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PeculiarChangeling

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  1. The Fifth Column - Updated w/ Chapter 7 (7/10)

    And here's Chapter 8! I... Completely... Failed. The words echoed in Bridgette’s head, rolling around as a constant reminder of what she’d done. Bridgette wasn’t sure what hurt more, the accusations of treachery or the failure itself. She’d tried to be a hero, and instead she was being made out as a villain. She wasn’t just the pilot who’d gone against orders and destroyed her own body as a process, she was the pilot who’d betrayed her colony and her friends. Even Photon had stopped coming to visit, and she hadn’t heard from Levi since her arrest.If she was lucky, she’d be tossed in a cell with no key and left to rot. If not, she probably wouldn’t survive the trial.“Ms. Meneka. Ms. Meneka, are you paying attention?”Bridgette looked up, confused for a moment, then nodded at her lawyer. “Thorry, yeth.”“Ms. Meneka, do you understand your rights as I’ve explained them?” She almost corrected her lawyer to ‘Lieutenant’, then remembered that she wasn’t a lieutenant any longer. She was a civilian. Her rank had been stripped when the charges were filed. “Yeth,” she said, before shaking her head. “No. I don’no.”Her lawyer sighed. “Ms. Meneka, I can’t do much to help you here. I don’t know what evidence the prosecution has to make them as confident as they are, but we can expect this to be a very short trial. You have no defense and are offering me nothing useful. I recommend pleading guilty and taking whatever deal they give you. If you push your luck and make them work for the conviction, they’re going to throw the book at you just as hard as they can.”Bridgette would have rubbed her forehead to try and dispel the oncoming headache, had her fingers not been shaking too much to make that comfortable, and had her wrists not been cuffed to the table in front of her. “Fi’e,” Bridgette said, barely listening. It didn’t matter what happened to her. Knowing that she’d failed so miserably, that everyone in the colony hated her, was more punishment than anything that the legal system could do to her. “Wha’evah.”She was done trying to fight the inevitable.…Her sleep that night was restless and fitful, just as it had been every night since her arrest. The bed in her cell wasn’t any different than her own, but it felt uninviting, and no matter how hard she tried, she could never get more than a few winks before giving up and lying awake, thinking what she could have done differently.Even so, she didn’t hear the alarm until it’d been going for half a minute. She sat up blearily, hearing it echo through the door. It was a loud ‘WOOP-WOOP-WOOP’ noise and wasn’t something for pilots ears only. That wasn’t just the alarm for an attack, it was the alarm for an evacuation. “H-Hey?” She called out, sitting up. A full evacuation alarm, that meant… “Whath goin’ on?” There was a camera in her room, but no way to know if anyone was watching. “Hey!” She shouted, waving her arms weakly. When that failed, she crawled to the door, banging on it to see if it’d open. When that failed, she was out of ideas.Nobody responded for several minutes. When a response finally did come, it was in the form of a knocking from the other side of the door, followed by the handle twisting. Levi was there, looking back and forth down the hall and then extending his hand to Bridgette. “Bambi. We have to hurry,” he said. “I’ll explain on the way.”“Levi!” Bridgette said, taking his hand and letting him pull her to her feet. “Wha’th goin’ on?”“They found the real mole,” Levi said, pulling her out the door and down the hallway. Red emergency lights flashed in a slow strobing pattern, casting the empty corridors in a terrible, eerie light. “Who wath i’?” Bridgette asked, stumbling behind Levi, barely staying upright and having to cling to his hand for support.“Some pod technician, I think,” Levi said. “But they caught him too late. We were hit hard around twenty minutes ago. Evacuation is underway, but without pilots to defend the colony…”Bridgette’s eyes went widened as she listened, culminating as she asked the question, “Wha’ happene’ to da piloth?”Levi blinked. “Right, you wouldn’t know. They’re fine, but much of the equipment was destroyed by the mole, and the only remaining pods were old, backup units stored in this Column. We need you, Bridgette.”Bridgette stopped in her tracks, almost falling over as Levi kept moving without her, leaving her without any support. He noticed and slowed, turning to face her. Bridgette took a moment, steadying herself, then asked, “Th-they wan’ me to be a pilo’?”“You’re the best we’ve got,” Levi said. “And without you, there’s no way the evacuation ships effort will have time to get off the ground.’’Bridgette shook her head, disbelieving. “But… My veteranth’a. And I wuv dithcharged, an’-”“There’s no other way, Bambi,” Levi said. “They know you aren’t the mole, so you’ve been reinstated. If you don’t get in the pod, though…” He trailed off.Levi didn’t have to finish. If they didn’t have time to launch the evacuation ships, most of the people on the colony would die. That wasn’t something that Bridgette would let happen if she could do anything to help it.“I’ll do i’.” Bridgette clenched her fists - Or at least, tried to, her grip wasn’t particularly up to clenching - and steeled herself. This was something she could do. Taking Levi’s hand in her own, she said, “Take me to da pod.” “Of course,” Levi said. “Thank you, Bambi.” He continued down the hall with her in tow, moving through the eerily empty route as sirens blared and emergency lights continued to glow. They hurried down the hall, taking a route that Bridgette didn’t recognize. “Whew’e goin’?” Bridgette asked, out of breath simply from trying to walk quickly down the hallway. “Backup control pod, in lower storage,” Levi explained, as they reached a stairwell. Navigating down the steps proved difficult, but manageable with Levi’s help, and soon they were at the base of the stairs and hurrying to get to the backup control pod.The pod was staged in a similar fashion to the other setups that Bridgette was used to, except that the control panel had a birds nest of cables hanging out the back and running to a separate computer tower instead of being plugged into a set of inputs on the wall. “I’ll help you get undressed,” Levi said, shutting and locking the door. “We’re shortstaffed, so I’ll also be the one handling your control panel and getting you locked in.”“Yah know how to’o tha’?” Bridgette asked.“Well enough,” Levi said, helping her unbutton the loose shirt she wore enough that it could be pulled over her head, then crouching slightly to unzip her pants. Bridgette blushed, but as unsteady as her hands were, didn’t object as he pulled her pants down to her ankles and then quickly untaped her sodden diaper. “Get in,” Levi said, holding her arm and helping Bridgette into the pod. “Ith thew a mission sthatment?” Bridgette asked.“It’ll load into your HUD, there’s no time for a debriefing,” Levi explained. “Just get in.”Laying down, Bridgette watched Levi close the pod on her, and heard the usual small clicks as it all turned on, followed by a hissing noise that she didn’t recognize but dismissed as something inherent to the older style pod.There was the usual cold, floating sensation as the pod began booting up, nervous stimulation and sensory controls all kicking in. Within seconds, all of her senses were taking false inputs, a simulated reality that would let her feel what her mech was feeling.But the HUD of her Juno failed to boot up. In fact, none of her usual inputs booted. Instead, she felt cool air against her skin, and opened her eyes to find herself sitting in a blank, empty room, naked as the day she was born. “Levi,” she said, looking around. Her voice was crisp and clear- Running through the control pod, there was no lisp. “I think there’s a connection error. I don’t have any control, I got dumped into a blank VR template.” There’d been a big tangle of wires to get the old pod up and running, and it probably had failed to make a secure connection. Without any appropriate signal to give her for VR inputs, it had dropped her in an unpopulated simulation - It was basically the same software they used for training sims, after all, it made sense that it would have the same failsafe.Levi’s voice rang in a second later, clearly playing in her ears in the traditional ‘voice of god’ style that the VR provided. “There’s no error, Bambi.” “Is your reading wrong?” Bridgette asked. “I don’t have control of my Juno.”“That’s because I disabled pilot controls,” Levi said. “What are you seeing? Video feed on my end is still coming up.”“A blank white room,” Bridgette said, getting to her feet and looking around, a bit confused as to what Levi was talking about. “Video feed?”“The VR will take a minute to boot up, I think,” Levi said. “This is my first time running this software with a live occupant.”Bridgette frowned, feeling a something nagging at the back of her mind. “Levi, what are you talking about?”“You’re lucky you’re a good pilot,” Levi said. “Because you’re really not that bright.” A half second later, he added, “Great, the video feed is up.”“What video feed?” The unease was starting to solidify, and Bridgette was beginning to believe that Levi had been dishonest with her. “Levi, what’s going on? I need to get out on the battlefield, we don’t hav-Mphh!” Something materialized in her mouth, a large, round object with just a little bit of give and a rubbery texture, cutting off any attempt at speech.“That’s better,” Levi’s voice resounded, a smirk evident in his tone. “It’s time for you to be quiet and let the grown-up speak.” Bridgette pawed at the object in her mouth - It was all simulated, of course, but that didn’t mean that it was any less effective at halting her speech. Her hands found a plastic shield with a small ring held in place in front of her mouth, but when she tried to pull it away, she found it stuck fast despite there being nothing that should realistically have been keeping it held in her mouth. She could feel her heartbeat accelerating in her chest, her panic and confusion growing. Everything was happening all at once and she was having trouble ordering her thoughts properly, but it was obvious at least that Levi was screwing with her.“Stop trying to pull away your pacifier, Bambi,” Levi said, though his tone was more amused than annoyed. “And sit down.”Bridgette refused, pulling at her gag with one hand and gesturing her middle finger vaguely around with the other. Whatever Levi was doing, she wasn’t going to put up with it. “That’s no good,” Levi said. “Here…” Bridgette could faintly hear the clacking of keys coming through Levi’s microphone, and then felt some kind of soft fabric wrap around her wrists. She looked to see strands of pink lace stretching up from the floor, coiling like snakes around her wrists. Before she could react, the lace yanked, hard, pulling her down with significant force and pinning her hands to the floor. She looked up at the ceiling and tried to scream, but her voice was still muffled by the gag.“Ah, ah,” Levi tutted. “Bambi, I set up this simulation with all the controls I could possibly need, and it’s backed up by every sensory input that the pods can give. You can’t fight me, and if you try, you’ll just get to experience what I have prepared in case you’re naughty.”Bridgette glowered up, but without a particular spot to focus on, her glare lacked any heat. “Here, I’ll give you this, so you’ve got something to look at” Levi said, and a small HUD appeared, floating in front of her vision. It was a visual feed, showing Bridgette herself, lying naked with her wrists pinned to the floor. She could now confirm that the gag in her mouth was a pacifier - Pink and blue, and far larger than the device she’d been using to deal with her growing lisp. “You may have guessed this by now, but in case not,” Levi said, his voice cool. “I’m the one who’s been supplying information to the Jovians, but everything else I told you today was true. They really are attacking the colony, and you really would be the only pilot who could stop them long enough for the evacuation to be completed.” He paused, for dramatic effect, then added, “Sadly for you, there’s not much you’re going to be able to do from your current position.” Bridgette’s eyes flared with anger, and she kicked her legs out in an uncoordinated flail, trying to pull at the lace restraints in a futile effort to get away. After half a second of this, she heard a loud SMACK and felt pain shoot across the back of her thighs as though stung with a whip. Six more blows followed in quick succession, hitting her butt and thighs with force that shouldn’t have been possible, considering she was lying with her bottom planted firmly on the ground. Her eyes widened and she whimpered in pain, wriggling in an entirely pointless attempt to get away from the blows.“You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to do that,” Levi said, chuckling into Bridgette’s ears. “It’d be better to have you pulled over my lap, but that’ll have to wait for later. Are you going to continue struggling?” Bridgette hesitated, then shook her head. Levi’s voice took on a patronizing tone, as though he were speaking to a child. “Good baby. I’m going to let you take out the pacifier for a moment, now. Will you be good?” Glowering, Bridgette nodded. She felt the pacifier fall from her lips and roll off her face, and with the freedom to speak, shouted, “Fuck you, you traitorous son of a B-MMPH!” The pacifier materialized in her mouth again, and new blows rained down on her backside, with greater speed and force than before. She cried out into the pacifier, eyes watering with pain as the spanking continued for several seconds. Then, her senses did a double take as the room suddenly shifted. The simulation seemed to blink, and suddenly instead of lying face-up on the floor, she was lying face-down, her aching bottom exposed to the air. The visual display flipped as well, so that she could clearly see herself from behind, with special emphasis on her ass - Bright red and stinging from the sudden flurry of spanks. Face pressed into the floor, Bridgette had little to look at except for this rear view video feed as Levi spoke again. “Now, are you going to continue to mouth off?”Bridgette shook her head. “I’m going to remove your pacifier. You may ask me three questions. If you yell, I’ll not give you this opportunity again, and I will spank your ass until the simulation crashes. Do you understand?” Eyes red and wet, Bridgette nodded, and she felt her mouth suddenly feel free again as the pacifier vanished. “Why are you doing this?”“Hmm,” Levi said. “That’s too vague. What are you referring to?” “The colony,” Bridgette decided. “Why did you betray us?” “Because, we should never have been here in the first place,” Levi said. “Humans don’t belong on this planet. The Jovians had a colony here first, and we have no right to infringe on their territory.” “Bullsh-” Bridgette started, before catching herself. “I don’t believe you.”“They wanted us gone,” Levi said, his tone unperturbed. “I thought it was a noble cause. And, if I helped them kick the humans out of the colony, they promised that I could have my pick of survivors and all the food and supplies I need in one of the smaller research outposts. My own small kingdom, with everything I could ever want and nobody to tell me what to do. Needless to say, you’re my first pick.” “I have a feeling that those ‘survivors’ wouldn’t be living with you as peers,” Bridgette spat. “You’re sick.” “That’s one question,” Levi said. “Two left.”Bridgette took a few breaths, trying to allow time for the stinging sensation on her thighs to fade. “Why me?” “It was just a happy accident,” Levi said. “I knew that ‘medical technician’ was the position I wanted. It was coincidence that I got assigned to a very pretty specimen who ended up throwing herself on my doorstep, just begging to have her dignity stripped away. I couldn’t have made you slip into veterancy even if I wanted to, but you’d better believe that once you did, nothing else after that was a coincidence.” “I don’t understand,” Bridgette said, having trouble concentrating while thinking on a way to escape. “I’m your doctor,” Levi explained. “I managed your schedule. I had precise data telling me exactly when you ate, every time you used your diaper, and where you were in the facility at any given moment.” He paused, then added, “I… May have lied about how much information the nodes on your diapers would send me. Did you really think it was a coincidence that General O’Shaugnessy always had meetings scheduled with you or me at the most inconvenient of times? That the only device that could reverse your lisp was shaped like a pacifier? Did you honestly believe that the only diapers available were the size of a pillow, and we didn’t stock anything thinner?” Bridgette blinked, her vision focused on nothing in particular - Not that she wanted to really be staring at her own red backside, anyways. “That… That was all you?”“Of course it was. Your life isn’t some kind of niche pornography full of coincidences designed to humiliate you. The humiliation was all very, very intentional.” Levi laughed, then Bridgette yelped in surprise and pain as she felt another sudden spank. “And that’s not all. You made an excellent patsy.”Her eyes widened in realization as a few things clicked into place. “You told them it was me?”“And they ate it up with a spoon,” Levi confirmed. “All the evidence I’d been planting helped too, of course. I explained how the big, mean pilot threatened her poor old medical technician, and how you forced me to go along with everything you demanded so that you could keep giving military secrets to the Jovians. My only regret is that I was stuck in protective custody until this morning, so I wasn’t around to see the look on your face when you found out they were going to pin the information leaks on you.” He chuckled, then added, “When the only leaks you’re responsible for are the ones coming from your diapers.”“You’re an asshole,” Bridgette said, trying to include as much venom in her tone as possible. “I hope that the evacuation ships find a nice big rock to drop on you just as soon as they’re in orb-OW!” She squirmed in place, wriggling as she felt a half dozen solid blows land on her upper thighs.“You’re a very naughty baby,” Levi commented dryly, and Bridgette gritted her teeth. “That’s two questions, Bambi. One more.”I have to keep him talking… Bridgette thought, wishing she could rub away some of the stinging sensation that was making it hard to focus. “I… What now?” “Now?” Levi asked. “Everyone else is evacuating. They’ll probably get a few ships off-moon before the Jovians break in, but since I destroyed all the other control pods, there’s no mechs to defend the Colony. It won’t be long before they take down the remaining four columns, and then break through to the ship docks. There’ll be plenty of people huddling in airlocks and escape pods that can’t launch. I’ll go over the survivor list, pick who I want to take with me, and then let the Jovians decide what they want to do with the rest.”“I meant, what now with me?” Bridgette clarified. Keep talking. Maybe I can access the emergency override and eject from the pod, but I need more time. She just had to remember what the override code was.“Oh,” Levi said. “You? Well, I have some time to kill until the Jovians break in, and even as advanced as your veterancy was, you weren’t quite as helpless as I would prefer. I figure another ten or fifteen hours should do the trick, leave you just enough motor control to drool and crawl around and babble nonsense when you want someone to change your diapers. This is the last time you’ll get to walk and talk like a big girl, by the way, I suggest you enjoy it.”“You’re a bastard,” Bridgette spat, angrily.“Maybe,” Levi replied, his voice still echoing in her ears. “But on the other hand, I’ve got a lot of time to kill and all kinds of programs loaded into this VR software, so I’d recommend that you stay polite.”It’s now or never, Bridgette thought, nearly tumbling over her words in an attempt to get them all out before Levi could gag her again. “Computer! Override code 4-9-1-16-5-18 Open Pod!” There was a distant hissing noise as the pod began to release, coming through faintly, muffled by the false sensory inputs that Bridgette was still experiencing. Then, she heard a popping noise, and the sound of Levi’s laughter. She tried repeating the code, but only succeeded in making a choking noise as the pacifier reappeared in her mouth.“I fused the pod shut, baby Bambi,” Levi said. “It’s not going to release you without some industrial welding tools, and once it’s open, it’s not going to shut again.”Bridgette felt a sinking feeling in her stomach. Without a way to open the pod, she was completely trapped. “Now,” Levi said, laughing sadistically as the sound of typing echoed in the background. “Your three questions are up, and I have so many things I’m just dying to do to you. I think it’s time that we had a little fun.”
  2. New username, same user! (Re-introduction of LivingByLies)

    ... Yes. That's what I did. You have to donate enough to get the Baby Banker badge, then you get that ability.
  3. Completed Stories forum: Yay or Nay?

    I'm in the 'Keep it,' camp, but agree with other posters that a bit more nuance in folders could be good. Looking at the main page, only about half the stories have tags, and many of those don't really answer the kinds of questions that I usually have when I'm trying to find a story. If I want something fun and light that happens to have AB/DL themes, where do I go? What if I want something that's more kinky and explicit? There's not a *ton* of stories that are drama/adventure focused with AB/DL themes, but I know that Personalias and I and a few other writers still have those, and they can be hard to find in the open forum page. If that's too difficult or expensive to implement, though, the current system works just fine!
  4. In Need of a Changeling

    Good guess, but nope! He's certainly going to be in trouble, but that's not why, and I've got something a little different in store for the other thing. It'll be at least a few weeks to get back to this, probably more unless I write another chapter before finishing The Fifth Column. We'll see!
  5. Rule about Underage Characters in Stories.

    Gotcha. That's very doable, and won't cause any plot difficulty. Thanks!
  6. Getting diaper rash

    I'm going to be blunt here: This sounds really, really fake. Either that, or creepy and illegal.
  7. Rule about Underage Characters in Stories.

    Question that I want to ask, since it's going to be relevant and, while I'm pretty sure I'm okay, I want to double check: I'm currently planning a story (I've posted one chapter, but much of it is still in the planning stages,) that involves an adult character using magic to disguise themselves as a child for plot reasons that I'm not gonna bother explaining here. In short, there's going to be some content where they are in a school/public setting with other children. There's not going to be any sexual content in these parts. However, I was planning on including sexual content in other chunks of story, where no children are present. Is this allowed? If so - Should I err on the edge of caution and have the adult character reverse the magic disguising them as a child during these scenes? I can sometimes misunderstand rules, so I just want to double check. If I have to cut these scenes, it's not a big deal.
  8. Brayden, the vampire ABDL

    That's certainly a novel setup. Once the (hypnosis? Magic? I'm not sure exactly what it is) starts, it starts becoming difficult to track what exactly is going on. I get that it's representative of him being confused and foggy, but too many things are described as well... Things. "The moving thing", "The crinkly thing", "Something cold and wet", "Something inside my head", "Something moving against my legs", "Something felt full", etc. Normally I think the overuse of a thesaurus is a recipe for disaster, but if you could find a way to describe the events her with more diverse terminology while still maintaining the vague confusion that the protagonist is feeling, it might be easier to read. I'll be keeping an eye on this!
  9. The Secret Cabin (Completed)

    Y'know, I was getting a 'Hansel and Gretel Witch' vibe what with the candy and the cabin deep in a hidden wood and her talking about how she's very old, but that's also a possibility.
  10. Just wanted to make an announcement as to my username change, since it's accompanied by a fairly new profile picture to replace my old... Not having a profile picture. I used to be LivingByLies, but I wasn't really happy with that username anymore for a variety of reasons. It didn't really fit me. I started changing it on other sites, but waited for a while on here since I'm mostly just using this profile to lurk and post stories, but I finally decided, what the heck? And so I got the Baby Banker upgrade and here I am: PeculiarChangeling! Nice to meet you all.
  11. In Need of a Changeling

    So far, it has been! I'm planning lots and lots of fun stuff with the fae rules of obligation and hospitality.
  12. Username Change?

    Thanks! That link worked.
  13. Username Change?

    I'm trying to change my username, to 'PeculiarChangeling' so that it matches my profile on other sites and DeviantArt and stuff. I know you need to be a Baby Banker to do that, but I can't find how to donate anywhere. Can someone give me a link or some help? Thanks!
  14. In Need of a Changeling

    This is just a teaser, I'm going to finish the rest of The Fifth Column before I get any further with this, but I wanted to at least get the first chapter out after I had the idea, striking while the iron was hot and all that. It's something a little more down-to-earth, if you will, though that doesn't mean I'm not interested in telling an actual story. If you like it, let me know! It was a chill night, and the moon was full...FC: The moon was not full! In fact, it had been waning for half a week, and was the shape of a pumpkin that had just started to get old and fall in on itself. PC: Still, a full moon would have been far more imposing and dramatic. FC: We’re not writing drama here, we’re telling a story. PC: Fine...It was a chill night, and the moon was the shape of an old pumpkin.Nells crept up to the back door of the little human dwelling - A single-story affair that had only half a dozen rooms in it - and tried the handle. Immediately he regretted the decision, swearing and pulling away his hand, sucking on his fingertips to relieve the stinging sensation that came with the touch of iron.“Humans,” he muttered, making the word into a curse. Iron was less common in modern times, but humans still found ways to incorporate it into their lives. Exasperated, he added, “And I’m trying to help you!” Pulling back his flowing cloak, Nells retrieved a white silk glove from a pocket, drawing it over his slender fingers and trying the door handle again. With protection between his skin and the iron handle, he was able to grip it tightly, turning and finding the door unlocked, just as he’d suspected.Creeping inside, Nells peered back and forth for a moment, ensuring that the residents were not around. Though he was trying to be of aid, and indeed couldn’t have even entered had he meant harm, it would still be better for everyone if he went undetected. In a moment of indecision, Nells considered raiding the cupboards. Human food was a rare delicacy that he’d never had the priviledge to try, seeing as he’d never entered in a bargain with a human. For whatever reason, it was not commonly brought into the land of Faerie, and he’d never gotten the opportunity to acquire it himself. Seeing as he was now acting under the Brownie Code, though, he would be permitted to eat of their food in exchange for his aid - In fact, he was certain that access to human food was the only reason that brownies were helpful towards humans in the slightest, though if you ever implied that the food was payment then the nearest brownie would likely challenge you to a duel.Shaking his head and deciding that it was no time for distractions, Nells pressed on through the house, though he took the time to listen for any motion in the house, his pointed ears acutely aware of even the slightest noise.His feet were shod in soft boots that made no sound as he slipped through the home, and his black cloak and clothes kept him shadowed with darkness. The floorboards might have creaked under a heavier footstep, but his steps were so nimble that they made not even the slightest noise.On his belt, a thin silvery sword was hung, and Nells put his hand on the pommel as he approached the door at the end of the hallway, ready for whatever action he would have to take. He almost checked if the handle was made of iron, before realizing that the door was not even shut. Placing one hand lightly on the wood, he pressed forward, swinging the door open. “Hello, Nells.” The woman standing in the room was would only be called gorgeous by someone whose vocabulary lacked a stronger word. Like Nells, she wore all black - The better to sneak with - But unlike Nells, her outfit was a flowing dress, which blew with the gentle wind coming in through the open window. And in her arms, she held a child. It was the prerogative of all Unseelie fairies to kidnap children, of course. The female fairy was acting in her nature. However, it would not have been a fair and balanced world if there was not a power put in place to stop them, and so it fell on the Seelie Fae to stop them. “Ainsley,” Nells said, eyes narrowing. “Might I ask how you got in?”Ainsley shrugged. “You may, if you share how you entered as well.”Nells considered the trade, and finding it fair, asked, “How did you get in?” “I’ve spent many a day building a repertoire with this family,” Ainsley said. “Coming by, watching their little ones. They told me I could visit any time that I liked, and I chose to visit now, just before the stroke of midnight*.”FC: It was not just before the stroke of midnight, and Ainsley didn’t even say that line anyways. It was 1:37 in the morning, remember? PC: Poo. You’re no fun. FC: Of course not, I’m an editor.“Fair enough,” Nells said. “I’m acting under the Brownie code, by only taking actions which aid the best interest of the host.” “You’re working as a Brownie now?” Ainsley asked, raising an eyebrow. “I knew you’d lost your position as a Sprite, but that seems an awful step down in career choices.”“I’m not a Brownie, I’m just using their bylaws,” Nells explained, pausing for an awkward moment. “Well, I showed you mine, you showed me yours.”Ainsley paused. “This isn’t nearly so fun as the last time you said that. Perhaps you should take your clothes off and try again, see if that makes any difference.”Nells ignored the quip with some difficulty, gripping his sword tighter and looking around the room. There was one empty bed, wrinkled sheets and rumpled covers decorated with spaceships and stars. Across from it, in another bed, lay the tiny figure of a little girl, fast asleep. “You enchanted the girl,” Nells commented. “She will sleep until I leave,” Ainsley replied. She looked down at the boy in her arms, a human of perhaps a dozen years, and added, “He will sleep for much longer.” With all the power and bravado he could muster, Nells drew his sword in a smooth motion, pointing its tip at Ainsley in a dramatic gesture. “By the light of a thousand stars and by the cold night air, you will not steal this child!” Ainsley rolled her eyes. “Seelie boys,” she tsked. “You do love your big, dramatic gestures, don’t you?”“This isn’t dramatic,” Nells said. “If I was being dramatic, I’d have you pinned to the wall at the point of my sword.” Ainsley smirked. “As fun as that sounds, Nells, I’m here legally. The parents of this child owe me a debt.”Feeling the wind leave his sails a bit, Nells blushed and lowered his sword. “What debt?” Ainsley shrugged. “Many moons ago, the father needed a blood donation after crashing his carriage*. I saw to it that he got it.”FC: It was not, in fact, a carriage. It was a Toyota. PC: A Toyota Highlander. Unsourced reports say that it was attempting to crash into another Highlander. FC: Oh please. Nobody’s going to get that reference.Sword all the way to the ground now, Nells said, “You can’t donate blood. How-”“That’s another story, one that I’m not obliged to tell you,” Ainsley replied. “The point is, they owe a debt.” “Well…” Nells said, sputtering for a moment. “How much blood was it?” “One pint, I do believe,” Ainsley said. Nells felt his confidence flourish again. “That’s not near the worth of a child!”“No, but it’ll allow me to rent this child until the next full moon,” Ainsley said. “And as it happens, the cost of raising a human child to maturity has grown steadily over the passing of time. In fact, as long as I raise this child to the same standard of care that his parents would have, this will incur a constant debt which can only be paid by my further rental of the child.”“That’s not right,” Nells argued. “You can’t incur a secondary debt by leveraging a primary debt. That violates the primary terms of the Seelie Laws*. You’re effectively stealing the child forever!”FC: Please explain how this stuff works again, for the readers? I barely understand it myself. PC: While there technically exist two separate sets of laws for Seelie and Unseelie fairies, their trade agreements and negotiations are so tied up in one another that, for all intents and purposes, fairies of either court must abide by both, though only a Seelie Fae would bother to enforce Seelie law, and visa-versa. FC: Ugh. Your laws are so confusing! PC: You should meet our lawyers. FC: ...Ainsley shook her head, setting down the child for a moment and reaching in her pocket. She withdrew a small book, flipping open to a page near the middle. “Yes, but there’s an exception for obligations of care or hosting. Otherwise, at a party, the host would have no obligation to their guests after too much time expired, and visa versa.”Nells opened his mouth to speak, then closed it, then sheathed his sword and held out his hand. “Let me see that!” Ainsley offered the law book, and Nells sat down on the bed to flip through the pages, reading them carefully. “Okay, but-”“No, it’s covered in the addendum on the next page,” Ainsley said, before Nells could finish saying his obligation. “And besides…”Both of them went silent, hearing footsteps approach from down the hall. They turned and looked, and then looked at one another, and a moment of silent acknowledgment passed. Neither wanted to be seen by the human. “Take the child, I’ll distract them,” Ainsley whispered.“It was your decision to come here! You keep the child!” Nells whispered back.“I’m better at glamours than you,” Ainsley pointed out. Nells glowered, but took the child, moving to a back corner of the room and hiding himself and the child both in shadow. Ainsley’s form melted, meanwhile, shifting to perfectly resemble the boy that she had been holding in her arms only seconds before.A woman wearing a rumpled nightgown entered the room, spotting Ainsley immediately. “Sweetie, what’s wrong? Why are you out of bed?” “I couldn’t sleep, mommy,” Ainsley said, her voice sounding just like that of a human boy. “Bad dreams?” The woman asked. Ainsley nodded. “How about I go get you a glass of milk, alright? Would that help?” Again, Ainsley nodded. The woman smiled, said, “I’ll be right back,” and turned to leave. After the woman was gone, Ainsley reformed herself into her regular appearance, and turned to Nells. “That’s my cue to leave, Nells. Give me the boy. You’ve no legal grounds to stop me, anyways.”Nells grinned. “I found something. Under the stipulation for incurring a secondary debt, there’s a clause allowing for the trade of obligation as seen in section C-27.” Ainsley paused. “What? The Changeling rules of operation? What’s that got to do with anything?” “Well, it stipulated here that as a boon or favor, I can request to take up a holding in this opening that you’re creating through inaction, as stipulated… here, in subclause 1017-AB” Nells explained, pointing at a line in the law book. “‘So mayhaps that I might reap the yon benefyts’, etcetera etcetera.”Ainsley paused. “You lost me.”Nells grinned. “I owe you a favor, and I’m going to replace the child. That way, the humans are still paying all the costs of child-rearing, and you don’t get to keep the boy forever.” Ainsley frowned, reading over the rule, speaking a few words allowed. “‘Forsooth the wain fae must tayke up the child’s place, and-’ Remind me again why they don’t print the laws in common faerie? Reading the old language gives me a headache.”*FC: You’re not the only one!“Beats me,” Nells said. “But the point is, I can replace the child, and as long as the parents don’t notice that I’m a fae until the full moon, you’ll not get to keep him.”“And And if they do notice?” “Then I’ll be cast out of their home, and you get to keep the child.”Ainsley started to prepare a few hot words*, then tempered her anger and smiled upon a realization. PC: I’m being literal. Unseelie Faeries are associated with winter, sure, but fire was still a popular weapon of choice for any season. FC: You could have just said that in the text rather than going for the awful pun.“What?” Nells asked.“I’m under no obligation to tell you,” Ainsley said. “I appreciate the boon that you offer me, and accept it gladly. Have fun living with mortals, Nells, and have more fun enjoying all the mortal foods and comforts. Can I have the child now?”Nells paused, looking down at the boy in his arms, then nodded and passed him over. He’d intended that the child would never be separated from his parents at all, but since that wasn’t an option, he’d had to go for the next best thing.Ainsley gladly took the child, grinned, and said, “I’ll see you soon, Nells.” Then, with barely a blur of motion, she vanished out the window, child in tow. Taking a second to gather himself, Nells realized that he hadn’t yet cast a glamour. He really wasn’t as good at Ainsley, and without being able to see the child directly, it might be tricky for him to make the copy perfect - And it had to be perfect if he was going to fool the child’s parents until the next full moon. Glancing around, then, he saw a picture of the child, standing in some kind of uniform with peers all around him. That would do perfectly.Concentrating, he held his hands in the air and spun once, forming the glamour that would hide his true form and make him both appear and feel as though he were the boy who had been taken. Once changed, he walked to the window, looking out to see if Ainsley was still within view. It was unlikely, but possible, and he hoped to shout one last barb or insult after her before she was gone.At this point, the mother returned, holding a glass of warmed milk and looking at what was apparently her son, wearing his baseball jersey and standing by an open window. “Young man, just what exactly are you doing?” Nells swallowed, turning to face the woman. “Um… Looking for fairies?”PC: She didn’t believe him.
  15. The Fifth Column - Updated w/ Chapter 7 (7/10)

    I will neither confirm nor deny any of your suspicions, but I will say that you seem to have read it a bit wrong: Tango is not showing symptoms. Photon is showing symptoms. Tango comments that she'll probably be showing symptoms soon, because of her soon-to-be-increased workload and number of missions.