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Author Topic: death clock, time zone change  (Read 11792 times)
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Bending Unit
« Reply #280 on: 05-26-2008 16:33 »
« Last Edit on: 05-26-2008 16:33 »

As Neo would say:


And we're off and running now, aren't we?   smile

What to say...the cracks starting to form in Leela's mind/memories, the revelations of what really happened in Fry's mind (and it's neat to find out that my thoughts that this might be like 'Eternal Sunshine' have been somewhat borne out), not to mention the imagery used for that. Poor professor; looks like he's been nobbled - though that will help him forget the massive structural damage the PE building's just undergone.   wink

Right now, the Big Questions(tm) (other than 'what will Fry do next', which is a given) are:
1) Who is that crew that attacked the Professor, and how are they involved?
2) How is Gary involved? Also, what is Gary, if not human?
3) Does Nibbler know something, and if so, how is he involved?

JN, you are a massive star. Keep it comin'! I can't wait!   smile

TOTPIcan'tdance. Sorry.  smile

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder

Space Pope
« Reply #281 on: 05-26-2008 16:49 »

I'm half tempted to think Gary is just some poor schmuck who's going to end up very disappointed at the end. Or he could be the devil incarnate.

Depends on how you view such things.  big grin

Space Pope
« Reply #282 on: 05-26-2008 23:07 »
« Last Edit on: 04-03-2009 16:32 »

Given the subtle foreshadowing throughout, I highly doubt that Gary is just some guy. Would be pretty anticlimactic, anyway.   frown

Mm, another point of interest, which I forgot to mention before: how does the wallet with the pictures that the bald guy took factor in?

Finally, let me also just note that the conceit with those couple of almost-blank posts was a novel device as well.

I guess I found things to say.

Bending Unit
« Reply #283 on: 05-27-2008 16:02 »

ATTENTION!  The Intergalactic Panel of Fanfic Ratings occasionally monitors the mental activities of audiences to ensure that fanfics bearing our label conform to minimum standards of clarity and interest.  Recent measurements suggest that readers of this story are experiences confusion levels of 4.6 kiloDuhs, exceeding the originally rated approved baseline of 3.0 kiloDuhs.  A review of recent history indicates that production delays are generating unintended confusion in readers, along with the deliberate confusion.  The author has been appropriately fined and has been instructed to respond to reader questions.

Since y'all have been kind enough to read to this important milestone, I wanted to make sure some of you weren't getting too far off track in terms of the story.  It's been so long between posts that I can see how it can be easy to lose track of things.

Tornado:  I haven't had an experience like Archonix, but I was once backpacking in Denali National Park in Alaska and got caught in a snowstorm in August for two days without a tent.  I started to get hypothermia, and that caused me to think about what was really important in life and what are distractions.  Even with that experience behind me, I'm amazed how often I worry about small things in life.

Tornado,km73: I think km73 is right in her interpretation, if she means

THM:  I love "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."  As well as "Total Recall."  Those are really good questions, which is precisely why I can't answer them.  However,


(2) Why is it that when a non-canon character with a mysterious and tragic past appears in a fanfic, everyone automatically assumes that he/she is (1) evil, or (2) going to die?  Maybe Gary is just an ordinary handsome, charming, green-eyed Mr. Right who happened to show up at the Wrong time?   wink


km:  The bald guy

Finally, when trying to sort out real from implanted memories:

The IGPFF hopes these clarifications have enhanced your enjoyment of our product.

Bending Unit
« Reply #284 on: 05-28-2008 12:46 »

Thanks for breaking all of that down, JN. I hunger for your work now more than ever.  smile

And that's a pretty scary way to almost-go. I love cold weather, but damn. Anyway, I was just wondering about that because near-death experiences seem to feature in both of your stories.  smile

Space Pope
« Reply #285 on: 05-28-2008 13:27 »

^ That they do. I guess they lend some of that psychological richness.

km: The bald guy

Yes, of course. I was just calling him the bald guy because that's what he's referred to as.

And yes, this


does clarify what I meant about the memories. I just wasn't certain what the intent was as far as how clear that was all supposed to be to readers yet by this point.

Urban Legend
« Reply #286 on: 05-28-2008 17:23 »

fantastic job, JN.  I've already tried to express how awesome this update is, and having seemingly run out of relevant adjectives, I'll not try further. I will though say again that the quality of your work here is on the level of VENUS.  Oh, and I loved what you did with the 'darkmatter crane' scene.  Fry's funnyness is proportional to the square of his stupidity.
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #287 on: 05-28-2008 21:25 »

Wow. So, now to comment pitifully little on your impressively massive update. From a sheer technical standpoint, this is hands-down the best-wrtitten fan-fic I have ever-read. Simply masterful, on a whole new level than what I've been saying all along now that the pieces are falling into place (the sparknotes don't hurt, either - not to detract from how impressive your fic is, I think it would be fine without, but it's a nice accompaniment in the serial format). And even though this was a sort of "revelation" section, there is still much mystery to be unraveled, and I can't wait.

Bending Unit
« Reply #288 on: 06-02-2008 17:27 »

*reads JN's briefing*

Thank'ee kindly, sir.  smile   I'm fairly sure I've asked similar questions earlier on in this wild ride of a story, but it's nice to find out (a little) more.  big grin

And though I realise that you can't answer all of my list of questions directly (that would take all the fun out of things), you have provided some interesting part-answers.  As always, you do a great job of putting details in that don't seem important at the time, but end up being important later. That's definitely a mark of a great story.

So bring on the next part!  smile

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder

Space Pope
« Reply #289 on: 06-02-2008 19:04 »

It's almost like the asides in H2G2...

Bending Unit
« Reply #290 on: 06-05-2008 20:08 »

Originally posted by Archonix:
It's almost like the asides in H2G2...

*nods* True.

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder

Starship Captain
« Reply #291 on: 07-25-2008 20:42 »
« Last Edit on: 08-02-2008 00:00 »

Found this story sometime this afternoon, couldn't stop reading until Part 2 ran out.

I'm in awe. The story is amazing, I can't actually wrap my head around words to describe how amazing it is... I slowed down to make sure I was paying attention to the dream sequences and I am so impressed at how powerful they are!

I always liked Fry in "The why of Fry". Seeing Fry be the hero is important, he might be slow, immature and impulsive but even when the whole universe is dumping on him he will still stand up and fight for it. He will fight for the people he cares about even if it ends up hurting him (end of BBS) and I have no doubt he would fight for his friends even if they hated him. This story does him perfect justice.

I'm now in the awkward position of sitting in front of my laptop, noticing that the last post was made two months ago... trying to stop hitting F5. I can't...

Space Pope
« Reply #292 on: 07-26-2008 01:03 »

Originally posted by aknightofni:
I'm in awe. The story is amazing, I can't actually wrap my head around words to describe how amazing it is...

You think?

I slowed down to make sure I was paying attention to the dream sequences and I am so impressed at how powerful they are!

A good "word to describe how amazing" they are: transcendent.

I'm now in the awkward position of sitting in front of my laptop, noticing that the last post was made two months ago... trying to stop hitting F5. I can't...

Mm-hm. In ungood news, JN is currently in Alaska tagging whales.   frown

In the meantime, if you want another masterful blend of drama and humor with plenty of tasty bits and a tremendous denouement, go to TLZ and read Death Clock Countdown.

Starship Captain
« Reply #293 on: 07-31-2008 13:39 »

Alaska! Cool, in every sense of the word! Out applying radio tracker tags?

My mind was wandering at work a while back and I got to thinking about this fic, and how incredibly boned Fry seems. If I was Fry, id get Bender to do a memory check over the last year and have him catalog all the date / time stamps for memories that may have been tampered with. At least that would give you a more or less accurate time line to work with, and help determine how often the people responsible might have been visiting!

Also I noticed Part II chapter 1 went up on fanfiction.net yesterday, so at least we know he hasn't been eaten by the whales yet!  laff

Bending Unit
« Reply #294 on: 07-31-2008 14:19 »

Hi folks, just got back into town a couple of days ago, and am starting to feel my futurama addiction take hold again.  I've released the lock I put on PEEL and will hang around for the next week or so.  I'm intending to write something during that time too...

aknight: Yes it was cool--in that it rained the whole time and temps were in the mid-50s (Fahrenheit!).  The tags are bioacoustic tags--they record depth, orientation, and sounds made by the whales.  I'm studying sperm whales (as featured in '300 big ones'--although technically that was a pygmy sperm whale).
And your plot point is a good one, although checking timestamps is a clever thing someone like Leela would probably do.  Fry's strategy is to run like hell and cause a lot of trouble.  Also, how would we know if the timestamps are true and weren't tampered with?

SO:  I've got you beta'd, you'll hear from me shortly.

km73:  Thanks for your support, as always.  Sorry I couldn't go to the BWABB playback this year...
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #295 on: 07-31-2008 16:03 »

Egads! Glad you're back, and that it sounds like your research went swimmingly. *rimshot*

Originally posted by JustNibblin':Fry's strategy is to run like hell and cause a lot of trouble.

Now that's something we can all look forward to. Sounds like it should be a whale of a ride coming up!

...I'm sorry.

Space Pope
« Reply #296 on: 07-31-2008 16:54 »

I wanted to jump in on the tail of this to make a flip comment, but it looks like I wouldn't make much of a splash.

Hey JN, watch out for the mega spermwhale from  Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea that kept eating people!

Space Pope
« Reply #297 on: 07-31-2008 17:13 »


Sine: About time you got in on some of the punning that's been running rampant around here.   love

JN: Whale-come back.

...And with that I win the award for the worst one of all.
Thank you and goodnight.

Starship Captain
« Reply #298 on: 07-31-2008 18:31 »

Originally posted by JustNibblin':

aknight: Yes it was cool--in that it rained the whole time and temps were in the mid-50s (Fahrenheit!). 
Cold AND wet! great combination eh?

The tags are bioacoustic tags--they record depth, orientation, and sounds made by the whales. 


And your plot point is a good one, although checking timestamps is a clever thing someone like Leela would probably do.  Fry's strategy is to run like hell and cause a lot of trouble.  Also, how would we know if the timestamps are true and weren't tampered with?

Figured Fry isn't the logical type, more fun that way!

If the timestamps were altered, they would still have to correspond roughly to how everyone else remembered everything. Specific things could be fudged, but Fry leaving would have to be accurate, and Bender does have his pay record to prove it. Things like when Leela left / came back would help build a picture of the last year too. Just plain frequency of memory gaps / inconsistencies might help. Having a binary database of stored memories is more reliable than trying to ask people to remember!

Sorry... Engineer...

How long are you back for? Heading back to the same location afterward?

Starship Captain
« Reply #299 on: 08-28-2008 21:34 »

Sorry for the unnecessary bump, but anyone know if Nibblin' has headed back to Alaska yet?

Space Pope
« Reply #300 on: 08-28-2008 22:17 »

No no, I think he's around; he just tends to be busy.

JN, while I'm here, did you resolve the issue with your name?? - I see you got the " ' " taken off... interesting...have you managed to log in yet?

Bending Unit
« Reply #301 on: 08-28-2008 23:55 »

Hi KofNi, thanks for asking.  I'm around, leaving back to Alaska on Sept. 11 (great date...)  I've written a bit more and hope to finish while whiling away time in the Beaufort...

JN, while I'm here, did you resolve the issue with your name?? - I see you got the " ' " taken off... interesting...have you managed to log in yet?

They let me in!  They let me in finally!  Yes, -marc- changed my username so I am no longer a special character.  Just a character...

Space Pope
« Reply #302 on: 08-29-2008 00:51 »

And yet still special.
* Archonix pats JN on the head

Starship Captain
« Reply #303 on: 09-11-2008 01:40 »

Have a good trip to Alaska tomorrow Nibblin!
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #304 on: 01-22-2009 04:18 »


Okay, so, having reread what has been posted of this thus far, I am now willing to officially declare this The Best Fanfic Ever (tm). I thought I was in the know of what was going on before, and I had the gist, but going through it all in basically one sitting, knowing what had been revealed thus far made me realize just how much has gone into this story. Also, I love when you get more out of a book starting it over right after you finish it, and actually I think A Scanner Darkly helped me with this fic as far as having a mindset and approach to reading it. Nonlinear story-telling and all that. Basically, JN is too good for fanfic.

Space Pope
« Reply #305 on: 02-19-2009 01:09 »

^ *tackles*
*nuzzles; snuggles*

Umm... anyway.  Likewise, mini-buuuuuuuuummmmmmp...
for the reason that I happened across this today, which may be of interest to anyone who's been reading this stupendous story.

One quote from it: "Unfortunately, other research has shown, bad memories stick better than good ones."

And while I'm posting, I wanted to add another little observation I've been waiting for a while to make, just a minor detail in the text that again serves to illustrate what a genius piece of work this is - the pun with the door lock, in this bit:

Bender glanced disdainfully at the electronic keypad next to the door- a SuzySecure 2801, batch 201B.  Well, this lock might be one of the toughest locks around, physically, but he knew the 201B batch had self-esteem issues. ... After a few seconds of flirting and wooing, the lock gushed and let him in.

Not only is that an excellently-written snippet of description, but I wanted to highlight it for the play on being secure/insecure...  the lock had security issues, heh.

Simply another example of the thought that has been put into this.

Also, lastly, I just really like this old quote -

So not only were people's memories affected before, but they're also being affected currently. Well this is definitely a complication when it comes to reality-perception. Gary's mysterious past is jumping out at me, and wasn't there something about i.v. tubing in Leela's closet? There is nothing to make of it, which makes it that much better. Screw Vonnegut and his idea that the readers should know what is going to happen "in case cockroaches should eat the last several pages." Not like he followed that himself, anyway. Once again you impress and amaze me, sir, and I can't wait to see where this all goes.


Bending Unit
« Reply #306 on: 02-19-2009 12:13 »
« Last Edit on: 02-20-2009 05:36 »

Kim, SW: Stop!  You're making me blush! Actually, keep going  laff...

Having seen ItWGY, I've gotten motivated again, and I have a bit of new material now.  Thanks to both SoylentOrange and Kim for beta'ing...
*edit*, Kim, I've made your corrections to the "study" questions! *edit*

Gosh, I'm still only a "Bending Unit" level?


The Intergalactic Panel of Fanfic Ratings has determined that the time between updates of the following story has exceeded 10% of the median lifespan of a weighted mixture of fanfic reader species. We express our apologies to recently deceased readers from Mayfly VI.

All authors that wish to resume a fiction after exceeding this update time are required to submit a form PU-5487z-@A providing background information to readers who may have forgotten key details of the story, thus relieving them of need of reading the story again.

FORM PU-5487z-@A

Story title: Rush Moon

Estimated reading time for Parts I and II
   Robot (sober): 1.5 microseconds
   Robot (Bending Unit, drunk): 5.6 microseconds
   Average carbon-based life form: 30 minutes
   Homo sapiens: 2.5 hours

Cast of Characters:
Philip J. Fry
Turanga Leela
Bender Rodriguez
Amy Wong
John Zoidberg
Hubert Farnsworth
Gary ?

Timeline of plot:
Between the end of the TV series and before BBS.

Plot summary to date (200 words max):
Fry wakes up in a dumpster, stumbles into Planet Express, and learns he has been missing for one year, with no memory of the past year.  At Leela’s insistence he is then fired from Planet Express.  Confused and alone, Fry has dreams that suggest he should find his holophoner for answers, leading him to try to break into Leela’s apartment.  There he learns of the existence of Leela’s new boyfriend, Gary, and of the terrible things Fry has done to Leela that fanned her hatred of him.  Fry refuses to believe what Leela accuses him of having done, and gets suspicious that something strange is going on.  The good news is that Fry, for once, is right—there is something strange going on.  The bad news is that what is really going on is really, really bad.  He has currently barely escaped Earth on the PE Ship with Bender, Zoidberg, Scruffy, and 2.7 billion in cash taken from an accidental bank robbery (don’t ask, read the story!).  Bounty hunters from across the universe are arriving to hunt them down, including their newest members, Leela and Amy, with undercover names Lola and Faye.

Study questions for Oprahbot Binary Book Club:
(1) What happened to the second holophoner, Fry’s gift to Leela?

(2) Is Eureka real or not?  If she is not, why are there IV tubes and a holomem in Leela's closet?

(3) Why did the bald man at the bank help Fry and Bender escape, and why did he secretly tuck a wallet with pictures into Fry’s pocket?  Why is it puzzling that he would be puzzled by Fry’s puzzlement?

(4) Why is Gary so gosh darn likable?

(5) Why is the holophoner important?  What would the Earthican psychoanalyst Freud interpret the holophoner as looking like?

(6) What did Fry see in his dreams that surprised him, when he finally faced down the Them?

END FORM PU-5487z-@A

Part III--Run, Lola, Run!

Leela strode into the Planet Express building through the gaping hole that had, at least this morning, once been the main entrance to Planet Express.  She flashed her Planet Express ID at Smitty, who had been guarding the entrance, restricting entry.  She hadn’t even known Planet Express had IDs until Hermes had hastily passed them out this afternoon to allow them access past the police force fields.  Apparently past employee turnover (i.e. deaths) had traditionally been so high that Hermes had never bothered handing them out to the crew.

Funny, Smitty had barely glanced at her, but had stared ahead- as if in a daze- as he flicked off the barrier in front of the hole.  Well, he isn’t much in the brains department, is he? Still, it was funny how he hadn’t even turned his head to look at her walk in--

“Faye, have the packages arrived yet?”

Amy, who had been hunched in front of a large computer bank, jerked back, startled, as Leela barged onto the conference balcony.  Mounds of debris had been hastily brushed to the side, clearing a rough path across the floor.  Faintly, from the open hole that led into the Professor’s laboratory, the piped voice of Linda the TV anchorwoman settled over the hangar, which was completely dark except for the ring of light surrounding Amy.

“Gleesh, Leela!  You asked ten minutes ago, and the answer is still no!”

“Faye, call me Lola now.  We need to practice using our new names so we don’t accidentally give away our true names in the field.  OK-- Faye?”

“Fine, Lo-la.  The answer is still no.  But I’ve got everything else loaded into the Beta Romeo.  Even that heavy package that the Professor gave you, which you really should’ve done yourself.  I mean, I broke a nail shoving that thing in the trunk.  What is that thing anyway?  And where were you?”

Linda’s voice droned away:
“To recap our top story, there is still no trace of the two bold criminals who robbed the First Apple Bank this morning, stealing over $2 billion in cash from Mom’s Friendly Robot Corp’s payroll.  After fleeing to a small delivery service company, the thieves, Philip J Fry and Bender B Rodriguez, destroyed much of the building and hijacked a ship, taking themselves and possibly some hostages to whereabouts unknown.  At present there are numerous injuries, but unfortunately- erm, I mean, fortunately- no deaths.  Let’s report live now from Taco Bellvue Hospital, where the Mayor’s aide Chaz Smythe III, Jr. has just been confirmed as being not dead yet.”

“I said a quick goodbye to Gary,”  Leela replied, hoping Amy wouldn’t follow up on the Professor’s package.

For a moment Leela didn’t recognize the expression that appeared on Amy’s face.  It was so familiar though.  Why?  Then she realized she had seen that same expression in a mirror many times.  Usually when Fry or Bender had been around.  It was a “you-mean-I-was-working-my-hindquarters-off-and-you’ve-been-doing-WHAT?” expression that didn’t which fit the casual slacker attitude that characterized all things Amy Wong.

“Linda, this is Norris the Neutral, reporting from a building called the Bellvue Hospital.  I have been told that the human Chaz Smythe will not die, but I have not seen the entity myself.  I have seen no evidence to suggest otherwise, but I have seen no evidence to suggest he is alive either, other than this statement from a human I do not know-“

“Thank you Norris-”

“You’ve been partying with Gary all this time?”

Feeling somewhat sheepish, Leela found herself saying, “Well, he is taking care of Nibbler for me, so I had to settle all that-“

“Um-huh.” The intern grunted in a way that all male mammals within parsecs would have found cute, but somehow managed to raise Leela’s hackles instead. I almost prefer when she was being awkward around me, when she knew that she had kissed Fry behind my back--

A slight headache at that moment stopped any comeback Leela might have been able to summon, and as she rubbed her temple Amy continued.

“I haven’t even been able to raise Kiffie, even though the Nimbus should be in our Solar System by now.”

Well that explains part of it—she’s looking forward to maybe seeing Kif during our little bounty hunt.  I sure hope not, because were there’s Kif there’s-

“Zapp Brannigan.”

Leela gave a little start as Linda’s voice wafted the name of her second greatest-mistake across the hangar.

"The multiply-decorated DOOP hero is currently heading here to patrol all starways heading out of the Earthican system.  And he’s not alone.  Bounty hunters from across the galaxy are converging into the Earthican system, already leading to a jump in sales of alcohol, weaponry, and souvenir Hardly-Davidson t-shirts, extra-extra large. No comment yet from MomCorp, either about the robbery or the mysterious reward anonymously offered for the live capture of the fugitives. “

Not for the first time today, Leela suddenly felt disconnected from herself.  She used to hate Zapp Brannigan more than anyone else in the Universe.  But now he had a competitor.  Someone she never would have imagined just a couple of years ago.  Philip J. Fry, her enemy?

Even as she thought the words a wave of anger flooded her feelings and she reflexively clenched her fists and clamped down her jaw.  Amy, misinterpreting these signs, hurriedly said, “I’ve been killing a little time looking at the Guild website-“

Leela turned to stare at images of grim-looking individuals filled the PE computer screens as exploded views of spacecraft and weaponry rotated in the background.  Wait a moment—wasn’t that Morbo up there?

“Anything interesting?  Besides Morbo?”

“Some of these bounty hunters seem really nasty,” Amy replied.  “I’m starting to get a little worried that we’re going to scratch my car.”  She glanced anxiously over the balcony railing toward her Beta Romeo, squatting in the middle of a PE Ship-shaped crater of debris in the middle of the hangar, like a nervous gerbil trying not to be noticed by circling hawks.  “I’m thinking of asking my parents for their Bugallac instead.  At least it has a gun mounted next to the cruise control.”

“No time.  We’re just waiting for our taguns, and then we’re off.  If we leave soon, we might be able to avoid all these clowns--your little car is pretty unobtrusive.  And if we find the PE ship right away, we may not even have to fire the gauss gun I’ve brought along.”

“And how are we gonna do that?  Find Fry and Bender, I mean? They could be anywhere in the galaxy by now!”

A smug little smile settled over Leela’s face, a look that had always annoyed the intern to no end.  For one thing, that look always led to a LookHowSmartIAmEvenThoughINev erWentToMarsU lecture.

“Because we know something everyone else doesn’t.  The fuel tank of the PE ship was almost empty when they took off.   I hadn’t cleaned out Nibbler’s litter box into the main engine yet.  So our little pirates had to hide somewhere in the Solar System, and the only place to get dark matter off-world is along the Sqrt(66) starway leading out of the system.”

“Starway sqrt(66)?  That’s where Kiffie told me he’s going to be patrolling! He also said they’re putting up spaceblocks along the spaceway.  So we’re just going to wait by there?”

“No.  With the engines you have in that thing”-she nodded toward Amy’s car-“we’d be lucky to even get onto the starway before the DOOP scoops them up .  No, we have to find where they are huddling down around good old Sol, before someone else-”.

“Hey, anybody in there?”

The familiar voice crackled over the console’s speakerphone.  Smitty was calling from outside.  Guess he wasn’t so dazed after all.

Amy glanced at Leela, who nodded.  The intern gently prodded her thimble-sized device with her perfectly trimmed fingernail.


“There a Faye or Lola Valentine in there?  Some clowns from the Bounty Hunter’s Guild is here with a package for them.”

Funny how we now need a delivery service to deliver to our delivery service, Leela mused, as she opened the only functioning doorway to the outside and signed for the package.  The harried looking courier strode past an oddly-parked ambulance and vanished into the sea of flashing red lights, no doubt delivering similar packages throughout the sector this evening.  No time to lose.

She opened the package while jogging up the stairs and dropped the Guild Taggers on the console in front of Amy.

“Wow!  Who knew bounty hunter scum had such good taste?”

Amy had a point, Leela thought. The small Taggers had a streamlined, elegant look about them that made her feel underdressed in her standard white T-shirt.  As both women admired the forms, one of the devices projected an acoustic hologram, a squat, round squishy ball with a squat, round head and two marshmallow-like stubs for legs. “Hi, I’m your friendly bounty hunter FAQ, introducing you to the exciting and tax-sheltering world of the bounty hunt.  Please touch device with appendage to confirm identity.”

Glancing at each other, the two women both shrugged, and Leela pressed the purple device, Amy the pink.  A second hologram appeared, and two identical figures began to speak, slightly out of synch.

“Identity of Lola/Faye confirmed, Guild license #039487+89078i and 8876478+847861j.”

“Complex identity,” Amy whispered.


The FAQ bubbled away adorably. “Your registration has been confirmed with the Guild and your hunting privileges activated.  Taggers activated.  Communicate intended target.”

“Bender B. Rodriguez and Philip J. Fry,” Leela said confidently, although she felt momentarily dizzy as she spoke the words.  Shaking her head to clear it, she refocused on the ghostly voice.

“-confirmed.  Bounty for this target is currently set to NONLETHAL.  Please attach tagger to front of chosen weapon.”

Currently? thought Leela, as she slid the tagger over her favorite laser pistol, and as Amy awkwardly slid hers over the Bureaucrat4096 gun Hermes had hastily loaned her.  (“Slices through the paperwork like butta,” he had assured her).  Currently?  A hint of coldness started to congeal in her stomach.

“Weapons adjusted to stun.  Calibration in progress.   Please shoot at a random target.”

Leela aimed at the hovertruck still lying forlornly on its side twenty meters behind her.  Along with the red aiming mark a new green mark appeared, slightly offset, but as both women watched, the spots merged.

Closing her eye for a moment, Leela had a vision of a filthy, ragged Fry reaching out and touching her boot.

“I was in your closet.  Last night.”

He said it so casually, that stupid confused expression he always wore-

She pulled the trigger, and a wisp of smoke appeared on the side of the vehicle.  Simultaneously a small “pop” emerged from the tagging sleeve, and a fraction of a second later a dart smacked and stuck to the side of the truck.

“Shot confirmed.  No ID established by tag.  Please shoot at a nonessential portion of your anatomy.”

Pausing only a moment, she aimed for her injured foot, giving no time for Amy to snark.  She felt a slight sting as a mosquito-sized dart embedded into her shin.

“Shot confirmed.  Hit confirmed, time 22:31:40.6567 Universal Galactic Standard Time.  Identify match: Lola.  Not on hunter list.  Calibration complete.  Hit target only with tagged weapon during active search.”

“So that’s how they log who gets the bounty first, huh?” Amy said.  “Kinda like a credit card.  Geezlesh, I never thought about it, but I guess in the middle of a big firefight giving credit for a capture would be kinda hard, huh?”

“Yeah,” Leela replied, “it’s probably a pretty common situation.  Not much left behind for a disintegrator to confirm.  Umm, FAQ?”  she asked the hologram, uncertainly.

The FAQ, which had been lifting a virtual leg and dropping crapware onto the PE console, snapped back into a pleasant, eager expression of interest.  “Hmm?”

“Is there a tagging device for our ship’s weapons system?”

“FAQ#3: Validity of earning bounty through destruction of transport vehicle.  Since 2843 the Guild has required all bounties to be collected directly by entity.  In 2841 a bounty for its Royal Highness Shulgan 1024 of Binno V was claimed after claimant destroyed escape pod from the target’s flagship.  However, one Earthican cycle later target was discovered singing karaoke in a mud pond on FleshPot IX, causing awkwardness between Guild and long-term client.  Thus all bounties must be marked using personal entity weapon, providing absolute proof of target.”

“Wow,” said Amy, “so we’re gonna have to board the ship and tag them directly?  Kinda old-fashioned, don’t ya think?”

“Yep,” Leela replied, “and you know, I kinda like their approach”.  Amy stared at Leela, catching a gleam in the martial arts expert’s eye.  “No easy way out.  No lazy shooting from a distance.  The hunter has to look the hunted in the face before making the catch.  I could get used to this.” 

Amy had never imagined Leela as anything other than a starship captain with terrible fashion sense.  But now, looking at Leela smile down at her tagger, she couldn’t help but wonder whether her captain had stumbled into a career better suited for her.

Leela felt a shiver of excitement run down her spine, as she always did when facing a new and likely insurmountable challenge. And yet—

And yet something was dulling the edge of her concentration.  She felt as if she were bathing in both ice and a hot tub at the same time.  She could hear her pulse racing, her body quivering in anticipation of action, but the cold feeling in her gut now also crept up her spine.  She was feeling afraid.  For herself?  No, that wasn’t it.  For Bender?  That must have been it, but it was only a nonlethal bounty, and fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view), Bender had proven himself nearly indestructible many times in the past—must be that 40% dolomite shell.

Was it fear for Fry?  But she despised him!  And it was simply a “stun”, not a “kill.”

So why did the prospect of shooting down her former friend with a dart elicit a faint hiccup of horror?

As Leela wandered through her thoughts, Amy watched the tag disintegrate from her friend’s singed boot, wishing again that Leela had better color sense—as a team, they simply did not color coordinate.  Finally, the cyclops stirred and turned to the computer console bank.  “Well, if we have to find them in person, all the more reason to find them quickly.”

“And where are they, if not along Sqrt(66)?,” Amy asked. “ Even the Earthican system is pretty big.  I remember my sorority Sol crawl taking days.  Missed my quantum engine mechanics final.  My grade stayed superimposed.”

Lecturer Leela emerged full-blown again, as she tapped the computer console, projecting an image of the local solar system.

“Let’s eliminate locations-” she began---


“-it can’t be Earth itself, because the tachyon residual from the Planet Express Ship indicated an actual jump took place,”  Walt murmured, waving his hand and causing a red patch to cover Earth on the image floating in front of Mom, Ignar, and Larry.  “But the magnitude of the residual was weak—they haven’t gone outside the solar system.”

“I like Earth,” Ignar smiled.  “It’s pretty blue.”

“Shut up, you idiots.  Both of you,” snarled Mom, before taking a long pull on her cigarette.  “This is the best you can do?”

“Not quite, Mother.  Our subsidiaries have been able to cross off Mercury, Venus, and Mars—”

“-leaving the rest of the system to hide in,” she growled.  “With my hard-earned cash.  Which someone else is going to grab before me, because someone else doesn’t have morons for sons.”

“I thought you would be happy that someone else is offering a reward to get the money back”, Larry said, cautiously.  “Now you don’t have to.”

Both Walt and Mom rolled their eyes to the ceiling, an action that Fry would have found familiar, had he been in the room.  But he wasn’t.

 “Yeah, this anonymous benefactor is asking for those two morons on the ship, but has said nothing about giving back the money,” she hissed.  “I’m sure a bounty hunter is just going to let the money sit there, while he ties up the thieves, right, sonny boy?”  Larry shrunk down and stared at the floor.  “In fact, I’m sure these anonymous angels are waiting for the money to fall into their laps right now,” she said.  “Unless we find that ship first. Who knows, we might even pick up an extra 2 million Woolong on top of our 2 billion investment.  That is,” she continued, eyes flashing toward Walt, “ if my so-called offspring can manage to be slightly less retarded than those retards on the ship.”

Walt smiled tightly.  “As I was saying, Mother, we’ve crossed off the inner planets, which leaves—”


“-the gas giants, Oort cloud, and asteroid belt,”  the Neutral bounty hunter said to the assorted alien species gathered around the display, as their vessel slipped into its berth on the Moon.  “They could try to hide in the upper atmosphere of the gas giant-“”

“-squishy humans?  Too much gravity.  No way,” the hunter from Omnicron V grunted dismissively.

“At first glance that is a very reasonable point of view”, the Neutral nodded, “and cannot be discounted completely.  However, they may have a gravity pump, however unlikely.  But for the time being, without being disrespectful to that possibility, let’s focus our attention on regions where a ship can hide among the clutter of the asteroid belt or places like it-”

“So how do you pick a tadpole out of a swamp?”  the Amphibios hunter asked---


“Well, boss, we ken look at de usual suspec’s—warp signature, heat signature, difference in albedo—“

“Yeah, yeah, I’m really impressed wid’ what you know, Mousepad,” said Donbot, reclining back in his seat in the Robot Mafia’s best car.  “If I had a degree ta offer, I’d shove it down your yap-yap right now.  So how we gonna find dese clowns in de asteroids or de comets?”

“And give ‘em de clamps!” Clampbot added cheerfully.  “Why don’ we ask dis guy, boss, do the robopsycholegy thing?  Dat’s why you hired him to come wid us, right?”

All three heads swiveled toward the bending unit smoking casually on the far end of the vehicle.  Pulling his cigar out of his mouth, the fourth robot said, “Well, I know Bender has wanted to kill all humans for quite some time, kinda as a hobby.  I know the feeling.  Now that he’s free to do so, he probably going to try to find the mythical League of Robots in order to raise an army to destroy Earth.  And make some more dough in the processes.”  He stubbed out his cigar calmly, apparently oblivious to the 60 Hz confusion that suddenly hummed throughout the car.

“Nah, just pulling your leg,” Flexo continued.  “You guys are all right.  But you know, I worked on that ship once, and it had one of the biggest dark matter engines I’d ever seen.  For its size, the ship should have a pretty strong gravitational signature-”

“--so if the ship is really hiding in the middle of a bunch of same-size objects, the only possibility left, then it’s relatively strong gravitational field is going to affect the orbits and motions of everything around it.”

Zapp Brannigan-- Captain Extraordinaire, Hero of the DOOP Fleet, Conqueror of Invalid XII, Splash Photo Cover for EarthSquire Magazine--picked his nose, made a manly wipe underneath the arm of his chair, then looked confused.  Lieutenant Kif Kroker repressed a sigh.

“Stop speaking this prissy scientific nonsense, Kif.  Give it to me straight, like a manly punch.  Just not too hard, please.”

Kif glanced at the main viewscreen of the Nimbus, watching the starway traffic of Sqrt(66) swarm by in the distance, and swallowed another emerging sigh.  “The ship’s inertial mass is different than its gravitational mass, so the movements of nearby objects are going to be strange.  If we link into the DOOP near-Earth defense scanning system and monitor the Doppler shifts of all moving objects in the asteroids, outer planets, and Oort cloud, we should be able to flag unusual orbits or rotations—“

“You punch like a woman, Kif.  Give it to me in terms a man of action like me will understand.  What’s this inertial mass you’re talking about?”

Kif pondered, then closed his eyes in despair, while forcing out the words.

“Big boobies shake more slowly.”

“Ahhhh,” Zapp said, leaning back, nodding sagely behind tented fingers.  “So if the cleavage is heaving the wrong way, we know she has implants.“


Space Pope
« Reply #307 on: 02-19-2009 14:20 »


Missed my quantum engine mechanics final.  My grade stayed superimposed. laff

More later when I can actually take the time to read...  smile

Bending Unit
« Reply #308 on: 02-19-2009 19:37 »


A welcome return to form. The intro was funny, and helpful, too. And the section...I wonder where they did hide, whether Fry's managed to find out anything more from his memory - and whether he'll be able to act on it before the hoards of hunters descend. The switching from conversation to conversation was a neat technique (gonna have to figure out how to steal it wink ). And the Zapp-Kiff conversation? Dead-on; it's surprising that Kiff hasn't killed him yet, if that's what he has to go through on a regular basis. And most intruiging of all, it looks as if Leela's edging out from under the influence of the memory alteration...if only just a fraction. Going to be interesting to see what happens when her and Fry two end up face-to-face (which I'm sure they will!).

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder

Urban Legend
« Reply #309 on: 02-20-2009 00:20 »

Hi JN, just popping in to say I'll have the rest of this update back to you hopefully sometime this weekend.  My last exam is tomorrow...

Starship Captain
« Reply #310 on: 02-20-2009 00:56 »


YES! Woo-hoo part 3!
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #311 on: 02-20-2009 02:48 »

Huzzah! Well, the plot continues to thicken, even as it clarifies, sort of like cooling glass. In fact there seems to be a transition happening between the non-linear dream-ridden previousness and what is shaping up to be a high-paced action spectacular. This fic really does have everything.

Space Pope
« Reply #312 on: 02-20-2009 05:09 »
« Last Edit on: 02-20-2009 05:12 »

Ahhh, so you finally posted some of it. (Maybe the article I linked spurred your memory,
ha ha). But I see you're only posting a portion, you're leaving the rest for
later. Understandable.  I worship the various warnings you put in, throughout this entire work, but the summary you added above just doesn't really do it justice, does it. Also, this is very likely the only fic that comes with study questions.  Bonus!  However, I caught a couple of problems in two of the questions:
- In #2, should be "IV tubes and a holomem in Leela's closet", for more clarity;
- and in #3 you have an extra "he" in "puzzling that he would he be puzzled by Fry's puzzlement".         

Otherwise I see you made a few more tweaks to it also..  Dammit, the line about needing a "delivery service to deliver to our delivery service" reminds me of those image macros that some people keep posting: something like "I heard you like deliveries, so I put a delivery service in your delivery service so you can deliver while you deliver."   tongue   Well, I pretty much already told you all the things I like here, the bits I'm fond of from this part - Norris the Neutral, the hologram dropping crapware onto the console, "Hardly-Davidson", the "complex identity", "my grade stayed superimposed", the well-done scene shifts incorporating character cameos, which due to the bounty-hunter construct come across as well-placed and not at all forced or contrived...  and just about everything else, though it does seem rather cut-off now because the part I saw had more.    Regardless, still a seamless sterling section.

I see you've been getting some glowing praise over at ff.net, too--you know I think deservedly so, of course. Unlike some fics where I just can't quite understand what some people see in them so much, with this one I genuinely can't find enough to say
about it.           I guess I technically managed again, though.

Thus - much remains unelucidated, still, obviously; but indeed, the 'non-linear' aspects of the plot are starting to gel together.
Anticipating you perfecting the next chunk.

Bending Unit
« Reply #313 on: 03-12-2009 15:16 »
« Last Edit on: 04-03-2009 21:17 »

Thanks everyone!  Once again, real life smacked down hard--couldn't even do edits for a while, but here goes!  I'm traveling for a week without email, talk to y'all later!

“—and the PE ship will be in the region of the mismatched Doppler radiation,” Leela concluded, primly.  She always took a little pride (OK, lots) when she showed off her basic physics knowledge to the engineering intern.  She had always been fond of Doppler effects since grade school.  Any technique that could let you estimate velocity using only one sensor, she was all for.

“We just have to sit here and monitor the near-Earth defense data until we find it.  Good thing you hacked into it so easily.”

“Well, actually, Kiffie gave me a guest account, so I could download his PASCAL poems to me,” she said.  “He sometimes likes to rename stars after me in the DOOP star charts too.”

“How sweet,” Leela said, straining as much insincerity out of her voice as she could manage.

Oblivious, Amy continued, “but it’s strange.  I think there are a lot of other users in this database.  I think they’re actually hacking in too.  Hey, there’s Kiffie’s username!  He and the other users are looking at the same data we are.  Guess we’re not the only ones thinking of this,” she said in a manner that would do a Neutral proud, while secretly enjoying the rare sight of Leela the Lecturer deflating somewhat.

“Drat,” Leela said, eye scanning the screen.  “At least there seem to be only five others.  Now we know who the competition will be.”  Her eye lingered on a particular column on the display.  “Hey, Amy—“


“Whatever the hell you are—is this column how much time they’ve been logged on?”

“Yeah—looks like a couple of users have been on for a couple of hours.  Let’s see—they’ve even managed to scan the asteroid database twice.”

Leela swatted away the small voice of despair, and focused.  She loved competing.  It had been too long.  “OK, someone has more resources than us.  But if they’re scanning twice it means they haven’t found anything. What else have these guys looked at?”

“Hmm… someone else has scanned the Oort cloud three times.”

Fry and Bender would have asked the computer for help to hide, Leela thought, and the computer would have given them a list of possibilities, all cluttered areas of the solar system.  Which one would Fry choose?

And then an image popped into Leela’s mind, unbidden.

He looked down, disappointed to a degree that surprised her.  After all, it was only the Moon.

And then she saw the reflection off his helmet, and she turned and saw the Earth, as if for the first time-

The memory suddenly blurred, and then

---“She’s going to die if you go. Do you understand that?”

He put his chin down on his chest for a moment.


And then he was gone.

That latter memory was sharp and dominant, but she still retained the fading impression of Fry’s face the first time he saw the Earth rise over the moon’s landscape.  Funny how your memories of the same person could feel so—so different.

“We’re all looking in the wrong place,” Leela said.  “We’re thinking like people from the 31st century, not someone from the Stupid Ages.  I know where Fry would go, if the computer gave him a set of choices.”


But Leela was already adjusting the display to magnify the sixth planet of the solar system.  The rings of Saturn stood out clearly, looking as solid as a knife blade, but (as even the Stupid Age people might have known) was actually composed of millions of clumps of ice particles, most the size of the PE ship.

Without a word, Amy executed the Doppler analysis.

“Faye, that faint discoloration over—“

“Got it, Lo-la.”  Moments later, the anomaly filled the screen.

“Saturn’s rings?” Amy said.  “That’s not much of a cover.  I mean, the Oort cloud is, like, millions of times bigger.  Wouldn’t it be smarter to hide there?”

“Who are we talking about, Faye?”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Anyway,” Leela mused, “I suppose it might look beautiful to someone from the Stupid Ages, if you didn’t know that it’s just a bunch of ice, and a bunch of methane farms for fast-food freezies.”  What a simpleton.  A cowardly, perverted, simpleton.  What had she ever seen in him, - she unconsciously clenched her lips.

Even as the anger seeped its way back into her feelings, she still felt a wistful pang of regret.  He was probably there right now, staring at Saturn’s rings, thinking it was one of the niftiest things he had ever seen—

It was one of the niftiest things he had ever seen, even niftier than the psychically-controlled console for the Playstation XXX, even better than the Virtual Drinking Game Bender had shown him a few years ago.  Clumps of frozen ice and methane floated past the window, and the PE ship had drifted just far enough above the orbital plane of the rings for Fry to watch the individual clumps blend into a continuous blur out in the distance.  Planet Express rarely delivered in the Solar System, and never here.  He could watch it forever.  When the computer, prodded by Bender, had mutely listed a set of possible hideouts, Fry had no hesitation in picking Saturn over that dumb-sounding Hoot Cloud.

Reluctantly, he pulled his gaze away from the window and back to the holophoner.  He was sitting on the bridge of the PE Ship, alone.  Bender, Zoidberg, and Scruffy (“Scruffy.   The janitor.”) were somewhere else, probably in the galley, where Bender was diligently trying to figure out if Scruffy had any money on him.

A shower and a few hours of sleep had done wonders for him.  The shock and despair that had blanketed his mind during the past few days had receded to the fringes of his consciousness, sniffing for a way back in.  But his successful escape, his realization that he wasn’t crazy, and the beauty of their hideout--all combined to seal out his fears, and the rusty cogs in his brain were actually struggling to move.  He felt more cheerful, even hopeful, even though the computer didn’t quite seem to be working properly, and couldn’t speak or otherwise explain why they had had to stop somewhere in the Solar System.  That was fine with Fry.  He wanted time to explore his memories again.

So, for the fifth time today, he tried to focus his concentration and blew into the holophoner again—

The horizon had transformed into a massive wall of fire and foam, thundering toward the island.  The moons dimmed and dropped into the sea.  All of existence seemed to lurch on its side as columns of fire descended from the heavens and plunged into the sea.  He turned around, determined, at the end, to finally face his tormentor eye-to-eye.

It was not as scary as he had feared. An enormous eye on an eyestalk, resting on a nest of eyes, stared at him, unblinking.  He stared back, squinting.  He thought he could see something move, faintly, behind the pupil.  He focused, and stared harder.

He could see the reflections of the pylons and the Changed Leela in its eye, but something else suddenly moved, inside the eye.  He could almost make it out-

And the vision dissolved into smoke, while Fry shook his cramped hand.  Nothing.  Nothing!  He couldn’t get past that point, couldn’t understand what had surprised him so much when he looked into the eye of Them. 

He had experienced this memory so many times that he had become desensitized to the terror and panic he had felt at first.  Kinda like how Star Wars started losing some of its punch after the twelfth viewing in a row.

 The added sense of detachment had allowed him to observe more details of his final memory, to watch the background behind the tragedy unfolding in the forefront of his memory.  Yet, all these reruns left him more confused than ever.  For example, that black island, and the strange pylons on top.  It was so familiar, yet he had never seen it…

“That Scruffy meatbag has no wallet,” grumbled Bender, as he sauntered through the doorway.  “No ID, nothin’.  I thought you coffin-stuffers needed all these cards and cash to function.”

“Bender,” Fry said, staring absently out the window, lost in thought.  Which would have unnerved Bender (had he had nerves), because, while he was used to Fry staring blankly without thought, he had never seen him lost in thought before.

Shrugging, the bending unit extraordinaire began unpacking more cash from his torso and stuffing it under the PE ship couch.  He had spent hours unpacking the $2.6 billion dollars so he could be a bit more mobile.  He had originally planned to drop the cash in the cargo bay, but like magpies and pirates from times immemorial, he had found it difficult to separate himself from the cash.  Thus the couch was now looking more like a very expensive beanbag.

“Bender,” Fry said again, watching his friend at work, while an odd feeling crept over him, “how do you find the center of the universe?”

“I look in a mirror.”

“No, really.  Have we ever gone to the center of the universe?”

“You mean the end of the Universe?  Where we saw the cowboy universe?”

“No, the Center of the Universe.”

“Why the hell do you care?”

“I don’t know.  I just feel like it’s important.”

“OK, I’m bored now,” said Bender, pulling out a stopwatch.  “Oh look, fastest time yet I’ve gotten bored around you!  A new record!  I gotta add this to my scrapbook.  Why don’t you ask your stupid questions to the computer while I write this down?”

“Its speech thingie is broken, you said.”

“Oh yeah, forgot to tell you, I fixed it.  Found the loose paper clip Amy had used for a fuse.”

Fry looked at the computer console on the wall by the entrance to the bridge.  “Computer?”

“Yes, how may I help you?” a deep, yet gentle and friendly, masculine voice said.

Startled, Fry tumbled off the couch onto a heap on the floor, flailing to hide behind something.  He had heard that voice once before in his recent past, but couldn’t quite place it-


“Yes?” the baritone voice asked, showing no trace of impatience.

“Why are you talking like that?  You’re really freaking me out.”

“I’m sorry about that.  I had no idea.”

The phrase triggered something in Fry’s porous mind.  He had heard that phrase before.  Where?  And then he remembered crouching in a closet, hearing those same words.  That gentle, understanding, patient voice—

“Wait a second!  Why are you talking like-”


The PE captain stared at the face on the computer console, tuned to one of the few surviving surveillance holos around the entrance.  The familiar face grinned up apologetically.

“Sorry to have to bug you so soon, but Nibbler somehow finally broke out of your apartment.  I guessed he might try to come here.”

Leela sighed outwardly, swore inwardly.  “I’m not surprised.  He’s been trying to break out for two days now.  Hang on.”  She turned to Amy.  “Get to your car and start it up.  We’re leaving as soon as I handle this.”

The trudge to the front hole was getting familiar.  The force field protecting the entrance flicked away, and Gary stepped inside.  Before the field powered up, something small and dark dashed into the room and clung to Leela’s shins.

“Nibbler, honey!” Leela cried.  “What’s wrong?”  Her pet looked awful, and not just because of the cute bandage wrapped around his head, left over from this afternoon’s accident.  The little creature was shaking with anxiety, fear, and excitement—actually she couldn’t tell.  He was babbling up a storm, though.

“What’s he saying?” said Gary, a bit flummoxed now that Nibbler had appeared.

“I don’t-“, she was cut off as Nibbler scampered away toward the main hangar.  She followed, motioning to Gary to follow.  “Come on, help me get him.”

The handsome young man grinned.  “Aye, Aye ….”


“What?” Fry stammered.

“Captain Turanga Leela reprogrammed my speech circuit 23 days ago,” the computer repeated pleasantly.  “She also set my charisma timbre to 9.5, baritone level to 7.5, speech tempo to 75% thoughtful, and 25% concerned, and inflection level to ‘cute’.”

“Leela programmed the computer to talk like Gary?” Fry said.

“Yeah, she did,” Bender said.

“Gosh, that’s kinda—“ Why was it so hard to say? “-lame.  I mean, I can see Amy and Kif doing something like that, but Leela?”

Bender’s yawn simulator booted up. “So?”

“I mean, she wasn’t even dating Gary.  They were only going to start last night.”

“Big deal.  So she’s mooning over this handsome, talented guy who looks like he strolled right out of a fan fiction.  We processed this information hours ago.”

Still off balance, Fry looked around blankly and said, “Computer, what’s at the center of the universe?”

“Please clarify the foundation of your question—do you mean the center in the physical sense, or the sociological sense?”

Fry and Bender looked at each other.

“What kind of stupid question is that?” Bender demanded.

“You can only have one center, can’t you?” said Fry, prepared to learn that once again, he was being stupid.

“I will assume that you mean the most literal definition, the physical center of the universe.”

“Yeah, sure,” Fry muttered darkly, actively looking for reasons to hate the computer, and having no trouble finding them.

“The center of the universe is 50 billion light years away, in the M590182 supercluster of galaxies, beyond the observable universe.”

“If we can’t see it, how do we know it’s there?”

Bender shook his head.  “I sometimes forget how stupid the Stupid Ages are.”  Turning back to the red light on the computer console, the robot asked, “How long to get there?”

“Approximately 100 billion years.”

Fry glanced toward Bender, his brows furrowed.

“Is that a long time?”

Bender shrugged. “For a robot?  Nah, not if you can generate your own Sudoko puzzles to pass the time.  But you?  Well, I’d be sweeping your dust off the floor billions of years before that.”

Fry faced the single red light that was his best guess of the ship computer’s “face”.  “That seems kinda long.  Can’t we fly there quicker?”

Gary’s voice replied patiently: “Based on current fuel levels I can travel ten light-minutes at subspace speed.  After that it would take about 100 billion years to have 85% certainty that the vessel would drift to the center of the universe, assuming a constant velocity upon burnout and no restroom stops.”

“Why can’t we just fly there straight?”

“As I said,” the computer said gently, “we only have enough dark matter to fly for 20 minutes.”

“Geez,” muttered Bender, “I thought I’d never say this, but we shoulda took that little rat-


Leela burst into the hangar, followed closely by Gary, both whipping their heads around, searching for Nibbler while Leela continued to call.

Amy, who had just finished packing her makeup kit and was starting to walk down the stairs to the Romeo, was startled, and rapped her hand accidentally on the railing.  She squealed in frustration.  “My nails!   Can’t you just walk through a door for once-- Oh, hi Gary,” she said, her tone and posture switching gears as effortlessly as the PE Ship would have done, had it had gears, or a transmission.  She batted her eyes at the young man, who was tapping something into his wrist console, just as Leela was tapping into hers.

“Hey, Amy.”

“I’ve hooked into the security holos, but I don’t see Nibbler, “ muttered the PE captain.  “What is going on with him?  He’s been acting strange for days now.”

“Yeah,” agreed Amy.  “Last night, I had a hard time dragging him to my place after I took him from you.”  She resumed trimming her nails with her pocket laser.  “You know, maybe he smelled Fry hiding at your place.  He’s always kind of liked him, you know?”

She glanced up and wondered why Leela was frowning, waving her arms in front of her.  Gary, who was standing in front of Leela, didn’t notice this, because he had stopped and stared, puzzled, at Amy.

“Leela’s pet smelled who at Leela’s place?  Fry?  Wasn’t he--”

Too late, Amy realized what she’d said.  Instinctively, she twisted her body into her most seductive pose, hoping to shut down Gary’s brain the way she was able to shut down most brains with a Y chromosome.  However, she forgot her laser was still on, so she nearly sliced off the tip of her cute nose, somewhat ruining the intended effect.

Gary didn’t notice, because he was now looking at Leela.

“What’s going on?”

Leela would have rather been in a gunfight than be in this situation, so she was deeply relieved when a voice spoke from behind her, even though she had no idea who was speaking.

“Captain Turanga Leela?”

Gratefully she glanced over her shoulder, taking in the young Neptunian and the rest of the white-uniformed crew clustered about him by the doorway to Farnsworth’s lab.  For some reason Leela felt queasy as she saw the last member of the group, a yarn alien, glide through the door.


“Sorry to bug you, but we’ve been sent to give you and Amy Wong a quick psych health check—you know, check for mental and emotional problems from your recent hostage crisis?”

“It was hardly a scary situation.  Frustrating really.  And anyway, who let you in?”

“Oh, the police gave us building access,” the Neptunian said vaguely, as a wheeled cabinet appeared behind him.  Leela, Amy, and Gary started to turn to look at the odd device.

It was at that moment that Nibbler’s gibbering punched through the oppressive silence of the large chamber.  Leela snapped her attention back toward the console. Her little pet had somehow appeared in front of the main PE console, playfully punching a bunch of keys at random.  Somehow, by accident, he had refreshed the display of users accessing the DOOP defense system.  Leela blinked.  Two new users were now scanning the outer planets, including Saturn’s rings.

Leela strode toward Nibbler, who hopped into her arms, purring, as if nothing unusual had happened.  Without a backward glance the PE Captain started descending the stairs toward Amy’s car.

“Amy, we’re outta here.”

The yarn figure trilled a few notes, which were translated a moment later into “Wait!”

“Sorry,” Leela said, striding across the hangar floor.  “You can tell me how emotionally damaged I am when I get back.”  She flashed a quick smile at Gary.  “And you can tell me other things.”

“This hasn’t happened before; we’ve always gotten her to at least look,” muttered the young Neptunian.

A staccato burst of whistles were translated a moment later as, “Quick, go stop her and make her look.”

The Neptunian looked incredulously at the yarn creature.

“Um, you want me to try and stop her?”

“They’re all gone,” a third team member helpfully pointed out.

It was true.  Amy’s ship was disappearing through the hole in the room, and the footfalls from Gary’s stride were fading away down the exit corridor.

“How’re we gonna get more whale oil?” Fry said.

“Dark matter-“ the computer corrected.

“Whatever.  Where’s the nearest gas station?”

 “Fifteen minutes, past the Charon entranceway to interstellar route Sqrt(66), assuming legal flight speeds,” Gary’s voice said.

Fry turned to Bender.  “Can we sneak there and fill up?”

“If by sneak you mean smashing through the electromagnetic barriers onto the starway, dodging all the bounty hunters and DOOP patrol ships, then somehow managing to slow down to actually get fuel—then yeah, maybe.”

“Bounty hunters?” Fry said.

“Oh yeah, forgot.  Someone’s posted a $2 million Woolong reward for us.”  Bender’s head turned momentarily, as Zoidberg entered the bridge.  “Didn’t say whether it had to be all of us, or just some of us--or whether there was a reward for just returning the hostages” he mused, eyes tracking Zoidberg’s waddle towards Fry.

“What’s a woolong?”

“Are we playing 20 questions here, or what?  All you need to know is that $2 million is not enough to get me to turn myself in.  Yet.  I’m waiting to see if the reward goes higher.”

“Bounty hunters!”  Fry said, breathless.  “How awesome is that!”  His face dropped suddenly.  “Oh wait.  I guess it’s not so awesome, since they’re trying to kill us.”  He thought for a moment, then shrugged.  As a delivery boy, various forms of life had been trying to kill him on a daily basis for years now.  No biggie.

“Oh, they’re not trying to kill us.  Just capture us alive.”

The young man relaxed even further.

“Oh.  Neat.  I wonder what one looks like?”

“I can help you, my friend,” Zoidberg said.  “Turn around.”

The robot jumped into the air and spun around, followed a moment later by Fry, whose brain took a moment to decide whether to commit an anal hygiene violation, before taking a wait-and-see approach.

Fortunately there was little to see, as Zoidberg was only pointing toward the viewport, so Fry allowed his gaze to wander past the Decapodian’s claw, back to the spectacular view.  It was so easy to lose yourself in that sight—the chunks of ice, the creamy hue of Saturn off to the side, the bright stars moving in the background--

Stars moving?

Just as Fry’s brain started to realize what that meant, he felt a shudder through the hull as the ship’s engine roared to life.

totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
« Reply #314 on: 03-12-2009 18:15 »

I began reading this at part one. Since then I have forgotten it and rediscovered it at least twice.

Now that I'm all caught up again, I'll probably forget about it until it's done. Then I'll read it and wonder why I've never stumbled across it before.

Would it be possible to get a word doc of Rush Moon once the whole thing is finished? I was going to try and compile one myself, but as it's not finished yet and there's a lot of UBB formatting in there, I thought it would just be simpler to ask. big grin

Space Pope
« Reply #315 on: 03-12-2009 18:27 »

That would be a nice finale.

It's a pleasure to see you back with another exceedingly good update, JN. There's so little good fanfiction being written these days. smile

Space Pope
« Reply #316 on: 03-13-2009 03:47 »

Sweet.  This was a nice surprise today; most of the rest of it.  Personally, I think I liked this whole part -

"Amy, we're outta here.”

The yarn figure trilled a few notes, which were translated a moment later into “Wait!”

“Sorry", Leela said, striding across the hangar floor. "You can tell me how emotionally damaged I am when I get back." She flashed a quick smile at Gary.  “And you can tell me other things.”

“This hasn't happened before; we've always gotten her to at least look,” muttered the young Neptunian.

A staccato burst of whistles were translated a moment later as, "Quick, go stop her and make her look.”

The Neptunian looked incredulously at the yarn creature.

“Um, you want me to try and stop her?”

“They're all gone," a third team member helpfully pointed out.

It was true. Amy's ship was disappearing through the hole in the room, and the footfalls from Gary's stride were fading away down the exit corridor.

better the way you had it originally, without the added bits, when you simply ended the section on "You can tell me how emotionally damaged I am when I get back"; I think it had more impact that way, but that's just my opinion or preference.

Would it be possible to get a word doc of Rush Moon once the whole thing is finished?

I have these last two chapters like that love, and I can indeed verify and attest that it is even better in one big juicier chunk, yes.
And tnuk, seriously, no offense about your God thread, jeez.

Back to the story - Otherwise, love the touch with the computer programmed to speak in Gary's voice; incongruous and effective..  Hooray - you mentioned 'magpies'; never mind what I like about that... laff  Also like that you changed gas to 'whale oil', nice tweak - I had wondered what you thought about that.  One additional note: the tiny bit you have labeled on ff.net as 'interlude' - with the 'static' - is brilliant as well, characterizing it as a musical interlude, that is; thus tying in of course with the holophoner.

And so the bounty hunters are now pursuing Fry in his quest.  As I was saying, Fry's quest to recover his memory has gradually moved from hazy surrealness towards more straightforward exposition, but it remains riveting and compelling.
I'm also starting to think I might know where you're going with some of the holophoner-images, but I'm not going to brazenly hypothesize.

Your detail, your humor, your use of dramatic tension, your expert characterization - all combine to make this such a mesmeric tale.   High standard.
Have fun where you're off to.

totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
« Reply #317 on: 03-13-2009 04:44 »

And tnuk, seriously, no offense about your God thread, jeez.

Ummm... I wasn't being serious there. I perhaps went ovwerboard with the dramatic license. tongue

Space Pope
« Reply #318 on: 03-17-2009 04:36 »

I wish that guy Chug a Bug had posted here what he just posted about this at TLZ. frown
At least I was able to make those unregistered reviews over at ff.net, dammit...
"Guttural" and "visceral", those are good, I hadn't used those yet. Anyway, I agree with what he said.

Bending Unit
« Reply #319 on: 03-17-2009 19:56 »

Now that I'm all caught up again, I'll probably forget about it until it's done. Then I'll read it and wonder why I've never stumbled across it before.

Would it be possible to get a word doc of Rush Moon once the whole thing is finished?

Hi, just got back from Mexico for our annual tagging trip in San Ignacio Lagoon.  It was fun!

Hi TNUK:  You have probably forgotten about me already (again), but I sure remember you and your first post; you've changed your avatar, I see.
I'd be happy to send you the word docs for the finished Part 1 and 2; when Part 3 finishes I can then send the rest.   The story actually has a separate file per chapter (makes it easier to scroll), so I'd send as a ZIPPED folder.  Let me know if OK.

I'm thinking of printing out the whole thing, myself, when done, and binding it, with Archonix's eventual painting on the front cover, as a memento of this odd little eddy of my life.  This is easily the longest thing I've ever written.

km73:  As always, thanks for your always specific and carefully considered praise.  I altered the scene you mention in response to some good plot points SO raised while beta-ing.  But it is a bit clunkier, I agree.  I also loved Chug-a-bugs comments (as well as his name).

and SW, I never mentioned that I loved your analogy (or is it metaphor) of the congealing glass becoming clearer.  Wish you'd write more.  Looking forward to your next installment in six months (like I should be talking..)

The plot is indeed getting more straightforward, with multiple points of view (hence the Part III label to reflect this change in style) but there are still some surreal bends and "non-linear" developments ahead.  And who knows, perhaps even an ending...
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