Expansive Stories

The Edge of Immobility: Helium Therapy

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The Edge of Immobility: Helium Therapy

Alex was fat, this he knew. Being fat wasn’t much of a problem for him, he may be a bat of small stature, but he was also one of high technology, and he had so far managed to retain mobility (albeit a very slow, wobbly mobility) even after gaining over a ton in weight.

As much as he adored the weight and the warmth of his lardy self, carrying it everywhere was starting to become a burden. He wasn’t like some gainers—with rich feeders who could demand the utmost laziness from their wards—he had to work to make the money to buy the food to put on weight with. Being able to move freely was an unfortunate requirement, and the hinderance that was his impending immobility posed a sincere problem.

So, time to brainstorm a solution. He initially started on the route most familiar to him: Could his existing cybernetic systems delay the inevitable?

He could redistribute his weight according to his needs—moving it away from his arms when he needed dexterity, and away from his legs when he needed mobility—but this was a slow process that could take hours and would look increasingly ridiculous as he got larger. Hard pass.

He could also direct more energy to muscular growth—but would gain slower in the process, as well as end up with disproportionately beefy limbs, and even then there would come a time where he was just too fat for that to work. Hmm, pass.

He could possibly just lose wei—no. Not happening.

Ultimately the solution he chose to go with came not from the cybernetic arena he was so familiar with, but from a listicle on BuzzFeed: 7 Unconventional Therapies That Actually Work (“Number 4 will shock you!”—it was electroshock therapy.) Number six on this list was something called ‘helium therapy,’ a niche physiotherapy for severely paralysed people that—at least temporarily—granted them limited ability to float and move through the air. It was apparently used as more of a morale booster than a serious means of rehabilitation, and only a few species were biologically compatible with the therapy, but it managed to spark a little bulb in his mind…

Bats weren’t one of the species normally capable of inflating themselves, but most bats weren’t cyborgs. He was. Elastic—subdermal rubberisation was a standard addition in heavily augmented beings like himself—to act as waterproofing and insulation against electrical discharges that could otherwise severely damage systems. Theoretically he could grow many times his current size without any problem.

And it was that train of thought that had led him to the here and now, stood in the middle of his living room with a canister of compressed helium and a narrow hose connecting it to his mouth, a pleasant hiss filling the room as he eased open the valve.

Predictably, his belly was the first to see the effects, the soft, heavy mass slowly rounded out, becoming taut as it stretched an inch or two larger. A pleasured churring filled his throat as the ever-welcome sensation of growth and largesse spread out across him. His chest rounded out too, practically merging into the sphere of his gut, as wings, legs, butt and face all lost their sagginess and grew into ballooned hybrids of fat and helium. It—quite literally—felt like a weight was lifted from him; his thick fingers fumbled to close the valve as his body rapidly approached neutral buoyancy.

He stood still for a moment, feeling all at once the lightest he had been in years and yet still utterly immense compared to his peers. He took an experimental step forward—churring as he felt his now even wider thighs rub against one other—followed by a few more. Movement felt much easier, which made sense given all he was doing now was pushing his mass around, not carrying it. Grinning widely, he performed a little jump; floating straight into the ceiling from the momentum his mass carried before eventually coming gently back down.

Overcome, he hugged at his adored belly. Mobility saved!

* * *

Over the following months Alex resorted to using helium almost every single day.

The relative freedom it provided was indispensable after so many years of suffering a slow, lumbering waddle between points. Over time he managed to pinpoint where his buoyancy was just right, making occasional tweaks as his body became more and more accustomed to being a bloated bat balloon throughout the waking hours.

With greater mobility and a stretchier body came an opportunity to double down on gaining too, an opportunity he was more than happy to exploit. He put on a few hundred more pounds in that time, enough that his stomach started to ooze against the floor whenever he wasn’t all puffed up. This, of course, necessitated he use more helium with each session, the tanks becoming more numerous as he stashed them around for top-ups throughout the day; an extra large canister kept by his bedside for a daily countenance to the tug of bed gravity upon his increasingly obese, outsized body.

Unfortunately this plan was beginning to present new issues. His range of motion was gradually shrinking as he was growing, leading to a few occasions where he fumbled the valve and ended up filling a few seconds longer than intended—usually enough to result in a few minutes making very little contact with the floor. One incident a few weeks in also proved troubling; his increasing spherification made it impossible to get up if he fell over. He had embarrassingly had to call for help after stumbling and rolling over onto his stomach, unable to reach the floor or enact any real movement despite being filled with his mobility-aiding gas. His neighbour managed to roll him back to his feet, at least, but he tried to be more careful going forward.

Unfortunately, today was not his day.

He had finally awoken, groggy from a late night and a restless sleep, after hitting snooze a few times. It was Monday. It didn’t matter that he was self-employed and worked whenever he wanted (like late last night), Mondays still sucked a little regardless.

Guessing he outta actually get out of bed now, he inserted a hose into his mouth and opened the bedside tank’s valve; a little pick-me-up to get his heavy mass moving again after deflating overnight. He lay, eyes closed, churring softly as his body rounded out to the size and shape he was increasingly accustomed to it being. Still after all these months the sensation of getting bigger was innately pleasurable to him, even if it was just helium, it carried with it the same sensations of scale, softness, and lurid inconvenience that he found so attractive in being a gainer. His wings found themselves grasping and rubbing over his bloated hide, churring louder as he felt it fill in the folds and crevices of his his huge, sprawling gut into a smooth, round mass.

He felt a bump.

Alex’s eyes shot open.

Driven to distraction by swollen arousal, he’d overfilled on helium and forgotten to maintain neutral buoyancy. The ceiling looked uncomfortably close. A cold draught wafted over his rounding back.

He turned, trying to spy whether the tank was still in reach but barely able to even see it past his increasingly swollen cheeks. He grunted, wings wiggling as he tried to move them, what little mobility left in them draining away as they bloated thicker and more useless than fat had ever managed to make them.

His grunts rapidly turned to moans, his lust for immensity overtaking rational thought or any real desire for freedom from this predicament. Although his puffy, immovable fingers could no longer caress his swollen form, the sensation of growing, forced upwards against an unyielding ceiling… it sent shivers down his spine.

And as his body grew, his world shrunk. His head was—gradually—sinking into himself, losing sight of his fingers as they were obscured by the spheres of distended wing and useless membrane, his cheeks and neck pushing around his muzzle and against the hose. His back brushed back up against the bed covers, his spherical bloat large evidently enough to encompass the entire height of the room.

Creaking started to rumble low from within; his subdermal rubber was starting to stretch and deform to try and contain so much gas. He moaned louder as the sensation echoed through his form, every part of him distending past its designed maximum as it tried to contain his wondrous new size. Teetering so close to failure and yet always managing to eke out a little more stretch to accommodate the incoming helium from the rapidly depleting tank.

Alex eventually settled, wedged between ceiling, bed and the nearest wall, at 2.92 times his previous size. The number flashing up on his goggles alone was enough to excite him—a lifetime of gaining, tripled in what was barely a quarter of an hour. It lacked the weight, yes, but the size was wonderful all the same, no matter how temporary it ultimately was.

With no more gas to guzzle he contented himself to just… be. To creak and moan to himself; to feel the built pressure inside of him try and push his boundaries further outwards, and to wish so dearly that it could.

It would be a few days before he’d probably be small enough to work again, so he may as well enjoy it. And maybe, just maybe, when he finally got too irreconcilably fat to keep going, Goodyear might have a job vacancy open for a brand new blimp.