Lilian swallowed anxiously. She wondered how she had managed to get into this situation. Strapped to a wood and leather cross by her wrists and ankles, her winter coat cast aside. As a latex clad woman prepares to perform a devious demonstration on her behind, in a public atrium no less. She took a deep breath and tried to relax. She started to recall the events of the day prior. Right from the moment, she woke up to try and work out how she ended up in this bizarre situation. She decided to start from the beginning. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lilian blinked and stared at the pastel blue ceiling of her bedroom. The soft pitter patter of snow against her window was the only sound she could hear. She sat up in her bed. Her blankets rustled gently and fell to the side as she sat up to gaze out of her window and onto the snowy street below. It was her 19th Firstday, she knew her mother and father were waiting for her, waiting to welcome her. She raised her hand and ran her fingers across her face. Her skin was soft and supple, a new and pleasant sensation. Lilian tossed aside the blankets and stood up upon her heated bedroom floor. She was not used to standing and used her desk to balance. She felt new and uncertain. Not unexpected, this was her first day on earth, after all. Lilian looked down at her body. It was hers, though it felt unfamiliar at the same time. She found herself dressed in fluffy, warm pyjama bottoms and a colourful pink t-shirt. Beneath the garments, a body in perfect health adjusted to its sudden existence. Lilian looked around her room as memories of her faux childhood spun tales in her head. A red bass guitar leant against the wall, she loved to play. From her wardrobe hung a uniform, martial arts, her mother taught her so much. She placed her fingers to her temples. A headache. A discomfort and nausea formed from something so natural. The anxiety of meeting her family, despite the memories of 19 years she knew she, her mother, and her father undeniably shared. With a deep breath, Lilian made her way into the hallway of the house. Snow landed lightly upon the skylight above her. the frozen ice casting gentle shadows upon the floor as they floated in front of the sun above. From down the stairs, Lilian could hear movement and speech. The clatter of cutlery and cooking utensils against porcelain and wood. She gripped the bannister and, with a solidification of her confidence, began the trip downstairs. “Oh! Good morning darling, umm.. Happy Firstday!” Lilian's mother said in a chipper voice. She leant forwards on the breakfast bar of the open kitchen as her husband stood behind her. He too smiled at the red-haired young woman in the doorway. Lilian smiled awkwardly and made her way into the room. “Hi Mum, Dad, I’m.. I’m here.~” Lilian replied with hints of anxiety and happiness in her voice that matched her mother's. Her father smiled and placed a plate of meat and toast upon the breakfast bar. Alongside a glass of shimmering, sweet looking juice. “Happy Firstday Lili. It's so nice to meet you.” Her father said. He smiled in a way that calmed Lilian's heart as the man put his hand upon his wife's shoulder gently. “You must be having one heck of a time working this all out, but.. We’re here, aren't we Martha?” He continued. Lilian's mother nodded in agreement. She continued to smile a contented smile at her daughter. Lilian felt her anxiety fade more and more. She made her way into the kitchen area and sat at the breakfast bar. Her mind settled as the memories and emotions within fell into their rightful place. Her father chuckled and pushed the plate of steaming hot food closer to her in offering. “First time eating, go on, I swear I know how to cook.~” Her father remarked with a grin. Lilian smiled. “I know you do dad, I.. I love you mum, dad, thank you,” Lilian said quietly as she dug into the food. the flavours danced in her mouth as new and complex sensations danced inside her for the first time. Her mother and father made their way to either side of her and embraced her gently. Lilian felt happy, she was most certainly here, most certainly home. “So..” Lilian's mother started, causing her daughter to look up from her morning meal in response. “Do you think you’ll feel up to heading into the city today? It's customary to get your papers sorted on your Firstday you see.” She continued. Lilian leant on the table a little and considered. She felt fine as far as she could tell, though she couldn't remember a single time she went outside before now. It was apprehensive, but most definitely exciting. Lilian smiled and returned to her plate of food, she finished off her meal and gulped down her juice. With a Final gasp, she became ready to give her answer. “I’d love to Mum, I mean.. I’ve never seen the city, least I don't think we ever left the house in my memories.” “The memories tend to be a little.. Sterilized, darling.” Lilian's mother explained. she leant on the counter beside her daughter as she did so. “I don't think anyone remembers anything other than growing up with their parents. I know I don't, be it with me and my Mothers, or with you.” She elaborated, a sweetness to the end of her words as she spoke about the daughter that sat beside her. Lilian's father gathered up the dirty plates and glasses from the bar and placed them in the sink. “Make a day of it love.~ It’s your Firstday, only comes once a year after all.” He said in a chipper tone. Lilian smiled happily and nodded with an eager vigour. “Sure! Thanks, Mum, Dad! I’ll be dressed and ready in a few minutes!” She stated as excitement filled her. She made her way towards the hallway door to head back to her room. Her mother looked out of the window and sighed with a grin upon her lips. “Give it an hour dear! Least until the snow stops.” She called to the excited woman in the doorway. Lilian glanced out of the window and chuckled. she gave her parents a final nod, before heading upstairs to get dressed for her first venture out into the city. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lilian leant against the window of the city tram and gazed out onto the streets of Garden. Even on this winter day, the city was green, bright, and busy with life and movement. Despite the early morning snow, and Pacific North-western climate, the city felt warm by the afternoon in which she had decided to venture out. Lilian looked down at the envelope in her hands. She had found it upon her bedroom desk. It was a file containing her certificates of education. Lessons she could remember her parents teaching her in the impossible memories they shared. High grades in the fields of science, languages, culture, and history. Less so in mathematics and geography. She turned her attention once again out of the window and onto the bustling streets. The city was a strange and wonderful mix of diverse, complex human interaction and expression. Many styles of clothing, and acts she neither recognized nor could she admit she completely understood. The shine of latex clothing, of polished leather, and of gleaming steel, caught her eye as people passed in the street. Natural and normal for the city of Garden. The mess of bindings, collars, and open expressions of dominance and submission that the citizens enjoyed was strange to her. Alien to her past experiences, her home life and faux memories, though it seemed so normal to everyone else. Lilian's gaze wandered to a woman and her Mistress as the tram came to stop at one of its many stations. Lilian looked the pair up and down. The submissive woman was dressed in tight-fitting orange rubber. Black straps of leather crisscrossed around her body and fastened her arms behind her back. upon her feet she wore heavy, hoof capped boots, in a matching colour to her suit. Upon her head, she wore a bridle, with bit fastened tightly between her lips. Lilian watched as the ponygirl gently nuzzled her Mistresses hand. Gentle submission, elegantly contrasting the satisfied, dominant smirk upon the Mistresses lips. Lilian leant back in her chair as the tram began to move once more. She felt confused. Why would a person want to be bound like that? Or even.. Why would someone want to be in control? She didn't understand. Yet a part of her, innate and almost natural in its nature, found some element deeply appealing. Lilian could feel her cheeks redden slightly. She adjusted the collar of her winter coat and rubbed her cheeks to rid herself of the distinct arousal. “Station 146: Registry archives. Please depart safely.” The electronic voice of the tram announced. Lilian nodded and stood to leave as the tram came to a complete stop. She stepped off the tram and looked up at the building in front of her. The sun had begun to shine and reflect off the glass-fronted building before her. The glare caused Lilian to squint as she looked up at the towering registry archives. Her first destination of the day. With a deep breath and a small grin, Lilian made her into the facility. She marvelled at the ornate and classical interior of the archives. A large, open, marble hall, composed of a mix of modern and traditional interior design. Lilian approached the front desk. Several stalls were open, the hall was filled with the sound of echoing chatter from clients and employees of the facility. she approached the fourth stall as the gentleman behind the desk beckoned her over. “Good afternoon Ma’am, how may I serve you today?” The attendant asked cheerily as Lilian approached. The man was dressed in a smart, polished PVC button-up shirt and tie, with a corset tightly clinching his waist. His sleeves rolled up to his elbows revealing ritualistic tattoos on his arms. Upon his face rested a pair of golden half-moon spectacles. Lastly upon his head rested a spiky, styled arrangement of bleach blonde hair. Lilian took a deep breath and composed herself. “H-hello, u-umm Sir, it's my Firstday, and I’m umm.. Here to register my appearance and identity with the city of Garden.” Lilian said with a slight stammer. She repeated the words her mother had given her prior to her venture out. The man at the desk smiled politely and opened up an application on the holographic screen behind the counter. “Of course Ma’am, may I have your file, please? It should have been in your bedroom.” The man requested. Lilian nodded and handed him the envelope in question. With a few quick motions, the man scanned the various contents. As he returned the file to Lilian he smiled gently. “That's your identity and education. now Miss Tanver, there are just some questions and a small test, and then you’re all set.” “A-alright, what do you need to know?” Lilian replied. The man smiled and tapped away upon the keyboard on his desk before looking back at the young woman in front of him. “Nothing serious, first, how are your memories? Any discrepancies between your own and your parents? Anything out of place or out of order?” The man asked. Lilian shook her head. The man smiled and continued. “How about your identity? Are your memories in line with who you are? Do you understand you exist or that you are Lilian Tanver, without any doubt?” “Exist? I.. I mean it's a bit disorienting to just appear one day but it's normal right? I.. I'm definitely Lilian. Are these problems common, or something?” Lilian asked with a cautious curiosity. The man chuckled and shook his head. “No Ma’am, incredibly rare, but rather serious. So, we’ve made it a priority to check with Navies, so that they can see a doctor as soon as they need to.” The man explained. Lilian nodded, satisfied with his answer. “Shall we continue, Ma’am?” Lilian nodded and leant upon the counter-top. “Last health question. Do you feel any odd aches or pains past a headache or some imbalance that you can't explain? Anything that doesn't line up with your memories or what has happened since you woke up?” The man asked. Lilian shook her head and smiled, happy that she wasn't experiencing any of these issues. “Excellent!” The man proclaimed happily. “Of course, lucky you, your parents taught you etiquette and consent, so no need to go over the ID exam. We’ll just get a photo done and get that printed for you. Oh, and of course, your UBI payments, that’ll be on your card within the hour.” The man spoke quickly and with eagerness, it made Lilian's head spin a little. “I.D exam?” She asked with curiosity. “And UBI? Like.. An allowance?” She continued her questions as the man directed her to pose for the camera. “To obtain an ID in this city, every citizen needs an understanding of consent. without it, society just falls apart, right?” The man explained calmly. Lilian nodded a little. She held still as the camera emitted a muted flash that both scanned and photographed her facial features. “As for the UBI. 'universal basic income' Ma’am. Everyone gets it, helps people get where they need to and live comfortably. Though it's not too much, it does the job right?” He explained with a smile. “Extra pocket money and all.~” Lilian smiled gently as the man printed and handed Lilian a laminated card. “Class 0” was printed across the top. Underneath was a surprisingly flattering photograph. Besides that, her details and education were compressed into a simple grid of numbers. Lilian took the card and bowed a little in thanks. The man smiled and waved goodbye as Lilian made her way back to the entrance. As Lilian stepped out onto the street her cell began to vibrate in her pocket. She retrieved the device and unfolded the flexible screen. She flicked through the device and found the text in question. Her mother, asking when she might be home, Lilian smiled and began to type a response. “I think today's a good day to explore. I wanna see the city.” Lilian explained in the text. she was filled with her desire to see the beauty and secrets her new home offered her. Lilian took a deep breath of the crisp and clean city air. She looked down along the main road, to the ocean and the floating towers that sat upon the waves. She watched the sun setting behind them in the mid-afternoon light. She had so much to see.