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Author Topic: Parallel Lives (a saga in so many parts)  (Read 17472 times)
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Urban Legend
« Reply #480 on: 12-15-2008 22:05 »

And somehow Evila has made Neena think that Phillip J. Fry must die.
Convincing a Leela that Phil needs to die doesn't seem like a particularly hard thing to do.  Fry really needs to wake up and smell the gunpowder.  Being in love with someone who tries to brutally murder him in practically every parallel universe he visits just isn't a healthy idea...
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #481 on: 12-15-2008 23:19 »

And somehow Evila has made Neena think that Phillip J. Fry must die.
Convincing a Leela that Phil needs to die doesn't seem like a particularly hard thing to do.  Fry really needs to wake up and smell the gunpowder.  Being in love with someone who tries to brutally murder him in practically every parallel universe he visits just isn't a healthy idea...

Maybe Leela-A and Leela-1 are the only Leela's that can tolerate Fry.

Starship Captain
« Reply #482 on: 12-16-2008 00:33 »

Blue Leela managed okay! And isn't the next empress Leela supposed to be pro-Fry too?

Like I said, he needs to keep track of these things. Could make a pretty funny checklist to have a picture of each Leela with a check or X beside them, and Fry's notes laff

Bending Unit
« Reply #483 on: 12-16-2008 01:28 »

I agree; these new sections are great!

As for why Neena's snapped, I'd say it's two things; finding her parents dead, and the effect from Evila. Looks like Evila's uppermost right now - will Neena fight the effect, or go with it?

The next section is going to be very interesting indeed... smile

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #484 on: 12-16-2008 02:50 »

Blue Leela managed okay! And isn't the next empress Leela supposed to be pro-Fry too?

Pro-Fry vs Anti-Fry, I love it. I can just see two armies of Leela's arguing about whether they should kill, shag or just ignore him.

Bending Unit
« Reply #485 on: 12-17-2008 01:58 »

Pro-Fry vs Anti-Fry, I love it. I can just see two armies of Leela's arguing about whether they should kill, shag or just ignore him.

I would pay to see that. If only to see how they end up resolving the issue. wink

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder

Space Pope
« Reply #486 on: 12-28-2008 19:08 »

Late christmas?


Leela settled back into her hiding spot above the hangar, deep in the shadow of some machinery. Her jaunt back into the sewers had been risky but worthwhile, just to see another version of herself realising the universal truth, the one constant in all their lives.

Something had been a little different about this one, though. She couldn’t place it. In the sewers was the first time she’d seen her in the flesh, however dark it had been. She seemed... connected, somehow. It was almost like... the past...

Leela shook her head to dislodge the memory. She shifted forward on the gantry and peered down at the ship. If she’d timed it right her alter self would be entering the lab about now, from the massive underground city this universe contained. Leela tried to imagine what life would be like if she’d lived in something like that. Perhaps with her parents. Only... no, no that wouldn’t do at all.

There was a sound, a quiet clank as someone stepped onto the gantry. Who... she whirled and found herself face to face with the idiot’s brother. He stared at her, confused but stubbornly defiant. It seemed to be a family trait.

“Well, hello there...” She turned on her toes to get a better look at him.

“How did you get up here?”

“Same way you did, the door round the back of this place.” She leaned on the rail, pulled out a cigarette and tucked it into her mouth. “You’d think that idiot professor would be smart enough to lock it in at least one universe.”

“So, which Leela are you?”

“The sane one,” Leela muttered, grabbing the butt of her pistol. She paused. He didn’t seem to be reacting the right way. Not confused, not scared, more like resigned. Hopeless. “You are his brother, right?”

“I just want to know what’s going on.”

“I’ll take that as a yes.” Leela shrugged, relaxing her hand, seeing how unlikely it was he’d attack her. “There’s only one of me. You know why I’m here?”

“No...” his eye flicked to the pistol. “You did it, didn’t you.”

“Smarter and more handsome,” Leela replied. She sidled toward the brother and traced her hand up his chest. “Why couldn’t I have had you in my universe? I bet I wouldn’t have had to kill you even a tiny little bit...”

He glanced down at the hangar, fear entering his eyes for the first time. “What’s going on?”

“Huh, I guess you’re not as clever as I thought. I’m here to see your brother die.” She pulled her gun before he could react and pressed it against his chin. “And you’re not going to do a thing about it, are you.”

Leela gripped his shirt collar so tight it was almost choking him. He blinked several times, trying to clear his watering eyes, his eyes never wavering from her face as he tried to stare her down. She smiled and thumbed back the hammer. If Yancy had an answer to her question, it was lost behind the crash of gunfire echoing around the vast hangar.


“Flurb, I can’t believe they’re still arguing,” Amy groused as she descended the gangway steps to the hangar floor. Fry just grunted as he followed her down. Something was digging at his gut, like he couldn’t quite settle down. Like Amy had suddenly gotten a little more relaxed for some reason, which he couldn’t understand. And like she was more hostile toward Leela and friendlier at the same time.

“I guess it’s-”

There was a crack, followed by another, and a loud zip of a bullet tearing the air apart over their heads. Fry gibbered and ducked with his arms wrapped over his head. Another crack. Amy screeched and spun to one side as if someone had tugged at her shoulder. She fell to the floor, her face more surprised than anything else, then screamed again in sheer terror as the pain finally overwhelmed her shock.


Wa chi ao!” Her hand pressed against her shoulder and came away bloody. “I’m bleeding!”

Fry grabbed Amy’s shirt and dragged her behind the landing gear, ignoring Leela’s angry yelling and Veklerov’s surprisingly high-pitched anguish as they leapt from the gangway. Leela landed right behind him and grabbed Amy’s uninjured arm, speeding up their escape.

“Leela, it’s-”

“I know, dammit!” She tugged Amy’s top apart, revealing a ragged wound across the top of her shoulder. Leela pulled off her shirt, ignoring Veklerov’s highly ill-timed leer, and quickly tore a strip off. “Hold her, here.”

She grabbed Fry’s hand and pressed it against Amy’s neck, just above the wound. He pressed his fingers against the wound, grimacing at Amy’s pained response. She grabbed his arm with her free hand.

“Phil, it hurts!”

“Oh don’t start,” Leela growled as she passed her improvised bandage under Amy’s arm. “I swear, if you come out with the ‘I’m going to die’ crap I’ll shoot myself.”

Amy screeched again as Leela pulled the bandage tight. She pressed a larger pad of her shirt against Amy’s shoulder and continued binding until the wound was completely covered, though not absolutely sealed. Then she sat back and pulled her knees up to her chest, and just stared into the distance. Fry pulled off his jacket and laid it under Amy’s head because he didn’t know what else to do, and because it seemed like it might help. He knelt beside her, though his attention was focused on Leela.

Is she going to die?” His voice was shaking, but there wasn’t anything he could do about that. Leela glanced back at him and shook her head.

“No. But she needs to get to a hospital.”

“You’re damn right I- oohh... ai yah tien ah!” Amy flopped back against Fry’s jacket, whimpering against the pain in her shoulder.

Leela rolled her eye. “It’s a flesh wound. Stay still and it won’t hurt so much,” she said, touching Fry’s arm. He looked at her automatically, for the re-assurance her presence had always given him.

“How did she find us?”

“It’s not her. It’s Neena.”

“What?” Fry and Veklerov’s voices were raised in unison. They stared at each other.

“Sirochka, shooting at us? Impossible, she doesn’t have the...” Vek’s rant and bravado faded under Leela’s angry glare. She dismissed him with a contemptuous snort. “All right, I suppose she might have a few reasons. Where is she?”

“She’s at the back of the lab with the Professor. I think he has his scanners out again.”

“The decrepit fossil is probably too busy enjoying the show to realise he’s in any danger,” Veklerov grumbled. He leaned past his side of the gangway to peer at the lab, to be met by the sound of another shot being fired. A bullet whined off the concrete by his leg. “Oof, what the hell kind of a canon is that?”

“Three-fifty-seven Colt Python two, satin silver finish, nine inch barrel, composite... carbon...” Leela blinked, her mouth hanging open around the last syllable, her eye staring into the distance. She turned to Fry just as he turned to look at her.

“How do you know all that?”

“I have no idea...” she stared at her hands, sticky with the remnant of Amy’s blood, then up at the ship, though it seemed as if she was staring through it at something much further away. “It was just there. In my head.”

She shook herself, suddenly clenching both fists as she turned to stare at Fry. “She’s trying to kill you.”

“No kidding. I think I noticed that, Leela.” He reached out to touch Amy’s face, tracing a finger across her pale cheek, beaded with sweat as she tried to hide her pain. She smiled at him. “What did I do to deserve this?”

Leela didn’t answer. She was staring up at the ship again, her eye narrowed in thought. Fry risked a glance around the landing gear, just enough to see Neena lurking at the back of the lab with her shoulders hunched and tense. She spotted him and raised her gun but he managed to duck away before she could take aim. It didn’t stop her firing. The bullet smacked into the landing gear with a sound like an egg cracking.

“I’m getting a really weird déjà vu here,” he muttered, stroking Amy’s hair again. Leela shivered, rubbing her arms as the cool air of the hanger blew against her bare back. Normally he might have offered her his coat by now.

“Well I’m not going to sit here until she gets bored enough to come over and kill us all,” Veklerov grunted. He stood up, holding his hand out past the landing gear. “Sirochka? Lets talk, da?

Another shot whined through the air, barely missing the tips of his fingers. Veklerov stumbled back, grabbing his fingers in reflex as the shockwave of the passing bullet shattered their tips. His foot slammed against Amy’s shoulder and he tripped over awkwardly, sprawling on the floor, dragging Fry along with him.

It happened so fast that Fry was unable to react before he found himself face down on the concrete, pinned down by the weight of a swearing Russian and disturbingly vulnerable. Amy was streaming out an almost unbroken string of Martian invective to match Veklerov’s, the combined words mixing in odd ways in Fry’s ears.

He turned his head, realising he was in full view of Neena. She stared at him from the back of the lab, her gun pointed almost right at his face. Neena’s face seemed to be twitching almost constantly, every tiny tick visible on her pale skin as she stared at him. All Fry could do was blink and try to look non-threatening – not hard given his predicament.

Finally, perhaps sensing his vulnerable state, Veklerov rolled off Fry and hustled back under the landing gear. Fry lay still. Waiting, watching Neena’s face.

“Fry, what are you doing?”

Leela’s voice. Close by, so it had to be his Leela. She was staring at him, inching her arm toward his pants. Fry shrugged, but couldn’t quite put words to the thoughts moving through his mind. If he’d known better he might have called it kismet, the idea that he couldn’t fight fate, but all he could really think was that he couldn’t be bothered trying any more. The floor felt dreadfully cold.

A bullet dug into the hangar floor behind Fry’s head. He sat up, his heart suddenly pounding as the reality of the situation returned to him; at the same time, Leela was leaping out in front of him with her arms held up, yelling at herself to stop. It seemed to work.

She landed on the floor with a grunt, the concrete scraping her arm and side. Fry could see Neena’s surprise – perhaps at the sight of Leela without her top, leaping about the hangar. Perhaps at the thought she’d actually defend Fry. Neena lowered her gun and tilted her head to one side before taking a cautious step toward them.

Leela pushed herself upright, wincing at the sting of her grazed shoulder. She stared at Neena, defying her to shoot again.

“Leela, get out of the way.”

“No.” Leela moved further out from the landing gear, keeping her body between Fry and the gun. She wrapped her arms around her body against he chilly air in the hangar and shivered, though perhaps not entirely due to the cold. “Why are you doing this? Where did you get that gun?”

Neena didn’t answer. She stared blankly at the pistol in her hand, turning it back and forth a few times. Then she looked up, determination returning to her face.

“Ask your friend. Yeah,” she said, sneering, every muscle in her body tightening. “Ask Philip where it came from.”

“What are you-”

Ask him, dammit!

Neena stumbled from the lab, ignoring Farnsworth’s anguished cry as she left his finely calibrated scanning fields in disarray. She held the gun out, her hand weaving from side to side as she staggered across the concrete, her skin pale and taut, with the first signs of a bruise-dark ring forming under her eye. Leela stood up as she approached and stepped forward, grabbing the gun before she could bring it to bear on Fry.

Veklerov, sensing his opportunity, scrabbled to his feet and up the gangway to safety. The airlock door slammed shut and hissed its seal a moment later.

“Get out of my way!”


Neena stared at Leela as if betrayed, her eye bloodshot and red-rimmed. Her hand went limp as Leela pulled the pistol from her grip before tossing away across the floor. The smell of the sewers was all over her; even from Fry’s position it was obvious, stinking up the place with a backwash of sulphur and cloying, bitter damp air. He closed his eyes and sighed. Leela turned her suspicious eye toward Fry.

“You told her?”

“I was just trying to help...” Fry looked up at Leela again, trying not to plead. “She wanted me to tell her how to find them, so I did.”

“Fry, I was...” she paused, frowning. “No, that... that’s not right, if she’d met them she’d be-”

“He lied! He never wanted me to find them!” Neena struggled out of Leela’s grasp and lurched toward Fry, reaching out to grab him. She was yanked back by Leela’s hand on her coat. “He never wanted me to see the truth!”

“Neena, you’re not making any sense. What truth?”

“He killed them!” Neena collapsed to her knees, clawing at Leela’s arms. She began to wail. “He killed them!


Yancy felt this new dark Leela tense as soon as Neena emerged from the lab.

“Brown,” she muttered, confusion entering her voice. “Brown hair. Neena... kshaami chaahti hu ba hen...”

The moment passed. The gun jammed tighter against Yancy’s throat, almost choking him, but her eye was fixed on the scene playing out below. “No. No! She can’t... kill them you stupid-”

She pushed Yancy away. A frustrated yell escaped her lips and she turned away from him. “Want something right, you gotta do it yourself,” she growled, caressing the gun in her hands before aiming it down at the hangar floor. It took a moment for Yancy to realise what she meant until he spied Phil sitting on the floor, quite plainly visible beneath the ship. Amy was lying next to him, her shirt soaked deep crimson.

A nervous rage overwhelmed Yancy as the reality of the situation sank in; a sort of anguished protectiveness he’d never experienced toward his brother before, more powerful than he really appreciated. It dragged his foot forward, and then the other and before Yancy could think he was running back at this new dark Leela, hands outstretched toward her. A belligerent yell escaped his lips. He grabbed her arms just as her finger squeezed the trigger, throwing her aim off. The bullet thudded into the floor just past Amy’s head.

“What the hell!” Leela, or whatever she was, turned and punched Yancy in the gut then whacked him across the side of his head with the butt of her pistol. “You idiot! You’re as bad as he was, always getting in my way!”

Yancy choked on bile and spat, unable to respond, or to resist when this Leela grabbed his jacket and pulled him upright. Somehow he managed to duck the fist aimed at his face. Somehow. Without thought his hands swung up, one grabbing her hair, the other landing against her half-open eye with a disgusting squelch.

She screamed. Yancy had never heard Leela scream before. It terrified him, that anything could be so heart-rending. But then she yelled the most vile profanity he’d ever heard as she lost her footing. Leela shouted out again, angry and terrified. Her hand locked around Yancy’s collar and he followed her over the rail.

Urban Legend
« Reply #487 on: 12-29-2008 02:09 »

this update has everything a good fanfic should: violence, swearing, and the lead female character stripping to her waist.  Also copious amounts of insanity.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #488 on: 12-29-2008 03:17 »

this update has everything a good fanfic should: violence, swearing, and the lead female character stripping to her waist.  Also copious amounts of insanity.

Tooks the words right out of my mouth.
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #489 on: 12-29-2008 05:47 »

this update has everything a good fanfic should: violence, swearing, and the lead female character stripping to her waist.  Also copious amounts of insanity.

What he said!

All I can say is:  more, More, MORE, MORE!

Okay you cunts, let's see what you can do now.

Urban Legend
« Reply #490 on: 12-29-2008 13:46 »

Of course, we're all assuming Leela isn't wearing a bra... take your minds out of the sewer and into the gutter where they belong, boys.

Then again, I can talk...  roll eyes  big grin

Starship Captain
« Reply #491 on: 12-29-2008 14:25 »
« Last Edit on: 12-29-2008 14:46 »

And the insanity explodes!

Way to go Yancy, full hand eye poke will teach her to shoot your brother! Just hope you get lucky with the landing, long way down. And hang in there Amy!!!

Need the next part! too good!
Of course, we're all assuming Leela isn't wearing a bra... take your minds out of the sewer and into the gutter where they belong, boys.

Then again, I can talk...  roll eyes  big grin

You can leave yours in the gutter, mines a bit more useful where it is.

Leela's first aid skills deserve some praise, Neena's aim does not...

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #492 on: 12-30-2008 05:13 »

Of course, we're all assuming Leela isn't wearing a bra... take your minds out of the sewer and into the gutter where they belong, boys.

Oh, I figured she was, still......


Delivery Boy
« Reply #493 on: 12-31-2008 17:54 »

Women with naked breast are always peacemakers... I wonder, who's gonna die next?

Happy New Year, Archonix and everyone around!
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #494 on: 12-31-2008 21:33 »

Great chapter Arch!

Love the fight scene at the end!

Space Pope
« Reply #495 on: 01-03-2009 16:29 »

A shot rang out and they froze as white-hot chips of concrete flew into the air behind Amy’s head. She wailed pitifully and tried to grab at the fresh cut the debris tore across the side of her face.

Later Fry would remember two things happening. First, the simultaneous, shrill scream of both Leelas as they both reacted to some invisible force against their eye. Second, the sound of his brother shouting. He looked up at the gantry in time to see yet another Leela, dressed all in black, dragging Yancy from an overhead walkway as they both fell to the floor. They landed in an oversized equipment locker with a muffled crash.


Ignoring everything, Fry leaped toward the locker, his gait awkward from fear and cramped legs as he lurched to his feet.

He reached he locker after a seconds that seemed like an eternity, breathing far harder than the moment of exertion would have suggested. Fry flung back the lid that had collapsed down on the locker and thrust his arms inside.


Yancy lay sprawled on top of the other Leela, the one he’d mentally nicknamed Evila; both lay on the mess of pressure suits, work overalls and the rags and ruins of various hazardous materials suits that the Professor evidently hadn’t found time to get rid of. He groaned.

“No, Yancy, don’t move,” Fry said, pressing his hands down on his brother’s back. Yancy grunted and hissed a pained breath through his teeth, but ignored Fry’s insistent pressure and pushed himself to his hands and knees.

“That better be the last of them,” he muttered, staring at the unconscious woman beneath him. Her lips parted as she took a deep breath, though her eye remained resolutely closed. “I think she’s out cold.”

“What happened?”

Fry helped Yancy pull himself from the locker, where he crumpled to the floor and pawed weakly at Fry’s arm. “I just fell seventy feet.”

“Yeah, but...” Fry stared at the ParaLeela laid out in the bottom of the locker. She was still breathing, but barely. It sounded almost as if she was singing. He looked over his shoulder at Leela and Neena, both still rubbing moisture from their eyes and blinking as if they’d each got an eyeful of grit. He waved his hand at the woman; Yancy shrugged.

“I followed her up from the sewers,” he said, backing away from the locker. Yancy looked tired, as if the weight of the world were finally catching up to him. “She was following Neena.”

“She wants to kill me. She’s following me and trying to shoot me. I don’t get it.”

“It’s not just you.” Yancy leaned closer to Fry as they moved back toward the ship, lowering his voice. “We-”

The sound of a gun being cocked shocked them both into silence. They looked down at the unconscious ParaLeela, expecting to see her suddenly awake. She was still out. Then Amy gave a feeble moan, calling out Fry’s name in a way that tore at his heart. He’d promised Yancy he wouldn’t let her get hurt.

Fry slowly turned to look at the ship. Amy was still on the floor, staring fearfully up, though her fevered gaze kept flicking toward Fry and Yancy. Behind her, Neena stood. Her arm was around Leela’s neck, the other holding the pistol against Leela’s temple. She shifted her stance, a reaction to Yancy as he took a step toward her. The gun shivered in her hands.


“Yancy, don’t come any closer.” Her eye widened a fraction. “Just give me a clear shot.”

“No. He didn’t do it.” Another step. Neena’s hand shifted on the pistol’s grip, her nerves increasing as he moved toward her.

“Of course he did it! He never wanted me to find them!” The gun waved away, swinging through the air, its narrow muzzle a dark, glaring malevolent eye. “He drew that map so I’d get lost and never find their bodies. So they’d be recycled!

“That’s not true,” Fry yelled back at her. The gun suddenly seemed to focus on him, shivering again as if it were living thing. “Leela, tell her!”

“Shut up shut up shut up! All of you!” She pressed her hand to the side of her head, oblivious to the gun for a moment, her eye squeezed tight shut. “He showed them up. They were liars! But he left the clues, you’ve got them Yancy,” she said, opening her eye again. “You’ve got the clue!”

Yancy’s hand tightened around something in his jacket pocket. He nodded. “I have it.”

“That’s the proof he was there!”

“Phil, have you got some ID on you?”

“Um, yeah, it’s in my wallet.”

“Can you show it to Neena?”

Very carefully, watching Neena for any reaction, Fry pulled his wallet from his pocket and flipped it open. He took out the little ID card they’d issued to him when he arrived and stared at it for a moment. “Wait, why am I doing this?”

Yancy didn’t reply. He held Neena’s gaze, reaching out to her with his free hand as he moved toward her. “You gave me this,” he said, holding up the card from his pocket. It was identical to the one in Fry’s hand, though a little more damaged from handling. Neena stared at it, then at the card in Fry’s hand, her eye bouncing back and forth between the two amidst a ferocious bout of blinking. She frowned and licked her lips.

“No no, no that’s a trick, it’s a lie,” she said, half-smiling as her mind raced over the possibilities. “It’s a copy or, or...”

The gun wavered. Yancy slipped the card back into his pocket. He took another step toward Neena, so that his outstretched arm was almost close enough to touch her. “Leela...”

“Back off!”

He froze. They all froze, suddenly entranced by the quiet screech of the ship’s cargo lift as it descended to the floor, bearing Veklerov and a collapsible stretcher from the medical bay. He took in the scene before him as the lift crunched against the hangar floor.


The distraction was enough for Leela. She drove her elbow into Neena’s gut, pushing her off balance. Then she leaped and spun, aiming a swift kick at Neena’s head but the other cyclops rallied faster than Leela could attack and ducked out of the way. In the tumult Neena backed onto the cargo lift, gun waving back and forth, an angry screech escaping her lips. She brought the gun to bear on Fry once more.

He was getting used to the sight now, the vicious anger in the eye, the empty blackness of the barrel. Something blurred in Fry’s vision just as the gun went off. Something that yanked it out of the way, though he ducked from instinct, falling to his knees before he could really comprehend what had happened. It was only after he’d hit the ground that he realised who the blur had been

He looked up. Yancy was kneeling at Neena’s feet, as if in supplication, hen hand gripped on her upper arm. The other was concealed between his body and Neena’s, holding the gun and her arm against his abdomen. She stared at him, her face blank. The gun dropped from between them, smoke trailing from its muzzle. Yancy slipped a little further to the ground.

“Y... Yancy?”

Yancy let go of Neena’s arms and carefully lowered himself to the ground, rolling onto his back. Neena stood over him with her hands pressed against her mouth.

“Oh, no,” she whispered.

Fry knelt down beside his brother. His heart felt terribly cold, in a way completely different to the experience he’d had on the ship before. He could feel odd shivers in his back and neck. “Yan?”

“It’s okay, Phil...”

“No it’s not! Don’t say stuff like that, I-”

“No, Phil, I mean it’s okay. I think it missed the important bits.” Yancy twisted, grunted, grabbing his side. He pulled his shirt up with a grimace and peered at the wound, a bright red crease diagonally down his side that just clipped across the top of his hip, weeping blood into his clothing at a fairly impressive rate. “God, that hurts...”

He looked up at Neena, his expression unreadable as hers. Neena seemed to have retreated into herself, into some private, terrible place. Her eye was locked on the floor just beyond Yancy and her hands were still pressed against her trembling mouth, knuckles almost glowing white from the tension in her fists.

Fry heard a sound behind him, from the locker, but when he turned to look there was nothing there. Something told him she would be gone, again. Long gone, hiding in another universe already no doubt. Leela seemed less accepting of it and made her way over to the locker. She peered inside, an oddly disappointed expression on her face as she fished out a slightly torn shirt to cover herself with. She turned to look at Fry, sorrow and a hint of anger clouding her features.

Fry turned away from her and looked down at Yancy. Then at Amy. She lay very still.


It was as if a weight had been lifted. To Leela it had felt as if some remotely familiar part of herself disappearing down a long and distant tunnel. It was diminishing, enervating, like being torn apart and made whole at the same time. If asked to put it into words she would have just shook her head. Not because she didn’t want to, but because it was a sensation that no sentient being could ever truly comprehend.

Not that it had stopped the Professor from trying. She’d spent most of the last two days in his scanners, leaving her exhausted despite having done very little to deserve it. There hadn’t been any more attacks since her ‘episode’ on the ship but that was apparently more due to luck than anything else. Or so said the Professor, sat behind his console with that permanent leer on his face. She’d given up objecting to it. Hitting him might have been satisfying but it wouldn’t produce any results and, besides, she was just too tired.

“There, that should do it. I think.”

Farnsworth flicked at the fringe of hair across his brow and smiled at Leela from behind a gigantic magnifying lens attached to his head. He held up her wrist computer and tapped it with the ever-present pen.

“That right there should give you a better idea of the conditions in each of the boxes, so you should avoid some of the worst nightmares.”

“Will it get us home?”

“Oh, eventually, no doubt...” he took off the odd helmet-and-lens contraption and tossed it aside, ignoring the shatter of glass as it hit the floor. “I would have preferred longer to work on it but at least now you’ll be able to actually tell if the universe you’re entering is the same as one you’ve left. It should also be able to predict whether any particular universe is going to bring you closer to your own.”

Leela took the device without speaking, hearing a probably unintentional accusation against the way they’d ended up here in the first place. It was her own treacherous mind making it, of course. She was the one who’d believed the scanner when it had declared their box to be the same one.

“You, eyeh, have everything you need?”

“I do. Thank you, Professor. I think I’ll go hom- I think I’ll head back to the apartment for now. I’m tired.”

“Of course, of course... better to have rested before you leave, I expect.”

He paused, seemingly unsure of what to say next, then seemed to give up. His gaze returned to the scanner screen. The reticence would have been unusual in her own Farnsworth but seemed strangely appropriate for this one who, it seemed, was very much Fry’s descendent. Though smarter. And more prone to blowing things up, if that were possible.

“Good night, Professor,” she said quietly. He looked up from his readouts, startled by her voice.

“Wha? Oh, yes, yes. Good night, Leela.”


She took the tube back to the apartment. It was the strangest thing, coming back to that empty space with its blank walls and windowless room. She’d spent years of her life in there, alone, but now the thought of returning to it empty filled her with a dull but pervasive anguish. It was hard to remind herself that she’d always been technically alone there – only ever with herself.

She managed to survive there for nearly twenty minutes before giving up and stomping out of the door. The silence was that did it in the end. The close, empty box of space that locked her entirely inside and left no way out.

Outside, and Leela lingered in the tube station, trying to work out what she wanted to do. She could just head back to Planet Express and leave. God knew it would be the easiest thing to do. Just leave it all behind. But, she had to at least say goodbye. Leela closed her eye and whispered the name of the hospital they’d taken everyone to. It wasn’t the Taco Bellevue. Apparently it didn’t exist in this universe.

The tube deposited Leela right outside the hospital’s main entrance, proudly bearing the legend Ambulans Iubare and the ever-present dog’s head that seemed to adorn everything in this universe. She had to smile at that. The kid always seemed to land on his feet.

The hospital seemed grim, though, and more utilitarian than the Taco Belle Vue had been. Granted, it wasn’t the only municipal hospital in the city but it was always the one they ended up in, for whatever reason. There was a peace there that couldn’t be found here, with the staff bustling around corridors that were just a mite too narrow, pushing gurneys just an inch too short, between rooms that were never completely quiet.

The non-emergency wards were a little better, but not much. Private rooms, two beds to a room, a certain amount of peace and respect. It could have been worse. She paused outside the room holding Amy, then pushed her way through the door and stopped.

They were smiling, holding hands. She couldn’t credit it, but... they were happy. Amy’s smile faltered for a moment when she saw Leela but then she brightened again. “Hey.”

“Hi.” she closed the door. “I couldn’t sleep, and I guess... I guess I wanted to say thanks.”

“For what?”

Leela pulled up a chair and sat down, keeping the bed between herself and Fry for propriety’s sake. His expression was opaque as granite, giving nothing away.

“For being you, I suppose.” She looked at Fry. A thousand thoughts ran through her mind, all demanding to be spoken at once. She ignored them. Focus on the moment. “Are you going to have that scar removed?”

“I dunno, I kinda like it,” Amy replied, running her hand along the pink stretch of skin across her shoulder. “If I keep it, I won’t forget.”

“I’m sorry it had to be like this,” Leela said, her voice quiet and downcast. She took Amy’s hand. “I hope Veklerov will be easier for you to deal with at least. I mean, after all this, he should give you guys a little respect, right?”

“Oh. You didn’t hear? He quit yesterday.” Amy shrugged and then winced, favouring her injured shoulder. “Too much excitement, he said.”

“I can’t say I’m sorry.”

Leela glanced at Fry, still silent beyond the bed. His arms were folded across his chest, defensive and hunched. He refused to look at her.

“Hermes is looking for a new pilot,” Amy said, breaking the silence, giving Leela a ‘you know you want to’ look. She smiled. Oh god, she’d actually forgiven her. Leela couldn’t look at the Martian girl’s face without feeling like an absolute hypocrite. She looked away, picking her own thumb as a good object to focus on.

“That’s the other thing I came here for.” Leela took a breath. Held it. “I wanted to say goodbye. To both of you.”

“You’re not staying?” The tremor in Fry’s voice was heart-breaking. What the hell. It was his choice, right? Let him deal with it.


“I can’t, Fry. You might be happy here but I won’t be. I want to go home. I’m sorry.” She stood up. At the door she paused again and turned to look at Fry. “We’ll never see each other again. You know that, don’t you?”

Fry just stared at her, frowning. Amy was frowning too now, though thoughtful, not angry. She nervously twisted her fingers together. Fry just shrugged.

“I guess so,” he said, not really looking at her. Leela swallowed the caustic remark that welled up in her throat. She quietly shut the door and left them behind.

Neena’s room was on the same floor, though further along, behind two stout doors and an equally stout orderly. She knew it probably wasn’t any use visiting but she had to do it, just to put her own mind at ease.

The door was slightly open when she arrived, as if someone had carelessly pushed it closed and not checked. She leaned up against the crack of the door and peered inside, then pushed it open and stepped in.

Yancy looked up at her. He turned back to the bed without a word.

“Shouldn’t you be in bed?”

“Yeah, I should. I got shot.”

It almost sounded as if he was trying to convince himself of the fact. Leela had to remind herself that he was still thinking of Stupid Ages medicine, with wounds taking days and weeks for things to heal instead of mere hours. Sometimes she wondered if she didn’t appreciate fully what life had given her.

Leela pulled a chair up and sat next to him, staring in silence at Neena’s placid face. Her eye was open, but unfocused. She hadn’t spoken since the shooting.

“I just...” Leela shook her head. It was impossible, like talking to a corpse. She turned a little more to Yancy. “I’m leaving,” she said, as if that made it all right. Yancy was as unresponsive as his brother. Leela tried to work up her rage at that but it just wasn’t there, almost like it was being sucked into some sort of void. She reached out to touch Neena’s hand, ignoring a distant trill of an emergency alarm. She’d heard three of them on her way up here. Well, it was a hospital.

“I’m sorry.”

She felt something as their skin touched. A shift. For a moment it seemed as if she were back in the apartment, lying on her back... or, no, in some sort of darkened room. Unable to move. Alone.

Neena stirred, her face appearing animated for the first time since Leela had arrived. She blinked, hard, twice, then took a deep breath and turned to look at Yancy.  The tiny gasp she gave seemed to be a release far beyond its volume.

“Yancy? You’re alive?”


Neena seemed to take a long time to think about this fact. She looked about herself, folding down and smoothing the blankets spread over her body, then pushed herself upright. For a while she just stared at the blankets.

“I thought I was back in the sewers,” she said, eventually. Neena looked into Yancy’s face. “I was searching for my parents, only I didn’t know who they were any more. You were chasing after me and every time you got too close, I killed you.”

“Sounds like a nightmare.” Yancy took Neena’s hand. He frowned. “Wait, you killed me? What for?”

“You got too close.”


“It felt so real. I thought, if I searched hard enough, I could find them again and everything would be all right.”

“I’m sorry,” Leela said again. It felt like it was just about the only thing she could say now. Sorry. For bringing this to their world, for screwing up her own life. So much she’d done but all she could say was ‘sorry’. “As if that makes it any better,” she muttered. Yancy gave her a confused glance but Neena seemed to understand. She cracked something approaching a smile.

“I’m sorry too. I’ll miss having you around.”


Yancy’s eyebrows rose. He seemed to be faster on the uptake than Fry. “You’re leaving? What about Phil?”

Leela stiffened. How to put it? “He’s made his choice,” she said, not wanting to dwell on the subject. Perhaps something in her demeanour got through to Yancy. He dropped it.

“So, what now?”

If there was an answer, Leela didn’t hear it. The sound of another alarm and feet pounding in the corridor distracted her. She felt a terrible dread descend around her, like a shroud falling over her shoulders. Leela leaped from her seat, knocking it over, and ran for the door.

Her booted feet thundered down the corridor, past the doors; the orderly was gone. She reached Amy’s room just in time to see an emergency trolley being wheeled in. Leela thrust her way past the medical staff and into the room.

They were pulling Fry from where he’d collapsed on the floor, trying to talk to him as they dragged him onto the gurney. His skin was pallid, almost grey. Even his hair seemed to have lost some of its colour. Without thinking, ignoring their protest, Leela pushed the orderlies aside and knelt down beside Fry. He was barely breathing, barely alive. Leela looked at Amy’s despair and shook her head.

“Don’t say you’re sorry again,” Amy said quietly. She looked away and scrubbed at the tears rolling down her cheeks. “I knew it was too good to be true.”

Leela returned her attention to Fry, running her hands over his face, hissing at the cold chill. She grabbed one of the orderlies by the shoulder. “He needs heat.”

“We’re doctors, miss-”

“He could be dead by the time you figure out what’s wrong so let’s just pretend we had the argument and I won.” Leela’s grip tightened painfully around the orderly’s shoulder. He winced and quickly nodded his agreement. “Heat. And transport.”

She turned from him and gently lifted Fry from the floor to the bed. He seemed light. Almost insubstantial in a way. At Leela’s glance Amy pulled the bed covers aside whilst Leela laid Fry down on the bed. Satisfied he was at least comfortable, Leela turned to her wrist computer and dialled the Professor’s private number.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #496 on: 01-03-2009 20:06 »

Guess you can't stay in a universe with another version of yourself when that other version has beed dead for centuries. Poor Amy though.

Urban Legend
« Reply #497 on: 01-03-2009 20:46 »

Yeah, "poor Amy" is right.  And why is it that every time she dates Fry, she ends up with a disfiguring scar?

So, is Neena sane again now?  She didn't seem to be in the mood for killing Fry when she woke up in the hospital.  I mean, granted, he dying over in the next room anyway, so she didn't really need to go kill him herself, but has she come to her senses and realised that Fry wasn't the one who killed her parents?,

Space Pope
« Reply #498 on: 01-04-2009 00:13 »

I'd hoped to imply that with the general lack of killing. Oh well. smile One day I'll get the hang of this stuff...

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #499 on: 01-04-2009 01:29 »

One day I'll get the hang of this stuff...

Nono, don't change anything your writing is perfect as it is. Some people just don't notice things very well.

@SO: Do not make the great one question himself!!

Space Pope
« Reply #500 on: 01-04-2009 01:36 »

Dude, it's just a fanfic... eek

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #501 on: 01-04-2009 01:41 »

Meh, I was bored and felt like being grossly over dramatic.

Space Pope
« Reply #502 on: 01-04-2009 01:42 »

Ahh, you too eh?

Urban Legend
« Reply #503 on: 01-04-2009 01:51 »

Some people just don't notice things very well.
  Are you implying that I dont notice things?  That's redicul-  hey, wait, since when is Evila Archonix's avatar?
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #504 on: 01-04-2009 02:02 »

Some people just don't notice things very well.
  Are you implying that I dont notice things?  That's redicul-  hey, wait, since when is Evila Archonix's avatar?

I think he started using last week.  May a couple of years ago.

I don't know!  Leave me alone!

Starship Captain
« Reply #505 on: 01-04-2009 02:32 »

Neena: "so that was an interesting adventure, um. We cool guys?"

Amy / Yancy: *looks at wounds* "..."

Neena: "too soon? right. My bad."

Great stuff! Time for Fry to bolt though... syncing with a dead version of yourself is problematic.

At least we have a useful tool for fighting evila! Every time she meets them in a universe Fry just has to poke HIS Leela in the eye, then it will be broadcast to evila and he can run away!

Urban Legend
« Reply #506 on: 01-04-2009 02:51 »
« Last Edit on: 01-04-2009 02:53 »

Every time she meets them in a universe Fry just has to poke HIS Leela in the eye
  Somehow I doubt that tactic is going to go over well when he suggests it to Leela... big grin

think he started using last week.  May a couple of years ago.
Ralph "missed the joke" Snart

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #507 on: 01-04-2009 05:53 »

At least we have a useful tool for fighting evila! Every time she meets them in a universe Fry just has to poke HIS Leela in the eye, then it will be broadcast to evila and he can run away!

Then he'll just have one more Leela trying to kill him.
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #508 on: 01-04-2009 06:21 »

Every time she meets them in a universe Fry just has to poke HIS Leela in the eye
  Somehow I doubt that tactic is going to go over well when he suggests it to Leela... big grin

think he started using last week.  May a couple of years ago.
Ralph "missed the joke" Snart

Nope, added to it.

Space Pope
« Reply #509 on: 01-05-2009 17:10 »
« Last Edit on: 01-05-2009 17:45 »

“It’s rather like putting jello in a mould, or a monkey’s brain into a dolphin skull. At first the sticky tasty goo retains its original shape but then, after a while, the pressure of the new container forces it to adopt that new shape. And then it’s as if it was never the old shape in the first place, yes...”

Leela, Yancy and Amy clustered around the conference table, staring at the complex diagrams Professor Farnsworth had displayed on the holo-viewer as he pointed, apparently at random, to different parts and equations. Fry was lying in a cot a short distance away; though he hadn’t recovered as fully as last time, he’d insisted on sitting in on the explanation. Leela hadn’t even bothered trying to talk him out of it.

“You see it’s all to do with quantum states and waveforms. The combined waveform that defines your existence is just one possible state out of an infinite number of other states.” Farnsworth held up his ubiquitous pen and stared at it, as if wiling it to change shape. “In moving from one universe to another you’ve created an observable quantum superposition, which is physically impossible, as I explained to young Yancy, here.”

“I don’t remember it much,” Yancy muttered. “Just that it didn’t sound too good. I was never much on science at school.”

“Yes, that much is obvious. Atheismo himself would have trouble educating you. Anyway,” he continued to Leela, before Yancy would work up a good comeback. “There is no solution to this problem except that you leave the universe as soon as possible because each moment you stay increases the probability of your waveform collapsing. The risk is greater for Philip, given that he is dead in this universe. You might not suffer anything more than a permanent headache. He may well disappear entirely.”

“How, though?”

“He’s a scary evil duplicate of the Fry in this universe and ever since you’ve arrived, the combined quantum waveform that describes him has been trying to collapse into a shape more compatible with this universe. In his case that would be a very, very old corpse somewhere over in Montana.”

“I don’t think he’d be very happy about that.”

There was a thump of feet hitting the floor. Fry shuffled over to the table, holding his blanket around his shoulders like a robe. He sat down next to Amy. Grey was fringing his temples and a dark brown stubble was starting to show over cheeks that seemed taut with age, and something else that Leela couldn’t quite define.

“How long?”

“A few days, perhaps. I ran a few simulations of the result. It wouldn’t be particularly painful. It might even look quite pretty.”

“Yeah, for you maybe,” Fry shot back. His voice sounded hollow too. Fry glared at the table, unable to look at anything else. “So, if I stay, I die. What if I just go into another universe every so often?”

“No, that wouldn’t work. The effect in any particular universe seems to be cumulative.”

“It’s a cloud?”

Farnsworth choked on his reply, turning pink with the effort of holding back his frustrated rage. “No, you... you chimp-brained ancestor! Cumulative!”

“He means, you can’t wind it back by going through another box,” Amy said. Fry turned sad, tired eyes to her. He almost seemed to be pleading. “And you can’t come back.”

“If you leave now I believe you should be restored to your former condition, primitive and ugly as it might be...” Farnsworth peered at Fry through his thick glasses and almost seemed to relent in his distaste. “But it has to be now. “I’ve modified the, uh, modifications I made to your scanner, Leela. They should be able to give you a good idea of how long you’ll last in a given universe before your waveforms begin to collapse. It should also be able to tell you when you reach your own universe again. Now...”

He stood, and with uncharacteristic tact, left without a word. Leela watched Fry for his reaction but all he did was stare at the table, his eyes narrow. She could feel the bitter anger emanating from him, surrounding him like a cloud.

Yancy caught her eye and motioned toward the rail. She followed. For a while, they stood together, leaning against the rail and staring at nothing much. Leela ran her eye over the ship from bow to stern, taking in its unique lines for one last time. If things were a little different, she thought sadly.

“I guess this is goodbye,” Yancy said. He turned on the rail and frowned at Leela. His face had that familiar Fry look, tempered by what others might call more intelligence but that she knew was just cynicism. “Again.”

“I guess so.” She turned back to the ship. It seemed lonely, sitting there without a pilot or a mission. It seemed this was one universe where they wouldn’t make everything better in the end. In fact they were having a pretty bad run so far, screwing up two and nearly getting killed in three.

“Leela, why...”

His jaw clamped shut and he turned away again. Leela could see the question he wanted to ask. Was it fear?

“She lost everything, Yancy. She’s like you.” A frown as he looked at her again. She pressed on, forcing herself to speak on. “When you’re so used to being completely alone it’s hard to admit that you might need someone else to be there.”

“I don’t have any problem admitting that, Leela. I know I need someone. I just don’t need someone who might decide to kill me in the middle of the night, or go crazy over something that isn’t even important.”

“Then you’re not going to have much luck with women.”

Yancy snorted. But then he smiled, just a little. It was the first smile she’d seen on his face since they arrived. Leela reached out and touched his arm.

“At least say you’ll talk to her, Yancy.”

He nodded, an emphatic promise that Leela knew he’d keep. If she knew anything about the Frys, it was that they could be trusted to keep their promises. Or... well, occasionally trusted. And who knew, maybe something would come of it. “Oh that’s just weird,” she muttered.

“What is?”

Leela smiled and raised her eye skyward. “Nothing. Just thinking.”

“Right. Well. I guess you’d better get going,” Yancy said. He was looking back at the conference table. Fry and Amy were locked in an embrace, the sort that would be hard to break at the best of times. For once, Leela found she didn’t want to barge in.

And then it was over, and Fry was walking toward them with a determined look on his face.

“I’ll see him downstairs.” She squeezed Yancy’s shoulder. “It was nice to meet you.”


Yancy watched Leela all the way to the stairs before turning back to face his brother. Up close, Phil’s face looked even more worn and tired. His back was ram-rod straight and nearly immobile but his shoulders were hunched. The overall impression was of reluctant age.


“Yancy... huh.” Phil leaned on the rail and stared at the ship, adopting a surprisingly similar pose to Leela’s a moment earlier. His breathing seemed a little ragged and when he spoke, his voice sounded... old. “This isn’t how I imagined leaving.”

“I guess you never imagined being in this situation in the first place.”

His brother shook his head and sighed. It was an unusual sigh, filled with the sort of longing Yancy was just starting to experience. “No.”

“If you don’t mind me saying so,” Yancy said. “You look like crap.”

Phil laughed and shook his head again. And that was a strange thing too, so completely unlike the Philip Yancy had known all his life.


“I’m old, Yancy. I know it’s... it’s odd but, I feel old. I feel like I’ve lived an entire life, like I’ve experienced things, I can’t remember what they were.” He looked at Yancy, eyes shining with grief and surprising wisdom. “A few hours ago I would have refused to leave, you know. The only reason I’m leaving now is because I see the logic of it. I understand that I can’t just stay here and let my life end in a happy moment. Leela needs me around, even if she doesn’t want to accept that right now. I can’t let her be alone.”

“Huh. You sound kind of like dad after he’s been on the grain whiskey.”

“Tell me about it... don’t worry,” he added with a wry grin. “I’m not going to start on about my essential fluids.”

“You won’t be stuck like this, will you? I mean...” Yancy waved his hands in Phil’s general direction. “You know. Old.”

“The professor says my quantum thingummy will reset once I travel to the next universe. I’ll be  your dumb little brother again”

Phil suddenly turned to face Yancy, though with a stiff sedateness that added a surprising amount of dignity to his movements, and pressed his hand against Yancy’s shoulder. For some reason the strength of that grip surprised Yancy, especially given the way that hand looked. Slender, and a little dry looking. Old.

“Yancy. Promise me you’ll look after her.”

“Leela already gave me the lecture about being alone.”

“She’s the one who’s alone, Yancy.” Phil’s voice seemed hollow, and Yancy could almost believe he could see the years layering across his brother’s face as he watched. “I’ve got this lifetime of  knowledge that I don’t know how I got and it’s all about being alone. I know she needs you. Promise me.”

“Okay, okay, I promise. Now can you stop with the crazy Holy Grail melting face thing? It’s creeping me out.”

Phil smiled, an expression that seemed to carry far more weight than Yancy would have expected. He let go of Yancy’s shoulder and backed away. “I’m sorry.”

“Just so you don’t turn into a pile of bones in front of me.”

“No, Yancy. I mean I’m sorry. For everything. For all of this.” He touched Yancy’s shoulder again, then wrapped his arms around Yancy without any warning and pulled him into a hug. “I love you, bro.”

Then, he left, shuffling across the conference room to the elevator. Yancy looked away and fought the urge to follow him.

“I love you too, Phil,” he whispered.


The professor was waiting at the great door of the warehouse when Leela arrived. He was examining a line of footprints that trailed from a shallow puddle on the road – some sort of leak in the cavern roof. They lead into the building, between the stacked boxes, and in the same direction the scanner on Leela’s wrist was indicating they go. She stopped at the footprints.

“My boots.”

“I hope there aren’t more of  you travellers out there. I’m starting to regret ever making these universes.”

“It’s not fair, you know,” Leela said. Her heart wasn’t really in the rant. She was tired. “This isn’t exactly the dignified exit I was hoping for either.”

“Oh, we all face that problem one day, Leela...” Farnsworth smiled his idiot smile and shrugged, then glanced over Leela’s shoulder. “Ahh, here comes your friend."

Leela waited for Fry to make his way down from the upper levels. It was almost painful to watch, the way he moved, as if his body were in its eighties already. His back was stiff and hunched and his legs seemed about ready to collapse yet, oddly, he was breathing normally when he arrived. He looked at her, sullen but expectant.

"Now you two run along before your bosons decide to re-arrange themselves. It’s unfortunate, you know,” Farnsworth added with a sad shake of the head. But then he turned to wander away. With uncharacteristic anger, Fry grabbed the Professor’s arm and turned him back.

“What’s unfortunate?”

“Oh, well, the possibilities of your situation. You see, the ‘quantum doohicky’ as you so crudely described it is a two way process. Just by being here, you’ve altered the quantum state of this entire universe. Given sufficient time your own presence would alter it to the point where the function of your own quantum waveform would be compatible.”

“You mean, if I could stay longer, I could... stay longer...”

“Yes, that’s precisely what I just said. Unfortunately your wave function is simply too incompatible with this universe for the effect to, uh, have its effect, as it were. So, you see...”

He frowned and wandered off. A Farnsworth to the end, even if he did look too much like Fry.

“Okay. Come on then,” she said, aiming her scanner into the twilit warehouse. Fry grunted and followed her in until they reached a cluster of boxes that the scanner said were their best choice. Leela passed over the box with its lid missing and plucked the lid off another random box nearby, which the scanner claimed was just as good a choice.

She helped Fry through, then took one last look around the deserted warehouse before following.


Fry woke, feverish as heat burned through his skin. He remembered collapsing as he arrived and the pain that had washed through his body as he had made the transition from one universe to the next. To look at him now, it was as if nothing had changed. Fry held his hands up to the light. They were young again, which gave him a little cheer. Not much, though.

“She loved me,” he whispered. It seemed too painful to admit. He stared at the box they’d just left, forever closed to him now. “Do you understand that?”

“I’m sorry, Fry.”

“Am I going to lose everything I love?”

“Yeah, well we have other problems to worry about right now.”

The tenor of Leela’s voice jolted Fry from his melancholy long enough to look around the room, to really examine it. Nothing had been touched here for a long time. A thick layer of dust stretched across the entire floor, disturbed only where they’d landed. He looked up. There was a huge hole blasted in the ceiling and part of the wall, a clear path right out of the building. Greyish skies rolled across the gap, cloud cover that never quite broke to reveal the sky beyond. Beneath the cloud, the city of New New York stood silent and deserted.




He had spent almost an hour staring at the cryogenics building, from a café across the street. The place that had brought him here. Never had he been back, not even to look through the records for relatives; an option they gave to any of their ‘customers’. Yancy watched the doors, the shadowy figures moving to and fro behind the mirrored windows of the upper floors, wondering if there had ever been a chance of being found. He had never known. Never been back.

Leela’s message had told him to meet her in the lobby at midday, when she was on her lunch break. That in itself was hard, after everything else. He knew, deep down, she would still be hurting inside, that she might be reaching out for him again after everything else, after almost killing him, after almost destroying herself.

The lobby was deserted and cool after the heat and bustle of the city streets. She was waiting at the far end, in the shadow, sitting still. Curled up, her hands wedged between her knees while she stared at the floor. Leela didn’t notice him until he sat down right next to her. She swallowed and smiled at him, nervous and melancholy. “You made it, then.”

“I figured if you were going to shoot me you’d pick somewhere a little more private.” That drew a laugh, then, but a moment later the smile was gone. “I’m sorry, that was-”

“No. No... my counsellor says humour is good medicine.”

“The best,” Yancy replied, feeling hollow. “How have you been?”

“I’ve survived. It’s almost like before, I’m still alone, but at least I know my parents were keeping an eye on me even if I never got to...” she paused, rubbing moisture from the corner of her eye. “Never got to thank them.”

Yancy wasn’t sure what to do, so he patted her shoulder. Leela smiled again, ever so slightly, as she reached up to touch his hand. “You’re a good man, Yancy. You know that?”

“If you say so...”

“Perhaps now things have calmed down a bit...” Leela shook her head and looked away. When she spoke again her voice took on a more authoritative edge. She was back at work again. How she could do that, Yancy would never know. “We found something in the records. It’s... well, you apparently have a message.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’ll show you,” Leela said, taking his hand. She led him toward the elevators.


It was called the tape room, for its role in playing ancient video tapes, though it could play many other formats as well. Outside of the Smithsonian is was probably the largest collection of equipment dedicated to the task of restoring and transferring old recordings to modern holosubstrate tape. So explained Leela as she let him through the door.

“Watch out for the step, it’s a little hard to see in the dark,” she added.

“Got it,” Yancy said, recovering from a stumble that started just a moment before Leela had spoken. He decided, for now, not to make an issue of it. “So there’s some old recordings?”

“There’s a few things. Apparently, about fifty years after you were frozen, someone deposited a package at the cryogenics lab in your name.”

Yancy froze. “A package.”

“It contained photographs, hard copies and holographic crystalline backups,” Leela continued, oblivious to the sudden cold gripping Yancy. “Which is unusual from such a long time ago. They survived the wars and invasions and so on.”

Leela stepped around the back of a projector and pulled a small crystal from the case she was carrying. “You’d better sit down.”

“Someone knew I was here.” Yancy felt the same queasiness he’d sensed the first time he’d entered this building, and only once after that. “Why didn’t they let me out?”

“I reviewed the tape. Please, Yancy, sit down.”

Yancy sat, on the second of three rows of chairs, slightly off to one side to feel less like he was completely alone. He heard the quiet snick of the crystal being driven home and sat back as the lights dimmed further. The screen filled with bright static that resolved into a room. His old living room...

“Oh, my god.”

His brother, looking the worse for age, walked into the frame and sat down on a chair. His temples were fringed with grey and he bore a scraggly brown beard, trimmed to a goatee, that was just starting to run a few grey threads as well. He looked a little younger than the last time Yancy had seen him, though that had been an unusual circumstance to begin with. Yancy’s brother held up a greeting hand and smiled, blinking watery eyes at the camera. “Yancy. It’s Philip.”

“You... you god-damned bastard, I sh-”

“I expect you’re upset.” A pause. The Philip Fry on the screen tilted his head as if listening. Yancy couldn’t find anything else to say, though it seemed as if this mage of his brother were listening to some imagined yelling somewhere. God knew he had a lot of things he wanted to say but his throat had closed up.

“Yancy, it’s true, I’ve known where you were for most of the last two years, but I haven’t come to rescue you. I can’t, for reasons that will not make much sense to you even if I took a whole year to explain them. If I’m right, you’ll be watching this some time in the year three-thousand and six, or three-thousand and seven. You will be working at a delivery company named Planet Express, a future subsidiary of a company that my company will not found for another seventeen years. Obviously by the time you get this, I’ll be dead.

“You can imagine the surprise - I can imagine your surprise at hearing this. What I’m about to say still doesn’t make much sense but, here goes. You see, according to... according to what I’ve been told, I was supposed to be the one frozen in that tube and sent to the future. I was supposed to prevent some sort of disaster, they haven’t explained precisely what it was but, I think I can get an idea of it from the ways they’ve been directing me to invest.

“I was supposed to save the world, but I didn’t. You did instead, apparently, so way to go! Unfortunately I’m also told you won’t be able to remember it happening. Bummer.”

“Remember what?” Yancy leaned back to look at Leela, confusion finally overcoming the anguish he’d felt to that point. “Do you know what he’s talking about?”

“Not a clue.”

“There’s a lot more I just don’t have time to explain. Kids, life, you know how it is... well I guess not but, Yancy, there’s one more thing I have to tell you. Laura. When she found out what was going on... when she found out where you were, she... well, she never loved me as much as she loved you, Yancy. She always saw me as the consolation prize.

Phil paused to rub his face with one hand. He bit his lip before continuing. “I lost her, Yancy. We’ve been happy together but I never, that is we never really matched the way you two did. She left me. She waited until the kids were grown but then that was it. She loved you, Yancy and I could never replace you in her life. Not really.” He leaned forward a little and smiled a sad, melancholy smile. “I lost her, I lost you. The kids are all grown up and gone around the world or off to the moon and stuff. From what I hear I’ve lost the chance at seeing an amazing future. It feels like everything I love has gone away from me in the end. If... don’t let that happen to you, Yancy. Don’t imagine you can go through life alone, ‘cause one day you’ll get to the end of it and there won’t be anyone waiting for you. If you’ve got even the tiniest chance to share your life with someone, Yancy, you grab hold of it and you never let go.” He wiped his eye and smiled briefly as he examined the moisture on his fingers. “I miss you, bro. I always will.”

He smiled again, without humour, and shook his head. The video froze on an image of Philip moving to stand up, reaching toward the camera as if it were the only thing left in his life. Yancy stared at the last framed second of his brother’s life, trying to work out if he felt angry at Phil, angry at himself, or the world, or whether all his feelings were just the delayed grief of losing his entire family. He thought back, to the brief chance he’d had to reconcile with his brother and a flicker of understanding began to dawn.

“There’s more, Yancy. Another tape.”

Another one? Yancy looked over his shoulder at Leela, trying to read her expression in the light of the projector. “Have you watched it?”

“No. This one was marked as personal. I think it’s from your fiancée.”

Yancy swallowed and turned to face he frozen image of his brother again. If he’d felt anger it was gone, now, replaced with an immense sadness settling over his other emotions like a blanket of snow, blunting and muffling every feeling.

“Do you want me to leave?”

“No. No I think...” he stood up and turned to look at Leela. “I loved her, but... whatever she has to say is in the past. If she’s telling me she loves me, I already know it. If she’s saying she stopped loving me then I’d prefer not to find out. I’d rather remember the last night I saw her.”

A smile twitched his mouth, accompanying the tears that threatened to well up in his eyes. He stood and turned away from the projected image of his brother, toward Leela. Yancy held out his hand.

“You missed your lunch,” he said. Leela frowned at him. Where is this leading, her face clearly said.

“Um. Yeah.”

“Want to get something to eat?”

Leela lowered her eye to the memory crystal cupped in her palm. She wrapped her hand around it and smiled. “Sure. Let me just close up here. I’ll see you in the lobby. Five minutes?”


She waited for him to leave before turning back to the machine again. Leela ejected the other recording, blanking the screen and shrouding the room in darkness, so that only her hands were lit by the tiny red light hovering over the playback console. She pressed the new crystal against the input slot, but then paused.

He hadn’t wanted to see it. At a professional level Leela knew this was a positive step, a sign he was finally coming to terms with his new life. But... it seemed wrong, to leave something like that unseen. It was the justification she was giving herself as she pressed the crystal into the correct slot and activated the playback.

The screen flared to life, showing the same room. It was obviously a few years later. The woman seated in the chair so recently occupied by Yancy’s brother stared at the camera with a terribly familiar longing.

For a while she just stared, her lips twitching now and then as she tried to speak. It was obvious that she was lost in her thoughts, unable to voice what she wanted to say. Eventually, though, she closed her eyes, and a smile came to her face.

She began to sing. It was a song Leela had never heard before, though its every note felt hauntingly familiar. Where there were words, they filled Leela with a sense of love and anguish; where there were no words, the sense of longing and loneliness betrayed by the song was almost overwhelming.

At some point Laura stopped her singing and resumed staring at the camera. She sat still for some time, just long enough for Leela to recover her wits. Then, without a word being spoken, the film ended.


It had been just over ten minutes and Yancy was just thinking that he might have been stood up when the elevator door opened and Leela stepped out. She smiled at the sight of him; the first real, honest smile she’d worn since her duplicates had left, if truth be told.

As she approached, Leela held out a memory crystal between finger and thumb. She dropped it into Yancy’s outstretched hand.

“What’s this?”

“Your video,” Leela said. She shuffled her feet and clasped her hands together. Yancy examined the crystal in his hand and shook his head.

“I don’t want it.” He held the crystal back toward Leela.

“You might want it one day,” she replied as she closed his fingers around it. Her hand lingered for a moment, her fingers lightly pressed against his. She let go. And when he looked into her eye, for the first time since he’d arrived there, Yancy saw the future.


And thus endeth book two. And it is literally a book. I've written novel manuscripts shorter. eek

So it might be a while before the next one comes along, I've got things I want to work on, not to mention that it takes a while to write these beasts. I want to try and make the next shorter as well. It took me a whole year to write this... In comparison it took me about three months to write the previous story and about two months to write A Different View. So, expect there to be some time before the next plot arc starts.

I hope you've all enjoyed it so far and I do hope you'll stick around for the next part. Whenever that may be. smile

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #510 on: 01-05-2009 18:15 »

Bravo sir. I'll never understand how you can write these so well.

Bending Unit
« Reply #511 on: 01-05-2009 22:38 »

Congrats on finishing part II!  I like how you leave the status of the 'left behind' characters a little ambiguous, but always with always a dash of hope--that Leela and Fry's visit has left ripples behind that will make everyone's lives a little better.   cry *sniff*  cry

Urban Legend
« Reply #512 on: 01-05-2009 22:41 »

I hope you've all enjoyed it so far and I do hope you'll stick around for the next part.

Yes to both, Arch. smile

Starship Captain
« Reply #513 on: 01-06-2009 20:32 »


One mighty accomplishment, and one great story. You deserve a break that's for sure, but you can bet we'll all be waiting around for the next part!


Urban Legend
« Reply #514 on: 01-06-2009 21:13 »

Nice ending to a fantastic work of fiction.  We'll all be eagerly awaiting the next segment when you're ready.

Space Pope
« Reply #515 on: 01-07-2009 02:56 »

Well I can't promise when that might be. I've set myself some targets for the next six months involving non-fanfic writing that I want to get through. Plus there's the whole problem of the next universe being so radically different from these two. Oh but I've mumbled about that already, I shouldn't complain. smile

Urban Legend
« Reply #516 on: 01-07-2009 05:55 »

eh, complain all you want.  You just completed one of the best futurama fics ever created; you've earned the right to gripe a little wink

Delivery Boy
« Reply #517 on: 01-08-2009 14:27 »

Talking about "Where I belong"...
What a synthetic russian! Real russian would get too much excitement only if Leelas were shooting with AKs. And if they crashed 10 bottles of vodka.

I can also say that it could be told more in this story, but it seems to me that you just gave up, Arch. You made a reason for their escaping (Fry's illness) out of nothing. Did you get tired?

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #518 on: 01-08-2009 16:24 »

Fry got sick for the same reason that Neena went insane, he was connected to his alternate self. The problem was that his alternate self had been dead for hundreds of years.
Officer 1BDI

Starship Captain
« Reply #519 on: 01-12-2009 22:45 »
« Last Edit on: 01-12-2009 22:46 »

As Frisco said, it was implied through Neena (and eventually Leela)'s thoughts that there was an unhealthy connection between the paralleled characters.  I think Archonix recognized that Fry's issue hasn't been clearly addressed before the climatic ship scene, because he's gone back through the second episode and added references to Fry feeling unusually cold at various points.

As for the episode: how do I explain how much I've come to love this story?  You took a plot idea I thought couldn't be done (or at least done well) and you used it to make it into one of the best fan stories I've ever read.
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