Relee the Squirrel's Domain
Army of Cuteness Part Five
by Relee the Squirrel
I woke up with a smile on my face, enveloped in tender warmth. Fleeting glimpses of nameless friends dancing amongst cotton-candy trees faded from my mind as I opened my eyes. The ever-present fuzzy pink glow of light filtered through fluff allowed me to see the inside of the pocket where I slept. The clinging warmth provided a soft comfort that I was reluctant to leave, but my sleep had been good and I was well rested.
I pulled myself from the sleep-pocket and planted my paws on the soft, yielding plush of the floor. It was only the third day of my captivity and I already looked very different. My soft brown fur seemed brighter and purer; the colour was more even than ever before. My formerly slim shape had readily given way to plush chubbiness. My arms and legs seemed thicker, and my fingers especially. I held up my hand and splayed my fingers just to confirm that the mitt I saw was still a hand. Carefully poking myself in the belly, I felt soft and yielding, not at all like a living creature, until I probed deep enough.
I looked around my room slowly, to see if any changes had been made while I slept. I spotted the television and GameCute that had been delivered before, and then my eyes were drawn to the “Smile!” poster on the wall. I suddenly realized that I _was_ smiling, and that I had been smiling constantly since I woke up. I realized as well that the corners of my mouth and my jaw, previously sore, no longer felt any discomfort. In fact this felt like entirely the proper position for my mouth to be.
Experimentally I tried to stop smiling; however I found it as difficult to lower my smile as it was to smile constantly beforehand. As soon as I stopped forcing it, my mouth returned to its happy smile and felt right again. I decided to just keep smiling, since that seemed to be what they wanted of me anyway, but I felt a little uncomfortable with the gradual loss of control over myself.
I stood still and looked at the far wall for a minute expectantly, and as I expected the door chimed and opened. Sunshine wheeled her cart into my room and the door closed behind her. I walked up and hugged her like I was taught, and she hugged back. Today it felt different, however. Rather than being an unexpected pleasure, it felt right and proper, like this was the normal way I should feel. Still, it felt good to hug someone.
“Good morning, Miss Relee!” said Sunshine.
“Good morning, Sunshine!” I replied.
“I brought your breakfast! A sweet bowl of fluff, a tall glass of heartberry nectar, and as a special treat Chef Toodlebum made you a stack of fresh pancakes!” said Sunshine, unloading her cart onto my little table.
I had never heard the name of the drink before, and I was curious. “Heartberry nectar? I’d been wondering what I’ve been drinking these last few days, but I’ve never heard of that. What is it?” I asked.
Sunshine giggled before she replied, saying “Isn’t it yummy? Heartberries are a kind of berry from Cutopia, but this drink is made from the nectar from the flowers of the Heartberry plant! It’s mixed with moomoo milk and bottled, and it’s one of the best drinks ever!”
I sat down at the table and looked over to Sunshine, smiling naturally. “Would you like to share some?” I asked.
“Oh! Thank you for offering, but I already ate in the mess hall with the others.” said Sunshine, never missing a beat with her singsong voice.
I nodded politely and started to eat. The fluff seemed to taste better every time I ate it, so I really enjoyed having it first. The nectar was as good as ever, too. I took the pancakes and tasted them. They were served with butter and syrup, but there was something off about them. Like the tart I had with dinner the previous day, they seemed somehow artificial, and had a texture at times reminiscent of plastic. They tasted good however, so I ate them and enjoyed myself.
Sunshine wheeled out her cart, but came back into the room before the door closed. “Miss Relee,” she said, “please, if there’s anything you’d like, your comfort during your stay is one of the most important things to us. Is there anything you’d like to have?”
I considered Sunshine’s question for at least a minute, maybe two. There were some things I was thinking about, luxuries, special foods, and clothes, but I decided that I would wait instead. “No, no thank you Sunshine. I appreciate you asking though.” I replied. Sunshine closed the door and left, while I sat back and tried to decide if there was anything I really wanted to ask for while being held prisoner.
I was deep in thought when Sunshine returned, and almost didn’t notice the door opening. I turned to her and we smiled at each-other, though that expression would not leave our faces regardless. I stood up and walked over to the door, and the two of us hugged. When we had finished, Sunshine spoke up. “It’s time for today’s training session. Take my paw and I’ll lead you there!”
I held out my paw and took hers; the two so similar now that it startled me. I shuddered ever so slightly, but Sunshine noticed it. “Are you cold Miss Relee? Would you like a sweater or a warm drink?” she asked, as always perky and eager to help.
I shook my head slowly and said “Oh I’m not cold. I was just rather surprised at how much my body seems to be changing… and how much my hand resembles yours now.” I’ve always been rather honest like that, and it didn’t seem to be a secret that something in this environment was changing my body.
Sunshine tilted her head just a bit to express her curiosity. “You certainly seem to be much cuter than when you arrived, Miss Relee. Usually people get cuter when they learn more about the way of love, joy, and happiness, but you’re getting so cute so fast it’s amazing! When I look at you, it’s almost like seeing another Cutopian!”
I shuddered again, at her comment, but she just giggled. She started to skip down the hallway, and I followed suit. I’m sure we looked like two prancing plushies cheerfully playing together in the padded tube hallway of Mr. Fuzzyfort. Soon enough however Sunshine dropped me off at the class, same as yesterday.
I and my fellow ‘classmates’ sat down in the same desks we had the day before in the large auditorium classroom. I did a tally in my head of the other prisoners I had seen the previous day, and I believe I saw a few of the others doing the same. It was obvious to me that someone was missing, however, for the seat in front of me and between the two robots was empty.
Professor Fluffpuppy and Miss Cuddlebunny waited eagerly at the podium on the classroom stage for all of us to settle down. When they were satisfied, Professor Fluffpuppy tapped his pointer on the podium to get our attention.
“Good morning everyone!” said Professor Fluffpuppy, his eager tone and high-pitched voice ringing in the ears of some of the more sensitive prisoners. “I’m happy to see you all again, and you’re looking so cute!”
It was only partially true. While I had changed so dramatically, there was only a bit of roundness appearing on my classmates. One member of the group of young furry campers seemed to have a very heart-shaped nose. I began to wish I had a mirror when I noticed that, but for the time being I had to wait.
Professor Fluffpuppy continued speaking, saying “While we’re sure you’ll all accept the way of love, joy, and happiness very soon, we must continue your lessons until you do… However!” he paused, perhaps creating some dramatic tension, “We are happy to welcome C3T3B0T X314 to the Cutopian family!”
The door opened and everyone turned to look at the android that walked into the auditorium class. Its head was instantly familiar from yesterday’s display; that was X314, but his whole body had changed to match his transformed head! His bipedal frame and two arms were covered in a shiny red plastic, curved and bent so that the bottoms of his legs and the ends of his arms would appear heart-shaped. Three red mechanical toes supported each foot, and three fingers and an opposable mechanical thumb formed a pair of usable hands. His torso continued with the heart theme, made out of two parts. The first was a large chest-heart, and the second was a smaller pelvic-heart, connected by a stretchy pink rubber to hide any unsightly mechanics underneath. The rubber also connected the arms and legs to the torso, and his smiling head to his neck.
CUT3B0T X314, who I’ll refer to as just X314, cheerfully strode down the aisle with mechanical precision. He stood with Professor Fluffpuppy and Miss Cuddlebunny on the stage and smiled out to all of us in the class. Professor Fluffpuppy gestured to X314 and announced, “X314 has accepted the way of love, joy, and happiness and become a true Cutopian! Would you like to tell everyone how you feel, CUT3B0T X314?”
X314 beeped a cheerful beep, and began to speak. His voice, though still broken into syllables, sounded less like a monotone mechanical soldier and more like the softly recorded syllables of a doll praising its ‘mama’. “YES.I.WOULD.LIKE.TO.TELL.EVERY.ONE.HOW.WON.DER.FUL.I.FEEL. AF.TER.YES.TER.DAY.I.COULD.NOT.HELP.BUT.SMILE.AND.FEEL.GOOD. I.NO.LON.GER.WISH.TO.KILL.ALL.HUMANS. I.WISH.TO.LOVE.THEM.AND.BRING.JOY.AND.HAP.PI.NESS.TO.THEIR.LIVES.”
Professor Fluffpuppy and Miss Cuddlebunny began to clap in appreciation of X314’s heartfelt comments. I found myself fascinated by their ability to clap with such padded mitts, but realized they must be able to stiffen their palms when they wish to make sounds or hold firm objects.
Miss Cuddlebunny stepped forward and said, “As soon as you’re ready to accept the way of love, joy, and happiness, please tell your helper! We would like all of you to become happy Cutopians like us as soon as possible!”
Suddenly one of the furry campers, a huge hulking black lion, burst from his seat! “There’s no way you’re turning me into some kind of fuzzy cream-puff! LET ME OUTTA HERE!” he shouted. He let out a fearsome roar as he ran towards the podium! He took only one step however, and his feet were stuck deep within the floor. He roared ferociously as he sank down to his knees.
Professor Fluffpuppy clucked his tongue while shaking his paw back and forth as if scolding a naughty child. “Now now now Mr. Gold. We told you to behave! Don’t you remember the rules?”
“YOU.REAL.LY.SHOULD.RE.LAX.AND.EN.JOY.IT.GOLD. IT.IS.WON.DER.FUL!” chimed in X314, who was instantly rewarded with a hug from Miss Cuddlebunny.
Gold, the Lion, just roared and clawed in the direction of the three Cutopians in blind fury. Professor Fluffpuppy let out a long sigh and said, “Well there’s no choice then. Off to the super-fun room with you.” Quick as a blink the huge black lion Gold shot into the floor and was gone.
The furry campers gasped and whispered amongst themselves, while the others in the class stared in shock. I just tried to stop smiling after seeing such a thing, but I couldn’t help but feel a sort of happiness creeping through me that forced me to cheer up.
Professor Fluffpuppy tapped his pointer on the podium again to get our attention. “I’m sure Mr. Gold will come around to our way of thinking eventually, but for now we all have training to do!” he said, as cheerful and eager as ever, despite having just sent a huge lion into who knows where.
Miss Cuddlebunny rolled down the Smile poster before returning to her place next to the Professor and X314. “Now to begin with,” said Professor Fluffpuppy, “I want to see everyone’s biggest and brightest smiles!” and just like the previous day he lead the class by giving a huge smile right across his face. Miss Cuddlebunny followed suit right next to him, and X314’s face was already smiling as big as he could. The class all smiled their biggest smiles; bigger than yesterday all around. I couldn’t see myself, but it felt like I was smiling just as big as they were. I thought about Sunshine’s remarks earlier, and shuddered for the third time that day. I kept smiling though, and smiled until the end of smiling practice.
“Now that we’re all warmed up, let’s move on to cute posing!” said Professor Fluffpuppy. He turned to Miss Cuddlebunny, who bowed once quickly before striking an exaggerated pose as if she had been pleasantly surprised by something.
“You need to learn how to express your emotions cutely! Everyone should cheerfully show their feelings and not blow up with pent up frustrations like Mr. Gold did earlier. Now please pose like Miss Cuddlebunny so you will know how to express surprise.”
The cute posing training went on for around an hour as we learned how to properly express surprise, joy, excitement, concern, and even disappointment. X314 seemed to know how to do them instinctively, and perhaps that was part of what it meant to become a true Cutopian. For the time I was happy to just look like one.
Professor Fluffpuppy tapped his pointer on the podium to get our attention. “Today we have a special treat for after class, so we won’t be practicing our singing. If everybody would please line up in order, it’s time to share our happiness with everyone. Tell us all something that’s made you happy while you’ve been staying here in Mr. Fuzzyfort! Remember, we don’t tolerate misbehaviour…”
We all organized ourselves into a line like the previous day. Like before, Miss Cuddlebunny stood up front to show us how it’s done first. X314 also lined up, right behind her.
“Umm… I was really happy when I played tag in the courtyard earlier today!” said Miss Cuddlebunny, before she curtsied and walked down the stage. She sat down along with the Professor in the front row to watch us all take our turns.
X314 was next, and he said “I.BE.CAME.A.C.U.T.3.B.0.T.MO.DEL.AN.DROID.AND.AM.VERY.HAPPY.NOW.” before standing off to the side.
The answer was the same for most of my classmates, and perhaps they were merely repeating each-other. They said “The floor is nice and soft, and that makes me happy.”
The two lone human children had a different answer from the others, but each said the same thing. “I really like the candy that you give us, and it makes me really happy!”
My turn finally came, and I gulped. The last time I was standing up here, things got a little out of hand. “I… um… Well the food has been great, and that’s made me pretty happy!” I sighed in relief, it was different from the others, but at least it wasn’t anything creepy. Then I giggled. Oh did I ever giggle. It bubbled up through my whole body before bursting at my mouth in a spasm of cuteness. Finished, I finally returned to my seat.
When everyone was finished, Professor Fluffpuppy, Miss Cuddlebunny, and X314 returned to the stage. Professor Fluffpuppy tapped his pointer and we all listened to him.
“Now that we’re done class for today,” said the Professor, “we have a special surprise! We have scheduled you all a visit to our newly finished Cutie Salon! Our best Cuteticians will help you all look your very best and brightest so you can all embrace the way of love, joy, and happiness with us!”
The doors to the auditorium classroom opened up, and everyone’s helpers walked in. I stood up and hugged Sunshine, and the others all hugged their helpers. Professor Fluffpuppy hugged Miss Cuddlebunny, and then they both hugged X314. Finally the Professor spoke up again. “Everyone, your helpers will take you to the Salon. Please go with them and have a marvellous time!”
Sunshine and I clasped paws and skipped together again through the hallway.
All Content Copyright Arthur Payne, AKA Relee the Squirrel
Last Update: January 6, 2009