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Author Topic: a noob's first attempt at literature  (Read 10832 times)
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ClonedWizard

Crustacean
*
« Reply #520 on: 07-13-2006 21:49 »
« Last Edit on: 07-13-2006 21:49 »

   
Quote
Originally posted by Professor Zoidy:
@ ClonedWizard: HMM.. Have you tried looking it up on dictionary.com? Or perhaps wikipedia.org will give some light to the word?

I didn't try Wikipedia, but I did try dictionary.com.  I thought it gave me nothing but...

   
Quote
Originally posted by Arkan:
Hmm... Looking at the context, I think maybe it's meant to say 'precise'. It makes sense, anyway.     smile

... dictionary.com asks "Did you mean precisely?"  That should have been a clue.  Arkan figured out the context better than I.  That does make sense.

   
Quote
Originally posted by Arkan:
Welcome to PEEL, ClonedWizard!

Thanks for the welcome.  I've been a lurker on the other boards for months, but just recently "discovered" the 'Fan Art & Fiction' section.  Since I had something to say, I took the chance to de-lurk.  It's good to be here!

Edit: Hmmm...  Are newbies allowed to do a TOTPD?
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #521 on: 07-13-2006 23:05 »
« Last Edit on: 07-13-2006 23:05 »

precusal?  Lol, oh man that must be one of the worst typos I have ever made.  You guys are right, it was supposed to be the word 'precise'.  I went back and changed it.  How I could have overlooked that after re-reading the update twice... well, the world will never know   smile

@Clonewizard:  You're absolutely right about the problem of the movement of objects in the universe over time.  I actually debated for a long time whether the time device should only allow movement along the time axis so that the traveller ended up in the same spacial coordinate from which he started.  Basically I decided that would be boring (though the physics student part of me will never quite forgive me). But anyway, I came to the conclusion that for the sake of the story the futurama universe does not have a totally linearly independent four dimensional spacetime vector space.  Somehow the time component is linearly dependent upon three dimensional space so that movement along the time axis results in movement in three dimensional space.

oh, and everyone's allowed a TOTPD.  You just have to be lucky enough to be the one to post at the top of the page   smile
Professor Zoidy

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #522 on: 07-15-2006 17:04 »

Hey soylent, maybe that was the typo I saw but couldn't refind. Even spell check didn't catch that.  no no And forgive yourself, fool! The writers for the show bend rules all the time.  wink No need to be hard on yourself for joining in on the fun. Professor Farnswroth could have caused it anyway, seeing as he's caused almost everything else disasterous.
JBERGES

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #523 on: 07-18-2006 12:17 »
« Last Edit on: 07-18-2006 12:17 »

   
Quote
If you travel forward or backward through time even 1 second and return to the same spatial location, wouldn't the ground you were standing on have moved? Unless the time travel device accounts for non-accelerated motion in some way. Maybe it has something to do with the expansion of the universe... hmmm. This issue is not commonly brought up in time travel plots, though it applies to many of them.
Uh...  I could be wrong here, but general relativity?  To say that you must move 'back' to compensate for inter/intragalactic movement seems in direct violation of Einstein's theory.  Who’s to say what is moving and what isn’t, and why should it matter at all?

In most science fiction, in my stories, and in this story, traveling back in time is not merely popping out of existence then reappearing in the same ‘spot’ at an earlier time. This method simply doesn’t make sense, as the universe doesn’t allow for a static coordinate system.  Your fears are unfounded.  Furthermore, time travel can’t be represented as traveling back down your own world line, as you do not end up at time x exactly where you were the ‘last’ time you experienced time x. It is, as best as I can put it, forging a new world line in the negative t direction consistent with your current inertial reference frame.  Under those constraints (possibly the most plausible scientifically) all of Soylent’s work makes sense.  The realistic consequences and stipulations of such a truth are interesting, and I could go on for hours about the possibilities.  I won’t, and I’ll also add that I’m not saying I’m definitely right, It’s just my goofy interpretation.

Edit:  Additionally, the universe may be accelerating it's expansion... and that makes things even more confusing...
Professor Zoidy

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #524 on: 07-18-2006 16:22 »

Wow, I think I lost 10 points of my I.Q. reading that...  laff I'm more confused than ever.
ClonedWizard

Crustacean
*
« Reply #525 on: 07-19-2006 04:55 »

@JBERGES: They're not fears per se; they're conversation starters.  Apparently good ones at that.  smile  Thank you for the indepth possibly (but not probably) goofy interpretation.  It has given me some things to think about.  Stuff like this fascinates me; in fact, I wouldn't have been disappointed if you had gone on for hours with possibilities except that I wouldn't want to clog soylentOrange's thread with hours worth of interesting, but not necessarily on-topic, information/speculation (minutes worth are ok, though  smile).  I also enjoyed/am enjoying your fics, but haven't posted on your thread because I do not want to bump it.

@soylentOrange: Thanks to you, too, for your insight.  As I posted earlier: I hope your life gets left hectic.  In fact, just give me some of that unwanted hecticness.  My life could use some more excitement  smile.
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #526 on: 07-19-2006 11:25 »

[Reads CW’s post]

[Read’s JBerges’ post]

[*Grins wickedly*]  evil laugh

[Writes long-winded reply to both]  flirt

[Reads CW’s reply]  frown

[Crumples log-winded reply; throws in trash]  hmpf

It occurs to me that the topic of time travel may warrant it’s own thread.
But I’m not going to start it, as CW & Bergy first broached the subject.
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #527 on: 07-19-2006 13:57 »

Ooh I see an excuse to ramble on excessively about theoretical physics!  <Zoidberg> Fry, now look what you did.  He won't shut up! </Zoidberg>

I'm not so sure anyone should be so quick to dismiss CW's point.  The kind of ime travel most everybody writes about assumes that we are not moving backward along our own world line.  If we were to do so we'd simply be experiencing reverse entropy; everything would happen backwards until we got to our target space-time.  We'd end up in the past with no recollection of time travel, because we'd have effectively erased the future and all of our memories of it.  Darned laws of thermodynamics  smile

I got around that by throwing in that weird scene where all kinds of crazy things happen to the PE ship as it's going back in time.  I was trying to get the whole 'exiting the universe and re-entering somewhen else' thing going.  It was only accidental that it came out like Leela was on acid.  Once she was outside the confines of the universe she could move along all kinds of weird spacetime axes or whatever, blah blah blah. 

But really CW is partially right.  If you leave the universe and re-enter it somewhen else you wouldnt expect the planet you left from to be nearby.  It would have moved, especiallu in 1000 years.  smile  You'd have to have some special technology that would let the device know where your destination was at the time you're trying to get to.  When I wrote the story I kinda assumed that any race smart enough to build a time machine would be able to manage that too.  wink
ClonedWizard

Crustacean
*
« Reply #528 on: 07-20-2006 00:49 »

The reason I didn't want to discuss it here is that I didn't want people to think new updates had been posted when there hadn't been.  But as long as everyone is aware of it (and soylentOrange is ok with it), discussing it here could work.  I agree that it probably warrants it's own thread, but I'm too nervous to start one.  I know duplicate threads are a no-no around here.  The seemingly most appropriate thread, http://www.peelified.com/cgi-bin/Futurama/1-001772/  , was closed as there were apparently other threads that covered the topic.  The only other threads I can find relate specifically to canon time travel (Roswell That Ends Well, The Why of Fry,...) not Futurama in general (which would include Futurama fan fiction).  They also focus on causality.  Hmmm... the thought just occurred to me that I could start it in the Offtopic Discussion board.  What do you guys think?
JBERGES

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #529 on: 07-20-2006 07:36 »
« Last Edit on: 07-20-2006 07:36 »

OK, I made the thread to be nerdy in, now you all better jump into the conversation:  Time Travel Thread

CW:  See, my thread got bumped by someone else!  Now you don't have to worry...
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #530 on: 07-20-2006 11:11 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by ClonedWizard:
The reason I didn't want to discuss it here is that I didn't want people to think new updates had been posted when there hadn't been.
For this, I award you a brownie-point.  big grin
Quote
... it probably warrants it's own thread, but I'm too nervous to start one... the thought just occurred to me that I could start it in the Offtopic Discussion board.  What do you guys think?
Well, time-travel has been used in Futurama at least twice, so I don’t believe the proposed thread belongs in off-topic: Perhaps Re-Check/Weird Scenes?
  confused
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #531 on: 07-22-2006 22:21 »
« Last Edit on: 07-23-2006 00:00 »

yey finally I have a chance for an update!  About bloody time neh?
_____________________________ ___________

Part 4
Chapter 2

It was a small stroke of luck that the random escape trajectory that Leela had flown from Earth had been in the general direction of the time machine planet.  Even so, it took eight hours of excruciating inactivity for Eta Orionis to swell into the familiar pair of dust shrouded stars.  The sight made Leela sick to her ass.

The PE captain banked her ship downward toward the cover of a comet's ice tail, cutting the power when the ship was sufficiently deep in the murk.  As Refracted light from the larger sun bathed the cockpit in gauzy white light she prayed that the little ball of dirty frozen water would shield the Planet Express ship from the brains.

"Nibbler, we're here," Leela called over her shoulder.  "Wake up!"  She turned around again to monitor her instruments. 

There was the sound of muffled whining noises as Nibbler awoke from his nap.  The Nibblonian appeared at Leela's side a moment later.

Leela heard her friend approach but didn't take her eye from the sensor display.  "No brains so far.  The radar is clear, the stereo-opticon is blank, and the radio is silent.  Either they already know wer're here and they're waiting in some planet's radar shadow for us to fly into a trap, or they're all busy wiping out the last traces of human civilization."

Nibbler shook his head, a gesture he had learned from his human companion expressed disagreement.  "It would be unusual for the brains to leave something they deem valuable completely unguarded."

He paused for a few seconds to think.  "I suggest we proceed with caution."

Leela nodded distractedly, still pouring over her instruments.  "Yeah I think so too, but then again they did leave it unguarded in the future."

"Only because they had wiped out all meaningful resistance.  I am certain that they would have posted a guard if they had known that I was alive and in possession of a working starship."

"That makes sense." She couldn't stop herself from adding silently: "Unless they thought one lone space gerbil wasn't much of a threat."  Her mouth twitched upward into the tiniest hint of a grin, but Nibbler didn't appear to notice. 

Finally content that there really was no activity on any of her displays, Leela allowed herself to relax a moment.  She looked over at Nibbler and smiled.  "You ready?” she asked.

"Affirmative."

"Alright then, head back to the laser turret.  I installed those phonebook- I mean- chair upgrades that you wanted, so you shouldn't have any trouble reaching the joystick.  Now just promise me that you won't shoot anything until I give the order."

Nibbler looked offended.  "You forget that I am a highly trained warrior.  I am perfectly capable of determining the appropriate time to use a weapon."

If there was one thing that Leela was not going to tolerate on her ship it was insubordination.  "And I'm the captain.  Plus I've got at least three and a half feet on you.  That means when you are on my ship you listen to my orders."  She got up from her chair to emphasize her second point, looking down at Nibbler with her arms crossed and her eye narrowed.  "Got it?” she asked.  There was a bit more of a warning in the question than she had intended.

"Y-yes captain."  Nibbler cringed.  He was generally fearless, but after witnessing firsthand what this monstrous cyclops woman could do to him, no one could blame him if he took her unspoken threats a bit more seriously.

"OK maybe I laid it on a little too thick there," Leela thought to herself.  "I think it's about time to switch tactics."  It was one thing to establish the chain-o-command, but there wasn't any reason why she had to make Nibbler terrified of her.  "This threatening the crew with an ass-kicking every time they don't do what I want thing comes to me way too easily.  I guess I've just had to use it on Bender so many times that it's gotten hardwired into me.  Stupid robot, driving me to violence because he's too lazy to do his job unless someone makes him.  If the universe ever does end up getting saved I'll have to remember to kick his ass...  Damn, there I go again!"

Nibbler was fidgeting nervously, waiting for Leela to say something.  Leela smiled at him to ease his mind. 

"Alright good, I'm glad that's settled.  Now off you go!  I'll give you a couple of minutes to get settled and then I'll start powering up the engines.  Let me know over the videocom when you're ready to go.  It's the little red button next to the deathulator switch."

"Certainly.  But if you don't mind my asking captain, if the little red button is the video-intercom then what does that big gaudy red one do?"

Leela shrugged.  "Nothing.  Fry likes- err, I mean liked- red buttons so much that the professor had that one installed to keep him occupied on really long delivery missions.  Fry used to sit up there for hours pretending he was firing photon torpedos.  Which is good, because until we installed that fake button he really was firing photon torpedoes.  But, ohh how he loved pressing that button..." 

Nibbler nodded his understanding before turning to leave the bridge.  He knew as well as Leela did that Fry fit every connotation of the word 'special'. 

Leela watched the Nibblonian leave, noting that he didn't once look over his shoulder.  "Hopefully that means he isn't afraid that I'm going to attack him anymore.  He really is a cute little furball," she thought.  "It's too bad he's got such a superiority complex.  I mean, I'm just as understanding as the next person if not more, but there's just so much of other people thinking they're better than me that I can take."

The door swished shut behind the little black alien and Leela was suddenly alone on the bridge.  Her thoughts immediately turned to the space battle that she really hoped was just ahead.  Her pulse increased as she thought about what she was going to do to any brains that had the misfortune to be alive today.  "If only I could be the one in that turret right now."  She sighed, desperately wanting to feel that primal surge of adrenaline-boosted glee as she blasted her enemies into radioactive slag.  Her fist balled in anticipation, but since Leela was the only one who could fly the ship, Nibbler would have to be the gunner.  Revenge would have to wait.  "A good captain does what's best for her ship and her crew, not for herself."  It was Peter Parrot's second rule of command, and she hated it passionately.

 "Captain?"  Leela realized that Nibbler's face had been staring at her from a nearby monitor for some time.  "I am ready."

"Wha- Oh sorry.  I was just, uhh, not daydreaming in the middle of enemy territory."  The cyclops felt her cheeks flush a little. 

"Ahh I see, so you were partaking in the ancient arts of meditation; preparing every part of your mind and body for  the trials of battle.  That is most wise.  My own race has been using the technique of meditation for thousands of years. 

“Uhh yeah, meditation.  That’s exactly what I was doing.  And now that I've found my body's spiritual center or some crap, I'm going to start up the engines like I meant to not have done already."  She gave her friend her best I-really-do-know-what-I'm-doing smile before turning off the monitor.  A few button pushes later and the familiar throb of the dark matter engines began to build through the hull.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

<Ha ha ha!  You thought you could best me in a game of wits, but I have triumphed once again.  Your puny attempts at subterfuge were laughable when matched against my boundless wit.  Fool, I was ten moves ahead of you the whole time, and now you are doomed to tremble in horror as I bring about your total and utter humiliation.  This is the end for you, my unworthy opponent.  Now cower before me as I declare...  Checkmate! Whuahaahahaha- Hey, I wasn't done taunting him!>. 

The group of brains scattered as their space-chessboard and one of their fellows vaporized in front of them.    Leela gave chase, flying through a small cloud of pawns.  The brains had been taken completely off guard, having been caught in the middle of their weekly training exercise.  Slow and disorganized, they made easy pickings for a high powered laser cannon.  In just a few minutes a combination of Leela's flying and Nibbler's shooting had cleared the space around the time travel planet of defenders.

"Well I feel a little better," The PE captain said aloud.  "Not much, but a little."   The windshield wipers worked noisily for a moment before Leela's activation of the videocom drowned them out.
 
Nibbler answered immediately.

"Yes captain?” he asked.

Leela really didn't like this new tone of formality that Nibbler was using with her.  "Why do my friendships always get screwed up in some way or other?” she asked herself bitterly.  "This always happens.  Everybody ends up hating me, or feeling sorry for me, or afraid of me, or trying to burn me..."

"Please Nibbler, just call me Leela."  She almost managed to keep the pleading out of her voice.

From the Nibblonian's expression it was pretty obvious that something was bothering him.  "Of course Capt- uhh- Leela.    What are your orders?"

Leela sighed inwardly.  "Fine," she thought.  "If he wants to be formal then let him.  Hopefully in a few more minutes he'll forget today ever even happened... again."  Aloud, Leela said: "I'm going to land the ship where the time device was when I was here last time.  I need you to cover me while I get the device, you know, just in case we missed a brain or two."

Nibbler's halfhearted nod bothered her.  She started to ask her suddenly distant friend what the problem was, but decided against it.  "Knowing me it’ll sound like a reprimand."  Besides, she was almost sure that she knew what the trouble was.

"Look, I know you don't want me to risk my neck while you sit in the ship, but it's the only way that makes sense.  I know right where to look and what to do to get at the timeotron or whatever we're calling it."

Nibbler nodded his head.  "Yes of course.  I agree with you completely."

"I know, and I underst- Wait, You do?"  Leela blinked a couple of times.  "Then what's bothering you?"

"N- nothing is bothering me."  It was about as believable as one of President Nixon's anti-war speeches.  Without the ensuing bloodbath of course.

"Come on Nibbler, just tell me.  I've lived with you for years.  Granted for most of them I thought you were a mindless eating machine but still, you can't say in all that time that we didn't become close enough to trust each other."  Her voice wavered a little bit.  "You do trust me... right?"   

"Of course I trust you, Leela!"  There was genuine shock in the alien's voice.  "No, that was never an issue..."  He sighed.

"I am sorry to make you worry.  I just feel guilty for not being able to help you.  This will be the second time that you have gone back to take on the whole brainspawn armada by yourself.  My inability to come back with you makes me feel slightly... inadequate."

"So that's it!” Leela realized.  "He doesn’t hate me, he just feels bad because he can't help me save the universe.  Stupid males and their stupid egos."  She sighed.  "Oh well, time to be a good captain."

"But Nibbler," she said- laying on the reassurance like Pepto-Bismol at a Martian barbeque, "there's no way I could have done any of this without you. Think about it.  How would I have ever gotten back to the past in the first place if it weren’t for you?  Sure things didn't work out and everybody died and the universe is doomed anyway..."  Her voice trailed off.  "Well that didn't quite come out as inspirational as I thought it would...  Look, I know you feel guilty for not being able to come back with me, but the important thing is that in half an hour you won't know any of this ever happened.  Because it won't have.  Now let's go get that time machine and save this lousy reality once and for all!"

Nibbler wasn't convinced, but he also recognized the need for immediate action.  The longer they waited around in orbit the longer the brains would have to realize that they had lost touch with their garrison here.  It was even possible that a counterattack was already on its way from a nearby system.  Anyway, his personal feelings were meaningless.  All that mattered was getting The Other to Earth before the brains began their attack.

"Very well.  I am ready."  He cut the connection before he could show any more weakness.

Leela sighed.  "God I need a drink."

On that note the cyclops pushed the throttle forward and sent her ship sliding into the dusty atmosphere.  There was a good deal of turbulence this time as the sleek rocket shape cut its way through the jet stream.  As the ship went lower the buffeting increased until it was all Leela could do just to keep her vessel airborne.

"What the heck is this about?" Leela wanted to know.  She soon got her answer. Up ahead the sky went from crystal clear to cardboard brown.

"Great, because life just didn't suck enough already, a sandstorm."  Leela voiced a couple of phrases she'd heard Amy use in these situations.  The PE captain had no idea what they meant, but they sounded so much cooler than the curses she was used to.  But wait; there was something else out there too.  Leela squinted.  At first all she could see was a dark brown blur in a light brown blur, but gradually a shape came into focus.  A huge tower of black jutted out of the desert sand.  It was the obelisk of the time machine.

The Planet Express Ship touched down fifty yards from the monolith.  Leela had learned her lesson the last time she had been here.  There would be no long hikes across endless seas of sand dunes, especially not with all this dust in the air.  Her eye didn't take kindly to dust.

With the keys in the ignition and the engines still on idle, Leela made her way off the bridge and through her ship.  She could hear the gun turret's hydraulics working as Nibbler scanned the shrouded skies for any sign of brain attack.

The wind hit Leela like a hammer as soon as she opened the airlock.  Sand was immediately everywhere; down her shirt, in her boots, under her eyelid.  Everywhere.  It was like she was being buried alive while someone took a fusion belt sander to every exposed patch of skin.  She opened her mouth to say a dirty word, but she immediately got a mouthful of desert for her trouble. 

With her eye only a tiny slit, Leela groped her way to a small blurry shadow that had to be the stone pedestal she needed to gain access to the device.  In perfect conditions Leela could use the apparent size of an object to guess its distance.  A nearby person would seem larger than a distant spaceship, and since she could guess at how big that person and the ship would look if they were right next to her she could easily say that, not only was the spaceship farther away than the person, but that the person was ten yards away while the spaceship was half a kilometer away.  It wasn't an exact technique, but it was almost always enough to get by with.  In the middle of a sandstorm, well, that was a different story entirely. 

The pedestal turned out to be twice as far away as Leela had guessed, and by the time she finally got there she was beginning to wonder if what she was seeing was nothing but a mirage.  But no, a half reluctant touch of the cold stone surface revealed it to be solid.

"Well here goes something, I hope."  Leela pressed the familiar button on the pedestal's face, noting that she hadn't even had to brush sand away from it.  Either the wind has conveniently moved the dune that had been hiding the pedestal, or the pedestal had been used recently.

The wind ripped at her ponytail as Leela worked her way to the giant crystalline face of the obelisk.  By the time she crossed the short distance she was choking and spitting on airborne grit.  She had been in a dust storm once on Mars, but it paled in comparison to this.

For a moment Leela let herself rest in the obelisk's wind shadow, but only for a moment.  Presently her eye was drawn to what seemed to be a patch of discoloration on the crystal's surface.  She walked over to investigate.  Just as she had expected, the 'discoloration' was really the hole wherein she had found the time machine a millennium in the future.  The metallic panel that had concealed the hiding spot lay on the ground nearby, half covered on blowing sand.  Without letting herself consider too carefully what other things besides time machines might like to inhabit small dark places in the middle of a desert, Leela plunged her right arm into the chamber.  Her hand immediately closed around a familiar shape.  Then, as she was pulling the time device from its resting place, there came a prickly sensation on the back of her neck, followed by the sound of high-energy laser fire.

The PE captain looked around wildly.  All she could see was the mass of the obelisk at her back and the distant hulk of her ship, now lit in the bloody red glow of reflected laser light.  A volley of photons arced away from the ship and over her head.  Nibbler had engaged the brains.
 
Every cell in Leela's body hollered at her in unison.  "Don't just stand there you idiot!  Move!  Now!"  And so she did, taking off at full speed in the direction of her ship, time device clutched protectively against her chest.

It took an eternity to get there.  The sand and the wind resisted her as though they had a conscious desire to keep her from her goal.  A needle thin line of fluorescent green hit the sand not ten feet away, leaving a small puddle of liquid glass.  Leela ordered her body to run faster.  Her body told her to shut up and pay attention to where she was going. 

The Planet Express ship lit up again as another burst of laser fire went streaking right over her left shoulder.  Something smacked into the desert nearby, making a 'thump' that was just audible over the angry screech of the wind.  Leela ignored the sound and kept running.  The ship was close.  So close.  All that mattered was getting to the ship.  Only a few more feet...

With one final push Leela propelled herself up the foreword stairs.  A black shape hurtled by overhead.  Leela whirled around just in time to see Nibbler's mouth close around a disgusting mass of pink.

"Leela, now!” Nibbler hollered over his shoulder, pink grey-matter still hanging from his fangs.  Another one of the strange green death rays hissed into the ground at the Nibblonian's feet.
 
Leela did not have to be told twice.  With her attention completely on the device in her hands, it was a combination of muscle memory and pure instinct that led her to the bridge.  By the time she was in her seat the correct date already hung suspended in the air.

In the gloom outside the front view port Leela could see Nibbler standing erect, surrounded by twenty of his enemies.  The Nibblonian commander did not back down, but stared at each one of his attackers in turn; daring them to make a move.  The brains faltered momentarily, not sure what to make of this brazen act of defiance.  Then, all at once, each brain fired one of its psychic beams, bathing the bridge of the Planet Express Ship in sickly green light.

Leela activated the device
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

Venus

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #532 on: 07-23-2006 02:11 »

Ack! Cut that out! No more cliff hangers!
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #533 on: 07-23-2006 08:21 »

nevers!
Corvus

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #534 on: 07-23-2006 10:31 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:
yey finally I have a chance for an update!  About bloody time neh?

Ah but it is summer and plenty of distractions around.  smile

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:

"Either they already know wer're here and they're waiting in some planet's radar shadow for us to fly into a trap, or they're all busy wiping out the last traces of human civilization."

Wiping out civilizations is busy work.. who got time to chase after a potential threat that could thwart your universe domination plans? I mean really!  tongue

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:

He knew as well as Leela did that Fry fit every connotation of the word 'special'. 


'Special' indeed.

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:

"A good captain does what's best for her ship and her crew, not for herself."  It was Peter Parrot's second rule of command, and she hated it passionately.


"Peter Parrot"? As in Peter Parrot's My First Starship? Peter Parrot's Starship Captain Made E-Z? Peter Parrot's Starship Command for Morons? (Or the special edition Peter Parrot's Starship Command for Total Twits aka The Zapp Brannigan Edition?)

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:

"I know right where to look and what to do to get at the timeotron or whatever we're calling it."


Screw-Up-The-Past-A-Tron?  tongue

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:

Leela sighed.  "God I need a drink."

I second that!  big grin

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:

Leela activated the device


Whoop! Nice action sequence in the end there. I'll go with what Venus said:
 
Quote
Originally posted by Venus:
Ack! Cut that out! No more cliff hangers!

"Finding your true love is like winning the lottery, it always happens to someone else."
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #535 on: 07-23-2006 10:38 »

screw-up-the-past-atron?  I am so calling it that from now on  big grin
Corvus

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #536 on: 07-23-2006 11:53 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:
screw-up-the-past-atron?  I am so calling it that from now on   big grin


Feel free to do so... I'm glad to be able to contribute.  tongue

"Finding your true love is like winning the lottery, it always happens to someone else."
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #537 on: 07-23-2006 12:06 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:
screw-up-the-past-atron?  I am so calling it that from now on   big grin
I like it.

It might make a better (if harder to write) gag to never give the... uh, 'time-thingy'* a proper name.
Hey, it works for Leela's- uh... that thing on her arm...  wink

*(C) and all rights reserved by SpaceCase - IE use it and my lawywers will sue your short hairs clean off!   roll eyes   laff
JBERGES

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #538 on: 07-24-2006 06:58 »

Didn't I make a 'device without a proper name' joke and copyright it already?  I think I did... tongue

 
Quote
I installed those phonebook- I mean- chair upgrades that you wanted
haha.  Comedy + Action = win.

You're really finding yourself as a writer here Soylent (Have I said that before?  It's even more true now)  Your voice is solid and your getting a grip on tossing little jokes and turns of phrase in to make the text more interesting with only one charater to work with.  Excellent stuff.

Hey, get to the time travel thread I made, it's dead already!
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #539 on: 07-24-2006 23:19 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by JBERGES:
Didn't I make a 'device without a proper name' joke and copyright it already?  I think I did...  tongue


Well, if it makes you feel better, I didn't steal the idea from you.  Truth is I'm horrible with coming up with nouns so I kept putting off giving the thing a name until it got to the point where it became a running gag :S

 
Quote
You're really finding yourself as a writer here Soylent

Why thank you.  smile  The writing does seem to be coming to me easier now than before.  Perhaps it's time to start that book that this whole fan fic thing was supposed to just be practice for...
JBERGES

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #540 on: 07-25-2006 06:07 »
« Last Edit on: 07-25-2006 06:07 »

Tongue-stick-out face = I'm not accusing you of anything.   tongue

Heh, yeah, I'm going to be starting a book too after my current fanfic methinks... well, that was the plan but in practice it probably won't happen.   I have some good ideas, and the knowledge that I can reuse all my jokes if necessary, but little time and drive to sit down and do it.  I guess time will tell; maybe at some point in the future we will be helping each other out.   
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #541 on: 07-25-2006 13:55 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:
... The writing does seem to be coming to me easier now than before.
And I’m so *&^%$#@ jealous of that!  wink
Keep up the good work.
Quote
… Perhaps it's time to start that book that this whole fan fic thing was supposed to just be practice for...
Quote
Originally posted by JBERGES:
... Heh, yeah, I'm going to be starting a book too after my current fanfic methinks...
ACK! Get outta’ my head! Both of you!
There’s barely enough room for me in there!  laff

At least I’m glad not to be the only fan with that thought in their head.  big grin
Arkan

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #542 on: 07-26-2006 08:50 »

Uh, yeah, me too... Maybe we could start a library?
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #543 on: 08-07-2006 22:16 »

hey everyone.  Just wanted to let you all know that yes, I'm still here and no, I haven't forgotten about the story.  Arkan and spaceCase are looking at the next update now and I'm planning to write the next one tommorow so there's more coming I promise  smile
Corvus

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #544 on: 08-08-2006 06:25 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:
Arkan and spaceCase are looking at the next update now and I'm planning to write the next one tommorow so there's more coming I promise   smile

Planning?? You plan when to write??
Wow. I just sit around and wait for the Writers Pixy Fairy with her +42 Mallet of Inspiration to appear and whack me over the head... repeatedly. Usually around 01.30 in the morning.  tongue

"Finding your true love is like winning the lottery, it always happens to someone else."
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #545 on: 08-08-2006 15:41 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:
... Arkan and spaceCase are looking at the next update now...
>.>
<.<

[*Taps S/O on shoulder*]

Psst...
S/O...


>.>
<.<

Check your in-box...

[Nonchalantly walks away]
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #546 on: 08-11-2006 10:38 »

so uhh yeah, about that update...  By the time spaceCase was done with it there was less actual story in the document than comments/suggestions.  Problem is... most of said comments/suggestions were pretty much right on the money. 

I don't think I'll ever write a long time travel story like this ever again.  It's too hard to keep track of what's happening, what's going to happen, and what's already happened; especially when past, present, and future are mixing around all over the place.  Even worse, you guys don't have the notes, outlines, or timelines that I have so I might know exactly what's going on and you're all like, huh-wha?  Oh yeah, and if you think this part of the story gets confusing, just wait until part 6...

So, long story short, that last update I promised isn't gonna happen yet.  I had to basically start over from scratch and give it back to be beta'd. maybe check back in a week.
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #547 on: 08-11-2006 11:26 »

 
Quote
By the time spaceCase was done with it there was less actual story in the document than comments/suggestions. Problem is... most of said comments/suggestions were pretty much right on the money.

By the time that Spacey finishes beta'ing/evisserating a story, you get the feeling that you're witing a final thesis for a graduate level literature class.  Shakespere, Flannery O'Connor, Kafla, Poe - they're amateurs next to Spacey.
Xanfor

DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #548 on: 08-11-2006 12:03 »

Why won't SpaceyCase review my fics? Now I'm all sad.

Oh, and yes, SoylentGreen, I am endeavoring to read all this. And Layla42's. And Gopher's. (Couldn't think of a funny name for him. Oh well.) I will get around to finishing it!

Dead Composer
Delivery Boy
**
« Reply #549 on: 08-11-2006 12:20 »

I read your first section on ff.net, but it wouldn't let me write a review, since I already did so (with the suggestion that you divide the story into sections).  Anyway, my response to the first section is: Pretty good, and helpful to people who don't know the characters.  My main complaint is that the scene at the beginning with Smitty and URL chasing Bender around town could stand to be funnier and more eventful.  As it stands, it seems like a throwaway scene.
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #550 on: 08-11-2006 12:24 »
« Last Edit on: 08-11-2006 12:24 »

ignore this, sorry.
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #551 on: 08-11-2006 12:42 »

@Ralph: 'eviscerating', yeah that pretty much sums up what happens.  My poor story... Spacey shot it so full of holes that I could use it as a cullinder.  It's great though.  I've gotten more helpful criticism from Arkan and SC in the last couple months than I've gotten from many an English teacher. 

@Arkan:  A PEEL authors' library?  Awesome.  Instead of fiction and non-fiction there could be shippy and non-shippy, and we could replace the Duey Decimal System with a random algorithm so space brains don't steal our knowledge!

@Corvus: Yeah, I plan when I'm going to write.  Unfortunately I haven't figured out how to plan when I'm going to write well.  I dunno how many times I've sat down in front of the computer and beem like, "ok brain, go!", only to end up with a couple hours' worth of smelly gibberish. 

Also @ Corvus: Post your fic!  It's good and PEEL needs to see it.

@Xanfor: spacey and Arkan are my betas.  You could ask SC to help you out with your fic too, but I think (s)he's got at least a couple fics besides mine.  Good luck trying to catch up with my story.  School starts again soon and then there's a good chance I'll start churning out the updates every few days again  smile

@Dead Composer: Yeah I was never really happy with that first section before the part where everyone gets to Planet Express.  I think you summed it up pretty well as being 'throwaway'.  That was the first piece of fiction I had written in a long time, and I was a bit rusty.  The story gets progressively better as it goes.   
Xanfor

DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #552 on: 08-11-2006 12:55 »

So far from reading reviews, all I can tell is that it involves time travel. Which is precisely what I plan to do in movie three of my trilogy, so I may hold off reading your's until I'm done. You know, so I don't get an urge to steal anything... Like David Gerrold did to Robert Heinlein...

Venus

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #553 on: 08-11-2006 16:15 »

SpaceCase is my beta too. and the best beta in the whole wide world!
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #554 on: 08-11-2006 18:04 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:
... By the time SpaceCase was done with it there was less actual story in the document than comments/suggestions.
Quote
Originally posted by Ralph Snart:
By the time that Spacey finishes beta'ing/evisserating a story, you get the feeling that you're witing a final thesis for a graduate level literature class.
 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:
... My poor story... Spacey shot it so full of holes that I could use it as a cullinder… It's great though.  I've gotten more helpful criticism from Arkan and SC in the last couple months than I've gotten from many an English teacher.
Quote
Originally posted by Venus:
SpaceCase is my beta too. and the best beta in the whole wide world!
[SC writes long-winded reply to the foregoing]

[Reads thread title]

[Wads up long reply]

Wow.

You guys just heap praise upon me.

Thank you.

I’m gladdened if you draw some useful fleck from my crazed ramblings.
Careful: All this praise’ll go straight to my head!

Just remember Venus, Ralph, S/O, and Xanfor too:
You are doing hard part; the “heavy lifting.
You are going to the time, trouble and effort of actually writing a story.

After you slave away at a word processor, I merely sit back on my haunches and spout my opinion (as if that had any value!).
Having failed in my own attempts to do so, anyone who writes a fic, earns a measure of my respect.

One more thing and I’ll shut up, I promise:
Quote
Originally posted by Xanfor:
Why won't SpaceyCase review my fics? Now I'm all sad.
1) Please don’t be sad.
2) I wouldn’t presume to beta someone’s story unless they asked.
3) Right now I seem to be… uhm… bandwidth-limited?
I refer to the “bandwidth” between my ears


We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread; already in progress…
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #555 on: 08-14-2006 14:35 »

I feel like posting something.  Since part 5 of The Leelazarus Effect isn't ready yet I'll post this.  I'm building a massive futurama-based computer game and, in a burst of sudden inspiration, I came up with a backstory for it.  Since I haven't gotten around to programming the campaign yet all I've got is the intro.  Be warned though, it hasn't been beta'd (spaceCase and Arkan are out of town) and it isn't my best work; but hey, it's something!
_____________________________ ___________________

"Sccrrrreeeeee Sccrrrreeeeee Sccrrrreeeeee..."  The bridge of the Nimbus was suddenly bathed in red as the emergency lights came on. 

The bridge crew looked around anxiously for the cause of the commotion, but captain Zapp Brannigan was unfazed.  He had been through this situation before and had survived, barely.  "Ah yes, my burrito must be done microwaving.  Kif old friend, would you mind being a pal and fetching it for me?  Oh, and that's an order!"

Kif Kroker let out a patent sigh.  "Ungh...  Sir, that's not the microwave, it's the primary alarm.  It means that DOOP high command is recalling the fleet.  Something must have happened, some kind of big emergency.  We'd better hurry back to headquarters."

"Now, now Kif, what have I told you about letting your imagination run away from you?  I think I've been around long enough to know the difference between the primary alarm and the micro..."

A young ensign interrupted.  "Sir!  Receiving a subspace communication from DOOP Central Headquarters in the neutral zone!  All ships are to report there immediately!"

"Thank you ensign, excellent work.  Kif!  What are you doing standing around there?  Didn't you hear the nice ensign's report?  There's an emergency going on!  Lay in a course for the neutral zone!  And get my burrito dammit!"

"Ungh, Leela why are we here again?"

"Fry, I told you three times already.  We have to deliver this giant paperclip to the chairwoman of the DOOP."

"But it's heavy!"

"Well you could have used the hover dolly, but you broke it.  again.  So now you have to carry everything by hand."

"Stop your complainin' meat sack.  At least you've got us here for moral support.  Hahahahaha!"  Bender grabbed an olde fortran out of his chest cabinet and guzzled it, then tossed it nonchalantly over his shoulder.  The bottle broke over the head of an unlucky passerby.

"Hey wait a minute.  Leela, Bender broke the dolly, not me.  And anyway, he's a robot.  He could carry this like it was a sack of feathers!"

"Oh shut up Fry.  You and Bender were both there, I saw you.  Bender's got his own punishment to deal with, he just doesn't know it yet.  And anyway, the exercise will be good for you.  All you do all day is sit in front of the tv and eat dog food."

"It's not dog food, it's bachelor chow!"

"Ungh, Fry Hermes stopped stocking the pantry with bachelor chow a year ago.  Planet Express couldn't afford to pay for forty pounds of the stuff a week, so he started buying dog food inst- Ow!"  Leela walked right into the backside of the Amazonian Ambassador.  The giant woman didn't seem to notice.

There was a wall of people up ahead.  If Leela stood on her toes she could make out a sea of strangely shaped heads.  Somewhere up ahead, it could be 50 feet or 500, there was a greenish shape on a podium.

Bender voiced Leela's thought.  "Hey, what's with all the chumps?"

Fry gestured for his friends to be quiet and pay attention.  "Shhh, the green alien chick on the podium is saying something."

"Pfft, who cares?  It doesn’t affect me, Bender.  Bender waved his arms wildly, trying to get the attention of the crowd.  “Come on jerk wads, move it!”    I've got alot of not work to do here!"  The crowd ignored him.

Leela distractedly reached into a satchel she was carrying over her shoulder while she tried to listen to what the distant green figure was saying.. 

"I said move it!  What are you people, deaf?  Arghhh..." 

Leela found what she was looking for.  Bender's complaints cut off like a switch as Leela pressed the mute button on his remote.  Now if she concentrated hard enough the PE captain could just barely make out what the green alien, who Leela now recognized as the DOOP chairwoman,  was saying.

"... detected the unknown fleet entering the Milky Way Galaxy.  All attempts at communication have been ignored, and we have lost contact with all of the DOOP worlds near where the armada is located.  We have no choice but to assume that these ships are hostile and extremely dangerous.  Thankfully, we have the most decorated military officer of all time to lead us in the struggle that is to come.  Please welcome 47-star general webelos, Captain Zapp Brannigan!"

Leela groaned.

"Hello-a. "  Zapp stopped for a moment to let the applause die down.  "Thank you, thank you, and let me say I deserve every last hand clap, for I am the man with no name: Zapp Brannigan.  And as soon as the Septuple-A automobile agency is done retrieving the keys that Kif locked in the ship I will take the fight to our enemies and carpet bomb them to hell!"

The chairman got back onto the podium then, but Fry, Leela, and Bender didn't stick around to hear what else she had to say.  Leela had heard enough, and with only a little intimidation managed to get Fry and Bender to turn around and head back toward the ship.  The giant paperclip lay forgotten on the plascrete floor.

by the time Leela had gotten her two friends back to the ship and prepped the flight systems for takeoff, Fry had managed to work up enough courage to ask her what was going on.

"Uhh, Leela, what are we doing?"

"You heard the windbag.  There's a war to fight, so we're going to go fight a war." 

"What?!  Come on Leela, Let Zapp Brannigan take care of the saving the universe stuff.  The season finale of All My Circuits is coming on in half an hour!  Also, my doctor says prolonged exposure to death rays is bad for my health."

"Yeah big boots, what's the deal?  Since when are we intergalactic space heroes?  There's no money in that!"

"Alright, that's enough you two.  You heard what the DOOP lady said.  We're at war with some creepy alien scum or other.  With Zapp in charge it'll only be a couple of days before the navy runs out of soldiers and we all get drafted.  Now I don’t know about you, but if I'm going to have to fight a war, I'd rather do it on my own and not under the command of that giant incompetent oaf."

Fry and Bender glanced at each other.  They both knew what it was like to serve under the command of captain Brannigan.  It saved time and effort if you just swallowed your bayonet and got the dying horribly part over with.  It had only been Leela's presence that had kept them alive at all.

"I don't know Leela, I don’t really feel like getting shot at, I mean more than usual"

"Ok, so that's one vote for not going.  Bender, how about you?"

"Uhh, no offense thunder thighs, but aren't you forgetting the plan where we don't fight at all and just fly away for a couple of weeks?  This'll all blow over and then we can all go home and loot the survivors.  Hahaha..."

"Alright, that's two votes for no.  Since I vote yes, that makes two votes for no and one for yes.  Since neither of your votes counts...  That's a unanimous vote in my favor!  Alright guys, strap yourselves in.  We're going to go kick us some slimy alien ass!" 

JBERGES

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #556 on: 08-15-2006 00:36 »

Ah, I remember the days of writing a Futurama video game script.  Actually, Idan Aharoni wrote it, and I added color commentary and extra jokes.   I wish you, Xanfor, and others were around then; it might have actually gotten of the ground.  At least I still have the cheesy Futurama music I wrote...  Asides aside, I wish you the best of luck in getting your game off the ground.  I can probably provide music if you’d like.

 
Quote
don't think I'll ever write a long time travel story like this ever again. It's too hard to keep track of what's happening, what's going to happen, and what's already happened; especially when past, present, and future are mixing around all over the place.
You have my sympathy here for obvious reaons.  Planning takes more time than writing in these situations.  Sounds fun though!

Also, with Layla in near-permanent hibernation mode, I'm generally free as an emergency beta, SO.  I’m not as anal retentive as other betas, but I give a lot of general suggestions to improve flow/humor/character interaction, etc. 

Wow, two advertisements for myself in one post?!  I’m an arrogant bastard!  Hooray!
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #557 on: 08-15-2006 08:37 »

 
Quote
I can probably provide music if you’d like
Oh yes I'd like.  That would be awesome.  I'll give you credit of course. 

 
Quote
I'm generally free as an emergency betam SO. I’m not as anal retentive as other betas, but I give a lot of general suggestions to improve flow/humor/character interaction, etc
  Hmm, a little help with my humor and the flow of the story could never hurt. 
 
KitKatBar-Fry

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #558 on: 08-16-2006 07:55 »

I can't wait to see this project get off the ground. Please oh please, don't bail out on it!
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #559 on: 08-22-2006 22:08 »
« Last Edit on: 08-22-2006 22:08 »

Update time!  (And only like 3 weeks later than planned   smile)

Part 5
Chapter 1

Maybe it was because the difference in times was much shorter, or maybe it was simply that Leela knew what to expect, but for whatever reason her trip through time and space wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as it had been before.   There was the familiar sense of detachment from reality and then the strange distortions that skewed everything into bizarre colors and patterns, but this time it barely fazed her at all.  Much the same thing had happened when she had eaten the lunch Bender had cooked for her the week before; She was used to it.  When the distortions began to clear however, she felt a stab of dread.  The ship tipped over and fell, sending the bile rising in the back of her throat.  She wasn’t terrified this time, but oh God how she hated falling.  As the light ahead came rushing to meet her she couldn’t help but close her eye.

Abruptly Leela sensed she wasn’t falling anymore.  Her eye snapped open.  Outside were the familiar black mass of stone and the endless waste of glistening yellow-white sand.  Leela was surprised to discover she had been holding her breath.  It went out in a hiss and then caught again as an image sprang unbidden into her mind.  Nibbler stood erect, surrounded by brains.  There was a green flash…

“No!”  With all of her strength, Leela clamped down on the horrid memory.  She couldn’t afford to think about that now.  She had to be strong, for Nibbler’s sake, not to mention the trillions of other people in the universe that were depending on her. 

“No pressure,” Leela grumbled darkly.

Furious at herself for her momentary lapse, the cyclops turned her attention to her instruments.  The radar registered one gigantic contact 50 million miles above and astern.  Leela watched tensely as the amorphous blob on her screen moved about.  The next few seconds might very well determine whether she made it out of this star system alive.

The contact, really a swarm of hundreds (if not thousands) of brains, was moving erratically, now towards her; now away.  Just like she had hoped, the brains were occupied with something else; they hadn’t seen her.  Hopefully that meant the plan she had cobbled together in the past few minutes was working.

“Well,” Leela admitted to herself, “maybe ‘plan’ isn’t the right word;  More like a vague feeling.”

There hadn’t exactly been time to sit around and strategize lately.  Leela had chosen to come back to this exact time, knowing there was a good chance she could sneak away while the brains were busy, but that was the extent of her plan.  As to what happened if she was wrong well, she would have to improvise as she went.

Cautiously Leela brought the still-idling engines up to full power.  The ship lifted gently off the desert and hovered in place, shedding a fine coating of sand that had collected on the fins.  Leela pulled up hard on the stick and stepped on the gas.  Her ship glided smoothly into the sky.
_____________________________ ____________________________

It is nearly impossible to sneak through a heavily patrolled planetary system in a cargo ship.  Still, Leela did the best the best job she could.  Not surprisingly, that turned out to be a very good job indeed.  In short, low power bursts from the dark matter engines the Planet Express Ship practically slunk from debris field to debris field, never lingering exposed in empty space for more than a minute at a time.

The computer flashed a warning.  It had detected another ship’s energy signature nearby and was having trouble understanding what the ship’s sensors were reporting.  A message appeared on the monitor screen next to the pilot seat.  Leela cut power immediately, allowing momentum to carry her ship into the relative safety of the space between two heavily cratered asteroids.  When she was convinced that her position was secure enough that she wouldn’t wander blindly into the path of some random space rock, Leela allowed herself to take her eye off the space outside her front viewport and concentrate on what her computer was trying to tell her.  As the computer’s cockpit camera registered that Leela was now paying attention, the text on the monitor began to scroll.  Leela’s eye raced to keep up.  The message read:

“Error determining incoming vessel class/designation.  Nav beacon indicates cargo ship/Planet Express Ship; homeport: Earth.  Possible interference from our ship’s own Nav beacon.  Deactivating our beacon and commencing system diagnostic.  Stand by.”

Leela relaxed noticeably.  Her mouth twitched upward in the tiniest hint of a smile at the computer’s confusion.  She calmly instructed it to cancel its self-diagnostic.  There was nothing wrong with the sensors or the Nav beacon of course.  The ship’s AI had never been programmed to accept its own identification signal coming from another ship.  The programmers that had created the software had never dreamed a ship would travel back in time and find itself detecting the beacon from its past self.

“Hmm… I wonder why I never detected the beacon from this ship back when I was over there dodging the brains?”.  It was an interesting question.  If she could detect the other ship, then there was no reason why the other ship couldn’t detect her.

“Unless…”  Leela brought up a log of her computer’s activities right before she had crashed on the ice moon.

“Yep, there it is.”  Leela nodded and shut off the screen.

The computer had logged an odd signal while Leela had been busy careening between asteroids.  According to the log, the ship’s AI had decided not to risk breaking its captain’s concentration with what it thought was a minor sensor error, especially when the ship it had detected wasn’t showing any signs of being a threat.

For a few moments Leela let herself concentrate totally on the radar screen.  It was very difficult to tell the individual contacts from the giant amorphous blob of the brainspawn swarm, but every once in awhile an individual dot would break away long enough for Leela to see that all of the other dots were chasing it.  Leela felt the hairs rise on the back of her neck.  It hadn’t really crashed home until just now what all of these dots on the screen represented; what exactly all of these brains were chasing so urgently.  That lead dot, the one that was slowly but surely pulling away from its pursuers, it was The Planet Express Ship.  Inside that distant vessel, a different Leela was coping with sudden power loss and desperately trying to find a way back to Earth after her first trip with the time device.

“It’s terrible,” mused present-Leela.  “She- err, past me err, whatever.  That other Leela over there thinks she’s going to go flying to Fry’s rescue and save the day in a blur of kick-ass Arcturan kung fu.  That’s how it’s supposed to happen.  That’s how it always happens.  She, I guess ‘I’ really, doesn’t have a clue what’s going to happen once she finally gets home; what’s going to happen to Fry…”  Leela sighed quietly.  If only she could risk sending a signal to her other self, but there was no way to know if the brains could pick one up and use it to discover that the ship they were chasing was not the only one to trespass in their star system.  They had already disabled the PE ship once, and Leela had been lucky to make it out alive.  She just couldn’t risk letting herself get discovered and having it happen again.

“After all, who knows if I’ll get another chance at this?”

A chill shot down her spine the moment she’d completed the thought.  What if she did get another chance at this?  Was there another Leela hidden somewhere in this dust-shrouded star system?  Was that future self sitting in her pilot’s seat watching her radar screen, wishing she could warn her past self of some terrible tragedy that was just ahead?  How many Leelas could there be?  What if she spent the rest of her life living the next two days? 

The PE captain turned these thoughts over in her mind for a few minutes while she stared blankly at her instruments. 

“Well, I guess if there is another Leela and she is sitting in her ship wishing she could warn me of some tragedy, then that doesn’t really change things.  I still have a mission that has to be completed.   Even if I do spend the rest of my life doing this, I… I have to do it.  Even if the fate of the whole universe wasn’t hanging over my head, I couldn’t just give up after seeing what happened to Fry, after seeing that look in his eye a split second before… it happened.” 
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________ 

Something drew Leela’s gaze to back to the radar screen.  A few dozen brains had broken off from the main group.  With alarm Leela realized that they were headed right at her.  The PE captain did a quick estimate.  The brains would be all over her in just over two minutes.

“Crap!  What the heck did I do?”  Thinking that she’d been had, Leela brought her engines up to full power.  Her ship {leapt forward.  That’s when it hit her.  All this time she’d been avoiding the brains the way she had snuck by any other opponent.  The key had always been to move slowly and stealthily, keeping her ship’s energy signature as small as possible.  If she did things right, enemy sensors would never even know she had been there at all.  The tactic worked almost without exception, and it had become so ingrained in Leela’s mind that she had employed it without question.

“But those damned pink wads of chewing gum don’t detect my ship’s energy output; they detect my brain!  Argh, I’ve been as dumb as Fry!”  The brainspawn had probably been too distracted with chasing the other Leela to notice a second Planet Express ship skulking away in the distance, that is, until Leela lit a veritable psychic flare with her intense thoughts about time travel and alternate selves.   Now the enemy was on to her, and there was no way to stop broadcasting her presence, save slipping into a very deep, not to mention very convenient, temporary coma.

“Too bad Bender isn’t here.  I’d just ask him to cook me something.  That might ruin my brain long enough to do the trick…  Wait, isn’t there some of that tofu left over from last Wednesday?  Hmm, no that’s right; Amy threw it out a couple of days ago.  She said it was looking at her funny.”   Leela had never actually tasted the stuff, not having been able to stomach it after Bender revealed where it had come from.

“Come on, big boots”, he’d told her, it’s called tofu right?  How could it be any good if the fu didn’t come from between somebody’s toes?”

Since there was no way to mask her presence, there was really only one option.  Leela had to flee and hope that her ship’s dark matter engines could outpace whatever weird ability that propelled the brains through space.  She’d been able to out-fly them before, but that was when there was a handy asteroid field nearby to slow them down.  All that lay out the front window now was a few lonely comets and the black emptiness of interstellar space.  The many asteroid fields, and the quickest route back to Earth, lay directly astern.  Unfortunately, a cloud of brains now blocked that path. 
_____________________________ _____________________________ _____________

Gradually the brains fell astern.  Professor Farnsworth’s amazing engines once again proved themselves to be a marvel of modern science.  When the radar had been clear for a tense fifteen minutes, Leela couldn’t make herself wait anymore.  Every moment she wasted fleeing the brainspawn was one moment later that she reached Earth, and this knowledge was slowly driving her crazy.  With a jerk on the wheel she sent her ship into a sudden nosedive, though with the ship’s gravity pump working at full capacity there was no sensation at all.  The PE captain held her breath for a few moments.  If she had turned too early the brains would spot her.  Now that she was moving perpendicular to her pursuers she could hope to get far enough away that the brains would simply pass by her on their original course, oblivious to the fact that their quarry was no longer ahead of them.  Unfortunately, the laws of trigonometry and calculus got in the way;   

“After all” Leela muttered darkly, “something always does.”

As the brainspawn got closer and closer to the point in space where Leela had started her veer-off maneuver, the angle between the PE ship and the brains would grow smaller and smaller.  If the difference between the Planet Express Ship’s speed and the brains’ speed wasn’t high enough, the distance between them could actually decrease.  If Leela had pulled off too early then the brains would get close enough to detect her mind again.

“That is, if I ever got far enough away that they lost track of me in the first place…”

Of course, it was pointless to worry about that now.  All Leela could do was stay on this new course for awhile and then shut off the engines and wait.  Either the brains would show up, or they wouldn’t.  If they didn’t, Leela could finally make her way back to Earth.  If they did…  Well, she’d have to start this frustrating game of cat and mouse all over again.  Eventually she’d manage to get away, but all the while she would waste valuable time that could be spent saving the universe. 

“If only I could just head home and forget these pink jerks…”  But she couldn’t and she knew it.  She couldn’t let the brains that were chasing her find out where she was going.  If they somehow managed to get a message through to the huge army of brainspawn that was chasing the other Leela, the whole group might decide to go join the brains that were attacking Earth.  That would just about double the invaders’ strength, and cut the universe’s chances of survival to shreds.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

The radar stayed blank.  If the brains were going to catch up to the Planet Express Ship they would have done so already.  Leela breathed a sigh of relief and pushed the throttle forward to maximum thrust.  A few seconds later her ship’s bow was pointing towards home.

As the Planet Express Ship skirted the fringes of the brainspawn-controlled star system, Leela had a sudden overwhelming sense of déjà vu.  The feeling washed over her like a wave, making the little hairs on the back of her neck stand up straight.  A throbbing pressure began to build behind her eye.  The PE captain winced and put one hand to her forehead. 

“What the heck is this?” Leela muttered, more than a little worried.  Movement caught the cyclops’ eye.  A distant ball of ice and rock was floating by slowly to port.  The urgent feeling that she had somehow done this before grew even stronger. 

“That moon!  I’ll bet it’s the one I crashed on!” 

And sure enough, there was a very faint, yet very familiar energy signature coming from the direction of the mini-planet.  Somewhere down there, another Leela was struggling to maneuver in an uncomfortable spacesuit, busily repairing her crippled vessel.  That other Leela would never take her eye off her work long enough to wonder at the white spark gliding silently over her head. 

Half a billion miles away, in the Planet Express Ship that was not lying crippled on the edge of a snowy plain, Leela gazed at the moon as it disappeared from the viewport.  After a moment of thought she changed her grip on the stick.  In a series of graceful motions the Planet Express Ship’s wings raised and dipped in the pilots’ age old greeting.  Leela knew full well that her other self would never see the gesture from so far away, but it was all she could do. 

“If only I could go down there and talk to her; tell her to stay out of the Planet Express building.  In two minutes I could tell her enough to save Fry’s life and give the universe a chance.”  But there was no way to do it, not without risking getting too close to one of the dozens of brainspawn that were flying hither and thither through the star system.

“Strange…  When I was crashed on that ice-ball I never saw a single brain on the radar screen.  They must have started flying around while I was working on the ship and then vanished before I got back to the cockpit.”

That was a vaguely disturbing thought

“I mean, it’s not like they knew I was alive, right?  No of course not.  And how could they possibly know when I was out working on the ship and when I was on the bridge even if they did know I was alive, which they couldn’t have since they would have killed me.  It was just a coincidence, nothing else.”  Leela wasn’t quite as convinced as she would have liked.
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