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Author Topic: The Suck  (Read 516 times)
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Bending Unit
« on: 03-11-2008 20:18 »
« Last Edit on: 03-11-2008 20:18 »

Alright, guys. This is the fic I've been working on since I've joined the community. I'm very proud of it thus far, and hope you all enjoy it.
"Five minutes. I'll put ten on it."

Leela reached into her purse, which was sat on the floor beside her chair, and pulled out a ten dollar Nixonbuck bill. She slid it across the table in Fry's direction with a determined stare.

"Come on, are you kidding me?" Fry snorted. "He never comes out here that quickly. And he always falls asleep at least once on his way. I see your ten..." Fry pulled out his wallet and began to rifle through. "and raise you ten--no, five--hm, don't have one of those either...come on, at least a dollar..." he shuffled through the different slips of paper with more urgency and a hint of worry. After a few more seconds, he stopped abruptly and pulled something out. "I see your ten and raise you a coupon for one free snout sandwich with the purchase of a Snout Supreme meal at Big Kloršau's House of Entrails." He slapped it down on top of the tenner with the same sort of confidence as if he were putting a hundred dollars on this wager. He sat back and gave a self-satisfied grin, while Leela did not look one bit impressed. She started to protest when Amy walked in from the outside, purse over shoulder.

"'Morning, guys." she greeted. When she arrived at the table, she took notice of the snall promissory note and coupon pile. "What's going on here?" Leela turned to face her only female co-worker.

"We're placing bets on how long it takes for the Professor to come out here and greet us with" Leela cleared her throat and deepened her voice in order to do a somewhat accurate mockery of their boss. "'good news, everyone!'"

"Oooh!" Amy squealed and reached into her purse, producing a twenty dollar bill. "Count me in. He'll be out here in less than two minutes." she predicted without much thought. Leela and Fry exchanged a look and smirk that seemed to say "What a sucker." All the while, Bender sat across the table with his feet on the table, smoking a cigar.

"Count me in also. I am putting down no money and making no prognostications, but reserve the right to take the money when all of you are wrong." He took a pull and quickly blew the smoke back out. "Maybe even if one of you are right." Just then, the sound of footsteps approaching could be heard. Amy grinned from ear to ear at the thought of winning the bet while the other gamblers looked cautiously in the direction the footsteps were coming from. Hermes came into view, binder in tow, and made his way to a blank spot of the table's edge. Simultaneously, Amy's face fell and the others cheered silently to themselves. Hermes greeted the group with a terse "good morning." It wasn't like him to come out here without Professor Farnsworth.

"Where's the Professor?" Amy asked with a hint of concern, but mostly out of annoyance.

"The Professor is locked up in his tower, for what reason, I cannot say." Hermes quickly replied.

"Is he alright up there?"

"I cannot say!" Hermes barked. Sensing that he was entirely too hostile with his reply, he cleared his throat and took a more congenial approach. "But I have come out here to brief you on your next two deliveries, which you will embark on in three days' time." He opened the binder and took out some sheets of paper. "Now, these missions are extraordinary tasks..."

"In what way?" Leela interrupted, narrowing her eye slightly as she spoke. The missions they went on regularly were considered extraordinary by anybody else's definitions, and she wanted to hear what his definition was.

"Well, they're dangerous..."


"...the cargo is of life-saving importance..."


"...the transport and execution is potentially deadly..."

Leela gasped and feigned shock. "Are you serious?"

"I'm afraid so." Hermes replied flatly.

Leela folded her arms. "I knew you were being serious. I was being facetious." Hermes sighed.

"Will you stop goofin'? This is serious business!" he chided as he took a page from the sheets already on the table and held it up to a blackboard behind him. The blackboard seemed to read the information off the page and blow up the image to fill the surface. Hermes walked over and slid his index fingers around the corners, so as to resize the text in a readable way. He turned around to his underlings. "First, you will be off to the planet Astaedan to deliver some basic living supplies. Textiles, assorted produce, that sort of thing."

"A grocery run?" asked an exasperated Bender. "Pretty soon we'll be delivering piz--" His rant was cut short by accidental ingestion of his cigar. Bender stood with his hands around where his neck would be and made gagging sputters. Fry balled his fist and hammered Bender's backside to dislodge the tube of tobacco, which eventually came out and rolled across the floor, extinguished. "Thanks, buddy." he said in a strained wheeze.

"Moving on," Hermes seethed as he pointed at the document displayed on the board, which contained an image of a spherical object - presumably the aforementioned planet - pockmarked with holes.

"Whoa, is that the Swiss cheese planet I've heard so much about?" Fry wondered aloud.

"There's no such thing as a Swiss cheese planet." Leela placated. "At least not since the Honeybaked Ham and French Bread planets were destroyed along with it by an army of bloodthirsty space picnickers."

Hermes ignored the exchange between his underlings and continued to lay out the mission plan. "Here's the thing, you won't be landing on the surface. You'll need to make your way to the planet's core, which is just as hot, if not hotter than that Earth's core, and that's what the holes are for. It's up to you lot to make sure the cargo doesn't melt or burn on the way."

"Spleesh!" Amy exclaimed in one of her Martian valley girl-isms. "Seems like it'd just be easier to, you know, position the carg--"

"BUT WAIT! There's more!" Hermes interrupted with a self-satisfied smile, holding up another sheet of paper to the scanboard. "After this, you'll be making your way to Wandera 5, a wandering planet that is in danger of being ripped to shreds by not one, but two black holes!" The document was a chart of said planet's movement through its local area, showing its proximity to the black holes, which were close together but far enough away from each other for there to be no interaction. "This is the situation. Wandera is a planet not too unlike our own. It has many forms of life, although how they've managed to flourish after billions of years without sun is beyond me. If the planet moves on unaided, one black hole or the other will certainly gobble it up like a delicious maraschino cherry."  Hermes licked his lips, and then turned back around to the scanboard. He made a swirling motion with his finger against the board, which made the image flip over to display two objects. "This is where you come in. Later on this afternoon, you'll need to make a trip up to Mars to pick up this rig..." He pointed to an image of a cylindrical module on the board. "...that will help you install this rocket on a landing site on the planet." He then pointed to an image of a wide booster rocket. "And that will in turn help them move their world away from destruction. Now, I need you all to huddle around the table while I show you this last document."

"Why?" Fry quizzed. "Can't you just stick it up o--"

"Who's giving this presentation, you or me?! Now look!" Hermes demanded, causing Fry to cringe like Hermes' skin were being eaten away. The other participants winced at the loud reaction, but complied. Hermes slid the paper - which seemed to display a diagram of the two devices - toward the center of the table. When everyone was good and hunched over, he began spouting off some vacuous prattle about the subject in question which he wasn't even sure was making sense. In the middle of speaking, he covertly slid his hand behind himself and made a waving motion.

Professor Farnsworth stood a few feet inside the doorway of the lounge, out of view of the conference table. He waited on the signal from Hermes, which was to be given when everyone was distracted so he could dispose of this monstrosity without detection. When the time was right, the signal was given, and the Professor made his way out into the conference room along the wall furthest from the table. The plan was simple; place the box into the disposal bay of the ship, and when the crew did a routine garbage dump in space, it would be out of his hair forever. Why work hard to destroy the box when you can half-ass it and dump it indiscriminately somewhere in the backwaters of outerspace?

The Professor didn't make it far. All of the crew were more or less bored into a coma by Hermes' droning about the components of the equipment they'd have to use. Robots can't lapse into comas, but Bender was so disinterested that permanent self-deactivation seemed like an enticing option. His internal scanners searched the room for other things to fixate himself on without lifting his eyes from the presentation. The only other form of life in the room that he could pick up was along the wall towards the lounge. It was big, and moving languidly toward the ship. Bender decided he had to check this out, and so looked in the direction of the signatures he was picking up. Hermes, who had been keeping his eye on each of the crew members, reacted.

"Uh, don't look over there!" he stammered.

"Hey, it's Professor Egghead! And he's got a box!" Bender noted loudly. Everyone that was gathered around the table snapped out of their funk and peered over against the wall where the Professor was standing. They clamored amongst themselves for a brief moment, remembering the last time before Bender ordered "Get him!"

"Uh-oh. I'd better cheese it." Farnsworth advised himself before turning around and lurching back towards the lounge. The crew had gotten up quickly from their seats to give chase, with Hermes trying to catch up to find a way to stop them. After a few steps, Bender stopped and turned around, setting his eyes on the table where the money and coupon from the earlier wagers had been laid down. He crept back over to collect the fortune and stuff it in his compartment, chuckling to himself at another fine swindle he had pulled off, however small it may have been.

Farnsworth made his way into the lounge and kept on as fast as he could to no avail, as his employees were closing in on him. In a failed attempt to make himself move faster, he heard, as well as felt, a crack in his lower leg. The Professor grunted and fell over on his front, directly on top of the box. He grunted again as his chin hit the tiled floor. "I think I've got a boo-boo."

Not a second after the Professor's crashdown, the gang caught up to him and collectively gasped at their boss' position.

"Gilligan's down!" Fry squeaked. Leela was quick to help him up.

"Are you alright, Professor?" she asked in urgent concern, grabbing his hand as he stepped back up to his hunched position.

"Why yes, I suppose it's nothing more than...a little..." Farnsworth trailed off as he brushed himself down. He peered down at the spot where he had fallen. The box was gone. "Oh, now look what you've done!"

Bender stepped into the room just in time to heard the Professors chidings. He, along with everyone else, looked at the floor. "I don't know, what did we do?"

Farnsworth faced the group with a blank look. "That's a good question."

Judging by the leaf-stripped trees and dull sky in which the sun appeared as a fuzzy, pale, yellow disc, it appeared as if winter had a firm grip on Greensboro, North Carolina. Appearances could be quite deceiving, for the temperature was a lukewarm 58 degrees Farenheit. Conditions such as these were surprisingly common for this area, even in the dead of the season. Even so, people traversing the streets were suited up as if it were actually frigid out, some of them extremely so. The feeling of any temperature below 75 degrees made a lot of these people wince; put that number below 60 and they may as well be at the North Pole.

Zachary Brisbane relished this type of weather. Amused by the overreaction of the populace he passed by, he strolled down the street with purpose, dressed in only a yellow t-shirt, blue jeans, and black boots with a messenger bag draped across his midsection. Headphones were also part of his usual get-up, as was the case today. As he walked down the street, he mouthed the words to his anthem of choice, "Grass" by Animal Collective. The jaunty melody gave him an extra spring in his step and a small grin on his stubbly face.

I was walking on feet just like my fathers
And my knees were trying to reach you at your mothers
'cause my nose was screaming that you smelled like a lover
But my hands were happy to treat you like a brother

We do the dance up on the plains
Then I shake your shoulders
You push me down into the grains
Who rubs our noses in the night? We do, we do.

The series of clipped screams and cymbal-bashing that comprise the chorus made Zach skip high off the ground with each punctuation. Across the street, a blonde, redneck-looking woman gave a strange look in his direction. He happened to catch it about three-quarters of the way through the chorus. He stopped his jumping for joy and felt slightly embarrassed at himself before shrugging it off and continuing to enjoy his walk.

I've been into the plants and simple treasures and
I sew patches on pants and I get pleasure
And I dont make particular plans cause they dont matter
If you keep on foolin' in bed with my sleeping patterns...

Zach pushed through the door of Bestway, his neighborhood market, and pushed the headphones down around his neck. "Hey, man," the cashier at one of the checkout counters greeted. Zach flashed a quick grin and put up his hand in a casual wave as he made his way off to the right, toward the coolers with soda in them. The shop was more or less devoid of people and mundanely decorated with wood panelling, and the fluorescent lighting only served to enhance the general ugliness of the place. Zach arrived at the cooler and stooped down to look through the bottles of Pepsi. He had brought home bottles of the stuff from here that had passed the expiration date on more than one occasion, and there was no way he was going to watch the Super Bowl drinking flat soda. As he dug towards the back of the shelf, he thought he had spotted a bottle with a far off enough expiration and began to take it when he noticed a box sitting behind it for no apparent reason. The sides and edges looked as if it had been previously stomped in, and the lid wasn't quite on right. Not thinking too much about it, Zach flipped open the flaps and felt around to see what was inside. At first touch, he couldn't feel any part of the inside, so he tried to feel further down inside. Still, nothing. Deciding this was a combination of a bad idea and a waste of time, Zach began to pull his arm back and get out of the cooler, but he was now being pulled in against his will. He tried to jerk back quickly, but this resulted in a sort of windowshade effect as he was quickly sucked all the way into the box, giving a surprised yelp. As a last-ditch effort, he tried to grab the side of the box but ended up somehow pulling it inside with him.

The cashier was staring off into space, facing away from the cooler when he heard Zach's yelp, and spun around casually. No sign of his potential customer. The clerk turned back around to his business, thinking the noise could have been anything.

Starship Captain
« Reply #1 on: 03-11-2008 20:45 »

Nice characterization, though some phrases were a bit uncharacteristic, though I'm not really good at constructive criticism in writing so I'll leave it to the professionals.

Bending Unit
« Reply #2 on: 03-11-2008 20:48 »

I can see why you'd say that. But thanks for the criticism anyway.  smile

Urban Legend
« Reply #3 on: 03-11-2008 21:26 »

A good first effort.  I have to agree with Demeter, though.  Some of the characters' lines were off.  An example would be Hermes' use of the word 'cannot'.  It doesn't work with the Jamaican accent.  Also, "cheese it!" is reserved for Bender.  You might consider getting yourself a beta reader.  (They're worth their weight in positronium).

Anyway, nice job.  I look forward to seeing more!

Bending Unit
« Reply #4 on: 03-11-2008 21:47 »

I suppose I can always go back and fix these expressions, should I find good substitutes, but I just used what felt natural. I'll keep this in mind for the future, though. Thanks.  smile
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #5 on: 03-11-2008 22:22 »

Not a bad start, my main issues were with the dialogue that was already mentioned (the "Gilligan's down!" line also felt out of place, but maybe it's because I've never watched much Gilligan's Island. Just felt a little awkward).

On more of a premise-level, I'm typically not a fan of fic's where "avearage Joe/author insert" is put into the year 3000, or fics that reference songs (Xanfor's fic being a notable exception), but I liked your other fic and the song is actually of fairly good taste (and not Evanescence...) so I'll stick around for more.  smile

Bending Unit
« Reply #6 on: 03-12-2008 05:46 »

Thanks, Sine Wave. I know a few things may seem out of place here or there, but you will all come to expect quality writing (and quality music) from me. Trust me, and I'll take you places with this.  smile

Bending Unit
« Reply #7 on: 03-12-2008 18:24 »

Looking good so far. A different paraboxes story, eh? And why not; much like the post-BBS story, it's a rare beast, and this looks set to make as big a splash at Parallel Lives. Good luck!  smile

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

- Justice Snoop Dogg, Into the Wild Green Yonder

Bending Unit
« Reply #8 on: 03-12-2008 19:52 »

Thank you for the kind words! If this can come off 25% as good as Parallel Lives, I'll consider this a great success.

Bending Unit
« Reply #9 on: 03-21-2008 10:13 »
« Last Edit on: 03-21-2008 10:13 »

Time for part two, y'all.

Darkness. Sparks and flashes. Falling sideways. Can't stop. Stomach churning. Noise. Awful noise. No control. Make it stop. Make it--


Zach landed hard on his right shoulder onto the tiled floor. As if to add insult to injury, the box he had been sucked into had come out from behind him and fell directly on his head. He sprung up to his feet and tried to make sense of what just happened. A cursory look around told him that he was in a place he'd never been before. Not that his surroundings were particularly threatening or anything, in fact, it appeared he had landed in somesort of lounge, as there was a couch and a television situated adjacent to each other at the far end of the room. Between the two objects was a window, and when he first took notice of its presence he could have sworn that he saw something fly by, something much bigger than any bird he'd ever seen. He stepped cautiously over to the window and peered out.

Hovering cars. Spaceships zooming about. Random tubes criscrossing the skyline. What the hell is this? he thought. His mind had been blown wide open by these sights. He struggled to make the connections between the events of the past few moments, but could not. He didn't know whether or not to yell out for help or not. And also, something else...

He was going to throw up.

Zach's awkward and hurried movement through wherever he had just come from had messed with his senses just so, and this was the only way his body could react. The nausea struck him like a 50 foot wave engulfing a boat made out of balsa wood, and with little time to react, he rushed over to the nearest thing that looked like a garbage can and began to hurl.

Professor Farnsworth paced quickly and frantically - or as much so as a 160 year-old man can - in front of the conference table while his employees looked on.

"I don't understand why you had to go and make another science-defying box." Leela said disapprovingly. "You remember what happened the last time..."

"Yes, mother, I remember what happened." Farnsworth snapped back. "Uh...it was something about you dying your hair red, right?" The cyclops rolled her eye in disgust of her feeble-minded boss.

"So why make another one?" asked Fry.

"I didn't do it on purpose! Early this morning, I was up in the lab running some tests on a few leftover chronitons I'd found in my drawer of wires." The Professor slipped off into a geriatric reverie. "Ah, my beautiful assorted lengths of wire..."

"Professor! Chronitons!" reminded Leela impatiently.

"Hwa? Oh, yes. Anyway, there I was with the chronitons. I was walking across the room with them in a petri dish, and I was near the box-making machine when I just kinda...stroked off. The next thing I knew, the building was rumbling, I was on the floor, and another one of those boxes was beside me. I tried to take a peek inside to see what it was, but it literally tried to suck me inside! Luckily, my being a stubborn old geezer paid off, and I won the tug of war to keep my beautiful body! "The Professor gestured up and down his frail, wizened frame. The gathered employees exchanged a look. "I knew this could be far more dangerous than the last box-tastrophe we had, so I decided it was best to dispose of this without any of you knowing, which is why I had Hermes distract you. A lot of good that did." He directed a peeved gaze toward the bureaucrat. "Can't you make anything interesting, you oaf?" Hermes turned and spoke with indignation.

"Professor, I did the best I could with such short notice and the material you ga--" In mid-sentence, Farnsworth nodded off with ferocious snoring. Fry also collapsed into slumber, which garnered him a sharp elbow jab from Leela. Hermes shook the old man by his shoulders to wake him.

"You'll never steal my brain, Wernstrom! It's covered in spikes!" he cried out as he rose from a dream. He looked around, disoriented. "What? Oh, right. The box. When I fell on it, that suction must have caused the box to collapse in on itself. There's no telling where it could have gone!" he worried. "It could be anywhere in the universe, anywhere in any other universe, or, dare I say it, anywhere...in time." An ominous expression crossed his face. Everyone around the table gasped slightly.

"Eep!" Fry spurted, then covered his mouth in embarrassment.

"If that box ever finds its way back here, it could bring with it a monstrous and powerful force so deadly it will doom the entire planet!" Just then, a thud and grunt emanated from the lounge. "Ah, there it is." Farnsworth delightedly reacted.  Everyone around the table looked cautiously in the direction of the lab, and then back at each other. Finally, Fry stood up.

"Come on, guys. It's not everyday that stuff just lands in here without rhyme or reason." he said as he began to make his way toward the origin of the sound. Leela gave an annoyed sigh.

"Hold it, Fry. If we're going to go in there..." She grabbed a piece of pipe that had been under the table, for whatever reason, and hit it lightly against her opposite palm. "...we're going in prepared." She made her way up to Fry and walked alongside him, and the Professor, Bender, Amy, and Hermes followed suit. As they got closer to the door of the lounge, they heard retching noises emanating from beyond it, which caused them to pause temporarily in their tracks.

"A...vomit monster?" Fry winced. This query drew a disgusted vocalization from Amy.

"Will you pathetic fleshsacks listen to yourselves?" Bender asked in disgust as he raised his hands up to his mouth-area in mock fear. "Oh, the vomit monster's gonna puke all over me and my clothing! I'll be socially inept forever!" Leela had heard enough.

"It's not a vomit monster, okay?" Everyone turned their attentions to her as if they expected her to weigh in on what she thought the being was. "I have no idea what it could be, so let's find out." She began a determined stride toward the door, but Fry made sure he edged his way slightly ahead of her as before, partly out of curiosity, partly out of a desire to protect his friend/co-worker/#1 crush, but mostly out of hoping that his attempt to take the lead and potentially protect her would earn him brownie points in her book.

After his stomach had expunged the last of the contents from itself - which hadn't been much as he had a moderately-sized breakfast early in the day - Zach's legs felt like jelly underneath him which forced him to collapse onto his knees and hands. Not feeling like taking up the animal position just now, he shifted his weight onto his ass and leaned up against the garbage can. He blinked hard and rubbed his eyes, now drained of energy from the strength it took vomit. As he was collecting himself on the floor, he heard voices from beyond the opening to the left of him. Then footsteps. Zach's mind ran rampant with thoughts of what could happen next.  Anyone - indeed, anything - could be coming toward him right now. Hell, they could have brought him here on purpose for any number of reasons - for some sort of experiment, for some sort of devious plot against a certain group of people, for no other reason than to kill him. Anything was possible, he had just been sucked into this place by a box in the back of a soda cooler, for crying out loud. And all he wanted was a Pepsi. Just one Pepsi.

Zach shut his eyes tightly as he heard the footsteps get closer. He wasn't feeling strong enough, clever enough or familiar enough with his surroundings to try and pull off some sort of defense. He just sat there, eyes shut, awaiting whatever came to him. He heard the footsteps enter the room and stop near him, and then voices gasping lightly, as well as the sound of something metal hitting the floor faintly. After not feeling any signs of an attack on his body, Zach opened his eyes not knowing what to expect.

His eyes were first laid on Fry, who was looking at him quizzically. The sight of Fry put Zach slightly at ease knowing there was an unthreatening, casually-dressed male human in the room. As he panned right, he took notice of Leela, who was looking equal parts miffed, curious, worried, and surprised. Zach was bewildered and startled at the sight of this purple-haired, female cyclops, as well as something else his brain couldn't wrap itself around. His bewilderment didn't end there as he moved on to Bender, who glared menacingly at Zach, who'd never seen a robot quite like this before, either. Bender's gaze made Zach increasingly uncomfortable, so he shifted his gaze further to the right, and Farnsworth came into view with a blank look on his face, whom Zach immediately established within himself as the oldest-looking person he had ever seen. He continued to look over and sighted Amy, and momentarily appreciated the cuteness of this wacky-haired Asian-looking girl, before finally seeing Hermes, the grumpiest-looking Rastafarian he had ever seen. Zach looked back and forth between them all, and they all looked back at both he and the box, which was just a few inches off to his side. He was completely speechless; he had never seen a group of people/things quite like this before.

"See, you got all fraidy-cat for nothing. It's just another skintube." Bender observed with righteousness, which quickly became a groan of disapproval as he threw his arms up in the air. "Aw, crap! Another skintube! The place is already crawling with you inferior beings!" he complained as he left the room. Up to that point, all attentions had been on him, but as he disappeared out of sight, the five-on-one gawping match continued. Fry finally spoke up.

"Bender was right. It's a human being! Of course! I wonder if it's some sort of caveman, though," Fry mused, ignorant of the fact the Zach obviously looked like someone from the same general time period as he. Fry crouched down and got closer to Zach, until their faces were just inches apart. "Hellllllllllllooooooooo!" Fry said loudly as he waved exaggeratedly.

"Fry..." Leela protested with a annoyed look. Fry turned around and put a finger to his lips.

"Shhhh! I've got this!" he assured, and turned back around to Zach. "Can you understaaaaaaand meeeeeeee?"

"I can speak English just fine, thanks!" Zach replied with the venom of someone who'd just had his intelligence insulted. Fry jumped, let out a small shriek, and ran over to cower behind Farnsworth.

"It's gonna hurt me with its primitive fighting style!" Fry feared.

Zach recomposed himself, now somewhat confident that these people were not going to hurt him, he decided to start asking questions. "Where am I?"

The group, with the exception of the Professor, looked amongst each other, not know quite how to answer the question as they didn't know quite where this boy had come from. Farnsworth suddenly came to life as he offered up an explanation.

"Why, I'm Professor Hubert Farnsworth, and you're in my employee lounge full of all the luxurious amenities you could ever hope to imagine." he said proudly.

Zach looked past the group at the couch and television. Being a somewhat lazy, television-loving young man, he decided to not argue with this. "Okay, that sounds impressive. But where is this place?"

"Well, it's in the building of my very successful delivery business, Planet Express!" Farnsworth elaborated, not to Zach's liking, who furrowed his brow slightly. Leela noticed this and intervened.

"Professor, I think he wants to know where he is on this planet." she explained, then stated to Zach in an official yet pleasant manner. "You're in New New York City, New New York State, Planet Earth."

"Hm." Zach mumbled as the gears began to grind in his brain. "I'm in New York."

"No," Fry corrected, "you're in New New York. The name changed when the city was destroyed twice in the...24th century, was it?" Fry looked around his co-workers for approval, who nodded. To say that Zach looked incredulous after hearing this would be an understatement.

"So you're saying that not only have I travelled to a different place on earth, but I'm also now in the 25th, 26th century or something?!"

"Why, heavens no," Farnsworth said in a calming manner, shaking his head. "you've arrived in the year 3004!"

Zach once again was rendered speechless. He had been transported to a different place almost 1000 years in the future against his will. He felt a rush of adrenaline in his body, possibly from his brain trying to wake up from what it perceived was a dream. Panic and anxiety set in as he displayed a beyond-horrified look on his face, and his mind was going a light-year per minute trying to work out the mechanics of this fateful mistake. When he couldn't wrap his logic around the situation, there was only one thing he could possibly think to ask.

"Why did you bring me here?"

Zach was sat at the conference table, a cloudier version of the stunned expression he gained when learning of his current situation now blanketing his face. The entire crew was gathered around the table, listening to the Professor explain the circumstances regarding Zach's unfortunate trip into their time. The fact that he'd been dumped here was more than mind-blowing enough; listening to the science behind it all and trying to believe it really exists was another challenge altogether. He replayed the events over and over and over again in his head, and nothing computed despite it being explained to him in complicated terms. Zach was overwhelmed to the point of numbness as he stared at an indefinite point far off in front of him, through Fry's left eye. Fry was visibly a little freaked out by the way he seemed to be glaring at him, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. Every other Planet Express staffer shifted their glances equally between each other, Zach, and the Professor as he spoke.

"...and when the box collapsed on itself, there's no telling how it could have altered the parameters under which it operated."

"Not that you really knew how it worked in the first place." Bender grumbled.

"Shut up! I knew exactly what I was doing!" The Professor barked back, his gaze shifting from annoyance to his classic blank/dumbfounded gaze. "Now, what was I doing?"

"The box." Leela reminded.

"Ah, yes. The box." The Professor smiled, and then sternly followed-up, "You'll never see home again." With this statement, Zach's jaw dropped so far it nearly hit the surface of the table. "Unless..." Farnsworth rebounded, "I can go back through my work and potentially clarify the parameters to the point where I can send you back to the same general time period. I must warn you, it's a process that could take months, at least."

The scare that the thought of being trapped in the 31st century brought shook Zach out of his numbness enough to make his mental faculties of use to him again. "So, you're telling me I'm stuck here until you find a solution?" he asked with a hint of incredulity. He looked over at the box that was responsible for this connundrum, wondering "And what if I were to just...open this thing and step into it, thinking I'd go right back to where I was?"

"The conditions of the gateway in that box are extremely unstable." The Professor warned. "If you were to enter it, there's no guarantee that you'd go back to the precise moment you disappeared. Or even that you'd get there in one piece. Frankly, it's amazing that you came through it unscathed."

Zach's resolve wilted as he thought over everything that Farnsworth had said. He wanted to hop in the box and try in vain to make his way back home, consequences be damned. However, he valued his life enough to not knowingly risk it. Reason had won over instinct, a decision that physically manifested itself in the form of Zach slouching back in his seat. "So that's it, then." he sighed as he put a hand to his eyes, moving it back through his forehead and hair.

"Well," Leela spoke before any more tension could set in. "now that you're stuck with us, could you at least do us the favor of telling us who you are?" Zach decided it was time to face up to the situation, and sat up in his seat to engage his counterparts.

"My name is Zachary Brisbane. Everyone just calls me Zach, though. I'm from Greensboro, North Carolina." he stated soberly. He felt like he was forgetting something that should go on to the end of that...oh yeah, the time issue. "I came from the year 2008." At the sound of this, Fry's eyes lit up.

"No way!" Fry exclaimed. "I'm from that past, too! I came from 1999!" Zach's demeanor lightened up, even if he was confused by this statement.

"Oh. So you got gobbled up by a box, too?" Zach asked.

"Pfffft! Come on. I'm not that careless." Fry dismissed. "I accidentally froze myself in a cryogenics lab for 1000 years." He folded his arms and put on a smug look as Leela threw a satiated look in his direction. Zach's expression wasn't far off.

"Anyway, who are all of you?" Zach inquired. Before any of the human crew could introduce themselves, Bender popped straight up from his seat and turned to his colleagues.

"Uh, I'll handle this one." he said, his voice dripping with overconfidence. He turned his attentions to Zach. "I'm Bender, the greatest entity in this building, in New New York, and probably the entire universe. No, wait. Definitely the entire universe. And if you come to question this, I will strike you down with a vengeance!" To emphasize his point, he leaned over the table and shook a fist at Zach, who winced slightly. Bender then walked over to a spot directly behind where Fry was sitting. "This is my pet, Fry. He's the most pathetic, idiotic, low-life human I've ever met. And that's why I love 'im!"

"And don't you forget it!" Fry pointed and exclaimed as Bender ruffled his hair. Bender then moved over to behind Leela.

"Leela here is an alright chick, but she's what you humans call "on the rag" constantly and will beat you stupid if you don't do everything she says." Before Bender could take notice, Leela grabbed his head, twisted it off, and tossed it into the nearby trashcan. The receptacle tipped over from the momentum of the throw, causing Bender's head to roll back toward the table before stopping at Leela's feet. She peered down, scowling,  to address the disembodied robo-cranium.

"Not everything I say, just most things you end up doing." She looked back up with the same expression at Zach but greeted with a polite intonation, "It's nice to meet you, Zach." He attempted what he thought was a smile, but ended up looking like anything but. Bender's head still lay on the floor.

"Well, that sapped my motivation levels for taking on this task, so without further adieu," He rolled his head to look over in the direction of Amy, Hermes, and the Professor. "Tootsie-ass, Tight-wad, and Oldy-face." Amy and Hermes exhibited looks of perturbedness, but acknowledged Zach with a "yo" and a nod, respectively. Farnsworth stood up from his large, cushy chair.

"Thank you, Bender, for the warm and hospitable introductions." By now, Bender's body had reattached his head and sat back down in his place. He looked smugly at the Professor and pointed at him as if to say "no problem." "Zachary, I give you my word that I will work tirelessly on figuring out and controlling the time-travel parameters in that box. Again, you could be stuck here for quite a long while."

Zach's mind was slowly acclimatizing to his condition, but still felt so lost. Next question on the list. "What do I do 'til then?"

Hermes leered across the table. "Oh, we've got ways of...employing you." he said menacingly. Farnsworth lit up.

"Why yes, we could put you to good use as an extra hand on board the ship. Especially with the deliveries we have coming up! Wonderful idea!"

The fog of confusion that was starting lift from Zach's being suddenly crept back in. "Ship?" he asked with a creak in his voice. Leela gestured toward the railing overlooking the hangar.

"Yes, a ship." she answered matter-of-factly, and pointed down into the hangar. "That ship." Zach looked in the direction of pointing and laid eyes on the Planet Express ship. To say he couldn't believe his eyes was a massive understatement. He rushed over to the railing to get a better view of the monolithic vehicle. His eyes poured over every detail of the ship that he could see. How the hell did he miss this on the way to the conference table? Holy crap, he thought, I really am in the future.

Hermes finally intervened in Zach's reverie. "Alright, that's enough of ya' gawkin'!" The entire populace of the immediate area spun around to attend to him. "Give the boy a tour of the place and have him meet me in my office afterwards." His face brightened brightened exponentially. "We have much paperwork to embark on." Hermes strolled off in the direction of his office as the Professor grabbed the box from the table and made his way to the lab.

"And off I go to solve this quandry!" he shouted. "I will not rest until I've figured every last equation, fused every last atom, mixed ev--" was what he managed to get out before one of his bouts of narcolepsy sunk in. Farnsworth stood there, fast asleep with his head tilted back, box firmly in hands. The echo of his snore filled the entire space. Zach, who had been at ease that someone cared about his problem and might be in a position to solve it, sunk back into the malaise he was previously in. He turned to Fry.

"I'm never going back home, am I?"

Bending Unit
« Reply #10 on: 03-22-2008 11:19 »

A shot of the man himself:

Illustrated scenes coming soon!

Bending Unit
« Reply #11 on: 03-22-2008 22:58 »
« Last Edit on: 03-22-2008 22:58 »

Nice start... I am not in a position to debate about the main characters, but I like that you are bringing the cultures and geography of different parts of Earth people don't know in the TV series (e.g. North Carolina).  These places may be on Earth but they also evolved their own cultures between 2000 and 3000, so all the interesting changes are not off world... and maybe the man himself will see how  the culture of North Carolina may have changed over the centuries and they way New New Yorkers perceive his part of the world.  Also like the shot of the man himself. 

Bending Unit
« Reply #12 on: 03-24-2008 06:22 »

Thanks, FM.  smile
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