After our shower, Selene and I found our clothes or, more precisely, the automation delivered them to us, cleaned and dried and good as new.

I have long favored short miniskirts and short sleeveless jackets - the thicker leather-like skin on my arms and legs, and under my breasts, means that I do not feel cold very much at all. I never wear underwear, of course - as I have observed before, what would be the point? And the weather in the part of the world where we live is usually pleasantly warm and dry - not always, of course, but very often - there is rarely a need to dress for warmth and comfort.

By contrast, Selene had spent much of her life in heavy and constraining garments: long woolen skirts and jackets in unrelieved black, shapeless white blouses which covered her from neck to wrist, and underwear so voluminous that it must have contained enough material to make party dresses for three people - if anyone had wanted to wear clothing made from such a coarse and scratchy fabric.

Having escaped from the closed pious community, she took great delight in wearing as little clothing as possible, often adopting the shortest of hot pants and the skimpiest of halter tops which tended to enhance her long slender legs and large bouncy tits.

Female private investigator Today, however, and as we have tended to adopt more and more, we were wearing clothing following a idea - a recommendation, perhaps - put to us by Dragon. He has been effectively bank-rolling our little business, at least at the start - now we seem to be making enough money to pay back some of his investment.

Dragon is not his real name, of course. Formally, he is Brandon O'Reilly, but everyone calls him Dragon. Partially, I understand that this is because of his noted business acumen: he invested in what was then called nanotechnology at a very early stage, re-invested his gains and even acted as a guinea-pig for some early experiments in the use of medical nanobots. For this reason, he is both extremely wealthy - although this makes less difference that one might think in an age where everyone has all the comforts that they might desire - and incredibly old, having been born in an era when people regularly died within their first century.

Dragon is actually my father, and Selene's too; we have different mothers. In a world where everyone (well, almost) is permanently healthy and lives forever, thanks to pervasive medical technology, another feature of the automation is to prevent conception and therefore overpopulation. So bearing or fathering children is now very rare, and almost impossible to achieve in practice. Somehow, Dragon's great wealth was able to achieve the impossible, twice, although the details still elude me.

Selene's mother is dead now. She moved to a NNZ enclave after becoming pregnant, the religious community of Eden from which I had rescued her daughter just a few months ago. For reasons that escape me, Selene's mother wanted to bring up her child in a simpler or at least more primitive fashion, which she did, but of course she grew old and died from what I am afraid is still called "natural causes" after a few short decades.

My Mom is alive and well, thank you very much, and I get to see her on a fairly frequent basis. She is what would have been described in another age as a Society Hostess. Her soirees and parties, not to mention her orgies and swinging events, are moderately famous and frequently reported in the more fashionable of the official blogs and subscription zines. I, and usually Selene too, attend a moderate number of these events, and we have found it to be a useful source of contacts and occasionally more lucrative contracts.

Anyway, Dragon's suggestion came up during the earliest days of our new enterprise, when we were looking to promote ourselves, and indeed still trying to define exactly what our business would undertake. With the aid of the PA, he drew out a selection of old images, some of them dating from before even he was born, showing hard-boiled private detectives with half-smoked cigarettes and snub-nosed revolvers.

"People love the retro look," he said, when we appeared dubious, "And they will remember it, too."

Selene as a private detective And he was right. The clothes Selene and I now put on consisted of a floor-length coat with a high collar in dark-colored Letherz(TM) that glistened in some lights as if rain was sleeting off it, over a short skirt in the same material and a tight-fitting sleeveless shirt in stretchy black fabric, and finished with an old-fashioned hat of a kind I believe is called a trilby.

Side by side, we stood with our hands on our waists, coats unbelted and flowing loose, and admiring each other - and ourselves - in the large mirror the automation has so thoughtfully provided for our use.

Tania and Selene - Private Investigations.

Part 4 Volume 2: Innocent Questions