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Author Topic: Parallel Lives (a saga in so many parts)  (Read 17469 times)
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Space Pope
« Reply #360 on: 10-22-2008 01:12 »

Damn 4 updates that I need to read... I'll get right on it when I can actually stand to be in my house,

Space Pope
« Reply #361 on: 10-22-2008 01:41 »

I suspect it might be better if I write you an escape plan. wink

Space Pope
« Reply #362 on: 10-22-2008 01:48 »

That would work.

Starship Captain
« Reply #363 on: 10-22-2008 02:10 »

Yay! Super hungover Leela!

She's as cuddly as a teddy bear! Made of concrete, with barbed wire, and on fire.

Meet the parents, this can only go well.

Great as always, need moar.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #364 on: 10-22-2008 02:40 »

This is going to get nasty in so many ways.

Urban Legend
« Reply #365 on: 10-23-2008 00:11 »

Ah, so we're finally going to find out what it was that Vek did to Neena,  and Neena is about to find out what has happened to her parents.  I think Frisco's analysis is pretty accurate. smile  Leela took the news that Fry had blabbed about her secret heritage a little better than I was expecting, considering that she's already mad at him for blabbing about other things. 

Space Pope
« Reply #366 on: 10-23-2008 20:34 »

I got myself 10 pages closer to the end so I'm letting you have another bit early. Like that's something special...


So here's the second part of that flashback. I won't promise it's what anyone expected, though if it is what you expected, well done; you're a step closer to the madness of my mind. big grin


“Well that was an... experience.” Leela shuffled on her seat in the tiny galley, nursing a hot chocolate drink and a stiff neck. They were cruising toward Neptune at a fraction of the ship’s capable speed thanks to some sort of Solar System speed limit, that Veklerov had cursed every minute Leela had remained on the bridge, but Leela thought it was quite sensible compared to the take-off. She didn’t want to spend too much time thinking about that. It had been very loud.

“I think Vek might have been showing off a bit.” Amy, seated opposite Leela, knocked back the remnants of her coffee and clunked her mug down on the table. She sat back to give Leela an appraising look. “How well do you know Yancy?”

“Aren’t I supposed to be axing the questions around here?”

“I guess so. I was just curious is all.” Amy watched Leela as she pulled out a clipboard and brought up her basic questionnaire program. “He mentioned you a couple of times last night. We had a date,” she added.

“I see. So I expect you’d have a fairly good relationship with Mr Fry?”

“More casual, sort of... he’s nice, as a friend maybe, you know?”

“I think so. And you get on with him at work?”

Amy nodded. “Yeah. I mean, as far as I can when he hates being here so much.”

Leela nodded, making a few notes. Interviews were just one of the many parts of her job she hated. The sanitised interrogation, peeking deep into people’s private lives without much of a care for how they felt about it. She continued through the form, entering in Amy’s increasingly ditzy answers as best she could and ignoring the nagging feeling at the back of her mind that she could be doing something different with her life.

An hour. It was meant to be a fifteen minute interview but with Amy’s constant digression on every subject under the stars it took an hour, and she still wasn’t finished. With a loud sigh Leela placed her pen on the table and gave Amy a tight smile. “I think that’s enough for now.”

“Oh. Well... ok, I guess. So that was the interview?”

Leela stifled a yawn and nodded. “Yeah, most of it, and it took a little longer than I expected.”

“Oh. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it, I’ll just put it down as overtime. Now, where...” Leela’s voice trailed off when she saw Vek entering the galley. He winked at her and smiled before turning to Amy.

“Engines doing all right?”

“They’re fine,” Amy said brightly. “I ran a check an hour ago.”

“Are you absolutely sure about that, Amy?” Vek folded his arms and tilted his head toward the door a little. It was so obvious that Leela almost thought she’d imagined it and had to stifle a quiet laugh.

Amy’s face fell for a moment, then brightened again. “I guess I could have another look. See you later, Leela,” she added as she skipped from the room. Leela watched her go with a vague disquiet. She turned to Veklerov and put on her most professional smile.

“Mr McDiarmid-”

“Please, I told you, call me Vek.”

“Vek,” Leela conceded. She cleared Amy’s forms and brought up a fresh set. “This won’t take very-”

“You have the most incredible eye,” Veklerov said. He raised an eyebrow and smiled. Leela had to squirm to overcome the sudden tingling sensation in her lower back. “It’s like staring into a perfectly still pool.”

“That’s nice of you to say so Mr... Vek, but I’m afraid I have an interview to complete.” She held up the clipboard, as if that would somehow shield her from his advances. Vek smiled and nodded his head.

“Of course.” He took out a packet of cigarettes and tapped one into his mouth. With that lit, he leaned back in his seat and put his feet up on the table. “Fire away.”

“All right then...”

“Do you smoke?” He offered the cigarettes across to Leela. She examined the box for a moment, with its slim golden band around the top to match the filter marker, and shook her head.


“But you used to.”

“When I was young. Sometimes when I get stressed...” she stared down at the forms. Veklerov put the packet back in his coat with a friendly nod. “I don’t like to.”

“It’s a terrible habit, I agree.” He stubbed out the cigarette and smiled that same disarming smile at Leela again.

“Ok, your relationship with Mr Fry-”

“I know these. Let’s see, form number five hotel three one five india two sierra slash four november three?”

Leela ran her eye along the form’s reference number. It matched up perfectly. “Yes! How did you-”

“I have a brother in the central bureaucracy. I asked him to look up the forms for this sort of thing and filled in a copy. Here,” he said, handing over a data chip. Leela took the chip and slotted it into her clipboard. The form cleared and re-loaded with a complete interview. She looked up at Veklerov. He was staring at her across the top of a large coffee cup. “All you have to do is sign.”

“I... this is highly irregular,” Leela replied, glancing across the form again. It all seemed to be in perfect order.

“Yes, but easier, wouldn’t you say? Leaves more time for us to just talk instead of-”

“Mr McDiarmid, I am here on official business.” Leela stared down at the form, frowning as she tired to sort out the jumble of feelings in her head. “Still... it would save time.”

“Of course it would! Now, how about we go up to the bridge and enjoy the view for a while?”

“I have to interview Bend-”

Veklerov held up another data chip and grinned. “I have Amy’s too, based on very close observations taken from the Professor’s personal files.”

“I already have hers,” Leela replied, reaching for the chip until Veklerov tugged it out of reach. He winked at her curious frown. “What’s the game?”

“The greatest there is,” Veklerov said. He pressed the chip into Leela’s outstretched palm with another wink which, frankly, was starting to annoy her, and then turned to leave. “We’ll be landing in ten minutes, by the way.”

“Oh. Anywhere interesting?”

“Just Titan, we’re delivering a few cases of factor six sunblock to a Wormulon research station there. You can watch the landing if you like.”

“I’d like that,” Leela said, standing. She left her clipboard on the table and followed Veklerov from the room. “Though, why would anyone on Titan need a factor six sunblock?”

“Well... originally it was a zero point zero zero zero to some immense power fraction with a six on the end, but all those extra numbers made the package too big for our budget rate. I guess they didn’t want to pay for a bunch of nothings,” Veklerov replied, deadpan. He shrugged. “Come on.”


The bridge was silent as the ship slowly ascended through Titan’s atmosphere, its hull streaked with the grime of the attack that precipitated their abrupt, if now leisurely departure. From her vantage on the couch Leela watched the yellow-brown haze passing by the forward ports, gradually clearing as they reached the upper atmosphere. She could see the rings of Saturn peeking through the clouds long before they reached space, and the faintest crescent of the planet itself.

Leela was transfixed by the sight, so much so that she didn’t even notice Vek until he sat down next to her.

“Does this happen a lot?”

“About one in every seven deliveries, I suppose,” Veklerov replied with a tight smile. “Usually it’s over payment. If I’d know my name meant that in Wormulon I would have stayed in the ship.”

He glanced over his shoulder toward the rear of the bridge and then out at the scenery again. The hazy atmosphere was starting to thin out now as they passed over the terminator into Titan’s night. Leela sighed.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” He dropped his arm behind the couch and turned a little, to face Leela. She glanced back at the deserted bridge.


“Autopilot. Twelve step program,” Veklerov said, anticipating her question. Leela let out a quiet sigh of relief and smiled, just a little. She turned back to staring at the planet.

“It’s a wonderful sight. I never thought I’d... I’m sorry, you must think I’m terribly naïve about all this. I’m not used to looking at space so close.”

“Oh, no, not at all, I understand perfectly. The big black has a habit of drawing people. Stare into the abyss and sooner or later it sucks you in, you catch the wanderlust.” Vek slid away, dropping his arms into his lap. “It’s one of the reasons I became a pilot.”

“The others?”

“Oh, smuggling.” Veklerov smiled at her, a broad, unguarded smile that Leela wasn’t used to seeing. Most people tended to be just a little nervous around her. The badge, her eye... so many reasons. “So tell me, Sirochka, what of your species? You don’t know who they are?”

“Oh... no. No, I was left at an orphanarium on Earth as a baby. All I had was my name and a note nobody has ever been able to translate.” She stared at Saturn’s limb as it slowly moved off to port, the ship taking them up and away from the planet’s sphere of influence. “I keep telling myself, one day I’ll go and look for them. I mean, how many planets can there be?”

Veklerov stood up and paced toward the big main window. He stared out into the stars with his hands clasped behind his back. “There are many. A great many,” he said, turning to look at Leela. “But most are simply boring, barren lumps of rock.” He waved a hand toward the receding form of Saturn, girdled by its rings. “Some are old and placid, and others...”

The ship began to accelerate, well above the speed limit Vek had been cursing before. Saturn disappeared behind them in moments, dwindling to a tiny spot in the rear view, and then to nothing at all, whilst another planet brightened in the forward ports.

“Where are you taking us?”

“A scenic route,” Vek replied with just the hint of a smile. He sat down next to Leela. His hand resting on her shoulder felt strangely warm, with just the barest hint of pressure. “I can help you.”

“Help me? How?”

“I do not intend to work for a mere delivery company for my entire life. I have savings, other work. If I buy a ship, I could start my own company. You and I... but, no, it is too soon to speak of such thing.”

“What, Vek? What are you talking about? Are you saying you’d help me find my parents?”

“I could take you away from everything, Sirochka,” he said, standing up again. “I could take you out there, show you a whole universe of wonder.”

He held his hand up, guiding Leela’s eye toward the forward port. The face of Jupiter now filled the entire view, its great red spot hanging in front of them like a giant, crimson eye staring right at her. Leela felt her heart leap at the sight, and at herself reflected in the window, and the planet mirrored again in her dilated pupil. “My god...”

Veklerov reached out a hand toward her, smiling benevolently. “What do you say, Sirochka?”


“I don’t remember anything too clearly right after that point but, right then, he could have told me the entire universe was made of cheese doodles and I would have believed him. I was just completely overwhelmed, the promises, the spectacle of it all. I was such a fool to trust him.”

Neena hugged her knees up to her chest and rested her chin on them. She stared at the wall as she spoke. “When we got back I was still in the clouds at the possibility of actually going to look for my parents, but then I didn’t hear back from him for nearly a week. When I went in for the next interview with Yancy I... I...”

Neena closed her eye, squeezing tears from both corners. She groped blindly toward Leela and buried her face in Leela’s shoulder.

“It’s okay,” Leela said quiet, rubbing a gentle hand up and down Neena’s back. “We’ve all been there before.”

“This is different! Hermes said Vek had been spinning that line to every moderately attractive woman who spent more than an hour in the building. Veklerov never had any intention to start his own company, or help me, or anything!”

“At least he was a bit romantic about it,” Leela said as she tried to keep her mind off her own rather less flattering suitors. “Honey, it could have been a lot worse. That doesn’t explain why you’re still there, though. An intervention should have been over in just a few months, surely.”

Neena’s cheeks coloured just a little. She slowly returned to hugging her knees. “My first thought was to ask for someone else to deal with it but, then why should I have to be the one that caves in and runs away? So I stuck around, to prove he wasn’t going to crush me that easily.”

“For four years?”

“Yeah, I guess I sort of... it’s Yancy. After a while I just kind of got used to being around him. He’s just there, you know? Like some sort of marker reminding you where you are all the time. I felt safe knowing he was there.”

“I think I know what you mean.” Leela leaned back and looked away, her treacherous mind taking her through the events of the last weeks. Each encounter with her alternates was another reminder of how much she’d come to rely on Fry for that support and, now... She shook her head. Life was so unfair.

“At first I kept extending the assessment period, then just started making stuff up. You know how easy it is to do that if you stamp the forms the right number of times, right? I’m pretty sure he hated the sight of me after a while.”

“Don’t you think that’s a bit selfish? Keeping him stuck in that job when he wanted to leave so much?”

“Oh. Yeah... I never really thought about that. Think I should tell him?”

“No.” Leela took a firm grip on Neena’s arm. “What you can do is finish the assessment, get him a decent job and then think about telling him. Maybe.”

Neena’s face flashed up her guilt as she looked away. “I guess... we’re really hitting if off now, though. He, y’know, sort of likes me. Maybe I could take him to see my parents!”

“Hey, woah, let’s not go too fast yet. You’ve been on one ‘date’...” She looked up at Neena’s face and saw the quiet desperation she’d felt so many times in her life. “On the other hand, it can’t hurt as long as you’re clear about where you’re both at. Mom always gets the wrong idea whenever I mention men.”

“I’ve never had anyone do that...” Neena jumped up fro the bed, bounding with energy and life and, even though she looked on the verge of breaking out in tears, she smiled at Leela. Her face seemed a little taught and fixed. “I can’t wait! Tell me everything you can about them!”

“Sure,” Leela said, returning the smile as best she could. “We can talk on the way.”


Coming up: the jerked pork, misunderstandings, confusion and more than a little bit of insanity.

Space Pope
« Reply #367 on: 10-24-2008 01:44 »

You aren't making my catching up easier

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #368 on: 10-24-2008 03:27 »

more than a little bit of insanity.

Which means that Evila's back! big grin
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #369 on: 10-24-2008 03:45 »
« Last Edit on: 10-24-2008 11:00 »

Arch, you've created a monster.

The Obama of Futurama fan fics.

Evila.  She's wildly popular.  Fans are calling for her, Artist have made pictures of her.

Leela should become very worried about her position of being Futurama's most popular chick.  Wheras she hides her sadness as a mental illness, Evila revels in being batshit insane.

BTW, thanks for posting the second update so quickly.


Starship Captain
« Reply #370 on: 10-24-2008 05:15 »
« Last Edit on: 10-24-2008 05:39 »

Evila has indeed: "Gotten down with the sickness, a wah a ahh a" (Dawn of the dead credit song)

So, several trains are all traveling in opposite directions on converging tracks, they will all hit the same junction at the same moment: how much awesome will be released in the ensuing collision?

Answer: A hell of a lot.

Thanks for the quick update too! Great stuff!

*edit* I epic fail at memory.
Officer 1BDI

Starship Captain
« Reply #371 on: 10-24-2008 05:38 »
« Last Edit on: 10-24-2008 05:42 »

Hurray for ten more pages of awesome!

“I’ve never had anyone do that...” Neena jumped up fro the bed, bounding with energy and life and, even though she looked on the verge of breaking out in tears, she smiled at Leela. Her face seemed a little taught and fixed. “I can’t wait! Tell me everything you can about them!”

Oh God, she seems so insanely happy and she has no effing idea....  frown

Urban Legend
« Reply #372 on: 10-24-2008 06:28 »

Which means that Evila's back!
Or that Neena doesn't take finding her parents murdered bodies lying in the middle of the floor too well.  One or the other.  Or both.

The Obama of Futurama fan fics.
  Heh heh.  Ralph, you are 53 kinds of awesome, you know that?

Poor Neena.  Her whole life just turned around in two days, and now everything is going to come crashing down all around her.  After seeing Blue in a mental meltdown after killing her parents in the last universe, I can only imagine what Neena's reaction will be when she finds out her parents are dead- and then finds the planted evidence that Evila left behind. 

Space Pope
« Reply #373 on: 10-24-2008 10:54 »
« Last Edit on: 10-24-2008 14:54 »

Hurray for ten more pages of awesome!

“I’ve never had anyone do that...” Neena jumped up fro the bed, bounding with energy and life and, even though she looked on the verge of breaking out in tears, she smiled at Leela. Her face seemed a little taught and fixed. “I can’t wait! Tell me everything you can about them!”

Argh, two typos in your quote! frown

Oh God, she seems so insanely happy and she has no effing idea....  frown

None at all. Ahh... I think once I've done this universe I'll try and be more cheerful. It's depressing. big grin
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #374 on: 10-24-2008 11:00 »

The Obama of Futurama fan fics.
  Heh heh.  Ralph, you are 53 kinds of awesome, you know that?

I'm glad I made your day with that comment.  laff

Here's El-Man's interpreation of Evila:  flirt

You just know that sex with her will involve handcuffs, discipline and maybe a little gunplay.

My favorite type. love
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #375 on: 10-24-2008 20:14 »
« Last Edit on: 10-24-2008 20:18 by Torgo »

Nice update Arch! big grin

I know the next part is just going to be epic! Great work! big grin

Song I just had on had some lyrical content that's familiar to this story.

"Traveling through both space and time,
(out of body,)
(out of mind)
Spinning out of control,
My wheels in constant motion"

 big grin

Bending Unit
« Reply #376 on: 10-27-2008 03:49 »

Here's El-Man's interpreation of Evila:  flirt

Now that picture kicks serious ass. As does the lady pictured. wink

You just know that sex with her will involve handcuffs, discipline and maybe a little gunplay.

I'd say the bigger issue isn't what she does to you during, it's what she decides to do to you after. That's probably the scary part. big grin

Space Pope
« Reply #377 on: 11-07-2008 00:03 »

Fry found he was getting used to the idea of not actually working at Planet Express. In most ways his life was as it always had been, only without the constant interruption of having to ship packages to dangerous backwater planets where people tried to kill him. He’d even managed to find a cooler for his beer, now lurking in their customary spot behind the couch. All in all life could be a lot worse, if only Hermes hadn’t all but abducted Amy to help him audit the fridge for missing food. The bureaucrat was taken with strange ideas now and then but the idea of accounting for the snacks was a new one on Fry.

He cracked open another beer, put his feet up and settled down to the latest episode of All My Circuits just as Bender breezed into the room.

“Hey Bender.”

“Woah!” Bender rocked back on his feet when he saw Fry. He frowned, as only a robot could, and slowly walked toward him. “So you’re not just a sensor glitch then, huh? Figures. Hey is that All My Circuits?”

Fry nodded as Bender sat down next to him. Without thinking he passed another beer over to the robot, who hummed appreciatively.

“Do you know why Calculon hasn’t been on?”

“Calculon?” Bender downed the beer in a single go, then swallowed the can for good measure. “That dope hasn’t been on the show for nearly three years after the whole ‘evil rampage’ thing. They said he was some sort of, I dunno, were-car or something. Last I heard he was down in Bolivia working as a mixer in a coca-lite plant.”

“No Calculon?” Fry realised how upset he sounded. He cleared his throat. “It’s not All My Circuits without Calculon...”

“Doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference to this robot.” Bender pulled out a stogie and stood up. “Well, nice talkin to you and all, meatbag, but I’ve gotta go do employed things for employed people.”

“Bender, you don’t do anything.”

“Yeah, but unlike you, I get paid for not doing it,” he said. The door closed behind him, leaving a slowly dispersing loud of cigar smoke as the only sign he’d ever been in the room. Fry sighed and put his head back on the couch. So what if there was no Calculon, he could get used to that, right? And so what if he was unemployed, he could just mooch off the Professor. Or Amy. No, that wouldn’t work, Amy would probably dump him after a week of that and, as for the Professor, who knew what price he’d ask?

“Lousy no good universe,” he muttered, staring at the television. All he needed to make things complete was-

The door burst open, admitting Leela and her compatriot in a giggling, chattering heap. They scooted past Fry, not even looking at him until they reached the far end of the lounge, where Neena stopped to stare at him for a moment.

“Does he know?”

“Yeah,” Leela replied with an airy shrug. “He knows. Come on, we’d better go see the Professor before he forgets what he wanted.”

They left him alone again. Fry frowned after them, wondering how Leela could be so callously dismissive about leaving him behind. He grumbled about women and reached for another beer.

A shadow fell over him while he was rummaging behind the couch. He looked up, shielding his eyes against the over-bright lamps. It was Yancy, his face oddly placid. Fry’s hand slowed a little, but continued seeking until he found refreshment. He grabbed two, ready to hand one to his brother but Yancy shook his head.

“Not now.”

“Whatever you say,” Fry muttered, tossing one of the beers back in the cooler. He lifted the other and stared at it, hand resting on the top. After a moment’s contemplation he sighed and put the beer down on the table. “I can’t believe she’d do that to me.”

“Do what?” Yancy sat down on the couch, half-watching the television, half-watching Fry. “Leave you?”

“More like how she doesn’t seem to care about it. She’s not even talking to me.” Fry stared at the far door and grunted. “Now Neena knows, too.”


“Yeah, she just asked Leela if I knew. Right in front of me, like I wasn’t even there!”

“Oh, well that...” Yancy’s voice was cut off by the door crashing open. Veklerov flew into the room and passed by with barely more than a grunt to greet the pair. At the far door he stopped and stared at them.

“Yankovich, go check the primary buffer panel again.”

Yancy clambered from the couch, grunting with the effort of having to almost crawl across Fry’s unmoving form. “I checked that thing twice yesterday, it’s solid as-”

“Check it again! God in heaven, do I have to do everything myself around here?”

He exited the room at the head of a long train of Russian curses that echoed back through the short hall long after he was out of sight. Yancy turned his face toward the ceiling and shook his head. “Well I guess that’s my day started.”

“What’s got into him?”

Yancy pondered for a moment. “If I had to guess, I’d say he couldn’t find his cigarettes.”

“Right...” Fry stared at his beer. “Yancy, what happened last night?”

Yancy turned half way toward the door and looked at Fry, or at least in his general direction. For some reason he couldn’t meet Fry’s eyes again. “It’s complicated. I told Neena what you told me, she nearly freaked out, then we went back to my place and talked half the night.”

“Doesn’t sound complicated to me,” Fry muttered. He folded his arms and glared at the TV. “It’s not my universe, why should I care if you two are making out like rabbits?”

“Phil, this is why you need to listen once in a while. I said we talked. That’s it.”

“You just talked?”

Yancy sighed and shook his head. “That’s all we did. I slept on the couch,” he added, rolling his eyes. Fry frowned at his beer, trying to work out if he should still be mad or not.

“Leela never slept on my couch. This sucks! You’re getting what I always wanted.”

“Oh, what, are you jealous?” Fry and Yancy stared at each other until Fry had to break away and stare at his drink again. Yancy burst out laughing. “Well this makes a change! Yancy gets the upper-hand for once!”

“Yeah, rub it in some more why don’t you?”

“I’m sorry Phil but this is just...” he sat down on the table, right in front of the TV. “You don’t understand, do you. I’ve lived in your shadow all my life, especially after I got here. You, the... the big money-maker, saviour of the world and crap like that. You were always the one with the ideas, you always had all the luck. I think I deserve a break.”

All Fry wanted to do at that moment was have his brother disappear into a flaming pit, or at the very least get out of the way. Fry looked Yancy in the face and raised his beer in mock salute. Nonplussed, Yancy just stared at him.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, Phil, but you’re being an ass.” Yancy stood up and backed away. “I’m sorry it isn’t working out between you and Leela but, like you said, this isn’t your universe. If you thought you’d have another chance with Neena-”

“That’s not fair, Yancy.”

“Sure, whatever. See you later, Phil,” Yancy said, turning to the door. He stopped. Neena was standing there, her eye skipping back and forth between Fry and Yancy while she fidgeted with her hair.

“Yancy, I need to ask you something.”

“Is it important? Because I really...” Yancy’s voice dried up when he looked at Neena’s face, half way through pointing to the hangar door. His hand dropped to his side. “Neena? What are you doing here?”

Neena moved a little closer to Yancy and lowered her voice to a conspiratorial murmur. “Leela was going to tell me where to find them.”

“Find...” Yancy frowned. He glanced at Fry and lowered his voice to match. “Find them?

Neena nodded, sharp and curt. She was holding onto her free wrist with her right hand, pulling her arm down flat against her front as if afraid it would lash out by itself. Every now and then her fingers would give a nervous twitch. She looked at Fry again. “She won’t be able to tell me until she’s finished with Vek but she said Phil knows about them. That means he probably knows where they are. That means I don’t need to wait.”

They both turned to look at Fry. He was staring at the TV, trying to look like he hadn’t heard their conversation but it didn’t work. The silent attention made his ears burn bright red.



“Are you going to tell her?”

Fry scratched his nose and looked about with a thoughtful expression. He looked toward Neena and quickly discarded any vindictive thought he might have entertained toward her. “Okay, but you have to tell me something first.”

“Anything!” Neena almost leaped toward Fry. She knelt down beside the couch, staring at him like a hungry cat at a prime steak. “Anything at all.”

For a moment Fry fell silent. There were so many things he wanted to ask Leela right then, so many little revelations to be had but he couldn’t have them. Wrong Leela. He sighed.

“Why is Leela leaving me behind?”

“Leaving you... I- I don’t understand,” she said, looking at Yancy.

“Leela left a message for him on my machine last night,” Yancy said. “You were asleep at the time.”

“I figured she’d told you about it,” Fry added. He scratched his head and tried to think. “She wasn’t talking about it before?”

Neena shook her head. “No.” She rocked back on her haunches and touched Fry’s shoulder with a gentle hand. “I’m sorry, Phil, I didn’t know.”

“That’s okay, I can find out somehow.”

“Your turn.” Neena leaned forward again as she slipped her hand from Fry’s shoulder. At this range Fry could see his face reflected in her pupil, bringing back a flash memory of the last time he’d been this close to Leela’s face. That time, she’d been holding a gun in his mouth. He quickly looked away to break the image and coughed, nervous and tense for no real reason.

“It’s kinda hard to describe it.”

Neena’s hand tightened on Fry’s shoulder. She leaned forward until her eye was almost touching his face. The intensity of that huge, focussed stare brought a sheen of sweat to Fry’s brow. “Draw a map.”

“I... sure,” Fry replied, leaning back. He held up his hands in mock surrender. “Just don’t kill me.”

Neena’s hand relaxed, along with her face, which lost its manic cast and settled down to her usual slight frown. She stood up, grabbed Yancy’s arm and dragged him back across the room to the table. “Can you come with me?”

“I have to work, Neena. Veklerov is going to-”

“Just tell him to take a hike. Better yet, I’ll do it.”

“I’m not sure-”


Yancy cowered back as Neena bridled, her face turning slightly pink from the combined emotions bubbling inside her. Just when it seemed as if she was going to scream at him, Neena relented, backing down in the manner of a cat; slowly, not quite relaxing the tension in her taut frame. She pulled the identification tag from her coat and held it up in front of Yancy’s face.

“Look, all I have to do is wave this badge under his nose and make something up. Don’t worry about it,” she said, brightening noticeably. Yancy looked at Fry with a nervous expression and swallowed. “If the worst comes to the worst I’ll just break his arm. Now let’s go!”

Neena grabbed Yancy’s arm and hauled him across the room. She practically threw him out of the far door before turning to look at Fry. Her grin was terrifying. “Bring that map down to the hangar in five minutes.”

She was gone before Fry could reply. With a loud sigh he put his beer down, lifted himself from the couch and made his way over to the dining area to look for some paper.

Starship Captain
« Reply #378 on: 11-07-2008 00:47 »

Yay! We're off to see my parents! Following this lovely map! traa laa laa...


Awww hell naw....

Was Leela and Neena talking about her parents still? Like Fry knows your a mutant?

Can't wait to see who gets the set up at Neena's parents... and If Fry tags along with them or just draws the map and stays put.

So far: 93,648 words over 215 pages (with the illustrations) in word. Epic is an accurate description.


Space Pope
« Reply #379 on: 11-07-2008 00:49 »

You just need to pile on the updates for me, don't cha Arch?

Space Pope
« Reply #380 on: 11-07-2008 01:00 »

You just need to pile on the updates for me, don't cha Arch?

It's 'cause I love ya really. smile

Space Pope
« Reply #381 on: 11-07-2008 01:05 »

Yay love. Well good thing I'm actually working on catching up right now. only way to keep away from my family right now....

Urban Legend
« Reply #382 on: 11-07-2008 01:22 »

The intensity of that huge, focussed stare brought a sheen of sweat to Fry’s brow. “Draw a map."

She practically threw him out of the far door before turning to look at Fry. Her grin was terrifying

Oh, boy.  This aint gonna end well.  Why do I have the sudden feeling that Neena is about to take a plunge off the deep end? Thats just what Fry and Leela need, not one, but two crazed Leelas running around.

Starship Captain
« Reply #383 on: 11-07-2008 01:25 »

Yancy should have it covered, I hope.

The Fry's are pretty good at containing Leela's Crazy, or at least acting as a focal point to keep everyone else safe from the Crazy...

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #384 on: 11-07-2008 01:45 »

Like I said before nothing good will come of any of this.

Space Pope
« Reply #385 on: 11-10-2008 17:15 »
« Last Edit on: 11-10-2008 18:16 »

Leela stared up at the red-hulled ship and tried to work out, for possibly the hundredth time, just what she was doing there. There wasn’t any reason for her to be there, not after the way she’d dealt with Veklerov the previous night but, for some reason, she hadn’t been able to stay away. Oh she knew the logical response was to just treat him the way she’d treated Zapp... should have treated Zapp...

But that was the problem. He was like Zapp in that he knew precisely how to goad her and it seemed that long association with the Leela of this universe had given him enough personal knowledge to do that with terrifying accuracy. His first response to her being even slightly hesitant would be-

“Hello, Sirochka! Having second thoughts are we?”

And there it was... Veklerov descended the gangway toward Leela, his face almost split in half by a broad grin. From the look of him you wouldn’t think Leela had nearly pushed his crotch up past his neck.

I hate it when I’m right, she thought, with a wistful shake of her head. “I’m not, I was just taking a closer look at the ship.”

“Ahh. That is good. I would hate to think you are unadventurous.” He stood over her, hands on hips as he looked around the hangar. “I assume you are fully recovered from, ah, last night? No little headaches?”

“None at all,” she lied. It didn’t matter that her head was still pounding, giving him even a hint of weakness would be fatal. She didn’t dare take anything to numb the pain either, in case it affected her flying. “I’m fine. You look like you might need a few hours in a cold bath.”

“Ahhh, you are quite the tease,” he said, though with just a fractional hesitation that told Leela she’d got to him. “But if you are fine, then all is well! I shall forgive you your inopportune behaviour last night. I am sure you were merely acting out of frustration.”

He laughed, though it seemed a little forced. Leela could taste bile in her mouth but there was no backing out now. Not without losing face. “Where is Yanchovich?”

“Yancy? Maybe he-”

“Ahh, there he is! Excuse me, Sirochka.” Veklerov pushed by Leela and waited at the bottom of the gangway as Yancy and Neena crossed over toward the ship. He held up a hand in greeting as they approached. “Neena, what a pleasing surprise! Yancy, I gave you a job to do.”

“Yeah, well...”

“I’m afraid Mr Fry won’t be available for work with you today,” Neena replied, her voice officious and loud. She flashed a small pile of paperwork in front of Veklerov’s face as she continued. “My duties require that I perform a more in-depth interview with Mr Fry at the Assignment centre, which will take up most of the day. I’ve already apprised Mr Conrad of the situation.”

“You bureaucrats, all alike. Now how am I going to deliver this package?”

“I assumed you weren’t delivering one,” Neena replied tartly. “Not when you had your little ‘jaunt’ planned.”

“I cannot take ship out without a signed docket. Bureaucracy at work.” Veklerov said, folding his arms. He stared at Neena, then at Leela, with that annoying grin slowly spreading across his face. “That means, if I go up, it’s because I’m delivering something. Of course this is all a very convenient reason for you to back out now, isn’t it,” he said, turning to look at Leela. “If you want to concede that I am the better pilot-”

“No chance,” Leela shot back. She saw Fry walking across the hangar, a scruffy piece of paper clutched in his hands. “Fry can take Yancy’s place. Can’t you, Fry?”

“What? Go up in that thing again? With him?” Fry shook his head. “No way.”

“Come on, Fry, we’ll need the money if we’re going to survive until we get... back...” Leela’s voice faded. Fry was looking at her with a strange, confused expression that was completely different from the confusion he normally displayed. He frowned at the paper in his hand and then handed it to Yancy without a word. Fry looked up at the ship, then at Leela. He seemed to come to a decision.

“Okay. I’ll come,” he said, to Veklerov’s evident delight.

“Excellent! I shall prepare-”

“Ohh no, this time I do it,” Leela said, folding her arms to match Veklerov’s pose. She glared at the pilot until he held up his hands in a sort of mock surrender.

“So be it. See you on the bridge, Sirochka.”

The four of them watched the pilot as he retraced his path up the ship’s gangway, whistling a jaunty tune and adding the occasional Russian lyric.

“We’d better get out of here,” Neena said. She grabbed Yancy’s arm and backed away. “Thanks for, well, everything, I’d love to stay and chat but we’ve got... uh...”

“Plans,” Yancy finished. He fidgeted nervously and looked between Fry and Leela. “It’s not what you think. Whatever you think it is, it’s not, okay?”

Leela rolled her eye toward the ceiling and shook her head. She gave the pair a wry smile. “Whatever you say. Neena, We’ll talk when I get back, all right?”

“Sure...” Neena backed away, stopped, smiled nervously and then turned. Leela watched her and Yancy’s backs as they walked across the hangar floor. Something tickled at the back of her mind, a vague worry that tore her gaze away from the pair and brought it to rest on Fry.

“She’s hiding something, isn’t she,” Leela said. Fry shrugged, refusing to look her in the eye.

“I have to go and... I have to go and do someone, I mean, something,” Fry said and then he was also backing away, holding his hands up at waist height as if getting ready to defend himself. “I’ll be back in a minute.”

Leela nodded, not quite listening as she tried to work out what she was missing. Had she said something wrong? Had Neena said something wrong? She glanced up at the ship again, briefly wondering what she’d got herself into this time.

“Fry, wait a moment.”

He stopped by the door, shoulders hunching slightly. It was almost a repeat of the previous night except, this time, he finally relented and turned to face her again. “What?”

“Look, we need to talk. When you get back, we’ll talk, all right? On the ship, just you and me.”

“And Veklerov,” Fry added. He looked ready to say something more but then seemed to satisfy himself with just a nod. Leela tried to smile. He didn’t return it.

She waited until Fry was gone before she finally allowed herself to relax. Leela lowered her head into her hands, massaging furiously at her temples as she tried to drive the headache away. She’d never known a hangover to last so long. In fact, if she thought about it, she’d had a headache ever since they got into this universe. Maybe it was something in the air.

Leela turned to walk up the gangway and then stopped. Something was niggling at the back of her mind again, a sense of intrusion that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. She looked around the hangar, half-expecting to see someone else there and then up at the roof. Most of it was shaded and silent. The owls were congregating at the far end, away from the runners and the machinery that moved the hangar doors. They seemed to be a little agitated but that was probably because they knew the ship would be leaving soon. She couldn’t quite shake the feeling of being watched, though.

Any thought of intruders was quickly forgotten as Leela made her way into the ship and found the sort of mess that only a man could leave behind. Not counting Amy’s apartment, her treacherous mind added. Leela stared at the first open panel she came across for over a minute, first as she tried to work out why it had been left open, then what exactly was going on within it. A few minutes later found her buried up to her elbows in the guts of the ship as she tried to trace the changes. She didn’t hear Veklerov’s approach until he was almost on top of her.

“I don’t know what the hell you’ve done here,” Leela muttered without looking up. She heard Veklerov snort, amused, or insulted, she couldn’t tell.

“It’s bypassing the lateral thruster rate limiter, makes landing easier.”

“It’s also illegal,” Leela said, quickly dragging her hands out. She stared at them, trying to hide their nervous tremor. “Not to mention dangerous. You’ve stripped off the coil housing and almost the entire conduit shield. Have you any idea of the amount of radiation those things put out when they’re active?”

“I figure the only people who go past when it’s active aren’t meant to be on board anyway.” Veklerov stared at his nails, tutting and muttering under his breath. “You’re stalling.”

“I’m not...” Leela stood up and pushed past the Russian before he could goad her into another outburst. “I am not stalling, I am trying to find out how much of a mess you’ve made of this ship.”

“I wouldn’t have to do these things if that idiot Professor and his performing monkey gave me the parts.”

Which was a sentiment Leela couldn’t help but agree with, though she probably wouldn’t have called Hermes a monkey. It was rude. Leela found herself nodding and grit her teeth at the thought that she might have anything in common with the man behind her. She made her way through the ship, Veklerov following behind, making a note of all the small and not-so-small changes.

“She must roll a bit when she’s fully loaded,” Leela mused as they passed the oversized cargo bay. Veklerov muttered an agreement and stood to one side, waiting by the access ladder to the upper decks with a salacious grin.

She made him climb first.

Leela couldn’t quite hide her feelings as she looked around the bridge. It was a mess. Worse, it was laid out wrong. The scanners and radio consoles were combined, the control column was completely different and, to top it all, there was no drinks machine. She stood by the command chair, staring at unfamiliar dials and indicators with what felt like a lump of lead sitting in her gut.

“So are you satisfied with your ‘inspection’, Sirochka?”

“For starters you can stop calling me that,” Leela replied tartly. She noted the look on Veklerov’s face, that odd, annoying smile again. “And don’t think you can charm your way into my pants either. I already know where my parents are.”

“Ahh, so the dear star orphan told you how I took advantage of her, did she?” Veklerov leaned against the empty console, where the scanners would have been, and grinned. “Told you how I seduced her with lies and spectacles and left her abandoned and alone, vengeful and betrayed, no doubt.”

“That’s the gist of it,” Leela replied. She sat down and carefully wrapped her hands around the strange steering yolk. “You don’t seem to be denying it,” she added, looking up. Veklerov shrugged.

“If I deny it, you’ll just think I’m lying.”

“So you’re saying it’s not true?” Leela ran her fingers along the console. Where hers was just soothing charcoal emptiness and minimalist instrumentation, here there were dozens of archaic toggle switches and indicators attached seemingly at random. At first she’d thought they were just for show but an experimental shifting of one activated some system deep in the ship; she had felt a dozen or so tumblers thumping into place beneath the deck. Half the labels were hand-written on tape, stuck haphazardly around the dash. The altitude indicator was analogue. Where her control yoke was functionally plain, here was something with about a dozen auxiliary levers attached, and a gaudy, striped fluffy cover wrapped around the grips.

“I’m saying she had unrealistic expectations.” Veklerov took a step toward Leela, his hands held out, palm up and that annoying smile fixed permanently on his face. Leela would so dearly liked to have rammed her fist into that stupid grin right then, but it wouldn’t have achieved much.

“What’s unrealistic about expecting a man to give a damn? Servos... “ She ran her fingers along the console again, looking for anything familiar. “Inverter pressure... auxiliary plasma feed... main field backlock? To hell with it.”

Leela stabbed at a random button on the console and was rewarded with the re-assuring sound of the main computer powering up. She leaned back, grinning at Veklerov’s obvious discomfort. “Piece of cake,” she said, casually flipping half a dozen more switches in what felt like the right order. For a moment everything seemed to be all right, until the main power shut down, plunging the deck into relative darkness.

“Piece of cake,” Veklerov repeated with just a hint of sarcasm. He leaned across the console, ignoring Leela’s narrow-eyed glare. “You forgot primary injector matrix interlock.”

“I didn’t forget it,” Leela retorted, pushing Veklerov away. “We don’t have one of those back home. You have so many of the ship’s functions manually controlled, I’m surprised you have any time to fly,” she added, running through her mental checklist and finding it woefully incomplete compared to the console before her. It wasn’t helping with her headache, either.

“I thought so at first but, it makes things more interesting. I thought you of all people-”

“Interesting gets my friends hurt,” Leela snapped. She grit her teeth but that just increased the pounding in her head. Her hands carefully traced over the unfamiliar console, seeking out what systems she could remember from the Professor’s interminable lectures on space flight. “I don’t like interesting.”

The ship was slowly coming to life and there was, Leela had to admit, a certain amount of pleasure to be so actively engaged in coaxing that life to the surface. She fixed a scowl on her face to be sure Veklerov didn’t get the idea that she was enjoying herself.

Besides, she was still right. The distraction of so much manual control could be fatal at the wrong moment, especially in a fight. “How’s Yancy on the main gun?”

“Useless,” Veklerov said, seemingly thrown by her sudden change of subject. He turned away, his attention drawn to something on the far side of the hangar for a moment. “Useless. I put Bender up there if I absolutely have to. And your friend Philip?”

“Actually he’s pretty good, I-” the ship shook itself as the main power came online, giving Leela a simultaneous feeling of pleasure and dread. “I’m surprised this piece of junk can even fly,” she muttered as she watched a series of ancient analogue dials plink to their stops before settling into what she supposed was their standard operating range.

“It was worse when I first got here. I had to figure out most of these things for myself, the Professor hadn’t labelled them properly.” Veklerov squatted down beside Leela, one hand resting on the back of the seat while he pointed at the console. “This here was originally labelled as the engine coolant flow, and this one, the relative velocity indicator, was labelled as the core temperature gauge.”

“I can imagine that caused a few headaches.” Leela absently fingered the two dials and then ran her hands over a few of the others. There were so many. “Some of these look a little different.”

“Yes, I brought a few more of the ships functions through this console to make them easier to monitor.” Veklerov pointed at a set of crudely labelled analogue dials and switches. “Main computer interface breaker, gravity pumps, inertial dampeners, propulsion systems regulators and...” he flicked one of half a dozen small vertical indicators until its needle rose from the bottom of the scale. “Atmospherics. It does that sometimes.”

“I suppose you’ve been making your modifications to...” Her voice faded as she turned to look at Veklerov. He smiled at her. Leela didn’t smile back. “You’re trying something.”

Veklerov touched a hand to his chest, his face a picture of innocence wronged. “Oh, why so cynical, Sirochka?”

“I told you to stop calling me that.”

“Sure, Leela...” Veklerov stood up and walked away, whistling. He stood by the bulkhead, humming tunelessly whilst Leela completed her examination of the controls and then turned to look at her again. “What I said-”

“After last night, Veklerov, I’m surprised you would even want to talk to me. I definitely don’t know why I’m talking to you.”

“You have spirit,” he replied. “Lee- Neena has no spirit in her, she lives in her little blank apartment with her little blank life, goes to her little blank job and never does anything exciting with it all.”

“Maybe she’s just never had the chance.”

“I gave her a chance,” Vek shot back. “She rejected it!”

Leela turned in her seat and glared at Veklerov. She could almost feel her face turning red from the anger boiling in her gut. “Is that your excuse for taking advantage of her?”

“I gave her what she wanted! I gave her hope and an adventure, why should I be blamed if she was too timid to-”

“Shut up! This was a stupid idea,” she said, launching herself from the seat. Leela turned to glare at Veklerov, her hands balling into fists before she could stop them. “How I ever let you talk me into this... this...”

She stopped, dumbstruck, as Fry walked onto the bridge with Amy in tow. Was that his hand quickly letting go of hers, or just the light? Why did she care? “Fry, what the hell are you doing here?”

“Wha...” he stared at her with that same confused expression he always had when she asked him even slightly hard questions. Leela squeezed her eye shut and shook her head.

“Never mind.”

“You told me to come,” he whined. When Leela opened her eye he was turning away again and Amy was giving her the most vicious look she’d ever seen. Moreso than even the crazy version of her with the laser rifle.

Leela felt her shoulders give way just a fraction. She looked at Veklerov but he was just smiling again. Fry and Amy were locked in some sort of discussion for the moment, leaving her isolated as she tried to work out just where she’d screwed up this time. Last night she had the excuse of being drunk. Now... the headache flared up again, forcing her eye shut. Leela stumbled toward the couch and flopped down on it. There was no point in trying to hide the pain now. Things were so bad, her discomfort would simply be lost in the noise.

There was a rustle of cloth behind her.  A familiar sound. She looked up and found Fry standing behind the couch, looking down at her with his head tilted to one side slightly. He wasn’t smiling, but he didn’t seem angry either. Not as such.


They fell silent, staring at each other, each unable to really say what they wanted. “You’d better go sit down,” Leela said, more to break the silence than anything else. “We’ll talk later.”

Fry nodded slowly and then turned away, slouched as always with his hands in his pockets, as he stepped back up to the main deck. Leela turned away before he reached the spare console – Amy was sat in Fry's usual spot at the radio console for some reason. She stared out of the window and braced herself for the launch as the ship reared skywards.

Space Pope
« Reply #386 on: 11-10-2008 17:59 »
« Last Edit on: 11-10-2008 18:08 »

Why do you feel you must pile on the updates for me? At this rate I'm going to have to copy your updates in to Microsoft word and print them out so i can actually read them. But thats going to kill paper isn't it?

Well I'll have to work on this once I get my own computer. I like the story but I just can't keep up right now.
Officer 1BDI

Starship Captain
« Reply #387 on: 11-10-2008 19:19 »
« Last Edit on: 11-10-2008 19:34 »

At this rate I'm going to have to copy your updates in to Microsoft word and print them out so i can actually read them. But thats going to kill paper isn't it?

That never stopped me. tongue  But that was back when I was a youngin' and my time on the Internet was severely restricted.  Desperate times called for desperate, environmentally unfriendly measures.

“I gave her a chance,” Vek shot back. “She rejected it!”

Leela turned in her seat and glared at Veklerov. She could almost feel her face turning red from the anger boiling in her gut. “Is that your excuse for taking advantage of her?”

“I gave her what she wanted! I gave her hope and an adventure, why should I be blamed if she was too timid to-”

Oh Vek.  Why do you make it so easy to hate you?

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #388 on: 11-10-2008 23:38 »

Ah, it doesn't take that long BF. The day you hear me complain about an update to this is the day that reality implodes.

Urban Legend
« Reply #389 on: 11-11-2008 00:50 »
« Last Edit on: 11-11-2008 04:58 »

you certainly don't hear me complaining about the updates.  I say keep 'em coming!

edit for bad gramma

Space Pope
« Reply #390 on: 11-11-2008 02:44 »

i like the updates i just have to make it so i can read them. i'm complaining about them because i didn't occur to me until today to print them out and read them at my leisure. but i now have them and can now read them so i'll review soon.

Starship Captain
« Reply #391 on: 11-11-2008 03:56 »

That never stopped me. tongue  But that was back when I was a youngin' and my time on the Internet was severely restricted.  Desperate times called for desperate, environmentally unfriendly measures.

My parents gave up trying to keep me off the internet somewhere around when I found out I could bypass the router completely, and then the week after that when I found out how to reset bios passwords. Eng from day 1 baby.

Agree with SO: Keep em coming! SO GOOD!

Hope Fry and Leela get to talk soon, and really hope Amy doesn't just get dumped and that's it... I really like Amy now.

Yancy better be ready for a full blown crazy attack, how soon depends on Fry's map drawing skills.

96,947 words, I'd say some kind of 100,000 celebration is in order soon!


Delivery Boy
« Reply #392 on: 11-19-2008 07:54 »

I still can't reach this place. I'm reading post #280, but I want to say what I wanted to say NOW.
1. Veklerov Evanovich McDiarmid. Veklerov is a name, but I have never heard such Russian name. McDiarmid is a surname, it's OK. But Evanovich... In Russia it's not the second name, but father's name. So Vek's father gotta be Russian too...
2. Sirotayevna. Sirota can be used for any sex. But if it needed suffix, I would say "Sirotochka".
3. “Perestan mne jabat mozgi svojimi voprosami!” How the hell do you know "bad russian language"????!!!!! eek
Now I can continue reading... Evila is the most interesting character.
Sorry, if someone told that.

Space Pope
« Reply #393 on: 11-19-2008 14:09 »

Well, genuine russians are hard to come by these days.

It isn't mentioned in the story, but the reason for Veklerov's middle name is that he's trying to be as russian as possible, and insists that people add "evanovich" as his patronymic even though his father was of scottish ancestry. It's just who he is, trying to be "genuine", which I'd hope would come through in the writing.

And the bad russian... ehhh, there are websites out there for that sort of thing. Very handy. If very rude...

Starship Captain
« Reply #394 on: 11-19-2008 22:09 »

There needs to be an update tag for when authors post in their story threads!

Just seeing the authors name beside the thread title fills me with much hope. Now I'm sad. 

Scottish + Russian ancestry = interesting. Does he run around in a man skirt drinking vodka?

Urban Legend
« Reply #395 on: 11-19-2008 22:25 »

<Scruffy> Second! </Scruffy>  I saw there was a new post in this thread when I got up this morning and I was thrilled... until I opened the thread and there was no update to read.  Now I am also sad.

Does he run around in a man skirt drinking vodka?
  I've had a couple of Professors that I could easily see doing that...

Space Pope
« Reply #396 on: 11-20-2008 00:54 »

Don't worry, I'll update soon.

All these fans... it's scary!

Space Pope
« Reply #397 on: 11-20-2008 05:52 »

You better update soon. On a similar note. I'm almost caught up!

Delivery Boy
« Reply #398 on: 11-23-2008 08:37 »

I've reached this place! And I'm waiting for next update.

While reading Yancy and Neena in park I nearly cryied.

Well, genuine russians are hard to come by these days.
I respect Veklerov for his flying. “I wouldn’t have to do these things if that idiot Professor and his performing monkey gave me the parts.” - the genuine russian - he flyies the ship in any condition, and trying to fix it without spare parts. It seems that this spaceship is made of Soviet tanks. And he's flying "on hardcore level" without inertial dampeners.
And he should say Gagarin's "Poehali!", not "rock'n'roll".

If people want fighting, I will bet for a battle Colt Python vs. AK-47.

Space Pope
« Reply #399 on: 11-23-2008 22:06 »
« Last Edit on: 11-30-2008 22:21 »

Yancy heard the ship roaring from the hangar but didn’t turn to watch. He paused to listen for a moment, whilst keeping his eyes firmly fixed on Neena’s back as she negotiated with the Professor for access to his underground lab. He wondered why they hadn’t just followed the directions Phil had given them, but she’d insisted; he’d acquiesced after seeing the look in her eye, with the fervent hope that he’d never have to see it again.

Somewhere in the distance an owl hooted, joined soon by its compatriots as they swarmed back into the hangar. Just another of the twisted little details about the world Yancy found himself in, though at that one was fairly benign as oddities went.  The owls were still hooting at each other when the Professor looked over at Yancy and motioned him toward the lab. Which was odd. Yancy glanced over his shoulder at the hangar, wondering what the critters were so worked up about.

“Yancy, my boy.” The Professor held out his hand and weakly grabbed Yancy’s shoulder. “I don’t know why you two are planning to visit the sewers and, frankly, I don’t care if you drown down there. However, since you are going, perhaps you could look out for a few radiated stool samples I flushed away this morning?”

“Auh...” Yancy blinked and tried to hide his grimace. “Are you asking me to look for your poop?”

“Oh my, yes. It was an experiment I was conducting, on the effects of certain radioactive isotopes on kitchen appliances such as toasters. Unfortunately I mixed up the yellowcake with some hard buggalo cheese, and, well...” he waved a hand toward a covered cloth in the corner of the lab. The air above it was shimmering. “Hermes is convinced there’s someone stealing company food but frankly I think I may just have used it in an experiment without noticing. Anyway, I’d like my isotopes back.”

Yancy took a deep breath. He gave the professor a half-hearted nod. “I’ll see what I can do, Professor.”

“Ahh, good man... now, if you two will just step a little closer...”

The professor indicated the patch of floor immediately before him. Leela and Yancy stepped onto it with a little apprehension – more in Yancy’s case. He knew what was coming.

“I suppose you use some sort of-” Neena managed, before the floor dropped away beneath them. Yancy was impressed that she didn’t scream even though it was her first conscious visit to the laboratory complex. At the same time he felt a little put out, since he had screamed the first time, all the way down, convinced he was going to be smashed to pieces at the bottom of the elevator shaft. He reached out his hand just a fraction and felt Neena’s reaching toward him. Their fingers twined together and she looked at him with a nervous half smile on her lips. But then the look was gone again.

Her reaction to the complex itself was cool at best, with barely an acknowledgement of the sheer volume of the cavernous chamber. She looked around it once from their vantage point on a wall-mounted cargo elevator above the majority of the ‘city’, made a vaguely appreciative noise and turned to stare down at the nearest road.

“Neena, why are we down here? Phil gave us directions-”

“I know, but we’re going to the sewers and I’d rather not be seen climbing down there out in public.” Neena looked at him and smiled, so that he was almost convinced. But not quite. “People might get the wrong idea.”

“I don’t think-”

“Yancy, don’t argue with me!”

Neena slammed her fist against the railing, hard enough to bring a sympathetic tear to Yancy’s eye. She grimaced, muttered something unrepeatable under her breath and turned away from the view. Her eye, holding the emotions it held right then, was a terrible sight to behold.

“I don’t know why but this way is...” She pressed a shaking hand against her forehead and seemed to shiver. “It’s better. It feels right.”

Neena turned again slightly, watching the Professor as he bumbled around the elevator. They were descending toward the floor of the chamber already. Yancy hadn’t even noticed, had no idea when they’d started moving but it didn’t seem to matter to Neena. She paced back and forth, her eye fixed on a building in the middle-distance, just beyond the large warehouse that Professor Farnsworth kept some of his larger experiments in.

They drew to a halt with a rumbling jerk. The elevator, free-standing, bounced from side to side a few times as it settled into place and then the railings fell  away on either side with a loud hiss, to permit an exit. Neena looked at Yancy and the Professor, then marched away down the street without a backward glance.

“What’s got into her?”

“Ohh, she’s female,” Farnsworth mused. “I uh, didn’t want to say anything before but I suspect the strain of being in such close proximity to a duplicate of her own mind is causing a few... irregularities?”

“What do you mean?” They started walking after Neena, moving at a much reduced pace so that the Professor could keep up with Yancy. Normally Yancy was used to walking a lot faster than most people, though he was never sure why he did it. It felt safer, as if maybe the past wouldn’t catch up with him. Regardless, the pace of their progress was frustratingly slow.

“You understand the implications of such duplication?”

“Not really... isn’t it just like cloning?”

Farnsworth shook his head. He brushed the gauzy red strands of his fringe to one side as he spoke. “A mere clone would not have this effect. The problem is that they are duplicated at the quantum level. In fact they are the same particles, in essence, occupying the same quantum probability space even if they appear to be separate events at the macroscopic level.”

“I didn’t understand a word of that but, please, go on talking.” Yancy shook his head. Perhaps he should have paid more attention in science class.

“Quite... well, you at least understand how parallel universes work?”

“I saw a TV show about it when I was a kid but it seemed a bit unlikely.”

“Yes, yes, it seems completely preposterous on the surface...” Farnsworth slowed down a fraction from his already frustratingly slow pace as he rubbed his chin. “Say you have just two parallel universes. Normally they would occupy the same physical space but they are completely isolated from each other, in separate quantum probability spaces.”

“Like two pictures on the same piece of paper?”

Farnsworth stared at Yancy for a good few seconds, just long enough for Yancy to wonder if he was having another stroke until the old man shook his head and sighed.

“I’d have more luck explaining it to an electronically enhanced monkey... oh, now that would be an interesting experiment, but how would I power it? Sunspots?”


“Wha? Oh yes, the universe thing. Yes. I... maybe some sort of a hat...”

Yancy grabbed the Professor’s arm and pulled him to a halt. “Professor Farnsworth, you have to tell me what’s going on!”

“Oh... yes...” Farnsworth shrugged off Yancy’s grip and rubbed his arm, glaring reproachfully at Yancy as he did so. “Where was... ah yes, the quantum probability space. Yes. Each probability space describes a possible form for the physical universe if its quantum waveform were to collapse at that point. The problem comes when you take a particle from one space and transfer it into another. You see the effect that would have, surely?”

“Well... no, not really.” Yancy rubbed the back of his head and tried to think. “They, I dunno, try and... sit on each other or something?”

“Remarkably enough you’re completely wrong. Ah but, you’re thinking in the right direction.” Farnsworth began walking again, humming to himself as he went. “We’re seeing a quantum particle in a superposition of states, which is meant to be physically impossible. Normally just observing a particle collapses it into the most probable quantum state for a given quantum probability space. In this case there seems to be some resistance to that collapse.”

“And this is a bad thing.”

“I have no idea,” Professor Farnsworth said, rubbing his hands together with unconcealed glee. “But I’m going to enjoy finding out, oh my yes. The paradox may just resolve itself in a nice, painless way but there’s always the possibility that it will resolve by collapsing back into a single, observable state. In the, uh, meantime there’ll be a lot of very interesting science to be done. It could open up all sorts of possibilities!”

“Professor, I really don’t understand what you’re getting at.”

They slowed as they reached Neena, who had stopped in the middle of the street. She was staring at a manhole cover that, Yancy realised, looked like it had been moved very recently. There was even a faint cut in the road surface where the cover had scraped as it was pulled back into place.

Farnsworth tilted his head, staring at the cover without actually looking at it. “I wouldn’t expect someone of your mental capacity to even begin comprehending the ramifications.”

“Try me.”

“Well uh... all right, you see the problem is that these identical particles are effectively entangled. You know what entangling is?”

“Kinda,” Yancy said. Neena was still staring at the cover, unmoving as a statue. It was disturbing. “It’s where two atoms act like they’re the same thing, right?”

“In a manner of speaking. The science of your time had barely begun to probe quantum theory but they saw quantum entanglement as something that had potential to revolutionise long-distance communications. Of course about twenty years after you left, your brother invented the anteluminal interstellar radio, rendering the concept obsolete...”

“Dammit!” Yancy ran his hand over his face and stared toward the distant mural on the wall that had haunted every moment of his  life. “Is there anything he didn’t do?”

“I uh... well...” Farnsworth frowned, wrinkling his brow a little more than usual. “That doesn’t matter! The point is, when two particles are entangled at the quantum level, one particle will reflect changes made to the other. They communicate, instantly, no matter how far apart they are.”

“So what does-”

“These two are made up of billions of entangled particles, but their entanglement is a result of the particles being the same instead of merely being linked to each other.”

“But what does that mean?

“I can describe the results of observation, but explaining the mechanism behind it would probably give you a brain haemorrhage even worse than the one I’m having right now.”

Yancy rubbed the back of his head and sighed. “So really what you’re saying is, you haven’t a damn clue what’s going on?”


“Great...” Yancy stepped to one side of Neena, the better to see her face. She was staring at the manhole, her eye fixed and steady, barely even blinking. He waved his hand in front of her face and snapped his fingers a few times, which seemed to grab her attention. “Neena, wake up.”

“What... Yancy?” She shook her head and squeezed her eye shut, taking a deep breath and then sighed. “Sorry, I was... actually I have no idea what I was doing.”

Neena knelt down and touched the manhole cover. When she looked up her face was pale but determined. Yancy knelt down beside her.

“Neena, why are we down here?”

“It feels right,” she said, before levering the manhole cover out of its rest and pushing it to one side, narrowly missing Professor Farnsworth’s feet. He didn’t seem to notice. The smell of stale sewage drifted up out of the dark pit, sulphurous and dank, but not overpowering. “I don’t know why, it just feels...”

She shook her head and shrugged, leaping into the darkness of the sewer before Yancy could react. He shouted after her, then looked about himself in frustration before settling on the Professor.

“I guess I should follow her?”


“That’s what I thought,” Yancy said quietly. He patted Farnsworth’s shoulder, then clambered down the surprisingly clean ladder to the sewers below.

“And don’t forget my isotopes!” The professor’s voice echoed around the dim sewer like a forlorn lost ghost, bouncing back from the distant, invisible tunnels until it distorted into a meaningless incoherence. Yancy ignored it and stepped away from the ladder.

The first thing that struck Yancy was just how dark it was, even a few feet from the safety the light immediately under the manhole. The second was how dry everything felt underfoot, as if this part of the sewer wasn’t used very often. He stumbled a few steps into the darkness and stopped.


His voice echoed through the tunnels and back at him, distorted and much louder than he’d expected, and returning for longer than he thought possible as the sound reflected back and forth in numerous side tunnels and tubes. It was like being greeted by a crowd of hollow-voiced relatives. Yancy put out his hands and shuffled forward until they pressed up against a dry, smooth brick wall. He didn’t want to think about what was on the wall’s surface.



He couldn’t tell where she was, but at least she was still around. Yancy stumbled along the wall for a few years and stopped again. He held his breath; another, quiet regular breath sounded a short distance away. “Neena, is that you?”


“I can’t see a thing.”

“Huh. Take my hand.”

Yancy felt a hand grab his arm, then his shoulder, before settling on his face. He blinked in the darkness; if he concentrated he could just about make out the shape of Neena’s head and hair in front of him so he reached down and-


“Sorry...” Yancy gingerly removed his hand from Neena’s chest and sought out her arm.

“All set?”

He nodded, curious if Neena really could see that well down here. She gave his arm a sharp tug as she set off down the tunnel, which meant either she could see, or just didn’t care whether he was ready or not. Yancy’s inner cynic decided it was the latter, unfair as the rest of his mind thought that might be.

They strode silently through the tunnels, passing from the dim, musty dryness of the disused sewers beneath the complex to other, damper and much more potent passages. At first Yancy tried to block the smell out but, after a while, it felt like his nose had shut down – all he could feel was the irritation of ammonia and sulphur in the air, stinging his eyes and tickling at the back of his throat, and the slick warmth of methane gas drifting past his skin.

“Neena, this isn’t the way Phil said-”

He thumped into Neena’s back, almost knocking them both to the ground until Neena managed to right them. She turned in the darkness and peered at him which, in itself, was interesting, as he hadn’t expected to be able to see anything at all down here. He realised there was a faint light casting down from somewhere high above, filtering in from side-tunnels and shafts into the sewers.

“His directions were wrong,” she said, turning away again and looking around the tunnel. She held up the map for a momen, then quickly screwed it up into a ball and tossed it away into the darkness. Yancy stepped away and almost leaned against the wall until he remembered where he was. He shuddered.

“How do you know?”

“I don’t know, it just... feels familiar. Like I’ve been here before.” She frowned at Yancy, her gaze almost accusing. “Why would he try to send me in the wrong direction?”

“Maybe the sewers are laid out differently in his universe.”

“Maybe.” Neena nodded slightly but the frown remained, fixing that little crinkle to her brow. She reached out for Yancy’s arm and resumed their trek along the tunnel.
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