BBW Planet XXL - by Marlow

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Marlow

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Estelle starting to wonder why she isn't growing full like the others <3

Do you have all of this written and posting weekly or are you writing chapters between posting? :) Just curious! :D
I write in advance, since I tend to do it slowly and out of order, and then make revisions as I go based on feedback. Gives me space to change my mind a few thousand times about everything...and allows me to spend probably too much time coming up with titles for the astro-porn films Estelle is watching.
 

Tiggy

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Nov 29, 2019
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Northamptonshire, United Kingdom
I write in advance, since I tend to do it slowly and out of order, and then make revisions as I go based on feedback. Gives me space to change my mind a few thousand times about everything...and allows me to spend probably too much time coming up with titles for the astro-porn films Estelle is watching.
That makes sense haha, I do love your writing style :)
😂 great response re the astro-porn lol

Can't wait for the next chapter! I'm definitely impatient lol.
 

Marlow

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Chapter 8

“Galatea IV,” mused Straya. “You’ll never find a more wretched hive of—”

“There is nothing wretched about hives,” said Lucine, gazing out at the moon and its dark little outpost. “However,” she added, “we must be cautious.”

Estelle reached up to take manual control of the shuttle. She winced and readjusted herself: the pilot’s seat had been designed for someone narrower around the middle. The safety harness managed to get under her jacket and dig into her gut. Despite all her dieting and exercising and worrying, it seemed to be digging in deeper.

They had left the Golden Goose on the far side of a gas giant. Bringing a luxury cruise-liner to an outlaw haven full of junkers, bounty hunters, thieves, pirates, and murderers hadn’t seemed like the safest plan. As she guided the shuttle into a docking port, Estelle saw that the place was a dingy, disorderly, and decayed as promised.

“I’ll stand guard,” Zora announced, eyeing the scrappers waiting outside and unwrapping a sandwich—her second since leaving the ship.

Estelle and the others crossed a long, rickety catwalk and entered the city’s market district. Thousands of aliens milled about in the streets, fluttered overhead, scuttled along the walls, or floated through tubes of liquid. Estelle had traveled to many alien worlds in her time with the interstellar navy, but she recognized few of these species.

“Why are they staring at me?” she whispered.

“They’ve probably never seen a human. You all do wear some strange clothes.”

“No,” scoffed Maura. “They’re staring because she’s fat.”

Estelle automatically tugged her jacket down. “Not anymore. I may still be a little chubby, but I’m working on it.”

“Either way, you look like someone who’s been well-fed. That’s a lot stranger out here than seeing another weird new species, eh? Outposts like this live off whatever Confederation scraps they can steal.”

It was true. Even the tall, lumbering elephantine creatures were lean. “All forms of excess,” explained Lucine, “is declared irresponsible by the Confederation. It is to be turned over to the Oligarchs for safekeeping. Thus the Oligarchs claim to protect the lower species from their baser instincts. It is a potent falsehood.” She levitated herself over a puddle of muck.

Estelle had to step through it. “Let’s just get what we need and head back. I hate being on display.”




Straya dug through a pile of scrap metal. She shook her head and moved to a crate of small electronic components, tutting with displeasure.

“Is she not finding what she’s looking for?” asked one of the shopkeeper’s two heads.

“She seeks a modification for her exo-suit’s helmet,” said Lucine. “Her current induction port is too small for the quantities of food she wishes to eat. She desires greater quantities at greater speeds.”

The other head eyed her. “Why?”

“Because while she and I were enjoying an intimate romantic encounter last week, we found ourselves both in a competitive spirit. Tomorrow we are to test and ascertain which of us is able to consume more diatom delight in one meal. We wish the contest to be fair.”

“And, ah, how are you looking to pay?”

“We can offer a considerable surplus of diatom delight.”

Across the street, Maura and Io were eyeing up a towering wall of weaponry. An exasperated mosquito flitted from shelf to shelf.

“Let’s see,” Maura continued, reading from her datapad. “Also looking for a pair of subspace wave-scramblers, if you have any.”

The mosquito buzzed to a higher shelf in search of wave-scramblers, muttering to itself.

“Then a particle cannon—the one with the red cells—yeah. And a phase-shifted neutrino rifle. And a couple of antimatter knives. Oh, and for the tachyon grenades I mentioned, we want the ones made twenty years in the future, not ten. I can tell. Do you sell armor components, too?”

“Next door,” hummed the mosquito.

“Great. I’m looking for a new ammo-belt. Something with a little more, uh, room around the waist. And Io, didn’t you want…” She furrowed her brow. “Io, where’s the captain?”




Estelle was thrust into a large, opulently decorated hall, hands bound behind her back, flanked by two pig-snouted guards. They gave her one last shove, tore open her jacket, and marched out.

A group of nude figures were dancing on a platform across the room. The were vaguely humanoid, but appeared to be made of plastic. Their proportions changed and reshaped themselves as they danced; limbs and figures grew longer or shorter, shoulders and hips grew wider or narrower. One of the figures, seeing Estelle, turned and sashayed across to her, reshaping into a more feminine appearance with each step.

“I am the Madam of Galatea IV,” said the figure. “I congratulate you, human.”

“On being kidnapped off the street at gunpoint?”

“No, darling, no; escorted, darling, escorted, protected, and safeguarded. I have paid for the privilege of declaring you under my care. I congratulate you on my investment, for you are now property of the quadrant’s most illustrious and exclusive courtesans’ guild. We provide bespoke companionship to tycoons, magnates, warlords, and oligarchs everywhere.”

Estelle bristled. “I’ve already got a job, thanks.”

“And look at how well it has treated you!” the madam spread Estelle’s jacket and lifted her undershirt, eyes widening at the gut that fell out. She touched it, squeezed it, pushed up on its lower roll to watch its upper roll bounce. She ran her hands along Estelle’s lovehandles and grinned. “It has prepared you perfectly for what lies ahead. You have no idea what a prize excess bodymass can be. I—I must measure you.”

A tiny drone zipped out from the wall. It circled Estelle a few times and produced a holographic readout. The madam read over it with intense delight.

“From 36 units at the waist to 40…42 units here. Splendid. And then the return to 36 below. 27 units around the thigh…another 38 for this exquisite chest…oh, this splendid abdomen, this splendid softness…”

“For now,” Estelle assured her. “I’m working on slimming down. Really.”

The madam was too busy with the holograph. “A human. And a fat human, at that. What a rare find. Dress her.” The other plastic figures stepped forward and began peeling away her uniform.

“Can we say ‘chubby’ ? Fat would be more, like—” They untied her to slip the jacket off her arms, but kept her wrists held tight. Something cold pressed against her back.

“I can’t believe my luck. I must remember to reward those pig-headed headhunters. They have finally come back with someone valuable. Do you know there has been a Confederation envoy here for weeks? He has given us such grief. Nothing we offer is good enough to please his master. I was so worried he would shut us down. But now!” She put her head to Estelle’s gut and sighed. “Now I can give him a Chubby Human, something no other guild can hope to provide.”

The envoy was another three-eyed Confederation aristocrat. He entered the room with a party of star-troopers and a look of unshakable disdain. He raised an eyebrow, though, when the madam presented Estelle.

They had squeezed her into a tiny metal bikini that dug into her flesh in the most uncomfortable ways. She made a half-hearted attempt to suck in her gut, but there was no hiding anything.

“Chubby Human,” said the envoy, circling her, “do you know anything of a stolen Oligarch vessel?”

He leaned in close to inspect her pinched roll of backfat. Estelle waited, took the deepest breath the awful bikini top would allow, and then drove an elbow into his face.




Io lifted her head. She held up all four of her arms, sniffed, and turned toward a nearby tower.

“That usually means violence,” said Maura, unslinging her new rifle.

The fight had spilled into the harem, and then into the tavern below, and then into the streets by the time they arrived. Residents of Galatea needed little excuse to start throwing punches and rarely cared who they were hitting. The brawl spread over half the block.

Io and the mercenaries quickly turned the tide. Straya fried the controls of the envoy’s shuttle and scrambled his communicator. Lucine smoothed things over with the local magistrate and helped calm the crowd. When it was all over they returned to the courtesan’ hall and found Estelle struggling to extract herself from a tiny metal bikini.

“It looks good on you, though,” said Maura. “Io can help you with the chains.”

The madam and two of her plastic consorts wandered over. “Well, Chubby Human, you have provided us with a very stimulating afternoon.”

“Sorry,” sighed Estelle, surveying the wreckage of the hall. “We can compensate you for the damage. We’ve got…food.”

“We should be thanking you. Now I can blame the envoy’s disappearance on someone else.” She leaned herself on Estelle’s shoulder. “Will you stay to be thanked?”

Estelle pulled on her jacket, forgetting she hadn’t yet found her undershirt. “Hm?”

“Which do you prefer in a companion? Mass carried in the lower regions?” She gestured to her consorts. Their hips and thighs suddenly widened. “Or further up?” The hips narrowed and the mass settled instead in their busts. “We can align ourselves to your pleasure. Or—oh—perhaps, perhaps…”

Estelle watched all three of them redistribute their mass to their stomachs. “Well,” she choked, “I guess we don’t have to get back to the ship right away.”


--


NEXT WEEK: The weight of command
 

Marlow

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Chapter 9

Estelle lowered herself into the captain’s chair and tugged down at her jacket. Unbuttoning even just the bottom few buttons would have been a powerful relief, but her professional conscience refused. She was on the bridge, after all. And worse, it would be an admission of the second desserts and midnight snacks she’d been trying to sneak past herself.

“Status,” she barked, grateful for the distraction.

“Two confederation vessels,” reported Lieutenant Caelius. “They have changed course to intercept.”

“Assessment?”

Straya set her krill and avocado sandwich on the console. “The corvette is lightly armed. The frigate behind it, though, has a full battle array. Both are powering up their weapon systems.”

“Scout ship and big sister,” suggested Maura, sucking at a protein slurry.

“Anti-piracy patrol,” said Zora, topping her own slurry with whipped cream.

“The extra paneling we got from the miners should buy us time against photon bombardment,” Straya continued, “but we don’t have the firepower to deal with both of them at the same time.”

Estelle rubbed her chin. It was more pliable than it should have been. “How long to the belt?” She immediately regretted the word. Maybe no one would notice if she undid hers.

“We will begin to see asteroids within half an hour,” Starling replied. “Technically, the border extends out to here, where I have indicated on the map. The ice-harvesting guild has signed a truce with the oligarchs that forbids Confederation traffic.”

“Divert power from weapons to engines. Can they catch us before we’re there, Straya?”

“The corvette can.”

“Captain, we are being hailed.”

“On screen.” This called for an adjustment to her waistband. She didn’t care for the idea of spilling out in front of a mortal enemy.

It was a vicious, glaring mollusk in a spiked shell. “That ship,” he gurgled, “is private property of the tertiary Oligarch. You are charged with piracy and treason and—and—and with the unlawful consumption of luxury goods. Lower your shields and prepare to be boarded.”

Estelle stood and tugged again on her jacket. “Straya, lower shields. And redirect their power to the engines. Full burn. Captain, if that’s you in the corvette, I am more than willing to crash into you if you get in my way.”

“That would achieve nothing. You are outmatched. Surrender.”

“Use your eyes. There’s a big, heavy mass coming your way.” The pressure was too much; she undid her bottom button and inhaled. “Are you ready to handle that?”

The channel closed. Estelle sat again and the whole bridge waited in silence. The markers on the tactical map drew closer.

The corvette hesitated at the last moment and pulled up. The Goose shot past, close enough to knock away an antenna, and hurtled over the border.

Estelle breathed out a sigh. The breath came much easier with her button undone. “Well?”

Starling scanned his monitor. “Both ships have broken off their pursuit.”

“Couldn’t risk the diplomatic incident. Good for them. Ensign, send a communique to the nearest ice-harvester base. Offer one of our cargo-pods for safe passage.”

The comms officer was wide-eyed and shaking, but nodded. He was not the only strained face on the bridge.

Estelle glanced around at them all. “Well, I think that was enough excitement for one day. Let’s break for lunch. You’ve all earned it—I’ll have the kitchens whip up a nice dessert.”




The ice-harvesters were more than hospitable to enemies of the Confederation and were even more hospitable to guests bringing food. Their hospitality was no help to Estelle’s faltering attempt at a diet and she was glad, once they’d moved on, that the Golden Goose would be traveling through uninhabited space for a while.

There would be nothing to see until the Aquarian Rift and the ship eased into a comfortable routine. Routine, Estelle told herself, was just what she needed. It was all the disruptions and excitement that had kept distracting her and stressing her and giving her excuses to indulge. It would be easier, now, to workout consistently. It would be easier to plan meals. And it would be an opportunity to spend more time with the crew and socialize with her teams outside of life-threatening situations.

“And on the far side of the rift,” said Maura, “that’s Sphrigon territory.”

“They’ll be trouble,” grumbled Zora.

“What are the Sphrigons like?” asked Lieutenant Caelius, bringing another tray of canapés out from the kitchen.

Maura took the plate for herself. “Vicious warlords. They raid throughout this part of the rim and most settlements don’t even bother fighting back. Their ‘king’ is one of the few beings outside the Confederation aristocracy that you could call wealthy.”

“And even the Confederation doesn’t like to mess with him,” recalled Zora, looking at the tray with distinct jealousy and waving to the kitchen steward for another.

Lucine levitated a canapé from Maura’s plate. “It appears to be an uneasy peace. I cannot tell why the Sphrigons do not raid Confederation space, but they have not ventured there for two years now.”

Estelle wrenched her eyes off the plate. She didn’t need dessert. Not today. “Bad for us?”

“Bad for everyone, I expect,” said Maura, taking a generous bite. “Not like these. These are good for everyone and there should always be more.”

Crumbs fell to her lap and Estelle watched her lean to brush them away. Maura was wearing her armor, as she and Zora always did—even their wings had a protective metallic shine to them—but in its casual, noncombat configuration some of her golden skin showed through.

Beneath the armor there had been defined, rippling musculature, the finely-tuned strength of generations of genetic tailoring and years of accelerated development in a warrior society. The muscles were still there, but after only a month aboard the Goose there was already much less definition to them. In some of the armor’s gaps Estelle could see softness peeking out. She glanced to Zora and saw more of the same.

Caelius had joined them at the table, so it was the kitchen steward who brought out the next tray. Her cadet uniform was too snug over her chest to be regulation and her collar pinched into the now supple flesh of her neck. She was clearly uncomfortable as she bent over the table; Estelle watched her return to the kitchen and immediately unfasten the collar.

“Lieutenant Caelius,” purred Lucine, after another canapé, “are we still to meet for our romantic encounter this Saturday?”

He flushed, but smiled and assured her he was looking forward to it. Almost everyone at the table had received a late-night visit from the psi-hiver at some point. She delighted in her companions’ inner fantasies, feasting on dreamed images as ravenously as she feasted on her tray of desserts. She had visited Estelle several times and, despite Estelle’s promises to herself, she’d found herself waking up surrounded by empty plates each time.

Straya burst into the lounge. “I found it,” she gasped.

“Found what?”

“It’s like I said when I came aboard.” She paused to catch her breath, as though she’d run all the way from engineering, though they’d all heard the chime of the turbolift. “Hundreds of nonessential convenience systems to activate. I finally tracked down some of the service nodules.”

No one understood this, so she bustled into the kitchen and typed at her wrist console. The steward frantically fixed her collar in the presence of an officer.

“Watch. Watch. Here.” The engineer stood back and a robotic arm descended from the ceiling. It quested around the prep table, seized a dirty plate, and delivered it to the sink. Two more arms unfolded from the wall to wash it and dry it. “Think how much work we can save your kitchen staff!”

“Holy nebulas,” breathed the steward.

“And they’re all over the ship! It’ll just take some time to get them all running. Give me a few more months with this ship and you’ll never have to do anything.”

Estelle unfastened a second button. “Oh dear.”




The Aquarian Rift was a cloudy blue and orange expanse. The ship left glowing swirls behind as it passed and lightning in a whole spectrum of colors flashed in the distance. A visual spectacle filled every viewport and few aboard could keep their eyes off it.

Lucine’s eyes, though, were glaring at the mirror. “It is a frustration,” she sighed.

Caelius watched the window from his bed. “What is?”

“I have felt such appetites, being here, and have diligently followed the example of the others in regularly consuming far more nourishment than my body requires. Yet still I am small. I have not grown.”

This was untrue. Lucine had put on twenty pounds or more since coming aboard, but she had been so slender and her frame was so long-limbed that she’d hardly rounded out. She was fully naked and inspecting herself with dissatisfaction.

Caelius sat up. “Sometimes you get to used to seeing yourself every day. It can be hard to notice changes. But I see them, Lucine. Your thighs are smoother than when we met. If you could see your other side, you would see that your butt’s bigger. There, see? And that little gemstone in your navel? When you’ve had a big meal, it tends to sink into the skin just a little more.”

“But the captain is so much fatter. She is nearly two of me. And though she pretends to dislike it, her middle grows softer by the day. Mine does not reach forward at all.”

“I wouldn’t, uh, mention that to her.”

“I have come here to live the growth and fullness of the Forbidden Planet. I wish to feel closer to that world. I experienced it in her, when we joined. There is destiny in your captain…immense destiny.”




Estelle shifted in the captain’s chair. She’d initially returned to the bridge with all her buttons back in place, but had already undone the bottom two again. “Assessment?”

The sensor technician had to swallow her bite of pizza first. “Sorry. Freight transport. Minimal armament…no escort. Transponder says they’re outbound from the rift on a stardust delivery.”

“Confederation?”

“Independent traders, captain.”

Estelle turned to the comms officer, who was busy brushing crumbs from his console. Only once he’d finished and reached for his drink did he realize the captain had been waiting on him. “Uh, establishing a channel. Any message?”

“Tell them—” Her stomach growled so fiercely everyone on the bridge turned. She sank further into the chair. “See if they’d like to come across for dinner.”


--


NEXT WEEK: Resistance is Futile
 

Marlow

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Chapter 10

“Captain’s log, stardate 402.01.17…”

Despite everything, Estelle felt she’d been behaving better than usual. She had kept to something resembling a workout routine all the way through the Aquarian cluster and the weeks after. She’d indulged a few times with passing merchants, or with the crew, or with the officers, but never more than she could handle and had always made up for it the next day in the exercise deck.

She’d still grown, but not as rapidly as she’d feared. When she finally worked up the courage to check her bio-pak, the 243 pounds it reported was almost a relief. She had celebrated, though, with an extra helping of mood-soothing Psi-Hive honey and a soak in her cabin’s hot tub.

She’d found she could undo the top four or five buttons of her jacket rather than the bottom two and achieve the same relief with a little more dignity. Her trouser button had developed a habit of undoing itself whenever she sat down, but the Golden Goose was to be a shipshape, professional, naval-style vessel while she was captain, damn it, and she refused to appear out of uniform. And having a new uniform made would mean accepting that the weight was genuine and permanent. She could lose it—she’d lost it before, after all.

The stellar cartography holograms flickered on. She craned her head to look at it; both jacket and undershirt rode up from the curve of her gut. “Where does Sphrigon territory begin?”

“At this system,” replied Starling. “I do not advise entering without the chief warlord’s permission. We would be attacked on sight. The Sphrigons’ default diplomatic stance is unchecked hostility.”

“And they haven’t responded to any of our overtures?”

Straya shook her head. “They answered our last hail with a hologram of three extradimensional-abominations mating.”

“And this line of systems here, outside their borders?”

“Confederation settlements.” Starling called up the images on the map. “This is a fortified starbase that we would be unable to bypass. And this appears to be a high-security detention station. And here is a cluster of defense platforms…”

Estelle looked down and fixed her clothing. “Rock and a hard place.”

Io looked up. She had recently eaten a particularly tasty space-rock and was still feeling full.

Starling closed the hologram. “What do you recommend, captain?”

“Well, we’re still a few days out. Keep trying to get the Sphrigons to talk. There’s got to be something they want.” Her communicated buzzed. “Go ahead.”

“Captain,” said the comms officer, through a mouthful of something crunchy, “we’re in range of the relay buoy. You’ll be able to get a signal to the admiralty for the next hour or so. Yeah, one with cheese. Thanks.”

“Patch him through to my cabin.” Estelle turned to go, but Straya touched her arm.

“Just so you know—I’ve been working on more of the convenience and service functions. I’ve activated some in your quarters for…testing.”

Estelle couldn’t see through the engineer’s mask, but had the distinct impression that Straya was winking. She excused herself again. As she made her way out of cartography she passed a navigator with a steaming basket of Orionid onion rings and managed to walk by without staring at them.

This was a victory. She hadn’t had to squeeze her eyes shut or hold her breath against the aroma. Sure, she had never acquired much of a taste for onions, but it had been months since she’d walked by a meal without jealousy. She boarded the lift with a smile.

“Your day has been satisfactory?” wondered Lucine, who boarded on the next deck.

“Just feeling a little more lively. Ready to get things done. I’m gonna call the admiral for a quick update and then I think I’ll go for a long, hard workout. There are some machines on the exercise deck I still haven’t tried.”

Lucine lowered her burrito. “There is an exercise deck?”

Estelle was invincible. She was already doing warmup stretches as she marched down the corridor. She informed the kitchen steward, as she passed, that she only wanted a standard nutrient ration for dinner.

She touched up her hair and makeup and forced her jacket closed one button at a time until the collar dug into her neck. She laid her workout towel on the chair for later and, choosing to ignore the strange whirring noises coming from the bathroom, sat herself before the viewscreen to make her call.

Her pants-button immediately snapped, but it was too late. The static coalesced into the admiral’s face.

“Commander Gorlois,” he said, with some surprise, “we didn’t expect—it’s wonderful to see you’re still alive out there.”

“Alive and making progress, sir. We’ve safely crossed through Psi-Hive space, several outlaw systems, the ice-harvesting belt, and the Aquarian Rift.”

“Well, that’s certainly, well, unexpected. A lot to be proud of, commander. Well done. A credit to the interstellar navy.”

“Any news on the treaty?”

“Oh, the diplomats are back and forth, as always. I can’t say much. We haven’t been attacked here, but we’ve had to decommission a large portion of the fleet as a show of loyalty.”

Estelle furrowed her brow. The collar was really starting to pinch. “Who are we supposed to rendezvous with, then? We need extraction.”

“Well, that’s one of the…well, in order to…well, it’s…there’s nothing we can do. We aren’t sending help, commander. You’re on your own out there.”

“Stars. What are we supposed to do?”

“Nothing reckless. Keep out of sight. Don’t do anything to provoke the Confederation. Let the diplomats sort this out. Until then, just stay safe and keep the crew busy. They’ll need discipline. Leadership by example. You’ll all need to keep in top shape.”

Estelle had nothing to say. She shook her head; her collar unfastened itself.

“Good luck, commander.”

The viewscreen went dark. Estelle yanked open the rest of her jacket and gasped for air. “I don’t know why I’m surprised. This is the same nerf-herder that sent me out to die last time.”

She paced the cabin. She closed and opened the shutters. She glared out at the stars. She made her bed. She unmade her bed and hurled the sheets to the floor. She opened her closet and pulled out her workout clothes, but couldn’t talk herself into putting them on.

The centrifugal jogging track wasn’t going to help. The recumbent laser-bike wasn’t going to help. The zero-gravity pool wasn’t going to help. And a single, tasteless nutrient ration certainly wasn’t going to help.

Estelle burst into the corridor, forgetting that she was in only her undershirt and unbuttoned pants. “Where’s the steward?”

The steward leaned out from a doorway, trembling, a half-eaten cookie in her hand. “Captain?”

“Belay that ration. I’m changing my dinner order.”
 

Marlow

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(10.2)

She kicked off her pants and still hadn’t put on anything to replace them when dinner arrived. It arrived in two loads. The cadet stared, but was quickly pushed out. The captain was not to be disturbed for a few hours.

Estelle dimmed the lights and called up a feel-good alien holo-musical on the vidscreen, but paid no attention to it. There was a genuine dinner on her table for once, or at least the beginning of a genuine dinner, and a yearning in her stomach.

She ate, wedge by hot, buttery wedge, every slice of a Rigellian pizza. It was loaded down with meats and toppings she’d never heard of and cheeses that almost certainly weren’t intended for humans, but her body welcomed every bite. Her mouth was suddenly alive with spices and sweetness and juices and salts and her belly was suddenly alive with warmth; a sauce with an interstellar kick, a crust as crispy as the surface of a meteor but impossibly soft within, all of it seasoned with a stardust outlawed in twelve systems.

It was a doughy crust that was eager to swell, too. After half the pie Estelle’s hand crept down and rolled the waistband of her underwear off the lower roll of her gut, freeing it to swell forward.

The pizza should have been enough on its own. It should have been too much on its own. But there was also the basket of plasma-hot fried space-amoeba bites. They were coated in a gushing, glistening, gratifyingly messy glaze and mixed in with a selection of plump vegetables that burst with juices and flavor. Every bite of alien food was something strange and unknown and deeply fascinating. There was so much more to know.

She washed it down, though, with a more familiar comfort: bitter New Kansas ale. It was perfectly sharp and the kitchen synthesizers had gotten it just right. She made her way through the pizza, the bottles, the basket, and a thick brown-dwarf brownie as the evening wore on. The sag in her midsection disappeared and her stomach reached out before her, glorious and, for at least this brief moment, restored.

It was too much, but she knew she was nowhere near her limits. That was the lingering, disquieting worry; that was the part of her she couldn’t allow to wake up. She wouldn’t risk it now, but she was at least feeling the best she’d felt in months. For now there was time to simply savor every sensation. She could go back to being captain tomorrow.

She was also a mess after a greasy meal and rose with the sort of wet, overindulged belch she hadn’t heard from herself in years. She padded to the bathroom, one hand to her distended belly, and nudged open the door to the shower. Unsteady after the ale, she struggled a minute with her remaining clothes, but felt another pair of hands take hold to help.

They were robotic arms, stretching down from the ceiling panels: the service-modules Straya had activated. Estelle was in too blissful a state to be perturbed and allowed them to peel off her shirt. They even steadied her shoulders as she stepped out of her underwear.

The shower’s layout finally began to make sense. The waterspout now roved along the ceiling, following her, and other spigots sprang up to spray her sides. A pair of arms extended to lather her hair. Others, with a soft touch, soaped and washed her and kneaded her every curve. She stretched back and let the water cascade over her bulging midsection. It no longer drooped; it was no longer square. She forgot about the admiral and she forgot about the Confederation. She thought about another dessert.

She was washed and rinsed and massaged without ever lifting a finger. By the time she left the shower she was almost happy and once the service arms had toweled off and she’d wandered back into the cabin she was far from the Outlaw Rim and its troubles. She was still standing there, naked, a smile on her face and her gut cradled in her hands when she finally noticed Straya waiting in the doorway.

“Chief engineer,” she managed. “Hello. I told the steward…urrp.”

“Are the service modules working alright in there?”

Estelle nodded slowly.

“I’m so happy to hear it. I’ll get the rest up and running soon.”

“Straya…”

“Right. So—we’ve had an idea about the Sphrigons.”

“Straya, can…can this wait til morning?” She trudged into the bedroom without waiting for a reply and stretched out over the bed.

“Of course. Oh—by the deeps—by the ancestors. Look at the hot tub in there. I’m so jealous.”

“Come by…sometime…we...we should...” Estelle groaned into her pillow. She mumbled something about cheesecake, stroked her belly, and drifted off to sleep.

--

NEXT WEEK: Uh, everything's under control. Situation normal.
 

Marlow

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Chapter 11

Estelle sat back against the rim of the hot tub and sipped her wine as Straya got dressed. The engineer’s supple aquatic flesh gave a faint ripple as she clapped each piece of her exo-suit into place.

“Thank you, captain. It was so nice to be out of this thing for a moment. And even nicer to…share that moment. There are no rules against ‘fraternizing’ with a commanding officer?”

“Yeah, there’s so much fraternization going on all over this ship it’s not worth thinking about. Is that a new abdominal panel?”

The engineer couldn’t blush through her helmet, but she did give a sheepish nod. “The old one wouldn’t seal. I had to design a…wider midsection segment. I seem to have grown a bit since I came aboard. And I don’t think I’m alone in that, either.”

“Don’t remind me.” Estelle leaned back, but no too far. Any further and her stomach would break the surface of the water, a stomach that was far from empty. She had no desire to see it; relieving a little stress after the admiral’s bad news was excusable, but there was no excuse for falling into so many old habits in the days since. “Take the rest of the cheesecake with you.”

“We finished it, captain.” She blew Estelle a kiss and sashayed out, as much as her suit would allow.

Estelle reached into her pile of clothes and tapped her communicator. “Captain’s log, stardate 402.02…uh…03. We learned how the Confederation made peace with the Sphrigons. Turns out they’re holding the warlord’s favorite daughter hostage in a prison station. Maximum security.” She finished her wine and set the glass atop her stomach. “We’re gonna break her out.”




Boots tromped in precise rhythm, echoing down the corridors of the detention center. The star-trooper patrol marched out from the shuttle hangar, past the community punishment chambers, and into a turbolift.

A three-eyed officer waited within. They saluted him and arranged themselves into two rigid lines, glossy helmets staring ahead. The officer gave them a long, dubious look, especially the shorter one of the group, but reached his floor and got out before asking anything.

The door opened again at the bottom floor. The star-troopers marched into a small control room and saluted again. Another party returned the salute, muttered something about them being late again, and disappeared into the lift.

As soon as they’d gone, Estelle unclipped her ammunition belt. “Holy nebulas,” she gasped, fumbling with the armor’s other restraints, “we couldn’t have stolen any armor that fit?”

Maura sealed the door. “Captain, you’re not exactly star-trooper-sized.”

“Just work on the escape route. Zora, call up her cell number. And Starling, uh, help me with this thing.” Together they unlatched the more constricting mechanisms of her cuirass and the armor’s midsection bowed out. A roll of belly, encased in combat-mesh, sagged out from below it. “Thank you. Oh, I can breathe. That’s it. Back to the workout routine. Lunch yesterday is the last time I let myself…”

“There’s the alert,” said Zora. A series of lights flashed on the console. “I’ll delay the lifts. The princess is in block 13.”

Estelle was familiar enough with prisons after a long smuggling career. The aliens’ detention center wasn’t too different from humans’ and she reached the cell just as Starling found the access codes.

Three sets of doors hissed open. Inside was Princess Csilla of the Sphrigons, a lithe, alluring young alien woman in a tight, low-cut, ornately embroidered gown. Her skin was as reflective as a mirror and her expression as she sat up was pure amusement.

“Aren’t you a little fat for a star-trooper?”

Estelle tilted her head. “Huh? Oh, the uniform.” She pulled off the helmet and stepped forward. “My name’s Estelle. I’m here to rescue you.”

Sparks burst from a nearby panel. The rest of the away team barreled down the corridor. “Captain, we’re gonna have company.”

“Some rescue,” said the princess, standing.

“Ease off,” snapped Maura. “There’s a plan.”

“Sure. Look, get your helmets on and stand behind me. And suck in that gut, ‘captain’, if you can.”

Estelle could not, but the princess carried herself with such natural, haughty, regal authority that they all fell in behind her and stood to attention. The princess winked at them, cracked her neck, and turned to face the control center.

Her mirror-like skin shifted, sparkled, and swirled. Her features and clothes blurred and changed. Moments later, she looked exactly like the Confederation officer they’d passed in the lift.

Real star-troopers poured into the corridor, but froze.

“About face, you imbeciles,” shouted the princess. “Block 13 is covered, as you can plainly see. The intruders were last seen in 16."

The troopers saluted and bustled off. The princess spun around, shimmered, and was once again an alluring grey woman.

“I’ve never trusted shapeshifters,” said Zora.

“I’m waiting for this plan you’re so proud of.”

Maura crossed the corridor and opened a hatch. “Found an exit.”

“That is a garbage chute.”

“Yep. After you, your highness.”

Estelle peered into the dark tube and shivered. It was going to be a tight squeeze.




“By the queens,” laughed Lucine, “I feared you would be trapped forever in that foul place.”

Estelle waved the service-arm over for more soap and lathered her lovehandles. There were still marks where the chute’s exit hinges had pinched her.

“And the sound—”

“Yes. What great, supportive friends I have. Give me that scrubber.”

They had come aboard the Goose slathered in muck and gone straight to Estelle’s shower. It was big enough to fit the entire away team, albeit with some occasional bumping of hips, and the service arms were helpful in scouring away all the sludge. The princess had joined them, too, apparently unfazed by a room full of naked strangers.

Estelle seemed to be the only one blushing. Her pudgy frame was on full display. And Lucine kept staring at it.

“Something dry for dinner, I think,” said Maura, rinsing her wings. “What do you say to a huge basket of fried Libran tubers, Princess Csilla?”

“No, thank you.” The reply earned a few raised eyebrows. No one aboard but Estelle had ever turned down a meal from the ship’s addictive kitchens. “Captain, about my father…”

Estelle nodded. “We can head straight to him, your highness. We’ll have you home in a few short days—I’m sure you miss it.”

“I’m certainly grateful to be out of that prison. I owe you for that. But I’m not exactly eager to return to my father’s court. I had run away, you see, when the Confederation took me.”

The shower stopped and they stood, dripping, in the silence. “Oh. We were hoping…” Estelle began, but frowned.

“I was expected to be the warlord’s heir. I was his obvious favorite. But I have little interest in that life. There are so many pleasures out there in the universe.” Csilla gave Estelle a meaningful stare. “But I am grateful for the rescue, captain.”

“Could you at least put us in contact with your father? Put in a good word for us?” Estelle squeezed between the others and took the princess’ hands, realizing too late that this also brought her stomach into contact. “Princess Csilla, you’re our only hope. We’ll give you anything you want.”

The princess studied her. She pressed her tiny abdomen against Estelle’s gut, looked thoughtful, and then began another transformation.

When the shimmering stopped, she had become Estelle. She was still her own mass, though, so it was a very lean, slender version of her, a sight Estelle hadn’t seen for a long, long time. Csilla circled her flabbier likeness, looking her up and down. Then, just as abruptly, she transformed back.

“Very well,” she announced, poking Estelle’s gut. “I’ll take you to my father. You know, captain, I think he’s going to like you.”


--


Yeah, Family Guy did it first. Oh well.


NEXT WEEK: I'm going to dance next to you, and if you want to think we're dancing together, go ahead
 

Phat94

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You certainly know how to keep us wanting more. I would have loved to see more details of Estelle struggling with a tight, awful metal bikini, and the tight, awful trash chute. So many things seem to be tight around Estelle lately. I wonder why?
It's delightful to see how many denizens of the galaxy are entranced by her fattened figure. I don't think there's too much risk of her going hungry. And the princess turning into a thin version of her, and prodding her tummy? Just what could she have in mind... eager to find out. Thank you for your efforts!
 

Marlow

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Chapter 12

The Sphrigon capital wasn’t a planet or moon but a gigantic, sprawling battlestation bristling with turrets. A hundred warships hung in orbit, cobbled together from captured vessels and armed with weapons as dangerous to themselves as to their enemies. The largest was an old dreadnaught loaded down with so many cannons and phaser-banks it couldn’t safely maneuver itself and had to be towed around by two freighters.

Dozens of targeting systems tracked the Golden Goose as it made its approach. When the captain’s shuttle put off, the warfleet suddenly blazed away into space with plasma rockets, lasers, phasers, accelerated ballistics, and aurora beams. It was a terrifying, blinding spray of deadly color. But it was the traditional Sphrigon salute, Princess Csilla explained, the salute owed to a triumphant hero.

Estelle’s heart was still pounding as they rode the elevator up from the shuttle bay. The salute had been more than enough firepower to vaporize the Goose in seconds, if fired in the wrong direction. “I guess I’m honored,” she said, recovering. “Or maybe it was for you?”

The princess grinned. “I’m still his favorite, after all.”

“We’re counting on that.” She tugged at her cuffs. Only two of her uniform’s buttons had agreed to fasten and her undershirt was hardly modest, but with any luck Sphrigon standards would be more forgiving. Csilla’s royal gown, after all, was lightyears from modesty.

The tightness of the gown gave Estelle some cautious hope. The princess was effortlessly slender and comfortable in her reflective skin. She was the first alien Estelle had met so far who hadn’t immediately fallen to stuffing her face after coming aboard. It was possible, just possible, that the temptations of the Golden Goose could be resisted. Perhaps she would help her captain mind her diet.

“Anything else you forgot to warn me about, before it’s too late?”

“Yes,” chirped the princess, as the elevator door opened. “I’m adopted.”

The door opened into a cavernous royal hall, bedecked with bloodstained tapestries and a dozen species’ worth of skeletons. Weapons dangled from the ceiling on slime-covered chains. Arranged beside long tables below were a hundred Sphrigons: huge, bulbous, oily slug-like creatures, abdomens bulging as they reclined on couches wet with ooze.

The largest of them sat at the far end of the chamber, smothering his throne. He was twice as round as any of the rest and his tiny arms strained to reach his bowl of dinner. His glossy eyes turned to the door and went wide. “Oh! Ah!” he cried, in a horrible gargling voice, breaking into a two-foot-wide smile. “My most darling little pustule is restored to us!”

Csilla curtsied. The crowd erupted in a gurgling cheer.

“Adopted,” said Estelle, watching them all jiggle.

“And you must be her rescuer,” the warlord continued. “Come forward, Chubby Human Captain. You will dine with us. You will drink with us. There is much to tell and to celebrate.”





There was also much to eat. It was all various forms of ooze or goo or slime and though not very inviting to the eye it all proved intriguingly delicious. Estelle tried to ask Csilla about its nutritional content, but couldn’t get an answer and by the second course had given up asking. Estelle had an excuse, anyway. The Sphrigons were very pushy about finishing plates and were too powerful to risk insulting.

The appetizer of sweet globules was similar enough to the dish Straya had often ordered aboard the Goose. And plenty filling, for an appetizer. Next came an aromatic slime-mold, surprisingly tangy. This was followed by a savory mush, even more filling, and the first of many, many tankards of a mysterious glowing liquid. It was stronger than it tasted and Estelle’s vision began to blur as she took the first sips of her third.

“My darling pustule,” rumbled the warlord, “has been telling me of your ship.” He gazed lovingly at Csilla, who was reclined upon his tail. She wasn’t eating. “You have traveled a vast expanse.”

Estelle blinked at his vast expanse. “We were betrayed by the Confederation. We’re trying to go home.”

“What did the Confederation gain by betraying you? What scheme are they pursuing?”

“I…” She grimaced and took another gulp of her drink. Her throat burned, but a jiggling spoonful of slime soothed it. Another spoonful of slime followed, for good measure. “I don’t know.”

After the slime came a slab of grease speckled with bits of unidentifiable meat. The Sphrigons tittered with excitement. Estelle’s eyes bulged, but her stomach was taking over. A mischievous, long-suppressed sensation was threatening to return. She ate more; she wanted more. She couldn’t remember unbuttoning the rest of her jacket, but it was hanging wide open. Her fat cleavage was on full display and her shirt was riding up again.

“Look at her,” laughed Maura, from the far end of the court. “Our captain’s got an appetite after all.”

Lucine was shaking. “It is as I dreamed.”

“You are enemies of the Confederation,” boomed the warlord, between courses.

“Confederation. Yep,” breathed Estelle.

“My darling pustule has studied your records. Commandeering an oligarch’s personal vessel…all you have done since…” He waved for an attendant to refill her drink. “I have heard of humans. I had not expected strength from them. We listen to the Confederation signals. They speak of you often.”

Estelle hiccupped.

“You have made an impression. You have made enemies.”

“I would rather—hmmp—rather make friends, your large…ness.”

His bulk rocked and undulated and she realized he was laughing. “You have done so. I will call you friend, Chubby Human Captain. I will give you weapons. I will send two warships to escort you. You will bring us many spoils of war. And my daughter will travel with you, that she may see the galaxy and fill her heart, as is her desire. Our friendship pleases me already. Now: dessert.”

More cheering. Dessert was a slab of buttery sludge; Estelle never quite found the end of it, but she made an effort that impressed all the slugs. Her body strained against her clothes and her stomach throbbed with the painful ecstasy she’d tried to hard to forget. She felt the edge of the table against her skin. She wanted more.

Now there was music, played from ooze-filled tubes. The slugs were dancing. Csilla was standing over her with a seductive smirk, offering a dance. Estelle was too stuffed to even consider it.

The princess danced for her instead. She danced around her, then on her, and then, hours later, they danced together under the sheets of the royal bed.
 

Marlow

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(12.2)

The dockyard lights blazed. Estelle lifted a hand to shield her eyes and nearly fell over, collapsing against a railing. Csilla helped her up and, keeping a firm grip on Estelle’s lovehandle, guided her across the platform.

It was a slow journey. The warlord had let her sleep late into the next day, but her stomach still churned and she was still deeply, painfully drunk. Fortunately, Sphrigons were slow movers themselves. The enormous warlord had to be hauled out on a hovering platform.

“Almost there,” whispered the princess. “After this we can get you back to your ship. We’ll get you a nice big breakfast to settle things. And we’ll find you some new pants.”

The warlord didn’t seem to mind that his new ally had appeared in only underwear and a jacket that wouldn’t close, nor that she swayed side to side and bounced off the princess several times while he made his interminable speech. He presented two of his newest frigates and outlined all their specifications and weaponry. He introduced their commanders: two smaller slugs who greeted Estelle with a slimy embrace.

Csilla whispered the appropriate traditional responses in her ear and Estelle hoarsely repeated them. The Sphrigons looked pleased: she had eaten their food in impressive quantities, she had survived their famously poisonous drinks, and she had earned the princess’ fickle favors. It would be an honor to fight at Estelle’s side—they looked forward to growing their power—they hungered for the spoils of war.

“Hunger,” she repeated.

They managed to get her aboard the Golden Goose’s shuttle and poured her into a seat by the window. The rest of the away-team was feeling the party themselves—Io had woken up inside one of the translucent Sphrigons—but all gave their captain a knowing smirk.

The shuttle lifted off. “Last time,” murmured Estelle.

“Sure, captain,” said Maura, patting her stomach. “Sure.”




“I’ll exercise,” protested Estelle.

“Yes, captain,” said Starling.

“I will. Probably not today. I’m still recovering. But once I’m feeling, you know, a little better, it’s back to the zero-G pool. Twice a day.”

“Yes, captain.”

“It’s okay to break routine once in a while. It happens. Sometimes you have a stressful day or you have to honor the traditions of a murderous slug-warlord. It happens. What matters is that you get back to the routine after.”

“Yes, captain.”

“That damned admiral…when we get this ship back to the colonies he’ll have to come out and eat all his words about me being unfit for duty. I’ll be fit again. I’ll be fitter than ever. I’ll be so fit they’ll forget I was ever fat. He won’t believe his stupid eyes. They’ll give me a medal.”

“Yes, captain.” The turbolift doors opened and they stepped onto the bridge.

The crew was ready at their stations and looking polished in their uniforms. The comms officer’s console had been cleaned of crumbs and the sensor technician had hidden her bag of chips behind a control panel. The alien guests stood by the ready room in full presentation dress: the mercenaries in their armor, Straya in her increasingly modified exo-suit, Csilla in her sheer royal gown, Lucine in her flowing robes, Io in her chains.

Estelle had found new trousers, though they were still rather snug. She’d made an attempt to button her jacket, but hadn’t gotten very far. At least the new undershirt didn’t ride up as much as she eased herself into the captain’s chair. “Status?”

“All systems online,” said Lieutenant Caelius. “All decks cleared for departure.”

“Not so loud, lieutenant.”

“Sphrigon warships Ceaseless Devouring Maw of Ravenous Murder and Indestructible III reporting ready for orders, captain,” added the comms officer. The viewscreen showed the two hideous ooze-leaking ships alongside.

Estelle nodded and took a long, welcome drink of coffee. “Signal to depart station. Close formation and set course for Limax VI. Let’s cause a little trouble.”


-


NEXT WEEK: Before we dock, I think we ought to discuss the bonus situation
 

Marlow

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Chapter 13

Limax VI lay on the extreme borders of Confederation space. There was only a small farming colony on the planet and its sparse population had been settled there only to produce food for the supply station orbiting above. The station served as a reprovisioning depot for Confederation patrols throughout the cluster, but it was an older depot and saw much less traffic than it had during the wars.

The two frigates guarding it hadn’t seen action in months. It took some time to scramble to red alert when the Golden Goose and two Sphrigon warships jumped into the system.

Lasers, glimmering torpedoes, and bursts of plasma raced back and forth. The invading ships veered around; the frigates pursued. A phaser blast slipped through the Goose’s starboard shields and sent up a spray of sparks from the engine.

“Recalibrating deflectors,” said Starling, once the bridge had stopped shaking.

Estelle readjusted herself in her chair. “Damage report.” The shaking had not been good for her waistband, but there was too much else to worry about. Her muffin-top would have to stay untucked for the battle.

“No casualties reported. Core containment at 96%. Engineering has sealed the hull breach.”

“One minor casualty,” murmured the comms officers, whose soda had spilled. Half can of cherry-flavored Nuclear Fizzin’ wasted; he vowed revenge.

“I told you to finish it before we made the jump,” hissed the sensor technician. She had finished all of hers, along with the rest of her chips. After the shaking, though, she was beginning to regret having forced it all down so quickly and sneaked a hand to her bubbling stomach.

“Both frigates are committed to the pursuit,” Starling continued. The ship trembled again. “Recalibrated shields holding, but the frigates are beginning to draw phasic energy from the space station’s defense field. I estimate fourteen minutes until we are unable to withstand it.”

“Other contacts?”

The sensor technician released a painful belch. “No—oof—sorry, no other ships detected.”

“Prioritize shields and maneuvering engines.” The captain stood and tugged her pants back over her butt. “Away team to the shuttle. Prep my armor. Lieutenant Caelius, you have the bridge. Keep leading them on the wild goose-chase.”




“No one laughed,” she grumbled, as the shuttle landed. “Golden Goose. ‘Goose chase.’ Come on.”

Maura loaded her neutrino launcher. “Is that a human battle cry?”

“What is a goose?” asked Zora.

“Well, it’s like a sort of…” Estelle bit her lip. The words ‘fat bird’ had nearly come out, but as she watched Maura stretch her arms overhead the mercenary’s breastplate had ridden up, revealing a plump triangle of flesh. Maura didn’t seem to notice and let it hang exposed from her armor as she returned to her gun. “…it’s something you’re not supposed to feed. What’s our welcoming party like?”

Straya was ready at the shuttle door. “Two squads of star-troopers, some mounted turrets, and…ah. They have a Uranian Death-Snake.”

“That’s no way to greet some hungry travelers. Csilla, buy us a minute.”

The princess rubbed her hands and transformed herself into a Confederation aristocrat. She sauntered down the shuttle ramp and could be heard shouting with the indignation of royalty—is this how they welcome the oligarch’s own yacht—who taught them protocol—what were they thinking—where was the banquet the oligarch had been promised—where was their manager?

Estelle loaded her rifle. “Lucine, cover. Straya, get the turrets reprogrammed. Maura, Zora, on me; we’ll push for the command center. And yes, Io, you can fight the snake.” She put on her helmet, sucked in her gut, and led the charge.

Charging was harder than it had been fifty pounds ago, but she made it to cover without collapsing. Steadying her heartbeat took longer than it used to, as well, and she missed her first rifle-shot. Grimacing, she rested her gut on one of the crates and took a much better shot.

She watched Maura and Zora soar overhead. Zora landed on the star-troopers’ commander. Normally, in one of her favorite moves, she would have swept him into the air for additional terror, but now she simply rolled off and knocked him out with a punch. Maura blasted away with her cannon; her chin, cheeks, and the exposed roll of her midsection wobbled with each shot.

Lucine expanded her telekinetic shielding. Between explosions, she pulled a ration bar from her robe and took a bite.

“Really?” cried Estelle.

“I am discovering,” Lucine replied, “an improvement in my psi-capacity correlated with the increase in my gastronomic capacity.” A grenade fell beside her. She glanced down and it flew back toward the enemy.

Csilla, in her own skin again, slid into cover beside Estelle. “Captain, your backside is showing whenever you get up to fire. It is very distracting.”

Estelle pulled her armor up again.

The Uranian death-snake vaulted over their cover. It was lightning-quick, covered in bloody spikes and blades, and it trailed a steaming acid behind it. Estelle whipped her rifle up, but the snake swatted it from her grip. It rose, hissed, and bared all its spikes. Io tackled it.

Straya finished her hack. The turrets went silent. The last star-troopers threw down their weapons. The alarms stopped blaring and everyone watched in horror, fascination, and thrill as Io slowly devoured the death-snake whole.




“Will she be okay?” asked Lieutenant Caelius.

The Golden Goose’s medial officer stood up from Io’s distended midsection. “She seems…unharmed. But I wouldn’t ask her to move for a day or two.”

Maura was still staring. “She slurped it down like…like a big noodle.”

“Always knew she had it in her,” said Zora. “I think you bring out the best in us, captain. That’s leading by example.” She slapped Estelle in the gut.

Estelle ignored her. “How’s the ship?”

Caelius pulled his eyes from Io and collected himself. “Uh, some minor hull damage. The dorsal wave generator is down, but can be repaired with what we have aboard. Ravenous Murder and Indestructible III report no serious damage.”

“Good. Have one of them escort the captured frigates back to Sphrigon space and rendezvous back here with us in two days. We’ll need the time to make our repairs…and to wait on Io to…digest, I guess. Send over another shuttle and prep for surface transport.”

“You’re going down to the surface? There are only civilians there, captain.”

“Exactly. Lucine just did her bonding thing with the commander here…” The officer was still grinning stupidly from the experience. “…the people down on the surface are starving. Everything they grow just gets taken to stock the patrol-ships. I figure we bring them up and return what should’ve been theirs.”

They walked into the control center. Straya had hacked into the main terminal. Seeing them enter, she set her snack aside and called up a holographic star-map.

“Each of these represents a starsystem with a civilian colony,” Estelle continued. “More stations just like this one, all along the Confederation border. I’m willing to bet every colony is hungry and every one of these depots is holding their food supply hostage.”

“What are you suggesting, captain?”

She stepped into the hologram. The lights danced across her abdomen. “Our route takes us through these clusters. I’m suggesting we make sure everyone along the way gets properly fed.”


-


NEXT WEEK: A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming
 

Marlow

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Chapter 14

The last of the shuttles took off. The colonists—a motley mix of friendly, fuzzy, wide-eyed alien species—looked up to wave. They waved until the shuttles were out of sight and watched the twinklings of light in the upper atmosphere as the Golden Goose and her allies made the jump to inter-system speed.

A massive new cargo pod waited in the colony’s central square. The colonists gathered around it, playing music and launching fireworks as it opened, and then sat down to a long-awaited feast. Confederation census data the next year would record a statistically significant increase in average colonial bodymass.




“I’d never done a good deed before,” said Maura, watching Limax VI shrink in the window of the officers' lounge. “Sure, we’ve killed a lot of giant murderous bugs and so forth, but this…it was surprisingly satisfying." It was almost as satisfying as the seasoned bloatfly she was chewing.

Estelle washed her hands. “Glad to hear it. We’ve got a lot more of those stations to hit. Food for the colonists and salvage for the Sphrigons.”

“I knew my father would like you,” cooed Csilla.

“You’re not leaving yet, are you, captain?” Maura begged. “We haven’t even made it to the main course. I programmed in the recipe myself. The steward’s so excited to see how it comes out.”

Estelle adjusted her waistband. She didn’t have much of a backside, but her gut was making it difficult to keep her pants high enough to cover it. “I’ve had enough, I think. I’m gonna put in a session on the laser-bike and then go over some reports. See you all on the bridge.”

They watched her go, shaking their heads. Maura cut into her bloatfly for another slice. Across the table, beside an already empty plate, Straya tinkered with a stack of scrap metal. Zora lounged in a chair by the viewscreen, sipping at a beverage; Csilla sat on Zora’s lap, looking flirtatious. Lucine and Io were locked in an intense game of orbital chess, pausing only for bites of their meal. Io was winning.

Maura swallowed the fly. “How come the captain doesn’t eat with us? She’s clearly the best aboard when it comes to eating. None of us even came close at that Sphrigon dinner.”

“Maybe it’d be a dishonor to feast with those who can’t compete,” Zora suggested. “Remember our combat training? The instructor was the galaxy’s fourth-deadliest hand-to-hand combatant, but she’d never spar with us.”

“It is different for the captain,” said Lucine.

“Well, sure. She doesn’t have knives hidden in her feathers.” She glanced over to the kitchen. “Humans don’t have feathers, right?”

“Not usually,” replied the steward, through a mouthful of fudge.

Lucine looked up from her game. “No, it is different in her mind. There is a deep and confused worry. She is not in harmony with herself.”

Straya set down her scraps. “But she’s the best.”

“Is she concerned about her size?” Zora looked back to the steward. “I’ve heard of insectoid species outgrowing their exo-skeletons. Humans don’t have exo-skeletons, right?”

“Not usually.” Thanks to the newly activated service arms, kitchen duty had been much less strenuous lately for the steward. She was seen less and less often behind the counter and more often in the lounge chair, picking her teeth. Her chest had grown such that her uniform collar wouldn’t close any higher than her bustline, which provided her new second chin with some relief. She broke off another piece of fudge. “I think it’s more that…well…our colonies spent so many years on mandatory rationing. I mean, I’d never seen anyone that fat until the captain and her team came back from their rescue mission.”

“She must have been hailed as a hero to your species.”

“Uh, not really. Especially with the Confederation imposing fitness requirements on—oh, sounds like your boiled swinosaur is ready. I’ll be right back.”

Maura finished her fly and pushed the plate aside. After a contented belch, she squinted across the table. “Straya, what is it you’re making?”

“Components for my suit.”

“Armor plating? Weapon mounts? Combat computation suite?”

“No, just…more space.” She gave the metal a tap. “I’m starting to get too wide for almost every segment. It seems I am learning my species’ affinity for accumulating blubber.”

“That must’ve pinched, eh?”

“Oh, yes. Next week I plan to rebuild the upper-arm segments. Had some trouble circulating the suit’s fluids in the places where I’ve thickened most.” She set her tools on the table. “But I wish the captain were happier. My homeworld, before the Confederation exiled us…it was all ocean. My ancestors were these vast, round creatures…bigger than this room. No suits. Endless room to grow, to float…it must have been so peaceful.”

Io leapt up from the gaming console, all four arms raised in triumph. She was a gracious winner, though, and sent out a tentacle to shake Lucine by the hand.

“Very well played,” conceded Lucine. “One of these days I shall best you. Today, I believe, I was close. But, even so, even in defeat, I remain in too euphoric a state to dwell upon it. Ecstasy, even. For you see, my friends, today I have made a most exhilarating discovery.”

Maura tucked a hand beneath her armor to massage her stomach. “What’s that?”

Lucine floated to her feet. “I was so concerned that my midsection did not swell as the captain’s swells, though I have eaten as heartily as any of us. Today, however, in having my measurements taken, I have realized that I have expanded quite significantly after all. It is simply that my hips and thighs have chosen to store the excess mass, rather than my midsection. Behold.” She shamelessly opened her robe. The gap between her legs was gone; her rounded thighs and gem-studded cellulite jiggled as she turned to show everything off.

“Humans call it being pear-shaped,” said the steward, bringing out the first of several trays. “They would call the captain an…an apple. Or was it a melon?”

“Melons,” echoed Zora, staring at Csilla’s chest.

Maura licked her lips. “Well, it’s been my backside getting most of mine. And judging by how good that swinosaur smells, my backside won’t be getting smaller anytime soon. Pass the marinade.”




Estelle shut down the laser-bike after only five minutes. She had already broken a sweat and found herself winded. And in the recumbent position she’d had to watch her spandex-clad gut bounce to and fro as she pedaled.

As was usually the case, the exercise deck was otherwise empty. The personal trainer hologram had flashed on to greet her, but she’d shut it down right away. He tended to fill her with guilt even on his friendliest settings.

She sat on a workout bench for a while, gazing at the handweights, but only succeeded in drinking the rest of her high-performance protein power smoothie. It didn’t help her energy levels in the way it had promised. Neither did the energy bar.

Peeling off her shoes, she padded to the zero-gravity swimming pool. She swam half a lap, but then slowed and stopped. She flopped onto her back and floated in the stillness, the dome of her belly rising from the water.

“Bridge to Captain,” buzzed her communicator.

“Go ahead,” she sighed.

Indestructible signaling, captain. Apparently it’s an important Sphrigon tradition to invite the squadron’s senior commander to dinner after a victory. Their captain says his cooks have prepared something very special for you and he hopes you’ll honor their customs.”

She squeezed her eyes shut. “Stars…fine. But tell Starling he’s coming. Someone’s gonna have to help me back to the shuttle afterward.”


-


NEXT WEEK: It's beautiful...they should have sent a food critic
 

Marlow

***
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
330
Location
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Chapter 15

“Captain’s log, stardate 402.02.11. This past week we were able to hit two more Confederation supply depots on the border and one of the distribution stations. The patrols have to be aware of us by now, but so far they haven’t organized enough of a response to catch up. We offloaded the provisions to the civilian colonies on Anguilla IV and Lumbricus II and rerouted the station’s automatic transports to carry future shipments straight to the colonies. They’ll be eating well for a while. Now, if I can just quit eating so well for a while…”




“Captain’s log, stardate 402.03.15. Raided another Confederation storage center and found a stash of reverse-chirality foods. We’ve doubled back to drop them off with the comet-herders of the Berenice system. To thank us, they’ve offered free starfuel at all their guild’s stations. Our Sphrigon escorts couldn’t be happier. Those big heavy ships of theirs aren’t exactly fuel-efficient. And we’re all carrying a little more cargo lately…”

Estelle flopped back in her bed. Every muscle was sore from charging around the storage center in heavy combat armor. She let herself wonder if it had been enough action to excuse skipping tomorrow’s workout. She tried to continue the log, but her mind had moved on to something else, something much more alluring.

“Computer, play the holo-vid Maura sent me.”

Lights coalesced into a movie image. “Your mortal mind cannot comprehend my purpose,” rumbled an ancient elder god from beyond the stars.

“But I can comprehend your pleasure,” breathed cybernetically-enhanced astro-porn superstar Vesper Virgo, toying with the straps of a deliciously low-cut dress.




“Captain’s log, stardate 402.03.23. We found an abandoned racing shuttle at the dept we raided last week. We offered it to the Anguillans, but they only wanted the food. My alien friends have been arguing for hours over who should get to pilot it. And the Sphrigons want to strip it for parts. I’m thinking I might offer it as a prize for whoever can actually talk me out of dessert at tonight’s dinner.”




“Captain’s log, supplemental. No one is—urrp—winning that shuttle.”




“402.04.20. Some of the colonies we’ve shared our food with have started sending volunteers to serve aboard the Goose. I was hesitant at first, since this the point of all this is getting our human crew home, but they’ve all been so eager to help. After running the ship with a skeleton crew all this time, I had no idea how much work we could save with a few extra bodies.

“Having more aliens on board means having more skills and experiences to bring to what we’re doing…really spreads the load around and gives us all a bit more free time. I look forward to using more of my free time on the exercise deck.”

“Not all your free time, I hope,” said Zora, appearing in the door with chocolates and a bottle of Orovar wine.




“402.05.09. Indestructible III has captured a Confederation transport out from the Vela system. We searched the whole ship. No food or weapons, but they were carrying a load of confiscated textiles…luxury silks, alien leathers, velour, xeno-gossamer…They even had a tailoring AI on board, which we’ve officially commandeered. And not a moment too soon: my last pair of pants split open when I got in the captain’s chair this morning. And I’m hardly the only one aboard who’s outgrowing her uniform. Reminder: schedule additional sessions with the personal training hologram for all of next week.”




“402.05.11. We attacked a Confederation defense platform this morning. Long fight…Devouring Maw is pretty badly damaged and Indestructible’s commander was injured. We’ll be in orbit for at least a week while they make repairs. Turns out the station was holding dozens of political prisoners from Sculptile V. It’s not safe on the station for them anymore, so we’ve taken them aboard.

“Unfortunately, they’re twelve-foot-tall rock monsters and don’t exactly fit in our passenger compartments. Princess Csilla has graciously offered them the exercise deck instead. So much for my training program…thanks for that, your highness.”

“My absolute pleasure,” said Csilla, slipping into the bed.




“402.05.28. Managed to evade patrols long enough to dip across the border again and link up with a Confederation communications array. Downloaded flight-plans for every food transport moving through the cluster. Straya scrambled their tactical channels and uploaded a few viruses. Should take them a few days to get everything in order. We’re hoping that’s enough time to cross the Eridanus Cloud.”

“You left out the ad,” whispered Straya, easing into the hot tub and passing Estelle a plate.

“Supplemental: we also erased the local Confederation propaganda broadcast and replaced it with an advertisement for aphrodisiac-infused Cassiopeian heavy cream. I can only wonder wonder why that particular cream is on our chief engineer’s mind.”




“Captain’s log…ow. Holy nebulas. Lucine—Lucine, help me up. Thanks. Okay. Ran into a Confederation destroyer as soon as we came out of the Eridanus Cloud. Bad luck. Fought it. Then a second Confederation destroyer shows up. Bad luck. Nowhere to run. Got the Sphrigons into…” She paused for a belch. “…some formation. Line ahead. Or maybe it was abreast. Breast. Roast kakaru breast.”

“Hold my hand, captain,” said Lucine.

“Thanks. Anyway, we won, somehow. Close thing. Two destroyers in one day. The Sphrigons are insisting on a separate victory dinner for each. Lucine and I are on our way to the second one now…assuming I don’t explode before we get there. Hurrp. Two destroyers in one day…”




“Two destroyers in one day!” cried a Confederation oligarch, his three eyes bulging with fury. “You have assured me time and again these humans are nothing to be feared.”

“It is merely a confluence of misfortunes, your worship,” said the spider on his table.

“When we made first contact with their colonies, they were still using thruster-based interstellar engines. They had to use cryo-sleep. A purely kinetic species. They were that primitive. Now they are carving a swath of destruction across our border with the Rim—and they are doing so in what was to be my own private holiday barge.”

The spider scuttled across the map. “Too many of our proper battlefleets and experienced commanders are occupied with the unrest in the galactic center. Your power struggle with the other oligarchs has required all our resources.”

“We can’t simply sit by and let these humans raid us as we please. The people of the Rim will start to think they’re entitled to something.” He shuddered at the thought. “This is not the bargain we struck. And damn those Sphrigons—betraying us over some runaway bride.”

“Damn them, your worship.”

“She is a wanton faithless shape-shifting seductress.”

“As you say, your worship,” said the spider, who had several posters of the princess in its webs back home. One was autographed.

“She left me for Bardylis, you know, that young space-marine. When she wouldn’t marry him, he was so devastated he ran for the nebulas and joined an order of knights. So of course she has attached herself now to these humans—like a parasite. And these mercenaries! You assured me the Deadly Angel Attack Company had been caged.”

The spider simpered. “Perhaps it is a blessing, your worship, that so many of your worship’s enemies have come together in one place.”

“Perhaps.” He folded his fingers. “Recall Tissaphernes from retirement. Assign a stealth-frigate and a squadron of fighters to his command.”

“Tissaphernes will not come cheaply, your worship.”

“Offer him an empty planet somewhere. Wherever he wants to spread his tentacles. Anything he wants, as long as he kills these piratical gluttons before they’ve eaten our entire food supply. Savages. Bloated barbarians, all of them. ‘Give us more, give us more.’ And they claim to be dissatisfied! The only peace is through dependence. We must remind them. And I must have that ship back at any cost.”

“Yes, your worship.”


--


NEXT WEEK: In space, no one can hear your stomach rumble

 

Marlow

***
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
330
Location
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Chapter 16

Estelle rolled over in her bed. She stretched across the mountain of pillows and, with a straining grunt, tapped her communicator. “Captain to engineering.”

“Go ahead, captain,” came Straya’s voice, irritatingly chipper for that time of morning.

“Straya, there are robotic arms moving around in my bedroom. I’m concerned.”

“Oh! Yes. I was finally able to get that circuit activated. They’re just like the arms in your bathroom. They’re ready to help with anything you need.”

“I don’t need help.” Estelle sat up. The arms eagerly swung down from the ceiling with a pair of overloaded breakfast trays. “Straya, they have food.”

“I programmed them to bring your breakfast to you. Wanted to test that feature.”

“They brought too much.”

“Don’t worry. They’ll help you up when you’re done. Straya out.”

The arms brought their trays closer. One set its dishes on the bedside table, snaked around Estelle with a polite whirring, and fluffed her pillows. The other arm poured her a mug of coffee and held up a selection of creams.

“Uh, yes,” she coughed. “The blue one, I guess. And sugar. Oh, that’s…just how I like it. Wow. How did—you’re already topping it up.”

The plates were unveiled. After some vain hesitation she allowed herself a taste, and then a sizable bite, and then an entire dish, and soon she was eating heartily enough to please the service arms. They brought pancakes bathed in butter and a glistening turquoise syrup, stacks of lab-grown sausage and bacon, a heap of scrambled Aquilan eggs, a selection of unrecognizable fruits gushing with juice, and, as her breakfast habits seemed to have already been programmed in, a few hexagonal pastries dipped in Psi-Hive honey.

The arms were tirelessly attentive, passing her clean forks for every dish, cutting and slicing as needed, turning plates toward her for easier access, adding salt or pepper or Char-powder almost before she could think to ask for it, refilling her coffee, and wiping dribbles of syrup from her chin. They offered to put the food in the mouth themselves, but she stopped short of allowing that.

They slumped with disappointment when her conscience woke up and announced that she would eat no more. Her stomach rumbled with disappointment, as well. But they obediently set about cleaning up. She left the bed without their help, knowing if she stayed a moment longer her fullness would lull her right back to sleep.

She had been frustrated enough with herself for so often going to bed bloated. Now her stomach was jutting out before she’d ever gotten out of bed.

Her new uniform was made from much more comfortable material, but it was still woefully snug. The tailoring AI was only calibrated for the dimensions of the slimmer species who’d designed it. This was where the new service arms truly earned her trust: seeing her struggle to yank on her trousers, they hurried to steady her and slip the waistband over her spare tire. All she had to do was lift her arms overhead and they wrapped her bra around her and pulled her undershirt into place. They even held her jacket closed while she buttoned the few buttons that could be made to fasten.

She reached up to tie her hair back, but found they’d already done it for her. They’d tied her usual bun without the usual flyaways. “We’re going to talk about this later,” she assured them, heading out.

The corridors were mostly empty. No one had switched the lighting from artificial night to artificial morning, although the watch should have changed an hour ago. Only one of the sentries was at his post and he was asleep, arm draped over a softened midsection. Crossing through an atrium, Estelle found the remains of an ice cream party.

Chocolate chip, cookie dough, Menocerid cherry, neo-neapolitan, dark matter fudge, vanilla with mutagen extract; every carton empty and every floor tile sticky. Estelle’s foot slipped and she found she’d stepped on a stray uniform button. Someone had popped their jacket.

The aroma of bacon wafted through the corridor and she heard sizzling. She walked on. She had been so focused on disciplining herself, it seemed, that she had completely ignored keeping up the crew’s discipline. They had asked her to be a leader and had chosen to trust her. So far she’d only led them to the buffet line. These were supposed to be the interstellar navy’s best, brightest, and fittest.

She summoned the turbolift. Its door opened onto a pair of cadets making out. They scrambled to salute and excused themselves, closing their uniforms as they ran.

Estelle straightened her own as she stepped onto the bridge. “Good morning. Status?”

“All systems nominal, captain,” said Starling.

The other officers saluted, but remained in their seats. No one had anything to report. The comms officer and sensor technician gave her a bored stare and reached into the same bowl of candy. The helmsman was lining up cupcakes on his console.

“Where’s the tactical officer?” asked Estelle.

“She reported ill,” said Caelius. Some snickering from the junior officers suggested there was more to the story. “One of the Limacids has volunteered to take her post if we sight another vessel.”

“And I take it there are no other vessels in sight?”

“No, captain. It’s just us and the Sphrigons out here. We expect to be in the Cnidarian Expanse for the whole week. Empty space. It’s unlikely we’ll see anything at all for days.”

Estelle made a show of studying all the charts and logs, but had no orders to give. “Well, carry on, I guess.”

She made a similar show of checking logs and readouts in stellar cartography, in the shuttle hangar, and in the weapons control array, where she found Zora sitting with a breakfast plate of her own.

“Everything in order?”

Zora finished chewing. “Just doing some calibrations. Maura’s working on the new phaser banks.”

Estelle looked over. Maura was working on a new plate of pancakes. The mercenaries were still in their breastplates and greaves, but had replaced their armored leggings with loose skirts; skirts that were covering something of considerable width.

“I should go,” Estelle announced, turning awkwardly.

She visited the sickbay, but there were few patients to check on. One was a bruise—her balance was feeling so different lately, almost as though she were more topheavy than she remembered—one was a newly recruited alien who’d lost an arm-wrestling match against Io, and one was the tactical officer. The officer had spent a romantic evening with Lucine, apparently, and wasn’t lucid yet. The doctor assured Estelle that she would recover in a day or two, but it might be wise to remind Lucine about properly preparing her dates before ‘embracing the hunger of eternity.’

Estelle stopped into Lucine’s quarters, but the hiver was floating crosslegged in the air, surrounded by dancing gems. She was meditating and blissfully caressing her flabby thighs and Estelle decided the conversation could wait.

Csilla was in the long-range message booth. The princess had suitors from several royal houses throughout the galaxy and her return to the Sphrigon court had invited a flood of gifts. She had no interest in the gifts—mostly sweets—and offered them to Estelle, but couldn’t break off her call.

The captain continued through her ship. The crew everywhere she went was in unimpressive shape, but everywhere she went there were no issues to report or tasks needing her attention. Every department was in order and every diagnostic was clean.

“I’ve just been putting in some of the new recipes the Lumbricids sent us.” The kitchen steward was bursting out of the top of her uniform. Almost every eye in the mess, both alien and human, was on her deepening cleavage. Her chins creased as she gave Estelle a conspiratorial smirk. “Just let me know if there’s ever anything you want to try, captain.”

“Anything, huh?”

“You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff Io’s ordered.”

“I might. Well, carry on. Think I’ll get a workout in.”

“Take a menu, at least.” The steward leaned across the counter to hand it to her; the mess leaned over to look.




Estelle found herself in her cabin. Her feet had carried her the wrong way. She was supposed to be on the exercise deck. She tried to remember what she’d been thinking about. But now it was too late. Here she was.

She opened her jacket. The relieved sensation of her belly falling free was so immediate and so potent and so subconsciously longed-for she fell back against the wall with a wobble. She unbuttoned her trousers for another release.

The service arms unfolded to finish undressing her. There was no putting it off any longer: she took a deep breath and tapped her bio-pak.

“Subject is in good health,” it chirped. “304 pounds.”

She shut her eyes. She was officially heavier than she’d been at her heaviest, heavier than she’d been when she’d returned from LV-237 and been made the scandal of the century. The other survivors had been even heavier, but that was cold comfort.

The service arms draped a robe over her. It was a glamorous peignoir cut from the best of their looted alien silks, loose and weightless and effortlessly comfortable against the skin. She muttered a begrudging thanks and sat on the edge of the bed. Her stomach whined.

“She tapped her communicator. “Captain to bridge.”

“Go ahead, captain.”

“How long til we’re out of the expanse?”

“At least six days, ma’am.”

“And there are no contacts? No signatures? No anomalies? No alerts?”

“Nothing. All clear. All quiet. Would…would you like to take some time off, captain?”

“Carry on, lieutenant. Captain out.” Six days. Six empty days. She wouldn’t be needed. No one would have to know. Her eyes drifted to the menu-pad and she tapped her communicator again. “Captain to kitchens.”


--


NEXT WEEK: To boldly taste what no one has tasted before
 
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