Rise of the Floppits

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Rise of the Floppits

Postby LilJennie » Wed Jan 26, 2022 10:09 pm

Miki and I have been wanting to write something that involved the Floppits, the cute little creatures that inhabit the planet Infantus. This is what we came up with. – LilJennie

Rise of the Floppits

By: Jennie Flint and Miki Yamuri

“Mom, are you putting the china with the metal rims in the microwave again?” Cory called up the stairs from the basement. “You know that can ruin it …”

“What?” his mother replied. “I know that! Besides, I’m not using the microwave at all.”

“Oh, OK,” Cory said, coming up the stairs. “I was getting weird interference on my phone again.”

“I wish you’d do those experiments at the lab,” said his mother.

“Mom, the experiment is at the lab. I’m just looking at the data on my phone, but I was getting interference with the signal.”

“You live in the basement,” his mom replied. “I’m amazed you get any signal at all down there.”

“It’s wi-fi, Mom,” said Cory. “I’ve got a router in my room down there.”

“So you barely need to ever come out,” his mother said. “You should go out more often and make friends. Just like I said when you were in high school.”

“Mom, I don’t have any time for that! I’ve got to study for my comps, and I’m working on my dissertation project. There’s literally no time.”

“Well, I’m glad you have time to see Michelle, then,” said his mom. “I like her. She’s nice.”

That was one thing they both agreed on, at least. Cory went back down to the basement and looked through the past hour’s data. There wasn’t any interference with the signal now. What had that been? Wait – the magnetometer data showed a strange anomaly right at the moment the wi-fi signal had dropped. But the data was from the lab, which was at least 10 miles away. Odd. Maybe it had been a solar flare, or a cosmic ray burst?

Just what he needed, yet another variable. Why did all of this have to be so complicated? Dr. Fishers kept throwing more and more obscure theories with more and more complex math at him. The whole project was to study theoretical micro-wormholes in space-time, which were supposed to be possible but only under very unusual circumstances. The research team, made up of people at universities and labs all over the world, were listening for any signs of such things happening somewhere out in space.

His phone rang. It was Michelle. He answered right away. “Michelle! Hi! It’s so good to hear from you …”

“Hi Cory! Did you want to go do something tonight? I know it’s only the afternoon. But maybe the Songbird?” It was a club that had live music. Cory knew Michelle loved music. “Their website says Here and the Theres are playing.”

“Um, sure, OK,” said Cory. “If you want to go, I want to go.”

“OK … so pick me up at 7?”

“I’ll be there!” Cory said. “Now if I can only make sense out of these equations …”

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Scamper, wait for me!

Not my fault you’re so slow! Keep up!

Hmp! If it wasn’t for me we’d be home in the boring old warren!

Didn’t say you weren’t awesome, Burrow! What was that place we dug to just now?”

I dunno! I think there’s a planet there, though. I think I heard music.

Oooh, I love music!

Maybe we should go back there in a little while, then. But first I think there’s some good sparkly stardust over here … we could bring some back to decorate the warren and make it less boring ...

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“I know you’d rather be home unwinding in your diapers,” said Michelle as they drove to the club. “I understand. You need to unwind. But this is another way to unwind.”

“You’re right, it is,” said Cory. “And it’s not like I don’t like it … it’s just not my favorite. But with you, it’s a lot better.”

“Aww, you sweetheart,” Michelle said. “Hey, there’s a parking spot!”

“Saw it too!”

Inside the club, the sound system was playing old tunes from the 90s while the band got set up on the stage. Cory and Michelle got some drinks and looked for seats.

Finally the band started playing. Michelle really loved it and stood up and danced and cheered. Cory smiled and got up to dance with her. Then there was a strange warbling sound coming out of the speakers instead of the music. The band stopped playing, and the sound went away as they looked confused and their tech guy checked their equipment.

“Sorry folks,” the lead singer said into the mic, “must be a bit of a glitch, but Dan over here’s on it – let’s hear it for Dan, sound tech master!”

There was cheering and applause. Dan, who was apparently the tech guy, gave him a thumbs-up, and after the drummer counted to four they started the song over again. For now, at least, things were fine.

“That was weird,” said Cory, sitting down and looking at his phone. “I wonder …” He pulled up the app that let him see the experiment data, since the detectors were always running all over the world, and the computer at the lab was constantly collecting and analyzing the results. Sure enough, there had been another weird anomaly just when the band’s sound equipment had gone wonky. He’d be willing to bet there were other electromagnetic oddities happening all over town at that moment – maybe all over the world.

“Quit looking at your phone!” shouted Michelle at him over the music. “Get back up and dance!” She was laughing and having a good time. It made him happy to see her happy. He got up and tried to have fun, but what had happened was weird. It wasn’t the same kind of particle flow Dr. Fishers’ math predicted for micro-wormholes, but it was something. If Cory understood the math better, maybe he could figure out what he was seeing.

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Oh no, they stopped! Do you think they heard you break through?

Oops, I’d better dig quieter next time!

Wait, they’re playing music again! Yay!

La la la, ooh this is pretty!

Sure is! Whee!

I think there might be babies here!

Oooh, where? Can we find them?

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It had been a pretty fun night, and Michelle didn’t want it to end. “We could come to my place,” said Cory as he drove homeward, “though Mom will be there, so maybe not.”

“We could go to my apartment,” Michelle said, “maybe watch a movie or something. I know it’s not your favorite thing. And I know your stuff’s at your place. But, Sweetie, I’ve got some new stuff I want to show you.”

They arrived at Michelle’s apartment. While Cory sat on the sofa and more or less pouted, Michelle went to her room and changed. When she came out, she had on a very short babydoll top and the cutest matching rumba panties.

She came over and snuggled into Cory’s lap and started sucking her thumb. Cory looked her over and smiled. “You really do make a sweet little babydoll for sure.”

She took her thumb from her mouth and said, “I do have some pullups that would fit you, but I don’t have any outfits here other than some I just bought for me.”

Cory smiled as he repled, “That’s ok. I can take care of one cute little baby girl, I’m sure. It does make me feel a bit better.”

About that time, both of them noticed two adorable furry creatures sitting up on their hind legs and looking at them, right in the middle of Michelle’s living room. Both of the critters babbled softly and sounded more like babies learning to talk more than anything else.

They had large ears, thick soft fur, and looked like a cross between a squirrel, a ferret, with maybe a bit of rabbit sprinkled in for good measure. One had stripes and the other spots. They looked more like plush toys come to life than living creatures.

Cory and Michelle both leaped off the sofa. Cory said, “Huh? What are those? They’re adorable! Did you get new pets?”

Simultaneously, Michelle shouted, “Aaaa! What are they? How did they get in my apartment? Where did they come from?” and ran behind the couch.

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Aww, how come that one’s hiding? Are they scared of us? But we’re adorable!

That other baby isn’t scared! They look confused, though. Maybe I shouldn’t have dug straight through into their warren.

Burrow! Is this their home? Are we invading their privacy? That’s not nice! We should go!

Awww, but Scamper! They’re so cute! Especially the one that hid behind that thing.

Well, what’s done is done. Maybe we can introduce ourselves.

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Cory put his arms out to his sides, hoping to keep the creatures’ attention on him, because clearly Michelle was more worried about them than he was. They didn’t look like they were hostile, but wild animals were wild, after all. “Well, hi there, you little cuties,” he said. “Guess you’re not Michelle’s new pets after all. How’d you get in here?”

“W-what are they?” Michelle was stammering worriedly behind the couch, peeking up over the edge to see. They had long, floppy ears, large twinkling eyes, and fuzzy twitching tails.

One of the creatures took a half-hop toward Cory and looked up at him again, making more of those babbling sounds. With a sideways turn of their head, the creature looked as if it had asked Cory a question.

Cory had been a little afraid, because some creatures had fleas or even rabies, but these weren’t acting erratic or anything, so his fear was starting to ebb. “You look … curious,” he said. “My name’s Cory, and that’s Michelle, and you’re kind of interrupting our nice quiet evening. So why don’t you just go back to wherever your home is …”

“Cory,” said the creature.

“Aaa! It said your name,” said Michelle, panic rising. “They can talk. Nothing does that.”

“Parrots do that,” said Cory, “so maybe it’s just repeating something I said.” To the creature, Cory said, “Maybe you should just go home … I’m going to move over here and open the door …” It occurred to him that they were in an apartment building. On the fifth floor. Was he going to walk them to the elevator, maybe?

“Ma Shell,” the creature said, looking at Michelle’s head, which they could see peering over the edge of the sofa. “Cory. Mshell.” Its tiny voice was as adorable as it was. The other creature was staying behind, watching this “conversation.”

“It’s not just repeating,” said Cory. “It looked at me when it said my name, and it looked at you when it said yours. So … do you understand me? We didn’t expect you to come here. We wish we knew where you came from.”

The creature that had been hanging back suddenly blinked and made an excited sound. They bent toward the floor and made as if to dig. It looked for all the world as if it were trying to dig a hole in Michelle’s hardwood floor. Suddenly … there was a hole there. There was also another one a few feet away, right next to the nearer creature. The digging one ducked right into the first hole, headfirst, and popped right back up next to its companion, the holes having vanished.

Cory was astounded. “Wait, what did you just do?” It had happened so quickly that he couldn’t be sure he’d just seen what he thought he’d seen. “Did you just make a tunnel through space?”

Michelle gasped and stood up fully. “You dug a wormhole into my apartment?” she asked loudly. “What’s even going on? Are you aliens?” She was panicking again.

The creatures looked sympathetic and made a slight whining noise that sounded concerned. Then they started to make a pleasant, cooing, purring sort of sound, which both Cory and Michelle somehow found soothing.

The more the sound continued, the more relaxed Cory felt. He sat down on the sofa. Michelle first leaned on the back of the sofa, holding herself up with her arms, then came back around to the front of the sofa and sat down next to Cory. They both listened to the soothing cooing purr, and gradually both of them found themselves with their thumbs in their mouths.

“Cory,” said the first creature while the second kept cooing. They nuzzled Cory’s knees with their nose. “Michelle.” They nuzzled Michelle’s knees too – only she wasn’t wearing anything over her knees and could feel the creature’s soft fur.

“Wha … whas goin on?” Michelle asked around her thumb. “So … calm …”

“I donno,” Cory mumbled. “Feel so … seepy … n little …”

When they woke up, there were no strange furry creatures in the apartment. Cory looked at the clock. About an hour had passed. He had a wet spot in the front of his pants, but luckily it hadn’t gotten on Michelle’s sofa, as he had been lying back and slouching down pretty far. He looked at Michelle, who was also just starting to come to. Lifting up her babydoll top, he checked her pullup, and she was indeed wet, but the pullup had handled it. It was what they were for, after all.

“Where they … go?” asked Michelle, taking her thumb out of her mouth.

Cory looked at her and shrugged. “I mean … it’s a great question, but we don’t know anything … about what they were, or what just happened.”

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I knew they were babies! That trick only works on babies.

Good thing, too, or they might’ve run to get help, maybe other ones with weapons. I could tell! This is a planet where people have weapons. Burrow, you’ve got to be more careful!

Sorry, Scamper. I didn’t know. But hey, we’re ok, right?

I kinda like them. I wish we could tell them what we are. But we’d either have to figure out more of their language than just their names, or … we could ask for help.

Oooh, you’re right! Miss Sephone knows how to talk to all babies! I’ll dig us right to her!

Miss Sephone! Miss Sephone! We love you!

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“Aww, and I love you too, you adorable little darlings,” said a woman wearing a white chitin that looked like something from ancient Greece. Her curly black hair was sculpted into a careful arrangement but still hung down artfully over her shoulders. She was in her lounge and had risen from her chaise longue when her visitors had arrived. Reaching down and scratching Scamper behind the ears, causing her to purr happily, Persephone said, “So you’ve met some new friends?”

Scamper and Burrow both made their babbling sounds, causing her to giggle. “I see, and they can’t understand you like I do. Well, here, maybe this will help.” She handed them a gilt-edge scroll with a baby pink ribbon that had just appeared in her hand. Scamper picked it up in her mouth by the ribbon and blinked at Persephone, murmuring. “You’re welcome, Sweethearts. Floppits are always welcome here.” Burrow quickly burrowed them elsewhere.

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Cory held up the elaborately scribed scroll for him and Michelle to see while Scamper and Burrow looked on expectantly. It was Saturday night, and he was at Michelle’s apartment again. Cory read the message aloud.

“Dear Corrie and Michelle,” he read. “Corrie? Huh. Anyway … Thank you for being such good little ones for my friends. They are called Floppits, and their names are Scamper and Burrow. There is no need to be afraid of them, because they only want to be your friends. They can tell when someone is a baby, and they love babies, as do I. They have come quite a long way to see you. I only hope that you and they can become the best of friends. They can understand you when you speak, and with time you will be able to understand them, but only when you are your true selves. I also hope that I will be able to meet you someday and be your friend too. With love for all babies, Persephone.”

“Persephone?” asked Michelle. “Wasn’t she a Greek goddess? Hades kidnapped her, and she had to spend five months of each year in the underworld, and when she does, her mother the earth goddess is upset, so it’s cold and nothing grows, and that’s why there’s winter?”

“I think I remember reading that,” said Cory. “But other people can be named after figures from ancient myths. What I’m worried about is that they know we’re, well, ABs. Adult Babies. We have to hide it from everyone, and yet these two Floppits know? And Persephone does too, whoever she is? Is she going to tell anybody?”

Michelle felt a really strange impulse as she rose from the sofa next to Cory, then sort of toddled off to her room. Cory began to feel so weird deep within him as the creatures softly made their pleasantly hypnotic cooing sound.

Next thing Cory knew, he and Michelle were on a thick blanket spread on the floor. She was dressed in a really cute lime green glow worm romper with lace and ruffles. To his amazement, he too was dressed in a really cute ladybug romper. It was red with little black spots and lots of lace and ruffles too. What was more, both of them had on really thick diapers beneath.

Cory was on his back with one of the Floppits holding a rather large bottle of wonderfully tasting berry red juice at just the right angle so Cory could nurse. Each suckle made him feel so wonderfully infantile.

The other Floppit was apparently playing stack the blocks and knock them over. Each time Michelle or the Floppit would knock over the tower, Michelle would screech with glee and clap her hands as she bounced on her thickly diapered bottom.

This was so perfect, Cory thought, until he felt the warm trickle slowly spread for an instant or so as he realized his bladder was uncontrollably leaking. The Floppit seemed to squeak in a really nice happy way as it made sure Cory continued to nurse his bottle ...

… Cory sat up in bed suddenly, and Michelle said something that sounded more like baby babble than anything else as she snuggled up to the large plushy Teddy Bear between them.

Cory looked down at himself. The romper he had on he had never seen before. He also knew he was thickly diapered. He started to get out of bed. That was when he realized that this bed had crib rails around it. He was shocked to think Michelle had gotten a crib without telling him.

As he reached through the bars and released the rail, allowing it to slowly slide down, he realized the bed wasn’t a true crib, but more like a bed made for a really young toddler that had safety rails so the infant wouldn’t fall from bed in the night and hurt themselves.

As Cory climbed from bed, a really strange feeling that he shouldn’t creeped pleasantly though him. He discovered that his diaper was so thick and bulky between his legs that he had to more or less toddle as he wandered from Michelle’s bedroom into the living room.

Cory stopped completely dead in his tracks as he saw not Michelle’s living room, but a wonderfully arranged room that looked more like a nursery than anything else. Cory discovered that he had started sucking his thumb without realizing it and took it from his mouth as he toddled into this infant’s wonderland, feeling something like a child on Christmas morning.

As he flopped on his thickly diapered bottom like any toddler would have, he started sucking his thumb once again and started stacking blocks into a small tower. When the urge to knock them over hit, and he did just that, the most wonderful feeling of accomplishment rushed through him. Cory screeched with delight as he started stacking the blocks once again.

That was when Michelle toddled into the room. She said with a gasp, “Cory! You look like a girl …. And this room? What happened to my living …”

Cory knocked the tower of blocks over one more time. Michelle’s mind went blank as a truly wonderful infantile glee rushed through her. She toddled over and plopped next to Cory, and they began stacking blocks and knocking them over, all the while screeching and giggling like the two infants they appeared to be.

Scamper and Burrow came from one of their wormhole burrows into the playroom. Both of them sat up on their hind legs and observed.

In Floppit, Burrow said with pride, See? I told you they were babies.

Scamper replied with a giggle, Think Miss Sephone would wanna ask ‘em tha question?

Burrow looked at Scamper and smiled, Ya know? I really think it would do them both good to become what we can see they both really are.

With this, the two Floppits bounded over to the two infants and became part of the most wonderfully contented playtime either Cory or MIchelle could remember.

When the two of them awoke, they were once again in that crib bed, and their diapers were totally soaked. The memories of playtime as infants was very vivid in their minds.

“Are you –” Cory began.

“Wet?” asked Michelle. “Extremely,” she giggled. “It’s so wonderful! What’s even happening?”

“Me too, but what is happening?” asked Cory. “Where are we? It’s got the same layout as your apartment, but … everything inside is completely different!”

“I … I’m not sure,” said Michelle, becoming slightly concerned. “If it’s the same apartment, my furniture is all gone … which means … where are all my letters from my mom? What about my collection? But … I feel like everything’s all right somehow. Maybe we’re only like … kinda in my apartment, you know?”

“Kinda? You mean … like we’re in the one next door or one floor up?” Cory was confused. “Oh my gosh! Those Floppits! They’ve gotta know something about wormholes! They dig through space! And maybe time!”

“Also you look like a girl!” said Michelle. “You kinda sound like one too, a little. It’s not the pitch of your voice; it’s something about your pronunciation. Are you doing it on …?” Michelle paused. “I j-just wet myself, and there was nothing I could do about it! And I kinda didn’t want to anyway!”

“But somebody’s been changing us!” said Cory, ignoring the gender question for the moment. “I remember being wet, and dry, and wet again! Who changed our clothes? Can the Floppits do that? And is that OK?”

Just then, the Floppits hopped in through the bedroom door. Suddenly in place of a crib there were two baby changing tables, and Cory and Michelle were each lying on one. The Floppits wiggled their noses and twitched their ears, and Cory and Michelle were lying on top of dry diapers, their wet ones nowhere to be seen. There was another jump, and Cory and Michelle were wearing fluffy, dry diapers, again very thick, under new onesies with sailor collars and matching skirts. They gasped and looked at each other. “So cute!” said Cory at Michelle’s outfit, and his voice did sound very feminine to him. Both of them gasped again.

Michelle looked around. As the Floppits watched, they got off the changing tables, and taking Cory’s hand Michelle waddled to a closet door with a built-in mirror. She pointed at the mirror and pointed at Cory. Cory looked in the mirror and gasped again.

Cory saw … a girl. Cory saw long brown hair instead of short, a rounded face instead of angular, and a curved body with small but definite breasts. “That’s … that’s how I … imagine myself …” Cory said. “Is this … real?”

The Floppits babbled at each other. Michelle said, “This sure feels real.”

“I got an idea,” said Cory. “Let’s go play.”

They went back out to the living room, which as before was a baby’s playroom, with toys all around. The two of them looked at each other, then both plopped down on their diapered behinds and giggled, crawling to a pile of plushies. “Oooo,” said Cory, picking up one that looked exactly like a Floppit. He held it up in front of the real Floppits and babbled delightedly. The Floppits made giggling noises. Michelle found another plushie Floppit, and soon the two babies were making the plushie Floppits dance, while the real Floppits danced along.

Cory babbled, but at the same time it felt like he was saying something with his babbles. “I feel like I’m really me,” he said. “For the first time since … a long time ago.”

“That’s ‘cause you are,” said one of the Floppits.

Michelle and Cory both gasped. “We can talk to you!”

“Uh huh!” nodded the other Floppit. “Only babies can understand us!”

“We’re babies now?” asked Cory.

“You always have been,” said the first Floppit who had spoken. “I’m Burrow, by the way. And you’ve been pretending not to be a baby girl for your whole life. Lots of babies pretend to be adults. On lots of planets.”

“L-lots of planets?” asked Michelle. “You go to other planets?”

“Oh, we’re not from Earth,” said the second Floppit. “I’m Scamper! And we’re from … well the people there call it Infantus, but we call it …” She made a babbling, purring sound. “It doesn’t really translate.”

“Where are we?” asked Cory. “And why are we … different?” He looked down at his body, though those masculine pronouns weren’t making a lot of sense to him at the moment.

“I dunno!” said Burrow. “This is a thing Scamper does. I just dig holes.”

“You’re in the real place,” said Scamper. “You’re in the place you’d be in if you could be.”

“Some kind of … other universe?” asked Michelle.

“Kinda?” Scamper made a Floppit sort of shrug. “It’s sorta a what-if place.”

“And I’m a girl because I’m … really a girl?” asked Cory.

“Looks like it,” said Burrow. “We didn’t do that. Must be your real self coming out.”

“Come on, Corrie,” said Michelle, and Corrie heard her name differently somehow, even though it was pronounced the same. “there’s gotta be a reason why all your baby clothes are dresses and have ruffles and lace and stuff. You got stuff you wanted. Why’d you want it?”

“This … is gonna take some adjustment,” said Corrie. But she somehow felt more comfortable with herself than she’d ever felt before in her life. Even though she was wetting her diaper, right now, she realized, without even thinking about it or noticing it until just now. That seemed perfectly natural and far better than the old way of doing things.

“Is … is time passing?” asked Michelle. “‘Cause on Earth we’ve got jobs and stuff. I mean, it was Saturday when we left, and we don’t work Saturday, but Monday’s coming.”

“Time is different here,” said Scamper. “But you can’t stay too long. It only stays for a little while. Then it pops like a bubble.”

“Aww, I don’t want it to pop,” said Michelle.

“I … I kinda don’t either,” said Corrie, looking down at her body. She could tell that she was female everywhere. And without surgery or hormones. She wished it were that easy in reality.

“I’m sorry,” Scamper said. “But it’s not like I can’t make it happen again.”

“Maybe Miss Sephone can make it all real?” said Burrow. “But she hasta ask you the question though.”

“Question?” asked Michelle.

Suddenly the whole world swirled around them, and they were … on Michelle’s couch. Her apartment was back to normal … or actually hadn’t really changed. “Huh?” asked Corrie. “Did it all just … go away?”

“I guess … Scamper said it would,” said Michelle. “What was that about a question?”

“What time is it?” Corrie asked. She took out her phone and looked at it. It was still Saturday night, about a minute after the last time she’d looked … only she hadn’t been thinking of herself as she then. So something had been real about it.

Michelle had gotten up to look in her bedroom, to make sure there weren’t any cribs or changing tables in there. There weren’t. But she came back holding a phone that wasn’t hers. It was bright pink, almost a strawberry color. “This isn’t my phone, and you’re holding yours,” she said, “so whose …?”

The phone rang. It was a video chat app, the kind that came with a lot of smart phones. Michelle and Corrie looked at each other. The call was coming from a “Persephone.”

Michelle swiped to answer the call. They saw a light-skinned, dark-haired woman in a white dress. She was incredibly beautiful, and her eyes seemed to hold an inner light and warmth. “Hello?” said Corrie.

“Hi, Corrie and Michelle, my two beautiful little ones,” said Persephone in a heartbreakingly loving voice. “You’re both trying to live on Earth, where you can’t be who you really are … or can you? I’m calling you to offer you a choice. A way to live as your real selves. But if it’s what you want, you’ll have to accept Baby Rules. Do you accept Baby Rules?”

“But … what are Baby Rules?” asked Michelle.

“I think you already know,” Persephone said with a smile.

“I mean … what happens to our lives? And our families? And our jobs?” asked Corrie.

“They’ll just have to accept you as you are,” said Persephone. “Because I won’t let any harm come to any of my special babies. Not to anyone who accepts Baby Rules.”

Corrie said, “I just got a glimpse of what I can be, what my life can be, and it was like … it was as if I’d been lying all the times, to myself and everyone else, and I’d just stopped lying and started telling the truth. If that’s how it can be … I accept Baby Rules.”

“It can be like that, my special little girl,” said Persephone. “I know when a baby’s really a baby girl.” And Corrie felt some kind of tingle rushing through her whole body. She was momentarily unable to speak. But Persephone turned to Michelle.

“And what about you, my dear?” she asked. “If you accept Baby Rules, you’ll always be safe, always protected. My special babies are always looked after.”

“You mean …?” said Michelle. “Yes, I accept Baby Rules.” And as she said that, Michelle felt a wonderful, electric tingling feeling run deep through her.

“You won’t regret it, my beautiful baby girls,” said Persephone in her musical voice. “I’d suggest you put some diapers on, but you’ve both already taken care of that, haven’t you? I’ll talk to you again soon. I’m never far away.” The phone screen went dark.

Corrie’s body had undergone a more radical transformation than Michelle’s, so Michelle recovered first. “Oh wow,” she said. “What just happened? Am I a … baby now? What does that mean?” Her voice was becoming more and more babytalk-like. “Wish there was a Baby Wules book or … somefin’ … what dis?” She was looking at the pink phone. There was an app called “Baby Rules” on its screen.

“Oh …” said Corrie, who had collapsed onto the couch. She was getting up and catching her breath. “I don’t even know …” Her voice sounded very feminine, though her hair was the same short length it had been before. But she could feel … “Omigosh. Am weally a girl. Gots … Michelle, baby gotsa bwa on. No had one afore. This … this weal, wight?”

“Hewe it is …” said Michelle, paging through the Baby Rules app on the pink phone. “Babies talk like cute babies alla time, cept they can fake it an’ sound like gwowed ups if they gotta.” She took a deep breath. “But they always go back to talking like babies.”

“We’re gonna hafta wear diapers alla time, right?” asked Corrie. “For everything?”

“It says yeah,” said Michelle. “But it also says we love it, and … well, baby does … always have really …”

“Me too,” said Corrie, and sighed. “It’s kinda like a dream … I just wonder how I’m gonna tell my mom.”

“Well, I mean, you gotsa tell her you’re a girl, an’ all the … oh gosh.” Michelle stopped. “Alla doctors anna lawyers an all that stuffs … you’re gonna hafta change your name an’ everything … so much trouble!”

“Oh no,” said Corrie. “I gotta change my name on everything … and all those gender markers on all those forms … wow …” She took out her driver’s license, as if she just wanted to check. “Wait … look at this.”

The license had a picture of a short-haired Corrie, but she had the somewhat rounder face that she had now, and a hint of makeup. Other than that, though, it was a terrible photo, as every driver’s license photo is. But her name was spelled “Corrie Mears,” not “Cory Mears,” and the “Sex” marker said “F.”

“This is some kind of … magic,” said Corrie. “Or some kinda … other universe. Maybe there wassa nother universe wif a girl me who wanted to be a boy and I switched wif them?”

“Dunno?” replied Michelle, but she read from the Baby Rules app, “Babies don’t gotsa worry bout bein’ who they really is, just be babies. Maybe this what it means?”

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Corrie had told Michelle goodbye. They had given each other a shy little infant kissy kissy on the lips and giggled. It made them tingle all over when they did that.

Corrie had found that she was dressed outwardly in a pair of jeans and a strappy top with a comfortable built-in bra. Before she’d left Michelle’s apartment, Corrie had pulled open the front of her jeans to see that she had on a pair of really cute but absorbent pull-ups for girls. From the way things had felt during her diaper changes in the strange dream-or-alternate-reality sequences, she suspected that she was female everywhere, but … she couldn’t resist.

She pulled the front of her pull-up forward and peered in. It was still a bit of a shock, but she realized it was true, and at least it was a very pleasant shock. She let go of the waistbands and didn’t realize she’d done so until they snapped against her belly. It was true. Corrie had many strange worries rush through her as she wondered what she was going to tell her mommy.

Corrie got into her car, which had also changed into a cute little bug type vehicle that could seat four. The driver’s seat was shaped more like an ornate infant seat than a normal car seat. The drive back to her house was quick and easy as the vehicle seemed to drive itself while Corrie played and giggled in delight like an infant in a carseat with a steering wheel and a beepy horn. In the moment she didn’t think about how odd it was, with reliable self-driving vehicles still years away from the consumer market.

Corrie got out of the car in front of her house. Externally, it looked exactly the same as always. She knew her mom was home, she saw her mom's car parked in front of one of the closed garage doors.

With a bit of trepidation, and a heathy does of fear tingling up and down her spine, Corrie went to the door. She stoped and took a deep breath and sighed, before she opened the door and went in.

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Helen Mears was in the kitchen fixing breakfast when she heard the door open and heard someone enter. Helen was sure it was her daughter coming home from spending the night at Michelle’s house. Michelle was a nice girl, and Helen liked her a whole lot.

Helen walked in and caught Corrie as she was heading towards the hall to the stairs. “Well, young lady, good morning to you too. Breakfast will be ready shortly, if you want to freshen up some first.”

Corrie stopped and turned to look at her mom. Helen stood with a smile on her face as she wiped her hands on a dish towel. “Hi, Mom,” she said. Corrie remembered what Michelle had read in the Baby Rules app about babies not having to worry about anything except how to be a better baby. “I just …” Corrie couldn’t help blushing several shades of pink.

Helen smiled broadly as she said with a bit of mirth, “It still embarrasses you, does it? Now, baby, you have to remember that you’re too old for diapers, but still way too young for panties, and you always will be. Mommy understands you need to change your pull-up. When you’re done, I’ll have breakfast on the table. And yes, you can come in just your pull-up if you want. Little girls do that too.” Then she turned and headed back to the kitchen.

Corrie stood in complete amazed shock. She could feel the warmth around her bottom as she added to the weight of her already soaked pull-up. Still totally mind-fogged, Corrie hurried upstairs to clean herself up, change into something cute, and then worry about what might be coming next.

Corrie realized that her bedroom was upstairs now, not in the basement. What was in the basement where her room had been? She’d have to check. But … her room was where her room had been as a child. She could tell because of the juvenile sign on the door that said “Corrie’s Room,” decorated with little balloons and rainbows. She guessed that she’d never had that rebellious streak and had never insisted on moving into more of her own space, but had instead stayed near her mommy? She opened the door to what had always been her bedroom.

The room was some sort of cross between a nursery and a little girl’s room, only everything was sized up to her adult size. Her bed was a canopy bed with lacy white curtains decorating the top, decorated with dangling golden stars, but the white frame included crib sides with bars – not very high, but high enough to keep her from falling out of bed by accident. The bedding was pink, white, and gold and featured a popular cartoon kitty character. She suspected there was a plastic sheet protecting the mattress, and running her fingers under the bedspread confirmed this. A mobile with stars and planets dangled above the pillow.

But there was also what was obviously a changing table, with a waterproof pad on top and shelves beneath, full of cute little girl’s pull-ups and diapers, both decorated with juvenile prints. There was a vanity with a mirror, its frame decorated with the same cartoon kitty, as was the chair that sat in front of it. The makeup was all like children’s makeup – lip glosses, eye shadows, blushes, no nail polish or mascara – and she confirmed that it all smelled like baby powder. There was a desk with a laptop computer, and a bookcase full of books on graduate physics, but her laptop was a pale baby pink in color and had rainbow and unicorn stickers all over it.

She hadn’t looked at her phone, but she took it out now. Although it was still the same kind of smart phone, and seemed to have the same apps on it, it was in a bright pink protective case, again with a rainbow unicorn design. And … there was an app on it called Baby Rules. That would come in handy. She confirmed, though, that there had been considerable unusual readings over the past day.

She opened the closet and the dresser and found all sorts of clothes that looked exactly like what a little girl would wear, but in her size. And, of course, there were no big-girl panties; there were only the pull-ups and diapers on the changing table’s shelves.

Corrie felt like she was trespassing on someone else’s life, in a way, but only in a way. This was still the house she’d grown up in, and her mom was downstairs; it was just as if things had gone very differently. But how had she been taken seriously in the physics department as a very juvenile-dressing and -acting young woman?

Regardless, one fact was definitely true, and that was that she needed a new pull-up. She took off her jeans and wriggled out of the old one, then used some baby wipes from the changing table to clean her skin. Yep, she was very much a girl now, no uncertainty about that. “Wow,” she said quietly to herself, “thanks, Miss ’Sephone.”

Once she had a new pull-up on, she also removed her top, found a training bra with that same cartoon kitty character on it and a cute dress that looked just like the one the kitty liked to wear, and some cute lacy socks and some shoes that lit up when she walked. She put some barrettes in her hair that had the kitty on them and even a plastic bracelet too. Then she washed her hands in the bathroom and went downstairs.

“Oh that’s much cuter,” said her mom. “I see you’re dressing like a big girl today!” This struck Corrie as odd, because from her point of view she looked like a young girl – so what did her mom think she usually dressed like? “Well, have a seat, and let’s have some breakfast! I made waffles!”

The kitchen had a special seat for her, it seemed, with a tray attached in front of her and a harness-style belt to keep her from sliding out. Her mom put a plastic bib on Corrie without a word, as if this were a completely everyday occurrence, which perhaps it was. Then she set a plate of waffles on the tray – but with no napkin or utensils yet – and a sippy cup full of milk. She poured syrup on the waffles, then cut them into small pieces with a knife and fork, then put the knife away, keeping the fork. Corrie noticed that the chair cushions, the bib, the sippy cup, and even the fork had that same cartoon kitty. She was apparently really invested in that character.

“And here we go!” said her mom. “Open up!” What? Her mom was feeding her just like when she was a baby? Corrie guessed that her mom still did this? She opened her mouth wide and was rewarded with a mouthful of sweet golden waffles. In the world she remembered, her mom had been a bit distant and had wanted her to move out. In this world, her mom was very different. She eagerly opened her mouth for every bite, though she did get some syrup on her face and bib. It was probably inevitable.

When it was over, her mom wiped her face with a warm damp washcloth. “Mom?” Corrie asked.

“Yes, Honey?”

“I … I love you, Mommy,” Corrie said. “Thank you for making breakfast.”

“Oh, Sweetheart,” said her mom, hugging Corrie as best she could in the chair with the tray in the way, “you’re such a precious little girl! I love you too, Honey.” She gave Corrie her sippy cup. “Here, have some milk.”

Corrie drank from the sippy cup and thought about how natural and unusual this felt at the same time. Of course, she vaguely remembered being a baby or at least a toddler the first time, but the memories were distant and fragmentary. But also, her mother was a much more attentive and loving person here … or had she always been, and she’d just pushed her away?

This new life was so different … what would grad school be like? Luckily it was Sunday, so there weren’t any classes or meetings until tomorrow … assuming the schedule was even the same … but she’d have to face that soon. But then … Baby Rules said that babies didn’t need to worry.

For now, once she was done with her sippy cup, her mom removed the tray, released her from the seat belt, and took her bib off, so Corrie got out of her “high chair” (though it was about the same height as a normal chair) and went back to her room. She looked at her laptop and read some of her email. Eerily, the subject matter was exactly the same as the recent emails she remembered sending and getting before things changed, but the language she used was subtly different – happier, more energetic, just as professional, but somehow sweeter and more pleasant. But she still contributed just as much. It was as if she was meant to put forth the same amount of intellectual effort but at the same time balance that with appearing adorable and attractive.

She looked at her schedule and confirmed that nothing had changed there – and, just to be sure, she looked at the classes she was taking and made sure that she had all her problem sets and research done, just as she’d had before things changed.

She did. So now what? She called Michelle.

“Hi, Corrie,” said Michelle. “So … what’s going on at home?”

“My mom thinks this is all completely normal,” said Corrie. “She fed me breakfast like I was a baby. I only have little girl clothes.” She filled Michelle in.

“Well, I don’t live with my mom and dad,” said Michelle, “but everything in my apartment is obviously a big version of stuff for little girls or baby girls now. I’ve got no panties, only diapers – though if I did have panties I’d make a real mess of them pretty quick now! I looked at emails from my mom and dad and listened to old voicemails from them on my phone – they talk to me like I’m a baby! I wonder what work’s gonna be like tomorrow. Anything you need me to look up in the Baby Rules app on that pink phone?”

“It turns out I’ve got a copy of that app on my own phone – see if you’ve got one on yours too,” suggested Corrie. “What happened here is so weird that that little detail is barely registering on my weird-o-meter.”

“Oh yeah, I’ve got one of those too,” Michelle said. “Convenient. But what do we do now?”

“I’m not sure,” Corrie said. She tapped the Baby Rules app on her phone. It opened up, and on the screen it said, “Babies automatically know how to find something fun to do,” which she read aloud to Michelle.

“You know, that’s true,” said Michelle. “I’ve turned everything I’ve done today into a game.”

“I’m looking around for toys to play with because I know I must have some,” said Corrie. She spotted the toy box and play mat in one corner of her room, which she’d been ignoring before, focused on other things. “Aha!” She carried the phone over to the play mat and opened the toy box. She took out dolls to dress and plushies to cuddle, blocks to build and musical toys to play tunes on. Michelle giggled as she did silly things, and Michelle found the toys in her apartment. They played together without being together.

It was a happy morning. Corrie’s mommy came to check on her just before lunchtime, found her pull-up wet of course, and changed it for her. Corrie was uneasy about her mother seeing her naked from the waist down now that she was a girl, but of course she didn’t see anything unusual about it, since she changed Corrie’s pull-ups on a regular basis, apparently. When her mother changed her, though, she dusted her with a generous amount of baby powder, so Corrie now smelled strongly like it. It was hard not to see herself as a baby girl, since she looked, dressed, wet, and now smelled like one.

It was lunchtime, and again Corrie’s mom put a bib on her and put her in the “high” chair, feeding her fries and cut-up bits of a ham sandwich. But after lunch she started wondering what would happen when she needed to go number two. She was starting to feel like she needed to. That wasn’t something she wanted happening in a diaper, especially a little pull-up that wasn’t meant for such things. “M-mommy?” she asked as her mom was releasing her from the chair. “I think I need to …”

“To go potty?” asked her mom. “You always do, right after lunch, just like clockwork,” she said with a giggle. “Follow me, and I’ll take you to the potty.” Her mom took her hand and led her up the stairs to the bathroom. Corrie looked at the potty and felt odd about it. She felt … uneasy around it, in fact, as if she wouldn’t want to approach it without her mother there. Her mom pulled her pull-ups down, noticing they were wet and going to get another one after sitting her down on the potty.

After Corrie had done her business and let her mother clean her up, Corrie went back to her room and looked at the Baby Rules app on her phone. It said, “Babies are afraid of the Potty Monster and stay away from it at all costs … unless Nana, Mommy, or Daddy are there to take the scared away.”

So … that meant she would have to make a mess in her diaper unless Mommy was available to take her to the potty? That … seemed completely natural to her now, actually.

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Corrie found herself being wakened by her mother. The pats on her very wet diapered bottom still felt nice, if a bit squishy.

Helen cooed softly, “There she is. Baby all wet and messy. Don’t worry, Sweetheart, I’ll have you all cleaned up and dressed for kindergarten in no time.”

Corrie’s eyes popped open at the word kindergarten. She sat up and said, or more correctly babbled, “Kinnergartens? But ... Mommy, I goinna collages n doin researches.”

Helen laughed, “Of course you are, Sweetie.” Was she just calling it kindergarten, then?

With this, Helen pulled off Corrie’s plastic panties and undid the wet diaper. She lifted her by the ankles and cleaned her well with a warm damp cloth before enclosing her hiney in the warm embrace of another diaper, powdering her, then fastening it on.

Helen then threaded Corrie’s feet through an adorable pair of soft yellow plastic lined rumba panties with white ruffles and lace, then pulled them up over Corrie’s diaper before sitting her up.

Next, Helen threaded Corrie’s head and arms through the openings of a really cute matching Jumper with flutter sleeves before brushing Corrie’s hair into a really cute little girl pixie style.

After breakfast, Helen gave her a precious little pony backpack with all Corrie’s research and her laptop, along with a healthy supply of diapers, powders, and other items normally found in a toddler’s diaper bag, before rushing her out the door.

Corrie got into the baby seat drivers seat of the really neat bug shaped vehicle. It seemed to fasten her in all by itself and started driving off. Corrie lost her adult mind and became a little toddler sitting in her carseat playing with the steering wheel and beepy horn while the cute bug car drove itself to the college and parked.

Corrie grabbed her pack / diaper bag and toddled up the stone steps into the University’s physics department. When she entered the large door, the halls were crowded with many young men and women scurring around about getting their things together and getting to their classes.

Corrie was sort of shocked no one paid her any mind as she toddled into her class. The professor, Dr. Foley, looked up and smiled as she cooed softly, “There she is. How’s the babygirl today? Did ums need a Nana? I’ll call to the services building and have one assigned if you need it.”

All Corrie could do at that point was suck her thumb. Dr. Foley smiled even broader as she stood, took Corrie by the hand, and led her to a special desk that looked so much like a play table that it had to be what it was.

Dr. Foley said softly, “Now be a good girl and get your assignments out so I can check your answers.”

From a dark corner high up in the large lecture hall’s farthest reaches, the two Floppits watched the goings-on.

“Well done, Corrie!” said Dr. Foley. “You got the right answers in your problem sets, and you showed all your work, so you’re really paying attention and doing the reading! I have to go now, though; your classmates need me to look at their work.” She returned to the table at the front of the classroom and talked with the other students, looking at their papers.

Corrie was a very good girl all through the lecture and paid close attention, taking lots of notes. She seemed able to understand the fundamental concepts better than before today, for some reason. After the lecture, she had a meeting with Dr. Fishers and the experimental team, so she walked to the elevator and went up to the 5th floor, going to the conference room.

“Hey, Corrie!” said another student. It was Mark, another grad student in Dr. Fishers’ group. “You see those weird readings over the weekend? We’re all talking about them.”

“Yea!” Corrie said. “They don’t match what we’re lookin’ for, but somehow the detectors are pickin’ ’em up anyway. Gotta wonder if they’re pickin’ up some other kinda wormhole.” They arrived at the conference room and took their seats around the table. Dr. Fishers was already there, setting up the teleconference with the other teams around the world.

“By now, we’ve all seen the anomalous results from over the weekend,” Dr. Fishers said. He was a heavy and tall man with a black beard. “Here’s a graph showing the results over time. As you can see, there was peak activity here, here, and here. And it seems that it hasn’t entirely stopped, though it’s slackened off quite a bit.”

“I think we need to recalibrate the equipment to filter out these anomalies,” said one of the team members from Italy. “Whatever this is, it’s not what we’re looking for. Primordial wormholes would show much higher frequency photons and much more rapid transitions.”

“W-what if they were evidence of some other kind of wormhole?” asked Corrie, hesitating a moment when she felt her diaper grew wetter.

“Another kind of wormhole?” asked Dr. Fishers. “Please elaborate, Corrie.”

“Well, what we’re looking for are submicroscopic quantum wormholes, and specifically we’re looking for what happens when they close. But if the wormholes were larger – please check over my calculations – the results when they close might match what we saw.” She held up a sheet of equations she’d done for Dr. Fishers, who took it and looked at it carefully.

“She’s right,” said someone from Japan. “If D increased to a magnitude of …” The discussion was long and abstruse, but in the end they agreed there was a good chance they’d measured some other type of wormhole.

“Not what we’re interested in discovering,” said Dr. Fishers, “but if we could prove wormholes exist at all, it might justify a renewal of our grant. Next question: where are these macroscopic wormholes that are short-lived, but not as short as the microscopic ones? Can we observe them? They could verify the detectors’ readings.”

“If they exist, they should emit …” and another round of discussion was under way. Basically, another form of detector, one that was already being run by another project, could give more direct evidence about where exactly the new wormholes were. They were going to try to contact that other project and get a copy of their data for the same time period.

“Nice work, Corrie,” said Dr. Fishers when the meeting was over, handing back her equations. “We’ll see whether the additional data gives us more information when we hear back from the Austrian project.”

“Thanks Dr. Fishers!” Corrie exclaimed with a big smile. She’d been so worried about how Dr. Fishers would react to her. He ran the project and had complete say over who was and wasn’t on it, but unlike Corrie herself, seeing Corrie as a baby girl grad student was nothing new to him. “What happens if we can localize the macroscopic wormholes?”

“Well, then I’d say we’ve got evidence that the detectors can find microscopic ones too,” Dr. Fishers said, “but we’re going to have to filter out these other readings. They’re drowning out the data we want to see as it is.”

“Well, they seem to have a consistent frequency to their radiation,” said Corrie. “See? If we could just filter that frequency out … and a Fourier transform should be able to do that … we’d only see the microscopic data, which is at a much higher frequency, so the filtering process wouldn’t affect that.”

“I think you’re probably right,” Dr. Fishers said. “I’ll run that through the computer and see what the weekend data looks like after that.”

“Great! I really want to see what happens when we get the low-frequency data out of the way,” Corrie said, jumping up and down excitedly.

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Her next class wasn’t until late afternoon, which was good, because she needed a diaper change, and she was getting hungry. Corrie toddled down the corridor and rounded the corner that led to the exit.

A door opened and a very pretty, middle aged woman entered the hall in front of Corrie. She saw Corrie standing there, sucking her thumb, with her really cute little backpack diaper bag on her back.

The woman cooed softly as she clapped her hands together, “Oh, there you are. Come to, me Baby; let Nurse check you. I’m sure you’re in need of attention.”

As fate would have it, a large crowed of young men and women came around the corner heading for the exit at the end of the hall.

The nurse took no heed of them as she came to Corrie, lifted the hem of her very short jumper, opened the back of her cute rumba panties and checked her.

The majority of the crowd took notice, but continued on like normal.

Several of the young women stopped and knelt, “Ooo such a pretty little girl.” one of them cooed softly as she handed Corrie a large grape flavored lollipop.

One of the other young women said in a sweet tone, “You have to know, Sugar Bug, you’re quite the celebrity here. No other toddler has ever been enrolled at this university before, much less in the astrophysics department.”

The nurse said politely, “If you ladies will excuse us for a little bit, this little girl has a date with the changing table.”

The young women giggled as they gathered their books and walked slowly off, blowing kisses and waving the whole while.

On top of one of the stacked lockers, in the space between its top and the ceiling, a hole appeared and two really cute little plushy looking critters popped out. They watched all that transpired below them.

Well, Scamper, seems our little girl is going to get her very first public diaper change.

Good thingy too.

Why’s that?

Cuz, she gonna has her first poopy she no can control soon as she has lunch. Gonna bea neatos experience for her, an’ ... gonna happens more ’n more often, ’cuz shea baby ’n all us knows a baby fearda tha potty monster.

Both critters chittered happily as the nurse took Corrie into the health room for a much-needed diaper change. “Now, Corrie, I’m Nurse Evers, and luckily for you there’s a health room in this building. The university has them in a few locations on campus in case of emergencies large and small, and perhaps a diaper change is a minor problem, but I think we can both agree that babies like you need them on the regular. Let’s just look in your diaper bag here … ah yes, here we are, you’ve got all the supplies …”

As she lay still for the kindly Nurse Evers, Corrie thought how strange this was, that there was such strong social support for babies. It was such a radical change from the world she still remembered, the one she’d grown up in, in which those adults who were really just babies inside had to hide it, or else they’d be subject to ridicule, or even false accusations of pedophilia, on social media or even in public. How had this come to be? The mysterious woman named Persephone had seemingly made this happen, but how? It was such a mystery.

“And there you go!” said Nurse Evers, patting Corrie’s padded belly before tugging her skirt back down and helping her up and off the examination table. “Just come see me when you need another change, Honey.”

“Th-thank you, Nurse Evers,” said Corrie. “You’re very kind.”

“Oh, think nothing of it,” the nurse said. “Such a sweet little girl. Now run along and get on with your day. Is it lunchtime for you?”

“Oh – yes, it is,” said Corrie. “I’d better get to the dining hall.” She wondered what kind of facilities they had there for babies. It was all so mystifying. She also wondered how Michelle was doing at her job.

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Michelle was cleaning the tank filters at the city aquarium, where she worked. It was gross, but it had to be done. And she knew the systems kept the fish and other sea creatures healthy, and she loved them, so it made her happy in that way.

Soon it was time for her to do one of her favorite jobs, though – feeding the critters. Some of them didn’t need much attention, like the ones that ate the algae that naturally grew on the tank walls and objects, but she did have to measure the algae to make sure it wasn’t growing out of control. But when she sprinkled food for the fish, it was so much fun to watch them all come up and nibble at it.

Then it was time for her most favorite part of her job, which was feeding the dolphins. The dolphins knew her and knew what time it was as she appeared at the platform on top of their tank.

They made happy noises at her as she picked up one of the buckets of fish. “Hi, Drew!” she said to the first one to poke his nose out of the water. “Lunchtime! And hi Dora!” She had unofficial names for all of them; they all started with D. She spread the food out across the water’s surface, and the dolphins hungrily gulped the fish down, then came back to the edge and chattered at her more.

But today Michelle noticed oddly that their chattering made a little bit of sense to her. It sounded like they were saying, “Michelle!” She was so amazed that she stopped after picking up the second bucket of food. “Michelle! Michelle! Thank you!”

“Am I … understanding you?” she asked. “Am I dreaming?”

“Babies understand us!” said Drew.

“What?” asked Michelle. “Like … Floppits?”

“Yes! Floppits!” said Dora. “Miss ‘Sephone loves them, and she loves us too!”

“Is she going to feed us the second bucket of fish?” asked Dave.

“Oh! Sorry!” Michelle said, bringing the bucket over and spreading its contents over the water’s surface. “Here you go!”

“It’s so great that you’re a real baby now!” said Dana. “Miss ‘Sephone did her magic on you! Looks like you said yes to Baby Rules!”

“Are you wet?” asked Drew. “If not, I can fix that,” he said mischievously with a dolphin giggle, splashing some water up into the air with his tail.

“Don’t be mean,” said Dora. “Michelle’s nice! And she’s just a baby! And I bet she’s wet. Human babies usually are. Almost as much as dolphin babies.” She giggled. “But not quite!”

Michelle blushed. Her diaper was in fact quite wet. She couldn’t feel when she wet it anymore, not since accepting Baby Rules. “Aww!” she said to them. “Feeding you guys has always been my favorite part of the day! And now I can talk to you too! I’m so happy right now!”

“Is she gonna give us the third bucket?” asked Dave.

“But if she does, then she has to go,” said Dana. “Isn’t that right?”

“Yeah, that’s right,” said Michelle. “They only give me three buckets of food to give to you.”

“Aww, no fair,” said Dave.

“But in a way I’m glad,” said Dora, “because now I know it’s not you who makes that decision. You’d give us more food if you were allowed, right, Michelle?”

“Well, yeah, as long as it wasn’t bad for you,” Michelle said. “I mean, we don’t want you to get fat. That can cause health problems.”

“What?” said Drew. “Too much food … is bad?”

“Too much food for a long time can be bad for you,” said Michelle. “That’s true for anybody. Dolphins, humans, or anybody else. It can make you fat, and clog your arteries and stuff.”

“Oh wow,” said Dana. “I never knew that.” The dolphins discussed this.

“Well, still, you’d better give us that third bucket of food,” said Dave.

“Yeah, I’d better,” said Michelle. “The scientists mix it up specially for you. It’s got vitamins and stuff, to make sure you’re healthy.”

“Ohhhh, wow,” said Drew. “I always thought you were being kinda stingy with the food, but now I know it’s really just because they want us to be healthy and don’t want us to get fat.”

“Yeah, they became marine biologists because they’re really interested in you and want to learn from you,” said Michelle. “So they work to figure out what you need to eat to be healthy. And other science stuff about dolphins. But I’ll bet they can’t talk to you.” She spread the third bucket over the water’s surface.

“Not in the way we can talk to babies,” said Dora, grabbing a fish. “Thank you, Michelle! We love you!”

“We love you, Michelle!” said the other dolphins too.

“Aww, you guys!” Michelle said, a tear coming to her eye. “I’ll see you later, OK? Maybe later today if I can. Tomorrow, for sure.”

As she went to get a diaper change and have her own lunch, it occurred to Michelle that the dolphins knew that Persephone had changed the world to be friendlier to babies such as Corrie and herself. She wondered what they would say about Corrie if she brought her here.

“Oh, hi, Michelle!” said Nurse Martin as she passed the aquarium’s nurse station. “You’re in luck – free diaper changes for baby employees! ’Course, we’ve only got one of those.” She was in her usual colorful medical scrubs.

Michelle giggled. She knew Nurse Margaret Martin, as they often took breaks together, but that was before whatever Persephone had done. “Well, I, uh, guess I do need one.”

“It’s about that time,” said the nurse. “Are you just wet, or poopy as well?”

“Maggie!” said Michelle, blushing.

Maggie chuckled. “Nobody’s within earshot. C’mon inside.” She motioned Michelle in and closed the door. “Hop up on the table.”

Maggie proceeded to change Michelle just as she would any other baby her age. When Maggie was done and had helped Michelle back onto her feet, Michelle gasped as she realized that she was in an extra thick diaper.

Michelle asked, “Why did you use such a thick diaper?”

Maggie replied as she patted Michelle softly on her poofy behind, “To make sure my baby’s comfy and safe from any kind of leaking. Besides,” she giggled softly, “it makes sure everyone knows you’re the cutest and most adorable baby in the facility. Although currently you’re the only one.”

As Michelle toddled from the nurse's station, she did notice this far bulkier diaper enhanced the necessity to waddle. Of course, there were those who had to stop and comment and give the baby lots of attention. Michelle blushed a lot but realized that she liked it more than she’d thought she would.

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Scamper and Burrow kept a close eye on Corrie after she had been fed her lunch. They both wanted to see Corrie’s first poopy face firsthand. To them, this was an important milestone for her. It also insured that Corrie was becoming the infant both adorable Floppits knew she would be.

Corrie began to feel something like butterflies in her tummy. She also began to feel a strange over pressure. She knew she was going to have to go poopy really soon. She toddled as fast as she could to the women’s room and entered, then stopped dead, eyes wide, a fear slowly tingling up and down her spine as she saw many stalls. Each one had a potty monster in it. The one closest to her even had its mouth open in a very menacing way.

Corrie ran from the women’s room in total infantile fear. When she had finally gotten a ways down the hall and managed to find a cubby spot between several rows of lockers to enter to catch her breath, she began to feel those butterflies going to war. The pressure began to build as small pushing waves began to intensify. She tried very hard not to go, but it proved to be impossible. Everything Corrie attempted to do only caused it to happen.

From the top of the lockers across from Corrie came two adorable little squeals of joy.

Scamper said with glee, See? A real live baby poopy face.

Burrow giggled, It is sooo cute.

Scamper held her nose as she said, Yea, but I think Corrie needs some attention right away. That first poopie is usually a lot.

Burrow replied, No worries. I bet the school nurse was wanting to see it too.

Sure enough, Nurse Evers appeared as if by magic, “There’s my baby girl. And such a cute expression on her face, too. I bet Corrie-Baby needs changing really bad, huh?” Without asking or preamble, the nurse checked Corrie just as a large group of teachers and grad students were passing.

They seemed not to take notice as the nurse finished checking Corrie, took her by the hand, and led her down the hall with the crowd.

After a nice cleaning and a change into a super thick diaper, Nurse Evers dressed Corrie in a really cute lime-green romper with sparkles all over it; Corrie had no idea where it had come from. Of course the thick diaper made her ruffled bottom very poofy and made her toddle very noticeably.

On her way to the next class, several of the young women took her by the hand and walked with her to their class. All the while they cooed softly and made nice comments about Corrie being the very first baby to ever attend. That was very positive.

But not so positive were some overheard whispered comments from boys they passed – something like, “Damn, she’s so cute, but who wants to go out with a chick who could poop her diaper at any time?” Corrie didn’t feel so good about that.

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Michelle continued her day, putting up new signs about new exhibits, shows, events, and classes at the aquarium, but drawing lots of attention to herself as well. The two Floppits had popped over to watch over her, but they were having a little bit more trouble – there weren’t as many good hiding places at the aquarium. They hid behind trash cans and planters and on top of cabinets, but there was only so much they could do. Besides, the people who came to the aquarium were there to look at things, so they were more alert than the students at the university, who were mostly absorbed in their own problems and not looking carefully at their surroundings.

Burrow, this is a terrible place! Everyone can see us, and we can’t see Baby Michelle!

I’m sorry, Scamper, but I’m doing the best I can!

Wait, I know! See that window over there? There’s some ground we could stand on and look out! I’ll make sure nobody sees us. Just take us there and don’t move!

How’m I supposed to dig us over there if I don’t move?

I mean don’t move after we get there, silly!

There was a display of a freshwater pond, with a big glass window showing the fish, turtles, frogs, and other creatures living beneath the water, but it also had a shore where some of the creatures could come out of the water. There were a few simulated land creatures, such as rabbits and squirrels, but suddenly there were also two Floppits who had popped up out of a hole in the ground that then disappeared behind them. They stood still and watched as Michelle changed some of the signs in a stand outside their window. Somehow nobody noticed them.

OK, I’m trying to make sure nobody notices us.

I dunno how you do that, Scamper!

I dunno neither, I just do it! Just like you dig holes!

I wonder if Michelle’s gonna do a cute poopy face.

Oooo, I hope she does! She’s such a cute babydoll!

Michelle continued assembling one of the displays announcing the new show featuring the singing seals. Her tummy began to feel strange as what felt like butterflies began rumbling around inside. Shortly after that, without any kind of warning, Michelle felt pushing waves begin. Very strong ones. She gasped as her eyes got big and a really adorable expression came over her face. Nothing she could do it happened so fast as she felt it ooze out into her diaper around her bottom.

Scamper and Burrow giggled to themselves as they watched Michelle become totally diaper dependant, just as they had seen Corrie do. It was wonderful thing to see.

Michelle suddenly felt so miserable and began to whimper at first then to cry. Aquarium visitors noticed, and their hearts went out to the poor baby as they looked for someone to help her. Nurse Evers, of course, being ever vigilant and watching over the Aquarium’s only infant employee, heard Michelle’s cries and rushed quickly over to see what was wrong. As soon as she arrived, she understood and checked Michell as she would any other baby.

Nurse Evers said in a soft loving coo, “So, baby does go poopy in her diaper. Now, now, don’t cry. It just means you’re a really good baby.” Nurse Evers took Michelle by the hand and led her back towards the office. Several of the other employees watched, and a couple were even jealous.

Of course, Scamper and Burrow, who could tell a baby anywhere, locked on to this and immediately started to make plans.

Look there. Aren’t them girls and those boys also babies?

Yups. Scamper, your baby-dar pingded ’em good.

Take us there, Burrow! I think Miss Sephone will has a few more ta be proud of!

Immediately, Burrow created one of his wormholes. The two of them popped out of a hole directly in front of the two girls and two boys and started to babble in their magical way.

The four humans got large eyes for a second before one of the girls asked, “Hey, where did those adorable creatures come from?”

One of the guys replied, “I don’t know, but they sure look like some of those stuffed animals you like so much.”

Scamper and Burrow soon returned to watching Corrie and Michelle, but each of these boys and girls would find mysterious pink phones among their possessions in the next few days.

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But Corrie was having a few problems. “Yes, I see you, little baby with your hand up, but why don’t we call on an adult?” asked the professor. “One who might actually have a chance of knowing the answer.”

Corrie knew the answer, but she wasn’t being given a chance to prove it. What was going on? Up to now it had seemed as if her existence had become somehow charmed. Suddenly it seemed as if everyone was staring at her, and not in a good way.

Then, high up in the upper left corner of the lecture hall, in the seats nobody wanted because they were cramped and the ceiling curved in over them, she saw the two Floppits pop up and poke their noses up over the chairs in front of them. And all at once everyone smiled at Corrie and went back to looking at the professor.

“Yes, baby Corrie, why do you think everything is off by the same factor?” the professor asked.

“It’s ‘cause the wave function gotsa be renormalized, ‘cause the particle inneracted wif another one,” Corrie said, as clearly as she could. She had noticed her voice was speaking a touch more babylishly, even when she tried her best to sound all adult. She hoped it wouldn’t count against her.

“You know, that’s exactly right,” the professor said. “You don’t have to renormalize if a particle encounters a field that it doesn’t interact with at all. But if there is an interaction …” The professor continued, making equations appear on the projected computer screen.

Scamper, that didn’t look right. Was it wearing off there for a second?

Yeah, I think maybe we might need help. There are more babies here than we thought. We should get some of our friends. We can’t manage them all with just the two of us.

You stay here, and leave it to me.

Corrie surreptitiously looked at her phone and checked the data that had just been collected. Sure enough, there’d been an anomaly a minute ago – and there had just been another one. She saw only one Floppit up there right now; had Burrow left Scamper here by herself? She hoped she’d be all right. But … were the Floppits affecting reality around her and Michelle? Was that control falling apart when they weren’t present? This worried Corrie, because she’d caught glimpses of how people could start to be unpleasant when that control slipped. She wished she could ask Scamper, but she couldn’t risk calling attention to the Floppit during class.

I got help, Scamper!

Oh, good, you’re back! Who’d you get?

I got Hops, Lick, Blink, and Cuddle.

Oh, that’s good, Burrow! I was afraid you’d get Scratch.

We don’t wanna hurt ‘em, Scamper, we want ‘em to be babies! But anyway, those four can handle the new babies we found. Now we can focus on our favorite ones, Baby Corrie and Baby Michelle!

That’s good! We have to keep fixing things up around ‘em so they won’t come unraveled! If we keep the new pattern going for long enough it’ll stay for good, but right now it’s too new.

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Terry had come home from seeing her friends at the aquarium and changed into her cute little ruffled romper after she had put on a Huggies disposable diaper. She had completed her homework and was sitting on the sofa cuddling her large fluffy Teddy Bear and pouted.

As the aroma of baby powder filled her senses, she knew she was jealous of the toddler she had seen being checked by the aquarium nurse. She had been a secret toddler most of her life, since she was late getting out of pullups as a little girl, and so wanted to have that happen to her as well. She had been a bedwetter up until she turned 12 when it had just stopped suddenly.

This hadn’t deterred her love for the comfy safe feeling of being in a diaper, nor had it lessened in any way how adorably cute the outfits had made her feel. Her parents had sort of supported the cute outfit part and purchased her many really adorable outfits for older girls, which had made her extremely popular, since she was also a very pretty girl. This also fed into her desire to remain a toddler.

To actually see someone who was openly an accepted toddler at the aquarium made her feel so jealous inside.

Without warning, a really cute, very fluffy white furred creature appeared on the floor in front of the sofa she was wallowing on. At first, a tingle of fear ran through her before she heard the soft and very pleasant cooing sound coming from the creature. It babbled just like her older sister’s two year old, although, strangely, she could swear she almost could understand it.

The creature slowly approached and placed a strawberry pink device on the floor directly in front of her. It looked for the world like a flip top cell phone. To Terry’s amazement it began to play a really nice musical nursery rhyme type of ringtone. Each rendition sent amazingly wonderful thrills all through Terry’s body to her deepest essence. She had to answer it; it felt like someone else was in control of her body as she picked up the device and flipped it open.

Terry said softly, in more of an infantile way than she would have liked, but nonetheless, “He … hewwos?”

A very soft and sweet voice answered, “Hello there, Sweetheart! My, aren't you just the most precious little babydoll ever?”

Terry was dumbstruck as the voice tingled intensely though her, All she could do was nod her head, which whoever was on the other side seemed able to see.

The voice cooed softly as it said, “I can see that you are only about three. Isn’t that so? That time is such a wonderful time. Being a toddler and the amazing things all around bring such wonder.”

Again, all Terry could do is nod as the voice enthralled her and mesmerized her.

The softly cooing voice continued, “It can be that way all the time if you answer a simple question for me. Can you do that?”

Terry nodded again.

The voice giggled then said, “OK, Sweetiekins, do you accept Baby Rules? Such a wonderful world awaits if you do.”

Terry felt like she had been struck by lightning as that question reverberated seriously intensely all through her body. She had to answer. All her jealousy vanished as a mystical door opened within her deepest spirit and the little toddler girl she really was entered. She said in a really cute infantile babble, “Yess. I does ... aww so muchies does.”

Terry suddenly felt as if she was no longer a big girl pretending to be a toddler, but a three year old toddler who pretends to be a big girl at times. She couldn’t stop herself as she felt the warmth spreading around her bottom, knowing she was wetting her diaper. Babies do that.

The voice giggled again, “That’s a good baby. Now, Cuddle there will take care of you for the time it takes for all the changes to become permanent. Be a good baby, hear?”

Terry nodded as whoever had been on the other end hung up. The thickly furred, cuddly white critter was suddenly in her lap. It was snuggling wonderfully and making that magical cooing noise. Without thinking about it, Terry cuddled the snuggly, adorable creature, and her mind lost what ever residual adultness had lingered, and she mentally became the adorable little toddler girl she had dreamed of being for so long. She was lost in a wonderful, warm world of snuggly cuddles and magical purring cooing sounds.

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Corrie was in her room waiting for supper and working on her homework when her phone rang. It was Michelle, doing a video call. She answered, and saw Michelle in her adorable poofy pastel shortalls, her hair in pigtails with large bows, and a large pacifier in her mouth. “Hiiiii Cowwieeee!” she said around her pacifier, waving cheerfully. “Baby had a wonnerful day atta quarium! The dolphins talkeded to baby! They know ’bout Floppits!”

“Wowwwww really?” Corrie replied, wide-eyed. “That is amazins! They can talk to babies like us?”

“Yea! An’ … I think … they might ’member what things like before they … changeded.”

“Huh?” asked Corrie. “Thought it was just you ’n me … an’ maybe the Floppits. Though … hmm …”

“What?”

“Well it seemed kinda like some people was just barely startin’ to ’member what it used to be like today,” said Corrie. “Just for a second. Then I saw the Floppits again … an’ it went back to good again. I kinna wonder if the Floppits is doin’ it.”

“Ya know … I bet they are. Those little cute guys is probly more amazins than we thunked!”

“Am sure they is,” Corrie said, nodding emphatically like a toddler. “I wonner where they wented so I can asks them.”

“Oooo hi!” said Scamper, hopping up onto Corrie’s desk. “Am right here!”

“Scamper! Yay!” said Corrie, opening up one arm for a hug, and Scamper cuddled right in. “You are sooper amazins!” She turned the phone to make sure Michelle could see Scamper.

“Awww gosh thanks Corrie!” said Scamper. “But yea … you right! Miss Sephone sended us here to Earth after we telled her about you two! We can make it a good place for babies like you! But we found more babies! But there was just the two of us so we couldn’t pay ’tention to alla you at once. So things kinda goned weird a bit for a minute there. Sowwy ’bout that!”

“You found more babies?” asked Michelle, her eyes widening.

“Uh huh!” said Burrow, hopping up onto the couch next to her and appearing in Corrie’s phone frame. Michelle squeaked and cuddled Burrow, causing him to purr and coo happily as he cuddled back. He started to talk again in his cute babbling language, but then realized he was talking into Michelle’s shoulder and turned his head. “Mmmf mmf mph mmm … I mean, four more of them! So I burrowed back to the warren and got some help.”

“There’s a warren where you live?” Corrie asked.

“Oh yeah!” replied Burrow. “It’s got lots of rooms and big tunnels to run in. Lots of us live there on our planet, which is called Infantus. Issa nice place! Also there’s lotsa other warrens too – some of ‘em connect to ours, an’ some you gotta run to onna surface – or get there other ways, like when I burrow.”

“Like when you dig through space?” Corrie asked. “How do that even works?”

“Gosh I dunno!” said Burrow. “I just kinda … dig, ya know?”

“Like I just kinda … you know, scamper through people’s minds and turn ‘em around into the way they oughtta be?” said Scamper.

“Wait, you … mess wif people’s minds?” asked Corrie. “Like my mom’s?”

“Well … yeah sorta?” said Scamper. “But I no turn ’em into somebody they not … just kinda, well … OK, you know how people are fraid when they see somefin weird ’n diffrent? I just kinda, y’know, turn it into bein’ happy instead! An’ Miss Sephone does tha rest. She make it so it always beened that way. Soon it be like that for good. That be better then.”

“Um, how soon?” asked Corrie.

“Should be all good at … pobly midnight t’night?” Scamper said, but it sounded like she was guessing. “Can tell it gettin’ stronger. Soon nobody gonna know there was ever a time when tha humans thought it was weird for there to be big-size babies.”

“Well that is great!” said Michelle. “People got no reason ta be scareda us. We just babies. Don’t mean nobody no harms.”

“Yeah!” said Corrie. “Just wanna be ourselfs! Too bad some people’s selfs no think tha same way.”

“Like how?” Scamper asked.

“Like …” Corrie paused. “Like if they finded out how Burrow digs holes through space, they might wanna figure out how to make some kinda weapon that does that.”

Burrow gasped. “Weapon?”

“Yeah, to make a bomb that can pop up anywhere anytime, or somethin’ like that.”

“That awfuls!”

“I gotta find ’em an’ scamper that idea right outta their minds,” said Scamper.

“Corrie! Time for supper!” called Corrie’s mom from downstairs.

“Oops, time for baby to go,” said Corrie.

“OK, bye-byes Corrie!” said Michelle.

“Bye bye Michelle! Woves you! Mwah!” said Corrie, kissing the palms of her hands and blowing the kiss to Michelle over the phone screen.

Corrie’s mom showed up and removed all of Corrie’s clothes but her panties and diaper. She tied a really cute bib around her neck that had butterflies and dragonflies all over it.

Helen cooed softly as she led Corrie out of the nursery towards the dinning room, “Mommy wants to make sure baby can make the biggest mess she wants to without messing up her clothes. This way all mommy has to do is drop baby in the tub after.”

Corrie was overjoyed as she quickly slipped into her infant state. Her mom fastened the belt around her waist, then lowered the tray over Corrie’s head. Corrie had no idea exactly what happened after that until she sort of came back to her other mind as she splashed and really enjoyed being in the tub with several of her floaty toys.

Helen said happily, “That’s it, Baby. Now let Mommy get you all cleaned up from the mess at lunch.”

With that, Corrie found herself being washed with a thick, very soft, warm cloth. She had obviously discovered that macaroni and cheese made a wonderful facial.

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In a deep warren that looked far more elaborate than a simple dug tunnel, hundreds of Floppits of all colors and states of adorableness gathered. One of them, who was all black with candy cane stripes, hopped onto the rased area in the middle of the huge gathering. Everyone knew everyone else; his name was Stripes because of his fur pattern.

The hubbub of baby babbles subsided as Stripes began to speak. It has come to this warren’s attention, thanks to one of our cute Floppit friends, that an entire world filled with many infants of all sizes exists. Unfortunately, the global attitude towards them there is not good, and they must be who they really are in secret.

A round of sympathetic babbles rose for a minute before subsiding once again. Oh, one of those … Yeah I seen those before … We can fix ‘em right? ... Immediately, the Floppit warren began making plans.

A really cute brown one with yellow spots named Lemondrop stood on her hind legs and said, We gotsa does sompin’ ’bout that. Is no right a baby gotsa hide ta bes who it really is.

Stripes replied, Is why comes alla us is here. We gotsa does sompin for em. All them poor infants gotsa be ’llowda bes free.

A calico-colored Floppit named Fluffy with really long fluffy hair said softly, Whas Miss Sephone gotsa says bout it? We no can jus does it onna whole place wif outs her missions cans we?

Stripes replied, Miss Spehone done sented severala us there already ta deals wif somea em.

Who gots sent? Isitta nuffs?

Scamper ’n Burrow finded it – then Miss Sephone sent Hops, Lick, Blink, ’n Cuddle. Dunno is itta nuffs though. There tonsa babies there in hidin’.

A collective aww and other sympathetic sounds filled the large warren as the gathered Floppits discussed this horrid situation. They talked for hours. Then messengers were sent to other warrens all over the planet Infantus to spread the word.

The Floppits had decided to rise up to save the unfortunate babies of Earth.

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Corrie had crawled over to Michelle’s playroom to play with her. In her current baby frame of mind, she didn’t think that strange. Burrow had dug a lasting tunnel from Corrie’s playroom to Michelle’s. It was like crawling through a hole in the wall, and Scamper was there to tell her where it went, so she didn’t even stop to think about whether it was safe.

How’s ya doin’, Scamper?

Just fine, acourse! Corrie’s way easy to look after. She a real good girl. Makes a good mess at suppertime. How’s Michelle, Burrow?

Oh, she’s just a little darlin, but yknow she all alone here. I guess her real mommy ’n daddy lives in another town. An’ her bestest fwiend Corrie is justa nother baby, so she can’t look afterer alla time. But is OK, I like lookin’ after Michelle. She so cute! Such a good baby.

While all this was going on, Corrie and Michelle were playing all kinds of games in the strangely altered version of Michelle’s apartment. Burrow could easily take them there and bring them back. It appeared to be an odd alternate side dimension of her regular apartment, not that Michelle and Corrie were thinking about that right now.

They were playing with blocks and tiny toy people, making big buildings and putting the people on them and then pretending to be huge monsters and knocking the buildings down. “Ohhh nooooo!” said Corrie as the people fell down.

“Aaaaaaaah!” said Michelle. “Look out fer tha monsters!” She was wetting her diaper and not even noticing as she swatted at the block buildings.

“We’ve got bottles for you two,” said Scamper. She and Burrow had baby bottles full of warm milk.

“Ohh gosh thankoo Scamper!” said Corrie, excited. “I wove milk!” She took the bottle and was overjoyed. “Is chocolate! Yummy!” She lay back and drank from her bottle happily.

Michelle made happy noises as she drank from her bottle of strawberry flavored milk. When they were done, they noticed that there were more Floppits in the playroom.

“Aww Burrow!” said Michelle. “You bringed morea your adorable fwiends? Hi Floppits! Wowie you all so cute! Can I hugs you?”

“Ya sure can, ya little cutie!” said Lemondrop, hopping over for a hug. They each introduced themselves – Lemondrop, Chocolate, Tickle, Smokie, Giggle, and Rollover. They babbled and chattered so much that Corrie and Michelle were giggling just from how cute they were to listen to. And yes, Corrie and Michelle got to hug each of them.

“So you all here ta helps other babies?” asked Corrie. “Just like you helped Michelle an’ me?”

“That’s right!” said Chocolate, nodding. “Just not right that there so many babies on this planet an’ they no getsta be their baby selfs.”

“There lots more’n us!” added Tickle.

“An’ Miss Sephone said we could come,” said Smokie.

“Yups, she say it time for tha babys of Earth to be babys,” Rollover said, having rolled over onto his back to look at Michelle and Corrie upside down.

Giggle only giggled. Just hearing her made the two Earth babies laugh and feel more babyish.

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In many places throughout earth, a new chain of infant merchandise stores and care facilities had opened called Babies of all Ages. Ordinarily, though, such an opening would not have been greeted by the major customer base that had mysteriously appeared.

No one truly took notice of the fact that many infants of all ages and sexes had magically arrived with their mommies, daddies, and Nanas for the grand opening. The place was massively crowded with people, many of them adorably dressed as infants, toddlers, and littles, standing in long lines out the front with their caregivers.

A Faux News truck was present, with their ace reporter Deena Childs, interviewing the customers who were waiting patiently for their turn to enter the very crowded store.

Deena asked one of the really cute little girls there with their Nana, “What’s your name, Sweetheart, and how long have you been a toddler?” She snickered derisively.

The adorably dressed young woman answered with an infantile giggle, “Silly, beena toddler alla my lifes.” She nodded until her ponytail flew.”My name’s Feleese.” She was wearing a yellow and white dress covered with lace and bows, with very puffy sleeves, and it didn’t do much to cover the very thick and obvious diaper she was wearing, even though she was wearing a ruffly diaper cover.

Deena smiled a saccharine smile as she pointed the mike toward the Nana with the girl, “What’s it like caring for an oversized rambunctious toddler?”

The Nana looked at Deena with a strange glint in her eye as she answered, “I have no problems with my baby. She’s just precious, and I adore her a lot.” The Nana dug in one of her pockets for a bit, pulled out a strawberry colored smart phone, and handed it to Deena. “Just answer the question, and you will know all the answers to any questions you might have.”

Deena stood for an instant and looked at the phone in her hand. Oddly, the camera crew suddenly turned off the equipment and began doing other tasks. “Hey, where are you guys going?” she asked. “We’ve gotta get more footage of the weirdos. Hey! Remember what sells commercials? What pays your salary?” But they didn’t seem to listen to her. Deena looked down at the small pink device in her hand. It looked like an ordinary smart phone.

Then it began to ring. Its ringtone was a very nice nursery rhyme type jingle that sent wonderful chills all through Deena’s body to the core of her very essence. She had to answer … it was like someone else was in control as she just looked through the eyes.

“H .. Hel .. lo? This is Deena …”

A very pleasant cooing voice replied, “Hello, there, Sweetheart. My, aren’t you just an adorable little girl?”

“Little … girl?” Deena felt confused but also excited at the same time, as excited as a child about to enter a candy store.

The voice on the phone giggled, then replied, “Why, of course. I know all about all those really cute clothes ... and those thick pullups you wear at night.”

Deena’s eyes grew large as she gasped, “How ... do you know about that?”

The cooing voice replied, “I know about every infant everywhere. All you have to do, little girl, is answer a simple question, and you can wear all those cute outfits and even a diaper all the time. Can you do that for me?”

Deena was dazed. All she could do was nod. It seemed whoever was on the other end of the connection could tell.

The cooing voice asked sweetly, “Do you accept Baby Rules, Sweetie? Please say yes. You are much too adorable to have to suffer through adulthood.”

Deena felt like she had been struck by lightning as the question reverberated all though her. It spoke directly to that very secret place deep within her that had secretly always been a three-year-old. She had to answer. Nothing she could do could stop it as she blurted out, “YES!! I ACCEPT!! I pwomise ... I does ... Imma goo girl.”

The voice on the phone giggled as it replied, “Just let go and allow it to happen. No way to stop it now. You will meet your new mommy or Nana shortly. Bye for now, Sweetie.” The connection went dead.

Deena felt it as she helplessly wet her panties but good. A woman walked up suddenly and checked her right there in front of the crowd. “OK, Baby, Mommy will have to put you in diapers now. You are way too young to be in just panties, like I told you this morning.” With this, the woman took Deena by the hand and led the still stunned woman off for a good diapering and outfit change.

None of her video crew, or anybody else for that matter, seemed to take notice of anything unusual. The only thing that did take notice was a really cute and fluffy creature sitting on its hind legs and twitching its nose.

“There you are, Deena, Sweetie,” said the same woman, leading Deena by the hand back to her crew a few minutes later. “Mommy’s got you all changed.” And Deena did appear changed. She now had her hair up in sausage curls, with a giant mint-green bow in it, wider than her shoulders. She wore a matching frilly babydoll dress, quite similar to that of the little girl she’d been interviewing earlier, only it was mint green and white, and her extra-thick diapers bulged out beneath its short hem. Her legs were in tights, though, with ruffles on the seat, and her feet were in oversized baby booties. Her microphone now looked just like a small child’s giant lollipop.

“Otay evewyone!” said Deena, and this time her camera crew paid attention, though they acted as if they didn’t see anything unusual. “We gonna talk to some morea these cutie pies an’ their mommies an’ daddies an’ Nanas! Wight, Mommy?” she asked, turning toward her own new caregiver.

“That’s right, Darling. They’re so adorable, aren’t they?”

“They sure is! Hewwo, witto boy! What’s your name?” asked Deena, approaching a young man with a clean-shaven face, blond hair, a red and white striped shirt, and blue shortalls under which he was obviously wearing a thick diaper. He was pulling a toy train behind him on a string.

The watching Floppit made cute babbling noises, very happy to see yet another baby released from her humdrum life of dull banality. Several other Floppits hopped over to join her, also making happy babbling sounds.

Miss Sephone is helping lots! Look, she bringed her store-daycare thingie to this planet too!

Yea! It’s gonna do great! Lookit alla wonnerful Earth babies! They loves it!

Sure looks like it! Earth is gonna be a lots gooder place!

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“Wowww, look at that, Corrie!” said Michelle as the two of them looked at the news report together. “That news girl sure turneded little quick! And she finded a Mommy … huh …”

“I knows you wish you hadda Mommy,” said Corrie. “Am sorry your real Mommy ’n Daddy lives so far away. D’you wanna go to that place?”

“Is so … crowded,” said Michelle. “I dunno if I would like it …”

“Well, we could go there laters … is real busy now, but later on maby it be betters? I can ask my Mommy if we can go.”

“W … would you?” asked Michelle. “I do really wanna go … just dun like the crowds.”

“Maybe if we waits ’til Saturday and then see who’s there?” suggested Corrie. “Gots homework ’n stuffs.”

“Yeah, an’ I’ve got work. Okies, let’s go Saturday!”

“Go where?” asked Scamper, helping Corrie build a tower out of blocks by picking up one block and putting it on to of another. Total height: 2 blocks.

“That new baby place!” said Michelle, pointing at the screen.

“Oooh, you’d like it there,” said Scamper. “Lots of Floppits are workin’ together to make that place real nice for babies. Maybe you’d find a Mommy!”

“I know,” said Michelle, “but it seems kinda … artificial.” She sighed. “I wanna real Mommy, not one that Floppit magic is makin’ happen.”

“We don’t make people wanna be babies or Mommies or Daddies,” said Scamper. “Just sets free tha ones that wanna be in their hearts. An’ keeps tha rest from makin’ funna them. But … I knows whatcha mean.”

“Burrow takin’ goo care of me till then, I knows,” said Michelle.

“Yupyups!” said Burrow. “Not gonna let any baby go without bein’ cared for, ’specially not a special one likes you!” The Floppit cuddled up to her and purred warmly.

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Michelle was working diligently at the Aquarium. Her supervisors were very impressed at her performance as well. It amazed them to no end how a toddler could work so well with the animals – especially the dolphins. It even seemed as if she could talk with them.

Michelle was bent over testing one of the large aqua hab tanks and showing off her cute ruffled bottom when a rather pretty teenage woman came up to Michelle and checked her diaper. Michelle was startled at first, but somehow this girl was familiar to her.

The young woman giggled and cooed in a wonderful tingly way, “Hi, Sweetheart. My name is Nana Pederson. A mutual friend of ours named Persephone asked me to come and be your Nana. I hate to see a poor little infant like you all alone with no one to care for her.”

Michelle felt a warm tingle rush through her as Nana Pederson took her by the hand and led her towards the Aquarium Nurse’s office. As Nana Pederson changed her messy diaper, Michelle realized right away that there was something exceptionally special about her.

As Nana Pederson dressed Michelle in a really adorable babydoll dress and matching panties and packed the old messy, smelly outfit into a special plastic-lined diaper bag, Nurse Evers returned to the office.

She said, “Hello, there. I’m the Aquarium Nurse. My name’s Janice Evers. What’s your name?”

Nana Pederson giggled in a really cute way, then said, “My name’s Mary Pederson. I’m Michelle’s new Nana. I’ve been assigned to care for her until such time as her parents can make other arrangements.”

Nurse Evers smiled as she replied, “Well, it’s very nice to meet you. Michelle did need someone to watch over her. Infants her age need adult supervision to keep them safe and out of trouble.”

Nana Pederson nodded, “Michelle’s a real sweetheart. She hasn’t made any trouble or gotten into any mischief like many infants her age. Not for the whole time I’ve been around her.”

“Oh, she’s certainly a sweetheart,” said Nurse Evers. “She’s always been the best … babydoll? …” Her forehead wrinkled as she seemed to be trying to remember something.

“Is something wrong, dear?” asked Nana Pederson. “I hope you’re feeling all right. But yes, Michelle’s always been the best babydoll. Always. And she always will be.” She spoke in a voice underscored with a calm and absolute certainty.

Michelle watched Nurse Evers’ brow unwrinkle as she smiled and nodded. “I’m so happy she’s here,” said Nurse Evers. “Everybody’s happy around her. Even the dolphins, it seems.”

“I’ve no doubt of it,” said Nana Pederson. “Well, it’s time to go back to your job, isn’t it, my dear?” she said to Michelle, who nodded, her thumb in her mouth. “It’s been a pleasure to meet you, Nurse Evers, and I’m sure we’ll both see you again soon. Have a wonderful afternoon!”

“Well, thank you, Ma’am!” said Nurse Evers. “And I know you’ll keep being a good girl, Michelle,” she added with a smile and tiny wave, which Michelle returned with a giggle.

Once they were out of the nurse’s office, Michelle asked, “Nana, did you do … something to her memory?”

“Now, don’t you worry your head about that,” Nana Pederson answered, leading her by the hand back out into the aquarium. People saw them pass but didn’t seem to think anything of it, other than some of them smiling because Michelle was so adorable. “The world’s a new place now, safe for babies of all ages. Why, in no time at all, nobody will remember it was ever any different.”

“Uh … OK …” Michelle began to wonder whether that was a good thing. Were people’s choices and free will being taken away? Maybe? But only in one specific way, and only if their choice had been a negative one made out of fear. But still, was it right?

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That afternoon, Nana Pederson brought Michelle back to her apartment. It most definitely looked like a little toddler girl’s fantasy nursery and play area. Corrie had arrived, via the interdimensional wormhole Burrow had dug for her and sat back on her thickly diapered bottom. She started sucking her thumb as she looked around the newly redone area.

Nana Pederson walked in leading Michelle by the hand. Michelle only had on a diaper and a pair of purple rumba panties. Nana saw Corrie and smiled, “Well, hello there, Baby. My name is Nana Pederson.” She bent over and patted Corrie softly on her head. Corrie felt so infantile. “I can also be your Nana while you’re here if you want.”

Corrie nodded her head as she continued to suck her thumb. That was when Burrow, Scamper, Giggle, and Lemondrop arrived and began wallowing all over Corrie, tickling her with their very soft fur. Corrie fell over onto her back and giggled, flailing ineffectually with her arms and legs. By the time the tickle game was over, Corrie didn’t have a single adult thought in her head, and her diaper was soaked.

“My goodness, but those silly Floppits do love to tickle, don’t they?” said Nana Pederson. “But I’ll bet baby Corrie needs a diaper change, doesn’t she?” Corrie was so regressed that she didn’t even know what Nana Pederson was saying. She just loved the musical sound of her voice and smiled at her. “Goodness, yes she does,” said Nana Pederson, lifting up Corrie’s skirtall and feeling her diaper. “Let’s get you into a dry one, shall we?” She lifted Corrie up onto the changing table and took care of that.

Nana had removed all of Corrie’s clothes and had her in just a thick diaper and an adorable pair of yellow plastic lined rumba panties when she brought her into the play area with Michelle. Both girls were in just a diaper and panties and definitely showed off their ruffles as much as possible as they played.

The Floppits, of course, couldn’t resist playing with the infants and joined in with many of their antics that insured both girls lost any thoughts that might even be assumed were adult as they giggled in delight.

While the girls and the Floppits engaged in a wonderful plushie fight, Nana Pederson sat and smiled. She knew it would be several centuries yet before this timeline’s Earth began creating the necessary technology for them to discover Infantus. Even now, after being the Goddess of Nanas for as long as she had, it still amazed her to be in a local timeline many centuries before the one that produced her.

She shook her head and brought out some knitting. She was going to make rompers for her new babies and insure they were soft and comfy and very cute.

The materials she was knitting would be unknown on Earth for centuries. The threads were made from the fibers taken from the cocoons of the Glow Moths of Ceti-Alpha-Prime.

This material, even in her day, was extremely rare and expensive due to the length of gestation and the scarcity of the Moths. She smiled as she looked up for a minute and watched the Floppits at play with her infant charges

She knew there was a major interaction of some sort with floppits and the Glow Moths that attracted them in some way and caused them to flourish in ways unheard of in the wild. The many millions of them that had taken up residence around the Floppit Warrens on Infantus was proof enough.

Of course, the Glow Moths on Infantus were diligently and aggressively protected from exploitation and only those cocoons the moths willingly gave to their overseers were ever taken, insuring harmony and keeping the available fibers down to the proper rarity levels for the rest of the known universe.

Nana Pederson held up the almost complete romper to look it over. The cloth shone with a beautiful glow that enhanced the wearer’s beauty, and other aspects such as the fact the girls were toddlers, and would insure they would be exactly who they had always secretly been and totally accepted by all who saw them.

That was when she noticed all the many new Floppits wallowing all over the giggling infants. She stood and clapped her hands together, “Here, now, what’s all this? Are we having a party?”

Two of the Floppits, one strawberry pink with white stripes, the other cocoa brown with strawberry pink stripes, stood on their hind legs and wiggled their noses.

They said at the same time, “We gots missions from Miss Sephone.”

The strawberry colored one said, “Yea ... Miss Sephone say we gotsa makes it nice ’n safes for her babies here.”

Nana Pederson smiled as she saw all the adorably cute Floppits playing happily with Michelle and Corrie.

Corrie was in a state of complete delight. She understood what the Floppits said – Miss Persephone, whose name she knew instinctively was that of a friend to all infants, wanted her babies to be safe and wanted the Floppits to help her with this. Corrie knew she was one of those babies, and she was happy that Miss Persephone wanted her and those like her to be safe. She also knew that her friend Michelle was another one of those babies and was also going to be kept safe. She didn’t know how they would be kept safe, nor did she know what they were to be kept safe from, but in her regressed state those details didn’t matter. She was a happy baby girl, and there were others looking after her and keeping her and her friends safe, so everything was fine.

Michelle’s thoughts were much the same – only she knew that Nana Pederson was a friend of Miss Persephone who had been sent to look after her. And that was good enough for her – she felt safe with Nana Pederson around and knew that she would take care of everything. And thus, with both girls feeling completely safe and regressed mentally to the infants they truly were inside, they were free to play and giggle with the Floppits for what felt like an eternity of joy and delight.

In reality it was only a few hours. Nana Pederson knew that Corrie had homework to do before bedtime and that Michelle had to get to sleep for her job in the morning.

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Michelle did an outstandingly excellent job in her caretaker position. Several of the Cetacean Speech Project had also taken notice of her abilities with the many specimens on display at the aquarium.

They started a monitoring program to study Michelle and her amazing abilities, making recordings of her conversations. They were busy analyzing them on all the frequencies available to their research teams.

“Ya know, Ed? If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that toddler employee can actually speak their language.”

Ed sat back in his chair and took a large drink of his coffee, then said, “Tell ya what Phil, I know for a fact some of what we’re hearing isn’t baby babble … there's something underlying it all with much deeper meanings.”

Phil sat forward in his chair a bit and made several adjustments to the frequencies scanned. Ed, for the umpteeth time, started the AI analysis protocol.

The two researchers sat and slowly drank their morning coffee as both scans ran. The green light that said the AI had made a translation started flashing. Ed quickly leaned forward again and clicked on the screen with his mouse.

A very soft and cooing voice spoke chillingly to both men’s souls. “Hello babies. My, aren’t we just being adorably naughty now? All Auntie needs you babies to do is answer a simple question. Can you both do that for Auntie?”

Both men nodded their heads in an animated sort of way.

The voice cooed so softly and lovingly as it asked, “Do you accept Baby Rules? I promise it’s what you both really want.”

To Phil and Ed, it was like getting hit by a bolt of lightning with only wonderfully intense tingling waves washing all through them. Both men gasped out, “Yethhh!! We does.” Their voices changed rapidly as they became really cute little three year old toddlers.

Several of the other techs entered the lab and saw the two of them siting on the floor in a large puddle. One of the young women picked up the phone and hit a button. The phone rang twice before a pleasant female voice answered, “Nurse’s Office, Nurse Evers, how may I be of service?”

“This is Jenna at the Cetacean Lab. We need you to come handle an infant emergency please. Apparently, two of our toddler employees were sent to work in just undies. We both know …”

Nurse Evers giggled slightly, “OK, I’ll be there in a minute and take care of it. How messy are the poor babies?”

Jenna looked around and saw the two of them sitting in a large puddle the both of them had made when they had wet themselves. “Well … if it were me, I would change their whole outfits. They aren’t messy, just completely soaked.”

Nurse Evers replied, “On my way. Where are you and they currently?”

Jenna replied, “We’re in the frequency research section of the Cetacean Lab. Can’t miss the infants.”

Nurse Evers arrived at the lab pulling a brand new utility cart the aquarium had purchased from Babies of All Ages. It was a fold-out changing, bath, and storage area for all the things needed to care for an infant while being away from normal care places.

The nurse quickly cleaned, powdered, and diapered the two toddlers. She dressed them both in shortalls that snapped up the legs and crotch to make changing and checking them more convenient.

The nurse gave both infants a large lollipop as she patted their hineys, “That was very good, babies. Now, if you need changing come see me at the nurse’s station. I’m getting a new CNA to aid me in checking and caring for our infant employees, but that won’t be for another several days. Looks like I’ll be a bit busier than I thought before my new nursing assistant arrives.”

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“Now, just don’t you worry, changing babies like you is one of my jobs,” said Nurse Evers to a cute toddler boy in yellow shortalls and a bright blue and white T-shirt as he left her office in a dry diaper, giggling as Nurse Evers patted him on the behind. Michelle watched him toddle off on his way, smiling and waving at her.

“Nurse Evers, I, uh,” Michelle began.

“Oh, Michelle dear!” said the nurse. “Let me just check you. I’ll bet you’re here for a change. Am I right? Oh, I see that I am.” She had lifted up the hem of Michelle’s short dress and felt her hiney. Michelle was, of course, quite wet. It was rare for her to be dry, after all.

“Yes, please,” said Michelle, blushing. She wasn’t embarrassed to be a babydoll. In fact, it was wonderful. She just wasn’t all that comfortable asking people to do things for her, even people who were happy to help.

“Well of course!” said Nurse Evers. “It’s what I’m here for, and you’ve always been a friend to me, ever since you started working here and started needing diaper changes.”

“You mean …” said Michelle, lying back on the changing table, “I’ve always needed diaper changes? For as long as you can remember?”

“Oh yes, right from your first day here you’ve been the most adorable little babydoll,” Nurse Evers said.

Michelle knew that wasn’t accurate. Things had changed, but Nurse Evers didn’t remember that. The dolphins did, though, and so did Michelle. “I guess you get all the supplies you need for taking care of babies,” she said as Nurse Evers changed her.

“I certainly do! Like most institutions, the aquarium wants to make sure all its guests are happy, including the babies of all ages, of course!” She got Michelle’s new diaper taped snugly on and helped her up from the table, tugging her skirt back into place for her. “There you go, Honey!”

“Nurse Evers …”

“Yes, Sweetie?”

“Thank you.” She hugged Nurse Evers, who happily hugged her back.

“Well, you’re welcome, Sweetheart!” Michelle felt a little bad. All these people had been changed, against their will, to become accommodating to just a few people. On the other hand, adult babies like herself weren’t looked down upon anymore but were instead reasonably accommodated by society. And what was more, Nurse Evers now happily changed regular babies too, something she hadn’t had the funding to do before – she hadn’t had a changing table or diapering supplies of any kind, just an examination table and various types of first aid supplies. So the change that Persephone and the Floppits had brought to the world had also made things better for the young type of babies.

“I … have to go now,” Michelle said quietly. But her changes in Nurse Evers’ office were now among the happiest moments of her day, and her day usually included talking to dolphins, so that was saying something. “I … like coming to see you.”

“Aww, Honey, I think you’re one of the most special babies I’ve ever met,” said Nurse Evers. “Such an adorable little thing. I wish you could stay here with me, bringing sunshine to my life, but I know you’ll be along later on, ’cause you always are. So you go ahead and run along, now, and I’ll be seeing you soon, OK?” Nurse Evers smiled warmly and patted her crinkly behind.

Michelle giggled and smiled back, and went back to her duties. Why did Nurse Evers make her so happy and content? It was almost like the feeling she felt when Nana Pederson came to take her home.

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“Hmm, yes, good work,” said Dr. Fishers. “I’m liking how this chapter’s coming together.” Corrie’s dissertation was coming along. It focused on her role in the project, which had been designing the algorithms to analyze the data from the various detectors. “I think you do a good job of describing the theoretical framework behind your code, and drawing a strong distinction between the more timely but less accurate real-time analysis and the more accurate after-the-fact analysis. Yet you make it clear that it’s the same math, just done with differing levels of detail.”

“I’m glad, Dr. Fishers,” said Corrie. “That was my goal – that’s what I wanted to make clear.” She blushed slightly. She was, after all, standing in her graduate advisor’s office in a light blouse and short skirt with a visibly thick diaper underneath. Just a few days earlier, she’d never have thought such a thing would have been possible. And it was still very weird that Dr. Fishers seemed to think absolutely nothing of it. “On a related note – what do you think about the filter algorithm?”

“Filtering out the anomalous secondary data?” asked Dr. Fishers. “Yes, that seems to be working very well, allowing us to pick up traces of the primordial wormholes we were searching for. But I had a thought – what if you could filter for the secondary data?”

“You mean, you want to look at the secondary data we’re picking up?” asked Corrie. “I suppose it could be of interest …”

“Yes, it could mean a different kind of wormhole, and that could be worth studying, by someone somewhere in the world.”

“Well, it would be pretty easy to just separate it off,” Corrie thought aloud. “Basically we’d end up with two data sets, which could be analyzed independently. The analysis algorithms wouldn’t have to be that different from each other, though. After all, the wave functions are quite similar.”

“Yes, that was my thought too,” said Dr. Fishers. “We have the storage space – why not just store the other data too? Maybe we’ll have time to look at it later, once this project’s papers are written, or maybe some other project will want to.”

“OK, I’ll make that change right away!” said Corrie. “It shouldn’t be too hard. It’ll be in by the weekend!”

“Good work, Corrie,” said Dr. Fishers. “I’m glad you’re with us. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a phone call coming from Europe.”

“OK, no problem! I’ve got to get a d … um, I’ve got things to take care of,” Corrie said, almost blurting out that she needed a diaper change.

“Of course, of course,” said the professor. “I’ll see you soon. Take care!” He sat down at his desk and turned around in his chair, and Corrie picked up her diaper bag and left. She had some coding to do now, on top of her regular homework. Soon she’d be done with classes and could focus only on her research, but that wasn’t the case yet.

Of course, that was assuming more things didn’t change. Was she still going to get a PhD? Or would the changes happening to her and Michelle, not to mention the rest of the world, get in the way of that goal? Of course, finding a way to be more of her baby self, and finding a way to transition to being a girl, had also been goals, but those goals had been accomplished, quite unexpectedly, and far more completely than she’d thought possible.

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Nurse Evers was busy restocking her infa-cart, as she nicknamed it, when a large flash of white light filled her office for an instant. Nurse Evers turned quickly to see a familiar glowing young woman dressed in a long flowing black and white outfit standing in front of a desk.

The young woman held out both of her hands in a non threatning way and said in a soft musical voice, “Hi, I’m Nana Pederson, as I’m sure you already know. I believe we have some business to discuss about a mutual acquaintance.” The office shifted and transformed to become more like a very plush sunken living lounge, “Come, make yourself comfortable, and we can have some hot tea.” A golden bejeweled tea set appeared sitting on a large tray that looked like it was made of some kind of crystal. The young woman poured out two steaming cups, then sat back to look at Nurse Evers.

Of course, Nurse Evers was in a total state of shock. She moved towards this glowing apparition of young womanhood with trepidation, then sat nervously with the tea service between them. “Wh … what kind of thing could I possibly know … that .. umm .. I mean …”

Nana Pederson laughed softly then said, “Relax. We need to discuss Michelle. I am more than happy to remain and be her Nana, but after all, It is my job, and I must be about it now and then. One lump ... or two?”

Nurse Evers looked at Nana Pederson. She sat with a questioning expression as she held the sugar service in one hand and a delicate jewel-encrusted pair of tongs in the other.

Nurse Evers shook her head to try to get it working again, “I … ummm .. let’s try two. If ... I ahh … need more …”

“Of course, Dear. It has an infinite supply in this neat bowl. You can have as much as you want.” giggled Nana. She took a delicate and well mannered sip of her tea. Nana closed her eyes and sighed with pleasure, “Should try some. It’s ambrosia tea. I promise it’s ... heavenly.” she giggled again.

Nurse Evers gingerly picked up the rather large but delicately made teacup and took a small sniff. Its aroma was beyond her powers of description; needless to say, it was the very finest tea she had ever had the pleasure of smelling.

The nurse then lifted the gilded edge of the cup to her lips and took a small, shy sip of the dark liquid within. It wasn’t too hot, or too cool. The flavor was also beyond anything the nurse could imagin as well.

Nurse Evers took a larger sip before she daintily placed the empty cup back on the large crystal platter, “You are Michelle’s Nana, am I right? I do see you picking her up here every day.”

Nana Pederson replied with a smile, “I am currently acting as Michelle’s Nana. I do have sort of a problem, although from what I have just learned, you can have the wish that’s formulating in your heart, which is also a solution to my problem.”

Nurse Evers was nearly nonplussed as it was. Now, Michelle’s Nana was saying she could read the contemplations of her heart. From what little she had just seen with her own eyes, it probably was so.

Nurse Evers managed to get out, “What wish might that be?”

Nana Pederson laughed as she replied, “I know that no one has written stories about me, or what my job is. You see, many centuries in the future I will meet someone named Aries. They needed a Nana to care for the Cherubs.” She shrugged. “I practically raised those two almost from birth, so Aries gave me the job of the Goddess of Nanas.”

Nurse Evers asked reasonably, as she became used to the idea that there was far more to Pederson than met the eye, “How does that fulfill a ... wish?”

Pederson daintily took another sip of her tea, “Sort of like this. You have fallen in love with the toddler that Michelle really is. You technically were in love with her … before.”

Nurse Evers asked, “Before … what?”

“Before someone very powerful named Persephone made it possible for your world’s little toddlers to be what they truly are. Besides,” Pederson went on after emptying her cup, “you have a strong and growing desire to be Michelle’s Nana, or governess. It would work perfectly. You can fill the position of Nana while I am tending to my goddess duties. Of course, you must know, too, all the stories of great rewards for those who aid us … are true. Now, just relax as the dream … becomes reality.”

Nurse Evers felt a strange chill wash through her. She saw Nana Pederson stand and wave, before she and the tea service vanished in a bright sparkle of white light and her office returned to its normal state.

Nurse Evers’ mind was in total overload at that point. Amid all the many thoughts racing through her mind at that moment, one shining thing came through loud and clear as she realized she needed to check on her charge, Michelle.

There was more to being a Nana than just changing diapers, and just because she had just discovered there was more to this universe than she could ever hope to understand, Michelle was still her baby, and she had the job of being Michelle’s Nana.

Above her, in a dark place almost hidden in shadows on top of a filing cabinet, three really adorable Floppits watched the goings-on with great interest.

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I think she’s gonna do it.

Really? I dunno if she can. She’s not Nana Pederson, after all.

Nobody’s Nana Pederson. Except Nana Pederson. She’s gotta be Nana for a lot of people. This one only has to be Nana for one baby.

One very special baby. One of the two who were the keys to freeing this world.

Yeah, so she deserves a very special Nana. Is this one the right one?

I guess we’ll see.

I hope so!

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“I think I’ve discovered something about the extraneous data,” said Corrie. “Look at this.” She opened her laptop and brought up a series of graphs. “This one is an average of the field of the primal wormholes we’ve been studying. This one is the average of the fields of the anomalous data. See the resemblance?”

“They’re … exactly the same,” said Dr. Fishers in astonishment, “except for their scale.”

“Yes,” said Corrie. “The thing is, the scale of the anomalous wormholes …”

“... is macroscopic!” Dr. Fishers exclaimed. “Macroscopic wormholes? Large enough for an actual object to pass through? Like a detector? Or a drone? Do we know where these wormholes were physically located?”

“Well … maybe we could try to triangulate based on the readings from the different detectors,” said Corrie. She knew perfectly well where the wormholes had appeared. There was still one in her bedroom that led to Michelle’s apartment. The problem was … if anybody who meant the Floppits harm found out about their research, they might be able to use it to track the Floppits’ movements. Did Corrie really want to pursue this line of inquiry? And if she didn’t, wouldn’t someone else do it?

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Nurse Evers left her office pulling her infa-cart. Thinking about checking up on Michelle to see if she needed attention brought a large smile to her face. She loved being Michelle’s Nana. but timing was sort of mixed up in her already addled mind.

As she thought about it, she couldn’t exactly remember when she had actually become Michelle’s Nana. She came around the corner near the dolphin pools and saw Nana Pederson sitting in a very ornate and comfortable armchair with Michelle sitting in her lap getting her hinney patted reassuringly.

Nana Pederson cooed softly, “Nana has made sure someone you love a whole lot is your new Nana. She actually was anyway. Nana has to go and be Nana for some Cherubs for a bit. I’ll be back. While I’m gone, I think this lady will more than fill my place.”

Michelle buried her face in Nana Pederson’s bosom and whimpered, “Baby still gonna miss Nana bunchesa lots.”

Nana Pederson smiled as she looked directly at Nurse Evers, “I’m sure it won’t be all that bad, baby.” She picked Michelle up under her arms just like the toddler she appeared to be and set her on her feet before standing. “I’m very sure Nana Evers will fill the role perfectly.”

Michelle looked up and turned slightly with an open-mouthed, wide-eyed, and very adorable look of surprise, “You ... are Nana Evers?” she shrieked with joy as she toddled over and gave her a huge loving hug.

It felt so wonderful to have Michelle in her arms this way that Nana Evers began to cry.

Nana Pederson smiled as she said in a soft musical way, “See? I told you it solves my problem and grants you your heartfelt wish – now, doesn’t it?”

Nana Evers looked up and nodded. Nana Pederson smiled, then said, “I’ll be back soon. I must check on the Cherubs and make sure they are out of mischief.” With this, Nana Pederson waved an arm, and she, the chair, and several other items vanished before the others’ amazed eyes.

Next thing Nurse Evers knew, she had Michelle in just a pair of plastic-lined rumba panties and a really cute top with matching booties. No one paid attention to the fact that Michelle was dressed as an infant and doing an adult’s job; all they seemed concerned over was how adorably cute the toddler was.

“The Floppits are doing a wonderful job with this planet,” said Dana the dolphin to her friend Dora as they observed this scene.

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Finally, it was Saturday morning. Corrie’s mother was diapering and dressing her in a really cute romper with lots of lace and ruffles, insisting that she was going to be the cutest infant at Babies of All Ages.

The phone rang, Corrie’s mother answered on the second ring, “This is Helen. Oh, hello Miss Evers. Oh I see, Nana Evers. How can I …? Oh, yes, the babies did say they wanted to go to Babies of All Ages today. Sounds like fun. Do you know where I live … oh right, of course you do. How about … 11 a.m. sounds fine by me. See you in an hour.”

Helen turned around. Corrie was sitting in the middle of a large ring of Floppits. Each one was taking a turn and giving Corrie a big hug and large nose bump.

Helen stood and clapped her hands together softly. “OK, everyone,” she said. “I have to get Corrie bathed and dressed to go out to the new store that just opened.”

The Floppits moved away, although they did sound like many infants babbling happily as they tumbled and frolicked.

As Helen busied herself getting Corrie all dressed, the Floppits came and went, vanishing elsewhere, some going through the tunnel to Michelle’s nursery, and as they did, the detector on Corrie’s desk silently gathered data for her computer.

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There wasn’t as long a line outside Babies of All Ages today as there had been during its grand opening a few days earlier, so Janice and Helen didn’t have to entertain two restless babies for very long as they waited to get inside.

Inside the building there were two separate sections: one was a daycare facility for babies of all ages, as the name suggested, and one was a megastore that sold baby and childcare products and clothes and toys of all sizes. The daycare had separate sections for different sized babies; it seemed well thought out. There were young infants and toddlers in their own area, and the larger variety were in a separate area with larger toys, cribs, and changing tables, and they were all looked after by attentive employees.

As soon as they got inside, Michelle and Corrie spotted the toy section first, of course, and they tried to run there … but, as they were both strapped into strollers, that wasn’t about to happen. They both struggled, but they stayed put instead, and both of them started to cry desperately. “MOMMYYYY! TOYYYYYS!” wailed Corrie. She wasn’t alone. Michelle was doing much the same, as were many other babies nearby, both large and small.

But Helen was having none of it, popping Corrie’s pacifier into her mouth and taking advantage of the store’s unique shopping carts, which were designed to “dock” strollers of all sizes onto them in such a way that Helen could easily push the cart and keep a close eye on her daughter, and Corrie couldn’t see much other than her Mommy. Sucking on her pacifier and looking at her Mommy, Corrie calmed down, because she couldn’t see the toys anymore.

This gave Helen a chance to look for supplies for Corrie – she examined the store’s special brand of diapers and picked up a pack to try out on Corrie. She found some quite adorable outfits and picked them up to see if they’d fit Corrie. There were some very interesting and innovative furniture items for babies Corrie’s size, like playpens that would keep Corrie comfortably but securely inside while making it very easy for her Mommy to get her in and out. And the prices were remarkably reasonable.

And while they were there, Helen noticed a new type of toy – a plushie that was very soft and cuddly, and it made a variety of squeaking and cooing noises when other babies hugged it. The sounds it made seemed to calm the infants instantly. They were for sale at this store, and they seemed to be selling like mad. Helen thought they looked very much like those cute Floppit creatures that sometimes visited Corrie, only those were alive, while these were obviously toys. She wondered whether Corrie would like one, but decided against it for now, since Corrie had lots of visits from the real thing.

Nana Evers also looked into the daycare service, which was also quite reasonably priced. It was very capacious too, able to handle hundreds of infants of all sizes at once. There were openings, and she took some information to read and consider. Perhaps she could leave Michelle here at times for the staff to care for.

She saw a mother collecting her large toddler from the daycare right now. “Come on, Baby Deena, it’s time to go home!”

“Noooooo!” said the adorably dressed toddler girl, holding onto the side of a playpen with one hand. “Wanna stay!”

“Deena,” said her Mommy, “you know it’s time for lunch and your nap. Come along.”

“Noooo nap!” Deena said, in tears, stomping her foot on the soft floor mats.

“Mr. Long Ears wants to see you,” said her Mommy, holding up one of the Floppit plushies.

The effect on Deena was electric and instantaneous. She gasped, let go of the playpen, and reached toward the plushie with both hands, not even moving her body at first, then seemed to remember that her feet did something and toddled toward her Mommy and the plushie. “Mista Long Ears!” she said lovingly.

“Best money I ever spent,” said Deena’s Mommy as Nana Evers watched in amusement.

It was about that time Corrie started to feel funny in her tummy. An adorable expression came over her face as she did her best not to do what she knew was going to happen anyway.

Helen turned from one of the counters that held many of the new, really cute pullups for girls. She smiled as she noticed Corries poopy face and came over and checked her. Since she was in one of those rompers that Nana Pederson had made, the whole thing was made even more adorable and all of Corrie’s actions even more cute.

Helen grabbed a package of the cutest and laciest pullups and said in a soft voice, “Come with Mommy, Miss Corrie, I know it’s that time for you.”

As Corrie was led off towards the well-marked changing area, Michelle began to snicker. Then, she also began to feel the butterflies and small waves beginning in her tummy. Of course, Nana Evers didn’t miss Michelle’s poopy face either, so Michelle also found herself being checked right in front of everyone.

Both girls were changed and thickly diapered. Nana Evers had purchased an adorable chipmunk outfit for Michelle, who now had two cute pony bumps on the top sides of her head that even looked like little ears.

Corrie’s mom had bought her an adorable Teddy Bear outfit that fit her perfectly. The only problem was that the romper Nana Pederson had made was special and was far and above better and more precious. Of course Corrie’s mom and Nana Evers had them in the rompers and packed the new outfits in the basket with the rest of their purchases.

The girls were led to one of the many play areas for children of all sizes and ages. As Helen and Nana Evers looked around the large, well stocked infant playroom, they also noticed many Floppits frolicking around making the place even more adorable. Of course, the many children there at play were kept well occupied and safe by the creatures, as well as the human employees, who seemed accustomed to the Floppit presence. There were separate areas for the more traditional babies and for bigger ones like Michelle and Corrie.

Once they saw the play area, Michelle and Corrie couldn’t leave without being allowed to play there for a little while, so while Nana Evers and Helen shopped a bit more, the two babies got to play with the toys, equipment, and other babies. Corrie, of course, soaked her pullup right through and got changed by the nice people there into a brand new Babies of All Ages diaper, one of the kind that her Mommy had bought some to try on her at home.

There was something special about this new diaper, Corrie could feel right from the moment that the caregivers fastened it on her that it was magnificently soft and comfy, and she felt almost unable to think a single adult thought with it on. She was barely able to walk due to how young it made her feel. As a result it was very easy for her to talk to the Floppits at the daycare.

She learned all their names, and they told her all about life on the planet Infantus, where they came from. Michelle later needed a change too, and the same thing happened to her once she was changed into one of these amazing diapers.

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The next thing either girl knew, when they finally came back to … their almost normal selves, they were in the middle of a wonderful plushie fight.

It seemed that three other toddler girls had come into the daycare. Of course when a plushie fight is happening, not to mention against the Floppits, no toddler could resist, and they dove right in and added to the excitement and fun of the fight. Now there were five toddlers against 12 Floppits. This was fair, according to Baby Rules, as both Corrie and Michelle found out when they checked the app on their cute smart phones.

Of course, all of them were wet and some were messy when the attendants came to check their diapers. And as they were changed, each one felt the marvelous effects of the special diapers by the time she was placed back in the playroom. All five of them were in a complete and super wonderful infantile daze.

Anything any of their eyes fell upon became an amazing discovery. The Floppits, who knew exactly what was going on, were extremely complicit in insuring that none of the toddlers grew up enough to care so they would have playmates that understood them.

Helen and Nana Evers stood in the lounge area and drank some very nice hot chamomile tea and honey as they gazed out the large lounge window and watched their infants play.

Helen rubbed her forehead and said, “I can’t remember when I had this much fun out shopping with the girls. This place is like magic.”

Nana Evers smiled as she gracefully sat in one of the large and comfy lounge chairs, then said, “Well, I discovered something about this world that is really amazing.”

Helen had snuggled into one of the chairs next to Nana Evers. She laid her head on the large pillowed arm and said in a soft voice, “And just what might this universal revelation be about?” then batted her eyelashes.

It took Nana Evers a second to notice, then both women burst into laughter.

Nana Evers commented, “I’m just so glad Nana Pederson was who she was.”

Helen sat up in the lounge chair, then squirmed into a comfy position, “Yes. she’s Michelle’s Nana too, isn’t she?”

Nurse Evers smiled at the recent memories of Nana Pederson. “There’s a lot more to her than just being Michelle’s other Nana. I mean …” Nana Evers realized that Helen had no real clue that the world around her had changed radically. “... I think she may be one of the Directors of Babies of All Ages,” she finished, altering what she’d been about to say.

“Really? I had no idea Michelle had such … connections,” said Helen.

Nana Evers suspected it might be best to leave it at that. “Yes,” she said, “I’m not sure why she’s also doing individual Nana duty from time to time, but it might be some kind of market research.”

“Or maybe she just wants to keep her hand in the game, so to speak,” said Helen. “To understand the babies her company serves.”

“That’s … quite possible,” said Nana Evers.

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Corrie, like Michelle, was quite tuckered out after all the playing and fell asleep as soon as she was back in the car seat and on the way home, sucking her thumb as she napped. Helen was able to get her into her jammies and into her crib without waking her up, with the help of Scamper and a few other Floppits.

Corrie didn’t know what had happened until she woke up early the next morning in her crib, the light of dawn streaming in through the windows, still in her Babies of All Ages diaper and feeling so wonderfully small. She babbled incoherently and hugged her plushie Floppit, which made babbling sounds back.

“Good morning,” Scamper babbled at her, hopping into view.

“Morning Scamper!” Corrie babbled back happily. “I … think I’m still mostly baby.”

“That’s good!” Scamper said. “I hope you can be mostly baby most of the time! But there’s something I wanna ask you about.”

“What’s that?”

“That funny toy on your table over there,” Scamper said. “It makes clicky sounds whenever any of us Floppits burrows through to anywhere.”

“Well yeah, it’s ’cause …” Corrie had a hard time translating any of the quantum mechanics she knew into baby babble. “Uh … it’s looking for tunnels being made in space. I guess you guys make those. But you’re not the only ones who make them.”

“Yeah, all kinds of space stuff can make ‘em too,” said Scamper, “but those kinda feel different, they don’t usually go where we need to go, you know? Anyway, are your science guys trying to figure out the tunnels?”

Corrie blushed slightly, “I am trying to study them and gather data for my research. When I started, I had no idea ...” Corrie acted really silly and cute for an instant before she regained some modicum of control. It was so hard to pretend to be adult, “Somma tha researchers thinks we can travel through em if we can makes one wiffa thingy.”

Scamper giggled then stood on her hind legs and wiggled her nose. “So it really is you thens.”

Corrie sat back and sucked her thumb in thought for an bit then babbled, “Why comes me? Amma goo girl n stuffs.” Corrie’s expression began to cloud up like she was about to cry.

Scamper immediately snuggled up to Corrie and cooed softly in the Floppit’s magical way. “No, no, no inna bad way kinna thing, is bewy goo.” Scamper tickled Corrie with her thick fur. “Is jus’ long time from nows … Earf gonna ’scovers how ta makes NR wormhole drives.” Scamper looked around at Corrie, “An an an, is gonna be you that gave ’em the means ta does it.”

Corrie’s eyes grew large as she took her thumb out of her mouth and gasped, “Ya means … this data and my research …”

Scamper nodded. “Yups. Ya only gotsa little bit more ta ’scovers. We no can helps wif that ’less Miss Sephone says. We can makes sure alla you babies, toddlers, ’n littles is who ya really is for reals.”

Corrie gasped again as Scamper began to tickle her very sensitive toes. Corrie was totally helpless as she kicked, squirmed, and wiggled just as any toddler in that situation, giggling her little head off.

Hellen walked in and clapped her hands together, “Alright there. I bet you caused her to wet her diaper but good.”

Scamper babbled with glee as she hopped off to one side of Corrie as Helen checked her daughter’s very wet diaper.

Helen helped Corrie to her wobbly feet and led her by the hand towards the bathroom and the changing area. Corrie put one hand between her legs as the warm wetness once again trickled into her diaper and was rapidly absorbed by its amazing technology.

Corrie looked up and saw … OMG!! The potty monster. It had its mouth closed, and Mommy had Baby by the hand .. so things were OK, and Baby was safe from it, so she didn’t panic or start crying.

Helen lifted Corrie onto the padded surface of the changing table. As she pulled down Corrie’s panties and unfastened the diaper, she leaned over and rubbed noses with Corrie as she cooed softly, “How’s my precious little bundle?”

Corrie giggled, kicked, and squirmed while Helen cleaned her with a soft and sweetly smelling baby wipe. Next, Corrie found her bottom lowered into a magically soft, very thick, comfy diaper. Helen powdered Corrie well, and the wonderful smell of baby powder filled the air as she fastened the diaper she had bought from Babies of all Ages snugly but comfortably on.

Scamper, of course, watched all this happen and giggled to herself. Corrie was one of the special babies all right. It was her doctoral research she was doing now on primal wormholes, that was going to allow the humans of Earth to invent FTL drives, and eventually, discover Infantus. Of course, Scamper also knew of the Omicron Crystal Drives that came first and how Miss Sephone had handled that disaster before it even happened.

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“Good news, Corrie,” said Dr. Fishers. “The data your code has been analyzing all weekend has borne fruit. We can now triangulate the location of the macroscopic wormholes. And astoundingly, they’re on Earth, of all places. Even more amazingly, they seem to track with the Earth’s rotation and orbital trajectory. How is that even possible? Is it some kind of frame dragging? Could it be due to a source of the phenomenon on Earth?”

“Uhhhh, well, Professor, I can’t think of another way that could happen,” said Corrie.

“Then we must find the source!” said Dr. Fishers. “If we can do that … we could measure the emissions up close in great detail!”

“Hmm, how best to find the source, or sources?” wondered Corrie aloud. “If I could hook a stripped-down detector up to a computer running the software, we could zero in on the …” She stopped. Dr. Fishers held up a handheld device.

“Already done,” he said. “In fact, Kettering and Brown are already visiting some of the strongest emission sources with these.”

“What? Oh no!” Corrie squeaked. “We have to tell them! They can’t go near the … sources! It might be dangerous!” She was really worried that one of her colleagues would try to capture a Floppit, which could be disastrous.

“That’s true, which is why I’ve already told them to stay well away from any sources,” said Dr. Fishers. “After all, the other ends of those wormholes could be anywhere, including deep space or the heart of a star. We don’t want anyone getting hurt.”

“E-exactly!” said Corrie. “Absolutely not! Where are they?”

“Well, I sent them to the two strongest emission sources …” said Dr. Fishers.

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“Can I help you?” asked Helen.

“Well, Ma’am, I’m from the university, my name’s James Kettering, and I’m a graduate student in astrophysics … and I’m detecting some strange readings from somewhere in the vicinity of your home or possibly your yard. See the screen here …” He held up the device, which was basically just a smart phone connected to a box containing sensors and detectors, and showed her the screen, with its charts and graphs.

“Oh my, I don’t know anything about all of that,” Helen said. “Corrie’s the scientific genius of the family. She may be a cute and adorable baby girl, but she’s got an amazing mind. I’m so proud of her!”

“Corrie? Are you Corrie Mears’ mom?” asked James.

“Oh, yes! Are you one of her classmates?”

“Yes, and we’re on the same research team too, Ma’am,” James said.

“That’s so wonderful! Please, come in, let me get you something. Do you like tea? Coffee?”

“Well, that … would actually be wonderful, Ma’am; I love coffee. In the meantime I’d just like to get a few readings around your property …”

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“Hmm … the emission source is somewhere in that apartment building,” said Leslie Brown, looking at the screen of the improvised detector device and talking into her voice recorder app on her phone at the same time. “I’ve driven around the block, and it’s definitely within the structure somewhere. It’s somewhere on an upper floor … I’d guess the 11th or 12th … and it’s not moving.” She stood on the sidewalk outside the building’s front door and looked up.

“However, the building’s security isn’t going to let me in, so I’m going to have to contact the building manager and see if I can get in that way. This isn’t going to happen anytime today. Wait, someone is coming out …” The door was opening. Someone came out wearing nothing but a big diaper and carrying a very similar detector device. “Kettering? Is that you?”

“I … uh … I have no idea what just happened,” said James as Leslie giggled at him. “Look, I know I’m not a baby, OK? I just … can we go to your car or something?”

They walked quickly, amid pedestrians who stared at him, some giggling, others ignoring him, some taking photos. He tried to explain as they went. “Look, the site I went to … it turned out to be Corrie’s house! Her mom’s really nice and let me take readings … but the strongest ones were in her bedroom – which is, I mean, a nursery, since she’s a baby and everything. That’s normal. But when my measurements went into the red, I found myself somewhere else – in an apartment in that building there! It was another nursery. Another baby’s room, I guess? I was trespassing, so I got out of there before I got in trouble, but in between …”

“In between, what? You lost your clothes?” asked Leslie. “What about your wallet? Your ID? Your credit cards? Your phone?”

“Everything happened so fast,” James said. “One moment I was in Corrie’s nursery – then I was in this place, I think it was underground or something, and there were all these furry creatures! I know it sounds like some kind of alien abduction story, but really! There were dozens of them, and they took all my clothes off, and they put this on me, and …”

“Are you sure you didn’t just decide to try on one of Corrie’s diapers to see how life is for babies?” asked Leslie.

“No, really! I’ve got no interest in that! I just want to know what’s going on! The creatures saw how much I was struggling and sent me … to the other end, I guess.”

“Here we are. Get in the car.”

“With pleasure!” James got into Leslie’s car and tried to sink out of sight, sitting low in the seat.

“We can go back to Corrie’s house, I guess,” said Leslie. “At least your car is there.”

“Yeah, that’d be good. But … is Corrie doing some kind of experiment? What’s going on?”

“How about we just do the normal thing and ask her?” said Leslie as she started driving. “It’s not as if she isn’t working on a project about wormholes … and it isn’t as if she didn’t discover this evidence about macroscopic wormholes herself. I’d blame Dr. Fishers, if I were you. He’s the one who suggested we look into it, just because we happened to see him before Corrie did.”

“Yeah, we should just ask Corrie,” said James. “She probably found something over the weekend and hasn’t had a chance to tell anybody. But … what the heck?” He indicated the diaper that was all he was wearing. Luckily the weather was warm.

“Good question,” said Leslie. “But hey, I’m lucky I investigated the other site, or it might be me in the diaper.” She giggled. “You are kinda cute in that, you know.”

“Hey, stop it!”

“OK, OK,” said Leslie. “But let’s hope your stuff’s at Corrie’s house.”

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Corrie had arrived home asking whether any graduate students had come over. Her mother had only told her that one had been there, but he seemed to have left without saying goodbye. Corrie wasn’t sure what to make of it, but perhaps Kettering had gotten his readings and moved on to another site.

Corrie’s mother had given her a nice bubble bath and put her in a thick comfy diaper and panties, and then she’d taken Corrie to her playroom and placed her in the middle of the floor. It had taken only a moment for the Floppits to realize Corrie was there and to gather and play.

A different kind of Floppit appeared in the bunch. The other Floppits obviously deferred great respect towards this particular Floppit. They hopped over to Corrie, sat up on their hind legs, and wiggled their nose as they looked Corrie over.

Corrie sucked her thumb thoughtfully as she watched this new Floppit. Corrie finally babbled, “Hi, ma name’s Cowwie. Who’s you? Can we be fwiends??”

The new Floppit edged slightly closer before cooing softly in the musical way of their kind, “Hi, Corrie. My name’s Core. Guess you might say I’mma … leader of tha Floppit warrens. Am tha oldest livin’ Floppit an wuz tha firstus Miss Sephone met so long ago … or so far inna future, dependin’ on your perspective.”

Corrie giggled as she reached over and hugged Core close. His fur was soft, thick, and plushy, just like all the other Floppits. Corrie babbled, “So why comes you comeded ta see baby?” She started sucking her thumb thoughtfully once again.

Core tickled Corrie softly for a moment before he replied, “You are a very important baby, along wifs your friend Michelle. Shortly, you ’n her gonna scriggles sompin’ tha’ gonna change tha way your world approaches space travel. But first … you gotsa protect tha Floppits from some … confused humans.”

Corrie got up off the floor, showing off her cute ruffles in the process just like any other toddler, and toddled over to the nearby computer station. She picked up her strawberry pink smart phone and opened the monitoring app.

From what it showed, there had very recently been major activity in the creation, activation, and usage of several established wormholes Burrow had created. From what Corrie could tell by the data, several times an object of rather large mass had transported between her current location, Michelle’s apartment, and one of the distant places Corrie had seen the readings for, but had no clue where it might have been.

Immediately, Corrie started the extrapolation app and the energy dispersal and utilization app she’d coded. She might not know where the wormhole’s destination was, but she would be able to extrapolate, and after some heavy math and astrogation exercises, she could make an educated guess as to the approximate location.

Core had moved up close to Corrie and cooed softly, “Now, Sweetiekens, take care with those numbers. They are very ’portant to Earf … anna resta tha cosmos.”

Corrie turned slightly as she looked at Core for an instant before babbling adorably, “How comes it so ’portant? Is jus numbers baby collectin for her thesis.”

Core giggled, “Might bes. But them numbers awwsos makes it possible for you ’n three others ta makesa huge discovery an’ start a process that makes it possible for humankind to discover Infantus. Lotsa uvver stuffies happen ’sides that, but wifout that, uvver no ever happens.”

The doorbell rang, causing Corrie and all the Floppits to look up. After a moment, Corrie’s mom called up, “Corrie! It’s one of your friends from school. She wants to know whether your other friend left anything in your room?”

“Huh?” asked Corrie, looking at the group of Floppits. They chattered and babbled amongst themselves.

Finally, Core said, “Seems like onna them founded onna the burrows here on accident an’ tooked it alla way to our warren back home. Our people did what they does for alla visitors … gotted him all diapered n safe. But then he went away an’ lefted alla his stuffs behind. We gonna gets it for him.”

“Ooooh, OK, gonna tell Mommy that, be right back,” said Corrie, toddling to the door. She toddled to the top of the steps and called down, “Mommy, just a sec an’ the Floppits are gonna fetch alla his stuffs, OK?”

“Oh, that’s great, Sweetie!” her mom called back up the stairs. Corrie could hear her explaining this to Leslie. She went back into her room.

“Here,” said Core. “We gotted alla his stuffs gathered up an’ is all here. Is even all cleaneded.” Two Floppits held up a folded stack of clothing and a simple cloth sack of personal possessions. “Miss Sephone hadda give him a new phone though. Tha old one no liked bein’ washed. Alla … datas? Is all onna new one. Miss Sephone maked sure.”

“Oh, well tell her thanks lots!” said Corrie, taking the bundle. “Am gonna give ‘em back to him now, OK?” The Floppits nodded and chattered back.

“Mommy, tha Floppits gotted it all together an’ here it is,” said Corrie, toddling to the stairs.

“OK, Honey,” said her mom. “Careful coming down the stairs, now.”

Corrie toddled unsteadily down the stairs carrying all of James’ things. “Oh hi, Leslie,” Corrie said. “James no here? I mean, isn’t James here?”

“Oh, don’t worry about talking like a baby in front of me, Corrie,” said Leslie. “It’s adorable. But James, well, he only has a diaper to wear. He’s still in my car.”

“Oh gosh!” said Corrie. “James, he somehow found his way to … somewhere. They were trying to be helpful, but he left before they could put more clothes on him. They said that they cleaned everything, but his phone didn’t make it through the cleaning, so they transferred everything to a new one? I hope that’s OK?”

“Wow, that’s more than a dry cleaner would do if they messed up my phone,” said Leslie. Corrie gave her the bundle of clothes and the bag of personal effects. “I’m going to say thank you on his behalf. He might come in in a few minutes.”

“OK, dear,” said Corrie’s mom. “We’ll be here.” Leslie left. “It sure was nice of your Floppit friends to bring all of your friend’s things back. I guess he lost them somehow?”

“Yeah, Mom, it’s kinda … complicated.” Corrie wasn’t sure she understood it all herself.

“So … he didn’t rudely leave without saying goodbye or thank you?” asked her mom. “He accidentally stumbled upon some Floppit magic thing?”

“That’s what I’m thinking, Mom,” said Corrie. “I know where to go and where not to, but he wasn’t expecting it, so he just … fell in.”

“Well, I have to clean your room sometime, Corrie, and I don’t want to fall into anything, so perhaps you should let your Floppit friends know that they should clean up their toys.” suggested her mom.

“I will, Mom,” said Corrie.

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Outside in the car, James was changing clothes. He had made Leslie stand outside with her back turned. He put his clothes back on – they were quite clean, though they felt as if they’d been washed and dried by someone who had never heard of fabric softener. Then he opened up the cloth bag and found his wallet, and his money and credit cards were all fine, though the cash was kind of stiff, but his phone was different. It was pink. Bright pink. Strawberry pink. He turned it on to make sure, and his same password unlocked it. but at that moment it rang in his hand. The number said only, “Persephone.” He answered it, because this presented a mystery.

“Hello, Sweetiekins,” said a lovely voice. “Do you accept Baby Rules?”

“What? What are Baby Rules?”

“The rules that all babies live by, Darling,” said the voice. “Do you accept them?”

“I’m sorry, but I’m not a baby,” said James. “No offense intended; I’m just not like that. I know I was in a diaper before, but that was an accident. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“Very well, Honey, I understand,” said the voice. “But if you change your mind, or come across anyone who does accept Baby Rules … just call this number back.” The call hung up.

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James sat and stared at the pink phone in his hands for a minute in stunned silence. That softly cooing sweet voice kept washing tinglingly through him.”Baby Rules?” he thought to himself before his mind became clouded with many emotions and other things he didn’t realize had been deeply buried in his subconscious.

James quickly put the phone away and finished dressing. He saw Leslie come out of Corrie’s house and walk towards the car. She bounded up in her normal cheerful way, got in the car on the driver’s side, and turned towards James.

Leslie looked him over once, poked out her bottom lip and said with a pout, “Well, poo, you already got dressed. You were so cute too.”

James looked up as he finished tying the last shoe. His face held a bright red blush. “Knock it off. I’m really not that way …”

That softly cooing voice and those words rushed tinglingly through him. Do you accept Baby Rules? James wasn’t absolutely sure anymore … if he wasn’t that way. Leslie started the car and brought James back to the here and now.

Leslie said in a cute tone of voice, “I was just saying, you looked so adorable. If I had thought about it, I might have even taken a few pictures. It would have made a great wallpaper and background.”

By this time, James was totally confused. He felt every tingly moment the remembrance of the call caused. And Leslie apparently wanted him to adopt the infant craze that was running rampant. There were conflicts deep within him. He knew … he wasn’t a secret or any other type of infant. But then, thoughts of what a Little was began to flash through his mind.

As James exited the car, he saw one of the new student littles as they skipped by. The little girl had on a really cute and very short jumper dress with tights beneath. The tights showed off very well that she was in a pullup as it made the ruffles on the seat of the tights show more prominently.

Leslie said with a concerned tone, “Are ... you alright? Ever since I came back to the car, you’ve been super quiet.”

James stood for a second and watched the little as she skipped around the corner towards the Geology Building. He finally replied, “I’m OK. It’s just kinda weird what happened to me. The real problem is, I’m not real sure what happened.” He took the measuring device from his pocket and turned it on. The readings he had taken during his “adventure” displayed prominently on the small screen. “I know these readings will tell me something, but the numbers are so strange.”

Several adorable Floppits were hiding among the shrubs as the two passed. One of them said, “Them numbers could prolly be dangerous.”

Another asked, “Why comes? We all knos what happens ta her … I mean him.”

The furry fluffy group of adorable Floppits all giggled.

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“The data that my graduate students have collected and transmitted clearly show two loci of activity, not that far from here,” said Dr. Fishers, as he shared the screen of a map of the immediate area. “That doesn’t mean that there aren’t other focal points, of course.”

“Of course not,” said Dr. Hachimura on the conference. “Once I construct some similar handheld detectors, I can send students out to comb the area around here as well.”

“I will do the same,” said Dr. Fontina. “The more we discover, the more we can learn about wormholes, large or small.”

Dr. Fishers added, “Of course, once I can speak to them, they can tell me whether they saw anything at the physical locations they visited, but for now all I have is the data.”

“It is tantalizing, though,” said Dr. Ziolkowsky, “to think that there may be macroscopic wormholes here on Earth. What if we could use them? Actually go through from one point to another? Would it not revolutionize transportation? Could we actually control them? What if they made airline travel obsolete? What if they made space travel instantaneous?”

“Tantalizing indeed, but we may be getting ahead of ourselves there,” said Dr. Hachimura.

“Perhaps, but what harm does it do to speculate?” Dr. Ziolkowsky said, shrugging.

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Corrie took her own readings, crawling through Burrow’s tunnel toward Michelle’s apartment. “So this thing can also go to the Floppit home?” she asked Burrow, who was scampering along next to her.

“Uh huhs,” said Burrow. “You just gotta make a left turn …”

“At Albuquerque?” asked Corrie, giggling.

“Huh?” Burrow asked.

“I gotsa show you a funny cartoon when we get back,” Corrie said.

“Oooo, I like Earth cartoons,” Burrow said. “They funnies!”

“So … like this?” asked Corrie, turning left, and suddenly she was in a big underground cavern, its ceiling supported by primitively carved stone columns. Light was provided by glowing pods in sconces on the walls. Many Floppits were coming and going about their business all around them. “Wow, is this where tha Floppits live?” Her homemade measuring device was beeping quietly but frequently.

“Yups it sure is!” said Burrow. “Hi everybunny!” The Floppits stopped and looked at them. Some of the more distant Floppits waved and continued on, while nearby ones came over to babble at Corrie and Burrow.

“Yeah this is Cowwie, tha one from Earf,” said Burrow. “Is already a baby so we no gotsa get her inna diaper.”

“Yeah, am already in one, no worries!” Corrie said with a giggle. “I wished Michelle could see this, but maybe she visit later.” She looked at her device. “So … tha other human comed through here? Like, right here and stuff?”

“Yeah!” said one of the Floppits. “He was riiiiight there. Right about … yeah where you just crawleded to. So he saw dis place.”

“Bet he was confoozed!” said another Floppit.

“Sure was!” and the Floppits babbles to each other about James’ visit.

“This thingie is showin’ me tht kinda data he woulda goten,” said Corrie. “Is all kindsa useful an’ stuffs. He gonna know for sure that Floppits is makin burrows.”

“That bad, right?” asked Burrow. Several other Floppits, including Core, had followed them from her room.

“Might be bad,” said Corrie. “Hopes not. But … tell alla Floppits ta be careful. Some Earf peoples maby wanna know how Floppits makes burrows.”

“I tells them,” said Core, closing his big, dark eyes. “All Floppits … all places … this Core. Earf reach tippin’ point alreadys. Come home ta tha Warrens. Maby danger. Make sure alla Floppits safe.”

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“So, it seems quite likely that these strange creatures that some are calling Floppits are somehow connected with the macroscopic wormholes,” said Dr. Fishers to the other scientists on the team. “Whether they’re involved somehow in creating them remains to be seen …”

Several of the others chuckled at the concept. “Unless they have a far more sophisticated technology than we do, I sincerely doubt that,” said Dr. Hachimura.

“But it may be that they know how to sense and use them,” said Dr. Ziolkowsky. “Therefore I propose an experiment –”

“Dr. Fishers!” said Leslie, bursting into the office. “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know there was a meeting.”

“Oh, it’s quite all right; they’re all on our research team,” said Dr. Fishers. “Everyone, you remember Leslie Brown, one of the graduate students in our department.”

“Yes, of course,” said one of the scientists on the teleconference, and the rest nodded and said similar things.

“I’m sorry to interrupt,” said Leslie, “but I was looking at the incoming data – and it’s stopped. There are no more macroscopic readings, I mean. Only the previous microscopic ones are still there. It’s as if whatever was generating the lower-frequency signal just … stopped doing it. It vanished as quickly as fog at sunrise.”

“What?” asked Dr. Fishers and called up Corrie’s analysis software. The other scientists were obviously looking at their screens too. “You’re correct. How fascinating.”

“Don’t you see?” asked Dr. Ziolkowsky. “They must have control over the phenomenon. They knew we were onto them, and they’ve gone into hiding.”

“Isn’t that jumping to conclusions?” asked Dr. Fontina. “How could they know we were ‘onto them’ when we weren’t actually? We’ve only just begun to speculate.”

“You didn’t let me explain about the experiment I was proposing,” said Dr. Ziolkowsky. He adjusted the camera on his computer. Across the room, within a glass box, was obviously an unconscious Floppit. “In addition to my Ph.D. in physics I have a master’s in biology. I plan to dissect one of these creatures and discover what organs they may have that allow them to either sense or even manipulate the wormholes.”

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Corrie whimpered, “Now baby no gotsa way overta Missy’s playroom wifout havina takesa bug car.”

Michelle hugged Corrie gently and said, “Sok, Mesells, can gets Nana ta brings ya is we gotsa. She loves ta does it too.”

Corrie began to look over the massive amounts of data they had acquired. She began to see a real correlation between some of the data with other data that she had dismissed as irrelevant.

She realized suddenly, some of the energy readings could actually be reproduced, although on a different frequency and with much higher energy requirements.

As she played with the figures, Michelle was kept occupied with a wonderful plushie fight with several of the Floppits that were still in the nursery.

Michelle screeched with joy, “Come join us. Is fun.”

Corrie replied, “Come look at what I discovered. I think, something similar to a nursery rhyme, played at frequency 777.7 with an amplitude of 77 nanovolts per meter will actually open a WH gateway. Where it leads, I have no idea, but it would open.”

Michelle, who was totally occupied with the plushie fight, replied, “What ifsa tune ya play affer you enter tha gateway determines where tha tunnel goes?”

Corrie’s eyes grew large as she realized that it might very well be true. Corrie watched the Floppits and Michelle having the time of their life as she contemplated what the actual Master Muse tune might be.

She remembered that Burrow always hummed some sort of tingly tune as they traversed. She looked around until she saw Burrow, getting whopped by a snow leopard plushie, and smiled.

She called, “Burrow … commeres. Baby wantsa knos is you would do sompin for baby.”

Burrow took another whop from another plushy, then hopped over to Corrie, “Would lovesa helps you baby. Is why Floppits is here, to take carea babies n helps em all I can.”

Corrie giggled then said, “Does ya members what tha tune is ya hums when ya digs?”

Burrow nodded, “Can teach you tha tune, but is more involved than jus a single tune. Gotsa has many tunes ta goes many places.”

Corrie sucked her thumb thoughtfully for a few minutes then babbled adorably, “Isit oks if baby records tha tune you use ta open the hole?”

Burrow giggled, “Sure. But ya gotsa knos, you're prolly gonna hasa wet n messy diapers affers.”

Corrie’s eyes got large for an instant, before she brought out her pad and set it up to record. She looked at Burrow, who was sitting up on his hind legs wiggling his nose.

Burrow giggled, then began to coo softly. Corrie and Michelle both felt the wonderfully soft and soothing tune as it washed all through them in a large wave of tingles. It was also when they both felt the warmth trickling around their bottoms along with the waves of pushing as their diapers filled.

Corrie’s mommy magically appeared and checked both of them, before taking them both by a hand and walking them to the changing table. Burrow completed his tune and added several more to it, then even labeled them separately so Corrie would know where they would lead.

Burrow’s ears pricked up. “Scamper? No, she no wiff us,” he said. “Muss be … oh.”

“What wrong?” asked Michelle while Corrie was getting her diaper changed.

“Scamper no here. She no back home neither, Core say. Nobody seened her.” Burrow looked worried, and now so did the other Floppits. “We sposedta be the only Floppits still on Earf.”

“Oh no,” said Michelle. “Where you thinks she is?”

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As Leslie looked at Dr. Fishers’ screen, her mouth open in horror, Dr. Fishers said, “Now wait a moment, Hermann, there are indications that these may be sentient beings.”

“More than that,” said Dr. Hachimura, “if your hypothesis is correct and these ‘Floppit’ creatures can either sense or generate macroscopic wormholes for travel, then they can and will find you if you anger them by doing this. There will be nowhere you can hide.”

“But think what we could learn!” said Dr. Ziolkowsky.

“Now wait a minute,” said Dr. Fontina. “If these creatures can in fact travel by wormhole, how is it that you have one captive at all? Does that not disprove your hypothesis by itself?”

“No, because I shot one from a distance with a tranquilizer dart,” Dr. Ziolkowsky explained. “I didn’t want to damage the specimen. I’ve been keeping it sedated with a carefully regulated mixture of gases.”

“When do you propose to perform this … experiment, Hermann?” asked Dr. Fishers.

“Oh, I don’t see why there’s any hurry,” Dr. Ziolkowsky replied. “I’m keeping it alive with an intravenous solution that I’ve determined is compatible with its physiology by means of blood tests. It’s fine.”

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Leslie had run out of the room, a feeling of panic rising inside her. She had to find James. She didn’t know how she knew, but something told her that what that Russian researcher was intending to do was extremely wrong.

Fortunately, James was in the graduate student office, a cubicled room that all the students in their group shared. “Leslie, what’s wrong?” asked James.

“That … Dr. Ziolkowsky … he’s got one of those Floppit things we’ve been seeing, and he’s going to dissect it,” she said. “We’ve got to do something.”

“Wait, aren’t those things … intelligent? That’s just wrong.” He took out his phone, which was still the strawberry pink smart phone that had replaced his original one. “I’m gonna call Corrie,” he said. “She might know something about those.” He pulled up Corrie’s number and called her.

“Hewwo?” asked Corrie’s voice from the phone, which James had put on speaker.

“Corrie? It’s Leslie. And James.”

“Did you two get all of James’ stuff?” Corrie said. “I think we got it all to you …”

“No, listen,” said Leslie. “Dr. Ziolkowski … he has a Floppit, and he’s going to dissect it. Are they intelligent?”

“Scamper?” asked Corrie.

“What?” Leslie said.

“The Floppits say that Scamper, one of them, is missing. She’s the only one they can’t find. They pulled back their presence on Earth.”

“That explains the readings,” James said to Leslie, who nodded.

“The Floppits aren’t worried, though, because they’re about to go get her back,” said Corrie. “They know where she is. But if she’s being held somehow, whoever’s got her is in … serious trouble …”

“Dr. Hachimura was right,” said Leslie. “They’ll come for him.”

“Well … not just the Floppits,” said Corrie. “They’ve got … friends. Powerful ones. And although they’re usually very kind and friendly, you don’t want to be on their bad side.”

“We’ve got to convince Dr. Ziolkowsky to let that Floppit go before they catch up with him,” said Leslie. “Maybe they haven’t found him yet.”

“Are you using a pink phone?” Corrie asked.

“Well … yes,” said James. “What does that matter?”

“Well … so am I,” said Corrie. “She gave it to me. And she gave you yours too. I think she already heard.”

There was a bright white light surrounding Leslie and James. “Ah, now I understand,” said a voice. It seemed as if they were in the same room, but everything was now a dazzling white, all the cubicle walls, all the furniture, even Leslie and James’ clothes. And a beautiful woman was there with them, wearing a white chiton with a golden sash like some kind of classical deity. “There’s more than one of you.” She smiled at them.

“What?” asked James. “Wait … you’re the voice on the phone.”

“Yes,” said the woman. “And you’re not a baby, are you? But … you are something … and you …” She turned to Leslie. “Do you accept Baby Rules, Sweetie?”

“I … wh … what’s going on? I feel … is this … yes! I do accept Baby Rules!” Leslie seemed transfixed, as if feeling something inside that she’d never felt before, but recognized deeply.

“I knew you would,” Persephone said with a smile. “And you … you’ve somehow always known, haven’t you? That she was a baby, and that you were destined to be her big sister and look after her.”

“I … big sister? But I’m … well …” James was confused.

“I can see it,” said Persephone. “You’re not an adult … and not a baby … and definitely not a boy. And just imagine if you could be just that … and nobody would ever see anything wrong with that … and you’d never have to hide ever again.”

Leslie was sucking her thumb and had sat down on the floor, wetting her pants. James found that his body had changed, and he was now apparently female. There was a well-stocked diaper bag over his shoulder. “Oh gosh, Leslie, let’s get you cleaned up and into a nice dry diaper, OK? Poor li’l kid.”

“OK Sis,” said Leslie. “But also we gotsa warn Dr. Z.”

“Those who harm my beloved children pay the price,” said Persephone. “But if he has not yet harmed Scamper, perhaps I may show mercy.”

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“Docta Z!” shouted Leslie, bursting into Dr. Fishers’ office again, glad to see that the teleconference was still going on. “You gotta let tha Floppit go! Or she’s gonna do somefin’ real bad to you!”

“Your other baby graduate student is much better behaved,” said Dr. Ziolkowsky. “Perhaps you should send this one’s big sister to take care of her.”

“What’s this, Leslie?” asked Dr. Fishers. “Oh, hello, Jane, Leslie must have gotten away from you for a moment.”

“Well, yes, Dr. Fishers, but we’re here on purpose,” said James, whose name was apparently now Jane. “Leslie’s right. Dr. Ziolkowsky is in danger as long as he keeps that Floppit captive. They’ve got powerful friends.”

“Powerful … friends?” asked Dr. Fishers. “Well,” he said, turning toward the screen, “it’s true that Floppits are thought to be of extraterrestrial origin. Is it not possible that they have allies?”

Dr. Hachimura added, “Powerful alien allies who might exact revenge upon the entire Earth if you do this, Dr. Ziolkowsky?”

“What, flying saucers will come destroy Earth’s cities like that Independence Day movie if I dissect one small Floppit?” asked Dr. Ziolkowsky with a scoffing laugh.

The graphs on the physicists’ computer screens spiked.

“Well, not exactly …” said Jane. Leslie gasped, staring at the screen. Someone had just appeared behind Dr. Ziolkowsky. Everyone saw her but him. Persephone stood there, surrounded by dozens of other Floppits, more of which kept popping up with every passing second.

“Adulthood is a gift you were entrusted with,” said Persephone as Dr. Ziolkowsky suddenly turned around and saw her. “Some cherish and nurture it, growing great achievements. But others squander it and cause harm and sorrow. Which have you done? Tell me why I should not take yours back.”

They could see Corrie and Michelle there too now, examining the glass box containing Scamper, looking for how to turn off the gas and let her out. “She jus’ sleepins, Miss Sephone,” said Corrie, once the box was open. Michelle removed the IV feeding tube and pressed gauze against the connection site.

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Persephone gracefully seemed to glide over to Michelle and took Scamper from her arms and held her like a baby. Persephone cooed softly, “There, there, baby. It’s ok now; it’s all over. Auntie will make sure the meanies don’t hurt you anymore.”

Scamper’s eyes fluttered open as she squeaked weakly, “Miss Sephone comeded ta rescue me.”

Persephone cooed softly as she handed Scamper back to Michelle, “Of course I did, silly. Now, it’s time to deal with the arrogance of mortals once again.” she turned and scowled at Dr. Ziolkowsky. “And, just who do you think you are, capturing and imprisoning one of my subjects? Know you not they are far more intelligent than you?”

Dr. Ziolkowsky stumbled back and fell into the chair directly behind him, “I … had no idea. I am just trying to …”

Persephone stomped her foot. The whole place shook like an earthquake, “Fool. Know you not you were allowed to grow up? All you are is a snot-nosed brat in messy diapers.”

A very sparkly cloud of what looked like rainbow colored lightning surrounded Dr. Ziolkowsky. He shrank immediately and was lost to sight in the pile of overly large clothing lying on the floor. All could plainly see the remaining lump that began to scream.

Persephone smiled. “There, there, little girl,” she said, then bent and picked up the nude baby girl and held her to her breasts as she patted her bottom. “In a few hundred years, I might allow you to grow up. As it stands now, you will remain an infant until I decide to allow you the privilege of growing back up again.” She turned and beckoned towards one of the fearful women researchers in the lab. “Come, I assign you to be her new Mommy. You will care for her, and I am allowing you the ability to breastfeed your new infant.”

With this, Persephone handed the extremely fearful young woman the baby girl Dr. Ziolkowsky had become.

As quickly as they had appeared in the lab, Persephone, Michelle, and Corrie all vanished in one large flash of white golden light, taking Scamper and the rest with them.

One of the other researchers looked at the adorable baby Dr. Ziolkowsky had become and said softly, “If you … need help raising your new daughter, we would be more than happy to help.”

The woman moved Dr. Ziolkowsky from one position to another, then started manipulating her enlarging breasts, “I think my boobies are growing. My bra is getting to be too small.”

Another of the researchers said, “Fascinating. I bet you are lactating now as well. I believe that woman even said you would be.”

What was left of the research team began doing simple tests while one individual called the medical wing. These things had to be researched. Everyone on the multinational interlinked conference had just seen what had transpired. Everyone now knew that there was more to the wormholes than anyone had ever imagined.

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“W … what just happened?” asked Dr. Fishers. “Was that real, or … some kind of visual effects?”

Jane spoke up. “I’m pretty sure it was real, Dr. Fishers,” she said. “I can’t explain any of this, but things are happening that I wouldn’t have believed possible.” Leslie sucked her thumb and nodded her head.

“It is clear that whoever that woman was,” said Dr. Fontina, who was still on the conference from Europe, “she represents some extraterrestrial civilization with great power, perhaps advanced technology?”

“Without question, it must be … at least something like that,” said Dr. Hachimura. “Clearly the theories about these Floppits being extraterrestrial in origin have some merit. But that is not the focus of this project. Let us continue to pursue our line of research.”

“To think what we could learn from these beings,” said Dr. Fishers. “If only there were a way to do so peacefully, but I fear Dr. Ziolkowsky’s poor decision has made us antagonists.”

Corrie joined the conference. Her extremely pink bedroom with all its lace and babyish appliques was visible in the background, so however she had come to be in Dr. Ziolkowsky’s lab in Russia, she had returned home again.

“Cowwie!” said Leslie, giggling and waving at her from behind Dr. Fishers.

“... Leslie? Is that you back there?” Corrie asked. “And … wow, is that … James?”

“Hi, Corrie – Jane, now.”

“I need to be caught up on some things!” said Corrie.

“What?” said Dr. Fishers, confused. “But Jane’s Leslie’s big sister. Everybody knows. Corrie, are you too much of a baby to realize these things?” He smiled at her.

Corrie giggled in embarrassment. “Haha, I don’t know, it must have slipped my mind!” Then she looked more serious. “But what hasn’t slipped my mind is something I’ve discovered.” She tapped her phone, which played a snippet of a peculiar hummed tune, then stopped it after only a second or two, but not before a wind had arisen in the lab, office, or room of everyone on the conference. The graph on Dr. Fishers’ screen showed a spike that had risen, then declined.

“What … was that?” asked Dr. Fishers. “Did you just …?”

“I think I’ve learned the beginnings of how to open a wormhole, or a ‘burrow,’ as the Floppits call them,” said Corrie. “Some sort of sound appears to be the key, in addition to certain electromagnetic waves that are fairly easy to produce. It makes no sense for such things to cause a high-energy event like a wormhole, so there must be more to it than that. But I’m still learning. The Floppits are still friendly. They don’t blame the whole human race for what Dr. Z was planning to do – especially since he didn’t get a chance to do it.”

“But … this is astounding!” said Dr. Fishers, looking excited. “It’s … also not our current research project, the one we’re funded for.” Now he looked disappointed. Then, however, he started looking enthusiastic again. “But perhaps there’s something that can be done about that! If your results are repeatable.”

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Corrie and Leslie were both playing in Michelle’s playroom, with several Floppits joining in. The game of tickle-tag was a favorite among the Floppits, although (and perhaps because) it always ended with human babies having very wet diapers. Jane, Helen, and Janice were sitting and talking as the babies and Floppits played. Scamper and Burrow were among the Floppits – Scamper had recovered fully from the tranquilizer and the awful gases she’d inhaled in Dr. Z’s lab, and she’d gone back to being one of Corrie and Michelle’s best friends.

“Looks like Corrie’s doing well, Helen,” said Janice.

Corrie’s mother replied, “Oh yes, I think the new project she’s gotten a grant for is going to do wonders for her career. She might become the most famous baby physicist in the whole world! Wouldn’t that be amazing?”

“She’s so lucky,” said Jane. “I mean, also very talented, but talk about being in the right place at the right time! Leslie’s super talented too – it’s good that we’re still on the same team!”

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In another location at NASA’s Propulsion Laboratory, several of the world’s leading physicists were going over the new figures an infant college student had published in a paper.

Dr. Lewellen Sinktc was astounded as she said, “From what these figures are telling us, there is a certain frequency pattern that allows energy to coalesce in a certain way, creating a swirling action on the quantum level.”

Another of the team looked up from their mad calculations and said, “Opening the wormhole portal is fine, the real issue is … where does it take us if we travel it?”

A woman pulled a small cart into the lab with a strange device sitting on it. It looked for all the world like a plumber’s and electronics tech’s nightmare. There were several types of crystals lined up with several types of electromagnetic wave generators and several high wattage multicolored gas lensed lasers.

“Dr. Prans. Just what on earth is that contraption?”

She laughed and replied, “It’s a sound generation device that operates on a quantum scale. It produces a certain frequency that can be modulated through 350 varying frequencies.”

“Can it open a wormhole gateway?”

Dr. Prans laughed again. “I’m not sure. I used the piezoelectric crystals we have available to us; however, I am not so sure they’ll generate the exact frequency pattern we’re shooting for.”

Dr. Anthony said, “If they don’t work, we had a lucky find several weeks ago.”

Dr. Prans said, “Yeah, that new weird crystal no one had ever seen before. I think one of the brighties in Houston named it an omicron crystal for some weird reason.”

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In a top secret research facility placed in a very remote place, many research physicists tried their very best to understand the properties of a new crystal that had been recovered after the last large meteor shower.

The amazing crystal shone with a beautiful glow and appeared to be able to produce more energy than it had been given, which was a violation of the principle of conservation of energy, which everyone had thought was an absolute physical law. Somehow it had been dubbed an “omicron crystal,” and the best theories were that some kind of radioactive decay was taking place inside it, although there was no evidence for it other than the emission of energy, but it was in the form of visible and ultraviolet photons.

Another thing they had been playing with was the strange crystal transponder one of the researchers had built, the one that looked like a combination plumbing and electronic nightmare. Simon Eldridge, one of the leading scientists, also one who always had some of the most wild and far out ideas and fantasies, began to wonder what would happen to the wave patterns if he removed all those other crystals and installed the omicron crystals in their place.

He would very soon find out, as he disassembled the crystal housings, removed the crystals that were currently installed, and replaced each one with a beautifully faceted omicron crystal. Then he hooked up the machine to a simple tone generator.

The crystals immediately lit up and produced a brilliant greenish-blue light. He adjusted the frequency and found he could change the color to anything he wanted. The detectors, however, showed that the spectrum emitted was actually a combination of frequencies and that the relationship between frequencies of input sound and output light was not straightforward at all. It was as if the crystals were cryptographically hashing the input vibratory spectrum to produce the output photon spectrum. But that would imply that they contained some kind of computer.

He called the team together, demonstrated the crystal transducer, and discussed it. Finally they decided to try playing the sound patterns, first enclosing the transducer in a protective chamber in case it opened a wormhole into the vacuum of space. What would happen?

The air shimmered around the transducer with a riotous changing pattern of color. Then, to their astonished eyes, a Floppit emerged from the colors. It made some incomprehensible babbling sounds, waved at them, then vanished back into the brightness.

The scientists shut off the experiment and blinked at each other.

With obvious awe in his tone, one of the researchers said, “What do you make of that?”

The one standing next to him shook his head and replied, “Apparently, we have a means to open portals. Obviously, we don’t have enough data to determine where the other end opened.”

Dr. Steven Uland scratched his head in thought as he looked over the readings they had gotten while the device was operating. From what he could tell, it now produced light modulated at varying frequencies that also produced a sound.

In one of the newly submitted research papers done by a cute little infant graduate student named Corrie Mears, the figures and other well organized data showed that a certain tone would always open a wormhole portal. Where the exit point lay was determined by the particular frequencies produced after entry into the wormhole.

Steven sat at his computer terminal and began making many calculations. From what his results showed, this device they had mishmashed together could become the core of an instant transportation portal to any location, as long as they had the proper frequency pattern … something Miss Mears referred to as a Muse Tone.

Now all that remained was determining how to produce the proper Muse Tone for the desired destination.

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“Have you read this paper that just came out?” Dr. Fisher asked Corrie, bringing something up on his computer screen. “It’s revolutionary. And it mentions you by name. This concept of ‘Muse Tone,’ as you named it … they’ve opened wormholes. They’re trying to control the destination end. This is amazing.”

“I … well I just kind of followed my nose,” Corrie said with a giggle. “The Floppits helped.”

Dr. Fisher smiled. “Well, I for one am proud to have such a talented baby girl for a graduate assistant. But I’m afraid it won’t be for that much longer.”

“Huh?” asked Corrie. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, your dissertation’s been accepted. You just have to pick a date for your defense and get that all arranged, and then go through with it … and you’re a Ph.D. You’ll be graduating. But I doubt you’ll have a hard time finding a place to work on your theories – in fact, I look forward to your being part of this same group in your new job, once you’ve got it.”

“Wow!” said Corrie. “Wow wow wow!” She jumped up and down excitedly, and thoroughly wet her diaper. “Thank you so much Dr. Fishers! I’d better get that stuff all set up! Um, do you … like hugs?”

“Normally I try to keep things professional,” said Dr. Fishers with another smile, “but I think one hug can be excused.”

There was no need to ask twice. Corrie threw her arms around her professor and hugged him warmly. Then she let him go and backed up a step. “Thank you so much for all your guidance! But I’m still working here for now. What do you need me to do?”

“Well, what about seeing whether there’s such a thing as a ‘Muse Tone’ for the microscopic wormholes we’ve been seeing? They’re generated by the universe, we think, but do they have a similar kind of mechanism?”

“Ooooh, I hadn’t thought of that!” said Corrie. “I’m gonna write some code to go over the data super carefully and look for that!”

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After Corrie got home and her mother fawned all over her baby girl and made sure she was clean and dry, Corrie finally made it to her computer and opened up the most recent energy files.

Except for the size and duration, microscopic wormholes seemed to be identical to the macroscopic ones. She studied the data and scrutinized it more and more closely.

She discovered a slight deviation in the frequencies in microscopic wormholes. Apparently, some unknown force would manage to produce the proper tones that opened one. After that, apparently, some other form of energy contaminated the tunnel in such a way as to cause it to become tiny.

Closer scrutiny determined a laser could be tuned to something in the neighborhood of 1600K separate frequencies. A microscopic wormhole might not be suitable for travel, but for communications, a small handheld device could be produced that allowed for unlimited distance instant signals to any location. Each set would have its own unique frequency allowing for two sets to have a starting value and an ending value.

Corrie also discovered something else. The omicron crystals seemed to resonate at many different frequencies as long as a tuned coherent light set the proper ranges. With the breakthrough in molecule-sized lasers and linear accelerators, this was easily doable.

All the sims ran perfectly except for one small hiccough, that would prove to be instantly fatal. Inertia was a real headache. Corrie was positive that obstacle could be overcome with a bit more research.

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At a secret skunk works lab, many of the world's top physicists and engineers were gathered around a computer terminal that had a large 72 inch display screen. Math, sketches, and preliminary sim results danced slowly up the screen.

“I don't know about this contraption.”

“What’s the problem? From what we can determine, that stupid thing works. How, we have yet to figure out.”

The engineer smirked, “It’s a death trap. As soon as it’s enabled, it’ll crush everything.”

Another physicist responded, “We could allow for a gradual increase in speed in planier normal space before making the jump at just under light speed.”

A large and very complicated mathematical formula appeared on the display screen, “According to the math, that wouldn’t matter. As soon as the device was enabled, it would jump to almost infinite speed. Inertia would still crush everything.”

One young woman said more to herself than anyone else, “Seems if we alternate the frequencies during initial portal junction, space would move around the device, not the other way around, thus alleviating that issue.”

Another of the scientists brought a stack of neatly typed pages and laid them on the counter, “From what this infant says … Corrie, I think her name is … if we use an alternating frequency within this range … it nullifies inertia for long enough that it doesn't matter. Returning to planier normal space is achieved in the same manner so as not to crush everything on deceleration with negative Gs.”

The many individuals began doing their own calculations based on whatever their current specialties were.

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The party was well under way at the Mears house. Corrie had been fed lots of ice cream and cake by her mother, and now she, Michelle, and Leslie were all playing in the playroom. All three of them wouldn’t fit in Corrie’s playpen, so the toys were simply strewn all over the floor – there was no avoiding it when babies played. Several Floppits had joined in the fun, despite not having party invitations.

“She’s truly amazing,” said Dr. Fishers, sipping his drink and talking to Helen. “Coming up with some brilliant idea and writing code to re-analyze the data one moment, then giggling and playing in the playpen the next.” Other party guests were engaged in conversations all around them.

“So cute, isn’t she?” asked Helen. “I’m so proud of her! Just think, we might have starships visiting other stars soon, and it’s all because of sweet little Corrie!”

“You’re not too far off,” said Dr. Fishers. “They’re working on a test of an automated probe right now. If it works, a ship that can carry humans won’t be much of a stretch.”

“The times we live in!”

“Any idea where Corrie’s thinking of applying to work?” asked Dr. Fishers. “I’ve made several suggestions, but I know she’s been getting lots of offers.”

“She sure has – so many calls, emails, letters, and everything! Well, she doesn’t really want to go too far from home, although … I’m guessing that she’s probably figured out a way to get anywhere fast like those Floppits do.”

“I wouldn’t put it past her,” said Dr. Fishers. “With her, the sky’s the limit. I wish she could keep working at our lab forever, but it’s university policy not to hire our own graduates – at least, not right out of the starting gate. If she wants to come back after a few years, I doubt the department would say no.”

“Oh, I wish she could stay home too,” said Helen. “Maybe she can, though – there’s all kinds of technology nowadays.”

Elsewhere, Jane was talking to Dr. Fontina, who had flown from Europe for the occasion. “So are you going to be done soon?” asked the physicist.

“Yes, I’m nearly done with my dissertation, and so’s Leslie,” said Jane. “We haven’t made quite the same degree of breakthrough discoveries as Corrie, but of course we’re all on the same project, and we’re all doing different aspects of it – I’m looking at the relativistic effects of the wormholes on quantum field theory, very similar to what Dr. Fishers is doing, and Leslie, well …”

“Wasn’t hers about the idea that the wormholes are part of the fundamental structure of the universe?” asked Dr. Fontina. “What if spacetime is literally made of them? I haven’t seen her work yet …”

“I have, and it’s scary how well her math predicts the experiments happening at CERN,” said Jane. “It works better than supersymmetry. I think there’s another interpretation of quantum mechanics, and Leslie’s got it worked out.”

“Well, you’re both likely to get jobs somewhere – fortunately there are facilities for babies like her at every school and lab over a certain size.”

Meanwhile, the babies were playing with the Floppits in the playroom. “Haha, that was a goo one!” said Leslie as the block tower fell. The Floppits were giggling and dancing with glee.

“Hey Cowwie, are they gonna let you fly on their spaceship?” asked Michelle.

“I dunno,” Corrie said. “But I no worried if they don’t. I already been to another planet anyways.”

“Oh yeah the Floppit planet!” said Michelle. “Guess you were tha first … well tha second human to go there.”

“Yup, James – uh, Jane was tha firstus really,” said Corrie. She seemed to be one of the only people who remembered that Jane used to be James, along with Jane herself, Michelle, and Leslie, thought Michelle had never known James all that well. “Wonner if she knows she’s tha firstus human who wented to a whole ’nother planet inna whole ’nother solar sissem?”

“I dunno,” said Leslie. “I tells her … when I ’member to.”

Around them, the Floppits played, and sometimes some of them vanished, only to be replaced by others.

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Michelle, who had developed an infantile talent for hearing nursery rhyme tunes along with a growing ability to recognize them, just knew she kept hearing a familiar tune snippet every time a different floppit would appear.

She stopped in the middle of a wonderful plushy fight and took several hits as she sat back on her diapered bottom and sucked her thumb thoughtfully. Since she was no longer throwing any back, the plushy bombardment stopped while Michelle crawled over to the small tablet computer sitting on one of the low tables across the crowded room.

Michelle knew she had heard that snippet while she was at work and the many floppits that came to visit and play. As she though about it, she even remembered the dolphins’ and porpoises’ squeaks sometimes sounded like it.

Michelle picked up the tablet and crawled over to the coffee table in the area everyone was playing and screeching in, set the tablet on the table, then set it to record. She knew there would be much background noise, but she was more than confident she would be able to recognise the snippet she wanted to find. She also had access to the Cetacean lab’s research equipment, especially the device that filtered out specific frequencies and enhanced others.

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On a top secret base that was somehow well known by almost everyone on earth in one form or another, a very sleek aircraft was slowly wheeled from one of the concrete revetments. It looked like one of the new Raptor fighter hulls, except all the edges of the wings and empennage were rounded. It was smaller than the Raptor series aircraft but the same size as the hunter-seeker drone aircraft currently in use.

For an hour after the craft was pushed to an area away from all the other structures, and had a large grated platform pushed in place to hold the tools and equipment of the workers doing their last minute tweaks, the researchers gathered in the concrete dome control center to complete their final checklists.

One of them flopped into the control chair and flipped the covers off of several switches. He said, “Sound the 10-minute alarm. I’m setting the return timer for 45 minutes with instructions to gather all available data until mandatory return.”

The technician walked over to another chair and sat. He flipped several switches, which caused several screens in front of him to light up. The young man plugged his lightweight headset into the console and pressed a green button labeled TRANSMIT . His voice echoed throughout the area, “Attention, This is Launch Control. T minus 10 minutes until launch and counting. Please evacuate the launch gantry at this time.”

Rapidly, and in a well rehearsed and orderly manner, many personnel and vehicles left the area and entered a concrete revetment of their own.

A voice rang out, “This is Gantry Safety Officer, final inspection is green … say again, green.” He could be seen quickly entering his car and driving off to the revetment.

“This is launch control, countdown to launch … 10, 9, 8 …”

When the voice on the loudspeaker said “ignition,” Dr. Baddard flipped a large toggle colored with red, yellow, and black stripes. The probe made no sounds, but a bright blue/green sphere appeared around it, then it, along with large portions of the gantry … vanished.

The timer counted on. Every few minutes the announcer reported the time on the loudspeaker. “T plus five minutes. Five minutes. Please remain clear of the launch area.”

The researchers paced tensely, looked at slow-motion video of the launch, sipped their tobacco flavored coffee, and occasionally argued about theories and equations. “T plus thirty minutes. Thirty minutes. Please remain clear of the launch area.”

As the crucial moment approached, all eyes were on the spot from which the craft had vanished. “T plus 44 minutes 50 seconds … 52 … 53 … 54 …”

There was a musical hum, a sequence of notes and chords. It started out faint, then grew louder as it repeated. Finally a bright blue-green sphere lit up the launch area, and when it faded, the craft sat there, along with the missing parts of the gantry … which then fell to the platform with loud clatters, as they had been sheared cleanly off.

Then there was only the craft, parked there on the platform … with a number of chattering Floppits on and around it, looking at it curiously and babbling at one another. Then, when the clean team emerged from their shelter in their hazmat suits and approached the craft, the Floppits all looked at them and instantly vanished.

The clean team held up their measuring devices. “Radiation levels … nominal,” said one.

“Atmospheric contamination … none detected.”

“Temperature … nominal. 120 Fahrenheit and dropping toward ambient.”

“Surface pH … nominal.”

“No known toxins detected.”

Finally the researchers emerged in their lab coats and examined the gantry debris and the craft itself. “Dimensional resonances … present, just as theory predicted. This thing went to … somewhere … and came back. Good work, all. Let’s pull the data recorders and start the analysis.”

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“So this can be your new office, Dr. Mears,” said the departmental assistant, showing Corrie a room with a large desk, a brand-new state-of-the-art desktop workstation, and a brightly-colored, well-stocked changing table and playpen. “We’ve set it up in the Institute’s standard layout for babies, but you’re free to rearrange everything to taste. If you need a change, just ask any of us, and we’d be happy to. We all think you’re so adorable!”

“Aww, gosh, thank you, Debbie!” said Corrie. “You’re being so welcoming! I hope we can all be friends!”

“Of course we can!” said Debbie. “I’ll let you get set up. Dr. Emmingham wants to have a meeting with you in an hour. I’ll come get you when it’s time to go, OK?” She left with a nod, which Corrie returned, and closed the door.

Corrie sighed. It had been quite a trip getting here. It wasn’t strictly necessary, but there were still a few tricks that she wanted to remain secret from the public for now, and reporters were always following her. She went to one of the corners, took a deep breath, and made a sequence of strange sounds while activating a small device she took out of her pocket. Then she stepped into the corner and vanished.

Corrie appeared in the Floppit warren. “OK, Burrow,” she said, “I just comed from my new playroom.”

“OK!” said Burrow. “I just make a new tunnel. Just like Michelle’s playroom only turn right!”

“Thank you super lots, Burrow!” said Corrie. “You are still the bestus at this!”

“Course I am!” Burrow said. “Is why am called Burrow!” He darted into one of his tunnels and vanished, then was back in a flash. “Am doned!”

“Already? Wow!” said Corrie. “So amazing!”

“Naturally!” Burrow said as the nearby Floppits giggled.

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After the craft had returned, and the debris of the gantry had been collected, analyzed, and removed, many specialists basically crawled all over its sleek hull with many kinds of instruments. Shortly, a tug showed up, and the craft was towed back into the revetment for in-depth scrutiny.

All the data banks were downloaded to several servers and copied onto chips and other media so none of the data would be lost.

The astrophysicists were gathered around a large flatscreen display, eagerly awaiting the new data from a location no human had ever observed. After several lines of diagnostic data, the visual portion of the data appeared.

Off in the astronomical far distance could be seen a nebula never before witnessed, slowly shifting in color over time. One of the female littles in the group commented with a giggle, “The nebula there looks jus like my boxa cway ,,, I mean …” She blushed adorably pink as the others tittered over how adorable their newest team member was. “Crayons.”

The tech sitting at the control console said as he typed, “That’s a great name! I’ve logged it in the sky survey database as The Crayon Box Nebula.” This caused the little to clap her hands and bounce up and down. The others laughed as yet more video began to display.

The astrogation program in the craft did a heroic job of attempting to locate where in the cosmos it had arrived. None of the stars, nor any of the other visible phenomena, were on any of the extensive star charts it had been programmed with. From what the data indicated, the craft had a very high probability of not only being in a faraway galaxy, but perhaps a different time – and quite possibly another dimension.

The video’s perspective changed as it slowly rotated. In the very near astronomical distance was a beautifully blue, white, and green world. Scans proved it to be a verdant garden type of world, teeming with life that Earth’s science had not dreamed of.

Suddenly, internal scans began indicating life appearing from nowhere. The video shifted to an internal scan. It showed the maintenance tunnels and the cockpit area had … Floppits in it. The craft was small and designed to be a testbed, not a transport. That didn’t seem to matter, as many cute and cuddly Floppits started to appear as if by magic.

Someone else noticed the probe too, and the video changed rapidly as scans brought the craft to alert level. The video’s display changed from an internal view to an external and showed an actual spacecraft of some sort as it slowed, then entered an obvious orbital pattern around the nearby planet.

The physicists were totally ecstatic as they began to bring other data up. As best as anyone could tell, the probe had traveled not only to another galaxy beyond present day tech to observe it, but had also found the homeworld of those really cute and adorable critters all were calling Floppits.

They also knew, however, that there was currently no way to return to that exact location. Whatever the Muse Tone had been for that particular location, the data and sound files were damaged, and forensics was unable to recover any of what the tone was. Of course, they’d kept no record of what it was; after all, this had only been a proof-of-concept flight.

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“Ooooh, those Floppit sounds!” said David, one of the dolphins Michelle had been talking to at the aquarium. Michelle had played the sounds she’d recorded from the Floppits for the dolphins, to see if they knew anything about them.

“Yeah!” said Dana. “They travelin’ sounds! Like this!” She made a rising, quavering whistle tone, and she was suddenly gone, with a splash as the water where she had been closed around nothing. Then, as quickly as she’d left, she reappeared in another part of the pool.

Michelle was amazed. “Wow!” she said. “You guys can do that too? Just like the Floppits?”

“Yup!” replied Drew. “It’s fun! But we no do it when humans around.”

“They no understand,” said Dora. “But you, M’shell, you a baby, so is OK.”

“Thank yous for trustin baby,” said Michelle. “Can you teach a baby to do it?”

“Can try!” said Dora. “Well first you gotsa know where you wantsa go to …” There followed a lot of Michelle making silly noises and trying to wiggle her hands and feet like flippers she didn’t have. The dolphins giggled.

“Mommy, what’s that baby girl doing up there?” asked a small child who was visiting the aquarium with his family, pointing at Michelle.

The child’s mother laughed. “Oh, she’s probably doing a dance to make the dolphins happy,” she said. “See how much attention the dolphins are paying to her? And it sure sounds like they’re laughing, doesn’t it?”

The small boy laughed. “Yeah! She’s dancing funny! No wonder they like her! Mommy, would dolphins like me if I danced funny and made funny noises?”

“Oh, they probably would,” said his mother.

“Oh! Where’d she go?” asked the little boy.

His mother turned back and didn’t see Michelle. “Well, it might just be that feeding time’s over for the dolphins,” she said. “Maybe she went to feed some of the other sea creatures.” She turned to leave, holding her son’s hand.

“No, there she is again!” said the child. “See?”

“Oh, she is back, isn’t she?” his mother said. “And my goodness, she’s dripping wet! Did she fall in? No, we’d have seen that – maybe the dolphins only splashed her.” Whatever had happened, Michelle was laughing so much it looked like her sides ached, and the dolphins were laughing too.

“You made me jump into water!” Michelle said to the dolphins in sounds only dolphins and babies could understand, giggling her head off. “You sillies!”

“Hee hee hee!” said Drew. “You get all wet! Hee hee!”

“Well, we like water places,” said Dora. “Those the ones we know.”

“What happened here?” asked Nana Evers, grabbing Michelle’s hand and dragging her off. “Look at your clothes, you’re all wet! Am I going to have to put you in swim diapers and a swimsuit when you feed the dolphins? Let’s get you changed!”

“Bye-bye fwiends!” Michelle said to the dolphins, who waved back with their flippers.

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“Wow, that’s great to hear!” said Corrie, from her new office, talking on a teleconference. “I’d be super interested to see the data!”

“We can’t show it to you over this unsecured line, but we’ll find a way to loop you in,” said one of the physicists. “Maybe you’ll have some insight into where exactly the probe went.”

“Yeah, it’d really be nice to be able to correlate Muse Tones with destinations,” Corrie said. “After all … it’s not much of a form of transportation if you don’t know where you’re going to end up!” The little astrophysicist at the project lab giggled, and Corrie smiled.

“Well, that is true,” said one of the engineers. “If you could help us untangle that problem, we’d be grateful.”

“OK, I love a good puzzle!” said Corrie. “Here, let me show you something I worked out lately.” She held up a piece of paper on which she’d scribbled a lot of drawings and equations in many colors of crayon.

“What … is this?” asked the first physicist in puzzlement, but the little gasped, and her eyes went wide. “Trina?”

“Ooh! Ooooooh!” she said. “I unnerstand! That make sooooo much sense! I twy ta splain it to tha adults here.”

“Yay! That’s gweat!” Corrie said. “I … sometimes have a hard time getting my ideas out in a form that everyone can understand.”

“Looks like we’ve got some work to do here now,” said the physicist. “Well - more work to do.” Trina was making excited sounds and drawing things with pen and paper. “It seems we’re out of time, though. We’ll talk to you again next week, Dr. Mears.”

“Yup! Till next time!” said Corrie, and the teleconference window closed on her computer screen.

“Muse Tone correlation,” said Corrie to herself. She scribbled something with crayons on a piece of paper, humming to herself. The page suddenly crumpled itself up and shrank in on itself, disappearing from view. “Oopsie!” Corrie said with a giggle. “Gotsa be more careful.” She tried again with another piece of paper.

“Corrie, it’s time for lunch, but let me check you first,” said her mother, popping up in her office. “Come on.”

“Yes, Mommy,” Corrie said, letting her mother lead her by the hand toddling through the portal back to her home. She missed Michelle so much, but she knew she’d be playing with her that evening before bedtime.

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This time, the physicists used a prerecorded Muse Tone for exit protocol. All were gathered in the revetment as the countdown reached ignition. Same as last time, a large corona surrounded the probe for an instant before it vanished. The scientists all waited nervously until the 40-minute timer expired and it returned … covered in thick layers of ice and snow.

Immediately, all of them knew this wasn’t a normal ice. Its current temperature, although it was slowly warming slightly, was minus 345 Farenheit … almost absolute zero. The ice was a mixture of carbon dioxide and ammonia. The scientists watched as the warming ice sublimated into its natural gaseous state. Of course, samples of the vapors were captured in sealed containers for further examinations.

The images and other recorded data from the probe proved it had appeared, not in interstellar space as was thought, but beneath the frozen surface of some unknown planet in an equally unknown location.

One of the scientists commented to another, “We need to contact Nano/Gen and see if they would allow Dr. Mears to join our team. Any discoveries she made would be accredited to her and licensed through Nano/Gen.”

The other scientist picked up a nearby phone and began dialing, “Good afternoon. This is Dr. Benreeks from JPL Labs. Yes, Yes, very well. It has returned from two voyages thus far. That’s why I called. We would like to invite Nano/Gen in on our research team, and ask if Dr. Mears could come to our labs to work with us on this? Yes, of course, all rights will be Nano/Gen’s, and all accreditation would go to Dr. Mears. Fine, we expect her here in the morning. We will even send a private jet to get her here. What? She may not need one? I … all right.”

The first scientist commented, “No point in us tying to take any credit for this. Everybody knows Dr. Mears created the math and frequency ranges for the Master Muse Tones. She should be the one here with us leading this research.”

There was a general murmur of agreement as the first carbonated ammonia gas sample was loaded into a test chamber to be analyzed.

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“You’re gonna work where?” asked Michelle. “Area 51 or somefin’? Isn’t that where alla UFOs are?”

“I think they makin’ a UFO,” said Corrie with a giggle. They were playing in Michelle’s playroom, and several Floppits were happily playing too. “An’ I think … it no needsa fly. What that makes it? A Unidennified Thing onna Ground? What that spells? A UTOG?” She giggled more.

“Well if ya meets any aliens … well ones that isn’t Floppits … lemme know!” said Michelle.

“I pwomise,” said Corrie. “There issa nother Little onna team. Maybe we invite her over ta play sometime.”

“Maybes,” said Michelle. “I dunno her yets.”

“Yupyups,” said Corrie. “Gotsa all has a playdate somewhere firstus. Wonner if we can ask her Mommy or Daddy or Nana.”

“Oooh!” said Michelle. “I learneded a trick from that dolphins at work!” She stood up, did a wiggly dance and, made some clicking and whistling sounds. And she vanished.

The Floppits who were playing nearby babbled at each other. “Nice Muse Tone,” they said. “Sounds likea dolphin.”

A moment later Michelle reappeared. She had an armload of exotic tropical fruits. “I wented to a nice warm island onna nother planets!

Corrie gasped. “Wow really?? All by your selfs?”

Michelle said, “Uh huh!” she said, nodding emphatically so that her pigtails bounced. “The dolphins is my fwiends an’ showeded me. Course … only knows a couple places. Also … firstus time they had me fall inna water asa joke. This time … wented to a island. Just needsa change it a tiny bit.”

“Oooo,” said Corrie. “This mean there different peoples out there an’ they use different kinda Muse Tones. Is so neatos!”

Several Floppits gathered around Michelle. “Show us show us!” they babbled, hopping up and down. She finally agreed and held two Floppits in her arms the next time she disappeared. When they came back again, the Floppits were holding tropical fruits and nibbling on them as they chattered excitedly. “We hearda that place! But is diffrent sounds for us.” They made an excellent imitation of the sound Michelle had made to go there, then they made their own sound. It was completely different, but it seemed to go to the same place.

“Wowwwww!” Corrie shouted, jumping excitedly. “That amazins!”

“Is fun too!” said Michelle. “Tha dolphins is fwiends wif tha Floppits.”

“Uh huh!” agreed the Floppits. “They like Floppits of tha sea!”

“They say Floppits is like dolphins of tha land,” said Michelle, giggling.



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Corrie and Michelle sat and scribbled many new Muse Tones with their crayons. Of course, there were Floppits tumbling and babbling as well. It was hard for the girls to keep their minds on creating the Muse Destination Chart they had decided to work on.

Persephone lay comfortably on her dais and watched the goings-on in Michelle’s playroom in her scriving pool. She really didn’t want to have to put limits on what her special babies were doing. She knew full well that it would create the ability for Earth to find Infantus and take its place among the many systems that enjoy the hospitality and safety the planet provided.

She rose from her dais, and there was a bright flash. Corrie and Michelle sat up with big eyes as a large flash lit up their playroom and Persephone appeared. All the Floppits shrieked for joy as they gathered around. Persephone gave each one a huge hug.

Finally she said in a soft coo to Michelle and Corrie, “There they are.” She bent and gave each a small kiss on each of their noses. “How are my most special babies today?”

Michelle giggled. She felt so silly and infantile as she answered, “Am mostus baby, Miss Sephone.”

Corrie felt the tingling surge all through her at the soft cooing tones of Persephone’s voice. She replied, “Am doins bewy bewy goo Miss Sephone. So happy now. What brings you ta our playpen?”

Persephone giggled as she basically curled her legs under her and sat next to Corrie and Michelle. She cooed softly, “I in no wise want to interfere or hamper the work you infants are doing. It is extremely important, but to carry it in the direction the two of you are playing with will spell disaster. You need to find a way to limit the tonal usage afforded to the general population. It’s okay for you infants to have the ability, but for everyone else, I think it would be far better if travel is only possible to certain locations right now. Earth has a few … ummm … years yet to grow and experiment with this new form of travel. There will be major upgrades and modifications at a later time, but for now, the ability to exit needs to be kept under a certain amount of control. For the safety of Earth and humankind.”

Michelle and Corrie looked at each other as they sucked their thumbs thoughtfully.

Several of the Floppits snuggled up to the girls and babbled softly, “Isa good idee. We can gives tha basic exit coordinates that only tha omacron crystal can resonate. In that manner they gotsa usesa special engine you created for travel an no jus pop in n outs like we does – anna dolphins too.”

Corrie’s eyes suddenly went wide. “I know!”

“What do you know, my special little one?” asked Persephone, brushing Corrie’s hair back with her hand and leaving her hand touching the back of Corrie’s head lightly.

“There issa Little inna group! An’ she could read my scriggles! An’ nobody else could!” Corrie chattered excitedly, feeling very certain of herself all of a sudden. “Tha ideas, tha charts, tha places! Can make ‘em only make sense ta babys an’ Littles!”

“Very good, Sweetheart,” said Persephone. “That’s why you’re one of my special ones.” Corrie felt wonderful tingles going through her as Persephone spoke. “Let me help you with it. With my help, your mind can shape reality. But I warn you – once this happens to a mortal, they can never ever be a grown-up again, for my power affects its conduits.”

“Me unnerstan’, Miss Sephone,” said Corrie. “Know you gotsa reshape tha fabric of tha cosmos, an’ baby is parta tha fabric.”

“That is exactly right,” Persephone said. “Now, think of your idea.” She kept her hand lightly touching the back of Corrie’s head.

Corrie thought about the ideas she had come up with. There was now a new type of idea called a “baby idea.” The Muse Tones were to be just such a “baby idea.” Only those whose minds were in tune with a regressed mental state would be able to truly comprehend the way a “baby idea” worked. All others would only be able to approach a vague understanding of the basic concepts. And those who forced themselves to understand the ideas better would find the ideas reshaping their minds.

Persephone lightly touched the back of Michelle’s head too, and together they imagined this change into reality. The fabric of the universe unraveled and rewove itself, making the ideas real. At the same time, Persephone’s energies coursed through Corrie and Michelle, altering their bodies and minds.

Michelle sat in total amazed awe as the universe unfolded basically right before her eyes. Corrie began to babble like the Floppits did, and Michelle could understand them perfectly. Michelle’s mind changed, but not to the point that she was unable to properly do her job caring for the dolphins and fish at the aquarium.

Both girls picked up crayons. Corrie picked up a grape colored purple one, and Michelle picked up a slightly darker red/pink than strawberry. Both girls began to scribble and make really strange marks on the paper. They, Persephone, and even the Floppits could read the scribbles, but no adult could. It was pure baby.

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“She says that it’s all there, Dr. Benreeks,” said Latitia, the Little who was part of the wormhole travel project. “I don’t know why you can’t understand Corrie anymore, but I understand her just fine. And I can read these. It’s just … I don’t feel as if I can explain them in words that you can understand.”

“But this doesn’t make sense,” said the physicist in charge of the project. “One day she’s a baby, sort of like you, and we can all understand her. She wrote a dissertation that was completely revolutionary and changed our understanding of the universe forever. The next day she’s a babbling baby who can’t be understood by anyone but other babies and littles?”

“Nobody’s heard of anything like this before – not even other babies and littles,” said Latitia. “She’s made … I don’t know how to explain it. She’s made a breakthrough. But with that breakthrough came a change in how her mind worked. And … I mean, I can read her writing, and it’s brilliant. It’s as far beyond what she did in her dissertation as that was beyond what came before it. She’s blazing a trail.”

“OK, well, can you try again to explain these … pages … to me?” asked Dr. Benreeks.

“Well, I can try,” said Latitia. “See, this here represents the stress-energy tensor of general relativity … and as you can see it opens up here, which I think means there’s a supergroup that contains all possible stress-energy tensors plus a higher-order one …”

Over time she went through each page of Corrie’s new paper, which would become an enigmatic classic of physics. Latitia needed two diaper changes before she managed to get through the whole thing. Corrie looked on and nodded or shook her head and babbled at Latitia, who did her best to interpret. But the best that Dr. Benreeks could do was understand the very basics. It was truly an idea that only babies could comprehend.

“Well the point is that we’ve got the Muse Tones for two locations so far: this spot, and a distant planet. Maybe with time we can find other Muse Tones that can take us to other places … or times, or dimensions, perhaps.” Dr. Benreeks took a deep breath. “We’re just getting started here.”

Corrie nodded emphatically and babbled. “She says you’re exactly right,” said Latitia. “We are only just getting started. We’ll understand when we’re ready. What does that even …?” She turned, but Corrie was gone.

Dr. Benreeks stood with a look of total astonishment. He pointed and said, “I just saw Corrie vanish in a flash of light.”

Latitia giggled as she stacked the many scribbled pages neatly. “I bet that’s why she’s babbling now.”

Dr. Benreeks looked at Latitia for an instant, then said, “That must be how she was changed.” He picked up the stack of scribbles. “And this knowledge is only useable in this form by infants. That is a real safety device.”

Latitia typed on the tablet computer in front of her and brought up a huge file that contained the most recent mathematics and schematics for the Omicron Tonal Engine. “Corrie did gives us this though. It’s a way to travel tha same, but uses the frequency the Omicron Crystal can resonate. Keeps us in normal places ’n outta serious trouble.” She giggled.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Out on the tarmac, yet another test of the probe began. This time, they had used one of the many Muse Exit Tones the Omicron Crystal was capable of producing that Corrie had shown them. All the scientists, including a few infants, watched intently as a glow appeared around the probe aircraft, and it vanished.

One of the techs asked, “Do we have any idea where it’s going?”

The other, monitoring his console closely, replied, “No, but we are hoping to get data that will tell us.”

The probe appeared – astronomically near a planetary system. The astrogation program scanned all the available data. It identified several reference stars and galaxies and the band of the Milky Way. It had appeared about 1 AU from Alpha Centauri. The probe took many scans and analyzed as much data as it possibly could in 40 minutes, then the timer returned it to its point of origin.

Playing back the recorded data, the scientists were overjoyed, jumping in the air and high-fiving each other, when they learned that there was a precise known location. Letitia jumped, showing off her diapers under her dress, her curly hair puffs bouncing. “Do you know what this means?” she asked her fellow researchers, who already did know, but she was excited. “We can send a probe back and analyze the environment of another solar system! We can send probes to look at another star up close! We can look for planets in the Alpha Centauri system directly! We can slightly vary the Muse Tone to see if we can go somewhere slightly nearer or farther! There’s so much we can do!”

Corrie, of course, would read the paper about this later, and she would tell Michelle all about it. But at the moment, both of them were in an entirely different place.

Corrie had tried singing the Floppits’ little song as she vanished. She’d found herself on the shore of a beautiful lake beneath a bright blue sky. At the same time, Michelle had tried varying one of the songs the dolphins had taught her to sound more like what she’d heard the Floppits singing. And she’d found herself standing right next to Corrie, by the same lake, on the same planet.

Around them, Floppits began to emerge from their holes in the rocks, in the sides of hills, and under trees, gathering around the two of them. “You beened here before,” said one of the Floppits – it was Core. “But you were in tha tunnels, inna warren. Now you onna surface. Welcome to our planet. Welcome … to Infantus. Oh – might wanna turn arounds.”

“Turn arounds?” asked Corrie, looking at Michelle, who was looking back, similarly confused. They both turned around to face away from the lake.

There, in front of them, was a fantastic and colorful futuristic building, made of simple geometric shapes and featuring many childlike designs. Babies of all ages played around and within it. And standing before it, smiling at them, was Persephone. They approached her happily.

“Welcome to Infantus, my special babies,” she said. “Now you know how to get here. You can show the rest of Earth’s babies how to come here. And maybe, if they’re worthy, the rest of the people of Earth will find their way here one day too. But you will always have a place here, on the planet where no one ever has to be a grown-up. Let me show you some of its wonders.”

Corrie and Michelle both began babbling excitedly at Persephone as they walked. “Is that so? You both figured out how to get here at exactly the same time? My, how amazing! I think that just proves that you’re both my special babies. Now as you can see there are several buildings in this settlement, and this one is the play building, that one is the dining building, that’s the art building …”

A video circulated on Earth’s Internet that showed Corrie and Michelle making silly sounds and scribbling on a large piece of paper, and this made no sense to adults, but to babies and littles all over the world it was somehow completely clear. It was the instructions for how to transport oneself to Infantus – and back. Jane and Leslie found their way there, and they were amazed at its wonders. Corrie even brought her mom for a visit, and Michelle brought Janice.

Even Deena Childs did a story from there, in her new job as a baby reporter covering news stories important to other infants. “An’ dis Deena Childs, comin’ to ya live fwom tha Planet Infantus, home to tha babies of tha galaxy. Next time, my sooper amazin’ exposé onna Adult Conspiracy. What is they hidin’ afta bedtime?”

And Corrie, Michelle, Leslie, Letitia, and all the other babies and littles in the scientific community knew that both Earth and Infantus were safe. “Sometimes I wanna try harder ta ‘splain the travel stuff to tha grown-up scientists,” said Letitia one day when they were talking on Infantus, “but really it is a goo thing that they can’t open up a portal to just anywhere by accident. Don’t wanna make a gateway from Earth to the core of a star … or a black hole … or a planet fulla hungry alien bugs.”

“No wanna let anyplace wiffa army open up a portal ta Infantus neither,” said Leslie. “Is only gonna make Miss Sephone take action.”

“But wif the help of tha Floppits we maked things better for alla babies of Earth,” said Corrie.

----------------------------------------------------------------

In Dr. Benreeks’ lab, he was looking at Corrie’s scribbled papers, examining the data from the various probe tests, and rereading one research paper after another. It just didn’t make sense. There had to be a key to the creation of new Muse Tones. If only there were a way to …

Suddenly something shifted in his mind. Of course. That was it. Why hadn’t he thought of this before? If he came at the problem from an entirely new angle, it all made perfect sense. He could now explain it to others. He picked up his tablet and started to type on it … and found he couldn’t really formulate his thoughts into words. He sucked his thumb for a while, then picked up a pen and started to write it out on a piece of paper. There, now that made perfect sense. Almost as much sense as Corrie’s papers over there, which he now found he could read. He got all of his thoughts down on paper, perfectly explaining the theory. He didn’t realize it, but no adult would ever be able to read the scribbles he’d just made, though they were perfectly legible to babies such as he now was.

And now it was time to play. “Oh my, I think someone’s all wet,” said a voice, but he barely noticed, as he was intently playing a toddler game that had appeared on his tablet. “Somebody needs a nice thick diaper to keep him dry, I think!” Nana Pederson got Baby Normie all cleaned up and changed into a diaper as he had a conversation with a nice lady on a strawberry pink phone about Baby Rules.
Sunshine & rainbows,
LilJennie
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LilJennie
 
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