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Author Topic: Coefficient of Fiction: Mediocrity Rehashed  (Read 4852 times)
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Space Pope
« Reply #40 on: 08-29-2008 03:48 »

Yeah, it struck me, there's a real dearth of humor in this one... it's almost entirely bereft of jokes.  Now, leaving the sarcasm realm... oh, I don't know where to begin with all the juicy tidbits. There's such a proliferation of your trademark touches of mathy/sciencey stuffs + punnage here; I won't list everything that deserves plaudits, but just to scrape the surface: besides the aforementioned "Baywatch-with-more-protractors" thing - hee, protractors - the Lambaster, "our prices are irrational", the fact that you used the word "hirsute", Einstein's head, "the original is still 'relatively' close", what SO said about the norm, "Some secret evil science club is going to fix Earth's spelling!"..

Also, this:

Fry: (getting up) I'm... (flips through his dictionary, and stops to read a page)... 'fine.'

That made me laugh out loud.

You know, I guess the reason math tends to lend itself so well to punning is all the wonderful terms for mathematical concepts - derivatives, radicals, irrational numbers, tangents and cotangents...

The exchange about the doctors was a little silly, but I giggled anyway.  Aw, you took out that bit with Shakespeare's head and exit 2b though; I suppose you thought it was too corny? I don't know, I liked it.

One thing I noticed, you do seem to have Fry very dumb in this one, a mite beyond the usual limit; presumably for the contrast with the Mensan planet; but of course he makes a couple of erudite points in his speech.

As for the plot, it's certainly episode-worthy, but that pretty much goes without saying, for your works; and there's the nice macabre twist at the end.

Finally, typo in a line you changed: when Amy says "Do you need me to loan you one or my purses?", shouldn't that probably be "of" instead of "or"?
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #41 on: 08-31-2008 04:09 »

And another gets made even better. I'll have to read this one eventually, but I'm going out tonight, and well, chic's before fic's and all that. This is one of my favorites of yours, though (but I guess most of them are), so I'm definitely looking forward to it.

[/worthless post]

Urban Legend
« Reply #42 on: 09-03-2008 01:44 »
« Last Edit on: 09-03-2008 01:45 »

Frisco:  Launching people into space isn't so much a punishment as a given in this universe, of course.

soylent:  Thanks! looking back, I forget how much math classes consumed my time while I was writing these things.  I almost don't get my own jokes now.

JustN:  If it wasn't evident, I'm a sucker for cheesy vaudevillian humor. Hey, I heard you lost your apostrophe.  How shall you address abstract ideas in monologues now?!

km:  All I was saying was if this was actually an episode, it would get a bit talky.  Shakespeare wasn't the problem, it was the clunky argument scene leading up to it, and how I unpleasantly shoehorned some dialogue to fit the jokes.  That's the main thing I've been trying to fix as I go over these, make it all flow a bit more.  All of my 'Fry is dumb' jokes found their way into this piece, and there was no underlying planned juxtaposition.. it just sort of happened.   Thanks so much for the feedback.

Sine: 'chics before fics'... that's epic.

Starting the last script fic next chance I get, I've been bogged down with work and an apartment switch as of late...

Urban Legend
« Reply #43 on: 09-11-2008 21:43 »


Hey, fun news!  If anyone here plays The Sims 2, the (probably) last stuff pack in the series is coming out later this fall, and will feature quite a bit of my writing in the object descriptions.  Yes, that's right, I was paid to write puns for a week or so. big grin


And while I'm at it, here's the last script fic.  I didn't think it needed much work for once:

Anthology of Interest 2.7182

(Opening Credits and Music: Caption: Bender's Wardrobe By Emperor's Clothes Inc)

(Scene opens on the Professor's lab. The crew is gathered in anticipation as the Professor unhurriedly sorts through his tools. Looking back and forth between a screwdriver set and the What-If machine, Farnsworth carefully selects a mid-sized screwdriver. He unsheathes it, flips it over, then bashes the machine upside the monitor with the handle)

Farnsworth: There. (he turns) Good news, everyone! The What-If Machine is completely fixed, and it stopped leaking plausitrons! Who wants to give it a test inquiry?

(Everyone raises their hands/appendages, shouting in excitement)

Farnsworth: Oh, now now, there's no rush. There is plenty of time for everyone to have a turn. Though, more specifically, exactly three of you.

Hermes: I suggest we do this the fair and organized way. Alphabetically. (he smirks)

Farnsworth: Very well... Amy, you go first.

Amy (ecstatic): Really?!

Hermes: Not first names ya jerked... jerk! (he sighs)

Amy: OK. (taking her place) There's something I've been wondering for some time now. What would happen... if Kif asked me to marry him?

Fry (obnoxious): Boooooring!

(Amy gives him a swift kick in the shin, adding a Cantonese gibe)

Fry (feebly): Paaaaainful...

(Cut to the swirling eddies of color on the What-If Machine's screen. The amorphous forms slowly congeal to create a recognizable picture)

(Scene opens on Kif and Amy, dining at a fancy restaurant)

Amy (eying Kif seductively): What a wonderful night Kif... The dancing, the flowers, the unexpected truckload of stuffed animals... the dinner, you've really outdone yourself tonight.

Kif: Well, aheh, we don't get to do this too often, so I like to make it special.

Amy (sexfully): Any day is special when I'm with you...

(Kif smiles instead of choking for once, and takes his cue)

Kif (nervous, but contained): I know Amy, you always say that, and I hope you truly mean it. I feel the same way.

Amy (swooning): Oh, Kif...

Kif: Amy, there's something I have to ask you...

(Kif attempts to get down on one knee, but it folds, accordion style, upon itself)

Kif: Oh my... this isn't...

(Now nervous, he turns transparent)

Kif: Oh dear. I uh... Amy, would ...(sputter)... you...

(A waiter trips over Kif, now camouflaged with the floor, spilling the contents of a predictably large tray onto the amphibian)

Kif: Ohh... (quickly) Marry me! (He produces a now slightly sauce-coated box from his pocket, which flips open, revealing a rather stunning ring)

(Amy squeals with delight)

Amy: Of course I will!

(She flings herself off of her chair, arms outstretched, in Kif's general direction, but passes directly over his chameleonic shoulder, soaring headlong into the ground)

Restaurant Patrons (sweetly): Awww...

(Cut to a coffee shop patio. Amy is chatting happily with Leela)

Leela: And so that's it? It's final?

Amy: Uh-huh!

Leela: Pardon my bluntness, but I can't believe you said 'yes.' You're so afraid of commitment.

Amy: I know! I just said yes without even needing to think. I guess I love him that much... and besides, life won't be too different. We decided it would be best if Kif moved in with me.

Leela: You mean?

Amy: Kif is quitting the military!

Leela: ...and just how is he planning on telling Zapp this?

Amy (edgy): Well...heh-heh- that's why I invited you here...

(She points over Leela's shoulder. Leela twists her head around to discover the Nimbus in sight at a nearby port)

Leela (shouting): Oh-ho-no! No way, Le Wei! Whatever you're thinking-

Amy: Just come with me on a "double date." It'll be easier for Kif to break the news if you're there.

Leela (hostile): That's not all that'll be easy to break.

Amy (cute): Pleeeeease?

(Leela slumps in her chair and sighs)

(Cut to: The deck of the Nimbus. Amy, Leela, Zapp, and Kif are seated at a table, a drink in front of each)

Zapp: I'd like to propose a toast to the happy couple. (he raises his glass) May Leela become aware of the fact that she is part of it, and meet me in my chambers for what happy couples, and certain canines, do.

Kif: Uh, sir...

Zapp: What?

Kif: You know, there is a non-imaginary couple at the table too...

Zapp: Huh? Oh, you're still dating What's-her-chest over there?

Kif (quietly fuming): Her name is Amy!

(Leela and Amy glare at Zapp with a glower that could liquefy pants. He doesn't notice)

Zapp: Yeah, whatever. Here's to you two. (he downs his drink)

(Amy, getting impatient, kicks Kif under the table)

Kif: Oh, right. Um, Sir...

Zapp: What is it, lackey?

Kif: Well, it may interest you to know that Amy and I are getting married.

Zapp (impassive): And why would that interest me?

Kif: Well, putting all emotions you should feel aside, it means that I'll be stepping down from my duties. (gulp)  Sir, I am respectfully leaving your command on this vessel.

(Zapp takes a minute to let this soak in. He clenches his fists in rage, but any possible intimidation factor is offset by the lone tear in his eye)

Zapp: But... but... who will wash my clothes, and apply various ointments in not so various places?

Kif: Well, you could always promote a new lieutenant...

Zapp (whining): It wouldn't be the same! Who will wash my underarms with my toothbrush every night?

Kif: Sir, please...

Zapp: And who will replace that toothbrush with a fresh one each morning?

Kif: Um... I've... never done that, sir.

Zapp: ...oh. (a beat) And who will-

Leela: Will you shut up?! You can start doing things for yourself!

Zapp (back in character): Shall I start with you? (wink)

Leela: Not if you want to be breathing for yourself.

Zapp (walking away; grumpy): Fine, I'll do something for myself... I'll let the three of you off of my ship.

Kif: (following) Please sir, don't be so upset.

(The two women follow Kif as Zapp goes through a doorway)

Zapp (morose): (as he enters the bridge) Well, we should be getting back to Earth any second now... no need for you to stay any longer.

Kif: (surveying the room) Actually... we're on a crash course with that non-Earth planet clearly visible in front of us.

Zapp: Impossible! I turned on the autopilot!

Kif: It doesn't seem so, sir.

Zapp: Impossible! Well... then what did I turn on?

Kif: (sigh) The... uh, waffle iron, sir.

Zapp: (now eating a waffle) Mmmpssblll! (gulp) I turned nothing on!

Leela: As usual.

Kif: Well, then you couldn't possibly have turned on the autopilot.

Zapp: Spare me the mind games, you turncoat.

Amy (false cheer): Y'know, I bet if someone had initially tried to save the ship, we might have had a chance!

(Everyone looks out the window. Ground is approaching fast)

Leela: Oh, right.

Zapp: We're gonna crash! I'm too virile to die!!

(Amy, closest to the controls, grabs at them and slows the ship's descent)

Leela (encouraging): That's it Amy! Do that heroine thing!

Amy (turning): Hey! That's in the past...

Leela: I meant-


(Amy shrieks as the ship dives, thwarting her callow efforts to right it. Impact is imminent)

Kif: Everyone grab on to something firm! (he grasps a chair tightly)

(Zapp looks back to Leela, thinks for a second, then gracelessly lunges for her upper torso. Leela, also taking advantage of the command, seizes Zapp tightly by the throat)

Leela: Nice try.

(She smirks, quite pleased with herself. Subsequently, the ship finally hits the ground, sending the two unsecured passengers sailing into the windshield. Zapp absorbs most of Leela's impact as the windshield cracks, but contains the two. They slide down the rest of the glass, off a console, and land, entangled, on the floor)

(The ship skids to a halt. A beat. Zapp woozily raises his head and opens his eyes just long enough to wink at Leela)

Zapp: Bring back any memories, baby?

Leela (vitriolic): Maybe the hitting the windshield part...

Amy (dazed): Ugh... where are we?

Kif: I don't know, the instruments are down; and who knows how far we've wandered?

Leela: What about communication?

Kif: Down. We're stranded.

Leela: (looking at her wrist computer) Great; no ship, no clue where we are, no intelligent life, and no way of getting in touch with anyone-

Zapp: You can touch me...

Leela: And to top it all off... you.

Kif (optimistic): Don't worry; we can all build a shelter, and I'm sure we'll find some food; then we just wait a little while to be rescued...

(White text appears as the scene changes: One Year Later)

(Leela lounges on a rudimentary bed, eating some grapes or grape-like fruit. Zapp stands eagerly next to her. Amy and Kif frolic like lovers tend to in the background)

Zapp: So I was thinking-

Leela: No.

(White text: Ten Years Later)

(Same exact positions, everyone looks a bit older)

Zapp: How about-

Leela: No.

(White text: Twenty Years Later)

(Same exact positions, everyone has gone grey)

Zapp: Please?

Leela: No.

(White text: Fifty Years Later)

(Same exact positions, everyone is clearly elderly)

Zapp: I think it's been long enough that-

Leela: No.

(White text: Fifty Years Later)

(Amy and Kif are no longer in the background; Zapp looks in worse shape than Farnsworth)

Zapp: Now?

(There is no response)

Zapp (playful): Last chance to say 'no'...

(Leela, eye open, limbs sprawled, doesn't say or move a thing)

Zapp: Yes!

(As he gradually pounces on her; the camera shot cranes dramatically, all the way from the bed to a view of the entire alien planet)

Announcer: Captivating stuff! You've probably missed an important appointment or phone call while engrossed in these TALES OF INTEREST!


(Cut back to the Planet Express Building. Camera focuses primarily on Amy and Leela, the closest two to the screen. Amy's face is filled with ardor, while Leela's looks not only like she has seen a ghost, but like said ghost just called her fat)

Amy (blissful) : Aww... he really will love me forever! Isn't that great Leela?

(Amy turns to Leela, who is completely unresponsive. A beat. Leela snaps out of her trance just in time to find herself clamping her hands over her mouth. She sprints out of the room, nearly gagging)

Amy (equally blissful): So, who's next?!

Farnsworth: Well, if we follow the current trend, alphabetically from A to Zoidberg...

Zoidberg: Aww...

Farnsworth: It appears to be Fry's turn.

Hermes: What?! Dat doesn't even-

Farnsworth (ornery): Don't argue with me, Hermes Conrad, I'm old!

(A pause)

Bender (surprised): He's right!

Farnsworth: Go ahead, Fry.

Fry: Great, because I have a good one. (he addresses everyone) You guys are all I have here; we're like a family, and I love each of you just as much as the next. So, my question is this: (He walks up to the What-If Machine, and clears his throat) what if I never met my two most important friends Leela and Bender in the future?!

(The Professor inserts the screwdriver into a screw on the side of the machine, turns it once, then pushes 'forcibly' down on it, whereon it reacts as a slot machine lever would. A spinning blur of colors speeds up and the whir of reels is heard. As the picture focuses slowly, we are able to discern Fry. He is in the Cryogenics Lab. Terry and Lou lead him to an office at the end of a hallway)

Lou: Have a nice future.

(The door slides open)

Fry: Cool! Just like in Star Trek! (He giddily walks through)

(Fry enters the office, and spies someone bent over, possibly tying their shoe, behind the desk; only a shapely rear-end is visible)

Fry: (same pleased grunt as in SP3K)

(The person stands up and faces Fry)

Ipgee: Good afternoon.

Fry: (same shocked retch of disgust as in SP3K)

Ipgee: Name?

Fry: Uh, Fry.

Ipgee: I am Ipgee. OK then, enough mindless banter. You need a fate faster than Leela needs a date.

Fry: Huh?

Ipgee: I assure you, Mr. Fry, My childish joke to myself is of no importance to you.

Fry: OK...uh... (He sheepishly looks away, and catches the sight of something outside the window)

Fry: Wait a minute! Is that blimp accurate?

Ipgee: Most blimps are these days. The date is December 31st 2999.

Fry (shocked): My God, a thousand years!

Ipgee: Yes, that is what you probably set the dial for when you froze yourself. You are ...regretting it now?

Fry: Well, that's not really what happened... but actually I'm glad it did. I had nothing to live for in my old life. I was-

Ipgee: Yes yes, let's get probing already. (He grabs Fry by the collar and starts to drag him away)

(Cut to the assignment room. Ipgee carefully types something on a computer)

Ipgee: Well, that was surely most unpleasant for both of us. I apologize, but I rarely touch those controls; it's not my job.

Fry: (rubbing his bum) Uh... that's OK I guess. I'm just glad I finally have a fresh start in life. There's nothing stopping me now!

(A buzzer sounds)

Fry: What was that?

Ipgee: Your permanent career assignment seems to be ready.

(He turns the screen, "Career: Delivery Boy" is written on it)

Fry: Delivery boy? No! Not again! Please! Anything else!

Ipgee: You've been assigned the job you're best at, just like everyone else. Everyone does the one job they are destined to do.

Fry: Then why did you say the controls weren't your job?

Ipgee: Yes, I suppose this is not really the best example of how society works. I sent the woman who usually works here to pick up dinner for our department. It's faster than ordering delivery food. (A beat. He looks Fry up and down.) Hopefully you can work on that. However, I forgot someone might thaw out, and am therefore rightly covering for her until she returns.

Fry: Is picking up food part of her destiny job?

Ipgee: No, it... (he boils-over) Stop asking sensible questions and let me stab you with this career designation gun!

(He picks up the career chip gun, and lunges at Fry, who dodges)

Fry: Keep that thing away from me!

(He gets up and runs out of the room)

(Cut to: Fry, bursting out of the building's front door. He sprints down the street, head on a pivot, trying to comprehend the sights around him. Realizing he has a bit of a lead, he ducks behind a corner, where he spies a transport tube)

Man at Tube: Plasma Hotel. (He is sucked up as Fry reaches the tube)

Fry: Cool! Uh... Cross-town express?

(Ipgee, finally catching up, blindsides Fry from off camera, but is unable to deploy his device as both men are sucked up into the vacuum cylinder. What follows is a high speed close-quarters ballet of shuffling and wrestling, as the two dart past a few of the sights Fry passed in SP3K. Fry screams throughout, but there's a twinge of elation in his horror)

(Cut to the end of the line. Ipgee and Fry are shot out of the tube and into a nearby brick wall. Fry rubs his head as he staggers to his feet, and then gains a stride again. Ipgee lags behind, for the impact has caused him to drop the implant gun. He picks it up and runs his hand over the dented exterior, then continues in pursuit)

(Cut to Fry, sprinting for his life. He checks to look behind him, and runs smack into a taxi which has inconveniently run up onto the sidewalk. Rebounding off of it, he pauses to gape into the back window, then turns, bolting into the front door of a building to his right. Igpee follows, gaining ground as Fry hits the main staircase running)

(Cut to several flights up: Fry spots his chance in a strategically placed wheeled cart loaded with office supplies. He swiftly knocks it down the stairs at the charging Igpee, who in a sudden display of coordination, dodges it. Fry goes through the nearest door but finds it to be a dead end. Giving up, he cowers in fear as Ipgee seizes his hand, and pulls the trigger)

*Beep Beep Beep*

Fry: (still cringed) Is it over?

Ipgee (frightened): Ohhh no.

Fry: What is it?

(The beeping intensifies, and the device begins to rattle in Igpee's hand)

Ipgee: I have read about this before, this thing is broken in the worst way possible.

(The beeping becomes a steady, loud buzz; Ipgee is clearly losing his grip, and is fighting the gun like an out of control fire-hose)

Fry: (staring at the broken gun) What does that mean?

Igpee: (oddly calm): It means pick a God and start praying! (He closes his eyes)

(The camera turns away from the two men as the high pitched buzz crescendos. The machine subsequently can be heard discharging in a series or frantic and sickening "Thunks")

Fry/Ipgee (as screen fades): Ow! Oooch! Eep! Hey! Ow! Not the- AHHH! I was planning on using that! Stop! Ack! Ow, my aorta! No! Right through the- ARRRRGGH!

(The camera fades fully to a blur, and re-sharpens on a close up of Leela, trademark scowl on her face)

Leela: I mean it's just the principle of the thing. We have people who are designated to bring food to people with more important jobs. Why do I have to be belittled by trekking back and forth across town?

(Camera pans out; Leela is in the backseat of a cab, complaining to the driver as it speeds along ground level traffic)

Sal: What's belittlin' abouts it? What's belittlin' is the systems wes got. I drives a cab, but I also dos other things my career chip don't specifies.

Leela: I could report you for that.

Sal (unimpressed): But you won'ts.

Leela: (sigh) Yeah...

(She dispiritedly looks out the window, and to her surprise, sees a familiar man chasing another, not-so-familiar man up ahead)

Leela (alert): A runner?! Cabbie, cut off that red-head!

Sal: Anythings for yous, doll face.

(He turns sharply and audaciously, skipping the taxi up onto the sidewalk. The seemingly oblivious red-head runs straight into the cab's back door. He pauses a moment to rudely gawk at Leela's eye before changing direction and running into a nearby building)

Leela: That's it, now it's personal!

(Leela tries the door, but finds it locked. Meanwhile, Ipgee dashes by just outside)

Sal: Pays up.

(Cut to outside of the cab. Leela exits the car, ditches the two bags of food on the street, and rushes into the now closing front door)

(Cut to Leela, loping up the stairs. She is on her wrist communicator)

Leela: Officer 1BDI, requesting backup!

Smitty: We'll be there in 5 or more minutes!

Leela (to herself): Idiots. This is just what I need on New Years Eve. All I wanted was an uneventful day with -oof!

(Leela is struck by a wheeled cart loaded with office supplies. She is carried several steps down, where the entire ensemble crashes through a glass window. A nauseating crunch is heard below)

(The camera again fades to a blur, and re-sharpens on a shot of Bender, impatiently waiting in a line of people)

Bender: C'mon people! Even in death you're irritating me! (he taps his foot cup)

(The suicide booth zaps someone. Bender steps up to the door)

Bender (lingering): Well, I guess no one's here to stop me... so...

(He enters the booth. There is a pause)

Bender (loud, yet muffled): Slow and horrible, baby! Bring it on! Wooooh!

(Buzzing, clanking, and sawing are heard resounding from the booth. Then silence. The door opens, and a slightly dilapidated Bender emerges)

Bender (weakly): Lousy piece of junk... humans must be really easy to kill.

(A beat. He stands up straight)

Bender (profound): Easy to kill?!  Here's I've been doing the selfish thing and killing myself when it would be even more selfish to kill everyone responsible but myself! (He rolls up his arm-casing)  Fear me humans, compared to you I'm indestruc-

(Bender is crushed by a falling woman and a wheeled cart loaded with office supplies. Another pause. The pile spontaneously combusts)

Announcer: Needlessly violent! Where else will you see your favorite characters die than in this, and possibly other TALES OF INTEREST?!


(Cut back to the Planet Express Building. Camera is on Amy)

Amy: Cool!

(She looks to her left; Leela is arriving, and appears even more pallid and traumatized than before)

Amy: Oh, you're back? Did you get to see the end of Fry's answer?

(Leela slumps unsteadily into a chair)

Zoidberg: Who's next?

Farnsworth:  It's someone who's been waiting a looong time to ask a question, but has never gotten the chance. ...myself. Now... what to ask...

Hermes: For cryin' out loud, mon! All I wanna know is what would happen if I got a new stapler! Is that too much to-

(His head is forcibly met by airborne stapler. He falls like a bowling pin)

Bender (nonchalant): There, now you know. Now if you'll excuse me, I believe you've skipped the very most important letter of the alphabet. B. B for Bender.

Farnsworth: Well, I-

(Bender grabs the screwdriver from his hand and pushes the old man out of the way)

Bender (assertive): Outta the way, I know how to use this thing. (a beat) Now then, I've lead an eminent life so far, thanks to my dashing looks and equally dashing personality. But, what would have happened if no one ever installed my in-your-face interface?

(A pause. Nothing happens)

Bender (blithe): Oh, right... ee-yup!

(Bender casually pierces the screen of the What-If Machine with the screwdriver, causing a miniature explosion, and an unusual power surge which electrocutes him. His eyes snap shut and he hits the ground)

(Cut to: Bender's Vision: Green text on a black background: )

SCANNING. . . . .

(Shot returns to third person: Bender opens his eyes; they are lacking their usual angry semblance, and instead look quite melancholy)

(Bender is in a spaceship that is most definitely not the PE ship. He enters the bridge to discover a rather motley crew. Fry and Hermes chat idly over an odd controlling apparatus. Meanwhile, Leela is being hit on by a noticeably two headed Zapp Brannigan. Bender tiredly meanders to Zapp's side)

Bender: You called?

Zapp: Uh, yeah. Listen here now ol' pal... the toilet in the bathroom is acting really funny... and we were wondering-

Bender: If I could fix it? Why of course. I can use myself for spare parts if I need them, and-

Zapp: No, you don't understand. It's a comic, and it won't shut up while- will you just talk to it for a bit?

Bender: Oh... I'm a robotic tranquilizer then? I could just stick my head in its mouth and wait until you give me the all-clear.

(Throughout all of this, one of Zapp's heads has shifted its gaze south of Leela's neck)

Leela: (Lifting the stray face) Ahem. My eye is up here.

Zapp (straightforward): Yes, and your breasts are down there.  I'm glad we've cleared this up.

Leela (frustrated): (She pushes his face away and turns around, crossing her arms) Ugh... I hate it when you undress me with your eyes...

Zapp: Would you prefer my teeth? Because I've been practicing.

Hermes: Bender, could you come over here?

Bender (languid): I'll check.

(He hobbles piteously to Fry and Hermes)

Bender: I made it. Any other inane task you need me for?

Hermes: Yes, could you explain to us again how this thing works?

Bender: Well, this is the infinite probably drive.

Fry: We know that, and?

Bender: Oh, you're quick ones. It's all quite simple. Just steer in the direction you want to go, and the ship will probably drive that way. A marvel, really. It's so great that you're taking the time to understand this machine, yet write me off as the misunderstood one. If you need me I'll be in my room, decapitating myself so I have someone to talk to...

(Fry pulls Bender aside before he can leave, as Hermes studies the controls)

Fry (grasshopper/octopus story telling voice): Bender Bender Bender... you've got to learn to have some fun. Get a hobby, do something crazy! My brother Yancy and I had fun for hours when we were kids... some afternoons we would take a brown paper bag, and we'd fill it with dog-doo. Then, we'd creep up to someone's porch, ring the doorbell, and light the bag on fire. And when the person came, we'd hit them in the face with it. Ah, those were the days. Do you get my point?

Bender: Oh, yes, I'm simply riveted... of course, that may be because I was riveted together. Not well, mind you... just enough to keep me from falling apart-

Zapp (shrill): Everyone! Battle-stations!

(Zapp and Leela run to a computer mainframe. Hermes is eventually joined by Bender at the controls. Fry calmly curls himself into the fetal position in a corner)

Hermes: What is it?

Zapp: Something's coming right at us!

(Zapp points out a large window to two growing specs in the distance. He activates a control panel, and a familiar voice is heard)

Computer: Huh- whaa? What... what is it?

Leela: Do something for once and tell us what's heading straight for us!

Computer (crotchety): Alright, alright, don't get your necks in a knot. (computation noises) There are exactly 2.3 missiles headed towards this craft, give or take one.

Leela: What do we do?

Computer: Damned if I know, but it had better be something and fast, or we'll all be blown to douglas atoms!

Zapp: Buick, evasive maneuvers!

Buick (Hermes): Believe me, I'm tryin', but it's not workin'! (He tugs ineffectually at the controls)

Leela: Computer, what's going on?

Computer: How should I know? Doing that should probably work. (cheerful) Collision in 10 seconds; time to kiss yourselves good-bye!

Zapp: Can do! (one head moves seductively in on the other)

(The camera mercifully pans past a revolted Leela to Bender, who is exceptionally stoic. He checks his digital watch and waits patiently)

(The sound of metal twisting violently is heard as the missiles strike the ship. However, there are no explosions. A perplexed crew dashes towards the source of the noise. Bender follows grudgingly)

(Cut to: Some random room on the ship. The crew rushes in to discover both missiles have wedged themselves through the hull of the craft, yet have come to a stop, creating an airtight seal. Leela carefully approaches the two visible front ends)

(Before she can get there, however, the tip of the left missile decompresses, an eerie hiss startling those around it. The entire tip of the projectile lifts off on a hinge, exposing a dark hollow)

(The crew peers in, and out of the shadows crawl three mice. They hop unassumingly to the floor, then proceed to gaze back at the crew. Zapp sprays them with an aerosol can. They die)

Zapp: Got 'em!

Leela (shocked): Zapphod!

(She grabs the can while shoving him away, then bends down to inspect the mice. Abruptly, a hand thrusts out of the hollow tube and grabs Leela by the forearm. Squirming its elbow out, then using the leverage, the being pulls itself out of the cylinder and flops awkwardly onto the floor. It gets up quickly, trying to keep some dignity. We see that it is clearly a member of Morbo's species, but it is smaller and slimmer)

Alien: Greetings. I am Zorbo. I hope my arrival was not too startling.

Fry (baffled): What? (He begins adjusting a fish in his ear)

Buick: Maybe you could hear what he said if you stopped putting sardines in your ears!

(He grabs the fish and discards it on the ground. Zorbo's attention is drawn to Bender)

Zorbo: Wow, nice robot! Does he do any tricks?

Bender (caustic): Yes, I lose my faith in humanity. Watch. (a beat) Ta da.

Zorbo (turning to Leela without hesitation): There is much to discuss. You are?

Leela: I'm Leela, but everyone calls me Billion. And this is Philip, Buick, Zapphod, and Bender. (All wave except Bender)

Zorbo (recognizing a name): So you're Zapphod? We must speak on matters of severe importance.

Zapp (perhaps distracted by Billion): I have pills for that now.

Zorbo (undaunted): Come, there is little time to spare! (He leads them back towards the bridge)

(The camera does not follow, but pans to the second missile, which heretofore has been ignored. Someone pounds on it from the inside)

Morbo-esque Voice: Hello?! This hinge is stuck... and some mice hitched a ride in the tube! I demand you help!

(Cut to: A heart shaped space vehicle landing on an arid landscape. Craters are more abundant than buildings, and lava flows in narrow streams as tremors shake the terrain. The crew and Zorbo exit the ship)

Zorbo: Thank you for changing your course on such short notice. Welcome to Volcanon. I don't think I need to tell you what this city was built on.

Philip: ...is it rock and roll?

Zorbo: A volcano.

Philip (disappointed): Oh.

Buick: I still don't get it. Why us?

Zorbo: It has been foretold that one named Zapphod holds the key to saving this city from a cataclysmic eruption, and must be present at the Volco-shrine to do so.

Billion: Why didn't you just not build the city on a volcano?

Zorbo: Well, in fact, there are infinite dimensions in which we chose not to build here; however, by nature that means that there are infinite universes where we did. So you could say we were just unlucky.

Philip (OS): What?

Zorbo: Just take my word for it...

(Cut to Philip, attempting to stick a large mouth bass in his ear)

Philip: What?

Bender: What a useless endeavor, it's clearly going to explode any minute. But, really, what endeavor isn't useless... and-

Zapphod (irritated): Fine then, you wait here, and use your seismometer. Warn us if it's about to blow. I've got important hero things to do apparently!

Bender: "Wait here?" That might be an even harder task than "Come over here." You really do keep my life enriched, don't you?

(By now, everyone has left, headed into a crater. Bender sighs dejectedly)

(Cut to the group, sans Bender, arriving at an ancient looking obelisk. Zorbo stops them, and points to an incongruous glowing icon.)

Zorbo: There. It is foretold that Zapphod has the key that will activate the icon of Volco and thus subdue the volcano.

Zapphod: Uh... so what do I do?

Zorbo (cryptic): You have the key.

(Zapphod fiddles in his pockets, and produces the ship's ignition key)

Zorbo: No.

(He pulls out a credit card and presses it against the icon)

Zorbo (impatient): No.

(Zapphod starts to undo his belt buckle)

Zorbo (horrified): It's not a real key! Your mind, the key is in your mind!

Buick: Which head do I go for? (He produces a hammer)

Zorbo: Metaphorically! It's in his thoughts, he knows it!

(Cut to Bender, pacing. He stops and checks inside his chest compartment. A needle is moving spastically against a piece of paper)

Bender: Hmm. I probably should warn them. (He calls quietly and unenthusiastically) Hey. Guys. You're all doomed if you stay there.

(Cut back to the shrine. Zapphod is on one foot, his other pressed up against the icon, and is waving his hands like a hypnotist. Zorbo has also moved his hands, to his head in frustration)

Zapphod (ghostlike): Oooooh! Ahhhhhh! Opeeeeeen!

Zorbo: They prophesied a man with a key in his mind, but never accounted for him not being able to think!

Billion: This is hopeless.

Philip: Yeah, let's get out of here before-

(A quake rattles the land under their feet. The floor starts to give way. Everyone falls to the quivering ground)

Buick (shouting): Bender! Get help!

Philip (yelling): Save us, Bender!

Zapphod: (A toupee off of one head, pressed against the icon) Activate! Ac- Ti- Vate!

(Cut to Bender. He watches the chaos below. As magma starts to seep up through the cracks that are stranding the crew, the semblance in his eyes visibly changes. He looks resolved)

(Bender takes a determined step forward, and then knocks the seismograph out of his chest, reaching behind it to grab a camera. He snaps a picture)

Bender: Neat! *Click*

(Screaming and agony are heard below, but the shot stays on Bender, taking pictures furiously and clearly enjoying it)

Bender (giddy): Photography! That's it! I've never been so happy! *Click Click Click*

(Suddenly, the entire scene flickers and distorts)

Bender: Crap! Reality! Go away! Shoo! (he waves his arms at nothing in particular)

(Fade to black)


(Bender sits up with a jolt, scattering those huddled around him)

Bender (livid): Alright! Which one of you chumps coldcocked me while I was asking a question?!

(He points directly at Zoidberg, who scuttles away in a panic)

Leela (clearly a bit recovered from previous incidents): Bender, you did it to yourself!

Bender: I know you are but what am I?! BA-ZING!

Farnsworth: You've completely ruined the What-If machine! It's leaking priceless plausitrons again... and so I had to put newspaper down to soak them up! (He grumbles incoherently while leaving the room)

(Amy picks up said newspaper; it is completely dry)

Amy (fretful): Uh... guys? This is tomorrow's newspaper!

Leela: Hmm... must be some sort of side effect.

(Bender snatches it)

Bender: Finally, I can bet with confidence without the need to rig the results!

(Camera slowly pans out of the room, outside, to a shot of the entire PE building as the following dialogue ensues)

Leela: Or, we could use the paper for the good of mankind...

Fry: Boring! Give me the comics... and the horoscopes!

Amy: I'll take tomorrow's fashion!

Hermes: Business!

Leela: (long sigh) Local news...

Bender: (flipping pages excitedly): Hey Fry, you'll never guess who died!

Fry: Is it not me?

Bender: Close!



I switched from bolding the name and manner of speaking to just the name in this one... I think I like that better...

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #44 on: 09-12-2008 05:05 »

You never cease to amaze me JBERGES. As always you nailed eveyone's personality perfectly.

Space Pope
« Reply #45 on: 09-13-2008 19:18 »
« Last Edit on: 09-13-2008 19:49 »

If anyone here plays The Sims 2, the (probably) last stuff pack in the series is coming out later this fall, and will feature quite a bit of my writing in the object descriptions.  Yes, that's right, I was paid to write puns for a week or so. big grin

I don't, but awesome anyway. That's what you do? Hey, I guess you put paid to the notion that writing puns can't pay. red face
Oh man...

So, the last of the scripts. The unifying theme of these three seems to be that everybody dies. Nice. My favorite part of the first one:

Kif: Amy, there's something I have to ask you...

(Kif attempts to get down on one knee, but it folds, accordion style, upon itself)

Kif: Oh my... this isn't...

(Now nervous, he turns transparent)

Kif: Oh dear. I uh... Amy, would ...(sputter)... you...

(A waiter trips over Kif, now camouflaged with the floor, spilling the contents of a predictably large tray onto the amphibian)

Kif: Ohh... (quickly) Marry me! (He produces a now slightly sauce-coated box from his pocket, which flips open, revealing a rather stunning ring)

(Amy squeals with delight)

Amy: Of course I will!

(She flings herself off of her chair, arms outstretched, in Kif's general direction, but passes directly over his chameleonic shoulder, soaring headlong into the ground)

All of that is just flawless. So very Kif. I can absolutely visualize that whole scene.

As for the second one, Fry's scenario, I especially like the lines "this thing is broken in the worst way possible" and "It means pick a God and start praying!"  Good job with Sal and Ipgee. It's notable how you manage to capture even the more minor characters too, in addition to the leads.
(As I mentioned a while ago with your portrayal of Ignar in "Bearer of Bad News", come to think of it).
Also love how the pile spontaneously combusts at the end. laff

Finally, Bender's scenario: this one is my favorite of the three. Everybody is spot on. ('Buick', haaa!) Bender as Marvin is eerie, but perfect. Eerily perfect, I guess. Well, while it's unusual for him to be so dolorous, they do share the general distaste for humanity, yeah. Noted the "back-up plot #42" - nice touch. Enjoyed the "Why didn't you just not build the city on a volcano?" query too.

Entertaining, well-structured and well-executed, as usual.  I think I wish the last segment would've gone on a little longer.

I'm sad now that there's only one more to go. frown


Urban Legend
« Reply #46 on: 09-16-2008 00:09 »

Frisco: Actually, as km pointed out, I WILL cease to amaze you quite soon.  Thanks for reading again!

km: *groan at pun* I'm not a professional pun writer if that's what you mean big grin.  But yah, I work for the Sims.  Usually a designer, but they needed some puns written, and well... I know when my number's been called.
Also, the 'one more to go' is really long and filled with descriptions... and some words and other stuff, so it's really like 2 more or something.

Thanks for the kind words.

Urban Legend
« Reply #47 on: 12-12-2008 01:15 »
« Last Edit on: 12-12-2008 01:26 »


OK, closing things out, here's the first half my final story; made many small changes, added a couple lines, but nothing was too major.  Second half will be posted quite soon:


Chapter 1:

Another day, another face full of ink. Fry sighed unconcernedly as he used his shirt to wipe a crustaceous defense mechanism out of his eyes. Things like this didn’t faze him anymore. Life was good, or at least always somewhat better than it had been; he had a fun job, a place to live, some friends, and three rhomboid meals a day. It was practically all he needed. Fry stepped forward as Zoidberg scuttled back towards the door from whence he came, but Bender seized him by the claw faster than a portly man at a buffet.

“I give you a shopping list with TWO items on it and you still manage to screw it up?!” Bender inveighed, tearing open the bag in disgust. “What the hell is this stuff anyway?” he yelled, producing several long red strands.


“I needed liquor and ice, you idiot!” yelled the robot, making impromptu use of the candy by flogging Zoidberg with the makeshift whips. They lived up to their name, cracking loudly as they struck the doctor’s carapace. Carrying out stage two of his patented “ink and run” defense, Zoidberg broke free and dashed from the room, Bender in hot pursuit.

Leela glanced quizzically at Fry, knowing full well the events could have been averted.

“Fry, you know Bender’s weekly shopping list, why didn’t you say something?”

“I wasn’t even with him! We just met at the door!”

“Oh really?” Leela said, taking the opportunity to make Fry squirm a bit. “Then why weren’t you at work?”

Fry had an answer. “Uh... I... was at the museum, looking at art!”

And in fact, this statement was not a lie, though Philip failed to mention that Art is the homeless man that lives on the museum’s front entrance steps. Sometimes he’ll play the spoons for a quarter, which in some circles could be considered art. Earth is not enclosed by any such circle.

Leela merely rolled her eye at Fry, which by this point in her life had become about as instinctive as breathing regularly. In fact, the only thing Leela truly missed about having two eyes was being able to roll both of them at once. Something was simply more gratifying about it. Her pupil had plenty of time to return to its standard location to catch the last two thirds of Farnsworth’s protracted entrance into the room.

“Good news and bad news, everyone!” he shouted giddily.

Leela sneered, “Isn’t the good news usually bad news anyway?”

“Not this time it isn’t!” assured the scientist, “This time, the bad news is most assuredly the bad news.”

“Well that’s a relief!” exhaled Fry. Leela was not as persuaded.

“Fine, I’ll bite,” she groused, before assuming a faux-naïve tone. “What’s the good news, Professor?”

“The good news is that the bad news isn’t so bad!”

Leela let out a sigh that could extinguish a birthday cake, and once again found her pupil pointing upwards. She knew that ceiling well. Very well. Fry took it upon himself to ask the obvious question; he was good at that.

“...and the bad news is?”

"Due to scheduling and proximity, you’ll have to make your next three deliveries in a row, on one trip,” Farnsworth stated. “It could take a while. You’ll be leaving as soon as possible.”

Leela was worried by this vague phraseology. “How long is a while? A while as in, ‘a couple of days,’ or a while as in, ‘don’t count on you being alive when we get back?’”

“Both, I’d imagine,” answered Hubert, undaunted. “Anyway, let’s see... this is a long trip, so you two will need to bring the staff doctor, and the staff cook... and the staff engineer along.”

Fry and Leela exchanged nervous looks. One of the few things they consistently agreed on was that, generally, the more people that went on a mission, the worse things tended to go. Bender was indeed a welcome addition most of the time, especially when some strength and non-metaphorical elbow grease were needed. However, most of those missions didn’t require a dreadful in-flight meal. The last time Bender had tried cooking onboard, he had completely burnt the kitchen down. Not accidentally, of course, he had simply gotten bored while waiting for the pork to ferment. Fry got along with Amy well enough, but sparks were liable to fly between Leela and the intern; especially if Amy ever tried to fix that broken electrical coupler again.

Everyone hated Zoidberg.

“Hermes and I will stay here,” Farnsworth added, “I’m forcing him to do some repairs on the building while you’re gone.”

“Can you tell him to paint the ceiling while he’s at it?” asked Leela. “Something interesting.”



“So then, what are we delivering?” Fry curiously inquired.

“Oh, you know, this and that...”

“Your clipboard and that pen?”

“No!” came Farnsworth’s necessarily angry reply. “You can peek in the crates when you’re onboard; your things are waiting for you no need to pack get moving!” all escaped in one accelerated breath. Gasping for lost oxygen, he pointed the way out of the room, as if it was previously uncharted. Fry and Leela reluctantly adopted his hastened pace, and headed out.


The Planet Express Ship: a ship Professor Farnsworth once declared “too good for a proper name.” He also said the same of “That thing! Yes, you know the one I’m talking about! That invention that’s too good for a proper name! ...No, not the ship, damnit!”  Leela liked the fact that the ship didn’t have a name. There was something more dignified about flying a ship of sheer business compared to a “Zip,” a “Lucy in the Sky” or a “Nimbus.”

Amy, Zoidberg, Fry, and Bender were aboard now, and Leela had even managed to smuggle Nibbler along for the ride. The Professor had stayed true to his word; the ship was already filled with everything they needed for the trip. Farnsworth had even provided new clothes, which he produced using the Clothing Xerox he’d invented. “Hmph...” Amy had scoffed, “looks like another week of wearing the same outfit.”

Leela leaned against the steering console. She needed a week off, not an indefinite amount of time with coworkers. Halfheartedly, she went through parts of the mandatory preflight check with Fry.

"Crew and cargo?”


“Fuel reserves?”



“Czech!” beamed Fry, popping the top off of a ‘Fortranvar’ brand beer.

“Good enough for me,” confessed the captain. “Let’s get going. I need to steer us out of the mega-sector before autopilot can take over, and I’d like that to happen sometime before what would be morning. Start the countdown at zero, would you?”



Leela activated the required controls, and the ship darted gracefully into the sky. A perfect takeoff, sans a nasty crashing sound from just outside the cockpit.

“Hey! How about a little warning next time!” shouted an irritated Martian.


Several hours of lackluster flight soon took their toll on the captain. In truth, the thoughts that tend to run through a tired captain’s mind are almost always lonely and depressing. Even an emotionally stable captain will attest to it. Something about endless blackness; blurred voids of what never was and never will be. You can easily maneuver ships through that stuff, but rarely a life. The mere recapitulation of this truth once made Leela pity a man so much as to completely submit herself to him despite his repulsiveness, an act she would regret forever. Presently, thoughts of this manipulation haunted her as she steered a steady course. It was like some sort of malicious cycle, and she could only hope to God that that she’d never bumble through the wrong side of that metaphoric wheel again.

Meanwhile, Fry was gleefully juggling apples. That is, if by ‘juggling,’ one meant tossing four of something into the air, flailing your arms about for a short length of time, and then picking up the same four of something off the ground. The two workers were in the same room, and the dichotomy of moods was enough to trigger a tornado somewhere between them. Fry had given up small talk at these times long ago. Leela, however, had not.

“Do you really have to do that in here?” she yelled.

“Do you really have to do that in here?”

Leela looked down at her controls, then back to Fry. “YES!

“Oh, right.” Fry conceded, deciding to leave Leela be. “I guess I’ll give these apples back to Bender in the kitchen. He pegs the mice for the soufflé with them.”

Leela gave a near inaudible murmur of recognition, then continued steering. Fry never even heard it.


Elsewhere, Bender Bending Rodriguez darted through the ship’s hallways like a kid in a candy store being chased by a bull in a china shop. He was excited, but staid; the packages in the storage hold had not yet been pilfered. The thrill of the impending filch-fest slightly overshadowed his resentment at being behind schedule. After all, multiple deliveries mean more of a selection. Serpentining for the pure showmanship of it, Bender spied the unguarded door. He was currently outsmarting an opponent that didn’t actually exist, but if he just walked in there like it was nothing, where would the fun be? In a way, he almost longed for the days when Leela cared about the mission. In many more ways, he didn’t.

Bender lowered his eye shutter to imitate a concentration induced squint, but in truth he was having little difficulty calculating the optimal speed to reach the automatic door at. Indeed, a disjoint process in his queue, dedicated to performing at least 7 self-exaltations per nanosecond, barely lagged at all. Crossing the threshold merely 5 ‘attabot’s after the path was clear, Bender ran headlong into what he could only guess was some sort of red exoskeleton.

“Hey! Watch it, crabby!”

Zoidberg tried to appear dignified, “Hmmph. Jabs at my disposition won’t faze me.”

“Well, how about this then? I still hate you for before!”


Bender followed with his version of compassion. “But if it makes you feel better, it’s not like I liked ya to begin with.”

“A bit, yes,” Zoidberg mused, then suddenly felt culpable. “Uh... I was just here checking to make sure this cargo wasn’t... uh... askew,” he said, making sure to flagrantly shift one box slightly to the left, completing the elaborate ruse.

“I don’t care what you’re doing... just as long as it affects me in no way whatsoever, no matter how indirectly.” Bender decreed, and proceeded to rip the top off of the largest crate. Zoidberg peered in as well, hoping his wishes would be fulfilled, and that the contents would be edible... or semi-edible... or at least not fatal when consumed.

“Empty...” bewailed Bender. The word echoed desolately off the walls of the vacant container, which soon found its contents to be exactly one tear.

Prying open the remaining crates like a child before Santa could arrive, Bender slowly realized the horrible truth; the Professor hadn’t put anything in the crates. Actually, what he vocalized was “There’s nothin’ for me to steal!!” but the basic concept remained the same.

“Well, there’s no need for the others to know...” he decided, and began securing the tops back on the boxes.

“You’re not making any sense again.”

“Look, if we go back now, it’s a wasted trip, and my time is more valuable than your life. But if we get to where we’re going before Leela finds out, at least maybe some good interplanetary thievery will come out of it. Now, if Leela hears anything about this from you...”

“My mandibles are tied!”

“Uh... good.”

An abrupt jolt of the ship rattled a second latent tear out of Zoidberg’s eye, as he and Bender quickly found themselves sliding across the floor like reluctant players in an electric football game. Off balance, Fry half ran and half fell through the doorway, shouting fearfully.

“Earthquake! Earthquake!! Uh... I mean... not-on-earthquake?” he pondered as he skated past the jumbled array of crates.


Meanwhile, Amy gracefully made her way to the cockpit, the movement of the floor perfectly complementing her somewhat ungainly gait. Leela turned her head slightly to note her arrival, and then went back to hitting random buttons and jerking the controls in directions. The intern tried to remain calm as she addressed the already frazzled captain.

“This is bad! Very very bad!”

“What’s causing all this shuddering, Amy!”

“It’s the quantum drive! Y’know, the thing that regulates the engines?”

“Yes, I know! But I thought you fixed that problem!”

“Uh... no, I thought you got the Professor to after my last report.”

“What? On your last status report you said the quantum drives would hardly shake!”

“...Hardly’s the opposite of softly, right?”

Amy let out a modest fake laugh, as Leela wished she could bury her face in her presently occupied hands, or preferably her hands in Amy’s presently occupied face.

“So, no one fixed the quantum drives...” Leela reiterated as coolly as possible, getting used to the vibrations. “The ship will break up if we don’t land pretty soon. We’ll have to find a mechanic.”

“A quantum mechanic,” Amy emphasized. “And I hate quantum mechanics!”

“Don’t we all...” sighed Leela.


Chapter 2:

Space travel, in essence, is no laughing matter, unless you happen to be traveling through the essence of an N­2O nebula. The transition from normal, primitive, town-to-town travel on a single planet to sprawling traversals of entire galaxies was fraught with difficulties in every aspect imaginable. Take, for instance, an ordinary traffic light. Red, green. Stop, go. It’s a concept so simple that many planets besides Earth had developed a similar schema before contact was even made.

Now, try driving a spaceship towards the stoplight at one third the speed of light... most cruise controls have that option... and that red light’s going to look green. This fact does not bode well for inexperienced drivers. The easiest solution? A second, more intense “light” blasts infrared at oncoming traffic, who, thanks to our shifty friend Mr. Doppler, see a crisp red signal approaching.


Leela slowed the ship to a stop at the intersection of √80 and i(81). She tried to remind herself of how beautiful the deceleratory shift was, the new colors washing away the old like a reflection of a rainbow ebbing with the tide. This was a trifle difficult, however, as her crew was still as obnoxious as ever, her hands were effectively soldered to the steering wheel, and the twenty minutes of incessant rattling had successfully knocked her brain off-stride, her legs off-senses, and her bra strap off-shoulder, much to Fry’s non-chagrin.

Finally able to let go of the controls, Leela took a moment to gather herself, both mentally and physically. Once the vessel was idling, the general clatter onboard became less chaotic, and more like the ship was a giant cell phone set to vibrate alert.

“Look!” shouted Bender, bounding into the room, “I can make a martini without even moving!” He demonstrated by clamping his mixer together and waiting for a few seconds, just in case Leela or Amy doubted him.

“That’s great...” muttered Leela. “Where did Fry end up? We’re going to be landing soon and I don’t want him playing around the landing gear when it’s deployed again...”

“He’s in my room,” Bender assured, neglecting the fact that he and Fry actually shared the cabin. “Since you kicked him out of the bridge for good, he’s been trying to draw a picture on his Etch-a-Sketch. ...It hasn’t gone well.” Bender snickered at his friend’s expense, then froze in a sudden panic.

“Uh oh, that’s resonant!” he bemoaned, before falling to pieces.

Luckily, the light chose an apt time to turn green. Leela, who hadn’t even noticed a change in frequency, punched the gas, just as the structural integrity of the ship could be heard weakening as the hull oscillated. This assuaged the sounds of warping metal, but brought about a third, completely unique way of shaking previously thought impossible by everyone onboard. By now, even the consistently chipper Amy had had enough.

“Ai- lay yow mow low gah?” She grumbled to herself, lamenting her earlier mistake. No one would ever hear her fault herself in English, of course.

“This stones temple pilots!” shouted Leela, aiming the ship in the direction of a rest stop. “Assuming there’s even someone there that can fix this, they’re going to charge at least my yearly salary!”

“You could always sell your body to truckers,” suggested a recently decapitated head.

“Seems it’d be easier to sell yours now, doesn’t it?” came Leela’s cold retort.

“Yeah, much easier,” agreed Amy, in a manner which undeniably insulted Leela far more than Bender.

The task of clearing the airlock without hitting the walls was much like the task operating the finglonger after your 99th cup of coffee, but Leela handled it with poise. She scraped the sides mercilessly, but maintained her poise throughout. The Planet Express Ship drifted downwards towards a parking spot, stalled 10 feet above, and deployed its landing gear. A confused lobster had a confusing 10-foot fall, and beat the ship in an unscheduled race to the ground.

Leela turned off the engines; finally, it was over. No matter what horrors awaited them at this undoubtedly sketchy rest stop, Leela took solace in the fact that she would no longer have to drive her vessel in a seat which was mimicking an Omicronian massage chair. Another thing Leela had learned in her few years of captaining; you should always take as much solace as you can, because someone’s bound to take most of it back.

Meanwhile, Fry figured it was safe to show himself again. He tried his luck, and opened the door marked ‘Bridge,’ ...allowing him to step out onto a viaduct of the Professor’s construction. Using it to cross over the cage with the lion, he then shimmied down a ladder, bringing him to the hallway. This hallway is what finally led to the cockpit, which, ironically, is exactly what Farnsworth had once decided against, opting instead to get a lioncage.

“Alright now,” Leela started, effectively predicting Fry’s entrance, “we’ll find the mechanic, and hopefully be on our way in a few hours. I don’t want anyone wandering too far off.”

She knew that they were currently in an inescapable airtight dome, but Fry and Bender were the type you could lose track of in a suicide booth.

“Amy, I have no idea how much this is going to cost,” Leela continued, “but you’ll have to pay for the repairs for now, and maybe the Professor will reimburse you. Do you think you’ll be able to cover it?”

“Well, I did just buy 3 metric tons of hair care products,” pondered Amy, “But my parents put a deposit in my account yesterday, and the bank said that it was terrific!”

“You mean outstanding?”

“Yeah, that.”

“Well,” sighed the cyclops, “...we’d better hope the checks clear...”

“You mean Fortranvar Crystal?” Fry interjected. “We’re out of that.”

“Plenty of explicatory martini left, though.” added Bender.

“Let’s just go...” said Leela, halfway out the door.

The rest stop was indeed sketchy. A crime scene sketched by an anguished artist, perhaps. The airlock and dome looked shiny and new, for the distinguishing reason that they were the only things that kept everyone inside from dying. Everything else had been left to putrefy into a rancid shabbiness, a comatose scrap of an insipid past kept alive by a bubble of the finest mandated technology. If the laws of science allowed wind to blow in the dilapidated hemisphere, it would whisper, “Just let me break.” A restaurant, a garage, and two fuel pumps, long since tired of each other’s company, welcomed anyone desperate enough to partake in their services.

“Hmph... quantum repair man?” Leela scoffed. “We’ll be lucky if there’s someone who can re-pair socks...”

She smirked, but the “whoosh” the line made passing over the crew’s heads created the first wind the dome had seen in eons, the brevity of which gave little time for a whisper in edgewise. Zoidberg, by now, had dusted himself off and joined the group as they glanced interestedly, passing the first and only other ship they came across. It was green and bulbous; a rather traditional rocket shape with a mild overbite. At a glance, one might easily confuse it with the PE ship, but closer inspection showed the vessel was not of Earth. The engines were oddly shaped to say the least, and the landing gear looked somewhat like an advanced form of gelatin. By the fuel pumps, a lone space-taxi idled, and that was all there was to be seen.

"Amy and I will head to the garage to see if anyone can fix the ship, the rest of you go to the restaurant and see if they can fix a sandwich,” said Leela, motioning towards the destinations.

Bender was not pleased by this usurpation, “What?! I slaved over a hot stove for nothing?!”

“The only time anyone slaved over that stove is the time you tried to sauté that slave,” remarked Fry, in an intermittent squall of thought.

“Whaddaya mean ‘tried’?” boasted Bender, letting the initial point slide, as he had, in fact, not even begun to consider procrastinating getting started on delaying the process of cooking, due to the earlier thieving incident.

“Don’t worry friends,” started Zoidberg, turning to face the women, “If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s finding food!”

Is there one thing you’re good at?”

“... no.”

“Well,” Leela interposed, “in that case you should go back and get Nibbler. If they actually bring the ship in for service... I just realized it would probably be best if he wasn’t left onboard.”

“Should I get the lion too?”

“Do we ever take the lion?”


“Do we ever even acknowledge the lion?”


“Leave the lion.”

“Yes ma’am!” shouted the lobster, with the sudden fervor that Zoidberg sometimes gained upon receiving an ‘important’ task to do. He strode confidently towards the ship; assured that he would get it right, and maybe, just maybe, he would be appreciated for it. Then lunch.

“Zoidberg! The keys?!" hollered Leela.

The doctor turned back around. “I hear they’re lovely this time of year!” he yelled back, “Are we going on vaca-oof!” he rambled, before getting hit in the face with a set of keys thrown at the velocity of a pitched blurnsball.

The three parties went their separate ways.


Fry and Bender approached Allen Omla’s Cleanly Diner. It appeared to be open, and through the window, there could be seen someone assumedly working the counter. Whether he was conscious or not was yet to be discovered.

“Uh, Bender? Do you have any money?”

“None that anyone else is getting.”

“Well, I’m broke,” said Fry, “I guess we’ll have to-”

Bender cut him off. His attempt at stealing had been thwarted earlier, but now he had been given a second chance.

“Alright, Fry! If we’re going to do this we’re going to do this right. This ain’t gonna be no two bit operation...” said the robot, as he pointed to his head, “Only the simplest of mechanical operations take up two bits.”

“Like what?”

“Shaves and haircuts, mainly.”


“Anyway, you’re going to be running strict diversion,” Bender continued, regaining his zealous focus. “Seduce the sentinel at the counter, while I sneak around back, stealing the food... and anything in their safe, with skill and style.”

“Seduce?! But I-”

“No time for questions!” Bender yelled, pointing a trembling metallic finger at the diner window. Inside, the lone worker idly drummed his fingers. “Meet back here in 10 minutes!” And he was gone. Fry shrugged plaintively, and entered the front door.


Next door, Leela and Amy entered the garage. It gave off the same, ‘ancient death’ vibe as the remainder of the rest stop. A correspondingly ancient robot waited behind a counter, the two LED’s glowing behind the eyes the only hint of sentience. Leela cautiously walked up to it.

“Hello?” she said tentatively.

“Hi. And welcome to Steve’s Garage. Please stand aside and let other customers through.”

“But we’re the only-” Amy started.

“Please stand aside, or go fetch your captain.”

“I AM the captain,” said Leela, already indignant.

“Does not compute. Please stand aside, or go fetch your captain.”

Amy cut off what would have been a burst of shouting from the cyclops.

“Is there, by chance, a life form that we can discuss this with?”

“Yes, but he has no need to speak with you. Please fetch your captain.”

“But she...”

“I am programmed only to accept dealings with men.”

“But that-”

“I am programmed only to accept dealings with men.”

Leela swallowed her pride. It had a mysteriously exotic taste to it.

“Fine. Uh... our captain... he sent us to discuss price before he bothered to leave his quarters.”

Amy gawked in Leela’s direction; she hoped the woman was up to something. The robot paused, seemingly to contemplate, but probably due to its glaringly sluggish processor.

“That is acceptable. Please state the nature of the malfunction.”

Leela turned her back to the droid and pantomimed hitting some buttons on her wrist device, then put on the phoniest cheerful tone imaginable.

“Captain Slabbody? Hi! This is Leela. ... Yes, yes, we found him fine. ... Oh, I’m doing great, yeah. ... Yes, Amy’s here too. ... Oh, hehe! You’re too sweet sir...”

Amy gave her a look, gesturing to speed it up. Leela snapped back from her fantasy world.

“So anyway, this adorable wittle robot wants to know what’s wrong with the ship.”

She paused for theatrical effect, and then opened her eye wide.

“Well golly! Those are some big words! OK, I’ll tell him.”

Leela twirled back to face the robot.

“He says, ‘a loose quantum drive is causing severe instablety...uh... instability.”

Amy had to turn away and cover her face to keep from hysterics. This was just too out of character for Leela. Another pause by the robot, this time even longer.

“That problem is unsolvable with the tools that are at our disposal.”

“He says it’s unplausible with the tools they have,” Leela talked into her forearm. “...OK. OK, I’ll ask him.” She looked up at the automaton. “But you could bring the tools in, right?”

A third pause.

“That would cost us more money than you could possibly afford.”

“Oh, I’m not too sure about that,” Amy jumped in, clearly enjoying herself, “Our captain’s very rich... and verrrry sexy.”

“He’d want the greatest designer tools from far and wide. Could you give him an estimate?” asked Leela.

A fourth pause, the grandest of all. The inferior robot was clearly struggling with the complex calculations.

“Estimated cost... ...infinite... dollars...”

Leela put her arm back to her ear, and then addressed the droid again.

“You, sir, drive a hard bargain. Charge us 70 percent of that and you’ve got yourself a deal.”

The robot exploded.

“Hmmph, overflow error.” Leela leered.

“Common in robots built before 2800” added Amy, remembering some of her college engineering. “Well... now what?”

“We wait for the owner, who should-”

“What in the name of Jesus Reformatted Christ is goin’ on in here?!” bellowed a voice which could only be described as ‘unpleasant.’ Footsteps echoed ominously down the hall, and Leela prepared herself for whomever... or whatever emerged around the corner.


Relatively nearby, Fry leaned against a counter, the hand not propping himself up drawing a crude dog shape in the dust that had gathered on the surface. He eyed the cashier, who was ostensibly weary of his only customer of the day.

“Sooooooo...” Fry drawled... “You come here often?”

“I work here, sir.”


A crash from behind the cashier told Fry to hit the deck. Bender had, after some deep thought, decided on a ‘smash and grab’ strategy over the ‘sneak and pilfer’ and the albeit briefly considered ‘rumba and rummage’ strategies.

“Commence operation Counter-Strike!!” came the battle cry. Bender turned to the now ardently alert attendant.

“Five sandwiches! Now! Before someone gets hurt! ...also, could you throw in the maximum amount money I can steal before it becomes a felony?”

“Y-y-yes Mr. Robot sir!” was all the callow employee could stutter. Meanwhile, the front door slammed shut, and all three occupants wheeled around to discover a guest none of them recognized.

“A robbery, eh?” said the man as he entered. He seemed irate, but not because of the situation. He seemed interested, but not quite surprised by what he had entered upon. His species was apparently reptilian, or perhaps amphibious, but this guy looked like he was capable of using Kif as a birdie in an extremely macho game of badminton. He peered at Fry darkly then turned his gaze to Bender. “Well?” he asked, like some sort of monstrous mother expecting an immediate explanation. No one stirred, though the attendant whimpered mutedly.

“Bender,” Fry hissed, in a faux-whisper, “What do we do?!”

Very calmly, Bender turned to the cashier. “Better make that six sandwiches.”

A smile that could brighten a dark room, and thus cause all those around to quaver at the sight of its bearer, crept onto the interloper. He laughed heartily.

“Hey, you guys are alright!” He chortled, redonning his previous mood only to address the worker. “You heard him! Get to it!”

“Yes s-s-sir!”

The unfortunate employee bumbled through his work, two potentially dangerous and one seemingly vacant set of eyes watching over him.

“And don’t forget the frilly toothpicks!” barked the green skinned one before turning to Fry. “By the way, my name’s Charlie. Hey, why don’t you guys come over to my ship for lunch?”

“I’m Fry, and that’s Bender. Uh, we’d love to, honestly, but we kinda have to meet with our-”

“Bring ‘em along, I don’t care.”

“...sure.” said Fry, not wanting to get on this new friend’s bad side. He uncomfortably glanced at his surroundings, and noted the cashier, still shivering, handing a sack to Bender. “C’mon Bender, let’s get out of here before I get that nauseous feeling again.”

“I had Zoidberg prescribe you guilt medicine! Why don’t you take it?!”

“He ate it all when he realized it was just Eucharist.”

“Oh, well then- Hey wait up!” Shouted Bender, grabbing Fry and heading after Charlie, who was already out the door. Glad to be escaping the situation, Fry followed closely.

As luck would have it, Leela and Amy were already running towards them, in a manner which suggested that they had reason for this running other than cardiovascular fitness. Two groups sprinting from two distinct problems soon became one group running from an indeterminate entity of badness somewhere behind them. Escapes like this were nothing uncommon; they fell into form as if the ordeal was as well-rehearsed as a fire drill, scampering up into Charlie’s ship instead of their own without as much as a second thought, save Leela, who had a second, but surely not a third.


Chapter 3:

Charles “Bananas” Foster (An unappreciated nickname very few dare used) had a bit of everyone from the PE crew in him. He had Leela’s reclusiveness and temper, Bender’s lust for treachery and money, Fry’s reckless yet optimistic attitude, Zoidberg’s ability to repulse, and Amy’s proclivity to finding eccentric employers. Born on the planet Lagártos Two, Charlie slowly grew to find a balance between a dubious and legitimate lifestyle. Sure, there were crime sprees and there was money laundering, but there was also boring old clothes laundering, and the occasional delivery for his on again off again employer, Nuzi Spoziano. Nuzi was a merchant, but an inventor at heart, and often bestowed Charlie the benefits of his research, which was really the only reason Foster bothered staying around at all.

For instance, Mr. Spoziano had fitted Charlie’s ship with promising experimental landing gear. A near solid plasma, which descends from the bowels of the ship, is used to help the vessel literally ‘stick’ the landing. Of course, this connection is no more secure than that of two pieces of salami congealed together. To affix the bond, parts of the landing gear compound are composed of electromagnetically controlled ferrofluid, which, when activated, spreads to the bottom of the gear and magnetically pulls the ship towards any nearby correspondingly magnetic material in the ground. An onboard sensor alerts the pilot to any such optimal landing zone, and accordingly, a skilled pilot is able to land the ship at surprisingly steep angles, and even on the ceilings of caves or tunnels in a pinch. Upon liftoff, a reverse of the electric polarity through the ferrofluid nets the ship a bonus antigrav-lift due to same sign repulsion... just be careful if you’re already on a ceiling...


The door shut behind the PE crew; the air was dank and uninviting. A lone light unwillingly lit the cargo-bay that had greeted them. Leela retained the wry smile of a woman who had just kicked a large man’s ass, while Amy maintained the nervous adrenaline-soaked expression of a callow fighter who had just hit a man with a metal pipe hard enough to create onomatopoeia to her surname.

Fry asked the obvious question, “What happened to you two?”

“Let’s just say we won’t be getting our ship fixed here any time soon,” said Leela. She didn’t even bother to ask what had instigated the boys’ sprint. Frankly, she just didn’t care.

“Great, so now what do we do?” moaned Bender.

“You could start by introducing yourselves,” resonated an ominous voice in the darkness, the tone of which sent chills down the women’s spines.

“Oh, sorry.” started Fry, oblivious to the foreboding atmosphere. “Charlie, this is Leela, and this is Amy,” he said, indicating each female.

“Greetings gals!” bellowed Charlie, as if they were all his rowdy friends. “Sorry if I scared you there. Some people say I’m a cold-blooded killer... but they don’t know me. If they did they’d realize my species is warm blooded! Heh-heh!” He guffawed coarsely, slapping Amy on the back hard enough to perturb her. “So how ‘bout those sandwiches, Bender?”

“Comin’ right up, buddy.”

Lunches distributed, the group moved to a dining area, where small talk came along arduously. Feeling Charlie out was like handling a marshmallow coated cactus. Fry and Bender soon became bored with the blether.

“Say... Leela. Shouldn’t we get Zoidberg and your fur pile?” asked Bender.

“Hmm, you’re right...” Leela mused, “They’re all alone now. I wouldn’t want one of them eating the other... though I’m not sure which way that would work out...”

“Uh... Fry and I’ll go get ‘em if ya want.”

Leela was stuck. She knew they were just trying to get out of an awkward situation, but at the same time suddenly feared for her pet’s life. Who knew what Zoidberg’s shell would do to his adorable digestive tract?

“Yeah, go ahead...” she conceded.

“We’ll be right back Charlie.”

“Know the way out?”

“You bet.”

“Touch anything on the way out or in and I’ll kill you?”

“Fair enough.”

Bender grabbed Fry by the hand again and pulled him away. Over time, Bender had realized that this was much easier than talking him into things, as easy as doing that already was. He brought Fry down to the cargo bay, opened the hatch via control panel, then made an abrupt right turn.

Fry asked the obvious question, “Bender, this isn’t the right way, where are we going?”

“Storage chamber connected to the cargo bay; saw it on the way in. This bay is empty, so we’re checking it out.”

“But he’ll kill us!”

“Big deal. I’m technically not a life-form and you don’t have a life, so we’ve got nothing to lose!”

Fry couldn’t argue with that, which was good, because by the time he would have formed an argument Bender had already overrode the lock on the door.

Meanwhile, the captains conversed as best they could. Amy wasn’t saying much, if anything at all.

“So, you do deliveries for a living?” asked Leela.

“I wouldn’t exactly say that.”

“Oh... well then what do you-”

“Let’s say I’ve discreetly steered the conversation away from me, alright?!” came a curt and vociferous reply. He instantly calmed. “But you, you do the delivery thing?”

“Yeah, I suppose you could call it that. I prefer the term ‘Captain,’ or even ‘Remedial Educationalist’ to describe my job, though.”

“What are you delivering now?”

Leela sighed. “Boxes,” she mumbled.


“Empty boxes and crates, that’s it,” said Leela. “The Disorganized People of Disorgatron ordered a ship-full. If they like them, they’ll eventually order some more.”

“But,” Amy interrupted, “But I thought we were delivering to three different planets, weren’t we?”

“They’re very disorganized.”


“Sounds like a wild good time,” jeered Charlie, pulling apart two pieces of salami which had congealed together, then stuffing them both into his mouth. “I have some crazy things with me right now; craziest looking things... haven’t the damnedest what they do, but this guy I know said they’re pretty interesting. Don’t know if I buy it, though. I’m bringing them from one scientist to another for testing, or some crap like that... probably steal ‘em if I wasn’t afraid of blowing myself up with one of them.”

“You’re carrying them and you don’t even know if they’re harmful?!” Leela reacted, incredulously.

“Hey!” Charlie stood up, casting a looming shadow over the cyclops. “Why don’t you keep your criticism to yourself, huh? Whose ship are you on, anyway?”

Leela was too stunned to even retort. Amy dropped her sandwich, inattentively leaving her mouth in sandwich acceptance mode, then collected both meal and lower jaw in one sheepish fell swoop. Charlie sat down, but did not break eye-contact with Leela for a pregnant moment, and while Leela had just taken a decidedly sizeable man down with only minimal help from her cohort, something about Charlie told her he’d win in a fight.

“One looks like a camera, and one looks like a box with a couple red buttons. I’m getting paid well and legally to bring them somewhere, and I’m not confident enough in their value to risk messing with that. That’s sufficient knowledge for me.” said Charlie, resolutely.

“Oh I’m sorry,” Leela began, “I just assumed-”

“Don’t assume, Leela. Assuming makes an ass out of you.”

“...you and...”

“and what?”

“Me!” Leela belted, completing the ancient idiom.

“Right, out of you,” said Charlie, in an almost patronizing fashion.

The man smirked in a way which suggested he was just toying with Leela, seeing how far he could provoke her. If this was what he was up to, he was somehow an expert on her already. The silence that followed was piercingly braying.

“So... what type of shoes are those?” blurted Amy, mouth not quite full enough to prevent her.


Fry and Bender examined a large case; the only interesting thing in the room. Fry was clearly nervous now that he had thought about the consequences more, and was eager to get out and do what they had actually said they were going to.

“Alright Bender, just take the case and let’s go”

Bender looked at the bulky case, and then to Fry.

“Heh, you kiddin? I don’t have that type of volume available!”

Fry turned a dial on the back of Bender’s torso.

“How about now?”

“NOT THAT TYPE, MORON!” roared the din that was once Bender’s non-augmented voice. Fry quickly turned the dial back; hoping desperately that the room they were in was soundproof. After several silent seconds had passed, Fry relaxed, tenderly putting his hands to his ears.

“Ow... my cochleae...” he whimpered. And with that, Bender opened the case. Inside, he found two relatively common looking items; one looked like a camera, and one looked like a simple metal device with several red buttons.

They had dawdled too long now... if they had only gone to get Zoidberg first, perhaps they could have stopped it...


Just minutes earlier, Zoidberg had finally reached the Planet Express Ship following an exciting chase after a ferret that had turned out to actually be a large mouse which had escaped from behind the deli. Not one to be fastidious, he ate it, though it wasn’t really much of a meal. It tasted like soufflé.

Activating the staircase via a remote delicately perched between his pincers, Zoidberg wandered up the stairway, dully aware that he was making a lot more noise on the metal stairs than usual. He soon noticed that there were also several more guns pointed at the back of his head than usual. Zoidberg’s claws were up faster than an order at Sam’s Short Order Seafood.

“Alright, let’s have it.” said a robot, in an exceedingly serious tone.

“Have what?” asked the doctor.

“Don’t play dumb!” a female voice barked.

“I don’t need to play, I promise!”

“The lawbreaker.”

‘The what?”

“The lawbreaker!”

‘The what?”

“The law-”

“He wants you to elaborate, Holly!” the android hollered, hands in the air in frustration.

“Oh, cool it Kui,” snarled the woman, noting the bot’s overdramatic pose, “And if you keep your hands up like our friend here I may be tempted to shoot you too.” She turned to Zoidberg. “Look, it’s very simple Lobster-boy. You have what we want.”

“The lawbreaker...” repeated Zoidberg, thinking heavily. ‘...you mean the robut?”

“The what?”

“The robut!

“The rowboat? I.... uh... look, we don’t know exactly what it is, we just know what it’s called, and we have strict orders to ‘retrieve’ it from you. You were making a delivery, weren’t you?”


“Well that’s what we want! Now get it before I pull this trigger then go find it myself!”

Zoidberg briefly thought back to his depressing trip to the cargo bay. They probably weren’t going to be very happy either when they found out the crew had forgotten their payload. Then again, maybe they would...

Holly stared at Zoidberg, who had the semblance of someone trying to calculate the proper tip to leave while in the midst of a bar brawl. She really didn’t feel like following through on her threat, as violence made her squeamish, and she wanted to shrug off as many female stereotypes as possible. Ever since teaming up with K.U.I., who was basically your standard killbot... with some severe moral hang-ups, she hadn’t had to resort to bloodshed. People usually do whatever you say when two weapons are pointed at them. “This guy, though...” she thought, “This guy either knows exactly what he’s doing, or is lost beyond rescue.”

The doctor perked up, a sure sign of his first cohesive thought.

“You guys don’t have any food on you do you? I haven’t eaten decently all trip!”

“Beyond rescue...” muttered Holly. “Kui, tear up the cargo bay. You’ll find it eventually”

Zoidberg had never retained much of a natural sense of danger. He was usually oblivious to it, choosing instead to lament over his minor shortcomings in life- how poor he was, his lack of good friends, how every single letter he had ever received from a woman was a Dear John letter... It was quite amazing that he had even shown the awareness to comply with the intruders at first, but soon his common sense melted away like certain types of paint at his scent.

“So... ‘Kui,’ that’s an interesting name...” He said, still cheerful despite the robot’s inability to provide food.

“KUI is short for a ‘Killbot Under Inhibition,” replied Holly, briefly lowering her gun.

“And you’re kind of chubby for a bandit...” scoffed Kui, already though a sizable portion of the boxes.

“Hey, that’s not what I meant!” shouted Holly, diffidently tugging her shirt past a slightly exposed midriff. Feeling even more flustered for letting Kui get to her, she charged the gun and pointed at the nearest scapelobster.

“Young man,” started Zoidberg, “As you may not be aware, not being a person of medicine, unlike your species mine cannot survive being shot in the head.”

“...and?” Holly maliciously insinuated.

“Oh, just making conversation. I happen to have extensive knowledge about what kills things, a skilled practitioner as I am.” Zoidberg beamed.

It was so naïve that she had to believe it. She holstered the weapon; he wasn’t worth the ion pack a fully charged shot would consume.

“Nothing’s here!” Shouted Kui, completing his efficient search of the boxes.

“What?” screeched Holly. “That’s impossible! Let me see...” She ran to Kui, momentarily stopping to turn back to the crustacean. “Now don’t try anything dumber. I’ve got my eye on you; make a move, and I’ll ion you.”

Holly joined her cohort, hoping her searching skills could somehow surpass the precision sensors of a military automaton. Indeed, all of the boxes were empty... “They must have hid the cargo...” thought the woman, “somewhere where they could look after it...”

“Let’s check the cockpit!” she declared. “Maybe they were keeping it safe in there. And if we can’t find it we’ll just take the whole ship back to ‘em.”

She jogged back to the Zoidberg, snatched the ships’ keys from him, then headed for the interior cargo-bay door, which to her surprise she discovered to be locked. The key in her hand was clearly for the ignition.

“What? How can this be locked?!” Holly was flummoxed. She wheeled on the doctor. “This door locks from the inside! How did you plan on getting into the rest of your own ship, you idiot!!”

“Calm down, sir!” said the lobster, in a soothing but forceful voice. “You’re awfully tense right now. I think you may be coming down with hypochondria...”

“Kui! Interface with that door and hack your way in, OK?”

Kui looked despondent. “Do you have any idea how annoying that is? What have you done for me lately?”

“Well, I got you those strippers for your birthday.”

“True, true. ...fine...” forfeited Kui. Opening up his cabinet, he retrieved said strippers, using them to fray a wire on his finger, and then spliced it into the door panel. Some standard sparks ensured.

“Nothing. I don’t have access...” he sighed. “Wait... wait... OK, no problem, I’ve downloaded an electronic blueprint of their ship. We can find a way from here through the vents, since they connect from here to the cockpit; it says so in the legend.”

“We’re going to wriggle through a ventilation system on nothing but myth?”

“No, I mean there’s a key!

“Well then unlock the damn door!!”

“No! Do you even know-”

The two continued to squabble as Zoidberg looked on, perplexed at the entire situation, but prepared to treat any emotional scars the fight may cause with a tourniquet. Eventually, Holly would learn not to bicker senselessly with a computer program. Simply put, computer programs know far too much about arguments. Meanwhile, Nibbler abandoned his post at the opposite side of the recently locked door, bounding to the cockpit as fast as his legs could carry him, which was slower than usual. After all, he had just eaten a lion.


Back on the other ship, Bender currently felt like the star of Charlie’s Angels Four: The Legend of Charlie’s Hidden Electronics. He snatched both devices and stashed them in his chest compartment, further packing in the money from his earlier misdemeanor. Despite a multitudinous urge to leave immediately, Fry’s attention was drawn to a small note Bender had failed to notice, or had failed to care about. Thusly piqued, he peeked at the parchment that had peaked his interest and proceeded to pick up the paper to peer:

Dear James,

Included are both the Lawbreaker 1.1 and Desiderator 3.0. I’m quite sure the latter works splendidly, but need to pass it off for another round of testing before I can call it the Desiderator 4.0, which is far more catchy in my opinion. Careful with the Lawbreaker; I haven’t gotten all the kinks out, and it’s dreadfully unpredictable. Moreover, I am thinking of renaming it, as my initial reports have been met with staunch criticism. I’m not a bloody criminal; maybe those toffee-nosed scientific journalists should read a bit further than the title, eh?


Fry pocketed the note, hoping it contained more clues about what exactly Bender was purloining than he was able to ascertain from it.

“OK Bender, I’m going to find Zoidberg now; are you coming or not?”

“Yeah, yeah, don’t get your panties in a mobius strip.”

Bender lackadaisically followed his human companion out of the room, while said meat-bag became visibly more panicky with each passing second. Fry had almost broken into a full run off of the ship, thinking of what its owner would do to them if he were to find them now. He doubled back to gather his sauntering companion.

“Bender, remember what happened last time you got overconfident and let a stealing spree get out of hand?!

“Yeah! You were impressed.”

“...into the Stumbonian Navy!” Fry inveighed.

“Ah, yeah...” the robot fondly recalled, “Heh... and they let me off the hook. Sure hope you learned your lesson!”

“I guess not...” seethed Fry, grabbing Bender by the Squeezy and speedily dragging him away. “Your patented burglary-binges are in need of some shortening”

“I steal plenty of shortening! I put it in our milkshakes!” carped Bender, and they were finally outside.


Meanwhile, Nibbler was pensively waiting for his visitors to arrive in the cockpit. The muffled clanking and cursing from behind the top of the wall was an obvious signal they were gradually approaching. The Nibblonian had been worried at first; thinking he may have to blow his cover in order to stop a disastrous hijacking. Granted, only revealing himself to Zoidberg was a best case scenario, but he didn’t have clearance to wipe yet another memory clean, and riding on the fact that no one paid attention to the lobster was precarious at best.

As he scampered to the cockpit, though, it dawned on him that all he would have to do is lay low. He needn’t electrify the controls, superheat the driver’s seat, or strike the intruders with pendulum paint cans on strings... he would simply let karma run its course... he exited the room.

One. Two. Three. Three of the most diverse body types imaginable struck the ground, creating three of the most dissimilar sounds conceivable. Holly had made three mistakes already. First, she had decided it would be best if Zoidberg joined them to the cockpit. Second, she had allowed him to molt when it became evident his bulky, nonmalleable form would not fit into the vents. Third, Zoidberg had gone in first, wearing only a towel. She didn’t even want to know what she had just been crawling through. She desperately needed a shower and a cigarette... though not at the same time. On the plus side, the woman was treated to a slightly broken fall thanks to her revolting hostage. On the minus side, her robot partner received the same service from her.

“Ah! My legs!” yelped Holly.

“Sorry, I was aiming for your stomach,” quipped Kui, taking his time to get up. As soon as Holly’s legs weren’t pinned, the robot was vaulted forward by a kick that would have made Leela proud. While he toppled awkwardly to the ground, the woman sprung to her feet, poised to do it again. She didn’t know why he angered her so; she knew he just did it to keep her in check; but still, she wouldn’t tolerate that kind of crap from a robot...

“I’m OK, my face broke my fall.” said Zoidberg, readjusting his towel. No one paid attention.

“I don’t even see a good place to hide something,” said Kui, surveying the room from his new low angle perspective.

“Great... just great...” Holly gestured towards the doctor. “And you have no clue what we’re talking about?”

“What were we talking about?”

“The lawbreaker!’

“The what?”

“The... the... oh, screw it! Just screw it!” Holly ran her hands through her hair, grasping at her shoulders in frustration. “I don’t get paid enough for this. We’re taking the ship. If it’s on the ship the boss can find it, and if someone else has it we’ll at least have a hostage.”

She jammed the keys into the ignition, intensity begat from rage in her eyes.

“So... I’ll be getting my shell back if you need me,” mentioned Zoidberg, casually starting to leave.

“Right, so you can try to call for help?” alleged Kui, now standing in front of the door. “I think you’ll be staying right here.”

“Well, OK, I guess...” the crustacean shrugged; and with this motion, the towel started to slip...

“Go get your shell.”


Midway between the only two occupied spots in the parking lot, Bender and Fry couldn’t believe what they were seeing. It looked like the Planet Express ship was planning to take off. The entrances had been retracted, and the landing gear was rising, though the thrusters had yet to be engaged.

“Oh no” hollered Fry, as what was happening set in. “Zoidberg’s trying to drive the ship! We’re doomed!”

“Gangway!” shouted Bender, pivoting to retreat, pointing out the tangible gangway that lead back onto Charlie’s ship.

“Right, we gotta get Leela!” agreed Fry. They sprinted off in the direction they came from.


The two women and the reptile were still in the dining area. Amy had given up on interjecting, and was quietly polishing her nails. Leela and Charlie were in a heated debate; though one other than Amy could probably sense that both were enjoying the intelligent, if not immature, conflict. Leela collected her thoughts, noting Charlie hadn’t seemed seriously threatening for the past couple of minutes.

“Listen you daft punk! You can’t just make the crude blanket statement that men are simply better than woman at piloting!”

“No, you listen,” Charlie stood up, but Leela didn’t regress this time. “Even though we know nothing about many civilizations, you can’t write off the facts we do know as statistical anomalies. Statistics aren’t blanket statements! Now if I had said, ‘All women should be home knitting blankets...’

“Leela!!!” Fry had burst into the room. “Zoidberg’s trying to take the ship!”

“What!? He wouldn’t! He couldn’t!” She paused, and a thought hit her. “Amy... what if Steve is stealing the ship?”

“Who?” asked Amy.

“Steve, the garage guy we ran away from?”

Amy looked confused.

“You don’t remember being chased?!”

“Well, maybe back when I was 15...”

“No! I-”

The unmistakable sound of a low-flying ship halted the conversation.

“Let’s move!” ordered Leela, and the four crew members, in a show of obedience expedited by fear, hurriedly exited. “Sorry Charlie!” she added, just within earshot.

Arriving outside, Leela’s worst fears were confirmed. The Planet Express ship glided towards the rest stop airlock. She wheeled, scanning the dome for some sort of an escape. There, still idling by the gas pumps, was the same space-taxi they had seen earlier. She dashed after it, her three subordinates following close.

“Everyone into the taxi, we’ll follow them!” Leela commanded. She had gained the driver’s attention and was pointing towards the open airlock before they even reached the cab; fearing that she would soon lose sight of her precious vessel. To her delight, the pilot sped off before they even had the doors closed.

“Follow that-”

“I got it, I got it...” assured the cabbie, and the pursuit was on.

Leela closed her eye and exhaled; they still had a chance. It had all gone smoothly and gracefully... almost too gracefully. Fry cautiously poked her.

“Uh, Leela?”


In the recently evacuated dining area, Charlie sighed. The afternoon hadn’t been portentous, yet somehow he had enjoyed himself; or at least had been starting to enjoy the company of the cyclops. Was he losing his edge? Strolling, and suddenly wishing he had a crew of his own for once, Foster wondered if he’d see them again. They were all pretty nice, even if for some reason he didn’t trust that robot for-

“Oh, crap.” growled Charlie, making a prediction that would have made Nostradamus applaud. He bolted for the storage chamber, and barreled through the unlocked door.

Empty. The storage case was empty. Of course it was! How stupid could he be? Anger surged though each and every one of the reptile’s veins. To hell with all the stuff he had just been thinking! Now he remembered why he preferred to be alone. Now he remembered why you should only trust yourself. In fact, if he saw any of those stupid little Earthlings again-

A dull knock on the open cargo bay door interrupted his runaway bullet train of thought. He peered out of the storage room, and gazed upon the equivalent of a child who had just lost their parents in a crowded store. Regardless, his responding glare was nothing short of malevolent.

“Um... heheh... hi?" Amy stammered.


Space Pope
« Reply #48 on: 12-13-2008 01:49 »
« Last Edit on: 12-13-2008 01:51 »

Again, was laughing almost before I started reading it.
There's just something so enjoyable about reading your fics. Ok, so this was the one that I think some people in your old thread were saying was very reminiscent of Douglas Adams' style, right? Yeah, one can definitely see the influence; it comes out pretty strongly here, especially being prose. Love the "three rhomboid meals", the liquorice scenario, the part about Art... and of course the "quantum mechanic". One thing I would say is, it seems a bit busy at times.  You have some good descriptions in here, but sometimes it seems like you're trying to use too many words.
From a storytelling perspective, however, this shows some clear development.

In addition, I'm so going to use the word "inveighed" now.

So there's pretty much no chance at all of you ever doing another one, I
suppose?     : /      What about that other work you mentioned once, a novel I
believe? - How is that coming?
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #49 on: 12-15-2008 01:54 »

Huzzah! Always good to have an excuse to read stuff by you. I do agree with Kim that the descriptions of things could be trimmed down some, but I didn't think it was too bad; sort of like a Douglas Adams on overdrive.

Also intrigued by the possibilities of a novel, I feel like it would be well worth reading. smile

Urban Legend
« Reply #50 on: 12-15-2008 02:06 »

Always good to have an excuse to read stuff by you
  That's for sure.  I'd completely forgotten about this fic. Rediscovering it was a pleasant surprise smile

Space Pope
« Reply #51 on: 12-15-2008 03:57 »
« Last Edit on: 12-15-2008 03:58 »

"Douglas Adams on overdrive" is an excellent way of putting it, I inveighed.

Don't get me wrong, still vastly entertaining, of course - Just in case you wanted something besides accolades, though.. Just one example of the slight cluttered-ness I mentioned before: In the line "'So then, what are we delivering?' Fry curiously inquired", the "curiously" could be dispensed with - simply "Fry inquired" would be sufficient. (Alternatively, "Fry asked curiously" would work also).  Sometimes things like that can just be a little distracting.
Occam's Razor, and all that, you know...   (that's come up a lot for me lately).

[I'm pretty sure that something about that whole language issue came up in your old thread, but it's been almost a year and a half since I read it, so I don't entirely recall].

Otherwise, your work remains outstanding and amazingly true-to-the-show. A particularly great section that I didn't highlight was the description of the experimental landing
gear. Inventive and amusing.
And I'll third the excuse-to-read-your-stuff bit. big grin
I'm always ready.

Urban Legend
« Reply #52 on: 12-17-2008 02:29 »

km:  I definitely have a habit of just doing a vocab dump in my work, especially of the 'adverb verbed' variety.  I like words too much.  I'd never say there's absolutely no chance of me writing a fic again.  Fics can be done in spare time (yeah, books can too I guess, but it's hard), and I've been really busy with work and being engaged to be married and all that.  I usually dispel urges to be creative via music, but a time may come where I give in to this nerdy pass-time again smile  thanks for letting me know there'd still be a couple readers.

sine: Novel?  Vague plot ideas, a twist, a few jokes, that's about it. Part of me thinks I'd be better off writing a series of short stories.  It seems more doable.  Novels have descriptions that go on forever, and as much as I over-adjective, I'm more about dialogue.  "Douglas Adams on overdrive" is a very nice thing to be called, thanks!

so:  My marketing department is awful, what can I say?   I hoped this thread would make it easier for passersby to read or reread this stuff.

Apparently I can't post the rest of the story because it's too long for one post.  Soo, here's a double post...


Chapter 4 

Airlocks were, and still are, a major building block in space technology... just like Space-Legos. Without them, any type of smooth transition from a livable state to the vacuum of space would be nearly impossible. There are two major types of airlocks. Firstly, the archaic two-stage airlock: Invented eons ago, this system required the traveler to first enter a sealed room, wherein the pressure was slowly altered to a set point. The traveler then proceeded out the other side once the pressures matched. This has all been rendered obsolete by the invention of the one-stage airlock. The device makes use of dark energy (not to be confused with dark matter), a mysterious yet palpable force of the cosmos that exerts a negative pressure on any baryonic matter. An intricately designed wall of energy, invisible to the eye, manifests when the portal opens, creating a seamless pressure continuum, as well as forming a permeable barrier of repulsion for oxygen atoms at the inner side, effectively holding in the air. Such airlocks are currently in practical use in rest stops, battle cruisers, and escape pods on fancy cruise liners. Soon, all but the antique ships will be equipped.


The taxi carrying the crew plowed through the rest-stop’s airlock before it could close, keeping the distance between it and the Planet Express ship manageable. Less manageable was the situation
arising in the backseat.

“We have to go back! We have to go back!” shouted Fry, realizing the spot they had just left their Martian friend in.

“We can’t go back, damnit!” snapped Leela. “I refuse to lose my ship to... to whoever happens to be stealing it!”

“But Amy-”

“Amy will be fine. We’ll go back for her later. Charlie isn’t too bad of a guy once you get to know him.”

“Yeah,” added Bender, “And it’s not like he has anything else to do considering we stole his cargo, Fry.”

“You WHAT?“ This was enough to elicit an alarum inside of Leela. “Have you no conviction?!”

“Three last month alone, and that’s why I approve your idea of getting as far away from here as possible.”

“Leela,” Fry tried to plead, “It wasn’t my idea! It-”

“Oh of course it wasn’t,” railed Leela, “I can count on you not having ideas, but you probably just went along with it like you always do.”

“I... I tried to stop him at first...” Fry mumbled meekly, a child who disappointed his mother.

“Well this is just great,” bemoaned Leela. “Now I don’t know if we should- OW!”

Her head struck the ceiling of the cab as it suddenly jerked downward, then to the left, then in many non-Cartesian directions. The sensation felt jarringly familiar to the woman’s recently
disrupted thought process.

“What are you doing?!” she yelled to the cabbie.

“Just trying to follow that ship, like you said, ma’am.” He responded, pointing a heretofore uncategorized appendage towards the Planet Express ship, which appeared to be engaged in some sort of
insectan mating dance.

Leela exhaled in slight relief. “The broken quantum drives!” she exclaimed. “How could we forget about those?! They won’t get far at all! This makes everything much easi- OW!” Her face
struck Bender’s torso as the taxi corkscrewed.

“OK...” she forced through gritted teeth, “just... just follow the ship’s general trajectory, alright?”

“You’ve got it, ma’am.” The driver steadied the vessel just in time to be blinded by a bright flash.


“What the hell did that damn lobster do?!” screeched Holly, clinging to the captain’s chair for dear life, having previously neglected to engage her seat restraint.

“Probably nothing, he’s too stupid to sabotage us so quickly. I’m placing my blame with the pilot,” responded Kui, neglecting to engage restraint of a more oral variety.

“Ugh, it’s not my fault; and I can’t concentrate! Why do you have to be so agitating?!”

“Can’t help it Hol, my spinal cord is the agitator from an old top-loader...”

If Holly’s immediate response could be accurately transcribed, it would be liable to contain more ellipses than the standard geometry book. Who could crack a joke at a time like this?  They were spiraling, shaking, and shimmying towards nowhere in particular, and the woman could tell that the ship would soon fall apart under its own duress. She pushed the disturbing implications of this out of her mind and focused on what she could handle.

“Get that lobst- what the frig is his name anyway? Well, get him up here. Just in case he knows more than he lets on.”

“But... but he might be naked!“ Kui’s expression contorted in a fairly anomalous way for a killing machine.

“If you don’t get out of here in five seconds, I’ll get naked.’

“You wouldn’t.”

She bravely let the seat go with one hand and grasped her shirt zealously.


“Ack! Alright, I’m going!” The robot scampered away like an embarrassed teenage boy.

Drastic times, drastic measures. If he could play on her insecurities, she could play on his. Though, the thought of that lobster’s adipose flesh jiggling in harmonic phase with the ship was even a bit much for her stomach, which, in turn, she silently hoped would not act in a similar manner if further exposed.


Back in the cab, the driver steadied himself as he slowly realized he was not being attacked.

“Oh, that didn’t distract you, did it buddy?” asked Bender, scant an iota of concern in his voice. “When Grace’s skull here found its way to my shiny exterior, it reminded me that I wanted to try out the camera I put in there. This little viewfinder here locked right on to that reflection of you in the mirror. Ah, the paltry marvels of non-Bender technology...”

“Alright, alright, just take it easy,” huffed the cabbie. “My driving’s not exactly stellar... well wait... I guess by its very nature it is... but-”

“Picture’s ready!” shouted Fry, reveling in the current diversion. The camera spat out a photo into Fry’s waiting hand. He gawked uneasily at it.

“This isn’t you...” Fry declared to the driver. “It’s some creepy alien with a white face wearing spandex...’

“Hmm... looks like one of those dancer guys from the Cirque du Alpha Centauri,” replied Leela, peering over Fry’s shoulder. Apparently, she had been hoping for a distraction just as much.

“The what?” croaked the cabbie, peering back into the passenger area.

“Y’know, the Cirque du AC?” Leela resumed, “It’s this big spectacle that travels from system to system and a bunch of girly guys dance-”

“They are NOT girly! They are cultured!” Bellowed the driver, with a tone that suggested a nerve had been hit.

“Yeah, I suppose that you can’t stereotype...” dawdled Leela, expressionless, “But regardless, if you get your kicks dressing like that and prancing around, you’ve got a screw loose.”

“You... take... that... back.” The cabbie raged, now with a tone that suggested a nerve had been sliced and haphazardly torn from the flesh. In a starling coincidence, Fry concurrently lost his nerve.

“Alright man,” he started, “I don’t think she meant any-”

“It’s you!“ shouted Bender, still analyzing the photograph. “You’re the crazy sissy in the leotard! Why did you tell us you were in the Cirque?”

“I’m... I’m not! I just... I just...” The creature’s voice cracked, and he suddenly became quite despondent, but this emotion was quickly followed by a blinding fury. “Listen you freaks, I don’t know where you come from or what kind of vile mind games you’re playing but I have had enough! Get the hell out of my cab!”

With that, he pressed a glowing red button on the dashboard. Two “Crap!” s and a “Huh?” barely escaped to the front of the vessel before a divider shot up between the two sides, sealing them apart. The back instantaneously jettisoned from the front, while said front made a quick U-turn, heading back towards the rest-stop. The passengers met his icy stare as he passed by.

“Arg, she didn’t mean it! I have screws loose all the time! It’s a robo-compliment!” blathered Bender, as if he could still be heard. Further protests dissolved into a string of unintelligible syllables as their speed of expulsion increased at the same rate the taxi disappeared.

“It’s no use Bender,” sighed Leela. “We’ll have to ride it out.” She pointed out the flat glass window that now acted as a windshield of sorts. “We’re drifting towards that planet over there. Hopefully it’s inhabited, and hopefully he wasn’t cruel enough to disable the auto-reentry routine.”

Meanwhile, Fry’s thought from a minute and a half ago finally reached his mouth. “What’s happening? Why was that guy so mad?”

“He jettisoned us.” Leela began. “The Astro-Jettison Act of 2860 reserves cab drivers the right to abandon unruly or dangerous passengers, as long as there’s a decent chance they’ll survive. As for why he was mad...” Leela took the picture into her hand. 

“This does look like him...” she confirmed. “What is with this camera you stole?”

“Who cares!” shouted Fry, briefly swapping places as the pessimistic one. “Are we going to die or not?” He had had enough angst for the day. At least 500 angstroms of it, by his count.

“Probably not.” Leela assured. “Though let’s hope there’s a hospital within a mile or so of where we land. This won’t exactly be safe.”

“Woohoo! Another free bag of glucose!” Fry shouted, and was content.


Amy gazed lingeringly into those cold eyes. Buried under the layers of odium, there was some empathy, and that’s probably why she hadn’t been hurt yet. She could understand why Charlie was so upset, but really, were the restraints necessary? Shuffling in her chair, the Martian was briefly able to see things from his side, and considered that she too would probably want some collateral if something of value had been taken from her. In truth, she held some empathy for Charlie’s situation as well, but it shared the same protective layering.

“You’re... you’re not going to do anything to me are you?” she stuttered, noticing she sounded a lot more shaken than she thought she was.

Charlie sighed. “Look kid, I know you didn’t do anything wrong, but I’m not letting you go anywhere until I get back what’s mine. I’m not trusting anyone anymore.”

“But... but they need to get our ship back first! You’re going to leave me tied up for hours?” Frankly, she was used to the arrangement, but not the circumstances. “Why don’t you go after Bender... follow their cab?”

“Because I’m in no mood for a chase. Worried about them not coming back, are we?”

Amy could tell where he was going with this. “They’ll be back as soon as they can. They’d never abandon anyone.”

“That confident in your friends, eh?” Charlie reiterated, slowly thumbing through the contents of Amy’s wallet, pausing on her pictures of the crew. “Hmph. And a Reptile lover I see...” He held up a particularly adorable print of Kif and Amy.

While she fought the urge to correct his nomenclature, Foster developed a wry sort of smile. “Heh, I’m twice the man he could ever be.”

“...I’m a quarter the woman you’d ever want.”

Charlie laughed earnestly at this, but in one unbroken motion viciously kicked Amy’s chair over. With no way to stop the fall, Amy took the brunt of the impact, but stayed focused on her assailant’s next move from her back. He was still infuriated, but... he wasn’t even looking at her...

“You’re losing it! Losing it! Think this through!” He barked at a nearby mirror. There was a pregnant pause, and it appeared to be triplets. “Damnit... why can’t I...” he broke off sharply. “Fine! I’ll do it. We’ll catch up to your friends, they’ll get their ship, I’ll rip your robot to shrapnel, and we’ll all be on our way, OK?”

“OK.” Amy muttered weakly, quite disconcerted by the psychotic tone Charlie’s voice was taking on. Without hesitation, he was peering down at her.

“Right. Let’s go.” He said calmly, reaching down and offering a hand.

Amy timidly gestured toward her bound arms with her head. “Uhh...” she started.

Charlie blinked. “Oh! How stupid of me!” he chortled awkwardly. Swiftly retracting his outstretched arm, he turned around, and walked away.


On the impaired Planet Express ship, Holly steered to the best of her ability; it felt like the ship was disintegrating all around her. Having given up on an escape, she began a dicey descent into the atmosphere of the first habitable planet she was able to reach.

“The landing gear was non-responsive, Kui,” said Holly “Any suggestions?”

“Aim for a lake Hol, I’ll count how many times we skip,” the robot mused dryly. Holly was no longer in the mood, though she never really had been.

“Kui, do you want to die?!”

“I wasn’t being serious, I-”

“No, I mean, do you want me to kill you, right now, with a sizable blunt object?”


“Well then help me or SHUT UP!!

The edge on her voice was nigh enough to cut the tension in the air. Kui peered out the windshield and took a deep, unnecessary, simulated breath. The planet’s surface no longer appeared spherical; they had one shot at this.

“Alright Holly my dear, the best way to do this is to bisect the gap in between those two mountains over there, then bring it to a sliding stop on the downhill section behind them.”

Holly exhaled deeply, making up for the fact that Kui had forgotten to. “Right, I see.” She attempted to adjust the trajectory, aiming for a rather tiny opening flanked by two intimidating peaks. “Like this?”

“Yeah, just hold it steady. Bisect the gap, and then- woah! More bisectually! More bisectually!”

Kui ducked for cover, as if a lower stance would help his situation. The ship had had enough of listening to its driver, and very nearly careened off of the leftmost summit. On a desperate whim, Holly cut the engines completely, realizing that they were going to miss their only soft landing spot. For a brief moment, her body relaxed completely as the ship gently arced downwards. At least the violent quaking was over, and they had done all they could. Finally having an opportunity to, she latched her seatbelt tight, and turned to her still cowering companion.

“Keep ducking Terminator, your crash position might actually help you this time around.”

She braced herself. This was it. The last thing she heard made her both wince and smile in the most morbid of ways.

“You fixed the shaking while I got my shell? Splendid! I was beginning to wonder if- Brrrraaaa!!!!!


Chapter 5

Quantum physicists, or ‘quantum mechanics’ as they came to be known (due to the fact that they were the only people able to fix any invention based on their theorems) achieved near celebrity status in 2900, when the last law in their field was successfully crafted. A unified theory was complete, allowing for the understanding of everything scientifically explainable. That said, the mechanics became arrogant jerks, secluding themselves in cliques and having lengthy, high profile ‘scientific’ meetings.

Nothing is truly accomplished at these summits, since everything that could be discovered already has been. However, they continue to convene, even as their celebrity status wanes to that of B-movie stars, spending meeting after meeting rehashing pseudoscientific jargon in the hopes that it will make them seem important again. Their last report looked something like this:

New Super-Awesome Laws of Nature
1) If something has happened, there is still a chance that it did not, in fact, happen.
2) If something didn’t happen, there is no chance that it happened.
3) That said, a box is a surprisingly inadequate place to keep a particle.
4) Pauli Exclusion Principle: The head of Wolfgang Pauli is no longer allowed to these meetings, because he is a loser. (voted for unanimously by all scientists, except Heisenberg, who remains uncertain).

All things considered, quantum mechanics are brilliant, but no longer do anything useful for society. The odds of finding one anywhere, besides at a sleazy bar shouting pickup lines like, “Hey baby, your structure is hyper-fine!” are incredibly low. The odds of finding one in places where you’d actually need one are nil to negative slim.


“Hey, this planet’s habited!” squealed Fry, “We’ll find a ride and a mechanic here for sure!”

Fry crawled out of the taxi-half and surveyed the desolate town they had landed by. Everyone had survived the spectacular crash, as usual. Crashes had become so mundane to the trio that Leela had even stopped mentioning them in mission logs and diary entries. They simply weren’t worth the waste of time to describe them.

The cyclops checked her wrist. “Hmm, breathable air... and this planet is recognized by DOOP, so they speak English at least. Maybe we’re not totally boned.”

“Wait, wha?” Fry faltered.

“Haven’t you noticed that no matter where we go, you can communicate with people? When DOOP headquarters moved to New Jersey, the universal language became English. All citizens of DOOP planets are required to know it... except the people of Earth... for some odd reason.”

“Oh...” Fry seemed enlightened. “I just thought everyone in the future used telepathy.”

“Well that’s just stupid. When have you ever-”

Fry raised his finger as if to interject, and stared cogitatively at her.

“Fry, I can’t read your thoughts.”

“Oh, right. Well, then- hey what the-”

Overhead, a distinctive shape plummeted through the atmosphere. It was a beacon of hope, as well as a normal beacon, not associated with an emotion. Leela raised a fist to the sky.

“Don’t crash my ship, whoever you are!!” she shouted.

“Yeah, you’re stealing her job,” quipped Bender, finally emerging from the capsule.

“No one crashes like I can,” Leela replied, quite proud of herself. “C’mon, we’ve gotta chase it down. It’s going to land miles from here. Let’s head into town and see if we can bum a ride.”

“Or ride a bum.” added Bender.

The two carbon beings started to walk towards what appeared to be the most populous section of the town ahead of them. Bender followed close behind.

“Hey guys, check out this picture I just took!”


Holly lay slumped in her chair, drifting back into consciousness. A small light directed at her face, she opened one eye grimly and mumbled to the blurry red figure holding a flashlight before her.

“Uhhhghh... am I dead?”

“Yes. I’m so sorry. I did all I could-”

“You?!” the woman shot, hate proving the elixir required to bring her around. “You’re... you’re... but you’re not even hurt?!“ This clearly bothered her substantially. She closed her eyes again, running a hand through her hair and over her unusually damp neck. Either she had sweat more than she ever had in her life, was currently bleeding to death, or had wet herself in extraordinary fashion. Forcing her eyes open again she scanned the area, and with that, dissected her predicament.

“Please be blood...” she muttered to herself, but didn’t venture to check her hand for the telltale signs.

“We. Are. Screwed!” Kui’s voice echoed through the halls as he approached. “This ship is totaled! Communications are down! Either we start walking, or we somehow miraculously put this contraption back together. And those engines don’t make sense to me at all!”

“Well, we can always try...” Holly tried to sound confident; she didn’t like the sawtooth Kui’s normally sinusoidal speech had taken on. She changed the subject. “Hey, am I bleeding?”

“Yeah, but it’s mixed with a lot of sweat.” The robot was loud enough, yet distant, if such a thing was possible. Holly decided to put her concerns to the test.

“Hmm... I’m surprised I came out of it so well, not a lot of padding around here.”

“Yeah...” The robot murmured. Now she was truly scared.

What, no fat joke? That was a perfect set up! Are you OK?!”

“We’re... we’re not making it out of this Hol.” He suddenly sobbed. “We’re going to die and this lobster’s going to be here through it all, as unharmed and stupid as ever.”

In fact, Zoidberg had not moved since Holly first saw him. He remained quiet, watching purposefully.

“C’mon now...” She was not used to situations like this at all. “I’m sure it’ll work out OK. Grab a medkit for me and one for the ship; we’ll give it a try.”

“I... I saw some weird looking ferret thing hoarding a medkit back in the halls. He was by the gravity field former, which seems to be in working order at least. I’ll snatch it from him.” The robot slowly steadied himself.

“Repair kit’s probably down that ladder,” Holly commented, pointing across the cockpit. “So grab a kit for me, kay?”

“Which one, the former or the ladder?”

“We’ll need both.”

“Medkits?!” Zoidberg suddenly interrupted, “Those are for patch jobs and quacks with no talent! I have a whole office full of medical equipment! Used syringes, body bags, shell glue, whatever!”

Holly considered beating him to death with a piece of his own carapace, but then thought of a much more clever solution.

“Well, I am bleeding a little bit, and I have a hangnail. Do you have any heavy duty tranquilizers?”


“OK, Doctor, you can help me.”

Kui visibly brightened, which meant either he was a bit happier or had just blown a potentiometer.

“See Kui, at least some things work out,” she said, allowing Zoidberg to dutifully carry her out of the room. “Let’s get started as soon as I’m done with him, I’m getting tired.”

“And fat!”

“Mmm... a bit forced now. Wait for your moment,” she critiqued through a sincere smile. As bad as the situation was, it’d be much worse if they didn’t stick together.


Bender’s picture depicted a scene so busy that Leela and Fry had to squint a bit as they walked to determine everything that was going on. Like the picture taken before, the photo itself was monogrammed ‘N.S.’ in the far lower right. The scene portrayed completely corroborated Leela’s suspicion of what was specifically unique about the camera other than simply that. Bender was on center stage surrounded by countless robotic and human fans alike, Beck at his side, money, booze, and cigars nearly rained from the sky. Leela scoffed lightly at the sheer selfishness this implied, but smirked when she first spied the purple and orange spots in crowd. She wondered if Bender had even noticed the whole crew was there in the front row.

Noticing Fry’s perplexed countenance beside her, she gave him a short explanation.

“Don’t you get it Fry? This camera takes a snapshot of what you most want.”

“Oh! I was wondering why someone would build a camera that inserted you into a random performance.”

“Well, actually that could be true too, but my version makes much more sense.”

“Well, let’s try it out again and find out!” shouted a contented Bender, raising the camera to point at Fry. Leela instinctively snatched it from him as if the subsequent shot were to fire a bullet.

“Let’s not.” she demanded, and then added, far too awkwardly, “We don’t know if it has any adverse effects... could be... could be dangerous!”

Embarrassing thoughts scampered through Leela’s hassled mind. Perhaps it was a bit narcissistic, but she knew at least one thing Fry had always wanted to do, and though it may not have topped his list, she wanted no chance of discovering such a scene on film. Granted, she knew Fry wasn’t as bad as Zapp, who went as far as to retain half a dozen of most items so he could say “sex-tuple” more than any normal person should. Still... something about what image could fade onto that exposure, be it of her own exposure or not, set her on edge.

A bus passing on the opposite side of the intersection they had just reached looked awesome enough to dislodge the guys from any rebuttal. It skidded into the terminal, unfolded itself into an Optimus Prime-ish character, did a quick penance as passengers boarded, then folded back up, speeding away with remarkable efficiency. As it drove off, Leela caught of the glimpse of the sign on the side of the bus: “CAUTION: Bus Kneels.”

Heretofore unnoticed due to this spectacle, the bussing facility came into view across the street.

“Looks like a bus is our best chance,” Leela said, “I’ll go in there and see if any are headed east; you wait here in case one comes by while I’m asking.”


Elsewhere, in a galaxy, far far away, life was proceeding as usual for the two earthbound members of Planet Express. The ceiling had been painted, the couch was deservedly sanitized, and the lab animals had been mostly re-emboweled. The Professor was quietly asleep, and Hermes joyfully reveled in the lack of din. He quintuple-stamped a form entitled “Box Delivery to Disorgatron,” thereby vowing on his bureaucratic badge that the package had arrived. It was a typical delivery, so though he hadn’t heard anything from the crew yet, he remained either blithely confident in their success, or blithely apathetic to their fate. All was well.

“Hermes, bring me my formal bed-pan!”

Perhaps not.


Meanwhile, the typical delivery has turned atypical, and was only getting worse; Leela had hit another jam. Of course, for this crew, a typical delivery was atypical, and anything not atypical was far from a typical experience.

“So... there are no more buses running today?”

“Nope, that was the last one” the teller politely replied.

“Could I order a taxi of some sort from here?”

“Well, you probably could, but, they won’t accept foreign currency or extragalactic credit cards without numerous ID’s, and the banks have already closed. We’ll be closing soon too, now that the last bus has left.”

Leela scratched her head; this was looking more and more like a definite problem.

“Well... can you try to get me a loan?”

“Baby, I’d love to get you alone.”

The wink that followed sent a familiar shiver up the woman’s spine. Perhaps luckily, Fry concurrently burst through the door, interrupting the ill-fated flow of the conversation.

“Leela, let’s go! Another bus is coming by! We can catch it!”

Realizing she was practically at a dead end anyway, Leela vaulted the queue rope and easily beat Fry to the door in pursuit of the bus that was indeed passing by. Following close behind, Fry and Bender waved their hands desperately, trying to catch the attention of the driver, who had apparently failed to stop at the nearby terminal. Nearly a half-sprinted block later, Leela realized the pursuit was futile; she was losing ground, and could not keep up much longer. She slowed to a walk and made a U-turn, noting with some meager delight that it would be a few seconds before Fry and even Bender reached her.

“It’s useless,” she said as they slowed to a halt. “I’ll have to try to convince that teller to help us. According to him there’s no more buses, so we have no other means of transport.”

Looking up, however, Leela noticed the lights were now off in the building they had come from.

“No! Don’t be closed now!” Leela ran back at a fatigued pace to discover a ‘Closed’ sign on the door, yet none of anyone within.

Plopping herself to the curb with blatant disregard for her posterior, Leela exhaled. They had no chance of getting to their ship now, unless another unscheduled bus randomly came by. Seeing as one just had, she reasoned there was still a sliver of hope. Once again Fry and Bender had caught up to her, so she turned to the redhead.

“Did you manage to see where that bus was headed, Fry?”

“Oh, yeah. I saw the going-to display. It’s heading to a place called Knotten’s Irviss. Do you think it’s near where we need to go?”

“Knotten’s Irviss?” That didn’t quite sit right with the woman; though she couldn’t exactly determine where she knew that place from, she was positive that she had heard of it before.

And then it hit her, like a sack full of sacks full of dark matter.

“Fry... it didn’t by chance say NOT IN SERVICE, did it?!

“Um... maybe? I don’t know, the bus was moving really fast.... Oh, also, I can’t read that well, and have unhealthy gums.”

Fry now cowered from the all-too-well known furrowed brow and emergence of the vein, which he had semi-affectionately dubbed
‘Veiny,’ on Leela’s forehead.

“This is perfect, just perfect! Because of you, we have absolutely-”


“Bender! Enough with the damn camera!”

Leela winked the spots from her eye and grabbed the contraption from Bender.

“No. More,” she seethed. This was her breaking point; any other surplus of emotion would set her over the edge, which is why it must have been the prominent self-destructive side of her psyche driving her pupil photo-ward as the blips faded from her oversized retina.  Unfortunately, the result was nearly enough to send her mental-ward.

The picture was somehow more bittersweet than the chocolate she was wishing she had a cubic fathom of right now.  It was simultaneously a striking rendition of a treasured desire and a slap to the face: She, Fry and Bender were there, each carrying boxes into a well-furnished apartment. Her parents embraced in the sunlight streaming majestically through the open window-

“Oh, God...” Leela choked. She’d need a dictionary, a translator, and a Geiger counter to explain how she was feeling at this point, but it didn’t matter. She broke down just like her ship had before, leaving Fry in the uncomfortable predicament of determining just how much to comfort her, knowing he was a large factor in her current emotional fragility.

Fry lay an arm gently over her shoulder and sat down as close to her as he could without sending the wrong message. He looked at the photo as a rush of understanding found its way through his synapses.

“It’s not fair!” She sobbed, “This is how it should be. The fact that this is only feasible in my wildest dreams is so wrong! My parents belong on Earth’s surface.” She paused to look around. “WE belong on Earth’s surface! But nothing’s going right... nothing has since we started.”

She looked Fry in the eyes for the first time, but couldn’t hold her gaze there for more than a second. She had shown weakness, and she hated that far more than she hated Fry right now.

“I’m sorry.” She wiped her eye and looked down at the ground. “I should be leading right now... I just don’t know what to do... I-”

She stopped; something had caught her attention on the Desiderator.

“Bender, why has this camera taken four pictures? It should only be three.”

“Well, four is a baker’s three when you think about it...” Bender started to wheedle.

“Just tell her,” Fry insisted. The delivery boy sensed the gravity like an anvil near a neutron star, and for once the robot

“Oh, alright. I took Fry’s picture while you were at the bus place. But it’s not that interesting.” Bender grudgingly reached into his compartment, pulled out the stashed picture, and handed it to Leela, who, oddly, was finding that she wasn’t as mad at this revelation as she should have been. Maybe her emotions had finally had enough.

“It’s just a picture of me holding a stupid black piece of paper,” Fry explained, “I mean... I’m not dissing black paper...” He clarified, “I can just think of a few things I'd want more... like my own space ship, or a Frisbee.”

Leela skeptically went over the new picture, slightly calmer now due to the digression. Indeed, it was as Fry had described it. Apparently taken from the point of view of Fry’s eyes, one hand on each side grasped a black rectangle in the foreground. The background gave no further clues.

“Well, I wanted to save this for later... but...” Bender started, interrupting all deductions Leela was making. Regardless, at least this trivial mystery provided some deductions other than those to her sanity. Bender had produced another device;
one Leela had yet to see.

“The camera wasn’t the only cargo?”

“Yeah, what gave that away?” Bender chided, twirling his new toy playfully. “This is the ...uh... Fry what’s this called?”

“The Lawbreaker one point... something.”

“The Lawbreaker One Point Something!” He repeated proudly. “It just might be our ticket out of here.”

“Do you know what it does?”

“Honey, do I even need to?” Bender replied, offended. “Whatever it does, I’m going to use it to rob one of these shops and then we’ll have the money we need to get a ride. Simple as that. Now for a test run... or something... yeah.” He pointed it at a nearby building and pressed a random button.

In her retelling of the event, all Leela could add to her log was “*scene missing*.”


The three materialized, currently unaware that they had ever dematerialized, on a shady glen by a worn dirt trail.

“And now that the test run is complete...” Bender continued, “I need a drink.” He reached into his compartment for a high-proof cocktail.

“What happened? Did that thing blow up the town?” Fry shouted, a bit panicky.

“We’re nowheres near where we just were!” Leela exclaimed, looking at her wrist computer. “We’re 92 miles east of... wait. We’re right by the ship!”

“But how?” Fry was gleeful yet confused, which only differed from his usual gleeful ignorance by the desire to learn.

“Bender...” Leela started, “That thing doesn’t break criminal laws... it breaks physical laws. If these readings are correct, we were vaulted here at light speed with no means of propulsion.”

Bender had yet to catch up with his captain or the significance of what she just said.

Doesn’t break criminal laws? What a rip!” Bender sighed, but was quick to rebound. “Oh well, let’s see what else it does.”

“Don’t you dare!” Leela barked. “We might have gotten lucky this time; next time we could reappear in vacuum, or break some other law and be converted into pure energy!”

“Or we could break the physical law that keeps our teeth from chewing into our own brains!” Fry added.

“We don’t need it now anyway; we have a mile walk to the ship. Let’s get a move on,” Leela commanded, steadying herself in her leadership position again.

As they walked up the dirt path, Leela broodingly pulled out her picture again. It made her so happy... and yet so utterly miserable at the same time, but she kept hoping the first would outweigh the second. She needed it to. The monogram in the bottom right caught her attention. “N.S.” She wondered what it meant. She pulled out Fry’s picture; it had the same exact marking in the bottom right. All the pictures had it. What could-;

She froze, letting Fry and Bender get ahead of her. There was something extra here. Leela squinted at the picture of two hands grasping a black rectangle...

“The monogram...” she whispered to herself, “The monogram’s on the black paper too! But that means it’s just-”

This thought completed mentally but not audibly, because something even more important had attracted her attention. The hand on the left side was clearly Fry’s right hand, and the one on the right side was Fry’s left hand. That didn’t make any sense. She noted a hint of red sleeve on the right hand; this was definitely Fry... but... The photo practically jammed into her eye at this point, Leela was fast realizing that the second hand was definitely not Fry’s. It was too slender, too feminine... too familiar...

A total explanation hit her all at once. It clarified the hand, the picture, the nothing and everything, all so well; she had to be right. It couldn’t be right, but she had to be. By now Fry had turned around, spotting Leela gaping at one of the photos. As he reached her, the only sound Leela could make was a half-second unification of a cacophony of emotional byproducts... Luckily for Leela, it sounded somewhat like a sneeze.

“Uh... Bless you.”

All Leela could do now was look Fry in the eyes as she put the snapshot away. Fry read the severe insecurity, but misguessed the source photo.

“It’s... it’s OK Leela. When we get back home we’ll give your parents a good long visit, alright?” A pleading, yet empathetic smile spread across his lips.

She had no words, and instead wrapped Fry up in an embrace that would have dented Bender’s back had he been the target. Fry accepted the lack of oxygen as a fair trade for this moment, and tried his best to console her despite being completely unaware of both what had transpired and the depths of his own affections. When Leela let go, she spoke only what her emotional semi-permeable membrane would let back out.

“You get on my nerves a lot Fry... but... but you’re a good friend. I just wanted you to know that.”

“And you know I would never want to work for anyone else.  You're a great captain.”

“Thanks,” She said, wiping yet another tear from her eye.

“If we’re done leaking fluids here, I’d like to get moving again!” shouted Bender; he was far ahead of them by now. “If you don’t hurry up I’m downgrading dinner from secondary to tertiary rib!”

Leela and Fry caught up, not hand in hand, but closer than two would normally walk. They both had had a slight boost in morale for their own reasons, and perhaps it was in the cards all along that only now could they read the sign around the bend. It made Leela laugh gawkily and Fry pump his fist teasingly in a minor celebration.

[Welcome to Knotten’s Irviss]


Urban Legend
« Reply #53 on: 12-17-2008 02:33 »

Chapter 6

The field of medicine in the 31st century can only be described as magic by most. Heart attacks, heart murmurs (a variation of THS), achy-breaky hearts, dislocated faces, and other common ailments all have simple and effective cures. Doctors can do almost anything, but as it goes, they have no fiscally solvent reason to do so. If everything in the universe were to be cured, just what would become of the doctors? Thus, some ‘incurable’ diseases are left to reproduce unscathed, and remedies for afflictions such as obesity are reserved for those with either a lot of money or the required connections.

Similarly, it makes sense that the common med-kit only has enough remedial value to keep one alive long enough for want of another med-kit. Indeed, a standard med-kit is about as remedial as it gets. The dermis-fusers work only for minor cuts, salves are painful and inefficient, and painkiller bottles actually contain SweetTarts and watch batteries. In some ways, the PE crew is lucky to have a doctor as amicably willing as Zoidberg. While he’s clearly unsuited for his profession, he actually wants to help, and will use anything at his medicinal disposal (or from his medicinal disposal) to do so.


Holly rubbed the back of her head; the minor wound seemed healed enough, and part of her wondered if it had not simply been the result of her brain attempting to escape her recently abusive body.  She checked the sprawled doctor one last time to make sure he has been properly knocked out and would not wake during their repair work. By her calculations she had about twenty-four hours to go, and quite frankly, part of her wanted to be sedated as well.

“Holly, get down here! Something broke off and I can’t tell if it’s from me or the engine!”

The woman locked the door as she left.

“I’m coming Kui, be careful down there! If the stabilizers are quantum then there’s a chance of duality!”

She hustled to the ladder; hoping her two pre-dropout years of technical training would pay off.


Amy struggled to free her fettered limbs, annoyed that her two years of technical training could not help her this time.

Charlie had not been back yet, and she wondered just where they were flying, just what her captor thought he was doing, and why they hadn’t caught up to the rest of the crew yet. What time was it? Had she fallen asleep or just zoned out? Now semi-prone and shifting to her side, the cool tile floor chilled her face to a peculiar numb state. If she could just stand up... but the chair was too heavy and unwieldy for her petite body. For once, the Martian wished she had her captain’s build.

Just when Amy had contorted herself in the most compromising position imaginable, Charlie sauntered back through the doorway.

“Oh I’m sorry, am I interrupting something private?”

Amy dropped flat again in anger and embarrassment. The chair pressed ruthlessly on her as she landed, but she didn’t dare show it.

“Hey, how about untying me now? I’ve been good, right?”

“I’ll let you go once I get to your robot; isn’t my word enough? Look at things from my side.”

Amy didn’t bother to ponder this, but had resigned to make a compromise.

“Will, will you pick me back up at least?”

Charlie obliged quicker than he would have liked, and steadied the chair back at its normal position at the table. Amy heaved a sigh of relief just before the lizard’s rough hand grasped her wrist forcefully.

She cringed and closed her eyes, but no harm or violation came. She meekly opened them again.

“Hey, where are you going with that thing I wear on my wrist?!”

“You have Leela’s frequency in here I assume. We passed the cab your crew was in a while ago, but it had astro-jettisoned them.”


“I thought it’d be easy to find them at first but there’s a few planets they could be on, and I don’t feel like searching too hard. I’ll get a lock on her with this.”

Amy didn’t respond; this explained why her friends hadn’t come back for her, but then what had become of them?

“Surprised it does more than make calls and organize dates?” Charlie continued though the stillness, “Don’t worry sweetie, I won’t mess with your calendar.”

He lingered as the cloud of patronization settled like a fine powder over the room, then promptly left the woman to baste in it. Amy was beyond infuriated as the door slammed shut. Despite her casually ditsy ways, any misogynistic behavior immediately sent her spiraling into feminist student mode.

“As soon as I get free...” she seethed to herself. “I’ll show him who the clever one is. I’ll blind him with science...”

For the time being, of course, she would simply have to tarry away the minutes.

“...and acid.”


Back on the planet that Fry, Leela, and Bender had never bothered to ascertain the name of, a small plume of smoke visible past the valley they had entered finally gave visual confirmation that they were near. Leela held out an arm to stop the other two, and turned to give orders.

“Alright, we don’t know who or what we’re dealing with here. It could be pirates, criminals, or confused geriatrics. In any case, we’ll attack-”

“What if it’s just Zoidberg?”

-we’ll attack via attack plan 41 Surround. Everyone sync their Captain Cadoodle Secret Spy watches. Fry, what time do you have?”

“Exactly 12:00... now! ...wait... 12:03... 12:05! My God, we’re in a time warp!”

“Turn off the stop watch.”


“And Bender, that’s not a standard Cadoodle-issue watch.”

“Yeah, well in retrospect, the cab driver had it coming.”

“Whatever. You guys know the drill...”

“I thought ‘The Drill’ was attack plan beta double-drill”

“For the last time Fry,” Bender shouted, “no two-bit operations!”

“Not that type of drill!” Leela interjected “And besides, you’re thinking of attack plan beta awl router bore”

“All routers bore?” Fry wasn’t keeping up.

“Oh yeah,” Bender replied. “Have you met my half-sister Link-Sis? She goes on, and on, and on...”

The squabble continued for several minutes; almost a page straight out of A Bot and Costello's latest comedy routine. When they had finally sorted it all out, they took their respective positions, and closed in on the waiting vessel.

Anger at the unidentified hijacker mounting, Leela made her way through the light brush at the base of the slope. The ship looked pretty banged up, and this just added fuel to the fire. Fortunately, no stray fuel had been added to the ship, which had until recently been on fire. Narrowing her eye slightly, she spotted her quarry. They were right there in the open, working diligently on the engines in the same way a 5-year old works diligently on a tax return. Leela sized them up. Fry and Bender could probably take the robot down, especially since they had the element of surprise, though she surmised that that could easily be countered by the element of uranium. The woman, Leela noticed, was of a similar build to her, though a bit shorter in stature. Leela had no doubt she could handle her, unless she happened to be armed, which was a frightening likelihood. She smiled wryly; the odds were better than usual.

Some blinking lights and a refreshingly cheerful spy ditty signaled that it was time to move in. Taking a breath, she silently crept closer to the back of her crumpled vessel. With any luck, she would arrive at the same time as her cohorts, and-


Leela slumped; Fry and Bender had beaten her there, and were now staring down the anode end of an ion pistol. On the much-less-dangerous idiomatic plus-side, Leela was thereby in the perfect position to strike. Taking a few stealthy strides, she launched into a flying kick, only with great difficulty quelling the standard Kung-fu scream until after she had made contact; it didn't feel as satisfying. Leela made perfect contact with Holly's dominant wrist, sending a shot wide and the gun itself tumbling to the ground. She had been aiming for the back of the woman's head, but this, she deemed, was close enough.

Bender and Kui both lunged at the gun for different reasons, while Holly spun around in nearly a complete circle, grasping her struck wrist.

"Owwww! Hey, what’s the big idea?"

"We're taking our ship back, you no good evil pirates!" shouted Fry, completely ignoring the epic struggle for survival/a free gun being waged behind him.

Your ship?! We already have this ship's owner sedated!"

"He's not the ship's owner!" Leela shouted, enraged by the thought. "I'm in command, and-"

"Our intel says this ship has one occupant," Holly tensely explained. "And he fits the comprehensive description of a 'big creepy alien' in my book.”

Leela took a threatening step in. “What did you want from us?”

“Nothing from you, you nutcases.” Holly also took a step forward. Fry took a step back. “We were sent to steal something from this ship, but really I don’t care anymore and I’m quitting and I give up... so it’s all moot now, so get out of here unless you want to help us fix an engine.” Exasperation had flooded all of the ire from her voice.

Leela wasn't buying it yet.  "What could you possibly want to steal from us?  All we have are boxes!"

"Maybe they want my jar full of outer-space!" Fry interjected,  "Well you'll have to get your own!"

Holly ignored Fry. "Something called the Lawbreaker." It probably wasn't the best criminal form to be giving out so much information to strangers, but at this point Holly had been deflated past any tactful reasoning.  Bender froze upon hearing the name of the device he pilfered, and was promptly shot with a quick ion blast.

“Ow! Quit it!” He went to snatch the deadly weapon from Kui, only to realize that his own finger was already on the trigger. Repressing an embarrassed laugh, and noting that shooting a robot with an ion pack was obviously pointless, he nonchalantly stuffed the pistol in his cabinet, and then turned to the puzzled women. Leela was the only one with both the proper information and the wherewithal to piece it together, and as if they were aware of this, all uneasily waited for her to speak. She would, but first, she chuckled knowingly.

“I think you hijacked the wrong ship, uh...”


“Holly. The Lawbreaker was in the ship next to ours, being piloted by none other than a big creepy looking alien, who by now is after us anyway since we already stole it!”

“You were hired to steal it too?”

“Nope, just a hobby, baby,” Bender bantered casually.

“Anyway, we’re going to have to give it back to him, because a friend of ours is in trouble if we don’t. After that you’re free to try to steal it again, I guess. Though I wouldn’t recommend it.”

“Can’t we just have it now?” Holly moaned. “I need this paycheck.”

“Sorry, no can do. But you can help us fix our ship, unless you want us to kick your asses then charge you for the repairs.”

Holly sighed deeply, in a way which made the empathy flicker in Leela like a broken neon sign. Holly turned to her fallen friend, still rubbing her lower arm.

“You didn’t happen to get that gun back did you?”


“Alright then, we’re in. We’ve been trying anyway...”

She pointed to the engines. It was pretty questionable whether the ship could fly even if the engines and stabilizers were fixed at this point, but it was worth a try.

“Wait, no it’s not!” said Leela, mulling similar thoughts through her head. “We can’t do this without a quantum mechanic!”

Fry joined in, remembering the problems from before. “Yeah, no one here is smart enough to know the sciencey stuffs inside the engine-mabobbit. I mean, it’s not like someone has some sort of magical tool that makes enginescience not matter-”

“He’s right!” Leela interrupted.

“He said something?” Kui chided.

“The Lawbreaker!”

“What about it?” Holly asked, apprehensively.

“We learned what it does... sort of; it breaks physical laws at the touch of a button. We just need to pick the right button...”

“So... maybe if we pick the right one, the engine will fix itself?”

“There’s a chance, but there’s also a chance that it’ll backfire and kill us all.”

“What, the engine, or the plan?”



Holly and Kui exchanged prolonged glances. Fry and Leela felt left out, and therefore had an exchange of their own. Bender wasn’t one to share.

“It doesn’t matter anymore,” Holly sighed, “By the sound of it this isn’t even what the boss was looking for.”

“Who’s ‘The Boss?‘“ asked Leela.

“Ooh! I know this one! Tony Danza!” Fry confidently answered.

“Actually, we don’t know,” said Holly, ignoring the redhead yet again.  She had gotten the idea pretty fast. “Kui and I worked freelance in anything from petty to grand theft, and anyone who gets in contact with us stays anonymous. It pays enough to get by, but seriously, I’m done after this. After what that lobster put us through...”


“Yeah...” she seethed, “Zoidberg." The name rolled off her tongue like a bookcase down a ravine. Kui trembled at its utterance.

“You didn’t... kill him, did you?” asked Bender.

“No, like I said, he’s tranquilized in the med-bay.”

“Oh.” and he sounded quite dejected. “Well, the slightly more reason to hope the ship explodes!” He shouted, brandishing the Lawbreaker and taking aim.

“Hold it!” Leela shouted.

“I am!” Bender retorted, waving the controller playfully in her face. Leela took the opportunity to grab it from the robot’s lax fingers. “Aw... I gotta stop doing that.”

“Everyone get back; we’ll stay in a group, and I’ll try one button.”

The group did as instructed; it was a bit unnerving for them all, huddling near people they didn’t exactly know and could barely even trust, but when faced with the unknown many are apt to act in unusual ways. Leela held the remote out, and paused for a moment. Was this the right thing to do? Something was nagging at her in an unmotherly way...

As if on cue (in Leela’s mind at least), the side door of the ship snapped open and Nibbler bounded out. He had been watching the situation unfold from the cockpit, and upon realization of the actions to be taken, decided it was best to join his owners, even if it meant giving away his expert door-using prowess.

“Nibbler!” Leela shouted, as her pet scampered to her leg and clung on lovingly. “How could I forget my snuzzie-ooki-wunkins?! Aw... you’re OK!” She picked him up and hugged him tightly. This display of simple affection upping the spirits a bit, Leela turned to her ship yet again.

“Ready?” she asked, nearly rhetorically, “Now!”

Aiming the controller over Kui’s shoulder, she held her breath and pressed a button.

The proceeding seconds were about as anticlimactic as her night with Zapp. Nothing happened. Nothing at all. Without rethinking the situation, she hastily jabbed at a second button, by now with the sentiment that any reaction was better than the discomfiture of no reaction. This time, the unthinkable happened. With a flash of life the ship’s engines flared into sudden action. Fry jumped at the sound and bumped Holly, who toppled into Kui, knocking him down.

“It worked!” She yelled, “what did you do?!”

“I have no idea,” admitted Leela. “These buttons aren’t labeled. I guess... I guess it knows what you want to happen. It’s really helped us out twice now.” She paused, looking hesitantly at the prodigious device she had wielded. “Now I’m never touching this damn thing again.” She opened Bender’s chest and put the device next to the gun and the camera.

Fry and Holly pulled Kui up. “You alright?” They asked, nearly in unison.

“Yeah... yeah...” he muttered. “You didn’t bump me that hard. It’s just my head...” He clutched at his metallic skull. “Doesn’t feel too right.”

“Might be left-over from the crash,” said Holly, “Or maybe when you- uh... Kui?”

Holly stared intently at the automaton’s face.

“What, what?! Is there something on my nose?!” he squirmed, and went to wipe at his face, but instead his hand unhinged from the wrist and folded back into itself. “What the...”

“Your eyes are red... blood red. Maybe you should lie-”

“ARMING!” Kui shouted, taking a jolted step back, surprised at his own tone. Where his hand once was, a large machete popped into place from within his armor. “What’s happening?!”

Nibbler leapt from Leela’s arm and ran for the hills; literally. In a Lassie-like way he beckoned for the others to follow, but no one was paying attention to him. Three more knives, a menacing looking laser turret, a medieval mace, a can of mace, and a purple light saber had sprouted from compartments scattered about the robot’s body.


“Yeah, that’s who needs the help,” said Bender to Leela, both stepping towards the direction Nibbler had bolted.

“I can’t... I c-c-c-AQUIRING TARGETS!” Kui tried to move in two directions at once, fighting his programmed instincts with whatever he could, but he was clearly losing the battle. Holly took one courageous step forward, a step closer to losing a battle of her own.

“Kui! Ku-i! It’s me, Holly!” She seemed more desperate than the crew would have liked. It didn’t appear like she was used to this. In fact, Holly had never encountered anything like this before, ever. The turret locked on her.

“Uh... yeah, it’s me, Fry!” Fry echoed.

“Yeah, that’ll sway him.” Bender remarked.

“Hmph. I don’t even think we even introduced ourselves earlier...” added Leela, backing slowly up the hillside.

“Don’t worry; you’ll have plenty of time to while we’re bleeding.” Holly avowed, now abandoning her brief flirt with bravery.

“He’s a killbot... a real live killbot,” Leela rambled on, “I’ve never met one before.”

“Neither have I...” Holly replied, almost in a trance.


The three crewmembers hit the ground with instincts born from years of tight scrapes; Holly closed her eyes with a whimper that implied that she knew much more than scrapes were coming.

From inside Kui, something resembling the sound of a large man blowing an empty dart gun resounded across the otherwise deserted glen. Then, the briefest of eerie silences resounded even louder. Leela sprang to her feet.

“The gun’s not charged! Move it!”

Holly wheeled about, snapping back to the reality of the situation. Hitting stride just as Fry and Bender regained their footing on the slope, the group headed uphill.

“Fry, quick! Sacrifice yourself! ...thousands of times,” Bender pleaded, remembering their foe’s weakness. Fry didn’t listen, and as their run slowly morphed into a climb, the sounds of wild slashing and swinging grew ever closer.

Grasping for a handhold, Leela half climbed and half dragged herself up the precipitous terrain. She had a slight lead on her counterparts, which at this point granted her the dubious honor of hearing the most deaths before her own. A knife struck the rock above her, and she had to sway abruptly, letting it fall past her. Holly approached on her other side.

“Uh, can you can climb a hill to escape a Killbot?”

“No, only bears and Jehovah’s Witnesses.”


Noting the implied futility, the two women stopped, then rolled, pinning their backs to the wall to survey their fate. Fry and Bender had done the same a yard or two below, the latter now sporting the handle of a machete for a hat.

Kui stood mere feet away from the men, all remaining weapons poised. He shuddered lightly.

“I...I-I-I- I’m... sorry” he stammered, raising an arm to strike.


Holly and Leela were unceremoniously doused in a disgusting goo which, for one truly horrifying second, Leela’s mind reckoned to be Fry’s various organs and fluids. A searing, tingling pain flooded the woman’s wrist the next, and she instinctively grasped at it, only to cause the pain spread to her other hand. Meanwhile, the goop was moving, purposefully leaving her person, headed back towards the...

“What... the... hell?!” Holly slowly shouted as Leela’s wrist device jettisoned to the ground in a shower of sparks.

Just below them, Charlie Foster’s ship clung to the cliff face like the residue from Fry’s nasal septum, the ferromagnetic landing aperture resolidifying after the initial impact splash. Fry was climbing steadily towards the women through the impeding ebb of magnetic material, whilst Bender, meanwhile, was in a giddy heap, already nearing the second verse of ‘Oh, Susanna.’

Holly edged towards the ship.

“.... ... Kui?” she asked, unsure of whether or not she wanted a response. Her beckoning was greeted only by the sound of the side door flinging open, and a distorted flight of stairs deploying. Charlie stormed out as soon as the staircase allowed it,
and irately surveyed the aftermath.

“Damnit! Got the wrong freaking robot...” he yelled, briskly shimmying towards his true target, who currently was in no position to defend himself. The reptile reached down, and with one frighteningly brawny and precise twist of the machete decapitated Bender, proceeding then to discard the blade and beat this new acquisition against the cliff face.

I thought I saw Susanna-
-saw Susanna
“OW! Hey, thanks! I was-
“going crazy there for a-”
“Oof! So you can stop-”

This continued for longer than was probably necessary.

Holly had by now spotted Kui, pinned harmlessly between the ground and the landing pegs, a metallic fruit in the worst gelatin dessert ever imagined. The large flux had obviously caused a system crash, and he was thus frozen perfectly still like a mosquito in amber. Holly felt almost as if she was viewing him in a museum, and couldn’t help forgetting the recent events in favor of their years working together.

“We have to get him out of there!” She begged, almost losing her precarious footing.

“No, leave him for now; he’ll be fine after a reboot,” said Leela, picking up a much calmer Nibbler. “Happens to Bender all the time.” She added, motioning to the carnage beside her. “See?”

Charlie slammed Benders head back onto his body, ripped open his torso, and grabbed both the Lawbreaker and the Desiderator.

“Now apologize.” He commanded, looming over him like an eclipse that stared portentously back.

Bender briefly thought about trying to surprise Charlie with the gun that he had yet to grab, but through dulled artificial senses decided that for once the olive branch could be used for something other than martini night. Everyone was looking now, making it even more embarrassing. Bender sighed.

“Alright, I know when I’ve been beaten... and just now you really kicked my ass... so... I’m sorry.”

“Good then.” Charlie’s demeanor warped unsettlingly yet again as he smiled. “We’re all square. I’ll even let your favorite Martian go.”

“All... square?” Leela repeated, tentatively.
“I just want this all behind me now... let me get on with my delivery, and you can get on with yours.”

“Heh, fat chance... we’re going home.” Leela scoffed, apathy taking hold of her tired bones. “But thank you.”

“Hey... uh... we don’t have a ship...” Holly spoke timidly, and then lowered her voice further, “and I don’t have a ‘we.’ Could the fritzo and I maybe get a ride with someone?”

“Sure!” Fry responded happily. “Let’s just untrap the menacing beast of doom that tried to kill us and carry him down this perilously steep incline to-”

Actually... it’d be best if we left your friend there tangled in the landing gear” Charlie interrupted. “He’ll be fine ‘til I get him wherever you’re going.”

“Nowhere to go now anyway...” Holly mused, “Out of a job.”

“Well, I’ll get you to a repair shop at least, doll.”

Some mindless expository bantering later, everything and everyone was safely put in its proper place. The PE crew boarded their disfigured ship, engines still running, and set a course for Earth.

Charlie watched their sputtering take off, a mix of unaccountable feelings stirring gratingly. He felt like he had gone too soft by letting them off, but, unfortunately, after making the decision to save them from the killbot, he had realized, there was no sensible reason to kill them himself. If anything, he thought, it had lead to yet another interesting alien woman being aboard his craft; something he has almost getting used to... something he was perhaps even starting to... like...


Chapter 7

The theory of quantum entanglement states that two particles, once they interact, are forever bound to one another, affecting each other across limitless space at seemingly instantaneous speeds, forever. The implications of this are nothing short of massive, sprawling networks of matter, delicately connected to each other via enigmatic forces across the cosmos. If the equations are to be believed, perhaps everything is connected to everything else in some way; actions never truly isolated, coincidences never truly coincidences. Layers beyond what anyone can perceive are buried beneath reality, and science is simply unable to take advantage of them. It is impossible, and scientists can only watch and wonder why.


After touchdown, Fry emerged from the PE ship dragging a still anesthetized Zoidberg. To the best of the crew’s knowledge, he was still alive, but vitals are hard to check if your subject is cold blooded, has an exoskeleton, and you don’t really care.

Bender followed, dragging Amy, still bound to her chair. Charlie saw it best to leave her that way after she didn’t appear to show the same forgiveness as the others. She had stayed in that position after she also failed to show forgiveness towards her crew for showing forgiveness to Charlie so easily.

Leela exited last, dragging only herself, yet looking the worst for wear from it. It could never have felt better to arrive back at her place of work; this misadventure had been particularly draining, and the flight home had taken twice as long as it should have because she had not wanted to push the engines.

Entering the conference room after ditching their incapacitated and metallic friends, Fry and Leela came across Professor Farnsworth, looking as calm as ever, neither curious of their delay nor thankful for their survival. Seated across from him was a younger old man, sipping some coffee, a notepad in front of him.

The silence unbroken, Leela coughed abruptly and aggressively.

“Oh, uh, wha? Oh yes! Welcome back! I trust everything went well?”

“Yes, sir.” Leela replied.

“You have the invoice?”

“Yup!” Fry chirped, handing a crumpled sheet of paper to Hubert, which he unraveled and read to the best of his ability.

We got whatever we were delivering -Love, Not Fry. Very good! That sounds like a suitable reply for a task I can’t specifically remember!”

Leela couldn’t decide whether she was more exasperated by Fry’s half assed attempt at trickery or at the ease with which it succeeded. Why did she even bother? ...Oh right, she didn’t...

Farnsworth motioned to his companion just as the doorbell rang. Leela went to answer the door as the Professor continued undaunted.

“This is my long time friend and colleague, Nuzi Spoziano.”

“Nuzi?” Fry repeated, “That sounds-”

“Delivery for a Hubert James Farnsworth!” came a low voice from behind the door that Leela was about to open.

Nuzi snorted. “Hubert! I still can’t believe you go by that now. Back when we met, you said-” The door opened.






“Fry, we are NOT saying random names, we are all legitimately surprised!”


Charlie Foster burst into the room, confused and mildly entertained.

“Nuzi, what the hell are you doing here?!”

“Well, I got nervous when my inventions didn’t arrive and I couldn’t reach you, so I took a space-cab to James’s to discuss what to do. You do have them, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I still got ‘em. ...and Leela,” Charlie turned, “You work for James, the guy I’ve been delivering these devices to the whole time?”

“I... I guess so,” Leela stammered, “But we’ve never called him James before, so we couldn’t have known.”

“He went by his middle name when he was younger,” Nuzi added, “Now... how do you know my Charlie?”

“We’re... kind of the reason the package got delayed,” She admitted, “It’s a long story with crashes and deceit and misunderstandings and-”

“Us!” Two more figures appeared from outside, having heard the commotion.

“Holly, Kui?!” Leela took a shocked step back, then gathered herself in time to stare Fry down before he could say ‘Gordon?!’ “What are you doing here?!”

“While I was delayed these two helped me out Nuzi,” Charlie started, “Anyway, I was thinking it was about time you let me have a crew to assist with deliveries.”

“Well, Lord knows you could use the social skills,” Nuzi replied, "Does this mean you're coming back full time?"

"Not entirely, but let's say I'll try."

Nuzi smiled. “I’m sure we can work something out.”

“Great!” Holly shouted, high-fiving her robotic partner.

“Hey, first of all, I want to apologize for what happened out there,” said Kui, “I still don’t know what happened, but now that everything’s sorted out I would have felt really bad if I managed to kill you guys.”

“We’re used to friends randomly going on homicidal rampages, don’t worry about it,” Leela assured, then turned to Holly, “How are you going to hold up working with these two?”

“It’s funny,” said Holly, “It all kind of balances out. Kui defends me when Charlie insults my aptitude, and Charlie defends me when Kui insults my appearance.”

“Sounds... wonderful,” Leela dryly responded.
“We get our share from her too, so don’t buy any of that damsel bit she’s giving,” added Kui.

Even more than before, Leela saw a bit of herself in the look Holly shot back. She assumed, perhaps a bit arrogantly, that Charlie saw the same thing.

“Now then,” Nuzi took a big breath, “what the bloody hell is going on here? Could you fill an old man in?” The man he was referring to must have been himself, since Farnsworth was by now fast asleep.

“There’ll be plenty of time to explain while we fly you home Newz,” Charlie ensured, “As much as I love the oddness of this situation I need to get going. ‘Nother business proposition waiting if you know what I mean.”

“Fine,” Nuzi agreed, having looked over his quiescent associate. “I may have outstayed my welcome. Well, it was nice meeting you two-”

“Wait!” Leela couldn’t let this chance get away. “You have to explain these devices to me. We saw what the Lawbreaker does, but how... and why?”

“You used it?”

“Well, yeah...” Leela was looking at her shoes, and hated it. “Twice, and each time it got us out of a jam, but we never really figured out how it worked.”

“Ah, curiosity gets the best of us all sometimes, eh?” Spoziano remarked, the initial vagueness of mood emerging as a definite curiosity over irritation. “Random field testing isn’t the worst thing in the universe I suppose; let’s have a look at what happened. Charlie?”

Charlie handed him the Lawbreaker, and Nuzi promptly attached a device of his own to it.

“This thing runs diagnostics on all my inventions, just makes things easier...” Some lights blinked and he read over a fine printed display, “The Lawbreaker was designed to break laws, scientific and otherwise, on the user’s whim, but at the moment it always picks something random. I can’t make heads or arses of it, honestly, but that’s why the buttons aren’t labeled... they were supposed to do different things, but don’t yet,” He paused to read more thoroughly, “Seems to me that this actually was used three times, not two.”

“Really?” Leela reacted in the way she one day hoped to be able to lie.

“Yes... now let’s see.” Nuzi hit some buttons and checked the readout again. “The last time this device was used the 2nd law of thermodynamics was broken.”

“Makes sense,” said Leela. “Our engines were ruined and they partially reassembled to the way they were.”

“Good, that’s a success,” Nuzi replied approvingly, then went back to reading. “The time before that... hmm... that’s a new one.”

“What law did we break?”

“Asimov’s First?”

There was a pause. 

“Asimov’s First...” Fry repeated, so that the others might assume he was thinking about it as hard as they were.

“Kui, that’s it!” Leela shouted. “I hit that button an extra time before the engines were fixed and we all thought nothing happened...”

“But it was making your programming homicidal the whole time!” Holly completed the sentence. “This makes everything OK! It’s not going to happen again!” She hugged him for the first time in a while, causing him obvious embarrassment.

While they joked, comforted, a bit more, Leela and Fry turned back to Nuzi.

“The time before that, we traveled through space faster than light to get back to our ship,” Leela recounted as Nuzi read, “What law was that? Einstein’s? Newton’s?”

“Hardly,” chuckled Nuzi. “The only reason you ended up by your ship was because you would have been by it had things not gone horribly wrong, am I correct?”

“Yeah,” said Fry, “How did you know?”

“Murphy’s.” said Nuzi, plainly. “You got back to where you should have been by effectively breaking Murphy’s Law! Oh... how I wish this device worked predictably! I’d make millions.”

“Yeah...” said Leela, trancelike due to the ludicrousness of recent revelations. “Well... thanks for your help!”

“We’ll see each other again sometime soon, I’m sure,” promised Charlie, “Maybe we’ll meet for sandwiches again or something.”

“Definitely,” said Fry, shaking the reptilian’s hand.

“And tell your friend Amy I said hi, OK?”

“I think I’ll pass,” said Leela. “Bye, you three, don’t get into too much legal trouble, alright?”

“Same for you and that Bender guy,” said Kui. “See ya.”

“Bye!” said Holly, grabbing Fry and Leela into a quick, clumsy, group hug which said ‘I barely know you still but we almost died next to each other so that’s gotta mean something.’ The three turned, and exited, Nuzi close behind. Fry waved, but Leela jumped outside before the door shut and spun Nuzi around.

“One more question, if you don’t mind.”

“No problem, dear. What is it?”

“The camera... the camera you made can spark some powerful emotions. Be careful with it, OK?”

“I don’t plan on selling it if that’s what you mean, it can tempt and twist the heart in any which way it pleases, and you are powerless against your own consciousness. I know that far too well now... and I’m sorry if you had to experience anything like I did too. It is... the price we pay for curiosity.”

“I think I’m better for it,” Leela averred, “But... is there any reason the camera would give a cryptic message? One that wasn’t straight forward like the rest?”
“Well, I’ve never seen it do that before... it’s been flawless as of late.” He thought for a moment. “Maybe... well, maybe, a subconscious is sometimes smart enough to keep things it knows you’re not ready for obscured, like a message in a prophetic dream.  I know it's cheesy, but it's the best I’ve got, dear, and I’m a bloody scientist! Sorry if it’s not what you needed to hear.”

“No, no, that will do.” Leela said, holding back a tear whose cause she couldn’t trace to a reason. “Thanks for everything, Nuzi.”

“No trouble at all. But it’s about time I left you to your own devices... heh. Keep safe now!” He turned and left, hustling slightly as to not keep Charlie and the others waiting for long. Leela slowly wandered back inside.

“What was that about?” Fry asked, waiting for her at the entrance.

“Nothing... nothing...” Leela mumbled, and let a meek smile evolve on her face. “TV?”

“Thought you’d never ask.”

And, life returned to normal, which, thankfully or unthankfully, was as about abnormal as it could be. The future, both as a society and as a personal outlook, may not have looked the brightest for everyone, but it was far from dark; and as long as you’re trying to save yourself when faced with death from space crashes and homicidal robots, you know you have enough to live for. Inside the PE building, Zoidberg and the Professor slumbered further, Hermes obliviously filed forms, and Nibbler secretly untied Amy as she too napped as best she could. Bender filched the contents of the Martian's locker while he had the chance, and the two remaining unaccounted passed out next to each other to the buzzing drone of a hypnotizing toad.

Aboard Charlie’s ship, three new friends bickered noisily about the proper way to cook a buggalo steak, and, resting in a bunk, a thought struck Nuzi Spoziano.

“Well, the subject could have been missing a brainwave or two... but... nah... that’s impossible.”



And that's that! Thoughts, comments?  (he asked for the last time... ohh, the years I've been scouring for feedback.. it takes me back...) 

Space Pope
« Reply #54 on: 12-18-2008 05:43 »

I definitely have a habit of just doing a vocab dump in my work, especially of the 'adverb verbed' variety.  I like words too much.

Oh, I know, I do that rather often myself.
I think it's a leftover symptom from trying to fill out college papers.
Words are hard not to use.

Thoughts, comments, feedback? Gripping story, interesting original characters, more puns and wordplay than the legal limit. I always like how you incorporate various inventions into your works, and the way you worked the Desiderator and Lawbreaker contraptions into this one was ingenious.   Excellent idea about Fry's picture, if a bit cryptic at first.


We got whatever we were delivering -Love, Not Fry.

Best note ever.

Part of me thinks I'd be better off writing a series of short stories.

Sounds like a highly good idea.
Very much hope to read something by you again in the future.
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