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Author Topic: Esso-teric: soylentOrange's Fanfic Thread  (Read 27366 times)
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soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #80 on: 04-17-2008 22:46 »
« Last Edit on: 04-17-2008 22:46 »

*bump*

I don't have the next update ready yet, but I figured I'd post this in the meantime.  This idea has been rattling around in my brain for awhile.  We'll see if it ever goes anywhere:
_____________________________ _______________

“OK Fry.  It’s your turn.” 

“Yes!” Fry exclaimed and stepped up to the What If Machine’s flickering screen.  He paused for a moment, not quite sure what to ask the device.

“Hey, no fair!” Amy called.  The intern had her arms crossed and was glaring angrily in the Professor’s direction.  Fry thought she looked cute when she was mad.

“Why do Fry, Bender, and Leela always get to ask the questions?” She complained.  “Let some the rest of us have a chance.”  There were mumbles of assent from Hermes, Scruffy, and Zoidberg.  Katrina and Xanfor were mysteriously absent.

“Now Now.” Farnsworth said, waving his finglonger at his disgruntled employees in a condescending manner.  “You will all get a chance to ask your questions just as soon as I can remember your names.”

“Ooh! I know what to ask!”  Fry exclaimed, at which point Leela narrowed her eye at him.

“It had better not involve me in my underpants.  You remember what happened to you the last time you tried something like that, don’t you?”

Fry shook his head.  “No, nothing like that.”  He cleared his throat and addressed the machine.  “Ok future-y science doohickie. What if Star Wars was real?”
_____________________________ _____________________________ _____________

           *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

                     Space Wars

Episode IV (But really episode I since no one watches the first 3)

It is a period of civil war, cgi aliens, laser swords, and sewer mutants.  Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victories against Mom’s evil Galactic Empire™. 

During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate- and entirely unnecessary- weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet, and a single whopping design flaw.

Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agent, Darth Bender, Princess Leela races home aboard her spaceship- which includes, for some reason, taking a detour through the middle of an unrelated star system- custodian of the secret plans that can save her people and restore freedom and merchandising opportunities to the galaxy…
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #81 on: 04-17-2008 22:59 »

Looks awesome.
km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #82 on: 04-18-2008 00:16 »

Yeah, at this point there are probably 5 fanfic writers I would read anything by. One already knows it all too well. But you, sO, would be another.
THM

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #83 on: 04-18-2008 20:52 »

I'll bite; sounds interesting. Good luck with it, and if you need a beta-reader, you know how to call me.  smile

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #84 on: 05-02-2008 18:13 »
« Last Edit on: 05-02-2008 18:13 »

with apologies to justNibblin:

Part 3
Chapter 3

There weren’t any life signs aboard the Planet Express Ship.  Fry ran the scan three times. 

“I’ve got to go over there.”  Shielding his eyes against the glare of the nearby star with one hand, he tried to peer into the other vessel’s darkened bridge.  All he could make out were the vague silhouettes of some of the equipment.  Nothing moved.

Chelsea was already hauling spacesuits out of the storage locker at the rear of the cockpit.  She tossed one in his direction and then grabbed one of the fishbowl helmets for herself.  The garments were surprisingly flexible and easy to get into- not at all like the old, bulky suits he’d used at Planet Express.  Fry reached past Chelsea and picked up a helmet.  When the helmet’s rim touched the ring seal at his suit’s neck there was a hiss of suction.  Fry’s nose immediately caught that unique, metallic smell of canned air.

When they’d both finished putting on the suits, Fry nudged their ship against the derelict Planet Express Ship. Their vessel shuddered slightly when the airlocks mated.  Fry double-checked each of Chelsea’s seals, and the two humans squeezed into the tiny airlock.

A buzzer sounded back in the cockpit.  Grumbling, Fry awkwardly extricated himself from the airlock and strode the few paces to the pilot’s seat.  The ship’s computer was trying to warn him about a ship that was bearing down at them.

“A ship just showed up.” He called back to Chelsea.  “They’re hailing us.”  He started to work the controls on the console in front of him.  “Could you answer them?  I’m going to start getting the weapons ready, just in case.”

Chelsea slid back into the copilot seat and looked around her.  She couldn’t find anything that was obviously a radio amongst the knobs and dials that were spread before her.  You’re in the future, she reminded herself.  Think Star Trek.  “Uhh, on screen?”  She was only marginally surprised when the video screen came alive with a hiss of static. 

A squat, leathery creature dressed in a grey uniform glared at her from the screen.  “You are in restricted space.” The creature growled.  “Power down your engines and open your outer hatch.  Prepare to be boarded.”  The image disappeared.

“Did you hear that?” Chelsea asked. 

Fry looked up from his console and nodded.  Of course he’d heard it; he just wasn’t particularly surprised.  That kind of dialogue was typical bad guy stuff.  You got used to it after working in space for awhile.  “Yeah, I heard.  He fiddled with a knob and an image of a spaceship filled the screen.  For a minute he just stared at the stocky white alien vessel.  It practically bristled with weapons.  Alright, Phil. He told himself.  What now?  He didn’t know enough about spaceships to know whether he could outrun them, or even what affect his ship’s defensive laser would have on the other vessel’s armor-plated hide.  But if he surrendered, he might very well suffer whatever fate had befallen Leela, Bender, and Amy.  It suddenly seemed incredibly foolish to have gotten himself into this situation.  What the hell was I thinking coming out here?  I’m just a dumb kid from the stupid ages!

“I- I don’t know what to do now.” He admitted. 

Chelsea looked at him as if he had spoken in Greek.  “What do you mean?” She asked.  “Now we fight.”

He shook his head.  “But I’ve never flown a ship during a battle before.  All I ever did when I was working for Planet Express was fire the laser, and I don’t know anything about tactics or stuff.  I’ll just end up getting us killed.”

Chelsea put a hand on his shoulder.  “If we surrender, they’ll do to us whatever they did to the others.  We don’t have a choice; we have to fight.”

“But-”

“You just worry about making sure we don’t crash into anything.” Chelsea said, cutting him off.  “I’ll take care of the rest.  Just tell me how to make this thing shoot lasers.”

Fry regarded her for a long moment.  His brain told him that fighting wasn’t the answer.  He just didn’t think there was anyway they could win, not with an inferior ship.  But Chelsea seemed confident, as though she had access to some knowledge that was hidden from him.

“Right.” She said.

Fry blinked.  “What?  I didn’t say anyth-”

“No, I mean right.  Move the ship to the right!”

“Well, it’s actually called starboard when you’re on a ship…”

“I don’t care what it’s called.  Move the fucking ship.  Now!”  Chelsea grabbed the wheel and gave it a hard twist.  An alarm blared as the seal between their vessel and the Planet Express Ship was broken.  The little red ship rolled right and over the PE Ship’s hull.  The torpedo that had been meant for them sailed under their bow and detonated astern, sending a massive concussion reverberating through the ship.

“Ow!” Fry yelped as his head smacked against the wheel.  He sat up and winced.  “I guess they got tired of waiting for us to make up our minds.”  He looked over at Chelsea to make sure she was ok.  She was rubbing an elbow that she’d banged against the hull, but seemed otherwise unhurt.  Also angry.

“You alright?” He asked.

“Just tell me how to run the laser.”  The fire in her eyes made it clear that there would be no argument.

Fry pressed a button that was mounted on the ceiling and a blank panel on Chelsea’s console slid away.  A black joystick and a small video screen rose out of the console.  A field of stars was displayed on the screen, with a large set of red crosshairs painted at the center.  Chelsea grabbed the stick and gave it an experimental flick to the left.  The stars flew across the screen from left to right, and the laser turret hummed as it rotated overhead on its track.  In a matter of seconds she had the enemy ship centered in the crosshairs.  She nodded at Fry.

Fry took a deep breath and threw the throttle forward.  The enemy ship responded immediately, letting loose a barrage of violet plasma fire.  Most of it passed overhead, but a stray shot glanced off the shields.  Their own weapon responded with a staccato burst of green light.  The first few volleys were nowhere near their target, but Chelsea soon had the hang of the controls.

When the first rounds splashed against the enemy’s shields Chelsea let out a whoop.  “Take that, jackass!” 

Fry hazarded a glance in her direction as he made a sloppy series of barrel rolls.  To his utter amazement, Chelsea seemed to actually be enjoying herself.

A loud thump shook the ship.  “They’re behind us!” Chelsea yelled, and then let off another barrage of laser fire.   Fry tried to lose them, but he proved no match for the trained enemy pilot. 

“I can’t shake them!” Fry yelled in desperation as a wave of plasma washed over the shields.

“Pull back on the stick, then cut the engines!” It was an order.  Fry obeyed, and the enemy ship rocketed by underneath them.  Fry throttled up the engines and slid in behind them.  Chelsea didn’t fire.  She was looking at something at the top of the joystick.  She gave it a flick with her fingernail and a plastic covering fell away, exposing a little cavity.  In the cavity was a big red button. 

“Huh.” Chelsea pressed it. 

The engines died without so much as a cough.  Systems throughout the ship turned themselves off.  “What-?” Fry said as the artificial gravity quit.  It was suddenly dark and eerily quiet.  Not even the throbbing of the ship’s life support systems could be heard. “What did you do?!”

“Well that’s just great.” Chelsea was saying.  “Who the hell puts a surrender button on a weapons system anyway?  The French?”

Fry was about to say something when he felt the slightest vibration in the armrest he’d grabbed as the closest available anchor for his freefalling body.  Chelsea felt it too.

“Uhh, what is that?” She asked as it started to build.  A high-pitched whine began to fill the ship.

Fry’s first thought was that it was some kind of suck ray, which Leela had told him was the technical term for what he’d always called a tractor beam, but the enemy ship, which he could still see through the front viewport, was too far away to be using one on them.  In fact, they weren’t doing much of anything, just sitting idle.  Maybe they’re as confused about what’s going on as we are.  He thought.

The whine increased in intensity until it was at a level that was barely tolerable and the vibration increased to the point that it became difficult to hold onto the armrest.  Then both abruptly stopped, and all was still.

“Okaaay-” Chelsea began.  Something tore through Fry’s body like a million shards of hot glass.  He had the crazy idea that his body was flying apart in all directions.  He and Chelsea both started to scream, but the sensation was already gone. 

As Fry tried in vain to slow his heart rate he could hear Chelsea in the background swearing up a storm.  When he finally had calmed himself to the point that he could meet her gaze he found her grinning like a maniac.

“A goddamned quintessence bomb.” She laughed.  “I don’t even believe it.”

She must have seen that he was looking at her as if she’d just sprouted an extra head, because she visibly made an effort to get herself back under control.  “Sorry.” She said.  “I guess I’m a little high on adrenaline.”  Another laugh.  “A quintessence bomb.” She shook her head.   “Who would ever have thought?”

When all she got as a response was a blank stare, she tried to explain.  “The rental agency guy said that the ship was powered by a quintessence engine.  I didn’t think about it then, but that’s a fancy word for dark energy.  Do you know what that is?”

Fry shook his head.

“Dark energy is the stuff that causes the universe to expand.  I guess you could say that it makes space bigger.  I didn’t even think it was possible, but I guess in the future scientists know how to use the stuff to expand and contract different parts of the universe.  That’s how the ship gets from one place to another, by shrinking the space in front of it and expanding the space behind.  I think that, when I pressed that button I told the ship to take all the energy it had available and use it to lob a chunk of dark energy at that other ship.”

Fry, suddenly remembering that they were in the middle of a battle, searched frantically for the enemy ship in the viewport.

“Don’t bother trying to find it.” Chelsea said, waving casually in the general direction of the ship’s last position.  They’re probably stuck behind their own event horizon by now.  I wonder what it feels like to have your body disassembled piece by piece right down to the subatomic particles?”

Fry thought about that for awhile.  “So, we won?” He asked cautiously.

Chelsea grinned at him.  “Oh yeah.  We won.  We totally kicked their ass-” Something hit the ship.  Fry and Chelsea were thrown roughly back into their seats.

Fry tried to read his instruments, but they were all still dead.  There was another series of loud bangs, followed by the sound that space travels dread above all else, the peculiar whistle of rushing air.

“They’re shooting at us again!” Fry yelled.

“No shit!” Then:  “We’re leaking oxygen!”

Silently Fry thanked whatever supreme being that happened to be listening in that they were both still wearing their spacesuits.  The emergency hatch closed inches behind Fry’s head.  The hiss of escaping air died immediately, but now he and Chelsea were locked on the bridge of a nonresponsive spaceship under fire.  We have to get out of here.  Fry realized.  A green form in the viewport caught his eye.

Chelsea saw it too.  “You thinking what I’m thinking?”

Of course!  The Planet Express Ship!

The enemy ship fired again.  The rounds impacted in the stern.  Strangely, there was no explosion this time.  When Fry hit the emergency hatch release it immediately became apparent why.  The whole rear half of the ship had been sheered away.  Bits of rapidly cooling metal and miscellaneous detritus were floating out of the slowly retreating aft section like blood seeping from a wound.  The senseless destruction was, Fry had to admit, incredibly cool.  But there wasn’t time for that now. 

The redhead grabbed Chelsea around the waist and fired a burst from the thruster pack mounted on his suit.  The ruins of the ship began to recede.  Fry fired again, and the Planet Express Ship swung into view, as did the enemy vessel.  It wasn’t the same ship that had attacked them the first time.  This one was bigger, and had a large ‘M’ emblazoned on the underside of its hull.  At no point in his life had Fry felt so vulnerable as he did at that moment, hanging as he was in the middle of space with nothing to protect him from a well placed plasma round than a tenth of an inch of glass and fabric.  He just hoped the enemy gunner wasn’t a good shot. 

As it turned out, he needn’t have worried.  The enemy vessel didn’t shoot.

Fry and Chelsea made it to the Planet Express Ship’s airlock.  He just prayed Hermes hadn’t gotten on the crew to change the access code every month like they were supposed to.  The airlock light turned green.  Yes!

Inside, the ship seemed physically undamaged, although life support and artificial gravity were apparently offline.  When Fry and Chelsea stepped out of the airlock, the ship’s lights turned on automatically.  Fry began propelling himself down the hallway in the direction of the bridge.

As soon as they entered the compartment they felt the tug of gravity pull at their bodies.  Fry’s ear caught the whir of a ventilation fan.  The bridge’s emergency power generator was still operational, then.  He removed his helmet and tossed it aside.  Chelsea waited to make sure he could breathe before following suit.  “So this is the famous Planet Express Ship, huh?”  Her eyes took in the sleek bridge.  “Impressive.” 

Fry didn’t respond, but instead took his old place at tactical.  He tried not to think about the gruesome scene he’d been half-expecting to find on the bridge.  The console came alive when he sat before it.  A complex wave of emotions washed over him as he was confronted with the memories that accompanied that chair- that ship.  He forced himself to suppress them.  The console was advising him that there was a ship coming alongside.  Fry’s eyes went wide and he bolted from the seat.

“What?! What’s going on?!” Chelsea demanded as Fry bolted across the bridge.  The redhead dove into the Captain’s seat and twisted the key that was still in the ignition.   

The ship shook.  Chelsea almost lost her balance, but grabbed the monitor that hung from the ceiling to steady herself.

An alarm sounded somewhere belowdecks.  One of the first things Leela had done after being appointed Captain of the Planet Express Ship was to force Fry to memorize the sound of every alarm that the ship possessed.  It had proven a daunting task.  There were a lot of things that could go wrong in space, and each of them had its own alarm- even decompression.  This one was a low wail, almost solemn in its timbre.  It quickly crescendoed  to a climax and then slowly faded to silence before repeating.  That meant-

“We’re being boarded!” Fry exclaimed

Chelsea swore under her breath.  “What about weapons?  Do we have laser guns onboard or something?”

Fry shook his head.  “No. Leela was afraid that Bender would try and hijack the ship if she kept guns around.  She probably had one hidden onboard somewhere in case of an emergency, but I dunno where.”

“Well, it probably doesn’t matter anyway.” Chelsea replied in resignation.

“Huh?  Why?”  Chelsea nodded toward the rear of the bridge.  Three spacesuited figures floated through the hatchway and landed lightly on their feet as the artificial gravity caught them.  Each of them had nasty looking laser rifles clutched in their ungloved hands. 
_____________________________ ____________________

big-time reveal in the next update.  This hasn't been beta'd (soory JN.  I got impatient.  I know you're busy), so please take pity on my spelling mistakes. 

Oh, and THM, you still interested in beta-ing for me?  I think I've scared my previous two beta readers away. (by which I mean real life has stolen away all of their free time)


THM

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #85 on: 05-03-2008 17:20 »

Great stuff SO; looks like Fry is going to find Leela and Co. - whether he wants to or not!  smile

And yeah, I'm still up for beta-reading. Send whatever you have on over, and I'll be glad to help!  smile

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder
km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #86 on: 05-04-2008 00:33 »

 
Quote
...please take pity on my spelling mistakes.

Well, if you want, I can just tell you the only three I caught in this update.
- in the line "...even what affect his ship's defensive laser would have...", it should be effect.
- "...the sound that space travels dread" should be travelers.
- and "sheered away" should be sheared.
(If you didn't want, I guess I just did anyway).

Meanwhile, Chelsea's motives will be revealed in the next part? - suspenseful!! For now she seemed to be pretty useful though. Your space-battle descriptions - actually your descriptions in general - are palpable. (I love the little image of the airlocks "mating", and the explication of the quintessence bomb). Carry on, I expect much goodness in the next chapter.
Tornadoboy

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #87 on: 05-04-2008 09:17 »

Very nice job. The suspense of it all is killing me!
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #88 on: 05-06-2008 10:38 »

@THM: I tried to send my next update to you but your email address isn't listed in your PEEL profile.
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #89 on: 05-06-2008 13:55 »

Well, exams are over so i finally got around to reading this. Excellent as always, of course. I found the increase in profanity from Chelsea interesting, but I don't know if it means anything outside of characterization. Looking forward to the big revelations of the next part!
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #90 on: 05-06-2008 18:05 »

@Sine Wave: Exams suck.  That's my thought for today.  I just finished them too (and then graduated whoo!)  and finally got home.  Also, interesting side note, we've practically been neighbors for the last 4 years (on the scale of the PEELiverse).  Until last week, I lived up in Harrisonburg  smile  (Go Dukes!)
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #91 on: 05-06-2008 18:18 »

Oh snap, we have! I've even been up in Harrisonburg a couple times this year. And congratulations on graduating! Any plans for work/grad school?
THM

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #92 on: 05-06-2008 20:14 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:
@THM: I tried to send my next update to you but your email address isn't listed in your PEEL profile.


Odd. Anyway, it's thm727@hotmail.com; fire away!  big grin

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #93 on: 05-06-2008 20:36 »

@THM / justNibblin' check your inboxes when you get a chance

@Sinewave: yes, actually.  Right in the middle of exam week I got a letter of acceptance from University of New Mexico.  I'll be enrolled their as a grad student, working on my MS in astrophysics.
km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #94 on: 05-06-2008 22:41 »

Good on you, soylent.
THM

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #95 on: 05-09-2008 15:21 »

Indeed; congratulations, SO.

And I'm working on looking over what you sent me just as quickly as I can.  smile

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder
THM

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #96 on: 05-17-2008 15:19 »
« Last Edit on: 05-17-2008 15:19 »

*paging Mr. Soylent, paging Mr. Soylent*

I've read Chapter 7, Part 2, and will be sending you an email with my thoughts ASAP, FYI.   smile

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #97 on: 05-17-2008 16:51 »

but that means I'll have to get off my lazy ass and update!  What do I look like, a guy who's not lazy?
JustNibblin

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #98 on: 05-17-2008 19:17 »

SO: my comments are in for 7.2 too.  You're running out of excuses  wink
THM

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #99 on: 05-17-2008 21:06 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:
but that means I'll have to get off my lazy ass and update!  What do I look like, a guy who's not lazy?

No, but that's why we love you. :P


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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #100 on: 05-21-2008 21:11 »
« Last Edit on: 05-21-2008 21:11 »

Part 3
Chapter 4

The lead figure gestured with his pistol for Fry and Chelsea to place their hands over their heads.  When they had complied, he reached for the seals around his neck and his helmet detached with a click.  The creature was of the same species as the aliens that first challenged them.  Its head was small and wide with two small horns at the top.  Two slits high up in the center of the face served as a nose.  Two large eyes sat at either end of the face, bulging outward in such a way that Fry thought they might fall out of the alien’s skull.  The skin was brown and leathery, giving the impression of having been out in the sun for too long.  Overall, the alien didn’t appear all that threatening, except for the laser, of course. 

“Move away from the controls.” The alien ordered in a low, gravelly voice.  “Make any sudden movements and I will shoot you.”

Fry and Chelsea had no choice but to comply.  “Who the hell are you?” Chelsea demanded.

“And what did you do to Leela and the others?” Fry added.  Chelsea shot a glance in his direction, surprised at the tension in the redhead’s voice.

The alien frowned at the insolence of the weird-looking creature that stood before him.  “My name is Lox.  This is Kali and Erenor.” He gestured to his two companions, who still had their weapons pointed squarely at the humans’ faces.  “But that isn’t important.” Lox continued.  “What matters is that we’re a private security contractor hired by Momcorp to patrol the Cardena System.  You two are trespassing-”

“Wait, hold on a minute!” Chelsea interrupted.  “You work for Momcorp?  I’m a Momcorp employee!  I work security at corporate headquarters in New New York.”

“Did you have official business here?”

“Well n-”  Fry stared at her, and she caught herself.  “I mean yeah. Definitely.  We were, uhh, testing out a new guidance system that-“

“That’s enough!” Lox sneered.  “Don’t take me for an idiot.  There weren’t any authorized missions to this system logged for today.  You think I’d tell my own men to shoot at people who had a legitimate reason to be here?” 

“But we were only trying to find our friends!” Fry protested.  “They work for a delivery company and were hired to bring a package here.  But something happened to them.  They never came back!”

Lox’s eyes went wide.  “You mean those morons that owned this ship?”

“Yeah, them.” Fry’s hands involuntarily balled themselves into fists at the insult.  “What happened to them?  Where are they?” 

The alien laughed.  “I have no idea.  They cost Momcorp more income in five minutes than most planets make in a century.  Whatever Mom’s sons did to them, I probably don’t want to know about it.  Serves them right though.  What a fool their captain must have been, actually ordering a robot to-“

“You take that back!” Without even having made the conscious decision to do it, Fry found himself lunging at Lox with every intent to rip the sneer right off of the wrinkly alien’s face.  He made it about halfway before the helmeted alien on the right reacted.  Time seemed to slow to a crawl as the barrel of the laser rifle tracked in his direction.  The other suited alien moved to put himself in between his commander and the ball of redheaded fury.  Erenor, the alien with the weapon, aimed at Fry’s forehead, squeezed the trigger, and Fry waited for the concentrated beam of photons to sear its way into his skull.  He closed his eyes.

His momentum changed sharply.  Chelsea grabbed ahold of Fry’s ankle and pulled hard.  Fry toppled over and crashed into a bulkhead.  The laser buried itself harmlessly in the hull, passing right through the spot that Fry’s face had been a second earlier.  Chelsea rolled and pushed off the floor.  She hit Erenor squarely in the chest.  The alien went limp as his pistol flew from his hand.  Her momentum carried them both through the hatch and into freefall.   Chelsea spun around.  She kicked off the deck and plowed into Lox from behind.  She easily managed to pull the laser from the alien’s grasp.  That only left- Searing pain ripped through Chelsea’s shoulder.  She screamed and convulsed.  Her body hit the deck with sickening force.

Erenor’s pistol slid across the deck and came to a rest by Fry’s right hand.  He had just enough time to see Kali begin to squeeze the trigger.  The redhead had spent many a night after a particularly epic laser battle lying in his cot on the Planet Express Ship wondering if, when the time finally came, he’d actually be able to willingly shoot someone; whether he was capable of making the conscious decision to kill.  As it turned out, seeing your friend in a badguy's sights was a powerful motivator. 

Fry’s pistol fired almost of its own accord, burying several petajoules of energy in the alien’s side.  Kali’s own shot went wide, burning a long gash in Chelsea’s left shoulder.  Kali herself was not so fortunate.  As her body fell into the corridor outside the bridge, it began to spin lazily.  A stream of red globules flowed from the corpse, hovering in the air nearby like a cloud of satellites.  Fry stared at the body, horrified.  His hand began to shake, and he looked down at the weapon in his hand almost in disbelief.  Then he lost his stomach contents all over the bridge.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

 “So, what are we gonna do with them?” Fry asked.  He’d never taken prisoners before.  In fact, he was pretty sure that only badguys took prisoners.   The captives had been moved to the vicinity of the airlock while Fry and Chelsea decided their fates.  Kali’s body, having been too much for Fry to deal with, had been placed out of sight in the engine room.

Lox and Erenor were floating miserably against the bare patch of the hull. The redhead was floating upside down with respect to the ship’s normal orientation.  He had one hand firmly planted on the rim of metal that protruded from the airlock to keep himself steady.  Chelsea was nearby, and had one of the laser rifles trained at the captives.  She seemed to have to think over her response.  “Well.” She said eventually.  “We can’t let them go.  They’ll have us arrested for murder when we get home.”

Fry’s face went pale.  Murder?!  “But it was in self defense!  They were going to kill us!”

“No we weren’t.” Lox protested.  “Not until you attacked us.  If we’d wanted to kill you we would have fried you the moment you pulled that stunt to get away from the ship we crippled.”

“Shut up, you!” Chelsea snapped.  “Fry, think about it.  Who are the courts going to believe?  Two regular people who were snooping around somewhere that they weren’t supposed to be, or a licensed security force backed by the biggest industrial machine in the galaxy?”

He had to admit that she had a point.  “But what are we gonna do then?  We can’t just kill them.  Then we really would be murderers!”

“Fry.” She said, and waited for him to look directly at her.  “We don’t have a choice.  Either we kill them, or we’ll be hanged for a crime we didn’t commit.  They took their own lives into their hands the moment they started shooting at us.”  Suddenly there was something hard and cold in the back of Chelsea’s eyes that sent a shiver running down his spine.  He got an unsettling feeling that the person he was seeing now was not the woman that he’d met at Applied Cryogenics.

“I- you can’t kill them!  For god’s sakes Chelsea, they’re unarmed!  You can’t shoot someone if they’re unarmed!  Haven’t you ever watched Star Trek?!”

Chelsea nodded.  “I thought you’d object.  I envy you, really, for standing up for your sense of morality like this.  But you’re wrong, and I’m not going to let either of our lives be destroyed because these creatures were stupid enough to get in our way.”  She smiled at him, and Fry could see that there was genuine affection in it.  Before he could object again, Chelsea pushed off from the bulkhead and floated toward Lox.  She casually grabbed a pipe that jutted from the ceiling and came to a stop mere inches from the alien.  She thrust her weapon into his face.  Lox flinched away from her hand, and Chelsea snorted in disgust.

“Please don’t do this.” Lox pleaded.  “If you let us go, we’ll forget that you were ever even here.  You have my word.”

“Your word doesn’t mean anything to me.” Chelsea replied, and casually cocked the weapon. 

Lox panicked. “No, wait! Stop!” He grabbed her arm.  “I’m begging you!”

Chelsea froze.  She looked at the alien’s face, then down at the leathery hand that was planted at her wrist.  When she spoke her voice was cold as ice.  “No subhuman touches Chelsea Lynn Xiao.”

What happened next was a blur.  Chelsea grabbed Lox by the neck and threw him across the small compartment.  The alien’s skull collided with a control panel.  The snap of bone cut his screams short.  At the same time, Erenor pushed off from the deck and bolted for the hatch, knocking Fry out of the way.  The Asian woman spun and let out a yell that made Fry’s blood run cold.  Chelsea kicked off the wall and shot through the hatch after the fleeing captive.  She caught her quarry right in the corridor beyond the alien ship’s airlock.  Chelsea cocked her arm and let loose a left hook that dented the alien’s armored spacesuit.  The sheer force of the blow knocked the wind out of him.  Erenor’s eyes began to roll back in his head, but Chelsea wasn’t done.  Fry, who’d raced after them in the hopes of intervening, turned away right before she fired her laser rifle into the alien’s face at point blank range.  The whole compartment filled with the smell of scorched flesh.

Fry forced himself to look.  Erenor’s entire head was gone.  Chelsea floated over the alien’s ruined form, an anger like nothing Fry had ever seen before causing her whole body to tremble.  The whole front of her was covered with the blood of her vanquished opponent.  When she looked at him there was nothing human to be seen in her eyes.  Instinctively, Fry tried to back away, though it was impossible in freefall.  Chelsea, seeing the terror in his face, tried to go to him.

“Fry, I-”

Fry leveled his own weapon at her.  “Who are you?” He asked with a squeak.

Chelsea hesitated.  “What do you mean?  Fry, put down the gun.”

But Fry shook his head. “Nuh-uh.”  The image of Erenor’s dented spacesuit stuck in his mind.  “You’re not human.” It wasn’t a question.  “Who are you?"  Then: "What are you?”

“Fry, it’s me!  Put down the gun.  You’re not thinking straight.  You hit your head, remember?”

It was true.  There was a nasty bruise on his forehead from when Chelsea had grabbed his ankle and slammed him into the wall to save his life.  But, even so, his gut was confirming what his head already knew.  “You called yourself Chelsea Xiao.  Why?”

“What?  Oh, that.  It was my father’s name.  My mother divorced him and I went with her, so my name changed to Porter.  I guess I just used my father’s name because I was angry.”  Her voice acquired a pleading tone.  “Fry, please.  It’s me.  I wouldn’t ever hurt you. You- you’re the only person in the whole future that I care about.  You must know that.  Please, just put the gun away.”

 Fry felt his composure falter.  What am I doing? He asked himself.  He lowered the gun slightly.  Chelsea made no move to advance on him.  He opened his mouth to apologize, but something stopped him.  For some reason, the girl from the rental agency appeared in his mind.  Something told him that she was very important.  He tried to concentrate.  Where do I know her from?  An image of a bar sprang into his head.  Bright lights, futuristic music.  Alcoholic drinks and covert glances at Leela, who was sitting at a booth with Amy and a man that he’d never seen before.  Puppets.  Puppets were important somehow.  Saucy puppet show.  I told Bender to go see a saucy puppet show so that I could have the apartment to myself.  That girl from the rental agency, I took her home that night.  She was from the 21st century.  But why is that important?  When the answer came it, hit him like a thunderclap.  Cyborgs.

Fry raised the pistol again.  “That girl from the rental agency.  She was from the 21st century.  She lived through the War of 2012.  And she recognized you.”

Chelsea froze.  Her face went completely white.

“It was you, wasn’t it?”  Fry asked in amazement.  “You’re the leader of the cyborgs, the daughter of the scientist that created them.  You froze yourself to escape when you realized you were losing.”

A part of him waited for her to laugh at him, to tell him how ridiculous that sounded and explain just how impossible all of it was.  That part of him died when he read the confirmation in Chelsea’s face.  She reached out toward him, placating him.  He could see that there was real pain in her eyes.  “Fry, please, don’t hate me.  You’re the only friend I have.”  Fry retreated from her grasp.

“You called Lox a subhuman, and then killed him when he was unarmed.  You looked down on Hermes just because he has an alien working for him.  You lied to me.”  Chelsea moved toward him, and Fry retreated into the Planet Express Ship.  The laser rifle trembled in his hands.  When Chelsea began to follow him through the airlock he slapped the hatch’s emergency seal button, and six inches of metal swung into place between them.  For a moment, the two of them watched each other through the small porthole in the hatch.  Tears began to form in the corners of Chelsea’s eyes, and Fry turned away before he could betray his own pain.  Chelsea, suddenly furious, pounded at the hatch.  A series of dings appeared in the hatch’s alloy surface, but even Chelsea’s superhuman strength was unable to do any significant damage.

Fry hesitated.  He reached behind himself and swatted the button marked ‘intercom’ that was mounted on a control panel next to the hatch.  “I’m leaving.” He said.  Chelsea started to respond, but Fry cut the connection.  He ran to the bridge before Chelsea realized she might be able to burn through the hatch with her laser.

The Planet Express Ship’s controls felt strange in his hands.  It was almost surreal to be sitting in Leela’s chair.  He tried to banish the latent guilt that was still left from the last time he’d flown the ship, and let out a deep breath to calm himself.  He pressed a button.  There was a clang as the ship detached itself from the other vessel.

A few bursts from the maneuvering thrusters rotated the ship to face the white alien vessel.  Fry could just barely make out a lone figure standing, arms crossed, on the vessel’s bridge.  Silently he mouthed the words ‘I’m sorry”, but he knew Chelsea was probably too far away to have seen. A low clunk from underfoot signaled that the automated distress beacon he had ordered launched was away.  After pausing to make sure it was squawking on all frequencies he pushed the throttle forward, and the stars rushed around him.
_____________________________ ___________________

Interlude
Night became day and then faded to night again in an endless progression of misery.  Her body stalked the echoing corridors, eyes blank, a laser rifle resting against its shoulder.  Imprisoned in her own head, She had long ago ceased railing at her body’s betrayal.  When Walt passed, she no longer tried to force her limbs to follow her orders, or her finger to depress the trigger on the weapon that was maddeningly in her grasp, but utterly beyond her control.  Even those dark moments in which she’d tried in vain to turn the rifle on herself had passed.  Now all that was left her was a simmering, brooding hatred, which she carefully nursed.  She would bide her time; gather her strength.  When Walt passed by one morning, he looked her square in the eye and laughed at her, secure in his total victory.  She let it pass.  The moment wasn’t right, the control he had over her too complete.  Walt must have caught something- a tiny change in her posture perhaps- because his smile wavered for a split second.  Her body continued walking as it mechanically completing its assigned instructions.  This isn’t over. She said silently to Walt’s back.  You’re time will come.
_____________________________ _______________

So what's the verdict?  Too dark?  I wanted to make it clear beyond any reasonable doubt that Chelsea is insane in the mainframe.  I hope I didn't go too far with having the one alien's head get blown off...  Stay tuned.  If all goes well, the next update should be out by the end of this century!
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #101 on: 05-21-2008 22:07 »

Yes, it's dark, but not overly so I don't think. Also, between your fic and mine cyborgs just can't get a fair shake, can they?

*For the record, Sine Wave thinks that cyborgs would be pretty cool.*

So now Leela, Bender and Amy are being tortured by Walt (enough to make Leela suicidal?!), Chelsea has gone from friend to foe (or at least to scary person), and Fry is all on his own to save the day. Sounds like a recipe for epic space battles and Fry kicking tons of ass in general; can't wait.
km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #102 on: 05-22-2008 02:58 »

Holy...

Yes, cyborgs galore. Dark as Nixon's psyche, but gripping. It transcended the darkness. You handled it extremely well. I'd say you pretty much succeeded in clarifying Chelsea's state of mind! I didn't know if you could surpass some of the earlier chapters. (To me Leela's plight seems even scarier than Chelsea, though). And Fry may get a chance to prove his worth now?
Absolutely visceral.
JustNibblin

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #103 on: 05-23-2008 19:34 »

Cyborgs are cool, we need more of them.  I told SO I was flattered that in his story, cyborgs were created by mad scientists from my home town.

I've been lucky in that I have the next chapter.  Upside:  it's good.  Downside: it ends on even more of a cliffhanger.
km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #104 on: 05-24-2008 14:04 »

Your hometown is Los Alamos? Neat.

And now that I went back and read that part again, Chelsea's story makes more sense, but - she seemed to be genuinely upset by the millions of deaths. Human deaths, that is.
Was that just bullcrap?

Also: more of a cliffhanger?? But that just raises further questions!
Archonix

Space Pope
****
« Reply #105 on: 05-24-2008 16:39 »

She's obviously a sensitive despot.
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #106 on: 05-24-2008 16:45 »

@km73: she regrets that so many lives were lost, but only in a vague, almost-subconscious way.  She certainly believes it was necessary; And she'd do it again.  Having Fry around brings out the good- the 'human'- in her, but now that he's left her...
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #107 on: 06-05-2008 18:00 »
« Last Edit on: 06-05-2008 18:00 »

With this post I have officially used up all of the buffer that I'd created between the part of the story I was ready to post and the part I was still working on.  I've been having some trouble lately finding the time and motivation to write.  I'm going to try to write the next section tonight, but we'll see how far I get.  I really don't want this thing to fizzle out now that I've put so much work into it...
_____________________________ __________________

Part Four: Low Earth Orbit, July 15th, 3002

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
The autopilot automatically placed the Planet Express Ship in a parking orbit around Earth when Fry gave it no landing coordinates.  It chimed at him for further instructions, but the redhead didn’t hear.  He was staring blankly out the front viewport, lost entirely in thought.  How could I have been so stupid? He wondered.  In retrospect, it was pretty obvious that she’d been hiding something.  The way she’d been reluctant to talk about the past, the fuzzy details about her family and friends, her proficiency with the laser when they were fighting the Momcorp guards…  None of it fit with the scared, vulnerable girl that he’d helped adjust to a new life in the 31st century.  And there were other clues, things that he should have picked up on.  The strange looks she gave to aliens that passed on the streets, that comment she’d made about Hermes at the restaurant; And then there had been the incident with the rental clerk.  Why did I just let that pass? He wondered.  Am I really that clueless?  Or did I just want so badly to believe that the mask that Chelsea put up for me was the real thing that I ignored anything that might hint otherwise?

He let his body sink farther into the padding of the Captain’s chair and let his head rest on his arms, which he’d crossed in front of him on the ship’s wheel.  The autopilot chimed at him again.  It was becoming annoyed with its sluggish pilot.  Fry ignored it.  What am I going to do?  He couldn’t go home.  When Chelsea made it back to Earth, and he was confident that she would, she’d probably go looking for him.  He already knew how effective his front door was at keeping her out.

Fry felt a wave of despair wash over him.  I’ve done it again. He realized.  The despair was replaced by self-loathing.  I had another chance to start over, and I screwed it up. Again!  I cant go back to work, not with a crazy cyborg after me.  I can’t go home.  What am I going to do?!

The autopilot chimed a third time, much more insistently than before.  The machine’s consciousness was beginning to worry that something might be wrong with the human in the Captain’s chair.  For the pentillionth time, it wished that someone would update it with rudimentary language software.  Until then, it would have to determine the best course of action without input from the pilot.   Its main autonomous decision tree dictated that, in the case that it had been granted control of the ship and its crew had become nonresponsive, it should return to base as quickly as possible.  When Fry didn’t make any attempt to feed the machine new orders, the autopilot restarted the engines and dipped the vessel’s nose into the atmosphere.

Fry picked his head up from the steering wheel and immediately had to shade his eyes from the glow of superheated plasma that had built up around the ship’s nose.  Thinking that he was crashing, Fry panicked.  Luckily, the computer had already decided he was in no condition for command and ignored his orders, or the PE ship would likely have come apart under the strain of the things that Fry was telling it to do.

In a few seconds the ship had slowed to the point that the plasma faded away.  New New York sat before him, its lights glittering like a jewel in the night.  Fry stopped wrestling with the unresponsive controls and watched the city rise up to meet him.  The ship banked to starboard, and suddenly Fry was flying over the Hudson River.  Up ahead in the distance there was a shimmering light.   There was enough moonlight for the redhead to make out the shape of the Planet Express Building.  The light was escaping through the structure’s roof as the hangar doors opened to welcome him. 
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________
 
The Planet Express Ship settled gently on its haunches and turned itself off.  Fry pulled the key from the ignition and stood.  Not really sure what else to do, the redhead left the bridge and wandered to the ship’s ramp.  His steps echoed loudly in the stillness.  He knew it was silly, but he felt a little guilty for being in the Planet Express building uninvited.  It wasn’t really trespassing- he hadn’t wanted to come here, after all- but it still felt weird.  And then to top it off, he wasn’t really sure yet where he was going.

The door at the rear of the Professor’s laboratory whisked open, and Farnsworth came shuffling out, his white lab coat rustling about him.  The scientist was carrying a giant set of tongs and a big cardboard box that was labeled “Leela’s Organs”.  When he saw Fry standing at the foot of the ship, the spring left the old man’s step.

“Huh-wha?” Farnsworth came to a stop a few feet from the redhead.  He adjusted his glasses.  “Fry?  What are you doing here?”

Fry just shrugged.  “I dunno.  I didn’t mean to be here.  The ship wanted to come here.”

“Yes, the ship sent me a message that it was coming, and that the pilot might need medical attention.”  He raised his tongs, pointedly.  “Is Leela injured?”

“No Professor, sorry.”  His eyes fell.  “I went looking for her, but all I found was the ship.”

”Ah, I see.”  Farnsworth’s face crumpled in disappointment.   He let the box slide to the floor, jostling the empty jars that were contained within.

Fry, of course, misinterpreted his reaction.  “I know.  I miss her too.”  It was true, no matter how much it hurt his pride to admit it.  Suddenly, the weight of the day’s events came crashing down on him, and he remembered that he hadn’t slept more than a few hours in the last forty eight.  “Hey, Professor,” he said, stifling a yawn,  “can I crash here tonight?”

The abrupt change in subject didn’t seem to catch the scientist off guard.  Fry thought it most likely that it was because Farnsworth had forgotten the previous conversation already.  “Why of course!  Just remember to be awake by 6:00.  You have an early morning cheeseburger delivery to the planet of American Stereotypes.”

“Uhh, but Professor, I don’t work here anym- Oh, never mind.”  Farnsworth began to shamble away, but he stopped when he’d made it about halfway to the door at the back of his lab.  “Oh, and Fry,” He called over his shoulder, “Have you seen Leela?”   
_____________________________ _____________________________ _____________

The lumpy. stained cushions of the lounge’s couch were more of a mental comfort than a physical one.  It was only a short time before Fry felt the mantle of sleep descend upon him, but he forced it away momentarily.  He knew that he would have to do something decisive come the next morning.  It was sorely tempting to just cut his losses and see if that job Hermes had offered him was still available, but he knew that it wouldn’t work.  He’d never actually told Chelsea where Planet Express was located, but she’d figure that out pretty quick.  It would also be the first place that she looked for him when it became clear that he wasn’t going to return to his apartment.  For now he was safe; No one was going to break into the Planet Express building.  The place had been made a fortress, both to guard against anyone meaning to steal Farnsworth’s doomsday devices, and, to some extent, to keep some of the Professor’s experiments from thinking about escaping. 

Fry’s thoughts turned to Leela.  When he’d had to work with her she’d seemed bossy and overbearing, but she’d always had his back, no matter what.  Now that she was gone, he realized how much that in itself had meant to him, and how much he had taken it for granted.  But he didn’t just miss Leela, he missed the whole Planet Express crew.  He was even beginning to look back fondly on Bender’s shenanigans.  Well, the ones that had only ended with Fry in the hospital, anyway.   His new life had seemed so promising, but now it lay in shambles, all because his new girlfriend just happened to turn out to be some psychotic cyborg bent on the systematic assimilation or extermination of all organic life.  To make things worse, Fry was probably now at the very top of said crazy cyborg’s hit list. 

Who would’ve ever thought having a cyborg for a girlfriend could possibly be a bad thing? He thought darkly. 

Chelsea would probably kill him if she found him, and he couldn’t do a thing about it.  The only person that might possibly be able to take her on was Leela, and she was missing.  If only I knew where she was.  That alien guard said that Mom’s sons took her.  That could mean anything, he knew.  She could be stuck in some private prison hidden somewhere- anywhere- in the universe.  For that matter, she might very well be dead.  And there’s no way for me to know, one way or the other.  A thought, born of desperation and the fuzzy logic that comes with being on the edge of sleep, thrust its way into the forefront of his mind.  Unless I sneak into Momcorp headquarters and find out…
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

A jolt of adrenaline blasted through Fry’s system when someone tried to shake him awake.   His eyes shot open, but it was only Hermes that was standing over him.  He’d slept through the entire night.  No crazed cyborgs had assaulted the building.

Hermes looked about as perplexed as Fry had ever seen him.  “By Jah, Fry, what are you doing here?  And why is da ship back in da hangar?”

Now that the adrenaline rush was gone, it took a moment for Fry’s brain to climb out of its fog.  He blinked, rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, and sat up.  “Ungh, what?”

A hint of annoyance began to creep into the bureaucrat’s voice.  He tried again.  “What are you doing here?”

“Oh, sorry.” Fry leaned back, and, raising his arms over his head, tried to stretch.  His vertebrae made soft popping noises as he turned his torso to the left and right.  “I went looking for Leela, Bender, and Amy yesterday.  I found the ship.”

Hermes blinked in surprise.  “I see…”  That was good news.  Planet Express had been, for all intents and purposes, out of business without its spaceship.  The Professor was in the process of dusting off the old blueprints, but it would be months before a working vessel could be built.  The lost revenue from all of those packages that wouldn’t be delivered would have been a near disaster for the company. 

“And what about da crew?”   

Fry stopped stretching, and his face fell.  “I didn’t find them.”  He brightened.  “But I have a list of things I’m going to do to figure out where they are…”

“You mean a plan?”

“Yeah, that.”
_____________________________ _____________________________ ____________

  The first thing to do was to stop by his apartment and retrieve everything that he could.  It was risky, he knew that, but he found himself unable to allow Chelsea the chance to smash the few treasures he’d managed to collect during his stay in the future.  If nothing else, he had to retrieve his holophoner and that picture of Leela.

The closer he got to his apartment building, the more conspicuous he felt.  By the time he’d reached the building’s front door his heart was beating hard enough that he thought every pedestrian that happened by couldn’t fail to hear it thumping in his chest.  He scanned the lobby for hidden attackers, but it was empty.  As he was about to press the elevator call button, the set of elevator doors to his left clunked open.  The noise made him jump.  An old woman shuffled out of the elevator car and, upon seeing the stark terror in his eyes, favored him with an odd look.  Fry leaned against the wall to catch his breath, but the elevator doors began to close, and he had to squeeze through.

No one was waiting in ambush in the hallway outside his apartment, and he discovered with relief that his door was still locked.  Even so, it took him awhile to gather the courage to put his key in the lock and enter the apartment.  When the door squeaked opened he flinched in anticipation, but nothing happened. 

Just to make sure he was really alone, Fry grabbed a knife off of his kitchen counter and carefully checked every nook and cranny that might serve as a hiding place.  Finally, and at long last, he was convinced that he really was alone.  His anxiety didn’t lessen, however, as he kept expecting Chelsea to come smashing into the room at any moment. 

The holophoner and picture were both where he’d left them; the holophoner in its case under his bed, and the picture on his dresser.  He stuffed the picture into the inside of his jacket and grabbed the instrument case in his right hand before making a beeline for the door.  Something caught his eye.  A piece of paper was sitting on the little end table next to his sofa.    Curious, he picked it up, and every hair on the back of his neck stood up.  It was a bill for the ship he and Chelsea had rented, and under it, neatly stacked, was a handful of crisp bills exactly covering Chelsea’s half of the bill.  He bolted.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

After he’d put about a mile between himself and his apartment, he finally managed to calm himself enough to remember that he had a mission.  He made his way to the Robot Arms apartment building and stashed the holophoner and the picture in his old room.  It was the safest place he could think of.  He didn’t remember telling Chelsea where he and Bender had lived before he’d been fired, and he didn’t think she’d expect him to use it as a hiding place.  Or at least, he hoped she wouldn’t.

The second phase of his plan wasn’t quite as thought out.  He knew that he wanted to get into the Momcorp headquarters building, but as for how he was going to manage that, or for that matter, how exactly he was going to discover the PE crew’s whereabouts once he made it inside, he had no idea.  There was also the small issue that Chelsea worked as a guard in the building.  That ruled out trying to break in during the dayshift.

Inspiration finally struck after he’d been sitting at a café down the street for two hours, staring blankly at the Momcorp building while he nursed a cup of lousy coffee.  A swarm of brown boxes was flitting in and out of the upper floors of the building, no doubt being processed by Momcorp’s delivery company, which was Planet Express’s main competitor.

When the sun finally set, Fry was just leaving a small convenience store.  He had a roll of masking tape in one hand and a marker in the other.  Whistling to himself, he nonchalantly made his way into the alley adjacent to the store.  A few broken down cardboard boxes were stashed at the rear of the alley next to an overflowing dumpster.  He was in luck; one of the boxes looked just big enough for him to crawl into.  Shifting his supplies to his other hand, he propped the flattened box under his arm and set off for the nearest tubeway.

When he’d found a tube with no one nearby to see him, he put down his load and put the box together.  When the bottom of the box had been taped together he scribbled a fake address on it, put it in the tube, and then climbed in.  Unfortunately, Mom’s Friendly Surveillance Unit would have caught him on tape making the shipment, so they would know who to send the shipping bill to. 

The tube’s computer waited for him to give it a destination.  “Momcorp Delivery Services, please.” He said, not really sure why he was being polite to a computer program.  Carefully, Fry closed the top of the box and applied a little tape to the inside of the lid to keep it from opening, and the tube whisked him away.

One disorienting and extremely uncomfortable ride later, Fry found himself lying on his head in the dark. He listened for voices or any other sound of people nearby, but everything was quiet.  Slowly he undid the tape that was keeping the lid on the box and pushed upward against what had originally been the bottom of the box with his feet.  The box slid upward a few inches and he surveyed what he could see of his surroundings through the gap between the box and the floor.  He was in a large warehouse of sorts that was piled from floor to ceiling with cardboard boxes of every size imaginable.  No one seemed to be anywhere nearby.  Satisfied that he was alone, the redhead extricated himself from his cardboard Trojan horse and stood up.  After dusting himself off, he looked around him for an exit.  He had to search for it, hidden as it was behind a stack of boxes. 

On the other side of the door was a long, grey corridor that curved away in both directions.  Alright. He said to himself.  Now, if I were some kind of super secret database thingy, where would I be?  After much thought, Fry decided to head left.  It seemed as good a direction as any.

This late in the day, all of the corridors were empty.  Fry tried some of the doors that he came across, but most of them were locked, and the rest were storerooms and offices that contained nothing of use to him.

It was just starting to dawn on him how very large the Momcorp building was, and how very unlikely it was that he was going to stumble upon the information that he was looking for, when he thought he heard the sound of distant footsteps behind him.  He froze for a moment and listened.  Yes, there was definitely someone coming.  His first impulse was to run, but he caught himself.  He tried a nearby door; it was unlocked.  As quietly as he could he pushed it open enough to squeeze his body through, and then lightly pressed it closed again.  The clunk-clunk-clunk of boots on metal grew louder.  Fry held his breath, but whoever it was didn’t break stride when they passed.  Unable to resist, Fry opened the door a crack and stole a glance at the figure that was retreating down the corridor.  What he saw made his heart leap.  Shouting in surprise and joy, he leapt from his hiding place and bounded out into the hallway.  The figure stopped and turned around, her one eye swiveling to stare right through him.

“Leela!” He yelled, a grin splitting his face from ear to ear.  “I can’t believe it!” He tried to embrace her.  “God it’s good to see you. I-” Suddenly he was lying on the floor with one of Leela’s knees planted firmly on his neck.  Fry couldn’t breathe.  He looked up at the PE Captain, terrified.

“Why?” He managed between gasps.

The butt of Leela’s weapon connected solidly with the side of his skull.
THM

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #108 on: 06-05-2008 19:43 »

Looking good! Looks like watching 'Hudson Hawk' paid off for Fry.  smile  And not only that, he found Leela straight off! Of course, he now wishes he hadn't...  wink

(And again, sorry it took me so long to get back to you with my beta - check you Inbox!)

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder
JBERGES

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #109 on: 06-05-2008 19:44 »
« Last Edit on: 06-05-2008 19:44 »

SO:  I just caught up with this story.  I'm sorry I disappeared for so long, I used to dislike when people did that during my stretch of writing, and now I turn around and do it to everyone as well. hmpf 

Anyway, it's really good.  I can't stress how much smoother your writing style has become since you first started.  It's a bit dark, but you keep the story along moving so well I can't even complain about it; quite engrossing.  You foreshadowed in such a way that I figured Chelsea out just before the reveal, not too early, not out of the blue.  Excellently crafted. 

Keep up the good work!


Also:  quick catches:
 
 
Quote
[i[Alright.[/i] He said to himself.
 
Quote
cut his looses
km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #110 on: 06-08-2008 02:17 »

Not to be presumptuous  big grin, but just one thing that caught my attention during this update: watch out for how often you refer to Fry as "the redhead". I noticed 3 early on in this section.

Otherwise, up to your usual standard. Love the "planet of American Stereotypes"; the whole scene with the Professor is great. You've got him down to perfection.
Fry finding the pile of bills in his apartment - creepy! And then, uh, coming across Leela, "her one eye swiveling to stare right through him" - even more creepy. Effective bit of description there to illustrate her sudden malevolence.

I really hope you don't let this fizzle out. You've done a meticulous job so far, and there's much potential goodness to be had. I'm guessing there's plenty of well-executed drama to come.
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #111 on: 06-09-2008 18:01 »
« Last Edit on: 06-09-2008 18:01 »

thanks for the kind words, everyone, ans sorry it took me so long to respond.  I've been really nusy.

@JBERGES: Its always nice to get some feedback from a writer of your distinction.  And I agree, my writing style has matured hugely since the good old days when I was cranking out 4 page Talora updates every two days.  Most of that is due to the fine work of spaceCase, JN, THM, and the other betas who I've driven to insanity had over the years.  It's also good to hear that you didn't discover Chelsea's identity too early.  JN suggested I tone down the hints a little further, but I decided to take a gamble.  Also I was lazy and tired of editing.

THM: bah, don't worry about it.  It didn't take you that long.

@km73: uhoh, am I doing that again?  I have a tendency to use the same few words/phrases over and over again.  Back when I was writing Talora, someone went back and counted like 20 times I used the phrase 'sighed heavily'.   smile  I wouldn't worry too much about me letting this fizzle out.  I went through the same problem last year around this time.  Maybe the sunshine and warmth makes me restless, I dunno.
JustNibblin

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #112 on: 06-11-2008 15:23 »

Hey SO,

I'll add my encouragement here as well.  I'm enjoying this story a lot, both in terms of plot, but also in terms of overall style, which is easy to read, and flows naturally, but is also descriptive and imaginative.  Whenever you send me one of your updates to beta I tend to drop what I'm doing and read it, as I'm eager to see what happens next.  (As for beta-ing, well that feels more like work  wink)

As for burnout-I understand.  Whenever writing feels more like work or obligation than fun, yeah you need a little break.  I know you've been working on one section that's been frustrating--maybe skip ahead and come back to the "hard part" later?

Anyway good luck and looking for more.
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #113 on: 06-11-2008 19:17 »

Thanks JustNibblin'.  I am indeed having a rough time with the next section.  Your comments about a certain character's reactions being out of whack were right on the money, and I'll need to go back and rewrite that whole section to account for it.  Coming up with the willpower to do that when my only usable writing time is 10:00pm to midnight is proving to be a challenge.

Its good to hear that you guys enjoy my style.  A writer is always his own worst critic.
Archonix

Space Pope
****
« Reply #114 on: 06-11-2008 19:26 »

I've found that just setting the goal to write a single paragraph every day usually works. More often than not you end up writing a whole hell of a lot more.  smile
Frisco17

DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #115 on: 06-11-2008 22:57 »

Digs its claws into your skull eh? I know that feeling. Not so much with writing because I write worse than a dead salmon but with other things.
km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #116 on: 06-13-2008 10:53 »

Frisco, have you ever read anything by a dead salmon? I hear they write tremendously badly.  big grin

 
Quote
Originally posted by soylentOrange:
Its good to hear that you guys enjoy my style.

Very much. I said something once along the lines of it being a descriptive and expressive yet simple style; it never feels forced or overdone. I remember coming across your old thread last September, I went through it all in one day, and was highly consternated to find that The Leelazarus Effect was unfinished. I know that one took you a long time; I hope you work out your current roadblock with this one!

JBERGES

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #117 on: 06-14-2008 22:20 »
« Last Edit on: 06-14-2008 22:20 »

Soylent, I've got some awful advice for you that I don't recommend taking:   If you find yourself  stuck on a section, switch gears in what you're writing 'towards.' 

For example, if I got stuck writing something to further the plot, I would think of a joke, then write my way into being able to use it.  If I was trying to be funny but could not, I would instead concentrate on coming up with an entertaining description or something of the like.  Diversions like this will sometimes provide the spark you need.

In other news, I just recently got the pun in your thread title, I'm a moron   big grin

Best of luck.
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #118 on: 06-19-2008 09:48 »

That was excellent advice, JBERGES. 

Oh, and I've been working on a little side project: a youtube video to be entered in the CGEF BWABB contest. 

Clicky

It only sucks 87% by weight!
km73

Space Pope
****
« Reply #119 on: 06-19-2008 10:42 »

Freakin' hilarious.
I was guffawing.

"What proof is this? Some huge number?"   laff

Yeah, is there ever a disaster-free delivery with these guys? Killer space battle! You've probably got a really good shot; I just read on CGEF that there's only two entries so far. That means the odds must be - some good number.
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