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About Augmentor

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    On The First Rung
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  1. It might seem that way, but no...just haven't had much time to devote to it recently. But, I promise, there is more on the way.
  2. Part 19 Lina was in the throes of another vivid dream. She was just managing to get her bearings, and as she took stock of her surreal surroundings, she sensed that—very much as in the daily simulations to which Mim subjected her—either she had been shrunk down to a diminutive version of herself, or all of the objects in her environment were tremendous in proportion to her body. It seemed she was attempting to scale some sort of mesa. But the ground beneath her was muddy, and she could barely find purchase. No sooner had she made some headway when she felt herself sliding precipitously down the sheer and slick incline. In desperation, she at last thrust her hands through the pinkish claylike surface and deep into the spongy soil beneath. It was cake! She now realized that she was trying to climb a gigantic cake. The only way up was to carve out rough handholds and footholds for herself. As she ascended, she could not resist gobbling great clumps of the mountainous baked good. In this dreamworld, her inhibitions were gone, as was her willpower, and she savored the thick buttercream-based frosting. The flavor of the cake itself was both exotic and oddly familiar, although she could not quite place it. It was, in any event, irresistible and immensely satisfying, and Lina barely minded that she was a terrible mess, with frosting smeared over her bodysuit, on her face, and even in her hair. At last Lina reached the summit. The generous chunks of the dessert she had consumed sat heavily in her belly. She tried in vain to walk across the cake-plateau but only succeeded in sinking downwards with each step. She clawed at the surface, which now seemed to surround her like some confectionery quicksand. She frantically shoved handfuls of frosting and cake into her mouth, but it was no use. She was weighed down and sank farther into the sticky sweet morass. Panic was setting in when Lina was roused abruptly from her restless sleep, hazily aware of a dull pain in her belly, like a sustained hunger pang, intensifying into a full-blown tummy-ache as she lurched into wakefulness. Her hands slid down to her belly and recoiled. “Mim!” she shrieked. “Mim! Come quick!” Her corpulent captor arrived with surprising deftness and approached Lina’s sleeping-pod. “What is it, dear?” “I don’t feel good at all,” Lina groaned, clutching her curiously swollen belly. “Something’s happened to my stomach. I’m all bloated!” “Oh, that,” said Mim, placing her hand gently on the curved mound of Lina’s tummy and chuckling nonchalantly. “Honey, you had me scared half to death. That’s nothing to worry about. Your belly’s very full, that’s all.” “But I haven’t eaten anything!” yelled Lina. “Eaten, no. Swallowed, yes.” “Swallowed what? A beach ball?!” “Exactly!” said Mim. “Well, more or less.” Lina blinked uncomprehendingly, her hands still atop her tautly distended abdomen. Mim drummed her fingers lightly on Lina’s rounded belly and smiled. “Don’t you remember? The ‘vitamin’ I gave you before bedtime a few nights ago. I had to fib, dear. Otherwise you would have fought me on it. As you do with everything.” Lina sputtered with bewilderment. “Why would you do that?!” Mim took Lina’s hand and patted it reassuringly. “To get you ready, sweetie. For a proper stuffing. Inside that capsule was a tiny balloon that has blown up many times its original size. That’s why you haven’t even been able to eat your paltry snacks these last few days. There’s no more room in there.” Mim pantomimed the balloon’s distention. “Now it’s expanding and contracting in cycles. It will stretch your stomach, so you’ll be ready for your first gorging.” “I’ve told you already a hundred times!” Lina protested. “I am not going to let you forcefeed me!” Mim rubbed Lina’s belly in a circular motion. “It’s almost done. Then the balloon will disintegrate on its own and be safely digested. But you’ll be happy to know that it’s calorie-free. See how thoughtful I am?” “But you lied! I knew you would! You tricked me! You said you wouldn’t force me to eat!” “I’ve done no such thing!” Mim replied indignantly. “And I won’t. I will keep my promise. You’ll have your chance to hold out for the full 30 days, just as I said. It’s not long now.” “You’re an evil witch and a cheat!” growled Lina. “I am not,” replied Mim exasperatedly. “I’m just completely confident that I’ll succeed in getting you to eat real Fatropolitan goodies after all. But if you are going to eat, you are going to eat. So we’ve got to take the proper precautions and do it safely. It’s no good if you explode.” Lina gasped at the very notion. “Why are you doing this?!” “We need to address your malnutrition, Lina...urgently. We’ll have to resort to some drastic measures now, but remember, it’s only because you wouldn’t cooperate when you had the chance. But you still can choose to do so at any time.” In just the short while they had been talking, Lina’s belly seemed to grow more gravid. “Mim, please!” moaned Lina. “I’m about to pop! Please!” “You’ll do no such thing!” said Mim. “I am not about to let that happen. We haven’t come this far for nothing. When the balloon has done its work, you’ll have your flat stomach back...if only for a little while.” Lina looked down at her stomach worriedly and held it with both hands “Why don’t you go take a nice, warm shower?” suggested Mim. She handed Lina a small plastic canister. “Here. Be sure to rub this on afterwards. It will soothe your bellyache and keep your skin nice and elastic.” Lina took the container from Mim and examined it skeptically. “I’ll be back to check on you, my little balloon belly,” said Mim, patting Lina’s swollen abdomen derisively before she went on her way. “I must say, this nice round gut is adorable. It suits you. But soon you won’t be filled with just air. Soon I’ll have you piling on a fresh, thick layer of lovely fat all over.” “Never,” said Lina sullenly. Mim smiled. “Never say never.” While Lina was in opposition to Mim in principle on every issue, she agreed that a long, leisurely shower might be just the thing to help take her mind off her worries. Ensconced now in the hot shower spray and rising steam, Lina did feel slightly less awful, but no less bloated. Her belly bulged conspicuously now that it was free of the bodysuit, which evidently had been acting as a girdle against her inflated gut. In every other respect, however, Lina was thinner now than when she had arrived, making her abdominal expansion seem all the more prominent. The shower stall’s nozzle jets squirted out a rich soap that seemed thicker, goopier, and pinker than Lina had remembered, though she had to admit she had not been paying excessively close attention to her shower suds of late. In any event, its texture was oddly reminiscent of the frosting in her dream, and its fragrance likewise starkly familiar. She lathered well, massaging the dense foam vigorously all over her stomach. That enormous dream-cake was somehow now front and center in her mind, and Lina realized with dismay that her mouth was watering. She was baffled as to why it was that, of all the temptations that had been dangled before her, she should feel herself caving to this one. She chided herself for craving something nonexistent--a mere figment of her night-time imagination. Her resistance was clearly wearing thin; she was weak and vulnerable. She clutched her belly again. If this was bad, how much worse it would be if Mim got her way! There was no telling what Mim would do to her. Lina lingered in the shower for quite some time, pondering her predicament and letting the hot water soothe her overblown belly. It was an uncomfortable day, to be sure. Though she had not had much in the way of a daily itinerary during the entire span of her captivity, having endured many successive days of non-activity, today seemed particularly unproductive. Lina was more restless than ever. She lay in bed and tried to fall back to sleep but was distracted by the slow, rhythmic rising and falling of her stomach. There was a vague pulsation deep in her core. After some time, Lina puttered over to the recliner, having decided that today she could do with the distraction of vids, which normally only annoyed her. The post-shower lotion had numbed her tummy, although there was still the definite and persistent sensation of fullness to capacity. With a bit of shifting about and the recliner’s automatic adjustments, Lina was able to find an optimal position, but her attention kept being diverted to her overfull gut. If this was a preview of what being fat would be like, Lina resolved, it would not do at all. Unable to do much of anything except lie still and grasp her belly, Lina was left to contemplate the unpleasant possible outcomes of what was surely another one of Mim’s cruel machinations. She found no compelling reason not to believe that Mim was misleading her. Maybe the balloon in her stomach would not dissolve after all and she would be stuck like this...filled up but starving. Maybe Mim would give her the false choice between having the balloon popped and being fattened. Or, perhaps, the balloon would deflate just as Mim had said...leaving Lina’s belly permanently stretched out and poochy. She thought of the darts that caused Daesti’s bottom to widen so rapidly. Though the effects may have been temporary, as Mim claimed, it hardly mattered...Daesti did not remain thin for long. Lina’s thoughts turned to the cam view Mim had made her watch of the newly plumpened Daesti lazing about, the picture of flabbiness, heedlessly scooping food into her mouth. Lina knew that was ultimately the fate Mim wanted for her as well. Lina knew that eventually she would need to make a decision about Daesti. If Lina could manage to win her freedom by Mim’s rules (or escape, if not), she would have to leave Daesti behind. Once she reached safety, she would need to appeal to some outside authority to notify them that Daesti was being held hostage. But how to explain that she was being fattened up? And for what purpose? By then, surely, Daesti would be a fat girl in body and mind and likely would see herself as a pampered guest and not as a prisoner at all. All of that would be its own mess and Lina hardly had the wherewithal at the moment to plan a course of action. She would worry about it when the time came. Right now she would need every ounce of willpower and determination to contend with whatever tricks Mim had up her sleeve.
  3. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I'm generally willing to cut some slack, this being such a narrow genre in which to write, but...wow.
  4. ByzByz 2.0: Glad you also picked up on the retro vibe. Funny you mentioned The Jetsons. I was on a bit of a Jetsons kick recently...must've seeped into the writing.
  5. Thanks very much for the good words, all who've commented! I really appreciate all the positive feedback. curiotwo: Glad you get a sense of the Heavy Metal / Barbarella retro-futurism influence. It's definitely what I have in mind as I'm writing it, but it's not always so easy to tell if it comes through in the writing, from a reader's perspective (or at least to readers who are somewhat familiar with HM or Barbarella). To answer your question, I do have a Deviant Art account, with this story and The Munchies both posted there as well. I also do other writing not at all connected with WG, some of which is probably available online somewhere, but I opt to remain mysterious. (I'm sure lots of members of this site know all too well about wanting to keep worlds from colliding.) peacekiller13: I realize this response is long-delayed, but thanks so much for the insightful comment. Someone once described my WG fiction as "gentle horror," which is not something that occurred to me consciously, and definitely is not the way I ever would have labeled it myself, but that description does seem to fit. It's a balancing act, trying to ratchet up the tension but not go overboard. I like the slow burn. And wow, BigCutieFleur loves the story! SIGH. (A good sigh.)
  6. Part 18 Lina, recumbent on the recliner, was awash in anomie. She was not accustomed to idleness, and this seemingly endless torpor made her all the more restless. But she was determined to tough it out. She had made it this far, after all, and she was sure she must be nearing the end of her confinement. If she could just endure it for—what? A few more days, at most?—time would at last run out on this silly enterprise, and she would be free to leave Fatropolis with her figure intact. She reminded herself that her time here, even though it seemed to pass excruciatingly slowly, was nevertheless finite. There was still the question, of course, whether Mim could be trusted at all. Lina clung to the hope that Mim would not have issued the challenge if she were not prepared to honor it. If Mim were intent on making her an amorphous blob, Lina half-wished she would just get on with it. These idle musings notwithstanding, Lina was aware that her resolve was wearing thin and that was was only managing at all by operating on a sort of internal auto-pilot. At the moment, she was considering how it came to pass that she could repeat the words Mim had wanted her to repeat—all that garbage about fat being beautiful, and striving to attain her highest weight, and all the rest of it. Clearly Mim was attempting to effect some kind of passive mind control, but even that idea was, on the face of it, far-fetched. Subliminal suggestion had been debunked ages ago, hadn’t it? Lina tested herself to prove this hypothesis. She imagined herself ballooning to Mim’s size and was relieved to find that the very thought still horrified her. Lina’s train of thought was interrupted by an alarming sensation of tightness in her stomach. This she attributed to severe hunger pangs, though she did not feel especially hungry. She thought it odd that she had still had not become habituated to the emptiness in her belly. Her reverie was broken as Mim ambled into the room, bringing with her the usual bland fare. Even to her own surprise, Lina shoved the tray away. By rights, she should be famished. “What’s the matter, dear?” asked Mim, with an expectant look in her eye. “Not hungry?” Lina absentmindedly rubbed her belly and shook her head. “Ah, well,” said Mim, setting the tray aside. “Maybe later, hmm? It will be here for you.” Lina shrugged impassively. Mim sighed and smiled. “Lina, would you mind some company? I never get the chance to sit with you—not as a peer, anyway. I’m always so busy rushing around. It’s a thankless and never-ending job I have, keeping a whole city fat and happy. But I think I have a few minutes to spare right now. Why don’t we watch vids together.” Lina said nothing. Loath as she might be to admit it, however, she was glad for the company—though the level of desperation to which she had sunk was not lost on her. Mim plopped down into a chair which glided next to Lina. Mim gestured, and the wall-screen tuned to one of the ubiquitous cooking shows. “Ah, The Celestial Confectionery with Sherry Sagittarius!” beamed Mim. “A wonderful show—one of the best!” The hostess was a wholesomely pretty and vivacious young woman—though much too heavy, in Lina’s estimation, of course—who was busily constructing a colorful and elaborate multi-layered dessert. Sherry could not keep from sampling the ingredients herself. She munched enthusiastically as she went about her preparations, explaining each step of the process between mouthfuls. Mim beamed. “Her enthusiasm is contagious! She gets so much pleasure from her work!” Lina scoffed. “She shouldn’t talk with her mouth full. It’s rude. And unprofessional.” Mim paid no mind. “Sherry was probably around your age when she first came to Fatropolis. Torn between two loves—athletics and baking. A gifted holographic field hockey player, so I’ve heard. Word has it she was Galactic Olympics material! But she came to a fateful fork in the road, and thank goodness, earned herself a scholarship to Fatropolis’s Culinary Institute at Porta Coeli. She arrived there fit as a fiddle. And here she is now…just as porky as you please.” “You made her fat, didn’t you?” said Lina. “Gracious, no!” said Mim. “Getting fat isn’t mandatory in Porta Coeli. It just sort of…happens…to the culinary students there. Oh, and let me tell you, the commencement ceremony is always such a spectacle to behold. All those fresh faces, with their new double chins. Imagine the stunned gasps of family and friends as they watch the graduates waddle across the stage, so full of promise, with their broadened horizons and broadened waistlines! And each and every hopeful practically assured of a successful future in Fatropolis.” “So they’re all conned into coming here because they end up too huge to go anywhere else,” Lina speculated. “Nonsense,” said Mim. “They come to Fatropolis willingly. You don’t think every potential citizen just crash-lands here, do you?” “It’s an awful place to wind up, I know that much!” protested Lina. “Sherry doesn’t see it that way,” said Mim. “She feels right at home here. And she certainly seems to be enjoying herself. Just look at her…she’s having the time of her life!” The hostess did seem happy. Lina surmised that there was more to the story than she cared to hear. Mim continued. “Sherry proved so talented, she was selected to be one of an elite group of pupils granted the privilege of studying under the private tutelage of the Grande Pâtissière, Greta Gorda, whose motto is, ‘To be a good baker, you must be a good sampler.’ In fact, Greta’s entire intro level curriculum is dedicated to the fine art of eating! Greta’s scrumptious recipes were the clincher for Sherry. From her first taste of Triple-Whipped Thimbleberry Parfait Pie, our beautiful Sherry knew then and there that baking was her true calling. If she could make anything half as good, she would be a formidable baker indeed. So she studied and studied, and sampled and sampled. And before she knew it, her bulging waistline rendered any career in athletics entirely out of the question. No team would have taken her; she was already well overweight. But holographic field hockey’s loss is our gain. And Sherry’s!” “She’s been ruined,” snapped Lina. “I bet she was so much prettier before.” “Where would she be now if she had become an athlete? And who would she be? A washed-up has-been? Can you name even one ex-holographic-field-hockey player? I think Sherry is much better off for the choice she made. Here, she can put her talents to real use. Designing a five-course dessert is far nobler than whacking around a computer-generated ball, if you ask me. Sherry will bring joy to audiences her whole life long, and she can go on getting fatter and fatter and helping her viewers do the same. By the way, you will have to try her Nine-Layer Heavenly Delight, when I finally manage to get you eating, of course. In fact, I’ll be sure to have Sherry whip up a batch just for you.” “It’ll never happen,” Lina replied confidently. “But thanks all the same.” The two sat for a few minutes in silence and watched the bubbly Sherry Sagittarius as she prepared the lavish dessert. Then Mim glanced over at Lina and grinned an unsettling grin. “I’m so glad we spent a little leisure time together, Lina. And now, I have a very nice surprise for you.” Mim gestured and switched the wall-screen to another channel. “Let’s check in on your friend, shall we?” Lina felt her heart sink. On the screen now was Daesti, the picture of gluttony, stretched out on her overstuffed chaise, an enormous bowl resting on her lap and a tray piled with empty plates beside her. Daesti was steadying the bowl with one hand and gripping an oversize spoon in the other, as she shoveled into her mouth a mound of pasta drenched in a creamy sauce. A look of utter dismay cast itself over Lina’s face. She gasped and alternated startled glances between the wall-screen and Mim as she struggled to reconcile her memory of the fit gymnast-like Daesti she had known with the pudgy and indolent-looking young woman on the screen. “What have you done to Daesti?!” demanded Lina. Mim chuckled. ”Just look at her! She‘s really going to town on that pasta! You’d think she’d never seen food before, the way she’s packing it in. She adores her meals. And she’s like this all day long—just eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat! She’s been stuffing herself like mad ever since I separated you two. It’s a wonder she doesn’t pop, gorging herself that way. Such a greedy thing. And best of all, there’s very little work on our part. All we have to do is keep her in food!” Lina could not restrain herself and began to shout at the wall-screen: “Daesti! You've been brainwashed! Stop eating! STOP EATING!” “You silly girl,” laughed Mim, shaking her head and smiling wryly. “She can't hear you. Even if she could, she’s much too preoccupied stuffing her cute, chubby face to bother with you.” The words stung Lina like a lash. “Don't say that!” she cried. “It's the truth.,” Mim replied coldly.“She would sell you out for a tub of pudding.” Mim’s taunts only incensed Lina further. “Daesti! STOP! Think about what you’re doing to yourself!” “Have you ever watched a fat girl eat, Lina?” said Mim. “It’s really fascinating, if you pay attention.” She gestured again, and the camera zoomed in on Daesti’s face, full and puffy, her bulging cheeks stretched to capacity. Daesti’s hair was pulled up into a messy bun and her emerald eyes now looked languid and glassy. Daesti chewed and swallowed rhythmically, barely pausing to catch her breath. Lina gaped, red-faced, simultaneously horrified and transfixed by the image of her friend gone to flab. The camera assumed an overhead view and zoomed in to Daesti’s midsection, and now Lina could see two pronounced stomach rolls, jiggling a bit behind the bowl of pasta as Daesti guided the spoon from bowl to mouth. Saddlebags pooched out underneath Daesti’s thickened thighs. “Thank goodness for elasti-fab. Those bodysuits really come in handy,” observed Mim. “Otherwise poor Daesti would be exploding out of her outfit by now.” Lina made some unintelligible, exasperated utterance. Mim relished Lina’s flabbergasted expression. “Our little Daesti’s not quite so little anymore. She's really filling out, don't you think? And growing wider by the minute! But this is just the beginning. She’ll need to get much larger to measure up to Fatropolitan standards. There’s no denying, though, that she's coming along beautifully.” “Beautifully?!” Lina hollered.” She’s a hog!” “Oh, now that’s not very nice,” chided Mim. “If it’s any consolation, she really does miss you. And you’ll be proud to know that she still had a bit of fighting spirit in her after we pulled her from the portal. There were a few tears after that first proper stuffing, of course. Poor girl even tried to go without eating after that, in a gesture of solidarity with you, I suppose. But I made a few tweaks to her regimen and brought her appetite right back. I think I’ve finally managed to cure her of any rebellious inclinations. Now you couldn't get her to put down her spoon if you begged her. Every last bit of resistance has been rooted clean out of her. I have a feeling we won’t have any more problems with her.” Lina could not hold back her tears. Mim reached over and gently squeezed her shoulder. “It must be awfully strange to see your friend transforming right before your eyes. But once we’ve cured you of your thinness as well, all of this will seem perfectly normal.” “Turn it off!” sobbed Lina, burying her face in her hands. “I don’t want to see any more.” “It’s just as well,” said Mim, switching off the wall-screen. “It’s time to forget about your soon-to-be-corpulent companion for the time being. Don’t worry, we’ll take good care of her. Rest assured, by the time we’ve finished with her, she’ll be nothing at all like the tiny little sylph you remember. But right now, Lina, let’s concentrate on you. You’ve got so much catching up to do.”
  7. Thanks for all the good words so far, everyone. Sorry for the delay in posting this installment. Also, that cosplay gal is very cute, and I have to admit, she would make a good Lina.
  8. Part 17 Lina had begun to lose track of time. For all she could tell, she might have been in this room for three days or three weeks. Mim had made the appetite stimulant and the virtual food tour part of her daily itinerary, but just as soon as Lina began to feel inured to some kind of status quo, Mim would modify her regimen and incorporate some new stratagem against her. Lina didn’t know how much longer she could subsist on the shoddy offerings that passed as her meals—meals, she reminded herself, that she chose of her own volition. She was grateful, at least, that the bland victuals did not seem to be having any effect on her figure, at least not that she could discern. But with each passing day, her meals began to seem increasingly paltry and inesculent to her. If anything, they seemed to intensify her hunger, not satisfy it. Upon inspection, one of her crackers would seem to all outward appearances like an ordinary cracker, but she found that she could barely chew it. It had the texture of cardboard. The horrible watery gruel that passed for oatmeal now seemed like lumps of soggy sawdust. She had to choke it down. The salad seemed wilted. But these staples constituted the only source of sustenance standing between her and true starvation. Even the water—the only beverage she would allow herself—seemed tepid and flat. And all the while, all day long, she was bombarded by images of rich, substantive food, and of fatties stuffing their faces, seemingly oblivious to all else but filling their bellies, and Lina could finally—almost—empathize. It was not some immoral greed at work here among the denizens of Fatropolis. It was, Lina speculated, simply that it was impossible for anyone to reach satiation. It had been engineered that way. Lina certainly was acutely aware of her own longing for real food. She felt that she would implode; she could almost feel her skin puckering inward. It was a thoroughly unnerving sensation. And so it was that one morning, Mim greeted Lina with a look of deep concern and alarm on her face. “Lina! Are you all right?” She cradled Lina’s face in her hands. “Oh, goodness,, you poor thing! You’re not looking well at all. You look so frail!” Lina furrowed her brow. “Take a good look at yourself, Lina,” said Mim. “You tell me whether you look unwell.” Had Lina been in a sound frame of mind, she would have seen through Mim’s ruse immediately. But between her isolation and the hunger gnawing at her, she was more gullible than she otherwise might have been. A small circular screen extended from the recliner. Lina recoiled as she gazed at herself in the ostensible mirror; she looked gaunt and haggard, dark circles under her sunken eyes. She gasped and held a hand to her face. Lina grasped on a visceral level that this was merely another illusion, just as the foodscape was, but its effect was convincing. She looked down at her true physical form. She was thin, but not skeletal. She alternated glances between the mirror and her physical body and struggled to concentrate her attention on the latter. Nevertheless, Lina began to entertain the notion that perhaps she was becoming malnourished. Maybe her current course of action was unwise. There was such a thing as being too stubborn. Perhaps she had better eat something more filling. But she caught herself, realizing that she only had to hold out for a finite time and then she would be free. She would prevail over Mim…provided that Mim was sincere in holding up her end of the bargain. It was not long afterward that Mim introduced another new tack. “WIDE-AS, the holoprojector, please.” Mim made a few gestures and a figure appeared next to her—a three-dimensional replica of Lina. The holo-Lina bore an expression of staunch defiance. It was just the kind of face that the flesh-and-blood Lina would make. “You have such willpower,” said Mim, addressing the physical Lina. “And I do admire you for it. I really do. But it’s a hurdle that must be overcome. Now…I want you to think of this as your willpower. This is thin Lina. Thin Lina with all the willpower. I want you to push her out of your mind,” said Mim. “She is feeble and insignificant.” It seemed as though the holoprojection were getting farther away. But in fact the holo-Lina was diminishing in height. Mim looked down as though the holoprojection were an actual flesh-and-blood person, though one shorter than herself and now rapidly becoming smaller. Mim opened and closed her hand as if bidding farewell to the diminishing figure. Mim held out her other hand, and the now tiny hologram appeared to be standing in her palm. “Insignificant,” said Mim. “Almost nothing now. Smaller, smaller.” The holoprojection shrunk to a speck, and Mim closed her hand around it. “That’s your willpower, Lina.” Lina scoffed at this. After all she had withstood, this demonstration seemed positively laughable. Yet Mim persisted and repeated this exercise daily as well. And little by little, day by day, Lina came to identify with the holoprojection. Against all rationality, it had begun to seem increasingly real to her. Though it was nothing more than a projection, Lina began to associate this three-dimensional representation of herself with Mim’s dominance over her. And as the projection shrank, so did her willpower. And though Mim had not changed in size, Lina began to think of her as a towering figure, far more imposing than she had seemed previously, while Lina felt herself becoming ever weaker and powerless.Whatever willpower remained—if it could even be called that anymore—was nothing more than rote resistance. Her inner voice of defiance now seemed to be a pitiful squeak. When this drill had been repeated over several days, Mim intensified the effect by engaging the simulation goggles, thrusting Lina into the first-person perspective of her rapidly diminishing counterpart. She could see Mim growing bigger and more powerful. And now she saw Mim as being completely in control, an imperious giant with the power to squash her. And Lina became accordingly docile in her real-life interactions with Mim. Lina shuddered to think that she had physically attacked Mim in the escape attempt. Yet Mim also could be merciful and gentle, and this only added to Lina’s disorientation. One night, as Mim escorted Lina to her sleep pod, she praised her young charge.“You’re coming along nicely, Lina,” said Mim. I’m very proud of your progress.” “I’m still skinny,” Lina replied with a hint of muted defiance. She was too on-guard now to be openly impudent but also simply lacked the energy for the emotional outbursts she was once given to. “True,” replied Mim. “Physically, you are as thin as ever. Even thinner. But mentally, you are becoming so much more receptive.” Mim looked Lina in the eye, quite intently, and Lina had a strange foreboding. “Lina,” said Mim, as though she were about to pronounce some profound truth, “Fat is beautiful. Go ahead and admit it..” Lina paused for a long while, but suddenly found herself mouthing the words. Mim stared back at her expectantly and nodded in encouragement. “It’s alright. Go ahead and say it.” “Fat is beautiful,” Lina repeated. Her face reddened and immediately she regretted having uttered it—in fact, she had no idea why she had “Good!” said Mim, grinning devilishly. “Once more.” “Fat is beautiful,” Lina said again. She covered her mouth and looked at Mim in utter confusion. “No! What am I saying?!” Mim laughed. “Oh, Lina! So you do think fat is beautiful after all! I’m very pleased to hear those words coming out of your mouth.” “I don’t—I’m not—I mean—,” Lina stammered. “That—that’s not what I think!” “Tell me more,” coaxed Mim. “Go on, dear. Recite it.” All at once, like an eager pupil desperate to impress a teacher, Lina felt that she positively had to speak, Mim smiled. “You look like you want to say something, dear.” “I—” Lina began. “I strive…” Mim coached. “I strive to attain my highest weight. My only duty is to grow fatter every day in service of Fatropolis.” Lina found herself echoing Mim’s words, seemingly from rote memory, as though she had studied them assiduously and knew them by heart. But she couldn’t recall where she possibly could have learned them. “Well, Lina, I must say, this all comes as a pleasant surprise!” taunted Mim. “I’m glad you finally recognize that it’s your duty to gain weight. Your programming is coming along just fine.” Lina was aghast. “Programming?! I’m not some robot to be programmed! I don’t want to be fat!” “But you will be fat,” said Mim, mockingly. “Fatter than you can imagine. You just aren’t used to the idea yet…and you may never be. But that’s no matter. What’s important is that we get you to eat. Once that happens, there’ll no turning back.” Tears welled up in Lina’s eyes. She sighed loudly and petulantly in helpless resignation. But she had come to fear Mim and dared not voice her disapproval any further. “Shhh,” said Mim. “There’s no use arguing. You’ve seen where that’s gotten you.” Mim gestured and white noise again emanated from the speakers in the bed pod. “Take this vitamin, honey, and go to sleep,” said Mim, as she popped a white capsule in Lina’s mouth and handed her a glass of water to wash it down. Lina, fatigued from lack of food and the stress of pondering her pending fate, quickly drifted off.
  9. All in good time...all in good time....
  10. Thanks for the kind words! Next installment coming soon!
  11. Part 16 “Now, what should I try first?” said Mim in a purposefully sing-song manner. She paused melodramatically, index finger to chin, as though weighing the issue thoroughly in her mind. Lina, on the recliner, looked on timidly. She had no idea what Mim might try against her. She thought back to the Luna Moth’s plunge and how she and Daesti scoffed when the control tower identified the origin of its signal as Fatropolis. But now it was far from laughable. Lina did not find her present situation the least bit amusing. “You want to be hungry, do you? Fine, then. Be hungry.” Mim paced around the chair. “So, the first thing we need to do, Lina dear, is to amplify that hunger. And I’ve got just the thing.” Before Lina could protest, a robotic claw shot out from the side of the recliner and tilted a small round vial of liquid to her open lips. She downed the honey-colored substance reflexively in a gulp. “But you said you wouldn’t—!” Lina sputtered, the effervescent and ambrosial aftertaste of the liquid still on her tongue. “I promised I wouldn’t forcefeed you. I said nothing about administering liquid supplements.” “What did you just give me?!” demanded Lina. “An aperitif. Or, should I say, appetite-tif. A very effective appetite stimulant. That should sharpen your hunger quite a bit.” As the bubbly contents of the glass trickled into Lina’s stomach, she began to feel a disarmingly pleasant—yet somehow still unwelcome—warming sensation in her belly. This internal glow seemed to radiate throughout her body, then gently subsided. But in its wake, her stomach began to feel knotted, like some tightly-wound hyperpolymer band. And then came the hunger pangs with a vengeance—slowly encroaching at first, then rising in intensity, giving way to a viciously gnawing emptiness from which she could not distract herself. It was like some lacuna deep in her core. Most irritating of all to her was the feeling of hollowness that was overtaking her. She felt unnervingly insubstantial, as though she had come unanchored and a strong puff of air might cause her to dissipate into a cloud of dust. “Don’t worry, sweetheart,” Mim reassured her. “I promise it won’t add a single smidgen of fat to your frame. It’s the food that will do that. Speaking of which—” said Mim, switching on an instrument panel. “How long has it been since you’ve really looked at food, Lina? Have you ever really looked at it? Have you ever seen how majestic it can be? The shapes, the textures? So much of the gustatory experience is in the presentation.” The recliner recalibrated itself again as simulation goggles lowered into place around Lina’s eyes. “Why not have a look, Lina?” Mim said. “Go on. Immerse yourself in it.” As her eyes adjusted, Lina began to orient herself to her virtual environment, which gave the effect of being aboard some invisible craft that was gliding through the clouds. But as the image coalesced, she realized that she was seeing wisps of steam rising from what appeared to be an immense smorgasbord. The pico-cameras capturing the scene brought the image into focus. She was drifting over a landscape—or rather, a foodscape. Now she seemed to be hovering over a mashed-potato volcano, molten butter shimmering in its crater. She drifted over giant loaves of warm bread, kettles bubbling with hearty stew, enormous bowls of pasta covered in creamy sauces, and roasted delights of all kinds. Mim spoke. “These are all dishes we could prepare for you with a moment’s notice. Just say the word.” Lina’s belly rumbled. It all seemed so authentic; she could even smell all the wonderful aromas wafting up from the feast. Presently she seemed to be cruising over a massive cake coated thickly with butter-cream frosting. She saw the peaks, the valleys, the swirls, the enticing smoothness of its surface. With all of her might, Lina concentrated on establishing some mental remove from the virtual spectacle. Despite the verisimilitude of the foodscape, she found she could still maintain some distance from the experience. If she could just luxuriate in the images themselves, she concluded, she wouldn’t need to give in to her appetite. It wouldn’t be so bad to simply imagine that she was full and satisfied. The simulation seemed to go on interminably, and hunger taunted Lina all the while. And yet she was prevented from interacting with this imagery; she could only observe. Mim rescued her from the tantalizing sensory barrage at last. “I won’t be cruel,” said Lina’s captor. “It’s time for your meal. If you can even call it that.” A tray emerged in front of Lina, and Mim presented her with a salver containing Lina’s preferred meal, just as Lina had requested: a small plate of crackers, a bowl of plain salad, and a glass of citrus water—and, per Mim’s order, a bottle of standard-issue nutritional supplement. Lina ate quickly, but it all seemed so insubstantial. Still, she remained as resolute as she could manage. Nevertheless, she felt something she had not felt the entire time she had been in Fatropolis—disappointment. Lina found herself, at last, coveting a real meal. She also felt a newfound empathy with Daesti, who clearly was not possessed of Lina’s level of willpower—though Lina no longer faulted her for that. Maybe if Daesti had just been in a different frame of mind on their fateful first day in Fatropolis, she might have managed to resist, too. But Lina finally understood why poor Daesti had so quickly given in. Lina now wondered how she herself had managed to stave off temptation for so long. Mim said nothing as she observed Lina eating, but her lips were curved in a wry smile. Lina resented this scrutiny and hastily finished her ersatz meal. “You are my pet project,” said Mim, switching on vids. “But even so, I can’t watch over you 100% of the time. You’ll need some entertainment, some way to pass the time when I’m not here. Otherwise, there would be nothing to do but sit there in the recliner and stare. Comfortable as it is, you’d go stir-crazy with boredom.” Though Lina could never stand watching vids in her former room, even with Daesti, she considered that it might now be a reasonable diversion to distract her, however ineffectually, from her hunger. So Lina allowed herself to look at the vidscreen with measured glances and with great distaste, eventually settling on whatever program at the moment seemed to be least offensive to her. The hours dragged by. Lina fast fatigued of this endless bombardment by imagery of food and feasting and fatness. Simply watching vids had proved to be exhausting. As though sensing her exasperation, Mim came to check in on her. Lina was allowed to prepare for bed. Then Mim showed her to the sleeping chamber—a glass-enclosed alcove within the larger room. Inside was an oval-shaped bed, which itself was nestled inside a partial pod-like encasement. The mattress, like the recliner, adjusted automatically to Lina’s body. Mim sat on the edge of the bed and stroked Lina’s hair. “You’re much too uptight, Lina. We need to relax you. How about some nice music?” The lights dimmed. “Some binaural polyphasic soundscapes should mellow you out.” There were speakers built into the dome-like headboard. The music was gentle and soothing, rhythmic and hypnotic, ebbing and flowing wave-like. If she concentrated just hard enough, Lina was sure that she could make out a faint whispering deep in the mix, but she couldn’t be sure. The words were indiscernible, if they were there at all, and white noise lent itself to all sorts of auditory hallucinations. Lina knew that it was nothing more than her conscious mind doing its best to find patterns in randomness. But the bed suddenly seemed to disappear from under her, until at last Lina could easily imagine that she was floating in mid-air with nothing underneath her to support her body at all. It put Lina immediately at ease in spite of herself. Lina submitted at once and already was beginning to doze. “Sweet dreams, hungry little Lina,” she heard Mim say just before she drifted off. “We’ll have many more sessions together. Good night.” Lina soon fell into restless dreaming. She seemed to be walking through the Dining Hall, between the rows of tables, looking on with an admixture of curiosity and repulsion as the Fatropolitans there gorged themselves, though their faces were indistinct and seemed to change if she tried to focus on any one of them. At first the diners seemed to pay her no mind; they were too engrossed in eating, They all seemed to be chewing vigorously in perfect rhythm, cheeks bulging and double chins jiggling. Lina tried to look away, but it had become apparent to her that all of the diners had stood up and had begun to surround her. Now they were beginning to engage in a kind of synchronized dance. They were slowly wobbling and bobbling and swaying hypnotically in time to a slow, steady beat. One by one, they approached her and offered her food. She refused each and every one, difficult though it was, even in her dream. Mim wanted to turn her into one of these people? The very idea was repellent to Lina. But to have just a taste of…no, she must not. She knew she would wake up, eventually, and that there would be a meal of dry crackers and salad and citrus water to sustain her….
  12. Wow, another vote for fave WG story? Thanks so much for the kind words!
  13. Thanks for the good words, everyone.
  14. Holy cow! Favorite story ever?! Thank you!
  15. Part 15 “Your new digs,” proclaimed Mim, as she led Lina by the wrist into a circular room enclosed by floor-to-ceiling windows. Arranged around the perimeter of the room were various consoles, supermainframes, holographic displays, and other sophisticated-looking implements the purpose of which Lina could only venture a guess. In the middle of the room was a massive, plush, mechanized chair. “You won’t even have the illusion of privacy here,” Mim continued. “Have a seat.” She did not invite Lina to sit so much as seize the girl by the shoulders and push her down into the chair. Lina sunk into the enormous lounger—which was no ordinary lounger, but in fact a complex piece of smart-furniture. The cushions were filled with a remarkably malleable elastomer gel and covered with an extraordinarily soft nanofiber. The chair gently slid forward and rearranged itself until Lina was in a half-seated, half-standing position. Mim sighed and shook her head. “Lina, Lina, Lina. What are we going to do with you? You’re much too stubborn for your own good. You’re stuck here, under my supervision, and you don’t have your little cohort to collude with. I think it’s safe to say I’ve won. Now, will you eat?” Lina said nothing. Mim smirked, while Lina nervously darted her eyes about to avoid Mim’s gaze. “What’s going to happen to Daesti?” asked Lina in a trembling voice. “She’ll be properly fattened, of course” said Mim matter-of-factly. “But that’s been the plan all along, so it should come as no surprise to you. I just expect it to happen much more quickly now without your interference.” Lina began to tear up again, and she privately chastised herself for having lost her composure in front of Mim earlier. Her already-thin veneer of confidence had crumbled. Now Mim had all the power. Mim chuckled. “What a wonderful sight that was, wasn’t it—Daesti’s enormous bottom sticking out of the wall, I mean! A work of art! I should’ve framed it!” “Is she still stuck in the portal?” Lina asked worriedly. “WIDE-AS has control of that opening,” said Mim. “We’ll just widen the aperture after she’s finished up her meal. All we have to do is make it big enough to accommodate that fat bottom of hers, and then just pull her through. The Templump will have started wearing off by then anyway. Then she’ll be escorted back to her room, where she’ll take all her meals until I decide she’s fat and slow enough to be allowed back in the Dining Hall. Much as she loves to eat, she’s still a flight risk. But not to worry—my girls and I will do everything we can to help her along.” Lina closed her eyes momentarily, took a deep stuttering breath, and tried mightily to maintain a poker face. Mim brushed a stray blonde lock on Lina’s forehead behind Lina’s ear. “We’ll take very good care of her, I promise. And without you around to nag her, she’ll be free to gorge herself silly. And we’ll make sure that she does. Bye-bye, sweet, petite little Daesti. Hello, doughy, dumpy Daesti.” Mim flashed a wicked smile at Lina’s horrified expression. “Her figure will be drastically altered. But she’ll blow up beautifully, Lina, you’ll see. And after that happens, no one who doesn’t know any better will be able to guess for a second that she had ever been trim and tiny. Even Daesti herself will barely remember what it was like. But by then, she won’t even care. Now, how about you, sweetie? You must be awfully hungry. How about something to eat?” Lina remained defiant. “Forget it! You’re wasting your time,” she replied adamantly. “So you’re on a hunger strike?” Mim laughed dismissively. “Ah, very clever! And so ironic! We’ve never had a hunger strike in Fatropolis before. This should be very interesting. We’ll make a note of everything we learn, should this ever come up again in the future. You’ll help us streamline the fattening process. So something good will come of your stubbornness after all. And the next skinny to land in Fatropolis will be the beneficiary of everything you teach us. “Do you know what I’ve discovered, Lina?” Mim went on. “I’ve discovered that if you give people the opportunity to be fat and lazy—and downright encourage it—they’ll soon grow fat and lazy. Even if they might be a little vain or reluctant at first. When there’s more than enough food to eat, no one stays skinny if there’s no advantage in it. Fat is the natural state of affairs. Fat is beautiful. We’ve evolved towards fatness. Thinness is a relic of the past, a symptom of deprivation. It’s the opposite of everything we stand for here in Fatropolis.” “Talk all you want,” growled Lina. “But you can’t make me eat.” Mim placed her hand on Lina’s face and squeezed Lina’s cheeks until Lina’s lips puckered.“So now what will happen? Will you just starve? I don’t think even you want that. And I will not let that happen on my watch. And when you start eating again—which you will, inevitably—I promise that you won’t have a shred of willpower left. “You’re just very resistant, that’s all. You don’t want your physique to change, but it will change, Lina, because I will change the way you think. I will keep you thinking about food. I will amplify your appetite, and the weight will follow. I’m going to make a fatty out of you yet, just you wait and see.” Mim paused thoughtfully. “But…” she said. “Let’s make this sporting. I’m willing to propose a deal with you—well, more like a challenge, really. Here’s what I’ll do: I will give you 30 standard days to stay thin, during which time I will do everything in my power to tempt you, using every tool at my disposal, short of force-feeding. You can even have whatever tasteless victuals you want—dry crackers, plain salad, bland overcooked vegetables. And maybe some lukewarm oatmeal for breakfast. Plus one standard-issue nutritional supplement to ensure that you don’t become malnourished—that much is mandatory. I won’t be a party to your starvation. But if you succeed and refrain from eating proper Fatropolitan food for the full 30 days without giving in, you will be free to leave Fatropolis. Now, I think that’s a fair bargain, don’t you?” “And Daesti?” “Daesti’s not part of the deal. She belongs to Fatropolis now. She has to stay behind.” Mim paused and chuckled. “Oh! Ha ha! Behind. I’m sorry, dear. I couldn’t help myself.” Lina said nothing but knew already that Mim had forced her hand. Mim continued. “It’s alright, dear. You don’t even have to say a word. I assume you’ll accept this offer. You have nothing to lose…except your figure. But if you win, I lose one of my prized skinnies. So let’s see how long you can hold out.” Lina understood that Mim was presenting this as a fair challenge and would never have done so unless she felt confident about triumphing. But Lina had no other choice. It would take all of her resolve to see it through. Mim circled around the lounger, then leaned in behind Lina and said softly into her ear. “I’m going to win, Lina. You know that. And do you know why that is, sweetie? Because my methods work. And they’ll work on you. I’m going to make you huge. But it will all be set in motion by your own choice, I promise you. You will beg for that first bite of real food.” “No, I won’t,” said Lina disgustedly. “We’ll see about that.” Their diametrically opposed goals now established, Lina and Mim set to work against each other.
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