Exadyne Fuel Systems had selected the most inhospitable patch of desert available for its test facility. This served two purposes. First, they had to be sure that the new automobiles would be able to operate under extreme conditions. Second, someone would have to be both highly motivated and certifiably insane to try to spy on the test runs.
Most days the track sat idle. But on this day, a small team had been sent out to perform high speed road tests on several of the new vehicles. Larry was just returning from a one hundred mile run in the Zelectra, a battery-powered electric. The car was eerily quiet as it rolled up to the facility's huge garage, emitting only a soft hum.
"Nice run," Carol called out to Larry as he exited the vehicle.
"Yeah, but I really did some damage on those last few miles. The number three motor is shot. The heat's just killing her." Larry was their best test driver, and looked the part. Tall, lean and chiseled, he was handsome enough to make it into Exadyne's marketing materials. He was a bit too brash for Carol's liking, personally. But professionally he was the best, and he worked well with the team. Most of the team, that is.
"I'm sure you'll get blamed for it." Carol tossed him a bottle of water from the cooler, taking one for herself and pressing it against her forehead. It was a hundred and ten degrees in the shade, and they had to spend most of the day simmering in it. "Just a word of warning, Princess Lauren's in a mood today." If it had been anyone else, Carol would have blamed it on the heat. There was no air conditioning at the test facility, just some fans. They had several large coolers full of ice and drinks, enough to last them all day. But a few hours on the sun-baked desert floor was usually enough to frazzle everyone's nerves. But that wasn't the case with Lauren. They all knew full well that she wouldn't become any more agreeable once they got back to the office.
"Speak of the devil and she appears," Larry muttered.
Lauren descended from the observation deck. While Carol had gone with "desert casual" shorts and t-shirt for the day's testing, Lauren's attire was a bit less modest. Her snugly fitting skirt was far too short to be considered business-like, though it probably helped her keep cool. But apparently it wasn't helping enough; she'd been progressively opening more buttons on her short-sleeved blouse as the day went on. Lauren had a slender figure overall, but she possessed a bosom that was slightly too large for her frame, and tended to wear bras slightly too small for her bosom. Said bosom and brassiere were on prominent display and jiggling quite impressively as Lauren made long, determined strides towards Carol and Larry.
"You broke my car," she snapped. Strictly speaking, it wasn't her car. However, she was overseeing the day's testing.
Larry held up his hands. "Those motors still aren't cut out for desert driving. Take it up with engineering."
"Ease up on damn the accelerator, and maybe you won't burn out the coils." She folded her arms across her chest. The accentuating effect this had on her cleavage wasn't lost on Larry.
"Maybe, but do you really think Joe Driver's gonna be light on the pedal when he's out on the road in the middle of nowhere on a hot day? You pay me to find these problems on the test track so Joe doesn't find 'em on the road."
Noticing his wandering gaze, Lauren snapped her fingers in front of his nose. "Hey asshole, I'm up here. Jimmy's already got Helios prepped and ready for the next run. Try not to fuck this one up, it's even more expensive than Zelectra."
Larry gritted his teeth, but held his tongue. He took a long drink and set off toward the solar-powered test vehicle.
Lauren pulled up a chair next to the Zelectra. "Damn, could it be any hotter out here?"
Carol was focused on Larry and the shimmering, beetle-shaped form of the Helios as it left the garage. "Actually, yes, it could. We're nowhere near the record temperature for this spot. If you think this is bad, next month it'll be--" Her words were abruptly halted by the sight of Lauren undoing her few remaining buttons and tossing her blouse over the back of her chair.
"What?" she said in response to Carol's glare of disapproval. She donned her sunglasses, opened a soda, and made herself comfortable.
"Do you really think that's appropriate?" Carol asked. "I know we're in the middle of nowhere, but there are still people around."
"Whatever," Lauren replied dismissively, stretching out her legs and kicking off her high heels. "Helios isn't the fastest of cars, it'll be over an hour before Larry gets back. Those solar panels are crap. And Jimmy's still fiddling with the GZ2 around back. It'll be just us girls here for a while. It's too freakin' hot out here, and I'm gonna stay cool." Lauren seemed to hold a privileged position in Exadyne's management. Carol didn't know what her connections were, but she got away with just about anything. And today that included lounging about clad only in her lacy black bra and overly brief skirt.
Carol let out an annoyed grunt and turned her attention to the numbers from Zelectra's run. After a few minutes had passed, she heard the low rumble of a vehicle pulling into the garage. Jimmy had arrived with the GZ2, a rather conventional looking hatchback with an entirely unconventional engine. "Uh, Lauren," she said, but quickly realized her boss wasn't paying attention.
Jimmy was a quiet, stocky mechanic with a timid manner and brilliant mind for cars. He stepped out of the GZ2 with clipboard in hand, adjusting his thick-framed glasses as he focused on his maintenance report. "Hey Lauren, I've run the diagnostics and given the GZ2 a clean bill of health. All she needs is a fill up and she'll be ready to oh my goodness!" he exclaimed, finally noticing Lauren's semi-nude state.
"Yes?" Lauren sipped her soda, acting as though nothing were amiss.
"Um, yes, I've re-tuned the transmission to compensate for the, uh, the decreased transfer efficiency due...to...ah...ah" he stammered.
"Jimmy?" Lauren said, holding a hand at chest level and pointing a finger upward. "I'm up here. My breasts don't have an opinion on your maintenance report, so there's no point in talking to them."
Jimmy's face flushed beet red. "Um, oh God, I'm sorry Lauren, I didn't mean to--"
Lauren sniffed and turned away. "I swear, you'd think you'd never seen a pair of boobs before. Of course, knowing you, that could very well be the case."
Jimmy's lips moved, but no sound came out. After several fruitless attempts at forming words, he turned and ran away. Lauren smiled, satisfied.
Carol scowled. "That was really mean, Lauren. Jimmy's a nice guy. You know how shy he is, and I'm sure he wasn't expecting to run across a half naked woman in the garage."
"If he really was a nice guy, then he wouldn't stare. He's not a gentleman, he's just another perv. Besides, he's probably off wanking in some dark corner right now. I bet I made his day. But since he's not here, you're gonna have to make sure the GZ2's gassed up and ready to go by the time Larry gets back."
"You're unbelievable!" Carol shouted. "You're prancing around shirtless, practically falling out of your bra, and bitching out anyone who happens to look! It's rude, inconsiderate, and unprofessional. For Pete's sake, we're on the job here. Cover up!" She turned away and fetched the filling hose for the GZ2, Exadyne's first hydrogen-powered vehicle. The name had never made any sense to her. It was the first model in its line. There was no GZ1. But she wasn't in charge of naming the cars, and that was probably for the best.
Lauren seemed to have ignored her rant for the most part. She looked down at her nearly bare torso. "I've been thinking about getting implants. I think I'm a decent size now, but men seem to like them big these days."
Do you honestly expect me to care? "Great," Carol said, "you can have even bigger excuses to abuse guys who stare at you." Carol was fuming. Did this woman even know the meaning of shame?
"Is that why you're so much nicer to Larry than I am? Because you don't have any excuses?"
Carol suppressed the urge to scream. She was desperately trying to keep her simmering rage from boiling over. She took a long drink from her water bottle, draining it. "Just keep your cool, Carol," she whispered to herself. "You can't afford to lose it while handling flammable, high pressure gas." She made a mental note to get more water as soon as she finished gassing up the GZ2. She had to stay hydrated if she was to have any chance of keeping her wits about her, and she hadn't been drinking enough. "If you don't respond, maybe she'll just shut up."
"I keep hearing you should always go a size or two bigger than you think you want. Lots of women regret not going big enough," Lauren continued. She squeezed her breasts together, experimenting with what it might be like to have a bit more bulge in her bust. "What do you think, should I get them enlarged?"
Carol's jaw clenched, but she managed a relaxed tone. "Yes."
Lauren did a double take. "You were actually listening? You really think I should go bigger?" she asked incredulously.
"Yes," Carol snapped, yanking the hose from the GZ2. "I think you should go bigger. I think you should go much, much bigger and I think you should do it right now."
Lauren was about to ask Carol what the hell she was talking about, but she only got as far as "Wha" before Carol stuffed the hose into her throat, pushing her back in her seat. Lauren froze in disbelief as her flat stomach instantly billowed out like a giant bubble as it filled with compressed hydrogen.
"Nnnnnngh!" She struggled to push Carol away, but her whole body swelled up too quickly for her to fight effectively. In mere moments, her breasts overflowed her brassiere and spilled out of it, while her arms inflated to the point of uselessness. Even in her rage, Carol was fascinated by the sight of Lauren's buttocks filling out to the point where the chair began to break. The swelling continued down the length of her legs, splitting her skirt open like it was paper.
"I didn't think you could show much more skin, but I guess I was wrong," Carol said. Lauren grew bigger and rounder, her limbs sticking straight out from the ever-expanding balloon that her torso had become. Carol could just barely make out Lauren's terrified eyes through the dark tint of her sunglasses. She was silently pleading for Carol to stop, but all she could do was struggle weakly and make a few soft, plaintive squeaks of distress.
When Lauren had inflated to the point of complete immobility, Carol let go of the hose and stepped back to admire her work in progress. Lauren grew almost completely round, her tanned skin stretched like rubber, taut and shiny under the desert sun. It wasn't until that point that Carol even considered the possibility that Lauren might burst. As the expanding, quivering globe that was Lauren's body towered over her, Carol contemplated whether she'd be inconvenienced by that outcome. The gas reached out to overwhelm Lauren's furthest extremities and the last indications that she was anything but a giant balloon were the tiny hands and feet protruding from her massive orb of a body. And even these were plumping up to comical proportions.
"Maybe you've had enough," Carol mused. Lauren nodded stiffly but vigorously as her sunglasses were pushed up by her increasingly puffy cheeks.
Carol noticed that Lauren's shape was barely pressed in at all at the point where her belly touched the ground. "Or maybe you should go a little bit bigger."
Lauren shook her head. The motion was even more stiff this time as each passing moment robbed her of a little bit of her remaining mobility. Her face had filled out so much that she was unrecognizable.
"Just a little bit more," Carol taunted. The combination buoyancy and pressure inside Lauren made her body almost perfectly spherical. She was just barely touching the ground. Lauren was only able to muster up a soft whimper as her lips started to swell up around the hose. The gas was quickly running out of places to fill, and Lauren could guess what the ultimate result of that would be.
"Alright, I guess you've had enough." Carol shut off the gas and pulled the hose from Lauren's mouth.
"You crazy bitch!" Lauren shrieked in a high-pitched voice. "What have you done to me?"
"That should be pretty obvious," Carol said.
"I'm floating!" And indeed she was. She had become so light that the slight added weight of the hose had been the only thing holding her down. Lauren was ever so slowly lifting up from the ground. Her ascent stopped as she hit the edge of garage door. She teetered precariously at the entrance, halfway between floating up to the garage's high ceiling and being lost to the wild blue yonder.
"You were right," Carol said as she reached out and plucked Lauren's sunglasses from her face. "I'm so glad I went a size or two bigger than I originally intended."
"Don't just stand there, you useless bimbo! Help me!"
"Oh, I'm more than happy to help you out." Lauren's eyes grew wide with shock as Carol shoved her out of the garage and she rose up into the sky.
"No! Don't! I'll fucking kill you if you don't get me down from here! I'll have your head for this!" Lauren's curses and threats continued unabated, but faded in volume as she steadily rose higher and the desert winds carried her away.
"Aaah," She sighed blissfully, feeling relaxed on the job for the first time in a very long time. She put on Lauren's shades and grabbed another bottle of water from the cooler. The chair was ruined, so she reclined on the hood of the Zelectra. Far off in the distance, she saw a glint of sunlight reflecting off of the Helios' solar panels.
Jimmy returned, shuffling out from behind the garage with his eyes downcast.
"Hi Jimmy," Carol said, waving cheerfully. "Have a drink."
"Sure," Jimmy said, though it was clear that he was still quite flustered. He looked around, and his gaze fell warily on the shattered chair and the shredded clothing around it. "Where'd she go?"
"Oh, Lauren?" Carol quipped, imitating Lauren's imperious tone and pointing a finger skyward. "She's up there."
He just nodded, assumed she was talking about the observation deck, and set about refueling the GZ2. "I'm sure she has a good view of the action."
"I'm sure she does."
Jimmy found Carol's grin to be slightly disconcerting, but he didn't ask what was so amusing. He was adjusting the tank pressure when he was startled by a distant bang followed by its rumbling echoes.
"What the hell was that?"
Carol hadn't even sat up. "Don't worry. It was probably just the car backfiring."
Jimmy wasn't at all reassured. "Um, Carol, the Helios is solar-powered. It can't backfire."
"Oh well," she said with a shrug. "It must have been something else then."