Ad Hoc Social Justice (A Diaper Dimerson story)(incomplete)

I read Exchanged. Then I read over all the other Diaper Dimension fics I could find. And then a plot bunny took me and would not let me go. Please forgive any format errors. I have no real computer and I’m typing this on my phone. I’ll go back and work it when I can get computer access.

Character name notes-

Celtic names hurt to pronounce, so for the uninitiated:

Saoirse- SEER- sha
Eilish- AY- lish
Eamonn- AY- mum

Ad Hoc Social Justice
Chapter 1

Fraternamor, Libertalia

November 1, 2018

There were days when running away to pursue social justice and disrupt the system from within felt like a grand spy adventure. When every one she saved was one more tiny victory on the way to equality. When the night ended in air high fives and congratulations and her sister actually smiling.

And then there were days like today when the reports came due. On the days like today, underground social justice felt like endless tedious paperwork. Saiorse typed the codes into the closing comments box, sighed, and rubbed her tight back. She was ten and a half feet of ache from sitting still too long and it was only eleven in the morning. She reached for her mug and muttered a quiet feck as she realised her tea had gone cold. Again.

Standing and stretching until her back emitted a series of cracks, she carried the hand painted yellow mug with a childish hand reading “ Aunty Saoirse” to the microwave in the break room. A breeze out of nowhere ruffled the nondescript memos tacked to the message boards and sent a chill breeze up her already cold back. The winter had come on like a thunderclap this year and the heat had yet to catch up in the Bureau building. City construction. Only the worst for their public servants. Not that the furnace was responsible for this chill. This one was definitely supernatural and probably her responsibility, being that she seemed to be the only Sensitive working in the Bureau and they tended to be skeptics here.

Saiorse peeked over her shoulder as she hit the button to make her tea drinkable again, thankful she had never picked up the Libertalian habit of coffee in her years living here. Reheated coffee was vile, fresh coffee slightly less so. No one was there, no one living at least, so she chanced a whisper to encourage whoever it was. “If you want something, you got to bring it me with actual information.” She hissed at the room in general. “I don’t speak cold breeze, so when you’re ready to tell me in Libertalian I’m all ears.”

This city was getting to her. For being called the city of brotherly love, it was damn rude place and it was sinking into her words. Probably should have been more polite, she reflected. She suspected being a conduit to those excluded from the great beyond should involve more patience, but what the hell. She had paperwork to do. The microwave beeped and she opened it, lifting out the mug with both hands. It needed both hands to lift- it had been a gift her oldest nephew made during the school holidays, and being six, he did not have great talent at pottery making. (Maybe someday he would. Hell, kid could grow up to be whatever he wanted as long as he ended up nothing like his worthless tit of a father.)Amateur though it was, the considerable lumpy bulk of the mug warmed her hands against whoever was placing a vague complaint in her general direction. “I’ll sic Eilish on you, see if I don’t.” She muttered, then shot one last glare at the room and headed back in the direction of her work desk.

“Saiorse!” A voice called out. She paused, then sipped the tea to prepare herself. She leaned on the scratched laminate of the desk, the swankiest government work could afford.

“Jodie.” Saiorse took in the look the R and D developer had managed today. She seemed to have managed matching clean clothes today, but was sporting a garland of USB drives on a lanyard as jewellery. Her dark hair was frizzed out and twisted up with two LPS pens clearly stolen from the reception desk. “Up late with a project then?” She inquired, noticing Jodie was in fact wearing the same clothes as yesterday.

“We’ve found some weird readings near dimensional arrivals. Like nothing we have on file. Opens to a dimension where they don’t even seem to believe in multiple universe theory.” Jodie shook her head excitedly, then grasped her tablet tighter. “They’re popping up out of nowhere in rooms we haven’t opened in ages, but they vanish just as fast. Want to see my compilations?” Jodie shoved the tablet at her.

Saiorse backed away, shaking her head. Get caught up one of Jodie’s moments and your morning was shot. “Cool as a dimensional glitch is, I have to file another three reports that shouldn’t have existed. Can’t people just divorce without using us to bully their ex?” She gulped another mouthful of tea, cursing families and their infidelity.

“Ugh, domestics.” Jodie said with a sigh. “AKA, I hate you because you screwed your secretary, therefore you are obviously neglecting our Little? So much unnecessary drama.” She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear and rolled her eyes.

“Stupid, the lot of them.” Saoirse agreed. “All the visits were a total waste of time, and now I waste more time filing the reports that I could be using to solve actual problems. And it was only two cheating exes this time. One was a grandmother who took offence to the daughter not taking the boy to visit Nana.”

“And that is why I’m not a social worker.” Jodie commented. “Too many people. Portals and nanites don’t piss you off like people do. I’ll leave that to you guys with a world to save and the downtrodden to rescue.” She juggled a giant travel mug of coffee from a LaLa convenience store to her other hand, taking a gulp. “Anyway, I got more energy stalking to do, so good luck knocking down crazy grandma a few pegs.”

“I will be merciless.” That as least was expected of her, though not in quite the direction she took it. It was apparently shocking when an LPS agent with a name like Saoirse O’Farrell and a strong Eire accent displayed a twentieth century attitude. “Good luck portal hunting, then.”

Jodie dashed off, eyes on her tablet screen. As Saiorse approached her office, she felt another chill, but this one was a comfortable and familiar one. She shut the door, then stuffed her ears with the outdated EarPods she had purchased specifically because they were obvious and cheap and tended to keep her from looking like she had lost her mind. Not bothering to actually turn them on, she flipped a casual, almost imperceptible wave at the tiny figure seated on her desk. “Got bored with saving the world one lost soul at a time, Eilish? Care to join in on saving my side of it for a meagre salary?” She asked, her tone light.

“Got to do something to keep up my share of responsibilities.” Eilish adjusted the skirt of her loosely draping magenta dress and leaned back on the wood laminate.

“True and it is, but I will remind you I don’t charge you any rent.” Setting the mug down, she shuffled through her notes from yesterday’s pointless visits.

“And I will say that is good because I have literally no money.” Eilish made a show of searching her pockets for spare change, a pantomime only slightly affected by the fact that she lacked pockets. She shrugged, tucked a strand of her blond curly bob back, and scooted over on her bottom, scanning the papers. “The downtrodden of Libertalia are all leading very boring existences at the moment. As, apparently, is this mad granny here who needs to calm down with her… dartboard?” She commented, deciphering the notes. “How do you even read that scribble?”

“Daughter. It says daughter.” Saiorse shot Eilish a look. “Standard stupid revenge call, not like social workers have a job to do or anything. And get your bum off my desk. I need room to work.”

Eilish sighed theatrically and scooted to the edge of the desk, climbing down the drawer handles as though she weighed nothing at all. Which made sense, given that she did in fact weigh nothing at all. “Technically,”. She pointed out as she heaved herself onto a seat gymnast style, “I never really had my bum on your desk.”

“Technically we’re not sisters, but you’re sure as hell needling me like one.” Saoirse shot back, though there were no barbs in the words. They weren’t sisters, not by blood, but that hardly mattered these days. Ironically, after mutually rejecting the adoption that had made them sisters in the first place, they had grown closer than they ever had been as legal sisters. “And I know how you actually could help today.”

Eilish tilted her head curiously. “Strange things afoot at the Bureau? I’m intrigued. And also I get right to refuse as I’m the older sister.” She locked her blue eyes of Saoirse’s green ones, daring her to contradict.

That was as far as Saoirse was willing to take that topic. Eilish would have exploded into four and a half feet of fury if that nerve was touched. Better to direct the fury at Mr. Vague Complaints in the break room. “I felt some weird energy or something in the break room just now. If you check it out-“. She broke off as her phone rang. Mum’s ringtone. Shite.

“It’s scarce daybreak there. Mary Elizabeth wouldn’t call now unless it were important.” Eilish murmured. She regarded the phone with some suspicion until Saiorse gave in and pressed the answer button.

“Mum. Hi.” She managed as brightly as she could. “You’re calling early, everything alright?” Eilish was right, the timing was worrying. Gran hadn’t been well lately, and Saoirse’s stomach seized up in worry as she spoke.

“I’m fine, darling.” Mum did indeed sound pleased, which left Saoirse even more confused. “How did that date go with that Chris from the Quizzo team?” Gods damn it. Calling her at arse o clock in the morning to pry about a date. Which of course had not gone well. This was why she never told Mum anything.

Saiorse bit her tongue to hold back any impolitic replies that might bring out her mother’s passive aggressive side. Chris from the quizzo team had cared a lot about her nationality. A lot. To a scary degree. “We… didn’t have a lot in common, Mum.” She ventured. That was probably the best way to describe his deeply creepy obsession with her accent.

“Oh, that’s too bad dear.” Mum said. “I so want to see you settled down, even if it is with a Libertalian.” She paused as if that wasn’t an insult to an entire nation, then went on. “I’m calling because I have good news. Maeve and Eamonn are adopting!”

Saiorse’s stomach instantly twisted into a knot, and she must have looked stricken because Eilish looked at her in apprehension. “Uh… oh!” She managed. “Really? I thought they were done?” Prayed more like, her kind still having a belief in their gods. They were clearly not listening at the moment.

“Apparently even with the boys being into everything, they just want their girl.” No. Just no. And Mum- poor, innocent, naive Mum- seemed so happy in her ignorance. Gods above, she should have spoken up when she was seventeen. “After the trouble Maeve had with Cormac, the doctors said she shouldn’t have any more. So they’re going to get themselves a Little. I’m going out now to get the yarn to make her some baby blankets. Best you get on sending them a gift- they’re going to go ahead on it once they get Cormac potty trained, and you know how simple it is to adopt here.”

Saiorse wanted to puke. Eilish, picking up on her distress, had left the chair and walked closer, bare feet poised to scale the desk again. She gulped down the nausea as best she could and said, “Mum, that’s… amazing news.” Amazingly bad, but the gods seemed to have granted her the ability to twist words as she needed to get poor naive Mum off the phone before she was sick. “I’ll get right on a gift.” She gulped and her head started to spin as she thought of what the hell she was going to tell Eilish. They had some time. Cormac was nineteen months old and as stubborn and immovable as the hills when he didn’t get his way. She only hopes it was enough time. “Uhhh… I’m headed to a visit now, Mum. Talking while driving is a damn pricey ticket. I’ll… talk to you later. Give my regards to Maeve.” Her warnings, more like, but how the hell was she going to handle this one?

“Very well, love. I’m so excited to be a granny again. You’ll have to fly out to meet her when she comes, of course. And maybe someday I’ll see you with little ones of your-“

No. Not now. She couldn’t. “Traffic cop, Mum, Gotta go!” She managed, then hung up and promptly vomited her breakfast into the trash can. When she could lift her head again, Eilish was looking at her with a mix of dawning comprehension and horror.

“Eamonn?” She whispered, her eyes wide as she sank down to the carpet. Saoirse wanted nothing more than to hug Eilish, but of course they couldn’t actually touch. That would make things too normal. “Is Maeve pregnant?” Eilish asked, hoping against hope that was it. At least then there would be a shot that it was another boy…

Saiorse shook her head miserably, knowing this was the worst possible news of Eamonn they could have gotten. “Adopting. A Little girl. Apparently after Cormac she shouldn’t get pregnant again.” The sisters stared at each other in silence for a moment, then tears began to trickle down Eilish’s slightly translucent cheeks.

“He’s a monster.” She spat the words out as if they were poison. “We have to warm Maeve.” She curled up into a tiny ball, tucking herself into the hem of her dress. The black Capri leggings beneath clearly showed the bulge of a thick diaper underneath a backside covered in tiny ruffles, as they had for years now. It wasn’t like she got a change of clothes, and this was at least fairly innocuous as Little clothing went. “We can’t let him hurt anyone.” She jumped up, began pacing furiously.

“Which means we have to do something.” It wasn’t like Eilish could, though what could she even say? They couldn’t hear her. Saiorse could relay it to them. There hadn’t been any proof and it wasn’t like she could tell the story without seeming mad, but Eilish deserved that much at least. That he couldn’t be allowed to hurt anyone. Anyone else, a horrible voice whispered in Saiorse’s head. “Mum said they’ll wait until they’ve potty trained Cormac. We have that long at least.”

“That kid better be the most stubborn damned Amazon on that Gods forsaken fucking island.” Eilish said with venom in her voice. “This has to stop. We have to tell Maeve. We have to tell Mary Elizabeth. She’s nowhere near as evil as most of the Amazons on Eire.” For a given value of evil, at least. And damn it, this hurt. Calling her by name wasn’t giving Eilish the emotional distance it usually did. Even as upset as she was, she could never let herself slip and call Saiorse’s mum by anything but her name. She’d called her Mummy eleven years, but it had all been a lie, a terrible hateful prison it had cost her her life to escape. She froze in place as reality settled in around her. She would have been hyperventilating if she breathed. “I- I need to- I can’t be here.” She sputtered. “I need to be alone.”

Saoirse nodded, knowing her sister was about to shut down. “Go. You know how to find me when you’re ready.” And with that, she was the only one in the office. She sagged down in the chair, shaking. It had taken years of being a plane ride apart from him for Eilish to heal. And now some poor little on Eire had a fate depending on her.

Could she tell them? Would they believe her? It wasn’t so strange to have Sensitives about, especially in a place as haunted as Eire. She honestly figured they suspected she was either Sensitive or a bit touched, but would they believe her if it was Eilish’s words? To them, there was no Eilish. Just baby Alannah, who knew five words. Who had a doting big brother. Who they’d lost in a tragic accident years ago and who certainly never would make accusations that would tear a family apart.

Fourteen years ago now they’d run, all the way to Libertalia. Seemed they couldn’t run any longer.

Nogales, Arizona

November 1, 2018

Amazon came to the rescue after all. Same day shipping had provided one bag of very overpriced Middleswarth BBQ chips, a bottle of birch beer, and two packs of those weird ass old lady flower mints Abuelita had loved. Just in time, Pera ripped the box open with her house key and placed the disturbingly sweet chips and beverage next to Mila’s picture. She lay the flower candies next to Abuelita’s picture, then lit the little candle and set up the two big ones. The ofrenda was complete with zero time to spare.

She ought to call Mami and Papi over, but she needed a minute alone. Or not alone, depending on how much she believed what they said. Either way, if she wanted say anything to her sister, this was her chance, whether or not it got heard. “Hey, Mila.” She said softly, looking at the picture. “So I don’t know how I feel about this being my last year doing this here. Papi’s insisting I go far away, way north, once he finds my social security card. Says Nogales isn’t safe anymore.” She took a deep breath. “Things are getting scarier here since that fascist Oompa Loompa took over. I almost feel like you’re lucky not to be living through this. I know I was born here and I’m eighteen now, but you’d have been in as much danger as they are. I worry every day they’re going to get grabbed and deported. They go back there, they could get fucking killed.”

She felt a quick shot of fear hit her like a shoe to her head. Well, it tingled, but felt almost like it was a shoe to her head. Many times in her life it had been- Abuelita had scary good aim when it came to shoe throwing. Memories must be playing tricks on her. She threw a quick glance at Abuelita’s portrait and added, “Sorry, Abuelita. Language, I know.” Turning her attention back to Mila’s picture, she stared at the smiling young woman and whispered, “Maybe I go up to Pennsylvania like you did, right? Learn to love winter and weird cabbage food and freaky sweet barbecue chips. Wish I could find you there.” She sniffled, then composed herself. It was not a night for tears.

“Esperanza?” Mami called out. “You ready?” She came in and placed a tamale on the ofrenda like it was a sacrament. Papi joined them, looked at the photos. “Mami.” He murmured to the picture of Abuelita. He turned to Mila’s picture, brushed it with his fingers, and said in all but a whisper, “Milagros.” At that exact moment, Pera jerked when the shoe to head sensation started again. The hell? She hadn’t even cursed that time! But it continued, more urgent and harder, somehow more… desperate? She turned to figure out what was happening and the door burst open.

“Hands in the air!” In the gloom, Pera couldn’t make out the features of the men, except that they were bulky with body armor. “Don’t move!” Someone grabbed Pera around the waist. She felt a pinch on her arm and turned her head to see a syringe pulling away from her. Papi was trying to fight the man off and slid into the ofrenda, sending Abuelita’s photo crashing to the floor. Fuzziness, then blackness overcame her.

Fraternamor, Libertalia

November 2

Milagros Ortega wasn’t used to being a hero, and she was at a bit of a loss as to how to do it as she raced after the giant man who was stealing her drugged sister. She had to somehow get Pera away from the giant, get her back to the weird metal room, figure out how to get the metal room to take them back home, and then find Mami and Papi, who were probably already shoved back into Mexico. She had… what weapons did she have? As Mila ran,she groped through her purse for something, anything that could help. She had… Tic Tacs, a pen, a bunch of lint, a useless social security card with a number that was not technically hers. And… she looked down at the chancla still clutched in her right hand. And apparently her grandmother’s shoe. That could be a weapon, though she doubted smacking a giant with it would do anything.

Not to mention she had to pull this off without anyone being able to see, hear, or touch her. With a pen and a shoe she was nowhere near old enough to weaponize properly. This was possibly the world’s most pathetic rescue attempt ever.

The giant was tireless, his strides eating up huge swathes of floor. On the absurdly large gurney at his side lay Pera, the girl still unconscious from what the ICE agent had injected her with. The men from ICE (she was starting to suspect maybe there was more to that than what it seemed) had carried Pera to a van, loaded her in next to an equally knocked out boy who couldn’t have been older than eighteen as their cronies restrained Mami and Papi. They hadn’t even reacted when Mila snatched up Abuelita’s other shoe and applied it as hard as she could to their heads. Of course Mila had to follow. The van had traveled for what felt like hours, with the men taking turns napping and guarding their prisoner. Said prisoner being drugged, the main guard had spent the majority of the time boredly playing Candy Crush and occasionally complaining about the overactive air conditioning. They had been offloaded in a dark desert landscape, where instead of a detention center, a nondescript cookie cutter house rose up like a snowbird’s dream. The hours ticked on toward midnight and Mila hoped the magic that yanked her back to… wherever it was she came from at the end of Dia de Muertos would let her stay this time.

The Candy Crush guard had poked the other two to wake them, then strapped Pera, still knocked out, to a stretcher and carried her inside. It was not nondescript inside. While the outside was indistinguishable from any snowbird’s winter home, the inside was filled with various unrecognizable metal bits. In the center was a pod, about the size of a small room, with two metal chairs inside.

“Creepy mofo” One of the men muttered as he lowered Pera into a metal chair and strapped her in. “What name we putting down?” He pulled out a little label maker like device.

“They said put Maria Lopez on all the girls.” A man was strapping the boy in. “Juan Lopez on all the boys.”

The machine, after some tapping, spit out a little bracelet like a hospital bracelet reading:

Maria Lopez

Port 51


He fastened it on Pera’s wrist, then said, “You done, Alex?”

The second guard clicked the bracelet on the boy, then said, “Done. Let’s get out of here. This thing gives me the fuckin’ creeps.”

“Tell me about it.” The men exited, but Mila remained, keeping her hand as close as she could to her little sister’s without them touching. Whatever this was, she couldn’t leave Pera behind now. Mami and Papi were tough. They had to handle being deported on their own. This was… something else entirely.

The lights in the room dimmed and there was a curious humming sound. Very faintly, Mila was aware of a strange sensation like the the world twisting itself around her. When the sensation abated, the door opened tentatively.

The door… had it been that tall before? It must have been, because the man who entered had to be eleven feet tall. He was slim and dressed in mint greenish scrubs, pushing a huge gurney alongside him. The nurse giant bent over first the boy, then Pera, checking their pulses and blood pressure and dictating into his watch as he did.

“Maria Lopez- Damn it all, another one- could they at least try with the code names?- number… 14. BP 110 over 70, pulse 57 beats per minute. Breathing normal, anaesthesia administered prior to transport, though God only knows when or which one, because apparently this dimension doesn’t believe in record keeping. Female, aged approximately eighteen to twenty but once again nobody wrote it down. Transported at-“ he sighed heavily. “Some damn time prior to midnight 11/1, arrived 3:52 AM 11/2 eastern libertalian time.” He clicked the button, then unbuckled Pera. “I had low expectations of you idiots, but damn. Alright, Maria number 14, let’s get you set up. Juan 12, you hold on a bit and Josiah will be along to help you.” He lifted Pera up gently and lay her on the gurney, striding off purposefully.

Mila didn’t even know where to begin with this. Where the hell were they? What did dimensions have to do with this? And why in hell was a giant taking her sister? And why were there giants in the first place? It occurred to Mila that she might be going crazy, though how she was managing that without a physical brain was anyone’s guess. If this was real, she was completely out of her depth.

She sprinted alongside the gurney, not even trying to look out for anything. As she rounded the corner, Mila collided head on with someone and went sprawling on the floor.

“Oi!” A strongly Irish accented voice protested. Next to her, a short blonde woman in a childish magenta dress rose to her bare feet. “Watch where you’re going!”

“Uh…”. The gurney was going to get away! But if they had collided and she was obviously seeing her, then…”You. Blondie. My sister’s being kidnapped by a giant.” As the words left her mouth, she realised just how insane and desperate she sounded, but obviously no one else was going to look at her or help. “Please help?”

The blonde froze, stared at her, then looked over at the nurse giant and the gurney. “What the…” she said, then seemed to come to a quick decision. “I’ll take that as a distraction. Quick. Run, we’ll catch them.”

The two women sprinted as fast as their short legs could go as the gurney paused at an elevator, neither one knowing what they were getting into.

Given the title and the first few paragraphs, I’m curious- is this meant as satire or parody? (and I mean that seriously, not being snarky)

Not a satire exactly. I’m trying to humanize both the Littles and the Amazons some, and nothing is more human than everything being underpinned with paperwork. My characters are as snarky as I am.

Ad Hoc Social Justice, Chapter 2

“Knock, knock.” Ted called out as he pushed the gurney toward the intake nursery. “Joan?”

The lights were dimmed and it took a moment for Ted’s eyes to adjust. Everyone was sleeping- The latest batch from this new dimension was under special instructions from their plea bargains and they were far quieter and better adjusted than most of the newbies. “Joan?” He shivered and rubbed his arms to banish the goosebumps. The heat was more on the fritz than usual tonight. The elevator had been downright cold and there seemed to be cold spots everywhere tonight. He unstrapped Maria 14 and looked for Joan. Best they get her processed quick. God only knew when she’d been sedated or when it would wear off.

The Littles were all sleeping, though that was hardly a shock for the ones already on the special milk. That stuff was designed to send them into la-la land just like Amazon breast milk, and adoptive parents tended to appreciate sleeping through the night. Joan, however, was not supposed to be sleeping. The whole point of night shift pay was that she was paid to stay awake. Despite the rules, she was slumped over her textbook, head bobbling as she dozed in the rocking chair. “Joan! Wake up before you get your ass fired!” He hissed.

“Uh?” Joan started, then jumped up. “I wasn’t sleeping!” She squealed, clutching her anatomy textbook to her chest.

Ted felt a rush of sympathy for the aide, remembering those long nights when he had done this. “Chill.” He said. “I did nursing school too, Joan. And you’re working nights on top of it.” He gestured to the gurney. “But I got you a Maria. So let’s get this newbie processed before the next one comes up.”

“I just got rid of a bunch of Marias.” Joan complained, then stretched and laid down her textbook. Her burgundy scrubs were spotted with spit up on the shoulders and the bags under her eyes had bags. She looked every inch the nursing student. “Don’t tell. Please. This place pays under the table and my advisor doesn’t get on me about working during the program.”

“I never did figure out how they expected us to live while we were in school.” He said. “You got grit, Joan. I won’t say anything, just help me get me get her processed. She’s from Portal 51, so we got a lot of catch up to do here.” He lifted Maria 14 off the gurney and lay her on a table, looking her over. “They don’t even have an age on her.” He reached for the gloves, then said pointedly, “You know what the sedative does to them. If it’s wet or sticky and not yours…”

“Wear gloves?” She put them on and with practiced fingers unbuckled and slid off the black pants. “I’m calling nineteen.” She lay the pants in a bin, glad she had put on gloves. They usually had wet pants when they came through, courtesy of the sedative. With a pair of shears, she cut the t-shirt off the girl and unhooked her bra, then stripped off and threw away the damp grey panties. With a wipe, she cleaned Maria up, raising goosebumps in the sudden chill. Reaching for the bin under the table, she mentally sized up the girl and pulled out a size 3 diaper.

“Portal 51 has given me more damn headaches.” Ted said. “Ready to weigh her?” He paused as Joan shivered. “I know, it’s cold. “ He commented. “I think the heat’s more broken than usual. Let’s get her weighed so we can get some warm clothes on her.”

Finishing taping up the diaper, Joan gently lifted the girl into the scale. “Forty seven pounds.” She said, then eyed the length measurements on the scale. “Fifty four inches. She’s a skinny one. And yeah, that damn portal crew couldn’t take a note to save their lives. I’m assuming this one had no Timestamp?”

“No time of sedation either.” Ted rolled his eyes. “You have to be so much more careful with the Portal 51 Littles. God knows when they could wake up.” He laid the girl out on the table as Joan pulled out a white onesie and blanket sleeper. “The other Portal 51 batch doing okay?” He asked as Joan maneuvered her limp legs into the sleeper.

“Not bad, if you count the fact that I have five other Marias to deal with.” Joan moved on to Maria 14’s arms. “One through eight all went off to Catalon in a batch yesterday. I’ll admit the ones from 51 are cute. They’ll find homes fast in Catalon. Most of them spoke something a lot like Catalonian before we ran Hypnos on them. Not as cute as all the Portal 23 ones, though. They were so exotic looking!” She zipped up the sleeper, wishing she had a blanket of her own. If this cold woke up her Littles and made her shift suck more, she was going to be pissed.

“Those the batch all came in named Park?” Ted asked, checking Maria 14’s pulse. Slightly low still, so the sedation was still working.

“Yep. All the girls were Park Sun-Mi, all the boys were Park Jae-Sun. One of the boys went to Doreen in HR before he even hit the market. I’ve never seen features like those adorable eyes.” Not that Joan had the money to support one anyway. The salary more than paid for the secrecy and kept her tuition paid, but there wasn’t too much for extras. “That batch from 41 went out fast too, the Sergeis and Natashas . We’ve only got Natasha 19 left out of that crew. She’s fighting the Hypnos.”

Ted shook his head, then cradled the Little and lifted her into the table. “Rough when they fight it. I got her stuff under the gurney if you want to check for ID, find a name that isn’t Maria.” He said. “Where do you want her?”

Joan retrieved the personal effects bin and found no ID. Rummaging through the few items, she lifted out a tiny pair of blue plastic eyeglasses. “Put her in that one.” She gestured to an empty crib to her left. “Between Omar 12 and Natasha 19. Wow, look at these!” She drew in a breath. “Now those are antiques. And they’re so thick!”

“What, you expect a dimension that contains Portal 51 to have modern health care?” Ted laid the limp girl in the crib, then turned to look at the glasses. “Damn, those are strong.” He tapped his recorder. “Note: examine vision of subject Maria Lopez 14, input corrective vision specs to nanites.” He set down the glasses gingerly. “Can you imagine having bad eyes and just… keeping them that way? So glad I live here.” He bent over the girl, then added, “Muscle tone middling, sedentary life likely, not a lot of excess body fat, good color. Probably eighteen or nineteen. Seems you got a healthy little here, minus the eyes.” He turned off the recorder and said to Joan, “I’d guess the sedation will wear off by morning. When she does wake up, listen for the language she speaks so we can work up her Hypnos and get her ready for adoption.”

“Probably Catalonian, or something a lot like it. Most of the ones from 51 responded to Catalonian or Libertalian.” Joan said. “I’m not just some dumb butt wiper, Ted. I pay attention to what you guys do.”

“And I like that about you, but you know we can’t run a hypno unless we analyze their language first. There’s a lot that can go wrong if you do.” He looked over the room. “We couldn’t run Hypnos on anyone out of 23. No language matches at all. And only half of the ones out of 61 responded to Libertalian. The others didn’t match anything quite close enough. Lucky they were cute enough that the parents would take them on without those mods.”

“Isn’t that risky?” Joan said. “These batch ones are supposed to be convicted criminals in their world. Isn’t clearing them better for the adoptive family’s safety? I wouldn’t want an axe murderer in my nursery.”

“Oh, we just delay it till they pick up enough Libertalian to make it work. Better than frying the wrong bit of their brain and giving someone a Little with emotional control issues.” Ted said. “And even a dimension backwards enough to have Portal 51 in it wouldn’t give extradimensional plea bargains to axe murderers. Probably petty crimes or drugs or something.”

“I’m still swaddling her.” Joan said. “Just in case. Until we get her cleared.”

“Feel free.” Ted said. “And just so you know, Joan, you ever try to talk to a charge nurse the way you just talked to me, you’ll be stuck wiping butts the rest of your life. Nurses eat their young. Never forget that.”

A few feet away, at the foot of the crib Pera slept in, Mila clapped a hand over her mouth and winced. “Cleared?” She repeated, looking to the blond woman for explanation.

Eilish gave her a sympathetic look. “Like… brainwashed. All the bits that make her her get scrubbed away, like.”

“And… these giants-“


“Right. These Amazons just… do this to people our size?” Mila states through the bars at her sister. “All of them?”

Eilish shrugged. “Depends on where you are. Some places there’s a bit of a chance to live free. Others-“. She shuddered. “Be glad she’s here and not in any of those places.”

“This-“ Mila looked around the dimly lit room full of sleeping adults dressed as babies. “This is considered one of the good ones?” She asked, blinking. “So there are multiple universes. And this one is full of gia- Amazons who can turn adults into babies. And for some reason, they took my sister.”

“And you never knew any other dimensions existed?” Eilish confirmed. “But you said you’ve only been there, in your dimension, for that one day a year since you died. That after that day, you go back to… wherever you are when you’re not there.”

“Right. And I guess I don’t remember being there, wherever there is, when I’m not there?” Mila shrugged. “It’s confusing. My grandmother couldn’t figure it out for sure and she’s been doing this four times as long as I have.”

“Is it possible it happened when you were… beyond?” Eilish asked. “They contact new dimensions all the time. But it does seem weird that they have justice plea agreements with a dimension they found only in the last two years. Those take decades to establish.”

“My sister is not a criminal!” Mila insisted, balling up her fists. “What could my sister have possibly done that warrants shipping her off to another universe and stripping away her freedom? I know there’s a chance I missed it, but… something is wrong here.” She reached through the bars, hovering her hand over the hand of the sleeping girl. “There’s no law she’s willingly broken in my memory that deserves… this.”

Eilish raised an eyebrow. “Willingly broken.” She repeated, looking the taller woman over. “That’s a suspiciously specific denial. What were they after your family for?”

“Illegal immigration. Has to be. My sister can be… dramatic… sometimes, but when she was talking yesterday she made it sounds like things were really bad in my country.” Why couldn’t they just have deported her? They could have dealt with Mexico.

“Bad how?” Eilish had seen plenty of bad in her time, and this girl’s dimension had no Amazons. Part of her had serious doubts about how bad it could be.

“She made it sound like they were sliding into… you guys have the term fascism?”

Eilish shook her head. “Can’t say I’ve heard that one.”

“Right. It’s like when the government sort of… gets horrible to some of its people? Like…”. Right. Here, that wouldn’t need explaining. She looked at the other ghost meaningfully. “Like… like they are to the… Littles.” Eilish gave a solemn nod. “The… the leader of our country, he seems to hate people from the country my family came from. And my parents and I…didn’t come legally.”

“Oh.” Eilish nodded. “Seems Amazons don’t have a monopoly on hurting others, then.”

Mila sighed and stared through the crib bars at her sister’s sleeping face. “Pera thinks she was born in the States- our new country.” Shoving her dark hair back, she said softly, “She wasn’t. Our parents lied to her. She was supposed to be, but she came early. They were still in Mexico when she was born. Mami and Papi snuck her onto American soil when she was a week old and we never left.”

“So… that’s why they took them?”

“No!” Mila insisted. “That’s not how it works. They just send you back to where you came from, they don’t send you to another… reality.” Her eyes clouded with doubt. “At least I hope they don’t. And why wouldn’t they take my parents too?”

That was an answer Eilish knew would not be well received, but if this girl wanted to get anything done, she had to know the size of the problem. “Your parents aren’t cute, most likely. Pera… she’d make a cute addition to some family. They could have their sweet little baby like they want and she’s only… how old?”

“Eighteen.” Mila rubbed her eyes, hating the thoughts in adding her head. “And when that nurse lady said she’d be adopted…”

“She will belong to them.” Eilish said. She tried to keep her tone gentle but the words were too harsh. “They can take her teeth, her words, her thoughts from her, and she will be trapped in their nursery for the rest of her life.” She saw Mila’s eyes widen as the weight of it sank in. “They might say they love her, they might be cruel to her. There’s good and bad among any family. But even if they treat her gently… they take her future.”

“No.” Mila said to herself. “Are you sure, is there a family that might… free her?” She knew she was grasping at straws now, but there had to be hope. There just had to be.

Eilish bit her lip, then leaned back on the side of the rocking chair where Joan was reading the textbook and struggling not to doze. “I grew up In one of those… not nice places.” She began. “And no matter how my Mum tried to hide me, someone caught me when I was fourteen, hypnotised my speech away, and sold me as a baby to a family whose Mum couldn’t deal with her children growing up.” She paused, but Mila was staring in horror at the very concept of her sister’s potential future. “As Amazons went in Eire, Mary Elizabeth wasn’t even bad. She didn’t torture me, didn’t neglect me. Literally all she did was raise me alongside her children. They grew up, I didn’t, but she was a kind if overbearing mother.”

“But she wasn’t your mother. She took you from your mother.” Mila whispered. “Did you ever see your family again? Your real family?”

“Told myself I would. Told myself I would get free somehow and find them.”

Mila was almost afraid to ask the question, but she had to know. “Did you?”

Eilish’s mouth tightened and she gestured to the babyish dress and leggings, to what was clearly beneath it. “Do I look like I ever got free?” She asked bitterly.

“Oh, god. I am so sorry.” Mila said, then realised what that story implied. “So that… the way they treated you… that’s the best case scenario for what could happen to her? They can’t. They can’t do this to her!”

Eilish stood, took Mila’s hand and led her right to the edge of the bars. “Look at her, Mila. She’s already in a diaper and sleeper. Those blankets- I know how they feel. She couldn’t move if she wanted to. As soon as she speaks, they’ll hypnotise her until she trapped inside a babbling infant, knowing nothing but the nursery for as long as she lives.” The bitterness in her voice was joined by a sad resignation. “I’m sorry, Mila. They already have.”

A tear escaped Mila’s eye, trickled down her cheek. “No. This is not over. What if she never spoke? What if we found a way she could keep her mind? Or arranged for her to go to someone who would let her go?”

Eilish looked at her sadly. It was like she must have been as a teenager, still full of fire and hope that she’d slip her restraints and escape the system. “And how would we accomplish that? They don’t see us, they don’t hear us. You said yourself you and your gran full on whacked the men who took Pera and they didn’t feel a thing. How do you stop them with no way to communicate?”

“Is there no way, then?” Mila asked. “In our various… mythologies, I guess, there’s always someone, some living person who sees you and can help. Does that happen here?”

A pause, then, “It does happen here like that. We call them Sensitives here.”

“And…”. Mila regarded her with some desperation. “You… know one? One we can get to?”

“Not one that could get a hold of her before they got to her. You heard the man. They’ll hand her over a drooling infant anyway, no matter who adopted her.” She thought for a minute, not sure whether she should get her own sister involved in a hopeless case like this, then said, “I know someone, but she kind of… had a not great experience with adoptions in her family. She’s… not a fan of them.”

Mila gave a calculating look at the surroundings. “That nurse guy said that the Littles from the one portal couldn’t be brainwashed. They couldn’t find their language.”

“Huh.” Eilish could see where Mila was going with this. “So you think if we somehow keep her from talking to them… but how?”

There was a bang behind them, and both women jumped. The Amazon nurse had dozed off again, sending her Amazon sized textbook tumbling to the floor. They peeked over at Pera, deep in her drugged slumber. “The year my grandmother died,” Mila began, “I couldn’t get home on Dia de Muertos, so I got angry, drank way too much vodka, and fell asleep. That night I had a dream like nothing I ever experienced. Abuelita was there, and I knew I was dreaming but also that it was real. And I remembered every second of it.”

“Was it real, then? Was your grandmother talking to you?” It wasn’t unheard of, but usually the person having the dream had to be in a very altered state.

“She confessed it last year. It was real. Couldn’t I do that to her?”

“Maybe?” Eilish looked from the sister in the crib to the sister scheming to break her out. “Your gran only got through to you because of the booze.” She pointed out. “Only time I ever pulled it off, the guy was basically tripping balls.”

“And she’s not drugged as hell right now?”

Mila pointed out. “I don’t know how to do it, but you do. And I remember every word Abuelita said in that dream. We can save her, Eilish. I swear we can. I just need you to help me.”

She could do this. Get a Little free? Well, more free than she would have been otherwise. If she could, if her intervention could save Pera from a lifetime of only being able to say up and mummy, didn’t she owe it to them if there was a chance? Maybe that was why she had chosen to run after the gurney with her in the first place. That, and a desperation to have something to think about other than Saoirse’s fuckhead of a brother. She looked into Mila’s brown eyes, saw the desperate hope there, and made her choice.

“I’ll try.” She said softly. It felt good to be solving someone else’s problems. Made the looming thoughts of Eamonn recede. “We will try to save Pera.”

So…a satire of humanity through the filter of the Diaper Dimension universe?

I hope that this story has legs. It is a fascinating take on the diaper dimension and on the values of humanity in general.