Relee the Squirrel's Domain

The Fuzzy Explorer who Came to Earth and What He Found There

by Relee the Squirrel

It all started on Sunday, in the late afternoon. I had rented a small, one bedroom cabin in the back woods. I was on mandatory stress-relief vacation, and I thought it would be good to spend a week in the woods, hiking and doing some nature photography. My relaxation was disturbed, however, by a bolt of light shooting through the sky, followed by a deafening crash from the woods just outside my cabin.

I was washing dishes from an early dinner when it happened, but I put the half-scrubbed pot back in the water. I had to check out what happened. Maybe it was a meteorite? Maybe someone was hurt, or there would be a forest fire? I pulled off my rubber gloves and walked to the front door of the cabin. I sat down on the small stool next to the door, put on and tied my hiking boots. I was still wearing my hiking outfit from earlier in the day, a pair of thick denim jeans and a plaid flannel shirt. In minutes I was out the door and walking down the trail in the woods, towards where I thought the sound came from.

I was a regular sort of guy, average height, only a little overweight, sandy brown hair and pale green eyes. But I loved the woods, and hiking had given me a fit appearance, and thick calf muscles. The trip to the crash site only took five minutes, and it was easy to find. Several trees had been knocked over, and a mound of dirt had been piled up by some sort of wreckage. I hurried to the site of the crash to see if anybody was injured, but I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw what was there.

The crash landing had knocked over a few trees before hitting ground in a small clearing, leaving a deep trench and a mound of dirt piled up on a mound of twisted red metal and broken glass. The wreck was the size of a small car, and didn't look like any sort of airplane I had ever seen, or any kind of satelite for that matter. But laying in the grass ten feet ahead of the wreck, as if it had been thrown from the impact, was a large, rose pink stuffed rabbit, completely intact and undamaged by the crash.

I rubbed my head in confusion at the scene, trying to imagine what could have happened. It looked like a streak of light when it crashed, did it come from space? But the crash site was barely damaged, something like this crashing from space would have made a much more devastating impact, wouldn't it? It must have decelerated somehow... But no, this is too crazy, I thought! I looked around the clearing for any hidden cameras, maybe this was one of those reality t.v. shows where they trick people into thinking some movie scenario is really happening to them.

I looked around, but there weren't any cameras I could see, or any other people either. Just a mass of twisted metal, and what looked like a stuffed toy. I decided to get closer and inspect the wreck itself, starting with the odd rabbit. I knelt down next to it, and it was about half my height, around three feet tall, laying face-down on the forest floor. It had long, wide and floppy bunny ears, and a small round tail. It had a coloured symbol in its fur on the right rump cheek that looked like a red heart with a yellow five-pointed star in the middle. I touched its shoulder and flipped it gently onto its back, and was first surprised by the weight of it. It didn't feel like a light, stuffed animal should, and then I saw its face. Its massive eyes were closed and its white furred muzzle hung open and I realized this was a living creature! Immediately I pressed my ear to the white circle of fur on its belly, and listened. It had a steady heartbeat, but it didn't seem to be breathing.

At first I was worried, but then I realized that if its heart was beating so steadily, perhaps it didn't breath like earth creatures? As soon as I thought of that, I realized what I was facing. This was some kind of alien! I was making first contact with an alien species! I decided to examine the creature more closely, while it was still unconcious.

It did look remarkably like a stuffed rabbit. It had bright rose pink fur with white patches on its muzzle and belly. its face was doll-like in proportion, with a small round muzzle bearing a heart-shaped nose, and massive closed eyelids, its eyes were at least two inches across and three inches high. It had short stringy antennae poking out of its forehead that ended in shiny red heart shapes, just in front of a pair of massive floppy bunny ears. its hands were shaped like mittens, with a thumb but no individual fingers. its palms each had a raised pad which were a deeper reddish pink than its fur, and shaped like a heart. its feet were like boots, with no individual toes, and like its hands it had a pair of thick deep pink hearts for its soles.

It was completely naked, but didn't seem to have reproductive organs like humans, and I didn't see anything between its legs that would suggest a hidden organ. I realized when it was upside down, it didn't have anything on its behind either, just a rounded lump of fur and that heart-and-star symbol. I marveled at the similarity to earth species, while also wondering about the strange differences in its biology. Yet at the same time, I felt terribly suspicious. I was having a hard time believing any of it was really true; an alien crashlanding in the woods, and looking like a children's toy? It seemed so bizzare, and yet it was happening!

My thoughts were interrupted suddenly by the loud yipping of a distant coyote. I looked into the sky and I saw that the sun was setting. A cool breeze tickled the back of my neck, and I realized it wasn't safe to stay out here. I had hoped someone else would come, perhaps emergency crews responding to the crash, but it seemed like I was on my own. After all, it was off peak season, and the weekenders had already gone home. I might have been the only one who noticed the crash. Looking down on the prone form of the fuzzy pink alien, I decided to take it to my cabin. It would be warm there, and we wouldn't have to worry about wild animals there. I knelt down again and slipped my arms beneath its neck and legs, cradling it like an infant and hoping it didn't have any internal injuries. It made no noticable response to pain, and a quick check confirmed its steady heartbeat, so I headed back to my cabin. The creature was heavier than it looked, but not so much that it was difficult for me to carry. its body was surprisingly soft, and its limbs bent down limply. It bent and deformed so easily that I wondered if it had a skeleton, or something different and entirely alien.

The walk was short and uneventful, and I arrived safely at my cabin. I opened the door carefully, and slipped inside. I placed the alien visitor on the sofa in the front room, and once more checked its heartbeat. It was steady as ever, so I left the creature and went to the door. I locked the door first, as the ranger warned me that black bears can get into unlocked cabins, then I sat on the stool to remove my hiking boots. As I untied the laces I realized my hands were trembling. This was so incredible! I had discovered an alien, and it was inside of my cabin with me. I took a deep breath and put my boots in their place next to the door, then stood up and took another look at my discovery.

It was moving.

At first I wasn't sure if it was my imagination, but I saw its eyes flutter open, long black lashes curling upwards as it sat up and turned its head towards me. Its eyes were similar to human eyes, but also very different. They were huge, and the deep blue iris filled up most of the eye, surrounded by a thin white. Its pupils were deep and black, but seemed to flash irridescent in the light. It wiggled its antennae towards me slightly at first, then stopped and spoke. its voice was a melodic, high-pitched trilling that sounded like a mix of babytalk and birdsong. I couldn't understand it at all, but its expression seemed friendly and its little mouth had a big smile. I smiled back at it, and said "Hello." The creature blinked a few times, then sat up properly and turned to look at me again.

I was a bit at a loss for words, and I had no idea if the creature could even understand me. I reached up and rubbed the back of my head in frustration, and finally spoke again, stuttering at first. "W-w-welcome to Earth?" I said, hesitantly. "I hope you come in peace... I found you, your ship crashed and you were in the woods. I took you here to keep you safe... are you able to understand me at all?"

The creature didn't respond at first, it just looked at me, though it seemed to understand I was speaking, it didn't understand what I was saying. Slowly it moved off of the sofa, and stood stright up before me. It held its arms open and to the sides, palms up, and stood there. I looked at it for a few moments before I considered, and tried to mimic the creature's pose. I held my arms at an angle to the sides, and held my palms up. The creature smiled at me, and I smiled in return. The creature moved again, and put its left hand on its nose, and held its right hand out behind it. I mimiced this position as well, and blushed. I wondered if the alien was trying to communicate, or just teasing me. It returned to a neutral, standing pose once it saw me mimic it again. Then I had an idea. I put my left hand out above my shoulder and curled my right arm to my side, like the teapot dance, and looked at the creature. It smiled, and mimiced my pose, then it giggled giggled in its trilling, squeaky voice.

We both returned to a neutral stance, and the creature slowly approached me, one step at a time. I thought it might be scared, or it might be trying not to seem threatning to an alien that is twice its size. It finally reached me, and started to slowly circle around my right side. I thought it must wonder what my backside looks like, so I stood up straight. I was surprised when it pressed its mitt-like hand against my right butt-cheek, and turned my head to look down at it. It looked up at me, and its expression was totally different. It looked terribly sad, and after a moment it embraced my right leg, hugging it tightly. It felt oddly warm, the creature wasn't that warm when I carried it, but I could feel a growing heat as it hugged my leg, just for a few moments before it let go. Then it stood next to me, and I stood above it, and I wondered what to do next.

Suddenly, I yawned. I hadn't realized how tired I was. I looked down at the creature, and it looked up at me with a surprised expression. I guess the noise of my yawn had shocked it. Then I looked out the window, and realized that night had already fallen. The creature followed my gaze, then walked over to the window and looked outside. I rubbed the back of my head with my hand again, and smiled. It must be curious about this strange environment.

I turned around and walked over to the kitchenette. I wondered if any of my food would be safe for the creature to eat. The creature noticed I had moved, so it came back from the window to see what I was doing. I opened the refridgerator, and let it see the food I had available, in case any of it was appetizing. It walked up to the fridge and looked inside, then held out its hand. I realized it was feeling the temperature difference, and I wondered if its species used refridgerators or if they had some other kind of food preservation. its expression seemed to smile again, but it didn't take anything from the fridge. I started to close it slowly, in case it was waiting for me, but it let me close the fridge without protest. I walked over to the sink, and turned it on next. The creature was so short that it couldn't see up to the kitchen counter, so it put its hands on the edge and lifted itself up. I'm not sure how it did this, since it doesn't have fingers. The heart-shaped pads on its hands seemed to stick in place. It reached out with one hand, holding itself up with the other, and felt the stream of water, then looked up and smiled at me. I smiled down at it, and yawned again. I reached up and rubbed my eyes, I felt so exhausted.

I didn't want to leave the creature alone, but I was so tired that I felt I needed to sleep. There wasn't anything we could do untill morning, anyway, so I decided to chance it and go to bed. The bedroom was a second room at the back of the small log cabin, with a queen sized bed and a few ammenities. I wondered how to explain to the creature that I needed to sleep. I decided to try something like charades. I made sure I had its attention, then I pointed to myself, and then the bed, and then closed my eyes and tried to look like I was sleeping. Then, I looked down at it, and tilted my head, waiting for a response. The creature put its hands next to its head and tilted them, as if resting on a pillow, then held its arms open. I realized it understood, and nodded visibly. Then, I pointed to the creature, and then the sofa in the front room, hoping it would feel welcome to sleep there. It nodded, perhaps mimicing my earlier nod, and went into the front room to sit on the sofa. I closed the door to the bedroom, and smiled. It was an intelligent alien visitor, and it seemed friendly enough, so I was sure it would be alright on its own for a few hours.

I took off my jeans and flannel shirt and put on my dark grey pyjama pants, then I climbed into bed and pulled on the covers. I had never gone to sleep so easily before. I was utterly exhausted, and the cabin bed felt more comfortable than ever.

I awoke suddenly in the night, and something felt wrong. I felt oddly moist, and damp, as if I was covered with something wet. I opened my eyes but felt dazed and confused. I couldn't move my body below my neck, and as I raised my head I saw the creature on top of me. Its body was wet with a strange pink slime, and it seemed to be melting. its legs were gone, and my legs were soaked with pink goo. It had pulled my bedsheets off in order to press against me. I tried to scream, but my voice would not respond. The creature looked into my eyes and smiled, and it reached out with its wet but still intact right hand to pat my shoulder, as if trying to reassure me. Then, it pulled itself forward and pressed its forehead to mine, and I blacked out.

The sunlight through the bedroom's east window tickled my nose, and then teased my eyes as I woke up. I smiled, my body warm and cozy under the heavy bedcovers. Then, I gasped suddenly as I remembered what had happened. I sat straight up in bed, and my eyes flew open. I looked around the room, and... it was completely normal. My bed covers were on my bed, and on me, where they should be. I looked down at my body, and it seemed completely normal. I didn't see the creature anywhere. Had it all been a dream?

I climbed out of bed, and opened the door to the front room. I didn't see the creature anywhere. I peered around the sofa, and under it. I looked in the closet and the bathroom and the cabinets and the refridgerator, but it wasn't anywhere I could see. I looked at the front door, but it was still locked. Had it ALL been a dream? Had there ever even been a creature? Or was this all just some stress related hallucination, or my wild imagination? Maybe they were right at work, and I was going crazy from the stress.

Shaking the confusion from my head, I decided to refresh myself with a morning shower. I went into the bathroom and turned on the water in the shower, then I took off my pyjama pants and took a look at my face in the mirror. I considered shaving, but my skin seemed fresh and smooth enough, and I was in the woods after all. I felt the warm mist of the shower drift past my ankles, so I climbed into the stall and let the hot water course down my naked body. It felt wonderful, and I couldn't help but smile. I felt an almost euphoric pleasure that morning, just being alive. I carefully washed every inch of my body with soap and water, and finished by washing my hair, then turned off the water. I grabbed a fresh towel from the rack and started to dry my hair, then my body. I was twisting and turning, drying off my body with the towel when I saw it. There was an odd discoloration in the mirror, on my bottom. I wiped the fog from the mirror, and tried to get a closer look. On my right butt cheek there was a symbol of a red heart containing a yellow star.

The skin itself was discoloured and it was more than just a tattoo, it seemd like a birthmark, but perfectly defined in that particular shape. The colors were bright and bold, a deep perfect red heart and a warm golden yellow star, surrounded by pale whitish skin. My mind was racing, was it all true? Was that creature real? Was that nightmare real? Or perhaps I was so stressed out that I went into town, and got a weird tattoo, and imagined all of that to explain it. I didn't remember eating any funny mushrooms in the forest, and my cabin was dry of alcohol, but the idea that I was going insane seemed much more plausible than stuffed bunnies from outer space!

I decided to go into the woods again, and find the crash site. If that's real, then everything is real, I reasoned. I left my pyjama pants in the washroom and hurried into the bedroom, where I quickly dressed in my hiking outfit again. I put on my boots at the door, and set off into the forest again.

Everything looked different in the morning light, compared to the late afternoon when I first found the crash site. There were strange scents in the air, and I heard noises like idling engines. Then I saw the toppled trees and realized I was close, but I also saw yellow tape and soldiers. There was at least a dozen soldiers patroling the perimeter of the crash site, but when I peered in I couldn't see any sign of the wreckage. There were muddy tire tracks, however. Even if the wreckage wasn't there, seeing the soldiers meant something really did happen there. There were also a pair of people in hazmat suits wandering around pointing geiger counters at random objects.

Several of the soldiers noticed me, and one yelled and told me to stay where I was, so I stood still and waited for him. I hoped they could give me some sort of explanation. He walked up to me and I gulped, afraid I might be in some sort of trouble.

"This is a restricted area, sir. You shouldn't be out here." he said to me.

I rubbed the back of my head with my hand and said, "I'm sorry, isn't this part of the public woods?"

The soldier looked me up and down before responding, and then he said "There was a classified incident at this location yesterday, did you hear or see anything out of the ordinary?"

I was about to tell him everything that happened, but instead of what I meant to say, something else came out of my mouth. "I saw a streak of light in the sky, and then heard a big bang yesterday. It was late so I decided to wait and check it out today." is what I said. I was shocked that I had lied like that, but my expression didn't change either. The soldier seemed to believe the story I gave, but the two people in hazmat suits wandered over to us and pointed their geiger counters at me. They clicked and whined for a bit as they waved the sensors over me, but then they turned to the soldier and said, "He's clean."

The soldier nodded to the hazmat people and nodded, then looked back at me and said "Alright, you can go back to your cottage or whatever. Just stay out of this part of the forest while we're doing our investigation."

My expression became one of disappointment and I said, "Oh, that's too bad, I guess I missed the excitement." before turning around and heading back to my cabin. After a few minutes of walking, when I was well out of sight of the soldiers, I suddenly stopped and my eyes went wide, and my hands went up to my head. What had I done? Why had I told the soldier that? What was happening to me? I felt so out of control, but I had regained control for the moment.

I stood on the trail for several minutes, hands on my head as I struggled to understand my actions, when it occured to me that I should look all of this up. I thought about it, and figured the best place to go would be the library in town. its just a small village that tends to the needs of campers and cottage owners, but it had a small library with computers hooked up to the internet. I quickly hiked back to my cabin and took my car into town.

The library was located in a converted church across from the small town hall, and was tended by a single librarian. She helped me log their computer onto the internet, then returned to reading a novel behind the check-out desk.

I knew I had to come here and look things up, but I wasn't sure what I was actually going to do. At first I went to a few news sites to see if there were any reports of what happened, but there wasn't any mention of it in regular news or anywhere else i searched. Finding that out took all of fifteen minutes, and then I felt oddly curious about nothing in particular. I navigated to an online encyclopedia and I started reading, and reading, and reading. I read about mathematics, science, technology, astronomy, geography, history, culture, language... bits and bites of everything. I was lost in a sea of information, only interrupted when the mousy librarian returned and said, "Excuse me, sir? The library is closing for the night."

I blinked a few times, and looked at her, and looked out the window and saw that it was night time. How long had I been looking at that encyclopedia site? It was only ten in the morning when I got into town. I stood up and rubbed the back of my head, appologizing to the librarian. Then I left the library, still feeling confused, but also very satisfied. I stood outside of the library and thought about what to do next. I realized that I hadn't eaten all day. Oddly, I didn't feel hungry at all, but I decided it would be a good idea to pick up a few things at the grocery store in town before it closed.

I drove to the grocery store and took a look around. I went up and down the aisles, but nothing appealed to me. I wasn't sure what I was looking for untill I got to the bulk food section, and saw the candy. My mouth watered with anticipation, and I quickly gathered several bags of at least a dozen different sorts of candies. Chocolates, gummy candies, licorice, sugar candies, and even a bag of dried and sugared pineapple cubes. I took it all up to the cash register and paid for it, then took it all to my car and drove back out to my cabin. I still wasn't sure what I was going to do, but I felt so good that day that it seemed fine to just go to the cabin and sleep on it. I carried my groceries into the cabin, and took off all of my clothes. I carried the bags of candy into the bedroom and put them on the bed before closing the door. Then I climbed under the covers and held the full grocery bag to my chest as I went to sleep. This behavior was more than a little odd, but I didn't have a chance to think clearly on it before I went to sleep.

The next morning I woke up slowly, my body again full of that almost euphoric feeling of happiness just to be alive. There was a loud crinkling in the bed as I moved around, and I pulled an empty grocery bag out from under the covers and wondered how it got there. I thought about it a bit, then I slowly sat up in bed and got very worried about how bizzarely I was behaving. I rubbed the back of my head with my hand, but something felt different, like there was a lump of rubber in between my hand and my head. I pulled my hand away from my head and looked at it, and I saw that my palm was covered by a raised, deep pink lump in the shape of a heart.

The hairs on my back stood on end as I shouted, "WHAT THE..." but as quickly as I became terrified, I felt a powerful soothing sensation course through my body and leave me in a comfortable, euphoric state again, and my voice was soft and relaxed as said "Hell?" with a smile on my face.

I sat there for at least a minute, dazed and dizzy from the sudden mood swings, before I could form a real coherent thought. I gazed down at my hand, more clinically now, and observed the rubbery pink heart embedded in my flesh. I held up my other hand, and I saw that they matched. The palm of my hands, from the base of my fingers to just above my wrists, was covered in a slightly shiny pink heart. Carefully and with great curiosity, I pressed my left index finger into the flesh of the heart on my right palm. It had a soft, smooth and gel-like rubbery texture, and it gave slightly under the pressure of my finger. More surprisingly, I could feel the finger touching the pad; my pad, as it had become a part of my body. The sensation was different from any other part of my body. It was intensely sensitive to feeling, yet it the sensation wasn't overwhelming. I could feel every ripple of my fingerprint, and the density of the skin between my flesh and bone. It was like feeling specific information, not just a general texture.

I ran my new palms over my body slowly, reveling in the strange and wonderful sensations I felt as I did so. It felt wonderful, and filled me with a feeling of comfort similar to stroking a kitten, or hugging a friend. Eventually I settled down, and paused to wonder if anything else had changed on my body. I slowly peeled back my bedsheets, looking at my body for any deviances. My chest and belly were fine... my genitals seemed normal... I followed my legs down to my feet and... oh!

Like my palms, the soles of my feet had been changed. I had to hold my leg up against my chest to get a good look at it, but it was clear what had happened. Like the heart-shaped pads that now filled my palms, there were two similar pads on each of my feet. The first had appeared at the balls of my feet, and the second was beneath my heel. Both of them were very thick, at least a half-inch deep, and they felt more firm. They were soft and smooth and felt good to touch or put pressure on, but they didn't give me that same information-sensation feeling that my hands did.

I decided there was only one way to test these strange additions to my feet, and that was to stand on them. I slid to the side of the bed and put my feet on the ground. The wooden floor of the cabin was firm and cold beneath the soft pads. I put pressure on them and stood up, and it felt exceptionally comfortable. The pads were so thick and durable, it was like I was wearing rubber slippers. I took a few experimental steps, and found it easy to walk around on them. Even though the floor was cold, it didn't feel uncomfortable through the pads. It was almost like wearing shoes.

I sat back down on the bed and rubbed the back of my head, biting my lower lip as I felt the back of my hair with my palm-pad. Something really strange was happening to me, but I just couldn't seem to be scared. It felt like it was a good thing, but I didn't know why. I wondered if I was being controlled somehow, but I couldn't get upset or frightened by that either. I looked out the window and gazed at the clouds in the sky and I wondered what I was going to do today. It would be awkward if anyone saw my hands in this state. Suddenly, I was struck by an idea. I should make a big breakfast.

I hadn't eaten in over a day, at least that I was aware of, and I still wasn't actually hungry, but I felt like I ought to cook up some food and eat it. I went to the refridgerator and gathered up materials, and set some pans to cooking. I made half a dozen scrambled eggs, a pound of bacon, and no less than five potatos, sliced and fried. Four slices of toast with more strawberry jam than I'd usually use in a week, too. I ate it all, though it took me longer to eat it than it took me to cook it. I also drank water, at least two liters worth of water. My belly was completely bloated from how much I ate, but I still felt like there was more I should do, and this is the strange part.

I pulled a pair of steaks out of the refridgerator, and took the plastic vaccumn wrap off of them. I placed them, raw, on the kitchen table and sat down. Then I put my hands palm down on the steaks, and just relaxed there. My palm-pads tingled oddly and I zoned out a bit, wondering what my life would be like now, or if I would even survive these strange events. I sat there for at least another hour, maybe two. It was about noon when I finally roused myself from that state. I looked down and saw two empty meat packages; the steaks were gone, even the bones. I stopped to consider that, and looked at the hearts on my palms with renewed concern. I had eaten my fill of protiens that day. My body was harvesting more materials. I wondered what I would become when this was over.

I stood up from the kitchen table and looked out the window. I wondered what I ought to do next. I felt so helpless in my predicament, I couldn't go to a doctor, or confess my situation to those soldiers. I had no idea what was happening to me. I couldn't worry about it the way I thought that I ought to be worried, my very emotions seemed to be out of my control. This secluded vacation was supposed to be relaxing, but my stress levels were through the roof. Suddenly I found myself struck with another inspiration. I would go out for a hike, and enjoy myself.

I don't know why I felt like doing something so frivolous during what should be a frightning and worrisome period, but I found I just couldn't concern myself with what was happening, I just needed to relax and have fun. I put on my hiking clothes and grabbed my photography equipment, then sat at the door to put on my boots... but I found they didn't fit anymore. With those new heart-shaped pads on the bottoms of my feet, the boots weren't large enough anymore. I sighed frustratedly and wondered how I could go hiking now, but I suddenly knew what to do. I would go barefoot.

The rest of that day was marvelous. My bare feet were perfectly fine on any terrain, even jagged rocks couldn't damage the thick heart-shaped pads. Somehow they never even got scuffed or cut, and they even seemed to clean themselves within moments of getting dirty. I spent the day wandering through the woods, the river, and the lake. I got some great photographs of geese and ducks, and I found a lone deer in the woods browsing for greens. An eagle sitting on a high branch spread his wings for me, and by the end of the day I had filled several memory cards with high quality digital pictures.

With the sun low in the sky I finally returned, refreshed, to my cabin. I had almost forgotten my troubles, despite the constant reminders of my altered hands and feet. Moreover I had given in to the euphoric joy that pulsed through my body with each moment. When I finally returned to the cabin I was almost ready for bed, but I paused to remove my clothes and peek in the fridge freezer. There was a tub of ice cream in there, which I pulled out and carried to the bedroom with myself, without even considering it. I curled up under the covers and hugged the open tub to my chest as I drifted into sleep.

The next morning I awoke slowly. I felt happy as ever, but was reluctant to remove the covers. I was sure something would be different again today. I was curled up in a fetal position, with one arm wrapped around the ice cream tub, and the other with my hand palm down at the empty bottom. I laid like that for a little more than a half hour before I couldn't hold myself back anymore. I rose from my slumber and sat up in bed. The blanket seemed to catch on my head as I rose, and I reached up to tug it off, but instead I felt like I was tugging on myself... and yet I was somehow fuzzy? Something was very different. Everything was different. The room looked different. Everything was sharper, the colours more rich. The sounds as well, everything was clearer, and there were other sounds I couldn't identify, that I hadn't heard before. The air against my skin felt different. I threw off the covers and went to the washroom, I had to see the mirror.

My reflection still looked like me, yet also very different. Everything was different. My eyes were different. While not as large as the creature's eyes, my eyes were definately larger than before. They were at least a half inch wider and taller. The iris was nolonger pale green, but deep baby blue. The pupil was dark black, but flashed irridescent in the light. My eyelashes seemed thicker and darker, I had never noticed them before but now they were full and curled.

On top of my head were a pair of floppy, fuzzy pink bunny ears. They were exactly the same as the creature's ears, but they were firmly attached to my head, and what's more I could hear through them. I realized that my hearing had been enhanced significantly, and those new sounds were beyond the human audio spectrum.

Between my eyes and my second ears, at the top of my forehead grew a pair of thin wire-like antennae, that ended in round red heart-shaped baubles. They looked like deely-boppers, and bounced when I moved, but there was something extra odd about them. They tingled occasionally, in a way that is difficult to describe. I didn't know what they were for, apart from decoration.

The largest yet least significant change was my skin. It was perfect. My skin nolonger had any blemishes or odd marks, and the few scars of my childhood had healed completely. With the exception of the hair on my head, and my eyebrows, all of my body hair was gone. Even my pubic hair was gone. My skin had the texture of smooth and supple rubber, just like the heart-shaped pads on my palms and soles.

After exploring these dramatic changes to my body, I slowly walked out of the washroom and sat on the sofa in the front room. That's when I noticed a change that had been entirely internal; I was nolonger breathing. My extended eyes went wide for a moment as I feared this seemingly unnatural shift, but as before I calmed down instantly, and when I thought about it I recalled the first night. The creature didn't breath, and with each passing day I became more like it. I wondered what the purpose was behind these strange modifications to my body. Was this how that species reproduced? Or were these enhanced senses meant as gifts, a thank you for coming to its rescue?

Looking up I notice that my new antennae were twitching on their own, and I felt something, or heard something... talking, then singing, and music, then strange beeps, and more. It took a few moments, but then I realized my new antennae were picking up radio signals. There was one in particular I could sense, and somehow it felt terribly important. I instantly decided I had to find the source, but it was distant, and would be a long trip. I headed into the bedroom and found some of my city clothes; a pair of beige cargo pants and a plain white button-up shirt, but I felt a sensation of disappointment that I didn't understand.

A thought entered my mind unbidden. "If we have to wear clothes I want something cuter." said the voice in my head, my own voice and yet not my own. I was confused by the sudden and clear imposition, and in my confusion I found myself pressing the palms of my hands against the fabric of my shirt. My palms felt wet, somehow, and something more that I can't describe. I slowly dragged them across the fabric and I saw that my shirt was changing. The fabric went from white to pink, with a pattern of red hearts appearing like polkadots. It took some time but eventually I had changed the entire shirt, but it seemed I wasn't done. I picked up the pants and started changing them too. This time the fabric turned a deep red, and voilet embroidery began to form in place, almost like magic. A pattern of ribbons and flowers stretched down the outside seam of the pants, and around each of the pockets.

I felt extremely shy, these were not the sort of clothes normal guys wore, or guys in general either, yet I felt excited as I put them on. The clothes were softer and more comfortable after their transformation than they had ever been before, or perhaps that was merely the sensation of my transformed skin feeling those fabrics for the first time.

I stepped into the washroom and inspected myself in the mirror. Not bad, but not enough. I put my hands through my hair, and it started to change as well. The style changed somewhat, becoming more spiky and standing up, and the colour changed to violet. I smiled at my reflection then headed to the front door. I sat down on the little stool and looked at my regular sneakers next to my hiking boots. They were a pair of white high-top sneakers I got at a department store. I wear them when I'm dressing casual, but now they seemed all too plain, and not to mention small. "I can fix these up too!" I thought, and I slowly ran my hands over the outside of the shoe leather, turning them to a bright red with pink laces, and I put my hands inside the sneakers. Somehow I was able to alter the fabric of them, likely the same way my body was altered. The toes became more rounded, and higher up, making room for the thick pads on my soles. Fully dressed, I walked out of the cabin and climbed into my car. My antennae twitched as I homed in on the signal, and drove off towards the highway.

As I drove, I began to reflect on my situation and my actions again. I looked at my reflection in my car's mirror, and blinked a few times at my changed appearance. My jawline was the same, and my nose, but everything else was different. My eyes were alien, and my hair looked almost feminine. In the outfit I was wearing, it would look almost proper, but there was nothing proper about the way I looked. I'm sure I could still pass for a human, but only a very eccentric human, or a flaming homosexual.

I looked ahead at the road and found myself in awe of my new eyes. I could clearly read road signs far up the road, much farther than I had ever been able to see them with my supposedly perfect vision. Then, as I continued to drive, I became aware of an odor. There was a strange smell in the car, a smell I had never noticed before. It was so faint I could hardly smell it, but I realized it was the perfume that one of my co-workers wore. That co-worker hadn't been in my car in at least three weeks. I blinked my new eyes again as the realization hit me that my nose had changed internally.

I looked at the gasoline gauge on my dashboard and I saw that I was running low. I didn't know what to expect on this trip, but I wanted to be prepared, so I decided to stop and fuel up at the next gas station. I saw the signs next to the road and was already pulling up when I remembered my transformed appearance. I would have to reveal myself in order to pump the gas, and to pay for it. I gulped heavily, but was suddenly filled with a sense of confidence. It would be alright, I was sure. I looked different, but good.

I pulled my car up to the pump, opened my door and climbed out. I looked around a bit, and I saw that there were a couple of truckers giving me a funny look, but nobody was acting suspicious. I opened the gas tank and lifted the pump. It felt particularly odd against the heart-shaped pad of my palm, and I had a sense that I could almost tell its chemical composition, if I only knew what the chemicals were to reference.

I filled the tank entirely, and put the pump back on the hook. The gas would be expensive but nothing I couldn't afford. I walked into the small shop attached to the gas station and stood at the counter. I noticed the array of impulse-buy items, and suddenly felt like I ought to buy a few bags of candy for the road. I picked up three bags and put them on the counter, and paid for them along with my gasoline. The cashier was blushing heavily and trying not to laugh at me, I didn't think he thought I looked as good as thought I did. But, when did I start thinking I looked good like that?

I returned to my car and drove back onto the highway, and I felt very proud of myself for filling up the tank despite being afraid to be seen like this. The trip seemed to be getting longer and longer, and though I knew the general direction to travel, I didn't know if I was getting closer or not. Reaching to the side I turned on the radio to try and find some music to pass the time.

I felt dizzy for a moment, and it was as if I suddenly remembered that car radios existed, and how they were used, and more. With the left hand on the wheel, my right hand pressed its heart-shaped pad firmly against the console. My palm felt oddly wet, and remained there for at least ten minutes without seeming to do anything. I continued to drive, and after a couple of minutes tried to ignore what my hand was doing, but my attention went back to the console when the radio suddenly came on again and started scanning through the channels. Then the GPS came on, and it seemed to be going haywire, options changing and random maps being displayed. I tried to focus on driving, and this strange phenomenon continued for almost ten minutes before the GPS suddenly displayed a location, and I felt the wetness of my palm fade. I pulled my hand away from the console, but I saw that there was a heart-shaped indentation where the radio's tuning guide used to be.

I looked at the map. The trip would take me at least another twelve hours, and I would arrive late in the evening. The location was an unmarked spot in the wilderness outside of the big city.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. The highways were plain, with only variations of rocks and trees, and the occasional car or truck that passed me. I started snacking on the bags of candy after about an hour, and all three were empty by the time I reached my destination.

At the end of my journey I found a strange complex of two-story windowless concrete buildings at the end of a series of backroads in the forest. And it was guarded by uniformed soldiers armed with automatic rifles. I didn't know what I was looking for, but I knew it was there. Instead of approaching the gates I drove further into the forest, and stopped my car. It was late at night, and very dark. I turned off the headlights of my car, and my eyes tingled oddly. I rubbed them with my hands, and then looked around. I could see in the dark almost perfectly.

I opened the door of my car and turned in my seat, but instead of getting out I reached down to untie my shoes. I tugged them off of my feet and stepped out of the car barefoot. The thick heart-shaped pads on the bottoms of my feet gently crushed the pine needles scattered on the forest floor. I wondered if my loudly coloured clothes would attract attention, but decided they would be alright. My antennae wiggled again as I reoriented myself towards the signal, and then I set off in that direction, jogging through the forest. It was a strange feeling; I nolonger had to breath, so I didn't feel out of breath. I didn't grow tired from running, either. My muscles didn't feel like they were burning, it was as comfortable to jog as it was to walk.

I made it to the military compound in only a few minutes. It was surrounded by tall fences capped with barbed wire, and they had spotlights on towers casually searching the perimeter. I stayed at the forest's edge, a good twenty feet from the fence, and considered what to do. Looking around I noticed a large radio antenna outside of the fence, right on the border of the forest. I was struck by an idea, and headed straight for the antenna. I pressed the heart-shaped palms of my hands against the metal bars of the antenna and I felt them grow sticky. I pulled and lifted myself up, and planted my feet on a bar. The pads on my feet also became sticky, and held in place, while my palms grew soft and allowed me to reach for the next bar. I didn't feel like I was controlling myself, rather my body was climbing on its own. I wasn't sure what the plan I had come up with was, either, but I was sure I had one.

In minutes I had scaled the tower, and was fastened tightly to the metal bars at the top. I leaned forward and touched the tips of my own heart-shaped antennae to the radio antenna at the top of the tower, and felt another strange sensation. Instead of recieving a signal through my antennae, I was sending one. I didn't understand it at all, if it was even words.

Moments later the compound's alarms roared to life, and the spotlights redoubled their searching efforts. I looked down on the compound and saw soldiers pouring out of a small barracks behind the concrete building. And somewhere inside the building, many loud bangs were ringing out.

With a loud crash of broken cement, a flash of red broke through the wall. Before I could get a clear look at it, the thing took off like a rocket and shot into the forest. My body was filled with a sense of excitement and anticipation, as well as pride for successfully executing my clever plan, whatever that meant.

It took me a few minutes to climb down the radio tower, but luckily the searching lights didn't think to look so high up. The soldiers rallied as someone barked orders at them, but whatever it was had already escaped into the woods. I hopped down the last few feet of the antenna and hit the ground running. I had to get back to my car.

It took me only a couple of minutes to get back as I ran much faster on the return trip. Like before, my body felt no fatigue or discomfort, only the constant near-euphoria I had come to consider normal. I burst through the leafy brush at the edge of the clearing where I parked, and I saw something new next to my car.

Hovering silently a meter above the ground was a bright red heart, with a bubble shaped cockpit window in the middle. Was this the wreck I found that night so long ago? It was completely repaired and functional!

Acting on instinct, I approached the floating craft, and wiggled my antennae at it. I felt that I was sending some sort of command, but I didn't understand it. The transparent cockpit hissed briefly and began to open, flipping back towards the cleft of the heart. I leaned forward and looked inside. There was a single seat, a bright candy pink with a heart-shaped seat and back-rest. It was sized appropriately for the creature I had discovered, but it was much too small for me to fit. The console looked like a toddler's playset, with meters and gauges shaped like hearts and stars and four-petaled flowers. There was a heart-shaped main screen that shone with a pulsating rainbow pattern in the center of the console, and there were two heart-shaped indentations on either side, slightly below.

My body moved on its own and pressed the heart-shaped pads on the palms of my hands into the indentations. My palms felt oddly warm, and I felt a powerful sensation of information passing into me and also out of me through them. There was so much traffic that I couldn't make sense of any of it. The screen on the console flashed wave patterns through the irridescence, and then displayed a 3D image of the planet, which resolved into a map, and flashed a particular location. In a moment I realized the location was my rental cabin. Then, I stood back up and sent a command from my antennae, and the cockpit window slid closed and hissed as it sealed into place.

I took two steps back, and the craft levitated higher into the air. I wondered if the military would notice it again, but I felt a thought enter my mind that said "No, I know how their sensors work now." and made me feel confident that the craft would arrive safely and undetected.

I walked up to my car door, opened it, and sat down. I turned on the engine, and as my headlights lit up I felt my night vision fade to something closer to human sight. I turned my car around and headed back through the woods. I didn't see a single military vehicle or soldier on my way, and soon I was on the highway again.

I considered finding a motel to stay at for the night, since it was so late and I had a day's trip back to my cabin, but I realized I still didn't feel the least bit tired. I decided to head straight back, with only one stop to fill my gas tank again.

I pulled into the station in the middle of the night, and I noticed there was a police car parked in the parking lot. There were two uniformed officers inside the shop, and I worried that they might be suspicious of me. I felt another reassuring sensation like before, and decided to fuel up regardless. I opened the tank and pumped it full of gas, and then I headed into the shop. The two officers were still there. One was talking with the cashier and the other was fetching coffee from the dispenser. I walked up to the counter and picked up three large bags of candy, like before, and I asked the cashier how much everything would cost. I pulled out my wallet while the police officer looked me up and down, then he lifted his hat and scratched the top of his head. The cashier took my money and didn't seem to care about my strange appearance, and while I passed through the sliding door my super-sensitive ears heard the officer mutter "Kids these days..." under his breath. I climbed into my car and headed back up the highway for the long trip back to my cabin.

I arrived at the cabin shortly after sunrise, and the shadows of the trees mixed with the golden bolts of light made the forest look breathtaking. I pulled my car into the dirt driveway next to the cabin, and I could see the red craft hovering inches above the ground, next to the cabin's door. It was only about six feet in diameter, and two feet high except for the arching dome of the cockpit.

I wiggled my antennae towards the craft, and felt an overwhelming desire to embrace it. I knelt down on the ground, and pulled my shirt off of my chest, then pressed myself tightly against the smooth red curve of the right wing. Despite having the texture of polished metal, the craft felt comfortably warm to the touch, and as I pressed myself against it, it grew warmer still. I felt a wonderful sensation of fulfillment and joy fill my mind, and I tipped over into full euphoria. I was lost in sensation and I have no measure of the time that passed. It was still day when I found myself pulling away from the craft, but the sun was almost directly overhead. Despite the time of day, I found myself filled with a sense of exhaustion I had not felt since before my body had changed. It was difficult to keep my eyes open, and I knew I had to go to bed. I opened the cabin door and removed my shoes and pants, leaving them on the cabin floor. I locked the door behind myself, and walked naked into the bedroom. I climbed into bed and pulled the covers up to my shoulder and in a blink I was fast asleep.

It was morning again when I woke up. I felt the sunlight tickle at my nose and tease my eyes, and I fidgeted in bed. My arms were wrapped tightly against something warm and soft, and I was filled with a cozy bliss. I hesitated to open my eyes, but the sun filtering through my eyelids was insistant on waking me. I pulled back the covers and opened my eyes, and there in the bed with me, arms wrapped around my chest, was the fuzzy pink alien, fast asleep. Or at least it looked asleep, but it opened its eyes after a moment, and smiled at me. I smiled back at it, but then I blushed. I sat straight up in bed, then climbed out and walked over to my closet.

The alien watched me as I rifled through the closet and put on a pair of underpants. It sat up on the bed at first, then climbed off the edge and walked through the open bedroom door into the front room of the cabin. I followed it, but turned into the washroom in order to grab my pyjama pants, and tugged them on over my underwear. The alien sat down on the sofa, and I sat down next to it.

Then, the alien spoke to me once again, in its strange, trilling language, but this time I understood it perfectly. Translated, it said "How are you feeling, Cuddlefriend?"

I blinked my large eyes at it, and my lower lip quivered. I started to speak, but in the alien's own language, as if I had spoken it all my life. The language was unlike any on Earth, it was composed of two messages at once. The trilling birdsong conveyed the message, while the bubbling babytalk conveyed an emotional counterpart.

"I can understand you now!" I stated, but my eyes went wide at the sound of my own voice. Not only was I speaking its language, but my voice had changed. It was a much higher pitch, almost squeaky, and though my throat seemed capable of a wide range of sounds, the sing-song language demanded a higher tone.

The alien smiled happily and kicked its legs playfully over the edge of the sofa. "I'm glad to hear you speak, Cuddlefriend! I fixed your sounder so that you can talk now."

I reached up and rubbed the back of my head. My spiky hair still felt strange beneath the raised heart of my palm. I wasn't sure what to say after the bizzare events of the last few days, but gradually I collected myself and decided to ask the question that was most pressing to me. "Why did you change me?" I said.

The alien tilted its head to the side, and put its hand on its cheek as if in thought, before replying. "I wanted to save you, and protect you. You were so sick before, I decided to fix you. But everything on this planet is sick. While I was saving you, I decided to make your parts better. Your senses were so restricted before. Do you like them?"

I gulped visibly, and considered that question. I hadn't given it much thought. The changes to my body were so alien and so bizzare, and I was so afraid of not fitting in, that I hadn't considered if they were really good or bad. I did feel wonderful, and my senses were so sharp now. I finally spoke up and said, "Actually, they are sort of nice. I was just shocked to be changed so suddenly and without warning. Earth people can't change shape like this."

We were both quiet for a bit, then I spoke up again. "There's so much I want to ask you, I'm not sure where to begin. ... Why did you come to Earth?" I asked.

The alien giggled excitedly before responding, and said "I was exploring around space where this planet is, and heard lots of noise. I decided to come and look for the source, but when I got close to your planet it suddenly got much noisier, and I was so confused that my ship crashed. I'm glad I found this place, though, and now we can save everyone!"

I listened intently and tried to understand, then I asked another question. "What do you mean when you say 'Save'?" I wasn't aware of being sick before finding the alien, and I was curious what it meant.

The little creature's smile grew larger, and it began to explain. It told me, "Your body was falling apart! It seems like all the things on this planet are like that. You were so fragile, I was scared you might die. But I saved you and now you won't break. You're like me now." its expression turned down suddenly, and it seemed very sad. "I learned a lot about this world while we two were one, Cuddlefriend. Many people are breaking and being lost all the time, and I am unable to save them. Others hurt people and break them. We must save who we can."

My mouth slowly hung open as I listened to the alien speak. They had no word for die, but I understood this creature had just told me it had made me immortal, and it wanted to do the same to everyone on Earth. Swallowing visibly again, I prepared to ask my next questions. "What are you? Where did you come from?" I said.

The creature's smile returned instantly, and it began to speak excitedly. "My name is Snugglefluff! We are Adorabillians, you and I and my friends. We come from all over, Cuddlefriend." Its name literally translated to Snugglefluff, two words spoken as one.

I tilted my head to the side and considered that, then I was struck with another pressing question. "Why do you keep saying Cuddlefriend?", I asked.

Snugglefluff pointed at me, her mitt-like hand seeming to have something like fingers inside a mitten, instead of being just one pad, and it said, "Cuddlefriend is your name. I named you that because you were friendly to me, and you cuddled me through the forest when you found me."

My eyes went wide in surprise, and I blushed heavily. I didn't know what to think about that. I started to respond, "My name is..." but I couldn't say my name in the alien language. It took a strong force of will to speak my native language instead of the alien one, but I managed to say "My name is Jim."

Snugglefluff scooted closer to me on the sofa, and patted my knee gently before it spoke. "That's a nice name too, but I think you should have a name in real words, and don't you like being called Cuddlefriend?"

I blushed even harder. That name seemed somewhat humiliating, and worse it almost seemed to be treating me like a pet. I decided to drop the issue for the moment, and ask one more important question. "What are you going to do now?" I asked, once again speaking the alien language.

Snugglefluff put its hand on its cheek and seemed to be thinking, before it replied to my question. "I sent a message to my friends, but I'm waiting for the council to decide what to do. Until then I want to teach you how to use your hands, and how to talk with your antennae. I could share with you the knowing how to talk, but not the knowing how to use your hands, or the knowing how to use your antennae. Would you like that, Cuddlefriend?"

I held up my hands and stared at my palms. They had done so many strange things over the last few days, and now I was going to learn how to control them. "I would like that very much, Snugglefluff." I replied, with obvious pleasure in my voice.

"Press your hands against my hands." said Snugglefluff, and it held its arms out straight. I held out my hands, and we pressed the heart-shapes on our palms against oneanother. After a moment I felt a strange tingling in my palm, and it seemed to grow more and more focused on a particular spot. "Try to squeeze your hand at that spot." said Snugglefluff.

I squeezed my hand, as if I was squeezing a muscle. I tried different ways of moving it and I felt the rubbery surface react. First it poked out, against Snugglefluff's palm, and then I found I could pull it back in as well. Snugglefluff smiled and said, "That's very good, you're learning fast. Now try and make a feeling in your mind, as if your hand was stuck in place. Do that, and try to pull your hand away from mine."

I tried to do what Snugglefluff said, but when I pulled my hand away it came loose. I tried again and again, but I wasn't able to get it to stick. Snugglefluff made its own palms stick to mine and said, "Try to remember this feeling, this is the sticky feeling. Can you make that feeling inside of you?"

I tried to replicate that feeling, and finally my hand stuck, just for a moment. Then I tried again, and it stuck longer. Then one more time, and I was able to hold it sticky. I giggled excitedly, and blushed at the sudden childish expression. Snugglefluff giggled in response, however, and it made me feel more comfortable.

"There you go! Just one more thing and you'll have the basics down. You can put your hands down now." said Snugglefluff, and I put my hands down. Snugglefluff picked up a pencil from the end table beside the couch, and held it in its hand. It uncurled its mitt from the pencil, and showed me that it was stuck firm to the pad. Then, to my surprise, the pencil started to rotate! Somehow Snugglefluff was rotating the pencil with only its pad. "I want you to try and do this. You learned how to push and pull, and how to make it sticky. You can use all of those things at once and move things with your hands. I am going to go get something from my ship, while you practice."

Doing one of those tasks at a time wasn't too difficult, but doing them all at once was a much harder trick. I could hold the pencil, but I kept pushing it off the pad, or moving it back when I tried to move it forward. Snugglefluff returned with a candy pink heart-shaped plastic case, and sat down on the sofa. It opened the case like a clamshell to reveal a screen like the one in the ship, and a pair of indented hearts on the base. Snugglefluff put its pads into the indentations and the screen came to life, filling with data so fast I couldn't read it. I realized this was a portable computer, and returned to my practice.

I was finally getting the hang of spinning the pencil, though much slower than Snugglefluff had. Snugglefluff turned to me and smiled, saying "You've improved. You'll want to keep practicing, but for now I want you to learn how to read and write. Are you ready?"

I nodded my head and said, "Yes I think so. But, what do you mean? Was that not part of the language you gave me?"

Snugglefluff shook its head back and forth and said, "That's not quite what I mean." and it produced a small candy pink device with a red heart-shaped indentation, large enough for my palm. "This is an Adorabillian book. You can read it with your hands, and write in it too. I can't give you any advice on that, just try it."

Snugglefluff pressed the 'book' into my hands and returned to its computer work. I pressed the heart-shaped pad of my hand into the indentation, and it tingled oddly. I felt like I was sensing information, and as I thought about that information I realized they were words in the alien language.

It was strange, at first I could only read by translating the messages passing through my hand, but then I found I could slow it down, and rewind it. It told a story about a new Adorabillian learning to use his hands, and going through the exercises that Snugglefluff had already had me to. Then the book told me to try and tell it my name. I tried to think my name into the device, and imagine the words going through my hand, but it didn't seem to work. Then I realized what I was doing wrong, and tried to tell the device "Cuddlefriend". The next part of the book addressed me specifically and said, "And that's how Cuddlefriend learned how to read and write to an Adorabillian book!"

I felt a strange tingle in my antennae, and Snugglefluff looked up from its computer. It smiled and pulled its hands off of the indentations, and closed the shell. "It looks like you're ready to learn how to use your antennae, Cuddlefriend." said Snugglefluff, and turned my head to look at them.

"How do I do it, Snugglefluff?" I asked, anxious to learn how these strange antennae worked. Snugglefluff wiggled its antennae at me, and I felt something strange in my head. When I focused my thoughts on that strange feeling, I found it grow sharper and clearer untill I could hear a pure tone.

"Do you hear the tone?" asked Snugglefluff.

I nodded my head and smiled, saying "Yes I do!"

Snugglefluff smiled as well and said, "I guess having me inside you all that time made you a natural. Now I'm going to make another tone, try to focus on it."

Snugglefluff wiggled its antennae again, and I could sense a distant sort of sensation. I tried to focus on it, and when I did I felt something changing in my head. I felt a lot of strange things and heard distant sounds untill I finally found the tone Snugglefluff was making, and focused on it.

My expression pulled into a smile when I found it, and Snugglefluff responded right away. "You found it, right? Did you feel how everything changed when you tried to find it?" I nodded in response, and Snugglefluff continued. "That's how you tune in to different signals. Now I'm going to talk to you with my antennae, and you try to listen."

I closed my eyes and listened with my antennae. I sensed something, and I tuned in the way I had learned. I heard a message enter my head, "Cuddlefriend, can you hear me? Can you hear me, Cuddlefriend?"

I responded out loud. "I can hear you, Snugglefluff! This is amazing." Snugglefluff smiled bigger, and responded in my mind, saying "Now for the last part, you have to respond with your antennae. its just like writing with your hands, but through your antennae. Do you understand? Give it a try!"

I chewed on my lower lip, eyes tightly closed, and I tried to send a message to Snugglefluff. "Can you hear me, Snugglefluff? Are you hearing this message?" I thought, and I pressed that thought into my antennae.

Suddenly I felt a response in my head, "Yes I can hear you, Cuddlefriend. You're still a little quiet, try to put more feeling into it." and I knew that the message was coming from Snugglefluff. I tried to focus harder, and soon Snugglefluff replied again, saying "There, that's perfect! You're talking perfectly now. Though, we don't use our antennae to talk most of the time. its too noisy. We use it for long distance talking, or talking to machines. We can use our voices here."

"Thank you, Snugglefluff. This is all so amazing." I said outloud, and Snugglefluff smiled in response.

"I recieved a response from the fleet council just now. They're going to come to this planet and save everyone! Isn't that great?" said Snugglefluff.

I blinked my eyes a few times, and thought about that. A whole fleet of Adorabillians like Snugglefluff, coming to Earth and doing the same thing to everyone else that happened to me. I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not, though. "Umm... I'm not sure everybody will be so thrilled. A lot of people on this planet fear change."

Snugglefluff nodded its head in agreement with me, and said "Yes, but we have our assignments too, to help things along!"

I rubbed the back of my head with my hand, and said "We do? You mean, both of us?" with more than a little confusion.

Snugglefluff nodded excitedly and said, "Yes of course! You're an Adorabillian now, just like me. Don't you want to help save everyone on this planet?"

I continued to rub the back of my head, blushing a little, and replied, saying "Well, I guess... I mean, yes!" And I started thinking about it, and I realized I really did want to help everyone. I'd felt wonderful ever since I started to change, and though it was weird and disturbing at times, I wanted everyone to feel as good as I felt, and to become immortal.

Snugglefluff threw its hand into the air and cheered, "That's the way. Now, the council has put me in charge of taking care of you, and giving you an Adorabillian education. They also want you to be adorabalized so that they can take you aboard one of the Cuddlecruisers. You'll help the fleet commanders learn all about this planet."

I nodded my head and listened, but gulped heavily at the word 'adorabalized' and when my turn came, I spoke up. "What do you mean, adorabalized?"

Snugglefluff giggled excitedly and said, "Well, most Adorabillians are my size, so our ships are built for people my size, so you have to get smaller."

I gulped again and said, "Uhh... is that really neccesary? I mean, I guess it is... but will it hurt?"

Snugglefluff shook its head and kept smiling, saying "Nope! It'll be good for you. When I saved you, I made lots and lots of Adorabillian flesh to change your body. But you have lots of parts that you don't need anymore, and you're carrying around a lot of weight you don't need. Also, I need that extra flesh for my assignment."

I looked down at my body. After all these changes, I was going to get shrunken down into a little alien like Snugglefluff. According to them, I was already an alien just the same. An Adorabillian, whatever that was. Somehow I found myself feeling courageous, however. This was a great opportunity! I was going to go to space, and meet aliens, and help them save the Earth!

"Alright... I'll do it." I said.

Snugglefluff clapped its hands together and squealed with excitement. "I knew you'd come around. After all, we used to be the same person. But we have some time, so first I want to teach you about what it means to be an Adorabillian. Would you like that, Cuddlefriend?"

I didn't mind holding off the intimidating imminent transformation, and I was more than a little curious about this strange alien culture. "I would like that very much, Snugglefluff." I said.

Snugglefluff opened its computer case and put its hands into the indentations. The heart-shaped screen lit up into a picture of a creature that resembled a tiger with black fur and white stripes, standing on its hind legs. Snugglefluff began to speak.

"A long time ago, way back beyond measure, there were a people who liked to break other people, a lot. The name of that people wasn't a word, it was a ferocious roar, so we call them the Roarpeople. The Roarpeople liked breaking other Roarpeople, but their favorite thing was breaking people who weren't Roarpeople. They traveled in space and broke lots and lots of other old people. Most of the old people hated the Roarpeople, and many of the Roarpeople hated themselves. They were always breaking, but they feared to be broken themselves, and the more they broke other people, the more other people wanted to break them."

The image changed to a picture of a scarred planet, with cracks of molten lava visible from space. Snugglefluff continued to speak.

"The Roarpeople were good at breaking, but eventually so many people were upset at them, that the Roarpeople were broken more often than not. One day they only had one planet left with Roarpeople on it. One of those Roarpeople was named Adorabillia. Adorabillia was a scientist, and a philosopher, and she had an idea. She thought the Roarpeople should stop breaking other people. She wanted to stop all of the breaking, and live in peace and love and harmony and joy."

The image changed to a picture of one of the Roarpeople in something resembling a combination of a lab coat and an apron, and Snugglefluff continued.

"Adorabillia learned all about science and really very small things, and tried to find a solution to the Roarpeople's problems, and she created the first Adorabillian flesh."

The image changed to a picture of something that looked like a high-magnification microscope photograph of a complex cell.

"Adorabillia made lots of flesh, and changed her own flesh to Adorabillian flesh. When she did this, she became unbreakable. She realized that if everyone was made of Adorabillian flesh like she was, they would be saved from breaking. Adorabillia also changed the shape of her body to something that looked harmless and defenseless so that people would nolonger fear her."

The image changed to a picture that looked very much like Snugglefluff.

"Adorabillia went out into the world and spoke to the Roarpeople, and they tried to break her, and they could not. Adorabillia spoke to the Roarpeople again, and they listened. She spoke of peace and love and harmony and joy, and she told the Roarpeople that if they embraced those values, they could be like her."

The image changed to show a large group of Adorabillians with similar shapes, but all different colours of the rainbow.

"The last of the Roarpeople were tired of fighting, and they listened to Adorabillia, and they learned to work together as friends. They changed their bodies to be soft and harmless, so that everyone could see their devotion to peace and love and harmony and joy. And they became unbreakable, and the best of friends."

The image changed to a picture of a planet that was covered in a rainbow of colours. It was the same planet.

"Working together they repaired their broken planet, and saved it as they had saved eachother. They looked out into space again, and decided they needed to speak with a single voice. Untill then they had all worked together with no leader, but they unanimously promoted Adorabillia to be the unbreakable Empress of their new civilization."

The image changed to one of an Adorabillian talking with an unfamiliar alien.

"The new Adorabillians visited their neighbors who hated the Roarpeople, but they loved the Adorabillians. They learned about Adorabillia and her philosophy and her gift, and they became Adorabillians too."

The image changed, and the second alien was an Adorabillian.

"Much, much time has passed, and the Empress Adorabillia still guides us to peace and love and harmony and joy. Now we travel through space and help new people to become like we are."

The image faded to the irridescent rainbow pattern, and Snugglefluff turned to face me, waiting for me to say something. I thought about what I had been told, and wondered, and so I asked a question. "So, all the Adorabillians follow a single Empress, who has ruled for so long its beyond measure?"

And Snugglefluff nodded, smiling, and said "Yes, that's right! She's really quite wonderful. I'm sure you'll agree when you get to communicate with her directly."

Then I asked, "And your fleet is going to come to this planet, and offer to let everyone become Adorabillians?"

And Snugglefluff got a bit of a perplexed look, then said "Not exactly. They're going to come and save everyone. Not offer. Doesn't that seem bad? What if someone said no? They'd end up broken!"

I rubbed the back of my head for a bit before I spoke again, and said "But what if people are okay with being saved, but don't want to be Adorabillians? What if they want to be different?"

Snugglefluff giggled happily, and then responded, "Oh, after they've been saved, everybody wants to be an Adorabillian. Some just take longer to realize it. You have an Adorabillian body, but you're not a full Adorabillian untill you embrace our philosophy."

I nodded and considered all of this, but decided it was a bit over my head for one day. "Alright, I think I understand that. And I'd like to learn more about this Adorabillian philosophy."

Snugglefluff smiled and nodded, and said "That's great! But, I want to give you some time to think over everything we've already covered. In the mean time, why don't we get you adorabalized? I have a great new look for you ready. I've been studying this planet's cultures and I have some ideas to make you look particularly cute and friendly looking to the people of this planet."

I gulped and nodded slowly, "Alright." I said, pausing, then continuing. "What do I have to do?" I asked.

Snugglefluff smiled and started to explain, saying "Well, you're still a new Adorabillian, so knowing how to change your own body is still too advanced for you. I've read the new form I designed from my computer, and I'm going to guide your body into taking it, and into shedding the extra Adorabillian flesh you don't need. All we need to do is press our hands together, but we should do it on the floor so you don't fall down. Oh, and you should take those coverings off. They might get in the way, and they won't fit you anymore."

I stood up and, blushing, removed my pants and underpants, while Snugglefluff sat flat on the floor of the cabin, holding its arms and legs straight out. I sat down across from them, naked, and held out my hands palm forward. Snugglefluff pressed their hands to mine and closed their eyes. I felt the information entering my hands, and my whole body started to tingle strangely.

At first I didn't see anything happening, but then I saw some bits of red gel bead up on the surface of my skin, and take the form of a heart shape. Then they solidified and fell to the floor of the cabin. All over my body, little heart-crystals were forming and dropping off, and I realized I was getting smaller. Snugglefluff was rapidly coming closer and closer to eye level with me. I looked down at my body and saw that more was changing than just my height, as well.

My fingernails and toenails melted away into my rubbery flesh, and my fingers and toes seemed to thicken while also shortening. My fingers were reduced to tiny nubs around the edge of the wide heart-shaped pad, except for my thumb which thickened and rounded significantly. My feet seemed to loose definition and my toes were absorbed as my feet took on the same boot-like shape as Snugglefluff's. The two individual heart-shaped pads on the bottom of my feet merged into a single thick pad underneath. My arms and legs from the elbows and knees down swelled out thicker than they were close to my body, and compared to the rest of my body my feet and hands were much larger.

My human ears melted away into my head, leaving just the long fluffy pink bunny ears. I could feel my face change as well, but I didn't have a mirror handy to see what happened. I looked down my chest and my belly and hips took on a slight pear-shape.

My belly button seemed to fill in with liquid and disappear, leaving a flat surface, and between my legs I watched as my penis and ballsac pulled into my body and disappeared. I could feel a strange filling sensation in my behind, and I felt it become covered as well.

Snugglefluff opened its eyes and smiled, saying "Oh how wonderful! Now you look like a proper Adorabillian, Cuddlefriend!" It seemed to happen very quickly but it actually took an entire hour before my body was changed completely.

Snugglefluff pulled their hands away from mine, and I looked down at them. My fingers were basically decorative now, though I could bend my palm in the middle like a mitten. I supposed I would have to use the heart-shaped pad to handle objects from then on.

"May I go take a look at myself in the mirror?" I asked, looking towards the bathroom.

"Sure! I'm going to start gathering up the extra flesh." said Snugglefluff, and it used a dustpan and broom from the cabin to sweep up the large pile of little crystals into a bucket.

I carefully stood up on my transformed legs. It was a strange sensation, my whole body reacted differently. To describe it, it was like I was using my skin to pull myself up, instead of my muscles. But, it was also definately under the skin. I could pull my skin in any direction, though it was difficult to move it in ways I didn't used to have muscles and joints for. Pressing the heart-shaped pad against my thigh, my flesh felt soft and a deep dent pushed in. I couldn't feel any individual parts inside, it was just a uniform softness contained by a tight and firm rubbery flesh-balloon.

I leaned up against the armrest of the sofa and carefully twisted my leg all the way in a cirle, confirming that my body had lost its skeleton. I unwound my leg, which took quite a bit of concentration, and took a few cautious steps towards the bathroom.

My legs seemed to balance themselves instinctively, bits of flesh tugging here and there to make it all work. Between the softness of my leg and the rubber pad of my sole, it felt like I was walking on soft mattress with each step, even on the hardwood floor of the cabin.

I went into the bathroom and everything looked strange and new. My perspective was half the height it used to be, and I wasn't tall enough to reach the sink. I stuck my hands onto the edge of the sink and lifted myself up carefully. My body felt so light after its transformation that it was easy to move. I climbed up to stand on the sink bowl and look into the mirror. At my new size it was almost a full body mirror, and I was able to look at myself all at once.

The previous changes had left me looking somewhat like myself, but now I couldn't even recognize my own face. My jawline had been softened and my eyebrows were much thinner. My eyes were just as big as Snugglefluff's, and my head was larger in proportion as well, compared to my tiny body. My hair was still lavender and spiky, and as I had felt during the change, my ears were gone; only the thick floppy bunny ears remained. My mouth was the most striking change. My lips were much thicker, and arranged in a natural upturned pout. Combined with my pear shaped torso I almost looked like a girl, but with my rubbery skin and massive eyes I looked more like a living doll.

I carefully climbed back down from the sink and walked into the front room of the cabin. Snugglefluff was there still collecting the heart-shaped crystals that were scattered all over the floor where I had been sitting. I thought about what to do and decided to help them. I reached down and started picking up the heart crystals with my sticky-hands, but I found it difficult to make just the part that was touching a heart sticky, and I frequently got myself stuck to the floor.

Snugglefluff filled a large plastic bucket that had been in the cabin, and lifted it by the handle. The bucket was so big that they had to lift their hands over their head to get it off the ground, and so full that I thought they couldn't carry it, but the burden didn't seem to phase them at all. Snugglefluff carried the bucket on its back out to the front stairs where its spaceship rested, while I continued to try and pick up the remaining heart crystals with my new hands.

When Snugglefluff returned with the bucket empty I had managed to pick up three heart-shaped crystals with each hand, without sticking myself to the floor. I dropped them all into the bucket, and Snugglefluff congratulated me. "Good work, Cuddlefriend! And thank you for helping me. I'm glad you're getting to practice with your hands."

I blushed a bit at the compliment and said, "Oh, I just thought I should help you out. I mean, uh, we're partners now, right?"

Snugglefluff made an excited cheerful trilling noise that sounded almost musical, and nodded its head energetically. "Oh yes that's right, that's right indeed! I'm glad to hear you say it, Cuddlefriend."

After that the two of us worked together to pick up all of the heart crystals and put them in the bucket. When we had filled it with the last of the crystals, it was almost as full as the first bucketfull. Snugglefluff reached out to take the handle, but I spoke up and said, "Can I try and carry this bucket out?"

Snugglefluff stopped, and pulled back its hand, and gave a welcoming gesture. "Sure you can Cuddlefriend! I'll go open the intake hatch." it said, and then it stepped back and waited for me to pick up the bucket.

I reached up with both arms and made my hands sticky against the handle of the bucket, then I hefted it up and it lifted easily off the ground. I could sense that it was very heavy, but I didn't feel any difficulty in lifting it. No sore muscles or strain. I positioned the bucket on my back, still holding the handle above my head, and started walking towards the front door. Snugglefluff walked out in front of me and stood next to the spaceship, which had a small rectangular section on the side slide open automatically. With my antennae I heard Snugglefluff say somethiing, and I realized it was a radio command to the ship. A funnel poked its head out of the rectangle, and the cone extended further once it was outside.

"Just pour them in this funnel." said Snugglefluff, as it gestured with one hand.

I removed one hand from the handle of the bucket, holding it up with just one arm. I could sense that this was a greater strain, but I still didn't 'feel' the strain. I reached down and put my other hand on the bottom of the bucket and hefted the whole thing up towards the funnel, turning it over and pouring out the crystals, which all flowed down into the heart-shaped vessel.

As soon as the bucket was empty, Snugglefluff gave another command and the funnel withdrew, and the slot closed, leaving a seamless red finish on the shell. Snugglefluff gave another trilling, musical giggle before saying "Thank you again Cuddlefriend! Now, I have a treat for you!"

Snugglefluff gave a command to the ship, and the hatch opened on top. They scrambled up the side and reached into the cockpit, then pulled something out. I didn't see it untill Snugglefluff climbed back out, and they spoke to me on the way down. "There's lots of differences between Adorabillians and this planet, but here's something we have in common!"

Snugglefluff held out a large, heart-shaped lollipop on a white shaft. The candy heart was made out of rainbow stripes growing from a purple heart and through the spectrum out to a red border on the edges. "Go ahead, take it Cuddlefriend! This is an Adorabillian stick-candy. They're really yummy, and I want you to have it."

I held out my hand, a little confused how to take something with Adorabillian hands. I pressed my hand against Snugglefluff's and tried to make just the part touching the stick, sticky. It worked, and Snugglefluff released the stick, so that I was holding it. I blushed as I considered my situation, a full-grown adult shrunken into a cutesy doll, naked and holding a giant lollipop.

"Is it okay to eat it? I mean, don't Adorabillians eat different?" I asked.

Snugglefluff nodded its head as energetically as ever, and said "That's right! You can lick this and your body will use it differently now. You probably shouldn't eat any of this planet's food anymore, though. You have to learn the knowing how to eat complex things. Sugars are easy things."

I held the lollipop up in front of my face and thought about it for a moment, before I extended my tounge and licked it. I hadn't noticed it in the mirror earlier, but my tounge had become completely smooth and pink when I changed, and though it was shiny like rubber, it didn't feel moist in my mouth. Despite that, it seemed to grow wet as soon as it touched the lollipop, and I could taste the flavors. Each of the coloured rings of the lollipop had a different flavor, though each was also very sweet. They tasted like fruits, but subtly different than earth fruits.

Snugglefluff giggled excitedly and started speaking again. "I knew you'd like it! Now, I need to go ahead with my assignment, and that means I've got to take a little trip in my spaceship. I wish I could take you with me, but it only seats one, and you don't have the knowing how to fold up yet. Will you please stay here at the cabin untill I get back?"

I moved the massive lollipop to the side, since it was blocking my vision, and looked up at Snugglefluff. "Oh, I suppose I'll be alright by myself. How long will I be waiting?"

Snugglefluff climbed up the side of its ship and slid into the pilot's seat, then said "Not very long. My ship is very fast and I'm only going around this planet. I'm sorry to not be more specific, but you don't have the knowing how to tell time yet."

I rubbed the back of my head softly with my mitt-like hand and said, "Oh I see... But on this planet, we tell time by the rotation of the planet, when its been dark and light is one unit."

Snugglefluff looked up at the sky, then back to me and said, "That's a different way to tell time. I will be back while it is still light here."

I nodded and waved, saying "Have a nice trip, Snugglefluff."

Snugglefluff smiled and closed the hatch, saying "See you again soon, Cuddlefriend!" and then the hatch fastened with a hiss, and Snugglefluff put its hands on the console and the ship silently lifted into the air before shooting off in a blink.

I brought the lollipop close to my mouth and took another long lick of it, and thought about everything that had happened. I held out my empty hand and stared at it, first the back, and then the palm. Everything felt new and different yet also comfortable and satisfying. I thought of Snugglefluff and felt a twinge of lonliness, but I felt like I trusted them. I turned around and walked back into the cabin, closing the door behind myself.

I walked over to the sofa and climbed onto it. It was a nice place to sit, but as I took a lick of my lollipop I realized that I was softer than the cushions now. I sat there for a long time, thinking about things and licking the lollipop. I never dreamed that something like this would happen to me, or to the world. Everything was going to change when the other Adorabillians got there. I wondered what Snugglefluff was doing, and what its assignment was. I thought about how people might react to this; it was basically the end of the human race, but all of us who survived were going to live forever like this. No more wars, no more fighting, no more disease. I wondered if they could really do that, or if people would still try to kill oneanother over petty differences.

I finished the lollipop after two hours of constant licking, and Snugglefluff wasn't back yet. I slowly twirled the plastic stick on the surface of one hand, while twirling a pencil on the surface of the other. Doing it on both hands was much harder than just one, but the more I practiced the better I got. After a bit I hopped down from the sofa, spread my arms wide, and pretended that I was an airplane and those were my propellers. I ran in circles around the room, swooping low and hopping around. It was so relaxing to just forget myself and play for a while. After another hour I fell on my butt, giggling to myself in the same high-pitched musical trilling I associated with Snugglefluff.

It was fun to play around, but I was getting tired of waiting there all by myself. I looked over at my camera and thought about going outside. I blushed again as I considered it, however. I was still completely naked, and didn't have a thing to wear. I supposed I didn't need anything, since I didn't have anything to cover and my body wouldn't be hurt by the weather or the coarse ground. However, I still felt shy after having lived my life as a human.

Next to the door I noticed the pink shirt that Snugglefluff had altered when it was in my body. I looked down at my hands and I wondered if I could do that as well, but I didn't know how that was even possible. I was still learning to pick things up, the 'knowing how to alter fabrics' was beyond me. Or at least, the Adorabillian version was.

I picked up the shirt from the floor and carried it into the kitchenette, then climbed up the cabinets and pulled open the knife drawer. I pulled out a pair of scissors and climbed back to the floor. I looked at the scissors in my hand for a moment, and realized how much they really depended on fingers to work. Carefully I used the palm of my hand like I had to twirl the pencil, and I found I was able to open and close the scissors without moving my fingers at all.

I put down the scissors and picked up the shirt, pulling it over my body. It was much too large for me, of course, and it bunched up around my ankles. I tugged the sleeves up my arms, by making my palms into sort of 'conveyor belts', and then knelt down to pick up the scissors. I was getting a lot better at handling things with my hands, and this was all good practice.

Using the scissors I carefully cut the sleeves of the shirt untill they were just like t-shirt sleeves, and I cut the bottom of the shirt around my knees so that it wouldn't drag. It was still very loose around me, however, so I cut a long strip of fabric from one of the cut-off sleeves, and carefully tied it around my waist like a belt.

I walked out of the kitchenette and over to the bathroom, where I climbed up onto the sink again and took a look at my reflection. I had intended to turn the shirt into a sort of tunic, but with my figure and the pink-with-hearts fabric pattern, I had ended up making myself a very girlish dress. I blushed brightly into the mirror, and gasped in surprise as I saw my cheeks turn to solid pink circles. I could feel my face flush before but I hadn't actually seen it happen until then. I felt even more embarassed the more I looked at myself, and the circles just woudn't go away. I climbed down from the sink carefully and walked back into the main room. I settled my nerves remarkably fast, and returned to my thoughts of going outside.

My camera was sitting on the front room table, along with my extra memory cards. I thought it would be to awkward to carry the extra cards in this shape, but there was a fresh card in my camera that would hold a good number of pictures.

I pulled one of the chairs out from the table, and climbed onto it, then I climbed up onto the tabletop. My camera was right there where I left it, so I picked it up and held it in my hands. I thought about how to operate it with my new body. It was difficult to hold and press the buttons, but I managed to position it comfortably. My expanded eyes were so big that I could look through the viewfinder and still see around it. After a moment I figured out how to focus in on just the view, though. With that settled, I hung the camera around my shoulders, altering the strap so that it would fit my tiny body, then I walked out the front door of the cabin.

I had been outside since my changes already, but this was the first time I had been on my own. Everything felt wonderful and different. I could hear so many things that I couldn't hear before, and my eyes could see clearly both close up and far into the distance. The scents of the forest were even richer than ever, filled with faint under-scents that a human nose couldn't sense. Even the ground felt new and different beneath the soft pink pads of my bare feet.

I looked around the cabin and tried to decide where I would photograph, and then I looked up. There was a particularly tall pine tree about fifty feet into the woods from the cabin, and with my new hands and feet, I thought climbing it would be a breeze.

I set out into the woods at a leisurely pace, and I found that at my new height I had to deal with a lot more obstacles like large roots or boulders that I could have simply stepped over before. Fortunately my body was strong enough now that I easily navigated any climbing I had to do. It took me longer to get to the tree than I had expected, since the trip was more complex, and my legs were much shorter, but I found it right where I had expected it.

The tree was particularly massive for that forest, at least a hundred feet tall. The ground was littered with old brown needles and broken off branches, but the skin on my feet was strong and it didn't even feel uncomfortable or pokey. I pressed the palm of my hand up against the tree and it stuck fast, and I pressed the other palm higher up, and I lifted myself into the air. I planted my feet against the tree, and they stuck as well, and I started to climb. Climbing the tree was about as easy as I had expected, but it took longer. I had to go slowly to avoid bumping my camera against the wood, or running into a branch. With a bit of concentration I found I could bend my head back at a ninety-degree angle to my body, allowing me to see directly above me as I climbed. I must have looked terribly weird doing it, however.

I estimate it took me twenty minutes to climb the tree, but the view from the top was breathtaking; or it would have been if I still breathed. I could see my cabin in the clearing far below, and I could also see the lake further on down the path. The other cabins around the lake were in the distance, and the dirt roads connecting them to the highway. I could even see the belltower at the library in the village nearby.

I carefully stuck my feet to the tree trunk so that I could use my hands to operate the camera. I took pictures of everything I could see, and I got some really nice zoom lens shots of the belltower horizon. I filled up the entire memory card just with photographs from the top of the tree, but though I was out of space I decided to stay up there a while longer, and enjoy the view.

After a time I was finally interupted by Snugglefluff's now familiar voice, coming from my antennae. "Cuddlefriend? Where did you go? I don't see you at the cabin."

I blushed when I realized Snugglefluff had returned, and I didn't stay at the cabin like they asked. I wiggled my antennae to reply, saying "I'm not far, I went to take some pictures at the top of a tree."

I heard Snugglefluff's giggling, even in radio-telepathy, and they said "Alright I'll come over there then."

I gathered up my camera and started to climb down the tree, but I heard a sound from the forest before long. Snugglefluff had jogged all the way over, and made the trip in just a minute or two. I guessed they traced my radio signal to find me.

"There you are, Cuddlefriend!" called Snugglefluff from the ground. "Why don't you just hop down from there?"

I blinked a few times, and thought about it. Could I really just drop from that height safely? My body was definately much softer and more durable, and if I tucked my camera against my chest... I decided to do it. "Okay! Watch out below!" I shouted, and tried to leap out between the branches.

I fell down quickly, and it was absolutely thrilling. My skin felt cool as the air rushed past it, and the skirt of my makeshift dress flew up around me, and in a flash it was over and I landed with a soft thud on my bottom, completely unharmed.

Blinking a few times as I got my bearings, I stood up on the forest floor. Snugglefluff walked up to me, and leaned forward, giving me a hug. I was a little surprised, and blushed. The hug felt oddly warm, and I felt my body grow warm as well. Finally Snugglefluff giggle-trilled and stepped back. "I'm glad you were alright without me, Cuddlefriend." they said. "And you look very cute, too! Did you make that dress?"

I blushed at the comment and nodded my head slowly. "Um, yes I did, I made it out of the shirt you changed." I admitted.

Snugglefluff giggled again and said, "Most Adorabillians don't wear clothes, but sometimes they help us look cute and friendly. I think that's a good look for you, Cuddlefriend!"

I continued to blush, and put my hands on my cheeks to cover my flushed face, but Snugglefluff stepped closer and wrapped its arms around my body, and pressed the soft fluff of its cheek against my hot pink blush. It felt oddly warm like before, but comfortable. It was awkward to be so close with someone who was almost a stranger, but I was growing to like Snugglefluff and I didn't have the heart to tell them to stop.

Soon Snugglefluff let go and asked, "Are you ready to go back to the cabin?"

I nodded my head and said, "Yes, let's go." and started walking towards the cabin. To my surprise, Snugglefluff reached down and stuck the palm of their right hand to my left hand, holding hands with me as we walked together back to the cabin.

When we arrived back at the cabin, I saw that Snugglefluff's ship was floating next to the front door again. We walked up the front steps and stood next to it for a moment, still holding hands. Snugglefluff turned its head to me and it said, "I've taken care of my big assignment, and now we just have to wait for my friends to get here. This place is going to be a lot different when we save all these plants."

I looked back at the woods, and thought about that. I knew they planed on 'saving' the humans, and I guessed the animals too, but I hadn't even thought about the plants. I wondered what they would be like afterwards.

Snugglefluff smiled at me again and said, "My friends won't be here for two more planet rotations. Untill then, I want to teach you everything I can about being an Adorabillian." Snugglefluff reached up and opened the door, and we went inside together, and walked all the was to the bedroom. Snugglefluff was still holding hands with me, and helped me climb up onto the bed. They sat down on the bed, and I sat down across from them, but our hands were still attached so we were right in front of oneanother.

Snugglefluff raised their other hand, and put their legs in front of their body straight out. "Please sit like this, Cuddlefriend!" they said. I moved my arm up and pressed the heart-shaped pad of my palm against theirs, and I put my feet straight out. I noticed as I was sitting like this that my arms and legs were exactly the same length now, just like Snugglefluff. With our feet straight out, the pads on our soles connected like the pads on our hands.

"Alright, now please close your eyes and relax. I want to share with you the knowing about peace and love and harmony and joy." said Snugglefluff, almost reverently.

I closed my eyes and tried to relax, though my body felt so soft and comfortable after the change that I wasn't sure how to be any more relaxed than I always was. I felt a warmth enter my hands and flow into my body, along with information, but there was also something more. I felt an emotion pass from Snugglefluff and into me, a serene calm that filled my entire body and loosened the tightness in my skin that I didn't even know was there. I felt absolutely content at that moment, and paralyzed by it. There was no reason to move, no reason to think, I was totally at peace.

"This is the knowing about peace." said a voice, from somewhere. I was too content to think about who said it, or where they were. "When you know about peace you can think clearly. You don't have to do anything, no matter what happens. You are free from worry and doubt and fear. With peace in your heart, you don't need anything else."

The sensation started to fade, and I started to think again, but I still felt exquisitely comfortable and serene. I had been full of anxiety from worrying about alien invasion, the future, my previous life and my posessions, and my humiliation at my transformed body. All of that melted away and I found myself able to think clearly and measure my situation with absolute reason.

I sensed a tingling in my hands and I felt another rush of emotion across our connection, from Snugglefluff to me, and I was filled with a sense of heat. My thoughts turned to the people I knew in my life, my parents, my aunt, my cousins, my friends, my colleagues at work, drunken strangers in back alleyways, even Snugglefluff, across from me, and even more, my thoughts turned to all the people of the earth, kind and cruel, countrymen and foriegners. With the clarity of peace I felt that I understood them all, and I forgave them everything, and I loved them all. All the people of the world were worthy of compassion and caring, and all were forgiven. Even more, my thoughts turned beyond the humans, to the animals, the birds, the fish, the tiny bugs in the ground, even the plants, the trees and the flowers and the mushrooms and the algae.

Most importantly, I forgave myself. All of the mistakes I had made, all of the things I felt so bad about, I understood it, and I forgave myself for it. I was worthy of compassion and caring, and I loved myself.

Snugglefluff's voice filled me, not through their voice or antennae, but through my hands. I could feel their words like my own thoughts. "This is the knowing about love. In love we understand that everyone is good, but some people are in a bad situation. Love encourages us to help the less fortunate and the compassion to forgive them for acting out in their sickness."

My hands tingled yet again, and I calmly accepted the feelings into my body. I found myself thinking about conflict, the wars of ideology, and the differences of oppinion between individuals. I felt myself loving everyone and their differences, yet sad because they couldn't get along.

I felt Snugglefluff's voice enter my mind again. It said, "The knowing about harmony is to know that peace and love are more important than being different. When everyone follows the same path, conflict will not occur. However, diversity is important, and individuality. The path we take guides us to be different and alike."

I felt images and feelings enter my mind through the link I shared with Snugglefluff, and I saw incredible things. Alien planets populated by uncountable Adorabillians, each planet different, yet all alike, colourful and covered with forests and fields and oceans of candy, and dotted with cities each filled with hearts and stars and rainbows. The people on every world were happy and worked together and similar, yet different, just like Snugglefluff and I were similar, yet different.

I wanted everyone to experience that sort of togetherness, with everyone getting along peacefully, and when I felt that desire I felt Snugglefluff's voice say, "This is the knowing about harmony."

I started to think about that, and what it meant, and how the world would be if everyone lived together in harmony.

As I thought about that, I felt myself fill with a euphoric pleasure and sense of satisfaction, not from Snugglefluff but from myself. My face turned into a smile as I savored it, and I felt Snugglefluff's voice inside of me say, "The knowing about joy is to know the direction of the path. You are feeling joy because I have shown you the path. Follow this feeling, fill yourself with it, and bring it to others, and you will be following the path."

I considered this, and I thought about how joyful this experience has made me feel. Still filled with love, I wanted to share this experience with everyone and everything. And Snugglefluff said, "This is the knowing of joy."

I felt amazing. Everything felt so clear. I didn't feel afraid or ashamed anymore, I just felt love for everything, and a desire to spread joy. I understood why the Adorabillians were doing this, and I agreed with them. Everyone was sick, they didn't know what was wrong with them. We had to save them. Love demanded it. We had to show them the path of harmony and joy.

Snugglefluff spoke to me again in my mind, and said "To bring joy we act as friends, and appear as friends, untill everyone are friends. We make ourselves soft and cute so that people will feel comfort and accept the joy that we bring. We feel joy from our effort, and know that it is correct."

And then, Snugglefluff pulled its hands away from mine. My mouth was hanging open, but my cheeks were drawn up in a smile. I felt wonderful, and confident, and joyful.

Snugglefluff leaned forward and wrapped its arms around my middle, and hugged me. It felt warm, and soothing, and joyful. "I'm sorry I couldn't share that with you sooner, Cuddlefriend." said Snugglefluff. "It takes a while after you've been adorabalized before you're ready to accept that knowing."

I leaned forward and hugged Snugglefluff back, squeezing it tightly as I felt the warmth of my body pour into them. "Thank you so much, Snugglefluff. Everything is so clear, now! I feel like a whole new person!"

Snugglefluff sat up on the bed and giggled at me, and patted me on the leg. "its a rush when you first get the knowing, but give it time to settle in. Your thinker needs to take it, and make it yours."

I laid back on the bed and rested my head against the pillow. Snugglefluff pulled up next to me, and we snuggled together on the bed untill the moon was high in the sky. As time passed the rush of the knowing and the clarity of purpose faded a bit. I still felt wonderful, and I still knew what was right, but at first the knowing had burned in my mind, and after a time it felt like it was just a part of me. I was happy, and joyful, to be together with my friend Snugglefluff, and I truly felt like we were friends. I looked out the window at the starry sky and felt anxious for Snugglefluff's friends to get to earth; I was sure they would be my friends, too.

It was around two in the morning, according to the clock in the bedroom, when my thoughts finally turned from the things I had experienced and learned, to thoughts of what to do next. Snugglefluff was still quietly clinging to me in the bed, and they smiled at me when they caught my gaze. I smiled back, and said, "Snugglefluff, before, when you were inside of me, you used my hands to change my shirt and pants. Will you teach me the knowing how to do that?"

Snugglefluff held out its hand and stroked the fabric of my dress against my chest slowly. "Knowing how to arrange molecules is a very difficult knowing. We won't have time for you to learn it before our friends get here. It will take much, much time for you to learn."

I reached out my hand and gently stroked one of Snugglefluff's long ears, and I said, "I understand. But, then, would you use your hands like that again, for me?"

Snugglefluff smiled and giggle-trilled musically, before asking "What would you like me to do, Cuddlefriend?"

I smiled and tugged on the fabric of my dress, saying "I made this dress because I felt shy about my body. I don't feel shy anymore, but I want to keep the dress because it looks cute. It was only half a job, though. Would you finish it for me?"

Snugglefluff giggled excitedly and clapped its hands together, saying "Oh I do like to do things like that! But I can do even better. I didn't have my ship when I did that before. Let's go outside!"

We both stood up on the bed, walked over to the edge and hopped down together. We opened the bedroom door and walked into the front room, but a few steps in we stopped suddenly. There was a brown bear in the kichenette, who had opened the refridgerator and was eating the food. Snugglefluff and I had gone inside so quickly earlier that we hadn't closed the front door, and the bear wandered in from the night.

I looked at the bear, and from the knowing of peace I knew my body was unbreakable, and the bear was not a threat to me, and I knew that the loss of personal things was unimportant. In love, I forgave the bear for doing what comes natural, and in compassion I wanted him to have the food I nolonger needed. Thinking with reason, however, I knew that the bear might cause us trouble if he considered us a threat.

"That animal is known to strike at people when surprised. We shouldn't interrupt him." I said. I had meant to refer to it by name, but there were no Adorabillian words for 'Black Bear'. I thought that perhaps the Adorabillians gave new Adorabillian names to everything they discovered.

Snugglefluff ignored my warning and walked up to the bear, gently petting him on the head. The bear ignored Snugglefluff and continued to eat out of the refridgerator. Snugglefluff turned to me and smiled, saying "This Bigfluff has already been pacified. It won't try to break anybody anymore."

I giggle-trilled at Snugglefluff and said, "You just named that animal after yourself, didn't you?"

Snugglefluff walked back over to me and gripped my hand, saying "Explorer's privledge!" with a smile. It started to walk out to the front of the cabin again, dragging me along, but I had another question.

"What did you mean 'already pacified?'" I asked as we passed through the door and stood on the front steps.

Snugglefluff sent a command to the ship and a sliding panel opened on the side, leading to a featureless chute. They said, "That was my big assignment! I used the flesh you shed in order to pacify all of the people on this planet. its still spreading at this point but since I started here, everybody in this forest will be nice untill my friends get here. its not as good as saving them, but it'll stop them from breaking eachother untill then. Plus, they won't try to break our friends when they get here! Now, would you please give me your dress?"

I listened to what Snugglefluff said, and I smiled brightly. That sounded great! I thought we'd have to wait for Snugglefluff's friends to get there, but everybody was already changing for the better. I untied the belt at my waist and slipped my makeshift dress over my shoulders, handing it to Snugglefluff. It was a cold, clear night, but my body kept the same comfortable temperature whether I was dressed or not.

Snugglefluff gently stuffed the dress into the slot on the side of its ship, then it pulled its folding computer out of the cockpit. It sat down on the small porch of the cabin and put its hands into the indentations. It giggled softly as it worked, and a smile grew bigger and bigger on its face. Then, Snugglefluff turned to me and said, "I'm going to add a few things, I hope that's okay?"

I smiled and nodded at Snugglefluff. I had a growing respect for their experience as an Adorabillian, and if they had ideas for helping me look cuter and friendlier, I was eager to learn.

Suddenly, Snugglefluff's ship made a chiming sound, and another slot slid open underneath the first. This one was bigger than the first slot, and I could see pink fabric with big red heart polkadots slowly sliding out of the slot. There was more, though it was difficult to see the details as it came out. Shortly after that, a pair of long white strips flowed out of the slot, and a little after that, a pair of thick pink somethings fell out and clunked loudly against the wooden porch of the cabin.

Filled with a manic giggling, Snugglefluff gathered up the outfit and closed the ship's slots with a thought, then walked back inside the main room of the cabin. I followed excitedly, anxious to see what Snugglefluff had done. The bear was content to eat out of the refridgerator, so we ignored him.

Snugglefluff stood next to the sofa and put the clothes down, then turned around and offered me the dress. Unlike before, now it was clearly a dress. It was made of the same soft pink fabric with large polka-dot hearts, but the neckline was sized down to fit me properly. The front of the dress still buttoned up, but the buttons were smaller and heart-shaped now. The arms had been gathered and trimmed with a simple and thick white lace, and the knee-length skirt was also hemmed with matching lace. The skirt seemed to elevate naturally into a cone-shape, wide around the knees and thin at the waist. There was also a thick red ribbon with a white trim that circled the tummy, tied in a bow over the bustle of the skirt.

Finally understanding the Adorabillian desire for cuteness, I abandonned all pretense of gender and slid the dress over my head. It was even softer than it had been when Snugglefluff first changed the shirt, and I felt proud to wear something we both helped to make. I hopped up and down a few times, and found that the skirt's forced cone shape kept it from flying up anymore. Snugglefluff wasn't done yet, however.

"Now I've got a couple of other things for you to try! They're designs from the Adorabillian clothing databank, but they're similar to things I've seen people wear on this planet." said my friend, as they held out a pair of white tights.

I took the tights and looked them over. They were a solid opaque white, and very soft. They were sized perfectly for Adorabillian legs, and the sole had a pink heart-shaped bump of a pocket. I sat down on the sofa, and found that my dress folded down when I sat on it. I carefully slid my toes into the first stocking, and drew it up my leg. It was a wonderful feeling, so soft and fluffy around my leg. The pad of my sole fit perfectly into the pocket of the thigh-high tights, and tingled softly as it sank into place. I put my foot down to put the other leg on, and realized I could feel the ground with my pad perfectly, as if I wasn't wearing anything at all. I quickly put on the second leg and stood up, walking around. I loved the feeling of the soft fabric on my rubbery legs.

Before I could walk away, however, Snugglefluff said to me, "Wait, there's more!" and held out a pair of pink plastic shoes. The shoes were each a solid block of pink plastic, with a single strap built in. There was a heart-shaped indentation in the inside, and on the bottom the sole was shaped the same as an Adorabillian foot. Excitedly I sat down on the sofa and slid my foot into the shoe, and to my surprise the plastic moved on its own, closing in on my foot and holding it tight yet comfortable. The toe was rounded, like my own toe, and the pad of my foot slipped comfortably into the indentation, and then suddenly it was like I wasn't wearing a shoe at all. My foot felt perfectly normal, as if the shoe was an extension of my body. I quickly slipped my other foot into the matching shoe, and it reacted the same. I stood up and took a few steps to test them out. I thought it would be difficult to walk with shoes this stiff, but my leg was able to move my feet above the ankle, keeping them constantly sole-down.

Snugglefluff clapped excitedly as I strutted around the hardwood floor of the cabin, and said "You can use the soles of those shoes like your real ones. You can stick to things, I mean." I decided to try it, and climbed up onto the front room table, using my feet to hang off the edge. It was so strange, but also a lot of fun, and I giggle-trilled excitedly.

"Thank you Snugglefluff! I love it!" I said, before releasing my feet and tumbling to the floor.

Snugglefluff held out its hands and I gripped them, and they helped me up. Then, I wrapped my arms around them and gave them a big, soft, warm hug.

We stood there hugging for a little while, it felt so comfortable to embrace oneanother. After a time, however, Snugglefluff spoke up and asked, "Are you ready to learn some more?"

I was eager to learn everything I could, so I quickly replied "I sure am!"

Snugglefluff giggle-trilled softly and said, "Oh I'm glad to hear it. I want to teach you more about your body. Come on let's sit on that long chair."

The two of us walked over to the sofa and climbed onto it, sitting next to eachother and pressing our bodies together while we held hands. Snugglefluff patted the top of my leg and said, "We Adorabillians are very sturdy, but we're not really unbreakable. Some things are so dangerous that they'll destroy adorabillian flesh. We can survive if a part of our body survives, but if we did something like fly into this planet's star, we would be broken."

I nodded, since that made sense. They don't age or get sick, but that doesn't mean anything if your body is annihilated by a disaster or accident.

Snugglefluff continued, saying "We also need energy to live. We can get lots of energy from light, but we also get energy from machines like our ships, and from growing and eating candy."

I nodded along, and asked, "So, we can eat starlight?"

Snugglefluff giggle-trilled, and said "Yes that's a good way to put it. We can also share our energy when we snuggle."

I thought about that for a moment, then spoke up, "Oh, that's why it feels so warm when we hug?"

Snugglefluff nodded its head and clapped its hands, saying "Yes that's right! The next thing I want to teach you is the knowing how to check your body's energy level."

I sat up on the sofa and giggle-trilled excitedly. "Oh! That sounds important. What do I do?" I said.

Snugglefluff smiled and said, "When you're first learning, you should close your eyes, but when you get better you can do it anytime." and I closed my eyes, and Snugglefluff continued "Now, when you start thinking about how much energy you have, your body should start to respond, and you have to learn how to understand that response, and what the proper trigger-thought is. Give it a try!"

I started to think about my energy level, and how much energy I have left, and I could feel something in my mind, but I wasn't sure what it was or how to understand it. I tried to calmly think about it, and it felt like some sort of pattern going in and out, in and out, and stopping. Then I realized the pattern was a percentage! I had 80% energy.

"I have 80% energy right now! Is that good?" I asked, unsure how long that energy would last, or if that was normal.

Snugglefluff nodded its head and said, "Oh, yes! That's right. We were snuggling just now so our energy level is the same. It'll take a lot of experience and checking for you to get used to how long how much energy will last in different conditions. If you get below 30% though, you should find something to eat, or someplace with a lot of light and stay still for a while. This planet's star is on the far side so we're not getting a lot of energy from it right now. But, my ship can generate lots and lots of energy from its engine, and we can eat that when we want. Just hug my ship if you ever want to do that."

I felt very happy and proud of myself for learning the knowing how to check my body's energy level, and I leaned over to give Snugglefluff a big hug in thanks.

After a moment, Snugglefluff said, "Now I want to teach you the knowing how to tell time. Are you ready for more?"

I nodded my head and said, "Yes! I'm very excited to learn so much."

Snugglefluff patted my leg again and said, "Alright! Well, all Adorabillians have clocks inside, but you need to know how to read them, and how to understand them. Time isn't constant throughout the universe, so we each have to keep track of our own personal time when we're apart, but when we contact other Adorabillians we align our internal clocks to Emperess Adorabillia's time. You already have the knowing how to do that, though. It happens automatically. Time is measured in time-units, which are based on a universal frequency measurement. its the most accurate method that the Adorabillian Empire has been able to figure out. Now, if you ask yourself what the time is, you should get a reply like when you checked your energy level. You'll end up with a very very long number, though. Usually you just have to worry about the numbers between the tenth to last place and the third to last place. The further ones go up too fast to be useful, and the closer ones go up slowly enough that you don't have to worry about it. Go ahead and check your time, and tell me what those numbers are."

I blinked a few times as I woke up; Snugglefluff was talking so long and so fast that I had to concentrate to get the message. Then I closed my eyes and asked myself what the time was, and I felt a pattern emerge like when I checked my energy. It was easier to figure out how to read it, but Snugglefluff was right that it was long. I didn't even count the digits it was too long. I did catch the last ten digits, however, and the seven important digits that Snugglefluff told me to read.

"2852319" I said.

Snugglefluff nodded and smiled, saying "Our friends will be here at 2853592, or about one and a half rotations from now."

I smiled back, and polled the time again a couple times. Those last three numbers really did go by fast.

Snugglefluff reached over and held my hand, and I leaned over to rest my head on their shoulder. The Bigfluff decided he was done with the refridgerator and walked back out the door, and we both waved to him and thanked him for visiting with lots of squeaky giggle-trills.

"That Bigfluff made a big mess." I said, hopping off the sofa. I walked over to the door and closed it gently, locking it.

Snugglefluff hopped off the sofa too, and walked over to the refridgerator. "He sure did! Do you want to clean up, Cuddlefriend?"

I giggle-trilled and skipped across the floor playfully, standing next to Snugglefluff. "I think we ought to. I'm only renting this place, I don't own it."

Snugglefluff giggle-trilled to me and said, "Alright! While we clean I'll teach you an Adorabillian cleaning song!"

The two of us spent the rest of the night cleaning the cabin and singing. The cleaning song doesn't translate well into english, especially if you don't have the music to go along with it, but it was uplifting and cheerful, and also sappy enough to open a maple syrup factory.

Not only did we clean the kicthenette and wash the bear's pawprints off the floor, but we just kept going and tidied up the messes we had made over the last week, and somehow we ended up on the roof together cleaning an old chimney that I didn't think was even connected to anything inside the cabin. The sun came out over the horizon and we both stopped our song to watch the sky change colours, holding hands and sitting on the peak of the roof.

We snuggled up there untill almost mid-day, when a sudden mis-step led to both of us tumbling down the incline and landing on the ground with a thud and a chorus of giggle-trills. Dusting ourselves off we headed back into the cabin, and sat down on the sofa in the front room.

"I can't believe we cleaned that much!" I said, "But it felt so good too, and I'm sure the cabin manager will be filled with joy when he sees it."

Snugglefluff giggled a lot and said, "Adorabillians are really clean! But that also means we don't make messes a lot, so I haven't cleaned that much at once since I was on the cleaning staff of a cuddlecruiser that crash landed on a swamp planet."

We held hands and snuggled on the sofa for a while, before Snugglefluff said, "We've still got over eight hundred time units, would you like to read some Adorabillian books? It would help your education if you learned more about science and technology."

I giggle-trilled and nodded energetically, saying "Oh yes please! I love books, and I want to learn how your ship moves around!"

Snugglefluff hopped off of the sofa and jogged out to their ship, saying "Okay I'll be right back!". I waited a few time-units, and Snugglefluff came back in, carrying the heart-shaped Adorabillian book-reader I had used before.

Snugglefluff handed me the book-reader and said, "Okay Cuddlefriend! I loaded it up with lots of books. You already have a good knowing about mathematics, but I put a text in there for reference. There's some books about science and technology in there, if you read them all you should have a much better idea of how Adorabillian machines work."

"Thank you very much Snugglefluff!" I said, hugging the book-reader to my chest, "I'll read them all right away."

Snugglefriend curled up on the sofa and hugged me, and I placed my palm into the indent on the book-reader and started to read. Time lost meaning for me at this point, as I became completely absorbed in the huge volume of knowledge contained in the book. With a thirst for knowledge and no other needs, I just kept reading constantly, while Snugglefluff snuggled with me.

I only stopped reading when Snugglefluff started poking me in the forehead and saying my name. "Cuddlefriend! Cuddlefriend!" they said, "Come on, shake yourself out of it!"

I blinked a few times, and shook my head, pulling my hand out of the book-reader. "Oh! Sorry, Snugglefluff. What is it?" I said.

Snugglefluff smiled and hugged me, saying "Oh you must really love that book. Well, good news! Our friends are almost here. I just heard from them with my antennae. You can probably hear them too, but try not to send any messages to them, please."

I blinked my eyes a few times, had it already been seven hundred time-units since I started reading? My internal clock confirmed that it had! I wiggled my antennae as I tuned in to the frequency, and I heard the high-pitched radio chatter of the Adorabillian fleet. They really were there! And they sounded so friendly!

Snugglefluff chirped out, "Oh, I just heard from the fleet commander, they're sending a transport down to pick you up. Are you ready to go to space?"

The question rolled through my head, and my mouth turned up in a big smile. "Oh yes, I'm definately ready! Are you going to be coming with me, Snugglefluff?"

Snugglefluff nodded its head energetically. "Yes! Well, I'll be riding along side in my ship. You'll be riding in the transport, but we'll be close enough for antennae talking, and we can meet up again on the commander's cuddlecruiser.

I leaned forward and gave Snugglefluff a big hug, and they hugged me back. "Should we wait outside? I want to see the transport!"

Snugglefluff giggle-trilled and so did I, and they said, "Alright let's go outside!"

I was about to go out, but then I said, "Oh! In case we're not back in time, I should write a note to the cabin manager!" and I trotted over to the table to grab a pencil and a pad of paper. It took me a moment to remember how to write, but I scribbled down a note saying that I would be needing the cabin another week, and that they could deduct the fee straight from my bank account. I put the note on the table and walked outside. Snugglefluff was waiting for me, and while I was locking the door they said, "Oh look, here comes the transport!"

I looked up into the sky and saw a huge pinkish-red heart floating down from the clouds, straight towards my cabin. I heard voices on the antennae radio, and Snugglefluff confirmed our location.

The ship was completely heart-shaped, and the only break in the shiny red texture was a tinted glass window across the top front. It spun around in mid-air and hovered with the cleft of the heart facing us. Four rectangular panels slid open, and heart-padded landing gear extended to the ground. A ramp slid out the back of the ship, seemingly from nowhere, and a large panel opened in the back.

A yellow-furred Adorabillian walked down the ramp and waved at us. "Hello! I'm Snugglepiper, and I'm the transport pilot. its nice to meet you both." they said. They looked a lot like Snugglefluff, but they were a little rounder, and their eyes were green. I remembered having green eyes, but it seemed like a whole other life.

Snugglefluff chirped up and introduced itself, saying "I'm Outrider Snugglefluff, the one who discovered this planet."

I smiled at Snugglefluff, who seemed very proud to have the honor of discovering my home planet, then I turned to Snugglepiper, the pilot and said, "I'm Cuddlefriend, the new Adorabillian from this planet. I'm ready to report to the commander's cuddlecruiser!"

Snugglefluff was already climbing into its ship, and it gave me a cheerful thumb's up. Snugglepiper gave a beckoning wave and said, "Climb aboard, Cuddlefriend!" before going back inside the ship.

I skipped over to the boarding ramp and walked into the ship. The door slid closed behind me, and the ramp retracted. The landing gear pulled back into the transport, and I rode off on my first trip into space.

All Content Copyright Arthur Payne, AKA Relee the Squirrel

Last Update: April 18, 2009