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Author Topic: Esso-teric: soylentOrange's Fanfic Thread  (Read 28752 times)
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soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #240 on: 11-06-2008 22:56 »

No skips for Fry, yet.  Arch is pretty close to the mark there, but not quite on the money.  At least, not once Leela figures out what is going on, and ends up making things much more difficult for herselves.
km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #241 on: 11-07-2008 07:21 »

Quote
All I remember is blue.  Everything was blue...

"What smells like blue?"...

Okay, crap, this is getting cosmically good now.  Quantum ambiguity - one of the best kinds of ambiguity.  Love the idea of the mosquito-dart; nifty little inventions like that can deftly add to the authenticity of a scene or work. Oh, and the rest of it was pretty all right also.

With Leela distracted by what's happening, and apparently going to have to deal with the problem posed by her origin as well, hey, maybe she won't even have too much time to get violent or.. 'angry'.

You've got a tantalizing premise brewing here, the alternate timelines/universes plot simmering with potential.  Much anticipating where this might be going and the remainder of this story.
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #242 on: 11-07-2008 18:36 »

Quote
maybe she won't even have too much time to get violent or.. 'angry'
  Oh, she'll have plenty of time to be angry.  Oh my yes, plenty of time indeed.  That'll actually be a major tenet of the story.

thanks for the kind words km.  I'll post another chunk soon.

Oh, and I lied.  The part with Cubert is a ways down the road.  The first parts of this fic are all starting to run together in my head.  Oh well... smile
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #243 on: 11-08-2008 00:33 »

Wow, three updates in a single week?  I don't think I've done that since the good old days when I was writing Talora as a way to forget that the outside world existed.  God sophomore year sucked.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ________

Part 1:
Chapter 4

“That’s it.  We’re turning the ship around!”  Leela proclaimed.  There was just no way she was going to continue to fly a mission when half of the crewmembers had no memory of actually starting it.

“So now you can’t remember how you got here either, Bender?” Fry was saying.

Bender moved the cigar a few inches from his face and blew a cloud of smoke into the delivery boy’s face, causing him to cough loudly.  The robot snickered.  “That’s what I just said, isn’t it?”

As an annoyed Fry fanned smoke out of his face, Amy moved to stand next to him.  “But Bender, you said you were asleep in your cabin.”

“Yeah, which is code for ‘I don’t want to work, so I’m going to pawn it all off on you and Fry’.

“It’s true.” Fry interjected.  “I saw his codebook.”

Leela was in her Captain’s chair, busily entering navigation data into the ship’s computer.  When she’d finished she looked up from the console and twisted in her seat so that she was facing Bender.   “So if you weren’t asleep, what were you doing?”  It only occurred to her after she’d said it that maybe she really didn’t want to know.

The robot shrugged.  “Eh, going through Fry’s stuff, like I always do right after payday.  Oh, and just to warn you, he got you another crappy present.”

“Bender!” Fry shouted from Leela’s left.  The cyclops put an arm out to restrain the redhead before he could break his knuckles by punching Bender in the face.  “Calm down, Fry.” She muttered impatiently, and then added “I’m sure it’s great.”  The delivery boy shot his captain a surprised look and grinned at the unexpected statement, and Leela felt a twinge of guilt that she’d just been trying to shut him up.

 “Anyway,” Bender continued, “I heard this weird popping noise, and I looked out the window to see if one of you meatbags had died or something- because, you know, that would have been so hilarious- and there were stars outside the ship, which is crap, because I never heard the ship take off.”  The robot took another pull on his cigar.

Popping noise?  A little light switched on in the PE Captain’s head. Both times everything changed around me I heard a loud pop, and Amy said she heard the same thing- well, back when Amy was saying we were having the same dreams.  And now Bender too?  No way that’s a coincidence.  “Alright, well it’s pretty clear that something weird is going on.” Leela said aloud.  “And since we don’t know what it is yet, I’m going to tell the autopilot to take us back to Earth.  Maybe the Professor has had some time to run some of those tests he talked about this morning- err, Friday, err, whenever it was.”  Exasperated, Leela shook her head.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ____________________

“Ah, you’re back!” Farnsworth exclaimed.  Leela felt her heart sink.  It was never a good sign when the Professor was standing by the debarkation ramp to welcome the crew home; generally it meant someone was about to become an unwitting guinea pig for some new experiment.

“Hi, Professor.” The rest of the crew mumbled unhappily.  They also knew what the scientist’s appearance would mean.

Farnsworth, as always, was completely oblivious to his employees’ lackluster response.  “I have good news!”

“Oh boy.” Fry muttered under his breath.  Leela shot him a sympathetic look out of the corner of her eye.

“Please, everybody follow me.” The feeble old scientist continued, gesturing in the direction of his lab.  “I’ve finished the tests on the four of you that I started last Friday, and I need to show you the results right away!”  Farnsworth began shuffling off in the direction of his laboratory.  Of course, the crew immediately passed him.  Fry and Amy found places on the work table to sit while Bender and Leela stood with their arms crossed and waited for the old man to finally appear.

Eventually Farnsworth was able to haul his arthritic old frame to the lab, at which point he shuffled over to a computer and started pressing some buttons.  A small hologram flickered into existence in the middle of the room. 

Leela regarded the glowing green image in front of her curiously.  It looked to her like a rubber band that someone was stretching in all different directions.  The little whatever-it-was was shimmering and pulsing in a hypnotic rhythm; Leela found herself fascinated by it. 

“Neat screensaver.” Fry said approvingly.

“It’s not a screensaver.” Farnsworth replied with faux-patience.  “It’s a superstring- well, a heavily simplified model of one, anyway.  I couldn’t afford the holographic projector that could present something in eleven dimensions.”

“What’s it do?” Leela asked.

“I’m glad you asked that question, Leela.” The Professor said with that slight air of condescension that always made Leela want to roundhouse kick him in the face.  “You see, Physicists first came up with the idea of superstrings in the 20th century as a way to confuse outsiders into thinking that physicists actually knew what they were talking about.  Ironically, it was discovered two hundred years later that superstrings really do exist.”  Farnsworth chuckled.  “Anywho, scientists discovered that all of the information about an object- its mass, spin, flavor, sexual orientation, etcetera- all of it is stored in little quantum ‘bits’ that manifest themselves as vibrations on these tiny little superstrings.”

For some reason, Fry seemed to think he needed to raise his hand and wait to be called on.  “So what does all of that have to do with us?” He asked when the Professor finally called on him.

“Ah well, one of the bits of information that gets stored on these strings is called the reality coefficient.  Modern science predicts the existence of an infinite number of parallel timelines that occupy our universe simultaneously, with each one corresponding to a different reality coefficient.  We experience one timeline as ‘real’ and think of all of the others as ‘imaginary’ because the reality values in the strings that make up our bodies never change.  Or at least, they aren’t supposed to.”

Leela waited for a moment, but the Professor was done talking.  “Let me guess.” She said.  “Our reality coefficients are changing.”

“Yes!” Farnsworth was suddenly overflowing with excitement.  “Your bodies’ reality coefficients are oscillating back and forth, and my discovery that reality coefficients can be altered will most likely win me another Nobel Prize!  Just imagine what would be possible if we had the ability to access an infinite number of alternate timelines at will!  It would be the biggest breakthrough since the scientific discovery of where all the socks go when you’re doing your laundry!”

Amy looked at Leela in confusion.  “Uh, I don’t get it.  What’s the big deal?”

Leela was just about to hazard her best guess when Farnsworth overrode her.  “The big deal is that, with your reality coefficients randomly changing back and forth between two values, the superstrings that make up your bodies get confused and can’t remember which timeline is ‘real’ and which one is ‘imaginary’.”

“So does that mean we’ve been bouncing back and forth between two different realities?”  Leela asked. 

“I expect so.” Farnsworth replied.  “And when you enter another timeline, superdupersymmetry would require that the version of you that inhabited that timeline would get bumped into our reality and take your place. That would explain why some of you have certain memories that others of you don’t.  I suspect that at least some of you are actually from another reality.”

Suddenly everyone was on their feet.  There was a collective “What?!” followed by a flurry of suspicious glances from one person to the next.  “So, you’re saying that Amy might not really be Amy, or Leela might not really be Leela, but some kind of evil parallel-Leela from one of those parallel universe box dealies?” Fry asked the old scientist, and shot another glance in Leela’s direction.”

“Huh-wha?  Who said anything about parallel universes?”

Fry looked around himself uncertainly.  “Uh, I thought you did.”

“Not parallel universes, you orange-haired ignoramus!  Didn’t they teach you anything about multiple worlds theory in high school?  There are no alternate universes involved here.  Those yellow boxes in the storage locker have nothing to do with this.”

“Oh…  So then what’s the difference between me from this timeline and the me from the other timeline?  Are we the same?”     

“Hmm, well I suppose it would depend on your definition.”  Farnsworth replied calmly after a few moments of thought.  “The fluctuations in your reality coefficients are extremely small, so the reality you are visiting must be almost identical to ours, though not exactly the same, of course.  So if you mean, are you identical down to the subatomic level, then yes, you are the same people.  You also have almost exactly the same memories and experiences, and identical personalities.  But I suppose you could technically say that you’re two different people.  As for who belongs to which reality, I suspect that you are really ‘our’ Fry, since you remember the accident that occurred on the way home from your delivery last Friday.  And Leela is ‘our’ Leela for the same reason.  But Amy here seems to remember a slightly different version of history, am I right?”

Amy realized the question was aimed at her.  Wide eyed, and obviously not sure what to make of anything that was going on, the intern tried to say something intelligible.  “Uh, well, I don’t remember any accident last Friday.” She conceded uncertainly.  “I thought I remembered getting back from the mission and getting ready to drive home.  But, I mean, didn’t I dream that?”

Farnsworth shook his head.  “On the contrary, you remember getting back from the mission on Friday evening without there having been an accident because in your reality that is exactly what happened.”

“Wait, so then if she isn’t Amy, then where is Amy?” Fry asked.  Amy just stood nearby looking increasingly uncomfortable.

“She’s over in the other timeline.”  Leela realized.  “I talked with her this morning.  We thought we were having the same dreams, but we were remembering something that had really happened to us.”  She paused for a second when something else occurred to her.  “Hey, what about Bender?  Which reality is he from?”

Everyone turned to stare at the robot, who was once again smoking a cigar.  “Well, let’s see…” Bender began, not particularly worried.  “I don’t remember this accident you all keep yapping on about, so I’m probably from the other timeline.”  He paused for a moment.  “Besides, you’re all losers; I can’t be from this reality.”

A few seconds passed in silence while everyone regarded everyone else.  Almost unconsciously Leela and Fry moved closer together and Amy edged toward Bender.  Eventually Amy found the nerve to ask the obvious question.  “So if this isn’t our timeline, then how do we get home?”

“Oh, well that part is easy!” Farnsworth assured her.  “Eventually your counterpart will bounce back into this timeline, and you will be thrown back into your own reality.  Of course, you’ll continue to oscillate back and forth until I can come up with a way to stabilize you- err, the other you- err, whatever.”

“So then how long are we stuck here?” Bender asked, feigning disinterest.

“Sadly, there is no way to know.  You could be in this timeline for the next five minutes, or the next five months.”  Farnsworth shrugged.

“Great, just what I needed.  Up to five months stuck with a bunch of jerks from another reality.” Bender grumbled.  “That other Bender had just better not touch my stuff while he’s in my timeline.  It took me years to steal all that-“

Suddenly Amy gasped and jumped about a foot in the air.  “Ai-yaaah!  What’s going on?  Where am I?”
_____________________________ _____________________________ ____________________

“Alright, does everyone understand what’s going on, now?”  Leela asked desperately.  She and the Professor had just finished explaining everything to Amy- the one that was originally from her timeline- and then had had to do it all again when Fry had spontaneously switched places with his alternate. 

All that Leela got in response from her crew were a series of uncertain half-nods and a few shrugs.  The cyclops sighed.  “Well, whatever.  Just as long as everyone gets that there’s two of everybody.  Which reminds me, we need to find some way of figuring out who is who.”

Fry perked up at the suggestion.  Leela was pretty sure that it was still the ‘other’ Fry.  “Hey, yeah!  Let’s all come up with cool new names for ourselves!”

Bender thrust himself into the middle of the group before anyone else could respond.  “Whoah, whoah, whoah.”  He said, crossing and uncrossing his arms in front of him.  “Not so fast.  Why should I have to change my name just because some second rate copy of me can’t keep his quantum-whatevers out of my reality?” 

“Well, I’m not changing my name if Bender doesn’t have to.” Amy added.

Leela sighed again.  Why did everything have to be so difficult?  “Alright, fine.  We’ll flip a coin.   If it’s heads, then anyone not from this reality has to pick another name.  If it’s tails, then everyone from this reality has to do it.  Is that acceptable to everyone?”  Leela’s eye narrowed pointedly at Bender.
 
“Whatever you say, thunder buns.”  Bender retorted.

Ignoring the jab, Leela reached into one of her front pockets and pulled out a coin.  It was one of the new quarters, of the kind that had an image representing one of the fifty inhabited locations in the Solar System stamped on one side. This one was a Callisto; Leela didn’t think she had one of those in her collection yet. 

Leela skillfully tossed the coin straight up in the air and, catching it in the palm of her right hand, quickly covered it with her left.  Fry and the others leaned in to see what the result would be, but Fry spoke before Leela had a chance to uncover the coin. 

“Hey, wait a sec.  If we’re flipping this coin here, does that mean the us from that other universe where Leela and I are married are flipping a coin too?  And they’ll get the opposite of whatever we get?”
Everyone just stared at Fry for a moment.  “Fry, just shut up.”  Bender said finally, shaking his head while one robotic palm was planted against his forehead.

Leela uncovered the coin.  It was heads.

“No fair!  I demand a recount!” Bender hollered, but nobody paid him any attention. 

Fry, on the other hand, seemed perfectly happy.  “This is great!  But what name should I go by?”  The delivery boy seemed to mull it over momentarily.  “Oh, I know!  From now on, everybody call me ‘Lex Luthor’.”

 Amy and Leela exchanged glances.  “Uhh, maybe you should just go by Phillip?” Amy suggested.

Fry looked to Leela for support.  “But Lex Luthor is so much cooler.” He whined.

“We are not calling you Lex Luthor.” Leela said shortly.  “How about we call you Phil?”

Fry tried to argue, but his voice petered out in surrender.  He sighed with disappointment.  “Alright.  Call me Phil.”

“Good.  Now, since Amy and I are from this timeline, we don’t have to change our names.  What about you, Bender?” 

The robot crossed his arms.  “Forget it.  Bender doesn’t change his name for anybody.  And if you meatsacks don’t like it then you can bite my shiny metal ass.” 

Leela frowned dangerously.  “Now listen, Bender.  You lost the coin toss, and if you don’t start being part of the solution rather than part of the problem, I’m going to kick your shiny metal ass until it’s as dull as dirt.  Understood?”

A loud pop cut off the robot’s witty comeback, and Leela’s surroundings abruptly changed.  “Oh, for the love of-.” Leela groaned
aknightofni

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #244 on: 11-08-2008 03:02 »

Nice update!

YAY CONFUSION! everybody needs nice name tags.

Hi my name is:
I'm from time line:

Lol at string theory. Makes great fun for stories, and keeps physicists out of trouble. Maybe one day they will finally get some experimental data and stop sounding like a bunch of nutters laff

Gotta say three updates in a single week is NICE! That's commitment right there.

Keep em coming!
Archonix

Space Pope
****
« Reply #245 on: 11-08-2008 03:21 »

... competitor!



(But seriously, great job, I'm loving the explanation. big grin)
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #246 on: 11-08-2008 06:31 »
« Last Edit on: 11-08-2008 06:33 »

Me, compete with the mighty Archonix?  Haha, no. 

Quote
Maybe one day they will finally get some experimental data and stop sounding like a bunch of nutters 

Yeah, that'll be just about the same time that astrophysicists come up with a believable explanation for dark matter and dark energy.  In other words, when pigs fly.

before you start being impressed by the updates I've managed to put up, I probably should add that there's fifty pages of stuff that I haven't[.i] posted yet. big grin
km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #247 on: 11-08-2008 08:54 »

Oh, believe me, I've already told Sine that I'm starting to think you must be part-cyborg yourself. big grin

Also, he is going to love this.

As for this mega-update - Awesome. Hilarious. This pawns.  Everything about this chapter was fantastic.
Just for a couple things, this:

Quote
"I’m glad you asked that question, Leela.” The Professor said with that slight air of condescension that always made Leela want to roundhouse kick him in the face.  “You see, Physicists first came up with the idea of superstrings in the 20th century as a way to confuse outsiders into thinking that physicists actually knew what they were talking about.  Ironically, it was discovered two hundred years later that superstrings really do exist.”  Farnsworth chuckled.  “Anywho, scientists discovered that all of the information about an object- its mass, spin, flavor, sexual orientation, etcetera- all of it is stored in little quantum ‘bits’ that manifest themselves as vibrations on these tiny little superstrings.

and this:

Quote
For some reason, Fry seemed to think he needed to raise his hand and wait to be called on.  “So what does all of that have to do with us?” He asked when the Professor finally called on him.

laff

In general the theory/explanation, the hologram, "superdupersymmetry", the depiction of Bender and the Professor... all stellar first-class.  Sooo, their "reality coefficients" are oscillating; causing them to fluctuate between timeline values.
This could go a lot of different places.

So in short, I guess I was right; this has gotten cosmically good.


Archonix

Space Pope
****
« Reply #248 on: 11-08-2008 13:10 »
« Last Edit on: 11-08-2008 13:13 »

So lets try and straighten this out in language I understand... unlike parallel universes, where each universe has an actuall, quantifiable existence, these quantum doohickies are all separate timelines of the same universe, all of which are potentially happening at the same time but only one of which is actually happening at the same time? And the one that's actually happening at any particular moment is affected entirely by your own perception, so all the others aren't actually happening, but potentially happening, and until an outside obsever comes along you're actually existing as a superposition of states, and what actually happens to you is merely an artefact of how you look at the world.

This is one of those Schrödinger moments, isn't it.

My brain hurts now.
aknightofni

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #249 on: 11-08-2008 13:57 »

Me, compete with the mighty Archonix?  Haha, no. 

Quote
Maybe one day they will finally get some experimental data and stop sounding like a bunch of nutters 


Yeah, that'll be just about the same time that astrophysicists come up with a believable explanation for dark matter and dark energy.  In other words, when pigs fly.

before you start being impressed by the updates I've managed to put up, I probably should add that there's fifty pages of stuff that I haven't[.i] posted yet. big grin

HES HOARDING THE WEALTH!

He sits on stockpiles of resource and releases them at a rate of his choosing... your an evil oil company of fanfic!!!!!!!!!!

However in the interests of ever actually doing work its probably good that I don't have 50 more pages to read through. Good to hear there is a lot more on the way though!


... competitor!

I thought there was this other author, he was great. But then he didn't update 3 times a week and everyone forgot how great he was?

NAH! Arch is still great!

Maybe a battle of the greatness later or something.
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #250 on: 11-09-2008 06:44 »

Quote
So lets try and straighten this out in language I understand... unlike parallel universes, where each universe has an actuall, quantifiable existence, these quantum doohickies are all separate timelines of the same universe, all of which are potentially happening at the same time but only one of which is actually happening at the same time? And the one that's actually happening at any particular moment is affected entirely by your own perception, so all the others aren't actually happening, but potentially happening, and until an outside obsever comes along you're actually existing as a superposition of states, and what actually happens to you is merely an artefact of how you look at the world.

This is one of those Schrödinger moments, isn't it.

Basically yes, there are an infinite number of timelines unfolding simultaneously, each with its own version of the Planet Express Crew.  The timeline that each person follows is determined by that reality coefficient thing that I made up, and that's how a person distinguishes what is really happening from what might have happened.  Now that's all been messed up, and there is a superposition of reality-states going on.  Choke on that, physics!

Quote

my brain hurts now
If no one is around to observe your headache, do you really have it?

Quote
In general the theory/explanation, the hologram, "superdupersymmetry", the depiction of Bender and the Professor... all stellar first-class.  Sooo, their "reality coefficients" are oscillating; causing them to fluctuate between timeline values.
This could go a lot of different places.

So in short, I guess I was right; this has gotten cosmically good.

thanks smile

Quote
He sits on stockpiles of resource and releases them at a rate of his choosing... your an evil oil company of fanfic!!!!!!!!!!

Buahahahaha!!!  ...  Oh, wait, excuse me.  The evil just sorta gets out every once in awhile... 
 
Chug a Bug

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #251 on: 11-09-2008 23:41 »

Ah man, where to start. Well, a fellow cynic about politics! Me like. I agree about Poopenmeyer, he's a decent guy, for a politician. If the truth be known I probably think Obama is too, but theres been way to much fervour surrounding his election, like he's some kind of messiah or something, and thats not good for anyone's ego, never mind a politician's.

But I digress. Characterisation here is  very good, maybe I can't quite imagine Leela backing out of anything if were to be brutally honest, but a good story will do wonders for me. And this is shaping up to be a good 'un. Poopenmeyer was particularly well done, his perceptiveness as well as the aura of authority that surrounded him as well as it taking Leela off guard... top marks. I must admit I didn't expect an explanation quite so soon I thought the strangeness and the suspicions about Leela's sanity might be stretched out a bit longer so she might think she really was going nuts, but hey it's all good.

I think I'm just about getting my head around the switches... Schodinger's moggy be damned. tongue
km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #252 on: 11-10-2008 01:57 »

Eh, I figure issues with "Leela's sanity" have probably been overdramatized enough in the kind of fics Tongue Luck satirizes.  (Though fortunately for me I haven't actually read many of them).

re: the stuff about the superstrings representing separate timelines of the same universe and the crew members existing as a superposition of states -
That's what makes it quantumly ambiguous!

Additionally, another surpassingly good line: "I couldn't afford the holographic projector that would present something in eleven dimensions."

And the Professor's assurances notwithstanding, I would imagine plenty of intriguing complications are imminent.

On a side note, I enjoy how much philosophy is involved in principles of theoretical physics.

Therefore.. Sciencey, funny and in-character - this already possesses the elements I usually favor or appreciate most in a fic.
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #253 on: 11-11-2008 05:51 »
« Last Edit on: 11-11-2008 06:16 »

Quote
maybe I can't quite  imagine Leela backing out of anything if were to be brutally honest
  It was only a temporary retreat, so as not to end up in prison.  The sewer mutant plot is just beginning.

Quote
And the Professor's assurances notwithstanding, I would imagine plenty of intriguing complications are imminent.
no comment wink
_____________________________ _____________________________ _____

Part I
Chapter 5

It took the whole rest of the day to get everyone in both timelines up to speed.   Luckily, Fry and the alternate Amy- who had eventually decided to go by the slightly different pronunciation Aimee- had both heard the entire duplicate-timeline conversation before they’d been yanked back into the other reality- or the beta reality, as Leela found herself calling it.  By the time Leela had ended up in the beta reality, Fry and Aimee had already filled the Professor and the other Leela in on what was going on.

The other Leela.  What a weird concept that was.  Leela remembered the surreal experience of falling into another universe and finding a near duplicate of herself, but that wasn’t the same thing.  The other Leela had looked slightly different than her, and she’d been married.  To Fry.  It had been impossible for Leela to really think of her Universe 1 duplicate as being her.  But now there was some copy of her from the same universe running around in her reality.  A copy that was her, right down to the subatomic level.  And to make things worse, Leela could never meet her.  The two of them couldn’t even exist in the same reality simultaneously. 

Amy had popped into the beta reality an hour or so after Leela had.  The intern had informed her that Leela’s duplicate had decided to go by ‘Tura’.  Apparently she’d thought Turanga was too much of a mouthful and hadn’t been able to come up with anything else on the spot.  Leela wasn’t really sure how she felt about that name. 

When it was time to go home for the day, Leela was still in the alternate timeline.  Fry was with her, but Amy and Bender were back in the alpha reality.  The PE Captain was starting to notice a pattern.  Every time a switch between timelines occurred it involved two people.  When Leela switched places with her duplicate, Tura, someone else would also swap realities with their duplicate.  The result seemed to be that only two of the four PE crewmembers with screwed up quantum bits were in a given timeline at once. 

As Leela worked her way through the Planet Express building toward the front door, Fry came jogging up behind her.  “Wait, hold on a sec, Leela!” He called. 

Leela waited for the delivery boy to catch up.  “Mind if I walk with you?”  He asked.  “I know everything’s exactly the same here as it is at home, but, well, it’d be kinda nice to have someone from my own reality to talk with.”

“Well…”  Leela searched the delivery boy’s face but saw no sign that this was an attempt to get her alone so he could ask her out again.  “Alright.”

The two of them headed for the door and turned right onto the street that headed downtown.  Fry kept looking around at the buildings as if he expected to find something that he’d never seen before.

“Hey, Fry.” Leela said after they’d walked a block in silence.  “You never really told me what happened after the accident.”

Fry didn’t take his eyes off his surroundings.  “Oh, right, you weren’t really there.  Not much happened.  Bender and I woke up on the floor, but you and Amy were still passed out.  I told the autopilot to send us home, and then I tried to wake you guys up when we got back to Earth.”

“What about the space station?  Did you see what happened to it?” 

“Yeah.  There’s nothing left of it, just some chunks of metal and stuff.”

“Oh.”  She’d been hoping the station had somehow survived the accident.  Maybe the Professor would have been able to figure out how the thing worked and fix the reality jump problem, but that wasn’t going to be a possibility.  If only that station existed in this reality…  The sensor logs from this reality’s Planet Express Ship showed no evidence that the station had been there when the ship had passed near where it should have been on the previous Friday’s delivery.

Leela noticed that Fry was still looking for some difference in the cityscape.  “Give it up, Fry.”  Leela said after awhile.  “The Professor said that this reality is almost identical to ours.  You’re not going to find anything different.”

“Yeah, but there was no accident on Friday in this reality.  So other stuff might be different too, right?”

Leela considered that.  “True.”  She conceded.  I wonder if that’s why I’d never heard of an exploding manhole cover problem until Friday night?  Maybe that’s not a problem in our reality.  She hadn’t been back in reality alpha long enough in the last few days to actually go find out.  That would have to be her top priority when she and Tura switched places again, whenever that was going to be.  With a start Leela realized that Tura might not even know that her parents were in danger of losing their homes.  Tura had spent most of the last few days in Leela’s reality.  If it was as Leela thought and it was only the mutants in this reality that were in danger, then it was likely that Tura had no idea that anything was going on.

“Fry, I need to ask you a big favor.”   Leela said. 

“Sure, anything.”  Fry replied instantly, still looking around him for a sign of something new.

“Remember how I was telling you about the Mayor’s plan here to rebuild the sewers and kick my parents and the other mutants out of the city?” 

“Yeah.  I remem- Hey, that donut store was never there before!”  The delivery boy’s face fell.  “Oh wait, never mind.  Yes it was.”

Leela grabbed the delivery boy’s arm angrily.  “Fry, this is important!  Tura’s parents are going to lose their homes, and there’s a chance that mine might too!  When you get back to our timeline you have to warn Tura, and find out if the Mayor is planning to rebuild the sewer system back in our New New York.  I’d do it myself, but you might end up back in our reality before me, and Tura and I can’t ever be in the same reality at once.”

Catching the seriousness in his Captain’s eye, Fry stopped looking around and concentrated on her.  “Ok Leela.  I’ll let the other Leel- Tura- know the next time I see her.  And I’ll find out about your parents.  I promise.”  Satisfied, Leela smiled and released her grip on her friend’s wrist.  Fry absently rubbed the red mark that had appeared where his Captain’s hand had been. 

Presently, Fry and Leela found themselves at the intersection where their paths would diverge.  For a moment they stood at the edge of the sidewalk and just sort of lingered there, neither of them saying anything.  Feeling awkward and not knowing quite why, Leela waved.  “Uh, so I guess I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Yeah, I guess.  Goodnight.”  Fry replied and reluctantly turned away. 

When Leela got home there was a message on her answering machine.  It was from her parents.  No, Tura’s parents she reminded herself.  Briefly she mulled over whether or not she had the right to answer it.  The message wasn’t really for her, after all.  Still, she was fairly certain that she’d want her duplicate to answer the message if their situations had been reversed, in case there had been some kind of emergency.  Guess I’d better.  She thought, and pushed the machine’s blinking red button. 

An image of Tura’s parents appeared on her apartment’s television screen.  Tura’s mom looked ragged, and her eyes were red and puffy as if she’d been crying recently.  Her husband looked even more worried than usual.  “Hi honey.”  Tura’s mom began.  “We didn’t want to bother you, but we wanted to make sure that you were alright.  You never called us back after your meeting with the Mayor.  We’re starting to get a little worried.”

Oh shit.  With all of this transreality crap going on, she’d never had the opportunity to call Tura’s parents.  They must think the government found out that I’m a mutant and had me arrested.  Leela cut off the message and began to dial the vidphone.  She had a duty to let Tura’s parents know what was going on.

The phone rang twice before someone picked it up on the other end.  Tura’s father’s face loomed large in Leela’s giant wall screen.  “Leela!” The mutant exclaimed, relief flooding over his face.  “Your mother and I were so worried!”  Morris turned and called over his shoulder “Munda, it’s Leela!” Tura’s mother immediately came bustling into the field of view.  Her eyes were even redder than they had been in the message.

“Leela?!  Are you alright?!”  Munda demanded.

“I’m fine, uh, Mom.”  Leela reassured her.  “No one found me out.”

“Then the police didn’t get you?  Or the government?”  Morris asked.

“No, no I’m fine.  Really.  I just, ah, was stuck somewhere most of the day where I couldn’t call.”  How do I tell them? 

Morris and Munda looked at each other.  “Where?”  Munda asked. 

“Well you see, the truth is…”
_____________________________ _____________________________ _______________

“So, you’re not really our Leela?”  Munda was asking.

Leela shook her head.  “No, I’m not.  Not quite.  Look, I’m really sorry Mr. And Mrs. Turanga, I didn’t know until after I got back from the Mayor’s office this morning.”

Tura’s parents cringed when Leela called them by their family name.  “Please, call us Mom and Dad.”  Munda implored her. 

Morris nodded.  “You might not be exactly from this reality, but you’re still Leela, and that means we’re still your parents-  I mean, as long as you want us to be.” 

Leela smiled affectionately at her almost-parents.  “Of course, Dad.”

When Leela was finally certain that Tura’s parents understood what was going on, and had explained several times that she had no way to know when they’d be able to talk to Tura again, Leela confessed that she was unbelievably tired and Tura’s parents let her go after saying goodnight.  The PE Captain made a beeline for her bed and collapsed on top of it.  She was out like a light before her head hit the pillow.
_____________________________ _____________________________ __________________

The next morning, and in a different reality, Fry forced himself out of bed.  He’d been up most of the night thinking about everything that was going on, and every time he got close to sleep he kept thinking he heard a popping noise and he’d be awake again, wondering if he’d just crossed the barrier between timelines.   By the time his exhausted body had finally drifted off into unconsciousness, dawn was only a couple of hours away. 

Groggily, Fry wrestled his way into his clothes and grabbed a Dark Energy breakfast bar from an overturned box that was lying on the floor under a dirty t-shirt.   The box’s label- partially obscured- proclaimed in bold letters “Dark Energy Bars- expand your mind, and your universe!”

On the way to work Fry tried again to find something- anything- that might serve to indicate which reality he was in.  He made a mental note- which he instantly forgot- to put up a sign in his room when he’d figured it out so he wouldn’t ever wake up again with no idea where he was. 

A few of the crewmembers were sitting around waiting for the morning briefing to begin when Fry entered the Planet Express Building conference room fifteen minutes later.  The delivery boy began to slide into a seat between Amy and Bender when he remembered that he wasn’t really sure that that’s who they were.

Awkwardly, Fry leaned over the chair and asked the intern to his right “Uh, which Amy Wong are you?”

“I’m Amy.  You’re Phil, right?”

“Uhh, no.  I’m Fry, the one from your timeline.”

“Oh, okay.”  Amy replied sweetly.  “And, umm, you’re still the other Bender, right?” she asked the robot to Fry’s left. 

Bender’s head swiveled ninety degrees to favor Fry and Amy with an insulted look.  “Do I look like the Bender from your loser reality?”

“Umm, yes?”

“Well, I’m not” the other Bender replied dryly before turning away. 

Fry regarded the robot for a moment or two and then shrugged.  He turned back to Amy.  “So, which reality are we in, again?”

“Ours, I think.” Amy replied, a little uncertain. 

One of the Leelas dropped into a seat to Amy’s right.  “Yes, this is your reality.” She said, nodding.  “That’s what your Professor just told me, anyways.”

Fry caught the use of the word ‘your’.  I guess that means she’s Tura, not Leela.  He thought.  Suddenly he remembered the important message that he was supposed to relay to her.  “Tura, there’s something Leela wanted me to tell you.” He started.

At the mention of her double, Tura seemed to pause.  “Oh.  Uhh, alright.  What is it?”  Tura stuttered, obviously a little unsure how to handle being faced with a message from herself.

Before Fry could answer, Professor Farnsworth came shuffling into the room with Hermes at his heels.  “Good news, everyone!” the old inventor declared, inevitably, as he gently lowered himself into his padded armchair.

“What, did you find a way to stop the reality-jumps already?” Tura asked eagerly.   

Farnsworth hesitated and began to stare at the cyclops.  “Eh, the reality what now?”  There was a beat and then he adjusted his glasses.  “Say, who are you, anyway?”  Hermes whispered into Farnsworth’s ear as Tura rolled her eye in exasperation.  “Reality fluctuations?” He said when Hermes had finished.  “That’s imposs- Ah, wait.  I seem to remember something about that.  Yes, yes that’s right.  The four of you are jumping randomly back and forth between two timelines.”  Farnsworth made a sweeping gesture, encompassing Fry, Amy, the other Bender, and Tura. 

“Right, Professor.”  Fry said.  “Right now, Leela and Bender are in the other timeline-dealie; I think Leela was calling it Reality Beta and this one Reality Alpha.  But anyway, that’s Tura, Amy, and- umm- the other Bender.  Oh, and I’m Fry.”

Tura shook her head in confusion.  “This is getting to be too much.”  She said.  “We need to come up with a way to tell each other apart without having to explain it every five minutes, especially since any one of us could switch places with our doubles at any time and nobody else would know.” 

Fry nodded.  “Yeah okay, but how?”

Tura considered that for a moment.  “I know.” She said.  Reaching up over her head, she wrapped her fingers around her hair band and pulled her ponytail free, causing her hair to cascade down her shoulders.  “There, now if you see me with my hair down, you’ll always know that I’m me- and not that other Le- I mean Leela.” She said as she tried to pull a few errant strands of purple away from her face. 

It took awhile for Fry to realize that he was staring.  He hadn’t seen his Leela with her hair down more than once or twice.  He liked it.  A lot.  Luckily, Tura was so distracted by the last few strands of hair that refused to do what she wanted of them that she didn’t notice that Fry was gawking at her.

“Hey, that’s a nice look for you, Tura.” Amy said with an approving look.  “It’s not all uptight and boring like your usual look.”

“Gee, thanks.” Tura muttered before getting up from the conference table.  The cyclops strode over to the refrigerator in the nearby kitchenette and reached for one of the many magnets that adorned the refrigerator’s surface.  She missed the little Slurm magnet that she’d been aiming for, having misjudged its distance by a few inches.  When her fingers came away empty she looked at them for a moment, puzzled, and then let out a mildly annoyed sigh before trying again.  The rest of the crew studiously didn’t notice.  In their experience, acknowledging a lapse in their Leela’s depth perception only led to physical pain. 

Tura’s aim was better the second time around.  Still annoyed at herself, Tura spun on one heel- causing her newly-freed hair to whirl about her obnoxiously- and strode back to the table.

The other Bender eyed the magnet suspiciously as Tura approached him with it.  “Hey, what’re you doing with that thing?”

“Relax,” Tura said before leaning over and sticking the Slurm magnet onto Bender’s chest before the robot could flinch away.  Straightening, Tura put her hands on her hips.  “That ought to set you apart from the Bender that comes from this timeline.”

As Tura moved back to her original seat, Hermes shuffled a stack of papers.  Standing, the bureaucrat began to address the crew.  “Alright, with that all taken care of, I’ll go ahead and start da briefing.”  Hermes reached for the holographic projector’s control panel, which was built into the table.  “Today you’ll be deliverin’ two million units of Top Rama’n to Gradstudious VI, the graduate student planet.  Without it, their entire society could starve to death within a matter of weeks.”

“Oh, boo-hoo.” Bender said. 
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #254 on: 11-11-2008 06:05 »

Oh what, - more??? You just don't want me to keep up with this do you. Until I have a chance to go through it all nicely, I just have to say that the physics jokes/plot devices are superb, and I'm really enjoying everything else, too; even more than I usually really enjoy the things you write!
km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #255 on: 11-12-2008 04:38 »

My friend who I used to write crappy stories with when we were ages 10 --> 14 was named Aimee.    But it was pronounced the same though, just like Amy.

On the subject of writing, I did just reply in your contest thread but to clarify again here- um, no, I most definitely do not have an entry myself.

Meanwhile, if you keep updating this every 3 hours I'm going to run out of anything else to say about it;  except for that it's still entertaining and well-written and your characterization continues top-class.. in this section particularly Bender and Fry.  The grad student planet, haa... Also liked "Dark Energy Bars".

I'm sorry, I'm very sick right now so I can't really write any more. Just also, by the way, you left out Chapter 3 in your posting of it over at TLZ, fyi.
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #256 on: 11-12-2008 06:29 »

Quote
by the way, you left out Chapter 3 in your posting of it over at TLZ, fyi.
  Doh!  Thanks for letting me know.

The flurry of updates wont last much longer.  The reason I've got all this material to post right now is that I sent JN something like 20 pages of material that I'd written over the course of a couple of months, thinking that he'd get it back to me piece by piece over a few weeks.  Then I got an email two hours later with the whole thing reviewed.  I couldn't quite believe it...  I've been posting that chunk of story bit by bit over the last week.  I've probably got another update or two to go (ending, btw, on a huge cliffhanger), and then there'll be a dry spell for awhile.

I know you guys think I'm super-prolific right now, but I haven't afctually written more than five or six pages in the last few weeks.  Right now, Green Storm Rising is 74 pages long, 31 pages of which have been posted.  That basically averages out to a couple of hours of writing one night per week.  Doesn't take long for the words to start piling up.. 

Also, hope you feel better km73!
aknightofni

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #257 on: 11-12-2008 06:37 »

The flurry of updates wont last much longer.  The reason I've got all this material to post right now is that I sent JN something like 20 pages of material that I'd written over the course of a couple of months, thinking that he'd get it back to me piece by piece over a few weeks.  Then I got an email two hours later with the whole thing reviewed.  I couldn't quite believe it... 

Wow, that is mad reviewing skill.

Woo hoo cliffhanger! Thats how you know you're waiting, when you read the last paragraph and scream NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! when the post ends laff

Its been great getting so many updates so fast, feel spoiled. But keeping up this pace would probably kill you, and that would be bad. Will continue to wait eagerly for each update, even if they take a bit longer!
km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #258 on: 11-13-2008 01:44 »

Quote
Also, hope you feel better km73!

Thanks, I do! smile  Wasn't a big deal really.

But, holy crud, JN reviewed ~20 pages in 2 hours?!  And I thought I was fast
for Sine...   Aww, JN, I really really really wish you would apply some of that time towards Rush Moon though; or at least be maybe one-seventh as speedy with your own stuff.  frown

Also, sO: what Corvus wrote in your competition thread is sort of making me quiver with anticipation now.   *quivers*
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #259 on: 11-13-2008 03:14 »

Quote
Wow, that is mad reviewing skill.
  You aint kidding.  Knowing something about JN's schedule, I'm more than happy if I get something back a month after I send it to him.  When I found an email in my inbox two hours after sending him that deluge of writing, I half expected to find something like "Go to hell.  That is all." 

Quote
JN, I really really really wish you would apply some of that time towards Rush Moon though
  According to what JN told me awhile ago, he's trying to get back into writing but feeling a little rusty.  Also, I've seen the first draft of the next chapter, and it is awesome. big grin

Quote
*quivers*
  <Farnsworth> Stop doing that! </Farnsworth>  I sent Corvus an outline of the plot that's rattling around in my head.  I dunno if I can do what I want to do in less than 5000 words though, so what he saw may never actually turn into anything.  Right now, I know that something from Fry's past will be involved.  Also zombies.  The story's working title is Resident Leevil. 

km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #260 on: 11-13-2008 08:31 »

Quote
When I found an email in my inbox two hours after sending him that deluge of writing, I half expected to find something like "Go to hell.  That is all."
 
Naww, I'm pretty sure JN would never do that.  It would be very out-of-character.
Maybe his evil twin though...

Quote
The story's working title is Resident Leevil.

Hahaa, awesome.
A zombie from Fry's past?..
No, don't spoil it.

Quote
Also, I've seen the first draft of the next chapter, and it is awesome. big grin
 
Now I'm quivering even more!  big grin evil laugh


benderForPres

Crustacean
*
« Reply #261 on: 11-13-2008 18:39 »
« Last Edit on: 11-13-2008 18:55 »

 ...
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #262 on: 11-14-2008 20:31 »

Here's one final quick-fire update.  I might get something more up in a couple weeks, but I'm working on another project (and about to be faced with final exams), so we'll have to see. 
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______

Part 1
Chapter 6:

Fry soon found himself alone on the Planet Express ship bridge with Tura.  Tura was piloting the ship, something that Fry knew should not make him feel weird.  There was just something odd about the idea that someone other than his Leela was captaining the ship.  The fact that Tura was identical in almost every conceivable way was just somehow not enough to keep him from sneaking a glance in her direction every once in awhile, as though she might steer the ship into a star at any moment.  And it didn’t help that she kept messing with her hair, which just distracted Fry from his navigation screen even further.

Time passed slowly, as it often does in the big empty reaches between galaxy clusters.  The other Bender was somewhere in the aft portion of the ship- doing who knew what- and Amy was resting up for her shift.  Tura was staring straight out the front viewport, clearly bored out of her mind.  Eventually the cyclops stirred and looked around her.  Fry waited patiently for her eye to scan the bridge and then finally come to rest on him.  It was a familiar pattern.  Leela- or Tura, as it happened to be- would realize that she was in danger of falling asleep at the wheel and would look for someone- anyone- to help her stay awake.  That someone almost inevitably ended up being Fry- even when other crewmembers were present- but Leela’s eye always scanned the entire compartment, as if she kept expecting there to be someone new to talk to.

As he’d expected, Tura shifted around in her chair to face him and started to fumble for something to talk about.  “So uhh…  How ‘bout them-?  Hey, hold on a sec, didn’t you have something you were supposed to tell me?”

Fry’s eyes widened as he remembered the message that Leela had asked him to ferry across the timeline barrier to her double.  You idiot! He chided himself.  How could you have forgotten that already?!   “Oh, crap!  That’s right, I had something really important that Leela wanted me to tell you.”

“What is it?” Tura asked, more curious than worried.

“It’s about your parents.”

Suddenly the expression on Tura’s face was dead serious.  She sat up straighter in the Captain’s chair.  “What about my parents?”

Fry sat back in his chair and frowned, not quite sure how he should break the news.  “Umm, do you know anything about exploding manhole covers?”

Tura cocked her head to one side, her sudden worry momentarily forgotten by the sheer unexpectedness of the question.  “Exploding what now?”

“Manhole covers.” Fry repeated.  “They keep popping off of manholes and flying into the air.  At least, that’s what they’re doing in your timeline.  I don’t think that’s happening here.”

“Oh right, I remember that.  There was a story in the news a couple weeks ago.  Some poor schmo got hit in the head.  The paramedics got there in five minutes, but he’d already died of a completely unrelated heart attack.” Tura paused.  “But what’s that got to do with my parents?”

“Well, the Mayor thinks the only way to fix the problem is to completely rebuild the sewer system.  He’s going to kick all of the mutants out of the sewers when they install the new system.”

When Tura didn’t say anything, but just stared fixedly at his face, Fry began to grow more and more nervous.  He noticed that Tura’s hands had balled themselves into fists and that her face was beginning to turn a shade of red that- on Leela- was usually indicative that someone’s spine was about to be severed.  “Uhh, Tura…?” He tried tentatively.

“How could they do that?!”  Tura demanded, her voice a dangerous growl.  “How could they do that to my parents?”

Not sure how to respond, Fry was only able to shrug and pray inwardly that Tura didn’t decide to kill the messenger.

Tura got up from her seat and began to pace the length of the bridge, her long hair jerking back and forth as she walked, and serving to highlight her fury.  After a few seconds of silence in which Fry tried to make himself as unattractive a target as possible, Tura whirled on him.  “I have to get back home.  Right now.

“But Tura, the Professor hasn’t figured out how to send you back yet!  You’re gonna have to wait until the next time that you and Leela switch places.  And anyway, Leela’s in the other timeline.  She’ll take care of everything while you’re gone.  Leela is-”

“Not me!” Tura interrupted.  “I know she’s really, really close to being me, but she’s not me!    I should be over there in my reality taking care of this, not her!”

There wasn’t anything that Fry could say to that but, even though he knew words of comfort he could offer would be meaningless, he felt like he had to say something.  While he was fumbling for something that didn’t sound completely stupid and inadequate, Tura continued to pace.  While she was facing away from Fry, she muttered something that he couldn’t quite hear. 

“What?”

 “I’ll kill somebody if they force my parents from their home.” She repeated, turning to face him again.  She wasn’t quite able to keep her voice from wavering.  Fry saw the tear in the corner of her eye before Tura could wipe it away.  “I mean it.” She said, and suddenly she was no longer the terrifying, take-no-prisoners starship captain.  Instead, Fry found himself face to face with the vulnerable and insecure part of Leela that usually hid deep beneath her protective shell.  Then Tura started to cry.

The abrupt change in Tura was frightening.  Instinctively Fry stood and moved to her side.  She wasn’t technically his Leela, but he still knew enough about her to know that nothing could shake her up like a threat to her parents.  Tentatively the delivery boy put an arm around Tura’s shoulders and steered her toward the couch at the front of the compartment.  Tura allowed herself to be guided, and miserably sank into the couch cushions. “I- I’m sorry, Fry.” She said between sobs.  “I shouldn’t be making you see me like this.”

Shaking his head, Fry sat down next to her.  “No, no.  Don’t apologize.” 

Tura looked at him out of the corner of her eye and gave him just the tiniest hint of an appreciative smile before turning away to self-consciously wipe her eye free of tears.  After a few moments of noticeable effort she managed to get control over herself.  As Fry watched, the armored mental shell that surrounded her began to slowly snap back into place.  He wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or saddened.

A long while passed.  Fry and Tura just sat together on the couch, allowing themselves to be hypnotized by the passing stars. It was only when Tura heard the muffled thump and scream that signaled that Amy was awake that she stirred from her position.  Fry turned to her as she stood, and Tura smiled down at him.  Then, to Fry’s utter surprise, she bent down and lightly squeezed his hand.  “Thank you.” She said, and then left the bridge.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ____________________

“That was an awful delivery.” Fry was saying as the crew debarked from the ship and headed for the conference room.  Aimee, who had switched places with Amy just as the PE ship had been approaching Gradstudious VI, looked curiously at the delivery boy.

“Gwuh?  It wasn’t any worse than they usually are- well, at least, where I come from.”

Fry did a double take when he turned to look in the intern’s direction.  The method that Aimee had settled upon to distinguish herself from her double was… distracting to say the least.  Apparently it was possible in the future to change your hair color by fiddling with a knob on a little remote control.  It was going to take awhile for Fry to get used to having a blonde version of Amy around.  “Are you kidding?”  He replied before turning away for a moment to hit the button for the elevator that would take them to the second floor.  “It was much worse than usual.  First, we got there and had to haul the packages a mile by hoverdolly to drop them off.  Plus, you and I had to wear shielded spacesuits to protect us from the dangerous levels of MSG in each package.”

“What are you talking about Fry?”  Bender interrupted.  “I didn’t wear any crappy meatbag spacesuit.”  Bender, who’d stashed the Slurm magnet in his chest cabinet once its purpose had been explained to him, had swapped places with his double at the same time as Amy.  It was beginning to seem like a pattern; only two of the four of them that were switching between timelines were ever in the same reality at the same time.

Fry scowled at the robot as the three of them tried to squeeze into the small elevator.  Fry started to hit the ‘door close’ button, but noticed Tura hurrying down the ship’s ramp at the last moment and decided to wait.  Turning back to the robot, Fry said “I was talking to Aimee.  All you did was sit on your ass and complain.”

Tura squeezed her way into the elevator with the others and hit the button for the second floor.  “Yeah, that and shred about 200 dissertation papers.  We almost didn’t make it out alive… again…”

“I sure learned one thing.” Fry remarked, shaking his head.  “Never mess with graduate students.  They don’t have anything left to lose and they all pack heat.”

“I know I do.” Aimee replied.

Before anyone could respond to that little revelation, the doors slid open, and Zoidberg waved to them from the nearby conference table.

Seeing the Decapodian, Bender reached for the ‘door close button’.  “Oops, wrong floor” he announced.  Sighing, Tura hauled the robot from the elevator, and the others followed.

As Fry approached the conference table he started to hear the sound of snoring coming from the Professor’s leather chair.  Sure enough, when Fry rounded the conference table and could see who was sitting in the chair, he discovered the sleeping form of Professor Farnsworth.

The crew sat around the table and looked at each other.  “Uhh, Professor?” Fry tried.  He got no response. 

A few seconds passed.  “Yo, old guy!  Wake the hell up!”  Bender yelled, but the snoring continued.  Bender sat back in his chair.  “Well, I’m out of ideas.”

Tura made an irritated noise.  “Ugh.  I don’t have time for this.”  She cleared her throat.  “Wernstrom.” She said flatly.

Farnsworth reacted as if he’d been shocked.  Bolting upright, the senile old scientist looked wildly in all directions- including, to Fry’s confusion, toward the ceiling.  “Wernstrom?  Who said Wernstrom?” Farnsworth demanded.

“No one, Professor.  You must have been dreaming.” Tura said.

“Huh, wha?  Are you sure?”  When Tura nodded, the scientist reluctantly sank back into his chair, giving the room one last sweep with his rheumy old eyes.  “Well alright, if you’re certain.”  He hesitated, seemingly noticing for the first time that his entire crew was assembled around him.  “Now, what are we doing again?”

“We just got back from the mission.” Fry explained patiently.  “So it’s time for the debrief-“   Someone kicked him in the shin.  “Ow!”

“What Fry meant to say was that we just finished the exceedingly long, pointless debriefing, and you were about to tell us whether or not you’ve made any progress on finding a way to stop the reality-jumps.”  Tura said.

“Uhh, yeah.  That’s exactly what I meant.” Fry added as he gingerly massaged his left leg.

“Oh yes, the reality jumps.” Farnsworth nodded to himself.  “Yes, I believe I have come up with a vaccine that will stabilize the cosmic strings in all of your bodies.  Of course, it’s just a prototype, but-”

“Where is it?” Tura was out of her seat.  “Is it ready to be used?”

“Well, I suppose… But again, it’s just a prototype.”

“Will it kill me?”

“Wha?”  Farnsworth thought for a second.  “No, I don’t think so.”

“Then give it to me!  I need to get back to my own reality as soon as possible.  It’s an emergency.”

“Hmm…  Well, I suppose it can’t do any harm.”  Farnsworth stood.  “Everyone follow me to my laboratory.”
_____________________________ _____________________________ ____________________

“You’re sure this won’t hurt her?” Fry asked nervously.  The delivery boy harbored a deep dislike of needles, and the one that the Professor was carrying around with him was the largest he’d ever seen.  And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, Farnsworth was busily filling the syringe with a glowing blue liquid.  No combination of that could be a good thing.

“Oh, don’t worry.  Tura will be just fine.” Farnsworth assured.

“Then why is she strapped to that table?” Aimee asked, pointing to a white medical table upon which Tura lay on her back, her arms and legs secured by leather straps.

“Oh fuff.  That’s just a standard precaution.  Nothing to be alarmed about.”  Having finished loading his syringe, Farnsworth shuffled over to the bed and swabbed the space above one of Tura’s arm veins.  “I don’t want Tura to get loose and smash up the lab equipment if she seizes like all those lab mice did.”

“Hey, hold on.  You never said…” Tura winced as the needle entered her arm.  Farnsworth emptied the contents of the syringe, and Tura’s arm momentarily glowed blue before the liquid spread through her bloodstream.

“Well, that hurt.” Tura muttered as the needle was withdrawn.  Nothing else happened.  “Uhh, so how long should it take before we know whether it’s working?”

“Hmm…  I’m not quite sure.”  Farnsworth said.  “Not long, I would think.”

“Well, I don’t feel anything-”

Pop. “-yet.”  Whoah.  Neither Tura nor Leela had ever experienced double vision, but this was close.  The Professor’s lab was right there in front of her, but so was the conference room.   “What’s going on?”  Who said that?  “Am I in the conference room now?  That must mean it worked!”  What worked?  “Who’s talking?”   Wait, is that my voice?  “Leela?”  Who is this?!  Pop.  Pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop.

“Quick, somebody call a doctor!”  Fry hollered over his shoulder.  He was kneeling on the table over the heaving form of the purple haired cyclops.  He was trying to keep her from hurting herself, but so far all he was managing to do was get kneed in the crotch.

“I’m a doctor.” Zoidberg replied excitedly, holding up the medical kit that he’d brought with him from his nearby office.

“No, I mean a real doctor!”  Fry yelled back.  Abruptly the table stopped its wild heaving and was still.  Fry froze, and the cyclops’ eye fluttered open.

“Leela?”

“Fry, what are you doing?” She managed weakly.  Fry, realizing that he was straddling her, turned a deep shade of scarlet and slid to the floor.

“Uhh, nothing.  Are you okay, Leela?”

The cyclops sighed.  “No.  I’m not okay at all.  It didn’t work, Fry.  I’m Tura.”
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______

plot.viscosity++
aknightofni

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #263 on: 11-14-2008 21:15 »

Also, I've seen the first draft of the next chapter, and it is awesome. big grin

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

*twitch*

Thank god for another update! Accounting midterm in an hour and its going to end in tears. Now at least I know I have something good to read when I get back.

Quote
plot.viscosity++

Object orientated  so plot is a class, or imperative so plot is a structure? If its a class global variables are bad! :P

Ill say something more intelligent after I get home and read it. Of course I'm certain the words "epic" and "awesome" will be in the comment somewhere.
km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #264 on: 11-17-2008 20:41 »

Colossal, as usual. smile  Excellent couple of chapters. Your blending of storytelling elements continues to engross and engage.

Okay, I just want to ask about this though:

The PE Captain was starting to notice a pattern.  Every time a switch between timelines occurred it involved two people.  When Leela switched places with her duplicate, Tura, someone else would also swap realities with their duplicate.  The result seemed to be that only two of the four PE crewmembers with screwed up quantum bits were in a given timeline at once. 

How are you technically justifying that? That is, why exactly would that be the case?

Or do you have some forthcoming explanation planned.

Otherwise - The part where Fry starts to mention the debriefing and is deterred by Tura really made me laugh - Liked their interaction there; and in general.
Also: "...like all those lab mice did."

Have fun keeping all this straight and all the... strings untangled.
Oh, and, Luck with what you're laboring on for the contest, too.

soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #265 on: 11-17-2008 21:52 »

Quote
How are you technically justifying that?
  Oh yeah, umm, well you see, there's a perfectly good reason, and I'd tell you, but I'd have to violate the law of comic censorship to do that.  So I totally can't  And it's not just because it's a convenient plot device, oh my no. wink

JustNibblin

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #266 on: 11-24-2008 21:26 »

Yay, you're caught up in posting!  I hope this means more of this is coming my way...
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #267 on: 11-24-2008 21:32 »

@JN: check your inbox
JustNibblin

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #268 on: 11-24-2008 21:45 »

@JN: check your inbox

I was thinking to myself, "Wow that was a fast reply.  That SO must be a real loser, to keep checking this thread every few minutes or so."

Then I realized that the new PEEL has a "thread notify" feature.  I am now drenched with loser stench.

And thanks, km73 and knight, for the encouragment ;-)
Archonix

Space Pope
****
« Reply #269 on: 11-24-2008 22:05 »

JN, I think that might be whale sweat.
km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #270 on: 11-24-2008 22:54 »

JN, you really can call me either Kim or km by this point, you know.   Either one.
In fact, you could have about 15 months ago.


All the cool people do.
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #271 on: 11-25-2008 00:57 »

Quote
That SO must be a real loser, to keep checking this thread every few minutes

I am not a loser!  My mommy said so!  Also, this from the guy who just checked this thread twice in 20 minutes...  :P

I don't use the thread notify dealie though.  I just happened to check Peel (for the second time today, btw) right after you posted. 
JustNibblin

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #272 on: 11-25-2008 04:50 »

JN, you really can call me either Kim or km by this point, you know.   Either one.
In fact, you could have about 15 months ago.


All the cool people do.

Sorry, kim, I didn't realize '73' was your last name! Am I cool now?  Please?

JN, I think that might be whale sweat.

Actually, whale snot is (s)not pleasant.  Trust me on this.
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #273 on: 11-25-2008 05:05 »

Hey, the gang's all here! Welcome back JN/congratulations on your continued presence's everyone else.

So, I just wanted to say (again?) that this fic is damn near the closest thing to actual Futurama I've ever read. The characterizations, especially in the little things, the crafting of scenes, just everything is spot on, even moreso than usual for you, sO. Great stuff.
aknightofni

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #274 on: 11-25-2008 05:29 »

Actually, whale snot is (s)not pleasant.  Trust me on this.

....

BAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Having fun yet?

Last update was indeed both awesome and epic SO, as predicted. Guaranteed if you didn't have a headache before being rapidly swapped between two universes 10 times in a row, you sure do now. Physics sure likes picking on Planet Express crew members, probably because Farnsworth keeps poking it with a stick. Can't wait for next update!
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #275 on: 11-27-2008 05:35 »
« Last Edit on: 11-29-2008 22:16 »

Well, I was planning on spending some time this Thanksgiving weekend working on the Resident Leevil story that I'm entering in the SNPP fanfic contest, but somehow I forgot to load the fic onto my thumbdrive before I went to the airport, so that will have to wait.  Since Ive got nothing to do (everyone I know that isn't my family is 2000 miles away), and I just found some more edited GSR in my inbox, I guess I might as well post it.  Thanks for looking it over, JN!
_____________________________ _____________________________ __________________

Part 2
Chapter 1

“Remarkable.”

“What?  What’s remarkable?” Fry tried to steal a glance over the Professor’s shoulder at the gizmometer that the scientist was waving around Tura’s head.  The delivery boy was trying- unsuccessfully- to hide his worry as he hovered around the bed that Tura was still strapped to.  He knew that Leela- and therefore Tura- hated it when anyone worried about her.  It was like she couldn’t stand the thought that anyone might think her incapable of handling any given situation by herself. 

“Hmm… I’m not quite sure.” Farnsworth said, waving the device some more.

“Professor, please.” Tura tried to sit up but was thwarted by the straps that still tied her to the table.  “Would somebody just get these things off me, already?!”  Fry waited for Farnsworth to object, but when the scientist didn’t give a sign one way or the other, the delivery boy bent down and loosened the bonds. 

“Thanks, Fry.”  Tura sat up and crossed her arms.  “You’ve been waving that thing around for ten minutes” she snapped at Farnsworth.  “What’s it telling you?  What happened to me back there?”

The gizmometer beeped.  “Oh my, well this is terrible news.  Absolutely terrible.”  Farnsworth shut off the device and walked over to a nearby tool cabinet, where he began rummaging around.

Fry hovered behind the scientist.  “What’s terrible?  Is Tura hurt or something?  Is she going to be alright?”

“Oh, no.  She’ll be fine.  Where did you get a moronic idea like that?  The gizmometer is just out of batteries.”  Farnsworth’s hand emerged from the tool cabinet clutching a couple of β+β-  (also known as double B) batteries.

“Ai ya!  Professor, would you please just let us know what’s going on?” Aimee called from where she sat perched on a nearby lab table.

“Very well.”  Farnsworth opened a little hatch in the back of his gizmometer, pulled out the dead batteries, slid the new ones into place, closed the hatch, and then set the device down on the table next to him.  “It seems that my vaccine was only partially successful.”  He said.  “It was able to temporarily dampen the fluctuations in Tura/Leela’s reality matrix, but there was some kind of interference.  From what Tura has told us, I would say that she and Leela briefly occupied the same reality at the same time, which is, of course, forbidden by the Uncertainty Principle.”

“That is the single biggest load of crap I have ever heard” came a new voice.  The crew turned to find Cubert standing in the doorway to the laboratory, arms crossed.  “Your explanation is pure gibberish.  What does the Uncertainty Principle have to do with anything?  Next, you’ll be saying that this ‘interference’ as you called it somehow affected this ‘reality matrix’ that you just made up, and that-”

“I’ll be right back.”  Bender said to the crew as he started briskly walking in Cubert’s direction.  Cubert, mid rant, didn’t really notice the robot’s approach until one long metallic hand snaked out and grabbed him by the hair.

“Come on shrimpy, you know the drill” Bender said, and after struggling futilely for a second or two, Cubert nodded once and let Bender briskly drag him from the room.  The door swished shut behind them.  A few moments later there was a loud bang and the lights flickered briefly, and then Bender came sauntering back into the room.  He moved back to his original position.  “All fixed” he said, lighting a cigar and gesturing for Farnsworth to continue.

“Right.  Well, as I was saying, The interference from the violation of the Uncertainty Principle somehow affected the reality matrix, causing a degenerate spacetime inversion in reality-space.”

“Uhh, okay.”  Tura said, blinking.  “So… all of that means…?”

“It means that, for the time being at least, you shouldn’t experience any more jumps between realities.  The quantum numbers that define your reality- your reality coefficients- have stabilized.  It looks as though you are stuck in this timeline, for now.”

There was a collective gasp.  “So I’m stuck here?”  Tura’s face was twisted into a mask of horror.  “But my parents are in danger!  I have to get back to them!”

“I’m sorry, but I did say that this was a prototype cure.  It wasn’t guaranteed to work.  You will just have to wait until I can come up with another vaccine.”

“And how long will that take?”

The Professor shrugged.  “Who knows?  I could have it ready this afternoon, or next Xmas.  You can’t put a due date on science.”

Instinctively Fry inserted himself into the conversation before the storm that was gathering on Tura’s face could manifest itself as physical violence.  Beating up the Professor would do her no good, and might even delay the cure.  “Well Professor, I guess we’d better leave then and let you get started sciencing.”  The delivery boy started pointedly walking toward the door.

Fry’s remark seemed to break through Tura’s anger, because her posture relaxed noticeably.  “Yeah, I guess we should go.”  She agreed with another long sigh.  Slowly she slid off of the table to the ground, still somewhat sore from the self-induced beating of a few minutes earlier.  Fry waited to make sure that she was following him before he hit the door release and strode out of the room.  He turned the corner into the hallway and waited for the rest of the crew to file by.  Tura was the last to emerge from the lab, and when she passed, Fry started to walk beside her. 

“Listen, Tura, I’m really sorry.” He began.

Tura snorted and rolled her eye.  “Thanks.  Because, you know, being sorry does me all kinds of good right now.  Just go away and leave me alone.”

Fry felt like she’d punched him in the stomach.  “I was just trying-”  His voice trailed off.  He sighed.  I give up.  Moments later, the two of them passed a closed door.  Fry, sensing an escape, opened it and strode inside as though he had any reason to be there other than to put distance between himself and Tura.  It was a particularly hard act to pull off, considering the room was a supply closet.

Fry waited for about a minute before returning to the hallway and heading in the direction of the main exit.  He’d have hid in the room for a few minutes longer, but the room’s light switch wouldn’t turn on and the vague smell of cooked meat that permeated the place was making him hungry.

To his surprise, Tura was standing by the front door when he got there.  Not sure whether to keep going or to turn back, he ended up just standing where he was at the entrance to the building’s anteroom.  Tura took a few steps toward him. 

“Fry, I’m sorry.”  She said softly.  “I didn’t mean to snap at you like that.”

Fry hadn’t been expecting an apology any more than he’d been expecting the Spanish Inquisition, so his response was nothing more than a jumble of half-thoughts that averaged out to “It’s alright.  I know you didn’t.”  Of course, it really wasn’t completely alright.  And he was pretty sure that she had meant it, but, as always, he found himself swallowing his hurt feelings in order to make her feel better.

“No, I mean it.”  Tura was saying.  “I’m pissed off at a lot of things right now.  The Professor, the Mayor, the laws of physics…  But not you.  I know you’re trying to help even though there’s not much you can do, and I appreciate it.  Really.”  Then, shockingly, Tura reached out her hand and clasped one of Fry’s.  “Come on.” She said.  “I could really use someone to talk to on the way home.”
_____________________________ _____________________________ ___________________

“Define ‘stuck here’.” Leela demanded, her eye narrowing dangerously.  Aimee and Bender exchanged nervous glances, each of them wishing that Fry was around to deliver the bad news.   Leela always seemed to go easier on him than anyone else.  Unfortunately, Fry was still back in the alpha reality, leaving the two of them to suffer the brunt of Leela’s anger. 

Bender had ended up in the beta reality about an hour after he’d witnessed the failed attempt to send Tura back to her timeline.  He’d waited for reinforcements before trying to explain the situation to Leela, who’d gone home by the time Aimee had shown up.  Now the two of them were standing in Tura’s apartment- which Leela was using for the time being, of course- wishing that there was more than a sole chair between them and the purple haired cyclops.

“The Professor invented some kind of vaccine to stop the reality jumps.” Aimee’s tone was meant to be soothing, but it came across to Leela as just a little too condescending.  The PE Captain crossed her arms as the newly-blonde intern continued.  “Tura made him try it on her before he was ready, so it malfunctioned.  The Professor says you two are stuck where you are until he can come up with another way to stop the jumps.”

  “What?!  Oh, well that’s just swell. And how long is that going to take, exactly?”

Aimee and Bender shrugged.  “He doesn’t know.” Bender said.

Terrific.  Leela started to say something but then gave up and dropped into her armchair with a sigh. 

When a few seconds had passed in silence Aimee walked up to Leela and put a hand on her shoulder.  “Hey, it’s not that bad.” The intern said cheerily.  “Our timeline isn’t much different than yours.  So what if you’re stuck here for awhile?  And your Fry, Bender, and Amy will be in this reality half the time anyway.” 

Leela looked up at Aimee.  “Almost the same?” She repeated sarcastically, prompting Aimee to withdraw her hand.  “Yeah, except for the fact that, in this timeline, my- Tura’s- parents are about to be kicked out of the city, and, since she’s not here because I’m sitting here taking her place, it becomes my responsibility to stop it.  How the hell am I supposed to do that?”

Aimee blinked once.  “Uhh, the same way Tura would?”

 “Okay, sure.   I’ll make sure and ask her for some advice the next time I see her.”  Leela retorted.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ____________________

Half an hour later the robot and the intern were gone, and Leela was in a foul mood.  As she waited for her microwave to cook her dinner, she mentally went through the long list of people that she was currently angry with.  At the top of the list was Fry, as usual, this time for scaring Tura into making the rash decision to try and use Farnsworth’s cure before it was ready.  Farnsworth was in second place for actually letting Tura use the cure at all.  Aimee and Bender were on the list as well, as were the Mayor, Hermes- though she could no longer recall why-, the citizens of New New York in general for going along with the sewer renewal plan, and Nibbler, for once again failing to use the litter box.  She, herself, was also on that list, though she couldn’t quite put into words why she was so furious with herself.  No, not myself.  My selves. Leela thought.  Tura was an idiot to use something that Farnsworth cooked up without getting it tested first.  And I keep making nasty comments to my friends when they’re just trying to help.  Why do I do that?  And anyway, I should have known that Tura would try and get back into this reality.  I mean, I would have, in her position. 

For a second Leela hesitated, not quite sure if she’d just mentally called herself an idiot, but then the microwave chirped softly and she opened it and retrieved her steaming plate of leftover tuna cassiopeiaroll.  She turned up her nose at the smell that the unattractive glob of food was emitting, but carried it over to her dinner table anyway.  Before Aimee and Bender had come over to drop their bombshell on her, she’d been debating having a wild night out on the town.  She was in a different reality, after all.  She could do anything she wanted and not have to face the consequences, as long as she managed to get back to her own timeline in the end.  The prospect was exhilarating.  She wasn’t about to go screwing up Tura’s life for her, but she could do anything she’d ever wanted without feeling guilty that someone she knew might find out. 

Leela set her plate down and headed over to the refrigerator to grab a carton of soy buggalo milk.  She couldn’t help but notice that the fridge was mostly empty.  If she was going to be stuck here for awhile she was going to need to go buy groceries, which meant she was going to have to start using Tura’s money.  It wasn’t stealing; she was practically borrowing the money from herself, but it still made Leela uneasy, and so she’d put off buying absolutely anything. 

That same strange feeling that she was somehow stealing something from Tura had eventually persuaded Leela against going out that night, even before Aimee and Bender had shown up and put her into such a bad mood.  Leela sat at the table and began to force herself to eat.  The stuff was awful, almost as bad as some of the better things that Bender had prepared aboard ship.  She’d gagged down about a quarter of it before she dropped her fork.  “Screw this.” She said, pushing the plate away from her.  “If I’m going to eat something that tastes like sewage, I might as well go do it in the sewer.”
_____________________________ _____________________________ _____________

km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #276 on: 11-27-2008 22:58 »
« Last Edit on: 11-27-2008 23:03 »

Violating the verboten tenets of the Uncertainty Principle?  Physics must be angry about that!

Two examples of how you excel in the "little things" of characterization that Sine mentions:

Quote
It was like she couldn't stand the thought that anyone might think her incapable of handling any given situation by herself.

Quote
...but, as always, he found himself swallowing his hurt feelings in order to make her feel better.

I see what you've done now, you've stopped the timeline-skips for the time being to ostensibly move on into the realm of the sewers for a while.  And so apparently Leela'll be the one to have to deal with it.
Loved the brief Cubert cameo, wish it would have been longer. Yeah, I actually think he's hilarious.
And "cassiopeiaroll": hee.   Hope you're having a nice Thanksgiving.
aknightofni

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #277 on: 11-28-2008 00:07 »

Quote
Fry hadn’t been expecting an apology any more than he’d been expecting the Spanish Inquisition.

Best possible use of Montey Python ever.

Bravo good sir, Bravo.
THM

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #278 on: 11-28-2008 20:16 »

Hey, an update! And it rocks! wink

Interesting; a pause in the scientific action in order to concentrate on the personal. Cool! And I'm willing to bet that Leela's solution will involve violence...and possibly Bender, which means it'll also involve sleaze! smile

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #279 on: 12-01-2008 23:48 »
« Last Edit on: 12-02-2008 00:11 »

ignore this, please.
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