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Author Topic: 'Blame it on the Brain' - by coldangel_1  (Read 48635 times)
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DOOP Secretary
« Reply #80 on: 09-21-2007 02:12 »
« Last Edit on: 09-21-2007 02:12 by coldangel_1 »

Originally posted by bend_her:
 One teensy point: Argon lasers are generally low-powered, good for light shows and such.

Shhhhh.  :hmpf:
It's a new, previously undiscovered isotope of Argon. Yes. Shut up.     :p

This is what I get for trying to make things sound cool.

TOTP - see previous page for chapters 6, 7, 8, & 9.

« Reply #81 on: 09-21-2007 02:20 »

Aw, crap!

OK, COILs have been banned by intergalactic treaty, for being invisible infrared lasers that don't look very threatening. Problem solved!

Besides, they didn't fit on a shark's head.  ;)

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #82 on: 09-21-2007 04:33 »

Very nice updates. Incidentally, why didn't the reality waves that killed the Nibblonians eliminate the Onespawn? They're both keyed to the fabric of reality. Also, were there any other living creatures that got mirrored in the new universe and are they going to come up in the story?

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #83 on: 09-21-2007 05:10 »

The waves of reality displacement are directly related to the unnatural alterations Onespawn has made in its own intrinsic universe-linked structure... in effect they are waves of Onespawn itself, and so it is immune.
You see, the most dangerous aspect of Onespawn is that it's changing the natural structure... it isn't exactly a Brainspawn in the traditional sense anymore.

Re: other creatures mirrored-
In The Day the Earth Stood Stupid, Ken tells Leela: "When the universe was forged in the crucible of the Big Bang, our mighty race was already 17 years old..."
I take that in a less than literal sense because 'years' as a measure of time could not have existed prior to the creation of the Universe as time itself did not exist. However, the story he tells shows that the Nibblonians existed in the pre-big bang nothingness, perhaps in some kind of self-projected bubble universe.
The canon does not include references to any other pre-universal lifeforms, and I would consider it unlikely. In the context of this story, the presence of the Nibblonians pre-big bang was an unnatural abberation (Nibbler earlier hinted at the possibility they may actually be a retrospective reflection of the Brainspawn rather than the other way around), but not something that occurs regularly in any Universe, let alone more than once in one.
So no. I'm focusing on the Mighty One - Nibblonian - Brainspawn trinity in this fanfic.

Cartoon science: 1. Regular science: 0.

Space Pope
« Reply #84 on: 09-21-2007 07:03 »

Scruffy is to Planet Express as Homer Simpson is to C. Montgomery Burns?

“…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.”
"And so, we are all connected; in the great circle of life."

Urban Legend
« Reply #85 on: 09-21-2007 11:12 »

really liked this chapter, escpecially the parts with the mutants
Officer 1BDI

Starship Captain
« Reply #86 on: 09-21-2007 11:36 »
« Last Edit on: 09-21-2007 11:36 »

Originally posted by any1else:
"And so, we are all connected; in the great circle of life."

"And it moves us allllllllllll!"

Nibbler's quite the artist.    :p

My favorite scene thus far is still Leela entering the mutant city and being swamped by the mob of eager children.  It kind of reminds me of this and similar scenes I was regularly exposed to in Sunday School:

I suspect that may have been your intention, though....

This is more or less Fry's story, but I can't wait to see what role Leela has to play.m

Bending Unit
« Reply #87 on: 09-21-2007 14:24 »

Well, I'm currently printing it all, 53 pages of paper.  You should send this to Bongo comics, so they could make a entire 10 comics issue!

I will read it. (obviously)
Robo D Rulz!!

Bending Unit
« Reply #88 on: 09-21-2007 14:46 »

Good update coldangel. Great Starwars reference too.   :)

Space Pope
« Reply #89 on: 09-21-2007 15:11 »

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.
:laff: I almost feel bad for Zoidberg. He could use a hug but I'm not giving it to him. Great update coldy. The story is so good. Can't wait for the next chapter.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #90 on: 09-21-2007 23:16 »


Chapter 10: A Sewer Too Far

The air beneath the city’s supporting plate was stagnant, hanging in heavy unmoving strata, so the distinct chemical trail of a fossil fuel-powered internal combustion vehicle was simple enough to track. Robot 1-X Ultima found the abandoned Ford Mustang well before the other security drones got to it, and observed it for a moment, parked in front of a ruined house.

   There was nobody around. The only infrared signatures were too small to be humanoid. Arbitrarily, Ultima selected a cluster bomb from its weapons carousel and launched it. The house and car were instantly engulfed in a blanket of fire, disintegrating into spinning flaming fragments.

   Leave the enemy no ground to go to…

   Ultima’s particle filters detected pheromone traces, and after a few quick scans a trail of footprints could be seen. One set wore boots (the primary target’s size), another was barefoot, the third were circular robot feet, and the fourth were sandals of some kind.

   Ultima set off in the direction they had gone.

* * *

Even amid the dank putrid squalor of the sewer slums, the Turanga cottage managed to maintain a sense of homely comfort and security. Even the omnipresent stench seemed lessened within its haphazard walls.

   Leela explained the situation to her parents as best she could, keeping to the important facts while skirting around concepts that she herself had little understanding of. For their part, Morris and Munda did their best to keep up, despite the gaps in comprehension that resulted from a life lived in the dark underground caverns. They sat on their mouldy sofa while Leela recounted the tale.

   The basic points got through: Universe in peril from an evil alien threat, and Fry the only one who could defeat it, with an evil corporation hot in his trail to divine some esoteric secrets.

   “What a fascinating story…” Munda said with uncertainty, glancing at Nibbler who sat on the floor licking himself.

   “You do believe me, right?” Leela asked.

   “Of course we do, dear,” Munda replied. “Why, after some of the other adventures you’ve had, this one seems almost mundane.”

   Morris laughed heartily. “I’ll go see if your boyfriend needs anything else,” he said, climbing to his feet.

   “Dad!” Leela protested, reddening slightly. “You know he isn’t my boyfriend…”

   “Oh sure honey,” Munda chuckled. “That’s what you tell us.”

   Leela pulled a helpless face and slumped down beside her mother, who coiled a protective tentacle around her shoulders.

   In the adjoining room Fry finished lacing up a pair of worn out old sneakers. Walking through the sewers barefoot had left a disconcerting assortment of cuts on the soles of his feet – and even Fry was dubious about open wounds being immersed in sewer sludge.

   “They fit okay?” Morris asked upon entering the room.

   “They’re great,” Fry said. “Thanks for letting me borrow them.”

   “Oh, don’t mention it,” Morris said, and Fry tried not to stare at his vertically-oriented mouth. Morris might have been smiling, but it was difficult to tell. “Can’t have the saviour of the Universe tromping around with no shoes,” he added, casting a glance at Bender and Zoidberg who appeared to be arm-wrestling in one corner.

   Fry grunted uncomfortably. “So, Leela told you guys everything?” he asked.

   “There abouts, what parts of it we could understand.” Morris turned serious. “Take a walk with me, Philip,” he said.

   Compliantly, Fry followed Morris out of the house and up one of the boardwalks. Wanting to impress Leela’s father, he made an effort not to slouch and politely refrained from screwing his nose up at the pervasive stink. After a few moments silence, Morris produced a large hip flask and passed it to Fry, who nearly choked after taking a swig.

   “Distilled right here in Mutant Town,” Morris said with a chuckle, taking back the flask. “Over ninety percent alcohol by volume, and the extra ten percent you probably don’t want to know about.”

   “It’s… very lively,” Fry rasped, trying to swallow the fire that seemed to be burning a line down his throat.

   “This situation you’re in,” Morris said abruptly, “I want to know what kind of danger you’re leading my Leela into.”

   Fry was silent for a moment as the two of them walked side-by-side, carefully measuring his response. “I don’t know what I’m walking into,” he admitted finally. “But I do know that I didn’t start this thing, and I’m not leading Leela anywhere – she’s with me because she chose to be. I would give anything for her to be safe at home, but you try telling her that…”

   Morris nodded. “I see,” he said evenly.

   “I’m not sure you do, sir,” Fry said. “Leela and I are friends, and we’ve stood by each other through a lot of ups and downs – we’ve been to the very brink of doom and back again, and we’ve always done it together, because together we’re stronger than we are alone.”

   Morris suddenly clapped a hand on Fry’s back, almost making him stumble into the mutagenic canal.

   “I admire your honesty, Philip,” he said, pausing to look up at a grille set in the cavern ceiling hundreds of feet above. “I won’t pretend I like the idea of my Leela getting involved in some cosmic war, but I suppose you’re right – she’s been living her own life up to now and she knows how to look after herself. I just want you to promise me…”

   “You don’t even have to say it,” Fry said. “I’d die before I ever let anything hurt Leela.” He paused for a moment, and added: “Of course, she’s the one who usually ends up saving me, but my sentiment remains valid!”

   “Heh heh,” Morris chuckled. “You really have it bad for her, don’t you lad?”

   “Huhh… what?” Fry made a show of looking confused. “I… I don’t know what you mean.”

   “Hey, it’s fine,” Morris said. “She could do a lot worse… like him for example.” He pointed at the leg-mutant standing across the canal, who sighed and hopped away.

   “Ahh,” Fry shrugged and looked uncomfortably at the ground. “She’s not interested in me,” he said with a dejected edge to his voice. “I couldn’t even finish her opera. She deserves someone who can provide for her; someone successful who knows how to use chopsticks and doesn’t wipe his mouth on expensive tapestries at stupid rich parties…”

   “Maybe just someone who loves her would suffice?” Morris offered.

   Fry stared at Morris, and the mutant shrugged.

   “She finds it difficult to trust,” he went on, “in people or in feelings, and I suppose that’s partly our fault. The way she grew up, never having anyone to depend upon but herself… and then you came along, defrosted into her life and suddenly she had friends, people who loved her, a family. She’s afraid to change anything because she thinks she might lose it all. But she needs you more than she lets on, and cares about you more than she’ll admit… In truth, you’re really all that her mother and I ever hear about. Just be patient with her.”

   “Why are you telling me this?” Fry asked stupidly.

“Munda and I are quite fond of you, Philip,” Morris explained. “You reunited us with our daughter… prevented her from killing us, and as you said – you’ve been a dear friend to her. What I mean to say is… you have our blessing.”

   Fry blinked in surprise. “I, uh…Thank you sir,” he managed at last, slightly stunned.   

   “Hey, if you do manage to break through that shell of hers you’ll… uh… play safe… won’t you?”

   Fry stared blankly for a moment, and then his eyes widened.

   “Oh God, of course!”

   “Right, because…”

   “That’s… I would always…”

   “…Just wanted to make sure…”

   “You don’t even need to…”

   “I mean, not that it’s any of my business…”

   They stared at each other in very awkward silence for a few long moments, and both were relieved when Raoul and Vyolet came running up to interrupt them.

   “A strange flying robot has been spotted in the Eastern tunnels,” the three-armed mutant leader said breathlessly. “Our perimeter foragers report that it looks like some kind of armed attacker – probably chasing Leela and her friends.” He cast a meaningful look at Fry, but Fry wasn’t ready to launch into any long-winded explanation; instead he returned Raoul’s stare evenly.

   “It’s after us,” he confirmed. “Don’t ask me why, just understand that we have to leave. Trust me.”

   Raoul glanced at Morris, who nodded almost imperceptibly, and then back to Fry.

   “Alright,” he said at last. “We will buy you time, as best we can. Go now.”

   “Thanks,” Fry said. He and Morris turned and sprinted back toward the Turanga house.

   Leela and her mother looked up in surprise when Fry and Morris burst in puffing and panting.

   “Robot… found us… coming… escape!” Fry gasped, trying to catch his breath.

   “It tracked us all the way down here!?” Leela exclaimed in disbelief, surging to her feet.

   “Ohhh, we’re boned!” Bender said, hopping around in fright. “That beautiful wonderful 1-X robot will kill us all!”

   “We’ll lead you out,” Morris said. “The rest of the mutants down here will do what they can, now hurry!”

   Together, they all rushed out of the house and off down the length of Mutant Town’s main ‘boulevard’, past Martin Luther Thing Junior High (repaired since the last time Fry and Leela had seen it) and Stenchy’s Café.

   Fry noticed many adult mutants marshalling with primitive weapons in hastily-assembled militia units on the banks of the lake and secreted on rooftops.

   “Wait, they’re gonna fight it?” he said in amazement.

   “Our people aren’t exactly pushovers,” Munda replied.

   “That’s right,” Morris said proudly. “Final Solution robots from the government’s Genetic Purity Bureau tried to exterminate us back in 2980, but we gave them what for! Man, those were the days…”

   “But this is different,” Leela said desperately. “The thing that’s after us is a full military droid – they can’t beat it with their sticks and stones! People will die!”

   “Hey! Don’t write these brave subterranean warriors off so easily, Leela,” Bender chided, and then in a low whisper added: “If they wanna kill themselves for us, I say we let ‘em…”

   “No!” Leela stopped, and Nibbler walked into the back of her left boot with a grunt and a muttered curse.

   “If they’re going to fight,” Leela said, “then I’ll fight with them.”

   “And if Leela fights, then so will I!” Fry added. “Of course… I won’t fight as well as she does, but it’s the thought that counts…”

   “I’ll be cheering for you both from several miles away,” Bender said enthusiastically.

   “Leela,” Munda said, laying a tentacle on her daughter’s hand. “Haven’t you and your friends got a more important task right now?”

   “Yes!” Nibbler snapped impatiently from the ground.

   Leela looked uncertain. “But…”

   “Sweetheart…” Morris pointed, and Leela looked: across the lake, in the worship cavern where once had stood an unexploded nuclear bomb, there was now a different religious icon standing on the great stone altar.

   It was a twelve-foot-tall statue of a one-eyed woman, with flowing hair and a determined stance.

   “You’ve given these people a gift,” Morris went on as Leela gaped in horrified astonishment at her own likeness. “The greatest gift that a subjugated people can ever receive – hope, an inspiration, a reason to keep going; to fight, to die… and to live.”

   “But this is wrong,” Leela whispered in shock.

   “I’ll say,” Bender added, casting a critical eye at the statue. “They left off all your cellulite.” Fry kicked him in the ass.

   Leela looked at her parents, aghast. “How could you let them do this?” she asked. “I’m not some messiah… I’m just me…” She pointed at Fry. “He saved the whole Universe, and nobody built a statue of him!”

   “We did, however, release a line of action figures,” Nibbler said quietly, and Fry looked at him in surprise.

   “Maybe it’s not so much about you, sweetie,” Munda told her daughter. “Maybe it’s about them, about what they need. Don’t take it away from them.”

   Leela gazed around, and noticed many of the mutant militia were looking back at her, with hope and adoration shining accusingly in their eyes. She inclined her head helplessly and groaned.

   “We need to leave Earth,” Nibbler said. “Where is your ship?”

   “Not sure,” Leela muttered. “After the EMP it would have crash-landed somewhere near the City centre.”

   “Then that’s our destination,” Morris said. “Come on.”

   Raoul, Vyolet, and Dwayne watched from a nearby rooftop as the Turangas and their weird friends disappeared into a side tunnel. Leela stopped once to look back at the underground settlement, and the mutants waved at her merrily. Then she too vanished.

   “Well, she’s safely away now,” Vyolet said, with a snort and a cloud of smoke. “And the young ones have been taken to the north cavern. When’s this badass robot gonna show up?”

   “You speak too soon, my dear,” Raoul said. “Behold!” The third arm on the side of his head lifted a notched and rust-pitted old talwar sword and pointed it at the other end of the cavern. There, a battered military droid had flown in through a side tunnel and now hovered, scanning back and fourth.

   “Doesn’t seem so dangerous,” Vyolet said, taking up a serrated spear. “The thing looks like it’s been through the fires of Hades – check out that battle damage.”

   “And yet it survives,” Dwayne noted quietly. “Let’s not underestimate it.”

   “Agreed,” said Raoul.

   Vyolet lifted a bugle fashioned from copper pipes and blew a single forlorn note that echoed across the cavern.

   The Battle of Mutant Town had begun.

   The few firearms possessed by the mutant militia were mostly ancient projectile weapons liberated from the ruins of Old New York, with a few low-grade lasers augmenting the meagre arsenal. All of them were employed simultaneously from rooftop sniping roosts, and Robot 1-X Ultima found itself suddenly buffeted by a hail of bullets and weak laser blasts.

   Ultima wheeled in the air, identifying multiple hostile targets amid the litter of sewer debris. As it prepared to fire on the guerrilla positions, a secondary detachment of attackers appeared on the cavern floor below and hurled (actually hurled, with their arms!) long spike-tipped objects at Ultima.

   The spears clattered harmlessly off the robot’s flanks, and Ultima targeted a group of mutant fighters on the edge of a glowing green canal, blasting them under a railgun deluge. The survivors scurried back to the relative safety of the shanties.

   Ultima fired its last salvo of loitering missiles that soared up into the air and they began circling above like birds of prey – waiting for a target to present itself. But the mutants were like ghosts – generations of hiding in the shadows had bred into them an ability to move unseen, coming and going like the wind and vanishing into dark forgotten places as quickly as they had appeared. Adding to the difficulty was the all-pervasive humidity and background radiation of the sewers that was degrading infrared returns.

   In frustration, Ultima fired a pair of phasers that reduced a row of houses to smouldering ashes.

   Movement from on high: Some mutant militia had scaled the ceiling of the cavern and were now toppling boulders from rickety catwalks above.

   Ultima darted left and right, dodging most of the falling rocks until one slammed into its head and bore it downwards toward the mutagenic lake. With a tremendous splash, the robot disappeared into the green murk.

   As ripples crossed the lake of toxic slime, mutants emerged slowly from their hidden positions and began to cheer. Raoul, Vyolet, and Dwayne looked on from their rooftop.

   “Too easy… that wasn’t enough to kill it,” Dwayne said in a worried voice. Then he shouted at the top of his lungs: “Stay concealed! It’s a ruse! The thing is playing possum so it can…”

   Ultima suddenly exploded upward out of the lake with guns firing, raking into the now-exposed ranks of mutant militia fighters with its lasers. The loitering missiles began to stab down, blowing mutant bodies apart even as they fled for cover.

   As Raoul watched his people being butchered, he gave a roar of fury and grabbed hold of a rope tied loosely nearby. With swords held in his two other hands, he swung out into the middle of the cavern, high above the lake, and flew headlong at the hovering robot. Hefting their own weapons, Dwayne and Vyolet took up the other two ropes and followed.

   Ultima found itself suddenly assaulted by three mutated figures swinging past and around it, and landing ineffectual blows against its flanks with blunt handheld weapons. Every time the robot turned to track one, another would strike at it; like annoying mosquitoes, the three enemies kept darting just out of reach.

   The damaged war drone retreated slightly to a standoff position where it might more easily pick off the swinging attackers.

   Raoul shouted: “Now!”

   As one, the three mutant friends let go of their ropes and fell together toward the lake. At the same moment, Ultima opened up with its twin gatling guns and Raoul cried out as an armour-piercing round burst through his abdomen in a messy explosion of gore. He and the others splashed down into the green lake and disappeared from view.

   From either side of the cavern, two huge old boilers were cut loose from their moorings and swung outward from the walls on roof cables. With ponderous inertia, the great rusty iron blocks closed the distance between each other. Ultima noticed the trap too late, and the two heavy boilers slammed together with the robot between them.

   The force of the impact was great enough to crack Ultima’s external casing and completely crush several servomotors. Sensor lenses were broken, another micropile ruptured, and a number of weapons systems were now inoperative. Coolant began leaking from the machine and it flew off wildly away from the dented boobytrap, unable to adjust its suddenly misaligned gyroscopes in time. It slammed down near the wide cistern entrance to the deep subterranean sub-sewer, rolled in the mud, and accidentally fired off a barrage of high-explosive flack shells when a short-circuit tripped the firing mechanism. A large section of roof collapsed down on Ultima, exposing the glare of daylight from the upper city.

   At the edge of the mutagenic lake, Dwayne and Vyolet pulled Raoul out of the murky slime between them. A dark red stain marred the surface of the green sludge.

   “D…did we g…get it?” Raoul stammered, clutching the bullet wound in his stomach.

   “Yeah sweetie, we got it,” Vyolet said, biting her green scaled lip. She exchanged a glance with Dwayne, who lowered his eyes. The large-calibre anti-aircraft round had done considerable damage, and the colour of the blood indicated liver-shot. They both knew what that meant.

   “That’s… good,” Raoul said weakly, as a slight spasm ran through his body. “I… think I’ll be okay… it doesn’t really hurt as much as…” He went limp, and the other two stared down at their dead leader in anguish.

   “No!” Vyolet sobbed. With a shaking hand, she gently closed Raoul’s eyelids. There was no jubilation now, as the mutants began to gather around.

   Suddenly, the sound of shifting masonry echoed across the cavern. The pile of rubble that had buried Ultima was now moving.

   “You must be joking?!” Vyolet exclaimed, wiping tears from her scaled cheeks.

   “It can’t still be alive…” Dwayne muttered. “Nothing’s that strong.”

   He was wrong. Boosted by a now-unsteady sputtering ion thruster, Ultima burst up from out of the debris and wobbled drunkenly, smoke wafting from rends in its armour.

   Beside Dwayne, the leg mutant mumbled something determined and heroic, but his words were garbled by the cutlass he held in his teeth.

   Suddenly, a deep rumble filled the cavern, which had nothing to do with Ultima, and the earth shook beneath the mutants’ feet.

   A terrible creature from the dark depths of the earth had been roused by the concussive explosions. Whether spawned by nature or by the corrupting toxic overflow of civilization was unknown. What was known was that it had a heart of sinister purpose, cloaked in shadow, and terror went before it. It was a demon of the ancient world.

   It was… El Chupanibre.

   Slowly, the creature rose up behind Ultima, clambering out of the sub-sewer and looming above, sinuous green flanks and hooked claws dripping with fetid water and luminescent algae.

   El Chupanibre let out a tremendous, earth-shaking roar, and Ultima turned to behold the new threat.

   “Fall back!” Dwayne shouted. He and Vyolet carried Raoul’s body as the surviving mutants fled the impending clash of titans.

   The beast from below flexed its huge talons and advanced.

   Ultima deployed its close-combat blades and moved in gleefully…


« Reply #91 on: 09-22-2007 00:09 »

Yay! Shippy-fic! And a statue of Leela too (fans demand a drawing!) But poor Raoul  :cry:

Mutant monster fight... it's Godzilla time  :)

Urban Legend
« Reply #92 on: 09-22-2007 00:23 »

I like Morris and fry's conversation, good job so far coldmeister

Space Pope
« Reply #93 on: 09-22-2007 13:59 »

Wow, this chapter is chock-full.

Originally posted by coldangel_1:

“She finds it difficult to trust,” he went on, “in people or in feelings, and I suppose that’s partly our fault. The way she grew up, never having anyone to depend upon but herself… and then you came along, defrosted into her life and suddenly she had friends, people who loved her, a family. She’s afraid to change anything because she thinks she might lose it all. But she needs you more than she lets on, and cares about you more than she’ll admit… In truth, you’re really all that her mother and I ever hear about. Just be patient with her.”

So sweet.

“I’ll be cheering for you both from several miles away,” Bender said enthusiastically.

That is so what he would say!

All of Bender's lines in this section were fantastic, as was Nibbler's revelation about Fry action figures.

The mutants fighting the robot is great, and then el Chupanibre shows up for a showdown too! Killer.

Ok, now you killed Raoul. Walt, Ignar, the Nibblonians, Raoul...when will the killing stop?!  :evillaugh:

One thing though, if the 1-X Ultima didn't want to kill Leela because it wanted to continue to have a purpose, then why would it ever actually kill her? Won't it just continue to miss her?
Robo D Rulz!!

Bending Unit
« Reply #94 on: 09-22-2007 14:14 »
« Last Edit on: 09-22-2007 14:14 »

“I’ll be cheering for you both from several miles away,” Bender said enthusiastically.

“We did, however, release a line of action figures,” Nibbler said quietly, and Fry looked at him in surprise.

Hilarious coldy, this chapter had alot of good humor.    :laff:    :laff:

The chat between Morris and Fry was well writen too.

Awesome update, this has to be one of the best chapters yet, it had Everything!

I can't wait to see how the Ultima vs. El chupanebre (Sp) fight turns out! Lets get ready to RUMBLE!   :laff: Taken all bets, taken all bets, I have 2 to 1 for Ultima!

Edit: I'm a slow typer, and you must have posted your respone while I was making mine, so this time, I didin't intend to "Agree" with you. Just thought I'd let ya know km73.  :)

Space Pope
« Reply #95 on: 09-22-2007 14:26 »

That's okay Robo D, I don't mind!! :)

« Reply #96 on: 09-22-2007 15:37 »

Won't it just continue to miss her?
Oh oh! I sense a Robo1X/Leela ship coming on here...  :)

Robo: I'm taking my chances with El Chupanibre

* waits for next chapter *

Space Pope
« Reply #97 on: 09-22-2007 20:15 »
« Last Edit on: 09-22-2007 22:00 »

El Chupanibre v. Ultima. I'm going with El Chupanibre to win.
God, you've killed off so many chacters a many more are probably going to die. I loved the Morris/Fry talk.
Such good humor in this chapter. Very brilliantly written. Get the next chapter up ASAP. I want a Fry action figure.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #98 on: 09-22-2007 23:08 »

One thing though, if the 1-X Ultima didn't want to kill Leela... Won't it just continue to miss her?

Yes, but they don't know that.

Also, those who wanted to see a monster brawl will be disappointed. I left the specifics of that battle ambiguous in the lext chapter, rather than continuing the mindless destruction. Sorry, but too much of a good thing and all...

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #99 on: 09-23-2007 05:20 »

Hilarious. Just love the action figures line.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #100 on: 09-23-2007 08:08 »

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Chapter 11: Starship Bloopers

The dull crump of distant ordinance discharges faded gradually (mercifully) as Leela’s parents led the little group onwards through the confusing maze of pipes and tunnels. Leela looked back occasionally, uncertain and worried, and Fry tried to reassure her.

   “They know what they’re doing,” he said.

   Leela didn’t reply.

   Occasionally, Morris would stop to ascend a ladder up to a manhole cover, checking on their position and looking for the Planet Express ship. After the fifth or sixth time, he returned down with a vertical grin on his face.

   “It’s up there,” he said. “Sticking out the side of a Burger Queen, but it seems intact.”

   “Did you say ‘burger’?” Zoidberg salivated and ascended the ladder three rungs at a time.

   “Well, thanks muties,” Bender said. “I don’t care what anyone says – you guys are Homo Superior.” With that, he set off climbing after Zoidberg.

   “Yeah, thankyou for everything,” Fry said.

   “Don’t you mention it, Philip,” Munda said, kissing him on the cheek.

   “Remember what we talked about,” Morris added, shaking Fry’s hand.

   “I will sir.” Fry climbed up the ladder, leaving Leela alone with her parents. There was a long silence as Leela stared at them, her face a conflicted mass of warring emotions and unasked questions.

   “The other mutants,” she said quietly, “they believe I’m going to somehow liberate them from the sewers. Is that what you believe too?”

   Morris and Munda glanced at each other uncertainly.

   “Leela, you don’t have to do anything for us,” Morris said.

   “That’s right,” Munda added. “We’re already so proud of you…”

   “But you hope, don’t you?” Leela pressed. Her parents said nothing. “You deserve so much better than this, all of you… all of us,” she sighed. “If there was something I could do to bring about change,” she said, “then I would… but what? I’m just one person… I don’t know how…”

   “You just do whatever your heart tells you, Leela,” Munda said.

   Leela watched her parents for a long moment and finally came to a decision.

   “All right,” she said, nodding in affirmation. “When I return, I’ll find a way – things will change, I’ll see to it… somehow.”

   She hugged and kissed her parents, and they watched her disappear up through the manhole. Together, Morris and Munda shrank back into the shadows and vanished.

   Fry, Bender, and Zoidberg were peering cautiously around a street corner when Leela rejoined them.

   “What’s the hold-up?” she asked, following their gazes to where the Planet Express ship sat at an odd angle, lodged into the side of a fast-food restaurant. Hamburger patties and Freedom Fries had spilled out everywhere.

   “Fuzz,” Bender explained, pointing at the police holograms that marked off the area, and the patrol hovercar parked indiscreetly up the street.

   “Looks like they’re waiting for us,” Leela said in frustration. “Dammit – we won’t make it; we’d need time for Bender to get the ship running again.”

   “Hmm…” Zoidberg dragged his eyes away from the foodstuff spilled on the road and glanced back and fourth between his friends. His mind ticked over.

   “So we’re boned again?” Bender groused.

   “Maybe… we could hijack another ship from somewhere,” Leela said doubtfully.

   “No need, no need!” Zoidberg said with regal self-importance, stepping in front of the others with his claws on his hips. “The robut is needed to fix the ship, the cyclops female to fly it, and friend Fry must save the Universe for some reason – that leaves only me, brave Doctor Zoidberg to distract the police long enough for my dear friends to make good their escape!”

   “But you’ll be captured!” Fry argued.

   “No, wait,” Leela said. “They don’t want him – nobody does. They’d just let him go once they figure out we’re gone.”

   “Good plan,” Nibbler said distantly from Fry’s shoulder.

   “Zoidberg, are you sure about this?” Fry asked, taking the Decapodian by the shoulders.

   “Come now, Fry – you would do the same for me,” Zoidberg said.

   Fry stared blankly at him for a prolonged moment. “Yes,” he said woodenly, straight-faced. “Yes I would.”

   “Thank you, Zoidberg,” Leela said, giving the lobster an impatient push. “You’re a true friend. Goodbye.”

   “Don’t drop the soap!” Bender added.

   Zoidberg edged around the corner and glanced up the street to where the patrol car still sat in wait. “Alright,” he muttered. “Zoidberg away!”

   Smitty and URL watched through the window of their car as a red lobster waddled slowly across the street toward the crashed green spaceship. The alien paused to eat some of the uncooked hamburger patties off the road before continuing on.

   “Looks like something’s finally happening,” URL droned languidly. “Aww yeah.”

   “That’s one of the fugitives Momcorp tagged,” Smitty said, consulting his info screen. “Guess we’d better beat him until he tells us where his friends are.”

   “Time for some old-school abuse of power.” URL switched on the sirens and drove the hovercar forward.

   At the wail of klaxons, Zoidberg broke into a hasty scuttle, whooping in fright as he went racing away from the PE ship and down a side alley. Patrol car 718 followed and disappeared from sight.

   “That brave lobster,” Leela said. “Come on – now’s our chance!” Together, she and the others dashed across the street.

   With the ship’s electrical systems down, it took Bender’s strength to operate the manual release on the emergency access door. Then they were all inside, the ship dark and quiet, and the deck slanted at an awkward angle.

   “Bender,” Leela said. “Can you pull the same trick you did with the Mustang and get us operational?”

   Bender managed to shrug, despite the lack of mobile shoulders. “I guess,” he said. “Of course, this bird’s a lot more complicated than that gas-guzzling contraption.”

   “All I need are engines and manual control. We can repair the other systems once we’re away.”

   Bender narrowed his eye shutters. “Of course, we’re gonna have to talk about money,” he said.

   “How about I take off your head and stick it somewhere your arms can’t reach?” Leela replied automatically.

   “Alright, alright,” the robot growled, stomping away toward the engine room and muttering homicidally to himself.

   Leela and Fry made their way to the bridge, where Leela set about replacing burnt-out fuses in the control console. Nibbler hopped up onto the navigator’s station, and without anything else to do, began licking himself noisily.

   “It’s even worse than we feared,” Fry said from one side. “The coffee machine isn’t working.”

   “We’ll just have to rough-it,” Leela replied, sitting down in the command chair to wait for Bender to degauss the engine components. “Just out of curiosity, Fry, what did you talk about with my father?”

   “Uh…” Fry began to blush a deep pink. “Um… y’know… just guy stuff.”

   Leela stared at him fixedly.

   “Geopolitics,” Fry conjured at last. “We discussed geopolitics, as he and I both often do.”

   Leela sighed. “You don’t even know what that is, Fry.”

   “Sure I do,” Fry said confidently. “It’s like when mountains and gorges argue with one another.”

   Nibbler let out an expressive groan.

   “You don’t have to lie to me, Fry,” Leela said, turning her attention back to the console. “I know my parents have some strange ideas about you and I, but they’re just old romantics eager to see me settle down. Don’t take any notice of that stuff.”

   “Oh…” Fry looked at his feet dejectedly. “…Okay.”

   “I just can’t manage to convince them that we’re only friends.”

   “Huh. That must be annoying,” Fry muttered gloomily as he walked away.

   “It’s silly, don’t you think?” Leela glanced up from the console and looked around for Fry, but he’d left the bridge. “What’s his problem?” she wondered aloud.

   Nibbler groaned again, louder, and buried his face in his paws. Leela was about to comment when the ship shuddered suddenly and the lights flickered on and off. The low drone of power returned, and running displays on the control console gleamed.

   “Okay, we’re alive again,” Leela said, and then into the shipwide intercom: “Everyone strap yourselves in.”

   As the impulse thrusters came online, Leela backed the PE ship out of the ruined Burger Queen, dislodging rubble from the nose section. The little green freight ship hovered for a moment before Leela tilted it to a diagonal inclination, with its main engine nozzles pointing at the ground.

   With a tremendous blast of exotic energy, the Dark Matter engines flared into life, and the Universe shifted position around the stationary ship.

   Zoidberg, though being held down on the pavement by Smitty and URL, managed to twist his neck and watch the ship soaring off into the sky.

   “Go, my friends!” he warbled happily. “To freedom!”

   “Shut up, you slimeball!” Smitty snarled, whacking the lobster over the head with his lightsabre baton.

   “Damn,” URL droned, watching the ship grow smaller. “Looks like the fugitives pulled a fast one on us stupid cops. Ohh yeah.”

   Nearby, a manhole cover suddenly flew upward from the ground and clattered down right next to URL.

   “What the hell,” the robot cop muttered.

   From out of the manhole, an unrecognisable shape clambered on twisted limbs. The battered metal object was covered in deep claw marks and viscous green blood. With its ion thrusters no longer operative, Ultima had to drag itself along with its forelimbs.

   “Is that a robot?” Smitty said, looking at the blackened mass of twisted metal.

   “Maybe it used to be,” URL replied.

   Zoidberg looked on in silent terror.

   Ultima noted the Planet Express ship passing just out of visual range and surveyed the short list of systems that were still operational. Happily, the robot brought its fusion booster online and ignited it.

   A small thermonuclear explosion vaporized a section of road in incandescent white fury, sending Zoidberg and the two police officers tumbling head-over-heels through the air. Ultima shot upward in excited anticipation, following the PE ship’s vapour trail.

   Up, up… the Earth’s layers of atmosphere fell away one by one. The ionosphere was a brief crackle of static. Out into the void; satellites whizzed past. There, directly ahead: the Dark Matter drive, now ready to spool up to full power…

   Ultima tried firing lasers, and found they were all damaged. The gatling guns were jammed. All its missile reserves were spent. Railguns weren’t receiving power. The severely-damaged war drone turned in desperation to its antiphoton cannon, which had been out of alignment since the battle on Mars. Theoretically it might still fire, although the danger of blowback was great.

   Ultima took the risk, targeting the Planet Express ship’s engines. It fired, or tried to, and the particle accelerator mechanism in the antiphoton cannon bucked violently and promptly exploded. Ultima was thrown into an erratic spin, damaged components flying away from it in a great arc. The robot’s systems went offline briefly, and when it came back to consciousness the Planet Express ship was long gone, and it was falling slowly into a Lunar orbit.

   Undaunted, Ultima patiently set about devising a series of extensive self-repair protocols. It would wait. The target would return in time; the certainty of that fact burned bright in the robot’s fractured mind.

Turanga Leela would return, and the hunt would resume… in time.

   Ultima had all the time in the world.

* * *

Long hours passed after the prisoners were brought aboard Mom’s personal interstellar frigate (shaped, oddly, like her head) in High Earth Orbit. The Momship had departed the Sol system for destinations unknown, and Professor Farnsworth was taken away to review secret research data, leaving Hermes, Amy, and Scruffy to be shoved by henchmen into a holding cell.

   And so they waited, as the corporate matriarch’s ship’s engines thrummed endlessly. There were no windows, no way to tell where they were or how much time had passed; just the dull grey bulkhead stamped with the logo of Mom’s Friendly Holding Cell Company.

   The monotony was painful. Without a single scrap of reading material besides the labels on the cot blankets, all three of them were bored to death.

   Scruffy had had enough.

   It was time to take action.

   “So,” he grunted, leaning close to Amy, “how’s about you get nekkid fer us?”

   The elbow to his solar plexus had him wheezing on the floor for a full minute, after which he went and sat beside Hermes instead.

   “Folk was less uptight about their bodies back in the twenty-nine seventies,” he muttered grumpily. “Scruffy remembers those days – peace and free love…”

   A few decks up, Professor Farnsworth continued to read through volumes of detailed scientific reports, emitting occasional grunts of “Oh my…” and “…Fascinating.” He was learning everything that Ogden Wernstrom’s team had discovered from the Brainspawn.

   His attention was drawn inexorably to the section that described the role and nature of the ‘Mighty One’.

   “Sweet merciful Zombie Jesus on a dollar bill!” he said in alarm. “That idiot Fry is our only hope!?”

   Meanwhile, on the bridge, Mom paced the deck while Larry and the Helmsman looked on nervously.

   “How much further?” she snapped, glancing through the forward screen.

   “Impossible to say, ma’am,” the Helmsman replied. “We’re following the residual radiation trail from the point of last contact as best we can, but there’s no way to tell how far it’s gone… Although there is one thing…”

   “What?!” Mom rounded on the man, and he shrank back.

   “…It’s definitely headed back towards Earth,” he said.

   Mom looked out through the screen again, searching for the elusive research vessel. “We can’t let it get there,” she murmured.

   The door to the bridge whisked open and Professor Farnsworth shuffled in, glaring at everyone through his two inch thick glasses.

   “This is an outrage!” he bellowed. “You all should be ashamed of yourselves!”

   Mom put her hands on her hips and turned to meet his glare. “I don’t care if you disapprove of what we’ve done, you old fool,” she retorted. “Risks must be taken in the march of progress, everyone knows that.”

   “Progress?” Farnsworth repeated incredulously. “That’s how you justify giving me a cabin without a bathroom? It’s disgraceful! I had to relieve myself in an ashtray, dammit! It overflowed! I demand a stateroom with full amenities!”

   Mom groaned in irritation. “Have you reviewed the research data yet?” she asked, forcing some patience into her voice.

   “…The whuhh?” Farnsworth looked blank.

   Mom massaged her temples and ground her teeth. “The Brainspawn!” she hissed.

   “Don’t change the subject!” Farnsworth snapped. “We’re talking about the Brainspawn here, not your favourite shoe store – get with the program, dammit!” He shuffled past her and sat down in the ship’s command chair with an audible creak of ancient bones grinding against replacement joints.

   “And have you had any ideas?” Mom seethed.

   “Whuhh? Oh yes – Good News Everyone!” the Professor said. “I have devised a mechanism that can shield a person’s Delta brainwave, the wave that the creature feeds off, so that they can approach without the Brainspawn being aware.” He produced a dog-eared napkin covered in blotchy scrawlings and fed it into a nearby computer console; a scratchy hand-drawn electronics diagram appeared on the computer screen.

   “It looks like a helmet,” Larry observed, looking at the diagram with its circuits and valves.

   “A helmet? Oh my, yes,” Farnsworth said. “It won’t protect from the stupidification field if the Brainspawn becomes aware of the wearer through some other means and strengthens said field, but it should allow someone to get close, remaining relatively invisible to the creature.”

   “Excellent,” Mom said. “Have the ship’s matter synthesizer whip a few of them up.”

   “Do it yourself!” Farnsworth snapped angrily.

   “Uhh… ma’am?” the Helmsman said suddenly.

   “What?” Mom glared at the interruption.

   “Begging your pardon,” the man said, “but we’re picking up the ship on long-range scanners.”

   Everyone on the bridge stared at the forward screen. Ahead lay a starfield; a splatter pattern of light against black velvet. One distant point of light was tagged with a yellow box graphic as it moved across the stars.

   The SS Brezhnev had been found…

* * *

Leela piloted the Planet Express ship onward through deep space for some time before finally realizing she had absolutely no idea what their destination was. As Bender joined her and Nibbler on the bridge she shut down the Dark matter engine, leaving the ship to coast silently, and turned to the little three-eyed alien.

   “Where are we going?” she asked simply. “Where is this monster Brainspawn?”

   “We are not going to confront the creature yet,” Nibbler said. “We are not yet equipped to face the beast. Our destination now is the exact centre of the Universe.”

   “Your home planet?” Leela looked up as Fry entered, now wearing a replacement red jacket from his cabin. For some reason, he appeared subdued and downcast.

   “Affirmative,” Nibbler said. “We must travel hither to Eternium, that we may retrieve the one weapon powerful enough to end the threat of the Brainspawn once and for all.”

   “Is it a Holy Hand-Grenade?” Bender asked.

   “Even more powerful still,” Nibbler replied.

   “Okay,” Leela said, bringing a series of star-charts up on her console. “Whatever the weapon is, it’ll take us a long time to reach the centre of the Universe in this ship.”

   “Not necessarily.” Nibbler tapped on the nav-console he was using as a seat and brought up the same charts. “If we make use of sub-space spiderholes at these two locations…” He highlighted coordinates on the touch-screen. “…We should be able to cut the journey down from a decade to about a day.”

   “Spiderholes?” Fry asked in confusion. “Don’t you mean wormholes?”

   “No, these are made by planet-sized interdimensional spiders,” Nibbler replied. “There are no interdimensional worms.”

   Leela punched in the coordinates and re-lit the main drive. The ship lunged ahead on its new course, which took it away from any area of space that was detailed in the map database. They were shooting onward into the depths of uncharted territory.

   “‘…Here be monsters’,” Leela said to herself, engaging the autopilot, and the others stared at her. “It’s what mariners used to write,” she explained sheepishly, “on maps, when they reached the edge of what was known.”

   Fry grunted and stuffed his hands deep in his pockets. “That’s because people are always afraid of the unknown,” he said sulkily. “They prefer everything to be laid out, all simple and predictable. Taking a chance on something new would be too scary, so they just call it a monster and tell it they only like it as a friend…” He trailed off. Leela was staring at him with an unreadable expression.

   “Yeah, those ancient mariners can bite my shiny metal ass,” Bender said, completely missing the subtext.

   Fry turned away. “I’ll be in my hammock,” he said. “Wake me when your stupid Universe needs saving.” With that, he walked away, and Leela chewed her lip anxiously, wanting to say something, but unsure of what.

   The hiss and clunk of the bridge door opening and shutting seemed to echo with abrupt finality.

   “What’s Captain Yesterday’s problem?” Bender said.

   “…I am,” Leela replied guiltily.

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

Space Pope
« Reply #101 on: 09-23-2007 08:31 »

“Come now, Fry – you would do the same for me,” Zoidberg said.

Fry stared blankly at him for a prolonged moment. “Yes,” he said woodenly, straight-faced. “Yes I would.”
Haha. I love those moments.

“So,” he grunted, leaning close to Amy, “how’s about you get nekkid fer us?”
Scruffy takes after Joel!  :eek:

Fry grunted and stuffed his hands deep in his pockets. “That’s because people are always afraid of the unknown,” he said sulkily. “They prefer everything to be laid out, all simple and predictable. Taking a chance on something new would be too scary, so they just call it a monster and tell it they only like it as a friend…”
  :laff:   :hmpf:   :(:rolleyes: )

Heh heh, spiderholes. Interesting.

Space Pope
« Reply #102 on: 09-23-2007 09:35 »
« Last Edit on: 09-23-2007 09:35 »

“Zoidberg, are you sure about this?” Fry asked, taking the Decapodian by the shoulders.
“Come now, Fry – you would do the same for me,” Zoidberg said.
Fry stared blankly at him for a prolonged moment. “Yes,” he said woodenly, straight-faced. “Yes I would.”


“Is it a Holy Hand-Grenade?” Bender asked.
Monty Python or am I thinking of something else?

“Spiderholes?” Fry asked in confusion. “Don’t you mean wormholes?”
“No, these are made by planet-sized interdimensional spiders,” Nibbler replied. “There are no interdimensional worms.”

Great update. Very enjoyable.

Urban Legend
« Reply #103 on: 09-23-2007 20:28 »

really good story

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #104 on: 09-23-2007 23:47 »

I knew that there would be other interdimensional creatures in the storyline besides the Nibblonians! Do they meet any big interdimensional spiders?

Space Pope
« Reply #105 on: 09-24-2007 01:18 »

I laughed so much during this chapter.

"Well, thanks muties," Bender said. "I don't care what anyone says - you guys are Homo Superior."


The new definition of geopolitics - "it's like when mountains and gorges argue with one another"...i laughed entirely too much at that.   :D   :laff: It took me a couple minutes to realize what Bender meant when he told Zoidberg not to drop the soap.
The professor is great, the cops are great...although you'd think they would have left someone to watch the ship while Smitty and URL chased Zoidberg..."time for some old-school abuse of power."

And "Here be monsters"....outstanding.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #106 on: 09-24-2007 17:17 »

Monty Python or am I thinking of something else?

Yep, Monty Python.

Do they meet any big interdimensional spiders?

Why don't we wait and see how it turns out, eh?


Bending Unit
« Reply #107 on: 09-24-2007 18:44 »

Great stuff! Happy Days, Red Dwarf, Monty Python, and I'm sure other things that I can't remember right now. You're fics are always gold! Keep up the good work ;)

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #108 on: 09-24-2007 19:30 »
« Last Edit on: 09-24-2007 19:30 by coldangel_1 »

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

Chapter 12: Nibbler on the Roof

The XC-105 Valkyrie tactical transport took up most of the deck of the Momship’s main hangar bay. A blunt delta shape encased in a black monoform exterior coating, it was the latest prototype of advanced stealth shuttle that Momcorp had been contracted to develop for the DOOP.

   A small team of security personnel and science analysts boarded the little craft, along with Hubert Farnsworth, Larry, and Mom herself (who had insisted on going along for the mission despite the protests of Farnsworth and her son). The incursion team all wore pressure suits and strange circuit-embedded helmets, and the security personnel carried several ominous crates stamped prominently with the radioactive tri-foil.

   “Remember everyone,” Farnsworth said as the embarkation ramp hissed shut, “the shielding helmets have never been tested, so don’t think too loudly. From now on, nobody think about rock music, the colour red, or Robin Williams.”

   “Oh no!” Larry said. “Now they’re all I can think about!”

   The atmosphere in the hangar bay dissipated noisily, and the massive external door began to roll open, revealing the stars beyond.

   “Let’s see if those overpaid grease-monkeys in my skunk-works department are worth their weight in titanium composite,” Mom said, pressing a control on the Valkyrie’s system console. “Here goes nothing.”

   As the stealth shuttle lifted from its docking cradle, it flickered briefly and then became completely invisible. Frequencies of the electromagnetic and visual spectrums flowed smoothly around the craft’s EM displacement field, rendering it totally unobservable to sensors or the naked eye.

   “What the…? Where did everybody go?” Farnsworth cried suddenly.

   “You idiot,” Mom snapped. “We’re only invisible to people outside the shuttle.”

   “What? No – I dropped my glasses!”

   As Farnsworth fumbled around on the floor, Larry eased the controls forward and took the shuttle out of the hangar bay and into the open void. The Momship was holding distant station about half an AU from the Brezhnev, which continued to slowly trawl through space without deviation. Attempts to hail the research vessel had been fruitless, and an unidentifiable background quantum fluctuation had been detected resonating from the area surrounding the great ship.

   As the Valkyrie moved gradually closer to the target, all those on board became increasingly anxious. The entire mission hinged on the success of the delta-null shielding helmets devised by the mad and senile Professor Farnsworth, in whom few aboard had much confidence, himself included.

   The distance closed. The tension built. And the mighty Brezhnev grew larger on the forward viewscreen.

   “There’s something strange…” Larry said, peering at the two-kilometre block of steel and wrath. “The external surfaces… they seem mottled by something.”

   “Up the magnification, you stupid moronic idiot fool!” Mom snapped.

   Larry did so, and a section of the research vessel’s hull expanded into stark clarity.

   “…What the hell is that?” Mom said. The hull plates were crisscrossed at random by wide clinging trunks and tendrils that seemed to form some vast network, growing from within the ship and seeming to envelop it with the grey, almost organic-looking growths.

   “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Farnsworth confessed. “Not at this scale anyway, though if I were to guess, I’d say this was the result of nanomachine infestation.”

   “Trash-talk!” Mom said. “I’ve seen nanites go haywire – they just turn everything into grey goo, they don’t grow vines.”

   “I didn’t say they were haywire, you saggy-breasted harridan!” Farnsworth retorted. “You told me it was possible that your precious ship had been subverted by the Brainspawn – well that looks like subversion by nanomachines, probably controlled by the Brainspawn.”

   Mom growled quietly.

   “It also looks like it’s sustained significant battle damage,” Larry said, switching the view to show numerous deep impact craters that marked the surface of the ship.

   “So, the Nibblonians already tried?” Mom wondered aloud.

   The Valkyrie flew into the shadow of the Brezhnev, with the research ship looming before them like a great plain of metal. Larry piloted the stealth shuttle toward a docking point that appeared relatively free of nanomachine growths.

   “You gave your Helmsman the proper instructions?” Farnsworth asked Mom.

   “Yes.” Mom nodded. “Cowardly and snivelling though he may be, Gary Helm is the greatest Helmsman who ever Helmed. He’ll begin to run interference for us in the Momship as soon as we’re docked.”

   “Hopefully that will distract the Brainspawn enough to aid with our infiltration, oh my yes… distraction… infiltration… atomic monsters… crush enemies… called me mad!?” He continued mumbling incoherently to himself and Mom looked away to watch the yawning mouth of the Brezhnev’s docking chamber closed around them.

   The stealth shuttle gently connected to the airlock, and the doors were operated manually to avoid any telltale energy draw. Preceded first by armed security who gave the all-clear, the team emerged through the airlock, seeming to appear suddenly out of thin air as they stepped from the Valkyrie’s displacement field. They entered the dark corridors of the Brezhnev and activated their suit-mounted lights.

   “I’m reading low atmosphere,” one member of the tech team said over the short-wave comm. link as she consulted her Tricorder. “The environmental system is down… no life-signs in our immediate vicinity, but some strange anomalous background noise on a number of frequencies.”

   “Let’s get moving – we have a lot of ship to cover,” Mom said. Glancing back at where the invisible shuttle was ostensibly docked somewhere at the end of the airlock tube, she added: “Everyone remember where we parked – I don’t want to step through the wrong airlock and have my brain sucked out my nose.”

   Before she turned back to the others, a movement caught her eye, and she turned sharply to see a shadowed figure dart back into hiding.

   “Huhh…” she muttered to herself. “No life-signs, eh?”

   They moved off through the silent corridors and continued for some time. The security people stopped them occasionally to access wall panels where they loaded subversive software into the remains of the ship’s systems that froze surveillance camera feeds along the team’s path. They were taking no chances.

   At one point, the team rounded a corner and found the way had been blocked by an amorphous mass of the same ligneous grey growths that were strangling the outer hull of the ship.

   “I’ll get a sample,” one of the scientists said, stepping closer to the wall of nanomachines.

   “I wouldn’t do that,” Farnsworth said quickly, grabbing the man by his shoulder. “There’s no way of telling what it can do – it might convert our mass into raw elements. Or even worse – rewrite our neurones and brainwash us into buying horrible, soul-destroying country music… like what happened to all those poor fools in the latter half of the twentieth century.”

   “He’s right,” Mom said. “Leave it – we’re here to destroy, not to learn.” They changed their route to avoid the growths and continued onward deeper into the ship. From some distance behind them, a figure observed their progress, steeped in shadow and skulking behind support struts and banks of machinery to remain concealed.

   Farnsworth caught sight of the furtive movement and glanced back sharply – the figure ducked out of view.

   Quietly, so as not to cause panic among the team, he spoke to Mom.

   “There’s something back there,” he said, tilting his head back along the way they’d come.

   Mom nodded with a grunt. “It’s Wernstrom,” she murmured.

   “Wernstrom!?” the Professor spat distastefully.

   “He’s been following us since we came aboard,” Mom went on.

   “So he escaped the Brainspawn’s attack…”

   “Escaped… or was set loose.”

   From some distance behind, Ogden Wernstrom looked out of the darkness, his eyes wide and feverish as he watched the team.

   “He was in command of this operation,” Mom said, glancing back along the passageway. “Now the object of the operation may be in command of him.”

   “Perhaps we ought to play it safe and decapitate him?” Farnsworth offered. “And then maybe burn his corpse for good measure.”

   “I’ve seen too much death today,” Mom replied. “Besides, Wernstrom might have some part to play yet, for good or ill, before this is all over.”

   Farnsworth looked unconvinced, but said nothing.

   Meanwhile, out in space, the Momship flew an erratic course around the Brezhnev, occasionally hitting the larger vessel with laser bursts and hard radar spikes, but always keeping to a safe distance. Its pestering manoeuvres were monitored closely by the monumental intelligence that now controlled the Brezhnev, and the research cruiser fired on the Momship repeatedly, but scored no hits.

   Onespawn wondered idly what the other vessel was trying to accomplish.

* * *

An inconceivable distance from the edge of any known map, the Planet Express ship traversed a field of planetary debris that had once been a solar system, now turned into a barren cloud of shattered rocks and frozen gases orbiting a dying sun. The epic destruction had been wrought by the opening of a Schwarzschild/Lorentzian spiderhole near the local star’s photosphere, resulting in vast swathes of matter being torn from the star, hastening its demise toward the black dwarf state. The surrounding planetary system had been utterly destroyed by the violent tidal forces and brutal accretion disk.

   The spiderhole itself was an awe-inspiring spectacle – a vast indigo abyss ringed by chaotic webs of exotic negative matter, with strands stretching many times the diameter of Earth, which held open the throat of the Einstein-Rosen Bridge. Vast plumes of solar matter swirled into the indescribable depths of the hole, flaring bright as ribbons of energy lashed out.

   Leela gasped in wonder at the sight as she flew the ship onward toward the titanic maelstrom. Setting the autopilot, she got up from the command chair and walked closer to the viewscreen the behold the majestic ballet of cosmic destruction.

   “Woo hoo, big deal - it’s a hole,” Bender droned disinterestedly. “I dug a hole behind the Planet Express building and nobody gasped in wonder at it. Except the corpse I stuck in there, but that could have just been gasses escaping…”

   “Bender, this is the most amazing thing anyone has ever seen,” Leela said, glancing at the robot in irritation.

   “No big boots, this is the most amazing thing anyone has ever seen.” Bender produced a silver coin, waved it around in front of Leela, and clapped his hands together. The coin was gone. He then reached up to Leela’s ear and appeared to snatch the coin out of nowhere.

   “Pretty sweet, eh?” he said proudly.

   Leela narrowed her eye and walked away to find Fry.

   “I thought it was remarkable,” Nibbler said, sounding impressed. “How did you do that? Some kind of quantum flux or matter transferance beam?”

   “Nah, I’m just magnificent.”

   Leela moved down the ship’s companionway and rapped lightly on the door of Fry’s cabin, chiding herself for her own nervousness.

   “Fry?” she called. “There’s something you’ll want to see – it’s incredible.” There was no reply from the room, and she sighed.

   “Look, I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings earlier. It was careless. Please forgive me. I want you to come and watch this with me – there are big shiny things… you love big shiny things…”

   Still no response. Hesitantly, Leela pressed the door’s touchpad, and it rolled open. Fry was fast asleep on his hammock, shirtless and snoring lightly. Leela approached, and then stopped, gaping in horror.

   The dark swirling marks of stigma had spread across Fry’s chest like an oil slick. As she watched, an offshoot of the affliction wormed outward from the main mass, consuming more normal tissue.

   “…Oh Fry…” The taste of fear made Leela swallow hard as she reached out to touch Fry’s skin. It was cold.

   The contact brought him out of his slumber, and he caught Leela by the wrist. He groaned as his eyes focused on the cycloptic face staring down at him.

   “Hey…” he said, and then noted the frightened look in Leela’s eye. “What’s the matter…? Oh…” Hurriedly, he fell out of the hammock and retrieved his T-shirt to cover the stigma.

   “Not very pretty, is it?” he said with forced lightness, pulling the shirt over his head and getting one arm stuck in the neck-hole.

   Leela patiently helped him untangle himself. “Does it hurt?” she asked quietly.

   “Not exactly,” Fry said. “But sometimes it feels like… a heaviness… like I’m being dragged down. Not by weight, but by something else… something inevitable. I can’t explain it.”

   There was a sweet tension-coated silence filled with a creamy centre of discomfort as the two friends stared at each other.

   “Fry…” Leela grasped for words. “We’ll find a way through this.”

   “I know,” Fry replied. “We always do. Um… hey…” He scratched his head awkwardly. “Sorry about before.”

   “Me too,” Leela said. “You’re my best friend, Fry… I don’t want to hurt you, even though I always seem to manage it one way or another. It’s not intentional…”

   “I know,” Fry said. “Did you need me for something?”

   Leela blinked. “Oh yeah,” she said, remembering. “The spiderhole – you really have to see this.”

   When they returned to the bridge, the spiderhole loomed larger through the forawrd viewscreen it pulsed and rippled violently around the constraints of the cosmic webs that held it in place.

   “Oh wow,” Fry gaped in amazement. “That’s even more incredible than Bender’s coin trick!”

   “Ah, go to hell, you lousy meatbag,” Bender muttered bitterly.

   “Leela…” Fry said as he gazed out in rapt fascination. “It’s the same colour as your hair.”

   Leela smiled and took her seat at the helm. “So, we just fly right in?” she asked Nibbler.

   “Affirmative,” Nibbler said. “But be careful – we don’t want to be caught in those webs.”

   “Or do we?” Fry said. “…No, probably not. We’d be lunch for the giant spider, right?”

   “Negative,” Nibbler said. “Contact with the exotic negative matter would instantly convert our entire mass into pure energy. We would explode.”

   “…Which is really just as bad,” Fry said. He looked back out at the cosmic spectacle that now seemed to take up all of the heavens. The little ship skimmed through a stream of incandescant solar matter that was falling toward the spiderhole, then onward into the yawning indigo abyss.

   “Oh,” Nibber said belatedly. “This will be bumpy…”

   They passed suddenly through the event horizon, and the PE ship became spaghettified, stretched into a narrow green strand of hyperaccellerated matter that was three light-years long, relative to real-space. And then they were in the spiderhole itself, snapping back into shape violently like an elastic band, and whipping around uncontrollably inside the cracking toroid interior of the Einstein-Rosen Bridge, at the mercy of unseen and incomprehensible energies.

   Fry, Leela, and Bender all screamed as they were thrown around, and sparks erupted from the fuselage. It was like the wildest rollercoaster ride imaginable…

   …And then they were spat back out into real space in an explosion of quarks and neutrinos. The ship tumbled end-over end, accellerated wildly by the spiderhole’s slingshot effect.

   “Oh, thank robot Christ that’s over with,” Bender said.

   “It isn’t,” Nibbler replied mildly, as the ship fell directly into a second spiderhole that had been positioned sequentially by the Nibblonian people thousands of years ago.

   Again the violent spaghettification and breakneck tumble through the throat of the spiderhole. As he clung to the back of Leela’s seat for dear life, Fry risked a sidelong glance out one of the windows, and for an instant he thought he saw a translucent shape clinging to the side of the shimmering tunnel of purple light… a collossal many-legged thing with eight eyes the size of continents that watched the PE ship fall past.

   Then it was gone, and they were back out into real space, flung away from the Star Spider’s interdimensional hole at a dangrous velocity.

   Regaining her wits, Leela cancelled the wild roll and slowed the ship.

   “Oh, I think I got whiplash!” Bender complained, picking himself up.

   “That was cool!” Fry said, climbing out of Leela’s lap. “We gotta do that again.”

   Leela only groaned, knowing they would eventually have to. She turned her eye to the forward screen.

   “Well,” she said, staring through the screen. “Looks like we’re here.”

   Ahead of them, resplendent in shades of pink and blue, was the planet Eternium, its pastel landmasses seeming to form heart shapes.

   The ship’s communications screen came to life, showing a Nibblonian female sitting on a cushion.

   “Lord Nibbler,” Fiona said over the comm. link.

   “Greetings,” Nibbler said. “I have travelled from Earth, with the Mighty One, seeking the means by which doom can be averted and the balance of the Universe be restored.”

   “I know to which object you refer,” Fiona said gravely. “Our forebears decided eons ago that it should never be used. You have come on a fool’s errend.”

   “Fool I may be,” Nibbler growled angrily, “but I am a fool who does not wish to see all of creation vanquished in one stroke of evil because those who could prevent it quailed in the face of their responsibility!”

   Fiona stared levelly through the comm. screen. “Harsh words you speak, Lord Nibbler,” she said. “But the council is decided on this matter. An alternate plan to combat Onespawn is presently being enacted. We do not need the Mighty One, or the weapon.”

   Nibbler narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “We shall see,” he said. The communication link terminated.

   “What was all that about?” Fry said, clearly confused.

   “A difference of opinion,” Nibbler said simply. He looked troubled as he directed Leela to the landing coordinates. The Planet Express ship fell through the pink atmosphere with a trio of Nibblonian Cuddle-Bug saucers falling in behind to escort the larger vessel.

   They had reached the exact centre of the Universe. And it seemed they weren’t entirely welcome.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #109 on: 09-24-2007 21:23 »

Aside from the inevitable comments on how amazing your story is, I'd just like to say that it's amazing what can happen when Fry manages to communicate his feelings, and even moreso when Leela realizes he is.

I also have the feeling a lot of people are about to die...

Urban Legend
« Reply #110 on: 09-24-2007 23:16 »

this is like, the first story I've read in almost a year, and I'm quite impressed
Robo D Rulz!!

Bending Unit
« Reply #111 on: 09-24-2007 23:23 »

Good update, coldy. Those Spiderholes look so great, your doing an awesome job on the art work, even more than normal.  :)

« Reply #112 on: 09-25-2007 01:18 »

Oh, I think I got whiplash!
A reference to the fact that Bender has no neck... noice! I'm also thoroughly enjoying Professor's and Mom's witty banter.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #113 on: 09-25-2007 05:26 »

Originally posted by Sine Wave:
I also have the feeling a lot of people are about to die...

Mwuhahahaha... AHHahahahahaha!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!  :evillaugh:

Originally posted by Robo D Rulz:
Those Spiderholes look so great, your doing an awesome job on the art work, even more than normal.

Well the wormhole effect and the ship are actually just snippets from other things I photoshopped together. Only thing I drew in that pic was the cosmic spiderwebs.
Most of the exterior spaceship shots I do are photoshop manipulations, which I consider to be cheating. I'm more of a character artist than a background kinda dude.

Thank you all for reading and for your continuing kind comments.
Strap yourselves in though - I got a whole lot more coming your way. Prepare to have your Universe finely chopped and served on crackers.



Space Pope
« Reply #114 on: 09-25-2007 14:50 »
« Last Edit on: 09-25-2007 14:50 »

“Perhaps we ought to play it safe and decapitate him?” Farnsworth offered. “And then maybe burn his corpse for good measure.”
:laff: Great idea decapitation and burning Wernstrom. The Spider Hole picture is really cool. I wonder how many are going to die.
“Woo hoo, big deal - it’s a hole,” Bender droned disinterestedly. “I dug a hole behind the Planet Express building and nobody gasped in wonder at it. Except the corpse I stuck in there, but that could have just been gasses escaping…”
Ha so gross but funny as hell.   :laff: Can't wait for more.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #115 on: 09-25-2007 17:02 »

Oh yeah, just for interest's sake, the term 'spaghettification' is actually real, believe it or not. Astro-physicists came up with it to describe the stretching-out of matter as it's subjected to enormous gravitational differential falling into a black hole.
Those funny kooky little science guys crack me up.

Space Pope
« Reply #116 on: 09-26-2007 03:38 »

'Cuttlefish' cracks me up.

Sigh. The things I do for you...

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #117 on: 09-26-2007 03:54 »

Like the title.

DOOP Secretary
« Reply #118 on: 09-26-2007 10:29 »

'Einstein-Rosen Bridge'?

You know, when people make me laugh this hard, there's a price they have to pay.

They have to buy me a new keyboard.


DOOP Secretary
« Reply #119 on: 09-26-2007 17:06 »

Eh? Why? Why was that funny? Is my physics rusty?
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