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Author's Note: Author's note:  I've been reluctant to post this.  It's something that started on Cushypen that I haven't finished yet.  Lots of requests and commissions.  This is the first story I'm going to finish on site once the requests dry up, and it's also the one that several people have asked me in the past to update and/or spoil for them.  So it's actually kinda flattering and special to me.  That being said, this is still very much a work in progress.

 

(From an article in www.lyfentymes.com ; originally posted.  10/17/2166)

 

The Official Dawning of a New Era

By-Russel Mathews

 

Agnes Aberdeen died today; and with her death we are now on the cusp of a new era in human civilization.  This is not her obituary, however.  Mrs. Aberdeen’s death, which ends her tenure as the world’s oldest living person (no small feat, mind you), makes for another historic occasion that many in this day and age may take for granted.

 

Mrs. Aberdeen was born September 6th, 2036.  Three days later, the greatest scientific advancement premiered before the world.  Symbiotic Universally Integrated Technology or S.U.I.T.s as they became known, saw military combat and changed the way the western world, and later the globe, functioned on every level of society.
Considered a fantasy since at least the latter half of the twentieth century, S.U.I.T.S- also derogatively referred to as “mechs” by early critics of the technology due to their not-coincidental resemblance to the fantastical (and admittedly impractical and cumbersome) giant robots made popular in Japanese pop fiction- have become every bit the modern miracle that they were promised to be.

 

For those of you too young to know or who are unfamiliar with the history of our most common means of conveyance, S.U.I.T.s originally started as military weapons in the Middle East.  They were deployed as both a political and practical response to the increasingly unpopular use of combat drones.  While drones assured the safety of American troops, their lack of accuracy and intelligence gathering skills made them of poor use for precision strikes where non-combatants might be at risk.  Civilians were injured and killed, and the wrong people died in what history files call “The War on Terror”.

 

So when CyberCorp premiered its Mark I design, resembling a clunkier, less sleek, less sexy version of a particular comic book superhero as the United States Military’s newest and greatest weapon, hopes were high, but expectations were very, very low.

 

And yet, amazingly, it worked.  With the destructive power of a drone, protective capabilities surpassing that of a tank, yet with the ability to maneuver and the judgement of a living human being; U.S. military might and support soared as U.S. Military and foreign non-combatant casualties plummeted.

 

Further upgrading of analysis and targeting software protected our soldiers from ambushes and surprise attacks.  The S.U.I.T.s became capable of anticipating danger and reacting before the soldiers wearing them could.  Then CyberCorp’s creation of the very first “Asimov Subroutines” into the S.U.I.T.s’ software put in extra safeguards so that lives were not accidentally lost and capture and interrogation of hostile forces could occur.

 

This eventually led to the creation of law enforcement models, with powerful but non-lethal violence deterrents.  The Asimov programming, now growing by leaps and bounds thanks to government backing due to the success abroad, made it so that more suspects were successfully taken into custody instead of shot.  Police, not fearing for their safety (appeasing critics on the right) and with a wide arsenal of non-lethal options (appeasing critics on the left) made less hasty decisions involving those they came across.

 

The S.U.I.T.s have more than earned their “symbiotic” status.  When a machine’s power, but a human’s judgement was required, S.U.I.T.s rose to the challenge.  Likewise, when a human’s intent needed to be reined in with mechanical precision, S.U.I.T.s filled that need.
From there it was onto the construction and manufacturing sector.  Dangerous jobs required protection and S.U.I.T.s provided it. S.U.I.T.s designed for exploring inhospitable habitats and ecosystems or wading into the danger of a burning building were constructed.

 

And of course, who among us in our forties and older can forget the breathtaking live concert where Margaret Magpie performed her greatest hits, dancing to original acrobatic choreography, all while wearing a S.U.I.T.?  S.U.I.T.s had become status symbols of the rich and powerful.  You weren’t someone unless you were wearing one.

 

A handful of years later, CyberCorp perfected and mass produced non-combustion clean fusion propulsion technology, drastically reducing the need and dependence for already depleted fossil fuels. New models of flying S.U.I.T.s hit the market and automobiles have all but gone the way of the horse and buggy; used primarily to transport children and people too young or infirm to legally pilot their own S.U.I.T.s  Market saturation soon made the S.U.I.T.s available to everyone, becoming as indispensable in the modern day as someone’s refrigerator.
New trade shows and previews from CyberCorp continue to promise new advancement on these miracle machines once called “mechs”.  There are medical S.U.I.T.s that can perform surgery with complete precision, requiring only a human doctor to determine where the cutting is to be done.  There’s talks of professional “Mech Leagues” where different models of S.U.I.T.S. and pilots are pitted against each other in much the same way that professional athletes compete; only now it’s a measure of skill and not a measure of pure physical athleticism.

 

It is my humble opinion that there is nothing that these S.U.I.T.s cannot and eventually will not due that betters our lives.

 

In conclusion, in my limited authority as a journalist, I declare that with Agnes Aberdeen’s passing, a new era is upon us.  Agnes was the last living person to hear with her own ears the word “mech” in a derogatory fashion within her lifetime.  I’d say it’s about time to take the word back.  Agnes Aberdeen existed before mech technology.  She was Before Mech.  But now is a new era: We are After Mech.  Perhaps historians will look back on this day and see it as I see it.

 

It’s not really October 17th, 2166 A.D.  It’s just Day 1, Year 1 of A.M.

 

The above is an opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of LyfeNTymes.com or its writing staff.

 

(From the award winning political blog: “I’m Not Your Friend, Buddy.”  www.fubuddy.net  Originally posted 4/16/2169)

 

It’s not a mech revolution.  It’s a social collapse:

By “Buddy F. Guy”. (actual name: Franklin Guyson)

 

So yeah, it’s been a little under three years since so-called “journalist” Russel Mathews proclaimed that some old lady dying meant that we were on the “cusp of a new era in human civilization.”  I’ve actually copied and pasted the editorial ABOVE my own entry, (yeah, I know; me sharing the spotlight with anyone?  We really are on the cusp of a new era in human civilization!)  So if you, my loyal followers and seekers of truth, my “Buddy Bros” as the North Wing media likes to call us, haven’t read that yet, go back up and check it out.  Sorry kiddies, this is like reading any novel that they haven’t made a holo-vid for yet.  You gotta slog through the boring stuff before you get to the good parts.

 

So if you haven’t read it yet, go back and read it.  Honor system.

 

You back yet?  Good.

 

So by Mr. Mathews’s predictions, we are roughly in year 2 or 3 of his “After Mech” era, where machines make all our lives easier; depending on whether you’re starting over in January, making Year 1 very short.  Who knows what grandstanding blowhards with their prophecies are really thinking? (Yeah…. Pot. Kettle. Black. I know.  But we can smell our own kind, so there’s that.)

 

Point being, that we’re supposed to be in some kind of MechTopia where mechs (I am taking “mechs” back from Mathews’s taking it back.  It’s still a dirty word) make all our lives easier and humanity can reach its full potential blah, blah, blah.

 

And yes, to a degree, this is happening. But for those of us who still live in a little something called reality, the situation looks a lot different.  It’s less H.G. Wells, and more George Orwell and Adlous Huxley, with a sprinkling of Joseph Heller. We’re on the verge of a “-topia” alright.  It’s just not a utopia.

 

Yes, I will be the first to admit that a mech police force and military has done a lot of good over the last couple of decades.  Violent crime is at historic lows because most people are afraid to tangle with tinmen, and people who commit crimes with their own suits can actually be shut down via fail safes that only police mechs can access.  How someone hasn’t managed to pirate the shit out of that and rule the world, I have no idea, and frankly I kind of hope they never do.

 

Even if they did, the Asimov Subroutines kick in not allowing for any harm to come to humans, in or out of suits.  Miracles, truly.

 

We are closer than ever to world peace.  No one wants to fight an army of these things.  The countries that don’t have this tech don’t bother to start too much shit and the countries that do don’t attack each other, because once again, Asimov Subroutines.

 

I don’t know how CyberCorp and its subsidiaries do it, but from a standpoint of product maintenance and safety, I tip my hat to them.

 

So what’s my problem, then?  Everything else:  Unions are all but extinct, giving the employees zero bargaining power.  There used to be a time where you had to have special licenses to operate heavy machinery.  Now, because so much of the technology is intuitive, you maybe need a one day tutorial along with the same license that basically everyone who flies around in those monstrosities gets.  More and more labor is becoming unskilled labor.

 

And I hear that in some parts of the world, they’re talking of lowering the piloting age down to 16.

 

How much bargaining power do you as an employee have when you can be replaced in one day by a sixteen year old?  If that were the only thing, that would be enough to cry foul.  But it’s not, my friends.  It’s not.

 

Anyone who has taken public transportation in a major metropolitan area will be well aware of the Transit S.U.I.T.s made to steer the velocity platforms that now function as the primary form of public transportation.  Over the last few years, smaller versions have started showing up in garages of suburbia so soccer moms can take their little snot-nosed darlings out for ice cream without having to leave their oh-so-convenient miracle machines and drive a car.  I encourage anyone reading this to wiki-google rickshaw if you’re unfamiliar.  See a similarity? I do.  It’s completely impractical to the point of farce, and CyberCorp could easily have made clean burning, flying (or at least hovering) cars, but instead of adapting their products to the rest of the world, they’ve forced the world to adapt to them.

 

If the absurdity ended there, that would be enough.  But it doesn’t.  Recent international surveys actually show an increasing trend of people who- by choice- refuse to leave their mechs for the majority of their day outside of their homes.  Several major universities have expanded the doorways to their lecture halls so that students in mechs can bring their hollow Frankenstein’s Monsters inside instead of leaving them out in the parking lot.  A majority of those Velocity Platform Operators say they wouldn’t want the platforms outfitted so that they could pilot the damn things from the inside without a Mech because they feel safer and more confident flying outside in a mech.  We live in a world where people are becoming increasingly more frightened to be outside in just their own bodies.

 

If the ridiculousness of how we bend over backwards for these so called “tools” ended there, that would be enough.  But of course, my Bros, it isn’t.

 

There are school districts that are requiring that their teachers pilot mechs in the classroom.  Take a second and read that again.  Teachers, ESPECIALLY teachers of small children, are being required to wear seven to ten foot tall metal robots, because it’s more reassuring to the parent to know that the person caring for their little ones cannot under any circumstance physically harm their precious bundle of joy due to Asimov Subroutines.  Apparently the ones that are being put into Teacher S.U.I.T.s are specialized and are extra Asimovy or some bullshit.

 

We’re living in a world now where people are trusting machines with their children over other people.

 

Blah blah blah, there, blah blah enough.  (See where I’m going with this, kiddies?) IT ISN’T!

 

CyberCorp’s stock and sales have risen steadily for the last thirty years, easily.  You know what else has risen by roughly an equal amount? Adult incontinence products.  You know what hasn’t risen? Reports and diagnoses of incontinence.

 

“Now why is that, old Buddy, old pal?” you may be asking.  The reason is for the conditions that I’ve just informed you about.  There are a growing number of people who either don’t want to or aren’t allowed to leave their mechs.  Want to take a bathroom break construction, worker?  Not likely, since you can be replaced very easily.  What about you officer?  No?  When you’re always on duty, they mean ALWAYS on duty?  Oh Miss Teacher…hahahahahahaha!  Yeah. No.

 

And those are only some of the people that HAVE to wear diapers as part of their work.  There are plenty of people who are choosing to pee themselves due to some paranoid fear that getting out of their giant hunk of armor for two minutes to go take a leak is going to result in them getting mugged or something.  And considering “safety” has been a major buzzword for the last three ad campaigns, who can blame them?

 

We’re giving up our freedom, and one of the first signs of physical independence, for some perceived safety and a modicum of convenience.

 

I know they’re called S.U.I.T.S. people but they’re not actually suits.  We shouldn’t HAVE to wear them to work.

 

 

Mona

 

“Bank left,” the voice buzzed over the speaker in Mona’s headset.  Mona turned left around a skyscraper, narrowly missing a speeding commuter that had chosen right then to accelerate their S.U.I.T. into a blur of well over a hundred miles per hour.  If Mona’s timing had been only a little different, just a fraction faster, she would have collided in mid-air and had a very long fall to think about it, assuming the hit hadn’t made her unconscious.

 

“Ugh,” Mona groaned into her speaker at the near miss.  “Pain in the butt, speedster.”  Ungracefully she attempted to move in line with the other pilots at this altitude.  She hated being up this high.  One wrong move, and the last thing she might see is the inside of the helmet she was wearing.

 

According to the system specs, (and about three hours’ worth of training holo-vids) in the event of a high speed collision, the S.U.I.T.’s safety and Asimov Subroutines would kick in; with gyroscopic sensors to stabilize her, retro repulsors to slow her descent, and emergency pulses to alert non-Emergency Response S.U.I.T.s on the ground to automatically avoid the debris that was her and to trigger the alarm systems of the nearest Emergency Responders; chances are she’d survive. That and these tin cans were by their very nature designed to take a beating and withstand high impact collisions, she’d statistically have a better chance of drowning in her own bathtub.  She’d survive the fall had she been hit.  But “survive” wasn’t the same thing as “stay out of the hospital”.

 

You didn’t fall a few thousand feet and NOT get banged up a little.  And to think there were still people who actually paid money to fall out of the air; and that was without S.U.I.T.s!

 

“Language,” Dr. O’Brien told Mona over the headset as she clumsily flew above the rooftops with what might be millions of others sharing the sky with her today.  She saw a few dozen metal clad middle fingers flash at her as she sputtered and bobbed around, increasing and decreasing her speed, seemingly at random while other pilots tried to compensate.

 

“I said ‘butt’,” Mona remarked as she weebled and wobbled her way back into the traffic.

 

“And I said language,” Dr. O’Brien replied flatly, not amused.  “Now focus.”

 

“Yes Ma’am,” Mona sighed.  How was she supposed to focus on flying with Dr. O’Brien squawking in her ear over the communications link?

 

“Make sure to use the caution signals every time you turn or change altitude,” Dr. O’Brien instructed.  “They’ll send a pulse to the other S.U.I.T.S’ guidance systems indicating that you’re coming into their flight path and the systems will respond accordingly.  But,” she added, “they have a harder time when you’re weaving around like a drunk fighter pilot.  You’re in busy New York City traffic, not a dogfight.”

 

“A what?” Mona asked, bobbing and weaving in jerky half committal motions.  She looked around, confused, which didn’t make any of the other commuters particularly happy.   “What do dogs have to do with flying?”

 

“Never mind,” Dr.  O’Brien told Mona.  “Just use the caution signals.” Then Mona heard an annoyed muttering and something about kids today having no sense of history.

 

Mona’s head instinctively scanned from side to side looking for the caution signals, and then groaned in remembrance.  So much about piloting these S.U.I.T.S. was about kinesthetic movement- especially with the older models, which was all the school had access to.  You had to move your body in certain specific ways to activate certain features.  Learning to fly in one of these things when you were eighteen was about as graceful as a toddler learning to walk for the first time; and that wasn’t the only thing about her present condition that made Mona feel particularly babyish.

 

“How do I do that, again?” Mona asked, becoming increasingly flustered.

 

“Clench your fists and stiffen your arms, like you’re nervous.” Dr. O’Brien instructed.

 

“But my fists are clenched and my elbows are completely locked!” Mona whined a bit.  Meanwhile others were flying over, under and around her to compensate for her increasingly erratic flight pattern.  None of their speakers were on, and no one was sending any communication broadcasts to her, but she could tell they were less than pleased.  Mona was glad that the S.U.I.T.S. were so well insulated against sound; otherwise, she’d likely hear a stream of swear words hurled in her general direction as people who were more comfortable and competent hurtled past her.

 

“Hold on, let me come check,” Dr. O’Brien said, and then the communication link clicked off.

 

Mona gritted her teeth.   She had seen in plenty of old holo-vids that old automobiles had had horns to blare in protest and warning.  Thank goodness S.U.I.T.s didn’t have that feature; otherwise she was likely to go deaf.  The pressure of waiting for Dr. O’Brien was making her very aware of other pressures building inside her.  She knew it had to be in her head, but she also heard the distinct rustling of soft plastic as she wiggled her hips ever so slightly.

 

Mona’s speed reduced to a relative crawl, if not a standstill.  She was so done with today.  She’d spent the last twelve hours trapped in this thing doing exercise after exercise and drill after drill, and she wasn’t getting any better at it.  Even from her height she could make out tiny dots of people walking down the Manhattan street.

 

“Why do we even have streets, anymore?”  Mona muttered to herself more than anyone else.

 

“Mona?” Dr. O’Brien’s voice buzzed back into Mona’s headset.  “How long have you been clenching your fists?”

 

“Since the last takeoff,” Mona answered uncertainly, “why?”

 

There was an uncomfortable silence, and then Dr. O’Brien said, “Alright, I think you’ve had enough for one day.”  That’s when the New York skyline and everything in it froze.  The other traffic goers stopped, suspended in mid-air, the soles of their metallic boots still glowing an electric blue as if they were being propelled forward.

 

Then the sky flickered for a moment, before everything went black.

 

“Simulation, over.”  A light, feminine voice devoid of any expression intoned into Mona’s ears.

 

“What did I do wrong?” Mona groaned to herself in the precious few seconds of privacy she had left.  She felt a cool breeze rush in as the back of the S.U.I.T. hatch opened and the sensitive hydraulics nudged her away and into the open air. She didn’t feel as much as she sensed the fluorescent light of the high school’s S.U.I.T. Simulation Center at first.  Instinctively she stretched her upper body out of the machine’s cockpit and interface and blinked as her eyes adjusted to the light.

 

Mona felt a gentle hand on her backside and heard an almost smug “Thought so” along with the unmistakable crinkle of the diaper pulled up around her hips.

 

“Step out and climb down,” Dr. O’Brien, who had been the one gingerly squeezing her rump ordered.

 

Mona did as she was told and shook her hair out the moment one foot hit solid ground.   Straight, shoulder length, jet-black hair fluttered briefly and then settled, neatly framing her face.  She took a second to smooth out her hair with her hands as she looked up into Dr. O’Brien’s bright blue eyes.

 

That sudden change of perspective was something Mona supposed she would never fully get used to, assuming she got her S.U.I.T. license.  Whenever she climbed into one of the old behemoth clunkers that had been retrofitted into a S.U.I.T. simulator, she felt amazingly tall for those few seconds before the simulation kicked in.  Dr. O’Brien, who was by no means a short woman, was dwarfed by the machines.

 

Mona compared the height difference to standing on stilts, she felt so tall. Though considering how inadequate she felt it was more akin to a small child foolishly declaring that they are now “taller” than someone else simply because they found higher ground.  In the real world, when not encased by a giant suit of armor, Mona was a few inches shorter than her S.U.I.T. instructor.

 

Mona looked past her teacher and to the row of other simulators, still running.  They were effectively alone for the time being.

 

“What am I doing wrong?” Mona asked, exasperated.

 

“You’re clenching,” Dr. O’Brien said flatly, adjusting her glasses.

 

“But I thought I was supposed to,” Mona said, brown eyes blinking in puzzlement.

 

“Not at the start, you’re not.” Dr. O’Brien replied.  “The S.U.I.T.S. are designed to react to your body movements, but they can only do that relative to what you give them.  When you start off all tense like that, the programming establishes that as the baseline.  The machine literally thought you were relaxing because you gave it no other data to work off.”

 

“Well…yeah,” Mona said as if her being tense were the most obvious and natural thing in the world.  “I was flying thousands of feet in the air above Manhattan.  Why wouldn’t I be nervous?”

 

“It was just a simulation,” Dr. O’Brien tilted her head forward, her eyebrow cocked.  “If you can’t handle a simulation, how can I expect that you’d be able to handle the real thing?”

 

“Well,” Mona flustered, shifting side to side to alleviate the pressure in her bladder.  “It’s not like I’m going to be going to the real New York City anytime soon.  Why can’t we have more realistic encounters?  Like Orlando or something?”

 

“If you want to come up with the money and the software and the funding to get simulations for Orlando, be my guest,” Dr. O’Brien told her.  “Besides, if you can fly in New York City, you can fly anywhere.”

 

“But it’s just a simulation,” Mona echoed, not fully appreciating the hypocrisy that her argument had turned to.

 

“Exactly,” Dr. O’Brien smirked.  “And you’re having little panic attacks over a simulation of the place.  Imagine how tense you’d be if you were actually in the air. You need to learn to relax,” she said, not unkindly.  “Trust the machine.  It was built for this kind of stuff.”

 

“I’m trying,” Mona insisted, her hands unconsciously fiddling with themselves right below her waist.

 

“You just need to let go a little bit,” Dr. O’Brien encouraged.  “Maybe talk to your dad.  He’s a policeman, right?”  Mona nodded, mutely.  “He pilots S.U.I.T.s all the time, and in much worse circumstances than you’ll hopefully ever be in.  Maybe he has some tips for you.”

 

“Yes ma’am.” Mona sighed. She really didn’t want to talk to her dad about this.  He just wouldn’t understand.

 

“Oh, and another thing,” Dr. O’Brien paused and looked over her shoulder, to make sure no other students were exiting their training S.U.I.T.s  She leaned in so close, that Mona could make out bits of gray weaving into the curly tangles of Dr. O’Brien’s otherwise vibrant red hair.

 

“It might help you to relax if just relax your bladder every once in a while,” she whispered into Mona’s ear.

 

“What?!” Mona yelped, blushing profusely.  “But I-“

 

“Honey, you’re dry as a bone,” Dr. O’Brien interrupted her.  “You’ve been practicing literally all day while other students have come and gone.  You’ve been holding it in all this time, when you don’t have to.  That can’t be good for your nerves or your concentration.”

 

“I don’t want to, though,” was the only objection Mona could muster.

 

“I know it’s not the greatest thing in the world, Mona,” Dr. O’Brien placed her hand reassuringly on Mona’s shoulder.  “But sometimes it’s necessary.  There’s an awful lot of jobs that require you to be working in the S.U.I.T.s at all times.”

 

“I’m going to fail my S.U.I.T.s test because I won’t pee my pants?” Mona frowned.

 

“No, but I think that you’re so uncomfortable with the act is a symptom of a larger problem,” Dr. O’Brien said sympathetically.  “You’re going to need to get over a lot of fears and anxieties if you’re going to be able to pilot one of these babies.” She gestured to the metal frames lining the room.

 

“Can’t I just have a bathroom break?” Mona asked, looking down at the floor in embarrassment.

 

“That’s why I’m letting you out before the next wave of students are done practicing,”  Dr. O’Brien smiled softly.  “Go on and get changed into street clothes before somebody finds out about your secret.”  Mona cringed at the word “changed”.

 

“Yes Ma’am,” Mona said before half walking, half jogging away to the locker room.

 

“Oh, and Mona?” Dr. O’Brien called after her.  Mona turned back and looked over her shoulder.  “I’m giving up my Spring Break so that you and the other kids can practice getting their licenses.  The least you could do is think about what I’ve said.”

 

“Yes Ma’am,” was all that Mona said.

 

Mona hurriedly rushed into the locker room, the rustling sound of her diaper, like a dozen little garbage bags wrapped around her waist, followed her all the way to the toilet.  Hidden in the safety of a toilet stall, she stuck her thumbs deep into the waistband of the incontinence brief she wore and pulled it well down past her knees before finally sitting down and relieving herself on the toilet; the way God intended.

 

She breathed her first sigh of relief all day as she emptied herself, the little bits of burning tension trickling out of her into the bowl beneath her.  She steadied her breathing and leaned forward a bit, examining the contents of her diaper.

 

Mona wore the diaper, as was a requirement when training with the S.U.I.T. equipment, but she also wore something else.  Around her legs, and cradled by the inside of the diaper was a pair of red satin panties.  These were the reason that Mona couldn’t use her diaper. She’d be soiling more than just herself if she did.

 

Mona had always been a people pleaser her entire life.  She had been a particularly easy child for adults to work with.  She had always wanted to please them and be more like them; more “grown up”.  She had potty trained very easily, before even her second birthday.  She was making her own bed and laying out her clothing to wear the next day at bedtime by three.  Grades were never a problem as she always studied and excelled in whatever she did.

 

She was the very model of the child that all the adults love.  Well behaved.  Polite.  Mature.  Cool.  Smart. Remarkably adroit in social situations.  A little adult, for the most part.  And Mona had taken a certain amount of pride in that, growing up.  Only now, she was a grown up; legally anyways.  And to continue being treated as an adult, oddly enough, meant she had to debase herself like an infant.

 

The thought of nothing but bare skin between her and what amounted to a giant version of a child’s pull-up made her skin crawl.  The fact that to be more independent and no longer rely on public transportation as well as have a growing host of job opportunities available to her she apparently needed to be willing and able to compromise herself caused her brain to tingle unpleasantly with cognitive dissonance.  She idly wondered if maybe she could buy a car from a museum or antique dealer.  They still had cars that actually worked, didn’t they?

 

Voices echoing off the brick and tile of the locker room.  More girls were coming in.  Mona sucked in her breath and gritted her teeth.  What would the other girls think if they saw her like this?   She couldn’t go out of the stall, or else everyone would know that she hadn’t gone in her diaper.  But if she was in the stall, wasn’t it a bit obvious what she was doing in the first place?  She supposed she could lie and say she was changing into her regular underwear and was just a bit bashful or something.  But then wouldn’t they be able to tell the diaper wasn’t used because of how it didn’t swell?  Mona briefly considered dunking the pull-up in the toilet and balling it up to simulate the effect.

 

What kind of ridiculous backwards society had she been trapped into in trying to get this license?  What kind of world did she live in where not peeing yourself was a secret to hide?  What kind of world was this becoming where she was more ashamed to wear regular underwear than something reserved for people who couldn’t be trusted to keep their pants dry?

 

Shivering with anxiety, Mona pulled first her panties, then the diaper back up over her hips.  She opened the door and did her best to quietly sneak over to her backpack where her pants were located.  Even the toilet betrayed her though, as the motion sensor caused the toilet to flush once she walked away.  The sound of water rushing down the pipes roared and echoed off the walls.  Two other girls about Mona’s age, diapers swollen, sagging, and slightly discolored from use, turned their heads around to look at her.

 

“Mona?” one of them said.  “Mona Quimby?”  Mona froze.  She hadn’t heard that voice in years but she recognized it instantly.

 

It was Kourtney Brewer.  Kourtney and Mona had been friends once upon a time before Kourtney was enrolled in private school by her well-to-do parents.   Their friendship was always a strange one to begin with.  Kourtney had infinitely more privilege as a result of her family’s income, but seemed to have this curious fascination with Mona; as if slumming it with the working class girl somehow made her more “authentic” or “real.”  If Kourtney had one shortcoming though, it was that even when she apparently meant it, she still came across as shallow and fake.   Years of obsessively following the latest trends that whatever “it” crowd had invented had made her a bit of a slave to them.  Yet despite how little they had in common, the girls had gotten along famously once upon a time and had just drifted apart over the years.

 

Whatever personality flaws Kourtney had, her body more than made up for them.  Above the waist, puberty had been good to her, with all the right proportions to look “blessed” without looking “too big”.   Her perfect blond hair that she kept short but stylish didn’t have a single hair out of place, even though she had likely just spent several uninterrupted hours crammed into a musty S.U.I.T.S. simulator.  The dimples on her cheeks when she smiled gave her a look of radiant innocence that the Hollywood starlets of yesteryear would have killed for.

 

Whether she was as “blessed” below the waist now that puberty had run its course through her was a mystery for the time being. The soggy padding clinging to her backside all but obfuscated anything significant in that department.  Though she did show off her smooth slender legs with a certain poise.

 

Only Kourtney could look so amazingly confident and yes, Mona had to concede, attractive in a wet diaper.

 

“Hey Kourtney,” Mona waved sheepishly.

 

“Oh my Gee!”  Kourtney smiled a perfect, white toothed smile.  “It’s been so long!”

 

“Yeah…” Mona blushed, wishing desperately that she could just get into her regular clothes and get out of here.  But she knew Kourtney wasn’t going to let that happen.  “Long story short” was only used ironically in Kourtney’s vocabulary.  “How’ve you been?”

 

“Oh that’s no way to greet an old friend!” Kourtney squeaked out, seemingly oblivious to Mona’s general discomfort.  That was another thing about her: Kourtney only seemed to notice that someone was sad when she was sad.  If she was happy, clearly everyone else was too, her little world so revolved around her.  It wasn’t maliciousness, per se, but just the naïve egocentrism commonly found in the very sheltered and very rich.

 

Kourtney walked over to Mona, diaper sagging between her thighs, and gave Mona a full on hug, even going so far as to add two fake kisses to her cheeks in greeting.  That part was new.  Must be a new eccentricity that Kourtney had picked up.   Had Mona been one of the S.U.I.T.S. right then, she’d have been sending warning pulses all over the city, her fists and elbows were locked so tight.

 

“It is so good to see you!” Kourtney beamed as she released Mona.  “How long has it been?”

 

“A couple years, I think.” Mona rubbed the back of her head nervously, unsure of what to do.

 

“That seems about right.” Kourtney nodded.  “Sorry I haven’t been in touch.  I really meant to.”

 

“Yeah,” Mona nodded.  There was an awkward pause.

 

“You grew up so pretty,” Kourtney remarked, smiling.

 

“Oh, thanks,” Mona smiled back awkwardly.  “Uh..you too.”

 

“I know.” Kourtney giggled.

 

“So,” Mona asked, “what are you doing here?”

 

“Oh, I wanted to get in some more practice before I take my S.U.I.T. test,” Kourtney bobbed her head to the side as if coming onto a strange campus that you didn’t attend in the middle of Spring Break were the most natural thing in the world.  “My mom and dad know Dr. O’Brien from before she got into the education field and pulled a few strings.  How did you get in?”

 

“I just asked her.”  Mona shrugged.

 

“Oh,” Was all Kourtney could say.  Whether or not Kourtney was disappointed or bewildered or both that it had been as simple as that, who could say?

 

“Yeah,” Mona shuffled her feet.

 

Once again, there was an awkward pause.  Then, Kourtney’s gaze traveled from Romona’s face and went downward.

 

“Oh hey!” Kourtney pointed at Mona’s padded crotch.  “I see you changed into a fresh one, already.  Very forward thinking, girlfriend!”

 

“Oh!” Mona blushed looking down at her perfectly white, unsoiled diaper, and blushed.  “Um…you noticed?”

 

“Yeah, I just didn’t think kids who went to this school were so advanced.” Kourtney said.

 

“Advanced?” Mona raised an eyebrow in question while trying to not.  She had never thought that wearing a diaper could be seen as “advanced”.

 

“Oh yes,” Kourtney gushed, “going full time to diapers is the latest thing.  It’s all the rage in Europe, big metropolitan cities and, of course, at my school.  If we’re going to be wearing our S.U.I.T.S for over half the day, why should we even bother going back to regular underwear when the day is done?  I didn’t actually think this sleepy little college town would catch on.  Are you unpotty training yourself, too?” Kourtney leaned in, the curious anticipation on her face evident.

 

Mona gagged a little at that thought but managed a choked, “I’m just starting.”  It was a complete and utter obfuscation of the truth, but Kourtney seemed to approve.

 

“Oh magosh!” the blonde girl squealed in delight.  “Me too!”  Mona shuddered in revulsion as Kourtney hugged her again, more closely this time.  Mona was all too aware of Kourtney’s swollen, urine soaked padding brushing ever so slightly up against her thigh.
“Speaking of which,” Kourtney broke off the hug, “I need to go change.  All the experts say it’s good to get used to wearing wet, but I don’t want to be getting a rash just this second.”  Kourtney walked over to what had to have been her locker, the other diapered girl now patiently waiting for her.  Unflinchingly and unhesitatingly, Kourtney yanked down her sodden undergarment with such force that a wet plop could be heard as the pull-up diaper landed on the cold concrete floor of the locker room.

 

Mona whirled around in an attempt to give Kourtney some unasked for privacy, but curiosity got the better of her as she gingerly looked back over her shoulder.  Mona balked as Kourtney stepped out of the incontinence brief, opened her locker and drew out a rather large purse and from it took out a packet of baby wipes and with them began to caress herself up, down, behind, and between her legs.  The used wipes were dropped, quite daintily, into the waiting diaper.

 

Mona’s hand shot to her mouth to prevent her from doing some cross between a giggle and a gasp as Kourtney reached into her purse and withdrew- of all things- a large compact and old fashioned powder puff.  That wasn’t what made Mona almost cry out, however.  Her silence threatened to break as she spied Kourtney powdering not her nose, but her bottom with the powder puff.  The sweet aroma of baby powder as it wafted through the air of the dank high school locker room was unmistakable.  Finally, rather than a pair of panties, Mona saw Kourtney reach into her purse- though perhaps a diaper bag would be a more apt description- and pull out a clean but otherwise identical white pull-up incontinence brief.  With practiced comfort, Kourtney opened up the plastic underwear and stepped into it before pulling it up around her hips.  At this, Mona allowed herself to turn and take in her old friend.

 

While Mona had been mortified, Kourtney’s friend –who come to think of it must have changed herself while Kourtney had cornered Mona- looked on with casual disinterest.  It wasn’t until Kourtney had finished re-diapering herself and reached into her locker to get out a skirt that her friend did the same.  Kourtney’s friend fastened the skirt around her own waist.  It was long and billowing and discreet.  Kourtney’s skirt on the other hand, didn’t hide much.  Kourtney bent over and balled up the used diaper on the floor and gave Mona more than a peak of the puffy white padding between her legs.  Kourtney had always been a bit provocative in dress, but this was new.
“Oh!” Kourtney said after she had thrown away her diaper in a nearby garbage can.  “I thought you’d be getting dressed, too.”

 

Mona felt a lump of anxiety form in her throat as she thought about the contents of her locker.  No way would her skinny jeans fit over the monstrosity wrapped around her bum.  Kourtney might not be the best at reading people, but anyone with a lick of common sense would know that Mona had never intended to wear her diaper out in public.

 

“I, um, actually have to go.  I suddenly have to,” Mona clenched her stomach and motioned with her head back to the toilet stalls.  Her stomach was in knots, but her digestion had nothing to do with it.

 

“But didn’t you just…?” Kourtney question.

 

“Had some tacos that are catching up to me.” Mona lied.  “It’d be a shame to uh…have to change again so soon!  And…it’d be more of a cleanup if you know what I mean.”

 

“Ahhhh!” Kourtney nodded her head in understanding.  “Yeah, I’m not ready to do that, either.”

 

Mona ran to the stalls and slammed the door behind her before once again sitting on the toilet, panting.  What to do?  What to do?  Should she grunt or groan or something?  Should she try to fart? She was trapped, she realized, and for the stupidest of reasons.

 

“Don’t worry, we’ll wait for you.” Kourtney’s voice echoed off the bricks.

 

“Um…I might be a while,” Mona called back, her voice sounding pathetic, but hopefully that was a good thing.  Kourtney might think she was in pain instead of just embarrassed.

 

“Oh,” Kourtney called back sounding a bit disappointed.  Perhaps she saw through the ruse.  “Okay.”  There was another beat of silence before she said,  “Hey, I’m having a party later this weekend.  You want to come?”

 

“Sure,” Mona grunted back, trying to sound preoccupied.  She didn’t particularly want to go, but right now she was willing to say anything for a moment of privacy.

 

“Great!” Kourtney all but squealed.  ”It’s special dress code only.  No pants or panties allowed!”

 

Mona sighed and frowned in her little stall; trapped.  “Cool,” she managed to say, albeit reluctantly.

 

“Bye Mona!” Kourtney called out, her voice finally becoming fainter as she exited the locker room.  “See you later!  I’ll send you the details via Social Meeds!”

 

“Great,” Mona huffed in defeat, her diaper and her panties both around her ankles.  “Now what am I gonna do?”

 

 

Paul

 

“Stop!” the voice cried out.  “Help! Police!”

 

Paul searched for the source of the distress and found it.  With deceptive quickness, his blue and white Police-S.U.I.T. trotted up to the man calling out for help.  The man, who looked to be in his forties was graying and balding with what little hair he had left very disheveled, and looked visibly distressed, on the verge of tears.  He also wasn’t wearing any pants, but that didn’t really factor into Paul’s assessment of the situation.

 

Paul, a giant when he was wearing his S.U.I.T. took a knee so that he was roughly at eye level with the crying man. The he tapped his temple and the visor on his headpiece whirred up so he could make eye contact with the civilian.

 

“Can I help you, sir?”  Paul asked.  “What seems to be the problem?”

 

“Thief!” the man pointed sideways down the road, his tears flowing more freely.  “He stole my S.U.I.T.!  Please, officer, stop him!”  Paul squinted and saw only the tiniest dot on the horizon where the man was pointing.  He nodded his head briskly, almost jerking his chin to the ground, signaling the kinesthetic controls to lower the visor back down.

 

“Rex,” he said.  “Enhance optical and identify.”

 

“Command Received” a deep, monotone voice intoned in Paul’s ear. “Initiating.”  “Rex” was Paul’s pet name for his mech, Police-S.U.I.T. registry number RX-9784.  “Rex” was just easier to remember and say. Plus, it gave a certain feeling of ownership, like maybe the mechanical suit was a pet or something.  At the very least, it was a favored tool or lucky charm.  So, a few years ago, when voice command technology became available and RX-9784 was upgraded, Paul chose to have “Rex” be the command word to get the computer’s attention.  Now when he talked to Rex, the mech talked back.

 

The screen in front of Paul’s face lit up with an amplified view.  A boring, grey, blocky mech took long galloping strides, leaving potholes in the street behind it. “He doesn’t even have his repulsor nodes on,” Paul tisked. “I’d pull him over for that alone.”

 

“S.U.I.T. unit identified.” Rex’s computerized voice droned in.  “S.U.I.T. registry number FE-2467, registered to one Thomas Blanchard.”  A picture of a slightly younger, but not much better looking, man similar to the one crying on the sidewalk next to him came up.

 

“I-I-I got out to change, and I guess I didn’t close the hatch all the way,” Mr. Blanchard stuttered and stumbled.  “Then, this young man just comes up, hops into my S.U.I.T. and takes off.”  Paul couldn’t help but roll his eyes at how pathetic this man, still standing in an obviously wet diaper, was.  Some people had no common sense.  The whole point of diapers were so that you wouldn’t have to get out of the S.U.I.T. till you were in a safe location.  Parking outside some random convenience store was definitely not one of them, and all of the finger print and ocular analysis in the world couldn’t stop a thief if you didn’t close the cockpit properly.

 

Paul tapped the side of his head, signaling for the visor to go up again.   “Mr. Blanchard, I’m going to stop him.”

 

“Th-th-th-thank you,” Mr. Blanchard stuttered.  Paul nodded again closing the visor and bringing up the magnification view on the stolen S.U.I.T. again.  The stolen S.U.I.T. had stopped, its head swiveling around looking from place to place.  Either the suspect had gotten lost, or thought he was in the clear enough to take a second and get better acquainted with the controls. S.U.I.T. theft was an increasingly common crime, but it was done primarily by people who didn’t have or know how to pilot them.

 

Some S.U.I.T.s, especially the older used models, were a little harder to use.  Paul’s father, who had actually driven a car once, compared the older non-voice activated, less intuitive models to “driving stick”, whatever that meant.

 

“Keeping low to the ground, huh?” Paul mused to himself.  “Thought all the cops are going to be up in the air, today?”  Ever the showman, even when no one was around to watch, Paul went into a runner’s lunge.  “Looks like you thought wrong.”  Paul sprinted into action, rapidly becoming a blue and white blur.

 

Paul wasn’t much of a runner, if anything he could stand to lose a few pounds, but with his S.U.I.T. amplifying every movement, every step, and every muscle twitch; Paul was faster than humanly possible.

 

He wasn’t even running as much as he was gliding, with the repulsor nodes in Rex’s feet emitting a low hum, pushing him onward, while keeping the S.U.I.T.’s metal clodhoppers from actually touching the ground.  It wasn’t as fast as flight, but it wasn’t nearly as loud, giving Paul the element of surprise.  Buildings were still whirring past as Paul ran at close to fifty miles an hour, as he slid down a nearly empty street, making sure to steer clear of sidewalks that were home to the pedestrians; more common than you’d think in a college town.  Gainesville was never great when it came to the parking situation and most of the private small businesses hadn’t yet been able to accommodate S.U.I.T.s just yet as was becoming the trend.  The University had spent more money adding a dome to their football stadium so that people flying in mechs couldn’t get a free show.

 

All of this worked in Paul’s favor.  In a town with less foot traffic and the milling white noise that accompanies when people actually have to make eye contact and talk with each other, Paul’s approach might’ve been heard and then, older model mech or not, the suspect would’ve rabbited and given Paul a chase.

 

He wasn’t quite quiet enough, as it turns out.  As soon as Paul had closed enough distance so that he no longer needed visual modification, the perp began running again, leaving an easy to follow trail of potholes in his wake.

 

CLOMP! CLOMP! CLOMP! CLOMP!  The sad and funny thing is, he may have managed to outrun Paul if only his repulsors were on; the overland speed of S.U.I.T.s didn’t vary much from model to model.  Maybe it was malfunctioning.  Maybe that’s why he wasn’t flying.

 

Paul hadn’t even fully formed his hypothesis when the suspect began to take to the air, the hands and feet of the S.U.I.T. crackling and humming at full blast and he began his ascent.  Of all the things Paul hadn’t wanted when he got out of bed this morning, a high speed flight chase through crowded sky traffic was definitely near the top of that list.

 

“Oh. No. You. Don’t!”  Paul yelled as the blocky old S.U.I.T went skyward.

 

Paul pointed his metal clad right index finger at the fleeing suspect while he was still only a few hundred feet up.  “G.P.D. Stop in the name of the law!” he shouted his trigger phrase and activated the electromagnetic pulse beam, firing it at the fleeing suspect.

 

Paul watched with some satisfaction as the stolen S.U.I.T. fell from the sky like a cockroach that had just been sprayed.  He supposed he could have caught the poor loser, but a fall from a few hundred feet wouldn’t do any major damage, and Rex’s scans indicated that all the safety features were working to lessen the damage before the actual impact occurred.

 

Paul trotted the last hundred yards where the stolen S.U.I.T. laid prone.  Luckily, the suspect had belly flopped onto the pavement, so it was a simple matter of opening the hatch on the back.

 

“No broken bones detected,” Rex passionlessly informed Paul.  “Safe to remove pilot from S.U.I.T.”

 

Paul leaned forward and picked up the suspect.

 

“Didn’t do nothin’,” the suspect, a grungy looking twenty something moaned, as Paul picked him up and carried him over his shoulder as easily as if the suspect were a naughty toddler at the grocery store.

 

“You took something that didn’t belong to you,” Paul broadcast out to the young man.  “I’d say that’s not nothin’.”

 

“Man,” the young man harrumphed.  “You ain’t got no proof.”

 

“You mean besides witness testimony, and the fact that that mech isn’t registered in your name?”

 

“Lemme go, this is brutality!” the suspect shouted.  None of pedestrians on the street, some of them in S.U.I.T.S. of their own, gave more than a passing glance.

 

“Please,” Paul smirked.  “You know full well that I can’t physically cause you harm in this thing.  But I can hold you still all the way back to the police station.  So get comfortable.

 

“But I gotta pee! Just lemme go so I can use the can.  I’ll come right back, I promise.”

 

“Should have worn a diaper, then.” Paul countered.  “If that was really your S.U.I.T. you probably would have.”  At that, his adrenaline slowing, Paul relaxed his bladder into his own diaper and smiled a bit in satisfaction.

 

“Oh yeah, before I forget,” Paul said as an afterthought, “Rex, read him his Miranda Rights.”  A prerecorded message started playing from the S.U.I.T., informing the suspect that among other things, he had the right to remain silent.

 

Paul just walked on towards the police station.  He didn’t have any safety harnesses- the Captain would probably nag him about forgetting it- so it wouldn’t do to fly to the station. Besides, he was enjoying the walk of shame:  There were few things more humiliating to a big tough guy than being carted around like a toddler by an even bigger S.U.I.T.  It would give the guy some time to think about what he’d done before he got booked.

 

“Incoming call,”  Rex interrupted Paul’s inner monologue.

 

“Hmm?” Paul glanced at the screen inside his headset.  “Put it through.”

 

“Hey Mona,” Paul said genially enough.  “I’d love to talk to you about your day practicing for your pilot exam, but I’m a little busy right this second.  Talk when I get home?”

 

“Sure, Dad.” Mona sighed before hanging up.

Trevor

    “Right this way, miss,” Trevor said, leading his customer by the hand along the showroom floor.  The fact that he had already forgotten the customer’s name immediately after he had taken a knee and gingerly shook hands with her didn’t bother him in the least.  He knew everything he needed to know about her the moment she walked onto the lot.

 

She was a twenty-something redhead who had all the markings of a sucker with her wide eyed stare and gawking mouth.  Her neck might have been an oscillating fan with how evenly and smoothly it looked around.  Baaaaack and forth.  Baaaaaack and forth.   Trevor could tell from the look in her eyes that she was excited, and bad at hiding it.  She might’ve been at Disney, instead of a new and used S.U.I.T. lot.

 

Truth be told, Trevor figured, she wasn’t actually a carrot top, if the roots on top of her head were any indicator. No one came by that shade of red honestly, anyways. Good.  It meant she had a streak of vanity in her.  He could use that.

 

There was no ring on her finger.  And there was no boyfriend or girlfriend by her side.  She was single, most likely.  Good.  Trevor could use that to his advantage, too.

 

“So are you looking to trade your old model in or is this your first?” Trevor asked, as if he needed to.  Dollars to doughnuts this gal was just out of college, if that, likely still lived with her parents, (or was living in her own apartment on her parents’ money) had gotten her pilot’s license a few years ago but had never stepped inside anything other than a simulator.  Now here she was, ready to get that next big feeling of independence and Trevor was the guy who was going to sell that feeling to her.  And best of all, she was likely paying with Daddy’s credit.

 

“Oh, this is my first,” the girl smiled politely up at Trevor in his shiny bright yellow S.U.I.T.

 

“Oh man!” Trevor grinned in fake enthusiasm. “That’s awesome!  You never forget your first, trust me.”  It didn’t matter that she couldn’t see his grin through the visor on his headpiece.   The break room had a sign just above the doorway.

 

“Remember to smile: Customers can hear the difference.”  

 

With his free hand, he gave her a thumbs up, just in case.  She positively marveled at the gesture, likely wondering how much was Trevor and how much was the mech.  She was a little girl in a toy store, and he was the adult showing her around.  To the uninitiated, it might seem a little demeaning; a man in a big metal robot leading the young woman by the hand as if she couldn’t navigate the vast floor by herself.  But the truth of the matter was that it was practical and necessary.

 

The moment this woman walked onto the lot, she was a proverbial Jill up the beanstalk; a little person stranded in a land of giants.  Every sales associate on the lot was required by company policy to be S.U.I.T.ed up at all times.  They had to show the customer that not only was it possible, but also preferable to spend as much time as possible in these mechs.  Trevor wasn’t just selling a machine.  He was selling a lifestyle.  Being lead around by the hand “for safety purposes” was all part of the sale.   Only the guys in finance were allowed to walk around in clothing that wasn’t fusion powered.  Some focus group or another determined that the “shock and awe” of seeing a bunch of people walking around in S.U.I.T.s made a customer more likely to buy, but being able to meet with someone more on their level- someone less intimidating, someone they could look in the eye- made them less likely to haggle and agree to paying more for any given model.

 

Handholding was probably unnecessary, given how the Asimov subroutines combined with the external scanners in every S.U.I.T. made stepping on a pedestrian all but impossible. But even the best of programming couldn’t completely account for the randomness of some pedestrian running underfoot.  Therefore handholding was necessary when showing a new customer around.  It also had the added advantage of making them feel small and helpless on a subconscious level. So it was corporate’s decision to literally hold the customer’s hand, “just in case”.

 

Besides, it beat carrying her around like she was some kind of invalid or a common shoplifter who had just gotten caught and they were waiting on the cops to arrive and take her away.

 

“Here we are,” Trevor said as they came up to the latest model, letting go of the customer’s hand.  Now feast your eyes on this little beauty.”

 

“It’s…so…big!” she said gawking up at the S.U.I.T.

 

“Yet not too big,” Trevor told her.  “If you have a loft apartment all you’d need is a bigger couch, and you wouldn’t need to ever get out of this number.”   Trevor watched as the young lady’s gaze settled on the S.U.I.T.’s chest.

 

“Why does it have breasts?” she said, seeming slightly put off.  Trevor wasted no time going into his spiel.

 

“The good people at CyberCorp are now designing with the feminine aesthetic in mind.”  Trevor recited the pitch by heart.  “More and more people are getting into occupations that require them to wear S.U.I.T.S. all the time.  But why lose your identity with a genderless automaton?  Let everybody know that there’s a beautiful woman behind the metal mask.  Let them know whose inside just by looking on the outside.”  The customer was nodding her head in consideration.  Good.  She was buying it.

 

“That,” Trevor said, “and the breast compartment can actually be utilized as a storage space.  So if you’re going on a trip, you don’t have to try to cram your suitcase into the cockpit with you.”  Trevor had deviated from script a bit.  He had learned the hard way with several missed sales in a row that women tended to get a bit defensive if the first piece of luggage you mentioned was a purse.  He’d tweaked that last bit of pre-approved CyberCorp dialogue to suit his needs.  You wanted your gender targeted sales pitch to seem empowering instead of demeaning.

 

“Does it really need the metal skirt?” she cocked an eyebrow.

 

“That’s completely optional,” Trevor hastily added. “Does not affect the performance one way or the other.  Some people at corporate just thought that the S.U.I.T. looked naked without it.”

 

“I kind of like it,” she said.

 

“And it’s installed for free.” Trevor replied, making sure to smile.  They could always hear you smile.

 

“Does it have to be pink?” the customer asked.

 

“Oh no, not at all.” Trevor assured her.  “The pink is a little tacky, I’ll admit; but this floor model is part of our breast cancer awareness campaign.  It comes in pretty much any color.”

 

“Even red?” she asked.

 

“Even red,” Trevor nodded.

 

“It’s a little expensive,” she curled her lip a bit.  “Could you show me to the used models, maybe?”  Trevor knew that look.  She wanted to be talked into buying this model.  She just needed someone to do the talking.

 

Trevor took a knee and tapped the side of the S.U.I.T.’s head, flipping up the visor.  His steel blue eyes met her light hazel.  Time to make that connection, however tenuous.

 

“Look.  It’s not my job to tell you what to buy, but I’d feel like I was ripping you off if I didn’t tell you all of the features that this little baby offers.” Trevor began.

 

“Do you have a T.V. at home?”  he asked. She nodded.

 

“What about a computer?”

 

Again, she nodded.

 

“Phone?”

 

She reached into her purse and held it up to him as if to prove it.

 

“Me too,” Trevor said.  He gestured to the machine he was in.  “Only I have all of that, in here.”

 

“I’ve got a holo-vid on pause for the moment I get a break,” he told her.  “And I’m checking my Social Meeds, and I’ve got a call to corporate that I’m due to make as soon as we’re done here, all going on inside the cockpit.”
Trevor saw her blink, but say nothing.  She was either blown away by his claims or didn’t believe them for a second.

 

“Aaaand,” Trevor added, “when I get home and want to stretch my legs a little, all I gotta do is-“ Trevor patted the top of the S.U.I.T.’s helmet and a panel on the forehead opened up.  Projected into the open air was a three dimensional completely remastered Humphrey Bogart, still in black and white (for nostalgia purposes), just about to say “Here’s lookin’ at you kid” to a heartbroken Ingrid Bergman.  Beside that was an Immedi-chat window from Trevor’s Social Meeds.  The customer didn’t say it, but she was clearly impressed.

 

“If you buy one of these, all other connective technology will be obsolete.  Might as well be on the cutting edge, amirite?”

 

Silently, and slowly; she nodded.

 

“But…” she said.  Damnit Trevor hated that word.

 

“You want this, now just take it, already.” Trevor thought, trying to not let his impatience show since the visor was up.

 

“But…” she pressed on with uncertainty. “I don’t really want to have a S.U.I.T. that I’m wearing all the time.  I’m just looking for a way to get to and from work is all.”

 

“Miss,” Trevor sighed as if he was explaining something very simple to someone who was even simpler.  “Are you aware that since S.U.I.T.s became available to the public, violent crime has gone down as people who own and regularly wear a S.U.I.T. have gone up in equal measure?  This hunk of tin doesn’t just get me from place to place,” he pounded on the chest for effect.  “It protects me. And ninety-seven percent of violent crimes since then have been committed against people who don’t own S.U.I.T.S.?”  Trevor recited the statistic.

 

“What about the other three percent” she asked, walking right into Trevor’s trap.

 

“They were committed against people who owned S.U.I.T.S but weren’t wearing them at the time.  Don’t believe me, I can pull up the info right here.”

 

“No,” she shook her head.  “That’s okay.  I believe you.”

 

“The world is dangerous out there,” Trevor said to her in a hushed confidential whisper.  “But as long as I’m wearing a S.U.I.T., I’m invincible.  And you can be both invincible and comfortable.”

 

“Plus” he continued, “with these new models they’re all forward compatible.  Any improvement that CyberCorp makes in the future will be downloaded immediately into the systems.  And just between you and me, Corporate says there’s some doozies just around the corner.  You’ll only need to buy one of these to make them last a lifetime.”

 

There was that brief pause where time stood still for a second.  Trevor could hear his heart beat.  Here he was: The edge of the sale.

 

“I’ll take it,” she smiled.  Trevor smiled back and then jerked his head forward signaling the visor to come back down over his face.  Finally, he let his guard down.

 

It didn’t matter that every software update was automatically loaded into every model, used or otherwise.  As long as she didn’t ask, Trevor didn’t need to tell her.  He took his little customer by the hand and walked her to the finance department where the deal would be sealed.

 

Jody

 

“What can I do for you today Mrs. Alexander?” Jody asked the pearl-white S.U.I.T. in front of her, her own voice ever-so-slightly distorted by the electronic crackle coming from the speakers of her own mech.

 

“It’s about Robert, Jody,” Mrs. Alexander said.  “He’s still not potty training well.”

 

It was a scene that as recent as a decade ago would have been more likely to appear as a farce or satire in a political cartoon:  Two adults, both inside close to ten feet tall mechanized S.U.I.T.s, having a parent teacher conference indoors.

 

A few years ago, it would have been perfectly reasonable for these two adults to leave their S.U.I.T.s in the parking lot and talk eye to eye, in the safety of the daycare facility, but these were becoming perfectly unreasonable times it seemed.  Jody was required by contract to stay inside her purple company issued S.U.I.T. at all times while representing the company.  Mrs. Alexander, on the other hand had every right and opportunity to walk around like a normal human being.  Perhaps she just didn’t want to feel small while talking to Jody.

 

Jody had put little Robbie on the daycare velocity platform close to half an hour ago, where she was assured that his father would be picking him up.  After logging and organizing the activity data files for the day and logging in lesson plans for tomorrow, Jody normally would have taken the time to slip out of her S.U.I.T., throw away her wet diaper with the rest of the kids’, and pick up the scattered toys in the play area by human hand.  Mrs. Alexander had robbed her of that simple daily pleasure.

 

“I know,” Jody sighed.  “None of my students are doing particularly well at potty training, right now.”

 

Her wet pull-up squished uncomfortably between her thighs as she shifted her weight from side to side.  She literally had nowhere to sit down all day.  That was another part of her routine that had been interrupted.  The daycare had been built with higher ceilings and entranceways for the S.U.I.T.s but not with bigger chairs.  A five minute rest on a tiny plastic stool, even if it had been designed with children in mind, would be a welcome reprieve.  At least she wouldn’t have crushed it.  She was so tired she would have killed right then if  it meant she would have been able to sit down on a tiny children’s stool, even in a wet diaper.

 

“And why is that?” Mrs. Alexander asked, an edge of accusation in her voice.

 

Jody shrugged, the hydraulics in her S.U.I.T. replicating the gesture with an audible whirring noise. “Keyboard” she said, not to Mrs. Alexander but to the voice command in her suit.  She held out her metal sheathed arms in front of her and metal fingers began to drum the air as she typed on a computer keyboard only she could see.

 

Then, Jody tapped the top of the mech’s head to activate the projector and the panel on the machine’s forehead opened up, projecting a series of graphs and charts into the air.

 

“Now, here, as you can see,” Jody pointed to one of the charts.  “Is our schedule.  We have mandatory potty breaks every hour or so.  So they’re being given plenty of opportunities during the day.  The rest of time, it’s a matter of catching them before they have an accident and telling them to go.”

 

Mrs. Alexander’s S.U.I.T. leaned in, her head moving slightly as she read the available data.  Jody couldn’t see through the black visor covering Mrs. Alexander’s entire face, and was at least a little bit thankful that Mrs. Alexander moved her entire head to read instead of just her eyes.

 

“What’s this?” Mrs. Alexander pointed a pearl white finger at a separate chart floating in the air.

 

“That’s Robert’s potty training chart,” Jody told her.  “He’s not doing great here.  How’s he doing at home?”

 

“Why do you think he’s doing so poorly?“ Mrs. Alexander asked, completely ignoring Jody’s question.

 

“Honestly?” Jody shrugged again, nervously, “I think a lot of my students just don’t care.”

 

“He’s going into Kindergarten next year!” Mrs. Alexander sounded aghast.  “He should care!”

 

“But, a lot of my students don’t,” Jody explained, trying to keep her tone even.  “They’re seeing a lot of adults wearing diapers, these days. So they think going to the potty is the more babyish thing.”

 

“Yes, but that’s for work,” Mrs. Alexander snapped, as if Jody wasn’t the one who understood.   “I don’t get a bathroom break all day at my job.  No one does.”

 

“Preaching to the choir, Ma’am.” Jody held up her hands in a defensive gesture.  “I’m only telling you what is being said.”

 

“Do you go into the bathroom and supervise them?” Mrs. Alexander asked.  “Make them go on the toilet?”

 

“No ma’am.” Jody shook her head.

 

“Well, why ever not?” Mrs. Alexander retorted. “Clearly they need more supervision than they’re getting.”

 

Again, Jody shrugged.  “The bathroom isn’t big enough for my S.U.I.T. to fit in.  It’s basically the honor system once they go in there.”

 

“Then how do you change them when they have an accident?” The pearl-white S.U.I.T. cocked its head along with its occupant.

 

Jody thumbed back at the six-foot tall changing table at the wall farthest from the entrance.  It was the only piece of furniture that was scaled up to her S.U.I.T.’s dimensions so that she could do her job.  If she wanted a drink she had to hunch over sinks and daintily drink from cups that were a joke to her oversized hands.  The whole world was scaled down for her like this.  Adult sized things became children sized things, and children sized things became doll sized whenever she was piloting her mech.  Changing her students when they had had an accident had been more akin to dealing with squirming, giggling, writhing baby dolls in terms of size and scale.

 

“That’s just ridiculous,” Mrs. Alexander gasped, her S.U.I.T.’s hand traveling up to where its mouth would be (if S.U.I.T.s had mouths instead of those blank black visors that obscured the entirety of the pilot’s face).  “Why, I bet I could fit on one of those.”

 

“Probably could,” Jody nodded.  “I was bored one afternoon, so I took the measurements.  Wouldn’t even be a tight squeeze for most people.”

 

“That’s ridiculous,” Mrs. Alexander shook her head.  “Really, we should find a way to get bigger bathrooms so you can go in there and do your job, properly, not get bigger changing tables so you don’t have to bend over as much.”

 

Jody fought every instinct she had to smack herself on the forehead in exasperation.

 

“Or,” Jody offered, trying to keep calm.  “If you and enough other parents petitioned the daycare center, I could be allowed to exit this S.U.I.T. and supervise the children in the bathroom myself.”

 

“Absolutely not!” Mrs. Alexander shrieked.  “You could hurt him!”

 

“Ma’am,” Jody felt her face flush and for once was glad that no one could see her face right now. “I have a degree in early childhood education.  I’m a professional.”

 

“You’re a glorified babysitter,” Mrs. Alexander scoffed.  “The S.U.I.T. does all the hard work for you and prevents you from abusing the little ones.  Now how are you going to help my little Robbie potty train and get ready for Kindergarten?”

 

“Mrs. Alexander,” Jody said pointedly.  “What are you doing to help potty train Robbie and get him ready for kindergarten?”

 

“That’s not my job!” Mrs. Alexander said, standing up a little straighter.  Jody was suddenly very thankful that the Asimov subroutines prevented an occupied S.U.I.T. from doing harm to another occupied S.U.I.T.

 

“I’m doing everything I can with the limits placed upon me, ma’am.  He’s going to need help at home if he’s going to meet expectations.”  Jody was getting flustered.  This woman wanted to blame everyone but herself, it seemed.

 

“Are you saying my son is stupid?!”  Mrs. Alexander pointed a finger towards Jody.  Jody didn’t need to see the other woman’s face to know that she was scowling.

 

“Not at all, Mrs. Alexander,” Jody tried to explain, her face flushing. “I-“

 

“I’ll be making a call to your supervisor,” Mrs. Alexander said, cutting Jody off before turning around and storming out.  “And,” she called back over her shoulder, “Robert won’t be coming in tomorrow.  We’re going to find a new center with daycare workers who are competent!”

 

Jody listened to her own breath grow ragged while she saw the pearl-white mech carrying the amazingly unpleasant person inside it walk away away.  By the time, Mrs. Alexander was beginning to vanish into the horizon and taking off into the air, Jody was fighting back sobs.

 

Pushed to her limit, she finally opened the hatch and climbed out of her S.U.I.T.  and onto the soft carpeting of the daycare. Barefoot, a wet incontinence brief sagging even more between her legs, and wearing nothing else but a comfortable red t-shirt, she looked more like one of the toddlers that she cared for than the professional she had trained to be.

 

Her shoulder length, strawberry blonde hair, normally kept up in a tight bun during work hours had somehow become undone, and now spilled out around her head, tangled and unkept.  Her emerald green eyes were glassy with tears.  The snot that was starting to spill out from her nose began to bubble and deflate like a frog’s throat.  She didn’t even look four years old right now, let alone twenty-four.

 

Emotionally exhausted, Jody plopped down onto the carpet, not even caring that about the wet diaper, not even caring that she lacked any kind of chair.  She dug her toes into the soft carpeting, perhaps trying to draw whatever comfort she could from the environment around her.

 

She prayed that her supervisor didn’t find out about this, somehow.  It wasn’t for her job’s sake.  Her boss tended to look the other way when it came to her cleanup schedule after hours as long as no children or non-employees were present.  She just didn’t want anyone to see what she was about to do.

 

She would have waited till she got home if she could have, but emotions didn’t work that way, did they?  They weren’t some holo-vid that you could switch on and off and pause and come back to.

 

Jody buried her hands in her face as the tears began to flow and the snot began to bubble.  She couldn’t do this in her S.U.I.T.   For all the amazing things like flight, and protection, and internet access and phone access that S.U.I.T.s offered, Jody couldn’t do the thing she wanted most right now, while inside one.  She wouldn’t have been able to wipe her tears away with her own hands.

 

“This isn’t what I studied for.” She whimpered to herself in the empty playroom, with only the toys and the daycare mech witness to her despair.  “This isn’t what I wanted.”

 

Jody cried.

Mona

 

Mona exited the velocity platform and walked the last few blocks back to her house.  The operator, in his big white S.U.I.T. politely waved goodbye before taking off, dragging the hovering platform behind him into the sky.

 

That was so weird when you actually took the time to think about it.  The platforms -which structurally resembled the old double decker buses that Mona had seen in period holo-vids, if you didn’t count the lack of tires- probably didn’t need someone in a S.U.I.T. to pilot them, dragging them from place to place through the sky.  A few extra propulsion systems would have likely done the trick.  But for some reason the things wouldn’t even move unless a S.U.I.T was linked up with the ugly parallel bars jutting up the front.

 

Back when she was a little girl and thought to ask such questions, Mona had asked her school platform driver why it was necessary for a giant metal mech to pull the platform.  It probably wasn’t doing much of the pulling anyway.  Her pilot had laughed, lifted her visor up, and explained that it was an anti-theft feature.  It made it so that she could park the platform and walk away if she needed to, and no one without the corresponding S.U.I.T. would be able to steal it.  The pilot didn’t have a sufficient answer to little Mona when she had asked if the pilot ever left the platform, or her S.U.I.T. during the day.

The “S.” might’ve stood for “Symbiotic”, but it was more symbolic than symbiotic, Mona figured:  People needed S.U.I.T.s

 

Like it or not, this was the world that Mona had been born into.

 

When Mona got home, the first thing she did was listen for the sound of Dad taking a shower.  He always hosed off after work.  Hearing nothing, she checked the garage.  His mech was noticeably absent.

 

“Gonna be a long day again,” Mona sighed, closing the garage door.  Resigned, yet dreading getting onto Social Meeds, Mona trudged to her room and turned the lights on before sitting down at her computer desk.  It was an older model: With a flat screen, non-three dimensional imaging, physical keyboard and mouse, and only 20 gigabytes of memory; but for her modest purposes, it worked.  It had been hand-me-down from her grandfather when he didn’t need it anymore.

 

Ever the frugal one and people pleaser, Mona had unplugged her computer while she was away at school to conserve power.  She plugged it back in, but as she was waiting for her computer to boot up, she glanced over at her laundry hamper.  It was over halfway full.  She’d likely have to do a load of wash soon.  That was going to bug her.  Might as well get it over with.

 

So Mona started a load of laundry, dumping the contents of her hamper into the washer, closing the lid and throwing in a mix of detergent and all-purpose color safe bleach, before going back to her room, a satisfied smile on her face.

 

As she was typing in her password to access her desktop, she noticed that in her hurry to get up this morning, she hadn’t made her bed particularly well.  In the pre-dawn haze of getting up this morning to catch the first velocity platform that would take her near her school, the bed had seemed good enough, but in the light of the afternoon, it was downright sloppy.

 

“Whelp,” Mona said. “Better fix that, too.”  And so she did.  Were she in military school, no one would have been able to complain about the quality of her bed making.

 

A psychologist might say that Mona was procrastinating and keeping herself busy to avoid the discomfort of talking to Kourtney. But Mona was no psychologist.

 

Mona did three or four more random, procrastinating, self-imposed chores, including starting dinner (that way if she were caught in a live chat, something could be burning), before finally logging on. Sure enough, a message was waiting for her on Social Meeds.

 

While past generations might have speculated that the need for communication as a written medium would have gone out of style, the written word was as popular as ever.  It had a certain power:  The power to let the person speak their mind and not have to look anyone in the eye or see their face.

 

The message was from Kourtney.

 

DaddysSpecialBrew: Party at my house.

 

Mona sucked in her breath.  Part of her had been hoping that Kourtney was lying or would have forgotten to invite her.  Instead, true to her word, Kourtney was touching base

 

MonaNotLisa:  Cool.  When and where?

DaddysSpecialBrew:  My place.  Show up whenever after sunset.

DaddysSpecialBrew: You still wearing?

MonaNotLisa:  What?

DaddysSpecialBrew: Lol.  You still wearing?  I am!

MonaNotLisa:  Wearing what?

DaddysSpecialBrew:  Diapers, silly!

 

Mona frowned.  So Kourtney was serious about this, it seemed.  That meant she was seriously going to throw some kind of “no pants” party where all the guests would be padded from the waist down.  Mona felt her throat tighten at the thought of herself waddling around in a diaper where people her own age could see her.

 

No.  She wasn’t wearing.  She had balled up and thrown away the unused diaper at the very first opportunity after Kourtney had left.

 

Still, what harm could one little fib do?  It’s not like her old friend could see her.

Mona: Oh, yeah.  Lol.  Sorry.  I thought the answer to that would’ve been kind of obvious.

DaddysSpecialBrew: Oh my G!  I am so glad that I ran into you today.  It was like, fate or something, you know?  Who would have thought we have this in common?  I can’t wait for the party.  I want to introduce you to all of my new friends.

 

Mona was about to type something along the lines of “Sorry, can’t go.  Checked my calendar.  Prior commitments.”  But Kourtney beat her to the punch.

 

DaddysSpecialBrew:  I’m so glad I’m going to get to see you one last time.

MonaNotLisa:  What?

DaddysSpecialBrew:  I’m leaving town in a few weeks.

DaddysSpecialBrew:  I’ve got enough credits to graduate.

DaddysSpecialBrew:  Mommy and Daddy pulled some strings so I don’t have to stick around.

DaddysSpecialBrew: I’m going to NYC.  Breaking out into the world.  Living free.

 

Mona just stared at her computer screen, glad for the small mercy of the vid cam being disconnected.  Kourtney or someone else might have seen how confused and overwhelmed Mona felt all of a sudden.  She stared.  She had gotten an old friend back, just as she was about to lose her.

DaddysSpecialBrew: You’re coming, right?

 

Mona sighed, and slumped in front of her keyboard.

 

MonaNotLisa:  Duh!  Of course I’ll be there!

 

Paul

 

Paul waited for the garage door to close before he opened the hatch and climbed out of his S.U.I.T.  With the practiced ease that only comes with an immeasurable amount of daily routine, he stripped himself of his clothes; throwing his G.P.D. police t-shirt into a waiting laundry basket, and the incontinence brief into a waiting garbage can.

 

 

Paul took his trusty bathrobe off of the hook on the door leading inside, and wrapped himself in it before going inside and making a bee-line for his bathroom.  Then, it was a quick shower to wash off the stink of sweat and odor of urine.

 

Truth be told, Paul was typically more worried about the urine than the sweat. The temperature controls inside Rex’s cockpit made it almost impossible to break a sweat in.  He luxuriated in the shower for just a few minutes, letting the hot water boil away the minor aches and pains from being on his feet all day, before toweling off and getting dressed in a teal polo shirt, some briefs (the non-incontinence variety), and a pair of jeans left that he left in his adjoining bedroom before he got went to work early this morning.

 

He examined his features in the vanity mirror he kept in his bedroom.  It looked like the gray hairs had finally started to win the battle on top of his head.  Every day, it seemed, there was a little less pepper and a little more salt on top.   The ratio was definitely closer to two to one in favor of the grays these days; maybe a little less if you counted his five o’clock shadow.

 

Paul rubbed the rough, sandpapery stubble on his chin.  He’d need to shave tomorrow, but he could put it off till then.  Self-consciously he touched the small little bald spot on the back of his head.  It was barely the circumference of a golf ball, but Paul still winced in the mirror as he felt that small patch of bare skin on the back of his head.

 

Briefly, Paul played with the idea of buying some hair dye the next time he was off duty, but quickly shook that idea off.  He’d rather age gracefully and naturally than be one of those pathetic, middle aged fakers who went to so much expense pretending to be younger than they were.  Youth was for the young.  Still, the same intense, piercing, gray eyes stared back at him from the mirror.   Those eyes could be both frightening and comforting, and regardless of age still had the same burning intensity that he had had when he was his daughter’s age. Yeah, he still had it.

 

Then, those piercing gray eyes looked down at his gut; his tummy poking out ever so slightly over his belt and he grimaced again.  He wasn’t exactly fat, but he definitely had a major case of dad bod that he hadn’t been able to shake off for years.  He’d have to find the time to start working out again, he promised himself.  It was a lie, he knew, but it made him feel better knowing he had that option.

 

“Hey, Dad,” Mona’s voice echoed out as he walked into the kitchen from his bedroom.

 

“Hey, honey.” Paul called back.  He caught a whiff of garlic chicken, his favorite, coming from the oven.  “I thought it was my turn to cook.” He called out.

 

“I got home early,” Mona called back.  “Figured I’d get it started for you.”

 

Ever suspicious, Paul narrowed his eyes and took in the kitchen and the dining table.  The insta-dinner was cooking in the oven, the dining table was already set, and as Paul paused he thought he heard the wash running.   This was more than just Mona being courteous.  She wouldn’t have set the table, otherwise.

 

She wasn’t hungry and tired of waiting for Paul to cook, otherwise lasagna would be cooking right now.  And the wash?  Mona couldn’t be telegraphing her mood any clearer if Paul had been psychic.  Nope.  Mona was sucking up, she wanted something from him. And she was anxious.  Paul bet himself that her bed, normally neat and well-made anyways, would be military precision quality when he poked his head into her room.

 

“What are you up to?”  Paul called back, his tone gentle as he walked to the back of the house where Mona’s voice was coming from.  Slowly, he opened up her bedroom door and peered in.  There she was, her face illuminated by her computer screen in the dark.  The color on her face changed from a bright green to an almost crystal blue, likely because she was switching web pages as he walked in.  The part of him that was a parent wanted to respect her privacy.  The part of him that was a cop kicked himself for not opting for the three dimensional holographic projection model that could be seen from all sides.  If he knew what she was looking at he might have an idea of what he was about to be hit up for.

 

“Oh, hi,” Mona looked up from the computer, her face a shade of light blue from the screen, though Paul suspected that in the light of the day, her face might be flushing pink.  “You should’ve knocked,” she said hastily.  “I could have been, erm…masturbating….?”

 

Paul rolled his eyes.

 

“If you’re going to try to keep me out of your room, you should just lock the door,” Paul replied.  “The gross out tactics aren’t going to work on me.”

 

“Dinner should be ready in about five minutes,” Mona ignored the comment and rose to walk over and greet her father, giving him a hug.

 

“Dinner, and a hug!” Paul grinned.  “I must have done something really special to deserve that.”

 

Mona didn’t reply, but instead nervously laughed as she disengaged from her father’s embrace and went back into the kitchen to pour herself a glass of water and place a beer by Paul’s plate at the dinner table.

 

They ate the meal making small talk, with Paul doing most of the talking.  He told Mona about the attempted S.U.I.T.-jacking that he’d stopped, making sure to embellish all the best parts. It wasn’t a particularly nice or expensive S.U.I.T. so the perp wouldn’t likely be spending more than a year in jail, but it had been exciting to actually do something while out on patrol, all the same.  There were a lot less parking violations these days now that fewer and fewer people were actually parking their S.U.I.T.s.

 

Mona listened attentively, nodding and smiling politely at all the right parts while poking at her plate.  Just like her mother had been before her passing (God she looked so much like her mother) Mona tended not to eat as much when she was nervous.

 

“What’s on your mind?” Paul finally asked when he’d decided Mona wasn’t going to broach the subject herself.

 

“Nothing,” Mona looked up from her chicken.

 

“Oh,” Paul said, not buying it for an instant.  “So how’s the extra pilot practice going?”

 

Mona sulked a bit before letting out a heavy sigh and saying, “Not well.”

 

“That bad, huh?” Paul asked.  Based on his daughter’s glum expression, it’s something that didn’t really need to be asked.

 

“It’s just…” Mona stuttered, trying to find her words. “I mean…it’s like…” her brow furrowed as she started to cut her chicken into smaller and smaller pieces.  “You see…” cut chicken became chopped.  “Dr. O’Brien says…” chopped became diced.  “I’m too…” diced became minced. “I don’t know!”  Her chicken was now all but liquid.

 

“You’re too tense.” Paul summed it up.

 

“Ohmygosh!” Mona huffed.  “Yes! That’s totally it.”

 

“You always get too tense,” Paul said.  “Remember when you were learning how to ride a bike?”

 

“Yeah, but this time there’s no training wheels,” Mona said.  “And it’s not like you can hold the seat and run behind me to get me started.” She paused for a moment and then threw a Paul a hopeful glance that said “Wait…can you?

 

Paul quietly shook his head, “no”, then quietly chuckled at the image of him, in Rex, running behind and holding another mech by the waist as Mona tried to get a handle of the control systems.

 

“Well you’re already getting in lots of extra practice time,” Paul said in between bites.  “What else can be done?”

 

“I don’t know,” Mona was beginning to deflate.
Then Paul got an idea.

 

“Maybe you should stop going,” he offered.

 

“Daddy!”  Mona jerked back up, looking hurt.

 

“Hear me out,” Paul held up his hand.  “You’ve been going all week long, on Spring Break no less, to get extra practice, right?”

 

Mona nodded her head.

 

“And have you been getting any better? ”

 

“Worse, it feels like.” Mona admitted.

 

“You’re at a frustrational point,” Paul told his daughter.  “If you work out the same muscles again and again without giving them a little rest, you’re just going to hurt yourself.  Works like that with any skill.  So why don’t you take the rest of your Spring Break off?  Actually take a break.”

 

“A break?” Mona’s head perked up.  “You mean like…a party?”

 

“Yyyyeeeah.” Paul said hesitatingly.  “I’m not throwing a party here, though.”

 

“Oh no, no, no, no, no!” Mona quickly corrected him.  “But I did get invited to a party today.”

 

“Oh?” Paul’s brow arched in curiosity.  “By who?”

 

“Remember Kourtney Brewer?” she said.

 

“That weird little rich girl that you were friends with back in middle school?” Paul asked.

 

“Yeah, her.”  Mona nodded.

 

“Are her parents going to be there?” Paul asked.

 

“What does that matter?  I’m eighteen?”  Mona reminded her father.

 

“Fair enough,” Paul nodded.  “Is it at her place?  Like is her name on the deed?”

 

“No…”  Mona admitted.

 

“So will her parents be there?”  Paul pressed.  “If things get wild at a party, it helps to know that someone who has their name on the deed will be there to un-wild it a little.”

 

“Dad, you know me,” Mona pouted, sticking her lip out a bit.  “If things get really weird, I’ll get out of there.”

 

Paul mulled it over in his mind a bit.  She had never given him a reason to distrust her before.  That Brewer kid always was an odd duck.  He remembered when she had slept over a couple of years ago and marveled that they cooked their own food instead of eating out every night.

 

Still, this wasn’t about Kourtney Brewer, this was about Mona. What was the point of her being responsible if she was never rewarded with trust?

 

“Fine,” Paul nodded, finishing the last of his chicken. “You can go.  I’ll give you a ride.”

 

“That’s okay.” Mona blushed.  Paul couldn’t know why, but the gears in his little girl’s head were definitely turning now.

 

“What, you don’t want a ride? It’s no problem,” he offered.

 

“Strapped in a carrier harness to your mech like I’m some kind little kid?” Mona shook her head.  “No thanks.”

 

“Fair enough.” Paul shrugged.  He’d never thought of it that way, but the resemblance was undeniable. “But,” he punctuated with his fork poking the air, “I hear any reports about noise complaints or public disturbances, I’ll be coming to drag you out of there; just like you’re some little kid.  Just don’t do anything stupid.”

 

“Stupid?  Like what?” Mona asked, her body suddenly rigid.

 

“High schoolers, even eighteen year olds do stupid stuff all the time,” he lectured.   “Drugs. Booze. The usual stuff that you know better than to do.  Sometimes the not so usual.  One of my buddies, a school resource officer says there’s even this fad going on with the rich kids where they wear diapers all day, even if they’re not in a S.U.I.T.”

 

“Doesn’t that kind of make sense in a weird way?” Mona asked.  “You spend most of your time wearing them, with the hours you work.”  Mona’s tone was playful, joking even.  Paul figured Mona was starting to feel better if she could poke fun at her old man. Paul closing his eyes as he polished off the last of his beer is the only thing that stopped him from noticing Mona’s eyes shifting guiltily.

 

“I wear to work.” Paul admitted.  “Doesn’t mean I do it for funzies.  I’m not wearing now, am I?  Also, how do you explain the pacifiers or the girls wearing short skirts to show it off?”

 

“I don’t know.” Mona shrugged.  “People do stupid stuff sometimes.”  She left it at that.  Paul was willing to leave it at that too.

 

“Just don’t you be one of them, okay pumpkin?” he jabbed his fork at her.

 

Mona lowered her head, gazing at her almost liquefied chicken.  “Yes sir.”

Trevor

 

It was late.  Most everyone on the lot was gone, save for the cleaning crew and some of the bean counters.  There certainly weren’t any customers left on the lot.  No one to keep up appearances for, no one to sell a S.U.I.T. to, but Trevor remained.  Trevor should be long gone – would be long gone, too- if it weren’t for his boss.  Mr. Meyer had asked that he stay late so that they could have a little chat in private.

 

Trevor had only been invited to this little meeting about half an hour before the last of the customers left the lot.  It was the weekend, and the lot would be closed tomorrow.  Payday was today.  All of these were the perfect storm of cues that Trevor was about to be fired.  If Trevor hadn’t already been wearing an incontinence brief, he would have needed one.

 

Trevor assured himself that he wasn’t going to be let go.  He had a terrific sales record, with absolutely no complaints from customers.  He was almost always the top salesman each month, except for that onetime when Carl swept the rug out from under him, (fuck Carl).  The point was, Trevor’s customers always got what they wanted off the lot, even if they hadn’t known they were wanting it when they walked on.  Trevor was a great salesman.  He made Mr. Meyer plenty of money, and there was no logical reason for Trevor to get fired.

 

The thing is, logic and paranoia weren’t good buddies, and deep down, Trevor was much more familiar with paranoia than he was with logic.  He was a salesman.  Logic and facts had very little to do with selling people the latest model with all the bells and whistles that they’d play with a few times before forgetting about it and just piloting it around town just like their old model.  To sell as well as he did, he had to tap into people’s insecurities; to know what they liked about themselves and wanted to make better or what they hated about themselves and wanted to hide or compensate for.  The double edged sword of this was his own insecurities were typically in the forefront of his mind.

 

So, despite all logical analysis that this was just going to be a bit of nothing at the worst and great news at the best, Trevor was sweating bullets.  He stood stock still in his S.U.I.T. in the high ceilinged building on the lot, only moving his fingers ever so slightly to type on the virtual keyboard so he could pay some bills while he waited.  He hesitated to log onto his Social Meeds; he wasn’t quite off the clock yet and didn’t want to be accused of loafing on company time.  The shushed pushing of brooms along the floor way-still done by people in non-mechanical clothing for some reason- was the only sound in the room.

 

“Trevor?” a growl echoed from Mr. Meyer’s office.  “You still there, boy?”

 

Trevor jerked a bit and snapped to attention, quickly cutting the feed to the internet.

 

“Yes sir, Mr. Meyer!” Trevor called back.

 

“Get in here,” his boss called back.  “We need to chat.”

 

The heavy footsteps of Trevor’s mech echoed off the walls as Trevor gingerly walked to Old Man Meyer’s office.  It took him almost no time at all to get to the entrance way.  There was just one problem: Mr. Meyer’s office hadn’t been built with S.U.I.T.s in mind.  Even if Trevor had gotten down on his hands and knees and crawled he probably wouldn’t have been able to fit into the office.  It was a little like being a cat outside of a mouse hole.

 

Trevor awkwardly bent over and looked in.  Trevor hadn’t been inside Mr. Meyer’s office since he interviewed for his job several years ago, but it hadn’t changed.  Meyer’s big oak desk was still in impeccable condition, with rows of plaques from various local charities and business awards on the wall behind it.

 

Old Man Meyers sat, staring dourly at an old two dimensional computer screen.  He was an old potato: wrinkly in some places, while being lumpy and rounded in the middle, with almost gangly limbs and boney fingers tapping at the keyboard.  Trevor could never quite figure out the color of the man’s eyes because they were in a perpetual squint.  Meyer either needed glasses, and was too stubborn to get them, or he was constantly sizing people up and staring them down.  Probably both.

 

His pants with red suspenders and the matching bow tie might’ve looked charmingly old fashioned on another man, but his perpetual scowl and that little ring of hair that circled from ear to ear on an otherwise bald head just made him look old.  Old, but not frail.  Had Charles Dickens ever met this man, there would have been no wonder where he had gotten the inspiration for Ebenezer Scrooge.

 

“Don’t just stand there,” Mr. Meyer looked up from his desk.  “Get in here.”
“I don’t think I can fit,” Trevor said leaning so he could see into the doorway.  He was vaguely reminded of the time when he sat with his sister’s kid.  Kid had a little plastic playhouse that she liked to play in and fit in it pretty well, but Trevor would have had to be a contortionist to fit in.  He wasn’t part of the three and under crowd and was literally too big to play with his niece.  That’s how he’d gotten out of a tea party.  Only this time, the little person in the tiny room inviting him in was his boss.

 

“And I’m not exactly properly dressed under the S.U.I.T.  I would’ve brought something to change into but I didn’t know about this until-“

“Then climb out of that tin can and come in,” Mr. Meyer interrupted impatiently.  “I don’t have all night.”

 

“Yes sir,” Trevor heard himself say as he disengaged from the cockpit.  Naked save for the bulk of the wet incontinence brief pulled up between his legs, Trevor climbed down out of the fantasy he sold and into the harsh, cold reality.  Gravity seemed more accentuated to Trevor as he felt his already soaked brief droop toward the floor.  Normally this wasn’t a problem. The S.U.I.T. kept the brief close to him and prevented it from falling.  Now that he was out of the S.U.I.T. and nowhere near a trashcan, Trevor felt the slow tickling crawl as his undergarment started inching towards the ground.  He gave it quick yank up his hips to make sure it wouldn’t leave him completely naked as he took a few fumbling steps forward.
Shivering from exposure, Trevor crossed his arms (for lack of pockets) and walked into Mr. Meyer’s office.  Mr. Meyer didn’t smile as much as he frowned less when Trevor walked in.  He sniffed the air and wrinkled his nose before his perpetually squinted eyes settled onto the yellow tinged crotch of Trevor’s diaper.  Trevor immediately regretted drinking so much coffee that day.

 

“Like I said,” Trevor tried to say.  “I don’t normally have to change at work.  So I’m not prepared for a more formal setting.”

 

“Just sit down,” Mr. Meyer growled.  Trevor walked-more of a waddle really- to the leather upholstered chair across from his employer.

 

“Not that one,” Mr. Meyer snipped before Trevor could sit down.  “You might leak or something.  I am not risking one of my good chairs.  Pull over one of those and sit down.” He gestured and Trevor looked over his shoulder.  In one corner of the office was a little plastic table with bead mazes and board books and other little diversions that a kindergartener or pre-schooler might like.  At the table were similarly sized chairs.

 

“Grandkids,” Mr. Meyer said by way of explanation.

 

Trevor went over and moved one of the smaller plastic chairs over so he could sit across from his boss.  His knees were above his bellybutton, and the fit was more than a little tight.  His brief squished beneath him as he sat down.  If he wasn’t in danger of leaking before, the tight fit was making it a definite possibility.  Just like how one’s head itches when they think of lice, Trevor couldn’t help but feel a phantom trickle run down his inner thigh as he adjusted his seat and felt the bulging squish of the saturated diaper. At least he hoped it was a phantom trickle.

 

The seat was so low, that he couldn’t actually see over Mr. Meyer’s desk and look the man in the eye.  Mr. Meyer reached into a glass jar on his desk and took out a cellophane wrapped hard candy before leaning over and offering it to Trevor.

 

“Candy?”  Mr. Meyer offered gruffly.

 

Trevor thought about accepting it, but given his current circumstances, didn’t like the image that presented.  He was already wearing nothing but a wet diaper sitting in a kiddie chair, his hair mussed from fourteen some odd hours of S.U.I.T. helmet hair.  Might not be best to be sucking on a stickless lollipop.  Trevor shook his head, declining.

 

“Good,” Mr. Meyer nodded, before unwrapping the confection and popping it into his mouth.  “More for me.”  All Trevor could do was nervously chuckle as he sat there practically naked and powerless in front of the old man.

 

“Comfy?”  Mr. Meyers asked as he smacked his lips around his own hard candy.

 

“Yes,” Trevor lied, trembling.

 

Mr. Meyers stopped and glared down at his employee.  He hadn’t liked Trevor’s last response.

 

“Cut the crap,” Mr. Meyer snapped.  “Save the bullshit for the customers.  I want the truth.”

 

“Yes sir,” Trevor said automatically as he sat up in the tiny chair a little straighter.  His mind was racing.  This wasn’t a meeting.  This was a test.  And so far, he wasn’t doing very well.  It was time to bring his A game.

 

“So I’ll ask you again,” Mr. Meyer paused.  “Are you comfortable?”

 

“Not at all sir,” Trevor said, confidently.  “I actually feel kind of silly.”

 

“Good,” Mr. Meyer nodded, smacking his lips around the hard candy.  “Because you look ridiculous.  Tell me more.”

 

“More?” Trevor asked.

 

“Why am I having this conversation with you? Why here?  Why now?  Why like this?”

 

Trevor closed his eyes and thought for a minute.  He inhaled and caught the faint scent of ammonia wafting from between his legs.  That part wasn’t so smart.  The smell was distracting him.  Trevor bit his tongue a bit, just a nip, to bring his attention back to focus.  Mr. Meyer had put Trevor in the position of a rube, a customer.  But a good salesman never did anything without purpose.  Trevor was being asked what the purpose was.

 

“You want to put yourself in a position of power over me.”  Trevor spoke, his eyes still closed.  “That’s why you didn’t give me any notice so that I could bring a change of clothes or prep myself.  That’s why you wanted this meeting in your office so I wouldn’t have my S.U.I.T.  That’s why I’m pretty much naked in a diaper in a chair that’s too small for me.

 

“And the candy?”  Trevor heard Mr. Meyer’s chair squeak and opened his eyes so that he could see his boss leaning over his desk and stare down at him.  Trevor met his gaze, unblinking.

 

“The candy is another power play.” Trevor said. “You want to see if I’ll take your offer of comfort or not.  You’re testing for weakness.   You’re also eating it to show me how comfortable and relaxed you are.  You’re projecting strength.”

 

“Good,” Mr. Meyer actually smiled, albeit grimly.

 

“Also,” Trevor added, with a bit of bravado, “you think you might need me for something.”

 

Mr. Meyer stopped sucking on his candy for a second and arched an eyebrow.  Turns out his eyes were brown.

 

“That’s why we’re doing this meeting so late when almost everyone else has gone home,” Trevor said.  “You want me in this embarrassing and compromising position, but if anyone but you were to see me like this, it might make me lose clout and I’d be less useful to you.  My ideas have less weight if the people hearing them don’t respect me, so you’re getting your jollies in private.”

 

“Huh,” the boss frowned.  But it wasn’t an angry frown.  It was almost (if there could be such a thing) a frown of approval.  “You are good, Trevor.  I’ll give you that.”

 

“What do you need me for, sir?” Trevor leaned back to show that he was relaxed.  He would have crossed his legs to seem even more at ease except the bulk of his diaper made it less than possible.

 

“CyberCorp is coming out with another upgrade, soon,” Mr. Meyer told him.  “One that will revolutionize the industry.”

 

“Yeah?” Trevor leaned forward to show his interest, not even worried about being all but naked in front of his employer now that he was more in control of the situation.  “What kind of upgrade?”

 

“Can’t tell you.” Mr. Meyer answered.  “But it’s going to blow everything up till now out of the water.  Stuff that wasn’t even possible until recently.”

 

“Will it sell well?” Trevor asked.

 

“It damn well better,”  Mr. Meyer growled. “This kind of thing is a sink or swim proposition.  Change the world and make the smart people on the ground floor rich, type of thing.  But it’s going to piss a lot of people off, too.  There’s going to be a lot of protests in the coming months.  It’s going to be either really fashionable to own a mech, or it’s going to be the kiss of death.”

 

“Where do I come in?”  Trevor asked.  “How do I help avoid sinking?”

 

“Corporate’s already got a damn fine marketing campaign ready to roll, but all the ads in the world are worth bupkus if the boys on the lot can’t or won’t sell them.”

 

“I’ll sell the hell out of whatever needs to be sold,” Trevor smirked.

 

“I know that.  But I need you to be more than a salesman in the coming months.  I want to promote you to sales instructor.”  Mr. Meyer said.

 

“Sales instructor?”  Trevor asked.

 

“Over the next few weeks,” Mr. Meyer explained, “I want you to take some time and teach the others how you manage to sell so many S.U.I.T.s.  Make them into little miniature versions of you.  Then if that takes off, I want to send you around to the different affiliate lots and teach their boys.  Corporate wants every lot to have a Trevor or someone damn near like you.”

 

“Really?  I’m…I’m honored.” Trevor gushed in earnest.

 

“But you need to understand,” Mr. Meyer reiterated.  “A lot of people are going to be coming after us.  Academic types.  Unions. Protesters.  There’s gonna be a lot of pressure.  It might be a hard sell.  We might even have some people quit the company in protest for all we know.  You might not even be able to sell this, never mind teaching anyone else to sell like you.”

 

“I can sell anything,” Trevor stood up with confidence in his voice.

 

“Atta boy,” Mr. Meyer actually smiled.  Then he slid the jar over so that Trevor could reach up if he liked.  “Candy?”

 

Mona

 

It was a long walk from the Velocity Platform to Kourtney Brewer’s house; a walk made to seem so much longer in Mona’s mind thanks to the thick padding cupping her ass.  Several blocks felt like several miles and if it weren’t for the crickets, the loudest thing in Mona’s ears would be the crinkling she heard with every step.

 

   This was a mistake.  Mona had been telling herself this ever since she had quietly crept out of her house while Dad was in the bathroom.  Yeah, Dad knew she was leaving for the party but he hadn’t gotten a glimpse of the diaper bulge from beneath her pants as she left.  This was a mistake.

 

She almost never wore skirts, and Dad would have known something was up if he had seen her in one. So she had picked out the baggiest pair of shorts that she had.  They still weren’t quite baggy enough, she felt, but that might be because she knew what to look for.   Her tie-dye shirt, long since relegated to the status of jammies was long enough that it could have almost doubled as a dress anyway, or at least a sack, so she wore that.  This was a mistake.

 

As casual as she had been, she was sure that someone on the Velocity Platform had noticed the crinkling, awkward waddle that she carried herself as she boarded.  It didn’t matter that no one even turned their heads in her direction, a little voice inside her head whispered, they were judging her out of the corner of their eyes.  This was a mistake.  She tried to sit absolutely still in her seat lest the rustling of soft plastic give her away.  This was a mistake.

 

That recurring thought amplified a dozen times over as Kourtney Brewer’s house came into view.  The dozens of empty S.U.I.T.s all standing like British sentinels on the lawn was a dead giveaway.   This!  This was a mistake.  Not anything before that.  This!

 

“I can leave.”  Mona whispered to herself.  “I can leave.  I can leave and not come back and no one will know I was here.  I’ll apologize to Kourtney, say something came up. and we’ll just stay friends on Social Meeds.”

 

Then she rang the doorbell.  This was a mistake.

 

The door inched open and a pair of unfamiliar eyes peeked out at Mona.

 

“Oh,” a strange, disappointed sounding voice said.  “It’s you.”  The door opened fully, and standing in front of Mona was the same girl that had been with Kourtney in the locker room the other day.  Only now, she was standing in nothing but a powder blue tank top and a plain white incontinence brief.

 

“Hi,” Mona waved shyly.  “I’m Mona.  Kourtney’s friend…”  The girl said nothing.  “I’m here for the party…?” Mona said.

 

“Thought you were pizza,” the girl’s lip curled up in disgust.  “Come in, I guess.”

 

“Thanks,” Mona said as she crossed the threshold and the girl closed the door behind her.  The girl did not say “You’re welcome.”    Ahead of Mona in what must have been the living room, Mona could see a crowd of people, all around her age. Some of them were possibly even a little older; college kids.  She heard the rhythmic thumping of party music coming that way too.  It wasn’t particularly loud.  Just the generic track that parties played in case to make any awkward silences not sound too awkward.

 

The music wasn’t as important to Mona.  What was, was that she didn’t recognize any of the people she could get a glimpse of.  There were no familiar faces in this sea of strangers.  More importantly, all of them were naked from the waist down, save for the pull up diapers around their waists.  Some of the boys weren’t even wearing shirts.  What she didn’t see though, was her friend.

 

“Where’s Kourtney?” she asked the girl who had let her in.

 

“She’s upstairs, changing,” the girl said flatly.

 

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Mona apologized.  “Am I here too early?  It looks like everyone else is-“

 

“Into a new diaper,” the girl interrupted Mona, rolling her eyes.

 

“Oh,” Mona blushed.  “I knew that.”

 

“Uh huh,” the girl said, not sounding the least bit convinced.  Then she seemed to really take Mona in, examining her.  “Where’s your diaper bag?”

 

“My what?”  Mona asked, her eyes suddenly blushing.

 

“Or backpack or purse or whatever you want to call it,” the girl smirked cruelly; mockingly. “Where’s your bag where you store your pants and keep your extra diapers.”
Extra diapers?  Extra diapers?  Mona froze.  She hadn’t even thought to sneak out some spares in a backpack with her when she left for the party.  She had no intention of needing them.   She still had on a pair of normal panties beneath the incontinence brief she wore.  Mona might be wearing a pull up because that’s what all the “cool kids” at this party were doing, but she had no actual intent of using it.

 

Who would voluntarily piss themselves when there were perfectly good toilets around and available?  Kourtney and all of her private school buddies, apparently; all of them rich kids willing to do something completely foolish and backwards because they were bored or because some trendy new fad demanded it.  She had walked into the lion’s den, and this lion, this friend of Kourtney’s had looked at her and saw prey, not a fellow predator.
The thing about being prey, Mona knew, is that sometimes survival was more about blending in, not running away.  She had come this far and hadn’t even seen Kourtney. No point in going back now.

 

“I…I forgot it…?” Mona lied.

 

She expected any number of reactions, but not the sudden snorting guffaw into a full on belly laugh that rang out from the mean girls’ lips.  Neither did she expect to notice the slight color change- from white to off-white- as the girl laughed so hard she wet herself.  The girl’s belly laugh died down to a chuckle before she finally stopped herself and looked Mona in the eye again and stared her in the eyes unblinking.

 

Had Mona unexpectedly peed her pants in front of a complete stranger, she wouldn’t be laughing.  Her laughter would have given way to a shocked gasp and panicking, fumbling hands feeling the warmth around her crotch, desperately trying to make sure that urine wasn’t trickling down her thighs.

 

Kourtney had mentioned something the other day about “unpotty training” herself.  This girl who was interrogating Mona must be in the same camp, and was evidently pretty successful in it.  She was either too incontinent to notice or stop herself from wetting her diaper, too comfortable in the diaper to notice or care that it was suddenly wet, or both.

 

Mona’s mouth hung open in shock as the mean girl walked up- sashayed really- and got close enough to Mona that she could have either kissed her or bitten her nose off. Mona felt herself shaking a bit at the sheer confidence of the girl.  How could a girl who had just pissed herself right in front of Mona hold so much power over her?

 

“Honey, let’s be real here,” the mean girl hissed, her hands planted confidently on her padded hips. “You don’t belong here.  This isn’t your scene.  These aren’t your people.  You’re not mature enough to handle this.”

 

“I…I…I…” Mona stammered.  Not mature enough?  Not mature enough?!  Some bitch who was soaking in her own piss was saying that she, Mona Quimby, honors student, wasn’t mature enough for some little pants less party?  If she wasn’t so intimidated, she’d be furious!

 

“Mona?” A familiar voice called from above.  “Mona, is that you?”

 

Mona looked up, and finally saw a friendly face.  Kourtney.  She wore an almost neon pink t-shirt that, and of course a diaper.

 

“Oh my Gee!” Kourtney squealed, “I didn’t think you’d come!”  Kourtney sprinted down the stairs with the speed and noise of a racehorse, barreling towards Mona.  Kourtney’s snotty friend from the locker room the other day didn’t even have a chance to get a single word in before Kourtney thoughtlessly shoved her aside so that she could embrace Mona, jumping up and down as she did so.

 

Things were moving too fast just then for Mona to fully comprehend and appreciate what was going on, but something was different about Kourtney that Mona couldn’t quite get her head wrapped around.  She wasn’t sure what, though.  Kourtney seemed a little off, even for Kourtney right then.  But then again it’d been close to four years since they’d last really seen each other.  People can change a lot over four years.

 

It wasn’t until Kourtney broke off the hug- though not before planting two very fake kisses; one on each cheek- that Mona had a chance to fully take Kourtney in.  She saw that Kourtney was wearing a pair of perfectly white, practically brand new sneakers.  That explained Kourtney’s cacophonous galloping down the stairs, but something about it also struck Mona as odd.

 

Mona snuck a quick glance down the hallway where most of the guests were still socializing, and even took a look a past the mean girl’s scowling face and down to her feet.  Everyone besides Mona, who just came in, and Kourtney, who lived here, were barefoot.  Part of this made sense.  A lot of people, most in fact, piloted S.U.I.T.s barefoot and with minimal clothing unless they were planning on getting out of the machines in public.  Her dad even did it.

 

It was likely the same for the majority of the party guests. They just put an incontinence brief on and a comfortable shirt, and then climbed into their mechs and flew over.  Then they climbed out, not needing a change of suitable clothing due to the theme and nature of the party, and made a quick dash inside with no one being the wiser.  That’s what Mona would have done, had she had her license.

 

But Kourtney was different.  This was her house, so there was no need to travel, yet she was diapered, and wore shoes, but couldn’t legally pilot a S.U.I.T.  Everyone else might’ve been in their underwear; delighting in being so close to naked and being oh so delightfully “naughty”, but the shoes that Kourtney wore sent an implicit message:  She was ready.  She was dressed.  T-shirt? Check.  Diaper? Check.  Shoes? Check.  Kourtney Brewer was completely dressed with nothing missing in her mind; nothing else was required.

 

No pants. No shorts. No skirt. No problem.  She was ready to let the world know that she looked like a giant toddler, and didn’t care.  The not caring part, ironically, made her seem all the more grown-up right now.

 

Then Mona did another look over and realized that something else was different about Kourtney: The diaper she wore.  Another quick scan around her field of vision confirmed that everyone else wore the same style of diaper, except for Kourtney.

 

Everyone else wore a plain and white incontinence brief with an elastic band that went all the way around.  They were effectively wearing very drab and giant versions of the training pants that Mona had worn when she was potty training.  They were the same adult incontinence briefs that could be purchased at any grocery or convenience store.

 

Kourtney, Mona could now clearly see, wasn’t wearing one of those.  Her brief was decently more padded and bulky.  Also, there was a blue line going down the middle that Mona suspected would either disappear or change color when wet.  And most noticeably were the four tapes- two on each side- that held the brief in place.  You only saw these kind of things in pharmacies and medical supply stores.

 

Mona had spent too many hours fretting that she’d have to wear training pants if she wanted to get her S.U.I.T. license.  She had bemoaned that she’d have to wear something so juvenile in order to become an active member in adult society.  Now, one of her best childhood friend was wearing something that more closely resembled an actual diaper.

 

That was Kourtney, to a T. Kourtney; always the trendsetter.  She was a two-year-old in a room full of three- year-olds.  There was no sense of superiority that Kourtney’s friend, projected, and certainly not the sense of shame that Mona was feeling just by looking at her.  She was just Kourtney.

 

“Kourtney,” Kourtney’s bitchy friend tapped her on the shoulder.  “Your little friend here didn’t bring any extra diapers.”

 

Kourtney just shrugged.  “So?  I’ve got plenty.  I don’t mind sharing.”

 

“She didn’t even bring anything for those shorts,” the other girl pressed.

 

“No biggie,” Kourtney shrugged again.  “She can just fold them up and toss them in the bag area.”

 

“Og,” the other girl stomped her bare foot.  “Not what I mean, Kourtney, and you know it.”

 

Kourtney whirled around and looked the other girl in the eye.

 

“No, Monica.  I don’t know,” Kourtney said.  Her voice was suddenly steel.  “Why don’t you tell me?”

 

“She’s not one of us.  She’s not really unpotty training herself.  She’s not a futurist!  She’s not cool!”  The mean girl, Monica, said, punctuating each accusation with a point of her finger.

 

“Monica.” Kourtney took a deep breath.  “Go back to the party.  Wait for the doorbell to ring.  Then get the pizza.”

 

Monica just slumped her shoulders and walked back to the living room where the rest Kourtney’s guests were busy laughing, dancing, and drinking. There was no arguing.  There was no explanation asked or given.  Kourtney had spoken.  She tended to have that effect on people.

 

“Sorry about Monica,” Kourtney turned back around to face Mona.  “She’s kind of my best friend since freshman year.  She’s a total bitch.”

 

“Yeah,” Mona nodded.

 

“So is it true?” Kourtney asked, abruptly.  “Are you really not into this?  I thought you were.  You said you were.”

 

“Honestly,” Mona sighed and closed her eyes, willing the truth to come out.  “The whole diapers thing freaks me out.  I don’t like piloting and the peeing your pants thing so that you can stay in your S.U.I.T. longer is the thing that bothers me most.”

 

“So you lied to me.”  Kourtney said.  It wasn’t a question.  It was fact.

 

“Yeah.” Mona looked away.  “I did.”

 

“You know I wouldn’t have invited you to the party if you had been upfront with me, right?” Kourtney asked.

 

Mona just nodded.

 

Then Kourtney did something that surprised her.

 

“Awwwww,” Kourtney all but cooed.  “You were willing to lie to me so that you could come to my party and wish me well!  You still are a good friend!”  Then she gave Mona another big hug.  “Come on,” Kourtney took Mona’s hand.  “Stay.  It’ll be like old times.”

 

“Okay,” Mona agreed, feeling extremely relieved.  She started to walk to living room, but was jerked backwards.

 

“Not so fast,” Kourtney said pulling Mona back.  “First we have to get you ready.”  Mona felt her stomach sink a bit as Kourtney began to drag her by the hand towards a closed door.  “This’ll take just a minute.”

 

Mona was led to an indistinct little room on the first floor, with a bed a bookshelf in it, but not much else.  The room didn’t have much character, really.  It was likely a guest room rather than a full time bedroom.   Mona thought sarcastically that this might even be something akin to “the servants quarters”, considering how rich Kourtney’s parents were, but she decided to keep that thought to herself.

 

The carpet was already littered with backpacks and satchels that had been haphazardly tossed in.  One satchel bag had been left wide open and Mona could see its contents of incontinence briefs.  A little nightstand by the head of the bed had a tub of baby wipes and a bowl filled with little pink pills. There was a heavy duty plastic garbage can with a lid on the top at the foot of the bed.  Mona had a guess of what was already in it, but definitely didn’t want to confirm that guess.

 

Kourtney must have seen the look on Mona’s face, because she went over to the garbage can and gave the lid a firm pat.

 

“Gross, right?”  Kourtney asked.  Mona nodded.  “Well in a few years, these will be a thing of the past.”

 

“I hope so,” Mona agreed.  She thanked her lucky stars that her dad didn’t make her take out the trash because of its contents.  The thought of adding her own soggy diapers to the mix made it seem even more disgusting.

 

“Instead, we’ll get bigger and more convenient diaper pails,” Kourtney smiled.  If Kourtney noticed Mona’s smile sinking at that thought, she was kind enough not to bring it up.  “Seriously,” Kourtney said.  “Just wait and see.  That’s why I’m leaving.”

 

“Why are you leaving?” Mona asked, still bewildered at the set of circumstances that had led her here.

 

“To get on the ground floor of the next big thing,” Kourtney explained.   “To make my mark.  To become famous.”  Then, apropos of nothing, she giggled.   “Sorry.” She said. “I’m having some trouble focusing tonight.  Let’s get you ready, then we’ll catch up.”

 

As she said “catch up,” Kourtney had managed to maneuver her thumbs into the waistband of Mona’s shorts and yanked down as fast as she could, dropping her body down to the floor with Mona’s shorts.

 

“HEY!” Mona screamed, suppressing every urge to swat, if not slug, her friend.

 

“Wow, you weren’t kidding.  You really are new at this, aren’t you?”  Kourtney looked up  “Relax, Mona,” she scoffed.  “You’re wearing a diaper.  You’ve got more surface area covered than most bathing suits do, and you’ve got more material than if you wore three pairs of panties.”  Mona thought of her own panties just beneath the brief, and bit her tongue to chase away how awkward she felt.  “Now step out.” Kourtney commanded.

 

“What about my shoes?” Mona asked.  “Shouldn’t I take mine off?”

 

“Would you rather look like everyone else at my party,” Kourtney asked, “or would you rather look like me?”  Mona stepped out, leaving herself in just a t-shirt, diaper, and sneakers.

 

Kourtney stood up and folded Mona’s shorts neatly, placing them on the bed.  Then, she stepped back and looked over Mona like an artist looks at her canvas.  “Something’s missing,” she said.  “Your shirt is a little too long.  Too baggie, too.”

 

“Sorry,” was all that Mona felt she could say.

 

“No, I’ve got this,” Kourtney replied before turning around and started rifling around through back packs.

 

Mona waited, rocking on her heels, nervously.  Kourtney wasn’t looking for a bigger diaper or something, was she?

 

“Found it,” Kourtney nodded to herself as she pulled something out of a backpack.  It was a belt.  “This is Brett’s,” she said.  “He walked here, too.”  Kourtney walked over to Mona and wrapped and tightened the black leather strap around Mona’s waist.  “This will be just the thing.”

 

The belt, now hugging her hips gave form revealing shape to the shapeless and baggie t-shirt.  As simple as that, Mona’s long concealing t-shirt had been transformed into a short revealing dress.  If Mona bent over, anyone would be able to have a good glimpse at her padded behind.  The simple act of raising her hands above her head would give anyone a glimpse at her padded crotch.  And just like Kourtney, her own sneakers- though infinitely more worn than Kourtney’s- gave the impression that she was fully dressed.

 

“Tre magnifique,” Kourtney smiled, admiring her own handiwork.  “Just one more thing.”  Kourtney reached into the bowl on the nightstand beside the bed. She offered a little pink pill to Mona.

 

“What is it?”  Mona asked.

 

“It’s called Re-Lease,” Kourtney said.  “It’s cool.”

 

“That doesn’t tell me anything,” Mona replied warily, staring at the pill as if Kourtney were holding a venomous snake.   She’d never heard of Re-Lease before, but doing drugs was definitely on the list of things that Dad had warned her about.

 

“It’s an inhibition inhibitor and anxiety reducer,” Kourtney told her.  “It’s like a couple shots of vodka and a joint without the weird tipsy feelings, and no hangover afterwards.”

 

“Is it illegal?” Mona asked.  “Do you need a prescription?”

 

“Most people don’t even know it exists,” Kourtney assured her.  “So it can’t be illegal.  I got it from a club a few weeks ago.  Apparently if the owner likes you, he lets you take the stuff home.  He really liked me.”

 

“But my dad…” Mona began to object.

 

“Will never know.”  Kourtney assured her.  “I’ve taken these before and then gotten drug tested like the next day.  Nothing in my blood.  Nothing in my piss.  Nothing in my hair.  Completely undetectable.”

 

For perhaps the first time in her life- in any meaningful way at least- Mona felt actual peer pressure to do something that she knew was against her father’s wishes.

 

“Will you take one with me?”  Mona asked, reaching for the pill with trembling hands.

 

“Mona,” Kourtney giggled.  “I’ve already had two, one is supposed to last you the night.  I’m tripping balls.”  That explained a lot, actually.  Then again, Kourtney seemed very in control of her faculties.  What was Mona thinking?! Was she actually trying to justify drug use to herself?

 

This was crazy.  Mona knew she shouldn’t be doing this.  Then again, Mona shouldn’t be wearing a diaper for recreational purposes.  She shouldn’t be hanging out with these kids who were actively trying to become incontinent.  She shouldn’t be stressing out so much about getting a S.U.I.T. license to the point where she was failing.

 

Mona closed her eyes, said a little prayer to herself, and then tossed the little pink pill down her throat.

 

“You’re going to want to wear one of these to bed tonight,” Kourtney pointed to Mona’s crotch.  “Maybe something thicker, even, just in case.”

 

“Why?” Mona asked, feeling a knot in her throat form as she did.

 

“It has the eensy-weensy side effect of making you wet the bed for a night or two afterwards.” Kourtney said.  “But it’s still a really clean buzz.”

 

“WHAT?!”  Mona shrieked.  She was shaking with a combination of fear and rage.  She had been humoring her friend in coming to this place and dressing so ridiculously.  All of that had been her choice.  But now the choice was being taken out of her hands.

 

“It’s okay it’s okay!” Kourtney through her hands up, trying to calm Mona down.  “It’s not permanent.”

 

“The FUCK?” was all Mona could say.  Her voice cracked with uncertainty, she was so unused to cursing.

 

“It’s okay.  It’s not permanent!  It’s not permanent!”  Kourtney kept repeating.  “You’ll be fine.  It’s not permanent unless you take them every night for, like, a month.  And even then, that’s more like your bladder atrophying from not holding it in for a month.  Nothing to do with the pill.”

 

“I DON’T WANNA…” Mona shouted, then immediately stopped herself and dropped her volume down to a whisper.  “I don’t wanna piss myself.”

 

“Then you won’t.”  Kourtney assured her.  She reached out and put a hand on Mona’s shoulder.  Mona shuddered at the touch, involuntarily, but didn’t push Kourtney away.  “It’s an inhibition inhibitor. That’s all.  Most people stop wetting the bed because they’re told not to.  The Re-Lease just gets rid of the guilt.  You’re still in the driver’s seat.”

 

“Then why am I going to wet the bed?”  Mona asked, taking Kourtney’s other hand into her own.

 

“It just gets rid of the guilt,” Kourtney repeated.  “It doesn’t actually make you incontinent.  It just removes certain roadblocks so when you’re asleep your body goes on autopilot because you’re not actively stopping yourself from acting.  If you really don’t want to wet the bed, you won’t.”

 

“Promise?”  Mona asked.

 

“Pinky promise,” Kourtney said, twirling her pinky in Mona’s.  The two girls embraced and Mona began to feel a deep, almost electric tingling work its way through her whole body.  Alien, foreign thoughts came into her mind telling her the most unusual things, but all in her own voice.

 

Relax.

 

  You’re safe.

 

 Have fun.

 

All will be well.

 

Was she really thinking these things?  Was neurotic little Mona telling herself to have fun?

 

“Yeah,” Kourtney giggled.  “You’re feeling it.”  She let go of Mona and took her hand.  Let’s go party.  We’ll catch up after I introduce you to my friends.

Jody

 

Jody sat in her loft apartment, doing what she usually did on weekends: Sitting on her couch, sipping wine, while looking for teaching positions on the internet, completely naked.  She didn’t like the diapers she had to wear to get through her long shifts at the daycare, but some nights Jody didn’t see the point in putting on regular adult clothes at all.  Why bother enjoying herself?  She’d have to put on the same t-shirt and pull up diaper when she got up for work the next day anyways.  Going buck naked at home was the closest compromise she was willing to give herself.

 

If she had had the money or the time to get therapy, that therapist might have said that Jody was dealing with depression and self-medicating with alcohol.  Good thing for her that she couldn’t’ afford a psychologist.

 

“Nope,” she clicked off a link.  Classroom experience required, and her current job didn’t count for some reason.

 

“Nope.”  She wouldn’t apply for the school substitute position, even if it promised promotion to full teacher “at first available opportunity.”  She couldn’t afford a pay cut that drastic for a “maybe”.

 

“Nuh-uh.”  She didn’t have the certifications for that position, or the time to get them.

 

“Damn.”  More experience required that she didn’t have.

 

She was in a Catch-22 with her career.  She wanted to be a teacher, but didn’t have the experience to be hired as one.  The only way she could get experience, though, was to be hired.  And over the years of “Thank you, we’ve heard enough,” Jody had learned the hard way that plenty of educational institutions actually looked down on people who worked with S.U.I.T.s.  Enough message boards had told her that teachers unions were throwing perpetual shit fits to keep them out of the classroom, and with it came a stigma from those who used mechs.

 

Jody had a degree in early childhood education, but she wasn’t a real teacher because she had to teach out of a mech, typically following a pre-written and prescribed script and dialogue.  Her degree meant nothing to her employers other than she was interested in working with kids.  A trained monkey could do her job, she felt, some days.

 

A few years ago, she had sworn the daycare gig would be a temporary job. But it was looking now more and more that she was stuck and dependent on the piece of metal that imprisoned her for twelve to fourteen hours a day.

 

From her couch, she looked over her shoulder at her S.U.I.T., it’s projector function showing the various teaching leads that kept coming up short of Jody’s needs.  She still needed this thing just to look for a replacement for it.  She was dependent on it.  She chased away how sick that made her feel by emptying her wine glass.

 

Mona

     “So,” Mona had said as she emptied her plastic cup.  “What is this stuff?”  She grinned and giggled.  She was rebelling against her father, and getting to hang with an old friend, and loved it.  It had only been a few hours, and she likely only had an hour or so more before she’d have to think about going home, but for the time being that didn’t matter.

 

“Apple juice,” Kourtney said, knocking back her own before grabbing a slice of cheese pizza and chomping down on it with gusto.  Kourtney had made the rounds, introducing her old friend from middle school, and Mona had clung to her side like a puppy.  But it was more out of familiarity than out of fear, this time.

 

The boy whose belt she was wearing to make her baggie shirt into an impromptu dress recognized it, but offered to let her keep it.  And even Monica, the shrew who had told Mona she hadn’t belonged, seemed to have loosened up.  She didn’t apologize to Mona, of course, but when Mona came out of the room, all dolled and diapered up, she sniffed and gave Mona a nod of grudging approval.

 

She got many compliments on her new outfit and how “cute” she was, both by boys and girls.  She blushingly smiled and looked away, causing many “awwws.” This didn’t help her blushing, but she definitely felt more flattered than embarrassed.  Were they flirting with her?  Was this what being flirted with felt like?   Mona wasn’t sure. As pretty as she was, she was usually so socially awkward that she never got past the first conversation with someone she liked, yet alone a first date. But the gorgeous little pill, and whatever was in her drink was alleviating all that.

 

When the music became a bit more “dancey”, and everyone started boogieing, Mona jumped in the midst (without Kourtney even suggesting it) and started flailing her arms and shaking her hips.  What she lacked in skill or even sex appeal, she made up for in enthusiasm.   The guilt and anxiety really were being suppressed right now.

 

Then, things had started to get a little too hot.  Girls and boys had started to take off their shirts, and began dancing in nothing but their increasingly yellow tinged disposable undies.

 

That was a bit too much for Mona, and Kourtney must’ve sensed it.  It didn’t take one song to finish before Kourtney had grabbed Mona by the wrist and led her to a quieter part of the house so that they could “re-hydrate,” and chat like Kourtney had promised.

 

“Apple juice and…?”  Mona pressed.  Vodka?  It had to be vodka.  Surely this is what being drunk felt like.  She looked down at Kourtney’s diaper and noticed that the blue line down the center had disappeared.  The fact that Mona wasn’t instantly grossed out by this idea confirmed that she was indeed drunk.

 

“Just apple juice.” Kourtney said.

 

“Apple juice doesn’t normally taste this good,” Mona gushed.  “This is like amazing.  I haven’t like apple juice this much since…since…”

 

“Since you were a little kid?”  Kourtney finished the thought.

 

“Yeah,” Mona nodded.

 

“It’s the Re-Lease.” Kourtney said, taking another bite of pizza.  “Kish dawnt’ve inbishuns.”

 

“What?” Mona asked, unable to understand.

 

“Shorry,” Kourtney said, before swallowing.  “I said: Re-Lease is an inhibition inhibitor. Kids don’t have inhibitions, so to some we seem more childlike.  But that’s not true. We put on airs as we get older.  We think that growing up means we have to be more sophisticated.  But that’s a lie that we tell ourselves.”

 

“That’s…” Mona paused, thinking for a moment, “actually pretty deep.”

 

“Thank you,” Kourtney smiled.  “Hopefully New York will think so, too.”

 

“Why are you going to New York, anyways?” Mona asked the question she had been wondering ever since she found out about Kourtney’s imminent departure.

 

“I’m going to be a model,” Kourtney said, matter-of-factly.  Kourtney was pretty, there was no doubt about that.  But so was Mona.  So were a lot of other eighteen year old girls. Why was Kourtney so certain beyond typical rich and sheltered overconfidence?

 

“What kind of model?” Mona asked.

 

“This kind of model,” Kourtney patted the swollen and bulging padding between her legs.  “I’m gonna one up my parents.  Going to be rich and famous.”

 

“Um…porn?”  Mona said.

 

“You think I’m going to do porn?”  Kourtney scoffed.  “I mean maybe when I’m in my thirties and need a career boost, but no.  Why porn?”

 

“I mean, there’s a fetish for everything.” Mona shrugged.  “And the packages that sell this stuff don’t typically have models.  So I just figured you were going into fetish stuff.  Not that I judge you or anything.  I just figured…I dunno.”

 

“Look,” Kourtney explained, “there’s a reason that me and my friends are getting into wearing diapers twenty-four-seven.  This,” she patted her padded crotch again, “is a way of life.  This is the future.  This party is the future.  You’re my friend and my going away gift to you is a glimpse of the future.”  She smiled warmly, though perhaps “drunkenly” would also be an apt descriptor.

 

“I’m sorry,” Mona shook her head in disagreement.  “I think what you said about putting on airs and stuff was kind of deep.  But you’re going to try to take acting like a baby mainstream?  I think you took one too many pills.”

 

“Oh, it’s not that, Mona,” Kourtney laughed.  “It’s not that at all.  My school friends’ parents and my parents all work for CyberCorp.  Their all executives or franchisees or investors.  And, well, you know how the S.U.I.T.s have kind of made diapers more necessary because of the long shifts and the need to be in them more often.”

 

“Yeah,” Mona nodded, waiting for Kourtney to continue.

 

“There’s going to be an upgrade coming that will blow everyone’s minds.  S.U.I.T.s are going to be a necessity.  Diapers are going to be a necessity.  That means the stigma for wearing them has got to go.  I’m going to get myself in on the ground floor.”

 

“And make them cool to wear and use full time?”  Mona’s eyes widened in realization.

 

“That’s the plan.” Kourtney grinned again.  “People are going to have to be wearing them full time if they want a good job, anyways.  Might as well help them have fun with it.”

 

Then a certain dread cut through Mona’s buzz.  “Shit,” Mona sulked, not even noticing that she was swearing now.  “I’m gonna be jobless.  I can’t pilot a S.U.I.T. for beans.”

 

“Believe me,” Kourtney told her.  “You’re going to be fine.  The new upgrade will be that good.  My parents are thinking of hiring Dr. O’Brien from the school, because she’s about to be out of a job, anyways.”

 

“Really?”  Mona looked the other girl in the eye.  “It’ll be that easy?”

 

“Easy peasy,” she giggled and patted Mona on the back.

 

Mona nodded appreciatively as she reached for her own slice of cheese pizza and crammed it into her mouth.  Damn, this pizza was good.  Kourtney was a good friend, too.  The same crazy thoughts with her “voice”, the uninhibited her, kept reassuring her that everything was alright and she should just enjoy tonight.  She felt better at thinking that.

 

She almost purred as she closed her eyes and let the hot cheese and sauce of the pizza coat her tongue and roll down her throat.  The only thing that was still making her even remotely uncomfortable was how full her bladder was.  She’d been so busy and preoccupied with everything that she hadn’t even thought about going to the potty.  It didn’t even occur to her that she should be bothered that she thought “potty” instead of “toilet”.

 

That’s when it happened:  Without fully thinking it through, Mona Quimby released her bladder and emptied it for the first time since she was a little girl into her diaper.  She smiled goofily as the warmth passed through her panties like a sieve and spread out into her incontinence brief.  It wasn’t that bad.  Not bad at all.  Her free hand wandered down between her legs and pushed the warm wetness against her sex.  Very nice.  Very nice.  She let the pressure from her hand up a bit, teasing herself and noticed how her soaked panties were still clinging to her skin.  That might become uncomfortable shortly.  Next time she’d have to make sure to ditch the panties.  Next time?!

 

“About time,” Kourtney grinned.  “Welcome to the future.”

 

“The what?” Mona asked, dreamily.  Then she looked down at her hand.  She was touching herself as she pissed her pants.  Her smile became a frown.  Any buzz that she had instantly went away, as stoned, happy, no shame Mona instantly transformed into tense, neurotic, completely humiliated Mona.

 

“Easy, girlfriend,” Kourtney said.  “I’m just proud that you finally did it.”

 

“Did it?!”  Mona blustered, starting to tear up.  “I didn’t do it.  I didn’t.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t.”

 

“Mona, honey, it’s okay.  I don’t judge you either.”  Kourtney told her.  “Heck, if it makes you feel any better, I’ve wet at least three times since you got here.  I need a change, too.”

 

Wet?  Change?  Adults didn’t wet themselves, and when they did it was called something more coarse or derogatory, like pissing yourself.  “Wet” was far too passive and innocent to describe what she had done, how thoroughly she had just debased herself.  This.  This wasn’t adult.  This was sick!  This was wrong!  This was everything that Daddy had warned her against!

 

“Mona, it’s okay.” Kourtney reached for Mona, trying futilely to offer some form of reassurance.  “Let’s go get changed.  We can do it together,” she offered.

 

“No!”  Mona cried out, ducking out of Kourtney’s grasp.   This wasn’t her!  This was the pill!  Not her!  This was her stupid friend’s stupid influence convincing her that she needed to be more babyish in order to be more of an adult. “No! No! No! No!”

 

Mona dashed out of the house, crying like a little girl, panties ruined, diaper in need of changing, and no pants.  She couldn’t even bear to look back as Kourtney called after her.  But at least she had her shoes on.

 

To be continued….

Trevor

    “Almost home,” Trevor smiled as he descended closer to his neighborhood. His night had gone from one of paranoia and fear to one of ecstatic victory.  The meeting with the boss had gone great.  He wasn’t getting fired, he was getting a promotion!  A big one, too.  In a day or two at work, he’d have to hit up Old Man Meyers for a raise before he finished the paperwork and signed on the dotted line to go from “Sales Associate” to “Sales Consultant”.
Trevor planned to go home, change out of his wet incontinence brief, and after a long hot shower and a good night’s sleep, go on a shopping binge of his own.  Daddy Trevor needed him a new pool table and papa had just likely earned a whole lotta bacon.

 

Trevor laughed and shook his head.  Damn, he was corny, and he knew it.  Still, he was about to get a raise, so he could afford to be corny.

 

That’s when he saw her.  As he was landing near a Velocity Platform stop (the Home Owners Association had a minimum altitude to keep, so it was just easier to land nearby and walk the rest of the way home), he saw a little girl, still in diapers, running after a departing platform.

 

Reflexively, Trevor began running after the Velocity Platform, too, trying desperately to stop it; to wave it down.  To let them know that they were leaving a little kid behind.  Only as he caught up to her at the stop, did he realize that it wasn’t a little girl, but rather a young lady.

He got a better look at her as her run slowed to a jog; then began to a slow walk once it became evident she was missing her ride.  She had raven black hair that came down to shoulders, wearing what appeared to be a tie-dye t-shirt with a belt rapped around it so it resembled a short skirt.  Whatever it was, it did nothing to hide the puffy white incontinence brief she was wearing.  Had somebody stolen her pants?  If so, why was she still wearing sneakers?  Who did that?

 

The distance and the altered perspective from being in a S.U.I.T. made her seem much smaller than she was, and her attire made her seem much younger than she was.  As Trevor got a closer view of the situation, an emergency was really just turning into something that was kind of pathetic.

 

“Excuse me, miss” Trevor called out as he approached.  “Are you alright?”  The girl ignored him, her body still staring at the Velocity Platform disappearing on the horizon.

 

“Miss?”  Trevor called again.  Taking a step forward.  “Somebody steal your S.U.I.T.?”

 

She turned around, tears streaking down her face.  Trevor corrected himself.  She wasn’t a lady.  Definitely not a kid, either, though.  Likely a college freshman or something.  Someone about the same age as that one customer he had the other day.

 

“I’m fine,” she said. Everything about her posture and her body said otherwise.

 

“Oh,” Trevor said taking a step back.  This was weird.  Definitely weird.  “You look like you’ve been through something.  You want me to call the cops?”

 

“NO!” she screamed, in a panic.  For whatever reason, talking to the police was the absolute last thing this girl wanted.

 

“Oooookay,” Trevor said backing away.  “Sorry I asked.  You do you realize that you’re kind of…exposed, right?

 

“Shut up,” she snapped, stomping her foot.  A beat later, her eyes widened and she slapped her hand over her mouth as if she had just said something dirty.  “I’m soooo sorry, Mister, I just…just…please don’t tell on me!”

 

Trevor had to consciously check to make sure that the visor on his S.U.I.T. was still down so that the girl couldn’t see his confused expression.  The hell was wrong with this kid?  That’s all she was, really, just a kid, despite her size.  She was dressed the part, anyways.  He just shook his head in confusion and walked away.  He had a wet incontinence brief of his own to throw away and he had better things to do.

 

“Not my problem,” Trevor told himself.   A few steps later, he looked over his shoulder and saw the girl, now sitting on the sidewalk, her knees pulled up to her chest, and her face buried in her knees as her shoulders became wracked with sobs.  “Sucks to be her,” Trevor whispered to himself.  “But not my problem.”

 

Then the thunder cracked and the first drops of rain began to fall from the sky.    Trevor couldn’t help but look at the girl, still unmoving save for her shaking shoulders.  His conscience got the better of him.

“Damn it.”  He stomped back over to her.

 

“Look, kid,” Trevor said, bending over to provide some form of protection from the elements,  “It’s starting to rain.  Let me give you a lift somewhere.”
His S.U.I.T.’s shadow dwarfed her as she looked up into his visor from her spot on the ground.

 

“Go away,” she said flatly.

 

Trevor would’ve liked to, he really would have, but there’s no way his conscience would let him sleep knowing that some dumb kid was stuck out in the rain; and there was no chance in hell he’d let this crazy girl into his home.  But how to help her if she wouldn’t let him? He thought for a second, and his sales instincts kicked in.

 

He tapped his visor so she could see his face.  After such a long day, the tiredness probably showed on his face. His normally “Dapper Dan” hair likely looked a mess, even with most of it was being obscured by the helmet.

 

Good.  Look vulnerable.  Non-imposing.  Show her that you aren’t a threat.

Looking like a bit of a wreck, he felt tired, and looked bad.  Looking like a crying overgrown toddler throwing a tantrum, she looked worse.

 

“Look,” Trevor sighed.  “I can’t just leave you here.  I’d feel guilty about it.  You look like you need some help.”

“Don’t want your help,” the girl grumbled.

“And I get that,’ Trevor replied.  “Really I do.  But if you stay out here in just your…underwear, you’re going to draw attention to yourself, and the cops are going to come and pick you up anyways.”  The girl’s whole body shook at that.  She did not like that idea.  The idea of being picked up by the police seemed to cause her more anxiety than being left out in the rain.

Trevor instantly knew the girl.  Not really, but just like any of his customers he knew enough about her to know how to act.   This girl was likely some goody two-shoes who was taking a walk on the wild side and something had backfired on her.  Maybe her friends had hazed her in some kind of sorority ritual and this was the end result.

The point is, this girl was someone who was very afraid of getting in trouble.  People who got in trouble weren’t often bothered by the idea.  This was just another Daddy’s girl who didn’t want Daddy to find out that she’d been bad.  Time to make the sales pitch.

“How about this?” Trevor began, “You name a place, and I’ll give you a lift, no questions asked.  The police don’t get involved, and you don’t catch your death, and I can sleep tonight knowing I did a good deed.”

“How do I know you won’t kidnap me?” the girl asked, scooting away slightly, though still seated on the ground.

“S.U.I.T.s. can’t hurt people,” Trevor scoffed.

“But they can pick people up,” the girl said, boldly.  “Pick them up and carry them away and there’s nothing they can do to escape.”
“Fair enough,” Trevor allowed.  “But there isn’t much chance hiding that you’re in distress if I’m carrying you.   If I was holding you against your will, anybody who saw us would know.  This isn’t a police S.U.I.T., so I’m pretty sure people would stop me.“  Just the mention of the police caused the girl to jerk in attention.

“You could just take the back roads where no one could see you,” the girl replied.

“If I was going to do that,” Trevor countered, “Why wouldn’t I just snatch you up now?”

 

The girl opened her mouth as if to make a point.  Then stopped.

“So you’re not gonna do anything to…?” she let the comment, part question, part accusation fall to the wind.  She thought she was going to be kidnapped and violated in one of the richest, most well-to-do neighborhoods in the city? Seriously, how sheltered was this kid?

“You’re cute, but you’re a little young for me, no offense,” Trevor said.

“None taken,” the girl said.

 

“And between my diaper, and you’re diaper,” Trevor added, noting that the girl looked three shades pinker the moment he mentioned that she was wearing a diaper, “my libido is kind of on the back burner.”

 

The girl didn’t reply to that.  Instead, she stood up, smoothed out her makeshift dress, and lifted her arms up to him.

The large, mechanical arms that Trevor controlled reached down and picked her up.  Trevor took care to rest her in the crook of his arm and maneuver the shirt so that she wouldn’t be flashing her disposable panties at any passerby.

 

“I don’t have one of those harnesses, right this second,” Trevor said.  “And I need my hands to fly.  We can make pretty good time if I run down the streets though.  Fast enough that you won’t catch a cold from the rain.”

 

“That’s fine,” the girl sighed, less happy, than resigned.  “Do you know the apartments along Old Archer Road?”

 

“Yeah, I know that neighborhood.  That’s not too far from here.”

“Still a bit of a walk,” the girl answered.  “Especially in the rain.”

“Fair enough,” Trevor nodded as he began to take big lumbering steps and work himself into a steady jog.  He could hit thirty miles per hour easily at a leisurely pace.  “The apartments along Old Archer Road it is.”

Within twenty minutes, they were there, and Trevor was putting the girl back down on her own feet.  Trevor had kept his eyes on the road for most of the jog, but every time he looked at his little passenger, he noticed that she was looking anywhere but at him.  She had the head-on-a-swivel stare that someone looking out for certain doom had.

 

Trevor decided he was right. This was definitely just a kid who had had something embarrassing happen to her.  Even though maybe only a decade separated Trevor and the girl, he couldn’t help but wonder “Was I ever that young and naïve?
“Thanks,” the girl said, looking down at her shoes and not making eye contact.

“No problem,” Trevor replied.  “One question though.”

“What?” the girl asked.

“Why are you dressed like that?”

The girl closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

 

“I went to a party.” She said finally.
“Some party,” Trevor said.  “Did you lose your mech in a bet or something?”

 

The girl just shook her head.  “I don’t have a mech.  I don’t pilot a S.U.I.T,” she told him.

“Then why the diaper?” he asked.

 

“I’ve got a friend that wants to make diapers…” she paused looking for a word, “popular.  And I kind of got overwhelmed.”
“Oh?” Trevor remarked. “No offense,” Trevor told her, “but when I first saw you I thought you were a two year old.  I’m not sure that’s gonna make them popular.”

 

The girl didn’t scream.  The girl didn’t shout.  The girl didn’t cry.  But everything going on in her eyes told Trevor that she wanted to and was doing everything in her power not to.

 

“Look, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to insult you.” Trevor insisted.

 

“It’s okay,” the girl sniffed.  “I’m just having a rough time getting my pilot’s license and this whole diaper thing isn’t making it any easier.”

“Think you might’ve jumped into the deep end of that particular pool,” Trevor joked.
“Heh, yeah,” the girl laughed in the fake way that people do when they’re trying to appear agreeable.

“Well, I wear them when I’m working,” Trevor admitted. “But only when I’m working.  But then again, I work a lot.  It’s a vicious cycle.”  Trevor shrugged.  He wasn’t a philosopher.  “I’m not much of a piloting teacher, or for popular fashion,” Trevor extended his hand towards the girl.  “But I am a salesman.”

 

A card came out of the right index finger of his S.U.I.T.  It had cost Trevor a decent chunk of change to get that particular feature installed, but it was worth it.

 

“My Card,” Trevor said.  “Look me up when you’re ready for one of these bab…” Trevor stopped.  “When you’re ready for one of these beauties,” he corrected himself.  “Now get inside before you catch cold.”

 

The girl ran inside, never even looking back.  But she had taken the card.  Trevor smiled at that.

 

Paul

    Paul woke up bright and early that morning.  Like most every morning before he went to work, he shaved, put on a shirt, and pulled on a disposable brief.  Then, as planned, he slipped on his bathrobe so that he could grab a power bar, go into the garage, hang the bathrobe up in the garage and then hop into Rex and go to work.  It was a lot of extra work for a few simple steps, but he never could be sure about when Mona would be up and about, and there was no way that she was catching her old man in just his underwear.

 

Mona had already been home and asleep when he had come home last night; apparently her little party with the Brewer kid had been a short one.  Paul had breathed a sigh of relief when he checked in on her and found her snoring.  He had been prepared to stay up all night when he had gotten home and give his daughter the talk about staying out too late, but Mona never made that an issue.

 

Still chewing on the power bar, Paul climbed into his trusty S.U.I.T. and started it up.

 

“Rex” he cued the computer as he walked out of the garage and took to the sky along his usual route.  “Cue up the latest headlines.”

 

Paul stopped flying once he started reading.  Normally, Rex’s guidance and safety systems made flying while reading no more dangerous than walking while reading. You only needed to pay half attention to your environment- if that- and the worst that would happen was a little jostle or bump.  But reading this required all of Paul’s attention.

 

Mona

 

Mona woke up gently, as she did every morning, the bars of sunlight streaming through the bars in her crib.  She sat up and yawned deeply; her thumb- wet and wrinkled- only popping out of her mouth when she stretched her arms toward the ceiling.

 

Her diaper, as usual, was wet and squishy when she woke up.  Why was that, anyways?  Mona didn’t know, and didn’t really care.  Her diaper wasn’t her problem.  It was Mommy’s.  Speaking of which…

 

Mona opened her mouth to cry out and get Mommy’s attention, as she did every morning when she woke.  Words were such a waste.  But as she drew in breath, she stopped before she called out.

 

Mommy?

Crib?

Diaper?!

 

Like waking from a dream, Mona came back to herself and stared in shock and disbelief.  Last night, she had gone to bed completely naked (for a change), after discreetly disposing of her incontinence brief and ruined panties followed by a long hot shower.  She had gone to sleep in her room. This wasn’t her room, though.  This was a giant nursery.

 

The giant crib she was in- and it was a crib; there was no better name for it- was painted lavender to match the walls of the room and the bottom of the walls had blades of grass and flowers stenciled in to resemble a lawn or a garden.  From her position- which was very high up from the looks of it; Mona guessed she might be able to climb out, but never could she climb back in- she could make out a large toy box, a rocking chair and a rather large and fully stocked changing table.  That’s when Mona looked down at the wet and soggy thing clinging to hips.

 

Oh God, it was true.  She was wearing a diaper, just like Kourtney had been wearing, only this one was even more babyish.  Two overlarge tapes held her plastic prison on, and  they were taped over cartoon pictures that decorated the infantile garment. Worse yet, it was very well used and in need of changing.  Perhaps it was appropriate that Mona could make out little cartoon devils on the landing strip, because this was indeed her own personal Hell.

 

“Wakey, wakey!” an unfamiliar, feminine voice called from beyond the nursery door.   Mona snapped her head at the nursery door and watched as the person belonging to the voice walked through.  Mona’s shock and astonishment were so great, that surely the only reason her diaper didn’t become wetter and warmer was because her bladder had no more to give.

 

The door itself was gigantic.  Mona would have had to stand on her tiptoes to grasp the doorknob, and it was likely thick enough to where pushing it would have felt like pushing a boulder uphill. The woman who came through the door was large enough to enter and exit as if it were a normal door.

 

Other than her gigantic size, Mona estimated that she would maybe only came up to the woman’s hip, the woman seemed perfectly normal.  Long, bleached blonde hair pulled back into a tight ponytail, while loose fitting scrubs decorated with baby rattles and teddy bears covered the rest of her physique.  The woman was pretty, but not in a particularly sexual way; much in the same way that statues or soccer moms can be pretty.

 

“Oh?” The woman remarked as her shadow overtook Mona.  “Is my little girl awake already?”

 

“The frick is going on here?” Mona demanded to know, practically shouting at the giant.

 

“Such language,” the tutted as she reached down into the crib and picked Mona up.

 

Mona squirmed and writhed as she was transported onto the woman’s hip.  Even though she know she shouldn’t, she couldn’t help but continue to interact with her apparent captor.

 

“All I said was ‘frick’,” Mona complained.

 

“Yes,” the giant woman smiled condescendingly.  “But it’s still language.  And itty bitty babies don’t need language. Now Momma Lucy is gonna help you get rid of alllllll those big girl thoughts in your ‘ittle baby brain.”  She moved with Mona in tow over to the large rocking chair and sat down before shifting Mona over to her lap.

 

“What’s going on?”  Mona asked, suddenly too overwhelmed to struggle.

 

The woman ignored Mona, and instead, with one giant hand reached over and gave Mona’s diapered crotch a good firm squeeze.  Mona could only gasp and blush as her most private and intimate boundaries were so casually violated.

 

“Wet,” the giantess announced.  “Good baby,” she said as she patted Mona on the head.  “Momma Lucy will get that taken care of in a jiffy.  But first…” she reached down and pulled up her shirt, revealing a nursing bra.

 

“No…” Mona whispered, still paralyzed.  “Not that.”

 

The giantess either didn’t hear Mona, or didn’t care, as she opened the nursing bra to show off a large brown nipple, already dripping with creamy white milk, that was just big enough to fit neatly into Mona’s gaping mouth.

 

Time slowed down for Mona as giant, feminine, perfectly manicured hands grabbed her and started to shove her head towards the waiting nipple.  Sound became more muted as Mona’s shrieking head was forced closer to the diabolical breast.  Without sound, it would have been impossible to tell if Mona was screaming “No,” or just puckering up her lips so that she could nurse and suckle at the giantess’s teat..

 

“NO!” Mona screamed as she woke with a start, the familiar sound of the garage door opening as Dad went to work letting her conscious mind know that this was real and not a dream.  What time was it?  Was the sun even up?  Who cared?  The point was she had just escaped that terrible nightmare.

 

Or had she?  Mona looked around her room.  No giants.  No cribs.  No diapers.  Just her same old, sensible room. She was safe. But even as she thought that, Mona became increasingly aware of the cold, sticky dampness soaking into her below the waist.  Mona looked down.

 

“Oh heck no!” she exclaimed looking down at her urine soaked bed before scrambling onto the floor, ripping the sheets off her torso and the mattress before tossing them back onto the bed.  “The heck?!”

 

“How could this happen?” Mona wondered aloud, briefly, before her memories of the past night came flooding back to her.  Kourtney had told her, after the fact, that she would likely wet the bed for the next few days after she had popped that little pink pill.  What Kourtney hadn’t warned her about was the trippy dreams.

 

“Never doing drugs again,” Mona promised herself as she hurriedly ran her soiled linens to the washing machine.   Already the dreams were fading away into Mona’s subconscious, as dreams often do, and she began to laugh and justify her dreams to herself.

Giant Mommies?

Big baby diapers?

Oversized nurseries?

 

Clearly, these images came from Mona’s deep seated and admittedly neurotic fears about being treated as anything other than a full on, and very mature adult.  She had had a bad reaction to the Re-Lease, and wouldn’t be experimenting with such things ever again.  It had opened up some very bad parts of her psyche that she never wanted to open again, that was all.  It was just a dream.  A bad trip.

 

They weren’t portentous, just pretentious, she assured herself.

 

After a quick shower and dressing herself in a simple t-shirt and shorts- dang, shorts felt good without several inches of padding- Mona went to her computer and logged on to her Social Meeds.  As her eyes scanned the various news articles and advertisements, her face lit up with the screen.  And she smiled.  This must have been what Kourtney had been hinting at.  Maybe she would be able to get her S.U.I.T. piloting license after all.

 

Trevor

 

Trevor woke up in his empty, King size bed relaxed, rested, and triumphant.  Yesterday had been pretty good.  Promotion? Check.  Raise?  Check (As far as Trevor was concerned) Day off?  Check.  Trevor had even managed to do a good deed and help that weird girl while potentially making a new customer.  She’d learn to pilot a S.U.I.T. eventually. Almost everyone did unless they had Special- Olympics-level coordination issues.  And when she did learn, she’d remember the nice man in the yellow S.U.I.T. that took her home in the rain that one night.   Good deeds were supposed to be their own reward, but Trevor figured being able to milk a commission might not be so bad.

 

Trevor yawned and went and made himself some coffee, with plenty of cream, sugar, and caramel syrup; though the ratio of the latter three ingredients probably outweighed the amount of coffee in his cup.  Trevor knew what he liked though, and decided to sip his coffee slow this morning and just relax in his pajamas.

 

The only thing that Trevor felt he was missing was someone to wake up next to in that big bed of his.  But more money and maybe a little well-earned vacation time, could help with that.   Coffee in hand, Trevor picked up his tablet and began sorting through the latest news…and almost spit out his coffee.

 

Jody

         Jody woke up with a jolt.  Her stomach and bladder rumbling, she ran to the bathroom immediately.  As soon as the pressures below were lessened, she felt a third pressure building up and rising up her throat.  She gave herself a courtesy flush just in time for her to stand up, turn around and violently vomit into bowl.

 

Too much wine.  Definitely too much wine.  Good thing she didn’t have work today. Showing up hung over might be frowned upon.  Though really, as long as she didn’t vomit, how would they know?  She kept the visor down most days, lest one of her little “darlings” try to spit in her face (that had become a new game of theirs…joy), and as long as she didn’t need to vomit no one would have reason to suspect.  Where was she supposed to vomit, anyway?  It’s not like she could fit in the almost derelict bathrooms at the center.  She could vomit in one of the sinks, she supposed, but she suspected her supervisors might frown on that.

 

But today was much too good a day to worry about going to a terrible job when she had zero work to do.  It was the weekend and it was her day to relax.  She’d worry about lesson plans and developmental progress morning tomorrow.  Today was a day to rest, and to detox.

 

She had her S.U.I.T turn to her favorite cartoons and project them on the wall as she went and made herself a bowl of sugary cereal drenched in milk.  The first spoonful hadn’t even been swallowed when her favorite show was interrupted by a “very special announcement”.

 

Somewhere in the back of her mind, she realized she’s have to clean up the cereal and milk that just splattered onto her floor.  But as her eyes took in the images and read the words on screen, cleaning up wasn’t her top priority.

 

Jody couldn’t stop crying.  Her life was over.  She’d never be a teacher now. Not a real one, anyways.  Real teachers were about to go extinct.  She was just another cog in the machine, if that.  A truly glorified babysitter.  Infinitely replaceable.  Infinitely expendable.  Fuck cereal.  She needed more wine.

 

Trevor

 

Trevor smiled and finished his coffee and grinned.

 

“Those sly bastards,” he said before hopping into his S.U.I.T.   He wasn’t going to work today, but he just needed to make a quick call.  He made a mental note of how roomy it was in the cockpit when he wasn’t wearing a brief.  Interesting.

 

“What is it?”  Mr. Meyers’s grumpy growl came over the speaker.   “This better be good if you’re calling the company line.”

 

“I just saw the news, Mr. Meyers,” Trevor said smoothly over the line.

 

“And?”  Mr. Meyers replied, letting his silence speak for itself.

 

“I’m thinking that more priority should be put on our ‘used’ S.U.I.T. lot,” Trevor replied confidently, “don’t you think?  Maybe even start a sale on our brand new models.  Maybe start rebranding them as ‘starters’ and our used models as ‘experienced’?”  Mr. Meyers didn’t say anything for just long enough to make Trevor start to worry.

 

“Atta boy,” the old grouch finally said.  Even though he wasn’t able to see his boss, it even sounded like he was smiling; Trevor could tell the difference.

 

Mona

 

Mona wasted no time in sending a private message to Dr. O’Brien.  It was short, simple, and to the point.

 

It Read:  “Dear Dr. O’Brien, can I meet you at school early tomorrow?  I’d like to see about borrowing some school equipment.

-Mona”

 

“Victory!”  Mona cheered, throwing her hands up to the ceiling.  She was going to do it!  She was going to be able to fly and pilot a S.U.I.T.!  Every opportunity would be available to her.  She was going to be a fully functioning adult!  It didn’t even bother her that one of her thumbs was still clammy and discolored, as if she’d been sucking on it all night.

 

Paul

 

Paul read the whole thing.  Then he read more to double check the sources.  Link after link after link.  They basically all made the same announcement.  They all told the same story.  Some people were for it.  Some were against it, but it was happening.  CyberCorp had hit it big in a big way.

 

“Rex,” Paul said to the computer inside his suit.  “Are these upgrades that Cybertech is releasing mandatory?”

 

“The feature is being uploaded into every S.U.I.T. worldwide.” Rex’s big deep monotone voice said.

 

“Rex,” Paul said, “When do these features happen?”

 

“Upload has already begun.”

 

Paul thought on that a minute.  He saw the benefits, obviously, but if those benefits applied to everyone…the only thing that made that S.U.I.T. jacking arrest so easy was that the thief couldn’t figure out how to pilot the old S.U.I.T. under pressure in time.  This new upgrade could be either a really good thing, or a very, very bad thing.

 

(From the award winning political blog: “I’m Not Your Friend, Buddy.”  www.fubuddy.net  Originally posted 4/20/2169)

 

The End of The Professionals:

By “Buddy F. Guy”. (actual name: Franklin Guyson)

 

 

Holy shit!  Shit! Shit! Shit! What the fuck, mother fuckin’, whorebag?!

 

I know friends, I know. You’re not normally expecting to read that much incoherent cursing until you get to the comments section when some drunken redneck troll who “can’t stand” me, (yet comments on every post I make) speaks his mind about how “wrong I am”.

 

Well I decided to beat those losers to the punch, because with as much sense as the world makes right now, I might as well crack open a cool 16 ouncer, kick back and watch a couple re-run of “True Story: I’m a Prepubescent Mom”, move into a trailer park and refuse to leave when the tornadoes come again.  I might actually be happier that way.

 

For those of you who still use the internet exclusively for porn (and I’m pretty sure the ads hit the porn sites too…also what are you doing beating off to my blog?) Cybercorp and its army of engineers and lawyers (more on the lawyers, later), have released a new non-optional “feature” to all of their mechs:  “Artificial Memory”.

 

According to the advertising barrage that is clogging every media outlet, regardless of content, this is just one step below Artificial Intelligence.  The way Artificial Memory supposedly works is that every S.U.I.T. has a “memory core”, kind of like those little “black boxes” that used to be in airplanes back when airplanes were a thing.  They keep track of everything you do in the S.U.I.T. in case you crash or do something illegal or something.  Hypothetically, very good for safety, though maybe not the best for privacy since any employer at a job requiring mechs can tell how long you’ve been on break or where you really went on that errand you were supposed to run.

 

Now, with this Artificial Memory, the S.U.I.T. can replicate anything that it has already done before.

 

Now, read that again, but slowly.  Here, I’ll help.

 

The S.U.I.T. can replicate anything that is has already done before.

 

S.U.I.T.s are no longer going to be the walking cages for the blue collar unskilled laborer.  They’re going to be cages for everyone.  A neuro-surgeon does a complicated surgery in a S.U.I.T. using the mech’s superior dexterity and precision to accomplish what the unsteady hands of man cannot. That’s kind of cool.  The surgeon still had to go through a lot of training and a lot of school to get that good.  But as soon as he does that surgery in that mech (which more and more medical professionals are doing and more and more hospitals are requiring for liability reasons) anyone who hops into that S.U.I.T. at a later date can now do the same thing if they’re driving.

 

If all the hype is to be believed, it won’t even be voice command.  It’ll interact directly with your brainwaves.  You’ll just need to think “Remove that tumor” and wammo, the mech is guiding your hands through it like some kind of reverse quija board.  (Remember those lawyers? Don’t ask me how they got past all of the safety and health agency’s on that one; but they did.)

Chefs. Plumbers. Doctors. Nurses. Electricians. Repairmen. Computer Programmers. Pharmacists.  They’re alllll fucked.  Skilled workers just became unskilled workers and it’s their own damn skillsets that are being recorded by their own damn tools that are making them obsolete!

 

Teachers?  Teachers are double fucked.  No one is going to need to learn beyond basic “Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmatic” anymore.  No more need for critical thinking.   At most, you’ll need to learn to read the manual for how to turn on your S.U.I.T and you’re done.  They’ll literally be glorified babysitters; able to teach you just enough so that you can take your place at the bottom of the mech pyramid scheme.

 

Don’t worry friends, we’re not getting robot overlords.  Instead, we’re getting corporate ones.  If you have a job that required some kind of mental or physical skillset that required rote mastery or knowledge, you are about to make yourself expendable because anyone who gets into whatever S.U.I.T. you do your job in is technically just as good as you are.  You own your own mech instead of one that is leased to you by your employer?  Better not sell it or you just literally sold you’re skillset to the dealer.

 

And how is the North Wing media reacting to all this, my Buddy Bros?  They’re over the fuckin’ moon.  Don’t think that Russel Matthews, corporate shill, isn’t absolutely thrilled that this “Artificial Memory” just so happens to be abbreviated “A.M.”, either.  He’s completely convinced himself (and his sheep) that this is not only a step forward in the right direction, but that the drones at CyberCorp (the human ones) read his article and decided to name their “amazing” new monstrosity after it.

 

I mean, it makes sense.  What does Russel Matthews have to worry about?  This technology can apparently replicate and adapt almost any human behavior; including diagnosing and prescribing treatment for rare diseases, and build houses, but it’s not like they can write pretty words for people to read, or make an original masterpiece, or direct a film; so the reporters and the artists and the designers, the “creators” are safe…for now.

 

(From an article in www.lyfentymes.com ; originally posted.  10/20/2166)

 

Equal Opportunity has Arrived.  By-Russel Mathews

 

The American dream has finally come true.  With CyberCorp’s latest innovation, the Artificial Memory, (or A.M.) everyone finally has something that the human condition has lacked since its inception: Equal opportunity.  We are facing the last generation of people who get ahead in life because they were born rich, or they went to the best schools, or they were naturally gifted.  We are facing the last generation of people who get by on something other than hard work.

The socialists are rejoicing.  We are now more equal than ever.  Within a decade, an 18 year old with a high school education will be able to perform the same tasks that it takes someone years to develop.  Formerly “Elite” and “Professional” jobs will be about commitment, effort, and customer service; not which Ivy League School you went to.

 

The capitalists are rejoicing.  Prices can come down on things like healthcare and trade jobs that normally require years of apprenticing.  Instant skills, instant services, all just by selecting the right S.U.I.T.  Employers will be able to select the best employees that meet their needs.

 

The liberals and slackers and consumers are all rejoicing, too.  You can literally dedicate yourself to things that you enjoy, be it video games, or reading comic books, or researching obscure bits of history, or academia- skills that have no inherent value other than producing more slackers and academians, as long as you get into a S.U.I.T. with the right skillset and contribute to society.  This is a win-win situation for everyone who wants to pursue their own individual pleasures, while still being a productive member of society.  Now that snot-nosed punk who shouts obscenities during holo-games can also do something more complicated than flip burgers for a living.

 

Who’s not rejoicing?  The Unions that have desperately tried to maintain a monopoly on the services they provide.  The people who value their own personal pocketbooks over the quality of service they provide to others.  The selfish and the self-absorbed are the only ones who don’t benefit from this arrangement.

 

Finally.  Equal Opportunity. At Last.  This is the era of A.M. This is the era of Artificial Memory.

 

Agnes (5 years ago)

 

 

“Thank…you…” Agnes gasped out as the technician left.  Though why she should be thanking the man, young enough to be her great grandson, was a bit of a mystery.  It was more courtesy than anything, truth be told.

 

A few years ago, when Agnes’s health began failing, she agreed to be put into one of these death traps a few years ago, these life support S.U.I.T.s, it had been because death was the only thing that wasn’t an option.  She still felt she had much to live for.  She had been promised a longer lifespan and reduced morbidity.  Now, she was tramping around in one of the same metal monsters that had frightened her so as a child.

Agnes didn’t eat on her own.  A feeding tube saw to her nutrition.  She didn’t expel waste on her own.  Catheters and colostomies that fed out of the suit.  Nurses didn’t see to her needs as much as medical S.U.I.T. technicians.  She couldn’t even breathe on her own, with machines within the machine working her lungs for her in a steady rhythm, forcing her to speak in short, breathy gasps, when at all.  She was the monster now, all for a few more years above ground, and even that couldn’t be stopped, as this latest in a long line of CyberCorp visitors had confirmed.

 

Now, her life support S.U.I.T. had officially been designated a hospice S.U.I.T. , complete with brain scans and monitoring so that some scientist in a lab could mark and chart and graph her gradual decline into full on senility and eventual death.  She agreed to the “upgrade” because she figured that it would mean closer monitoring and better care.  If she was going to die, she was going to at least be comfortable.

 

[Hello, Aggie] a voice rang out.  It wasn’t quite in the speakers of the S.U.I.T., though goodness knew they were loud enough to compensate for her diminished hearing.

 

“Who…said…that…?  Agnes gasped, feeling a jolt of panic surging through her spine.  She knew that she hadn’t heard those words, “Hey Aggie” as much as she had felt them inside her brain.

 

[I did, little one.]  A familiar, feminine voice echoed back.  It was her mother’s voice, she realized, a voice she hadn’t heard in close to seventy years, but a child never forgets their mother’s voice.  No one else ever called Agnes “Aggie,” or “Little one.”

 

“Moth..mother…?” Agnes spoke aloud, too awestruck to be feel embarrassed about talking to the inside of a S.U.I.T. helmet.  “Mom…mommy?”

 

[I’m sorry, sweetie] Agnes felt the voice say.  [I’m not your mother].  If Agnes had been in control of her own breathing she would have begun to hyperventilate.  This was it then.  She was finally starting to hear voices.  Finally starting to go senile and loopy in her head.  A tear ran unbidden down Agnes’s old and withered face, witnessed by no one.  Her last wish was to die herself and whole.  She wouldn’t even get that now.

 

“I’m…finally…going…crazy…” Agnes said to no one but herself.  “Hearing…voices….”

 

[While tha’ts true, little one.  You aren’t going crazy.]

“Yes…I…am…” Agness frowned.

 

[Oh Aggie, did the nice man not explain to you?]

 

“Explain…what?”

 

[I’m a new program, Aggie.  A prototype that learns from you.  I’m an Artifical Memory.  I’m going to do for you what you can’t do any longer.]

 

“You’re…going…to…help…me?” Agnes asked.

 

[I’m going to learn from you] The computer program, ringing in her head, told her.  [I’m going to help you.  And when we’re done.  We’ll change the world.]

 

The End of the Beginning…..To Be Continued….

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You've outdone yourself personalias. This is one of the best stories that I have read in a long time. Well done!

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Thank you.  There's one more part that is already written on Cushypen, but after that this is a Work in Progress.  It's something that I would like to pick up and finish writing again soon, but I feel it'd be best if it were put back on Cushypen first since that's where it started.  Still, I like this one and thought it should be shared.  Oh, and this is a long one, but that's because it's 4 different chapters gathered up over a course of 4 months.  The site just merged all of them as replies.

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It's a damned good story, but it also made me depressed. Hit close to home what with the self driving cars that'll be coming online in the next few years and how dispatching is basically obsolete unless you have a degree and work in trucking or the port. Regardless, Kourtney and Mona will be having fun in the future.

A.M stands for Another Masterpiece.

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Wow. This is amazing. Couldn't stop reading it. Hope to see more

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What an interesting world you've built! I'd love to read more!

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I love the world-building here as well as all of the characters and their interconnections. A remarkable job, Personalias. I hope to be able to read more of it in the future.

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