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Author Topic: Yet another newbie posting fic.... (and maybe eventually some art)  (Read 9553 times)
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Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #120 on: 09-12-2005 02:37 »
« Last Edit on: 09-12-2005 02:37 »

Originally posted by JBERGES:
Who else could seamlessly move from a dramatic interrogation about rape to Bender sarcastically narrating from a tree in under a page?!   

I agree that was a good way to be able to change the seriousness of the conversation... Munda's questions may place doubt in Leela's mind that maybe Alkazar did take certain advantages while Leela was unconscious (he was copping a feel when she woke up); Bender's standing guard over Leela to protect her from herself will not only infuriate her, but make her realize just how blessed she is to have the friends that she has.

As for Bender - we must remember that he met Fry and Leela at the same time; they all fled the Fate assignment Bureau Job Police together and they all accepted jobs for PE together - a future day Three Musketeers, so even though Leela grates Bender no end with her 'bossiness', she is as dear to him as Fry.  Bender wouldn't admit it, but Leela and Fry mean almost everything to him, so it's not out of canon for him to be supportive of Leela when she needs support.  Bender also knows that with Fry gone, Leela needs some insanity to keep her from being overly serious and analytical.

One other observation - Bender in reality is CLOSER to Leela because he had to wear an emotion chip that was connected to Leela.  He has felt what she has felt - anger, joy, happiness, frustration, helplessness - he has never had that kind of connection with Fry.  It makes sense that Bender would step in to protect her from herself (Leela rarely needs protecting, and only Bender has the strength to be able to subdue Leela - even then it's a close match).

Damned!   My first TOTP Dance!


Bending Unit
« Reply #121 on: 09-15-2005 18:04 »

Wow, fantastic and long update Shiny. You and Venus are keeping the poor fanfic section alive, which I very much appreciate. (Looks around guiltily)

So you're older than me... older than me. Wowsers. Well, I suppose that explains the writing brilliance (well, you know, one of the factors anyway.) I will try to resist feeling intimidated. (Ahh! Run away!)

Originally posted by Shiny:

  Maybe she was in another coma.

Heh, sorry. I can't help but find that amusing. Poor poor Leela. Love the way you're bringing back all those characters.
Nice fun intro after the horrible crushing.
He was speaking to someone.  “...should come around any ti - ah, there she is.  Hello, Leela.  How do you feel?”  His voice was blandly pleasant - as always - and his smile was pleasantly bland. “How many  fingers am I holding up?”

You manage  to fit in so much awesomeness in such a small space. I love reading fics where throwaway sentences aren't. Great reversal of bland/pleasant, works awesome. Do you find it as weird to write half heard phrases as I do?
“Wrong!” Bender crowed.   “It’s three!  Puny human calculations.  The superior robot mind wins another round!”  He got up and started to dance in place.


in khaki pants and a sweater the color of oatmeal.

I loved all the descriptions. This one suits Adlai so well. Makes me want to smack him.

As always, characterization is fantastic. Adlai is perfect. I had no quibbles at all about Bender, although that is perhaps because of my tendency to wuss him up. He seemed acerbic and amusing to me. Oh, and I love him being protective of Leela. Poor woman needs a little protecting.

 “you apparently don’t qualify for more than lackey status in the World Domination Plan.” 

Squee! That's my role! (Or perhaps I will settle for being one member of the masses ruthlessly crushed. Choices, choices.)
pyloric caeca,

I refuse to look that up, but I enjoyed hearing Zoidberg say it. You know, in my head. What? Don't look at me like that!

“Stupid jerk.  And speaking of stupid jerks, thanks for coming, doc.  I’d pay you, but I’m constitutionally unable to not take advantage of a sucker.”
Too funny! You've reminded me why I like Bender so much! (And Futurama in general)
Scientists agree that's a very good word indeed!
Leela very nearly burst into tears. Shocked at her own volatility, she fought it.

Leela's got to be the only person who can be shocked by her volatility. Volitile is another excellent description too. Funny how people being nice to you can set you off. It's quite true to life though, and I enjoyed that.

Loved the capitalization of Tough Leela, and the reference to Master Fnog. All these connections you make really help solidify the Futurama-verse.

As others have said, I was quite struck by Leela repressing her emotions. Spawned a plot bunny in fact, but I've since forgotten it. Very telling about her character though.

Munda and Morris were well written, naturally, and their reactions, and Leela's reaction to them was perfect, by which
I mean it made my stomach twist. I'm very worried about Fry as well.

“Cool your ponytail, bright eye, it’s all taken care of -

Is that... Is that a Planet of the Apes reference, bright eye? :O

Love the idea of having a people tube in the basement. Makes good sense really, and of course it's so touching that it was Fry's idea now that he's AWOL. Loved the name "people tube" and I've actually borrowed it. I hope you don't mind. (And if you do, I can change it!)
“I stacked the towels in the refrigerator,” Munda added. 
Awesome! Great line.

He cracked his finger-pivots.  “Just like siphoning dark matter from a hospital ship.  Nothing to it.”
Again, great character line.
Great writing of Leela's trip through the tube. I could just feel that drop. Scary!

Tentacles are a lot stronger than jointed limbs, and I can be just as stubborn as you when I put my mind to it.”
I liked this, though I can't think of a real reason. I just did.

The rape conversation gave me chills. There was a rape-like loss of power in the squeezing scene which was very disturbing, and you magnified that feeling with the call back.
She didn’t want to go into how he’d fooled her by pretending to be the only other member of her “alien” species.  She didn’t ever want her parents to know about that. 
Perfect Leela characterization. You're giving me all sorts of ideas for my own writing, thanks!

“Adlai didn’t undress me,” Leela said, climbing into bed.  “He knew I’d have clobbered him if he tried.  Don’t worry, I recover fast.”

Great line in such a poignant, uneasy scene.
The tree limb was occupied.  “Lovely night in the sewers, ain’t it?” Bender said, puffing a cigar.  “Yep, this tree sure is comfortable.  Think I’ll just stay here for a while.”

Like everyone else, I loved that moment. Laughed loud enough to confuse my mom.

Liked Amy being the contortionist for the Professor, and love the term yoga-bo.
Copyright it. It'll make you money some day.

Kif was awesome, Nibbler's on the move and I'm intrigued to see where you go with this! Keep it up, Shiny! (Especially as it distracts people nicely from me!)

« Reply #122 on: 09-17-2005 17:32 »

Wow, Layla responded to my fic, and I was so distracted by life I didn't even see it....  :eek:

So you're older than me... older than me. Wowsers. Well, I suppose that explains the writing brilliance (well, you know, one of the factors anyway.) I will try to resist feeling intimidated.

Imagine how I feel, having taking (mumble mumble) years to get this way, faced with you and Venus (how old is JBerges, anyway?) and everyone being so so darn brilliant - right out of the starting gate, so to speak.

That's intimidation, baby.     :p

Thanks for the long awesome comments.  I was a little nervous about the Bender/Leela dynamic, but dang - he does have his sensitive moments, and I just thought Leela fainting into his arms would touch off a little anxiety about her.  Just two nights ago I was rewatching the Blernsball episode, and when Leela started to cry at the autograph session, Bender immediately ordered everyone out - no refunds, he said, but there was a long line of people outside the door who hadn't paid yet. Seems like that was a little bit sensitive, to me anyway.

I dunno, I just think Bender has a soft spot for Leela, the same way he did for that turtle - she shares his in-your-face 'tude and take-no-prisoners approach to life, I think she reminds him of himself enough that he can genuinely care about her. And, like I said earlier, "The Honking" influenced me a lot in the decision to go ahead and have him be solicitous (in an obnoxious and overbearing way, naturally   ;) ) of her health when she's really vulnerable.

But then, I didn't think he was out of character in "Devil's Hands," either.  So I've got the show on my side.  Swish!   :cool:

Thank you again, Layla! 

Starship Captain
« Reply #123 on: 09-19-2005 12:41 »

Nice work Shiny!

Like everyone else I really liked the part with Bender sitting in the tree. I can see it in my head! (Just imagine looking thru the window and seeing 2 glowing yellow eyes with scare pupils and the red tip of his cigar. Scary and cool!!!)

Keep up the good work!

Can’t wait to read the rest.
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #124 on: 09-19-2005 20:23 »

Originally posted by NIC2001:

Like everyone else I really liked the part with Bender sitting in the tree. I can see it in my head! (Just imagine looking thru the window and seeing 2 glowing yellow eyes with scare pupils and the red tip of his cigar. Scary and cool!!!)

Just wait until Bender goes into sleep mode and starts muttering 'Kill all humans, must kill all humans...'.  That should make Morris and Munda wonder; 'Just what the hell type of friends does Leela have?'.


Starship Captain
« Reply #125 on: 09-20-2005 10:21 »


Good one Ralph!

Urban Legend
« Reply #126 on: 09-20-2005 11:27 »
« Last Edit on: 09-20-2005 11:27 »

Originally posted by Shiny:
(how old is JBerges, anyway?
Who me?  Just turned 20 last month.  We can still be friends though, right?

[Leela]Bring Beer!![/Leela]   :p
Indigo Plateau

« Reply #127 on: 09-23-2005 08:48 »

Shiny! You're my favourite fanfic writer ever! *hugs*

Bending Unit
« Reply #128 on: 10-03-2005 13:16 »

Shiny my man (or woman, as the case may be) you don *damn* good work. Keep it up!  :)

« Reply #129 on: 10-08-2005 15:55 »

Your Stories totally rock |,,| I only just got the link for this thread and in the course of a few hours, I've read them all (Well, I was surfing the 'net and watching my Futurama DVD's and having food) Have you though about putting any of these of Fanfiction.net, becuase that way LOADS of people can see them cause they rock |,,|

Delivery Boy
« Reply #130 on: 10-08-2005 19:01 »

Welcome to PEEL Pazozo!  :)

If you like Shiny's fics, check out JBERGES, Layla and Venus, their writing is superb also. Take a look at soylentO too, his new fic looks like it's going places.

« Reply #131 on: 10-09-2005 05:18 »

Coolness, I think I just might! I read the ones of fanfic but I don't think I've read any as well written and good as yours, Shiny. I've gone a bit lost in stories, but have you done a follow up to 'The Sting' or am I just retarded?

« Reply #132 on: 10-22-2005 18:14 »

Er.  Pazozo, sorry for not answering your question - I guess I missed it the first time I read it - but since you're posting in Venus's thread I suppose you already know that "Sixteen Days" is her story, not mine (and a fine story it is, so thank you for mistaking me for her!).

Anyway, thanks for posting.  Thanks everyone for posting!   

Now I'm gonna post...(finally)...

**Caveat: there IS a moment in this bit that might bother the squeamish...but it's not prolonged.**

Here goes...


Chapter 2, part 3

Fry was used to waking up confused - he spent most of his life in that state.  When he opened his eyes in a strange place, his first questions were not Where am I? or How did I get here?   What mattered more was Does someone want me to do something? and (depending on the answer) either  How fast can I get out of it? or Great, where’s the food? Queries about beer, TV, or video games generally brought up the rear.
So when a loud voice yelled “Wake up, slave!” in his ear, Fry didn’t pause to wonder who it was. He hoped it was only another of Bender’s creative alarm-clock substitutes, but just in case, he opened his eyes and reflexively gave his best I’m-harmless-and-nervous-and-very-very-stupid smile.  (It had once failed him disastrously during that delivery to the cat people of Ailuria 9, but you didn’t throw out a winning strategy just because of one small fluke. )

But the smile froze on his face at the sight of an insect’s head nearly a yard across.  Its mandibles were as long as Fry’s arms, its black eyes the size of beach balls.

Yeep!” Fry couldn’t keep the sound from escaping him.  He really, really didn’t want to see how much more bug there was.

“Don’t just lie there, stand up!” the big bug’s head barked. 

Fry continued to display the frozen corpse of his smile as he frantically tried to obey.  His body was stiff and his muscles protested at moving.  How long had he been still? He recognized the after-effects of hibernative naptosis, and the first twinge of curiosity about his whereabouts began in the back of his mind.  He shoved it impatiently aside; impending death by bug was a more immediate concern.

He was in a narrow crate, disturbingly coffin-like, and it took a little effort to haul himself out of it.  All the while he dreaded seeing the rest of the enormous insect.  But when he was halfway out, he did a double take: the bug’s body was a tiny thing only a little bit longer than its head. 

He checked again: yes, it was true - big head, little body.  The effect was something like a bobble-head doll, but a lot less hilarious.

“Go on, slave, get out!” the bobble-head bug yelled, drill-sergeant like.  No longer quite as scared, Fry clambered out of the box and stood on trembly but functional legs.  He was vaguely aware that he was in an enormous cave, and the air was warm, dank, and earthy-smelling.

The box he was in was a divided section of a larger crate: three other beings, all aliens, were groaning groggily. 

“Wow,” said Fry, mostly to himself, “I didn’t know slaves came in four-packs.”

“The cheap ones do!” snapped the bobble-head bug.  “And that’s all the king will let us buy, so shut up, down-market scum!”

“King?” Fry said.  The bug looked vaguely ant-like, and the trivia center in his brain coughed forth a random fact.  “Don’t you guys just have a queen?”

“WHAT?!”  The mandibles opened wide and threatened Fry with their scissor-like action.  “What do I look like, an Antoid?! Or a space bee?”

“N-no!” Fry said, leaning back over the crate and smiling wider.  “Not at all! I just, I didn’t know what planet this is, so - “

“You don’t have to!” the bug roared.  “You’re beneath the surface of it, that’s all you need to know!”

“Y-yes!  Okay!  Absolutely!  I couldn’t care less...than a really apathetic person...about really something amazingly boring!”  Fry smiled frantically as he tried to sink his head between his own shoulder blades - where it couldn’t get chopped off. 

Finally the enormous bug-head retreated.  More importantly, so did the mandibles.  “Don’t forget again,” the big bug said gruffly.  “Now shut up and go get in line with the oth - oooohhh!”  The drill-sergeant voice dropped to an awed whisper.  “What is that?

The huge black eyes seemed to be pointed at the top of his head.  “Umm...hair?” Fry said, reaching up to touch it.  His fingers encountered the random contours of severe bed-head (crate-head?) and he automatically finger-combed it upright; a little twig dislodged itself and fell to the ground.

Just then, another big bug came over - this one was reddish black, its head even bigger, and with mandibles half again as long.  “What’s going on here, Lieutenant?!” it barked in a feminine voice (well, as feminine as the average voice on Amazonia).

“Sir, nothing, sir!” snapped the first bug.  He turned to face her, his mandibles clacking in a short rhythm, and one of his feet managed to cover the twig where it lay on the earthen floor.

The other bug gazed suspiciously at him for a moment, then she nodded.  “Then get your bunch on their feet and get them in line! At once!”

“At once, Major!” The first bug’s mandibles clacked again, three time - clack, clack-clack - and the reddish one spun on her heel and left.

Army ants? Fry wondered vaguely, but didn’t dare ask, as the Lieutenant-bug stooped and quickly swept up the twig with his lower left arm.

He held it up and dipped his antenna toward it.  “Oooohhhhhh,” he breathed softly, sounding like nothing so much as Homer Simpson.  Then, to Fry’s astonishment, he popped it in his mouth and ate it.

“Mmmmm,” he whispered in ecstasy, mandibles working.  “Conifer - northern softwood.  Fresh and full of sap.  Oh, the bouquet.”

“Hey,” Fry said, his brain reaching a conclusion. “You’re giant termites!”

The bug almost choked on its twig.  “Termites?!  How dare you, you...overdressed ape!”

Fry cringed.  “I’m sorry!  I didn’t mean termites,, I meant Thermites!  Y-you know, the highly intelligent and c-cultured microbes from Io’s volcanic v-v-ven - “

“Silence, monkey-boy!”  The Lieutenant rapped his two left arms proudly on his thorax. “We are the Termians, a proud and noble subterranean people!  If you want to live more than a few hours, keep your disgustingly flexible mouth shut!”

“Yes!  Y-yes sir,” Fry said, and, flashing back to his brief time in the DOOP Army, he stood at attention and saluted.

This seemed to mollify the Lieutenant, whose mandibles clacked back at him, clack, clack-clack; evidently it was the Termian version of a salute.  “That’s better.  Now get your fellows up and get them in line.”  His voice dropped to a low murmur.  “By the way, there’s no need to mention...that other matter to the Major.”

“What other matter?” Fry said, puzzled.

“Yes, excellent.”  He glanced at Fry’s hair in wistful hope, and left.

Oh - the twig.  Fry shrugged and looked around. There were numerous other crates in the cave, with dozens of other groggy aliens climbing out of them.  No one else was human that he saw.  The closest was the surly, rough-looking Neptunian who climbed out of Fry’s crate and staggered off toward the gathering line of slaves without a word. 

The third member of his own “four-pack” was a Space Lizard: a brown reptilian dressed in a loose smock, with a black vest-like garment that reminded Fry of Han Solo’s outfit. He was talking into the last compartment.  “Come on, Buzz, you gotta get out!  They’ll kill you if you don’t!”

“They’ll eat me if I do!” said a small, thin voice.  “Isopterids always eat my kind!”

He was an Insectoid, Fry saw, a small, delicate winged being who looked even smaller curled into a tight ball. 

“You always think someone’s gonna eat you,” sighed the Lizard.

Fry saw the Lieutenant glance threateningly back in their direction, and decided to add his arguments.  “Uh, look, I’m not an expert on big alien bugs or their cultures, but I did learn a few choice things from watching all eleven seasons of MST3K - and these guys seem like highly disciplined soldiers.  I’m sure they won’t eat anyone without a proper court martial and everything.” 

“Come on, Buzz,” said the Lizard nervously.  “They’re less likely to eat people who are quick to do what they’re told, you know?”

The Insectoid let his friend and Fry pry him from the crate.  He cowered between them as they made their way toward the line of other slaves, as if hoping not to be noticed.

Fry looked curiously at the Space Lizard.  “Don’t your people usually eat his kind, too?”

The Lizard looked away uncomfortably.  “Uh, we used to, but our planets’ve been tryin’ to get past that.  Me’n Buzz were part of a cultural exchange program, and we been hangin’ with each other ever since.”  He patted the Insectoid on what passed for a shoulder.  “Cheer up, Buzz, I never ate you.  Remember when you found that economy-sized bottle of wasabi sauce in the ship’s galley, and you jumped to the wrong conclusion?”

The Insectoid chuckled faintly.  “Yeah.  More like I jumped five planets past the wrong conclusion.  I sure was a dumb larva that time, wasn’t I?”  He stood up a little straighter.  “I guess maybe you’re right, Thysso; I am being a little paranoi -“


Fry, the Lizard, and the Insectoid halted, about ten feet from the line of prisoners.

“Turn around,” said a voice.  Fry recognized it as the female Major.

Slowly, they turned.

About twenty Termian soldiers surrounded them in a half-circle.

“You, and you,” the Major said, pointing at the Lizard and Fry.  “Back away.”

Buzz whimpered, and the Lizard stiffened.  “I can’t -“

Fry saw twenty sets of Termian mandibles widen at his words.  “We better do as she says,” he whispered.  “Disciplined soldiers, remember?” He tugged the Space Lizard backwards, leaving the trembling Insectoid alone.  “Besides, I’m sure he’ll stand a better chance if we don’t make troub -“

There was a collective hiss from twenty gaping mouths, and then the Termians fell on Buzz like iron filings on a magnet.  He let out a terrified screech.

“NO!”  The Lizard jumped forward, trying to stop it, but as he and Fry watched in horror, the Major -the first Termian to reach Buzz -  seized him and...bit off his head.  His scream cut off in mid-terror as she savagely chewed it up.

Then it was a maelstrom of Termian mandibles and Insectoid body parts, as they ripped the rest of him to pieces, stuffing bits into their mouths and sucking at his spilled fluids.  Fry clamped a hand over his mouth as his stomach tried to hurl itself out. .

The Space Lizard had frozen in shock and was shaking his head.  He made a move to go forward again, as if to rescue whatever pieces of his friend were left, and Fry grabbed his arm and hauled him back, dragging him into the line with the other slaves.

The Termian feeding frenzy finally stopped.  The Major wiped her jaws and looked up; she stepped forward and faced the captives, all four of her upper limbs akimbo.  “Thus we deal with all our enemies!” she said.  “Listen closely: you are all slaves of the Termian Empire!  Slaves obey, without questions.  Those who do not obey are not slaves.  And those who are not our slaves are our enemies.  Do I make myself clear?!”

The ragged line of slaves nodded fearfully.

All except the Space Lizard.  He pointed at the spot where his friend had stood, his claw shaking.  “How did he disobey you?!”

She whirled toward him.  “Are you questioning me, slave?” she said incredulously.

“No, he’s not!” Fry said quickly, not wanting the Lizard to get eaten alive in front of him, too.  “He just...w-we didn’t see how that guy disobeyed, and we wanted to know, b-because we didn’t want to, uh, accidentally make the...same...mistake?” he finished in a tiny voice.

The Lizard cast him a furious, contemptuous glance.

The Major seemed to swell (as impossible as that was with an exoskeleton).  “He was an Odonatoid, hereditary enemy of the Termians!  As for you, you’ll find out when you’ve made a mistake when your skull is crushed between my jaws!  THAT GOES FOR ALL OF YOU!”  She backed up and addressed all the prisoners.  “Do nothing but what you’re told, and do that quickly and quietly!  We don’t need a reason to kill you, you are worthless maggots lower than the molds we harvest - and tastier, too!”

She swept her attention from one end of the line to the other.  “DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?!

Nods and frightened murmurs flowed in the wake of her gaze.

The Major nodded briskly.  “Good.  Then I leave you in the hands of our Overseer.”  She said something to the other soldier Termians in what must have been their native language - it was all squeaks and clicks - and they lined up and began to march out in perfect step.

Fry let out his breath, hoping his knees wouldn’t give out on him.  He glanced at the Space Lizard, who moved away without looking at him. Fry sighed, feeling terrible about what had happened, but it was clear that neither of them could have saved Buzz. 

What an awful place this was!  Curiosity about how he got here reared its head again, but he was aware of something...something uncomfortable about recent memory.  It was like the nagging morning feeling just before you recalled you had an appointment for a root canal, or that it was April 16th and you hadn’t mailed your tax return. 

Not wanting to deal with any more bad news, Fry pushed the memory back in his mind.  Time for that later. When getting distracted couldn’t get him eaten.

As the Termians marched out of the way, two figures appeared from behind them. The one in the rear was a Trisolian, Fry noticed, though he looked strangely murky in the dim light.  He trailed behind a towering  figure that had to be the Overseer. 

The being was walking - well, not quite walking, but moving closer. Clearly his species had evolved from a squid-like creature: six tentacles had become legs, their bottoms thickened to form something like feet that flowed across the uneven floor with a rippling motion.  The other four tentacles served as arms: two longer ones with those flat paddle-things on the ends, two shorter ones that just tapered to thin tips.  They all branched out of the bottom of a head-body unit that looked a little like the Ace of Spades, if spades were a dull mottled red.

Three eyes glared at the prisoners from above a sharp beak, and the Overseer fixed them all with a haughty gaze.  “Welcome, slaves,” he said in a stern, cultured voice.  “I am a ninny.”

Fry laughed.

Utter silence fell over the enormous cave and the squid’s three eyes snapped to him like lightning.  Fry’s laugh died a quick, painful death in his throat; he swallowed it, hoping the same fate didn’t await him.

The Overseer undulated toward him, slowly and deliberately.  “You, slave,” he said lazily.  “Did I just hear you...laugh?”

Fry shook his head frantically.  “N–no, sir, absolutely not!  I just coughed - something got caught in my throat.” He turned his head to the side and simulated a cough, which sounded less like his previous sound than he would have liked.  He called forth his “harmless” smile again, which emerged a little sickly.  “See?”

“Really.”  The Overseer came right up to him and draped his two smaller arm-tentacles over Fry’s shoulders.  Then he leaned forward, forcing Fry to lean back, until the sharp eagle-like beak hovered barely an inch above Fry’s nose.  “You don’t, by any chance, find something funny about the name 'Uhninni?'”

“N-n-n-n-n-not at all,” Fry said, beads of sweat actually spilling down his neck.  He smiled for all he was worth. 

“I do hope not,” the Overseer said.  “To laugh at the name of one who holds your life in his grip -“ and here the tentacles on his shoulders tightened “- would be presumptuous indeed.”

“But he IS presumptuous, milord,” said the Trisolian, flowing out from behind Uhninni.  Now that he was closer, Fry saw what looked strange about him: whereas all the other Trisolians he had seen were transparent, like clear water, this one was clouded, as if full of silt or pollution - like a muddy pond.  It was weird to see, and more disturbing than Fry would have expected. 

The Trisolian seemed to catch his thoughts, and glared at him through narrowed eyes.  “I know of this human.  He is Fry the Usurper, enemy of my planet!  He is the coward who sought to claim the throne of Trisol by drinking the true Emperor, Bont - but in the end he lacked the strength to digest him!”

“Hey, that was an accide - OW!” Fry broke off as the grip on his shoulders tightened until it hurt - REALLY hurt.

“That is unfortunate news, Plub,” said Uhninni, as if Fry hadn’t spoken.  “Presumption is such a bad quality in a slave.  Though the rest of your tale gives me hope; weakness and cowardice fit a slave quite well.”

“Oh,” Fry said painfully, hoping his shoulder bones wouldn’t snap under the pressure of the tentacles, “I’m weak and c-cowardly all right.  I’m the cowardliest weakling you ever saw.  I almost won a contest for the biggest coward in my college, but I was too scared to show up for the talent competition.”

“Indeed?”  The Overseer’s beak didn’t appear capable of smiling, but Fry could have sworn it did.  The pressure on his shoulders ceased.  As the tentacles slid away, Fry gave silent thanks to his collarbone for not breaking. Good clavicle.  You get a biscuit.

“Very well, slave.  I shall allow you to prove your worth.  But I warn you,” Uhninni’s voice went cold as the glaciers of Pluto as he turned his attention to the other slaves, “I warn ALL of you - do not cross me.  You have met our masters, the Termians.  I am not as merciful as they.”  He looked back at Fry, and once again Fry thought the hard beak almost smiled.

Fry shivered.  Somehow he felt that facing the crushing jaws of the Termians really would be less painful than finding out what the Overseer was smiling about.



Urban Legend
« Reply #133 on: 10-22-2005 18:28 »

Good clavicle. You get a biscuit.

BWAhahahahaha!!!! I don't even know why that delights me as much as it does!

Have i told you recently how awesome you are?

Starship Captain
« Reply #134 on: 10-22-2005 19:32 »

Nice Shiny!

Don't know why but I can picture Fry's smile in my head very easily.

He's in a big mess alright! Can't wait to read the rest.

Urban Legend
« Reply #135 on: 10-23-2005 20:08 »

Ooh, dark.  Very well written Shiny, and that clavicle line is top notch.  Looking forward to what's next.

11 seasons of MST3K?!  Is that hope for the future?   I only recall 10...

« Reply #136 on: 10-23-2005 22:15 »
« Last Edit on: 10-23-2005 22:15 »

Heh.  Fry got copies of the Minneapolis episodes somehow (I nearly added a line to that effect, but decided it was getting pretty long for a throwaway transitional joke).  Thank you!

Thank you, Venus! And you're pretty awesome yourself.    :)  You take care down there in Florida.  I hope Wilma's as much a non-event for you as Rita was for me.

NIC, you can see Fry's "harmless" smile because I stole it from the series.  I can't remember which eps exactly, but I know I've seen him do it.  Thank you!

And added thanks, JBerges and Venus, for appreciating the clavicle line...I'm supposed to love all my own sentences equally, and I'd never tell it that it's my favorite line in this segment (the other sentences would feel insecure), but I'm very proud of it all the same.


Starship Captain
« Reply #137 on: 10-24-2005 00:48 »

Yeah I know.

I think that Fry does that smile in the Roberto episode. (Insane in the Mainframe)

But I could be wrong.
say what now

Bending Unit
« Reply #138 on: 10-24-2005 20:58 »
« Last Edit on: 10-24-2005 20:58 »

Oh man, that's crazy. When they ate Buzz my jaw dropped right open and my breath caught in my throat. I so was not expecting that, and it scared the crap out of me.

I'm loving where this is going though... I can't wait to see what happens next!!

Edit: Oh, and I had to add. I know exactly which smile you're talking about, and I love it. You described it perfectly. I saw it right away and I was all grins.

Bending Unit
« Reply #139 on: 10-27-2005 17:53 »

Hurray! I'm not the only person who likes MST3K! Nice story. You aren't finished with Alkazar are you?

« Reply #140 on: 10-29-2005 10:32 »

another brilliant chapter. Loved the darkness and the brill writing. Hope to read more soon

« Reply #141 on: 11-07-2005 01:11 »
« Last Edit on: 11-07-2005 01:11 »

Sorry to update and run, but I've been slammed lately...I hope to have more time to chat & comment later in the week.  But I promise nothing.


As the squid like Uhninni turned and departed, Plub the Trisolian addressed the line of new slaves.  "Behind you is the entrance to the slave quarters.  Food will be served to you before you are called for duty.  If you have any other questions...I don't care.  Ask the other slaves, maybe they will."  He turned and slid out, leaving a wet trail on the dirt floor.

The slaves hurried toward the tunnel entrance; Fry guessed they were all as eager to put some distance between themselves and their captors as he was. 

At the entrance, there was another Termian - and this one didn't have an enormous head.  It stood as high as Fry's shoulder, and had a cantaloupe-sized head that seemed proportional to its body.  It was whitish pale, with eyes like dull black raisins. 

It counted out loud as the slaves passed, but apparently it wasn't good at math: it missed one or two for every being it counted. 

As Fry watched, it leaned forward as if to see better, and it suddenly fell forward onto its front.  "AUUGH!" it cried, its upper hands going to its eyes.  "I'm BLIND!  I can't see!  Someone help me!"

One of the big-headed soldier Termians appeared.  "Ah, crap, not again!  Just...hold still, I'll get a medic."  He looked up and glared.  "You slaves, what are you waiting for?!  Get to your quarters!"

Fry needed no more prompting.  A short earthen ramp led down to a long, wide, chamber.  Around it, clumps of slaves stared up at the newcomers.  The clumps seemed to be arranged by species; the new slaves were being listlessly beckoned to join the others of their various races. 

Fry looked around for other Earthlings, or at least other humans.  He didn't see any.  Squinting into the dim light, he didn't see anyone come up behind him.  All he knew is that there was a sudden shove in his back, which sent him tumbling down the rest of the incline to land hard on the dirt floor.

"Ooof!"  Slightly winded, Fry nevertheless had enough breath to move, and from instincts developed long ago in the hallways and stairwells of high school, he rolled out of the way of the followup-kick he suspected was coming.

A good thing, too.  A reptilian foot landed where his stomach would have been.  Fry yelped and continued to scoot sideways across the floor.

He recognized his attacker - the Space Lizard.  "Hey, stop!" Fry yelled.  "What are you doing?!"

"You son-of-a-Brannigan, you stopped me from helping my best friend!"  The Space Lizard snarled, his teeth bared.  "I'm going to tear your stupid human skin off!"

Fry ducked a swipe of the velociraptor-claws as he sought the dubious shelter of the rock wall. "No, stop!  I didn't know!"  The Lizard snarled and half-turned, sending his thick tail slamming into the wall mere inches from Fry's face, dislodging bits of rock and dust.  Fry cringed.  "I'm sorry!  I was trying to help, I swear!  We couldn't have saved him anyway, you know we couldn't!"

"At least I would have gone down defending him!" the Lizard hissed.  "I woulda died beside him, not left him alone to get torn apart!  Now I'm gonna tear YOU apart!"

Fry screamed and covered his head.

"All right, knock it off," said a deep, burbly voice.  Fry peeked under his arm and saw the Space Lizard all distorted and green...seen through the transparent flesh of a Gelatinous Blob.

"I don't care what your problem is," the Blob was telling the Space Lizard.  Its voice (which sounded like ever other Gelatinous Blob's voice Fry had ever heard) vibrated up through Fry's sneakers in its basso profundo rumbling.  "The Termians don't like it when we kill each other, it ruins their investments! And when they don't like something, they tend to eat first, ask questions later.  I have no desire to have MY flesh spread across a hot slab of mold cake as a dessert topping, you got it?"

Murmurs of agreement went around the chamber.

The Space Lizard closed his eyes.  "Fine," he said.  "It won't bring Buzz back anyway."  He opened his eyes and pointed at Fry through the Blob's green jelly.  "But stay out of my way, human.  I won't forget this."

He stalked off through the crowd.

Fry uncrouched cautiously and looked at the Blob.  "Gee, thanks, I - "

The Blob whirled on him.  "Shut up, pathetic solid!  Tell your troubles to the other humans - if there's any left."  He turned and slimed off.

Fry got up and wandered back into the cavern, feeling very alone.  None of the little huddles looked even remotely human.  He spotted a group of Amphibions, Kif's people, and took a step or two toward them hopefully, but they turned and glared, looking far tougher than Fry would have thought a squishy green person with no bone structure could.

Finally, toward the very back, he spotted a pair of legs in bluejeans.  His heart leaped with recognition.  Denim was one textile had survived the thousand years he'd been frozen, but remained a fabric unique to Earth.

He hurried up.  "Oh, I'm so glad there's another hu - hey, it's you!"

The man looked up from under a ragged, wide-brimmed hat.  "G'da - ah, bugger, it's you."

Fry grinned in unexpected recognition.  "You're that Australian guy from Osirus IV!"  The man was much as Fry remembered him - blond, lean, and rangy, except he wore jeans and boots instead of an Osiran loincloth beneath his white tank top. 

He looked a lot less happy to see Fry than vice versa.  "And you're that friend of Hermes Conrad and Doctor Zoidberg," the Australian guy said.  He covered his eyes with one hand.  "Why me?" 

Fry plopped down beside him, too glad to see a familiar face, however vaguely familiar, to care if it wasn't the friendliest one ever. "Hermes and Zoidberg?  Yeah, I work with them.  How did you know about them?  They weren't on Osirus IV with us."

"You mentioned them yourself, the night the old Pharaoh died," the Australian said disgustedly.  "I'll never forget that blighter Hermes leaving me to rot on Spa Five - and it was Dr. Zoidberg who sent me there in the first place."

"So that's why you stopped talking to us after I told you about that New Years Eve party that they got drunk and won the karaoke contest," Fry said.  "I thought it was because I admitted kinda liking their Manilow medley."

"And your robot making himself Pharaoh and workin' us near to death didn't make me any fonder of you," the Australian added pointedly.

Fry chuckled.   "Yeah, Bender really enjoyed that mission.  So, are we the only two humans here?"

"Yeah," the Australian sighed, and appeared to give up.  "I guess we do need to stick together.  So where are your friends, anyway?  That titanium tyrant, and the sexy one-eyed sheila?"

"I dunno," Fry said, wondering that himself.  His memories of his capture were still indistinct, and he still had the nagging feeling that there was something unpleasant about them.  Long adept at not paying attention to anything unpleasant he didn't have to, Fry shifted his attention back to his fellow human.  "Hopefully they're looking for me.  So, how did you get here?"

He sighed.  "Well, after I spent a few months recovering from my injuries - which I got when you blokes blew up half of Osirus IV," he added with a sideways look, "I caught a lift with a small trading ship.  We fell afoul of some space pirates and got sold off - I wound up here."  He grimaced.  "Look, mate, I'm not too fond of you and your friends, but you lot seem to have a knack of getting out of places like this.  Me, I been tryin' to get back to Australia ever since I left it. I'll overlook the past if you promise to take me with you if you find a way home."

"Sure," Fry said, and stuck out his hand.  "I'm Fry.  What's your name?"

The Australian paused in the act of shaking hands.  "I...it's been so long since anyone asked me that, I almost don't remember."  He grinned.  "It's Mick.  Back home they used to call me...Marsupial Mick."

"Pleased to meet you," Fry said, finishing the handshake.  "They just call me Fry," he added cheerfully,  "except Bender calls me meatbag a lot.  And once the Professor called me ‘Igor' when I handed him a brain."

Just then another of the whitish Termians with the normal-sized heads appeared in the entrance pushing a wheeled cart loaded with plates of what might have been food.  As he/she/it walked forward, it tripped over something and fell.  "EEEE!  I'm BLIND!" the insect cried as the car rolled heedless down the incline.  A couple of Neptunians caught it with what looked like long-practiced ease.  "Dinner," one of them yelled.  Above, another huge-head soldier showed up to lead the injured bug away.

"C'mon," Marsupial Mick said, and they both joined the line of people to whom the bored-looking four-armed Neptunians were handing out plates of something, twice as fast as a bored human could have.

"Those white-shelled Termians sure have fragile eyesight," Fry said. 

Mick snorted.  "Those are the Termian workers. They're born blind, mate."

"Born blind?"  Fry scratched his head.  "So why are they acting like falling down made them blind?  And if the Termians have workers, what do they need us for?"

"A sore point, that," Marsupial Mick said as they edged closer to the front of the line.  "The short answer is, they have a good union.  They found that blindness qualifies them for lifelong disability - and being blinded on the job gets them double benefits."

They finally reached the front.  The Neptunian shoved plates into their hands; Fry looked at the food as he followed Mick back to their corner.  He was hungry, but it looked pretty awful.  He nibbled at a pile of greenish-grey stuff.  "Ewww," he said.  "It's like creamed spinach that's been left under a pile of dirty gym socks for a week."

"Really?"  Mick scooped up a fingerfull and tasted it.  "Not bad.  They musta brought back the good cook.  So anyway, the workers show up, get ‘blinded' on their first day, and claim worker's comp as well as go on the dole.  The Termian soldiers - the blokes with the big heads - are bred to fight, not work.  They do what they can, but they're pretty bad at it.  Finally the Queen and King had to start buying slaves offworld.  And so here we are."

"A scam nearly worthy of Bender," Fry said.  He tried the other dish on the plate, a brownish-greyish substance.  It was markedly better - kind of like meatloaf left under a pile of dirty gym socks for only a day or two.  He ate another lump of it.  "Hey, this stuff's not bad."

Marsupial Mick saw what he was eating and recoiled.  "Crikey, don't eat that!"

Fry stopped in the act of lifting a third lump to his mouth.  "Uh...why?" he asked, though he suddenly dreaded the answer.

"It's...ah..."  Mick grimaced.  "The Termians recycle their food a couple times before they're done with it," he said cautiously.

"So it's...bug barf?" Fry grimacing at his plate.

"Nah, that's what they use to harden the mud of the walls."

Fry quickly jerked away from the wall he was leaning against.  "Gross!"  Then he reconsidered the stuff he had just eaten.  "Wait.  If this isn't vomit, then it must be...."   He looked at Mick in dawning revulsion.

Mick nodded.  "Fresh from the arse, mate."

"Eewwwwwwwww," Fry said, shoving the plate away from him before he hurled into it - though he was actually too hungry to upchuck what he'd already swallowed. So, he was stuck digesting two lumps of...fresh bug poo.   "Man, the Termians are disgusting!"

"No argument there," Marsupial Mick said.  "But I'd rather deal with them any day than the Overseer.  He's a nasty one."

"Tell me about it," Fry said.  "My shoulders still ache from those tentacles."

"He singled you out?!  Ah, bloody hell, you didn't laugh at his name, did ya?"  Honest horror showed in Marsupial Mick's face now.

Out of the squid's hearing, Fry couldn't help laughing again.  "Yeah.  He's a ninny."

"Shh!  Be quiet, mate, he's got sources down here."  Mick shook his head.  "He always gets at least one new fella with that.  Just lucky I was still partially deaf from Pharaoh Bender's tomb explosion when I got here.  Well, Fry, it's been nice knowin' ya. If your mates show up after you're dead, d'you think they'll take me home anyway?"

"Uh, sure," Fry said, slightly bothered by Mick's automatic assumption of his death...but having complete faith in Leela's ability to pull off another nick-of-time ass-saving.  "Well, Bender won't, but Leela would.  She's great." 

And, surrounded by unpleasantness that he wanted to escape from, Fry automatically let his mind drift to what made him happy: thoughts of Leela.  Pictures of her as he recently saw her - the back of her hair as she piloted the ship, her quick, deft movements as she switched the connection tubes in the Maintenance Room...

...her contemptuous face as she knocked him down, stood over him.

Pathetic, hopeless loser...don't love you and I never will...makes you think a beautiful woman could ever love YOU?!

Fry gasped as the memory finally slammed back into place. 

He fought it, but it was too late.  He remembered everything - every awful word she'd said to him, and the complete disgust she'd said it with.  Worst of all was recalling that she'd rejected the idea of a date, not just for one evening, but for all time.  He had lost his chance to change her mind...forever.

Something in Fry's chest seemed to crumple and collapse.  For a moment, he couldn't breathe.  He didn't even notice everyone around him getting up, moving toward the exit.

A hand clapped on his shoulder, and Fry jumped.

Marsupial Mick sighed.  "Come on, mate.  It's time for us to get to work."


p.s. - any Australian PEELers, feel free to advise me if I got Mick's slang horribly wrong.  Also, pardon for naming a continuing nameless character, but I just couldn't gloss over the name thing in this circumstance.


Urban Legend
« Reply #142 on: 11-07-2005 01:37 »
« Last Edit on: 11-07-2005 01:37 »

Yay! Yay to the greatest extents a yay can go!

And Marsupial Mick is a fine name. Although Dijeridu Dan would have also been acceptable.

Bending Unit
« Reply #143 on: 11-07-2005 12:50 »

Wow! That was brilliant! I really love this story and it's so well written. I don't have anything cleverer to say but please keep it coming!   :D

Bending Unit
« Reply #144 on: 11-07-2005 23:26 »

Shiny you got MM's slang pretty much bang on, he sounds like Steve Irwin.  Great name too!

I had a bit of a giggle at 'a ninny' too...

Look forward to hearing more!

Starship Captain
« Reply #145 on: 11-09-2005 14:25 »
« Last Edit on: 11-09-2005 14:25 »

Lol!!! Marsupial Mick... now when I'll see him in the show, I'll know how to name him.

That was great Shiny. Poor Fry... Can't wait to see what work i'll have to do! Hope you brink back Leela soon.

So all of this startted with a coffee joke...

Urban Legend
« Reply #146 on: 11-09-2005 20:10 »

this is really good Shiny.  I really like the descriptiveness of the aliens and the inclusion of the australian guy.  He's my favorite minor character :-)

« Reply #147 on: 02-22-2006 17:25 »
« Last Edit on: 07-01-2006 00:00 »

Good news, everyone!  Well, Venus and JBerges updated, so I'm ponying up with mine. (I hope Layla is able to join us again soon - darn computers and their fragility anyway.         :mad: ) It's a little rough, but the next few days will be busy for me, and I wanted to go ahead and post before then.  I may polish it some more in the future, but it seems in good enough shape for now.

Oh...by the way, the title of this monster is "Beneath the Surface."

Enjoy!  ~Shiny


The work the Termians needed so many off-world slaves for turned out to be...hauling mud.

In the lowest level of the Thermian complex, where cold, dank air made Fry shiver, other slaves were filling grey plastic-looking buckets brimful of wet, sloppy mud.

“Is that lunch?” Fry asked.  “I know it would taste better than breakfast.”

“Take two buckets and and follow me, mate,” Marsupial Mick said, grabbing one in each hand and joining the line of others doing the same.

Fry hauled them up and stumbled along after him, on a winding, uphill route.  It was hard work, but Fry barely cared.  His heart felt like it had been trampled by an overweight Gigantosaurus on a high-gravity planet, and he was hardly aware of his surroundings.

All he could see was Leela staring down at him, her beautiful eye deformed with contempt.

...you’re a loser...a nobody...I don’t love you and I never will...

Fry tried to stop remembering it, to think about something else, but for once, his butterfly attention stuck to a subject like glue.  It played over and over in his head like a broken CD.

...never will....never will....never will...

He tried to escape it.  But as Fry tried to work his way around the memory, it blocked him at every turn, diamond hard and unyielding.  Leela’s expressions, the tone of her voice, the words she used, each one as hurtful as possible...there wasn’t a nanometer of give, nothing he could squeeze his way past.  Fry felt like he was going to throw up, but he wasn’t in any hurry to taste bug crap on the return trip.

When Mick stopped, Fry bumped into him, dropping his buckets.  The mud oozed out of them over the uneven floor.

“Sorry,” Fry said.  He tried to scoop the mud back into the buckets with his fingers, a bit like scooping a McDonalds milkshake back into a cup with a fork.

“Don’t bother, mate,” Mick said.  He upended one of his own buckets.  “That’s where it goes.  Spread it around a bit, so it can dry. Evaporation is how they air-condition the place.”

“That’s stupid.  Why don’t they air condition it with air conditioning?”  Nevertheless, Fry imitated him, looking around.  Other slaves were doing the same.  They were in what seemed to be the bottom of a huge, empty tube, a wide chimney that went up and up.  At the very top was a tiny circle of brightness, and the air that blew down on Fry’s face was warm and dry.

“Hey, is that the surface up there?”  Hope sprang to life painfully in his chest. 

“Don’t think about it, Fry-o,” Marsupial Mick said tiredly.  “No one could make the climb.  Guy from Amphibios 9 tried it once.  Got halfway up before they caught him.  They put him in the hole, and he was never the same after that.” 

Fry nodded, not really listening.  He stared up.  “You know, I heard somewhere that when you look up from the bottom of a deep shaft you can see the stars even in daylight.”

Mick shrugged.  “Don’t know about that.  Never seen anything up there but a light patch or a dark patch.  Don’t even know what galaxy we’re in.”

“Me neither,” Fry said, feeling a disappointment so sharp it made him forget, for one brief moment, the pain of what Leela had said.  He’d never been anywhere where he couldn’t look out at the stars from time to time.  He sighed and slopped his mud around some more.

If he could have seen the sky, he might not feel so trapped, so cut off.  But (and the raw pain came crashing back again) in a universe where Leela hated him, even the stars seemed unimportant.  And Leela loathed him, or close to it.  Nothing else could have made her say such horrible things. 

And yet...Fry remembered farther back.  Please don’t stop playing, Fry. Her sweet smile from the empty seats. I want to hear how it ends.  Her voice, tiny and weak as it had never been before, but real. Fry...you’re alive.  The warmth of her in his arms in the hospital. It got through, Fry.  It got through.

Something was wrong.  Leela couldn’t despise him, even if she didn’t love him.  She was his friend, his best female friend ever.  Fry knew he drove her crazy, but she’d stayed his friend for four years.  No way would anyone put up with him for that long if they didn’t like him, at least a little.

“Done,” Mick said, having spread his last bit of mud.  He picked up his empty buckets.  “Come on, Fry. Gotta get back or they’ll dock us.”

“Huh?” Fry said.  “Slaves don’t get paid.  What can they dock us?”

“A couple of fingers, maybe.” 

Fry swallowed, and grabbed his buckets with haste.

Marsupial Mick looked around the room.  “Got a good bit done already.  With you new fellas, we should get the bottom of this channel coated in only seven or eight trips.”

Seven or eight more?  Fry felt his heart sink even lower.  “And then we’re done?” he said, trying to find a silver lining. 

Mick shook his head.  “Then we start on the other seventeen.”

Fry shrank.  He didn’t know how he was going to make it through the next trip.  But he had no choice, so he fell in behind Marsupial Mick and joined the line of slaves going back down. 

Fry cast one look back up to where the sky must be. Knowing that the planet’s surface was so close, but unreachable, was agonizing.  But, on the other hand, it was also a little heartening.  He might not be able to climb up it, but the Planet Express Ship could certainly fly down.

Of course, thinking that made him think of Leela again.  For a moment, he remembered her face as she stood over him, cold and hateful. What makes you think a beautiful woman could ever love you?

Then another voice echoed from somewhere in his memory. You must not give up on her.

Fry recognized that voice, having heard it play in his mind before.  It seemed hauntingly familiar, but he never could place it.  He just knew that it sounded ancient and wise and all-knowing - like Ben Kenobi, or Frasier Crane.  He guessed he'd heard it on TV somewhere, or maybe dreamed it, though he could never recall the rest of the dream.

But from time to time that sentence replayed in his inner ear, prodding him into things like searching for words on candy hearts or signing up for holophoner lessons. It was the echo of it in his mind that kept him glued to Leela’s side in the hospital, even though everyone told him she’d never wake up again.  And, at least that time, it had been right.

You must not give up on her.   Fry wanted to believe the words, but how could he?  What Leela had said...he cringed as he remembered them.  How could someone who said those things ever care for him? 

But then, how could the Leela he’d known for four years have said those things?

His brain went back and forth like a pinball between two bumpers and then the solution occurred to him - the simplest, most logical conclusion, the one that any normal, natural person would make in his circumstances.  Leela was possessed.

Fry’s spirits soared.  That had to be it!  Leela hadn’t acted like herself because it wasn’t really her!  She had something like...like the stomach worms, only they made you evil instead of smart.  Or a brain slug with a mean streak.  Or a genetically enhanced virus that caused super-strength hyper-PMS.

A weight lifted from his chest.  The world was turned right-side-up again.  As he descended into the bowels of the planet once more, he held onto the knowledge like a shining jewel in the dark.   Leela was possessed.   It was fantastic!

Then a tiny thorn of fear punctured his spirits.  If Leela was possessed, and he was the only one who knew it...how would she ever get un-possessed in order to come and save him?

What on Earth had possessed her?

Leela stared unbelieving at her wrist-unit on the nightstand.  “I slept nine hours straight through?!  Of all the foetid dead Kennedys!”.

She slung off her nightgown and jerked her tank top over her head, got it twisted and wrestled to straighten it.  “Why the hell did I listen to my parents and Bender?  Well, at least to Bender?” Now she’d lost whatever chance she had to light a fire beneath some official butts before tomorrow morning.  Okay, she might not’ve gotten far on a Sunday afternoon, but she could have tried. Late Sunday evening, there was no chance at all.

Leela got her tank top halfway straight and gave up. She grabbed her hairbrush from the nighstand and started to brush out her tangles ferociously.  “Fry’s trail is nine hours colder now.  Who knows what’s  happened while I was lazing around in bed all day?”

Damn Bender, anyway! Who did he think he was?  And her parents...but she shut that thought off.  She just couldn’t get mad at her parents.  After all, they only  worried about her, and that’s what parents were supposed to do.

But her coworkers had no such excuse.  Leela struggled to get the brush through a particularly dense nest of tangles.  Everyone was coddling Leela, who was home and safe and free; they ought to be worrying more about Fry, who was lost and alone and enslaved who knew where.

Leela made a frustrated sound stood up, to get better leverage on the tangles at the nape of her neck, and suddenly the room spun.  She grabbed the bedpost and waited, taking deep breaths until the dizzy, weak feeling had cleared.

“Well, okay.  Maybe I’m not a hundred percent myself.”  Leela resumed brushing her hair.  “But it’s not like I’m an invalid either.” She looked in the mirror as she brushed.  Bruises hadn’t even developed on her upper arms, and the ones on her thighs and along her ribs were already faded some.  Leela had told her mother the truth; she recovered fast.  Her contusions never got to the fascinating multicolor stage that Fry’s bruises did, they just faded slowly as they healed.  By tomorrow, no one would be able to tell by looking that she’d been half-strangled by a lunatic shapeshifting snake.

The hairbrush suddenly slipped from her fingers and plummetted to the floor.  Leela gasped, but it bounced on the rag rug rather than the bare floorboards.  Still, the thump was loud.  “Oh God!  What if they heard?”  She went very still and listened.

She caught the muted mumble of voices from downstairs, but no footsteps.  No one rushed up the stairs to see if she had fallen on her face.

Leela exhaled in relief.  “Good.  I’m still undetected.”  She put her hair up hastily in her scrunchy, found her pants and slid into them, and straightened out her tank top.  Leela then looked for her boots, and then remembered she didn’t have them - they were back on the ship.  Never mind.  “Now if I’m just unguarded...”  She glanced out between the slats of the shutters, and saw that Bender had abandoned his perch.  “Perfect!”

Leela swung open the shutter and was lifting her foot to climb out the window when she heard the faint but  unmistakeable piping of Amy’s voice from downstairs.

Leela froze, listening, but the words were unintelligeable; only the tones reached her here upstairs.  Still, it was definitely Amy’s.

Leela slid off the windowsill and ran to the bedroom door.  Her shaking hand slipped on the manual doorknob, and Leela made a frustrated sound.  There was no way the Planet Express Ship was ready to fly yet, and her mind could only conceive of one other reason Amy would come down to the sewers now: there must be news about Fry.

She finally managed to turn the knob and rushed out the door, padding barefoot down the stairs in time to hear Amy say: “...it’s so awful...oh Bender, how am I going to tell her?!”

Leela froze, brought up as if she’d slammed into a full-strength force field. 

Something terrible had happened while she slept. Something with Fry?

What else?

Leela went cold as Pluto’s dark side on a February night.  She could only imagine one thing: while she slept, Fry’s body had been found. 

A roaring filled her ears, and all the air seemed to go out of the room.  Fry had died while she slept. While she was resting, comfortable and warm, Fry had died somewhere cold and alone, waiting for a rescue that had never come. 

She had failed him.

Amy turned and saw her.  “Leela?!  Oh no!”  Amy ran up and clasped her hands in front of her, nearly in tears.  “Oh Leela, I’m so sorry, please forgive me, he was gone so fast, I didn’t even know he could reach the door buttons, I’ve been looking through the streets all day, but he just vanished!, please don’t hurt me!”  Amy covered her head with her forearms, cowering.

Munda rose from the sofa.  “Leela!  Sit down, you look like you’re going to faint!”

Leela waved her mother’s concerns away. Amy’s disjointed chatter had finally penetrated the first level of her mind and slammed violently into her assumptions.  None of it matched.  Leela reached out and pried Amy’s arms down, looking into the younger woman’s eyes. “Amy, what are you blathering about?  What happened?”

It was Bender who answered, puffing unconcernedly on a cigar.  “Your little three-eyed rat took off.  I don’t know what she’s worried about, I’m sure someone will scoop him up after he gets hit by something.  I can use him for next week’s brunch if he’s already dead, right?”

“Nibbler’s gone?” Leela said.  Abruptly a dozen emotions flicked through her mind.  Dizzying relief.  A new dismay.  A desire to slap Amy silly for scaring her so badly - and for losing Nibbler in the first place. 

But Amy looked so miserable, it would be like kicking a puppy.  “I’m soooo totally sorry, Leela.  I didn’t know he could work the door or maybe he just hit it by accident but I went right after him and he -“

“ - was gone.”  Leela sighed and dropped Amy’s wrists.  As if she didn’t have enough to worry about already!  She felt a moment’s blind anger for her clueless little pet. 

And then she thought twice.  Suddenly, Leela swelled with gratitude toward Nibbler. Bless his stupid little heart.

“Leela, please,come sit down, you’re so pale,” her mother said, wrapping her tentacles around Leela. 

Leela sighed, straightened, turned toward her mother and gave her a quick hug.  “I’m fine, Mom.  Really. Thank you for taking care of me, but now I have to go.”

“What?!” Munda burst out, and her tentacles tightened around her daughter’s shoulders.  “That’s ridiculous, Leela!  Tell her, Morris.”

“Uh, yeah, sweetheart.  What your mother said.”

Munda made an impatient sound.  “Thank you, Morris, that was VERY persuasive.”

“It’s okay,” Leela said patiently.  “Mom, Dad, I appreciate you taking care of me.  But I have to go find Nibbler.  He’s not the brightest thing in the world, he could get hurt out there all alone.”

“Wait a minute,” Bender said, popping the stub of his cigar in his mouth, swallowing and standing up.  “Are you planning to risk your life and ignore a semi-competant doctor’s orders in order to hunt for a moronic eating machine from a dead planet?”

Leela’s eye narrowed.  “No.  I’m planning to knock the memory chips out of any robot dumb enough to try and stop me!”

“Fair enough.  My work here is done.” Bender sat back down and picked up his drink.

“Bender!” Amy scolded.  “I thought you said you’d keep her from doing anything stupid!”

“Hey, she overwhelmed me with the devestating logic of her arguments!  Besides, I can’t lose my memory chips now, I never managed to download all my photos.”

Good old dependable Bender.  Leela smiled reassuringly around the room.  “I’ll be fine, everybody. I already feel a lot better. Besides, how much trouble could I get into, walking the alleys and back streets of New New York in the middle of the night?”

She knew she had them with that one.

Well, almost.  Her mother fixed her with a stern look.  “Promise you’ll come back here to sleep tomorrow.  I know, I know, you’re fine.  Just humor your mother.”

“Okay,” Leela said, elated.  She hugged both her parents, and soon she, Bender and Amy whizzed up through the bootleg tube to the PE basement.

Amy filled her in on the search for Nibbler as they went, and was still going when they exited.  “...I checked everything within a twelve block radius, and I left an open can of snouts behind the building, but when I came back the owls had gotten most of it, so I couldn’t tell if he’d been back or not.  I think if we quarter the area we - “

“Thanks, Amy,” Leela said, “but I’m not going to look for Nibbler.”

Amy and Bender stared at her in shock.

“Leela?  Did you just, like, lie to your parents?” Amy said.

Leela looked away for a second.  “Just a little.”

Bender pumped his fist in the air.  “Woo-hoo!  Leela’s entering the rebellious years!  Welcome to the wonderful world of deception and intrigue!”

“It’s for their own good,” Leela said firmly.  “They’d just worry for nothing.”

“But Nibbler - !” Amy insisted.

Leela sighed.  “Nibbler’s done this before, Amy.  He vanishes for a couple of days, then he turns up, like nothing happened.  At least now I know how he’s getting out of the apartment when I’m not home.”

“Spluh?” Amy said, frowning. “When did this start?  The last time I remember, you were out all night carrying ham around.”

“Yeah,” Leela said.  “And I finally found him the next morning, at the library.  With Fry, who was there for some reason.”  She frowned.  Her memories of that morning were fuzzy - she must have really been exhausted by the time she found him.  “Anyway, three or four times since then, he’s pulled the same stunt.  If he’s not back by the day after tomorrow, I’ll start to worry.”

“So what are you gonna do?” Bender said, then looked away, folding his arms over his chest door.  “Not that I care, but I gotta know what odds to offer.”

“I’m going to work on the ship, of course.  The sooner it gets fixed, the sooner we can find Fry.”

It had to be.  Leela couldn’t just lay around doing nothing, sitting on her ass and letting everyone else do things for her.  She’d been powerless ever since this whole thing started, and that was going to end right now. 

Twice since yesterday morning, she’d listened in horror as someone told her Fry was dead - the fact that they’d been misunderstandings didn’t matter.  Both times, she’d felt the same gut-wrenching guilt and helpless grief that she’d felt in her long, strange nightmare from space-bee venom, and that was twice too many.  Leela was done with waiting and worrying; it was time to take action.  She was going to find Fry if it was the last thing she ever did.

Well - second last.  Because if Fry wasn’t alive and okay when she found him, then the very last thing she did would be find Alkazar. 

And God help him when she did - because no one else would be able to.

(Slipped in some minor edits. Just couldn't relax until I did.     :rolleyes: )
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #148 on: 02-22-2006 18:28 »

[Zapp]BRAY-VO![/Zapp]  :)

Bending Unit
« Reply #149 on: 02-22-2006 18:36 »

Ooooohhh!!!  :love: Yay! I loved it! I love you!!

I loved the possessed thing, and this

his butterfly attention stuck to a subject like glue

was a beautifully perfect description. And the whole part with Leela was perfect, too. Please more soon!  :love:

Urban Legend
« Reply #150 on: 02-22-2006 21:02 »
« Last Edit on: 02-22-2006 21:02 »

Holy snap, you slipped an update in during my PEEL hiatus as well?!  That means two updates for the price of one.

First off, I’d like to say excellent writing all around; you’ve got a knack for keeping the drama constrained within a believable Futurama universe, and for delving introspective while keeping plot pace.  I really liked the way you explained Nibbler’s ‘help’ to Fry throughout the episodes

Fun lines:
“That’s stupid. Why don’t they air condition it with air conditioning?”
Good comic relief
wise and all-knowing - like Ben Kenobi, or Frasier Crane.
I see nothing sophomoric about those examples.
Amy’s disjointed chatter had finally penetrated the first level of her mind and slammed violently into her assumptions. None of it matched.
  Just... really well worded.

The play on ‘possessed’ in the scene transition was also a good bit of fun.  You know I like my wordplay...   :D 

Keep up the great work, hope to see more relatively soon.

« Reply #151 on: 02-22-2006 21:17 »
« Last Edit on: 02-22-2006 21:17 »

I just read this entire thread.

It's 2am, I'm exhausted, I don't feel well, I didn't call my girlfriend, I didn't do my coursework, I've got school tomorrow, I broke the mouse, I didn't practice my cello and I pulled most of my hair out reading this.

I don't care.

It was Awesome.

Awesome to the max.

Urban Legend
« Reply #152 on: 02-22-2006 22:32 »

I am so freaking happy right now. I loved the wordplay Berges already mentioned, i laughed at the whole 'possessed' thing. I loved every little thing about this update.

Don't make us wait this long again!

« Reply #153 on: 02-23-2006 00:49 »
« Last Edit on: 02-23-2006 00:49 »

Venus: I'll do my best not to.   :)  It was because I had real trouble with this section - I had to go back to the outline stage and revamp a little.  Also because Christmas intervened...it's a little distracting.

Trigger Happy Jim: I am very, very complimented by all that.  Though I apologize for the upheaval to your evening.  Hope your girlfriend forgives you, school isn't too hard, the cello is okay without the attention, the mouse gets fixed and your hair grows back.    ;)

JBerges: Thank you.  When I thought of that transition, I knew I had this part straight in my mind.  Not, you know, for any logical reason, but just because.  And I'll have you know that I heard your voice (well, the voice I imagine your posts to be written in) while I edited, because I was a bit morose when I forced out the first draft and it was a pretty humorless stretch.  I could hear you going "more humor, needs more humor" as I fine-tuned it, and it helped a lot.   :)

Arkan: Thank you! I was kinda proud of that sentence, actually.  It's very gratifying that you liked it.   :D

Last but not least, Ralphie: Thank you, thank you!  (Blows kisses to the audience).  I'll see what I can do about an ehn-core.   ;)


« Reply #154 on: 02-23-2006 06:25 »

Not unlike TriggerHappyJim, i too spent the most part of my evening read your fic up to this point! Its like 50 Greats! Can't wait to find out want happens next. Shippy Shippy Shippy!
Update soooooon! Pretty please!!! I feel like i'm waiting to be rescued, just waiting for the next part =D

Excellent work! 10 out of 10.

Bending Unit
« Reply #155 on: 02-23-2006 12:22 »

I'm sorry Shiny, I really meant to be more articulate, but I was just too excited. I have no idea how you manage to write drama but with really good humour and clever references and stuff, yet still make it feel like Futurama. It's just brilliant...  :D

« Reply #156 on: 02-23-2006 18:42 »

I just re-read the first ones again. They are just soooo good.

Mmmmmm. Cold, sweet, shippy goodness.


« Reply #157 on: 02-23-2006 19:15 »
« Last Edit on: 02-23-2006 19:15 »

Thanks, guys.  Arkan, you're quite articulate enough for me!  And THJ, thank you.  I aims to please.

And anyone who hasn't yet, check out Venus's, Layla50's, Gorky's, Soylent Orange's, Dr. Thunder's and JBerges' fic threads.  JBerges' thread in particular has just recently been updated, and I for one don't want him to think we're not noticing.  He's my primary influence for humorous Futurama Fic, even as Venus and Layla are for shippiness (and Tongue Luck for rapier-sharp cliche subversion   ;) ).  My fave JB story is "The Butterfry Effect," the title of which I love almost as much as the story itself.

And yes, I am working on the next bit.  (Venus, that makes it your turn again!   :p )

Bending Unit
« Reply #158 on: 02-23-2006 20:55 »

Very nice work, I only just finished reading. Keep going, looks very good up until now. As a matter of fact, I am just working on something myself... a few more days, and it should be finished.

Starship Captain
« Reply #159 on: 02-24-2006 10:56 »

Nice work Shiny! It's nice to see that the Fanfic section of Peel is comming back to life.

I loved the "Obi-wan" part when Fry is hearing voices. (So Nibbler allready found were Fry is. Well I think it's Nibbler... Maybe I'm wrong.)

Keep it up Shiny.
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