Contractual Awareness by Siegfried
"Persona needed" That's what the ad read. One could only asume this was either a typo or a bad pun if you actually knew what the job was about:
"We're for people willing to dress up as the characters of a new videogame scheduled to launch next week: Persona 3. This is a nationwide campaign so you can adress on your nearest pickup point to get more information" After that a list of said locations was provided where people were supposed to be interviewed for the job. Persona 3 campaign office - Uknown Date & Time
- "Don't you think this is a little overboard? I mean, we were only asked to a commercial campaign" - "You know as well as I do that this is the perfect chance to use the new technology we got after we bought that research plant in order to improve the quality of our costumes. If this campaign is as succesful as expected people will be begging us to do their commecial stunts."
- "I hope you are right, Mr. CEO. After all this campaign will cost us far more than we were paid." Local Persona 3 Interview Center - Two days before launch - 35 hours remain - "So... I see you're in College. You know, the campaign could take some weeks if the game is successful. You don't have any exams or classes to take during that time?"
- "Well, I thought I'd only have to work on launch day so I hadn't thought of that." - "It's really important to us that the people we contract are aware of what we expect from them. We're going to pay far more than is normal for this kind of job but we also expect people who accept this job bear the consequences of it. If somebody drops out just because "I'm not in the mood" we're not going to be too happy about it. Finding a good substitute ain't easy. We want to be a market leader in commercial campaigns so we can't afford that."
- "I see. I really am in need of that money so I really would appreciate getting the job. I actually have no exams or classes during the next weeks but I was thinking of breaking off from the routine and going on vacation after this job but I guess I can do that afterwards."
- "So you would be able to work for a month if needed." - "Ugh, sure. But come on, what are the odds of a game selling that well?" - "Normally the craze disappears after the first week but we want to change that. We expect to wear the costume full-time."
- "Fulltime? What do you mean?" - "Oh, you know, like those cabs who go around touring the town with ads on them. So if you go out to buy groceries you are also supposed to wear the costume."
- "You kidding? If somebody sees me like that I'll be the laughstock of my College!"
- "Well, we could fix that... you said you wanted to go on vacation, so we could send you to the other side of the country if you wanted. Some big city or maybe to the countryside where nobody knows you."
- "That's not the point, I mean, people would look at me all the time."
- "Well, that's the point."
- "Look, if you're not interested we might as well call the next. It's not like we are forcing you or anything."
- "Ok, I get it, I get it. As long as it's nowhere near my friends or family I'll bear it."
- "Good. We'll get you a flight scheduled. You'll be living in a promotional dorm."
- "Promotional dorm?"
- "Oh, the game is staged in some sort of college or something so our company bought some dorms in major cities to accomodate the staff."
- "Anyway, don't worry about luggage. We'll be picking you up tomorrow. So, could you sign the contract. You can read though it first, though"
- "I think you pretty much covered it all."
- "Welcome aboard then."
Unnamed Metropolis - Promotional College Dorm - Two days before launch - 12 hours remain
- "Was it really ok that I don't bring anything with me? I mean, you told you would be providing everything but still..."
- "It's part of the contract if I mind remind you. By the way, you should be aware that you're going to be working soon so you should follow me so we can get you changed into your costume."
- "Wait, it's just noon... I won't be working until tomorrow..."
- "Exactly, in twelve hours you'll be at the local GameStop posing so people buy the game."
- "It's all in the contract. You have to be already there the moment the first costumers go pick up the first units of the game"
- "But who's going to buy a game at midnight just so they can play it the day after anyway?"
- "Actually, a lot of people. Whatever, come over here."
- "Let's see... I was told to give you the Aegis costume... here it is. Put it on, I'll wait for you outside."
- "What a strange costume. Oh well."
- "Just so you know, you are supposed to wear this completely naked. Not doing it is also a contractual breach."
The girl was given the Aegis costume and left alone. She stripped naked and began putting on the catsuit-looking costume. It felt weird as she noticed while putting it on that it forced her heels up yet it still felt confortable. Putting the rest of the catsuit on was easy as it felt as it adapted perfectly to her body. Her hair was hidden under the costume but the costume itself already included a seemless wig glued onto it. Once she was done she felt weird however. The costume felt too good. Almost as if it was her own skin.
The assistant knocked on the door.
- "May I come in?"
- "Oh my, it looks perfect."
- "Too perfect for my taste... I feel naked with it."
- "Oh, come on, it looks good on you, what more would you want? Anyway, Aegis, you can wait in your room for some hours watching TV or stuff or take a look at the city or whatever."
- "That's the name of your character. Everybody here will address you by that name and so will the rest of the staff around here. So... what's your name again."
- "Ok, I get it. It's Aegis."
- "Good girl."
- "By the way, where's the rest of the staff? Also, aren't there other people who are going to wear costumes?"
- "Oh no, you're the only one for now. We might hire more people if we need them. About the other staff members, they're probably talking with the news about the game or just handing over flyers. Anyway, enjoy your time."
- "Hey, where are you taking my clothing!?!"
- "Huh? You didn't expect me to let you change again into normal clothing now did you? You need to get into your character."
- "But... this costume feels weird."
- "The more reason you stay in it before you go to the store this night. Don't even think of taking it of, most of the staff is away but they might come back and walk into your room by accident looking for their own one."
Metropolis Gamestop - One hour remains
- "I know I'll get a good paying for this but I still feel it's not enough for the trouble."
- "Hey, what's up? I guess you're the girl from the promotional campaign."
- "Yeah... I had to be taken here so I wasn't assaulted by all the nerds waiting in front of the store."
- "Well, I guess. You'll be safe for an hour before they come in at midnight. I don't think they'll tore your costume once they're here."
- "Not that they could even if they wanted."
- "I've been in it for hours. I mean, I was told to wear to get used to it but that was ridiculous. I was left alone and after three hours I got bored of watching TV or browsing on the internet. I wanted to get out of the costume for a bit but the damn thing wouldn't get off. I even considered ripping it but it's like a metal second skin. I couldn't find anyone nor a phone and I didn't want to go around like this in the street so I waited for somebody to pick me up and all he said was 'not my problem, I'm just here to take you to the shop and go home'."
- "Hmm. Well, I can feel your pain but it's not like I can help you either, I'm just here to sell the games. By the way, I was told to explain your routine. Technically, your the robot character in the game... or android... or gynoid.. or whatever, the idea is that your the stereotypical character who though extremely intelligent, seems to have no feelings but later it seems you actually are more than that and develop feelings for the other characters..."
- "I got lost after you said gynoid."
- "... Well, you'll do fine. Most of these guys will be too distracted looking at your costume and your curves to care."
- "After all, it is revealing and at the same time it isn't."
- "Tell me about it!"
Dorm - Ten hours after launch
- "Wow, you did pretty well, now, didn't you?"
- "It was freaking hell!"
- "Why? I heard people came rushing in during the whole night after hearing you were at the store. Even after the game was sold out they just decided to buy other games and reserve the game once it ships again."
- "THAT was exactly the problem. I was being constantly watched and some people even groped my ass."
- "What did you do?"
- "At first I didn't want to do anything just becasue there were so many people and even the news over there but once I couldn't bear it anymore I slapped one of them in the face. But they actually felt I was just doing my part of the act!"
- "Sounds harsh."
- "I actually wanted to get out of the costume right there. I even asked the manager for a timeout and if he could find a store uniform for me so I didn't have to go around naked but the damn costume won't get off! I've been trying to get it off since yesterday but the damn thing won't let me."
- "Better that way, that would be a breach of the contract."
- "I KNOW, DAMNIT I JUST DIDN'T CARE RIGHT THEN!"
- "What happened next?"
- "Well, I had been able to at least take break so I decided that I couldn't do anything to change the situation anyway. After that it seems the people calmed down."
- "So it was over?"
- "That's what I thought."
- "'That's what you thought?'"
"I don't know how the costume works but for some reason it began doing strange things on its own. Suddenly I wasn't able to speak and the costume opened this metal wristlet integrated in it and let a cable fall. The store manager connected it to a computer terminal in the store and suddenly he said 'Oh, it seems it shows her status. For some reason it seems her voice module malfunctioned' and everyone began laughing. I felt like a the little girl in the family everyone laughs at because she's so cute and helpless."
- "Well, I didn't know of that. Everyone here just does his job."
- "Next he said if somebody would be so fine to help me out. Several nerds began playing around with the settings. I felt like a puppet, I couldn't move my body nor tell them to stop while they were playing around with it. One of them was some kind of hacker which made me pose in slutty poses and flirt with the nerds there. I wanted to kill him right there!"
- "And how did you regain control of your movement?"
- "I was embarrased to hell and thinking of any way to get out there when I suddenly regained control while the computer said I had hacked the terminal. The nerds who had be toying around with it run away after seeing that. Nobody else tried to harass me after that though some asked me politely if they could take photos beside me. I went to the changing room again to see if I could get the thing off but to no avail. What especially freaked me out was that the metal joints felt real. And this morning I was told I could head back home again but nobody came to pick me up."
- "Nobody was supposed to, either. You're supposed to go back here on foot. And tomorrow you'll be going to the shop on foot, too. Well, I don't think you should wait for tomorrow anyway."
- "What do you mean? You know how long it took me to find out how to come back here?!? Also, how do I get the costume off? I've been wearing it since yesterday and I've even considered cutting it off as you'd get me a new one afterwards. The thing is fucking hell to wear. I feel naked, I lose control of my body and because of the heels it's hard for me to walk. I don't even know how I am able to mantain balance in them!"
- "Let me introduce you to something who will talk with you about this."
Basement of the dorm - "Velvet room" - Shortly after
- "Welcome to the Velvet Room, my dear young lady."
- "Velvet Room?"
- "Oh, don't worry I'm just doing my part here."
- "My name is Igor, I am delighted to make your acquaitance."
Igor holds the contract Aegis signed in his hands.
- "Only those who have signed the contract can enter this place. Henceforth, you shall be welcome here, in the Velvet Room. I hope you abide by the contract and assume responsability for the choices you've made."
- "What is this all about? Get me out of the costume."
- "Oh, I'm sorry, yound lady, but that I cannot do."
- "You should be aware as you signed the contract. It clearly states, and it has come to my knowledge you were informed in your interview, "that by no means shall the employee remove the promotional costume given to him or her for the duration of the promotional campaign". That has been ensured and the staff has been told not to aid anybody in their futile attempts to remove their costumes."
- "Are you kidding me?!?"
- "By no means, my dear. That costume you are wearing is made of the most advanced technology. It uses nanomachines to adjust on to you, which make that your body is, right now, an exact replica of your character, which, in your case, means your body also is that of an android, even though it has made sure the nanomachines won't alter your mind.
- "WH- WHA- WHAT?!?"
The girl now frantically touches through her body to find any seems but instead she pushes a button which opens her "stomach" leaving her internal circuits and machine cables in plain view. She tries to touch them, but there's still a invisible wall which doesn't allow her to do it. It clothes shortly after that.
- "Be careful, young gynoid, you don't want to leave yourself malfunctioning. Also, you can put yourself at ease, as the costume will revert its program after the campaign is over, allowing to lead a normal life after that. Also, bear in mind that telling anyone outside this room about it will mean you are breaking the contract, but we have no obligation to remove the costume from you. We'll just revert the robotic programming leaving you with a human body stuck in an undestructable nanocostume."
- "No way..."
- "Look at the bright side... you don't have to eat, drink, go to the toilet, bath or sleep whatsoever for time being. However, you should be careful of your batteries running out."
- "What do yozzz---- "
- "Oh dear, I guess you haven't been connected for the terminal for some time, now have you?
The man comes nearer and connects the cable falling from Aegis' wrist to a portable device.
- "You see, you'll have to go to the terminal at the store every 6 to 10 hours... depending on how much activity you have been doing. While you are connected you won't be abe to move your body and the costumers will be able to play around with you thinking it's part of the act but don't worry about them, even if you get angry at them the most you will be able to do is scare them with your face as the first rule of robotics won't let you kill them. You might still be able to slap them for groping but that's it."
- "Oh... there you go. I won't do this again though so unless you want to be a statue in the street instead of a robot you better go to the shop next time. Anyway, you were aware of your contractual duties so you better get back to work."
- "How do you expect me to work while being stuck in this?!?"
- "I don't know, my dear but you better do, because you're going to be stuck in this for the duration, just like the rest of the girls part of the campaign."
Igor turns on the TV:
"This night was a crazy night for videogame lovers nationwide. Millions of costumers who stormed the stores to get the new installment of a video were received by girls dressed up as robot character Aegis. News soon spread and the game is now sold out with preorders being counted in several millions for when the next shipping is out. Promotional campaign director and CEO of the advertising company in charge said they expect that the campaign will last several weeks if not months if the campaign continues to be as succesful as it was last night."
Aegis could just stare at the TV in blank horror.
- "So, everything went well?"
- "Just as planned"
- "But do you think we can afford to prolong the campaign for that long?"
- "I just said that so people who ask for our services are aware that we can use this service for as long as short as we want as long as they pay the price for it. Unless the game company pays for another month more each month we'll end the campaign."
- "But what about the girls?"
- "What about them?"
- "I mean, won't they fill a lawsuit?"
- "I gave very concise instructions on how the interviews had to be done so that even if they didn't read the contract they couldn't complain about not being informed. That's what you call contractual awareness."