Prophylactive Hyperdermis (aka the “Zoot Scute”)


To many people, the detonation of the radiological dispersion device (RDD or “dirty bomb”: see note at bottom) by Vjegosalvian undercover operatives in Whited Sepulchre Park, at the centre of the Capital, was the defining moment in bringing home the true meaning of a universal conflict. Now it was truly obvious that no-one, and nowhere, was safe from attack.

In fact the fallout was as much psychological as physical, and it marked an all-time low in public morale. However, as many poets and philosophers have pointed out, the human spirit is never more noble then in adversity, and at times like this, the aristocracy took it upon themselves to show the stiffest of upper lips.

A wonderful example of this indomitability was Mrs Philippa Petty (or “Pippi” to her friends) wife of Spherodon magnate Sir Goodhew Petty. Not to be baulked by something as trivial as 5 grays (approximately 500 REM) worth of radiation, she prevailed upon her husband to create a suitable safety outfit for her and her friends to continue to enjoy their daily visits to the park and its environs. Thus it was that he turned to his drawing board and produced the de facto design for Prophylactive Hyperdermis armour (literally “protection beyond the skin”)

Shown here is an early example of his efforts to combine form with function: the Spherodon Anti-radiation Prophylactive Hyperdermis “Elan” (or SAPHE).

This is a kevlar/carbon composite with lead lining and servo assisted hip and knee joints. A number of colours and patterns were made available and it became something of a “must have” to be in possession of a SAPHE in the current season’s colours. Note the rakish large-brimmed hat. This was not only a style point, but added valuable extra protection from glare and radioactive rain.

With typical gallows humour, this new type of couture was quickly and aptly named “pret a morte” although of course the fashionable ladies of the time were very happy, and relatively safe, in their Zoot Scutes.

Note: it is now known that the plutonium device used in the RDD was based around the notorious “demon core” design from back in the very early days of nuclear research.

One Response to “Prophylactive Hyperdermis (aka the “Zoot Scute”)”

  1. Dr Smilax said:

    I’m going to get one of these for the Memsahib next time she goes up to London. Can’t be too careful what with the ozone layer being so thin and everything.