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|Chapter #: 1|
Summary: As every products needs testers, Garry and Mona make a baragain to work as top-secret testers... though not necessarily for the product they imagined.
Updated On: 26 January 2011 - Words Count: 13450 - Number of Reads: 0
Garry Thompson sat behind the old oak listening for the sound of a car while waiting in the gloom of a fresh morning.
Having travelled all the way from America it was strange to now having nothing to do but to wait, but hell it was worth it. He grinned as he remembered the image of the deep mountain valley his contact had sent him.
Having jumped everywhere from Yellowstone to an air-plane, not mentioning a skyscraper, Thompson was still enthralled by the sheer beauty of the countryside, promising a long glide maybe even down to the sea.
The sound of a car approaching and stopping woke him from daydreaming, making him listen intensively.
“Mr. Thompson?!” Someone shouted.
Garry grinned, grabbing his glider and his bag, coming forth to see the person calling him.
Middle aged, probably the age he was and definitely the same height, the man looked a bit lost as he stood in front of his Peugot, looking for him, waving when he finally got sight.
“Hello Mr...” Garry began stepping out of the forest.
“Villiers.” the black haired man with a tone grey replied. “Please come you can put the bags in the trunk.”
Having done so Garry took place besides the man.
“No mask?” he said with the hint of irony.
“We have little traffic down here.” Mr Villiers replied with a smile, starting the car “But you never can be too sure.”
Garry nodded, while not too illegal, his little jump was not exactly legal, too and neither of them wanted trouble with the local authority.
“About the other part....” he began.
“Oh the jumpsuits.” Villiers noticed with a smile, driving into a smaller field away, barely large enough for the car. “No second thoughts?”
“Testing it as payment sounds strange.”
“Not as much as you might believe.” the other man replied starring ahead on the road. “We are testing the products for a major company we don't need to talk about.”
The car came nearer to the end of the way, leading to a larger house surrounded by large fences, looking strangely modern for the area.
“They want the best and fittest to test it in a territory they know and which is too far away from the publicity so the concurrence don't get a hint of the technology.”
With this words Villiers took out something looking like a remote control and by pressing the button he opened the gate.
The car drove in and the gate closed behind them.
“My partner and me.” Villiers said as the car stopped in a large courtyard and both stepped out. “And the other tester, testing the female suits.”
Garry looked surprised but didn't say anything as the other man opened the trunks and handed him his package.
“Follow me I will show you your room and introduce you to the others.”
Following Villiers inside Garry found the inside of the villa as modern as he had expected, the walls decorated with new looking art he would bet some dollars that no one actually lived down there, at last for long.
Passing some closed rooms they finally reached his, sparely decorated room mostly consisting out of bed, chair and table where Garry could put down his bags.
“This is it?” Garry asked amused, seeing that on the bed lay a jumper, red and with two blue stripes crossing the middle it didn't look very impressive as did the plain white sport shoes.
“Don't judge it by the outside.”
“The underwear? Headband?” Garry asked noticing the white briefs and a white band with a yellow bar in it, besides the jumper.
“All part of the jumpsuit-set.” Villiers replied. “Wash-room is at the end of the floor. Washing after every session is required to see how much you sweat and you will always get a new suit. Come downstairs in the living room when you are ready.”
His host left, giving Garry some privacy.
'Strange!' he thought while changing his clothes and putting his original ones back in the bags. 'well at last I don't have to wash my own'
Having finished dressing Garry left his room, out of curiosity he tried opening the door to his left, but finding it closed, instead trying to open the door in front of him, discovering a room similar to his, but with clothes on the bed definitely belonging to a woman.
Deciding better not to anger anyone, he hurried downstairs.
In what seemed to be the living room he found two women locked in talk such that they didn't really seemed to notice his arrival.
“Oh I see our other guest has arrived.” the woman with curly brown hair and glasses said looking up. “I'm Mrs Villiers.”
“Garry Thompson. “ he said.
“Mona Fisher.” the second woman with long blond hair fixed by a sweatband said, her blue eyes glittering. “And you can believe me that this is my true name!”
Garry laughed, thought slightly out of nervousness, the clothes told him she was to test the female version of the jumpsuit... or rather jumpsuit-set.
“I think anonymity is something we all prefer sometimes.” Mr Villiers, though Garry agreed with the other tester that this was hardly his name said, walking in from behind, dressed in a jogging suit similar to theirs.
“While my partner is building up the equipment let me tell you what we will do today.” the man said, handing *Mrs Villiers* a case she quickly began to unpack. “To test the different suits I will make some training sessions with you today to see how experts see the overall concept of these new products. My partner will then, before after and during ours sessions test your biological reactions to the suit by taking blood, feeling the pulse and mental checkups...”
“Whoa wait wait!” Mona exclaimed, raising her hands “This sounds more like a biological experiment than product testing.”
“No no it sounds more complicate than it is.” Mr Villiers said reassuringly “But the suits are a very expensive investment for our company and we need to be sure of them as of its testers.”
Mona looked rather sceptical on her host and for a moment Garry was sure she would say no and leave, but then she nodded, relaxing.
Meanwhile Mrs Villiers had opened the case and placed its interior on the table. Surprisingly easy she tipped on the Laptop she connected with a strange looking machine Garry couldn't identify. Besides this machine was one seemingly for taking the pulse, something like an emitter and something like a platform, clearly connectible to the laptop, too.
“Not all this is ours.” the woman explained, noticing his look. “We lend something of other companies.”
“Where shall the cutting of the research budget end.” Mr Villiers noticed in a mock-sad voice. “Now lets begin, then we can all have a well deserved breakfast.”
The machine Garry hadn't been able to identify was to test the blood and he winced as the woman used a needle to take blood from his middle finger, never having been particular found of visits to the doctors because of this.
This was followed by feeling of the pulse and having to stand on the platform, which was as he learned of Mrs Villiers as she unseen to him or Mona checked the result on the laptop was some sort of high-tech scale.
“This” she added at last, pointing some ribbons connected to some sort of small display. “is the mobile transmitter I must ask you to wear during the sessions.”
“Why?” Mona asked sceptical again.
“To let me see your stress level.”
The tester looked not completely convinced, but before she could say more Mr Villiers called from the kitchen.
The breakfast consisted out of a bowl of cereals which tasted oddly sweet to Garry in a way he couldn't lay his finger on.
Having finished breakfast they were lead outside where they started the warming ups.
“I know you will probably find my tempo rather slow.” Mr Villiers said handing them the ribbons and showing them how to put them on. “But remember this is no race to test your stamina but this suit.”
Both testers nodded and Garry felt himself standing uneasy on his feet already, feeling the urge to move along with a strange feel of warmth amongst his body ever since breakfast.
~the faster I do this the sooner I can jump~ he thought smiling as they began to jog.
It was an easy way, the soft earth made it easy for them to run after their host and after a while Garry wondered whether the fence only consisted on the entrance of the villa or if it truly enclosed such a large area.
Then his thoughts wandered to Mona, thinking how she certainly looked attractive. His eyes wandered to his side where she ran in the moment when the width of the path allowed it for the moment, but stopped when her blue eyes met his.
Embarrassed and in part due to the path narrowing again, Garry let himself fall back.
He had started to breath more heavily, not much but still more than he was used to considering the small distance. He kept up though it became worse along with the fact that he felt his shoes becoming loose.
Not long before he felt really exhausted, they had somehow reached the house again, with Mrs Villiers waiting by a table she had placed outside, her gadgets on it as two bottles of water.
“Congratulation for managing half of it.” she said as both began to drink. “How do you feel?”
“Exhausted.” Mona admitted, breathing slower “I feel somehow warm in here.”
“Well lets see.” Mrs Villiers replied, restarting her tests from before the breakfast.
“Looks all fine.” she concluded before turning to Garry who had retied the bootlaces of his shoes.
To divert his attention of the pain in his finger he looked over the area, discovering an area with obstacles reminding him of an obstacle course he once had raced through, but not really high enough to look difficult.
“Further training?” Garry asked as Mrs Villiers fastened the sphygmomanometer around his left arm.
“Yes for later sessions.” his hostess explained showing on the scale. “One step please.”
“Good results?” he asked after noticing the woman smiling behind the monitor.
“Yes, I notice your metabolism is doing quite fine as expected.” Mrs Villiers replied “This shows the suit is no hindrance.”
“I feel somewhat hot.” Garry noticed taking a look at Mona who had begun with stretching. “And I feel like the suit gets more slacker.”
“This is intended.” Mr Villiers threw in. “Without revealing too much we use the newest development in nanotechnology to make the material more flexible. It should become tighter again in course of this session.”
He looked at his watch.
“Time to continue.”
The once again made their way through the forest, but this time Mr Villiers kept a modest jogging tempo. Still when they arrived back at the villa both felt exhausted.
“The suit definitely gets slacker.” Mona noticed, pulling at her arm where the suit was now visibly hanging.
“We will have to check this.” Mrs Villiers said, audible disappointment in her voice as he studied Mona's body as she put down the ribbon. “For now after your check up you have one hour of rest. Your new suits and shoes already lie on your beds and the shower awaits. Please throw the old suits and suits in the bags we placed on your rooms”
Having finished his check up and leaving the Villiers to analyse the data or send them to their company's headquarters which was equally possible as Garry knew, he went upstairs where Mona had left a minute earlier, finding her holding her new jumpsuit, sweatband and underwear just rushing for the bath.
“Don't mind if we talk a bit later?” he asked her.
She looked at him sceptically, but finally nodded.
“I'll knock at your door.”
With that she left him alone on the floor, ready to look after his own room.
Later, after his own shower, it indeed knocked at his door while he sat on his bed and when Mona entered, wearing the female version of the new suit he wore and not near the tensed look on her face she had before. Indeed he found she looked even better and somewhat younger than when they had first met, for sure due to having eaten something and the training.
“I wanted to excuse myself.” she said while closing the door behind herself. “I know I was rude, but this whole situation...”
“Is weird yeah.” Garry concluded knowing exactly how she felt. “You don't really trust them, don't you?”
She shook her head.
“With all this equipment it looks more like testing some sort of medicament than anything else to me.”
Garry thought about it.
“The meal tasted a bit strange and I feel a bit hot since then...” he noticed “But seriously taking all this cover just to run tests with some pills....”
“Would you take part in a medical test just for a jump?” Mona replied sounding irritated, adding calmer. “It could be some sort of doping substances, with us being fit and doing this sessions it is perfect... I should have insisted eating what I brought.”
“Whoa wait a moment.” Garry replied, raising his hand in a defensive gesture. “We still don't know that. It could all be true. Besides these two hardly look like drug dealers.”
Mona placed herself on the chair besides him, feeling the heat again.
“You can never be sure...” she stopped, just to continue “Look I don't want to sound paranoid, but promise me to tell me if you notice something strange.”
~if they don't have bugging devices on our rooms~ he added mentally, but put this thought aside for it clearly was paranoid.
“So how do you like the landscape?” Mona began, clearly wanting to change a topic, so Garry followed the lead.
They talked about different thing like their jumping techniques and where they had jumped before when it knocked on the door and Mr Villiers entered.
“I didn't want to disturb you.” he said with a smile, “But I need you to fill out forms and then come down, separately as I must ask.”
With this he gave them two pages and left.
“We can continue later.” Mona said with a smile. “If you like.”
With the door closing Garry sat on the table and read through the form, going with the hand over his face and feeling the stubbles.
~I need to shave myself~ he thought, ~or does she like guys with beards?~
He concentrated once again on the form in front of him.
1.How do you feel right now?
Full of energy.
2.Did you sweat more than normal?
3.Describe the last training session.
We had two long rounds through the forest, the first one was more challenging since we ran faster and I had to sweat, the second was pretty easy.
4.How do you rate the testers(honesty requested)?
They are nice and seem very competent, though it is clear they have no experience in extreme sport.
Garry rubbed his chin again, finding the feeling of his stubbles somehow comforting.
Should he truly write that the blood tests were the worst part of it? Surely not!
6.Any suggestions what to do better?
The suit got loose after some time, so an improvement of the material seems needed, also to truly test the suit you need to make the sessions more different(you probably already did judging from the obstacle course I noticed).
7.What are suggestion for improvements in our design.
Under the last question Garry found a sign directing him to the second page where he found the
contour of the suit he just had worn. Looking to the crayons laying on the table besides the sheet the tester thought about it.
Colouring forms seemed childish for him, yet the suits could definitely look better, so he made it completely deep blue with just two stripes of red at each arm, just like the one he had worn years before when he started parachuting.
Having finished his forms he walked downstairs only to find Mona there already, sitting silently on the chair besides Mrs Villiers who just finished the test. Garry couldn't help himself but feeling a little ashamed that he had seemingly needed so much longer for his form than his fellow tester, but overplayed this with a smile.
Being tested himself and once again wearing the ribbon he and Mona joined Mr Villiers who already waited outside.
“Ready?” their host asked “Then let me give you another tour through the forest.”
Garry suppressed a moan for while he felt himself full of energy he had secretly hoped for the obstacle course which promised much more challenge and change. Exchanging a look with Mona he found her having the same thoughts and the glance in her eyes seemingly hungry for challenge made her look even younger than he had believed before, college age at last.
Blaming the good French air for it Garry fell behind his fellow tester as they began once again to run through the forest, allowing his own thoughts to wander as his feet ran down the now known ways. He imagined the view he would have on the place of his jump, a deep valley in front of him and much ahead of him the promise of an ocean. There he would jump, jump and feel happy...
While in his thirties he was still in his prime he knew that time would eventually demand its tribute and top jumps like this were a sweet present he needed to take when they were given to him...
Garry stumbled having nearly fallen as one of his feet had stepped on the under part of his suit which had somehow become large enough to partly fall over his shoes. He wanted to shout at the others to stop so he could pull it up, but found them a good way ahead of him already.
Deciding not to risk getting lost, Garry ran faster, this time concentrating completely on the way, after all wouldn't it be a cruel joke to go through all this just to not being able to jump because he had been hurt due to his own inattention?
Biting his lip Garry hurried to catch up with the others and as he had reached them Mr Villiers let himself fall back giving Mona the lead.
“Problems?” the man asked.
“The material is loosening again.” Garry said, looking up at the man frustrated. “The shoes also, worse than the first time.”
Mr Villiers nodded, his face seriously
“Your partner has the same problem.” he admitted, nodding in Mona's direction. “We will jog the rest of the way, tell me if you have to stop.”
Garry nodded, feeling heat once again radiating of his body as the larger man jogged ahead... then he wrinkled his brows.
Hadn't Mr Villiers been his height before? Garry tried to remember, even believing the man to look older now than he had only hours ago!
But surely this was crap, Garry assured himself. It was the stress and especially now he should look at his feet not to loose stumble or possibly fall. The jump was what mattered, everything else was just seeing ghosts.
Once again confident and looking mostly on his feet Garry made the rest of the way.
As they arrived at the the house Mona was glad to hear that Mr and Mrs Villiers decided to leave it by this one tour for this session, telling them they had realised the failures in this version of the suits were far too grave for them to continue.
After her own check up she intended to wait for Garry, but as Mrs Villiers came closer to him with the needle intending to take the blood he looked away, concealing the look of fear in his eyes, making Mona turning away and leaving for her room.
Boys were such wimps sometimes and men, too.
She rushed to her room, putting down her clothes she noticed were unusually sweated and took up the clothes once again placed on her bed, having the same design as the ones before but not being widened as the ones she now packed in the bag.
Mona stopped in her movement, looking at the now too large suit. The product was truly a failure, getting slacker without adjust back it seemed like a waste of money to her, so why didn't Mr and Mrs Villiers looked more disappointed or frustrated?
It was the sound of steps coming from the stairs making her stop thinking, deciding it wasn't important after all and grab her new clothes. She loved being the first one in the bath and wouldn't get robbed of this just because she thought too much, after all she felt hot but otherwise fine, indeed she didn't feel as hungry as she usually did and when she passed Garry on her way to the bathroom, promising to meet him later, she found herself full of energy as she had only felt as a teenager.
In the bathroom, she quickly turned on the hot shower, undressed and checked up her body under the hot stream. Aside from feeling good she also felt her body being smoother and more slender than it had before, touching her hips and firm breasts she believed to even feel an improvement.
“Must be the air.” Mona said to herself with a smile as the water washed the shampoo out of her blond hair “After all people tend to live long here.”
After the shower, on her way back to her room she thought about the positive side of the suit's failure for it would allow her to make the jump quicker, maybe even today. Parachuting was great, but the kick of jumping was pure ecstasy, a feeling of freedom better than sex...
Automatically Mona's eyes turned from her door to the one leading into Garry's room. He was good looking indeed but...
The tester scowled, turning back to her door and forcing herself to enter. What was she thinking? She wasn't there for that and while he was good looking she had no reason to trust him so far, especially since it was the worst possible time for an one night stand save any kind of relationship.
Closing the door behind her and deciding once again it must be the air which caused this feelings Mona sat on the bed, thinking about when she had trusted too easily before and what it had cost her.
Lost in thought to old times she nearly missed the knock on the door.
“You can come in.” she said.
Garry entered and Mona noticed he had somehow managed to find a shaver for he looked clean shaved.
“Sorry but I thought you wanted to come.” he said.
“I forgot the time.” Mona said finding surprisingly that this was indeed through as she must had daydreamed. “Sorry.”
“No problem.” Garry replied, waiting a moment awkwardly.
“Please sit down.” Mona said with a smile. “I think we are allowed to rest between the sessions and making our reports.”
“Did you notice how Mrs Villiers looked?” he asked while placing himself into the chair next to her “She definitely isn't happy about our latest results.”
“She was probably involved in creating the material.” Mona agreed, not being sure of it and feeling only slight sympathy for the woman anyway.
“Good for us.” Garry noticed with a wide smile.
“Why?” the other tester asked perplexed not being able to follow.
“The sooner this suits fall apart the sooner we can make the jump, maybe we can start today.” he noticed, smiling even wider. “If it is as great as I imagine it is, I think I will even repeat it.”
Mona scowled, looking at her bag, resting besides the bed.
“I will only make it once.” she said.
“Why?” Garry asked, sounding both disappointed and surprised.
Mona never came to answer it since it knocked at the door and Mr Villiers entered.
“Time for the formal part again.” he noticed with a slight smile, placing one form on the desk.
“Ok.” Garry said, taking his form and looking at Mona he added “See you downstairs.”
Mona nodded and watched Garry and Mr Villiers leave the room. Had Mr Villiers always looked that old?
The tester shook her head and went to the desk, noticing the forms had the known questions on it.
1.How do you feel right now?
2.Did you sweat more than normal?
Yes, though the suit took it up nicely.
3.Describe the last training session.
There was one round jogging in the forest, Mr Villiers was nice enough to remain at a low speed. I hope the next sessions will be more interesting because a jumping suit is something else than just a jogging suit!
4.How do you rate the testers(honesty requested)?
If they had any involvement in the material for the suit, rather poorly. At last they are flexible enough to stop a session once the product fails.
Mona thought about it. This sounded pretty harsh and Mrs Villiers had looked rather depressed... No there was no reason to be kind, especially since honesty was requested.
6.Any suggestions what to do better?
Give us more time for ourselves. Alternatively you could allow the person to decide when to resume the testing so we really feel good.
7.What are suggestion for improvements in our design.
She looked at the crayons, but stopped herself from taking up the pink one... this would be too much cliché. Instead she used the one the yellow one, filling out the line of the suit, then adding stylish stripes of black, imitating the look of Beatrix in Kill Bill.
Grinning Mona looked at her work. She always had liked drawing when she was younger, but when she had grown up had more and more lost interest in it.
She shortly played with her hair, but hearing the steps of the floor, clearly Garry going downstairs she sighed, grabbed the sheets and followed him.
Having finished their check ups, they were led outside.
“You know such a suit has to be used for more than just running around.” Mr Villiers explained as he led the two test persons to another part of the property. “I think this new training session might be a change.”
The words having gained her interest Mona looked ahead interested, discovering something which looked like a showejumping course with different sort of obstructions.
First there was a small sweddish ladder which was open to both sides an which they seemingly had to climb over and down again.
Next came a pole just high enough over the ground for them to crawl through which was seemingly the intend.
A bit away there was a balancing pole, not terribly long but not very broad either.
Then there was a climbing rope hanging at a tree and after it came a broad footbridge leading up steep and ending over a place of sand where they for sure were expected to jump in.
“Climbing, crawling, balancing, climbing again and finally running up and jumping.” Mr Villiers said “I understand if you feel tired, so make it your tempo.”
“Mhh...” Garry began, looking insecure as he thought about it. “I don't feel tired.”
“Great.” Ms Villiers said stepping up from behind them, holding a folding chair and having her laptop in a grey laptop bag which hang at her left shoulder. “You really are have a good condition. Are you good at sport in school?”
Garry looked a moment at the woman in confusion, then he shook his head.
“I finished school...” he stopped a second, looking even more confused, “Years ago. I'm not a teacher.”
“Oh good.” Mrs Villiers noticed with a smile while placing her chair on the ground and handing Garry his wristband. “And you Monica?”
Monica looked at the woman suspiciously, she was nice, but....
“It has been 15 years since I graduated.” she lied, not interested in telling the the real numbers of years, though she knew it were 13 “Can we start now?”
Mr and Mrs Villiers exchanged a look and then the woman nodded and handed her the wristband.
“Remember we want to test the suits by longer use.” Mr Villiers said. “So try not to get quickly exhausted.”
Both product testers nodded and Garry eagerly started by climbing over the sweddish ladder.
~not really hard~ he thought as he climbed down the other side and began crawling under the pole. ~back in school we did have a similar one...~
Crossing the balancing pole he wavered as some sort of dizziness seemed to come like fog over his brain. Garry shook his head, managing to shake of the dizziness and finishing the pole.
“Is everything all right?” Mr Villiers asked, standing by the climbing rope to offer assistance.
“I feel just a bit dizzy.” Garry replied. “Maybe I'm more exhausted than I thought.”
“Sure.” Mr Villiers said.
Garry starred at him a second for somehow the way the man smiled seemed strange to him, but Mona was closing up from behind, so he began to climb up until he reached the top and then to slide down. Down again he hurried up the footbridge jumping at sand at its end and back down again from where he began to jog to the beginning of the course.
It was the fourth round or maybe already the fifths that he began to have problems, not just that his jumping suit once again became wider, he also had the mad impression that the obstacles seemed to grow a bit larger during every round.
Reaching the climbing rope Garry swallowed a bit by seeing its height, feeling his muscles aching already by just the thought of climbing, but beginning despite that, fearing to look weak to Mr Villiers who was standing at the rope seemingly waiting.
He managed to reach the top, but once there he made the mistake to look down, finding the height for a moment impossible to climb down again and his head swirling. But there was Mr Villiers and even worse Mona waiting for him and he believed to see a sparkle in her eyes teasing him for his weakness.
“Can I go on?” he heard he asking their host and on the positive answer he only heard her running away.
Cursing himself he loosened his muscles, trying to slide down, but stopping so on half the height since his hands seemingly began to burn. To his surprise he suddenly felt two large hands grabbing him over his hips and trusting them allowed them to take him down.
“I'm sorry.” Garry said, feeling his cheeks glow red in embarrassment and heat.
“No problem champ!” the older man replied with a joval smile.
Garry starred at him, sensing something was wrong but being unable to put the finger on it.
“Why don't you continue?” Mr Villiers noticed. “Mona isn't far ahead and I tell you next time you come here you can just pass while she is above. Mh?”
“Great!” the tester exclaimed with a wide smile, pulling back part of his sleeve which hang over his hand and began running after Mona, every exhaustion pushed away by the thought of lapping his rival when she was climbing the rope... after all he couldn't let a girl win!
Garry did manage to lap Mona while she was climbing up, but he had little time to relish victory as when she tried to slide down again part of her jumpsuit's trousers went up causing her to slightly burning her left leg and having fallen if not for Mr Villiers catching her.
This caused Mr and Mrs Villiers to talk a bit while Mona looked after her leg and brushed away the tears her eyes threatened to spill. After some seconds it was decided this test run was to be stopped and the testers could return to their rooms for a well deserved rest before the next run began.
On their way back to the check up Garry saw Mona limping at the side of Mrs Villiers who silently talked to her and actually felt sorry for his former feelings, after all this was no competition, they were just testing this suits... weren't they?
He shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. It wasn't that he felt exhausted, strangely despite all the test runs they had gone through he did not, but somehow he felt slightly dizzy... or rather in a way he couldn't really describe, nearly as if it was thinking that seemed harder and different now.
“Are you feeling all right?” Mr Villiers asked in a friendly tone while his partner was doing the check up on Mona.
“Yeah,” Garry said with a sheepish grin. “It is just I still feel dizzy.”
“For sure you don't drink enough.” the host noticed. “This is very important when doing sport.”
“Maybe.” the tester admitted, partly because he couldn't remember how much he had drunk since the morning and why hadn't he felt hunger by now....
“Oh and how are you doing?” Mrs Villiers asked, showing him to stand on the scale as Mona walked upstairs. “The obstacles are pretty tough compared to the ones in school.”
“Oh yeah, but we don't do such one in school.” Garry noticed standing straight as his hostess checked the results on the laptop. “They are way more cool! Tom always says... says.”
He stopped a bit perplexed.
“I mean we did not have such things in school.” the tester corrected himself. “My friend Thomas always liked such stunts, I think I got infected by him back then.”
“Interesting.” Mrs Villiers replied with a smile, placing the cuff around his arms while removing the ribbon.
“Sure.” Garry noticed, the cuff getting thicker. “But it was a long time ago.”
Mrs Villiers didn't respond but removed the cuff of his right arm and placed rose the needle.
“Left hand please.” she told him and he gave it to her though unwilling.
Not wanting to see it Garry looked away as the woman disinfected the top of his middle finger and instead looked at his right hand where the previous needles had taken the blood. Indeed there was no sign of a wound on any of his fingers and as he pulled back the sleeves, now reaching to the middle of his hands, he found no wound at all.
“Why don't you go upstairs and prepare for the next test run.” Mrs Villiers voiced stopped his chain of thought “We have some really nice things prepared for you two.”
“Great!” Garry replied.
Very happy that he had felt no pain at all this time and already forgetting his former worries he began jogging inside and upstairs.
Behind in the open Mr and Mrs Villiers exchanged looks.
In his room Garry found the sheets with the questions already lying on the table. Yet he paid them little mind as he grabbed his new clothes from the bed and went to the floor. Right there, facing him as coming herself from her room, was Mona, holding her own new clothes. Looking at each other a moment they had the same thought and both rushed for the door of the bathroom.
Mona won and could hear Garry cursing at the other side of the locked door. Grinning, she enjoyed the feeling of victory and noticed how it seemed to have eased the pain in her left leg.
Loosing no time she undressed and checked her left leg, finding it less hurt than she had initially thought. Indeed it was barely red any more and hardly hurt, as if it had healed a lot during the short time... though she probably was just imagining things.
Deciding not to block the bathroom too long, she stepped in the bath and let a hot stream of water wash away the sweat and dirt this test run had brought her. As she covered her breasts with well smelling shower gel and found only a slightly enlarged piece of fat she stopped for a moment having a strange feeling before resuming the motion and covering her whole body which completely lacked any body hair.
Having finished showering, drying her hair and getting dry Mona grabbed her new underwear consisting out of a pant and a shirt, but stopped again for she just knew something was missing...
~I had it before but...~
She probably could go through the bag she had thrown the used clothes in, but this meant she would get dirty again and right now the feeling that something was missing passed and she wondered what more she could actually wear more as underwear than pants and shirts.
Giggling she finished dressing herself and threw the bag with the old clothes into her room before knocking at the door to the room on the other side.
“The bathroom is free now.” Mona said, opening the door. “I...”
Surprised she discovered Garry kneeling at the bed, holding a jumpsuit which according to the design and signs of use was his own, but several times too large, even much larger than the overstretched jumpsuit he wore right now.
“I...” he began sounding as if he had been discovered with the hand in the cookie jar and even looking like it, which struck Mona strange for a moment “I was just looking through my stuff.”
“How could you ever jump in such a large suit?” Mona asked surprised and slightly amused.
Garry cheeks became red and he put his suit back in his bag.
“I don't know.” he noticed for everything else had sounded stupid.
“I'm sorry for making it a race.” Mona said, feeling a bit sorry at the sight of him feeling uneasy. “It was childish.”
“No problem.” Garry replied with a smile, putting back the sleeves of his jumpsuit. “I was childish myself.”
“I'm sorry that I have not been nicer to you.” Mona admitted after a moment. “I had a friend once with whom I made several jumps... but then he sold me and others off to the police not to get arrested.”
“I called him worse.” Mona replied with a grin. “But I think we can be friends... at last until the jump! Maybe we could exchange our addresses then.”
“Cool!” Garry agreed enthusiastically.
“See you downstairs.” Mona said, going out of the room and closing the door behind her.
Back in her room she felt relieved to have said this to Garry, he was nice and she wanted very much to get close to him, to...
Mona scowled, realising there was something she had wanted to do with him she now had forgotten, a desire she did not feel now. She shook her head in confusion, but whatever she had wanted she would for sure remember it later, right now she did have some tasks she had to finish to not get into trouble.
The tester sat on the chair and looked down at the questions, a pencil in her hand and feeling as back in school much to her chagrin.
1.How do you feel right now?
2.Did you sweat more than normal?
3.Describe the last training session.
We had a round full of obstacles we had to complete again and again. It was fun!
4.How do you rate the testers(honesty requested)?
Mrs Villiers has been very nice when I hurt my left leg. She is brilliant!
Mona had to stop herself from giggling as she found this question particularly silly for a reason she could not even explain to herself.
6.Any suggestions what to do better?
There should be more interesting test runs like the last. The testing should be more fun.
7.What are suggestion for improvements in our design.
Mona stopped, starring at the for of a jumpsuit and then looking at her own. Red and with two blue stripes didn't seem very interesting to her, and thinking about it a moment she grabbed the pink crayons and filled the form all out save for the middle of the breast where she left a white diamond.
A moment she starred at it and smiled as it now was similar to the costume of the Pink Power Ranger she had once seen at television while babysitting her niece and nephew. It hadn't appealed to her then, but now it seemed really cool to her. The rangers fighting evil like a nasty witch, the cool song, the adventures....
Mona stopped herself from humming the song.
~this is childish~ she thought and starred at the picture ~and this is too pink~
Still while she knew it was childish, it was at the same time appealing to her and anyway, there was no way she could erase it now.
Grabbing her sheets she walked downstairs, finding Mr and Mrs Villiers talking.
“The change come faster than expected.” Mr Villiers noticed.
“I really wished we had....” Mrs Villiers replied, but stopped when seeing Mona entering. “Oh ready already?”
The tester nodded, looking up at her hostess as she handed her the sheets.
“The picture might not be so good.” she admitted.
Mrs Villiers took a look at the second sheet and smiled.
“I think it is very good.” she noticed, showing the picture to Mr Villiers.
“We should show it to the design section.” he agreed with a smile. “Now ladies I must prepare the next test run.”
With this he left for the door leading in the backyard, passing the Laptop which laid on the table and pressing a button. Though Mona couldn't really see it because Mrs Villiers blocked her view she believed for a moment to the image of two rooms, resembling hers and Garry's before it returned to the Windows-Desktop.
“You really did a good job.” Mrs Villiers noticed, kneeing to get on eye-level with Mona and adjusting her suit a bit. “You helped us a lot in our research.”
“Great.” Mona said, happy to have helped, instantly forgetting the worry for a more interesting thought. “Do you believe we can jump today?”
“Sure.” Mrs Villiers promised. “I and Mr Villiers will see to that.”
“You look sad.”
“While I and Mr Villiers test the product together he is testing the practical effects while I test how it affects...” Mrs Villiers hesitated. “your motivation. Unfortunately I had few time to do so.”
“I think you do a great job.” Mona tried to cheer the woman up. “The jumpsuit really motivates me.”
“You like this more than school?”
“Yes!” the tester replied. “I think school is boring. I like going out and do things.”
“Well,” Mrs Villiers noticed, raising with a smile “then I think I will make the small check-up now, so you can go outside and see what my partner has prepared to you.”
“Yeah!” Mona exclaimed enthusiastically, following the woman to the laptop “Mhh... Mrs Villiers.”
“I think Garry is really scared of the needles.”
Mrs Villiers looked a moment surprised, then she smiled at Mona.
“He sure is.” she agreed, sitting down at the laptop, “Sometimes boys are really wimps.”
Mona giggled as she stepped on the scale.
Soon they were joined by Garry who made the usual fuss when he had to give his blood but didn't complain.
Finally Mrs Villiers lead them outside straight to a part of the backyard they hadn't seen before.
“Why it is so far away?” Garry asked.
“Because we wanted to surprise you.” Mrs Villiers said with a smile, wearing her laptop in a bag under her arm.
Seconds later Garry and Mona noticed what their hostess had meant.
It was a large construction made of heavy wood. A rock climbing wall with a rope and a ladder lead up and a spiral slide led down again, under it was a pipe clearly meant to crawl through it to the other side. Attached to the main frame were three belt swings and a monkey bar. A bit aside was a small sand pit with some colourful toys.
“A play centre?” Garry asked surprised.
“This is for children!” Mona exclaimed irritated.
“But no.” Mr Villiers said. “It may look like one but only because we need to really test the suit to its extremes and there is nothing better than this.”
The testers looked sceptically.
“You helped us so well in the previous test runs.” Mrs Villiers said from her chair her partner must had placed there before and opened the laptop. “It is just like the obstacle course.”
“Really?” Mona asked sceptically.
“Really.” their hostess promised.
Both testers didn't seem enthusiastic, but when Mr Villiers asked them to climb up the rock climbing wall to test if the suit stopped them in their movements, they did and slide down the slide they did so five times each time more enthusiastic.
Next they crawled through the tube some times to test the jumpsuits flexibility and soon Mr Villiers helped them climb the monkey bar.
Then they resumed climbing the rock climbing wall, which strangely seemed to be larger now, but even more, as was the pipe when they crawled through it, making it much easier and fun to get through.
When he told them to use the swing to test the jumpsuit's bottom again they were reluctant, but Mona soon found that since the swings fitted them perfectly they hardly could be made for little children, so after some seconds she actually enjoyed it very much, especially when Mr Villiers stepped behind them and helped them to get higher.
After a while their host, under the watchful eyes of Mrs Villiers, led them to the sand pit where they were told how to test if the suit was prone to have sand in it by shifting sand around with the various animal and geometrical like forms, helped by a little bucket and riddle screen.
After a while they found this test to be very much fun and when, after a time the testers had not measured, Mr Villiers told them to stop, they felt very sat to leave this part of the test behind.
“Mr Villiers.” Mrs Villiers told her partner, seeing the look in Garry's and Monas's eyes. “Why don't you go in already and prepare things while I stay here with them a bit longer. The suits need a lot of testing.”
Mr Villiers smiled down at the testers sitting in the sand pit and nodded, causing them to cheer.
“Ok.” Mrs Villiers said after a while “Time to make the check-up and then to get in again.”
Mona rose from the sand, feeling bad for having to leave after she managed to make such a beautiful picture in the sand with the sun, crocodiles and lots of stars.
The girl's check-up was no problem, but when it was the boys turn to give some blood he shook his head.
“No.” Garry said defiantly.
“You are a baby.” Mona said with a wide grin.
“I'm, not.” the little boy replied angrily, stepping to Mrs Villiers and giving her his hand which the woman took easily in her own as she disinfected the middle finger's top.
“Baaaby!” the girl continued to tease
On this words the little boy looked surprised at Mrs Villiers who had managed to take the blood sample of his finger while he was distracted.
“I am not.” Gary said defiantly to Mona, crossing his arms.
“Right,” their hostess said with a smile. “You were very brave.”
The boy felt happy by this praise and the look on Mona's face, yet something on this seemed odd... trying to think about it he found his eyes wandering back to the playground. Forgetting the odd feeling he silently wished that Mrs Villiers let them play a bit longer on it.
“Time to go!” the woman said, despite Garry's silent wishes, having placed the blood samples securely in the bag.
Their hostess, wearing the bag around her shoulder, grabbed both children's hand and led them back to the house.
The boy shuffled, due to stepping on his trouser legs.
“It is loosening again.” Garry whined, “And I lose my shoes.”
Mrs Villiers laughed.
“It is ok sweetheart.” she calmed him down. “Leave the shoes outside, Mr Villiers has a surprise for you.”
The testers got the message and eagerly pulled the hostess's hands to get into the house faster.
“Easy easy.” Mrs Villiers told them at they arrived at the house, but the children had already stormed in, Garry loosing his shoes on the way.
Garry and Mona arrived in the house at the same time, Mr Villiers already expecting them.
“Oh there you are.” he noticed smiling “I guess Mrs Villiers already told you about the surprise.”
“What is it?” Mona asked full of expectation.
“Well first I have something for you two.” their host said and took something from the table and handed it to the children.
“Duplo?” Garry asked, sounding disappointed as he looked at the little frame.
“Oh it is not just that.” Mrs Villiers noticed, stepping in from behind the children, holding Garry's lost shoes.
“We have no idea how to jump properly.” she explained. “So, since you are experts we hoped you could show us, it might help us in modelling future suits.”
“Sure!” Mona said slowly, trying to remember how she had jumped before.
“You need a... a high place.” Garry said trying to remember as he starred at the smiling little figure in his hand.
“A very high place!” Mona added excited, “A mountain.”
“Such high!” Garry noticed, rising his hair as high about his head as he could.
“No!” Mona replied angrily and climbed on the couch as quick as her oversized jumpsuit allowed it. “Such high!”
“And what do you do then?” Mrs Villers asked very interested.
“Jumping!” Mona answered and made a big jump on the couch before jumping from it giggling.
“And we glide with paral... parak....” Garry said, wrinkling his forehead as he struggled to say the word. “Parachute!”
To emphasize his words he held the figure up and let it slowly go lower while moving around in the room, making swooshing noises. Mona soon joined him, but beginning higher by climbing on the couch before going lower.
“I jump from a plane!” the little girl giggled.
Mr and Mrs Villiers watched the scene smiling before talking amongst themselves.
“This is great!” Mrs Villiers said after a while, clasping with her hands. “We really learned a lot from you two, but now it is time for you to make the tests and then prepare for the last test run.”
Both children looked up, unhappy to have to stop now.
“Must we?” Garry whined.
“It will be over quickly.” Mr Villiers replied with a supporting tone while his partner linked the laptop with the scale.
Unhappy Garry walked on the scale and let Mrs Villiers take his pulse, but when she connected the laptop with the machine to test his blood he winced and actually made a step back.
“Hey hey.” Mr Villiers said, walking to him from behind so that the tester could lean at his large legs. “Don't be afraid, it is just a little pain.”
Garry nodded but looked away when Mrs Villiers rose the needle and actually felt tears runs through his closed lids as he felt the pain.
“It is over already.” Mr Villiers said, picking him up “Shall we go up and change your clothes?”
Garry nodded, covering his face as he suddenly felt very ashamed of his tears.
Such he hardly noticed that Mr Villiers took him upstairs to his room until he was placed on the bed besides the new suit.
“Here we have the new questions.” the host said, handing a sheet of paper over to Garry.
The boy looked at them as he was sitting on the bed with his feet unable to touch the ground, but couldn't make out what to do with them at first. Then he slowly remembered that the signs on it were supposed to mean something, that he should know what they meant because he was a big boy and able to read...
“Auw do do...” Garry began, but as much as he tried he couldn't figure out the meaning of it.
“It is all right.” Mr Villiers said as he saw the look of desperation in the look of the boy. “It was a hard day, so why not let me read it? It goes quicker anyway.”
Garry nodded and handed the sheets to the man.
“How do you feel right now?” he began.
“Mhh I want to play!”
“Did you sweat? Or got dirty?” Mr Villiers said while writing notes on the sheet.
“Nuh nuh.” the child replied, hiding his clearly dirty hands behind his backs.
“Thats why you don't need a bath now.” his host noticed, causing Garry to smile wildly as he had managed to fool the man. “Do you remember what you did during the last training session?”
“We slided and swung and climbed and crawled through a laaarge pipe.” the child explained enthusiastically, forgetting for a moment that Mr Villiers had watched them. “And we played in a sand pit.”
“Sounds like fun!”
The man smiled and looked down at the paper.
“Garry can you remember what you did before that?” he asked, watching the boy intensively.
The tester thought a moment very hard, looking at his hands he had moved back to his knees, then he grinned.
“I climbed a rope!” he said, shaking his legs. “And and...”
“Do you remember what you did before that?”
The boy looked at him with a blank expression. Though he tried very hard Garry couldn't remember anything.
“It is ok.” Mr Villiers said when he noticed that the boy nearly cried in frustration. “What do you think of me and Mrs Villiers?”
“You awe nice!”
“Oh and what are we doing here?” he asked “What do we work at?”
Again the boy struggled.
“You are teachers?” he tried, his words getting more pronounced, no sign of lisping.
“Not quite.” Mr Villiers replied with a smile “We are here to test products and you two help us testing them.”
Garry nodded, remembering again and feeling stupid to have forgotten that. Of course he and Mona were helping these two nice grown ups.... and they would jump! Not really sure anymore where and how they would jump, he yet knew they would.
“Now is there something you would want more?” the man asked.
“I wanna play in a pool!” Garry said, “Wid plastic toys and a ball.”
“I think we can arrange that in the future.” Mr Villiers replied smiling at the image. “Now look at this.”
With this words he handed him the second sheet with the form of the jumpsuit on it.
“Now I want you to colour this suit.” the man said, laying the crayons he had taken from the table on the bed besides the child, adding encouraging. “Just do it the form and colour you like!”
Garry looked unsure first on the sheet then on Mr Villiers, holding a finger in his mouth while he did so before he grabbed the crayons. Jumping on the floor and beginning to paint while laying on it he first used the blue one, drawing lines in the contours of the suit and somewhat over them, too. Then he used red and painted something resembling a circle in the middle of the breast. Forgetting he was just supposed to fill it out and without the man stopping him he added something round resembling a brown head, added some yellow lines as hair and two brown shoes and hands.
Proudly he presented his work to his host who looked impressed.
“I know some people who will love to see it little man.” he praised, making the boy beam in pride.
“Now,” Mr Villiers said, placing the sheet on the table. “lets get you dressed in your new jumpsuit.”
“Can dress myself!” Garry insisted.
To prove it, the boy pulled his arms inside the suit and tried to get out which proofed an hopeless effort since he had forgotten to open the zipper.
“Sure!” Mr Villiers assured and opened the zipper and helped him out.
His underpant practical fell from him and with few efforts Garry managed to release get off his shirt, standing naked and grinning in front of the man.
“Impressive!” the man praised, putting the way too large clothes into a trash bag and placing this besides the bed. “Now lets see if you can dress yourself, too!”
So he handed the boy who had definitely no problem with his lack of clothes, a piece of underwear on which thus looked sceptically. It had an elastic waist band, was heavily padded and white except the colourful dinosaurs.
“I need no diaper.” the naked tester explained.
“Sure not!” Mr Villiers said in a serious tone. “But this is no diaper, because a diaper has tapes you know?”
Garry looked sceptically, scowling his face as trying to remember what a diaper looked like, absent-minded touching the underwear.
“This is a training pant.” the man continued to explain. “It is specially designed to help testers like you, like the underwear before. But it is a bit different because it shall help you to make what you came for... Do you remember?”
Again the boy tried hard, for a moment feeling like he was in a fog before, like a flash, a thought made his face beam.
“Jump!” he exclaimed and jumped a bit.
“Right!” Mr Villiers said with an impressed smile, kneeling down to get eye to eye with Garry.
“Now, the faster you put it on, the faster you can jump.”
This seemed to energize the boy and as he looked down at the 'training pant' in his hand he found the soft feeling very appealing and the dinosaurs looked so very cool that they could hardly been worn by babies... after all he for sure didn't need to pee in it for he knew how to use the potty... he was a big boy!
Now feeling the urge to test this underwear to finally being allowed to jump, he found that he had actually forgotten how to get into it.
“First one leg, then the other.” Mr Villiers said helpfully as the boy looked at him puzzled.
Smiling as he felt silly, Garry nodded and did as the host said. Once he had managed to do so he beamed proudly at the grown up.
“Very good.” the man said, grabbing Garry under the armpits and placing the giggling boy on the bed. “Now lets finish the rest.”
With this Mr Villiers began to put socks and shirts on the boy, who didn't mind to being dressed as he had before. After all he was going to jump, a thought which made him giggle once more as he was put in the jumpsuit.
“Ready.” the man said, putting the sweatband around his head “I don't think shoes will be necessary.”
So he grabbed Garry once more, holding him in his arms as he took him downstairs, the toddler meanwhile feeling strange, as a part of his mind told him that something was not right, but his consciousness not being able to figure out what.
Feeling insecure the toddler instinctively put his right thumb in his mouth, smiling absent-mindedly as the strange feeling vanished and was replaced by a comforting feeling of emptiness where for a moment there was nothing but the movement of Mr Villers and the warmth of his body.
“There.” the grown-up said after a while, setting him down in the room downstairs. “You help Mrs Villiers in her test while I prepare your jump outside, ok?”
With this the man left and Garry, looked at Mona who was sitting on the couch playing with the figures, not noticing or maybe not minding him, and then up at Mrs Villiers who was smiling at him from her place before the laptop.
“Now Garry,” she addressed the boy “do you want to help me by my tests?”
The tester nodded shyly, his thumb still in his mouth.
“Then come here.”
With that he walked to her, the training pant feeling in a strange way comforting as it pressed against his legs as he walked.
“So, just a second.” Mrs Villiers said as she gently led him to stand on the scale. “Fine! What a big boy you are.”
Garry nodded, removing the thumb of his mouth and raising it above his head.
“So wig.” he declared proudly.
“Right.” Mrs Villiers said with a smile.
So she went away from the desktop, putting the cuff around the toddler's arm.
“And what is the big boy's name?”
“Garry!” he exclaimed proudly.
“Oh and further?” the woman asked, starring directly into Garry's eyes as if she was searching something. “What is your full name?”
Pondering a little the toddler suddenly smiled.
“Thamson!” he explained “Wike my mummy and daddy.”
“Really? Where do you live?”
Garry felt insecure again, as he tried hard but could find no image of his home.
“Shh... it is all right.” Mrs Villiers said, calming him down as he began to whimper in frustration and a little fear.
From the other side of the room Mona looked up from her game, scowling for a moment before returning her interest to her little dolls.
“Now can you tell me what you like to do Garry.”
Now the toddler had no problem to remember at all.
“Good!” Mrs Villiers noticed, smiling at the excitement of the toddler. “Where did you jump from?”
Scowling, the toddler tried hard.
“Weally high towers.” he said and giggled. “It was naughty!”
“It sure was!” the woman replied, smiling encouraging “What more.”
“Mountans.” the toddler said. “Dawk places....”
“Mhhhm...” Garry said nodding. “Planes!”
To emphasize this he let his hand glide in the air, making sounds like a plane.
“Oh you had so many funny jumps for such a little boy.” Mrs Villiers said as she walked to the laptop.
Thomas nodded giggling as he remembered all the fun he had, or at last all the fun he could remember, but stopped surprised as the cuff grew larger around his arm, pressing it.
“Where do you live Garry Thompson?” the woman asked while standing at the laptop, watching the toddler closely.
Surprised the tester looked up, for a moment believing she had asked this before but not sure... instead two images formed in his mind, one with of his mummy and daddy in front of a house a big city, the other of him in another house, but without his parents, all on his own and strangely this image seemed to be clearer than the first and eventually replaced it.
“Wiginia.” Garry said absent-mindedly, still wondering why he couldn't remember any toys in this house, “Cushbows Woad.... I life in tha woods... I have a wake and see ducks and wabbits!”
The last part seemed very important to him and as he could see the woman smiling he knew it was.
“Such a lovely place.” Mrs Villiers noticed as the cuff became loose again and fell of the toddler's arm. “Now one thing left and you can jump.”
With that words she connected a machine with the laptop Garry needed a second to identify, but when he did, pure infantile horror raced through him.
“Noono.” he whined, backing away. “Needle hurts.”
Saying these words he fell backwards, turning around to crawl away in the direction of the couch, hoping to be able to hide behind it. Maybe he would even had reached the couch from where Mona was watching him with interest, but he had no practice of crawling, so suddenly two strong hands grabbed him and took him high in the air.
“No need of running away now.” Mr Villiers said with a smile, having finished his task outside and having returned unnoticed by the toddler.
“No wanna needle.” Garry whined, emitting something very close to a sob.
“Shhh.” the grown up calmed him down, holding him close. “This is just a tiny needle. Once it is done you can jump.”
The tester felt tears running down his face and snot threatening to leave his nose, but the though of jumping returned some sort of self-control.
“Jumping?” he asked nearly begging.
“As long as you wish.” Mr Villiers promised, going through the toddler's hair. “If you can be a big boy and help us.”
Garry didn't answer on this, but didn't fuss either when he was carried back to Mrs Villiers who smiled at him.
“There now.” she said as she took the middle finger of his left hand and disinfected it. “Soon it is over.”
Such she quickly picked in his finger, allowing the needle to take some blood.
The pain was too much for the toddler, causing him to cry uncontrolled, hiding his face in Mr Viliers shoulder, sobbing despite all efforts of the man to calm him down. He cried even more as he felt that he had tinkled a bit in his training pant and feared that if the grown ups found out they would not let him jump.
Lost in his personal small hell of fear and pain, Garry only stopped when fresh hair told him that they were no longer in the house. As curiosity slowly replaced his horror, he noticed there was a strange construction.
Hanging on a beam, held by elastic ribbons were two seats, the fabric printed with happy animals, swinging slightly about a blanket spread over the grass.
“Humper.” Garry noticed, pointing at the seats.
“Very good.” Mr Villiers praised the toddler in his arms, putting the ribbon with the emitter on the erected arm. “As I promised.”
Such he placed the tester in the seat as did Mrs Villiers with Mona in the other seat. Held tightly, Garry felt the wet part of the training pants pressing against his groin, yet despite his former worries he felt nothing but slight comfort by the warm feeling, his legs strongly standing on the earth.
“Now.” Mr Villiers said, kneeling down in front of both toddlers now hanging in the seats while his partner sat herself a bit aside, unpacking the laptop from the bag and placing it into her lap. “Let's see how you can jump.”
The testers starred at their host in confusion, swinging back and forth.
“Come on.” the man said. “Show me how good you can jump.”
Garry looked at the grown-up with confusion, not being sure why he was here, or what he was supposed to do, but the words struck something in him, and more by instinct than conscious decision he bent his knees and pushed himself up.
The ribbons pushed him higher than his little muscles ever could and he began to laugh even before his socked feet again touched the soft blanket, instantly jumping again, only to have Mona imitating him.
They did so endlessly as they were unable to count time and without having words to describe what they were doing, as the word 'Jumping' was the last thing to vanish from their minds and only stopped when their legs became too weak to make one more push.
After another check-up, Mr and Mrs Villiers, though this were of course not their true names, sat on the couches in the large living room, paying no attention to the world outside which slowly became darker, but watching the laptop displaying various curves. One block of these displayed amongst other a wave with the word Pulse above it, the other showed Brain activity.
“If just there would have been a way to make them wearing the sweatbands constantly.” the person who's name wasn't Mrs Villiers said. “The data of their EEG is much too sporadic for proper information.”
“Nothing short of constant magnetic resonance imaging would have given us proper information.” the man who's name wasn't Mr Villier replied “As we know most likely not even this. Besides it wasn't such a test run.”
“It should have been.” the woman replied. “It is the process of regressing of the mind we have to research to really make progressions.”
“I say the mind can only be what the body allows it to be.” the man said, so in a slightly disinterested tone “We had enough of these discussions in the team. Lets return to the analysis.”
“Right.” the woman agreed reluctantly, taking a cup of coffee “I say since it is the first test of this version of the formula we shouldn't take anything for granted.”
“I don't, once we make your test run we will know more, but as scientists we are allowed to hypothesize.” the man noticed. “The changes in the formula hardly could have led to this faster rate of regression. We should presume that the exercises led to it.”
Quickly the woman made some clicks with the mouse, bringing a line with the word Age about it on the display. The picture revealed two lines, one blue and one pink, sinking steadily, though with some strong drops during the parts overwritten with Activity.
“Probably.” she admitted thoughtfully, as if reading an article. “The body regresses by exploiting its own structure, doing its perfectly enough to give enough energy for the regression and the exchange of nearly all old cells into new ones... younger versions, including the original length of the telomere. It not lets the person feel any hunger or large stress at all. So why does it regress faster when confronted with activity which should take away this resources?”
“Don't forget that the animated metabolism counts much.” the man replied. “As I theorized it could not just amplify the effect but make it more effective.”
“We should at last wait to see at which age our test-subjects stop regressing.” the woman stopped him, placing the coffee cup back on the table in secure distance to the laptop. “If they stay around the 3 months border this effect is only temporary.”
Thoughtful the man looked down at the floor besides the table. There, placed on a soft blanket, laid two babies. One little boy and one little girl, dressed in jumpsuits similar in design to the ones they had worn at the beginning of the day including the bracelets and sweatbands, with the exception that this versions of the jumpsuit was footed.
Contently and not in the slightest interested in the conservation of the adults even if they had been able to understand just a word, they were playing by grabbing after the plastic animals, mirrors and forms hanging from the activity centre they laid under and occasionally by placing their feet in their mouths and tasting it.
“Don't it struck you odd that they have fat?” the woman asked thoughtfully.
“Baby-fat is natural at this age.” the man replied.
“Fat is fat Doctor.” the woman replied slowly, emphasizing every word as she eyes Garry and Mona on the floor. “We thought the former test-subjects natural at this state because this is how we imagine babies. But if it isn't the lack of resources which stops the process or the young age of the cells.... if the process could continue until all is left is the first cell using only the resources of the body?”
“You mean it is something in the body chemistry of infants which stops the regression?” the man replied, following the thoughts with rising enthusiasm. “Maybe an enzyme which makes the infant use its energies different from even toddlers? Good idea Doctor! We have to discus it with the team once we are back at the central.”
Suddenly an icon looking like a letter appeared on the display of the laptop and began to blink.
“Speaking of the devil.” the woman whispered, opening the E-Mail and reading.
Dear Mr and Mrs Villiers, ;-)
we received the data and the faxes with the filled forms. The whole team is already busy to evaluate them.
Please don't forget the bags with the clothes for the sweat analysis and make sure the blood samples are cold enough... yes we know how to handle it.
We burn to get the rest of it soon and hope you don't enjoy the French countryside too long because we need to discuss it.
The higher-ups told us to remind you to call the number and tell the company to clean up once you left with the material and the test-subjects.
Could you bring us souvenirs from the southern French countryside?
The woman shook her head and looked back to the former adults now playing innocently on the floor, her face scowling.
“You still don't like it and that is O.K., I guess.” the man, who had noticed the look, said. “But remember we are doing it for them, too. For all humanity! If our tests accelerate the research only for a month we will save millions.”
“Guess that is what doctors all over the world said by their own small experiments.” the woman said, much to her own surprise since she had long ago decided to remain silent about her doubts. “I can't but remember the story Mona told up in their room, about the man who betrayed her... it may have been a bad experience but it was part of what made her herself. Now it is gone and what is left?”
“A baby who will grow up living in a world without the fear of ageing and then inevitability of death.” the man replied, smiling in a strange way. “Where she can jump forever with a body never ageing, never failing... this is it if we manage to control the process.”
He stopped a moment, knowing they had deactivated the small cameras which had surveyed all parts of the room, but still not wanting to speak too loud.
“I heard the rumour the higher-ups are thinking about scrapping the tests all together and using the formula for other fields.”
“Agriculture.” the man said with a grim face, his voice becoming rough. “Imagine you have cows giving the best milk. No need for a butcher after some years when they are too old to produce milk. Use the formula and you got a calf which you know will deliver the right milk without the need for breeding and all its costs. Or layers, sheep and other animals. Saving farmers the cost of breeding or buying new animals could bring the company billions world wide. Don't forget the owner of pets who don't want to loose their best friends.”
The woman listened shocked.
“Of course no comparison to the hundreds of billions we could expect a working formula would earn us. But for animals who can be regressed to such an young age without anyone caring to stop it at an more mature level or fearing for their mind the current version is good enough.” the man added. “And there is the fact that other companies with lesser scruples or more luck than we seemingly have, will for sure advance the research of this formula on their own... maybe even other governments.”
“I see.” the woman replied.
Silently she swore herself that she would maker 100 and more test runs before she would allow that... the formula used for animals?! Still.....
“What about the test persons?” she asked “Have you heard rumours what happens with them... once we have our data?”
The man leaned on the couch, starring at the ceiling.
“No rumour. Once we are done they take them and don't tell us more, but...” he smiled “Not long after our third test-run I went through some newspapers to google for a new car. Looking over the front I found a small article, saying an infant around three months old has been found in a basket placed in front of the Hospital in Dover. It was a quite good picture of the baby in it with a birthmark above his right eye... can I hear you mind working Doctor?”
The woman who was not Mrs Villiers guessed he probably could. She would never forget anyone of her test-subjects and this once had been a pretty hard case because he-had-known what happened to him until the very end... no pleasant memories, but back then she had been somewhat more enthusiastic about it and even believed to be able to some-when undo the process... something she now believed had been an illusion all along.
“Right.” the man read her thoughts. “I don't think the company chooses the same way for all former test-subjects, this would be too conspicuous, but adoption agencies, maybe even in other countries? Where there is money there is a way, you know?”
She knew, knew very well that he might lie to her, to calm her down, knowing that though the higher-ups could be cautious, the hope of using and selling the biggest scientific discovery of this Millennia... maybe even all human history, would remove a lot of scruples. Had already removed a lot of scruples given the amount of money already used, the risks already taken... but murder?
Having met the higher-ups in the regular meetings she couldn't imagine anyone of them ordering such a thing, especially since given the risk of being discovered, it would make the difference between 20 years in prison for illegal medical experiments or execution A lawyer had explained this to the team, hired by the higher-ups to explore the legal complications which they risked.
She was just deciding to google a bit on foundlings once she was back home and had finished the necessary team-meeting, when her thoughts were stopped by sudden, awful wailing.
Looking down they noticed that Mona had begun to cry, earning her even Garry's attention.
A quick look at her partner made the woman realise that she wasn't alone in her surprise.
“I don't think she minds us talking about her adoption.” the man joked, “It could be she is hungry, meaning the process has stopped.”
“Better prepare both bottles.” the woman said, saving the exact time in the laptop. “I will make the final check-ups.”
The man left for the kitchen while the woman knelt before the crying infant, softly stroking her hairless head to calm her down.
“It is all right.” she lied in a sympathetic voice, knowing it hadn't been all right anymore since the former woman and the former man had eaten the cereals with the drug in it. “Soon you can sleep.”
When the little girl had calmed down, the woman opened the zippier. Checking the infant's diaper she discovered it a bit wet and could smell the smell of a little poo, telling her that the digestive apparatus had begun to work properly again.
Seeing that Garry looked at all this with curious interest while chewing at his hand she smiled.
“Once you have stopped I will need to pick you with the needle just one more time!”
Suddenly the infant began to cry, prompting the woman to think that maybe a spark of the man who had arrived her today had survived.... or that the process of regression had stopped and the little boy had hunger.
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