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  1. LittleFenny

    The Rainbow's End

    Don't worry Bridget, if you ask nicely I'm sure that lack of experience can be resolved this very day. Just be very careful exactly what you ask for.
  2. LittleFenny

    Bad Moon Rising (COMPLETE)

    I was going to say Rosie was lucky Luna didn't actually bite, but I bet she's not getting anything past Mrs King. Silly Rosie, Luc likes his diapers and he's more mature than she is.
  3. LittleFenny

    Bad Moon Rising (COMPLETE)

    I would suggest that "Luna" should bite Rosie, but that might upset Lucas. Still, so many fun games a werewolf posing as a big dog could play with Rosie. While being too cute to get upset with. Or was that too big to get upset with. Good woofy, I'll just leave this steak here and back away slowly.
  4. LittleFenny

    Exchanged - Chapter 35 - 5-19-2018

    Well, that's more (shock-free please!) collars for the rest of us. I've been feeling the lack of time too. I only just caught up on the last couple of story chapters. Hopefully your muse isn't being a silly as mine. She's trying to get me to start two other stories now and I haven't even posted an update to the one I already started in a couple of months. To bad there's no place I can run off to for a writing retreat with a nice laptop, playpen, and plenty of Little Pawz and Cushies. (No! Bad Muse! That's not story idea #4! mumblemumblegrumble!) Hope things get less hectic for you, I'll try and be patient!
  5. LittleFenny

    Bad Moon Rising (COMPLETE)

    Oh my! Lucas's sister is going to be in for quite a shock. Whether or not Prudence carts him away before she returns.
  6. LittleFenny

    Bad Moon Rising (COMPLETE)

    Aww, Pru has a fan. I wouldn't want to be Rosie if Pru spots her being mean to Lucas. Lucas would be a good woof-pup name. I don't think I can picture Prudence as a mommy. But maybe as the tough big sister, trade up Lucas, trade up!
  7. LittleFenny

    Bad Moon Rising (COMPLETE)

    I'm hooked too. Wondering if it's perhaps the same world as Tricky Treats.
  8. LittleFenny

    Idea Adoption Thread

    The idea stork brought me an idea today. While making rounds from house to house the Tooth Fairy finds someone who has both left a tooth under their pillow and wet the bed. So after trading the tooth for a handful of coins a call for an additional delivery is made to the Diaper Fairy.
  9. LittleFenny

    Exchanged - Chapter 35 - 5-19-2018

    Spies? No, she's not a spy she's far worse. A geek with fully triggered maternal instincts. Hopefully they won't have too much Littlenapper trouble. But imagine that if Amanda finds out who those people are and they keep annoying them after going home she could likely cause them a good degree of trouble. If the gloves come off, simply being arrested is probably the safest outcome for the kidnappers.
  10. LittleFenny

    Exchanged - Chapter 35 - 5-19-2018

    Yay! More Exchanged! I read the whole thing over the weekend! YAY! Boo work, boo boo! Wait. Work let's you have food and a bed and leccy so your compy works. Okay, I guess work can stay around. I suppose what happens depends partly on just how badly the lady wants Isabela. Was there a real client and the lady on the plane was just being opportunist? Or was the lady the stewardess was talking to arrange for her to be on the plane where she was supposed to be alone and cut off from support. I'm kind of guessing the first but until we get Chapter 22 I guess we won't know. Stacie could share the underground contact number she was provided. But would those folks trust a little forwarded to them by a little who wants to stay with her Amazonian Mommy?
  11. LittleFenny

    Dropped in a new world. - update (7-10-18)

    I think it may be up to twice now. But at chapter 5 (I think) where I was when I said that he'd still managed to keep them dry. I'll have to take a closer look at the other city names.
  12. LittleFenny

    Dropped in a new world. - update (7-10-18)

    Omorashi City? Will that turn out to be Bab's ancestral home? She seems better prepared for life there than Alex, he hasn't wet his pants even once up to that chapter.
  13. Chapter Eight: Believing? James I only managed to stop laughing when I started crying instead. It was too much. Everything that had already happened and now I might have to talk about the two things I'd never, ever, talked about in person? With someone who wasn't part of either scene? People kept getting weird ideas about furries, thank you so very much CSI and Springer, and that wasn't even a quarter as unusual as being ABDL was. Thank you again CSI and Springer. Even just deciding to go to that new club had been an agonizing decision. Never mind the language issue. I'd been studying non-stop and we seemed to be doing pretty good understanding each other talking about easy stuff. But this? I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand and looked up at her again. "You will think I'm crazy, broken in my head. I'm telling the truth. I'll try to explain?" She was staring at me and didn't look like she believed me but wasn't interrupting. "How to start? Until I woke up here I never saw anyone like you. Only humans like me. Mostly like me? Only humans but we're not all the same. Darker skin and lighter skin and different hair colors and we like different things. But no one who looked like you. "Okay, okay, so I'm Jayne Felton Ridgell, I'm twenty-two years old and I'm sort of temporarily out of school. I moved to go to college but I was running out of money and getting kind of scared how much it was going to cost so I got a job to save more money but that's not really what you wanted to know is it?" I don't think I'd ever caught myself just babbling like this before. It almost didn't feel like I was the one talking. Maybe because I was mostly talking that almost-sort-of-English and only dropping back to English for words I hadn't learned yet. "You wanted to know who James Fenton Redtail is? James is a ten year old red fox. Not a run around on four legs fox but a stands on two legs fox. Like you guys but foxish instead of wolfish." "You said there were only humans, now there are fox people?" She was shaking her head, clearly not believing it. "Only humans, but some of us like to pretend there are others. Kind of like,"I had to think a bit for the words but I knew it had come up in one of the tutor program's stories, "like imaginary friends. Fox people and rabbit people and bird people. All kinds of different animals as people and even made up animal people like cabbits which are kind of half rabbit-half cats. We even have games on our computers where we get together and tell stories about these people we make up. I had a few characters I made up, but my favorite was the fox boy James Fenton Redtail, I even gave him a name almost like mine and he liked the same things I liked. Accept for his age and that he's a fox-person I'm James and James is me. Lot's of people who come up with these characters do that. You invent a bunch but one of them is special. One of them is the person you imagine you could be. "I didn't really talk about it much with anyone except on computer because people who weren't into it could get kind of weird about it. They had kind of crazy ideas about what we did. There's a television over in the corner, you have to have trash shows. Shows where they act all serious or even like they're helping people but they really just want attention and a bigger audience and if making up things about people will do that then they do it. There were shows that tried to say we did all kinds of irresponsible things or couldn't handle reality or even that we wanted to do naughty things with animals. Not animal people but animals. Bastards don't care whose reputation they're ruining or who they might be hurting as long as their show gets better ratings. But people see it and believe it even if they were yelling at the television the day before for getting things wrong about them. I realized my voice had been getting louder as I talked and finally just shook my head. "Sorry. It's an old argument and I guess I'm still kind of sensitive about it." "You are James Fenton Redtail?" "Yeah." "And James is ten year old Fox person?" "Yeah. Guess he ought to be older, came up with him years ago, but that's how I picture him and he's an imaginary person so it isn't like he has to get a year older every year. I think he was eight when I first came up with him. But that was almost ten years ago." I shrugged. "It just feels like the right age for him. So yeah. I found out there was a new club in town and some of the people who went there were into the same things so I was going there when. Well when whatever happened to me happened. I hadn't met anyone else around here, there, around back home who was into the same thing" "So you were going to meet others who pretended to be imaginary people and pretend to be a ten year old fox slave?" "What?" I finally put some of the things she'd said together with things that had been in the language tutorial and it was like suddenly realizing one plus one equals two. A very, very, scary two. "Y-you think I'm somebody's slave or pet or something like that? Not a just play around in the bedroom one but really, truly, someone owning another person kind of slave?" Andria's ears were canted off at an angle, "Few people who are not would agree to put a collar on." "Slavery hasn't been legal for over a hundred years! And I'm pretty sure they didn't put collars on them. Of course that's probably because it was based on skin color so they didn't really need to use collars to figure out who was and wasn't in charge." "Slaves because of skin color? Now I know you are making up stories." "It's true. Not saying it wasn't stupid but that's how it worked. These days, collars and chains and stuff like that are just a kinky fetish thing," I tried for a moment to figure out the right word but for some strange reason this wasn't a subject that came up in tutorials that were clearly intended for kids. "A silly game adults sometimes play in bed? Pirate and captive, police officer and prisoner, master and slave, those kinds of bedroom games." I looked up and I think she was blushing. I know I was. But she's the one brought it up. I shrugged again, "After five weeks of washing dishes and cleaning tables with only a couple of weekends off I was ready for some fun. Not that kind. Just get together with people who liked the same things kind of fun. Share some drinks, tell stories, hopefully make some new friends. I'd heard that a new place that opened was popular with people who were into things that were less common... Then like I said, something happened. The last thing I remember was leaving work and riding for the club and I think maybe I remember crashing my bike, then I woke up here." "Yes. When you were found you were on your bike." She held up her tablet and I found myself unable to look away from the photo. There I was next to a broken bit of concrete with a busted bike and far too much femur showing to be at all good. I looked over at my cast covered leg and wondered how good the painkillers were if it wasn't throbbing and keeping me awake even after two weeks. That was disturbing enough that I didn't even notice until the third time that I looked at the photo the tear in my pants that was exposing a single teddy bear from my plastic pants. Maybe she hadn't noticed? Sure she'd seen me getting changed here but she might think that was just cute underwear. Maybe guys here weren't as uptight about anything that looked cute? "So, you are saying you are not a slave. You are a twenty year old human from a town called Prado Fesko where are only farms on our maps. In a country called California that no one in Anhera Province has heard of. Who is also an imaginary ten year old fox person who also is not a slave even if his name is one a collar you wear. That is what you are saying?" "Um. Yeah." I pointed at the orange plastic band I'd discovered around my neck the other day. "This means someone thinks I am? But it will come off when they understand I'm not, right? I mean I don't mind wearing my own for fun but that's just for fun. But um, maybe not if people are going to think that. But I'll get it back? I've had it for while and even if I don't dare wear it here..." I couldn't really figure out the look she was giving me. I'm not sure she really believed me. I was getting rather nervous when she finally answered. "I fear that is not my decision. But I will tell them what you told me." While we'd been talking nature had taken its course. I'd already been wet even before dinner arrived and now lunch or maybe it was breakfast was insisting it wanted out and I wasn't going to hold it in much longer. I yanked on the cable that was draped over one end of the bed squeezing the call button the very moment I lost control. Andria looked confused for a moment and then I could tell the moment she figured out what happened. I definitely saw a blush on the inside of her ears before they flattened against her head. "Well, at least there is something you were wearing I won't have to explain was just for fun." If I hadn't already been blushing so much that would have done it. But she must have seen something because her eyes opened wide and those ears lifted up and forward. "You... I need to go now." "Wait!" But she was already at the door, out moments before the nurse came in. "Wait! I can, it's not like... damn it!" I think the nurse could tell I'd said a bad word. Or maybe it was just the yelling. She was the one who always felt motherly and even if we couldn't talk she seemed to be giving off an air of maternal disappointment. I think I just lost the only friend and ally I might have had in this crazy dreamland. Andrea She was certain she hadn't run. She didn't feel out of breath. But she didn't really consciously notice where she was until she arrived in front of the university's main library building. Other than her apartment and the lab that was now locked away from her the library was the only other place that felt like home. She hadn't been certain she believed the boy's story until right at the end. She really didn't think that embarrassment was faked. Had he really been talking about people not understanding the animal fantasy stories the whole time or was he talking about, about that. How could that possibly be something people would do for fun and not because they had no choice? Barely thinking about it she walked through the library's front doors and found herself before one the catalog stations. But what to search for? Animal fantasies? That brought far too many results, even limited to the library's physical resources. Animal people returned fewer results, but still far more than she wanted to skim through. Animal people and costumes returned a surprising number of results but results which were starting to seem relevant. Even results in proper scholarly journals which the library subscribed to. A few hours later Andrea knew far more about people who pretended to be other species than she ever would have guessed she'd want to know. The effectiveness of a little make up and even simple costuming skills could be far more convincing that she would have guessed as well. How that one man lengthened his ears to pretend to be a rabbit person was shockingly effective for how simple the techniques were. Much as Jayne had described there were gatherings. There was even one that took place at the local convention center that she had somehow never noticed. A little honest reflection made her accept that it was not in fact surprising given how little time she had given to anything that was not a scholarly pursuit ever since leaving home. If that had been truthful then could that other thing be real as well? She looked around and found a secondary catalog station which did not have anyone else nearby. Staring at the screen her fingers rested on the keyboard but did not type for several minutes. Finally she tried entering, adult diapers, restricting the results to the journals the library subscribed to. Nearly every result came back from medical journals. When she removed the medical journals and skimmed through the remaining entries she couldn't believe what she was seeing on the screen. Grabbing a piece of scrap paper she noted down some of the results with a pen rather than copy them onto her tablet. Collecting an armful of printed journals she found a private study room to read them in without risk of anyone else looking over her shoulder. "Stars above, people are weird." After reading through half the stack and skimming the rest Andrea wasn't certain if she wanted to bump the psychology degree higher on her plans to learn as much as she could or to drop it from the list entirely. "Not that I don't have some weird issues but glasses and– right anyway they aren't so, so... Well, as long as no one's hurt." Setting the last journal aside she looked at the list of notes she'd made. The researchers all seemed to agree that autonepiophilia was simply rarer than many other fetishes but not dangerous or problematic in and of itself. Her stomach grumbled and she soon realized it was a good five or six hours later than she expected. Placing the journals into one of the many scattered baskets for re-shelving Andrea headed for the exit while calling Sergeant Jaffrey. When she didn't pick up the call Andrea left a voice message. "Sergeant, would it be possible to meet today? It has occurred to me that there's something related to the project that still needs handling." She didn't manage twenty steps before getting a return call. "Miss Simmens, I was hoping to go home. What did you forget to turn in." "It's not actually mine to turn in, it's a little complicated, can we meet to talk in person?" A quarter hour later they met in one of Campus Safety's meeting rooms. Not wanting to go any longer without food Andrea had picked up some skewers from a food cart on the way to the office. The sergeant had apparently had similar thoughts and brought a sandwich and tea with her. "Now then, what is this about something being forgotten?" "The boy, Janie, Jayne. That still sounds wrong but that's how he says it. The boy, Jayne Ridgell, almost certainly was brought here by the experiment. I don't think the doctors will want to tie up one of the clinic's beds longer than necessary but at the same time we can't just toss him in the lab's storeroom and lock the door." Andrea pushed roast chicken and vegetables off one skewer onto a piece of flatbread while the sergeant considered her words and sipped tea. "Given the evidence I have to agree the boy isn't from around here. His identification card is still confounding everyone who looks at it. The doctor I spoke to seems professionally offended by chemical exposure and prior medical care the boy received. We've run him through every missing persons database we can find, far beyond what we would normally check. Without receiving even a decent partial match." "When we went out to check the path and I saw the bloodstain I had one thought. This was my project and my responsibility. Professor Gaulle is our faculty advisor, but I was in charge. I submitted the proposal. I made the decision to go forward. If the project is my responsibility then so are the consequences. I don't have a roommate this year which means I have a room to spare." "Looking for a free live in maid?" The sergeant paused and then nodded at Andrea's narrowed eyes. "It would seem not. Good. While I applaud your sense of responsibility this would be highly unusual." "There hasn't been anything usual about this project since the moment we ran the experiment. I do have reasons other than responsibility. For one, even if you go off campus there are very few speakers of Old Northern available to work with him. Even with the help of translation software anyone who doesn't speak it will have trouble communicating until he learns Avranitka or another more common language." "Even if his native language was related, surely you could have started him on something more common?" "It was half excitement realizing he was speaking something so similar and half that I expected we'd be finding an owner or family by now. If I'd started him on Avranitka we'd still be waiting for him to say anything more complicated than, 'I'm hungry' or 'leg hurts, pill please.' "If I take him in we'll also avoid the need to bring anyone else in on this. Or needing to find anyone senior enough, responsible enough, and who is both willing and has room available." "I will admit there aren't many I can think of off hand. That said, we could hold him here." "You'll still have the language issue, I would be willing to assist but unless you want me moving in here... I thought not. Do you even routinely hold anyone longer than it takes for them to sober up or hand off to the municipal police? Which brings up another question we haven't touched on yet." "And just what would that be?" "We've assumed he's a slave. But as you told me neither he nor his collar were chipped which would be standard practice anywhere I know of. Even an indenture contract would normally include chipping. He claims not to be and was shocked when he realized we suspected that. From what he claims this California he is from banned slavery a century ago and the collar was simply jewelry, something he wore because he liked it." "A convenient claim when there's no such country where you say he pointed on the map nor anywhere else so far as we can tell." Andrea frowned at that but the only idea that seemed to make sense was too far-fetched to be believed by anyone even given the unusual results of the experiment. "That is troubling of course. If we cannot track down where he's from what's likely to be done?" "All I can say for certain is that no one is likely to accept his story. He certainly isn't from here, from everything the doctors have said not even one of the isolationist luddite communities is likely to have been so polluted. If we could at least find this country of his we could hand him over and that would be it. I really cannot predict what will be done." An hour later Andrea stopped Jayne's room. When he noticed her his eyes opened wide and he started to say something only close both his mouth and eyes. He was red around his eyes and she could just make out the trails tears had made rolling down his cheeks. "Open your eyes and sit up." He did so. Eyes going wide again when he saw Sergeant Jaffrey standing beside her. He quickly found the bed's controls and raised the head so he was doing something approaching sitting properly. "This is Sergeant Jaffrey. One of the senior members of the Campus Safety office. I recommend being polite." "You just introduced me, correct? The boy understands this?" Jayne blinked at them a few times then cleared his throat. "Hello Miss Simmens. Sergeant. I'll be polite." Miss Jaffrey took a tablet and held it out to the boy, "Ask him to show where he's from again." After a quick translation he pointed to about the same place Andrea could remember from before. "Prado Fresco, California." A moment later he circled a large swath of the continent with his fingertip. "United States." Then pointed back to the first place repeating himself. "Ask him if he is certain or just guessing or trying to remember." That got a determined jab at the map, and when Jayne saw the map zoom in some more jabs as brought it from showing much of the continent to just that coastal region. Picking two of the major cities he seemed to be trying to sketch out a path and frowned. "L.A., San Diego... Salton... huh? There should be big lake, Salton Sea, and road north, and Prado Fresco here, around here..." Sergeant Jaffrey listened to the explanation of what he'd said and shook her head. "We can try searching for places with those names. But we haven't found the others." He must have been able to understand enough just from her tone because he slumped back against his pillows. The sergeant retrieved her tablet, setting it aside before reaching into a jacket pocket. "Have him sit up again." "Sit up. I have some good news. You wanted to know if you would get your collar back, the sergeant has it now." While she was speaking Sergeant Jaffrey used a small tool to undo the orange temporary collar then held it up with the one Andrea had seen in the photos. Both were slipped through a slender loop on a small box and then both were buckled around the boy's neck. "You will most likely be released tomorrow. The box will allow Campus Safety, the local police, and other authorized people to find you. You will not attempt to damage it or to remove it or either collar. Is there anything I've said that you don't understand?" He thought a moment. "I'm going somewhere tomorrow? And don't touch collars or box?" "He knows not to try and take that off." "Miss Simmens? I will see you again? Scary not being able to talk." "You have two choices. If you believe you can behave I have a free room. If you misbehave there are also rooms at Campus Safety. Rooms with just a bed and bath and doors that only open from outside. Understand?" They didn't need a language in common for her to see his relief. "I'll behave. I'll be a good boy, I promise."
  14. Chapter Seven: Responsible Irresponsibility James I made pretty good progress on the language tutorial over the next week. Enough that I was now absolutely certain that what Andria had me learning was not what was being spoken around me. The same alphabet as near as I could tell but not the same language. Which sucked because I hadn't seen her even once since she ran off and left me even more confused than I'd been before I could talk to anyone. My best guess was that I'd been hit by a car while I was on my bike and this was all a crazy dream. About the only other possibility was being kidnapped by aliens and that map just didn't work for that. I may not have made it into college yet but even I knew an alien world wasn't going to have the same map as Earth. That and the food wasn't killing me. I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to eat alien food. So it had to be a crazy coma dream. But if I was in a coma surely I'd be having lots of different dreams not one big long dream. The doctor came by each day and we managed to get at least a little communication through pantomime. I think he was saying it was a good thing my leg was itching like crazy. They'd taken off most of the bandages but my right leg was still stuck in that plasticky cast which meant I couldn't even try and scratch it. I'd hoped that meant I'd get at least a little time out of bed but no such luck. I hadn't become any more of a fan of doing number twos in my diapers. I was quite certain by this point that I would only ever enjoy number ones. Wet and warm was comfy. The other, not so much. Well, the sponge baths were nice too when it meant attention from one of the nice nurses. That surprised me too. Not that I liked getting some attention from one of the cuter nurses or one rather motherly nurse. It was one of the older male nurses that had me puzzling over my feelings. There wasn't anything sexual. Just comforting. Even without understanding what he was saying I could hear the care in his voice. He was actually the one who'd helped me learn a few words so I'd understand when they wanted me to sit up or to carefully roll over. None of which helped much when I got another visit from a friendly miss police officer. I was pretty sure that a uniform plus badge would still equal a police officer. I mean even if this was all I dream it would still have to make at least a little sense. "Good afternoon Officer ma'am." My new language skills didn't appear to work any better with her than they had with anyone but Andria. After a while I showed her the tutorials I'd been working on which at least had her making some notes. She returned the tablet and checked her own for a few minutes before speaking with an accent as horrible as I expected mine was. "I will be back." Then she just turned and left. It was slightly better than what I kind of remembered from the first day. Or the second day. The days I'd spent here in the hospital were starting to blend together. I just wished Andria would return or send someone else who could talk with me. When she finally showed up while I was nibbling on my dinner salad she looked horrible. Her clothes were wrinkled like she'd worn them overnight. The way her fur was matted just looked wrong and I don't think she had slept for days. Not that I doubted something was wrong but if I had any doubts the way she fell into my room's chair would have removed it. She stared at me for a few minutes and every time I thought of saying something the words died at my lips. She leaned forward dropping her head in her hands and groaned before shaking her head. She started to stand then dropped back into the chair and stared at me. Maybe even was glaring at me. "I have many questions. Where are you from? Where is California? Prado Fresco? Who is James Redtail and how do we contact him? Who are you, Jayne?" She muttered something in that language I kept hearing everyone else else before adding. "Tell me, not going to believe, tell me still." Andrea She didn't bother looking up from the computer as she wrote. She simply waved at the one almost bare spot on her desk. "Go ahead and leave it there. I'll eat later." "Sorry, but we're not here for a delivery." "Sergeant? Professor, what brings the two of you over here this late?" Andrea found sergeant Jaffrey and professor Gualle standing just inside the door and looking even grimmer than usual for the past few days. "I fear the sergeant and I have unpleasant news for your team. We'll need to gather everyone for an announcement but we felt you should know first." While the professor spoke Jaffrey passed over an envelope with a fine print covered seal glued across the flap. "It seems word of our experiment reached the Council of Research Safety and Ethics. There's always a report anytime something goes wrong, usually just a formality, but whoever received this one seems to be convinced we nearly burned down the campus and were experimenting on people. Worse it seems the military and national police think we were possibly engaging in unauthorized weapons research." "What? What do they think, that we're idiots who would build some sort of mad science weapon and set it off a few meters away from ourselves?" "It's surely the old Rumor Game. A bland report goes in one door and by the time it reached anyone senior the school was a smoking crater. Just checking the media should make it clear that hasn't happened but government bureaucracies don't move any faster than academic bureaucracies. It should clear up easily once they get their review teams here but I'm afraid until then the lab will be locked down. We call the others in for a meeting and then we leave and Campus Safety padlocks the doors. I'm afraid that also means no publication until the authorities finish their investigations, or possibly ever if it gets classified." Andrea stared at the two women then carefully broke the seal and found within much the same only said in far more and more complicated words. Along with forms for herself and the rest of the team to acknowledge that anything relating to the experiment was sealed until they were told otherwise." "Once the others have been told we'll need to lock down the building and you'll need to prepare a briefing for whoever is sent to follow up." Nearly everyone had been in the building so it didn't take long to gather them and deliver the news. Looking around the table the rest seemed just as stunned. In the silence that followed she came to a decision and checked the team calendar. "Right. I haven't been drunk once this year but for this I'm making an exception and I doubt I'm the only one thinking the same. That said just because we are going to be irresponsible doesn't mean we have to be irresponsible about it." No one laughed at her attempted humor but she did catch the barest hints of some smiles. "Since none of us have classes after lunch I'll reserve us a private room at the Golden Terns for noon. Ogden, since you can't have alcohol yet I'll pay for your meal. The rest of you I'll cover the first round of drinks but after that we pay our own." The next morning she spent a few minutes with her eyes closed wondering just when she changed her alarm from a chime to an avalanche. Listening to the rumble she realized the rumbling was covering the chimes which were much quieter than usual. Cracking her eyes open she found herself not in bed but slumped on her couch in her living room with Kelsey draped across the beanbag chair snoring loudly. A softer snore came from Gwyn on the other side of the couch, whose feet she had to climb over to reach her room and shut off the alarm. By the time they'd finished breakfast and she chased them out to their own homes she almost felt ready to face her only class of the day. Lunch found her reviewing her notes from the class while she finished off her last bottle of wine. With no classes over the coming weekend and no research to work on she was willing to risk losing the next morning to another hangover. The next day there still wasn't any word from any of the authorities that had screwed up more than a year's worth of plans. She could believe that with the academic authorities but she'd always pictured the military and police being ready to rush anywhere on a moments notice. If they thought she had a team of terrorists shouldn't there be crack police and commando units crawling through her air ducts, sometime yesterday or the week before? In reality they must be as overworked as every other government agency. "Nothing but homework for the first time in how long? No helping it when there's nothing left that isn't locked up." She looked back at her notes but couldn't seem to get any further with them even if there wasn't anything else for her to do. Or was there? "No. That's not right. There's still one piece of the puzzle that isn't locked up in the lab." Everything directly tagged as part of the experiment was locked up. Even her email had been given a pass with several keyword filters and all the matches transferred to the lab's servers. But when she checked most of the emails about Jayne had not been caught in the filtering. "Technically I probably ought to inform the sergeant about that. I suppose I will, just as soon as I get some answers." The medical center was near the center of campus and only took a few minutes to reach even on foot. Pausing at the door she looked in with part of her almost expecting to see someone else in the room and the boy stuffed into some corner of the lab's supply room. When she did see him she walked in and closed the door before sitting and facing him. It had seemed so easy when she was back home. Come over and finally get some real answers out of the mystery boy. Now that she was here she couldn't figure out where to start. Looking at him it seemed he was having the same problem. Just pick a question and start. "I have many questions. Where are you from? Where is California? Prado Fresco? Who is James Redtail and how do we contact him? Who are you, Jayne?" He stared again then came the last reaction she'd expected. He laughed. "I am James." "No. You said your name was Janey Ridge..." Or did he? Was the file still there? She checked her tablet's recordings and found one from that day. The sound was off coming from the tablet's tiny speakers but still clear as the boy in the recording said, "I am Jayne Ridgell. Jayne Felton Ridgell." "Janey Felton Ridgel. James Fenton Redtail." It could be coincidence that both names sounded almost the same. No. No coincidence. But not likely he'd just told the truth either. "First on card with your picture. The second on your collar. First we know is you. You are Janey Felton Ridgel. What goes on a collar? James is your owner. So who is James Fenton Redtail, and how do we find them?" He laughed again, this time a desperate laugh, the kind she'd heard herself make more than once since her project crashed around her.
  15. Chapter Six James After Andria ran off I spent the rest of the night poking at the screen of the tablet she'd left me. I figured out two things right away. The language tutor program she'd left me was aimed at little kids and even if I was old enough for college it was still going to take all night just to get this almost the same alphabet stuck in my head. I can't really remember how long it took when I learned to read English, but a full evening was probably a lot faster. At the same time I was learning such useful words as apple, cat, and pie. The next morning I woke up and started in on the tutorial again while waiting for Andria to show up. I'd tried finding a browser or email the night before but the only apps the tablet would let me start were the language tutorials. Once again my fantasies were running face first into reality. I'd already discovered that getting stuck in a diaper without a choice was not the same as wearing one for a little private playtime. Half the fun the day before I landed in the hospital had been knowing I had a secret but I'm not sure if anyone who'd been in my room left without finding out what I was wearing. I'd heard about other cities where there were enough diaper lovers and age players to have our own places to meet and enjoy some time with our little side. I'd always though it would be fun to just relax and have fun while an auntie or uncle or babysitter took care of everyone. Watching cartoons, making a masterpiece in a coloring book, maybe even help watch the littler ones. Laying in a hospital bed with a tablet that had all the parental controls turned on wasn't anything like that. Well, I did find a coloring book in the language tutor app. Learn your words and get new pages to color in. I bet whoever programmed it would be surprised how effective a bribe college age me was finding it. With something to do the time passed quickly, before I knew it I was finishing off dinner quick as I could so I could get back to learning the words for all the things one might find in a park. Birds that chirp, flowers to smell, and balls to kick about were waiting for me to remember their names. I'd passed some tests and leveled up a few times and had to fight off an attack of the yawns before I realized I hadn't seen Andria. I don't think I'd ever been as desperate to see someone again. Even if we barely understood each other at least we could talk. Someone plugged the tablet in while I slept and slept deeper than I had for days. I didn't wake up until the morning nurse was fixing the last tape on a dry diaper. I tried giving him what I was pretty sure was supposed to be the local way of saying, good morning, but just got a blank look. Grabbing the tablet I skimmed through the lessons until I found the words and tried showing it to him while speaking again. "Good morning." Pointing to the words after speaking didn't seem to help. All I could do was go back to studying and look up occasionally to see if Andria was back again. I didn't see her again until the next day. Partway through lunch there was a knock on my door frame and I looked over to find her leaning against it. I gave a wave and tried giving another greeting. "Hello. Good afternoon." She gave me a tired wave of her own that made me wonder when she'd last had any sleep. But that concern went away when she spoke and I actually understood what she said. "Good boy! Good afternoon." She looked at my tray and added a little more, "Yummy lunch?" "Good lunch." There wasn't any bland gritty oatmeal with lunch. Nope, today I actually got a pretty tasty chicken soup. I wasn't sure about dessert. It was some kind of fruit cup and those could be really good or really bad. But even if dessert was bad the soup made it a good lunch. While I went back to finishing off that soup she picked up the tablet and tapped away at it. When I looked over she gave me a smile, "You … learning lots. Good boy!" I didn't catch every word but I could still tell what she was saying. Andria was officially my best friend in all of wherever we were. That was the next thing I wanted to find out. "Where here?" "…" The words weren't anything I'd learned yet. But she must have seen my confusion because after a pause she said, "School hospital. Big school." "Where school?" She pulled out her own tablet and after a moment showed me a map with several buildings and a little flag that I'm guessing showed where we were. Tapping at an icon the map zoomed out to show most of a city, out a few more times and some mountains and neighboring cities, a few more taps and there were a couple of lakes and some coastline. They seemed a little familiar but I just couldn't place it. After staring at it a while I reached out and when Andria didn't object I gave the zoom icon two more taps. Now I could see much more of the coastline and the region we were in was just a tiny part of the map. I just kept staring and it was like trying to talk with her, just like the words the map was so crazy familiar and totally different at the same time. "I know that. Where did I see those lakes before. It's almost... It couldn't be..." I tried turning the map over but the tablet just reset so it was the same way up as before. After a few times Andria took the tablet back tapped something and gave it back to me. This time when I flipped it around the map remained flipped over. Or right side up as far as I was concerned. Zooming out again the huge lakes and coastline became even more familiar even if none of the borders were right. Zoom out, zoom out again, and there was no mistaking it. It wasn't a perfect match. The borders weren't at all what I expected. Both too many and not enough. But there was where Florida should be, sort of, California on the opposite coast, Alaska up above. And right near the flag showing where we were? I'm pretty sure I learned in school that there were five Great Lakes. I think. I never lived near them so I never really thought they were all that important. On this map it looked kind of like there were three but maybe if there was less water in that spot they'd split up. Maybe a fourth off a little ways. But I was sure it still looked really close to what I'd always seen on maps before. I pointed where we were on the map, "New England." Then moved across to the tip of California down probably into Mexico, it had been years since my last geography class, then kept tracing along where I thought the border around the state should be, "California," then I pointed a ways San Diego and LA, deeper into the state where you'd find my slice of nowheresville, California, better known as, "Prado Fresco." I looked up to find a gleam in Andria's eyes. A moment later she had a stylus out and had me repeating the names while she scribbled notes on the map with a stylus. I'm not sure how long we spent doing that. I'd just finished trying to scribble in as many state borders as I could remember when I heard a brief ring before Andria took a call. She went from distracted to startled in no time. Suddenly she was retrieving her tablet and placing the other one back in my hands. "Good boy, keep learning." And with that she was gone again. Andrea "Kelsey, what did you do to make Gwyn start cursing?" "This." He hesitated then handed over a tablet. Being the most junior member of the team, not even a graduate student yet, had made him the team's chore boy. But he was usually more excited when he actually got to crunch numbers and show off the math skills that got him that place on the team. Instead he sounded tired and barely seemed to have the strength to lift that tablet. "Nothing but dumb, blind luck. I showed it to Ms. Rasner because I hoped I was wrong." Andrea skimmed through the pages of math. The year before Gwyn had expanded on Tokomatsu and Zinke's theories allowing Andrea to work out how to actually put it to the test. Now Kelsey had taken the pattern Gwyn spotted in the transference locations and figured out how to link that back into her expansion on Tokomatsu and Zinke. Reading through the initial pages she couldn't tell just what had upset the team's two math geniuses. Then she reached the part where Kelsey began drawing conclusions from his work. She had to read it three times before accepting it. "That, that's less than the diameter of a hydrogen atom. That's less than the diameter of a proton or neutron, isn't it? Maybe an electron." "It's pure dumb luck we got anything. We should have been playing the lottery because we burned through a lifetimes worth of luck getting anything whatsoever to happen." Reading the rest of his conclusions made her want to scream. Instead she simply returned the tablet and gave him a shrug. "When Gwyn stops cursing sit with her and go over this again and get it written up proper." She started to walk out then turned around, "You'd better grab some of the chicken and creamed rice from the place on seventh street. She won't throw anything at you if you've got that. I'll put someone else on maintenance, getting that ready to publish is your job now." And now about all she had left was making sure Kelsey got his fair share of credit for whatever they could salvage. No, there was still the rest of the team. "Let's see, what was Donnelson planning to write up..." It was the scent of coffee that woke her. Sitting up she found someone had draped a blanket over her after she'd fallen asleep at her desk. A plate with a lemon pastry sat next to the still steaming mug convincing her to stay awake at least long enough to finish them. "Morning boss." "Ogden? Never mind kid, you brought the sacred chemical of wakefulness, all is forgiven." Ogden just gave a shrug, "You weren't the only one who slept over. I'll just set about waking the others now." One coffee, pastry, and a dozen emails later Professor Gualle and Sergeant Jaffrey showed up. The sergeant spoke up first. "I would like an agreement that my office will be notified before you do whatever it was you did again." "That won't be necessary." Andrea kept going when the sergeant looked like she was about to complain, "It won't be necessary because we won't be making any more attempts. We've learned enough in the last few days to realize we'd have better chances of flying to the moon by flapping our arms than successfully repeating this experiment." She turned to Professor Gualle and gestured over her shoulder at a very busy white board. "The part marked off in red is the deal breaker. Kelsey worked it out and Gwyn agrees with him. If we can't build within that precision the math goes chaotic. And not even the kind of chaotic that gives you a nice screen saver." Sergeant Jaffrey looked at the board for a few seconds. "So there won't be any more surprise renovations to our walking paths?" "Not by my team. All we can do now is write up the results and hope we can salvage something from an unrepeatable experiment that never should have worked in the first place."