BBW Planet XXL - by Marlow

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Marlow

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I hesitate to think what some of this alien food actually tastes like, but be sure to let us know what sounds the most appetizing!



Chapter 17

The Golden Goose’s kitchens had been found programmed with recipes from throughout the Confederation. The crew had quickly added everything they could think of from home. And with every new system they’d passed through, every colony they’d visited, every depot they’d raided, and every alien race they’d encountered, a whole new world of culinary traditions had been added to the menu. Between the provisions already stored in the cargo bay and the loads of contraband they’d liberated along the way, their kitchens could now make just about anything.

There was so much to try. Estelle had half the galaxy at her lips. Every dish was an exploration and every bite a discovery.

She decided, that first evening, on a whole buttered lava-crab, served with spliced and mashed cancrian tubers and vacuum-grown meteor weed-sprouts. She finished the meal in its entirety, slowly savoring every morsel, and after a short rest followed it with a hasperat soufflé. Her stomach finally quieted as it swelled with contentment. She massaged it a while, basking in a pleasant, guiltless afterglow.

The second day, she woke with a sense of anticipation she hadn’t allowed herself in months. There was something to look forward to.

Breakfast was a selection of faintly glowing eggs that swirled with color. They were the most flavorful eggs she’d ever eaten, but also the most filling. She appeared on the bridge much later than she’d planned, having spent an hour digesting. The bridge officers greeted her with knowing looks; her jacket was completely unbuttoned. She didn’t stay long.

With the eggs sitting heavy even later into the day—she’d forgotten to check which alien foods were actually safe for human consumption—she skipped lunch. But as she plodded through her uneventful daily rounds she made a few stops into the lounge for snacks: a sleeve of serpent worms, some spiced leola root, a basket of enriched protein wedges (heavily seasoned). She never quite let her stomach feel empty, but by evening she was ravenous for dinner anyway.

Her appetite got its wish. The kitchens sent her a gigantic ragnasaur steak with all the garnishes, sauces, and sides the tray could hold. The service arms uncorked a bottle of pulsar-treated wine and it made a perfect pairing. She was fuller halfway through the meal than she’d been at the end of dinner the night before, but never slowed. She switched on some music and shuffled to the hot tub, where the service arms rubbed her shoulders and fed her a bubbling semi-transparent pudding for dessert.

The third day she didn’t even change into her uniform, appearing on the bridge in her much more comfortable peignoir, once again late after a long breakfast of uttaberry crêpes. She dispensed with her inspections—much to the crew’s delight—and spent the day socializing instead. She joined the away-team in the officers’ lounge for dewback burgers and fiery Fornax rings. She joined the crew for dinner in the mess hall to celebrate an engagement between two ensigns. They sat feeding one another cake and receiving well-wishes. Estelle sat feeding herself Threfallian meat-vine and an assortment of sparkling fruits filled with a pungent, lip-puckering cider.

She’d eaten more lunch than anyone in the lounge and more dinner than anyone in the mess hall. But her shackles had been thrown off and her appetite wasn’t satisfied. She returned to her quarters bloated, disheveled, a little tipsy, and eager for more.

She got more: sauteed chryssalid, relativistically-cooked rice, something that claimed to be a salad but proved to be a high-calorie pre-hibernation meal for the giant herbivores of Ursonis IX. She didn’t remember what she chose for her second dessert of the night, but woke the next morning in her reading chair covered in crumbs and dribbles of a gelatin that changed color when she moved.

The next day she didn’t bother to appear on the bridge at all. She lounged in her cabin all day, listening to music from all over the galactic rim. She enjoyed a long, luxurious massage in the steam chamber. She watched erotic alien films. She watched the stars drift by. She ate. She ate more.

The sensations she’d worked so long to forget were returning and they were even better than she remembered. There were no more limits. She sat in bed and gazed lovingly at the menu even as her next meal was brought in. There was so much more to try.

Her stomach seemed to fill her vision. She directed the service-arms to rub it for her and reached for another pastry. They refilled her wine glass. They put on another film—the glamorous and always sultry Vesper Virgo was having a lust-filled adventure through the Tryphena system. It was late in this fourth night, just as she was reaching the blissful peak of a thoroughly glutted stupor, that the red alert sounded.
 
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Marlow

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(17.2)



The motion of the turbolift was almost unbearable. Estelle slumped against the wall with a moan, but it was drowned out by klaxons blaring throughout the ship. Her stomach was packed solid and stretched taut from days of overindulgence. Her breathing came in shallow heaves and her eyes wouldn’t focus. She pushed out a long rolling belch as the doors opened, but it was no relief.

“Status,” she grunted, staggering out. She realized only then that she was still in her robe and hurried to tie it.

“Came out of nowhere,” said Lieutenant Caelius.

“The ship appears to have a cloaking device of some kind,” reported Starling, typing on two separate consoles. “It became visible momentarily to fire a series of precision cutting beams and has once again cloaked. Two of our shield generators have been damaged and primary weapon systems are offline.”

Estelle leaned against his console. “Evasive man…oof. Maneuvers. Signal the Sphrigons to fan out. Urrp. Full…full sensor sweep.”

Panels flashed and the Golden Goose quaked. Officers were thrown from their chairs by showers of sparks. Estelle pitched across the bridge and collapsed onto Caelius. He survived, though he gave a pitiful wheeze as she rolled off.

“We haven’t done that since the academy,” she said, hobbling to her feet. “Come by my cabin sometime. I’ll make it up to you. Hworrp. Oh, ow.”

“Ow,” he agreed.

“Multiple hull breaches,” called Starling. “Indestructible III is reporting a core breakdown and has begun to abandon ship. Captain—intruder alerts on decks six through nine.”

“Security—call up the away team—and prep my armor. Lieutenant, you have the bridge.”

Part of her knew she wouldn’t fit in the armor anymore. It had been weeks since she’d needed it and it hadn’t fit then. But she tumbled into the ready room all the same and opened the armory. All she had time to pick up, though, was an ammo-belt.

She was trying to clasp it across her distended midsection when the door exploded. Smoke billowed into the room and three flying, man-sized jellyfish gurgled into the room, each wielding several knives.

Estelle dropped the belt and reached for a gun, but their tendrils whipped around her wrists and ankles and toppled her to the floor. One of the knives appeared at her throat. A fourth jellyfish joined, trilling to the others. They dragged Estelle into the corridor.

The deck was filled with dozens of jellyfish. The Goose’s security squads were holding at one end, blazing away with their plasma rifles but finding themselves quickly overrun. Estelle was dragged through to an atrium, where she saw the other crewmembers being hauled away in the opposite direction. She heard the now familiar voice of the kitchen steward and tried to twist around to look, but was too stiffly bloated to bend. One of the tendrils tightened over her belly and she nearly fainted.

She heard an airlock hiss open. The soft, friendly lighting of the Goose faded into the distance. The jellyfish hauled her into their ship through a long, winding accessway.

The comforting light of the Golden Goose faded. The intruders’ ship was cold, wet, and dark. Rather than computer screens and metal paneling everything here was brine-coated rock. Anemones waved from cracks in the walls, brushing Estelle’s lovehandles as she was dragged past.

They brought her into an echoing cavern and hurled her into a pool of water. Free from their tendrils, she thrashed around and fought to her feet. The murk was only knee-deep, but the bottom was slick and uneven and her belly was heavier than usual. She fell back with a humiliating splash and sat there, panting and dripping, as the water at the end of the chamber began to rise.

Out of the darkness snaked a massive, glowing jellyfish, a hundred feet long. It soared overhead and circled the chamber. The smaller jellyfish backed away.

“I am Tissaphernes,” boomed a voice, “general emeritus of the Myxozoan Legion and most successful fugitive-hunter in the history of the Confederation of Species. You are the ringleader of this belligerent and unlawful expedition. Identify yourself.”

Estelle tried to reply, but produced only a wet double-belch.

“Human, I have studied your species. Look at yourself: you do not resemble warriors of your kind. You are unfit to stand against me.” It circled again, tentacles rippling. “This is what becomes of you when your hubris steers you away from the guidance of the oligarchs.”

“Shuddup,” she managed.

“It is their sacred duty to save you from yourselves. The limits they impose are a kindness.” A tendril quested down and prodded her stomach. “This represents ingratitude and treason.”

“We’re trying…to get home. We were…betrayed…”

“You have betrayed our ideals. Home is denied to you. I will return the ship Golden Goose to its rightful owner and offer him your crew as compensation for his hardship.”

“And me? Did you drag me in here just to…to gloat and call me fat?”

“You are to remain here for the journey to ensure your crew’s cooperation. The voyage will take some time. Your meals will be…quite small.”

Estelle stood and attacked one of the smaller jellyfish. They fell together, but she wrestled the knife from its grip and poked around, trying to figure out which organ to threaten.

“Do as you please,” laughed the general. “They are mindless drones. And I command many more.”

Another jellyfish stung her and she collapsed again. She rolled and it reached out another tendril, but recoiled from the blue shimmer of a telekinetic shield.

“We have you, captain,” cried Lucine.

Alarms blared. Io vaulted out from the corridor and tackled both guards together. Maura and Zora flapped into the air and blasted away at the giant jellyfish. He roared and disappeared beneath the water. The ship rocked and trembled and lights began flickering in the murk.

Lucine guided Estelle through the tunnel. They found the airlock, but the passage had shifted; the hatch was atop a shoulder-high ledge. Estelle threw her arms over and scrambled, but couldn’t make the climb. She tried a leap and only bounced backward.

“Ten seconds,” hissed Csilla’s voice, over their communicators. Zora fought off another pair of guards. Io’s tentacles and Lucine’s telekinesis pressed Estelle up to the ledge. Maura reached down to take her hand. Straya unsealed the door and Estelle let herself go limp as her team hauled her back to the ship.


--


NEXT WEEK: The slow knife penetrates the steak
 

Phat94

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I'm sure Estelle can handle a few tendrils, but small meals? Thank goodness she was saved. I'm impressed they got her to fit through the hatch. Good stuff!
 
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Will we see more IO action? I feel like she is going to swoop in and take out the assassin on the brink of disaster.
 

Venjance

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Poor gal, just when she was about to kick her self loathing. At least she's surrounded herself with a crew that both supports her and enjoys her escapades! Thoroughly enjoying this!
 

Marlow

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Chapter 18

A streak of orange and blue lit the stars as the stealth-ship accelerated to interstellar speed. It shot away into the void and the Golden Goose was left reeling, smoldering and adrift but still intact. The crew gasped for breath in the sudden quiet.

One last awkward-looking jellyfish appeared on the bridge. A dozen guns swung around, but it was only Csilla. She quickly transformed back into herself, looking offended. “You’re welcome, by the way. It worked.”

“Our sensors were knocked out when Indestructible exploded,” Lieutenant Caelius explained. “What did you do?”

“The princess snuck me onto the stealth-ship’s bridge,” said Straya. “Maura and Zora kept the guards busy.”

Maura was still scraping jellyfish from Zora’s armor. “Best fight I’ve had in months. Ha—still got it.”

“I scrambled the their navigational systems and triggered an emergency escape jump. They should come out somewhere on the far side of the frontier. It’s not something we’ll get away with again, but it should buy us a couple of days.”

“We’ll need to be long gone by then.”

Csilla peered at the broken panels and tangled wiring. “Will we be able to repair all this?”

Caelius moved a fallen chair. “It’ll take some time. Ravenous Maw picked up Indestructible’s escape pods and they’re already heading back to Sphrigon space. The kind of damage they sustained can’t be taken care of out here. We…might want to do the same. We’re lucky no one was killed. Medical’s been working overtime as it is.” He hesitated before sitting. “Can someone move Io? She’s got a tentacle on my console.”

“I wouldn’t,” said Zora. “She ate four or five of the jellyfish guards.”

Io belched.

“She would’ve tried to eat the big one if we’d let her. But at least the bastard has something to remember us by.” She folded her arms. “He wasn’t expecting his puny human prey to have help.”

“That was General Tissaphernes,” recalled Csilla. “It was his goons that picked me up when I was on the run. That’s something to be proud of, at least: you’ve caused enough trouble they’re sending hunters like him after you. What do you say to that, captain?” She glanced around. “Captain? Where is she?”





Estelle was in the exercise deck, staring at all the unused training equipment. She slumped against the wall and tapped her communicator.

“Captain’s log, stardate 402.06.14. I am officially too fat for away missions.”

“There are no actual regulations to that effect,” said Starling.

“I was useless. The whole crew being marched into the brig, depending on me...and I couldn’t even get up that stupid ledge without all of them doing it for me.”

The android sat beside her. “You would prefer they not help?”

“I would prefer not needing the help. I’m the captain. I’m the one who’s supposed to be, you know, doing the helping.” She groped her belly. “Some captain. Can’t even squeeze all this into the uniform.”

“I have observed, in my time aboard this ship and aboard many others, that combined efforts are universally more successful, more efficient, and more rewarding for all involved than individual efforts. Collaboration is optimal. I cannot comprehend why it would be upsetting.”

“It’s upsetting because…well, look at me. How am I supposed to run around fighting aliens like this? My armor stopped fitting forty pounds ago.”

Starling considered her stomach. “Captain, you were a similar mass at the conclusion of our previous mission together. Despite the weight you gained on LV-237, you were fully capable of handling several objectively dangerous situations. That crew trusted you. Indeed, at the time, you felt it was your willingness to share in their indulgent habits that had earned their trust. If you had not done so, then it would not be hyperbole to suggest that neither you nor I would have survived the mission.”

“Or we got lucky.”

“True, the odds of success were not in our favor at the time. The other survivors chose to place their trust in you despite the odds. So has this crew.”

“And I rewarded that trust by stuffing my face and watching alien porn in my cabin instead of…whatever. Instead of captaining. I should have seen this coming.”

“It was a cloaked ship. You could not have seen it coming.”

She tossed away her communicator. “They need a leader, not a lump. I’m going to resign my command and then go ride that laser-bike until I’m useful again.”

“I would advise against that course of action.”

“I’ll note your comments in the log. Now go away.”

“As you command. But before I ‘go away,’ captain, may I describe for your log a theory I have developed?”

Estelle glared.

“I have observed the crew. I have observed your alien companions. I have observed our allies. I do not believe that they have chosen to follow and assist you because of your prowess in combat, nor your tactical expertise, nor even your starfaring experience.”

“Alright, I give up. What do they follow me for, oh wise and intuitive android?”

“They know that for their whole lives the Confederation and institutions like it have told them they do not deserve to have more than they are given. They have been told it is wrong to want more. They have been told that deprivation is a punishment they have earned.” He tapped her gut. “They fight for you, Captain, because every pound you gain is a victory against everything they have been told.”





The senior staff sat down to dinner in the officers’ lounge; another large meal, but now a quiet one. Much of the furniture was still overturned or broken, decorations had been knocked from the walls, and the floor was splotched with jellyfish slime. Even the gentle hum of the engines was muted.

The away team stared and poked at their quadrotriticale noodles, but no one seemed willing to dig in. No one had touched the levitating garlic bread or the warp-emulsified soup. They traded the occasional nervous glance, but they all looked up at once as Estelle entered the room.

The captain had her uniform on again, or as on as she cared to have it. The jacket was undone, the pants were riding low, and the undershirt was riding up. She made no effort to tug anything back into place as she huffed across the lounge. She pulled a chair over to join the table and sat with a heavy creak.

She slouched back and folded her hands over her plump middle. “Status?”

Caelius blushed and cleared his throat. “Emergency repairs should be complete by eleven-hundred hours tomorrow. By then we’ll have enough reserve power to start back toward Sphrigon space.”

“We’re not going back.”

They sat up. “Captain, we’re in no shape to fight our way through the clusters ahead. They’re all fortified Confederation areas. Our escorts have already headed home.”

“And we’re headed home, lieutenant. Our home. I’m not giving up on that. This Tissaphernes guy found us out here. He knows us. If going back to the Sphrigons is our best tactical move, that’s where he’ll look for us next. While he’s busy doing that…I say we take the long way around. Slip into the Rim’s uncharted reaches.” She glanced around the table. “Any objections?”

There were no objections.

“It’ll take us out of Confederation space completely. Places their ships never even visit. Now, none of it’s on our star-maps. There’s no knowing what we’ll find in any of those systems. But if we can make it around to the other side…we’ll be right at the New Kansas spacegate. I trust this crew to handle it. And I hope you’ll all still be willing to help us.”

“It’s our pleasure, captain.”

“It won’t be easy. From now on I’ll be coordinating away missions from the bridge. Straya, I want the engine stabilized and ready for our first jump by tomorrow night. Lucine, work out some way to give us an edge over their cloaking device. I don’t want to be interrupted in the middle of dessert ever again. Maura, Zora, we’ll need an overhaul of airlock security. Those jellyfish got aboard way too easily. Io, uh…Io, keep digesting. Steward?”

The kitchen steward looked up from her garlic bread. “Captain?”

“Get cooking. This pasta smells incredible.” She patted her belly. “And the sleeper has awakened.”

--


Programming note: no chapter next week. Going to take a short intermission to finish revisions on the next stretch of our story. Many of these upcoming episodes will be a little longer than usual as we follow the Goose's travels through the mysterious uncharted parts of the galaxy Where No One Has Gorged Before. Thank you all for reading and for all your kind feedback so far!


IN TWO WEEKS: The Fattest Frontier
 
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Chapter 18

A streak of orange and blue lit the stars as the stealth-ship accelerated to interstellar speed. It shot away into the void and the Golden Goose was left reeling, smoldering and adrift but still intact. The crew gasped for breath in the sudden quiet.

One last awkward-looking jellyfish appeared on the bridge. A dozen guns swung around, but it was only Csilla. She quickly transformed back into herself, looking offended. “You’re welcome, by the way. It worked.”

“Our sensors were knocked out when Indestructible exploded,” Lieutenant Caelius explained. “What did you do?”

“The princess snuck me onto the stealth-ship’s bridge,” said Straya. “Maura and Zora kept the guards busy.”

Maura was still scraping jellyfish from Zora’s armor. “Best fight I’ve had in months. Ha—still got it.”

“I scrambled the their navigational systems and triggered an emergency escape jump. They should come out somewhere on the far side of the frontier. It’s not something we’ll get away with again, but it should buy us a couple of days.”

“We’ll need to be long gone by then.”

Csilla peered at the broken panels and tangled wiring. “Will we be able to repair all this?”

Caelius moved a fallen chair. “It’ll take some time. Ravenous Maw picked up Indestructible’s escape pods and they’re already heading back to Sphrigon space. The kind of damage they sustained can’t be taken care of out here. We…might want to do the same. We’re lucky no one was killed. Medical’s been working overtime as it is.” He hesitated before sitting. “Can someone move Io? She’s got a tentacle on my console.”

“I wouldn’t,” said Zora. “She ate four or five of the jellyfish guards.”

Io belched.

“She would’ve tried to eat the big one if we’d let her. But at least the bastard has something to remember us by.” She folded her arms. “He wasn’t expecting his puny human prey to have help.”

“That was General Tissaphernes,” recalled Csilla. “It was his goons that picked me up when I was on the run. That’s something to be proud of, at least: you’ve caused enough trouble they’re sending hunters like him after you. What do you say to that, captain?” She glanced around. “Captain? Where is she?”





Estelle was in the exercise deck, staring at all the unused training equipment. She slumped against the wall and tapped her communicator.

“Captain’s log, stardate 402.06.14. I am officially too fat for away missions.”

“There are no actual regulations to that effect,” said Starling.

“I was useless. The whole crew being marched into the brig, depending on me...and I couldn’t even get up that stupid ledge without all of them doing it for me.”

The android sat beside her. “You would prefer they not help?”

“I would prefer not needing the help. I’m the captain. I’m the one who’s supposed to be, you know, doing the helping.” She groped her belly. “Some captain. Can’t even squeeze all this into the uniform.”

“I have observed, in my time aboard this ship and aboard many others, that combined efforts are universally more successful, more efficient, and more rewarding for all involved than individual efforts. Collaboration is optimal. I cannot comprehend why it would be upsetting.”

“It’s upsetting because…well, look at me. How am I supposed to run around fighting aliens like this? My armor stopped fitting forty pounds ago.”

Starling considered her stomach. “Captain, you were a similar mass at the conclusion of our previous mission together. Despite the weight you gained on LV-237, you were fully capable of handling several objectively dangerous situations. That crew trusted you. Indeed, at the time, you felt it was your willingness to share in their indulgent habits that had earned their trust. If you had not done so, then it would not be hyperbole to suggest that neither you nor I would have survived the mission.”

“Or we got lucky.”

“True, the odds of success were not in our favor at the time. The other survivors chose to place their trust in you despite the odds. So has this crew.”

“And I rewarded that trust by stuffing my face and watching alien porn in my cabin instead of…whatever. Instead of captaining. I should have seen this coming.”

“It was a cloaked ship. You could not have seen it coming.”

She tossed away her communicator. “They need a leader, not a lump. I’m going to resign my command and then go ride that laser-bike until I’m useful again.”

“I would advise against that course of action.”

“I’ll note your comments in the log. Now go away.”

“As you command. But before I ‘go away,’ captain, may I describe for your log a theory I have developed?”

Estelle glared.

“I have observed the crew. I have observed your alien companions. I have observed our allies. I do not believe that they have chosen to follow and assist you because of your prowess in combat, nor your tactical expertise, nor even your starfaring experience.”

“Alright, I give up. What do they follow me for, oh wise and intuitive android?”

“They know that for their whole lives the Confederation and institutions like it have told them they do not deserve to have more than they are given. They have been told it is wrong to want more. They have been told that deprivation is a punishment they have earned.” He tapped her gut. “They fight for you, Captain, because every pound you gain is a victory against everything they have been told.”





The senior staff sat down to dinner in the officers’ lounge; another large meal, but now a quiet one. Much of the furniture was still overturned or broken, decorations had been knocked from the walls, and the floor was splotched with jellyfish slime. Even the gentle hum of the engines was muted.

The away team stared and poked at their quadrotriticale noodles, but no one seemed willing to dig in. No one had touched the levitating garlic bread or the warp-emulsified soup. They traded the occasional nervous glance, but they all looked up at once as Estelle entered the room.

The captain had her uniform on again, or as on as she cared to have it. The jacket was undone, the pants were riding low, and the undershirt was riding up. She made no effort to tug anything back into place as she huffed across the lounge. She pulled a chair over to join the table and sat with a heavy creak.

She slouched back and folded her hands over her plump middle. “Status?”

Caelius blushed and cleared his throat. “Emergency repairs should be complete by eleven-hundred hours tomorrow. By then we’ll have enough reserve power to start back toward Sphrigon space.”

“We’re not going back.”

They sat up. “Captain, we’re in no shape to fight our way through the clusters ahead. They’re all fortified Confederation areas. Our escorts have already headed home.”

“And we’re headed home, lieutenant. Our home. I’m not giving up on that. This Tissaphernes guy found us out here. He knows us. If going back to the Sphrigons is our best tactical move, that’s where he’ll look for us next. While he’s busy doing that…I say we take the long way around. Slip into the Rim’s uncharted reaches.” She glanced around the table. “Any objections?”

There were no objections.

“It’ll take us out of Confederation space completely. Places their ships never even visit. Now, none of it’s on our star-maps. There’s no knowing what we’ll find in any of those systems. But if we can make it around to the other side…we’ll be right at the New Kansas spacegate. I trust this crew to handle it. And I hope you’ll all still be willing to help us.”

“It’s our pleasure, captain.”

“It won’t be easy. From now on I’ll be coordinating away missions from the bridge. Straya, I want the engine stabilized and ready for our first jump by tomorrow night. Lucine, work out some way to give us an edge over their cloaking device. I don’t want to be interrupted in the middle of dessert ever again. Maura, Zora, we’ll need an overhaul of airlock security. Those jellyfish got aboard way too easily. Io, uh…Io, keep digesting. Steward?”

The kitchen steward looked up from her garlic bread. “Captain?”

“Get cooking. This pasta smells incredible.” She patted her belly. “And the sleeper has awakened.”

--


Programming note: no chapter next week. Going to take a short intermission to finish revisions on the next stretch of our story. Many of these upcoming episodes will be a little longer than usual as we follow the Goose's travels through the mysterious uncharted parts of the galaxy Where No One Has Gorged Before. Thank you all for reading and for all your kind feedback so far!


IN TWO WEEKS: The Fattest Frontier

The excellence continues! Just curious Marlowe: what percentage of the story would you estimate has been posted so far? I’m torn between wanting to know the ending and wanting the adventures of Estelle to continue forever.

Also, here’s to more fattening of Estelle’s three companions, Maura, Zora, and Straya, but especially the two warrioresses.

Keep up the great work.
 

Marlow

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The excellence continues! Just curious Marlowe: what percentage of the story would you estimate has been posted so far? I’m torn between wanting to know the ending and wanting the adventures of Estelle to continue forever.

Also, here’s to more fattening of Estelle’s three companions, Maura, Zora, and Straya, but especially the two warrioresses.

Keep up the great work.
Don't want to spoil anything, but I can say we're still a long way from New Kansas. Plenty of adventuring left!
 

Marlow

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Chapter 19

The uncharted expanse: the vast reaches of the galaxy beyond the final frontiers of Confederation space, the immense desert of the void, the shadow lit only by distant, strangely colored stars known more to mythology than to astronomy. Confederation mothers told their broods terrifying tales of an expanse filled with ancient monsters, ghost ships, and interstellar wars that had wiped out civilizations and starsystems. Many ships and explorers had ventured into it over the years. None had been seen again in civilized space.

Captain Estelle Gorlois gave the order. The Golden Goose crossed the last line of sensor relays and vanished from the map.

Estelle had updated the admiral, who urged her not to try it. She’d sent another message to thank the Sphrigons for all their support and promised to return. Csilla had made her own call home and spent the rest of the day in her cabin.

For the first two weeks they saw nothing at all. They found no starsystems, no planets, no dust clouds, no gaseous trails, no energy signatures. They sailed through emptiness with nothing but their ship and the cargo pods clutched protectively to its underside.

But then sensors began to pick up trace amounts of debris. Soon they were passing fragments of destroyed ships, then whole vessels cracked in half or abandoned, and after another day they found themselves in a starship graveyard; the remains of a long-forgotten battle, or perhaps a fleet that had encountered some cosmic force beyond comprehensible technology.

The Goose scanned as many as it could as it passed. Straya visited some of the more intact vessels in her shuttle, but the material was so ancient, so decayed, and so incompatible with their own there was nothing worth salvaging. She did bring back what looked to be recipe logs, though, and the xeno-linguists were already hard at work on a translation.

The wreckage thinned and they traveled on. After a few more empty days they passed through an asteroid field and found that almost all the asteroids had been carved into colossal statues. The Goose’s viewscreens showed asteroids sculpted into geometric shapes, plants, fruits, animals recognizable and unrecognizable, and mesmerizing coiled symbols. They paused to stare at one carved in the likeness of a very fat and very human-looking figure.

The first planets they came across, some days later, were barren and lifeless. They were covered in nothing but sand, ice, or lava. Others, as they sailed on, looked to have supported life long ago. Scans detected fossilized remains, crashed ships, or abandoned habitats.

After two more days they located a planet with biological signatures. There were no communications or ships or signs of spacefaring sentience in the system, but Lucine sensed a strong psychic source. The Golden Goose moved into low orbit and the away team shuttled to the surface to investigate.





They found buildings, streets, walls, monuments, whole cities that sprawled hundreds of miles across, the remains of a civilization that must have numbered in the hundreds of billions. It was all empty. Whoever had inhabited the labyrinth had disappeared millennia ago. Plants had overtaken the cities and buildings; giant plants, unbridled vines weighed down by plump, ripe, glistening, brightly colored fruits in every imaginable color.

“There is no destruction beyond the normal forces of erosion,” said Lucine, “no signs of violence or warfare. There are no personal remains. They must all have simply left.”

Estelle’s voice crackled over the communicator. “What about this psychic thing you felt?”

“It is very much here. I do not sense an individual presence, nor any specific entity. There is only a pervasive energy. It ebbs and flows. I am attempting to follow it.”

“Well, be careful. Don’t even touch anything if you haven’t thoroughly scanned it yet.”

“Of course, captain.” Lucine closed the communicator. The captain was still getting used to sitting on the ship while the team went into danger. She decided not to tell Estelle that the others had already eaten several of the planet’s strange fruits.

Maura handed her something orange. “They’re pretty good. Really juicy. Go ahead.”

Lucine had been nervous about leading an away mission and had eaten only a small lunch before leaving. Her stomach hadn’t forgiven this and wasn’t about to let her decline the fruit. She devoured it and messily bit into another as they walked on.

They headed down the slope to a small pond at the center of the city. The fruits here were even larger and even crisper and even juicier. Zora unpeeled a long, greenish thing. Maura ate through a full bunch of grape-like fruits. Io’s four arms each seized something different.

“That pond’s very still,” noted Straya, opening a yellow melon, “considering this wind.”

“It is unnatural,” agreed Lucine.

“No, that’s unnatural, ha ha.”

They stopped. Straya was pointing to Lucine’s bloated midsection: it had turned orange. Lucine clutched at it, feeling its sudden distension. It continued to grow brighter orange as she watched. She dabbed a finger to the juice dribbling from her lip.

Maura and Zora scrambled to unlatch their armor and check themselves. Maura’s pudgy stomach was a shining purple. Zora’s was striated with various shades of green. Both were bloated taut and firm to the touch. Io had half a dozen stripes across her widened midsection, each glowing a different color.

Csilla stumbled out of the brush, shrieking in horror. She was a brilliant fruity red from head to toe.

“Just kidding,” she announced, transforming back into herself. “I didn’t eat any.”

“Well, it may look weird,” said Straya, “but it feels kinda nice. Bouncy. And my suit isn’t detecting any dangerous toxins.”

“I believe it is an effect of the psionic energy here,” suggested Lucine.

“We should probably pick up as much as we can,” said Zora. “You know, to, uh, study.”

Maura nodded. She couldn’t take her hands off her gut. “And the captain’ll want some.”

They set about it, fanning out along the shores of the pond. The mercenaries flew up to pick the bluish fruits from the treetops. Lucine plucked melons with her telekinesis. Straya followed a twisted vine down to the water’s edge and prepared to dive beneath, but froze.

“What’s wrong?”

Straya stepped back. “My reflection.”

Maura landed behind her. “Why? It looks like you. Well, it looks like your suit, I mean.”

“No, it doesn’t. When I look, I see a…like, a whale out in the ocean, so big and round it can barely swim. Plankton just floating into its mouth.”

“I don’t see that.” Zora pushed past her. “Oh, wow. No, I see a giant fat bird sitting on a mountain of eggs.”

Lucine levitated herself over. “It is the psionic field. The psionic energy in the fruit we have eaten is interacting with our perception. I…I see a queen of the Psi-Hive, larger and more fertile than any queen before her, filled up with delicious honey and gulping more and more. What a lovely vision, my friends. What a gift. Thank you.”

Csilla stared down into the water. “Oh, no.”

“What is it?”

“I look like a Sphrigon. I look like my parents.”

Maura leered at her. “So you did eat something.”

Csilla drew her top back down over her tiny, reddened stomach. “I wanted to see what you were all gaping at. I think I regret it.”

They turned to Io. Io never said what she’d seen, but she wore a mischievous grin the rest of the day.





Estelle put her hand to her stomach and puffed out her cheeks. “You weren’t kidding. These are amazing.”

Zora took another helping for herself. “Make sure you try some of the blue ones.”

The away team sat with her at a table piled high with the tomb world’s fruits. Csilla lounged off to the side, restraining herself with some obvious difficulty. Everyone else was happily bloated and covered in juice.

“The discoloration,” explained Lucine, “is merely psionic. The color fades after about an hour, depending on how much is eaten.”

“It can turn me whatever color it wants, if it tastes this good.” Estelle had eaten so many different kinds and in such quantities that her exposed gut shone with a white light. “Do you think we could work these into, like, a pie? Glowing psionic pie?”

“I can work on that,” said the steward, looking a bit melon-colored.

Maura finished her own melon and leaned back to rub her belly. “Alright, captain.”

“Alright what?”

“We told you about the reflection thing. That window’s pretty reflective.”

“Holy nebulas,” gasped the steward, who had just looked. She blushed redder than any fruit on the table and ran out of the room.

Estelle wiped her lips. “What about it?”

“We’re all dying to know what you see.”

“Fine. Oof.” Twisting around in the chair was harder than it used to be. “Oh, ha. Yeah, look at that.”

“Well?”

“Oh, it’s just me, except…fatter. A lot fatter. Pass me one of those little turquoise things. I don’t think I’ve tried them yet.”

--

NEXT WEEK:
A ship with an appetite
 

Marlow

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Chapter 20

The captain’s chair creaked as Estelle eased herself into it. She reminded herself to mention the issue to engineering. “Status?”

“The away team has cleared the debris field and will be making contact momentarily.”

She folded her arms atop her belly and studied the viewscreen. They’d stumbled upon a colossal derelict ship, miles longer than anything they’d seen in the fields of wreckage before, fully intact but devoid of life-signs. It drifted idle in the empty space between systems.

It wasn’t like any vessel Estelle nor any of the aliens before had seen. A long trunk-like section seemed to form the basis of the structure, but attached to its ventral section was a sphere of jumbled metal that would have imbalanced any attempt at maneuvering. It didn’t seem to be made from the same material as the rest of the ship.

“Keep us close, helm,” said Estelle. “If anything goes wrong in there, we’ll need to get them out right away. Continue scanning.”

The sensor technician moved her glow-pepper nachos to the other side of the console and initiated another scanning sweep. She barely caught a dribble of cheese from her lip before it ruined the data.

“Away team has breached the hull,” announced the comms officer. “Patching them through, captain.” His work complete, he sat back with his soda.

Lucine’s voice fizzled through the bridge speakers. “Golden Goose, are you reading?”

Estelle tapped a key on her armrest—the armrests would really need to go at some point. “Go ahead, team.” She pulled a candy bar from the breast pocket of her uniform and unwrapped it while they waited.

"We have accessed an airlock and have boarded the vessel. No systems appear to be online. There is no atmosphere. I do not believe the hull is well sealed."

"Movement?" The candy bar didn’t last long. Its wrapper fell to the floor, joining the small pile of wrappers, casings, and capsules beneath her chair.

“Nothing detected. We have located what we believe to be a primary corridor. We are proceeding forward.”

“Captain,” said the sensor ensign, chewing, “I’m getting unusual readings from that spherical section.”

Estelle’s stomach gurgled. She twisted around to look; her uniform rode up from her belly.

Starling read over his panel. “The material makeup of the sphere does not conform to the main compartments of the ship. Its structuring and design differ throughout. I am detecting designs unique to cultures which have never had contact with one another.”

“Replacement parts? Salvage?”

“They do not appear to be interfaced with the ship’s systems. They are merely held in place by a thin polymer-screen.”

“Continue analysis. Check for weapons.” She tapped the button on her armrest again, looking impatient. This time, the turbolift doors opened and the kitchen steward stepped out, her plump chest squeezed into an increasingly small uniform top and her beer-gut bouncing free as she walked. She set an overloaded tray on a table beside Estelle, saluted, pulled her top back down, and left. Estelle set a basket of fried scantipede legs on her stomach and licked her lips.

Lucine’s voice returned, breathing hard. “We are fortunate Golden Goose’s corridors are not this long. It has been a considerable walk.”

“Lucky me,” murmured Estelle, biting into a leg.

“I will levitate the rest of the way. Straya has located the command center. Once she has caught her breath, she will attempt to access the vessel’s systems.” There was a pause. “She expresses some regret at consuming a full astro-kelp soufflé before departing.”

“Ooh, that sounds good.” Estelle turned around again, but the steward was gone.

“Straya has activated the lighting systems. The energy source is unknown.”

“Scanning,” said the sensor technician.

Estelle had to finish the leg before she could reply. “Mm. What can you see, Lucine?”

“It resembles a typical starship bridge, though many features are smaller than the average bipedal species of this quadrant…this explains why my thighs brushed against so many of the hatchways. Oh—by the queens—Io, help her—get her out of there!”

The bridge officers listened in horror to the sounds of cracking metal, clanging, shouting, and a blaster discharge. Estelle nearly, nearly dropped her basket. “What? What’s happened? Report—”

“We…we are safe, captain. Zora attempted to fit into one of the chairs and her backside became stuck. It collapsed as she attempted to free herself.”

“I told you not to wear the hip paneling,” laughed Maura’s voice. “Just makes your butt even wider. I broke her out, captain. We’re clear. Though she’s declaring a blood-feud against armrests throughout the galaxy.”

“Like your butt’s any slimmer.”

“Carry on,” sighed Estelle, shifting again. She was ready to declare her own war on the galaxy’s armrests. But she returned to her snack.

More noises. “The issue is resolved,” said Lucine. “Io has eaten the chair.”

Straya’s repairs and the Goose’s scans continued. The away team managed to avoid getting themselves stuck in any other furniture, though not without a few scares, and fell to discussing dinner options. Estelle worked her way through the basket of scantipede legs, sucked the sauce from her fingers, and reached for the basket of fried Mar-Sara tubers. They were even greasier, even saltier, and even messier. The lower pocket of her belly-fat swung to one side as she turned for a sip of fizzing starfuel.

“Captain,” said Starling, “the vessel has begun drawing power from the sphere.”

“Are you doing that, Straya?”

“No, captain. I was taking a snack break. I didn’t do anything, I swear.”

Several lights flickered to life along the ship’s exterior. “Oh, stars. Can you run a diagnostic? Figure out what’s going on?”

“I’ll try. Here, Csilla, kiss it for good luck. She’s kissing it for good luck, captain.”

Estelle rubbed her temples. The sensor technician leapt up from her console. She nearly leapt out of her pants, too, which had been gradually slipping off her hefty backside all day. “Cap—captain—mas—massive—massive power surge from the sphere. The ship is active.”

She was right, and she took the opportunity to fix her waistband while everyone else turned to the viewscreen. A wide aperture was opening in the derelict ship’s bow. It began to glow and a beam of light engulfed the Goose.

“Report,” cried Estelle. The empty basket toppled from her lap.

“Tractor beam, captain.”

“Full reverse. Away team, disengage power.”

“We don’t have control! It’s acting on its own.”

“Divert all power to engines. Holy nebulas. It’s pulling us in.”

“Forty-seven seconds to impact,” said Starling. “Captain, I have completed my analysis of the sphere. It is composed of hundreds of other starships, disassembled and packed inside for…storage.”

Estelle heaved herself up from the chair. “Yeah, I think I get the idea. What’s going on in that command center? Is this an AI or what?”

“No,” panted Straya. “The computers aren’t even online.”

“Captain,” shouted Lucine, “I am sensing a psychic presence. I will attempt to communicate with it.”

They waited in silence. The derelict’s maw opened wider. Lights flashed across the Golden Goose’s bridge as systems began to fail. Crew throughout the ship stuffed food into their mouths before they met their doom. Estelle fidgeted with her waistband. “Lucine?”

“I have made contact. It is…an entity.”

“Lucine—”

“It says little, but…captain, it claims to be very hungry.”

“No kidding. Look, tell it we’re…not tasty, or something.” She glanced back at her empty snack tray and ran a hand along the curve where her lovehandle met her stomach. “No, wait. Tell it we understand. Say that we’re just like it is. We…we wander the stars, looking for fullness and satisfaction.”

The beam faded. Power returned and the Goose began to stabilize. The sensor technician and the comms officer released one another’s hand; the technician pulled her pants up again.

“Thanks, Lucine. Uh, maybe tell it about that whole field of wrecked ships we passed through last week. There’s, like, a whole buffet of abandoned ships back there.”

“It is delighted by this news, captain, but it is unable to move. It can no longer propel itself.”

“Straya, do we have enough engine power to maybe…give it a shove? At least get it started?”

They listened as she made calculations. “It should be possible, captain. We couldn’t give it much speed, though. It’d take a couple hundred years, but, yeah, the derelict would get there eventually.”

“It has waited many years,” said Lucine. “It can wait as long as is needed, now that you have given it hope.”

Estelle turned to Starling. “Make it so.”

“The entity wishes me to convey its enormous gratitude, captain. It wishes you to continue on your journey and to eat your fill.”

“Way ahead of you.” Estelle lowered herself back into her chair and wiped sauce from her chin. “Though…I guess I could go for something sweet. Mm. Anyone for dessert? Yes? Yes. Great idea. Let’s order up some desserts.”


--


NEXT WEEK:
See you, space cowgirl
 
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Great chapter! Again, idk why but so far Io is my favorite. Also I feel like a giant hungry ship would be very handy against a fleet of enemy vessels.
 

Marlow

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Chapter 21

Estelle stifled a yawn and pushed her bedraggled hair from her face. She glanced down at her tray, turned back to the buffet counter, and added another layer of hyper-bacon to her breakfast sandwich. The crunch of her first immensely satisfying bite of the day echoed through the lounge.

“Someone is voracious this morning,” teased Lucine, kissing Estelle’s cheek and sashaying past with a generous breakfast of her own.

“Well, spending the night with you always works up an appetite.”

They shared a smoldering look and tucked into their meals as the other officers shuffled into the lounge. The kitchen steward had laid out everyone’s usual favorites: spicy grub-sausage for the mercenaries, phytoplankton soufflé for Straya, a stack of meats and inanimate objects for Io. They all cooed with delight and piled their plates high.

Csilla arrived last, as always, and ate relatively little, as always. The kitchen steward had laid out only a small bowl of star-bix cereal beside a serving-cylinder of milk. Csilla measured out the merest trickle of milk, as always, and ignored the warming-trays of baked goods as she continued through the lounge.

Once the princess had gone, and once it was clear no one was looking, the steward snuck around the corner and gulped down the rest of the milk herself.

“Come on, princess,” said Zora, “what happened to seeing the galaxy?”

“I see amazing things every day.”

“But the same little bowl of cereal every day? There are so many tastes out there in the unknown.”

“At least try one of these hagro biscuits,” begged Maura.

“We have an away mission today,” Csilla countered. “I have no desire to go into a dangerous situation feeling bloated and lethargic.”

“Better than going in on an empty stomach, eh?”

Estelle bit into one of the biscuits herself. “It doesn’t have to be dangerous—mm—unless you make it dangerous.”

“What is it we have found?” wondered Lucine.

“Scans found a couple of settlements on one of the planets here…” She turned in her chair, belly nudging the table, to point out the window. “…that one, with the weird shape.”

It was a binary star system and the two stars were so close together their blazing envelopes overlapped. Silhouetted before them, the bilobated planet Estelle had found likewise appeared to be two planetoids squeezed up against one another.

She returned to her breakfast and adjusted her pajamas. “Just…please be careful. If these settlements are inhabited, it’ll be our first contact with the people who live out here. I’d like to make a good first impression. Courtesy, decorum, composure, and all that.” She rocked with a double-belch and scratched her half-exposed stomach. “Mm. Excuse me.”





The Golden Goose parked in orbit and released a shuttle. The away team stared out at an immense valley as they made their landing and saw almost nothing. The planet’s surface, rising away from them on either side in great curved walls, was smooth and unthreatening but completely bare.

The settlement was atop a moraine of pinkish sand unsuitable for landing, so the shuttle deposited the team at the shallow end of the valley. The team eyed the hike with apparent dread; Csilla gave Maura a vindicated grin and a pat on the backside, then led on.

It wasn’t an easy journey. The sand collapsed in several places or shifted along winding veins and Lucine had to levitate people over some of the areas too soft for walking. Maura and Zora flew themselves over, but their wings were beginning to struggle with their weight and they could only frantically flap for so long.

“Why are you…so hard on her?” panted Maura, by way of distraction.

Zora loosened her breastplate. “The princess?”

“You called her out over breakfast again. And last night, when she skipped dessert.”

“Well, it kills my mood. You and me, we’ve been through a lot. And now we’re living like clones were never supposed to live. But she’s royalty, eh? She’s had whatever she wants her whole life. When she sits there acting like it’s wrong to enjoy a little indulgence, it makes me feel kinda silly. Like she looks down on us for it.”

“You don’t know that. You’ve seen how she looks at the captain.”

“Still doesn’t feel fair. I mean, If our drill instructor saw the two of us now, huffing and puffing after a couple of flaps, guts poking out of our armor…ha. But Csilla looks the same as she looked when she came aboard.”

“There’s more than one way to indulge, Zo.”

Zora considered this while they heaved themselves over a ravine. “She is pretty great in bed, I admit. Hff. Lucine, wait up—”

Lucine wasn’t listening. They were deep in a rift now, with the walls pressed so close that they almost touched overhead. “Friends,” she called in their minds, “I have located a structure.”

They finally caught up, gasping. Before them, carved into the rocks, was an elaborate well. Sigils ran up and down the stone walkway leading to it. The team crept closer, peered inside, and found a swirling blue-white liquid.

A breeze fluttered Lucine’s robes. All her gems were aglow. “There is power here,” she breathed.

Maura and Zora grimaced and checked their rifles.

Lucine dipped her hand beneath the pale surface. “Milk, from so much desert. There must be something ancient at work here…something forbidden.”

This was all the invitation she needed. The mercenaries considered reminding her of the captain’s pleas, but after the fruit incident they knew they had no moral ground to stand on. To everyone’s relief, she took only the smallest sip.

She let the rest trickle back into the pool and turned to them with a dreamy smile. She licked her lips and closed her eyes with evident pleasure, but then dropped her scanner in shock and looked down.

The others rushed forward and gaped as the top folds of Lucine’s robe suddenly moved: her plunging neckline widened and plunged an inch or two deeper, her cleavage grew more defined, and the fabric began to stretch. Her breasts swelled by a full cup size and settled with a happy wobble.

Lucine opened her robe to inspect them and feel their new heft, eyes wide with joy. Maura and Zora dropped their weapons and reached for their canteens. They were still staring and poking at Lucine’s chest, obliviously transfixed, when a dozen plasma rifles powered up behind them.
 

Marlow

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(21.2)


Estelle fidgeted with her bra-strap. It was already pinching her shoulders. She’d have to make another visit to the requisitions officer and his surprisingly judgmental tailoring AI.

“Captain,” said Starling, who had developed a real talent for ruining her afternoon.

“Go ahead,” she grumbled.

“We are being hailed.”

“The away team?”

“No, captain. It is the leader of one of the settlements. They have taken our away team captive.”

“Oh, good.” Estelle looked down at her sushi spread with a sigh. “I’ll be right there. What are these people like?”




They were humanoids, rather tall humanoids, and once they’d removed their heavy desert-proof armor they proved to be lithe, shapely, and very feminine humanoids with green hair. They were also, without exception, disproportionately well-endowed.

Lucine had been openly and vocally thrilled with her new chest until the moment she’d seen the chests of her captors. No one in the away team, not the busty Princess Csilla nor the flabby and bulging Io, came anywhere close. The alien women guiding them were trim and fit and often quite slim, but their breasts were all larger than their heads.

As the away team was marched through an underground city, more of the locals came out to stare. The team stared back with even greater amazement. The bosoms of these women were somehow all even larger. They appeared in all shapes, from round and firm to flat and triangular, swollen above the nipple or beneath, bulging wider or deeper, all heavy, all full.

The guards wore tightly reinforced bras and backbraces, confining their mesmerizing bounce, but the others had traded these for wraps or bralettes, and some of the stunningly large women deeper in the city had crafted a sort of sling for themselves. The bodies here were increasingly less trim and toned and clearly much more sedentary.

The procession continued into an amphitheater. Another well of milk waited in the center. On a throne behind it reclined a woman larger than all the rest, pinned down by the weight of her bosom. She wore nothing but jewelry. A soft belly peeked out between her breasts.

She gazed at the prisoners with utter contempt. “Who was it that found them?”

A priestess wobbled out. “Sister Buxom and Sister Ample.”

“Let them come forward.”

Two guards knelt before her.

“You have done well in protecting our sacred places. You may each cup one handful.”

“Thank you, Endowed Mother,” they replied. Both loosened their bustiers and reached into the pool. They slurped down a handful of milk and tilted their heads back in a moment of rapture. Their chests slowly stretched to fill their loosened garments.

The away team watched them bow—somewhat unsteadily this time—and rejoin the other guards. “I have so many questions,” whispered Straya.

“Sister Fulsome-But-Perky,” continued the endowed mother, “have you made contact with the vessel in orbit?”

A woman in the corner nodded and reached over her bosom to type at a console. “We have, your veiny-ness. Their captain is prepared to negotiate.”

Her veiny-ness tucked a hand under one breast and dug out a remote control. She sat back with a groan as a hologram flickered to life above the pool. The lights danced and coalesced into a miniature, milk-colored image of the Golden Goose’s bridge.

“Holy nebulas,” said Estelle, eyes widening. “Uh—I mean—excuse me. Greetings. Starling, can we make the image, um, bigger?”

“I am Endowed Mother Spathis of the Bathykolpians, Keeper of the Divine Décolletage. Who are you that comes to defile this sacred place?”

Estelle loosened her collar. “Estelle Gorlois, captain of the Golden Gazongas—Goose—Golden Goose. Sorry.” She cleared her throat. “Why have you imprisoned my people?”

“Why have your people intruded upon our sacred planet?”

“Endowed Mother, I apologize. Please udder—understand. We had no idea. We jug—we just—”

“Your people violated one of our springs. This one has suckled of our milk.”

A long sigh. “Lucine?”

Lucine proudly opened her blouse.

“Stars. I’m so sorry. I’ll send the shuttle for them and we’ll cleave—we’ll leave right away.”

“Captain, you don’t seem to appreciate the significance of this sacrilege.” The endowed mother adjusted herself. “The goddesses are impatient with us. The planet is in danger. We must appease the goddesses. Your people must suffer the fate of the faithless: they will be smothered to death beneath my bosom.”

Maura leaned toward one of the guards. “Perhaps today is a good day to die.”

“Your…ponderousness,” begged Estelle, “we come in peace. We meant no harm.”

“Empty words.” The high priestess shook her head. The shake was echoed below in waves. “We cannot afford distractions, captain. It is a delicate time: if our fertility rites fail again this year, we are doomed.”

Estelle considered. “Fertility rites.”

“Yes. The planet’s fertility is bound to our own. Without them everything grows dry. I am the smallest high priestess in generations. My namesake, bless her, had a chariot to each breast. Our goddesses are angry with us and deny us inspiration.”

“Inspiration? What—what if we could offer you something guaranteed to, uh, inspire that sort of thing? Would you consider a trade, for the lives of my team?”

The endowed mother stroked her swell. “I doubt you could.”

“Indulge me, your pendulousness. See, our ship’s entertainment computer is loaded with over 12 parsecs of astro-porn.” The Bathykolpians stirred and began murmuring to one another. Estelle put on her best advertising voice. “The breast—the best holo-vids from all over the galaxy. We’d be happy to copy the data-files for you.”

“Sister Zaftig,” cried the high priestess, “prepare the computer. Captain, this is welcome news. We will happily return your people in exchange for this…donation. And as a show of good faith, please accept this small sample of our planet’s bounty.” She opened a decorated pitcher, leaned over herself to dip it into the well, and filled it to the brim with milk.




The pitcher made it aboard the Goose without being spilled and was sent to the science-department for analysis. It disappeared from the labs sometime during the night watch, but the science officers were too afraid to report the incident. By the time they worked up the courage, it was too late.

Estelle stifled a yawn and pushed her bedraggled hair from her face. She glanced down at her tray, turned back to the buffet counter, and added a second breakfast sandwich to her plate. She bit into her hyper-bacon before she even reached the table.

“Don’t spoil your appetite,” teased Straya, tapping her on the backside. “We still have a hot date this evening.”

“Oh, I’ll be plenty hungry. I had to negotiate for your lives yesterday, remember. Plenty of stress-eating to do. Just glad we got you out of there before things went tits-up.”

Csilla still hadn’t appeared. The kitchen steward set out the princess’ usual breakfast and wandered off to remind the service-arms about cleaning dishes.

Zora sidled up to the counter. She glanced around, reached into her bathrobe, and pulled out the decorated pitcher. With a practiced move she emptied Csilla’s serving-cylinder into the sink and refilled it with the entire pitcher of Bathykolpian milk.

“You didn’t,” gasped Maura, once she’d reached the table. Zora shushed her. Even if the princess only poured her usual trickle over the cereal they would be in for a show. They watched the door, trying not to snicker.

Csilla arrived last, as always. But she walked right past the cereal and milk and pondered the tray of hagro-biscuits. After a long, indecisive study she chose the smallest one and joined the mercenaries’ table with a smirk.

“Morning,” said Zora, sitting very straight.

“Well, are you proud of me? I’m trying something different.” Her brow furrowed. “What’s wrong?”

Maura and Zora traded a glance. Zora’s attempt at an answer was cut off by the kitchen steward’s bewildered yelp and the telltale sound of a snapping bra-strap.

--

NEXT WEEK: Darmok and Jalad at the buffet
 
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Man oh man, you just get better and better every single week. Any chance we get a cameo appearance from one of Estelle’s three fellow adventurers from the first story?
 

Marlow

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Chapter 22

Starling was a capable navigator and the Goose’s stellar cartography team put in a commendable effort every day, but without charts their hyperlane-travel was guesswork at best. Many stars were dead-ends or reversals. But the more they wandered the more strange new wonders and life-forms they encountered.

Some, like the sentient fungi of Roburis II, were friendly (they were dedicated artists and Estelle was painted nude by their Grand Watercolorist Laureate, a pile of moss). Others, like the fire-breathing swans of Cygnus VII, were not friendly at all (though Maura and Zora were able, after days of wing-based gladiatorial combat, to negotiate a truce).

Some were spacefaring nomads who had left planetary life behind, like the ship full of musician-bots playing a never-ending rock concert through the void. Their groupie-bots had been more than delighted to welcome the humans for a party. Others, like the feudal civilization inhabiting the many planets of the Sceptrum System, rarely traveled the stars. Every planet and moon was ruled by its own semi-autonomous Duke or Duchess or Viceroy and, bound by their laws, Estelle had been wined and dined and taken to bed by each sovereign before the Golden Goose had been permitted to travel on. And each had competed to outperform their rivals in generosity.

There was something new almost every day, sometimes welcoming, sometimes hostile, sometimes terrifying, but always new. They passed a star devouring a gas-giant. They passed the skeleton of a colossal extradimensional horror. They waded through the swamps of Psalteria to receive the legendary belly-rubs of the thousand-handed Masseuse From Beyond Time. They met a purveyor of neurologically-safe mind-altering molecules, pleasure-dusts, hallucinogenic pollens, electromagnetic aphrodisiacs, and euphoria gases. They became his favorite customer.

But wandering was hard on the engines and the stress was hard on the crew. Diplomacy with every new species was hard on Estelle and her officers. Everyone they met had rules, traditions, observances, and agendas. They had to learn rituals, rites, trials, dances, and many, many games.




“Okay, okay, okay,” giggled the kitchen steward, a little flushed. She set down her holo-cards. “I have the big numbers this time. Do I win?”

The comms officer shook his head. “Sorry. The purple numbers count as negatives. And you’ve only got one shoggoth showing.” He collected his chips and tapped a button at the edge of the table. The cards flickered and turned blank.

“Oh. So what happens now? Do I have to do the…with the…”

“Yes,” sighed the sensor technician, who’d been playing since dinner and was down to only her tank top and panties. Her plump backside, freed, now curled over the edges of her chair.

“One shot…and one piece of clothing,” declared the comms officer. He filled the little glass and a service-arm slid it across the table.

The steward pouted. “Now I wish I’d kept my jacket on. Hm. What first?”

“Just get it over with,” said the technician. “You know what we all want to see. It’s been weeks. Everyone’s curious.”

“Okay, okay, okay. You’re lucky I had a few beers after dinner. I wouldn’t usually…” She crisscrossed her arms, straightened, and peeled off her shirt. Everyone turned to stare, including many at other tables.

Their eyes bulged. Even in a reinforced bra her newly-expanded breasts hung to her navel, filling each cup and threatening to spill out. They quivered like liquid with every slight movement, rippling from lace to her collarbones. Her otherwise diminuitive frame was almost lost behind them, though a roll of her pudgy midriff peeked out from below the bra. She downed her shot, fell to coughing, and the whole bar watched her bounce.

“Satisfied?” she asked, adjusting a strap and starting another cascade of ripples.

“Let’s play another hand,” stammered the comms officer. More crewmembers suddenly decided to come over and join the game.

Their greed got the better of them: the next hand proved unfriendly to a tall woman from engineering wearing only a jumpsuit. She took it well, though, and did a little dance as she unzipped. A stretchmarked pot-belly suddenly drooped out and everyone marveled that the jumpsuit had been able to contain it for so long.

“Though I’m not sure if I’ll ever get it to zip again,” she chortled. She took her shot and, like the steward, burst into a coughing fit. “Holy nebulas. That is strong.”

“You think this is strong?” chided the sensor technician. “You should see some of the stuff we bought off that hypnotic frog in the shuttle…thrill-powders, bliss-nectars, carnal-cubes…next time I get a few days’ leave I’m taking one of the intoxi-gels.” She licked her lips.

The steward slapped down two matching cards in triumph, bouncing again. “There. That’s got to be a winner.”

“Nope,” said the comms officer.

“But I’ve got a huge pair!”

He swallowed his first reply and cleared his throat. “Too big for one hand.”

“It’s a bust,” explained the technician, showing her the rulebook again.

“Take it off,” sang the engineer.

The steward rolled her eyes, but stood. The bar fell silent. She filled her lungs, reached behind her back with a grunt, and unfastened the bra one hook at a time. The crowd held its breath, the steward fumbled with the final hook, and then the red alert sounded.
 

Marlow

***
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
332
Location
,
(22.2)

Estelle stumbled out of Straya’s cabin wearing only a blanket. Crewmen stumbled past her in the hall with apologies and hurried salutes. She thought about stopping by her own cabin and changing into her uniform, but that was becoming a longer and more difficult process by the day and she was already late enough.

The service arm was ready with a bowl of cheesy bites as she passed. Estelle seized it and fell into the captain’s chair. “Status?”

The viewscreen showed two ships silhouetted against a luminous cloud, firing particle cannons at one another. Both were heavily damaged and venting plasma. Lightning flashed through the cloud beyond.

“Confederation attack? I didn’t think they were out here.”

“No, captain,” said Starling. “Both ships are identical in construction. They identify themselves as both belonging to something called the Lacertan Commune. I must observe, also, that they are fighting dangerously close to that tesseract storm. A stray shot could detonate a destabilization wave throughout the system.”

She looked at her cheesy bites. They needed more cheese. “And that’s…bad?”

“We would be atomized.”

“Oh, good. Weapons? How do we stack up?”

“Our weapons are comparable, but neither vessel is a warship. I project we could destroy both, should it become necessary.”

“Mm. Can I get a little more sauce on these? Thanks. Signal both ships. They’re to cease firing or we’ll be forced to intervene.”

There was one last exchange of shots, but then both ships quieted. They drifted beside one another and turned to face the Goose.

“Captain, we’re being hailed. Spliced communications feed.”

Estelle wiped her hands. “On screen.”

Two apoplectic reptilians appeared on the viewscreen. “What is the meaning of this interruption?” hissed one.

“You have violated a legally-sanctioned death-match,” screeched the other. “Honor is at stake. The dispute must be resolved. Identify yourself.”

“Captain—urrp. Excuse me. Golden Goose. Look, we’re sorry, but you fighting by this cloud thing could kill us all. Apparently.”

“Our dispute must be resolved according to the code. This is where the accusation was made. Today is when it was made. Here and now is where and when we must duel. If we do not uphold the code, there will be war throughout the commune. Thousands will die.”

She hung her head. A service arm poured more molten irradiated cheese over her bites. “Well, is there some other way this can get settled? Anything we can do to help?”

The reptilians conferred. “Very well, Captain Urrp. We accept your offer of arbitration. You will hear our cases and decide between us. And you must uphold our every tradition, or thousands will die. We will join you aboard your ship within the hour.”

“Stars. Let’s discuss it over dinner, then.”




Cursory reports showed the Lacertans to be primarily insectivores. Bugs still weren’t Estelle’s favorite alien cuisine, but she had acquired a taste for the larvae of a giant explosive fire-beetle they’d found on Scarabaeus IX. It paired well with time-flux aged wine and slices of herb-crusted chitin.

Estelle sat at the head of the table, devouring this, while the lizards shouted at one another. Sitting in judgment over a strange culture was a discomfiting idea and she’d decided to at least get good and stuffed if she wasn’t going to be comfortable anyway. She’d donned a formal dress for the occasion and could feel that it wouldn’t be good for formal occasions much longer.

The Lacertans barely ate. They sat to either side of her, one in red robes and the other in blue, hissing and arguing.

“Csilla,” whispered Estelle, when the princess came in to check on them, “can’t we just get Lucine to read their minds and figure out who’s at fault?”

“Lucine spent the morning sampling intoxi-gels. We won’t see her for a couple of days.”

“Days we do not have,” said the reptilian in red. “By Commune law we have only twelve solar hours to reach a resolution.”

Estelle cut another slice of her larva. “Well, then at least slow down enough talk me through this.”

The reptilian in blue stood. “He has stolen my produce.”

Red stood. “I have stolen no produce. He has stolen mine.”

“I have stolen nothing.”

“Produce?” wondered Estelle, between bites.

“Naturally. Supplies in the expanse are few. Our people rely upon our deliveries. Without them, the Commune starves.”

“The harvest was already poor this year. We had to divert to Reticulum Station in order to supplement our cargo.”

“And now some of my cargo is missing. We scan our holds daily and can detect the smallest reduction. It began after we linked our ships together two days ago for the Rite of Safe Voyaging.”

“He blames me for the loss of his sacred burden. I say this is his own negligence. I allowed him to board my vessel and inspect my hold. He found nothing of his. I am innocent. And a day later, I discovered that some of my cargo was missing. He has stolen from me to conceal his failure.”

“I have showed you my cargo hold in exchange. We have gone over both logs. This man, Captain Urrp, is your thief.”

Estelle stared past them. “Do you have the logs?”

“Of course.” Red produced a datapad. Blue produced his own and hurried to set it closer to her than red’s.




They argued to no end for two hours before Estelle called for a much-needed break. She’d read everything she could be made to read and had asked what questions she could think to ask, but nothing gave her any more information or insight. They marched out and she was left to contemplate an empty plate.

An empty plate and a belly that didn’t feel correspondingly full: her earlier courses, now that she thought of it, hadn’t been very satisfying, either. She had seen every plate cleaned, as always, but it almost seemed that there had been less on each plate than her stomach had come to expect. And her stomach knew what it was doing.

She tapped her communicator. “Captain to kitchens. Did you change up the portioning?”

“No,” replied the steward’s voice. “Why? You’re not thinking of trying to diet again, are you?”

“Never again. But no, I’m just…still hungry.” She rose and kneaded her bulk. “More than usual, I mean.”

“Want some more?”

“I need to make a few rounds. But…yeah, if you could send something over to my cabin, I think I’m gonna need it.”

She made her rounds, visited each of the reptilians, and when she collapsed finally into her cabin she found a tray of eight gristlefin rolls waiting for her. Popping one into her mouth, she ducked into the bedroom to change. The service arm had just unzipped her dress when something in the mirror caught her eye.

The dinner-tray was visible in the corner of the reflection. Estelle returned to the main room to confirm what she’d seen: there were only six gristlefin rolls left. She stood frozen a moment, clutching the dress over her stomach, and could swear she’d heard a faint chewing. She backed out of her cabin, locked the door, and raced to the lift.

Bursting onto the bridge, she interrupted the comms officer and the sensor technician in a private moment. They nearly dropped their custard pie as they scrambled back to their stations.

Estelle clutched her fallen dress over her bosom. “As you were. I need a scan. And find me Csilla.”




She returned to her cabin once again, this time with the custard pie. After a quick look around, she set the pie on a small table beside one of her cabin’s many erotic alien statues and licked her lips in anticipation.

“Now that I’ve finally got dessert ready,” she announced to the empty cabin, “I can really let loose. Just need to get into something more comfortable. Ooh, I’m so excited for this pie. I even put some quasar cream on top.” She gave the pie one last adoring look and shuffled into the bedroom.

Half a minute later, while she was peeling off the dress, the pie gently slid to the edge of the table. An indentation appeared in the quasar cream; quasar cream in the shape of a fingertip floated into the air.

The erotic alien statue leapt out from the wall. It wrestled with thin air, shouting and knocking over the table—and the pie—until Estelle returned with her plasma pistol. The room grew still.

The statue transformed back into Csilla. The thief she’d been fighting deactivated his cloaking device.




“You had a stowaway,” said Estelle, shoving the thief at the Lacertans. It was a short, chameleon-like creature, moaning and clutching a distended abdomen. “Probably snuck aboard at the Reticulum Station. Switched from one ship to the other when his snacking had been noticed.”

Red and Blue looked at the thief, then at each other. “We accept this judgment. The dispute is resolved. Thank you, Captain Urrp. The thief will be punished.”

“Look, guys, if the harvest was that bad, he was probably just as hungry as your people. I can’t condemn anyone for wanting to feel full.” She eased her bulk into a chair. “My engineer is sending over one of our cargo pods. Plenty more food for your commune. Now, if you’ll excuse me, some of the crew asked if I’d join them for a card-game.”


--


NEXT WEEK: Encounter at Fatpoint
 

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