here first.”

“Very well.”

A blanket and pillow dropped into my lap while Claude excused himself from the room. For all I knew he got rid of his physical body the moment he stepped behind the door, but I didn’t care enough to check. Right now I was more focused on getting comfy. It was almost strange in a way; falling asleep while asleep. I watched the canvas-white clouds stroll by the buildings while I drifted away for the second time, only at my own pace now.[/SIZE]

1 - Off to Space

“Well Eva, it was nice knowing you.” My few things were packed and ready to go. All the preparations were complete.

“It was a pleasure being able to serve you.” Her reply was plain as always. No hope in teaching a pre-programmed robot new tricks.

The last thing I needed was my virtual space data bank. Kneeling beside the end of it I popped open a slot and extracted a handheld hard drive. It was weird to think Claude did exist in some way, his entirety sitting in the palm of my hand. Well, his developed part at least. Claude like every other AI out there was the same ball of clay to begin with, and only would their consumers actually start to shape them. As strange as the feeling was in the pit of my stomach, it wouldn’t feel right just leaving him behind. He was a companion of mine to some degree.

My final lookover was summed up by a quick turn in place, even after being certain I had everything. In my hand was a basic duffel bag with all my work suits and underwear compressed, folded and flattened, including Claude’s hard drive which I slipped in. I was zipped into a new suit and checked my armlet for the time. The next monorail would be coming soon, and then it was off to Jumper.

It had been about four months since I had Eva send in my GATE application and since then I’d been a mishmashed pot of emotions, lukewarm from the burning excitement to embark on adventure whilst being chilled by the doubts of failure and rejection. Nevertheless I was accepted and was certain to thank my supervisor. Even after all this time he still wasn’t able to share my enthusiasm, but I’d be sure to tell him how it went when I one day come back. Probably.

I could see the articles now with my name in the headlines. Ana West: Leading the forefront to the new world. Even I couldn’t hide a smile thinking about that.Years of blood, sweat and tears finally birthed some recognition from it, and I would not let this blessing slip between my fingers.

“The next stop will be Interstellar Shipping in approximately three minutes.”

This mundane life suddenly felt as if something had been breathed into it, if not a little. My morning stroll through Eden felt less of an eyesore and more a welcomed goodbye. The sea of gray we were all dressed in wasn’t an endless void now, and there was a light at the end of the tunnel finally.

“…In approximately one minute.”

The news feed was just a terrible as always, but the departure for the GATE project was making its way to the top. Being a part of something like that was a dream even amongst the top Frontiersmen. While Interstellar was the spearhead, other workers from partner companies were also participating. People from Voyager, Pixel and Nova were coming too. So even amongst the 300 positions available not all of them were specifically for Interstellar, which only fed into my ego.

“You have now reached Interstellar Shipping, please exit on your right. Thank you.”

With each step the surroundings behind me faded into the past and what lied in front of me was becoming a realized future. Never had leaving Earth felt so…final to me. The feeling wasn’t baseless, of course. This’d probably be the longest I’d leave the Earth, the solar system for that matter.

My euphoric trance was only interrupted when walking to the front desk.

“Please insert your armlet.” The bot from behind commanded.

In an open slot I stuck my arm in for a brief moment until I heard the telltale ding. “Please follow the designated assistant, ANA WEST.”

On cue, a small drone was deposited from the wall, with a small screen hanging from it labeled with the name Ana West. As soon as I made eye contact with it the drone made haste in moving along as I pierced through the roaming workers in order to follow. It was only when we started being passed through restricted entrances that I really began to pay attention. The crowd at this point thinned out a great deal, where the density shrunk from ten people per tile to just two. Down the conveyor pathway I watched the special delivery bay, seeing the more elite carriers hover in and out of the docking stations. Whilst they bustled on the ground floor I was stories above them divided by near soundproof glass.

We passed sign after sign, all digitally printing their respective terminal names. My suit was starting to feel a little restraining again. I was itching to get off this planet already. I ran a hand through my hair while we kept moving.

As we rounded the corner it finally clicked we were now in the High-Priority ship bay. I’d only been here on one separate occasion which was for a tour. The only time you’d see ships here is if we were moving important materials or high-ranking officials from either Interstellar or from other of the any companies and other colonies. But there it was…Jumper.

The briefing on the ship before had been informative, but it did nothing to capture its true size and might. Chrome in white and yellow trims, the beast looked nearly seven times as big as the regular carriers I worked on! It’s octuple thruster rig outclassed our puny triple one and the assembling crew below it looked like ship screws compared to it! The intricate design and assembly it must have took to produce something like this…I wasn’t worthy.

Amongst the crew members I could see a few Whites mixed in with the Grays, but that was to be expected. All four space exploration companies shared the same gray suit design with their respective logos, but a white suit was a cut above the rest. Typically with at least two decades in the field the veteran status their colors boasted was nothing short of the truth.

“You have reached your destination.” The tiny drone finally spoke, leaving me at the bay elevator.

Pressing the down on the touchpad, the elevator from above came down the glass-covered shaft and opened for me to reveal four others already inside. The trip down was silent, as most workers were never really social during hours, and I doubted we probably knew each other. If I had to guess some of them probably had different company logos on the backs of their suits. I couldn’t recognize their faces, but even if they were part of the company I still wouldn’t. Too many faces, not enough talkers. I fell into the latter group.

Minus for the quiet hum of the moving box and the sliding doors the ride’s silence went undisturbed as we joined our new companions. One by one we fell into the ranks while a surveyor buzzed over the crowd, likely taking attendance. I doubted anyone wouldn’t be present for this though. You’d have to be a fool to skip out on something like this. Even as my head gazed around the fifty floors of windows I could see spectators all about. The spotlight was almost intoxicating.

In the distance I could see and hear other ships departing for their voyages, but none of them would be going as far as we would. The mission kept replaying in my mind, as if I forgot to take it of repeat. A common way we used to travel from solar system to solar system was jump gates, accelerators for just about any ship to pass through that put you somewhere around half that of lightspeed. Some of the distances to travel were far too short to warrant that sort of speed, so they were only for the longer treks. However for this mission two new pieces of equipment were developed: Jumper and the Launch Gate.

Jumper as the ship was designed to sustain a crew for nearly four decades. It’s the fastest ship for its size yet and even features its own jump gate technology; the kind of propelling force you’d find in a standard jump gate.
The Launch Gate put simply is like a super jump gate, just a lot more powerful. It could put us at nearly double the speed a normal jump gate could and would certainly send us off on our journey running. A few ley locations were already mapped for us to explore, and they’d be the first ones we hit likely within the first year of our trip. I almost felt cheated by the amount of G-force I’d be missing out on because I’d be in cryostasis during launch, but I should probably be thankful since it’d be enough to kill me.

“Good evening everyone!” The silence was interrupted by the voice of a White standing in front of us. “My name is Mr.Callister, and you,” placing emphasis on us. “are the first crew of the universal voyager ship, the Jumper. For all of you standing here and now I wish to commemorate and praise you for your efforts to land yourselves in a position to get you this far. In this moment you are all forever part of our history as the first ever humans to step outside the known and inhabited region of the universe! But with your efforts we will no longer be limited to the confines of our own galaxy but minimize this oasis into a stepping stone of many as we lay further claim into the unknown.”

Yes! This is what I came for, what I hoped to be!

“Your departure,” he coughed while slicking back his aged hair. “will be in approximately seven hours and fourteen minutes. For the greater part of your travelling you will be in cryostasis and the main deck will be reporting back to joint-operations HQ. The further we grow apart however the messages will take longer to receive and send, so it is up to you as a crew to sustain yourselves. From the get go it’s believed communications will take at least a months time to reach each other.”

None of this information was new to us but the idea of total isolation wasn’t the most appealing. What it’d feel like was something I was used to, but the lack of an alternative was a little offsetting.

“Apart from you 300 there are minor staff units of course to manage the medbay and cantine but they are already in cryostasis on the ship and are waiting to be released after jumping through the Launch Gate.” Not a single eye looked away from him. “All that’s left is to get yourselves introduced to your squad leaders and then find your quarters. May the stars never lead you astray fellow Frontiersmen. Dismissed!”

Mr.Callister in a ninety degree fashion, pivoted on his foot and walked back towards the bay elevator. In front of the masses were a few select Whites, each of which now had the floor in assembling the rest of us.

In a loud voice on the opposite end I could hear someone shout, “Navigator Squad members report here!”

Soon after came a call for Deckhand squads one, two and three. Then Engineers.

“Engineer Squad Four members report here!” A woman shouted. She was a White like the rest of the squad leaders, and I belonged to hers. There were about fifteen of us including the leader, as she quickly referenced a roster on her armlet.

“Alright, it looks like everyone’s here.” Her voice screamed business and her poker face shouted professional. The bob in the back of her hair slightly bounced when she checked off the rest of the faces she saw, returning her attention to us. “I’m sure you already know, but we will be in charge of the Life Support Systems on the Jumper. You are all experienced engineers as is, and have further been specialized to deal with the equipment on this ship. My name is Joan Forrester, and you will address me as Squad Leader Forest. Are we clear?”

“Yes Ma’am!” A brief shout resounded in unison.

Without skipping a beat and moving on, Forest said “All of your armlets should be updated with your quarters. You’ll have an hour to unpack and then put yourself into cryostasis. You will be left on standby and the ship will release us once we’re done making the jump. After that we’ll report to section G of the ship for routine maintenance and assessment. Should you run into any troubles contact me immediately. Understood?”

“Yes Ma’am!” came from all of us again.

“Dismissed.” Forest already had her company-issued bag in hand and turned around to merge with the rest of the boarding crew members.

My heart was beating a mile a minute the closer we got. We were close enough to the point I’d have to tilt my head back if I even wanted to see the entire ship! It’s carbon-infused side plating reflected the gazing looks back at us, its might equivalent to my joy. I was sure other people were feeling the same way, since even I could see a few awe-struck faces as well.

Up the vehicle ramp we passed a few heavy-duty rovers that looked like they hadn’t seen a day of action either, much like this ship. Past the vehicle bay and into one of the main corridors we started to split as we went to our rooms. The floors, halls and ceiling were all covered in panelling of a different color and material. The lower half of the walls were imprinted with artificial wood panels, so I couldn’t be sure how genuine it actually felt (I wasn’t born early enough to see them for real) and accented by silver and white paint. The floors were a dark turquoise interrupted by the occasional maintenance hatch and the same for the ceiling and slanted walls. The walkways were certainly more spacious than anything I was used to. In typical spaces you could probably fit one person to a lane in my normal workplaces, but here it could be about four! Technology had always been entrancing to me, and this ship was no different.

After a good ten minutes and reviewing the ship’s map, the residential quarters came into sight.

Room 244. The number was in no way reminiscent of the one I had just left, but that was a thing of the past now which was a reminder in itself.

“Identity: Ana West. Access granted.”

The room setup was similar to my old home, only that this one seemed a bit more high quality. It came with a bed and a virtual space, leaving it up to preference I suppose. I’d been sleeping in a pod for so long though I didn’t think I could bring myself to stop doing it now.

Conveniently there was a large window alongside the bed, which would give me a look out into space while we travelled. The window was black, now, of course, since real windows in space were much too dangerous to use and they functioned as monitors giving you a look outside. It was the same thing though.

“Good morning Ana,” It seemed like these quarters had personal AI as well. “my name is Doodle.” An interesting name, and the AI started with a male voice unlike Eva’s. “Feel free to customize my personality however you may wish and request anything I may be able to help with.”

“Got it. But that won’t be needed. Prepare for me to go on ice please.”

“I’m sorry, what do you mean by ‘on ice?’”

It could sometimes be annoying breaking these things in for the first time. If only he knew me like Eva did.

“I mean to prepare the virtual space for cryostasis please.” I explained as I unzipped my suit.

“Cryostasis has already been prepped and is awaiting for you to enter it. The current time is SEPTEMBER 21, 2212, 10:47 AM. ”

I tossed my clothes into the laundry compartment and slipped my empty bag into a fixed compartment.

“Open up the virtual space for me please?”

Without a response, the door opened and revealed a similar layout to the one back home, only this must have been one of the newer models. I’d have to install Claude once I had a free moment, but I’d lost enough time already trying to find this room. The digital time blinking on my armlet was telling me we had about twenty minutes left till take off.

I pressed a hand against the familiar-feeling plastic cushion, as the chilled fog loomed from the sides ever so slightly. I was ready to get this show going and was roaring to explore. Contently, I spun around and planted my back into the pod, allowing myself to be encased in a tomb once more.

“Activating cryostasis. Please remain still and calm.”

The first few times you’d always have a bit more freedom in movement, as the cushioning was still trying to remember your shape. But the same familiar numb feeling started to creep up on me from all sides, as if time itself were coming to a stop.

When I wake up, I’ll be long gone from Earth, the solar system and even the galaxy…My breaths were starting to feel more drawn out, each taking that much more energy than the last. Before I had even realized it I couldn’t feel anything anymore, and couldn’t even confirm I existed with a single sensation or feeling, the only being exhaustion. My vision went dark when someone closed their eyelids for me and I was put into a deep sleep.
When my eyes opened I wasn’t sure what to expect immediately but it wasn’t this.


I could feel my brows furrow for a moment as I tried to piece my surroundings together. It was only then I noticed the lack thereof and extreme vicinity I was within a tight space did a solution stir in my mind.

Am I still in the virtual space pod?

I blinked my eyelids because they still felt heavy for some reason. They never felt like that getting out of cryostasis, not to mention I shouldn’t be able to have this much feeling in my body after first waking up. I wiggled my toes and sure enough got an alert response, which was oddly concerning.

“Doodle?” I called from my tomb, hoping for an answer. The response was silence and the monitor in front of me was void of everything but darkness.

You’d never be bothered from being in a tight space unless you knew you might be trapped inside of it, which is why my breath started to hasten a little. It was starting to feel a little too claustrophobic in here.

Relax, relax…I calmed myself. If these things were built at all like my old one, there would be some sort of release mechanism from the inside. Doodle may have been gone but he wasn’t the only way out of here. I just had to try every nook and cranny. First I tried shifting my left foot here and there, finding nothing to press against.

Damn. No good…three more places to try…

Next came my right foot, finding nothing else as well. Things weren’t looking to up right now.

Calm down…please…I tried to convince myself to avoid hyperventilating so I didn’t make my situation even worse. There was still two more places to try.

The right hand unfortunately couldn’t find anything either, which striked a bit too much fear into me than I’d liked to have admit, but there was one more spot to try before I could have a total breakdown.

Please please please please…! I jiggled my left hand in every which way possible, bending my fingers as much as possible and even possibly contort them if need be. But just as fate was to snuff out my last ray of hope, my index finger finally came into contact with something and I pressed as hard as I could. With a sudden click the pod let out a deep sigh as the new crack in the cover depressurized the pod. With the help of manual force it opened up and I was returned to the sight of my room, as I took rapid and exasperated breaths. Only then did I realize my room and myself included were bathed in a red light covering everything it touched. It wasn’t the same normal light I saw before I got into the cryostasis pod, and that only meant trouble…

My window monitor was as black as it was when I first saw it and the comforter on the bed laid sprawled on the ground than being tucked in from one side and neatly wrapped around the bed. Had anything else not been in a container I’m sure it’d be somewhere out of place right now. No one else had access to my room other than squad leaders, and I doubt they’d come in here to mess with my bed…What could have happened? Wait, could that have too…? I sudden urgency struck me.

I moved over to the compartment where I put my duffel bag, hoping to see it was okay. The first impression wasn’t promising though, as after putting a bit more strength into prying it open I could see the bag was upside down. As soon as I started to tug it a jangling noise rung from it, meaning my worst fears were realized.

“No no no……” defeat poisoned my voice as I pulled it onto my disheveled bed and unzipped the opening. At the bottom of it was the many, countless fragments that once resembled the only person who could even begin to understand me. The one person I’d spent the greater part of my life with and someone I might even consider irreplaceable.

“Claude…” even if he was a robot a tear still escaped my eye. “not you too…”

“Doodle, are you there? Hello?” As sad as I was I still couldn’t forget that I needed to asses the situation.

“Error. AI functions have been disabled.”

“Disabled?” I found myself asking out loud.

I walked over to the closet for a suit to put on since the laundry one was long gone by now. I had to figure out what was happening and how much time had passed. The thought of no one else being alright was too fearful to even consider. My tiredness could only mean that I somehow fell out of cryostasis at some point but the machine never woke me up…but why? It was probably related to the red light in my room and Doodle’s absence.

Small problem with my closet though, since power function seemed to be limited. I couldn’t catch a lucky break with it like the compartment though, since my brute strength was nowhere near good enough to get it open.

“Come…on!” I was trying my best to pry, but it was clear electricity would be needed to get it moving. “Stupid door!” No good. I almost stomped my foot in frustration once I realized how naked I was.

My armlet couldn’t help clarify the situation earlier. After trying to contact Squad Leader Forest and getting no answer, I tried checking the date on my armlet and realized that wasn’t going to get me anywhere. When in cryostasis time didn’t update on your armlet for whatever reason, likely shutting down to save on power. That’s why it updated the time afterwards when you got out, catching how much time had elapsed from the virtual space, but since the thing was dead in the water that wasn’t happening. It still read as September 21, but I almost whimpered from not even being able to tell the time.

Thankfully the door worked when I tried the retina scanner, only when it opened I didn’t even get a confirmation dialogue. Down the long stretches of hallways more red warning lights shrouded everything, minus for a few lights that had ceased to function altogether.

Where was I supposed to go? What was I supposed to do? My heart was beating as fast as when we first got on, but for all the wrong reasons. The ship felt cold just being in my underwear, and the metal floors chilled my feet in a way that wasn’t pleasing. The newfound emptiness in the halls carried an eeriness that gave me goosebumps as much as the cold.

“H-hello?..” I called down each way, but heard nothing in return.

The observation deck…yes! I needed to go there, someone was probably there…hopefully. Thankfully my armlet’s map was still useful,
The observation deck door was already open, something I figured was meant to be closed. The red lights I saw in my room and in the halls though, they were nothing compared to the blinding light that occupied the widescreen status monitors.

Error. Error. Error. Countless malfunctions and warnings dotted the ship menus. All across the consoles holograms in one way or another flagged some sort of issue. What the hell could have happened? This wasn’t anything we planned for…so why?


My head darted in the direction of the noise; the first thing I had heard other than myself and the beeping of machines.

“Who…who’s there?” I called, peering on the other side of the main deck.

“Ha…ha…so there are still others still alive…” the voice was a male’s.

“What do you mean?” I kept weaving through, trying to find the source of the noise, until I saw him. Propped in a seat with his legs spread out, an unfamiliar White sat lazily with his head leaning to the side and a hand clutching his stomach. The exposed side of his head was wet hair, something I couldn’t tell which was sweat or blood. But even amongst the red lights the blood on his white suit was unmistakable.

“You’re…you’re hurt…” the shock was still hitting me from what I was seeing.

“Yeah…I guess I am…” he gave a nonchalant glance at himself. “I suppose I may have deserved it….”

“What happened? What’s happening? Everything’s malfunctioned! My virtual space stopped working, all the warning lights are up, my hard drive and bed are wrecked, you’re the only person I’ve seen! I can’t get in touch with my-”

“Just check one of the layout consoles,” he interrupted. “I’ve explained it too many times already. See for yourself.”

So there were others? Either way I looked at a nearby display of the ship, unable to figure out what was wrong, until I realized it was staring me in the face for the longest time.

“How did that…”

“See what I mean?” he started to giggle, almost laughing in the face of uncertainty. “The ship apparently couldn’t withstand it, I don’t know…I’ve had too long to think about it, too much time to think of an answer. Too much time to be wrong…too much too much….” he started to mutter. I then looked over the display in disbelief.

I was breaking into a cold sweat as my heart sank to the bottom of my stomach. My knees felt weak just trying to imagine what it actually looked like. Despair was a pit you’d often find yourself in that you could pull yourself out of…But, but how the hell were you supposed to get out if the pit was bottomless itself? Seeing what I saw, any ray of hope, thirst for adventure, was eclipsed, quenched, by the mass of misfortune we were swallowed in.

On the console, half the ship was missing.

It wasn’t clean, no. It had been torn, ripped wire by wire, panel by panel, to the point where we looked like a crumpled tin can that was twisted, cut in two and discarded on the side of the road. It was a miracle I could even stand here alive now and to realize just how close to the edge we were was terrifying. Just thinking how redirecting power was the least of our worries, I could feel a foul bile growing inside of me.

“How many?” I tried to ignore my growing sickness and plummeting despair. “How many else are alive…?”my eyes found the disoriented White in desperation.

He stared blankly at me, as if my words never reached him. His inner delay finally passed when he suddenly spoke out, “Frankly I thought most of us were dead. We lost half of the living quarters after all, been drifting out in the void for quite a while….” with an aimless finger he drew circles in the air.

“Are you okay?” my voice was starting to become more panicked than sad. “Please, just bear with me for a minute here. How long have we been gone?”

I must have hit a nerve, because his reaction was almost instantaneous, growing visibly angry and tensing his muscles; as if he were ready to strike.

“How long…? How long? You don’t…” he paused for another small chuckle, retreating into his hands. “YOU DON’T EVEN FUCKING KNOW!” suddenly he thrashed from his place, grabbing his chair and tossing it in a random direction with a loud clang. “While you’ve been living it up in fucking cryostasis,” he spoke as if his patience were running thin. “I have been here, living in the real world. Trying to figure out WHY we’re missing HALF THE FUCKING SHIP! Newsflash! The last backup this damn piece of trash made was TEN YEARS AFTER WE LEFT! Who knows h-how long it took me to w-wake up since then. Since we were hit.” his rant devolved into a momentary stutter while he paced an invisible circle. I couldn’t help but feel the need to keep my distance.

“But me,” he truly laughed at this remark. “Big old me, lucky Sam had the pleasure of being the only person to get the boot from paradise early. Real early.” The bitterness in his voice was seething at this point. “It has been, TWENTY-THREE YEARS, since I’ve been out of cryostasis.” he almost started to cry, but then locked eyes with me immediately. “Does it show? Be honest. Really.”

Now that I looked, he did seem a bit older than most of the crewmembers here, possibly in his late fifties…but his unpredictable mannerisms right now kept my mouth silent. But nearly thirty years? The thought was too scary to trust. I hoped it was the insanity that talked him into saying something as absurd as that.

His fixed gaze was quickly dismissed by likely second voice in his head, shifting tones. “But anyways, power suuuure is limited in this little home of ours. But most importantly the food. Twenty three years is a long time to do the math you know, on how long we’ll survive. With no planets in sight, no communications. Less passengers.” His last two words manifested a graver feeling.

“I’ve talked to some of the other passengers, you know.” he ceased his meandering and rooted himself in place.

“A-and what did they, say?” It was taking everything I had to stand in front of him right now. Suddenly the ship was starting to feel like the least of my worries. A gut feeling was starting to scare me. This wasn’t normal. He wasn’t normal.

“The consensus was…debatable.” He started to run his hand down the zipper of his suit.

“Uh huh?” Back away slowly to the door, don’t let him realize what you’re doing.

“But we reached two conclusions,” The front of his suit hung loosely now as it stayed tight around his waist. You could see his rib cage straining against the skin, the blood on his suit was starting to give me chilling second thoughts, enough to get my adrenaline pumping. “want to know?”

The gap between us had to have been twenty feet, no, twenty two. But that number was only decreasing.

“First, less people means less mouths to feed. And food goes on for a lot longer. But when the ship tearing in half costs you 88 fucking percent of it,” with a free hand he banged the side of his head. “there’s a lot less to go around. Which brought me to my next conclusion.”

The ship stopped making noises, or at least everything around me went quiet. I couldn’t hear it, but my heartbeat thumped with a force I’d never felt before, pounding against the inside of my chest. Something was coming. I could feel it, but my frantic thoughts kept me from predicting the unknown.

“The 3D printers on this ship, the ones that still function at least, are really useful.”

Huh? I felt a cold sweat. My muscles relaxed and hung loosely.

“You’d be surprised how efficient they are at making a firearm.”

The words hadn’t hit me in full force until the bullet did. With a pop my arm recoiled back from the sheer force from what had just struck me. Before I could even see what had happened to me, it suddenly registered he was holding some kind of pistol.

“Wh-what are you…” Wide-eyed, I hesistently looked at my own arm then, and could see there was something lodged in my shoulder as a crimson red started to seep from it. “You hav-have a…?” Looking back at his amused face, the fear and pain brewing inside of me and my arm was being drowned by the shock seeping through my veins and twisting my manic heart…

Oh. I get it now…

My bleeding arm, the twisted look on his face, the gun.

It all made sense now.

He’s going to kill me.

Without a word spoken inside or outside of my head, my body turned on its own and started to run. Stamina and limits at that point became simple myths, as I kept running. The farther I ran, the faster the tears came as time came back to me and reality embraced my wounds.

“Agh!..” I started to wince and blubber as I tried to move my wounded arm. There were too many things to think about and a crazed killer was one too many. It was only harder on myself when I could feel my insides start to creep down my wounded arm.

I wanted to run. I wanted to hide. I didn’t want to be here. I wanted to go anywhere but here. The farther I ran, I could hear distant laughter chuckling its way after me, which only made my breathing more frantic as my feet forgot the discomfort from sprinting across the metal grates.

I wanted to hide so desperately, I couldn’t fight him when he had a gun. It made me cry harder knowing I’d be signing away everything if I went back to my room which I so desperately wanted to return to now. I’d be trapped, assuming he couldn’t get in, and that’d be best case scenario. It didn’t help when I started to put two and two together that he’d killed likely all the other remaining crewmembers. The weight of what was happening was bone-breaking.

I let out another yelp when a bullet came whizzing by, causing me to stumble and nearly fall.

Go go go! My legs were shaky but I convinced them to move. I didn’t know how much longer I could go on for, but I couldn’t stop now.

You were okay with this, weren’t you? Okay if this journey never amounted to nothing, and eventually ended in your demise?

Claude’s words stung like as if he were branding me, and I didn’t even care to think why I was hearing these words now. But no…I couldn’t die now…not when I’d just made it out the front door…I couldn’t fall flat now…please…

I clutched my hair as the tears kept coming and my shoulder screamed in protest from moving. Another bullet came in my direction and there was another clang of metal announcing its unintended target. Even I wanted to sigh a breath of relief when he missed, but I spoke too soon when I could hear another whiz.


I felt something heavy bury itself into the back of my thigh and my left leg buckled. I took a tumble for real this time and hit the ground hard. The metal grating imprinted itself all over my exposed skin, and the lightly tipped edges worked with friction to scrape me even further.

I didn’t know why, and I didn’t know how. But with my working arm and leg I still tried to prop myself up. There was no more capacity to consider anything but escape. I didn’t turn back to see how far away he was, but the fact his giggles were still distant and my heart still beating was enough for me. The pain only seared my insides even more, but I kept limping enough for it to reach a numbing point. My weight felt awkward and heavy with the two bullets inside of me and I was too afraid to look. Something was running down the back of my leg now too and I knew too well what it was.

Finally, the long stretch came to an end and I was winding myself through corridor after corridor. The laughing and chasing that came from my killer started to die down the further I lost him in the ship’s interior. The lights became more infrequent and to the point there were none at all. I was in near darkness lest for a few blinking pipe lights.

For my own well-being I tried my hardest to silence my cries and keep myself composed, despite being covered in tears, snot and bleeding everywhere. In the flashing lights I could see the my arm and leg weren’t just red from the lights anymore.
I was alive. But I didn’t know for how much longer. What was I supposed to do? Seeing my wounds and his gun set a new wave a tears, as the thought of escape felt like an insurmountable task now.

Escape pods. A whisper echoed in my mind.

“E-e-esca…pe pods…” just the words themself felt like salvation. I raised my bad arm which had my armlet on it, and I hastily wiped the blood off its screen my other arm. The ship’s map illuminated the dark tunnel, symbolizing my literal and metaphorical torchlight in the dark.

I was a few turns away, and then there was the escape bay…Fate had finally smiled on me.

The pain didn’t feel so bad anymore now that I knew there was hope. I followed the beeping noises as they grew louder and sharper, each winding turn being one less from the exit. In the circular room, I could see the ceiling had given way to nearly almost all the escape pods, either crushing the spherical ships altogether or blocking their entrances. Oil leaked from exposed piping and was pooled around my feet. Wires hissed, lazily strung about and supported the few loose pieces of scrap metal that hadn’t given way yet.

Everything was blurry from wet tears and exasperated breaths when I could see one of the pods looked to be intact. I didn’t even think much when I entered the already open pod and nearly threw myself into the one seat after closing and securely locking the door.

“Ha…hah hah” The giddy relief I was feeling almost felt like I was on the brink of losing my sanity. I looked down at myself: nearly naked, bleeding and scraped up. Every moment felt like an eternity and it was impossible to plan each step after the next.

It was only when I heard footsteps I quickly covered my mouth with both bloody hands.

My chest kept rising and falling at a rapid pace, no matter how much I tried to convince myself I was safe. Quickly, I looked at the release console and hurriedly typed in the release codes. Just as I could hear them from the other side I used the last of my fading energy to press the ‘confirm’ button. Like a chain reaction my head fell back as I laid there strewn about. The throbbing pain and growing headache were too distant to feel now. The adrenaline couldn’t convince my body to keep going anymore and I was truly down for the count this time.

But the pod wasn’t moving. Not even then could the stationary pod convince me to keep moving. That was it. The pod wouldn’t go. In my disoriented state I cursed my own foolishness, forgetting to release the ship locks on the pod from the center console.
On my back, I stared at the blaring light which smiled back at me. It was all I could see and the darkness was creeping from the corners of my vision. Almost like distant noises now, I could hear the whirring and moaning of moving metal and parts as the pod started to slide. But I didn’t have the energy to even care. It was all over.

“Wait…STOP! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” Was it a second set of feet I just heard?

A familiar bang sounded off twice, only more muffled this time and something splashed the oil from outside. Just before I passed out, a loud whoosh and a boom came from the escape pod launching into space.
I never actually came to, only waking in and out of sleep or unconsciousness for a few moments at a time. My chest felt heavy and my head was too tired to turn. I couldn’t feel my arm or leg anymore. The light I had seen was now dark and from the corner of my eye was emptiness peering through the glass as well. I couldn’t even remember if I had escaped.

The silence I had once thought to be unpleasant was suddenly a profound feeling to be enveloped in now. It was only interrupted in one of my stirs when the message kept repeating itself from the pod. I couldn’t even coherently process the words, much less how to respond to them.

“Warning: an anomaly has been detected. Warning: it is advised that you deviate course immediately. Suspected target is likely a wormhole. Repeat. Deviate course immediately.”

I fell out of consciousness again.

2 - Mysterious Stranger


His voice was distant, and everything was dark.

“Hello…are you there?”

Yet it sounded so familiar, and getting closer.

“I can see you moving. Come on, now.”

Wait, that wasn’t just anyone’s voice. It was-

“Claude…” I found myself saying the words before my vision could even come to. My hands were reaching out for anything I could feel, until they finally made contact with a smooth fabric and I held tight.

“Ana, is everything alrig-”

“I…” I couldn’t help but sniffle. “I thought you were gone…For good.” I didn’t need to open my eyes to know I was burying my face into his suit pants. “I…was scared.”

“About what?”

“The ship. Everything that….” I choked on my own tears, just from recalling what happened. I pulled my face back to see I was back to being my tiny self in the same white dress.

“Ana, what ship? You’ve been here this whole time. You went to sleep, remember?”

What? What was he talking about?

“No, no. I-I went on the expedition. The Jumper. An-and then the ship it…it got hit by something and and we lost power…we lost the ship…I was shot…” I looked him in the eyes then. “I lost you.”

“Easy there,” He came close and patted my shoulder. Even the digital sensation was reassuring. “It’s likely you had a bad dream. You’re alright.”

My breaths were rapid again just from reimagining it. But I still couldn’t come to terms. How could that have not been real? How could I still be here now, in the simulation? I never got nightmares like this, especially in the virtual space. Especially so vivid……”

“Claude…I want to stay here for longer.”

“What do you mean?”

“I think I want to put GATE on hold…I want to stay for longer than a week.”

“If that’s what you so choose. Do you want to talk about it?”

“No.” I physically shook my head then. “Not now. No.”

“…Alright then.”

Things went quiet for a few moments, until I brought a hand to wipe a tear of relief from my eye. But in doing so my face felt even more wet now. Strangely, I turned my arm over to catch a sight that nearly stopped my heart.


“Cl-Claude…?” I looked up at him, to see him staring emptily into nothingness.

“Stop…that’s not funny.” Panic was ruling my world yet again, when I looked down to see part of my white dress stained in a growing red. Something warm dripped down the side of my leg and tainted the white carpet and cushions. What was once white and pure slowly became enveloped in crimson. Worriedly I looked back to Claude again, and watched this time as he faded away, pixel by pixel from me again.

“Claude, NO!” I started to shout. A door banged open from behind me, as my little body quaked from seeing the monster that had just finished traumatizing me. In his white suit, the aged man came in waving a gun and pointed it at me with that piercing, deranged look in his eye.


I fell to my knees and in a quivering sob stared at him deliriously. Everything I knew was slipping and I couldn’t tell fiction from reality. Black and white were a messy gray and I was red all over. Everything felt warm, despite feeling such a cold sweat creep down my back. The only logical response, the only thing my body could do anymore, disregarding every other command I tried to give it, any thought I tried to make, was to scream. [HR][/HR]
A blood-curdling scream came from the deepest wells of despair inside of me. My eyes were sealed from fear and my body thrashed and flailed on the floor. But the more I tossed and turned, the more I moved, the softer each collision felt until what I was hitting wasn’t a hard surface but a fluffy mass that cushioned each blow my disoriented self could throw at it.

Amidst my screams and panic, a sudden set of restraints came around me and sandwiched me close into a soft wall. My head was caught in a pillow while my arms were too pressed to move at all. In fact, my arms tired out faster than I thought and quickly fell limp. My legs strained when I tried to put any power into them and were having none of it. Even my voice grew tired until my throat hurt, muffled by whatever was covering me.

I couldn’t understand why I was still alive after being at gunpoint, but the torture was ceaseless. I was tired of running at that point, and I wanted it to finally come to an end.

“Why…” I sobbed in a near-raspy voice. “Why won’t you just kill me?”

He didn’t respond and I stayed pressed into my cushiony restrains as my panic lulled into a constant yet exhausted cry. It was only then I could feel the bars around me loosen and give me room to breathe. Against my better muddled judgement, I opened my eyes to see why I was still alive, and even when at the end of my rope my eyes still managed to betray me.

Looking back at me wasn’t the barrel of a gun, no. With my head tilted slightly upwards and past her massive bosom was a strange, exotic creature. Massive in size but with equal proportions, she looked just like a human with all the same distinct qualities. The only things that kept me from calling her one though was her skin that was of a slightly more purple pigment and the tiny point I could see from one of her exposed ears. On top of that, only then did I notice then the two little points jutting from opposite ends of her exposed forehead. Tiny horns almost?

Taken aback by her appearance and size, to which I was like a mere child compared to, she stared back at me with an affectionate smile that was unmistakable. Human or not, her facial expression and emotions were just as easy to read as anyone else. Not even realizing I was leaning back, it became clear the restraints I thought I was caught in and were currently being supported by, were her much larger and likely stronger arms. The ‘cushions’ I were caught in had likely been from her chest and smooth stomach as well.
For whatever reason, just from looking at her face I was almost entranced in a way, as if an invisible voice were soothing me right now from just her gaze and calming smile. As foreign as she was, why wasn’t I afraid? Trying to calm myself down, I grew more quiet with each hiccup.

“Ja, soras nes su?” It was the first time I heard her speak, and it came out softly and calmly. It only came as an afterthought afterwards she was speaking complete gibberish to me.

“Wh…what?” I felt myself wanting to return some words in response. “What did you say?”

She suddenly looked puzzled like I did, as if she were trying to discern my words as well.

“Do you speak English?” I was too tired to wipe the remaining tears from my eyes.

“Ja, ja.” she cooed, with one of her hands she was gentle in cleaning my face for me.

What language was she speaking? Who was this person? Where was I? Curiosity was starting to occupy my attention more than my nightmare, as I turned my head in any which way possible to try and get my surroundings. From the tan-colored walls and archaic looking technology, I could see a few interesting things. There were doors with handles on them, wardrobes that weren’t built into the walls and a physical design hanging from the wall. Paintings?

“Please, tell me where I am.” I couldn’t help but feel a little restless despite her being so calming. But she didn’t change how I had no idea where I was.

She chose not to answer this time and instead pat me on the head and embrace me for a second longer. I noticed she was wearing a blue-shaded dress, as it hung from her shoulders and pooled beneath me in her lap. I finally looked at myself too, seeing I was also in a dress, only mine had a few more frills to it and flowerlike designs were pinned at the shoulder straps. Being able to move my legs ever so slightly, I also noticed it felt a little empty down below…In fact, even chilly…Since I couldn’t move my legs too much, out of frustration I resorted to my hips and torso, confirming something wet beneath me.

Almost shaking again it was likely more blood, since I had just been shot, but the view was quickly revealed when I was suddenly raised high into the air by a pair of hands from the torso.

“Oooooo,” the woman looked at me with a playfully stern face. She made a tsk tsk noise with her mouth as she stood up from the bed with me in tow. Only then did I notice the visible stain on the bed’s surface, a puddle darker than its surroundings, on top of the dark blue splotch on her dress The hem of my pink, almost denim-like dress seemed a little dark too… I wasn’t bleeding, so what could it…

The sudden burning sensation from my cheeks did the talking for me. I couldn’t look her in the eyes when she had that knowing smile. I could still feel the remaining bodily fluids drip from me when it was clear I wasn’t wearing any underwear.

How long had I been in this world? Well over 20 years? Probably 80 counting cryostasis time? Conscious moments ago I was running for my life, and I had gone from leaking blood to leaking urine. It was a relief to no longer be in pain, but the feeling of shame I had now was a whole new ballgame. The distance between us was expected though…I don’t think I’d want to be hugging a stranger who just pissed themselves either…

Suddenly the distance between us though was eliminated, as she cradled me near her bosom again, returning me to that warm and…fuzzy feeling. The sudden contact felt awkward though. Didn’t she feel disgusted touching an adult like this? I looked at her with uncertainty as she continued to give me an unfaltered smile.

So not to bother me, she shifted her long braid from one shoulder to the other as we walked to the door. Giving me a moment to see, we passed what looked like a window and I could see it was bright outside. What was even more jarring were the bright greens and other diverse colors I could see. My eyes didn’t have time to adjust to them though, because I saw them as quickly as I left them as she opened the door and carried me into a new one.

Decorated in light pinks and dark brown trims, the room like the one we were just in was seemingly otherworldly. From the simple, minimalistic and clean designs I was so used to back home…here everything seemed so much more occupied and tangible. Apart from just a bed, the room was decorated in so much more than I was used to. The plain walls were in fact decorated with starry murals and a fan hung from the ceiling. The dresser looked as if it were actually made of wood!

I then started to notice some of the more peculiar things…The room had no definitive bed, minus the mattress raised off of four legs and surrounded by high bars. I had seen those before. What was the name, a crib? Weren’t those for pre-23rd century babies? In my line of work I never saw kids, and me being unable to remember my childhood eliminates any memories of them either. Which is why what she was putting me on next I had no real guess for.

It came much higher off the ground than the crib, and had a plastic feel to it similar like the virtual space cushions. It was then she laid me back on it and laid my head into a raised part of it that gave neck support.

Why was she setting me down? What was she doing? Whatever this was, I seemed to fit the area relatively well, as if it were a slightly smaller than normal mattress. For that matter, everything like her seemed much bigger than my size, the furniture included. It was almost intimidating and here I was. So powerless.

From the side she fished out a strap, which suddenly came over my chest and connected to the other side.

Wait, what was she doing? She was restraining me?

“Wait wait, stop. Let me go!” Impulsively my hands went for the strap, as my tired arms strained to do anything about it. While it wasn’t tight it was certainly snug, and I was visibly struggling to do a single thing about it.

“Jaaa, jaaa….” she spoke in a foreign tongue once again as she eased my shoulders back onto the cushion, guiding my arms away. In a lighthearted tone she rambled off a few more things to herself that I couldn’t really catch.

When she touched my shoulders I noticed the wounded one felt funny, and could see now because it had been bandaged. Curiously I looked at my legs as well, and could see the bandages wrapped around my thigh peeking from the dress.

I couldn’t discern her intent but I know I wasn’t the one who bandaged my wounds. Everything about her character and radiance were tempting me to trust her, but I knew to never be lulled into a false sense of security. Even if I was so powerless right now.

“Hmmm…hmm…hmmm…” she soothed in a humming voice, grabbing a hold of my dress straps and making tiny pop noises as they came undone. With a gentle tug it slid from underneath me and off as I laid there naked in front of the giantess.

“Hey! Could I get some clothes back please?” With my uninjured arm I covered the front of my breasts and so desperately tried to keep my legs closed, but my little conundrum didn’t seem to bother her.

Leaning over, she was going through something beneath me, as I heard the crinkling of plastic and shifting objects. From it in her hands was a bottle of some kind and a rectangular object. Placing the bottle down she held up the rectangle, pointing a finger at it.

“Di-ddies.” she spoke in two syllables. She gestured towards me.

Did she want me to repeat after her? Was she teaching me her language?

“Did…dies?” I awkwardly tried to fit the word in my mouth, certainly feeling foreign.

She made a happy noise of approval as she nodded her head, pointing to it again.


The object was more than just a rectangle, as she unfolded it and fanned it out, suddenly expanding into a strip with wings on the front and back. Setting it to the side, she pulled a wipe from somewhere I couldn’t see, and grabbed me by the both of my feet and lifted them into the air, unwillingly exposing my bottom. Giving my back and front a wipe down, I tried to squirm as best as my numb body would let from from the cold feeling. She resumed her hum and grabbed the fanned-out rectangle next. With my bottom still suspended in the air, she slid the object underneath me until I could feel the plastic edge kissing my back, and she slowly set my legs down on it.

Coming into contact with it, it felt like I was sitting on a plush, cushy pad. It didn’t feel thin or flimsy and pretty sturdy. But what was it for? The woman grabbed the bottle from before, and twisted the top, giving it a few shakes to my crotch a white powder erupted from it and showered my lower front. A sweet fragrance caked my bottom and even I thought it was a pleasant smell, but it still didn’t explain what she was getting at here. I learned my protests wouldn’t get me anywhere though, considering I knew only one word in her language and she knew zero in mine.

She moved my motionless legs apart a bit for me, as she grabbed the extra bit to the ‘diddie’ on the end and pulled it up and over my front, coming just below my belly button. It was almost like she was putting underwear on me?

Pressing the extra flaps around my hips, she then drew the wings from my sides over the front, revealing tabs on their fronts. Extending them they turned out to be adhesives of some sort, because when she pressed them to the plastic motif donned on my abdomen they stuck and felt fixed in place. She did the same for the other side and the diddie seemed to be fastened in place. The cushion in between was a little hard not to notice, and when I tried to shift my hips it made an audible crinkle. Looking at the front I thought I could see two different caricatures playing on the front. These didn’t seem very mature…

Whatever I was in though the woman seemed to be happy, as with a smile she gave me a careful tap on the nose with her finger. I had gone from a pee-soaked cripple to now a sweet-smelling one, so there was some improvement at least. But why such the complicated underwear? Would I be able to take them off and put them back on as easily as panties?

Keeping me strapped to the table, she turned away from me for a moment whilst she fished through the dresser, pulling out two pieces of clothing. In her hands was a pink shirt and the other blue shortalls. They looked like the same kind of denim material as whatever I was wearing before. I’d never been through so many different wardrobe changes in a single day and was so used to wearing a single work suit. With me still tied down, she easily fished the shirt over my head and fitted it in place, being just about a perfect fit, including the underwear minus the bulk between my legs. She finally undid the table strap though and came over to the broad side of the table where I could get closer to her.

Helping me sit up with an audible crinkle, she slipped me into the legs that didn’t even come to the halfway point on my thighs and exposed the bandages. Easily rotating my entire body, my back was now to her while I could feel the front draw closer to my chest and hear the straps fasten in the back. I also took the time to notice the still pronounces bulge between my legs and how my outfit oddly accented it…As an extension to the shortalls, there was a flap covering my crotch lined with buttons to keep it still. Curiously I was able to pop one of the buttons and peer through the seam and could see my diddie.

The customs here were certainly strange…and I didn’t exactly feel like an adult at this point…My thoughts were suddenly broken though when I was spun around again, following her eyes to see she was looking at where I popped one of the buttons. Clicking it back into place she looked at me with a face devoid of humor this time but rather stern.

“Na, na.” she shook her head from left to right. Indicating a no? Did she not want me messing with the clothes?

“Na, na?” I repeated her words yet again, causing her to smile once again and nod.

“Ka!” Did ‘ka’ mean yes? And ‘na’ mean no?

Everything seemed reminiscent of archaic human civilization. Nothing looked entirely like what I was used to, but still resembled it in a lot of ways. Not everything of course, but certain key things like closets, beds and doors. But it was also starting to become clear that she wasn’t seeing me maybe as my actual age. Or maybe she was too caring? The difference in size was what baffled me the most. Like I said before though, the clothes I was in didn’t come off as very mature…Nevertheless they fit me like a glove, even those ‘diddies’ that worked like underwear. I felt like I was missing something important here.

She carried me out of the strange room and brought me into what was definitely a kitchen. I could recognize the fridge, sink and counter. Some of the appliances looked foreign to me but I had a general grasp of what I was seeing. She set me on the marble-looking counter in the center - a premium material on Earth that had become near-priceless. From the fridge she withdrew a small bottle with a rubber cap on it, filled with some creamy liquid.

“Baba,” she gestured to the cream-filled bottle.

“Baba.” I repeated. That must have been the word for drink.

“Ka!” she praised, handing the bottle to me. It fit pretty well in my hands, but had an awful amount to it. It was as big as the 20 ounce bottles back on Earth and it was filled to the brim. Curiously, I turned it every which way and even upside down without a single drop being spilt. She seemed amused by my observations when I finally set it upright again. But again, why couldn’t she have given me a normal glass? I looked over at the transparent cabinets and could see regular cups there. So why did I need this bottle?

Nonchalantly, I placed one hand on the cap and tried to pop it off and then unscrew it, in any which way possible to get it to be like a normal drinking cup. The cap had a weird bulb on top of it though, but I didn’t know what that was for. How else was I supposed to drink from it?

“Na.” the woman said in a stern voice, guiding my hand from it yet again.

“What do you mean? How else am I supposed to drink it?” I held the bottle awkwardly in one hand, trying to mouth a drinking motion to her.

Taking matters into her own hands, she grabbed the bottle for me and gently but firmly inserted it into my mouth bulb-first, the rubber object taking a good deal of space in it. Sitting there with arms at my side, a rubber bulb in my mouth, I couldn’t figure out what to do. I was dumbfounded. Was I supposed to know what to do? Awkwardly, I tried sucking of all things on the rubber bulb, and strangely enough I was rewarded with a stream of the creamy inside.

The taste was euphoric. Almost like those artificial dairy products Earth companies would reproduce after cow’s milk started becoming undrinkable! Only this was miles and leagues above that cheap taste. Something about this felt genuine, cool and sweet. It felt like liquidized desert! Most of my meals came through the virtual space since nothing tasted good anymore. But this, this was something I was something worth having in reality!

Leisurely I became self-absorbed in sucking from the bottle, to the point where I sheepishly forgot my aid had been holding the bottle this entire time, but she looked as if she didn’t want to disturb the delight I was feeling right now. Never had I taste something like this, and it awakened my taste buds to a whole new horizon!

Guiding me yet again, she showed me where to hold my hands and support the bottle for myself. It moved back and forth ever so slightly in tune with each suck. Each time I was only rewarded with a small amount, nowhere near what I was hoping to get for my efforts. Granted, that only made me suck harder, hoping it would somehow give me more than the last.

Holding my bandaged arm up for too long though was beyond tiring. It felt numb and sluggish including my leg. At this point I could only assume they had me on some sort of meds…It felt strange being on foreign drugs…My body wouldn’t cooperate the way I wanted it to and doing simple movements felt that much more taxing. Even holding my baba was a workout. How long had I been out? How did I get here? It was only then I started to recall my fragmented memories of drifting in the escape pod. I looked back to the woman, wondering if she might have known. I quickly shot down the idea of asking her though. I didn’t think we’d get very far. But I was so caught up in everything that I had to finally have my arms constantly in my face to realize my armlet was gone.

Setting the bottle down, I inspected my arm where it’d be and sure enough it was gone. That was a bit concerning. You never wanted to have your armlet misplaced, no matter where you were or what you were doing. It was your identification and your lifeline!

“Excuse me,” I wiped a bit of the delicious cream from the corner of my mouth. “Where’s my armlet?”

She stared at me quizzically, slightly tilting her head in confusion with a furrowed brow.

“ARM-let,” I didn’t know how putting emphasis on a word she didn’t know to begin with would help, but I still felt the need to do so. I held my arm in front of her stretched in a horizontal position and tried to map out where it’d be. “Armlet,” I kept tracing its former location. Were my gestures getting through to her?

“Oooo.” Did she realize what I meant?

“Mar,” she started to point to her own arm and then the other.

“No, no. That’s not what I mean.” The distress was starting to show on my face. “Na, na.” I was trying my best to communicate, but my limited vocabulary proved to be a challenge.

“ARMLET,” I couldn’t help but stress and raise my voice. I kept on repeating it and tried shaping it for her, but no matter how much I tried it wasn’t doing it for her. “Come on! Can’t you try and learn some English? I learned your language after all!” Obviously it was like talking to a brick wall. What was gibberish to me was the same to her. My babbling probably made no sense…

Turned away, the rubber teat invading my mouth caught me off guard when I looked back to the culprit. She was probably trying to calm me down, but even a treat as tasty as this didn’t make the situation any better. Being without an armlet is the only situation where I could feel truly naked. It was who I was, it defined who I am. What was I without it? I’d need it back if I wanted any chance of getting home.

But come to think of it, what was this woman’s name anyways? It felt a little impolite not knowing her name after this long, and I doubt she knew mine either. Better late than never, I set the bottle down again after I’d cooled my head and tried to communicate again.

“Aaa-na. Ana. My name is Ana.” With each time I said it I re-gestured towards myself. “Ana, Ana Ana Ana Ana.” Hopefully it would stick?

“Ana…Goru: Ana?”

Did goru mean ‘name’? Hopefully it did, because I kept shaking my head yes.

She smiled with a chuckle at that. Repeating my name once more. “Aaaana.” She stretched the first syllable as if she were playing with it. She then pointed to herself. “Mama.”

Mama? That was her name? How strange. It felt like a weird chord was struck inside of me… I tried to ignore the odd feeling though. It was likely an odd coincidence, right?

She looked at me expectantly with hope in her eyes.

“Ma…ma,” it felt strange out loud for the first time. “Mama.”

“Mmm! Mmm! Ka! Mama!” she sang, pulling me into a soft hug. I didn’t know what I did to earn her affection, but it was as strange as it was welcomed…As violated as my personal space was, my recent dependence sort of eased things.

Grabbing my baba for me, Mama whisked me into the air and off the counter while she walked us into the living room adjacent right over. A large solfa in an L-shape lined the wall and beside it was a wide chest, sitting on the opposite side of a wide stand with a monitor mounted on it. A tv probably. Again the size was impressive, and compared to how small I was here it was like looking at one of the display screens on the observation deck. Heck, it felt like one of my body’s younger days when I was in Claude’s simulation… I chased the painful reminders out of my head.

The carpet when Mama set me down was sort of rough and certainly a far cry from the comfy feeling in my diddies, but it got a passing grade just to sit on. The more she sat me down in wide spaces though the more frustrating it was to know my body was too exhausted to explore any of it. I couldn’t help but feel glum from being so rooted.

Setting the baba into my hands, I suck on it reluctantly despite it being so good. I wasn’t feeling much for fluids anymore but I was trying my hardest not to be a rude guest. She had cleaned me, embraced me, and now she was pampering me…The growing attention had me almost blushing. This interacting felt weird….

Curiously, I looked at her from my measly spot countless feet beneath her, as to my surprise when she quickly grabbed a hold of her damp dress’s shoulder straps and slipped them off, letting it fall around her. To see her wearing nothing but panties and a bra, for modesty’s sake I slightly turned away, but at the same time was struck by a morbid curiosity in her flawless curves… With wide hips, a slim torso, overflowing chest and beautiful face she would have been the epitome of human beauty had she lost the horns and changed her skin! Not even the sexbot’s artificial beauty could compare to something as natural as her figure. She looked like a goddess…

I almost shook the ogling out of my eyes though when it finally clicked for me she was wearing panties, and not diddies. Why was that? How come she didn’t just give me a normal pair?

“Mama,” I called for her attention. “Why didn’t you give me panties earlier?” I kept pointing at her own underwear, following my finger then looking back at her.

She let out a little laugh, patting me on the head whilst she said in an explaining voice “Na na, Ana fora diddies. Mama na fora diddies.”

I pointed at her underwear again, trying to insist in some way that I wanted to be wearing them as well. As comfortable as these diddies were, I still wanted to feel like my age was being acknowledged.

In a way to better convey my words, I quickly started to unsnap the buttons on my crotch and show off my less mature garments. Maybe she’d understand then.

Moving on to the fourth button, I kept trying to explain. “I want to wear panties too.”

Deftly, Mama moved my hands away and redid the buttons to how they originally were.

“Ana,” she assumed a stern tone again. “Na na.”

What did she mean no? Couldn’t she understand what I was trying to tell her? Ugh, the language barrier between us was becoming evermore frustrating. How come I had to wear diddies and she didn’t?

Beside me, Mama grabbed a small stack of folded clothes and started to put them on. I was reminded of my shame when it was clear she was finally changing clothes because I ruined her dress from earlier. If my legs were working properly I’d have balled up in a corner at that point. Mama was dressed almost like me now, only her shirt and pants had noticeably less silly looking designs on them. Every passing moment we felt less like equals and it didn’t sit well with me.

As my only source of entertainment, I watched her roam about between the living room and kitchen, as she came back in with a tablet that fit in one hand. Was it a phone? Since being replaced by the much more mainstream armlet, they weren’t very common anymore but not totally fazed out of society yet. With her legs in a V shape she sat behind me as my head found itself leaning back into her stomach. Looking up, all I could see was her chest, so I decided against doing that for much longer.

Saying words every now and then, she tapped a way for a few more moments on her phone until she set it down and returned her attention to me. She matched my own posture to hers, and I could feel a growing force on my back as it guided me forward, bending my torso down. Then with my arms she had me turning from left to right in the strained position, giving me multiple reps. As I was starting to quickly tire out, I could only imagine she was exercising me? Although unexpected, it was no secret how drained I was. Everything felt either numb or sore and I couldn’t wait for that feeling to go away. If only I had cryostasis it’d be easier to just let time fly by while injuries like these healed. I still couldn’t make sense though of how two gunshot wounds could leave me this crippled.

After I was starting to make audible noises of exhaustion though, Mama conceded and had me on my back next, propping my legs in the air and bending them from the knee at a 90 degree angle, she started to rotate them in a bicycle pedaling motion. Of course this exercise felt the best, since I was on my back and she was doing all the work for me. My arms were relieved to be given a rest, and even if my legs didn’t feel too great either, I wasn’t the one holding them up. She wasn’t going to let me go that easily though, because soon after I found the baba in my mouth again despite me trying to refuse her this time. Mama didn’t take no for an answer which seemed to be troubling.

From after multiple sessions with the drink, I had know idea how much I actually drank, but the bottle was feeling noticeably lighter. Near empty in fact. On the contrary my stomach felt quite full though and any turning motion made the creamy milk’s presence known within me.

I wasn’t having it this time when we finished our exercises and she tried to coax the baba on me again. Even when she gently pressed the bulb against my lips I still refused. How could she still think I was thirsty?

“Ana…” she gave a few more coaxing words until she finally relented with a sigh. The drink was good but it left me feeling almost sluggish. I felt heavier and just wanted to lay down, so I did. Suddenly, the black screen sprang to life and a show was already playing, some animated cartoon with simple characters.On a 2D scape, two things I could best equate to a mouse and elephant paraded on the screen. The upbeat music that played along accompanied by the talking voices caught my attention. Much like Mama they spoke in a language I didn’t understand, but their words seemed much easier to digest phonetically as they took their time to speak. They said something, followed by the word “beshu” when the mouse came on screen. Then it slowly shrunk when the elephant came into the picture, clearly much larger in size.

“Mashu!” the voice rang in rhythm to the background song.

Were they referring to sizes? The context clues from the imagery seemed to confirm my theory, which quickly hatched an idea in my brain.

“Mama?” I sat myself up, turning around to see her in the kitchen.

“Mhm, Ana?” she set something down in the sink to come over to me, bending her knees.
“Mama mashu,” I started first. Mama was big. She was an adult.

“Mmm! Ka, ka! Boa fua!” I couldn’t understand what she said at the end, but it didn’t matter. Hopefully she understood.

“Ana,” I pointed at myself this time. “Mashu.”

She didn’t resound the same song of praise this time, only with an amused look on her face.

“Haha, suas fua. Ana beshu. Beshu beshu beshu!” she tickled my sides, causing an involuntarily laugh as I tried to helplessly giggle my way out of her grip. But no! She didn’t understand what I was trying to say!

“Na, na! Mama!” I was trying to raise my voice past her tickles and coos, until finally she let me go and stood back up again.

“Mama!” I felt the need for my words to reach her. It was too important to let her misunderstand!

“Ana mashu! Mashu! I’m big! I’m an adult!”

Dismissively she said something and returned to the kitchen, going back to her work. If I could right now I likely would have stomped my foot in annoyance. My words couldn’t explain my frustration and neither could my body! Ugh. Was this how children were treated? The more I looked at my clothes, the baba, my underwear…it was all too strange. Mama was clearly an adult and yet I wasn’t getting the same treatment as her. Yes I was probably as small as an infant to her, but this wasn’t right! A grown woman couldn’t be treated like a kid!

As much as I wished the ground would have trembled with might as I slammed my fist from the heavens crashing into the carpeted earth, only a muffled ploof came from the impact, even irritating my hand slightly…

With nothing else to do I turned my attention back to the tv, hoping to soak up as much information as I could. There wasn’t much luck though, as from there the displays and voices were harder to discern clean cut information. I was honestly a little disappointed when they stopped showing the easy diagrams like for big and small. It was too complicated to watch…

Some time had passed until my attention was called again, as Mama announced herself into the room with a happy “Da daaaan!” and plate in hand. Sitting cross-legged and pulling me into her lap she held a plate of food in front of me covered in slices of some colorful looking fruit. They were crescent shapes and bright green, with little black seeds dug out of each and every slice. I had no idea what fruit it was, if it was even Earthly. Fruit was already a rare commodity back home so it was impossible to figure out what this was. But even then I still wasn’t crazy about putting any more stuff in my stomach.

Mama picked up one of the slices and danced it around my vision making wooshing and whizzing noises with each curve and turn.

“Ana, aaaaahhhh. Zoooooosh!” She sounded like the mining ship’s thrusters when they always first took off. Reluctantly I opened my mouth and let her feed me though and she rested the fruit on my tongue. I started to chew and was rewarded with a sour but liquidy taste. It made my face scrunch up and shrivel, but the sour taste quickly grew mild and actually wasn’t bad. But I still wasn’t hungry.

Mama picked up another slice, doing the same song and dance as she brought it to my mouth again but this time I didn’t open up. The eight additional slices on the plate weren’t going to get in either.

“Ana…” she said in an almost scolding voice. I felt a little sheepish but I was an adult and I’d decide when I wanted to eat. Her hospitality was undeniable but I had to draw the line somewhere. I was afraid I’d already let things go too far. She tapped my cheek with her finger but I simply simply shook my head no.

“Na Mama. I’m sorry but I don’t want to-” I grew wide-eyed when I felt something quickly slipped into my mouth. When my tongue felt it all over and started to taste it I could tell it was another one of those fruit slices. My patience was running a bit thin, and I didn’t appreciate the dirty trick.

“Hey, that wasn’t funny. I told you I’m not hung-” I was trying to take a stance and explain myself, but quickly shut my mouth when I realized what she was trying to do again. The same trick wasn’t going to work twice.

“Ana,” her voice was unmistakably stern now, an almost fully commanding voice.

In her language she spoke something and tried to feed me again, but I kept resisting. The fruit’s juices were starting to get on my lips from so many denied entries and I was hoping for a napkin to clean myself up.

Mama sighed again as she caught me off guard a little, with one hand holding the plate and the other lifting me by the suspenders to my shortalls. A little yelp escaped me as I hung from my own clothes, helplessly dangling. I didn’t like being held like this…Mama didn’t seem too pleased either. I still wasn’t hungry. But on another note was her massive strength! Being able to hold me with a single hand either meant she was strong or I was incredibly light…

She walked over to the table where there were six chairs already, and only one of them was unlike any of the others. The seat itself was much higher off the ground for clearly someone much smaller, as it stood on four tall posts. Coming just slightly above the table, Mama slipped me into the tiny seat with the cushioned back and seat. A tray was connected to it and was almost like my own personal table and kept me from going anywhere. My feet dangled beneath the tray and I could feel some sort of strap in between my legs. For whatever reason I could feel the word coming to me. A highchair? I was relatively fixed in place and just peering over the side to see the long drop kept me from getting any ideas. I almost wanted to sigh in relief there was something keeping me from falling.

Next, Mama pulled two more straps over my shoulders and connected them to the leg strap where they all unified into a buckle at my stomach. I was fixed in place. I shuffled awkwardly as it became apparent my movement was severely limited except for my arms which sat on the tray. The space between me and the tray was too small to maneuver my arms at the buckle as well…

“Ana,” Mama called to my attention as she set the plate in front of me. When sitting in her own seat, it was the first time we were even remotely at eye level with each other and we were finally face to face. She also placed my near-empty baba in the cup holder too.

“Speaking yet again in foreign tongue, she pointed to the bottle and then the fruit slices next with three fingers in the air. Three slices or one slice, it was becoming harder and harder to think about food. I didn’t have much of an appetite since waking up to begin with.

Clinging to the only defense I knew she could understand, defiantly I said, “Na.”

“Ana.” there were no more fun and game, as her face wasn’t a look of anger but a steadfast resolve. One to get the food off the plate and into my mouth.

“Na.” I said it again. I didn’t want to be in this chair. I didn’t want to have to argue with someone that I wasn’t a kid!

She tried to feed me yet again, which landed on my cheek rather than my mouth. She wasn’t using any direct force, which deep down scared me because I knew she could. But even in my protests she was still gentle as I was fragile to her. I didn’t feel great putting her through this, but I was trying everything I could!

“I’m not hungry…please let me down!” My voice was starting to become a whine more than anything. What had probably been ten minutes in the chair at this point felt like an eternity. Just taking the time to keep my resistance was draining.

She spoke again in a told-you-so voice, trying to feed me the bottle this time, which I took a mere suckle out of before my body told me no more.

“Mama, please. I’m full!” Trying to kick and swing my legs was the only civilized annoyance I could communicate to her. At this point I didn’t know whether her pressed brows meant she was sorry for me or herself. The standstill was like poison, and I couldn’t sit there any longer. I didn’t want to move and I didn’t want to eat. Just to keep my emotions in check was a challenge too. The capacity to stay patient with her was difficult considering the circumstances I was in.

This was getting us nowhere, and I was done. I slumped my head on the tray, next to the plate and bottle, ready to call it quits.

“I don’t wanna eat anymore…” I grew teary-eyed. It was taking too much to stay composed and I could feel the grasp on myself slipping. The clock behind Mama I could see on the stove ticked whenever it felt like I had suffered enough, just to submit me to another time unit of hell. Mama couldn’t understand me. I wasn’t an adult to her and I was stuck. I couldn’t do anything on my own and I woke up pissing not only myself but on a stranger’s dress! How had I gone this quickly from a distinguished Frontiersman, to the care of an alien giantess who had stripped me of my identity? The weight of the world was just too much to bear…

Without even realizing it until it was already happening, the tears flowed a bit more freely as I sobbed slightly. I wanted to go home. I didn’t know where that was anymore but I wanted to go back to whatever I had. When it was simple. I missed Earth, I missed Claude. I would take it back, even if it was the same routine work! I didn’t know how long I’d been actually gone for, but I had lost my sense of time since the Jumper and it was all a mess now…My helplessness really started to make me cry.

Mama at some point had gotten up from her seat, because now she was wiping my face with a warm washcloth, trying to make soothing noises past my tears. I paid her no mind as the release the floodgates felt so rewarding. Just to mentally collapse meant I could break into pieces and it was okay. The stress from trying to maintain myself in an already hopeless situation pained me with defeat but relief from no longer having to march on for so long. Nothing mattered in this moment except for just being able to let it all out…

I didn’t resist when Mama finally unbuckled me from the highchair and let me confide in her shoulder while she carried me off somewhere. Before I knew it we were back in the room she dressed me, lowering me this time into the crib. Another relaxor, my body was finally washed over with a sense of peace and serenity once I touched the inviting mattress. Past the cool comforter and resting my head on the pillow, showered by my sprawled black hair the crib’s comfort radiated all around me. It felt euphoric to finally just give up.

A large hand stroked my back rhythmically as I laid still. Through my fading vision and between the wooden bars, all I could see were the two legs of a person who I knew on some level cared for me, and it was a distant yet curious thought to just how deep it went. For the first time in what felt like forever, I truly slept.

Wow, you created a beautiful story here. The level of detail you put into this is astonishing. I’ve really only read one story that followed this theme before. So its pretty original. However there are definitely some big differences between the two. I really hope you don’t lose interest in this one. I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Thankies for posting :slight_smile:

3 - New Feelings

I snapped back into reality to run from my creeping nightmares. My body knew it was scared before even I did as my cheeks were already wet. Tracing around the room, I could see my familiar surroundings. The crib, dresser, mural and window that hung over my head. My breath caught in a rising and falling rhythm, my arms wrapped around myself were the only thing that could console me at that point.

How many times would I have to relive losing him? Feel like my life was taking its last breath and the flame would finally go out? It hurt to be scared for my life every time I closed my eyes, but what I couldn’t stand even more was the loneliness followed by it. The blanket that found its way on me was drawn like a cape around my shoulders as in my fetal position my toes squished the foamy yet firm mattress. I didn’t need a mirror to tell my hair was a disheveled mess as the long strands were frizzed and pointing in every which way into a big black mess.

The bright glow from the window before had ignited into an orange fire which set the rim of the crib ablaze. Painfully beyond my reach, the bed that offered its own form of security was now rebranded as a cage. But despite the bad dreams and limited movement, I did feel certainly more composed now that I had a chance to rest. Shifting my legs though I could tell my underwear certainly felt much warmer than when I first went to sleep.

Oh no….not again…! I’d already done it to one bed and a person no less! I wouldn’t be getting away unscathed after a second… Carefully rocking to the side, attentive of the wet and warm feeling, I cleared the spot where I was sitting to inspect the damage. Although expected, I winced just from looking at it. There was yet again another stain and it felt warm. I felt the front crotch of my shortalls, but oddly enough that area was dry. Not the back of my legs though…

I had to think, do something! I wouldn’t be able to show face to Mama if she saw I’d done it again! There’d be no way she’d see me as an adult then…It was a fleeting chance already…My mind was racing, trying to figure out some form of damage control whilst I was stuck in my own bed.

For crying hell, Mama at this point might as well have put me in a-- dia-…per? How…how did I know that word? Why did I know it? Two fingers pressed to my lips, the secrets my own mouth held were puzzling beyond what I could imagine. Just from hearing the word echo inside my thoughts it resonated in some way? What were diapers? And what’d they have to do with peeing?

A sudden whisper made itself known at the turn of a handle. “Ana….” Mama cooed as she strolled into the….nursery? Even as I was caught red-handed I was too preoccupied with trying to figure out what diapers and a nursery was. Ignoring Mama for a moment, looking around the room once more it seemed to give me a different vibe, a different feeling…The sweet smells didn’t become more potent, but they oddly felt much heavier now, as if it were resurrecting something within me? This was a…nursery…The second time around, the word in my head formed easier but was no less peculiar.

Reaching the railing, Mama made more cooing noises as she imitated a pouty lip when she picked me up, giving me a slow turn to likely inspect the same things I just did. As double confirmation, it seemed like she had a keen nose to sniff past the powder I was covered in, watching her nose twitch a little and confirm her likely suspicions. Her contact reminded me of the shame I was feeling though, as my cheeks made haste in growing warm as my diddies felt. And there it was again. ‘Diddies.’ Didn’t that sound a lot like the word ‘diapers?’

Even if she couldn’t understand me, courtesy was my only sign of maturity at this point, as I stifled out an apologize. “I’m sorry…Mama. I swear I don’t do this usually….” My voice trailed off as she whisked me over to the table she had stripped me earlier and she comforted me with words that could only feel nice than actually understand them. Setting me down, I could feel an awkward squish from my underwear, something I hadn’t been expecting, but the word diaper kept finding its way back into my head. Mama called them diddies, but were they actually diapers?

Rolling me on my stomach, Mama quickly released my suspenders and I could feel the front of the shortalls become limp, as I was rolled back on my back and they hung carelessly to my side. Like earlier, the strap came back on and I was now under her total control, but I knew to even think that was foolish considering with or without the strap I wouldn’t be able to do much for myself anyways. In one swift motion by the legs, she yanked off the shortalls and they came off without any resistance. In fact, doing so made me realize how soft the inside of it actually felt, much in contrast to the tough and sturdy denim exterior. But now my diddie–or, diaper, was on full display. Curiously I looked at it and could see the once white surface decorated in designs was now…slightly discolored.

To avoid an awkward sight, I trained my eyes back on Mama again who was currently looking at the shortalls I just had on. She seemed to be paying close attention to the leg cuffs where I had managed to leak on. Was it unexpected? I had figured me peeing on her the first time would have put her on alert…but then it got me looking at the diaper around my waist again…

Her search must have been concluded because shortly after her hands found the tapes and effortlessly tore them off. Pulling back the front a bit, my abdomen and crotch were back on full display, as even I gave the damages a look. As disgusting and shameful as it was, I was more fixed on how the cushy padding from before turned into something more squishy and even inflated…as if it were meant to absorb my mess? My gears started to turn as the obvious point I was missing started to become clear.

Didn’t babies wear diapers? The connections were being made faster than I could process them. Before I thought she may have figured I was just a little young…but this trumped my initial thoughts. The baba, the nursery, the diapers, the high chair, the cartoons, the clothes…It all made too much sense. As I looked back at Mama’s loving eyes a strange fear of realization overcame me as there was no mistaking what she saw me as now. To her I was just a baby. A kid. Not a grown woman who had travelled who knows how far across the galaxy and outside of it just to reach this point. What was going on?

“Mama,” I quickly interrupted her as she grabbed another diddie from underneath.

“Hmm?” she entertained me interjection without stopping what she was doing.

“Mashu mashu. I’m big! I don’t need diapers. I don’t need diddies! I’m an adult! Like you…” Even I found those words hard to believe at this point, but I’d let the day progress too far. I had to undo the damage to any misunderstandings I helped create.

“Beshu beshu beshu,” Mama teased, pulling the diaper off me. “Ana fora diddies.” She booped me on the nose again.

No! Why couldn’t she understand me! Time and time again I have tried to prove to her that I’m an adult! How hard was it to see? I was feeling that sense of restlessness coming back again. After she wiped me down and went for my ankles I quickly used the little strength in my legs to pull them away.

Mama looked as if she weren’t totally expecting the sudden resistance. “Ah…” her face quickly turned into a smirk. With little places to run, my ankle had quickly been cornered and she already had one foot, as she laid it exposed and quickly danced her fingers across it with the edges of her nail.

“Hahaha! Sto-p Stop! Please! I want to–” Involuntarily a giggling fit erupted as she tickled me against my own will. The small tears were from the sheer tickle torture and the rest from how my cries fell on deaf ears. Nothing worked.

“Mama! Na diddies! Panties please!”

The tickling quickly died and subsided into her having a hold of both my feet again, signifying the change was resuming. Even if I hated to admit the diapers were comfortable, they didn’t even come close to matching my age.

“Ana fora diddies, ka?” She was asking if I wore diapers?

“Na! No!” I wanted to curse myself just from hearing my own voice as I could still hear my own giggliness that still had yet to subside. Each and every painstaking subtlety like that would be my further undoing, as it would be even more impossible to convince Mama now.

She wasn’t satisfied with the answer and it was clear we weren’t even close to being on the same wavelength as she responded in a tickle yet again.

“Stop it–!” Why did I have to laugh? Why?

Her face got closer to me now with a toothy smile. I could almost see two of her top teeth were pointed.


“Na.” I tried to stay steadfast this time. Tears peaked the corners of my eyes from sheer laughter now.

The tickling came again and so did my yelps and playful shrieks. Apparently it was a little infectious, because Mama started to chuckle a bit too.

“Ja, Ana fora diddie?”

Despite Mama considering it simple play, this dispute meant too much to me to lose, but it was a bitter pill to swallow knowing I wouldn’t be able to make any headway on it. Unable to face her as I admit total and utter defeat, I rolled my head to the side and muttered a yes. “Ka…”

“Mmm mmm!” She made an approving tone as I felt the familiar diaper slide under my bottom. The change this time around was a much more harsh blow to my pride now that I knew what it was. Taking everything I had not to cry I let the powder shower my crotch again and be sealed into my portable bathroom. I had a longing for the toilet now, having a newfound appreciation for the things that felt so far out my reach. I’m sure though there would be a time to sneak off to the bathroom though. Surely I could prove myself then.

On another note and while it was still visible, my new underwear now had a new design, with blocks dancing on the front with strange symbols on them. The language barrier was unfortunately becoming a constant reminder, but I had a few ideas what the symbols could have meant. Probably something related to the age group these things were meant for.

A pair of identical shortalls were drawn up me except they were dry and my shirt stayed on. The shirt wasn’t long enough to reach down to my legs where I happened to leak…Granted, it was a tradeoff knowing at the same time they didn’t even come down far enough to cover the tapes. Almost as if it were calculated they stopped at just the waistband. She finished the whole thing off by taking a brush to my hair, smoothening it back out to its original state. At the very least I was grateful for that.

Clothed and changed, the strap from the table was undone and I was back in her arms, as she hoisted me and supported me from the bottom, again reminding me of the soft padding I was encased in which I didn’t want to admit to. And it was only when Mama re-opened the nursery door I could hear other voices from down the hall.

What? There were others? I suddenly looked at Mama, to see if her face could tell me anything. Her expression was neutral, meaning there was nothing out of place to her, but I still didn’t know what awaited us. Admittedly I had thought it strange to only see Mama around the house but was she part of a family unit? At the Interstellar territory those practically didn’t even exist…You lived either alone or with roommates, but it couldn’t be farther from an accurate description. I had been a loner for my entire life, but Mama wasn’t. So who else did she live with? And what would they think of me?

I started to squirm in her arm from sheer apprehension. Mama had of course seen some particularly embarrassing parts about me and even then I still felt a bit awkward…To let anyone else even see what I was wearing was a thought too shameful to bear! I could feel Mama’s hold on me grow a bit more secure so I likely didn’t fall, but I was running out of options to protect myself. The voices were getting closer, no, we were getting closer. Instinctively I buried my head into the crook between Mama’s neck and shoulder, trying to employ my final tactic: Out of sight, out of mind.

While the voices got louder at first, I could see the brighter lights snake their way between my closed eyelids meaning we were somewhere brighter now. The voices got a little more quiet as they were now directed in my direction.

“Da daan!” Mama cheered in a lighthearted voice. She rambled off some more words with the mention of my name somewhere in between, “…Ana.”

I could hear two voices immediately. They were tones of excitement and interest, but they sounded young. Younger than Mama at least. And then a third, one much more masculine than the rest and carried out as if his words held the weight of the world. A deep yet calming voice, he sounded large.

“Oi….Ana.” Mama started to bounce me a little. Cowardice I know, but I still didn’t want anyone to see me like this! Whether they thought I was an adult or not!

Quizzically the masculine voice started talking with Mama and they entered a brief exchange, consistently interrupted by one of the younger ones.

“Ana…” Mama started again, trying to ease me out of my hiding hole. I tried my best but knew it was a dying cause as my eyes reluctantly opened and adjusted to the room. We were in the kitchen again at the table, and the glass panels behind the solid-built man reconfirmed that it was probably the afternoon. He was the first one I noticed, as he sat with his arms at the table, revealing the casual display of his toned arms and impressive muscle. His shirt was as tight as was defining and I could see him giving me a warm smile. His hair was white and stood upright and was sporting a five-o’clock shadow. Despite the white hair, he looked to be the epitome of male youth.

With the same smile, he gave a small wave with one hand “Bo-bo, Ana.” His words felt…reliable.

I was too stunned to respond, as what I imagined to be their kids were also interesting. The girl had white hair like her dad as it came down to her shoulders, but I could see she too had horns like Mama. The male didn’t, and neither did the son. But I also couldn’t help but notice some of her other assets were proportionate to Mama’s. Next to her was a small boy, more than a head’s difference from the girl. His wide-eyes screamed curiosity, probably similar to what I was feeling right now. He kept looking at Mama and then back to me, rambling in a foreign tongue that I could only imagine were limitless questions. The girl had been asking questions too, but not nearly as many. His hair was brown and looked like a younger imitation of his male parent’s, minus the facial hair as well.

“Ja,” Mama finished her sentence with more than I could keep up with. Their words spoke too fast for me. I was deposited into the high chair yet again, between an empty seat and the one the small boy was in. Though, it felt strange to call the boy small, when even I could tell he was much bigger than I was. His childish demeanor to go with it didn’t make me feel much superior either…

Mama had me strapped in and I could feel all eyes on me, as they all made their own gestures and the male and girl made their own coos. The girl seemed old, but maybe just shy of being an adult. An older adolescent, probably. My unmistakable blush though was what had her ‘awwing’ the most.

Everyone’s attention was called by the noise of metal and a sudden scent however, when the aroma of spices and seasoning wafted from the open kitchen and over to the table. The first was the male, who made an open noise of approval followed by the two kids chiming in. It certainly did smell good, and I was feeling hungry. From my chair and turning my head, I could just see a large pot and Mama’s back as she worked with a ladle.

“Ana,” the male voice called me over, turning to him. With two fingers pointed at himself, he said “Dada.” He pointed his open hands back to me.

Was he trying to tell me his name? I was having flashbacks from when Mama first told me hers.

“Dada,” I repeated after him. It gave me a strange feeling like when Mama first did. Even now it still did.

He looked happy like when Mama first did when I said her name. Was it really that big of a deal, though? I wouldn’t step on their excitement though. It was kind of cool in a way to communicate.

“Mmhm! Ka,” he praised me in a more relaxed voice than when Mama first did. Not a moment passed though until the younger boy seized the moment of opportunity.

Quickly calling in my direction, he shouted. “Ana! Ana!” I looked his way. “Harro guu,” he had a smirk on his face. Maybe he was excited too?

“Oi, Farn.” Dada had raised his voice to the boy who suddenly looked a little scared. Did he do something he shouldn’t have? I chose not to interject whilst the boy was scolded until he looked seemingly apologetic and scowled, looking at the table. With an open sigh, Dada shook his head while he said a few more things.

“Ana,” came a softer and more feminine voice. She didn’t sound like Mama but came off just as calming. “Yuuna,” she gestured to herself.

Almost waiting for a second to hear something from Dada, nothing came so I responded. “Yuu-na” I stretched the first syllable out longer than I needed to, trying to get a feel for the name in my mouth. She seemed happy for me to repeat her name as well, with a smile on her face.

Mama announced herself with four bowls in hand, setting one in front of each person except for me, that bowl going to the empty seat. What gives? Where was my food? Was it because I didn’t eat the fruit from earlier? It did smell good…and the empty stomach I had now was making it easier to regret my earlier actions…

The boy, Farn I think his name was, quickly grabbed everyone’s attention at the table again, motioning a bowl to me. Maybe he wanted to give me food! My opinion suddenly was bettered by his noble actions.

“Na,” Dada said, causing him to set the stew back down on the table. He proceeded to explain something to him whilst my stomach only grew sadder. I couldn’t believe I was actually agonizing over eating this food…maybe it was the unexpected taste from the baba earlier that had me going.

Mama came back with drinks for everyone, all in cups. Well, except for one of course. Much to my dismay, after she ruffled my hair, what was set on my tray wasn’t a cup of anything but a similar looking baba like before, only it had changed its colors this time.

I didn’t want a bottle though. I wanted a cup! I may have lost the battle on diapers, but the war for adulthood wasn’t over. I needn’t mention the first crippling blow however, as right after a large napkin was tied around my neck…a…bib?

“Mama,” I called as she sat down, everyone seemed a bit curious.

She responded with her undivided attention. “Hmm? Ana?”

“I want a cup like yours please,” I pointed to the cup she had. I think I could hear Yuuna giggle from that. I was speaking gibberish to her after all.

“Na, Ana boras baba.” Mama shook her head no and pointed to my bottle. But no, I wouldn’t back down on this one.

“Na,” I retorted. I was an adult, dammit.

“Ana…” Mama had that stern look growing on her face again, until Dada called her attention away from me. The two talked for a moment while Yuuna and Farn had already started to dig in leaving me just as starved as I was moments earlier. Whatever Mama and Dada were talking about though, Mama seemed to have conceded on as she already took her first spoonful of stew.

What? Did she forget about me? Did she forget our conversation? Ugh! If only I knew what they had been talking about, this probably had something to do with it!

I called her again this time, with a little more annoyance in my voice. Farn and Yuuna had already been chatting away with Dada. “Mama.” She turned to me again. “Na baba,” I repeated myself again.

“Na baba,” Mama unexpectedly repeated after me. Yes! Did she finally understand! Great! Now I could finally get a cup!

I pointed at her cup next. It was impossible to see what I was getting at now!

In a simple voice, Mama blankly said “Na, Ana.” and went back to her stew.

No? What did she mean no? She just agreed with me not ten seconds ago? Right?

“Na baba.” I reminded her again, emphasizing each word.

“Na baba.” She repeated after me.

And nothing.

“Mama! Na baba!” I was starting to raise my voice now, even getting a look from Dada in eyeshot.

“Na baba,” she kept her neutral smile when she suddenly set the bowl of stew she was eating on my high chair tray.

“I want a cup like you!” It was hard not to break out into a whine at this point. Forget modesty, if it meant to lose that to get the point across than I’d toss it aside in a heartbeat now!

She picked up her spoon, scooped up some of the fine-smelling dish and held it up for me. “Ahhhhn.” She sounded me to open my mouth.

I was happy to comply from getting some food in my stomach, which was also beyond delicious including the cube of meat the spoonful had, but a drink would have been nice to go with it!

Mama continued to feed me delicious spoonfuls to the point where I couldn’t even voice a coherent protest. She gave me a break to chew and swallow while she had her own portion, considering a spoonful to her was much smaller than it was to me. It felt like over twice as large!

“Na…” I swallowed my stew. “baba…”

“Baba?” Mama chimed in as she picked up the bottle for me, rocking it slightly from side to side. Had too much time gone by between words for her not realize I was saying the same thing? No…
I was a little angry when I had finally connected the dots. And it was frustrating as well. Mama didn’t not understand me, she was ignoring me, or at the very least playing dumb. Why entertain a kid’s protests when you need only dismiss them? My own conclusions put burning tears in my eyes. It was yet another showcase of how my life hung in the balance and was dictated by others who saw me as a baby and I couldn’t communicate with.

Trying my best to swallow my pride and hide my sniffles and tears, I slowly picked up the bottle and started to nurse. Seeing I finally surrendered, the neutral smile Mama once had dissipated into a sympathetic but appreciative look as if I had done her a favor. Was not drinking out of a cup that helpful to her? Or was it me just not trying to resist? Every battle felt like a losing one, and the only thing I had a choice in anymore was when to throw in the towel.

I was bitter. But the cream did taste good…

Conversation idly carried on between all four family members, while the only interaction I had were the mere mentions of my name every now and then and Mama feeding me more stew or giving one of my dangling feet a fun squeeze in her soft hands. Every time she’d try to feed me I’d try and help in some way by guiding the spoon, but it’d cause Mama to try and shake me off which could only be inferred as interfering and it’d get more stew on me than in me. I’d stopped trying after the bib caught a good amount. I quietly drank from my baba and observed while I looked for something to entertain me. I was dreadfully bored. And full.

All four bowls eventually came to an end, minus Dada who had gone for seconds. The family gathering was over when Farn was the first to get up from his seat with his bowl. Yuuna followed next and then Dada and Mama while I was left here to sit. The sink started running and shortly after Mama came behind me, pulling the bib’s knot loose and taking it off me. She washed my face with another washcloth like this morning and dried my face with her thumb. Satisfied, she pat me on the head and unbuckled me from the seat and set me on the livingroom floor with my baba.

It was clear Mama had a strict food policy at least with me and it was annoying to know I was powerless against it. Despite wanting to rebel, I took another sip from my bottle…bitterly, of course. On the couch Yuuna had been typing away on a computer, paying me no mind while a bag leaned against her and she was likely lost in some sort of work. Suddenly the tv sprang to life as Mama had a remote in her hands, sure to switch the reality show to something more ‘my speed’ and on came cartoons. Calling Yuuna’s name, Mama grabbed her attention saying a few words to her, which Yuuna replied with an okay and was left with the remote by her side. And there I was, just to stew.

Mama went back into the kitchen a while ago to likely do some cleaning, and Dada passed by the tv with a bundle of sheets and comforter in his arms. If I hadn’t been mistaken one of those was from the crib…I didn’t do much thinking about it however when I suddenly realized I had bigger problems, one that had only stuck when I was asleep and never when awake. I had to pee. Son a bitch…I pressed the front of my crotch and could feel the dry diaper through it. There wasn’t a chance in hell I’d be using this thing consciously. Not if I could help it. Of course that meant I’d need to find a bathroom. Even if I was vertically challenged there had to be some hope, right? Assuming that everything here was already so similar to back home it made the chances of finding a normal toilet pretty likely.

Turning my head from the tv towards Yuuna, her rapid typing meant I was still in her total blindspot and was low priority at the moment. Admittedly walking was out of the question and my legs were still too tired, so my next best option was crawling…With each movement my bottom shifted and so did my diaper, crinkling all the way to the edge of the living room. Thankfully it my getaway was made stealthy by the volume of the tv and Yuuna’s work. Despite my little excursion being so minor my heart couldn’t help but race a little bit.

I had to sneak by in the kitchen where Mama was to get to the hallway, and I could see it as I peered around the corner. There it was! An array of doors lined the hall, and it was just in sight. But what was a mere handful of steps for anyone else in this house was certainly an adventure for me.With my bottom slightly poised in the air and hands and feet in position, I made a mad dash–no, crawl, to the island in the middle of the kitchen. I took cover between the bar stools that sat halfway underneath the overhanging counter, listening to the close sounds of Mama as she washed bowls and utensils. I was almost there, and my bladder was starting to get a bit more uppity. I listened to her humming as she stayed in place, scrubbing and shifting items. Why did I feel so mischievous? Like I was somehow in the wrong here?

There was a few measly tiles’ distance between me and the hallway, the promiseland. I couldn’t wait forever, Mama would have to run out of things to clean soon. The pleasant smells of tonight’s dinner had left the kitchen and now all I could smell was the baby powder I was covered in. I felt like a mobile air freshener…It was time though. Either I made it now or never. Again I mentally and physically prepared myself for a leap of faith as I again scurried for my destination. The crinkling from my plastic underwear felt deafening to my own ears, but likely for Mama all she heard was the running water from the sink, which seemed to be the case. Out of her sight and in the homestretch I let out a sigh of relief and continued my trek down the hall.

Most of the doors were closed, which only spelt trouble for me. Each one that was sealed felt like a finger poking the glass to the fishtank that was ready to burst, meaning my bladder. Come on…come on! My lack of success was becoming frustrating and I started to shuffle my legs. It was a growing urge. But there it was, it was in sight! Through a crack in the door, I could see the white tiles and the wall to a bath. No, I couldn’t mistake what I was seeing. Surely it had to be it!

Getting in front of the door, I pushed with all my might and the massive block of wood swung open. To be careful, I held the edge on it so it didn’t swing too far, lest I make a noise and my efforts be in vain…the feeling was becoming more present and I was running out of time!
Slipping my way in, I closed the door with just enough space for me to get out when it was time and I turned to my surroundings. The bath I had seen just a second ago functioned as a shower as well, across from the prized toilet I had been looking for. The sink which was mounted into a counter was well beyond my reach, impossibly high, and was positioned right next to a trash bin and towel rack. My heart skipped a beat when I looked at the toilet though and could see the lid was up.

Success! Yes! The stars were aligning! All that was left was to get my clothes off and find something to get me up on the toilet…My head danced around the room, looking for anything that could work as a stepladder…the towel rack! I quickly crawled over to it and pushed its legs across the tiled floor and over the rug. It made a little bit of noise…but hopefully not enough to alert anyone. My impatience was starting to outgrow the cautious sentiments I had earlier.

All that was left was to get my clothes off…How did Mama get this thing on and off? My hands fished behind my back for where the straps connected. Scanning all over, it started to become a bit strange when I couldn’t feel anything out of place…Everything was smooth, no mechanisms jutting out or obvious breaks in the seams. Where could it be?

Where? Where? Where? Where?! I was growing flustered fast as my hands quickly turned to grasping the straps and shaking them around as much as I could.

Relax…I need to relax. I took a deep breath and tried and reassess the situation. Could I cut the clothes off? No…there aren’t any sharp objects low enough for me…And that’d be discourteous to Mama and Dada…they weren’t my clothes after all. The same reason stood for why tearing them by hand wasn’t an option either, so the only choice was to return to my original plan and try to take it off properly myself. Think…if there’s nothing on the outside, maybe inside? I tried feeling the suspenders once more only this time with my hands behind them. Slowly I found where the intersection was, and I could feel something!

My face perked a bit when I finally felt something out of place. I had my legs squeezing together just to hold in my heightening urges from all the excitement. Just from feeling it I could tell it was almost like a thin buckle, rubbery almost. It had no trouble bending when it needed to but was also just as sturdy when you wanted to get it undone. Pressing with all my might into the clip it finally clicked and released! The suspenders disconnected and it suddenly didn’t feel so snug anymore as it hung loosely again. I did it!

Taking the straps off over my head and sliding it down my legs, all that was left to marvel as was my shirt and diaper, both of which were on full display. But as I sat there on the rug, shortalls at my feet and a few moments away from success, something felt out of place. No, something was different, but what was it? When it clicked, it was clear that the issue wasn’t something that was there, but because it wasn’t. I couldn’t hear the distant sink through the crack in the doorway, down the hall and in the sink. Had Mama finished her work? Damn, I had to hurry!

Like clockwork though I knew time was running out on both fronts. “Ana?” Mama’s voice was calling for me, and with her set of legs she could easily be here in an instant! But as long as she didn’t know where I was specifically, there was extra time in that. With no time like the present I was already peeling off one of the tapes. My only miscalculation though was the loud noise it made when being ripped from plastic!

No no no! In a panic my head kept shifting from my diaper to the door, unsure of what to do! Do I go slow and minimize the noise? But then there’d be less time to use the toilet and Mama finding me…But if I went fast I could get to the toilet sooner, but Mama might hear me and find me faster! Ugh! I was overthinking this! Resolving for a happy medium, I tried to be brisk but discrete as well.

“Ana?” Oh no, I could hear her in the hall!

One of the sides hung now, and the interior wing was only hanging on from mere adhesion. I swear I could hear her feet moving across the carpet! No time for the second tape. Too risky. Hopefully getting one of the tapes was enough to slide it down my legs. Going for a pull and yank strategy, I treated the half-taped diaper like a pair of panties and tried to slide them down my legs with them stretched outwards. Of course the un-taped side had no issues, but the one that still remained was taped too well, form-fitted for my waist and thigh exactly! I could feel myself wanting to cry, knowing everything I had worked for was about to go up in smoke with nothing to show for it! I tried tugging again, but the damn thing wouldn’t budge. My bladder was at its limit too. I didn’t even know if I could climb up the towel rack without losing it at this point…

Mama called for me again, not only did her voice seem louder but came off as a bit concerned.

In one last effort I went to try and take it off but my next attempt had been the last, when the door swung open fully and there I was, a half-naked mess on the floor to greet Mama.

“Ana!” A look of minor distress washed over her face with a sense of relief once we met eyes. She started rambling words off in my direction, looking at the handiwork I’d done to myself and the bathroom, shaking her head with a disapproving tone. Mama moved towards me and got on her knees, leaning a bit forward so she could guide me to stand on my weak legs and for me to grab her shoulders. I already wanted to cry for having to be so dependent like this, failing in my actions. While her head moved out of the way to inspect my diaper, I could see Yuuna was watching from the doorway as well, looking mildly concerned.


“Ana,” it was the first time I could assume Mama truly wasn’t happy. Worse than the fruit slice incident. She kept saying things I couldn’t understand, but could infer that it wasn’t good things. While they had no direct meaning to me, each and every word she spoke with her motherly demeanor stung. The shame I felt was like a metaphorical bullet…

A sudden yelp escaped me as I felt a small burning sensation on my bare thigh, the one I had taken the diaper tape off of. In one swift motion Mama had given me a slap on the back of my leg and it stung. Not enough to kill me, but to make me regret my actions.

Why…Why couldn’t anyone ever understand my intentions? I was only trying to act my age! I don’t wear diapers! I don’t drink from a bottle! I don’t sleep in a crib! I’m an adult! So why…why did it hurt so much to be misunderstood like this? Why did the one person who was so kind to me have to do something like this? Did she like me or hate me? I couldn’t tell anymore, I was too busy crying from the slap to the leg and my failed chance at proving myself as an adult.

Without even looking I could feel the diaper be refastened, confined to a fate Mama had already resigned me to.
Her voice was more commanding this time, calling for my clear and undivided attention, past the blurry tears anyways. “Ana.”

“Wh-what?” I said in a sniffly voice, staring at her piercing eyes.

“Ana beshu. Fora diddies, ka?”

Don’t make me say it…you already had me stuck in diapers…she was just rubbing it in!

“Ka?” she grew a bit louder this time.

“No!” I shouted. Goddammit I was tired of this! I let go of her shoulders and quickly fell back onto my padded bottom, but I was too heated to care. “I’m not a goddamn baby!” Now I was starting to shout. “I’ve been trying to tell you this whole…FUCKING time!” I could feel it slipping. I tried to play the nice guy, but she was pushing her luck. “I want to go HOME! Take me back to EARTH! I’m tired of being here and am sick of being treated like a baby!” I didn’t care if she couldn’t understand my words at this point, because I knew my anger could still be understood even if my words meant nothing. Maybe then it’d be the first time I got the point cleanly across.

Mama didn’t look amused though. And when I started to run out of steam and my fueled emotions left me, it became clear we were still in the same bathroom, on the same planet stuck in the same home and diaper. My little outburst had done nothing but provoke Mama further and I’d only added more fuel to the fire. Inklings of regret remained among the ashes for what would come and how uncalled for my words were, but I had to stand my ground. Maybe somehow, maybe then she’d-

I was wrong.

Mama grabbed me from underneath my armpits and I was quickly maneuvered as I could hear the sound of a porcelain lid closing and I was laying over Mama’s leg, sitting on the toilet with my bum stuck up in the air. What was she…?

“Hey…” I was starting to get a little worried. Never once had such a giant person feel as if they were going to do something to me with malice. I suddenly felt afraid for what she might do…I actually started to feel small…The sudden shock made me realize I had something else going on as well. Little did I know my bladder was knocking at the door far too long ago, and my sudden spin over her knee had been the final nail in the coffin.

Instinctively, my cheeks burned while my body quivered all over. I was afraid for what Mama was going to do to me and for what was going on in my diaper…Everything built up inside of me again both quite literally and figuratively. I tried my best not to show any weakness, despite me grabbing onto Mama’s leg with everything I had while the floodgates down below opened. Waiting for whatever Mama was going to do to come, I kept wishing I’d fade from existence while my diaper kept filling with endless pee.

Stop stop stop! I was already screaming in my mind trying to stifle the stream. But each time I managed to close it off, the overwhelming pressure and momentum busted right through my weak hold. I was ready to die right then and there when it was clear the diaper couldn’t keep up and Mama’s leg started to feel warmer, especially around the leg-band areas where I was laying.

“I’m sorry….” I muttered in a teary whisper, too far lost in my own embarrassment. Mama had to have known what I’d done by this point, as the stream slowly died down and I hung there in a warm, leaky diaper. These things could probably hold multiple wettings, but not a full-on stream from a properly trained adult…But Mama didn’t budge. She still kept me planted on her knee and gave it a few more seconds until I’d stopped.

The silence had me scared, and I could only image the giantess looming over me. What was going to happen? The anticipation was torture in itself!

Mama held five stretched fingers in front of me. “Gon,” was all she said.

Gon? Did that mean five? What did teaching me numbers have to do with any of-

The sudden motion felt like my thigh being slapped again, except it was on my rear this time. I didn’t make a noise except for a muffled whimper, trying to bury my cries into my arms. I could feel new tears forming though. It hurt.

Four fingers flashed in front of me.

Smack. It felt harder than the last one.

I’m…not gonna cry. My cheeks were already wet.

Three fingers.


I’m an a-adult…I was sniffling. The arm didn’t do much to hide my yelps. “O-okay Mama…you made your point…I’ll be good!”

Two fingers.


That one really hurt! It wasn’t like being shot, but it hurt in its own way altogether. Just please…make it stop!

“Mama stop! STOP!” I was blubbering now, my backside hurt all over and my thigh still stung. My diaper was filled with pee and I was leaking. Her sudden smacks even coaxed a few more streams out of me, more than I was proud to admit. I felt broken…the cracks were long there after the first two smacks and I was ready to do anything to make it stop!

One finger.


“MAAA hiccup MAA! PLEASE! I GET IT! ST-” The rapid shocks of pain were beyond anything I’d ever felt and I had long since lost my composure. Mama’s leg was covered in two things at this point. My pee and my ever-flowing tears. Nothing was on my mind other than getting rid of this feeling of pain! What had I done to deserve this? I just…I just wanted to be an adult!

“Beshu ou mashu?” Mama communicated in simple words. Just for a kid like me to understand.

I wanted so desperately to prove myself to her, so why was I punished for it? It wasn’t fair!

“M-mash- Ah!,” my thick voice cried out in another shriek as I felt an additional smack. Mama wasn’t happy…I didn’t want her to be angry…I just wanted to be an adult…I just wanted her to be happy!

“Beshu ou mashu?” The same words came again. Daggers were being stared into my back.

“Mash-” My screams quickly died down once I’d lost the voice for them. The tears, sob and snot did the talking for me.

“Beshu ou mashu?” Mama’s voice sounded a little more fragile than before. But my composure was too mucked to make any sense of it. Mama wasn’t going to let me walk away from this…I kept sniffling…

“B-blease! L-let m-m-me g-go!” I was too much of a mess to make the words coherent, caught in hiccups and stutters. I could make it all stop though…even I knew that…and as much as I wanted the truth, it was too hard to keep fighting for it. Not now…I was too deep.

“Beshu ou mashu?” Mama wavered again. But I had become too scared to call her bluff. No, I just didn’t want to be spanked again…

“M….M-m…” I teetered on the first syllable so heavily, as my fate rested on a single word. It was something so simple to say, yet I had grown to feel the consequences attached to it. I was too afraid to pull the trigger. Mama had knocked away all the gusto I felt mere minutes ago. All that confidence meant nothing in the face of overwhelming authority. I didn’t want Mama to be like this! She was so nice before! But now, now she had become something I hated, I was terrified of. I bit my lower lip when I knew what was to come next.

“B-b-beeessshhhuuuu!” And there it was. I had admitted defeat and was washed in a wave of shame and relief because of it. My cries found their voice again now that I knew there would hopefully be no more pain to come, other than the areas that already burned from the abuse. But I was small. I was a baby. I struck myself down to build up another. A different kind of pain welled up inside of me, but it was quickly ignored when a familiar comfort found its way to me again.

“Ana!” Mama was teary eyed herself. I could only tell now because she had me locked in her arms. I didn’t understand…I was the one being spanked! So why was she crying? Did me somehow being in pain hurt her?

I was eaten away by a sudden sense of joy to be embraced by her; a feeling too strong to question why I craved so much for it in the first place. Mama was hugging me again though and that’s all that mattered. Supporting my wet bottom, she stroked the back of my head and hair whilst I kept crying into her shoulder. The tears and snot were the least of my priorities right now, as it felt so rewarding to have someone there for you…When the pieces fell apart and you didn’t know how to put them back together, how are you supposed to be whole again? This must have been it. This had to be the feeling! To crave another living being. To share yourself with someone and feel some sort of connection…This wasn’t friendship, so what was it? Oh, to hell with finding out! Mama felt so soft right now, and just from nestling into her shoulder and bosom it was enough to already dull the pain I was feeling. Mama looked happy to be through the ordeal as well, and we both reciprocated each other. Even as tiny as I was, I hoped my feelings of regret and remorse were big enough to reach her, to let her know I was sorry!

Yes I wanted to be an adult, but Mama’s feelings that were reaching me right now. Right this moment it felt like something I’d never experienced before in my whole life.

Another amazing chapter. You caught me by surprise with that spanking. I’m questioning if Mama already knows that she’s an adult but just wants her to be her baby. Why else would she be angry enough to spank her when she was just trying to use the toilet. I can tell already that this story will be about Ana accepting her fate and embracing the care and love of a parent she never had. I must say its a beautiful concept.

Thankies for posting :slight_smile:

I am really enjoying this, I like how you handled the language barrier. I hope to see this continue!