View Full Version : Planet XL - by Marlow

11-19-2016, 12:09 AM
~BBW, ~~WG, Intrigue, Sci-Fi - A daring expedition to a forbidden planet proves both delicious and dangerous

Note: Sometimes you sit down to write your next silly Midwestern horror story and a space opera falls out instead. Oh well. Also, feel free to substitute the subtitle with your favorite sci-fi related foodie-puns.

Planet XL

Gourmands of the Galaxy: Volume One

by Marlow

Chapter 1

Starling made his way down to starship’s lower deck, humming to himself. Exploratory Vessel Triptolemus was a large ship, but the interior was crowded and navigable only by cramped, narrow corridors. Descending from the bridge to the cryo-stasis chamber, Starling had to climb down ladders, slip through several hatches, and crawl along the ventral access tube. Fortunately, he was fairly nimble for an android and moved through the ship with ease.

Emerging into the narrow corridor that served as the main deck, he passed by several sealed hatches; on normal voyages they would have led to private quarters, the galley, recreation rooms, and the like. On this voyage, though, the ship had instead been outfitted with landing pods, field labs for research in a variety of scientific domains, planetary rovers, a modular habitat, and small-scale terraforming equipment. A separate gangway lead to the immense, empty cargo pod attached to the ship’s belly.

Starling eventually reached the aft stasis chamber and peered at the vessel’s five passengers. They slept frozen in a ring of cryo-tubes, calm music playing overhead.

The android took a minute to check all their vitals and update the log. He smiled at their peaceful expressions and initiated the thawing procedure.

The first to step out of her pod was a slender, long-limbed blonde woman, the expedition’s commander and planetary cartographer. After her rose the astro-chemist, then the cosmo-geologist, the xeno-biologist, and finally the terraforming engineer.

They all stumbled from their pods, blinking in the light, naked and shivering.

“I was having the loveliest dreams,” sighed the chemist. “Angels were feeding me the most lavish meal I’d ever seen, day after day.”

“Two years in stasis and all you dreamed about was food?” the engineer chided him, powering up her bionic arm.

“Food is our mission,” he reminded her. “It seems contrary, my friends, to decry the attention to food while on a galaxy-spanning search for it.”

The geologist opened a nearby bulkhead and began passing around towels. “I won’t decry anything that tastes better than the rations back home.”

“Too right,” the commander agreed. “I like the sound of your dream, mate. Wouldn’t mind waking up to a feast every morning myself, aye?” She reached her arms overhead and arched her back, stretching her wiry form enough to touch the low ceiling.

“Your waistband might mind,” cautioned the chemist.

The biologist shook out her mane of red hair. “You say that like it would be a bad thing.”

“Just so,” he replied, raising his finger. “We must always remember the importance of moderation. I saw my dream not as a desire for overindulgence—stars forbid—but as an omen of success.”

The commander cleared her throat. “Speaking of which…Starling, I hope you’ve woken us for some good news.”

“Indeed, commander,” the android chimed. “I am pleased to report that we have arrived at our destination and are entering geosynchronous orbit above exoplanet LV-237.”

They caught their collective breath, staring at him.

“How’s it look?” asked the commander.

Starling beamed. “White clouds. Blue surface. Green landmasses. It awaits your analyses, dear friends, but thus far it matches the admiralty’s preliminary projections.”

A wave of relieved delight passed over the crew. They clapped each other on the back, shouting and whistling.

“Okay, everyone, get dressed,” said the commander, toweling off her svelte body. “We’ve got work to do.”

They dispersed and hurriedly gathered their things. After they’d tugged on their color-coded jumpsuits, Starling served them each a small portion of post-stasis sustenance and installed their portable bio-paks. The crew chattered about the planet’s prospects, unanimously thrilled about tasting actual food again and leaving behind their colonies’ tasteless, soulless ration bars.

“Moderation,” the engineer scoffed to the chemist. “The colonies have been starving for almost two decades now. I see food, I’m eating it.”

The chemist shook his head. “It was a lack of moderation that created the starvation.”

“It was a lack of fair distribution,” the commander corrected. “But hopefully that’s all in the past now…as long as this planet lives up to the hype.”

Eventually Starling led them up to the bridge. The planet loomed on the viewscreen, its atmosphere thick with cloud. It lit up their awed faces as they manned their consoles and booted up the ship’s scanning equipment.

“Beautiful,” whispered the biologist, licking her lips.

“It’s one of the most Earth-like planets I’ve ever seen,” remarked the geologist, eyes darting over the cascades of data on her screen. “I mean, assuming the historical accounts are accurate. Similar geological age, similar tectonic structure…interconnected oceans and sizable landmasses of…wow, highly, highly variable terrain.”

“Atmosphere?” asked the commander.

The chemist arched his eyebrows. “Nitrogen…oxygen…carbon dioxide. It’s basically Terran. There are trace elements, but it should definitely be breathable.”

“So, capable of supporting life?”

“Och, that would be an understatement,” the biologist whispered, gaping at her readouts. “I’m registering massive amounts of organic compounds…life almost looks ubiquitous.”


“Well…by plants, at least. I’m not reading any real animate activity. But it’s brimming with the basics of life, just waiting.”

“A garden world,” the geologist whispered.

They stared at the planet for a while longer.

“Well, we came here looking for a fresh start,” the engineer murmured after a few minutes. “Doesn’t get any fresher.”

The commander pulled her hair back. “So you’d say it looks viable for agriculture?”

The biologist glanced at the others, then nodded solemnly. “It’s hard to see any specifics through those clouds, and we won’t know anything for sure until we go down there, but…yeah.” She looked up at the viewscreen. “I think we’re looking at a planet full of…food.”

“Hot damn,” said the geologist. “If only they could see this back home. That’d give them some hope, mm.”

“We’re going to be heroes. This wouldn’t just end scarcity…the colonies might never be hungry again.”

The commander smiled. “Maybe searching the heavens for manna wasn’t as foolhardy as they all told us.”

The chemist wiped at his eyes. “It’s perfect,” he murmured. “A paradise.”

11-19-2016, 12:18 PM
Interesting idea. What if the gravity on this planet was also less than Earth-normal? Could cause interesting repercussions when people gain weight.

11-19-2016, 04:01 PM
Illogical but interesting captain.

11-19-2016, 04:23 PM
I really like this story. The start is very promising. I’m looking forward to read your next WG story!

11-20-2016, 12:45 PM
Chapter 2

Estelle stared blankly out the window of the turbolift. Riding to the admiralty’s top floor offered an unmatched view of the sprawling colony, from the atmosphere factory to the residential lobes to the holo-zoo. It should have been a pleasant vista, but to a convicted smuggler heading up to meet the grand admiral, even the most beautiful view seemed grim.

The lift reached the top floor and pushed her out into a sterile white hallway. Estelle tugged on the collar of her utility vest and strode to the furthest door.

“Ah, Captain Gorlois,” said the grand admiral, standing as she entered. He gestured to a chair opposite his desk. “I appreciate your coming.”

Estelle eased into the chair. Its plushness was a welcome change from the prison bench. “I’m in jail. My coming was compulsory.”

“Regrettably,” he acknowledged. “But it should be noted, captain, that the situation in which you find yourself is one of your own creation; we did not compel you to disobey interstellar shipping regulations. But I do prefer etiquette and courtesy in all matters and with all guests—imprisoned or otherwise, haha.”

She stared at him.

“I asked you here because I have a proposition.”

“Not interested.”

“Posturing is a waste of both our time. Do hear me out, I beg.” He rummaged through his desk. “As I recall, you owe the colony a minimum ten year prison sentence. Before you is an opportunity to earn what amounts to a…pardon.” He found a remote control in a drawer and glanced up at her.

She grimaced. “Okay, I guess I’m listening.”

He pointed the remote at a viewscreen. “Wonderful.”

The screen lit up with diagrams of a planet, a ship, and a modular habitat. Profiles of crew members scrolled up one side and indecipherable streams of data scrolled down the other.

Estelle took a deep breath. “You’re about to tell me a story.”

“I’m afraid so. About four years ago, during what you will recall was the very peak of our scarcity crisis, the admiralty was charged with searching the galaxy for alternate food sources. We eventually identified this body, exoplanet LV-237, as the most promising candidate and commissioned a one-way expedition. An act of desperation, I’ll admit, but the situation was dire.

“Just over two years ago, the exploratory vessel Triptolemus departed for the exoplanet piloted by a top of the line android navigator and crewed by five volunteer science officers, each from a different colony in the system. Together they were to assess LV-237’s viability as a remote resource, a farming colony, or, if our scarcity here were to worsen, an emigration site.

“They were equipped with survival gear, small-scale terraforming tools, and basic colonization paraphernalia.” He grimaced. “They were prepared to do anything their mission called for; everything except return home. Both because there was no room for a return engine and because we felt it would…motivate them to succeed.”

Estelle shook her head. “Sounds like the administration. But…two years ago? Wasn’t that right around the time…?”

“Yes. A few short months after they’d departed, we made contact with the Federation of Species. Oh, the timing was cruelly close. You can imagine our consternation. How ludicrous it seems for our starving colonies to pin all their hopes on this one ship, only to immediately discover a next-door neighbor more than willing to share his resources and end our crisis.

“But our explorers were already beyond reach and wouldn’t receive any messages until after they’d already arrived at their destination. We decided, though, that there was no waste in allowing the expedition to continue. If the planet were indeed resource-rich, our reaching it first would put us, in a manner of speaking, ahead of the curve.”

“Seems fair.”

“We thought so. Unfortunately our generous new neighbors have a much broader reach than we’d anticipated. You’ll recall that the administration signed a new accord with the Federation last month—our little band of colonies has been officially, um, annexed. And our new governors were very displeased to learn of this expedition.”


“Worse. It seems they knew of LV-237 already and had even visited it. But they had not stayed…no, rather they had placed the entire system under some sort of quarantine and declared it a no-fly zone, one that even the space pirates have respected. It seems the Federation found something there that gave them such pause as to create a cross-cultural taboo. They do not actively guard the system, but have assured us that any ships found to have visited are subject to immediate and total destruction. Oh dear.”

“So your expedition’s headed for a forbidden planet.”

“You can imagine our further consternation. We have no way to warn them in time to interrupt their mission, nor will we know of their fate until it is far too late. We must hope that they have not met with too much misfortune; they are equipped with a long-range beacon, but the closest recipient of such a signal would be a Federation border outpost. I expect that navy would respond not with rescue, but violence.” He leaned across his desk to her. “It seems, captain, that our world-saving expedition may need to be saved from its new world.”

Estelle gulped, realizing. “Oh no.”

“Oh yes. Our official position mandates that we at the admiralty disavow the expedition. We can within the law do nothing for them.” He grinned. “But you, a smuggler, frequently operate outside of the law, hm?”

“Well, your interceptors showed me that I was wrong.”

He shut down the viewscreen. “I, for one, have welcomed our new Federation overlords. Privately, however, I also wish to make some effort to aid our far-flung friends."

"And cover your ass?"

"We have released your ship from impound. It very conveniently happens to be a modified tug-boat, which would have no trouble reaching the Triptolemus and towing the old girl home.”

“I’m not doing this.”

“I disagree. So many serendipitous factors are lining up in your favor, captain. Behold…” He tapped a datapad on his desk. “…it seems you are to be released for good behavior—almost nine years before your sentence was to end. Congratulations!”

Estelle stood. “Then I’m just going to leave.”

Two armored guards clapped her on the shoulders, forcing her back into the chair.

“Soon enough. Though likely not in the manner you intend.” He tucked the datapad away. “There are two destinations in your navigation computer: this colony and exoplanet LV-237. We’re going to escort you to your cryo-tube and send you on your way.”

“Is this how you get all your volunteers?” she hissed.

“When you arrive, you will make an appraisal of the situation and take all necessary action to prevent an interstellar incident. Perhaps you could retrieve any of the research data our expedition has gathered, as well. Knowledge is power, after all.” He grimaced for a moment, as though mulling over a footnote. “Oh, and, if they’re somehow still alive, do bring our people home.”

The admiral stood and headed for the door. Estelle sat in silence, seething.

“Once you’re back, you’ll be free to go wherever you please. I will erase your record personally. I may be a bureaucrat, captain, but I am not incapable of gratitude.” He smiled. “You may scowl all you like, but we know that you will do this, because we know what it was you were caught trying to smuggle. For all your gruff, outlaw exterior, captain, you are not without compassion.”

She blanched.

“Yes, I thought you might resent that. But I’m glad you’re on board. Come with me, please—we’ll get you situated.”

The guards lifted Estelle to her feet. The admiral droned on as he led her toward the hangar.

“We’ve taken the liberty of retrofitting your ship. Interstellar transport has improved dramatically since we met the Federation, but there will still be a significant cryosleep period. So you must bear in mind that by the time you reach LV-237, our expedition will have been there for nearly two years. So you must be ready for anything; we have no idea what they’ll have found or what condition they’ll be in…”

11-20-2016, 08:59 PM
Love it!! i just cant wait for more :D

11-21-2016, 10:51 AM
2016 is slightly sweetened by another new Marlow story...

11-22-2016, 09:00 PM
this is really good got a bit of an aliens feel to it

11-23-2016, 08:32 PM
this is really good got a bit of an aliens feel to it

Glad we're getting the right vibes across!

Chapter 3

The lights aboard Triptolemus flickered on. Starling’s blank eyes flashed open and he stepped gently out of his stasis closet.

He turned to the computer readout. It alerted him to a new vessel which had entered the system. It also showed him the stardate; he had been in standby mode for nearly two years.

“No contact from the landing party?” he wondered aloud.

The computer continued to alert him to the new ship. He made his way to the bridge and opened up several displays, scanning the vessel and attempting to hail it.

The ship was unregistered, but colonial in origin. It was a small, stocky design, with an engine output that vastly exceeded its tonnage—evidently designed for towing. Starling’s calculations confirmed his suspicions: the strange vessel was on course to intercept Triptolemus.

The android worked his way through the cramped corridors and narrow ports down to the main airlock and prepared it for a reception. Within half an hour, the little ship had pulled alongside and slowly floated closer. Its weathered, carbon-scored hull looked to be held together with duct tape and crossed fingers.

The airlock clicked, hissed, and sighed. The lights turned green. Starling opened the door and stepped across.

A computer screen lit up on the hatch, reading “touch here for access.” Starling poked a finger at it.

“Acknowledged,” it read. “Identified. CDS android designation 1138, cognomen ‘Starling.’ Command from administration, admiralty seal, encryption verified: wake this vessel’s occupant and render all necessary mission assistance. Prioritize.”

Starling raised his eyebrows. “Command acknowledged,” he replied. The airlock hissed open and he entered.

He found a control panel and experimented with the unlabeled keys. After deactivating and restoring the artificial gravity a few times, he was able to turn on the interior lighting and increase oxygenation to breathable levels.

There wasn’t much to the ship, only a minimal bridge, an unfurnished galley, and living quarters. It was an industrial tugboat retrofitted for private use, barely furnished enough to support a single pilot. The living quarters contained a small bed and a solitary cryo-tube. A rack of pistols and rifles hung overhead, along with ammunition belts, knives, and other weaponry.

Starling tapped on the cryo-tube’s monitor and it obediently lit up.

A young woman slept in the tube. The monitor introduced her as “Provisional Captain Estelle Gorlois, human cis-female. 5’5”, 140lbs. Hair: brown. Eyes: blue. Colony of origin: New Kansas. Last employer: Canterbury Towing Ltd. Criminal record. Three convictions: unauthorized trafficking, two years served, released on probation.” The readout continued to scroll. “No known diseases, defects, drug requirements. No cybernetic augmentations…”

Starling began the thawing protocols and studied the tube’s occupant. She was a beautiful woman who would have looked more at home in the upscale holographic pleasure arcades of Tryphena VII than locked up alone in an interstellar truck cab. Her auburn hair fell in waves to her shoulders; on her left side Starling noticed a light plasma wound. It was a few years old, but clearly left there by gunfire.

She yawned and stretched her arms. “Ugh, finally. Cryo-sleep is the worst.” She coughed and staggered out of the tube. “I assume you’re the android?”

“Yes, I am,” he replied pleasantly. “I am called Starling. And you are Captain Gorlois.”

“Estelle,” she grunted, wrapping herself in a bathrobe.

“Your computer tells me that you have been released from prison on probation and are presently unemployed. The computer also says, however, with the admiralty’s encryption, that I am to assist you with your mission. Are you with the admiralty or not? I am only programmed to serve them and their representatives.”

Estelle narrowed her eyes at him. “I don’t work for the admiralty, no. But it’s in the admiralty’s best interest that I succeed in my mission. So I’d say it’s in your best interest to help me.”

“I see. Then perhaps, as it seems your vessel is completely unstocked, you might follow me aboard Triptolemus. I will prepare a post-stasis ration for you.”

She nodded and followed him, pulling the robe tight.

“I hate coming out of cryo,” she said a few minutes later, between bites of the ration bar. “I always feel so out of shape.” She looked down. “I could swear I had abs when I left New Kansas.”

Starling pulled up a chair. “I have further conferred with your shipboard computer.”

“Things making more sense?”

He nodded, staring at something in the distance. “The food shortage back home has ended and the political climate has changed. Our expedition’s mission is obsolete.” He turned his eyes to her. “Moreover, the crew is also in serious danger, either from our new overlords or from whatever it was that drove them from this planet, and you, captain, have been sent to retrieve us.”

“Yep, that’s about it. And I’m sorry.”


“Sorry that I’m all they sent. I’m just one idiot smuggler and I’m not even good at that. Not sure how much help I’ll be.” He didn’t seem to understand, so she waved the thought away. “But here we are. I’ve got a tugboat that can pull Triptolemus home. We just need to get your people back on board.”


“Alright, then. So, what’s the situation? How is the expedition?”

“I don’t know,” he stated flatly.

She choked. “What?”

“I don’t know. I have only just reawakened, myself.” Seeing her incredulous expression, he continued, “I am attached to this vessel only as a navigator. My responsibility is to the operations of the ship itself. Once the crew had been dispatched to the surface, I entered standby mode. I was to be awakened either by a signal from the surface any time something was needed from the command module, or by the approach of another ship.”

“It’s been two years, Starling. Are you telling me you’ve been shut down this whole time? There hasn’t been a single signal?” She drummed her fingers on the table. “So we don’t know anything about the colony’s progress, or its viability, or if…if they’ve even survived?”

He frowned. “No, I’m afraid. And the lack of any contact does seem inauspicious.”

Estelle took a deep breath. “Feels like a long way to come for nothing. If they didn’t make it, we’ll still need to confirm somehow. I…can’t go back empty handed. Is there another landing vehicle?”

“The crew descended in one-way pods with their equipment. But the cargo hold below us is a separate module with landing and re-launching capabilities. It contains the backup rover, which could be of use to you on the surface.”

“To us,” she corrected. “If I go down there, you’re coming with me. No more napping on the job.”

“Very well. And if we go, I will recommend that you don one of our specialized expedition suits for increased survivability. They are highly effective in a variety of environments and we were provided with a spare. It is blue.”

“Um, alright.”

They crawled and climbed their way up to the bridge. It was slow going for Estelle, whose muscles were still waking up.

“Could they have made this ship any more cramped?”

“It was designed to maximize the available volume. It was quality tested and approved for all human adults of average size.”

“Thank the stars I’m not above average size,” she grunted, emerging onto the bridge. “So, that’s our planet?”

Starling beamed up at the cloudy sphere looming on the viewscreen. “LV-237, yes. Before they landed, the crew described it as a possible paradise.”

“And after they landed?”

He shrugged. “One must hope for the best. In the compartment behind you, captain, you’ll find the spare survival suit. You may put it on while I analyze our records.”

Estelle opened the cabinet. A frumpy two-piece uniform was folded within. She unfolded it with a sigh and slipped out of her robe.

Starling pored over the data on his viewscreen. “There is surprisingly little in the records. The pods all landed safely in this valley formation here…signals confirm as much. After the landing, we stopped receiving data. Perhaps the cloud cover interfered. It is remarkably thick in places.”

Estelle zipped up the front of her suit’s top. “Strange.”

“It is worth noting,” the android continued, “that the expedition was equipped with a very powerful distress beacon. The beacon’s signal is powerful enough to reach back to the colonies and can be easily activated by any member of the party.”

“And it’s not active.” She stepped over to his console. “Hopefully that’s a good sign. Starling, this suit doesn’t fit at all.”

He looked up. The uniform was several sizes too large for her and hung from her lithe form like a child’s pajamas.

“I don’t think this is going to be very practical if we get into any trouble.”

“No, no. It simply hasn’t adjusted to you yet. We must install your bio-pak.”


He walked back to the cabinet and pulled out a bracelet with a small monitor. “A very helpful tool,” he explained, clipping it to her wrist. “It coordinates with your body and your survival suit to not only monitor your health…”

A sharp pain flared from her wrist. She clutched at it with a yelp, but Starling steadied her.

“My apologies. The discomfort is fleeting. See? The pain already ebbs. Anyway, in addition to monitoring your vitals, the bio-pak is able to help regulate blood chemistry, filter out toxins, and provide many basic medical needs. Immensely practical on unterraformed planets.”

Estelle studied it. “Interesting.”

Starling tapped on the bracelet’s monitor. “Status update,” he commanded.

“Subject in good health,” a voice stated. “Vitals range from normal to better-than-normal. Request for specifics. Weight: one hundred and forty pounds. Body mass: twenty-three.”

Estelle blushed. “It’s the cryo-sleep…always—”

Starling tapped the monitor again. “Refit suit.”

“Refitting,” said the voice. The blue fabric crumpled and shrank, hissing and crinkling, until it had become a svelte, form-fitting ensemble.

“Handy,” Estelle mused. “Well, let’s get down there.”

11-24-2016, 01:02 AM
this is epic! :D

11-24-2016, 02:41 AM
Way back when Prometheus came out, people were theorising that the LEV codes referred to verses of Leviticus. With that in mind, it's a shame you didn't name the planet LEV-238 instead of 237...

11-27-2016, 10:57 AM
Chapter 4

Triptolemus’ cargo hold was a rectangular module nearly half as large as the ship itself. Its tiny cockpit was connected to the ship’s abdomen by an airlock opposite from where Estelle’s tugboat had secured itself.

The module was equipped at the rear with a short-burst engine, just enough for ship-to-surface shuttling. The engine flared to life as Estelle and Starling separated from the command module and propelled them into a quick descent.

“All I’ve seen of this planet is cloud,” Estelle grumbled. “How did they ever get readings of the surface?”

Starling scanned his screens. “The clouds are thick and more prevalent than on most Earth-like planets, but they are not totally ubiquitous. I believe they increase and decrease with the seasons…the expedition must have landed while the valley was in spring. The time which has passed since would put it now in a late autumn.”

“Wonderful. Looks like we’ll have to trust your instruments for the landing.”

The shuttle plummeted into the cloud cover. The viewscreens showed nothing but grey and white for several minutes, until they also began to show flashes of lightning.

“Damn it, we’re in a storm,” she growled. “We need to get out of this cloud.”

“We must slow our descent, though. We don’t know enough about the terrain below.”

“Fine, but—” A gale struck the shuttle, spinning their nose around. Starling fought with the control sticks while Estelle flicked switches overhead.

“We are off course,” the android announced.

“I see that. Can you get it back? Nebulas, the winds are getting worse.”

“Without any grounded waypoints, any course correction is guesswork.”

“Yeah, alright. Do your best.”

Lightning hit the module and another gust rocked them. The viewscreens flickered and the alarms flashed.

“Captain, that reduces our maneuverability significantly,” said Starling, staring at the controls.

“Don’t tell me we’re dropping out of control.”

He grimaced at her.

The stormcloud buffeted them about for a few more minutes, until they finally dropped into open air. The surface was dark, as they’d approached from the night side of the planet, but dawn was peeking on the horizon.

“No precipitation,” Starling remarked. “The storm is confined to the upper atmosphere…let us hope this is a good sign for our friends. I should hate to see such a weather system ravage the surface.”

“So do we have any control right now?”

“I have one responsive engine. I am using it to slow our descent as much as possible, but it is difficult to do so without altering our orientation—”

They hit the surface. A plume of dust flew up on the viewscreens, blocking the stormy night sky. Then everything went dark.

The sun rose in the distance, blurred by white cloud cover as the storm slowly rolled away to the west. A pleasant light drifted over the surface of the planet, revealing a rugged landscape shot through with crags and cliffs and covered in lush vegetation.

The cargo module had embedded itself in the side of a rocky hill. Sunlight gleamed off its thermal tiles.

A large airlock on one side creaked open. Estelle stepped out onto the edge of the deck and took a deep breath.

“Well, I’m not dead yet,” she mused. After half a minute, she tapped the monitor on her bio-pak. “Respiratory status.”

“Respiration normal,” reported the little voice. “No toxic gases detected. No airborne pathogens detected.”

“Alert me to any changes. So…there’s that. Pretty convenient. Starling, I’m gonna have a look around. Let me know when you’ve got something.”

“Yes. And please use more caution than breathing untested air and hoping for survival.”

She reached a foot down and stepped onto the planet’s surface. She promptly tripped and tumbled halfway down the hill, landing in a faceful of dirt.

Starling appeared in the airlock. “Captain, are you alright?”

“Uh-huh,” she sighed, pushing herself up. She spat dirt out of her mouth, but then raised an eyebrow.

“What is it?”

“The dirt,” she replied, scooping some up. “It, uh, it tasted…I don’t know. It had a taste. Well, not just a taste…a flavor.” She frowned, then stuck her finger in her mouth. “Hmm.”


“By the stars…you might want to check me for a concussion, Starling, but it tastes like…a really dry cake.” She climbed to her feet. “Bio-pak, am I concussed?”

“No cranial trauma detected,” the voice chirped.

“Wow. Wow. Just…whoa. Weird. You know what this means, Starling?” She rested her hands on her hips and looked around. “It means that my palate is so used to those nasty ration bars that even dirt is starting to taste good.”

Starling didn’t reply. She glanced up; he had gone back into the shuttle.

“Or maybe…no, that’d be ridiculous.” She bent down and scooped up a handful of dirt. She smelled it, then tasted it again. “Seriously, Estelle—don’t.”

But the taste on her tongue was so deeply familiar, a memory of something from so long ago, from a much happier time. She closed her eyes and pushed the clump of dirt into her mouth.

There was no way it was dirt. She was certain: what was in her mouth was cake, dry, crumbly, vaguely chocolatey cake. She swallowed before she could stop herself.

“Oh man.” She waited a few minutes, pacing, then tapped the bio-pak. “Uh, digestive status, I guess?”

“Digestion normal. No toxins detected. No pathogens detected.”

“Okay, but, was it…food?”

“Unrecognized query. Please specify.”

“Hm. Um. Nourishment status?”

“Nourishment levels normal.”


“Levels increasing: sugars, starches, carbohydrates…”

“So, cake,” Estelle confirmed, scooping up another handful. She looked up at the shuttle and chewed thoughtfully.

A larger, garage-style door at the back of the hold was sliding open. Out of it rolled a four-wheeled all-terrain buggy, Starling at the controls, Estelle’s arsenal strapped into the back seat. The rover trundled down the hill and pulled up next to her.

“I have worked out some of the topography,” Starling announced. “We are approximately one hundred and twenty miles from the expedition’s projected landing site.”

“Hell of a storm,” she whistled. “We weren’t even close. You figure we can get there in this thing?”

He nodded. “Easily. It will be slow going in this terrain, and we will need to exercise caution, but the rover is quite sturdy. What are you doing with that handful of dirt?”

“I’m pretty sure this dirt is chocolate cake.”

“That seems highly improbable.”

“Yeah. But…I’m pretty sure it’s cake.” She looked at the ground. “It’s also delicious.”

“You ingested it?”

“Uh, yep.” She rubbed the crumbs from her hands.

“I don’t think that was the wisest course of action.”

She climbed into the rover. “Well, if I start dying, then we’ll know you’re right. For the moment, though, I feel fine.” The rover lurched as he shifted into gear and headed on down the hill. “Maybe a little hungry.”

11-27-2016, 03:55 PM
This is great so far! I can't wait to read more!

11-30-2016, 02:25 AM
Marlow is the Jack Horner of weight gain fiction.

11-30-2016, 10:02 AM
Marlow is the Jack Horner of weight gain fiction.

The paleontologist or the kid with the plum on his thumb?

Chapter 5

It was slow going. The rover was sturdy and capable, but not built for speed. Estelle wondered frequently if would be faster to walk.

“It would be less efficient,” Starling answered.

Estelle folded her arms and stared out at the landscape. They were passing through some kind of winding ravine. The walls were steep and jagged, crumbling into piles of boulders at the base. A shallow creek ran through the ravine, its water dark under the overcast sky but clear enough to see the polished stones at its bottom.

The rover reached a pile of boulders. Starling switched gears and began the slow process of climbing over them; Estelle, growing bored, jumped out and wandered alongside as it traversed the uneven terrain beyond.

She walked along the creek, following its gentle flow. After a while she reached down and scooped up some water in her hands. She raised it to her lips and was rewarded with a cool, crisp, refreshing drink.

“That’s so much better than manufactured colony water,” she mused, tapping her bio-pak. “Pathogens? Toxins?”

“No toxins. No pathogens,” replied the little voice. “Hydration increased. Condition normal.”

“Alright.” She scooped up another drink and caught up with the rover.

It had returned to a relatively level path and Starling was waiting patiently for her. Before she hopped back in, though, she bent down to pick up a curiously-marked pebble.

“What’s that?” asked the android, revving up.

“Not sure,” she replied, buckling in. “Just kind of caught my eye.”

It was an oblong little stone, tinted pink, with a glistening sheen. She tossed it from hand to hand for a while, then suddenly popped it into her mouth.

Starling eyed her. “Did you just put that in your mouth?”

She sucked on the pebble. “Seemed like a good idea at the time. I mean, given the dirt back there, I figure it can’t hurt to check.”

“There are innumerable ways in which it could hurt.”

She tongued it from one cheek to the other. “You know…it’s actually kind of sweet.”

“The taste?”

“Yeah…it tastes like a…hard candy, or something.” She sucked thoughtfully for a minute, then spat it out. “Heh. Haven’t had candy since I was a kid…back before the scarcity hit.”

The creek eventually led them out of the ravine into a wooded gap, where it joined up with a wider stream. The rover forded the stream and rumbled into the woods.

“You sure this is the right way?”

“Positive,” Starling assured her. “We crashed down due east of the expedition’s landing site. Now that we have some basic landmarks and an understanding of the topography, we should have no trouble keeping our bearings.”

“I’m holding you to that. Man, look at these trees.”

They were curiously short, though their trunks were as thick as the tallest trees Estelle had seen in the terran colonies. An interwoven canopy hung above them, heavy branches hanging low, weighed down by plump, brightly colored fruits.

Estelle stood up in the rover and picked one. Starling gave her a cautioning glance, but she bit into it with a shrug. It dripped with tangy juices.

“No pathogens,” reported the bio-pak a few minutes later. “No toxins.”

“See?” Estelle sneered at the android. “Not poisonous after all. Also: delicious.”

“Captain, I recognize that you aren’t as scientifically inclined as the members of our expedition, but I wish you would consider a different method of testing toxicity.”

She reached up to grab another. A handful of leaves came off the branch with it. After a bite of the fruit, she bit off one of the leaves and chewed it carefully, avoiding Starling’s eyes.

The leaf had a sharp minty flavor and a pleasant, fibrous texture. It didn’t go very well with the sweetness of the fruit, but both were tasty in their own way.

Starling weaved between trees for a couple hours before the rover finally emerged into a clearing. He stopped to check their bearings as Estelle popped out to explore.

In the middle of the clearing lay a fallen tree, dead branches scattered about. Estelle circled it a few times, eyeing the damage. Many of the leaves were still alive, as though the tree had come down recently. It didn’t look like a lightning strike and the break didn’t look like wind damage—something huge and solid had run into the trunk.

Estelle crouched down and picked up a piece of bark. She sniffed it, turned it over, and tasted it. It had a savory, almost salty flavor. She took a small bite.

Starling pulled up next to her. “I don’t know much about smuggling, captain, but do you always insist on biting into everything you encounter?”

She grimaced at him. “Of course not. It’s just…I’m noticing a pattern here.”

The rover continued across the clearing and up into the rolling hills beyond. Along the way Estelle found plenty to sample: more fruit, more candy pebbles, more wafer bark, more mint leaves. She also found a variety of mushrooms, a puddle of very fudge-like mud, and an acorn which, when split open, oozed what could only have been banana pudding.

As the sun sank, they came to the base of a long cliff. Tucked into a recess they found a pool fed by a small waterfall; in this they decided to make camp for the night. Starling opened the rover’s cargo hatch and began pulling out their gear while Estelle meandered over to the waterfall with a canteen.

The setting sun was casting strange colors, but as she got close there was no denying it: the water in the waterfall was not clear, but distinctly white. Estelle reached out an arm and collected some in the canteen. She smelled it, tasted it tentatively, and then drank it down.

“Milk,” she laughed. “Thick, creamy milk.”

Starling raised an eyebrow. “That strains credulity.”

She shook her head and crouched over the pool to fill the canteen. “Definitely milk.”

“But how? We’ve seen no sign of animal life, much less mammalian life.” He dropped a box next to her. “To say nothing of the quantity of milk-producing animals it would require to sustain this...flow.”

Estelle sipped at the canteen and nodded. “Well, when your scientists said they might have found a planet full of food…”

“I had assumed they were being hyperbolic.”

“Any sane person would.”

He looked at her. “And it’s all safe, somehow?”

She stifled a belch and adjusted her waistband. “So far. Here, let’s check again. Hey—status update.”

“Subject in good health,” chirped the bio-pak. “No pathogens detected. No toxins detected. Vitals range from normal to better-than-normal. Request for specifics. Weight: one hundred and forty-three pounds. Body mass—”

“Holy nebulas. I feel a little bloated, sure, but three pounds in one day?”

Starling shook his head. “Daily weight fluctuations are perfectly normal in humans.”

“Guess my body’s too used to the rations.”

“I am amazed that we haven’t even encountered minor pathogens. The absence of any malign microbial activity seems impossible in such a biologically rich environment.”

“Maybe your crew was right—this just might be paradise.”

Starling thought for a moment. “Nonetheless, I would advise that we continue to be on our guard.”

“Well, obviously.”

“Good. If you will set up the shelter, I think I will activate our uplink and attempt to send a log to the command module.” He stomped back to the rover. “Our crew may prefer radio silence, but I do not.”

Estelle opened the crate by the creek and watched a canvas unfold into a little dome. Starling raised an antenna array and began typing furiously on the monitor. Lights began to blink on the array.

“Primordial paradise,” Estelle mused. “The world before bad stuff. What a weird, impossible idea.” She massaged the unfamiliar pressure in her distended abdomen. “I feel so safe here.”

11-30-2016, 12:38 PM
The paleontologist or the kid with the plum on his thumb?

Burt Reynolds' character from Boogie Nights.

11-30-2016, 03:41 PM
A slow but well paced work. Intricately detailed and intriguing. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

11-30-2016, 08:01 PM
Burt Reynolds' character from Boogie Nights.


"And then she gets fatter."

12-02-2016, 09:33 AM
I like the way this story is going. As a fan of old science fiction movies and tv series. I have a suggestion. The food could start to cause genetic mutations in the humans. The skeleton could become larger and stronger to support the growing weight. The organs could adapt too. Though it might be borrowing from Hobbits, her feet could grow to support her
increased weight. Imagine her horror, when her feet grew 2 sizes or more, and she couldn't
get her shoes on.

12-03-2016, 01:06 AM

"And then she gets fatter."

Haha, yes!

12-04-2016, 01:10 PM
Chapter 6

The sun slipped away quickly while they set up camp. The low ceiling of cloud cover didn’t allow for much twilight and the jagged range of cliffs covered up the last of the sunset. It wasn’t long before the only light was Starling’s computer screen.

Having finished with the tent and bedding, Estelle made her way back to the rover and unpacked one of the plasma rifles.

Starling glanced at her. “You just finished telling me how safe you felt here.”

“Yeah. And this way I can feel even safer,” she grunted, slinging the rifle over her shoulder and reaching in to unlock an ammunition case. “Like you said: we have to be on our guard.”

“Indeed. I would advise, however, that you give me the weapon. You are an unmodified human and require sleep. As I do not, it follows that I should stand guard.”

“Are you programmed for combat?”

He tilted his head. “I am programmed for protection. This includes basic firearm handling. I also possess a powerful sensor array and am keenly aware of my surroundings.”

A horrible, whining roar pierced the night. Starling whirled around; Estelle dropped the ammo and covered her ears.

A dark blur flew across the ground, barely perceptible in the lights of the antenna array. Something huge struck the rover, shoving its back end around and knocking Starling off his feet. Estelle dove and rolled away, unslinging the rifle.

“Who’s there?” she shouted.

“I don’t believe it was a ‘who,’ captain,” grumbled the android, climbing to his feet.

The rover lurched again, tilting up onto two wheels for a moment before crashing back down.

“Holy nebulas,” Estelle whispered. Crouching low, she made her way toward the ammo she’d dropped. “Thing must be huge.”

The roar came again, echoing off the cliffs. A shadow passed in front of the antenna lights and Estelle froze, a few feet from the ammo.

The rover leapt into the air, rolling over, and smacked into the cliff wall. The crash snapped the antennae, but somehow turned on one of the headlamps.

Silhouetted in its light was a huge, viscous mass, like a giant amoeba, looming at least eight feet tall. Its shape changed rapidly, jiggling, rippling, and reforming like an opaque liquid. It shuddered and shrieked.

Estelle lunged for the ammo and clapped a plasma cartridge into her rifle.

“You’re going to shoot it?” Starling gasped. “Our first sign of animate life on this planet?”

She glared at him. “Well, maybe I don’t know their social customs here, but that didn’t come off as friendly to me.”

The shape lurched sideways, out of the headlight’s beam. It reached out with some of its mass and slapped the pop-up dome tent to the other side of the milk pool.

“Damn it. I spent like forty minutes putting that up.”

“I told you to follow the instructions.”

Estelle sprang to her feet and took aim. “Sometimes I like to improvise.” She fired a shot. A plasma bolt flashed across the recess, striking the creature’s side.

The wound glowed white-hot for a moment and the creature roared again.


Starling hurried past her. “Did you cause any perceptible damage?”

The creature balled itself up and began rolling toward Estelle. “Oh dear.”

She raised the rifle and fired off several more rounds in quick succession. The cartridge popped out, spent. The creature continued rolling, though several glowing plasma wounds now rolled with it like pebbles stuck in tire tread.

Estelle dove out of its path. It halted and surged out, reforming into a taller shape and turning its mass to face her.

She raised the rifle. The creature stretched up, looming over her and showing off all the wounds she’d created.

The wounds moved with the creature’s shape changes. Suddenly the grey flesh facing her began to twist, seeming to turn in on itself, and the wounds were sucked inside its membranous body.

“Oh, stars.”

The rover’s engine revved. Starling had it back on all four wheels and raced it across the recess. Estelle spun out of the way just as it struck the creature head-on and crashed it into a nearby tree.

Starling reversed to her, keeping his eyes on the reeling creature. Estelle leapt into the passenger seat and reached for the weapons cache.

“Your gun hasn’t proved particularly useful so far,” he observed, shifting out of reverse.

“I have more than guns back here. I hope you have a plan, by the way.”

The creature extricated itself from the remains of the tree and began undulating toward them.

Starling accelerated toward it. “I am improvising. If nothing else, the impact seemed to stun it.”

“I would prefer something a few levels above ‘stun,’ Starling.” She glanced around the dark landscape. “You remember that pass we came up right before we got here? What was that dropoff?”

They slammed into the creature. It roared and thrashed against the rover’s hood. Starling pressed the pedal down and steered the rover between trees and rock faces.

“Two hundred feet, at least,” he recalled. “Yes, I believe I understand your intent. Hold tight…this will require some maneuvering.”

They veered around and accelerated toward the pass. The creature reached out a thick pseudopod and grabbed at the windshield, cracking it.

“Watch the glass, ugly,” Estelle growled, firing a few shots at the arm.

Starling had to turn again and the momentum shift nearly sent Estelle flying. The android’s hand shot out to grab her wrist and she found herself stretched sideways, her right leg dangling out of the rover. The rifle clattered away.

The creature’s pseudopod reached out and wrapped around her ankle. “Oh, stars,” she screamed, writhing. “It’s all wet and oozy. Get off, you piece of—”

They raced out onto the pass. The dropoff was just ahead.

Estelle reached her free hand into the cache. “Let go of me, Starling.”


“Now!” She rolled over and sat up on the side of the rover, emptying a pistol into the pseudopod. Tossing the gun away, she pulled the pin on a plasma grenade and pressed it into the wound. “Absorb that one, big guy.”

Starling grabbed her waist and hauled her back in. The pseudopod ripped open, twisting at her ankle but wrenching her free. She shrieked in pain and Starling hurled her off the back of the rover. He locked the pedals, grabbed a crate from the cache, and leapt from the rover just as it careened over the edge of the dropoff.

Entangled in the rover’s hood, the creature roared one last time as it fell. They crashed together into the rocky canyon floor, the impact setting off Estelle’s grenade with a thunderous blast.

Starling hauled himself to his feet as the explosion lit up the canyon. It shook the pass and echoed off the walls, but only silence followed. No birds took to the air to flee the noise; the planet simply returned to its idyllic inanimacy.

Estelle rolled over with a pained groan. “Stars. Stars, ow.” Starling knelt down and tapped her bio-pak.

“Subject is injured,” chirped the voice. “Partial fracture: right fibula. Multiple contusions and minor abrasions. Subject is entering shock.”

“You will need to rest,” Starling remarked, setting down the crate.

“I’m fine. We need to get out of here.”

“Inadvisable. Our only option is to continue on foot, which requires that you have two operational feet.” He helped her up and threw her over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry.

“Or you can just carry me.”

“At our present estimated distance from the expedition’s landing site, we can expect the journey by foot to take at least eight to nine days. I am not rated for long distance hauling. We also have the remaining gear to consider. Captain, our best course of action is to wait here until your ankle is healed before proceeding.”

“Ugh. How long will that take?”

Starling tapped the bio-pak’s monitor. “Prioritize fracture.”

“Acknowledged,” it replied. “Releasing osteorepair supplement. Setting bone.”

The fabric around Estelle’s ankle constricted itself and solidified into a rigid cast. She winced and exhaled slowly.

“Estimated recovery: two to three weeks. Recommend rest, fluids, and increased calcium intake to promote bone healing. Avoid physical activity.”

“Huh, alright,” she mused. “I thought that’d be worse. That’s way faster than I thought. Why isn’t this technology a little more, uh, common?”

Starling started off back toward their camp. “The suit and bio-pak cost as much as the both the expedition’s rovers together.”

“Spare no expense, I suppose. Hopefully it’s preserved your expedition’s members, too…if that creature found us after one day on the planet, it has to have found them in the two years they’ve been here.”

12-04-2016, 02:47 PM
reminds me of a shoggoth
good start so far!
Keep up the good work!

12-04-2016, 09:36 PM
reminds me of a shoggoth

Iä! Iä! Yog-sothoth!

12-07-2016, 02:35 PM
Chapter 7

Once the sun was up the next morning, Starling set out to recover what he could from the crash. Searching and scaling the canyon wall took the android much of the day, but it proved fruitful. Though very little had survived the explosion, some gear had fallen out of the rover during their wild ride. To Estelle’s concern, however, there was no trace of the creature.

“Perhaps it was vaporized in the blast,” Starling offered.

“We'd better hope so. All that’s left of the weapons cache is my rifle here. Not sure we’ll be able to fight him off a second time.”

The creature did not return, however, and they saw no sign of any others. As the days went by, Starling began to explore the surrounding areas, learning as much as he could without straying too far from camp. He brought the captain plenty of new and interesting foods to try and stood guard over her tent through every night.

Estelle rested next to the pool during the day, head propped up against a supply crate. It was an intensely dull time, as Starling forbade her from leaving the campsite or being on her feet for too long.

Fortunately, among the recovered gear she found a datapad. It contained the ship’s records and profiles of the various expedition members. Estelle read through each with interest, curious to know whom the admiralty had sent on this dangerous one-way mission to save the colonies.

They hadn’t sent any admiralty officers, strangely enough. Starling was the only crew member officially attached to the admiralty and he had come with the ship. Otherwise, they were all unaffiliated scientists, each pulled from a different colony in the system.

“Weird for the admirals to be so hands-off on something so important. So who was…hm. Looks like they put the map-maker in charge. At least…nominally.” Estelle tapped a button on the side of the datapad. “Alright, let’s get a look at you.”

A hologram sprung up, displaying a leggy blonde woman in a purple survival suit. “Provisional commander Selena Jolan,” read the pad. “Human female. 5’6”, 115lbs. Hair: blonde, eyes: brown. Colony of origin: Newer South Wales. Employer: Wemappit Planetary Cartography LLC.”

Estelle furrowed her brow at the holographic woman’s lithe, bony frame. “Selena, dear, you don’t look like someone used to tromping around on rugged, unexplored alien planets. You look like a Virgo’s Secret model.”

She paged to the next crew member. The hologram changed to show a broad-shouldered, athletic looking man in a yellow survival suit.

“You, on the other hand…”

“Professor Flavius Hyllus,” said the pad, “human male. 5’9”, 160lbs. Hair: brown, eyes: blue. Colony of origin: Amster-dome. Employer: Low Colonies University.”

The profile showed that he was a tenured professor, highly acclaimed. He’d been on three other terraforming assignments as a chemistry consultant.

“That one makes more sense. Wait…” She flipped back to Selena. For her there was no mention of any previous work. As far as Estelle could find, this expedition was the young cartographer’s first assignment. “That doesn’t bode well. Let’s check the others.”

She turned to the geologist. The hologram showed a lean woman in a red survival suit. “Civilian Ayla Roderick, human female. 5’7”, 150lbs. Hair: black, eyes: brown. Colony of origin: Johannesphere. Employer: Johannesphere Public Geological Survey.”

The woman looked a little more mature than the others, but further reading showed that she, too, was new to the profession, having recently been transferred to the Geological Survey from the Parks and Recreation service.

“Sorry, what?” Estelle spat. “I hope they at least gave her a field guide. Holy nebulas. Sure, she’s got a degree, but…this isn’t looking good.”

A look at the engineer wasn’t encouraging. Her bionic left arm suggested some impressive mechanical skill, but the pale, softish look she had in her orange survival suit pointed more to a desk job than field work. “Chief Engineer Hoshi Alani, human female, major cybernetic augmentation. 5’4”, 135lbs. Hair: black, eyes: brown, augmented. Colony of origin: Hokkaido II. Employer: WowMuchFun Systems Inc.”

Estelle raised an eyebrow. “I’m fairly certain that’s a holo-gaming company.” She read through the profile. “Yep. Wow.”

The engineer had an impressive academic track record and several awards, but had never before even left her home colony. Estelle shook her head and flipped to the final crew member.

“Doctor Hester Irving, human female. 5’2, 110lbs.”

Estelle squinted at the holographic woman in the green survival suit. “Look how little you are. I mean, the hologram can only be so big, but…” She scratched her chin. “Hmm.”

“Hair: red, eyes: green. Colony of origin: Novissima Scotia. Employer: Galactic Nutrition Consultants—”

“A dietician?” Estelle shouted at the datapad. “Yeah, she did medical school and I can almost wrap my head around wanting a dietician on an interstellar journey to find food. But posting her as the expedition’s xeno-biologist? Who put this team together and what in the stars were they thinking?”

The hologram faded out. Estelle frowned.

“Datapad,” she queried, tapping it, “who commissioned this expedition? Which admiral oversaw this?”

“Confidential,” replied the pad.

Estelle looked up. Starling had returned from his morning’s hike with a bundle of fruits.

“Hey, Starling…who put your crew together?”

“That’s confidential, captain.”

“Of course.” She stretched her leg out. “Do you trust them?”

He cocked his head to the side. “The crew? Or the oversight committee?”

“I don’t know. Either? Both?”

He set the bundle down next to her. “I do not process in terms of ‘trust,’ captain. I process command structures.”

She bit into a fruit. “Yeah, I know. But I figure you can, uh, make assessments of people’s competence.”

“To some degree. Some measures of competence are quite subjective, or at the very least require profession-specific knowledge which I do not possess.”

“Best guess, then. Did this expedition’s crew have any business being here?”

The android paused for a while. “If pressed, I suppose I would describe the selected team as…atypical, given the admiralty’s precedents and predilections.” He turned and headed downstream. “I should note, however, that they were all very nice.”

Estelle tossed the datapad away. “Oh, well, in that case…” She twisted over to scoop some milk from the pool. “Stars, it’s like they wanted this to fail.”

The milk, thick and creamy as it was, was quite refreshing. She refreshed herself from it quite often over the subsequent couple of weeks, along with the various fruits, vegetables, and curiously edible geology Starling brought her.

The days passed without much incident. They didn’t see the creature or anything like it and Starling found no evidence of animate activity on any of his daily hikes. The planet’s biology made very little sense, although captain and android spent a good deal of time pondering it. Without research equipment, they could do little but speculate.

A couple days into the third week, Starling returned to find Estelle walking around the camp.

“You should not be on your feet,” he stated.

She placed her hands on her hips. There was a little more flesh there now and her fingers sank in a bit. “I feel okay. I’ve been on it all morning and it’s just a little sore.”

He stomped over to her. She glared up at him, stubbornly arching her back. The angle pushed out her stomach, which had developed a soft pooch. It was the slightest of curves, but enough to push up on her survival suit’s top. A thin ring of flesh peeked out above her waistline and the pants looked uncomfortably tight.

Starling tapped her bio-pak monitor. “Status update.”

“Subject in good health,” chirped the monitor. “Bone healing normally. Light activity permitted, recommend against heavy loads or strenuous exercise.”

“It’s enough,” Estelle growled. “I can handle walking. We’re going.”

“No pathogens detected,” the monitor continued while they stared at each other. “No toxins. Vitals range from normal to better-than-normal. Request for specifics. Weight: one hundred and fifty-four pounds.”

“Holy nebulas,” she gasped. “See? We can’t stay put any longer. I’ll just eat myself to death.” She tugged down on her suit top, trying to cover the belly.

Starling tapped on the monitor again. “Refit suit,” he sighed.

“Refitting,” said the pak. The suit made a quiet stretching noise and loosened slightly.

Estelle pulled the top back down over her gut and it stayed there. “Right,” she breathed. “Forgot it could do that. Anyway, we’re going.”

The android stared at her for a moment, then pressed a button on the pop-up tent. It promptly collapsed and folded itself up. “As you command.”

Xyantha Reborn
12-07-2016, 07:02 PM
I enjoy all your work - looking forward to more

12-11-2016, 08:21 AM
Chapter 8

The pair hiked their way out of the rocky heights and slowly worked down toward a sprawling, grassy plain. At first they could only cover a little distance each day, but as Estelle’s ankle regained some strength they began to push further.

She tried to resist tasting every little thing they came across, conscious of the weight she’d gained and eager to lose it. The resistance lasted her about halfway through the second day, when she came across a tree covered in too many varieties of equally appetizing fruit. They all deserved to be tried; she had been told to ‘appraise the situation,’ after all. Her evening meals grew larger, too, though she told herself it was to keep up her strength.

The plain stretched on for two full days of hiking. After the rocky heights, the sudden flatness was almost overwhelming.

The new terrain wasn’t without its curiosities, fortunately. The ubiquitous grass proved edible as well, with a flavor that reminded Estelle of asparagus. It was interspersed with leafy shrubs she determined to be some kind of lettuce and more occasional, lonely fruit trees. The ground underfoot had softened and Estelle realized it was the dry cake again. In the few areas clear of grass the soil was littered with small, brightly colored sticks.

“Sprinkles,” she realized, laughing. “This planet is too weird.”

It grew weirder the next day, when the plain was suddenly interrupted by a series of huge, crusty mounds.

“Some kind of glacial formation?” Starling wondered as they approached.

“Bread,” Estelle announced, chewing. “Giant loaves of bread.”

They spent the rest of the day hiking between, over, and around the loaves. The terrain had become a badland of carbohydrates, rolling with cereal of all kinds: ryes, wheats, sourdoughs. Estelle peeled back the crust of a pretzel bun when they made camp that night and buried herself in the dough; it was the most comfortable bed she’d ever experienced.

The leavened hills rose higher to the north into huge mountains. The hikers continued east, where the bread leveled out into a brief flatland of pitas before running into a wide, white river.

Starling surmised it to be a continuation of the milk-stream where they’d first made camp. They followed the river half a day downstream before finding a shallow crossing. The opposite side proved to be very different: the ground, no longer the cake-soil, was lighter in color, more cohesive, and pliable to the touch.

“Holy nebulas,” Estelle gasped, “cheese.” She shivered a little in the cool breeze blowing down from the mountains.

They gaped at the landscape ahead. Mounds and wheels of cheese rolled into the distance, criss-crossed by streams of milk. Continuing through the dairy-realm, the hikers encountered giant pads of butter and a small pool of heavy cream, near which Estelle sheepishly suggested they make camp.

The next morning, while Starling was out of earshot, she quietly asked her survival suit for another refit. It was only a temporary bloating, she assured herself. Nothing permanent.

The land opened up into rocky terrain—more hard candy, in fact—and they wandered through pillars and cairns the rest of the day. It would have looked more like a desolate wasteland if it weren’t for the bright colors and tangy flavors of each jagged formation.

The hard surface took a toll on Estelle’s ankle, however. Her pace slowed until Starling could no longer politely ignore it and she begrudgingly allowed him to set up camp for the night. She had a look around while he worked and found herself thankful they’d stopped.

Not far from camp, the path lead to the edge of a terrifying cliff. A deep gorge cut through the land like a jagged fissure, sheer walls on each side. The crack seemed to start up to the north, under the icy mountain range, and opened up to the south into what must have been an ocean. A narrow channel of water ran along the bottom of the gorge.

Estelle squinted up and down the canyon. There didn’t seem to be any ways down either wall or around it, but closer to the seacoast she could make out a web of thin, angular land bridges.

“Rock candy?” she wondered. The thought of having to climb along the brittle network taunted her imagination; she shook her head and limped back toward Starling.

The android held up a finger as she returned to the clearing. He was frozen, hand poised over the unopened auto-tent. Estelle stopped midstep, wincing as weight settled onto her bad ankle.

“I believe we may have halted prematurely,” Starling murmured. “This may not be the safest site to make camp.”

Estelle glanced around. A distant howl echoed off the mountainside like a peal of thunder, chilling her.

“It’s back?” she hissed.

“Possibly. Or this is a second such creature. It seems reasonable to estim—”

“What do we do?”

“Our best option is probably to flee, captain.”

“I’m not sure we can outrun that thing without the rover.” She lowered herself onto a boulder. “I can barely walk.”

He picked up the rifle. “Perhaps I can occupy it long enough to provide you with a head start.”

“Don’t martyr yourself for me, Starling. I’m not worth it—they only sent me because I’m expendable, anyway.”

The howl pierced the twilight again, closer.

She rubbed her forehead. “How much of a climber do you think it is?”


“This…goo-monster. Do you think he’s nimble?”

Starling frowned. “Judging from its patterns of motion in our previous encounter, it does not appear adapted for precise agility or fine motor skills.”

“Okay, then,” she sighed, nodding. “There’s a landbridge a little ways down that crosses this gorge…some kind of brittle candy. You and I might be able to climb across.”

“Can your ankle take it?”

“It’ll have to. Here, give me the gun. You take the gear.”

The last of the sun was sinking over the water when they reached the bridge. It set the rock candy sparkling with tiny rainbows under the darkening sky. The unseen monster roared again, accompanied by the sound of a falling tree.

Estelle took a deep breath and stepped out onto a strand of the bridge. The glimmering, jagged candy arched up away from the cliffside at a sharp angle, only wide enough for one of her feet at a time but close enough to other strands in the web that Estelle could reach out and steady herself.

It creaked with each tentative step and she could hear cracking from somewhere deeper in the web. She groaned and wished she hadn’t given in to so many of the delicious temptations along the hike.

Reaching the top of the arch, she paused to find her balance, arms spread. The food-baby that had become a permanent fixture of her midsection swelled silhouetted against the sunset. It gurgled and she gave it an apologetic pat.

Starling clambered up beside her. “Are you alright, captain?”

“Yeah,” she panted. “Just needed a minute.”

The bridge shook and the sound of rending spread around them. Turning back, they could see the shadow of a large blob heaving itself awkwardly along the web.

Estelle cursed. “Minute’s over. Go, Starling. Don’t wait for me.”

The android took off, moving easily. Estelle hurled herself down from the peak, scraping along the thickest strands of candy she could find as the monster roared behind her. Her ankle burned and throbbed and she found herself dragging the foot more than stepping with it.

But soon she was only a few yards from the other side and could see Starling below, collecting himself on the edge of the cliff. She reached her good leg for the final strand of candy, but it shattered on contact. She fell through the web, surrounded by twinkling powder.

Starling shot out an arm and seized her by the collar. She slammed into the cliffside and hung there a moment, stunned. The collar pulled her shirt up, exposing her softened stomach but saving her.

The android hauled her up and they rolled away from the edge. Coughing and sputtering, she pushed herself up in time to see the grey, oozing blob monster flop its way over the apex of the bridge and begin roiling down toward their side.

Estelle got up onto a knee and unslung the rifle. She loaded in a plasma cartridge and took careful aim, naked gut heaving as she got control of her breathing.

She fired a barrage into the bridge, shattering the larger strands of the web and sending powderized crystals spinning into the darkness. A rending crack traveled throughout the brittle candy and the monster fell straight through before it could reach land, roaring one last time as it plummeted into the gorge.

The rest of the bridge crackled, groaned, buckled, and finally fell apart as well. Within thirty seconds, the whole formation had fallen and nothing of the web remained.

“We appear to have found the species’ weakness,” Starling remarked, peering over the ledge. “Thousand-foot drops. We are two-for-two when dropping them off cliffs.”

Estelle sat back down and pushed the rifle away. “Okay,” she exhaled, “now I need a snack.”

12-11-2016, 10:43 PM
cute story. It reminds me of the old-timey song "Big Rock Candy Mountain."

12-13-2016, 02:15 AM
This is amazing. I love the setting, vivid descriptions, and slow build up. :D

12-14-2016, 06:59 PM
Chapter 9

The next day, in a particularly soft depression, they discovered a pair of narrow ruts. The ruts ran parallel across the depression, turned, and faded as they reached more solid terrain.

Estelle raised an eyebrow. “Is it me, or do these look like tire tracks?”

“I believe you’re right, captain,” Starling replied, crouching down to inspect them. “And these ridges here may show us the tread.”

“What do you think? Is it our crew? It’d be nice to have some positive news on them.”

“I prefer not to render judgments on so little data, captain, but these treads do appear consistent with those of the expedition’s rover.”

She folded her arms. “How much further?”

“It’s hard to say, not knowing the terrain ahead. But at the pace we’ve held thus far, I would estimate at least two or three more days after today.”

Estelle bent down and massaged her ankle. She ignored how the new softness on her tummy began to crease.

At the end of the following day their path led them through a rocky pass to another dropoff, apparently the wall of a huge valley. They spent the night on its rim and in the morning began their descent.

The cheese had ended abruptly, giving way to a crumbly soil—some sort of stale biscuit—and a forest of slender, scraggly trees. Their dark trunks tasted of licorice and the leaves, spread into a thick, multicolored canopy overhead, offered a kind of taffy.

More sweets greeted the hikers as they made their way down: mounds that proved to be pastries, wildflowers with gummy petals, frosting and icing that grew on the rocks like moss.

As they neared the valley floor they came to another stream, this one golden in color and moving so slowly it could barely be said to have any current.

Estelle sucked a gooey sample from her finger. “Yep. That’s honey.”

Starling frowned at it. “And not a bee in sight.”

The stream was too deep to ford with their gear, so they made camp and watched the sunset through the trees. They had seen a few glimpses of blue sky earlier in the day, but the cloud cover had since thickened. It occurred to Estelle, staring into the darkness above, that she’d been on the planet for three weeks and had rarely seen any stars.

“For all the ease and familiar tastes this place offers,” she mused, “it is a very alien planet.”

The android, pacing the perimeter with his rifle, gave her a blank look. “It is by definition alien, for we are not native to it.”

“Yeah, but…” She shifted on her bedroll. “This is why I don’t understand how they could send such an unqualified crew. How could they be ready for this?”

“You seem abnormally fixated on their qualifications.”

“So it doesn’t seem weird to you?”

“I have acknowledged the group’s atypical composition. Why do you belabor the point? It was not my place to evaluate the selection process nor its results.”

“The admiral told me they assembled the colonies’ best and brightest for this mission. I’m having trouble understanding how this group fits that description.”

“Perhaps they possessed skills and qualities beyond what is detailed in their profiles.”

“Okay, but like what?” She held the datapad up to his face. “Why wouldn’t the admiralty want relevant information like that to be front and center?”

“I would not presume to speculate on the admirals’ minds.”

She threw up her hands. “I’ll speculate. I think their minds are messed up. As far as they were concerned, this mission was to determine the fate of the colonies. Humanity’s future was at stake, Starling, as far as anyone knew. And in the face of destiny, with all that on the line, they sent one barely qualified man and four very unqualified, very beautiful young women.”

The android stopped his march and glanced sidelong at her.

“I think that’s kind of weird, Starling.”

He resumed pacing. “They also sent me.”

“And programmed you to nod off as soon as the crew landed. Come on. No plan is this terrible by accident.”

They followed the river of honey for much of the next morning. They decided to follow it downstream to avoid the steep terrain further up, but found that it only widened and deepened until finally opening up into a broad, glistening lake.

Estelle threw up her hands, livid at the idea of having to backtrack. Her ankle throbbed, still feeling the effects of yesterday’s downhill march.

Starling set down his gear. “On the positive side, captain, if my estimates are correct, we are not far from our destination. The landing site should be on the other side of this lake.” He squinted into the distance, at a dome-shaped hill. “We have only to find a way across.”

“Do you think we could go around?”

“It would mean another day of walking.”

“Nebulas.” She sighed and kicked at the crumbly ground. Her foot struck something and she bent down to check it. “Hey…more tire tracks.”

Starling hurried over. “Yes, and seemingly fresher. Curious…they lead straight down toward the shore, right at the mouth of the river…”

“…and disappear,” Estelle concluded. She followed the tracks down and wandered the shoreline; there was a wide area that had been flattened down where the tracks ended.

“Captain,” called the android behind her. He held up a rope, one end tied to a nearby tree and the other disappearing under the surface of the river.

Estelle folded her arms. “Hm. Uh, give it a pull.”

He hauled on it and it sprung up out of the river. It stretched all the way to the other shore, where something in the bushes shifted. He pulled again, more forcefully, and a large raft slid out of the bushes and onto the honey.

The raft was made from cannibalized metal panels and thermal tiles. It was remarkably wide, with high walls, presumably intended to ferry the rover.

“Impressive,” said Estelle, picking up her gear. “Well, this has to be a good sign.”

They took the raft back across and found more tire tracks on the far side. The ruts lead up toward the hill they’d seen and looked well-worn. They soon encountered more tracks, crossing in several directions, and it became clear to Estelle and Starling that they had found their convergence point.

They emerged into a clearing. At the center, in a neat ring, stood five metal cylinders, each with a colored hatch and a small window. A pile of mangled machinery lay within the ring.

Beyond the ring were stacks of supply crates and what looked to be a storage container. Behind that, at the base of the huge hill, they found the expedition’s rover.

“Hello, there,” Estelle cooed. She looked up at the hill. It was smooth and uncovered, not made of the dirt at their feet but something smoother…jigglier.

She dug out a handful and tasted it. Starling shook his head.

“Cheesecake?” she wondered, chewing. “Ah, what’s this here?”

Starling followed her gaze to a hole in the side of the hill, four or five feet across and just tall enough to stand in. “A cave?”

Estelle nodded, sighing. “Well, I suppose we’d better go in.”

It was the entrance to a long tunnel, leading deep into the hill. Its walls were fairly smooth and the floor solid, packed down by repeated foot traffic. An array of dim lights was strung along the ceiling.

“Think anybody’s home?” Estelle whispered. “They left the lights on for us.”

“Or it was too late to turn them off.”

“Thanks for that encouraging thought. Okay, here we go.”

They emerged into a large, high-ceilinged cavern. The lights here were off, but the glow from the tunnel spilled in enough to show dim shapes. There was some rudimentary furniture, including desks and chairs and countertops, and a few deactivated viewscreens mounted to the walls. A row of footlockers divided the room in half and on the far side of it Estelle could make out four bulky mounds covered in sheets.

“There’s no one here,” Starling observed. “Perhaps they have gone out for the day. Or—”

“No,” Estelle murmured. “They’re right here.” She tiptoed around the footlockers toward the sheet-covered mounds. They were not mounds, she’d realized, but bodies: four obese, rotund bodies, slumbering peacefully on the floor.

12-18-2016, 11:32 PM
Chapter 10

Starling located a control panel and brought the cavern’s lights up to a gentle glow. Estelle paced around the unconscious explorers, hands on her hips.

One slept slouched against the wall; the flabby blonde was barely recognizable as Selena, the crew’s cartographer and purported commander. Nearby lay the geologist and the engineer, Hoshi’s head resting happily on the enormous pillow that Ayla’s abdomen had become. Behind them Estelle found the biologist. Hester slept face down, her bright red hair splayed out in a tangled mess.

“It’s them, alright,” Estelle whispered. “Commander Jolan…Ms. Roderick…Ms. Alani…Dr. Irving…” She glanced around again with a frown. “No Hyllus, though.”

“Perhaps the professor is on watch,” Starling offered.

“Then he’s a shitty watchman.” She folded her arms. “Look at them, Starling. They’re…huge. I mean, I get putting on some weight…two years trapped on a planet full of food, but seriously…don’t they have any self-control?”

The android cocked an eyebrow. Estelle grimaced and shifted her suit’s waistline to better cover her own little gut.

Curious, she bent down next to Selena. “Well, she still has her bio-pak on. Let’s see here…”

“Subject is in good health,” the monitor reported. “441 pounds—”

Estelle rushed to mute it, eyes wide. She sat there frozen for a moment, but the big woman slumbered on.

Estelle slid away, mouthing an amazed “four forty-one!?” at Starling.

She left Selena to her snoring and checked the others. Ayla’s monitor announced her at 346 and Hoshi’s put her at 395. Hester, however, though quite plump, looked about half as large as the others.

“Subject in good health. 228 pounds, body mass: fort—”

The red hair shifted. “Huh? Wh…whatsat?”

Estelle sprang to her feet. Hester rolled over, saw her, and scrambled back against the wall in terror.

“Holy nebulas,” the doctor hissed, her chest heaving. It was an impressive chest—she may not have gained as much weight as her peers, but much of what she had gained had found its way to her bosom. “Selena! Co-co-commander…Selena, hey!”

“It’s okay, I…we…” Estelle stammered, palms spread. “Uh, Starling, maybe put down the rifle.”

“Ah. Of course. My apologies, captain.”

The commander groaned from her corner, pushing hair from her face. “Hester, not yet…so early. So hungover.”

Estelle looked at Starling, who shrugged.

“Selena, seriously,” Hester pleaded. “You might want…there’s someone here, eh?”

The blonde opened an eye. It caught sight of the intruders and both shot wide open.

Estelle smiled. “Hi.”

“Holy nebulas.”


“What’s going on?” grumbled the engineer, lifting her head off Ayla’s stomach. Ayla peered over in groggy confusion.

Selena tugged up on her bedsheet. “Starling? And you…who are you? What is this?”

“I’m Captain Gorlois, from New Kansas,” Estelle replied calmly, spreading her palms. “You can call me Estelle. I’m sorry for waking you up, but, ah, the admiralty sent me here to find you folks and take you home.”

They gaped at her. Hoshi and Ayla heaved themselves up onto their elbows.

Estelle nodded to herself. “I’d say we have a lot to…talk about.”

“I reckon, yeah,” Selena agreed. Clutching the bedsheet tight, she reached her free hand toward a nearby console. “Could you back up a step?”

“Right, sure. Sorry. Didn’t mean to barge in on your, uh, sleeping area.” Estelle backtracked to the other side of the row of footlockers.

Selena pressed a key on the console. “Perfect.”

Something clunked overhead. Estelle looked up in time to see a wire-frame cage fall down on her from the ceiling. Its edges embedded themselves about a foot into the cheesecake floor, anchoring it and trapping Estelle firmly inside.

She pulled at the wires. They were thin, but strong enough. “Okay, really?” She shook her head and turned to the android, who stood just outside. “Wanna pull this open?”

“Belay that, Starling,” Selena commanded, standing. “I’m still in command of this expedition.”

Starling shrank back from the cage, giving Estelle a remorseful glance. “I apologize, captain. I am programmed to prioritize—”

“I get it, Starling,” she grumbled.

“I’m not sure what surprises me more,” Hoshi remarked, “that fact that the cage actually worked or the fact that we actually got to use it.”

Selena cleared her throat. “Get dressed, ladies. Hester, you might as well get breakfast started, since we’re up. And then our guest is going to explain herself.”

Estelle leaned against the wires, her muffin-top squeezing into the open spaces. “Y’all have been stuck here alone for two years and when somebody finally visits you drop a cage on her? Somebody trying to rescue you, no less…”

“We aren’t big on trust, ‘captain.’ Not anymore. And we aren’t big on the idea of going home, either.” She gestured for her crew to get moving.

Estelle sighed. “You’re plenty big otherwise,” she grumbled under her breath.

She spent the next several minutes glaring at the four explorers as they got cleaned up and dressed. It was a bizarre sight, full of groaning and yawning and more wobbling flesh than she’d ever expected to see in one lifetime.

She watched Hester pull on her green survival suit. The biologist’s swollen chest seemed to take up the whole of the suit’s top, leaving her midriff uncovered. Her pale, freckled beer gut jutted out over her waistline, rounded and bouncing. Though constrained by the suit, her breasts swung and heaved as she walked.

Hoshi, the engineer, only wore the top half of her suit. She was a bottom-heavy woman and her torso had not expanded so much as it had merely softened. From the waist down, however, her girth filled out an orange skirt—Estelle recognized the material as the parachute from a landing pod. It was a simple wrap that hung open on one side, showing off the cellulite-covered thickness of Hoshi’s thighs. Her hips constantly brushed against anything or anyone she passed.

Ayla, on the other hand, wore only the bottom half of her suit. Even then she had reduced those pants to low-riding capris, likely because so much fabric had to be devoted to containing her enormous rear. As far backward as her butt jutted, her stomach poked just as far forward, barely covered by a shiny foil crop-top. Unlike the others, she appeared to have retained some modicum of muscle mass. It was evident in her shoulders and thighs, but remained generally hidden elsewhere by flab.

Selena, though, had abandoned her survival suit entirely. All her weight seemed devoted to width: wide thighs, wide hips, wide flanks, wide breasts, and at least as much fat devoted to her lovehandles as to her paunch. She draped a short tunic over herself, which did so little to cover or restrain her girth that it seemed hardly more than a proprietary formality. She belted the tunic at her waist with a length of cable and her rolls flopped happily out from the sides.

To Estelle, the commander seemed shamelessly massive. Selena’s whole body heaved with her every movement. It made Estelle conscious of her own weight and she felt her comparatively little stomach tighten.

They all giggled to one another. They were all but oozing out of their outgrown garments and not one of them seemed the least embarrassed or apologetic.

They cleared the middle of the room of its furniture and laid out a broad tarp. Hester opened a large supply crate in the back and began rummaging inside. Selena nodded to Ayla, who picked up the abandoned rifle.

“You even know how to use that?” asked Estelle.

“Maybe I’m just a geologist to you,” Ayla retorted, aiming at her, “but there’s plenty you don’t know about me.”

“I know enough, Ms. Roderick. I know you’re not really a geologist. That’s right, I know you’re fake; I know you’re all fakes.” She glared around at them.

Selena waddled up to the cage. “And you’re fake, too, aren’t you, mate?” She looked Estelle up and down. “You said the admiralty sent you…but there’s no way you’re a naval officer.”

“I’m not with the fleet. But I am a captain, I do have a ship, and I am here to rescue you, you idiots.”

“But we’re not here to be rescued, ‘captain.’ And why would the admiralty send a lone civilian pilot all the way here for us? Better yet: why would she go?”

Estelle stared her down.

“She’s a criminal, commander,” Starling replied, “convicted and hoping to have her sentence commuted.”

Selena raised an eyebrow. “A criminal. What was her crime, Starling?”

“Unlawful trafficking.”

“Interesting. And now she wants to traffic us, ay? Well, we’re tired of being cargo.” She gave the cage a shake. The motion ended up shaking her body far more. “Looks like your sentence has been commuted after all, captain…to here.”

12-19-2016, 08:59 AM
Great new chapter. I like that you are emphasizing different body shapes. Your bits of humor also work well.

12-20-2016, 09:57 AM
This is truly amazing :D :smitten:
I'm already a huge fan of this story and can't WEIGHT(lol) to see more :) The description of the planet made me think of Charlie and the chocolate factory
As a french, not problem at all for reading this amazing work of you again :bow:

12-21-2016, 09:14 PM
Glad you're enjoying! Thanks for the feedback.

Chapter 11

Estelle slumped against the wall of her cage, watching the four explorers waddle about the cavern. They had brought out a broad table and were clearing it for their breakfast.

Starling stood patiently next to the cage. “I am certain they will release you shortly, captain. I am unable to speak falsehoods and can corroborate your account and purpose here.”

“They’re so fat,” Estelle whispered, glaring. “They don’t look ashamed of it at all, either. Like they haven’t even noticed.”

The android gave her an uncertain glance. “Perhaps they have simply grown too accustomed to it. Given how long they have seen no one but one another, it is easy to see how the novelty might diminish.”

“They almost seem to like it.” She scrunched her face in disgust. “There’s something wrong with them. You noticed nobody’s mentioned Hyllus? Nebulas…I wonder if they ate him.”

“Such a barbaric act would be decidedly out of character.”

“I was joking. But seriously—is it in their character to triple their weight in two years?”

“I think the bigger concern is how physiologically unprecedented…” He looked at Estelle, who had sat down in a huff. “Captain, you seem quite distressed by their obesity.”

She spread her hands. “Well, it’s distressing.”

“Their mission’s sole purpose was the search for food. We shouldn’t be upset with them for succeeding.”

Estelle frowned at the enormous women. “Oh, they’ve succeeded plenty. But they’ve kept the success all to themselves, Starling. As far as they know, all their home colonies are still starving to death while they sit here stuffing their faces.” She folded her arms. “They’ve spent two years on a planet full of food—made of food, maybe—and haven’t fired up their beacon to call home with the good news. Something’s wrong here, man.”

“I’m sure there’s more to their story, as there is to yours.”

Hester re-entered the cavern from a side tunnel, pushing a wheeled cart. She brought it alongside the table and served out a series of platters piled high with some of the planet’s curious delicacies: the succulent orchard fruit, hunks of the dairyland’s cheese, and slices of the bread hills. Each place setting received a tall glass of the creamy river milk and a small plate with a wobbling, richly-colored cube—a piece of the cavern wall, probably.

The other women rolled four makeshift benches over to the table, complimenting Hester on her work. At the sight of the food and the prospect of breakfast, it seemed their prisoner had been forgotten.

Estelle gaped at the spread. Each meal looked like enough food for at least a day. She noticed, though, an irritating pang of hunger in her own gut.

“Look, ladies,” she ventured once they’d sat, “everything I’ve said is true. Just ask Starling: I’m here to help. You don’t want to be rescued, fine, but don’t…I mean, I’m not here to hurt anyone, if that’s what you think.”

Selena glowered at her. “Sure, you’re here to avoid prison.”

“I could’ve stayed in prison. Would’ve meant a lot less time stuck in stupid cryo-sleep and a lot less running from blob-monsters.” She pressed her palms to the cage bars. “I came because I thought I could help. I want to get the four of you home.”

“Five,” Starling corrected. “We mustn’t forget Professor Hyllus.”

“He’s already forgotten, Starling. Hyllus is gone.” She glanced around at the explorers—a couple had frozen mid-forkful. “Yeah. Four bedrolls in the sleeping area. Four chairs for the table. Nobody’s mentioned him. Plus, everyone went white when you said his name. He’s long gone, isn’t he, ladies?”

Selena set down her milk. “He’s dead,” she said flatly.

“A squirmer killed him,” Hester murmured.

“Squirmer,” echoed Estelle, raising an eyebrow. “Big grey oozy things, partial to smacking people around?”

“Vicious fiends,” Ayla growled.

Estelle looked at Starling. “Yeah, I think we met one or two on the way here.”

“They came off as decidedly unfriendly,” the android added.

Selena shifted in her seat. “Where? Not here in the valley?”

Estelle scratched her head. “Uh, no, kinda between the big orchard forest and the plains. There was a waterfall of, um, milk.” She shrugged. “We…pushed the first one off a cliff. And dropped the other one into a gorge.”

“You’re lucky to be alive.”

“So are you, if you’ve have been dodging those things for two years.”

The cartographer nodded. “We found a way to keep them out of the valley. It’s safe down here.”

“Well, good. That really, ah…” She put her hands on her hips and looked away. “So you’ve got a little slice of heaven carved out for yourselves, huh?”

Selena studied her. “We’re happy here. I’m sorry for the harsh welcome, captain. It’s just that we’ve…had to move on from home.”

“Sounds like it. Well, full disclosure, most of home has moved on from you. Scarcity’s over; the political landscape is all different. They care about you so much that they sent a convict all by herself to come get you…now they’re rid of both of us and never had to risk admiralty resources.”

They looked at each other for half a minute. Selena finished her milk, grimaced, and finally leaned across the table. “Ayla, go on and let her out. Hester, can you fix her up some breakfast? We’ll give our first ever guest a proper welcome this time.”

Estelle was released from the cage and ushered to the table. Ayla pushed a footlocker over for her to sit on. Estelle noticed that the other benches were equally crude, mostly crates and spare equipment jury-rigged into makeshift chairs.

“Sorry about the furniture,” said Hoshi, moving dishes around. “We landed with a full set of chairs and things, but they, uh, weren’t quite strong enough.”

“Right.” Estelle gaped as Hester set the various dishes in front of her; the same excessive amount of food she’d served the others. “That’s…that’s more than enough, thanks.”

“You said the scarcity’s over?” asked the redhead, sitting down next to her. “No more hunger back home?”

Estelle gave the food a tentative taste. She chewed for a few moments, then plunged in for a bigger helping. “It’s not perfect,” she said between bites, “but yeah, the crisis is done. Colonies are gonna survive.”

Hoshi returned to her bench. “What happened? How did they find food without our expedition coming through?”

“Well…look, I’m gonna be honest, and I’m sorry. Your mission was over almost before it started.” She tried the milk—heavy and creamy indeed. “Right after you left, the fleet made contact with a federation of colonies a couple systems over. They’re better established and have an amazing supply network. Our folks signed a quick accord, made an alliance, and now there are plenty of rations for everybody.”

They stared at her.

Estelle stifled a sudden belch. “Well, maybe ‘plenty’ isn’t the right word. There’re still rations. And they still kinda suck. But there are enough, now. The starvation stopped.”

Hester pouted. “So they probably don’t miss us at all. Our whole project was a waste.”

“The expedition was obsolete before you even got here. It was a P.R. stunt if it was anything, just buying time until our new neighbors bailed us out. I’m sorry.”

“Not surprised,” Selena growled. “Agh. You know, until we got here, I actually believed we had some purpose. Whether we were heroes or martyrs or whatever, I thought we were doing something great.”

“We all did,” said Ayla.

Estelle wiped her juice-covered lips. “Until you got here? What happened?”

Selena looked at her. “Everything fell apart. We’d barely been here a month before we knew it was all over…totally knackered.” She folded her hands atop her huge stomach. “More milk?”

12-28-2016, 08:37 PM
Chapter 12

Estelle’s eyes fluttered open. She lifted her head with a sharp breath and wiped her mouth.

Blinking groggily in the soft cavern light, it occurred to her that she’d somehow managed to doze off. There was a strange, throbbing pressure behind her eyes, her throat tingled with mild heartburn, and her stomach, she realized in horror, was stretched taut. It was so thoroughly bloated that her muffin-top seemed to have lost its softness.

The other women were gone, along with Starling. The table had been cleared and the wheeled cart was stacked with a shocking number of used dishes—Estelle noted that they had very few scraps left on them.

“Oof,” she said, pressing a hand to her abdomen. “Quite a breakfast…”

Hester leaned in from behind her, her red curls filling Estelle’s vision. “Aha, hi there,” she giggled. “She’s alive at last, eh?”

Estelle rubbed her temples. “Yeah, guess I nodded off. Ugh. Sorry.”

“Not a problem.” Hester laughed and patted her pot-belly. “Trust me, we’re familiar with food comas. You’ll get used to it.”

“Hopefully not,” Estelle grunted, eying Hester’s exposed midsection. “Well, thanks for not just throwing me back in the cage or something.”

“Nah. And we’re all pretty sorry about that, eh? It’s been a weird time here with everything that’s happened and Selena’s all about caution. But don’t you worry, captain, I’m all about hospitality.” The doctor puffed out her impressive chest. “So, the android said you might like a tour. Want to have a look around?”

Estelle stared stupidly. The pressure in her stomach was distracting. “Uh, yeah, alright. Lead on.”

With a delighted smile, Hester reached out a hand to help her up. Estelle steadied herself on her feet and looked around the cavern.

“Just us, huh?”

“For the moment,” the redhead replied, heading across the chamber. “After breakfast the others have a handful of chores to get through. Keeps things running.”

“You don’t have chores?”

“Breakfast is my chore. See, I generally do the cooking and serving. Everyone decided that I put the best meals together.” She lowered her voice and leaned in toward Estelle. “Plus, I’m usually more interested in feeding others than feeding myself.”

Estelle cocked an eyebrow. Hester’s naked, bouncing gut seemed to belie her statement, but there was no denying the substantial gap between her weight and the others’.

“Anyway, as you’ve seen, this is our humble home. Safe shelter for sleeping, eating, lounging around, more eating, whatever.”

“Has this been home the whole time? Pretty convenient to find a cave right next to your landing site.”

Hester headed into the entrance tunnel. “We didn’t move in right away, not really,” she recalled. She pinched off a piece of the cheesecake wall and popped it in her mouth. “The cave wasn’t naturally this big or elaborate. We’ve…expanded it over time.”

“Uh huh.”

“Anyway, Hoshi’s been great. She was able to rig up lights, water, everything. Luckily there was plenty of equipment for her to repurpose.”

“Very impressive. Can’t say I ever imagined living inside a cheesecake. Is…is everything on this planet really edible?”

They emerged outside into the daylight of the clearing. The noon sun, filtered through a thin layer of cloud, gleamed off the ring of landing pods. A gentle breeze freshened the air. Hester breathed deep—pushing out her chest and belly—and turned to Estelle with a smile.

“Yep. At least, we haven’t found anything yet that isn’t. I’ve tested samples everywhere we’ve explored (and tasted, for that matter)…all the solid and liquid matter on this planet is safe for human consumption.” She walked out into the clearing. “More than just safe to eat, too. It’s all flavorful and nourishing and organic…”

Estelle followed her out. “And familiar. Recognizable as common human cuisine.”

“But how?” asked a voice. Starling appeared out of the woods, carrying a crate.

Hester shrugged.

“How is it even possible?” he wondered, setting down his burden and joining them.

“No idea. Kinda stopped asking after a while. But here, come this way. There’s more to see.” She shuffled off around the mound of cheesecake.

“Doesn’t make sense,” Estelle murmured, following.

“I agree,” pouted the android. “An entire planet with no evidence of animal inhabitation is somehow composed entirely of constantly-renewed, complex substances identical to an animalian diet. Not to mention many substances which are either only produced by animals, or at the very least do not exist unless combined by animals for the express purpose of consumption.”

“Have you tested the milk, Hester? Is it cow’s?”

“Resembles it, yeah. But we’ve also found some pools of goat milk, coconut milk, almond milk…but to Starling’s point, you’re right. Haven’t seen a single cow.” She gestured to the lake of honey and added, “…or bee.”

“So where does it come from, Doctor?” Starling pressed. “Does it rain milk and honey?”

“Er, no. It actually never rains here. In our two years there’s been no precipitation at all—the clouds up there are permanent.” They reached the far side of the mound and entered another, smaller clearing. A large storage pod sat in the center. “From what we can tell, everything comes from the ground, or under it. For example, we’ve traced the milk to a spring up in the mountains.”

“A spring.”

“Yep. Just gushes up. The honey river comes out of a cave in the hard candy heights…haven’t gotten too deep in there yet. Too sticky.”

They made their way to the pod. Hester pulled a lever and the walls lowered, revealing a circular seating basket rigged to a tall, white observation balloon.

Hester opened the railed side door and bowed. “All aboard, friends. Let’s take a look around.”

The balloon rose slowly above the clearing and up from behind the cheesecake mound. It was tethered to its landing pad by a spool of cable; the tether kept them within the valley as the breeze pushed them gently toward the eastern wall.

“So, here’s the valley,” Hester explained, smiling down at it. “Great shelter. There’s a sheer stony ridge along the rim that’s only broken in a handful of places. You came through one of the widest passageways…I figure it was that one to the west.”

Estelle squinted. “Yeah, that looks right. It was some kind of…licorice forest.”

“Oh, yeah. Selena loves going up there. Anyway, you saw everything to the west, then. You can see the mountains north of there, which you probably avoided. They’re mostly hard candy, like I said, and frozen this time of year, but there’s some grottos with gelatin and pudding and…mm.”

She turned and locked the unspooling cable. They’d reached a dizzying height above the valley floor and could see a few miles beyond the ridge Hester had pointed out.

“To the south we have the honey lake, which you saw. Flows further down the valley toward the ocean. But on the other side you’ll see some more interesting terrain.”

“Looks like a bunch of bowls.”

“Pretty much. They’re all independently spring-fed.”

“Spring-fed with what?”

“Uh, beverages. Each one is full of something different.” She looked at the sky and counted on her fingers. “Water, different kinds of juices, lemonades, a bunch of different sodas…”

“Sodas?” Starling echoed. “Now we are talking about a substance whose creation requires not only human involvement, but technological involvement.”

Hester nodded. “There’s beer, too…and wine, and little streams of harder stuff…”

“Unbelievable,” Estelle whispered.

“Right? And you haven’t even looked east yet. Here, I’ll show you unbelievable.” She spooled out more cable, allowing them to drift almost out over the eastern ridge. The low ceiling of cloud whirled overhead.

Beyond the ridge, the land sloped into a low, flattened plain. Estelle squinted at it, blinking in confusion. Lying all over the plain, often piled up into hills or half-buried alone in the whitish earth, were many of the same foods she’d seen elsewhere on the planet—fruits, candies, and various delicacies—but they seemed much closer than they should have from such a height.

Hester watched with a smug grin as Estelle’s eyes widened.

“Holy nebulas,” the smuggler breathed. “They must be enormous.”

Hester nodded. “That chocolate bar there is as long as our rover. And that apple, just beyond that, yeah, is the size of a small house. Talk about portion sizes, eh?”

Estelle’s stomach, to her horror, rumbled softly.

“That plain stretches on for a couple hundred miles. And it’s packed with that big stuff from end to end.”

“All individual items?” Starling asked. “Very interesting. Elsewhere much of the food seems to be born in large masses—landforms or bodies of water—but up there everything is a self-contained and discrete object. Why?”

“It’s a weird planet. We sailed to an island last year that had all this sort of stuff, but super small…dollhouse-sized food.” The redhead shrugged. “I wish I could explain it. Everywhere we go, it’s different, except for one thing: it’s all delicious and there’s no end to it.”

Estelle propped her elbows on the railing. “Mission accomplished,” she muttered.

Hester heaved up on a lever and the balloon began winching its way down the cable. The field of giant food disappeared behind the ridge as they descended back into the valley.

“Mission accomplished,” the redhead agreed. “So you can see why we’re not super interested in being rescued.”

01-01-2017, 05:13 PM
Chapter 13

The balloon touched down. Estelle and Starling stepped out while Hester packed it away in its housing.

“I believe I understand their sentiment,” said the android, once they were out of earshot. “The way Doctor Irving has presented it, they do seem to have carved out a small-scale utopia for themselves.”

Estelle glared at the ground. “How is this a utopia? They’re marooned on a weird alien planet, living in a cave, running from ooze-monsters, with nothing to do but eat themselves to death.”

“Perhaps, but consider the liberation, captain. They are removed from the stresses and expectations of their old lives.”

Estelle shook her head. “Abandoning responsibility isn’t the same as being freed from it.”

She frowned through the rest of the tour, unwilling to be impressed. Hester showed them the whole compound with the cheeriness of a proud homeowner and lovingly introduced every makeshift amenity. The expedition had dug—or perhaps, Estelle grumbled, simply eaten—a series of tunnels underneath the cheesecake dome, with quarters for washing and storage and other services.

Although Estelle had found the women all slumbering in the common room, they apparently each had their own private chambers. Hester’s featured a small medical lab, Selena’s several tables laid out with charts, Ayla’s chemical and geological testing stations, and Hoshi’s a pile of scrap metal, wiring, and power tools.

“We can carve you out a room, too,” Hester offered, leading them back to the common room. “Would only take a few extra helpings of desserts, eh?” She tapped Estelle’s stomach.

Estelle cringed. “That’s okay. I’m not planning on…staying.”

“Maybe we’ll carve it out anyway. Hard to say no to extra dessert.” She jiggled mischievously. “Anyway, here’s the master control station.”

They followed her to an array of computer monitors on the far end. The spread took up half the wall, with a dozen viewscreens showing the various entrances to the compound and views of the valley wall.

Starling squinted at one of the monitors. It showed a stretch of the ridge above the honey-creek, the same pass that had led them into the valley.

“Hey,” Estelle remarked, recognizing it, “that’s where we came through.”

He nodded. “What are the blue lights on either side of the pass? I don’t recall seeing those.”

Hester smirked. “Those are our bug-zappers. Keeps the squirmers from getting through…we have them at every entrance to the valley.”

“They can’t just go over the ridge or something?”

“If they can, they haven’t figured it out yet. I don’t think they’re great at climbing. Don’t seem to like swimming, either, so they basically can’t get in here as long as the zappers are on.”

Estelle folded her arms. “Handy.”

“Yep. Keeps our little slice of paradise, well, a paradise. Wouldn’t be quite so much fun if it were crawling with monsters, eh?”

“Probably not. So these ‘squrimers’…what’s the deal? Figure they’re your area, miss biologist.”

“I suppose. Not much data to go on, but we’ve studied what we can.” She thought for a moment, pudgy cheeks dimpling. “Haven’t been any dead ones to autopsy. What we do know we learned from chunks we’ve blasted off, and those disintegrate within a couple hours. But, from what I can tell, they’re prokaryotic…basically giant microbes.”

“Like amoebas?”

“Sort of. Except overdeveloped and, uh, overgrown.” She absently scratched her own overdeveloped and overgrown stomach. “Haven’t figured out how, yet.”

“And they don’t seem to like visitors.”

“Nope. I figure this planet has a very short, simple food chain, and they prefer to be on top.”

Starling pondered the viewscreens. “So with a monitor on this pass, you would have seen us arrive yesterday, no?”

“Well, no,” the redhead admitted with a chuckle. “The cameras did, but we weren’t watching them. Got kind of distracted by the beer last night.”

Estelle shook her head. “For some reason, despite everything I’ve seen, I thought you were kidding about the beer springs.”

“I don’t kid about beer, captain. A good portion of this gut is beer, eh?” She slapped it for emphasis. Estelle looked away with a sharp breath.

“Someone’s coming,” said Starling, pointing.

It was the same monitor, aimed at their entryway through the ridge. Through it they could see the expedition’s rover, a trio of rotund bodies bouncing in their seats as the wheels tore over uneven terrain. The rover shot out of the pass, skidded sideways to a stop, and the occupants twisted round to look back.

“Looks like they’re back early,” Hester lilted. “Must have run into some company.”

A wriggling grey mass appeared in the pass, roiling between the rocks with reckless, oozing abandon. It reared up and shuddered, no doubt unleashing its screech. It then flopped down and began undulating madly forward.

The two blue points of light flared to life at the end of the pass. They flashed alternately, filling the rock cut with pale light. Smoke floated up and half-formed pseudopods thrashed from within. After half a minute, the monster could be seen squirming desperately back up the pass. Those in the rover exchanged a round of high fives.

“See?” beamed Hester. “As long is this little blue switch is set to ‘on,’ we’re as safe as can be here in the valley.”

Estelle folded her arms.

“Come on. We can meet them at the landing and help unload.”

They followed her back out of the habitat and sat on a long bench-shaped pastry until they heard the sound of treads on toffee. The rover trundled into the clearing and pulled up next to Hester, who welcomed her party back with hearty laughter.

The back of the rover was piled high with foods foraged from beyond the valley wall. They were irregularly packed and held in place by cargo netting. A couple small barrels sloshed with a red liquid and a brown powder was spilling from an overturned crate. Propped up against the crate was Estelle’s rifle.

Ayla kicked open her door and lurched out of the rover. Her side of the vehicle rose a few inches as her weight shifted off of it.

“Had an exciting trip back, eh?” giggled Hester.

“Bastard was holed up right by the brown sugar dune,” Ayla sighed, reaching to unfasten the cargo net.

Estelle hurried over. “Here, let me help with that.”

“Oh, thanks. But yeah, he followed us all the way back to the wall.”

“Not through it, though!”

Hoshi’s pear-shaped mass slid out of the rover, shifting it further up. “I think I need to check the command station on the zappers,” she grunted, hiking up her skirt. “Took a full thirty seconds to back him off.”

“It was an impressive display nonetheless,” Starling offered helpfully.

Selena craned her head around and slung a flabby arm over her seat. Her girth swelled up in front of her, pinched awkwardly by the seatbelts. “Why don’t you run in and check that, Hoshi? Don’t want to take any risks there.”

“You bet,” the engineer replied with a mock salute. “Can’t promise you I’ll run, though. Not sure these legs could manage more than a brisk waddle.” Everyone laughed as she wriggled her thigh.

“You could try rolling,” Ayla sneered, clapping her on the back.

“Maybe. Though I figure Selena’s a lot closer to being spherical than I am.”

They all laughed again. The enormous Selena leaned back and rubbed her stomach. “Plenty of time for you to catch up. Although I don’t plan on slowing down any time soon.”

“So what all did we get?” asked Hester, poring through the cargo.

Selena raised her eyebrows. “I think we found all the baking ingredients you had on the list—the cinnamon’s in there, yeah—and Ayla spotted a new wine creek. Real oaky feel to it, goes down easy.”

“Too easy,” Ayla added. “Couldn’t let Hoshi drive afterward.”

“Also picked up some more fruit, some potatoes, of course, and…” She took a long breath and turned to Estelle. “…and some news you’re not gonna like, captain.”

Estelle looked up from the crates.

“What is it?”

Selena moved to sit up, but only managed to shift her weight and rock the rover about. “Winter’s set in around the mountains. There’s a big sheet of ice blocking the northern pass.”

Estelle glanced at Starling, but he shook his head. “Meaning?”

“That pass is the only way to the peninsula where you landed. You won’t be able to get back to the shuttle while that ice is there.”

“I didn’t come in through the pass. We crossed some kind of rock candy bridge by the coast.”

Selena nodded. “…which you subsequently destroyed.”

“Ah,” Estelle coughed. “Right. So what’s the alternate route?”

“There isn’t one, captain.”

She stared. “You’re telling me I’m stuck here.”

“Until the ice melts. From what we’ve observed of the seasons here, you’re looking at the second or third week of spring at the earliest.” She took a long breath. “That’s about two and a half, maybe three months at this point.”

Estelle sputtered. “I don’t want to be here another day. My job is to get you off this rock as soon as possible.”

Hester tugged at her arm. “Captain, ‘as soon as possible’ might just not be as soon as you expected.”

“There’s gotta be more than just the land route. Can’t we, I don’t know, sail around that cape? You said the squirmers don’t seem to like swimming.”

“It would take weeks to construct vessel than can handle open ocean,” Hoshi explained. “With the wind and current against you, it would take weeks to actually get there, too. And since New Kansas manufactures its fresh water, I’m guessing you don’t know a damned thing about sailing.”

“And, as I’ve said,” Selena continued, “we’re not leaving with you. We didn’t choose to be marooned here, but we have chosen to stay marooned. And, at least for the next couple of months, it looks like you’re marooned with us.”

“Unacceptable. We’re going home.”

“Estelle, please,” whispered Hesper, “even if we wanted to go back with you, leaving isn’t an option right now.”

“I’ll find another way around. I don’t care how dangerous it is.”

Selena shook her head. “Steady on—there’s no sense in that. Just hear me out, captain. You’re welcome to crash here with us till spring, no worries. See the planet, take it easy, spend a couple months with these friendly gals. Once the pass thaws, we can deal with the question of leaving…maybe you go off without us, maybe you decide you like it here.”

Hester shrugged. “Either way, there’s not much you can do until then, aye? Why not make the best of it? Of all the places to get stranded, this one’s not so bad. And you’re stranded with just the loveliest of ladies.”

“Captain,” the android chimed in, “taking their offer of hospitality would be the most logical choice. Our odds are survival increase exponentially in the company of others, especially others with an established and demonstrably defensible domicile.”

Estelle eyed him, but nodded. She looked back to Selena. “And as for the real question…we’re just gonna put that off for now?”

The cartographer heaved herself out of the rover and leaned her bulk against it. “I put lots of things off, mate. You don’t get this big without a little laziness.”

Estelle grimaced. The others stared at her. “Fine,” she grunted at last, “but as soon as that pass is open, the shuttle is leaving.”

01-06-2017, 04:49 PM
A planet made of food and 4 BBWs and one more on the way sounds like my kinda paradise how do I get there.

01-08-2017, 06:22 PM
Came here to re-read one of your old stories and found this! What luck!

You really have a way with words. Can't wait to see where this one goes.

01-08-2017, 08:44 PM
A planet made of food and 4 BBWs and one more on the way sounds like my kinda paradise how do I get there.

Two consecutive sleepless nights and the director's cut of Alien.

Came here to re-read one of your old stories and found this! What luck!

You really have a way with words. Can't wait to see where this one goes.

Yep, I snuck in a second story this year, just to catch everyone off guard.

Chapter 14

Starling watched patiently from the ground as the observation balloon winched its way down the cable. It rocked gently to and fro as it descended, its lone occupant pacing fervently.

As soon as the basket touched the ground, Estelle burst out in a huff. She stomped in a flustered circle around the balloon while Starling secured it in its housing. Once finished, he held out a hand and gently stopped her in her tracks.

“Sorry,” she grumbled. “Still…coming to terms with all this.”

The android collected a pile of maps from the balloon. “I take it you didn’t find anything encouraging up there.”

“They were right. Every pass through the mountain range is impassible. And try as I might I can’t pick out any other viable route to the west.” She unslung a pair of high-powered binoculars from around her neck. “By all the stars…another damn prison.”

“I assume the décor of this cell is preferable to the last, at least.”

“The valley walls are pretty, yes, but they’re still walls.” She sulked off toward the compound.

Starling trotted alongside. “Speaking of which: as you suggested, I’ve been studying the defense system along the valley’s rim.”


“It is intact and, as our friends demonstrated, operational.” He leaned in and lowered his voice. “But there is, I’ve noticed, a large portion of power being diverted away from the perimeter system.”

“To where?”

“I couldn’t tell. Hoshi’s labelling nomenclature eludes me. It appears to be a system outside of the main camp, perhaps at a far end of the valley. And whatever it is, it is a substantial draw. Portions of several other systems have also been diverted to support it.”

Estelle furrowed her brow. “Is there still enough power for the zappers?”

“Narrowly—for the time being. We saw how the system seemed slow and drained during their demonstration a few days ago. I suspect the generator is overtaxed, leaving very little room for adjustment or error. If any circuit should be tripped, or any button mispressed on the command console, the whole system would be disrupted and the valley left defenseless.”

“Nebulas,” Estelle breathed, stopping. “But we’re safe for now, barring any disruption?”

“It’s hard to speculate. We’ve only been in the camp a few days.”

She folded her arms. “What would actually need that much power?”

“I’m not certain. The terraforming mechs, perhaps, but there is clearly no use for them here. And even they wouldn’t need to take so much power from the other systems, as their use was calculated into the generator’s original output.”

“I’ll see if I can’t get the ladies to open up.” She turned toward the habitat’s entrance. “I think I’ve been a little too sulky the last couple of days to make any friends. And we didn’t get off on the right foot here in the first place.”

“Perhaps a show of solidarity? To demonstrate that you are open-minded to their interests?”

“Pff. Maybe. But they only seem interested in one thing and I’m still full from last night’s dinner.”

“Sounds like we need to work on your capacity, mate,” Selena lilted, appearing in the mouth of the tunnel. “You had one plate and barely cleaned that. But I reckon since you skipped breakfast this morning you’ll be ready for a full-sized lunch.”

“That wasn’t a plate, it was a platter. And I can’t imagine how you’re thinking about lunch after the breakfast you just had.”

“Yeah, that was a fun one, aye? You should see what we’re doing for lunch.”

Estelle spread her hands. “I just…aren’t you full, though?”

Selena puffed out her stomach, hands on her hips. “Of course I’m full. I just want more. Starling, will you help Hoshi with the groceries? Oy, it’s gonna be sweet-as to have the android here…”

“But…” Estelle frowned. “If you’re not actually hungry…if you don’t actually, uh, need--”

“It’s not about need,” Selena laughed, waddling out of the tunnel. “Estelle, I volunteered for this mission because I knew firsthand how deep the scarcity crisis ran. I grew up in the middle of it. I grew up hungry, spent my whole life hungry.”

“We all did.”

“So you understand. When you’re hungry that long…when fullness is so fleeting and so rare…Estelle, if I have the opportunity to be as full as I want, as much as I want, for as long as I want, you can be damned sure I’m gonna be full for the rest of my life.” She threw up her hands, letting her wobbling lovehandles flop out of the sides of her tunic. “I’m going to eat. And I’m going to keep eating. And if it turns out that this whole crazy planet is edible, then I’m gonna eat this whole crazy planet or die trying.”

She draped a massive around Estelle’s shoulders. Estelle nearly collapsed under the weight.

“Of course, I’m not opposed to sharing. You’re welcome to join us.” She took a deep breath. Walking halfway across the clearing had winded her. “And Captain…I understand that you don’t want to be here. This isn’t your thing. And you traveled all this way just to end up stuck somewhere again. But look, we can’t get you out of here any faster and we’re trying to make things as comfortable as possible while you’re here…but you’ve barely talked to us since the first day.”

Estelle threw a pleading glance at Starling. He simply mouthed ‘show of solidarity.’

She swallowed. “I…I can come in and have lunch, I guess.”

“That’s the spirit!” Selena released her, clapping.

“But I don’t need to full spread, if that’s alright. I don’t want to seem ungrateful or anything, I just…is it cool if I join you gals without, uh, without…”

“Yeah, mate, absolutely. Hester doesn’t eat as much as the rest of us, either, but we love her because she supports us. That’s all we’d ask of anybody in the crew, aye?”

“That’s fair, yeah,” Estelle acquiesced with a nervous chuckle. “Except for the whole cage thing, you all have been nothing but welcoming and I’ve been a little brat.” She wrung her hands. “So can I just get, like, a salad?”

“You bet, captain. We can do pasta salad, potato salad, egg salad…” She guided Estelle toward the tunnel entrance.

“I was thinking maybe something with, uh, lettuce. And just a reasonable portion, if possible. I don’t need the whole mixing bowl.”

Selena shuddered. “Oo, we don’t use the word ‘portion’ here. It sounds too much like ‘ration,’ you know?”

Starling watched them descend into the cave. He turned to look back over at the generators, humming unevenly on the far end of the clearing.

01-09-2017, 09:58 PM
Great stuff, keep it up! I love how its so unpredictable for the plot in your stories even though we know it is a weight gain story.

01-15-2017, 04:41 PM
Chapter 15

The rest of Estelle’s first week in camp passed without incident. By the end of her second week the daily routine had finally begun to feel familiar and reliable, if still somewhat surreal.

Estelle herself participated little in the expedition’s routine. The crew gave her a handful of chores around the campsite—generally those tasks that required more labor-intensive movement—but nothing vital to their survival. It was mostly busy-work, intended to keep her occupied and in the area.

For all their wary suspicion, the explorers were unfailingly friendly. When she joined them for meals, they eagerly attempted to include her in the conversation, pressing her for stories from home (typically to laugh at the wrongheadedness of the colonies) and anecdotes from the exciting life of a smuggler (a saga of failure, for the most part).

A wall remained, though, of some faint mutual distrust. Estelle’s presence at mealtime had helped, but her disappointing portion sizes and ability to occasionally eat nothing at all still marked her as alien. Every afternoon, once their morning chores and lengthy lunch were completed, the crew would pile themselves into the rover and drive off. They would never tell Estelle where they were headed or what they did out there and on returning all they could talk about was the evening’s much anticipated dinner.

It was a pleasant, easy routine nonetheless. There were worse ways to waste a winter and there was no denying the planet was a better prison the Incarce-Corp Maximum Security Political Prisoner Containment Vault. Estelle allowed herself to smile every so often and eventually stopped asking questions.

The silence couldn’t last, however. One morning during the third week, having been tasked with hauling unneeded equipment into a basement storage room, her modest muffin-top brushed against a sheet-covered object in the corner. The sheet fell away, revealing a three-foot stone slab.

She stared at the stela. It was irregularly shaped, as though broken off from a larger slate, and covered with carvings.

She tapped her bio-pak. “You don’t have a flashlight, do you?”

“Light,” the voice acknowledged. The monitor on her wrist flared, illuminating the engravings with a dim blue glow.

The carvings portrayed a tower, some kind of ancient, fortified citadel. Hordes of little figures surrounded and attended it and Estelle realized, eyes wide, that each figure sported four arms and a strangely shaped head.

“Aliens,” she gasped.

There were seven figures at the top of the tower, presumably some kind of royalty, adorned with crowns. Dozens more scurried around the base, portrayed in the engraving as a procession of professions leading toward the structure.

Mining figures were taking some kind of star-shaped object from the ground. The objects were carried over the heads of transport-figures, who handed them to a pair of cleaning figures, who presented them to a clerk at a table.

At the base of the citadel, the star-shaped objects were shown in the hands of what could only have been cooks. A set of stairs zig-zagged up the tower, lined with servant figures carrying star-shaped objects up or empty plates down.

“What is this?” Estelle demanded, setting it against a footlocker in the main chamber. She tried not to pant too heavily after heaving the slab all the way upstairs.

The crew stared at her. Frozen mid-waddle, their eyes turned slowly to their commander.

Selena straightened. “We’re just about to head out for the afternoon, captain.” She jerked her thumb at the exit tunnel. “Why don’t you come with us?”

The rover trundled up the east wall of the valley. Estelle sat as stiffly as she could manage, squeezed into the back seat between Ayla and Hester.

“Where are we going?” she asked between bumps.

Ayla grinned. “A treat.”

“We’re ahead of schedule on our big project,” Hester added, “so we’re taking this afternoon off for recreation.”

“Big project?” Estelle echoed.

“You didn’t think all we did was eat and party, did you?” Hoshi shouted from the driver’s seat.

“I was getting the impression that was why you’re here.”

Selena turned around. “We’re here because the admiralty sent us. And they sent us because of that slab you found.”


“Some archaeologists dug it up on an abandoned space station in deep space. It’s about seven thousand years old.”

“So it is alien.”

“Very. And as you saw, it shows some sort of flourishing alien civilization. Royalty, servants, all that.” She paused while the rover mounted a pile of pasta. “Did you have a look at the back side?”

Estelle frowned. “No, I guess not.”

“There’s a star map on the back. It took the astronomers and xeno-linguists a while to decipher it, but in the end it led right here. LV-237.”

“Holy nebulas.”

“Too right. That’s when they started studying the place. Took their long distance readings and so forth. Couldn’t see much, but what they did see was promising.”

Ayla shook her head. “And that’s when they got the attention of Professor Flavius Hyllus.”

Estelle cocked an eyebrow, but they were interrupted by the sudden lurching of the rover.

It crested the rise and shot out of the valley’s rim between a pair of zappers, pulsating with a dull blue light. Hoshi steered them through a short ravine and then out onto a smooth plain. It was littered with massive baked goods: tarts the size of hover-cars, muffins they could have taken shelter beneath, and brownies broad enough to host a cyber-tennis court.

“Have you been up to the pastry prairie yet?” Hester giggled.

Estelle stared. “Can’t say I have.”

“Ayla,” Selena called, “I believe it’s your turn to pick today’s recreation.”

Ayla leaned forward, her plush hips crushing Estelle. “I’ve been thinking about that doughnut I saw last week.”

“I know exactly the one,” Hoshi agreed, wrenching the steering wheel round. “Custard.”

Ten minutes later, they emerged from a field of crullers and pulled up next to a massive doughnut. It was the size of an above-ground swimming pool. Glaze gleamed in the afternoon light and the chocolate frosting on top glistened with the promise of just the right amount of moistness.

The rover circled the doughnut, then found a hill behind it and rolled its way up until the occupants could look down on the doughnut. There was no hole to be seen and Estelle suddenly realized what had been meant by the whispered “custard.”

“That should do nicely,” said Ayla. She unbuckled her harness, crawled her way across Estelle and Hester—smothering them in the process—and launched herself off the side of the rover.

Ayla plummeted through the air and cannonballed into the top of the doughnut, puncturing the cap of chocolate frosting.

Estelle gaped. The others cheered.

“Me next!” cried Hoshi. She rolled out of the driver’s seat and flopped into the doughnut. The chocolate mostly shattered and Estelle could see the succulent vanilla custard rippling within.

Hester followed with a squeal, dropping into the far end of the doughnut.

Selena unbuckled her harness. “You are invited to join us in our…recreation, captain.”

“I’m still full from lunch. I’m happy to just hang around, if that’s alright.”

“No worries. More for us,” the commander mused with a shrug. She wriggled her way across the front seat, rocking the whole rover in the process, and hurled herself over the side.

The shift in mass bounced the vehicle so violently that Estelle couldn’t help but panic. She threw off her buckle and tumbled out. There was a terrifying moment of freefall, then she splashed bodily into the custard.

“Changed your mind?” Hester teased, watching her come up for air.

“Holy nebulas,” Estelle panted, spitting custard and wiping her eyes. “This is huge. So deep…I can barely touch the bottom.” She glanced around at the high, doughy walls. “How do we get back out?”

Hoshi grinned. “I think you know.”

“Oh, no.”

“Oh, yes,” said Ayla. She tore a piece off of dough from the wall and stuffed it in her mouth.

Estelle sulked and caught her breath while the others went at it. She was, as she’d claimed, still very full from lunch—she’d been lenient with herself that day—but the custard that found its way onto her tongue was making a very convincing case.

“You said Hyllus worked on the project?” She asked the room, hoping to distract herself.

“He became its most fervent proponent,” Hoshi replied. “When the university decided the planet was too distant to be worth the money to research, he took it to his uncle in the admiralty.”

“This guy adored Hyllus. Would give him anything he wanted,” Ayla added.

“So he did,” Selena continued. “In the name of saving the colonies, this admiral commissioned our expedition, got it funded, and let Hyllus select his own crewmates.”

Estelle choked on a mouthful of dough. The conversation hadn’t distracted her from her hunger, but it had distracted her from her restraint. “What?”

“It’s all true. We didn’t know at the time, but that sick bastard personally selected each one of us. A bunch of desperate and admittedly pretty naïve girls.” Selena paused to slurp down an impressive quantity of custard. “Excuse me. Ah. He even suggested they make me commander…I guess just to look humble or something.”

“Still fancied himself a hero,” Hester chimed in from the other side of the pool, her belly rising from the custard like an island.

“I reckon, aye. He played the part fine until we got here. Soon as we landed, he blew up the emergency beacon with a mining charge. Before we knew what was going on, he sabotaged the rest of the communication equipment.”

Ayla’s face appeared from within the wall of dough. “See, he’d looked at the carvings on that slab and decided he wanted to be the one on top of the tower…wearing a crown and being served by a harem of beautiful slave girls.”

“He reworked the admiralty’s mission to save the colonies,” Hoshi concluded, bobbing past, “into a chance to start his own personal kingdom on a planet rich with resources and too far from any oversight that might stop him. He figured he could set himself up as the great patriarch of a new world, the god-king of the next great interstellar empire.”

Estelle caught herself grabbing another handful of dough and pressed it back into the wall. “How’d that go for him?”

Selena chuckled. “Well, his harem wasn’t quite as cooperative as he’d assumed. We ladies ended up being a little more interested in having our bellies filled with food than having our heads filled with his megalomaniac ideas. He thought he’d get to just relax on his throne, watch his sexy slaves build him a tower, and say to himself, ‘life is good.’ But there we were instead, lazy and spiteful, off getting stuffed and drunk all the time, rubbing our guts and saying to ourselves, ‘life is good.’ I reckon he didn’t care for that.”

“So what happened?”

“He got worse, of course. Angry. Loud. Violent. I mean, obviously we outnumbered him, but…you know how intimidation works.” She stared into the distance. “And then…it was maybe two months after we’d landed…the squirmers rocked up.”


Ayla nodded. “They weren’t any friendlier then than they are now, either. We got the zappers up and running around the camp, just enough to keep the habitat safe. You could look outside and they’d still be there, rolling around and growling at you, daring you to come out.”

“Hyllus lost it,” said Selena. “Decided he’d kill us before he let any aliens touch his precious slave-girls. But for once, we fought back. Ayla held him off long enough for Hester to shoot him up with tranquilizer and Hoshi jury-rigged some restraints.” She stared into the distance. “When he came to, I told him to leave.”

Estelle swallowed.

“He was quiet then. Full of just…silent, seething hate. But he said he’d leave…go start the new world by himself, without—without…what was it, Hoshi?”

Hoshi cleared her throat. “I think it was ‘without you selfish, greedy, and ungrateful sows ruining everything,’ or something to that effect.”

“Right. So, then, we gave him a survival kit and watched him go. He made a run for it from the zappers…the squirmers followed him. That’s the last we saw.” She looked at Estelle. “But after that the squirmers left us alone long enough for us to expand the defense perimeter around the whole valley.”

They ate quietly for a while, reflecting. Estelle waded around aimlessly, trying not to eat as much of the doughnut as she inevitably ended up eating.

Eventually Ayla broke through the doughnut’s outer surface. She broke mouth-first through the glazed wall, letting a flood of custard and fat woman spill out onto the plain. The crew picked themselves up, slipping and sputtering, and helped each other to the rover.

Estelle drove on the way home while the others groaned away their sugar crashes in the back. The rover’s seats were a gooey, saccharine mess and Estelle wasn’t sure how she would ever get her matted hair clean. She bit her lip, but it still tasted like doughnut.

“Selena,” she muttered.


“I’m sorry.”

“Not your fault, captain,” Selena grumbled with a belch. “Obviously.”

“Still. I…you gals are well within your rights to want to stay. I can’t fault you for that. I just…hope I can make things right, somehow.” She eased the rover back over the pile of pasta. “When I get back to the colonies, I’ll tell the admirals everything.”

“Like they’ll give a damn.”

“They do give a damn…as much as they’re legally allowed to. They sent me here to bring you home, didn’t they?”

“They sent an expendable, convicted felon on a disavowed mission. Our expedition is a political liability, captain; you said so yourself. You’re not here to rescue us, you’re here to confirm that we’re dead.”

Estelle grimaced. “Well, you’re not. And you can still come home if you want.”

“For my part,” Selena continued, “I say we stay here and continue to be a liability. Stick it in the admiralty’s craw. Plus, if my appetite has its way, eventually I’ll be so heavy that all the thrusters in the fleet wouldn’t get my fat ass to escape velocity.”

01-16-2017, 02:49 PM
The ancient alien artefacts remind me of Lovecraft.

01-22-2017, 11:31 AM
The ancient alien artefacts remind me of Lovecraft.

"I have said that our study of the decadent sculptures brought about a change in our immediate objective. This, of course, had to do with the chiseled avenues to the black inner world, of whose existence we had not known before, but which we were now eager to find and traverse."

Chapter 16

They arrived home just after sunset. The other girls waddled into the habitat, chittering about what was for dinner. Estelle sat in the rover and stared; her stomach was so glutted with custard-filled doughnut the thought of dinner made her nauseous.

She reached a furtive hand under the hem of her survival suit and gave her belly a soothing rub. It was just what she needed and she soon leaned back, eyes drifting shut.

Starling found her there, half-asleep, covered in custard and glaze. “Good evening, captain.”

She sprang up, coughing. “Starling.”

“I have been tracing the diverted power,” he announced. “I have much to tell you.”

“I have a story to tell, too,” she agreed, stepping gingerly out of the rover. “Kinda want to get cleaned up first, though.”

“Was there an incident?”

Her head bobbed side to side. “Something like that…I almost drowned in a doughnut. Ugh, and they’re probably using up all the water in the showers…this is gonna take forever to wash off.”

“If I may make a suggestion, in my wanderings today I discovered a small pond. It contains fresh water, and it is quite clear.”

“Just water? It’s not a pool of, like, ice cream, or jelly, or maraschino cherries, or straight-up lard?”

“Dihydrogen monoxide, captain. Free of temptation. It practically calls your name.”

She nodded. “Tell the girls I’m gonna miss dinner.”

It was dark by the time Estelle found the quiet pool of clear, glistening water. It was tucked away in a glen of aromatic trees, bristling with herbs and spices. The cloud cover was sparser than usual and two of the planet’s six little moons could be seen reflected in the undisturbed surface of the pool.

A ripple spread from the corner as Estelle dipped her hand into the water. She cupped a handful into her mouth and drank it down. She took a long, slow breath, blanketing herself in the silence of the glen.

It was a lonely place, beautifully so. After weeks in the constant company and care of the expedition’s crew, any amount of solitude seemed a blessing. It was a warm night, despite the season, and the gentlest of breezes wafted overhead.

Estelle untucked the shirt of her survival suit and peeled it off overhead. Uncovered, she felt the softness around her midsection flop free. She looked down with a wince.

Her belly now jutted forward no matter how hard she sucked in, so she exhaled and let it swell to its natural pooch. Her lovehandles, which she couldn’t suck in, angled out to either side like a pair of bookends. The gut between them blossomed out in a soft circle, its bottom roll hanging below her waistband in a gentle curve.

She had to peer past her breasts to see it; they had grown heavier and fuller as well. She was still getting used to them, having never had much there before, but was starting to appreciate their sensitive presence.

Reaching below them, she picked up her belly and let it drop. She felt it bounce and sighed. She tapped her bio-pak.

“Status upd—ah, who am I kidding…weight check.”

“179 pounds,” it chirped.

“Holy nebulas,” she said. The words carried not so much surprise this time, but exasperated awe.

Biting her lip, she bent down and stepped gingerly out of her bottoms. As soon as the waistband had slid off it, her butt sagged and flattened, weighed down by flab and cellulite. She kicked the trousers away and stood with her hands on her softened hips, frowning at how her thighs squished together.

It felt good to be naked, though, liberated and alone on an alien world. She let down her hair, shook it out, and stepped into the pool.

The edges were shallow and sloped gradually to a dropoff in the middle. Estelle waded in until she couldn’t touch and drifted on. She swam slowly, turning onto her back and paddling lazily; her breasts and belly rising from the water like low islands.

After a few minutes the swimming began to gradually slow, until she was merely floating. She was too out of breath and out of shape to do much more. Reaching a shallower area, she stood and waded until she was hip-deep.

There she bent down and washed herself, stroking each leg in turn and stretching up to run her hands down her chest, sides, and finally her bulging, pliable stomach. She took a deep breath, caressing it again, and began to knead it. It was a new, curious sensation, strangely pleasant.

A twig snapped and she straightened, covering herself. “Hello?” she called.

Hester emerged from the woods. Her wild red hair was wilder than usual, as though she’d just risen from bed, and in place of her green survival suit she wore only a thick body towel.

“Och!” the doctor gasped. “Someone’s here…Estelle, is that you?”

Estelle sank to shoulder-depth. “Yeah, it’s me. Just, uh, found this place and thought I’d have a bath.”

“Sure, sure. You surprised me there—usually this is my secret spot away from everyone.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to invade your private—”

Hester shushed her with a wave. “No, no. Don’t worry about it, captain. I can share. It’s a great little spot, isn’t it?”

“It…it really is. It’s so peaceful.” She leaned back and took a deep breath, realizing too late that this had lifted her chest from the water.

The doctor clearly saw, but hardly seemed to mind. “I’m glad you found at least something on this planet to like. I was afraid you were just going to be miserable all winter.”

Estelle smiled. “I’m not miserable. Sorry if I seem that way. It’s just a lot to take in, you know? And I’m not as good at…taking a lot in as you ladies are.”

“At least you’re learning the banter. Maybe you’ll fit in here after all.”

“Maybe…but then I wouldn’t fit in my clothes anymore.” She brushed her hair back. “But, no. It’s not all bad here. There are some very beautiful places, obviously, and the locals are…very welcoming.”

“We do our best,” Hester lilted. She stepped to the edge of the water and shrugged off her robe.

Estelle’s breath caught in her throat. There had been no doubt that Hester was a busty woman, but seeing her breasts plop free, unrestrained by the survival suit, was a surreal experience. They hung halfway down her abdomen without losing any of their fullness, with areolae that would take a whole palm to cover. Hester’s breasts were so round that her wide, doughy beer belly seemed almost flat in comparison. Almost.

She waded out toward Estelle, waving her hands lazily through the water. “I think everybody’s got a little spot like this. Ayla spends a lot of her free time at these candyfloss caves on the west end…she’s got a bit of a sweet tooth, that one. And the commander, haha…You know what vegemite is?”


“I didn’t either. It’s this bitter stuff they made back on the colony she’s from. She says it’s an ‘acquired taste.’ Now, I’ve acquired plenty on this planet, captain…” She shook her belly for emphasis. “…but that one’s not for me. Anyway, she found a whole bog of this stuff to the south. Goes out there at least once a week, just to be around it. I think it reminds her of…home.”

Estelle nodded, wading closer. “Home is a lot to leave behind. I was going to ask, but…you guys are so ready to stay here forever. Don’t you have anything or, uh, anyone waiting for you to come back?”

“Not…not really,” Hesper replied softly, looking down. “They picked us because we were alone, for the most part. I was nobody, just bartending my way through medical school. The only people missing me are the regulars at Maggie’s and I’d say they miss these more than they miss me.” She shimmied her chest.

“Has to be somebody. No special someone?”

“Nah. Not anymore, at least for me. Girlfriend left for the belt a while back. The others…” She sank a little deeper, thinking back. “Ayla had been in a triad, but the other two had booted her out, I think. And I know Hoshi had built a romance A.I., but wasn’t allowed to bring it on the expedition…the admiralty cited some ‘daisy bell’ incident. Selena…Selena had lost her little sister in that unrest out on the rim.”

“Sounds like they caught all of you just at the right time. Or the wrong time, maybe.”

“I guess. But…now we have each other. And, like it or not, you have us, too.” She nudged Estelle with her elbow.

Estelle let herself smile. Hester swept in and wrapped her up in a tight hug, their bosoms and bellies squishing awkwardly together. Estelle could feel Hester squeezing her backfat.

“Well, Hester,” she coughed, once the redhead had released her, “I am sorry for invading your personal spot here.”

Hester waved it off and headed toward the shore. “Not a problem—seriously. I’ve been thinking of changing spots, anyway. A beer spring just popped up on the south end…first one within the valley. I’ll probably be spending some time there.” She tapped her nose with a conspiratorial grin.

“Popped up? As in you hadn’t seen it before, or…?”

“No, it’s new. That happens sometimes.” She stepped out of the water and began toweling off.

Estelle followed her to the edge. “This planet gets weirder every day. So you’re telling me it changes, now?”

“Aye. Never boring and never disappointing.” She tied the towel around her waist, letting her chest hang free while she dealt with her voluminous hair. “Thanks for the chat.”

Estelle tried not to stare. “Thanks for being so…welcoming. Makes a strange planet a little less strange.”

“Like I said, we’re thrilled to have you. I know I am.” She poked Estelle’s gut. “Now that you’re around, I don’t have to feel like the skinny one all the time.”

“I’m doing my best to keep it that way,” Estelle laughed, though she wasn’t feeling particularly skinny. Fortunately, the redhead still had fifty pounds on her. “I think that’s partly why I like this spot…not so much temptation.”

Hesper gave her an impish grin, then turned to head out of the glen. “Right.”

Estelle watched her go. Alone again, she picked up her survival suit, yawned, and sat herself next to a large boulder by the side of the pool. She toyed with the idea of getting dressed, but instead found herself lounging back and watching the surface of the water grow still. Her gut heaved with another yawn.

After a few minutes, it occurred to her that the boulder didn’t feel much like rock. She turned and gave it a sidelong look—it was a deep, smooth brown. Laying a hand on it, its surface was hard enough to maintain its shape, but it was clearly only a thin, breakable shell: chocolate.

Perhaps her talk with Hester had put her in an inquisitive mood, or perhaps she had been awake too long to think better of it, but after a moment of waffling she tapped on the boulder and cracked it open.

She used more force than intended. Her hand plunged through the chocolate shell and into a gooey filling. Without looking and without thinking, she pulled her hand out and poked a finger into her mouth. Her eyes lit up as soon as it hit her tongue.

“Caramel,” she realized, mouth full. It was the best she’d tasted since childhood.

Estelle scrambled back from the boulder, but collided promptly with another. She turned around, dread crossing her face as she realized her shoulder had cracked the chocolate shell.

She stood and spun around. Little boulders littered the area around the pool, as though some giant had emptied a box of chocolates over it. She sat back down and took a deep breath. Her stomach rumbled.

She looked up the path—Hester was nowhere in sight. Estelle was alone and unwatched. She took a deep breath, twisted round, and shoved her hand back into the caramel.

Hester emerged into the clearing outside the expedition’s cheesecake habitat. She had picked up a cookie from a bakery shrub on her walk back and now paused to push the last bite into her mouth.

She stood there a moment, enjoying the moonlight. Turning back toward the path, she slung her towel over her naked shoulder and gave her tummy a little pat.

A distant sound drifted out of the woods: a long, satisfied belch. Hester grinned her impish grin and headed inside.

01-22-2017, 01:31 PM
[QUOTE=Marlow;2199980]"I have said that our study of the decadent sculptures brought about a change in our immediate objective. This, of course, had to do with the chiseled avenues to the black inner world, of whose existence we had not known before, but which we were now eager to find and traverse."

Yes, At The Mountains of Madness. The star-shaped objects reminded me of the radially symmetric starfish-like structures on the Elder Things.

Keep up the good work!

01-22-2017, 02:20 PM
I've never really found attempts at sci-fi or fantsay to work in fetish stories, but yours works very well. Well defined characters, natural dialogue, and a fun writing style make this a genuinely satisfying read. Love the occasional aside that indicates some of the women have quite ambitious body goals for themselves.
Can't wait to see where this goes.

01-29-2017, 10:24 AM
Chapter 17

“Good morning, sleepyhead,” Selena sang, watching Estelle emerge from the habitat. The smuggler yawned, ignoring her, and shielded her eyes from the midday sun.

“I thought we were supposed to be the lazy ones,” sneered Hoshi.

Ayla waggled a finger. “Go easy on her, now. She had a late night…and a little waddle in her step when she came in this morning.”

Estelle, still uncomfortably full from her late night snack by the pool, gave them a tired glare. “You’re one to talk about waddling.”

“That’s the attitude!” Selena guffawed, clapping her on the back. “But I’m glad we’re up. Got a big day ahead of us. Come on.” She waved her toward the rover.

“Every day here is big,” Estelle muttered, following.

Hester bounced up next to her. “And don’t sweat the walk of shame, captain. You should have seen me stagger home the night I found that beer spring!”

“Stars, don’t remind me,” Ayla sighed. “It was two days before we found your clothes.”

Estelle lifted herself into the rover. “It’s just hard to say no to caramel. Not planning to make a habit out of it, though.” She dragged the seatbelt over her stomach and winced at the squishing sensation. “So, where are we going? I’m not gonna have to watch you guys eat a giant quiche from the inside out, am I?”

“Ha, no. Though you’re welcome to join in the next time we do.”

Starling twisted around from the driver’s seat. “Good morning, captain. As I understand it, we will be visiting the ocean.”

“A day at the beach, huh?”

The rover lurched into motion. Estelle felt her stomach bounce with each bump. She sat squeezed between Hoshi and Ayla, though, whose bouncing outclassed hers by a few orders of magnitude.

“So, captain,” Selena explained once they were underway, “you’ve been with us almost three weeks now. We reckon it’s time you get the full tour of our new home.”

“Oh, I already got the tour. Hester was very thorough—”

“Not the habitat. The cheesecake, though delicious, is just temporary housing.”

Ayla nudged her. “It’s only a matter of time before we eat the whole thing!”

Hoshi adjusted her shirt. “We mentioned a project yesterday, you remember.” She chuckled and leaned back, letting her paunch stretch out. “And it’s a big one.”

“Bigger than Selena’s gut?” Ayla teased.

“For now,” the commander shot back. Estelle rolled her eyes.

They trundled down the length of the valley, pausing once for a quick snack. Estelle remained in the rover while the others ate—which required a herculean force of will—and edged forward to whisper to Starling.

“Any chance they’re gonna show us whatever you found yesterday?”

“That would be my suspicion. We’re heading in the appropriate direction.”

She nodded. “Well, pretend to be surprised, I guess. I think we’re finally earning a little trust…don’t want to wreck that by revealing that we’ve been, uh, snooping.”

Starling glanced at the explorers, who had gotten to their feet and begun to wobble back toward the rover. “I will conceal as much as my programming will allow.”

Estelle tried to figure out the terrain as they continued on, but couldn’t make sense of how the various features interacted. The river of honey at the entrance, she knew, opened into a small pond, but there the flow ceased. Below it sprung a series of other streams: milk, olive oil, an alluring hazelnut crème, and eventually the vegemite bogs Hester had mentioned. Each seemed to simply flow out of a rock or crevice somewhere and eventually disappear back into the earth, coming from nowhere and returning to nowhere.

They came at last to the shore, where the sea crashed against a beach of candy crystals.

A little ways from shore, enveloped by the arms of a sheltered bay, an island rose from the waves. It was an otherworldly grey color and Estelle could make out what looked like metal beams and angular walls. It was the first thing she’d seen on the planet that didn’t appear to be made of food.

Hoshi cleared her throat. “The Palace of Plenty,” she announced, beaming. “It’s still in its early stages, obviously, but when it’s done it’ll be our permanent home. Lots of amenities and luxuries.”

“And plenty of room to grow,” added Hester.

Estelle gaped at it and the construction equipment parked on the beach. “A palace? The expedition lives up to the carving’s promises after all.” She cast a sidelong glance at starling. “Less slave labor this time, at least.”

“We were brought here to be servants and ended up queens,” said Hoshi.

“This explains the diverted power,” Starling ventured.

“We refitted the terraforming mechs. They aren’t automated, but they do good work in the right hands. Unfortunately there’s still some manual labor, but that’s what miss skin-and-bones here is for.” She reached forward and patted Hester’s pudgy shoulder.

“Keeps me in shape,” the redhead chirped, flexing her bicep. A flap of fat hung down from her arm instead.

Hoshi hopped down from the rover. “And it’s pretty safe down here. There’s a zapper at each end of the bay and even though the squirmers seem, ah, averse to swimming, we’ve got one on the island just in case.”

“Very defensible,” Starling observed. “How does one reach the island?”

“The mechs make an easy ferry. We might build a full bridge once we’re ready to move in.”

Estelle puffed out her cheeks. “I’m impressed you managed to find building materials here.”

“Well, we didn’t. It’s all cannibalized from the landing modules. We came with enough terraforming equipment for a seed colony…we’ve just repurposed it.”

“Seemed like a good idea to make it inedible, knowing ourselves,” Ayla added. “Otherwise Hester might get too drunk one night and try to eat a load-bearing wall.”

“Mm,” said Hester.

Selena turned around in her seat, at least as much as her girth allowed. “Point is, captain: yes, we’ve thought realistically about our future here. And it’s a future we’re building for ourselves, by our own design.”

Estelle looked out at the island and nodded. “It’s definitely a beautiful…vista. It’s the kind of place the colonial governors would carve out for themselves back home.”

“Exactly. It’s our turn to be royalty. And it’s the perfect place. I mean, look along the shore here. We just came out of the vegemite bogs, right? Little touch of home for yours truly. Then, over there you’ve got a whole ravine full of…what d’ya call them, Ayla?”

“Koeksisters,” the geologist replied, licking her lips. Just like ouma used to make.”

Hoshi squinted into the woods. “Back that way is a big field of my favorite pasta.” She jiggled her gut. “A lot of that’s gone in here, let me tell you.”

“And up there is the beer spring I was telling you about,” Hester chimed in, pointing. “Amazing stout. A lot of that’s gonna go in here, let me tell you.”

Selena smiled at her and straightened up. “So, captain, as you can see…ay, that’s new, ain’t it?”

They turned to follow her gaze.

“That marshy area to the east.” She grabbed the android’s shoulder. “Starling, zip us over there, would you?”

The marsh greeted them with a tangy aroma that hit Estelle with a wave of memories. She shrank into her seat. A rich, deeply brown sauce bubbled up, steaming.

The party stepped carefully out of the rover and gathered at the edge of one of the pools. Estelle stepped forward, hoping she was wrong, and dipped a finger in.

She sucked the finger clean and smacked her lips. “Yep. It’s…barbeque sauce.”

Selena bent down to try. “Huh. That’s new.”

“Not just any sauce, either. That there is the signature sweet stellar smokehouse specialty sauce from Red Dwarf Ribs back in New Kansas City.” Estelle dipped her finger in again. “It’s one of a kind. I’d know it anywhere…it’s the one thing I missed more than anything after we switched to ration bars.”

“It’s delicious,” Selena agreed, tasting it. “Never been to NKC, but I’m starting to wish I had!”

“Mm,” Ayla agreed.

“Oh man, now I want ribs,” slavered Hoshi.

Estelle furrowed her brow. “But it’s totally unique. Mess Sergeant Gardner never shared his recipe with anyone…much less an alien planet.” She folded her arms and glanced around. “You said this is new?”

Selena nodded, tasting some more. “This was a vegetable patch last time I came through.”

“So you weren’t kidding, Hester. The terrain does change.”

“Yep,” the doctor affirmed. “Not too often, but every once in a while. After that first big squirmer attack, there was a whole hill of…what did Hyllus call it? Stomp-it?”

“Stamppot,” offered Ayla.

“That. Weird mashy stuff. Anyway, a week or so after the attack, it up and vanished. Haven’t seen it anywhere since.”

“The squirmer attack?” Estelle echoed. “When you…booted Hyllus out?”

Hester paused. “By the stars…you’re right.”

“What?” grunted Selena, licking her fingers.

“I can’t believe I never made the connection. Stamppot was the food Hyllus grew up on in Amster-dome. He was the only one of us who actually liked it. It must have disappeared when he died…”

“…because he was no longer around to want it,” Ayla realized. “The geology here must be…procedurally generated, or something, based on the minds of whoever’s here. It can read what we’re craving…missing…what we’re hungry for…”

Selena whistled, reaching down for more sauce. “…and adapts accordingly.”

“How could it possibly do that?” Hoshi wondered. “I can’t even begin to fathom how tech like that would work, much less on a planet-wide scale…and with so many organic components.”

“Maybe it isn’t technological,” Hester mused. “Maybe it’s something else.”

“What else?”

She held up her hands. “I’m not saying it’s aliens, but…”

“Maybe it’s a trap,” Estelle muttered.

Hester eyed her. “Such a pessimist. A whole planet trying to give you what you want? Doesn’t it sound stupendous?”

“Doesn’t it sound suspicious?”

“It sounds like a paradise,” Selena concluded. “Do you seriously still want to go home to those dismal colonies? There’s nothing there, Estelle. There’s everything here—everything you could want. Look at this. The planet is literally changing itself to fulfill your every desire.” She drank down a handful of sauce.

Estelle watched her slurp it down. Selena’s stomach rumbled and she let out an impressive belch.

“Nice,” said Hoshi. “How much of that stuff have you had already?”

Selena shrugged. “It’s more filling than I expected. Plus, the gut’s still pretty packed from our pit-stop. That was a lot of peanut butter. Hell, look at how bloated I still am.”

“I dunno, commander,” Hester cooed, prodding the blonde’s ponderous paunch. “Gotta say, you’re looking bigger than usual lately.”

“You reckon?” She looked down. The thin tunic, which typically reached nearly down to her knees, only fell to her quaggy thighs. Her saddlebags covered much of the cable around her waist where they were exposed. “The belt has seemed a little tighter the past few days. I suppose it does feel like I’ve been putting on weight.”

Hoshi cocked an eyebrow. “And that’s a new experience for you, is it?”

“Faster than usual. You know what I mean. Well, we have been doing a little less working and a little more eating since our new guest arrived. Let’s see what our vacation days have achieved, shall we?” She raised her chubby wrist and tapped the bio-pak there.

“Four hundred and sixty pounds,” it bleeped.

“460? Holy nebulas!” she whooped. “Ladies, I…am officially quadruple the woman I was when we landed.”

Estelle choked. The others cheered.

Selena bustled about, fat arms waving. “This calls for a celebration.”

“Feast!” cried Ayla.

“Damn right a feast. And a real screamer.”

Hester squirmed with delight. “I’ll start cooking as soon as we’re back.”

“No, no. It’s too late in the day. We can wait till the weekend. We’ll need a few days to prepare, anyway. And let Starling take care of the cooking, doctor; you’ve been falling behind on your belly-building lately. For this party, you are hereby ordered to stuff your gullet fuller than it’s ever been before, you hear me?”

She attempted a salute. “Aye aye, commander!”

Selena turned to Estelle. “And you, captain…I can’t give you orders, but I would ask that you at least pretend to enjoy yourself.”

01-30-2017, 10:52 PM
This is such an excellent story! I'm dying for the next installment.

02-05-2017, 12:02 PM
Maybe put on some party music for this chapter.

Chapter 18

Estelle tilted her back and stifled a burp. She could feel her stomach distending from what had seemed like an unending dinner and a draft tickled a ring of exposed skin above her waistband. But she wouldn’t let it bother her, opting instead to take another sip of beer and enjoy her pleasant buzz.

She told herself if was only a buzz, but from the way the ceiling swam overhead, part of her admitted she was drunker than she’d intended. She was probably still the soberest in the room, though that wasn’t saying much. She was the skinniest in the room, too, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t sporting a spare tire.

Selena filled the seat next to her, having declared herself already too inebriated to stand. Moreover she was probably too full to stand—the feast she’d packed away could have been measured not servings but meals. Her stomach, stretched taut despite all the layers of softness, bulged up against and over the lip of the table.

Estelle looked across at the other women. Hoshi and Ayla reclined on the floor, leaning against one another’s backs, giggling uncontrollably. Hester sat on the edge of a crate above them, chugging down another mug of beer.

Hester was incredible. Estelle had marveled at how much the other women could eat and had assumed that Hester, being the smallest of them, possessed the most restrained appetite. Hester’s thirst, however, outpaced them all.

The puffy little redhead had probably sucked down more than double what any of the others had drunk and showed no sign of slowing. Her freckled cheeks were rosy, her eyes bleary, and her hair was wilder than usual, but she was clearly the happiest person in the room—the happiest person on the planet, Estelle realized.

Hester’s shirt had disappeared and her swollen breasts swung free. They rippled as she chugged and they banged against one another as she wriggled triumphantly with each emptied mug. Her sloshing beer belly almost seemed flat in comparison.

“That girl can drink,” said Selena.

Estelle nodded slowly, trying to stop the room from spinning so much. “It’s your party, but she’s having a better time, I think.”

“Good on her. She needs a break now and then. We give her a hard time for not eating as much or getting as big as the rest of us, but it’s really because she’s always busy doing the cooking and washing-up. If we had the mod-cons, she’d be the biggest here, I reckon.”

“She has…” Estelle thought for a moment, frowning. “…a very large chest.”

“Large is what we do here.”

Estelle looked down at the spread of empty plates before her and at the bloated dome of her own abdomen. “I’ve noticed. Hopefully I don’t catch, uh, too much of that.”

The exposed ring of flesh on her waist bothered her, especially in how it had begun to curl over her waistband. She tapped the bio-pak on her wrist.

“Subject is in good health,” it chirped. “183 pounds.”

“Holy nebulas,” Estelle hissed, rubbing her temple. “I know I took it a little easier this week, but…oof.”

Selena squeezed her shoulder. “The first couple months are like that. Ha, you shoulda seen it when we were first getting accla…hic-urrp…acclimated. I used to wanna be a runway model, you know. Maps was like…a side thing to pay bills. So picture me after a couple weeks here, all lanky and gangly but with this big old pot belly hanging out of my suit. The changes are all so big when you’re that small…Hoshi’s butt just took over, haha, and Hester’s chest…phew.”

Estelle’s bio-pak bleeped with sudden concern. “Toxin detected. Ethanol group. Impairment likely.”

“What? Oh. Yeah, I’m a little tipsy. Thanks.”

“Commence detoxification?”

She pursed her lips and looked away. “Uh, no. Belay detoxi…detox. Don’t. I’ll just…y’know…”

“Enjoy it?” asked Selena, cocking an eyebrow.

“Yeah, I guess. Commander’s orders, and all that.” She sat up and cleared her throat. “But in…moderation.”

Selena smiled. “I’m glad. I was worried you’d just sulk all night. Bloody oath, that would be a downer. I know being marooned wasn’t how you planned things, but this can’t be so awful, can it?”

“It’s…not. And you gals have been very welcoming.” She folded her arms and realized, to her consternation, that they were able to rest atop her gut. “Very caring and very…patient. You’re good people. Selena, the reason I’ve been so adamant about getting you out of here because, well, I care about you guys too and want to get you home. It’s fun here, I can’t fight you on that, but it…it can’t last forever. Things that are too good to be true, and all that.”

Selena shrugged and sipped at her beer.

“And there are good people back home. At least some. And they deserve some hope. You could bring them that hope.”

Hester had managed to stand—however unsteadily—on the crate and was attempting to dance. Hoshi and Ayla cheered and clapped a rhythm for her.

Selena leaned over, bulk squishing against Estelle’s. “You were arrested for smuggling, yeah?”

“That…was the charge, yes.”

“What were you smuggling?”

Estelle eyed her. She took a deep breath and set down her mug. “People,” she admitted at length. “Refugees. There was that unrest out in the rim…you probably remember it. Folks were getting left behind and I just…” She threw up her hands.

“Trust me, I remember it. Couldn’t stand by, huh?”

“I guess.”

Selena mulled for a moment, then clapped her on the shoulder. “You’re alright, ‘Stelle.”

“Ha, yeah?”

“Mm-hmm. Cheers for being…hmmp…one of the good ones.” She finished her beer and looked over at the others. “Come on, then—they’re hittin’ it without us.”

Estelle watched the big woman climb up from her chair. “I feel like we’ve been hitting them plenty right here…” she protested, pushing her empty mug over for emphasis.

Selena had stopped listening. “Hester!” she shouted across the room. “Dr. Irving, you are being highly insub…in…insubordinate!”

The redhead stopped her dance and stood swaying in confusion. She hiccupped nervously. “Commander, I—“

“Spare me,” the blonde retorted. She nearly toppled over, but steadied her bulk on Estelle’s head. “Doctor, you were given a direct order today to stuff your little gullet fuller than it’s ever been before, were you not?” Her face dimpled into a smirk.

Hester’s puppy-dog eyes widened and gleamed, realizing. She nodded.

Selena moved to fold her arms, but lost her balance in doing do. After Estelle had caught her and righted her, she continued, “There’s still a cart full of rumcake over by the kitchen, Hester. And I remember a night last spring when a certain doctor just couldn’t get enough rumcake…”

If Hester had possessed a tail, it would have been wagging. She licked her lips.

“That belly is not big enough, Hester. Tonight’s your chance. Fill it.”

“Aye, commander—hic!”

Selena clapped her hands together. “Which brings me to tonight’s speech.”

“Speech!” cried Hoshi and Ayla, twisting round. “Speech!”

Selena wobbled her way to the far side of the room, bracing herself on the wall as she went. There, near the command consoles, a footlocker stood as a serviceable podium. She squished up against it, waited for her audience to quiet down, put up a hand, and belched.

They applauded. She giggled to herself.

“But seriously,” she began, “I just want to thank you ladies. You’re true blue. Always there for each other. You know, we came from pretty hard places. And we had ourselves a pretty hard journey. Things were pretty hard all around. But now, here…” She tried to keep a straight face, but it cracked. “Now we’re soft all around, aye?”

The crew cheered. Clapping along politely, Estelle couldn’t help but laugh with them. While Selena pontificated, Hester slipped down from her crate, refilled her mug, and tottered over to sit next to Estelle.

“That’s not cake,” Estelle noted.

Hester grinned. “Maybe later. They’ll prolly pick it apart before I—hip!—before I get there.” She poured some of her beer into Estelle’s mug. “Shee, I’m always too busy…helping. But I’m plenty content just being the—hic!—being the town drunkard, hee. ‘slike my…destiny.”

They clinked mugs.

“You got a dessstiny?” the redhead asked, raising the mug to her pert lips.

Estelle grimaced into her beer.

“They said, when we left,” Selena continued, “that we were the best and the brightest. Now, they thought they were lying, but…clearly, they were accidentally right. I wouldn’t change any of you for anyone back home!”

They cheered again. Estelle found herself cheering louder. Selena threw up her hands in jubilation and teetered back from her podium. She caught herself on the one of the command consoles, lighting up several buttons. She leaned against it a moment to steady herself, and returned to her speech.

“And what…luck, that of all the swashbuckling captains they could have sent to find us, they chose Estelle Gorlois, someone as caring and compassionate as any of us. Captain, I want you to know…when spring comes and that ice opens up…whether you decide to stay in paradise or go back to the real world…” She paused for another belch. “…you’ll always be one of us and you’ll always be in our hearts.”

Another cheer rose up. The crew looked to Estelle for a reply.

She sat up—as best she could—and searched her sluggish brain for an appropriate response. “Well, uh, of course I’m in your hearts…it’s not like there’s any room left in your stomachs!”

This was met with the loudest cheer of the night. Selena fell over again in delight, all but smothering the console. Hoshi and Ayla decided on a celebratory slice of rumcake.

Hester hopped up and wrapped Estelle in a long hug, burying the captain’s face in her breasts. “You’re the—hic!—the best failed rescuer ever!”

“Thanks, Hester,” Estelle gasped. “Glad to be here.”

“Glad to have you here,” the redhead purred. She bent down and kissed Estelle on her cheek, then bounded off to join the others.

02-12-2017, 06:44 PM
Chapter 19

Estelle woke suddenly, startled by a sound she could only have heard in some dream.

She rolled over and resolved to return to her slumber, but couldn’t. The fact that she wasn’t on her bed may have played a role and she wondered for a moment how she’d managed to pass out sprawled atop the dessert cart. There was also the sinking feeling that a small beeping sound coming from the command console required some attention.

Sunlight filtered in faintly from the tunnel. Estelle blinked at it, trying to piece the world back together. She found some images in her swirling memory of herself, admitting that the party was actually kind of fun, of Hester, offering her another slice of cake, of Hoshi and Ayla, giggling and kissing, and of beer, so much beer.

Lowering herself gingerly from the cart, she glanced blearily around the room. Hoshi, Ayla, and Selena were all tucked into their beds, which seemed unfair. Hoshi slept face down, her butt rising into the air like a pair of hills. Ayla was curled onto her side; her thighs flattened out into broad plateaus. Selena’s belly faced upward, its rotund bulk uncovered by blankets. Hester had draped herself over the commander, treating her paunch like the world’s softest pillow.

Estelle sighed. Her own stomach surged with fullness and indigestion, her head pounded with a furious hangover, and her pants were missing. “Nebulas,” she moaned. “Starling? Starling, you in here?”

She heard a mechanical whirring behind her as Starling strode over. “I have been recharging in stasis. Do you need me?”

“There’s a noise,” she gurgled. “I think it’s the console. I would go check, but I just blinked and my eyes have decided to stay closed.”

“Of course, captain. And if your discomfort is too extreme, I would advise you to take advantage of the detoxification protocol.”

“What? Oh, the thing. Hey, bio-pak…hair of the dog.”

It chirruped. “Unrecognized query. Please specify.”

“Come on. The detox thing. Let’s go.”

“Commencing filtration. Estimated time—”

“Captain,” called the android.

“Not so loud, Starling. What is it?”

He grimaced. “It is a proximity alert. The defensive systems appear to be offline.”

Estelle flopped to her feet. A rending screech somewhere in the distance echoed its way into the cavern.

“By the stars,” she hissed. “That’s what woke me up.” She yanked her trousers off the floor and began tugging them on. “Selena fell into the console last night. She must have hit something. Can you turn it back on?”

“I have done so. But the defenses only guard the perimeter. If any creatures have entered the valley—and it sounds as if at least one has—we will have to address that.”

“Nebulas. Wake everybody up. Red alert, or whatever. Ugh, damn these pants…suit, refit.”


The lights flicked on as they roused the others.

“Huh?” groaned Selena, lifting her head.

“We have company,” Estelle grunted. “Squirmers.”

The others shuddered at the word. They rolled out of their beds in confusion, blinking and clutching their heads. Hester, still rather drunk, flopped off of Selena’s gut and toppled over.

“How’d they get by the zappers?” she slurred.

“The perimeter was deactivated,” Estelle explained, tapping Hester’s bio-pak and starting the detox.

Ayla glared. “Why would anyone do that?”

“Somebody must have tripped it by accident last night.” Estelle looked away from Selena as she explained. “We were all pretty, uh, sloshed. Could have been anyone. Doesn’t matter now.”

Starling stepped into the circle. “I have reactivated the perimeter, but it is likely that a number of creatures has entered the valley.” They froze as the squirmer shrieked again, closer. “Very likely.”

“Bloody oath,” hissed Selena. “Get topside, gals. We’re fish in a barrel down here.”

They grabbed their blankets and hurried up the tunnel. The explorers were in various states of undress, with Hester in only her panties. Estelle and Starling led the way, being much more mobile and agile than the others. Starling loaded the rifle as he ran.

“Commander,” asked the android, “what is your usual protocol in this situation?”

Selena panted. “There isn’t one…they haven’t gotten in since we set up the perimeter.”

The sun had risen just over the rim of the valley, bathing everything in gold light. The party spilled out of the tunnel and skidded to a jiggling halt: at the edge of the clearing loomed a huge squirmer. Seeing them, it reared up and roared.

“Get to the rover!” shouted Selena.

They turned, but a second squirmer was on top of the vehicle, waiting for them.

Starling stepped forward. “I will attempt to lead them away. You must get to safety.”

“We’re not gonna get anywhere on foot,” Estelle countered. “We could barely outrun them before I hurt my leg, and these girls…” She gestured at the obese, wheezing troupe behind her. The squirmers began to undulate toward them.

“You cannot stay here,” the android insisted.

Estelle nodded. “The balloon,” she realized. “Get to the balloon!”

They shuffled around the cheesecake mound, holding on to one another and keeping an eye on the squirmer. It followed them, but cautiously, as though it suspected a trap. Starling waved at it and hollered, but it ignored him.

Estelle shoved Hester up against the balloon’s housing. “Get it open—quick.”

“Aye aye,” the redhead whimpered.

A gunshot rang out. The squirmer halted, surprised by the plasma wound that appeared in its membrane. It rounded on Starling, who quickly set about reloading.

The walls of the storage pod fell open and the balloon surged up. Estelle began shoving everyone into the seating basket.

“There we go. Now we’ll have a nice bird’s eye view while Starling kicks some squirmer butt…ugh, get your squirming butt in there, Hoshi…”

“Sorry! This thing was only built with room for three. And Ayla here’s two people all by herself.”

“You’re one to talk,” the geologist retorted. “Just sit on my lap.”

“But you’re belly’s already sitting there!”

The squirmer turned back. Starling shot it again, but it simply absorbed the smoldering wound into itself and roiled forward. The other creature spilled down off the rover and began making its way around the other side of the mound.

Estelle closed the rail and climbed atop the tangle of fat bodies. She gave the lever a kick and the balloon floated free, the winch spooling out cable.

It did not, however, float up. It listed drunkenly a few feet off the ground and drifted—to their horror—in the direction of the charging monster.

“Go up!” shouted Ayla.

“We’re too heavy,” Hoshi murmured.

Estelle cursed. “Can we get a fire under the balloon? Something?” The squirmer drew closer.

“Not enough,” said Selena, sitting up. “Too much weight.”

“But…wait, Selena, what are you—”

Selena flopped forward and hurled herself over the rail.

“Commander!” cried the others.

She slammed gut-first into the lunging squirmer, halting its advance and throwing it down. The balloon lurched backward and began to rise.

Starling had reached the rover and revved the engine. Selena wrestled with the creature; from above, it looked like a bean bag battling a water bed.

“C’mere, you shonky bastard,” she growled, driving her considerable weight into it.

The squirmer suddenly flowed out from beneath her and straightened up out of her grasp. A pseudopod stretched out from its midsection, seized her by the throat, and heaved her off the ground.

She thrashed against it, but her pudgy arms couldn’t reach its body. The squirmer shrieked, convulsed, and hurled her against a nearby tree.

“No!” cried Hester. The balloon was safely out of reach, but close enough to see the action.

Estelle hesitated, gritting her teeth, then snatched Hester’s blanket. Leaving the naked redhead to her bewilderment, she wrapped the blanket over the balloon’s winch-cable and ziplined back toward the surface.

The tree trunk had cracked. Selena tried to get to her feet, but the squirmer was upon her.

“Nobody threatens my crew—”

It hefted her up and slammed her into the ground, then into the tree again, snapping it entirely.

Estelle hit the ground and tossed the blanket aside. The second squirmer rolled up to face her.

“Fuck off,” she hissed.

The rover plowed into it, lifting it off the ground and crashing it into one of the storage pods. Starling reversed and prepared for another charge.

Estelle sprinted over. “Starling! Give me the wheel!”

“You need to get to safety!” he protested.

“Mine’s secondary,” she spat, shoving him out of the driver’s seat. “I’ll get them to chase me…lead them out of the valley.”

“I should do that.”

“They don’t give a damn about you, Starling! They must not see you as edible.” She shifted into gear and grabbed the rifle from the passenger seat. “Get down to the console—you’ll need to deactivate the zappers long enough for these assholes to leave the valley and then reactivate them once I’m through. Got it?”

“I don’t think this—”

“It’s happening. Go!” She peeled out and screeched the rover toward the first squirmer. It loomed over Selena, who had stopped moving.

Estelle levelled the rifle at it and emptied its clip. The creature twisted round.

“Get away from her, you bitch!” The engine roared and she collided with the squirmer, trapping it on the rover’s hood.

The second squirmer flopped out of the wrecked storage pod and rolled after her. Estelle spun the rover in a tight doughnut and sped out of the clearing. With one monster on her hood and the other close on her tail, she reloaded the rifle and plotted the quickest route out of the valley.

Starling dashed back through the tunnel and into the habitat. He pulled up the video monitors and flipped through feeds until he could see the rover heading toward a narrow, tree-lined gap in the valley rim.

The squirmer on her hood was reaching a pseudopod at Estelle, crushing the windshield and knocking a crate from the backseat. Estelle ducked and the monitor flashed as she fired several more rounds into the monster.

Starling waited as long as he dared, then flipped the blue lever off. The lights around the perimeter went dark and a muted exclamation point flickered in the corner of the screen.

The rover blasted through the gap, the second squirmer in hot pursuit. Estelle braked suddenly, sending the first squirmer flying off the hood. She pulled out of the way just in time for the second to lunge past her.

They straightened up and stared her down. Estelle took a deep breath and shifted into reverse. Starling shoved the blue lever back up and the system hummed to life.

She shot back toward the gap, steering unsteadily, firing a few useless gunshots as she went. The squirmers rushed after her. By the time she reached the gap, they were nearly up with the rover.

But the zappers lit up, stopping the squirmers in their undulating tracks. Their shrieks could be heard across the valley, echoing off the rim. Estelle plunged the rover back down toward the habitat and the squirmers limped away, sizzling and steaming.

02-20-2017, 11:31 AM
Chapter 20

“Alert,” cheeped the bio-pak, “subject has sustained significant internal trauma.”

Selena coughed. “I’m fine, mates. Din’t feel a thing…got too much cushion on my body.”

She was not fine, however, and everyone gathered around her could see it. The bio-pak continued. “Extent of injuries beyond the capabilities of this field-unit. Recommend immediate care at an emergency medical facility.”

“Is she…?” Hester whimpered.

“Engaging hospice protocols.”

Estelle parked the rover and headed over. She hadn’t tugged her top back down and her spare tire jostled free, squished by the rifle’s strap. She glanced at Starling, who furtively shook his head.

“Commander,” she said, kneeling next to Selena.

“Captain,” wheezed the blonde.

Estelle winced. “You…you did it, Selena. We’re safe.”

“Too easy. Told you I could take ‘em…oy, I’m knackered now, though.” She gave Estelle a painful smirk. “Thank you, captain.”

Hester leaned over her. “You’ll be alright, commander. I’m gonna get my kit.”

Selena grabbed her arm. “Don’t waste it, red. I’m stuffed. Listen, ladies…” She made an effort to sit up, but didn’t make it far.

“Just lie down. Rest.”

“Listen to me. When spring gets here…when that pass opens up…” She coughed and glanced at Estelle. “…you should go back to the cargo shuttle with the captain. You deserve to get home…and home deserves to know about this place. We’ve been selfish. I’ve been selfish. Let’s be the heroes we thought we were supposed to be...”

The others knelt down around her. She reached a shaky hand to touch each of them in turn.

“…the heroes I know you can be. Gals…” She touched Estelle’s hand last and closed her eyes, blonde locks falling over her face. “…stay hungry.”

They bowed their heads, holding her. The morning breeze rustled the black licorice branches overhead.

That evening, they made a slow procession toward the south end of the valley, driving Selena’s body in the rover. Colonial tradition dictated that she be buried in her landing pod, but she hadn’t fit in what remained of the tube and they’d instead fashioned a casket from a broken storage container. They draped the flag of Newer South Wales over it and dropped in some of her favorite plates, utensils and personal effects. It took the whole party to carry, though Starling found himself handling much of the weight.

Hoshi fashioned a corrugated headstone from some scrap plating. On it Ayla etched, “Commander Selena Jolan, E.V. Triptolemus—cartographer, pioneer, and beloved leader. Died on a full stomach.”

Hester suggested they bury her in the vegemite bogs, since discovering them had brought Selena such joy. Starling concurred on a pragmatic level, as none of the others had a taste for the bitter spread and would be unlikely to eat from the bog.

They found, however, that the vegemite had vanished. A swamp of gelatin greeted them instead.

“It’s gone,” Hesper choked.

Starling stared out at it. “It appears your hypothesis about the barbeque sauce was correct, doctor,” he observed. “Without the one person present who enjoyed it, the vegemite has been replaced. The planet’s topography indeed seems to reflect the tastes—or perhaps the cravings—of those who walk it.”

“Let’s save the analysis for later, buddy,” said Estelle, moving him away. “Any other ideas? We can’t have her near a food source…”

“Everything here is a food source,” Ayla pointed out.

“We could float her down the river,” offered Hoshi. “I’ll knock up a raft. Give her a…send-off.”

Hester nodded. “That might be nice. We could have candles.”

“What do you say, captain?” asked Ayla.

Estelle stiffened. “Guys, you don’t have to…I’m not in charge here. I don’t want to just barge in and…”

“You’re a captain. We’re science officers…barely. Chain of command puts you in charge. And you’re way more qualified than any of us.” Ayla kicked a chocolate rock out of the way. “Selena trusted you. She told us to go with you. We’ll go with you. Right, girls?”

“Absolutely,” said Hoshi.

“You risked your life for us,” Hester reminded her. “I know I won’t forget that.”

Estelle frowned, but nodded. “Okay. We’ll get through this together. Promise.”

They smiled. “Thank you.”

“We’ll need a plan, though.”

“Are you suggesting we deviate from the set course of action?” Starling asked. “I believe wintering in this valley remains the safest option.”

She folded her arms. “Yeah, no, we’ll stay here till the pass opens. But with the damage to the rover and the limited power…we’re gonna need to be careful.”

“So we prioritize short-term survival over long-term habitation and colonial establishment.”

“Exactly. Means we’ll have to stop the work on the, uh, pleasure palace—”

“The palace of plenty,” Hester corrected her.

“Right…so instead we focus on just surviving one last season and then a long trip back to the cargo shuttle.”

Hoshi nodded. “Shuttering the palace will give the power back to the zappers. I can maybe jury-rig more defense platforms from the construction equipment.”

“Good.” Estelle brushed her hair back and glanced around. “And then a couple of little things…we should hand off as many of the big tasks as we can to Starling. Sorry, man.”

“Not a problem. I concur with the idea.”

“Keeps us free and on call. Also, Starling will be the only one who can leave the valley until we make our trip. It’s just not worth the risk. And he can bring us anything from out there that we can’t get in here.”

There were some frowns, but they understood.

“We should be okay to walk around the valley, but don’t leave the habitat alone. Travel with a buddy and try not to, you know, go missing. Fair?”

They nodded.

“Otherwise, we carry on. Hunker down for the winter and wait for the spring. Should be safe in here if we stay smart.” She put her hands on her softened hips and looked up at the roiling cloudcover. “It’ll take some work, but we can get through this together. We all just have to…pull our weight.”

“That’s not fair,” said Ayla, cracking a smile. “Some of us have more weight to pull than others.”

Hoshi pinched her lovehandle. “Looks like you have some catching up to do, then.”

They broke into exhausted laughter. Hester joined in, her pudgy face softening with relief.

Estelle glanced at Starling, then looked down at Selena’s casket. “Stay hungry.”

02-21-2017, 04:12 PM
Selena’s death is very sad.
I wonder whether a highly advanced alien civilization built this planet as their paradise (Cockaigne) and then they were exterminated by the squirmers they had created as their helpers to carry their swollen bodies around et cetera. Perhaps the squirmers evolved in a way they hadn’t planned and they had grown too heavy and immobile to fight or evade them.

By the way: “Refitting.” is my new favorite sentence.

Keep up the good work!

02-26-2017, 09:02 PM
Chapter 21

The next day they rerouted power from the construction site. The footprint of the ‘Palace of Plenty’ went dark, now little more than the skeleton of an abandoned ambition. Estelle stood patiently while the others mourned it.

They chose not to demolish the unfinished remains. It seemed fitting to have at least one monument to their existence on the planet and Estelle could sense that in the back corners of the crew’s heads they still entertained some faint, ridiculous hope they would one day return to it.

With the project closed, they moved the extra zapper from the island to the clearing outside their cheesecake habitat. Estelle liked the idea of a secondary layer of security should the perimeter fail again. To that end, she had Starling repurpose the cage that had once been dropped on her. It would enclose the command console, preventing any future accidents.

The engineering mechs were trudged back from the beach, as well. Though they weren’t built for combat, the crew briefly considered using them as emergency suits of armor. This was quickly abandoned when it became apparent that the armor couldn’t close over the drivers’ engorged bellies, but having the loaders stand stalwartly outside the habitat felt strangely comforting.

It was hard work—harder and more involved, at least, than any they’d done for some time—and took the better part of a week.

Estelle toyed with the idea of instituting some kind of diet plan, worried that Hoshi and Ayla wouldn’t fit through their escape vehicle’s airlock come spring. But she found herself so exhausted and famished after each day of labor that the idea vanished from her mind. She ate heartily with the others, filling her gut, feeling that at least this time she was justified in doing so.

“So, tomorrow,” she said between courses, stifling a belch, “I think we can take a day off. I’d say you’ve more than earned it.”

The girls nodded, chewing methodically.

“After that, we’ll need to get started on our travel plans. Spring’s still a couple months out, I understand, but the sooner we’re ready the readier we’ll be.”

Hoshi leaned back and rested her hands on her belly. “Actually, captain, I have some ideas on that.”

“Hit me.”

“You said you were thinking we should go back on foot, so as to keep the noise down and avoid attracting the squirmers’ attention.” She paused to finish chewing. “Captain, there’s no way. I’m 415 pounds. I get out of breath crossing the room…this fat ass isn’t waddling a hundred and twenty miles.”

“Mine neither,” Ayla agreed. “I’m not that far from four hundred myself. That’s a lot of cargo to carry.”

Estelle swallowed. “Well, ladies, that’s why we…” She glanced around, dreading what she had to say. “…we may have to…work on…well, we might have to think a little about lo—”

“Yeah, that’s not happening,” Hoshi interjected. “I had a better idea. Starling?”

The android emerged from the kitchen, tray in hand. A cake sat atop it, a wobbling mold in the shape of the expedition’s rover, with some added features. He set in in front of Estelle, who felt her mouth begin to water despite the throbbing fullness of her already distended stomach.

“We’ve got plenty of scrap material now,” the engineer explained, waving her bionic arm. “We can put it to better use: I can modify the rover a little, make it into a sort of mobile defense platform. Won’t be quite as roomy as before, but shouldn’t have trouble hauling four girls and…” She slapped Ayla’s gut. “…cargo.”

Estelle studied the cake. She tried to consider its defensive capabilities, but couldn’t stop wondering about its flavor. “Did you make this?” she asked Starling.

He nodded modestly, wiping his hands on his apron.

“I did the fondant,” Hester chimed.

“I might even be able to install a portable zapper,” Hoshi continued. She reached over and topped the cake off with a blueberry. “And then, when the time comes, we just roll home in style: safe, sound, and…sitting down.”

“Just how we like it,” Ayla laughed.

Hoshi nodded. “It’ll take some time, but we’ve got all winter. What do you say?”

Estelle’s stomach gurgled. “…alright. Nice work. I say…we dig in.”

She grabbed a knife to begin distributing pieces, but Starling stopped her. He visited the kitchen again and returned with more trays: there was a whole cake ready for each of them.

The next day, their day off, started much later. Late in the afternoon, Ayla wobbled over to Estelle and plopped down beside her.

“Speaking of digging,” she mused out of nowhere, “I’ve been doing some geology.”

“For once!” called Hoshi.

They were lounging around a chocolate fondue hot spring, sipping wine and watching the sun descend. Estelle had been half-dozing, nursing a belly that still felt full from a pair of lunches.

“What’s that, Ayla?” she asked, refilling her glass.

“I’ve been playing with the terrain. Trying to figure out its changes.” She stretched up and caught the chocolate-covered marshmallow Hester tossed into her mouth. “Mm. Anyway, as we’ve known, there isn’t much of a closed ecosystem here, at least as we would usually understand it. Things don’t really…interact.”

“I’m interacting with this fondue right now,” Hoshi chided.

“Ignore her. Look. The plants here don’t actually grow. The rocks aren’t formed from any recognizable geological processes. Stuff just…appears. So I’ve tried to isolate samples of some of this stuff.” She rolled over onto her side, paunch flopping out of her top. “I had a sample of Selena’s vegemite in my lab. And just like how the bog changed after she…after she passed, my sample changed, too.”

Estelle sipped at her wine. “What are you saying, Ayla?”

“The sample was in isolation. Just vegemite in a test tube. Now it’s grape jelly in a test-tube.”

“Mm, jelly,” said Hester.

“It changed on its own,” Estelle realized.

“Exactly. The molecules somehow rearranged themselves. It’s like…smart-matter, or something.”

“That is interesting.”

“Very. And I had an idea.”

Estelle gulped. Hoshi’s last big idea had led to her eating an entire cake. “Hit me.”

Ayla spread her hands. “We’re leaving in a cargo shuttle that can carry over 20,000 tonnes. I say we fill it to the brim with…well, stuff from the planet.”

“Snacks for the road?”

“More than that. If my theory is correct, if we fill that space with planetary matter, it could turn into a microcosm of the planet itself: a warehouse ready to satisfy the cravings of whoever walks into it. Think of the implications for our research!”

“Think of the implications for our waistlines!” Hoshi added.

“Think of the implications for colonial prosperity,” Estelle concluded, nodding.

“Exactly. It would be something to bring home, captain. Not just as proof that we were here, but proof of what we found and an opportunity to learn from it. It could be the key to unlocking synthesis…it could solve scarcity forever.”

The captain drained her wine and dipped her toes into the molten chocolate. “And you ladies could be heroes after all.”

03-06-2017, 07:45 PM
Chapter 22

Estelle sat staring at the empty plates before her. She tried to estimate the sheer quantity of hash browns she’d just eaten, so that she could feel appropriately ashamed, but all her foggy mind could guess was ‘all of them.’ A wet belch gurgled up from deep within her gut, which sat sheepishly atop her lap.

Hester pulled the dishes away, her breast brushing against Estelle’s head as she leaned past. “All done, eh?” the redhead lilted.

“I was done two or three plates ago. Not sure why I kept going.”

“We’re rubbing off on you,” Hester mused, rubbing her shoulders. “Welcome to the crew. Which reminds me…Hoshi says we’re all set for the initiation this morning.”

Estelle hiccupped. “Initiation? We…we’re doing that today? Stars, why did you let me eat so much breakfast?”

Hester gave her a hurt look. “Och, captain, I’d never stop a soul from eating and drinking her fill.” She snagged Estelle’s mostly untouched third mimosa and sucked it down in one go. “Any road, we do the thing clear on the other end of the valley. The walk should set your tummy right, eh?”

It didn’t.

As long as it took the corpulent crew to cross, Estelle still found herself massaging a pang in her abdomen and battling an incessant case of hiccups when the caravan halted beneath a narrow, jagged outcrop of the valley wall.

Ayla clapped her on the back. “Behold the Tower of Trials, captain.”

“Oh, nebulas. Hiccup!”

“We’ll go check on the setup. Meet us at that little waterfall when you’re ready.”

Estelle gaped up at the tower. It was a bizarre, twisting rock formation that reached upward along the wall. Platforms protruded out at oblique angles, sprawling with vegetation. Water trickled down one side in a nearly vertical stream, falling the last dozen feet into a small, bubbling pool.

Starling appeared behind her. “Captain, are you certain this is wise? The nature of this challenge seems contrary to your declared dietary principles.”

“I have to do it,” she gulped. “I need to gain their respect…build solid—hic!—arity. And, if nothing else, the girls need a morale boost if we’re going to make it through winter.”

“And you believe self-abasement is the most prudent course of action.”

“I’m gaining their trust the same way they earned each other’s.”

“Oh, it’s ‘trust’ you’re gaining, then. I see.”

She glared at him. “Why did the admiralty program you with so much snark? Look, I’m planning to go back to my declared dietary principles tomorrow. Just need to get this over with, first.” Swallowing one last hiccup, she trudged over to the others.

“Hope you’re hungry, captain,” Ayla giggled.

“Well then why was breakfast so…” She grimaced. “Erm…yes, very. Bring it on, ladies.”

Hoshi clapped her hands. Her massive rear quaked with glee. “So, we’ve all done this challenge at some point. Selena came up with it; said it would cement our unbreakable partnership as a crew.”

“I understand,” Estelle replied, with as much ceremony as she could muster. “I…accept the challenge?”

“Excellent. Doctor, please adorn the captain with the traditional sash.”

Hester bounced over and loosely wrapped a bright yellow ribbon around Estelle’s waist, fastening it in a knot right over her navel.

“You might want to tighten that,” Estelle remarked. “Feels like it’s about to fall off.”

“It’ll be tight soon enough.”

Hoshi cleared her throat. “Captain, to complete this trial, you must ascend to the zenith of this tower,” she announced, waving a pudgy hand. “Along your climb you shall encounter four molds of gelatin, each a different color and each more delicious than the last.”

“Mmm,” said Hester.

“You are to consume all four in their entirety.”

“Jealous,” said Ayla.

“Once you have reached the top and finished the final mold, you may return to us a full member of this crew.”

Estelle gulped. “Right. ‘Full’ being the operative word.” She looked around. “I’m surprised, ladies. This looks like a lot of physical activity.”

“Watching you wriggle your way up is half the fun, at least for us spectators. See, if you’re gonna get fat, you gotta learn how to use your fat.”

“But I’m not really planning to get…” She closed her eyes and turned to face the tower. “Whatever. Just show me where I start.”

Ayla pointed. “The first mold is on that platform near the waterfall. There’s a crack in the rock that will let you climb up.”

Estelle stepped forward, craning her neck up at the tower. Behind her, the other women sat down on a large danish; Hester handed out glasses and pulled the pitcher of mimosas from the rover.

The fissure in the rocks opened up wide enough to step into, though Estelle felt her lovehandles brush against either side. The moss-covered floor rose beneath her and formed a primitive set of stairs. She followed them up in a tight spiral, pushing vines from her face. The stairs brought her two dozen feet up and when she finally reached the first platform she found herself breathing heavily.

The platform stretched out next to the waterfall and overlooked the clearing she’d left below. She peered over the edge; the other girls waved up at her. Stepping back, she found a massive jello mold waiting patiently in the center of the platform.

It was orange gelatin, in the shape of a giant gumdrop. The cascade of the waterfall could be seen through its translucent form.

Estelle shook her head. “You’ve got to be kidding me, guys. This thing’s as big as I am.”

“I think you drastically underestimate how big you are,” came the reply.

She knelt down and poked it. It wobbled. “That’s like…two liters, at least.” She cupped up a handful, smelled it, and slid it into her mouth.

It was fruity; a very sweet citrus.

“Alright,” she sighed. “Gotta do it, Estelle. You need them to trust you or you’re never gonna get off this damn planet.”

She scooped up another handful and slurped it down. It was definitely tasty and smooth enough she could almost drink it; it jiggled all the way down to her stomach, which jiggled in reply.

Before she knew it, she was finished. Only a few pebbles of orange lay scattered on the platform and she was wiping her mouth. She closed her eyes and rocked with a long belch.

“Sounds like she finished the first one,” came a voice from below. Next one’s on the other side of the waterfall, captain, and up that rise.”

Estelle glanced over wearily. On the other side of the waterfall she could see another ledge, which wound up the side of the tower and out of sight.

Jumping the gap was out of the question, but a pile of treebranches reached from her platform across to the ledge. Estelle walked up and tentatively stepped a foot onto the makeshift bridge.

The branch she touched bowed sharply and she heard a series of snaps. She fell back in a panic, panting in the waterfall’s mist.

“Uh, no. That wouldn’t have supported you at your original weight,” she muttered, grabbing her gut, “much less with this on you.”

She glanced around. There were a few more branches lying around. She bundled them together, looked back at the gap, and grimaced. Then she ripped several of vines from the stairway and wound them around the bundle until she’d made a fairly rigid beam.

She leaned her construction across the gap, securing it with some rocks. Added to the existing branches, the new bridge was just supportive enough for her to lurch across and grab some foliage hanging over the other side. She tripped and plopped onto the new ledge as her bridge collapsed and splashed into the pool below.

“Nice work!” called Hoshi. “See, it took many branches being bound together to bridge the gap. Only by banding together can we support each other’s—”

Estelle stifled a burp. “Yep. Metaphors. Got it, thank you. Next one’s up this way?”

She followed the ledge around the side of the tower, out of sight of the others. It opened up into a small grotto. Sunlight filtered down through the cracks upon a block of red jello, just as large as the first.

“Hello, there,” she mused.

This one carried a warm spiciness, with a pleasant cinnamon kick. She had to eat it more slowly, letting her tongue cool and occasionally padding back for a drink from the falls. But soon it was gone and she could hear her stomach whine over the roar of the water.

She sat for a moment to let it settle. Her belly was so full of gelatin it may as well have been made of it, wobbling with much of the same consistency. She groaned, leaned her head back, and found herself staring up at the next platform.

It was another story above her, but there seemed to be no path leading up. Instead, further into the grotto, she spied the opening of a jagged tunnel that looked to head upward into the tower.

“Of course,” she sighed, getting to her feet. “Stars, it’s hard to imagine any of those girls fitting through this.” She hefted herself into the tunnel. “Or doing this much work, for that matter…uh oh.”

The tunnel had turned into a vertical climb. Two short ledges waited overheard, one a few feet above and rotated around from the other. Both narrowed the passage such that she couldn’t see her thickened waistline getting through both.

“It’s like a giant keyhole,” Estelle realized. “Alright…why couldn’t the initiation challenge just be a giant cake or something? Or maybe make out with your bunkmate and do a keg-stand, like back at the academy…”

She hoisted herself up, pushing herself along the tunnel walls with her back to the first ledge. When she’d advanced enough that the ledge pressed against the small of her back, her belly was too squished against the other side to go any further. She tried to reach her hands up to the next ledge, but without their support she found herself sliding back down.

“That academy dare’s looking more and more preferable,” she growled. “Hm. Can’t say I ever thought I’d say that. Ummpf. Ensign Caelius wasn’t too bad a kisser, either…”

Twisting around, she set her belly on the first ledge like a shelf. It gave her just enough support that she was able to shoot her hands up without falling and seize the next ledge. Over the next few minutes, by bracing her belly against the rocks, she managed to heave herself up and onto the next platform.

This proved to be a wider cavern, more sheltered and intimate than the grotto below. The cavern opened to the outside on one end, where a ladder led up and out of sight; on the other end waited a soft, inviting bed of leaves and a large green jello mold.

It was sour, but deliciously so. It pursed her lips and reached cold tendrils into her brain. She lay back on the leaf-bed and ate it slowly, appreciating every jiggling slurp. Before long she caught herself lazily rubbing her gut with her free hand.

Angry at herself for enjoying it, she slapped the last of the green jello into her mouth and hauled herself to her feet. She immediately stumbled and had to catch herself against the cavern wall—her head swam, her vision swirled, and her heavy belly threatened to pull her back to the floor.

“…the hell? That wasn’t just a giant jello mold,” she realized, finally recognizing the flavor, “that was a giant jello shot.” She pushed away from the wall, trying to find her footing. “Spiked. Maybe it’s like the academy…after all.”

She staggered to the ladder at the cavern’s mouth. “Come on, Estelle. One more. Just finish it out.” She glanced up the ladder to what looked to be the top of the tower. “So close…”

She mounted the ladder and eased herself onto the first rung. Nothing broke.

Staring forward and steadying her head, she proceeded up as carefully as possible. Her foot slipped a few times and once, halfway up, she nearly fell off to one side for no reason whatsoever, but caught herself and finished the climb.

The ladder brought her to a breezy plateau at the top of the tower. A clearing spread before her, surrounded by a ring of vine-wreathed trees.

Estelle stepped off the ladder and looked over the clearing. A huge purple jello mold, larger than the others she’d already finished, waited for her at the center.

Her swimming head betrayed her as she stood staring. She wavered on her feet, tried to catch herself, and fell backward through the trees. It was the edge of the plateau, but she was saved by an outcropping just a few feet down. She flopped face down onto the rock and sighed.

Her eyes widened. A sparkling blue jello mold sat in front of her face. “Oh,” she coughed. “Just think…if I’d kept my balance, I would have totally missed you.”

She dipped a finger in and tasted it. It was perfectly tangy.

“Wait…so don’t you make five? I thought Hoshi said four…” She screwed up her face, trying to remember. “That green stuff must have been stronger than I thought. Eh, better safe than sorry.”

As she worked her way through the blue jello, she realized that the pain at her waistline wasn’t just her overfull stomach, but the tightness of the yellow ribbon wrapped around it. She frowned down at it and resolved to force the wobbling mass down her gullet faster.

With the last swallow, the ribbon burst apart. Her gut swelled forward unchecked and the two halves of the ribbon flapped helplessly to the floor.

“Not sure if I should be proud of that,” she said with a burp, “but I do feel accomplished. Now, speaking of accomplishments…”

She seized a handful of vines and hoisted herself back onto the plateau. Her feet padded a little more steadily and her head had started to clear. The purple jello waited patiently, but Estelle froze.

Behind the mold, through a part in the ring of trees, she could see the rim of the valley. A crack in the rock wall formed one of the entrances into the valley, adorned with a pair of glowing zappers. A squirmer was pacing languidly beyond them, its membrane wobbling like the jello in Estelle’s belly.

The squirmer seemed to see her, too. It undulated closer to the valley entrance, but stopped as the zappers began to glow brighter.

“You just stay out there, now,” Estelle breathed, stepping forward. The squirmer backed away from the zappers, but continued to watch her.

She knelt down, keeping her eyes on it, and reached a hand toward the jello. The squirmer wriggled and shuddered and she heard, carried over on the breeze, its distant shriek.

“That’s right,” she hissed. “I’m gonna eat this whole thing right in front of you and there isn’t a damn thing you can do to stop me.” She scooped up a serving of jello with both hands, brought it to her face, and sucked it down.

She did so again and again, slowing as the throbbing pain in her stomach grew. Estelle had been full, if not outright stuffed, so many times since landing on the planet she’d lost count, but couldn’t remember a stewing, churning, swelling sensation like this. It was at once insufferably agonizing and irresistibly amazing.

The last lap of gelatin slid down her throat and she stood, stomach stretching grandly out. She asked the survival suit for a refit and pulled the top back down over her stretchmarked skin.

The squirmer fumed at her. Estelle raised a middle finger at it in salute, slapped her tautly-bloated belly, and loosed a belch that echoed throughout the valley. A chorus of cheers drifted up from below.

She tottered back to the cliffside, toward the sound of trickling water. She found the stream, gushing up from a nearby spring and beginning its course down the slope of the tower.

She spread her arms and dove forward, sliding down the stream’s course on her belly. It wound around the outside of the tower, twisting and curving a few times before dropping sharply. Estelle rolled over the edge of the waterfall and plunged into the pool below with a jaw-dropping splash.

Hoshi and Ayla pulled her ashore and set her against the side of the rover. She laid her hands across her gut and winced, eyes firmly shut.

Hester knelt down beside her. “Welcome back.”

“You all did that?” Estelle mumbled. “All of them?”

“Mm hmm. The green one was my favorite.”

“Shocking. Also, ow.”

The redhead petted Estelle’s hair. “You okay?”

Estelle managed to nod. “So I’m official now?”

Hoshi giggled. “Full member of the crew. With full privileges, full—”

“Oh, stop saying ‘full.’ Please…” Her head lolled back and she lurched with another long belch. “Tell the bio-pak to engage pregnancy protocols…’cause I’ve got a food baby.”

fat hiker
03-08-2017, 09:53 AM
Excellent addition, colourful and delicious. I fully approve!

03-20-2017, 11:09 AM
Chapter 23

A deep belch echoed off the walls of the valley, followed by a duet of giggling.

It was well after midnight on one of the planet’s rare cloudless nights. The unfiltered starlight, joined by a couple of moons, lit the valley in a pale blue light. The breeze had faded to a lazy calm; the woods would have been perfectly silent if not for the uneven footfalls and uninhibited voices of two giddy, staggering women.

Estelle and Hester wove their way up the valley, giving the camp and their slumbering crewmates a respectful berth. The pair were heavily glutted and heavily inebriated, making the journey a slow and meandering affair.

They’d sneaked out after dessert, while Hoshi and Ayla had drifted into food comas and Starling had tackled the mountain of dishes. Estelle had wanted a relaxing bath in the northern pool, but Hester had talked her into a quick pit-stop at her favorite beer fountain.

The pit-stop had of course proven anything but quick and Estelle now worried they wouldn’t make it to the pool before collapsing.

“Holy nebulas,” she slurred, tripping over a creampuff. “Hester, you said we’d juss…have a couple.”

Hester helped her up and wrapped an arm around her pudgy waist. “We had a couple. Hiccup! And then a couple more. And then a couple couples more…” Her freckled beer belly sloshed audibly as they stumbled on. The redhead had sucked down an impressive amount, even by her thirsty standards. “Look, we did a lot of—hic!—hard work this week. Plenty of stress. Thought getting a little tipsy would—hulp!—would help you unwind.”

“I was tipsy enough after dinner. Now I’m…I don’ even know. What comes after drunk?”

“Me!” Hester cheered.

Estelle sighed. “I just wanted to relax in the pool and gut my stuff…hm…stuff my gut full of car…caramel.”

“Captain! First off, you know ‘enough’ is a bad word on this planet. Hic-urrp…though I am thrilled to hear you’re taking the init—hic!—initiative on stuffing your gut.” She leered over and patted Estelle’s belly, which had bounced free from her top.

“I can indulge a little…now an’ then. Maybe you’re wearing off on me…” She blew a raspberry. “Or maybe I’m just drunk enough to be inna mood for dumb decisions.”

Hester stroked her hair. “Those are my fav—hip!—favorite kind of decisions. And lookie, here we are!”

They’d staggered into the clearing around the pool. A mixed aroma of herbs and fragrances drifted down from the trees overhead.

“Thank the stars,” Estelle panted, steadying herself on a large chocolate-covered boulder. “I’m getting too heavy for those long walks.”

Hester wiggled up beside her. “Is that right? Let’s—hulp!—let’s check.” She grinned her impish grin and tapped Estelle’s bio-pak.

“199 pounds,” it reported.

Estelle belched. “Holy…nebulas. Almost…sixty pounds in six weeks.”

“You’re so close!” Hester gasped, hugging Estelle’s midsection. “I bet we can get you a couple more pounds tonight…right here. Hiccup!”

Estelle gently extracted herself from the redhead’s arms. “I don’t really need to…oh, but caramel.” She shook her head and began tugging at her suit. “Nn. Wanna…wanna go for a dip first.”

She peeled off her suit top, letting her gut plop out. Glowing in the pale starlight, it seemed as though a third, much softer moon had appeared in the night. Estelle shoved her waistband down, tripped, and collapsed onto her plush backside.

“Ugh, help me with these?” she moaned, flopping onto her side.

Hester knelt down unsteadily, placing a pudgy hand on Estelle’s belly for support. “It would be my—hic!—my pleasure, captain.”

It required a long, grunting scuffle, but at length Estelle’s long, soft legs stretched naked under the stars. She sat up with her back against a boulder, catching her breath and waiting for her head to stop swirling. Her glazed eyes watched with fascination as Hester staggered to her feet and struggled to remove her own garments.

Freed from her constricting top, Hester’s breasts flopped nearly to her navel, broad and low but immensely round. Her beer belly—and it was certainly that tonight—pushed them forward such that they became the inescapable forefront of her person. They jiggled and banged against one another as she bent to pull off the bottom of her suit.

Once she had tossed her clothing aside, the weight of her huge bosom seemed to pull her forward further and further until she fell, giggling mischievously, onto Estelle’s lap.

Estelle winced and groaned. “Wasn’t ready for that, Hess.”

Hester gave her lap an apologetic pat. “Hey, ‘ssnot like you don’t have some—hulp!—plenty of padding.” She got to her knees and eyed Estelle.

“Yeah…” Estelle looked down with a frown. She ran a hand over her bulging stomach, lifted it up, and watched it bounce back down. “I’m getting fat. I tried so hard not to, but this belly keeps exp…ex…keeps getting bigger. Urrp.”

“Quit acting like it’s a bad thing. Hip! And quit acting like you don’t like it. Like you don’t like what this great place’s giving you.” The redhead smirked and grabbed her hand. “Dance with me.”

Estelle shook her head. “Dance? Way too drunk, Hess. Would just stumble around an’ fall over again…”

“Then stumble around and—hic!—and fall over with me.” She tugged again and provided enough counterweight to get Estelle back to her feet.

Estelle had expected the frenetic, drunken frolicking Hester usually called dancing, but instead Hester pulled her close and tucked her head into Estelle’s neck. Estelle flushed as the enormity of Hester’s breasts squished against her bloated abdomen. She felt herself begin to warm as they swayed together.

The weaving dance carried them to the edge of the pool. Estelle closed her eyes and allowed the dance to take her knee-deep into the cool, sparkling water. Her hazy thoughts drifted manifestly toward pleasure.

Her besotted sense of balance betrayed her, though, and they soon fell again. Estelle found herself on her backside, Hester straddling her, bosom filling her vision.

“I think you’re—hic!—think you’re right,” Hester lilted. “This planet hears our cravings. It knows what we want…what we—hulp!—long for…whatever’s most delicious to us.” She reached down and placed Estelle’s hand onto her massive breast.

Breath coming shakily, Estelle squeezed. She circled her thumb over Hester’s nipple and watched the redhead shudder. She brought up her other hand and pressed both breasts together, up and around, in a deep, massaging caress.

Hester bit her lip. She opened her mouth to reply, but only moaned and hiccupped.

Estelle arched her back, pressing her gut against Hester’s. “Then…maybe you’re right. I should stop fighting my cravings…” She leaned forward and kissed Hester’s chest. “This place is a gift.”

Hester kissed the top of her head, lifted Estelle’s chin, and locked her lips with hers. They pulled each other closer in the water.

“Last time we came here,” Hester murmured between kisses, “you asked me about back—hic!—back home. But I didn’t think to ask about you.”

“Ask me about…urrp…ask what ‘bout me?”

“Did you leave anything behind?” Her green eyes glimmered. “Anyone?”

Estelle ran a hand over her cheek. “I had…nothing. I was…I was in prison when they sent me here.”

Hester smiled at her, twirling a finger through her hair. Her bosom bounced with another hiccup. “Well…now you’re free.”

03-27-2017, 08:03 PM
Chapter 24

Back on the New Kansas colony, seasons had been artificially modulated by the Sunflower Dome’s climate systems. It gave a basic sense of liveliness to the swath of land humanity had carved out of the otherwise barren, atmosphereless exoplanet.

The dome’s temperature and moisture regulators allowed the warm summer months to give way to a few months of cold, snowy winter. Cycles were seen as imperative to the human psyche and the winters gave the colonists a time to cozy up by the domicile heating unit with their families and mugs of hot chocolate-substitute.

Something about the winters had always felt false, though. The temperature never got too dangerously low and the snow seemed too market-tested and pristine. When the scarcity hit and the hot chocolate disappeared, the winters lost even their artificial charm and ceased to be anything but bleak. The planet’s pale, scraggly little moon (the affectionately named ‘Chalk Rock’) would stare down on cold nights like a vulture.

Estelle’s winter on LV-237 featured very little of the things she’d been taught to associate with the season, but nonetheless proved far cozier and more genuine than any the colony had designed.

It never got to be particularly cold, at least down in their sheltered, fertile valley. Beyond the rim they could see the effects of the season—the frozen pass, grey skies, and leafless trees—but in the valley everything remained vibrant. Sometimes a chill might settle in at night, but never enough to leave frost. It was as though the ground itself carried a warmth that fought off whatever the air might bring. This was certainly welcomed by the expedition; particularly those members who had outgrown or cast off their survival suits.

Neither was there ever any snow to be seen, at least outside of an accidental powdered-sugar incident one morning (Ayla was banned from preparing breakfast for weeks after). But each morning gave the explorers something new about the planet to appreciate and each evening saw them finding new ways to entertain themselves.

And while there was no fireplace, there was never any shortage of cozying and always an overabundance of chocolate in all its forms.

It was undeniably an alien winter, but one Estelle found herself enjoying more than any prior. As someone who for so long had stopped feeling joy, whether because of circumstances or cynicism, she had trouble accepting it at first. But over time it refreshed her, revitalized her, and soon she regained her ability to appreciate, enjoy, and be thankful for things.

Each morning she could appreciate the bounty of breakfast. She enjoyed pancakes, waffles, eggs of all varieties, hash browns, doughnuts, bagels, croissants, danishes, strudel, and too many pastries to count. She enjoyed breakfasts so lavish they sent her straight back to sleep, face drizzled with jelly and butter and hazelnut spread.

She was thankful, after so many of those breakfasts, for her survival suit’s willingness to accommodate her increasingly less reluctant indulgence. “Suit,” she could sigh without shame, “refit.”

As she finished her work each day, settling in with the others, she could appreciate all the valley’s various gifts, seemingly new and different every time she looked to appease her appetite. She enjoyed platters of pasta, stacks of sandwiches, piles of pizza, streams of stew, mountains of macaroni…all swimming in a sea of sauces or drowning in cheeses, all overflowing with flavor. The valley’s offerings changed frequently: one afternoon they chanced upon a marsh full of mashed potatoes and returned the day after to a fen of fettucine al fredo. Estelle enjoyed each and every dinner she was served and enjoyed, too, the flattery of being served. She enjoyed leaning back in her chair, hands resting atop her distended abdomen, waiting for Starling to bring out the next unnecessary and excessive course.

She was thankful that, no matter how much she’d already had and no matter how much she half-heartedly protested, Starling would always have that next course ready.

“Urrp. Suit: refit.”

In the evenings and further on into the nights, she could appreciate the desserts. The whole world was sweetness: cracked-open rocks yielded caramel, ice cream awaited them in deep caverns, there were pools of pudding deep enough to swim in, a river of honey flowed through the center of their valley, the very walls of their shelter were cheese, and the very ground they trod was chocolate cake. Beer and wine issued forth from fountains, ready for any revel. Estelle forgot the concept of ‘too much’ and enjoyed the impossible experience of eyeing more than could ever be eaten and saying, ‘not enough.’

She was thankful she could do so hand in pudgy hand with a crew of equal appetites.

“Suit: re…mm…refit.”

Above all else, she could appreciate Hester, Ayla, and Hoshi. The wider each of them grew, the closer they grew to one another. The girls enjoyed every little hint of their captain’s growth: the softening of her chin, the deepening of her navel, the frequency of her snack breaks, the tired grunts as she paused for breath along her walks, and the waddle that worked its way into her now unhurried stride. For her part, she enjoyed the nights spent with them, laughing and indulging and enjoying the sunset over the valley, a tall drink in one hand and a third or fourth dessert in the other.

She could appreciate, too, the mornings after, waking slowly and hazily with her head in Hester’s bosom; or, after a while, with her head on Ayla’s broad shoulder or Hoshi’s voluminous lap. One morning Starling returned home to find all four of them slumbering in a pile of plump, naked flesh, covered in butter and syrup.

Estelle was thankful that no matter how decadent each morning, day, and night proved, there was always a bigger breakfast, bigger dinner, and bigger party waiting the next time her appetites flared. Each morning she woke hungrier than ever and each evening she slept fuller than ever, stomach throbbing and head swimming. Each day offered more and each day she not only accepted more, but yearned for more.

“Suit…hic! Oof, oh, stars and nebulas. Hm? Yeah, I’ll have another—hurk—another plate. Suit…hic-urrp. R-re…fit…refit. Mm.”

There was a pause. Nothing happened. “Unable to comply,” the little voice confessed. “Insufficient material.”

03-30-2017, 07:48 AM
Great Chapter. And Cliffhanger. She must be catching up. Can't wait to hear what her weight is after gaining every day.

04-16-2017, 05:52 PM
Chapter 25

“Estelle,” Hester whispered. “Estelle, wake up. Come on.”

Estelle moaned indistinctly, keeping her eyes squeezed shut. “Not yet, Hester. So early. So stuffed. So hungover.”

“Estelle, the sun’s out. Spring’s here. Starling says the mountain pass is open.”

“Sun?” The captain’s eyes worked their way open, confused and bleary. She had passed out slumped against the cavern wall and apparently hadn’t moved since.

Her vision was filled with Hester. The little redhead had grown considerably less little in the weeks since they’d bunkered down for the winter. As Starling had assumed so many of the serving and housekeeping duties, Hester had found her days more full of free time and her gut subsequently more full of sweets. She was nearing three hundred pounds and proudly flaunted every ounce.

The top half of Hester’s survival suit had been discarded in favor of a makeshift camisole. It was unable to do much to contain her expansive, swaying bosom and served only to provide a modicum of decency. Unsupported, her swollen breasts hung to her navel, which punctuated a belly already hanging rather low itself.

Her round, freckled face grinned uncomfortably close to Estelle’s and her equally freckled beer gut pressed against Estelle’s blanketed lap.

“The pass is open,” she repeated. “We can go home, captain.”

Estelle blinked. “What? Holy nebulas. Home…”

“Yeah. The others are outside getting things packed. Come on, get up.” She grabbed Estelle for a hug, engulfing her in a face full of breast, then bounced up and resumed bustling about the cavern.

Estelle sat staring for a minute, settling her head. It still swam a little from the night before and her stomach gurgled fitfully. At length she blew out a long breath and threw off her blanket.

Her naked belly sat atop her lap in a smooth, gently rounded mound. It had continued to take the lion’s share of her new weight, swelling out unchecked from her midsection and seemingly unwilling to share with the rest of her body. Its sides were striated with stretchmarks and embedded with creases from where she’d laid on the blanket. As she struggled to her feet her flabby stomach didn’t merely jiggle or wobble, but sloshed.

She stood swaying for a moment, absently rubbing it, and tapped her bio-pak for the first time in what had to be weeks. She’d been so wrapped up in her new lifestyle she’d all but forgotten about it. “Status update,” she grunted.

“Subject in good health,” it chirped, polite as ever. “Two hundred eighty pounds—”

“Holy nebulas,” she hissed, muting it. “Double what I was when I got here. Might…might be time to slow down.”

As she waddled across the cavern, though, she picked something off a breakfast tray and chomped it down.

At length it occurred to her that she was still naked. She popped open a footlocker and dug through the layers of canvas until she found her survival suit. She’d packed it away twenty or so pounds ago when it had stopped refitting, having found more comfort in the silky makeshift garments the other women had made.

“Should probably put you back on for the trip,” she mused, holding the suit up. “Safety first, and all.”

She’d only continued to grow since reaching the poor fabric’s limits. The top rode up, showing off the entirety of her pot belly, and she couldn’t quite get the waistline up over her butt, leaving the upper swell of each cheek exposed.

Hester smirked. “I don’t know how to tell you this, but you’re way too big for that outfit.”

“Thank you, doctor, I am aware. Can we hold off on the snide remarks until I’m a little more awake?”

“Yes, ma’am, captain tightpants.” She tossed Estelle an éclair. “Get something in your stomach; you’ll feel better.”

Estelle sighed, but pushed the pastry into her mouth and headed for the exit.

She plodded slowly up the tunnel, dragging her hand along the wall for support. Hester waddled a few paces ahead—they had widened the tunnel a few times, but it was still uncomfortable to pass side by side. It also provided a nice view of the redhead’s flat, slab-like buttocks as they wobbled to and fro, a view that kept Estelle’s attention long enough to follow her outside.

They emerged eventually into the clearing and stood blinking for a moment. The world was flooded with unusually bright, warming sunlight. The clouds had finally parted.

“I was starting to think the sun would never come out again,” Estelle said softly.

“And we were starting to think you might never come out again,” laughed Ayla, shuffling over. “Spring finally gets here and you want to sleep through it.”

Estelle cast a sidelong glance at Hester. “I had a late night.”

“Good thing you’re all rested up, then, because there’s a lot of loading up to do. And I’m a little too fat and a lot too lazy to do all that work myself.”

‘Little’ was not a word that had been applied to Ayla in some time. The geologist had grown her fair share over the winter as well, snacking and lounging her way upwards of 415 pounds. Her body had made a noble attempt to maintain her hourglass proportions despite all the excess mass, resulting in broad, gelatinous thighs, supple hips, a deliciously hefty bosom, and arms as thick as Hester’s thighs. And though Ayla’s waist had managed to avoid spreading as much as the rest of her, a thrice folded belly still sagged down from her abdomen. She’d discarded what remained of her survival suit in favor of a billowy silken dress.

Somehow, she’d remained the most active of any of them. Perhaps there was still some muscle hidden under all her flab, or perhaps she was just better at using her weight, but much of the heavy lifting, when Starling was not on hand to do it, fell to her.

There wasn’t much heavy lifting left to do, though, thanks to Hoshi. In the process of refitting the rover, the engineer had put together not only a few small cranes and lifts, but had also retrofitted a few of the construction mechs to help around the compound. She could work on upgrading the rover without having to rise from her now resplendently fat backside.

Hoshi had recently blown past 470 pounds. When she’d reached and surpassed Selena’s milestone, they’d thrown a memorial party that had lasted three straight days. Estelle didn’t remember much of it, but had herself gained almost ten more pounds by the time they’d sobered up. Honored, Hoshi’s appetite had only increased since.

Her butt, each quaggy cheek larger than Estelle’s own belly, spread out from beneath her and spilled over the edges of her workbench. She kept it somewhat covered with an increasingly insufficient sarong. The top of her survival suit had survived, if barely, serving now as little more than a halter top. Her broad stomach weighed her down and forced her to lounge back as she sat.

Estelle stretched and scratched her belly, looking around at her obese crew. “Are you sure the shuttle’s thrusters can get our fat asses to escape velocity?”

Hoshi snickered. “We don’t weigh 20,000 tonnes, captain.”

“Not quite yet, anyway,” Hester chided in her ear.

“Though if we’re really gonna bring a full cargo hold of this planet’s goods with us, I’m sure I’ll be stuffing quite a bit of those goods into my own cargo hold on the way.”

“I don’t doubt that,” Estelle muttered.

“Captain,” Starling greeted her. “I have just returned from a survey of the peaks. I can confirm that the mountain pass is indeed open. Our route back to the cargo module should be fully accessible.”

She allowed herself to smile. “Thank the stars. Alright, everyone, we have plenty of work to do before we can leave. Let’s get the rover loaded and fitted out, pack up the research equipment, and engage the shut-down protocols…”

Her stomach rumbled. She rubbed it and glanced around with a sigh.

“…right after breakfast, I mean.”

04-19-2017, 06:15 AM
:bow: :bounce: Thanks for the update :D Fantastic job again
Can't wait to read more of this masterpiece ;)

fat hiker
04-19-2017, 06:55 AM
This story just grows in magnificence and attractiveness!

04-25-2017, 06:36 PM
Chapter 26

When she had first landed and hiked across LV-237’s alien terrain, everything had seemed so vast, monolithic, and impenetrable. As she now retraced much of that journey, she found that time and familiarity had compressed the landscape a great deal. The planet seemed much smaller; its features more welcoming and accessible.

“Eh, it probably just looks smaller,” Hester teased, “because you’re so much bigger now.”

Estelle rubbed her eyes. “Quit interrupting my poignant reflections.”

“Quit wasting time on poignant reflections instead of pigging out on confections.”

The doctor was lounging back in her seat, the valley of her cleavage piled high with small candies. She popped one in her mouth, then flicked another across to Estelle.

They rode in the top cabin of a double-decked trailer, a behemoth of scrap-metal towed by the expedition’s rover. Together the vehicles trundled heavily across a plain of pancakes. Hoshi had worked wonders to make the trailer comfortable and relatively secure, but it proved a massive, unwieldy burden that slowed the overtaxed rover to a crawl.

The interior was cozy, though, and offered enough space for its parcel of pudgy passengers. A mobile generator and a pair of squirmer-zappers had been jury-rigged to the roof, so far unneeded.

The women took turns driving, keeping in contact with the trailer through a crackling intercom. Starling had offered to drive the entire journey, but Estelle had instead decided to send him ahead on foot. Given the lumbering pace of the caravan, the nimble android would have time to reach the cargo shuttle and have it flight-ready by the time they hove into view. He’d taken some convincing, but eventually dashed off with a bag of tools. They hadn’t seen him in a few days.

It was slow going indeed, but steady. The shift system allowed them to drive through the nights and once Estelle convinced the others to take their meals in the trailer, they began to make good time. Three could happily spend the shift gorging on dumplings in the trailer while the fourth, in the driver’s seat, ignored the rumblings of her stomach and scanned the horizon for any unwelcome surprises.

Occasionally one or two undulating silhouettes would appear on a distant hill, or on the far side of a river. The squirmers wouldn’t follow, but certainly seemed to be keeping an eye on the motorcade.

Hester postulated that the creatures had learned to be wary of the blue lights and were hesitant to approach a pair of moving zappers. Hoshi wondered if they were unable to detect the passengers’ organic mass—however massive they may have grown—within the enclosed metal carriage. Ayla cautioned that perhaps the squirmers were merely biding their time. Estelle could only thank the stars that nothing had happened yet.

As the days wore on, however, they began to see more and more of the creatures. The squirmers always kept their distance, but appeared more frequently, and soon in greater numbers.

During Estelle’s shift at the wheel on the sixth day, it became clear that the squirmers were massing. She saw two peeking out from behind a breadstick, another looming atop a mound of cheese, and three or four more huddled together in the hollow of a collapsed soufflé.

She tried to distract herself from them by gazing wistfully at a giant ice cream cone, but soon noticed that the glob of vanilla was in fact translucent, membranous, and squirming.

Drumming her fingers on the steering wheel, she radioed up to those in the trailer. They offered little comfort: they’d recently stopped to pick up an early dinner and had eaten themselves into a stupor.

Her shift concluded without incident, though. Once the sun disappeared she eagerly traded spots with Hoshi in the trailer and proceeded to devour lasagna until she couldn’t see straight.

Breakfast was interrupted the next morning, during Hester’s shift, by the doctor’s voice pleading for a response over the radio.

Estelle rolled over, belly flowing out onto the cushions, and grabbed the receiver. “Hester? Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” came the timid reply. “I mean, for now.”

Hoshi pushed herself up. “Why have we stopped?”

“Hester, what’s going on?”

“You might want to look outside, captain, eh?”

“It’s probably a mountain of rumcake or something,” Hoshi grumbled, wiggling over to the front viewscreen. “I’m in no position to call anyone a pig, but that girl has seriously…holy nebulas.”

“What is it?” asked Ayla.

“That’s…a lot.”

“A lot of what? Hoshi, we can’t see anything around your rump. Get—oh.”

The rover had stopped along a narrow, winding mountainside pass, sheer drop-off to one side and craggy vertical wall on the other. A little ways ahead, the pass was blocked by a seething horde of squirmers.

Estelle could make out at least a dozen of them, with shadows beyond suggesting that more were on their way. They slid around and over each other, jostling to get to the front of the pack.

Estelle jabbed at the radio. “Hester, I’m gonna suggest we back up.”

“No good, captain,” said Ayla, opening the rear viewscreen. There were more squirmers gathering in the pass behind them.

“It’s a trap!” shouted Hoshi.

“What should I do?” whimpered Hester.

“We brought the zappers for a reason,” Ayla growled. “Light ‘em up.”

Hoshi shook her head. “We’d end up lighting ourselves up. We brought those zappers to repel one or two squirmers. There are dozens out there…we’d overload the generator in seconds.”

“So just plow right through them. We’re in a tank.”

“We’re in a trailer made of scrap metal that’s slowed our ‘tank’ to walking speed. They’re more likely to shove us off the cliff than we are to shove our way past them.”

“What’s your plan, then, Hoshi?”

Hoshi sputtered.

“Fuck,” Ayla cried. “We had months to get ready for this and we wasted all that time stuffing our fat faces.”

Estelle seized the geologist’s shoulders. “And we shouldn’t regret a single bite. We are ready for this. Everyone did an amazing job putting this thing together. We’re not going down that easy.” She grimaced out the side window. “Although we may have to, you know, go a little ways down.”


“Hester, look out to your left. Down the cliffside. You see that outcrop about, what, a hundred yeards down?”

“Uh…yeah. Up ahead a little?”

“Exactly. I saw it from the side when we were coming around the last curve.” She turned to Hoshi and Ayla. “There’s a hole in the cliff. I think it might be the mouth of a cave.”


“Well, at least I hope it’s the mouth of a cave. Either way, it’s a hole that’s big enough for the trailer. I think.”

Hoshi cocked an eyebrow. “You could tell that from back there, on the turn?”

She shrugged. “I’m a smuggler. Getting things through tight spots is my job.”

“Well, lucky you,” Ayla chided, patting Estelle’s gut, “because your appetite has made a lot of the galaxy’s spots much tighter for you.”

“How are you planning to get us down there, captain?” asked Hester.

“Uh…we turn left, basically.”

“Och, you know, when we put you in charge, it was under the assumption you wouldn’t ask us to drive off a cliff.”

“Do you want to vote on it? I think I know how the squirmers would vote.”

“She’s right.” Ayla agreed. “Squirmers don’t seem to like climbing.”

Hoshi frowned, but nodded. “Or falling. I think we have to try it.”

“Fine,” Hester acquiesced. “But you’re driving, captain.”

Estelle threw up her hands. “Oh, come on—”

“You’re the smuggler. Get down here and…smuggle.”

“Nebulas…fine. Open the hatch. I’m coming down.”

“Hurry. And maybe bring a few scones.”


“I’m not dying on an empty stomach!”

Estelle squeezed herself through the trailer’s forward hatch. She was the only one who could fit through; the others could only get out through the main door at the back. Even so, she still nearly pulled her trousers off as she wriggled through and had to pull them back up over her butt after she plopped unceremoniously into the rover.

Hester shoved her into the driver’s seat and kissed her on the cheek. “Good luck, captain.”

“Thanks, Hester.”

“Did…did you bring the scones?”

Estelle revved the engine and accelerated. Next to her, the doctor fumbled with her seatbelt.

The squirmers hesitated, seeing the rover lurch forward, but after a moment resumed their advance and began to hurry.

Estelle clipped on her own seatbelt. She gave Hester an uncertain glance, squeezed the doctor’s freckled gut for good measure, and then wrenched the steering wheel over.

The rover veered to the left and vaulted off the edge of the pass. The trailer swung round behind it, skidding sideways, and slapped a pair of squirmers into the air as it, too, careened over the edge of the cliff.

The squirmers sailed off over the abyss. The much heavier trailer dropped straight down, wheels making improbable contact with the cliff face. It pulled the rover with it and soon they were both sliding desperately down the crags. For a fleeting moment, Estelle caught herself wondering what flavor the rocks were.

She slammed on the breaks the rover and trailer lurched, then barrel-rolled. They spun completely around twice, then crashed to a sudden, violent halt.

The caravan had landed, miraculously, on the outcrop. Its momentum carried it to the ledge and they found themselves teetering on the driver’s side wheels, moments away from tipping and falling the rest of the way to the gorge.

“Everyone to the right!” Estelle shrieked. “Lean right!”

Nearly 1500 pounds of fat human flesh shifted to the right. Estelle threw herself onto Hester while Hoshi and Ayla dove to the right side of the trailer. The passenger side hesitated, then fell. The vehicles settled flat with a crash.

Hydraulics hissed, metal creaked, and alarms rang, but the rover and trailer had stopped, upright. The rooftop zappers flickered and sparked, but still glowed. The two airborne squirmers plummeted past, screeching helplessly.

“Everybody okay?” panted Estelle.

“Think I’m alright,” Ayla mumbled over the radio. “Hoshi’s butt is fine, too.”

“Might be a little bruised,” said the engineer.

“With all that padding?”

“Hester?” asked Estelle. “Hes…oh.”

She looked down. Her belly was squashed against Hester’s face. She rolled off and the doctor gasped for air, trying to pull herself up.

“Sorry about that,” Estelle offered.

Hester coughed. “It’s okay. Kinda used to it. My boobs try to choke me every time I lie down.”

“I propose we never do that again,” said Ayla.

“I concur,” came Hoshi’s voice. “Captain, I hope the next step of your plan involves less tumbling.”

Estelle turned. Before them loomed the mouth of the cave. It wasn’t nearly as inviting as the subterranean cheesecake abode they’d left behind, but the depth of shadow within suggested that it had to lead somewhere.

“Whatever the next step is,” Hester grumbled, adjusting her immodest attempt at a shirt, “it’d better involve someone bringing me those scones.”

05-01-2017, 06:28 PM
Chapter 27

“Okay, so, maybe it doesn’t fit after all,” Estelle admitted.

“We’ve been hearing that a lot from you lately,” chuckled Ayla, yanking up on the brake lever.

The trailer had proven just a few feet too tall for the mouth of the cave. They’d gunned the rover’s engine and tried to brute-force their way through, but the rocky surface refused to yield. The trailer was now firmly wedged in place, unwilling to budge and effectively sealing them inside the tunnel.

“At least the rover made it in,” Hoshi offered, “and having two zappers stuck in the entrance should deter those squirmers from following us in…buy us time to find an exit.”

“Assuming there is one,” Hester chimed.

Ayla peered into the darkness. “Judging from how the planet’s terrain has behaved everywhere else, I think it’s safe to assume this tunnel goes somewhere.”

“And, failing that,” Estelle added, “I’m sure it won’t take you girls very long to eat us a way back to the surface.”

“You say that like you wouldn’t help, but your gut says otherwise.”

“Anyway, I propose we get moving and see where the tunnel goes. Unhitch the rover and get anything you need out of the trailer.”

The tunnel proved remarkably straight. The floor was perfectly flat and the walls smooth. The whole formation seemed unnaturally uniform.

It led them down a gradual decline, deep under the mountain. The rover trundled cautiously on for miles, headlights showing nothing but the same dark, featureless rock. The tunnel stretched on without deviation, without variation, and, most strikingly, without any food. Four eager stomachs began to grumble and whine as hours passed and multiple assumed mealtimes were skipped.

“I think I am legitimately starving,” Hoshi wheezed.

Estelle rolled her eyes. “It’s a little odd hearing that from someone with a BMI over eighty.”

“Don’t give me that. Your stomach just rumbled so hard I could see ripples.”

Ayla groaned. “This tunnel better lead to a bottomless pit of butter.”

“Och, yes,” Hester gasped. “Drive faster, captain. Floor it. Let’s…why are you slowing down?”

“Because I think we’ve found something.”

The tunnel widened, then opened abruptly into a cavern so massive the rover’s headlights couldn’t see the walls. Estelle let the rover roll to a gentle stop and sat a moment, listening.

After half a minute, she unbuckled her seatbelt.

Ayla started. “What are you doing?”

“Taking a look around. Bio-pak: light.”

The display on Estelle’s wrist flared to life with a blue glow. She eased herself out of the vehicle and scanned the shadows.

“She’s right,” Hoshi realized. “A chamber this size is bound to have something to eat.”

Estelle sighed. “That’s not why I—”

“Come on,” Ayla urged, flopping out of the rover. “Everyone spread out and follow your nose.”


The rover lurched as Hoshi’s weight dropped off of it. An orange light appeared on her wrist as a red beam flashed from Ayla’s.

Hester activated her pak’s green light and reluctantly got to her feet. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

They fanned out, each taking a few tentative steps, then glancing back at the others before proceeding. Their lights swept faintly around, but showed nothing but more blackness.

A muted, bassy growl echoed through the chamber. Everyone froze.

“What was that?” Ayla hissed.

“My stomach,” mumbled Hoshi.

Estelle smiled and shook her head, but cast a nervous look back at the rover to make sure her rifle was still easily accessible. She toyed with the idea of going back for it, but as she turned the blue beam of her flashlight danced over a curious lumpy shape.

“Anybody finding anything?” she called, tiptoeing toward it.

“Nothing here,” reported the engineer.

“Same,” called the geologist.


“She’s…she’s bent over, captain. I think she’s…oh, nebulas.”


“Hester, stop licking the floor.”

“Sorry,” came the doctor’s voice, “just can’t figure it out. There’s no flavor. I don’t think it’s even edible.”

Hoshi scoffed. “Almost forgot that was possible.”

“I don’t think it’s organic at all,” Ayla remarked, tapping the ground. “It’s some kind of…polymer.”

“But that would mean…” Hoshi scrunched up her face. “That would mean this cave is…artificial.”

“And it means we still don’t have anything to eat,” Hester wailed.

Estelle stared at the lump she’d found: a pile of baked sweets. “Simmer down. There’s some dessert over here. Fried dough, looks like. Little twisty things.”

The others rushed over, pushing to dive into the pile first.

“Easy, girls, there’s enough for everybody.”

“Captain, you know that’s not true.”

“Yeah, yeah. And ‘enough’ is a bad wo—”

She froze. The others, reaching her, halted mid-waddle and gaped.

Just beyond the pile of dough-puffs, now visible in the combined light of their beams, stood a man’s figure. After a long, pregnant moment, he stepped forward.

“Holy nebulas,” Estelle panted. “You scared us half to death.”

“My sincerest apologies,” Starling replied. “I had assumed you would still be above ground, in the trailer.”

“Some squirmers talked us into a little detour. What about you? I mean …why are you skulking around down here in the dark?”

The android scooped up an armful of the dough-puffs from the pile and politely began handing them out. “I do not require light for navigation. However, I would appreciate if you would lend your bio-pak lamps to illuminate something I have found.”

Estelle opened her mouth to ask a follow-up question, but found herself putting the pastry in it instead. To be fair, it was delicious.

“If you would all shine your lamps this way,” Starling continued, “I think you will see something of interest.”

They did so. The various arcs of light settled on the face of a wall. It was made of the same black polymer and they could see, as they approached, that it had been intricately carved up and down with an elaborate mural.

“Holy nebulas,” Estelle breathed.

“By the stars,” Ayla agreed.

“Out of this world,” Hoshi gasped.

“Mm…mmf,” chewed Hester.

Hoshi traced the carvings with her finger. “So this chamber really is man-made.”

“Or alien-made, rather,” Ayla observed, pointing up. A series of portraits and pictograms showed a variety of very inhuman life-forms.

“Like the bas-relief back at camp,” Hester remarked, “the one that lead us to this planet in the first place.”

Estelle grimaced. “These aliens are different, though. The ones on that relief had four arms each. These guys have…what, two arms and a tentacle, I guess?”

“And wings.”

“Moreover,” Starling noted, “the style and method of the carving is entirely different. These murals also feature some kind of writing along the base of the image, which was absent in the artifact.”

“Murals, plural?” Ayla asked.

“Yes. This is the first; they continue from here along the length of the wall.”

“You’re right, it does look like writing,” Estelle nodded. “Nothing I’ve seen anywhere, though.”

“It doesn’t appear to be any of the languages represented in the Federation of Species.” He cocked his head at Estelle’s confused expression. “Your ship’s computer was kind enough to update my linguistics data, captain, in addition to everything on the political changes back home.” He gazed back at the mural. “These epigrams don’t resemble anything in the existing corpus…rather they seem older than any in use. Perhaps a precursor or ancient relative to one of those in use today.”

“So we can’t decipher it.”

“Unlikely, but we may be able to hypothesize the intent of the pictograms. I believe we are looking at a narrative, or chronicle. If we look up here to the top left, which is suggested by apparent force dynamics to be the starting point, we see a small assortment of beings. Their ordering may depict that they are exiting some kind of vessel.”

“Colonists landing.”

“Like us,” Hester suggested.

“Very like, yes…if we ignore the number of limbs. Moving along the mural, we notice a pair of trends: an increase in the number of the beings…”

“A successful colony, then,” guessed Ayla.

“…along with a gradual, but significant increase in the size of the individual beings.”

“I think we can identify with that trend,” sighed Estelle.

Hoshi grinned. “So aliens like cheesecake, too. I feel better about the universe.”

Hester nodded. “Judging from the planet’s ability to adapt to all our desires, it stands to reason it could take the form of whatever treats the aliens would have liked, eh?”

“Xeno-cheesecake.” Ayla squinted at the carvings. “Look at this…their wings get smaller and their bodies get bigger. Flying must have gotten pretty hard.”

“Indeed, the wings seem to become mostly vestigial,” Starling confirmed, “while what I presume is the stomach becomes an object of reverence and adoration here in the second mural. By this time, many individuals of the ruling class appear to be entirely immobilized…which becomes a problem, apparently, as things take a turn in the third mural.”

They shuffled along the wall to the next panel.

The android pointed up. “A new pictogram is introduced…and I don’t think it’s too great a leap to identify these oblong characters as our membranous macrophage friends.”

“The squirmers.”

“As soon as their pictograms appear, the colony’s population begins to decrease. They continue growing as individuals…” He traced his way down the mural. “…but their numbers steadily diminish until…”

“Until there are only squirmers left.”

Ayla ran her hands through her hair. “That fits with what little we gleaned from the artifact back in camp. This must have happened countless times: explorers show up, make themselves at home, get too fat to run away, and get killed by squirmers.”

“It’s all bait,” Hester murmured. “It lures you in with what it knows you want most…the whole planet is a giant honeypot. We were just the latest round of suckers.”

Estelle turned away from the mural. “Then we should get away before we get stuck, too.”


“Speaking of which, Starling…you wanna tell us why you’re poking around down here in a cave instead of getting the shuttle ready to fly, like we agreed?”

The android held up a hand. “Yes. I can report, happily, that the shuttle is only a day’s walk from the exit of this tunnel system. I can also report that the shuttle’s reserve engines are in good condition and ready for flight.”

“I’m sensing a but,” Ayla muttered, “and not just Hoshi’s.”

Starling hesitated. “I must also report, unhappily, that the shuttle’s flight control core is missing.”

“What?” shrieked Estelle.

“Wait, what’s that?” asked Hester.

“The control core is a little virtual intelligence cylinder,” Hoshi explained. “It’s basically the security key for all automated functions. Contains all the failsafes…supposed to stay with the ship. Without it, we’re locked out of the controls.”

“A serious concern, obviously,” Starling continued. “I was inputting our departure trajectory and found the navigation system unresponsive…subsequent troubleshooting revealed the core’s absence. Fortunately, the equipment it contains gives off a unique energy signature. I tracked this signature to this cave system, but have since lost the signal.”

Estelle rubbed her eyes. “Starling, look, I appreciate you showing us the mural and all, but maybe lead with the mission-critical emergency next time.”

“Of course. My sincerest apologies, captain. But now that your lights are available, perhaps we might have better luck in the search.”

“Yeah. Fine. Spread, out, girls.” She stormed back toward the rover. “You said you lost track of the radiation signature? Why would it just disappear off your readings?”

“If it were buried somewhere in here, possibly, or if…”

“Stars. And why would it be missing in the first place?” She threw out her arms, then paused. Her light settled on the driver’s seat of the rover: her rifle was gone.

“Perhaps someone removed it,” said a deep voice.

Estelle dropped her pastry. Behind her, she heard the others freeze in their tracks.

The sound of the rifle being cocked echoed through the chamber. Deep within the shadows, the light of a yellow bio-pak display flickered to life.

05-01-2017, 07:31 PM
Really enjoying this.

Benny Mon
05-04-2017, 09:37 PM
This has been absolutely amazing. Compelling story along with the baser pleasures. Can't wait for the next bit!

05-08-2017, 06:01 AM
Glad you're enjoying! Thanks for reading and thanks for the feedback.

Chapter 28

Hyllus was a tall, well-bred man with a lanky build and excellent bone structure. The latter was all too apparent, for his gaunt frame betrayed serious malnutrition. He was a grey husk of the beaming gentleman who had landed with the expedition; thinning blonde hair and bulging blue eyes now held the only remaining color on his sallow face. If he weren’t striding toward them, brandishing the rifle, the women of the expedition might have presumed him a corpse.

“So you’re not dead,” Estelle said slowly, motioning for the others to get behind her.

“And you’re not Commander Jolan,” he replied. “What’s happened to our beloved Selena, I wonder? Squirmers?”

They remained silent.

“Ah. It seems she finally became what she loved most: dinner.”

“And it seems you’re every bit the heel she said you were,” Estelle retorted. “Selena gave her life fighting them off and we buried her a hero.” She stepped toward him. “And I was under the impression it was you who’s supposed to be dissolving in some squirmer’s membrane.”

He trained the rifle on her, checking her advance. “Well, when it comes to heroism, miss…”

“Captain,” she corrected, “Estelle Gorlois.”

“Mm. You see, I, too, made a heroic sacrifice. I led a squirmer attack away from our habitat’s valley and made it possible for my fellow pioneers—and their appalling appetites—to survive.” He gestured for her to back up. “But I escaped with my life, surely to their present chagrin. I outran the squirmers and managed to conceal myself while their attentions turned back to much…meatier prey. You see, friends, by not consuming my bodyweight in cheesecake twice a day, I have retained my ability to run, to jump, to hide, to climb…to survive.”

Ayla huffed. “You wouldn’t have had to run at all, if you had the ability to think about anyone but yourself.”

He grinned and glanced at the dough-puff in her hand. “Scathing criticism from people who just pushed their partners aside for the possibility of first pick from a pile of pastries.”

She seethed and stepped out from behind Estelle, but froze as the rifle swung round to face her. Estelle rushed to place herself between them again.

“Take it easy, professor,” she panted. “It’s my mission to get the expedition off this planet and safely home. That mission would include you, too…if you want.”

He scoffed. “If I wanted to go home, captain, I wouldn’t have removed the control core. I would have taken that shuttle and left the day I found it.” He shook his head and wandered into the beam of the rover’s headlamps. “No, I’m not going anywhere, and with the core hidden safely away, I can now ensure that you aren’t going anywhere, either.”

“But the planet’s a trap,” Estelle implored him. “That mural over there proves it. It’s only a matter of time before this place kills all of us.”

“Ah, except I have not yet fallen for the bait. I have the willpower to resist our new home’s temptations, unlike your crew and, evidently…” He cast a smirk at her belly. “…unlike yourself, as well.”

“Please,” Hester spat, “you’re more trapped than any of us. Maybe you don’t crave food like we do, since you grew up rich enough to not feel the scarcity crisis back home. But this planet knows what you do crave: power. You’re so desperate for it you followed that temptation halfway across the galaxy just for a taste.”

“Pigs in a passion play. Yes, blame the scarcity crisis, as always. One day you’ll realize it was gluttony like yours that caused the crisis in the first place.”

Hoshi rubbed her temples. “Nebulas…first off, it’s been shown that the problem was unsustainable satellite-farming policies stemming from corporate greed. Second—”

“Of course. Always blaming everyone but yourselves. No sense of responsibility.”

Estelle held up her hands. “Look, I have a sense of responsibility. I’m responsible for getting this expedition home safe. So let’s just put the gun down and discuss what it’s gonna take for you to let me fulfill my responsibility.”

“Always thinking about yourselves. What about my responsibility?” He spat, rifle quivering. “I am burdened with the future of this whole planet. LV-237. The birthplace of a new power in our galaxy. A window to tomorrow. The future and fortune of humankind.” He raised a menacing finger. “I see you moving to flank me, Starling. Go any further and I open fire.”

The android stood up from behind the rover. “Acknowledged. But please understand, professor: your expectations for survival and prosperity on this planet are extremely unrealistic, given the available data. It would be in your best interest to discard whatever plans require you to remain here. I advise departing with us.”

“Besides,” Hester grumbled, “if you trap us here, it’s not like we’ll cooperate with your stupid fantasies.”

Ayla nodded. “Definitely. Count on us to make your life here hell for as long as we’re alive. You use that rifle and you can build the future of humanity by yourself.”

“And we’ll cackle from the afterlife while you run and hide from a thousand hungry squirmers for the rest of your miserable days.”

He studied each of them in turn. “Mm, I had feared that would be your stance. Your worldview is, as usual, immature and incorrect, but clearly it isn’t about to change…regardless, it helps to know with certainty where you stand, for the sake of negotiations.”

“Negotiation?” Estelle echoed.

“Don’t sound so skeptical. I’m a good man, captain. I’d prefer a civil resolution to having to use this gun. So, let’s approach things with reason.” He paced, but kept the rifle and a watchful eye cast in their direction. “You want everyone to leave. I want everyone to stay.”

They watched him pace. Hoshi began to shuffle forward, but Estelle caught her and motioned for everyone to stay still.

“My withholding the flight control core,” Hyllus continued, “grants me the power to prevent your desired outcome from being realized. Likewise, your collective, spiteful pettiness prevents my desired outcome from being…as desirable.” He slowly lowered the gun and glanced around to make sure they all remained still. “I can offer a compromise.”

Estelle shook her head. “I’m not going to compromise on these women’s safety.”

“Admirable. But would you perhaps compromise…for their safety?”

“What are you suggesting?”

“Here’s my proposal: everyone of the crew who wants to leave will leave. I will reveal where I’ve hidden the core, the shuttle will take off, and they can be safely delivered home. Your mission will be fulfilled, captain, and what passes for your conscience may be set at ease.” He puffed out his chest; the contours of his ribcage could be seen through the yellow fabric of his survival suit. “In exchange, you will stay here with me…”

Hester started. “What? No—”

“…serving my vision without impudence and willingly cooperating in the grand endeavor that is this planet’s conquest…not as a prisoner, but as a partner.”

Estelle looked back at the others. They vehemently shook her heads.

“You’ll give up the core and let them go?” she asked.

He nodded. “You have my word. Starling can lead them from here and pilot the shuttle. They will be free to head home. The rover and this rifle with have to stay here with us, of course…for our continued safety.”

Hoshi swallowed. “We’d have to…walk the whole rest of the way.”

“You could use the exercise. It’ll be a safe journey, regardless. Squirmers do not frequent these tunnels. And even after you leave the mountain, they’ll be too busy failing to catch Estelle and me to bother any of you.” He sat down on the rover’s hood and smiled at Estelle. “Captain, as a gesture of good faith, the first step of our new partnership will be to see that the shuttle lifts off safely.”

“And the next step?” Estelle ventured.

“Conquer the planet. Shape it according to my vision.”

She grimaced, looked over at the darkened mural, then back to him. The others murmured behind her, but she shushed them. After a long moment, she took a step forward. “…our vision. If we’re gonna be partners, I get to at least have some input.”

His sunken face broadened into a smile.

05-10-2017, 08:47 AM
The plot thickens even though it seems the girls will not (for now.)

05-21-2017, 07:47 PM
Chapter 29

A chorus of huffing and wheezing sounded from the mouth of the tunnel. Heavy, uneven steps echoed from the shadows, soon joined by shuffling and scraping.

Just as the last rays of the sunset faded from the sky, three obese women spilled out of the cave, gasping for air and held upright only by one another’s shoulders. Seeing that they’d finally escaped the tunnels, they released each other, stumbled around for a few moments, and finally collapsed against a nearby wall.

They had emerged on the far side of the mountain into a maze of rock towers and crags. Below, in the distance, they could see a wide plain spreading toward the horizon.

Starling strode out of the cave, carrying their bags. He glanced at the exhausted trio, set down his burdens, and climbed up a rock to check their surroundings.

“How could she?” Hester panted at length.

“What?” asked Ayla, hand to her heaving chest.

“Estelle…she just…she just abandoned us…to stay here with…with him, that stupid bastard…” She choked faintly. “No goodbye kiss, even…”

“She gave herself up so we could go. That’s a bigger gesture than any kiss. And there wasn’t much room for discussion, what with the gun and all.”

“I just…it doesn’t seem right.”

“I know. But you know Estelle...obviously she weighed the decision carefully and...” She glanced around. “Hoshi? No snide comment about 'weighing the decision'?”

Hoshi mumbled faintly.

“Come again?”

“I said…I just walked more in one day than I probably ever did even before I put on 360 pounds. If I waste breath on snide comments I might just die.”

“I hear that.” Ayla craned her neck. “Starling, I don’t suppose you see any food from up there? We’re out of the caves…we should be seeing edible stuff again, I figure.”

The android slid down and dusted himself off. “Yes. We are in a small recess in the mountainside, made from the same artificial material as the cave system, but outside of this recess the planet’s usual landscape resumes.”

“Thank the stars.”

Hester blinked. “Wait…more artificial stuff? Is this whole mountain a structure, or something?”

“It’s possible,” Starling replied. “Or, at least, it is built into the mountain. The tunnel system clearly contained an underground habitat, larger and more complex than your cheesecake domicile, but not wholly dissimilar.”

“And out here? What did you see from up there?”

“The recess appears to be some kind of gathering area. There are several features which I would describe, through a human eye, as a dais, an altar, and a pair of large thrones.”

Hoshi scoffed. “The capitol of a dead empire.”

“The civilization that built this chamber,” Hyllus droned, beckoning Estelle away from the rover, “left a number of ruins along this end of the continent. I have explored many of them while seeking refuge, collecting all manner of artifacts. Thanks to the lack of microbial activity on the planet, much of them are well-preserved. We may well be able to build our new empire upon the bones of what came before.” He cast his wrist-light toward the wall, illuminating a narrow passageway. “The next chamber contains a cache of textiles and furnishings. It has served me as a serviceable hideout for some time now.”

“They should have sent an archaeologist,” said Estelle. She strained to keep a polite expression on her face while keeping her eyes on the gun in his hands.

“No reason we can’t play the part. The fabrics alone could generate a new field of research, I imagine.” He headed toward the doorway. “Make your way inside and you will soon discover just how comfortable alien clothing can be.”

“Is there a reason I’m putting on alien clothing?”

“I thought we might find you some better-fitting attire. I can only imagine how uncomfortable and embarrassed you must be, squeezed into what’s left of that survival suit…” He tilted his head. “…and I’d rather not have that fat stomach in my face for the rest of my life.”

Estelle looked down at her fat stomach. It slouched listlessly over her waistband, painfully empty but still blocking any view of her feet. She looked back at the rifle. “Whatever you say, professor.”

“Oh, stars…we’re partners now, Estelle. You can call me Flavius.” He gestured for her to go inside.

She shuffled through the passageway, twisting a little and blushing as her lovehandles brushed the doorframe. “I’ll…think about it.”

“Of course. I understand,” he mused, following her into the darkened chamber. “Respect must be earned. I must say, though: you’ve earned mine. Staying here for the sake of the others…that’s a very noble and selfless act.”

He fiddled with some mechanism she couldn’t see. A hum echoed through the chamber, followed by a rattling whir, and then a trio of floodlights flared on overhead. They illuminated a dome-shaped chamber piled high with folded brown fabrics. A few stacks had been shoved aside to create a shallow pit, in which Hyllus had evidently been living.

“Those lights look familiar,” Estelle observed warily.

Hyllus grinned. “They came from our expedition equipment. I have visited camp from time to time for supplies, I confess. Often your friends were away for much of the day, allowing me to collect what I needed without notice.”

Estelle nodded. It could have been any of the long, heady days she and the others had spent outside of camp: diving into a doughnut, excavating a colossal croissant, drowning in a giant gelatin mold, bloating their bellies in a babbling brook of beer, staggering along the sticky spirals of a spacious cinnamon roll…her stomach whined.

“I need something in here,” Hoshi whined, massaging her paunch. “Anything.”

Ayla helped the engineer to her feet. “Just a little more walking, then.”

“That’s the opposite of eating, Ayla.”

“I know. But look…we get out of these ruins and we’re back in the usual environment.”

Hoshi took a few waddling steps and halted, groaning.

“Just think about it, Hoshi,” Hester urged. “The usual environment. You remember what that means…food as far as the eye can see. Breakfast, lunch, dinner—”

“A fifty-foot cherry pie,” Starling stated, appearing from around a corner.

Hester grunted, helping Ayla keep Hoshi upright. “I was just gonna say ‘dessert,’ but yeah, that sounds pretty good.”

Taking Hoshi’s arm, the android continued, “I have followed the directions Professor Hyllus gave us for the flight control core’s hiding place. Assuming I have not erred in my navigation, it seems he dropped the core into a fifty-foot cherry pie just at the base of this hill.”

“Holy nebulas.”

“I considered going in to extract the core myself, but my empathy protocols suggested you might appreciate the opportunity to search for it yourselves.”

They quivered.

“Uh, yes,” Hoshi breathed, “we might appreciate that.”

“Anyway, yes, I appreciate your conviction,” Hyllus remarked, passing Estelle a bundle of fabric. “You have a capacity for doing what’s needed…what’s right.”

She cautiously unfolded it. It resembled a heavy robe. “I’m okay in the survival suit, actually.”

“You’ll be much more comfortable if you change.” He bounced the rifle absently. “And, as I mentioned, I’d rather not have—”

“Rather not have my fat stomach in your face for the rest of your life. I heard you. Alright.” She took a deep breath, stepped back a bit, and peeled her suit top off overhead. Her fat stomach stretched up and bounced with the motion.

Hyllus glanced away for a moment, but, fidgeting with the gun, turned back to watch her, clearly making an effort to keep his gaze at eye level.

“Anyway…conviction, sure. I mean, I care about them.” She slowly stepped out of her trousers, quaggy thighs jiggling. “And when I care, I find a way to see things through, whatever it takes.” She stood naked a moment, squeezing her flabby midsection with a grimace. “Hell, I had to let myself go and double my bodyweight just to earn those gals’ trust.”

His eyes widened. “Ah, and here I was worried you were just another thoughtless glutton, like the others.” He nodded nervously at the robe in her hand. “Instead I can see you’re a…pragmatic thinker. You’re willing to negotiate and sacrifice, able to see of and contribute to the bigger picture.”

She wrapped the robe around herself and tried to close it, but her belly jutted out from between the folds. “Yep. Bigger picture, that’s me.”

He pulled a sheet from one of the nearby stacks, revealing a closet-like compartment, and turned on another light. A collection of trinkets was piled within, sparkling and gleaming. Estelle could see what appeared to be jewelry: necklaces, bracelets, rings, and crowns, all strangely sized and oblong, like the aliens in the murals outside.

Hyllus hefted up a circlet of glistening white metal, adorned with blue and yellow stones. “I think we’ll be very good partners, Estelle,” he announced. “I’m glad to have your cooperation.”

“Well, I’m happy to cooperate,” she replied tentatively, “but I do have…one condition.”

He set down the tiara. “Condition?” he echoed, fingers twitching on the rifle.

She spread her palms. Doing so let the robe fall open and she hurried to tug it closed again. “Not to go back on our deal…what’s done is done and I accept that. I’m here to stay.” She sidled closer to him and laid a hand on the jewelry. “But if you want smiling, enthusiastic cooperation—if you don’t want that rifle to always be the key to our partnership—then all you have to do is grant me one condition. One…one little concession.”

He eyed her.

“Trust, like you said. Mutual respect. Give me this one thing, and you’ll earn that.”

“I’m listening.”

She swallowed. “Thank you. That’s all I ask. My one request…Flavius…is that once in a while, if I want to have a full stomach, you let me fill my stomach.”

He glared at her gut. “Didn’t you just tell me you only did that to yourself to gain the crew’s trust?”

She kept her eyes fixed on his. “That…doesn’t mean I didn’t learn to enjoy it a little bit.”


“Look, I won’t let myself get to the point where I’m useless to you or can’t move or whatever. I just want to, you know, reserve the right to have some fun here every once in a while.” She wrung her hands. “Think of it as…availing myself of our new empire’s riches.”

He glanced back at the pile of jewelry. “The empress wants to enjoy some occasional luxury?”

“As is, uh, my royal prerogative.” She watched him stare at the gems. “Right?”

“I…” He turned back to her. “Yes. That is not only reasonable, but respectable, in a way. I would be a poor emperor to deny the empress her interests.” He offered her the tiara. “As long as you keep yourself able enough to help build this great new empire, then I decree that you are free to indulge in our planet’s bounty whenever you so desire.”

She whirled around and headed for the passageway, ignoring the tiara. “Royal treatment. Good. And I’m gonna need to exercise that right, uh, right now. I haven’t eaten since breakfast and those fried dough puffs out there would make me feel a lot more regal.”

05-28-2017, 06:15 PM
Chapter 30

The pie was everything their famished minds had imagined. It rose up from a plateau of crumbles like an above-ground swimming pool, red cherry ooze spilling out from cracks in its side.

The expedition’s survivors looked down on the dome of its flaky crust from an outcropping overhead, their eyes watering with relief and their mouths watering with desire.

“Why would Hyllus hide the core in there?” Ayla wondered. “Did he not think we’d look in something that appetizing?”

“Perhaps it was a different item when he came through here,” guessed Starling.

Hester chuckled. “Yeah, something more sinister…like a salad.”

“Regardless,” grunted Hoshi, “the way I see it, the sooner we find the core, the sooner we get to the shuttle and safety. And there’s only one way to find the core.”

“So we’d better start eating, eh?

The engineer stepped forward and tore off her sarong. “Don’t want that all dirty for the flight home, after all.”

“Good call,” said Ayla, unstrapping her dress. Hester’s camisole followed suit. “Time to do some swimming in some filling. Or at least do some filling.”

They approached the ledge, licking their lips, and with a chorus of giggles pushed each other over. Three naked bodies fell into the crust, shattering it.

Hyllus clicked his tongue, studying Estelle. “Decorum,” he muttered. They were still deep underground, lit by their respective bio-pak displays and the headlights of the rover.

“What?” asked Estelle between bites of pastry. She sat on the floor, back against a pillar, just a few yards from the pile of dough puffs. Crumbs and powdered sugar already littered her chest.

“The breakdown,” he explained. “Your crew seemed to have abandoned all sense of decorum, succumbing to the planet’s temptations.” He shifted the rifle from arm to arm. “I notice, for example, that you do not wear any underwear.”

Estelle instinctively pulled the fold of the robe tighter over her chest. It covered little of her torso, forced to splay open by the width of her midsection. “Well, I outgrew my underwear about a hundred pounds ago,” she explained sheepishly, stifling a belch. The dough puffs had proven more filling than expected and her belly was already noticeably distended.

Hyllus frowned as she swallowed another mouthful of pastry.

“Bra lasted a little longer,” she continued, “since so much of the weight went to my gut…but even that gave up after a while. I mean, I’ve never had much up here, to be honest, so that part was kind of fun. Turns out all I had to do to get a big sexy chest was get an even bigger belly.”

She gave her stomach an extra shake for emphasis, seeing how it caused Hyllus to turn up his regal nose.

“I suppose that’s one way to look at it,” he managed.

“We found it sexy, anyway. Maybe you’re not impressed, but I’m not really sure what would impress you, anyway. Decorum, I guess?”

He nodded slightly. “In a way. Composure…restraint…elegance…”

Hoshi loosed a belch that echoed off the rocks overhead. Ayla gave her an impressed high-five, their cherry-soaked hands splashing pie filling into the air.

Hester lounged on the crumbling edge of the pie as though it were a beach, digging up handfuls of crust and crushing it into her mouth.

Ayla hoisted up a cherry-piece the size of her head. She and Hoshi bit into it together from each side, spilling juice down their faces, necks, and chests, back down into the waist-high filling in which they waded.

The surface of the filling between them broke and Starling suddenly stood up from the mush. The two women fell backward, cackling.

“I am so very sorry,” professed the android. “I had not realized you were above me.”

Hoshi waved him off. “It’s fine. I wanted some more crust anyway.” She turned her face to the wall and bit into it.

He pulled a heavy metallic cylinder out of the filling. “I have located the control core. It appears to still be functional.”

“So does my appetite!” chimed Hester.

“As such,” Starling added, “we can now depart when you are ready. The cargo shuttle is only a manageable walk from this location…entirely downhill.”

“Oh, good. You can just roll me there,” Ayla lilted.

Hoshi sighed. “We don’t have to leave right away, do we? This pie is so perfect right now…”

“I would advise that we act with some amount of urgency, if possible,” Starling offered. “Now that we are outside of the tunnel system, it is likely only a matter of time until your presence is discovered by the—”

A rending shriek pierced the air. The giggling ceased and Hester flopped down into the cherry filling, petrified.

Starling gazed up. “Correction: I would advise that we act with a great deal of urgency.”

“Is there any chance you could hurry this up?” asked Hyllus, pacing between Estelle and the pile of dough-puffs.

Estelle swallowed. “Excuse me?”

“I don’t want to be rude, but I had hoped we might get going soon. There’s a lot of work to be done.”

She folded her arms atop her gut. “Hey, I understand. But these are delicious and you said I could eat my fill.”

“You’ve eaten six of them!”

“Well, yeah. And I’m probably gonna need at leasy six more before I feel full.” She bit her lip to keep from wincing, hoping he couldn’t tell how much discomfort she was already in. The pastries were enormous and felt as though they were expanding within her stomach.

Hyllus returned to pacing, casting her an occasional flustered glance and fidgeting with the rifle.

Estelle looked at the pile of puffs. “Look, if you want this to go faster…mmpf…maybe you could actually help.”

He stopped. “Help?”

“You said it was good for me to feel like royalty.”


“So, pamper me. The pile’s all the way over there…and I’m not all that great at stretching, reaching, bending over…those sorts of things. I could eat a lot faster if—”

He held up a hand. “I get it. Here…” Crouching down by the pile, he searched out the biggest puff he could find and picked it up. “Koeksisters…the planet tries to tempt me with these…it knows they are the one treat I miss from home. But I have resisted.”

Estelle pressed a hand to her side. “I haven’t. Hic-urrp…maybe just bring a whole bunch of ‘em over. Save yourself the trip.”

He eyed her, then eventually nodded and turned back to the pile. He tried to grab a second puff, but the first was already almost too large for one hand.

After fumbling a moment, he leaned over and set the rifle against the next pillar. With both hands finally free, he set about collecting dough puffs and soon stood up with a sizable pile in his arms. A frenzied shuffle caught his attention and he turned, but too late.

Estelle tackled him, throwing all her prodigious weight forward with a strained grunt.

Two hundred and eighty pounds of woman knocked Hyllus off his feet and the fell to the floor in a heap. The dough puffs went flying and a stray foot kicked the rifle across the room.

Hyllus flailed, throwing Estelle off. He moved to get up, but she wrapped an arm around his ankle and pulled him back down. He twisted as he hit the floor and she shoved his face against the nearby pillar.

“What are you doing?” he cried, kicking her shoulder. “What about our empire?”

“I’m staging a coup,” she hissed, crawling away, her paunch scraping the floor. The rifle lay only a few steps away, silhouetted in the beams of the rover’s headlights.

Hyllus seized the tail of her robe, hauling her backward. She twisted and squirmed as he pulled himself up behind her, leaving him with an empty bundle of fabric as she wriggled naked out of the way.

She pushed herself up and staggered toward the rifle, heart pounding, belly bouncing with each labored step. Reaching it, she swiped her hands down, but Hyllus whisked the gun away.

“Stretching, reaching, bending over…” he growled. “…those sorts of things.”

Her fist slammed into his face. He recoiled and she grabbed at the rifle.

He recovered in time to keep hold of it and they twisted around, each desperately gripping the barrel and trying to wrench it from the other’s grasp. Neither was particularly strong: Hyllus was withered and weak after months of malnutrition and Estelle was stupendously out of shape after a season of sloth and excess.

They pushed and pulled against each other, spinning and staggering back toward the pile of pastries.

He shoved her back against the pillar and took his right hand off the rifle to punch her in the gut. But she barely winced; his fist sank uselessly into the cushion of her flesh.

Trapping his hand between her rolls, she leaned forward, then to the side, twisting him over. Hyllus wrenched his other hand up and as they fell together to the floor he sent the rifle clattering away.

Estelle wriggled around and landed on top of him, straddling his chest. Locating the gun, she threw a hand forward, but it lay just out of reach. She tried to inch closer, but Hyllus was thrashing wildly below her and she realized that if she shifted her weight off of him he would only escape again.

He kicked and flailed up at her. She slapped his hands away, looked down, and fell forward.

Her belly flowed down onto his face. A terrified gasp was cut short by the smothering mass of her flab. She squeezed him into place with her broad thighs and reached out her pudgy hands to pin down his frail, spindly arms.

She could feel his mouth open and try in vain to inhale, creating suction against her stretchmarked skin. A plaintive whimper escaped, but she only put more weight on him.

“How about that?” she panted, “Looks like you’re gonna have this fat stomach in your face after all…for the rest of your life.”

He heaved and contorted himself, but the struggle eventually subsided. Soon it ceased entirely. Estelle waited until he had twitched his last before rising up.

Wheezing from the effort, eyes bulging, deafened by the pounding of her overwrought heartbeat in her ears, Estelle leaned back and stared at the dark ceiling.

She pressed a hand to her chest and belched, then slid off and collapsed to the floor beside the pile of dough puffs. She took a few long, deep breaths, reached up to grab a pastry, and stuffed it in her mouth.

05-28-2017, 08:17 PM
You might want to add an extra space or an ellipses to mark where the story shifts between the two scenes, it gets a little confusing.

06-06-2017, 07:14 AM
Chapter 31

The wall of pie crust split open. Cherry filling oozed out through the opening as a giant pseudopod began to ooze its way inside.

Ayla, Hester, and Hoshi backed away from the breach, shuffling slowly through the waist-deep filling. Starling attempted to sale the far wall.

“Perhaps I can hoist each of you up,” the android suggested, “if I can locate a safe enough foothold in this crust…”

The tear widened, crumbling as the pseudopod thrashed about. Soon they could see the whole squirmer, gathering itself up and preparing to advance.

“At least we got to die on a full stomach,” said Ayla.

“But I’m still hungry,” murmured Hoshi.

An engine revved somewhere outside. The squirmer whirled around and shrieked.

The rover blasted past the opening, smashing the monster on its hood and bulldozing it across the clearing. The brakes squealed as the rover lurched to a stop and the squrimer flew off, tumbled over, and slammed into a rock.

The survivors stumbled out of the pie. While Starling helped them to their feet, the rover reversed and skidded up to them.

“Careful, girls,” Ayla whispered. “We don’t know—”

The passenger door popped open. Inside sat Estelle, unclothed, scuffed up, wild-eyed, and spackled with powdered sugar. Her survival suit and a bundle of strange fabrics sat piled on the seat beside her. She twisted around, bloated belly flowing over her thigh, and reached out a pudgy hand.

“Come with me if you want to live.”

The women eagerly hurled themselves aboard, rocking the vehicle with a violent creak. They were too wide to climb over one another, but desperate enough to squeeze their twelve-hundred combined pounds onto one bench, spilling pie filling and bits of crust all over the interior. Starling leapt in through the opposite door.

“You came back!” sang Hester, seizing Estelle’s hand.

“Well, yeah,” she replied, shifting into gear, “I had to, since you all didn’t.”

“What? You left us to stay with him!” Ayla protested.

Estelle rolled her eyes. “I was stalling. You were supposed to rush him once I got him distracted.”

“Us? Rush?” Hoshi scoffed. “Maybe if you rolled me down a hill…”

Hester managed to flop her way into a sitting position. “Also…why are you naked and covered in powdered sugar?”

Estelle accelerated over a rise. “Why are you naked and covered in cherry filling?”

“The flight control core,” explained Starling, “was concealed within a large pie. Some excavation was required on the part of the crew.”

“Stars. You got it, though, right? Don’t tell me someone ate the damn thing by accident.”

He held up the cylinder. “I have it here, captain. We are fully equipped to leave, assuming Professor Hyllus makes no more trouble for us.”

She shook her head. “Hyllus is done making trouble.”

They went quiet for a moment. “What happened?” asked Ayla.

The rover ramped off a low outcropping. It landed in a field of smooth yellow fondant and raced off toward a forest.

“He got his just desserts.”

The squirmer, collecting itself atop the boulder, rose up and shrieked as the rover disappeared in the trees.

Two other squirmers dropped down from a nearby ledge, screeching in turn. The trio rolled and undulated down the hill to the field and swarmed off into the forest.

More of the creatures joined them as they went, bouncing up from riverbanks and plopping out from behind outcroppings. By midday a massive chevron of oozing membranes was wriggling its way through the wood with terrifying speed.

The trees eventually grew sparser as the forest yielded to a broad, rolling plain. The ground suddenly became brown and tough, occasional fissures opening to reveal the area to be the skin of a vast baked potato.

Tire tracks in a pool of sour cream directed the squirmer horde to where the rover had turned. They swirled, reformed, and took off to the east, toward the base of a fluffy white mountain.

The mashed potato volcano was erupting, spewing gravy across the landscape. The squirmers rolled and dodged each plummeting splotch, never slowing.

They crested the rim of a wide basin and poured down the side in a screaming torrent.

At the center of the basin sat the expedition’s cargo shuttle: a long, blocky module, little more than a freight container with thrusters. As the squirmers approached, lights sparkled to life along the sides of its fat hull and the deep rumble of its engines resonated through the basin.

A glow appeared at the base of the shuttle. It rattled, lurched, and then finally rose a few meters off the ground just as the squirmers reached it. They swarmed to surround the pod, climbing atop one another and reaching for it with pseudopods.

The shuttle listed slowly off to one side. Its stern began to angle up into the air and it spun around in a cumbersome arc. A squirmer managed to leap onto the bow, but slipped across and fell back to the ground.

After half a minute the shuttle finally lifted itself out of the basin. The starboard thrusters sputtered briefly, but righted themselves and flared with a brilliant white fire.

Two massive doors opened at the stern, below the primary engine. They revealed the interior of the freight module, a vast empty warehouse.

Once the cargo doors had been fully opened, the shuttle backed its way toward the mountain of mashed potatoes, hesitated, and then backed itself into the side of the mountain. With an awkward swooping trajectory, it scooped a heap of the terrain into the cargo bay, gouging a deep gash in the mountainside.

The shuttle floated away from the peak with a full payload. The cargo doors closed slowly on the starchy mass within and sealed themselves with a contented sigh. The squirmers stared up from below, warbling in frustration.

They could only watch and shriek as the shuttle leaned back, engaged its main thrusters, and rocketed into the sky.

The squrimers waited for hours, watching the sun pass overhead. Eventually the cloud cover returned, like an ancient gate closing over the sky.

As night fell, the creatures dispersed. They undulated off in various directions, some gathering together in a wriggling mob to head back toward the ruins. Many others, remaining in the basin, flattened themselves against the ground.

Their membranes spread and thinned until they were all but transparent, flowing into the pores and cracks of the planet’s surface. They gradually drained into the ground and were gone.

06-07-2017, 09:20 AM
You might want to add an extra space or an ellipses to mark where the story shifts between the two scenes, it gets a little confusing.

Good call. Will do in the future.

06-07-2017, 06:05 PM
Just wanted to say I'm really enjoying this.

06-11-2017, 09:24 AM
Just wanted to say I'm really enjoying this.

Thanks for reading!

Chapter 32

Exploratory Vessel Triptolemus waited in geosynchronous orbit above LV-237, staring patiently into the starry void. As its prodigal cargo shuttle exited the atmosphere below and set course for a rendezvous, the mothership’s exterior suddenly woke with a chorus of blinking lights.

The shuttle slowed beneath the ship’s abdominal section and floated up into its housing. A pair of clamping arms reached out to secure the bulbous module like a satisfied diner cradling her stomach.

A ding sounded from the array, announcing that the cargo doors had sealed to the freight bay airlock. A few moments later, a second ding and a low hiss marked the passenger airlock’s successful connection.

“Never thought I’d be so happy to hear an airlock,” said Estelle, unbuckling herself from the co-pilot’s chair and untucking the strap from beneath her gut. She had donned her survival suit once more for the flight; as poorly as it fit, its familiar snugness had grown comforting.

The others had wrapped themselves, somewhat immodestly, in the alien fabrics she’d retrieved. The robes—if they were even intended to be robes, given all the openings—couldn’t begin to close over the women’s engorged assets. On Hoshi the garment served as little more than a shawl, while Ayla had managed to arrange hers into a split skirt and Hester had fashioned hers into the galaxy’s least effective apron.

They stood and paused for a moment, partially to reacquaint themselves with the artificial gravity, but largely out of trepidation.

Estelle gave them a reassuring smile and nodded to Starling. He opened the airlock and flicked on Triptolemus’ interior lighting. The low hum of machinery greeted their ears.

The captain stepped through and beckoned the others to follow. The hatch opened into one of the ship’s connecting corridors, widening into a small passenger lounge.

“Everybody okay?” Estelle asked, watching them stare around.

“Yeah,” said Ayla. “It’s just…it’s been two and half years. It’s weird seeing bulkheads and running lights and consoles…”

Hoshi nodded. “I’ll have to remember that the floor here isn’t edible.” She glanced around. “It’s almost like…waking up from a dream.”

Estelle lowered herself onto the edge of a lounge chair. “Well, I hope heading back to the real world isn’t too horrible.”

“No, it’s…it’s not as bad as I thought it’d be,” Hester stated, as though only just deciding it to be so. “It feels good. It’s kinda like coming home from your favorite restaurant…your belly’s full and happy and you can’t wait to tell everyone about it.”

“Except the restaurant is crawling with, you know, giant ooze-monsters.”

“Okay, sure, there’s that. But at least we’re bringing one hell of a doggy bag home with us, eh?” The doctor looked down the corridor, toward the entrance to the freight bay.

“A full payload of the galaxy’s tastiest treats,” agreed Hoshi.

Estelle held up a hand. “Stay focused. We’ve still got work to do. Everything look in order, Starling?”

The android looked up from a nearby console. “Preliminary diagnostics are satisfactory.”

“Good. Let’s get this girl up and running and pointed at the colonies. Once we’re at interstellar speed and the voyage home is officially underway…” She gave the others a coy wink. “…we can head aft and check on our very precious cargo.”

Hoshi licked her lips. “Lead on, then, captain.”

Pre-flight tasks were distributed according to the width of the ship’s various corridors. Accessing the flight control computer from the lower deck involved crawling through a couple of tubes and security hatches and subsequently fitting into the cramped server room itself, so the task of reinstalling the core was given to Starling. Ayla was sent to the bridge, which involved climbing a ladder and squeezing through a few hatches but was otherwise an easy waddle through the main corridors. Hester wriggled herself through a side passageway into the medical bay to begin preparing the cryo-pods, while Hoshi was permitted to settle her massive bulk on a couple of chairs in the lounge and coordinate the interstellar jump via intercom.

Estelle had to ascend the two separate ladders required to reach the dorsal airlock, where her own ship was docked. She found herself out of breath after the first and had to sit and rest after finally surmounting the second. Slouched against the airlock, she reached up to pull the access lever and fell backward as it opened.

Her ship proved much more cramped than she remembered. As a simple tug-boat, it had never offered much in the way of space or amenities. The cabin contained little more than the flight controls, a cot, and a cryo-pod, but Estelle had never had so much difficulty navigating through such ascetic furnishings. Her hips brushed against counters on either side, her backside knocked over her favorite lamp, and she had to contort herself to see the keypads below her jutting belly.

Still short of breath, she lowered herself onto the cot for a moment. The poor old fastenings snapped within seconds, leaving her in a mess of bent tubing on the floor. Shaking her head, she got to her feet and shoved her way to the flight controls.

The pilot chair greeted her nose with a leathery smell that brought back a hundred memories of her space-travels: blazing through blockades, dodging patrols, sailing through the debris of a ruinous battle out on the rim, making her ship faster with every new modification. The chair’s armrests greeted her hips, though, with a hundred reminders of her planetary travels: grazing through blocks of cheese, hogging profiteroles, lounging atop the debris of a ruinous feast out in the valley, making herself fatter with every new meal.

She opened the viewscreen and gazed out at the planet below. LV-237 shone as vibrant and verdant as ever, its warm aura begging her to come back down for just one more meal. Estelle grimaced as her stomach growled.

“Everybody ready?” buzzed Hoshi’s voice through the intercom.

“In position,” Estelle replied, punching buttons. “I have slaved my boat’s engines to Triptolemus’ navigation. Should be plenty of power and fuel to get home.”

“The control core is in place and functioning normally,” reported Starling.

“Pods are prepped,” Hester chimed. “Although they do look kinda tight.”

Silence followed.

“Ayla?” asked Estelle. “Ayla, you in position?”

Muffled panting sounded from the intercom. “Yeah…yeah, I’m here. Sorry. The access corridors are…it was hard enough to get around on this ship before I was four hundred pounds.”

“Yeah, they clearly designed Triptolemus for starving colonists.”

“Speaking of starving,” lilted Hoshi, “the sooner we get this show on the road, the sooner we can figure out dinner.”

“Navigation has been keyed in and accepted,” offered Starling.

Estelle ran her fingers over her instruments. “Copy. Hoshi—engines set?”

“Green lights on all thrusters. We are go for interstellar drive.”

“Acknowledged. Nice work, everyone. Strap in. Ayla, maximum velocity over minimum safe acceleration on my mark.” She cast a final glance at the planet. “…engage.”

LV-237 disappeared with a lush blur. The stars lengthened from pinpoints to streaks of white, then dissolved into a mesmerizing swirl as the interstellar drive took over.

She breathed a shaky sigh. “And we’re off. Home is just on the other side of a long nap.”

A cheer went up through the ship.

“Yeah, I think a celebration wouldn’t be out of order,” Estelle laughed, nodding. “Starling, head to the bridge and take the con. Everyone else—take some time to to get cleaned up, changed, settle in, whatever…and then let’s meet down in the atrium of the freight bay. Let’s call it an hour.” She moved to rise from her chair, but the armrests halted her. “Erm…maybe two.”

A little over four hours later, the crew finally managed the get themselves down to the atrium. They each began to apologize profusely for making the others wait, until realizing no one had been anywhere near on time.

Everyone had collapsed into their individual living quarters, scarfed down a pile of the ship’s ration bars, and rested awhile, their exhaustion mixing with a post-pie/dough puff sugar crash to render them unconscious at the first sign of inactivity. Woken by a resurgent hunger, they’d cleaned off the remains of their dessert frenzies and availed themselves of a long-forgotten luxury: hot showers.

Having left the admiralty with nothing other than her old flightsuit, Estelle simply remained in the survival suit. She was able to force her flabby arms into the flightsuit’s jacket, though, which buttoned tightly over her bosom but let her gut hang exposed.

The others had rummaged through the ship’s linens and after some careful cutting had crafted a collection of tank tops and skirts. Combined with the robes taken from the ruins, they formed a decently presentable ensemble.

“You look like a bunch of bloated alien space-priestesses,” Estelle remarked.

“You look like a moon disguised as a starfighter pilot,” Ayla retorted.

“Stay on target,” Hoshi cautioned, jerking a thumb at the airlock. “We came down here for a reason.”

Estelle nodded, heading toward the hatch. “Right. We’re here to celebrate.”

“Hear, hear,” giggled Hester.

“The fruits of all our labors are in this cargo pod.” She clapped her hands together. “I figure we’ve earned one last blow-out feast. We’re about to sleep for a year and I, for one, intend to go to bed on a full stomach.”

Ayla massaged her paunch. “Good plan. I’m planning to eat enough that it’ll take a year to digest, anyway.”

“Those cryo-pods are already a tight squeeze,” said Hoshi. “I hope I can still fit with the food baby I’m about to have.”

Hester bit her lip. “I don’t think cryo-pods will even be necessary. This food coma alone is gonna last the whole trip.”

Estelle reached up for the control panel. “Friends, on the other side of this door is a 20,000 tonne payload of our favorite foods. Let’s see if we can make a dent before we go to bed.”

She clicked a few buttons, then cranked down on the lever. The doorjamb hissed. The hatch’s broad slates lowered, then slid apart to each side with a gentle sigh. The overhead lights in the cargo bay flickered to life, one at a time, illuminating the enormous swath of culinary geography within.

A river of gravy flowed through a shallow valley, lined on one side with French fries and on the other with stuffing. The stream meandered into a forest of broccoli trees, dripping with molten cheese. Hills of mashed potatoes rose along the walls, studded with pats of butter.

The crew breathed deeply of the aromas, shuddering a little. Estelle took a step through the doorway, onto the grating that overlooked the foodscape below. She spread her arms in triumph and closed her eyes, letting her naked belly bask in the delicious warmth.

A rending shriek pierced the air. It resounded off the bulkheads of the cargo bay and echoed down the corridors of the ship.

06-11-2017, 09:57 PM
Interesting- I was expecting the twist to be that the food taken off the planet would cease to be food, but it seems instead there's something else (an alien stowaway?)

06-18-2017, 08:25 PM
Chapter 33

“Run!” shouted Estelle, stumbling backward from the hold.

An enormous squirmer burst forth from the river of gravy. Gurgling and growling, it began rolling its way up toward the door.

The women fell over each other in a panic. “Run where?” Hoshi gasped.

“Wherever you can fit!” Estelle spat, jabbing at the control panel. “We came through that corridor, right?” She shoved the lever up.


The door hissed and its two slabs began to ease toward each other. Estelle cranked desperately on the lever, but it wouldn’t close any faster. “Just go!”

Hester and Ayla shoved Hoshi into the corridor and scrambled after her. Estelle dove to the floor, flopping onto her gut, and rolled aside just as the squirmer arrived.

It halted in the doorway, caught between the closing slabs. Unleashing another scream, it stretched out a hideous pseudopod and slapped blindly around the atrium.

Estelle scooted out of its reach and got back to her feet. Gaping at the creature, she reached for an intercom.

“Starling!” she panted. “Starling…emergency…get—”

“What is it, captain?” crackled the android’s voice.

The squirmer shrieked again.

“Was that a squirmer?”

She gritted her teeth. “Nebulas, yes. It must’ve stowed away in the cargo module. Hid in the food, the bastard. I’ve got him caught in the door—”

The squirmer retracted its pseudopod. Flexing, it began to shove the doors apart and undulate its way through. Sparks popped from the doorjamb as its mechanisms failed.

“Update: he’s no longer caught in the door. Starling, we’re coming to you. Get ready to seal off the bridge.” She bustled out of the atrium and up the corridor, her bulk bouncing wildly. Her muscles complained immediately; she hadn’t traveled any faster than a leisurely waddle in months.

The corridor turned sharply and headed uphill, narrowing past the officers’ quarters. Estelle could see the others up ahead, pulling Hoshi sideways through a narrow hatch. The squirmer crashed around the corner, tearing up bulkheads and smashing support beams as it went. Alarms screeched throughout the ship.

Estelle tackled Hoshi and they fell together through the hatchway. Hester slammed it shut as Ayla helped them to their feet.

The squirmer slammed into the hatch, bending the metal out and cracking the glass viewpane. Hester scuttled back.

“That’s not gonna hold,” she whimpered.

Estelle shook her head. “Nope. But this is an admiralty ship—the bridge has to have blast doors. That ladder goes to the command deck…we get up there and into the bridge, we’re safe.”

Hoshi stared. “A ladder? The only thing about me doing climbing lately is my weight.”

“And now you’re gonna have to climb your weight up there.” She prodded her toward the ladder. “I’m not losing you. Any of you.”

They sent Hoshi up first. Ayla, who somehow still had some strength lingering beneath all her fat, helped from below, pushing up on the engineer’s massive rear.

It wasn’t a long way up, but each step took a monumental effort. Estelle looked warily at the bolts holding the ladder up.

As the bottom-heavy woman neared the top, the door there slid open and Starling’s hand reached down. The android seized Hoshi and between his synthetic strength and everyone below pushing, they got her onto the command deck.

Ayla climbed next. She had plenty of trouble herself, as her thighs had grown so wide it was difficult to keep her legs close enough on the narrow ladder. But she soon reached Starling’s hand and made it up.

While Hester ascended, heaving her incredible bosom up one rung at a time, Estelle piled what she could find in front of the hatchway. The squirmer was slamming itself repeatedly against it, bowing it out and straining the hinges. As soon as Hester had disappeared and Estelle mounted the ladder, the hatch’s glass pane shattered and a pseudopod quested through.

Estelle poked her way up to the command deck, pausing with a wince to squeeze her gut through the port. Starling hefted her up and cranked it shut behind her.

The crew got to their feet, gasping for air, and shuffled onto the bridge. Starling filed in behind them.

“Engaging intrusion protocols,” he reported, tapping on his panel. “Sealing the bridge and closing blast doors.”

Estelle collapsed into the captain’s chair and watched the blast doors heave shut. “Good work. Everyone okay?”

“I think so,” said Hoshi. “Can’t say I’ve been squeezed like that in a while.”

“All you had to do was ask,” Ayla leered.

“Good thing I didn’t have to try that on a full stomach. Probably wouldn’t have made it.”

“But now all this escaping’s just made me hungrier.”

Hester nodded. “I need a drink.”

“Maybe if we survive,” Estelle agreed. “We need a plan. Can’t spend the rest of this voyage holed up on the bridge.”

A muffled shriek sounded through the blast door.

“Why not?” Hoshi muttered. “I’d feel a lot safer staying in here.”

“Well, there’s no food up here, for starters.”

“Good point.”

Starling looked up from his panel. “I believe, in the absence of any weapon proven capable of destroying the creature, our best course of action would be to expel it from the ship.”

Estelle nodded. “What’s our door situation? Can we vent the deck? Just suck him out into space?”

“Unlikely. Triptolemus was designed to prevent full decompression. Moreover, the creature is not near enough to an available airlock.”

“So we need to lure him to an airlock.”

“Of which there are only three large enough for a creature of this size. The ventral lock is already engaged with the cargo module and the thoracic module is already engaged with your ship, captain…but the aft dorsal lock is available.”

“So we lead him to that one.”

“That’s the other end of the ship,” said Ayla.

“It’s the only option.”

Starling opened the ship’s schematics on the main viewscreen. “I agree. And we must hurry: the creature’s rampage has damaged several of our automation systems. Leading him through the main computing corridor may not have been the most preferable course.”

“It’s the only corridor some of us fit through,” Hoshi spat. “And this whole situation is well past preferable already.”

Estelle shushed her. “Can you get him to chase you to the airlock, Starling?”

“Not by myself. The creatures have shown little interest in my synthetic body. He will be significantly more likely to chase a living organism.”

“Nebulas.” She took a deep breath. “I’ll go, then. You come with me, though…keep him from catching me before I get to the airlock.”

Hester grabbed her wrist. “You can’t.”

“My mission is to get you home safe. We don’t have a choice. Plus, now that he’s wrecked the main corridor, we’re left with just the alternate access tubes to get around.”

“Oh, stars,” Ayla realized. “I barely fit through those when I was skinny.”

“Yeah. And right now I’m still the…stars, I was gonna say skinniest, but you know what I mean. Look, just stand by the controls. Starling, you got the rifle?”

He cocked it.

“Outstanding.” Estelle tore off her flight jacket. “Stand back, everyone.”

The blast door creaked open. The squirmer, which had been expressing its frustration on the other end of the command deck, straightened up and rounded on the bridge.

“Hungry, jackass?” Estelle called, storming out.

It shrieked. Starling emptied a clip into it, forcing it to hesitate while Estelle dashed past and ducked into the nearby access tube.

The tube wasn’t as tight as she’d feared, at least at first. She had to stay bent over as she went, belly bouncing off her knees. Every few steps a control panel or storage locker jutted out from the wall and she’d have to shimmy her jutting bulk around it.

The squirmer swarmed into the tube behind her, oozing along and lashing out with a pseudopod.

Estelle squeezed herself through a tight hatch and stared down the tube. There was a light ahead where it opened up into a machinery bay. She thrust herself forward, eager for a little more space to move freely.

She stumbled out into the bay and found herself on a swaying catwalk. Getting her footing, she grabbed the railing and began to hurry across.

The squirmer hurled itself out of the tube behind her. It crashed down onto the catwalk, snapping the cables suspending it.

The catwalk buckled and Estelle went sprawling. She launched herself forward, seizing the end of a platform at the far end of the room. She hung there, feet swinging, as the catwalk collapsed to the floor below.

The squirmer screamed up at her as she dangled. Starling appeared in the tube and fired a few more shots, but only enraged it further.

“Starling!” Estelle choked. She tried to heave herself up, but was far too heavy and far too weak.

The android reached around to a control panel. “Hang on, captain!”

“Really?” she huffed.

A joystick appeared. Starling seized it and began to guide a crane across the ceiling. A chain swung down from it, ending in a large, rusted hook.

The squirmer, finding its attempts to scale the wall fruitless, began to stretch up onto a cargo crate.

Starling lowered the hook toward Estelle. It swung up and caught her shirt, right between two rolls of backfat.

“Oh stars,” she muttered. “Starling, can’t you just—hurk!”

The hook hauled her up by the scruff, not only pulling her up over the platform but yanking the shirt up from her belly, then over her bosom. She slipped out of it entirely and fell unceremoniously onto the platform.

Instinctively covering her naked chest with one arm, she grabbed futilely at the shirt. But the squirmer reached the platform and she had to flee topless into the next access tube.

The squirmer followed her through, but had fallen behind enough that she didn’t have to duck the thrashing pseudopod as she went.

The tube came to a dead end in a small, dimly-lit closet, but a hatch on the floor opened up into the ceiling of the sterndeck. Estelle twisted the wheel, hauled open the hatch, and lowered herself down.

Her bottom half slid through without issue, but her belly quickly filled the little port and halted her progress. She pushed and prodded at her flab, trying to twist around. Eventually she was able to suck in, pull up on her gut, and slide through with a pop.

She dropped onto the sterndeck. The airlock waited across the room and she hurried to the panel beside it. Huffing and puffing, she jabbed at buttons until the interior door opened.

The squirmer poured itself through the hatch and plopped onto the deck with a roar.

Estelle stepped in front of the airlock, belly protruding proudly. “That’s it, ugly. Come get it.” She rubbed her gut. “All fattened up for you, just how you like it.”

The squirmer launched itself forward. Estelle dove aside, rolling gracelessly out of its way just in time. It roiled into the airlock, shrieked, and turned around.

Estelle got up on an elbow, feeling her belly slosh onto the floor. She reached up toward the control panel.

The squirmer rushed back toward the door, reaching out a pseudopod to keep it from shutting. Starling appeared, sprinting headlong at the creature, rifle blazing. He tackled the pseudopod; android and monster fell together into the airlock.

“Now, captain!” he cried.

“Not with you in there!”

“I can’t hold him down! Close the door!”

Wincing, Estelle hauled down on the lever. The interior door slammed shut and sealed them in. A series of green lights flared on within the airlock and a button appeared on the wall next to Starling.

He punched the button. The airlock’s exterior door opened, venting the chamber. Starling’s rifle flew out immediately. He reached for an emergency handle, but missed and was pulled out into the void.

The squirmer, rippling as the air rushed out, stretched and spread itself to either side, webbing itself to the walls. Estelle watched in frozen horror as it survived the decompression, recomposed itself, and turned to face her.

06-19-2017, 09:20 AM
i serious getting goosebumps here! it is awsome ^^

06-19-2017, 03:10 PM
Nooo, a cliffhanger! D:

Seriously though, major kudos for writing a long, suspenseful science fiction weight gain story AND sticking with it.

06-25-2017, 08:17 PM
Chapter 34

“Did it work?” Hoshi’s voice crackled from the intercom. “Monitor shows the airlock decompressed.”

Estelle gulped. “Negative. It didn’t go in.” Her vision swam with stars and her head pounded with exhaustion. “Into space, I mean. It’s…”

Within the airlock, the squirmer reared up and slammed itself against the door. A tiny crack appeared in the windowpane.

“Thing’s still in the airlock for now, but this door isn’t gonna hold. I have to close the exterior door before he lets all our air out.” She punched the control panel, taking a deep breath. “And we…we lost Starling.”

“No you haven’t, captain,” came the android’s voice. “I was saved by the dorsal antenna array.”

Estelle choked. “Holy nebulas, Starling! Thank the stars. Why didn’t you say anything?”

“It took a moment to upload my voice protocols to the intercom system. There is no air out here, as you may recall.”

“Just get your ass back in here.”

“With pleasure, captain. I shall seek safer ingress, if you don’t mind.”

She nodded. “Okay, team…new plan?”

“Well, apparently decompression’s out,” Hoshi mused. “Next best bet would be separation.”

“I’m listening.”

“We can jettison one of the non-essential modules from the ship. We’ll maintain our course and the jettisoned module will fall back into sub-light speed on a course to nowhere.”

Ayla’s voice chimed in. “If the squirmer’s in the module when it goes, we’re rid of him.”

“I like it,” Estelle murmured, watching the squirmer ram the glass again. “What can we jettison?”

“Erm, not much,” Hoshi admitted. “We can separate the bridge, but we’d lose the guidance systems and…that’s really just for crash landings. We could drop your ship, captain, but…”

“But then we’re without my engines and all the fuel that’s left.”

“Right. And we probably shouldn’t jettison the core, so that just leaves, the, uh…”

Estelle nodded solemnly. “The cargo module.”

“But…all the food!” Hester cried.

“Yeah, my stomach doesn’t like the idea either, but it’s the only realistic option. Survival has to take priority here.” She glared at the cracked glass. “Okay. We’ll do it. I’ll lead him on a merry chase down there; you run the separation protocol.”

“There’s the other hiccup,” said Hoshi.

“What else?”

“His rampage tore up a lot of the automation systems. We’ll have to jettison manually. That takes two people—one at the airlock and one on the outside.”

“I am already outside,” observed Starling.

“Done,” Estelle announced. “Ayla, you get down to the airlock and handle the hatch once blobby and I are through.”

“Aye, captain.”

“Just make sure to let me back out before we jettison.”

“But how will I be able to tell you and the blob-monster apart?”

Estelle grimaced. “I’m the one wearing pants. Anyway, with Starling occupied, I’m gonna need a maneuvering advantage…Hoshi, can you shut down the artificial gravity?”

“Not from here, with this damage. Someone will need to squeeze down to the forward core.”

“Hester, think you can do it?”

“Dammit, captain, I’m a doctor, not a—”

“Get down there. Hoshi’ll never fit.”

“I’ll walk you through it from the intercom,” Hoshi assured her.

“More like waddle me through it…” Hester grumbled.

“Just do it. I need you.” Estelle stepped back from the door. The glass had shattered and a pseudopod was oozing through. “Get to it, everybody…we’ve only got one shot at this.”

“Be careful,” Hester said quietly.

“I’m always careful. Alright, Hoshi, where am I going?”

“Uh, let’s see. You basically need to go straight down.”

Estelle steeled herself, watching the last of the squrimer slide through the port. “I don’t suppose there’s an elevator back here.”

“Stars, you’ve gotten lazy. No elevator, but there’s a maintenance closet in the next room.”

“A closet?” Estelle scoffed. She hurried into the room anyway.

“You’ll find an access panel at the back. Opens up into the anterior bulkheads. It’s like the space between decks…should reach all the way down to the lower deck, right back to the freight bay.”

She ducked into the closet and locked the door. “So, what, I just fall?”

Hoshi paused. “Probably not. It’ll be more like…climbing down. Also, it’s not exactly the widest of spaces.”

Estelle opened the access panel. A dark, wet, and concerningly tight vertical crawlspace greeted her. “Holy nebulas. Okay, I’m not gonna fit in there.”

The squirmer crashed into the closet door, snapping the hinges.

“…okay, I’m gonna fit in there.”

She ducked into the bulkhead. Her gut squished up against the opposite wall before she was even through the door. The wall was covered in a cold, oily lubricant and her naked flesh flashed with goosebumps.

“Oh, stars,” she hissed, forcing the rest of her upper body inside. She felt around and grabbed a support beam, then stepped her feet in. She hung there over what looked like a bottomless drop, trying to get her bearings.

The squirmer smashed the closet door aside and reached out a pseudopod. Feeling its slimy membrane slap her lovehandle, Estelle yelped and let go of the support beam.

She promptly dropped into the claustrophobic abyss, belly and backside sliding along the lubricated walls. The space was narrow enough that she couldn’t fall with any real speed, though. After the initial descent she found herself having to walk herself down with her hands. The squirmer flowed through the access panel above and began pouring down like a gelatinous flood.

Estelle stopped suddenly, finding a support beam sandwiched between her softened legs. She sat on it a moment in panic, unable to flex enough to get one leg or the other over the beam.

The squirmer drew closer. Sucking in as much as her paunch allowed, Estelle leaned to her left and spun her whole body around until she hung upside-down. She dropped a few feet before stopping again.

A rusted bolt had caught the waistband of her trousers, the force of her fall yanking them halfway off her butt. She writhed about, trying to reach the bolt, but the effort only served to open a tear in the fabric. She froze, realizing what had happened, but it was too late.

Her trousers ripped open just as the squirmer approached. Estelle fell out of them, sliding and crawling her way down the wall another story. She squeezed around another support beam, twisted sideways, and plummeted to the bottom deck.

There something jutted out from the wall, pinching her belly and bringing her to a sudden stop. She flailed and shouted, pounding on the wall, but was too fat to slide any further.

She felt around for what had caught her: it was a hinged ring, like one of the hatches she’d used earlier. Her paunch was pressed right up against it, sealed in by suction. Above her, the squirmer shrieked.

The hatch opened. Estelle felt fresh air against her belly, which swelled freely into the now open space. A pair of hands grabbed her flesh and pulled. She contorted herself and pushed.

She popped through the ring just as the squirmer caught up. She spilled out onto the floor, her lubricant-drenched flab slipping across the tile. The lights of the aft deck shone down on the doors to the cargo module, sealed shut.

Ayla slammed the hatch closed on the bulkhead. “Look at that,” she panted. “Our fat captain, naked and all oiled up. Hester must be so jealous.”

Estelle sat up with a groan. “Look at that…our much fatter geologist, being smarmy during a life and death situation. I’d like to see you fit through there.”

“And here’s your even fatter still engineer,” Hoshi’s voice chided from the intercom, “reminding you that that hatch isn’t going to hold.”

“Maybe you should get your massive butt down here and plug it.” Ayla wobbled her own hardly diminutive derriere across the atrium to the control panel. “Alright, captain, I’ve got it ready to detach on this end. Starling, everything set out there?”

Estelle backed away from the hatch, watching the metal begin to bend. “Starling? You still with us?”

“Yes, captain,” the android’s voice replied at length. “I apologize. I am having difficulty with the mechanisms. The jettison protocol was not designed to be initiated above lightspeed. Especially by hand.”

The hatch split open. The squirmer’s membrane began to ooze through.

“So, is this gonna work?” Estelle murmured.

“I believe so. But it will take me a little more time.”

“We don’t have time, Starling,” Ayla retorted.

Estelle grimaced. “We’ll have to make some. Open the cargo door, Ayla.” She got to her feet. “That way if this thing catches me, I’ll…at least get to die surrounded by my favorite treats.”

“I can’t do that, captain. You’ll—”

“Open the food bay door, Ayla.”

The squirmer finished reforming itself. It stretched up, looming over Estelle, and shrieked. Ayla punched the control panel and the cargo doors slid open with a hiss.

Estelle turned and rushed for the doorway. She attempted to sprint, but between her being covered in lubricant and too fat to run, it was more of an uncoordinated, half-sliding scramble.

The door opened up onto a grated platform overlooking the overpacked cargo module, providing a vista of the edible landscape. Estelle promptly slipped and found herself sprawling. She seized a railing and tried to stand.

The squirmer exploded into the bay behind her. It rolled across the platform and tackled Estelle; the railing snapped and they fell together into the spread of food below.

Estelle rolled down off a mound of French fries. She heaved herself onto her knees, glancing around for anything that could serve as a weapon. There was nothing in reach that wasn’t soft. She tried to get to her feet, but the squirmer rose up from the river and wrapped a membrane around her ankle.

She kicked at it. “Get your pseudopod off me, you damned dirty—”

It lifted her off the ground and hurled her clear to the far side of the gravy river. She landed in a pile of mashed potatoes.

“Captain, are you alright?” came Hoshi’s voice.

“I think he’s trying to soften me up,” she grunted, getting up. “Joke’s on him…I’m already pretty soft.”

The squirmer was undulating toward her.

Estelle cracked her knuckles. “Hester, I don’t suppose you’ve made any progress on the gravity?”

“Almost there, captain,” the doctor’s voice replied. “I’m just having a little trouble with the controls.”

“What? What kind of trouble?”

“The console is seated kind of low, eh? It’s hard to see around, you know, my tits.”

“Nebulas,” Estelle hissed. “Well, he hasn’t managed to kill me so far…”

The squirmer stretched upright, tall enough to ford the river and march up the bank on the other side.

Estelle backed her way toward the wall behind her. “Look, hey, maybe we got off on the wrong pseudopod. We don’t have to be enemies, do we? I mean, we have so much in common…you have a pliable, wobbling membrane, I have a pliable, wobbling midriff…” She backed into the cold metal wall. “Just look at me: I’m well on my way to becoming a giant gelatinous mass like yourself.”

It continued to advance. Estelle instinctively reached a hand to steady herself on the wall; she was still partially covered in the oily lubricant from her climb through the hull, though, and found her hand almost to slippery to grab anything.

She stared at her hand and frowned. “No…no, Estelle, that’s a terrible idea.”

“Almost there, captain!” Hester cried over the intercom. “Just hold him off a little longer!”

“Terrible idea it is,” Estelle decided. She looked over at a mound of mashed potatoes about halfway between her and the squirmer. At its peak she spied a pool of melted butter.

She launched herself forward and lunged up the side of the mound. She mounted it like a snowbank, each step sinking deeper into the potatoes. At her sudden motion the squirmer rushed forward as well, collapsing back into a wide ball as it charged.

Estelle sprawled up the last few feet and splashed into the butter. The pool was just deep enough to submerge her and she disappeared as the squirmer fell upon the mound.

It spread out as it struck, completely covering and flattening the hill. A pseudopod reached into the mound, soon followed by another.

But the plump little human was now too squishy and too slippery to get a solid hold of. Without any effective grasping digits, the pseudopods clutched in vain as Estelle squeezed her way through the pile and suddenly fell free from beneath the squirmer’s membrane with an audible pop.

She rolled to the ground and stumbled to her feet, wiping butter from her eyes. “Worst hug ever.”

“Couldn’t have been any worse than that pancake party we had,” Ayla mused, turning from her panel at the airlock. “You ended up covered in butter that time, too.”

Estelle shuffled behind a giant broccoli tree and watched the squirmer collect itself. It was still between her and the airlock. “And some of you were just as grabby,” she recalled. “Tell me you have that door ready to seal.”

Ayla grunted and tossed her wrench aside. “I hope so.”

“I talked her through removing the safety mechanisms,” Hoshi buzzed from the bridge. “It’ll slam shut in an instant now. Once you’re through, we’re clear.”

“You gonna be able to get back up here with the ladder gone?”

Estelle cocked her head. “Maybe. As long as Hester—”

“Got it!” cried the doctor.

The hull shuddered and a deep buzz reverberated through the ship. Estelle suddenly felt very light, a word she had not been able to apply to herself in some time.

The squirmer leapt up from the mashed potatoes, but, to its confusion, didn’t land on the floor. It floated off into the air, shifting and stretching in frantic confusion.

“Get ready to jettison,” Estelle commanded.

“Commencing,” Hoshi replied. “Now, there may be a little shift as I drop us out of—”

The ship lurched violently. Everything in the cargo module was thrown into the air, creating a swirling nebula of food. Estelle found herself floating in the opposite direction of the door.

“Was that the ‘little shift’ you mentioned?”

“Um, yes. It became a little bigger than I expected.”

Estelle watched as the squirmer twisted around in the air. It floated directly between her and the airlock, drifting toward the exit. “I think we all did, Hoshi.”

With a grunt, Estelle pushed off a giant cupcake—making sure to grab a lick of frosting in the process—and kicked her way up a ten-foot breadstick to the cargo hold’s back wall. She braced her back against it, seizing a support beam.

The squirmer flattened its membrane and spread into a broad circle, presumably hoping to catch her like a net.

“On my mark!” Estelle called. She took a deep breath, let go of the beam, and launched herself belly-first toward the airlock.

She sailed over the decadent foodscape like a meteor, splashing through a blob of cranberry sauce and knocking aside bits of stuffing as she flew.

The squirmer roared, its flattened membrane rippling. It was spread so thin Estelle could make out, blurrily, the shape of the airlock behind it.

She rocketed into the center of the creature, bowing it inward. She curled herself into a tight ball of flab, arms wrapped around her belly, eyes squeezed shut.

Her weight punched through the squirmer’s membrane, collapsing it in on itself. She exploded out from its opposite side, through the hatch, and into the cargo atrium, flying past an amazed Ayla and crashing into the far wall.

Ayla slammed her hand down on the control lever. The airlock doors slammed shut. Rotors churned as the seals rotated into place. “That’s some effective mass you’ve got there.”

Estelle wiped interstitial fluid from her eyes. “Just think…if I’d been any lighter, that might not have worked.”

A dent appeared in the door as the squirmer crashed against it. Sparks flew from the panel.

“How is something with no muscles that strong?” Estelle cried.

“I could ask the same thing about you.”

“Nebulas…just jettison the damned thing!” Estelle floated off the wall and flailed about, drifting out of reach of the handholds.

Another dent appeared in the door. Punching a hole through the squirmer only seemed to have enraged the creature further.

“Unsealing cargo module,” Hoshi reported through the intercom. “Link terminated. All yours, Starling!”

“Releasing cables,” announced the android. “Fail-safes disengaged. Ready to terminate.”

Estelle shuddered as a muffled, desperate shriek sounded from behind the door. She turned to glare at it. “Yeah, fuck you, too.” She nodded to Ayla.

Ayla flipped a trio of switches, then slammed her hand onto a large button. An alarm rang out from the door, followed by a deafening hiss, and finally a sudden silence.

They stared at the door. The pounding had stopped.

“We have separation,” Hoshi declared.

“I make visual confirmation,” added Starling. “The cargo module is away and emergency retro-thrusters have activated to decelerate.”

“Hurled into the infinite void!” Hester cheered. “Good luck chasing us now!”

Estelle blew out a long breath. “That’s for Selena, you slimeball.”

Ayla closed the control panel. The motion pushed her away from the wall and she spun slowly across the atrium with a relieved giggle.

“Great work, everyone. That was…that was a tight one.”

“Everything’s tight on you, captain.”

“Thanks, Ayla. Hoshi, reengage interstellar drive and reopen the slipstream. Starling, get your shiny metal ass back in here. And Hester, we can turn the gravity back on.”

Ayla moaned. “Do we have to? It’s kind of fun for all this weight to be all…weightless.” She bounced her thighs together as she drifted past.

Estelle pondered it for a moment, glancing down. Her stomach, rather than sagging over her lap as it usually did when empty, instead ballooned out from her midsection, flowing and rippling as she moved. “Okay, it is kinda neat. But we need to get back to work.” She flapped her flabby arms. “Also, I can’t reach anything and Ayla’s too busy being snarky to help me down.”

“Alright, alright,” Hester sighed. “I’ll turn it back on. But I’ll warn you it might take a bit…it was hard enough to see around these boobs before they could float up into my face all on their own.”

“Take your time.” Estelle slumped with fatigue, absently caressing the sphere of her weightless belly.

She orbited her way across the atrium like a fleshy moon. Her eyelids slid shut, her chest heaved with exhausted breaths, and her stomach whined a gurgling lament for the abandoned feast.

Xyantha Reborn
06-28-2017, 10:16 AM
I always enjoy your works. It reminds me of a good tv show (in a good way..not the bad parts of tv)

07-02-2017, 06:10 PM
Nooo, a cliffhanger! D:

Seriously though, major kudos for writing a long, suspenseful science fiction weight gain story AND sticking with it.

Thanks for following along! Wasn't sure if I've been stretching these stories too long or not.

I always enjoy your works. It reminds me of a good tv show (in a good way..not the bad parts of tv)

I'd watch that show!


Hoshi punched up an old-earth hymn on the ship’s intercom. The jangling chords of “Take the long way home” wheedled faintly from the med-bay speakers overhead as Estelle and her crew dressed themselves for cryo-sleep.

The music hadn’t done much to improve their mood, though. Once the excitement and adrenaline of the stowaway-chase had faded, the crew had fallen into an uncharacteristically somber rut; they alternated between staring at the floor and puttering as slowly as possible through their duties.

They’d each shuffled into the med-bay with a shell-shocked, haggard appearance. Everyone seemed afraid to smile again, nor to let their guards down in any way, lest another monster crash through the door.

The captain watched her crew with trepidation, dreading the idea of seeing them off to cryo-sleep with such harrowed looks on their faces. She had made some efforts to restore normalcy: she’d cleaned herself up and tried on one of the ridiculous outfits they’d crafted, but no one had seemed particularly interested or impressed. She’d suggested they sit down and stuff themselves on ship’s rations, but they had eaten dispassionately and each left the table with little more than a perfunctory belch.

Estelle regretted the ration feast. She had tried to lead by example, devouring bars like a woman possessed in an effort to reignite the crew’s vigor. Her distended stomach now complained loudly and had stretched so taut she worried the cryo-tube wouldn’t be able to close over it.

“Ladies…” she ventured at length, turning to face them.

The hatch opened behind her. Everyone whirled around in a quiet panic, but it was Starling. The android stepped into the bay and glanced about as they all deflated.

“Captain, I am pleased to report that there has been no damage to the guidance systems, propulsion systems, or life support systems. We are traveling at maximum interstellar velocity and can optimistically anticipate an uneventful voyage to the colonies.”

Estelle nodded. “Uneventful sounds pretty good to me. And the cargo pod?”

“The jettisoned module fell out of the interstellar stream and is now adrift in unoccupied deep space, just at the edge of the quarantined systems.”

“Probably for the best, then.” She turned to the crew. “Ready the cryo-pods, I suppose. Nap-time in five.”

They bustled off, frowning. Estelle stepped toward her pod, but the android’s hand clasped her arm.

“Captain, there is another matter.”

She froze mid-stride and glanced sidelong at him.

“It is nothing dangerous, I assure you. You may be at ease.”

“Not the best time for scares, Starling.”

“I apologize. I simply intended to present this to you in private.” He checked to ensure that the others were out of earshot, then produced a small scrap of paper from his pocket.

“What’s this?” Estelle asked, accepting it.

“These are the coordinates at which we jettisoned the cargo module, along with the resulting vector data…should its location ever need to be known.”

She stared at the numbers. “So we could theoretically find it again…or, maybe, steer folks away from it.”

“Precisely. I thought it should be left to you to decide the fate of this knowledge…whether you inform the admiralty, keep it to yourself, or simply destroy it.” He watched her fold up the paper and tuck it into her pocket. “I recognize the repercussive and consequential nature of such data. It could as easily be used for benevolent and malevolent purposes.”

“I think you’re right on that.”

“As such, I have omitted it from the ship’s logs and erased it from my own memory banks…a necessary precaution, in the event that I ever fall into the wrong hands.”

“And what if I fall into the wrong hands?” She asked with a smirk.

He eyed her. “I am confident that you will continue to do what is right, no matter your circumstances. After all, you have demonstrated the ability to do so against much adversity throughout the entirety of our brief, but certainly illuminating, acquaintance.”

She smiled up at him. After a moment, she reached out and shook his hand. “Thank you, Starling. I…I want you to know that, uh, you have met and exceeded your mission parameters in the most exemplary and satisfactory of ways.”

“Captain…that is the highest praise an android can receive.”

“And it’s not nearly as high as you deserve.”

He teetered awkwardly, then leaned down and gave her his best approximation of a hug. Estelle embraced him with a long, smothering squeeze, until finally noticing the rest of the crew watching them.

She released the android and turned to the others, adjusting her blouse. “Okay, ladies, since we’re finally underway, let’s get these pods set to go. I don’t know about you all, but I’m…exhausted.”

They stood a moment, wavering. A voice in Estelle’s head wondered if she’d jettisoned all their happiness with the cargo pod.

Hester took a deep, shaky breath. “That’s…that’s what you get for being so out of shape, captain.”

The others shook their heads, but broke into weary smiles. Hester’s bosom bounced with a quiet snigger.

“Are you even allowed to be call yourself captain once we get back?” Hoshi realized. “You might have a little trouble with the admiralty physicals.”

Estelle blew out a relieved sigh and forced a grin. “It’s not like I ever followed their rules before, though. I’ve always been a bit of an outlaw.” She cocked an eyebrow at Hester. “You, however, Dr. Irving…I’m interested to see how people feel about getting dietary advice from Novissima Scotia’s fattest woman.”

“They’ll feel great,” the redhead retorted. “I’ll be the only nutritionist telling them to ‘eat more.’ Figure I’ll be the most popular dietician in the colonies, eh?”

Ayla eyed her. “You’re really just gonna go back to work? After all this, you think you’ll just live a normal life back there?”

“Well, not normal, no. I’m gonna be a damn star. Och, I thought the lads at Maggie’s liked my lasses before…” She shimmied her ponderous chest. “…just wait till they get a look at them now, eh? And with what this beer belly’s gotten itself used to, I’ll be able to drink any and all of those losers under the table!”

“There’s a thought, I guess,” Ayla assented. “This whole time, I wasn’t sure if there’d be anything to go back to…but maybe I could just go home again…maybe talk the guys into taking me back. When we broke up, they told me I had a lot of growing to do…”

Hoshi clapped her on the back. “And now you’re three times the woman you were then. I call that growth. I’ll tell you what I’m doing once we’re back, though: I’m going straight to the workshop and building myself a hover-chair. I will never get tired of this flab, but my legs are sure getting tired of carrying it.”

“What about you, captain?” asked Hester.

Estelle folded her arms atop her burbling belly. “I’m not really sure. I have a feeling it’s going to be a very different place when we get back. It’s been years. With the Federation running things now and the colonies being integrated into something we barely understand…who knows what it’s going to be like by the time we get back there?” She allowed herself a wistful smile. “Regardless…no matter what, I’m sure there will be opportunities to help somewhere…try to make things better for folks in need.”

Ayla chuckled. “I knew it. You were a softy even before your midsection got all soft.”

Estelle opened her cryo-pod and stared inside. “You never know…maybe what we discovered on that crazy planet can do some good in the universe. We could be the next great big thing for humanity…in addition to just being big.”

“But we jettisoned the cargo module,” Hester lamented. “Everything we found…all the evidence is gone. How are we supposed to prove any of what happened?”

“Don’t be silly,” Estelle replied, crossing the room. She laid an adoring hand atop Hester’s gut, her own belly squeezing up against it. “We have all the proof we need…right here.”


07-02-2017, 07:12 PM
:bow::bow: 4 Stars :bow::bow:

07-04-2017, 03:49 PM
So, the story is perfect. Has all the right development, dialogues, action, its fair share of surprises, mostly believable ones, and overall its very readable.

I like the supposedly future swearing - holy nebulas, holy stars etc... all kinds of remarks add spice to the story.

What I don't get though is whether there was an explanation why the planet exists in the first place, and how is it run. THat piece is surrounded by mystery, and since everything else fits and clicks into each other nicely, I feel like there should be an explanation what and why and how. Or did I miss something? Aliens eaten by the squirmers... thats all I recall... Also, not sure how palace of plenty should get a universal rule over galaxy to the crazy scientist....

But even without these explanations, superb story.
My 2 cents.

Benny Mon
07-05-2017, 06:24 AM
Fantastic arc and wonderful characters - thanks so much for sharing this with us!