BBW Planet XXL - by Marlow

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Marlow

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Chapter 23

The hum of the measurement drone died away. Looking up from his datapad, the requisitions officer peered over, tapped the drone, and sighed. “Are you sucking in?”

“Yeah, sorry,” laughed Estelle, letting the top of her stomach relax out another inch or two. “Old habit.”

“Well, unless you plan to spend a lot less time as stuffed as a holiday space-turkey, I’d recommend you let me get a more realistic reading.”

“Maybe I should’ve eaten a big meal before coming in here, for better effect.”

The officer typed at his pad. “I was unaware there were still hours in the day when you haven’t recently eaten a big meal.”

“Are you this crabby with everyone who comes in, or only superior officers?”

“Your whole crew is constantly outgrowing whatever the tailoring AI and I can come up with. We don’t have much fabric left.” His demeanor faltered. “And you’ve made me late for lunch.”

This was something Estelle could sympathize with. “There was some work to do in stellar cartography. Anomalies up ahead, apparently. And…I got kind of a slow start this morning.” So had Lucine, some of whose honeyed lipstick was still on Estelle’s neck.

“I know. So. 56 units at the waist. Out to 63 where it…broadens. And that’s without lunch in it, I understand. About how much do you weigh now, captain?”

“Oh, I haven’t touched the bio-pak since three hundred. But that was months ago and we’re probably well beyond that. I’m trying not to think about numbers for a while.”

She looked well beyond it in the mirror. The mass of her belly had taken over her frame. Each thigh was now as thick as her waist had once been, but her legs looked almost slender beneath her stomach’s girth. Her breasts, stuffed into a long-outgrown bra and each bigger than her head, could only rest atop its upper swell. Unlike so many others aboard, whose weight had given them hips or butts or hourglass figures, Estelle stored almost everything out front.

“58 units at the bust,” the officer continued, kneeling. “I can get you the new brassiere by tomorrow, but for the full uniform…you may want to prepare yourself for something that shows a little more skin.”

“Do what you can. Doesn’t have to be perfect. Just something I can squeeze into for ceremonies and such. The robe’s been comfy enough for the rest.”

“And how long will the robe last, at this rate?”

She set her hands on her hips and pushed her gut at his face. “Just give me the swimsuit I came in for. And then go eat your lunch.”




Wrapped in her new swimsuit, Estelle rode the turbolift to the lido deck. The fabric shortage had made for a fairly skimpy string two-piece, but it was surprisingly supportive and much comfier than the metal one the courtesans had put her in. The bottoms were her favorite shade of blue, though their front was generally concealed beneath the roll of her belly.

Her communicator bleeped. She had to dig it out from her cleavage. “Go ahead.”

“Captain,” said Starling, “you wished to be notified when we entered the flux anomaly.”

She’d forgotten that. “Any signs of trouble?”

“I do not detect any forces that would endanger the ship’s systems or hull integrity. But the dimensional barriers in this region are weak and we may experience minor temporal fluctuations as a result.”

“Acknowledged. I’ll be poolside.”

A groan and an echoing belch welcomed her to the lido deck. She found her away-team at the pool, stretched out in lounge chairs or drifting in the shallow end, surrounded by plates and clutching bloated stomachs. They had started without her.

“You started without me,” she gasped.

“Relax, captain,” said Maura, peering over her sunglasses. “There’s—huck—plenty left. And if you don’t get enough, we’ll find a way to make it up to you.”

“Is that a threat?”

“It’s a promise.” Maura rolled over on her towel and reached for her drink. Her plump backside, clad only in a thong, flattened out with a mesmerizing ripple.

Estelle tried a lounge chair, but the sound it made beneath her weight wasn’t encouraging. “I think this might be the first time I’ve seen you two without your armor,” she mused, stepping into the pool.

Zora sat up. “It, uh, doesn’t fit anymore.” It wasn’t difficult to see why. Her posterior flowed across the slats of the chair and over the edge on both sides and her stomach bunched up into three thick rolls on her lap. She didn’t seem at all ashamed, though, and gratefully accepted another tupo-berry margarita from the service arm.

Another arm stretched out and resumed rubbing lotion along Maura’s back. Her wings, though folded, seemed somehow thicker, too, or perhaps shorter. Either way, it began to explain why Estelle wasn’t seeing the mercenaries take to the air as often.

Lucine, however, seemed to be spending more time in the air than usual. She tended to levitate down the longer corridors rather than walk and preferred to float up from chairs rather than stand. Estelle joined her at a bench in the shallow end. Much of Lucine’s body above water still looked remarkably slim, save for a fuller face. Everything below the water, though, had expanded considerably. Her bottom half splayed across the bench and when she rose to grab another salty snack she revealed her enormous, quaggy thighs. Even squashed together they were twice the width of her shoulders. Several of the glowing gems had been buried beneath flesh.

Straya lay on a chair, letting her suit’s abdominal compartment hang open in the humid, artificially tropical air. She sported a sizable belly of her own, but it seemed to have grown sideways rather than simply forward, until she was almost more lovehandle than stomach. Every component of her suit had been replaced one piece at a time. Even the helmet had been rebuilt to accommodate her second chin.

She was clearly enjoying the glow after a sizable meal—the earlier groaning had been hers—and was loosening her pelvic components to relieve more pressure. Csilla sat beside her, providing an attentive belly rub. The princess had still managed to resist the ship’s temptations. Her belly looked a little less toned and her bosom sagged with just a bit more fullness, but beside the rest of them she looked almost malnourished. She was, however, sipping at a rather tall milkshake.

Io floated past Estelle on a raft. Io’s humanoid features had grown—especially her pillowy upper arms and a genuinely ponderous chin-roll—but it was her tentacles that seemed to have thickened the most. Her midsection had a much greater circumference. And Estelle couldn’t be certain, but Io seemed to have grown taller.

A service arm brought Estelle a tray and puttered off to help Zora paint her toenails. She slowly drank off a warp-fuel cocktail, relaxed back, and watched Lucine telekinetically towel herself off. The communicator bleeped again. “Go ahead,” she sighed, setting the empty glass aside.

“Captain,” said Starling, “you wished to be notified when we entered the flux anomaly.”

“Yeah, you—” She looked down. Her glass was full again. Even the solar-panel umbrella she’d pulled out was back. “Temporal fluctuations. Right. Got it.”

She took a long sip from the cocktail. When she’d put it down, there was a second, untouched tray of continuum-shifted cheesecake beside the first. They were identical in every way, though mirrored.

Twice as much continuum-shifted cheesecake. “I could get used to this,” she murmured, loosening her swimsuit bottoms in anticipation.

“What the hell?” cried Csilla. Estelle glanced around; the princess was now on the far side of the pool, toweling off her thigh. Lucine found herself seated in a chair with her hands on Straya’s gut.

Io thrashed about in the pool. Her raft had vanished. It reappeared a moment later in place of the service arm, spilling Maura’s nail polish.

“Minor temporal fluctuations,” Estelle grumbled. She had just been about to take her first bite of the cheesecake, but tapped on her communicator instead. “Captain to bridge. Starling, how long—” There was a flash of purplish green light, a faint tittering noise, and then she froze.
 

Marlow

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“Is she alright?” grunted Straya, sitting up.

“It’s not just her,” said Csilla, turning away from their motionless captain. The cheesecake-topped fork was still poised inches from her lips. “The water features have stopped, too. And look…”

The water that Io’s thrashing had kicked into the air was still suspended there in sparkling droplets. Zora poured out some of her drink; it began to spill, but slowed and froze.

Lucine floated over and tapped Estelle’s communicator. It sent a ripple through the captain’s flab, a ripple that paused halfway down her belly. “Lucine to bridge. Are you reading? Lucine to engineering. Lucine to security. Nothing…they must be frozen, too.”

They gathered at the bar. The service arms were motionless. “Oh, this is definitely bad,” they agreed.

“Why are the six of us unaffected?” asked Lucine.

“Well, it’s just a theory,” said Straya, trying to squeeze her midsection back into her exo-suit, “but the six of us have been stuffing our faces with continuum-shifted cheesecake all afternoon.”

Csilla huffed. “I haven’t.” Her stomach gurgled. “I had a very reasonable serving.”

“Keep telling yourself that. Maura, zip me up. Ow. Remind me to rebuild this thing again. Well, the lights are still on…there’s power. I say we get up to the bridge and see what we can do.”

“The bridge,” breathed Zora, “on the other end of the ship?”

“At least it’s on the same level. We won’t have to fit your fat butt in the emergency access hatches.”

They turned as the central water feature—a nude figure guzzling water from a fountain—suddenly vanished.

“Come on,” said Csilla. “Let’s get up there before life-support disappears. Hurry…or do whatever constitutes hurrying at your size.”

“Oh, I had too many margaritas for this,” moaned Maura.

The corridors were filled with crewmembers stopped in place, mid-stride, mid-conversation, often mid-bite or mid-spoonful, and, in one case, mid-hiccup. The ensign’s doughy gut was frozen on the upward heave and Straya gave it a poke as she passed.

They stopped at a security locker for weapons, but otherwise continued through the ship in their beachtowels and tiny swimsuits. Maura and Zora occasionally took a few perfunctory flaps to take the weight off their legs. Lucine levitated almost the whole way. Io and Straya could only lumber behind, huffing and puffing. More statues and paintings disappeared before their eyes.

Csilla stopped them outside the bridge and listened at the door. “Someone’s in there, moving around. More than one. I don’t recognize the language.”

Straya studied a panel. “The door’s been…hff…rigged with a…plasma trap…”

“There’s a back entrance from the officers’ lounge.”

“Perfect. More…walking…”

In the officers’ lounge they found a group of crewmen frozen in the middle of raucous applause. They were gathered around the kitchen steward. She had a mostly-drunk pitcher of beer pressed to her lips and her chest had just popped open her blouse. The button was suspended in mid-air a few feet away.

Csilla moved the button aside so it wouldn’t hit the comms officer in the eye. Straya unsealed the door. They raised their weapons and charged—or hobbled—onto the bridge.

Starling and Lieutenant Caelius were frozen in their chairs. Two shimmering seven-legged creatures scuttled freely about, tittering. One pointed a glowing wand at Estelle’s chair. It vanished.

“That’s the captain’s!” growled Straya. The creatures turned.

“Stop whatever the hell you’re doing,” said Csilla.

Maura and Zora cocked their pistols. The nearest creature pointed its wand at them and in an instant the pistols were replaced by a pair of embroidered throw pillows.

Csilla tossed her weapon aside and strode forward, cracking her knuckles. “You have no idea how annoyed I am. This interruption—do you have any idea how hard is to get an even tan with shapeshifter skin?”

The wand pointed at her. Her bikini top disappeared; her breasts fell with a little bounce.

She recoiled, but so did the creatures, checking their wands, as though they’d expected the rest of her to disappear. The first chittered something and the second threw a metal ring on the floor. The ring sparked and crackled with electricity and a third creature began to climb its way through the portal, hissing. It was longer, wilder, and covered with far, far too many legs. It was chained by a spiked collar to something on the far side of the portal and the other creatures were struggling to control it.

Csilla covered herself and turned. “Io, do your thing.”




“After that,” said Maura, turning on some music, “they didn’t put up much of a fight. Surrendered their little devices and helped us reset things. Took most of the day, but I think we got it all back where it belongs. That cheesecake really saved the day.””

Zora lit a candle. “They’re inter-dimensional time thieves, apparently, using these temporal anomalies as cover. They steal things they find historically significant. They must know something we don’t about the Goose. Something encouraging to think about, eh?”

“They were actually super friendly, once we got to talking. Gave us a lot of new recipes from other time periods. And they treated us to one hell of an interdimensional feast.” Maura slipped off her robe, revealing a short, sheer negligee. It also revealed a stomach still very full from their feast.

Zora undid her own robe in turn. “That might’ve actually been why it took so long to get everything reset, now that I think of it.”

Estelle sat back in her bed and frowned at the ceiling. “So I sat there frozen the whole time. Twelve hours without a bite to eat. Never even tasted that cheesecake. No wonder I’m in such a mood.”

“Well, captain…” said Zora, holding up a continuum-shifted cheesecake.

“That’s why we’re here,” said Maura, holding up a continuum-shifted cheesecake.

“About time,” grunted Estelle. She smiled, though, and put her hands behind her head. Maura and Zora climbed into the bed, cuddled up to either side of her, and alternated feeding her from each plate.


--


NEXT WEEK: PIGS—IN—SPAAAAAAAAAACE
 
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Yay!! Io coming in clutch! I wonder what could so historical significant about the ship? I guess time will tell. Also I wonder if they will get lucky and find a tailor.
 
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Oh man. One of my favorite chapters yet. People really starting to get chubby now, and your descriptions are perfectly on point. The storyline is excellent too, with so many good ploy points. Well done sir!
 

Marlow

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Chapter 24


Estelle arched her back, pushing her bloated paunch against the kitchen steward’s beer-gut. She unhooked the steward’s bra; the steward took Estelle’s lower lip in her teeth. The bra began to slide away.

“Captain,” breathed the steward.

“Captain,” called Starling.

Estelle pushed the communicator off the bed and went in for another kiss. “Not now, Starling.”

It buzzed again. “I apologize, captain, but you are needed on the bridge.”

“Starling, I’m full of pasta and wine and I’m—mm—very busy.”

“Captain, we are under attack.” The ship shuddered and the mood-lights flickered. Alert lights took over.

The steward rolled off and pulled the bedsheet over her bosom. “Go save the day,” she laughed. “I’ll wait.”

Estelle sighed and sat up. “Just don’t eat all the tiramisu without me.” She looked at the steward and reconsidered. “Well, at least have a fresh plate ready for when I get back.”





“Status,” she groaned, one hand to her gut, carefully making her way to the captain’s chair.

“It is a battlecruiser of Confederation design,” said Starling. “However, all Confederation markings have been painted over and replaced with…skeletons.”

“Space pirates,” grumbled Lieutenant Caelius.

Estelle turned and pointed. “Where’s the comms guy?”

“Indigestion. Lucine is…attending to him.”

“Oh, but we can interrupt my date? Stars.” She tied her robe. “So, a battlecruiser. Assessment?”

The ship trembled under a phaser blast. “It carries the standard armament for its class,” Starling continued, “plus a number of contraband weapons which appear to have been grafted on from other starships.”

“So…successful space pirates,” grumbled Caelius.

“With our limited arsenal and without the Sphrigon escorts, it is unlikely that we would survive a pitched engagement. Our evasive maneuvers are nearly exhausted.”

Estelle rubbed her head. “We run for it, then. Back to that Nebula we spotted. And keep it smooth on the yaw, helmsman. We’ve got some full bellies on board. Reserve power to aft shields.”

The Golden Goose swung around and fled. The pirate starship made a surprisingly nimble turn for its size and settled in for the chase.

Estelle diverted more power to the engines, shutting down the exercise deck and several of the relaxation decks. It was enough to keep them ahead of their pursuer for a couple of hours. A service arm brought her coffee and quite a bit of cream.

The pirates drew slowly but inexorably closer. “They are exceeding engine outputs that would be unsafe aboard most ships of that construction,” reported Starling. “They will overtake us in forty-seven minutes.”

“Modifications? Or desperation?” Estelle was about to bite into a biscuit when the pirates began trying their long range-cannons. They weren’t very accurate, but they were frighteningly powerful.

By now the crew had dragged themselves to battle stations. A very disheveled comms officer returned to his post. The away team reported themselves ready, though there was some giggling in the background of their call. Estelle knew that ‘ready’ could only be a relative term: Maura and Zora were only in half of their armor, Lucine had just eaten a whole pot of Yirga fungal chowder and was supporting her lower back like a pregnant woman, and Straya was still fumbling with the upper-arm segment of her exo-suit. Io had not appeared; Estelle knew not to ask.

Another blast struck the ship. Estelle reached for her chair’s safety belt, but it wouldn’t close over her. “Torpedoes,” she huffed.

The torpedoes had little effect. The pirates blasted the Goose again and again and drew even closer. There was nowhere else to run and the shields began to fail.

“Shields have failed,” announced the tactical officer. “Life support still functioning on all decks.”

Estelle hung her head. “Full stop. Hold fire and power down the weapons systems.”

They listened as the engines went quiet. The enemy ship stopped firing and came to a stop alongside.

“Captain, we are being hailed.”

The speakers burbled. “Resistance is pointless,” croaked a voice. “You will deactivate security systems and allow your ship to be boarded. All your property is ours, as sacrifice to the Goddess of Plunder.”

Estelle stood. “Wait—wait. We won’t fight you. We’re traveling in peace. We just want to get home.”

“Inconsequential. Your property will be ours, as sacrifice to the Goddess of Plunder.”

“But…you need to know that we’re carrying very, uh, dangerous cargo. You could hurt yourselves.” The bridge officers gave her a quizzical look. She shrugged.

“Inconsequential. Your cargo will be ours, as—”

“Yeah. Look, I just…we should talk this over. We’re friendly. We can cooperate. We can give you what you want. But let’s talk, first, alright? Come over and have dinner with us. You can save yourself a lot of effort. Please.”

“We resent deception. We resent entrapment. If you wish to negotiate for the lives of your crew, you may come aboard our vessel. You will come aboard alone and unarmed. You will be immediately sacrificed to the Goddess of Plunder if we detect any power surges or shuttle launches from your ship.”

“I accept,” said Estelle. The channel closed.

“What do you want us to do?”

She spread her hands. “Just…wait. And be ready. Dock with them, get me over there and I’ll—I’ll talk to them. Yeah. I’m sure I’ll think of something.”

“You’ll think of something.”

“I’ll follow my gut.”
 

Marlow

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She hadn’t had time to wrangle her bulk into her uniform, so she went across in only her underwear and the robe. It was still comfortable and smooth, but was having difficulty staying closed over her middle. She fidgeted with the knot while waiting for the airlock to open.

A dozen lean frog-like beings greeted her, swords and pistols at their sides. They looked at her with some hesitation, seeing that she was a foot taller than them, but were gratified when she put her hands behind her head and obeyed their commands.

More frogs crept out from doors and tunnels as she was led down a long torchlit corridor. She wasn’t walking as quickly as they liked and they prodded her backfat every few steps. Estelle kept up what pace she could and concentrated on keeping her robe closed.

They passed grottos that must have opened into their ship’s galley. Delicious aromas wafted up: smoked meats, sizzling vegetables, heady spices, pungent rum, baking breads. Estelle slowed, instinctively turning toward the smell, but they prodded her onward.

By the time she reached the central chamber she was crowded by what must have been a hundred frogs. They spilled out into the enormous room, leaping over one another, and in the better lighting here she saw they were wearing stolen naval uniforms from species all over the galaxy. The room was lined with tables and set for a feast for hundreds. The frogs squeaked something about “sacrifices” and “bounty from the goddess.”

A taller, even leaner frog stepped out from the shadows and hopped onto a table. He swept his cloak aside, raised his sword, and tipped his pirate hat. The other frogs grew quiet.

“Welcome,” he croaked. “You are prisoner of the Jolly Ribbiter. Step forward and bow before the Goddess of Plunder.”

They shoved Estelle forward. Her robe promptly fell open and billowed out from her belly.

The frogs fell back. Their captain dropped his sword. His mouth hung open and his eyes bulged. A frantic murmuring filled the chamber. Estelle glanced around and saw their heads turning in panic and awe, looking back and forth from her to something at the far end of the room.

She followed their gaze. Standing against the wall was a colossal statue in the shape of a pig-woman. The statue’s paunch was identical to her own, down to the faint crease below the navel, the stretchmarks, and the curve where her belly met her lovehandles. The statue had the same flabby bosom, the same pillowy arms, and even the same bulging double chin, creased in just the same place. With the exception of the snout and the ears, the statue was her.

The frogs looked at her, looked at the statue, and looked back at her. They dropped to their knees. The captain stepped down from his table and offered her a chair.





The away team gathered at the Golden Goose’s airlock. They were by now restored and prepared for action. Straya’s suit was fully sealed. Io was mobile and looking angry. Much of the crew stood in the corridor behind them, armed to the teeth and eager for a fight.

A light flickered. The crew inhaled. A hundred weapons powered up. Straya stepped forward, waited for the count, and unsealed the door.

Estelle fell out and into her arms. The captain was naked, covered in a variety of sauces, and as bloated as they’d ever seen her.

Maura rushed forward to help Straya support her. Estelle was conscious, but hanging almost limp, hands clutched to her swollen gut.

“Get the medic. Captain, are you hurt?”

“Moi?” Estelle hiccupped. “No. Yes. Hurts in the best…best way.”

Csilla shook her head. “Cancel the medics.” She frowned at the captain’s bleary smile. “What happened?”

“I have success…full…ly…successfully neg—huck—gotiated our release. There was a…then a…then we…hic! I think they liked me. Do you like me?”

Straya touched the stomach. It was packed solid. “Of course, captain. So…we’re safe? We can go?”

They waited as she rolled out a double belch. “Ow. Yeah, sure. If you—hic!—if you wanna. But might wanna…not wanna.”

“Why’s that?”

“Well, they made a big dinner. Still lots…lots left. You’re all invited. I made sure of it. So go on over. I’m just gonna—hulp!—have a little nap, since I worked so hard today, and then come back for—huck—for…what’sit. Seconds.”

She tried to step away, but didn’t get far on her own. Two of the stronger crewmen took hold and guided her back to her cabin. They poured her into her bed and rushed back to join the others at the pirates’ feast.

Estelle looked down at her stomach, rising in her vision like a moon over a strange planet. She called for the service arms and demanded a belly rub.

They obliged. Her stomach gurgled happily. The crew feasted. But before heading over herself, the kitchen steward did peek into the captain’s cabin to drop off a fresh plate of tiramisu.

--

NEXT WEEK: AI Constructs and Cyborgs First
 

Marlow

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Chapter 25


“Captain’s log, stardate 402.09.27. It’s been over a year since we began this journey. The crew has surpassed all expectations in a situation we wouldn’t wish on anyone. Home’s still a long ways off, but their courage and their dedication haven’t wavered at all. They’ve really grown into a—”

“Grown?” teased the head of Stellar Cartography, stepping out of the steamroom and stealing Estelle’s towel. “You’re one to talk, captain.”

The spa towel had been ludicrously small for Estelle, but it was hardly broad enough for the cartographer, either. She was a long, tall woman and after a year aboard had become a long, tall, and rather wide woman. She dug a handful of mind-mellowing candies from the bowl and offered one to Estelle.

Estelle sucked on it and returned to her log, but kept her gaze on the woman’s wobbling hips.

“The Golden Goose is currently in orbit around a deep-space station…it’s abandoned, like so many things out here in the expanse seem to be. We’re using its docking platform to stabilize the ship while we recharge the engine core and do some much-needed maintenance for a few days. Straya has ventured inside to see if there’s anything we can salvage.

“In the meantime, with the ship out of service for at least a few more days, tomorrow night we’re letting the crew throw themselves a party.”

“A big party,” said the cartographer.

“So I’m hearing. What are you gonna wear?”

The cartographer winked, dropped the towel, and stepped naked into the next chamber of the spa. Estelle followed.




Lights flashed, electronic music thumped, and the deck shook. The crowd bounced, swayed, and flailed. The dance floor was busy throughout the night, despite how often most attendees had to take breaks in the seating area or visit the snack bar. Everyone was by now far from sober and wailed with excitement at the first notes of any vaguely familiar song.

They had dressed for the occasion. The ship’s worsening fabric shortage limited what could be produced, but the crew had fashioned a variety of stylish tanks, wraps, halters, shorts, and slitted dresses that were more slit than dress. Most of the ship’s midriffs were bare and could be seen bouncing to the beat.

Lucine wore only a thin mesh and her gems left glowing afterimages in the dark corner of the hall. She’d spent the last three songs grinding, thighs jiggling, against Estelle. Estelle had gradually reached around Lucine’s stomach and pulled her tighter against her own. The music slowed; they turned to face one another.

“A perfect night,” shouted Lucine.

“They needed it,” shouted Estelle, even louder. She turned to pop another gelatinous neural-thrill-cube into her mouth. “We all did.”

“I hope Straya and Io will join us soon.”

Estelle glanced around and shuddered as the cube went down. “Are…wait. Are they not back? Or did I miss them?”

Lucine levitated two more cubes into her own mouth. “Who? What are we talking about? Put your hand back on my tummy.”

“I…” Estelle grimaced. “Go ahead without me for a song. I’ll be right back.”

She squeezed past several handsy couples and throuples—and the head cartographer, already naked again—and escaped into the corridor. The music faded as she shut the door, but she could still feel it pulsate through the ship. It even thumped faintly in the turbolift.

After a few deep breaths she emerged onto the bridge, walking very deliberately but still tripping over a discarded snack-bucket. She shut her eyes and waited for her balance to return.

“Are you alright, captain?” asked Starling. He’d been alone on the bridge.

“Uh, yeah,” she managed, trying to straighten her clothes and look professional. She was still in a very short halter top and a very short slit mini-skirt and was liberally sprinkled with glitter. “Worried, maybe. Did Straya and Io ever come back?”

“They have not. They expected to be in the station and out of communication range for a minimum of three days, given its size, composition, and complexity. They were to signal us this evening by midnight; they have not done so. I have hailed their shuttle twice with no answer. In one more hour I would have called you to the bridge.”

“Glad I came up now, then. If you called me an hour from now I probably wouldn’t have been able to answer.” She stood silent a long moment, blinking, and then glanced around to remind herself where she was. “I’m hungry. Are you hungry? We should get some…uh. Right. Straya. Io. Not back. Trouble?”

“Do you anticipate that they are in danger, captain?”

“I have a weird feeling. And not just because I’ve been sucking down irradiated bar snacks all night.” She leaned against the back of his chair. It gave a nervous creak. “Hungry. I bet they’re hungry, too.”

“Shall I hail again?”

“I should go down and look. I’d send a team, but…everyone else is too far gone at this point, I think.”

“Very well. I do advise, however, that you not go alone.”

“Yeah, no. You should probably fly the shuttle. I’ve got three different species’ worth of party drugs in me.”
 

Marlow

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Her head was feeling somewhat clearer by the time they landed. The side effects of all three were settling in, though, and the main side effect of all three was hunger.

Starling opened the door. They disembarked and peered through the haze. The other shuttle was still parked at the docks. Estelle grabbed a plasma pistol and they crossed to investigate.

“It is empty,” said Starling, saving her a climb up the ramp. “They have not visited it since landing. Straya’s interfacing kit it absent. It is likely she meant to locate a computer terminal.”

Estelle sighed. “I told her not to turn anything on. The last derelict we turned on tried to eat the ship. I guess we’re going in, huh? Stars. Just…don’t walk too fast. This place is massive and my brain is still pretty mixed-up.”

It seemed even more massive on the inside. They slipped through an arched doorway and emerged into a corridor so tall and so long they couldn’t see the end. The walls on either side were lined with row after row of windows.

“This wasn’t just a refueling station.”

“No, the docking functions appear to have been ancillary to the facility’s intended purpose.”

They ventured down one of the catwalks. It wound up and down secondary corridors in several branches, as though deliberately trying to be inefficient, inconvenient, and irritatingly long. Estelle waddled slowly along, huffing and puffing, her sides brushing the handrails.

“Starling…remember when…you and I hiked…a hundred and twenty miles…on LV-237?”

“I do. Why do you ask?”

She doubled over. “I’m having trouble believing…that was ever possible.”

“You were considerably lighter at the time, captain, and more accustomed to strenuous exercise.”

“And considerably…less fun…Starling…slow down, come on…”

“Is this a more appropriate pace, captain?”

“And I do…strenuous exercise…all the time. Lots of…weight lifting…every time I…get up for…seconds…”

One of the rows appeared to be lit. It was several stories above them, of course, and Estelle, whose thighs had already been sore from dancing, nearly gave out as she pondered the climb. Starling found a narrow staircase and they made a gradual, halting ascent. Even after two breaks, Estelle collapsed when they finally reached the top.

The light was coming from behind the windows. Estelle fortified herself with a ration bar and followed Starling onward. They explored down the row, peeking into each window. Each showed a small cell containing a simulated climate. One was filled with sand, one with lush vegetation, one with dry, waving grasses, and one with rocks and a stream of water.

As they continued down the row they began to find living creatures in some of the cells: a giant three-stingered scorpion climbing a stick, a bored looking ape with two heads, a snake with butterfly wings, a wingless bird in one of the grassy habitats, a blubbery aquatic creature floating aimlessly in one of the water-filled tanks, a glowing pink cow.

“Holy nebulas,” Estelle realized. “It’s a zoo.”

Starling nodded. “And it appears to be fully automated. These drones appear to be maintaining habitats and feeding the animals.”

“Feeding.” Estelle stopped, shook her head, and returned to the aquatic tank with the blubbery creature. She tapped on the glass.

“Captain!” bubbled Straya. “Thank the ancestors. I was starting to think I’d be an exhibit here forever. Oh, just a second.”

A drone hovered above her tank. It lowered a tube into the water; Straya paddled her bulk over and spent a good minute gulping down pureed krill. It may have been from spending so much time out of her exo-suit, it may have been the feeding tube, or it may have been something in the water, but the engineer was looking significantly rounder.

Estelle folded her arms. “Wanna tell me what happened?”

“Not really, no.” She rolled onto her back and caressed her blubber.

“Straya—”

“Sorry. Me and Io came in looking for a terminal. Thought they might have recipes or something useful for us. But then the drones came over and started giving us snacks…long story short, we, uh, took the bait. And here I am. It’s actually pretty comfortable. Longest I’ve ever been out of the suit in one go and it feels great. Not really sure I’d be able to get back into it now even if I wanted to.”

“Well, we’ll need to get you back to the ship. Can we at least try the suit?”

“Captain…look at me.”

“I have accessed the station’s records,” said Starling, reading a nearby console. “It was abandoned several years ago, but the AI subroutine responsible for caring for the exhibits was never deactivated. It has continued to perform its duties and seek new opportunities to do so.”

Estelle gazed along the row. “New opportunities to put people in cells?”

“To protect and provide them with all possible comforts.”

A drone floated over to Estelle. Its cover opened, revealing a rack of sizzling barbecue ribs.

“Nice try, bot. I’m not that easy.” She did give the ribs a second look, though. “Where’s Io?”

Io was in a habitat on one of the lower levels. It was twice as large as the others, enough for both a pool and a lounging area covered in pillows and cushions. Io herself was reclined luxuriously upon a divan, bedecked with jewels and silks and rubbing her bloated midsection. One of the drones was lowering fruits into her waiting mouth. Another was massaging her shoulders. Another waved a palm frond.

“Ideas, Starling?”

“I have established a dialogue with the AI. I have expressed our desire that Straya and Io be released.”

“And?”

“It is unwilling to part with them, captain.”

“And why’s that?”

“Because…” He tapped the console again. “Because then the AI would be sad.”

She stared at him.

“We would be denying it the opportunity to fulfill its designated purpose.”

“Could we…change its designated purpose?”

Starling recoiled. “That would be a serious breach of ethics, captain. Would you allow me to rewrite your sense of identity? Your personality?”

“Alright, alright. I get it.” She dragged out a crate and took a much-needed sit. A drone promptly floated over, pulled off her boots, and began massaging her feet. She stared at it. “Starling…make the AI an offer. If it gives us our people back…we’ll take it aboard the Goose and add it to the ship’s computer. It can help operate the service arms. They’re certainly getting a lot of use now and could use the help.”

He typed. “The AI has enthusiastically accepted your offer, captain, and is eager to serve a ship with such a receptive crew. I will prepare our onboard computer for the transfer. Shall we return to the shuttle?”

Estelle leaned back. More drones floated over. “Yeah, just give me five…ten minutes. Half an hour. Are those ribs still an option?”


--


NEXT WEEK: One Small Step for Flan
 
Joined
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Another gem. Love the reveal of the “blubbery creature”. Also love the little snack peaks into the crew’s expansion as well - the kitchen steward, the engineer, the cartographer, etc. Keep it up, sir.
 
Joined
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Estelle must still have some degree of sense that getting excessively big is making her incapable of handling a violent attack.
The fancy spacecraft has some pampering tools but now is coming with with Force Feeding equipment. This journey is going to take more to recover from than the Food Planet.
The weight will have to be plateaued because they have to eat so much to sustain their current level.
I like the amusing incidents that are constantly occurring.
 

Marlow

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Chapter 26


Watch-duty on the bridge of the Golden Goose wasn’t a model of naval discipline, especially while the ship was idling in orbit. The comms officer and sensor technician were away from their consoles and feeding each other dumplings. Lieutenant Caelius and Princess Csilla were cuddled up in a chair, watching one of their favorite holo-vids on his console.

“So he was infested all along,” gasped the vid’s terrible lead actor. “Dear gods…he was an almost perfect copy. They could be any of us.” The other scientists eyed each other with sudden suspicion—all but one.

“There’s only one way to find out who’s real and who’s a copy,” breathed cybernetically-enhanced astro-porn superstar Vesper Virgo, throwing off her lab coat to reveal a black lace teddy, “and I won’t rest until I’ve tested every man aboard.”

But the communication alert flashed just as the teddy was coming off. Csilla, who had transformed into Virgo’s likeness for the occasion, slinked away while the officers groaned and shuffled back to their stations.

Starling activated his console. “Lieutenant, the representatives of Mildendo are returning our hail.”

“Finally,” sighed Caelius, giving Csilla one last leer. “We’ve been pinging them for a day and a half. On screen.”

The screen flickered to a view of four stern, elderly, beaked aliens in robes of state. They bowed in unison and one said, after a reverent pause, “the traditional Day of Deliberation has concluded. We have agreed to hear your request. Know that we will proceed according to our traditions and that any violation of our traditions will result in your instantaneous destruction, as is tradition.”

Caelius put on his politest face. “Respecting your tradition is our highest priority. We’ve hailed you to ask your permission and blessing for our ship to cross through your territory. We are travelers trying to make our way home. We have abundant supplies of gourmet food and are happy to offer a selection of these as a token of good faith—”

The aliens ruffled their feathers. “Our planet is prosperous. We have no need for your ‘gifts.’ If you wish to enter our dominion, you must honor our immemorial rites and earn our esteem. If our esteem is not earned, you can be seen only as enemies and may not pass.”

Caelius glanced back for support. “Okay. We’ll honor your rites, sure. What do we need to do?”

“Your leader must come to our planet and face our leader in personal combat. If your leader acquits herself honorably on our sacred battleground, she will earn our esteem and be called friend.”

“Um.”

“Your leader has one hour to appear. We are sending coordinates.”

“She isn’t, uh, really ready for…she’s unavailable tonight…indisposed…”

An enraged squawk cut him short. The statesmen were thrown aside by a taller, powerfully-built alien wearing armor that seemed to be made from eggshells. He slammed a spear against the ground. “Lies! It was her that spoke in your hail. We have recognized her. We have spoken with the other travelers of this quadrant. We know of your Captain Urrp.”

“Oh dear.”

“Her guile has bested a Thief of the Lacertan Commune. Her might has brought the Jolly Ribbiters to their knees. She is known near and far as a warrior of great power. I challenge her to single combat, as is my right. If Captain Urrp does not appear before me in one hour, I will drag your ship from our skies.”

The viewscreen went dark. Caelius turned to Starling. “You tell her.”

Starling stared back. “She will not be pleased.”




“And you just agreed to it?” cried Estelle, wiping sprinkles from her mouth.

Starling followed her into the cabin. “I have assessed the offensive capabilities of their orbital defense platforms. It would be prudent not to provoke an attack.”

“But it’s prudent to just send me to my death. Thanks.” She pulled off her nightshirt and stepped out of her pajama bottoms, leaning against her bedroom’s doorframe for stability and filling most of it. “Straya and I were having a great time, by the way. She’s been bored out of her mind…unless we can build a much bigger suit for her she’s stuck in that containment tank for the foreseeable future.” She trudged into the bedroom, bulk waggling. “And those donuts were so good and there were still so many left to try. They had this psyker-augmented nerve-tingler frosting…”

“Forty-seven minutes, captain.”

“Yeah, yeah. Armor.” The automatic wardrobe rotated to her old commando armor. “Starling, I’m four hundred pounds now and I haven’t worked out in months. I get out of breath just waddling to the snack table. I’m not beating anybody in personal combat.”

“The outcome is not guaranteed. You have confounded dangerous opponents before.”

“And if I don’t? If I get killed?”

“By naval regulations, Lieutenant Caelius would then assume command. As to combat, captain, may I suggest that you would have a considerable size advantage over your opponent?”

She gave him a sidelong glance and opened the armory. The commando armor waited, perfectly clean. She hadn’t touched it in over a hundred pounds. She held a gauntlet against her pudgy wrist and could only scoff. The whole breastplate would only cover one of her wide, flabby breasts. The utility belt couldn’t even reach from one lovehandle to the other. “Uniform it is, then. Maybe I can talk this guy down. Would you say he seemed peaceful and level-headed?”
 

Marlow

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(26.2)


The uniform fit only in the sense that it wasn’t actively painful to wear. The jacket had no hope of closing and simply hung to the sides of her bosom, too short to reach past even the first crease in her backfat. The undershirt reached a little further, almost to the valley around her navel. The rest of her belly sagged out fully exposed and softly jiggling at every slight movement. With the help of a service arm she’d strapped a plasma pistol to her thigh in case things actually came to combat.

She landed the shuttle at the appointed coordinates, but no one came out to greet her. The shuttle’s ramp opened into what appeared to be an empty field. Grass waved in a gentle breeze.

The field rose to a ridge a hundred yards from the shuttle, with a tiny signpost at its peak. Estelle sighed and began the trudge upward. For a moment her imagination amused itself with visions of her hill-climbing days on LV-237, when every hill had been a cake and every boulder had been a donut. She thought of the donuts she’d left on the ship.

The signpost was in an illegible alien script. It was also absurdly tiny and Estelle didn’t feel like bending down to look closer. But what it pointed to was clear enough: in a small depression in the field someone had built a scale model of a city. She wandered closer, marveling at its detail. It represented a whole sprawling metropolis, from small homes the size of shoeboxes to skyscrapers Estelle’s own height. There were even little toy vehicles in the streets. Some almost seemed to be moving.

A voice reached her on the breeze. It was a small, distant voice, and only after a few repetitions did she realize it was coming from beneath her. With a grunt, she carefully lowered herself to her knees. Her knees regretted this immediately, but, looking past her belly, she saw an alien no more than an inch or two tall. Estelle bit her lip. The city was no model after all.

“Captain Urrp,” bellowed the tiny warlord, “I am Emperor Golbasto Momarem Evlame Gurdilo Shefin Mully Ully Gue, most mighty master of Mildendo and all its Dominions.”

“Hi.”

“I had been told that you were a leader of great stature. My expectations have been exceeded.”

“Yeah, I get that a lot.”

“Then it shall be all the more glorious a duel. They shall speak of it for generations. Come. It is tradition that the combatants parade through the city along the ancient route of triumphs and proceed together to the sacred battleground. You may follow me.”

The parade-route, naturally, ran through the center of the metropolis. The first few yards weren’t too terrible. Once she’d hauled herself back to her feet Estelle followed the emperor down an empty thoroughfare.

Coming into the suburbs and more tightly congested areas, though, presented a problem. The street was wide enough for only one pudgy foot at a time and she had to straddle two city blocks to keep her balance. Neither street was straight, either, and every step forward was a desperate search for a new foothold; a blind search, too, as Estelle hadn’t seen her feet in a long time and her belly had grown so round that no amount of twisting or shifting would let her look straight down without a catastrophe of balance. She felt her toes nudging aside vehicles and she managed to crush a large bank.

The buildings grew taller toward the center. Soon she was turning at strange angles to squeeze herself between them or lifting up her belly to carry it over their roofs. This was harder than it used to be, too, and it took both hands and a considerable effort to heft the lower roll far enough up.

The skyscrapers were nearly the end of everything. The space between them was to narrow for her girth at any angle and there was no hope of climbing over. The emperor watched her make several attempts and finally decreed that tradition preferred that she go around rather than destroy the city. She gratefully complied and opened a water tower to refresh herself.

“Alright,” she huffed, when they’d finally reached an open clearing, “let’s get this over with before I fall over and make some real trouble for both of us. Is there any way we can talk this out?”

“No,” he crowed. “Let the duel begin!” Tiny trumpets blared. The emperor rushed forward, waving his spear, and with a vicious squawk attacked Estelle’s toe.

The sudden needle-prick startled her and she jerked her foot without thinking. The emperor was hurled to the far side of the clearing. He landed in a heap, eggshells cracked. Estelle kicked the spear out into the field.

Tens of thousands of spectators cheered.

The emperor stood and bowed. “Astounding. Never have I witnessed such effortless strength. I concede defeat, Captain Urrp. I concede it most happily. What an honor it has been to do battle with you. We shall forever be allies.”

“So we can pass?”

“You may, but first I must ask you, as an ally to the people of Mildendo, to come to our aid.”

She glared down over her gut. “We…fine. What can we do for you, your highness?”

He replaced his tiny helmet. “There is another city on this planet. They rule the far continent: Blefuscu. You will find it on the other side of the grass ocean.” She looked; it was about a mile over the field. “For centuries we have fought one another. Neither of us has been able to overcome the other. But you, captain…you could squash them with ease! You would dwarf them as you dwarf us. Stride boldly into their city, I beg. Stomp on their houses. Topple their buildings. Sit on their capitol. Squash them for me and I shall consider our alliance honored.”

It looked like a long walk. “I really shouldn’t involve myself in local politics. Prime directive, and all that. Look, this has been…something I’ll probably think about late at night…but I’d like to get back to my ship.”

“You will not come to my aid? You will not fulfill our alliance? What, then, is the purpose of your enormous size?”

“No, not like—”

“If you will not be my ally, then you are my enemy. I charge you, Captain Urrp, with treason! Seize her!”

Tiny helicopters and tanks had appeared. Estelle waved them away, but they pressed the attack. She went for her pistol, but couldn’t reach far enough past her belly. The motion was too much and her knees were too tired from all the bending down. She fell with a crash that set the whole city trembling. Tiny soldiers began climbing her.

An hour later she was lying helpless against the slope of a hill, bound by every rope in the city. The ropes were little more than thread and she might’ve broken out with ease if she weren’t also so pinned by her own weight. She also worried about crushing hundreds of aliens if she rolled over. They’d set up encampments around her and, in some cases, on her. Some were preparing to rappel into her navel.

“By the gods, what is that thunder within you?” asked the emperor.

“It’s just my belly rumbling,” she sighed. “Happens if I haven’t eaten in a few hours. Sometimes even if I have.”

“Is that how you grew to sure immensity? Devouring your defeated foes? Consuming all you conquer?”

“What? No.”

“I shall learn from your example. I shall feast upon my foes and grow to be as gigantic as you, that all may fear my power. And then I shall crush the city of Blefuscu myself. The last thing their puny emperor will see will be the underside of my belly, ha ha.”

“Oh, hee, that tickles,” gasped Estelle, as soldiers explored the underside of her belly. “But, your highness, listen. I won’t sit here—lie here—and tell you to change your whole culture or whatever. But I didn’t get this fat by war and conquest. When I actually was a warrior, I was skinny. Well…skinnier than this, anyway. This belly—sorry for that jiggle, guys—are you all okay? This belly came from enjoying the things I enjoy, and from people sharing the things they enjoy with me. And then I share and they get fat, too. I don’t want to crush anyone…I want everyone to be this big. If everyone’s big, then no one ever gets crushed. That sounds like a nice galaxy to me.”

The soldiers stopped. A murmur swept over the thousands of tiny aliens.

The emperor choked back a tear. “That is the noblest thing ever spoken upon this planet. And how fitting, that it should be spoken in the biggest voice. Summon the council: I wish to declare peace upon Blefuscu.” He listened as Estelle’s stomach thundered again. “Portentous. Construct a ladder to her mouth. Let every citizen of Mildendo climb up and offer tribute until Captain Urrp has had her fill.”




“You ate the city’s entire food supply?” scoffed Straya. She turned in her containment tank and shook her head.

Estelle patted her belly; her very glutted belly. “Yep. Never even had to lift a finger. They eventually gave up on the ladder and started helicoptering stuff in.” After a very happy belch, she took a break from massaging her food baby to kick up her feet. The chairs in the engineering bay weren’t the most comfortable, but the service drones, more eager to serve than ever, had fetched a plush stool for her. “We’re sending down a bit from one of the cargo pods. At their size, half a pod would last them a decade. Stars…it’s getting tough to reach all of this when it’s had a big meal.”

Straya rolled over in the water. “Which of your meals aren’t big?”

“Hurrp.”

“So, what about the other city? Are they just going to accept peace?”

“Actually, I had a thought about that.” The service arm handed her an indigestion tablet. “Blefuscu is a seaside city. I figure they’ll be more open to listening to a giant from the deeps than a giant from the sky.”

Realization dawned on Straya’s blubbery face. “Oh—oh—you—how can I ever thank you, captain?”

“Well, that depends. Are there any of those donuts left?”

“Of course not.”


--


NEXT WEEK: Cho skrunee dopat, sleemo
 

Phat94

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Four Hundred Pounds? Good gracious, Estelle really has become a star whale. I wouldn't mind rapelling into her navel.

The problem of scale between the two species reminded me of "Meteor" by John Wyndham. Good stuff.
 

Venjance

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Two thoughts occur to me!

While Starling mentioned that they shouldn't challenge the weapons platforms, he would understand their size I assume. Are they of standard size, rather than Lilliputian in nature? Or were they miniature Mildendan in size, but still capable of dangerous output? If the latter, these little buggers could easily be holders of nanotechnology.

And secondly, while thinking of Starling and his role aboard the Goose, he acts like an unofficial science officer. Other key roles in a classic sci-fi are filled: coms, sensors, empath, navigation, engineer, security... but one is missing, and one that I believe would greatly benefit the Goose. Where's the medical officer? If the tailor is snarky and run ragged, I can't imagine what a chief medical officer would be going through. Not necessary with all the state-of-the-art tech aboard? Or just an unnamed background character?

Sorry, I can't help that I'm a sci-fi and fantasy junky! In all, this is a tremendously fun time, just like all your other works!
 

Marlow

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Two thoughts occur to me!

While Starling mentioned that they shouldn't challenge the weapons platforms, he would understand their size I assume. Are they of standard size, rather than Lilliputian in nature? Or were they miniature Mildendan in size, but still capable of dangerous output? If the latter, these little buggers could easily be holders of nanotechnology.

And secondly, while thinking of Starling and his role aboard the Goose, he acts like an unofficial science officer. Other key roles in a classic sci-fi are filled: coms, sensors, empath, navigation, engineer, security... but one is missing, and one that I believe would greatly benefit the Goose. Where's the medical officer? If the tailor is snarky and run ragged, I can't imagine what a chief medical officer would be going through. Not necessary with all the state-of-the-art tech aboard? Or just an unnamed background character?

Sorry, I can't help that I'm a sci-fi and fantasy junky! In all, this is a tremendously fun time, just like all your other works!

To your first point:
nanomachines-mgspwn3r.gif



We did meet an unnamed medical officer when Estelle visits the sickbay in Chapter 16. I suspect that between the higher-level technologies and the care of the new servitor drones things aren't too strenuous. But, as coincidence would have it, the Goose's doctor actually makes another brief appearance during this coming week's chapter!
 
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