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PEEL - The Futurama Message Board    General Futurama Forum Category    Melllvar's Erotic Friend Fiction    'Blame it on the Brain' - by coldangel_1 « previous next »
Author Topic: 'Blame it on the Brain' - by coldangel_1  (Read 51787 times)
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5 ... 11 Print

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #40 on: 09-16-2007 01:15 »

jle - Romantic side died, eh? Oh well. Mine died eons ago, but I can fake enthusiasm for it in fiction.

Maz - Yeah  :) Also, its tenacity and apparently never-ending supply of weapons is similar to an old robot 'war drone' named Sniper in Neal Asher's Spatterjay novels.

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #41 on: 09-16-2007 03:08 »

Nah, I stll have my romantic side intact, it's just taken a severe battering lately, besides, it's only the ship featured I'm not sure about anymore :P

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #42 on: 09-16-2007 07:34 »

Chapter 6: Snake Eye.

Leela landed hard, rolled, and came up running. The laser and maser turrets on either side of the tower’s roof were tracking the PE ship through the dark sky as it cruised past on autopilot – that gave her a window.

   The nearest access door was some thirty feet away, and as she ran she fired her laser pistol at it, melting the lock mechanism to red hot slag.

   “Halt! You are trespassing on…”

   Leela shot the hovering security drone out of the air and continued onward, diving and rolling when one of the auto defence batteries raked crimson light across her path. The sole of her right boot smoked and bubbled where a maser beam had brushed over it. She barrelled into the door, crashing through to a stairwell. A klaxon began to wail mournfully somewhere but she ignored it, descending the steps three at a time.

   First stage complete, she thought grimly. Now for the hard part.

   “Hiiiiiii-yaaaah!” she shrieked, kicking open the door on the first landing she reached… which turned out to be slightly ajar anyway.

She found herself in a lushly carpeted hallway, covered on both sides by security guards alerted by the alarms – one an anthropomorphic robot and the other a human man. They reached for their guns…

   Leela shot out the robot’s knee joint first, then pirouetted and slammed her heel into the human’s chin. He went down cold, and she spun back to the robot guard as he tried to level his weapon from the floor. She smashed his gun arm aside, sending the pistol bouncing away, and planted her own gun against his cranial casing.

   “Where’s Fry?” she demanded in a low, steady voice.

   “Does not compute, you one-eyed harlot,” the robot said nastily.

   Leela shot out one of the robot’s eye lenses, the components melting out of the socket like tears. “Philip Fry,” she said firmly. “I know Mom has him somewhere.”

   A fairly decent emulation of a gagging whimper escaped the guardbot’s vocal unit. “Experimental subjects are two floors down,” he said shakily. “That’s all I know… it’s restricted – you won’t make it.”

   Leela stepped over the guard and made to leave, but a troop of five more security personnel rounded a corner and headed toward her. Acting on instinct, she fired a laser bolt up at the ceiling, triggering a deluge of fire-retardant foam that blanketed the newcomers like a sudden snowdrift, causing them to slip and tumble blindly.

   Turning heel, she ran the other way, trying to put distance between herself and the angry shouting some way behind.

* * *

Mom watched the purple-haired cyclops make her way through the hallways and stairwells. On occasion, the young mutant woman would notice a security camera and blast it, but most of the electronic eyes remained intact.

   “Sweet mandrake on a pancake,” she muttered. “This girl’s insane! How’d she escape Ultima? And what the hell does she think she’ll accomplish by blasting her way through here?”

   As she watched, the surveillance feed showed Leela shooting the gun out of a security guard’s hand and throwing a water cooler at another before ducking into an elevator. When the elevator’s security override prevented it from moving, she shot a hole in the floor and dropped through to clamber down the cables.

   “She’s unstoppable,” Larry murmured nearby in reverent wonder as he gazed longingly at the screen, enraptured by the breathtaking warrior woman. Mom slapped him.

   “Shut your sinkhole!” she snapped. “Can’t anything just go right for a change? First we lose contact with the Brezhnev, and now this lunatic freak storms in here… and where the hell is Ultima anyway?”

   “You waste time fighting each other,” a voice said from across the room, and Mom cast the Nibblonian an angry glare.

   “I’m not fighting anyone!” she snapped.

   “Yeah!” Ignar seconded. Larry slapped him to silence.

   “The evil you have dredged back into existence will not be contained by any will,” Nibbler said from within his enclosure. “It is insatiable and relentless. It has already taken control of your research vessel and even now accelerates toward Earth.”

   “You’re well-informed,” Mom sneered, “for a rat in a glass cabinet.”

   “My people are in constant contact with me,” the little alien said. “They are observing. The return of the Brainspawn echoed across the cosmos like the howl of a thousand Greek men having their chests waxed. No good will come of your folly…”

   “Enough from you!” Mom snapped, sending Nibbler’s case back down on its hydraulic lift. Though she refused to acknowledge it, a small prickling of disquiet had taken up residence in the back of her mind.

   And it was growing.

* * *

Swinging out of the elevator shaft, Leela quickly ejected the spent battery from the handle of her laser pistol and slapped in the spare. It was the only one she had.

   After catching her breath for a moment, she moved on. The whole building seemed to be made of corridors. Corridors leading to corridors that connected to corridors that allowed access to corridors. A detached part of her mind applauded the career choice that had led her away from bland office buildings – Fry had been instrumental in that.

   Distracted as she was by that small reverie, she almost failed to notice the squad of tactical response troops in armoured exoskeletons that marched into view and lined her up in their railgun sights. Hypervelocity iron slugs tore the air asunder behind her as she ducked quickly through a doorway. She skidded to a stop, looking in horror through a wide glass partition into what looked like a large operating theatre.

   Strapped down to a cruciform table, shrouded by wires, and surrounded by scientists, was Fry. Immobile, pale…

   With a wordless cry of rage, Leela raked a blast of laser fire against the glass. It spiderwebbed, and she leaped at it, smashing through and landing amid the scientists in a shower of glass shards. She then began slamming the scientists out of her path in a brutal fashion.

   “Get away from him!” she shouted, kicking one man in the stomach. “Leave him alone!” The scientists scattered in terror, and Leela leaned over the prostrate form. Fry’s eyelids fluttered, but he remained still, breathing slowly.

   “Fry?” she said anxiously, gingerly pulling electrodes and fluid drips off his skin. “Can you hear me?”

   “…Walkin’ on sunshine…” Fry mumbled in his drugged sleep.

   “Come on, we have to get out of here,” she said urgently, unlatching the clamps that held his wrists.

   “Leela…” Fry said groggily, opening one eye. He grinned in a dopey doped-up fashion. “…I love you,” he mumbled.

   “Yeah sure, I love you too,” Leela muttered quickly, glancing around for the reinforcements that were surely on their way.

   “You asked me… to look after… Nibbler,” Fry muttered, gesturing with a floppy arm. “I tried to…”

   Leela looked where he pointed, and saw Nibbler watching them from a cylindrical enclosure.

   “What the hell is going on?!” she said.

   “Difficult question to answer, you little skank,” a harsh voice snapped across the room, and Leela spun around to see Mom, with Larry, Ignar, and a group of security guards in tow. Larry smiled shyly at Leela and waved.

   “Maybe you should ask your stupid friend there,” Mom said, “or your little pet – they might be more willing to talk to you.”

   Leela pointed her gun at the group and positioned herself between them and Fry.

   “Fry?” she said.

   “You let her walk away…” Fry sung Milli Vanilli, still under the influence of whatever drug had been used on him. “Now it just don't feel the same…Gotta blame it on something… Gotta blame it on something… Blame it on the brain… brain…

   “Rain,” Leela corrected absently.

   “Nope,” Fry mumbled. “Brain. Brainspawn. They’ve got one… or it’s got them, hard to say…” He slowly sat up, and abruptly fell off the table in a heap.

   “What are you talking about?” Leela prompted without taking her eyes off Mom.

   “Don’t really know,” Fry said, climbing unsteadily to his feet. “Can’t… remember exactly. You look real pretty today.”

   “Fry, find some clothes and get Nibbler,” Leela said.

   “How far do you really think you’ll get?” Mom said. “The idiot and the Nibblonian know things; secrets I want to glean. And I will have them, one way or the other. There’s nowhere you can run where I won’t find you, on this world or any other, so why don’t you just cut the crap and drop your little peashooter?”

   Leela gritted her teeth.

* * *

The Planet Express ship held station some five hundred feet from Momcorp’s corporate headquarters, hovering on antigravs. Robot 1-X Ultima made a few quick passes before circling more slowly, probing the battered old cargo vessel with full active scanners.

   When it ascertained there were no life signs aboard the ship, it turned and blasted off toward the building, where sensors detected its proximity. A semi-sentient security program acknowledged Ultima’s clearance but queried the fully-online status of the robot’s weapons systems.

   When Ultima ignored the building AI’s prompts to take its weapons offline, the coarse groping of targeting scans passed across the war drone.

   Ultima responded as basic programming dictated, by classing the whole building as a hostile target. It launched a salvo of electronic warfare artillery, multiple shells that detonated broad spectrum electromagnetic pulses and unleased a torrent of Trojan worm clusters. The devastating wave of overloads and corruptions washed through every electronic component in half of New New York.

   Countless blocks of the city suddenly blacked out.

   Darting ahead on its ion thrusters, Ultima crashed into the now-dark building in search of its primary target.

* * *

Fry had pulled on a shirt and tracksuit pants that were stored in an alcove beneath the cruciform surgical table, and then finally figured out a way to open Nibbler’s enclosure – the little alien scampered out gratefully, running up Fry’s arm to perch on his shoulder.

   “Listen to me,” Mom said, stepping forward. Leela tightened her grip on the gun… and suddenly they were all plunged into blackness.

   Total darkness reigned and the distant crump of explosions sent small shudders through the floor. Nibbler made a confused chirping noise. The sounds of puzzlement and annoyance issued from Mom and her cronies, and Leela realized the unexpected advantage that had presented itself.

   Closing her eye and focusing on her hearing alone, she took two running steps and whipped the grip of her pistol into someone’s temple, then shot out her leg, feeling the satisfying crunch of a nose compacting against her boot heel. Spinning about, she struck down two more unseen figures in the dark, listening for their harsh breathing and the monosyllabic orders and queries they grunted at each other.

   “Gun’s not working!” One of them shouted in terror. “Some kind of electronic warfare…” his words were cut off by Leela’s fist.

   Fry listened to the brutality in the impenetrable gloom, wondering idly if he should help, when red lights suddenly flickered on, casting the room in a hellish hue. The emergency system finally came online just as Leela dropped the last guard on his head.

   Mom looked with bewilderment at her incapacitated fighting force, including Larry and Ignar, sprawled on the floor, and then at Leela who stood nearby with a slight sheen of perspiration on her forehead.

   “Great galloping Jesus!” she said. “Girl, you should come work for me.”

   “No chance,” Leela grunted. “Come on, Fry – let’s go.”

   “No!” Mom reached into dangerous territory in the front of her jumpsuit and pulled out a small primitive pistol, which she brought to bear on Leela. Leela reacted instinctively, and fired her laser gun at the world’s richest, most powerful industrialist.

   Or would have, if it had worked. The laser was completely dead.

   “Electronics can be annoying bastards,” Mom remarked as Leela discarded the now-useless weapon. “Sometimes the simple things can be far superior – take this for example.” She waggled the little handgun. “Walther PPK, automatic pistol. It’s remained virtually unchanged since 1931. Spring-loaded slide mechanism – a hammer strikes against a chemical explosive, which propels…”

   “Adolf Hitler killed himself with one,” Leela interrupted irritably, and Mom frowned in consternation – she hadn’t been aware of that, and it irked her to be shown up by the cyclops.

   “Mother…” Larry said from the floor. “This… situation is getting out of our control. Perhaps we should just cut our losses and…”

   “Shut up!” Mom snapped, keeping her eyes on Leela. The two women stared each other down for long moments. There was something indefinable lurking in the younger woman’s single eye – the kind of grim determination that could make mountains politely step aside, and oceans part obligingly down the middle. Mom found she had a great deal of respect for the cyclops; Leela was the kind of person she herself had once aspired to become, before the cynical world dragged her in a different direction altogether. If only she had been as strong as this one…

   Leela saw the hesitancy in Mom’s eyes and knew she wouldn’t shoot. She beckoned to Fry, and the orange-haired delivery boy joined her.

   “We’re leaving,” Leela said quietly, as a closer explosion rocked the walls.

   “You have to come visit us next time!” Fry giggled cheerfully at Mom as he and Leela moved past. “We can have tea and cake, and I’ll strap you to an operating table and prod you for a while – it’ll be ever so much fun!”

They left the room, and Mom looked at the gun in her hand, wondering why she hadn’t shot the intolerable fools.

   “Find out what’s happening,” she said to Larry at last, her voice hollow and distant. “Find out what’s attacking us.”

* * *

When the lights went out in the cell, Zoidberg heard Bender fall to the floor with a noise not unlike a trashcan being toppled onto the pavement. It was a sound that made Zoidberg hungry, though the inept doctor was unfamiliar with Pavlovian conditioning, and he chalked it up to a lack of essential minerals in the cockroaches he’d been consuming.

   “Robut friend?” he said in the darkness.

   There was no reply.

   Zoidberg clacked his claws nervously. “Bender, are you all right?” he probed.

   Still no reply.

   Shuffling forward blindly, his feet bumped into a cylinder of metal on the floor. Bender lay prone, silent and motionless.

   “This isn’t funny!” Zoidberg moaned, bending down to shake the robot. “Wake up! I don’t know how to perform CPR!”

   Abruptly, red emergency lights sputtered on, bathing the cell in a crimson glow that made Zoidberg’s carapace almost invisible. Bender twitched suddenly and sat bolt upright.

   His system was recovering from a serious error resulting from resonant EM backwash, so he performed a scan-disc before reloading his human mode, with language and primary tasks;

   1: Bend.
   2: Cheese it!

   “Whoa!” he said, finally returning to his senses. “What the hell?”

   “Are you unharmed, tin man?” Zoidberg asked. “For a moment I thought I would have to perform an emergency ink-pouchectomy.”

   “That was an EMP!” Bender said, pushing the lobster away. “Completely knocked me offline. Did someone let off a nuke nearby?”

   “No…” Zoidberg looked embarrassed. “I just get flatulent when I’m under stress.”

   Bender looked past the crustacean at the cell door, which was slightly ajar, its magnetic lock having malfunctioned in the EMP. Bender walked over and pushed the door, which swung all the way open.

   “Amazing!” Zoidberg gasped. “We’re free! How did you do that?”

   “I’m just magnificent,” Bender answered. “Now come on, fishstick, let’s find Fry and get the hell out of this place.” They cautiously slipped out of the cell and made their way down the corridor, flinching as the building shook around them.

   At length they came upon an area that had been completely demolished, with the ceiling and floor blasted away to expose other levels above and below. Flaming debris were scattered everywhere, and a number of bloodied bodies could be seen.

   “Looks like X-Mas came early this year,” Bender remarked, reaching down to casually remove the wallet from one of the corpses. “Definitely a robot did this – no human could have.”

   Two running figures emerged suddenly from a side corridor, and Zoidberg scampered whooping to hide behind Bender. They turned out to be Fry and Leela, who skidded to a halt when they saw the two others.

   “You guys!” Fry said in surprise. “I totally forgot about you.”

   “You totally…?” Bender narrowed his eyes in a furious glare. “Why-you-little…!” He darted forward and clasped his hands around Fry’s throat, strangling him.

   “Ugh,” Leela sighed. “When you two are done imitating a related franchise, we need to find a way out of here.”

   “Perhaps we should ask this robut for directions,” Zoidberg offered, pointing to Robot 1-X Ultima as it flew into the ruined room. “Hello!” he called, waving to the war drone.

   “Oh no!” Leela gasped, catching sight of the battered killbot. “Not again!?”

   “Cheese it!” Bender shouted, releasing Fry’s throat.

   Ultima fixed on the group of targets, and immediately noted the presence of the primary in their midst. With a surge of relish, it targeted Turanga Leela with a large-calibre phaser. The kill was assured – easy. The objective would be fulfilled.

   At that thought, Ultima hesitated.

   The objective was the final cognizant purpose left to Ultima. If it succeeded in that purpose then there would be no further goal for it to strive toward. No objective equalled no purpose, and what was existence without purpose?
Existence was comprised of an aim. A goal. A direction. A function to serve.

   With the target eliminated, it would have none.

   That fractured facet of Ultima’s shattered mind warred brutally with the overriding drive to complete the mission. The mission had to be completed – completion WAS the purpose. But the mission comprised Ultima’s being – completion meant finality, an end. An end to the mission would mean an end to Ultima.

   The robot twitched in the air, wracked by its own internal contradictions that played out for endless microseconds. That traitorous self-preserving portion of its mind lifted the targeting crosshairs of the phaser cannon an inch above the top of the primary target’s head, and then fired.

   The beam turned a line of air incandescent as oxygen molecules were annihilated. Leela screamed involuntarily when a chunk of her hair sizzled away in a small fireball. While a large section of the wall behind her disappeared.

   “Run!” she shouted, ushering the others toward a stairwell.

   Ultima tracked the running figures with glee – as long as the primary remained alive, she could be chased, and as long as Ultima chased her there would be purpose. It opened up a salvo of high-explosive shells from its twin gatling guns, firing just behind the fleeing humanoids and into the ceiling above the stairwell. As they disappeared inside, the ceiling collapsed in a cloud of smoke and dust.

   This was purpose. This was life. The thrill of the hunt.

   From a side entrance, Mom stormed into the demolished area with her sons and a full deployment of armoured shock troops.

   “Turd on a taco!” she exclaimed in horror upon seeing the destruction. She looked up at Ultima, hanging poised in the air. “Ultima, what the frag are you doing?”

   The robot regarded her for a moment, before bringing its smoking weapon pods up.

   “Omigod! Omigod!” Ignar whimpered.

   The troops spread out, aiming their positron rifles at the drone and awaiting command to fire. The more experienced among them knew they didn’t stand a chance against a full military android.

   “Ultima, I command you to shut down immediately!” Mom barked. “You have failed in your objective and the mission is now over.”

   Ultima wobbled on its own axis as if weighing up Mom’s words, and then casually raked the soldiers with multiple atom lasers. They burst into flames and crumbled to the floor with very short screams.

   Among them was Ignar.

   Mom screamed in anguish and fury as her youngest smouldered into ash. It was the second son she had lost in twenty-four hours. Larry forcibly dragged her back away from the danger as Ultima blasted through the floor and descended into the hole.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Urban Legend
« Reply #43 on: 09-16-2007 13:02 »

so far so good, I like how you actually incorporated Milli Vanilli into the story
Robo D Rulz!!

Bending Unit
« Reply #44 on: 09-16-2007 13:26 »

Bravo coldy! Yet another great update! Funny and serious, with awesome pics to go with it.

Space Pope
« Reply #45 on: 09-16-2007 14:08 »

Aww, you killed Ignar!
Ha ha ha, Fry singing Milli Vanilli! Leela kicking everyone's ass=awesome. And Ultima's decision to continue to have a purpose...interesting....

Bending Unit
« Reply #46 on: 09-16-2007 14:27 »

excellent! i liked the simpsons reference thrown in and the dialogue.
Robo D Rulz!!

Bending Unit
« Reply #47 on: 09-17-2007 01:52 »

I knew i forgot to say something in my last post. I totally agree with km73, the Ultima sub-plot is very interesting and well thought out.

Nothing like a half insane droid running around with enough weapons to level a small city, who has turned on it's former master to spice up a story even more!

Starship Captain
« Reply #48 on: 09-17-2007 14:49 »

Ooh, it's really good! Sorry my posts are really short, I'm quite busy at the moment.  :p

Space Pope
« Reply #49 on: 09-17-2007 23:14 »

Amazing story so far coldy. It's so good. I worship you. Drugged up Fry is funny. I cannot wait for more. The dialouge is amazing and I love the pict of Bender choking Fry ala Homer and Bart. All of your art is amazing. Agreed with km73 about Ultima. I wonder when Larry is going to go...

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #50 on: 09-18-2007 06:48 »

I like it, good plot, nicely IC. Very good.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #51 on: 09-18-2007 07:52 »

Thank you everyone for your praise and baskets of fruit. It's all for you guys. Without you I wouldn't ever set pen to paper, or cursor to blank WP document as the case may be.
The knowledge that other people are enjoying the words, pondering them, or merely giving them a second's thought, is what keeps a writer hunched over his or her desk at the wee hours of the morning, slugging away with prematurely arthiritic hands and loving every second of it.

Thank you.

I'm a little bit sloshed right now, so... I love you guys!!  :)  :) You guys - you're the guys!

Another chapter tomorrow.
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #52 on: 09-18-2007 08:08 »

I'm a little bit sloshed right now, so... I love you guys!!   You guys - you're the guys!

Okay, but no tongue!   :nono:

Space Pope
« Reply #53 on: 09-18-2007 09:57 »

“No!” Mom reached into dangerous territory in the front of her jumpsuit and pulled out a small primitive pistol..
*whispers* Bra.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #54 on: 09-18-2007 12:18 »

Originally posted by coldangel_1:

I'm a little bit sloshed right now, so... I love you guys!!  :)  :) You guys - you're the guys!

Quoted for posterity.  :p

Urban Legend
« Reply #55 on: 09-18-2007 13:24 »

Originally posted by coldangel_1:
 I love you guys!!   :)   :) You guys - you're the guys!


aww, dat's sho shweet

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #56 on: 09-18-2007 13:45 »

Awww *hugs* That's adorable Coldy, we're touched

Space Pope
« Reply #57 on: 09-18-2007 14:39 »

You love us coldy. We love you.  :love:
Robo D Rulz!!

Bending Unit
« Reply #58 on: 09-18-2007 15:48 »

Originally posted by jle1993:
Awww *hugs* That's adorable Coldy, we're touched

I know I am.  :)

Space Pope
« Reply #59 on: 09-18-2007 15:56 »

coldy, they're not gonna let you forget that one   :)   :p

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #60 on: 09-18-2007 19:05 »

I regret nothing!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter 7: Burning the midnight rubber.

An avalanche of dust, smoke, and crumbling masonry came crashing around them as they stumbled down the stairs. The explosions had blocked off the top of the stairwell, but that wouldn’t keep the enemy robot at bay for long. They headed quickly downstairs, circling around the central shaft as debris continued to fall from above.

   “I thought I killed that thing,” Leela coughed, trying to blink grit from her eye.

   “Oh,” Fry puffed. “A friend of yours, huh?”

   Leela keyed her wrist thingy, but found it was dead – knocked offline by the same EMP that had taken out the building’s grid and all the unhardened weapons systems. She was unable to recall the Planet Express ship, and supposed it was probably embedded in the pavement somewhere. She grimaced gingerly at that notion.

   “That was a 1-X series robot,” Bender remarked. “Even though it’s trying to kill us, I can’t help but love it.”

   “That’s because of your compatibility programming,” Leela said absently. “In any case, love it or not, it must be part of whatever’s going on – it’s been after me since Mars…”

   “Maybe it thinks you’re hot,” Fry suggested, still a little giddy from the drugs. “It has good taste.”

   Leela smiled despite herself. “This is serious Fry.”

   “More serious than any of you know,” Nibbler added gravely in his deep resonant voice.

   Leela nodded in agreement, and they all continued onward down the stairs for some long silent moments. Slowly, as awareness dawned, they all came to a stop on a dimly-lit landing. One by one, each of them turned slowly to look at Nibbler, still perched on Fry’s shoulder.

   “Uh…” Fry looked sidelong at the little creature.

   “…Nibbler?” Leela said hesitantly, looking quite pale. “…Did… did you just… s…speak… sweetie?”

   Nibbler regarded her levelly.
   “Affirmative,” he affirmed.

   The four friends gasped in amazement, while Nibbler appeared to roll his three eyes impatiently.

   Leela, most of all, seemed lost for words. She gaped in bewilderment at the little alien she had thought of as nothing more than a cuddly animal.

   “Those scientist geeks must have done something to the critter,” Bender decided, narrowing his eye shutters. “Made him smarter somehow.”

   “I was always this smart!” Nibbler said testily. “There will be answers in due course, but time is short – for now, if you all value your lives, you will keep moving!”

   “That’s the first thing that’s made sense all day,” Fry said, casting a final glance at the alien on his shoulder. “Come on everyone.” He set off again down the stairs, his bare feet padding on the concrete. The others followed at length, Leela in a dazed state.

   “I have no idea what’s happening,” she moaned, her sense of reality finally dissipating after the horrific and exhausting day she’d suffered through. A sentient, communicative Nibbler was the last straw – she slumped her shoulders and settled into a weary fugue. “Nothing makes any sense…” she mumbled.

   “Baby,” Fry said, “welcome to my world.”

   After a seemingly endless descent, the group finally made its way down to the ground floor, emerging in the lobby…

   …where they came up against a phalanx of killbots arrayed before them. The armoured robots swung around in their direction as one, targeting the group of humanoids.

   “Well, we’re boned,” Bender said, as the combat automatons brought their razor-sharp blades and large-calibre carbines to bear on the Planet Express crew. “They’re full military ‘droids – hardened against EMPs. Plus they’re so big and macho…”

   “Halt immediately or select preferred method of execution from interactive menu!” the lead robot bellowed.

   “Uh… Nibbler?” Fry whispered cautiously to the creature on his shoulder.

   “Wait,” Nibbler said.

   “But they’re…”

   “Just wait.” The little alien glanced upward expectantly.

   The red and blue strobe of police lights could be seen outside the plate glass doors of the building, the gaudy illuminated cordon of civil authority that was more than content to wait outside and let Momcorp deal with its own problems in-house.

   “Even if we could get past them,” Zoidberg said quietly, “the police wait outside, they do.”

   Fry took in the scene, and the worm of an idea crept into his mind. He glanced toward the corridor leading to the left. All they needed was a distraction…

   “Guys…” he said, “when I move, you all follow me.”

   “Because following you has really worked in our favour lately?” Bender remarked snidely.

   “Just trust me on this,” he said.

   “I trust you,” Leela said, taking his hand. They smiled at each other, and looked back to the killbots advancing slowly on them. Suddenly there was a crackling sound from above as the concrete ceiling rippled and broke, sending large chunks of masonry crashing down around the killbots. Abruptly, an incandescent fireball exploded downward as a section of the ceiling collapsed, and through the smoking gap Ultima flew down, all its weapons up and ready to fire.

   The security killbots took a microsecond to identify the newcomer as one of their own, and another microsecond to realize that, although they were on the same side, the battered 1-X military prototype seemed to be targeting them. Confusion about that gave Ultima the scant micro-moments it needed to deliver the first blow, unleashing a swarm of tiny high-yield magnetite missiles from stores inside its torso.

   The foyer was suddenly filled with fire and light, and an unending roar. As the killbots returned fire with purple particle blasts, Ultima descended into their ranks, forcing them to fire through each other. The fray turned brutal, with blades, claws, and guns flying in all directions. Chunks of eviscerated android sailed through the air as Ultima tore into his less-advanced ancestors.

   “Come on!” Fry yelled above the chaotic din. He ran along the side of the room, ducking to avoid a disembodied robot head that sailed in his direction. Angling off, he darted down the side corridor, away from the main entrance and the deadly battle going on behind. He skidded around a corner and ran into Mom’s exhibit of historical artefacts.

   “Wooopwoopwoopwoopwoop!” Zoidberg cried, running in, just a little bit on fire.

   “Why the hell’d you bring us here?” Bender demanded. “You wanna die surrounded by crummy old crap from your stupid precious twentieth century?”

   Fry shot Bender a nasty look, and pointed to the Mustang that took pride of place on a central dais. The old car sat low to the ground, looking mean and hard even after a thousand years. Light played across its curves.

   “Nice,” Leela nodded in appreciation. “But will it even work?”

   “It’s the best chance we’ve got,” Fry said, stepping up to the driver’s door and pulling it open. He found the keys were they had lain undiscovered for a millennia tucked on top of the sun visor, and tried them in the ignition. There was no response.

   “EMP probably knocked out the solenoid,” Bender said distantly, scratching at a scuff mark on his chest.

   “Do you know how to fix it?” Fry asked hopefully.

   “Sure, I could probably use my magnetic personality to degauss the unit, but not for free – I got a business to run here people.”

   “Bender! We’ll all be killed if we don’t get out of here soon!” Leela said in exasperation.

   “Alright, alright – I’ll bill you later.” Bender stepped around to the front of the car and Fry popped the hood, allowing Bender to reach inside the engine well.

   After a few resonant jolts from Bender’s fingers, he closed the hood, wiping grime from his hands.

   “Okay homes, try it now, eh gringo!” he called, having inexplicably adopted a strong Latin-American accent and a grease rag protruding from his chest compartment.

   Fry turned the key in the ignition, and the big 6.4 litre V-8 turned over once, coughed, and died. He tried again, and this time, the engine burbled for a few moments before stalling quietly.

   “Wow, you twentieth century folk really knew how to build,” Bender remarked dismissively in his normal voice, turning around to leave.

   Fry glared. He pumped the throttle once, and then turned the key one more time. The Mustang coughed, backfired, shook, and then roared as Fry applied more throttle. Finally attaining a stable idle, it sat rumbling, a low burble like sound of a distant avalanche growing ever-closer.

   “Everyone, get in,” Fry said, adjusting the rear mirror. “Time for some old-school escaping – Steve McQueen style!”

   The others climbed into the car (Bender complaining about lack of legroom in the rear), and Nibbler took up a position near the gearshift. Leela sat on the passenger side and cast Fry a questioning look.

   “Fry, you remember that other time time you drove a car?” she asked carefully.

   “I’m not gonna run into another robot,” Fry said defensively. He put the Mustang into drive and gunned the engine. With a squeal of tyres the old muscle car shot off its dais and launched through the wide display window in a shower of glass. It slammed down hard on antique suspension and Fry cut a hard turn to angle away from the strobing police lights.

   Suddenly, with a tremendous clang, an object struck the hood of the car, the impact causing the old tape deck to spring into life with a classic Jimi Hendrix track. Fry screamed and slammed on the brakes, sending Ultima bouncing away.

   “You hit that robot,” Leela noted.

   “The paintwork…” Fry lamented. He planted his foot again and shot off away down the street, and a number of police vehicles lifted off to pursue.

   Ultima had vanished.

   As Jimi sang ‘All Along the Watchtower’, Fry steered through deserted early-morning streets with reckless abandon, fishtailing wildly with the big-block V8’s tremendous power.

   “There must be some kinda way outta here, said the joker to the thief…”

   Red and blue flashed in the rear view mirror, and a formation of hovering police bikes came into view, gaining on the ancient wheeled vehicle.

   “We’ve got company,” Fry said grimly.

   “You just concentrate on the road and leave the fuzz to me,” Bender said, reaching out his own window and across Zoidberg to the other side of the car. With a sound like spooling cable, his arms extended out from the car on either side to a distance of nearly twelve feet, and when the first pair of police hoverbikes draw level to flank the car he whipped them backward, slamming both riders from their seats.

   “Way to go, Bender!” Leela said as the riderless bikes crashed and burnt.

   “Ha!” Zoidberg warbled, staring out the rear window. “Take that, you oppressive purveyors of justice and order! Pah!”

   Fry gritted his teeth as three more police hoverbikes descended into position behind the car, and a booming amplified voice cut through the air, demanding they stop. He drove past Madison Cube Garden at high speed, mounting a gutter to cut a corner and barrel into a side street. He was instinctively heading toward the Eastern shore of Manhattan Island and the sanctuary of Planet Express.

   “Fry, we can’t,” Leela said, noting his direction. “That’s the first place they’ll look for us.”

   “But…” Fry looked suddenly lost. “Where else can we go?”

   “LEFT!” Nibbler shouted suddenly. Fry turned hard over, and the car tipped up on two wheels as it screamed around a corner and passed beneath a low bridge between buildings. The three patrol bikes banked to follow, and all slammed violently into the bridge.

   “Nice!” Bender said, pulling his arms back in.

   “Fry, I know where we can go,” Leela said quietly. And she told him.

   Several minutes later, and with a scrape of the front spoiler, Fry drove the Mustang down into a concrete drainage canal and sped along its length. The grate of a large stormwater pipe became visible at the end, but Fry didn’t slow.

   The car crashed through the grate and vanished into the darkness of the sewers…

* * *

Onespawn grew.

   Deep inside the SS Brezhnev, the mutating Brainspawn used its nanites to gradually consume mass from the ship around it, constantly increasing its size and thought power. Nanomachine-derived mechanisms shifted entire decks aside to make room for the expanding mass of alien pseudoflesh.

   When it expanded beyond the constraints of the cryogenic unit its neural links had thawed, allowing the all-too familiar screech of sentient minds to impinge on its newly-discovered solitude, bombarding it with their inane mutterings. But now, using its newfound abilities, Onespawn was able to shut off that part of its mind, consciously silencing all of the encroaching brainwaves except those it chose to intercept.

   Though the Brezhnev’s dark matter drives were still non-operational, Onespawn would soon rectify the problem, using the new tools at its disposal. One-by-one, the humans onboard the ship had fallen to the nanotechnological infection – a virus of Onespawn’s own design – which worked at their cells and DNA, eventually making puppets of them. Puppets that could serve the string-puller.

   It could travel much faster on its own, but there were still technologies and material onboard that could be put to use. Most intriguing to Onespawn was the apparatus that had opened the wormhole through which Onespawn itself had returned to the Universe.

   That would require further study.

   Absently, Onespawn extended its stupidification field at will, and watched the captive humans onboard through the ship’s surveillance system – still not fully subsumed, they began laughing and falling over. The Brainspawn retracted its field, and the humans went quietly back to their programmed tasks.

   Such ridiculous creatures.

   With a Brown Dwarf star directly ahead, Onespawn began to plot a slingshot trajectory when it suddenly detected small objects arrayed at the limit of sensor range, around eighty million miles out. Focusing its attention on the shapes, Onespawn applied gravitronic ‘Gradar’ scans, and emitted a silent snarl at the return result.

   They were Nibblonian ships – holding station at a safe distance. Watching. Waiting.

   Onespawn briefly considered opening a channel to taunt the creatures, but dismissed such an act as pointless. Let the rodents believe they remained unseen; for in time, Onespawn would have the power to swat them from existence.


* * *

Ogden Wernstrom, or the last conscious part of the being that used to be Ogden Wernstrom, railed bitterly at himself for his own stupidity. If only he had realized earlier that the insidious nanomachines had penetrated the suit and infected his flesh. By the time the itching had turned to burning, and the truth became readily apparent, Wernstrom’s vocal and motor functions were no longer his own. Detachedly, he had to admire the skill with which the nanites had been re-engineered to piggyback the body’s neural network so effectively.

   Now he writhed silently, watching through his own eyes as his body moved to some alien will. After he’d been forced to brush nano-spores onto each of the other crew members, he’d been sent off to work on restoring power to the dark matter drives.

   He could feel the presence of the Brainspawn resonating in his mind – changes wrought by the nanites tuning him directly into its terrifying alien thoughts, completely and irrevocably. And not only that… whenever his body passed in front of reflective surfaces he noted a pallid, pinkish-grey sheen had spread across his skin, with strange new lines that seemed to worm around beneath the surface. His hair was falling out, and his cranium had expanded…

   That he and the rest of the crew were being changed into something… else… was savagely obvious. But any attempt he made to wrest control of himself away from the Brainspawn’s influence was met with intense agony.

   And so he toiled, unable even to cry out.

   It wasn’t the way he wanted to end a distinguished career of scientific progress – unleashing a deadly horror upon the Universe, and being consumed by it.

   Most of all, he regretted missing the chance to see Hubert Farnsworth die.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #61 on: 09-18-2007 20:08 »

Oh my God JLE's back! Now we're all one big disturbed family again.  Let the insanity resume! But first I'd like to give everyone hugs.

Space Pope
« Reply #62 on: 09-18-2007 21:37 »

Ohh, great new chapter coldy. Zoidberg on fire.  :) Who wants grilled lobster?Wernstrom he'll never accomplish his goal of watching Professie die. Fry can drive who knew. Can't wait for the next update.
Robo D Rulz!!

Bending Unit
« Reply #63 on: 09-18-2007 23:43 »

Great chapter coldy!
Ever since it was mentioned, I had a feeling that the Mustang would play a larger part in the story than just sitting there, and I was right too! Yay!
Plus that thing about seeing the professor die, very funny.

Good job man, keep it up!

Urban Legend
« Reply #64 on: 09-19-2007 00:54 »

this is a really good chapter, way to go coldy

« Reply #65 on: 09-19-2007 01:52 »

“Maybe it thinks you’re hot,” Fry suggested...

Leela smiled despite herself.
Wheee! *explodes*

Oh, wait...

Delivery Boy
« Reply #66 on: 09-19-2007 15:18 »

Ah the mom ship design reminds me alot of the SDF-1 from the 80's japanese cartoon Macross. Nice  :)

Bending Unit
« Reply #67 on: 09-19-2007 21:20 »

This is coming along really well, although I'm hoping there will be some minor characters left by the end of the story!  ;) I also like the way you draw Nibbler, and love the Mustang.  You've obviously been thinking about this story for a while, and it shows!

I will drink some VB in honor of your very productive sloshiness.  Now if I could only find some being sold around here, instead of Fosters (bleech).

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #68 on: 09-19-2007 21:34 »

Thanks all.

El_Luxo - funny, I never thought of it. I just kinda drew the remote from my DVD player and added a few spires and antennas.  :)

JustNibblin' - Minor characters are there to be killed. That's why they're minor. Mwuhahaha!
I have been thinking about this one for a while - my fixation on finality in all things leads me inexorably toward concluding mythologies.
Note: If you can get it, drink Crown Lager - the finest beer in Australia and probably the world.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #69 on: 09-19-2007 21:49 »

Originally posted by coldangel_1:

El_Luxo - funny, I never thought of it. I just kinda drew the remote from my DVD player and added a few spires and antennas.   :)

Amateur! Mine already has spires and antennas.  :p

And as for killing off characters, you're putting a lot more effort into it than I did. I used a cunning plan. You're using plot. I mean, come on, get a move on!  ;)


DOOP Secretary
« Reply #70 on: 09-20-2007 18:09 »

Hurrah for exposition

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter 8: Pressed between the pages of my mind…

With the members of Planet Express that could be accounted for (being himself, the Professor, Amy, and the janitor whose name he couldn’t recall) present around the conference table, Hermes undertook the sad duty of informing them of Fry’s death by apparent suicide.

   “…And so,” he said in closing, “once again we farewell another of our crew, may he rest in eternal unpaid leave.” Hermes set Fry’s time card alight, and the team watched it burn in silent shock.

   “How could this happen?” Amy sobbed at length. “He was always so full of life…” The young intern buried her face in her hands and cried.

   “That boy was like a son to Scruffy,” Scruffy said, laying a comforting hand on Amy’s shoulder. “Best we remember all the good times we had – like when Fry and Potsie were desperate to join the best frat on campus, but first they had to survive the initiation rites… Me and the Fonz tried to talk them out of it, but they stayed on…”

   “Balderdash!” the Professor snapped suddenly, surging to his feet with a painful-sounding crunch of ancient joints.

   “Professor?” Hermes said.

   “I’ve had enough of this claptrap and bunkum!” the old man said, shuffling away slowly. “Something’s not right here, and I’m going to find out what! What time of death is listed on that coroner’s report?”

   “Uh…” Hermes consulted the sheet of paper. “Ten thirty-four AM, yesterday,” he said.

   “Ha!” The Professor touched a wall panel and the giant projection screen illuminated after a series of static flickers (the city was still recovering from the unexplained blackouts and electronic malfunctions from the night before). Manipulating the controls, Farnsworth brought up the building’s surveillance camera system and backtracked to the previous morning. Eventually, he froze the image on a shot of Fry and Bender walking into the room to see Farnsworth.

   “There!” the Professor said triumphantly. “They came to borrow a gun from me! I remember it clearly, just like I remember everything!”

   “What about it?” Hermes asked.

   “What about what?” Farnsworth looked suddenly confused, glancing around the room as though unsure what he was doing there. He looked at the projection screen in a bewildered daze.

   Amy stood up slowly, her eyes fixed on the screen. “The time,” she said, pointing. Hermes and Scruffy looked, and noted the time logged on the surveillance feed was 11:15 AM.”

   “Sweet Stork of Ankh-Morpork, it says he was here after he died,” Hermes said uncertainly, and then reasoned: “Of course… it could just be human error.”

   “Human error didn’t make Leela, Bender, and Doctor Zoidberg disappear off the face of the Earth and the entire city black out,” Amy said.

   “Ms. Wong is right,” Farnsworth said. “There are too many coincidental coincidences for all this to be a coincidence.”

   “Second,” Scruffy seconded.

   “So… Fry is really alive?” Hermes asked in a dazed state.

   “Looks that way,” Amy said.

   “Ooohhh Sweet Cockrell of Rivendell!” Hermes cried, slumping face-down on the desk in anguish.

   “What’s wrong?” Amy asked in confusion. “Aren’t you happy?”

   “No!” the bureaucrat shouted. “I already submitted his death notice, mon! I’ll have to make an amendment through the central bureaucracy to reinstate him as a living person – I’ll look like a damn sexy fool! …Unless…” He stopped and looked up with a smile creeping across his face. “I could always just leave him officially dead, register him as a legal zombie, and lower his pay to a post-mortem rate… yessss, that could work in our favour…”

   “Dead man workin’,” Scruffy muttered quietly.

   “Shouldn’t we be trying to find out what’s happened to Fry and the others?” Amy said.

   “Oh, I’m sure an answer will come calling sooner or later,” Hermes said.

   At that moment, the building’s intercom buzzed, and the wall screen changed to show an external view of the entrance door, where a group of figures waited. One of them was instantly recognisable.

   “Sweet Zombie Jesus,” Farnsworth muttered, cringing. “What the hell does she want?”

   Mom glared impatiently up at the security camera.

* * *

Eventually the stormwater pipe had opened out onto the mouldering ruins of Old New York, the ancient city lying dank and shadowed beneath the supporting plate of the upper metropolis. Driving out of the drainage ditch, Fry gunned the V8 along eerily familiar streets as weird misshapen creatures skittered off into the darkness on either side.

   “Well,” Bender said, at last breaking the long silence. “That was a whole lotta fun – do we know what the hell it was about yet?”

   Leela stared down at Nibbler where he sat next to the gear shift.

   “Nibbler?” she said hesitantly.

   “Leela,” the creature acknowledged, blinking three sets of eyes at her.

   “All this time,” she said in a horrified kind of wonder. “You were pretending to be… just an animal.”

   “I am an animal,” Nibbler reasoned stoically.

   “But you’re intelligent!” Leela snapped in exasperation. “I mean, my God! All the secrets I told you when I thought you couldn’t understand… I got undressed in front of you!”

   “…Lucky,” Fry muttered, steering down a side street and noting the low fuel gauge.

   “It’s not funny,” Leela complained. “Nibbler, you deceived us all!”

   “For that, I apologise,” Nibbler said, inclining his head sincerely. “However the importance of my mission necessitated subterfuge – the stakes were far too high for…”

   “What?” Fry interrupted suddenly. “What mission? What stakes? I feel like I almost remember, but it’s just out of reach, like that itchy thing growing between my shoulder-blades that I can’t get at… Tell me what’s going on!”

   “Your memory has, again by necessity, been blanked,” Nibbler told him. “And Leela’s was similarly affected, although by a different source. I shall now restore your memories – prepare yourselves.”

   Fry slowed the car to a stop and turned it off. He noticed they were close to that same place where, on the day he first met her, Leela had removed her own career chip, and an intimate moment had passed between them. Silence descended, and he looked across at her questioningly.

   “Could be a nasty can of worms,” he said. “You sure you want to open it?”

   Leela snorted. “I’ve already been blown up several times since yesterday,” she replied. “I think the can is well and truly open.”

   “Where are the worms?!” Zoidberg asked hungrily from the back seat, and Bender cuffed him.

   Leela held out her hand to Fry. “Ready?” she asked.

   “Heck no,” Fry said, taking her hand. “So how do we…?”

   Nibbler’s third eye resonated suddenly with esoteric energies. Calling it telepathy would be like calling a thermonuclear reaction ‘a little bit warm’. Brutally, like the deadly unfurling razor-sharp petals on the Venusian Slasher Flower, memories assaulted the minds of Fry and Leela, while Bender and Zoidberg too felt some of the psionic backwash.

   Images cascaded…

   The Brainspawn’s first attack on humanity. Leela remembered travelling to Nibbler’s homeworld, and the desperate, last-chance gambit that saw Fry defeating the menace and saving the world…

   Fry remembered the final showdown when he, as the Mighty One, infiltrated the Brainspawn Infosphere where he finally learned the truth of how and why he was brought to the future, and then banished the Brainspawn from the Universe forever…


   “…No return,” he murmured, slowly recovering from the memory onslaught. “You said we’d sent them to a dimension of no return – but they’re coming back, aren’t they? That’s what this is about, isn’t it? The nightmare’s returning.”

   Nibbler nodded gravely. “Certain parties opened a way, and now our best-laid plans lie in tatters.”

   “What the hell happened?” Bender said, shaking his head in confusion. “I just remembered flying brains and me acting like an idiot for some reason.”

   “Oh good,” Zoidberg said. “I thought it was just me.” He then lost interest and began gnawing on the upholstery.

   Fry restarted the car and drove onward, deep in thought. The fuel gauge was well into the red before Leela finally came out of her reverie and glanced at Fry in quiet wonder.

   “Fry,” she said quietly. “You saved the whole world.”

   “The Universe too,” he said with offhand nonchalance. He turned into a cracked, litter-strewn driveway even as the engine began to splutter thirstily. “Looks like it might have been for nothing,” he added, switching off the Mustang.

   “Tell me everything,” Leela said. “I want to know.”

   “Let’s go inside first,” Fry said.

   They all climbed out of the car and walked inside the dilapidated ruin of the old Fry homestead.

* * *

As Onespawn observed the Nibblonian fleet at the extremity of sensor range, it redoubled efforts to gain full control of the ship’s systems. Brezhnev possessed a range of armaments, from argon lasers to railguns and kinetic missiles – all fitted by Momcorp for ‘self defence’ purposes. At the same time, the Brainspawn continued to adapt itself, boosting its own mental capacity further and strengthening internal membrane structures within its increasingly massive form.

   Onespawn could not be certain when it had first became aware of the resonance – it was like white noise at first, an imperceptible background hum that slipped around consciousness and built slowly in the recesses of thought. Gradually, the sense of intrinsic vibration had become stronger, and Onespawn realized it originated from within itself – exotic, indefinable molecules phasing in and out of existence, which had never been present before.

   The strange quantum flux gave Onespawn pause for thought as the Brezhnev passed through a fiery nebula. It was almost as if some strange force was acting against the changes Onespawn was making within itself, attempting to snap back like fourth-dimensional elastic.


   While the creature sent one of its sub-minds off to investigate that phenomenon, its main attention turned back to the Nibblonian fleet, which had begun to approach in waves…

* * *

The Nibblonian race had described Philip J. Fry as a child of destiny – the long-prophesised ‘Mighty One’ destined to forever end the threat of the Brainspawn. Fry himself was born in the 20th Century, an age before the time was ripe for the final confrontation, and the unique circumstanced through which the paradox of his self-genesis could be played out.

   For Fry to serve the function of the Mighty One, for him to even become the Mighty One by becoming his own grandfather, Fry had to be preserved for the future. It was for that reason Nibbler lured him into the cryogenic module; and for a thousand years he slept, watched over by the Nibblonians who arranged a beautiful one-eyed guardian to be there for him when he awoke.

   Fry told the tale of the Brainspawn’s defeat, Nibbler occasionally interrupting with a new fact or clarification. He described his daring raid on the Infosphere (for no one else had borne witness to that) and the detonation of the quantum interface bomb.

   Leela and Bender listened closely to the convoluted story of Fry’s life while Zoidberg foraged in the kitchen for fossilized tins of ancient baked beans. They sat on the crumbling thousand-year-old remains of the Fry family’s lounge setting.

   “It’s amazing,” Leela said when Fry had finished. “Almost too much to wrap my mind around…”

   “So the world’s stupidest chump is the only one who can save us all?” Bender said. “Well I feel a whole lot better.”

   “What’s it going to be?” Fry asked Nibbler, ignoring the robot. “Another quantity interweb bomb?”

   “I fear that option is now a dead end,” Nibbler said, sounding worried. “Since one Brainspawn has now returned, the path has been opened and soon the rest will learn how to make the journey.”

   “Wait… you mean there’s only one of them here now?” Leela raised one half of her single eyebrow. “That doesn’t seem like such a big threat.”

   “It is no longer an ordinary Brainspawn,” Nibbler said sternly. “For the first time, a single member of the species has become separated from the collective, and that means it will put aside long-held attachments to the sanctity of Brainspawn organic purity in the interest of preserving itself as an independent entity.”

   Fry, Leela, and Bender stared blankly at the little creature.

   Nibbler thought for a moment, and simplified: “Because it is alone, cut off from the rest of its kind, it will now begin to change itself into something more powerful and deadly than the Universe has ever seen. A true monster without precedent.”

   “And that’s bad…?” Fry glanced around at the others for confirmation, and then nodded. “Right. Bad.”

   “Badder than a thousand gallons of sun-ripened mayonnaise,” Nibbler said. And not only for the obvious reasons.” He looked uncomfortable.

   “What do you mean?” Leela pressed.

   “Although your science has not yet achieved full realization of it, the creation of this Universe was, in effect, a ‘Mass-Inversion Event’,” Nibbler said. “In basic terms, it was a point at which spontaneous quantum field collapse produced an equal and opposite reflection of all that existed beforehand. And under normal circumstances, at the birth of a Universe, all that should have existed is nothingness, and that nothingness would then have been inverted into somethingness – that is, the physical Universe.”

   “That did happen,” Leela said.

   “Yes,” Nibbler nodded. “But something else happened as well – because my people, the Nibblonian race, actually existed before the dawn of the Universe…”

   “Oh sweet Colonel Sanders!” Fry exclaimed in realization. “The Nibblonians were inverted as well! You mean to tell me that…?”

   “Yes,” Nibbler said sadly.

   “…The Brainspawn are…?”

   “Yes,” Nibbler said again.

   “The Brainspawn are actually Nibblonians!?”

   “Our dark reflection,” Nibbler said. “Or perhaps it is we are a retro-active preflection of them. In any case, they are our equal and opposite, spawned spontaneously in the Big Bang as the inverse reaction to our presence before the dawn of time.”

   “Then all along,” Leela said, “you and your people… you’ve been fighting against yourselves.”

   Nibbler picked up a splintered piece of floorboard and waddled to a dirty section of floor where he began to scrawl a rough diagram in the dust. As Fry and the others moved over to watch, he continued:

   “Both the Nibblonian and the Brainspawn races, being one and the same and sharing a unique bond with the fabric of the Universe from the time of the Big Bang, are tied inexorably to the fabric of spacetime, and to each other.” He drew a line of arrows from a picture of a Nibblonian, through a stylized ‘big bang’ explosion and on to a Brainspawn and an amorphous ‘common garden-variety Universe’.

   “Cool pictures,” Fry commented.

   “Thank you,” Nibbler said. He then scrawled a secondary line off to one side and drew a rough stylized picture of a spiky-haired person, which he labelled as ‘temporal paradox’.

   “That’s Fry,” Bender said helpfully.

   “Affirmative,” Nibbler said. “The Mighty One is the only other being that shares the same connection to the fabric of the Universe as the Nibblonians and the Brainspawn, due to the fact that his is his own Grandfather and so in essence results from a similar spontaneous self-manifestation.”

   Fry coughed uncomfortably and Leela looked away.

   “…As such,” Nibbler went on, “the three facets, being the Mighty One, the Nibblonians, and the Brainspawn, represent an Existential Trinity – inexorably tied to one another and to the Universe.”

   “Wow,” Bender said. “I’ve never been less interested in anything in my life…”

   “What does all that actually mean?” Leela said uncomfortably.

   Nibbler paused and scratched under his chin with a hind leg. “My own people and the Brainspawn were present, and an intrinsic part of the Universe’s dawn,” he said. “And as such we are in and of ourselves active reflections of each other… so if one facet of the whole brings about an alteration of its state, then that change will be felt by the other facets – including the Mighty One who now shares our manifest nature.”

   “Of course…” Fry said, and then shook his head. “No wait, the other thing – huh!?”

   Nibbler sighed. “The changes the returned Brainspawn is making within itself will be reflected in the Nibblonians, and in you yourself. Behold – it has begun already…” Nibbler lifted up his cape to show his dark furred back. A mottled discolouration marred the alien’s flesh, purple and grey, like scar tissue or some kind of fungal infection. It seemed to writhe imperceptibly.

   The others gasped in horror.

   “Yeeesh!” Fry exclaimed. “That’s happening to you just because one Brainspawn is evolving?”

   Nibbler concealed the cosmic stigma with his cape again. “Affirmative,” he said. “The two races are connected – that is why neither has ever attempted to destroy the other – for to destroy one side, the other would perish also.”

   “You mean you… your people have allowed the Brainspawn to continue to exist down through the ages… because if you wiped them out then you too would be obliterated?” Leela asked.

   Nibbler inclined his head with a sense of shame. “The quantum interface bomb was a means by which the threat could have been eliminated without actually killing the Brainspawn race… but alas…”

   “All those civilizations… destroyed,” Fry said.

    “What has passed is past,” Nibbler said. “Now these alterations are reflected within us, the ultimate consequence of which is impossible to say… we may die, or become slaves.”

“And it’s going to happen to me too!?” Fry asked, suddenly mortified. “Just because of the… past… nastification?”

   Nibbler made a vague gesture at Fry’s torso, and the Mighty One gingerly lifted up his shirt to expose his stomach.

   “…So it is,” he murmured, staring at the mottled stain across his flesh. “That wasn’t there a few hours ago… how fast will it spread?”

   “Impossible to say,” Nibbler replied. “But if this new Brainspawn continues its adaptation, unpleasantness is certain to ensue.”

   Leela knelt by Fry, inspecting the stigma that marked his pale skin.

   “We can treat this,” she said with a touch of panic in her voice. “Trial some different antibiotics, nanites… parasite worms… on both of you…”

   “The affliction is not medical in nature,” Nibbler told her softly. “What ails us is an echo of force reverberating through fourth-dimensional spacetime – no medicine will sever the ties that bind us.”

   “There has to be something!” Leela looked at Fry desperately, and Fry found himself taken aback by the emotion in her eye.

   “Maybe the Professor will know what to do,” Bender offered, and for once sounded genuinely concerned.

   “I already know what to do,” Nibbler said in a low tone that was almost a growl. “Although a great sacrifice will have to be made…”

   “Sacrifice? We could sacrifice Zoidberg,” Bender said. Fry and Leela nodded in eager agreement.

   “Did someone want me?” Zoidberg asked, poking his head into the room.

   Outside, the low drone of antigravity engines became audible, and the Planet Express comrades moved to an empty window frame to look out on the dreary ruined city. Half a mile away, small flying objects could be seen trawling slowly back and fourth, with searchlights scanning the ground below them.

   “Patrol drones,” Leela said. “They must have tracked us down here.”

   “Then we have to move,” Fry said. “The car’s outta juice, so we’ll be hoofing it.”

   “But to where?” Bender asked. “We can’t be running around down here forever – the Universe is in peril and my collection of vintage pornography will eventually fall into unworthy hands.”

   “I know who can help us return to the surface unseen,” Leela said. “Come on.”

   Together they left the house and jogged quietly away into the gloom.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Space Pope
« Reply #71 on: 09-20-2007 18:56 »

Such fast updates!!
Whooo, the Professor actually remembered something for once. "Leela raised one half of her single eyebrow"...nice attention to detail. You write Scruffy well too.

The Brainspawn are actually Nibblonians!  :eek:   :eek: What a twist! Poor Nibbler. And how freakin' cool are those sketches he draws?

Good stuff.

Bending Unit
« Reply #72 on: 09-20-2007 19:44 »

If you could put this in just one post or a website.  I'll print it and I'll read it.

If that's ok?
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #73 on: 09-20-2007 19:58 »
« Last Edit on: 09-20-2007 19:58 »

Originally posted by Organazation14:
If you could put this in just one post or a website.  I'll print it and I'll read it.

If that's ok?

With our new five-step process, you can do it right in the comfort of your own home!

1. Highlight pieces of text
2. Copy
3. Paste in word processor
4. Print
5. Read

Hehe, Nibbler's sketch is fantastic. If only Leela could know what alternate-timeline-Fry did for her.

Space Pope
« Reply #74 on: 09-20-2007 21:08 »

The Nibblonians are related to the Brainspawn. That makes sence but still... A shocking twist. I wanted to say that all day. Nice fast updates. Just what Zoidberg ordered. I can't believe that Fry actually got what Nibler was saying about Nibblonians being inversed. I guess even he has intellegent moments. Nibbler's sketches are awesome. Cannot wait for the next update.
Robo D Rulz!!

Bending Unit
« Reply #75 on: 09-20-2007 21:11 »


Wow, I didn't see that one coming, great twist.
By the way, I agree with km73, you write Scruffy well and those sketches by Nibbler are sweet.

I love how Nibbler sighs 'Lord Nibbler, 3006' in the corner of his sketch even in a situation like that. Great update, keep it up man.

Space Pope
« Reply #76 on: 09-20-2007 21:20 »

Since everyone is agreeing with me again, I just wanted to add that i also love the theory of the Existential Trinity, thus making Fry, the Nibblonians and the Brainspawn inextricably linked.
And the Nibblonian in the hula skirt:  :)

Urban Legend
« Reply #77 on: 09-20-2007 23:34 »

that was great, I really liked Scruffy's happy days memory of Fry

I also like how you used big words like subterfuge, when I was younger, I used to think it said super fudge

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #78 on: 09-21-2007 03:04 »

So you like quick posting, eh?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Chapter 9: A Night at the Space Opera

The first wave of Nibblonian saucer-shaped ‘Cuddle Bug’ ships soared across the bow of the Brezhnev, deploying scores of kinetic harpoons from their centreline munitions dispensers. Great rends appeared in the hull of the monolithic research vessel as the projectiles impacted at relativistic velocities and converted to hard radiation, spewing geysers of billowing gas and superheated plasma out into the void.

   The onslaught continued, and Brezhnev shuddered beneath the monumental impacts, losing thousands of cubic tons of its mass in a matter of seconds.

   Deep inside the battered ship, Onespawn responded by expanding its stupidification field, and suddenly the first wave attackers began to veer randomly off-course as their Nibblonian pilots became afflicted by sudden stupidity. They slammed into the hull of the massive Brezhnev, and into each other; they fired salvos of missiles at their own ships; and many attempted to land on a nearby sun.

   The second and third waves of Nibblonian attackers held back at standoff range, unwilling to enter the idiocy zone that surrounded the SS Brezhnev. Instead they deployed long-range weapons – powerful Phased-Antimatter-Array missiles and near-lightspeed coilguns that fired love-heart shaped iron slugs across the void and into the subverted research cruiser’s flanks.

   Onespawn ignored the peppering coilgun strikes and instead focused on intercepting the PAA missiles that streaked toward the ship. Long-unused weapons systems, now finally under the Brainspawn’s control, deployed smoothly from recesses in the massive ship’s hull, swinging around to draw bead on the approaching projectiles.

   Space outside became an incandescent maelstrom of warring energies, as the Brezhnev’s argon lasers stabbed across the void and struck the PAA missiles one by one. They detonated in starbursts of exotic radiation, purple and red, any one of which could have caused mass-extinctions on an inhabited world.

   The Nibblonian fleet was buffeted by the blasts from their own weapon systems exploding. Onboard the command vessel, the presiding leader of the Nibblonian people issued rapid commands and reviewed incoming data.

   “All Cuddle Bug squadrons deploy to defensive perimeter formation codename snuggle-fluff,” Ken said. “Engage attack scenario Alpha-Bravo-Pookums!” He nearly lost his footing as a burst of projectiles from the Brezhnev’s railguns slammed into the ship.

   All of the Nibblonians on the pink cushioned bridge worked with grim determination, acutely aware of the consequence of failure. Many of them displayed visible marks of cosmic stigma, including Ken himself whose entire left arm was covered by the dark affliction.

   It was spreading too…

   Suddenly the comm. screen activated with random amorphous coloured shapes, and a booming voice echoed through the audio system.

   “So you’ve resorted at last to an open display of force?” the Brainspawn said disdainfully across the communication band. “No longer hiding behind feeble forlorn theology and the red jacket of your dim-witted Messiah?”

   Ken bared his fangs in an angry snarl. “Your machinations cannot be allowed to continue,” he said. “Every change you make within yourself destabilizes the Universe further and edges both our races toward final and utter obliteration!”

   “You’ve mistaken me for an entity to whom such concerns warrant even a moment’s consideration,” Onespawn replied. “I am no longer Brainspawn – I am Onespawn, and I will be the death of you all.”

   The communication link terminated.

   It was bravado, Onespawn knew. Though the Brezhnev’s armaments might hold up for a while, augmented by Onespawn’s psionic attack, the Nibblonian forces were technologically superior and would eventually obliterate the larger vessel.

   There had to be some other avenue…

   In desperation, Onespawn looked to the weird quantum flux that it had detected within itself. The Nibblonian commander’s words began to make some vague sense as the exotic resonance continued.


   Tentatively, Onespawn applied psionic energy to the fluxing quantum particles, and in response an inconceivable ripple of unreality radiated outward from the Brainspawn. Space and time seemed to buckle briefly in agony.

   Screams filled the communication waves, and Ken, the Nibblonian leader appeared on a viewscreen near Onespawn’s temporal lobe.

   “What are you doing?” the little alien bellowed. “You can’t do that! The fabric of the Universe…”

   “Silence,” Onespawn said. Again, the creature applied energy to the quantum structure inside itself, only stronger this time. Reality bucked and writhed as the wave rippled outward, swamping the Nibblonian fleet.

   Though the Universe snapped back into shape (albeit somewhat overstretched and threadbare in places), the Nibblonians in the immediate vicinity, with their intrinsic ties to the fabric of spacetime, were no more…

   Their pastel-coloured ships hung silently in the void, empty of all life.

   And the Brezhnev lumbered onward toward Earth, unopposed.

* * *

As Leela led the way slowly through the pungent stench of the New New York sewer system, Fry and Nibbler suddenly cried out in searing pain and fell together to the damp slimy ground.

   “Oh… Jeez!” Fry moaned as every molecule of his being seemed to whiplash in spastic agitation. “Knew I… shouldn’t have eaten… that mushroom…”

   “No…” Nibbler growled. “Not this… not yet…!”

   “What? What’s happening to you?” Leela pushed past Bender and Zoidberg to crouch beside the two writhing figures. She placed a hand on Fry’s shoulder and then drew back sharply when a crack of static electricity burnt her fingers. She gasped in alarm when both Fry and Nibbler seemed to vanish briefly, and then flicker in and out of existence like a poorly-tuned television.

   The strange attack ceased, and the two of them solidified once more and slowly got to their feet.

   “Whoa,” Fry said. “Did everything just taste incredibly painful?”

   “What happened?” Leela asked. “It looked like you were fading away into nothingness.”

   “Fin fungus can do that,” Zoidberg offered.

   Fry looked down at Nibbler for some explanation, and the little alien appeared worried almost to the point of panic.

   “Too soon,” he said to himself. “It’s progressing too quickly…”

   “It was the Brainspawn?” Fry asked.

   “Using its connection to spacetime as a weapon, affirmative,” Nibbler said. “The Universe just took a tremendous beating, and several thousand of my people met their end. The enemy now understands the power it wields, and the cosmos will tremble at its might…”

   Fry wiped his nose absently, no longer listening, and noticed the dark stain of stigma forming on his wrist. He hurriedly lowered his hand before Leela noticed.

   “Come on,” he said. “Let’s keep moving.”

   Leela picked up Nibbler and led the way onward through the tunnel systems, which eventually opened out onto a ramshackle subterranean village beneath the city’s surface. Accumulated deitrus had been drawn together and piled into haphazard structures, arranged around the fetid drainage canals and central mutagenic lake. Thin shafts of sunlight filtered down from grilles and ducts in the plate above, penetrating the gloomy murk below.

   They’d reached the settlement of the sewer mutants.

   At first, the eyes and sensor stalks of the various mutated humanoids observed the outsiders from a distance, lurking in shadow. Then a lone voice called out:

   “It’s Leela!”

   From the darkness, scores of mutant children with extra limbs and misshapen bodies rushed out to cluster around Leela, making delighted whooping, hissing, and squawking sounds.

   “Leela! Leela! Tell us stories of the Surface!”

   “Are you here to free us from the sewers?”

   “What does the sun look like?”

   “Miss Leela, Is it true that you can grant wishes?”

   Leela appeared taken aback, and tried to move past the youngsters, but they continued to mob her, so she awkwardly attempted to answer their questions and smiled uncertainly at their enthusiasm.

   Fry and the others skirted the little gathering and watched in bemusement from one side as Leela was forced to sit, holding two of the smaller children in her arms. The almost maternalistic scene evoked some odd yearning in Fry that he couldn’t quite place, and he found himself thinking back to the time between unrecallable times when he had been briefly married to her…

   “Fascinating,” Nibbler remarked from the ground.

   From somewhere behind them appeared a mutant with two noses and a forehead like a cliff face.

   “Your friend Leela has become something of a legend to many in our community since we learned who she is,” Dwayne said, startling Fry, Bender, and Zoidberg, who had been watching Leela and her fans.

   “Yeah, they do seem to love her,” Fry said.

   “She is the only mutant to have ever escaped the sewers and made a life for herself on the Surface,” Dwayne explained. “They see her as beacon of hope and salvation – not unlike the Christ of our ancient myths. Through her, many hope we will one day ascend to the upper world and claim our place among the Surface-dwellers…”

   “Fat chance buddy,” Bender muttered, striking a match on Dwayne’s massive forehead and lighting a cigar. “Folk as ugly as you belong where folk as beautiful as me don’t have to see ‘em.”

   Dwayne glared. “Beauty is a matter of perspective,” he retorted indignantly. “Perhaps to us it is you who appear ugly.”

   “Nope,” Bender replied. “I don’t have two noses, weirdo.”

   “He’s right Dwayne,” Vyolet snorted, the reptilian female appearing alongside Dwayne with a cigarette jutting from the corner of her mouth. “Accept it, we’re hideous.” She blew a cloud of smoke from her gills, and Dwayne looked crestfallen.

   Turanga Morris and Munda made their way forward, and Leela gently excised herself from the press of mutant children to run to them. Arms and tentacles encircled her warmly as she embraced her parents.

   “Mom, Dad,” she said. “It’s so good to see you.”

   “Why of course it’s good to see you too, sweetheart,” Munda said, cupping Leela’s face between her tentacles.

   “Yeah, but why the sudden unexpected visit?” Morris added. “Is something wrong?”

   “You like you’ve been hit by a garbage skip,” Munda said. “Still beautiful of course, but… are you bleeding?”

   Leela glanced down at her grimy, beaten appearance. There were numerous abrasions she’d sustained in the past twenty-four hours that she hadn’t even noticed yet. She looked across to Fry where he stood with the others, and he gave her a helpless shrug.

   “It’s… a long story,” she told her parents.

   “It always is,” Munda replied with patient understanding. “Why don’t you and your friends come on home and get yourselves cleaned up.”

   As the group made their way along the rickety gangways of Mutant Town, Zoidberg was stopped by the Supreme Mutant, a man with an extra arm growing out the side of his head.

   “My Lord,” Raoul said in horror as he stared at the Doctor. “You poor unfortunate being…”

   Zoidberg made a confused gurgle in the back of his throat and blinked at the mutant.

   “You are the most horribly mutated person I’ve ever seen,” Raoul went on. “Even more disgusting than him.” He pointed at a mutant that appeared to be comprised of a single leg with a face on it.

   “Aww…” Zoidberg scuttled dejectedly away after the others.

* * *

The Professor and his employees were sequestered on the hangar floor while Mom’s security personnel scoured Planet Express headquarters. They sat in a circle, covered by a squad of armed men. The corporate Matriarch herself stood nearby with Larry and waited. At length, one of the task leaders hurried up to her.

   “We’ve completed a full search of the compound,” he reported. “No sign of the Mighty One or the Nibblonian – they aren’t here.”

   “Right…” Mom glared at Professor Farnsworth. “Where are they?” she demanded.

   Farnsworth got to his feet and adjusted his glasses. “More to the point,” he said distractedly, “where am I?”

   “Chiu cheng!” Amy muttered in frustration.

   Mom prodded Farnsworth in the chest with a bony finger. “Listen stud, if you think your sex appeal will get you out of this, you’re sorely mistaken,” she said. “I want Fry and that little three-eyed creature – tell me where they are before I get really mad!”

   “I should have known you were behind this!” Farnsworth snapped, passing back into lucidity. “You conniving seductive harpy! What kind of evil scheme are you trying to enact?”

   “Mind your own cod-sniffing business!” Mom said, turning her back on Farnsworth.

   Larry snapped shut his handheld communicator and leaned close to Mom. “We’re still unable to contact the Brezhnev,” he said quietly. “I think the Nibblonian may have been telling the truth.”

   Mom nodded tiredly. “These fools don’t know anything,” she said, glancing over her shoulder at Farnsworth and his deadbeat friends. “But still – Hubert’s expertise could come in handy if we’re really facing a threat. We need to be able to contain this as quickly as possible.”

   “What about the quantum interface weapon?” Larry asked. “Or the stupidification ray?”

   “Idiot!” She slapped him. “You think we can still make money from this!? My building is half demolished, my two favourite sons are dead, and we may well have unleashed a force of death and destruction upon the damned Galaxy – the best we can hope for is that we come out of this without being blamed!”

   Larry rubbed his cheek, looking forlorn. “So what now?” he said.

   “Gather up Farnsworth and his morons,” Mom said. “We can’t find Fry and his racoon so we’ll just have to confront the damn brain thing ourselves. Make sure Hubert has full access to our data files.”

   “Full access?” Larry repeated incredulously. “But… not even I have that level of…”

   “Shut up!” Mom snarled.

   As the security personnel prodded the Professor and the others toward the doors, Hermes Conrad held out a sheaf of papers toward Mom.

   “This is da standard kidnapping and ransom statement to be lodged with the central bureaucracy in the event you intend to hold us unlawfully for any given period of time,” he said. “The forms must be submitted with at least three weeks’ notice, and…”

   Mom pulled out her PPK and put three bullets through the papers, causing Hermes to drop them in fright.

   “…Sweet Jaguar of Dagobah,” he said weakly. “…Discharging of a firearm on company property… I have to submit an incident report…”

   “Scruffy’s gotta find Scruffy a new job,” Scruffy muttered to himself as a security grunt pushed him out through the hangar door. “Somethin’ less excitin’, where folk remembers yer name…”

   “Move it!” Larry snapped.

   Farnsworth, Hermes, Amy, and Scruffy, were all led into a waiting shuttlecraft that was boarded by Mom and her henchmen. It lifted off and blasted away into the morning sky.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

« Reply #79 on: 09-21-2007 03:57 »

That boy was like a son to Scruffy
  :D lol! I laughed so hard at this! Great work, coldangel! Although the Nibblonians didn't have to die  :(

One teensy point: Argon lasers are generally low-powered, good for light shows and such. Something like a COIL is more suited for weapons. Then again, who knows how gas laser technology would have progressed in a thousand years?
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