THE DIMINISHING ADIPOST
A Page Briant Contract
by Wilson Barbers
Page was still supervising the arrangement of his office when Ginny made her way into his workspace.
He heard her weight on the floorboards, looked up to take her in. The afternoon sun streamed through an upfloor skylight, illuminating her adipost beauty. Hair held back in a girlish ponytail, portable platform floating to support her cumbrous forefront, she smiled approvingly at Page's nesting efforts. The op returned her smile, felt a flush of attraction as he once more took in her marvelous tonnage.
He paused the maintenance bots.
"Got someone wants to see ya, babe," Gin said. "You ready for any clients yet?"
"Naw," he answered, pulling a tie out of his desk and looping it around his neck. "Figured I'd wait 'til I got my first office lookin' just right."
"Yeah, right," Gin chuckled, as he leaned over to let her tighten his knot. "I'll have him sent upfloor immediately." She kissed him on the cheek, then started to turn toward her office space, her massive paunch slowly adjusting to the change in direction. "Office looks good," she decided. "You always did have a good eye."
Page kept both good eyes on Ginny until she passed behind a partition. Downfloor in Gin's Joint, a detek blues song was playing, drowning out the sound of preshift cleaning. "Mr. Briant?" a slight voice asked, as his client strode into view. "Name's Robb Billings. I'm here about my wife."
He scoped the guy out. Late twenties. Reg-sized in an ultra-contempo decosuit. Sandy hair. Eyes that glistened with bioenhanced sharpness. You saw a guy like this on the second floor of a bounce 'n' chomp, and you came to one conclusion. He had to be an adipostate.
"Don't do nup work," Briant told him, finishing off his squeezee and reaching for a second. "Though I can recommend an op who does."
"I'm not interested in that," sandy hair answered, setting back onto an accommodating futon. "My problem's a bit more unique." Hard to tell if he was complaining or bragging.
"I've been married two years," the young man continued. "My wife's Lola Shelley's daughter."
Lola Shelley! Now that was a name to get the nostalgia nodes firing! Lady S. was the grande dame of dining stims, his first teen lust object. A gorgeous redhead of prodigious performing appetite, well in the 900 kg. range at her peak stardom, she'd retired from the media biz more than five years ago. One choice rumor had it she'd quit because she was tired of all the waiting time between retakes.
"I remember her," Page said, with a grin.
"You and half the adipostate males in city," Billings answered. "Her youngest daughter's just as beautiful." He flipped a holo chip onto Page's desk. As it struck the top, a young adipost female appeared. Page could see the resemblance. She was hugely stunning.
"So what's the problem?" Page asked.
"Watch," Billings directed. "This is Anya the day we sealed our nuptial contract." He waved his hand through the holo, making it skip. "This is my wife today."
Page immediately saw the problem. The adipost bride was wearing the same frock, but it hung noticeably looser.
"She's lost weight?" he gasped, unsettled by the thought.
"Fifty cageys in six months," the adipostate answered. "Over a hundred since we were nupped."
"Not possible. Enhancement doesn't work this way."
"So I've been told," Billings said. "But it is! My wife eats at full maintenance and beyond. She has since the day of her enhancement. With Lola coaching, she could hardly be expected to do otherwise. And yet she still continues to shed cageys."
"You gone to the biomeds?"
"Yeah, but I'm not sure they're telling us all they know," his client said. "S'why I came to you. You've had experience with 'em. Figure you might be able to find out somp'n I can't."
Billings paused, lifted the holo into both hands, and sadly looked around it. "Anya was enhanced at BigWeigh," he concluded.
That was a familiar name.
"You think the enhancement clinic is responsible for this?"
"I dunno," Billings admitted. "Couldn't hurt to have you check it out."
Page took another sip of caffeine. "I could give it a go," he decided. "But I'm no expert on biotechnology. Lemme stop by the clinic, talk to a few folks."
They sealed a short-term contract. After Billings left, Page checked the guy out (some hefty contracts in the adipost clothing line) then headed over to BigWeigh. The clinic receptionist let him through the recognition gate immediately. She was platinum haired and full-sized, a living advertisement for BigWeigh's effectiveness, and she smiled at Page flirtatiously. "Miz D. expecting you?" she asked.
"Not unless she's psychic." He took a platform to Taylor Delta's office and rapped on the side of the door. The former actress looked up from her desk and smiled at the op.
"Can't be social," she guessed. "You and Gin don't go out. So I guess this is bizness." She stood behind the circular desk and let it part, then she waddled toward the op. Taylor'd added a few kgs. since he'd first seen her as an adipost, and she obviously wanted him to notice her close-to-900 kg. body. Nobody could fill a kimono like Taylor.
"You look great," he told her. "Looks like you been doin' some heavy duty mastication."
"Thanks," she said, obviously pleased. She licked her trademark lips dramatically and gestured toward her office meal wall. It had recently been utilized at max setting. "Time I spent with yer wife was a real inspiration." She settled back down onto her platform, massive lower legs covering all but the tips of her toes, and smoothed her kimono over her globular forefront.
"So what brings you in, Page? You finally ready to sign up for yer enhancement?"
"Close to it," he said. "But today I'm here for a client. Gal named Anya Billings has been having problems with her enhancement."
"Name's not familiar," Taylor told him.
"Yeah. But I bet you'd recognize the family matriarch. Lola Shelley."
"Used to regularly experience her stims back when I was still wavering," Taylor confirmed, smiling reminiscently. "Loved her in Feast of Eden."
"Lola's daughter was treated back when Jay Michaels ran the place."
The clinic head made a face. Though she obviously enjoyed her present adipost state, her enhancement had not been voluntary. Kidnaped and treated by Michaels, a reg frustrated to the point of breakdown by his genetic inability to be made adipost, the former reg actress had been subjected to an ordeal of captivity. Thanks to Victim Parity Regulations, she was now half owner of the clinic.
Citygov controlled the other half.
"So what's the problem?" she asked, putting her professional face back on. The way her fingers drummed against both sides of her billowy paunch betrayed her agitation, however.
Page described his client's weight loss, let Taylor consider the ramifications. "You say she's seen one of my people?" she finally asked. She moved wallwards, dialed a dekaliter of liquical, and gulped as if trying to ward off the image of a diminishing Anya Billings with some quick consumption.
"S'what Billings says," Page answered.
"I've never heard of such a thing happening," she said, wiping her fulsome lips with an aloe treated napkin. "One of the basic conditions of enhancement is irrevocable elevation of the body's setpoint. An adipost's setpoint can be raised, but it won't drop unless the treatment's undone. And you know how infrequently that happens!"
Taylor buzzed outside, then dialed herself a second drink. "I'm forgetting my manners," she apologized. "Would you like somp'n to eat or drink?" She re-set the meal wall, and empty trays started winking out.
"More fun watchin' you," Page said, which brought an appreciative smile on her well-chinned face.
"You do know the right thing to say," she said between more deliberate swallows. "Too bad you're still nupped to Gin."
Before Page could think of another "right thing" in response, someone else entered the room. A well-muscled reg dressed in a biotech's smock: somewhere in his early thirties, close-cropped dark hair, humorless face - all in all, a pretty typical tech type.
"This is Ken Stevens, my adminatech," Taylor stated, then she turned to Mr. Mirth. "Ken, I assume you know Mr. Briant."
"Know of him," the biotech said. "You really turned this place around," he added to Page.
"Ken was second in admin when Jay Michaels was in charge," Taylor continued.
Page waited a beat for the tech to disavow his former employer and was not disappointed.
"Knew nuthin' of what he was doing, of course" Stevens stated, moving to the edge of Taylor's desk and resting against it.
"Page is doing an investigation for Anya and Rob Billings," Taylor said. "The lady was enhanced here and may've come in recently for an examination."
"The Billings?" Stevens said. "Yeah. I meant to talk to you about 'em. Came in yesterday, complaining of problems with the lady's enhancement. But there was nuthin' to it."
"Wife was complaining of unnatural weight loss, but according to our records, no such thing occurred. She's a healthy, typical female adipost." He turned on the wall behind Page, pulled up the file for Anya Shelley/Billings. A quick scan at the stats confirmed Stevens' story. Anya Billings' post-enhancement weight was 623, her current weight 624. All her biosigns were normal.
"Funny," Page said. "I saw her holo from her enhancement. I'd have guessed her to be in the mid-700's."
"Holos can be fauxed," Stevens answered.
"Why would anyone wanna do that?" Taylor said.
"You know the answer to that," the adminatech said, an edge of condescension in his voice. "BigWeigh's been contractually vulnerable since Michaels' death. It's a wonder that we haven't had more scammies comin' after us." He scrolled the rest of the Billings file on wall. According to the records, Michaels had been the only tech present for the procedure.
"That s.o.p. for a legit clinical enhancement?" Page asked the biotech.
"No," Stevens said. "But Michaels was the boss. He wanted to do a solo, he had the right."
Could be, Page thought. But he didn't like it.
"Thanks, Ken," Taylor said, dismissing Stevens from her office. The tech looked like he was about to say something further, then he changed his mind and stalked out of the room.
"You got any doubts about Ken Stevens?" Taylor asked, watching the op from behind a fresh squeezee.
"Don't you?" Page asked.
"Take a look at this," the adipost said, and she reopened her desk to toss a small satchel onto Page's lap.
Page raised a questioning eyebrow.
"Jay Michaels' personal daychips," she explained. "Found 'em my first week at BigWeigh, but I've never worked up the nerve to look at 'em." She gave the op a half smile, but from the time she'd spent with Gin, Page knew that it was an effort. Taylor may've quickly grown to love her size, but the effects of her forced captivity still occasionally showed.
"Citygov know about these?" he asked, opening the bag and taking a quick peak. There were enough daychips to account for the last decade. A glimpse into the deteriorating mind of Jay Michaels.
"Know about what?" Taylor answered, giving him a whole smile this time, the kind of smile that could get a guy reassessing his nuptial contract if he wasn't married to a Ginny.
"Never mind," he replied, standing and wrapping the satchel handles around his right arm. "I can ask Gin to program an accountbot to scan these for any refs to Anya Billings, see what we get. Should have 'em back in a day or so."
"Take yer time," Taylor said ruefully, making her way back to her replenished food wall. "I'm in no hurry to look at 'em." A brief half-smile and she turned back to her wall. He wondered if the former actress would ever be able to get beyond what Michaels had done to her.
Page dropped the daychips off with Gin and headed for Kressing Row. Billings was obviously expecting him: when Page flashed his seal at the entrygate, the building let him in. Wiring upfloor, he found both client and mother-in-law in the middle of a roomapt vast enough to hold both floors of Gin's Joint.
"Briant," the adipostate said, rising from his futon. "May I introduce you to Lola Shelley."
As with most adiposts, the only way you could tell her age was in her eyes, which showed their accumulated experience. Her biomedically darkened hair was cropped closer than he remembered, but that lusciously fleshy face was the same. She'd added at least 300 cageys to her legendary frame - which leant credence to those old rumors about her retirement - and wore a lightweight pliasuit designed to display her adipost assets. This was a body most adiposts could only dream of owning.
"Good eyework," Lola Shelley assessed, her throaty voice instantly familiar. It brought back flashes of his first stim experiences. "Polite but thorough. I like that in a man." She leaned forward to grab his right hand, paunch flowing off her platform and spreading against the floor. "I hear you're going to help my daughter."
"I hope so," Page answered, deftly stepping back as her forefront pressed against his legs. He didn't want to send off the wrong signals - though from the way Lola thrust her pre-eminent paunch closer to him, it looked like the retired actress had her own ideas. Fortunately, Billings came to his rescue. Maintaining a studiedly bland expression, he cleared his throat and indicated a vacant futon. Page gratefully retreated.
"Anya's upfloor in Lola's place. She spends a lotta time dining there," the adipostate said. "I'll bring her down." Page'd seen a lifestyle newsie on Lola's home once; it was crammed with topline food prep technology. If Anya was spending her eating time upfloor, her loss was even more amazing.
"Raymond Fab's recommended you," Lola said, after Billings left the roomapt. "We go back quite a ways."
"I remember," Page told her. "Yer portrayal of Ester Venn in The Singin' Cook."
"You do know my career," Lola said with a smile. "My first stim role, but it got me noticed. Didn't appear until the final third, but I made an impression." She leaned back and let her platform extend to raise her midsection. "Spent a year prepping for the dining stims. Gained close to 100 cageys learning to make eating a sensual art, and it shows in my work. Actresses today: they gorge, but they don't communicate their appreciation."
"Stims were subtler when you made 'em," Page agreed.
"They had to be back then," a new voice said. "Fifteen years ago, citygov was considering regulating the format. Listen to Ray and Mom, and they'll convince you they were great artistes. The truth is the political climate forced 'em into subtlety." With that, the voice's owner came into view. Anya Billings, followed by her husband. She waddled over to the duo, holding a hanging liquical tube that trailed behind her like a solicitous servbot.
She settled onto her platform besides her mother. Seated, her midsized adipost body was more apparent, an image of the way her mother must've looked before she started prepping for stim stardom. Her reddish hair was brighter than Lola's had been but otherwise she was a double for the actress; those well-padded facial features had the same innocent sensuality Page remembered from any of a dozen dining stims. Her 600-plus kg. frame - which she obscured in a loose, flowing dress - was basic Willendorf. He liked the way her paunch rode up ahead of her once she'd platformed, though she was nowhere near the size of her mother, who used a portable platform even when she was standing.
Seeing her in the flesh, Page could understand the Billings' frustration. Looked like Anya had the genetic capability to catch up with her mother. Yet here she was, moving in the opposite direction.
"So what've you learned?" she asked. Her voice was slightly raspy and matter-of-fact, older than the rest of her.
He gave a capsule summary of his interview at BigWeigh, skipping over Stevens' innuendos.
"Dunno what I think of our Mr. Stevens," Page concluded. "He contradicts the stats you gave me, and the records he showed me seemed to bear this out."
"Records can be fauxed," Billings answered.
"I've heard that," Page replied. "But that doesn't get me anywhere fresh."
"I don't have any reason to be faking this," Anya said. "My husband and I are well off. I've wanted my enhancement for as long as I can remember, yet all it's brought is a body that's wasting away. Keep losing cageys like this, and soon I'll be as small as Kelsie!"
"Anya!" Lola Shelley barked, looking as shocked as if Anya had just calmly told them her squeezee was laced with sack.
"Kelsie?" Page asked.
"Kelsie Bonham," Lola explained. "My eldest daughter. Had her when I was still reg, and it put her at a disadvantage when she got old enough for enhancement."
"How much of a disadvantage?"
Anya Billings gestured toward the nearest wall. At her request, a life-sized holo of a young woman in the mid-200 range appeared before it. She was smaller than Gin had been before her enhancement.
"That was Kelsie right after the procedure," Anya said. "Couldn't tell you if she's still this size. We haven't seen her in years - and not for lack of trying. Kelsie's kept herself incognito. She didn't even show up for my nuptial sealing."
Post Traumatic Stress. It happened with some of the early adipost enhancements, Page knew: many first and second generation posts' dreams of immediate grandeur weren't realized as completely as they'd hoped. It was a devastating setback to some, but others had taken it as a challenge.
"Any of you know where she is?" Page asked, and he watched both mother and daughter shake their well-jowled heads. Which meant she probably lived someplace outside the zone; it was easy to lose yourself in the city multizones. He'd dommed in one himself before returning to Ginny.
He asked for a copy of Anya's holo chip, then headed out to beat dayshift's end. Soon as he left the building, Page buzzed a contact on the metrowire. Another quick buzz to Ginny told him that she'd started feeding Michaels' chips to the office accountbot. He made his way back to BigWeigh.
Once he got to the enhancement clinic, Page grabbed a bench by a convenient sweed stand, keeping himself behind the stand's customers. He was into his second roll when Ken Stevens left the building. Page watched him strut to the nearby metrowire and raise his right hand seal into the city transport beam. His translucent form zipped off, a spectral commuter.
Page quickly buzzed his contact, got a fix on Stevens' destination - a minute's wire across metro - and hit the wire himself.
The adminatech had wired to one of the east multizones, a fairly mundane neighborhood primarily populated by office drones. The nine-to-fifteen crowd. Page spotted his quarry about a block ahead, passing a stim salon. (This week's hot adipost release: Debi Does Dinner - Part Four.)
Three blocks down, Stevens turned into a building. The entrygate was at least ten years old, easily fooled by an ersatz citygov seal. He found Stevens' roomapt on the fourth floor, saw it was also registered to another familiar name.
Soon as he hit the door, the tech was there to let him in. "Took ya long enough," he said with a smirk. "C'mon in."
The roomapt was considerably less opulent than you saw on Kressing Place, but roomier than Page first expected: neatly furnished and divided by a screen decorated with posters from several familiar force-fattener stims. Behind the screen, Page could see some anthropomorphic holos dancing to the sound of one of the latest Bounce Bar hits. The biotech stepped aside to let him in, so naturally Page headed for the screen.
"You decent, Kelsie?" Stevens shouted, as the op stepped around it.
"Just barely," she chuckled, as Page got his first view of Anya's sister. She wasn't kidding. Stretched across her futon, she reclined with a hybrid silk sheet covering her breasts and the top half of her belly. "But I'm sure Mr. Briant won't mind." She smiled provocatively, snapped off the dancing dessert display and pulled up the sheet so it covered even less of her magnificent paunch.
Kelsie Bonham had added some cageys since her enhancement. Nowhere near her mother yet - but hovering in the mid-800 range. Took some serious work to get yourself more than three times post-enhancement weight. Page was duly impressed.
"Was gonna ask you what you were doin' all these years, Miz Bohnam, but I guess I don't need to," Page said.
"Ken said you were by the clinic, asking about Anya. We knew you'd be by soon enough." She took several long slugs of liquical then gestured to Stevens, who was rolling a new keg her way. "What ya bring me?" she asked, as the tech hooked a tube to the hectoliter keg.
"New flavor liquical from the clinic," he told her. "See if you can guess."
"Roll it closer, hon," Kelsie purred, waving a well-padded arm. "You know I can't reach that far." Stevens did and placed the tube in her widely splayed hand. "I love puzzles," she told Page, as she took her first tentative swigs. "Sounds like my sister's been a bit of a puzzle herself. Only interesting thing she's ever done."
"You and yer sister don't get along?"
"I'm not sure what that means," she said matter-of-factly. "Never saw her enough to have any kind of relationship with her. She was eight years younger than me; might as well have come from a different family. She did, come to think of it: a family of fully enhanced parents."
"Doesn't seem to've held you back," Page replied, as she returned to some concerted tubing. "Saw yer holo at Lola's place; you've definitely managed to overcome yer handicap."
"But think of where we could be today if Kelsie'd started in a higher range," Stevens interjected, rolling two, three and then four kegs within range of the guzzling adipost. "Past Lola Shelley. Past any recorded adipost." He patted her paunch proudly, then retreated to bring in more kegs. "Hope you guess correctly," he told her. "Don't wanna have to send these all back."
"Ken loves to play games, too," she confided, "but he can't keep food from me."
"So you did this together," Page asked, and he let her take her time before answering.
"We're a team," she said. "I was one of Ken's first enhancements. He brought me out of myself, helped me realize my potential. All he asks of me is that I don't appear too mobile when he's around."
"The ol' fattener fantasy," Page scoffed.
"Haven't met an adipostate yet who didn't share that fantasy to one degree or another," Kelsie said. "The thought of feeding an adipost to sizes beyond modern biotechnology's capacity - it's at the heart of every force fattener fantasy."
Page knew the stories. The modern metro myths of maxfed adiposts surpassing their limbs, living in near total dependence on their fattener lovers. Occasionally, he came across someone who claimed to have met one of these fat-stranded adiposts.
"Rhubarb and fructose," Kelsie was deciding, tossing aside her spent tube. "With some form of honey graham to give it a sense of pastry."
"No gettin' past you," Stevens said as he leaned over to kiss a jowl. "Hope you didn't mind me servin' dessert first."
"Only if you've saved more for later," she replied, pushing her chins out seductively and pouting her lips. Too much more of this, and Page was gonna have to leave.
"You say you're neutral when it comes to Anya," Page probed. "Any thoughts on Lola Shelley?"
"I've got no time for thoughts about my mother," Kelsie Bonham said. "Or my feckless brother-in-law, for that matter."
"If he was following his nuptial contract, Anya wouldn't be dropping off like she is," Stevens muttered, as he set up the last of his kegs. The liquical ringed around Kelsie, a fortress of foodstuff.
"When we talked at clinic, you acted like you didn't believe that Anya was really losing weight," Page pursued.
Stevens shrugged. "When I thought about it, it seemed odd that Jay kept me out of Anya's enhancement. Daughter of a big biz star, it makes sense to have some back-up during the procedure. Yet I didn't know she'd been to BigWeigh until Kelsie told me."
"And when Anya and her husband came into clinic yesterday?"
"Thought they were there to ask about Kelsie," the adminatech answered, "but Kel wants nuthin' to do with her family, and I respect that."
At that moment, Gin buzzed him. Excusing himself, he backed away form the couple and took her call off the closest wall.
They'd found an entry among Michaels' chips.
"Added Lola Shelley's name to the accountbot's search mode," Gin told him, "and we hit real beef! You gotta figure that someone like Michaels'd get a kick messin' with the daughter of a big name dining star." She shook her head, then ran the pertinent slice of Michaels' chip. Once he saw what Michaels had been up to, Page could understand Gin's expression.
"Great work," he told his wife, then he buzzed Taylor Delta and gave her the low-down. "I think we can reverse it and keep the clinic clean," he told her. "But you're gonna want someone you can trust screenin' the rest of Michaels' chips. Who knows what else that sackhead perpetrated?"
"What about Stevens?" she asked.
"He's clean. Michaels inserted a flex program into the records that adjusted Anya's post-enhancement stats to whatever size she dropped down to," Page said. "Stevens had nuthin' to do with it. Don't think he'd have anything to do with anyone's weight loss."
"Sounds like a good company man," Taylor said, buzzing off. Page looked back at the biotech and his love and thought that if anybody had the chance of making metro myth reality, it was these two.
"Wanna show you somp'n," he said, pulling Anya's holo out of his suit pocket. Tossing it onto a keg, Page watched the couple as they quietly studied Anya's diminishing frame. A pretty potent image, he thought.
"Never realized how awful that looked," Anya's sister said, dropping her tube in dismay. She shuddered, as her lover quickly retrieved it, barely noticing when he placed it back in her hand. Page slipped the chip back into his suit. He left them holding each other, the adminatech sinking into Kelsie's right hip so she could get an arm on his shoulders.
It was night when Page reached Kressing Place. As he hit the entryway, he met a young adipost couple on their way to dinners and was struck by the look of mutuality between them. They walked hand in hand, massive hips companionably mashed against each other, exchanging glances and private jokes. The trouble with the force fattener fantasy, he thought as he stepped aside to let them pass, was the way it fostered the illusion of neurotic dependence.
He wasn't surprised to see Robb Billings alone in his roomapt.
"Anya around?" Page asked.
"She's upfloor. Eating with her mother," Bills said. "I'll bring her down, if you've got somp'n for us."
"Let's both go up," Page decided, so Rob let him into the upfloor roomapt. The place was every bit as opulent as Page expected, walled with gleaming food prep gear and appetizingly scented. They found Lola energetically working on a pastry dispenser but no Anya.
"Where's Annie?" Billings asked, but Page was already moving past the former actress and heading toward a screen. He pulled it back to reveal Anya Billings kneeling on the floor.
Her husband was appalled, but Lola Shelley carefully kept her face neutral. Anya stood, shaky and unaware of her husband's shock, as Page put a hand on her shoulder. Soon as she left the lavatory area, she started to revive.
"It's called bulimia," Page said. "An old twentieth century illness. Jay Michaels used substiminal programming on Anya during her enhancement to make her an unconscious bulimic. Yer wife's been regularly purging herself ever since she became adipost. Starving herself beneath her setpoint."
Billings appeared at his wife's side, looking both concerned and abashed. "I didn't know," he said.
"Why should you?" the op told him. "There hasn't been a documented case of genuine bulimia in over fifty years. You sure wouldn't expect to find it in an adipost. Especially when she had help masking it by her dining coach." He turned to face Lola Shelley. "Right, Lola?"
His shot hit its mark.
"Didn't think it'd go on so long," Anya's mother said, her face sagging and suddenly showing its age. "Dunno why I helped keep it goin', but I did. Spent a year denying anything was happening. But I knew. We both ate upfloor, so that Rob wouldn't know. Most of the time I was able to ignore it." She grabbed one of Anya's hands and asked, "Annie, I'm sorry."
Both men stood back, waiting for Anya's response.
"You watched while I ruined myself?" she said, voice low, adipost frame trembling as she yanked her hand back. "Kelsie was right about you! You'd never let either of us grow anywhere near you!" She backed away from the actress, toppling the screen behind her.
"That's not fair," Lola tried to interject. But before she could further explain herself, Anya stomped over to the actress's personal wire and exited the roomapt. Page and Billings quickly followed. Before he stepped downfloor, the op took one last look back at Lola Shelley. Standing forlornly with her arms outstretched, she looked considerably smaller.
"We're severing this wire," Anya told Billings, and the adipostate nodded. "From now on, I want nothing more to do with my mother!" Billings agreed, but all Page could do was flash on his memories of the young Lola Shelley. In this moment, Anya's resemblance to her mother was even more striking.
"What do we do now?" Billings was asking.
"I've already talked to Taylor Delta," Page said, regathering himself. "BigWeigh's prepped for Anya. They've got equipment from the nearest biomed clinic to identify and deactivate her substimmed engrams. If we go now, she'll be working her way back to setpoint by dinnertime tomorrow."
He lead them to the enhancement clinic. There, both Taylor and Stevens waited. "If you'd like," the adminatech told Anya as he pointed her through the entrygate, "after we're done, I can give you some tips to get yer body back on track. They've worked for Kelsie." He smiled, looking less tech than Page would've thought possible.
"Kelsie?" Anya asked, looking back at Page and Billings.
"Stevens'll explain," the op decided, as she followed the adminatech onto a waiting platform.
The process, Taylor had explained, would take about an hour. So he buzzed Gin to tell her what he knew, then sat in the waiting area with Billings. They said nothing for the first thirty minutes. Then Billings broke out of his silence and asked Page, "You think that Anya and her mother'll be able to get back together?"
"Depends on Anya," Page thought. "I don't know what the long-term effects of this kinda thing are on an adipost body. Could be: she comes out okay, the anger'll melt in time."
"Maybe," the adipostate sighed. Then he retreated once more into his private thoughts.
It was past 2400 when Taylor Delta appeared, a smile on her beautiful lips. "It's done," she told them, gesturing Briant and Billings through the entrygate and upfloor to Anya's bedspace. There, she was sitting on a reclinable, waiting while Stevens and an acromeg g.p. biotech finished her examination. A puzzled look was on the adminatech's face.
"You gettin' what I am?" he asked the acromeg. The biotech nodded his massive head and looked over to Anya.
"How you feelin'?" he boomed. Even the mildest question sounded like a major challenge coming from an acromeg. Anya looked up at the two, then noticed her husband.
"I feel hungry," she said to Billings. "Very hungry." She paused and added to elaborate. "Close to binge hungry."
"I don't understand it," Stevens announced to the whole group, "but the bioscan reads like she's still mid-enhancement!"
"How can that be?" Taylor asked.
"Yer Mister Michaels originally shorted the process," the g.p. explained. "Now Anya's body wants to make up for it."
By starving herself, he continued, Anya had elevated her adipost setpoint to unknown levels. Only way to treat her was to feed Anya until her enhancement ran its course. "In the process, her body should repair any physiological damage that might've occurred from Michael's interference," he concluded.
"Food prep crew's gone for the day," Taylor considered, as the acromeg packed his biomed equipment. "Serving walls are set on maintenance. Who can we buzz at home, Ken?"
"Gin," Page interjected.
The rest of the room looked at him.
"Night's still goin' strong at the bounce 'n' chomp," he explained. "Ginny could deliver enough food for an enhancement."
"Tell her it's on BigWeigh's tab," Taylor said. She waddled over to the side of Anya's futon, then patted her reassuringly on a fleshy right hand. "You contracted with us originally; we've gotta finish what was started."
It took twenty minutes for the first batch of edibles to arrive, and though it must have felt like an eternity to the binge-ready Anya, she continued to keep up a good front. As a stopgap, Stevens dashed off and returned in ten minutes with two kegs of liquical. A breathless Kelsie followed in his path.
"That you, sis?" Anya asked, as the adminatech quickly connected the first keg. She beamed at her older sister approvingly. "You look so big!" she exclaimed.
"Got 250 cageys on you," Kelsie said, settling beside her lover. "But from what I hear, that won't be the case for long!"
Anya didn't answer; she had already started in on her first hectoliter, lost in the sensation of binging.
"Starting weight's 620," Stevens told the group. "An upper mid-sized adipost. One good wave should push her into super-sized." They sat in a circle around Anya's futon, silently watching her eat. Clinic procedure typically called for all interested parties to wait downfloor during an enhancement, but this was clearly an unprecedented situation.
Just as Anya was finishing off her second keg, Gin arrived. In a room full of beautiful adipost women, the bounce 'n' chomp barmistress still managed to stand out: the very image of endomorphic sociability. She wore a checked apron dress that draped all around her regally, an army of servbots pushing platforms full of foodtrays behind her, and immediately took charge. "Soup's on!" she announced to the room.
Two bots raised a foodtray before the eager Anya. A liquical-based casserole. The enhanced redhead eagerly grabbed two large serving spoons and dug right in. Nobody could make sweed taste like something else better than Gin, though once she started gorging, it probably wouldn't make much difference to the binging adipost.
"Food crew's downfloor, gettin' ready for the next wave. Looks like I got here just in time," Gin whispered to Page, as she positioned her portable platform next to his chair.
"Knew you would," Page said, kissing her dimpled fingers, all the while watching his client. She'd tossed off all her covers and was still wearing the same loose dress, though after just two kegs of liquical, it didn't look so loose anymore. Anya's belly, in particular, seemed to be stretching her fabric. You'd have thought a guy in the adipost clothing biz would've dressed his wife in something more adaptable, but months of going the opposite direction had probably made that seem pointless.
Her wave lasted over an hour, and when it was through, her dress had split at the seams. It gapped along her swelling hips and torso, revealing her newly developed folds and bulges. Anya Billings had managed to gain close to 175 kgs., Stevens told them, putting her close to the 800 mark.
As she lay back in exhaustion, her belly draped to the top of her outstretched feet. Perhaps because they had less room to spread, Anya's breasts rose even higher than her prodigious paunch. Her upper arms sagged halfway down her lower ones; her thighs pushed past her arms at their widest. All in all, an impressive initial gain.
"Now that it's quiet, I brought snacks for the rest of us," Gin told the rest of the room. Not surprisingly, all three adipost women were ready to dine - heck, the sight of Anya's smacking appreciation had been enough to make Page feel famished! Gin gestured to her nearest servbot, cuing it to roll a cart of foodpaks into the room. She grinned approvingly when Page accepted one.
"You'll be signing up for yer own enhancement any day now," she teased.
"Maybe," Page agreed, as Anya announced that she was eager to start again. Most binge gainers rested for up to an hour between waves; Anya was ready to start after five minutes. Before she re-began, though, Taylor gave her a fresh kimono to grow into.
"Youth," Ginny grinned, between bites of nine-cheese lasagna, "they're so impatient!"
Anya's second binge was practically a reprise of the first: sweed and soy in creamy liquical, plus a variety of rice cream treats. The main course items were chopped more finely this time - a step away from pureed, in fact - to take into account Anya's developing appetite. The re-enhanced adipost had each servbot tilt a tray by the corner toward her enthusiastic mouth and tray-by-tray she began to push its contents in.
She ate avidly but precisely, letting nothing spill or drop. As he watched, Page couldn't help but think of Lola Shelley in her stim prime: same accuracy, same glowing appreciation of the food in front of her, same sensuous womanly demeanor. If she wanted, Anya could have quite a future in dining stims.
"Glad I got to watch this in person," Gin told Page, as Anya passed the metric ton mark. "Not often you get to see someone appreciate yer food this much." She turned to Taylor Delta and tapped her on the arm. "Are all yer enhancements so stimulating to watch?" she asked.
"Don't usually watch," Taylor admitted, reluctantly breaking away from the sight of Anya in mid-binge. "Maybe I should more often." She absently handed a cashed foodpak to a servbot then quickly started on a fresh one. Though their gains would be modest compared to Anya, Page was willing to bet that every adipost in the room would be coming out of this cageys heavier."This is much more intense than my first enhancement," Anya gasped, when she finally had enough presence of mind to notice the rest of the room again.
Lying on her adjustable futon, Anya was wider than she was tall. Her hips and torso were both over two meters wide. The underside of her belly flowed around both feet. She was at a size where she needed to lift her forefront to walk. Though her physiology was evolving to support her body mass - even her epidermis had been strengthened substantially - Anya had ballooned to the point where platforms were an indispensable part of her wardrobe.
"Michaels' substiminal programming may've interfered with yer full appreciation the first time," Stevens explained.
"Perhaps," Anya yawned, lifting a fleshy hand to her lips. Two hours of close-to-nonstop binging had obviously taken their toll. But she was not ready to just stop yet. Turning to Ginny, she smiled and asked, "Fully pureed next?"
When Gin nodded, she stretched both arms, clapped her hands together and said, "Great. Then I'm ready for it now."
Gin's servbots had barely enough time to move away the empties.
"Hope you made plenty," Anya said as she reached for her first liquitube. "I've got a feelin' this is gonna be big."
Anya's premonition was accurate. Her third and final binge lasted an unparalleled three hours; an hour in, the binging adipost shifted to strict liquical without even stopping to catch her breath. Her body was so demanding that its need was felt by everybody else in the room. All those months spent denying her basic maintenance had created a monolithic hunger in Anya that was only now being realized.
She matched her first and second binge gains halfway in. By second hour, Anya was over fifteen hundred kgs. Her adjustable had bent and flattened underneath her; her kimono was like an open vest. Reposing on her wide-spread posterior (which took up two-and-a-half meters flattened against the floor), Anya kept her head tilted back so that when she periodically paused on her liquitube, the suction kept a steady flow of calories sliding down her throat. Her chins pushed ahead of her delectably, quivering energetically with every swallow.
"You okay?" Billings asked as his nup partner switched between liquitubes. She looked his way, cheek and jowl pressing against her shoulder emphatically, and nodded happily. Then she seized the next proffered tube.
"Bioscans show she's in optimal health," Stevens reassured him. "Though to be honest, we don't have a lotta experience with adiposts this size."
"My sister - the trailblazer," Kelsie snorted.
"Don't worry," Stevens turned to Kelsie. "You passed her by before; you'll be able to do it again!"
"You do know the right thing to say," Kelsie said, smiling. "Even when I'm bein' a jealous brat."
The adminatech leaned over and planted a kiss on her adipost lips, then they returned to watching Kelsie's sister make biomed history.
Anya sprinted through her final hour, forcing two liquitubes into her mouth when she grew near the end of each keg, so she wouldn't have to pause for even a second between servings. She no longer had to work to keep her head back; her chins forced her into this position naturally. Eyes closed, bulbous cheeks flush, the binging adipost was a vortex of seemingly incessant appetite. As she gulped each millical, she practically glowed with welling beauty.
"Stare as much as you want," Gin gave Page permission. "I'm getting pretty excited watchin' her myself!"
In the end, Anya Billings more than tripled her old weight. Fifteen kgs. away from her second metric ton, she was overwhelming. Seated on her mega-wide posterior, her legs were indiscernible beneath the folds and bulges of her mountainous forefront. The thought of her even rising from the floor was inconceivable.
Stevens said the word first. Slowing pacing around her perimeter with his bioscan, he looked her up and down then asked in a trembling whisper: "Maxfed?"
"Don't know," she replied slowly, listlessly shifting - but not bending - her massively padded arms. "Feel too worn out to even try standing. Gimme a few minutes to rest." She yawned, pushing her chins closer into her cleavage, then closed her eyes. She was remming in seconds.
Her husband turned to the rest of the group. All night long, the young adipostate had been teetering between worry and excitement. With Anya's binges finally ended, it looked like anxiety now had the upper hand. "Tell me she's still alright," he asked the room at large, though, of course, Stevens was the one able to answer his question. He handed the bioscan to the anxious Billings, who glazed over the readings and then asked to have them interpreted.
"Yer wife's twice the size of the largest enhancement on record," Stevens obliged, "but every reading seems to indicate that her body has adapted to it. We'll wanna informally monitor her, of course."
"We have no intention of being intrusive, Mr. Billings," Taylor hastily inserted, as she waddled over to the distraught adipostate. It was clear that Stevens' words had not been all that reassuring. "But we would like to come out and occasionally do a fresh scan of yer wife. It'd be no charge, of course. And I'm sure that Anya will be okay."
Billings said nothing, just kept watching his wife.
"Quite a show," Ginny whispered to Page. "I'd love to have a holo of this for the bar."
"Maybe you can work a deal with Anya later," Page considered, mentally recording this moment for posterity. The two-ton adipost had grown so vast you'd have thought her femininity would have been overwhelmed by her weight. But even with his eyes on her most formidably fat features - those insurmountable breasts and belly - he always was aware of the woman behind them. Maxfed or not, she was breathtaking.
Her kimono had been totally blown away in her final binge. Yet no one felt the least bit uncomfortable by her nakedness. It was as if her size had brought her to a state where modesty seemed trivial. Her smooth, soft flesh rose and trembled like a sleeping giantess'; her surging forefront alone took up more floor space than a trio of mid-sized adiposts. In adipost zone, the phrase "larger-than-life" had long been made irrelevant by biomedical reality. Anya Billings was Larger Than Life.
She remmed for only thirty minutes. Blinking her deeply embedded eyes, she yawned, scanned the room and asked, "You been waiting for me all this time?"
"Only been a half hour," Billings told her.
"Feels like I've slept a day," she said, yawning to maximum capacity. Her fat- swollen lips made her mouth's opening seem smaller than it had been, but it obviously hadn't been an impediment when it came to getting anything past them. "You were asking me a question," she said to Stevens, "before I fell asleep."
"You know the answer yet?" Rob Billings asked.
"Let's find out together, dear," she decided. And with that, Anya Billings rose from the floor.
She began by moving her arms. Slowly. Without bending at the elbows. Anya edged her straight arms forward like a somnabulist in a pre-stim cartoon. Upper arms flattening against the outer sides of her torso, her breasts rose up to eye level as they mashed together. Anya pressed her palms against her paunch and used the mass of her amazing belly as a fulcrum to help scoot her legs back into near-standing position. Her rear rose from the floor by about half a meter, sagging down the back of her thighs in twin masses. Bending forward, she looked ahead full-faced for the first time since she'd finished her enhancement. Then she straightened her knees, pulling the front of her settled paunch back as she did.
Even standing, a substantial part of her forefront remained at rest. Anya considered her position for a few seconds, than took a deep breath and arched her back as far as her bulges would let her. Her underbelly slowly separated from the cold tile floor, hovered five centimeters from it, as she took her first sliding step. She could only move about a foot-length before her paunch once more pressed against on the floor, but she could still use her limbs. With platforms, Anya should have no trouble getting around.
"Not maxfed at all," she told her hubby with a grin, letting her arms spring back to their natural comfort zone. "Though I may not be all that far from it."
Billings crushed against her, falling into her cushiony side to kiss her on the cheek. "I can't believe this," he said breathlessly. "I never dreamed that you'd get like this!" He stepped back, nearly backing into Page and Gin as he struggled to get a full view of his wife. "And you feel okay?"
"Never been better," she reassured him. "Though I do feel a bit chilled."
"Was just gonna buzz the shop to make you a robe that'll fit," Billings answered happily. "I'm guessin' that they don't have anything in yer size here."
"Good guess," Taylor told the couple. She stood before the mountainous Anya appraisingly and smiled. "Y'know, the fact that BigWeigh's just had a hand in so spectacularly overturning Michaels' dirty work feels kinda good."
Anya tilted her eyes back toward her husband, obscuring part of her face in her pillowy shoulder. "Before you get my clothes, Rob, you think you could contact my mother first?" When she noticed the surprised look on his face, she giggled slightly and said, "Oh, come on, darling. Don't you think that Mom'll be glad to see how much her daughter has grown?" She lifted her forefront and let it drop for emphasis, laughing triumphantly as her close-to-maxfed flesh quivered all around her.
"If Lola has any smarts, she'll be ecstatic," Page muttered to Gin, once they left the building.
"Lola Shelley's an actress," Ginny reminded him. Downfloor, a specially chartered wire was waiting to take them both back to Gin's Joint. "She can do happy." She paused while the wire charged, blinking in the pre-dawn dimness. "Watchin' Anya got me thinking about doing some more work on myself," she told Page. "Feel pretty anorekt in comparison."
"It's not a contest," the op told her. "Far as I'm concerned, you were still the most beautiful adipost in the room."
"You're sealed to me; you've gotta say that," Ginny joked. It was one of those statements that you couldn't win answering no matter what you said, so Page said nothing.
"That final wave was somp'n," he finally ventured, just before he followed her onto the wire. "Michaels' manipulations really kicked her body into maximum mode."
"Maximum mode," Gin repeated, as she stepped off wire. She waited until Page appeared by her side before continuing. "BigWeigh'll probably be seeing more of this. According to that bag of chips you left me, Anya wasn't the only adipost to get shortchanged in her first enhancement."
"Taylor got a kick out of watching Anya; she'll love bein' a part of this." Page took her hand and lead her to the bounce 'n' chomp entrance. "Might be just what she needs: a chance to set things right for all those adiposts." Perhaps, Page thought, he could even seal a deal with BigWeigh tracking down the rest of these diminished adiposts. It'd make for an easy contract.
Gin's Joint was quiet, though Blake had thoughtfully left a covered wall of unfinished leftovers for his boss. Gin slid off the top and grabbed two plates, offering one to her husband.
"A quick contract resolution," he said, accepting it. Something seafood, he saw, in a creamy tofu sauce. "Spent more time at the enhancement clinic than I did on the pavement. You did all the chipwork here."
"Yeah, but then you wouldn't have met your boyhood dream gal. That's gotta count for somp'n."
Page smiled, took a few bites off his plate and considered his wife. Platformless, she settled on the floor like an immobile icon of old, her forefront flattened against the floor, legs forced in half-crouch, her equally wondrous rear seated. The metaphor may've been an illusion, but Gin's beauty definitely wasn't. Size, no matter how marvelous, wasn't all there was to being an adipost, he realized. The sight of Gin was enough to erase the simmering anger he still felt over Lola Shelley's betrayal.
"Eating for growth?" he asked his wife, as she worked her way through her second plate, "or pleasure?"
"Both," she answered with a grin.
It was, he thought, the best answer she could've given.
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