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Keeping secrets

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    [Complete] Keeping secrets

    OK, I know I've been lazy, so hopefully posting in smaller parts like this will force me to actually keep writing. Bear in mind that I might make changes to already posted stuff based on comments, critiques and if I simply need to change things to make the rest of the story work.
    Keeping Secrets





    I look out the window at the rain pouring down. The clouds are as grey as lead over a city where life is equally bleak. The only light in my office is from the desk lamp. The bottle of whiskey next to it makes reflections that I'd probably find interesting if I was the artistic type. But I'm not. I study the bottle. It's almost empty; two, maybe three shots left. It's a good thing I have six more in my gun. And if I'm really lucky, I won't have to use them all tonight.

    There's barely a hint of movement outside the frosted window on the door before it opens and she walks in. I lean back to take in the whole package. The long, blonde hair, short dress and legs that go on for miles scream out 'trophy wife' but the sunglasses big enough to hide a serious shiner and the long-sleeved coat despite the weather hints at something darker.

    "Ms. Bullit?"

    "That's my name, doll."

    "Excuse me?" she says, indignation obvious in her voice.

    "Oh shit, you're real. One moment." Tracy quickly focused on the top right of her field of view to switch off the AR. Colour flooded back into the world, washing away the image of a 1940s office with a significantly more modern one. Tracy reached back behind her right ear to eject the small chip.

    "I'm sorry about that. I wasn't expecting anybody to actually be here." Tracy put the chip in the open desk drawer and rose. "Can I get you a drink? Coffee? Tea?" This was the first client for more than a week and she couldn't afford to lose her. Not with the rent being due in only a few days.

    "Um, no thanks," the woman said, seeming a little off balance at Tracy's sudden change in demeanour. She sat down in the chair in front of the desk. Tracy sat back down again and placed her phone on the desk between them.

    "Do you mind if I record this, Ms…?" Tracy looked expectantly at the woman.

    "Uh, Smith," she said, obviously lying.

    Tracy sighed. "Look, Ms. 'Smith'," she said calmly. "I track down information or people for a living, and I happen to be pretty good at it. So unless whatever you want me to find out isn't related to you at all and you're planning on paying me with cash, asking your name is more of a formality than anything else." Tracy didn't add 'or if you didn't turn your phone completely off before entering my office, or took a taxi here and didn't pay with cash, or got caught on the surveillance cameras in the shop next door', or any of the five other ways she could find Ms. Smith's name out in less than ten minutes. After all, there was no point in scaring her off.

    The woman seemed to deflate a little as she sank back in her chair. "Devereux. Camille Devereux."

    Tracy restarted the recording on her phone, erasing the last twenty seconds. "So, Ms Devereux, do you mind if I record this? It'll make it easier for me to write up my reports for you later and you have my word that whatever you say will be one hundred percent confidential." That last bit wasn't entirely true, but 'one hundred percent' sounded more reassuring than 'mostly'.

    Ms Devereux sat down opposite Tracy, resting her handbag on her lap. If it wasn't for her clothes, she could have been ripped straight from Tracy's 1940's AR. "It's my husband," she said after a couple of seconds.

    Of course it is. Tracy leaned forward, trying to seem interested although she wasn't expecting to hear anything she hadn't heard a hundred times before.

    "I think he's having an affair," Ms. Devereux blurted out. She seemed almost relieved after getting that off her chest.

    God, what I wouldn't do for an interesting case. It wouldn't even have to be anything serious.

    "What makes you think that?" Tracy pulled a notepad and pencil out of her desk drawer. Audio recordings were all well and good, but sometimes you wanted notes that you could set fire to and be sure that they were irrevocably destroyed.

    "I'm not sure exactly when it started. Dennis has always been a little secretive about his work."

    "So what is his job?"

    "He works for an investment firm. Smith & Smythe. The second one is with a 'y' and an 'e'," Ms. Devereux said, anticipating Tracy's question. "Nothing big or important. He always says he's just moving papers and making sure all the t's are dotted and all the i's are crossed." Tracy looked up from the doodles in the margin of her notepad and raised an eyebrow.

    "I know," Ms. Devereux said, "but that's how he says it."

    Tracy nodded.

    "Usually he's as regular as clockwork. Leaving for work at eight and back every day just after six."

    "Mm-hmm." There still wasn't anything that told Tracy that this case would be anything out of the ordinary.

    Ms Devereux continued. "Every other Saturday is date night and... and..." She sighed. "I know it sounds boring, but I love him."

    "And what changed?" Tracy asked. "What makes you think he's cheating on you?"

    "He started coming home late, or not at all. Forgetting things. And then there are weird charges on the credit card. It just isn't like him."

    "What kind of charges?"

    "I don't know. They were all to those anonymised online services. You know, like wemovemoney4u.com. I tried to find out where the money was going, but I couldn't even get access to their login page."

    "I'm not surprised. You usually have to use a single, specific device connected to your account there."

    "So I'd need his phone or computer?"

    "Yeah." Tracy sucked her teeth and stroked her chin. "You do realise that all of this doesn't necessarily mean he's having an affair, right?"

    "I know, but we've even stopped..." Ms. Devereux hesitated awkwardly. "You know..."

    "Ah."

    "I just need to know." Ms. Devereux sniffed She looked like she was about to cry.

    Tracy decided that a distraction was called for, so she put down her notepad. "So, just out of curiosity, what made you come here. My ad says pretty clearly that I specialise in online stuff." Tracy briefly touched the plastic port behind her right ear for emphasis, trying to make it look like an absent-minded gesture.

    Ms. Devereux smiled sheepishly. "Dennis isn't really what you'd call charming if you meet him in person so I figured that whatever he's doing, it's going to be online. That's how we met. He's so different online. Caring and funny and…" Her voice trailed off.

    "OK," Tracy said, "I'll see what I can find out. But you might not like what I find. You have to be prepared for that."

    "Oh, whatever it is, I'm sure we can work it out."

    Riiiiiiight. Like I haven't heard that one before. I'm going to find him fucking your sister or something, and you're going to 'work it out'. Oh well, at least it'll pay the bills.

    Tracy spent the next half hour getting all the details she felt she needed about Dennis Devereux from his wife. Then, after transferring the initial fee and Tracy promising to let her know as soon as she had something, Ms. Devereux left.

    Tracy transferred the audio file on her phone to a speech-to-text program and read through the transcript before saving it. Next she double-checked the information Ms. Devereux had given her. It wasn't that she didn't trust her, but Tracy didn't want any surprises. It all checked out though.

    Luckily, Smith & Smythe wasn't the only company in their building, so Tracy didn't have any trouble finding someone who had time to see her the same day.

    It was still three hours until Mr. Devereux would be done at work, so Tracy went over her equipment, making sure all the batteries were fully charged and all the memory chips were empty. The only thing she needed to do was to fill the tank of the car and she could do that on the way.

    As she lugged the two heavy suitcases down the stairs, she cursed the landlord for not fixing the elevator and she cursed herself for picking an office on the fourth floor, even if the view was nice. Once she was on the ground floor, the suitcases became more manageable although the little wheels would find every little crack and bump as they rolled along the floor. Tracy managed to block the closing door with her butt and backed out onto the sidewalk. It was like walking into a wall of heat. The heat had already dried most of the rain, leaving just a rank smell and air that felt almost sticky. Beads of sweat immediately began to form on Tracy's forehead. She looked quickly up and down the street before walking briskly across it, eager to reach the shadow of the parking garage on the other side.

    The old security guard at the entrance looked up from his newspaper when she came closer. "Hi Jamal", Tracy said cheerfully. "What's new?"

    Jamal ran his hand over his grey hair. "Not much," he said. "The world is still going to hell, politicians are still lying and athletes are still cheating." He smacked his paper for emphasis.

    Tracy wasn't sure exactly how old Jamal was, but it had to be at least eighty. He had been working the security booth in the garage when she moved in to her office four years earlier and he always seemed to be there. Tracy suspected he lived in one of the cars. He was also the only person she knew that still only read newspapers on paper instead of just using a tablet.

    "Maybe you should switch to books instead. At least the plot makes sense in them."

    Jamal snorted softly. "Work?" he asked and nodded to the suitcases.

    "Well, a girl's got to eat, you know." Tracy smiled and ducked around the barrier blocking the exit.

    "Just be careful then."

    "Stop worrying Jamal, You know I don't go anywhere near trouble. That's what I have my little friends for." She patted the suitcases.

    Tracy made her way down the ramp, trying to ignore the smell rising from the lower levels. She stopped at her van: a greyish-beige, medium-sized one that was about as non-descript as possible. After deactivating both alarms, she opened the side door and loaded in both the suitcases and the small backpack she was wearing. Then she got in and started the engine.

    OK, first the petrol station and then Smith & Smythe.
    Last edited by Gummybear; 04-17-2019, 10:25:10 AM.
    Whenever you're holding all the cards, why does everyone else turn out to be playing chess?

    #2
    I like the premise. I wish there were more classic detective stories here. So much potential.
    Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

    Comment


      #3
      Forty-five minutes later, Tracy pulled up to the security booth of the underground parking garage of the building where Smith & Smythe had their offices. It wasn't in the most expensive part of the downtown area, but an office here would still cost twenty times what she currently paid, so she immediately felt that her van stuck out like a sore thumb among the shiny, non-dented, new cars.

      "It must be nice to have this kind of money," she murmured while ogling a red sportscar that could probably jump-start a ten year old boy into puberty.

      Unlike Jamal, the security guard in the booth had a crisp, grey uniform and looked like he was barely out of school. When he rose, Tracy saw that he had a utility belt that would have put Batman to shame. In addition to a gun and extra ammunition, he had a flashlight that was big enough to double as a baton hanging right next to a telescoping baton and maybe half a dozen zip-tie handcuffs.

      Compensating much? Looks like somebody didn't get in to the police academy.

      Tracy rolled down her window. The blast of heat ruined all the hard work the air-conditioning had done.

      "Good afternoon," Tracy said cheerfully. "I have a 3:30 appointment with Event Horizon."

      "Name?" the security guard said brusquely, obviously trying to sound tough and businesslike, but not quite pulling it off.

      "Alexandra Pavlova. Just like the cake." Tracy pulled a big, multicoloured handbag from between the seats and started rummaging through it. "I have my driver's licence in here, somewhere." She knew exactly where it was, but wanted to give the guard the impression of a ditzy blonde. Out of the corner of her eye, Tracy saw the guard shift his weight from one foot to the other.

      Already? You need to learn some patience, little boy.

      Just as the guard was about to speak, she triumphantly pulled the fake driver's licence from her bag. "There it is," she said and handed it over. "Now don't mind the hair on the picture. I just dyed it so people wouldn't think I was some kind of dumb blonde."

      Good god. All I'm missing is the chewing gum and the hair twirling.

      The guard made a show of checking the licence, but Tracy wasn't worried. She paid good money for her fake IDs so there was no way he'd be able to tell it wasn't real. He then checked his tablet, no doubt checking if Alexandra Pavlova actually had an appointment, which she did.

      "Okay, it's on the seventh floor." He returned Tracy's fake licence and she stuffed it back in the bag.

      "Thanks…" Tracy made a show of reading the guard's name tag, "…Daryl." She gave him a wink as he returned to his air-conditioned booth to raise the barrier.

      Tracy slowly drove down the ramp and into the garage itself. It took her almost five minutes to find Devereux's car. When she did, she parked as close as she could; only four cars away.

      For the next ten seconds Tracy just listened. No engine sounds and no footsteps; only the hum from the fluorescent lights and the barely audible traffic outside. Tracy grabbed the handbag and slipped out of the van. She quietly pushed the door closed and looked around. The only camera she could see was above the elevator doors. Making sure she kept cars between herself and the camera, Tracy made her way to Devereux's car. Being rather tall and gangly didn't exactly help when you tried to avoid detection, nor did carrying a handbag big enough to smuggle a small baby in. Just before she reached the car, Tracy stopped and looked around one more time, just to make sure there weren't any ninjas in wool socks sneaking around, but she was still alone.

      Tracy knelt next to the driver's side door of the car, peering through the window. She couldn't see any signs of extra alarm systems. If I parked my car right next to all these other ones, I guess I wouldn't be too worried about it being stolen either.

      Tracy pulled what looked like a slightly oversized phone out of the handbag. When she turned it on, the screen showed a list of car manufacturers. She tapped 'Honda' and the screen changed to ask model and year. The latter one was a bit tricky, but Tracy figured the car couldn't be more than six or seven years old, so she entered 'Accord' and '2026'. The screen went blank except for a progress bar. Tracy checked her watch: One minute and five seconds. While the device continued working, she pulled a small metal box out of her bag and opened it. She had to struggle a little to get the magnetic, coin-sized disk loose from the inside lid. It attached to the underside of the car with a quiet metallic click.

      OK, that should let me track the car.

      Tracy checked the watch again. Ninety seconds. The door unlocked with a thunk as her gadget found the right frequency. She gritted her teeth and opened the door, ready for a secondary alarm, but there was only silence. Quickly peeling a small, dark grey plastic bead off a strip of tape in the metal box, Tracy stuck it halfway up the seat back where it would easily transfer to the driver's back.

      …And that should bug him too.

      Tracy closed the door and locked it before putting everything back in her bag. She hurried back to her car and made sure the camera saw her as she came around the back of it, looking like she was searching for something in her bag. Pulling out a chapstick, she used the rear window of the van as a mirror before heading for the elevator. Tracy resisted the urge to smile and wave to the camera. That would be overdoing it.

      Just over half an hour later, Tracy returned to the parking garage. The visit to the party planner hadn't resulted in anything other than a few vague assurances about getting back to them about what, if anything, the bosses in her company decided on. Of course, there was no boss, so there wouldn't be any further contact. The whole thing had just been a pretext for her to gain access to the parking garage where Mr.Devereux parked his car. Although some of the party ideas had sounded like a lot of fun.

      Tracy drove out of the parking garage, giving Daryl the security guard a little wave before turning right and joining the traffic on the street. She didn't drive far however. She circled halfway around the block and pulled into an alley. Then she got out of the car and stood in the open side door to attach a couple of small antennas to the roof. Back inside the car, Tracy turned the air conditioning up, hoping the air filters would eliminate the stench of sun-cooked garbage coming from the outside, and turned on her GPS. The screen zoomed in to show a map with her car in the middle and a blinking purple dot to her south-west.

      "Okay Dennis. Your move," Tracy said. She dug out her tablet and sat back to read a book. She scrolled through the list of books she was in the middle of before settling on 'The Third Man'

      It was almost an hour later and the Soviets had just tried to abduct Anna when a soft beeping from the GPS made Tracy look up. Dennis was on the move. The purple dot moved onto the street and turned left. Tracy started the car and followed, staying so far back that there was no chance he'd spot her. She lost the signal when he entered a tunnel, but there weren't a lot of places he could go there so he showed up just where she expected when he came back out again.

      "Where are you going Dennis? That isn't the way home."

      Tracy looked at the map and suddenly realised where she was headed.

      "Nononononono. Keep going, keep going," she urged the little purple dot. But it turned left into a parking lot and stopped. The purple dot turned into a stationary blue dot and a moving red one as Dennis got out of the car and walked into the building next to the lot and vanished. Tracy swore. Of course he had to come here. She glared up at the five-storey building as she parked at the opposite end of the lot.

      Hotel Linwood was a the digital equivalent of a no-tell motel. If you wanted to do something shady online, that was the place. Each room electromagnetically shielded and the internet connection was run through so many proxy servers around the world that it was practically impossible to trace your location. And adding military-grade encryption on top of this made places like the Linwood a nightmare for people like Tracy. As long as he was in there, there was just no way she was going to be able to trace Dennis' computer.

      "Right. Time to get creative."
      Last edited by Gummybear; 02-03-2019, 05:09:47 PM. Reason: Added a comma
      Whenever you're holding all the cards, why does everyone else turn out to be playing chess?

      Comment


        #4
        Tracy got out of the van and looked up at Hotel Linwood. As she watched, the lights behind one of the frosted windows on the third floor came on. She kept watching and saw a shadow moving inside the room. None of the other rooms changed so she was pretty sure she had found Dennis' room. She opened the side door of the van and got in.

        The back of Tracy's van looked like a 1970s shag mobile decided to become a police surveillance van. While it still had an orange shag carpet and a huge, red beanbag, there were big screens hanging on one of the side walls and on the opposite wall were numerous panels with so many knobs and blinking lights that you'd think several radios had been sacrificed to some elder god. Propped up against the plastic wall separating the back of the van from the front were the suitcases and a low folding table. There was also a cooler which was empty at the moment.

        Tracy closed the door and turned on the screens before kneeling next to the suitcases to open them up. She carefully pried a tiny quadcopter from its foam housing. It was so small that it easily fit in the palm of her hand, but despite looking like a toy, it had cost almost as much as the van. Tracy turned the tiny drone on and put it on top of the suitcase. Next, she lay back in the beanbag and reached back to the panel behind her to grab a bright yellow spiral cord that she plugged into the socket behind her right ear. Tracy let her head fall back and closed her eyes. There was a tingling sensation as her body grew numb and heavy. Then, suddenly, everything changed.

        She found herself in the middle of what looked like the roof of a dark bluish grey high-rise building. Tracy wiggled her fingers, feeling her rotors adjust. Next she looked around until she saw herself lying in the beanbag. With a simple twitch of her buttocks, Tracy's rotors began spinning and she rose from the suitcase with a high-pitched buzz. Drifting a little from side to side and back and forth, Tracy adjusted the trim. Then she headed for the cracked window. A quick flick with her left rotors and she sailed through the gap with only millimetres to spare.

        The parking lot looked quite different to Tracy now that she was so small. A gust of wind almost made her hit the side mirror of the car next to the van and Tracy had to struggle to regain control. It was like walking on the deck of a boat in the middle of a storm. She had to constantly compensate to stay in control. Suddenly, a styrofoam cup appeared out of nowhere. Tracy dove to dodge it, and barely managed to pull back up before hitting the ground. She clenched her fists, sending all four rotors into overdrive and making her shoot straight up. Above the cars, the wind was a lot more predictable and there was a lot less debris so Tracy didn't have too much trouble locating the window she suspected hid her target and heading towards it.

        When she drew closer, Tracy unfurled a pair of tiny pincers and grabbed the narrow vent above the window. Moving hand-over-hand, or rather claw-over-claw, to the right edge of the vent, Tracy scrutinised the fine metal mesh, looking for a weakness. Not finding any, she moved back to the middle to examine the left side. At the left edge, Tracy found a tear in the mesh. It was only a couple of millimetres wide, but that was enough. She locked the claws, leaving the drone hanging in place, and activated what made it so expensive. Extending from the rear of the drone was a thin tentacle with a camera at the tip. The Penis-cam, as Tracy liked to refer to it. She wound the tentacle through the gap and was soon rewarded with a view of the room on the other side of the glass.

        Sitting in an armchair right under the window was someone who could be Dennis Devereux. It was just hard to tell when all you could see was the top of his head. There was a wire going from a plug behind his ear, just like Tracy had, to a laptop computer on the table next to the chair. If he was plugged in, he'd be more or less dead to the world, so it was safe to move in a little closer. Tracy focused on the computer. It was a sleek-looking thing with a familiar-looking logo.

        Oh please let it be…

        Tracy zoomed in as much as the camera allowed, which wasn't much.

        Yesssss! A Colonial/Nexus 500-series.

        Tracy had to catch herself to stop the tentacle from doing a little celebratory wave. The C/N 500-series computers were known for being powerful, pretty and notoriously hard to change the default security settings on.

        One of the downsides of being made in an authoritarian police state, I suppose.

        Using the tentacle as an antenna, Tracy began probing the security systems of the laptop. She was almost disappointed when it took her less than five tries to find the right code. A small terminal window opened in Tracy's lower right-hand field of vision. She opened her eyes, pausing the software controlling the drone and its tentacle and bringing sensation flooding back to her body. The big screen on the wall in front of her showed the slightly grainy feed from the penis-cam, minus a fist-sized spot of dead pixels halfway up on the left side.

        I really need to get that fixed. And get one of those coffee mugs with velcro on the bottom so it doesn't happen again.

        Tracy reached for the keyboard and began typing. She had to be careful since Dennis was still plugged into the computer and might notice her. She managed to extract the address of the site that he was visiting fairly easily and started the painfully slow upload of a tracking program. It would alert her the next time he went to that particular site. She would have to talk to Ms.Devereux to see if she could get her to install some more sophisticated trackers on the computer when her husband wasn't using it. They'd be too noticeable to install right now.

        Tracy was looking for the key file that would let her take a look at the credit card charges when she noticed some movement on the screen. Dennis was stirring. She quickly closed the terminal, hoping he hadn't seen it, and tossed the keyboard aside. Closing her eyes reactivated the connection with the drone.

        "Come on, come on, comeoncomeoncomeon…" Tracy hissed through clenched teeth as her body grew numb and heavy again, albeit far too slowly. The system was designed to turn off quickly, in case of emergencies, but re-starting it took precious seconds; especially when done at a distance.

        Finally, the darkness behind her eyelids lifted and she was treated to a view of the top of Dennis' head. He was yawning and stretching, his hand headed straight for the camera. Tracy retracted the tentacle as quickly as she could, hearing the metal brush against the mesh in the vent. Dennis heard it too and looked up, maybe catching sight of the tentacle as it disappeared through the vent. Tracy didn't wait to find out. The moment the tentacle was fully retracted, she let go of the vent and shot away from the building. She fell almost an entire storey before regaining control and when she did, she had to fight a headwind going back to the car. Just as she was aiming for the cracked window, everything went black.

        "What the fuck?" Tracy swore as her body woke up again. The screen in front of her was off and so were all the blinking lights behind her. "Oh shit, they finally got one of those." Tracy rolled out of the beanbag, opened the door and peered out. All the hotel windows were dark. As were most of the neighbouring buildings and a couple of the street lights. She spotted the drone on the roof of the car next to hers and quickly snatched it up before getting in behind the wheel. Parking the drone in the unused ashtray, Tracy started the engine and peeled out the parking lot just as she saw a group of large, armed men exit the hotel

        "OK, note to self: The Linwood has a baby-EMP now. And they saw my car." Tracy wasn't too worried about the van being traced back to her, but it could still be tracked through traffic cameras since the surveillance cameras in the area around the Linwood had no doubt caught that. Tracy dug her phone out of her pocket and pressed the call button. She breathed a sigh of relief as the screen lit up.

        "Call Jessie." The phone beeped in acknowledgement. Jessie and Tracy had met in second grade and had been friends ever since. She had even played around with the idea of going into business with Tracy, but she just didn't have the patience required. She was also an incurable adrenaline junkie so her current job as a demolition derby racer was perfect. Especially since her husband was a mechanic.

        "Yeah?" Tracy couldn't hear cars in the background, so Jessie probably wasn't working, at least not yet.

        "Hey Jessie, I need a favour."

        "What did you do this time?" Tracy could almost hear the smirk on Jessie's face.

        "I'm in some serious trouble and I need to clean out my van. Do you guys still have that big truck?

        "Come on, you know D runs a full-service shop. We can get you a new van. Friends-and-family discount."

        "You're a lousy used car salesman and you know it."

        "What are you talking about?" Jessie said with mock indignation. "The previous owner was a little, old lady who only drove it to church on Sundays."

        "Meaning you won it in the last race and Diego's been fixing it up." Tracy sighed, knowing that she probably wouldn't get a better deal on an untraceable car. "I can't afford to pay you for another week or two though."

        "That's OK, you can pay me back by doing some camera work for me next Saturday."

        "You're making another one of those car crash pornos?" Tracy suppressed a cringe.

        "No nudity. I promise."

        Tracy weighed the pros and cons. She'd lose a day's work, but it was Saturday, so Mr.Devereux was less likely to sneak off for some online hanky panky.

        "OK," she finally said. "But I'm in the middle of a case and if things start moving on it, I'm going to have to get on that."

        "Fair enough. So, where are you?"

        Tracy thought for a moment. "The parking garage just down the street from St.Catherine's Church. How soon can you get there?"

        "Twenty minutes, maybe half an hour."

        "Great. And bring some tools."
        Last edited by Gummybear; 01-09-2019, 06:04:13 PM.
        Whenever you're holding all the cards, why does everyone else turn out to be playing chess?

        Comment


          #5
          Just finished up the first entry. Detective stories are fun; I like the tone of this one.
          Please consider supporting me on patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Cute_Kitten

          Comment


            #6
            Tracy found a spot in the parking garage that didn't seem to be covered by the surveillance cameras and waited for what felt like an eternity, her heart jumping to her throat every time she heard a car. Places like Hotel Linwood took their promise of confidentiality very seriously and any security breach could kill their reputation, so they would be highly motivated to find Tracy. They also had the finances to do so quickly.

            To try to keep her mind from going to some very dark places, Tracy put her little drone back in the suitcase and packed everything else that she could get loose without tools. The screen was completely dead, but everything else seemed to work. Once there was nothing left to pack, she put on some plastic gloves from the first aid kit under the seat and began wiping down every surface she could conceivably have touched.

            When Diego and Jessie rolled up in a dark blue van, Tracy had already put the suitcases outside the car and was wiping down the doors and door frames.

            "Doing some spring cleaning?" Jessie asked. For someone who crashed cars for a living, she was obnoxiously good-looking: Long, blonde hair, curves to die for, an all-over tan and no scars. The latter two, Tracy could personally attest to after having helped her and Diego film a weird porn where they had been having sex in a car while it crashed.

            Jessie got out of the car and gave Tracy a hug. Tracy wasn't quite sure if the butt-grope she got was accidental or intentional. "So, girlfriend, who the hell did you get yourself mixed up with this time? A jealous husband? Psychotic dominatrix?"

            "Hotel Linwood."

            Jessie's grin evaporated. "Shit."

            "Yeah." Tracy handed Jessie one of the two suitcases and they put them in the back of Jessie's car while Diego started loosening the bolts holding the big remote control rig to the wall. As the different modules came loose, Jessie and Tracy wrapped them in blankets and put them in the car as well, taking care that none of the fragile components were crushed.

            It took just under ten minutes and before getting in the car, Tracy rolled down the driver's side window of the van and put the keys in the ignition, making sure they could easily be seen from the outside. Whoever stole the car would hopefully lead the Linwood guys on a wild goose chase before the car was sold for parts to some chop shop.

            "So, do you want to wait outside to see how long before somebody steals it? I give it half an hour," Jessie grinned as she grabbed the beanbag and the cooler before kicking the car door closed.

            "You haven't been keeping up with things here Jessie. It'll be ten minutes. Fifteen tops." Tracy climbed in the back of Jessie's van. "But I think it's best not to hang around."

            When they arrived at the salvage yard that Jessie and Diego called home, Tracy expected they'd spend the next couple of hours getting the remote control rig bolted in place, but Diego had a different idea.

            "What if we put it all in a…" he snapped his fingers repeatedly while searching for the right word. He looked at Jessie. "Aargh, ein Koffer?"

            "A suitcase," she helped.

            "Ja, ein suitcase. It should fit if we leave out the power supply, and we could just put that in your the car."

            "OK?" Tracy said cautiously, seeing the costs ballooning. "But I don't think I can afford something like that."

            "Pfft." Diego waved a hand dismissively. "It would probably be cheaper than putting it in the car. More practical too. You could plug it in the wall. And you would not have to leave the car here for a day or two."

            "But can you use one of these?" Tracy gestured to her two suitcases.

            Diego studied them. "Perhaps." He turned and shouted, "Kati! Komm raus!"

            After a few seconds, the door to the small shack next to Jessie and Diego's house/workshop/office opened. What came out could most accurately be described as an anti-Diego. Whereas Diego had an immaculately clean jumpsuit, this girl had worn, baggy jeans and a rumpled, a plaid flannel shirt and her blonde rat's nest which was held up with numerous pencils, a sharp contrast to Diego's well-kept, short black hair. They immediately began a heated discussion in German.

            Tracy caught the name Dieter and a few computer-related terms in between what sounded like a rapid-fire exchange of numbers, insults and threats, but nowhere near enough for her to understand what they were saying. She turned to Jessie.

            "Who…" she began.

            Jessie looked at her and looked like she suddenly realised something. "Hey D. Time out."

            The two of them stopped and looked at Jessie who in turn nodded towards Tracy. "English please?"

            Diego suddenly got a somewhat sheepish look. "Sorry," he said. "Kati, this is Tracy. Jessie's friend. Tracy, Katarina, my niece."

            "Kat. Please." Her voice having only the slightest hint of a German accent; also a contrast to Diego's heavy accent and occasional lapse into his mother tongue.

            Tracy looked at Kat. She looked like she was in her early 20s. Not much younger than Tracy herself. She turned to Diego. "How old are you?"

            "Ha. Ha. Ha. My big sister is a lot older than me. Anyway, Kati-"

            "Kat," Kat interrupted.

            "Fine. Kat was saying that if your setup was properly optimised, you could get rid of a third of the hardware and then it would probably fit inside one of those cases."

            "Oh it'll fit; trust me. Fuck, if I had enough money, I could build a rig that could fit in a briefcase. With that stone-age tech you're using, the biggest challenge's going to be finding spare parts."

            "It's not that old," Tracy muttered, almost feeling like somebody had insulted her pet.

            "Anyway," Diego said, "Kat's going to do this for free as a favour-"

            "What?!? No way."

            "…As a favour for her favourite uncle who lets her hide out here until the heat dies down back home."

            "Fine." Kat blew a stray lock of hair away, walked over to the van and started looking through the parts.

            "So, what kind of trouble did she manage to get into?" Tracy asked Diego.

            "You know, 'she' can hear you," Kat said without looking up.

            Diego rolled his eyes a little. "Kati is a triple-D."

            Tracy made a show of studying Kat for a few seconds. "I don’t know. I'd say she's an A-cup, maybe a B if I'm being generous."

            Diego stared at Tracy for a moment before the joke sank in. He gave a small chuckle.

            "Digital drug designer," Kat said, turning around and leaning against the van. "Instead of those silly AR-chips that some people use, my chips'd give you a what feels like a two-minute orgasm, or a cocaine high."

            "I know what digital drugs are. We call them BTL's. I've just never thought about people actually programming them.

            "BTL's?"

            "Don't ask. Apparently it's from some old science fiction thing."

            "Uh-huh." Kat probed a hard drive with a pen-like device before tossing it over her shoulder. Tracy barely had time to catch it before it hit the ground.

            "Hey! Be careful."

            "Don't bother," Kat said, barely looking up. "It's fried."

            Jessie put an arm around Tracy's shoulder and gently steered her away. "Oh, just let her work. We need to discuss Saturday."
            Last edited by Gummybear; 02-03-2019, 05:17:48 PM.
            Whenever you're holding all the cards, why does everyone else turn out to be playing chess?

            Comment


              #7
              Tracy woke up with a pounding headache and a tongue that felt and tasted like she had been licking a dirty carpet. She carefully opened her eyes and surveilled her surroundings. She was in her underwear on the sofa in Jessie and Diego's tiny living room. Outside the window the sun was rising over a pile wrecked cars in a display that would probably be quite artistic if it was a photo or a painting. But right now it was just glaringly painful. Tracy picked what she hoped was a bit of lint out of the corner of her mouth. The previous evening was a bit of a blur. She remembered using a camera drone to film almost four hours of footage of Jessie and Diego driving recklessly. Jessie had been true to her word and although there had been a couple of cases of her flashing random pedestrians or other drivers, she had stayed dressed most of the time.

              While Jessie and Diego had 'blown off some steam' afterwards, Tracy and Kat had had a chance to geek out. It turned out that they shared an interest in what Tracy liked to call 'circumventing computer security systems'. After that, they had ended up watching playlists of hacking scenes from old movies and drinking whenever there was bullshit hacking on the screen.

              After a particularly bad movie, they had taken a little break to look for snacks. Kat had gone on a little rant in which Tracy learned that she hadn't actually programmed digital drugs, but rather designed the chips themselves, making sure that they'd burn out after one use to keep people coming back for more.

              When they had gone back to their drinking game, the playlist had reached Hackers. Tracy could remember the first twenty minutes. Vaguely. After that, everything was worryingly blank. She was about to get up when her feet bumped into Kat lying under a blanket on the floor next to the sofa. She groaned and opened her eyes to peer up at Tracy.

              "You look like I feel," she croaked.

              "Mm-hmm," was all Tracy managed.

              Kat pushed the blanket aside and got up, revealing that she was completely naked. She left the blanket on the floor and shuffled towards the bathroom, giving Tracy a full view of the circuit board-pattern tattooed across her entire back.

              Tracy's brain slowly began adding two and two together, constantly getting to five. "Kat?" she asked in a hoarse whisper.

              Kat stopped and looked back at her.

              "We didn't…" Tracy paused. "Did we?"

              "Don't think so," Kat replied, not sounding entirely sure. "You're not really my type."

              With Kat out of the room, Tracy looked around for her clothes, finding her jeans bundled up next to the sofa and her t-shirt stuck halfway down between two of the cushions. She dressed as quickly as she managed and tried to sneak out.

              "Well, well, well. Doing the walk of shame, are we?" Tracy stopped, just standing there, still holding her shoes. She had forgotten that Jessie was one of the earliest risers she had ever known. It had made sleepovers really annoying when they were girls.

              "I…"

              "I mean, you two looked so cute all snuggled up together last night," Jessie continued

              Tracy felt a blush creep up her cheeks.

              "I… We… We didn't…"

              Jessie laughed. "I know. I'm just fucking with you. You were passed out across her lap while she was yelling at the screen. Wanna see the pictures?" Jessie held up her phone to show Tracy a picture of her and Kat on the sofa. Thankfully they were both dressed, although Kat's shirt was fully unbuttoned.

              "I hate you." Tracy sat down on a crate to put her shoes on.

              "I know," Jessie replied, still grinning. "I guess I should have warned you that Kat likes to be naked. And I don't mean just when she sleeps. Diego's parents lived in this weirdo, nudist, hippie commune in Brazil. His sister still does."

              "Uh-huh." Tracy tied her shoes and stood.

              "Anyway, are you staying for breakfast?"

              Tracy thought about it, but quickly came to the conclusion that it'd just be too awkward. "Thanks for the offer, but I have to get back to the office."

              "Duty calls, huh?"

              Tracy smiled and shrugged. "You know, I need money for my toys."

              "Speaking of toys, Kat said that the suitcase'll be ready on Tuesday or Wednesday."

              "Good. I think I might need it again soon." Tracy dug her keys out of her pocket and got in the car. "See you in a couple of days then. Oh, and make sure you don't use my name in the credits of your movie. I really don't need any job offers like last time."

              Tracy's drive back to the office was uneventful and when she pulled into the parking garage, Jamal was on duty as always.

              "Anyone looking for me?" Tracy asked.

              Jamal stopped biting the tip of his pencil and looked up from his crossword puzzle. "Not that I've noticed. Eight letters, 'state', ends with 'O, blank, A'?"

              "Paranoia?" Tracy suggested.

              "Very funny." Jamal raised the barrier and Tracy rolled past him and down the slope. Just as she rolled up the window, she heard him exclaim "Oklahoma!".

              When Tracy opened the door to her office, she was greeted with a gust of warm, stuffy air.

              Oh great. The air conditioning is on the fritz. Again.

              She kicked off her shoes and dropped her jacket on a chair as she crossed the room to her tiny apartment which made up the rest of her office space. She gave the air conditioning a whack, hoping it'd turn back on, but no luck. After leaving a message with her landlord about the air conditioning, Tracy opened a window and went to take a shower.

              Twenty minutes later, Tracy was sitting at her desk wearing nothing but a towel. Despite the shower, she was already almost as sweaty as the bottle of water in her hand. The desk fan was blowing across a tray full of ice cubes, creating a slightly cooler breeze, but it was fighting a losing battle against the heat.

              She checked her email, deleting the spam that made it past her filters. When that was done, there were only three left. One of them was for Alexandra Pavlova. Event Horizon had some additional details from their meeting. Tracy ignored that one. The other two were more interesting. One was from Michael Hunt, a friend of hers. He had a straight-forward surveillance job that he didn't have time for, so he wondered if she wanted it. Mike had three big problems: He didn't see how his name made it hard for people to take him seriously. Tracy had told him several times that he ought to change it. He also loved gambling, although he wasn't very good at it, and he always fell for married women. That meant he spent a lot of time hiding from bookies and angry husbands. Tracy wasn't sure which one it was now, but Mike was a decent guy so she replied and set up a meeting early the next morning.

              The last email was from Mrs. Devereux, asking if there was any new information. Tracy tried to keep her answer as vague as possible, in case her husband read the email. She said that some of her suspicions seemed valid but that she didn't have any solid proof yet. She added that she would let her know as soon as there were any major developments.

              Tracy pulled up the GPS tracker which showed her that Dennis' car hadn't moved since she had checked the previous day.

              I guess the Linwood incident gave him pause.

              Tracy figured that in order to catch Dennis, she would have to go undercover, so the rest of the day was spent creating a new online profile. She decided to make this one a 21-year-old foreign exchange student recently arrived from Turkmenistan. That'd be obscure enough that on-the-spot background questions would be easier to bluff her way through. Also, Tracy had a Russian translation program that should do a good job with the language. After doing a few searches for common Russian names, she settled on Ivana Kuznetova, literally translating to Jane Smith. Tracy smiled a little at that.

              When she was finally done, the sun was setting and the temperature was finally dropping to a more comfortable level. Tracy shut down her laptop and stood. A thought bubbled to the surface of her mind: The memory of Kat walking naked and unashamed across the room in Jessie and Diego's living room. She had seemed really relaxed.

              I wonder…

              Tracy looked at the windows to make sure the blinds were closed. Then she undid the towel. It felt strange to be naked like this outside her bathroom or bedroom. Tracy walked across the office to her kitchen to throw the empty bottle in the recycling bin. It didn't really feel liberating or relaxed. In fact, she couldn't remember the last time she had felt so self-conscious. Getting dressed, Tracy soon felt more comfortable.

              I guess I'm not moving to a weirdo, nudist, hippie commune any time soon.

              Knowing that she would have to stay close to Dennis' computer to keep an eye on his activity, Tracy realised she would need some supplies. Half an hour later, her van was fully stocked for an extended stakeout. A box of energy bars, half a dozen bottles of water, another half dozen bottles of Wrath, an industrial-strength energy drink, and a big bag of ice for the cooler. The only thing missing was her remote control rig. Hopefully she wouldn't need it.


              ~~~


              The meeting next morning turned out to be a waste of time. It had taken Tracy less than ten minutes to find out that the client was a stalker with a restraining order. Tracy found it a little odd since Mike usually vetted his clients better than this. After leaving a message about it for Mike, Tracy left to do some stalking of her own.

              Tracy parked in the same alley as the last time and used a suction-cup mount to set up a small dish antenna on the roof of the car. Turning on the computer, she started looking through the numerous Wi-Fi-networks available. It didn't take long to find the one belonging to Smith & Smythe, and it took even less time to connect to it.

              They really should take their cyber security more seriously.

              Only minutes later, the blue dot representing Dennis' car moved in from the edge of the map. It pulled into the parking garage and stopped. Tracy kept an eye on the computers connected to the network and a little while later, his computer appeared on the list. She set up a terminal window to display the websites it connected to and sat back to wait.

              Now, let's see how careless you are.

              Several hours later, Tracy concluded that Dennis was indeed a very careful man. His computer hadn't visited anything even remotely suspicious. He had even worked through the lunch break. Tracy fumbled with the funnel as she squatted over a bottle in the back of the van. Sometimes she envied men, peeing on stakeouts was a lot easier for them. She put the cap back on the bottle and pulled her pants back up. Then she opened the door and looked both ways before tossing the bottle into one of the containers along the wall. Based on the smell in the alley, she wasn't the first to relieve herself there, but she refused to pee out in the open. There were limits to what she was willing to do, even when on a stakeout.

              Dennis worked late and didn't shut down his computer until almost six o'clock. When he did, he went straight home, only stopping at a convenience store.

              The next days passed in the same way and Tracy found that her tolerance for boredom was nearing its limit. But at least she was getting a lot of practice with the funnel. She spent the days reading, only looking up every time her computer dinged to indicate that Dennis visited a new site.

              It was nearing the end of work on Friday afternoon, and Tracy was almost done with 'The Long Goodbye'. Her stomach rumbled and she looked at the remaining energy bars with loathing. She swore that once she was done with this job, she was not eating another one of those for a long time. Tracy was still debating whether to ignore the hunger or force down one more of the grainy abominations. Before she could make up her mind, however, her computer indicated that Dennis had disconnected from the network. Tracy got up and quickly took down the antenna from the roof before getting in behind the wheel and waiting for Dennis's car to start moving. It only took a few minutes before the blue dot moved out onto the street. Following at a safe distance, Tracy's heart jumped as Dennis took an unexpected turn, not heading home.

              "Finally," Tracy said to the GPS. "It certainly took you long enough."

              Dennis drove for a while longer before pulling in to the parking lot next to a nondescript brick building. Tracy knew exactly what kind of place this was. It was another place like the Linwood. The big difference was that she had been part of the team that had set up the security system there. Hopefully, the back door into their system would still work. While Dennis made his way inside, Tracy lay back in the beanbag and grabbed the keyboard. She plugged a thumb drive with her fake personal information into the slot and connected to the hotel's network. She didn't have to wait long before she saw Dennis' computer connect too. She even recognised the address he was going to.

              "Okay Dennis, let's see what you're hiding from your wife." Tracy reached for the fat spiral wire and plugged it into her skull. Then she copied the address and hit enter. There was the annoying tingle of an incoming signal and Tracy closed her eyes, letting her body grow heavy and numb.

              She found herself floating in a featureless darkness. No, not even floating; there was an absence of sensation so she wasn't really doing anything. The only sensory input was a slowly pulsing 'Connecting' in front of her. Then the darkness unfolded itself into what looked like a giant patchwork quilt. Two of patches said 'Log in' and 'New user' in softly glowing letters.

              Well, I'll give them points for retro chic. I haven't seen that kind of login page in ages.

              Tracy reached out and touched the 'New user'-button. It morphed into a form already filled out with the personal information of Ivana Kuznetsova. She noticed all options to display personal information were off by default.

              Discreet too. Nice touch.

              The payment options were next. It was either pay per hour or a monthly subscription. That was a no-brainer for Tracy who prepaid for an hour with the debit card she had attached to the profile. It took a second for the form to process the payment, but soon enough, an avatar builder appeared. These were standardised across most VR websites, so Tracy just opted to use the avatar she had already made and stored on the thumb drive and pressed the 'Enter site' button. It flashed red and made a buzzing sound, but nothing else happened. Then Tracy noticed an entry that hadn't been filled out, asking 'small' or 'large'.

              Going through this many servers is bound to slow things down. A low-poly avatar is probably faster.

              Tracy checked the 'small' box which promptly expanded into 'Option 1' and 'Option 2'. There was no explanation what the difference between the two were, but Tracy figured that the first option was the baseline experience. Since she just needed to gain access to the site to snoop around, she decided to go with that. Tracy started the tracking program in a small terminal window, and saw it was poised to leap into action as soon as she was inside. Then she pressed 'Enter site' again. This time the quilt leapt at her, enveloping her in a warm darkness.

              When the darkness lifted, Tracy found herself sitting on the floor in a bedroom. A very oversized bedroom. Looking down, she saw she was wearing just a t-shirt and a big, puffy diaper.

              "What the hell?!?"
              Last edited by Gummybear; 02-15-2019, 01:51:42 PM. Reason: Deleted a repeated word
              Whenever you're holding all the cards, why does everyone else turn out to be playing chess?

              Comment


                #8
                Tracy reached down and touched the smooth plastic covering the diaper. This was certainly not what she had expected. But what had she really expected? Other than some harem fantasy, of course. She inspected herself, and gave a mental sigh of relief when she found that she still had the grown-up avatar body, despite her clothes, or lack thereof.

                At least he doesn't seem to be into kids. Thank god.

                Tracy turned to her side and awkwardly got to her feet. The floor felt wobbly and the big diaper forced her legs apart, so the few steps to the huge chair in front of her became a clumsy waddle. Tracy almost fell, but managed to grab the arm rest of the chair before falling. Taking another step, she came close enough to stand up straight, albeit in a very broad-legged stance. Tracy adjusted the unfamiliar bulk between her legs. There was a slight crinkling sound. The detective in her couldn't help cataloguing everything.

                The level of detail here is amazing. It must have taken ages to program. Sound, balance…

                Tracy took a deep breath…

                …and smell.

                "That'th thome theriouth…" Tracy paused. "Thilly Thammy thingth wude thongth." She rolled her eyes a little.

                Oh that's cute.

                She wasn't sure whether she should be impressed or worried with the level of detail that whoever programmed this had included. Focusing on the lower left of her field of vision brought up the terminal window, showing her tracking program hard at work. All she had to do, was to make sure she wasn't kicked until it was done.

                Tracy dismissed the window and looked around the room. Other than everything being three times too big, it looked quite normal. There was a double bed with a night stand on either side, a dressing table with a mirror, the chair Tracy was still holding on to, and a wardrobe that looked big enough to drive an eighteen-wheeler to Narnia through. The one thing that was missing though, was other people.

                OK, so if this is a solo kind of VR, maybe he's not having an affair.

                The door knob was too high up for Tracy to reach, so she started looking around for something to stand on. She let go of the chair and waddled over to the bed to look under it. After just a couple of steps however, the floor decided to tilt sharply to one side and Tracy fell. Twisting desperately, she managed to avoid falling face first, but the impact still knocked the breath out of her. Tracy rolled over on her back and tried to get her breath back and that's when it happened. There was the slightest twinge of pressure and then she felt a rush of warmth spread across her crotch and down between her legs. She was peeing. And she hadn't even felt that she needed to go to the bathroom. Tracy rolled over on her side and got up on her hands and knees, not wanting to sit on the wet diaper, and crawled towards the bed. The floor felt more stable that way. However, with every step the slowly swelling diapers would rub against her like a velvet hand. Tracy felt conflicted. On the one hand, the diapers felt really good. But on the other hand, they were diapers. And wet ones at that. She knew she was supposed to feel… disgusted? Ashamed? Anything other than horny? She tried rationalising.

                It's not like they're real. It's all just a computer simulation. And this place is probably programmed to make me feel this…

                There was another rush of pee, this time it felt different. Better. The swollen diapers spread the liquid warmth much faster this time. Tracy's entire crotch felt like it was enveloped in a tingling wave of pleasure.

                …way.

                She froze, everything else forgotten as she came.

                Tracy sat down. The resulting wet squish triggering another massive orgasm. She closed her eyes and let out an involuntary squeal as it washed over her like a tidal wave. It was unlike anything Tracy had ever felt before. She was so lost in her extacy that she almost missed the sound of the door opening. Forcing her eyes open, Tracy saw a giant woman standing in the doorway.

                "So this is where you're hiding," she said. "I thought I heard something." She bent down and scooped Tracy up as if she weighed nothing.

                "Wha…" Tracy protested weakly and tried to get away. "Lemme go."

                "Shh-shh-shh, little princess," the giant said. "Mommy's here." She produced a large pacifier and pushed it into Tracy's mouth. Tracy almost reflexively began sucking on it. "That's better, isn't it?" She rocked Tracy gently and stroked her back with a hand the size of a frying pan. A warm feeling of complete and utter comfort filled Tracy. It was like her entire world turned into a warm, fluffy, cotton cloud. All she wanted to do was to snuggle closer.

                The giant woman gave Tracy's butt a little squeeze. "Does mommy's little princess need a new diaper?"

                Tracy only managed a weak moan before burying her face in the woman's chest. She felt herself being carried, but couldn't be bothered to look up. Then all of a sudden she was laid down on her back and the feeling went away. Tracy instinctively reached out for the woman, wanting that feeling of warmth and comfort to come back. Looking around, she saw she was lying on a changing table as big as her van. That's when a something occurred to her.

                How do I know that everything is really bigger and it's not just me that is smaller?

                The thought didn't bounce around her brain for long though. The giant woman began undoing Tracy's diaper. Tracy squirmed, but the woman easily held her down with one hand while removing the diaper with the other.

                "Now stop fussing princess." The woman used a washcloth to clean Tracy before applying enough baby powder to make Tony Montana pay attention. Tracy sneezed as some of the white cloud got in her nose. Then all of a sudden she was lifted up by her legs while the woman slipped a new diaper in under her butt. She lowered Tracy onto it and pulled it up between her legs to fasten it. The new diaper didn't feel anywhere as good as the old one. Tracy couldn't quite put her finger on it. It felt stiff and scratchy and… dry, Tracy realised.

                The woman picked Tracy up again and the wonderful feeling of warmth and comfort returned. She found herself not really wanting to do anything. The woman carried Tracy back to the bedroom and sat down in the armchair, letting Tracy lie against her chest. All she wanted to do was just lie there and listen to the woman's breath and heartbeat. There was really only one thing missing.

                Tracy closed her eyes and tried to relax the right muscles, which was an odd thought since the muscles in question weren't even real. In no time at all, she felt the now already familiar warmth spreading down between her legs. The combination of the comfort of being held and the sudden orgasmic rush of the wet diaper was so overpowering that Tracy only managed a happy little whimper around the pacifier still stuck in her mouth.

                Tracy wasn't sure how much time had passed, but she noticed a small, flashing, blue light down and to the left. She forced herself to focus on it, opening a small window that announced that the tracking program had found the information it had been looking for and had shut down after making a copy.

                For a brief moment, Tracy thought about logging out and getting away, but she felt just so unbelievably comfortable that her work ethic was easily overpowered. Besides, Tracy told herself, she had paid for an hour and it'd just be stupid to waste the money. So she snuggled closer, feeling like she didn't have a care in the world, and closed her eyes again.

                After what felt like only minutes, Tracy found herself floating in front of the login page, having been unceremoniously kicked when her prepaid time ran out. It took all of her willpower not to blow the rest of the money on the Kuznetsova debit card for another hour. Tracy opened the terminal window and confirmed that Dennis was still logged in.

                Good. That should give me time to get out of here before he has a chance to see my car again.

                Tracy used the admin-privileges that her backdoor gave her and erased all traces of her connecting to the network. Then she reached for the mental off-switch and disconnected. As her consciousness rushed back into her body, Tracy realised something was very wrong.

                The first thing that hit her was the smell: A pungent aroma that had become all too familiar over the last week. At first, Tracy thought she had left one of the windows open, but then she realised she was sitting in a puddle of urine.

                "What the hell?!?" Tracy put the keyboard away and carefully eased herself out of the beanbag, making sure the urine stayed in the depression made by her butt. She had never been more happy about the vinyl cover. Grimacing with disgust, Tracy peeled off the soaked jeans and underwear and put them in a plastic bag. She looked through the overnight bag that she kept under the front seat for for a towel to dry herself off, then cleaned herself as best as she could with the hand wipes she still had left. After pulling on a pair of old sweatpants from the overnight bag, Tracy opened the side door of the van and carefully eased the beanbag out, letting the urine pour down on the pavement. She quickly wiped the beanbag off with the towel and threw it in the bag with her wet jeans before tying it shut.

                A quick glance at the screen showed Tracy that Dennis' computer was still connected to the network, so she got in behind the wheel, opened all the windows and left the parking lot. Heading back home, Tracy debated whether to clean the car first, but personal hygiene won out. She left the bag of wet clothes in the car and hurried inside. After a long shower and a change of clothes, she found some other dirty laundry and headed for her usual 24-hour laundromat.

                While sitting in the laundromat, Tracy had time to think. Why had she wet herself? When she went into a VR or remote controlled her drones, her body was paralysed. That was a normal safety feature so you wouldn't flail around and hurt yourself. And she had never wet herself before. It wasn't like she had been drinking a lot either. She had even checked if the energy drinks and bars contained any diuretics. They didn't. Lots of other unhealthy chemicals though; including, to Tracy's disgust, something that was made from the anal secretions of beavers. So the only explanation was that it had something to do with the site itself. She would have to look over the log-files.

                A little over an hour later, she walked out with a bag full of clean clothes. Now, all she needed to do was to clean the car, and all traces of her 'little accident' would be gone. Tracy drove to a car wash and spent the better part of an hour cleaning the back of the car, including the beanbag. When she was done, she was feeling absolutely beat. Thankfully, the drive home was short, but by the time she parked the car and stumbled out of the parking garage, she was so tired that Jamal actually offered to abandon his post and help her across the street. Thankfully the landlord had fixed the elevator, so Tracy didn't have to use the stairs. Once she was inside, Tracy left the suitcase by the door and shuffled to the bedroom, falling face first onto the bed. She pulled the pillow down over her head to drown out the loud party next door and passed out.
                Whenever you're holding all the cards, why does everyone else turn out to be playing chess?

                Comment


                  #9
                  VERY WELL WRITTEN. THE VR is a nice touch.I have never read any 'stories' that used anything close to it. You did a good job of putting the story in a 3D story like. easy to imagine.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by mh5 View Post
                    VERY WELL WRITTEN. THE VR is a nice touch.I have never read any 'stories' that used anything close to it. You did a good job of putting the story in a 3D story like. easy to imagine.
                    Thank you. It's nice to hear that you liked it. It was a really tricky part to write.
                    Whenever you're holding all the cards, why does everyone else turn out to be playing chess?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      When Tracy woke up, the sun was high outside her window. She checked the old alarm clock next to the bed and found that she had been asleep for almost fourteen hours. And to her great relief, she hadn't wet herself again. She did, however, have to go to the bathroom. Badly. Tracy tap-danced to the bathroom and was in such a hurry that she almost tripped over her own pants as she pulled them down. Stumbling the last couple of steps, she barely made it in time.

                      As Tracy sat there, she couldn't help feeling like something was missing. Her thoughts kept returning to the events of the evening before. Sex-VR's had been around since roughly five minutes after VR itself was invented. And simulated orgasms was one of their main selling points. 'Satisfaction guaranteed!' It wasn't like last night's VR-experience was the weirdest thing she had come to. One time, she had ended up having an orgasm while dressed as a blue, plush squirrel, sitting atop an iron lung containing Margaret Thatcher as it was dropped out of a B-52. That had been disturbing.

                      The problem was the fact that she had wet herself in real life, just like in the VR. She had never heard of a VR overriding the safety paralysis. She didn't even know if it was technically possible and not to mention if it could have any side- or after-effects. She would have to find out in case this was an emerging trend in VR's.

                      After a quick shower, Tracy decided that her own personal research would have to wait. She got dressed and rolled the suitcase up to her desk to hook it up to her desktop computer.

                      Business before pleasure; or at least before satisfying my own curiosity.

                      Tracy opened the files she had copied and began the slow and tedious work of tracking down Dennis' activities. Five hours, seventy-three printouts, four cans of energy drinks and two microwave burritos later, Tracy finally found what she was looking for.

                      "OK Dennis, let's see some proof here." Tracy began scrolling up and down, following the information through the file, and that's when she found something she wasn't expecting. The giant woman hadn't been computer generated. She had been another user. That's when something occurred to Tracy and a quick search through the files confirmed her suspicions. The 'small'- and 'large' options wasn't about the avatar polygon count. It determined the role you had in the VR. This put Dennis in a whole new light, because as far as Tracy could see, Dennis was a 'large'.

                      "So, you're not into wearing diapers," Tracy said to the screen. "You want someone else to wear them. I'm not sure your wife will think that's any better." Tracy wagged a finger at the screen. "You, my friend, are in some serious doo-doo." She paused, then added "In more ways than one," and chuckled.

                      Tracy opened a desk drawer and rummaged around to find a new thumb drive. After ripping apart the packaging, Tracy began copying all the files to it. It was always a good idea to have all the evidence ready for the client when you break the news that their spouse is sneaking around behind their back to change the diapers of other people. That sort of thing was generally not covered in the marriage vows.

                      "Now… How much money did you spend on this Dennis?" Tracy dove back into the files, looking for the financial information. Finding it was a piece of cake, but unfortunately, it was encrypted. Tracy made a few alterations to the code she had copied so she had an unlimited number of tries to enter the password instead of the customary three. Then she started a brute force decryption program. Depending on how complex the password was, it could take five seconds or it could take five weeks, but her phone would let her know when the program was done. In the meantime, she had other matters to investigate.


                      ~~~


                      "Come on Ratzie, it's a simple enough question." Tracy almost had to shout to be heard over the music in the strip club. Ratz, her supplier of software of questionable legality, was distracted by the curvy blonde gyrating on the stage. Tracy snapped her fingers in front of his face. "Hello, Earth to Ratzie. Are you even listening?"

                      Ratz tore his eyes away from the stripper and sighed. "Yeah, I heard you. You wanted to bypass some security systems. I thought I sold you a battering ram a couple of weeks ago."

                      "Not security systems. I asked if it was even possible to bypass something like the VR safety paralysis."

                      "Fuck if I know. I just do software." Ratz returned his attention to the dancer.

                      Tracy moved around the table, blocking Ratz' view. "What do you mean?"

                      "That shit's hardwired; like BTL's. You need a hardware engineer."

                      "Fine, do you know any?" Tracy moved again, making sure she blocked Ratz' view.

                      "Hell no. I don't handle BTL's, you know that. Skinner would kill me alive if he caught me dealing on his turf."

                      "Kill you alive?" Tracy raised an eyebrow and tried to give Ratz a did-you-even-hear-what-you-just-said look, but he was busy trying to see what was going on behind her. "Oh, never mind."

                      "Fine fine fine, now do you mind moving? Candi and Ruby are up and I looooove a double feature."

                      Tracy walked out of the strip club, dodging a group of drunks who looked like they were two thirds of the way through a bachelor party. The only things left for them was the strip club, the drunken brawl and spending the night in the drunk tank. Once she was outside and could hear herself think again, Tracy checked her phone. Still nothing from her computer.

                      OK, so Ratz was a bust. And I don't know any hardware… Hang on; Kat.

                      Tracy pulled out her phone again and called Jessie. The phone rang for almost half a minute before Diego picked up.

                      "Yes?"

                      "Oh, hey D. Is Jessie there?"

                      "She is racing." It was hard to hear him over the crowd and engines on his end. "Can she call you back in a while?"

                      "Actually, I was just wondering if Kat's still around. I need to talk to her about something."

                      "Yes, but she is on a date. Is it important? I will send you her number."

                      "Nah, nothing that can't wait. I'll come by tomorrow. Say hi to Jessie for me." Tracy's phone gave a soft buzz letting her know there was a message.

                      "I will."

                      Tracy hung up and checked the message. It was Kat's number and email address. She thought about sending her a message, but decided against it.

                      Getting back in her car, Tracy headed back home. On the way, she went over what little information she had and tried to formulate a plan.

                      OK, the VR is somehow able to override the safety paralysis and provoke a physical reaction. How? No idea. Check with Kat; maybe she'll be able to figure it out based on the log files. Why make the users wet themselves? Why not; that's what they're there for to begin with. But why include the extra code? Did it make the experience more intense?

                      Tracy considered that last point. The virtual orgasm had been unlike anything she had ever experienced before in VR; or in real life, for that matter.

                      A loud car horn brought Tracy back to her senses. The light had turned green and apparently the car behind her was in a terrible hurry. Tracy stepped on the accelerator and the van shot forward, placating the speed demon behind her. It didn't take long before her brain began churning again. What was supposed to be a fairly straight-forward surveillance case had given her more questions than she knew what to do with. And they all circled back to the hardware riddle.

                      That was when a tiny little voice in the back of her head pointed out that maybe it wasn't the site that had made her pee. After all, she had done it voluntarily the second time. Would she still have wet herself if she hadn't done it on purpose in the VR? All these questions, and more, led Tracy to the same, inevitable conclusion.

                      "I need more data," Tracy said with an exasperated sigh. She was going to have to go back to the website. And that just brought up a whole new set of challenges. If it really was the VR making her wet herself, not doing it on purpose wouldn't make a difference and she would need to take precautions. After all, she really didn't want to log out and find herself sitting in a puddle of pee again. She wasn't sure she could handle the indignity, or the laundromat at night, again.

                      On second thought, maybe I should wait until I've had a chance to check with Kat.

                      Tracy's phone gave a triumphant fanfare. The password protection was cracked.

                      That was quick. Looks like I'm going to be combing through financial records tonight.

                      Tracy stopped at a liquor store to get some vodka, the high-octane, rocket fuel kind, before going home. If she was going to spend the rest of the night tracking anonymous payments, she was going to need it.

                      Almost four hours of mind-numbingly tedious spreadsheets later Tracy finally found what she was looking for. After locating Dennis' money transfers she noticed that the numbers didn't match what she had paid unless he paid more than six times what she had paid. So she had started looking where the money went and that's when she hit the jackpot.

                      The profits of the website went to a bank account registered to a Denis Devereau. There was no way that that was a coincidence. Dennis wasn't a customer. He was running the site. And he was making some serious cash.

                      "Dennis, Dennis, Dennis. Hiding money from the missus? Not very smart." Tracy wagged her finger at the screen. "Also, 'Denis Devereau'? You couldn't find a better fake name?"

                      Tracy carefully documented all the financial information and copied it to the thumb drive for Mrs. Devereaux. Previous experiences had taught her that having this kind of evidence for future divorce proceedings sometimes resulted in a bonus, and those were always welcome.

                      By the time she was done, it was closer to early morning than late night, so Tracy decided to go to bed. She was going to need some sleep if she was going to have to deal with Kat.
                      Whenever you're holding all the cards, why does everyone else turn out to be playing chess?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        It was around lunch time when Tracy arrived at Jessie and Diego's salvage yard. She would have been there sooner, but it had taken a while to find the organic, free-range, vegan, weirdo-nudist-hippie-commune-approved lunch she was planning on bribing Kat with. As she got out of the van, she could hear clanging of hammers on metal punctuated by loud German swearing. Following the sound, she found Diego furiously demolishing a car using only a sledgehammer and foul language. Tracy decided to leave him be and quietly backed away. She went to the front office and quickly realised why Diego was upset. Sitting by the desk with both her legs in casts, balancing the paperwork on a tray on her lap, was Jessie.

                        "Oh my god Jessie. What happened?" Tracy rushed over.

                        "Oh, just a little mechanical failure." Jessie waved her hands dismissively.

                        "It doesn't look that little to me," Tracy said, putting the box of food on the desk and grabbing a chair.

                        "It's embarrassing, really. I had a flat on the way back from the race, and I kind of lost control a little." Jessie smiled sheepishly. "They're just hairlines. I'll be fine in a month or two. And besides, it'll give me time to focus on our movies."

                        "Please don't tell me you're going to make any new ones while you're still in those." Tracy pointed at the casts.

                        "Maybe, maybe not. They are a giant hassle though. You'd be surprised at how many things become harder to do like this."

                        "I bet. But shouldn't you still be in a hospital?"

                        "Nah. I got out of there as soon as I could. You know I can't stand those places. They're full of sick people."

                        Jessie picked up a marker and tossed it to Tracy. "So, wanna sign it?"

                        "Yeah, sure." Tracy scrawled her name on Jessie's left shin, noticing that there were already more than a dozen names on the casts as well as a drawing of a green car.

                        "Is Kat around? I need to talk to her."

                        "She's in the shack, I think. I haven't seen her today."

                        "OK. Talk to you later?" Tracy stood and picked up the lunch.

                        "I'm not going anywhere," Jessie replied. "At least not very quickly."

                        Tracy crossed the yard and knocked on the door of Kat's shack. "It's Tracy. Are you decent in there?"

                        "Huh? Uh, yeah, I mean no. Gimme a minute, will you?" came Kat's reply through the door. There was the sound of things being moved around as if Kat was frantically looking for something.

                        "Do you need a hand or something?"

                        "No, no. I'm fine. Just a sec… Ah, there it is." The sounds stopped and Tracy thought she could hear some loud whispers inside. Then the door opened and Kat came out wearing an oversized, green and white tracksuit.

                        "I'm not interrupting anything, am I?" Tracy asked, suddenly feeling self-conscious.

                        "Kinda, but not really. Let's talk out here." Kat gestured to some old patio furniture.

                        "I brought lunch," Tracy said, trying to steer the conversation away from whoever was inside the shack. She held out the box.

                        "Great! I'm starving." Kat grabbed the box and began eating. "So what was it you wanted to talk about?"

                        Before Tracy had a chance to answer, Kat interrupted her. "Hang on. This needs something." She put down the food and got up. "Be right back."

                        When Kat returned, she dropped a handful of questionable-looking sausage pieces on top of the salad and slathered it all with barbecue sauce. "Ahh, perfect," she said with her mouth full. "So, Dieter said you had a problem?"

                        "Dieter?"

                        "Yes, Uncle Dieter."

                        "I thought his name was Diego," Tracy said.

                        "Oh, he wishes. He thinks that name 'better reflects his passionate, Latin nature'." Kat made air-quotes. "You know he dyes his hair too, right?"

                        "Huh?" Tracy was getting a lot of new information about somebody she thought she knew.

                        "Oh yeah. He's just as blonde as me."

                        Tracy chuckled, making mental notes about all the new things she could tease Diego about.

                        "You want some of this?" Kat held out the salad to Tracy.

                        "Nah. I'm not really a fan of barbecue sauce."

                        For a few moments, they just sat there in silence; Kat shovelling food into her mouth. Then Tracy spoke again.

                        "I thought you were one of those 'farm-fresh, organic, not tested on animals, PETA-approved' vegetarians. If I'd have known about this," she pointed at the sausage salad, "I would have brought a couple of pulled pork sandwiches instead."

                        Kat laughed. "Next time, Tracy, next time. So, what was it you needed to talk to me about?"

                        "I had some questions about the hardwired bits of VR-rigs. A friend of mine said that they were pretty similar to BTL's."

                        "Parts of them are," Kat said cautiously. "You're going to have to be a little more specific."

                        "You know the safety paralysis, right?"

                        "Yesss?"

                        "Is it possible to override it without changing the wiring of the computer you use to access the VR?"

                        "I suppose, but why would you want to? There's no benefit to flailing about uncontrollably."

                        "But what if you only wanted to override parts of it. Just make the body do a specific thing."

                        Kat put down the food and stroked her chin. "Maybe," she finally admitted. "It would depend on what you're trying to do. Complex stuff would be probably be impossible. So no remote-controlled, wireheaded assassins; despite what they show in movies. But getting muscles to twitch or tighten or relax might be doable. It'd take ages to figure out the coding, but I suppose it's possible."

                        "How specific could this control be?" Tracy leaned forward.

                        "I don't know. Now what's this all about? Because I don't think you're planning on making an exercise VR where people actually use their muscles. Although that would be a good business idea."

                        "OK, I have this case where he watching a guy because his wife thinks he's cheating on her."

                        "Well, was he?"

                        "I guess that depends on your definition of cheating. I tracked him to this website-"

                        "Let me guess: A fuck-VR," Kat said and rolled her eyes. "People are so predictable."

                        "Not quite. When I enter the site, I'm in this giant bedroom and I'm baby-sized. Complete with a diaper and everything."

                        "That's cute," Kat said and chuckled.

                        "Yeah, well, they had simulated a whole bunch of details like a messed-up balance to make it hard to walk, and you have trouble talking, and..." Tracy paused.

                        "And incontinence?"

                        Tracy blushed. "Yeah," she admitted.

                        "And let me guess: That doing that felt so good it triggered an orgasm?"

                        "Yeah," Tracy said again.

                        "That doesn't sound so weird. I mean, it's kind of a niche market, but still." Kat speared a piece of sausage with her fork and ate it.

                        "That's not the weird part. Believe me, I've seen weirder VR's."

                        "What then?"

                        "When I logged off, I had..." Tracy paused uncomfortably. "You know... Done it. For real."

                        It took a few seconds before Kat understood what Tracy meant. "Oh," she said.

                        "And you're wondering if it was the VR that made you do it," Kat said; more a statement of fact than a question. "Or if you did it yourself."

                        "I kind of need to know what happened," Tracy admitted.

                        Just then, the door of Kat's shack opened. A woman who could have been Tracy's sister came out. She had the same tall and gangly build, the same short, brown hair, and Tracy was pretty sure she had the same outfit at home. She knelt next to Kat's chair and kissed her hand.

                        "Thank you for a wonderful night, Mistress Katarina," she said before getting back up and half-jogging away.

                        Kat noticed Tracy's stare. "What?"

                        "I... Mistress Katarina?"

                        "Barbecue wasn't the only reason why I was kicked out of the commune." Kat smiled smugly.

                        "I thought you said I wasn't your type," Tracy said. "But she looked just like me."

                        "Tracy, are you jealous?"

                        "No!" Tracy's voice jumped an octave. "I just... I mean... She looked just like me, and apparently she was your type."

                        Tracy," Kat said calmly. "You're not my type because you're so vanilla that I wouldn't be surprised if you wore a swimsuit in the shower."

                        "Hey, I've done some seriously weird shit," Tracy protested, feeling oddly defensive.

                        "In VR's, sure. But what's the wildest thing you've done in real life?"

                        "I..." Tracy stopped. Then she sighed.

                        "And that is why you're not my type."

                        Tracy didn't want to admit that Kat was right, but she wasn't wrong. She hadn't even felt comfortable walking around naked in her own apartment with the blinds closed.

                        "And now you're feeling guilty because it felt good when you peed." Again, more of a statement than a question.

                        "No. And I didn't say I liked it," Tracy protested.

                        "Oh please. Of course you liked it. It was a sex-VR. It's designed to make you feel good. That's the whole point." Kat just looked at Tracy, waiting.

                        Tracy deflated. "OK, maybe," she finally admitted. "But I just need to know how the VR made me do it for real," she added quickly.

                        "Sure, sure. It sounds like an interesting puzzle and I'm bored anyway, so why not. Do you have the log files?"

                        Tracy fumbled through her pockets and pulled out a thumb drive that she handed to Kat, who inserted it into her laptop. Kat whistled. "Quick question: When you were on this site, did you have any other uncontrolled movements? Arms or legs, stuff like that?"

                        "I don't know. I mean, when I logged out, I still had my keyboard where I left it and I didn't have any bruises or anything, so I don't think so."

                        Kat nodded. Then she looked at the screen and rubbed her chin. "You're missing some files here," she said after scrolling through the contents of the thumb drive.

                        "I am?" Tracy walked around Kat to get a look at the screen. "Well, those are all my programs captured."

                        Kat looked up at her. "But were you looking for this kind of info to begin with?"

                        "No. Financial data."

                        "Well that explains it. Anyway, the best way for me to get those files is to look at them live."

                        "Live? Do you mean...?"

                        "Yep. If you want answers, you're going back there." Kat closed the laptop.

                        "Now?"

                        "No. I need a couple of hours to set up my gear and get ready. Why don't you bring the suitcase over this afternoon and we can get started then."

                        "And how much is this going to cost me?" Tracy asked, suddenly remembering that Kat probably wasn't doing this out of the goodness of her heart.

                        "If I get to keep whatever code I find, it's on the house."

                        "What do you mean?"

                        "Oh relax. I mean actual code, not records. Blackmail is just too easy to trace."

                        "OK," Tracy said cautiously.

                        "So I'll see you... Around five-ish?"

                        Tracy sighed. "I guess."
                        Whenever you're holding all the cards, why does everyone else turn out to be playing chess?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          It was almost a quarter to six when Tracy returned to the scrap yard. She pulled the suitcase containing her remote control rig out and dragged it across the gravel to Kat's shack.

                          "You're late." Kat was sitting in the same spot where Tracy had left her more than five hours earlier.

                          "I'm sorry, oh great and powerful Mistress Katarina," Tracy said facetiously.

                          "Is that really the way you want to do this?" Kat looked at Tracy, who didn't really know what to say.

                          "I didn't think so," Kat said after a couple of silent seconds. "So, are you ready?"

                          "Yeah, just give me a hand with this." Tracy lifted the suitcase up the two steps and tried to open the door with her butt. Kat helped her and Tracy walked backwards through the door. When she turned around, she got a bit of a surprise.

                          The inside of the shack looked more like a stereotypical den. There was a pull-out sofa bed with a big crochet blanket in one corner, a small fridge in another. On the walls were some old posters of turn-of-the-century rock bands that Tracy had never heard of and a bass guitar. The sunlight filtering in through the curtains coloured everything a golden yellow.

                          "OK. This was not what I was expecting," Tracy said.

                          "Well, what did you expect? Chains and floggers?"

                          "Actually, more like workbenches and soldering irons and circuit boards all over the place." Tracy parked her suitcase next to the sofa.

                          "Sorry to disappoint."

                          "Not at all. This is... nice." Tracy picked at one of the strings on the guitar. Kat started laughing. "What?!?"

                          "Nothing," Kat said inbetween the giggles.

                          "No seriously."

                          "I was just imagining Jessie's face when I tell her you were fingering my G-string." Kat pointed at the guitar, giggling uncontrollably.

                          "Jeez, what are you? Twelve?" Tracy tried to sound cool about the joke, but she could feel her cheeks burning.

                          It took Kat a few more seconds to get her laughing under controls and she still sniggered while booting up an antique-looking desktop computer. It was a boxy, institutional greyish-brown tower with lots of colourful stickers. Tracy had the distinct feeling that its interior components didn't match its dated exterior.

                          "So, how do you want to do this?" Tracy asked while turning on her remote control rig.

                          Kat pulled out the sofa bed. "We'll park you here," she patted the bed, "and then run the signal from your rig through my computer. That way, I can copy anything coming from the site."

                          "OK." Tracy handed Kat a wire to connect the two computers. "I guess we should get started then."

                          "Not quite." Kat tossed something to Tracy.

                          "A diaper?"

                          "Yeah. That's my bed you're lying on. You'd better believe I'm going to be taking precautions."

                          "But a diaper?" Tracy held the diaper as though it was a dead rodent.

                          "It's either that or strapping you to the toilet while you're logged in. Your choice."

                          "Why do you even have these?"

                          "Jessie got a couple of them at the hospital when they fixed up her legs."

                          "Jessie's wearing these? I couldn't tell."

                          "Oh she isn't. But waste not, want not." Kat grinned. "Now, are you going to get changed while I get things set up in here?

                          Tracy hesitated and looked around.

                          Kat stopped and looked at her. "What is it? Did you want help?" she asked innocently.

                          "Um no, I just... where..."

                          "The bathroom is up in the house if you don't want to change here."

                          Tracy left Kat and went outside, tucking the diaper under her jacket, out of sight.

                          Do I really want answers this badly? I'm twenty-six, not two.

                          As bizarre as Kat's alternative solution was, it seemed a viable option. But on the other hand, there was just something fundamentally wrong about the thought of being strapped to a toilet with your pants around your ankles while being online. Tracy's thoughts were interrupted by Kat opening the door.

                          "Oh good, you're still here. I just remembered something. We need this to be as close to the original visit as possible, so you probably shouldn't pee before putting on that diaper."

                          "Yeah, about that. How, exactly, were you thinking of strapping me to the toilet."

                          "You know, duct tape or rope around your chest and the water tank. Something like that."

                          "That doesn't sound like you've thought this through properly."

                          "Well, I never thought that'd be the option you'd go with. After all, you know how tiny that bathroom is. There's no way that Jessie won't find out if we do things that way. I mean, she has line of sight to that bathroom door and there's no way I can keep that door closed while I tie you up. And even if we did manage to close it, she'd probably be curious what you were doing in there for an hour."

                          Tracy realised she hadn't thought about that.

                          "Also," Kat continued, "You probably won't even need the diaper. Like I said: It's a precaution. I'm going to be monitoring the signal and blocking anything from reaching you anyway."

                          Tracy thought about it. Kat had a point. But still, it was a diaper.

                          Kat obviously sensed Tracy's reluctance. "If I thought it'd help, I'd offer to dress up myself. The complete Mistress Katarina outfit. But somehow I don't think that'd help."

                          "Why do you want this so bad," Tracy asked, suddenly suspicious. You know what? I'll wear one if you wear one."

                          "Don't think I won't," Kat said. "I really want a look at that code. If they've managed to remote control muscles, that could be worth some serious cash. So if wearing a diaper for an hour or two is what it takes, I'll do it." She grabbed the diaper from under Tracy's jacket and darted back inside.

                          Tracy almost followed her in, but realised that if Kat was serious, she'd be undressing. A couple of minutes later she came back out again.

                          "Are you..." Tracy didn't quite know how to end the question.

                          Kat just lifted her t-shirt to show Tracy the white plastic peeking out above the waistband of her pants. She held out another diaper to Tracy. "Your turn."

                          Tracy knew the argument was lost and took the diaper with a sigh. Once inside the shack, she unfolded the white plastic. The crinkling sound seemed to fill the room and Tracy cringed as he put the diaper down on the bed. She looked around one more time, making sure the curtains were drawn before unbuttoning her jeans and pushing them down her thighs. Her underwear was next and then, with her pants around her knees, she sat down on the diaper. The tissue-paper-like inside of the diaper felt stiff and strange, and when Tracy laid back, pulled the diaper up between her thighs and taped it in place, it didn't feel like it had in the VR. It somehow felt less real.

                          Tracy pulled her underwear and jeans up and buttoned them. The diaper was obviously much thinner than the exaggerated one she had had in the VR, but the added bulk, however small, was unfamiliar and made it feel just as big. As Tracy walked across the room to the door, she found that walking in a real diaper felt nothing like the VR one. It felt like somebody had put several layers of thick, stiff cloth in her pants and she realised she was waddling slightly. Tracy adjusted herself and focused on keeping her legs together while walking; even if it made her feel like she was walking like a model on a catwalk.

                          Opening the door, Tracy found Kat leaning against the wall next to it. "Ready?" she asked, her impatience obvious.

                          Tracy sighed. "Yeah. Let's just get this over with," she said and stepped to the side, letting Kat in. Then she sat down on the bed and grabbed the thick, yellow cord, brushing some imaginary dust off the plug at the end of it.

                          "Now remember, we need to make this as similar to last time as possible. So try to do the same things in the same order. That way, the readings we get should be easier to compare to the ones from last time." Kat taped several electrodes to Tracy's forehead, neck and chest. Then sat down in a chair and began typing on her laptop.

                          "Everything?" Tracy asked. "Even... you know."

                          "Well, that is what we're hoping to get readings from."

                          "You don't sound too certain that this is going to work."

                          Kat shrugged. "Nothing's ever one hundred percent. You ready?"

                          "Almost." Tracy inserted the thumb drive with her fake identity and checked that Ivana had enough money on her debit card to cover another hour. Then she entered the address and plugged in the yellow interface wire. The itching sensation of an incoming signal began almost immediately, along with the growing heaviness of her limbs.

                          "Are you recording?" Tracy asked Kat as she put the keyboard down on the bed. Kat gave a thumbs up and Tracy closed her eyes, falling down into the black nothingness.


                          ~~~


                          The login went more quickly this time since Tracy, or rather Ivana, wasn't a new user. Tracy chose the "small"-option again, just like last time, but when she was faced with the choice between "Option 1" and "Option 2" she paused. She wondered what the difference was. It seemed likely that she would be in diapers either way, since she had chosen "small". Then it dawned on her: Number one and number two. Tracy quickly chose the first option.

                          No way I'm risking that!

                          A few moments later, Tracy found herself in a similar room as the first time. There was a giant bed and a night stand next to it, but the chair was different and instead of the wardrobe and a dressing table, there was a chest of drawers the size of a dump truck.

                          "Okay, thlightly diffewent. Pwobably thome kind of wandomither."

                          God that's annoying.

                          Remembering her fall the last time, Tracy stood. The floor felt just as wobbly, but this time she was prepared for it. When she lost her balance, she sat down, feeling the impact travel up her spine to her skull, making her a little dizzy. Just like last time it made Tracy wet herself, and just like last time, she came. Shortly thereafter someone showed up to change her. Whoever this was, they didn't know their way around a diaper like the previous one, fiddling quite a bit with the tapes before they finished. But once Tracy was back in a dry diaper and was being held, she had the same overwhelming feeling of warmth and comfort. She eagerly accepted a pacifier and just snuggled closer, not wanting the feeling to stop. The feeling of euphoria was so overpowering that when she felt the urge to pee, Tracy barely stopped to think about it. She just let it go and rode what felt like a tsunami of pleasure.

                          When her hour was up, Tracy was once again dumped out to the login screen. Unlike the last time, however, she had to stop herself from going back in.

                          Focus Trace, Kat is waiting and... and you're on her bed, wearing a diaper.

                          Tracy gave a deep sigh, or whatever the virtual equivalent of a sigh was, and disconnected.


                          ~~~


                          When Tracy returned to the real world, she found Kat straddling her stomach and her arms and legs tied to... something.

                          "What the fuck?!? Get off me!" Tracy exclaimed.

                          Kat scrambled off, tumbling over the edge of the bed and landing heavily on the floor.

                          Tracy yanked at the ropes holding her. "Let me loose. Right now!"

                          "Okay, okay. Calm down."

                          "Don't you fucking tell me to calm down. You tied me up, you freak. And how long did you sit there humping me?"

                          Kat stopped. "Shut up," she said. "I only tied you up because you were twitching all over the place. And I was about to untie you when you came back."

                          "Oh."

                          "So, did you wet yourself again?" Kat asked matter-of-factly.

                          The question surprised Tracy. For a moment, she had completely forgotten about the diaper she was wearing. The very wet diaper. She began squirming, wanting to get away from the damp mass resting between her thighs and under her butt. "Get me untied," she demanded. "I wanna get this thing off."

                          "I'll take that as a 'yes'," Kat said. She leaned across Tracy to untie her right wrist, giving Tracy a faceful of boobs in the process.

                          "Do you mind?" Tracy asked, her voice half muffled.

                          "Sorry. Force of habit. The people I have tied up usually don't mind." Kat clambered over Tracy and knelt next to her instead. As soon as her hands were free and Kat proceeded to untie her legs, Tracy sat up. The squishing sensation as her weight shifted made Tracy cringe and she tried to lift her butt off the mattress. When her legs were free she almost crab-walked off the bed and waddled out the door. She half ran, half waddled and half stumbled her way to Jessie and Diego's house. As she entered the front office, she saw Jessie was still in the same place she had been earlier, but the paperwork had been replaced with a plate of something reddish-brown and steaming. Apparently Diego was cooking. Jessie looked up from the food when Tracy entered.

                          "Don't ask," she said. "I just need to use the shower."

                          "Uh, sure. You know where it is." Jessie leaned back to look out the window at Kat's shack. "Everything OK?"

                          "Not sure. I just really need to use the shower." Tracy gritted her teeth and didn't waddle across the room in the same way drunks don't stumble when they try to pretend they're not drunk.

                          Once inside the bathroom, Tracy made sure the door was locked. Then she kicked off her shoes and peeled off her pants and underwear. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, wearing only her t-shirt and the diaper, and had something of a flashback to the VR where she had been dressed the same way. For the briefest of moments, she wondered if this could all be part of the VR, but she concluded that there was no way the VR could have Kat's rather unique personality on file. Also, there was the fact that the wet diaper wasn't giving her an orgasm.

                          It doesn't feel entirely horrible. It's just... It's a diaper and it's wet.

                          Tracy reached down and touched the smooth plastic. While it was nowhere near as pleasurable as in the VR, it didn't feel bad. The swollen diaper almost felt like a hand, gently cupping her.

                          Tracy almost undid the tapes, but then she stopped. She bent over and pulled off her socks and then the t-shirt. And then, just for a few moments, she looked at herself in the mirror. The nearly naked woman staring back at her didn't look all terrible. Once more, she ran her hand over the smooth plastic, marvelling at how... different it felt.

                          Cut it out Trace. You're not a freak. Now get this thing off and get cleaned up. We need to figure this shit out.

                          Tracy undid the tapes and held it as it fell off her. She quickly bundled it up and put it in the sink. Then she took a shower, washing quite a bit more thoroughly than she usually did. After the shower, Tracy was getting dressed while trying to figure out how to get the bundled-up diaper out to the garbage without Jessie noticing it. When she couldn't find anything, Tracy carefully picked up the diaper and draped her jacket over it.

                          In the front office, Jessie had been joined by Diego and they were having dinner. Tracy wasn't really a fan of Diego's cooking, but it smelled good.

                          "Ah, there you are," Jessie said. "Are you feeling better?"

                          "Uh, yeah? Why do you ask?"

                          "You looked like you were trying to hide that you'd shit yourself when you came in here."

                          Before Tracy had a chance to answer, Jessie continued. "Now, unless you're going commando under there, which really isn't your style, I'm guessing that's not really what was the problem."

                          Tracy felt her cheeks burning. "I don't want to talk about it," she stammered before rushing out the door. Outside, she took a deep breath. Pollution had never smelled as good. Then she dropped the soiled diaper in the garbage before walking back to Kat's shack.

                          "Okay, how did they do it?" Tracy asked as she came through the door.

                          Kat was sitting by a small table, carefully studying the screen. "Don't know yet, but the answer is here. And I'm going to find it."

                          "Any idea how long it'll take?" Tracy looked at the screen, but couldn't make heads or tails of the code on it.

                          Kat shrugged. "Could be anything from five minutes to three days. Maybe even longer."

                          "So what do I do in the meantime?" Tracy began pacing back and forth.

                          "Well... For one, you really shouldn't visit that site again. Ever."

                          "Why not? I mean, other than the obvious."

                          "See these lines of code here?" Kat pointed at the screen. "It's more or less the same as what I use in BTL's."

                          "Are you saying that site is actually addictive?"

                          "Not really addictive, but it comes close. My guess is that it's borderline legal, but then again, so are a lot of dangerous drugs. Including some of mine, by the way."

                          "Bummer." Tracy sat down on the edge of the bed and sighed deeply.

                          "You sound disappointed."

                          "Can you imagine the bonus I could have ended up with if I had proof that my client's husband was a drug dealer? That's the sort of thing that gives divorce lawyers raging hard-ons."

                          Kat chuckled. "Look, I'll let you know when I know something. In the meantime you might want to invest in some precautions. I mean, just in case..."

                          "Yeah, that's not happening. It's not like I had any after-effects the last time."

                          "Look, I'm just saying that this is your second exposure. If I were you, I'd rather be safe than sorry." Kat tossed a green plastic bag to Tracy who almost caught it. It landed on the floor and the two diapers inside slid out. Tracy picked them up like they were dead rats and put them back in the bag.

                          "Those are last two that Jessie got. Just take them. Please. You might need them. And if it turns out you don't, then no harm done. I mean, it's not like you have to explain them to a boyfriend or anything."

                          "What do you know about that?" Tracy asked indignantly.

                          "Jessie talks," Kat said awkwardly. "She doesn't show it, but I think she worries about you."

                          "Well, she should just learn to stay out of my business," Tracy said and stormed out. She was already in her car when she realised two things: She was still holding the bag with the diapers and her suitcase was still in Kat's shack. Tracy threw the bag into the passenger-side footwell with an exasperated groan and went back.

                          When she came back in, Kat looked up.

                          "Not a word," Tracy warned her before grabbing the suitcase and pulling it out the door and to her car.
                          Whenever you're holding all the cards, why does everyone else turn out to be playing chess?

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                            #14
                            I'm REALLY liking this story and look forward to more!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              The next couple of days went by without Tracy hearing anything from Kat. Not that they weren't busy. It took her a day to finish the final report for Ms. Devereux. She removed any trace of her false identity from the files before copying all of them, except those from the second visit to the web site, to the case thumb drive. Then she called and set up a meeting.

                              Ms. Devereux had taken the news about her husband not actually cheating on her, but rather running an online sex club for people who liked wearing diapers, and technically dealing semi-legal digital drugs, remarkably well. In fact, by the time she left, Tracy suspected that Ms. Devereux might just help run the business.

                              She had also pointed out the questionable legality of some of the code the site was using while also emphasising the whole client confidentiality thing. After the meeting, Tracy checked her bank account and saw this had paid off as there was a generous bonus in addition to her fee and expenses.

                              On day three, Tracy was just about to call Kat with an update when there was a knock on her door.

                              "Come on in," she called.

                              It was Mike. He looked every more nervous and jumpy than usual.

                              "OK Mike, what did you do this time? Or should I say 'who did you do'?"

                              "Very funny Trace. I'm in serious trouble. I need to borrow a couple of those little surveillance cameras of yours."

                              "OK?" Tracy said cautiously. "Mind if I ask why?"

                              "Somebody's trying to kill me. And I need to bug my own car." Mike walked over to the window and glanced outside.

                              "Your own car?"

                              "Yeah. They threatened to blow it up with me in it."

                              "Don't you get threats like that almost every week?"

                              "Sure, but this is the first time I've found a live grenade jammed between the driver's seat and the door."

                              "Jesus Mike. You need to talk to the cops."

                              "Don't you think I tried that? They didn't take me seriously." Mike sat down and sighed heavily.

                              Yeah, introducing yourself as Mike Hunt doesn't really do wonders for your credibility.

                              "So you want to borrow the cameras, why?" Tracy asked.

                              "I need to find out who did it. I need proof. That's the only way the cops are going to take me seriously." Mike sighed again. "Especially after the Jennifer-incident."

                              "Yeah, I guess banging the wife of a vice detective wasn't one of your best decisions."

                              "It's not my fault she was trapped in a deeply unhappy marriage," Mike said defensively.

                              "You met her for the first time at the airport-"

                              "She liked to travel."

                              "Coming home from her honeymoon."

                              "Yeah," Mike conceded. "Maybe that was a little early."

                              "You think?" Tracy smiled and shook her head.

                              "So, about the cameras?"

                              "Sure you can borrow them, but you know that you still need somebody to keep an eye on them. And let's be honest, you can't do that if you're acting as bait."

                              "Yeah, about that..." Mike took of his sunglasses and turned his charm up to eleven.

                              "I hate you."


                              ~~~


                              Tracy put the tablet down on the passenger seat. She had just finished the last of her Raymond Chandler books. She had spent the last four days staring at Mike's car, reading and eating things that absolutely wasn't good for her. There had been no further attempts to booby-trap it and no new threats. Tracy was seriously debating whether she should just tell Mike that he was either going to have to go to the police with what he had, or just let it go and get on with his life.

                              Tracy leaned back in the beanbag and looked at the screen on the wall of her van, showing Mike's car from three different angles. She was just about to call Mike to see if he wanted to end the surveillance when her phone beeped. Tracy picked up the phone. It was a message from Kat.

                              "have some nfo. Mind if i pop by?" it asked.

                              "I'm not in the office." Tracy sent back. She didn't have to wait long for an answer.

                              "I know. I'm outside."

                              "Huh?" Tracy said to no-one in particular. Next she almost jumped out of her own skin when there was a knock on the door of the van. Tracy switched to the camera showing the outside of her van and saw a smiling Kat giving the camera a quick wave before reaching for the door handle. She opened the door just enough for her to slip inside and quickly shut it behind her.

                              "How...What...I mean, how did you find me?"

                              "Oh come on. We sold you this van. It wasn't that hard to track the licence plate around town. And you parking in the same alley for more than three days in a row didn't exactly make it harder."

                              "So why are you here? You said you had some info?"

                              "Yeah," Kat said, drawing it out. "About the diaper site..."

                              "So how did they do it?"

                              "About that. I don't think they did."

                              "What are you talking about? Of course they did."

                              "I went over the readings with a fine-tooth comb. Several times. That's why it took so long." Kat sat down on the cooler.

                              "And?"

                              "And yes, they turned off the safety paralysis. But that's all they did. There were no signals that could conceivably control any muscles coming in from them. They didn't make you wet yourself. You did that all on your own."

                              "Fuck no," Tracy exclaimed. "Why the hell would I do that?"

                              "Obviously their scenario helped. That first time, when you come after wetting yourself, acts as sort of a trigger, making your brain associate peeing with pleasure, so when you do it for real, the second orgasm is basically just positive reinforcement. It's pretty much operant conditioning. The site works kind of like a Skinner box. You find out what gives you a reward, peeing, and then it rewards you when you do it."

                              "Are you saying that that site was brainwashing me?"

                              "Yes. And no."

                              "What do you mean 'yes and no'?" Tracy snapped.

                              "It's not so much brainwashing as it's reinforcing existing traits. At some level, you really wanted to wet yourself. If you hadn't, you wouldn't have done it in real life."

                              "That's ridiculous. I don't want to... you know."

                              "Wet yourself? You're allowed to say it you know. I can't tell you what the underlying thing is. Maybe you want to be cared for or completely surrender control over everything, even something as fundamental as bodily functions. I don't know for sure. Or maybe you just want to wear diapers because they remind you of a simpler time in your life. Who knows."

                              "Sounds like you've been giving this a lot of thought." Tracy gave Kat an accusatory look.

                              Kat shrugged. "Figuring out what people really want and then providing it, is kind of what I do for a living."

                              "Riiiiiiiiight."

                              "Look, I can prove it to you." Kat paused for a moment. "Well, maybe not 'prove', but I can show you." She held up a small blue chip.

                              "What that?" Tracy asked.

                              "It's a modified version of the code from the site. I scrubbed all the BTL-stuff from it so it's harmless, but I left the Skinner box function."

                              "Are you saying that using that chip will make me... pee myself?"

                              Kat sighed. "No. But it will reward you for doing so on your own. Now if that's not something you're into to begin with, it really shouldn't make that much of a difference for you, but if my guess is right, and I'm rarely wrong about these things, it might give you a new perspective on things." Kat leaned closer. "I'll make you a bet. You manage to keep the chip plugged in for a week and don't have a change of heart, I'll personally rebuild your that antique remote control rig of yours and turn it into a state-of-the-art monster. Free of charge."

                              "And if I lose, what do I have to do?" Tracy eyed Kat suspiciously.

                              "A date," she said.

                              "I thought you said I wasn't your type."

                              "Two weeks ago, you weren't. Like I said, I'm not into vanilla. But I think you may have some hidden depths to you."

                              "So, what kind of date are we talking about?" Tracy asked, still wary.

                              "Relax, I'm talking about taking you out for dinner and a movie, not floggers and candle wax on the nipples. Just let me show you a good time."

                              "One week?"

                              "One week."

                              Tracy thought about it. It was tempting. Having a top-of-the-line remote control rig would help her tremendously. And she could resist peeing her pants for a week. After all, she had managed it for more than twenty years.

                              With two notable, recent exceptions.

                              Tracy slowly reached out to take the chip. For a moment, both women held it.

                              "Now, no cheating. You have to keep it plugged in for a week. So unless you have dual plugs, that means no plugging in other things." Kat let go of the chip.

                              Tracy turned the small, blue chip over, examining it. Then she moved her hair out of the way to plug it in behind her right ear.

                              "I'd put on some diapers first if I were you," Kat said.

                              "Oh really," Tracy said disbelievingly.

                              "Mm-hm."

                              Tracy made sure the chip was facing the right way and slid it into the socket. There was a momentary itching sensation along her scalp and then... nothing. She cocked her head to the side.

                              "Still dry." Tracy announced.

                              "Weren't you paying attention? That's not how it works. Now remember: A whole week."

                              "Yeah yeah," Tracy said and waved dismissively.

                              "OK, but don't say I didn't warn you." Kat got up and opened the door. "If you have any questions, you know how to reach me." she said as she closed the door behind her, leaving Tracy alone in the van.

                              Tracy rewound the recordings a couple of minutes to make sure nothing happened to the car while she had talked to Kat. Playing them at slightly higher speed, she caught up with the live feed in about ten minutes. Nobody had even come close to the car. Tracy picked up her phone and called Mike who picked up almost immediately.

                              "Looks clear. Nobody's come close enough to plant anything all day. It's been four days, no five, since you found the grenade. Are you sure it wasn't a one-time thing?"

                              "I don't know. Maybe we give it another couple of days. If we don't get anything by then, I'll just pay for secure parking instead."

                              "Sounds good. I'll go home then."

                              "You do that. See you tomorrow."

                              Tracy hung up and got around to the driver's seat. She was going to get the remote control rig stowed away and take a shower. Then she was going to get some pizza and just watch a movie. Transformers 12, or the newest Star Trek movie, or something equally braindead. And with a little luck, she was going to fall asleep in the middle of it.

                              Half an hour later, Tracy stumbled in through her front door, dragging the suitcase behind her. She plugged it in and left it to charge while she headed for the bathroom. She peeled off the clothes that felt almost sticky with sweat, leaving them in a pile on the floor for now. Knowing that the shower took a couple of minutes to get to the right temperature, she turned it on before sitting down on the toilet. That's when she got the biggest surprise of the day. As her bladder emptied, she felt her crotch begin to tingle. The sensation radiated out until her entire body felt enveloped in a warm and fuzzy feeling.

                              Tracy managed to mutter "What the..." before she just had to close her eyes and slump forward, resting her elbows on her knees. The feeling was overwhelming, but not like the overpowering orgasm she had experienced in Dennis' VR. It was just a feeling of perfect contentment; a warm afterglow. Everything was just... perfect.

                              Tracy lost track of how long it lasted, but by the time she was able to get back up, the shower was warm. Tracy ignored it and found her phone. She quickly punched in Kat's number and waited.

                              "Yes?"

                              "What the hell did you do?" Tracy asked, her voice still a little shaky, just like her knees.

                              "Ah, so you've been to the bathroom?" Tracy could almost hear Kat's smile.

                              "Yes, and what the hell was that?"

                              "A Skinner box works better with positive reinforcement."

                              "Are you saying that's going to happen every time I go to the bathroom?"

                              "Just for the next week. And technically, it'll happen every time you pee, regardless of whether you're in the bathroom."

                              "Very funny."

                              "Are you regretting our little bet?" Kat asked smugly.

                              Tracy just hung up. She turned off the shower and pulled on some underwear and sweatpants.

                              A week of this? I need a drink.

                              Tracy grabbed a glass, looked at the bottle of vodka and just put the glass away. The rest of the evening was spent drinking and getting progressively worse results on Tracy's favourite old-school shooter.
                              Whenever you're holding all the cards, why does everyone else turn out to be playing chess?

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