Dakarai always had been a curious child. Every day she would bug her parents or teachers or friends with hows and whys. She would spend her breaks in the school library reading through all the science books or look things up on the internet. She loved all the strange things coming out of nature. At sixteen she began being especially interested in worlds beyond the one she called home. What could other planets be like? What would different natures produce? How would its inhabitants live?

Dakarai also loved food. She didn’t mind being fat, she felt good that way. She liked food that much that she talked her bestie in elementary school into turning her into an Akaname just so that she could enjoy it more. It also helped with her degrading eyesight.

With 20 years, she got accepted at Astrob to study space, space travel and such. Not long after her model career started. One day she just came out of the shower wrapped in a towel when the phone rang and she was asked for a photoshoot and an interview for a magazine. She didn’t know what to expect from it but agreed. She wore a pretty dress for the shoot and the photographer made a few pictures of her. She was quite surprised when he then asked her whether she was an Akaname. She said yes and he said he’d like to make a few pictures in which she showed off her tongue. During her school time, her and her friend were the outcasts. The mindset that all of her kind were mindless baby-eating monsters had died down but many still found them repulsive.

For weeks she received letters from Akaname kids telling her how she was an inspiration to them. Her kind was still seen as weird and gross by others, so many felt happy to see one of them celebrated in such a way. She did a few more photo shoots and interviews and even had two appearances in movies. She liked to think she helped the general public warm up to her kind.

When she was 24, Astrob had created the first working spaceship and wanted to send it to a planet far away which they believe to be inhabited. They gathered 23 people to fly the ship. They didn’t want to send too many people in case they never came back. But everyone was confident they would come back. Dakarai always wanted to experience another world. But leaving her home, the safe home so far behind her, only 22 other people with her, she would ever be able to interact with for years. It was scary. But also very exciting.

She said goodbye to all her friends and family. It was hard because she knew they’d be gone from each other’s lives for a while, rifts she might not be able to mend all of once she returned. But maybe she would return with 22 new friends.