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Author Topic: Esso-teric: soylentOrange's Fanfic Thread  (Read 29934 times)
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Space Pope
« Reply #200 on: 10-13-2008 01:28 »

Honestly, I don't know how Arch writes all of these character-driven scenes.  They're hard as hell.

In the same way I have trouble writing action scenes... wink

I had to admit the ending felt a little abrupt, but then perhaps that works best for a story like this. There's nothing worse than a lingering angsty epilogue... smile

Urban Legend
« Reply #201 on: 10-13-2008 02:12 »

Oh, that wasn't the ending.  There's another few pages of falling action left after this.

Space Pope
« Reply #202 on: 10-13-2008 02:28 »

Oh. I got the impression it was. Don't kill me too hard.

Starship Captain
« Reply #203 on: 10-13-2008 02:33 »

Win. Solid win.

Weekend complete.

Urban Legend
« Reply #204 on: 10-13-2008 02:50 »

@Archonix: Dont worry.  I'm not going to kill you.  If I was dumb enough to do that, half of PEEL would be out for my blood when they realised that Parallel Lives wasn't ever going to get finished big grin

@ni:  solid win?  Guess it didn't suck as bad as I thought smile

Space Pope
« Reply #205 on: 10-13-2008 03:21 »

Oh, that wasn't the ending.  There's another few pages of falling action left after this.

Ohhh, okay; because it was a little abrupt, and I wondered, no concluding scene between Fry and Leela at all? [Although I don't know what you intend with that]. And especially no closure with Amy; I doubted you would just end it without indicating what happens to her.

So what do you think?  Too sappy/corny?  I've never killed off a character that mattered before.  I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out.

Well... it was a trifle melodramatic for my tastes, but you still conveyed Fry's conflicted guilt and sorrow well.
It isn't so much that you killed her off, that's justified, and internally logical to the story, but more just the slightly stereotypical convention of her waking up, and sort
of semi-repenting.
But anyhow, Walt sure took a lot of abuse in this part.  I liked how Fry noted "that sounds more like you", when he returned to his characteristic self.
Also, I forgot the building was on fire too.

@km: JustMibblin is JN's evil twin.  Didn't you know?

Ahh - no, just that he has twins, not that he possesses an evil one - but that might explain some things. Such as, maybe said twin is what's stopping him from finishing Rush Moon.  tongue

Here's hoping he shows up to dispel that notion...

Urban Legend
« Reply #206 on: 10-13-2008 03:22 »

“Hee-ya!” Leela yelled, and her boot connected with Walt’s jaw.  The force of the blow twisted the balding man’s head to the right, and a single tooth went spiraling away into the distance. 

Hasn't someone drawn a picture like that?  big grin

Thanks, Soylent.

Space Pope
« Reply #207 on: 10-13-2008 03:41 »

Such as, maybe said twin is what's stopping him from finishing Rush Moon.

If I didn't know better I'd have assumed he was holding out until I finished the picture I promised. Better finish that, I guess...

Space Pope
« Reply #208 on: 10-13-2008 04:34 »

Oh, almost forgot about those too. Two pictures, wasn't it? One featuring those pylons, I believe he said, and another of the climactic scene with Fry stamping on Leela's hand as he's escaping.

While I'm here again might as well also mention that I just saw that you posted the first chapter proper of Green Storm Rising over at ff.net too.. All I'm gonna say now is - large swathes of humor!!!1!11! Antichrysler-Plymouth, ha ha. Looking highly promising. I am now even more anticipatory than I was before.
More comment when you post it here.
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #209 on: 10-13-2008 16:59 »

“Hee-ya!” Leela yelled, and her boot connected with Walt’s jaw.  The force of the blow twisted the balding man’s head to the right, and a single tooth went spiraling away into the distance. 

Hasn't someone drawn a picture like that?  big grin

Thanks, Soylent.

This one?

My only nit-pic is that she let him live...

Starship Captain
« Reply #210 on: 10-13-2008 18:24 »

Leela does like her kicking people in the head...

De-borging Amy could be tricky. Guess Fry gets to lug 100 pounds of intern + however many pounds of cybernetic implants over to the professor to fix. He needs the exercise anyway :P
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #211 on: 10-14-2008 01:20 »

Wow! I'd fallen behind again on this, your updating schedule is as nearly as impressive as your writing. But it seems that I've come in on the climax, and very climaxy indeed. Maybe a little too over the top at the end of this latest bit, but still not bad, not by any means. Very interested to see where the subplots go in the conclusion, now that the main line is apparently over.

Urban Legend
« Reply #212 on: 10-15-2008 04:01 »

@km:  Yes, it was a bit melodramatic.  It sort of took off and got away from me right after the scene in the construction yard.  Definitely not the best thing I've ever written, but meh.

@El-Man:  Heh, you're welcome smile.  I was actually writing this scene when you posted that pic, and since I'd already written the roundhouse-kick into the storyline, all i had to do was add a tooth flying off into the distance to make it match.

@Ni:  Well, deborging is a long and epensive process, but I spent all my free time eating pie instead of writing, so it'll take one paragraph. big grin

@SW: Me, impressive updating schedule?  Heh, not anymore.  Back in the day I used to update every two days.  Now its weeks or months between updates.

And here, finally and at long last, is the conclusion to Disillusionment.  Which is great, because I am so sick of this story I could throw my laptop out the window.  But then I'd need a new laptop, so I guess I'll just post this instead:
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______


*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
Fry stood in the doorway of his Quantum Estates apartment and took one last look around.  Somehow, it already didn’t feel like home.  With a sigh, Fry turned off the light switch and closed the door.  His key turned in the lock, and there was an air of finality to the soft click that the deadbolt made as it entered its socket.  He was going to miss the place, he knew, but he just couldn’t bring himself to stay.  There were just too many sad memories that came with it. 

Slowly Fry worked his way through the bustling city streets toward Robot Arms.  Bender had been eager to have his old roommate back, though he’d made a big show of being hurt that Fry had left in the first place. 

It was a bright, clear morning- one of the best so far of the summer- but Fry didn’t notice the sunlight glinting off of the skyscrapers or the flurry of air traffic that sped by overhead.  His mind was far away.  He hadn’t taken Chelsea’s death well.  When the smoke of the nearby fire had finally gotten to the point that they could no longer stay, Leela had had to forcibly drag him away.  He didn’t remember how they’d finally gotten out of the building, or even that Leela had gone back inside to drag Amy and then Walt to safety. 

Later, when they’d had some time to themselves, Leela had told him what they’d found once they were outside.  Chelsea hadn’t been kidding when she’d said the whole building was surrounded.  Hundreds- if not thousands- of New New York’s assimilated citizens lay sprawled on the ground in a ring that girdled the warehouse.  When, hours later, Professor Farnsworth- who had apparently been overlooked by the cyborg army as he slept through the entire invasion in an armchair at Planet Express- inspected the technology that had been used to control them, he could find no reason for the sudden deactivation of the cyborgs.  He could only theorize that Chelsea had somehow broadcasted a deactivation command to them in her last moments. 

A few hours after their escape from the burning building, A DOOP helicopter had flown in to investigate the cause of the still-raging fire. The squad of soldiers that had been onboard was absolutely dumbfounded to find Leela, bruised, battered, and covered with ash, waving to them as they disembarked. 

 As was the case with most alien invasions and the like, the city was back to normal so quickly that it left Fry wondering if everything had just been a very bizarre, very bad dream.  Chelsea’s unique way of taking over the city had had the unintended side effect of keeping the casualties to a minimum. There were an unfortunate number of alien deaths, but all of the human and robot civilians that had died in the tragedy had been cyborgs killed by the DOOP or by Leela as the PE crew had been trying to flee the city.  Leela would eventually confide to Fry that she’d had some troubling thoughts about the sewer mutants back when Chelsea had confronted the two of them in the construction site, and that she had been immensely relieved to learn that, as far as it could be determined, the sewer mutants had been left alone.

A special court was convened to determine whether the civilian deaths should be ruled homicides, but public support for Zapp Brannigan’s ‘heroic defeat of the cyborg scourge’, as he termed it, was high enough that even the idiot hyperchicken lawyer wasn’t able to bungle a self-defense ruling for Fry and Leela, who Zapp Brannigan claimed had ‘helped a little’.
As for the New New Yorkers that had been captured by Chelsea and then assimilated, they started to wake up one by one right about the time that Fry, Leela, Walt, and Amy were being medivacced.  Some minor surgery- or some time under the welding torch, whichever the situation dictated- was enough to remove the metal components that had been connected to their brains and central processors.  Some people would have a few scars and some robots would have a blemish or two, but that was about the worst of it.  In fact, a new fashion trend swept through the city as the hip and trendy started shoving fake cyborg implants into their bodies, giving them bragging rights about “being right in the middle of it all.”

Amy had been different.  The stun ray Fry had used on her had shut down her body, but left the circuitry that was connected to her intact.  Apparently the circuits had become confused, and they overloaded.  When Amy hadn’t regained consciousness in twenty four hours, Leela had insisted that they take her to the hospital.  There, Fry and Leela had waited anxiously for the doctors to run some tests.  When Fry asked one of the M.D.s to explain what had happened to the intern, one of the doctors- a Dr. Clayton, he remembered- told him that, before she had blacked out, Amy had felt more pain than she was ever likely to experience again, and that he’d given her severe brain damage.  Leela had been furious with the doctor for being so blunt that she’d followed him out of the room when he’d left- to talk with him, she’d assured.  A few moments later there’d been some kind of loud noise and a muffled “hee-ya!”, and Fry didn’t see that doctor anymore.

Luckily, Amy had the kind of brain that seemed to be little affected by brain damage.  It was only a week before the intern was released from the hospital, cheerful and clumsy as ever.  She had no memory of being shot.

No one really knew what had happened when Mom- who had not been on Earth while it was being taken over- discovered that her main distribution center had been one of only three buildings to be destroyed, and that Walt had been there at the time.  Fry was sure that he’d come up with some nice story to cover his ass.  Walt wouldn’t have to worry about the destruction of all of the Moss on Cardenia either, since all of the silos that would have stored it had been razed to the ground.   He’d just have a new crop planted and, by the time the storage facility was operational again, there’d be a whole new harvest ready.  It wasn’t likely that he’d bother the PE crew anymore, either.  Not after Leela had carried him out of the burning warehouse when she could have easily just left him there to die.  Not that he was grateful for Leela’s saving his life.  Rather, Leela had taken the precaution of recording her conversations with Walt, and dropping that little fact to Walt on the medivac. 

So, all in all, it seemed like everyone had come out of the disaster unscathed.  Everyone, Fry knew, except for him.  He understood, deep down, that he’d had no choice but to shoot Chelsea; Leela would be dead, otherwise.  But, try as he might, he just couldn’t bring himself to think of Chelsea as an evil person that had deserved death.  Neither could he forget what a true friend she had been when they’d first met.  But, worst of all, he couldn’t get the image of Chelsea’s last few moments out of his head.  He kept seeing her looking up at him, her hand clasped in his, her eyes full of fear as the lights faded in them.  Late at night he’d tried to figure out what it had been that had so terrified her.  Was it fear of death, or had she realized in her final seconds that maybe, just maybe, she’d been wrong?  But Farnsworth had said that Chelsea might have intentionally disabled the cyborgs, and then there had been her final words to him:  I’m so sorry, Fry.  The words repeated again and again in his head.  He couldn’t get it to stop.  It hurt that he could never know. 
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

Bender was busily brushing his eyes with a toothbrush when Fry opened the door to his apartment.  The robot had been in a jolly mood ever since the disaster.  With the whole city to himself and all of the security systems disabled, he’d managed to score more loot than he’d otherwise have been able to steal in a year.  Fry waited for the robot to finish and then coughed to let him know that he was there.  Bender spun around.  “Yo, meatsack!  There you are!”  The robot punched Fry lightly in the shoulder.  “You ready?”

“Yeah, I guess so.” Fry said, doubtfully.  “Just promise you won’t say anything to the Professor to get me in trouble this time.”

“No sweat.” The robot grabbed a handful of bills out of his chest cabinet.  “Big Purple already bribed me to keep my mouth shut.”

Fry noticed that there couldn’t have been more than a hundred dollars there.   It didn’t take much of a bribe the redhead realized.  Aww, I knew he missed me.  “Well, we’d better get going, or we’ll be late.”

“So?  We’re always late.”  Bender retorted, but he followed Fry from the apartment.

Planet Express was a fair distance away, but Bender kept Fry busy with his latest tales of derring-do.  Fry listened intently; it kept his mind off of other things. 
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

The inside of Planet Express was dark and cool.  Fry had missed its scuffed floors, its dingy corridors, and that distinct smell of asbestos, owl droppings, and singed lab animal that could be found nowhere else.

Professor Farnsworth was sleeping in his usual spot at the conference table when Fry entered the hangar, and Zoidberg was rummaging through a trash can on the hangar’s lower level.  No one knew- or cared- what had happened to the lobster alien during the invasion, though he’d almost certainly spent the entire time hiding in a hole somewhere.

Leela was in the kitchenette, pouring herself what promised to be an incredibly strong cup of coffee.  When she saw him enter she reached for a second coffee mug.

“Morning, Fry.” She called as she brought him his cup. 

He took the mug and chose a seat at the conference table.  “Hi, Leela.” He replied.  “Thanks.”

Leela sat down next to him and smiled.  “Don’t mention it.  Do you know where everybody is?  The meeting was supposed to start five minutes ago.”

Fry shrugged.  “I dunno.  I think Bender’s here; at least, he went running off in this direction.  I haven’t seen anybody else yet except for you and the Professor.”

“Oh well.” Leela said with a dismissive wave of the hand.  “The only people that really need to be here are Hermes and the Professor.”  Leela stood and turned to Fry.  “You’re sure you want to do this?”  Her eye scanned his face; Fry thought she looked a bit tense.

Fry looked at her and nodded enthusiastically.  “Yes, I’m sure.” 

The tension went out of Leela’s face, and one side of her mouth twitched upward.  “Alright.  I’ll go knock on Hermes’ door.  He’s probably in there filing paperwork again.”  Then she was gone.

A few minutes later the cyclops returned with Hermes tailing behind in her wake.  The bureaucrat muttered something about forms not filing themselves as he lowered himself into one of the conference chairs.  Bender showed up a moment later.  He took a seat between Hermes and the Professor and pulled out a cigar. 

Hermes cleared his throat.  “Now den,” he said as he shuffled the stack of papers that he’d brought with him.  “What’s dis all about? ” 

Fry gulped.  Well, here goes.  “Uh, well you see… That is, I…”  He felt Leela’s hand on his arm and fell silent.

Leela leaned over and whispered in his ear.  “Let me.” She straightened and addressed Hermes.  “Fry wants his job back.” She said.

“Yeah, dat’s what-”  He was interrupted when the lounge door whooshed open and Amy skidded into the room.  Panting loudly, the intern slid into one of the few remaining seats.

“Sorry I’m late.” She said apologetically.  “My bra wouldn’t charge this morning.  Bad D-cells.”

Hermes grimaced, though whether it was from being interrupted or from what Amy had just decided to reveal to everyone, Fry couldn’t be sure.  “Anyway, like I was saying” he continued.  “dat’s what I figured.”   He looked from Leela to Fry, and then back to Leela.  “But why are you campaignin’ for him?  Last I heard, you were madder at ‘im than a green snake in a…” He paused.  “Well, actually, I don’t have an analogy for dat.”

 Leela folded her arms before speaking again.  “Yeah, well, we patched things up.”  Her tone clearly carried the message none of your business.

“Hmm…” Hermes absently scratched his chin.  “I dunno.” He said at length.  “With Planet Express just getting back on its feet, I can’t think of a worse business decision than to rehire the mon who is responsible for seventy-three-point-four-two percent of da company’s financial losses.”

“Hey sweet, my fraction’s lower than it was last ye- Ow!”  Leela dug her nails into Fry’s arm to shut him up.   The cyclops was still deciding on what to say next when Amy spoke up.

“But Hermes, there’d probably be a lot more paperwork and junk to fill out if Fry worked here again.”

Hermes blinked in surprise.  “You want him back too?”

“Well, he did save our lives.” Leela said drily.

“And the city.” Amy added.

Hermes pursed his lips and frowned.  “Bender mon.” He said.  “What do you think?”

Bender reached into his chest cabinet and pulled out his wad.  “According to this bribe, I think Fry should work here again, as soon as possible.”  The robot chuckled and the cash disappeared.

After staring at Fry and tapping on the table for half a minute Hermes finally came to a decision.  “Well…  Alright.  I guess I can always use da extra paperwork.”

The group cheered, and Hermes offered a rare smile.  Abruptly, the Professor, who everyone had sorta forgotten about by this point, woke up from his post-shower, pre-breakfast nap. 

“Eh wha?  What’s all the shilly-shallying about?” 

“Hermes just gave Fry his job back, Professor.” Amy explained happily. 

“Wha?  Oh right, Fry!  Good, and I was just running out of lab animals to experiment on.” The scientist began to doze off again, but Hermes prodded him awake.  “I’m awake, I’m awake!”  Farnsworth feebly tried to push Hermes’ hand away.  “Now, Fry is back you say?  Why, where did he go?”

Everyone else at the table exchanged glances.  “Uhh, you fired him so he went and got a new job, found a new girlfriend who turned out to be some nutcake bent on taking over the universe, and then had to kill her to keep her from turning everyone into mindless zombies.”  Bender offered.

“Hmm… I seem to remember something about Fry finding my spaceship.”  Farnsworth brightened suddenly.  “Say, has anyone seen Leela?  The ship said she might be injured!”

“I’m right here, Professor.” Leela said.   “But thanks for caring.”  Fry decided not to correct her.

“Eh wha?  You are?”  Farnsworth squinted and adjusted his glasses.  “Oh yes, of course you are.  Healthy and as full of organs as ever.”
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

“Fry?”  The delivery boy turned his head to find Leela standing in the doorway to the smelloscope room.  He’d come up to the balcony that ringed the tower to be alone, but he decided that he shouldn’t hurt Leela’s feelings.  He gestured for her to join him at the railing.

Leela stood beside him and put both hands on the rail.  Fry did the same.  “Are you okay?” She asked.

Fry didn’t say anything for a long time; he just stared off into the West, where the sun was just starting to sink under the horizon.  Leela waited patiently.  “I shouldn’t miss her like this, Leela,” the delivery boy said at last.  “Not after all the bad things she did.”

Leela put her hand on top of his, and Fry, startled, turned to face her.  “Sure you should.” the cyclops assured him.  “From what you told me, Chelsea was a good friend to you.”

“But she tried to kill you.” He argued, shaking his head. “And me.  And she hurt a lot of other people too.”

“No.” The assertiveness in Leela’s voice was enough to make Fry pause.   “That wasn’t Chelsea.  That was… somebody else.  They shared the same body, but they were not the same person.”

“But which person was the real her?” Fry asked. 

Leela sighed.  “I’m afraid that that’s up to you.”

The two of them stood in silence then and watched the sun as it slowly disappeared.  A few stars came out, and the city’s streetlights began to flicker on one by one.  A light breeze began to blow in from over the Hudson.

“Fry,” Leela said, squeezing his hand.  “it’s good to have you back.”  And, after a long time, the delivery boy turned to her.  He smiled.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

Hurray, it's over! You guys have been really just plain fantastic to me with your comments and praise, but personally, I really just didn't like this fic.  It started off good, but got lost somewhere along the way.  The Chelsea-is-a-cyborg idea sounded really clever when I came up with it, but now it just seems really cliche and lame.  My next fic will be much much better. 
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #213 on: 10-15-2008 05:15 »

C'mon, Esso, the story is a lot better than you give it credit.

Oh, by the way...


Space Pope
« Reply #214 on: 10-15-2008 10:03 »

A lot of things sound cliché and lame when you think about them in summary. What counts is the ability to turn the apparent cliché into a well-rounded and engaging plot and characters. And you did. smile

Starship Captain
« Reply #215 on: 10-15-2008 13:48 »

Well done soylent, really.  Don't be so hard on yourself!

Cant wait for more "Green Storm Rising"!

Space Pope
« Reply #216 on: 10-15-2008 23:09 »

Congrats on finishing it. smile

... but personally, I really just didn't like this fic.

Oh, you mean maybe you were a little disillusioned with it?

Well, I can see how you might feel it got bogged down somewhat, near the end, but it was consistently well-written and entertaining - it holds up well - and I think you fulfilled what you set out to do with it.
Liked how you left it up in the air about the duality of Chelsea's nature; and that was an astute bit about people adopting cybernetic fashion accessories.  That is so totally what some would probably do.

But so, umm, Fry basically killed Chelsea, and gave Amy brain damage. I know she apparently wasn't affected by it, but still.   Wow.

Overall, excellent though. Very high quality throughout.

And, as I said, appetite has been whetted - Looking forward to the resumption of Green Storm Rising. big grin


Urban Legend
« Reply #217 on: 10-16-2008 01:13 »

I know Disillusionment wasn't bad.  It just wasn't quite what I had wanted it to be.  Maybe I'm just too sick of it to like it right now.  I mean, I have been working on it for over a year...

@km: You have an uncanny ability to find the lines that JN suggested. big grin  THe whole cybernetic-fashion statement thing was his idea.

I might post the first chapter of GSR tonight, assuming I get enough work done.  I'm going to be at the bottom of the Grand Canyon for the next few days- and I don't want to carry physics textbooks down to the Colorado River and back- so eveything has to get done right now.  Joy.  Anybody know how to find the dispersion of a wavefunction in time, given that function as a fourier transform?  Please?

Space Pope
« Reply #218 on: 10-16-2008 01:26 »

I put fourier transforms out of my mind the minute I finished doing my Sound Engineering module for my BSc.

Space Pope
« Reply #219 on: 10-16-2008 01:42 »

@km: You have an uncanny ability to find the lines that JN suggested. big grin

I do, don't I. Hot damn. I keep doing that.
When JN does show up, I'm going to inform him that his new name is JustMibblin.

Anybody know how to find the dispersion of a wavefunction in time, given that function as a fourier transform? 

Sine might...
But I think he has enough of his own work to do. big grin

Also, have a grand time.
God, I really am incorrigible.

Starship Captain
« Reply #220 on: 10-16-2008 02:35 »

Anybody know how to find the dispersion of a wavefunction in time, given that function as a fourier transform?  Please?

Not for another term frown
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #221 on: 10-16-2008 03:08 »

Yeah, sorry, I just started quantum mechanics last class. Not really prepared for that yet.

You show off.

Anyway, also sorry you apparently didn't enjoy the end of this fic as much as the rest of us. Great job with this last bit, though (but aren't they all great?), wound down from the dramatics of the last section, down to a hollywood movie-level ending and kept going right to a near-Futurama ending, bringing right back to be ready to continue on into canon!

Well, uh, looking forward to GSR, what everyone else has said, etc., etc.

Urban Legend
« Reply #222 on: 10-16-2008 06:54 »
« Last Edit on: 10-16-2008 07:00 »

that wasn't me showing off.  That was me grasping at straws, hoping that maybe someone might be able to help me so I didn't have to stay up all night working on this damned quantum problem again.  I don't brag about my knowledge in physics, not with my current class ranking...

But regardless, my prof gave in to my class's whining, and the assignment got pushed back, so I'm posting the first chapter of GSR.  I debated sending this to get beta'd, but I decided I really just wanted to post it.  I also reposted the prologue so everything was in one place

                                                Green Storm Rising
                                                  By Soylent Orange

_____________________________ _____________________________ _______

                                      Prologue: Somewhere in Deep Space
                                                     *   *   *   *   *
_____________________________ _____________________________ _______

“What do you think it is?”

“It’s just space junk, Fry.  Look at it; it’s probably been abandoned here for centuries.  Can we please just go now?  The weekend officially started...”  Leela glanced at the thing she wore on her wrist. “Two hours ago.”

“No, not yet!”  Fry plastered his face against the glass of the forward viewport and stared bright eyed at the hulking shape that lay beyond.  Brimming with excitement, he spun to face his Captain.  “Hey, you know what would be awesome?  Let’s go explore it!”

Leela moaned inwardly.  Fry’s limitless enthusiasm for anything new that he came across usually ran the gambit from adorable to mildly annoying.  But this was the third time in a month he’d made her stop the ship so he could watch some rusted out piece of garbage float by.  She’d made the mistake of indulging his childish desire to board the first two abandoned ‘ships’- the first one was obviously an old tool shed that had drifted loose from someone’s property, and the second was a decrepit space portajohn, but she hadn’t felt mean enough to tell Fry that. 

Bender rolled his eyes.  “Come on, meatbag.  What’s with this obsession of yours with garbage we find on the side of the road, anyway?”

“It’s not garbage!” Fry insisted, pointing.  “Look at it!  It could be a spaceship holding the last survivors of some super race of aliens in stasis, or some kind of doomsday laser that’s all like kapow, zap! And all the planets are like, whaaagh!  Garhgh!  Or, or maybe it’s a ghost ship cuz the whole crew went nuts and-”

 “Alright, alright!”  Leela said, throwing up her hands in defeat.  It had been a long, painful delivery.  The cyclops wanted only one thing at that moment- to get home, take a long shower, and have a series of strong drinks, but she was still a few hours’ flight from Earth.  The last thing she wanted to deal with was an over-stimulated delivery boy babbling on and on the whole way home about what might have been contained in the pile of scrap metal that hung to port.  In the long run, it would be less painful to let Fry poke his head around for a few minutes, get bored, and come back to the ship.  “We’ll go check it out.” When Fry broke into a huge grin, Leela held up a hand, palm out, in the hope of dampening his enthusiasm before it got out of control.  “For ten minutes.  Then we’re leaving.  Okay?”

 Fry let out a whoop and grabbed Bender by the arm.  “Come on Bender, let’s go!”  The robot reluctantly let himself be dragged from the bridge, but only after shooting Leela a dark look for giving in to the redhead.  The cyclops could only shrug apologetically.

When Fry and Bender were gone, Leela went back and let herself drop into the Captain’s chair.  For a moment she leaned over the wheel and rubbed her temples, idly wishing that she had Fry’s seemingly limitless supply of energy.  Then she pressed the button for the intercom and patched herself through to Amy’s quarters. 

“Amy, are you awake?” Leela asked tentatively.  She really didn’t want to wake the intern, but neither did she want to leave Amy alone on the ship without telling her first.

“Hi, Leela!  What’s up?” 

Leela was relieved to find no hint in Amy’s voice that she’d been asleep.  “Nothing big.  We drove by some old space wreck- a big one this time- and Fry and Bender are going to go explore.  I just thought I should tell you I’m going along too, to make sure they don’t do anything stupid.” There was a beat.  “-er than usual.”

To the PE Captain’s surprise, Amy’s voice took on a hint of excitement.  “Oh clool, I love stuff like that!  Can I come too?”

“Sure, why not?  Can you be ready in five minutes?”
_____________________________ _____________________________ ____________________

The wreck was a black smudge against the soft greens and reds of the nebula in which it sat.  Whatever the thing was, it was deceptively large.  That’s the problem with space Leela mused.  There’s no way for the eye to judge distances.  Not that her eye was any good at that anyway.  As the PE Ship approached, details started to appear on the pitted metal surface.  Basically, the object was a series of tetrahedrons stacked on top of each other, with a few long, cylindrical protrusions sticking out in a seemingly random fashion.  The whole structure was maybe a hundred meters long and half as wide and deep.  Hundreds of circular windows dotted the surface.  Leela made her way to the single, rectangular hole at the far end of the thing which looked like it might be an entry point.  As she worked for a moment to match her velocity to the structure’s lazy spin, the ship’s headlights came to bear on the hole and illuminated a space just large enough to accommodate the ship.

Surprisingly, the hulk still had some artificial gravity.  It was closer to lunar gravity than Earth gravity, but something was better than nothing- especially since tethering the ship in microgravity was a pain in the ass. 

Donning their space suits, the PE Crew disembarked and congregated under the Planet Express Ship’s bow.  The flashlights mounted on their helmets cast little pools of light here and there as the crew looked around the small hangar that contained the ship.  There wasn’t much to see aside for a few micrometeorite holes in the bulkheads and a bit of wire that hung from the ceiling. 

Fry spotted a hatch and wandered over to it and the rest of the group followed somewhat reluctantly.  The abandoned hulk was decidedly spooky, which Fry would realize when his excitement wore off.  Leela had just managed to catch up to the delivery boy when he turned a handle and hauled the hatch open.  Bits of dust and corroded metal rained to the floor.  The crew was standing at the entrance to some kind of long hallway.  The combined light of the crew’s flashlights revealed a series of evenly spaced, closed doors that ran the entire length of the corridor.  Fry made an excited noise and headed for the nearest doorway, but Leela caught his arm.

“Remember what we agreed on, Fry.  Ten minutes.  Then we’re going home.”

The delivery boy began to protest, but knew from his Captain’s tone that she wasn’t going to compromise with him.  “Alright.  Ten minutes.”  Leela let go of him. 

The first few rooms didn’t contain anything interesting.  There were a couple of abandoned desks, what looked like a smashed desk lamp, a bed with sheets that crumbled to dust the moment that Amy touched them…  Leela found herself bored almost immediately. 

After a few minutes the rest of the crew seemed to have forgotten the initial creepy feeling that the abandoned hulk had given them, and Bender and Amy started to peak into some of the compartments on their own.  Leela just stood in the corridor leaning against a bulkhead, idly playing Tetris on her wrist computer.  This is stupid.  I’m going to miss The Simpsons’ 1,019th season premiere.  She looked at her watch.  Twelve minutes had passed.

“Okay, time’s up.  Come on Fry, let’s get back to-”

“Whoa, what is this?” Fry had just opened another door.  Bender and Amy poked their heads out of a nearby compartment.  “Does it look valuable?” Bender asked eagerly.

“I dunno.  Come check it out!”  To Leela’s infinite annoyance, Bender and Amy walked over to Fry and the three of them disappeared into the room.  A second later a burst of excited chatter crackled over Leela’s radio.  Sighing dramatically but curious despite herself, Leela stood and strolled toward the open hatch.  On the other side was a large open space filled with computer consoles.  Rack upon rack of electronics lined three of the walls; the fourth wall consisted of a single large viewport.  In the center of the room was a low pedestal on which some giant device of inscrutable purpose was perched.  The object consisted of a clear cylinder about five feet in diameter and twice that tall sitting on its end.  The cylinder was at the center of half a dozen hovering metallic rings that spun around in alternating directions.   Although the computers that lined the room were dark and still, the device in the middle of the room glowed a soft blue-white.  Leela’s coworkers were clustered around the machine.

“What do you think it is?” Amy asked no one in particular.

“I dunno.” Fry replied.  “What do you think, Bender?”

Bender’s eyes zoomed in on the device.  “It looks like easy cash to me.” He said after inspecting it.  “Let’s take it with us.  We can say it’s some crazy alien artifact or something and sell it to the highest bidder.” 

Leela interrupted before the conversation could reach critical stupidity.  “We are not taking that thing with us.”  She declared.  “We don’t have any idea what it does.  Now let’s get the hell out of here before we end up exposed to some kind of deadly radiation… or something.”  She turned and started to make her way to the exit. 

And then Bender said the seven words that Leela feared more than anything else in the universe.  “Hey, I wonder what this button does?”

Leela whirled to find the robot hunched over the pedestal.  His hand was perched a few centimeters over a very large, very red button. 

“Bender, no!”

But it was too late.   A rumble started to build in the deck.  To Leela’s horror, the compartment hatch slid closed.  When the PE Captain tried to force it open again it didn’t even budge.  In the center of the room, the mystery device began to glow brighter.  The rings that surrounded it began to spin faster and oscillate slightly up and down.  Soon the light was so strong that it hurt Leela’s eye.  She had to turn away.  The rumbling in the deck began to mount, and it became impossible to stand. 

“What’s going on?!” Fry was screaming somewhere to Leela’s left.  The cyclops tried to crawl to him, but couldn’t find him in the intense blue glare.  Somehow she ended up on the far side of the device, by the viewport.  Amy was there too.  The two women grabbed ahold of each other for support against the shaking.

“What are we gonna do?!” Amy screamed over the radio, her helmet touching her Captain’s. 

“I don’t know!” Leela hollered back, and the light grew even brighter.

Fry materialized out of the glare and propped his body against Leela’s.  On impulse the PE Captain reached out and grabbed ahold of Fry’s hand and then Amy’s.  As the shaking in the deck grew to impossible levels, the three humans huddled together.  Leela shut her eye against the blue light that seemed to be coming from all around her.  Everything seemed to retreat to a great distance.

Pop.   Leela felt the sound more than she heard it.  Suddenly the intense glare of the machine was gone and the deck was motionless.  For a long moment, Fry, Leela and Amy didn’t move, but it was like the craziness of a few seconds earlier had never happened. 

Leela cautiously got to her feet and Fry and Amy followed suit.  Bender was standing nearby, seemingly unfazed.  In the center of the room, the device was emitting irregular pulses of light that occasionally cast the robot in an odd blue.  Bender was staring out the viewport while idly smoking one of his cigars. 

Leela was livid.  “What in God’s name were you thinking?!” She demanded, grabbing Bender none-too-gently by the arm.  “You could have killed us, you insufferable jerk! “  Bender shrugged and continued to smoke.  “Are you even listening to-”  Leela fell silent.  Her eye had been drawn to the device, which was still emitting random bursts of light.  A network of cracks had developed on the surface of the clear cylinder.  As she watched, one of the cracks seemed to grow noticeably.  Okay, so that can’t be good.  Luckily the compartment hatch had opened the moment the room had stopped shaking.  Why it had locked them in the room in the first place was anybody’s guess.

“Come on guys, let’s get out of here.  I don’t like what this thing is doing.”  Leela gestured to the device.  As if on cue there was a bright flash, and there were twice as many cracks as there had been a moment earlier.  The exit hatch closed halfway but stopped amid a shower of sparks.

Leela nodded.   “Uh-huh, time to go.  Come on!”  Leela dashed for the exit with Amy and Fry a step behind her.  Bender, giving his retreating coworkers a disdainful look, tossed aside the remains of his cigar and sauntered after them. 

By the time Leela and her two human crewmates had made it back to the small hangar another tremor had started building in the deck.  It wasn’t constant, but came in intermittent bursts like the light streaming from the device had done.  Whatever it was that the device was supposed to do, it wasn’t doing it right this time.

Leela bounded up the flight of stairs that led into the ship and was in the pilot’s seat scant seconds later.  With the whole ship shaking around her, Leela started up the engines and strapped herself into her chair.  Bender appeared in the hatchway outside the PE Ship’s front viewport.  Seemingly unaffected by the bursts of heavy shaking that were enough to drive Leela’s teeth together, the robot nonchalantly swaggered over to the ship.  As soon as Bender was aboard, Leela retracted the landing gear and threw the vessel into full reverse.  The shaking stopped abruptly the instant that the ship lifted off the deck.

When the ship was clear Leela threw it into a turn and pushed the throttle as far forward as it would go.  The engines screamed in protest as the Planet Express Ship hurled away into space.  Leela felt some kind of wrenching in her gut, and there was a massive explosion directly astern.  A colossal fist reached out at the retreating ship and the whole universe seemed to turn bright blue.  Leela closed her eye, but the brightness only increased.  Somewhere, someone was screaming.  Maybe it was her…
_____________________________ _____________________________ ____________________

                                                  Part I: Planet Express
                                                        *   *   *   *   *
_____________________________ _____________________________ ____________________
Chapter 1[


 Leela’s eye shot open as she bolted upright.   Fry looked over at her curiously from the other side of the worn, yellow couch.  He had a beer in his right hand.

“You alright, Leela?” He asked, putting his drink down by the little wooden end table that was by his right elbow. 

Leela’s eye locked on the delivery boy.  “W- What’s going on?” She demanded in bewilderment. 

Fry gave her an odd look.  “What do you mean, what’s going on?  We’re just watching TV, like we’ve been doing for the last hour.” 

Leela looked around her.  She was in the Planet Express building, sitting on the couch in the lounge.  The television was on.  Morbo had just said something- she hadn’t caught what- and Linda was chuckling at him.  The big bay window that took up the entire south wall was pitch black, except for a dim, moonlit outline of the skyscrapers from across the water.

Leela’s confusion began to mount.  “How did I get here?  I was just on the ship!”

Fry cocked his head at her.  “Huh?”

Leela sighed in frustration.  “Bender activated some machine we found on the way home from our delivery, and we had to run away.  Then there was some kind of explosion; I think the-“

Shaking his head, Fry cut Leela off.  “You must’ve had a bad dream, Leela.  We hurried back from the delivery so you could see that season premiere, remember?  We didn’t find any crazy machines on the way home.”  He smiled at her.  “You said you were really tired.  You must have fallen asleep right after you turned on the news.”

“But, but the blue light, and the explosion- I was just there!”

“Just where?”  Leela turned at the new voice to find Bender standing in the doorway to the conference room.  He had a twelve pack of Olde Fortran tucked protectively under one arm. 

“Hey, Bender’s back with more beer!” Fry drained the remains of his Lobraü and accepted the beer that Bender held out to him.   “Leela fell asleep and had some crazy dream.” Fry explained to the robot.

Leela began to argue with the delivery boy but, now that the adrenaline was wearing off, she was starting to wonder if maybe she really had been dreaming.   It was just so real.

“Crazy dream, huh?”  Well, there’s only one way to cure that.”  Predictably, Bender thrust a beer into Leela’s hand. 

Leela looked at the drink for a moment and then put it on the floor next to Fry.  “Sorry guys.  I don’t know what just happened, but I’m too shook up to drink right now.  I- think I need to go for a walk.”

Leela stood, and Fry looked up at her with an expression that was full of concern.  “Are you sure you’re alright?  Do you want me to walk you home, you know, so you can have somebody to talk to?”

“No Fry, I’m okay.  I just need to clear my head.”  She couldn’t help but notice the hint of disappointment that crossed Fry’s face a split second before he could hide it from her.  “I’ll see you guys Monday.”  Leela retreated from the room before Fry could object further.

Outside, a cool breeze came in off the Hudson and played with Leela’s hair.  The fresh air coupled with the quiet murmur of the city was enough to partially soothe the cyclops’s frazzled nerves.  She’d been dreaming; that had to be what had happened.  But it was so vivid in her mind; she could remember every last detail of the blinding blue light, the shaking in the deck, the feel of Fry and Amy’s hands clasped in hers as the space hulk had seemed to come apart around them…  Maybe Bender was right.  Maybe I do need a drink.

Before long, Leela was back at her apartment.  The clock built into the thing she wore on her wrist said the time was 10:13.  Leela frowned.  It was too early to go to bed, but she was in no mood for going out on the town.  “Well, I guess I might as well turn on the TV.”  Leela said to herself without enthusiasm.   

It took some searching, but Leela finally managed to find the remote under her chair.  She grabbed it and clicked on the television before heading into the kitchen, where she rummaged through her small stash of alcohol and pulled out the small bottle of whiskey that she reserved for the nights after particularly awful deliveries.  Tilting her head back, she took a swig of the fiery liquid.  She made an unpleasant face when the whiskey went down, but carried the bottle with her as she headed back to her armchair.

The television was muted.  Annoyed, Leela had to rummage around for the remote- which she soon discovered she was sitting on- and lightly tapped a button. 

“-imited time offer!  Act now!  Remember, that’s Malfunctioning Eddie’s Antichrysler-Plymouth, located in-”  Leela cringed at the sudden onslaught of sound and jabbed another button.

“What Senator Obama’s head doesn’t seem to understand is that- wait, what were we talking about again?  Where am I?  Snnnoooooorrrrreee….”

“John, your head’s service to your country is beyond question, but you seem to be forgetting one key fact: namely, that I have been ordained by almighty God to lead the people into the promised land of holy Change.  Behold all ye mortals my perfect teeth, and despair!”

“And what neither of you hippie beatnicks seam to understand is that neither of you are going to be president, because I’ve already rigged the voting booths.   Arrrooooo…”

Ugh.  Politics. No thanks.  She tapped the channel up button.

“Petertron, how could you eat your own daughter’s science experiment?”

“You think that’s bad, Loisbot?  Remember the time I arm wrestled Arnold Swarzenneger while playing the tuba?”

Aaahhhhhh!  Leela hurriedly changed the channel, and was relieved to see Morbo and Linda appear on the screen.  That was close, she thought, feeling her heart race.  Another five seconds of that and I’d have been done for.

“- Which will make my race’s eventual annihilation of the puny human species all the easier.”  Morbo shuffled some papers while Linda chuckled next to him. 

“In other news” Linda said moments later, “reports of exploding manhole covers have increased steadily this week in the city of New New York.”  Linda’s face was replaced by black and white security camera footage of a New Manhattan street.  A steady stream of hover traffic and pedestrians passed by the camera as Linda’s disembodied voice told the viewer to pay attention to a manhole cover that was positioned in the middle of the street.  Abruptly there was a loud noise, and the manhole cover went flying up into the air and out of the field of view.  It crashed to the ground moments later at the center of a rapidly expanding ring of fleeing New New Yorkers.

Leela took another swallow from the bottle she had cradled in her lap.  She had been just about to change the channel again, but her interest had been piqued.  I didn’t know we had a problem with exploding manhole covers.  She thought to herself.  She’d never seen one blow up, at any rate.

Morbo and Linda reappeared.  “Scenes like this one have become common in New New York over the past few weeks.  The culprit is thought to be bubbles of methane gas which build up under the street until the pressure blasts a manhole cover into the air and the gases escape.”  Linda shuffled her papers.  “When questioned about what the city plans to do to stop these explosions, Mayor C. Wendell Poopenmeyer had this to say.”

The screen switched to a view of the inside of the Mayor’s Office.  Mayor Poopenmeyer was standing behind a large wooden pulpit with the official seal of the city draped over the wall behind him.  The mayor was hunched slightly over the pulpit, obviously reading from a prepared speech.  “Citizens of ah, New New York City.” The mayor began.  “It has come to my attention that manhole covers have been exploding.  After consulting with my Secretary of Waste and Sanitation, I have decided to approve a groundbreaking urban renewal project for our great city.”

Looks like my taxes will be going up again.  Leela took another swig of whiskey.

For a split second the screen flickered, and then Morbo and Linda were back.  This time it was Morbo that spoke.  “Mayor Poopenmeyer’s plan would result in the complete reconstruction of the crumbling New New York sewer system.  When asked how this would affect the communities of puny mutated humans that inhabit the city’s sewers, the mayor stated that they would have to find ‘some other pit’ to live in.”

A jolt of electricity shot up Leela’s spine.  “What?!”  Suddenly she was on the edge of her seat.

“I’m sure the mutants will find a nice cozy place in the ruins of the old city.”  Linda added lightly. And Morbo turned on her.

“When my race’s mighty attack fleet arrives, you will all be living amongst the ruins of your cities!” The green alien began to laugh evilly, and Linda chuckled again.

Leela turned off the television.  For a full minute she just stared at the dim reflection of her face in the blank screen.  Oh my god.  How could they do this?  Leela asked herself, horrified.  How could they do this to my parents? 
_____________________________ _____________________________ _____________

Bending Unit
« Reply #223 on: 10-16-2008 07:40 »

I see a pattern here, SO, where a hard homework assignment drives you to procrastinate and write more.  I really hope your current professor is an ass and assigns a lot of "optional" homework.  Enjoy the canyon.  It's Grand, but flow is low.

km73:  JustNibblin is dead.  Naw, just kiddin!  You're all right.  It is uncanny how you find my edits in SO...

Archonix:  Yeah, I seem to remember a promise about a picture back in the distant past.  Haven't been here for a few months...time to get addicted again and catch up with your saga...

Wish I could be wittier, but just have a few moments before dropping off to bed.  Glad to see all the regulars are still active!  Looking forward to another beta, SO, if ya wish.


Urban Legend
« Reply #224 on: 10-16-2008 16:00 »

@JN:  You noticed the pattern, eh?  What can I say, writing is like a release valve for stress.  I'll send some of GSR over to you sometime next week.  I was just impatient to get this first chapter posted.  I've been sitting on it since early September... 

Space Pope
« Reply #225 on: 10-17-2008 00:43 »

Aww, JN turned up! And he even likes his alternate-reality evil-twin name. Fun With
Typos.  Well, I'm just going to have to try harder to single out different things from now on...

For instance, the three-way political 'debate' caused me snickers... and love the Family Guy riff - Petertron and Loisbot, haaaa..  Like I stated before, nice humor in this section.
And apparently you feel the need to end almost every update with at least a moderate cliffhanger.

Again, this shifting-timelines plot could be very promising.  Carry on.

Urban Legend
« Reply #226 on: 10-17-2008 02:14 »

Anybody know how to find the dispersion of a wavefunction in time, given that function as a fourier transform?  Please?
Not for another term frown
And I don't remember anymore big grin 

I can't believe how much you've updated recently; and I apologize for not keeping up (again, I know... been horribly busy at work.)  Know that I did finish the one that just wrapped up, and quite enjoyed it.  Something more substantial about it to come... I hope...

Bending Unit
« Reply #227 on: 10-19-2008 23:05 »





Space Pope
« Reply #228 on: 10-20-2008 05:14 »
« Last Edit on: 10-20-2008 05:15 »



Yet another fake account?   Really?

If everyone's done being stupid...
This thread may now proceed.

Urban Legend
« Reply #229 on: 10-20-2008 16:26 »

If everyone's done being stupid...
  Oh, I had more, but you go ahead...
Chug a Bug

Bending Unit
« Reply #230 on: 11-02-2008 15:24 »

Visiting this forum only occasionally, I miss gems like this.

SO, I just finished reading the last story and it was good, I enjoyed it. The final scenes had some really good tension.

The new looks very promising, a great start!

Urban Legend
« Reply #231 on: 11-03-2008 20:32 »
« Last Edit on: 11-08-2008 07:24 »

@Chug a Bug: hey, thanks!

Well, here's the next installment of Green Storm Rising.  Enjoy!
_____________________________ _____________________________ ________________

part 1:
chapter 2

“What do you mean, move?”  Munda was saying as the barest hint of hysteria crept into her voice.  “We’ve lived here all of our lives.  We don’t have anywhere to go!”

“I know, mom.”  Leela replied gently.  “Don’t worry.  I’m going to go talk to the Mayor on Monday.  He knows me; I’m sure he’ll listen.  I’ll make him listen.”

Morris put an arm around his distraught wife and leaned into the camera until his face loomed large in the videophone mounted on the bookshelf across from Leela’s bed.  “But honey, are you sure that’s a good idea?  You don’t want to attract any attention to yourself.  You know what’ll happen if the government finds out that you’re a mutant.”

Leela sighed and looked away from her videophone for a moment.  Of course she knew what would happen.  The thought that she could be discovered at any moment never fully left its perch near the back of her mind.  But she could hardly be annoyed at her parents for warning her for the umpteenth time.  They were parents, after all.  “Yes Dad, I know what will happen.  But someone has to do something.  They can’t just kick you out of your homes and tell you to get lost.  It’s- It’s… Inhuman.”

“But Leela, we are inhuman.”  Munda said between sobs.  “I mean technically.”

Leela’s eye flashed.  “Don’t ever say that!  You are just as human as anyone that lives up here on the surface.  And just because you have tentacles instead of arms- or your mouth doesn’t open in the same direction as everyone else’s- that doesn’t mean you don’t have the same rights as anyone else!”

Munda and Morris shared an uncomfortable look before turning back to the camera to face their daughter.  It was Morris who spoke.  “It means a lot to your mother and me to hear you say that.”  He said.  “But the government thinks we’re inferior genetic scum.  We did everything in our power to give you a shot at a real life.  We’d never forgive ourselves if that life got taken away from you because of something we did.”

 “But Dad, you and Mom didn’t do anything!”  Leela countered.  “I’ll be careful; I promise.  But I’m not letting them do this to you.”  When Leela fell silent it was with a finality that made any argument impossible.  Morris and Munda looked at their daughter, and Leela could see the pride in their eyes.   “I’ll call you guys back on Monday, alright?  Tell the other mutants that they’re not going to have to go anywhere.”  Leela broke the connection.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ____________________

Leela was sitting in the small reception area adjacent to the Mayor’s office the moment that it opened Monday morning.  She didn’t have an appointment of course; anyone wanting to see Poopenmeyer was supposed to arrange it with his office six weeks in advance, and the fat secretary sitting behind the desk by the Mayor’s door was quite obviously annoyed that Leela had not bothered to follow the proper procedure.  The woman made Leela sit for half an hour in the empty room while she studiously scribbled away at a stack of white forms.  It was only when the secretary finally realized that Leela was not going to go away- and was quite willing to sit there and stare daggers at her for as long as was necessary- that the secretary finally put down her pen and pressed a button on the intercom that was by her elbow.

“Mr. Mayor, there’s a Miss Turaynga Leela here to see you.”  Leela let the obviously intentional mispronunciation of her name slide.  It was only 8:30 in the morning, still a little too early for physical violence.  Biting sarcasm, on the other hand…

“Miss Leela you say?” The mayor’s voice was a bit scratchy over the intercom.  “That doesn’t sound familiar.  Does she have an appointment?”

“N-”  Leela pushed her way into the Mayor’s office before the secretary could finish the thought.  She shut the door lightly behind her.

“Mr. Mayor, I’m Captain Turanga Leela.” Leela began as she strode to the center of the room.  “I’m here to talk to you about this plan of yours to rebuild the sewer system.”

Poopenmeyer regarded Leela for a moment and then grinned.  “Say, I remember you!  You’re part of that crew that saved the city from that giant ball of garbage!”  The Mayor stretched out a hand, and Leela took it and grasped it firmly before letting go.  Poopenmeyer withdrew, and, leaning back in his overstuffed buggalo leather chair, clasped his hands behind his head.  “Well, whatever it is that you need, I’ll do everything in my power to help.  This city owes you and your crewmates a tremendous debt of gratitude.”

Leela was slightly taken aback by the warm reception, although, truth be told, Poopenmeyer had always seemed like a fairly decent guy, as politicians went.  But he’s still a politician.  Leela reminded herself.  He’ll only help me if it somehow helps him.  Most important of all, she had to pay close attention to every word that she said, lest Poopenmeyer get wind of her secret heritage.  “Uh well, you see, I’m a little worried that the sewer renewal program might adversely affect some of New New York’s citizens.”

That got the Mayor’s attention.  In his mind, ‘citizen’ was synonymous with the word ‘vote’, and, this being an election year, votes were more important than life itself.  Poopenmeyer straightened in his chair.  “Adversely affect, how?” He asked.

It had taken Leela a good part of the weekend to come up with a suitable argument against the renovation that didn’t involve the mutants.  “Well sir, there is a lot of methane down there.  If some of it were to be accidentally released during the renovation, it could cause all sorts of problems for people living on the surface.  Professor Farnsworth believes that we’ll need to spend a lot of time mapping out the gas pockets before the project can be done safely.”  It was a bluff, of course.  She hadn’t actually asked Farnsworth what his opinion was, but she could always claim that the senile old genius had simply forgotten their talk- and the opinion that he’d held at the time- if anyone bothered to check her story.

Poopenmeyer shook his head.  “None of that is an issue” he said, dismissively.  “My science advisor assures me that, even if a methane pocket is disturbed, it will just spread around the sewer system until it accumulates somewhere else.  We’ll have plenty of time to deal with that situation if it arises.”

Crap.  Well, so much for that argument.  “But spreading elevated levels of methane throughout the sewer system could make thousands of people sick!”

The mayor gave Leela a confused look and crossed his arms in front of him on his desk.  “I don’t follow you.  How would filling the sewers with toxic gas make anyone sick if the gas can’t get to the surface?  There’s no one down there to breathe it.”

“I’m talking about the mutants.”  Leela cringed inwardly.  Suddenly she was on dangerous ground.

“The sewer mutants?”  The Mayor replied in surprise.  “But they aren’t even citizens.”

Very carefully, Leela clamped down on her body so that her emotions couldn’t give her away.  “But they live here.”  Her voice was so tightly controlled that it sounded almost robotic.

Poopenmeyer waved dismissively.  “Eh, I’m sure the mutants will find somewhere else to live.  Maybe they can find homes in New Jersey; they like to live waist deep in filth anyway, right?”  Leela couldn’t quite keep the flash of anger out of her eye.  Poopenmeyer noticed the lapse in her self control and favored her with an odd look.  “Why are you so interested in the sewer mutants anyway?”

Leela froze.  “Uh, no reason.  They’re inferior genetic scum, of course.  I just thought, you know, that their rights should be respected…”

“But they’re mutants.  They don’t have rights.”  Poopenmeyer hesitated for a moment as he remembered something.  “Hey, wait a minute.  Didn’t you come in here once looking for one day mutant surface passes?”  When Leela didn’t say anything, the Mayor nodded to himself.  “Yes, that’s right; I remember signing two of them as a favor to you.  You never did explain why you needed them.”


“You seem to be spending a lot of time worrying about the mutants.”  The Mayor paused, just for a split second, and suddenly he was looking directly at Leela’s single, large eye.  A ball of ice formed in the PE Captain’s stomach as Poopenmeyer’s gaze passed back and forth between her eye and her outrageously purple hair.  “Now, you said you were an alien, right?” 

Trying to conceal the shaking of her hands, Leela began to slowly back away toward the door.  “Yeah that’s right, an alien.”  Her back came up against the brass doorknob, and she grabbed it.  Suddenly she was conscious that she was sweating; she had to resist the urge to wipe her brow.  “Listen Mr. Mayor, I’m sorry to have to do this, but I have to get to work.  The ship won’t go anywhere without the pilot behind the wheel, you know.”  Leela smiled weakly as she opened the door and stepped over the threshold.

  The Mayor stared at Leela for an uncomfortably long moment before shrugging.  “Of course.  Sorry I couldn’t be more help.”

Leela nodded and closed the door behind her.  She ignored the secretary’s curious stare as she fled in the direction of the elevator.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ____________________

By the time Leela had made it to Planet Express, her heart had started to beat at a normal rate again.  Her mind, however, was in turmoil.  The Mayor had guessed her secret!  Most likely, the only thing that had saved her was his inability to imagine a mutant being able to live above ground without being discovered.  It was too much to deal with.  She had to talk to somebody- to straighten out her jumbled thoughts and emotions before she called her parents and told them the news.

Unfortunately for Amy, that someone ended up being her.  As Leela was walking through the building toward the Planet Express Ship, Amy was walking in the opposite direction carrying the preflight checklist on a digital clipboard.  Without warning, the intern suddenly found herself cornered.

“… not fair!  The government is going to kick my parents out of the city!  They can’t get away with this.  I don’t care if the Mayor suspects that I’m a mutant, I’ll-”

Amy held up the clipboard against the force of the tirade that had erupted at her out of nowhere.  “Spwhoah, Leela.  Calm down!  What happened?”

Leela sputtered to a halt.  She took in a deep breath and slowly let it out.  “Sorry Amy.” She apologized.  “It’s the Mayor’s new plan to stop the exploding manhole cover problem by fixing up the sewers.  Have you heard about it?”

Amy nodded.  There had been an article about it in Sunday’s Rich and Popular magazine.

“Well,” Leela continued bitterly, “one of the things that they’re going to do when they ‘fix’ the sewers is kick out all of the sewer mutants.  Including my parents.”

Amy’s eyes went wide.  “What?!  They can’t really do that, can they?” 

Leela sighed.  “I’m starting to think they can.  I went to talk to Poopenmeyer this morning, and all I managed to do was come within an inch of blowing my cover.  This whole weekend has been like one long, bad dream.”

Amy nodded sympathetically.  “That’s really awful, and I know it probably won’t make you feel any better, but you’re not the only one who had a bad weekend.”

For the first time, Leela realized that there were dark circles under the intern’s eyes.  “What’s the matter?  Having trouble sleeping?”

Another nod.  “Yeah, I had this crazy dream on Friday.  Well, at least, I think it was a dream.  I’ve been up most of the weekend thinking about it.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear- wait, a weird dream?  What was it about?”

Amy shifted her weight uneasily.  “Well I mean, like I said; I think it was a dream.”  She shook her head in confusion.  “It was really weird.  I dreamed that you and I- and Fry and Bender- were coming home from Friday’s delivery and we went to go explore this thing we found.  Bender touched some button and-“

“And the deck started to shake, and everything turned bright blue?”  Leela finished, goose bumps starting to rise on her arms. 

The intern gaped at her Captain.  “Yeah, exactly.  How did you know that?”

“Because I had the same exact dream.”  Leela replied, an uneasy feeling starting to form in the pit of her stomach.  “Everything turned bright blue for awhile, and then it stopped.  I yelled at Bender for being stupid, and then we had to run away when the device thing started to go off again.  We got to the ship, took off, and then there was some kind of explosion…”  Leela fell silent.

“Yes!  That’s exactly the dream I had!” The intern said excitedly.  “Everything in the ship turned bright blue and I heard you scream.  Or maybe it was me.  But I heard somebody scream, and then there was this loud 'pop', and suddenly I was standing next to my hovercar outside of Planet Express, holding my car keys.  I thought maybe I’d been daydreaming or something.”

Leela frowned and shook her head.  “No way.  We couldn’t have both had exactly the same dream at exactly the same time.”

“Then what was it?”

“I don’t know.” Leela confessed.  “But we’d better go talk to the Professor before we take off.  Maybe he’ll be able to figure out why we both have memories of something that never happened.”
_____________________________ _____________________________ ________________

What's this, an update that didn't end on a cliffhanger?  Can it be possible?

Starship Captain
« Reply #232 on: 11-05-2008 04:08 »

Woo hoo new chapter!

Difficult to fight for mutant rights when your faced with banishment to the sewer yourself! One of the comics had bender shutting Leela up about he hiding her mutant heritage.

Great work! Even without any cliffhangers: want more!

Space Pope
« Reply #233 on: 11-06-2008 04:57 »

Good, gripping stuff as usual, sO.  I like your little touches with Amy and how you always well-utilize all the different characters; both main and supporting.
The use of minor characters helps set you apart from, well, some writers.

And indeed, you don't need to end every section on a cliff! It can still work just fine without it.
Here you set it up all intriguingly for the coming installment.
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #234 on: 11-06-2008 05:57 »

Well... except for that brief Ginacaladriel-Leegola scene.  Fracking hotttt!


Amy nodded sympathetically.  “That’s really awful, and I know it probably won’t make you feel any better, but you’re not the only one who had a bad weekend.”

For the first time, Leela realized that there were dark circles under the intern’s eyes.  “What’s the matter?  Having trouble sleeping?”

Another nod.  “Yeah, I had this crazy dream on Friday.  Well, at least, I think it was a dream.  I’ve been up most of the weekend thinking about it.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear- wait, a weird dream?  What was it about?”

Amy shifted her weight uneasily.  “Well I mean, like I said; I think it was a dream.”  She shook her head in confusion.  “It was really weird.  I dreamed that you and I- just us- were coming home from Friday’s delivery and we went to go explore this thing we found.  I touched some button and-“

“And the deck started to shake, and everything turned bright blue?”  Leela finished, goose bumps starting to rise on her arms. 

The intern gaped at her Captain.  “Yeah, exactly.  How did you know that?”

“Because I had the same exact dream.”  Leela replied, an uneasy feeling starting to form in the pit of her stomach...

I’d continue, but with the screaming and the popping I’m afraid it would start getting rather suggestive.

Urban Legend
« Reply #235 on: 11-06-2008 07:59 »

Sinewave, get your mind out of the gutter.   laff   But seriously, thanks for the comments.  Looks like I'm going to end this update with another little cliffhanger.  I dunno why that happens all the time.  I don't go out of my way to write a cliffie every few paragraphs.  I guess I just dont know how to write transitions between scenes.

Part 1
Chapter 3:
_____________________________ _____________________________ _______________________

“So that’s the situation, Professor.”  Leela concluded.  “Can you find anything wrong with us?”

Professor Farnsworth stopped waving his gizmometer around and looked carefully at the little digital readout that was at the device’s rear end.  “Hmm, remarkable.  Yes, quite remarkable, indeed.  According to this, the two of you are experiencing a sort of quantum ambiguity.”

Leela waited for further explanation, but the scientist seemed to think that he’d been perfectly clear, as he made no move to continue.  “And that means?”  She prodded gently.  She’d learned from long experience that she had to be patient with the senile old inventor if she ever wanted to get anything out of him.

“Eh wha?  Oh yes, of course.  It means that some of the quantum numbers associated with the particles that make up your bodies seem to be fluctuating wildly between two values.”

“Is that a bad thing?”  Amy asked uneasily. 

“Oh my no.  At least, I should think not.  I need to run some more tests on those blood samples you gave me before I can be absolutely sure.”

“But we didn’t give you any blood samp- Ow!” Something had come buzzing in out of nowhere and had bitten Leela in the forearm.  The cyclops automatically moved to swat the annoying insect, only to find a tiny clear dart with wings embedded in her skin.  In an instant it had filled itself up with blood, dropped to the table, and begun scurrying away on little robotic legs.  Leela thought she was going to be sick.

“Ah, well that takes care of that.  Now, I believe you two youngsters have a package to deliver.”  The scientist began shooing them toward the door.

“But Professor, what about-”

 “Off you go!
_____________________________ _____________________________ ____________________

“Glosh, this is so totally weird.”  Amy was saying as Leela followed her out of the Professor’s lab and toward the silent bulk of the Planet Express Ship.  The PE Captain, her mind occupied by what the Professor had said about her quantum state, or whatever, was idly scratching the welt that had been left by Farnsworth’s Mosqneedle- who would bother to invent anything like that anyway?- and only half paying attention to what Amy was saying.

The intern didn’t seem to notice Leela’s preoccupation.  “It’s like we read each other’s minds or something.  How else could we have both had the same dream at the same time?”
It took a little too long for Leela to realize that Amy had stopped speaking, and that she’d asked a question.  “Uh…  I don’t know Amy.  I’m sure it’s nothing.  The Professor will-“


“-work it out.”

“Huh?  Work what out?”  Fry asked.

Leela froze.  Amy, Farnsworth’s lab, the hangar and the ship… all of it had just disappeared into thin air.  Somehow she was now on the bridge of the Planet Express ship, sitting in her seat behind the wheel.  Fry was to her right, looking over his shoulder at her from his spot at tactical while a steady stream of stars floated past the viewport behind him. 

Leela bolted to her feet and looked wildly about the small compartment.  “What the hell?!  How did I get here?”  Her eye locked on Fry’s.  “What the hell is going on?!”

For a moment Fry looked very confused, but his features soon locked into his signature worried look.  “You can’t remember how you got here?”  He asked apprehensively.

“No!  I was walking out of the Professor’s lab with Amy, and suddenly I’m here in the middle of deep space…”  She had a sudden alarming thought.  “Oh god, time must be skipping forward again!”

When Leela looked at Fry again the troubled look in his eyes was enough to stop her in her tracks.  “What?” She asked, suddenly off balance.

“What do you remember from the last couple hours?”

The question was so unexpected that it took Leela a moment to answer.  “Umm, well, I went and talked to the Mayor and then came back to work.  Then Amy and I discovered that we’re having the same dreams, and so we went and talked to the Professor.  He jabbed me with some kind of flying needle robot or something.  Then Amy and I started walking toward the ship and, poof, suddenly I’m here.”  Leela fell silent, exasperated.

Fry sighed.  “Leela, we left Earth half an hour ago.  You’ve been flying the ship the whole time.”

Leela absorbed that bit of information, then started pacing the length of the bridge.  “Ok, so time’s skipping forward again.  We’d better go tell the Professor.  He’ll need that badass gravity pump out of storage.”

Slowly, Fry shook his head.  “No, Leela.  Time isn’t skipping forward.  It’s you.  There was an accident; we think you bumped your head.  It’s been making you forget things and remember things that didn’t happen.”

Leela stopped pacing and turned to her friend.  “What are you talking about?” She asked.  What Fry had said was more than a little unsettling.  Exactly what he had just described had happened to her while she’d been in a poison-induced coma a few years earlier.

“We were coming home from a mission on Friday and there was an accident.  You and Amy got hurt somehow; you couldn’t remember how you’d gotten there.   When we got the ship home, Dr. Zoidberg took a look at you and couldn’t find anything wrong, so then we took you to see a real doctor and he couldn’t find anything wrong either.  He told us that maybe you guys hit your heads or something, and your memories of the accident might come back eventually.”

“Wait, wait, wait.  What accident?  There was no… Oh.”  The hairs on Leela’s neck began to stand up straight.  “This accident, it didn’t happen to involve Bender pushing a button on a device that emitted lots of blue light, and then ended up exploding on us as we tried to run away, did it?”

Fry’s worried look was replaced by one of surprised excitement.  “You remember what happened?!  The doctor said it might be weeks or- or even months!”  The delivery boy reached out and grabbed Leela by the arm.  “What else do you remember?” He asked eagerly.

Leela thought about it for a moment.  “The whole deck was shaking.” She said finally.  “We ran for the ship, and I took off.  We got maybe a hundred miles and then something came flying up at us from behind.”  She paused, trying to piece together the memory.  “All I remember is blue.  Everything was blue, and somebody was screaming.  That’s it.”

Fry was ecstatic.  “That’s it!  That’s exactly what happened!  Leela, this is great!  Ten minutes ago you couldn’t remember anything about the accident at all!”

After pulling herself free of the delivery boy’s grasp, Leela gave him a baffled look.  “But I’ve been the one insisting that the accident really happened.  You told me Friday it was a dream!”

The exuberance on Fry’s face was replaced by his most confused look yet.  The delivery boy was just about to open his mouth to reply when the bridge hatch whooshed open and Amy hurried into the compartment.  “Here are the results from that dark matter injector system diagnostic that you wanted me to run.”  The intern announced as she thrust a piece of paper into Leela’s hand. 

Leela looked at the printout.  The paper was blank save for a single large smiley face printed at the center.  “Uhh, okay.” The PE captain said, and handed the paper off to Fry.  “Say, Amy, could you remind me, what did you and I do this morning?”  Leela knew it was a weird question- and that it would make Fry worry about her mental state even more than he already was- but her instincts were telling her that more was going on than simple memory loss and dream-confusion.  And, if she was right, the key to figuring it all out lay with Amy.

Not surprisingly, Amy was completely caught off guard by the question.  “H- what?” She stuttered.  “You mean like, what did we do before the mission?  Can’t you remember?”

“Please Amy, just humor me.”  Leela replied with more irritation than was probably warranted.  “Tell me everything that you remember about this morning, starting from when you got to Planet Express.”

Flustered, the intern took a spare seat and started to think.  “Um, well, not much happened.”  She said.  “I got to work and started running through the preflight checklist thing.  Then Bender and Fry showed up; I think Bender said something about staying up all night to rob old people at the hospital…  Anyway, he’s still asleep in his cabin.” 

“What about me?”  Leela prodded.

“Oh, yeah.  Umm, I don’t remember when you got to work.  I saw you making some of that awful, black coffee you like, and then we started the mission.”  Amy shrugged and then looked from Fry to Leela, and then back to Fry.  “Why are you asking me?  Am I in trouble or something?”

Leela shook her head.  “No, no.  It’s nothing like that.”  Leela assured her friend.  “But, you don’t remember anything about being tested by Professor Farnsworth because we were having the same dreams?”

Amy frowned.  “N- noooo.”  She said slowly.  “I mean, he tested all four of us on Friday after the accident because you and I had the wrong memories.  He said our quantum-something was in two places at once, or something like that.”

Friday?!  But that happened ten minutes ago!  Leela’s head was starting to throb in protest.  I’ve never been this confused in my life.

 And, of course, the universe chose that moment to make things worse.  Bender came strolling onto the bridge, his coming heralded by the acrid smell of cigar smoke.  “Hey chumps, would one of you mind telling me how the heck we got here?”
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________________

up next: lots of confusion, quantum physics, and physical violence aimed at Cubert

Space Pope
« Reply #236 on: 11-06-2008 11:31 »

The mysteeeeerious stuff... I love Amy's "report". big grin
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #237 on: 11-06-2008 15:16 »

and physical violence aimed at Cubert...

Ah, the "happy part" of the story. smile

Starship Captain
« Reply #238 on: 11-06-2008 21:15 »

All reports should be as concise as Amy's, smiley face for good, frown for bad. Message received!

Yay for confusion! Fry seems to be handeling this okay though... no skips for him?

Space Pope
« Reply #239 on: 11-06-2008 21:31 »

If I can speculate, I predict that different people will be affected each time it happens. Leela and someone else.
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