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Author Topic: Parallel Lives (a saga in so many parts)  (Read 17508 times)
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Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #80 on: 02-19-2008 21:11 »

Real Life comes first.

That doesn't mean that we're not patient but we understand.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #81 on: 02-19-2008 21:15 »

I thought we already decided that was a myth.

Originally posted by Bendersfan1221:
Frisco there is no such thing as this "real life" you speak of.


Space Pope
« Reply #82 on: 02-20-2008 15:12 »

Real life has no meaning.


It was raining again. It wasn’t particularly hard rain, or even particularly cold, but it was persistent, the fine sort of drizzle that would seep in between the fibres of your clothing without you noticing until you realised you were soaking wet. It was depressing rain, little more than a fast-moving mist that drifted on the wind so that no shelter could protect you from it.

Not that this stopped Fry and Leela from trying to shelter. They stood and shivered under the minimal protection offered by a few trees near the Planet Express building. Blue was stood a little distance ahead of them, hands bunched into fists as she stared up at the domed roof of the building’s main tower.

“Where’s he got to,” Leela muttered to herself. She glanced over at her own Fry. “He’d better get here soon or she might do something I’ll regret...”

“Maybe he’s...” Fry never got to finish his speculation. A large, blue-grey car drew to a halt a short distance away and lowered itself gently to the ground. Phil stepped out, clad in a smart suit – complete with shined shoes, Leela noticed – and a long trenchcoat. He turned to the car and pulled a travel-bag from it, which he slung over his shoulder as he set off toward the building.

Leela tugged at her own coat and grabbed Fry. “Come on.”

They caught up with Phil just short of the main entrance. He had stopped, and was staring up at the building with a curious expression when they approached. “I haven’t been here for years,” he said quietly. Phil looked at Leela and smiled. “Funny how things work out isn’t it? I wonder if the Professor is still-”

“He’s as good as dead right now.” Blue unfolded her papers and marched up to the main entrance. She paused on the step and turned to look at Phil. “You gonna help me or not?”

“What do you mean good as dead?” Phil tumbled up the steps and stood in the lee of the door, trying to shelter from the rain that was starting to grow a little heavier now. “He might have been a bit old, but-”

“Doesn’t matter what he was. Your ‘Miss Proctor’ had him shipped off to the death satellite the minute she found out he was due to retire.”

“Well... it is the law,” Phil said with little conviction. He looked up at the building again and sighed at the rain falling on his upturned face, then set his jaw and stepped toward the door. “Better get this over with.”

“We’d better hide,” Leela said. She dragged Fry up to the wall, out of direct sight. The door opened almost as soon as Phil pressed the bell and Morgan Proctor herself stepped out, flanked by a pair of guards.

“Hi Morgan.”

“Philip.” Proctor inclined her head toward him. “I can see you are determined to go through this this charade. I had hoped our conversation this morning would dissuade you.”

Phil shrugged and looked at the guards with a thoughtful expression. “I figure she needed a break.”

“She needs to be sectioned,” Proctor said. She looked Philip in the eyes and raised her eyebrow. “You realise that when I took over the management of this office I had to deal with the sort of gross inefficiencies that you used to suffer from, Philip. They were incompetents, lead by an incompetent, and transported by an incompetent. Repair bills for the ship alone were higher than your entire departmental budget. The company had to be remade without their influence.”

“Maybe I liked my inefficiencies,” Phil replied, his voice strangely quiet. He looked into Morgan’s eyes and smiled. “I love you, Morgan, but this is wrong and you know it.”

“I did what needed to be done.”

“You lied, Morgan. On paper. They can demote you for that.”

“You have no proof of that,” Proctor replied, eyebrow arched and hands on hips. She looked to the guards on either side of her. “She may have her license but she is not setting foot inside this building. Good day to you, Mr Fry.”

Morgan turned away and walked back through the door, leaving the two guards outside. Phil stepped forward. One of the guards put his hand on his pistol whilst the other put his hand on Phil’s chest.

“Morgan?” Phil’s voice echoed through the Planet Express lobby and, for a moment, Proctor’s walk stuttered. She paused and turned, almost looking over her shoulder at him, but then she straightened her back and continued walking. The door slid shut a moment later.

“I’m sorry, sir, but you’ll have to leave,” the guard said, putting a moment of pressure on Phil’s chest. He bowed his head and backed away down the steps until Blue grabbed his arm and pulled him to one side.


“You’re giving up!”

Phil shrugged. He looked up at the building again. The guards, satisfied their job was complete, retreated into the shelter of the lobby, closing the door behind them.

“We aren’t going to be able to get in there,” he replied, his expression grim. Blue’s eye widened as her face flushed with anger. “But I can still assess you,” Phil quickly added.

“How can we do that without my ship?”

Phil smiled and put his hand over Blue’s even as she kept it wrapped around his arm. “We can use one of the training ships. It won’t be quite what you’re used to but it’s close enough. Now, would you mind letting go? My hand's going numb.”

Blue narrowed her eye at him, then looked down at her hand, still gripping Phil’s arm tightly. She snapped her fingers apart. “Sorry...”

“No problem,” Phil said, who rubbed his arm to try and get the circulation going again, then looked around until he spotted Fry and Leela. He waved them over. “What about you two?”

“We need to get into the building,” Leela said. Phil glanced past her toward Planet Express. “Our way home is in there.”

“Not much chance of that now.”

“Then we’ll follow you if it’s all the same,” Leela replied. She looked over at Phil’s car, resting near the trees they’d sheltered under and then glanced back at Phil and Fry. “If she can go somewhere, I can go there too and that means that we need to be around when you get her license back.”

“After you then,” he said with a gesture toward his car. Leela took the lead, walking toward the car with a purpose she didn’t actually feel, Fry slumping along behind her like some sort of dejected blobthing. Truth be told this world was starting to get on her nerves. They’d been here a day and a half already, if they didn’t get home soon Hermes might actually fire her, which wasn’t a particularly entertaining prospect.

She paused by the car and waited for Blue and Phil to climb inside, then turned to Fry.

“We’ll be home soon,” she said, putting on a cheery expression.

“Good. This place is starting to give me the creeps. It feels like there’s someone watching me all the time.”

“That’s just your imagination, Fry. Get in the car.”


Leela slipped into the back seat of the car and shuffled along behind her alter-self, strapped into the front passenger seat alongside Phil. It felt strange to see her relationship with Fry from the outside, no matter how attenuated and fresh it might be in this world. There were little things they did, little ways of looking and talking that seemed very familiar, and she recognised Blue’s insecurities as more visible examples of her own. Phil’s mere presence seemed to be calming them.

She glanced out at Fry who had, for reasons of his own, decided to remain stood in the spitting rain. “Come on Fry!”

“Yeah, yeah, sorry,” Fry said as he clambered in beside Leela. He pulled the door closed and stared out of the slightly misted window at the damp plaza in front of the PE Building. “This place...” his eyes narrowed and he leaned forward, pressing both hands up against the glass. His voice was barely a whisper when he spoke. “Oh no, she’s there! Do you see her?”

“Who? Where?”

“Right there,” Fry hissed as he stabbed at the glass with his finger. Leela leaned forward to peer at the spot he indicated, a blind doorway across the street from the PE building, but there was nothing in it. Just a black hole. “At least, she was a moment ago...”

“Fry, we’ve been over this.” Leela put her hand on Fry’s shoulder and pulled him back to his seat. “It’s just your imagination.”

Fry stared at her for a moment that was just a little too long to be comfortable, then looked away again with a loud sigh. The hurt in his eyes had been obvious which meant he believed it. Leela was about to say something more when Phil, up front, cleared his throat.

“Ready to leave yet?”

“You’re the one driving,” Leela shot back, too harsh and bitter, but she didn’t care. She just wanted to go home, and Fry’s constant warbling about that insane version of herself wasn’t helping matters. The mere knowledge of her madness had rattled Leela more than she cared to admit; worse, she’d seen a hint of it in the eye of this universe’s Leela, which made her wonder just how close she was riding to the edge of that pit herself.

Phil shrugged and looked at Blue; he smiled briefly at her, then turned to start the car.

“This never gets old,” he said as the car lifted into the air, and then they were away. Phil let out a loud, exuberant ‘whoop’ as the car rocketed skyward. The sudden acceleration pressed Leela back into her seat. She grabbed her seatbelt and buckled up as tight as she could manage. Just in case.


So. They were all together. Leela pushed a raven strand of hair from her eye and continued to watch the car as it pulled out of sight. She stepped back out of the shadows at the last moment and waved at the car’s rear with an almost child-like ferocity, then abruptly turned away from it to examine the Planet Express building. It always came back to the building, the place that had driven her mad. Well no, that wasn’t strictly true. The place it sat on top of had driven her mad, and he...

She killed that train of thought before it went any further and stepped out in the rain to give the building a closer look. The stark grey edifice stood silhouetted against the afternoon sky, still dim and wan, as if the atmosphere were thinner somehow. Even the clouds looked anaemic.

They had been talking to... Proctor, wasn’t it? Morgan Proctor, the one Philip had been infatuated with for a while and who had been so very easy to dispatch the first time. But not this time. Not on this world. Leela needed her alive, at least until she had a chance to get to this world’s Philip Fry. Her eye narrowed even as she smiled at the thought, and so Leela sauntered over to the building with a casual air, ignoring the rain that slithered down her back and matted her hair to her scalp.

The door was unguarded. Memory told her a single kick there, just an inch below the lock and three to the left, would be all it took to break it down but, again, that would be unnecessary. Leela stood in front of the door and just stared at it for a moment. Then she examined her pistol to make sure it was still in working order – as if it ever wouldn’t be – and rang the bell.

“Planet Express,” a voice said. Her voice. So familiar after all these years that Leela almost giggled at it. She cleared her throat and leaned toward the pick-up.

“Hi, I’m-”

“Miss Turanga, you have already been informed of your status regarding employment at this facility.” Proctor spoke in the officious tone Leela had always hated in the brief time she'd known the woman. She smiled at the thought of having another crack at her, but later. Business first.

“I’d like to talk to you about something.”

“There is nothing for us to discuss, Miss-”

“Morgan, Morgan, always so official...” Leela leaned back to peer up at the building. She was almost certain she knew which office Proctor worked in, the one the fat idiot used to use. “Morgan, do you still wear that bun in your hair?”

“You may refer to me as Ms Proctor. Now-” Leela interrupted Proctor’s hectoring voice a second time by banging loudly on the pick-up with the butt of her pistol. “Miss Turanga this is hardly-”

“Can it, Proctor. I know you want rid of me, well there’s things I want too.” She waited, and for a moment wondered if she’d been too harsh. Not that it mattered, there were other ways to sort out this particular problem, although this one would be more fun. “Remember those boxes in your store-room by the hangar?”

“The Paraboxes,” Proctor replied, her voice carefully neutral. Leela nodded, and then grunted an affirmative when she remembered Proctor couldn’t see her. “They allow travel to parallel universes. I am... uncomfortable with this concept.”

“Well get comfortable with it because I came out of one of them. I can offer you a way to deal with your Leela, but I want something in return.”

“What are you proposing?”

Gotcha. Leela smiled. People were so easy to manipulate.

“On my world I know you hated me for having Fry. Every world I've been on has been the same deal in some way. I get Fry, you get shafted.” She paused for a moment, wondering if Morgan was still listening. Of course she was; she could already imagine the wild and terrifying ideas bubbling around in Proctor's robotic little mind.

“He's with her right now, you know. Working her charms. I'm a very charming lady when I want to be.”

“I don't see the relevance of this discussion, Miss Turanga. My grievances with... ‘you’... are of a purely professional nature.”

“Sure, you think she's nuts. You're the one that had me committed back home, though that was more revenge for the fact that Fry dumped you over me.”

“She... was a danger to the safe operation of this company,” Morgan replied, just a hint of anger colouring her voice. “They all were.”

“Yes, though it seems that your boy is helping her get her job back, but I can fix that. She has a secret, a big one, something that'll let you put her away from you and Fry for the rest of your natural lives. I can tell you what it is, but you have to promise you'll let me go home.”

 She waited again. A gust of wind flew up from the river and caught at her jacket, momentarily piercing even her tolerance for the cold, but she didn’t shiver. She never let on. Ever. Leela was just about to give up when the door emitted a loud buzz and slid open.

“Meet me in the conference room.” Proctor’s voice echoed from the intercom behind Leela, already deep inside the lobby. “I assume you know where it is.”

“Oh yes, I sure do,” Leela muttered to herself. She was in. All she needed now was time, and then they’d all be dealt with. She began to laugh as she made her way through the unfamiliar familiarity of the Planet Express building.


Dulles Interstellar space-port was far larger than most passengers, who spent most of their time in the passenger terminals, realised. It was vast, covering approximately fifty square miles with most of that space taken up by private carrier pads, cargo terminals and hangars, blast shields, waste-water run-off and simple empty space. Very little was actually devoted to passenger transport.

It was to one of the smaller non-commercial pads that Phil drove them, a slab of cracked and stained concrete and paving next to a pair of hangars apparently in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by ill-looking grass and weeds and thick, shallow-sloped concrete walls. A small building between the hangars served as an office, and there were several courier-type ships of various designs sat about the pad, or peeping from beneath the hangars. In the distance the needle-thin passenger terminal towers thread long, delicate silhouettes across the sky and punctured the thin gauze of cloud that presaged another bout of rain.

Leela could hear the distant roar of a ship lifting off as she exited the car but it was almost too far away to actually see anything more than a slender column of steamy smoke near the horizon. She watched it for a second, a vague curiosity about its destination flitting through her mind, and then turned her back on it.

“You two will have to wait around here,” Phil said, before he helped Blue from the car. He turned to look at Leela and Fry and gave them a cheery smile. “We’ll just be running through the minimum necessary to get her licensed again so we’ll only be gone a couple of hours at the very most. Then it’ll be back to Planet Express to see about her job.”

“We all appreciate it,” Leela said. Blue nodded, and then even smiled a little. She seemed to be enjoying the fresh air and the distant tang of ozone and rocket fuel. Perhaps it was making her feel more at home again. She turned to Fry and gave him a quick shove toward the office. “Come on, let’s see if they’ve got a TV around here.”

“TV would be good. I hope it’s the same here as it is at home, I’m missing All My Circuits.”

“I’m sure...” Leela paused and looked back at their alter-selves as they wandered over to a squat and rather ugly looking training ship. “That thing looks like it’ll barely rate point eight past old light-speed, what use is that?”

“Who cares,” Fry muttered as he kicked at a loose spray of gravel on the tarmac. They continued toward the office in silence.

Leela knew something was wrong the moment they entered the building. A harried clerk looked up at them, eyes wild as his computer flickered a multitude of warnings at him.

“Are you them? Did you-”

His voice was cut off by the sound of the courier ship's engine winding up. The clerk yelled something incoherent and vaulted over his desk, pushing past Leela and Fry in his desperation to get out of the building.

“No! Stop!”

The clerk flew across the pad toward the ship. Leela grunted and ran after him, managing to catch the man just shy of the ship’s backwash. She tackled him to the floor.

“Get off me you-”

“Shut up!” Leela pressed the man down and dropped to the floor as a wave of heat blasted over them from the ship’s engine. When she looked up again the ship was already retreating rapidly toward the distant sky. The clerk screamed, venting his frustration and anger as he pounded the ground with both his fists.

“You stupid, stupid woman! You just landed us all in a whole heap of trouble!”

“Yeah, well I just saved your life!” Leela sat up and let the man crawled to his knees. He continued muttering under his breath in a foreign language and gesticulating at the sky. “What are you talking about?"

The clerk looked at her as if he only just noticed Leela’s existence. He frowned. “They’re flying without a license!”

“Oh, I know that. She’s up there to get assessed.”

“No, you moronic-” was all the clerk managed to say before Fry clobbered him over the back of the head with a folded chair. The clerk crumpled to the floor with a sigh.

“That was easier than I thought it’d be,” Fry muttered as he dropped the chair and leaned over Leela. He held out his hand. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, Fry, but couldn’t you have waited until he’d explained what was going on before you hit him?” She looked down at the clerk and then up at Fry’s face. She put out her hand. Fry shrugged as he pulled her upright, strangely blasé about the whole thing.

“I didn’t like the way he was talking to you.”

“That’s... sweet, Fry. Real sweet...” Leela leaned over the clerk to check his pulse and tried not to think about Fry’s sudden transformation into Angry Man. If this was going to be a regular thing he’d need watching very closely. The clerk’s pulse was there, strong and regular, and he didn’t seem to be bleeding which was probably a good sign. “Well, fortunately you didn’t kill him. We’d better get him back inside and wake him up.”


“For one thing, we can’t leave him out here,” Leela said. She hooked her hands under the clerk’s armpits and heaved him up and then over her shoulder. The clerk groaned and mumbled something that Leela instinctively knew was a swear-word, which meant he was probably going to be all right.

“And on top of that I think he was about to tell me something important.”

“Oh. Right.” Fry picked up the fallen chair and followed Leela back to the office again. Another ship was taking off in the near-distance, a heavy freighter of some description climbing skyward atop a column of flame and bright-white smoke. Fry paused to watch the ship until it was almost out of sight and, for a moment, felt a stab of jealousy at the life his counterpart must have here. Then again, he did play flight-sims. Sometimes the price of happiness could be too high, Fry thought, shaking his head as he he entered the office and shut the door, blocking out the faded roar of the freighter.

“What did he want?”

“I’m not sure,” Leela replied. She had the man propped up on a chair and was gently slapping his face, but he seemed completely unresponsive. Leela sighed and gave up, she looked around the office for a moment or two. “There has to be some sort of medical kit around here somewhere, go make yourself useful and find it. I’ll take a look on his computer to see what the problem was.”

Fry grunted and started to look around the office. It was minimally furnished and a rather nasty shade of yellow, the walls lined with shelves of books and computerised clipboards. There weren’t any obvious cupboards or storage cases, a fact he mentioned to Leela. She looked up from the screen and shrugged at him.

“Try that door,” she said, pointing at the portal behind her. Fry wandered toward it but slowed at the last moment and turned to look at the screen Leela was reading. A bright red box caught his eye.

“Hey, isn’t that a Section Fifteen?”

“A what?”

“Section... uh, Hermes had to remove one from my file after I got a little tiny bit drunk with Bender one time,” Fry said. He leaned over the screen and peered at the notice. “Yeah.”

“What the heck is a section fifteen?”

“Sanity clause,” Fry replied. He tapped the screen on the red box. The picture expanded up to show a long, densely typed description that Leela quickly scanned through, not caring to ask Fry for more information.

“There ain’t no sanity clause here,” she said after a moment as scrolled the document down a few pages and then stopped. “Oh wait, here it is. Oh.”


“They’ve cancelled her license again. There’s no way around it this time.”

Fry looked around the office, eyes wide with fear, as if he was worried someone was watching. “Morgan?”

“Yes.” Leela brought up a new set of dialogues and read through them as fast as she could manage. Sometimes she wondered if reading would be faster with two eyes. “This isn’t good. I’d better call them.”

Bending Unit
« Reply #83 on: 02-20-2008 18:40 »
« Last Edit on: 02-20-2008 18:40 »

Whenever I see Blue being brought up, it reminds me on the song by The Verve of the same name(lyrics here).

Space Pope
« Reply #84 on: 02-20-2008 19:02 »

You can't-a fool me, mister. There ain't no Sanity Claus!

...sorry, I just get reminded of A Night at the Opera every time I see those words.
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #85 on: 02-20-2008 20:37 »

Pretty good.  I give it an 8/10, so I won't be giving you the cure for cancer...

Actually it is very good.  Nice to see that you're using Season Four Fry - still mentally challenged but has flashes of insight and brilliance (spotting and knowing what a Section 15 was.)

Also nice to see Leela-A being introspective and realizing how close she is to being Evila or Blue.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #86 on: 02-20-2008 23:01 »

I agree with everything Ralph just said.

On top of that very nice pictures and update in general. Morgan and Evila, definitly not good.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #87 on: 02-20-2008 23:03 »

[Rodriquez]You see Archonix was writing these fictions.
They pwned all of Xanfor's derelictions.
But he wasn't ashamed,
In fact, he proclaimed,
That he was developing quite an addiction.

Space Pope
« Reply #88 on: 02-20-2008 23:49 »

Great chapter. I really want to know what Evila told Proctor. Great update. I love that your using season 4 Fry like Ralph said. Great stuff can't wait for more.

Bending Unit
« Reply #89 on: 02-21-2008 12:43 »

Yes.. Leela certainly are skirting the edges of sanity, yet Fry seems the one keeping her from going over?

Heh.. Leela is going to be sorry that she didn't listen to Fry about her mad parallel self.

Oh and Proctor is making a deal with the devil? Oh my. 

"Finding your true love is like winning the lottery, it always happens to someone else."

Bending Unit
« Reply #90 on: 02-21-2008 13:10 »

Another great part; going to be *very* interesting to see how Blue reacts to being barred as a pilot - and possibly being sectioned as well...  And we get to see more of Phil and Morgan's relationship (or rather, lack of); it's impressive the way you get to see such a clear portrait of a decaying relationship. Archonix, you're doing a bang-up job.

Roll on the next part!  smile

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #91 on: 02-21-2008 13:46 »
« Last Edit on: 02-21-2008 13:46 »

Originally posted by Bendersfan1221:

Great chapter. I really want to know what Evila told Proctor.

What secret do the Leelas in all dimensions and timelines share?  Not Fry.

All are XXXXXXX.

Great update. I love that your using season 4 Fry like Ralph said. Great stuff can't wait for more.

Aw, thanks.  I can write kind things about Leela occasionally, but the Leela in mind has to be fourth season Leela.

Except for Evila.  She reminds me so much of Christina (my first girlfriend) that it's scary.


Bending Unit
« Reply #92 on: 02-21-2008 16:18 »

Your ex-girlfriend travelled around parallel universes trying to kill some guy. :|

Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #93 on: 02-21-2008 16:27 »

She probably did.  She did travel the United States.

As it was, all she killed with me was my self-confidence, self-respect and a whole lotta money.

It would have been kinder to have just killed me.

So Evila is kinder than Christina.

Space Pope
« Reply #94 on: 02-21-2008 17:04 »

Ahhhh, dammit, Ralph, you went and told them the obvious development!  wink
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #95 on: 02-21-2008 17:12 »

I've changed that post.  I felt it was pretty obvious what information Evila was trading but it may damage the flow of your story.

Bending Unit
« Reply #96 on: 02-21-2008 18:37 »

What secret do the Leelas in all dimensions and timelines share? Not Fry.

All are XXXXXXX.

Would that be something that rhymes with 'witch'?  wink

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder

Space Pope
« Reply #97 on: 02-21-2008 19:26 »

... does she weigh the same as a duck?

Bending Unit
« Reply #98 on: 02-21-2008 19:29 »

I saw the 'development' before it was all Xs, but I've now forgotten it.

You're lucky.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #99 on: 02-21-2008 22:12 »

It has the same number of letters as what I've been thinking since I read it. I take this to mean that I'm right. If I'm wrong don't tell me, I enjoy my ignorance.

Urban Legend
« Reply #100 on: 02-22-2008 14:07 »

hmm, I was not expecting this turn of events.  Evila temaing up with/using Morgan?  I loved the irony (<Bender> I'ts not ironic, its just coincidental!</Bender> ) of Leela saving the clerk's life, only to have Fry wallop him over the head with a chair. 

I almost certain that I know what the 'secret' is that Evila told Proctor.  All of the Leela's are *deleted* 

(I was going to make a lame joke, and then I noticed that the word I was going to use was the length of all of those 'x's in Ralph's post.  I'm going to laugh so hard if that's not just coincidence.  smile

Space Pope
« Reply #101 on: 02-22-2008 15:11 »

Hmm... well there are two words that length that could apply...  wink

Bending Unit
« Reply #102 on: 02-22-2008 18:50 »

Yes, that was an interesting conversation with Morgan that Evila had.  Looks like Morgan may play a bigger role in all of this than I first thought.

I, too, have my guesses about Leelas' secrets, but I'll remain mute, otherwise Archonix may set ants on me.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #103 on: 02-22-2008 21:01 »

No, he'll probably make me do it. I'm his proxy now.   big grin

Space Pope
« Reply #104 on: 02-25-2008 19:30 »

A relatively short update, and no pictures this time. Sorry...


Freedom. It had been so long since the stars had been anything but a roof overhead, a barrier even, a reminder of what she had done. Her parents never saw the stars and after she'd... afterwards... they never would. She’d hidden away from them, from the memories they brought, the accusations the carried. She didn’t deserve to see the stars. But now she saw them, up close, without the intervention of atmosphere and stone and metal to hide her away.

Her parents never saw the stars, but she would. They had wanted her to see them. Leela gripped the wheel of the ship and smiled a tight little smile as she thought about the future. Morgan Proctor wouldn’t have her victory. She didn’t need Proctor or Planet Express, she’d find a new company, maybe start her own. For them.

“All right, that’s enough orbital manoeuvring,” Phil said, looking up from his clipboard. He was seated to Leela’s left, in what would normally be the radio operator’s position, his coat slung over the back of the chair and his feet up on the radio console. “Let’s have a quick run out to the moon and then swing around the L-four and back down to Earth again, and then that should do it.”

“That’s it?”

Phil nodded. “Pretty much. Well, strictly speaking I should be taking you out to Mars and Jupiter, and then there would have to be a trip out to Proxima for the interstellar navigation stuff but this ship isn’t really rated for long-distance travel so I’m fudging it a bit.”

“Lying, you mean?” Leela turned to look at Phil. He smiled and winked at her.

“Back in the old days Mr Pannucci called it ‘jewish accounting’, but then he was a bit of a bastard by all accounts.” Phil looked down at his clipboard and ticked off a few more boxes, then wrote something down. “You deserve a break, Leela. What Morgan did was wrong, there’s no point me hiding from that.”

“Even though she’s...”

“My wife,” Phil finished. He shook his head and looked out at the stars, his face pensive. “So, did you ever find out where you came from?”

Leela flinched at the sudden change of subject and almost said something stupid. Almost. She looked at Phil with a little consternation and wondered how she should answer. “I... I’m not really...”

“I mean, it’s all right if you don’t want to talk about it,” Phil continued, almost ignoring Leela’s stuttering attempt to answer. He flipped over the page on his clipboard and smiled again. “We all have our secrets.”

Leela nodded and bit her lip. Maybe she would tell him later, if there was a later. “Initiating TLI burn.”

The main engine thumped, a fraction of a second of thrust being all the ship needed to change its orbit. Earth slid past the window and disappeared behind them as the Moon grew in the forward ports.

Leela remembered her first trip out there with the company, her first ever official flight after ‘forgetting’ to return the pilot’s career chip, when the sight of the Ship had spoken to her soul, the ever-present longing for freedom that she only now understood. She’d hated every moment of it, from the cheap food to the crowds to the people she’d had to work with. The delivery boy they’d hired had quit when they got back, after an accident on one of the rides nearly took off his arm. It had set a precedent, and they'd never kept one on the staff for more than a month after that.

But at least she’d been free.

The ship clicked at her, waiting for more input. When she looked at Phil she could see a dreamy look on his face. He was staring at the moon with rapt fascination, almost like a little boy, she thought.

“Hey, are you all right?”

“Huh? Oh, sure, just thinking about how I’ve flown past the moon hundreds of times but I’ve never been there before.”

“It’s nothing special,” Leela replied, memories of the trip returning to her mind again, mixed with more sinister memories that she would probably never exorcise. “There’s a theme park, a bunch of tourist crap and lots of rocks, and that’s about it.”

“Maybe it’s nothing special for you, but back when I left there had only been a dozen people on the moon. I always wanted to go there and walk around, see where Neil Armstrong took his first step. Maybe play golf or something. I’d always imagined that there’d be giant hotels and cities up there now.”

“Oh, there are hotels all right,” Leela said, recalling the very brief look she’d had inside one. More tourist trash from Funcorp or whomever owned the place now. She turned from the view to the navigational computer and watched the plotted course past the moon. On schedule Leela flipped the ship over and fired the engines again, then had the computer calculate their new course around the moon’s dark face.

“Nicely done,” Phil said. He brought up the Navicomp display on another screen and spent a moment examining it. “Swish! Right through the L-four as well! Most people have to make at least one extra correction burn to get there.”

Leela shrugged and let herself the luxury of another smile, a warmer smile, as she looked at Phil. He was entering another row of notes on to his clipboard. “All right, so what’s your secret then?”

“My secret?” Phil looked up from his notes. He tapped his pen against his chin as he thought and then flicked it at the top of the clipboard with a wide grin. “My secret is that I just want to sit at home and play video games all day. Morgan doesn’t even let me keep anything in the house, though, so I’ve got one set up at the office instead. She doesn’t know about it,” he added with a conspiratorial wink. Then he looked away and sighed again. “I bet that sounds pretty childish.”

“Kinda,” Leela replied. Phil’s face seemed to fall just a little. She put her hand on his shoulder and smiled. “I think it’s cute.”

“Oh, well I...” Whatever he was about to say was cut off by the sound of the radio demanding their attention. Phil sighed and put his clipboard to one side, then sought the receiver controls. “Tango charlie six, go ahead.”

Fry? I mean, Phil?

“Yeah... Leela? Other Leela?” Phil glanced at Leela and shook his head in confusion. “Whatever. How can I help?”

You need to get back down here,” the visiting Leela said, her voice distorting slightly as the ship moved in toward the moon’s far side. “Leela... My... look, the license was cancelled again.


Right. I’m sorry, Phil.

Phil punched the console and growled something obscene under his breath. He turned to look at Leela. She could see something in his eyes that scared her, and yet drew her with its familiarity.

“I’m sorry too,” he said, his voice strangely quiet. He turned back to the console. “Okay, we’ll be back in about fifteen minutes. Don’t go anywhere.”

Leela looked up at her consoles, already mentally calculating the manoeuvres she would have to make to get back to earth in that time, fine-honed instincts taking her through a complicated set of plane changes and thrusts that would bring her back with the minimum fuel use until she realised there was probably little point now.

“Forget it,” she muttered, and then pitched the ship nose-over-tail until they were pointing back at earth. “Hold on to something, we’re gonna see what this bucket can really do.”

Phil fumbled for his seatbelt and almost had it locked together when the main engines fired. And kept firing. The sudden shift of g-forces pressed them both into their seats for mere moments but, even with the ship's inertial dampeners, it was enough force to fling Phil forward out of his seat the moment the engines cut out again. He thumped against the radio console. Leela gasped in surprise at his sudden movement. She let go of the wheel and leaned over Phil to help him back to his seat.

“I’m sorry,” she said once he was seated again. “That won’t count against me, will it?”

“I think I can overlook it this time.” Phil tossed the clipboard over his shoulder and stared, hard-faced, at the oncoming sphere of earth. “Unlike some other things...”


Phil tore down the ship’s ramp as soon as it made landfall and ran for the office, where he almost collided with Leela in the door. “Woah...”

“Sorry, my fault.”

“Oh. Yeah, no it’s...” Phil looked over his shoulder at Blue, now stood at the foot of the ship’s ramp with her arms wrapped around her body against the cold. She smiled at Phil and started walking over the pad toward them. “Never mind, let’s see that file.”

He slipped past Leela and made a beeline for the clerk’s desk. He paused a moment when he saw the unconscious clerk tied to a chair and glanced at Leela, then Fry. Then he shrugged and sat down behind the screen. “All right, what do we have here...”

“Fry found something he called a Section Fifteen,” Leela said once Phil was comfortable. He began tapping away at the screen and keyboard as he searched through the file for other blocks. Leela looked up at Blue as she entered the office and knelt down by the clerk, now groaning and shifting around in his seat.

“What happened to him?”

“Fry hit him over the head with a chair.”

Fry held up his hands and tried to look innocent as Blue and Phil both looked at him, their faces betraying their doubt to Fry's great annoyance.

“So I... look, that that thing’s flashing again,” he said in a lame attempt to change the subject. It worked.

“Section fifteen... I almost got one of those a couple of years back. Morgan had to... well it should be easy to remove,” Phil said before a lengthy period of silent typing. At the end he grinned and hit a few keys only to be met with a warning beep. “Oh. Looks like the clerk here isn’t high ranked enough to remove it. Well I’ll just log in as myself and-”

There was another beep. Phil grunted and shuffled about in his seat. He started to tap at the screen again, a frown deepening on his forehead a his fingers flew across the keyboard. Another beep. Phil swore.

Fry leaned over his counterpart and peered at the screen. “What’s up?”

“I’m locked out.” Phil frowned at the screen. “That can’t be right...”

“Locked out?”

“That’s what I said!” Phil pointed at the screen and waved his finger at it, as if that would make things simpler to understand. “I can’t even check to see what’s been done now. If I could log in and check I could find out what’s been put in place and maybe even find out who did it, but now I-”

“I think we all know who did it.” Blue gave Phil a meaningful look. “It’s obvious.”

“Well it might seem obvious to you, but-”

“It’s her!” Blue stood up, her eye blazing as she marched toward Phil. She thumped both hands down on the desk and glared at him. “Don’t you try and protect her.”

“I’m not protecting her! I... I just... well how would you feel?”

Blue turned away with a loud huff and wrapped her arms around her chest. None of them dared break the lengthening silence for fear of setting off another argument until Blue dropped her arms again and let out a withering sigh. “All right, so you can’t get in...”

“I said that,” Phil retorted. He knocked a closed fist against the screen a few times, lost in thought. “If I had someone else to check for me I could-”

“We could-” both Leela’s began. They looked at each other in confusion. Leela waved her hand at Blue and looked away. Fry, taking advantage of the confused silence, wandered over behind the clerk and lifted up his head.

“What about this guy?”

Phil looked up from the screen, confused until he saw the clerk. He shook his head. “No chance, he’s out cold.”

“Seems to be coming around to me,” Fry said. He patted the clerk’s face a few times, eliciting another groan. “See?”

Leela put her arm across Fry’s shoulder and gently moved him away from the injured clerk. “I don’t think it’ll work, Fry. After what you did to him he’ll probably be out for the rest of the day.”

“Oh. Well...” Fry shrugged and leaned back against the wall, incidentally trapping Leela’s arm across his back. She glared at him until he shifted to let her free again. “Sorry.”

“There’s only one way to find out,” Leela said, ignoring Fry’s nervous glances while she rubbed her arm. He was still bony. Blue cut in before Leela could continue.

“We go to the source,” she said, thumping a balled hand against the table hard enough to make Phil jump in surprise. “We go over there and, and axe her, yeah. We go to the source.”

“Right,” Leela finished with lame shrug. She looked over her shoulder at Fry. “It’ll give us another chance to get home again.”

Blue looked up at Leela, shock colouring her face. She turned and, almost collapsing, sat on the edge of the desk, her eye wide as she stared at Leela.

“Home? But... but you...”

“We can’t stay,” Leela said. She moved beside Blue and took her hand. It was warm, her skin flushed by the violent emotions she was feeling. Leela looked herself in the eye and tried to smile. “We can’t. I have responsibilities.”

“But I need you...”

“You don’t need me. You are me.”

Phil stood up, fast, knocking his seat over so that it clunked against the wall, making Blue flinch in surprise. He spun his jacket onto his arms and then pulled a tie from the inside pocket. “We’d better go,” he said quickly, then managed to stumble over the fallen chair before he’d even taken a step. Fry chuckled as a recent memory swam through his head. He leaned over Phil to help him to his feet again.

“I don’t see what’s funny,” Phil said, brushing his suit down. Fry just shrugged.

“If you two are quite done conspiring, we really should be going.” Leela put her hands on her hips and glared at Fry and Phil in turn, then spun on her heel and stalked from the office, Blue trailing behind her like a lost lamb. Fry and Phil shrugged at each other before they, too, walked from the room. The door swung shut with a loud clunk and, for a moment, there was silence.

The clerk peeled one eye open and looked around. Satisfied he was alone, he edged his chair toward the desk and started to very carefully tap the screen with his nose. After a few tries the screen bleeped and began to load a new program. A moment passed while the clerk looked around the room for some means to escape from his chair, then a face appeared on the screen.

“New New York Police Department, how may I direct your call?”

“I’d like the emergency response department, please,” the clerk said. He grimaced slightly as a headache started to make itself felt. “I’d like to report multiple refusals to complete appropriate paperwork.”

The officer’s face paled a little. “Please hold, sir...”

The clerk smiled a grim smile. Intuition told him that his own rescue would probably take a very, very long time, but he was prepared for the wait. Waiting with his hands tied was practically his job.

Bending Unit
« Reply #105 on: 02-25-2008 20:39 »

"Bureaucracy is the price we pay for impartiality."
--Josef Stalin

Great update, dude. You've got all of us waiting to see what will happen with bated breath.
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #106 on: 02-25-2008 22:44 »

Originally posted by Tornadoboy:

Great update, dude. You've got all of us waiting to see what will happen with bated breath.

Brush your teeth, we don't like baited breath around here.  smile

Anyway, to the story - nice progression with the Phil and Blue arc.  Blue is very unhappy in life and the inner child in Phil seems to make her mood lighter.  Without saying it words, Arch has made it clear that the marriage between Phil and Morgan is a loveless one at this point.

And we see that Leela is still treating her Fry like a bothersome child, totally obivious to the fact that he's her rock of stability.

Stay tuned for the next episode, same Bat-time, same Bat-station.

Jesus, that ending I just typed is only going to be understood by a small handful of ancient PEELers.  I guess that I'll now read an Ellery Queen mystery as I down a couple of shots of Scotch.


Urban Legend
« Reply #107 on: 02-26-2008 00:19 »
« Last Edit on: 02-26-2008 00:19 »

We go over there and, and axe her, yeah

I really hope that Leela is using the modern pronunciation of the word 'ask' there, and not the other meaning for the word 'axe'.   smile

Nice job with the space scene.  You captured well the feeling of moving a ship through freefall. I especially liked the callback to Fry's wistful romanticism toward the Moon.

Bending Unit
« Reply #108 on: 02-26-2008 02:16 »

Yeah, this is one of my favorite parts as well.  Phil and Blue have their "moon moment," a few years late maybe, but...

The clerk may be my favorite anonymous character so far...

Bending Unit
« Reply #109 on: 02-26-2008 14:26 »
« Last Edit on: 02-26-2008 14:26 »

Stay tuned for the next episode, same Bat-time, same Bat-station.

I thought it was 'Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel'; but I could be wrong.   wink

And Archonix; it may have been short, but that update certainly packed in a lot of stuff. Plot development, some character development, some comedy, some romantic tension, some drama...whew! What a list! If that was a short update, I can't wait to see how much you pack into a longer one!   smile

SoylantOrange: I'd say Blue's meaning of 'axe' there likely has both meanings - first one, then the other.  big grin

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder

Space Pope
« Reply #110 on: 02-26-2008 14:54 »

Originally posted by JustNibblin':
I, too, have my guesses about Leelas' secrets, but I'll remain mute, otherwise Archonix may set ants on me.

Oh my god, I just got that.
Me liketh the wordplay...

The clerk is comical. "Multiple refusals to complete appropriate paperwork", ha. I can certainly see why Blue wouldn't want Leela to leave, her improving situation being  attributable to Leela's presence.


Space Pope
« Reply #111 on: 02-26-2008 16:26 »

I agree with km's thoughts about Blue improving condition. I wonder how long until Leela realizes that Fry is her stability. Great part short but lots packied in. "Multiple refusals to complete appropriate paperwork",  life sucks for that policeman. Can't wait for the next chapter Arch.

Space Pope
« Reply #112 on: 03-06-2008 05:36 »
« Last Edit on: 03-06-2008 05:36 »

Ah for crap's sake, I can't seem to post anything longer than half a paragraph. Poop.

Space Pope
« Reply #113 on: 03-06-2008 07:04 »

I hope you get that chapter you posted on unPEELified up here soon.

Space Pope
« Reply #114 on: 03-06-2008 08:05 »
« Last Edit on: 03-06-2008 08:05 »

Lets try it in little pieces...

Phil drew his car up outside the Planet Express building with little regard for the parking regulations. Besides, he technically owned the land if what Leela – he couldn’t remember which one – had said about the Professor was true, which meant he could park on it however he liked. As he stepped from the car he looked up at the sky and briefly wondered if he should check up on the old man. Could he get him out?

Planet Express stood before them, a stark grey monolith that seemed to dominate the view despite its relative lack of stature. Something about the building stood stark in his vision, had stood out the first time he’d seen the place, however briefly it had been. He stood aside to help his Leela from the car and then turned to look at their counterparts, hovering on the far side of the vehicle.

“You remember the plan,” he asked quietly as his gaze returned to his own Leela. Somehow thinking about her like that felt-

“Are you sure it’s a good idea?”

“Absolutely,” Phil replied. Without waiting for a protest he squared his shoulders and marched toward the building.

The door slid open just before he reached it and the guards – the same guards – stepped out and glowered at him, their arms crossed over their barrel-chests, reeking of waxed leather and shoe polish. They didn’t react when Blue walked up behind him, not even sparing her a glance. Then, all at once, they stood aside and Morgan Proctor stepped out of the lobby. She glanced at Leela with a raised eyebrow and then registered something that might have been surprise before turning her eyes to Phil again. He looked down at his feet; he’d never been able to return that gaze for long.

“I see you are not to be dissuaded,” Morgan said. She tilted her glasses forward and looked at Leela again. “Did she spin you some story about my persecution of her over the years?”

“Not really,” Phil replied, then followed up with a half shrug. He smiled a private smile as a thought crossed his mind. “You’re not jealous, are you?”

“Philip, why do you persist in wasting your time with this...” Morgan paused for a second as if considering her next words. “This woman?”

Phil shrugged again. He had to look away, that gaze was almost soul-destroying, but then he found he was looking at Leela. It probably wouldn't have mattered which one she was, really, though he was starting to learn the differences – his Leela had nicer hair for one thing – because the simple sight of her seemed to give him a strange sort of inner strength. Phil gave her an encouraging smile and then turned to look at his wife again.

“What you did to her was wrong, Morgan. You ignored protocol.”

Morgan glanced uneasily at the guards flanking her and then, satisfied they weren’t listening to the accusation, cocked her eyebrow at Phil. “I think you had better come inside.”


Leela edged around the side of the building as soon as the door hissed shut and ran toward it, silently praying that her counterpart had found the strength to carry out her part of the plan. She stopped an inch or so from the door, ran her fingers around the frame and let out a quiet cry of joy when she found the door wasn’t quite sealed thanks to a tiny sliver of metal at the foot of the frame. Leela turned away from the stark door and motioned to Fry to join her.

“Did they do it?”

Leela nodded and slipped her fingers into the gap between the door and its frame. She braced her boot against the frame and pulled at the door with as much strength as she could muster until it shifted. “Get in here, Fry!”

“Right... what?” Fry stumbled up the steps beside Leela and stared at the door, confused. “You want me to squeeze through that tiny gap? I know I’m lithe and supple but-”

“Just hold the door!”

“Oh. Right.” Fry shuffled up to the door and braced his arm against the cold metal, giving Leela that little extra bit of support she needed. She pulled at the door again until, with a tearing, grinding sound, the mechanism finally gave way and the door slid back with a loud thump. Fry stumbled as his support from the door suddenly disappeared; he fell forward and landed with his head against Leela’s chest as she fell back against the far side of the frame.

For a moment they stood like that, Leela too surprised to move and Fry frozen in place, probably with fear. Leela squeezed her eye shut and very gently lifted her friend from his resting place. “Fry, now isn’t a good time...”

“Does that mean maybe later- I’ll be good!” he yelped as Leela punched him on the shoulder, just hard enough to sting without bruising. She narrowed her eye at him, wondering why she let him get away with it, then turned to look at the lobby.

It was dim and quiet, and deserted, without even the replaceable receptionist Leela had long ago learned to ignore as part of the furniture though, fortunately, neither was there any sign of the oversized guards that had menaced their local counterparts earlier, a fact for which Leela was incredibly thankful. She could have taken on one of them, just about. Two would have been nearly impossible.

Leela turned around at the sound of the door grinding as it tried to close itself, until it gave up with a spluttering shower of sparks and a cloud of blue-grey smoke. She shook her head at the sight. “I hope they have insurance...”

“Do we care?” Fry edged around the door with a wary eye on the still-sparking mechanism and then into the lobby. While Leela leaned down to pick up the wedge her counterpart had left in the door he wandered around the lobby, then stopped, sniffed at the air and frowned. “Bender was never here, right?”

“Uh, I guess...” Leela looked up from the metal tag bracelet her counterpart had left in the door and glanced around the deserted room. Oddly there was no dust in the air, or on any surface. This whole world was so clean, it put their best efforts to shame. She took off her wrist whatsit and held the tag up to the one her parents had left her with. They were identical.

She dropped the tag into her pocket and slid her hand back into the device. “You never met him on this world so I guess not. Why?”

“I can smell cigar smoke,” Fry said. He sniffed the air again and frowned, his brow knotted in deep thought, but he couldn’t seem to keep it up for long. The casual shrug, and then he was back to his usual self again.

“It’s probably nothing, Fry. One of the guards.” Something about Fry’s attitude worried Leela, coupled with the paranoia he’d developed about the other, dark-haired version of herself. She put the thought to one side. Ahead of them the door to the building’s interior stood open and dim onto the back of the loading dock and small package reception. Leela glanced around the room and up at the stairs to the upper floor where their counterparts would be sitting down to their meeting any moment now. “We’d better get a move on,” she said, as much to herself as to Fry.

The package reception and loading dock were both as empty as the lobby and what little equipment had been left behind was covered in sheets. Leela resisted the urge to tip-toe through the room and strode as boldly – and quietly – as she dared to the hangar.

Proctor’s voice echoed through the hangar as they reached the door, though Leela couldn’t make out what she was saying. She didn’t sound particularly happy to see either of their counterparts. Not my problem any more, Leela thought to herself as she crept out of the door and along the wall. The main store-room was beyond the ship and the professor’s lab, which meant they’d have to get past the stairs up to the conference area without being seen. Probably not too difficult. Leela paused to look up at the silvery clone of her ship – the Planet Express ship, not hers, she had to correct herself. Not hers.

The ship seemed strangely forlorn, sat out in the middle of the hangar, her ports dark, inspection panels left hanging open and a pair of detached umbilicals resting on the floor beneath her broad belly, waiting to be connected to the auxiliary power system that kept the ship alive when her generators were off-line. Leela couldn’t see most of the flight deck but, even from this angle, the dust sheets over the few visible consoles were obvious, as was the fact that they had been there for a very long time. The ship was as good as dead, unless...

Leela turned to Fry and pushed him against the wall. “Fry, go wait over by the store room. I have something to do.”

Fry grunted something that might have been acknowledgement, but he didn’t contradict her and, after an unashamedly longing look back at Leela, sneaked past the stairs toward the store room. Leela turned back toward the silent ship and looked up at it again, then around the hangar. With small, carefully silent steps she made her way toward the port-side wing, with every stride expecting someone to shout an alarm. Once at the wing Leela stopped and shot a glance back toward the conference area; they seemed oblivious to her, which could only be a good thing. Leela slipped beneath the ship and sought out the detached umbilicals. They were covered in a thin layer of oily, grey dust that greased her palms when she picked up the first cable. Normally she’d be wearing gloves for this, Leela thought, strangely unconcerned. She hefted the oversized plug toward the ship’s belly where an access port had been left open, waiting for the umbilicals to be attached, for how long she couldn’t be sure. There was a quiet click and a hum as she pushed the umbilical into place.

Leela silently attached the second umbilical, listened to the quiet buzz of the capacitors charging and watched the display as it registered a power flow for what was probably the first time in months. The ship's internal systems were completely drained from sitting so long without power, she realised, and it was probably going to take quite a while for the ship to bring itself back online again. Leela patted the ship’s hull and, for reasons beyond her ken, whispered a small comfort to it then slid across the hangar, toward the store-room.

Fry was waiting by the door when she arrived, clenching and unclenching his hands with a nervous expression. In the distance she could hear the wail of a police siren that echoed around the hangar to remind Leela how large and empty the space felt without any activity. Fry turned to her, his face  twisted up in frustration and anger.

“What’s the matter?”

“I can’t get in.” His whispered reply was loud and harsh in the near-silence. Leela pushed past him and tried the door. She rattled the handles, even risked thumping her shoulder against it, but the doors refused to open. The lock, an old but reliable physical lock stood out in her vision and Leela put her hand to her head as slow realisation dawned.

“Oh, right, the guard locked it when we left...” Leela looked about the hangar, frustrated and angry at herself for neglecting such an important detail. “We need to find the key.”


She glanced up at the conference area, then closed her eye and groaned. “Proctor must have it... how could I be so stupid?”

“So now what?”

“There’s nothing for it,” Leela said. She took Fry’s arm and started to lead him away from the door. “We’ll just have to get it from her.”

Fry started to protest, but only managed to splutter something incoherent before they heard the shot.

Space Pope
« Reply #115 on: 03-06-2008 08:15 »

The conference room was as bleak as the rest of the building, deathly quiet and still. In the background the silvery Planet Express ship hung over proceedings with a ghostly presence, adding a strange and almost ethereal feeling to the whole affair. Her ports were dark, inspection ports hung open all over her hull. Phil caught Leela’s eye and tried to encourage her with another smile but the distress she felt at seeing the ship in such an uncared-for condition was obvious and unassailable. He took her to a seat almost opposite Morgan, then sat himself down a neutral distance between the two women and turned to face his wife.

Morgan looked up from a file that lay open on the table and glanced at the guards. “You can go now. Secure the building and then return to the Central Bureaucracy for re-assignment.”

The nearest of the pair nodded and waved at his companion. She picked up a sheet of paper and peered at it as the guards left, then looked into Phil’s eyes and raised an eyebrow. “So. Here we are.”

“Morgan, you can’t hide behind your badge this time,” Phil said. He laid his hands out on the table and leaned toward her just a little, almost pleading but, not quite. “You broke the rules.”

“I followed correct procedures at every step of my interaction with this person.” Morgan leaned forward in her chair and peered over her glasses at Phil with just a hunt of amusement in her eyes. “This is considerably more than I can say for her. And you.”

“I have a name,” Leela muttered. She pointed at Morgan, eye suddenly wide and blazing with anger, and it seemed all that stopped her from launching herself at Morgan was Phil’s presence between them. “You put that block on my license without, uh...”

“An accompanying request for closure,” Phil prompted. He screwed up his eyes at the reflexive reply, knowing that Morgan would see his helping Leela as something akin go high treason. Couldn’t be helped now.

“Right! That thing.” Leela folded her arms and glared at Morgan again. The bureaucrat shook her head as if refusing a challenge and smiled a small, cold smile. She sat back, gave Phil a pointed look and then flipped through the folder before her to a page near the back. She laid her hands on it with an almost reverential air.

“Since you are here I assume you are unaware that the Section Fifteen process I have initiated against this woman can be expanded to include any of her associates.”

“Oh yeah, I know about... wait...” Phil glanced at Leela in confusion, then back at Morgan. “You mean me?

“Naturally, Philip.” Morgan smiled again, yet her eyes were hard as ice as she continued to speak. “You are associating with this woman, are you not?”

“Yes, but that’s in a professional...” Morgan held up her hand and Phil’s voice trailed to silence. He shuffled in his seat, which emitted a lout creak that echoed the near-absolute silence of the hangar. “You can’t be serious! Morgan, what did I do?”

Morgan spread her fingers out on the folder. Her lip twitched, almost, but not quite, forming a smile again as she raised her eyebrow at Phil and very carefully lifted up a sheet of paper. When she spoke, it was with an officious, emotionless tone that seemed to chill the very air. “It is enough that you associated with her.”


Mister Fry, I assume you are aware of the penalties for fraternising with mutants?”

Phil’s face paled at the mention of the word. “Mutants? I... I don’t know what... ”

Slowly, very slowly, he turned to look at Leela. She was as pale as he, and now blinking back tears as she looked into Phil’s eyes, her mouth slightly open as she choked back a quiet sob. Phil abruptly broke eye contact and looked away. In the cold silence that followed, Morgan smiled her cold smile again and placed her single sheet of paper back on the table’s surface, then took off her glasses and closed her eyes as she pinched the bridge of her nose.

“Philip, I am willing to overlook these indiscretions. I will, as you so creatively put it on several occasions, ‘fudge’ the paperwork, I will even allow you to return to flying those spaceships you are so enamoured with. I have already reactivated your access to the Central Bureaucracy Mainframe as a... a good will gesture.” She returned her glasses to her nose, all business again as she leafed through the papers and settled on a specific form. Morgan lifted up the form, examined it for a moment and the slipped it across the table to Phil. She held out a pen. “All you have to do is sign this.”

Phil picked up the form and read through it with an almost casual air. He laid it back on the table. “Morgan, this... you know what happens to mutants who are caught on the surface. You’re asking me to sign her death sentence.”

“Yes.” Morgan lifted the pen a little closer to Phil and peered at him over the top of her glasses again. “Consider the alternatives, Philip. The law is quite clear.”

Phil took the pen and stared at it for a while, then at Morgan. He read through the form again as he lifted the pen’s lid and laid it on the table, where it rolled onto its side with a quiet click. Phil rested the pen’s nib against the marked spot and pressed down, letting a sliver of ink roll out onto the paper, but then hesitated. “No, I can’t. I won’t.

Leela let out a breath Phil hadn’t even realised she was holding, followed by a quiet sob. He resisted the urge to reach toward her, instead forcing himself to look at Morgan without flinching for perhaps the first time in his life. She blinked at the sudden ferocity of his stare. “It’s you or her, Philip. And us.”

“You know this isn’t right, Morgan.”

“Disobedient boy!” Morgan’s eyes blazed with anger, and something else Phil hadn’t seen for a very long time. He finally looked away across the hangar and took a deep breath to speak when something, a flash of purple beneath the ship, caught his eye. He frowned and then, gathering his wits, quickly looked back at the files.

“Morgan, you don’t have any proof of this.”

“I don’t need proof,” Morgan cried, swiping up the folder. She waved the fluttering papers at Phil, eyes wide with triumph, her teeth bared by a near-feral grin. “I have paperwork!”

Phil slapped his hand against the file and knocked it to the ground, where it landed with a crisp smack. The papers it held exploded out against the tiled floor and then lay still, spread out in disarray on the floor, apart from a single sheet that fluttered in the breeze from an air-conditioning unit. Morgan’s eye twitched, her gaze never leaving Phil’s face. Her lips parted ever so slightly and she let out a breath that might have been a sigh, and still she never took her eyes from his face.

“Paperwork isn’t enough this time.”

“Paperwork is everything!”

Phil’s voice was quiet now as he looked from Morgan to Leela and back again. Morgan finally tore her gaze away from him long enough to look at the scattered papers with a guarded interest. She tilted her head to one side and the other as she examined them on the floor, her eyes twitching back and forth. “I won’t let you bully me into this, Morgan. Not again. You don’t have any proof.”

“Perhaps you are correct, Philip...” Morgan looked up suddenly at the word, another cold smile forming on her lips. She turned her full body toward Phil and leaned forward to rest her elbows on the table, one hand under her chin as she stared at Phil. “Nevertheless, I have all the proof I need.”

Morgan’s eye’s flickered away from Phil toward the far end of the conference area. Her smile broadened a little but, at the same time, Phil could see a little uncertainty cloud her vision. With great care he turned to look toward the far end of the room. “Oh great, another one...”

Evila stood silhouetted in the doorway like a spectre, with only the glow of a cigarette highlighting her face. She turned to look at Phil with a creak of leather and gave him a lascivious smile.

“Hello boys and girls,” Evila said with a broad grin. She took a drag on the cigarette, tossed it aside and posed in the doorway for a moment, then stood upright as she noticed the presence of Leela at the table. “Philip, you have a friend!”

Phil slumped in his seat and sighed. “I’m in some sort of nightmare, right? Normally this would be where my grandmother turns up with a baby she says is mine...”

“No nightmare.” Evila sauntered across the room and dragged her fingers across Phil’s chest as she walked around the table toward Morgan’s seat, almost drawing blood but not quite. Behind Morgan’s chair, she spread her arm across the seat-back and surveyed the table with a lazy smile. Phil frowned at her and ignored the urge to look for the other visiting Leela. He dragged his eyes away from Evila and looked Morgan full in the face.

“This is your proof?”

“My proof,” Morgan confirmed with a careful nod. Phil suddenly realised she was nervous, scared even. He eyed the pistol strapped to Evila’s hip, the anachronistic mechanism a stark reminder that the world he inhabited was not quite his own, even now, even after all this time. Morgan’s eyes kept flicking to the pistol as well, and to him, as if thinking the same thoughts; and she was terrified, behind those calm eyes, of Evila, of Leela... even of him?

“Another me isn’t proof of anything.” Leela gave Evila a dismissive glance. “We’ve already met one today.”

Space Pope
« Reply #116 on: 03-06-2008 08:18 »

Morgan’s eyes widened in surprise whilst Leela fingered her own hair, twisting a freed lock of it around her fingers as she regarded the other’s onyx locks, her face making it obvious how absurd she found the whole situation. “Black hair is a little cliché don’t you think?”

“It's natural! besides, you've gotta stay in character,” Evila replied with an airy shrug. Leather creaked as she knelt down beside Morgan’s chair, one hand on the back and the other fingering Morgan's arm with a little too much familiarity. “So, Morgan, got what you need yet?”

Morgan looked at Evila as if she hadn’t realised the other woman was there. She shook her head tightly, thrown off balance by Leela’s outburst, and gently drew herself away from Evila’s hand.

“Ah... no, unfortunately not.” Morgan reached toward the form and laid her hand over it as if incanting a blessing, her eyes flicking nervously between Phil and Evila. “Philip, you must sign this form. I have known this woman for far longer than you, she is clearly insane-”

“Thanks!” Evila slipped another cigarette from somewhere within her jacket. “Nice to be noticed,” she added as she flicked open an old-fashioned gas lighter, her eye fixed on Phil. The cigarette flared as she drew down on it, sparking a tiny orange light deep in her pupil. Evila took a deep drag of the cigarette and finally looked away to blow a smoke ring toward the ceiling.

Morgan’s eyes rolled toward Evila and, even through the obvious fear, her contempt was obvious when she continued speaking. “Philip, this is the only way. Sign the form so we can be rid of this... creature.”

Phil stared blankly at the form as Morgan slid it back toward him. He looked aside at the table’s shiny black surface and caught sight of his own reflection, staring back at him; he was terrified. Phil squeezed his eyes shut and took a deep breath, and when he opened them again he could see Leela’s face beside his own. A sliver of a smile pulled at the corners of his mouth and, very gently, Phil laid his hand on the edge of the form.

“No. I’m sorry, Morgan, but I’m not going to do this.” And then Phil picked up the form and deftly crumpled it into a little ball with one hand. He tossed it on the floor, never taking his eyes off Morgan’s face.

Morgan sucked in a deep breath and swallowed several times before letting it out again as a very slight, shivering groan. “You... you, dirty...”

“Boy?” Phil sat back in his chair. The look on Morgan’s face brought a bemused smile to his own; she stared at him, torn between anger and sheer lust. “I’m not a boy, Morgan. I haven’t been for a very long time.”

Leela looked between them in complete confusion. She shared a glance with Evila and saw she was just as confused; probably the only thing they had in common right at that moment. “I’m completely lost now.”

In the following silence a faint police siren gradually made its presence felt above the distant hum of traffic. Leela’s voice seemed to shock Morgan out of her torpor. She stood up, gathered up the few papers left on the conference table, abruptly turned to Evila and looked up into her face. “Miss Turanga...”

“You called the cops,” Evila muttered. Her hand rested on the butt of that vicious pistol and she stepped back, eye sweeping across the trio. “One of you called the police again, didn't you!”

The pistol came out, swung toward Phil before he could even stand up. The siren grew in the background, filling the silence until Morgan spoke again. She held out her hand toward Evila, placatory, willing. “Miss Turanga, you must remain calm.”

“Calm!” The pistol shivered in her hand as Evila threw a hateful glance at Morgan. She took a step toward Phil, re-sighting the gun on his crotch. “Calm my perky pink ass! Give me the key to the store-room or I will shoot him.”

“You're going to shoot him anyway, though, aren't you.”

Leela stood up and moved the three steps toward Phil's side. He looked at her as she touched his arm and smiled, a little, before turning back to look at Evila. “You want to kill him. I can see it in your face. Why?”

“His hair annoys me,” Evila muttered. The gun lowered a little as she turned to look at Leela and then a smile broke out. “You're like me aren't you! You-”

“No. I'm sane.” Leela took a step toward Evila, who tilted her head to one side and let out a bitter laugh.

“Oh well, it was worth a try. Morgan, the keys.”

Evila held out her free hand toward Proctor and waited. When nothing happened she stole narrow-eyed a glance toward the Morgan, who was staring at Evila in wrought horror, eyes wide and her face pale as the surrounding walls. Morgan shook her head, more of a shiver than a gesture of defiance, and backed up toward her chair.


“Upstairs!” Morgan collapsed into her chair, any pretence of control finally dropped in the face of her fear. “They're upstairs, in my office, uh... third drawer down on the left in betw-”

“I get it the picture. Well...” Evila thumbed the pistol's hammer back with a loud click and re-aimed the gun at Phil's head. “So long, Fry.”

Morgan gasped and reached out toward Evila's arm. “What are you doing? You told me you just wanted to go home!”

“Quiet! This is what I came here for!” Evila shook Morgan's hand from her arm and pushed her back into the seat. “You spineless, bureaucratic moron, you're the same every time I've met you. If it isn't obvious to you yet, I'm here to kill him.”

“But you said-”

“I don't care what I said! I'm a free spirit, I can say whatever I want!”

“No.” Leela stood in front of Phil and squared her shoulders at Evila. She stared down her meta-sister with surprising ferocity. Surprising for Phil, at any rate.“You're not going to do this. You'll have to shoot me first.”

“Don't think I won't,” Evila said, jerking the gun forward. She glowered at Leela, resolute in her defiance, and at Phil behind her, calmer and more collected than she was used to, but still the same son of a- “Get out of the way! I'll do it, I swear!”

Leela's smile was narrow as she turned her head just far enough to catch Phil's eye, then looked back at her dark mirror, her smile wider at the sight of Evila's obvious discomfort.

“I don't think you will. I know you can't shoot me. You can't kill yourself.”

“You know, I think you're right, sis.” Evila chuckled, then broke out into a harsh laugh as her eye widened with something that looked like untrammelled lust. “But, then, I don't need to, do I? Not this time.”

She turned the gun toward Morgan and pulled the trigger before the bureaucrat could even cry out in shock. Morgan shook from the impact of the bullet as it ripped into her chest just to the left of her sternum. Shivering with pain and shock, she slipped slowly from the chair even as she tried to grasp hold of the table edge, looked over at Phil, tried to speak and then, with a quiet sigh, slumped to the floor.

A prolonged silence followed. Morgan drew a deep, ragged breath and then lay still while a stream of smoke curled from the barrel of the gun. Evila closed her eye and took a deep breath from the gun smoke that swirled around her head.

“Morgan?” Phil choked back a strangled yell, finally spurred into action, and tried to push past Leela. She held her arms around him. “No, let me past! Morgan!

Evila drew a bead on Phil, tightening her grip on the trigger, then suddenly relaxed again and lowered the gun. She looked down at Morgan, then turned her eye toward Phil and Leela, looking at them from beneath her fringe with a wicked smile. “Man... I didn't think I'd find anything more satisfying than just shooting you, Fry but, I gotta say, this was much better. You should see the look on your face...”


Evila laughed and backed up toward the exit. She holstered the pistol as the door slid open for her, backed out of the room and paused on the threshold, from where she blew Phil a kiss as the door clunked shut again.

Leela finally let go of Phil as soon as the door sealed. He roughly pushed her out of the way in his haste to get to Morgan. Phil knelt down beside his wife and gently rolled her onto her back. “Morgan, come on honey... come on...”

She was dead. He knew it before he even saw her lifeless eyes, by the way her body slid and crooked over the floor and the way her arm shifted and bent, muscles loose and unresisting. Phil laid a shaking hand against Morgan's cheek, then took her still-warm, bloodied hand and held it to his own. A quiet sob choked in his throat as he touched her face again. He let her hand slip from his grasp and fall gently on her shattered chest.

Leela rested her hand on his shoulder and knelt down beside him. Without thinking he grabbed for her, eyes still fixed on Morgan's face even as he reached out for the only support he had left. She hesitantly put her arm around his shoulders and hushed at Phil as if he were a little child.

Footsteps thumped up the stairs from the hangar, to a background of police cruisers blaring to a halt outside the building. They looked up and saw their doubles, frozen at the head of the stairs, taking in the scene blank-faced. Phil took in a ragged breath and pointed at the far exit.

“She...” was all he managed.

One of the Leela's started to speak. “It'll be...”

Her voice tailed off. Phil didn't care which one it was. He didn't care about anything.

Space Pope
« Reply #117 on: 03-06-2008 08:24 »

Hah, that worked. Good grief what a chore.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #118 on: 03-06-2008 21:07 »

Impressive work Archonix. I eneded up reading like three of them becuase I wasn't on unPEEL much and it definitly kept my attention. That last picture of Evila aiming at the pistol is amazing. You should definitly color it.

Space Pope
« Reply #119 on: 03-10-2008 09:58 »

Nuts. I wanted to have more illustrations done before I posted anything but I've not had the time. Again. Anyway, here's a short addition to tide you over.


She turned the moment the door thumped into its seal and stormed up the stairs, her breath short from more than mere exertion.

“Exquisite,” she mumbled. Leela stopped on the stairs and pulled out the pistol with a shivery hand. The barrel was still warm and there was a speck of blood on the grip, which matched two more on her fingers. Not his blood this time. He was still whole, and yet she had still destroyed him as effectively as if she'd put a bullet in his brain. “Exquisite...”

The thought that she could so completely destroy Fry without even harming his body was strangely gratifying.

Of course, he'd still have to die.

Leela holstered the gun and patted its grip as she continued to mount the stairs toward Morgan's office. She could deal with Fry once she had the key and a way out of this backwater universe, and then she could deal with the other one too as an added bonus. After that, well, her back was a little stiff, perhaps another visit to that nice universe with the Neptunian slave-girls was in order.

She reached Morgan's office just as the first police cruiser slid to a halt outside the building, its flickering red-and-blue lights casting alternate shadows on the wall of the small room. More cruisers blared in and swung around, forming a cordon across the road and the plaza outside the Planet Express offices. Leela ignored them, intent on the key. They wouldn't be able to stop her, or even find her. She paused at the desk. Which drawer had Proctor said? Third on the right? She opened the drawer and found it empty apart from three neatly aligned pencils.

“This is the New New York Police Department, we have you surrounded.”

Leela cocked her head toward the window. It was... what was his name, Smithy or something? They always put him on the loudspeaker for some reason. Maybe he was the only one able to use it.

“Send out the unformants one at a time and no harm will come to you. You have ten minutes to comply.”

“Fat chance,” Leela murmured as she pulled the drawers open. Third down on the left? She slid her hand into the drawer and was immediately rewarded with a feeling of cold metal and plastic. She retrieved an old mechanical key. “Looks like I'm not the only one who likes the simple things. Well... liked, I guess.”

A picture of Fry and the bureaucrat stood on the desk, obviously several years old; they looked happy together. Leela picked up the picture and stared at it for a moment, then ran her finger down the image of Fry's face with a faint smile. Then she tossed the picture over her shoulder, drew her pistol and walked to the window.

There were ten or twelve cruisers outside, all with their lights still flashing, with dozens of armoured police milling aimlessly between between them. With deliberate lack of haste Leela drew an aim on the nearest car and let off two shots at the lights, smashing them both and sending the cops diving for cover under their vehicles. She backed away from the window with a satisfied chuckle, content to let the police make a little mess for the others downstairs while she made her escape.

Leela paused and picked up the photo again. The glass was cracked and splintered easily from the frame, leaving a delicate hole over Fry's face.

“Screwing up your life was fun, Fry. You know what? I might even leave you this way.” Leela ran her fingers over the picture. A lazy smile creased her lips as she thought about the new revenge she'd have on Fry, the years of torture that would replace simple death. “It's the least you owe me.”

The picture slipped from her hands again and crunched against the floor. Leela twirled the key around her fingers and started to whistle as she left the office, just as the first badly aimed gas grenade thumped against the wall below the window.
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