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Bending Unit
« Reply #160 on: 11-09-2007 18:33 »
« Last Edit on: 11-10-2007 00:00 by JustNibblin´ »

Um, OK, I'm sure glad I made everyone promise to read three updates.  Here's the last one, then you're free to go.  Reading over all the comments of Fry being out of character, the doom of the Fry/Leela relationship, and the loss of canonicity, all I can say is


Fry tried to pull the holophoner off the floor, but he couldn’t budge it from her hand.  In frustration he grabbed her other wrist, the one holding the pistol, and tried to wrench it away, but he may as well have been trying to bend girders.

Still holding the gun and the holophoner, Leela stood up from her crouch, effortlessly lifting the delivery boy off the ground and setting him on his feet.  Her left hand and his right hand both had a death grip on the holophoner, and his left hand grasped her right wrist, which still held the gun pointed at his head.  He started kicking her shin.  The only thing that happened was that his toe started to hurt.

“I’m getting tired of this,” she said, a slight edge in her voice.  “The website said to try to use persuasion, and not force, when getting you medical assistance, but you’re starting to push it.  Now in case you haven’t noticed, I have a gun to your head.  That should be telling you to do something.”

She spread her arms apart, so she could get her face closer to his and look into his eyes.  “Fry, look at me,” she said.  “Look at me.  This is for your own good.  You’re in danger of forgetting everything.  Everything.  Do you understand what that means?  You may as well be dead, if you can’t remember who you are.”

The world wasn’t solid anymore.  Reality seemed to have skidded sideways on him.  He was not longer certain of who he was, where he was, or what he should be doing.  He was completely lost.

And then he caught a faint scent of her perfume.  It was the same scent he had caught the night they had first went dancing.  And a sudden impulse came to him.  Before his mind could deliberate, take a coffee break, and veto the resolution, he leaned forward and kissed her.

They had kissed a few times before, but most of those times had been brief and fleeting.  There had been no time to experience the moment.  The one time he had kissed her for an extended time, worms were buzzing in his brain and he had been too caught up in the moment to truly experience the sensations.

But now time froze, and he was hyperaware of every sensation, every touch.  She had been standing so close to him that when he leaned in to kiss her he could feel the entire length of her lithe, muscular form pressing against him. 

And then a strange thing happened.  For just a moment, Leela relaxed, and the hard outlines of her form melted into soft curves that molded against his body. 

Hard yet soft.
And then something in his head exploded.  He felt like a man who had spent all his life walking in a valley filled with fog, but who had now climbed a hill and had suddenly broken into the morning sunshine, and could see all the way to the sea on the horizon.  The feeling had happened only twice before in his life.  Once, when he had heard the words, “I love what you’ve become.”  And the other time, when he had heard the words, “You must choose.”  He couldn’t quite place that last one, however.

Hard yet soft.  That summed her up, didn’t it?  She was full of contrasts and contradictions.  Strong yet vulnerable, peaceful yet violent, sensitive yet sarcastic, not quite human but more human than anyone he had ever known.  He treasured every aspect of this complex and contradictory woman, the fearless space captain, the scared little girl, the emotionally scared orphan.  She was his guide and his protector, his greatest friend.  And the least boring person he had ever met.

The world was full of things that changed.  The speed of light.  The quality of Everyone Loves Hypnotoad.  But some things didn’t change.  He was Phillip J. Fry.  And he loved Turanga Leela.  And he always would.  He’d die for her without a second thought.  And if reality didn’t agree with that, then reality was simply wrong.

It was as if they were dancing again, yet completely still.  And as he became aware of their heartbeats matching together in sync, and as he lost himself in her, he realized that he had found himself again. 

The sea sparkled in the distance.  It was very beautiful.

I didn’t do it.  He thought.  I didn’t do any of this.  And she’s kissing me back.  Deep down, she knows I didn’t do it, either. 

Standing on his hill, watching the clouds dance in the sky, he realized he was having what Leela had once told him was an epifanny.  Strange word, because his fanny wasn’t involved at all.  Man, he hoped he didn’t get many more of them.  His head hurt like hell.

The kiss couldn’t have lasted more than a moment, but then she started to move and he snapped his eye open, a flicker before hers opened as well.  He had never noticed how large her eye was at close range.  It was as large as a dinner plate.  And he loved it.

She gave him a hard shove away, but he managed to remain standing, gripping both the gun and the holophoner.

“You kissed me back.”

He looked at her face, which was flushed scarlet with embarrassment.  And rage.  She had felt it too.

“Geez, I don’t get it.”  He said slowly.  “I cheat on you, kill our daughter, and you kiss me like that?  You wouldn’t do that.  Or at least you shouldn’t.  It’d be kinda creepy.  And not the good kind of creepy, either.  No, something’s not right.”

Her face was full of loathing, toward him or herself he had no idea.  But through her wrists he could feel the storm building. 

“I wouldn’t do that.  Any of that.  OK, maybe the sleeping with you part.  I’d probably do that.  Many times.”

The gun swung directly in front of his face.

Kissing her probably wasn’t the smartest move, because she was going to shoot him now, he idly thought.  He was finally going to die in this room.  And frankly, he didn’t care.  It had been a good kiss.  He now knew that she had deep feelings for him.  He had never been sure.  So he took a moment to be happy.  He only wished he had more time to bask in his joy before he died.

And yet—maybe part of him was wiser than he knew.  Leela hated guns.  Not because of the violence, but because of the lack of violence.  The lack of contact.  The impersonal delivery of death.  She was a martial arts expert with a lot of anger to release.  She wouldn’t shoot, she would—

She released the holophoner and slapped Fry across the face so hard that he thought his neck would break.  His vision cleared just in time to see her fist filling up his field of view.

The punch was straight and true, and he staggered backwards across the room and crashed against the doorway leading into the bedroom.  He glanced down.  The holophoner was in his hand.  One side of his face was already swelling.  He was going to have a black eye.  But despite the pain, the world was solid once again.

Both hands on the gun, she advanced toward him, frowning.  She had forgotten how quickly he could recover from a blow to the head.

“I’ll leave it at that, because you’re not yourself,” she said evenly.  “Also, you really need a bath.  Now drop the holophoner and sit down.”

“I’m still me.  But are you still you? Something’s not right, Leela, and you know it.”  In his mind he was walking down the hill, but he wasn’t back in the fog yet.  He glanced down at the holophoner.

“Why do you want me to drop this?  Why do you care?”

“Sit down Fry.  Or I’ll shoot you in the leg.  I’m serious.”

“It’s important.  Somehow we both know it’s important.  Why?”

As he walked down the hill, he looked over his shoulder.  Between a gap in the surrounding hills, he caught a flash of blue.

“Leela, where is the other holophoner?”

“What other holophoner?”

The last night I remember—I had a holophoner I was going to give you as a gift.  It was in my pocket.  I didn’t tell anyone about it.  Where is it?”

“I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.”

The mist rolled over his head.  Thank god.  Another epifanny would have killed him.  He really needed an aspirin. Or a Slurm.

But even in the mist, somehow he still knew where he was.  He looked down at his hands and they were shaking.  But for the first time in his life, they weren’t shaking from fear.

“Something’s wrong here.  Very wrong.  We’ve got to find out what’s goin’ on here Leela.  We have to fix it.”

“Denial is the first stage of the recovery process,” she said.  “But wallowing in it is the way of the coward.  You can’t unkill her, Fry.”

He started to move toward the bedroom door, a few feet away.

She fired the gun.  A wave of heat seared past his right cheek, and he felt the paint blister and peel next to his ear. 

“I said don’t move.”

“That wouldn't have been her name,” he said quietly.

“What name?” she replied, brow furrowed.

“Her name would have been Turunga Yancy Eureka,” he said simply, and turned and ducked into the bedroom. 

He rushed toward the bedroom window, expecting to feel his flesh baking between his shoulder blades at any moment.  His head was still ringing, the floor kept threatening to rush up to his face, and he nearly slipped in the puddle of his own vomit, but somehow he found himself staring over the window ledge to the ground below.  His eyes were not used to the darkness. As he jumped through the window he felt something grab at his ankle, but he slipped through.  However, the grab had added a spin to his fall, so he cartwheeled through the air.  It occurred to him, too late, that he shouldn’t have forgotten that the apartment was a story high.

Two metal arms seized him and he felt himself being lowered gently to the ground.

“Figured it was only a matter of time before she threw you out,” Bender said.  He took his cigar out of his mouth and stubbed it out on Fry’s jacket.  “So what’d you steal for me?”

Suffering vertigo, Fry looked up to see Leela’s head outlined in silhouette above.

“Fine.  Get the hell out of my life,” she said.  “I’m trying to help you, even after all you did.  Your memory loss is going to get worse, until you’re just a drooling lunatic.  I wouldn’t wish that on anybody, but you’re going to do it to yourself.”

Before she had even finished speaking, Fry was running as fast as he could out of the alley, holophoner in hand. 

“Bender!  Stay with him! Don’t let him hurt himself.”

“Aye, aye captain,” muttered the robot as his stubbed his cigarette out.

Get out of my life.

The words were still ringing in Fry’s ears as he ran out of the alley into a street, right into the path of an approaching ambulance.  Fry froze in the headlights, heard a screeching sound, and felt himself being grabbed from behind and pulled back.

“Now you owe me an extra dollar a week,” Bender muttered.

“Hey, careful there, buddy,” a thin Neptunian said as he jumped out of the driver’s seat.  “Suicide booth’s just around the corner.  A lot less messier way to go.”  The door to the ambulance slid open, and Fry would see a couple of beings start to pull out a large, odd-looking piece of equipment.  Everyone except the driver had their backs to him.

“Say, is this Fairview apartments?”

Fry nodded, and dashed in front of the ambulance’s headlights and across the street.  He heard Bender following close behind, and the faint words of the driver saying, “Apartment 1I, guys, hurry up.”

The pair returned into the alleyway that they had waited in earlier that evening.  Fry, sucking wind, leaned his back against the wall, watching the medics enter Leela’s apartment building.  Just then, Amy’s Beta Romero pulled up in front as well.

Must’ve called her to bring Nibbler home, since I ruined her big night, he thought.  Then he realized he was running again.

Three blocks down the alley, Bender finally caught up with him.

“Here, Fry, here’s your damn food.  What the hell is going on?”

Fry finally stopped, looked all directions, and listened.  Other than some faint traffic and the soothing sounds of a water leak somewhere in the darkness, all was quiet.  He grabbed the two cans of Bachelor Chow from Bender, shoved one in his pocket, and opened the other one.  Within seconds it was heated and boiling, and he wolfed the contents down, scalding his throat.  He wiped his mouth on his sleeve and listened again.  Nothing.

He looked down at his holophoner, still miraculously intact.

“Let’s find out,” he said.


I was considering posting another spoiler about whether this story was "canon" fodder, but you'll find out soon enough, if you keep reading.

Three updates to the start of the prologue.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #161 on: 11-09-2007 19:29 »

Okay, this is cool. Someone or something has been manipulating everyone's recollections of the past, in my opinion... except it didn't work on Fry because he lacks the Delta wave, so all it did was blank his memory.

...Is that right?
No. no... don't tell me outright - just make an oblique hint.

Space Pope
« Reply #162 on: 11-09-2007 19:49 »
« Last Edit on: 11-09-2007 19:49 »

Originally posted by JustNibblin':

Hey, I said I was optimistic, and had trust!   smile

Yeah, it had just hit me during the previous update that perhaps the "mind wipe" had something to do with or might have been affected in some way by the delta brainwave, but interesting to see now that it might be affecting others besides Fry...

"And if reality didn't agree with that, then reality was simply wrong." Very nice.

Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #163 on: 11-09-2007 20:03 »

But if Fry wasn't the one who killed his daughter, how could remember her name? In fact, how would he know it even if he had left on his own, because, you know, he had left.

At any rate, this was some much-needed reassurance in the faith I had in you that I didn't lose.

Bending Unit
« Reply #164 on: 11-09-2007 21:38 »
« Last Edit on: 11-10-2007 00:00 »

An update! Weee!    smile

And no, JustNibblin', I haven't lost faith. I'm not sure where this is headed, but I'm going to stick with it until the end. Wherever that happens to be...

Originally posted by Sine Wave:
But if Fry wasn't the one who killed his daughter, how could remember her name? In fact, how would he know it even if he had left on his own, because, you know, he had left.

Good question; and after sitting here for five minutes...I have no answer.    smile

Seriously though, I'm stumped on that. It would seem that unless the entire thing is a construct (which seems somewhat less likely now, though I'm reserving judgement on that), he was around for the birth(?) - or else, was at least around when Leela found out she was pregnant (per her recollections), or had a discussion about names for possible children that the two would have at some point in the future before she was pregnant. (I think that covers all eventualities...   tongue)

UPDATE: Ah, I see. Thanks for the clarification on that, JustNibblin'.  smile

Fry's epiphany is touching...you wonder what he's going to do with it, but it's touching all the same - as is his certainty that this is all wrong. And he's right there; something smells. (Well, a lot of things smell.)

And I can't wait to see what the holophoner tells him. If it's anything like what's come before, it'll be a doozy.    big grin

'Naked ladies, naked ladies, naked ladies, naked ladies!'

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #165 on: 11-09-2007 22:10 »


Delivery Boy
« Reply #166 on: 11-09-2007 23:48 »

At any rate, this was some much-needed reassurance in the faith I had in you that I didn't lose.
And no, JustNibblin', I haven't lost faith. I'm not sure where this is headed, but I'm going to stick with it until the end.
basically sum up my reaction to the past few updates. Don't worry about us, JustNibblin'. Your audience is in this for the long haul, methinks!  wink

I have resolved not to make any plot comments until I figure out where this is going, but the writing is really drawing me into the story. I can't wait to find out what happens next!

Bending Unit
« Reply #167 on: 11-10-2007 02:31 »
« Last Edit on: 11-10-2007 02:31 by JustNibblin´ »

km73, SW:  Yep, you two have hung in there from the beginning.  Thanks!

Originally posted by Sine Wave:
But if Fry wasn't the one who killed his daughter, how could remember her name? In fact, how would he know it even if he had left on his own, because, you know, he had left.

Oops, I should clarify that.  What Fry was trying to say symbolically was that "If I really had been there in that situation, I would not have abandoned you and our daughter.  In fact I would have been proud to give her a family name to recognize the fact that she was our daughter, no matter how physically deformed she might be."

I couldn't actually write that because it seemed a little too eloquent and grammatically correct for someone like Fry.  I'll have to figure out a better Fry-like way of expressing that thought. Sorry for the confusion.  It's an important point.

Coldangel:  Sorry, mate, but to narcissistically quote myself:

Originally posted by me:
But seriously, after this post I'm not going to respond to any speculations, be they close or completely off the mark.

*Sal* If you wants to drink heres, youse gotta obeys the rules *Sal*

THM,kaotik, Xanfor:  Thanks for your encouragement! (I think that was encouragement Xanfor )  I'll try my best to make it worth your time.  big grin

Delivery Boy
« Reply #168 on: 11-10-2007 04:29 »
« Last Edit on: 11-10-2007 04:29 »

Thanks for your encouragement! (I think that was encouragement Xanfor ) I'll try my best to make it worth your time.
That won't be hard! My time ain't worth much!  wink Seriously, though, it is and has been worth the (study) time I've spent reading this.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #169 on: 11-10-2007 08:06 »
« Last Edit on: 11-10-2007 08:06 »

Originally posted by JustNibblin':

THM,kaotik, Xanfor:  Thanks for your encouragement! (I think that was encouragement Xanfor )

It was. I take back that Kenneth White stuff. There's something deeper going on here... After all, Bender was smoking a cigar, then he stubbed it out, then he was smoking a cigarette. Something sinister's happening...

edit: Oh, yeah, and the Fry and Leela stuff is pretty intriguing too...

Space Pope
« Reply #170 on: 11-14-2007 13:35 »

WOW! One of those other names is you? I saw JB but thought I didn't know any of the other ones. Good for you! Hope you have a lot of fun.  big grin
I'm not jealous at all, not really...

But does this mean that now you won't be updating until you get back?  tongue

Space Pope
« Reply #171 on: 11-14-2007 14:13 »

Where's the next chapter? I'm goin' into withdrawal here...
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #172 on: 11-14-2007 14:55 »

Silence!  I concur.  When is the next update due?

Bending Unit
« Reply #173 on: 11-15-2007 13:12 »
« Last Edit on: 11-15-2007 13:12 by JustNibblin´ »

km73:  Thanks for the good wishes!  And man has it gotten crazy the last two days.  Yep, my names on that list, and we are very excited and very worried about traffic.  But yeah, how often do you get to attend a comeback from the dead?

Kryten, Ralph:  Thanks for the peer pressure (I think).  I've busted my buffer so sorry if more typos here.  I may review and edit later.

Xanfor:  You're very observant about the cigars.  I ran with it..

In the middle of a random alley in New New York, Fry held up his beloved instrument in triumph.  So many of his hopes were now invested in this instrument, he was almost afraid to hold it.  What if all his hunches and instincts about this object were just illusions?

Bender stood and watched Fry pose with the holophoner.

“So, uh, you gonna stand there like that all night?” he said, stubbing out his cigar on the alley wall.

“Um, no, I’m just trying to figure out what to do next.”  He looked askance at Bender.  “And just how many of those things are you gonna smoke tonight, anyway?”

“Just congratulating myself for a job well done.  When I went up to BigBoot’s apartment, I managed to filch some of her hidden cash.  So the night isn’t a complete loss.”

“She had money hidden? Where?”

“The freezer.  Anyway, I got what I wanted, and you got what you wanted, although that doesn’t really matter—“


Fry’s heart was still thumping from the adrenaline of the past few minutes.
“Bender—when you were up there with Leela—do you really think I had a mind wipe thing?”

“Who cares?  You gotta erase old files from memory from time to time, or else you have to install bigger hard drives.  And those things are noisy.  Makes it harder to sneak up on someone.”

“This wasn’t some junk file.  She said I forgot we had been going out and, and—we’d had a kid.”  Even coming from his own mouth, the statement still amazed him.  He gingerly shook the holophoner, as if hoping something would drop out.

“Well—great job, meatbag!  You’ve been seeking to interface with her for a long time, and now you’ve manufactured a new unit!  Kinda surprising I didn’t know about it.  You never told me, and I never read this in her diary, but I guess it’s a few years outtaa date—“

“And then she said I got bored and ran away and left the baby to die because it needed tissue stuff from me.”  Nothing fell out of the holophoner.

Bender paused for a moment.

“Well—great job, meatbag!  You’ve managed to really dodge a trap there.  You were this close to losing your freedom, and you seized the Robot Devil by the horns and broke away from a suffocating situation—“

“But I know I didn’t do it.  Any of it.  I couldn’t have.  I wouldn’t have.”

“Well—great job, ah, crap.  I’m trying to pretend to care about this, hoping you’ll get your sorry ass to move out of here, but you’re making it too hard.  Either you did it or you didn’t, and you’re fine with it, or not fine with it.  I don’t go in for this whiny fuzzy logic stuff in the middle.”  And he lit another cigar. 

“So now after getting your ass kicked, are you happy?” He looked at his dirty, bruised and bleeding friend.   “Now what?”

In all honesty Fry wasn’t sure.  He hadn’t thought past this moment.  “Umm…  now this thing should tell me something.  Something important.”

He fell silent, and the sound of dripping water was deafening.

“The only insight I’m getting is that we should get out of here.”

“Speak, holophoner,” Fry said.  “Uh, open holophoner?”  He started to shake it.  “Please?”

“Here,” Bender said, and he grabbed the flute-like device and scanned it.  “Nope,” he said, returning it, “no secret hiding places or messages in there.  No why doncha come on back to the apartment.  You haven’t been back there since this whole thing has started.  And if you get mugged here I’m gonna lose my friendship fee from ya.”

But Fry was frowning, looking at the object in his hands.

“What’s going on?  Why isn’t it working?”

“Maybe it’s mad at you for playing it so badly.”

“Not funny, Bender,” muttered Fry, but the word ‘play’ triggered a thought.  He gently blew into the reed.

A quiet but very clean note emerged, along with a small ring of mist.  Fry stopped playing and watch the ring gradually dissipate.

“That actually didn’t sound too bad,” he said, impressed.  And then he began to play in earnest.  He had no idea what to play, so he just kept his mind blank, a natural state of mind for him, and as his fingers randomly danced over the controls an odd sequence of notes emerged, and the mist began to pour out of the end, spin, and thicken.

And then, suddenly, like a shot out of starter pistol, a vivid image erupted from the end of the instrument—

He looked around the group and asked, how do I find her again?  Is she left anywhere?

Joy fades, hummed Munda,

but pain endures, finished Morris.

I don’t get it.  Why doesn’t someone speak sense?

Far away, he heard a faint rustling.

Leela was gone.  Pain endures.  The thought made him feel sad and he lifted the holophoner to his lips and began to play.  A mournful, melancholy tune emerged, along with some mist, and before his eyes the mist resolved into an image of a room.  A hospital room.

“Pain endures,” Morris repeated, and nodded to the image.  And before he had a chance to tell himself how silly it was, he stepped up to the image and walked through-

-and fell onto the floor of the hospital room.  Scrambling up, he looked behind him and saw an image of the basement fading away as the smoke disappated.  Then he faced forward.

She lay in the bed, hooked up to a bank of medical instruments.  A Swedish novelty toy sat on a table next to her.  The walls were a rather depressing green color. 

He was starting to understand.  His most painful memory of her.  He wanted to rush over and convince himself she really was still there, and not lost, but there was something about the room that made him hesitate.  Maybe it was the lack of color near the floor underneath the bed.  In fact, the color seemed to be fading all along the edge of the bed, rather like a shirt that was fading after too many washes.  He backed away to a corner of the room and paused, trying to sense everything.  Other than the steady beep of the heart monitor, everything was still.  He crouched and placed the holophoner to his lips, and for reasons he was uncertain of, he quietly played a few notes.

Something shifted under the bed.  And In the darkness underneath an enormous eye opened and looked at him.

He was already halfway across the room, heading toward the entry door.  As his hand grasped the doorknob he heard something big and moist slide out from underneath the bed behind him.  He knew it was important not to look.  The door was locked.

Frantically he jerked the knob and nothing moved.  As he was panicking he sensed his hands lifting the holophoner to his mouth.

A powerful note escaped from the instrument and the door blew open, tumbling down the hall.  He rushed through just as he heard something slither and smack against the doorway.

The hospital corridor seemed empty of life.  All the doors along the hallway were closed.  Weak florescent lights hummed, but were not powerful enough to keep the far end of the hall from fading into the gloom.

He could go three directions from here.  He glanced to his right and suddenly saw another large eye open in the far darkness.  He heard rustling in the walls to his left.  He ran straight ahead.

He ran randomly down the corridors, instinctively trying to figure out how to get outside.  Behind him he heard the floor crack and the walls creak as something very large shoved desks and tables out of the way in its haste to reach him.  It was closing in.

Ahead at a junction he saw several large windows installed in the side of the corridor, revealing the blackness of the nighttime sky.  He turned left and was now hurtling down a hallway, the windows to his right. Behind him he heard something hit the wall with a wet smack. Up ahead in the gloom, another eye opened. 

Turning his head toward the window, he blew the holophoner and the emerging violent screech smashed the windowpanes outward.  He leapt sideways out the window.

He was six stories above the ground.  The city was full of light, as he started to free fall he had time to notice that the figures walking down the street seemed bleached, nearly transparent.  The lights from the hospital windows streaked by him as he stared at the ground below, where one or two cars were passing by.

And then ripples appeared in the road as if someone had dropped a pebble into it.  Glancing sideways, he thought he saw a building fade away in the distance.

The road was now convulsing, and long strands of melted asphalt rose up toward him as he plummeted down past the third story.  From where all the strands converged the street had sunk out of sight, creating a hole.  No, not a hole.  A mouth…

The holophoner had never left his lips.  As the tentacles reached for him, he automatically played a song of sorrow, a similar tune he had played a short time before.  And as a giant eye opened up in the middle of the mouth, the mists formed an image underneath him, and he fell into it—

--and back onto the hospital room floor.  The wind knocked out of him, he rolled on his side.  The underside of the bed was now empty.  The door was still off its hinges.  He could hear something sliding down the corridor in the distance.

He leaped up and ripped all the I.V.s and electrodes from her pale face.  He sensed the color seeping away from the walls of the room, and in fact the outlines of the room itself were getting blurry.  He lifted her up.  She didn’t respond.

Hello again, he said. It’s time to get the others.  We need to hide deeper….

-and the mists of the holophoner dissipated as Fry stopped playing.

“Couldn’t hold it any longer,” he panted.  “I’m out of breath and my fingers are killing me.”

“What the hell,” Bender said, “was that?”

“I don’t know, but finally, it was something easy to understand.”

Bender’s head swiveled toward Fry, who now looked as pale as a ghost.

“You’re kidding, right?”

Fry was uncharacteristically grim.

“Something bad’s after me.  It’s hanging around Leela, hoping it can catch me.  It wants this holophoner or me, I’m not sure.  My only chance is to run, run far away.  And then sneak back to help Leela.  Help all of us.”

“You do realize that you’re taking advice from a musical instrument?  Or most likely, you’re taking advice from somewhere deep in your brain? Now when has listening to your brain ever helped you?  When has anything good come of that?  And where are you gonna go?”

“Don’t know.  Off planet for sure.  But I need to keep moving.  They’re coming.  I think they know I’ve played it.”  And with that Fry was again rushing down the road.  They wove their way through a maze of back alleys and corridors, Fry so agitated that he would only stop for a few moments to allow Bender to catch up.

“Bloodbag, wait,” Bender wheezed.  He really needed to get that metabolism simulator upgraded.  “Why don’t you come back to your closet and do that sleep thing, then decide tomorrow?”

“I’m only still here because I’ve been staying away from all my normal places,” Fry whimpered.  “I’ve been staying in the dumpster, then at the pizza place I never go to.  No.  They’re waiting back there.  Everywhere around Planet Express.  They’ve almost found me.  I need to go.  Right now.”

“Whoa, hold on there..”  Bender grabbed Fry’s arm, who actually strained for a moment against the robot’s grip before looking at his first friend in the future.

“Will you come with me, Bender?  I don’t think I’ll make it alone.”

“Me.  Sure.  It’ll be a blast.  New pockets to pick, new suckers to meet.  This place is getting’ old.  But one thing.”


“What’s the most important thing you need when running for your life?”

“Ummm.. your feet?”

Bender slapped Fry lightly across the face.  At least, as lightly as metal can tap meat.

“Guess again.  How are you even goin’ to get outta town?”

“Um. Tube?  Hoverbus?”

“OK.  Sure.  And what do you need for that?”

“Um… your feet?”

Metal against meat again.

“OK, you moron.  What do I love most?”


“Well yeah, but besides that.”

Fry’s eyes suddenly lit up.


“You may have a brain in that head after all.  Yeah, dimwit.  Cash.  When you’re on the run, credit cards, debit cards, diamonds—all these things go out the window, cause’ they can find you if you use it.  The only friend you’ll need out in the cold, hard universe is cold, hard, cash.  Nixonbucks.  If you’re going to be on the run, my friendship fees alone are going to add up quickly.”

“Yeah,” Fry mused.  He hadn’t really put together exactly how he was going to get off planet.  “Yeah, money can help.”

“So where’s your wallet?”

“Don’t you have it?”

“Strangely enough, I don’t.  I’ve checked.”

“It’s gone.  Whadami going to do?”

“No problem.  We just have to go by the bank this morning and get you a retinal scan to access your account.  Or even better, a colonic map.”

“Um, never got around to getting one of those.  I did do the eye thingie though.  But Bender,” Fry said, brow furrowed with worry, “I don’t feel good about going to a place with a lot of guys with guns who can arrest me.”

“It’s OK.  I’ll come along with ya and as soon as the bank opens, we’ll pull out whatever we can carry, and then we’re off to take over the universe.”

“Oh, Bender, thanks.”  A tear wavered at the corner of Fry’s eye.  Events were starting to move so quickly he felt like he was spinning out of control again.  “I’m so glad you’re my friend.”

“He’s your friend.  We both know you know what’s going on. Spill it.”

He had expected something like this.   His dumb little pet had enough trouble figuring out how to operate the TV remote, much less how to burglarize an apartment.  The pet in question was at the moment lying on the couch, off-line.  Big Boots was standing in front of him, trying to give him the third degree.

“Why don’t you nag it out of him?”

“He threw up and fainted just as I was beginning to think something strange was going on.  And something strange is going on.”  She looked at the figure on the couch, gun in hand.  “Breaking into my apartment was really stupid.  But also kind of gutsy.  And gutsy and Fry are not two words that normally hang out together.  He must be really desperate, or something strange is going on.  So what the hell is going on?”

“He woke up in a dumpster two days ago, can’t remember where he’s been for over a year, and he’s paying me to be his friend.  And this is after he was paying me not to talk or look for him.  You gonna pay me for something too?”

“Yeah, I’m going to pay out your wiring meter by meter if you don’t help me out.  What’s this about him paying you not to talk to him?”

“The last time he left he said he would pay me not to follow him.  And I honorably kept my side of the bargain.  Until he started beating me with a stick.  And offered me a sailor hat.  I’m not made of stone, you know.  Well, 40% rhyolite and 40% dolomite, but not stone.”

“Did he say anything else before he left?  Any hint what he was up to?”

“Look, I love the blah blah blah as much as any fembot…actually I don’t…so how about I just show you what he said?”

“You mean you can replay memories?”
“Sure, in Dolby 5.1 surround sound if need be.   Useful for those clubbing and whorehouse experiences—“

“Can it. Just show me.”

And so he pressed a button, and out popped a little computer screen, hinged on a small rod, for convenient and comfortable viewing.  On the screen Fry was slipping on oil and making his little speech.  And then Bender was drinking.  He really didn’t like to replay this sequence.  It left him feeling strange.  It couldn’t possibly be that he could really miss this meatsack, and feel bad about not looking for him.  What was that word?  Guilt?  Nah, couldn’t be…

“Has Fry seen this?”

“You know, he never asked, but maybe he never knew I could.  Probably shoulda—“

“Hang on Bender, what was that piece of paper he gave you?  What did he say there?”

Rewind.  Fry was saying, “I’m hoping to visit this place, but to go there I need to give that letter to someone close to me.  That’s you.”

Voice tight, Leela asked, “OK, bosom buddy, what was in that letter?”

“I didn’t pay much attention, because it was just a link to some spa or something like that.”

“Find it.”

Five minutes later they were ankle deep in the memorabilia of Bender’s amusing little antics.  Otherwise known as crime sprees.

“Ya know, I thought I might have placed the letter under this skunk here..”

“Forget it—can you zoom in on that image?  Yeah, that’s it.  Hmmm….ReMem Corp, in the smaller Magellanic Cloud.”

Bender glanced down at the screen.  There was only one sentence on the piece of paper, and it was an internet link.

Tapping a button on her wrist thingie, Leela turned toward her wide screen TV.  Moments later a logo faded into existence:

“ReMem: Release the Past.  Face the Future.”

An alien similar in appearance to a yarn creature dissolved into a screen, sitting behind a piece of organically shaped furniture that was probably the equivalent of a desk for humans.  The figure trilled out a sequence of soothing notes, while a translation scrolled on the bottom of the screen.

“Honored contact or genetic relation: greetings from ReMem.  If you have contacted this link then one of our clients has designated you as an emergency contact and has provided you with our address.”

The yarn alien leaned forward, strands taut with earnestness.

“Your client-“ a slight pause- “Phillip J Fry, has selected to undergo a selective memory removal-“

He heard a sharp intake of air next to him.  Funny, the oxygen levels in the room were within normal limits.

“-this procedure, although perfectly safe-“ 

A jumble of small white text started to blast across the bottom of the screen.  Bender caught the words “prohibited” and “illegal” in some of the text.

“-does occasionally yield side effects that can be troubling to contacts within the client’s current and former social networks.  In this video we list some of these effects and explain what steps you should take if our client displays any of these symptoms.”

The figure crossed a few strands together to indicate seriousness.

“Memory removal is a delicate operation, and particularly with emotionally disturbing memories, erasure can be imprecise, due to symbolic linkages to other memories.  Thus our clients can experience disorientation and confusion immediately after the procedure.  About 25% of our patients will suffer additional memory losses beyond what they requested.  And a  few, a very few, may start to systematically lose their entire memory, for reasons that remain unexplained.”

“He didn’t,”  Leela said.  “He wouldn’t…”

“While most clients are significantly happier with their release from the past, a few may sense a loss and may actively seek an explanation for this feeling, leading to awkward situations if they seek out former friends and other nodes in their social network.  As the designated contact, the client is basically trusting you to handle this situation.  If you do face such a circumstance, please do the following.  First verify that core memories are intact, such as the client’s name.  Then try to explain to the client that they have had a memory wipe, but revealing as few of the specifics as possible.”

“I thought I knew who he was, long ago.  Now I know I never knew him at all.  I never thought he would do such a thing.”

“Hey, I’m trying to listen here.”

“Ask if the client has a feeling of persecution or paranoia, and if they have vivid dreams.  If affirmative, they are experiencing systematic memory loss, and need medical treatment as soon as possible.  Please contact us via this link below, and try to keep the client in one location.  Persuasion via communication is the best option, and if necessary, explain the past in sufficient detail to make the client understand the reasons behind the memory removals, and the need for medical attention.  If persuasion fails, implied coercion may be used.  Physical restraint should only be used as a last resort, because of the resulting psychological and physiological stress will accelerate memory deterioration.”

Some generic elevator music with an upbeat tempo started to play gently in the background.

“Once again, the ReMem procedure is quite safe and the situations we describe may never occur.  However, if you do, ReMem is there to help.”  And the bottom of the screen filled with contact information, 24 hrs per orbital cycle, relativistic reference frames included.

He knew that glint in her eye.  He was about to be bossed around.  She finished typing in a message on her wrist com.

“You heard that.  It explains everything.  We need to hurry up and plan before he wakes up.  I’ll stay here and talk with him, check his core memories and see if he’s become paranoid.  If he is, I’ll say you’re heading out to get him some food, but what you’ll really do is stand outside my apartment window.”

“Why would I want to do that?”

“I’ll pay you.  Now listen.  I’ll try to keep him at the apartment and even threaten him.  But if he is really determined to leave, I’ll make sure he exits through the window, so you can stay with him.  Once you’re with him, keep me updated on his position.  I’ve alerted the authorities, so if you can guide him to some public place with security and alert them, they can manage to get him in custody without telling him why.  Hopefully that will reduce the stress of the situation.  Do you understand?”

“I understand you want to pay me.  I’m already being paid not to talk to him, and to talk with him.  Betraying him is going to cost you, cause’ I’m at my situational conflict limit already. ”

“Oh yeah?  Think of this.  Fry may lose every memory of us.  Of me.  Of you.  There is a chance he will never remember who Bender Rodriguez is.”

“That’s not possible.  I’m unforgettable.”

“You saw the video.  It can happen.”

“Alright.  I’ll cut my rate.  Ten bucks to stay with him and guide him to the fuzz, if you screw up.”


“I’m so glad you’re my friend.”

Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #174 on: 11-15-2007 14:20 »

Best update ever? Quite possibly. Fry is getting played like a Stradivarius.

My hat off to you, JustNibblin'. I could only dream of creating a story like this, nevermind pulling it off so exquisitely.

Space Pope
« Reply #175 on: 11-15-2007 14:22 »
« Last Edit on: 11-15-2007 14:22 »

Dammit, I said I wasn't going to say any more on this until you'd finished, but you just keep on being so mean. Poor Fry... how's he going to get out of this one?

Bending Unit
« Reply #176 on: 11-15-2007 16:46 »
« Last Edit on: 11-15-2007 16:46 »

Hot damn, this is one fine piece of work, JN. I bet what happens next is going to surpass even this; and I don't think there are words to express how much I'm anticipating the next section.

And now, speculation!


JustNibbln', I take my hat off; just when I thought there was no way to make this any better, you did. I can't wait for all the dots to connect.   smile

'Naked ladies, naked ladies, naked ladies, naked ladies!'

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder

Bending Unit
« Reply #177 on: 11-15-2007 17:06 »
« Last Edit on: 11-29-2007 00:00 »


Interesting...so do you think the spa thing is a smokescreen? Or his effort to get rid of something, this 'thing' (or things) that's after the both of them? And what do you think of my newest theory?

'Naked ladies, naked ladies, naked ladies, naked ladies!'

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #178 on: 11-15-2007 17:21 »

“Who cares? You gotta erase old files from memory from time to time, or else you have to install bigger hard drives. And those things are noisy. Makes it harder to sneak up on someone.”

I admire this logic.

Bender's moral issues here are well-written. I'm very eager to see what's really going on.

Space Pope
« Reply #179 on: 11-15-2007 23:22 »

You never cease to amaze.

Also stellar is how you weave bits of humor into the narrative - "you do realize you're taking advice from a musical instrument", the elevator music starting to play in the background, "the pizza place I never go to".

An exemplary update.

And thanks again for the offer. That was so sweet.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #180 on: 11-16-2007 00:16 »

I forgot to add - parts of this are reminding me strongly of Total Recall.
...I wonder...

Delivery Boy
« Reply #181 on: 11-16-2007 02:33 »
« Last Edit on: 11-16-2007 02:33 »

Must... refuse... temptation... to speculate...

Nice update and, as always, can't wait for the next one. Incidentally...
“So where’s your wallet?”
“Don’t you have it?”
  big grin

Signing off now before the temptation to engage in corkscrew speculation (like THM. And everyone else.) becomes too great! :P

BTW: Kudos to you for writing a 'fic that makes us speculate so much. Predictable stories can be sooo bad. (Unless it's so predictable it's funny.)

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #182 on: 11-16-2007 08:21 »

My view on Bender is that he is the smartest character in the show. After all, he's practically a supercomputer. And what makes him different from all the other robots is the events of SP3k, which I believe gave him free will and made him partially human.

Therefore, it is impossible to know what his true plans and motives are, since he can (and pretty much always has) hidden them under convincing displays of macho greed.

Unless, of course, his true plans and motives are explained from author to reader.

All this chattin' is kind of redundant, ain't it?




Bending Unit
« Reply #183 on: 11-21-2007 11:59 »

This is excellent.  Wow.  I saved it on my flash drive and took home to read - and read it all in one sitting.

Anxiously waiting for more.  (That's the sucky thing about getting into a work-in-progress - you gotta sit there and go "More!"  tongue)

Space Pope
« Reply #184 on: 11-21-2007 12:19 »

Darnit, I thought there'd been an update!

Anyway, it's still excellent. I'm reading through it again now while I wait for the rest to turn up.  smile

Bending Unit
« Reply #185 on: 11-29-2007 01:19 »
« Last Edit on: 11-29-2007 01:19 by JustNibblin´ »

Well, a few things have happened since this last post, huh?

So I was reading the
new Wired Magazine article on Futurama and I come across this quote:

Originally posted by Wired:
Back at Groening's studio, he is talking up an idea he had for another episode inspired by Kevin Kelly's death clock. Kelly recently calculated how much longer he had to live — he estimates around 23 years — and posted his own personal life countdown clock online. "I started thinking, wouldn't it be cool if you had a death wristwatch?" Groening says.

He and Cohen bat around the story potential of the death wristwatch. Surely, by the year 3000, a gadget like that could recalculate the time of your death on the fly, beeping if you are in eminent danger of dying? They start toying with the concept: Wouldn't it be funny if the death wristwatch were running fast? What if the battery died?

All of the episodes for the Futurama DVDs have already been written, and as far as these two know that's the end of the show — for real this time. But they continue plotting, just in case. "It would be a great episode, and there's a message there," Groening says. "You can't live your life constantly looking at the death clock."

HeHeHe!!! Yes!!!

Now where have I heard that idea before?  It'll be a few years before anything comes of that, but it'll be neat to compare what they come up with with mine.  I'm sure there will be more than the 4 DVD movies.  I'm sure their death watch story will run mine into the ground...

So, yeah, this other story, Rush Moon, the one that began here, I've been waiting for BBS to come out before posting this, for reasons some of you will figure out quickly.  Some comments at the end...


The morning dawned grim and gray, casting a dirty hue over everyone and everything outside the Big Apple Bank.  But as the restraining force fields vanished, and the earliest bank patrons began shuffling into the main hall, even the early morning gloom couldn’t hide the fact that this was one tired-looking crowd that was moving toward the tellers’ windows.

Guards and police were everywhere—strolling outside the building, ambling inside the main hallway, leaning against the wall next to the bank teller, or scanning the puffy eyes and drooping laryngeal sacs of an Earthican crowd that, for one reason or another, needed hard cash at 6:30 AM.  Either that or they desperately wanted the complementary solyentgreen donut that came with every withdrawal.

The guards seemed particularly intrigued by Fry, and they were not alone.  A few of the customers glanced over their shoulders at him too, including a bald man with a goatee, who stood just in line just in front of the robot and delivery boy. 

And no wonder.  Fry’s clothes were stained with all sorts of fascinating earth tones, and some florescent ones too.  His hair was a complete mess, with an additional hair spike jutting out from the side of his head, looking like a mutant sibling of the two standard tufts of hair that drunkenly poked up from the matted mess on his head.  One side of his face was puffy and red, and his left eye had swollen almost completely shut.  And a faint but distinctive miasma of owl shit hovered around him.  For once, the cigar smoking robot looked like the normal one of the pair.

For the past four hours the robot and his pet had wandered aimlessly through the tube systems and walked around clean, well-lighted places, never stopping for more than a few minutes.  Fry, not used to walking any further than from the sofa to the refrigerator, was exhausted, and the bags under his eyes did not improve his appearance one bit.  At the first hint of dawn he and his friend had made a beeline for the bank, and he was still shivering from the cold.  No, not just the cold.  He kept glancing at the entry doors behind him.

“OK,” said Bender.  “Remember, Nixonbucks only.  No Trisolian water bills or other meltable currency.  No talking bills either, we don’t want to attract attention.  No Wormulon pellet coins either.  We know where those come from, right?”

By coincidence, the first customer in line was a Wormulon denizen, who slid up to the opening teller’s window.  As the colonic mapper slid down toward the slimy creature, the humans in line instinctively turned away in disgust.  The bald man bumped into Bender.

“Hey, watch it, cue ball,” said the robot.
“Sorry, had a late night, and realized just an hour ago that I needed to be here first thing this morning,” yawned the man.  He looked over at Fry cautiously.  “You look like you’ve had quite a night yourself.”

   “Yeah,” said Fry.  He wasn’t in the mood for talking.  The steady stare of the guards was demolishing any remaining poise he was able to marshal, and his hands were starting to shake.  “Bender, this is a bad idea.  I’m getting outta here.”

   “Hold on there,” Bender said.  “We’ve been moving all night, and I haven’t had a chance to show ya—“

   The small video screen popped out of his chest, pivoting on the small rod, and a small image of Fry with a backpack appeared on the screen.  Fry stopped and stared.

   “Look, this here is my last memory of you before you showed up a couple of days ago.  So you’re saying that you didn’t do all the things Leela said you did.  Then you didn’t do this either?”

   Business finished, the Wormulon slid off to the side, and an Amphibiosan stepped up to the teller.

   Fry watched himself on the screen sliding across the oil slick on the floor, talking to Bender, handing him a letter, and flipping a coin through the air to his distracted friend.

   “Geez, I look a lot like me.  What was the letter?”

   “Oh, just your will.  Nothin’ interesting there, cause’ you didn’t own anything interesting.”

   “Anything about my holophoner?”

   “Nope, nothin’.”

   “That’s strange,” mused Fry.  “Actually, something about that whole memory seems strange—“

   The bald-headed man pocketed his cash and his ATM card and started to walk across the main corridor.  The teller put the dusty card reader back underneath the counter, grimacing at the grime, and looked at Fry.


   Fry instinctively patted his pocket, before remembering he had no wallet.

   “Colonic map or eye scan, sir?”

   Fry eyed the pointy end of the colonic probe.  Some unidentified green goo from the Wormulon was oozing down the surface.

   “Um, the eye thing, I guess.”
   A Universal Earthican Eye sensor dropped from the ceiling and configured itself into Human mode.  Fry hesitated a moment before looking into the eyepiece.

   “Come on, sausage farm.  The sooner we get this done the sooner we’re out of here.  Way outta here.”

   Something inside Fry seemed to let go, and with a resigned air of a Hyperchicken about to make his opening remarks, Fry looked into the device.  He tensed, and there was a small click.

   Nothing happened.  The guards still leaned, against the wall, relaxed and at ease.  The teller was looking down at her screen, but then smiled up at him.

   “The verification takes just a few moments, sir.”

   Fry shuffled from one foot to the other, glancing around.  He saw the bald man reach the exit door, which opened, letting in two familiar figures, Smitty and URL.  Just great.  Nothing good happened to him with these guys around.  In fact, his last encounter had been right here, hadn’t it?  When Roberto the robot decided to—

   “I’m sorry it’s taking so long sir, just a few more moments.”

   There was no sound, no signal in the air, but suddenly it seemed as if the guards had idly drifted over to their teller window, forming a casual but very solid ring around Fry and Bender.  Somehow, the atmosphere inside the building had changed, and several bank patrons hastened their exit, and some entering customers hesitated on the threshold of entry.  The bald headed man halted at the exit and looked back, frowning.

   “I’m sorry sir,” the teller said, “but there seems to be a minor problem with your record.  We’ll need to ask you to step inside and answer a few more questions to verify your identity.  Would you mind?-“ and she nodded her head toward a door that was marked SECURITY.
   “What problem?  I don’t have a problem.” Fry muttered frantically, backpedaling into a huffy-looking Yuppiebot.  “Um, never mind about the cash.  I’ll just come back later-“.

   “Sir,” a guardbot intoned, “please come with us.  We just have to verify your identity.”  And it wheeled up and grabbed Fry’s elbow.
   “No,” squeaked the frightened young man, jerking his arm away and moving back to the teller window.  “I don’t want to take any money out.  Honestly.  I shouldn’t be spending it anyway, because I can’t be trusted with money.  Really”.

   “Well, well,” said Smitty, walking up.  “Guess who we’ve got here?  I seem to remember this guy bein’ here before, don’t you, buddy?”
   “Oh yeah,” purred URL. “Baby’s come back to daddy, for sure.”

   “Bender, help.”
   “Hey Fry, they just wanna ask you some questions.  They probably can’t read your eye, it’s so puffy and all,” mumbled the robot as he backed away out of the group of guards, heading toward the main exit.  “I’ll just wait over here by the exit.”

   And then, somehow, Fry seemed to snap fully awake.  His swollen eye popped open, and he stood up fully erect, a posture that he rarely used, and that often hid the fact that he was fairly tall for an Earthican.

   “They got to you, too.”
   Fry backed against the wall, staring at Bender, who somehow could’nt meet his gaze.  Fry’s hands reached out to grab something, anything, but only grabbed a potted plant next to the teller window.  He tried to hide behind it, just as the guards closed in on him.

   “Bender! Don’t let them do it!”
   The guards pried Fry away from the plant, stripping off several leaves in the process.  Fry began to struggle to free his arms that were being pinned against his side.

   “Bender!  I didn’t do it!  I didn’t do any of it!”
   With a sudden show of strength the young man burst free of the restraining arms, and actually managed to dash forward a few feet before URL and the robots got to him.  His chest slammed down to the ground.  Bender turned his head away.

   “Bender!  Listen to me!  This isn’t right!  It’s all wrong!  I wouldn’t be like this to Leela!  I wouldn’t leave without taking you with me!  Something’s not right.  Bender!!”
   Fry’s arms were being pinned down behind him.  Swiftly other guards around the perimeter were shutting and locking the doors to prevent gawkers from walking in, and others from rushing out.

   “Everyone please remain calm,” a gentle voice said over the public address system.  “The situation is under control.”

   “Er, what’s going on with your friend?”

   Bender turned.  He had backed up to the exit door, where the bald-headed man, now locked in, had been shoved to the side by the guards.
   “What’d you care?  He’s just having a little malfunction, just like what happens to the best of us robots from time to time.”

   The guards were approaching Fry with a force field gag.  Fry, chest pinned on the ground, arms tied behind him with electrocuffs, managed to lift his head to look at Bender.
   “Bender!  In the memory! You didn’t even bargain with me!  You never tried to raise your price!  You didn’t bargain!”

   “Malfunction?  He seems fine to me,” said the bald man, brow furrowed.

   “He thinks something is out to get him.  Very small malfunction, really.  He’s not even interested in killing humans.”  But his speech synthesizer was now running on background mode.  He really hadn’t bargained for a higher price from Fry in the memory, hadn’t he?  Well, the floozibots were pretty high voltage and he had been impatient, but still-

   “Oh, yeah, that paranoid feeling.  Sure, that’s usually a sign that us humans are crazy.  Only—“
   Bender’s head swiveled to focus on the bald man’s face completely.  “Only what?”

   “Well, I’ve always wondered—if someone really were out to get you, wouldn’t one of their first steps be to make everyone else think you were crazy?”

   “I’ve got a memory right here, bonehead.”
   “Oh, yeah, sure, sorry.  Of course--robot memories are flawless.”

“Yes they are,” Better huffed.  Even as he was synthesizing his sarcasm he was reviewing the memory again.  Microseconds flew by as he re-experienced every drop of oil sliding down the wall, the flicker of the disco ball lights on Fry’s face, the coin spinning through the air, and his bottle of Olde Fortran rising up into the air, and a stream of sweet yet highly concentrated fuel arcing through the air down into his mouth-

And once again, for fifty milliseconds something felt wrong.  He didn’t like reviewing this memory.

Fry was now gagged and immobile on the floor.  Still he struggled furiously as three guards started to drag him toward the security office.  He wrenched himself up like an angry sausage and tried to hop away.  Smitty planted a boot in Fry’s lower back and shoved, and the delivery boy started to fall forward towards the floor.

Bender was annoyed with himself.  He had been spending too much time around weak and mushy coffin-stuffers.  He was even beginning to think like them.  He had assumed that his uncomfortable feeling had been due to this thing called “guilt” about his pet leaving, and him not doing anything about it.  Jeez, he might as well join a poetry club, he was becoming so weepily human. 

No, there was something about the memory itself…. The bald headed guy was right.  Robot memories were flawless, so when something was flawed, it stuck out.
Bender’s CPU kicked into high gear.  Fry’s head slowly inched toward the floor as Bender’s processing ticked away the microseconds.  All the humans around him seemed frozen in time as he scanned the building for a wireless internet connection. A tenth of a second later he had found one, and a half a second beyond that he was strolling down a back alley of the Internet.  Porn sites clustered around him hopefully, flashing for attention.

“Hey, honey,” one ad flickered seductively at him.  “Wanna bend in directions you’ve never been before?”

Another sexy ad popped up in front of the other.  “No, here, see three-headed models connect to a European-standard socket—and they haven’t even expired their warranty, they’re so new!”

“Sorry, ladies, love to do it but can’t spare the clock cycles.  But I am looking for something-“

As Bender transmitted his wishes, the porn ads blanched into black and white, and as one they turned away from him in disgust and disapproval.

“Hey wait!  Tell me where they are.”

“Over there, I think.  Wouldn’t even think of going there, myself,” an ad muttered in revulsion.

Bender turned and saw what he first thought was a large crack in the internet alleyway, but upon a second look he realized it was actually the opening to a very narrow portal.  Bracing himself, he walked through.

Huddled around small message boards were groups of lean, desperate robots and aliens, flaming each other to keep warm.  A few noticed the robot appear and scurried over to him, fawning.

“Ecological monitoring, mister?”

“Finite-element model of cosmological evolution?  I’ll throw in a parallel universe for free!”

Bender brushed the dirty, bedraggled arms aside.  God, graduate students were pathetic.  They’d research anything for money or food.

“Anyone here know something about alcohol?”

“Alcohol?  Do you mean nutritional content, chemical engineering, industrial production, historical significance, microbiology, …”

“Don’t try to use those fancy science words to scare me.  I mean someone who knows how malt liquor moves around, stuff like that—“

Something jostled at his elbow.  He looked down and saw a robot that looked like Tinny Tim’s better off cousin. 

“I think you mean computational fluid dynamics, sir?  That’s my thesis at Mars University!  I’m judging the effect of the Boussinesq approximation on the accuracy of the-“

“Can it.  If I show you some kinda liquid pouring into my mouth, can you tell me what it is?”

The robot’s eyes glowed eagerly.

“An ill-posed inverse problem in CF!  Why, that could take years.  It could even be another chapter in my thesis-“

Bender was already downloading the memory.  A screen materialized in front of the two robots, and they watched Bender lean back and slug down a stream of Olde Fortran into his mouth.

“Let’s see, you have auxiliary data on temperature, acceleration, opacity… all along your entry port.  Not bad, but I’m going to need the uncompressed raw recollections?”  The robot paused and glanced at Bender.  “You could even do the calculations yourself, if I downloaded you the program.”

“Nah, I only like numbers when there are dollar signs in front of ‘em.” 

“Oh, good, I can do it then!  I’ll need to make sure not to overheat my circuits,” said the little robot.

Bender replayed the raw memory.  A laminar stream arced through the air into Bender’s mouth, where it broke into turbulent streams and droplets as it fell into his gullet—

“This is going to take the full Navier-Stokes equations,” the little bot squeaked in awe.  “I don’t know how precisely I can pin down the properties of the fluid.”

The memory replayed in full detail.  The liquid fell through the air in a single stream, which became unstable once it passed past Bender’s entry port.  The perturbative oscillation grew until portions of the stream broke into droplets.  The main stream developed eddies and other pockets of turbulence, fractals upon fractals of spatial complexity.

“If I add the temperature data I can guess heat conduction, which combined with the turbulence measurements will give me the Reynold’s number and thus a combined measure of viscosity and density.  The accelerometer measurement will give me density as a function of temperature, which will pull out the viscosity—“

Over and over the memory played forwards and backwards.  The amber fluid splashed back and forth past Bender’s entry port.  The disco lights and oil droplets reversed back and forth through the air.

“I can’t pin down the exact composition, cause’ there are too few constraints,” the little robot said, apologetically.  Some wisps of steam were emerging from its ears from the heat of the computations.  “Can you give me any other information?”

“It was booze.”

“So it had some alcohol?  Well given the well-known properties of that component I can put some bounds on the content—yes, I’d say that what you drank is no more than 70% alcohol by weight.”

“You sure about that?  Seventy percent?”

“Well, between sixty-five and seventy-five percent.  Can’t pin it any further.  Sorry.  Even after 1,100 years, modeling turbulence is still the most difficult problem in classical mechanics.”  The little bot was squeaking rapidly, afraid of losing its fee to an unhappy customer.

A small sum of money transferred accounts.

“Oh thank you sir!  Now I’ll be able to upgrade my optical scanner!  I wore the other one out when scanning the literature for my thesis-“

Bender heard a sound and swiveled his head.  Something small was scurrying away down the alley.  Spyware.

“Yeah, yeah, no problem.  Go knock yourself out.  You know there’s a porn webring right other there, right?  Have a night out over there.  Somehow I don’t think you guys are going to get action any other way.”

And with that Bender broke off the connection as fast as he could.

Fry’s head was still a foot off the ground.  Smithy was still frozen in mid-air, his foot on Fry’s back.  The bald guy next to him was still looking towards the scene, a strange look in his eye.

Bender’s CPU lowered its clock rate, and he perceived events moving faster around him.  Fry fell to the ground with a gasp.  Guards swarmed over him, hiding him from Bender’s view.  One robot was approaching with what looked like a needle in its hand.  Bender looked around.  There were at least forty armed humans and robots in the room alone, and he could see more cordoning off the building outside.

“Olde Fortran,” said Bender, as he started to walk toward the teller’s window.

“Huh?” said the bald man.

“Quality drink.  Not like that pansy-ass Object Disoriented piss or Unhics stuff. No filler there.  Olde Fortran always has at least ninety percent pure alcohol guaranteed.”

Bender gingerly skirted the dogpile of guards and pushed his way through the thoroughly distracted customer line to the teller’s window.  No one objected, as they were staring at Fry’s foot poking out from underneath the jumble of uniforms.  The foot had been kicking, but was now starting to jerk more feebly.

“’Scuse me,” Bender said to the teller.  “I’d like to make a deposit, please.”

Fry’s foot froze.  Even under the pile of guards, he had heard Bender speak.  And words like “please” were not what you normally heard from this particular bending unit.  “Daffodil,” maybe, but not “please”.

The teller tore her eyes away from the melee and focused on the robot’s penetrating gaze.

“Um, yes sir?  How much would you like to deposit?”

Regarding this and BBS--I had a lucky chance to see the movie a couple of weeks ago, and to my pleasant surprise this story will slide neatly between TDHIP and BBS.  So some refs to the movie will start to appear, as you may have already noticed.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #186 on: 11-29-2007 02:51 »

Bender's net-dive there seemed reminiscent to many similar scenes from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Although Bender makes an unlikely Motoko Kusenagi.

<<Huddled around small message boards were groups of lean, desperate robots and aliens, flaming each other to keep warm.>>

Sounds like the offtopic section of this board.

Coming along great.
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #187 on: 11-29-2007 04:05 »

Originally posted by JustNibblin':
owl shit

Now now, no need for filthy language.

Originally posted by JustNibblin':
Regarding this and BBS--I had a lucky chance to see the movie a couple of weeks ago, and to my pleasant surprise this story will slide neatly between TDHIP and BBS.  So some refs to the movie will start to appear, as you may have already noticed.



Space Pope
« Reply #188 on: 11-29-2007 04:08 »
« Last Edit on: 11-29-2007 04:08 »

Bender's net-dive there seemed reminiscent to many similar scenes from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Although Bender makes an unlikely Motoko Kusenagi.

He is naked, though. Technically.

Nice BBS ref! And nice update, I knew there was more to it. Now to find out what.

Space Pope
« Reply #189 on: 11-29-2007 19:31 »

This is still good.  big grin

Regarding the Wired article: I know!, right away when I read that the other day the first thing that popped into my head was "are they sure they didn't read a certain fanfic...?" I wonder how exactly the writers can prove that they don't read anything...

The bald man, hmmm...

"Geez, I look a lot like me."  laff Up there with some of my favorite Fry lines.

Honestly, I don't mean to be hyperbolic, but this update was fabulously enjoyable. Descriptive and funny, and it advanced the plot! Wise of Bender to figure out he's been duped too. Wonder what the bald guy has to do with it...

Bending Unit
« Reply #190 on: 11-29-2007 20:43 »
« Last Edit on: 11-29-2007 20:43 »

My my my...an update. And so much to think about, too...

One wonders whether the bald man was there intentionally, or just happened to be at the right place at the 'right' time. (That he's involved anyhow would appear to be a fair, though not safe, bet.) Even massive conspiracies work with a fair amount of luck.

He could just be an uninvolved bystander, but the way he reacted to what happened to Fry (and interacted with Bender) suggests otherwise; whoever he works for (or if he's freelance), perhaps he's some kind of 'guardian angel' - or just an agent to make sure 'the investment' in Fry is working out. The way that Bender came around was well done; he came to it logically, as a robot would have to do, albeit with some outside prodding. And the final line...pure Bender, baby. If he's gonna announce his allegiance, he's gonna do it his way. Looks like the die is cast.

As for what Sine Wave brought up:

'Naked ladies, naked ladies, naked ladies, naked ladies!'

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder

Bending Unit
« Reply #191 on: 12-20-2007 16:51 »


It's been a while, but I bet that JN is working up a great buffer for us.

Or else he's in his bunker, waiting for Santa Claus.  smile

'Naked ladies, naked ladies, naked ladies, naked ladies!'

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder

Bending Unit
« Reply #192 on: 12-21-2007 10:54 »

Ohhhh, I was hoping there'd been an update.  I keep watching this thread and waiting.

(Where is JN, anyway?)

Bending Unit
« Reply #193 on: 12-23-2007 13:23 »
« Last Edit on: 12-23-2007 13:23 »

Sorry for the false alarm; I've been curious as to where JN has gone myself. Still, I console myself, as I say, with the fact that him having been absent this long probably means that he's been building up a buffer again, to take us to the end of the story, rewriting stuff, that sort of thing.

Also, I'm sure that real life has played its part; maybe he has a lot of people coming for Xmas this year, so he's had to put fic writing on the backburner. This close to the big day, I think it's about forgivable that his mind would be on something other than a fic.   wink

'Naked ladies, naked ladies, naked ladies, naked ladies!'

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #194 on: 12-23-2007 16:53 »

Originally posted by coldangel_1:
Bender's net-dive there seemed reminiscent to many similar scenes from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Although Bender makes an unlikely Motoko Kusenagi.

I second all of that. Even though I understand less than seventy-five percent of it.

<<Huddled around small message boards were groups of lean, desperate robots and aliens, flaming each other to keep warm.>>

Sounds like the offtopic section of this board.

Funny, that's what they say about us.

You should read some of the PEEL Comics.

Coming along great.

Same here, only with more complementary adjectives.


Delivery Boy
« Reply #195 on: 12-23-2007 23:17 »
« Last Edit on: 12-23-2007 23:17 »

Also, I'm sure that real life has played its part
What. Real life? You mean you guys don't all just sit at the computer all day too?   tongue
[Bender]Real Life is dumb and should be hated[/Bender]

Don't forget to "lock the door and hit the floor/'coz Santa claus comes tonight!", people! Happy X-Mas to all!

EDIT: Wait! PEEL's timezone says it's still yesterday! Good old Australia. We'll get christmas first!  evil laugh

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #196 on: 01-08-2008 02:44 »

Chekhov's gun! That's what the butter knife was, a Chekhov's gun! Not a novum, Xanfor you dolt!

Bending Unit
« Reply #197 on: 01-13-2008 12:59 »

Thank god, I had always been too embarrassed to ask what a "novum" was.  I guess I can start posting again...

Space Pope
« Reply #198 on: 01-13-2008 13:13 »

He lives!

Bending Unit
« Reply #199 on: 01-13-2008 14:34 »

Originally posted by Archonix:
He lives!

Again?  tongue

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