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PEEL - The Futurama Message Board    Melllvar's Erotic Friend Fiction    'Blame it on the Brain' - by coldangel_1 « previous next »
Author Topic: 'Blame it on the Brain' - by coldangel_1  (Read 33676 times)
Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 ... 11 Print

« Reply #120 on: 09-26-2007 20:36 »

totally awesome story. Ive only ever lurked before but had to say this is great and cant wait to see what comes next.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #121 on: 09-26-2007 21:24 »
« Last Edit on: 11-19-2007 00:00 by coldangel_1 »

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter 13: The Good, The Bad, & The Exploding

The incursion team found themselves blocked by a wall that shouldn’t have been there. Where Mom’s deck schematic showed a straight corridor, there was now an abrupt dead-end festooned with the ever-present grey pseudopod growths of nanotech.

   “It’s changed the decks around,” Mom said, eying the erroneous wall in irritation.

   “Whatever for?” Farnsworth wondered.

   “Beats me. Maybe it wanted to make a rumpus room.”

   “It’s because Onespawn… is growing larger,” a weak grating voice said from out of the shadows behind the group. The security personnel swung their positron rifles toward the source of the voice and illuminated a skeletal, cowering Ogden Wernstrom with their barrel-mounted lights.

   The scheming professor blinked in the glare, his pupils like pinpricks. He was wearing no breathing aparatus, despite the low pressure, and his skin was a blotchy mottled pink and grey.

   “…The master,” he went on. “Onespawn… needed to accommodate its increasing size… as it consumes the mass of the ship.”

   “Wernstrom!” Farnsworth growled. “What’s your stake in all this, you ruffian?”

   Wernstrom clutched his now oddly-oversized head as if suffering a migrane. “Master has forgotten me,” he rasped. “Now repairs to the dark matter engines are complete… Master doesn’t need me now… Master doesn’t care if I’m alive or dead…” He began to sob pitifully, and Farnsworth and Mom gave each other a meaningful glance.

   “Onespawn has discarded me,” Wernstrom said. “Now I’m free… free and clear, with the weight of all who’ve died, and all who are yet to, pressing down upon me…”

   Mom stepped forward to shake sense into the blubbering man, but Farnsworth held her back, leaning close to her ear as if to whisper.

   “He’s infected, don’t touch him!” he shouted loudly, making the old woman cringe. “You stupid punk, Wernstrom,” the Professor went on, “you botched this entire mission. I give you the most vile, humiliating score yet – a B+.”

   Wernstrom wailed in anguish. “I deserve it,” he said. “You were always the better scientist, Hubert… I’m just a third rate hack, always riding on your labcoat-tails. I thought with this I’d be able to surpass you… but instead the thing has killed off most of my crew… and left me a mutated pariah chained to an alien will that screetches and burns in my mind. You are the better man! The better scientist! You always were!”

   Farnsworth looked up from studying the seams in his pressure glove. “Huu-whaa?” he grunted. “I’m sorry, were you still talking? I drifted off there for a bit…”

   “Wernstrom, snap out of it,” Mom said. “What do you know about all of this?”

   “Everything…” Wernstrom clutched at his head again and doubled over in pain. “It’s in my mind…” he hissed. “…In my DNA… Onespawn – I’m a part of it now, I hear its thoughts. It plans… to use its own version of the same wormhole technology we used to bring it back to his Universe… only on a much larger and less specific scale…”

   “What do you mean?” Mom pressed impatiently.

   “It has some quantum flux connecting it to spacetime…” Wernstrom said. “Soon it will be able to use that, coupled with understanding gleaned from the hardware aboard this ship… to destroy… to unmake the Universe, by compressing all of space and time into a singularity…”

   “I tried to do that once,” Farnsworth said. “But I couldn’t get a chalkboard long enough to fit the equations.”

   “There is only one thing preventing Onespawn’s plan…” Wernstrom said. “The presence of a temporal paradox… an entity spawned by spontaneous self-manifestation whose very tenacious history-spanning existence will hold the fabric of spacetime together…”

   “Fry!” Farnsworth said.

   Wernstrom nodded. “…So now the creature will travel to Earth… to kill the one being who could stand in its way.”

   As if on cue, the massive vessel trembled suddenly, and the team stumbled as artificial gravity took a moment to adjust for inertia. A deep bass reverberation of space compression hummed through the ship.

   “Dark matter drive just came online,” Larry said unnecessarily. “The ship could reach Earth within the hour now…”

   “Quickly, Wernstrom!” Mom snapped. “Where is this ‘Onespawn’ of yours?”

   Wernstrom appeared wracked by pain, and veins in his temples throbbed visibly. “I will… take you…” he said, fighting off the looming presence of the alien mind that pressed against his own. He set off down a side corridor with the team following close behind.

   In space, the Momship struggled to keep up with the larger vessel as it hurled through the void, dark matter engines flaring incandescent blue.

   The distance to Earth began to shrink rapidly.

* * *

The hall of forever, ten miles west of the exact centre of the Universe, loomed above the parked ship as Nibbler led the three Planet Express friends down the landing stair. A pair of Nibblonian officials waited at the foot of the steps, dressed in turquoise robes, and they raised their paws in salute.

   “We bid you greetings, Lord Nibbler and company,” they said in unison.

   Nibbler returned the salute wordlessly and walked past them. The others followed, and Bender carelessly trod on one of the officials.

   “Those little things look just like Leela’s pet,” the robot noted distantly, kicking the dazed Nibblonian off his foot.

   “Of course they do,” Fry said. “Bender, haven’t you been paying attention to what’s going on?”

   “I’ve made a point not to,” Bender replied, folding his arms. “Any situation that doesn’t revolve around yours truly isn’t worth a moment’s consideration.”

   They moved onward through the plush gardens and meadows. Fry glanced around at the fluffy pink scenery. “Yeah, now I remember,” he said. “This place is really…” he searched for a word.

   “Gaudy? Candyfloss?” Leela offered.

   “I’d have said queer,” Bender grunted coarsely, and the others glared at him, Nibbler bearing his fangs. “What?!” Bender said indignantly. “We’re a trillion miles away from the nearest censor, so you politically-correct assholes can go fuck yourselves.”

   “Bender!” Leela exclaimed in horror, and slapped the robot’s face, bruising her fingers in the process.

   “Hey, fuck off!”

   Nibbler rolled one and a half pairs of eyes and scurried off toward the hall’s entrance without bothering to check that his three strange humanoid companions were following. A weak bugle announced his arrival as he passed between the twin obelisks and waddled into the hall of forever, moving through the cavernous interior toward the elevated chairs of the high council at one end.

   One chair was notably empty. Nibbler took in the absence of Ken with a heavy sigh.

   “The four greetings to you, Lord Nibbler, and to your companions.” Fiona’s voice rang out across the hall.

   Nibbler stopped before her seat and looked up at the Nibblonian leader sternly.

   “I have travelled far and braved many perils in bringing the Mighty One here to the completion of his destiny,” he said. “Twice we have set him against the great foe, and twice he smote them.”

   “Go me!” Fry shouted, pumping the air with his fist. His voice echoed around the quiet chamber, with scores of Nibblonian faces around the hall regarding him in bemusement.

   “…Why then,” Nibbler went on, ignoring the interruption, “do you now suggest we act without the aid of this child of prophecy, upon whom we have pinned our hopes for eons?”

   “Because the Mighty One failed,” Fiona said.

   “Did not!” Fry exclaimed defensively, and Leela placed a hand on his arm to silence him.

   “Banishing the Brainspawn has now allowed for the creation of a new threat, greater than any we have perviously faced – using the Mighty One availed us nothing, therefor we must turn to another solution.”

   Nibbler glanced around at the other members of the council, seeing hints of uncertainty and fear in their faces. Many of them showed signs of the cosmic stigma (his own had now spread down one leg).

   “The Mighty One’s true function was never utilized,” Nibbler said loudly, raising his paws as if beckoning the assemby to heed his word. “His role was never to banish the Brainspawn, but to set right the great fracture by weilding the Lance of Fate against them!”

   Excited chittering emenated from the Nibblonians, escalating to the eruption of full-blown arguments and hissing.

   “The what of what?” Fry muttered, raising an eyebrow.

   “Silence!” Fiona shouted, and then when the hubbub died down she declared: “The Lance cannot be used!”

   “Do you seek to convince me?” Nibbler asked, glancing around at the hall full of small three-eyed creatures. “…Or them? It appears your opinion is not as universal as you would like to believe.”

   Fiona glowered at Nibbler. And for the first time Fry and Leela saw a Nibblonian actually look as fearsome as they claimed to be.

   “If he uses it,” she seethed, “then our race, in this form, will cease to exist.”

   “Whoa!” Fry said, stepping forward. “Time out, guys! What the heck are you talking about? What’s the Lance of Fate?

   Curious yammering erupted from the onlooking creatures.

   “He does not know?”

   “Know he does not!”

   “Know not, does he?”

   Fiona’s voice cut across the others. “He doesn’t need to know!” she shouted, and then when the noise died down she addressed Fry in a tone of forced kindness: “Your Mightiness,” she said, “you have aided us in the past, and that assistance has been greatly appreciated – but the time has come for a new course. We are beyong the foretelling of prophecy now.”

   “And what course will that be?” Nibbler demanded.

   Fiona paused for a moment, as if unsure of how to proceed, then steeled herself. “We will make an alliance against Onespawn,” she said. “An alliance… with the Brainspawn.”

   Nibbler’s eyes went wide. Fry and Leela gasped. Bender lesiurely exhaled a cloud of cigar smoke.

   “You cannot be serious?” Nibbler exclaimed.

   “The rest of the Brainspawn race are every bit as threatened as we by the scurge of Onespawn,” Fiona said. “Contact with them has already been made through the underspace immersion array, and they have agreed to a truce for the duration of our war against this new common enemy. Preparations are being made even now to return them to this dimensional plane. They will help us fight…”

   “And should this alliance succeed,” Nibbler said incredulously, “your new allies will then return to their own goal of understanding and destroying everything – there can be no victory.”

   “That will be a bridge to be crossed at such time as it is reached,” Fiona said gravely. “For now, it is better the devil we know.”

   “But we can stop them, once and for all,” Nibbler argued, desperate now. “Trillions of lives can be saved!”

   “Lord Nibbler!” Fiona shouted. “If you have nothing to offer but notions of doubt and pointless fatalism then you should leave this chamber! We are in a time of crisis and for the good of our own people we must make difficult decisions.”

   “But not the decision that acknowledges our true role…” Nibbler said bitterly, slumping his shoulders.

   “Begone!” The command echoed in the hall of forever; Nibbler growled and turned away, scampering from the chamber with Fry, Leela, and Bender in tow.

   “Well, this has all been a big waste of my valuable time,” Bender remarked irritably when they’d gathered together outside again.

   Nibbler stared up into the soft cherry sunlight and sighed in exhaustion and defeat.

   “Nibbler?” Leela knelt down beside the creature, and out of habit began scratching him behind the ear, making him coo and purr despite himself. “Explain,” she went on. “What is this ‘Lance of Fate’, and why don’t the others want it to be used?”

   “Very well,” Nibbler murmured, leaning into her hand. “I shall tell you, but not here in the open – let us return to the ship, that we may consume sustainence.”

   Leela picked him up, and together they all headed back to the Planet Express ship.

* * *

As the SS Breznhev hurtled through space at arround 99.9% of increased lightspeed, Mom, Farnsworth, and the rest of the incursion team followed Wernstrom through corridors until they abruptly reached a vast open area that had been carved out of the ship’s interior, massively wide, and many decks high.

   The enormous cavern was alive with nanotech pseudopods that snaked across every surface, all leading back to the thing that took up most of the space.

   “Jeezalu!” Mom said. “That’s some growth spurt!”

   Onespawn towered above them all, easily fifty feet high, surrounded by hard chitenous columns of nanomachine growth that branched from its tissue and away into the ship.

   Wernstrom cowered in a corner.

   “Simply amazing!” Farnsworth said, snatching one of the scientists’ Tricorders to examine its readout.

   “Does it know we’re here?” Mom asked.

   “Amazingly, no!” Farnsworth replied. “I’d imagine if it did, it would have rendered us idiots and we’d all be licking the floor and taking Fox News reports as factual right now. No, it seems all the neural pulses are directed through the nano-structure for the time being.” He tapped his shielding helmet. “Looks like they’re working.”

   “Right,” Mom said briskly, turning to her men. “You all know what has to be done.”

   “Yes ma’am,” the head security man said. Quickly and efficiently, the uniformed operatives moved out around Onespawn’s sanctum, placing the cases they carried on the floor a circular formation, roughly equidistant.

   “Hydrogen bombs with a phased antimatter tamper,” Mom explained. “It’s a configuration that’s not officially supposed to exist. They call them ‘Planet-Buster’ nukes.” She gestured to a transmittor device affixed to her belt. “I can set them off by subspace signal when we’re safely away.”

   Farnsworth grunted, not really listening, and continued to study the Tricorder readout. “This is interesting,” he said. “The creature’s brainwave patterns are so fluid… its mind must be like an open barn door – receptive to any suggestion, like a child willing to believe in fantasy…”

   “That is how the Brainspawn were first expelled from Earth,” Wernstrom said weakly from the corner. “A deception… a fiction…”

   “Who cares?” Mom said, glancing at her watch. “We’re about to blow the thing into less than atoms and be back home in time for supper.”

   As the security personnel moved around Onespawn’s sanctum, one of them stepped mistakenly onto a thick fibrous tendril of nanite growth. His boot cracked the outer crust and sunk in up to the ankle as a wet slurry of nanomachines adheared to the fabric.

   As the man struggled to free himself, Onespawn stirred, with a faint blue glow beginning to issue from around the giant brain. The nano-structure alerted him to the presence of an unknown contaminant, Onespawn scanned around itself, noting at last the subversive software that was corrupting the survaillance cameras. It cleared them and at once beheld a group of invaders clustered around, somehow shielded from mental detection.

   Onespawn let out a tremendous psychic howl that had the incursion team dropping to the floor in agony. When the onslaught ceased, they all blinked stupidly and got to their feet, staring up at the gigantic brain in rapt fascination.

   “Big pinky balloon!” Mom said. “Me want!”

   In the corner, Wernstrom shuddered as waves of stupifaction washed over him, having no effect now that his mind had been completely sumsumed. Onespawn’s monumental will groped inside his head, taking charge of synapses and directing his thoughts once again. In a zombie-like state, he surged to his feet, struggling painfully all the while, and began walking stiffly toward one of the security men who was peering into the end of his own rifle.

   “I think Enterprise was a worthy and well-executed prequel to the Original Series,” Farnsworth declared as he repeatedly slapped his own helmet.

   “I forgot what I’m meant to do after I exhale!” Larry gasped, clutching his chest and turning blue.

   Wernstrom, controlled by Onespawn, staggared up to the security man and grabbed hold of his positron rifle. The man looked bewildered.

   “I want to call my girlfriend but I can’t get a signal on that thing,” he said.

   Wernstrom gritted his teeth, trying to fight the alien influence, but failed.

   “No…!” he groaned weakly.
He shot the man at point blank range, cringing mentally when droplets of blood spattered against him. He turned and shakily levelled the rifle at another security operative, who tried to fire back, but was holding the gun backwards and blew away a sizable chunk of his own head.

   “People fall down!” Mom noted curiously, looking at the dead bodies.

   “You big meanie!” Larry shouted at Wernstrom. Wernstrom shot him in the chest with a cry of agonized anguish, and he fell smoking to the deck.

   “Noooo!” Mom cried, falling to her knees beside Larry’s prone form. “Don’t die! Mommy’s favourite son!”

   Wernstrom swung the positron rifle to point at Farnsworth, who smiled stupidly.

   “The Professy can’t die,” he said confidently. “This writer only kills ancillory characters, cannon-fodder for perfunctory bloodbaths that the main characters somehow always manage to escape with only minor injuries… duh, perhaps until right at the end when there’s an unexpected twist…”

   “What?” Wernstrom and Onespawn both replied in synchronized confusion.

   “…Run,” Wernstrom said through clenched teeth, looking at Farnsworth over the trembling sights of the rifle. “Get out… I can’t fight it… too strong.”

   Curiously, Farnsworth reached out and poked his finger into the gun barrel.

   “Oh you stupid old bastard!” Wernstrom growled angrily, and for a moment he felt something give in his mind, as if one of Onespawn’s talons had torn free. His finger trembled on the trigger and he let out a low growl. Onespawn’s will screamed at him across the psychic link, pushing him to finish the job – to exterminate the invaders and deactivate the bombs.

   “…Shut up,” Wernstrom hissed in agony. “Shut up, you gigantic moron…” Another facet of mental subsumption seemed to tear, and blood began to flow from Wernstrom’s nose. He pulled the rifle away from Farnsworth and pointed it at Onespawn.

   The alien brain’s fury rippled out as a wave of telekinetic energy that lifted Wernstrom and the others from their feet and slammed them into the bulkhead.

   “Owwie!” Mom complained, sliding down the wall. “Metal hard!”

   “Metal indeed hard!” Farnsworth agreed, finding himself upside-down on the floor. “Even Slipknot, which really is metal and not stupid poser garbage at all!”

   Wernstrom fell to the floor, bleeding and sobbing. For the moment it seemed Onespawn’s control of his mind was gone, but he could already feel the nanomachine structures in his brain beginning to reform synaptic links. Time was short.

   “Come on!” he shouted to the others. “Follow me!”

   They stared at him blankly.

   “…Let’s go get ice cream!” he added.

   Mom, Farnsworth, and the rest of the team followed happily while Onespawn pulsed and screetched behind them. Moving as fast as he could, Wernstrom ran through the corridors, hoping that the others could keep up.

   In the sanctum, Onespawn strained against the nanomachine columns and vines that held the creature enthroned to the ship. It couldn’t move, and was unable to do anything about the bombs that sat around the floor with red lights blinking their armed state. It roared and cursed and spat and seethed, helplessly…

   The Brezhnev’s escape pods hadn’t been used by the ill-fated research team due to their remoteness from any possible aid and the fact they’d been confident in their ability to destroy the rogue Brainspawn. Now Wernstrom ushered Mom’s incursion team into one of the pods with the promise of frozen treats, pausing to snatch the transmitter off the old woman’s belt as she went.

   “Mine!” Mom said sulkily.

   “I’m just borrowing it.” Wernstrom replied.

   Farnsworth was the last inside, and he looked at Wernstrom expectantly.

   “Werny coming too?” he asked stupidly, and Wernstrom shook his head and hit the emergency eject button. The escape pod closed up and launched from its tube, out into open space. He watched the Brazhnev’s defensive systems try to shoot down the pod, but the Momship flew an intercept course and took a few hits for the little module before recovering it and rocketing away to standoff range.

   Wernstrom looked around him at the nanotech growth that was detaching from the walls and ceiling to snake toward him with intent. Onespawn scrabbled desperately to reclaim control of his mind. He looked at the transmitter in his hand and sighed.

   “It’s probably too much to ask,” he said to himself, “that I be remembered for this, instead of everything else…”

   With that, he pushed the detonate button.

   The planet-buster nukes exploded simultaneously, and in a heartbeat most of the mass of the Brezhnev was converted directly into x-rays and gamma radiation in a burst that rivalled a supernova. Planets in a nearby system were scoured of their atmospheres and far away on Earth the conflagaration would appear in less than an hour as the brightest light in the night sky.

   The Momship was buffeted by concussive waves of hard radiation and subspace compression, and was left temporarily dead in the water, with its outer hull shedding globules of white-hot molten metal.

   As the corona dissipated and the Momship gradually came back online, the survivors of the incursion team climbed out of the nanomachine-encrusted escape pod inside the hangar bay, to be met by a decontamination squad.

   “What the hell happened?” Mom asked as she was sprayed in an undignified manner by nanite-retardant foam.

   “I don’t remember,” Farnsworth said, furrowing his brow. “Who are all you people?”

   “The Brezhnev exploded,” one of the hazmat-wearing deck hands informed them through a blank facemask.

   Mom looked around. “Where’s Larry?” she asked suddenly.

   Nobody had an answer, and she stared silently at her hands.

   After their cell door malfunctioned in the Electromagnetic pulse, Hermes, Amy, and Scruffy made their way to the bridge of the ship, appearing at the same time as Mom and Farnsworth arrived, still dripping with foam.

   “How the hell did you people get out?” Mom said, withoug her usual level of hostility. She was tired and distant.

   “Scruffy could fix you up with some better locks,” Scruffy muttered.

   They moved out onto the bridge proper, and Gary Helm, the Helmsman, got up from the Helm and gave Mom a clumsy salute. She pushed past him and looked through the forward viewscreen at the expanding rings of plasma and gaseous remains of the Brezhnev.

   “It’s gone?” she asked of the crew in general.

   “We think so,” the Helmsman said. “Sensors are still degraded – the EM background is a mess. But nothing could have survived that.”

   Mom stared in silence, and Farnsworth moved to join her. For long minutes they continued to watch the slowly-cooling cloud of radioactive matter, before the Professor finally spoke.

   “…Caroline,” he said softly. “It’s time to go. I don’t remember why we’re standing here, but my feet hurt.”

   “I have to know for certain,” Mom said, ignoring the forbidden use of her real name. “I have to know it’s dead.”

   So they stood and waited. Time wafted by.

   Suddenly, sensors on the ship began to emit high-pitched chimes and beeps. Technicians looked up in alarm. Something was materialising out of the irradiated cloud.

   “…It can’t be…” the Helmsman said.

   “Full magnification!” Mom demanded.

   The screen zoomed in, and a horrified gasp escaped the lips of all those present.

   “Gluck!” Amy said.

   “That tenacious bastard,” Mom muttered in barely-controlled fury.

   Out in space, the disaperate molecules of Onespawn swam back together, pulled at by the creature’s mysterious quantum flux, and reassembled. The giant alien brain floated free, where the Breznhev had once been.

   And it wasn’t happy.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Space Pope
« Reply #122 on: 09-27-2007 00:20 »

Nobody's happy these days...

Heh, I had the screen scrolled to the explosion picture and mum came in; "Ooh, what's that?" she asked. She said it's pretty. So there you go dear.
Professy looks pregnant.  tongue

"..duh, perhaps until right at the end when there’s an unexpected twist…”
 eek You're going to kill me off?!

Urban Legend
« Reply #123 on: 09-27-2007 01:02 »

was there a mst3k reference in there somewhere?
Robo D Rulz!!

Bending Unit
« Reply #124 on: 09-27-2007 02:02 »

Great chapter coldy. Bravo!

Wernstroms thought to himself before detonating the bombs actually touched me, and thats not easy to do for any story, book or movie.  cry

Also.........The Nibblonians teaming up with the Brainspawn!!! Now thats what I call an extreme twist, man.  smile

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #125 on: 09-27-2007 02:08 »
« Last Edit on: 09-27-2007 02:08 »

Once again I offer my congratulations.

That Onespawn won't be able to be destroyed unless there's a serious change of the quantum structure of the universe. Is that what the Lance does?

« Reply #126 on: 09-27-2007 02:34 »

Great use of Eta Carinae and the Homunculus Nebula. I wonder if it would supernova by the year 3000.

Great chapter, the part with Wernstrom, Farnsworth and the positron rifle was nailbiting... honest!

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #127 on: 09-27-2007 08:57 »

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter 14: Weapon of No Choice

The portal superstructure was comprised of five pylons arranged in a circle, each nearly a kilometre tall, that hummed with esoteric energies. It was on an isolated patch of the Eternium tundra that showed signs of much recent activity conducted very quickly.

   As the sun began to set, the Nibblonian council delegation arrived at the site by hovercraft, and Fiona stepped off to survey the ugly towers of hastily cobbled-together technology.

   “Is it ready?” she asked one of the technical specialists nearby.

   “Yes,” he replied glumly.

   “The humans have already opened the way,” she said placatingly. “We are only hastening that which is inevitable. Do it.”

   With a recalcitrant  growl, the technician reluctantly activated a remote control device, and the pylons’ hum increased a hundredfold.

   Forks of purple lightning arced out into the open area between them toward a point of glaring iridescence poised in the air between the spires of machinery, which crackled and expanded into a vast rippling sphere of dimensional displacement…

   The observing Nibblonians backed away fearfully.

* * *

Inside the Planet Express ship, Nibbler told a tale as he sat surrounded by the remains of three hams.

   “Thirteen-point-seven billion Earth years ago,” he said, “the Universe was created in the mass quantum-inversion event that you know as the ‘big bang’.”

   “Thirteen-point-seven billion…” Fry repeated, scratching his chin. “Was that before or after the moon landings?”

   “In the crucible of that inversion,” Nibbler went on, ignoring him, “The Brainspawn were created as the mirror of my race, this you know. However, at the same instant, the energy discharge of that unnatural inversion solidified into a mass of pure condensed spacetime, a temporal waste-product, if you will, that links the two races and remained here at the centre of the expanding Universe until our ancient sages recovered it. Knowing the power it held, but unable to weild it theselves, they fashioned it into the form of a weapon, the Lance of Fate, and stored it here until the fabled Mighty One appeared – for he, with his unique relationship to time, is the only one who can use it.”

   “Use it for what?” Leela asked.

   “Reunification,” Nibbler said simply. “If used correctly, against the primary brain in the Brainspawn collective, the Lance could fuse the Nibblonians and Brainspawn back together into one race.”

   “Then when Fiona said that you’d cease to exist ‘in this form’… she was telling the truth?” Leela said, aghast. “What would you become?”

   “Indeterminate,” Nibbler replied. “And that uncertainty is the reason my people long ago decided that the Lance would not be used, deciding instead to pursue alternate means, which I always felt to be of questionable merit. Many agree with me, but they are frightened by the prospect of losing all that we are. Billions of years of history and culture is a difficult thing to let go of…”

   “Wait,” Bender said, ceasing his feigned disinterest. “Why would you want to combine with those giant brain things and turn into something else if you don’t even know what you’ll be?”

   “If it will end the blight of the Brainspawn forever,” Nibbler growled, “then that sacrifice is miniscule.” He turned away. “The Brainspawn exist because of us… they are a part of us. It is our duty.”

   “Duty?” Leela repeated, picking Nibbler up and holding him before her. “You won’t even be you anymore…” She found herself anguished by the idea.

   “Leela…” Nibbler said softly. “Gentle Leela, you have always cared for me, protected me. You stand as testament to the majesty of life that exists within the Universe. It is for you and all those like you that my people should make this stand – to prevent the destruction of beauty and love and all the potential for those most precious jewels yet to be born.”

   “But…” Leela’s lip trembled. “Surely… there must be another way?”

   “No,” Nibbler replied. “It is the course we were destined to take, from the very beginning. All other avenues, taken out of fear, merely delayed what must ultimately be.” He smiled at her. “It is all right,” he said.

   Leela could think of nothing else to say, so she hugged Nibbler close. Fry and Bender looked at each other and shrugged.

* * *

The massive dimensional portal fluxed and pulsed, kicking up a great wind that roared across the plain. Within the spherical event horizon there were shapes. At first they seemed to be at some impossible distance, but soon came closer to the shimmering field of energy, resolving into individual blob-like forms.

   “They’re coming!” one of the observing Nibblonians shouted. “Oh, by the living Fates – what have we done?”

   “Hold steady!” Fiona yelled.

   “We should have listened to Lord Nibbler!” another said.


   The swarm reached the event horizon and squeezed through. Hundreds, then thousands, and then millions. They came through the energy curtain, crackling with interdimensional discharges, and filled up the darkening sky – an onslaught of flying brains.

   The Nibblonians stood looking up at the Brainspawn horde, and the Brainspawn regarded their eternal enemies. Time itself seemed to hold its breath.

* * *

Nibbler grimaced suddenly. “They’re here,” he grunted.

   “Who?” Fry said.

   “The Brainspawn… the rest of them.”

   Leela moved automatically toward the helm. “Let’s get out of here,” she said.

   “No – wait!” Nibbler said. “Now may be our only opportunity to recover the Lance, the council and its forces will be occupied liasing with their reluctant new allies…”

   “Well, come on then!” Fry said. “Where is it?”

   “Terminal Precept. Follow me,” Nibbler replied, leaping from Leela’s arms and scampering out and down the landing stairs.

   Twilight was beginning to coalesce around the Hall of Forever as the little group hurried back inside. The interior of the hall was now deserted, and Nibbler ran to the centre of the wide empty floor. His third eye pulsed a telepathic entry code, and a circular section of the floor suddenly subsided, dropping down into recesses in progressively deeper segments to form a spiral staricase that wound down into shadows.

   Wordlessly, the group descended.

   Around and around the staircase went, going deeper and deeper into the planet’s crust. For what seemed like an eternity they tramped onward in the dark. At length the stairs gave way to a gravelly slope that continued downward in a straight line. Their footfalls echoed around them now, bouncing back and fourth in such a way that they sensed a vast open space. Water dripped somewhere – they’d entered a natural cave system.

   “How much further?” Bender asked irritably.

   “We’re close,” Nibbler said. “Behold.”

   Far ahead, a weak light gleamed within the heart of darkness, and the group hurried onward. As they neared, the light resolved into two pale glowing columns that marked the opening into another chamber beyond.

   “We are about to enter Terminal Precept,” Nibbler said. “This is where the Lance of Fate has been stored for eons. Though my forebears denied its use, it could not be destroyed, so they kept it here.”

   “What does it look like?” Fry asked.

   “I do not know. I have never seen it.”

   They moved through the adjoining passage into the soft light cast by the glowing columns, and found themselves standing on a ledge that overlooked a massive cavern, the far side of which was obscured by shadow. The cavern didn’t appear to have a bottom – just an abysmal hungry darkness that hid an unfathomable depth. Fry kicked a rock off the ledge and it spiralled away down and down into the dark. Though he listened closely, he could hear no impact.

   In the centre of the immense void, a single column of pale stone stood, reaching to the ceiling and down into the impenetrable gloom below. It was connected to the ledge by a very narrow stone bridge, with no railing…

   “Well you can cram this up wherever you little three-eyed critters traditionally cram things,” Bender said, backing away from the edge. “There’s no way I’m going out there.”

   “Only one of us has to,” Nibbler said, glancing at Fry. “The containment column is designed only to open for the Mighty One.”

   “Argh,” Fry groaned, pulling a face at Nibbler and thumbing in Bender’s direction. “Bite his shiny metal ass,” he muttered.

   Nibbler shrugged apologetically, and Fry started toward the precarious-looking bridge with another put-upon groan.

   “Halt!” a voice bellowed, echoing around the vast cavern. Fry paused, and the others looked around. From an alcove above the entryway, two Nibblonian warriors emerged, hopping down the uneven stone wall with their little swords held at the ready and their armour gleaming in the light.

   “We’ve been ordered to deny you access,” one of them said. “Please leave immediately!”

   “Oh, they’re so cute in their little armours,” Leela said, clasping her hands in delight.

   The two guards glanced at each other in irritation, and the one who had spoken earlier turned to look at Nibbler.

   “Lord Nibbler,” he said. “I have the greatest respect for you – please do not make this harder than it needs to be.”

   Nibbler regarded the warriors for a long moment, and then spoke levelly.

   “I have come here to complete our destiny,” he said, and gestured at Fry, who had taken a moment to pick his nose. “The Mighty One will weild the Lance of Fate, and so end the threat of the Brainspawn - forever. This is the cause that we and our forebears have sworn to uphold. You would stand in the way of that? Now? At the cumulation of all things?”

   The two warriors looked uncertain.

   “Do not be afraid,” Nibbler told them. “We each of us are prepared to give our lives to the fulfillment of our great labour – but we do not have to. The fracture can be mended, and the disparate elements of reality can be reunited. The Universe will be safe.”

The guards had nothing to say. Nibbler nodded at them in understanding and looked up at Fry. “Please retrieve the Lance,” he said.

   Fry stepped gingerly onto the bridge, and swayed with vertigo as the dark abyss below seemed to pull at him. Sense of balance and spatial orientation both abandoned him simultaneously and he wobbled from side to side. Suddenly a strong hand clasped his shoulder and held him steady.

   “Together,” Leela said, close to his ear, her breath warm against his skin. “We’ll do this together.”

   Fry smiled gratefully, and as one they moved out onto the narrow strip of stone, edging forward, one foot at a time.

   “Wait!” one of the Nibblonian warriors said uncertainly, and Fry and Leela glanced back. “…Good luck,” the warrior finished. He and his companion glanced at each other, and then scampered away down the entry passage.

   “Take great care!” Nibbler called anxiously, as Fry and Leela resumed their slow edging progress.

   “If you two die, I’m pawning your stuff!” Bender added.

   Fry gritted his teeth in determination; confidence seemed to flow into him from Leela’s hand resting firmly on his shoulder.

   “Halfway there,” Leela said. “You’re doing great.”

   “Thanks Leela,” Fry said. They moved onward, and the central column gradually grew nearer. Suddenly, from out of the depths, a swarm of shrieking winged creatures erupted around them, screeching and shooting past, dangerously close on both sides.

   “Bats!” Leela cried, swatting at the creatures.

   “They aren’t bats!” Nibbler shouted from across the cavern. “They’re cave Wyverns. Similar to bats, but poisonous!”

   Fry and Leela screamed and began flailing wildly at the Wyverns. Leela’s lack of depth perception caused some distance confusion in the half-light, and she flinched backwards reflexivly when one of the creatures looked closer to her face than it was. Her boot met empty air, and she suddenly found herself dropping into open space without time to even swear.

   Hands caught her by the armpits, and she swung over the infinite black drop, looking up into Fry’s face as he held onto her, laying flat on his belly across the stone bridge. The swarm of Wyverns passed, shrieking away into the gloom, and Leela scrabbled for a grip on the rock. With Fry’s help, she managed to pull herself up onto the bridge, and they sat together for a moment, panting.

   “You okay?” Fry said.

   “I think so, thanks,” Leela replied. She narrowed her eye and shouted over to Nibbler: “Any other surprises down here?”

   “Negative!” Nibbler shouted back, and then muttered quietly to Bender: “Besides the Baldrog, of course, but it’s usually hibernating at this time of year.”

   Fry and Leela continued their precarious, painstaking journey, and arrived finally at the central column, where a ledge encircled the pale stone trunk. It was smooth, with an almost marble-like surface, which Fry ran his hands over.

   “It’s warm,” he said. “Like a bottle of beer left out in the sun.”

   “How does it open?” Leela said.

   “Why would you want to open a warm beer?”

   “No, the column…”

   “Oh, I dunno,” Fry said. “Maybe there’s a rock with a key under it…” He began looking around on the ledge, and suddenly the column began to glow with a pale warm light.

   “Idiocy level identified correct,” a soft psychic voice said. “Access granted.”

   “Hey, I did it!” Fry grinned as a large section of the column disappeared, revealing a deep alcove. He and Leela peered inside and gasped in wonder.

   Suspended in a beam of turquoise light, the Lance of Fate hung poised in glittering splendour, its shaft of exotic metal reflecting brilliantly, and the curved blade, fashioned from the condensed fabric of spacetime itself, was alive with wild and incomprehensible power… at times their eyes seemed to slide around it, and then it would change, and they’d feel as if they were being drawn in.

   “Wow,” Leela said, looking away and blinking. “I feel like I’ll have a seizure if I look at that thing too long.”

   Fry squinted at the Lance and tilted his head to one side. “I think I see it,” he said. “A bunny rabbit?”

   “It isn’t a magic-eye thing, Fry,” Leela said patiently. “Come on, just grab it and let’s get out of here before those Wyverns come back.”

   Fry reached into the light, feeling his skin tingle with unknown energy. As his hands closed around the Lance, a ripple of temporal disturbance radiated out from the blade of the weapon as it responded to Fry’s out-of-phase molecules. For a moment, every sentient being on the planet experienced a strong sense of déjà vu.

   “Didn’t we do this before?” Leela said in sudden confusion.

   “No, you’re thinking of the time we had to steal the Spear of Destiny from the Louvre,” Fry said absently, testing the weight of the weapon in his hands. It was surprisingly light.

   Leela reached out curiously to touch the mindbending blade of the Lance, and for an instant she seemed to morph in and out of phase with regular time, appearing as an infant, a pimply teenager, an adult, an elderly woman with grey hair, and finally a dust-covered skeleton.

   Fry cried out in shock and horror at the sight, pulling the Lance away from her. She returned to her normal appearance and frowned at him in puzzlement.

   “What’s the matter?” she asked, unaware of the temporal compression that had just taken place.

   “N…nothing,” Fry said, visibly shaken. The vision of a skull with a single central eye socket was caught in his mind, no matter how hard he tried to bury it. He swallowed and tried to smile for Leela, who was looking at him oddly. A slight tremble in the ledge beneath their feet provided a distraction and they both looked around, noticing a deep background rumble that was growing louder.

   Across the cavern, Nibbler bared his teeth in alarm as stones began to dislodge from the cavern walls and clatter around him and the robot.

   “I did not know of this,” he said. “A final defensive mechanism… you must flee!”

   “Cheese it!” Bender seconded.

   A boulder the size of a house dropped past them in ponderous silence, and Fry and Leela needed no further prompting. Taking much less care this time, they began to run across the narrow stone bridge as fast as they could go, while the central column shattered behind them, and the cavern ceiling began to crumble down around their ears…

   The chamber was self-destructing.

* * *

“…So we have an accord?” Fiona asked the Big Brain, as it hovered several feet above her. The other Nibblonians hung back, growling and gnashing their teeth.

   “Yes, yes!” the Brain pulsed irritably in its rounded androgynous voice. “Now just stop thinking so much… argh, it hurts!”

   Fiona inclined her head, then glanced up when an aide prodded her shoulder and whispered in her ear. Her three eyes widened.

   “That impulsive idiot!” she said.

   “A problem?” the Big Brain pulsed.

   “One of my kind,” Fiona said awkwardly. “…Is trying to make off with the Lance of Fate…”

   “The Lance of Fate?” the Brainspawn seethed, and the incredulity and horror of it’s the rest of the horde could be felt despite their high-altitude positions. “But you agreed long ago that it would never…”

   “This is just one Nibblonian!” Fiona said hurriedly.

   “Well the Lance is useless without the Mighty One in any case,” the Brainspawn said.

   Fiona cleared her throat uncomfortably. “He… he has the Mighty One with him.”

   Although a creature with no throat or lungs shouldn’t technically gasp, the Brainspawn did away with logic for the duration and did just that. “They must be stopped!” it said.

   “Agreed,” Fiona replied.

   With that, the Brainspawn floated away quickly, and Fiona headed back to the hovercraft. The other Nibblonians eyed her, some with simple uncertainty, but others now with undisguised malice. She didn’t care – the future of their species was at stake, and sacrifices had to be made.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Space Pope
« Reply #128 on: 09-27-2007 11:48 »

In reference to chapter 13...Another very nice chapter.  smile

Mom's name is Caroline? Liked "...taking Fox News reports as factual right now", and Professy's speech about why he can't die.

now i'll go and read chap. 14

Urban Legend
« Reply #129 on: 09-27-2007 13:06 »

wow, this still has me impressed and intrigued, I haven't felt that way about a book since "If you give a mouse a cookie"

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #130 on: 09-28-2007 04:51 »


Chapter 15: From Eternium With Love

Onespawn pursued the fleeing spacecraft with a vengeance, calling forth powerful blasts of energy from within itself and sending them lancing across the void in spectacular crimson bolts. The destruction of the Brezhnev had stripped it of its nanites for the time being, until it could produce more, and the power needed to reassemble itself had left it weakened. But the changes Onespawn had wrought within itself remained intact, as did the mysterious quantum flux that seemed to grow even stronger now.

   The Momship darted around in three dimensions, jack-knifing to avoid the devastating psychoplasmic discharges that lit up space like a Freedom Day parade. Everyone onboard was thrown about violently each time one of the blasts erupted nearby.

   “Sweet chimpanzee of Tokyo-Three!” Hermes said, clinging to a console. “We canna take much more of this, mon!”

   Mom picked herself up out of Scruffy’s lap and gave the janitor a perfunctory slap just in case he’d been having any lewd thoughts.

   “Can’t you shake the damn thing?” she bellowed at the Helmsman.

   “I’m trying!” Gary Helm  replied as he swung the control column hard over. “It’s matching us move-for-move. I don’t know what it uses for propulsion, but from the Gs its pulling on some of those turns, I’d say it could fly rings around us.”

   Another close explosion lifted them from their feet, and Mom found herself in Scruffy’s lap once again. This time she punched him in the stomach.

   “Scruffy’s a punchin’ bag fer angry women,” he grunted. “An’ he finds it strangely arousin’.”

   “We need a diversion,” Mom said. “Something to throw the bastard off our ass!”

   “I have an idea!” Amy piped-up, and Mom waved her away irritably.

   “Perhaps some kind of genetically-engineered albino gorilla fired at the creature…?” Farnsworth mumbled.

   Amy raised her hand. “We could lure it to…”

   “Quiet, you little tart!” Mom snapped. “Smart people are talking!”

   “De bu, chao ah lian, Li lao bu ho ang moh lang kan ka seh li zi pu bor kia!” Amy muttered darkly. The ship took a direct hit, and fountains of sparks erupted from the bridge consoles.

   “I thought I ordered non-exploding consoles installed!” Mom shouted.

   “But there was a sale on these ones…” the Helmsman replied.

   “Guh!” Amy spat, and pushed past Mom to a navigation console unaffected by the pyrotechnics. Hammering in a set of coordinates, she brought the display up on the main system screen, highlighted in yellow.

   Mom stopped yelling at her subordinates and looked up at the screen; it showed a specific star system.

   “Omicron Persei…” she said slowly, her eyes widening. “Of course! The stupid little strumpet is onto something – Helm! Plot a course for Omicron Persei Eight!”

   “Yes ma’am,” Helm replied.

   The Momship banked toward Galactic North and Onespawn followed, furiously firing psychoplasmic energy balls after the vessel as it went.

* * *

Terminal Precept, the storehouse of the Lance of Fate, was collapsing.

Leela made it to the ledge with Fry right behind her. He covered the last few feet in a flying leap as the slender strip of stone bridge splintered and fell away into the dark abyss.

   “Make haste!” Nibbler shouted unnecessarily, and Leela snatched him up by his cape as, together, the group ran back through the dark passage. Boulders crashed down around them and a tremendous crackling roar filled the air as great slabs of rock fractured.

   Bender made it to the stairs first and was struck by several rolling stones, which gathered no moss as they bounced off his metal casing.

   “Oh, it’s gonna take ages to buff those scratches out!” he lamented.

   “There’ll be time for buffing later,” Leela shouted. “Right now we’ve gotta polish… I mean RUN!”

   They ascended the stairs at a mad dash, dodging rocks that fell toward them almost unseen in the gloom.

   “Why?” Fry puffed. “Why is it… that everywhere we go… things always collapse on top of us?”

   At length, they stumbled up over the top of the staircase, pursued by a cloud of dust, and lay panting on the floor of the hall of forever.

   “Well that was enjoyable,” Leela grumbled sarcastically. “How about for our next outing we visit the caldera of an active volcano?” They ground was still rumbling beneath them, and cracks suddenly spiderwebbed across the marble floor.

   “It’s not over!” Nibbler shouted.

   “Cheese it again!” Bender added.

   As wide fissures opened up in the floor and chunks of pastel-coloured roof crashed down, the friends bolted and leapt through the gauntlet and burst out through the doors into the Eternium evening. Behind them, the hall of forever imploded with a huge crash into a pile of rubble and then began to subside in a massive sinkhole.

   Fry, Leela, Bender, and Nibbler stood watching the great collapsed mess of masonry settle into the wide pit.

   “Four billion years,” Nibbler said sadly. “Four billion years the hall of forever stood…”

   “Easy come, easy go,” Bender said indifferently.

   Fry glanced at Leela, and reached up to gently wipe a smudge of dust from her cheek. She looked at him and smiled, and a quiet moment of inexplicable tension passed between them.

   “You look beautiful, even when you’re covered in grime,” Fry said awkwardly.

   “Oh… Fry…” Leela blushed.

   Fry scratched his head and looked at the ground. “Hey Leela…” he began hesitantly. “I know you keep saying you only want friendship with me, and maybe that really is all we could be… but I was thinking… since we really seem to be on the knife edge this time around, and the Universe might actually end… if we somehow do manage to survive, why don’t you and I…”

   “Oh my God!” Leela shouted suddenly, cutting him off. Her eye went wide in horrified disbelief.

   “No, no – I wasn’t going to say that,” Fry clarified hurriedly. “I just meant dinner, not the other thing… unless you wanted to afterward, but that isn’t what I was driving at… not that I wouldn’t love to…”

   “No, Fry – look!” Leela pointed behind him, and he turned to look. Out over the horizon a swarm of objects filled the sky, gradually growing larger as they approached, and resolving into terrifyingly familiar shapes.

   “The Brainspawn,” Nibbler said, bearing his fangs. “They come to prevent us taking the Lance.”

   Fry looked at the ancient weapon still clutched in his hand; its shimmering field of temporal displacement momentarily reflected his own face. “I could use it against them now,” he said.

   “Negative,” Nibbler replied. “For the Lance to fully recombine the entire Brainspawn race, it must strike at the prime brain in the collective hierarchy, that its effects may be linked down to all the others.”

   “The Big Brain,” Leela said, remembering. “That was the controlling brain Fry fought in the library years ago.”

   “Under normal circumstances, yes,” Nibbler said, glaring up at the approaching horde. “But now a new Brainspawn has ascended to become more powerful than the Big Brain, or any other of the vile creatures. It is now the prime.”

   “…You mean ‘Onespawn’,” Fry said in realization.

   “I hate to interrupt this expositional narrative,” Bender said, “but perhaps we ought to be in the process of cheesing it once again?”

   The friends turned and ran toward the Planet Express ship as the swarm of brains descended on them. They boarded the ship in a disorganized clatter of feet, and Leela hurried to the bridge where she set about hammering buttons.

   “I’ll take care of the start-up and pre-flight system preps for you, Fry,” she said as unseen machines hummed into life. “You could manage takeoff with the programmed steps; after that it’s all just…”

   “Huh?” Fry said, looking confused. “Me?”

   “Yes Fry,” Leela said, turning away from the console and taking him by the shoulders. “Once the Brainspawn are close enough to affect us with their stupefaction ray, you’ll be the only one who… make… Leela feel all warm and cuddly inside!”

   “You make a good point,” Fry said, nodding. “Wait… what?”

   “…Duh…” Leela grinned vacantly and reached up to tousle Fry’s hair. “Orange!” she giggled.

   Bender gasped in mortification back at the rear of the cabin. “Ogod ogod ogod!” he cried, clutching at the sides of his head. “Where are my ears? Where are my ears?!”

   “Uh oh,” Fry said. He glanced out the window and saw the swarm of brains much nearer now, projecting long tendrils of blue stupidifiying energy down towards the ship. He quickly jumped into the pilot seat, laying the Lance of Fate on the floor beside him, and hit the landing gear button. The ship’s feet retracted, and it fell down hard on its belly with a crash.

   “Sorry,” Fry grunted, thumbing the antigravs and easing back on the control column. With jerky motions, the Planet Express ship lunged up into the air. The Brainspawn followed close behind and began clustering around the little green freighter, bumping against the hull and shoving it with telekinetic impulses.

   Nibbler made a muffled choking sound as he caught the stalk of his third eye and tried to swallow it.

   “I want what he’s eating!” Leela sulked.

   Fry paused with his hand on the dark matter lever and glanced at the Brainspawn in the rear view mirror.

   “You’re about to suffer severe brain-damage,” he drawled in his best action-hero voice, and then grimaced when he realized the others were too stupid to appreciate his wit. He pushed the lever down and the PE ship shot forward, its main drive exhaust blowing numerous Brainspawn to pieces.

   The full dark matter burn within the constraints of an atmosphere set off a cacophony of load warnings as the ship’s outer skin heated up and began to ablate from the massive friction. Then it flew free of Eternium’s atmosphere, and Fry located the terminus of the spiderhole in a distant elliptical orbit of the system’s star. He plotted a course toward it, taking them into the lee of an irregular moonlet.

   Gradually, the other three returned to their senses and looked around in confusion.

   “Me… feeling… a bit better in… capacity for abstract postulation,” Leela said slowly. “Fry – you did it!”

   “Yeah, and I told the Brainspawn: ‘you’re about to suffer severe br…’”

   “So we’re home free?” Bender interrupted.

   “Not quite,” Nibbler said, pointing to the forward screen. Ahead in space, a hazy cloud was growing, separating into individual objects as the distance closed. Swimming into stark clarity…

   “Oh, you gotta be bendin’ me…” Bender muttered.

   The other half of the Brainspawn horde was poised between them and the spiderhole.

   “No problem,” Fry said with grim determination. “I’ll just brawn my way through these brains and we’ll…”

   He was cut off by the crackle of the communications system coming to life, Fiona appeared through static interference and glowered at them all.

   “Lord Nibbler!” she commanded. “Instruct your pet humans to turn their ship around, or we will be forced to fire upon you.”

   As if on cue, long-range sensors chimed, indicating a mass of small contacts emerging from behind the heavily-cratered moonlet. The Nibblonian second fleet began to close on them from behind.

   “Caught between the Nibblonians and the Brainspawn,” Fry muttered. “What would MacGyver do?” Struck with sudden inspiration, he pulled a paperclip, a shoelace, and a bottletop out of his pocket and stared at them for a moment. “Damn,” he said. “If only I had a cigarette lighter.”

   Nibbler stared sadly up at Fiona’s image

   “I cannot comply,” he said. “What must be, must be.”

   “Do not be a fool,” Fiona said. “We can annihilate you utterly – you know this.”

   “Better to die in the pursuit of what is right than live under the shadow of what is wrong,” Nibbler replied.

   “Uh…” Bender raised a hand. “I, for one, do not share that opinion.”

   Fiona looked conflicted. “I do not wish to do this,” she said. “Please turn back now – return the lance. I do not want to destroy you…”

   “Do it,” Nibbler said. “Shoot us down, and then ask yourself - of what worth are all our yesterdays if we, in the hour of our final reckoning, discard that last shining inch of ourselves that defines us – our honour and our cause, the small fragile thing that is more important than anything in this Universe we’ve sworn to protect? To embrace the vile, the tainted…?” Nibbler had riled himself to a near-religious fervour, and he continued, clenching his paws into little fists: “What would we tell those who have gone before us?” he said. “Those, whose toil prepared our path, guided us to this moment in time when the strength of our will and the substance of our being are called upon one last time… what would we tell them?”

   Fiona stared at him over the comm. link, her face awash with unknowable emotion. Finally, she sighed. “We would tell them how ashamed we are,” she admitted.

   “Farewell,” Nibbler said. The link went dead. Leela and Bender glanced at each other, and Fry looked bewildered.

   “So… what just happened?” he asked. “Is she going to blow us up?”

   “We shall know soon enough,” Nibbler replied grimly.

The pursuing Nibblonian fleet drew closer as the Planet Express ship continued on toward the Brainspawn blockade. Hundreds of little saucer-shaped ships deployed their weapons systems in preparation, moving in for the kill.

“Maybe someone should man the laser cannon,” Leela said uncertainly.

“There would be little point,” Nibbler replied.

Still, the fleet came on, and still no shots were fired. A dense atmosphere of tense expectation filled the cabin as all four of them watched the radar monitor.

“What the hell are they waiting for?” Bender muttered.

Suddenly, the fleet decreased speed and began to fall back, and the four friends breathed a collective sigh of relief.

“Thankyou,” Nibbler said quietly. Perhaps Fiona would still follow her own course, but for now she was willing to allow Nibbler some rein to follow his… maybe only as a last-ditch ace in the hole, but it was something at least.

“We aren't outta the mangroves yet,” Fry noted, pointing at the Brainspawn ahead. The brains were apparently undaunted by the Nibblonians’ change of heart, and closed ranks in front of the PE ship, projecting a dense field of stupidity.

   “Okay guys, time for a little brainstorming,” he said with a grin. Nobody laughed, and he looked around to see Leela clutching a drooling Nibbler like a teddy-bear and sucking her thumb, while Bender tried (with limited success) to climb inside his own chest compartment. The others were again afflicted with total idiocy.

   “Aw nuts,” Fry muttered, turning back to the control column. “All my best material and nobody to dig it…” He piloted the ship right into the midst of the Brainspawn, slamming heedlessly into scores of bloated pink blobs. The Brainspawn responded by buffeting the PE ship with telekinetic pulses, attempting to throw it offcourse, but Fry smoothly adjusted the controls the way Leela had been teaching him and weaved through the onslaught.

   As he flew on toward the looming purple maelstrom of the interdimensional spiderhole, the Brainspawn matched pace, swarming around the ship and buffeting it.

   “Quit it!” Fry said through clenched teeth as he and the others were thrown left and right.

   “Bouncy ride!” Nibbler squealed with delight, kicking his legs.

   “Weeeeeeeeee!” Leela seconded.

   Vast spiderwebs of negative matter shot past on all sides, and the event horizon approached, shimmering and shifting.

   Leela suddenly snuggled up alongside Fry, resting her head in the crook of his neck. “Me love Fry,” she said.

   Despite the desperate situation and the vast cataclysmic rift in spacetime that loomed seconds away, Fry momentarily broke his concentration to look at her in surprise.

   “You what?”

   Then they hit the spiderhole, and everything stretched beyond the point of comprehension, before snapping back violently. The ship hurtled through the Einstein-Rosen Bridge, tumbling end-over end with Fry struggling frantically to right the trajectory and prevent the little vessel slamming into the deadly edge of the interdimensional tunnel.

   The Brainspawn followed, nudging the PE ship, trying to knock it into the negative matter. Fry responded by broadsiding the ship into a group of the creatures and sending them flashing into radioactive doom when they impacted the edge of the spiderhole.

   “Don’t strain your brain,” Fry muttered. He looked ahead, and saw for a brief instant a collossal shape move against the surface of the spiderhole’s wall. Then it was gone, phasing out of visibility, but the image of multiple legs hundreds of thousand of miles long gave him the ghost of an idea. He steered the ship toward the side of the swirling tunnel of energy, with the Brainspawn close behind, and switched on the ship’s high-beam headlights.

   Forked bolts of esoteric energy stabbed out from the wall of the spiderhole as the PE ship flew dangerously close by. The powerful headlights stirred up random disturbances in the torrents of negative energy, until something finally appeared in front of the ship, roused by the commotion. It reared into existence, larger than the mind could fathom – its cluster of multi-faceted eyes rising up like a planet…

   The maker of the spiderhole was agitated.

   Fry pulled the ship up, soaring over the giant interdimensional arachnid’s moon-sized head. The pursuing Brainspawn hesitated, suddenly finding themselves facing one of the mightiest creatures in any Universe.

   The Star Spider. Kumonga. Anansi the Trickster. The Weaver. Tsuchigumo. It had many names in many places, but no legend could ever do justice to a creature of such immense terrible majesty. As the little green spaceship flew the length of the creature’s vast abdomen and away behind it, the giant spider regarded the tiny swarm of flying brains and decided it didn’t like them.

   Raising its world-sized form up into the centre of the Einstein-Rosen Bridge, it angled gargantuan spinnerets at the Brainspawn and fired million-mile-long strands of negative matter webbing. Each of the brains struck by the strands erupted into bursts of pure energy that filled the spiderhole with incandescent light. The survivors turned and fled they way they had come.

   The Planet Express ship burst from the spiderhole terminus and fell almost instantly into the maw of the second. After an intermittent time, it emerged once again into real space, and Fry burnt dark matter at a rapid rate to put as much distance as he could between the ship and whatever might be following. A sheen of nervous perspiration covered his face.

   The others had returned to their standard level of intelligence and were looking out the windows for signs of pursuit.

   “Looks like you got us through,” Leela said to Fry. “Good work.”

   “It was a no-brainer,” Fry replied, naturally. Leela chuckled, and he sighed in relief.


Urban Legend
« Reply #131 on: 09-28-2007 13:22 »

I like this chapter most of all, I especially liked Nibbler's speach to Fiona

Urban Legend
« Reply #132 on: 09-28-2007 14:00 »

that rocked my socks off
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #133 on: 09-28-2007 16:31 »

Yeah coldy, for a last effort, you're going out with a bang.

I'm sure it's going to get weirder and better, espically based on the pic that you sent me that I'm forbidden to speak about...

The mere fact that you have the Venus 'Stamp of Good Shippidon Approval' speaks volumes.

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #134 on: 09-28-2007 20:30 »

What pic?
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #135 on: 09-28-2007 21:12 »

It's forbidden for me to speak of!  If I do, Coldangel will send wave after wave of Communist Foot Soldiers to shut me up, stampede my wife and rape my cattle.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #136 on: 09-28-2007 21:21 »
« Last Edit on: 09-28-2007 21:21 by coldangel_1 »

Thanks for reading guys  smile


Chapter 16: Spit and Wishes

Jerry, Elaine and Kramer were seated in their usual booth in the coffee shop when George appeared, looking even more downbeat than usual.

   “Hey Georgie!” Kramer said.

   Jerry and Elaine offered their greetings as George slumped down silently next to Elaine.

   “What’s the matter?” Jerry asked across the table.

   George shook his head and slowly responded: “My mother caught me…”

   “‘Caught’ you? Doing what?”

   “You know…” The others gave him blank stares, and he continued reluctantly. “I was alone…”

   Elaine made a surprised face. “You mean…!?”


   Kramer laughed. “She caught you?”

   Lrrr nudged the television with one massive webbed foot to try to improve the ancient reception, and settled back to watch.

   “I’ve seen this rerun too many times,” Ndnd declared, folding her tree-trunk arms.

   “It’s a classic,” Lrrr rumbled menacingly. You’ll watch it again and you’ll ENJOY it!”

   George continued his story. “…First she screams, ‘George, what are you doing?! My God!’ And it looked like she was gonna faint - she started clutching the wall, trying to hang onto it.”

   “Man,” Kramer said reflectively.

   “I didn't know whether to try and keep her from falling, or zip up.”

   “What did you do?” Jerry asked in fascination.

   “I zipped up!” George replied.

   Lrrr leaned close to Ndnd and muttered: “As the most powerful of them, I do not understand why the one called Kramer does not merely seize control of Manhattan Island in a brutal bloodbath and declare it a breakaway fortress-state.”

   “Perhaps he is concealing his true ambition until a time of his choosing,” Ndnd suggested. “The same way you try to conceal that gut of yours.”

   Lrrr growled. “Well you…” he said, trying to think of a biting comeback. “…Shut up.”

   At that moment a palace servant entered the chamber and bowed low.

   “Your Excellencies of Divine and Immaculate Wisdom, whose Grace and Valour are an Eternal…”

   “Yes, yes!” Lrrr snapped irritably. “What cataclysm could warrant interrupting NBC’s primetime lineup?”

   “Forgive me!” the servant grovelled. “The long-range defensive array has tracked two large objects entering the system on course for our Great and Magnificent homeworld.”

   “Ohhhhhhh wonderful!” Lrrr growled, pushing himself to his feet and stomping over to the entrance. “My one night of free time, ruined!”

   He cast one final glance at the TV where Jerry, George, and Kramer were watching the naked woman in the apartment block across the street, and then with a sigh he stomped out.

   “Get some milk and bread on the way back!” Ndnd called out.

* * *

The Momship…

   …Bloodied, beaten… with great scorched rends torn in its hull plating, struggled on its erratic course toward the eight planet of Omicron Persei. Behind it, glowing with livid fury, came Onespawn. The gargantuan brain had resorted to projecting occasional waves of quantum reality displacement that rippled across the void in expanding spheres of weird unreal energy.
   One such wave passed through the Momship, making the vessel and everyone onboard twist and bulge into crazy distorted shapes. Then reality snapped back again and they returned to normal.

   “Oh, that doesn’t bode well,” Farnsworth said, looking somewhat mortified by the distortion.

   “What does it mean?” Mom asked.

   “It means that Wernstrom… Wernstrom was telling the truth,” the Professor replied. “With the ability to directly interfere with quantum states, the creature has the potential to literally unmake the Universe!”

   Another wave passed through them, and Mom was suddenly joined by seven duplicates of herself which looked at each other in bewilderment before fusing back together into one very confused whole.

   “…Really?” she said uncertainly, as the unreal resonances faded. “Well perhaps the Omicronians will have better luck blasting the damn thing – here they come!” She pointed out the main screen, where an armada of massive city-killer ships had departed Omicron Persei VIII’s orbit and were moving on an intercept course.

   “How do we know they won’t blow us up too?” Hermes asked quietly.

   “Established literary convention?” Scruffy offered.

   A broadwave transmission was picked up by the ship’s communication system, and Lrrr appeared onscreen, slightly out of frame.

   “Insolent slime!” he bellowed. “I am Lrrr, ruler of Omicron Persei Eight, addressing those fools who dare to attack the homeworld of the Omicronians!” He paused to hurriedly adjust the camera so that his face was centred, but it fell over and he resorted to holding it steady by hand. “…Lousy piece of crap webcam,” he muttered, and then continued in his commanding roar. “Hear me now! You have ten seconds to surrender and be destroyed – or we will destroy you!”

   The message ended, and the Helmsman went pale, going rigid at the controls as he calculated velocities and trajectories.

   “This is going to take some serious kutzpa,” Helm said.

   On the bridge of the Omicronian command vessel, Lrrr watched the Momship approaching.

   “Bastard’s not even changing course,” he muttered in amusement to an aide. “Open fire!”

   Magnetic launchers on all the frontline saucer ships opened up simultaneously, hurling ultravelocity kinetic harpoons across the void at near-lightspeed. The Momship’s sensors picked up the mass of relativistic projectiles eating up the distance between them at a frightening rate.

   “Bu hau!” Amy said, wringing her hands in fright.

   “Wait for it,” Mom said through gritted teeth as the deadly harpoons drew dangerously near. “Wait…”

   At the last moment, Helm banked hard, pulling more Gs than the ship’s structural specifications allowed for. The superstructure groaned and creaked in metal anguish, but the big ship managed to corkscrew away from the path of the kinetic harpoons, which flashed past and continued on…

   …to slam into Onespawn’s unexpecting flank.

   A brilliant explosion lit up space.

* * *

Fry and Nibbler flickered briefly.

   It was almost unnoticeable, just a passing of out-of-focus translucence, and then they were solid again, looking around in confusion. On the floor, the Lance of Fate flared suddenly bright, and pulsed with quiet power.

   “What was that?” Fry wondered, getting up from the command chair.

   “Onespawn flexing its muscle again,” Nibbler replied.

   “It hardly affected you at all this time,” Leela said hopefully. “Do you think it’s becoming less powerful?”

   “Quite the opposite,” Nibbler said grimly. “Only now we are now protected by the temporal-morphic field of the Lance.”

   “Well that’s handy,” Fry said. He picked up the Lance and noticed that the deck beneath where it had lain was now a rough patch of unprocessed iron ore, looking like it was freshly-dug from the quarry. Slowly it transformed, progressing back through the process of smelting and refinement to solidify to its normal state of smooth steel.

   “Cool,” Fry said quietly. “I could turn yoghurt back into milk…”

   “Impressive,” Bender said. “No wait – the other thing, mind-numbing. I’m gonna shut down for a while – any of you losers tries to wake me, I’ll hit you with a bottle.” With that, he went still and closed his eye shield.

   “Yeah, I might turn in too, Fry said, tucking the Lance of Fate under one arm and heading for the door. “Don’t let me sleep through the end of the Universe.” He left Leela and Nibbler alone on the bridge, with the exclusion of Bender’s immobile form.

   Leela sat down, deep in thought, and remained so for several minutes before turning to regard Nibbler contemplatively.

   “If Fry uses the Lance of Fate against Onespawn,” she said, “then it and the entire Brainspawn race will be absorbed and fused with the Nibblonians, correct?”

   “That is so,” Nibbler replied.

   “But then what happens to Fry?” Leela asked. “He’s connected to you all, and he’ll be at the centre of the storm… so what will become of him?” She looked worried, and stared at Nibbler imploringly, hoping for a dismissive laugh, or a waving-away of such silly concerns.

   Instead, Nibbler looked away uncomfortably. “I do not know,” he confessed.

   Leela blinked in surprise, and then felt a slight stab of unreasoning anger. “You don’t know?” she said in disbelief. “You know every damn thing else – why not that?”

   “Leela…” Nibbler met her gaze levelly. “The great fracture that gave rise to the Brainspawn and Nibblonians as separate races also pulled the fabric of reality taut and thin… in some places glued together. Our actions and fates are often not our own… surely you have felt it? Times when your course seems directed by the hand of some failed unoriginal writer, when events resemble something familiar you cannot define…? The borders that bound our Universe are weakened; other Universes are pressing against this one, pushing us this way and that into the shape of other worlds and other people… and to be completely honest with you…” He lowered his voice. “It’s really all held together by spit and wishes these days, because nobody has ever taken responsibility for setting it right. I am consistently amazed when tomorrow even manages to follow today; so as for what will happen to Fry, I won’t even hazard a guess.”

   Leela stared at him blankly. She was too tired for metaphysics, quantum physics, or even regular physics – her eye was red-rimmed and her patience was short.

   “All things will come to an end,” Nibbler went on. “At one point, Fry will be the lynchpin upon which the future turns. What happens after that may depend, to some extent, on him… and that’s all I can say.”

   “Could he die?” Leela said.

   “It’s possible.”

   Leela leaned back and ran her fingers through her purple hair. “Does he know?” she asked quietly, tiredly.

   “He suspects, I think,” Nibbler said.

   “And we have no choice…” Leela closed her eye, and a single tear escaped the lid, spilling down her cheek.

   In his cabin, Fry stood naked before the mirror and looked upon the dark stigma that had spread around his torso and begun to creep down both legs. The sense of impending inevitability hung heavy upon him, as dark as the swirling marks on his skin.

   The Lance of Fate, leaning against the wall, seemed to resonate in sympathy. He looked at it and sighed, rolling onto his hammock and staring at the ceiling.

   “How much time do we have left?” he murmured to the Universe in general.

   On the bridge, Leela drifted into an uneasy sleep, wracked by disturbing dreams. Nibbler adjusted the ship’s autopilot course to take them toward their appointment with finality.

   His three eyes were set hard in determination.

* * *

Onespawn tumbled end-over-end, superheated plasma radiating from the enormous wound in its frontal lobe where the relativistic harpoons had struck. Gathering its fragmented thought processes, it righted itself and turned to face the Omicronian armada.

   Insufferable carbon-based vermin…

   It propelled itself forward into the midst of the advancing Omicronian warships and expanded its stupefaction field. The big saucer ships began to fly erratically and fire off random bursts from their weapons systems.

   Damaged and weakened, Onespawn did not linger to enact vengeance. It needed time to heal, to replenish energy and further strengthen itself. While the alien battleships flew about like gigantic Frisbees with death-rays crashing into one another, Onespawn left the area at high speed.

   The human vessel it had pursued was apparently gone.

   Apparently, but not.

   The Momship, having escaped the immediate vicinity of Omicronian wrath and Onespawn’s fury, now ran silent and distant, keeping pace with the wounded brain as it sought safety somewhere away from the warlike aliens.

   “It’s running scared,” Mom said, standing on the bridge of the ship. “Readings indicate the energistic displacement surrounding it has dropped significantly – those impacts have weakened it.”

   “If it bleeds,” Scruffy said, “we can kill it.”

   “No, no, no,” the Helmsman said. “We’re flying on a wing and a prayer here. The ship’s all banged up to hell, and none of you really have any idea how much fight that thing has left in it.”

   “Shut your filthy spamhole!” Mom snapped. “This is the best chance we’ve had yet – we can’t afford not to use this opportunity to cram a nuke right up that thing’s…” she paused. “Where do you cram things up a brain?”

   “The Medulla Oblongata,” Hermes said.

   “Perhaps some prudence would serve us well at this point,” Farnsworth said. “By observing the ‘Onespawn’ from a distance, you might delay our pointless deaths long enough for me to figure out a way to actually do some good.”

   “You think you have something, you senile idiot?” Mom said.

   “Yes, but it isn’t contagious so don’t get all Howard Hughes about it.”

   “Something to do with Onespawn?” Mom gritted her teeth.

   “Not at all, and I resent the implication,” Farnsworth said. “I do, however, have an idea about Onespawn that may prove useful, oh my yes…”

   “And that is?” Mom asked.

   “Yes,” Farnsworth replied. “It is.” He wandered away muttering to himself and Mom was left looking bewildered.

   At length, she turned to one of her underlings. “Maintain this distance, dammit,” she said. “We’ll play it safe and see what time avails us.”

* * *

At the terminus of the spiderhole the combined Nibblonian/Brainspawn attack force finally emerged, and then diverged, the Brainspawn separating to avoid the screeching thoughts of their counterparts.

   On the bridge of the Nibblonian command vessel, Fiona gazed out into space contemplatively.

   “We have a course laid in for the enemy’s location,” a navigator informed her, with a bitter edge to his voice.

   “Proceed,” she said. “With any luck we should be able to prevent the Mighty One’s interference and end this affair in a way that preserves the status-quo.”

   “Agreed!” the Big Brain’s voice said over the communications link. “We shall face this shared threat together if we must, but after that – all deals are off.”

   The two races moved, for the first time, as one toward a common goal. Travelling at enhanced lightspeed, they zeroed in on the destination that spacetime distortions marked out in their unique senses as the focal point of a tremendous knot in reality.

   ...They went together to confront Onespawn.

Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #137 on: 09-28-2007 21:51 »

Two updates in one day? Holy poop... No, no, I'm not slacking on my own story. I said I'm not. Why are you questioning me!

Hmm, so if Fry could be destroyed by killing the onespawn, would he simply cease to exist because of his self-contained generational loop, or would he be split into halves like the Nibblonians and Brainspawn, or will it be the as-yet-unpredictable ending where Fry survives good as new?

Space Pope
« Reply #138 on: 09-28-2007 22:16 »

Great updates coldy. I love the picture of Lrrr and Ndnd. THe story is so awesome.

Space Pope
« Reply #139 on: 09-28-2007 22:23 »

Yes, good god, I am so behind in this now! I had no idea there was another update already...i just came to comment on 14 and 15.  eek

Mom has no one left to slap now.

Chapters 14 and 15 were probably the best two chapters so far. Funny, amazing, some beautiful description; you've set up all the different conflicts very well, and one can really see where the plot is going now.
Very professional.

Urban Legend
« Reply #140 on: 09-29-2007 00:55 »

loved scruffy's line and the seinfeld reference, at first I thought Ndnd was gonna insult Lrr about not being able to win that particular contest
Robo D Rulz!!

Bending Unit
« Reply #141 on: 09-29-2007 02:30 »
« Last Edit on: 09-29-2007 02:30 »

Awesome fan-fic so far coldy, it has almost everything in it! Those parts in the last chapter were everyone gets stupifided (Sp)are so funny.   big grin

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #142 on: 09-29-2007 04:22 »

I like it. Good plot line, good humor mixed with drama. It's good.
*looks thoughtful*
Okay actually it's great.
*hums 'Who's your daddy by Lordi'*
I'm enjoying it, well done.

« Reply #143 on: 09-29-2007 05:30 »

Nice update. I have a question: where's Zoidberg?

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #144 on: 09-29-2007 05:50 »

Originally posted by bend_her:
Nice update. I have a question: where's Zoidberg?

On Earth. He got arrested back in Chapter 11.
Don't worry, he'll show up again before the end.

Thanks everyone for reading.

Space Pope
« Reply #145 on: 09-29-2007 07:27 »

Originally posted by coldangel_1:
The chamber was self-destructing.
Hmm. Reminds me slightly of The Cave of Wonders in Aladdin...hey, Abu and Nibbler are voied by the same person.  eek

Originally posted by coldangel_1:
"But then what happens to Fry?” Leela asked. “He’s connected to you all, and he’ll be at the centre of the storm… so what will become of him?” She looked worried, and stared at Nibbler imploringly, hoping for a dismissive laugh, or a waving-away of such silly concerns.

   Instead, Nibbler looked away uncomfortably. “I do not know,” he confessed.

   Leela blinked in surprise, and then felt a slight stab of unreasoning anger. “You don’t know?” she said in disbelief. “You know every damn thing else – why not that?”
How dare he not know everything!

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #146 on: 09-29-2007 19:43 »
« Last Edit on: 09-29-2007 19:43 by coldangel_1 »


Chapter 17: Gone with the Solar Wind

Despite the physical exhaustion, Fry was unable to sleep. Strange thoughts and imaginings kept flickering in his mind like a pilot light, never extinguishing; which was an unfamiliar state for a man to whom the old Buddhist ideal of emptying one’s mind of conscious thought normally came as naturally as breathing.

   The vision of Leela’s skeleton featured prominently – although mortality was no mystery to him, the image still caused a sharp-edged sliver of terror to stab into his soul. He couldn’t imagine a world without Leela; her strength and beauty were Universal constants, like gravity and shoddy service in fast-food restaurants.

   Such maudlin thoughts were of a variety he could usually shake off, drink away, or encase in a sarcophagus of stupidness. But things felt different now; more real, more serious – the violence and angst of the past few days had been unlike any of his previous episodes… escapades? There was a distinct sense that time was limited… he felt it in his marrow, and in the cosmic stigma that slowly consumed him. Finality, completion; The End of All Things. How much time was left for him to right the wrongs in his life before it all became academic? Days? Hours?

   Rolling from the hammock, he donned clothes and padded out of the room, down the hall, and onto the bridge. Bender still stood in a dormant inactive state, while Nibbler had disappeared somewhere. Fry walked forward to look at the stars, but paused when he noticed Leela asleep in the command chair, making small whimpering sounds as her eyelid trembled – some bad dream was being painted across the canvas of her mind, and he almost considered waking her, but she had been exhausted and needed to rest.

   Leela… she was so beautiful, so amazing. What were the odds that he could fall through a thousand years of empty time and awaken in a presence of a Goddess such as her?

He reached down and brushed a few errant strands of purple hair from her face, and she seemed to relax at his touch, sighing contentedly.

   Fry supposed that if Leela were in his place now she wouldn’t be as uncertain as him – she wouldn’t stand around waiting for events to pull her in one direction or another. She would take charge of her destiny… something Fry was rarely able to do. Hell, he had trouble taking charge of his shoelaces (unfortunately a thousand years in the future Velcro was still considered dorky).

   He turned away and walked over to the forward viewscreen, where he stood with his hands in his pockets, gazing out at the cosmos. Stars that might have witnessed the birth and death of billions of souls within their warm embrace fled past the little ship in the blink of an eye; incandescent multicoloured nebula drifted by, tens of old-light years long, where suns and worlds were being created; icy comets, immense tumbling asteroids, and… and a million other things Fry had no name for. The idea that he might have the ability to save it all could so easily have inflated his ego to a celestial size, and at another time being ‘the most important person in the Universe’ had seemed like the greatest thing ever.

   …But now… now he was only frightened. And where had that fear come from? That biting sense of realism had never afflicted him before… it was as if he’d jumped from a sitcom into a drama, and was still struggling to keep up.

   Leela had woken soundlessly and watched Fry now, as he looked out at the stars. Her lips were dry as she thought of a thousand different things she wanted to say and none of the words with which to say them. The conversation she’d had with Nibbler kept playing back in her mind again and again – the thought of Fry’s ultimate fate made her skin crawl. She’d had a nightmare of a life without him once while in a coma, and the utter pointlessness of that world caused such despair… she couldn’t take it. Their shared history seemed to flow through her mind, all the times they’d spent together, all the hardships and all the warmth… and his face, always there with a lopsided grin and some stupid beautiful comment to make everything seem alright.

   I don’t deserve him…

   She’d kept him at arm’s length, but he’d stayed with her regardless. How could she spurn that kind of devotion time and time again, and still keep him in her life? It must have been torture for him…

   Am I so heartless? she wondered. No… I’ve needed him, just like he needs me… only I’ve never been able to admit it, not like him.

   Of course, that was the difference between them, she decided. Fry wasn’t afraid to open himself wide to the slings and arrows of the world. That blameless honesty that kept him coming back again and again after all the rejections… Leela envied it. She envied his strength.

She stood quietly and walked over to him, still unsure of what to say.

   “Leela,” Fry said in surprise when she appeared beside him. “I’m sorry, did I wake you?”

   “No,” Leela said, taking in the view through the screen. “Sure is beautiful,” she said softly. “I fly through space all the time, but I never really see it, you know? I don’t stop and really look at it… it’s just something that passes me by.”

   Fry gave a vague nod, not really understanding.

   “But you do see it, don’t you?” Leela went on, still staring out into the stars. “You see things that other people have taught themselves to ignore, to push aside because there’s always something else to do. You see everything the way it is, with eyes wide open… and here’s me, with only one eye – seems fitting that I’ve only ever seen half the picture.”

   “Leela…” Fry looked concerned. “I… I don’t really know what you’re talking about,” he said. “Did I do something wrong? Is this about what I left in the washbasin? Because I was going to clean…”

   “Do you know what’s going to happen when we get to Onespawn?”


   “Fry.” Leela turned to face him seriously. “Philip,” she said, for perhaps the first time ever. “I don’t want you to pass me by like all that space out there… I don’t… want to have lost you without ever choosing to see you for what you are…”

   Fry was taken aback more by the unprecedented outpouring of emotion than the taboo usage of his given name. In the half-light, he could see moisture glistening in Leela’s eye.

“Hey,” he said, gently taking her by the shoulders. “It’s okay… you’re not gonna lose me. You couldn’t if you wanted to – I’m like a bad case of head-lice: you think I’m gone, but then the eggs hatch and there’s more of me crawling around in there.” He made a creepy-crawly with his hand and rustled Leela’s hair playfully to try to cheer her up.

   Leela’s bottom lip trembled, and suddenly she was pressed against him, burying her face in his shoulder and sobbing quietly.

   “Please Fry,” she sobbed. “Please don’t die. I couldn’t take that… not again.”

   “I…” Fry wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. He could have told her again that it would all be okay, that he’d be fine and they would all go home happily… but he didn’t know that. And he didn’t want to lie, not to her.

   “I wish you weren’t the Mighty One,” Leela said, her words muffled by his shoulder. “I wish you were just my Fry, the silly funny Philip Fry who I love… not the hope of the Universe, just mine…”

   “I wish that too…”

   Leela looked up to meet his gaze, her tear-streaked face inches from his. “I know this is something we have no choice in,” she said in a husky voice. “And I’ll go along with you, every step of the way… but I…” She pulled away and stood with her back to him, trembling slightly.

   “It’s alright Leela,” Fry said. “Really…”

   “It’s not alright,” she replied. “I’ve treated you badly. We’re not just friends, Fry. We’re more than that. A lot more.”

   “I know.”

   She turned back to regard him. “I didn’t want us to go into… whatever we’re about to go into… without telling you I love you.” Leela straightened as if a great weight had been lifted from her. “I do love you,” she said. “With all my heart.”

   Fry was lost for words, but he didn’t need any. Leela took hold of his jacket and pulled him close, planting her lips against his.

   Hardly believing what was happening, Fry returned the kiss, holding her close. At the back of the cabin Nibbler watched silently from his nest in Bender’s chest cabinet. With a satisfied nod, he gently shut the door, giving the two humans their privacy.

   “…Leela,” Fry said when they finally broke contact. “I love you so much, I always have… but if this is about me maybe dying… I mean, if you just feel obliged… like that time we thought Zoidberg was dying so we stopped throwing darts at him for a while…”

   “It’s not about obligation,” she whispered. “I want this. And besides – I’m not going to let you do anything alone. We’ll fight together, Fry. And if it’s gotta be that way, we’ll die together.” She kissed him again to stifle the protest that rose on his tongue.

   “I brushed you off so many times,” she continued when she pulled away. “It’s because… romance to me has always meant a long chain of disappointment and heartache, nothing like the connection I share with you. It’s so different… something pure and wonderful, so I was always terrified at the idea of changing it, of making you another lover who will hurt me, haunt me…”

   “I won’t,” Fry said. “I would never…”

   “I know,” Leela said. “I see you now, as you are. And I’m sorry.”

   Fry pulled her back toward him and kissed her hungrily, losing himself in her scent, the softness of her lips, the contours of her body pressed against his… In the midst of a nightmare, a dream had come true – and nothing was going to interrupt this moment… except the sudden urgent chiming of the communications system.

   Bender awoke with a start at the loud call alert, opening his eye shield to see Fry and Leela looking a little flustered and red-faced at the other end of the cabin.

   “Aren’t one of you morons gonna answer that?” he said, waving at the comm. console that was flashing red.

   “Right… right,” Leela said, adjusting her hair and winking at Fry (her single eye made the process of winking somewhat redundant and wasted on the observer, a fact she’d never actually realized). She made her way to the comm. console and keyed the incoming call onto the main screen.

   As the screen came to life, the three of them gasped in unison, and Nibbler poked his head out of Bender’s chest compartment to hiss angrily.

   “Well well, fancy meeting you bastards out here,” Mom said, glaring down at them.

* * *

Onespawn moved through tumbling great mountains of rock and ore.

   The asteroid field was vast, and with the new nanomachines being produced within itself, the creature absorbed and converted the abundant raw matter at a rapid pace, using the new mass to repair the damage it had sustained and further boost its strength and capabilities.

   Fury resonated from the giant brain in waves as it seethed still, over the pestering attacks it had suffered through. Death had never held any great fear for the creature before, but with its newfound ascendance  to individuality and overlordship, it finally had something to lose. External threats instilled a much greater terror than they ever had before when it had been part of the collective.

   And now there were other causes for concern…

   Echoing across the cosmos like the quantum equivalent of distant thunder on an open plain, the return of the Brainspawn had caused Onespawn to pause and shudder. The questing minds of its fellows probed tentatively across the void; searching, pushing… Onespawn repelled them, unwilling to be subsumed back into the hierarchy, but knew that they would soon attack in force to prevent further dissolution of their quantum structure by Onespawn’s alterations.

   It could prepare for such an eventuality, but one unexpected element gave even greater cause for concern. From the moment the Mighty One had laid his hands upon the Lance of Fate the gentle ripple of temporal waves had lapped on the shore of reality, almost imperceptibly, but it did not escape the creature’s notice.

   Never would Onespawn have expected the Nibblonians to forsake their manifest selves and deploy that final, unthinkable trump card.

   Or perhaps they hadn’t… Perhaps the orange-haired fool was acting of his own volition. Whatever the case, the Lance was nearby now, Onespawn could sense it… and so it hastened to prepare itself.

* * *

The Momship and the Planet Express ship converged and cruised side-by-side, a long distance away from where the damaged Onespawn lumbered through an asteroid field, consuming mass to replenish itself.

   “So,” Mom said into the communications monitor when the facts had been ascertained, “while I’ve been here trying to kill this damn monster, you idiots were out joyriding through the Universe in search of some stupid magic weapon?”

   “Hey!” the cyclops woman snapped through the short-wave communications link. “Don’t try to make out like this mess is anyone’s fault but yours!”

   “Go to hell, eyeball!” Mom snapped.

   “Oh, a reference to my prominent mutation?” Leela said. “How very creative of you. While you’re exercising that brilliant streak, maybe you could dream up a way to get at Onespawn without it blasting us.”

   “I’ve got Farnsworth working on that, you wench!” Mom snarled.

   “You have the Professor?!” Leela said, aghast.

   Mom cut off the comm. link abruptly and strode forward to stare out at the asteroid field where the gargantuan brain formed a discernible knot of mass amid the planetary debris.

   “It’s waiting for us,” she murmured. “Damn thing just wants us to make a move…”

   Off to one side, Amy, Hermes, and Scruffy sat together, feeling like spare pawns in a chess set.

   “Why do they call it ‘it’,” Amy wondered absently.

   “Wot you talkin’ ‘bout, Miss Wong?” Hermes grunted miserably.

   “This giant brain thing… they keep saying ‘it’.”


   “Well… maybe it’s a boy, or a girl. Why ‘it’?”

   Scruffy grunted. “Brains ain’t got no genitals,” he said. “Maybe if it were a flyin’ crotch we’d know better what to call it.”

   “Flying crotches are extinct, mon,” Hermes reminded him.

   Meanwhile in the Momship’s extensive workshop, Professor Farnsworth finished the final components in his creation and stepped back to admire it. The simple elegance and splendour of the machine was something to behold. At that moment, he considered it his single greatest accomplishment.

   It was a reverse-microwave oven. It had one purpose – to take a prepared meal and un-cook it, reducing it back to a cold raw state.

   Usefulness in the current situation: zero to nil.

   “Now that’s finished with,” he muttered to himself, “I’d better start dealing with this ‘Onespawn’ problem I suppose…” He tapped away at a computer keyboard for a few moments and then stood back. “There, done.”

* * *

Fry, Leela, Bender, and Nibbler looked out through the scuffed chainglass windows of the Planet Express ship to where the great enemy sat in wait, out in the slowly drifting mass of gigantic rocks.

   “So what now?” Leela asked, glancing down at Nibbler. “How do we get to it?”

   “I am not entirely certain,” Nibbler said. “This part has always been… theoretical.”

   “Oh you’re just a useless little ball of crap!” Bender lifted a foot to stomp on Nibbler, but Leela pushed him over.

   “Well, we’ve got to think of something,” she said, putting her hands on her hips. “There must be some way we can get through the stupefaction ray and…”

   “There is another problem in this arena…” Nibbler said. “In practicality…”

   Fry stopped listening. As his friends continued examining the lack of options, he slipped quietly away, leaving the bridge and walking through the ship’s corridors, ducking into his cabin as he went to retrieve the Lance. Leela’s words about fighting and dying together came back to him, and he thought about her plunging herself into danger… by his side, because they always stuck together, always… But…

   “…Not this time,” he said to himself. He would face this danger alone. After all, he was the only one who could. Leela didn’t have to risk herself – he could end it, finally and completely…

   He walked into the ship’s airlock chamber and hurriedly struggled into one of the worn and scratched utility spacesuits that was hanging on a rack. He clipped on the bulky manoeuvring harnesses, and tied the Lance of Fate to one of the equipment loops with a length of tether before finally fitting the bubble helmet over his head and sealing it in place. The suit’s autonomous systems came online, recycled air pumping around the helmet, temperature dispersal tubes cooling his body, and electromuscle bands massaging his circulatory system to maintain good bloodflow in zero-G.

   With a bulky gloved hand, he turned the manual controls on the inner door of the airlock, letting himself inside the narrow passage and shutting it behind him, before moving to the outer door and pushing it open. The autotint on the suit’s helmet darkened to protect his eyes from the glare of nearby stars, allowing him to look out on the sprawling majesty of space.

   He stepped out of the airlock, and exited the effective zone of the ship’s gravity pump. Sudden intense vertigo threatened to overtake him as it always did in sudden freefall, but he slowed his breathing as Leela had taught him, and turned to focus on the grimy dented hull of the ship as a solid reference point in three dimensions. When his pulse slowed, he burped the manoeuvring jets to align himself in a headfirst trajectory toward the asteroid field in the distance.

   “Well,” he said to himself. “Here goes…”

   Thumbing the control thrusters up to full-power, he shot away on a column of chemical flame toward Onespawn, the Lance of Fate strapped to his side and a gleam in his eye that could have been heroic resolution but was probably just feverish terror.

Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #147 on: 09-29-2007 20:20 »

Another great update. My only quibble would be that Fry is way too suave and contained while Leela's pouring her heart out to him. Of course, this would be a problem with any author but you, with you, it's  to be expected.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #148 on: 09-29-2007 20:24 »
« Last Edit on: 09-29-2007 20:24 by coldangel_1 »

Thanks man.
Suave and contained? Fuck, eh? ...I was going more for bewildered and slow-to-catch-on for the most part there.
How do you talk to ladies?      wink

Space Pope
« Reply #149 on: 09-29-2007 20:31 »

“It’s okay… you’re not gonna lose me. You couldn’t if you wanted to – I’m like a bad case of head-lice: you think I’m gone, but then the eggs hatch and there’s more of me crawling around in there.” He made a creepy-crawly with his hand and rustled Leela’s hair playfully to try to cheer her up.
What an intersting way to say that he'll always be there.

Scruffy grunted. “Brains ain’t got no genitals,” he said. “Maybe if it were a flyin’ crotch we’d know better what to call it.”
“Flying crotches are extinct, mon,” Hermes reminded him.
So funny.

Great chapter. I loved that Leela finally realized her feelings for Fry. Fry seemed to catch on quicker that I would have thought but it was really well done.
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #150 on: 09-29-2007 20:48 »

Originally posted by coldangel_1:
Thanks man.
Suave and contained? Fuck, eh? ...I was going more for bewildered and slow-to-catch-on for the most part there.
How do you talk to ladies?       wink

It was really how he acted through saying "I know," after that he's good. Reading it again it definitely works as-is, and suave was definitely not the right word, sorry, but, I guess it's that the first time she says she loves him with full cognitive capacities just gets glossed over, and he responds as a stronger figure than I feel he is, even for Coldangel-Fry. This is really too much explanation for the minuscule scale on which this bothered me.

For the record, most of my talk with the ladies is telling jokes. It works well enough, if you consider not at all as well enough.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #151 on: 09-30-2007 02:06 »

Probably wasn't as clear as I could have been, but ambiguity makes for interesting analysis.
Fry saying "I know" wasn't so much an overconfidence thing, but an acknowledgement of literal fact, taken as read. Leela was concerned that she'd always pushed him away, but his response was to say that he knew she'd never meant to hurt him and that it was alright; they'd both always loved each other and there was no mystery to it - in effect from his point of view she didn't even need to say it. He was reassuring her.
Additionally: It's the same thing Han Solo said to Princess Leia near the end of The Empire Strikes Back after she confesses her love for him, right before he's frozen in carbonite.
Coldangel has been known to throw in the odd homage here and there.  smile

Urban Legend
« Reply #152 on: 09-30-2007 13:02 »

liked the reverse microwavr and the flying crotch line, wow so far I've read all 17 chapters without resorting to cliff notes

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #153 on: 10-01-2007 06:08 »

What's a cliff note?

Space Pope
« Reply #154 on: 10-01-2007 06:11 »

Little booklets about books that help you cheat in English class.

Your story keeps getting more and more amazing.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #155 on: 10-01-2007 06:18 »

Thank you.  smile

*tisk* cheating in English. Now that's just bad. Everyone knows English is the only important subject... er... if that happens to be your native language.
Now Math is something you should cheat in - it has no relevance to life at all and should be put out of your mind as quickly as possible. Horrible cold inflexible numbers... *shudder*

Space Pope
« Reply #156 on: 10-01-2007 06:22 »

Horrid, cold, inflexible Joel...*shudder*

Where's the next update?

Space Pope
« Reply #157 on: 10-01-2007 06:23 »

That's quite a cliffhanger you've got there. There have not been many fanfics that have got me so absolutely desperate to reach the ending.

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #158 on: 10-01-2007 06:26 »

You know, I was thinking, Brainspawn seem to be living incarnations of Entropy while Nibblonians represent Order.

Just a thought.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #159 on: 10-01-2007 06:26 »

Ta.  smile

I'll post the next bit when we reach the next page.
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