BBW Homecoming

Discussion in 'Recent Additions' started by Benny Mon, Dec 15, 2019.

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  1. Dec 15, 2019 #1

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    [Author's note: This didn't turn out the way I expected at the start. It's a little different from things I've done before, and I'm not even sure it's erotic, but I'm still happy with it. Fair warning: it's a little dark, though nothing especially gruesome. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!]
    Homecoming
    by Benny Mon
    Eeeeeee--. Eeeeeee--. Eeeeeee--. Eeeeeee--.

    What was that noise? It was irritating, infuriating, and it forced Mara’s mind to coalesce, forced her to pull herself out of the deep, dark fog that almost ten years of stasis had plunged her into. She struggled to move her limbs, atrophied after years of stillness, and opened her eyes cautiously, still blinded by the low, ambient lights of the Messiah. She’d never been in stasis before--no one on her planet had been--and so she couldn’t have known that waking up was horrible. It must have been like being born: thrust into the world all at once, Mara felt like crying. But the world wouldn’t wait.

    Eeeeeee--. Eeeeeee--. Eeeeeee--. Eeeeeee--.

    It was the sound of the ship’s reveille sequence. It was supposed to be annoying, Mara realized, to help her wake up.

    “Are you awake, Captain?” It was the smooth, masculine voice of the vessel’s AI, piped through the wall’s speakers. The beeping stopped.

    “Mmmh,” groaned Mara. Her vocal chords were dry and irritated. Her stasis pod opened automatically, scattering the warm mist that had filled the pod. A long, multi-jointed robot arm reached down from the ceiling and delivered a bottle to her lips. She drank carefully and felt cool, refreshing water coat her mouth and her throat.

    “I will require an affirmative response from you, Captain.”

    “Ugh...I’m awake.” She sounded like a stone frog speaking its first words.

    “Very good.” An automated wheelchair rolled up in front of Mara’s pod, and the ceiling’s arm lifted her and eased her into it. “We entered the solar system two terrestrial days ago, at which point I began the reveille sequence for your pod. It will still be several months before you arrive on Earth, which will give you plenty of time to regain your strength and to wake up your crew. You will regain lost motor function over the coming days and weeks. In the meantime I will continue to monitor our progress and update you regularly. The vessel’s hull is intact, radiation shields are at 100%, and fuel levels are at 28%. Fuel levels required to complete this journey are 12%.”

    “Thank you,” Mara croaked. She suddenly felt silly thanking the AI--it was, after all, not sentient, but rather extremely skilled at pattern recognition and well-trained in the cadences of human speech. It was amazing the thing didn’t sound more archaic, having been designed well over a century earlier, but apparently language on the planet Juno hadn’t changed much since the Messiah had arrived there from Earth so long ago.

    Mara, however, had changed a lot in the last 10 years. She realized it as she rolled in front of a reflective wall in one hallway, seeing her withered body slumped in the wheelchair, barely able to sit up. She’d never been big, of course, always short, but before the Messiah she had been strong. Not always--she had almost starved as a child--but her time in the military had given her training and regular access to food. She was always proud of that, and now it had been taken away from her. She hoped it would be worth it.

    The following weeks were consumed with intensive physical fitness to rejuvenate Mara’s idled body. With little else to do, she make quick progress, helped along by a mildly flavored nutritional paste that served as the only nourishment on the ship. That had been a military innovation back on Juno, or maybe Earth originally, a light-weight, nutrition-dense food substitute that soldiers carried with them on long expeditions. A sign of everything she wanted to leave behind, still following her all the way back to Earth. Honestly, though, she’d expected a harder time escaping signs of the past. She’d figured stasis would be filled with strange, endless, traumatic dreams that she wouldn’t be able to wake up from. But she didn’t remember dreaming at all. All she could recall were the days and weeks of the early journey, before she and the crew had entered their years-long sleep--and it was taking time for even that much to return to her.

    Once she’d made enough progress, she was able to wake up the rest of her crew. Weeks of solitary, repetitive physical strain--to say nothing of years of sleep--had stoked her craving for company. One by one, she raised them from their rest: Abraham, the Messiah’s chief (and only) engineer; Dorit, Mara’s first mate; and Rachel, who filled in the rest of the vessel’s roles as best she could. They were just as cranky as Mara, just as disappointed by the paste, but a little more patient with the rehab, as they had people to talk to.

    “So where are we now?” asked Rachel one day. The tallest of the crew, she was gripping handrails and walking on a treadmill immersed in a water tank a little too short for her. Better than nothing, Mara figured. She was least worried about Rachel’s recovery. Abraham and Dorit rested in their wheelchairs, absently gripping tubes of forgotten paste.

    “Between Uranus’ and Saturn’s orbit,” Mara answered. “But the first planet we’ll actually pass by is Jupiter, and we’re going to use its gravity to slingshot to earth without spending too much fuel.”

    “I just wish I could see something,” said Dorit, gazing out into the dark. Poor Dorit--she had always been so vital, even plump in the toughest of times, but stasis seemed to have taken a real toll on her. She was emaciated, her eyes sunken and tired. She couldn’t seem to shake it. In other ways, though, she still looked young. The past decade has seen no sun to scorch her skin, no traumas to damage her joints.

    “Once we get closer,” Mara said, “the sun will look brighter than the other stars. I think we’ll even be able to see Earth from Jupiter. A little blue dot, that’s all, but if we know where to look, we’ll see it.” She stood up herself and walked over to the window at the far edge of the room, staring out into the star-speckled void. It was so easy to say things the AI told her. She projected confidence. But she didn’t actually know what they were heading for.

    “Captain?” It was the AI.

    “Yes? I didn’t expect any news.”

    “Captain, the Messiah has been hailed by an unknown vessel.”

    A greener soldier would have flown into a panic at this moment, but old habits kicked in immediately. “Open communications.” A tiny bing! confirmed the opening. “My name is Captain Mara Nathans. My crew and I are on a peaceful mission from Juno to reestablish contact with Earth. We mean you no harm.”

    There was silence, long enough to trouble Mara’s resolve, until someone spoke. “Captain Nathans.” It was a woman’s voice, low and a little husky but feminine even so. “My name is Eva Brahimi. I am the UN Special Envoy to the Jovian Moons. We’ve taken operational control of your vessel and will be boarding it immediately. We ask your full cooperation in this process.”

    “What?” Mara snapped. “Messiah, I command you to disengage and pull away from the unknown vessel.”

    “Impossible,” said the AI, smooth and implacable as ever. “The vessel has taken full control of all Messiah systems.”

    Mara limped out of the room, ignoring the anxious questions of her crew and a cramp in her still-weak calf, and pulled a rifle and a bullet-proof vest from the ship’s armory. The Messiah’s long-distance communication capabilities had been junked decades ago, so she’d had no chance of contacting Earth before arriving. She was always going to have to take a chance, unsure how she’d be received. She’d always known that, but this was the moment of truth, and she couldn’t leave anything to chance. She didn’t want a fight, but she didn’t know what Eva Brahimi wanted.

    She came back into the room to calm her crew, and they all watched the vessel approach, many times the size of the Messiah, which was directed into the massive ship’s loading bay. Mara couldn’t dissuade anyone from following her to the rear loading bay of their own vessel, so they sat beside her in their wheelchairs as she surveyed the bay’s huge door from behind a barrier. The door finally opened, each massive panel sliding to either side, revealing a tall figure obscured by a group of several soldiers, their rifles aimed.

    “I don’t want to fight,” said Mara. She stepped out slowly from behind the barriers hands up, her trigger finger peeled away from the trigger as her rifle pointed harmlessly at the ceiling. “I just want to talk--”

    “She’s got a gun!” yelled one of the soldiers, and before she could speak Mara felt something penetrate her upper arm. Her eyes fluttered, and she fell, resisting vainly as she slipped once again back into the featureless void.
     
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  2. Dec 15, 2019 #2

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    * * *

    Mara heard muddled voices around her and became aware of a faint light. The voices faded, and Mara tried to blink awake, struggling to keep her eyes open. She groaned and then coughed as spit caught in her dry throat. A hand pressed against her shoulder, gentle but firm.

    “It’s okay,” came a voice, husky and elegant. “Just rest. You’ll hurt yourself.”

    Mara fell back into the black. The next thing she remembered, she awoke again, more smoothly this time.

    “Mmmph, phuh,” she babbled.

    “It’s okay,” came the voice. “You’re doing better this time.”

    Mara blinked twice, harder the second time, and peeled her eyes open. She was lying in some sort of bed, and to her right she saw seated beside her a massive figure--a woman, she thought, with brownish hair braided and twisted into an elaborate bun. Illuminated by a small, soft light above Mars’ head, the woman was obviously tall, with a big frame and red-brown eyes set in strong, light brown features. She wore a garment Mara had never seen before: an ornate, white and blue layer that ran from her shoulders to her feet, billowing and bulging over a vast bosom and a massive belly that filled her entire lap. It was sleeveless, which allowed arms that resembled massive sandbags to spread out on either side, covered in a skin-tight black material that ran to her pudgy wrists. Mara imagined the material continued as an inner garment that clung to her whole body.

    “You’re…” Mara wheezed.

    The woman smiled and spoke, revealing a huge grin of gleaming teeth. “Yes,” she said softly.

    “...the...the ambassador.”

    “Special Envoy,” she corrected gently. “But you can just call me Eva.”

    Mara wanted to sit up, to run, but her vision was hazy, and she could barely move her limbs. Her gaze fell to the left, where she saw some kind of cord run under the blanket, toward her wrist. Her pupils narrowed, and her breathing quickened.

    “It’s all right, Captain,” came Eva’s voice. “It’s an IV, not a tether.”

    “Are...you detaining...me?” Mara’s wild eyes swung back to the envoy.

    “You’re in a medical holding cell, just like the rest of your crew. But you’re not under arrest, if that’s what you mean.”

    “Huh.” Mara’s eyes fell slightly out of focus, and she exhaled. “They...they shot me.”

    “I am sorry about that. We didn’t know you or your intentions. We still don’t. But we have time to talk about that. We kept you in quarantine for a week while we scanned you for pathogens, and we left you sedated while we updated your body’s immunity. You get some rest now, let the anesthetic wear off. You can join me for breakfast when you’re ready.”

    Mara dozed off after that, passing in and out of consciousness until a short, stocky man, all muscle marbled in fat, came in to help her out of the bed. He pushed her in a wheelchair down a hall to Eva’s private chambers. Long, dim lights that lined the edges of the ceiling were brightening slightly.

    “It simulates sunrise,” said the man when she inquired.

    She was guided into chambers, where Eva already sat at a small, round table. She took up even more space than Mara had thought at first, like one day she had puffed out her chest, and the whole front of her body had blown up enormously. She took frequent, shallow breaths as she forked her meal into her mouth: fragrant strips of meat and a steaming pile of eggs, with two big, sweet, sticky buns on the side. A similar plate sat at the seat opposite Eva, with less than half as much food. Mara was helped into her chair.

    “What is that meat?” Mara asked, entranced. Her nostrils flared wide taking in the rich, fatty smell.

    “Bacon.”

    “From a pig?”

    “You’ve never had bacon before?”

    Mara shook her head. “And never on a ship, either. Not on our ship.”

    “Well your vessel is built for long distance, and good food doesn’t mix with long-distance travel.” She picked up a strip of bacon with her fingers and chewed it to pieces, chomping with her molars as she fed it into her mouth. “A diplomatic vessel in the solar system, now, that’s another story.”

    Mara picked up her utensils to cut a slice of bacon and delivered it between her lips. Her mouth watered as she chewed, and she almost cried, both from joy and from the slight nausea this rich food induced.

    “Don’t eat too fast,” said Eva between mouthfuls of egg. “But do savor it.”

    Mara ignored her. She hadn’t real food in years, and hadn’t ever had food like this. She stared into her plate as she shoveled down food, but had to pause abruptly as a wave of nausea crashed over her.

    Eva watched in silence for a few moments before she continued. “Captain Nathans, when we detected your vessel, at first we thought you might be part of the insurgency on Ganymede. That’s why we were here, to negotiate a settlement between the insurgents and the Jovian Government. But our vessel ran a database search on the Messiah’s ID number, and we saw that this was a California light junk that we haven’t seen in the solar system for almost two hundred years.” She paused and held eye contact with Mara. “You don’t know what this ship can do, Captain. North America used these things for special ops missions during the Last War. You could have evaded detection altogether if you’d known how to pilot the Messiah.”

    Mara’s lips tightened. She didn’t know whether this was friendly advice or a taunt. “Sounds like you know a lot about this,” she said.

    Eva shrugged, smacking noisily through a bite of one of the buns. “I’m a military history buff, I have a memory for this sort of thing. But what I can’t explain, Captain, is who you are and what you’re doing here.”

    Mara put down her fork and leaned forward in her chair. “I’m from the colony on Juno, what you might know as Proxima Centauri b.”

    Eva nodded. “We still call it Juno, too.”

    “Well, if you’re a history buff, you’ll also know that the Last War touched every human settlement in the galaxy, and it raged just as furiously on Juno as it did anywhere else--and longer. We lost touch with Earth along the way--simply stopped receiving communications or new ships. The last Earthling to reach Juno, a diplomat like yourself, came to attempt peace negotiations, and he was assassinated. The war raged on. I fought in that war, from the time I was sixteen years old, and it wasn’t until over ten years ago that everyone was too exhausted to go on and finally called a truce. We’ve all but ruined Juno. The war killed over 90% of the population, poisoned the atmosphere, wiped out so many farms and power plants. There are survivors, like me, but we barely get by.”

    Eva put her fork down, too. “And now you’re asking for our help?”

    Mara nodded. “After the truce, a joint committee identified the Messiah as our last hope of reaching Earth. They had it repaired well enough to make the journey, and they selected a crew--my crew--to steer it back home and deliver our message.”

    “That’s a heavy burden. And a great honor. You must have distinguished yourself during the war, Captain.”

    “The crew was chosen by lottery. Within certain bounds, of course, but I can’t claim any entitlement to my position. But I was chosen, and I must fulfill my duty.”

    Eva took another large bite of bun and chewed it thoughtfully. Mara sat is suspense, watching the envoy’s strong, fattened jaw masticate the pastry. Finally: “I can’t give you an answer. It’s not in my power to decide such things, even if I wanted to. But I will take you to the UN so you can plead your case. In the meantime, take the rest of the journey to recover. We’ll take good care of you and your crew. You need it.”

    “How much longer will that take?” She edged further forward in her seat, clenching her teeth.

    “Several months. You should get comfortable.”
     
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  3. Dec 15, 2019 #3

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    * * *

    The months passed slowly. As promised, Mara and her crew were promptly released from their holding cells and encouraged to explore their new ship, the UNS Elliott, but she couldn’t help but feel like a prisoner. There was no sign of their weapons, and the Messiah had been shut down, ostensibly for repairs and to channel its remaining fuel to the Elliott’s engine. The ship was crawling with a dozen UN peacekeepers, all muscular and beefy, as well as a paltry, pudgy staff accompanying Eva. It wasn’t the most comforting scenario, but what could they do? Rachel and Dorit and Abraham spent all their time continuing their slow rehab, and Mara tried to use her waking hours to rebuild muscle mass and strength. The Elliott lacked athletic facilities, but Mara made do, doing push-ups and crunches and finding lintels to support pull-ups. Between the ship’s artificial gravity and its especially well-stocked kitchens, she was actually able to gain weight.

    Maybe a little too much weight: the indulgent meals the ship offered brought fat as well as muscle. Mara was used to being substantial but lean, but now her limbs and her back and core were cut through with adipose tissue. She really noticed it one day five or six weeks in as she stood before her mirror in tights and a tank top, all black. Her bulking arms were a little softer than they had ever been, and she had a brand-new, tiny belly. Even her cheeks were curving out ever so slightly, and it occurred to her for the first time that outside conditions of scarcity, she might actually have a round face. She pulled her chin-length hair back into a stub of a ponytail, turning her face side-to-side, observing how her heart-shaped bone structure had softened.

    “It’s rare for someone to actually gain weight during space travel,” Eva told her over sausage and pancakes one morning. Mostly the envoy left Mara and her crew alone, she insisted they keep a breakfast date every week or two.

    Mara just stared back skeptically, chewing a bite of syrupy pancake.

    Eva nodded and looked aside, pressing her strong first chin into the ample pillow beneath it. “I may not be the best of example of that. You’ll find once we get to Earth that almost everyone is fat, at least in Europe. Elsewhere to some extent, too, though. We’re experiencing the highest levels of fatness in human history. It’s like a civilizational rebound after centuries of on-and-off war and starvation. I imagine that’s pretty foreign to you on Juno.”

    Mara swallowed. She wasn’t sure what to make of Eva, and she preferred to let her ramble on as long as she wanted. When a question came, as it did now, Mara always waited to answer. “I can’t say I really understand it,” was all she said. She washed down the syrupy starch with a few gulps of milk.

    Eva leaned her massive body back in her chair, and her first chin again settled into the pillow around it. “It’s not without its uses, you know. Take space travel. Usually, it’s hard to stock enough food to keep someone fat in a trip around the solar system. You’ve eaten space food: it’s bland and terrible! But if you’ve got an extra hundred pounds or two--”

    “Or more.”

    “--or more, yes, then you’ve got some reserves to burn. But as I said, we do things differently on the Elliott. I hate the feeling of losing weight. It’s awful. So I make sure that even on a trip to Jupiter, they stock my ship with real food, and plenty of it. As much as possible. I want to keep the tasteless gruel to a minimum.”

    Mara pushed a bite of pancake through a puddle of syrup, “I’m glad you did. I’m so hungry since I woke up. I can’t get enough to eat.” She stuffed the bite in her mouth. “I hate it.”

    Eva eased her bulk forward again to resume eating. “That’s what a decade of stasis will do to you. It’s a sort of slow-motion starvation, even with the IV.”

    “Ugh,” said Mara. She speared a sausage and watched Eva eat, her strong jaw chomping through bites in powerful repetition. This was a woman born to eat.

    “Captain Nathans,” said Eva, still chewing, “you were born on Juno, but for me, it might as well be a fantasy world. Tell me about it.”

    Mara folded her arms. “I have. It was war. It was hell. You know this.”

    “I do,” Eva nodded, a sausage on the tip of her fork, “but what about you? Is there anyone you’ve...left behind on Juno? Anyone you miss?”

    Mara’s fork hand twitched, and she suddenly felt furious. She stood up abruptly. “I’m actually done eating now.”

    Eva sighed. “I’m sorry, Captain. I’ll see you next week, then?”

    “Next week,” said Mara, and she hurried out of the room.
     
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  4. Dec 15, 2019 #4

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    * * *

    And so they flew, past Saturn’s orbit and through the asteroid belt. Abraham, enthralled by their new home, struck up a friendship with the Elliott’s chief engineer, thirsting over the knowledge of the past century of technological innovation. Rachel and Mara spent a lot of time together, but first mate Dorit remained depressed and reclusive. Mara was disappointed that Dorit not only didn’t take her physical therapy seriously but also gorged herself on as much food as the kitchens would allow her. She quickly regained her old plumpness and more, but without her old vitality. She’d tolerate Mara’s and Rachel’s company when they insisted, she’d laugh at their jokes and answer their questions. But the circles around her eyes remained, and she never left her room on her own. Mara suspected Dorit wasn’t sleeping and feared worse. The first mate’s growing roundness also gave Mara complicated feelings about her own newfound embonpoint. What use did it have? It got in the way of her crunches, and on Dorit’s body it seemed a symptom of something more sinister. Still, she couldn’t shake her cravings, couldn’t help but obey them.

    Most of Eva’s staff occupied themselves with some sort of diplomatic busywork and avoided Mara and her crew. But one, a tall, meaty, wide-hipped young woman, approached Mara one day when she was sitting alone in a meeting room, staring out the window at a distant asteroid. The young staffer sidled into the open doorway, her broad, brown face framed by straight, shoulder-length hair. Normally that face wore a big, joyful smile, but right now it was somber, cautious.

    “I fear you’re not happy,” she said.

    Mara just looked back with a strained expression, shaking her head.

    “I’m sorry,” said the staffer, looking down, “I don’t mean to insult you. It’s just--.” She stood up straight, with her arms at her side. “I’m Leilani.”

    “Captain Mara Nathans.”

    “I know. I mean, of course I know.”

    “Do you need something?”

    Leilani took a deep breath. “I’m worried that you need something. Something we’re not giving you.”

    “No,” said Mara, “I think you’re giving us more than we need.” She patted her belly, big enough now to jiggle just a little.

    “And you’re not enjoying that? After a life on Juno--”

    “Oh, everybody wants to talk about my life on Juno now.”

    “No, no, I’m just surprised you’re not...happier! All this food, and you’ll visit Earth for the first time. That’s why I’m worried. I thought you’d be thrilled.”

    Mara just stared at Leilani for a moment before turning fully to the window. In a few moments, someone sat down next to her, but when Mara looked it was Eva, not Leilani. In profile, she saw how the envoy’s massive midsection spilled out in front of her, filling her lap, lifting her arms, pressing her enormous breasts close to her face. Still, the chair she sat on didn’t so much as creak.

    “Where’d Leilani go?” Mara asked her.

    “I called her away. I needed her for something. And she didn’t need to keep bothering you like that.”

    Mara turned back to the window.

    “We harvest metals and things from them, you know. From the asteroids. We probably won’t risk a close pass, but if we did you might get a look at one of the mining drones.”

    Mara kept her eyes fixed on the rock in space.

    “And after that,” said Eva, “it all goes back to Earth. The last mines on Earth shut down decades ago, before I was born.”

    Curiosity stirred in Mara, and she couldn’t help herself. “What it like on Earth? Now that the war is over?”

    Eva, her own gaze locked out in space, nodded. “It’s quite good. The war was over well before my lifetime. By then, the cities had rebounded, and we’d begun reclamation work. It’s an international project: replanting forests, detoxifying the water, trapping pollution. It will take years, generations, but we’ve come a long way. Still, there’s a lot of disability, and a lot of cancer, other diseases...the toxins are in the environment, you know? So medicine has come a long way in the last century, and assistive technologies, too. It’s why we’re all so fat.”

    Mara turned abruptly to Leilani. “What?”

    Eva shrugged. “It’s protective. After the war ended, after all the rationing and starvation, everyone got fat. There was no avoiding it. But you need the extra weight when you’re being treated for cancer, or when you get sick. And once you’re fat, you don’t want to lose it: all those toxins get trapped in adipose tissue, and as long as you don’t lose the weight, they can’t go anywhere. Can’t hurt anyone. So we’ve all stayed fat. It’s for the best.”

    Mara exhaled. “I think I have a headache.”

    “I’ll get you something for that.” Eva rocked to her feet, saying as she left, “I’ll send someone with your painkiller.”

    In a few minutes Leilani returned with a pill and a glass of water. “Hope it helps,” she said.

    Mara took both. “I thought Eva needed you for something.”

    “What?”

    A few glugs of water chased the pill down Mara’s throat.

    “You can trust Ms. Brahimi, you know.”

    Mara looked up to meet her gaze. “What did she say to you?”

    “She didn’t say anything! I can tell you’re worried, though, but I know Ms. Brahimi, too. I’ve worked for her for years. I know where her heart is, and I know approached your care with the utmost seriousness.”

    Mara just looked down at the floor.

    “I’m sure you think she’s just some powerful person, a big-shot Special Envoy who’d never worry about someone like you. But she’s suffered, too. She lost people.”

    Mara looked up. “To what?” she asked scornfully. “There’s no war.”

    “To cancer.”

    Mara’s heart fell a little. “I thought she said being...big fights cancer.”

    “It helps, but it doesn’t always work. Some cancers are too aggressive. We can’t save everyone.”

    Mara gripped the cup, her eyes on Leilani. “What was she like? Eva’s person?”

    Leilani smiled, a distant look in her eyes. “She was amazing. I knew her a little, before she got sick. Tall, like Ms. Brahimi, but more athletic. She was a doctor from Ghana.”

    “A doctor…”

    “Yeah.” Leilani frowned. “That made it harder. Doctors are always worse patients. But it was hard on everybody. She changed so much after she got sick. She looked like a skeleton in the end, and she was so depressed. It was like she died before she died.”

    Mara’s chest felt empty, and her mouth was dry.

    “Ms. Brahimi doesn’t really talk about her anymore. It’s weird. But I know she’s never forgotten. It changed her. She was always good, but now I don’t know anyone better. You can trust her, Captain Nathans. I promise.”
     
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  5. Dec 15, 2019 #5

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    * * *

    The asteroid belt wasn’t what Mara expected it to be. She figured the Elliott would be dodging and weaving through a dense field of interstellar stones, but in fact the asteroids were quite dispersed. The pilot and the chief engineer had radar that mapped the local field, and they had to chart a careful path, but there was no crisis, no drama. Like most of their trip, it was boring. Mara had known boredom--war was mostly long stretches of boredom punctuated by unexpected violence--but the boredom of this journey was unbroken. None of the Junoans knew what to do, least of all Mara. Unlike Dorit, she didn’t sleep well, and she and Rachel and Abraham only had so many things to talk about. There were the weekly meals with Eva, where she filled in the envoy on the history of the Last War on Juno, and Leilani would chat sometimes, explaining things about Earth to Mara: the sleek magnet trains and solar-powered planes that carried people all over the world, or the targeted cancer treatments that made the options of previous centuries look barbaric. But Leilani had work to do, and that mostly left Mara to her own devices. She worked out, she stared out into space, but, mostly, she ate. She couldn’t believe the Elliott had as much food--as much real food--as it did, but it seemed to live up to Eva’s exacting standards. Mara felt her tops grow tighter and tighter, and it became more difficult all the time to wriggle into her pants. She’d have to be careful: these were her only clothes, and this ship wasn’t equipped with a replacement pair. If she didn’t slow down, she’d have nothing to wear.

    One day Mara decided to go for a run around the ship. She jogged and jogged, in circles and back and forth, branching off down any hallway that wasn’t sealed off. She realized the ship was even bigger than she’d thought: she kept finding unfamiliar places. She wound deeper and deeper into the vessel, feeling her body jiggle with every step, wishing she could burn it all away if she ran fast enough. But the hallways were short, and the ship was finite. She wanted to tear across a long, uninterrupted distance, but that was impossible.

    Eventually the stinging in her thighs and the fire in her cheeks grew too much to bear, so she slowed to a walk and tried to catch her breath. Mara didn’t know this part of the ship at all, and she didn’t hear any voices. She just walked down an endless hall spotted with identical doors, until she turned a corner and suddenly dead-ended into a large door with a small, rectangular window near the top. She stopped, trying to catch her breath, and, curious, stood on her tip-toes.

    Her heart raced again and almost burst. This seemed to be the door to Eva’s room, with a huge bed and a set of drawers in the wall. Most remarkable, though was Eva, stripped naked and floating above the floor at the far end of the room. She must have turned off the artificial gravity in this room, Mara thought. It’s no wonder: carrying all that weight around every day had to be a huge strain. In an instant, as though in slow motion, Mara took in Eva in all her nudity: she was huge everywhere, with elephantine calves and barrel-like thighs, with two symmetrical slabs of back-fat that would rival many people’s bellies. Her own, belly, though, was massive, billowing out and rippling slightly in the zero-g room, and her tremendous breasts floated above it and melded seamlessly into sidebreast. Her hair flowed out behind her like she was underwater, framing her overfat head. Her eyes were closed. She seemed, Mara thought, to bask in the relief for her muscles, her bones, her mind.

    Mara sank immediately back to her feet and resisted the urge to bolt. That would make too much noise. She crept back slowly the way she had came, and at a safe distance she ramped up her speed, soon rounding corners at a dangerous pace. She tried to forget what she’d seen, but it was stamped on her retinas like a direct glance at the sun. It was unbearable, seeing Eva in so vulnerable without the envoy even knowing. Would it be better if she had known? Mara wasn’t sure. She simply ran through the strain in her legs, the stinging in her lungs, the guilt that weighed on her heart, the deformation of her soft body with every effortful step.
     
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  6. Dec 15, 2019 #6

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    * * *

    Mara dreamed that night that she was floating in space, weightless as Eva, but without a ship or a star or an asteroid in sight, nothing but her nakedness in the black. Her chubby body rippled like the surface of a pond in the wind, but there was no wind.
     
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  7. Dec 15, 2019 #7

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    * * *

    The next morning Rachel and Mara ate breakfast together. Mara stared into a sweet bowl of meal, unable to put the image of Eva’s naked body, and the memory of her dream, from her mind.

    “No Dorit?” asked Rachel.

    Mara looked up at her. She was a little softer, too, but she hadn’t gained weight like Mara had. “I guess not,” she answered.

    “She’s been so good about eating with us lately. Should we see if she’s all right?”

    When was the last time Dorit had been all right? “I’m sure she’s just sleeping.”

    “Are you sure we shouldn’t check on her?”

    “All right,” Mara sighed, “if you insist.” She put down her spoon.

    “No, I mean, it’s up to you, Captain! You are the captain.”

    Mara wasn’t sure if that meant anything anymore. “Better to be safe. Let’s go.”

    They were surprised to find Dorit’s bed empty and the light off in her chamber, but the adjoining bathroom light was on. As they stepped in, Rachel shrieked at the sight of Dorit, sitting in her underwear on a toilet, slowly drawing a crosswise cut on the inside of her forearm with a razor. This, in turn, startled Dorit, who jerked her hand and accidentally cut much deeper into her arm. She swore and stood up, her flabby arms and legs and belly jiggling, and she gripped her forearm above the cut.

    “Help!” cried Rachel.

    “Shut up, Rachel,” Dorit hissed.

    Mara moved quickly toward her first mate.

    “Help, we need help!” Rachel repeated.

    “I’m not trying to fucking kill myself,” said Dorit, tearing up, “but you almost fucking killed me when you fucking scared me like that!”

    Rachel clapped her hands over her mouth, watery-eyed herself, as Mara grabbed a towel and tied it tight just below Dorit’s elbow. She pressed a washcloth to the cut itself and had Dorit hold it there.

    “I wasn’t trying to kill myself,” Dorit insisted. Her voice was shaky.

    “Bullshit,” said Rachel, equally unbalanced.

    “I know you weren’t,” said Mara.

    Dorit blinked and looked back, surprised by the sympathy. “You do?”

    “I do. It’s not the first time I’ve seen it. You’re just trying to feel something.”

    Dorit frowned and looked away.

    “We should have done more for you, Dorit. I knew what you were going through, and I didn’t do anything. We will do more for you.”

    “You can’t do anything for me,” Dorit muttered.

    “Of course we can,” said Rachel, softening now.

    “Oh? Can you take me back to Juno?”

    “Why,” asked Rachel, “would you want to go back to Juno?”

    “Because the war is over on Juno,” Dorit said, “and I’d rather be there than a prisoner on a ship headed to a planet I know nothing about.”

    “Juno is dying,” Rachel argued, “and it will be dead without help from Earth. If you want to go back to a dying planet, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.”

    “You’re deluded. You’re in denial. And you, Captain,” she said, turning to Mara, “you understand me, but you also know there’s no point talking about it. I don’t even know why I’m talking about it now.”

    Mara silently replaced the blood-soaked washcloth over Dorit’s wound with a new one. “Let’s get you to the medical bay. You need to get this stitched up. We’ll tell them you were going to shave and you slipped or something.”

    “She’s basically naked,” said Rachel, throwing up her hands.

    “She’ll put on a robe,” said Mara.
     
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  8. Dec 15, 2019 #8

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    * * *

    “Let me show you what I’ve learned,” said Abraham.

    The Elliott wasn’t far from Earth now, maybe a month away, and currently it was looping around Mars to slingshot to the third rock from the sun on the final leg of the journey. Mara and Nathan were standing in the antechamber of the engine room, the rusty Martian horizon filling most of the window beside them as they arced around the planet. But their eyes were trained on a panel of displays and buttons in front of them, and on a window that looked into the fusion reactor of the engine room itself.

    “McCrae,” said Abraham, “has taught me so much.”

    “Who?”

    “The chief engineer! We’ve been on this ship for months, haven’t you at least learned their names?”

    “We haven’t all been as friendly as you have.”

    “What can I say? There’s so much to learn. I can’t pass this up.”

    Mara wondered what Dorit thought of Abraham, after the incident of weeks prior. Of all of them, he’d acclimated the best, almost like he was going home rather than headed for a new world. But he’d always been strange like that, always fascinated with technical questions and puzzles, rarely troubled by questions of human relationship. It seemed to make life easier for him.

    “What’s the big deal, anyway?” Mara asked. “The Messiah had a fusion reactor, too.”

    “Yes,” said Abraham, “but not like this one. There’ve been generations of engines between then and now, and this reactor is orders of magnitude more efficient.”

    “Weren’t they going to steal all our fuel and put it in this one?”

    “They tried, but honestly the systems are so different they couldn’t manage it. So the Messiah is just in storage somewhere. But that’s beside the point. Let me just show you…”

    Abraham went to press a button, but before his finger reached it, there was a sharp noise from within the engine room, a loud hissing, and a series of alarms that began to ring on the panel in front of them.

    “What happened?” asked Mara.

    “It wasn’t me!”

    “It better not have been you. What happened?” The room was full of flashing red lights and the noise of the alarms.

    “It looks like some kind of local engine failure. I can’t say exactly what caused it, but if you give me a minute I can figure it out.”

    Mara snatched Abraham’s forearm and pulled him away from the panel. “Don’t touch that thing! Are you crazy? We need to get out of this room.”

    “But--” he started, but he was cut off by the ship’s AI.

    “Initiating lockdown,” came a smooth, gender-neutral voice. Mara, still gripping Abraham, pulled him out of the antechamber just as the door slid shut.

    “Lockdown is standard protocol,” said Abraham. “Doesn’t matter what caused the problem. They can override it once they realize it’s a technical failure. And it’s not like the ship can’t travel anymore, this is a solvable problem.”

    “Do you think I care? They don’t know us on this ship, and they don’t trust us. We’re going to get arrested again.”

    “We’ve been here for months, of course they know us!”

    Mara skipped a response as she spotted a soldier rounding the corner at the far end of the hall. He wasn’t armored up, just in loose pants and shirt that rode up on his belly, but he held a stun rifle in his hands. Mara grabbed Abraham and pulled him down a side hall as the soldier yelled for them to stop. As they rounded another corner, she took off one of her boots, and as the soldier came up on them she hurled it and struck him in the head, knocking him out cold.

    “Holy…” muttered Abraham.

    Mara ran and picked up the stun rifle and had Abraham tie the man’s wrists with his own shirt. As he lay passed out, topless, his faced smooshed into the cold floor, Mara stood trying to catch her breath. Her chest was heaving. She wasn’t this out of shape, was she? She felt fear in her blood, fear she could normally suppress in the heat of combat. Fuck.

    “What do we do?” asked Abraham.

    “I don’t know. There are cameras everywhere. We won’t be able to hide.”

    At this moment Eva appeared suddenly, rounding the bend driving a magnetized, levitating dolly. Mara raised her rifle and shouted, “It wasn’t us.”

    “I know!” said Eva. She didn’t slow down. “I saw the footage. Just get on the bed of this dolly! I’ll take care of everything.”

    Mara didn’t move, and Eva sped closer.

    “Captain…?” said Abraham anxiously.

    “I can help you, Captain,” said Eva, “but you need to get on this dolly.”

    Everything was happening so fast. Mara heard the tramping of boots as more soldiers approached behind her, and as she spun to meet them, Eva pulled up beside her and yanked on her shoulder, pulling her onto the bed of the dolly. She brought it to an abrupt halt, putting herself, at the wheel, between the soldiers in front and Mara and Abraham behind.

    “Eva,” said the woman at the front of the soldiers, “you need to hand over the terrorists. We have the others, we just need these two. This is no time for mercy.”

    “They aren’t terrorists,” she said calmly. “And you have to listen to me. This is my ship. It’s not a military vessel.”

    “You’re right,” said the woman, “and you’re not a military officer. So we don’t answer to you, and our mission is to protect you and your staff from the Jovian insurgents.”

    “They’re not insurgents.”

    “You don’t know that! And how can you believe it after what they’ve done to our engine? Why the hell did McCrae let that one in there without any supervision, anyway?”

    “They’re not from this solar system! They can’t be insurgents. And they didn’t touch a thing when the failure occurred.”

    “They didn’t, no, but who knows what that one’s been up to since he’s been working with McCrae? They’ve had months to organize this.”

    “Susan, put down your weapon, and we can sort this out.”

    “You know I can’t do that, Eva.”

    Eva didn’t bother to respond, shifting into reverse and speeding backward as fast as possible. Mara, sprawled on the bed of the dolly, scrambled to grip the edges, finding it harder than expected to hold her bloated body in place. Abraham tried to jump on but tripped on the edge, and as he fell to the side a stun blast from one of the soldiers caught him in the air. He fell to the ground, totally paralyzed. The edge of the blast caught Mara’s feet, too, which fell numb and useless all at once.

    “Go back!” she screamed at Eva.

    “We’ll all be caught if I go back,” Eva yelled as she pivoted around the corner. “I need to save those I can.”

    Mara felt the urge to jump off the dolly and run back to save Abraham, but she knew her feet wouldn’t carry her. Instead, she screamed helplessly as Eva drove them at a surprising clip through a short maze of hallways, bringing her to a lift that closed and brought them to a lower level. The alarms in the halls shut off abruptly at some point, and Mara wondered if that meant McCrae was handling the engine failure.

    “We need to get my crew,” Mara repeated. “We need to get them.”

    “I know this is hard for you, Captain. You’re a good captain, a loyal one. But I’ve lost control of these soldiers,” said Eva. “We’ll get your crew, but it can’t be here, and it can’t be now.”

    “What,” yelled Mara, “and you’re just going to leave your staff behind, too?”

    “No,” said Eva, and the lift door opened onto the loading bay, where Eva’s staff stood at the loading bay door of the Messiah. Eva drove the dolly up the ramp and into the ship, and her staff scrambled after them as the ramp lifted and closed.

    “They stunned her feet,” Eva told Leilani as she lifted her enormous body out of the seat of the dolly. “She’ll need a wheelchair.” Leilani nodded, and, on her own, she carried Eva to a wheelchair that the ship’s AI directed to the loading bay. Everyone else scrambled into position throughout the ship, and the AI piloted it into space as the Elliott’s own bay door opened. As Leilani accompanied Mara to the main deck, where Eva sat in the captain’s chair, the Messiah rocketed toward the Martian surface. Leilani quietly stepped out of the room.
     
  9. Dec 15, 2019 #9

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    “Where are we going?” Mara asked.

    “To the UN local headquarters on the human settlement on Mars. It’s a bit of a backwater, but we’ll be able to sort things out there.”

    Mara simply shuddered in her seat, infuriated by her newfound immobility, crushed by her powerlessness to save her crew. She stared at Eva, the only other person in the room, a mountain of flesh piled into a chair just barely large enough for her, her own eyes fixed straight ahead.

    “You don’t know what they’re going to do to them,” Mara said. “They’ll torture them, one by one.”

    “They won’t.”

    “They called us terrorists!”

    “They don’t torture people anymore.”

    “That’s convenient for you to say. And...wait, why aren’t they following us?”

    Eva turned her head to look at Mara, folding pounds of neck flesh. “They don’t know how to pilot that ship for shit.” She smirked. “They need McCrae for that, and he won’t betray me. So they’re stuck in orbit until someone brings them down. I’m telling you, your crew will be fine. I know you’re close to them, Captain, and I’ll make sure no harm comes to them.”

    Mara was struck then by a wave of sadness. Her chest heaved as she hyperventilated, and tears flowed unbidden from her eyes. “I barely know them,” she mumbled.

    Eva, disturbed, forced her body back onto her feet and approached Mara. “Captain, what’s wrong? What did you say?”

    “I said I barely know them!” Mara yelled, and she sobbed. “I’m their captain, so of course I need to protect them, but I only met them a few months before we left Juno. How well can I know them?”

    Eva just stood there, dumbstruck.

    “You asked me once who I left behind on Juno. Well, it’s nobody!” Mara screamed. “No-fucking-body. There’s no one. My parents died from a stray bomb when I was a child, and I didn’t have any siblings. I joined the army when I was 16, and I lost my closest comrades in battle. I am alone in this galaxy.” She just cried now, cried like she never had since she was a child. She had been so confident when they’d left Juno, so sure she was going somewhere better, to do good for her people, and everything since had just unraveled her. This journey had taken away every certainty, everything she thought she knew about herself. What was left?

    She felt Eva’s soft, reassuring hand on her shoulder, just like when she was waking up in the Elliott’s medical bay. “Captain,” said Eva softly, but Mara just kept crying. Eva moved her hand to Mara’s, gripping it, and Mara gripped the smooth, warm, pudgy hand tightly back. Eva took her other hand and held it carefully below Mara’s chin, a fat finger and thumb each laid on a round cheek, and titled Mara’s head up. Mara looked at her, this beautiful woman, the proud, ancient cheekbones passed through generations of her family, the noble fat that circled her face as a sign of her strength and resilience. She stared into Eva’s stunning, red-brown eyes as Eva said, “Mara. I’m here. You have me. I won’t let you go, and I will save your crew.” Mara gripped her hand all the tighter.

    The two of them stayed on the main deck alone as the Messiah descended. When Mara had left Juno, she’d expected to arrive at Earth, to see the blue-green jewel of a planet, to watch the land’s edges burn gold under the rising sun, to marvel at the shimmering seas, to see the vast, craggy clouds hanging above it all. Maybe, one day, she would. But now they watched, hand in hand, as the red-brown dust of Mars filled the front window of the Messiah, as the vessel grew red-hot in its descent through the atmosphere, as Mara feared she would burn up in the terrible grandeur of this new planet, full of unknown terrors and wondrous possibilities.

    THE END
     
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  10. Dec 16, 2019 #10

    Flyinggazelle

    Flyinggazelle

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    I think it’s really good! Weight gain only being one facet of the story worked in its favor. And the details included were very rich. Are you planning to continue this piece?
     
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  11. Dec 16, 2019 #11

    DaveTheBrave

    DaveTheBrave

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    Thank you! What a beautiful little story. I’m not normally a sci-fi person, but this had enough natural interest to it that I really enjoy it.
     
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  12. Dec 17, 2019 #12

    Tad

    Tad

    Tad

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    The great white north, eh?
    I love it!

    I expected it to run farther, but it makes sense ending it where you did. Just really nicely handled.
     
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  13. Dec 18, 2019 #13

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    Thank you! I honestly expected this to be a more traditional weight gain story when I started, but I was finding it hard to take it in that direction and realized the most interesting stuff was elsewhere. I don't have any plans to continue this piece. Mostly I'm content with where it ended, though I do realize that the connection between Mara and Eva, whatever that is, has only just begun... Exploring that further would be the only reason I'd come back to this.

    Thank you! Really glad you enjoyed it.

    So glad you liked it. In the original outline I had Mara arriving on Earth, seeing how different it was, etc. etc., but in the drafts that kept getting too tedious and convoluted, and leaving behind the characters and their development. Eventually I realized that the most interesting story was the one happening between planets.
     
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  14. Dec 18, 2019 #14

    Tad

    Tad

    Tad

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    The great white north, eh?
    There is a quote "perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away". (From a French writer of whom I am wholly ignorant, so I don't know if I should be taking advice from Antoine de Saint-Exupery, but when it comes to writing I think there is some truth to it)
     
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  15. Dec 18, 2019 #15

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

    Benny Mon

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    I think that makes a lot of sense. If I give you everything I can possibly dream up about my world, that can get boring. But if I give you just enough to conjure the world and leave you wanting more, that's more interesting, and more satisfying, IMO!
     

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