Exert from the journal of Stanley Mitty.
One of the patrols had come across an interesting cave, while on a scouting patrol. The locals had a superstitious fear of entering; citing a legend that any who entered seldom exited and changing those that did return. I am never one to let a curiosity remain unsatisfied. Aware of their superstition, I organised a secret investigation so as not to upset the locals.
After we had located the entrance, Sgt Bob Samuels and I entered leaving the rest of the patrol to act as retrieval team and ensure that no unwelcome reception was waiting for our return.
I was carrying sufficient lights and equipment to support an expedition of several days with backup supplies left with the patrol. This procedure was the best 5P practice to plan for success, and to provide for the worst; so having settled the backup arrangement, Serjeant Samuels, ‘Fang’ my faithful old hound and I proceeded into the cave. After a small entrance, it opened shortly after into a sandy-floored cavern which seemed to develop further into the mountain. There were no stalactites, fallen rocks or anything else to cause concern.
In the distance water could be heard bubbling in a pool; as the going was easy, I laid out the telephone cable and directed the party forward towards the source of the sound. Somewhat disappointed that it was all too easy and hardly fitted the terrible reputation it was saddled.
No dragons, werewolves or witches were threatening to turn us into toads. It was becoming a big let down; something wasn’t right but what I couldn’t put my finger on, but as my infamous 5P plan calls for: don’t relax until you are safe home in your bed. Perhaps not even then.
Apparently to justify our preparation I almost stepped on a small skeleton, sadly of an infant lying on our path pathetically reaching towards the exit, strewn beyond the remains adult clothing and footwear. Puzzling but hardly scary, so we proceeded further, and Fang became interested in the pool situated ahead. Approaching the small lake, Fang would have had a drink, 'Stay Fang, Bob best test that before we do anything else,' I ordered.
So Bob set up lights and unpacked the test kit, taking samples and reading the results. 'Clean and safe,' he declared, then had a drink before I could intervene as did Fang.
'Idiot! That is what lab rats are for; now you have undermined my authority with Fang,' I accused.
'Sorry boss, it is sweet and refreshing,' Bob laughed.
'Now I have to keep an eye on both of you,' I said shaking my head, 'Let's get on with it.'
After a relatively short time, we had covered the rest of the cavern and found nothing further of note.Taking a few photos for posterity, we packed up and returned to the entrance feeling a bit let down; interest apart from more small skeletons of various animals; though thankfully no more children.
As we did, Samuels complained, 'I am feeling a little strange.'
I turned around to rub my warning in and found that Fang had lagged as well. Shining the torch on both of them and I was surprised to see changes in their size and shape. Fang was the most dramatic as he had become half his size and started to look like when I first brought him home eight years ago. While Bob Samuels hadn’t lost any height, he had undergone some shape changes with his shirt hanging loosely and his trousers just a little tight. Picking up Fang I moved a bit quicker and urged Samuels to hurry out to our backup troops in the camp.
As we had prepared for an extensive exploration, the camp had been barely set up, waving Samuels over to a seat I called our first aid man to give him a quick check. I took Fang over to my tent and did the examination myself, and shock horror found something missing. Damn, Fang is in for a name change to Flossy or something, and he was now she. Leaving a very disgruntled puppy, I went over to check on Samuels dreading the worst. I asked L.Cpl Tomas for a report; he said, 'Fighting fit, never seen him look better, Sir.'
'Um, Bob, your shirt looks a little lumpy. Sorry to worry you, but Fang is now a girl,' I informed him.
With a horrified look on his face, he reached under his shirt then looking even worse when he slipped his hand into his trousers. Letting out a few blistering oaths which unfortunately rose an octave as it came out. His face was becoming finer as I watched; lost its five o'clock shadow and Bob now resembled his daughter.
'We now know the basis of the legend, thanks to our two volunteer lab rats,' I said desperately trying not to smile. As I said that, apparently Fang had also found out the horrible truth as he let out an anguished howl.
An annoyed frown came to Samuel’s face as he realised that he needed to relieve himself. 'Damn, where are the latrines?' He asked.
The Corporal pointed to a shovel with a shrug and a wry look, 'Sorry Sarge that was the next job.'
This information wasn’t what Samuels needed to hear, and it certainly didn’t improve his mood. Grabbing the spade, Bob stomped off into the bush. Fang had the same problem and ran over to a tree where he tried his old method of cocking his leg with unsatisfactory effect. There was a tremendous volume as I guess he had to lose about 5 Kilos of weight. Judging by the bad language coming from the bushes Samuels had found the same difficulty. After what seemed an eternity, they both returned to the centre of the camp with their mood not improved.
'Corporal have two signs made, one to read "Advertencia - Fuentes Antigua Hombre Cambia Para La Nina" with a skull and crossbones above. The second: "Danger – Fountain Changes Old Man to Young Girl"; topped with the same.' I ordered. I thought that two languages plus the universal danger sign should keep people away.
'Yes Sir,' Answered the corporal, leered at Bob and then hastily retreated as Samuels grabbed his knife.
'Corporal, the serjeant is still the best shot and knife-man in the force and now cranky as hell. Pass it around; I don’t want to lose any men,' I warned, then I went across to Fang to try and comfort ‘him’ receiving a nip for my trouble. As if it was my fault; while his teeth were now smaller, they were also bloody sharp. I grabbed Fang by the scruff and gave him a shake as a reminder who was the boss; ‘he’ was not a happy puppy.
Next project was to organise these two back to town to conduct investigations as to duration, permanency and how long the water itself is effective; this time, real lab rats would be used. So leaving with, 'Corporal, once you have posted the signs, pack up and return the place to the way we found it. Warn every man of the danger and no solo exploring,' I ordered then added, 'I will take Serjeant Samuels to the hospital and see if we can put him back in one piece.'
'Yes, Sir. I am happy to leave as soon as possible,' He acknowledged.
I gathered the two hapless patients and hiked back to the vehicles that I left near the road; understandably the travel was completed in silence except for the frequent calls of nature. I transported the victims back to town and the military hospital. Finding the Doctor to brief him on the problem and what I hoped would be the outcome; Fang while he was a valuable specimen for the investigation, he was still my favourite companion.
'Doctor, we have a problem, it seems that Sergeant Samuels and my pet have suffered a strange mishap. They both drank from a spring and had changed both in age and gender,' I said.
Looking at me like I had lost the plot, he commented, 'They look healthy enough to me. Though if you insist, I will examine Samuels and impose on my colleague the veterinary surgeon to do the same with the puppy. In the meantime run along while we do our job.' The doctor is one of the few people who can cavalierly order my comings and goings.
The doctors arranged the examinations. I went back to my office and tackled the 'In Box' that I organised this adventure to avoid. Rats!! Though I suppose an even bigger pile of paperwork would have been waiting for my attention at the programmed end of the quest. I received a phone call from the doctor, 'Those friends of yours are perfectly healthy, though what have you been doing to them; they are very angry about something. Is Samuels any relation to Michelle Samuels, our nurse?'
'Yes her father,' I offered, then when the silence became pregnant, and I could imagine the doctor gesturing to someone to call the men in white coats. 'I saw him change to what you now see. Surely you had seen me walk around with Fang, who now looks like when I first brought him home from the Pet shop about eight years ago. Do you have access to white rats or something like that; I have some of the water to test dose and duration.'
'I believe the vet has a dozen or so. If you are not pulling my leg, they should give the subjects that you need,' The Doctor advised.
So taking my samples, I proceeded over to the hospital to start the process. The rats were in the animal hospital, so I entered there and hailed the Vet, Dr Rodriguez, 'Hi Doc, so I hear that Fang is healthy but cranky?' I asked.
'Yes, you say this is the same dog I examined last week and not a new one? This pup doesn’t have the scar that the older one did,' He stated.
'Do you have a nose print of Fang,' I asked when the vet nodded, 'Could you compare them?'
So the vet found his test sheet, placed it against the nose of Fang and obtained a print. Then he put the two results up on his X-ray display cabinet. Taking a close look, he announced that as far as he could tell they were identical just different in size. 'If they were different animals it would make history, as nose prints are unique. So I would have to say that the two prints come from the same animal,' The Vet announced, 'So I will take a leap of faith and assist you with the investigation.'
So putting four rats in separate small cages, he said to proceed, ascertaining that the average weight was 500 grammes and an age of 2 years, Samuels starting weight about 80 kilos and 45 years and Fang about 20 kilos and nine years.
Having calculated that Samuels drank about 200 millilitres of the water; guessing that Fang drank about the same, the results being 50 percent of the starting age for Samuels, 90+ percent for Fang. So I suggested that one mil would be a starting point for the rat to give a half age effect. The vet administered that amount to the first, a female just to see that it worked in mirror fashion and whether the estimated dose was correct. Remembering that it took effect about an hour after drinking, we settled in to watch. Nothing seemed to happen for the first 30 minutes, and then the rat began to become restless which heralded the transformation as displayed by Samuels.
At the end of the hour, there was a small change in size as it had changed into a male at about 1-year-old, the difference was prominent at the rear. This change confirmed that it indeed worked to the opposite depending on the start gender and perhaps tomorrow we could try to reverse the process. So having told Fang the good news (which I am sure he understood), I went over to the infirmary to visit the other patient and found Bob chatting with his daughter.
Michelle greeted me brightly with, 'Good morning Sir; I have just been talking with our new patient; unusual to meet someone with almost the same name as my father. Where is Dad so I can introduce them?'
Samuels gave me a warning glare, despite that, I said, 'Oh they know each other, just can’t bear to be in the same room. I have some good news for her, which I am afraid is confidential.'
Since we have had a long and informal friendship, Michelle asked with a faked pout, 'Even with her twin sister nurse, Uncle Stan?'
I laughed, 'For now, though Roberta will probably tell all shortly.' This comment earned another glare followed by a hopeful look.
'OK, see you later Roberta,' Michelle laughed.
After she had left, I asked, 'How did that conversation start?'
'I was reading when she walked in and without thinking called her ‘Mishy’, and asked her how her Mum was. While that surprised her she started talking like an old home week, and I was responding like I did last morning at breakfast,' Samuels grimaced, 'Then we both realised that we weren't supposed to know each other, luckily that was when you walked in and saved me from explaining.'
'That will have to be done soon, though the better news is, the water does works on females as well and turns them into males.'
'And the bad news is?' Samuels asked having been in the services for a long time.
'It takes more age off as well. Though a smaller dose limits the loss of years,' I explained, 'At the moment the best outcome is that your dear wife is going to have a twenty-year-old husband. I will then have you as my offsider for another twenty years before you slow down again.'
'That’s great I think, and you are the one who is slowing down not me. Damn; Desdemona was looking forward to my retirement in a couple of years,' Samuels responded somewhat ambivalent about this news.
'Well if preliminary tests have shown, perhaps we can use the two-dose effect to bring Dessy in line with your apparent age, and if that works I might talk Wendy into the same,' I then laughed, 'Won’t that make the Kids annoyed?'
'I can imagine how excited they will be to introduce their new parents to their friends,' Bob said, 'About how long before you expect to have the results?'
'Probably take a week or two to get it right, wouldn’t do to have you revert to a bottle-fed baby?' I asked rhetorically.
'You are as funny as a rubber crutch, come back when you have the answer. I suppose I had better break the news to Michelle and Dessy before they spring to conclusions and decide that I have been playing up and have another daughter,' Bob said.
I went to the door and found that Michelle hadn’t gone far, perhaps even had heard some of the conversations. I called, 'Michelle, Roberta has some news for you explaining why she is here.' There was a threat of revenge from behind me.
'Come in, Michelle. First, my name is Robert, second, your dad can’t talk to me because that’s me. There has been an accident, and I have changed, entirely my fault, and Brigadier Mitty is working on the fix.'
'Really? And I was so happy to have a new sister though I am not sure how mum will like this story; I suppose you would like me to get her over here so that you can explain. That should be fun to watch,' Michelle responded laughing accepting it in good spirits.
Samuels groaned, 'I think Stan should do the explanations before I try, she is too a good shot with a frypan.'
'OK, I’ll pull your chestnuts out of the fire for you,' I accepted though not looking forward to doing so as Dessy had a fiery temper, 'If Wendy helps it may be easier, which means I will have to explain the problem to her first. This explanation may take a couple of hours, so I will let you two girls catch up on the hot Goss,' This brought an expletive from one and a laugh from the other.
'Well that confirms that this is Dad, I haven’t heard that word since he hit his thumb last week,' She laughed then mock warned, 'Don’t let Mum hear you say that; especially in front of two officers. She’ll wash your mouth out with soap.'
So I left them to their explanations, I went back to the Vets to pick up Fang as I would need him in the explanation for the two women.
Arriving home I announced that I was back, 'Hi Wendy back a bit earlier than I expected, there has been a small accident.'
'What happened?' Wendy asked concerned, 'Nothing serious?'
'Nothing that can’t be fixed given time,' I answered.
Wendy spotted Fang. 'What a darling puppy, what happened to Fang? He won’t like this,' She said. Fang nearly nipped her as she tried to pat the new puppy.
'This is what happened to Fang, and he is not happy about it. Naughty puppy don’t you know the hand that feeds you?' I said, 'Now I need your help to explain to Dessy as the same thing happened to Robert.'
'He changed into a cranky puppy?' Then had a closer look, she asked, 'Girl puppy?'
'No bad enough; into a twin for Michelle, a woman in the early twenties. And also not happy but it was their fault, I told them not to drink the water,' I said pointedly to Fang, 'At the moment the hospital and the vet are trying to work out the fix.'
'I thought you just went to check out a cave with a superstition?' Wendy asked.
'Bob and Fang found that it was a Fountain of Youth with a twist. Now Desdemona has a young woman for a husband, and I have a puppy bitch. The best bet is that we end up with an even younger husband and male puppy,' I explained, 'Apparently a smaller dose only changes the age slightly, but still has the same effect on gender; at least on rats.'
'How can I help? Don’t you feel that you have enough authority to tell Dessy?' Wendy asked not making it any easier.
'I figure that if the three of us go over and tell her it will come easier than just dropping it on her all official and everything,' I suggested.
'The third being?' she asked.
“Fang, as a mute testimony; Michelle is having great fun with Bob at the moment stirring him,” I explained.
“OK, I suppose I can help. Just don’t expect me to do it every time,” Wendy said then asked, “Is he cute?
“A regular twin for Michelle,” I answered to put them in the class of favourite niece.
Gathering her bag, we proceeded to Bob and Desdemona Samuel’s house which wasn’t far. Desdemona answered the door, with a puzzled look as to her visitors. Her face changed to a worried look as it dawned on her that I was there without Robert, so she asked concerned, “Has something happened to Robert?”
'He is fit and healthy there has been an accident which will take some explaining,' I provided.
“So where is he?” Dessy asked.
“With Michelle at the Hospital, as an explanation here is Fang, my dog. As you can see he is now a puppy and please don’t mention the other change as he is still a bit cranky about it.”
Look of dismay came over Dessy’s face, “You don’t mean he is now a girl too?”
“I am afraid so, but we hope to rectify that soon it may result in him being a bit younger,” I said, “Michelle is giving him heaps at the moment, mainly revolving around how great it is to have a twin sister.”
“Oh goodie for them and what pray tell am I going to do with another child in the house, who I will then have to train again?” Dessy was starting to fire up demanding, “How could you let this happen?”
“I told them not to touch the water; then I had to put up with the complaints and bad temper while I try to fix the problem. You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to keep a straight face while I was trying to help. I would have told you earlier but had to wait until I was able to promise at least some hope,” I said to quieten things down, “At the moment there is a possibility using a couple of small separated doses you could join him at 20 years of age. The treatment still needs some checking first.”
“I would have to think about that, what with him due for a pension and what would the girls at the Wives’ Club think when I turn up, the president and looking the youngest?” she demanded.
“Only a suggestion, perhaps if Wendy as the patron were to join you in becoming younger?” At this proposal, I nearly had my ears blasted off with a duet of "What?" before they quietened thoughtfully.
“We will see, in the meantime, I had better go to the hospital and see if Bob can explain this one away,” Dessy decided.
So we all trooped off to the hospital to see Bob and then see if there was any progress in the experiments.
“What have you done to yourself now, how will I hold my head up at the club,” Dessy whipped straight into the attack, much to Michelle’s delight and Bob’s discomfort.
“Not my fault Dessy, the water tested safe,” Bob started.
“Hah! Stan let me know that you and Fang were warned not to drink it. I have a good mind to tell him not to change you back and put you to work in the laundry until you learn to do as you are told,” Dessy retorted.
Bob looked at me for support and assurance that I wouldn’t do such a thing. "Dessy don’t be mean. I’ll make it up to you somehow.”
“I’m just upset, give us a hug,” Dessy relented then observed with a wicked grin, “My, you make a cute girl; perhaps I should take up Stan’s offer and wear the pants in the family.”
At Bob’s stricken look, I assured him that I meant changing both to younger versions. “I wouldn’t like to lose my best friend and serjeant.”
At least some of the anger was dissipating from Bob’s demeanour, and he started hoping for a good outcome.
After the reconciliation and a week had passed with the lab rats restored to original if younger gender with no observable effects. A dog from the pound was put through the same routine with two mini doses and also responded the same only enhanced in cuteness, health and ready for adoption.
We gathered in my office as Dr Rodriguez had set up a conference to discuss the investigation.
“I have examined the sample which I will refer to as an elixir, it is chemically identical to any specimen of clean mountain creek water, and Samuels insists it tasted fine. Under the microscope, there is no life present in the elixir, whereas the mountain stream sample is positively teeming. If we add a drop of elixir to a slide of pond water, and while life goes on, it gradually diminishes and eventually becomes void of life.”
The Vet stood up and went to the microscope and asked for a sample of saliva, offering a slide. As I believe in leading by example, I did the honours. The vet placed the sample in the machine and adjusted the focus then invited all to view. When I did, I could see that it was full of life, somewhat shocking as I had recently cleaned my teeth. Dr Rodriguez assured me that this was okay and that 99% or better were either benign or beneficial.
“Now watch what happens when I add a drop of 1% solution of the elixir,” He said doing so.
I took another look through the microscope; some activity was slowing down while others seemed unaffected.
“The ones affected are the unfriendly and neutral flora, with the beneficial put on hold,” Dr Rodriguez said, “I would classify this solution as aseptic not anti as it doesn’t actively kill organisms. I theorise that this is the rejuvenating effect in action, as some organisms are dangerous because of the rapid division of cells. I also tested the resultant lower % solutions, and it disappears without effect, so there is no danger it wiping out a stream or river once it dips below 0.3%. To this end, I tried applying it externally to an ulcer on one of my patients. Quite effective, the wound healed almost overnight without any side effects.That’s one benefit of having animals as patients; no one gets sued if you experiment,” He laughed, “Not that I would do anything to harm them, you can try something beneficial without filling in two mountains of paperwork.”
“So my analysis at the moment is that as long as you don’t swallow the elixir, it is harmless to handle,” He announced assuming a dignified stance, “I see this as an adjunct to our profession and would need further investigation as to application. As penicillin was a serendipitous discovery which then leads to all sorts of discoveries, I believe so will this. Seriously the aseptic ability is most useful in very dilute solutions, which means that it goes a long way, and we won't diminish the source too soon.”
“When I obtained the sample I took about five litres, which didn’t seem to affect the level at all, I guess that the supply would be replenished in less than a minute,” I estimated.
“At that rate, we could supply up to 500 litres of the 1 % solution each working day. I doubt we would never need or handle that amount. At full strength it can help with trauma victims as during the gender change anything abnormal is restored to an alternate gender,” He grinned.
“Yesterday a road trauma dog came in a critical condition; so with nothing to lose, I gave it about two millilitres of straight elixir together with a dose of morphine. After the half hour, it started to recover, with it wanting to run around as if nothing had happened after another 30 minutes. Another one millilitre two days later and the owner was delighted to have the dog back fit and healthy. No scarring or any other effects on a dog that normally I probably would put to sleep.”
“I am sure we can treat battlefield injuries the same way. The minor inconvenience of having to evacuate the instant women instead of an injured soldier,” I suggested, “Perhaps if we call it Aqua del la Nina and put a ‘yucky’ face on it and mark external use only, to limit misuse.”
The meeting broke up with undertakings to keep it under wraps while long-term observation confirmed the results. We would use our ‘volunteer lab rats’ to confirm restoration to normal.
So it was with fingers crossed that Fang was restored to at least original gender however as a young pup that would have to wait perhaps four months before reaching his original size and able to resume his regular job. He was much happier and content now he had his equipment restored. Samuels was next with the same results with him only losing a little apparent age, now the strapping twenty-three-year-old who I had first known nearly twenty years previous. Of course, returning him to the same job was easier with some grey at the temples and perhaps a little make-up to restore the wrinkles to make him look the part of the senior serjeant of the battalion, together with a few weeks in the gym to restore lost muscle bulk.
When I thought about it, the feeling in the cavern that I couldn’t put my finger on was what wasn’t there. There was no smell, dank, or noise of bats or insects moving on the walls, no crunch of bat guano and cockroaches underfoot or any of the other joys of subtropical caves.
It reminded me of the time I returned early from a patrol and found that Wendy had emptied the house for spring cleaning. All the cobwebs and spiders were gone as were any dust and stains. Only the premonition, that if I stepped inside; all hell would break loose lest I muddy something.
Having settled this ticklish problem, I resumed the routine of running the Provence advancing the cause of the peaceful citizens.
A celebrated author had a problem; the public wanted more of the same, and the publishers also love a guaranteed sale. So the pressure is always on to write sequels, the downside is that this interferes with all the new projects that he would prefer to pursue. The other effect for a non-established author was this has the effect of filling shelves with more of the same, leaving no room for the new and rough around the edges.
You can describe writing and storytelling as an endless roll of paper unfolding behind you, dimly remembered in the West gradually approaching the sunrise in the East; characterised by being the new ideas brewing in someone's head. A storyteller Inuit to the North is extolling the adventures of the nearly forgotten heroes in their quests for the perfect snow; and in the South in Tierra del Fuego, a Shaman is retelling the tale of the sins that condemn their people to live in a climate of cold and fire.
One method to escape this circle is to write a final book which brings all storylines into a single ‘Gordian Knot’, then you ensure to keep sharp implements from Smart Alex (Alexander the Great). Though if done, all that would be left is a bucket full of short ends if someone uses the sword. The author in question has just completed this task; reaching for his quill; he commences to inscribe THE E…..
As he does this, out of the corner of his eye, he saw his favourite nephew stumble onto the railway line. Quick as a flash, our hero leaps onto the tracks and flings the boy to safety as the train thunders through the station.
It is then left to an enterprising journalist to inscribe ..ND and couldn’t help himself adding (No sequel to follow).
Rather meet the Johnsons, a versatile engineering team dedicated to human mobility, also renowned for their offbeat sense of humour.
As we walk up to the door you will find two doorbells; one marked Johnson residence and the other the Daleks' Lab. Inside the same bell chimes but outside depending on the button pushed, the answer comes as either normal speech or mechanical. By the wear marks, one would assume that the Daleks had the most visitors. So being a sport, I pressed the Dalek button and in an authentic mechanical voice, “The Daleks are home. The Doctor and salesmen will be exterminated.”
After a few minutes, Mrs Johnson opened the door seated in a powered wheelchair. She welcomed me and directed my attention to an accompanying chair modelled on Davros’ life-support apparatus “Welcome I’m Amy, Please be seated, follow me.”
As I sat in the chair, the front fairing closed, swivelling a control panel to the front, complete with paired joysticks.
“Most of the buttons are non-functional except for the two joysticks and central mode control,” Amy explained. “Set the mode to FWD ON and use either joystick to move.”
The path leading to the workshop was a long ramp with a staircase cutting part of the loop off. Mrs Johnson headed for the steps and stopped just short as the front edge touched the bottom step a transformation occurred, and the wheels were reconfigured to accommodate the risers and slowly made her way up the steps in short stages. An extra track steadied the transition from each step to the next. When she arrived at the top rotated the chair and invited me to follow. “When the sensors detect the riser, the screen will prompt you to select 'step mode'. When you do so, it will proceed until it reaches the top.”
I did so, and while slow, steadily reached the top. Compared to the usual progress which requires one able-bodied helper with the passenger feeling highly unstable and anxious. From the progress it made, my chair had a pair of tracked wheels; the chair itself maintained the same horizontal orientation despite the angle of the steps. Arriving at the head of the steps a level pathway split to the home or the shed which is where Amy directed me to follow.
The door to the shed which was marked "Daleks Welcome", swung open to allow first Amy then me to enter. Seated at a drafting table was Brian, who stood, shook hands then waved me to a chair adjacent so that he could show me the preliminary plans for a social wheelchair which he was designing. The chair consisted of a transformable rack which supported the occupant; it had a wheelchair mode for transport, and a standing mode allowing normal conversations, eye to eye so to speak and reach those top shelves in the supermarket inaccessible to wheelies.
The driver would need to be strapped from ankle to upper chest; this meant it was still in the design stage, and Brian was redesigning the restraints to be auto-deployable. The other design consideration was custom sizing as each at this time had to be tailored to an individual representing a diversion from normal practice, this then required an extra expense to achieve.
Lately, a version was announced which used four large wheels and four 'dolly' wheels. Bicycle chains connect the large wheels each side, providing four-wheel drive in chair mode.
Two levers convert the sitting to a standing mode with the 'dolly' wheels providing stability. The larger rear wheels now provide locomotion via the chains to the wheels on the ground.
Not shown were the restraints and potential retraction of 'dolly' wheels. The 'dolly' wheels would restrict movement to smooth surfaces. Loading these with springs that allowed some movement in chair mode and a cam used to stiffen these springs when in stand mode. Or using larger diameter 'dolly' wheels would also help.