Saturday, September 7, 2013
Earth-349: Catwoman by Anton Psychopoulos, Ph.D. Disclaimer #1: This story is set on a hypothetical parallel world within the pre-Crisis DC Universe, based on a story in Superman #349, but is not limited by that story or any other. Disclaimer #2: This story makes use of copyrighted characters owned by DC Comics, Inc., and other publishers. It is written for amusement only and is not intended to infringe or disparage those copyrights. Disclaimer #3: This story is not recommended for persons under 18 or the easily offended, especially those who are troubled by themes such as age regression and spanking. She entered the Starr Electronics office through the front door, dressed as a cleaning woman, but as soon as she was inside, she pulled the cowl over her head. These things had to be done properly. The safe door was made of a modern composite material: impervious to acids and the heat of anything not nuclear-powered. The lock was electronic, just as up-to-date, very impressive-looking -- and about as hard to crack as a gym locker. She had it open it two minutes. She would leave the way she had entered, without a trace, but these things had to be done properly, or one might as well just write bad checks, so she cut a neat circle from the window with her glass cutter and laid it on the floor. She chuckled as she imagined them trying to figure out how she had scaled the outside of a glass-faced skyscraper, then snarled as she noticed that the window didn't open at all. She thought about cutting a bigger hole, one plausibly big enough for a very athletic person to climb through, then shrugged and left things as they were. Call it a symbol. Symbols were important. She was so upset by her gaffe with the window that she almost left the office with the cat-mask still in place. She was just reaching up to pull it off when a low voice behind her murmured, "Here, Kitty, Kitty." She spun, her movements not hampered by the baggy garments of a cleaning woman. Her leg lashed out precisely at the source of the voice, but Batwoman had already moved half a step back. Catwoman's heel met a gloved hand rather than a jaw. The Dark Dame yanked the burglar off her feet, with an extra tug as her head approached the floor to spoil her fall. Catwoman's head cracked loudly against the floor, and Batwoman pressed the advantage, flipping the stunned criminal onto her belly and yanking her arms painfully behind her back. Knees dug cruelly into the small of Catwoman's back, and she did not recover in time to escape the manacles Batwoman snapped onto her wrists. Catwoman almost got away as Gotham's Guardian moved to bind her ankles, but in seconds the second pair of shackles were in place, and then a chain was looped between the two, pulling Catwoman's body into a painful bow. "More chains than the cops use, Batty-girl. You must like them." "Sorry to disappoint you, Lois," Batwoman said evenly. "This is strictly business. I knew a pair of handcuffs weren't nearly enough to hold you." "So, it's Lois now, is it? Am I supposed to be impressed?" Batwoman peeled the cowl from Lois Lane's face, made ugly by unconcealed loathing. "I wouldn't mind if you were. The police hadn't figured it out yet." Catwoman gave a snarling laugh. "The cops in this town haven't got any more brains than they do balls." Batwoman's face betrayed a hint of emotion. "Not funny, Lois. Drake Lance is a good man. He doesn't deserve the suffering he's going through because of you." Inspector Drake Lance had publicly promised to "put a collar" on Catwoman. She'd assaulted him in his apartment and castrated him, then delivered his testicles to his fiancee with a note reading, "Your Drake is now a capon". The Catwoman shrieked with rage. "He deserves it! They all do!" Batwoman shoved a bat-shaped chunk of black foam rubber between Lois' bared teeth and secured the straps,. gagging her. She hoisted the struggling criminal onto her back and carried her to the elevator. "It's obvious, Lois, what your problem is. You feel that there's no man on Earth who comes up to your standards, and you've decided to take out your frustration by hurting the best men you can find, men like Lance, or like Cal Starr, who would have been bankrupted by your little industrial espionage tonight." The elevator opened. Catwoman continued to struggle, but her arms were growing tired in their unnatural position behind her back. "I tend to agree with you, Lois. You are a superior woman, and you deserve a superior man. But did it ever occur to you that you put too many barriers between yourself and men? Challenging their right to court you is one thing; acting like you despise them is another. It would take a man who was really superhuman to put up with that kind of treatment for long." The elevator opened onto a basement garage. Batwoman carried her prisoner to the black panel van she privately thought of as "Batmobile #4". With Catwoman secured in back, Batwoman changed from her bizarre black and gray costume into a less conspicuous disguise: a dirty-blonde wig, jeans, a cordurouy jacket, a large mole on her nose. She wondered for a moment why she had worn the Batwoman costume to confront Catwoman, then reminded herself that one really had to do things the right way, if one was going to do them at all. Catwoman lay silently in the back of the van as Batwoman drove the van out onto the street and parked, pulling the handset of a concealed car-telephone from under the dashboard. She dialed a number, spoke a few words, hung up and drove on. Catwoman remained still and silent, no doubt methodically exploring her bonds. A sudden storm of muffled cries and snarls made it obvious when she figured out that the cuffs had no key mechanism at all, and would have to be cut off. Batwoman drove towards the upper West End of Gotham, onto the campus of New Devonshire State University, and parked the van at the back of Crane Hall. Professor Carter Nicholls was waiting at the door as she carried the bound Catwoman inside. "You can take the manacles off her now," Nicholls said as Batwoman laid Lois Lane on a padded table. "What kind of restraints do you have?" Batwoman asked, looking over the table. "We won't need any. She's already under." Batwoman looked and saw that Catwoman's eyes were glazed, her breathing shallow. Professor Nicholls had induced a deep hypnotic state in the few seconds it had taken her to carry Catwoman into the lab. She removed the restraints and straightened Catwoman's body on the table, disturbed by how compliant but unresponsive she was, like a jointed mannequin, neither asleep nor awake. "Now, if you'll give me about an hour, er, Miss Wayne, I'll have her ready for you to take home." "Are you sure you'll be safe with her, Professor?" "Oh, quite safe. But I would like some privacy while I work." Batwoman nodded and headed for the door. Professor Nicholls possessed some sort of reality-altering technique which he'd never revealed to anyone. Batwoman didn't even know if it involved psychic powers, technology or something totally unimagined. But on several occasions, he had sent her, alone or accompanied by Robin or Batgirl, into the past and future, and had once transformed her into a young girl, walking through modern Gotham with no memory of her adult life. Batwoman sat in the van for an hour, going over Korean vocabulary cards and doing a few Yoga exercises, until Nicholls came out and ushered her up to his lab. she went, carrying a large shopping bag. Lois Lane's body was almost lost in the dumpy cleaning woman's dress. Even the purple bodysuit underneath was now baggy, no longer skintight. The body on the table was that of a girl no older than ten. The soft oval face, seeming now comfortably asleep, showed no trace of the cruelty of Catwoman, or the brittle sophistication of Lois Lane. "Now, remember, Miss Wayne, her transformation seems complete, and it should be complete, but it could easily break down in the early stages. It would be easy, if she fell into her old habits, for her to regain her memories of adult life, maybe even to spontaneously regain her adult body. You must keep her living as a young girl, an innocent young girl . . . ." Batwoman looked up from the table. Nicholls had pulled a pair of pink cotton briefs from the bag and was clutching them nervously, sweat beading on his forehead as he stared down at the girl on the table, biting his lip. "That's all right, Professor. I'll take it from here." Nicholls swallowed and nodded gratefully, though it took him a moment before he put the panties down. Batwoman carried the girl to the van. She was now dressed in a navy blue pleated skirt, pale blue blouse, white sweater vest, blue socks and mary janes. The Professor saw them out, and Batwoman drove them away into the night. It was late now, so she went to the Corolla Building penthouse rather than drive all the way out to the mansion in Fingerwood. She laid Lois on the living room couch, changed out of her disguise, and checked the time. She'd timed it perfectly; the program she wanted was about to start. She bent over the sleeping girl. "Antwerp," she whispered. Lois blinked and looked around. "Um, hello?" "Hello, Lois. My name is Roberta. You're going to be living with me now." The girl made a sour face. "Another foster home? Swell." "Well, Lois, this time things are kind of different. This is going to be hard for you to believe at first, but it'll be easier if you watch something first." She picked up the remote control and turned on the television. The girl's eyes widened. "You have a televisor?" That was good. She was relating to the TV set as the rich person's novelty item it had been twenty years before. The screen showed a handsome blonde man with his arm around a slender woman with chocolate-colored skin, waving to reporters. "--ormer astronaut Steve Trevor today announced his candidacy for the Sen--" CLICK A handsome man in a tux sang into a microphone as he gazed into the eyes of a beaky woman in an outrageous hat. "--enaded his wife of eighteen years with the comic-romantic song 'That's Amore'. Lewis responded in her typical madcap fash--" CLICK Earth, as seen from space, filled the screen. The image pulled back to reveal a second Earth, then a dozen, then hundreds of tiny, identical Earths. White letters appeared over the multiplying worlds: "New Devonshire Educational Television Presents More Worlds Than One." Lois sat rapt through the program as it moved quickly through famous disappearances (Marshal Ney, Oliver Cromwell), mysterious people who seemed to come from nowhere (Kaspar Hauser, Mary Psalmanasar), inexplicable artifacts (the Kensington Stone, Lomellini's Column) and other historical anomalies, to modern physics and finally to the documented crossings between worlds of recent years (the Flash photographed the streets of a "Crossroads City" that existed in place of Hub City; a real-life Captain America held a captive Adolf Hitler aloft by his collar). From time to time she looked around the room, noticing objects even stranger than the huge color screen of her host's "televisor". When it was over, Lois looked down and saw she was holding Roberta's hand. "So, I'm in a different world now? I'm from that, um, Earth-348?" "No, hon, another one. One that . . . doesn't exist any more." It was true enough. The Earth-349 of the 1940s was long gone. "And now I'm gonna live here with you?" "That's right. I have your room ready for you at the big house outside of town; for tonight, you can sleep in the spare room here." Lois pulled her hand from Roberta's. "Suppose I don't want to?" She jumped up from the couch with what looked disturbingly like decades of athletic experience working her ten-year-old body. "I wake up in this weird place, and you tell me a crazy story about how it's 1966 and a whole new world, and you've got a nice room for me and --" Roberta rose slowly from the couch. "Lois, honey--" Lois snatched up a glass bowl from the coffee table and held it over her head. "Tell me what's really going on, you bitch!" Unexpectedly, instead of trying to hit Roberta with the bowl, Lois swung it sideways and smashed in the TV screen. A hand clamped on Lois' wrist. She was hauled off her feet and over the coffee table without touching it. She landed on the couch, across Roberta's lap. "That, young lady, is enough!" Roberta was surprised by the voice she heard coming from her own lips. It wasn't the stern voice of Roberta Wayne in the boardroom, nor the inhuman menace of Batwoman. With a start, she recognized it as the voice of an angered mother. Lois kicked and thrashed as Roberta flipped up her skirt and yanked down her panties, but she did not display the preternatural grace she had a moment ago. She merely struggled as any child might. And when Roberta's hand came down again and again on her small pink buttocks, Lois responded in a perfectly natural fashion for a ten-year-old: she kicked and screamed and was shortly in tears. Roberta sat her young charge upright and glared into her eyes. "Now, there will be no more outbursts like that, will there?" "No, ma'am." The tiny, contrite voice was immensely gratifying to hear. But then, Roberta reflected, four days as a captive of the Penguin had shown her that mysterious time-bending abilities were not really needed to turn a grown woman into a snivelling, obediant child. "All right, then. How about if you wash your face and get ready for bed?" "Yes, ma'am." By the time Lois had had a bath and brushed her teeth, she was calling her guardian "Roberta", which made Roberta feel better about the whole project. She was confident that she and Alfred, and little Delia, would be able to provide Lois with a proper second chance at life. She even got a good night kiss.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Okay, here is a kink I have never heard of, but I suspect someone out there has it: a heterosexual who picks up gay partners in order to make out in a public place and feel terribly embarrassed. May have started out with hetero outmaking, but is no longer embarrassed about that. Anybody ever heard of that?
Monday, December 24, 2012
by Anton Psychopoulos, Ph.D. Disclaimer #1: This story is set on a hypothetical parallel world within the pre-Crisis DC Universe, based on a story in Superman #349, but is not limited by that story or any other. Disclaimer #2: Some characters appearing in this story are based on copyrighted characters owned by DC Comics, Inc., Marvel Comics and others. Their use here is not intended to infringe or disparage those copyrights. Disclaimer #3: This story is not recommended for persons under 18 or the easily offended. The last time Martha Palmer had awakened naked, on a cold floor, with no idea where she was or how she'd gotten there, had been several years earlier, well before she had become the Atom. The experience had not improved with age. Resisting the urge to stretch her stiff and aching limbs, Martha opened her eyes to cautious slits, blinking repeatedly to make them focus, trying not to give away to any watcher that she was conscious. A sudden draft, tickling between her legs, confirmed Martha's suspicion that she had already given away plenty to any watcher. Her eyes focussed reluctantly on some pattern of vertical lines. Wallpaper? Fence pickets? Oh, God, jail bars? No. These bars were metal, but gold-colored. And the floor under her wasn't concrete, but more metal. Martha rolled her eyes slowly upward, trying to get a glimpse of the ceiling. There didn't seem to be any. The bars just continued up and up, curving overhead to form a rounded framework from which hung . . . A swing. "Son of a bitch!" She sat up suddenly. In spite of her shock and outrage, her mind noted the way her body moved, the floating, "weightless" feeling of being reduced to a size where inertia doesn't work quite the way it does on the human scale. Her scream brought an enormous shape moving towards the cage from the misty distance. "How nice. my little birdie is awake," thundered the immense black and yellow mass. It leaned closer, and Martha made out an immense masked face. "Welcome to your new home, little birdie. You are now the property of . . . Yellowjacket." Martha looked up at the black cowl, brow furrowed, head cocked. "Henry?" Yellowjacket recoiled from the cage, hands to his cowl as though checking that it was in place. The Atom jumped to her feet, shaking her sliver-sized index finger at the immense figure. Yes, she was about six inches tall, a common size for the Atom to assume. At ant size, she'd have had difficulty in standing on two feet. "Henry Pym, you son of a bitch! Stealing my research wasn't enough, you had to kidnap me and steal my costume?" Pym cringed behind his mask, actually seeming to grow smaller. A little. "That's not fair, Martha. We were both building on Dane's research --" "You didn't even know what a micropion was until I pointed them out on Darrell's CERN printouts! If it weren't for me, you'd still be fiddling around with hallucinogenic gases." Henry's hand lashed out, flashing past the cage like an express train. Knives lanced through the Atom's feet. She fell to the floor, and the electric current stabbed at every place her flesh touched metal. Fighting panic, Martha got to her feet, dancing in agony, and lunged for the wood-and-plastic swing. Seated precariously on the swing, the Atom caught her breath, forcing herself to become calm. She saw Henry's black-gloved finger pressing a button on a golden column she guessed was the cage's stand. He grinned at her, releasing the button. "That was your first lesson, little birdie. Yellowjacket did not go to the trouble of catching his little pet in order to hear her screech at him like a crow. Your function in this house is to sit on your little perch and sing sweetly." Martha started to get down from the swing, but Henry's finger flicked towards the button. "Stay on your perch, birdie. I like seeing you there. "Swing, birdie." Like a child at a playground, the Atom began pumping her bare legs back and forth, driving the swing into a small oscillation. "Faster, birdie." Higher and higher went the swing, until Martha saw the floor and the cage roof on each pass, her brown hair flying into her face, her breasts slapping against her chest. "Sing for me, birdie." "Henry," Martha gasped, breathless, the swing slowing, "Henry, that's enough. You've got to stop now." She saw the black glove coming but could do nothing to brace for the impact. The metal cage screamed as the Atom was flung against its walls, crashing back and forth as the world lurched around her. "Stop calling me that!" Yellowjacket screamed, shaking the cage in both hands so Martha rattled inside it. "Henry Pym is dead! I fed him to a spider! Ant Man is dead, too! I squashed him under my shiny new black PVC boot! Giant Man is dead! I, uh, I shot him!" The Atom had just enough presence of mind left not to say You left out Goliath, schizo boy. "Now, who am I?" "Yellowjacket. You're Yellowjacket." "Good. And what are you?" "I'm your little birdie." "You are learning fast. Not bad for a little bird-brain." He dropped the cage, letting it swing freely. "Back on your perch, birdie." Favoring her bruised left leg and her aching right wrist, Martha climbed back onto the swing. "Sing for me, birdie." Trembling with fear and humiliation, Martha was unable to think of any song but "Workin' on the Railroad", but that seemed to please Henry just fine. When she was done, she continued with "Barbara Allen" and was halfway through "Lord Randall" when Henry suddenly interrupted. "Would you like some clothes to wear, birdie?" Martha was surprised by his sudden question and his softened tone of voice, but quickly chirped "Oh, yes, please, Yellowjacket, sir!" Taking the Atom's servile twittering at face value, Henry opened the cage (nearly knocking Martha from her perch as he fumbled with the latch). He'd spent enough time interacting with relatively gigantic people that he knew better than to reach into the cage and try to grab her; he held out his hand, palm up. slightly cupped, and allowed her to climb onto his fingers. Holding her near his body, he carried her to a department-store sized desk and set her down on its worktop. He flicked on a reading lamp and seated himself, smiling down at her. On the desktop, Martha could now see the wall of Henry's study. Numerous degrees and awards hung in neat uniform frames. Uniform frames indeed: pride of place went to the red and blue outfit of the Atom, pinned to a sheet of white cardboard like a butterfly. Martha winced; that was no way to treat a suit woven from irreplacable fibers of spatially distorted dwarf star matter. She wondered if the pins had damaged the wafer-thin control circuits in her gloves. Henry pulled open a drawer in the desk. It made the desktop under Martha's feet shake as though a subway train were pulling in. He laid a shoebox on the green paper blotter and lifted from it a poisonous-green nightgown. Martha saw at once that it was a piece of doll clothing, made from some light, thin fabric, but to Martha, at doll size, it was as coarse and stiff as burlap. Gritting her teeth, Martha pulled it on, trying to ignore the scraping of the cheap petroleum-based fibers, cooing as she smoothed it over her limbs. The Atom turned for her captor, trying not to stumble over the too-long hem (it was a very short nightgown, but made for a doll nearly twice Martha's size). "Oh, Yellowjacket, it's lovely!" "Heh. And you look lovely in it." Henry shifted in his chair, recrossing his legs. The Atom hoped he wouldn't be able to see her tiny smirk. Henry pulled a tiny plastic envelope from the box, opened it and shook out the contents onto the desktop. Martha untangled them and found a black garter belt and a pair of stockings. "These aren't doll stuff, they're reduced." "Something that dumb bitch Janet left behind." Martha looked up warily as she pulled on the stockings. "You aren't, uh, seeing Jan anymore?" "No. Stupid cunt. I gave her everything. I gave her shrinking powers. I gave her a costume. I was going to give her wings. Even I didn't have wings." "Er, really?" The stockings were laddered, but they probably looked all right from Henry's perspective. Martha stretched a leg out experimentally, lifting the stiff curtain of the nightgown to show off her minute thigh. "Lovely transparent wasp's wings that would sprout from her back whenever she shrank down. She would have loved them if she'd tried them. Dumb bitch said I was crazy." Gee, the Atom thought, he wanted to make her into some kind of half-animal freak, he makes me into a caged pet, who would think a guy like that was crazy? Henry stroked Martha's extended leg with the tip of his index finger. "How about you, my little pet? Would you like some pretty wings, birdie? Some nice birdie wings with yellow feathers?" Martha reached back between her shoulder blades as though she were imagining wings growing there. "Oh, Yellowjacket . . . my goodness!" Henry squirmed in his seat. "Dance for me, birdie," he suddenly demanded. Martha began swaying from side to side, then peeled slowly out of the nightgown. Pressing its rough fabric against the front of her body, she teased him with it through a few steps, then tossed it aside and began stroking her body as she skipped and pirouetted across the blotter. The Atom stopped, facing her captor, and began squeezing and pulling at her breasts. "Yellowjacket," she rasped, "won't you let me . . . touch you?" Henry swallowed hard. "I won't shrink down," he warned her. "Oh, no, I like you all . . . big," she cooed. Casting aside caution, Henry Pym unbuckled his tights and pulled them down, then reached out a hand to convey Martha to his crotch. The heat and the heavy smell made Martha want to make a very unromantic face, but she leaned against Henry's penis as though it were a column in a Greek temple, tracing over a vein with her fingertips. "You're so big," she stage-whispered, hoping she wasn't laying it on too thick. She glanced up, and saw that Henry was mesmerized by her performance. Martha leaned forward and licked at the irregular, salty surface. She looked up at Henry pleadingly. "If you'd just come down a little, so I could get this lovely monster into my mouth . . . ." She whined the word "mouth" as though she were a child begging for a taste of a favorite treat. Henry glared down at her suspiciously, but Martha threw her arms around his cock and hugged it, rubbing her tiny mound against the shaft in one of the strangest dry-humps in history. He shuddered and plucked her from his lap, no longer taking care not to hurt her, and twisted a knob at his belt. He climbed onto the desk as he shrank, stopping while he was still well over a foot tall. "You won't try anything," he insisted, "not when I'm still twice your size and eight times your weight." Martha stepped cautiously forward, her eyes exactly at his crotch level, and nuzzled his member cautiously. "I don't want to try anything, sir," she insisted in a good-little-girl voice, "except that wonderful cock." She fitted the act to the deed and her lips to his glans. It wasn't all that good a fit, since relative to her his penis was a foot long and as big around as a soda can. She was barely able to get the monster's head in her mouth, and while Henry enjoyed the sight of her struggling with his penis, he knew he needed to be smaller to enjoy her fully. Stepping back, he twisted the same control knob and reduced himself to nine inches. He still towered over Martha, but now she could fit his penis into her mouth, and did. It was still the biggest penis she'd ever had in her mouth, and in spite of herself the Atom had to admit she was enjoying it. If only Henry weren't such a screwed-up creep, they could have had a very good relationship as superheroic colleagues. But then, they could have had that as graduate students, too, but Henry had been messed up even then. She pushed up his yellow shirt, stroking his chest with her tiny hands, trying to give him pleasure with the touch o fher skin against his. He took the hint and pulled the shirt off over his head. The black cowl came with it. Martha tugged Henry's pants down to his knees. He didn't object. She pulled at his boot top, and he lifted his foot to help her undress him. When Henry was naked, his costume piled on the desktop, Martha cupped her hand by her mouth, as though to whisper something to him. He bent down from his nine inches of height to her six, until his ear was level with her mouth. He didn't expect her to be able to lift her foot that high, or for it to connect with his chin with so much power. "Eight years of ballet," Martha snarled as she lunged for his Yellowjacket costume. Henry staggered towards the Atom, trying to get the belt away from her before she could enlarge herself. He wasn't expecting her to suddenly wrap it around his neck and twist the shrinking knob. Between the blow to the jaw and the shock of involuntary reduction, Henry barely perceived Martha tying his hands with his own tights, then climbing the wall to knock down the frame holding her costume. The next thing he perceived clearly was Martha, in the red and blue of the Atom, knocking his desk telephone off the hook and painfully dialling a long series of digits with a pencil held in her arms. And then she grabbed him and things were very confusing again. Henry had a concussion, that had to be it. Otherwise, why would he still have the feeling that he was at reduced size when all the people around him were normal sized, or only a little above average? He shook his head, trying to make sense out of the babel of voices around him. They were speaking some soft, fluid language he didn't recognize, though it sounded vaguely Asian. Their clothes were strange, too, sort-of Asian, sort-of European 18th Century, but really like nothing he'd ever seen before. The occasional American T-shirt or baseball cap only heightened the oddness of the rest of their dress. Martha was there, too, but her clothing was too weird to credit: she seemed to be wearing her Atom costume, but it always vanished when she was at full size. And she seemed to be taller than he was, which wasn't right. Thinking of clothing made him notice that he was still naked himself. Somebody handed him what he thought was a towel, and when he just stared at it, somebody else took it and wrapped it around his waist, tying it into a loincloth. They were in a huge chamber like an airplane hangar, near a large object that might have been a shed erected within the huge room. Henry stared at it for nearly a minute before identifying it as a speaker phone, as seen from a very small size. She'd reduced the two of them to electron size and carried him along a telephone connection. Darrell had theorized such a thing, but Henry'd had no idea the Atom could actually do it. So apparently he really was small, less than six inches in height. But then these people . . . ? He could make out occasional loanwords in their speech: "telephona", "criminalu". And they seemed to be calling Martha "Nardac Martaa" and "Quinbuta Flestrin", but the rest of their speech was just so much jabber to him. But they seemed to be taking him into custody, respectfully listening to Martha, who was speaking to them in their language. Finally, Martha turned to Henry and spoke to him in English. "As a Nardac, I'm entitled to give two people per year a summary sentence of up to thirteen moons. I'm only sentencing you to six, and I think you'll find it rewarding work, if not exactly cutting edge." She gestured at the people around them. "They want you for their rural electrification program; they don't have nearly enough qualified engineers. "Personally, I envy you. This is a beautiful country and the people make good neighbors. My duties as Martha Palmer and as the Atom prevent me from spending as much time here as I'd like. "I'll be back in a couple of moons to check on you. You should be settled in by then, probably fluent in the language. In the meantime, co-operate with the Lawfuls and try to enjoy your stay in Lilliput."