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Urban Legend
« Reply #680 on: 06-15-2007 15:57 »

Holy Zombie Jesus has it really been almost four months since I updated?  Yikes.  Well, here's the next chapter of The Leelazarus Effect.  I've actually finished the whole story, so barring some huge crisis, the updates should come a bit more frequently.  129 pages is the total. (Haha Venus, I beat you :P) 

Part 5
Chapter 10
_____________________________ ___________________

The DOOP was losing ground.  Of the two hundred and fifteen capital ships that had been deployed in Earth’s defense, only thirty three remained.  The defender’s slow defeat was becoming a rout, and if a difficult decision needed to be made.  As much as it pained her to admit, Cameron knew that Earth was lost.  There was nothing more that could be done that would do any good, and there were several thousand other worlds in the Democratic Order of Planets to consider.  It was time to withdraw and regroup; to save what little remained of the DOOP Navy, which had until just a few hours ago been by all accounts the most powerful space force that carbon-based life had ever known. 

There was only one thing that was preventing Captain Voss from giving the order to retreat.  Leela.  It was crazy.  Every time the word ‘withdraw’ was about to cross her lips, the purple-haired Cyclops would look her straight in the eyes and Cameron’s voice would just die in her throat.  There was no threat in Leela’s gaze, just an iron will that could not be broken.  It was crazy.  Here she was acting flag officer for the entire DOOP navy, and yet somehow this captain of a lowly delivery ship was able to have the same effect on her as a 25 star general had on an ensign fresh from academy.  Well, that had to stop.

“Commander Williams?” 

“Aye Captain?”  Williams didn’t take his gaze from his console.

“Order the fleet to withdraw.  We can’t accomplish anything more here today.”

“Aye Captain.”  Without looking at her, Williams made his way to the comm station.  Cameron winced.  Her first officer was furious with her.  She really had waited too long to make the order.

A gasp caught her attention.  Cameron glanced around her bridge until she found the source of the noise.  Leela was staring at the wristamajig that she was wearing with such a look of abject terror that Cameron’s heart skipped a beat.  Ignoring her first officer’s disapproving look, Cameron left the Captain’s chair and went to stand at Leela’s side.
When Williams continued to frown at her she turned to him and gave him a smile that just dared him to speak his mind. 

“Is there something wrong, Commander?”

Williams glowered but took the hidden reprimand. “No ma’am,” he said, and turned his attention to the communications equipment.

 Leela’s voice regained Cameron’s attention

“What do you mean you went back to Planet Express?!” The Cyclops was demanding.  From her facial expression Cameron got the impression that Leela had meant to scream the question at the top of her lungs.  Probably Leela wasn’t even aware that it had come out as little more than a croak. 

“I already told you.  Fry flew us back here to get away from the brains.  He let the ship get all banged up too, but that’s what we get for lowering the spaceship driver’s license age to twenty-three, I suppose.  Now in my day…”  The wristamajig’s viewscreen wasn’t tilted in the right direction for Cameron to see it, but she immediately recognized this new rambling voice as belonging to the old man that she had met briefly aboard the Planet Express Ship. 

The senile professor continued babbling.  Fascinated, Cameron watched as Leela’s face tried to handle the emotions that were washing over it.  At last, Farnsington, or whatever his name was, fell silent, perhaps having finally noticed that something was wrong.

“Professor, where is Fry?” Somewhere in that innocent question Cameron saw the promise of disaster.

“Eh-wha?  How should I know?” The Professor scoffed.  “He keeps picking out the tracking chips I embed in his nose, oh my yes.  I sent him off to look for a hammer a few minutes ago and he’s not back yet.  I’m sure he’s around here somewhere.”

“Listen, Professor, this is very important.  You have to find Fry and make him leave Planet Express.  Tell him to go home.  Make up some dumb errand.  I don’t care.  Just get rid of him.  Now!”

“Oh, fuff!   He may be a moron, but he’s still a little better at his job than those monkeys I’ve been breeding, and he doesn’t leave as much crap lying around.  His brain’s easier to operate on too.  There’s no reason to send him home.”

“No Professor, you don’t understand!  If Fry stays at Planet Express, it’s the end of the universe as we know it!” 

Cameron winced.  That last remark had been loud enough for the whole bridge to hear.
The crew was undoubtedly starting to think their Captain’s new expert on the Brainspawn was a complete fruit loop.  As if morale wasn’t bad enough already.  Cameron opened her mouth to interrupt the conversation, but stopped herself, remembering a conversation Leela had had with Fry right before she and Cameron had met up with him.  Fry had volunteered to wait for them at Planet Express and Leela had reacted as though she had just heard that the world was ending.  It hadn’t seemed so strange at the time since, after all, the world really was ending, but now Cameron was beginning to suspect there was something more to the story, something important.  She decided to let the conversation continue.

The old man was speaking again.  “Now Leela, I know you’re still angry that Hermes fired you yesterday, but Fry’s been the Captain of my delivery ship for as long as I can remember, and a damned good one too.  I’m sure he can look after hims-”

Leela cut him off.  “No! I mean, I’m sure Fry can take care of himself.  No wait, what am I saying?  Of course he can’t; but that’s not the point.  Look, the truth is, well, there might have been a few details of my visit to the future that I sorta… left out.” 

“Oh?  Like what?”

“Well for one thing, maybe I should have mentioned that, if everything goes the way it did the last time, the Brains won’t just stop once they’ve destroyed the Earth.”  Leela paused for a moment, visibly readying herself for what she was about to say.  “Professor, Cameron, I’m sorry.  I should have told you earlier.  It’s just… This is very hard for me.” 

Commander Williams picked that moment to interrupt.  Cameron knew it was probably intentional, the bastard.  “Captain, the retreat is being executed.  We have five minutes before the lead formations withdraw.”

Cameron nodded in acknowledgement.  “Noted.” She said.  That meant the Cumulus would be protected from attack for only another five minutes.  After that, things would get interesting very quickly. 

Leela looked at Cameron.  Voss nodded for her to continue. 

“According to Nibbler, the brains are attacking the Earth because we destroyed something they called ‘The Infosphere’.”

Cameron interrupted.  “I don’t recall any military campaign to destroy anything called an ‘Infosphere’.”

Leela nodded sadly. “No, you wouldn’t have.  The Earthican military didn’t destroy it.  Fry did, by himself.  And since Fry is from Earth, the brains are taking it out on all of us.  At least, that’s what Nibbler thought.  It was the only explanation anyone ever came up with.  But why they’re here isn’t what matters.  What matters is that Fry happens to be the only person anywhere in the universe who is immune to those stupefying fields that the Brainspawn have been using on us.”

The Professor was obviously confused.  When he didn’t say anything, Cameron interjected again.  “Uhh, Leela?   That could have been nice to know, say, four hours ago.”

Leela’s shoulders slumped.  “Yeah, I know I should have told you.  I just couldn’t.  See, there’s one last thing I didn’t tell you.  This isn’t my first trip through time.  I came back once before, but I got back to Earth too late to do anything.  When I got back to Planet Express Fry was in the smelloscope room.  Professor, you and everybody else were all stupefied, and Fry was standing there with a laser.  When I got there I startled him.  The laser fired.  There was a barrel full of antimatter.  The laser hit it and… Oh god…”  The Cyclops began sobbing quietly.

Cameron could guess what had come next.  With the only person who could stand up to them out of the picture the Brainspawn had done to everyone else what they had done to Earth.  Voss moved to put an arm around Leela’s shoulder.  The ancient face of the Professor was now visible on the little viewscreen on Leela’s forearm.

Cameron regarded the old man.  “Professor Farnsworth is it?  Even though he’s probably in no more danger where he is than anywhere else right now, maybe you should send Fry home for the day.”

The Professor responded as though he were answering an academic question.  “Oh, I should think that, if what Leela says is true, there is a great deal more danger for Fry here at Planet Express.  Time has a way of trying to heal itself; It is called the Law of Conservation of Events.  With something as important as the death of the one being capable of standing up to the Brainspawn, it’s quite likely that events will turn out much the same as they did before if he stays here.”  Farnsworth nodded to himself, clearly excited by his own musings.  “Oh my yes, it would most certainly all happen again.” He said.

Cameron’s eyes narrowed.  If it was one thing she couldn’t stand it was academic types’ tendency to make every explanation need an explanation.  “How could things turn out the same way they did before?  It’s not like Leela is going to accidentally startle him into shooting a barrel again.”

“Of course she won’t.  But the other Leela will.”

Cameron mulled that over for a second, trying to make sense of it.  “So what you think you just said is…”

“Correct!”  Farnsworth exclaimed.  “Thanks to all of this crazy time travel, there are now three Leelas running around our universe.  One Leela is frozen in a tube somewhere.  Another Leela is standing on the bridge of your ship.  The last Leela is presumably on her way here, unaware that her attempts to save the day will end in Fry’s death.”

Cameron’s brain hurt.  “But this is all pointless.  Just find Fry and make him leave.”

Farnsworth stared at her.  “Eh-wha?  Why would I want to do that?”

“Oh, I dunno, maybe to keep him from blowing himself, as well as yourself and the rest of your employees to tiny bite-sized pieces?”

“How would destroying the universe help matters?”

Now Cameron was beginning to lose her patience.  “What the hell are you talking about?”

“It’s simple.  If Fry is not at Planet Express, that past Leela who is on her way here, let’s call her Leela Red, will not cause Fry to kill himself.  But then the Leela who is on your bridge, let’s call her Leela Blue, will be cut off from the timeline.  If Leela Red does not kill Fry, then the events that define Leela Blue’s past few days will be erased.  Leela Blue will never have existed.”

Cameron felt Leela’s body go rigid.  A moment later Cameron’s own thoughts caught up.  If Leela Blue had never existed, no one would have been around to warn Fry to stay out of Planet Express.  It was a paradox.

Farnsworth continued, obviously enjoying his lecture.  Cameron was becoming angry at the senile old scientist’s dispassionate predictions.  Did he even realize that he was talking about the deaths of not only himself but of all of his employees?  During her long career in The DOOP, Cameron had come across a few Captains who had acted much the same way as Farnsworth; being much more interested in tactical intricacies, or in Farnsworth’s case the intricacies of physical law, than in the human lives who would be expended.   It made her sick. 

Farnsworth continued to drone on.  “According to theory, a time paradox will not destroy the universe as long as there exists even a single time line which is unaffected by the paradox.  For example, when Leela Red went back in time to warn us about the brains, the future was altered.  That altered the circumstances that led to Leela Red going back in time in the first place, creating a paradox.  In this way, any time traveler must deal with the consequences of any previous trip that she had taken through time.  Since Leela Blue still has the time machine and still has the chance to fix the paradox somehow, the universe hasn’t exploded.  If Leela gets involved in a paradox of her own, by saving Fry for example, the last thread holding the universe together will be cut.”

Cameron  blinked.  “Uhh, English please?”

“Unless Fry dies in the smelloscope room this evening, the whole universe will be destroyed.”
_____________________________ ____________________


Bending Unit
« Reply #681 on: 06-15-2007 18:22 »
« Last Edit on: 06-15-2007 18:22 by JustNibblin´ »

Welcome back!  I've been looking forward to the end of this story for a while (four months I believe   ;) )

Urban Legend
« Reply #682 on: 06-15-2007 19:14 »

thanks justNibblin'!  It's good to be back. I've missed being here :-)

Urban Legend
« Reply #683 on: 06-16-2007 01:22 »

Yay! Life has meaning again!

Bending Unit
« Reply #684 on: 06-16-2007 07:24 »

Ihhhh.. I'm on the edge of my seat here.  :D
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #685 on: 07-07-2007 18:53 »

Dun-dun-dahhhhhhhh! Simply superb as always (and thanks for the timeline overview that got worked in).

Urban Legend
« Reply #686 on: 07-07-2007 21:58 »

thanks sinewave :-)

I'm waiting to hear back from spaceCase (who is one of my betas) before I post the next chapter, but I'm begininning to thing that spacey has been swallowed whole by the 'real life' monster.  If I dont hear anything by monday I'll go ahead and post it.  After all, Arkan's eyes didn't bleed while beta-ing it (at least not as far as I've heard) so it must be ok :-)

Urban Legend
« Reply #687 on: 07-10-2007 18:15 »
« Last Edit on: 07-10-2007 18:15 »

Part 5
Chapter 11

Fry backed out of the room.  Letting the hammer he was carrying fall to the floor with a clatter, the delivery boy slumped to the floor.  Numbly he tried to piece together what he had just overheard.  Most of it was that crazy scifi gibberish that you get in a bad space movie, but the Professor’s last sentence had been clear as a bell.

“So that’s what Leela was hiding from me,” he realized, shocked.  “I knew something bad happened!”  But this was too much.  How was he supposed to deal with the knowledge that the fate of the universe itself hinged on him being blown to tiny bits?

“Why the heck does this crazy stuff keep happening to me?”  Fry thought darkly.  “It’s like some insane god has a grudge against me.”  But this was much worse than anything he’d had to deal with before.  “Except for the time when Leela got stung.  That was worse cuz I couldn’t do anything to help.  Bu-u-ut…” He started as an idea began to form in his head.  “This time I can.  It’s just… What am I gonna do?”

His usual answer of ‘ask Leela’ wouldn’t work in this situation since, if the shocked silence on the far end of the conversation he had just been spying on was any sign, Leela didn’t have a clue.  Farnsworth’s advice was pretty clear, on the other hand.

“But can I really walk into a room and know that I’ll never walk out again?”  Fry searched his feelings, and came up with a disappointing answer.  “Not without Leela.”  The delivery boy sighed.  He’d spent so much time relying on Leela to supply his courage that he’d forgotten that he didn’t really have all that much of his own.

So what other options were there?  It seemed to Fry that there were two.  One, he could go talk to the Professor and try to get him to come up with a scenario in which the universe survived and Fry didn’t die, or two, he could stand around and try to think until his brain hurt, and then go talk to the Professor.  He was just about to take option one when the hallway was flooded with green light.
_____________________________ _____________________________ _____________

“Leela, don’t be stupid.  There’s nothing you can do!”

“Oh, really?  Do you know that?  And how much more help will I be here, exactly?”  Leela returned Cameron’s glare, ignoring the muffled whispers of the bridge crew, who had no doubt never heard anyone stand up to their Captain like this before.

“Well for one thing, you’ll be alive if you stay here, whereas you’ll be dead as space dirt if you go down there.  I really doubt you’ll be more helpful as a corpse.”

Leela sighed and tried to calm herself a little.  It was hard to do, but screaming at the captain of a DOOP warship wasn’t getting her anywhere.  “Look, Cameron, I appreciate that you want to make sure that I’m safe, but my friends and family are down there.  You saw that green flash before the line went dead; I’m willing to bet that was a stupefaction ray, and that means that New New York is under attack.  I’ve got to get down there.”

“It has nothing to do with wanting to keep you safe.” Cameron snapped.  Of course in reality it had everything to do with that, but she couldn’t let her crew see their Captain being all sentimental in the middle of a battle.  “You’re a valuable strategic asset.  You’ve dealt with the Brainspawn before and survived.  The DOOP needs you.”

Leela shook her head.  “Cameron, as of right now you know everything I know about the Brains, and in a little while I won’t be able to help predict the future because we’ll have passed the moment that I went back in time.  The only people’s survival I can help with are the ones down there.”  She pointed out the forward window at the Earth, slowly rotating below them.  “I know that you have the authority to lock me in the brig if I don’t do what you tell me to, but please, as a friend, you’ve got to let me go.”

Cameron was about to answer, but she was cut off by Commander William’s urgent voice.  “Umm, not to intrude Captain, but if we don’t get out of here right now it won’t matter one way or the other whether you let Ms. Leela off the ship.  The last of the ships that were screening us have withdrawn.  There’s nothing between us and the enemy.” 

As if on cue, one of the ensigns standing at a console near the rear of the bridge piped up.  “Seven enemy ships err- craft, I mean…. Seven hostiles closing fast, bearing eight-five by three-six, distance two thousand kilometers!”

“Hard to starboard!  Bring forward batteries to bear!  Protect the engines!”  Captain Voss bolted across the compartment and sailed into her duty station.  The officer at the helm rushed to carry out her orders.

Leela suddenly found herself unwatched, and only a few paces from the hatch.  Cameron was busy giving orders, and everybody else was too occupied to notice her.  She wasn’t going to get a better chance than this.  Cautiously she made her way to the hatch, trying to be as nonchalant as possible.  The hatch whooshed open.  Leela cringed at the sound, but nobody seemed to hear it.   The moment she walked through, however, Cameron called out to her.  “Good Luck, Leela!”

The hatch whooshed shut.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

Fry burst into the conference room, where Professor Farnsworth had been conversing with Leela only moments earlier. 

“Professor!” called the delivery boy, but there was no answer. Farnsworth had seemingly vanished.

“Where did he go?!” Fry exclaimed. It had only been a few seconds since he had heard the videophone shut off.  There was just no way that old arthritic Professor Farnsworth had left the room already.

Fry heard a muffled sound coming from the conference table.  Warily, he approached.  The noise came again, this time clearly from under the table.  Fry bent down to investigate, wishing not for the first time that his coworkers let him carry a laser pistol.

Instead of some terrible scientist-eating alien monster, Fry found himself face to face with the Professor, who was busily chewing on one of his slippers.  Noticing that Fry was staring at him, Farnsworth took the slipper out of his mouth and proclaimed:

“Look at me, I’m a genius!  I’ve found the solution to world hunger!” 

He then proceeded to jam the dirty white shoe back into his mouth.

Fry cursed under his breath.  It was as he had feared; the greenish glow that permeated the building was a Brainspawn stupefaction field.

There was a tremendous wrenching noise.  Fry whirled just in time to see one of the hangar bay doors shatter into a hundred pieces and come raining down onto the upper hull of the Planet Express Ship.  A warbling scream, immediately cut off, echoed through the room as a particularly large roof fragment flattened the trashcan in which Zoidberg had been rummaging for his dinner. 

Fry froze, too stunned to react.  It was only when a yellow beam of psychic energy impacted the conference table not 12 inches away that he even noticed the dozen or so brainspawn that had entered the building through the gaping hole in the roof. 

Another brain took a shot at him.  Fry lunged out of the way just in time, but banged his shin hard against the Professor’s conference chair. 

“The Professor!” Fry realized with a start.  Then a moment later, “The Professor’s gun!” 

In a move that Fry would have kicked himself in the shin for not thinking of earlier, (had the chair not just done it for him) the delivery boy ducked under the table, reached over the table’s smooth edge, and pressed a small red button that was part of the Professor’s console.  A small compartment opened up under the table, and Fry reached in anxiously.  His fingers immediately closed around the cool metal casing of the small laser pistol that the Professor had recently bought at a local pawnshop. 

Cautiously Fry raised his head over the table’s surface.  About half of the brains- Fry didn’t take the time to count exactly- were clustered around the bow of the Planet Express Ship.  Suddenly they fired, concentrating their strange translucent yellow beams on a small patch of the PE Ship’s forward hull.  The futuristic composite, which had survived countless re-entries, meteoric bombardments, and laser burns, began to sag and then to melt away, dripping superheated liquid into the bridge.  A thin pall of smoke soon started to curl up through the brains’ widening hole.

As inconspicuously as possible, Fry began to raise his pistol above the surface of the conference table, but, just as he was lining up his first shot, the six or so brains that were not busily burning their way into the ship opened fire on him and sent him scurrying for cover.  When he tried to peek over the table again a few moments later the Brainspawn that had been melting a hole in the ship had already finished their work and had rejoined their comrades.  The whole group of brains was now slowly floating it’s way in Fry’s direction.
Knowing that his hiding place would be useless in a few moments, and that the Planet Express Ship was useless with a gaping hole in the front of it, Fry grabbed the Professor, who was still idly chewing his slipper, and hauled him from under the table.  Not even sparing a moment to look behind him, Fry bolted for the door and practically tossed the Professor through.  Then Fry rolled through the opening and dodged around to the left, coming up hard against the wooden television stand.  A few stray brain rays impacted the far wall before the doors automatically shut.  A moment later, the small panel next to the door began to glow red.  Fry caught the acrid smell of burning insulation.  Apparently one of the Brains had accidentally done what Fry had been too terrified to think of.  The door’s controls were fried.  That meant the hangar bay was sealed off.

Fry stood, shaking.  Abruptly he realized that Bender, Hermes, and Amy were all in the room.  None of them gave any sign that they had noticed the commotion in the next room, or even that he had just chucked the Professor through a doorway while being shot at by a squadron of bad guys.  Instead, they seemed completely absorbed by whatever they were watching on the television.  Thinking for a moment that they might be watching some important newscast, the delivery boy craned his neck around the side of the TV.  It was the Home Shopping Network.

“Oh, right.  The stupid-enation fields…”  he said aloud.

Bender spoke up, suddenly excited.  “Three gold necklaces for $49.99?  Quick, somebody give me the telephone!”

Amy handed the robot her makeup kit.  When Bender flipped it open and actually tried to dial it, Fry grabbed it from him.

“Now listen, you guys,” Fry said, switching off the television so that he could be sure that they were paying attention to him.  “Those big brains have made you all stupid again.  We need to get out of here before… oh crap.”

Three brains had just appeared outside the room’s large bay window, a tactical move that Fry supposed he probably should have seen coming from a mile away.  The lead brain fired, but his psychic beam refracted through the glass and buried itself in the ceiling with a puff of vaporizing insulation.  The Brains paused for a moment, as if mulling over this new development.  Suddenly they all fired at once, but their beams were also harmlessly deflected, one smacking into the windowsill and the others burying themselves in the ceiling like the first one.

A few more Brains showed up.  A few seconds went idly by as Fry tried to figure out how to get his friends out of the room and the brains tried to figure out how to get themselves in.  Both parties discovered a solution at seemingly the same instant. 

“Quick, everybody follow me!  Mom’s department store is having a sale on beer, collators, fingernail polish, and, uhh… doomsday devices!”

That was all it took. Bender, Amy, and Hermes practically flew off the couch and out the room’s rear door.  Farnsworth began to shuffle after them.  Fry followed them out the door just as the left side of the window began to melt.

Fry, after shooting out the lounge door’s control panel, ran to catch up with his stupefied friends.  They were all clustered around the elevator at the end of the hall.  While they waited for the elevator Fry tried to come up with a plan.  Getting everyone out of the lounge was one thing, but getting them safely out of the building when it was about to be overrun with giant evil brains was something entirely different.

Suddenly Fry realized that he was absolutely terrified, and not even because a swarm of space-nerds was melting its way into the room he’d just left, or even because of Leela’s tale of his gruesome death in that weird alternate future.  Those events were outside his control, and all he could do was try to avoid them.  Basically, he had to do what he did best: run away.  The trouble was that now he had four people whose lives depended on him.  He had to make decisions now that would almost definitely mean life or death for his best friends.  The thought was horrifying. 

“Good gosh, is this what Leela feels every time we get into an emergency?”  As Captain, Leela had to make split-second life or death decisions on an almost daily basis.  “No wonder she’s tense all the time.” It might also explain some of Leela’s reluctance to get too close to anyone, he realized.

Fry forced himself away from that line of thought.  He needed a plan.  Looking around him, the delivery boy tried to place his surroundings in a mental map of the Planet Express Building.  Behind him was the lounge and, beyond that, the hangar.  In front was the elevator that led to the ground floor or the smelloscope room at the top of the tower. Each of the four rooms accessible from the doors along the hallway’s length were dead ends.  The smartest thing to do, Fry supposed, was to ride the elevator down to the first floor, lead his coworkers through the building, and head out the front door.  Hopefully once they were out of the building the stupification field would wear off and Fry could convince everyone to make a dash for the nearby manhole cover.  The sewer mutants would be able to help, and with any luck, Fry wouldn’t have to be in charge anymore.

Satisfied with his plan, Fry folded his arms and more or less confidently waited for the elevator.  A few seconds passed. 

“Man this elevator takes forev- oh.  Dammit.”  The elevator’s down button wasn’t lit.  Fry’s coworkers had been too stupid to press the call button.  Grumbling to himself, Fry pressed the little plastic square, and the doors immediately opened. 
_____________________________ _____________________________ __________

Once again Leela found herself flinging her ship in the direction of New New York at breakneck speed.  She glanced at one of the monitors at the tactical station.  The time was 5:37.  Cameron had delayed her too long.  Her past self, Leela Red as the Professor had called her, was in the Earth’s atmosphere by now. 

“Damn you, Fry.” Leela muttered angrily.  “Why did you have to go back to Planet Express?  There were a million safer places that you could have gone.”  Of course, she knew that Fry wasn’t to blame, and her anger was more with herself than it was with Fry.  It was her own fault that everything was about to unravel.  If only she’d told her coworkers what had happened to them the last time… But how was she to know that by trying to spare their feelings she had given them a chance to walk blindly into the very situation she was hoping to avoid? 

The cyclops frowned at herself.  “It wasn’t to protect their feelings,” she forced herself to admit.  “It was to protect mine.  I was weak, and because of it I’m in the same situation I was before.  If I’d told the Professor about everything before the Brains had even gotten here, I would have known that the universe was going to try and force Fry back into the tower, and I could have done something about it.  But I didn’t tell him then.  I waited until a few minutes before the explosion will happen.”  And happen it would. Leela was certain of it.

Leela pictured what must be going on at Planet Express at this very moment.  The Brains would be closing in from all directions.  Everyone would be stupid by now.   The brains would cut off the escape routes, and Fry would be forced toward the tower.  Leela could not allow that to happen.

Ignoring a brain that happened to lumber into her path, Leela pushed the gas pedal to the deck.  The engines screamed in protest as the Planet Express Ship hurtled into the outer fringes of the atmosphere.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

There were Brains in the lobby.  Lots of them.  Fry quickly retreated through the door.  A Brain’s stray shot sizzled through Amy’s hair, just barely grazing her scalp.  The intern screamed and looked around wildly, her stupefaction apparently dissipating for a moment.  Her eyes locked on Fry’s.

“Fry, what…?” She asked, but her eyes were already glazing over again. 
The lobby door opened again.  Fry, distracted by Amy’s sudden clarity of mind, had forgotten to shoot the door’s control panel.  Three Brains hovered slowly into the hall and stopped only a foot from Fry’s nose.  The door closed behind them.  Then, unexpectedly, the lead brain spoke:

<Greetings, Mighty One.  Please, put down your weapon.  We wish to talk with you.>

Fry regarded the brain for a moment, suspicious.  “Why would the Brains shoot at me and then suddenly decide they want to talk?” he wondered aloud.  It didn’t make sense.

“You’re just trying to stall me,” He accused, not really believing it but thinking it sounded like something an evil brain would try and do.

<Negative.  Things are not as they seem.  That Nibblonian friend of yours has been filling your primitive head with lies.  There is still a way to end this that does not result in your death or the destruction of the universe.  You can still save your world.  You can still save Leela.>

Fry was utterly stunned.  “H-How do you know about all that?” he demanded, leveling his weapon at the speaker.

<That is not important.   What matters is that we can help.  All you have to do is put down that laser and come with us.>

For a moment Fry wavered, completely at a loss.  Then he caught a hint of movement out of the corner of his eye.  A couple of Brains were stealthily floating out of a side corridor.  They were trying to flank him.  He had been right after all.  The talking Brain was trying to stall him.

Fry fired, sending the talking brain flopping to the floor.  The fallen brain’s comrades fired back but Fry dove out of their way just in time.  One of the shots buried itself in the floor, and two more ended up in the walls, but one unlucky shot hit Amy in the leg.  The Martian intern screamed.  Fry dispatched the Brains with a hail of laser blasts. 

Fry rushed to Amy’s side.  “Amy, are you ok?” Fry asked, hoping that being shot in the leg had driven the intern out of her stupefied funk in the same way that her earlier near miss had.

At first Amy only responded with a hail of foreign cursing, but after Fry stared at her blankly for a few seconds she switched back to English

“Guh.  What do you think?  I just got shot in the leg!  And what the heck is going on?”

“No time to explain.  We need to get everybody out of here and I need your help before you get stupid again.  Do you think you can move?”

Amy tested her leg.  “Actually, it’s not so bad.  It’s a lot like that time I tripped and that branding iron fell on me.  I think I’ll be ok.”

“Great!” Taking a step back to put a little room between himself and Amy, Fry began to gesture with his hands.  “Ok then here’s the plan…”

“Uhh, let me guess, run away in that direction?” Amy interjected, pointing in the direction of the elevator.

Fry paused, confused.  “Uhh, no.  Why do you say that?”

“Oh, I dunno, maybe because of them?”  The Martian intern pointed over Fry’s shoulder.  At some point in the recent firefight, Fry had managed to end up with his back to the lobby door.  Now he turned to look where Amy was pointing, pretty sure that he already knew what he was going to see.  Sure enough, Amy had been pointing through the open lobby door at the dozen or so Brainspawn that were inside.  The delivery boy’s step backward had activated the door’s motion sensor. 

The delivery boy looked left and right.  There were a number of Brainspawn slowly making their way down the two side corridors as well.  “Ok, new plan,” He said.  “We do what you said.”

Fry started shooting, giving Amy just enough time to herd her stupid coworkers into the elevator.  The Brains began to advance, and Fry retreated down the hall.  Amy called to him.

“Come on Fry, hurry up.  I’m starting to feel stupid again.  I have a sudden urge to respond to bulk email!”

Fry turned and ran.  Shoving his way into the cramped elevator, the delivery boy slammed the door close button with the palm of his hand.  He pressed the button for the second floor.  With luck, the Brains in the lounge had left and joined their friends downstairs.  If all went well, Fry could burn his way back into the lounge.  It wasn’t that far a jump to the ground from the big bay window.  If they tossed the sofa out first and then tried to land on it they’d probably avoid any broken bones.  At least, Fry really hoped they would.  Trying to get one of his friends safely down a manhole with a broken arm or leg wouldn’t be pretty, but one step at a time.

The elevator doors opened with a clunk.  Fry stared.  The Brains on this level hadn’t given up and joined their friends.  After melting their way into the building they’d patiently gone to work on the brick wall that separated the lounge from the hallway beyond.  Apparently there hadn’t been enough Brains present to just vaporize the walls like they had done to the spaceships in orbit, but they had managed to create a very large hole.  Now they were all floating patiently a few meters from the elevator.

Without thinking, Fry slammed the door close button again.  “Amy, help me.  What the heck should I do?”  Fry implored his friend, but a vacant, stupefied stare was the only answer that Fry got.

It was up to him.  He had the sudden urge to pace, but in the tiny cramped elevator car it was impossible.  “I can’t go down.  There’s too many brains down there for me to hold them all off,” Fry reasoned aloud.  “But if I try and open the doors here again the Brains outside will blast me before I can zap them.” Since sitting still wasn’t an option, that only left one alternative.  A very, very bad alternative.

“I have to go up,” Fry realized, his heart beginning to thump audibly in his chest.

With an overpowering feeling of dread, Fry pressed the up button.  The elevator car accelerated for a second and then slowed to a stop.  The doors to the smelloscope room opened with a ding.  The time was 5:42.

_____________________________ ___________________

I know, I know. I'm a day late.  It's just that, what with working 12 hours a day 7 days a week I don't have much spare energy for this.  "Work with me for the summer as a research assistant." My professor said.  "You'll have fun!" My professor said.  Bah.  Research Assistant my ass.  Summer Research Slave is more like it.

Anywho...  Depending on whether or not I decide to rewrite a few things in the next update, there will only be one or two more updates.  This monstrosity is almost over!

also, thanks to Arkan and spaceCase for your invaluable help!
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #688 on: 07-10-2007 18:48 »

Again I'm at the point of "Yes I get to see how it ends soon!" and "Aww, there won't be any more."

Combined with TA's, Research assistants are a Professor's card against having to do any work whatsoever.

Urban Legend
« Reply #689 on: 07-10-2007 19:02 »

Combined with TA's, Research assistants are a Professor's card against having to do any work whatsoever
  Aint that the truth...  I wonder how long it will be before the professors comes up with a way to get someone else to do all of the lectures for them...  Oh wait.  They already did.  They're called grad students.

Again I'm at the point of "Yes I get to see how it ends soon!" and "Aww, there won't be any more."
  No worries.  I've already got the first couple chapters of my next fic written.  That story will be about how Fry got his job back after being dumped out of the Planet Express Ship in 'The Cryonic Woman'.  (No time paradoxes.  I promise!)

Bending Unit
« Reply #690 on: 07-11-2007 09:07 »

Yay! Another exciting and action packed update from soylentOrange! I'm really interested in how you are going to end this! As Sine wave put it:

Originally posted by Sine Wave:
Again I'm at the point of "Yes I get to see how it ends soon!" and "Aww, there won't be any more."

I couldn't agree more.

Originally posted by soylentOrange:
I know, I know. I'm a day late. It's just that, what with working 12 hours a day 7 days a week I don't have much spare energy for this. "Work with me for the summer as a research assistant." My professor said. "You'll have fun!" My professor said. Bah. Research Assistant my ass. Summer Research Slave is more like it.

But you do get paid, right? RIGHT?! Or are you in the clutches of the 21 century version of professor Farnsworth??  :p

Originally posted by soylentOrange:
I've already got the first couple chapters of my next fic written.  That story will be about how Fry got his job back after being dumped out of the Planet Express Ship in 'The Cryonic Woman'.  (No time paradoxes.  I promise!)

Aww.. but I like paradoxes..  :p
No worries. Looking forward to your next story!

Delivery Boy
« Reply #691 on: 07-17-2007 03:03 »

In this fanfic you talk about the paradox of preventing an incident by going back in time, meaning you had no reason to go back in time in the first place etc. etc. Didn't this occur in "The Why of Fry" and get completely ignored in the plot where Fry goes back in time, and tells Nibbler to do something different, thus meaning he never went back in time in the first place etc ect? Great story, by the way. Looking forward to seeing how it ends!

Delivery Boy
« Reply #692 on: 07-27-2007 08:39 »
« Last Edit on: 07-27-2007 08:39 »

As Zoidberg would say: 'Make with the updates already!' (Not that I'm rushing you, I just can't wait to see how it ends!)
orry about the double post!  :hmpf:   :(   :cry:

Urban Legend
« Reply #693 on: 10-01-2007 20:03 »

Alrighty, so I know I said it would only take me a few days to post the last update, but, uhh...  *tries to think of excuse*  ...  Yeah, I got nothing.  But here it is, at long last, and late is better than never.  I'm going to really miss this story.  It was alot of fun to write, and I've been working on it for more than two years now.  I do have the first part of my next fic written, but it needs alot of work still.  So don't consider me officially retired.  Just taking a break and concentrating on RL for awhile.  Maybe when GREs are over and gradschool applications are done I can start cranking out the updates like I used too...  Anywho, here's the last installment of The Leelazarus Effect.  Enjoy!
_____________________________ ___________________

Part 5
Chapter 12

The buffeting from her ship’s power dive into the atmosphere was unbelievable.  Leela Blue pulled up on the stick with all her strength, but the PE ship had more momentum than she’d figured.  The ground leapt up at her, but still the ship’s nose barely moved from the vertical.  Then, somewhere between ‘I can see my house from here’ altitude and ‘Oh my god we’re all going to die’ altitude, the air got a purchase on the ship’s underbelly, generating lift.  The bow came up amidst the groan of overstressed metal. 

Leela Blue looked around, trying to get her bearings.  The sky was an ominous ash-grey.  That was not what she remembered from the last time she’d come back in time.  But then again, there hadn’t been any asteroid impacts the last time.

A few familiar skyscrapers flew into view.  Leela Blue altered course slightly and descended even further.  Up ahead and off to port there was a flurry of activity.  The cyclops wasn’t all that surprised when the computer reported a nav-beacon error a moment later.  All the commotion was a horde of brainspawn chasing Leela Blue’s past self as she careened between the towers of New New York.  Leela Red was here right on schedule.

Leela Blue put her ship down almost to street level, hoping the brains would be too occupied chasing their current prey to bother with her.  Unfortunately, Leela Red had a lead on her.  Even at top speed there was no way that Leela Blue was going to make it to Planet Express before her.
_____________________________ ____________________

With one last gut-wrenching maneuver, Leela Red sent her ship rolling sideways through a gap between two close buildings and across the water to Planet Express.  It was still intact!  That meant Fry was still alive!  One of the brains’ greenish rays passed close by to port.  Leela Red pushed the nose downward and held course for a split second more.  Hoping to catch her pursuers off guard, she suddenly threw the engines into reverse, stopping the ship in midair.  The brains went streaming by on all sides, not having had time to react.  They’d be back soon enough.  Leela Red extended the landing gear and cut the engines entirely.  The ship dropped the couple of meters to the ground and landed in the middle of an empty street with a jarring thud.  Having come to the decision that she didn’t want the brains to get their grubby feelers on her time-amajig while she was gone, Leela Red grabbed it and rushed off the bridge.  The ship’s clock read 5:42.

When Leela Red got to the bottom of her ship’s bow stairwell she couldn’t help but pause in shock.  Things were not as she’d been expecting.  From what Nibbler had told her, everything should still have been relatively intact.  He had said nothing about giant clouds of ash or slumping, burned out buildings.  It looked oddly like New New York had suffered several recent, moderate earthquakes.  During her trip through the atmosphere, she’d even seen giant impact craters to the southwest, as though huge bombs had been dropped.  Then, bizarrely, Leela Red found herself practically overwhelmed by a sense of deja-vu.  She had the sudden notion that, not only had she done this sometime before, but that something terrible was about to happen.  The feeling was so strong that the cyclops half stumbled, leaning momentarily on the ship to keep her balance. 

“What the heck is wrong with me?” She exclaimed, terrified by the overpowering emotions that were pumping through her.  For a full ten seconds she stood like that, completely exposed, while she fought to regain control of herself.  At last, her heartbeat finally reaching normal levels again, Leela Red straightened and began to run, pushing thoughts of doom out of her head

It was only a short run to the Planet Express building.  God it was good to see it in one piece again. The sound of laser fire from somewhere inside the structure woke Leela Red from her momentary reverie.  She stepped forward cautiously, waiting for the automatic door to sense her presence.  The door swished open, and Leela Red rolled through the sudden opening.  She took shelter for a moment behind an overturned table and waited for any sign that she had been spotted.  Sure enough, a single brainspawn came floating boldly into the hall.  It stopped a meter or so from her position, as if listening.  Leela Red grew impatient; there wasn’t enough time for stealth, damnit!  She jumped from her hiding place and leveled her pistol at the giant hovering space-nerd.  Unbelievably, it started to laugh at her.

<Hahaha…  Foolish human, did you really think you were hidden from me behind that pitiful piece of furniture?  I saw you the moment you entered the building.  I also see the time travel device that you are holding behind your back.  You will now hand it over to me or I will reduce you to a babbling moron.>

Leela Red’s eye narrowed.  “I don’t think so, bub.  If you’re vision is so good then you also see the laser I have pointed at your squishy head, err, face, err whatever you call that wrinkly mess.  Now shut up and tell me, where is Fry?”  For some reason she felt like she already knew the answer, but that didn’t make sense.

<The crazy idiot with the spiky red hair?  I killed him.  His screams were most amusing.>

Somehow, Leela Red knew it was a lie.  Her eye narrowed and she fired her weapon, blowing a chunk out of the wall not six inches from the brain.  “Now listen very carefully.  I am not in the mood for mind games with some giant hackeysack.  If you try and lie to me again I swear I’ll shoot you full of holes and then beat you until you look like a wad of used chewing gum, understand?  Now let’s try this again.  Where is Fry?”

Now there was some uncertainty in the brainspawn’s voice.  <N-now let’s not be hasty.  I wasn’t serious.  I don’t even know who you’re talking about.  Who’s Fry?  The Mighty One?  Never heard of him…>

Leela Red’s finger started to depress the trigger.  A tiny voice in the back of her head was screaming at her that she was out of time.

<Alright, alright!  He’s barricaded himself in one of the rooms in the tower, but it doesn’t matter.  The Big Brain just sent word; its got something special planned for him.  Just wait a few minutes and Fry will be easy to find.  He’ll be everywhere!>  The brain started to laugh hysterically.

It was too much for the PE captain.  She screamed and fired, sending the abruptly silent brain plopping to the floor.  Panic stricken, Leela Red ran through the halls without regard to her own safety.   Fry was in the tower!  She had to get there before it was too late!

A pair of brains spotted Leela Red as she ran through the building.  They gave chase.  Leela Red dodged them until she reached the elevator. Two quick shots from the cover of the closing elevator car dropped one brain, and then the other. There was the sensation of movement as the lift bore her upward.  A few moments later the doors swished open again.
_____________________________ ____________________

The brains floated one after the other through the smashed windows.  Fry stood with his back against the iron bulk of the chimney cover, blasting away at whatever had the misfortune to blunder into his sights.  The rest of the crew sat in a group at his feet.  It was all Fry could do to convince his stupefied friends to keep still while he attempted to save their asses.  “What a day this has been.” He thought as he dodged a stray shot. 

Fry saw the brain that had just tried to, well, fry him.  It was still a long way off, coming in over the water.  Closing one eye, the delivery boy steadied himself and took aim, slowly depressing the trigger.  “Careful…  Careful…” he whispered to himself.  The brain floated into his crosshairs.  “Almost…”  The elevator door swished open.

Fry’s body whirled around to meet this new threat.  His finger squeezed the trigger instinctively as Leela Red came rushing into the room.  A huge crashing noise tore through the room.  Fry was knocked off his feet as his laser fired.  The beam crossed the small space and buried itself in the hull of Leela Blue’s Planet Express Ship, which had smashed its way into the smelloscope room.  The brain that Fry had been shooting at was smeared across the bow.  Fry and Leela Red stood paralyzed with shock as Leela Blue ejected one of the bridge windows and slid to the floor.

Without even glancing at Fry or her other self, Leela Blue ran across the room, grabbed the barrel of antimatter, and heaved it out a hole in the wall.  The barrel tumbled the few meters to the ground and exploded with a massive boom, leaving a smoking hole in the pavement 5 meters across.  Part of Planet Express’s lower wall was scorched, and a few car alarms went off, but the tower remained intact. 
_____________________________ ____________________

“Umm, will someone please tell me what is going on here?” Leela Red pointed a finger in her counterpart’s direction.  “And who the hell are you?” She demanded.

“I’m you from the future.” Leela Blue said.  “I’ll explain later.  Right now we’ve got to get the hell out of here.  More brainspawn will be here any second.”

Leela Red nodded.  “Alright.  If we can get out of the building we can get back to my ship.  It’s parked over by-“

“Yes, I know where it is.” Leela Blue interrupted.  “Now come on, we need to get out of here!”

Fry raised his hand.  “Umm, Leelas?  I don’t want to spoil the moment or anything, but wasn’t the universe supposed to be kerploding?  I mean, I survived and I wasn’t supposed to.”

The two Leelas stared at Fry, one in confusion and the other in shock. 

“How did you know about that?!” they both demanded simultaneously.

Fry’s face went scarlet.  “Well uhh, ya see, here’s the thing.  I kinda overheard a little of what the Professor said earlier while you were talking to him- hey Bender, stop that!”

The two Leelas turned to follow Fry’s gaze.  Bender was standing by the remains of the smelloscope, trying to light the wrong end of a cigar.  The robot was covered in something brown; something brown that was dripping from the banged up Planet Express Ship that was wedged in the roof.  Leela Red realized what was happening a split second before her counterpart did.

“Bender, no!  You’re covered in darkmatter oil!”  Leela Red launched herself across the room and tackled Bender in midair, just as the bending robot managed to get a spark.

Time seemed to slow to a crawl.  While flammable vapors gracefully saturated the air, the flame slowly lit the tip of Bender’s cigar. Leela Blue pulled out the time device and wrenched the knob around, having no time for such trivia as how far back she should go. Bender’s cigar, saturated with highly volatile dark matter, ignited like a torch. Leela Red’s tackle sent her and the robot sprawling to the floor. Leela Blue whirled, snagged Fry by the jacket, and snapped on the time-device. Fed by the vapors in the air, the flame from Bender’s cigar roiled through the air as though it were alive.  Then the world exploded.
_____________________________ ____________________

Leela gasped involuntarily.  Time travel was worse without the spaceship.  Much worse.  A final, abysmal fall into nowhere and a sudden stop signaled that the rollercoaster ride was over.  Leela allowed herself to open her eye.  She was still in the smelloscope room, but there were several major differences.  First, there were no gaping holes in the walls.  Second, and most obvious, there was no intergalactic spaceship stuck in the roof.  Next to her, someone let out a loud whoop.

“Alright!” exclaimed Fry.  “Let’s do that again!”

Leela hurriedly clamped a hand over the delivery boy’s mouth before he could say anything more.

“Shhh!” She hissed.  “I don’t know what time the machine sent us back to yet.  We can’t let anyone know we’re here yet!”

Fry wilted under his Captain’s glare.  “S-Sorry Leela.” He whispered.

Leela’s face softened.  Now that the adrenaline was draining away it was hard to be angry.  After all, she’d just saved Fry’s life, and spacetime hadn’t ripped itself to shreds.  Both of those were definite plusses.

A distant, ominous boom rolled through the building.  Fry and Leela made their way to the window that pointed in the direction that the sound came from.  Leela frowned at the sight that met her eye.  The sky was ashen grey.

“Aww, that can’t be good.” Fry said.

Several of the nearby buildings had cracks running through them, and some of the skyscrapers across the water were burning.  A pale yellow light lit the sky in the direction that the recent noise, almost certainly an asteroid impact, had come from.  A few minutes later a moderate earthquake shook the building.  Luckily the PE building was so overbuilt that there was no damage. 

Leela finally looked at the display over the time device.  The holographic screen read ‘Destination Reached.  Total travel time –28 minutes’. 

Apparently Leela hadn’t instructed the device to send them as far back in time as she’d thought.  It didn’t matter though.  There was enough time to keep Bender from accidentally blowing up the tower if she moved fast.

She turned to face Fry.  The delivery boy was watching her, apparently waiting for her to take charge.  “Ok Fry, what do we have to do in order to keep that other version of yourself from ever coming into this room?”

“Uhh… “ Fry thought for a moment.  He was having trouble wrapping his head around the idea that another version of himself was somewhere in the building with him.  It was making his brain hurt.  Finally he began to speak.  “Well… My plan was to get everyone out of the building and into the sewers.  I thought we might be safer there.” 

Leela nodded her head.  It was probably what she would have done, which, now that she thought about it, was a little unnerving.  Either Fry was showing unusual clarity of thought, or she was starting to lose her mind.

Fry continued, slightly more confident after reading the approval in his friend’s face.  “We got out of the lounge and downstairs, but there were too many brains.  We had to retreat back upstairs, but there were lots of brains there too.  The only thing we could do was come up here.”

Leela frowned, and Fry, having misunderstood her facial expression, began to apologize.  “I know.  I know.  It was a dumb idea, but I didn’t know what else to do!  There were too many bad guys to fight and there was nowhere else to go. The elevator to the basement is on the other side of the building and there’s no exit from there…”

Leela shook her head.  “No no no, I’m sorry Fry.  You did the right thing.  I was just trying to figure out what we should do-  Hey, wait.  Did you just say there were lots of brains in the lobby?  That’s weird.  When I got there there was only one brain around.”  A little alarm bell started to go off in the back of Leela’s mind.

“Yeah, there were like a kazillion of them.  They must’ve left before you got here.”

“Yeah.  I guess…”  Silently she added “But then where did they all go, and why did they clear out so fast?”  Something didn’t feel right. 

“But anyway” Fry was saying, “we could go help that other me.  We’ve both got lasers.  The three of us might be able to zap enough brains to make it to the sewers.  Plus you’ve got that time-jiggy so we could always come back and do it again if we screw up.”

Leela shook her head sadly.  “Sorry Fry, but the time machine won’t be working again for a long while.  We barely had enough power to get it working when we used it just now.  If we screw up again we probably won’t be able to go back in time far enough to do anything about it.  This is my- I mean our- last chance.” She said solemnly.

Fry took a moment to let that sink in.  “Oh.  Damn.  Well, at least we can still go help that other me.”

Leela frowned, but nodded.  “Yeah, we can probably hold off the bad guys long enough to make it underground.  We can go take shelter with the mutants like you were planning to do.”  Although she was careful to keep any hint of it out of her voice, she knew full well that this would only buy them a little time.  The Brains would still come for them, possibly before the time machine was recharged.   

The two of them made their way to the elevator, a bit more confident now that they had a plan.  Leela pressed the call button.  It didn’t light up.

“What the hell?!” She exclaimed.  “Why isn’t this thing working?”

As an answer, the elevator doors began to glow a soft green.  Fry gulped and the two of them took a few steps back.  The elevator doors opened, but instead of an empty elevator car, a gigantic brain was floating in the elevator shaft.  Leela whipped out her pistol and fired off a volley of shots, but the laser bolts ricocheted off the bluish energy field that surrounded the brain.  In response, the brain just laughed and floated into the room.

<Foolish human.  Your primitive weapons are no threat to me.>  Two tendrils of blue energy sprang out of the brain’s underside and wrapped themselves around the humans’ weapons.  The pistols were ripped from their grasps and went sailing into the open elevator shaft.  The brain laughed again.

<I command the brainspawn that are laying siege to your world.  Though you fought very well this time, I am afraid that not even your knowledge of the future will save your world from its fate>

Leela’s eye went wide.  The brain’s words had hit her like an asteroid impact.  “How do you know about that?!” She yelled.  “Why is it that everyone seems to know about that?!”

Even though it was impossible, Leela was certain that the brain sneered at her.  <You fool.  Did you never wonder why our stupefaction fields affected everyone else on Earth, but you somehow always managed to avoid them?  Did you think yourself that elusive?>

Leela blinked once.  Actually, that’s exactly what she had thought.

<Or how about the time you were crashed on that ice moon?> The Brain continued.  <Was it not strange that you were left completely alone?>

 “W-What?” Leela managed to stutter.

<While you were unconscious on that moon I scanned your thoughts and learned of your trip through time.  I also learned that, were I to attack Earth, I would surely win, because in the future you visited it had already happened.  I quickly gathered my forces and launched an attack.  I thank you for accidentally bringing me that message.>

Fry chose that moment to break into the brain’s monologue.  “So you attacked Earth because Leela’s thoughts told you that you couldn’t lose?”


“But why did you let Leela get away after she crashed, and why didn’t your make-people-stupid rays work on her?”

<It was necessary.  When I scanned Leela’s mind after the crash I learned that she was carrying the time device that my people created.  We have long known that using the device was extremely dangerous, much too dangerous to ever be risked.>

“Then why didn’t you destroy it?” Fry asked.

<Because we are giant brains.  That device that Leela is planning to hit me across the frontal lobes with->  Realizing she’d been caught, Leela lowered the device.  It had been a stupid idea anyway. <-represents twenty-five thousand years of research.  We cannot destroy it.  But because we could not bring ourselves to destroy it, we always ran the risk that someone else would try and use it.  That is why we guard it so heavily.>

“But why did you let Leela go?” Fry asked again.

<I am getting to that.> The brain snapped, irritated. <We could not use the device because, if a mistake was made, the entire universe could be destroyed.  The very existence of the universe was put in jeopardy when that foolish Nibblonian allowed Leela to use the device.>

Fry spoke up.  “But I thought you brains wanted to destroy the universe.  I mean, you already tried to do it once.”

<We only wished to destroy the universe after we had gathered every piece of information that existed.  In this manner, we would have been able to learn everything that there was to know.  When the infosphere was destroyed, all of our data containing all of the knowledge we had gathered was destroyed with it.  We cannot allow the universe to be destroyed now while there is information that we no longer posess.  Killing Leela would have fixed the problem of course, since she would not have had a chance to change the past, but logic told me to leave her alive until I was certain that she did not have some additional part to play.  So I let her go.  I allowed her to escape and told my soldiers to leave her alive, shooting at her just enough to keep her from becoming suspicious.  It seems I was correct.  Had I killed Leela, you would never have died in that explosion and I would not have won the war.>

“But he didn’t die in the explosion.” Leela growled.  “Not this last time.  And now that the past has been changed and it doesn’t look like the universe is going to explode after all, you aren’t going to win.  We will stop you.”

<Indeed.  I had not considered the possibility that you would somehow survive and come back in time to try again.  It was only when I realized that the second ship that my forces chased through my star system was another version of you that I realized you had to be dealt with more severely.  That is why I changed tactics and decided to drop asteroids on your world.  Since I knew about the explosive barrel in this building from your memories, I was certain that I could take care of Fry.  You were more difficult.  I was hoping the asteroids would provoke you into a foolish move against me, but you remained elusive.  You have proven to be most annoying.  Even more annoying, you should have created a paradox that cannot be undone when you saved The Fabled One.  Only two possibilities exist as to why we are all still alive.  Either you will still find some way to defeat me and fix things on your own, or I will kill you both in the near future and solve the paradox myself.  Since you no longer have the time device…>

Another bluish energy field shot out from the brain’s underside and ripped the time device from Leela’s grasp.  The time device flew over the brain and followed her laser pistol down the elevator shaft. A light came on in Leela’s head.

<As I was saying, since you no longer have the time device, it is unlikely that you will be defeating me, leaving us with only one option.  Is there anything you would like to say before I scramble your brains and scatter your atoms throughout the city?>

Leela looked at Fry out of the corner of her eye.  She knew one way out of this, but it depended upon him.  Somehow she had to tell him what to do without letting the brain know what she was up to.  If the brain got wind of her plan it would surely stupefy or even shoot her on the spot.

“Wait.” She said slowly.  “I think we’re missing something here.”  She put as much emphasis as she possibly could on the word ‘think’. 

Fry turned to her.  “What are we missing?”

“Well, you know Fry.  Don’t you think something is missing?”  Not for the first time, Leela wished that she could wink.

“Uhh, no?” 

The brain cut Leela off before she could say anything else.  <”You forget that I can feel your attempts to think, Leela.  Though I admire your attempt to remind The Fabled One about our weakness, it was a foolish move.  Obviously you have come up with some sort of plan.  Hold still while I take it from your pitiful little mind.>  A greenish blob of energy lashed out from the brain and surrounded Leela.  Her eyes immediately glazed over.

Fry lunged at the brain and began beating at the bluish energy field that protected it.  “Stop that!  Let her go!”  The brain laughed again, obviously enjoying its mastery of the situation.  Fry backed away, realizing he wasn’t doing any damage.  He forced himself to think for a moment.  “What did the brain mean by ‘telling me about their weakness’?  What was Leela trying to tell me?” 

Suddenly the brain cried out.  It began to squirm in midair.  <Stop that!> It yelled, obviously in pain.

“Wait a minute...  Thinking hurts them!”  Fry realized as the brain moaned and sank to the florr.  “I remember that from the other time the brains invaded the Earth!  I wonder how I can use that?  Man, what was Leela trying to tell me?”

The brain screamed and the field surrounding Leela dissipated.  Suddenly she could think again.  Wasting no time, Leela jumped over the agonized brainspawn and hit the elevator call button.  This time the button lit.  By the time the elevator had reached the smelloscope room, Leela had grabbed Fry and hauled him across the room.  The brain was just starting to recover when the elevator closed behind them.
_____________________________ ____________________

The elevator doors opened onto the first floor of the Planet Express building.  Fry bolted, heading for the lobby.  Right before he got to the door he realized that Leela wasn’t following him.  He threw on the brakes and turned his body back toward the elevator.  Leela was walking leisurely in his direction.

“Leela, what are you doing? Come on!” He gestured for her to hurry.

Leela shook her head.  “No Fry.  We’re not running away this time.  I’ve got a plan.  It came to me when that big brain threw the time device down the elevator shaft.  There’s no time to explain, just keep the big brain occupied when he shows up.  I just hope we’re in the right place…”  Without another word, Leela turned her back to the delivery boy and faced the elevator they had just left.

“B-But…” Fry stammered.  He glanced over his shoulder at the door to the exit.  Leela didn’t budge.  Fry started to speak a couple of times, but when nothing intelligible came out, he gave up and walked to Leela’s side.  He shook his head.  “Leela, remind me later to tell you you’re completely nuts.”

Leela turned to him and smiled without humor.  “If this works, you won’t ever need to.”

“Yeah?  Well if this doesn’t work I won’t ever be able to.  Because we’ll both be dead.”

Leela’s smile vanished and she turned back toward the elevator.  The wait was not long.  There was a terrific shriek of ripping metal.  The elevator doors crashed outward.  The big brain hovered into the hallway.

<I underestimated you two.> It said, agner lacing its voice.  <But it does not matter.  Even though I did not have enough time to uncover your plan while I was reading your thoughts, you will not escape me again.  I have locked the other Fry and your coworkers in the hallway above us.  They will be taken care of momentarily.  But now it is your time to die.>  The brain reared up and began to glow a soft yellow, the color of the brains’ deadly psychic rays.

“Fry!” Leela yelled, jamming the delivery boy in the ribs with her elbow.

“Huh?  Oh right.”  Fry began to think.  The brain faltered.

<No.> It said.  <You- will not- defeat me again.>

To Fry’s horror, Leela started to walk up to the shuddering pink lump. “Leela what-“ He began.

Leela spoke without turning to face the delivery boy.  “Just trust me Fry, I know what I’m doing.  I think.”  She addressed the brain, which was writhing in agony a meter or so above the floor.  “Now listen to me you jerk.” She put her hands on her hips.  “I’ve gone through a lot in the last few days.  I’ve been frozen, I’ve gone back in time so many times that I should probably be getting frequent flyer miles, and I’ve watched my best friends get blown to shreds.  Twice.  I’m tired, I’m sore, and I’m an emotional wreck.  Now is not a good time to piss me off!  But you just had to come along and do it anyway.  Well not anymore.  I’m done.  See, you screwed up just now.  I know a way out of this.”  She looked at her wristamajig and grinned evilly.  “I’m going home, and there’s not a damned thing that you can do to stop me.” 

There was a bright flash.  Fry blinked.  A small, perfectly round hole had appeared in the ceiling.  A small object appeared in the hole and began to fall.  Leela grabbed the time device and laughed triumphantly. 

“Right on cue!” She exclaimed.  “See, there’s a part of my story that you apparently don’t know.  When the Planet Express Building exploded the first time, I was buried in the rubble.  When I woke up I tried to activate the time device but I accidentally dropped it.  It hit something when it fell and went back in time without me.  I happened to notice the time that was displayed on it right before it vanished and I blacked out again.  When you threw my time device down the elevator shaft just now I realized I could get another one if I stood in just the right place at just the right time.  Oh, and don’t worry.  This one had a lot more time to charge than the one you just destroyed did.  I’ll be able to go back in time as far as I need to.”

The brain struggled to speak. <It- It does not matter.  I w- I will stop you again.  You can’t win.>

Leela waved the device at the brain.  “Wrong-o, hackeysack!  I’ve learned my lesson.  Every time I come back here you get in the way.  If I come back here again Fry will just end up dead, and I’ll do it all over.  Again.  I’ll be reliving this day for the rest of my life.  So I’ve been thinking, how do I break the cycle?  How do I stop this day from happening again?  Well, I finally figured it out.  To make sure this doesn’t happen again I’ll just have to make sure it never happened in the first place.”  Leela began to adjust the time device’s control knob.  “Sorry Mr. Brain,” Leela said triumphantly, “but you lose.”

Leela started to press the button to activate the device, but she hesitated.  “Oh, what the hell,” she said, coming to a decision.  She backed up a few steps and turned to Fry.  “Fry, I’ve wanted to do this for a long time.”  Then she did something Fry would never have expected in a million years.  She leaned over and kissed him, hard.  For a moment Fry was certain that she was going to suck the lungs right out of his chest.  The delivery boy’s eyes went wide; he was so shocked he didn’t even return the kiss.  Leela backed away and smiled at him.  “Sorry Fry.” She said sadly.  “But that never happened.”  She activated the time device.
_____________________________ ____________________

Part 6

Leela was livid.  Damn Hermes and his bureaucracy.  She’d been flying the company ship for years now and it was still flying.  Sure, there’d been a few mishaps involving city billboards, but that was small stuff.  There was no reason to send her off to do some bogus driving exam, mandated by the government or otherwise. 

“I mean, it’s not like Hermes hasn’t ignored the rules before.” She grumbled.  “He just fills out one of those ‘ignore the rules’ forms or whatever, and the problem just goes away.”

Leela reached her hovercar.  Shifting her purse to her left shoulder she reached down and pressed her thumb against a small sensor on the door.  The car beeped and unlocked itself.  Leela climbed in.  She was just about to put the key in the ignition when something caught her eye.  There was a folded piece of paper sitting in the seat next to her.

“That’s weird.” She said aloud.  She picked up the paper and unfolded it, mentally crossing her fingers that it wasn’t another letter from Fry expressing his true feelings. 

It did turn out to be a letter, but it wasn’t in Fry’s messy chicken scratch.  Actually, it looked like it was her handwriting, but that didn’t make sense.  She hadn’t left a letter there.

Curious, Leela began to read:

Dear Leela:
   Look in your glove compartment.  There’s something in there that might help out with the driving test.  It’s a little present from the future.  But be careful.  It takes a long time to recharge and it can really screw things up if you let it.  Trust me, I know.  Only use it to pass the test; then put it and this note where and when you found them.  And just so you don’t think this is some kind of joke: Once back when you were at the orphanarium you got so mad at Warden Vogel for cancelling Double Soup Tuesday that you switched his coffee with Andarian mammary juice.  You know you never told anyone that.  Good luck with the test.  You won’t need it.
P.S.:  Be nicer to Fry. You owe him one.

Leela stared at the note, not sure what to think.  It couldn’t be a joke.  She had never told anyone about her childish revenge on the warden, the very memory of which made her shudder.  The poor man had been ill for weeks.  But, since no one else knew about the prank, then that meant…  Leela opened her glove box.  A small pistol-like device tumbled out into her hands.  She regarded it for a moment, looked around her, and tucked it into her purse.  Shaking her head, Leela put the key in the hovercar’s ignition and pulled out of her parking spot. 
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

Across the street, the author of the note was watching the retreating hovercar over the top of her newspaper.  When the vehicle disappeared around the corner, Leela dropped the newspaper on the bench she was sitting on, stood up, and stretched.  She wondered idly what would happen when her past self managed to pass the test.  Once the other Leela sent the time device into the past, she, the Leela on the bench, would find herself cut off from history entirely.  “Will I feel myself fade out of existence?” She wondered.  It didn’t matter.  The universe was safe.  She’d done her job.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

Leela walked into the Planet Express Building just as Fry was landing the Planet Express Ship.  She stood at the railing on the hangar’s second floor and waved at him.  The delivery boy waved back from the ship’s bridge.  A moment later the engine noise died away and Fry came trotting down the ship’s staircase.  By the time he had made it to the conference room, he was out of breath. 

“So, how did the test go?” He asked between gasps.  “It didn’t take you very long.”

Leela smiled at him and patted a bulge in her purse with her left hand.  “It went fine.” She said.  “And you’re right, it didn’t take me very long.  Only four tries.”

“Four tries?” Fry asked, cocking his head.  “You were only gone a few hours.  You had enough time to take the test four times?”

“A few hours huh?”  Leela smiled mysteriously.  “Funny.  It seemed to me like I had all the time in the world.”
_____________________________ ____________________
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #694 on: 10-01-2007 21:27 »

An excellent conclusion to an excellent story. I'm very glad to hear that there's another coming.

Space Pope
« Reply #695 on: 10-02-2007 01:13 »

This was seven kinds of awesome. I had actually been reading this story a few weeks ago, and was perturbed to find it unfinished. I'd considered bumping the thread to ask if anyone knew where soylentOrange was. You seem to channel Fry. Anyway, very entertaining story.

Bending Unit
« Reply #696 on: 10-02-2007 11:40 »

First off, I want to take the opportunity to say what you told me to say in a certain mail you sent me:

Hypocrite!  :p

It was a very good ending although I feel that the end was a bit abrupt.. but that might just be me. All in all a very good story. The kind I wish I could write.. oh well.

Originally posted by km73:
I'd considered bumping the thread to ask if anyone knew where soylentOrange was. You seem to channel Fry. Anyway, very entertaining story.

I know where soylentOrange was.. and why it took him time to finish this. However, I feel that he, rather than me, should be the one to tell you that. I'll shut up now.


Urban Legend
« Reply #697 on: 10-02-2007 17:42 »

First off, I want to take the opportunity to say what you told me to say in a certain mail you sent me:

@Corvus: See, I told you! :P

@Sinewave: Thanks!  Honestly, I'm not all that happy with the ending.  I have to agree with Corvus; it was too abrupt.  I also wanted to add in a scene where we find out whether or not the original Leela fades away, but I couldn't figure out where to put it.  That'll probably get put in there somewhere during rewrite.

@km73: I've sorta been everywhere.  Last summer I was working as a research assistant for a professor in Tennessee.  Halfway through the summer, basically right after the previous update, my boss decided to pile on the work, and I barely had time to eat let alone write.  Then school started and I suddenly realised that I'd been too busy over the summer to study for my GREs, and pretty soon it'll be time to apply to gradschool.  Somewhere in there I also have to find an hour or two to sleep every week.  Hopefully next semester I'll have more time to write
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #698 on: 10-02-2007 19:33 »

Well, excellence isn't necessarily perfection, but it's leagues ahead of what I'm writing. I also assumed she faded out, like Fry in TWoF. And you're scaring me away from undergrad research.

Urban Legend
« Reply #699 on: 10-02-2007 20:44 »

you're scaring me away from undergrad research.

You're thinking about doing research?  In what field, if you dont mind my asking?  Don't let me scare you away from it.  Even though it was alot of work, it was also a blast.  I don't think I've ever had so much fun working so hard  :)
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #700 on: 10-02-2007 20:52 »

I'm glad to hear it was the fun kind of work your ass of, not the boring, pointless kind. I'm looking at physics, probably not going to try for research until next year, but I really hope it's something I'll be able to do. What'd you do your research in?

Urban Legend
« Reply #701 on: 10-02-2007 23:28 »
« Last Edit on: 10-03-2007 00:00 »

My field is astronomy.  I was looking for luminosity variations in post AGB stars (stars that have stopped shell burning and have lost their atmospheres to space, but haven't had a chance to become planetary nebulae yet).  I got to use one of the telescopes at the NOAO observatory at Kitt Peak, Arizona.  I ended up with a null result (there weren't any variations), but it was still alot of fun.  Also, I got to take cool pictures with research-grade equipment

M51 (The Whirlpool Galaxy):

M57 (The Ring Nebula):

Also,  I got a chance to see the Phoenix Mars lander take off from Cape Canaveral:

Space Pope
« Reply #702 on: 10-02-2007 23:49 »

Those pictures are amazing.

Re the part about the other Leela fading from existence, I think it's fine the way you handled it. "It didn't matter...She'd done her job" pretty much encapsulates the essence of it. If you do feel the need to lengthen the ending, though, maybe you could also have something happen to the time device, just so that nobody gets the urge to use it again. It's not necessary though.
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #703 on: 10-03-2007 00:04 »

Those pictures are so damn cool.

Also, wouldn't the device be stuck in it's own time loop now?

-Leela finds it in her car
-Uses it to pass exam
-Sends it back in time to the car
-Finds it in her car
-Uses it to pass exam

ad infinitum

Urban Legend
« Reply #704 on: 10-03-2007 00:08 »

Yeah, basically the time device is stuck in a closed loop.  I suppose that eventually it will break down from continuous wear and tear, since anything will break after infinite use.  I smell a sequel  :)

Delivery Boy
« Reply #705 on: 10-03-2007 02:46 »

Originally posted by *soylentOrange*:
I smell a sequel
Yay! The old Hollywood standby!  :D

Seriously, though. Great conclusion. It does seem a little abrupt and maybe you should add that section about whether Leela fades away, but I didn't think it was bad. I'll need to read the whole thing again before I can make any serious comments, though, and that won't happen for a while as I'm out of the country and my computer access is somewhat irregular! Loved the pictures by the way! Particularly the first one!  :eek:

Sorry about the nagging earlier in the thread! In my defence, I offer the fact that I read this entire thread over the course of an afternoon and it suddenly ended with a cliffhanger.   :(

Bending Unit
« Reply #706 on: 10-13-2007 11:15 »


Before I came back home for the summer/break from school, I saved a bunch of fanfics I really liked, and this was one of them.  Man was I frustrated when I realized it wasn't finished, so I've been jumping on computers at my sister's or the library to check on it, and I'm so glad it's finished.  Really incredible, thought-provoking story.

I smell a sequel
Pretty please?  :D

Bending Unit
« Reply #707 on: 10-22-2007 08:40 »

Congrats on finishing the story!  While I agree it was abrupt, I really liked the plot.  I think you have the time-travel paradox concept nailed.

I agree that research can be a lot of fun, and glad you had a chance to play in Arizona.  Looking forward to future fics--you're one of my favorite writers.
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